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Full text of "The parable of the prodigal : containing The riotous prodigal, or, The sinners aversion from God ; Returning prodigal, or, The penitents conversion to God ; Prodigals acception, or, Favourable entertainment with God : delivered in divers sermons on Luke 15, from vers. II. to vers. 24"


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Riotous Prodigal , or the 
Sinners Averfion from Qod. 

Returning Prodigal^ ortiie 
The <^ PenitentsCoriverfionto^fi)^. 

Prodigals Acceptation^ or 
Favourable Entertainment 
with Qod. 

Delivered in divers Sermons on 
L u K B 15. from Ferf. 1 1. to Ferf. 24 

By that Faithful! Servant of Jefuf Chrifi 

Obadiah Sedgwick, B.D. 

?erfe6ted iy hmfelf^andPerufedhy thofe whom He in- 
t rutted mth the fuhlifhing of his Works, 

Xe^Wo^, printed by D.Maxtvely for Sa. Ge l l ibrand, 
at the Ball in St.PW/ Church-yard. 1660, 

' / 

*l til nil ill 

Christi an Reader, 

Ods good Providence doth 
hand unto thee in this enfii- 
ingTreatife, The whole ^Pa^ 
rahle of the ^rodml Son^ both 
interpreted and improved^ 
Doftrinally and Pradically, 
for tby spiritual Advantage/rom the Pen of 
a vvorkman, who needed not to be afhanaed, 
Hei^in the Sinners Averfion from GoA^Cmyer- 
fionto God^ and his Acception with God, are 
profitably unfolded Reapplied. Helps in thefe 
^veral Subjedls^are well worth everyChrifti- 
ans welcom-and time Icrioufly (pent in peru- 
fing fuchDifcourfeSjWill not be labor in vain. 
M^nt^ ,by forlaking God, loft his primitive 
Glory^which cannot poflibly be repaired in 
his PofteritVjbut by returning to his Majefty. 
Manx:omech into the World v^ith his Back 
towards Heaven^and with ftrongAntipathiea 
againft God-yea,his conftant courfe of life is a 
departiug from the Lord,tiU his HighneG by 
Omnipoteac Grace doth change both his 
Heart and Way, And when thefecureSin' 
ner.i^ weii awakened to confider his wofull 
Apoftacy^attended wich the lad Conlequents 
thereof, together with the impoifibility of 

^ z all 

all Creature fuccours to relieve him, then, 

.and not till then, doth he ferioufly think of 

facing about towards God^whonci he hath de- 

ferted with inexcufable ncgledt and difhonor. 

Now the felf'Condemning Convidt, Iff 

this^olefuU condition, upon frequent felf- 

r^flexibns,& aggravating his woful Apoftacy . 

dpfh find it very difficult to hold up hope oit 

gaining re-admiffion into the favor of flight^ 

^d & forlakenDiety .This poorS^ir^ did expc-^ 

rience,as his tears,his tornients, together with 

his delpondingjdefpairing language doth de^ 

jmonftrate. But in chis pitifull plight, the 

finking fbulniay receive ftrongfupports, by 

confideringjWith application, what loving 

Entertainment the guihy jWorthlefs Prodigal 

received from his offended, forlaken Father. 

Thefe particulars ,which \ve do only hint dt) 

are here largely handled forthy profit^theef- 

fedling whereof,is dcfired and prayed for,by 

Novcmb^i. Thj lovitig Friends , and 

i^S9. faithfullServmtsinCh^ig^^^ 

Humph. Chambers. 
Edm. Calamy. 
Sim. Ashe. 
Adoniram Byf^eld. 

. A 

A Table of the Contents. 

THe Scope of the Parable^ pag. ». The Parts of the 
Farake^ pag. 4. Sin is a departing from God^ f. 8, 
A Sinner doth voluntarily , of his own accord^ depart 
from Godj f . 9. The fleafures of finning mil quick- 
Ij end^ and the end of them is extreme miferj ^ p, 9, 
The pleafures of fin are but fhort ^ proved, p, 10. 
Stn rvill end in many miferies^ p. 12. Though 
fin brings men ino ft raits ^ yet Jlraits do not always bring 
men from fm^ p. 22. An afflicted condition no infaU 
able teftimonf of a fafe condition^ p. 26. The further 
men go on irt fin^ the worfe work they fhall find it to 
prove ^ p. 3 1, ^^d the Reafons thereof p. 34. And 
rvhy we do not always fee it fo^ p. 37. Al ftnner will try 
all wayesy and go through the utmoft extremities^ ere he 
will turn from his fins ^ p. 45. How it may appear to 
be true^ p. 49. Why it fi)ould hejhus^ p. Ji. Take 
heed of fhuffiing with God^ p. 55. Means to prevent 
this fhuf flings p. 59. Nothing jhall avail this Jhuffting 
finn€r till he return^ but God will difapoint all his pro- 
je^ts^ p.^i. made to appear tobe aTruth^ P«^3. Why 
nothing jhall avail the jhuffting (inner till he repent, p. ^4, 
A ferious conftderation^ and right comparifon of the mi" 
[trable eft ate of a fmfull condition^ and happy eftate of a 
converted condition , are fleps to true and fpeedy repen- 
tance^ p. 6^, How thefe two are prime fleps to rcpen- 
tafjce^ p. 71. Objections, That we are ignorant^ not 
at leifure^ it will make us defpair ^ anfwered , p 77, 
How I may know whether my confideration be right ^ p. 78. 
whether confideration of fin may he right ^ when there 


The Contents. 

are fome fms tha a man thinks not of^ P.B3. whe- 
sher a fingle confideratim of fm he Sufficient to repen- 
tance 5 p, ^84. ■ Rules fo\ right confideration^ p. 8(5. 
Rules for comfarifony p. 87, Sound Re jolution is re- 
quired to found Reformation^ p. 8p, The proj/ert/es of 
this Refolufm^ ^.90. why it is rrquifite^ ^,^^2^ The 
benefit^ and comforts of a firm Refolstion^ p. 95 . The 
Mems to raife it , p^ 97. ^nd maintain it^ p. loi. 
True Repentance for fm y^'tll bring forth true Confeffi- 
on of fm^ p, 106. The^Reafons of it^ p, iii^Penir 
t^p perfpns are humbly and Imly per fons^ p, iiS^ Ifym- 
hlcnefi-defcribedj p. 120, jvhy trm Penitents arc, hum- 
hie per f 6ns y p. 12 4, The means to become humble^ p.128. 
Per fond Umvmhmef is not prejudicial to jfiritual Sup- 
plicationy'^p^ 1 ^^ ^Jieafonsfor^it^ p; 151 , jflow m may 
know that mare tfufyfenfibk of our UmvorthineJ^^ p. 13$, 
Penitent intentions and. refolut ions [hould be accompanied 
with preffnt executions and performances^ p. 1 40, Rea- 
forn for it^ p. 142. The Motives and Means for a pre-- 
fmt exmitiony p. 148. ^ni Th-e Helps^:^^!')^, The 
very ■initials vf trUe- Rep^ntance\ are feen ^y God^ p. 157.. 
proved^ p. 15^. Evidences of true Repentance though 
initial^ pi 1^3, God /> v^ry ready to (herv all kinds of 
mercy to the truly. Penitent^ p. 1 6^ - Reafons of />, p. i6g^ 
By no means defpair ofmerQ% p, 174. Objedions an- 
fvvered^ P» i.75» Reafons why God ma-kes not knotv-^his, 
mercy prefently^ ^, 179. ' How cm fljall be (uppoyi;e4. f^ 
theinterim^ p. 185. God is pleafednot onely t^ol^e recon- 
ciled^ but mmifefls himfdf fo to be. unto the penitent^ 
p. 184. Reafons Qf tt^^^.i^^. Motives to feef: aft^r 
the feals and 4'okens :of Gods favour^ p. 188.: Means tQ\ 
attain thern^ p. 191. The kindefl expreffions of mercy-, 
do not hinder ^n humble conf^jfion of ftn^ p,:i95 . Rea- 
fons of it^ p, ip5. Motiz'es, to it^ p. 1 9 8. God takes nO;. 



himself i^hlh ^V/ lo'V^ and kii^ni£, p. 1 9^; :fy4^f^M 
it^ p. lo^. Whaisfneant hy thc\ohQ^,a/id^e}e^ Mm^ 
p. 206. /y^n? mmifj. kj^rv- r)^hether , m yf^4^^\fffhih't^fx^[ 
p, 2 1 1 , .X Cod fives-fa thefcnite/tt, pr(m nprecjetf^ Faith} 
bjfvhkhMis ejfott[edormimticdi:^Mh^ri^^^ Wp^ 

tis i& ht fn^rriid urit<f Qhripsif: 2.i;3 ^ ; Ji^^hj^^^iph mur^ii.^^ 
us unto Chriftj p. 216. .iWh^intr '^i l^w thi/ M^ 
p. lip. what is meant by shoes on his^Feet^ p.222. God 
doth enahls the penitent per fon with XJrace and Jlrength for 
abetter and fingular courfe of life and obedience^ p. 223, 
Reafons of it^ p. 227. Every ftnfull unconvertedman is 
a lofiman^ p. 234. How a man may know that he is lojl^ 
p. 237, A lojl finner may he found^ p. 238. How God 
fnds a left fmner^ p. 238. Whf God doth thm find a loft 
(inner ^ p, 241. Motives to aferiom Trial^ whether our 
lofi fotils be found^ p^ 242. An impenitent unconverted 
man is adeadman^"^. 254, Reafons ofit^ p. 256. 7>^ 
rf/5 whether we he fpiritually dead^ p. 261. Every con- 
verted man is a living man^ p. 2 ^5 . How this may he evi- 
denced^ p.268. Trial of our felves about ourfpiritual lifcy 
p. 2^9. objections anfwered^ p. 276. A very great and 
notorious fmner may be converted^ p. 279. Who maj be cal- 
led /i?5 p. 280. How it may appear great [inner s may be 
com^erted^ip, 2^1, Directions to (uch converted finners^ 
p. 288. Great afflictions arefometimes an cccafionofgrrnt 
finners converfton^ p. 289. How it ma) afpear^ p.^po. 
There is an Almighty Power required to convert afnner^ 
p. 294. provedy 295. True Converfion is a very great ^ 
inward and universal change^ P« 3^3* and demon fir at ed^ 
to p. 312. How may a man know that God hath indeed 
changed his hearty p. 3 1 ^. Comfort to thofe who are chan- 
ged^ p. 323, How may we know ^ this change is from conz 
verting Crace^ and not from the power of a troubling Con- 

The Contents. 

Cmverfion brings^ p. 336. why Converfton mAkesthc 
fouls condition fojo^full^ p. 33^. Horvcdn this condition 
kfo joyfully thaisjo expofedto affliiiions, p,344. and 
dirties and abridges many delights , p. 347. Trial rvhc^ 
ther converted or no^ p. 35^* Hm converted ferfons^ 
[hofdddo^ to mlk joyfully , p. 3^3. 


Mtj^ggg Stf ■ I >»t i L- i n \ m n 

The Tarable of die Prodiqal^ 

LU K B 15. II, (^C. 

1 1 « A certain yuan had two Sons* 

1 2 . And the younger of them /aid to his Father^ Fa- 
ther^ give me the portion of goods that falleth to 
me. And he divided unto them his Living. 

I ^.Andjiot many days after ^the younger Son gathered 
all together ^and took hiijourny into a far Country^ 
and there wajled his fuhjlajice with riotous living. 

14. And when he had f pent all^ there arofe a mighty 
fanme in that Land^ and he began to be in want. 

1 5 , And^he went and joined himfelf to a Citi:^n of 
that Countrey^ and he fent him into his fields to 
feed [wine ^ &c. 

His Ckapter confifls of three Parables, all 
of them tending to one fcope andiffue, 
though drftindl in their fpecial matter 
and objedl. The firft Parable is of ^ 
Sheepy from verf. 4. to verf, 8. The 
fecond of apiece of Silver ^ from verf, 8. 
to verf, 1 1 . The third of a Chi/d^ from 
verf. II. to the end. 
^ All of thefe agree in tWo conditions ; One, of Lofs, the 
Sheep was loft, the Groat was loli, and the Child was loft : Se-. 

B condly. 

The Scope of the Parable, 

condly cf Ruovtry j the Sheep that vvandred, is brought home; 
the Oroat which was loft, is found out ; and the Son who dep<-?rt- 
Cif'ii, ^^> ^^ returned and accepted. There be who undertake the 

Reafons of thefe Parables or dark fimilitudes, under which Chrift 
doth ccuch fome fpecial Leflbn ; as, why man is compared to a 
Shce^^ i^/V. becaufe of our Creadon, wherein G^?^ »^^^ ^^i^, dni 
9iot we onrfelves ; we are thejheep of hu faflure, PfaL loo. And 
why man is then compared to a Groat ; becaufe of tha: fingular 
image of God which was itamped in man 'at his creation ; as 
the royal imdge of a King is damped upon fuch a piece of Coin. 
And then, why mm is compared to a Son ; becaufe of that near 
relation which he had to God, being once able to c^ll him Fa- 
ther. And then, why in every one of thefe, to a /(?/?Sheep, a 
lof}: Graat , a loft Son, becaufe of his revolt and departure from 
God by fin : Nay, and if it were Lwfull to put and ufe free con- 
ceits on Parables, ( as I am fure fome of the Ancients do, as St. 
e/f;^y?/A7, Gregory^ 6tC.) what if in this threefold Parable , you 
might efpie a threefold caufe of mans fall. " In the fheep w\m- 
dring, Satans fuggeftton ; " In the Groat loll by the woman, 
the womans yielding -y " In the Sons departing, Adams voUmarj 
revelling^ and fpending of his happy eftate and condition. But 
thefe and fuch like obfervations, though to fome they feem more 
acute and pleafant, yet to me they are frothy and unprofitable. 
The Sco|>c of Touching the Parable therefore, concerning which I am to 
the Parable, treat, there are feveral conjectures about the fenfe and intention 
with a divifion ^f it. Concerning the 'Father of the two Sons, they all agree ; 
w ^^l ^"v^^ f ^^^ '^^'^^ the tveo SonSy they differ. Some by the two Sons un- 
Whoa'cmcHt d^^^nd Angels and Men: Th^ Ange/s^ they were the elder 
by chi iwo Son ; Man the younger, being created afcer them. Tlie An- 
Sons. gels abode at home with their Father, M.in had the ftock put in- 

to his own hands, and in a quick time loR himfelf and it. This 
opinion you fee hath fome kind of Vicinity or correfpondency ; 
fenfui piui ( as Aquinas fpeaks of it ) but not froprlus. And 
there is one pregnant Reafon againfl it in the Text ; for that the 
eldfer Son in this place, is defcribed to be grieved and fad at the 
acclamations and welcome teflimonies of the younger Brothers 
return ; but the Angels rejoice apd are glad at the comerfan or Tt- 
tmn of a /inner, 

3. Others 

T'hs Scofe of the P arable* 

2, Others by the two Sons iinderftand the Jcrvs and the iJe/t^ 
tiles ; the '^jews were the elder, the Gentiles the younger ; the 
'jews kept home, a^ it were ; of all the Nations of the Earth, 
they feemed to be the inclolure for God and his fervicc ; and 
the Gentiles were as it were excluded, rejedled, wandring llieep, 
a loft people ; yet at length ^jod through Chrift looks after thd^ 
loft ftieep, ( the other jheef of his foldy as Chrift fpeaks, Jch. 
I p.) and returns and accepts of the Gentiles, which did much 
prcz'okethejew^ ( as the elder Son was here provoked at the re- 
pentance and acceptance of the younger, and kept out,) they 
were provoked to jealoufie by thofe who once were not a people. 
This interpretation pleafeth S. Aujlw and Cyril ^ and fome 
others ; and indeed it bears a fair congruity with the Parable in 
moft refpeds. 

?. But the third and general opinion is, that by the elder Son 
is meant the Scribes and Pharifees^ ( and under them any Jufti- 
tiaries ) perfons too conceited and confident of their ovYn works, 
fervice, righteoufnefs, as this elder Son, who had been (as he 
faid ) thm long in his Fathers houfe^ and never tranfgrejfed any 
of his Commandments^ but ferved him carefully ; which indeed 
was the opinion of the Scribes aiid Pharifees^ who trufted to^ 
and boa ft ed of their own righteonfnefs : And that by the younger 
Son is meant the Publicans and Sinners^ perfons more notoriouHy 
riotous and infamous in fmning, utterly forfaking of God, as it 
were, and living without him. And the end of this Parable was 
to convince the proud and envious Scribes and Pharlfees^ ( who 
in verf, i . and i . of this Chapter, murmured againfl Chrift for 
receiving Publicans and Sinners : ) Now Chrift tells them, that 
though thefe notorious (inners were defpifed by fhem, yet he 
came to call them to repentance^ and that God would be moft in- 
dulgent and gracious to them ; though they h-id been great tranf- 
grelfors, yet now being penitent, he would receive them into 
fingu.lar mercy and favour, and that with much joy ; and there- 
fore little reafon had they to fnarl at his refpe6i: and defires to- 
wards Publicans and great finners. Thus for the fcone of the Pa- 
rable, which is, 7o declare the fngular readh^cp of God in and 
thropigh Chrifi, even to receive the moft notorious finners^ proving 

B 2 Now 

The Farts of the Farable, 

Th* Parrs of Now the Parable confifts, or rather comprehends two eftates 
tbe Parable of the Prodigal Son. 

1. Of5/V;and Luxury^ where are cor fiderable, i. The Oc- 
c aft on of it, v,\ 2. Father y give me the portion of goods that fai^ 
lethtome. He would have the eftate in his own hands: Helolt 
himfelf, by defirlng to be Lord of himfelf. 

2. The Sink [elf y calkd riotous livings v» 13. lightly come, 
and lightly gone, which quickly walled ^11 the fubftance. Now 
whether this fubilance were tiiofe good Qualities in Creation, 
or good Gifts of mind or eftate after ^vard, it is fomewhat difpu- 
ted ; upon which I ili^ill condder in its time and phce, 

^. Ihe event of It : That edate being fpenr, he bethinks of 
an other courfe ; indeed, I'jow he lliould have thought of coming 
back to his Father, but he did not ; nay, he tries all conclufi- 
cns before he refolves on that : Therefore again obferve, upon 
the Lofs and confumption of his Eflate, 

Firfi:, his earthly policy y He joyns himfelf with a Citiz,en of 
that Coimrejy v. i <. By whom fome underliand the Devil ; fo 
S^ Amhrofe^ Civis ifte efi i ft ins mundi Princess, Others, fome 
kind of earthly or worldly employment : But being joyned with 
him, his fervice is fordid, for he is fent into the fields ( no houfe 
flialihold him who forfakes Gods houfe ) to feed the fwine ; he 
is made a fervant of the nalliell beaft, who would not continue 
the fervant of the beft Father and God. Secondly, his extreme 
mifery ; this fhift did no way help him : Nothmg fupplies, 
when God forfakes ; and noway is comfortable, when vye prove 
{infull. He would fain have filed his belly with the husksyvhich 
th^ fwine did eaty and no man gaze him to eat, v, 1 5 . Ah, what 
a change doth fin make ! Here is one, whiles he continued with 
his Father, enjoyed excellent fociety, tender love, compleat 
plenty ; but no.v forfaking his Father, he k^eps company with 
the fwine, is extremely pinched with hunger, glad would he 
have been ferved after the. very hogs, and no man regarded him 
in this lAfery and want ; fo that now there is a lofs of all his hap- 
pinefs, and a certainty of famllliing and perilliing, if he returns 
not, and hereupon comes forth. 

a. The fecond eftate of him, which was of his Converfon 
end Pmtencjf : Where you have three things obfervabk. 

I. Hiis 

The Parts cfthe Parable. 


1. \{\s Confiiltatlon-i fet forth by adouble a6lof reflecHpn. 
, I. Pojitivc/^, Firit, ofhimfe/fy ver. 17. fie came to himfeif. 

Secondly of others^ his faihers fervants , ■ and theii* condition. 
. 2. Comfarativelyyvh^^tmhz compares his prcfent condition with 
theirs, in the utility or conveniency of if 5 / hej have breads hut 
I have none : Quantity of it^ Tiiey have bread enongh^ hm I hnn- 
ger. Redundancy of it, They have enough, and to fpare, but I 
periili with hunger : yea themeanelt in my fathers houfe, the 
fervan'.s, the hired fervants^ yea all m my fathers houfe, though 
mmy, they have bread enough ; what, and Hull I a fon fam'lh 
andperiljh? Surelyif my father hath bread enough for fervants, 
he will havefome for a child ; and if he hath to fpare for hired 
. fervants, he will have fome to fpare for a famiiliing child. 

2. His Re [obit ton • and indeed upon the fenfe of his own fa-» 
milliirg mifery, and his fathers bounty and clemency, he is re- 
folved now what courfe to t:.ke. And me thinks he turns off an 
objedion which might fpring in his mind ; yea, my father hath 
plenty at home, and for hired fervants, but then they are obedi- 
ent and careful, but I have been a waftful prodigal, a riotous 
fpender, a departing and unkind child : To which hee gives an- 
fwer ; 'Tis true, yet for all that I am refolved to change this 
courfe, and I will home to my father. Nothing, no not the ^^rea- 
teft finnings mui\ hind«r our penitential turning to God our Fa- 

Now in this Pvefolution of his , there are four things vyhich he 
did fii"mly purpofe and intend : 

1 . Averfion^ to relinqui fh and quit that bafe and miferable life 
and courfe, [ ver. 18. / W//^r//^] q.d. I will reft here, dvvell 
here no longer ; live thus, no, not a day more. 

2. Conver('on^ to return to his father | and go to my father 1. 

^. fo;?/?///^;;, to acknowledge i His fin. 2. H^s unworthinefs. 
If my father, thinks he, tell me that I have gone away from himj 
and have offended him, why and I will prevent him, I will con- 
fefs as much ; I will not defend, nor excufe, nor mitigate, nor 
mince the matter ; I will fay, Father^ I have pmed againfl hea- 
ven and hefore thee^ ver . 1 8. And if my father tell me, I deferve 
never to be looked on, and there is no reafon on my part why hee 
fhould look on me as a Ibn, or fpeak to mc as a fon ; why, and I 


fhe Farts of the Parable, 

will confefs that too, that my courfes have been fo liiiful and 
vile, that I am not worthy to be caikd his fon ; not ondy to be 
a fon, but to be called a ion. 

A, Sfifplic/itlori ; tointreathis Father, that yet he would look 
upon him, and own him, and accept of him. 

Maks ^^ ^ one of thy hired fervams, o. d. ' If I cannot ob- 

* tain a fons place, yet 1 will beg hard for a fervants place ; and 

* if I cannot get a choicer fervants place , yet I will put m for an 
*- hired fervants place ; and if I cannot get any fervants place, 
' yet I will get to be a? one of the fervants , as one of the hired 

* fervants ; which lliewed the humility of his heart, and alfo the 
vehemency. When the heart is truly broken and humbled, any 
near relation to God, any owning from God will be acceptable to 
the foul ; if God will look on the 1 owlinefs, on the unworthinefs 
of the (inner, how pleafing is it to him 

3. Thirdly follows the life of all, namwly the jraHtcal exe^ 
cmlon of all this. This counfel enlarged it felf to a refoIution,and 
this refolution is crowned with an a6tual performance : for 'verfe 
20. He arofe^ and came to his father. Where again obferve, 

I. Somethings or pa{l"^ges on his Fathers part, viz.. i. His 
qmck^ohfervation ; his Father f aw him, ver. 20. nay, he faw him 
when he was yet a great way off. The very intentions and fecret 
motions and clofe purpofes of our Repentance are known to God: 
in this fenfe, he fees our thoughts afar off ; many times God will 
not fee thefinner quickly, but he will at all times quickly fee the 
penitent. / have feen him, and will heal him, &c, 

2. His frefent commiferation, \ His father faw him, and had 
compajjlen on him ] When JE'f/jr^w*;;^ repented, -^d returned and 
lamented, why the Lord faith, CMy bowels are troubled for him,I 
willfurely have mercy on him.-So here, the father not only fees but 
compa(rionates.<5'.^.Look,the poor child is at lenc^th come back,he 
hath fmarted enough, he ihsll be welcom, I will forgive him all. 

3. His gracious Acceptation, exprefledin three particulars : 
One ol fpeedy readinefs [ The father ran.'] Mercy muft fpeed 

to embrace a penitent : Swift are the feet of mercy to a return- 
ing (inner. 

Ai^^cor\do£ wonderful tender nefs\_ The father fell on hisneclQ, 
How opea are the arms of mercy to t»ke a penitent fmner into 



Jhe Parts of the Parable 

the borom. Mercy hath not onely feec to meet us, but arms alfo 
to claip and receive us, if we be penitent. 

A third of ftrong affe[}io»atefjefs |_ His Father kjjfed him "f. 
Cod hath not on^:!/ arms, but lips ; he hath not naked m^^rcies 
for a penitent, opening themfelves in minifold promifes onely; 
but alfo fugred mercies, mercies feaied with the kifles of his lips, 
with a fweet teiiimony that he doth accept of, and is reconciled 
to a penitent and returning foul. 

2. Some things on the Childs part, which is thereal aciingof 
hu former refoliit'ioyr w an actual coyifejfton-^ verf. 21. And here 
obferve a ftrange interruption on his fathers part : 

1 . He ftaies not to hear all the confelTion and petition inten- 
ded, though he have purpofed to have faid more [ nnd make me 
oi one of thy hired fervants]. Why ! the father (tops him, pre- 
vents him ; wepropofe a method many times, but Godfudden- 
ly comes in with his mercies. 

2. He cannot confefsfo much, bat the father , though not in 
words, yet really doth much more ; Fetch forth, h\th he, i.The 
hfiroh. 2,7he pretlomringy and "^.The comelj fhoos,V<f^Q^n 
bring nothing to God, but yet he can find enough for the whole 
foul : And 4. The fatted Calf, Ah 1 how infinitely different [^ 
the penitent condition from the impenitent : Now the child 
hath garments, hath ornament^, hath neceflaries, hath comfor- 
tables ; when we once truly turn to God, we fhall find no lack ; 
there is a complete happinefs now come to this returning fon,' 
who adventured on the gracious difpofition of his father : and 
there is a great gladnefs now In the father, for the penitential re- 
turnirR of his fon. Our condition is bett, and God is moft olea- 
fed, when we turn peniteiats, verf. 21, 11, Let us eat and he mer- 
ry ; for this my fon yxas dead^ and is alive again ; he was lofi:^ 
avi ts found. 

Thus briefly have youthefenfe of the Parable, with adivifi- 
aa of the chief heads thereof : I will now proceed to pick out 
the moral obfervations which are couched in it, they may be re- 
duced .to three general head. 

r. A Sinners digreffion^ or averfion from God. 

2. A Penitents regrejfion^ or converfion unto God. 

;. A Penitents accepatlon and favorable entertainment with 
God. Itt 

8 The Riotous Prodigal^ or 

Inthefirft, you Teethe fmners going from God tomirerv; 
In the iecond, you fee h-m returning unto himfclf by true peni- 
tency ; In the third, you fee God returning to him in mercy : 
In the firfl: you fee him iofmg himfelf, in the fecond you fee h:*m 
finding h^mfelf, in the third you fee God finding of him. ^m 
lofes us, repentance finds us, and then God OrVns us. 

I begin with the Sinners d'grellion or averfion from God, 
which IS fet forth unto hs in -z^. 1 2, 1 3, 14, 1 5, i6. under the fi- 
militude of a young man, who would have all in his own hands, 
and fo he left his Father, took his plealure in Travels, foon 
confumed all, and fliortly brought himfelf to extreme neceifiy 
and mifery. This is the literal part of the Parable.- But the 
Moral part comprehends ( if I miftake pot ) thefe fropofi- 
J) - That: Sm is a de-part'wg from God, 

Sinisaccps '.- The young Prodigal, he muft leave his Father, he muft be 
ingircmGjd gone, what doth it imply, but the hnner is a departer ? Sin- 
ning is a departing ; we leave God when we betake our felves 
to a courfe of finning. Thus is it ftiled in ^cripture,£p?/.i.4. Ah 
f '/if till Nation^ a feofle laden with tnlquity-, a feed of evil doerSy 
children that are corrufters ; the^ have forfakjn the Lord, they 
have gone avoay hackvpard. Here fin is called a for faking the 
Lord, and a going away, and a revolting, ye will revolt more 
and more : which is a falling off untrufl:ily from God. y^r.2.14. 
7 hey have forfaketi me the jonntaln of living waters, Heb. 
^.12. An evil heart of unbeliefs in departing from the living 
A two- fold dg- There is a two- fold Departing ; On^ is real^ when he turns 
paninj. awav from the place or prefence of another, as Jonathan are fe 

Real. and de farted from hts father Saul, Thus no man can depart from 

God; for he being omniprefent,is with us in every place: Another 
^j . is moraly which is, when the heart or foul departs ; and thus the 

finner departs from God, when his foul and affe6lions leave him, 
and cleave to fin. And it cannot be but that finning fhould be 
fuch a departing, for as iiuich as God and fin are moft contrary, 
fo that the foul cannot en joy them both ; if you will love and fol- 
low your fins, you mufi leave God ; and if you will love and 
fGllow the Lord, you muft leave your fins ; ioi what commmion 



The Sinners Averfion from Cod, 

>^an there he betwixt Itght and darknej^^ God and fm. 

Thi Ule of this may inform pi^ of thu madnef and folly of a yfg^ 
ftnner^ He will live in Inch or fuch a fin, and with greedinefs he j- tuc folly of 
foUo.vsthe inticements thereof : Well! thou enjoyelt thy fin, thcTian::, 
butconfider that thou lofelf thy God ; and what doeil thou ^tt 
in all thy delights, which are but lying vanities^ whilert thou for- 
fakefl the God of thy mercies ? Thy exchange is miferable, to 
leave a God, and embrace a fm ; to depart from the chiefelt 
good and happinefs, and to make choice of the bafeft objecls of 
iin, which is worfe then hell it felf. 

A fecond moral obfervation is this, th^i A finner doth volant a- jy ^ 
rlly-t of his own accord^ depart from God. Here the Prodigal A fmncr Joth 
make;? choice of his own way and courfe, and defires to be left to vdunrarily de- 
h'mfelf, and to take his own courfe. God compels no man to a P*'"- *fon^ God. 
linfull courfe, nor is he the caufe thereof, nor can Satan compel 
the heart. A man in this regard is faid to tempt and entice him- 
filf znd with Ahab to fell himfelf to work^wickednels. 

And therefore, The /inner is utterly InexcM fable before God, Vfe, 
his mouth is for ever (topped, his fin and perdition is of himfelf. Thcretorc the 
God is cleared in Judgment, who puniilies the wicked who is *''"i^" isinex- 
the a(!:l:or, contriver, and fole caufe of his own finnings. Take ^" ^ ^^' 
any finner who delights himfelf in a way of wickednefs, why ! 
he is voluntary init : *Tis true, in difpute he pretends an infuffi- 
ciency or inability, but the real caufe of his (inning is his own 
will, for he loves Darknefs rather then Light^ and had rather 
ferve his Lufts then God ; he makes choice of them before God, 
as the multitude did of Barrabasht£o:tChrifi ; and when Life 
and Death, God and Sin are propounded, yea, and that with the . 
true rewards froni the one, and fevere wrath from the other, yet 
he like Iffachar bowes down under the burthen^ and loves refi ; he 
had rather go on in his fins, and will not leave them : And there- 
fore we alone are guilty of our own blond, God is innocent as 
well as ')u% our condemnation is but a due guerdon or paiment 
for our own voluntary departings from God. 

■ A thi^d moral Obfervation is this, thitlhepleafuresof Jinning Doft 2^ ' 
"mil cjfiiekly e-^dy and the end of them is extreme mifery. The Pro- The plcaiurcs 
digal here will be gone, hemufthaveple.ifu^e, his Fathers houfe of (in will 
Was tc^ (Irid ; well, he begins; his riotojjs living, but then you ^^'/^cly «nd »a 
read that he quickly confumed and wafted all his fubftance, and ^'^^"^X*" 

C brought 


The Riotous Frodigal^ or 

\ ■ 

brought himfelf into fuch extreme necelTi ties, that he became a 
' fervant to thefvvine, and fain would have fed his belly with the 
husks which they left, but none gave unto him. This poin 1 1 in- 
tend more fully to prefs, which contains in it two branches : 
I . That the fUafures of frmwg are htit (hort. 2. That thonglo de^ 
lights and fie apAres hegma finftillconrfe^ yn extreme 'rtecefjity a^d 
mifery or Jrnights doe fid it. 
The pleafurf s I • ^^^ fleaftives And delights of ftnn'mg are but fhort : The rio- 

cf fvn arc but touslifeof the Prodigal was a prefent confumption of hiseftate. 
fiiocc j[ie plepfure of fin is like a Candle, which in the very burning 

and lighting burns and confumes away. It is m Scripture com- 
pared to the crackjlng of thorns^ which is but a fpeedy blaze ; 
and to the Lighcning, which is but a glance and a flaih and 
away ; and to a feaion, the fleafttres of fin for a feafon^ Hcb.i i, 
which '\s> a very inch of time, a t« yJr, a little article of tim- ; 
for though time be long, yet a feafon v^ but a l>iortfpace. In 
Job the pleafure of (in is compared to a fweet morfel ; a morfel 
is no great quantity > and though it be fweet, yet it flips quickly 
away from the tongue and palate. And the Apottle compares it 
to'kbait wherewith a fifh is taken ; the filli looks on, and nib« 
bles a little, and takes it down, and then away goes the bait. 
Cam pleafed himfelf a while, but not long ; for the fin of mur* 
ther prefently purfued and cried againft him: And^^^;wbe^ 
fore him, had but onetafteof the forbidden tree, it quickly fet 
his teeth on edge: Gehasji's gold and garments, and ^ chad's 
wedge, as they were ftoln waters, and though fweet, yetfhort. 
So was it with ^W, he got Naboths vineyard finfully, but he 
fcarce ever enjoyed it ; he met with a mighty curfe from God 
prefently upon him. 

But here obferv^e, that the pleafures of fiivinay be faid to be 
fhort, I. In refpeilof efllmatton .- when the hearts of men judge 
ofthemasfalfe, unlavvfull, and fhort. Thus yl/oj>/ efteemed of 
them, and therefore refufed the jleafnres of fm^ which were but for- 
A feafon, 2. In refpeiil of duration : For if Life it fel f be not long, 
the pleafures of fin muft needs be fhort. It is true, that as long as 
the impeni ent foul hath a being, the guilt of his fin fhall have a 
being and confifterce in the foul , but at the utmofl- finful rlea- 
fures extend not beyond our I'fe, their date then of neceflity muft 
be expired, though'ufually they are extinguilTied or intern^pted 


In rflpsft of 

Jn rcfpfd of 

7he Sinners Aver [ion from God* , i r 


before, and life is a very fhort tale, hour, moment. 3. In com- in cQmpari»en 
^ar'i^onmth etemixy ; thougii a m.^n fl lould live in the pleafures wJibctciiu/. 
of I'm 20, ^o^ 60 years, yet what is thatfpace of time to an eter- 
nity of forrovvs and brtLcrnefs. Compare int longed time with 
eternity, it is fcarce a confiderable moment. But you may de- 
mand, Why lliould the pleafures of (in be fo Ihort ? SoL IS^y Rtafons of U, 
you might rather demand. Why theyiliouid be at all ? for in- 
deed real pleafure cannot arife out of finful ads, yet a carnal and 
fenfual pkafure there is, which is neverthelefs fliort ; Becaufe 
tjf; :i. Sin is never fo fle^fant^ hut it breeds that which u Sin is never fo 
4p!fleafaKt ; nay the more pleafure we find in it , the more P^««^ant t ut ic 
difpleafure it works ; like a draught of beer, which the more ^?.^*l*.^^^^ 
fully and pleafantly drops down, the more danger is added to the ^cafanu""" 
patient ; So is it with fin, it feems a delightful thing to you to 
follow your lufts, your evil waies ; but the more you fin, the more 
you increafe your guilt ; and guilt is but a fword to ait the throat 
of your finful pleafures ; It is like fvveet poifon,vvhich goes down 
eafily and delightfully, but it will fuddenly difturb and crack the 

2. God hath curfedthe r^ies of fm ; and therefore though they God hatb cur- 
feem pleafant for a while, yet that fhall not be long, he hath hed- fed the ways of 
ged it with thorns, threamed all evil, miferable and judicial evil ^*"' 
againlt it. And look as when a good man earneftly prefles God 

upon his promifes, his forrowes fhall not ftay lon'g, but fighs and 
tears fhall flie away : Sovvhen a wicked man provoketh God by 
his finnings,his pleafures fhall be fhort, for the Lord will perform 
his threatnings againft him. 

3. The f leaf ares of fin mufl nCceffarily be jhort^ becaufe confcl- Confcience 
ence cannot be long cjuiet : If you fhould wound and Wound a man, cannot be ionj 
he will begin to feel, and to complain ; even your pleafant fin- ^^^^^" 
nirgs are the mcH grie\^ous woundings of confcience, and confci- 

^ence will not bear, it will awake with blood trickling, and will be 
revenged of you with moft bitter expoftulations, fevere accufati- 
ons, unfufferable gnawings , and then where are the pleafures of 
your fins ? who can fland before envy ? faid Solomon ; f o againfl 
confcience, the wounds thereof, yea and her woundings by it^ycho 
can bear ? thy delights will fink and flie off, yea thy heart will 
fail thee utterly, when confcience arifeth to accufe and condemn 
thy finful plealures. 

' C a ^Xhey 

12 The Riotous Frodigaly or 

Thfv raiit up 4. ^ ^9' ^^^fi f^p mamfold affliciio/is and calamities which jhorten 
manifold &fEi- onr fleafures and delights, 

ciions. But 1 proceed to tiie opening of the. fecond branch, viz,, the 

S'm will end in endings of fn. That though a fmful couiTe may begin in many 
many miCerics- pleaiiires, yet it fhall end m many mij'eries^extremities^and ftraits. 
There are diverie forts of ending of things : fome end by way of 
annihilation^ as the fouls of the bealts, they jliali ceafe to bejthey 
arerefolved inio.nothing ;. fome end by w^y of perfeHio^y as the 
fouls and waies of holy men, Glory and Salvation is their end j 
. fome end by way of corruption , as when the -beauty of a thing is 
marred, or a goodly body is turned, and ends in a loathfcme car- 
leafs, or fweet Wine turns to fharp Vineger. After this manner 
doth fin end,or a finful courfeend ; as it was with the day in which 
Sodom was deftroied,it began with the pleafard light of the Sm^hut 
it ended in fire And hrimjlone : Thus was it with thofefinnerSjtheir 
delightful flames of luft ended in horrid flames of Vergeance. 
Ths^re are two forts of forrow and trouble : one Penitential , and 
the other Judicial^ one of thefe fin mufl end in. ^chans wedge 
pie ^ fed his eie, but it loft his life. dAhahs defire was fatisfied to 
^Q,t Naboths yineyardy but his blood paid for it m the portion of 
Jez,reel, Gehaz>i obteined the garments and talents^ and at the 
end a Leprojie to his dying day. Judas gets favour with the chief 
Priefts, and money io betray his Mafter, but he got horrour of 
confcience, final defpair and damnation for his treachery. The 
Prov.7 ,17' yomg man in the Proverbs is inticed with the filthy flattery of the 
whore, her led wa^ perfumed with Myrrhe^ but her houfe is the 
J 7* way to hejl^ going down to the chambers of death ; thofe chambers 
of delight prove chambers of dea -h. 

But to open ihis in fome particulars t- 

Quefi. I. To what extreme m'feries and ftrei ts may fin bring 

Miferics of bo- the finner? Sol. i . To thofe of Body; fin m.^y be rottemefs of his 

dy. bones ^ and may infe6l him with ^he mod: nafty, irking, painful dif- 

eafes, that he fliall h n^e no reft in his fleili : it may fo poifai his 

marrow, inflam.e his fpirits, corrupt his humors, that many time? 

the body, which was the inftrument of fin, proves to be the great 

q: g^jj^^ torment of the finner. 2. To thofe of Eflate ; finning may eat 

out a goodly eftate, as the wo-m which is gnawing at the root of 

a tree, difrobe> it^ d'sflouriflies it, pines and flirivels it : though 

a man haih quickparts, ample dealings, yet if he has fecret waies 

The Sinners Aver fi on from God. j ^ 

of finning, his fms will bL:it mm , th^y will be as the Moth which 
eats out the garmmt , or as the cankwi lo .he brafs or iron. How 
many by fuch & fuch finnings are quickly Itripc, laid low, brought 
to a morlel of bread , and are doathed in rags , as the Prodigal 
here in the tex waited himfelf out of all. 3, To thofe of Namc^ Of name, 
which is one of thvi three precious and tender"things ; viz,, a m.ms 
Eyey a mans Conscience , and a mans Name, This is a precious F^/mx, 
ointment, a mans life is as his name is, yet finning calls a flie in- ^^^"' 
to ihat ointment, a blur upon that copie, it procures reproach '" ^V 
and lliime, anhifling, a Proverb, a by-word, an.odious name, a 
n«amethat lliall perilh. 4. To thofe oiCoKJclence^ whxh are Ofconfcicocc. 
ftreits indeed, fo that a man is almofl dillradled, knows not which 
way to turn himfelf ei cher to God or man, day nor night, is weary 
of life, and yet afraid to die ; he fears God, he fears man, he fears 
himfelf,he fears the lliadows of things. 5. To thole of the Ima- o • the im3|i- 
glmng a-^dthlnklng^artofman ; a mms heart fhall do nothing ''^,^1 snd thin- 
but meditate terr our, apprehend guilt; fee the form? of bitter '''*'^» P*" °^ 
iinningS'ind the Idea's of in [inite vvrath kindling from God aga'nfi "' ■ 
him, fo that he fliall be (iill amazed at the reprcfentation of his 
former finnings, or at the expectation of future fudgments. 6. To of the sffed- 
thofe of the ajjeBlng fart ; all his arfe6tions Hiall rife up as a tu- jag pare, 
mult within him ; burthens of cruel fear, tremblings of a fainting 
grief, and thick throws of hopelefs defpair. 

Quefi, 2. But why is it that fins, or finful courfes, end in fuch Rgif^nj Qf • 1 
extreme miferies and (treits ? Sol. Reafons thereof are many : * ' 

1. Becaufe though the beginning if fin be from a deceived hearty yet The ending- of 
the endlngoffin Is, from a jufi God. The corrupt heart begins fin, (^" *^ ^^^^ * 
deluded thereto by finful pleafure, but GjSd puts a period to the ^'^^^°^' 

fin in full judgment, in wrath and trlbttlmloh upon every foul that 

does evil. What we conceive about fin is oiJrtBing, and what God 

will do to the finner is another thing ; we m ike \\. Aveet, but God 

will make it bitter at the latter end ; The intentional way of theft 

is with delight, but the judicial end of theft is 6.ii\}[\ ; fo P^*^^- '•^p''»*«. 

is it in all Ymnings , the intention of the finner is to pleafe ^-^P^rantis. 

his own corrupt heirt, but the judicial end of it (vvhich 

belon^^s to God, he being the righteous Judg offended ) is mifery. 

2. The true effe^ls of (In mtifl be made manlfell. Men would not "^^^ "^"^ "^ ^^ 
onely queftion the Righteoufnefs of God, but the unlawfulnefs of ^^ j" manifcft 
fin, if finning lliould end peaceably. Well, might they fay with 

\ him> 


I A The Riotcus rrodtgdl, or 

him, I ^^"vs cUa^fed mj heart in vn'm-^ if fin (liould end in peac^i 
and bleiiing ; but God by ihis doktull Cataftrophe of fin doth 
convince man, that Tin deceives them while it precends fo much 
pleaCure, delight, contentment, and at length repays them vvicb 
To put a dii ili^im^^^lofs, horrouranddefpair. 3. Hereby men jho id d learn 
fercncc be- ^^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^ diferer.ce tw'ixt them who fear God, and Inch 04 fear 

thac tcai God ^'^ ^^^^- ^^^ mdeed, m th:s,3mong m.-iny otner things, do godly 
and that tar vvays and the ungodly dife : The Godly begin oft times in ibf' 
him not. ro'.v, in trouble, but the end of them is peace at the iafl ; we fee 
and meet with the worft of our jcurney at the firjft, as the Ifraelites 
did with the Wildernefs and Sea, but they came to Canaan at 
length; but the Ungodly ways yield their belt at firft, their var^ 
nity, delights, like painted colours, fall off, and their worft \s 
hidden, and appears at laft : Alas, thou doeft not imagine that 
hell which thy finnings are kindlings, or that fword which it is un- 
fiieathing, or that death which it is breeding, or that horrour 
which it is m.iing within ihee againftthee; thefe are now hid 
from thy eyes, but yet they are the end of thy finnings. 
^.r I now come to the applicadon of this point. Is the entrance of 

-^ * fm pleafant, andis that pleafure but fhort, and ends thatpleafure 

in milerable extremity, then i. for 
_ . ." 1, Information:, Wemay hence be informed, 7 hat all things 

All° things' "re '^^^ ^'^^ ^^^^^ andfafe^ which yet are^leafant, 7 he ways of a man 
not fafe v^hich /^^^ ^^^^^ In his ovoneyes^ {vASohmony and the motives of fin 
yet are plea- feem pleafant to our corrupt hearts ; yet finfull ways are falfe, 
f«nr. and finfull pleafures are nought and l^iort. The firft demand of 

any in point of opinion fhould be, how true ^ not how plaufible ; 
and of affection oradlion, Qiouldbe, Howgood^ and the next, 
how pleafant ; not firft how delightfull, but firft how lawfull. 
We may not do about our moral adls, as we do in our civil, ask 
Gen. 3. 6. what fine Stuffs, but firft, what good. The Apple, the forbid- 
den Apple, which if tafted had death in it, ^^SiS yet goodly to 
to look on, It was fleafant to the eyes. And the Wine of which 
PiO. 13 .3 1) 3 i Solomon fpeaks, though it bit like a Serpenty and flung hhj an Ad- 
der ^ yet It looked red^ and gave Its colour in the cup. As all fins 
have after their commiiTion fomething to back them, fo they 
have before their commiflion fomething to enter them : After 
our finning, there are cox^rupt defences and reafonings ; and be- 
fore our finnings, there are corrupt pleafures and delights : As in 


7he Sinners Aversion from God. . i j 

the fevving of a Garment, there is a Needle to make way, and 
then a Thred to keep faft ; fo it is in the conftitution of a'finfuH 

courfe, there is pkafure to make way for the fin, and then there 
is love and defence which keeps iT^^ the fin. Therefore we murt 
in this be informed, noc to entertain any thing becaufeitdoih 
plenfc and deh'ght us, for ufually that is fmfuJl vvh^ich at ^xH is de- 
li ghtful I ; itisnothowitpleafethme, but how it plealeth God : 
The foul of man naturally is very corrupr, and as it is with fome 
itomacks which are foul, the worftdiet is moft delightfuU, fo it 
is with our fouls being evil, therefore that \\hich is ^-^iX fuits befls 
with them and pleafeth them moft. \ kvifures of any thing muft 
be judged by i. -^ Word of truth ; for if they be not good, as 
welh^ pleafant, th ey are fins fa6lors ; md 2, hy the refpo^def7cj^ , ' 

they have to a KattirCj not as corrupt, but as renewed, 

2." That pn is not onelj had^ b:it plh'ick^ ; not onely unlaw ftillj jj,^ j^ ^^^ ^^^y 
but deceltf till, J^ it is with fome faces which have natural w;in- unUwfull, but 
kles, rhefe arc dawbed over with painted glofles ; or with fome dccdLfull. 
bodies which are crooked, thefe are bolflred out with fecret ihft- 
nings ; or as with rotten wares, thefe are glazed over with gaudy 
dyings : So i^ it with fin, in it felf a foul thing, a lo.ithfome 
and odious thing ( therefore in Scripture called an abomination^ 
a filthinefs^ a vi/e things a difeafe^ a rottennefs^ ^fore^ -pmrifjing 
fore^Uc.) yet it draws on the finner by pleafure and del ighr. 
Sin doth not move us nakedly as finfull, but cunningly as de- 
lightful! ; it doth not temot the young man to uncleannefs^ and 
tell him, th^t whoremof7gcrf and adn/terers God will jfidge '^ but 
fome^ let tu take onr fill of love ^ I have perfumed my ledy ^C, as 
the ftrumpet in the Proverbs ; It doth not tempt the perfon to 
drunkennefs, and tell him that no drunkard iliall inherit the 
Kingdome of God, and that there is a woe belonging unto him ; 
but it fhews him the rednefs and colour of the Wine, and fuggelts 
the fweetnefs thereof un:o him. So in fins of murther, it dorh 
not fhew that revenge which God threatens, but that acceptable 
revenoe and way of eafe wh^ch the finner deliehtfully thinks on. 
As Balak fent to Balaam the rewards of D'vination, and then 
defired him to cnrfe Ifrael : And that Afocalypical whore had 
in her hand a golden cup^ and within that the wine of fornication : 
So deals our fin with us when it tempts us, it doth hide rhe hook, 
and fliews the bait ; it conceals the obliquity, and reprefents the 

beauty 5, 


The Riotous Frcdt^d^ or 

All finnrts are 
extremely de- 

Gen. 3 7.25?. 

Sins, tho?i jh 

pleafanrj yet 
are certainly 

beauty ; it covers the mikry, ana fhevvs oneiy the pkafure, to 
draw and inlnare our fouls. 

7, 1 hat all jin'fiers are extremely mocked arA deluded. They 
may more fafely fay of their fins what J=fati fpake of J acob ; 7 hy 
name is rightly called Jacoh-^ for thefe two times thou haft: dceived 
or fti'i flamed me. So may finfuU men lay of their fins. Not hyico. 
or thrice, but always ye ftill mock and deceive me. I remem- 
ber, thatwhenjo/^;?/? J brethren hadcafthim into the pit, Repir- 
hen anon returns thither, hut finds him not ; he was newly there, 
but he was quickly tdken thence, and he faid, ^i he child ur.ot^ 
find i, whither f all I go ? So may a mm fay of the pleafure of 
his fin. Even now they were, but now they are not : And inlkad 
of that pleafure, he may now be wringing of his handjs, and cry 
out ; ^The pleafure is gone and is not, the fin remains and here 
^ (ticks ; the draught* is gone, but the poifon is not gone ; the 
'delight is gone, but' the guilt is prefent ; the delight is fallen 

* off,- but the grief is prefent : And I, now I, whether iliall I 

• go ? Confcience galls me, fears crufh me, God abhors me, 
' ihe world doth not help, friends cannot eafe me ; what I feel 
'is bitter, and what 1 fear is worfe ; Ah nry- fins, you faid I 
' fhould have pleafures ftill, you faid that I fhould not fee mife- 
' ry, you faid that God would be eafiiy mercifull, you faid thefe 
'were nothing, you faid that to morrow fhould be as to day, 
' and much more abundantly : Ah that ever I truffed you, belie- 
' ved you, yielded unto you ; you have deceived me ; by a little 
' pleafure I am now brought into, and left in the midfi of all 
'mifery: Ah, you fins which were once fopleafanc, can you 
'not deliver me ? can you not comfort me ? do ye forfake me ? 
'is this your kindnefs? is this your delightfulnefs ? where is 
' it ? I am bereaved of your pleafures, and by you, you alone, 
' am I now funk into the moft foul-cutting and anguifhing di- 
' ftreffes, 

4. That thoHgh fins he temporally fleafant^ yet they are cer- 
tainly dangerous : They end miferably, though they begin fweet- 
ly ; like a River which begins in a quiet Spring, but ends in a tu- 
multuous Sea. There are thefe dangers in the pleafures of Sin ; 
I. They are /?pr ft? ^r/?7v and entice us, 2. to hew itch and en- 
tangle us. 3 . to enlarge the fpirit of rrayifgreffion within. 4. to 
hinder all true -pleafures:, 5. to fear up the ear and confcience <i- 
gainfl all holy connfel and remedy^ But 

The Sinners Averfion from God, ij 

But I pafs to a fecond life, which fliall be oiCamionj to take Vfe 2, 
heed of being deluded any longer with the pleafures offin: me Caucion. 
thinks Eilphaz. (pake punduall y, and to the purpofe ; Let mt him '^^^ ^"^ °^ 
thtit is deceived truft \^ any more) in vanity^ forzamtyfhallhehls ^^^^^ ^^"^^^^^ 
recommence. Though fin be a while pleafant, yet hearken not unto ^^xtsoi^ln^' 
it, futter not thy fclf to be deceived by it : wine is a mocker^ and job i y.g 1/ 
fireng drinks is raging^ and whofoever i^ deceived thereby u not Prov.ioi. 
»•//<?. The like he fpeaks of the unclean woman, whofeheart ^^^^'7''^^' :;.• 
isfnares and net s^ ( Hill drelfing them to catch the bird ) and her 
hands are bands. The fame may be Did of any fins whatfoever. 
But now tO' move and quicken your hearts to take heed of fin- 
ning, though mixtwith ple^fures and delights •, Confider thefe 
motives. ^ _ Motives. 

1, what thing that is wherein thou doefl takefleafure ? Why ! W^hat :$ that 
what is it, O man, that hath enticed thee? and what is it, O wherein thoi 
man, which in thee is fo enticed ? It is /» that hath enticed <lo«ft cake plct- 
thee,and it is thy foul which is thus enticed by fin. Sin eiTticeth *' 

thee, then which no evil is worfe; thy foul is enticed, then which 
no part in thee is fo precious. And wilt thou adventure that pre- 
cious foul, that immortal foul, which muft live forever, wilt 
thou adventure it for a fin, for one draught of finfull pleafure ? 
Wouldeii thou adventure all thy earthly eilate for one draught of 
Beer, ( as Efau did his for one mef of pottage > ) Thou Wouldefi: 
not; Yet wilt thou adventure the eternal being of thy foul f6r 
one minutes pleafr.re of fin. Though thy fins be pleafant in thine 
eyes, yet they are odious in Gods fight, though thy fins do de- 
light thee, yet they do grieve him, they do incenfe and provoke 
him : -Hall thou nothing to take pleafure in, but that which pro- 
vokes thy God, and will damn thy f o 1 1 

2. 7 ho ft mayefi enjoy thy fleafures without fin. Haft thou not Th'-u may? ft 

a Wife to delight thee, an Husband, Children, many outward J")°y'^yp^^*" 
comforts, not a God, not a Promife, not a Chrift, that thou J>J" without 
longeft onely for forbidden frui t ? 

^. Is fna thing to taf^e pleafure in ? didit not (he d the blond of Is fin a tbing to 
Chrift ? doth it not break a righteous Law ? tranfgrefs an holy "k^pUafarc 
Will ? grieve the Spirit of God ? caft the clouds of threatning? *"" 
over our heads ? bring down all our Judgements on body ? kin- 
dle our terrours in Confcience ? heap up all our wrath againft 
the day of wrath ? is this the thing of thy pleafure ? call you 

b tms 

1 8 The Riotous Trodigal^ or 

this z delight ! If one iliould fay unto thee, Be drunk, ' Gc^mic 
filthinefs, and within an hour af.er, thy vvhok body i^iali be 
roafted in a fire, or ihy skin iliall ht flead off thee, or every bone 
in thy body fliould be diifin6lly broken in pieces, wouldi'i: thou 
now fin } And what arc thefe punilliments to fins themlelves ? 
and what are thefe puniiLments to thofe of Confcience, or to that 
of Hell? 
God can eafily 4. God can eafily fhortenthy fleafures offin^ ahd he hath many 
(horccn thy -iipales to do it, Firfi, Is not his fford of mighty power ? 'fe it not 
picarurcs of li, ^ difcerner of the thoughts and intentions of the heart ? can it not 
divide twixt the marrow and the joint ? Is it not a light, and a 
foe? Is it not thefword of God, a two-edged fword, able to 
pierce, and that vyith quicknef?, and that with jharpnefs ? Or, Se-^ 
condly^ if yet thou be able to maintein thy fins,and by the flrenc^th 
of fenfual pleafures to beatolF the purefi convictions, and revela- - 
tions, and purfuits of the Word , cannot the Sfirlt of God drive 
home the Hiarp difpleafureof God ? cannot he breakthrough the 
midfl of all thy refolutions and delights , -and fo enter into thy 
confcience ? can he not in a moment awaken that drouzie con-' 
fcience? can he not inliven that feared coilfcience? can he not in- 
join it to ff.mdup and a6l its accufing power, when he hath irre- 
lifiably inlightned it, and fet the great fins of thy delight before 
thee ? and when confcience h deeply wounded, where then arc 
- all thy ple^fures ? O, it will be as bitter then unto thee as hell : 
the wrath of God fel:, and the guilt of fm felt, and the terrors of- 
Confcience felt, O how will they drown ihy ple-ifures, fink thy 
fpirits, and ( if God be not mt more merciful ) confound thy 
foul 1 Yet this God can do, and he can eafily do i\.\ if he faith but 
the word, Mv wraih be upon h*m, Confc^irce arife and acciiie 
him, it is done, and then where are thy d \ \^p. ts ? Thofe fins of 
thine, unto which thou haft been enticed by a littlefalfeplea- 
fures, even they alone fh^ll rife up, and be the fufficient puniili- 
ment for all their pleafures. Or, Thirdly^ Uq can ili or ten thy 
pleafures by many Judgements ; he can lay 'inch a difeafe 
Hpon thy body, or fuch a lofs on thy eftate, or fuch a rottennefs 
©n thy name, or fuch a vexation upon thy i]^irit, or fuch amad- 
, nefs in tfiy mind, or fuch a crofs in thy delight, that thou fbalt 

find no more ple.^fure !n any fhing. Or, Fotmhly^ Can he not 
fend forth the Kingof Fears^ thatvvhich thou leaft thinkefl of, 


I'he Sinners Aver fun from God. ^ jg 

and which will make thy joynts to trv^mble, Death it [elf upoa 
thee ? Haih not He the Kc) s of Life and Death ; and when life 
is gone, where then are the ^eaiures of thy iin ? Sin makes way 
for death, and death to a wicked man, though it makes not an 
end of his (inning, yet it makes a full end of the pleafures of fin- ' 
ning ; then llialt never rejoyce in the way of thy wickednefs 
more, thou llialt never talk delight more, neither lawful! delight, .^ 
nor unlawfull delight. And cannot God do this fuddenly ? and 
art thou able to vyitWhnd him ? art thou greater then he? 

^. 1 hy f leaf ures of fin will end m bitter nef^. Read the Scrip- Thyplcafes 
ture, fee whether it be not lb, and I befe^ch thee tell me, haii ?^^? ^^^^ *"^ 
thou not found it fo already? canjft thou not fay-- That thy fin ^*"""^'^- 
hath been an evil things ami hitter ? Canli thou not fay, what 
fruit have I in thofe things whereof I am now a^amed f Two 
things remember, There is a. certainty of hitter nefi for former 
(innings, Eccl, ii.p. Kejojce O yomgman in thy youth ^ and 
let thj heart chear thee in the dap of thy youth^ and walk^ in the 
ways of thy hearty and in the fght of thine eyes ; ' htit kpowthoHy 
thatfsr all thefe things God will hring thee into judgment, 2, Thou 
knoweft not the manner of that hitter nep. The finning, that is thy 
work ; but the puniiliing of thy fins, that is Gods work : thou 
halt taken the 'pleafures which fin delivered unto thee, and thou 
muft now take the bitternefs which God' will infli6t on the^e. 
And canl^ thou tell . i . vi^en the Lord willbegin to account with ^^^ Tuddcn. 
thee, either to night, or to morrow ? thou art not fecure a mo- 
ment. Secondly, How the Lord will begin with thee, whether Haw great, 
in thv body, or in thy foul, or in both, in confcience, or eftate ? 
Th'Ydly, How far the Lord will extend the cup unto thee ; per- How cndlcfs, 
haps it flyat4 be in thy hind a cup of fury; -and trem'^ling, and 
am^t^.ir^; hofrcuf, and whether he will hc'l^>e thee to drink to the 
loweft dregs of his wrath, howknowelithou ? This bitternefs , 
afrer rhy pleafure^ maybe purely Judicial, which fhall not be tem- 
pered With anycomfo^'lfnctfyteat-all with the hope of any.mer-^ 
cy^^ it^may K^ -aff endT^^' difple'^Tiire^^m God. ^ • ' • 

O^^^r?. Ye^^-j^^biit vve in'eaff\b"re^eht hereafter, and fo we will 
prevent all' that bitternefs. • - v • :^ ■ 
r-" Sol, i; You cannot repent at pleafure, though you fin at plea-^ 
flif e' 5 nay, the more ple;ifant thy^ fins are, the more they do dif- 
M)le thee to repent ; for they by thy delights do hold thy affecli- 
I? D 2 ons 

2Q The Riotous Prodigal^ or 

ons more hrm, and increafe ihy finfull a6ts more otcen ; and 
both of thefe do crofs repentance. 

2. But fuppofe thou fliouldeft jepent, yet muft thy fins be 
bitter unto thee ; though thou mayeft believe with joy, yet thou 
muft repent with forrow : Repentance is a mourning weed, a 
fad lamentation, a reformation with tears. 

q. And believe me, thy penitential work will be the more 
fowr,by how much the more iweet thy finnings have been.InPhy- 
Tick ( if I miftake not ) they hold, that Dnlcla cite venmttv/in 
hllemy the fweet meats are moft eafily turned into bitter choler ; 
fo iTialt thou find experimentally, thy fwee.eft lins to prove, 
(even if thou doeft repent ) thy lliarpeft burthens and griefs. 
Davids adultery coft him more tears, then any fin of his that we 
read of. 
Vfs J. A third Ufe lliall be of VlreBlan : If any man of us hath been 

Ditcction. «nticed, that we have taken the fweet bait, that fia hath infna- 
red us by its pleafures, my advice is. Let h^m vomit up the mor- 
fels again, and -no more to embrace the fin for the pleafure, but 
to abhor the pleafure for the fins fake. The rules which I would 
prefcribe, are thefe, 
PrefentlYim- i. Frefently to imhltter thofe finfull fie ^ fares : Do you youT' 

^'^ii'V^'r^^ ^"' ^^^^ begin the work, defer it not to God ; if you begin it in ape- 
piwiurcs. j^-^^j-j^-^i yyay^ God will fpare you m a judicial way. Judge your 

fehesj and ye fhall riot he judged of tlye Lord. See and confider 
what thou haft done ; True, I have had the pleafure, but by fin- 
ning God hath had the diilionour, much diilionour, great dif- 
honour, frequent diiTionour. Oh grieve for this, that thoit 
:fiiouldtft ever del'ght in that which grieves thy God ; that fin 
Should be pleafant to thee, which is fo diil^ionourable unto him : 
AfHi6l thy fr^ul, and do this prefently, take down thy fins the fe- 
cond time with bitter herbs, which at the firft thai fwallow- 
edft down with fweet delights ; or rather caft- them out with 
hearty forrow, which thou didft haftily take in with vain pleafure. 
2. Tor time to comey let two.thoughts lodge htween thine eyes^ 
Think ot the ^-^^ ^ Vormsr fins have he^n hitter thenghf leaf am \ 2 FutHre 
i ^me" fins' ^^"^^ ^^ ^^^^ ^^'^^^ f^ fie a f ant -^ will prove more hitter, O let thefe 
andtha^ future be engraven in thy foul, never believe thy thoughts, thy hopes, 
fins will be thy confidences, nor Satan any more, nor thy own falfe heart ; 
morejiuer. ^^ vvas pleafant heretofore^ but it ended bitterly ; if thou any 


The Sinners Averfion from God, 2 1 

more hearken unto it, it will be 1>j1s plealanc, aud much more - 

terribly bitter ; the fecond iuneits of fm do either breed more 
ft up ef miction, or more confufion in the conlcience. 

■^, Study to find and tajh that fleafure which arlfeth from an 
entire communion with God^ and a converfation which t^ upright, ^^'■'^y to find 
Talk whac ihou wilr, the foul wiH have lome pleafure or oth;ir ; V'^ ^*^'^^ P'^*" 
if it picchcth not on God, tor it, it will ftray afidj to hn for it. ^^^^^j^^^ ^-^^^ 
Now then itrive to take pleafure in the Lord, and in his work, Go j. 
and in his w.w, 'i^'d in his Graces, and in his Chrift : This ilialt 
thou find of ipiritual pleafure ^ Spirit uarplcai* 

,1. It i^ more f wen a thonfand times then that of fm : One glafs 'urcs are 
cf Spring-wa.er is more fvyeet then a Caldron of Sea-water ; m^^c fwcct; 
thoueh the Sea be larger, it is fouler and mixt. 2. his more 
lafitng and durable : Ah, thou needeif not to repent of it ; it is More lading, 
a Spring, and not a Puddle, and its foundation is conftrant ; 
never torfake thy mercies, for lying vanities. ^, h ts More afFcaing, 
more ajfefllng then the other : That of fin goss not beyond the. 
fenfe and arieilions-, but this of God enters into the confcience,. 
which is the feat of trueft comfort or faddelf mifery. 4. /f Will drown 
will drown your fnfnll fleafures : Oh, thou fhalt find fuch a real ourfinfuilplcar- 
value, fuch a furpafiing excellency, fuch a full contentment in ^^"^• 
the all-fufficient God, that, thou mayeft well fay as Ephraim, 
what have 1 to do any more with Idols ! So thou with the vain, 
piercing, falfe, fhort, pleafures of fin. Therefore fet thy heart 
not on fin, butholinefs ; though it may fall out, that at the be- 
^innin*' the ways of God and holinefs may feem bitter unto thee, 
yetk'iow, i. This bitternefs either is by reafon of thy former. ' 

plcaf.mt fins, or thy prefent finfuU nature: 2. That aifuredly 
thy delights in holinefs will bring thee at laft to that right hand 
where there are pleafures for evermore ; for as fin, though plea- 
fant in entrance, is bitter in conclufion, fo holinefs, though it 
fets forth with a llorm, fhall land fafely in a Calm. 

j4tjd when he had fpent all, there arofe amghtj famine in that Luke 15,14,. 

Land, a^d he began to he in want. 
And he went and ioyned himfeif to a Citiz.en of thM CoHntrey^ and j c,, 

htfent him into his fields to feeds [wine. 

The Pfodigal hath done with hi? £fiatej and dl thepkafures 

,22 The I^iotous Frodigdly ^r 

orit ; now we are to confider him boch in his fireights^ and in the 
itiinlediate ufc which he made of them. Touching ihe former, I 
j'hall fay little ; onely you may obferve, i. Thp occafion of it, a 
great famwe : ■:, Wis {tncc oiitj he hegm to he in i^ ant, Touch- 
' . - ing the latter, you m.iy obferve two things, i . His pnctice under 
his ikeights, Andhewentandjejn£dhlmf€lftoaCtt'iz.enofthat 
Countrej : 2, His fuccefs or reward,^W he fent htm Into the field 
tofeedfw'we. By the Citizen generally is expounded,the Divel; 
by the Countrey,the World ; by Swine, wicked Men. There are 
two Prcpofidons which I would hence obferve, viz., 

1 . ThM though fin hr/igs men into firaits^ jet firms do not aU 
rodys hnng men from pn, 

2. That the further m^n go on in pn^ the worfe work^they fihaU 
find it to frozje, 

1, JDofi. That though fin brings men into flraits^ yet ft:raits do not aU^ 

Though fin vpays bring men from fin. You fee here the prodignl is pincht with 
brings men in^ famine, and yet he comes not home to his Father, but goes on fur-t 
to ftrans, ytt ^j^^^. -^^ j^-^ ^^^j^ wdi'^s. For the opening of this Aflertion a little, 

always brin<^ Y^" ^^"^ diUinguilh betWixt, 

men from (in. I. VoUibilky-tm medium, tindlnMl'h'Vity^ut remedium, 
Diftinguirti b«- 2. Betwixt Reprefentation of finjand Reformation of fin. Straits 
twixc PoffibiU- ^^^ miferies are ordinarily the Looking-Glafles, wherein we may 
Vi\ks ^" ^ '^~ ^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^^ finnings, but they are not always the Phyfick- 
Keprcfentation Glaffes, wherein we find the cure of our fins ; they are more often 
of fin, anc Rt- an eye-fah^e,than an he?rt-falve ; they may be a cualm to bring 
formation of {^j-j to fence, when yet they are not a pocion to bring off the finner 
*^"' from wandring. 

Impediment to :^. Again, twixt imfedimtnt to fin, and twixt amendment of fin^ 
fin,and amend- Miferies and firaits may be a V>2VSi to ftop the Current, when 
mem of fin. ^^^ ^j^^y ^^^ ^^^ Hl^^ ^1^^' p^^pj^ets fait, etfe^ual to heal the wa- 
ters. A Lock may (top a Thief, but not alter him. When the 
the Prophet Eliah met Ahab with a iliarp meffage about Na- 
boths bload and Vineyard, it made h'm go foftly, it cooled 
his fpirit, but did not change it. M'teries more ordinarily ( for 
the prefent) make men lefs forward and b6ld,4h fin f^as Jupiter's 
Log did quaili the noife of the Frcgs). when yet they make them 
not fo good as to turn them from fin : They do (like a fhower of 
rain and hail)make the Traveller to fiand a while under the Tree, 
who yet intends to hol3 on his journey again. - 
- ^. 4. Again, 

7he Sinners Jvcrfion from God. - 23 

4. Kfmv.simxtDtclamation^Vii^iDecltKatton, A firmer under n-ri,.^-- s 
miiery may play uieOratour, and yet never prove tli^Pcniten- and Drclina^ 
tiary ; he may both indite and accufe the fm, which y^i by no li^n. 
means he intends to condemn and execute. It is one thing to 
confefs, thnt my fins do now hold mt in bonds of alHiclion, and 
thereupon to profels adilcharge of fuch inmates ; and iris anoher 
thing,re>illy to repent and .0 forfake ihofe fins, ye.i,the very thofe 
v\diich a man more then Uifpecls as pvitrons of his mifery. So that 
(iraits may bring fin to fight, andthefinner to a ihnd, and to a 
-Confefrion,yet not always to repentance and to converfion ; which j\^^ jj j^^p . 
is true, 

1 . Of tKivard fir^its ;tho(i manacling and fevere fettersr of con- of inwari. 
fcience, to which no diftrefies are comparable. The boylings of. ftraits. . 
conference may be but 1 ke the boylings of the Sea : a pcrfon 

m.iy have m^ny guilts fretting. there like a Leprofie, and gnawing 
there like deaih, and Aiming there like hell it felf, and yet not 
be brought off from fin. Ksjndas^ who betrayed his Mafier (O 
think of that fin ' ) and fell into quick horrours of confcience, and 
thefe cured him not, but he proceeded to defpair, and then to felf— 

2. Oi omward flrahs'^ which do never come without caufe,but q, ^.. ^- 
many times go off without remedy ; they may in all the forts of itfjits. ' 
them fay of: ^''mes, as they did of Babylo-n^ We would have healed 

Babylon^ and fhe would not he healed. They find us evil, and they 
leave us wo'-fe, as we do our friends upon their dying-beds ; Te 
re'volt more and iTiore^ why ^ould ye he [mitten any more ? Ifa. 
I. %. This is evident in Pharaoh^ whofe hardnings incre?fed ( like 
the iron) with the ttro.iks. Or. like the Sn ike which, 5/?/'z//^;?fp.ike, 
did milt iply by occifion. It was no better with Saul and Ahah., 
nor with that King Ahaz.^ who \> blackt and fingred out amongft 
all the Kings of Indah^ becaufe he fought not to the Lord in his dt- 
ftre(?^ hnt trefpajfed yet more againit the Lord •, This Is that Kwg 
uihaz.. 2 Chron. 2K. 21. Thus it was with the Ifraelites rrnny a 
time, who felt the fcourge, but m.ended not their vvo"k> but with 
bleeding fhoulders oft times went away to fin ; and no fooner 
were the Affizes pafi:, but they adventured the way to the prifon ' 

If you now demand ^he Reafons vvhy ftraits or mlferies do not Rnfcn? cf Ir> 
always bring men off fromfins ? I anllver, 


2 A The Riotous Prodigal^ or 

. I . Becaufe, that oneiy true Grace is it which brings men o^from 

grace brings /^«-^. Aftlidtions may bi confidcred tvvo ways, 6x\izzimmed^meiy 
men off from and folitarily, fo they are not forcible to bring any m.m o.t from 
•fin. his finfull courfe ; no punilliment whatfoever is aii immediate 

:Agent, and fufflcient to turn a {inner. Mediately and concomi- 
tantly as they are fan6lified, ( /.) either as they light upon an heart 
fan6tified, or as fanclitying Grace, with them, or by them is 
wrought in the foul, andfo they may bring off the heart from lin; 
not the naked afflictions, but grace in the heart afflicted, turns the 
heart ; for nothing turns the heart from nn ^ bu ^ that which is con- 
trary unto iin : now though miferies are contrary to the firmer^ 
yet not to the fe ; they are contrary to the finners eafeand way, 
hwl not to the affedion and delight of fin, which may, and ofc 
times doth live and remain even under extreme miferies. Now 
then, many men are in miferies by reafon of fin, yet they turn not 
from fin, becaufe they want true grace, by the llrength of which 
alone men come off from fin, for that it is which changcth the 
finfull heart. You know that Phyfick ordinarily works as the bo- 
dy is, into which it is received; there muftbefome ftreng.hof 
nature to help it, elfe it will not work ; the Philofophers rule be- 
ing true, Quicqmdrecipitur^ recipittir admodnmreciple^tu. The 
he^ which melts the wax, hardens the clay ; and the juice which 
goes into the Rofe mak:sitfweet, but that which goes into the 
Nettle makes it ftink ; fo it is with miferies, they work as he is on 
whom they fall ; if true grace be not in the heart, what good ufe 
can an evil heart_make of them ? 
Straits are fom- ^. Secondly, Becaufe fir aits a-zid miferies are fometimes meerly 
times meerly judicial^ onely theltrokes of revenging Juftice. You know, that 
judicial. there is a great deal of difference 'tvvixt a whio which caufeth 

fmart, and a plaifter which caufeth healing : All miferies which 
befall us are not hdahng plai/lers, fometimes they are judicial 
lailies, they are not the wounds of a friend, but of an enemy. 
God is faid in Joh^to difirihuteforrovps in wrath^^ud then they are 
not remedial effeds, butexitial; they come not then with their 
teaching and recovering afflfimcc, but are the beginnings of a 
greater judgment yet to come. You k^^ow that God plagued Pha- 
raoh in a judicial way,the miferies which befel him were as i^harp, 
and great,and many,and came as thick as moft that ever befel any 
man of whom we ever read ; ne\^erthelefs they vverefo far from 


The Sinners Jverfion from God, 2 5 

reclaiming of hii)i from his fins, that ft ill he hardned his heart, 
and exalted himfelf 5 If you ihould demand why it (hould be 
thus with him, that no, not quick, nor great, nor many plagues 
did him any good ? I anfvYer, One caufe, amongft many , is this, 
Becaufe they came onely m a judicial way ; they did not come 
out of the hand of a m,:rci'full Father, but of a provoked and re- 
vengin; Judge : If there be not grace in the he:irt tojoynwith, 
and to improve th^: affliction, and if there be not mercy to fend 
out and blefs the affliction, it will then never do us good, it will 
not turn us from our Sins. 

3. Thirdly, The Heart of a Sinner may he above his mlferles : rhe heart of a 
There is not fuch a po.ver in miferies alone, as to over-rule the finner iray be 
heart, or to mend it. As it was with Gallloy when the Jews did >bovc his mifc- 
beat Sofrhenes^ and kept a lUr, the Text faith. He cared not for ""• 
^ny of thofe things : ( I.) they made no prevailing impreflion 
on him, fo as to divert his purpofe : In like manner may it be 
with the miferies which perfonally befal a man, his heart ( not- 
withftanding ) may not regard them, neither may he lay things 
to he.irt, they may be thrown off, in refpecl: of any beneficial hvir , 
prelTion, as water from a rock ; as is evident in Pharaoh^ and in 
the Jews, fee I fa. 42. 25. He hath -pawrednfon htm the fury of 
his anger ^ and the ftrength of battel^ and It hath fet him on fire 
round about ^ yet he knew it not ; and It burned htm^ yet he laid It 
not to heart. Here was anger, and fury of anger, and poured out, 
and fo as. to fet him on fire, and to burn him, yet he laid it not to ' ■ ", 

heart. If you Hiould take drofs and corrupt fluff, and put it in- 
to the fire, you fhall never refine it, it is to no purpofe, the foun- 
der in fuch a cafe would melt but in vain, Jer, 6, 29. fo in thi.'? 
cafe : For the proper operation of all miferies is onely moral,and 
rather re ''refenta rive then effective (/.) they can of themfelves 
do nothing ; perhaps they may point a man to his fins, but his 
hear t may effecluaily refift that evidence of fin by the rod of God, 
as well as by the word of God. Look as it is with the Light of the 
Sun, though great and gentle, yet it never opened a blind mans 
eyes ; no'; yet the Lightning, which runs fwiftly in the time of 
Thunder : For that natural privation exceeds the flrength of fuch 
Agent<^. So it is with a finner, his heart may fo cleave to fin, 
that neither the Light of the Sun, I mean the blefled Word of 
God, nor yet the Lightnings and Thunders of affliftions may dl- 

E vorce 

z6 *Ihe Eiotons Frodigd^ or 

M«n batchoU- 
nefs more then ^ 

vorce him ; fo great may the power of. finfull love be, that i:,ot 
the kindeft mercies, nor the fliarpeii miferies ( alone ) ihail ever 
be able to melt him, cr turn him. The love of fin may increafe 
even an incorrigible and defperate perverfnefs in the Will ; fuch 
perverfnefs, that tlie afflicted fin-er (poifibly) may befo far 
from leaving his fins, that therefore he will cleave to his fins the 
more, and in a proud defpite will forfake God ; as that prophane 
perfon, This evil is of the Lordy vphy fhoMhe wAit for him any 
longer 7 2 Kin. 6. 33. 

4. Laftly, Miferies do not always bring men off from their fins, 
)ecaufe Men hate hollnefsand a godly llfeymore thcK miferies .- (if\ 
There is a greater contrariety twixt their finfuU natures and holi- 
Refs, then twixt them and miferies ; it is confefled, that mifery, m 
fome refpe6l, is contrary to nature, at leail to the peace and eafc 
cf nature ; yet mifery is not fo diitaftfuUy contrary to a wicked 
nature, as holinefs and godlinefs. Sin can live and rule wliihs the 
finner is under mifery, but it never can do fo when he is under 
grace. You know that a man never can turn from fin, but when 
he loves holinefs ; now holinefs is that which many a finfull heart,, 
like Patd before his converfion, perfecutes to the death. Why ! 
if fome finfull hearts will venure the lofs of heaven, rather then- 
they will be holy, will they not rather then endure the lofs of 
friends and eftate ? &c, and if they will adventure the pains of 
hell rather then they will come off unto an holy life, will they not 
rather endure fome temporal diiirelfes ? &c, and doth not this , 
/hew, that fome had rather be paiTive in mifery, then adive in 
holinefs ? 
Vfe I. Noyv I proceed to the ufefuU Applications of all this to our 

Information, felvcs : Whti^ iSoz Information, Do not firaits and miferies al- 
ways bring men otf from their fins ? then 
A n 8 ffl-i de J I . -^n fijflBed condition u no Infallible tefllmonyof a fafe condl^ 

condition no tlon. Some people are of an opinion, thatif God doth punilli 
infalliWe tcfti- i)^^^ jj^ ^j^jg Y^£^^ \^ croffes, lofles, fickneffes, penuries, &c, they 

sor^^cion* ' ^^^^ ^"^^ ^^^^^ portion of mifery already, and undoubtedly fhall 
befaved. To which I reply, i. Though as the 7/r^(f//Vfj came af 
length to Canaan through the Red Sea, and through the wilder- 
. nefs ; fo a perfon may after many afflictions and miferies come to 
heaven : Heaven can admit of a poor Laz>arus^ and of a diflref- 
ftd J oh J and of a purfued David, 2. Yet it is not always fo : 


•''■ I l-l' 

The Sinners Averfion from God. ' ^ 7 

A perfon may be under many miferies, and no^vithftand- 
ing them, he may never be happy : the meer prcf«jnce of mi- 
feries is of common providence, and not a diftinguiiliing [ri- 
viledge ; by what is before us, whether outward good, or outward 
evil, we can know neither love nor hatred ; but as it is with the 
Ships at fea, whether of the Kings Loyal fubje6ls, or of hoftile 
pirats, either of them are cxpofed to winds and ftorms, to leak* 
and rocks, andfands ; fo is it with good men and bad men, each 
of them are expofed to outward calamities, as each of diem are 
capable of outwjrd mercies; there maybe a change in their 
outward condition, when yet there is no change in their inward 
difpofitions. Joi? may hold faft hijs uprightnefs under all his mtfe- 
ries, and Pharaoh mzy retain his hardnefs under all his Judg- 
ments. And where the finful affe6lion and pra6liceis flill re- 
tained, he Oiall not be free, becaufe of hisprefent miferies, but 
for ever reje6led, becaufe of his continued iniquity. 

7 . That the ConjunUion twixt Sin and the finful [sttl is very The Conj^n- 
firong : Forasmuch as very great ftraits and miferies effedt no- <5ion betwixt 
thing many times. You fee here, that though the Prodigal had j?" «i^^ the 
fpent all, and a famine, yea, a great famine arofe over the Land ftr^p^/"' 
in which he was, yet he isfo far from returning and giving over 
his finful courfe, that he does not fomuch as think of it or mind 
it : afluredly, the Covenant of affedion is very firm, which 
cannot be untied with thQ faireft promifes, nor with thefeverelt 
indurances. When the Lord fhall come to a finner, meet him 
in his courfe and way, and becaufe of his contempts and rebelli- 
ons, dilbein his eliate and goods, and then lay an Attachment 
of fickrefs on his body, and more then this, indite him for his 
life by the fummons of death ; And yet neither the lofs of all 
the Mercies which once he had, nor the prefence of all the Evils 
which now he feels ; neither the poverty of his Tabic, nor the 
rags on his Back, nor fhivering in his Bones, nor anguifh in his 
Confcience, no, nor appearance of Death, nor yet the r^refenta- 
tions of Hell, do turn him from his finful affedions and courfes; 
j«dge,vvhether the tree be not tough,which no Wedge can cleave; 
andthedife-^febenotdeep, which no Potion can remove; and 
fin doth not fit clofe and ftrong to the heart, which no not ex- 
treme miferies can occafionally and effeilually difcharge and quic 
There are no penalties fo grievoufly and unfpeakablyafflidVmg 

£ > . and 

^8 '^he Riotous Prodigal^ or 

and miferable as thoCe in riell^ which caufe weeping and giialli- 
ing of teeth; andyetthefe, though high efi for inLcntion, and, 
endlefs for duration, never are able to turn the finning foul : fo 
madly and exceffively is the perfon enthralled , that the greitefi 
Calamities etfed^ually avail not to bring him off from the kali. 
ccurfeof Iniquities.. 
- .r 3. Not to wonder If fome nJ£^ make ordinary Revolts after or^- 

io'ne men Re- ^^'^^^7 mlferies : Some perfons may (like fome ftones which, 
vole after mi- yield a fvveat in change of weather) fomewhat refledl on them- 
ferics. felves, and relent, and confefs, and profefs what they will be and. 

do if God will takeoff his heavy hand. And may I not appeal 
to many of you this day, whofe hearts have been vifited vvidi. 
the plague, that tiius then it was with yoa,.&c. Yetwhcnthe. 
plague is off, and the fmart and fear gone, the . bitternefs of death. 
is paft, that health fucceeds the ficknefs, and plenty fucceeds the. 
want, aud rtrength fucceeds the we?.knefs, good Lord ! what are. 
they? how live they? what do they? what mind they? what 
affecl they ? what work they ? Do they leave their fins ? ah,as the. 
Pharifees made their prof elites twice as much more the children 
of the Devil then before , fo thefe men become more vile, more. 
profane, more carelefs, more rebellious againft the truth of God,, 
more earthly , fenfual then ever. Brethren y i£. as Solomon. 
f pake in another cafe , when thoti feefi a violent perverting of. 
£ccl. 5.8 judgment and jufti'ce In a Province^ marvel not at the matter : So, 

if thou feeft a man to pervert the judgments of xh^ Lord, to per- • 
vert his affli(5i:ing hand, to go on in his fins afier he is punifiied 
for his fins; Lfay, in this cafe do not much marvel at. 
the matter , for raiferies alone cannot make any faving im- 
prelfion, or fan6i:ified alterations. If men m ly holdfaft their fins 
even under their miferies (as a Thief miy fleal under the Gal- 
lows) what marvel then if they go on in their fins after their mi- 
feries? And what caufe have we to think, that any pious fem- 
blances and pretences fhould hold long, which did owe them- 
felves to fuch temporary caufes, as were never able to alter the 
finiiers heart, though they were in fome degree able to ftop the 
finning perfon? 
^^ - But I proceed to a fecond life, which fiiall be a little to refle6t. 

R ft • cfc upon ^^ ^^^ ^^^ hearts and wayes , and to enquire how it is vtith us, 
our o'frn bcwis. notwithftanding the miferies; and ftr^its that are upon us> a^ Solo^ 

The sinners Aver fton from God. . 29 

mon fpake concerning lin, Who can fay^ My heart is clean ? that 
I may ipcak. this day concerning punilhment of fin, Who can 
fay, Ihaveb^enfree? As it was in ^gyp-^ upon the departure 
of tiie Ifraelites, fo it hath been of late with moit of us, there 
is fcarce an h )ufe of us where at leaft one hath noc been dead. I 
may contidendy affirm, That either deadi in oppofition to Life, 
or death in oppofition to Livelihood, to fonie one kind or degree 
of outward comfort, hath within this year befallen mott of us th.it. 
are now here this day. Never theleis, I pray you tell me> Can 
you fhew your repentance yet, as you can relate your ftralts and 
raiferies ftill ? Have not we , the Minirters of God, faithfully 
and plainly told you of your fins ? have not your miferies and. 
ftr aits been clear Glaffes to reprefent. your fins? have not your. 
Confciences delivered up your fins, and faid as 'jonah^ I kpow ■ 
that for my fakj (fo they for our fake) this great Temfefl is upoft^ 
yoH^ Jon. 1.12. Were you not in great fears, in great griefs and 
troubles of mind ? need I fay, in great Proteftations and Por- 
pofes ? But now I dem.ind of you , , Have your great fl:rait;- 
brought you off. from your great fins ? did they not find thee in 
a finful way, and do they not nov leave thee walk'ng in that, 
path ? Ah ! and muft the Lord fay of you, They refufe to re- 
ceive infeu6tlon ? they turn not to him that f mite s^. yet have-. 

thev not ret timed to me ; they will k/^ow no (ham^ ? they are repro^ ,, 

V l^ r^. / \ r J .. J 1 ' r ' J- It wc continue: 

batefilver ; they are not refined nor forged ; their jcum is not de- ^^ ^^ ^^^^^ ^-^ ^ 

■parted; therefore Jhould they k [mitten any more ? they revolt. (^tic^^ 
more and more. Well, if it be thu? with thee, yet remember, 
I. Thh this continuance in fin (notwithftanding our miferies) Wemayfur- 
nK'^y give us jufi fufpicion to fear that our Car regions come not p^donv corrc- 
frommercyy becaufe they go off with impenitencj. You ^eed ^ onsccm; 
not afcend into heaven, to pry wherher your chattifements come ^°^^"'"" "^''^°' 
out of the land of Indulgence or of Vengeance: when they. 
come from a merciful hand, they are affilkd with fome recove- 
ring^ and curing blelfing. The Prophet faith, That the Lord did ^. 
not [mite his people as he [mote others : and in two refoedls he 
m.^nifefts the difference ; one of Proportion, He did debate with 
them in w?f<t/}/r^,ver. 8. Another of Operation,v.9. By this fhall the- 
inicjuities c/ Jacob he purged; and this is all the fruit to take arvy 
his fins. God never ftrikes in mercy, but he in fome meafure bet- 
ters thefiiiner. Look as every outward good>if it comes in mercy, . 


-3Q The Riotous ProM^alj fir 

it j:roves aftep untomore holinefs ; fo every outward mifery, if it 
Wc msy fear come m mercy ,it proves a liop, nay an abatement of more iinf ul- 
our hearts »re nefs. 2,We mdj juftlyfear that our hearts are kardfied^for the foft 
bardncd. j;ieart will tremble with Jofah^ at a corredtion in a threatmng,and 
much more will it melt and amend when it is in execution, as he 
in Jolf 34. 3 1 . i have horn chafiijemeayl will mt ojfendany more^ 
But when the heart can feel wrath , as well as hear of it ^ and re- 
ceive the Itroaks with ftoutnefs, and ftrike God by iinning, when 
God (irikes it by puniihing ; is it not hardned, unfenfible, I had 
almoltfaid, defperate ? And is an hardned condition, a good or 
We treble our fafe condition ? '^, T>o we not trehk our accounts unto God by not 
accounts CO coming ojffiomfifis which have brought on our mlferles ? Now we 
^^^* muft aniwer i. For the fins which brought down our correcti- 

ons : 2. For the continuing in thofe fins itill. 3. For doing this, 
being corre(5ied thus for our fins ; not onely thy fins , but Gods 
puniilments ( being thus abufed ) come into the account, the 
Vineyard was reckoned with for th^ pruning ^ as well as the W- 
, ^ therlng, 4. And UiWy^fVhat can we leok^forfrom Gody when for- 

lock for from ^^^ mlferles bring m not off from former fins? Chrifi faid, Sin no 
Godjwhenmi- more^ lea ft a worfe thing befall thee -, and will not a worfe judg- 
ferics do noc ment then attend us for worfe finnings? It is with divine puoilli- 
bring us off ^ ments,as with the melfengers of a difpleafed King, who in his name 
rem our ins- fi^jj^j^Qj^g yg ^q ^idd and become loial ; and if you defpife a few 
meffengers, they indeed may reLurn,but then more and greater are 
fent, perhaps not to parley, but todeflroy : If one punifliment 
brings not off from fin , it doth onely go back to fetch a greater^ 
and thou canii not tell but th^t the next meflenger may be death 
^- it felf , and then fomihing vvorfe then dearh . 

r ,^/^ 5 The 1 aft ufe which I will obfervefrom this point, is^ fincemi- 

Apply our feWs ^^^^^^ ^^ i^<^^ alwaies bring men oif from fins, therefore to afflj 
to fuch waits our f elves tofuch wales ^ and to 2^tt thofe things under our mlferie^ 
under our mi-^ which may bring Us ojffrom our fins. In the general,tWo things 4P 
f«ricsj as may available hereto : i . ^fanBlfied heart ; until the heart be fan- 
from our fins. ^^*^^^' ^^" itpoffibly br«ak off from fin ? 2. ^fancilfied ufe; 
In general. you mufi not be fenflefs, nor yet impatient, but under every hand 
A landificd of God feek for dire6tion and bleffing from God:Secondly,'in par-' 
fecarr. ^ ticular,! conjedlure thefe things mainly conduce : 1, Repentance^ 

A fanaified^ule y,y)^i^^ y^^ ^^^^y ^^^^ -j^^q • ^ ^^^^^ branches : i . Serious confide-*' 

RcpcTcaficc, " ^^^ion<^fth€prefent condition, andof theend of prefentaffli6H- 


7he Sinners Averfion from God. ^ i 

ens, 2. Solid humiliation. 3. Earnef^ praier. 4. Effedual re- 
formation 2. Love of Cody and more intire communion and de- ^^jy^ ^f q. ^ 
lightinhim,and mth him. Afflictions will drive you oltfrom 
God, unlcfs you love him.. Even a fmall ftroke is enough to mend 
and bring in a loving child. 3. F^ith to believe our pardon and p . 
acceptance. Nothing more avails with the foul to leave the courfe 
of fm^then when it can be ai lured if it comes back to God it ihali 
receive the pardon of fin. Therefore God generally propounds 
to his afBi6led people, an hope of mercy, as the great motive to 
bring them home from fin to himfelf by true repentance, Joe/^ 2, 
&c. All which are wrought by the Spirit of God in the ufe of the 
Word, and lli.all be given unto us, if under our miferies and (traits 
we do earneftly crie and pray unto the Lord. 

^tai he fe/jt him into hu fields to feed Svp'iKe ] You have heard "^ 
of the Prodigals defign under his mifery to relieve himfelf 3 he did 
not return to his father,but /j/V;^^ himfelf to a chiz^en of a far conn- 
try. Now yee are to hear of the fuccefs of this defign, how muchr 
it mended his poor and f-imifhed condition, W^. nothing at all; 
and that will appear in two particulars : Onzlnthehafejlftsfsofhis 
fervid. That cltlz,e»fe»t him Into his fields tofeedfrvme. Of all 
creatures the moft nafty and filthy, thefe muft heferve, and none 
butthefe : his whole fervice was to be bafe, and therefore he is 
fent into the fields to perform it; any houlliold-fervice and home- 
fervice ( though mean ) had been tolerable. Another, in the no- 
thlngnefs of his reward or wages ; he did the bcifett fervice , and 
without the leaft husk of paiment : for it follows in verf i6,7hm 
he fain would have filled his belly with the hnskj that thefivlrje did 
taty a-f^d Ko man gave ttnto him. If he had had any thing afforded, 
ei ther to have nour iilied, or to h ave procured nouriilimsntjthous^h 
it h.id been but mean,nay the meanell: ; but to have nothing at all, 
for the fordidelKervice of all ; yet this was the fruit of his finful 
^£;n, that he was fet upon a moil: b.^fe work, and without any 
profitorrelief at all; whence I conje6lure we may ohfervethis DoH:. 2., 
fecond conclufion, 7 hat the further men go on Infn^the worfi work^ The further 
they fha.ll find It to prove. You fee it a manifeft truth herein the [pc"soonin 
Prodigal, his fin drew down his penury ; notwithftanding this, he ^3j|[^[.^°[{^ 
proceeds to his fins, and now he is fent to the Swine, -&c. For the prove. ' 
better opening of this Aflfertion, premife with me feme ftvv parti- Here is prcmi?- 
ailars, H 

A Suppofition 
Wicked men 

The Riotous Trodigdlj or 

I Tim. 1. 17. 
Levic.i j.8. 

I Cor. 5.6. 

P: or, 1 3. 3 J. 

1. A fuffoftion^ VIZ. Ihat wickjdmen do tifeto goon w fin. 
They are laiu hi Scripture to proceed t'roin evu to vvorie> and to 

ufe'Vo'Eoon in ^^ drtink^me^ to thlrfiy and to fill nfthemeafmeof inlqmyy 
fin. and to k^^ow mfhame^ and to revo^t more ardmore^ and to grow 

worfe and worie, z'iim, 3. 13. therefore is lin in thtm compa- 
red to a Canker^ vvhxh frets frcm place to place, or eats up from 
p^rt to part ; inid to a fretting Lefrofie^ which dirfuieth it feif 
from a lefler to a I irger comprls ; and to a Plagne^ which by de- 
grees feizeth on all the fpiriis ; and to Leaven^ which fpreads over 
ail the h mp. And this is veriHed of them every way, whether 
they live in eafe, or live in mifery ; prof erity and eafe do but 
flelhthem the more, adverfity and puniilimentsdonottnrn them 
at all 5 fmiles or frowns, word or rod, mercy or mifery, neither 
of them do alter, but after both they yetputfonh, they will 
lanch further : As he in the ' roverbs concerning his Wine, fvhen 
I Jhall awaksy ^ '^^^^ fi^k. ^^ J^t <^g^'in^ that may be faid of evil 
men ; though they ha\e felt, many a fmart bl^w from God for 
iher finnings already, yet they will look back to this trade 
again, they will ft ill deal unjuftly : What David fpake in ano- 
ther Cc^fe, they will fully ad'l in this of Sin^ / will he yet more 

2. A Poll ion, which is this, 7 hough after fmifl:i(ient they 
will he yrogrejfive in fin^ yet they fhall never he fine cefif nil in fin : 
They may renew their work, but they fliall never amend their 

. wages ; they may fet up again, but they fhall break again ; if 

^et^r dialf ^^^^5 ^^^^^ ^^ S^^^^ '^ fhalcing, vyill build upon the fame founda- 
tion, they fhall find their future labours to end in the fame ruine : 
Nay, that's not all ; but as Jejh^^ah's curfe upon the man who 
fhould again build the City J mc^^, was, that He jhouldlaytht 
foundation thereof in his fir fi-horn ^ /ind in his jotingefi fon he 
fet up the gates of it^ J of. 6, 26. So will it prove to theperfon 
whofefinsGoddidftrivetodemolini, and overthrow by former 
punifliments, if he again will prefume to fet up the gates of 
them, recover them to their ftrength by future love, and further 
-progrefs ; he fhall befo far from being hereby more fuccefsfuJI, 
that his condition doth become more fearful! ; he doth lay his 
foundation again irl the ruine of his foul, and fhall build up. the 
gates with a greater curfe from God. Therefore you read of 
fixh who are entangled asain, That their latter end is worfe then 


A pofition. 

Tfloujh after 
men be pro 

yet cncy 
never be fuc 

The Sinners Averfion from Cod, 3 3 

their hgiming, 2 Pet. 2. 20. Men are entangled again, when 
(either by the vigour of conrcience,or fliarpnefs of afflid:ion,c^c.) 
they have made a paufe orftop; but, like the retrained River, 
which climbs over the Dam, fo they get over thefe, unto their 
courfe of fmniflg again : Now faiih the Apoftle, thefe men fiiall 
never better their eiiates, nay, they make them the worfe ; the 
latter end of them, or with them, is worfe then the beginning. 

Thirdly, know, That by progrefs in fm, after punifhment, projrefe in Gn 
the eftate is worfe, Tormally ^'judicially ^Eventually, i. For- 'aitVi%\)xtt- 
mMlyworf€: For, if fin be it which makes tiie eftate bad, then p*/* *^°'^''** 
more finning mult needs be that which makes the elhte worfe ; ^^^^ ^' 
as on the contrary, the additional? and incrementals of Grace, 
( /.) when a man doth add one degree of grace to another, and 
rifeth in a better, and a ftronger, and fuller a6ling of grace, 
hereby the moral perfe6^ion of his foul is much more bettered 
and perfe6kd ; fo when the habits of fin admit of more love of 
fin, more exercife of fin, that a man doth go on from one fin to 
another, by way of addition, or in the frequent praclife of the 
fcime fins, by way of iteration, he cannot but make his finfull na- 
ture much more finfull, more filthy, and more vile ; as, when a 
man doth twine one thread upon another, or one cord upon ano- 
ther, he adds a greater firength unto it ; fo, when a man fh. ill 
rovvl and file one fin upon another, &f. by further progrefs in 
(Tn, 'the very pollutions are more fpread, and more eftaBlifhed, 
and n|ere enlarged, by it a man is always more under the pollu- 
tion i fin, and more under the dominion of fin, as the Profelytes 
were made ten times more the children of the Devil. 

2. Judicially worfe '^ which appears in two particulars, viz,, J^^'^'}?^^^'.r., 

1. In a Dereliaim on Gods part; he doth more fadly leave fuch ^"*^*"^i*^^* 

r 1 • -^ -in J -^ -i rr o- on on Gods 

a loul, give It up to its ownluits, and its own vile aftections, pj„^ 

and unto Satan, to rule m'ghdiy and efficacioufly in fuch a child 

of difobedience, who loves to adv^enture in a known vvay of curfe 

and mifery5fo that the Lord may withdraw himfelf,and defert that 

progrefllvely finning foul, and not aid and alTift it in cafe of molt 

horrible lults, or of moft hideous temptatiotis. 2. In Condent- la Conkmni- 

'/lation on Consciences part : For the progrefs in finning^, as at any "^-'^ o" C'^"" 

time,fo after the time of punifhment for fin, will make and raife a ^^^^""^ P*"- 

louder cry, and a fiercer fentence from the confcience. A man 

who will not re pent for the lafhes on his back, Ihall by his conti- 

F nuance 


The RUtOf^ Trodigal^ or 






Sin is 3 barren 

and unprojpc- 

nuance in fin, quickly feel thelafhes of Scorpions in his foul » 
as more guilt doth ariie from finfull pradiccs, fo more horrour 
doth enfue upon more guilt ; more: guilt is but like a great itorm 
at Sea, or like a great raging of a difeafe. 

3. Eventually worfe : My meaning is, that by this continued 
finnings, he fKall not onely continue, but much more enlarge his 
outward miferies, and ftraits, and punilliments. / w/// fmlfh yoti- 
yetfeven times more, Levit. 16, Pharaoh itill hardned his heart, 
but God ftill fcUowed him with fofer Judgments, deftruilion of 
his fields, and then of his cattel, and then of his children, and at 
lengih of his ovn life. As it is with a Bird in a Net, the more 
fbe flutters and {iirs,the more is iliehamper'd and involved ; fo it 
is with the finner, the more he ftirs on in a finfuU way, the more 
doth he enwrap,, and intrap too, himfelf with greater mifchief. 
The Ifra^lhes did begin to murmur againft God j and God then- 
as it were did privately correct and chaftize them ; afterwards 
they did revolt from God, and then he did let loofe fome of the 
Candanltes and Mtdlamtes upon them, who did greatly diitrefs 
them ; at length they grew common in Idolatry, and very au- 
dacious i;i their Rebellions againll God, and then they were car- 
ried away captive by the Babylonian Armies : So that if you read" 
the HiRory of them, you (hall evidendy difcern, that every 
further finning of theirs, was nothing elfe but a further cn- 
g.'ging of themfelves unto -greater calamities, and as it were 
an adding to more cords wherewith they were more held and 

If you now demand the Reafons, or caufes,, why that the fur- 
ther men go on in their finning after punifi^.ment, the worfe work 
they ll:iall find it to prove. I anfwer, the Reafons thereoFmay be 
thefe. I . Slfi is a mo ft barren and unfrof^erous thuig, who hath 
hardned himfelf agalnft God^ and frofpered ? faid lob p. ^. his 
mC'-^ning is this, that finning is no profperous and thriving way. 
It cannot be, that a man ihould go on in fin, and ye<" meet with 
profperity and good fuccefs ; and therefore Solomcn faith expref- 
ly. He that hardneth hps hearty fhallfall Into mifchief^ Pro. 2 8. 14. 
So that finning is not onely not -rofnerous, but it is alfo mifchie- 
vous;it will do a man a mifchief fcm^ime or other. Can a man ga- 
ther grapes of thl files ? faid our Saviour : It cannot be; for thiftles 
produ'ce blofibmes according to their kind, of a filthy and fharp 

quality : 

- -— — — — ^-— ^-— »— — — ^— ^— ^ 

The Sinners Averfion from God, 3 j 

c[uality : But as for Grapes, which are of a fvveet and refreiliirg 
and delighting nature and virtue, they come not from fuch a root 
as a Thilile. Ccmfortjand bleiling, and peace,andprofperity, and 
good fuccefs, thefe cannot grow from a finfull courfe ; the land of 
iin is al'vyays a land of famine and barrennefs, and watered onely 
with clouds of wrathyand fet wi th thorns of vengeance, a land where- 
in a perfon muft not look to fe^ good. So that what the Lord faid 
ofComah^ Write that man chi/diefiy the fame miy be affirmed of 
every finfull way ; It is a barren, an accurfed, an unprofitable, an 
unfucccfsfuU way: No way to betcer, but the onely way to in- 
creafe wrath and punifl^ment to the finner. 

2. Nay, fin is not onely a barren thing, unable to produce Sinfsaujj 
any good or bleffing, but fin is alfo a ver^ wicked things and fro- p^'ovokin j 
coking. The finnmgs of men, are the provocations of God to ^ ^"2* 
wrath and punilliment, and the more finnings, are (HU the greater 
provocations. How long ( faith God to Mofes of the Ifrae/kes ) 
will they provoke me ? Look as the froward and perverfe vvalking 
of a child provokes the parent ( /.) fiirsuphis difp'lec>fure and 
anger : So the finnings of men, they do provoke the Lord by 
them unto jealoufie and wrath, and ftir up his difpleafure againft 
them ; therefore it cannot be, but that if men go on further in 
finning, they iliould find a vvorfe thing of Mt ; for every finning 
is but as it were a further kindling of the fife, and a new inee'n- 
fing and provoking of the Lord ; and the more thaf-the Lord is 
provoked ngainft a flnner, the more mifery and pUnitliment is the 
finner like to feel from God. 

■^. No fmtfhment which any pnner hath already felt, is a dif- Puniniments 
charge^ hut onely a part of gre^ater pmijhment yet df^e Unto him, ^^i^f^i^y^^h is 
As the firll-friiits were a pledge of thectxyp, We may hot ^^^^^l^arte 
think, that becuife God doth for precedent finnings a-ffl 'id and b^bfliS^* 
judge the finner in fome particular kind, therefore he is n6,Y 
fecured and difchirged for rhe time to come, as if God did net 
ititend" to.' reckon vvtTh him -fdr lifter' fi ^'nings ^ Butthis vve muft 
'kPj^'- t//?/.-': irThnt in5nitC'''M'fiiIl' wrath 'is the due debt 
^i the tnhifgrelin'g'Tbul: ; hot • one'' r^t , two punifliments, but 
all the teft^mTiies and degrees of vVMth. 2. That parti- 
cular «demonftntions. of Gods wrath, are no acquittances, but 
fitftei^ tehificit^s'of'a fiiHer vV-at'^^et behind, /f 7^ yet (hall 
5i/lkicoF^tmry unthme f faith God ta thb Ifraeli ces, Lev, 16, 2 1 .) ^ 
^'■•^' ■■* . , Fa wUl 

^6 The Riotous Frodtgal^ or 

roillfiimfh yoiifeven times more for yoAr fins, q.d. If ye will ^o 
on in finning, I will furely rife higher m puniiliing, I have great- 
er punilliments yet behind ; fo that if yo'u confider that debt un- 
to fin, which is the full latitude of punillinient, it muft be, that if 
the finner goes oninfm, he.iliall notdirive, but ftill become 
The Nature of ^* N'^Y? do but confider the A^4^//r^o/^/W;^7/^//V^ , and this 
Pivine Juftice.. ^^'^^^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^^ ^" ^^' Divine Juftice appears in two things, one in 
an Homogeneous Rembution , if I may fo phrafe it , according ta 
the qnalitj of ad: ions and ferfons. If thou dofi wei/y (halt thou 
not be accented ? and if thou do^ ill., fin Ijeth at the door^ 
faid God to Cainy there is an acceptance upon well doing, and 
vengeance for evil doing. The juii: God will recompence every 
man according to the quality of his work ; fo that in this regard 
the finning perfon , who doth not change his finful work, muft. 
. look for no other pay from God at any time, but thz wages for fin- 
ful work,which the Apoftle affures us in Kom.z, is tribulation and 
anguiili. Another is, A praportionable Retribution according to th^ 
ixtenfon of actions or works ;md therefore you read of more ftripes, 
according to the greatnefs of the fault in the knowingly difobedi- 
ent fervant. Now , as it were againft the natural retribution of 
Juftice, to give unto the wicked as unto the righteous ; fo it were 
againft the proportionable retribution of JuiHce, to repay either 
no punifiiment to a greater finner, or lefs puniHiment for greater 
finnings; That when he continues worfe in finning, he fliould either 
profper at all,or that the puniiliment fhould be more mittigated, 
when the offence is more raifed and aggravated.,. 
To inch that 5* L^fily? ^^^ would hereby teach all men-^ that no time , what^ 
no time i< ftfe focver^ i^f^f^ to fin : Before puniiliment come,it is not Mq to fin ; 
wfio, for we fee that finners do pluck down punifl men ts, and as it is 

with thewinds,which bring the clouds,and fiy away; yet thedouds 
pour themfelves down on the eartii;fo the fins which-bringout the 
threatnings of God, though in refpedl of particular fa(^s, they are 
gone,yet the threatnings pour down many a curfe and mifery upon 
ftnners : and when puniilimcnts are off, it is nota fafe time to fin,, 
forafmuch as God is ftill as ready to punifii,as men are forward to 
fin ; as we may fee in the Ifraelites , whofe pride and murmuring 
caufed the earth t9 of en her mouthy and tofwallow up Corahy Dor 
thany &c. And the next day when they murmured again,.God prc- 
. fcntly 

The Sinners Aver fwn from Cod. ^^ 

fently fent the Plague amongft them , which fvvept away many 
thoul'ands of them ; for as time is not allowed to fin, fo no time 
can at all feaire the finner from puniflimcnt. 

Obje^, But now againft all this truth it may be obje6led, That vve^j^ no: lU 
vpe do not allwayts fe€ It fo : that men after puniiliment , making waycs fee k fo. 
progrefs in fm , find it to prove aworfework, inrefpectof- 
greater miferies and ftraits.. Nay, Secondly, We fee oftentimes 
the contrary.. 

Sol, I anfwer tothe firftpartof the Obje^lion, That you D'ftinguifli 
iBuft diftinguiih, Bttwixclm- 

, > I. 'Twixt immediate fHmJhme^tymd twixt certain pmjhment ; mcdia:c, and' 
It cannot be denyed, but granted, that a worfc punifhmant com- ^^^*^" '^"" 
eth not alwaycs immediately unto the adventurous finncr : In- 
deed fometimes God doth fhoot an other arrow of puniiliment,as 
foon as the finner ilioots up a fecond arrow of rebellion ; as you 
read in the Ifraelites cafe of murmuring ; 1 fay, fometimes God 
doth thus, but alwayes he doth not fo. Sometimes he do:h fo, 
that, finners might know his Juftice can be quickly even, and 
meet with a daring finner ; but alwayes he doth not fo , becauf© 
that even great finners might ccjnfefs fomewhat of his great 
patience. Neverthelefs,there is a certainty of a worfe mifery un-- 
to the progreffive finner; for as when God defers a Mercy, it ufur 
ally comes down in a clufter ; fo when God defers a Judgment, it 
ordinarily falls dovvn in a thunder : he is therefore in the Pfalm^ 
faid to whet his fvcord. The whetting of the fword is but a time of 
preparation , and a putting on a Jliarper edge to give the deeper 
wound ; fo, &c. and he is faid to be righteous in recompenfing 
vengeance, therefore there is a certainty of a worfe punilhment. 

2. Twixt F7y/^/f punifiiment, and i?^^/ punifiiment : though Bef^j^t-Vifi* 
to the eye of others, a man ra=iy feem either not to be , puniflied bicsnd Real 
at all, or lefs now in kis continued finnlngs then before : yet the puni&menr. . 
perfon may be more really puniflied then before; the mifery 
upon him may be a greater mifery , not for the quantity of the 
thing,but for the quality of his affeclion to the thing; for that evil 
is alwayes molt grievoufly miferable unto us, which meets us in 
our higheft way of Love,or clofefi fufpicion of fean And again, 
the greatnefs of the punifliment is as God mingles more wrath in 
the confcience at the time. Even a little outward mifery, if it 
he joyned with a greatly acaifing and condemning confci- 


38 7he Riotom Vrodigal^ or 

ence, is amifery, more rhen all other mifcries befides. 
0^/. But we ffic OljeEh, Yt^^ but we do fee^ that wicked men, who do continue 
the conn ary. their finnings more after their 'pum(hm^nt^ th/it their co^ditlo^s 
are fo far from being worfey th^-t the^ are mo ft merry and fr of per ? 
Sol. This is not SoL I. This is not always true^ hm onely infome^^nd but for fome 
always true. time. 2. Thefe very things prove to them very fore judgments-^ for 
the * for^^" by the abufe of them ( like an ill fiomach, which gath^s a furfeit 
wrsJ\ upon good meats ) they do more increafe their fmnings, and the 

Tir ft or laft Wrath of God. 3 . Flrfl or laft they fhall know that it (hall not he 
they fliali liiid roe II with the rvlcked^ and that between a former punifhment and 
ic true. ^ greater theremay ftep in many mercies, as twixt the fits of a Fe- 

ver, fome real numbers and paufes. 
.^/-^ Now I proceed to the Appi'caron of this Point, which fhall 

€on*;jdion of ^^ ^^^ Conviction, i. Of the vanity and deluding frefumftl" 
The vanity on in the heart of [inner s^ who imagine, that worfe they cannot 
and deluding be, and as much mifery is befallen them as can be, and there- 
prerumption of fore thcy will on to their /ins again. Let us not deceive our 
CDciinncr. felves j that God with whom we are to deal, is of infinite power 
and wrath, and the conscience of a guilty finner is capable of in- 
finitely many miferable imprelTions. The Bee m^^y leave her 
fting in the flefh, and fo be difabled, &c. Therefore \tt no man 
foy as ^g^g-i Surely the hitter nef of deaih is pa ft ; you know So.- 
mml prefently herped him in pieces he fore the Lord in Gil gal. 
Alas! thou knoweii not the wraih which is 'yet behind. God 
doth never fully manifeft his wrath upon any finner in this life ; 
nor doth he punifh him fo in any kind, but that a greater judge- 
ment, a worfe things as Chrifi: fpake to him in the Gofpel, may 
- yet befal him. Confider, that as greater judgments are yet 
behind all the punifhments which we have felt ; fo it is 
Gods method to begin low , but to end his work of Judge- 
ment heavily: he doth by fome lighter aflB'!6lions skirmifh 
with a perfon, or a Nation, and if they yield not, then he 
will bring the great Army of his Plagues and Judgements* 
And again, know , that multiplication of fins is a jufi caufe 
for the addition of Juc^gements. Eenewed finnings are al- 
wayes the more hainous, and (irong.in deferts ; but fenew- 
ed finnings after punii^.ment for fin , are' yet of a deep- 
er dye , becaufe They rellfh mtic^ rf Frefimption ; though 
God hath already- teftified his difpleafure, yet the finn'ei? 
. . will. 

7he Sinners Averfion from God, 3^ 

will adveniure on his wrath, and p:ovoke him agAiii. Theyr^- 
ceive Hmver[iil condemnation ^ the inner now iins againftail the 
waies of recovery ; the JVordof Cod which c.illed upon him to be 
wife, and to receive intkudion,and to return unto him that fmote; 
The pHniJhment or rody which did tender iiim the fins which 
bi ought this upon his back ; The mercy of God which drew- otf 
the wrath, and though it might have been a deftroying Avord at 
once, tiiat deltruction fhould not have rifen up the fecond time, 
yet it fo wrought with the maikr, that he woul(i try the (inner yet 
a little longer, thou mightft have been ^miong thedead,yea among 
the damned for thy former finnings, ye: mercy hath fo tempered 
juftice, that time is left thee to repent, and this fpace thou abufefi 
to fin again; yea, though juiiice met with thee for them already,yea 
though mercy releafedthee yet a little longer,yea though thou qMH 
confefs thefe (ins, yea though thou wert greatly troubled for thefe; 
{ins, yea though thou didft r^^folve againfT thefe fins ; and if thou 
thus iinneil more, will not thy punifliment be greater ? Doth not 
God hate fins now as well as 'then? Or if thou be greater in tranf- 
grefrions,will he be lefs in juliicePCanfl thou exped mercy fhould 
come more eafily>>when fin is raifed more deeply. He that being 
often reproved hardneth his neckSSi\ th Solomon^ Trov, 29. i . ) fhall 
fuddenljf be deftroied^andthat witho'At remedy: The fame may be 
affirmed of being punifhed f ufually perfeverance in fin after pu- 
nifhmentjbrings a fudden and a fore deflrudion. God hath many 
arrows which flie over the heads,and after that hee haih arrows to 
wound the hearts of his enemie?. You know that there be not one- 
ly warning-pieces,but murdering-pieces in theroial artill ery.The ■ 
punilliment which a man hath already felt fo: his fins, are but fo 
many warning-pieces to repent, to return from (in^but \i men will 
harden their hearts,there are murdering-piece>;God can io deeply ■ 
fbike, that defb:u3:ion fhall not rife up the fecond time.. 

2. The fecond conviition fhall be oi B^ty \ If the further CoviaknoP 
men go on in fin, the worfe rhey fh.iUfpeed ; then let us learn a ^ -*■>'. 
double duty ; i . To avoid fuch things as will occ ifion a further 
progrefs in fin after punilliment. 2. To appl y our felves to fuch A vuii^ 
waies as may take us oflffrom finning being punillied. i. Vitan- 
da^ The things vyhich we muft avoid as occafioning a further pro- 
grefs in fin are thefe i. Ignorant MifconfiruftioH ;^ if Gods i^noranr m'f-^ 
arrows did flyeout as his, who ihot at an adventure, and lighted conftruaicn. 


/p The Riotaus Prodigal^ m 


on t^yihabSo that our punilliments are but meer cafual things; na- 
ked a6^s, but no leffons. Nay brethren , if we had but an ear to 
hear, every afflidion and puniflnment hath a voice to fpeak ; 
this may be faid of every punifliment, what Ehud faid to hghn ; 
A h**ft'c I ^ ^^^'^^ ^ meff^gs unto thee from God, 2. -^theifiical pride ; as 
Pharaohy who is the Lord^ that I ftould^let Ifrael g!j ? When a 
perfon will exalt himfeif in the times of wrath, and will not trem- 
ble nor fear before the Lord , but flights the operation of hi? 
hands, and for all this will not lay to heart the hand of God, alas, 
this makes way /or finning. 
^Frcward im- 3* ^'''oTvard Impatience ; when perfons are fenfible of puniili- 
paticncc. ' ment, but vex againft God, who Itrikes fo clofe, yea and like that 
King in the fir ait. This evil is of the Lord , why fhould I wait on 
the Lord any longer f When men will forfake God becaufe hee 
doth punifh them, this is a further fin, and makes way for more 
fmning. The foul,vvhich is moft apt through a murmuring impa- 
tience to question God, will be apt through a prefumptuous con- 
fidence to fin againft God; in the dead fea there is leaft failin*^, 
and in the raging fea, there is moft fliip-wracking. 
Bmpiy confcf-/ ^-^^p) confejfions^\y\izXi perfons fatis fie themfelvs with words, 
f ons. ~ 3nd a meer form of Repentance , putting on for the time a grave 

countenance, and fetching a figh , and dropping a tear , and ac- 
knowledging that. all is not well ; but all this while they fearch 
not to the root, they do not ftrive x.o examine their hearts, to hum- 
ble them, to cleanfe and reform them ; and what then can be ex- 
pefted, but upon fom^ convenient occafion the old heart iKould 
return to its old waies and courfes? Pharaoh confefTed that he and 
his people had finned^ but ftill he hardned his heart, and would not 
let Ilrael go : Hypocritical humiliation or repentance, becaufe ri- 
fingfrom mutable caufes, lafts not long, nor changes t]>e difpofi- 
tion of the foul. The fore which is but covered and not cured, will 
break out again. 
Ncgligeat re- 5» Negligent remiffions -, An heart which likes not to change 
«iflions. its courfe, may yet for the obtaining fomefpecial good, give out 
unto the doing of much good, and for the removal of fome evil, 
^ make a ftop of much fin. You may obferve , that fometimes 
in the heat of a punillnment , how our hearts ( perhaps ) 
fall down before the Lord , and we are very urgent on him, 
-and very diligent ; fpend much time in his fervice^ and a 


The Sinners An^erfion from Cod, 41 

kind of vvcitchful tendernefs is come upon us againft fin , but then 
we let fall ourhands> and our candle quickly burns mure dimly, 
cur task abates, our affedlions grow flack, our purpofes, our fervi- 
ces wear awa}', and we begin to grow as forward to our fins as be- 
fore : the liking of God, and of his waies and fervices cool , and 
finful occa fion.^ grow as pleafing and acceptable. Remember it, 
that man will be quickly bad, who grows negligently good, and 
the foul which is weary of Gods fervice, \s ready for fins 

work. Partial R fe - 

6. Partial refnvatlons; when men in or after punifiament will y^ i»n$. 
profefs againfl the great bulks offinjand as Pharaoh (at length )was 
willing to let the people go,but to ftay the little children^fo we wrl 
bid defiance, andfeem to take refolution againft our former great 
iniquities,in the greatnefs of them,but yet we will keep back and 
not part with fuch and fuch things , which perhaps formally are 
not finful, but occafionally they may ( to our corrupt atfeclions ) 
prove fo. Why ' how can it be but fuch a foul lliould make yet a 
progrefs in fin, who refervs ftill an incendiary motive, a quick and 
captivating incentive unto fin ? The river will quickly over-fpread 
and fill the channel if you give it way.- Ipare but your felf in occa- 
fions, and they will bring on firft thelelfer trials of fin, and the 
lefler trials will quickly ingage you to greater adventurings , and 
fome adventurings will eafiLy bring you to your old courfes. 

In the fecond place let us affly ourfc/vs to fuch wales as may Olrcdions. 
take iu off from pnmng^ yet more after fumfhment y which you 
have heard doth make the condition yet worfe. The direilions 
which I would commend unto you, are thefe : 

I. In all ^umfhment for f ml ng follow the wrlty of en /V, and fee ^^ allpunifli- 
whofe name is In It ; my meaning is^ enquire into thy felf, fe.irch "^^"y^"^ |*" ' 
diligently fo: whofe fake this evil befals thee ; as the Mariners in ^^juf^^ 
fonah concerning the tempeft, they did caft lots, that they might 
know for whofe caufe that evil was upon them ; fo fhould we in 
theprefenceofourpunifhment, when Gods hand is in any kind 
upon us, fearch and lift up our hands unto God , to fhew us the 
fpecial reafons of his wrath and indignation ; for though earthly 
parents do many times inconfiderately in pafTion chaftize their 
children after their own pleafure,yet God doth it wifely and never 
without caufe; we may fay of all our punifhment what the Prophet 
faith to the Ifraelites, Jfr.4. 1 8. Thy way and thy doings have fro- 

G (tired 

42 The Riototu ^rodigal^ or 

€iired thefe thi^igs unto thce^ this is thy w'lckjdftejsy &:c. Puniili- 
m^nts never prove reformation^ until firft they be informations; 
they never cure the heart, unlefs firft they clear the eye : We 
mull firil fpell the Leffon, before we can take it forth ; there- 
fore this do, if thou canft not find thefpecialty of thy provoca- 
f( tions, I. Look thy affiiclions and punilliments well in the 

face ; perhaps thou mayeil in them fee the very feature of thy fin 
which hath caufed God to punifh thee ; very ufually,that punifli- 
ment which is a Rod, is alfo a Glafs, it ihevvs us the fault for 
' which we are lafhed. 2. Obferve thy fdf in the eftate when 
thy punifhment doth come ; do but recai thy bent of heart, 
courfe, ways, imagination, devices; fometimes a man is taken 
by the punishment, when he is dealing in a way which doth more 
especially provoke God.. 5. Perufe the Word, and well 
Pares culpa, confider what fins have brought downfuch kind of punifhment. 
Fares f«n<s» q^^ Jq^.]^ many times keep his courfe of the fame punifhments 
with the fame fins ; elfe the ApoiHes dehortation of the Corlmht- 
^/^j-from Idolatry and Uncleannefs, which was the Ifraeiltes fins, 
for fear of th e like puni Aiments, were fomwh at vain. 4. Laf il y, 
Regard the firft and more frequent verdids of thy ovYn confcience,. 
There are two times when Confcience deals more home and faith- 
fully with us : One is, when we are to die ; Another is, when we 
aretofuffer ; in a time of judgment and affliilion, we find, as 
Jofephs brethren did, the remembrance of former evils, Surely 
this is befallen us hecaufe of our brother^ &c. faid they : So our 
hearts tell us, Well, afliiredly this comes upon me for my Swear- 
ing, for my Drunkennefs, for my Uncleannefs, formyCove- 
toufnefs, c^r. 
Whenthefn* ^* ^^^" Y^^^ ^^^ ^^^ brought to light, that you can fay, 
difcovered, so Here is my punifhment, and there are my fins ; then go to God 
to God in an with them, to him that fmote thee, By mofv humble and broken 
bumbe confer Confeffion^ that thou haft done wickedly, butthe Lord hath dealt 
fioucfr. moft righteoufly ; acquit him, but condemn thy felf: Accufe 
and indite thy finning foul ; O Lord, thus and thus have I fin- 
ned and provoked thee, &€. Deal ingenuoufly with the Lord, 
and freely confefs unto him, and never leave, until thy foul be 
afflidedfor finning, as well as thy body ; until thou c-inft griev^e 
a thoufand times more for thy fins, than for thy punifhment ; 
for the diHionour which God hath felt by thy finnings, than for 

■ - the 


The Sinners Averfton from God, 45 

the fmart which thou fecleft under thy puniHiments. By mofi q^ ^q q^j \^ 

vehentent and conflant Petition*, and that for two things efpecial- carneftpccitioa 

ly, viz. for 

I. Reconciliation with that God whomthoti hafl fo much provty- r> . «^'i;«: 
111 / />• . -, r r r ■ \ A r4/ /^ Kcconciiiati- 

ked by thy fimnngs : As Mojes laid to Aaron^ lalie aCenfer^ on. 

^nd pit pre therein from 0^ the Altar^ and goquickj)' to theCon^ Numb. 164^. 
ff'^gation^ and make an attonement : So Jet us Ipeedily itrive to 
reconcile our felves unto the Lord, befeeching him to love us 
freely, to receive us gracioufly, to pardon us for his own fake, 
to remember our fins no more, not to contend with us for ever, 
but to c^ft our fins into the depths of the Sea, and mercifully to 
be our God. And in this bufinefs of reconciling our felves with 
God,_ take notice, i . Of the merit oriom carafe of ity which is 
the bloud of Chrift, called therefore our attonement^ Rom. 5. and 
our Propitiationy i Joh. 2. i. Now befeech the Lord to look on 
thee in Chrift, and to remember the bloud of the everlaliing Co- 
venant, which was (hed for the remifTion of fins, and to make 
peace : Befeech him to be reconciled unto thee in and through 
- Chrifl: , and do thou ftcdfaftly trull unto him by faith for 
it. 2. Of the means of it. To the Word, to Prayer : O be 
earneft for fuch difpofitions upon which the Lord will feal 
mercy and fprgivenefs. He will be gracious to the cry of 
the mournfuU foul, If a. 30. i p. and to the penitent, 2 Chron. 

2. San^lficatloH : Alas, if the Lord fliould lay upon thee Sandification. 
as many and as great plagues as he did on Pharaoh^ and iLould 
they come as thick on thee as on him, or any that ever thou didfi: 
read of ; yet if the Lord did not give thee a fan6lified heart, or 
if the Lord did not co-operate with the afflictions in a fandli^ 
fying way, thou wilt be fo far from defifting, that thy heart 
after a while will grow as wicked as before. It is not abfo- 
Uitely the punifhed foul, nor is it abfoliitely the troubled con- 
fcience, nor is it abfolutely all that we can fee or fiy which 
will divert bur future courfe of finning ; but it is the fandi- 
fied heart, the new heart, which will mike us to leave old 
fins, and live new lives : Therefore to the Lord muft We go un** j - 

der our afHidlions, and befeech him to open our ear to difci- ■* 

pline, and to purge away our iniquities, and to mike us part.ikers 
of his holinefs, and fo to eaufe us to bring forth the more peace- 

G 2 able 

44 ^^^ Riotous Prodigal^ or 

able fruits of righteoufnefs : and note this, Th=it all mismuftb^ 
done not in a fit , for a little time, but habitually ; we muil not 
ceafe confefTmg, until we can heartilv mourn ; we mull not ceafe 
confeiTing, mourning, praying, until we find the Lord reconcil- 
ed unto u.s, and our hearts changed and renewed. Now thofe 
Sanaificd fan6lified Quplitics,. which more fpecially a punilTied finner 
Qualities to be ih'.uld beg, to divert him from prngrefs in fin, and to turn him 
^^W^' off from fin,. I conjecture are th.f- ; i. Hearty contrition for fms 

Hearty Con- ^^a , He-whois a merry Penitent, proves an e.^fi^ Delinquent : 
pj^^ it tormer finnmgs be no Grief, future hnmngs \yi11 be no Fe.ir ; 

he will never with ftedfaftnefs learn a good Courfe, who can 
without mournfulnefs come off from a bad Way. Beg of God 
Real Convcr- ^^^ ^^^ ^^ "iXi^t thee fenfible and mournful. 2. Real Convert 
iion. ^''^ • That the very frame of the Mind, Will and Affedions be 

changed ; the Frame more then the Form : that thou become a 
AfincercLovc new Creature, get a new heart and Spirit. 5. Ajincere love of 
ic God. God : If thy heart knows not yet how to love God, it never for- 

gat how to go on in Sin ; there is nothing which heals the Soul 
of Sin, fo as the L:>ve of God : this fets the hertonhim 
and makes \x. to cleave unto him, and tender to pleafe 
Solid Rear of hJm. 4. Solid fear of God .- A reverent awe, both of his good- 
^°^* nefs and of his greatnefs ; this will ftrike off fecurity, and hard- 

nefs, and prefumption, and fet us in Gods prefence, and keep 
the confcience tender, and increafe humblenefs, &c. ^. Watch- 
Witchfulmfs^ /«/;;^y} over our fpecia! corrnftions ; which, if any, will mike us to 
allcorrupt^^*' ^'^l^^^ooneft. Do not forget how much they did provoke God 
©US. already, and how affuredly bitter they will prove, if thou doli re- 

fume them. 

y^yC j^ j^nd he f am would havt- filled his hslly w'th the hushj that the 

Swine did eat^ axd no man gave unto him, 

Thefe words comprehend in them two things, 
F/r/?, The utmofi: defign of the finf ul Prodigal , ^ He woiildfmn 
have filed his belly with the huskj that the Swine did eat. 

Secondly y The utmoli difappointment, of that utmoli defign, 
And no man gave unto him. According to either of thefe,. there 
are two Propofitions obfervable by us ; viz.. That a finner will 
go through, and try the utoioft extrciiiitics and vvayes ere he. will 


The Smners Averfton from God, 45 

return from his fins. 2. That nothing /haJl zv^il the iTiuffling 
and trying finn^r, untill he do-h return from his fins. When 
the Lord forukes a man, nothing avails to help a m:in. 

That ajtnner -will try all wayes^ a»dgo through theuimofl ex- jy^^j. j 
tremities^ ere he will return from hii jms. The Prodigal here Alii»ncrwill 
fperids ally yet he returns not ; he is finched withfamwe^ yet he try sil way-s,to. 
.returns not ; he joyns himfelfvphh aCitix^en^ and he fends him thcutm.lt tx- 
to feedSrv'we^ yet doth he not return: if he could have got cr«ni»ti:s^crchc 
but the husks which the Swine did eat; husks are but poor, from his fins, 
empty, light things , miferable nouriilmient ; but if he could 
have made any il*aft, any way to have fupported himfelf,he would 
not have returned unto his Father. Thus you read of Pharaohy 
that though there were a Climix of plagues upon him, and won- 
ders of ruine upon his Land,and Cattel,and Servants , rinng like a 
Tide and Flood , yet till it came to his firft-born, and the next 
ftrokew.is to reach his own life, he would not obey the Voice of 
the Lord in letting of Ifrael eo ; like obftinace defendants in a 
City, which will lofe one Outwork after another, and fufe the 
Underm'ning of their Walls, ere they -will come to terms of 
Capitulation. So we read of the Ifraelites before the Captivity, 
how extremely they did endure a very fucceffion of Judgments, 
and variety of ftrange punillim-n s before they would return ? 
Amos 4. 6. Cleannefs of teeth^ and want of hreitd ; yet have, thea^ 
not returned tcme^ faith the Lord. Ver. 7. Rdin was with- 
held^ andgreatfcarcity was thereof water ; yet, Ver. X. Have 
ye not returned tome, Ver. 9. Smiting^ with l?la flings and mil- 
dejVy and the Palmer worm^ yet. &c. V<ir. lO. Fejillence after 
the manner of Egypt ^ and the Sword -^ yet have ye not returned, 
Ver. II. Overthrowing forne of them as God overthrew Sodom 
and Gomorrha^ and pulling forne of them as a frehrand out of the 
burning ; yet have ye not returned unto rm^ faith the Lord. And 
thus was it with them after the Captivity, all the fimi-ne and mi- 
fcries, which they fuffered in the Siege, where the mothers were- 
forced to eat their children of ajpan long. Lam. 2. And all the mer- 
cilefs devourings of thefword,and all th. kinds of deftroying fick- 
neffes,did not turn them to the Lord agunil whom they had fin- 
ned; but after all, they fpend the utmoft of their pollicies forfafe- 
ty, running mto Lgyft^ flyi^^g unto ^y^^r ; they tryed all forts 
of fruitlefs confidences, before they would return unto the 


4^ The KiotoU'S Prodigal^ or 

Lord, therefore doth the Lord threaten to hedge their waysmth 
thorns y and to make ^ wall that they Jkall not find their paths, HoC 
2.6. ( i) he would caRthemupon fuch a condition that they 
rhouldnotgoany further, or if they did, they ijhould have little 
eafe, they fhould walk as upon thorns, upon continual prickings 
and woundings ; and all this muft be done before they will return 
to their fir ft hmhand^ verf. 7. Now for the clearer opening of 
this Afl'ertion, confider of thefe particulars : 
This is to be !• Ihat h is to he under ft ood of the natural ten^^er of the finner^ 
ui:dci flood cf The finner may be confidered two wayes under extremities : As 
the natural effe[iually aftljied hj the yr eventing grace of God^ which \s> o£ 
tcrrjper or tbe iurpalTlng vertue to renew the foul, and to conquer its ftubborn- 
nefs and averfnefs, and efifedually to perfrvade and draw in 
the heart to yield unto God, and to give up its weapons of 
lufts. The which grace ( if God infufeth ) at any time whe- 
ther before, or under, or after alBidions, then the finner doth 
not wander in the paths of perverfnefs, nor doth he hold out fo 
long, but in ftead of trying all ways to continue in his fins, he will 
fpeedily aflay all the ways to be freed from them. As left unto his 
own corrup: fpirit^ and the projects, contrivances and ways there- 
of. . And thus it is with him, like a befieged enemy, which will 
retreat from hold to hold, and difpute every inch of ground, 
before he will give up the City : So is it with the finner, his 
heart will devife one defence after another, and he ha"th yet an- 
other fhifr, though he be many times hardly befet in his name, 
or in his eftate, or in his body, yea, or in his conference. And 
God doth narrowly watch over h'm, and doth fpoil him of his 
many f.ilfe confidences, and deals more fmartingly with h'm to 
yield and return ; yet he hath not onely much fubtilty of fpirit 
behind to delude all, but alfo he hath exceeding ftubbornnefs of 
fpirit to oppofe all the means which are ufed for his conver- 
j^ A- ,, e 2, fVe muft dlfiingfiifh of the ways wherely God doth deal 
the wayes ^ with a finner \ which are of two forts : Some are r/^^^nW^'^/.r, 
whereby G)-:! wherein the Lord undertakes the conqueiiof the heart him- 
doth deaiwiih felf by the imm.ediate power of his own grace, to pluck 
2 finner, ^^^^^^ Hrong holds, and to caf^ down high imaginations ; upon 

which, as the converfion of a finner doth infallibly enfue, fo 
likewife prefently and fyeedily -; for this way- exceeds, the 


the Sinners Averfion from G(rd, 47 

jftrength of rebellion in fin, and in defpite of it overcomes the 
heart.. It is the itronger man difpoflelfing, and the llronger 
hand puUing us out of tlie powers of darknefs. Others are 
j^orai wajes^ which confiit onely in external means ; not in 
theinfufing of grace,, but rather in the propofal of it, and in- 
vitations thereto bycounfel, reproof, threats, rewards, andfe- 
conding this propofal with feme or many raiferies : the Pro- 
portion, Thi^t a fmer mil ufe all the wayes and methods ert 
he will return from his fmSy. is to be underftood onely, when 
God deals with him in a moral way, by the prefence of means 
onely, ( not otherwife ) for which his corrupt heart may be too 


3. Wemiifidtftwgm(hofttirmKgfromfin: It is two-fold, ei- DiftinjuiHi of 
ther Hypocritical^ and feigned ; and thus many times at the turning trom 
firlt, upon the very denunciation of a Judgement, as ^/j^^ ; or 
upon the perception of it, as Jerolfoam, when his hand was flrucki 
evil men may feem toconfefs, and to grieve, and to forfake fin,, 
and to feekunto the Lord, and pretend to ferve him. jRealy and 
folid; when the heart is truly aite6led with a found detefhtion of 
fin, and the occafions thereof ; and with a fincere atfeclion of. 
love to God, and endeavour of new obedience , Though,the for- 
mer may bz aded by the finner without the applying of himfelf ' 
to the utmoll extremities, yet the latter is not. ^ 

4.. There are two forts of fms in a perfon : Some which are there are two 
moitufeief^y either for the profit, or for the pleafureof the fm- fores of fins i.i 
ne:;-they are not the favourites : Others are mort fpecia/y which > perf«^n. 
are wrought into fingular affe6lion ; the cuiiomeof pra6life, and 
the much experience of their d.imnable delights and revenues 
have exceedingly indeared the foul unto them. Though a (inner 
might more eaiily be upon parting terms with an unprofitable fer- - 
vant, an unferviceable Cm ; yet when the divorce is to be made; 
twixt him and his fpecial luft, the (in of his love and airertion, 
the fin which lies in his bofome, this he will not eafily part with. 
A man will endure much pain ere he will part with his right hand, 
orfutferhis right eye to beplucktout ; he will ftir much, and 
rage much, and proje6V much, and adventure much, ere he will 
be perfwided to let this Benjamin go from him.- 

. . ^. There are two kjnds of f/djifience .- One is comfgrtaiflejWhtrc-^ v a^ f'7 h^al 
m a perfon hadi many fupports, ev-en of a chearfuU and a plen ti- {^^^^e. 


^8 The Riotous Fndigal^ er 

full living, his cup runs over, and his head is anointed with oil. 
Another is akfolme^ vvhen there is no more then to keep foul and 
body together : The proportion is true, even in this latter fenfc. 
That a imne-r , though God doth {have off and fufpend all the 
Comforts of his life, and doth reduce him fo fhort, that there re- 
mains no more then upon what he can live, if there remains but 
any one fprig on which he can take hold, if he can devife any one 
method of fafety , fo that he mayimagin I iliall yet live and be 
fafe, though I go on in fm , he will not turn in unto God now, 
and leave his iins, but will live the bafeft of lives, rather then he 
will relinquilli the worft of lives ( a fmful life) he will walk in 
rags, and beg his bread, and leave all his friends , and become an 
out-caft , and a companion of the moft ignoble and infamous 
wretches, rather then, &c. 
This true of aU . <5. This propoCiiion holds true of all forts of extremities : /«- 
forts of Excrc- ;vardj in thofeof confcience ; a (inner oft-times will rather en- 
™"'*^' dure the fharp edge of the Word, which fpeaks nothing but wrath 

and bitternefs , yea he will live under the galling Items, fevere 
frowns, bitter accufations, intolerable fcourgings, and terrours 
and condemnations of his confcience, though his confcience ma- 
ny times upbraids him in fociety, amazeth him afleep, terrifies 
him in the dark, condemns him for a wretch, and claps on him 
the apprehenfions of Hell, which makes the foundation of his 
foul to quake, yet it falls out frequently that he will not turn from 
his iinful courfe.- Outward in all the kinds of mifery. A mans 
finful wayes may be like the putrifyings of the body which be- 
get the worms, that eat it out, and confume it : fo the finnings of 
a perfonmany times do rot and confume his name, yea, all his 
eftate ; yea, all his amity ; yea, all his ftrengrh, and yetthrorgh 
the affe(Stionate combination of his heart with (in, he may rather 
indure inf^^my, fcorns, poverty, defertion of friends, famine and 
nakednefs, any thing rather then he will leave his Cm ; the wick- 
ed know no fhame. Pharaoh did not fet his heart fo: all this, &c. 
This true not 7. Laftly, This is true not only in a tranfcient and faffionate 
only in a tran- /f/^/^^when through the rage of fome prefent diftemper and fury,a 
fienc and pafli- perfon will hear no counfel (this is tme of Nations as well as Per- 
lijtTn^t more ^<^"0"^^ regard any dealing, but is violently on a fudden carried a- 
pe^manenc and ^vay with the ftrong tide , or ftorm rather, of his foolifh mind and 
deliberate fenf. palTions.-But it holi true likewife in a more prmanent and deliberate 

• ' ferfe 

The Sinners Averfion from Cod, ' ^9 

fenfe : When a (inner is exempted from the times of rafhnefs , 
and is able to fee and judge of his vvayes a"nd courfes to be finfuL 
Yet is it poilible, that he may fuffer not a little, but much evil ; 
rot in one kind , but m manifold kinds ; not for a lliort tim- , * 
but for fome long duration ; many weeks, yea, perha^ s mmy 
years , ere his heart doth yield to return from his iinful w/yes 
to God Thus briefly have you the Explication of. the AfTerti- 
on. Now I will touch two things more, and fo proceed to the 
Application. One, how this may be manifefted to be true : A- 
noiher, why it is, or fhouldbe thus with a finful heart. 

Quell. I. Hgw it may affCAr^ that ajir^fnl ferfonwiUtry all^ H wtb's 
&c. erehewillretHrn? appeactobe 

So/, It may manifeftly appear, if you confider thefe particu- true. 


1. The patient contmHat'ion of fpirtttial m€ans^ without any By the conti* 
frtiit of Comjerfion: God hath ufed inceflant means, and follow- nuance of Spi- 
ed and preifed uponfinners by his Servants,the Meflen^ersofhis ''*:"^^ °^^*"* 
Word many tunes, and for a loi^ time, yet they repented not, ^^^.^ ^^ ^^j^, 
nor turned from their fins. 2 Chr. 36. 15. The Lord God 0/^^.^^. 
their fathers fent to them by his Meffengers^ ^ifi^g ^p betimes and 

[ending : he did fend, and fend again. Ver. i <5. Bfit they mocked 
the Mejfengers of Godj and defpifed his wordsy and mlfufed his 
ProfhetSy until there was no remedy. So Matth. 25. ^7, O Je^ 
rufa/emj Jerufalem , thoH that kjllefi the Prophets, andftonefi 
them which are fent unto thee ; how often would I have gathered 
thy children together ^even as an Hen gathereth her chickens under 
her wings ^ and ye would not ? Rom. i o. 2 1 . ^nd to Ifrael he faith , 
All the day long I have fir etched forth my hands unto a dlfobedl- 
ent and gain faying people, 

2. The large expeEiatlons of God^ for the returning of [inner Sy'^^\}^i\^xott 
without any fuccefs : Luke i 7.7. Behold^thefe three years I come expeditions of 
feeklng fruit on this figtree^ and find none, Num.14, ii. The ^^o^^o^^bc 
Lor df aid Unto Adofes, Ho^^ longwlU this people provoke me ? and ^^^^l^^,\f^r 
how long will It be ere they believe me^ for all the fignes which I facccfj. 
have fheyved amongthem ? Ver. 27. How long (hall I bear with 

this evil Congregation which murmur agalnfime^ Jer. 4.14. 
Jerufalem^ wafh thine heart from wickednefs, that thou mayefl^ be 
faved', how long fhall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee, Hof. 
^.5. How long will it be ere th^y attain t& innocency ? Jer. i .?• 27. 

H 07^- 

50 The RiotOtts Frodtgal^ er 

P Jerufalem , wUt tho/i not he made clean ? when jhall It 
QKce he ? 
By the lonj -^ ^he long and. exceeding complaint $ of God cencermngjinner^ » 

com fgV'^'"^ That he is forced aili to bear vvuh them ; inioinuch that their 
• GocT' concern- ^^"^^i"^^^ finnings have grown (as it were exceeding of Gods pati- 
inj finncrs. ence) too much for God to bear any longer \ Amos 2. 1 3. / am 
■frejfed under yoa^ as a Can is frejfed that Is full of Sheavef^^ 
Jer. I ^. d. Ihou haji forsaken me^ faith the Lord y thou art 
gone hackward^ therefore will I fir etch out my hand agalnfl thee* 
I am weary of relenting, Ifa. 43. 24. 1 hon hafl made me 
to ferve with thy fins ; thou haft wearied me with thine ini- 
Bythenon- 4* ^^^ Non-fluffes (if I m^yfo phrafe it) that wicked and 
piuflfs tbat ob- obfttnateferfons^ hy continuing m their fins ^ have pit God unto: 
ftinate finncrs Hof. 5. 4. O Ephraim^ whatfhall I do unto thee ? Q Judah , 
bavc put God yphat [hall I do unto thee ? for your goo dnefs is as a morning cloudy 
^'^* and as the early dew it goeth away. This is an Antropopathy , 

a fpeech after the manner of men. Not that God doth not know 
what to do ; but he expreffeth himielf after the manner of a 
perfon who hath ufed all the wayes and means to reclaim ano- 
ther, and yet the other, though ibmetimes cunningly he pretends 
a reformation, falls away again. Now, faith a father, fuch and 
fuch wayes have I ufed, and fuch wayes, and nothing doth avail ; 
my fon (iiU is wicked, he runs on from evil to worfe ; I know 
not what to do with h^m, lean think of no courfe, &c. So, 
Ifa. 5. 4. whatcosild have been done more to my Vineyard^ that I 
have not done in it ? wherefore when 1 looked for grapes^ hr ought 
it forth wild grapes. 
By the Dcfpa'r 5. Nay, the kjnds of Defpair (as it were) which God hath con- 
which God celved after many dealings , to do any good ^ or 10 reclaim them 
hitb conceiv- fj^Qj^i finful waye<? : Hof. 5. i ^r. ^ w/// ^0 and return to my place, 
edjaftcrmany j(%j j - why (hould ye he firicken anymore^ ye will revolt more 
any sood. ^^^ ^^^^ ^ J er. 2 3 . :^ 9. / rvill utterly Jorget you^ and l will for- 

fakjyou; reprobate filver (hall men cali them, 
Bythofcfare- 6. YQ^-,thofe dying knells and farewel wljhes and refolutions 
wel willies and of God,becaufe of the impenitency of perfons^demonHrates this 
r^°i"i!'°'^V^f ttuth. Expoftulations upon utmoftterm^;, fvfyy will ye dye ? 
tbetlmpenV^^ And, Tou [hall dye in your fins ; andl will for fake you j and I 
sency, " rvill utterly deftroy you, Luke ip, 41, H^ beheld the City , and 


The Sinners Averfion from God* ^ 51 

ypeptoverh', Ver. 43. Othat thonhadfl kj^ow^y eventhopiy at 
the leafi tn thu thv da^y the thifigs which belong iinto thy peace • 
hat now they are hid from thine eyes. Gen. 6. 3. My Spirit fhail 
not alwayes f^rive with him, 

7, LafUy, It may appear that finners will try all vvayes ere Bythcmu!d< 
they turn, and endure much, By the multiplication of many plication of 
Judgments , and repetition of manifold calamities. The many many Jud j- 
vvedges which are knockt in one after another, fhew that the o^^n^s* 
wood is tough and unyielding : this giving pill after pill, ihews 
that the corrupt humor is ftrongly rooted, Mic, 6. i j. / will ' 
make thee fck^ injmitingthee^ bccanfe of thy Jins. So that when 
all is done andfuffered, God muft lay and do what he promi- 
fes in I fa, ^j, 17. I was wroth with him^ andfmotehimy 1 hid 
mey and was wrothy and he went on frowardly in the way of his 
heart, Ver. 18. 1 have feen his wayes and will heal him. When 
all is done, one thipg more God muli do, he m'lft come into 
the heart, and over-rule, and heal, and turn it, and then it jQiall 
be turned. 

Qh. 2. Now for thefecond Queftion, Why it fhould be thus, yyhy it Is thus, 
that linners Oiould try all ihe wayes, and indure to the utmoft ra- 
ther then to turn from their fiinful courfes ? 

I anfwer. It is not either, i.Becaufe finis fuch an Excellent "fc^'snot^ 
thingy or really beneficial to the foul; by reafon of which ex- fc^irb- fi*^' 
cellency and ufe, a m.in might be moved to endure much in his all to^thclouL 
body, for the preferv.uion and defence of it; for fin is an evil 
thing, and therefore worthlcfs. Or, 2. Becaufe any fin is lefs jsior becsufe i» 
evil then mifery ; and therefore this fhall be endured rather nyiinislefs' 
then that i"hallbeforfaken. But, i. The finner doth exceeding- ^"^^^-^^^^ mifc- 
ly love his Jim The heart of a finner is {^t on his fin; he hath ^y' 
•mide a Covenant with deathy and an agreement with hell. He j^ r^^^ ^* 
loves dcirknefs, and is held faft with the bonds and cords of his H^thcxcced- 
finful affedions. A perfon doth many times fuffer rains fharper ingly love his 
then death,bec.^ufe he doth exceedingly love life : Why ? a finner fi^- 
loves his fin as he loves his Ufe ; nay, more then his life, the 
which' he doth often hazard for ever to preferve his fin. 2. The 
ftnneris aVool: Put a fool never fo oft in the Stocks, it doth Thefinneris 
him no good r, heunderfi^ndsnotthe caufeno- e-^d of it. Evil a Fo^I- 
men are chnfti zed and puni <lied by God,hut they know not nor un- 
^derftand;they know not that their iins are the caufe thereof and 
^'-'"^ ■ H 2 that 

,,,^^^____^^_ " " ' -^— ^i— 

52 ^ T'he Riotous Prodigal^ or 

There is a that Coiiverlion from fin is the end thereof. 3 ,. There is a m^ir^ 
ftout [piric of <ijdlons fiont Sfirit of pride in the firmer ; who is therefore faid to 
pcidc in a fin- ^^^ againft God,and to refill him^and though he be fm(tten,"yet 
to refufe to return^and wilfully to tranfgrefs,and that they will not 
hearken. Stifnecked are they called; and foreheads have they which 
Fromavainc cannot be a jliamed, and faces that cannot bluiX ^, Avainpre- 
prclumption. fumftior^jthat jet their fi^iful wayes fhall he well at Ufl : It is but 
r^^n"^^"'^ bearingawhile, and at length their calamities vYillotf. He who 
fliaUbeTelUt go^s on in a finful way, is never without fomefinful projedand 
Ijft. chimeraes; filly fancies of fome good>and fome fupport and wear- 

f rom the Ing out of his troubles, &c. 5. There ua hitter contrariety twi.vt 
Contrari:ty flje rvajes of God md the [inner s heart, . Light and aarknefs are not 
betwixcthc ^ more oppofite; hence is it that in foh they fay unto God, Depart 
TnT^thc sL- f^^^ ^^<^^ ^^fi^^ '"^^^ ^f ^ kjiowledg of the Almighty. And in Pfal. 2. 
ners btarc They hreak^ the cords in f under, Ai:id Heb. i o. 7 hey Are faid to offer 
deffight tinto the Sfirit of Grace ^ Holinefs and holy walking , ah ! 
it IS chat which their hearts hate more then hell; :they will adven- 
ture their dnmnation,bef ore they will affect and pra6lice holinefs; 
Brotn unhc- ^^^ greater burden and tormenc to them then it. 6. And fometimes 
iiefc. Unheliefm^y be a fpecial caufe , why a finner doth thus fhift and 

try. The guilt of his fins under his afflielions may 'ie heavy upon 
"his confcience!,and he may befo wiiolly taken up vvith the appre- 
henfion of wrath and judgment and an implacability in God 
towards him,that God will never fbew him mercy,who hath been 
fo much and fo long provoked,that it is in vain to return,now there 
I^jrom th« Va- is no hope. 7. The F'anity of a corrupt Judgment-^ which deludes 
niiy of a Cor* ^|^g finner,as if he could be finful and fafe ;■ or that he could fub- 
ruf cjudjmcnt. ^^^^^^y^ enough without returning to God. 

Ufe \, Now I proceed to the Application of this point ; the Ufes are 

Cbnviaion. many, I . For ConviBion of Error in Judgment. 
It is no eafie j , That it is an eape workjo Repent ^and to leave fn^Whtn lam 

'woikto Re- fick,or come to dy,then I will think of that work. No,brethren, if 
^^"^* the heart of man be of fo fubtil a temper,and fo perverfe a frame , 

can afflidions do it of themfelves ? if the love of fin be fo ftrong- 
ly in grain, that many waters of afBi6Vions cannot waili it out,nor 
many be.Mns of mercy melt and turn it ; you muft then imagine it 
not to be an eafie work to turn the heart from fin, if it will adven- 
ture the lofs of heaven, and the endurance of hell, and the ai^ual 
prefence of many fore calamities ; confefs then, That the defcents: 
' into 

Tht Sinners AverfionfromGod. ' 5 j 

into iin are eafie^but the returns from it are not ordinary or fdcile. F«?c/7a aHiw 
Where all the means, tending to the Converfion of a linner, are i^ificilyexi' 
oppofed, and, as it were, wholly defeated and fr unrated, there the ^f '/^^^^ ^'' 
heart is not fo eafily wrought upon to ret rn.. : . That no more is. ^J^]^ f^qm-. 
required to Convert afrmer^hut External and CongmoHS Grace ; as, rcci coConvcrr, 
if the heart were lilc: a Fiih upon the hook, which might be drawn then Exccrnal 
at pleafure to the lliore ; or, like Wax prepared, and It were no ^^^ Con^ru- 
more but to put on the Seal : or,as if. to Convert a finne, were no °"* ^^'^"* 
more then ro report a Hiliory,or to offer a man a Purchafe. Nay, 
hut there mu(t be likewife Im^rejftans as well as Invitations ; not 
only Means, but Grace it felf ; not only the Rod and Word, but 
likewife the Spirit of God,and his mighty Operation ; not only a 
Voice faying, This Is the way^ but alfo the Spirit of God which 
mufl canfe us to wall^ in that way : there muft be healing Medi- 
cines put within the Soul by the hand of God himfelfjor elfe all the 
means in the world,the Word, the Sacr.iments, the affliclions, and 
miferies,and examples may fay and complain withtheProphet,//iti 
4^.4, / have laboured In valn:I haveffcnt myfirength for nought, 

2. ¥0: Information, j. Of that excejfivefiubhrnnef sand mad- Information, r 
nefs in the hearts of us (inner s. Good Lord ! what an hand hath (in Of chc exccC- 
over us. That terrors fhould arifelike an horrible tempeft within ^''^ ^,"^" 
the confcience for (inning, and drive a man to his feet; yea, to h«rrof°firi^* 
the duft ; yea,almoft as low as hell. That his finning fhould pull ^^^^\ 
down onecal:mity after another ; take away the dayes of peace, 
of plenty, of fafety,of health, and darken them with war, and tu- 
mults; with fcarcity,and indigence; with danger ,andtrouble;with 
loffes, and difeafes ; cloath a mans body with rags, fill a mans bo- 
dy witth rottennefs , obfcure a mans name with infamy, and yet, 
yet after all,and under all that a perfon fhould hold faft his wic](^ 
ednefs,which is the caufe of all and will not let itgo,he will not bi 
weaned from it,nor charmed. No Mercy,nor JuftLce,nothing can 
diffolve the Covenant twixc his heart and (in;but like that Atheni- 
an Comm.:inder(if I forget not the ftory ),vho when he was thre it- - 
ned to let go the Ship, held it ; when one hand was cut of^'^he held 
it with the other ; when both were cutoff, he held it with his 
teeth. The Lord be merciful to us,thus is it with us, though God 
threatens, yet we fin ; though heflrike? us in onekiud , yet we 
fin ; ^ though in many kinds , yet we fin ; though loffes though 
crofles, tihough de^th be in our doors , though it rifeth on our 

bodies^, • 

rA The Riotous FroMgalj or 

bodies, though we lofe earth, life, heaven, all, yetvveftillfin, 
OFtheadmi- ^^^^ return iiot, but Itand it out, 2. Of the admirable pati- 
rable patience ence and goodnefi of God, Not without reafon is he ftiled a God 
and joodncfs ef long-jidff'er'mg^ and to endure with much lortg-fujferlng the vef^ 
of God, fe Is of wrath : and his Goodnefs, the riches of Goodnejs, Rom. 9. 

22. Bom, 2.4, That he {hould luok after a finner, nay, fpeak, 
nay, ftrike, nay, wound, nay, almoli take awayhislifetofave 
his life ; that he fliould run after a proud and refitting finner, 
though a fmner doth contrive the ways of oppoling, and cunning- 
ly itrives againft all the methods of mercy ; yet that God fhould 
not defer t him, and give him over, but try again and again, and 
be adively ready to give grace to an unwilling, to a refifting, to 
an obfiinate, fooliili (inner ! who but a vile fmner would obfti- 
nately abufe fuch great mercy ? who but a God would endure the 
fame with fo much patience ? It is not that th^ Lord feeth not 
the ways of a finner ( for he is Omni fc lent ; ) It is nor that he ap- 
proves or likes the ways of a finner, ( for he is mofl Holy ; ) It is 
not that he will not recompence the ways of a iinner, ( for he is 

nltelhlmm ^^^ T^fi ' ^ ^^ ^^ "^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^^"^"^^ ^^^^^ ^^ execute his wrath 
mAZlttamen^ ^"^^ difpleafure, (for he is Almighty:) No, no, that he all 
diu ttnere pixi- this while fp.ires and holds up, arifeth onely from his nature, 
entimy tis'i, vvhich is delighted rather to flievv mercy, and which is flow to 
Cyprian. wrath, and of much long-fuffering. 5. Of the freene^ of 
Of the freene'^s Gods grace. It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that run- 
of Gods grace. ;;^^^^ hut of God that jheweth mercy ^ Rom.p.i6. Alas! what is 
it that the Pelagians fcribled of Merits, andPapifts of Deferts and 
Congruities ? Lo here ! naturally we run from God, and natu- 
rally we are fighters againft God, we refift the motions of his 
Spirit, the counfels of his Word, the leffons of many Affli6li- 
ons ; and could we any how fubfift, we would never lay down our 
weapons. Did not the Lord fhew more compaffion to us, then 
we do unto our felves ; did he not enquire after us, and fol- 
low us, and as it werebefetus on every fide, and in a fort fur- 
^ ' prize us by the goodnefs and ftrength of his own Grace, we 

Hiould perifh in ourbloud, die in our folly, and be loft forever ; 
but this commends the exceeding c^racioufnefs of his Grace to- 
wards us, that though we be not onely enemies by nature, but 
rebellious alfo by practice, yet the Lord Hiews pity to our wan- 
dring fouls, will forgive our proud rebellions, and wiU heal our 


— ■ . . ■■ — - ■ ■ ■■ ■ ■■■.. . . 

7he Smners Avnfion from God. ^ j j 

foolifh and gainfaying hearts. It is great mercy for him to 
fpare us, who might tor our manifold finnings fp often have 
condemned us ; and it is the greateli mercy, that he doth 
not onciy not leave and damn us , but pities, converts, and 
faves i^s, ^ 

3. For Caution: And this is the main Ufe which I defire. to For Camion. 
in(iil on, 'i takj heed of jhafflfig with Cody and diggmg after ^«''<^ heed of 
pits, which will hold no VYaier, when God calls upon us by his ^"^ ng wiih 
Word, or byiiis Corrections, to return from our fins unto him, ° * 
and not to hold them fail, or to withftand the Lord, and hold 
h'm off. Here I fhall propound two things :, i. Some Mo- 
tives, or Arguments to hearken unto this; 2. Some Rules and 
Directions to guide us. The Motives may refpeCt us either, 
I. in the evil of thus fhuffling with, and delaying of God, 2. in ^°^*v^^^- 
the good on the contrary. I will mingle them tc^ether. Confider 

1, It is a mofl freclcm thing which the Lord offers umomy j, js , ^^^. 
rehen at frfi he calls nfon us to leave onr fins^ and to return unto pvuions ihlng: 
him, A thmg may be reputed precious, partly, in refpe61: of the ^^c Lord offirs 
neceffltyoflt^ when it doth fo nearly Concern us, that we are un- l" n ^' when at 
done without it. Now what fl\:ll become of us, unlefs we come ,,Ln ii« m^n... 
off from our fins ? What is it that wefo ihume for, and will not turn. 
let it.go ? What ! is it a good in it felf, or a caufe of good to us ? 
and what is it that we fo hold off from? is it not Grace and Salvatr- 
on? I fhall ferijh with hunger^ -i^kh xh^ Vrodi^^l, Somayeli 
thou truly fay, Unlefs 1 do accept of this offer of Grace, if I 
do thus hold on in my finfull ways, if I fhuflPie never folong, yet 
if I continue thus, I fhall at length perifhfor ever, Exod.io.y. 
Kmweft thou not that Bgyp is deflroytd ? fo, &:c. to go on thus is 
the way of death, to return and fubmit is the onely way of life : 
I cannot be faved unlefs I repent : It is not a vain thing for which 
the Lord ftrives with me, it is to give grace and life to my poor 
foul. In refpe6l of the excellency of It .-Excellent things are 
truly precious. Now every grace is excellent, it hath a native 
beauty in it, and makes us a cho'ce and eltim.ible pecple. Do 
throughly weigh a penitent and converted condition? how in it 
we are partakers of the Divine nature ; what a communion we 
have thereby with God; what a fellowrhip with Jefus Chrifi;^ 
how we pais from death to life, are madethe fons of God, and 


J 5 T'he Riotom Predtgal^ or 

"^ ^ become the heirs of glory, and will we then thus devife and flie 

from our beft go:)d ; Why ! when the Lord offers grace to a Tin- 
ner, what doth>he therein but ofter himfelf to be his God > oiter 
Ghrift to be his Saviour, offer the pardon of all hisfms, offer ail 
, the comforts of his Spirit, the blelfings of his promifes,and the 
hopes of eternal life ; and i£ this be not an excellent tiling, tvhat 
is ? can a better or greater matter be tendred to you. 
Ths Lord will 2. The Lord will not alwaies be. callr^g ufon m^mr tendrlng refers 
not alwaics be taKce unto ///>, and which brings forth falvation , as the Apoftle 
ciliing upon us., {peaks; My Sprit ^dl not alwaies ftrlve^ faith God, Gen. 6, 
Godftrives, when he comes clofe in any means. 2. Whenhec 
continueth and multiplieth means. And r# da^ if ye will hear his 
voice^ harden not J oHr hearts J its in the frovocationy Web, 3. God 
did deal often with the Ifraelites by wonders, by words, by corre- 
ctions ; but you know that though he bore long with them , yet 
he did not bear for ever; at length he confumed and made an 
end' of them, he would not continue to feek after them for ever. 
I will eafe me of mine adverfaries ; Cut it down, why cumbers it 
the ground. If we will not become obedient, he can quickly de- 
ftroy us for our difobedience. There is a day wherein God offers 
himfelf to be ours in grace and pesce ,, iiow long or how fhort 
that day is, I cannot juftly determine ; onely of this we may bee 
■^'fure, that God may in julnce refuf^ us forever, if we refufehim 
once. Note thefe Scripture', and rhey miy perhaps awaken and 
recall us, Ez^ekj 24, 1 2. She hath wearied her f elf with lies , and 
her^ re at f cum went not forth oat of her , her fcMmjhall be in the 
fire, \.\7,,Inthy pthinejsis lewdnefs^ becanfe I have purged thee 
( by afflidions, ) a^d rho-iwafi mt purged (by repentance,) thoti 
■fhalt not he purged fron^ thy filthinefs any ?mre , till I have can fed 
my fury to reft: upon thee Ve**. 14. / the Lord h^ve fpoken ;V, it fhall 
■come to pafs ^ and I will do tt^ I will not go backj) neither will I 
fpare , neither will I repent : according to thy waieSy and accord- 
ing to thy doings fhall they iudge thee^, faith the Lord GodyLu\^ 19. 
ver. 42. Oh ! if than had ft known , even thou at the leafl in this 
thy day th^ things which belong unto thy peace , hut novo they 
are hid from thine eies, Hebr. ?. ver 10. I was grieved with that 
generation^ andfaid, they do ahvaies err in their hears , and they 
have not known my wdes. Verf. 1 1. So Ifware in my wrath ^ they 
fimllnot enter inte my r-eft^, V^^\. 81. ver, 11, Bm my people 


The Sinners Averfion from God. ^ 5 y 

Vfi9Hld not hearken to my voice, And Ifrael rvoM none of mi, v. 1 2. 
So I gave them up to their own hearts Ufls^ and they walked in 
their rvn conn fe Is, The! e four pi a ces do a tf ord us four fad th 1 ngs, 
which rmy betal perfons rcfufing to return from their fins, and 
deluding that work. i. That the Lord will not ftiil beufv.gof 
iriwans. 2. That he will draw otf the means. :?. He will Lave 
fuch fmners, and give ihem up to themfelves. 4. They iliall 
never enter into his ref^ ; and this the Lord buids with an Oath. 
Every one of thefe is a Judgment fufficienJy fearful! ; for, whit 
fliall become of the fmner, when the Lord fli:JI ( judci^liy ) 
draw offthe mean? of his Converfion ? or if the means be con- 
tinued in common to others, y^t he will not work any more upon 
that perfon through them; but he Ouil defpife the counfels of th^ 
Word, and flight the mefl'age of all Afflictions ; and th.it a per- ^ 

fon iliould run fo far and fo high in a way of wickedn.fs, that the 
Lord gives him over as a defperate, hopelefs, and forlorn wretch, 
to walk in his own counfels, and after the lulls of his own heart ; 
and when the Lord feals him up by his Oath^ that this is a perf jn 
who l"hall never fee my face ; though mmy a finner iliill be par- 
doned and faved, yet this finfuil Tranfgreffor fliall never enter 
into my reft : Now what do:h the finner know, who feeks ne»v 
ways to fecure his finning, i^nd oppofeth thereby all the ways 
which God ufeth for his co);iVerting, I fay, how doth he know, 
but that the Lord vvill deal thus with him. God hath dealt'fo 
with fome, for dealing thus wiih him ; he clofed up the day 
upon Jertdfalem , and left the Ifraelites to their own hearts 
lufts , and never anfwered Saul any more, neither by Pro- 
phets, nor by Dreams, and threatens to remove the Candleftick, 
Revel, 2. 

^ Confider, That if the Lord fhould Hiew almoft the Mi- '^^^/''^"!'^^' 
racle of his Goodnefs towards fuch a fliuffling finner, his Con- ^^^^\\\hf 
verfion vvill be i. the Harder, 2. the more Bitter. It w'U 
be the Harder, for as much as all further degrees and fteps ThtHirdcr. 
in finning , do engage the heart more to the love of fin, 
^nd naturally infers more hardnefs of heart , and refiftance 
againft the motions of Grace. When a Skaine of Thread is 
more and -more clotted and entangled, it will be the hrder 
to clear it ; and a Cord may be fo k.iotted, that you cannot 
undo it, but by cutting it afundcr : Though the work of Con- 

I verfion 

. 5 8 ^^^ Riotom Frodigd^ or 

verfion be not ^difficult to God^yet the far running finner lliail 
find it, for his part, a more intricate and hitching thing, to wind 
his heart from thofe a6ls and paths of iniquity, into which it hath 
Or ihe har/bcr. '^^^^ ^^ ^^^^'S ^ccuRomed. HovVever, 1 1 v\iii he the Harfher ; ihe 
' child which ihcks fo often in the birth, caufeth the birth to be 
more fharpand dolorous. Ufually, the more hnfull a m^n hath 
been, and the longer he hath hela off God, his foul is more cut ;.. 
partly with Fears^ for now he hath many doors to unlock ere he 
^ can faften on grounds of comfort 5 not oncly that he hath held 

on acourfeof fin fo long, butalfo that he hath fo fubtiily and 
frequently withttood the tenders of grace, and Gods manifold^ 
^ dealings with him already. Though tiie perfon may have grace: 
truly wrought in him, to make him fee will this vileneis, yet it 
may be long ere his faith fhall be able comfortably to apprehend 
Gods mercy to forgive it. He may have doubts, Kot onely of 
mercy, but of the truth of his con verfion, as if it fcemed rather 
to be compiilfive ; God may long withhold from him thetefH- 
mony of his love, who hath a long timeperverfly withheld the 
confent of his heart from returning unto him. Partly with 
Shame : It will be an exceeding reproach and confufion of face 
unto this perfon, when^ ever the Lord converts him, that he 
|< Should deal with the Lord thus, refitt his Spirit fo much, and 

withliand thatgr^atkindnefs of God intended to him by the ma- 
ny means which he • hath ufed. Surely\^ after that I was tHmedy 
J repeated J faith Efhralm^ and after that I was InflrHcied I fmot-e 
fifon my thighj I was afhamed-, yea^ even confounded^ heeanfe I 
did hear the reproach of mj yonth-^ Jer. :?i. ip. Then [hall ye- 
remtmher yottr own evil wajs^ and your doings that were not goody 
and fhall loath jour [elves In your own fight ^ for jour iniquities^ 
akd for your abominations, Ezek. ^(5, n. Ah 1 how itwill rent 
and prefs the foul ! Such a fool, fuch a benli: was I, to purfue my 
own ruine, to rejedl: my own mercies, to flight fo great falvation, 
to vex fogood a God, and to be fo infinitely,, unchankffcilly b^fe, 
that if Lcould have found any means of fupporty I vvould never 
have fubmitted unto him, and left my finfull cbiirfe : Ah ! how 
doth the Lord take this at my hands > how unnccertible may my 
returning now be, which may feem rather to be forced through 
'extremity, thantofpringout of any ingenuity. So ihat you fee, 
"By our finfuli jQiiftings , either God may deny us converting 


The Sinners Averfion from God. ' '59 


grace, or elfe we fhafl make cur Converfion much lefs eafie and 

Cijcci, But fome may fay, Whnt can we help it? can we turn y^^ ctnnot 
cur own hearts ? it mulV be the Lord who mull- do that ; and he convert our 
might do it at the firft as well at at the bft, if he would. ^elva. 

Sol, And is this excufe to pafs for currant ? hath not God dealt Anfwered: 
with thee often ? didft not thou more often harden thine own 
heart, willingly withdraw thy felf , and all cut of a love to fm ? 
2i' Though thou couldft not convert thine own heart yet this 
thou mightefl: have done in the times of atflidlion?, &c, confi- 
dered, what might move the Lord thus to deal with thee ; all, or 
fome of the caufes which thy own conscience did freely iuggeft, 
and iheends which God pointed thee to, to reform them ; And 
then to have gone to him by vehement prayer, to convert thy 
heart from thy fins, to teach it righteoufncfs, to fubmit to his in- 
ibu6lions : Thou mightft thus have gone to him who can convert, 
and have waited on him in the means of converfion ; but thou 
didfi nor defire after him, nor delightedi-l: to feek him, &c, 

2. But what may we do to frevtnt this (htiffllngy and affaying of Mians to pre- 
means tofupport us in finning, when the Lord deals with us, and vrcnc this (huf- 
calls upon us for the leaving of fin ? fl'^^ 

Sol, I would commend thefe five Dire6lions. i. Strive to h gg convinced 
convinced of this^ That A4 long as the Conrfe is pi finfull CoHrfCy It of this, Tkac 
can never be a fafe Courfe, We may weary our felves in the mul- * ^^"^"H courfc 
titude of our imaginations and ways, but run what courfe yoa ^Y"°' ^c' ' ^^ 
pleafc, and purfue your own devices, yet this ye fliall reap of the 
Lord, you fhall lie down in your fhame and forrow ; you may 
run to new experiments^ but mifery will follow your fins the next 
time as well as this, and in e\^ery way as well as one way : Tour 
fins will find you out ; and as long as you carry your fins with you, 
you cannot keep oft' calami tics from you. 

2, Of necelfity joh mn(l retwn or j)erijh : Your fiwfull courfe is You muft re- ^ 
a by-path, and leads to de.nh. It is finfi'll,and you know it ; and ^^^^ ^^ P"*^' ^' 
being finfull, it muft be miferable. To what end doth tht Patient 
excufe the taking of the Receipr,the wholfome Balm ? he muft die 
if he doth not receive it : So confider, To VThat end do I thus vary 
my paths, and fiiufflc and feek fupports ? there U nothing ft.ong 
enough to fecure a finner ; and let me fadly confider, that I muft 
on e time or other leave thefe finnings, or elfe f arewel my Sourand 
Salvation. I 2 ' It 

6o ^ The Riotous Frodigal^ Or 

,5. It cAnmt hut he hefry the footer it is ; I muft return, or r^- 
be* th ^f"^" *^ riHi ;- too foon I cannot return, and the fooner the better. A 
ic is. °^^ ^ Souldier of a middle age, a Counfellor of a grave age, and a 
Bift Penitent of a young age, are IM the beii The work which 

For Safwty. muft be done, is belt done when foonelt : Bert, for Safety ; for, 
thy life is very uncertain ; -and if thou doelt not leave thy ims to 
day, thou mayeft be in Hell ( for ought thou knowell )'for thy 
For Accp- iins to morrow : V or Acceptance '^ the Lord likes it belt, when 
tance. one Word of Mercy can caufe us to 'rufl-, and one lliJikin^ of the 

Rod can caufe us to tremble, and when one command fufficeth to 
turn us ; when upon the firrt Arreft, we give up our Weapoiis,; 
F.r Quicrnefs. i^ pleafeth Soveraignty beft i for Qmetnep-^ for we do hereby 
deliver not onely our Souls, but Bodies alfo, from many trou- 
bles, the fooner we do repent, andplainly yield ; why! Confci- 
-cnce fpeaks peace the fooner, and God commands mercies the 
fafter ; ilrong Sins, breed long afflidlions ; but o^ist up the Sins^! 
and God gives up the Qu^arrel ; throw over Blchrls head to Jo^h^ 
and he will prefently remove the fiege. If a man had healtib, he 
might tcike fleep the better ; butaslongasthebodyisdifeafed, 
it is unquiet. 
Strive 8|ainft 4. Strive again ft thofe dlvertwg Principles^ which do draw thee. 
difcrtingPrin- from the right and onely way, and put thee on by-thoughts and 
cjplcs, as by-paths, and a vain aflayment of means to fupport u^ ; As i. 
Prpfumption Prefumptlon, either of Aievcy^ though thou doeft add drunken- 
^^^icy, j^^jTg ^^ third, and liill findeft out thine own inventions ; or thine 
Or of thy own oy^n Povper .- Thou mayeli be hindred of the time which thou doeft 
^'^"' proje6t,and mayeft want (treng th to execute thy purpofes : For fin- 

full pra6lifes do altogether weaken our power, whileft they delude 
Scnurnefs and US with a conceit of ftrength hereafter. , 2. Stoutnej? and prldn of 
podc of fpirir, fplrlt : I>onot,in a bravery of villany,dirrute with the Almighty 
God ; it may prove a fad Victory to thee, that thou art able to re- 
D:Iijht in fin. je6l good counfel, and to quench all good-motions. 3. Delight 

Z;;//^, which drowns the errand of aU afflictions, d'r. 
L d I V- 5- ^^P^^^^^^ Lord^ at the very fir fi^ to clrcumclfe the finh^ 

cumcifc \ht hornnef^ of jour hearts^ and to give you theundcrlimding ear, and 
ftubbdrnnefs the obedient fpirit ; that when in the Word he calls upon you to 
af your hesns. jurn from your fms, your hearts may fall down, and cry out, O 
Lord, turn me ; and vvhen by afflictions he calls upon you to turn, 
you may prefently humble your hearts, and cry out, O Lord,par- 


The Sinners Averfton from God, 6 1 

doii me ; O Lord,heal me ; O Lord,iurn and fave me : Let us all 

think of this ; You know that the Lord is difpleafed with us, and 
we have hitherto hardened our hearts againit the Lord ; God 
hath de.ilt with us once, twice, often, in pubhck, in private ways, 
and (iii-i we feek our own ways, delude the work of Repentance, 
fet nothing to heart, nor repent of our evil doings. 

11. Now I proceed to the Second thing, which is, ^^^^ fi'' "^^ '^ l^^^^^^^^^ 
difaffolritment of the Prodigals ajfap and depgns^ in thefe words, gfi jhrProdi- 
\jAy:dno man gave HKto him,] Y^\\znC(t\o\)i^lv^-t. |a!s t^rfi^ns. 

y'That mthtng (hall avail the fhiffiifig. fimer ^ until he doth Docl, 2. 
tmn f^^om his /ms ; but Cod will difa^poi'^jt all his frojecis^ Litter Nnhingfhall 
down all hu cenfdences^fruftrate all hi4 exfetlations-, drive him om '^^^'^^^^ ^"'/J 
of all his harbours^ and overthrow all the means andways which he ^^'^^^^^^ '^uc 
pes unto. Before 1 confirm this Aflertion, let me premife a few God will dif- 
particulars, that fo^you may rightly conceive the fcope of \.\.^ appoint all Lis 
Thus then. P ojefts. 

, -: I. I intend the Affertionjof a Tinner whom God doth intend to Some thmgs , 

I , , ....... prcmilcd. 

convert ; others he may leave to prof per in their imaginations : y^j^ j^ ^^^^. 
For you fee it raifed fromthedifappointmentof a Prodigal, one of a (inner 
whofe converfion at length attended his manifold afifli6tions,and as whom God in- 
manifold contrivances to keep up his finfull converfation : though tends ro caa— 
fuchaperfonknows notit, nor thinks on it, yet God is fecretly ^"^' 
againft him,and thrulls him off from all the Cities of Refugejupta 
which he flies ; which wayfoever he turns,and wh it courfe foever. 
he apiiies himfelf unto, whatfoever veffel he putshimfelf into, it 
fhall be I'ke Jonah sfhipy wh'ch will not be quiet until he be c^A 
out, until hedoth come to confider of his doings, and return. . 

2.1 intend the Affer tion, of an eventnal^ not of an inflantaneom ^V ^ »n"f^af a ^ 
dJ (appointment : //.)Though for the prefent,and fome fhort fpace, ^^^ ^^^ ^f ,„ * 
the cunning (inner may quietly polTefs the fruits of his proje6ls,and mftancmccus , 
folace h'mfelf in fome cirnal fecurities; yet at length,fooner or la- difippolnc- 
ter,God will ag^in befiege him,and take him off. Asit was with °'''^*' 
j^donljahs gtiefts. though for fome minutes they did fe.^fl and 
rejoyce, yet on a fudden they were all amazed, fled and difper- 
fed ; or as it is with the Fowls which are purfued, though they 
light, as they think, upon a prey, yet the. Piece is difcharged, 
and they are all driven away: ^ois it wi'.hthefinner (whom- 
God in ♦■ends to convert ) thoiic^h he may contrive a way ( as 
he thinks ) and quietly and fafely go on in his iiafull 


' (52 7'he 'Riotous Prodigal^ or 

courfe, and begin to fit down, yet thither alfo vvill the Hue and 
Cry come, and he jliall be forced away ; all tha: alfo fliaii be 
daihed in pieces ; there will come down a Writ of Ejedion, ?,nd 
-caft him out of the hoiife, as it did Ahah out of the VmeyarJi 
which he had unjufily pofiefled \ fo that he fliail not fettle hng 
upon any way or courfe, without fome fpecial and effe6tuai diliur- 
bance from God. 
The rhiifiling 5, The fh^ffli^g projects of a [tmer may be refuted invalid^ el^ 
projfds of a ther^ when that every thing or waj which he contrives is rafed and 
InTaiid tmral -/^#^^^ • As a Callle, unto which the Souldiers fly, isdemolifh- 
ways. ' ed ; fo when the Lord takes otfth.u Friend, or utterly blalis-;hat 
- courfe of Living, that way of Trade and Imploymmt wherein a 
finner trufted all his hopes with : Or, when that which the /inner 
contrived as his help and firengthy /hall /hut the gate againfl himy 
not admit him into harbotir : Or, when that which he hath with 
' much art and fains contrived-, is /p far from proving an helf^ that 
it augments his grief and trouble : There is ,as it were,an evil fpir it, 
put in twixtthe plotting heart, and the obtained help, fo tha: it 
proves a bitter enemy inftead of a friend, and a further mifery 
inftead of a comfort. One of thefe ways doth God mike the 
fhuffling projedsof a finner unavailable ; either by blafHng that 
vain Gourd which delightfully fhadowedh'm; or by turning off 
the finner from the Horns of thofe Altars, unto which he flies in 
times of mifery ; or elfeby making the land of Egypt, into which 
he flies for Bread and Corn, to become an Houfe of cruel Bon* 
dage; I mean, by turning his defires into, ifnotCurfes, yetin- 
tollerable CrolTes. -^ 

The (hiiffllng 4. Wh^th^nhQcaufesyhy thefnner d?thf^i^ffle^ bt inward, or 
finner (hal nei - whether itbc outward ; whecher it be the ftrokes of Conference ^ or 
^er keep down vvhether it be the flripes of JffliBion ; he fhall neither kjep down 
fckn?^^ ^^"" ^^^^ ^^^' ""^^ ^^P ^ff^heother^ but the inward wounds fhalj ever 
k^epoffaffli- ^nd anon be renewed. As all the endeavours of the Mariners 
^ions. could not calm the Sea, until 'Tonah was CL^ft out of the fhip ; fo 

until the finner forfakes his evil ways, there is no efcaping the 
one or the other. 

The Propofition being thus explicated, I fi^all briefly confirm 

it, byrefolvTng two things; 1. How it may appear to be true. > 

How thismsy ^- Whyitisfo?^ , ^ ' t- n_ « 

appear (o be Qhi^it.i* Hotp it may appear to be a. truth ^ that nothing ihall 

irui' ' ' avail 

The sinners Aver fion from God, ^3 

avail the fhuffiing fiiine>, until he returns from his (ins ? 

Sol. Thus: I. The Lord doth many times make all the helfs q^j ^j^y 
a-rid meoi^s which tie (inner ufethy tohevam^ andunah'.e^ and in- times makes 
fhffcienf. This is imported in that phrale, J^r. ;?. 23. 7rnly '1'^ th.ir belpi 
in vain isfalvation hofed for from the hi lis y and from the multitude >'"a^ means in- • 
of mountains. The Ijraelites were dillrelled by reaion of iheir 
iins, they were befieged and furprized by the Babylonians ; their 
proper work now had been to have returned unto the Lord : But 
they ilill go on, and think to falve and fecure themfelves by the 
help of Syria • but ^ill in vain, they could not preferve them, 
they were not able.. So the Prophec, Hof.<^ 11^, when E^hr aim 
farv his fickle [iy and J^udah bis woundy then went Ephraim to the 
^ffyriarty anil fent to KingJ arihy yet could he mt heal yo>iy nor 
cure joH of your wounds He alludes to a iick patient, and an im- 
potent Phylitian,. who cannot poiTlbly heal. See, all the ftrength ■ 
unto which they repaired, could not deliver or fecure them ; 
though they did undertake the cure,- the fafety, )^t they could 
not performit,. 2. That fhame which hath covered the faces of Sh?.mehacfj 
[inners after all their cunning expertmentSy confirms this truth al- covered I'fee fii- 
ia, That nothing avails, &c. The Ifraelites tried the help of ^^^o^^^"^'".* 
jijfjriay but that was too weak a BoW; then they have another *"^f ''^^""^ ^ 
projedl, they will make ufe of Egypt-, nor fhou'ld this profper, ^ jatn"?. " 
when they had tried it, they were afhamed of it ; they had pro- 
pounded great matters, and boafted much, how able they fhould 
now be, andhowfafe; but when all came to all, nothing at all 
came of it. ler.2, 3 6, pyhy gaddeft thou about fo much to change-^ 
thy way ? thou alfo (halt be ajhamed of Egypt ^ as thou waft afha- 
med of Affjna, v. :?7, TeOy thou (halt go forth from himy and 
thine hands Hpon thy head ; for the Lord hath re;eEied thy confi- 
dencesy and then (halt not profper in them, ^. The Lord hath Thetordhsthi 
pulled the fnners out of their fanduaries and helps unto which they P'-^ l'^ fmners 
have fled; yea, hath pulled them out //^^/^^^p, Jer. 12. :?. ^n<^ ausries co^"° 
t2ktw'hzm^\yd.y OiS with fi(h^hookj^ Amos 4, 2. 4. He hath v^hich they 
da(hed inpieces the refuges on which theytrufled ; blown down the bawr fled, 
houfe which they took up to lo-c^e in ; as is evident in the crack- Hi bsth dafh- 
ing rf the King <?/ Egypt, unto whom the //"r^//V<ri in their capti- ^^ i" P«ces 
vities fled ; but the Lo^d brought on him the Army of the ChaU ^^ich t"b\^ trii- 
deanSy which utterly overthrew him. As it was with Jonahywho ftcd. 
fled from the Lord, and got into a (hip for lar(hlfh ; the Lord 


^4 The Riotous Frodigd^ or 

fent a wind and fi&rm^^yhich did never leave vvorking,till it purged 
• J^;?^/; out ofthe ihip. So that ftrength, and fecure defence, unto 
which the fmner betakes himfelf, God doth as it were befiege 
him therein, and never leaves, undl hehathdemoiiilied it, and 
He mskes his brought him to terms of capitulation nfreili. 5. Bjf making hts 
iinfuil contri- jinfull contrivances to frove hts flronger a?2d harder fetters ; that 
vinc« to be that way, and that ccmfort which the fmner took up as a fhadow 
hjsftroniec from the ftorm and heat, hath ( like fome hired Souldiers m the 
, ' * day of battel ) wheel'd about, and become the itrongeltfnare, and 

bitterett burden. As D^Wi/complainedoffome of his friends,(h.it 
they did prove his mcfl: enraged and cutting enemies • Or as the 
Trophet fpeaks, The men of thy Confederacy have brought thee even 
to the horder-^themen that were at feace with theefoave deceived thee^ 
they that did eat thy bread-^ have laid a wound under thee, Obad.y, 
So the Lord hath fo over-ruled it, that he hath driven the (inner to 
a miferableftand, even when he hath purfued the vvyaes ( as he 
thought) of his own contentment; in the purfuing whereof^he hath 
onely followed a fmiling River, into a moft unquiet and trouble- 
By the belei- fome Sea. 6. Bf a moft perfeB beleagrlng (as it were ) of a 
gring of a f f 0- froje^lng Jtnner : hedging up all his ways with thorns, or immu- 
jidjng finaer. j-fngof him as in a Calile, Hofi. and lliutting of him up, that 
there iliall be no going out or coming in. 
^ n Now for the fecond Qneftion, Why nothing fhall avail the 

Rea^'t^' I* ^uffl^"g fi^ner, until he repents ? 
' ' . ' I con jevflure thefe Reafons may b t rendred. i.That unhappy 

^^ ' u quality of (In which makjs every way unfucce(^fulL It is like fome 

The unhappy / ,/ j'/. Y-n \ "^ ^ - ri ^r r 

quality of fin. ^^eeds which mar every diin they come mto; or like fome fervants, 

^ under whofe hand nothing profpers : So is it with fin ; it is an un- 

profperous thing,and mars all ; the worm in our gourd,arms every 

creature againft us,it alone were enough to batter down the lirong- 

ert Carile,and to blaft our fweeteft comforts ; it thrufts in a fecrer 

Whileft the ^^^^^ ^V^^'^ ^^^ ^"^ undertakings. 2. PVhlles the Lord is agalnfl a 

Lord is s^ainft nt^n^nothlng can be fnjfclent to help him. What can prove a friend, 

a m3r,Tio:hinj while the Lord is an enemy? all thirgs come on,orfall off,as God 

is fufficien to draws near,or fiands off from us; we can never elhblifh our felves 

e P biir. by ojjf f^vvn hand,nor againtt Gods. You may read in Hi?/. 5.1 :?.that 

Ephralm and Judah in their dlfirefs betookjhem to theAffyrlans^hut 

they could do them nogood.Y, i ^Sor I will be unto Ephralm as aLl- 

inland as a yomg Lion to the houfe af Judah -^ I^evcn I^will tear^and 


*The Sinners Converftcn to God. 5^ 

go away 'J will takj away ^and roue (hall rejcne him.Butnow whiles a 

man goes on,{liuffling,in a finful vvay^theLord is againli: him. ^Xhe j^^ ^^j^^^. 

fmier Wduld never tHrn to God^tf any of his own waies could ava.l.lf y\oald never 

the fliip could any way hold cut^the men would not come co lliore; '"^« to Gad. 

but when it is all fplit, and they muft perifli if they fvvim not, ^^ '"^ °,^ ^^^ 

now they make to the iliore : So is it here; the Lord muft wholly °^^\^^^^*i - 

unbotLom the linner, he muft /trip him of ail hopes and conti- him, 

dcnces, yea hemuft hold him as u were over the flames of hell, 

-before he will turn unto him ; Oh ! the heart of a {inner hath 

made a covenant with fin , which will not eafily be difannuUed; 

ordinarily, till the very life comes to it, that a man fees he muit 

prefently be damned, if he doth not repent , he will ftand it out 

againft God. 

Now to proceed to the Application of this : Shall nothing help . 

the lliufflins; finncr till he repents ? then certainly the Lord (hews ^. (^\ . 
^ /• •. • r.L n • 1 . -^ 1 Thin the Lord 

great mercy unto htm ; it is one ot the greateit judgments, when (^zy^^ ^rtin 

the Lord lets the firmer alone, to go on and profper ; amiferable mercy cofuch 
thing it is>,when the patient is given over , and noPhyfician will a finner. ^^ 
meddle with him ; fo on the contrary, It is a great mercy, when 
the Lord doth not give over the finner, but ftill follows him, and 
ftill difappoints his counfels, and undermines as it were his pro- 
jedls, and is too hard for him in all his waies. Thou doeft oft times 
take it heavily, that die Lord fhould fland againli thee thus , and 
pull away this comfort, and fiop up that way, and diuppoint and 
defeat one enterprife after another : Why ! now confider, were 
it kindnefs to let thee make up thy works to hold out againfi: God? 
Were it a mercy to thee,to let thee grow ftrong in a way of dam- 
nation ? The Lord is ftill againft me, faieft thou, I can ^tt on no 
way,but I find him my adverfary^I cannot fettle on any thing,but 
be plucks it off : I anfwer. The Lord is not fo much againft: thee, 
as thou art againft thy felf ; it is true, the Lord hath not yet done 
with thee ; Why 1 becaufe thou haft not yet done with fin ? and 
bis hand is ftill ftretched out againft iht^^ Why ? becaufe thy 
hand is ftill ftretched out againft him ; he doth by variety of af- 
flictions and croffes ftill purfuethee ; but let me tell thee one 
thing, It is better he fhould purfue thy fins, then thy foul ; let 
the afflictions be what they will, they are better then damnation;-' 
^11 that God intends unto. thee is onely this, he will never leave 
thee> untill he hath overcome thee ; as they in the war take one 

K out- 

5^, The Riotous Brodtgal^ or 

out-work after another, i^ntill the befieged do yield up : So is it 
vvith the Lord, he will drive thee out of all thy holds, as he did 
Nehuch/id^ez,z.ar out o£ his Kingdom, untill he hath brought 
thee to humble thy felf for thy fins, and repent. And what is all 
this, but a moli: tender mercy which doth thus purfue thee, onely. 
that-itmayfavethee. ^ • ^ 

It Is in vain to ^' Then /> /V/;?^;^/^ y?nW^^^;;^y?6'^ to hold out, forno- 
ftrive aiainft thing fhall avail : ^re m jironger then he^ faid the Apoftle ? Can 
^o<J» our counfels lie hid from his wifdome ? or can we (et upon the 

v^raies where his eie cannot find us ? Can we grafp the comfort at 
all, which his hand cannot inftantly pull from us ? Can VYe com- 
mand ourownfafeties,vvhilfihe is difpleafed with us ? or profper 
• atallwhilehefaies, Curfed is every fruit of thy labour ? Can 
any way of thine enable thee againft him who can crack a whole 
world at once? thou canfl: repofe thy felf on none but creatures, 
and hadil thou them all, what.were they, could they fecure thee 
againit their Lord ? Is there any creature a Cafile (Irong enough 
to retein a fmful traitor againft God.; 
Lctusfrecdily- 3* LMy^thcn let us f-peedi/i return j ^"d at once take forth 
return. . the leflbn of all Gods dealing with us; that which he aims at is our 

repentance ; Let former times and denials and fubtilties fuflfice us; 
doth God firike off all thy friends, and lay them afide ? doth he 
pull thee out of every harbor > do all the means 6n which thou 
trulkdR for fake and fail thee ? O then return unto the Lord ; all 
this befalls thee, purpofely to bring thee home to thy father ; It 
is becaufe the Lord would have thy heart, thy love, thy joy, thy 
fear, thy hope, thy confidence, thy obedience, &c. 

Luk^ i^. ly. ^nd when hee came to himf elf ^ he/aid^ Hor» 
many hired [erv ants of my father have bread enough^ and to 
jfare^ and I perlfi with hunger? ver. i8^ / mil ar if e and go to my 
father y &c, Thefe. words contain in them the happy fr^iits of 
iharp afflidlions , the dawning of the day afteraftormy night, 
the c uicki:iings of a dead man, the penitential recovery of a finful 
Prodigal. Wemuft not defpair of men, though they be great 
finners ; a prodigal, riotous, luxurious perfon begins nere. to r^ 
turn ; «or muft we be cuick and peremptory in cur final cen- 
fures of;them, though (like;: a jQiipinmanyflorms) they hold 
on their finful coiirfes fif'-sr, in.iny dealings , for the power which 
converts is mighty ^ and th<i feafon to convert is different ; God 


. ■ — I ■ ■ I I — . 

T^he Sinners Averfion from God, 6j 

doth as it were nurfe up fome from tluir youth in grace , others 

he leaves to conquer ui battel ; when their defeal'es are grown 

to age and flrength , yet he can over-m^fter and heal them, as 

here the Prodigal. Concerning whof- pemte/jt: ejla.e ( which x \. 

was the fecond General) you may he pleated to confidcr a d-.ubh r!)c diviUjuof 

a6l : I. One of his Judgment, defcribed in this verf, ly, clu'X.x^ 

2. Another of his Will, defcribed in z^erf, 1 8. the fo fncr is an 

a£l of infpedlion, in the vievving of his bad life ; ih : o;her is an 

act ofrefolution, to change and leave it ; ihat is, ( if I m^y fo 

call it ) xh^ftrndamentalwoiV of Repentance, a :d this is \\itfor^ 

mfil work of it ; the one is the framing, the o-her is the launching 

of the lliip. 

I muti treat next on the firft work, which is i\\z jtidgmefjt of the rhe ju<^gmcnt 
Trodlgal, Some call it an ntl ffConfderaticwy which is fuch an ef- of chc prodijsl 
fed of right reafon, whereby we righdy underhand and judge of ^^P^^"-^'^ *" 
things; Others -conjecture it an ^<S ofConftiUatim^ wherein he 
did deliberate and debate his way and condition throughly in his 
mind, in comparing it with another Qppofite condition ; fothen 
in this 'udicious working of his you have : 

Firfl-^A [erlom confidcrmon [ he came to himfelf] (/.) now he ^ fcrious con- 
began to bethink where he was, and what he had done 5 like a Ujeration ; 
mad man before he ftill raged , and ran on , never minded any 
thing but his fins,but now his reafon comes inta joint again , 'hee 
foberly andingoodearneft confiders of hiscourfeandeitate. 

Secondly^ A wife confultation : Ah ! thinks he, I have brought ^ ^\[^ conful- 
myfelf into a miferable. condition, I am even ready toperilli „ation. 
with hunger ; I have gone on fo far in fin, that if I return not, I 
am ioii for ever ; I have tried all the waies that I can imagin, but 
they profper not ; die and periih I would not, is life to be had 
no where? Where might fuch a poor famiflit creature find a bit of 
bread to fa\ e his life ; Now I think on it, I have a father living, 
and he hath bread enough, even his meaneft fervants have enough, 
and to fpare ; he hath bread for fervants, will he have none for a 
child ? they have enough,'! have none at all ; they have to fpare, 
and i hunger, I perifh with hunger, my condition is mofl: mifera- 
ble, their condition is moli plentiful ; Well ! thus I will not 
rett, I will arife and go to him, &c. Before I handle that Affer- 
tion which the text will immediately afford , there may be many 

K a not , 

• - ■ ■ 

58 The Returning Prodigal^ or 

notunufeful obfervation*, which occafiondly and collaterally fall 
in : I will but mention them unto you, and then fit dovvn upon 
the principal intention of the Verfe. 
^ .|ri;ci., I. That great aff,iBions may end In a fweet converfion^ or^the 
on* m^ end jharfefl mijerles ^ may prove a jn^ans to bring m to the fweetefl 
in a fwce.: mercies: Storms, though they be to fome iliipwracks, yet they 
Convei-rion. landfome ; the prodigal met with famine 5. and that brought him 
back to his fathers houfe for bread. / had perljh^^d, faid one, m- 
lefs I had perl [bed ; fo may many a man fay. Had I not been af- 
flidted, I had been damned ; my great loffes have.proved ray 
greateft gain; I never fell into the love of God, untill I came un- 
der the fcourge of God. 
. ' ^ g. 2. Tha-t even a great [inner is net uncapahle ef mercy or grac^ ; 

ncr ii noc un- ^ l^^^urious prodigal , who fpent all among Harlots , . is 
capable of now returning home to his father, , a penitent and grieved child: - 
Hi-"?*^» and the reafon is this ; Though the fins of a man l>e great, yet 

the mercies of a God be free, and mercy advanceth its own- glo- 
ry, vvhen it ili'nes on thegreateft finners. Sin is great, but grace 
""isilronger, it can quicken dead men. As theknottieft wood,vvhen 
ii is fQuared, proves of ftrongeft fervice ; fo the.vileft finner,once 
converted, proves the faithfullef-l: and a6tiveft inftrument of glory 
to God ; and laftly, God doth extend grace to great finners, that 
no finners might defpair, 
^. That God doth many times permit the fnner to trj te 
Oo lomc- ^^^ Htmofl^ and then converts him, A loni^ feafon ere fome return : 
the Sinner to asr^^/ to breatn outperfecutions , and to get authority to bind 
try ihc Bjmnft, all, &c. and then he is firuck down ; hereby he magnrhes his pa- 
andthetscon- tience, and more demonfirates his mercies and^goodnefs, thataf-*^ 
fertshim. ^^^ ^jj ^ j^^^ ^yjljj y^j. ^cgept of fuch a finner , and pardon 


4, That an Unconverted man Is a mad man-^ he is befidc? 

An iiaconver- j-j j j^feif. Sin bereavs the finner of the right vSq of reafon, and he 

aiai~m£.n. never comes to be fober , to be himlelf, until n2 dotn repent ; 

whatfoever fury offpirit,wildnefs of fancies, rendings ofcloaths, 

tearings of bonds, untameablenefs,. ragings, inconfiderations,are 

extant in m^dnefs, the fame are to be found in a meerTmfui heart 

, and life: all thefe proportions are obfervable and ufeful^ but 

that which I intend to. iniiit on, is this i 


.j fm n gif. 

The Simers Converfion to God, , 69 

That aferloHs Confideratlon^and the right Comfmfon of. the mi- Do^, 
Jerable efiate of a/ir/ffi/ Car^ditio^y with t he-happy efiate of a Con- A fcrious 
'verted cc'^dhion^ are the prime fteps and occajw^s of a true and Confiicraiion, 
fpeedy Repef7taKce, For the Explication of this poinu I miifl: 0- ^T'^ "^^^ 
^ pen fome particulars ; i. Concerning a Serious C onJtderatioy2 of ^| ^^f^ mifcra- 
a Suful Condition: It is an Imeyitlve work^of the Judgmem ^ blcftitcofa ' 
wherein It doth narrowly and diligently meditate on. the whole finful Condi- 
efiate of [In. It is called in Scripture, a remembri'ing of our "on, andfcap- 
waves ; aid fometimes a bethinking of our felves;, and a feeini^ r^« j^ * 

I ' I T 1 • r I T • r T ^ Converted 

what we have don^, a ponaring of. our paths, it is oppoied not Conditiooj arc 
only to Ignorance and Nefcience,. but alfo to Negligence ; yej, ftcpsto true 
torafhnefsandfuddennefs ; and indeed it is a very deep fearch- '"^ fpecdy 
ing, and minding, and weighing of matters : \Vhen a man iits ^'^/"^f^^^i 
down and mufeth,fo that his mind and thoughts are throughly im- rious^Confidel • 
ployed, he makes it a fpecial bufin'fs, be bends all his i^rength radon is. 
rightly to inform himfelf,, to. bring himfelf to a right underitand- ^ 
ing of his eftate ; this is a proper confideration. There be . two 
kinds of thoughts and mindings :fome.. are only /^i'/'/^/V/W; they ' • 
are bat the cafl of, the eye, , a glancing, lightning motion. , O- 
thdrs are Dlfcurf-ve^ full y fearch ing ; the mind in them doth 
tliroughly inhli an the Natures, Kinds, Circumftances^ Occur- 
rences and Iffues of things, it is taken up with it as a bufinefs. 
The ferious confideration of a m.ins iinfulnefs, falls into this ht- 
' ter ; it is not a confufed work, or a light overly fight of fin, i't is 
a-fetled and deep pondering • of the etiue in the Qualities, A6h; 
and Fruits of it ; Nature, Number, Cireumftances, Danger: 
" ^'. ^. -When I ferioufly confider of my finful ^ti^xx^y I refleil " 
*' on my felf, what kind of life I lead , what ai^e thofe qualities 5 
*' what thofe wayes which I find and w.'>lk- in ; my Thoughts , 
" my Affeilionsjmy Speeches have been thus ; and thws my xtk\- 
" ons, and thus my courfe- of Life. I have many bonds upon 
** me to ferve the Lord, and not to fin againft him ;' but, Wretch - 
** that lam, Ifeeall my way? (which I took for ple>.afures and 
" profits) havebee^i finful and vile. By them all I have violated 
" -a righteous Will, dillionored and provoked a great God(whofe ■ 
*' wrath is a confuming fire) I h^ve (to fatis fie them) lofl all my 
" comforts, caufedmanyev'ls to others, brought many miferies 
"on my felf, putChrift to'de.^th, and, if God be not mer- ^ 

J^ciful, loft my miferable foul for ever, • Thsfe wayes (will! 



yo The Riotous Predigd^ er 

*' not believe mine own eyes ? ) are extremely linful, and there- 

" fore (fhould I not believe the Scriptures) are damnable : many 

*' a year have I run this courfe, and often times under checks of 

" Confcience ; very much evil hath already been upon me, and 

*' ail for fin; fome troubles of Confcience : And that wrath 

^' which God threatens and is behind, is terrible. If I go on 

thus, I perifb for ever ; for whili^ I keep my fins, the leaft fin 

of them, I muft neceflarily part with God, and lofe my foul. 

"Tell me, O my vamly deluded foul, can that be good whicii 

'■ "God hates, or fafe., which God doth curfe? VVoiildftthou 

** dye thus ? O then thou dyeft for ever • and why then wik thou 

'*' live thus any longer ? O thou haft prcfmned too far already ; 

*' perhaps Patience will bear no longer, and Mercy being often 

" abufed, may be for ever recalled ; and then, thoU; O my Soul , 

" then whither wilt thou go ? No, no, we muft no more of thefe 

*' forbidden fruits, andnoloiigermuft we trade in the paths of 

" death ; there is a God who hath lookt on thee all this while , 

■ *' and hates thy wayes, and hath fealed his implacable wrath with 

** an Oath if thou return not : Come, my foul, think aright of 

*' God, of thy paft a6ls, of thy prefent eftate, of thy future 

" condition ; believe me, thy Guilts are many,thy Accounts will 

'' be bitter ; God hath been ftill difhonoured , ' he will not be 

^^ mocked :, \tt us return, for we are out of the way of Heavenjand 

*' are even upon the brink of Hell. 

What ibis right 2. Concerning the right Cowfarlfon of the mlferahUnefs of a 

Comp?ti[on is flnful^ mth the ha^pnefs of a jenltent Condhion , I need fay but 

Cppofiujuxta little: It is nothing elfe, but after .a diftin6l view of either, to 

[epopta^ &c. ^^^ ^^^ oneagainft the other in the Nature, Kinds, Qmlities, 

Concomitants, Ends and Iffiies, 'v,g, " Thus bafe and foul is an 

" Impenitent eftate ; thus excellent andglorions is a Converted 

"eftate; ThathoW oppofttctoGod, This how fuitable; That 

*' how odious to God, This how acceptable •, That how covered 

*^ with threats, This how inriched with promifes ; That is a cloud 

** of thunder, This a river of delight ; Thafis a path of mifery, 

" This a way of mercy ; in that God Abhors me, in this God 

" loves me ; m that I feel his Frowns andftrokes, in this I feel 

" his Smiles and comforts ; that brings down all Curfes on me , 

. '^'thisallBlenfingsonme; Inthat liliewmy felf a Rebel, and 

*'donothingbutdiftioaoUi:God, inthis a Servant, and in feme 


The Sinners Averfion from God^ ^ 71 

meafure bring him Glory; li' I continue :n thatjfarevvell all Mer- 
cy and happineisjl perii'n with hunger,! am loii tor evei:; if I at^- 
tain to this^God is mine5Chriil is jUinejMercyjPardonjFavcur ,. 
^' Comfort, Grace, Heaven, Happincfs, 1 ilia 1 be faved for ever, 
*' NoWjO my Soul, thou feeft both tfta.tes in theix Nature,in their 
*-' FruitSjin their Ends;yea,thou hail felt the bicternefs of the one, 
"fay. Is not Mercy better then Mifery ? is not God better then 
" Sin ? is not Heaven better ihen Hell ? is not Plenty better \^m. 
" Famine ? Life, then Death > O then, arife, up, be gone, re- 
*'lmquilh thy courCe of Sin, of Mifery,. of Death, of He]l, 
" and arife and go by true Repentance unto God , , unto Chril-iv 
** unto Grace, unto new Obedience, unto Mercy ,\unto Jo^',/un- 
*' to BlelFing, unto Life, unto Eternal Life^ ajid that mofthap-' 

"py, &c. . . ' 

7,. The third thing is to dear it, How thefe mo are f rime y?<?/?/ Hew rlrcfc arc 
to RefeynaKce ; viz., A CcnlTderation that a finful courfv; ^ inoR pii-nc ft^ps ta- 
miferable , and a penitent is, moft happy-and comtprtable ; jre Repentance, 
fteps, &c. Only premife adifeence tv^^xt ^C^ife-^ and tyyi^^t 
an Occajion of Repentance. The Spirit:of God is the G/tt^f^ ^ 
thefe confiderations are QccAJions , and ycorl^bf w^^y of Argmmnt 
9rmay2S, Tbeywo^kby 

1. That they do fo, ^;;(?4rj ^>5'frfy/^r^,/.i King. 8.47, -^f^^^^^'^l^^ 
they jhall be thitik^themf elves m t^he Lmd^ whlth^- thjs-y were oar- p^^ygj " 
ried,Cafpive<^ a^dr^fe^Tt, Ezek. i^.. 2,?:. BeciiH^eyjf^ 0iifd£mh BySeripturc, 
ard ttirneih On^ay fwm ail hjs, Ty^'^fgi^^^JTiof^ b^c, .'Nayyif in-r 

, confideration be given as a proper reafon^why fome repented not 
(^m mati repeated- .y ' f^ywgt H^hat have I dofte'-f } ph^n . ecomra^ 
Coniiderati on of our. fins muil be a right, ftep -.unto Jlepe^lcaiiCje : _ . . 

Here you fee cleaily, that folid conriderationis^, asjt vvere^, the 
poi^cdHion o£ tru^' < ".onverfioa ;l the^-e itibj^gins^.and^. t^es ' . 
rife^: there is a ;Bei'hinking. of fin, -befote .-a, Repentuigfro^i 

2. Nay, and it is evident in Example too : 1 thought on my 
??^iK/(faiciI?^W^,.,Pf^.ii^^..59..) a/id.jurned m-y: feet mtq' thy ^y^^*°^P^^' 
Tefllmonies : Like a Traveller, who in a Journey, jftandsftilMnd 
fior^fxfeFs.i^lh-iTigifeilfv, f^itely ti>i% w^j$c wrong,. I am oiit of my 

wiy, and trien'te:ttonai' about- aiid-;get$ him into the right way 
^ain. So- ivi tHfe qafo^. the 'Uk^may^ bo^ faid for com^arifon of 
fin UiKonv^ted couffe, with -thehappinefs; of a Cpi?ye^^<i and 


72 The Returning Frodigaly or 

penitent condition, Hof, 2. 7. The,ifhall Jjhe fajy I will go unJL 
ruurn to my firfl husband y f9r thm it>a6 it better with me then now. 
The condition in which the Church then was , was a condition 
of much mifery and afflidtion ; .her way of fin was hedged up with 
t horns y verf. 6. and the way of obedience llie confidered of to be 
a path of mercy, and much profperity ,; and comDaring the one 
condition with the -other, hereupon refolvs, io return to her first 
husband (/.) to turn unto God by true Repentance. 

By Ar^uGieoc. . 3* I^ inay be cleared by Argument and Rea^ouy thatthefe two, 
VIZ., Solid Gonfideration, and Right Compariion, are fteps unto 
Repentance. - 

For foiy Con- '^^ ^^^ Solid Confiderationy thus : '!£' Jnconfiderationbe thecauje 

fidcriii#n. r>f impenitency- ( or of going on in a finful courfe ) then Confide- 
ration u a proper means and way for Repentance ; for as much as 

Itinconiidcra- ^i^^j-^ ^^^^ .^^^ contraries, and contrary cai;fes produce contrary ef- 

tlOn DC the r o. 1 ^- rj • • r*r- ' r \ V^ 

caufe of iuxpi- ^^^^^ 5 '^ut mconiideration is a caufe of i-mpenitency, lo the Pro* 
nitency, then phet, Jfr. 8. (5. No man repented him ofhisWickednefis^ f^y'^% 
con fi deration what have I done ? every one turned to his cotirfe , a^ the horfe 
is a proper rujheth into the battel. They minded not what they did, whether 
pentancr ^ lawful, or unlawful^ or VYhat would be the iflue of thefe things ; ^ 
but like the horfe, which without fear or wit rullieth into the bat- 
tel among "fwords and pikes. ^ .--^ 
Confiderition ~''-'Z,'ConfiderationvffinYreino^esm^^y qualities which k^ep the 
of £n removes ijearf in impenit^fncy ; therefore it is a good Ikp and way unto 
aiany qualities j^epentance. •'• Ther€ are three cualities VYhich hold f aft t'he foul 

of lin, which p ^ ^ 

keep the beat f^0«^ ^^^^^n^ng • , . / ., , , . ' \, 

In impenltca- ' I . Jg^oraM; therefore darkjicd Underfi-amings^^nd hearts ahe^ 

cy. as5 natedfrnm th^ilfi of ^odyZrcconjoimd y £ph, 4, 18. ^ blind 

Ignorance. mhid^and a wicked-life,are infeparable ; yea,greedinefs to rin,and 

ignorance,are there alfo coupled, verf, 18, 19. no man foforward 

to "fin, as he who khow& it not. - 'iSfow- folid Confideration removes 

ignorance, it opens the eies of our under ftanding^ and makes us 

to fee and behold that evil in fm which we never faw before ; in a 

tight Goniideration there -is <i,<Lumen fcientia, ■i.Conjciem^, 

'^, Experiential, 

^?wgtyi 2. Security ; for prefusnptuous men will never leave fin-, -if 

they may be fafe. He who- fears not miferable ^vil i will not be 

perfwaded toTorfakehis finful evil: He who thinks thathemay 

be wicked and fafe, will be vyicked ftill i nay, he adds drunkennefs 

the Sinners Converfion to Gbd. . " ^ y ^ 

to thirft who prefiimes of peace. No evill iliall befall us, faid 
they who defpifed all warnings to Repentance ; • but folid confide- 
ration removes this fecurity and prefumption ; it makes the foul 
to fee,that as fin is an evil thing^fo it will prove a bitter thing ; and 
that the way which is finful (^ all wayes) is the moft fearful : it 
makes the finner to behold the Angel with the ivvord drawn in rhe 
way of fin ; my meaning is,to behold God exceedingly dif] ItSiiod-, 
the Wrath of God revealed againft all Unrighceoufneft, ieverely 
threatning, and one who will afluredly execute his wrath to im 
utmort, if finners will not hearken and return ; by no me ins ac- 
quiring the guilty : Exceptye repent ye fhdli ^z:\QrL,7,.H^.rdyiefs 
of /jf^irr.-That brawny Rockinefs which is ever acccmpanycd with Hear" 
an.impudent refolution 5 calimg oif, and fligh .ing ail means , 
and which is gainfaying, or fruftrating all the Leffons of Mercies, 
Alfii6lions, Ordinances, &c. they made thslr hearts as an Ada-: 
mantftone^ leaft they iTiould hear the Law, &c. Zachq, 1 2. But 
folid confideration helps much againft this unfenfible temper \ il 
is of great force towards the melting of the heart,\vorking ftrong- 
ly upon the affe6lions, as Feter thought thereon 4^dwept hitter^ 
ly. Then fhajl ye remember your wayes ^ and (hall loath your 
fehes : FornovV a man fees indeed that he is in a very evil con- 
dition, and loft for ever, if the Lord be not the more merciful 
to him ; and this will ftartle him fomewhat, pierce him , n^ake 
him, with them in ^^^ 2. cry out, Men and brethren^ what 

3. Solid Confideration of fin^ makes Jin appear to the foul In Solid Confide 
its own proper nature ^colours and effects : As we are drawn to com- ^^}i^^ makes 
mit fin, fo likewife to continue in it : through faliliood and error, ?^". ^^^^'^ '" 
we are deceived ?.nd err in our hearts, and therefore we continue pe ^Nacwc^^^ 
in finful wayes ; but as Truth doth rife in the mind, fo Refor- 
mation will appear i^ our hcarts^- and wayes ; know therefore 
that fin appears unto us two wayes ; either Erroneoufly^ as invert- 
ed and clothed with ple?fures , profits, much ferviceablenefs to 
our ends, and as fatisfa6^ions of our defires ; as Judas lookc on 
his fin in the money, and went on ; and thus they tend to impe- 
nitency , they keep us fall in an evil way, becaufe of fenfible 
fweetnefs. O:^ Proper I y^md nakedly as fin; as the Violation 
of a moft holy Will, dillionour of a great God, and feparation 
from a good God , and as expofing us to the wrath of Gcdy 

L curfs 


y A Tht Riotous Prodigal^ or 

curfe of the Law, and pains of Hell and all outward C.iLimities. 
■ And thus apprehended , new Arguments and Reafons of hatred 
jind Deteftation arife within the Soul .* Should I love that^or live 
in thatjwhich is Gods dilhonour, and will prove mine own damr 
nation ? My troubles, lodes, fears come all from my fins ; thefe 
are my fins and my doings, they are the caufe of all this trouble, 
inward and outward : But folid consideration makes fin to appear 
as fin in its own nature and true erfeds ; therefore it occafioneih 
hatred of fin,and confequenily Repentance^ 
Ccmparifon 2. For Comparifon of the mifery of a finful, with the hap- 

©fthc. mifery pinefs of a penitent and converted condition ; that thislikewife 
^[ J. h'^h^^' : ^^ ^ ^^^P^ and vvay to Repentance, maybe thus proved : 
^l!r. %^-«?rr I. T^^^^ Comparifon breeds (oHndludqment in us of thlnQS 
tent conilicion, that djfer • All corrupt Works are rooted m a corrupted 
a fttp to Re- mind ; like ill rhiimes in the Head, which come from ill qualities 
pentsnce. in the Stomick: or rather like fome ill difeafes and irre<^ularities 
Tbi b ceJs ^^^ ^^^ Limbs, ^rms and Feet, which come from unfr>und humours 
found Ju V- ^" ^^" Brain.So it is in this cafejmen go on confidently in fin, and 
^cnt of things are taken excefiively with thofe poor baits of fenfual pleafure 
rhatdiff;:. and profit, as if there were no other pleafure, delight, gain, ac- 
quirable,or to be found, but in the waycs and fervice of fin ; as 
they in hell, think there is no other heaven : Or as fcolilli chil- 
dren , who conceive no o:her fport or delight like a rattle or 
dirtmg their hands, &c. But now, when by a comparifon and 
truefurveyof eitherefhte, it Inall appear unto the foul that all 
thefe finful pleafuresand profits are but ftolen waters, and at the 
bell but for a fe.ifon, they will end bitterly ; and on the contrary, 
That Repentance from fin makes way for rhe Ti oft precious foun- • 
tains of the moft living comforts; that it en ibles a man for a nearer 
conjundicn with the trueft happinefs,an i fi Irefs of moft infinite 
goodnefs, and lets intofuch pleafuresand joyes whichpafsall 
underftanding, &c. Now the foul is reduced to a right judgment, 
and begins to contemn thofe faife, vain, deluding temptations by 
fin, and is carried off to another courfe or way which will afford 
thereal,foiid,fuperlative advantages in happinefs and comfort, (^•^. 
2, This Comparifon will win mr love and affeLiion to a Com er- 
Tbis wins ^^^ ^^^ fenltent condition : It is true,that as long as the heart loves 

converted con- -^^"^ ^^ ^^^^^ "^^'^ ^^^^ ^^ ' ^^ ^^^^ ^^ ^" ^^^^ ^^"^^P' ^ ftrengthning 
iition. quality, a ftrong and tenacious quality 5 but if a mans lov^ be 


The Sinners Averfton from God, 75 

■changed, then his (infull vvayes will quickly be changed ; for 
that way doth the heart and life go, that love do h go; they 
are not' out who fay that Amor is Radix aEiionnmy as well as 
Fyffionum. Now by ii right comparifon of eftates, there will ap- 
pear in a converted and penitent condition the Icleandfufficient 
cauies of Love ; vi^. Good5and the befl good,and only good,and 
mclf proper and fu table good ; all which is apt to draw lore, and . 
-confequcn Jy Repentance , for as much as Converfion from (in, 
-begins in love to God. 

:^ . This comparing of eftates, in the wofulnefs of the one, and "^^J^ /i^*^* 
in the happinefs of the other ; that the one is death, and ^^e o- "^'^"JJ^^j^^'^p"! 
ther is life (as Af^?/^/ propounds it to the Ifraelites) occuf.omlly m Gx\ by 
jHrs f^p the heart to fly tinto God hy frayer^ and tn the ufe 0/ P.aycr,?nd 
other means , for grace and ability to leave the paths of death , ''^ ^■■'' ^^^ °^ 
-and to walk in the wayes of life ; for naturally men do affed life °^'*"^** 
and happinefs, and are afraid of death and mifery. 

The lirli Ufe which I would make of this fhall be for Infor- y^ 
mation. You here fee the Catdfe why many are yet in their jins ; \^'^ mtorma- 
that they repent not , though we preach, though God punifli- q[** ^jjj ^jufc 
eth, though man counfels. Surely they never yet did fearch ,,hy many arl 
their hearts and wayes, theyneverdidconfiderofwhatthey have yet in tluit 
^onc ; they are like the LaodiceanSy who thought themfelves to ^^5, 
be rich and increafedy and tofl-and in need of nothing ; but they 
rcver yet faw their blindnefsy nakjdnefs , and extreme poverty 
4ind mifery. There are many duties unto which men will be 
perfwaded, as to hear the Word, receive the Sacrament, give 
feme Almes, fayfome Prayers, and. now and then to confer 
of fome good ; but of all the duties which do fo nearly concern 
them, they are hardly perfwaded to this, viz„to confider of their 
fins: 'tis true, they will confers. That all men arc Tinners, and 
themfelves too, but as fome do with their debts, they care not to 
fee and view them ; fo many with their fpiritual e{tates,they have 
no mind to fearch into them, to look them over , to meditate of 
the Vilenefs of them. 

Coniider thefe things, i. That this inconjideration leaves ma- .. 

ny a ftn already committed upon a flad account, God doth confider toluchaTdec* 
them, though we will not ; they are in his book and before his eye, not Corfidec - 
though we will not think and look on them. 2. That it ripens fn th?iu waycs. 
exceedingly : The heart which will not confider of paft, will 

L 2 break 

y5 The Returning Prodigal^ or 

break out into (in future ; it will be high in finning, if: negli- 
gent in confidering; he will venture deeply , r/ho knows not 
the nature nor the merit of finning. 3. <>y4ll the work^ of Re^ 
fe^ta^ce will Ijefiat 4nd dead ; Why ? where can be that broken- 
nefs of heart ? that filial lamentation for finning ? that remorfe 
offpirit? that indignation, thatdeteftationof it? that refoluti- 
on againii it ? that watchfulnefs and fear ? until by a found con- 
fideration we come to fee the vilenefs and miferablenefs of fin- 
ning, &c. He who thinks his way right, will not turn cfide.; and 
that man who knows no better, will nevSJr leave, or change, a bad 
courfe. 4. Ton advantage Temptations exceeding! y r , You are 
under the td^^ and power of them all, for you fee norhing to hiu- - 
der you; the motions to fin will pafs without any contradi6Hon, 
for you know not the evil nor mifery of being Impenitent. Great 
fins will feem but little, little will feem none ; how eafie is 
he to fin, who confiders not the great evil in fin? ^. Mi 
the edge of the Ordinances is blunted and dulled by inconjlde- 
rations, they are but water on the Tiles, which paffe away: 
For what are Threatnings againft.fin ? what operation have they 
on us to make us tremble and humble our hearts,whiles we hear 
them as -Pieces ,#charged at others, not at our felves? And 
fo , what force have the Precepts for new Obedience , or the 
Promlfes for much mercy to the Penitent, until we fee that 
we are the men (as Nathan faid to David) whom all this cofi- 
cern*?. 6, Ton will never prlz^e Chrlfi aright^ nor the love ofXjod 
in giving of Chrlfi^ nor will you ever feek him to purpofe 
{ with hungrings arid thirftmgs) until you do ferioufiy confider 
6^ your finful eftates : A man, if whole , will not feek to 
the Phyfician, and if be hath but a fcratch, will not fend to 
the Chyrurgion : No, fenfe, or flight fenfe of fin, hath no in- 
fluence on our afteftions ; but let a mm fadly view and find 
out that he is bad indeed , out with God, ready for Hell, muft 
perifh for fin,' this man will cry out, Is there ntPalm In die- 
^d ? is there no hope, for us finners ? He will enquire for a Sa- 
viour , and when ne knows him , he will with tears befeech 
him {O the hope of Ifrael and the Saviour thereof In the 
time of Trouble ! ) Mafter, have mercy on me or^elfe I perifh : 
if thou canil do any thing , fave me. 7. ^<?^ f^Hl never corns 
to any true fetlednefs , mr gromdfd afpuranee of peace with 


7'he Sinners Converfion to God, 77 

God 5 Kor in your oyvn Con[cieriCes , Ufitil yo'i do throHghly 
confder of yonr (iff til conditions and eftates : For hevv know 
ycu whether- you be good or hid ? in Covenant y or out of 
Covenant with God ? that he will f^we you or condemn 
you ? what jfhall become of you when you die ? Untill you 
by folid Confideration find out the vilenefs and miferable- 
nds of your fmful condition, out of which you muli mdeed 
be tranllated , if ever you would be faved , or know affured- 
ly that you flioll be faved. ^. Ton will not kj^ow how to make 
Jfecial rec^uefts unto God : For you know not the nature nor 
danger of that pride , of that hypocrifiCvOf that uncleannefs, 
of that envy and malice, d>cc, which are in you : When 
we do not know what our felves are, what our eftates are, 
we can never make' fpecial requefts for the fupply of fpecial 
wants; either vve make no prayers at all, or only general, 
and faint, and flat Pedtions. p. LaiHy , If yon will net 
thinks on your wayes with' a Penitential Conpderatien ^ yonmiif^ 
one day thinks on them with a Judicial Cenjideration : Tis bet- 
ter to confider of them now and Repent , then to feel them and 
find them in Hell and be D.imned. 

OlfjeB, But you'l fay ,1 We are Ignorant , and it belongs to This belongs 
fiich as h^ve. Learning tff confider throughly of their, Jinful to inch as haye 
efiates, , learning. 

Sol. 1. It doth indeed helongto the Learned^ hut not only to them: Anfvrcrcd, 

A learned confcience is neceflary for every (inner, though not a 

learned head : the Subjed who fliould confider, is not the learned 

man, but the lamed finner;art not thou one? 2. God hath given thee 

a Reflexive Faculty ^-^ confcience, a memory inabling thee to re- , 

view what hath been done ; thou haft thefe ftill in thee,and thou 

canft make ufe of them for other butinefles ; . why not in this ? 

7,, But then,ftudy the Word more, that thou mayeft thence be in- 

lightned to conceive of fin aright, &c. get knowledg, get un- 

derftanding, &c. 

Ohj, But vve are not at Leifure^wo. dbave fo much bufinefs to „,- .- 
Jr. Qr^ - ' ■' ■ wc are not as 

Sol. I. This is a mo ft neceffary work, , it deferves thy ^j^fy^^^f j^ . 
pains and time : What, notat leifureto fave thyfoul ? atlei- 
fure to eate, to drink, to play, to be idle, to fin, andnotatlei- 
ftire to confider of fin? to repent of fin? tofave thy felf from 


78 -' 21^^ Rietouf Predigal^ or 

fin ? f^Iave you kifure to go to Heil , and none to <yoz to 
Heaven? 2. It is a mofl Beneficial work^i it will deliver 
thee from Hell , and make way for Heaven. 3. It is the mofi 
excellent work^ that thou cmil fpend time upon, the chmi^e 
of ihee frrm Sin, to Grace ; from a finfiil, to an holy con- 
dition ; It is a glorious change, even into the Image of God in 
O^'Vf? Chrift. . 
1^ wiiimakc w.t ^^^^^- ^"^ It will make me nothing but mourn, andfigh,^ and 

niornc, defpair, de^P^il'j ^nd ^^^^- , , - 

and fear. Sol. i. iS't? ^^r^« f^f//j f/?^^ ;i fo doth not God nor his Word tell 

Anfncrcd, thee, 2,IfconJtderationofSiny breeds godly forrow for Sin -^ twd 
Godly forroTfVy Repentance unto Salvation j thou hafi link canfeto^ 
grieve to he thus grieved, 7, . Nay, th^ negleB of timely conjldera- 
tion^ that is the caufe indeed of fuchfear and defpalr, ' 0,fay men ! 
had we thought of this courfe, known this heretofore, we had ne- 
ver run on fo, we had never come into this extremity of horror, 
&c. It is with fin as it is with difeafes, if taken or not taken in 
^P ^« Another Ufe which I would make of this Point, fhallbeof 

1°..^^"^!, _ Satis fa^lon to fettle and relieve troubled Souls , who fear much 
bka^Souls^"" V'^^^^h^^ they have ever throughly and rightly confidered thus 
of fin or no ; and confequently , fear tke truth of their Re- 
Some Cafcj pentance. For the fuller fatisfying of them I will pro- 
Rtfolved for pound fome Cafes,the Refolution of which may afford more clear 

Jatisfadion. light : 

Cafe I. I. How aChriftianmiy know that his confideration of fin is 

Howaman^ right and penitential ? Icon je6lurethus, 

may know his ^^ yy i^yp^yj^y^ /,/^ ^ Condemnation of fin i Before a mm 

h Rifiht. confider aright of fin,he is ready to call the proud happy;he know;? 

If it work in how to crmmit fin,and to approve it, and defend it, and plead for 

him a Con- it. Sin feems his daintiefl bit, and choicert bait ; as if nothing elfe 

df mnation of j^^j.^ delight and contentment but fin:but when the heart is brought 

^^' rightly to ponder and to confider of fin, he is enabled not only to 

condemn fin in the general, (thus,fin is an evil thing;) but alfo in 

particular (thefe my fins are vile and evil things ; I have done 

exceeding foollfhiy-i faid JDavid; ) O that I fhould ever open my 

mouth for them, that ever I lliould love them, follow them as I 

have done; I now behold them as the only dillionour of God,grief 

cf his Spirit, Violations. of his Righteoufnefs, Injuries of his 



The- sinners Averfion from Cod. 79 

patience, abufes of his goodnefs md mercies ; the fpeares in 
ih;: heart of Chrijft,the fpots in my Toui, the wounds in my con- 
lx:iencejCrr. It is one thing to look upon fin as a mecr OJpjeft^md 
it is another thing to look upon fin as a vi/e Obje^ : to look on fin 
as a meer Obje6l, this is but th^i natural ad of the underftandmg, 
which, like the eye , is ready to fee all colours ; but to look on 
fin as a vile Obje6^, this is the work of a penitential under- 
lianding , wherein a perfon fees fo much intolerable and cxcef- 
live foulnefs in his finful wayes, that he now condemns and judg- 
eth thofe wickedneffes and abominations ; and himfelf too for 
higheft folly and madnefsfor lo^'C, fervice and obedience to 

2. Jf It work^ i» him htimllUtton for fn ; we read of Feter If it wcrk in 
that he confidered, or thought on the words of Jefus ( and ^^^ Humilia. 
through them , of his great Vin in the denial of mafter ) but "onfor im.. 
how did he confider of them ? What, only by his fimple refle- 
dlion, that Chrifi had forewarned him, and that he had done 
evil in denying him ? Surely thus he thought , but the matter 
went further then his thoughts ; he confidered it in an afre6ling, 
or rather , in an atflidting way ; for the Text faith, That when 
he had thought thereon, )^f went out and weft bitterly. There 
is a fourfold confider ati on of fin ; One is only a consider m on 
of fin ; when a man thinks of fin as he hears a Sermon , hear 
it only : fo, think of ic only, and that's all ; this is an empty 
confideration. Another is, a finful confideratlon mly -^ when 
a man confiders of fin in a finful way, either to boaft of ic, 
or to excite his heart to more delight and propenfion to fin; 
this is a guilty confideration. A third is a judii>ial confidera- 
tion y which arifeth from the promptings and fuggefiions of a 
confcience awakened , now accufing, and condemning', 
and purfuing the finner , both with the remembrance of for- 
mer fins , and with the evidence of Gods preCcnt and future 
indignation. A fourth is, a Pen'tential ernfideration ; wherein, 
upon the evidence of finning, the foulisfenfible, nottodefparr, 
which breeds hopelefs terror, yet to repentance, wherein it is ex- 
ceedingly grieved, ^nd troubled, and difple.ifed for the fins com- 
mitted. If the confideration of Cm be a dry ad, fuch an a6l as fets 
where it rifeth (only in the mind) and hath no influence upon the 
atfedions- ; if it be not afympathizing a6l(»^)ruch an aft as works 

So - ' ^^^ Returning Frodtgaly or 

grief in the fciil , as well as diicovery of evil in tiie mind, it 
IS but a vain thing and never conduceth to repentance ; for as it 
is with mercies received, unlefs the apprehenfion of their kind- 
nefs and goodnefs defcends to the affedtions, they never iiir up 
•thankfulnds ; and as it is VYith the promifes, unlefs their excel- 
lency .and futablenefs come down from the mind to the will, 
they never excite faith : fo is it with fin; unlefs, befides the con- 
sideration of it, there be not an operation and influence up- 
on the heart to grieve and mcurn,it will never prove right and 
penitential. ' ; 

Thou fayeft, thcu knoweft thy fins as well as any man can tell 
thee: Beit fo5but if thy heart remain hard, not humbled, aba- 
fed, broken, grieved for thefe fins, alas! as their unworking 
faith, J^m. 2, fothy unaite6ledfpeculationoffin,is vain :but 
findeftthou this, that upon the ferious confideration of thy fins, 
thy heart is humbled and abafed in thee ? that thou art caft down 
inthe fenfe of thy exceeding vilenefs? wretched man that 1 
fim \ O Lord to me belongs nothing hm fhame and confafon 1 and 
that thy heart is grieved within ihee andafflided? that bitter 
mournings arife becaufe of bitter finnings? my [onl. hath them 
in remembrance and IS humble dmthln me '^ Lam, 3. Thy heart 
melts before the Lord ; I aflure thee, this is a right and bleffed 
conlideratioD of fin. 
Jfic work ,^^' ^ ./^ It work^ In him Vete flat ion of Jin. Gnt^t feemes to be more 
uitationotin ^^^^^^^^^^^ but hatred is a more fixed quality, aslmayfo phrafe 
'iX^Ez,ek^, 3^.31. T^ jhall remember pur orvn evil vp ayes and your 
doings- that were not good (here. is the confideration vvefpeak of) 
and ye fhall loath your [elves in your own [tght for your Iniquities 
and your abominations ( here is deteftation, the proper effe6l of 
true confideration ; • ) for in a right confideration,the fingular cau- 
fes orreafons of hatred do arife: v,g, Excefs of evil, ab- 
folute repugnancy to our bert good, effedlual prejudice , and 
greatefl injury. Rejugnans' O" Ojfendens , the Schoohnen 
'^ make the two chief grounds of hatred. Vide Summiflas in 

I. 2d^,q,2^. But I Will not profecute that. Now then 
perufe thy felf, Hafi thouconfidered of thy finnes aright? 
if thou doefl: not hate them, thcu haft not; Seeft thou 
-finne , and art thou brought to hate it ? Let me but pro- 
pound a few things unto I'vit^^ that thouinayeft fee whether 


The sinners Converfton to God, 8i 

thou loathelt and hateft fin, or no, " Is it fcacCy or is it 
■ war^ If fin lies quietly in the foul, it is peace, it is not ha- 
tred ; hatred breeds variance, enmity, oppofition , conflid. 
Tatil hated fin, Rom,q, i<j. and Wars with it, v, 23. "// 
h a. deadly tvar ? is it for life ? will this fuffice thee, that fin 
.doth not terrifie thy confciencc ; or wilt thou not be fatisfied, 
till iin be mortified and crucified in the lufls and affections 
thereof ? ^^ h It iiks Davids w^r, wherein he left not one >^- 
»^/z/V/<jVf to efcape and carry tidmgs ; and not like 5Wj, to kill 
forae, and fpare the red ? CanlUhoufay, Lord^ I huts the thing 
that is evil} Pfal, 97. 10. dwd I hate every fadfe way} Oh, if 
there be raifed in thee, upon the confideration of fin, a deadly 
enmity and defiance with it, an implacable, general diflike, 
abomination, refiftance, and defire to root it out ; happy arc 
thou ; thy confideration of fin is rightly and effe6tually peni- 

4. /f It work-in hlmy Reformation of Jin : Do you not read in Hit work in 
Pfal, lip, ^g. that David confidered andthoti^htonhisyvayes?^^^^»^iioimt' 
I thonght on my rvaysy faith David^ ( f o do many, many indeed "^°' 
do fo, but not as' David did ; for after he had faid, I thought 
on my ways, he addeth,) and turned my feet unto thy teflimonies. 
He fo thought of his ill ways, that he left them, and betook 
himfelf unto good ways. If, thinking on fin doth not produce 
leaving of fin, it is nothing ;^ if thinking of fin doth not breed 
leaving of fin, then going on in fin will make you leave think^ 
ing of fin : And though vve think of an ill way, yet if we do 
not enter into, and walk in a good way, it is nothing. There 
I is a two-fold leaving of fin, one which is proper to the conditi- 
on of Glory ; another which is proper to the condition of Grace. 
I fpeak not of the former, which is the abfolute diflblution of fin; 
but of the latter, which is an imperfedl ( though true ) feparati- 
'^ on from fin ; confifting, in ^jf<?^/<?», wherein the Will is alie- 

nated from fin ; the evil which I would not doy faith the Apoftle : 
L In Mourning ; O wretched man ! whojhall deliver me from this bo- 

dy of death ? In Endeavour ; willingyOr endeavouring to live honefi^ 
lyy H^b. 13.18. There is a purpofe to walk in new obedience, and 
an hearty defire fo to do, and not to ferve fin any.longer ; and 
alfo an a6live endeavour to put off the former converfation, 
and to crucifie the flelli, with the affeftions and lufts thereof. 
, M To 


i 5 


82. The Returning Trodigaly or 


To confider of fin, and yet ftiil to love it, and ftill to live ia 
ir, to ftudy to fulfil the liifts of it, to give up cur fdves to the 
fervice of it, to walk in darknefs, to be the fame in our affections . 
to it, and in our obedience unto it, this is not onely a vain, but 
a fearfuU confideration; But if, when we have throughly confi— 
dered of fin in the vilenefs of it, we are etfe6lually wrought ud- 
on to arife from our fmfull courfe ; O Lord ! I have finned 
exceedingly, and done very foolifhly -, I am rcfolved to leav 
this linfull way ;. Lord 1 help thou me, give me thy grac 
turn thou me, and I il^all be turned ; turn away my heart and 
eyes, caufe me to put off my old convcrfation i enable me 
to walk and live in newnefs of life. This is an happy 
Fruit, efpecially if it hath two other Erfecb accompanying 
it, "viz,, 

1 . Fervent Stiff Hcmion ; if it carries the foul to God in Chrift 
for mercy, for grace, for ilrength. The refolution to reform^ 
if it goes no further than theitrength of the foul, it will eafily 
cool, and quickly fail us • if ever it prove right, it muft carry 
us to Chrili, for as much as it is by his fteigth, and by his grace, 
that we get our hearts turned from fin, or that we are able to 
forfake our fins. Haft thou confidered of thy fms ? why and 
doeft thou not difcern fuch infinite guilt in them, as makes thee 
for ever accurfed, if thou haft not mercy in Chrift ? and doeft 
thou hereupon apply thyfelf, in^allhumblenefs of heart, to the 
Throne of mercy ? O Lord bs nurclfull tome a fmner ; according 
th rmihitude of thy tender ?nercies^ blot out my tranfgrejfions : 
Behold me through the bloud of Chrift, yea, O Lord ! heal my 
iinfull foul ; O Lord ! change my heart -, O Lord 1 diffolve the 
powers of fin in me, by thy mighty power fubdue my iniqui- 
ties ; turn me from all fin, make me a fervant of righteouf- 

2. Diligent application of our fehes to the Means ^ private and 
publick, ordinary and extraordinary ; through the right »jfe of 
n^ich, we may expedl fufficient grace from God to work Re- 
pentance never to be repented of. Haft thou rightly confidered 
of fin, why! what art thou now doing ? where mayeft thou now 
be fcund ? what courfe doef^ thou take to leave fin ? what helps 
doeft thou apply thy felf unto ? what occafions of fin doeft thou 
decline .? what furtherances of a new life doft thou regard and 

The sinners Con'vcrfion to God. 83 

life ? If there be no vvatchfulncfs over thy fpirit, no reftraint 
to thy flelli, no ftoutnefs of refolution, no reparation from the 
occafions of fm, no humble ftudy and refpe6l to the Word, no 
fruitfull converfe with holy fociety, how is it that thou fayeft thou 
haft confidered thy fins ? 

Whether the conjj deration of fm may he rights and avallahle to \\^ Cafe, 
Refentance^ when yet there are fome fns which a man thinks not Wbethcr Can- 
on ? To this, I conje6lure it may be thus anfwered. i. Ihat fideration of 
aUnal or f articular inconf deration^ if it he iioluntarj and affetl^ ^.^ °^-y ^* 
ed^doth pejudice Repentance : For it is to be fuppofedjthat he who ^^fc'arc fom-s 
yviil not take the pains to think of his fins, hath not yet found fins thac aman 
an heart or a will to leave his fins. Therefore confider,that a6lu- chinks not of ? 
al inconfideration may arife, either, From want of light or e:ui- Particular in- 
dence; the eyes of the mind are not yetfo fully opened, they •°^-^^^'^*"|*"^ 
are not fo perfectly acquainted with the Law, which difcovers ^^ docbprc- 
fin ; much fin they fee, but not all; not that they would not, judice R pen- ' 
but, becaufe they cannot ; fo a weak eye hath not fuch clear and cance. 
full fight ; Or, From hjfocrifie of will ; when means of evidence 
are prefent, and commands of confideration are urged ; but either 
from a fecret love of fin, or from a lazinefs of fpirit, the perfon 
will not take pains to confider throughly of his manifold fins, this 
kind of inconfideration being wilfull and affeded will be inter- 
preted for Impenitency, becaufe the perfon will not endeavour 
faithfully the wa yes of Repentance. 2. That the latitude of 
the Ohjeii confidered^ doth not fo immediately difcover and decide^ 
as the effcacy and influence flowing from confideration it felf. 
Though I am not able to find out every particular where- 
in I do offend ; yet if by the confideration of thofe fins, 
which I do confider of, my heart doth m -It and mourn, 
and ftrives to loith and forfake them, becaufe they are fin- 
full : If thefe drive me out of my felf unto Chrili ; if thefe 
occafion me earnefily to acquaint my felf wich God, to beg 
for Reconciliation , for Grace , for Mercy , for Strength, 
&c. though" there be many fins which I have not a6lually 
thought on, yet this may be a right and penitential confide- m. CafeJ^ I 

ration, Wh«hcrafin- 

Another Cafe may be this ; Whether the Confideration of ^^ Coniidera- 
fin, tending to Repentance, muft be frequent? or. Whether J'*^ °^ ^^^ ^^ 
^ fmis Confideration may be fufflcient ? For the refolution of ^^^^^^"^^^ 

M 2, this 


84 The Returning Frodigal^ Or 

Diftindions. this Cafe, thus. i. DivinesdiftinguiiTi of Repentance,, that 
premifcd. it is either Initial, or Gradual : The Imtlal Repentance is, 
^^^•^u?"" the firft turning from fia, nay, the very firlt will and defire 
Inkhl' rf ^^ ^^ ^^> ^^^^^ ^ purpofe and endeavour toetfe6tit: The Gra^ 
Gradual, ^^^^ Repentance is , the ripening and perfecting of Repen- 
~. . ^ tance in the degrees of all the parts of it, 2, Again, There 
fold con fidcra- ^^ ^ two-fold conlideration of fin: One is folemn^ wherein the 
tionofiin. foul fequefters it felf, earnelily fearchethintothe Lawof God, 
Sokmn.. and into its, own fpirit, and into the vvays of L'fe ; perufing 

and reviewing the , finfull condition all over, in the parts and 
kinds, in the hainous circumllances and agravations ; and here- 
upon folemnly indites it felf before the Lord, by confclTing, . 
Otdmary, judging, &Ci _ Another is ordinary ^ which is a daily look- 
ing over the Book ,, and perufing of the finfull Accounts 
Dlftinjui(h froni time to time. 3. You mull diftinguifh twixt the 
twixt the Grace Grace .or quality of RefeyitarxCy and twixt the uiB; or exer^ - 

and^thcTa^'f ^'^^ ^^ ^^t^'^^^'""'^^ 5 ^^^ Grace is wrought onely by Gods Spi- 
ij, rit ; the Exercife or operation is wrought and occafioned by 

confideration. Thefe things being premifed, I conjecture thus 
Solemn confi- i, T\\2t [oUmnCofifder^ttoKls '4ecejfary to Initial Repentance, 
deration ne-^ jj^g Htsin is not eftedlually excited to the adual leaving of fin,, 
thl^Repcn-^' "^''^^^ ^^ ^^th firll ferioufly examine and try it felf, .find out and - 
lancc. ponder the vilcnefs of its finning and tranfgreifion ; flight 

thoughts work no more then flight confeOTons, That we are all 
finners, and there's an end ; but the. hear tmuft'look'on fin in the 
kinds, circumfiances, helliili viienefs of its thoughts, if ever 
Ordinary con- it ^vill repent indeed. 2. That ordinary confideration is ne^ 

fideration ne- cejfary to gradual Repentance, If ever you Would perfe6iyour: 
eeffary to Gra- Repentance, you mu ft ever think of your fins, thofe that are 
canw ^^'"" ^^^^> thofe that areprefent. By ordinary confideration,- 1 da 
not mean, a flight and perfundlory view of them ; But a dai- 
ly view, though not in length of time, yet having the fame 
difpofition of heart to condemn and abhor them, and quick- 
ning ws, more fervently to feek God for ftrcngth, and to de- 
cline the occafions of fin , and to grow more watchfull and 
tender , &c. If you do not ordinarily confider of the viie- 
nefs of fin , you will be ordinarily infnared by the deceitiul- 
nefs of fin 5 if you would enjoy conftant viftory and deli- 
. ^ , verance. 



7he sinners Converfton to God, ' 85 

verance, you muft admit of frequent confideration. As 

for the ^okmn Cenji deration^ that I conjc6lure is not necejfary at ^-olcmncorfl- 

all timesy but upon fpecial occafions : Either i. Before we derarionnoc 

enter into foinj vveii^hcy bufmefs : 2. When vvelie under feme "'^^^^^y *'*'^ 

weighty a tfliclions : 3. When we are to die, and make fkaight ^"^ ^\^^^ 

cur weighty accounts : 4. When we are more folemnly to y^hen nis nc- 

meet the Lord and renew^ our Covenans with him ; as in ccflary, 

the day of Humiliation , or v^hen we are to come unto the 

Sacraminr. Now are we more folemnly and ferioufly to , 

confider of our fins, partly, i. Becaufe now the Lord Rcafons o^icr 

confiders them who come into his fpecial prefence, how 

you come. 2. Becaufe you are ferioufly to renew your 

Repentance , which you cannot ferioufly do , , without feri- 

ous confideration. 3. Becaufe you are . to renew your 

Covenants with God, to keep a more ferious watch, crc. 

Therefore now let us fearch our hearts, try, and conlider of 

our ways, renew our Repentance, turn with all our ftrength - 

unto the Lord , put away iniquity far from us, humble our 

felves low before the Lord , eonfefs our fms , judge our 

felves ; thus if. we. do, we fhall find more ftrength in our 

R-epenrance, more peace in our Confciences, more fweetnefs 

in the Sacrament, more confidence towards Chrift, and may 

comfortably expedl the pardon of our flns, and falvation by. his 

bloud. ' ' 

. The third and 1 aft life ftiall be for Exhortation, to fet upon Vfe j.. 

thefe two works of Confideration and Comparifon. Here let Exhorcation to 

me propound two things unto you , refpeAiuii the practical ^o'^^^^^'^on 
'r r \ ^ ii . ^ • I /, and conapari- 

exercile ot them.. Qu, i. what is required to enable a pr- ^^^ ^ 

[on rightly to con^der^ and to com fare ? d)CC, I Conceive thus. WhatJsrtqui- 
I, 7 here muft he knowledge : Right Confideration and Compari- ccd to enable , 
fon, are works of an illightened mind ; to underftand the pro- "^ there:©^^ 
per nature and diftindion of things,- neceffarily requires know- ^"^^^^^S^* - i 
ledge : For Ignorance can neither confider nor diftinguifli ; 
therefore ftudy the Word, and other Books, Xo underftand what 
objeds are, of which you are to confider. 2. There muft be 
fome wifdome : For every Underftanding cannot find out things, ^*^'°'"^' 
nor is able to make their differences of vilenefs or excellen- 
cy ; as David faid of the Works of God, that a hrmifhrnan 
under jlands them mt ^ &c. Pfal. p2. 5, 6. that w^s fay 

85 7he Returning Prodigal^ or 

of perfons onely enlightened, That if they have not fpiritual 

Wifdome, to compare things, or to confider of them, they will 

never, by the evidence of the vilenefs of Sin, or excellency of 

Retired nefs. Grace, be drawn to Repentance. 3. There muft ho. Ret'u- 

redr.ejsy or Sequeftration : You maft feparate your felves, as 5^«- 

lom-jfi i^^Qsks. Tumults of bufinefs. or violence of noife, diiiradl 

the thoughts, and alienate them, utterly difabling. to confider. 

Gathering our 4- ^ouixiuil gather par feives together : You mult ftrive againit 

thoughts togc- divifion in mind ; be careful! to unite and to center your thoughts, 

thcr. not fuffering your felves to be fcattered, or blown away from 

prayer. your felf. 5. You mu'fl: praj unto God to open your eyes 

to fee, and to give a judgment to difcern, and to unite your 

hearts, and enable them to go through the work ; for verily you 

fhall find much reludancy and oppofition of fpirit, tofucha 


In whit man- Q^^fi* 2* In what manner we are to confider, and to.com- 

ncr w8 muft P^re, Crc, I Anfwer, i . The Rules for a right conf deration^ fo 

confider and ,as to occafion Repentance, are xhd^, i. Do it in a free time; 

compare. there arc times, wherein a man is moft unapt for fuch a work as 

The ^^^^^^^^ °^ this, as when very fick in body, or under fome pafTion of grief, or 

radon °^ ^ ^^^^' ^^ ^^^^ ' ^^^^ the foul is in a Tumult, it cannot fee things 

Do it in a frtc aright, nor judge aright„ Take a calm time for all works of mo- 

time. mcnt, either to know, or to judge thy Eliate. 2.- Doit with 

T>3 it with a a full time : The matter is weighty, not the work of a day, as 

fuH lime. they fpake concerning the feparation in Ez^ra^ it was not a work^ 

to he^done in one day. Nor is this of found Coniideration, a bu- 

flnefs which can be h.^.ftily done, and well done ; you muil do it 

deliberately and ferioufly ; for there are many (ins, and many cir-* 

cumftances to be confidered of, and to be weighed and judg- 

. ed, c^c. 5. Do it throHghl^ : Do not begin a little, and then 

Bo ic through- ^-^^^ ^^^j, . 1^^^,^ ^^^ ^jjj ^^^ ^^^^^ ^^ ^^^ bottome ; fee the worfl 

^' of it, and the utmofi of it, if ever you will fee the good of 

it : You are never a jot the worfe, by feeing how bad you are ; 
but you may be the better all the cJayes of your life for it. You 
muii be faithfull to your own foul, not to pafs over any fin that 
D it d 1 yotican well conceive your felf guilty of. 4. You mufl: do it 
° - -^ "^y* orderly : Confider not of all fins in a Lump, but break your 
thoughts^ And as they in Judgment confider of one Caufe, and_ 
then: of another 5 fo do you of your fins ; what are your chief fins:, 


^he Sinners Converfion to God, 87 

In aff^ilion, orpradice, or inclination, and fo go to other, (^r. 

in their order, time, place, &c, 5. You mult do it [0 long^ Do it till your 

until joHY hart begin to relent^ and grows tender and foft : Ah 1 bca« begin to 

horV vile, and abominable, and wretched, o-c, and then (trike ^«^^"^- 

in with God by Prayer and Confeflion, &c. And this is a w^y to 

bring you to Repentance. 

Secondly, the Rules for Com^Arl [on. If you would To com- Rules for com- 
pare the miferablenefs of the finfull, with the happinefs of a con- P*''^|'" ®^ ^^* 
verted condition, fo as to be brought to Repentance, then i. verted^ftatc°'*" 
Tan mtifl compare them in their proper natfires andejfe^s ; not by Compare them 
that which is accidental, but by that which is natural ; there in their proper 
may be fome trouble to a converted eibte, and fome delight up- n»L"fc and ef- 
on an unconverted eftate ; thefe then are preternatural, they ' ^' 
arife not from : the ihings themfelves, but are contingent ac- 
cidents : But compare the real natures and fruits of the one 
with the other, and then you iliall fee reafon to leave the one, 
and to choofe the other, 2. You mufl compare them by a pro- Compare thfm 
per Rule-: not ftanding, in point of definitive fentence, what p^^j*p[*^°^" 
your own heart, or what the World approves ; but onely what 
God in his Word doth fentence to be moft vile and miferable, 
and what he pronounceth to be mott good and comfortable. The 
Rule of Comparifon muft ever be pure, impartial and perfe6l. 
3. You mul^ have Jo muchf^ith alfoj as to believe what God faith Believe what 
of either eflate .- For though you lihould refer the decifion unto 9 .^ ^T ^ 
him, yet if upon his refolving, you are refolved to quarrel againft 
it, and difpute the truth and validity, and fay yet, It is other- 
wife, we will not believe that our finfull courfe is fo bad and fo 
dangerous ; alas ! you will never repent while you live : But you 
muft refolve of this, that the Word Hiall captivate your thoughts, 
and fhall difcover, and fet the differences of efiatcs ; and fo you 
may be occifioned to repent. 4. You muft take an humble Rcfojve to fol- 
f^ firm refolmion to take) and follow that way which God difco- lowjbat wjy 
vers unto yoii for the be jl ; and to decline that way which God God difcoycrs ^ 
difcovers to be fed and damnable: {'/.) You wii I betake your ^° cbc ,. 
felves induftrioiifly and ftedfaftly unto all the ways and means by 
which you may be lengthened to leave your finsf, and to walk 
with God in newnefs of obedience, 

^ . . LuKB 


'88 The 'KetHrning Frodtgd^ dr 

XiiK E 15.18. I y^'dl arlfe^ and go to mj T other. 

Thefe words contain in them, the other fundamental part of 
'The Rc^oluti- Repentance appearing in the Prodigal, viz,. Ihe Refolutlonof 
on of the Pro- his fvill. To apprehend evil, is romihing ; but to leave it, is the 
^^^^ ' fafeil thing- tofee a better condition, {hews that the eye is open- 

ed, but to go to our Father, this iliews that the heart is changed. 
.Jafcnhby This Refolution of the Prodigal, is fet forth, partly by the i. 
The Matter of Matter ofity which is very compleat ; it cont^ns as much as Re- 
"• pentance requires, ( Surgam o* ibv^) I will ar i fey I will go, St. 

Atifiin'is fomething facetious upon the words; Strrgam^l will arife, 
qtdiajacehat^lo: the Prodigal was down before : Sm is a fall, and 
•Repentance is a rifing-. and ibo^ I will go to my Father, qim 
hnge ahrat^ for the Prodigal was far from home : Sin is a long 
travel, a wandring rather ; and^Repentance is afweet returning : 
We go abroad when we fin, we come home v^^hen we repent. 
And Chr J fofio/ne upon Ii;o ad patremj I will go home to my Fa- 
ther, wittily compares the motions of Hepentance to thofe of a 
journey. That though which T do moft conjechire at in the 
words, is. The Prodigals compleat Refolution for the matter of 
Repent:.nce.- Repentance is a motion twixt two terms, and is 
made of Averfio and Confverfio\ Averfion from a finfull courfe, 
and that is in Surgam^ I will arife ; Converfion to God, and this 
The Manner ^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^ f^trem^ I will go to my Father. 2. The Manner 

of it. ^^ Torm of it : It is not votumy a wifli, nor yet velleitas^ a would- 

ing, nor yet volttia defmurGy I will hereafter : But his Refolution 
to arife and to go home, is as compleat as the Matter on which he 
doth refolve ; lyvilUrlfe^ I will go : It was aftrong andperemp- 
Tte Motive to ^^^y ^^d prefent Refolution. q. The Motive or hdacement to ity 
k. and' that is in the word [mj Father.'] The apprehenfions of a Fa- 

ther, work moft to the return of a finner. That I Hiall find a Fa- 
ther of God, prevails much to make a penitent Child of men. 
Gen era! Pro- There are many excellent Propofitions obfervable out of the words; 
pofifions. fome I will onely point at, the refi: I will infifl upon. Thus then. 
Repentance is ^» '^hat Repentance is a Gradual thing in working. Though the 
a Gradual , habitual implantation of it be inftantaneous, ( for li is a Grace 
thin J in work- infufed, and therefore admits not of fpace andleifure,) yet the 
*^- actual operation of it is fuccelTive, and by degrees -, as here in 


*The Sinners Converfion to God, 8p 

the Prodigal, i. He came to himfelf, 2. He conftders of his fe- 
rifhing condition. ^.Th^n compares it with the baffy cor^ditionof 
thoje in his fathers honfe. And then 4. Refolves to leave his fins, 
^nd go home to his fat hers houfe. 

2, That Repentance is an AB:ivexhing ; it will make a {inner Rfpentance Is 
to leave his place and to find his feet : rifing and going are an adivc ihinj 
a6live motions. He who repents indeed, is doing, indeed ; it is 

not an an indifferent, cold, grave, dull nothing, But the oul 
itirs indeed againft fm, and Itrives indeed to enjoy and pleafe - 
God. Efhraim defiles his graven Im3ges,and will no more have 
to do with them ; and readily come unto the Lord, Behold we 
jceme unto thee ^ for thoH art the Lord our God, And therefore S. 
John faith, Bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Repentance is 
a working Grace, itfets the judgment,the will, the affediolis, the 
whole man on work. 

3. That found refolntion is reqitifte to found Reformation, Sound Refalu- 
The Prodigal here is peremptory, / will arife^ I will go to my ^^°" '^ '''^"*" 
Tather : This is a point of great confequence , and very pro- Rcformacion. 
per to the Text, and therefore I will infift upon it, by inqui- 
ring, I. What this found refolution is ? 2. Why it is requisite 

to a found Reformation? 3. Then what ufeful Application of 
this to our felves ? 

Qup{\. 1. what fclid Refolution is? What Solid 

Sol. It is a well grounded^ ft^ong^ cmflant and aElive purpofe R-«folution is. 
9f the will of a penitent finner^ wherein he is peremptorily bent to 
for fake a fmful courfe, and to lead a holy and a better life, 

r. Jt is a purpofe or knt of the will: Soit is C3\kd,j^^.ii.2^. Itis-a purpofc 
J purpcfe of heart : when matters of faith or f a^: are only difco- ° ^| ^ °^ '^^ 
vered unto us, the work of the mind about them is called Appre- 
benfion ; when they are debated and difputed there, this is called ' 
Deliberationrand when the will is fully inclined and wrought upon, 
that it is with it as with the body carried to the Center, the natural 
Inclinations poyfe and bend it thither ; So the very Spirits, as it, 
were,of the will,the Pondns of it,is carryed about the vyork,it is {qz 
upon it ; this is called Refolution. 

i.Toforfakeapnfulcourfe : You muft diftinguifh twixt Inter- To forfake 1 
mijTionSjand Excifions ; twixt paufmg and forfaking.In folid refo- ^^"^^^ coyxdu 
lution the will is purpofed not to make only a ftop, or to admit of 
fome interruption , but alfo to make a divorce, an iitter fepara- 

N tion. 



T'he Returning Frodi^al^ or 

on of 








To lead a 

Godly lifer. 

tion : what have I to do with idols any more ? faid Efhraim ; and 

this reparation is not onlyinr;:fpedtof a particular or perfonal 

ad ; as thus, 1 vvill do this evil this time, or for fo long a time ; 

but alfo in refpe^l: of courfe, I am [ urpofed to relinqui fh k^ both . 

in part, and in whole, both no. v and for ever ; there is difference 

betwixt I. Abrteining. 2. Foriaking. ^. Stopping. No». 

fropom feccarCj fed frofomnon feccare, J {0,1,-^0,22, Thou (halt 

cafi them away as a menflrmHS c loath , and fay , get thee hence. 

In the extent and latitude , though they have been Mala utllia , 

jucmda c^ char a, 

3. Kndto lead a Holy or Godly Life : And in this refpe6l j, 

this refolution is called fometimes,a choofing of the way of God, . 

fometimes a cleaving to the Lord, fometimes a ferving of the 

Lord, fometimes a Covenant toferve the Lord, and to walk with.. 

him, and Tomtimes a readinefs to hear what the Lord will fpeak ; 

/ and myhotife will fervethe Lord, Pfal. ilp. 106, I have 
fwornandwilij &c. Thefum of all is this. Then is it a refolu- 
tion of the will, when a perfon attains thus far ; " This is an evil 

*'way, I am heartily purpofed never to walk in it more ; this is- 
^ an holy and good way, I am heartily purpofed to walk therein for 
"ever; thef^fms I wiJl follow an'dferve no longer; but this 
*' God iliall be my God, his Lawes iliall be my rule, and guide^ 
*' and^his wayes Hiall be my wayes in the which I will walk. 
The properties ^.In the difcription confider the properties ofthisRefolmionjWh Ich 
cichis Rcfolu- are four. i. It is^ well grounded purpofe of the will ; it is not a 
houfe without a foundation, nor a Oiip without a bottom, nor 
yet with a weak bottom ; It is not raifed, I know not how,or on a 
fudden, in an irrational and humorous way, or in all haft; Ordi- 
narily, he who will leave an ill courfe in h.^ft , comes off from 
it (indeed) with too much leifure ; but it is fuch a purpofe, as is- 
throughly bottomed upon fuch grounds as can give life, and main- 
tain the bent and inclination of the will. It doth arife from, 
and depend upon mature confideration, and upon deep convi6i:i- 
on : The finner doth firft look into, and ferioufly perufe and 
weigh an impenitent and (inful courfe,and feeth the ilrongeft, and 
forcibleft , and juReft caufes to renounce it for ever ; and alfo 
upon due t^ial, and fearching, and weighing in the ballance of 
thfe San6hi3ry, he doth find the wayes of new obedience to be 
the true and only wayes of life> to which if he doth not turn,he 



AvFcIl ground 

The Sinners Converfion to God* , ^i 

cannot pleafe God,nor be faved ; and unto which if he doth turn, 
then he is under the beft God, and in the moft excellent and la- 
ving condition: and hereupon begs of God for grace and lirength ; 
and fo refolveSjezT. In a Word,the Refolution is well grounded ; 
when it followes ferious deliberadon, and is raifed upon divine 
alTiftance , and entred into with earne(t fuppiication * for our 
jftrength cannot brmg forth, nor maintain fo great a work as refor- 


2. It IS a. firor.gpfirpfffe of the will: Tlie operations of the a ftronj pur- 
will are reputed Itrong , when either they are not divided , pofe of chc 
but united ; or when they are rooted in an habit or principle, and ^i^^* 
not only in an occafion and accident;or when thty are abf3lute,and 
not conditional ; If the operations be divided, they are weak as 
Rivers, &c. fo when a man partly wills this, and pardy that • 
he is inclined fomewhat to leave his fin, and yet he is inclined 
to keep it ; this divilion hinders right refolution, which is not 
^foindifferent,fo indeterminate, fo divided, but centers the incli- 
nation of the will, only one way, viz,, to a peremptory reje6tioii 
of evil,and a peremptory ele6lion of good ; the fcale goes down, 
and it is not a grain which will turn i t ; Apin, if the operations 
of the VYill arife only from occafions which is bufied in alterable 
circumftances , they can never be ftrong ; as the colour in the 
face, which arifeth from violent exercife only, goes offprefently ; 
fo that refolution ( if it may be fo called) which arifeth froiii 
changeable imprerfions, is alwayes weak and fading ; a deceitful 
bow,unfkdfaft. /« their afjilBions they wlllfeek^ me earry,but,(^r. 
Ho[. 6, 4. But to the production of a penitential refolution 
( which makes a ftrong purpofe in the will) there muft be an ha- 
bit which will fet the heart , and incline it fo , that it will not be 
taken off; ^sin Ruth to Naomi ^ Intreat.me not^d^iC, there was a 
ftrong principle of love, which made up this ftrong purpofe 
to cleave unto her. Again, if the operations of the will be 
conditionaI,they can ne\^er be (o ftrong,as when they are abfolutc ; 
for afuppofition and cafc,where the will may put off anddifpence 
withitfelf, cannot make the a6l of the will fo .firmas.wherc.the 
cafiC is abfolute(for now the whole bent of the will is carried with- 
out any check or diminution.) If a man faith,! will leave fuch a 
iinful courfe, in cafe I may have the countenance of fuch friends, 
or the benefit of fuchaneftate; and I will lead a godly -life, in 

N z cafe 

^2 The Returning Frodigdy or 

cafe I may hold correfpondence and efteem in the. world, &c. 
purpofes upon variable conditions are variable. . Thefe conditions 
do diminilli the (trengch of Refolution ; but when a perfon is car- 
ryed in an abfolute way, come what will come, friend:bip or en- 
mi ty5greatnefs^r poverty, life or death,!- will change my courfe .; 
this is a ftrong purpofe of will^ and a right Refolution. 
It is aeon- ^ It is a conftam furfofe^or continued : The thylofophers do 

ftam purpofe vvell dilHnguifh twixi PajfionSy which are but the foul in a mood, 
and a Rty and twixt QmHtiefy which are ferled tempers and 
Gonftitutions,as it were. Refolution is not a tranfient palfion, but 
it is a fixed quality. Not that it is not interrupted, but that it 
is not renounced and given over, but is ftill maintained,. Nor 
that It is not aflaulted , but that it is not changed. A twifted 
Gord, Proftffitt tenaxythn is a refolute min, & (ihl confians^ 
but a double minded man, an unftable fpirit, a will , though 
iirong as Paffion , yet if unftable as water ( hot in the firlt 
aflault, as if we would be ftronger then Men, and flat in 
the fucceeding • affaults , . as if we were weaker then Women) 
thefe humours are rather fome complements , which ftill 
fhrink' at the adding , then refolutions for change of Life : 
PalTions are violent , but jiiot conilant , as the Gdathlans to 
It is an aftivc 4. Laftly, It is an a6live purpofe : for as it is a vain thing to 
Purpo[e. deliberate much, and torefolve on little at length, fo it is a vain 

Refolution which purpofeth great things, but doth nothings If I 
refolve to take Phyfickfor my he^ilth, and never take any, what 
avails that Refolution ? Like -Antlgones^ J will glve^ but ne- 
ver gave. So, if a man' refolve to leave his fins, but the day is 
ftill to morrow; he fets not upon it indeed, but yet a 
little ftumber, yet a little fleep, as. S, Auftin fpake of him- 
felf, crasy crasy this is vain. But true refolution is ftir- 
ring and ftriving ; it puts a man upon the work , as the Pro- 
digal , 7 wi/l arife and goe^ to mj Father , who indeed 
did thereupon arife and go. I am refolved to confefs my fins, 
to judge my felf, to feek unto God by prayer; and I 
do indeed do fo, I do confefs, judge, pray , ufe the means, 

"^^l ^^^^l' 'Quel}. 2, Why this Refolution is requifite to a found.Re- 

on is Requt - ~ . 

^te. formation ? 

X. Be- 

The Sinners Connjerfion to God, ' $i 

1 . Bccaufe Reformation of our waves cannot he performed wtth- _,. , 

I ^ r • A LA7/ ^/L '^•i 1. Tntrecan bs 

<mt much Oppojition:As when Nehemiah began to repair the walls, noR^formacion 

was vvuh much oppofuion. If yru v^ill not lcrve/« as a Lord, you with uc much 
muitexpecl to hear of//? as an Enemy; if you will not ferve cfpcfiion. 
its Lulis,you lliall be iiindred and mclefted v\ith its Lulb. Strong- 
er rowmg is requifite againft a llrong Tide ; So for Satan, he will 
not eafily be difpoirell ; if you will not follow his Couniels, you 
/hall feel his Dar.s ; and the world will wonder at you, and re- 
proach you, and vilifie you ; temptations on the right hand, and 
on the left. Now, all thefe fhocks and bruncs,will not be fuftained 
without a firm Refoluaon.lt mui^ be an houfe Ikongly built, upon 
an unmoveableRock,which will ftand againll all winds and waves. 

2. Becaufe (in hath been very dear unto us^ and is beyond mea- Sin is very 
fhrefubtiU to ferfwade and entice us. It is not an ealie thing f^^^^^^o Intice- 
(^though death otherwife be threatned) tom.ike a man willing to "'' 

\i\s^ his Arm or Leg cut off. Sin is as our members to us,it is cal- 
led cur felf,born and bred with us.. The feparat'on is not eafe 
where the Conjundion is Natural, and hath been more familiar : 
It will not be done by renfoning or inrreaty, but Refolution is ner- - 
ceflary. Again,6'/» is rnGfiJukile to alurens^ to entice «/,to put out 
our thoughts of Reformation. How often doth it untwift the Cord 
and propound delights and pleafures (fome fweet baits or other) 
which take us quite away from our private- intentions ? How ex- 
tremely doth it fill the heart with Unbelief,that the Reformation ' 
of fuch a fin can never be ? and if vve fet upon it , how ftrangely 
doth it amaze us, that there is no hope of mercy,and therefore we 
were better enjoy fome pleafure a while , then bitternefs and an- 
guiili for ever. 

3. The heart is naturally deceit f a/ ^ and apt 1 9 turn or be turned: The tejrtis' 
A fmall thing will make the eye to lliut,and the very imagination nacurally 

of danger is enough todifcourage mmy am.ui, and to make him Di"i;fal. 
torecoyl : A cunning mm muft be tyed in firm bonds. We think 
that vve will do much,and fuflfer any thing ; but this we find,that if 
the way be good,we do not eafily like it;if it be long,we are quick- 
ly weary of it;if it be harlli,weare ready to forfake it.Now occur- 
rents and accidents do ordinarily put on us new Intentions and - 

4.1f you confider the frame and difpoftion of that nerv courfe <?/ t'hc nc^cou fc • 
Godly wa/k^ngyyou will confds that a refdution is neceflary ; for, of Godly m]k^- 

J. Itin^.. 

p^ The Returning frodigdy or 

Icisfpirkual. i. It is fpiritud, and wholly hevweidy. 2. Itisftricl, and muft 
Sc.ia. ^ be ordered by rule ; no room for any one iinfui lult or way, (trait 

Offofueto ^s ^he gate. 3. It is o^^pofice and contrary to that nature and 
cor. upt nature. Will which is corrupt in us, it is [p fra x-r contra, 4. It is difficiilt 
DifRculc, and very high ; grace and fupernatural works are hard, to deny 
Capable of oiirfelves, our own righteoufnefs, c?^r. 5. It is cafah:eof fuch 
jreat dargfrs. dangers^ which mil not eajilybe digefled ^ even lofs of life it 
VciyUbdd- felf. 6, Itisv^ryUbortotiSy it mull coft a man much liudyand 
rous. fearch , much care and watchfulnefs , much prayers, and many 

tears , much felf-denial, and mortification ; much going out of 
himfelf, and adventuring upon pure promifes. 7. Oinecefs'ny^ 
The Sou I mi3 ft ^j^^^otil muH- under goe much , if n mil lead a godly life ; many 
forii!"*^'"^"^ violent temptations from Satan-, inward conflicts with the love, 
•of fin, outward perfecutions from the world , 7/?f^ f/?^rW// //t/^ 
godlj muft fuffer perfecution. Now tell me whether a firm refo- 
lution be not neceffary , when a man changeth to a courfe which 
is very fpiritual and holy, whereas before he lived in a courfe that 
was fenfual and impure ; again, into a courfe very ftrid and con- 
trary to him in great part, and very difficult, and very dangerous , 
and wherein he muft be very induftrious, and go through many a 
iharp trial and brunt. 
^l^ All the ufe which I fliall make of this affertion fhall be redu- 

•ced unto two heads, i. Of Exhortation. 2. Dired^ion. 
Exhortation to ^ • ^^^ Exl-iortmon is, that as we do defire a real reformation of 
.bring our " our finful wayes,fo we flrlve to bring our hearts to a folld refolutlon 
bearrs to this again ft them. Two things I will propound as motives to edge 
Solid Rcfoluti- ^j^jg exhortation, i. Th^ folly and Inconvenience of an irrefolute 
Motives. and tottering and hovering fpirit viz.. i. Till you attain to a firm 

Six dangers of refolution,you will never he free from ftrong temptations : Faint 
Irrefoluricn. denials' are interpretative Encouragements; as it is with the ill 
Ifoo will not humours of the body, they flock and refort to acrazy part ; So 
:ftron"t ""ta- ^^ ^^ with Satans temptations, they will ever be frequent where 
laon.^ the heart is ready to embrace, or not refolved to refill : why 

•fhouldeft thou expe6l that Satan Oiouldfall ofF,when thou art yet 
irrefolved to refift him ? that he ihould not be backward to tempt, 
when thou art not refolved not to yield ? 2. Till you attain to a 
^ou will never firm refolution, yon will never come to a firm peace ; Confcience 
come to a firm cannot be clear in its teftimony, when we are indifferent in our 
J^stcc tnirpofe againft fin. Tml could fay, the evil tJutt Jr\oHUmt doe ; 

'^ ' ' thou 

The Sinners Converfion to God', . 5^5 

thcu canft not fay fo : The decifion of that efta:e will be under 

a cloud 5 and you will be ftruck with more fufpicions of hyro- 

crifie and wrath, while you come to be plain-hearted and refolute, 

1 wi'l ferve no fm any longer. ^. Till you attain to a firm re- y^^^ ^jn ^^ 

folution, y§H will be [nhjett to the frequent mangli'rjgs of fin; we.ik (ubjed ro cfac 

feiolutions are like a weak child, orafeaher, or like weaj{ walls, cn-snjUnjs cf 

through which any bullet will flye : Thou ha(t no armour on, ^'"• 

till thou be refolved ; any finful occafion or opportunity is too 

hard for him , whofe heart is not clad with a peremptory denial : 

How can he be ikdfali,. who is not found ? a lame Legg is apt to 

fall ; or what iliock can a we,ik body fuftein ? it cannot be y 

but thou lliouldefl: be under the guilt of much c(xruption, who art 

not determinately fixed in thy refoives againft all linful fuggefti- 

ons ; Thou wondredft at It^ that perhaps after many Prayers, and 

much hearing, yet fome fin or other ftill pre\^uls : but can it well 

beexpedled, that Sin iliould not be thy Conqueror, when as yety. 

thou art not refolved to be its enemy ? 4, Till you attain to a firm 

vt{o\\xi\o\\ pnwill but fhtijfie in a good courfe^ off and on, fome- J^^^^^' ^''^'^ 

times much, fometimes little , fomedmes nothing : A donble- Good Gjurfc. 

minded man Is Hnfi-able Inallhisuvajes^ faith St. James i. 8. every 

bufinefs will withdraw you, and any occafion will excufe you; 

from Gods fervice, while you are indifferent unto it; every 

wind drives through thy Boat, 'and every frolhvill nip thy Bud., 

%. Nay, Irrefolution will prove ^^/Vr^^ root of apofi^^icy: il dan- * ' .1. 

r • *L .L 1 r L 1 . .• ^ .L • I it wil proves;' 

gersfurprize thee on the left hand, or temptations on the right bitter Root of 

hand; it is a thoufand to one, but thou wilt deny the faith, and Apoflicy. 

make Shipwrack of confcience. There lies much of our 

hopeful conftancy in Religion as we fet forth ; if we begin with 

faint and irrefolved hearts , we Ihall fall back with wounded and' 

broken Souls ; he cannot be long, good,who is notrefolvedly good. 

6. Fiat and foor nmmmlon iplth God : You will mike no prayer, There v. ill hv 

or but cold indifferent Prayer .• ^t^flln wasaffraid that God fla:an<i poor 

would hear him. Communion. 

2. The benefits and comforts of a frm Re folution , which ^V*^ ^^^V 
are mmy. i . It will be a great Tefllmony unto you , that your of a full Rcf^- 
hearts are upright. He who will not refolve againft a finful courfe, lution. 
either his heart hath a flaw of hypocrifie , or a fink of impiety ; Ic>Triilb:a cc- 
he loves fin,or would not yetleave it; thegreateft part of our inte- ^^^^^o^y^owf 
grity lies in the hearts frame and purpofe ; thatm.m who is refol- ri^'il" ''^ "^~ 


p6 The Returning Fredtgal^ sr 

ed to part with all fin , hath an heart who loves all good,; it k 

Ic *iill be an only found grace which breeds found refolution. 2.hmllha 

Apology in £reat ap'ogy , in cafe of falling , that yet it is I'ioif re fnmf mo asy 

'Xafcpf falling. ■ i^u^ ^f Infirmhj. (The evil that I wonld m do ^ that do 1 ^ 

&c. Rom. 7.) and rather an affe6^ of a Itoig temptation, then 

. of any fecret afFe6lion of the heart to fin ; for vvhq:e the purpofe 

and refolution of the heart is fet againfl a fin^and makes its refi- 

fknce ; though the finning may be great , yet it is not prefum- 

ptuous. Four effeds this firm Refolution worketh about fin ; 

either it doth, i. Ceafe the motions of it ; or 2. Ahates and lef-^ 

fens them ; or 3. Difappo'nts and fruftrates them ; as Jofefh a- 

bout his mif^refs ; or elie, ^Jt mitigates and correlis them in the 

degree of guilt ; either it keeps me found,or elfe caufeth that the 

Such 1 one wound is lefs. 7,, Such a man may confidently go to God for he/p and 

may conh- affifiance. If I regard iniqmy in my heart , the Lord will not 

Ojd fgr help. ^^^^ ^J f^^)^^ (i:dd David) but veri/y^ God hath heard me ^ 

he hath attended to the voice of my Prayer^ Pfal.6g. i«, ip^ 

Thou ilialt not flruggle with fin in vain , nor cry unto God in 

vain ; if once thou couldfl be firmly refolvcd againfi fin, thou 

fhouldft more confidently repair to Chrift , and iliouldfl afTured- 

ly find more Vidory over it, as P^/^/, Rom,j, 24, 25. jrhat 

have I to do any more with idols f / have heard him^ andohfer^ 

ved him ; lam like a green Fir-Tree^ from me is thy fruit found, 

Nof.i^M. 4. And mor^ confidently y expect the rfmi/pon of Jins 

And Conh- ^^y^ . ^^^^ ^^1^^^ face can a m -in embolden himfelf before tiie 

il-mifnon^of L^^^ ^ " ^ Lo^^ ^ befeech thee to pardon fuch orfuch a fin , 
lins paft. *' and I truf^ thou wilt do it , but I am not yet refolved to leave 

" it. And when a perfon can come before the Lord , and fay , 
'* Search and tell me, O Lord, if there be any way of wicked- 
- '' nefs, which I know and allow agalnft, which I am not refolved 
*' and firive. Now O Lord, thou art a gracious God, I befcecH 
** thee for thy mercies fake , forgive my fins, blot them out , I 
*^ hate them with an unfeigned hatred , do thou for thine own 
Ic will free us " ^^^^ pardon and fubdue them. 5. You iliall much free yowr 
Irom the Su^- fi^^'^csfrom the Ancient fuggefiions of SatAnyabotit partictiUr Sins : 
fcftionsofSa- Rejifi the Divel And he will f,ee from yoH^ Jam.4.7. Where there 
iEsn abour par- is no hope of Vi^lory , there will be little encouragement to 
- ticular fins. fight; firm refolutions are like rocks, againft which the waves 
inay beat and ftrike , but cannot move nor alter 5 Satan may in- 

The Sinners Converfion to God, ^7 

deed fomevvhat mokfi, but the heart is in a fort impregnable, 

which is fkdfaftly reColved. ChrlfiUna [um^ faid Ihe, I am 

a Chrifiian, who w.is much afTaulted to deny the Faith ; and ^^^^^^ JQ, Otn, 

fo filenced all threats and allurements for the abnegation of 

Chrift. Wheniheyfaw Paiil*s refoltition fixed for 'jerufdem^ 

they gave otf their importuniy ; fo Temptations will flack when 

our Refolutions are fettled. It is in vain, I will not hearken ; 

thou ma}eft moleft me, Satan , but I will never yield unto 


6, Tou mil be Ie(iimerrufted In jour holy fervices, Whileft vVc flia'l bclefs 
the heart is any thing indifferent and flexible, (infuU motions, interrupted in 
like the Birds, will return and flock about the Corn, if the ^^^ holyfcrvi- 
Watchman be now there, and anon removed. When the Mi- ^^^' 
nijfter is fpenking to your ear. Sin will be fpeaking to you: heart ; 
and when your tongues are fpeaking to God, your thoughts will 
be bufied in giving Sin an anfwer, or the World ^ But if the heart 
were more refolved ?gainft fm, it would i^ more united in duty ; 
the thoughts, and mind, and affedions would bemorecolle6i:ed 
and center'd upon the t9 €p>or, the work in hand ; it would not 
fcatter fo much, it would not follow that which it cares notfor, 
but peremptorily abhors. . - 

The next Ufe fhall be iot DlreHiony and that in two partlcu- z^fe 2] 
lars : i. How to raife a folid Refolution ; 2. How to keep and DIrcttion. 
maintain it. 

Firfl, The Means to raife It, There are fome things of How to ralfe s 
which you muft take heed and (trive againfl, as being vigorous f<>lid Refolud- 
impediments to the rearing of this frame, and twifting of this °"* 
firm cord. Take hecil of 

I . A fecret favstmng of fin. As long as your hearts cunning- a Tccrct fa- 
ly connive at, and harbour your lufts ( thofe evil Inmates) \ourinjoffin.' 
ydu will never throughly come to a Refolution to cait them off. 
For love will untwili many arguments, and prevail againft ftrong 
Motives ; it will let down your mind, as faft as reafons do raife it 
up. It is the beli Friend, and ftrongeft Advocate that fin hath. 
You fee a P.irent ( perhaps David againit Ahfalom ) refolved 
to exile tis Child from his prefence ; but natural affedio;rturne<j 
him, ard wrought fo,after a while,that D^^iW longs ioi Ahfalom 
again. As a Spring will work out that which is caf^ in ; fo will a 
fecret affection to fin, work off the impreflion of all Arguments, 

O and 

j8 ^^ Returning Prodigal^ or 

and any fuch prepofterous Refolves againi fin. 
Bc«cacy©f ^« -^ terdemejS or delicacy of ffirit : I mean, an inordinate 

Ipifii. felf-love : Love of fin, and fo alfo the love of our felves, both 

of them are adverfaries to a penitential Refolution : If a man 
will go to Heaven afleep, have his eafe, and his friends, and 
his liberty , and his fafeties, and his quiet, and his plea- 
fures, and great matters, he will never come to a through Re- 
. folution. God likes no fuch bargain, no condition ; as, I 
am willing to ferve thee, but I am refolved never to futfer 
for thee ; I will be good, if I may be fafe ; I will ^o to ^ 
fea, bat on condition I fhall meet with no liorms »-; I will 
enter into the war , but on condition that I will have no 
blows. We mult be at a point for all things except what is 
good, if we be refolved to be gocd indeed ; no, not Life it 
felf muft be dearer to us,, than that which is far better than 
Ap«rv«rfntr$ 3- A jerverfneji of fftrh^ or felf-wilfulnefs ; if you do re-- 
of Tpirit. folve to be your own Mafter, you can never refolve to be Gods-; 
Servant ; if your hearts be not difpofable to his will, they will 
never be flexible and fixed on his work. You muft in many- 
things be contented to deny your own thoughts, and to captivate 
your own judgments and reafonings, and to fubmit both your 
judgment and will to a Divine Rule, and there take forth dire- 
ctions for your lives, how contrary foever to your own conceits 
and delights. 
A falmnefsof 4. K fAwtnepof ffirit, ff you make the work abfolutely im- 
J"p'nt» pofTible, you do but cool and qua/h refolutions. There is a need 

of bellows, not waters, for tender fparks ; for no man will at- 
tempt a hopelefs work, or that which he knows will certainly 
prove fruitlefs. Do not fide with fuch thoughts as thefe ; I fball 
never be able to get vidory over fuch ftrong fins, and long cor- 
ruptions : Or, I iliall never be able to do miat the Lord requires, 
fo much, and with fuch affe6lions ; nor fhall I ever bear fuch re- 
proaches, loffes, difgraces, indignities. Never confult with flefh 
and bloud in a cafe of holy Refolution, nor credit Satan about the 
leaving of fin : but if thou wilt confult with what may fear and 
difhearten thee, confult alfo with what may encourage and quick- 
en thee. Though thy fins be ftrong, yet they are conquerable, 
( onely true Grace is invincible.) It is poiEble for a finfuU na- 

i ture 

The Sinners Converfion to God, pp 

ture to be altered and renewed, and therefore it is not impoffiblc 
for any fm to be fubdued : Though thy ovvn ftrength be inluffici- 
ent, yet ChrifVs is not ; He who hvith commanded thee to com- 
bat with Sin, hathlikewife promlfed to conquer fm ; if thy duty 
be adive, he is able to work in thee both to will and to do ; if 
thy cuty be paflive, he can give thee not onely to do, but to fuf- : 
fer for his fake ; if thou mult not be lefs then a Sufferer, he can 
make thee more than a Conqueror : Thy helps are far great- 
er than thy difcoufagements , there are more with thee than 
cigainft thee : Therefore fear not to refolve ; 'tis a vanity 
to talk of another , or fitter feafon ; you will be more un- 
willing to leave fin, the more time you take to commit fin. 

II. There are fome things which you muft, in fome mea- tsbout for 
fure poflefs , if ever you would be brought to a penitential Re- 

I. Get 06 dlft'mB a kjiorvledge of fm^ as clear convlFHonAs Clear Conti- 
yen can. It is our blindnefs which keeps us in fervice ; and the ^^^"* 
Willis ufually perverfe, becaufe the Judgment is greatly dark : 
Did we know fin aright, ( truly, fully, experimentally, ) you 
have attained to Reafons enough, why you ffiould refolve againft 
it. Sin carries its own condemnation with it : Sometimes the 
particular effecls of fin do half perfwade us tobeChriftians, to, 
leave the fervice of finj a firoke or two upon the Confcience, ^ 

do thus far prevail, as to paufeand flop ; ^ If then we knew fin 

* in the latitude of its bitter effc^s, and in the intenfivenefs of 

* them ( beyond all thoughts ) for bitternefs and perpetuity, 

* as alfo that extreme vilenefs in the formal nature of it, which 

* is the vaft womb and Ocean, out of which thefe bitter waters do 

* flow ; if we did know fin as the darkeft blot, and loath- 

* fome blur, oppofite to the truell Glory of pureft Holinefs ; 

* and as the moft deformed and higheft Rebellion to the moft 

* equal Laws and Rules of Divme Soveraignty ; and as the very 

* Eclipfe, and utter Inconfilknce with all real Happinefs ; and 

* as the infallible and unavoidable Precipice of our intollerable 

* and eternal Damnation : At leaft, this would be an occa- 
fional excitation, if not a ftrong foundation , upon which to 
raife a Refolution to quit and forfake it. Sure I am, the de- 
feat of this, that m^n know not fin, makes them bold and ven- 
turous, obftinatej and tenacious ; they will not defift from the 

O a praftife 

lOO The Returning Prodigal^ or 

pradlice of fin, becaufe they know not the evil of hn.. 
Cordial dcce- * 2. You muft get an hatred of fin^ elfe you will never truly and 
fiacion. efFe6lualiy refolve againtt it ; All the adHons of our lives are fed 

by the affe6\ions of the will ; thele are (in morals) frincipia im^ 
mcdlata & vlncemla ; and of ail the aite6lions ( as the Anato- 
' mitts obferve in the body, two matter- Veins, Fenacava^ & vena 
.aorta ; j To in the foul, there are two which are Soveraign, and 
bear fway ; one is Love> amd the other is Hatred ; that bears fway 
in matters elegible and practicable, this in matters finfulUnd de- 
clinable. Refolutions againit fm, not rooted in. hatred, will flack 
like a deceitfull Bow ; and Refolutions to a better courfe, not 
raifed from love, will be but as the morning dew : It is hatred 
which makes us bent and peremptory again6l evil, . and it is love 
which mak-s us refolute and ttedfatt for good. Hatred hath three 
properties in it againtt an evil Object, Enmity, Flight, and Irre^ 
concileablenefs : And Love hath two properties in it. Union, and 
Adhaetton ; Ruth clave in love to Naoml^ and wasfededin it, 
never to leave her : And Ephralm was ttrong in detettation, and 
therefore peremptorily in refolution, what have I to do any mere 
with Idols} 
Yaich.. 5. There muii be Falthy and then there will be Refolution. 

Faith, I. To Relieve the /fbr^^^/G^o^, difcoveringand threatning 
an evil condition and courfe ; 2.- To believe the excellency of a 
good Condition^ and Life, and Rewards. If thou didiiindeed be- 
lieve that fin would damn thee,wouldft not thou refolve againtt it > 
if thou didft indeed believe that the holy life were the happy life, 
CGuldft thou by Faith fee him that is invifibk, and the beauties 
of holinefs, wliich are hid from the World, , and ihofe great coi>- 
folations andrevvj^ds referved forapioushe:^rt and converfati- 
011, thou vvouldft quickly turn the Scale., rK-ke the choice, and 
refolve, 'Tis true,I mutt leave my ttns, but I fhall gain my God ; 
;i,i their pleafures, but I ttinll gain his delights ; I may forfeit the 

i love of Friends, but I fhall find kindneis of. God ; I quit 

JJ Earth, but I fhall get Heaven ; I leave but filthinefs, but guilt, 

I i but mifery, but Hell ; I fhall get holinefs, and pe^^ce, and 

[ ; Chritt, and Comfort, and Heaven 5 ' I am infu fficienr, but God is 

I fufficient. 

I Vehement 4- ^^^^^^^t Trayer^ that the Lord would give a heartwilling 

j prayer* ' to foifake ttn, and willing to choofe him and his Ways : For the 



The Sinners Converfion to God. K) i 

purpofes of our hearts are from him. Refolution fhould be a Po- 
fieof Prayers,. Ikept in prayer, blown up by ^he breath of Hea- 
ven ; Pjal, 1 19. 5. O that my rvays were direfkd to keep thyfta^ 
tmes, V. 8. i will k^ep thy ftatutes ; for fake me .not utterly . 
What you undertake without prayer, you will forfake without 
comfort : All refoiutions are beft made, which are made upon 
the knee of prayer, , 

Secondly, The maans to maintain and keep uv^ this Refolution, The means ro 
If you would attain to a folid and permanent Refolution, then, "maintain tbis - 

1. Let yonr RefolMtlort not be preftimptHdPts^ hut humhle : If you ^ • lQ^!^"°"- 
raile your Refoiutions upon your owniirength, you will ihortly prcfump'.uousa 
quit them by your own weaknefs. No fpiritual frame or work is but humble, 
fafe or iirong, which is reared upon it felf alone ; it muft not be 

lefs than a rock higher than our felves, upon which we mult build. 
The wings bear the body of the flying Fowl, but this they cannot 
do without air to fpread and bear up thofe wings. I can do all 
things through Chrifi that fire?igthens me, Philip.4, There muft 
be fome ftrength in us to advance a Refolution, but then there 
muft be another Strength^ upon which both that Refolution and 
that Strenc^th muft depend : And therefore ais a Warrant is of no 
force, if it goes not out in rhe Kings name ; fo a Refolution is too 
recoiling, which begins not in Chrifts power : As David encoun- 
tredGc//^/;, not with his own Sword, but /;?(jo^jAr<^wf; fo we 
muftrefolve againft our fins, with Godsftrength a (lifting of us ; 
otherwife, our fins may reply to us, as the Devils to the fons of 
Sceva^ '^:efiu I kr.ow>^ and Paul I know ^ • hut who are ye ? A ft"iip> 
though well built, muft have wind to drive it, and fet it forward; 
and a Chriftian needs more ftrength than his own, to forfake a 
bad, or to follow a good courfe. It is a wife courfe, in lending of 
Money, tojoyn another party in the Bond, who is more able and 
fure th.in the borrower : Doeft thou refolve againft fuch afinfuH 
way, or for a holy lite? t'ke not flngle Bond ; ( thy own heart, 
though to thy think'^^g well fiirniiht and ftocktwith refolution, is 
etbut a cre:Kure,and miy deceive thee, and make thee to break:) 
ut t.^ke double Bond, befeech the Lord to be bound for thee, to 
give thee his ftrcngth, which is indeed fufficient to preferve, 
and to perpetuate thy refoiutions. ^ 

2. You muft be fure that you get a moHmfult heart for what f^n ^^^^^ f^p" 
if J^flt or elfe you will neyer get a refolute heart for the nhatispafe^- 

future : - 


502 ^^^ Returning Fndigd^ ir 

future : if the heart be not broken for fin, fm will quickly break 
the refolution of the heart ; He who will without any more ado2 
be joyoufly good,! fear^ leart after a while,you fee h-m earneilly 
bad. We feldome obferve, that an unbroken heart is rted- 
faft; that his foot ftands fure, whofe eyes remains dry, f/.) 
who can leap into a good way, yet never was truly grie\'ed for 
a bad. Be.er's Refolution to confefs his Malkr, held out better 
after his tears, than after his confidence : The mournfull re- 
membrance of a bad life., wherein God hath been fo much 
difhonoured, and his fpirit fo often grieved, it excites and quick- 
ens, and doubles our hatred, and fears, and cares, and refolves. 
Should I any longer continue thus ? fnould I thus offend ^gain ? 
Patd doth frequently remember his finfull perfecutions of Chrift, 
and then is inflamed, with a more zealous refolution andinduitry, 
to preach and advance him : Nothing daunts him, in the right- 
ing of that good Lord and Chrift, whom before he had. fo. much 

Bs fi^ivc tp ^- ^^ A^ive again fi /», and that is the way to'keeptip your 

gaiiift lin. Refolutions againft it : My meaning is this, you muft endeavour 

tomortifie an evil heart, if you would hold up your refolutions 

againft an evil courfe : The heart is all in all for Life or Death, 

j for a good, t)r for a bad way ; kill the root, and the branches 

[ will foon wither ; diminifli the Spring, and^iiie Streams will fail ; 

weaken the Spirits, and the Limbs mil be ufclefs. It is a faolifh 

thing to fay , /will not have the fit of the Ague again, unlefs 

you receive fome^hing to alter the evil humour which caufeth it : 

' ./ will never lin thus again ! thus how often do we refolve, and 

yet break out again ! why ? becaufe we would refirain effe(fls, 

without furprizing their caufes. Be more earneft with God, for 

L a fober heart, and for a chart heart,and for an humble heart,and a 

' "heavenly heart, and a meek and quiet heart : Thou fliouldeft not 

■onely refolve, but prevail againft evil a6Vs , if thou didft vehe- 
;mently ftrive with God, to feafon the Springs, to alter the na- 
ture, to better and -ftrengthen the heart, that fountain whence 
•thefe arife and flow ; for all things are ftrongeft in their caufes, 
and the iirength of the caufe is the ftreng«-h of the effect. An oc- 
cafion may be vigorous to produce a refolve, but alteration is 
required to make it &ja and effeilual ; it is health which breeds 


4. let 

The Sinners Converfion to God. 103 

4. Let it be watchfully and not curde^ : They are not the ma- Be watchful), 
ny Souldiers which keep the City, but the vvatci^full Souldiers ; and not cari-- 
the City which is got by iirength, m^y be loft by carelefnefs. To ^'^^* 

be a6^ive andinquifitive how to make refolutions againrtfin, and 
afxrw;rds to be negligent of our hearts, this is to make a ftrong 
door, but not to mind whether it belockt or no. Our hearts 
( take them at the beft ) are very untrufty and deceitfull ( atlealt 
in part) and are quickly weary of fpiritual bonds ; and as an 
untoward Servant, after all warnings and threatnings, is hanker- 
ing to whisk out after his old companions ; fo our hearts, after all 
relolutions, are yet inclining to evil. Therefore let us not one- 
ly enjoyn our fpirit to take heed of finfull courfes, but guard them, ; 
fet a guard upon them, as Davidy Pial. 39, i . - A man may quick- 
ly Humble, who hath an able foot, if yet he hath a care- 
lefs eye ; the eye and the foot muft go together to keep us up-- 

5. If you would ftill keep up your Refolutions, then often re- - 

view and renew them. Our resolutions come to be (irengthened and renew re^-^ 
by frequent enquiry, how they are performed. Daily account- folutions. ' 
ings with the fervant, may be the means to keep him faithfulL • 
IF we did daily fequerter our felves, and commune with ourfpirits, , 
and take an account of them ; ^ O my foul, thou haft feen the vile- 
* nefs of fuch finfull courfes, and haft felt the bitternefs of them, . 
l*-and haft folemnly protefted againft them before the Lord, and 
■tefolved to profecute them no more ; thou haft given thy Word 
d Bond for this unto the great God : Wellj how haft thou 
performed this purpofe? art thou ftili willing? haft thou been ^ 
faithful! to thy felf, and to thy God ? waft thou no way furpri- 
2ed this day ? though thou didft not break, yet didft not thou ■ 
"bow to day ? though thou didft notfall, didft not thou trip ? did 
nothing come from thee to undo, orelfe to weaken thy refoluti-- " 
bn ? Such evil motions fprang from thy heart co fin again, didft 
thou abhor them, and cry unto God a^ninft them ? fuch tempta- 
tions prefented themfel ves unto thee, didi\ thou rejefl ai- d ftout- 
ly refift them ? or haft thou not found an heart fomewhat heark- 
^ning, fomewhat yielding, fomewhat venturing? Iffo, thew 
umble thy felf, and as David to Joa^^ 1 Sam. 11.25. -^^k^ ^hj 
'^^tel mere ftrong againfi the Ctty ; fo do thou, bewail thy .'il- 
J5, and renew thy refolution agam more ftrongly and cai"ef.]lly. 

6, If- 

104 ^^^ Returning Predtgd^ or 

When rcfolu- <5« I^ ^^^"^ Refolmlons k anj thing imfaired, let them he pre- 
tioasareitn- fently repaired, Ic is.poirible, aotwuhftanding our Refoludons 
paired, ice agaiult evil courfes, to be furpriz-d vvuh evil adls, andnorvws 
them be pre- ^^^ ^^j. ^^ g-^^ ^^ ^^^ Rdoiudons themfelves ; but do not fo : 
lentiy repaired, jj^^^g^ ^^^ ^^^„^s ^^j-j^^e back the Manner, yet lie holds faft 
his reiblution (till for fuch a Cape ; and i£ a man falls in 
his journey, yet he will rife and be going again : So let us do; 
if we have not anfvvered our R^-foIutions, let us-not end tnem> 
but mend them: Above all, fearch the cauies of impairing thy 
Refoiutions, and then thou mayelt f^e thy reparations. Say fe- 
rioufly, i. Didrt not thou relie too much upon my Refoluti- 
on> as if therefore thou vvertfafe, becaufe refolved ? 2. Didll: 
not thou grow weaker in Prayer, when thou greweii ftrong in 
Refolution f or, 5. Uaft thou not. been more venturous up- 
on occafions? haft thou not been tampering wi h finfull occa- 
fions, fuch adts, ways, obje6ls, as thou knoweft have powder 
to irritate and inflame Luft ? Confider ferioufly how thoucameft 
to violate thy purpofe and intention, and penitently confefs it 
before the Lord, and take up thy Refolution again upon right 
iet refoiutions 7' Let^<7//r -^^/o///^/W be accompanied with the i^fe of all holy 
be accompani- t^^^^ which will ftrengthen and perfeH: them. Doth not the 
ci with the ufe ftrong ijian grow weak by fafting, as well as by ficknefs ? How is 
,ofboIy means, it.poflible but that thy Bow fliould flack, (/.) thy Refolution, 
fliould ftart afide, when thou art a negligent Hearer, and an in- 
conftant Petitioner ? why ! where lies thy ftrength to perform? 
why doeft thou put off thy h^lps ? what I art thou alot^e ? He 
who hath not -ftrength to fight, how fhall he have power to con- 
quer ? wouldft thou ftand ? wouldft thou refolve ? wouldft thou 
refolvefo as to reform ? Be much in Prayer ; Keep thy fervant, 
O Lord, uphold me by thy Word, preferveme by thy Spirit; 
work irt me the will and the deed, work thine ovvn wo^ks in me, 
finifh what thou hdft wrought ; fhew thy power in my weaknefs, 
let thy Grace be fufficient for me; leave me no:, norforfake 
^' jne ; incline my heart to thy teftimonies, turn away mine eyes 

from vanity. And fo for the Ordinances, attend ihem ; they are 
the Strength of God for thee ; they work holy qualities, holy mo- 
tions, hoIyconvi(5^ions, holyexcitations,holy affe6lions, de(ires,a 
if ear left we depart, and fall from our Ikdfaftnefs ; and they kindle 


The Sinners Converfion to God. J^ ^5 

more and m^e'our purpofbTto walk with God, and to iliun ini- 
Guitv Oh, how admirably the heart under them is caufed to 
burn with ardeatlove of God 1 with defires and refolutions 
to keep cloler to him , how is it ttirr'd up with more deteiia- 
tionotTm ? how often do they melt the heart ? recover the 
heart, rettore the heart, and fend it acvay with this refoiution. 
Well ! by the grace of God 1 will never go on mfuch a hnful 

courfe, &C. . i r U rr^r. ' 

Thelalturefhallbe-for£^/;^n^f^^;^untous, though we have ^,VJe. 
taken ill courfes formerly, yet now r. refohc againfi them , to ^^^^^^^^^^^ 
arife and go home to our Father;, What ihall I lay tomoveand 'l'^^^^^,^ 
perfuade Is here to confidcr. i. Either you maft re five to le^ve 
\onrpns,oi be damned for them, why wiL thou lofe thy pretious j^^^.^.s. 
foul for ever. 2. Whether is better to come ba<;l^ and find God a 
Father, or iodepartfiillfrom him, and feel him a JHidge. limiz- 
cy be better then wrath, if heaven be better then hell, refolye to 
arife and leave thy finful waies , and return unto a God and Fa- 
ther 2 Haft thou not found thy finfd coMrfes to be evil and bit- 
ter mto thee already : why wilt thou ferve an evil mifkr for evil 
wa^es, the v^hich alfo will Ml be more fearful and heavie , by 
ho\v much the longer ihou continues, finful and wicked ; thy ter- 
rours will not fhorten, while thou dolt lengthen thy fins, nor mai- 
qL\ thou expea that thy latter daies will be peace, when al thy 
daies h we been wickednefs ; if thou lived in fm, tnou mult lie 
downitiforrow. 4. Sin u an hateful ohjeB, and a tonq^rable 
enemy, therefore refolve againftit. Ic onely hath the moti ablo- 
lute reafons of the ftrongeft hatred, as being completely evil and 
vile ; it is the bafeliof all objedts, and is thine higheft enemy, 
there i^ nothing which can undo thee but fm; and yet ^ is a con- 
querable enemy, it is very pOlTible hat a fmner may b- changed. 
\ If tho 1 once could ft bm get ttnhem to refolve agawftjtn, thou 
%9tddftfind theivork.moreeafte. Sain: Auftin pror.4Ti.li, that 
thou-h the thoughts of le wing his fins were once a gre^. burthen - 
to him, yet at length being peremptorily refolved he toimd ita 
mofteafie and delightful thing to live wifhoMt hem. 6 Anew 
courfe of^dience -,0 this is life indeed, Nov art ^hou alive from 
thcdead,if thy heart be truly refolved,! may fay to 'heeas Chr^ftto 
ZAchew^Thudayisfalvmoncome to thine houfe-, an -holy lite 
, - ^ "^ -n and 

10 6 The Returning Trodigal^ or 

' and courfe is the moft excellent , is the mol^ eafie , is the molt 

L peaceable, is the mol^ gainful, it is the bell:, ic is the fweetefi, it 

^ is the happieft life ; it begins in Grace,it will end in Glory. 

Luke 15. v. 185 ip, - ^ 

A fid mil fay unto hlm^ Father^ I have Jimed agaJnfl He Ave n ^ 
and before the , and am no more worthy to k called thy Son ; 
make me as one of thy hired fervants. 

You have heard of the Prodigals penitential conji deration of his 
finftil eflatey and of his penitential refolution^ to forfake that con- 
dition and courfe , / will arije and go to my father : now you are 
to hear his penitential confejfion , jind ivillfay unto him, Fathery 
I have finned again ft Heaven-^ &c. In which words you have coa- 
iiderable. i. who doth confefs \ /. 2. what he doth confefs ^^ 
Ihavefnned, 7,, Towhom he doth confefs^ Father ^ I have Jin-' 
ned^ . 4. }ioy9 he doth confefs^ Againft Heaven and before thee ; 
In te & coram te % There is no difficulty in the word ; and there- 
fore I will proceed to t he intent of it, which is this : That true Re-^^ 
T R pentance for fin dgainft Gody will bring forth true Confeffion of Sin 

tince for^n, ^ntoGod, This is evident almofl: in all perfons , whether fingle 
will bring forth or conjoyned, who are itt out for penitents in Scripture. David^ , 
true confeflion his heart bleeds , and his tongue acknowledgeth, / havejinnedy 
of iintoGoi. 2 Sam. 12. upon Nathans convi6lion. The Fuhlican^ Lord 
be merciful to me a fmner ; he flood afar off, fmiting his breft, 
and inditing himfelf for his fins : A whole Church in Es^ra , in 
Nehemiahy in Daniel ^ all at once confefsing, We h a v& finned, 
we have done wickedly , our fins are gone over our heads. For 
the better explication of the affertion ; know, 
A thff efold That there is a threefold confejfion ef fm ; 

cdnfcffionof i. Aurictdar y or Sacramental, which the Church of i?^;^^ 
^"•.^ dpthinjoyn, but not the Scripture. Confiteriora & Jingula pec- 

i^uricular. ^^^^ mortalia^ to confefs all, and every mortal Sin, quornm me^ 
moria cum dehita & diligentl premeditatione haheatur ; which a 
diligent , and indulbious memory can recal etiam oceultay even 
your fecret fins, & quefmt contra dm ultima decalogl pr^cepta ; 
Nay, thofe which are committed againft thetwolaft command- 
ments, (^ circmtflancias y yea, and all the circumftances of 
youffins; this is the confeflion which the Church of Romem 


The sinners Converfion to God. 107 

the Trent Council doth in join upon pain of Anathema to be made 
unto the Prieft. Sejf, 14. Can, 7. but without any "Warrant from 
the Scripture, or averment from true Antiquity ; for Scripture af- 
Cures us J that confelTion of iin made to God alone, obtained re- 
million of fins and favour, PfaL 32.^. I faid^ I will confefs my 
• fins unto the Lordy and thotiforgaveft the iniquity of my Jin, Lo [ 
here confeHion to God alone, not to a Prielt, and upon it remilTi- 
on of fms by God himfelf ; dares any Popifh Prieli: reverfe this 
abfoIutk)n or confelTion, becaufe not made to man , which yet is 
accepted with God. Saint Chryfofiome^^QAs ftrange words ; Let J"^- \- ^^^' 
God onely fee thee confefflng. And again upon Heh. 1 2. Horn, ci/ftff''La^ed. 
31. ci'7ro;^Ki4'^v <s:^ i Ku^iov tIw' \J^ov fl-y, Reveal thy Way ^mo Baj. an. i^^9, 
the Lord 5 Itti tv 0£s tavta oi^ohoyiio^y, Conf efs them before 
God : and ?gam , tcr/ t» J^i^t^ if^hoyn nustf tm/:x«t<*, Confefs 
thy fins before thy Judge ; and Saint Auflins tongue needs to be con^. lib 10. 
clipped ; Q^id ml hi cnm homlnlhm^ut audi ant confeffisnes no fir as cap, 15. 
quajilffifanatarljint omnes Unguores meas f What have I to 
do with men,that they fhould hear my co'nfc{Iions,as though they 
could heal all my difeafes ? Saint Bajil faith,that the groans of his ^^ ^i^^' 17* 
heart did fuffice for a ConfelTion. Surely here was no abfolute ne- 
celfity to confefs all to the Prieft : but yet again obfervc, there 
is a ufe of ConfelTion in cafe of i. Injury. 2. Anxiety. 3. Scan- 
dal to the Church, as in the next particular. \ 

2. Chrlfilan and prudential ConfelTion ; and this is the ac- Chfll^^^n ani 
knowl edging of fins to men, either in cafe of notorious fcandal , P'^^^^Q'i^l* 
which the primitive Churches much urged and ufed ; or elle in 
cdfe of trouble ; and thus we deny not but any perfon may law- 
fully,andwarrantably go unto a faithful, godly, skilful, compafsio- 
nate Minifter,and confefs his'fins5elther to obtain counfel out of the 
Word of God for the remedy of fins,to recover or prevent them ; 
or to be imformed aright concerning his prefent ettate, or to have 
his confcience quieted and fettled. 

-3^, Penitential^ which is made onely to God : this the Scripture ^^"'"ntia^ to 
doth command, and this wee hold 3s abfolutely neceffary; 
when wee do repent, then to make confelTion of our fins to penijentUl 
God. ^ ^ confcflioacon^ 

Secondly, This penitential conf ejjion mxy be confidered, either fiJcred, 
in refped of the material part onely, and fo it confiils o£ words ^" "^^^P^^ °^ 


1^8 The Returning Trodigd^ or 


_ , whereby we acknowledge wherein we have tranfgrefled, Hof, 4^ 

airo^; ^ ^^^^ "^^^^ ^'^* ^^ of the fovmal pan a/foy and thus it coiitems theie 
ingredients which fpeci lie and difl nguilli it from all fuperititious, 
And Co h Is ^^ hypocritical, or falfe confefTions. 

I. It IS a» heart J ackj^owledgment^noi ntida confejfw ; feignei 
kr^o^UdL^^' ^" meerly verbal confeiTion : It is affedionate, the lips do urter ^ 
msnt ; the mind of the heart in it, am^cnfti peccati cr mferUy. as a fick 

man opens his difeafe, here I feel it, &c. -The publican [mote up- ■ 
on his hreafl^ and confejfcd. True confeflTion is the languaije "of 
And volun- ^^^ very foul, being very fenfible of fin. 2. It ^ volmtdrj^ not 
wry^. coacia confejfie y the Thief miy confefs upon the rack : though 

there were no wrath in God, no rack in confcience, no flames in 
hell, yet the true penitent will confefs ; When there is no other 
caufe of confeflion of fin but that which is penal, it is not then 
truly penitential. Pharaoh confeiTed under the plagues, and Ju^ 
das under the ftings of /confcience, it was an extorted confeilion,^ 
but penitendal confeffion is voluntary, it is ana6l that arifeth' 
from an inward difplicence with , and deteftation of fin, thougb 
there be no apprehenfion of hell, no fenfe of wrath, yet the peni- 
tent confeffeth even to a Father, / have finned. Many of the. 
Saints did I (h^it up In p^ifon ^ and when they were pm to death T 
gave my voice agalnfi them. I punlfhed them oft In every Syna- 
. ,.j.o. £v g'fg^^y A'fls 2(5. 10, II. :?. It is ^/y?/W, and not confufed : the 
penitent hath fpecial bills of inditement : he knows his fins, and ' 
wherein he hath exceeded andfail-ed : fuchfinsashe hath moii, 
delighted in, fuch as he hath moft walked in, fuch as he hath 
moft dillionoured God by > fuch as cleave-mofl unto his na:ure, 
fuch as confcience may be moft clogged with> thefe he doth more 
efpecially confefs unto God , and indite and condemn him- 
felf for fmail fins as well as great ; Sapih /^p, as well as Vrlahs 
murxher , antient fins as well as prefent , fecre^ fins as well 
as open. But mufi: our confeifion of fins- be particular? 
Sol, Either explicitly fo, or virtually fo; the. heart hath a 
particular intention or afFedion ; the more particular , the. 
• better , to humble our hearts , -to obtein mercies , to make 
us fervent. As David , though 'hee did give a touch at all 
his fins in the beginning of the 51 TfMm^ yet at length 


T^he sinners Coni'crfton to God, 109 

hrancheth his confelFion into particulars, into that of 
AdHltery ^ and the other of BUod, So doth I^ahI often un- 
cover his i'pccial imsof Perfecting the Qiurch, and Blafphe- 
niing, and of Injurioufnets : 'jndas cryed oul of Blood, but not 
of Covetoufnels and Hypocrihe. 4. It is Hnmhley and not And Humble, 
jrroud (as ^(?^//j<^<;/^^ifervants,with ropes, &c.)done with Contri- 
tion of Heart, not with Often tation of Spirit. Like a flaili of 
Lightning, breaks out of a cloud renced ; and Jofephs girment was 
llicwed to his father rent and dipt in blood. Anciently, 
when I hey did confefs their fins to God, they did it widi 
Sackcloth and Ajhes ; and the opening cf their fins is term-^ . 
ed , Ths p firing om of water before the Lord ( I am vllcy Job 
40.4. Not Tvorthyy &;c. Li:ke i^. ) becaufe when they pou- 
red out their fins in confelfion of Tongue , they likewife 
poured out con:rition of Heart; their tears of Grief, fpakeas 
much as the words of their Lips : / ivJ/l decU^re mine Inl- 
qmles ^ and he ferry for my pn ^ Tfal. 38. The Papilts in- 
deed have as courfe a Garment , and as fev^ere a Garb in 
penitential confeifion as any , but underneath they have dain- 
ty Linnen ; thereliesgreat pride under all -this pretended Hu- 
miliation , as if all this did merit at the hands of God ; tha- 
Voice is humble y^iTo^'s, but the pride upon the a6l is proud - 
E fan's. , If they fawthe wrong which they did by finning, bbw*- 
could they fo proudly challenge God upop their confelling 
( what doth the murtherer deferve becaufe he conf^ifeth? ) 
Rut truly Penitential Confeffion is accon^panied with griefs 
in the heart , and with fhame in the. face , and vyith acknow- 
ledgment. That by-reafon of air fi.ns there belongs nothing 
to us but iliame and confufion , Daniel g,. ^. It Is mlxt . . . ,, 
yvith jome Faith , not overcome with Defpair : If the (^^^^ Vikh, 
confeifion of fin be not mixed with fome hope of pardon, 
it is not penitential but defperate : Cain-, in fome mea- 
fure confeflfed , but fed Into the Land of Nod , and re- 
putes his offence Unpardonable, beyond the power or in--' 
tention of Mercy to pardon him. Jf^das likewife utters 
his fin in particular , ^ have fl.nned in betraying Inn^-- 
unt . Blood i But then he goes ont and hangs hlmfelf - 


no The Returning Prodigal^ or 

But if the confeifion be truly penitential, it acknovvledgeth fin 
fully, yet believingly ; not to a meer Judge, who out of the 
mouth of the Confeiibr condemneth, but to a father (Father ^ I 
havefimedy faich our Frodigal)\y\\o knows how to abfolve and fon- 
give him, that knows how to accufe and condemn himfelf. As 
you mull: in ConfeiTions acknowledg, O Lord my fins are very 
great; fo likewife muft you relieve your felves, OLord, thy 
mercies are exceeding many ; thus have I finned, but thou cantt 
pardon ; I defer ve wrath, but thou canft freely fhew me mercy ; 
I am a finner, yet, Lord, be merciful-tame a finner. 6, It* is 
.^Rd .^incerf. sincere and not fraudulent. : then is the Confcffion fincere, not 
only when the heart ads in it , but when alfo it ads plainly and 
plenarily in it. We are but Flelli and Blood, it is my nature, I 
cannot help it; I am not the firft that did fo ; it was company 
that drew me. 1 did Q^tyfud ^dam, huXth^ ^voma^ gave it me 
to eat, I did eat, faid the woman, but the Devil tempted me. 
I did offer Sacrifice, faid Sau/^hnt 1 was afraid of the Philiflims, 
Thefeare fraudulent Confeffions, when either a part is know- 
ingly and willingly kept back; or if all comes forth, it is- exte- 
nuated as much as may be. Not that any perfon is to accufe 
himfelf of more then he is guilty, but that he is not to extenu- 
ate and mince any thing wherein he is faulty, but therein to 
fet out himfelf to the full; Of whom-, I amchief {^id Paul : 
And the Prodigal here, / havejimed again fl heaven-, and he fore 
An3 joyned ^^^^' ?• ^^ ^^/^ ^^ )oyned with dejire and endeavour of Refor^ 
wichdcfirc and ^^tion : Therefore forfaking of fin (atleaft in Voto &conatH) 
endeavour of isaiinextto confefiion, Prot'.iH. 1 3. Saul confeffed his finful 
jPvcformation. injuries to David his Son in Law, 2 Sam,^^, 16. Ch.26, z, and 
wept, but then he purfued him again : So did Pharaoh^ Exod, 
p. 27, 34. but then he hardned his heart, and finned yet more. 
They loved eafe , but not cure ; but David defires medicine as 
much as quiet ; Grace to heal, as well as Mercy to quiet : he 
did not open his wounds, and then make more, but defires thofc 
which are made, that they might be bound up and healed. So 
did Shecaniahy not only confefs their trefpafle, in taking of 
flrange wives, Ez.ra 10. 2,. 3. but intends reformation: Norv 
therefore let us make a Covenant with God to fut them all 

Thefe ingredients I do conjeSture that they make up the ve- 

7he Sinners Converfion to Cod, 1 1 1 

ry form and vitals of a penitential ConfefTion. But why fliould 

true penitents mak^ confelfion of their fms to God ? Reafons sf it. 

1, There Is -a necejfity fo to do : Necejfitds ex fane Deiy & Thcic is a nc« 
ex fane ret. i. Ex f^rte Dei^ God reqmreth you fo to do; cefluyto^do. 
Acknowledge thine I m quit y^ that thou hafl tranfgrejfed again fl ^ 

the Lord thy God^ and hafi jcattered thy wayes to the 'Strangers 

uncur every' green tree^ Jer. 3.13. So Hof, 14. i. Return to thi 

Lord thy God. Ver. 2 . Tal^e with you words ^ and turn to the 

Lord-i and fay unto him-. Take away all Iniquity^ and receive 

us graclofifly, 2, Ex f arte Rei : When the heart is peniten- Ex parte KsL- 

tially changed, it cannot but confefs iin will lye fo heavy ; as 

when health comes in, pain is felt : There is fuch an abundant 

fenfe of fin, that the heart cannot contain it felf. If the affedli- 

on be full, it muft vent it felf, Jofefh could not refrain : So is 

the heart of a penitent overcharged with the iniquities of 

his Life, and Indignity by him caft on God, a gracious 


2. There is Vtility in fo doing : Though true confcffion of ji^^i jj ^uti^ - 
fin doth not at all merit, yet it is a way or means to obtain three lity in [0 do- 
fingular things -^ viz,, i. Remiffionof Sins : This is amoftfweet »ng. 

and furpalTing mercy ; David accounts him Bleffed whofe iniqui- ^' "^ means 
ties are covered : but ConfeiTion is the -means for RemifTion , Rg^^ion of • 
which m^y evidently appear, i. By Gods dire5iion of his feofle ^^^ 
to take this courfe^ that fo they might be pardoned, Jer. 3.12,13. 
2. By his ffecial Promifey upon their true confefTion, for to par- 
don them their fins, Pr&v, 2^,1'^. He that confeffeth and for-- 
fakjth his fins y (hall find mercy, i Joh. 1.9. If we confefs our 
finSy God is faithful and jufl to forgive us our fins, 3. By fre- 
quent exferience : David f aid, I will confefs my Tranfgreffions^ 
And thou for gave fl the Iniquity of my /«, Pfal. 3 2. 5. The Buh- 
lican penitentially confefled, and went home Jufiiiied, Luk^ 18.. 
13,14. 2.Boweragainfl fins'. By hearty confeflion to uncover Power ajaini^t 
fins, is a way not only to get God to cover them by Jufiificati- lin. 
on, but alfo 'to cure them by Sanguification. You muH take off 
Vulnerati tegumentumy if you will cbt^m Medici Emf la ftrumy «^wi^?**» 
as S. Auflin alludes upon the Bfa, 32. When you open the 
wound, then you make way for the healing PJaifier; andthere*^ 
£or^ S.John doth not only fay, If we confefs our fins God is 
fmhffil to forgive us Qur ftns ; but alfo addeth, <mi to ckanfe 

112 The Returning Prodigal^ or 

Pf ace of Con- MS from all Hnrtghmnffjefs, 3. Peace of ConfcieriCe : You may 
fciince. fee this m:inife(tiy in David^ who being diltrefled in fpirit for 

fin, is much dirquieted,and roars, and his moifture is:urned into 
the drought in Summer, Pfa/, 3 ^ . 3,4. His iilencc railed his Im- 
patience and Trouble, but as foon as he confefled his ^s, he 
recovered his peace, ver. 5. I ack^wledgimy fin ur^to thee^ a»d 
mine iniquity have 1 not hid: I fald I will confefs my tranf- 
greffions untothe Lord^ and thoii' forgave ft the inlqmty of my fin^ 
belah. So Job 33. 27. // any fay ^ 1 have finned^ and perverted 
that which is right, and it profited me not ; Ver. ^'6, His life 
fhallfee the Uglft : It is one of the Windows Co let in the be.inis 
of heavenly comfort. 
Gad IS much 3* Laftly, God is much Glorified when the penitent doth hum- 

■Gioriiied by ic. blyand truly confefs his fins.- David acknowledgeth his fins. 
That thou might fl be ',uflifed whn thoti fpeak^fi-, and he clear 
-when thoujfdgefl^ foPfai.51.4. q. d. Lord, thus have I fin- 
ned; and whatfoever puniAment thou haiHnflided, ormayeft 
inflici:, I muft quit thy j uftice in all thy proceedings ; thou canft 
not but be Righteous, for I confefs my felfto'be iinful: Nay, 
his Jufiice only is not glorified , but his Wifdom, that he 
Jcnows all our fins and wayes ; and his Power, that he is able to 
Judtge and condemn us ; yea, and his Mercy too, that we hope 
yet he will pardon and forgive the fins which we confefs unto 
Ufe I, If true Repentance brings forth true ConfeOlon, then by this 

Then there are it will appear. That there are very few true penitents, becaufe 
very few true very few who do truly and aright confeis their fins. 
Pcni:cnt5. '^ ^^^ ^^^ y^^ of fm, what Pilate did of truth, what's 

Truth ? So they, what's Sin ? They are fo ignorant, that they 
know not what is evil, or wheri they do evil. Now, how can, 
any confefs or acknovvledg that fin to God, which is not known at 
all to himfelf. 

2. Others arefo far from confefiing themfelves tp^be finful , 
that they (like the proud Pharifee) jufilfie themfehes to he righ- 
teous ; talk of their goodme.inings, purpofes, jufl:dealmgs,&c. 
Sana memhra oflendebat (^faith S.Auftino^ that Pharifee) vuh 
Mr a tegehat \ I am no Extortioner, no Adulterer, &c. Ask fome 
> perfons , Do you acknowledg One only God, who is mofi Merci- 
.fd, Jui% Holy, Omnipotent, Faithful, Loi-^-fuftering, full of . 


The Sinners Converfion to God, 113 

Goodnefs and Truth, &c^ Yes,that do they,God forbid elfe,(^f. 
Ask them ,^gain, Are you Idolaters ? make you no Idols? or did 
you ever vvoriliip them ? Who they 1 nay, they defie them, and 
all fuch trumpery. But do you not ufe to fvvear, and take the 
Name of God in vain ? Nay, for fvvearing, of all {ins they can- 
not away with that; a m^in gets no good by fwearmg. But do 
you remember to keep holy the Sabbath ? Yea, all their neigh- 
bours can bear -witnefs, that they keep to the Church conftantly. 
Ask them again, Did you never injure your Parents ? O, they 
were always dutifull Children. But did you never pl.iy the whore, 
or the adulterer, or the thief ? Nay, now they t/ill talk no longer 
with you, if you be fo uncharitable as to im^igine fuch guilt. 
Why, O thou ignorant firmer ! why doett thou deceive thy foul? 
if thou art thus righteous, thou needelt not to repent ; and if 
thou art free from all fin, how canlt thou confefs thy fins ( as a 
true penitent ought to do ) to God ? 

5. But fome others there are, who do both know and acknow- 
ledge their fin ; but how ? oyiely In afermal^ coU^ indifferent man- 
j^er. True, weareall finners, God help us, and there is no man 
but he fins, yea, the befi of them all ; Never confidering, That 
great Juftice of God which is provoked by their fins; nor that vile 
and abominable nature in their fins ; nor that infinite wrath unto 
which their guilt doth oblige them ; nor the excellency and necef- 
fity of pardoning mercy, which we fhould earneftly fue out when 
we confefs our fins. 

4. There is another fort, whodomorediftinc^ly, and perhaps 
fomewhat feelingly and freely, confefs their fins; but then they 
keep Be?ijamtn kack^: And as Rachel hid the images under her ^ 
fo they refervefome one [fecial luft ; they do not bring all the Pri- 
foners forth unto the Bar: There is a '{in which they hide clofe 
becaufe it isfweetyZS Zophar fpeik<?,7(7^ 20.12. Now this argue?, 
i,Hypcrifie and guile of hearr,a fecret love to fin ; it is made,in 
J oh 20. 1 2. the guife of an Hypocrite, to hide his fin. 2, Extreme 
folly and vanity of fpirit ; f or,canft thou conceal any fin from that 
God,who is acquainted with all thy paths, and knows thy thoughts 
-afar off, and to whofe eyes all things are naked ? will not the 
Lord difcover the fin ( which thou doeft cover ) before Men 
and Angels, to thy eternal inf .imy and condemnation ? afiured- 
ly, though thou wilt not fet thy fins in order before him, yet he 

Q^ will 

iiA The Returning Prodigal^ er 

VYiU fet thy fins In order before thee^ and will re f rove thee for then^y 
Ffd, 50. {i) ^^ vviirpublilh them, and he will everlafiingly 
punilli thee for them. 

^. Others do confefs all their fins, but this onely in times of 
wrath^ andjudgmepity and death ; not like Penitents, but as Ma- 
fefa6tors, ( as men make their Wills upon a death-bed;) not out 
of an hatred of lin, but out of meer fenfe or fear of punifliment ; 
it is not Filial, ingenuous, free, but onely extorted, involuntary, 
andfervile, and therefore not truly penitential : They do not go 
and confefs their fins, as they to John the Bapti fly but cry out 
and confefs thei* fins ; itisthat, not which they would do, but 
which they cannot avoid : Confcience, like an over-charj^ed iio- 
mack, doth fo over-prefs and pain them, that they cannot hold^ 
but out it comes, what oppre(rion,injuiHce,ururious, injurious^ 
beaflly, filthy, fwinilli fins they have lived in. 

6. Others feem to be more ingenuous and voluntary, or ready 
. to confefs their fins ; but then this is with fuch pretences^ colottrsy 

fhiftingsy fhitffling', as if they were, like Lawyers, to mitigate and 
colour a bad caule. S. ^^y?/« complains off ome, who would im- 
pute their fins to Fate, to Fortune, to the Devil, nay, to God 
himfelf : The complaint m.iy well fuit with us ; generally, we 
have fome device or Oiher, either to deny, or to extenuate our 
finfullfads ; rather to plead for our felves, than to plead againlt 
our iniquities. It was company, and we are but llefh and bloud, 
and it is not ufual, or (which is contrary) it is my nature, and 
the Devil was firong with me, others do worfe, &e, 

7. But of all men, they are moft contrary to penitential Con- 
ferfion, who call evil good ^ and darkaefs light, and that make a 
a mock^andafport of fin; whereas they ibouldjwith grief of heart, 

> andinameof face, mournfully, penitently, humble themfelvesf 
before the Lord, and acknowledge their iniquities, inflead there- 
of. They bo.U-t themfelves of their iniquites, and m^ke but a 
- jeft of that which coft the bloud of Chrift ; It is but a trick of 

Youth, and good Fellowlliip, and Handfomnefs, and Comple- 
ment, and difcreet Thrift ; thus do they phrafe their Unclean- 
nefs, their Drunkennefs, their Pride, their Lying, their Cove- 

8. Lalily, to mention no more. They are defedive too about 
the true penitential confeffion, who are afflduQHs to eonfej^^ but 



The Sinners Converfion to God, ^ 1 1 j 

defiducm toforfaks y frequent to acknowledge and declare their 
fms, but negligent in tbriaking and leaving of them : Difcovery 
fufficeth, but Recovery they mind not. This is moll ordinary 
vv ith us,that we make our confelfion of fms to God, rather an aA 
of our Memory, than a vvork of our Confcience*: it fufficeth us to 
deliver in the tale, to number cur tranfgreflions ; but then we 
v^^:e(ile not with the Lording rayer, for his Spirit of Grace to heal 
cur hearts, and to turn us from the (infull ways unto which we 
find our hearts fo apt and forward. But I will no longer infifl up- 
on the Convicling part, 1 proceed to another Ufe. 

Which fliall be. Not to hide onr fns^ but to declare and <«^- ijfe 2. 
kyiorvledge them w a right penitential manner before the Lord^ that Exhortation , 
fo we may declare our fdves true Penitents. This exhortation To confefs our 
you fee confifts of two parts ; Not to Cover, To Difcover. ^'^^^ ^" * P'"^* 

I. Not to hide and cover our fins. There is a two-fold Cover- """"^^ °'^^" 
ing of our fin ; One is natural^ which is that Vail of Ignorance M^rto cover 
and blindnefs drawn over the foul by Original fin, keeping the our fuii^ 
mind in fpiritual darknefs, not able tofeeitfelf, norails, nor 
wayes aright : This is fuch a Cover, wherein we our felves are hid 
from our felves. There is another Covering, which is volmtA- 
rj :ind artificial; wherein we dig deep to hide our counfels, in- 
tentions, delights, adions from the Lord, cunningly contriving 
and feigning a fecrecy, as if we could put a curtain of a cloud 
twixt Gods eyes, and our a6lions ; doing evil, and faying. None 
iliall fee it : And when it is done, never bringing that forch by a 
penitential confefTion, which we did bring out by a finfull com- 
miifion. Oh take heed of this, though we be forward to fin, be- " 
ware left we be artificial to conceal it. , If we cannot h.avci 
eyes to forefee, and ftrength to prevent evil ; yet let us have 
hearts to bewail, and tongues to confefs it. Confider ferioufly 

1. J\\\shiding quality leaver y ill qtialitjf ; it is an embleme rh's is a very 
of an heart, that will not yet be rid of fin : As Beggars, that will ill quality. 
not be cured of their fores ; for if thou wouldftbe cleanfed,why 
concealeft thou .thy difeafe ? 

2. It ad2s much to jour fin : To commit a fin may be an a6l of I: adds m-ich 
infirmity, but to hide and conceal it argues either ftrong Atheifm, to your iia. 
that the finner thinks God regards it not though it be vile ; or elfe 
perverfe wilfulnefs, he will not humble, he will not turn unto the 


CL2 * 3.^J^ 

1 1 5 The Returning Frodtgal^ er 

3 . Zr adds yiothlng to our fafet^ : Adam hid himself In the thickjty 

You m.w put gold in a fecret place, and perhaps it m.^y be un- 
der a fafer cultody ; but he who will hide his fin, doth but put a 
fair cloth upon a dangerous wound^which now rankles, gangrenes, 
kills. Of all fins, thofe do moft endanger the foul, for which we . 
are not truly humbled,, or do not ferioufly confefs them unto 
God. Why fhould God iliew thee mercy,- w^ho wilt not acknow- 
ledge thy felt guilty ? and how can fin but be fiercely reigning, 
where it is mofi willingly harboured and concealed ? 
Nor dotb \: ^, JVor doth it add.to ourfecr^cj : For all thr^gs are naked and 
add CO our iV y^y^ y^foy^ Godj S^c. God - can eafily difcover thy fin. i . He fees 
crcc^.. -^^ i^g l^^g ^^^ all-feeing eye. 2.. He can make thy confcience the 

rack of torment at confeHlon. 3. And will at the lafi day ; 
Nsth'wg is hid that jhall not he made manifefl. In two things 
. doth the inconfitent finner much prejudice himfelf by hiding, 
of his fins : One, that he contrives himfelf for a fore puniili- 
ment j another, that he repriev.es himfelf for an open iliame.. It. 
is Gods difpofition, this, that when we difcover our fin, and 
condemn our felves, then will he-cover thofe fins, and not ji%e 
our perfons. i Cor. 1 1 . 3 1 . ifype woald judge our je Ives ^ ne jhould 
not he judged. But when we with wile and guile contrive to keep 
them clofe, God then will publifli, and man^feft them.; for ther« 
is nothing ( in this kind ) fecret, which fhall not be made ma- 
nifefi : Nay, fimply, manifeitation is not all ; judiciary is it ;• 
he will fo difcover them, as to queftion, as to arraign, as to con- 
vi6l, as to fentence, as to condemn your fins. 
• Ohjetl, But finners are ready to objed ; Who is able to con- 
fefs his fins ? Doth not David fay, who kjwweth horv eft he offend- 
^/Z? f Pfal. 19; 

Sol, It is true, every particular, numerical thought and a6t 
of fin, is not poTibleto be cited and confefled ; butwhourgeth. 
that'? This belo'.igs to. thee ; i. Toftudy thy heart and life; 
1, To obferve WiV.t the Lord forbids and commands ; 5. To. 
hear what thy Confcience w^ill fpeak fo: kinds and a^Sls ; 4. To 
give diligence to find out as many of thy fins as thou canft, and 
by no means to omit thy fpecial fins; and fo to fpread allof 
them, wirh humble, hearty, and mournful! acknowledgment be- 
fore the Lord. 


The Sinners Converfion to God. r 1 7 

OhjeB, This is the way to breed defpair, tu fee an Army of 
fuis on a fudden raifed up in the foul. 

Sol, I. See them you muft, firli,' or laft ; either now to your 
humiliation,or hereafter to your confufion ; better fee them now, 
when you have time to get God to pardon them, then after life, 
when it is Gods time onely to condemn you for them. And 

2. He who bids thee to fee thy fmp, bids thee to confefs them ; 
and he who bids thee to confefs them, hath promifed alfo to par- 
don them. 

ObjeH, But I lliall be afhamed to confefs them, fo many, fo" 
foul tranfgrefllons. 

Sol, I, If it were to M m,then thou mightft blulli and fear ; h^ 
might wonder at thee, and perhaps incompaifionately cenfure and 
blab. 2. But it is to a God onely ; One who is very merciful! 
and will keep counfel, he is very ready to pity and to fpare thee. 

3. The commilllon of fin fhould be a fliame,but the confelfion of 
it is an honour ; it is an honourable thing that a Tinner will glori- 
fie God, and confefs and forfake his fins. Let the difeafe be what- 
it will, thou wilt difcover it to the Phyfitian ; why then this fin- 
full modefty to reveal thy fins to God? And 4. efpecially, if 
thou confidereft thus much, that thy confefiion is not to give him 
knowledge of any fad with which he is not acquainted, but to 
yield a teftimony of thy obedience, and repentance, and grief^ 
find to get thy acquittance and difcharge: 

II. But difcover and confej^ them : and to move you to this, But (31 fcovfr 
confider i . Thoughit be a (h^me to commit fn^ yet it is an ho- and confefs 
nyur to confefs It, My foyjy give glory to the God of Ifrael^ and con- ^^'^' 
fe^mto him, faid Jofhua^ cap. 7. 19. to Achan. Mourcj.. 

2. Though the commiffion offn brings heavy gut It ^ytt. the confefft— 
on of it brings peace and eafe.- It is the letting out of corrupt & ulce- ■ 
rous matter, which rages,and fwelleth,and boils in the confcience. 

:^, Is it fo great a matter y beinggreatlj guilty ^ freely and hum^-, . r 
hiy tocenfe[^^ If the Prophet had bid thee to have done fomej^atrc*rfortbe 
great thing, &c. \o if the Lord hid required of thee C'. m- g'eit guilty pcrfon^ 
matter, proper and high fatisfadion for the wrongs thojhill freely to con- 
done unto him, thoufandsof ram?, or ten thoufand rivers of oyl, ^^•^^• 
&c, Rnt when he faith. Be grieved for what thou h.ift done, do 
fo no more, onely aci^nowledge thine iniquity ^ that thou hafi tranf- 
greffed again fl- the Lord thy God^ Jer. 3.15. 


1 1 8 The Returning Fredtgd^ or 

I: (hal! Curdy 4; ^^ j^^Hl^^^) fi»d mercy, O pardoning mercy ! hovvne- 
fini m;rcy. ceflary, now iWeet for a finner ! But who lliiall have it f He thcx 
confeffeth and, fgr^aketh hij ffis, jhaU fmd mercy ^ Prov. 28. / 
/^/W, / yo'ill confe^ my fins unto the Lord^ and thon for gave fi the 
imqmty of mj f>ny Se/ahy Pul. 32. 5. Nondam pronnntiat, fed 
fromittlt fe pronnntiattirnm^ & ille dimmlt^ faith Saint Anfliny 
ihld. And again ; Vox nondnm m ore erat^ fed anris Dei In cor- 
deer at : So was it with the Prodigal ; hepurpofeth toconfeis, 
and his Father feeth him a far off. 

Luke 15:. 157. 
Andamno morevporthy tc he called thy Son ^^ makj me 06 one of 
thy hired Servants, 

Thefe words contain in them, a continuation of the Prodigals 
humble Confefllon ; he had in the former Verfe acknowledged 
He GonfcfTcth his hnfuhiefs, and in this he confeffeth his tinworthlnef^ [And am 
hisuRworthi- nomore worthy to he called thj Son, '\ 2. A modeft fupplication, 
"cis* \^Make me as one of thy hired Servants,'] There are three Prc- 

pofitions which thefe two parts do a tford us, viz. i. That feni- 
tent perfons are humh/e and lowly perfons. [ I am no more wor- 
thy] 2, 7 hat mworthinef is no jufi prejudice to ftipplication, 
[ I am not worthy, yet make me, &c,'] 3. That penitent per-" ' 
fons eameftly defire jome relation to God, [Make me as one of thy 
hired Servants.] 
DoH, I. That penitent perfons are humble and lowly perfons, [_I am n9 

Peniccnt per- more worthy,'] Look on every word almoft in the Text, and you 
Cons sre hum- fhall fee in it the blufh of humility ; I am not worthy,'] The lan- 
blc perfons. guageof Pride is, I am not as other men ; the voice of Humi- 
lity is, I- am not worthy ; what I have is of meer mercy, what 
I crave is not of my merit; God may give what he pleafeth, 
and I may receive what he giveth, but I am unworthy of both ; 
I dare not ^xpoftulate nor 'challenge, I have finned, and what 
mercy can I then deferve. No more worthy?^ Was he ever wor-^ 
thy? 'No. Why then no more worthy ? q,d, OLord, I de- 
ferve nothing, no, nothing at all ; fo vile a wretch have I been, 
that it's lingular mercy if thou look at all upon me. To he thy 
Sonr\ A Son, thy Son, O it i? a high Relation, an high Digni- 
ty ! for a Vaffal of Wrath to be made a Vetfel of Glory ! for a 


The Sinners Convey f^on to Cod. 1 1 ^ 

Slave to Sin,to be tranflated to a Son of God ! Who am I ? it Is 
that which I want, \x.'v^ that though which is too great for m^to 
ask ; I am not worthy to be thy Son , nay , not worthy to be 
called thy fon^] the very title and n^me is too good for me : 
that fo deb.mched and luxurious a fmner as I, fhould have that 
honour from thee, to be mentioned or f pollen of, to be in any 
fort reputed among thofe of fo Angular Rdation unto thee ; I 
who have finned fo much againll thee, that I fhould in any kind 
be owned as a Son by thee, this is an eminency ; I ^^m not wor- 
thy to be called thy Son. Thus you fee his humblenefs in con- 
feflion ; Not worthy, utterly unworthy to be a Son, nay, to be 
called thy Son : See fome Ikps of it in his Petition ; Make me 
06 one of thy hired [erv ants ^^ A low requeli, but it is the modeft 
breath of a lowly fpirit. If / may be thy fervar.t^ I fhall be 
glad of that; not thy onely fervant, but^?;?^ ofthyfervants; not 
the chief eft of thy fer\Mnts, but any one of thyfervanis, thy hi- 
red fervant : And perhaps even that is too good for me, to be a 
fervant, to be an hired fervant, to be one of them ; / fhall 
coa it my felf happy, if / may be a^ one of the mean^ft fervants, 
\i I may be but a fervant xo the meaneft of thy fervants that 
ferve thee. And Father, 1 beg for this too, make me as one of 
thy hired fervants ; '/ am, not worthy of the leaft place, nor of. 
the meaneft Relation ; / challenge it not, onely be thou pleafed 
to beftow it upon me. He is not worthy to defire the greateft, 
and he doth modeftly intreat for the loweft Relation ; both which 
fhew the humblenefs of his penitential fpirit. Thus was it with 
P^«/ after his converfion ; how he fmks his thoughts and eft' ma- "■* 
tion of himfelf ! When he is to fpeak of his fins, i Tim, 1.15. 
then Primus feccatorum^ I am the chief of finners ; Nemo frt^ . 
tfr, none exceeded me, nemo pejor^ I was worfe then any : And 
when he fpake of Gods mxercy to him, then, mlmmns Afoflalo^ 
rum^ /am the leaft of the Apoftles, \Cor. 15. 8. & Indlgnlf" 
/ww, notworhy tobecalled an Apoftle. Nay, he fcTlls lower 
than this, Fphef :;. 8. Mlmmr^i fanBorHm mlmr minlmo^ lefs 
than the leaft of all Saints, is this grace given, C7f> Do you not 
fee this alfo in the fenltentlal PHhlkan} He fteodafaroff^ and Publican* 
vpotild mt fo much as^ lift up his eyes to heaven^ h'a^f?mte trpon his 
hreft^ faying^ God he merciful I to me a fnner. He judges thofe 
feet unworthy to carry him unto God, which fo often carried him 


120 '^he Returning Pr$digd^ or 

from God ; and thole eyes unworthy to look on his hoUners,vvhich 
had been fo frequenily caft upon finfuhiefs ; and whereas the Pha- 
rifeefpreads his hands abroad, he turns them upon his brell:, his 
contrite breft , and doth not boall of his righteoufnefs, but cries 
out of his fins j and jultifies not himfelF, but humbly begs, Lord, 
be mercifull to me a finner. Thus was \i with Mtir^ Magdalene 
upon her repentance, Luc,^, 3 8. She flood at the feet of J efm^he-- 
hind himy weepi^g^ and began to wafh his feet with tearSy and wiped 
them with the hairs of her heady and kjjpd his fe£ty and anointed 
them with ointment. Mark it ; all her fervice is lowly ; ilie ftood, 
ilie did not fit ; .fitting was a poiiure of familarity, Ikndingof 
humility : and llie (iood behind ; to look after Chrift vvas enough, 
to look upon him flie was unworthy: And then (lie ttood at his 
feet,the humbleft pofture, and there all her work is aded : Stood 
at his feet, wept at his feet, wailied his feet, wiped his feet, kif- 
fed his feet, anointed his feet. 

But now for the opening of this Propofition, I will briefly dif- 

cufs, I. What this lowly humblenefs is, which accompanies true 

Repentance? 2,. The Caufes why true Penitents are fo humbly 

lowly? 3. Some ufefull Application of this. 

. .. I Qtiefl.i, what that hnmhle low Une^ isy which is to be found in 

is. Sol, It is not a promifcuoHsjamiliantj with every body 5 fuch an 

humblenefs becomes Solomon ?> fool ; nor is it an affefed garb of 
complemental dljfimulatlony thcitwas Abfalom*s treacherous flirrup 
to mount up himfelf into the Throne ; nor is it a flavingly abafiiig 
of a mans felf to a6ls incongruous with the dignity of his place 
and calling ; this were to be the Tom of a ParilL ; nor is it a de^ 
nlal of thofe glfs and graces that God hath be ft owed upon us^ this is 
a modell lie, it is not lowlinefs ; nor is it pajftve humlUatlony 
wherein the fpirit may be crackt as low as Hell, and yet be ftill 
as proud as Hell ; nor is it a rejeEilng of Godspromlfes^ becaufe 
7ve can bring no worth \unt9 them : But Humblenefs which ac- 
Humblenefs companies Repentance, It Is a Grace of Gods Spirit^ whereby the 
defer ibed. penitential perfony from right knowledgCybecomes low In his own ejes^ 

andjudgeth himfelf mo ft unworthy In his addreffesunto God, 
It is 1 Grace of \, It Is a Grace of Gods Spirit,'] It is one of the Pearls in the 
Gods Spirit. Chain which the Apoftle would have us to put on, Col, ^.12. an 
.humble fpirit is a fpiritud ornament. Some Graces are more vifi- 


the Sinners Converfton to Gvd* 121 

ble and ftirring, as Faith and Charity -, others are more referved 
and hidden (like 5^/^/ among the ftutf) as Patience and Humi- 
lity. But a Grace it is, being a fupernatural Quality , not born 
with us, but added unto us. In our firit Birth, we com^ out 
with very high and ftout Spirits; in our fecond Births, with 
very lowly and humble Spirits ; iii our low Birth, with high 
Spirits ; in our high and excellent Birth,with lowly Spirits. 

2. MakJ'^g us low in our own eyes :] Behold^ faith Job, 40. 4. Makinr us low 
/ am viky (.i.) nothing worth, bafe, PFhat jhall'I anfwer thee ? In our oun 
/ am as a weaned chi/d, C^id David^ Pfa.131.1. I have not the <:ycs. 
Unde rjianding of a man^[.\id -^g^r^ Pro. 50. 2. JVot as if I had yet 
^;r^/W,raith the AporUe,^/?//.^. Hence is it that in Scripture 
humble perfons are called Little^ (one of thefe little ones , faith 
Chrift) little, not only in the proud contempt of the World, but 
little in their own humble eftimation of tiiemfelves. Ks David 
is faid to be little in his owu eyes ; one who fet a very low 
rate and value on himfelf. And they are faid to be poor , 
por in f fir it ; they have indeed very rich Graces , but very 
poor opinions and conceits of themfelves ; /, tvho am but dnft 
and ^y^f/,faith Abraham : a worm and no man^iiid David. Excel- 
lencies they have, but they are not puffed up by them. God doth 
raife them , but they raife not themfelves ; they are precous and 
honorable in his fight, but vile and nothing in their own; they' 
have an high Calling, and high Graces, and high Privilcdges, 
but ftiir low hearts : when they look on their Natural frame, 
that's as low as Earth ; when they look on their finful fr?me , 
that's as low as Hell ; when they look on their Spiritual frame , 
then how little; itisbutfomefaith , Oh, that God would help 
my Unbelief! that forrow is but a drop, thatlov^ebut afpark, 
that knowledge but a dawnirg light , their ftrength but weak- 
ne(s ; others have more, they have but little ; ftill they complain 
of defe6ls,infirmities, failings ; what they have is nothing to the 
much they want : No Vines fo unfruitful , no fervants fo unpro* 
fitable as they. 

fudging themfelves unworthy In their addreffes to Gvd : ~) 7'hy JucJpinp t^fin- 
S/tints^ faid Mofes, humble themfelves at thy feet ; unworthy to frUes unwo-ihy 
come before God, unworthy to obtain any thing from G^d : the ^nihnr addrti- 
Publican dares not lift up his eyes to heaven ; Ez^rn is afliamed ^^* '° ^"^*^' 
and confounded to look up : the very Majefty and Purity 

. R of 


122 Tk Keturnmg Prodigal^ or 

of God do da2le,andfometim2s filence their thoughts ; and when 
they <lo worihip towards his holy place, then mark how their Pe- 
titions run, Not for my fake, O Lord, not in my own name, not 
formyrighteoufnefs, fhame and confufion belong to me; but 
do it for •thine Ovvn fake,for thy Mercies fake, for thy Truths f^ke,. 
for thy Chrifts fake, O Lord : If thou fheweft me no Mercy,! de- 
ferve nonejif ihou giveft me any Mercy,it is only of thy abundant 

^'- h"l^^°"^ * Ariftng from a right kmwledg: ] As Pride Is rooted in Ig- 

Ictiee! ^^'^' "^^^^"ce and Error ( it is bu l the corrupting of our Text, a fooliili 
blafl and miflake) fo Humblenefs is grounded in right Knowledg 
and true Judgment. 

OfGjd. 1, Of God : Humble perfons do more exa<3:Iy apprehend 

him (what Heis,what his Will is^ in his perfe6lion3 of Holinefs, 
and Mercy, and Juttice, and thereupou are ab^ifed in their own 
fenfe. To compare our felves with our felves m^y be dcingerous , 
and to compare our felves with others inferior to us in gifts, and 
graces, andfervices, itmaybeafpeedy way topufFusup. But 
a comparifon of our felves with God , O how fhort are we ? 
how nothing are we in comparifon of that infinite fulnefs of 
excellency in him ? The Stars make a twinkling in the nighty, 
but when the Sun appears they hide their faces and Veile 
themfelves. Our Graces may feem to caft their Raves , 
their Beams, and to have fome Luftre m our eyes, vvnilft 
we compare them with others , or our felves in darknefs ; 
but when we look on God, that Sun, that fulnefs of all Ho- 
linefs, then we are afhamed, may hang down our heads ,j 
and, with the Angels, cover our Faces : Our Features are 
but as Deformities, and our Fulnefs but Poverty, in compa- . 
rifon of him : And therefore wh(^n Joi? had a while conferred 
with God, he then confeffeth his ^olly and ignorance, and abhors 
himfe/f and will ffeak^m mo^e. 

Of ou" Sdvcs. 2L. Ofourfehes^ both in £W/ and in (7W, For Evil: It is 
difcerned in the proper nature, forms, colours, deferts of it. Ob, 

For Evil. Pjqvv much hath God already been diijhonoured by me? How 
often? how highly? Any one TranfgrelTion , rightly appre- 
hended, jnriy ferve to abafe us all ourdayes. But then Iftill 
feel a corrupt nani.re, apt to rebel, to llepafide, to break out. 
Oh, how wonderfully do unbelief, hardnefs , fecurity , dul- 

The Sinners Converfion to God. 123 

nefs, diltradion, hypocrifie, vain-glory, unthankfulnefs, foUy, 
indifpofuions, evil thoughts, corrupt affections cleave unto me, 
though under many mercies, opportunities, helps, aflift^inces ; 
what am I vvorihy of ? It is pure mercy that I am not ahnoR eve- 
ry hour thrown into.Hell, by reafon of continual finnings ? For 
Good ; look on it in all rerpe6ts,and know it aright : you may fee 
caule of humblenefs : i . Look on it in the Qualities or Habits : 
at the bell very weak, things rather of defire, then of poflelTton ; 
we know but in part, believe with fear, trult with doubt- 
ings , fee but as in a glafs ; we rather imitate then appre- 
haid. As Profper fpnke of the joyes of Grace , Ipfa & vlr^ 
tutam gatid'ia valntis habent ^ that is true of the very Graces, 
even our wine is m'xt with water ; and like Jacobs fpcckled 
Sheep , fo is it with our fouls , feme of all graces, yet but alit- 
tie, and accompanied with thereliques of 3ll,and too much finful- 
nefs. 2. Look on it in the ABs and Frnlts : We can- 

not go without a Staff, and, too like Jacohy halting to our dy- 
ing day ; either we want minds to good, or wills or power, not 
able of our felves to ha ch one good thought, and when the 
will is prefent, yet we find not power to perform ; and tliough 
fometimes we do good , yet evil is prefent with us : like Beer 
which runs lovy with the liquor , there runs out much muddy , 
grounds; or like ^^r^/^-«;«/ Sacrifice, many Birds lighting on 
it; or like Solomons O'mment -^ in which is fome ^^^// Flle-^ or 
like a Candle, which burns with a Snuff; or like the fire, which 
afcends with much fmoke. Our anions are like the Arrows 
which are (hot, one is too far , another is too fhort, another is 
too wide , not one of an hundred that hits the mark ; fo is it 
with us , many Duties and Services are performed by us, but 
which nmoi^gft them all is performed with that reverence of Spi- 
rit, faith on Chrill, integrity of Affedlion, unitednefsof Soul., 
and fole fidelity of intention to Divine Glory. Our excellencies 
arc weak, and the Lord be merciful unto u?, how often do vve 
weaken them ? our work is but little that we do , very little ; 
take afide the averfnefs, the indifpofitions , the formalities , 
thecoldnefs, the di(}ra6tions , the unbelief, the wearincfs , 
the inconlimcy, the infinite infirmities which accompany 
them , vvhat poor things will they then appear? may 
we not fall down and fay, having done our beft, We are 

R 2 but 


124 The Returning Prodigal^ or 

but unprofitable fervants. Nay, and that which being known 
may iikewife abafe us , is this^ we may juRly fay of all our 
poor excellencies , as the Widow of her Veflels , They are but 
borrowed ware ; What have we which we have not received ? 
Every Gift and (Srace which we have, is but a Beam born of the 
Sun, a drop coming from another Fountain then our Natures : 
all our good is but free Gift; take the borrowed feathers from 
the Crow , it is then a mofi black creature alone. So that con- 
iider our good aright, eidier in the initial caufe of it, viz.. 
Divine and free Grace; or in the upholding caufe of it, Di- 
vine alfiftance; or in the qualities of ic,how Weak and imperfed ; 
or in the acts of it,how rare and uneven ; all thefeare th^ fprings 
as it were,which feed humblenefs of heart in the true Penitent.. 
Wby true pc- Qneft^ 2.. NovV I proceed to the next inquiry , why true Pe- 
nitents arc merits are fnch hnmbU and lowly perfons ? / am not worthy tohe 
humble per- called thy Son. 

5<?/. The reafons are moft of them infinuated already ; I will 
either exprefs them again,or add more lo them : thus then. 1 .Con- 
Convcrfion '^f^rfon neceffarily infers an alteration in the whole man : Though 
infers an Alee- it doth not deftroy Subftances, yet it chasgeth Qu:lities ; of un- 
radon in the holy,itm^kes us holy ; of ignorantjknowing ; of lilthy,clean ; of 
whole m^n. obliinate, flexible ; of unquiet^meek ; of proud and lofcy,humble 
and lowly ; therefore penitent perfons,who are converted perfons, 
mufl needs be lowly , ex naturarei-^ this is forcible. 2, They 
never did experimentally \now thernjelves till they began to re^ 
e 1 e"°V^' /'^^^* Sin was but a delight, or amxk, or a meer difcourfe 
knoWihem-^ unto them before; thevilenefs of it, the contagious pollution 
fdvcs. of it, the ftinging guilt of it, the terrible effedls ofic, both in 

refpe61: of God and themfelves, they never favv it till now; they 
fee that of fia which they favv not before, both for the filth and 
the guilt of it;and they fee it with other eyes then they favv it 
before ; no m.irvel then that they become lovin their own eyes. 
Should they not be very vile in their own eyesjWho perceive them- 
felves guiltv of that wh ich is mofl: and only vile in Gods ? / h^ive 
■^ob T 10 ' fnned what (hall I Jay untp theefl thou preserver sfmen ? 3 . They- 
never faw till now how (kort they came m that good of duty- 
T^cy now fee which they owe to God , and how unanfwerahle they are ta 
ho5^ (bore they the many bonds ef obedience : I have done nothing for 
somunducy. God all my dayes, rior to him in any Service and Honour. 

4, They 



The Smners Converfion to God. 125 

They never knew till now how injurious they have been un- 
to God , to the kindnefs of his Love, to the ccunfel of his Spirit, ^^.^ ^^"^ '^^' 
to the righteoufnefs of his Will ; how unworthily and ftubborn- i""°bccn"o 
ly they have refiftedjdefpifed him, abufed all his mercies : Thus GjJ. 
for the Explication of the point. Now for th^ Application of it 
. to cur felves ; Doth true Repentance produce humble lowlinefs ^r^ 
of Spirit, then let us reflet on ohy own hearts^ and judge what fo- Lci u^ judge of 
lidity of Refentar:ce is wrought in us by that lowlmefs and fenfe of ouiRepcmai^ 
ftnwonhinejs which is to be found in true penitents. Confider by our iowli- 
Pride, and loftinefs, and fe/f-wonhinefs are very natural to us : "^^^* 
though we be born wholly n.iked, not any external ornament is prfje and fdf- 
upon us , no inward excellency , yet our natures are puft with worthincfs arc 
wind and a haughtinefs; and could we be rifled and ftript of every very natural co 
fm, we lliould find this of pride ( fo oppofite to lowlinefs ) moA "J* 
intimately cleaving to us : Paradife was not free of it : What do 
I fpeak of it ? nay,Heaven it felf was troubled with it;the Divels, * 
who are caf-l: into the loweft darknefs, fell thiihef by reafon of 
their proud loftinef >. Look over all forts of perfons , it s a won- 
der almoft to find one truly humble-hearted iinner. If a man 
hath parts, the Apoftle tells us that knowledge ruffeth up ; the 
the wmd gets into the bladder ; as it was with Diatrephesy &c. 
who is the Lordy faid Pharaoh ? if a man have dignities, how 
rare is it to fee greatnefs {looping, and lowlinefs of heart with 
highnefs of honor. If a min have riches , he needs an Apoftles 
charge, Not to he high-minded. If a man be poor, he is like Dior- 
genes:, trampling upon the Philofophers chair with greater pride. 
Generally thefcum is mofl light , and vu'gar fpirits moft cenfo^ 
rious and infolent. If a man be ignorant,- yet Laodicea thinks her 
felf r/V/j, and ificreafed^and to have need of nothing ; though indeed 
flie be foor^ and hhnd^ and miferable^ and naked, 

2, if habitually and fredowinant/j proudythou art as yet impe^ If Habkually. 
nltent ; 'tis true that Co'.werfion doth not give an abfolute ctm- t^rcubihcuarc 
tioH to fin, yet it do h take off dominion, and caufeth diminuti- io^pfnitcm. 
on. It cannot be,that a man lliould have an heart rightly fenfible 
offiUy and fetagainftit, and yerbe high in the opinion of his 
own excellencies and w.^rth. The mountains are call down into a 
valley, and the high im"'ginations brought into captivity ; the 
fwellings of our corri-pt fpints are in great me?fure abated and let 
©Ht, when onc€ Grace enters our hearts , and Repentance hath 



The Returning Frodigd^ or 

Few men ufc 

tit mc?ns to 
make {beai 

How it may bf 
known ibatctr 
begirt s are not 
lofiy, butlow- 

Yu then live 
upon mccr 

You will be 
pacienc under 

You will be fi. 
lim in denials. 

opened our eies. Though you may be free from many other adu- 
al and grds exorbitancies, if yet the fpirit of pride ( be it in Spi- 
rituals, or Naturals, or Civiis, or Morals ) dwell within you, and 
rule over you, it may be faid of you what the Prophet fpake of the 
ftcut-hearted, They were far from rlghteoufKefs, 

3. Tew men ufe the means to make them humble , they feldom 
are at home, they are fo ftudious of other mens fins , that they 
negled their own. This is a moft ordinary tru:h , that they who 
are fo prying after fhe faults of others, feldom fearch themfelvs, 
and hereby onely enable their own pride, but difable themfelvs for 
humbleneis. It is not forreign , but experimental knowledge 
which makes us lowly. But you may reply, Hov may it bee 
known that our hearts are not lofty, but lowly, that fo we may 
judge our repentance not to be be formal, but found. Soi Prc- 
mife a word or two and then I have done, that I fpeak onely of 
LoivHnefsj as it is to be found in Chrijftians in thu llfe^ which v^ 
not a ftate of perfe6^ion, but impcrfedlion. Secondly, as it is /« 
confllSi and cembate^ not as abfolute and free. Now then i. If 
yon he truly lovfly-^ then you I he altogether upon free ^nd meer mer- 
cy. Every mercy is an alms unto you , and is fued out not upon 
defert, but upon promife : you can find no mony to buy corn,but 
all mufl: be free gift : you will be content to buy without mony, 
and to receive without price. 2. Ton will then he more patient 
under delays .- it is but a proud beggar who will be ferved at firft 
knock, or elfe will be gone. It is a very ill fign when we are fo 
quick with God, that he fhall lofe our fervice if he doth notpre- 
fently fend out his anfwers. Were we indeed fenfible of our own 
unworthinefs,we would hold it nodifparagementto wait at heaven 
gates ; he will patiently wait for fome mercy, who humbly knows 
that he defervs none. Even an humble heart may urge God to m<?ke 
hafte,but itiscur proud heart which accufeth and quarrels with him 
for delay. 3 . You will hefilent in denials and 7vithdraw7?tents, Doth 
not God anfwer me? Why ! I deferv no look nor anfwer. Doth he 
not ^wQ. what I ask, but take aWay what he hath given? Why ! it is 
the Lord,Iet him do with his own what he ple^feth.It is mercy that 
I have yet any mercy : I am unworthy to enjoy any good, who am 
moft worthy to enjoy all evil. When we are our felves, this will U 
be our temper,ifvve be humble, God fhall ufe his own authority 11 
andpieaft«:e to difpofe of the mercies which we crave, and of the "' 



7he Sinntrs Com 'erfton to God, 127 


mercies alfo which we have ; we will be ni(xe patient in denials, 
and filent in loffes ; What can we fay who are unworthy of all ? 
4. Ton will be v€ry thankjtii for any afifwer^ or the leafi mercy, y<,,jvvill be 
If nothing will content us but great mercies, atfuredly we are not ry thankful for 
humble, but have too great fpirits. He who indeed judgeth him- the Icaft mcr- 
felf not worthy of the leait of all the mercies and truth which ^1r 
God i>iews unto him, will take up a great mifery vVith quietnefs, 
and a little mercy with thankfulnefs. The body of man if it bee 
found, can ftoop for a pin, as well as for a piece ; and the heart, 
if it be humble, can blefs for Httle mercies, as well as for great. 
The touch of the little finger, as well as of the great , will make 
a well-iuned ttringed inlkument fpeak, and even the whifperings 
of the voice are ecchoed back in an exa6t concave. The leaft 
drops of mercy affedt the lowly heart, which can awake upon the 
leaft noife. The proud heart like the mountain yields a poor crop 
after a fliower of mercies, but the humble heart,like the Gardens, 
yields plenty of fweet fmellingfacri rices, after the led (t dews 
or drops of merciful blelTings and anfwers from God. Now fay , 
How do you plead with God when you approach unto him ? what - 
can you fhew for the mercies that you ask ? onely his own msr- 
cie, no worth in you to move him : And how are you when God 
delaies, or denies, or removes his mercies ? can you then be in , 
duft and alhe*?, and not in fire and flames ? can you yet quietly 
ferve him, wait on him, depend on him, iubmit to him upon this 
ground ? Ah 1 1 am a finner ; I have wronged the Father of mer- 
cies ; abufed all his merc'e> ; am not worthy of the leaft of merr 
cies : It is mercy that ever I had mercy, that now I have any, 
that which is oft and denied, I am not worthy of them ; that 
which I hive, I am not worthy of. And when God anfwers you 
either mfpiritu?.ls, to yair fouls ; or in temporals, to your out- 
ward mm. How do you look upon his anfwers ? Do you look 
a fqutnt 01] them as he upon Salomons Cities ? Are you able 
to abufe great mercies, and flight the leaft ? %, If you bee Thcmoremei 
truly humble, then the w^J'f mercies and anfmrsfrom God , will c'cs from God, 
jllll add and maks ym more humhle and lo)v!y. Not onely the '*''^^ ^^^^ y°** 
fenfeof your iniquities, but the experience of Gods mercies will "°" hu^nWc. 
m^ke you low in your eies.Mercies have two effedl:s upoi humble 
hearts^they m.:ke them more humble,and more fruitful. D^wW in 
2 Sam, 7, when God gave him the advouzon , and, as it were, 


128 ^^^ Returning Fr(^digAly er 

confirmed and added to his former Charter, an intention of grea- 
ter mercy to his potkrity, Why ! this cafts P^Wdown, ver.n^. 
Then went King David i/jy and fate before the Lerdy and hefaid, 
lyho ^m /, O Lord God , and what is my honfe , that thou hafi 
brought me hitherto. The more corn is in the ear , the more it 
hangs down the head ; and the tree bends raoft, when laden wich 
fruit. But if mercies make us forget God, as afflictions make \xs 
forget our felves ; if it be with us as with the Arrow,which when 
the Bow is moit bent and drawn, it flies fartheft from us ; Or as 
with the Dial which calls the lliortefl {hadow, when the Sun is 
higheft j or as with fome grounds, which yields the rankeft corn 
after the fulleli tillage .: we growcarelefs of God^, of his Ordi- 
nances in publick, of his worfhip in- private, fcornful of heaven- 
ly reproof, admonition, obedience ; alas ! this lliews we are not 
2. Vfe, If upon due fearch we find our hearts lifted up with an opini- 

Wcftiou.d be on of our own worth and excellencies, and far from penitential 
bumbled for humblings, TVe jhou/d he humbled for want of this humblenefs : as 
the wan: cf this j-jez^ekjah, though his heart was lifted up, yet the text faith. He 
urn encs. humbled hlmf elf for the pride of his hearty 2 Chron. 32. 25, 2^, 
A r1 r h ^7* hxAtifethe means b J which we may become humbly fenjible 
means tc be- af our own great unwort hi nefs, v. g, i. Study our felves more, 
come humble. Alas ! what are we ? but duft and allies ; nay, but lin and cor- 
Study cur ruption : We cannot fay of our fins, as the Prophet fpake of xl'[\z 
ftivcs more. fore-running calamitie<^. Gray hairs are here and there ufon htm^ 
No, no, but as David , who can tell how oft he offends ? if we 
Ipew our felves, we would abhor our felves. 2. Study the Law 
more, the perfe6lion and excellency of it , and bring thy many 
$tu(3y the Law yQ^s to that purity, thy many crookedneffes to that plainnefs. 
^^^^' Taul was alive before the Law camCy but when the Cemmandement 

c^mcyjin revive dy and he died, ^. Study your own -performances 
^erformT«" ^^^^^^' '^^^ true^ fomething is done, b 't there is more undone, 
Cctcr. ' ^^^^" ^^^ ' ^^y ^^^ fovices have more in them to humble, then 
to puff thee; thou canli: not do at all, unlefs God aids thee (but 
art like a Mill without water, or a Dial without the Sun)and when 
thou dofl: go, it is like MephibofJ:eth , lame on both feet. When 
thou haft made the bcft praier, thou m.iieft well bow the knee, and 
pray again, that God would forgive thee the much dullnefs, 
the many diftrailions, the infinke unbelief in thy prayer. 


The Sinners Converftcn to Cod. 12 p 

4. Study the creatures better^ which are the bellovves to blow up . , . 
your fdf-concdts and high thoughts. What is thy ham^ but a cu^^J better * 
fading dye, a changeable tincture, which one blow or one dileafc 
may da{h ! if it efcajie both , yet time will unvarniHi the houfe 
newly painted ? What are riches but a labour, an heap of va- 
nity, and a vexation of fpirit ; they are a Tree long in growing, 
and quick in fading : Solomon compares them to a Bird re^idj^ to 
five ; Paul reputes them mcerta'my and Banjid wonders who (hall 
enjoy them. What ^:^c/oathes but a few Garments of Trees , 
of Bcalis , fomewhat trimmed up ? And our HontHrs^ bii tho, 
breath of ihe People, a vain aire and wind at the beft, cuicky 
ftirred^ e.ifily turned about and allayed? And our bodies^ but a 
piece of clay,a wall of earth ? Our heads are but earthly Globes , 
and our eyes but walling Candles, and our feet but decaying Pil- 5 . ^ . 
lars, d'^. ^. Study Ged more y in his excellencies of holinefs, g^^j^g, 
of jultice , of mercy , and then you will abhor your felves in 
dull and afhes. 

Now I proceed to the fecond Proposition, viz.. 

That ferfonal unvporthlnefs is not frejudlclal to fflrltual fupp/i- Do5f:, 2, 
cation ; \_I am not worth y^ jet makjme as, ] Of this Propofi- Pirfor.al un- 
tion , I will give you i. Thefenfe. 2, Arguments to con- '^°'''**'^^^V-^. , 
firm it. 3. Some ufeful Applications. ^ Z(I\^!\^f 

Touching xh^jenjeot txflicationoi it, premue tnele parti- plication, 
culars. I. There is a twofold unworthlnefs • Privative '^ when -ru . 
there is no quality or ad which the perfoncan fhew to God, as a f^j^ unwonhil 
meritorious caufe, why he fhould accept of him or his fervices. n< Cst 
Negative ; wh*n there is no meetnefs or fitnefs of capacity in the 
fubjecl, enabling of him to receive any thing from God : for as 
there is a double dignity or worthinefs ; One of Caufality to defervc 
good,anoiher of Receptivity to obtain good ; fo anfwerably there 
is a double un worthinefs, one which confifts in the defect of me- 
rit, another which confifts in the defeil of meetiiefs : I fpe^ik 
only of the former, not of the latter, for a perfon may not be 
unworthy , ( .1, ) unfit or uncapable to receive good, who yet 
is unworthy , ( ./. ) im:ible to deferve and merit it, 

2. There is an abfolute and plenary unworthlnefs ^ wherein as 
there is no caufe of good , fo there is effe6lual caufe to hinder J ^^ isanab- 
it ; this may be called amoral unworthincfs ; And this a natu- narymwouia. 
Tz\ , a reftri6live and partial unworthincfs , when there are quali- n^-fs. , 

S • ties 

130 The Returning TroMgd^ or 

ties in , or a6lions by a perfon, againft which ftrid ju/Hce mi^ht 
mak^ exceptions , yet through a gracious indulgence they avail 
not to the pre udice of ihe "^ erfon. David faith in Pfal, 66, 1 8, 
If I regard Imqiilty In my hearty the Lord will mt hear me ; and 
the blind min cured, faid well , Jo/?. 9. 31. We know that God 
heareth not [inner s. When people have not onely fin livin^ in 
them, but themfelvs living in fin ; when they know and affedi 
their fins, have means to leave them, but will not have hearts to- 
forfake them ; this now imprints an abfolute unworchinefs, (/) 
fuch an unworthinefs , as doth effectually prejudice their accefs 
and confidence t© God in praier. Never thelefs there may be 
the prefence of many corruptions for quality and fad ( which the 
iinner 'inows, and bewails, and judges ) and though in firi6l ju- 
flice they are a fufficient prejudice.; yet through a divine graci- 
cufnefs, t-hey prove not effed^ual hinderances to the prefentin? or 
accepting of Praier. 
The privative 3. The privative and natural or reflridtive unworthinefs may be 
unworthinefs confidered again two waies : Either inrefpe6l of the matter ofit^ 
dercd two '^ which is fome kind or kinds of fmfulnels , either in nature , or 
wayfs. f a<5l : for nothing makes us unworthy but fin, this abafeth us:. 

In rcfped of and keeps us at a di fiance ; Or,(?/ the fenfe and afprehenfon of it ; 
the martcr of it. when the finfulnefs which doth make us fo unworthy, is difcerned 
Or of thc^ j^y yg . ^^^^ r^ difcerned, that by reafon thereof we do judge our , 
felves not worthy of the leaft of mercies. In neither refpe6l is it 
prejudicial to fpiritualjupplication, (/) though there be finfulnefs 
in us, and upon us,- and we know it, and that by reafon of it wee 
are neither worthy to fpeak with God, nor to prevail with God, 
yet we may prefent our fupplications unto him. 
Prayer may be 4 Praier may he tonfderedin a threefold reffeB ; Either^ Asa 
confidered in a Duty to be acled; As a Duty ailing; As a Duty acl:ed. The fenfe 
threefold r<- of our unworthinefs fhould not be any prejudice to praier in any ] 
»Pf^« of ihofe refpe6is. i. Nor to tal^ us off from performing the dut]^ 

Unwrrtbineft of praier : We may ofFer up our facrifice, though we cannot offer 
i\ ©iia not take Hp cur worthinefs;we may bring our gift, though we cannot bring 
us ( ff from ^yj. inerit;though we cannot buy heav€n,yet we may beg it. Po- 
'*^*'** verty doth not hinder ,but a man may be a fit beggar; and fin doth 

not hinder,but a perfon may be a fit petitioner to God. David was 
f?enfible of his fins, P/^/.4o.i2, Inntimerahle evils have compaffed 
mi ahm j mne inic^mues have t^k^n hold upon me^^ fo thai lam 


The Sinners Convsrfion toGod^ 131 

not able tt look-up -^ thej are more then the hairs of my head^ there- 
fore my he Art fade th me-. Yet hv makes his Supplication pre- 
iently 111 the next verie, v,\i. Be p/eafedy Lordy to deliver me ; 
O Lord make hafle to he/p me. So did Mz,rayC.p.6. and Damely 
C. p. ", 2. Nor taks off' Confdence m the time of Performance : Nor take off 
An UnvYorthy perfon may lawfully bee an earned Suiter. He Confidence in 
may put up requefts, and alio believe that God will grant them : tl^e time of 
See itin the Church; If a. 6^,6. fVeareallas an unclean things P«fotmaiice. 
tind all onr righteonfneffes as filthy rags^ (jrc, Ver. 8. Bm norvy 
O Lordy thoft art our father, Ver. 9. Be not wrath very forey Q 
Lordy neither remember Iniquity for ever ; beholdy fejy we befeech 
theey we are all thy people. So Ptal. 25. 11. For thy Names 
faksy O Lord^ pardon mine iniqmtyy for It Is great. He \NX^ 
lenlible of the greatnefs of his fin, yet puts up a believing Peti- 
tion for pardon. 3. Nor yet take ofFonr expectation of the fuc- Nor tike cS^ 
cefs and fruit of Prayer : Though a m.in'hath fown his feed ^^^ txpcftaci- 
with an hand perhaps foul ' or lame, yet he expe6ls on Harveii *^" °^ '^^ ^'*^-' 
We may expe6t a moft gracious, and proper, and fcafonable an- 

fvver to our ptayers, though we be moft unworthy of the mercy 

or bletfing which we do defire. Though we know nothing in our 
felves to commend us to God, yea, though we know enough in 
our felves to condemn us before God, to non-fuit all our prayers, 
if the anfwcrs were to be given according to our deferts , yet we 
may not only requeft the Lord, but iliould by Faith rely on 
God ; yea, and exped an anfwer what the Lord will anfwer us, 
and when he will perform his promife to us. 

2. But you may demand, Why iTiould not the fenfc of our 
unworthinefs prejudice our prayings ? 

Sol. 1 will give you divers Reafons for it : Arjumfnts to 

I. Becatife though we cannot Sue In our own namey yet we may condrmu. 
Sue In the J^ame of Chrljl : There may be a worthinefs For us Though we 
though not In us. In the Old Law it was a dangerous prefumpti- """°^ '** . 
on for any man toofter a Sacrifice without ^ Pr le ft yLtv, 17. ^, yccwcmsym 
4,5. fuch a perfon was to be cut off : in like manner it ismoft the Name of 
dangerous for any man to offer up his prayers to God without Chrift. 
Chrift : to come in his own ndme, it is the way to cut off our 
prayers. God will not take any petition from us, unlefs it come v^ 

out of the hinds of our Mafter of requefts (./.) Chrift Jefus. 

And again, in the Old Law,. if the Prieil did offer up the Sacri- 

S 2 ficqp 

132 7he KtturningFrodigd^ or 

fice, though it were not a rich facrifice of a Bullock or a Sheep , 
if it were but a pair of Turtle Doves ;. nay, if it were but ihe 
tenth part of an Epbah of fine flour, it was available for the 
perfon, it was accepted , Levlt. 5. intim.uing unto us, That 
it is not our own names, nor any excellencies in us, which 
make way for x!az acceptance or the anfwer of our prayers , 
they are accepted for his fake in whom our perfons are accepted j 
and' therefore you read in Rev, 8. 3. of the Angel that flood at 
the Altar , having a golden Ce^fer^ who hadmAch ir.een^e^ which 
he offered with the jrajers of all Siunts ufort the golden Al» 
tar which was before the Throne, The golden Altar, and the 
golden Cenfer , and much Incenfe make, all accepted ; and 
ver. 4. The fmoke of the wceytfe^ which came with the prayers^ 
§f the Sams J afeended uf before God o^t of the Angels hand. 
It was the Angels Incenfe which made even .the prayers of x^n^ 
Saints to afcend ( ./. ) the meritorious interceHTion of Chrift ,. 
which giveth acceptance and audience to our Peutions ; as he 
isafufficient Redeemer, fo is he a fufficiait Inter cefTour , and 
therefore our own Unworthinefs muft not prejudice or difcou- 
rage us, for as much as the name of Jefus Chrili is enough to? 
imp! ead God withall ." 
€dis of a 2. Secondly, ivhen we come to God in Prayer^ we come t^ 

moft liberal Of^e who is of a mofl liberal and gracious Nature^ therefore our 
and Gracious unworthinefs fhould not difcourage our petitions. That God 
saturc. is cf a liberal Nature, is unqueftionlble, he is abundant tngoodnefs-i 

find truth ^ic) Mofes. He will give grace and glory ^ fo David. He^ 
^.vsth to all men liberally and ufbraideth not^ fo Jam. 1.5. Water 
comes not from the clouds as from a Pump ; a bountiful and 
noble Nature ftsnds not on defert, it finds principles enough with- 
in it felf to fhew kindnefs. But which is vet m^ore, the Lord hath 
not only a nature full of goodnefs, and m^ofl: propenfe to give^,. 
butalfo'he hath a gracious Nature which difpenfeth all good 
upon free terms, not for our fake who receive-, but for his 
own fake only who gives. As Gods liberality appears in giving 
many times before we ask , and fometimes in giving more 
then we ask, and fometimes in giving a better thing- then wc 
ask; fo his gracioufnefs appears in not confidering how wor- 
thy we are , what Caufes and Arguments we can bring, but in a 
afieedifpenfatioii of his mercies to us, without all defert or 


7he Sinners Convsrfion to God, 133 

caufality on cur parts : The whole caufe of the mercy, is only 
in mercy, as in Dent, p. 6, The Lord thy God doth not give thee 
tJj'tsgood Und topofefs ity for thj righteonfnefs^for thou art afiiff^ 
flecked peof'e : Thi: gift then was gracious, no defert of it ; nay^ 
a defert of the contrary. Ct?;^^ jfaith the Prophet, ye thnt have ^ 
m monj^ come ye^ hnj and eat ; yea^ come buy wine and milk^ 
without monj andvolthont price ^ I fay 5^. I. If God doih not 
fell any of his mercies, if he will take none of our coyn ; if he 
doth not Ihnd upon a price, but only upon the asking and on the 
acceptation of his gifts, then our Unworthines doth not preju- 
dice our prayers. 

•^,We do not only advance the name efChrlfl^ and the name of dl-* Commir^ 
Vine Grace h commlnQ with a fenfe of our Unworthlnefs. bm It is '*,'^^ ^^* (*P^* 
the neceffary concomitant of acceptable prayer. There are two nn- ^^p^ advan- 
gular Graces, which muft excrcife themfelves in prayer ; one ceth rhc name 
is Faith 5 by which we go in the name of another ; another is of ChriH, and 
Httmlllty by v\^ichvve go out of ourfelves. When Abraham '^^*^^^[^^^y . 
prayes,his form was humble, / who am b^t dufl and ajhes. When j^^^'J^^" 
Jacob prayes his form was humble, / who am not worthy of all Pj-gygr^ 
the goodnefs and truths &c. He hears the de^re of the humble \ 
This poor man cried unto the Lord and he heard him. When We 
pray to God, vve are faid to fall down at his footilool ; not only 
our bodies but our fouls alfo mult fall down at his footftool r 
And when do our foul es fall down? Then when they are 
fully afFe6led with the fenfe of their own unworthinefs. If 
vve would pray acceptably, we muft pray humbly. If we 
would pray humbly, wc muft be fenfible of our own Unworthi- 

4. God hath rejeBed the Prayer of fach who have refied upon Go^ hith Tt']^^ 

their orvnworthlnefs : The PW/7<?f was re je6led upon this ac-^ J-^" F^^ll^' 
count. Jam, ^.6. God refifieth the proud (./.) he regards them: ^jytrcftd"^ ^ 
not, *he rewards them not; the humble he doth, but the proud onh irovn^ 
be doth not : He hath filled the hungry with good things^ and the wo thineCs. 
rich he hath fent empty away^ i^o Mary yLuk.i, ^:?. A confi- 
dence of our Worthinefs makes us uncapable, therefore a fenfe of 
our Unworthinefs makes us not uncapable. An empty Stom.ick 
will receive, but a full Veffel will admit of nothing ; you ilKall 
never find a rich God, if you come to him with rich Spirits :. 
The Pharifeehc goes up to pray; and what doth he difcoverin.; 
•■ - his- 

1^4 . The Returning Frodigal^ or 

his prayers ? / am n9t as other men ; I am no Extwttoneryl am- 
no Adulterer^ I fifiji twice in the week^. He conceales Jiis fins, 
and dii^ layes his peri'edions j he ftands upon his vvorthinefs, but 
he lofeth his acceptance ; he juftified himfelf , but God did not 
jufiiiie him, accept him, acquit him. 
None have 5. None ever fotind more mercy then ffich who have come 

found more j^^tQ Q^d inthe fenfe of their own Vnworthinefs : I will give you 

thcl^wboTav ^'^"^^^^^^^^"^^^^^^^^^^ °"^^^ Scripture. Matth.S.Thc Centn^ 
becnm ft an- ^^^^ ^"^^^ ^^ fenfible of his unvYorthinefs , that he durlt not 
Cblcofuniror- himfelf prefume to invite Chrifttothe help of his fcrvant ; 
thincfs. and when he had intre.ued him, he did not think his houfe VTorthy 

of Chrifts prefence, I am not worthy that thou flcotddfi come un- 
der the roof e of minehoufe^y^ti, 8. yetheprayes, Sjeah^ the word 
only J and mjf fervHnt [hall ^^ ^^^/^^, and he fpeeds ; his Faith is 
applauded, and his prayer fully granted; ver,i7,. His fervant 
•was healed the fame hour. Mar. 5.25. The por woman^ who was 
fo fenfible of her unworthinefs, ver, ^^ 7,, fhe came fearing ^ and 
tremblings and fell down ; fhe durft not either immediately or 
mediately fpeak to Chrift, only her Faith fpake at her fingers 
ends ; for /lie faid, If I way bm tot^ch his cloathsy J fhall be 
■whole, wQT.iS, How doth this fpeed? ver.zg. Straightway the 
fountain sf her blood was dryed uj). What fhould I fpeak of 
the woman of Canaan^ who confeifing her felf to be as a Dogy^nd 
thereupon craving for crumbs^ was prefently fed and anfwered 
with a great mercy ? Or,what fhould I fpeak of the Publican^ a 
penitent all in iighs, all in tears, altogether unworthy , and he 
knew if, and therefore Stands afar off^ dares not lift up his eyes 
to heaven, fm tes on his breft, andcryes out, Lord^ be mercifnl 
to me afinner } Here was a deep fenfe of Unworthinefs ; here 
was neverthclefs a fervent prayer , and upon it amd^ gracious 
anfwer, He went home juftifed, 
Scnfe of un. 6, Laftly, Senfe of our nnworthinefsy it is afirong principle 
worth'.ncfs is a and furtherance of prayer : We are mojft barren and idle in prayer, 
J.°?L F^^^u^' ^"^hen weareleaft fenfible of our fins ; and we are more diligent 

pie and furthc-- ^1 i 1 n r i 

ranc: of prayer ^^^P^^yer, morefpurred on, and are more zealoufly fervent and 
importunate when we are moft fenfible of our own vilenefs and 
unworthinefs. For indeed the true fenfe of our unworthinefs, is 
a fpecial part of our fpiritual poverty, and poverty of fpirit 
breeds the ftrongeft defires, c\^cn hungring and thirfting after 


I'he Sinners Ccnverfion to God, 135 

righteoufners , and bo:h of themh.we promires of a mod full 
and exceeding great reward, as you may fee in Mat, 5, 3,6. And 
thus briefly for the Explication and Comfirmation of the Do- 
ctrine. Now I proceed to the ufeful Application of it : 

The Ufes which I will make of this point flidll be. i. To z^fe i, 
try our felves whether we be fenfible of our unwonhinefs in our 
Addreffes unto God. 2. Then to encourage our hearts, not- 
vvithftanding our unworthinefs to draw near to xh^ Throne of 
Grace. i. For Exdmi?iat'wn, Are we fenfible of our unwor- pcr Examina- 
thinefs in our approaches unto God ? that we deferve nothing at tion. 
all ? that we come not to buy,but to beg ? not to deferve, but to 
receive ? There be many reafons why I put you upon this Reafons of our 
fearch. Trial. 

I. Becatifr many f erven this DoEirlne of jerfgnal w/iwor- vi^nynprvert 

thmefs : they utterly miltake it ; they do profefs that no- the Doannc cf 

thing that is in them can deferve any thing with God, and p rConal un. 

therefore trample upon all holinefs of heart,and godlinefs of life, worchincfs* 

as if there were no ufe of Grace but to merit; or Gold were of no 

life but in a Crown. But thefeare a loathfomc people, who 

would link great mercies and a wicked life together : To be fenfi-^ 

ble of our unworthinefs is not to reft in an evil condition,' nor is 

it to run on in an evil converfation, nor is it to flight holy duties 

for thy performances, nor is it to difregard habitual or 

a6lual Grace : this argues an unfenfible and feared confctence : 

But this it is, to ftrive againft fin, to [{rive afcer all holinefs , to 

be careful and watchful to pious performances, yet with all , and 

after all, to caft thofe Crowns to the ground , not in their names, 

but in the name* of Chrift, and free mepcy to expe6l anfwer and 

help. Though imperfeil: holinefs in the hal jits oralis cannot ju- 

ftifie men, yet they may glorifie God ; and though they put not 

dignity into the hand, yet they put a capacity into the hand ; z 

fitnefs to receive, though not a worthinefs to claim. 

2*. Becaufew^;?? tender Chrlfiians are not yet rightly fenfihU ., 
/. ; . » • / L • /t J / ^^^^^ render 

oj their unvo&rtinnejs ; rhey are very apt to inhlt and adhear unto Chriftians arc 

themfelvs. Two things do evidentlyfbew,that,l ike T^fo^'s5<»///, nor ver rightly 

who went down with rmney In their Sacl^s^ and would not go with' ffnfibie of rhcfc 

am Beniamm ; fo thefe Chriftians would bring fomething to buy "fiworthincfs. 

out their requefts with God ; One is this, that all the fromlfes of 

free Grace and mercy do not fails fie thm^ thoiigh God hath faid he 


jy6 7'he Returning Frodigdl, er 

will love freely, and pardon fm for his own fake, yet they are n ot 
contented to accept, to receive; they are mofl. hardly perfvaded 
that the Sun will" lliinefo freely , that God will accept fucha 
vile fmner upon fuch eafie terms , . and withouc any more adoe 
pals by all tranfgreffions. 

^ Another is, that thej are frequent In digging after rsafons and 
laiifesof good in themf elves ^ If they could bring Hearts more 
broken, traces more Itrong, Affections more melting, Conver- 
iations lefs tainted ; then they cculd be perf vaded that God 
would hear and grant them the mercy- -or good which they do 
delire : I confefs that we muft ftrive af ler perfection in all Grace; 
enlarged defires , an humble complaint, a fervent endeavour in 
the ufe of all f acred means ; all of thefe are commend^le pradi- 
^ ces5 yethereinwefail, and exceedingly to, if we pluck back the 

hand from receiving , becaufc we are not full ; that we will not 
fuck the bretts, becaufe we are empty ; that we would find any 
caufes of. good in our felves,who at our beft are unprofitable and 
It is very dan- 3. Becaufe it is a very dangerous thing to /land ajfon our fer- 
gcroDS to ftand fonal worthinefs , when we approach unto the Lord ; For, Now we 
wo°th^r [ ^^^^ 'ivlthout Chrifij we do facrijjce alone , we take the Office of 
our high TrUft out of his hands ; Nay, we frufirate the wort hi- 
r^efs of Chrifi y for we cannot joynour worthinefs and iiis toge- 
ther ; if we plead in our own n^mes, we make void his : As 
it isinthepoint of Juftification, if we {land to our own righte- 
oufnefs, we make void the righteoufnefs of Chrift : So is it in 
the matter of fupplication , i£ we ftand to our own worthinefs, 
and will be heard for our own fake , we exclude the merit of 
Chrifts interceffion ; we may as well be our own redeemers,as our 
own interceffours : fVe meet with pure juHlce ; for if we fland 
upon perfonal dignity, then our qualities and a6tions muft necef- 
farily have equality to j'ulHce ; God muft difperxe to us accor- 
ding to cur own deferts ; when we ftand upon our own worthinefs, 
thenGoddeals withusinjuftice; if we renounce it , then room 
is made for the mercy-feat. 
How weirdy Qj^fl> But then you will demand, how may we know, that 
kfww tji«t we ;Ye aj-e rightly fenftble of our unworthinefs, in our approaches 

.rctrulyfcrfx- ^^^ 

blc of our un- ^ r^ / T -PL *u 

^mUviKk. ^^^- I conjeaure thus : 

I. If 

' - I I . - . ■ ■ - 

The dinners Converfton to God, ijj 

1. If ycu are fenfible of your own Umvorthlnefs, when you 

fray unto the Lord, Jhe/j Jefus Chrifl will he your great efi: fUa ; If Jefus Cbrift 
you will bei^in to move in his Nsme, and you will urge and pro- ^' ^^^ ircattij 
fecute it in his Name, and you will fhut it up with an expe6la- ^ "* - 
t'on in his Name ,• Thou wik not i^:[yy I am now in an excel- 
lent foft temper, and for its fake fhall I prevail ; and I have 
•carried the day through now with more affe61:ions, and lefs d:- 
lirailions, therefore for this iliall I prevail ; As Leah faid, / 
hiive born mj Imsbanci this foriy therefore my husband will love me^ 
But in all thy facrifices and fervices, thou wilt fly unto a. Me- 
diator, and fHll plead his Title, his Worth, his Merit ; Lord, help 
me to pray for Chrift^s fake ; Lord, give me mercy and grace 
for ChriiliS fake ; Lord, hear, accept, anfwer, do me good, for 
thy ChriiVs fake. 

2. Then the Covenant of Grace mil p^n heart moyoHy and dravf If the Cove- 
rs?// on alone to your prformances ; as ihz wind alone will ftir the i^^^^o^ Grace 
Mill, or the tide alone will drive the Boat : I affureyou, that if P^J^^*""" ''^^'^ 
you be rightly fenfible of your Unworthinefs, you will look af- 

ter a Mercy- Seat, and after a Throne of Grace ; you will be in- 
•quifitive, upon what terms Grants of Mercy and of Grace are 
iffued out of the Court of Heaven. Nor will it feem a fmall 
thing in thine eyes, that the Lord will do good to an unworthy 
finner for his own fake, yea, that he hath affirmed as much;' and 
obliged himfelf thereto in a firm Covenant. This will breed in 
thee, Ihankffilnefr, it will be, notonely a fupporttothyfoul, ' 

but a joy to thy heart, thy cafe is yet hopeful 1 ;'for, though 
thou be not worthy, yet God will do thee good readily and free- 
ly : And VfefulneJ^ ; thou wik be readily content to accept of 
mercy upon the terms of mercy : A beggar ready to (iirve, will 
be glad to take an Alms, he will put out his hnnd to receive it, 
and thank you too. As the Servants cf Benhadad catcht the 
word, Thyfervanty &c. fo will you the word of promife ; Re- 
fpe6l, Lord, for thy Covenant f:ke. At this door of free Grace, 
there you fhall have the finner fenfible of his unworthinefs, 
fi-anding night and day expedling when the Scepter l"hall be held 
o«t : Gods own arguments and motives of doing good ( which 
are to be found onely in the Covenant of Grace ) they arc 
fuch as you will accept of with all your hearts, to plead vvitk 

T The 


jog The Returning Frcdigal^ or 

Vfe 2. The fecond Ufe is for EncoHragement : That though we be fen- 

Enccuragc- fible of our UnvYorthinefs, either to approach unto God, or to 
mem to draw fpedk unto God, and much more to deferve any thing from God ; 
near to the yet not to be difcourciged, kn humbly and confidently to draw nc^r 
Grace!* ° to the 7hrone of Grace ^ expelling grace and mercy to help in time 

of need: And to excite you thereto, comfider, 

Ic is not cur ^* ^t.u notour rf^erlty hut onr dm y that we mn ft lockjinto : 'Tis- 

nurir, but our not thoufands of R^ms, or ten ihoufand Rivers of Oyl ; it is nojt 

duty we aiuft thepe^^rls of the Sea, or the Treafuresof the Earth, orthe Ex- 

lQok,un;p» cellencies of Angels ; aias, God puts us not to that to deferve his- 

mercies, tp deferve his graces ;- if fo, what one finner fliould 

ever receive mercy or grace ? no fleih righteous can be juftifiedm 

his fight ; and if he iliould mark what is amifs, who iliould ihnd 

before him. But the Lord puts us upon our duty^^si^^and ^o,*i jhall 

receive ; kjwcl^^ anditjhall be opened /into )'o^, Hoy every one that 

thirftsy come J drlnk^ofthe water of life freely. 

Itis notour 2. li'is not our worthlnef that we mujl-fleady hm Gods fromlfe^ 

worthini fs ibat when we fray unto htm. Remember the word upon which thoH haft- 

we muft pksd, canfed.thy fervant to hope^ faid David^ Pfal. i ip. Remember thy 

m\ft ^^^' ^^'^^^^^^ '^^'^^-^ Abraham^ Ifaac^ and Jacobs faid Mofes^ Exod.3^. 

ThoH faidjlr. that thou wotildft do me. good^ faid Jacoby Gen. ^ 2. 

Mercies come to thee, not for thy worth inefs fake, but for his 

promke fake ; not ^>v dignitate petentM^ but ex dignatione do- 


t^M csrintvec ?• ^^^ can never be fo worthy ^ but that Juflice may take ex- 

be fo worthy, ceptlons againft you ; nor yet fo unworthy ^ but mercy may fUi yotir 

but Juiice mouth with arguments, Though I were right eom^ yet would I not 

msy cake cs- anfwer thce^ b^t I would make fupplt cation to my Judge^ faith Job^ 

s<p\iQns.. chap.g, 1 5. . And, Though lam poor and needy ^ yet the Lord thinks 

//po«?wf,faidi>^W, Pfal.40.17. The proudefi P/j^r//ff may find 

enough to Ibp his mouth, and the humbl eft P/^Mc^/^tnay find 

enough to open it. No, not the moft righteous can ftand at the 

Bar of Juftice, and yet the moi^ deje6led iinner may humbly 

plead at the Throne of Mercy ; there are Arguments enough in 

mercy, for any finner to plead mercy. 

Wt are not to . 4.. Tou are not to pray inpride^ but in faith ; And then what ]s 

pusy in prWc, thy condition, that Faith cannot deliver up to God through 

fcut ia f dth. Q^^^i^^ p ji^Q^ knoweft that it is the oH^ce oFFaith, not to prefent 

VYorthinefsj but thy wants : It looks, on arguments for thee; - 


—————— ' ■■ • - ■■'"• ■ -■- ■^- . 

the Sinners Convcrpon to God, 139 

^not how good ;hou art, but how much good thou needed j not 
what thou canft deferve, but ic looks on what (TOi will belbvv. 
Is it the many fms thou hart committed, which prefenc an utter 
unworthineis to thy confcience? why Faith will teach thee to 
confefs the debt, and yet to crave for pardon. Is it the hardnefs 
or viienefs of thv heart which makes thee afraid ? Oh 1 the Lord 
is of purer eyes than to look on fuch a dead doj, fo vile a wretch 
. ^ I : Why ! Faith will teach thee,that though the Lord be lofty^ 
and high are his habitations ; yet of all people he looks after the 
humble and contrite, and hath refpedl unto them, and looks on 
,fuch through the bloud of the Covenant ; and that he will give 
Grace as readily as he will give Mercy ; and as freely bellow on 
thee a new heart, as a gracious pardon. 

'^, God ^nely mtift have the glory to he the Giver of Good : and God only muft 
therefore be not thou difcouraged, i^ thou be admitted onely to be ^*vc the glory 
the receiver of good. To be King, no way befits the Subjed ; ^%^^^^^ '^^*- 
the King honours the Su-bjeil highly, if he make him the Kings ° ^^ - 
Receiver. O Chriftian, let it fuffice thee, let God alone find gifts 
to beftow, do thou ftudy more for hands to receive them : if ever 
thou vvouldit have mercy,gec fuch an humble and believing heart, 
as to be willing to receive any mercy, upon any of Gods term>. 

Luke 15. 20. 
jind he arofe and came to his Father : Bnt whe» he wa^yet a great 
tvayoff^ his Father f aw h'lm^ and had comfajjloriy and ran and 
fellonhis tjeck^^ and kjjfed him. 

Thefe words contain in them Vfvo parts. 

X. The very Life of true Repentance : Which confifts not in a 

'bare Refolution, but in an a(5live and real Execution : / rolll arlfe^ 

faid the Prodigal, and here he did arife \ I will go to my Father^ 

and here did come unto his Father ; [ He arofe andcame mto his 


2. Thgraclotis Acceptanee of a real Penitent, The Graciouf- 
nefs of it appears, 1 . In the prefent ohfervatlon of htm ; ( vphea 
he was yet a ^eat way of^ his Father f aw him : ) the very inten- 
tions, much more the prefent affmgs of repentance, are quickly 
cyedandobfervedby amercifullX^od. 2. In a prefent afeUi- 
9n to him ; ( and,h ad: cornea ffi on : ) the bowels of xnercy will ftir, 

X 2 whea 

lAo The Returning Prodigal^ or 

when the heart of a finner is peni ten tially touched. 3. In^ 

jrefent AffUdf^on ; His Father favv him, and his Father pitied 

him ; but this is not all, [His Father alfo ran^ayidfellon his neck^y 

anlkijfedhim.\ Mercy runs,, and Mercy embraceth,. and Mercy 

cheareth the penitent (inner. The firll part atfordeth us this 

Proportion, viz,., 

-^ - That fement intent I q?7S and re f pint tons (hoiild he accomf anted 

« ^ ' ^' r with prefent executions and perfarmances. The Text properly 
Penitent Relo- . , , ^ ■ ^ . 1 i !- • 1 1 1 • 1 f • -^ 

lutions ihould yields . his j. tor the words of it are but the lively and written. 
be accompani- copy of the Prodigals private and conceived purpofe, to leave 
cd with prefcm his iinfull courfes, and to come back to the obedience andfervice. 
Exrc.uti.ons, ^ j^^jg Father. It is obferved of Hez>eklah^ 2 Chron. 29. 3. That 
he opened the doors of the hottfe of the Lord In the frjl year^ and. m 
thefrfi mo'neth of his relgn^ and repaired them. The publick Re- 
formation was the principal work, and it vv^s the prime work 
too. So mnii it be with a true Penitent ; as foon as God (^ts up a 
Throne of Grace in hira, prefently to a6l that Grace, in purging 
out of (in, and walking in the paths of righteoufnefs. We read 
this m Jojlah^ as foon as ever he heard the threatnings of God 
©ut of the Law, his heart melted^ and humbled It feif 2 Chron.. 
54.19,27. and tnftantly hQ gathered all the Elder j of Judah a?ui 
Jerfifa/em', v. 29. and made a Covenant^ V. 51. and they f^?^;^ 
4iwaj all the abominations out of all the Countrejs^ and turned hack^ 
tsferve the Lord their Gody v. :^ :^. This you fee in Pradlife ; you 
may fee the fame likewife in Prfff/>f, Joel 2.12. Therefore^ nor9 
turn unto me with all your hearty andwlth fafllngydnd mth weep-: 
ing^ andwithmotirnlng. The Duty is charged upon them forfu- 
nefs in all the parts of Repentance ; and for .quicknefs, Now, 
turn, &€. For the better opening of this A(rertion, prcmife with 
me a few particulars. 
This IS meant i. That the execution of a penitential refolution, is nothing. 
of the very pra- elfe but an acting courfe^ or the very prafilfe of Repentance, When 
Aife of Rcpcn- j^^j. ^j^^jy ^j^^ Judgment approves of the parts and rules of Rer 
^^*' , pentance, and the Will embraceth them with confent and defire, 
but the Endeavour alfo doth, as it were, copy them forth in thei- 
Converfation. I exerclfe my felf to have a goodconfciencCy faid 
the Apoflle : So when the fmner doth exercife Repentance, when- 
be doth hate (in indeed, and flies from it, and*forfakes it indeed ;. 
aad.vrhen he doth indeed walk iii the ways of new obedience, be- 

The Sinners Converfion to God, 141 

Comes a very fervant of nghteoufnefs,and works the work of God, 
this is the execution, or the perforaance of a ^^nitential pur- 
pofe and refolution. As walking is to a journey, or as writing is 
to a copy, or as fighting is to a war, that is penitential execution 
to penitential refolution. - It is but the Theory (as it were) drawn 
down and put forth; It is as the tree lliooting out into blofToms 
and fruits : It is repentance in life,which is the life of repentance.. 

2, That prefentnefs of Execution is ^ /W^/^/^<^ ^^i/A7^. Our And of m on- 
anions fall within three fpaces of time ; either of the which \s delayed aamj.- 
pad (as what we have^done;) or of that which is future (as that 
wh'ch lliall be done;) or of that which is prefent (as that which 
is doing.) Look as true Marriage , it is not a future, but a prefent. 
acceptation : So true Repentance is not a delayed, but a prefent 
reformatfon. Or as in Writinp,, the motion of the Pen and the. 
forming of the Letter are fimultaneous ; Or as in a Clock, the 
w^heel doih move and the finger doth move ; So in the bufinefs of 
. Repentance ; thepurpofe of amendment, fliould at the fame time, 
drop out into the change of heart and ways. To have repentance, 
onely in our purpofes, is onely to have water in a cloud, or phy- 
fickin a glafs, it is not yet to do it. Refolutions may be for the 
future, but Executions ^e for the prefent acl ; an hearing while. 
it is to day, and not hardning of the heart. As St. PW, bein^. 
called, went immediately up to J^r/</k/f^w; fo prefentexeciiti- 
on«f repentance is, when we do not defer the penitential work;- 
a not allowing of our felves in giving way to our fins, no, not 
an hour, as the Apoftle fpak^ in another c^^^t, 

5.. That there is a two-fold prefent execution of penitential And ofa prc- 
purpofes :. One is immediate-^ or when the purpofe and the acting fcnc fxccucion, 
(without diltance of time) fucceed one the other, there being no *'^^*'^ ^°'' *°^' 
predominant impediment to the inftintaneous execution of that [^^r'^^Jij^'^ 
penitential purpofe. Another is feafonable ;. where, though ' •' 

twixt the purpofe and the acting there may be fomedilhnceof 
ttme, yet the apprehenfion of the nextcccafion may truly make 
the execution or pra^life to be prefent. As in the cife of peni- 
tential reftitution, it m:iy fo fall out, either through the inability 
of theellate, or thefubje6lion of the perfon, that he cannot im- 
mediately rei-lore ; yet becaiife the penitent perfon in fuch a cafe 
layes hold on the next opportunity and occafion, his refolution- 
may hz faid to be a6led prefently, {i.) upon the next prefent 



■-. r 


The Rcturnirjg Fredigd^ or 

And in fxrcu- 
cio .>in endea- 
vour, or in vi 


•Rfafons for ir. 
God com- 
mands us CO 
repent prcCcnt 

^It 1$ dangerous 
10 d(;Uy. 

time when God enables hm to ad hispurpofe of re(ioring : So 
that penuential RdoLution produceth prefenc Execution ; either 
for immediateners, as m molt cafes ; or for feafonabiends, as in 
fome cafes. 

4. That there is agam a double penitential Execution cf peni- 
tencial Refolution : One confilb in erJeazour and afflication ; 
when the perion, without delays, addreiieth or applie^h himfelf 
to the ways by which fins may be fubducd and forfaken : Ano-. 
ther coniifts in vlFtory and affesmlon^ wherein the Penitent doth 
in fome more eminent degree lead Cviptivity captive. That peni- 
tential Execution whereof I fpeak, properly and naturally con- 
fii^s in the farmer, though it muft aim and ftrive after the latter 
alio ; ( /'.) when a perfon doth indeed refolve to leave his iins, 
and to ferve the Lord in newnefs of life ; this Refolution do.h 
actively excite him to be much in Prayer unto the Lord, and dili- 
gently to hearken to, and obferve his Word, and to decline the 
occafions which may giveftrength to his corruptions : It caufeth 
him to refill evil motions, and to bewail them ; itfets him upon 
all forts of Duties and Ordinance?, fo that the perfon is now real- 
ly vvorkirg ag.iinft fin, and throughly working for God ; he is in 
the ways of God, and according to the,me.2ure of grace recei- 
ved, working the works of God. 

But why lliould penitential Intentions be accompanied with 
prcfent Executions or performances ? ^ 

SoL Reafons for it are many. i. That God who commands 
m to re pent J commands hs frefently to re feat. . The Time is utxier 
Precept, as well as the Work. Some Precepts bind us femper^ 
huX not ad femper ; other Precepts bind us femper & ad femper 
too : When the Lord commands any man to repent, this is a 
Duty which concerns the whole courfe of his life ; it takes hold 
of him as foon as ever he lives,and is become a finner ; and con- 
cerns him, notonely in his latter days, but all his days. 

2, It is very dangerous to defer oitr penitential Exec tit Jons or 
actings : Whether we confider, 1 . The Refoiut ions themfe Ives ; 
they are but accidental, and not natural thirgs ; not fuch quali- 
ties (or rather motions ) which arife from an in-bred principle, 
*but are forenfical to our natures, and being not prefently cheriilied 
by ading, like little fparks of fire, m^y eafily vanidi, languiili, 
and extinguifh. We read of the Jfraelltej^ that they were an un- 


The Sinners Converfton to Cad, 1 45 

iiedfad people in Covendiit, and like a d^ceitfull Bow, Naked 
Refolutions will never ripen and abide ; if you will not go be- 
yond yoiir Refolutions j you will quickly fall from your Refolu- 
uons, 2. Onr own hearts^ ah! how deceit full are the jf ! how 
full of •rebellion 1 how averfe to all good 1 Like the cold hearth to 
a little fire ; how cunning to keep up Sin in the Throne ! how 
willing to break afunder all ihe bands of Obedience 1 with much 
adoe refolving, with little adoe .dilfolving thofe refolves again, 
Volebam (faith St^Afifiin) c^ noleham ; 1 would, and yet I would • 
not ; one while I would, and by and by I wouldnot. It is the 
Genius of cur fmfull hearts, to apprehend the prefent time for- 
fin, , and to crave the future time for repentance : Our worft work 
we would do inftantly, our beft work we would do negligently ; 
Good motions are like a Bird falling into our hands, which if we 
prefently catch not, flie im^antly flees away. Gracious purpofes 
in our heartSjare like warmth in the vYater; the irapreflion requires 
fome degrees, and fome blowing ; but thereceilion is z^{\t ; the 
natural col dnefs in the water will injftantlyrifeup and expel that 
heat r if you be not watchfull , &c, ^. Exti^gwfljiMgoccafi-. 
fms. Repentance, in all the parts of it, hath many enemies and 
hinderances, fome wirhin us, fome without us : the Re'olucions 
are weak, but the Occafions are ttrong. Let the Oiip alone, .and 
if the Pilot hath onely a refolution to fail with, the next tide, or 
the next wind may carry the fhip away. How ordinary is the 
experience, That the ftrength of occasions have beaten back, ^ 
and put to flight many and miny a refolution ? like a crofs wind, 
which hath carried back the fhip untofhevery harbour whence it 
cnme forth. Meer refotutions are but unarmed Soiildiers, or as 
Unwalled Cities. You Oi all find much of this truth, That meer 
refolutions are too weak for proper and fudden occafions. 4. Or 
the (ijfifta?ice of Grace To refolve, and not to ^6^, is one way 
whereby we quench the Spirit. Tiie Spirit, you know, mny be - 
quenched mmy ways : Fojftlvely^ as when we will walk in paths 
cxprefly contrary to'hls motions ; this is to throw water upon the ' 
fire : Negatively^ when we do not follow no: cherifh his motions; 
as yoit quench the fire, if you donotflirit, o: blow it, or add. 
more urito it. So vvheii the Spirit of God fhall deal thus far with ' 
us, as to convince us that our courfe is evil, and yet further, to 
excite a purpofe in our hearts to defifl ; but then we let.the work 


i^ The Returning Trodigal^ or 

lie ftill, vve do not fet againlUhat evil way, this may caufe the 
Spirit 'of God to withdravv, to defer t the (inner who doth defer t 
his counfel ; who will be a Counfellour to him, who will walk in 
no counfel but his o.vn. 
Prtfcnc exfcu- ^. Femenval Executions^ if prefect ^ will he fmre eafie^ and 
don irlll be ^^^^ comformhle. i. They mil k more ea[ie, St. AhjUh 
Mjcewfic. had almoli wafted his fpirits with refolutions and conflicts; 
Quamditiy crasy crasy c-rc and he thought it many times im- 
polfible for him ever to be rid of fuch an inmate as Jin : But 
when his refolution brake out into pra(il:ife, then Facile & fttave^ 
the work grew eafie and Aveet. When we come to the ading 
part, then the Lord will exert and put forth his power in our 
weaknefs : the acting and doing Chriftian partakes of moft af- 
fiftance. Do we not find it thus in Prayer , and in many other 
Duties, which perh.ips we look upon with much fear and fufpi- 
tion ? But when we are acting of them, how Angularly doth the 
Lord enlarge our thoughts and affedions ? Why ! this holds 
in the very Duty of Repentance ; fet againft thy fins in good 
earneft, fet upon a holy courfe in good earneft, thou llialt ex- 
perimentally find, that it was thy own deceitfull heart which re- 
prefented the work with more diifficuUy; but now having taken 
>uponthee the yoke of Chrift, thou fhaltfind it eafie, and that 
More Comfor- God can as well work in thee to do, as to will. 2. They 
cable. .will he more comfortable, Meer purpofes cannot fpring up fuch 

comforts as a6tings ; nay, even weak actings yield a thoufand 
times more comfort than ftrong refolutions : AH the fap in the 
root doth not make the flower to fmell fweet, unlefs that* fap 
-comes to a bloffome. We cannot fay our refolutions are folid, if 
■unadtive. If they do not alter txhe courfe, for ought as we know 
yet, they miy be but falfe flaflies, occaflonal impreflions, not 
fpringing from renewing Grace, ( which will break out into pra- 
(^ife,) but from fervile caufes, which may be fufficienttoflop 
a finner, and with Sml^ to profefs he will perfecute T>avU 
no more : But when Execution attends Refolution, now 
the heart may be confident , that there is a renewing Prin- 
ciple implanted, which carries the foul from one degree 
^ to another ; from convi6tions to refolutions , from refoluti- 

-ons to actions, from aSions to courfes with ftedfaftnefs and fruit- 


The Sinners Converftcn to God* i^r 

4. The Soul gets no ground hy mecr Re[oltiUons i It doth nei- The foul gets 
ther alter the inward traiiii, nor m^nd the outward life ; that "*^ ground by 
which is of no influence, is of no furtherance ; if the refolution ^'^'^ ^eroiuti- 
be on y a reiolatinn, it is but a dead thing. "°"^* 

Now I come to the Application of all this to our felves : You - «- ,/- 
hive feen th .u penitent reiblutions lliould fall into prefent execu- ''^ 

tions ; good purpofes iliould be turned into quick pra6tices. The ir quire whc- 
m-eat enquiry will hence he , what do we f iti^ obferved of fome cher ic be fo 
Nations, th.it they are too foon in the Field, and of o.hers, too '^^^^ "*• 
long on the bench ; too quick in a6lion, and too long in conful- 
tation. 1 confefs, that Repentance lliould begin \n deliberation ,, 
, and it tliould defcend to refolution ; but there is more recjuired to 
building then a preparation of wood and ftone. Thou haft re- 
folved to leave fuch and fuch a fm ( Oh ! in thy laft ficknefs , 
in thylaft crofs, in thylaft diftrefs of confcience; atthelaft 
Sermon, didft thou not refolve upon ii^ I will never ferve fuch 
a luft more, Iwill walk more confciencioufly before the Lord ? ) 
But what is done? ihewmethy Repentance in the ading part, 
, as well as in the contriving part ; thou art ftill held faft with the 
Cords of the famelufts, and art wallowing ftill in the fame mire, 
and artlinf^eringyet, and haftes not to come out of thyfinful 
vvayes. Zachens made hafie^^ndc^m^ down at once ; do we do - , 
fo ? David thought on his wayes^ And turned his feet unto Gods pr 1*' xi^\^^ 
Tefilmonles ; he made hafle and delayed not to keep his Command- 
ments ; But may not the Lord fay of usjas he did of the Ifraelltes^ 
How long will it be ere they believe me ? fo, how long will it be 
ere we turn indeed from our fins to God ? *Tis true , fome re- 
folutions there are working in us, oftentimes, but like the goodnefs 
ef Ephi'^im and ]ud.\h:QhyEph:3.im what fhaif I do unto thee?Ohy rr r ^ 
"jxxd^a Tvhdtfhalll dountothee ? for yotir goodnefs isas aMornlng 
Cloudy and as the early Dew It goeth away : So is it with many of 
us,we purpofe and profefs,but we fall back to our fins ftill; what we 
were, that we are ; The time Is not yet come{^2^id they)r(? hnlldthe 
houfe ofGodj Hag.i. Our purpofes arepaft, but our executions are 
ftill,ftill to come : Confider of a few things, i why do yoti refolve ^^}^y j^ ^^ 
at all^when yet you execute and act nothing at all.Refolutto efl opus refolve at all 
imperf^clum & Ordlnahde ; doth. Jiotxefolution tend to a6^ion ? wuhout cxcc«* 
will God be mocked vyith meer purpofes ? or think you to charm "°"* 
jind fatisfie your confcienccs alwayes upon frequent finnings, 

V to 

146 The Returning Prodigal^ or 

to multiply retoltitions only ?Alas'if Repentance be not now done,. 
it is not yec begun ; fo much as thou doli,thou repent'li ; if fin be 
yet Lo be left, as yet it is not left ;, and then where art thou as yet,. 
Is not Repcn- ^ut in an impetitent condition ? 2.. Is not Repentance a great 
raaceaireac work^l Whj^then ish. not th)i prefent work^f Thy Soul is emr 
work, why not barked m thac Veiiel ; eternity depends upon a moment: That 
^kT ^^^J^^" vvhich. muft be done,, why is it noc quickly done ? and if it ba 
not prefendy done, we may be e:ernally undone ; why do we de- 
fer the doing of that? the beiUvorkilnould have the beft time 
rpi, life } andpljice». g. h not thy life a flon&Ji hreath ? a thinneft va- 
wry Hiorc.*^ pour ? a flying Poll? a gleaning iLadovv ? every moment we. 
are dyin^; eat and dye , flecp and dye .♦ Should not our laft 
^ . work be our prefent work, vvhen our Lift work may be our next 

c IS prclump- ^^^^i^ p y>^ camot he lefs then prefumption. to put off the pra5ii^ 

lion to put eft . T „ V ^ ^ i, ^ -^ ^^ 

thcpraaical cM fart cf Repentance: hither you mult prefume upon future 

part of Rcp.n- li^^ ( which yet is a Cord that thou canitnot lengthen ; ) or you^ 
Jtncc. ' muft prefume on future ftrength f which is a marrow flill waited 
by a lingring difeafe ; ) or youjmuft prefume on Divine Grace , 
which may be an hand juftly withdrawn, becaufe it was a mercy 
unjulily referred and delayed* f^. Ton. mil hut harden your 
Ds'ay hankns hearts the more^ and skill the way of hypocrite tiiemore; for 
the feeart the tftis t6 uniwift your Cords, wherewith you have fo often bound 
your felves , makes you to venture , and venture yer a litde fur- 
ther I yet once more, till a little and a little inflames your Souls 
to much evil, and the cuHome of finning wears out both thefenfe 
of fin, and refolutions againft it. 6, Lafi:ly, Ton do hm ag-^ 
V^^ ^^.^^^^gravate your fins the more ^ hynaked and empty refolutions again fl 
empty rtfo'uti- ^^^^ T you do not hinder the courfe of it, and you do inten- 
©ns ajaiiift fivcly raife the guilt of it ; for finning againft refolution i^ a fin-- 
ihcm. ning againft exprefs light, and ngainfl a condemning light; AV 

perfon who hath refolved "to leave fuch a courfe, itisfuppofed 
that he.notonly knows it to be evil, but likewife condemns h as 
evil : Now it is a great aggravation of fin to continue in it,, 
with light revealing, and accufing,and.cirttirg,^ 

(9iy. Butfome may fay, We hope,that though our Executions 
are notfo full, yettheyare real; the quality is there , though^ 
the equality be not; fomething we do, though not fomuch. 
iS"©/. To this I anfwer. i. That itis moft evident, that many- 
^erfons do not hy pra^lfe and (xecmm anfwer their refolutions at 

7'be sinners Converfion to God, w i^y 

M ; their reColutions arife from fuch grounds as will not hold out 
to an execution and practice: It one iliouid demand, what 
are become of the many fick-bed refolutions ? of thofe that yoU 
made, when the hand of God was upon you ? you vowed much 
•unto God ( as he did in a Ibrm , &c, ) but as the King faid of 
Ad'ordscaly what hath h^n dons to Mordoc^i for th^? fo what 
have you done to make good your refoiudons r I believe your 
hearts are fpeechlcfs, your confciences do condemn ycu, that 
ileal th* hath been the time of more finning, though ficknefs was 
the time of more refolving. The fame may be faid for others , 
whofe confciences have been more a6lively and fiercely flirring ; 
*Oh ! if the Lord would abate that wrath, and cool that inflamed 
fpfrit, &c. yet what are the fruits of many f ch refo'utions. As 
the Divel faid of J<>^, But mw ftretch forth thy hand^ and he 
ypill curfe thee to thy face ; fo here on the contrary , as foon as the 
Lord takes oft' his hand , thefe are as ready to continue and pro- 
ceed on in their fins, as the Tfraelltes were, when they were de- 
livered out of the Land of Egypt, from the fiery furnace; Yea, 
and of others ^ is it not manifefi that they are far enough from 
prefent executions , when they voluntarily defer the acting part 
of Repentance to old age ? Hereafter is time enough , &c, 

2, Others ferhaps da ati and exec me frefently^ yet they^e 
exceedingly em : For i. Though it be pre'/^W^, yttitisfar^ 
tlally ; they a6trefolutions,as Satddxdi his Sword,upon the mean- 
cfi and pooreft , not upon the greateft ; they do not anfwer their 
refoluiions to the full. Deal kindly mth the yomgmanfor my 
fake ( faid David ) So when many .perfons come to execute 
their Refolutions againiifin, they fail, they falter, they do not 
execute ^"igag ; fome pleafant corruption ( which will mar all ) 
finds favour. 2. Though it be prefently^ yet it is lut frefently ; 
tlie prefent execution of the purpofe is but a prefent, a tranfient 
execution, an hanging down the head for a day or for a week ; a 
'i)u(ie and carnefl: reformation for a vvhLle,but this AfTize (like ours 
here) is but for a fewdayes, it breathes away; the heart turns 
again to fin, and the next convenient occafion is too prevalent, it 
carries away the Soul. 

2. But to draw nearer to our felves ; however we have been de- Vfe 3» 
fe6live to anfwer our manifold refolutions by prefent executions L?t us i«c upon 
fijfKl praftices ; yet now let \xs for the time to come, as he faid of * ^?^^^^ "^' 
^ V a words, 

148 The Returning ?rodigd^ or 

words, fo lof purpofcs, vertere jrofojita tn 0fer4 ; Not ba like 

Glouds, feeming to be full of Water ,but to pour down .* Let m 

ad the parts of Penitents , as the Prophet faid to the hovering^ 

Ijr^.elites^ if Ged h God^ferve him ; fo here, if Repentance be. 

a neceffary duty to be performed, let us then a^ it^ati it frefentl^. 

For this , I will only propound two things i^ The Motives, 

1^ J 2, The -^^(?<?/2/ for a prefent Execution, i. Thz Motives, 

A pre(en: cxe- i« -^ frefent Execution is the trnefi fart of Refentance ; At the 

cution is ths bel^, you are but in a preparation , in a meer difpofuion towards 

tfueft part of Repentance, until you a^ it ; it is not fo much what you would 

JUpcmince. ^^ aswhatyou are ; what you intend, as whit you praclife> thac 

will give the molt real teftimonyof your Repentance. 2, A 

And the fafeft T^^f^'^^ execmiony it is the fafefi fart of refentance : Of the two, 

fttircofRtpen- he is in the more furc condition , whoreiolves to leave a wicked 

ttiice. life, and doth indeed forfake it ; and refolves to lead a holy life, 

and doth indeed enterprize it ; than he who refolves on both , 

butpradifeth neither. The doer of good is a thoufand times more 

fure then the refolver : fomething in fome cafes may be faid to 

ftayaperfon from his refolutions; yet if nothing comes of the 

refolutioiis,! affure you the fcales will hang trembling : but adlion 

doth more fully determine the eiiate , and the Scripture is more 

ctear for the fpiritual eltate , as it lies in pradife, then as it lies in • 

And tire com- P"^F^^^* 3* -^ P^^fi^ exectiticn ^ It u the comfortal^lell fort^ 

fortabltft part Wliiie repentance lies only in refclution, it is but as^aTree in 

©f il^pcntancc. the Winter , perhaps well rooted , but it lives dry ; but when 

repentance breaks out into action, it is as a Tree in the Spring, 

well rooted, well flowered, and well fmellmg too. There is more 

<:omf ort to do,then to intend to do; indeed to ceafc a (inful courfe, 

and indeed to walk an holy life, this opens all the comforts of 

of thepromifes, draws down the favour of God, affures us more 

of intereft in Chrifl:, excufeth more in the confcience, reviveth 

A^d iht wirffi ^0^^ ^^ ^^ occurrences. ^.Afrefem exectition^it is the mfefifart ; 

pact, we cannot fay what we Hiall do to morrow,when we cannot affure 

our felves,what,and where we fh all be to morrow : He is wifeft for 

Divine Glory, and for his own happinefs, who a(5Vs an immediate 

duty of falvation,uponprcfent terms. There are four things which 

declare wifdome; One to fow in feafon; Another,to fail in feafon ; A 

third,to accept and receive the Word of Grace in feafon; A fourth 

loadrepentance infeafon,evenaowwhile itis called taday. 

The Smners Converfien to God. i^ 

2. The means : If vVt^ Would execute our penitential refolu- Mcanej. 
tions , then we muft i . Take heed of the impediments of this 
prefent Execution. 2. Make ufe of the helps and furtherances 

of it. Take bted cf 

• '^i. The impediments of a prefent execution are many. thtimpedi- 

I. ImbecUhyof refglmiani Ddflle fundamentHm falllt ofta i ""C-iis.^ 
if the foundation be weak, how can the buiiding be lirong? the r^^^Iu ^-^"^ °^' 
houfe which was built on a Rock,did ftandjbut that which was ere- 
cted on the Sandsjfell down : Where refolutions are either weakly 
raifed on ftrong grounds, or fuddenly raifed on weak and mutable 
occafions, there is either no execution, or uncertain ; fornoef- 
fe6t doth exceed the virtue of his caufe : Thm hafl almofi per-' 
fvpaded me to he a Chrtfllan; this left King J^grifpa ftill ifi 
Heatheniime. You will never go through with the work, if 
vou attain not to a thorow refolution ; v\hen vou have an heart 
that goes and comes , you will have only fits of repentance-, 
which will come and go : Of two things be fure, if ever you 
would penitentially a6lto purpofe ; One that youfeefirong and 
prevalent reafons to change your courfe of life, fuch as may not 
Be overtopped by any arguments that fin may fuggefl hereafter; 
they are the fpirits in the brain , vyhich confer to motion in the 
Hands and Legs: Another, that you refblve not on deceitftrl 
and fallible grounds. If your refolutions be upon Motives, ei- 
ther mutable, or conditional; you may be troubled with much 
temptation , but . you will never advance in m,uch penitential 

2. Servile fear : Wh^n we {o exalt the opinions of men, and Servile (tut- 
their Tongues, and their Power; what will they think of me? 


how will they ntck-n3me,and difgrace me ? what miy befall me ? 
who can tell what mifchlef thevmay do unto me? Thefeare 
the Frods which nip the buds,^na the Winds which bind the Ship,- 
and the Remora*s which hold the Children ftill in the birth. We 
l6ve the opinions of men, to be well thought on ; pnd the Tongues 
of men to be well fpoken of ; and the reipeils of men to be coun- 
tenanced,and encouraged : A crofs way makes U5 liirt ; Zedekjah 
would not obey the Lord, leaft the Princes fhould laugh at him ; 
and many of the Jews durft not confefs Chrift, for fear of the 
Scribes and Pharifees. For a man who enjoyes friends, and e.^fe, 
and eftace,' and abundance in all Iorts,to thruft out into a Seaj ' to 
i^ entef^' 

159 The Returning Frcdigal^ or 

enter into aholyanditrtdcourle of Life, wherein he fliall be 
fure to be fcorned as the r-tf-rcouring of the vva^d, be trdnip- 
\td upon as the mire in the ftreets, be tornein his name by the 
teeth oi wild be.^fls, fufter ("hip-vvrdck in his liberty, in his plen- 
ty, in his body ; Why ? th:fe apprehenlions are e ^ou^h to quell 
and to keep in all forv\\;5rdnefs, all allien; ^s Sfira confelleth, 
That they wrought on him when he denyed the profelTion of the 
Truih ot Chriit, Therefore if you would defcend into the pre- 
fent execution of penitential purpofes, yoa mult not be flaviili- 
ly aifecled unto man ; you mult not fear the power of man^ 
nor be aihamed cf the Crofs of Chrift ; you muft put your 
fnouider under the Crofs, and the contempts of men under your 
feet \ 1 am ready (faith Paul, Acls 21. 13) not to bs honnd onl^^ 
hidt alfo to dys at Jerujalem for the Name of the Lord Jefns, 
If ye be reproached for the Name of Chrljl^y haffy are j/e^f or the 
S fir it of glory and of God refteth ufonyoH^ faith S. Feter^ \ Pet. 
4. 14. / mil ndt fear what man .can do hmo me^ faid David, 
who art thoHy that thou fhoHldfl be afraid of a man that fhall 
die^ and of the fofj of man who [hall be made as grafs ? and 
forgetteftthe Lord thy Adak^er ^ and ha fl feared continually be- 
ca-ife of the fAry of theopprejfory as if he were ready to defiroy ? 
and where is the fury of the opprejfor f Ifa.5 i.i 2,1 ^. 
Befpairofper- 3. Defpair of performance : Why, fay we, as good never a 
ioimancc vvhit as never the better. It is not poifible that ever we fhould 
get hands to coiquer all thefe (ins , or feet to walk in all thefe 
wayes which are fo holy,fo many,fo itrid,fo difficult. We cannot 
.find words to pray, nay,God knows,fometimes not hearts;the mo- 
tions of fin arc thick and ftrong, and ableevery moment to lead us 
captive ; we have made fome affay, but alas, the work proves fo 
faarfh, fo uncomfortable, fo unprofperous; we are without all 
flrength, we iliall never breakUl thefe bonds of fin, nor tread 
through all thefe pathes of holy duties. Thus as death clofcth 
up our eyes, fo doth defpair iliut up ail our a6^ions; where there 
is no hope to finifh, there will be no heart to begin : But let us 
reject fuch defpairing delufions ; what hath been done may be 
<lone ; what God commands to do, he can enable to do; and 
whathepromifeth thatwe fhall do, that he will make and caufe 
us do : But God hath commanded us to leave all our finful cour- 
fo, and to lead a life of holinefs ^ God hath promifed grace 



7he Sinners Conifer fon to Cod, 15 1 

fufficient to forfake an evill way and to walk in a good way, 
/ will fHt my S fir It within yoH^ unci caufe yon to wa!k^i» my fla- 
tutes^ and yonfia/i kjep my judgments and d) them^ Ezck. 36, 27. 
If God gives lirength to work, why fhi uld wc with-hold hearts 
to work }- Da Domine quod , v.bes^ O' juh quod vis , laid S. Ah^ 
ftin : Lord, ^^\t what thou ccminandeil , and then command 
what thou wilt. Sericufly confidcr anyo'ie penitential work, 
£br which God hath notpromifed grace and (irength to perform.- 
Many have travelled in this penitential Work, and have found it 
very feifable and palfable : How miny are this day in heaven ? 
and how m.iny are walking towards heaven? all of them^ 
prove, that it ij not imjoliibleto execute peniteii.iai refolu- 

4. Hypomjie and guile of heart : Where the heart isfalfe, H^pocrKte. 
there the performance is faint ; if the work be not done in the 
heart, it will never be done in the life; the work is beft done 
in the life, which is firft done in the heart. They in Jeremiah 
had rotten hearts, they did not cordially intend to leave their 
own wayes, and therefore when they were put to it indeed,they 
would not yield to wjilk in the wayes which God prefer! bed. 
Where an holy way is not throughly approved, and where an 
evil \yrjf is not throughly hated, there may be many ilalli-' 
es, but there will never be folid performances or courfes: 
Tet a little flee p^ yet a little flnmher^ yet a little folding of the 
hands y faid the Sluggard, who loved fleep and idlenefs, Prov, 6, 
ID. So where our affections are hank.-ing about a fin , ih:::re is 
e\^er,at the lea(t,a fiownefs to le.ive that frMMedo^mt^doyhid S>.Ari' 
ftinywhtn modons c^me into him to forfake his • ncleanLufl:s,they 
nnfwered. Shortly, Hiorily ; Hereafter, here.'frer ; and this mo- 
doy modoy \ v^s fine modo ; this putting off from day to day, would 
have continued fo all the dayes of his life. Therefore if you 
would execute your penitential refolutions; tnke heei of cor- 
rupt affe6^ions ; if they again prevail upon yoa, they will ^^' 
furedly intangle and hinder you, they mar the judgment, and 
clofc with temptations, and hinder aiiions. Oh howfuddenly 
will they quench your fpirits, alter your judgment^, put afide 
your duties , extenuate your purpofes, bring you into further 
bondage, confirm your unwillingness, excite your fears, raife 
up difcoiiragements, and all to fruftrate. the prefent executions: 

i^% 7he Returning frodigdy or 

of your foriner refolutions. Corrupt afteclions are the very gates 
of fin,ihe Bane of holinefs, the Quenchers of refolutions, and 
the Impedinisnts of all good performaiKes. 

W Id'v carcf ^* f^o^'^^y^^^^^' ^^^ Saviout faith, That the feed rrhich 
" fell among thorKSs was choakedy Luke 8.7, And what was it which 
didchoarvit? fee^•^r/. 14. The.caresy am riches^ and fleaf^res 
of this LI fey There are two things which worldly. cares do choak 
VIZ., Heavenly diredions of the word, and Heavenly refolutions 
of the heart ; fo that neither the one nor the oiher do come unto 
perfe(5lion, Hcly performance or action, it is the end or per- 
fection of all knowiedg andrefolution, and worldly Ccires ftifle 
both. You have many a man who comes to the word, and hears 
the terrours of God and his wrath revealed againft his unrighte- 
oufnefs, infomuch that his foul (with Felix) trembles under the 
itrokes of divine jultice ; Or he hears how happy and bleffed the 
.condition and life of holinefsis; what heavens of mercies, what 
jivers of comforts, what excufations and peace of Confcience^ 
what bleirmgs in life , what fupports in death, what rewards af- 
ter death it J>iall procure to perfons ; upon the one and the other 
he is itirred up to the fenfe of his fins, to the admiration of Ho- 
lirefs ; to a condemnation of his evil courfe, to a refolution for 
a better. But then it is with him as with fome iliip, fometimes 
as foon as it is putting out of the Harbor, it iirikes upon a rock, 
or falls into the fands, and lofeth aH the precious lading : Or as 
' with Corn fown and let fall in an open and folid place, where 

the Birds come down and inftantly pick it up ; fo is it here with 
this man, the world meets him again at the Church door, or at 
his own door, and all thefe impreinons and refolutions are fpilc 
and gone; Worldly engagements take prefent poffeifion of his 
thoughts, and all the fervice of his affedions, fo that he hath 
no time to confider what God did fpeak or v\ork in him ; no 
time fecretly to beg of God to Write thofe truths in his heart , 
* to keep all this in the purpofe of his heart, to give Kim the Spi- 
rit of Grace and Itrength to walk in the wayes -of God revealed 
now unto him. When you turn the courfe of the water another 
-way, the Mill cannot ft'ir ; fowhen men turn the courfe of their 
thoughts and affections to fecular and vain imployments, iW re- 
folutions ftand ftill , they have nothing now to elicit or cjravv 
them on and out into any holy or careful diligence of obedi* 


The Sinners Converfton to God, i r ^ 

ence and performance : Th Oxen and the Farm^ q^c, took th^m 
quite off, mdih^y made excf^fes (.i.) for theprefent they had 
other engagements .- therefore take heed of worldly cares. It is 
impoflfible that you Hiould be much in the adings of any Grace, 
if you be very much in the fervice of worldly cares. 

6, LMy-i'PreffifHptU9fis Confidence is alfo an Impediment to tyhe Pre fumpruaui 
prefent executicnsotgoodrefolutions; whether it be oi future confidence, 
fiw^jhereafter fhall ferve the turn ; it is not vvifdom to be fo for- 
ward ; foft and fair will go far; we have day enough yet before us; 
a year, two or ten hence; after fuch abufinds is efteded, or( which 
is worfe)after thepleafuresof fuch a finis a little moretalkd. Or 
0^ Future ahi/it ^iJhis is a work which we will do at pleafure and at 
leifureiwhen we fee the fcouts,the fcf erunners of the army, then 
we will buckle on our armorrvvhen we efpy the harbingers of death 
approaching,old age,iicknefs,weaknefs,direafcs,then we will think 
of heaven,and forfake hell : what need we be troubling our felves 
to be doing of that a longtime, which wecan difpatchat any ' 
time ? if wc have but time to fay. Lord have mercy upon me , 
what would ye more ? Or of FntHrc Mercy .- Wherefore hath 
God Mercy but for finners ? and he hath faid,That if at any time 
a finner convert he will have mercy : We have found him kind 
unto us all our dayes, and doubt not of his fatherly compafTion at 
the laft. Thus do men port off all penitential executions, and' for - 
■ever endanger thsir fouls. Alas! for future time, whofe is it? 
Seneca the Heathen could fee mere truth then this : Sohmtempus 
-prefens noftrum: No time is ours but the prefent. Thou carrieft 
thy life in thy hands , thy breath in thy nortrils; and feert more 
Graves made for the young then for the aged. And as for 
thy future ability, why doft thou fo grofly befool thy felf ? 
knowctt thou not that prefent Negle6ls caufe ftron^er Indif- 
pofitions ? Qui non eft hodie^ eras minus aptus erlt^ the School- 
boy will teach thee. Every mm by more finning grows mcJrc 
finful, and therefore moft unapt and averfe to good. And 
then Future Mercy , it is of all things the moft uncertain 
to pardon fin, where prefent mercy leaves us not to repen- 
tance from (in : it is all one as if thou fliouldft thus argue , 
God will hereafter parc^on me, and therefore for the prefent I 
will fin againft him, difobey, di (honour, vex, and grieve, and a- 
bufe him, Thefe ^^e the principal impediments to a prefent 

X cxe- 

I J A. The Returning Prodigal^ or 

expedlation of penitential refolutions , and are to be declined 
K«ip5* by us. I now proceed to th^ helps ^nd furtherances to a frefent 

execution of penitential refolmlons ^ which are thefe, amonglt. 
many. ... J^a 

Solid convi- ^* ^^^^^^ ConvlBlon of a finfnl eflate : This will put us upoii ' 

aion of a fin- ^ prefent Execution. When the Soul is brought to an experi- 
fui ftatc. mental fenfe of the vilenefs and bitternefs of fin, it mil not 

then lye hovering ; Were I belt to give up this courfe, or fhalt 
I go on in it (iill ? No, but when the Soul is indeed wounded, 
the waves lliall without delay be reformed ; take a perfon in 
fome judicial , and clofe conviction of fin, upon a fick and 
dying bed, how forward is a perfon then to change and better hisi 
courfes ; much more do foliH and evangelical convi6tions fweetly 
difpofe , and incline the heart to the forfaking of an evil, and 
_ walking in a good way. They in ^Bs 2. 37. were pricked 
in their hearts, and what did this work in them ? they cry out pre- 
fently. Men and brethren what [hall we do ? So Sanl was ftruck 
to the ground, and was aftonifhed, and trembled, and then pre- 
fently cries ont^Lord^what wilt thou have me to ^(?f^^.p.4,6.0ut- 
vvard afflictions you fee many times do put on men to alter and 
reform their wayes ; of much greater force are inward afflictions 
of fpirit. Go on yet in fin ! God forbid ! fiiatl I continue in 
fin any longer, who, if I make not hafte, may lofe all mercy,and 
drop into Hell it felf ? what I feel is much, what I defer ve,I can- 
not bear. 
Holywlfdome* 2. Holy wlf dome - To know times and feafons, is an high 
part of Wifdome ; Walk^ not as fools, but as wife, redeeming the 
time, ( faith the Apoffle ) Efh. 5. i5,i(5. There are four things 
which folid Wifdome teacheth a man 5 One is,to look to the bei^ 
part; Another ,to make choice of the belt good; A third,towalk in 
the befl: wayes ; A fourth is to do all this in the firlt place, and 
fureft time : Have I any thing more near to me, then my foul ? 
more concerning my foul then God ? more concerning God, then 
walking before him ? Where am I, if I lofe my Soul ? what am 
I, if 1 enjoy not God? whether run I, if I continue in fin? if 
my foul be neare{l,and God choiceft,and his wayes fafeft,why do I 
^ demur ? what, fhould I take time , or put oft the doing of that 
which is ever belt done , when it is done ? If I will live yet in 
jfin, for blight I know, I may then dye in fin; and if I 


7he Sinners Converfton to God, 155 

<lye in fin, I muft for ever periHi for fin ; Why fhould I not ? 
Do I not admit the prefent lofs of that , which elfe may be the 
eternal lofs of my Soul ? But if I fet into an holy life, this is the 
very path of God, the image of Glory, the Ark of fafety, and 
the pledg of an happy eternity. Why fhould I be fo foolifh, to 
be miferably bad, who in a moment may be afluredly bkfled ? 
any wifdome will teach me to leave a wicked life, for an 
holy and good ; vYhich hath made me to know, that mercy is 
better then mifery ; and that Heaven is better then . 

3, Chriftlan CoHra^e : If we will not a<^ the wayes of cbriftian coa^ 
Heaven , till we fee all difficulties removed , and all dangers rsjc. 
fecured, we Hiall never enter into thofe V7ayes ; but when the love 

cf Chrift hath inflamed our hearts with a right zeal of his Glory, 
affuredly, fve will be doing : Modt magmfketwr Chriftui-, I mutt 
bring fome Glory to my God , &c, Lnthtr feared not to go 
to the Diet at Worms , hacl there been as many divels, as tiles 
on the houfes : What do you tell S. P^tul of bonds , or fpeak to 
the couragious ChrifHan of difcouragements ; Ihavefwomj and 
mil perform It ( faith David ) that I will kjep thy rlghteons 
fiatfites, S. Jertm would not only renounce, but throw off, 
and trample upon father and mother for Chrift : What do 
you fpeak of poverty , of difgraces , of loffes, of want, of felf- ^ 
denials in eafc, in pleafures? err. He who will be good, 
can lofe nothing but that which will loofc him ; and get that 
which he fhould never have gotten , had he not been good 

4, A frecitus eflm^lon and affe^lcn after Gods honour : Ah ! ^ precious 
did we in any holy meafure comprehend the height, and brSdth , ^i]"*"^" ^^ 
and depth of his favour m Chrilt ; would we not Itrive to enter 

in at the ftrait Gate ? fhould not the Kingdome of Heaven 
fuffer violence ? What to ftand upon a finful pleafure, or profit, 
or way, and to lofe a good, gracious, bountiful God : What fin- 
ful luft,pleaf«re, way woufld we [ftand upon ? What holy courfe 
orway would we fet upon ? would we be flow to fee the face of 
God, and live ? wfculd we not fpeedily fet our felves in the 
wayes of his countenance ? Zachens being defirous to fee Chrlfly 
tipon his call, made ha fie and came down, Luke ip.6, 

X 2 5, n/f 

ij^ Gods gracious Acceftance 

^, A tender fear of God: This alfo caufeth - a prefent execu- 
tion of our purpofes. You read what it wrought in J oft ah ^m No^ 
ahy in others. When the heart apprehends its way to be e\il , 
andthedifpleafureof God to hangoverit, and his threatnings 
idl in armour, &c. Oh, I dare not go on to offend any lon- 

A ttnicr fjsr ^* ^ ^^^^^ ^^^^^^f ^^ ^^^ ' ^^^^^^^ 7^" ^^^^ ^^ ^^"^ ^^^ threats j 
of God. " ^ ^hey of Nimveh believed the preaching of Jonah , and 
prefently humbled and reformed themfelves and wayes, chaf, 
, .3. 5. JPr9mtfes of fvveetefl: mercy mide unto real penitents , 
that full, fi'ee, foon mercy iliall be had: Why? if thofe 
A rijht Belief be believed , they will draw off the foul from a finful courfe 
ia God. unto a good courfe. The Apoftle therefore befeecheth the Ro- 

mans, by the mercies of God' to be trans forme dy R^m.12.1. O 
this, that God offers and affures me of mercy, and now I may 
have it if I will now reform , puts the foul to the prefent work j 
' ^ To day I will hear his voice, for to day is the day of mercy , 
this is an acceptable feafon,. now I may be made happy foj 

Luke 15. 20. 
And he Arofe and came to his father. But when he was yet a great 
way o^y his father f aw him ^ and had comfajjiony and ran and 
fell on his netk^^ and kjffed him. 

Thefe words contein in them two parts, 

1. 77?^ real froBlce of Repentance; which coniifts i;iotina 
bare Refolution, but in a iincere Execution ( IwlUarlfe^ faid the 
Prodigal)this was Motns volentls ; (and he did arife,)this yvas ojhs^ 
-penltentls, I will go to my father ; and here [^Hearofe and came t a 
his fat her, ~\ 

1, The comfortable Iffue of real Repentance \BHt when he was 
yet a great way ojf &c,] Wherein you have confiderable, i. The 
qulck^obfervatlon of this penitents Father ^\_Hls father f aw him ^ytZy 
-when he was yet a great way cjf:'] Even in tins fenfe God fees our 
thoughts afar off ; God many times is unwilling to fee the finner, 
but he is at all times very willing to efpy the penitent. i,Hls pre- 
fent comm'feratlon^Hls father f aw hlm-^and had compajjlon on hlm~\ 

Wickedmen look on a penitent with derifion; penitent perfons 


<?/ f A^ Retiming Frodtgd, 157 

look on themfelves with abom:nation5but God looks 011 thtm with 
compafllonihe looks on thefinner with indignatioHjhe looks on the 
penitent finner with a pitiful affediion : When Ephraim repented, 
and turned, A(; Bowe's ( faith God ) ^re troubled for him , J will 
fnrely hiivc mercy on him : As foon as ever the Pxodigal looks 
back, mercy looks out. tji.d. Ah ! is he returned indeed ? I pity 
him, I will receive him, I will forgive him. 3. His gracious 
^cceftation exprelled in three particulars ; 

1 . One of [feed J readinejs : [ The Father ran ] The Son doth 
go,the Father ran. Mercy hath not only a quick eye, but foot alfo ; ^ 
it portsjit fpeeds,it runs to embrace a penitent : God is very flow 
to puniili a finner, but he is very ready to relieve and accept of a 
returning iinner. 

2. A fecond, Of wonderful tender-^efs ; [ The Father fell on 
his neck^ ] To have looked on him,was it not enough ? to have gi- 
ven order for his ufage, had it not been well ? to have taken him 
by the hand , had it not been too much ? but the Father did more 
tnen all this [ He fellonhusyieck^. ] Divine mercy will not only 
meeta penitent, but embrace him. That iinner whom the h.inds 
of juftice would haveeverlaftingly confounded, if he be peni- 
tent, the arms of mercy will lovingly clafp, &c. 

A third, Oi flroyig affeFllonmnefs : [^Andkiffedhim'] Hcrc 
arc eyes to behold the returning Son, and an heart to pity him,and 
feet to meet him, and armes to embrace him, and lips alfo to 
kifs him : Naked mercies are not enough ( in Gods account ) 
for a true penitent , he muft have fealed mercies too. God doth 
not think it enough that he is reconciled unto him, unlefsalfo 
he doth teftifie and make it known that he is fo. 

There are many excellent Pr opofuions obfervable out of thefe 
words, v.g. 

That the very Imtials of true Repentance are feen by God : j)^si 
The penitent Prod'gil was in the way, but yet it was a great way The very ini- 
off; and his Father faw him, andbadcompalTion, //^/V,/W// cialsof ;ruc 
confefsmy trangrejfions unto the Lord^ and thou forgave]} the im- Rfp<Jntsnce 
^uity of my fm^ Pfal. t? 2. k^Vox n r.dtim in or a erat & Auris Bel ^'* f'^" ^^ 
in cor da eraty So S. Aufiin in Locum. Ifai. 66. 2. To this 
manvpilll look^.evento him that is poor and of a antrite fpirit y 
and trembles at my word. Repentance may be considered in three 
degrees, i.In the ImpreJJlon of /V;And this is when fo much grace 

I J g Gods Gracious Acceptance 

is implanted , as to turn the heart. 2, In the exfrejjlon of It : 
and this is, when fo much Grace appears, as to enter into a new 
path,and do ne^v works. 3. If^the frogrejfion of it : And this is, 
when a greater Vi6lory is obtained ov^r our Tins, and appears in 
our courfe of new obedience. Now the Initials of true Repen- 
tance, I conie6lure, to confift partly in the Converlion of the 
heart; when the mind, and will, and affe6^ions are healed,and 
turned : and partly, in the reformation of the life ; when the 
perfon out of an hatred of fin, and love of God, fets upon ano- 
♦ther courfe of obedience, and fervice. It is juft like a Ship, that 
is going out, or like a Shop that is newly fet up ; things are very 
raw, there is much drofs with the little Silver ; a little health,and 
much lamenefs ; a great journey, and but a few fteps ; the work 
is rather in defire, and much in complaints 5 and though perhaps 
little be done, yet all is heartily endeavoured to be done; this I 
call the Initials of Repentance. 

Six things (hew There are fix things fhew that Repentance is begun in truth. 

Repentance is j^ One is Cendemnmisn : When the judgment looks upon all 

C^ndemnaaon ^" ^^^^^ another manner then formerly, fentencing it as the moft 
'vile, and accurfed of all evils, and no fin f knowingly) finds 

Averfacioi. favour. 2. Another is ay^verfmon : When the will flies, 
and fhuns it, as that, which is moft contrary to all goodnefs, and 

Wcarinefs. happinefs. 3. A third is fVearmefs : When the Soul Is as 
weary of Sin,as any Porter can be of his Burthen,or as a fick-man 
is oi his Bed. Pfal.^1.17. T^he facrifices of God , are ahrokjn 
fprlt ; a hrokjn and a €intrlte hearty O God^ thou wilt mt defflfc. 

Lamentation. ^^ ^ fourth is Lamentation : That the Soul cannot yet be rid of 
the unruly motions, aad infolencies of fin ; It is grieved , that 
Life and Death, Hell and Heaven, Grace and Sin fliould thus be 

Rcli^ancc f^g^ther. 5. A ^fth is Kef fiance, orconflia: The Soul doth 
ufe the beft means it can, to feparate more from fin, and all finful 
wayes, and to walk only in all holypathes, in the pathcsof righ- 

An aai«c Ii- teoufnefs. And the fixth is an aBlve IncKnationy to obey God in 

elination. ^^ things ; a thirfting and ftriving,an aiming, a writing after the 

Four things ^pj there are four things , which do fiievv that Repentance is 

fticwthttRe- butbe^un, it is only initial, i. Ont is Impotency y orweaknefs 
pmtance is but _ & / ,,.f , , . , ^ ^ ^ ir.- 

bfgun. ^^ operation : When the penitential parts do move and ftir, yet 

Impotency. like a child, who begins to go very feebly. There is as much 




of the Returning Prodigal, 15^ 


appears in the courfc, as declares another fpring or principle, and 
rule,by which the Soul drives to vvalkjbut tne performance is very ' 
tender and feeble; like a young Tree that hath but tender branches, 
and fmall fruit : The * perlon doth mourn , and coitfefs, and 
pray, and live, and obey, but with much weaknefj. 2. A fe- Efficacy of ? 
cond is effcacy of Temptatio» : When Temptations do eafily Temptation, 
befet anddifcourage the Soul; as when the Tree is but a young 
plant,the Winds do tofs it, and make it reel^fo when Temptations 
do,as it were, drive the Soul, and are apt to raife quick fears, and 
difcouragements : Ohl I lliall be overcome again, Uliali hard- 
ly hold on y I cannot well fee how I fhall be able to perform, 
andperfevere in theCe wayes which I have choien. A third is 
the P^alidhy of frefent CorrHftion ; which though it be truly ha- Valfdiry of 
ted, and bewailed, yet it is very apt upon occafions to aflault and prcfenc Corru- 
prerail ; v\^hen every little ftone is apt to make one ftumbie , it ption. 
argues that the ftrength is weak. 4. Neceffary f referee of many NecelTary pre- 
hel-ps : When a Man cannot go, but with two Crutches ; and a fence of mmy 
Child muri lean upon many props,and a penitait upon many fen- ^«lps- 
fible encouragements* 

Now that thefe Initials of Repentance are gracioufly accepted '^^^ Do^rin* 
of God, may be thus mamfeikd. i. The Lord doth refpe^ the Q^^^rcVpcas 
trftth 9f Gracfy as well as the decrees of it^ every quality as well j, ^ tj-uth as well 
as the quantity.^re not thine eyes upon the truth f The Goldfmith as the degrees 
hath his eye on the very thinraies of Gold, as well as on the of Gjace. 
great knobs and pieces; Grace is excellent and amiable at the 
loweft, though then admirable when at higheli 2. Them^in . , « 
thing that God lookj ufon^is to the heart ; ( My Son^ give me thy ^^^ Heart 
heart : ) All that is done, if the heart be not in it, it is of lit- 
tle or no eftimation with God; but if the heart be right, this 
the Lord pri zeth exceedingly , and fo much, that for its fake , he 
paffeth by many infirmities.T/?^ good Lord pardon everyone that 
prepareth his heart, &c. 2 Chro. 30. 19. Now in the Initials of 
Repentance, the heart is fet right ; it is fet on God, and towards 
God in truth. :^. Even the Initials of Repentance are his own 
Gifts ( fpecial gifts of his bleffed Spirit) it is he th^t worketh 1)'J^^I^^\f^ 
in us to will and to do^ Phil. 2.1^. The fpiritual will , and the fpi- hij cift- 
ritual deed ( though both be imperfe6l ) yet are they the genu- 
ine effei^ of Gods own fpirit ; fparks out of his fire, works of his 
own hands ; Now as in the Creation , God looked upon all 

that - 

1 60 Cods gracious Accep^nce 

that he made, and favv that it was good , he liked it vvdl. So is 
it in our Renovation ; all that good which Gcd works in us, he 
doth accept and approve , he doth not defpife his own image > 
which though it fhine more fairly in progreifive Repentance, yet 
Th's Sprites ^^ it truly iiamptin our initial Converfion., 4. Tnat which c$mes 
homhiiK r.ot oytlyfrom^ ferfon ^ having fait h-^ hm from fait hit felf^ that 
the Lord will graciotifly accent : For as our ad^ions do nor pleafe 
him without faith ( it is im^ojfihle wit horn faith to fleefe Cod : ) 
So on the contrary, when tiie a6lions do come from faith , they 
do pleafe the Lord, u^k/s Sacrifice prefented in Faith, did 
pleafe him , when Cai^s prefented without faith, was not re- 
garded ; faith puts a value and acceptance on our adions. But 
even initial Repentance comes from faith ; the perfon is by faith 
united to jefus Chrifl , from whom he hath received ftrcnc^th 
^ and grace to forfake his fins, and to become a fervant of righte- 

«.t unall lum^ of fmall things ; mr quench the fmeaking fax , nor hreakjhe 

hrmfed reed : What Husbandman doth defpife the little plant 

which he hath fet? Or what father doth defpife the little child 

he hath begoten? Why! that God who hath appointed all the 

meanes and ordinances, tocherifh, and prop, and comfort, and 

nouriili, and ^"erfed the inidals of Repentance; doth not he 

gracioufly accept of it ? have we not reafon to believe that he doth 

countenance thefe beginnings, who prefently makes all provifion 

for the nurfmg and fupplies of it ? 

r To make fome Application of this, i .It convinceth the common 

^i^ ^' obloquies and afperfions caft upon religion and religious courfes to 

:hac sfperfion ^^ ^^"^ injuries and tallities. viz., tnat ij once jou beginto be re^ 

that if we be- ligions and penitential^ thenfarrvel all comfort -^ as if the grave of 

gtn to be peai- fo^ Were the Refurre6ticn of Griefe ; or of neceffity, men muft 

Tc^^'^^^^ be everlafiingly penfive, if once truly, and ferioufly peni- 

aj- cmion. j^^-,^'^j . But this is falfe, no courfe fo good, fo comfortable, as 

the penitential; mercy to invite you, mercy to receive you, 

mercy to pardon you, aiid mercy to fave you. Asfoon as ever 

we begin to be good, and to be penitent, and are entred into 

the way of new obedience, prefently the merciful eye and 

favour of God is upon us; mercy looks after us; and 

though we have been foul Tranfgreflours, and have now 

but "the very feeds and implantations of repentance ( mixt 


of the Rtturning Prodigal. i6i 

with exceeding imperfections ) yet the Lord will benignly and 
gracioufly accept of us, and love us. 

And as it doth convince th.u err our, o£ the fad^eji of en- Vfi 2, 
tringinto a goodcourfe; fo alfo another err our, c£theaptfterlty Ana ot chat 
^rjdhar(hyiefi of God towards f§or Pements^ as if nothing would ^'^°"':°^'^^* 
pleafe the Lord but quantity, and great meafures of Grace. Oh, Qg/^Qj^ay^j 
if I had fo much forrow for fin 1 if I hadfo much hatred! if I Piujccnts. 
had fo much power over my corruptions ! Why [ it were well if 
diouhadfl, and thou doeli not well, if thou ftriveft not beyond 
all the meafure of grace which thou doeft attain ; But then to 
think, thatonely great grace is in grace wich God, and not little 
grace ; Repentance grown, and not Repentance begun ; that 
God will not look on drops, but rivers ; not on weaknefs, but 
ftrengthonely ; that a poor, contrite,broken,troubledfoul,which 
prizeth grace above heaven, and hates fm above hell, but yec is 
troubled with the prefcnce of much corruption, and is apprehen- 
{\VQ, of manifold wants in all kinds of grace, that the Lord will 
never look upon fuch a thin, new, weak ChrilHan, unlefs with 
aulterity and dilhnce : Why do we thus belie the Lord ? and 
falfifie the gracioufnefs of the Almighty ? who doth fo love ho- 
linefs, and delight in the converfion of a finner, thatasfoonas 
ever the iinner begins truly to repent, the Lord hath thoughts 
of mercy and peace for him, he is obferved and accepted, ( ^m- 
ma6 Is frefently fenttoPanl^) melfengers of peace are prefently 
difpatched. Patents of mercy are fealed for him. 

And thirdly. It doth jufi'ly abafe that mworthy^ frondy and yfg , ' "^ 
ccnforloHS harfhnef and firangenejs^ which many ( who would take Ic diieovcrs the 
it ill, if they be not in your opinion {qx up in the higheft form of proud harfhncfs 
Piety,) dofinfulIyorfooUrhly exprefs, €\^t^ in condemning^ ^^ of men towards 
tn contemning fuch as fall very (hon ( in the penitential work ) of ^^^^^ f^^^ 
ether Sy or of themfelves -^ yea, and will iliun tender fociety with fdycs oj others, 
them, till they fee fome further perfections and ripenefles. Alas, 
what do wel by what rule do we walk ? whofe example do we 
look upon ? We muft be wife, it's true ; and what wifdome is it 
to leave tender buds to the frofl:, which we might have cover- 
ed and enlarged with heat and warmth? I befeechyou, let us 
paufe a while : i. Are all in our Family Men ? Are there 
not fome Children, perhaps new-born Babes ? Are all in the 
Flock ftrong Sheep ? are there not fome Lambs ( perhaps ) 
- Y netvly 

1 62 Gods Gracious Acceptance 

ne.vly yeaneu ? Are all the Star^ in the Heaven of the fam^ 
m.^gnitude ? fame are greater, others are iefs, yet ail m ihe Hea- 
vens. Do you defpife Children ? reject the L;?mb.s ? or fiic^ht 
the Moon, becaufe of her fpots, and lelfer light than that of 
the Sun? Why! we read of the like difparity in the heavenly 
courfe ; St. 'joh^ itWs us of Fathers^ and of Tonyig-men^ and of 
Chidren too, yea, and or Bahs ; and Chrifl; adviied Peter % re- 
fpeds, as well unto the L<^/;?^^j, as unto the Sheep, 2. fVere 
not we Beginners once oiir pelves ? Was our Sun at the top ? our 
Gold fo exquifitely pure ? did not we then need companions and 
helps in times of infancy, weaknefs, conflids, temptadons ? 
What is our prefent ftrength, but fome help to former weaknefs ? 
Time was, we could hardly go or iknd, although now we can 
walk and run : What a childifhnefs is it, for the Artift in Gram- 
mar to flight the Youth who is now fpelling his Letters, when 
this was the firii Line of his own Learning, the firft ftep where- 
by he went to his height ? :?. And dui God deffife w In om 
heglnnwgs f Did not he gently lead thofe that were with jonng^ 
and carried the Lambs in his arms ? as the P.ophetf peaks. How 
often hath he laid our fainting and weak fouls to the brefts of 
confolation ? comforted us in our fears ? ftrengthened our feeble' 
hands ? anfwered our doubts' ? 4. Nor doth he now flight them^ 
whom he tenderly owns upon the very entrances into a new and 
holy courfe, fees .them afar off, and hath compaffion ; Why 
i then do we fo (light and neglect them, and put them from usr, 

who have as good a God as our felves, ( and if we be good,) the 
fame, the fame Chrilt, and alfo the fnme truth and reality of Re- 
pentance ? And is not Minimum Chrlftl amahlle ? But they 
are indifcreet ? Surely, they are no true penitents that are very 
fools : No mdn fo wife as he who is w^fe for his foul. But they 
have many failings ? And not one of them approved, all bewail- 
ed. But they come fhort in Duties, alas they are very iLort ? 
In exprelTio s, which the vileft hypocrite may excel in ; not in 
affections, which the true penitent onely abounds in. There- 
fore repent of your pride and ftate : Seed thou a peni-ent higher 
than thyfelf, honour him, and imitate; feeft thou a penitent 
Ten Evidences lower than thy felf, honour and cherifh him : God w-ll meet him 
©f TrueR^pen- with much mercy, do thou meet him with much love and pity, 
lance, ifeon^b j^^ ^]^ tJ^^fg 7>;^ {.vidences^ that a mms Repentance is tmCy 

^•~~^^-^~— ' ■ 'I - 11 

of the R et timing Predigal. 1 6^ 

thoffgh weal^; and rea/j though but ImtlaL i. Hf is mf4ch M\.\ch in Gne?, 
in (jriefy though little in Strength: He V7il I grieve for finnnig/j^^°"^?*^^^"^**^'» 
though he iliould never be damned for (in ; and fin is his daily /^charWfin, 
grief, as it is his daily temptation. 2. He hates jin^ ^^'^^.^^ nt^be nd^ r"' 
he cannot he rid of it : His foul loaths not onely the actions, but corfliajwuh* ' 
nature alfo of fin, 2, He confliBs with fin. thomh he cannot !?"' 'i^o^ghhc 
conquer it ; IS aa Enemy to it, though not a Conquerouroverit, 'c. 
though much aflaulted by it ; fears Sin more than Hell. 4. He ^^^ ^Jlj 'jo^ *»« 
will not be a Servant ^ though fometimes he is forced to be a Captive : though its'cap^ 
His Will and Love are unconquerable. <, He cries out for M'^; . ^ , , 

. , , ,11 1 ,' 1 j^ T ^ \ * -r ttccies tot help 

help J thoHgh he he not yet delivered', O Lord, help: Laments fhough. 10c uc. 
his condition, becaufe fo peftered with finfull motions. 6. He 'hc mufthave 
mujl have God recoKciledy though he much q'^efiions it : He muft ^^d reconciled, 
haveChrift, and Mercy, &c, 7. He would obey God inall'^Zfn^"'^''"' 
things^ though he falls very jhort of it^ 8. He friz,es more He would ob:y, 
Grace^ and lirives after it, though he enjoyes very little of it, Jhou§h\c^-lns 
p. He holds up his purpofe to walk^ with Gody though he he not ^»^rc 
fibiCy in every things and at all times^ to make it good, 10. what gr^ace,Th jt'-'h he 
he wants in the he'ghts of Repentance^ is made up in the depths of ^^i^r i'"ie! 
Humhlenef^ and Moumfulnef^. ^^\^^lf' "^ ^'* 

A fourth Ufe of this Point fhall be for Comfort znd Supportj He mourns for 
to fuch as have though but the initials of Repentance in them : ^^ !l. r^^*"^^** 
The fountain of Godly forrovv drops, though but a little, and For co.nforc to 
the journey of an holy life is but begun ; they hive newly (with- ^^ch a. have the 
in thefe few dayes ) fet the firft foot in the paths of God. What pJnlancef ^^' 
{ball Ifay to fuch perfons ? Surely, 

I. Let them not he difcouraoed at all : Though it be but a lit- ^ ^'^''* Grace, if 
tie grace. Repentance newly planted and begun ; yet // it be true 
Grace, i. It is worth a who e world: One mans Soul is worth is worth a whole 
the World, much more is Grace ; Grace ( even in the leall de- ^**^^^* 
gree of it ) is of an invaluable allay : The Lord hath {hewn thee 
mercy indeed, if he has beRowed any grace on thee ; it is mor« 
Worth than if he had 'given thee all the Kingdomes of the / 

World ; more, in refpedl of Excellency, and in refped of Con- 
fequence. 2. u4s little as it is, it is as much as ever any Pe- Vl ^W T"'^^.^^ 
mtent had at the firft. Tis true, our improvements of Grace ac fi-ft. 
are very different in the courfe of our lives, but the habitual im- 
plantations of Q^i'kCQ are alike and equal : Thou haft as much now . 
as ever any h.id at firft, who are now gone to heaven. 3. ^s 

Y 2 little 


1 64 

Gods Gracious Accepancc 

This Uctle wi 
be ridorioui. 

Ir fliall not 
ccafc till ic 
bring chec co 

It (hall grow 
ftrongcr and 



Thjy have 
matter of r€- 

Their fins are 


now dfej he 
ihculd be ra- 

II /m/^ /?/ it u^ it Jhall full down^ And work^ out the ftrongefl Jin that 
ever did cleave unto thee ; though not at once, yet by degrees ; a 
beam of Light which appears in ih^ morning feems no great mat- 
ter to deal with all the dirkneis in the ayr, yet depending upon 
fuch a ftrong principle and fountain as the Sun, it doth by de- 
grees chafe away, &c, 4. As little and a£ weal^ as it isy it 
Jhi^ll never ceafe^ till it hath brought thee to heaven : The Ark had 
many tofTings, and thy weak Grace lliali have many aflaults ; 
but thy weak Grace is in the fure hands of a ftrong God, who by 
it will make thee more than Conquerour, through him that lo- 
ved thee. 5, As weaJ^ as it is noWy it [hdl he jlronger and. 
ftrenger : God hath but begun his work in thee, the which he 
will riniili ; the Foundation is laid, but the Covering is to come : 
The feed is butfown, which will arife and fpread ; the fire kin- 
dled, which will be blown and flaming : God doth nor leave any 
gracious work, until he hath made it glorious ; and havmg giv^n 
truth, will alfo enlarge it to a jult meafure,. fufficient for thy foul, 
2nd place, andfalvation.. 

Nay, let them be encouraged and rejoice .- Even a little 


Grace may be juft caufe of great joy. The Mother rejoyceth 
much if the Child be born ^ Though your Repentance wants 
much, in refped of gradu-1 perfection ; yet being real and true, 
I. All thefifiS that yon have committed-) are -pardoned : The pro- 
mife of pardon or remiifion of fins, prefently and afluredly opens 
to every true Penitent ; as foon as xhtwicked for fakes his vcaysj, 
and the unrighteofis man his thoughts^ and turns to the Lordj he 
will have mercj^ and. abundantly pardon^ He who doth more 
perfed and polifh his repentance , it is confefled , that he 
hath the more affurance and comfort of his pardon ; but the. 
right unto, and grant of pardon, immediately appertains to a 
perfon upon thievery entrance of his repentance.. Now pardon 
of fms is a teftimony of Gods higheft Love, and therefore a q^\x{^ 
of moft exceeding joy^ 2. if yoti fhojild now die^ you fmtld 
befaved^ The firrt fruits you know were a pledge of the full h:T- 
velt ; though you have but as it were the firli fruits of Repen- 
tance, yet thefe are fure pawns of fullefl: glory. Godly furrow 
worketh repentance to falvation. Chrift failh, Blejfed are the 
per in ff Wit ; for their sis the Kingdome of Heaven^ Matth. 5. :?. 

Though you have but fome lower, weaker ftock of Graces, fo that 


of the Returning Prodigal, _ 165 

you are in your own opinion poor, fcarce worth any thing, or en- 
joying of any thing, yet the vveakeft Chriftian iliall have an 
Heavenly Kmgdome. 3. Tonr ferfons Are dear unto God. Their perfons 

J er. 3 1 . 1 8. i have purely heard Ephraim bemoamng himfelf ; 7i are dear to 
JEphraim mj dear fo» ? is he my fleafantchlldf 6cc, So Ifa,66, ^°^* 
7 thps m^n will I laok^^ even to him that is poor^ and of a contrite, 
fpirit. 4. Tinr vpeak^[ervices are accepted : God hears your Their weak fcr- 
groans, coniiders your fighs , puts yoHr tears into his bo^tel. ^'"* '^* *"«- 
^. By reafon of that reality in yow repentance^ the Lord -mil paj^ p^ ; .,, r 
ly many infirmities and imperfeciions : Infirmities fhall not hin- 5^ msny infii;- 
der, where a reality of Grace and Repentance is begun. They in mitits, 
the time of Hez^ekiah did truly repent and prepare before the Pafl- 
over ; and though they were very defe6tive,yet the defe6ls did not 
prevail to hinder the effeils and acceptance of their fervice, IwllL 
[pare them^as a manfpareth his ownfon-thatferveth himyM^l, 3.17. 
How indulgent is the tender father to the obedient child, though he- 
can do but very litt'e,^nd very weakly? Where the Lord feeth that 
the heart is- rightly fet; O Lord,I would not offend thee;0 Lord,!- 
would obey thee ; then he is very mercifuU to pafs by our failing?, 
and to accept of our weak beginnings,and very weak endeavours. 

Now I come to a fecond Propofition, which is, That God is Do^\ ^. 
'very ready and quicks to (hew all kjnds of mercy to the true Pern-- God is very 
tent, Jfaid IwilleonfefSy and thoH forgave fl me, ready to (hew 

You fee here in the Text, what tender, what affe6lionate,what *^^ ^^^^^ °* 
fpeedy, what free mercy is fhewed to the returning Prodigal {His ^^J^^J peniccnti 
Father f aw him afar off'^ and had compajfion^and ran^andfellon his 
neck:, and kjffedhim,) What could he do more ? There is a great 
difference twixt Gods coming to punilli a (inner, and his coming 
to iliew mercy to a Penitent : (Tardus ad vindiftam^) when he is 
toinflidpunilliment, then he walks and deliberates, as it were, 
there is a kind of rtrife within h'm ; How fhall I give thee up ^ Q 
Ephraim ? how fhall I deliver thee up ^ O Ifrael ? how (kail Imak^ 
thee as Admah ? how fhall I fet thee as Zehlm} Mine heart is 
turned within me ^ my repent ings are kindled together-, Hof. 
11.8. He is flowtowrath^ Nah. 1.7,, but then he is veloxad 
mifericordiam^ fwifr, quick and ready to (liew mercy. He runs- 
here in the Text to accept of the penitent Prodigal. As foon as 
ever£p/)m/zifaid, I repented, Jer.:?T.i9. inftantly it follows, / 
willfurely have mercy upon him faith the Lordly, 20.. / have fnnedy 


God$ Gracious Acceftance 

faith Dav'd ; Nathan hath it in CommifTion prefently, 2 Sam, 
12 I ^. The Lord hath done away thji fin. The Prophet j^/^^, 
c. 30. 18. hath a (ingular phrafe ; The Lordmll wait that he may 
he gr adorn unto pti, _ He doth even watch, andlilien, and hear-, 
ktn for the firlt hint and occahon to fhevv mercy ; I hearkened 
and hear dy Jer. 8. why will ye die^ O houfe of Ifrael! Ezek. 
18. 31. What anexprelTion is that? ^,d, Lo here's mercy for 
vouj if you will but leave your fins : I pray you draw not confu- 
iion on your felves; mercy is better than wrath, turn you and 
iive ; do not refufd mercy f I ftand not upon what is paft, fo that 
you will repent, I had rather fhew you mercy. 

For the opening of this excellent Ailertion, prem'fe thefe par- 
ticulars. J. What it is to fliew mercy. 2. What it is to bs 

What • ! ^^^^^ ^"^ ^\^^cky &c. • 

ihermercy^ i. To Ihew mercy to a Penitent, imports many things, v.g, 
PitiftillComfajJion', Acceptance into Grace andJ^avour^ ahmdant 
Tardonj wnhdrawment of Wrath and Evil^ collation of any Good ^ 
all this is fhewing of mercy ; when God doth pity a man, bring 
him into favour, remit offences, take off judgments, pourdovv« 
^ ^ blelTlngs ; thus is the Lord ready to do to the true Penitent, if a 

God will phy nian repents (indeed) of his fins. The Lord, i.willpityhim : 
He will have comfajfion on m^ faith the Church, Mic,q, ip. 
and will pity him as a Father doth the Child, T[aL lo?, ' 

Aec'pthimin- 13. 2. will accept him into favour : ( /. ) He will be 

to favour. reconciled unto him, and will be highly well oleafed with 
him ; He fhall fray unto God^ and he will he favourable 
tinto him , and he fhall fee his face with joy ; faid Elihu^ 
Joh ^^. 26. When they in Ifa, i. did ceafe to do evily and 
learn to do we 11^ Come now^ faith the Lord^ and let us reafon toge^ 
ther : ^.d.'Wt are now very good friends, all is well, I love 

Pardon hJm. you, I am pacified towards you. :?. will pardon him : ( /.) 
difcharge him of all the guilt, that it fiiall not be redundant ; he 

Jer. 5 1 . J 4. Vvill blot out his iniquities y and remember them no rmre ; and though 
they be fought for ^yQtthty fhall not be foundy Jer.?;o.20. Jfthe 
wicked forfake his waySy and his thoughtSy God will abundantly 

With4r»whis pardon himy Ifa. 55,7. 4. will withdraw his wrath: And 

wrath. therefore it is faid, that he referves not wrath for every and \i 15 

but for a moment : He bre^ifc off the fhacMes and bolts, Mic. 
7.18. Mine anger u turned away from him^ faith God of peni- 

of the R et timing Prodigal, 1 6j 

tent Ifraely riof. 14. 4. Lai^ly, mil he flow any Covenant BeftowblcC- " 

hUJftngs Hfon h'lm : li yot confent and ohey^ yon ^all eat the good li.i^s upon 

of the Landy Ela. i. 19. And Hof, 2. 21. The Lord will hear bia> 

the heavens^ and the heavens fhall hear the earthy and the earth 

jhall Lear the com and the wlne^ and all thefe fhall hear Jf^- 


2. To bi ready to fhevv mercy, is ofpoj^teto dnlne^ and fl(m^ 
fiefi^ and imports a fpeedy aptnefs, and quicknefs, andch^ar- 
fulnefs. There is a four- fold readineis in this kind. i. One ^ fcur-foM 
is of apprehenfto»j which con Ms in a quick obfervation of the read intfs to 
niifery and need that a (inner lies under : Such a readinefs to mer- (hr w mercy, 
cy there is in God to a penitent (inner. I have heard Ephraim If^ Apprehend 
hemoan'wg hlmfelf^ Jer . 3 1 . 1 8. Ephraim did grieve for (in, was ° ®* 
much troubled^ and afhamed, and confounded, ( Alas, I have, 
finned, I have oiTended the Lord : ) Well, faith God, I have 
heard £p/?m/w bemoaning himfelf ; q. d, I take fpecial notice of 
him. Or as he expreffeth it in Hofi^,)^, I have heard himy 
and dferved him, 2. Another is oi Commlferatlon', ( that is ) In Commire- 

God takes the condition of the Penitent to heart. He doth look "tl<^"' 
on him with tender aife6lions, ( my bowels are troubled for himy 
Jer.;^i.2o.) As when a Parent beholds a Child falling down: 
and begging for acceptance with flouds of tears, this goes to the ' 
very heart of h'm, it liirs his affe6lions, &c^ :?..- A third is ia Rcfoluuon- 
of Refoifition : I will fnr^ly have mercy upon hint. The nature of 
God doth prefently incline hrm topafs by otfences, and to ac- 
cept of the Penitent, to think thoughts of peace and mercy to- 
wards him. 4. A fourth is, of Exprefflon: { i.) the Lord O'Exprtfii* 
is very ready, not onely to intend mercy, but to manifeft it unto o.i, 
the penicent perfon ; and therefore as foon as ever any foul doth 
repent, God dofh fend unto him by the Miniftry of the G^fpel, 
and ailiires him by ill his loving promifes, that tiiere is mercy for 
him. Ifa.^rs, 1, Csmfort ye my people. Ail. 2, ^^, The promt fe 
isto yo'4^ and to your children. 'Tis thus fpoken prefenly upoii' 
their Repentance. The Promifes of Pardon are Letters Patents 
of Gracioufnefs, and are fealed by the very Truth of God, and 
left open for any penitent perfon to behold Gods abundant mercy 
tofo-giveh'm, and to accept of him. ^ G^dJsrcacV 

;. Go ' is not onely ready to (hew mercj to the Penitent^ hut all ^^ 0,^^ j;| 
kinds of mercy. You may read in Scripture of feveral qualifici- kinds of mcrc^ 


1 68 Gods Gracious Acceptance 

Free mercy. ^^^"^ ^ ^^ ^^ ^^'^^^ ) of mercy ; I . There is Free mercy ; which 
is an acceptance of, and a remiirion o: difcharge, without any 
defer t in the party receiving ; though he hath no.ning to deferve 
mercy, nay, though he hath enough to deferve wrath, yet the 
Lord will freely forgive him ; fuch a kind of mercy hath God 
for the Penitent ; and therefore he faith of fuch, / mil love 
. , , them freely , Kof. 14. 4. and that he for fives them for his 

jjj^j.^ own Jake^ Ha. 43. 2. There is Abmidam jnercy : God is 

faid to be rich in mercy -y to be plentiful! in compaffion, to 
have manifold mercies, even multitudes of mercy? and to par- 
don abundantly. Though the penitent hath m^iny fins to be 
pardoned, and many neceifities to be fupplied, yet the Lord is 
very ready to multiply pardons unto him ; not to forgive fome 
fms onely, but all the fms committed : It is not the quantity of 
iins for number, nor the quality of iins for kind,, nor the aggra^ 
vations of iins by circum^ftances, which hinders mercy, if a* 
a man be penitent ; but though the fins were as red as Scarlet^ 
they jhall he as white as Snow ; and though they have hen like 

Tender mercy. Crimfon, they fhall be asWool^ Efa, i. 18. 3. There is r<f«- 
der mercy : Tendernefs confirts in an eafmefs of CompafTion, 
and forward willingnefs to help. The tender Mother eafily 
draws out the br^ts* Such a tendernefs of mercy is there in God 
to the Penitent 5 he is moll willing to forgive, he rejoyceth to 
fiiew mercy, and doth it with his whole heart. Noiuloth he 
upbraid and grieve the fmner when he flieweth mercy ; but 
in the fhewing of mercy, onely fhews mercy ; he will forgive 
fins, and never mention them any more to the forgiven Peni- 

Sur« m«:cy. tent. 4. There is Sure mercy : A penitent perfon may be 
unfure of many things of his earthly comforts, of his worldly 
friends, of his own life ; but of two things he may be fure, of 
Heaven hereafter, and of Mercy prefently; as foon as ever his 
heart is taken ptf from fin , his faith may look on mercy : 
Though he hath reafon to be grieved for fins, yet he hath no 
reafon to doubt the pardon of his fins ; for that God who hath 
promifed to pardon abundantly , hath alfo faid, / mil fnrely 

Reviving mcr- have mercy onhim^ Jer. :?i.2o. %* There is Living and 

*/• reviving mercy ^ fuch as takes off the turbulency of the Con- 

fcience, fettles, and coiiapofeth, and fpeaks peace unto it, and 
admirably refrellieth it by tbe imprciTionof Divine confolations. 


The Sinners Converficn to God. i^p 

even fuch mercy is God ready alfo to %\vt to the penitent, even to ^ 

bind up their bruifed fpiiits, and to give them hcmtyfor ajhes^ .the 
^y^ ^f P7 f^^ rnotirniyig , afid the garment offraljefor theffirh of 
heaiinefs, lla. 6 1 . i , ^ . He will create lips of peace , and words of 
covaionySfcak, comfortahle to Jeruf^lemyfuy mto her ^thathr J^ns 
4ire jardoned. Ii'a.40. . 

But why is God fo ready to fhevv mercy to the. pen i tent perfon > 
SoL There are reafons,partly rcfpee^ing God , and the penitent. ^^'^^"^ 0^ ^f« 
I . In refpect of God. i . It is his nature to be the Lord^ the LordGod ' 
gracious ymer elf Hl^ahiind^nt Ingoodt. efs and truth, forgiving iniqmty c "^f^^^ °^ 
tranfgrejfion ^andfn ; therefore called a Fatherland the Father ofh h his naturt 
merclesyZ Husband, Friend, Phyfician v Every nature Is apt to pro- 
duce,or fend out fuch a6ts as lye within it,and are fuitabie unto it : 
The Fire is apt to heat, and the Sun to iliine, and iHq Water Co 
' * moiitcn:The liberal mnn, it is his nature to be apt to give, and the 
courteous man to fpeak kindly; the nature of the Lord is merciful 
4nd therefore no wonder, that he is ready to /Lew mercy. 2. It It is hij p 
is hispromfe to fliew mercy to the penitent ; his nature is ready ni»i>. 
to pity any man in mifcry , and to offer him mercy and help- 
but befides this, he is ready to make good his promifes, he hath 
palled his holy word of truth, that he will have mercy on the pe- 
nitent ; the promifes are fo many that I cannot mention them> 
See Ifal. ^ 5. £zel^. 1 8. &c. 3. It Is his delight to ibew them' Ic Js bis Di- 
mercy ; he dellghteth in mercy, Mic. 7. 1 8. What any deli ^hts Ilg^f* 
in, that he is ready to do ; there is nothing more hcAt to a6lion , 
or more abundant in a6lion, or more unweariable in adion then 
delight ; delight is noturden:when God fhews mercy ,he is'doino- 
thatjwherein he delights. Two things God delights in , One is^ 
a penitent foul (there Is joy In heaven for hlsconverfion^) and ano^ 
ther is,to lliew mercy to that Soul, ^er, 3 3. ». / mil pardon all 
their Inlcjultles^Tvherehy they have Jinnedagainft: me. v. 9. And 
it [hall he to me a name of joy, 4. It Is hlsghry ; is it \hz alory It jj his ' 
of a man to pafs by an offence, and is it not the glory of a ^God ^^^'^''' 

mercifully to pafs over tranfgreifions? you get by it, and God 
gets by ir. Ifal. 30. 1 8. Therefore will he be exalted^ that he may 
have mercy ufonyou ; there be miny things \vK\ch do qxM God 
((Qt his glory on high ; )our humility doth it,our hith doth it,and 
his own mercies do it. Jer^:^. 9. This fhall he to me a name of 
jgy (indfralfe , and an honour before all the natlgns of the earth • 

^ 7vh§ 

170 Gods gracious Accepance 

rvhojhall hear all the good that 1 do nnto joh. When he pardons 
a {inner and fhevvs him mercy, why now he gets him a Name ; 
Wi.o U a God liks ^^^0 ^^^^) forgiving mqaltj^ tranfgrejfiort and 
fyn ? God gets him a name diree wayes ; fometimes by OmnU 
fotent acis, as when he works wonders : never vvos the like feen 
in Ifrael. Sometimes by VnidiEllve a6ls, as when he over rules 
and confounds the great enemies of his people ; fo he got him a 
name upon Pharaoh, Sometimes by his Gracious a<Sts , as when 
he pardons a finner. Paul fets it down for all pofterity to look 
on that mercy which was fhewed unto him. The Lord gives the 
Penitent mercy, and hereby he gets unto hi mfelf much Glory. 
His love 1$ ^^ j^i^ i^^g Is great to PerJtetas^ and therefore his mercy is rea- 
fenis ^° ^" " ^y ^^^ penitents : his general Love, his Philanthropie inclines 
him thus far as to reveale mercy, and to offer mercy, and to be- 
feech by mercy, even the unkindeft Impenitents, why wlii ye 
dy ? turn and live : wioenfhall It once be ? O then what muft nis 
fpecial love produce ? if he be ready to ilie.v mercy to enemies^ 
is he not ready to lliew it to fons ? If to Rebels, furely then to 
friends ? if to theni that difobey him, how much to them who do> 
humble themfelves at his footftooL } who repent, for whofe fouls 
- ^ ^ be gave the blood of his Son ? 
the P. nicem Secondly in refjeB of the penitent themfelves, God is very rea- 
dy to iliew them mercy, i. There is nothing m the World that 
Thtv need no- ^^^^ ^^^^ ^^ mercy : It is the only Plainer for their wound, and 
cy!'^* '* Anchor for their Ship,- if they have not mercy, they are un- 
done. Ufually there is in every condition fome one thing, which 
' the heart of man doth moi\ need ; if he be fick, then health ; 
if poor, then fufficiency ; ifdeje6led, then comfort; Chrifl 
tells Martha of one thing that was neceffarj : and David he hath 
one thing to deftre of the Lord ; and the penitent perfon he hath 
one needful requeft too, O that God vponld be merciful to me a 
be'fw^now^d ^ /««^^*, fo the Publicane. 2. If God were not ready tofhew mer- 
up w.th Dcf- ^7 to the penitent y he might Be fw all owed up with defpaire,^ Ifa. 57, 
fairc. 16. / will not contend for ever^ neither will I he alrvaies wroth ^ 

left the Jfiritfhouldfaii before me : Do you know what belongs to 
a wounded Confcience, to the fence of fin and the wrath of God ? 
how great, how fharp, how bitter? Is it a fmall thing, think 
you,to dwell with everlafting burnings? to fee nothing but fin,and 
Hell ? No, No, the Lord knows what the feverity of his wrath 

if the Returning Prodigal. iji 

^s, and he knows what the Impotency of the foul iSj and he 
• knows what the terrouc of a troubled confcience is , how it fmks, 
and cracks if no hope of mercy appears ; and therefore he is ve- 
ry ready to (hew mercy to the penitent , left defpair fhould 
overwhehn them : defpair is ready to rife in two cafes ; One is 
when there is exceeding tcndernefs and fenfiblenefs of fin; Ano- 
ther is, when there is a long abfence and improbabiliiy cf mercy; 
for what haih the foul now to reft on, and to fupp®rt it > Now 
of all perfons living there are nonefo fewfible of fin, as true pe- 
nitents; (we may fay of other pcople,as the Apoftledid, the refi 
are hardned^zvid of all penitent people, they are moft tender in 
confcience, and appreheniive of fin, and fearfull about mercy, 
who are newly converted from a finful way : O hovvhard is it to 
keep them above water, to perfwade them that any mercy belongs 
to them? and therefore the Lord is ready to fhew them mercy, 
that their fpirits might not fail before him, nor be overwhelmed 
with defpair. 

Is the Lord fo ready to fhew all kind of mercy to the peni- V[ei. 
tent ? Thence m^iy we be inftru6led unto two things, i . To the inftrudion. 
approbation. 2. To the application of our felves to a peniten- 
tial! Courfe. 

I.. To the j4ffrohation of a fsmtentUl Courfe : Why are ye fo To approve, 
averfe, and accufe, and condemn it ? They have a faying, that ofapentccmiil 
Tinls ddt amahtlitatem Mediis : the end doth make the means courCe. 
lovely, it doth give fpirit and encouragement to the ufe of means. 
Repentance is in it felf a moft excellent and peculiar grace, a fin- 
gulargiftof God, and therefore defirable ; But befides that(^^- 
holdthy fon livethy &c.) it brings the foul to partake of mercy 
(of the choiceft mercy in God) pardoning mercy, which is of 
moft immediate concernment and influence to the everlafting 
falvation of man : nay, it brings mercy and falvation prefently. 
This day Is falvation come nnto thy hotife : *Tis granted, miny 
- perfons do accufe a penitential courfe of much vexation, and fad- 
nefs, and grief, as if it were the grave of all delight ( whereas 
indeed it is only thefepulchre of our Lufts, and of luftful plea- 
fures.) And others cry out upon the difficulty of it, as if it were 
tin heavy yoke , and an intolerable burden. But judge not of 
duties by the opinion of ignorant and grncelefs men ; nor by the 
folly and error of your own finful and inexperienced hearts. No, 

Z 2 but 

i]7^ Gods gracious Acsepan^c 

but judge of them by what the Word pronounceth of thenr^in 
themielves, and by their ends.. Is .Salvation a defireable thing ? 
is mercy an excellent thing? Why^ then Repentance muft be 
an excellent thing, which brings us unto mercy, and , unto Salva- 

OhjeEi, But there muft be brolcennefs of heart for fin,and there" 
muft be a diligent endeavour to leave all fm, and there muft be 
ftrid care to walk with God. 

Sol, And What of all this, It is as if thou ftiould^ft fay, - O 
but I muft not be wicked, I muft become a new man, I muft 
kave that which will damn me, I muft think . well of fuch a 
courfe as will bring mw to find faving mercy with God ; there 
cannot be a worfe eftate and more fearful end then Impenitency, 
and there cannot be a better and morefoul-faving eftace then Re- 
A'ppl Y your -^» ^^ t^^ qmcJC^fflic^tton of Gurfelves to a Temtemal anrfe. : 

fcivcs to a ptf- I bifeech you at lengch, if there be any underftandii-ig in you, any 
mtcmial fenfe in you, any credence of a hell and heaven, any belief of a 

couUCo. Q^^ Q^ happinefs, feriouily conftder with me thn,. j. Ton maji 

ferifhfor fver^ if yon have not mercy : If Mef cy does not fave you, . 
Juftice muft damn thee ; whcU fhail become of thy ibul,if thy luis 
be not pardoned ? they cannot but be condemnation unto thee, 
without gracious and merciful- Rcmillion. Therefore ?icw^ faith the 
Lord^ turn unto ms^c^c. J oel ■? . 1 2 . & Heb. :? . 1 5 . whiles- it is faid 
to dtiy. harden not yoptr hearts. Repentance is a prefent duty, Ntnw 
God commands every one to refent^Aci. i ?• !5 o. 2. Are you finners, 
or are yoii- not ? if you be not finners, then I confefs you need no 
pardoning mercy ; hut if you be finners, then mercy mui} he your 
flea a/id anchor : Save me for thy mercies fak^, ardhlotoMtmy 
tranfgreffi'ons^ according to the mHltitude of thy mercies y{:\v^^I>a^ 
vid^ Pfai;^. 51. Ah w-etches that we are ! we are finnesby 
Nature, and finners by Life; who can fay, My he^rf is c'cn ? 
We lie down in our fins every moment; fo that we fteed mercy, 
much mercy, all mercy. 2. Vnlefs yon do ^raBically recent., 
(./.) indeed forfake your finful vvayes, and vvalk in .rewnefs of 
obedience, yon ^ all never have mercy ;, Except y oh re-^ent^y^^r 
--. fhall all lUemfe ferifh^ faid jefus Chrift. It is the un- 
changeable Decree of God, and the revealed pleafi.Te of God,: 
that no man iLalt have his mercy but the Penitent : . It were an 


if the Returning PredtgAl. i^^ 

imreafonable thing, that he fliould have mercy to pardon fin , 
who will not have an heart to leave fin. I know very well, that the 
Lord is very rich in meafure, and delights in mercy, and is ready 
to (liew mercy,and is able to pardon abundantly; C-od forbid that 
any fiiould Itraighten the Mercy Seat at all. But O thou vainly 
prefumpiious foul , look over all the Bible, read it often, and 
tell me,where doefi thou find,that God will be thus merciful to a- 
ny onefmner, but him who istruly penieni? It is not to him 
who is crvil,but penitent ; it is not to him that faith he is a finner, 
but who doth forfake his fins ; this is he that ll^all find mercy. 
4. Yea,andconfider one thing more; how utterly mxcufabU ym Tfcou art In- 
an before God and men^ If you doe n9t recent : ah ! what a fad and ^.'^^"^^^^ »f 
iliameful appearance wilt thou m^ke before the Lord, when he iliall aepcm."^^ 
attlielaitday judgthee for all thy finfulnefs ? when thou ilialt 
be fet in the prefence of Chrirt,^nd Angels, and men,and devils ^ 
And the Lord Hiall fay,This is the perfon to whom I have offered 
the faving blood of my fon, and all my pardoning mercies , if 
that he would but hive left his finful wayes. Thy ownconfci- 
ence will condemn thee for ever,that ever thou fh oul dil exalt the 
luft of thy fin before the mercy of God ; yei,the very Devils will 
cry rh.imeof thee; they miy fay, If we had had fuch mercy offe- 
red,we could not have been worfe then have refufed it ; thou hadil 
mercy offered to pardon thee, and yet thou wouldel^ go on in tky 
fin?. Know, O mm, thou art inexcufable before God,thou canft 
m^ke no apology at all. Two things let them befor ever ingra- 
ven in your brefts;One is,that if mercy will not bring in your fouls 
lo repentance, nothing will do it ; I aff rm it, that if you were in 
hell it felf, the tormeitsof it world not incline you to repent, if 
the mercies of God norv^upo-* earth will no. prevail with you: An- 
other, if mercy do not le?d you to repentance, there remains no- 
thing but a fearfull expectation of the fiery indignation of God ;:• 
thou art as fure to be damned as thou nowliveft, if .thou doell not 
repeat thee of thy fit^s, 

A fecond Ufe llaM be of C lut'onf Since the Lord is fo readyto "^fe- 2 • 
iliew all mercy to thepen'te'n^rhe'-efo^er^/^(r heed that jou J^eej) not Cau.ioi, 
fffffrom repentance ly deff airing of mercy. The:'e are three forts 0/ ^'^P "'^t off ■ 
finners.-Some whofe hearts are hard-^ed ^^ the Adam mt, through aiv ^^^^ R^p«n- 
iiabitual iteration by fin, nnd m Infl m:d affection unto fin: who fpa^rinjo/^ 
lite that mjfift^jHdgfcaring neither God nor man^io they are fenfible M«cy, . ^ 


■ ■ ' ■ ■»i~« — ■ I , T ji 

1 7^ Gods Gracious Accepmcc 

neither of thevileners of im , nor of the goodnefs of mercy? 
Some whofe hearts are mollifyed, graciouQy altered, havefccn 
the evil of their vvayes, and forfaken th^m, and are turned unto 
the Lord , ieeking him with mourning , and with fupplication y 
to whom the Scepter of Mercy hath beengraciouOy ftretched 
forth, and they have effe6lually touched that Scepter with believ- 
mg hearts, and are returned with much peace and joy unfpeakable : 
lOthers there are twixt both thefe ; they are not £o low as the 
firli, for their confciences are awaked and troubled ; nor yet fo 
high as the laft,for they cannot believe any mercy will reach unto 
them ; their fouls cannot difcern any intention of mercy towards 

them, and all the promifes of mercy fcem to them as reHridtive, 
nay, as exclufive proclamations, denying unto them( though grant- 
ting unto others) the priviledg of their Books, and the Pfalm of 
mercy,and fo are apt to defpair;mercy feems to them a far ofF,and 
flow,and long a coming. Therefore now, to fuch perfons who are a- 
wakncd in their confciences,to fee the vilenefs of their finful ways, 
and their loft condition ; my advice is, by no means to defpair of 
Rcsfonsa. ^ mercy. 

DcSiifhavi- .Re^^^ons why I thus advlfe are thefe. i. Dcf fair is a very 
ry Leiflous Sin. ^^'^^^o*^ dn \ It is one of the higheft impeachments of Gods 
greateft glory and delight: there is nothing wherein God doth 
more magni fie himfelf in the eyes of the vyorld , or more glory 
in, then to fit upon his mercy- feat: Now defpair is not every 
diminution, andeclipfe of mercy, but it is (initsiind ) a very 
cxtindion of all the love, andkindnefs, and mercifulnefs in God ; 
it gives, I. The lye to the promifes. 2, Reproach to Gods na- 
ture; and particularly to the attribute of mercy, that it is not, 
I. Kind enough. 2. Willing enough. 3. Full enough. 4. Ffee 
enough. 2. It is a fore enemy to Repentance ; if no hope of 
The moft un- x^-rcy, then no care to repent , I can but be damned. 2. And 
comfortable ^^^^ • ^ -^ ^^ ^jj. f^.^^.^f.^^ah/^ j^„ , Qther fins afford fome 

' (though ungrounded and poor) contentment either in profit or 
pleafure : But defpair being the grave of mercy, it is alfo the 
very night, and funeral of all comfort ; and,as S.Anflln fpake of 
an evil confcience, that is true of defpair , It is Its orvn torment ; 
for taking the foul off from all remedy, it mul^ neceffarily afflid 

- it with the moft exquifite fenfe of fear and horrour. i> . Satan u 

Satan IS very very aft to fall In with an awakened confcience^ and there to aggra- 

tpc to draw us y^^g gj^ above all meafure, thereby to mllne It to defpair of mercy ; 
80 defpair. ' ''^ ^ '^- 

of the Returning Prodigal. 1 7 j 

if he cannot make us dye in a fenfelefs Calm , his next aim is to 
make us periHi in an unquiet and defpairing Itorm ; either to un- 
dervalue our fins, and fo to flay us with iecurity 5 or elfe to un- 
dervalue mercy, andfotofink usvvithdiftrufh 4. Yea, ^"^dno XMyi^^mi^- 
confclence is more frsftrtfe t9 fufpeH divine favour , and to credit ned confcicnct 
fiilf^ff^ggcftions^ then a newly awakened confcience : Indeed while *s apttoic. 
our hearts are totally feared, and palt feeling (much fin being not 
at all felt ) here is an eafie ground to delude our relves,that mer* 
cy will quickly bend unto us , who do take cur fdves to be good 
enough, and not much to need it ; but when mmy fins fhall be 
laid to our charge , and great ones too, with that wrath which a 
juft and holy God hath threatned , and we feel the burnings of 
the wrath begun within us ; I affure you, it will be mof^ difficult 
to withhold that Soul from defpairing of mercy , which at once 
fees much guilt, and feels much wrath. 5. There is '^/-^'^^ Thfrcishff- 
iwtfrr/ in God : It '\s his nUure , and he can forgive iniquity , nice m«rcy in 
tranfgrelTion, and fin ; Efhinmlfericordia divina^divina Omnifo- God. 
tentia ; Therefore this I fay unto you, any of you,whofe conCci- 
ences God has awakned to the fight and ienie of your fins ( whe- 
ther by the Miniliry of his Word , or of his rod ) as you defire 
not utterly to cali difhonour, extreemeft dil"honour to God , and 
to draw the faddefl;, and yet moft fruitlefs anguifh, on your ovyn 
fpirits ; and yet again, as you tender the welfare of your Souls ,. 
your everlafting fafety, by repentance and faith ; do not defpair 
of finding mercy with God, but come in unto him by folid re- 
pentance, and you fhall find him, even unto you a God ready to 
forgive iniciHity^ tranfgrejfionj and fin, 

Oh\ Yea, bntthouah the Lord he merdftly yet is he juff^ he I>but God will 
will by no means clear the gui/ty, Exod. ^4.7.! have refufed mercy ; ^^!, ^^^^ ^^^ 
I cannot pray ; I cannot be heard or anfwered ! How then can I ? ^"^ '^* 
I, who have finned fo much, now exped ^ny mercy ! Sol. To 
this I anfwer briefly : There are two kinds of finners, whom 
Godwin not clear. One is, wh9 do not fee their fins^ yet love 
them. Another, }Vho do not fee their fins , and yet go on in them. '^"^'''*"*- 
Pfal. 1 1. 5. The wickjd^^nd him that loveth violence^his foul doth 
hate. And Pfal. 63. 2 1. He will wound the head of fach as flifT 
go on In their wickjdnefs. If you be fiich finners , who do fee- 
your fins, and will love them,and not forfake them , be confident, 
that remainmg thus,there remains nothingfor you,but an expe6la- 


iy5 - Cods gracious AccfftAnce 

tion of wrath and juft judgment from the righteous God : But 
if you fee your fins, and defire to repent, to bewail them ^ 
to torfake them with all your heart, to turn from your evil wayes ; 
why! the Lord.hath meixy for you , he is very* ready to pardon 
- and accept of you : Jfyve confefs our fins ^ i joh. i.p. he iijmh- 

Qb . 15ut do ye not read the threatmngs of God } as Jonah i. 31. 
Tetfofirt^ da^es^aKdNimvcJkail k dejhoyed, Sol, Remember 
one thirg as a Prefervative, that ^11 Gods thremnlngs againlt our 
• .fins,are to be underftood infenfii compoJitOyZi the fchools fpeakJ^'/<^, 
^ ' thus,if we continue im:enitent, and not other wife ; not /«/^«- 
fti divifoj if we return from them : like a Kings proclamation of 
death, if the Traitors do not lay down their Weapons, but if 
they do,he offers and affures them of his pardon. 
I did not yicU . ^^7' h ^^is is it I / had mercy offered In the Kings VrocUma^ 
wfccn mercy tton^ if I Would lay down my Weapons ; but / did not yield when 
WL s tendered, mercy Tpcis tendered : If I had repented, when God formerly of- 
fered me mercy , there had been hope;but I continued m iin5vvher^ 
grace abounded, and fince mercy was offered ; therefore now too 
^ Anfv^etcd. htQy in vain. Sol, To this al£o,let me give anfwer. i. Indeed it 
Tvas thy duty to have repented^ upon the z/eryfirfi propofal of grace 
and mercy ; and it was thy (in (at all) to ftand out , yea, and thy 
finnings contrail a deep guilt by ccmmifTion after the tender of 
divine mcrcy,(fin is moreiinful,where the offer of mercy is more 
plentiful.) But fecondly. Though the precedent refufals of mercy 
make the courfe of fin moregulltfy yet they do not make the condi- 
tion of thefinner to be hopelefs^ and utterly uncapable of mercy ■: 
For I. Mercy is -able to pardon^ even fins again fi mercy i^s it is the 
.antidote for lins againft the Law, fo likewife the falve for fins- a- 
gainft the Gofpel : There is fo much mercy in God,as can rejoice 
agahiff judgment,yea,and that can rejoice over fins againft mercy 
too ; my-meaning is, that Gods goodnefs is fo natural to him,and 
great,that it can pafs by the evils,againft his goodnefs , and kind- 
nefs. 2. And th^tyGod Is wllllngand ready foti'doyitm^Y^^^pQ^i: 
by this, that he continues his invitations , and offers of mercy, 
though formerly negle6^ed;i/<9w? often would I have gathered thee ? 
faith Chrift of jerujalemimd let It yet alone one year^oi the Tree* 
s And then know that this is certain; as long as God continues a fuit 

<of mercy unto thee , neither is the date of thy mercy expired , 


of the R eturning Prodigal. 177 

nor doth thy former refufal jiiftly prejudice thy prefent right to 
or acceptance of mercy. If the King renews his Proclama ion 
of favour to thofe who have formerly defpifedit, it is now lavvfull 
and fafe for them to come in and accept of it; Butfincethy 
former refufal, God hath, as it were, renewed the Emballagc ; 
He hath fent other fervants unto thee, to proclaim ujito thee 
Mercy, if thou wilt return ; yea, and hath aflured thee, that he " 
will pardon all former' rebellions in ail kinds ; if now thou wilt > 
hear his voice, thou llialt live, and not die : Therefore now turn 
unto the Lord ; this day doth Mercy befeech thee to leave thy 
fins, and faith. If thou wilt forfake them, I am thine. 

Ohjccl. But fur el y the Lord hates me, and hath no delight to- Godhiffsmcj 
wards me ; I have been a vallal of fin, and novv mufl: be a veflel «'^d v?iU dc- 
of deftru6lion. Sol. Ah foiifh and fenflefs finner, who plea- ^^T ^*- 
felt thy felf with the arguings of an unbelieving fpirit ;I>ath ^"^^^'^«^' 
God hate thee ! or doth he delight in thy deftrudHon ! Had this 
been fo, what wants there that thou hadft not been irrecover- 
ably fent to the place of the damned long ere this ? How eafily 
could he, ( if he had delighted in thy confuiion and deftrudion) 
Ikuck thee at once ? Doeft thdu not ree,that when thou waft mad 
ill renewing thy fms, then did his repentings kindle within him ? 
When he had juft, and many, and ftrong occafions and provoca- 
tions, yet he hath fpared thee to this day ; vvould he have done 
fo, had he defired to have deftroyed thee f 2. ^nd ivhat is 
the end of all this fatlence and forbearance } Doeft thou fo ill inter- 
pret it an intention of revenge, which is altogether a fruit of his 
great mercy ? No, no, itis notthydeftru6tion, but thy repen- 
tance and converfion which he delights in : See Ezjek^. 3 5- 1 1- 
Not the ruine of thy perfon, but corruptions : He delights not in 
the death ef a pnmr^ imt rather that he (hoitld turn from hu wicked-- 
neji and live, 

'Ohjeft. But I cannot repent, and I cannot turn mine own I cannot re- 
heart. S9/, Pray unto him. Turn me^ and I fhall k turned, P*^"^- 
OhjeH, Bwt I cannot pray. Sol, Sigh then, and grieve ; pray Anfwercdc 
that you may pray, aixl mourn beeaufe you cannot mourn. And ^ cannot pray 
therefore leave thefefalfefurmizes of God, andfinfull, f^olifh, Anf^^rcd. 
unworthy reofoning*? ; fet upon the work rf repentance indeed, 
and thou fhalt quickly find, that God is fo far from hating thee, 
that he will meet thee with loving kindnefs, and great mercies. 

A a . OhjeU, 

1 78 Cods Gracious Acceptance 

Never fuch a OhjeU, O no, never fuch a finner as I have been ; a (inner 
finner as Ihave ^t>ove meafure iinfuU, fo wholly finfull, fo onely (infull, £0 con- 
been, tinually linfull. To this alio a word. \. Greatrnpof fming 
AnfwcrecL ^ ^^^ ^^ ^^Jolnte imfediTnent to Gods readiKeJsw fArdonlng ; for as 
much as great finners are called upon to repent, as well as lefTer . 
finners ; and if the duty of Repentance concerns them,then there 
is a capacity of m^rcy for them. 2. God doch ufon repentance 
fromlfe to fardon great pnners. Ceafe to do evily Uamto doivelly 
Ifa.i.i6. Co/ne nowy and let us reafon together y faith the Lord. 
V.I 8. Tho'igh your fins be as [carlety they fijallhe as white as 
[mw ; though they he red like crimfo»y they fijall he as wooll, I fit 
dnocolores j'tintvalde tenaces (^manfivi qulhm intell'igitHr teccata 
quantamque fint gravia ex genere cr hahitnata ex confticttidiney di" 
Vina gratia purgahuntury faith Lyra well upon that place : Yea^ 
though they have been peccata [angmneay f© S. Jerome upon the 
fame place. 3. Great finnings^ upon repentance y have fomd 
greater mercies : Adam*s hn, very great,^ ( whether you confider 
It formally or caufally,) yet upon repentance, mercy pardoned it. ~ 
David's, fin of mtmheryiyX was a crying fin,)and of adnltery^Qx was 
a wounding fin;)yet,upon his repentance, both pardoned by mer- 
cy. What ihould I fpeak of Manafesin the Old Teftament,or of 
Paul in the New ? ^, The greater finnings jhoM ever prove 
the quicf^r reafons of repent ant ancey and not be made the caufes of 
defpairy or more finning : If thy finnings had not been fo high, it 
had been better; but being fo, thy remedy is not an addition of 
a worfe fin, or a continuance in the fame fins,but to pray unto the 
Lord to turn thee, and to forgive thee. 
I have prayed, Ohje^, Why, I have prayed, and yet I can get no mercy, nor 
and yet can get fee any hopes or appearance of mercy ; therefore, furely God will 
no mercy- j^q^- ]^^ ^^ ready to fhew me mercy. Sol, This is a fore Ob- 
Anfwercd. jeclion, and ufually troubled Confcicnces are enthralled with it, 
and many times receive great difcouragementbecaufecf thefi- . 
lence of mercy to their tears and prayers : But let us fee how we 
God IS rear y to miy inftrudl and fupport perfons in this cafe. i. God u ready 
mar [ rj y<r. ^^ ^^^^ py.^ y^^^ l^>£^^j . 6 <^ . 2 . O thou that hearefl prayer. Before they 
cally I will anfwer ; and while they are f peaking J will hear^ Ifa.6 5. 
M'ft reatJy to ^» Q/" ^^^ ^^'^^ prayer s^he is mofi ready to hear the prayer ofafflici- 
hesr the prayer ^d perfons, Pfal. j 8. 27. Thou wilt fave the afflitfed. Pfal. 2 2. -»4. 
of tbealfl dtd. Jic hath not defpifed nor abhorred the ajfli^tons of the affltTledy 


- ■- ' ■ -1 ri 'i 

of the Returning Prodigal, i yp 

fttlther hath he hid his face from them ; but when he cried unto 
himy he heard him : Of all the Prayers which he is ready to 
hear, there are none which he doth more feelingly and compalfi- 
onately tender, than the Prayers of affli6led people, dpccially 
fuch as are inwardly afflided in their fouls and confciences for 
their fins. No people are more apt to fear that the Lorci doth 
not hear their Prayers, and yet no Prayers doth God fooner hear 
than theirs ; %x as much as the Lord doth exceedingly delight in 
thefacrifices of a broken fpirit, and he is full of pitialnefs and 
bowels towards them ; / have farely heard Ffhralm bemoaning 
himfe/fy Jer. 31. 18. when Efhr aim fmote upon the thi^h^ and 
was confounded and afhamed^ why ! you know the Lord could not 
contain his afFedions ; Is Efhraim my dear f on ? is he a pie af ant 
child ? for fnce I f pake agalnft him^ I do earneflly remember him 
[till : therefore mj bowels are troubled for him ; / will furelj have 
mere J upon him^ faith the Lord. Bavid^ you find him much 
affl idled and dilireiTed in his foul, Pfal, 3 2. 5, 4. he did no foon- 
er acknowledge his fin, but God did exprefs his mercy, v, j. 
The like you may fee of him, in Pfal, 6, i, 2. compared with 
'V, 8, 9. The Lord hath heard the voice of my weepings the Lord 
hath heard my fupUcation-, the Lord hath received my Prayer. 
So true is that of the Prophet, I fa, ^50. ip. He will be very gra-* 
cioHS unto thee at the voice of thy cry ; when he fhall hear ity he ' 
will anfvper thee. But then know we, that there may befome- God Joth not 
times fome fpecial Reafons , why the Lord doth not pre- P''^^^"f|y. makt 
fently mike known his mercy to the troubled and feeking ^^^^ ** 
foul. The Reafons may be either on their part, or on Gods Reafons of it 

part. on our parts, 

I. QmcI^ mercy mnfi fir ft fee <jmck»^d fervency : Though ^ . , . , , 
God be ready to hear their Prayers, yet there may be fome rea- ^^^^^^ ^ay be 
fons, why he doth notprefently ^\vt them fenfible tokens that wantin<y. 
they are iieard. If you pray for pardoning mercy, as Auflin did 
for repentance ; if you pray with a carelefs, dull, ^ikt^ formal, 
negleifting fpirit, not efteeming of Gods mercy and favour as 
your lives, nay, above your lives ; if you feek not the Lord in this 
with all your hcc^rts. Pardoning mercy is the greateft mercy for 
the foul, and muft be defired with the greateft aflFe6lions of the 
foul, with cries, with importunities: If you do not m'ghtily 
wreftle with him, as J^avid m Pfal,6, and as 'Daniel in c. 9. 

Aa 2 No 

1 80 Gods Gracious Acceptance 


No marvel that cold Suits have flow Anfvvers ; though you be af- 
^\dLZ(i in your confciences, yet if thofe inward afflidlions cannot 
raife the price.of mercy, andfet a ftronger edge upon your affecti- 
ons, if the burnings of your confciences do not kindle flames of 
affe:tions for mercy, you may wait for your anfwer^ 
-. 2. As it muft be a quickned affeelion which muft find quick 

ftion.^"'^* ' ;inercy, [0. it muft he a. ffire affetilon, I will that jnenfray every 
where^ lifting up pnre hands^ i Tim. 2, 8» Art tl^u fure that no 
iniquity cleaves unto thee, and is an impedit to thy fuit for 
^^. , mercy ? Thou art troubled with the groflnefs of fome one of thy 

fins, but doeft not thou connive at the flireds of the fame fin ? 
^'••i^he limbs of it alflid thee, but do not the leaves and the twigs 
hang on ftill ? If we do not purely and entirely put off our fins, 
why l"hould we complain, that God doth not l^t down his mer- 
cy ? // / regard imqtiity in my hearty the Lord willrM hear me^ 
PfaL 66, 1 8. If you favour your known fin, in any part, or the 
leaft degree of it, where now hath God prcmifed to flievv thee 
favour o: mercy? Or fuppofe thou fliakell off one crying fin, 
and yet retain fome other fin j put off one fervant, and take ano- 
ther ; be troubled for one tranfgreffion, and yet live in another ; 
is this repentance ? Thou doeft not change thy courfe, but thy 
fin, and horV then canft thou expert mercy ? But ifthott frep4ri 
thine hearty and fir etch out thine hands towards God, and put ft ini- 
qnity far from thee^ then fhalt thou lift up thy face without f pot ^ 
hia Zophary Job 11. i :?,i4. If thou thus return to the Almigh^ 
ty^ and put ft away iniquity -, J ob 22.-23. thou jhait make thy pray^ 
er unto him, and he fhall hear thee^ v. 27. As your prn^ers mult 
be fervent, fo they muli be the fervent prayers of a righteous man^ 
which do frevailmuch : Not tbit he who prays muft have no fin, 
but that he muft love and connive at none. 
D'^eft tliou 3. Thy heart is troubled with the guilt of fin, but doth it mourr^ 

njourn for the foy ^/^^ vi'lenef and filth of thy fn ? Thou feekeft 'for a 'Cordi- 

tHnefr? fb" " ^^' but doeft thou pray for Salve too? Vehement thou^art for 
^nesott y y^^^^^^^ y^^^ ^^^^^ £-^j. Qj-^ce > Where guilt onely troubles, it 

may mike me earneft for mercy to e^fc me, th:it is involuntary ; 
would not be troubled but is' tfoubled becaufehe is troubled: 
But where the fil.hinefs of fin troubles me, now I do not onely 
importune in orayer, but mourn alfo, and amas.defirousof heaK 
ing, as I am of pardoning, this is voluntary ; he would mi6^j^ 


of the Returning Prodi^^al. 1 8 1 

and mourns becaufe he can mourn no more : If thou feel<eft the 
Lord with a mourning heart, as wdl as with a troubled heart, 
the foHKtaln is fet of en for trafifgrejfions dndJinSy Zach. 1 3. i . and 
if the fountain be opened for tliee, i^ cannot be long ere mercies 
will fvvim unto thee. 

4. Andmth rt hat faith kafi thoH frayed ? Thy troubled Con- With what 
fcience would trouble thee if thou'didft not pray, and therefore ^*'^^ *'■* ^*»o« 
ha(i thou prayed to give it a little quiet, as we do a crying child P^Y^* - 
the brcit to iilil it : What things foever ye defire, when ye pray, 
believe that you receive them, and ye iliall have ihem ; Halt 
thou, and doeft thou confider and ponder the promifes of Gods 
mercy made aver to penitent pcrfons ? Haft thou confidered of 
his mcrcifull nature, tender love in and through Chrift ? of his 
commands to broken and alHitled fouls to come unto him for 
Bahn'andOyl ? Haft thou found how proper his mercifull pro- 
xniflfe are to thy condition ? ( every way good and convenient ; ) 
and doeft confefs this word of promife a gracious and a good word? 
and judgeft him to be faithfull who hath, promifed, and thy felf 
unworthy of mercy ? and thereupon, in the Name of the Lord 
Jefus, haft bended thy heart and knees to the God of mercy, tru- 
fting through him to find grace and mercy tahelp in time of need, 
and thofe his promifes to be Yea and Amen to thy foul through 
Chrift? J$h, 14^13. what foever ye ask^lnmj T^ame,^ that will 
I do-, Acc9rd\ng to your faith (faid Chrift to the blind mtn^Matt, 
^,2p,)fo he it unto pa, Alas! thy prayers, have not found the way 
to Gods Mercy-Ceat all this while, becaufe they have not had 
faith for rheir Guide ; if our Meffengers lofe their way, no mar- 
vel if we ftay long for an anfwer. 

Laftly ; why hair than called hormthe Emhajfadors^ thofe fray^ Haft thou not 
trs pf thine which were Leigers at Heaven ? In a fit of proud im- ^^^^\ *^°'"{ 
patience, and fruitlefs* vexation, and bold prefumption, thou ^ y P-*M ^ 
haft limited the holy One of Ifrael to a day : And if at fuch anor- 
dier prayer God did not fenfibly anfwer thee, thou wouldeft 
and haft reftrained feeking of h'm. What doeft thou mean tO' 
beg, and yet to prescribe ? Alis I that there fhould be fo much 
pride yet in an heart, which we would think humbled as low 
as Hell 1 That it fhould profefs it felf to deferve a thoufand 
damnations y and yet quarrel with God , for not being 
quick in a prefent expedition of mercy I Thou art too. 


182 Gods Gracious Accepance 

quick with God. Judge hovv thefe anfwer one the other: O 
Lord, I do not delerve the teali mercy, I deferve never to find 
mercy ; and yet if the Lord doth not prefently flievv me mercy, 
I will not feek unto him any more. As you muft get humbled 
^ hearts, fo you muft get humble hearts ; He hars the de fires of 

the humble. Your Prayers muft be patient, as well as fervent : 
Mercy, pardoning mercy, is worth the waiting for : \x. is the 
moft excellent of mercies, and mcii fure to the patient Petitio- 
ner ; ?/<?/. 40, 1.. / waited fatlently for the Lordy and he wcU" 
ned unto me^ and heard m) cry, Bleffed are all that wait for it, 
Ifa. 30.18. 
■Reafors on ^^ there may be Reafons on Gods party why he doth a while 

Gods part. fufpend or holdup the demonftration of his mercy to a troubled 
God fufptnds foul and feeking. i. To give us fome tafie^ what It is to fro- 
mercy. voke him^ and fn again ft him, ]Qr, 2, ig, Thwe ownwlckjdnej^ 

To 5'vj"s fhall eorreEi thee^ and thy hack-flidinps (hall reprove thee : know 
ic is to provoke ^'^^^V^^^j and jee^ that it ts an evil and a bitter things that thou 
him. ^^ft forfaken the Lord thy God. As we have had years to bath 

^ our felves in the delights of fin, fo we muft have fome minutes 
to tafte the proper fruits, the bitternefs of fin : Thoa wonldft 
To a'ifnate ^^\ believe the Gait and the Wormwood.^ &c. Lam, 7,. 2. To 
our afFc&ions alienate or work^offour affeHions wholly from fin ; which now is ib 
fiomfin. deadly a fting, fo fmart a wound, fo noifome a prifon, which 
fills us with fuch horrible terrours, and cofts us almoft our lives 
to obtain pardon and mercy : Thou wouldft qot eafily part with 
fin. Who would love fin any more,- which i. raifeth fo great 
terrours, 2. utterly depiiveth of mercy, 5. or hinders it, and 
To abafe us the makes it flow to anfwer, 3. To abafe m more In our own eyesj 
more in our that fo his rmrcy may exalt ^, and we may exalt his mercy ; to 
own eyes, that ^^j^^ ^^ excellency of mercy, to confefs our unworthinefs of 
we may exalt \ ^ y r r ^r ^ 1 

bis mercy. mercy, to enlarge ourdefires of mercy.* , 4. Nay^ not one I y 

^^ to exalt his mercy y but retain his mercy '^ not eafily forfeit the 

lecain his mcr- excellency and fweetnefs of mercy, by any future finning. The 
cy. Church which had much adoe to find Chril^, Ihe then caught 

him, and would not let him go. The pardoning mercies of God 
To make us an ordinarily yield us moft fweetnefs, and abide in their ftrength 
L;ft3nceof yvith us, after deepeft humiliations, and difficulteft fruitions of 
ftrumcnrof "' ^^^^^- ^- Perhaps the Lord will make thee a great Infi:ance of 

comfort. mercy y and a ^e at Jnftrument to comfort others '^ and therefore 


of the Returning Trodigal, • 1 83 

fuffereth thee to lie a long time in darknefs and iilence, and at 
length will relieve thee. 

ObjC^, Yea, but how iliall a troubled [ohI be [uf ported In the How fhall one 
the interims^ until mercyy pardoning mercy ^^r/? fo/w^, and pray- be lupporud ia 
ers therein be anfwered fully. Sol I anfwer to this alfo ; i. ^/ ^^* *"'^"°^ ^ 
thoH caafl not have comfort to feed on^ yet thon h^ft duty to wcrk^ on : ^^ ^^°^ ^*^ "°^ 
Every ChriiVian may either find it an Autumn to gather fruit, or jo^^o'fj^o*^'* '° 
elfe a Spring to fet it. It is a great mercy that thou art at the gates 
of Mercy; it is a great mercy, i. to enjoy, 2. to beg, 3. to 
wait for mercy ; a comfort, to have fuch an heart to come fo near 
to mercy; thou halt a time to fearch thy heart more,and to review 
thy eiiate,and to perufe thy prayers,to mend and continue all. All 
vviiich are but thy improvements in grace, and will eventually 
prove the enlargements of thy mercy and peace. No man can 
make a better progrefs in his repentance, but he doth thereby 
prepare for the greacer,for the fweetcr,for the longer mercies. 
2. Though yoH have not experience tofupport joHyjet you have faith, though cbou 
It is written, and fealed, though not delivered as yet, Whofoever . "°^ ^*P'" 
doth truly repent, (mourn for rin,forfake it,endeavour to walk with bj{|7aft[u^ °^ 
GodjC^f.) though he have not the joy of his pardon in his confci- 
ence,yet he hath the arfurance of his pardon in the promife. Now 
Gods Word lliould fupport us as much as Gods Teftimony ; his 
Word iliould be as good to our faith, as his Teftimony is fweetto 
our fenfe and feeling. :?. The dawnings of pardoning mercy "^^^ dswninjs 
( which are rifing upon you ) may alfo fupport you : Though you ^erc mT"^ 
cannot read your Pardon under the Broad Seal,yet you may find it fupporr, 
pafTing the Privy Seal. For i. Upon your humble praying for 
pardoning mercy, you do feel your confciences more quieted and 
fetkd and revived with better confidence and expe6tation of mer- 
cy. 2. You find your hearts more enflamingly refolved,that you 
will never give over ; you will now follow on to know the Lord 
and his mercies. It was a fign (anciently) that God regarded pray- 
trs^whenfire came down upon the facri fee ^ as i Kin.iS.2^. 2 Chro. 
7.1. fo is it a fingular argnment that God accepts of your prayers 
for rtiercy orgr^ce, when upon your prayers he dotfi enlarge and 
enliven you moreearneftly tofeek him in thofe kinds. If God 
doth himfelf hold up thy fuit, he will not long hold off his an- 
fwer ; vvhen vve will have no Nay, then, Be it unto thee as thou 
wilt. If he prepare thine hearty he will at length incline his ear. 


1 84 Cods Gracious Accepamc 

And fell on hps neck^ and kjjpd himj] You have feen already, 
the Eps of Mercy to efpie a returning Penitent, and he Teet of 
Mercy, us fpeedy pace to meet a returning Pe-iitent, ike Father 
ran ; and of the Bowels of Mercy, He had comf^>jfi9n on him. 
In ail which, we have difcovered that fingular readmels which is 
in God to ihew mercy to a true Penitent. Now there yet remain, 
I. The Arms of Mercy y Amplexus mifericordiarum, [_Andhe 
fellonhis neck^,\ 1, The Sealings of all this mercy ^ though not 
verbally, yet moft fignificantly expreffed towards the returning 
^.r r . Prodigal, ^and kjjfedhim~\ What they fay of Scire^ that though 
hoTfcht^alter vve do know, yet this fatisfies u« not, unlefs another doth know 
* thatwedokaovv ; the fame is true of Love and Mercy ; though 
we have loving affe6lions and mercifull intentions towards any, 
yet this is not enough to the party^ unlefs he be made to know the 
fame. Therefore here are lingular expreflions, as well as admi- 
rable intention? ; the Box of Ointment is opened ; Jofeph cannot 
contain himfelf, but cries out, I am Jofeph: The Father of the 
Prodgal doth forgive and accept of him, and teltifies all this, by 
falling on his neck and kilTlng of him. There be divers Kiifes ; 
Not to fpeak of the Kifi of Subje^ion and Reverence ^ which David 
calls for, Pfal. 2.12. Nor of the Kifs of Incivility and FilthineJ?^ 
the whorijhki(Sj of which Salomon [^Q^ksy Prov,ij,i:^, Nor of 
the Kifs of Falfhood and Treachery, Judas-kif^, Matth. 2(5.49. 
Nor of the Kifs of Conrtep^^ common to all friends,the Heathens 
ufed it, as Xemphon and Herodotus relate : Nor of the Kifs of Cha^ 
rityy ufed among the primitive Chriftians, efpecially before the 
Lords Supper. The Kifs in the Text is a Kifs of Merciful Af^ 
feEiion ; and ids given unto the Prodigal by his Father, infignum 
Reconcilimonisy that He and his Father were now friends, and in 
a ftate of love and kindnefs : In fignum Vacisy to take off all fears 
and doubts,all was exceeding well ; and infignum Lmtidiy to inti- 
mate unto him, what a welcome child he now was. His Father 
was not more grieved at his linfull departure, but he h now much 
DoH, more gladded at his penitential return. 
God is nor cnc- The proper Obfervatlon from this I conjedlure is. That God 
ly reconciled, ^ pleafedy not onely to he reconciled^ hut alfo to manifefl and declare 
bimfclf fo himfelf as one reconciled to penitent people, Joh. ij^,2i, I vpill love 

be untochc Pc- him^and manifefl my felf unto him. Rev. '^,20. If any man hear my 
nitcnt. voice^and open the door^I will come in to him^and will f up with him^ 


of the Returning Prodigal, 185 

#rW he vfith me. Rev. 2". 1 7. 71? htm that over comet h will I give t9 

eat of the hidden Manna : and I will give him a white Stone y and 

in the Stone a new name written^ whish no 7nan knoweth^ faving 

he that receizeth it, Rom. 5. 5. 7'he love of God is [he d abroad 

in ofir hearts by the holy Ghoft which ts given unto hs. This is a 

Propofition of deep confequcnce , andalfoof rcmecifticulty, 

and therefore mu(t be the more warily opened and attended. 5 ?,»,•« 

For the ienfe and meaning of itpremife thefe particulars : ^xt^l.T/' 

1. That Gods reconciled favour is a thing demonfirableto a Goqs}^ coti' 
fitted foul ; (.1.) it is not befides the nature of Divine favour, to ciled favour is 
open it felf fo that it may be apprehended, no more then it is a- «^emonftrabIe^ 
gairtt the nature of Li-ht,to rev^eal it felf. Nor is it beyond the '° * ^"**^ *°* • 
capacity and proportion of a penitential foul to be cognofcitive , 

(i.) to be able to look on, and know Divine favour. In Univer- 
falij the Papifts and others do grant, as, That God was in Chrirt 
reconciling the world to himfelf ; but more then this , I affirm 
in particulars, There is not only a Notional knowledge in the ge- 
neral, but there may be an Experimental knowledg in particu- 
lar of Divine favour. B^fthis^imh David, / know thcufavgu- 
reft me. And S. Pauloi Chrift, who loved me, God hath a6Vu- 
ally manifefted his love and favour to his people of old ; Son^ 
h of good comfort y thy fns are forgiven thee, Mat.9. And Rom. 
8. P4/</ hid it, and all the Saints had it: And he doth manifert 
it, and will manifeft it to all true penitents. But then, 

2. There is a double manifeftation of his favour ; One is Na- ^ double Ma- 
turaly and this is when God doth imprint fuch qualities on the nifeftation of 
foul, which arethefole fruits of a reconciled Love, as when he ^'s favour, 
beftowes on it the fan6lifying graces of his Spirit ; Another is ^*^""^^' 
Formaly wherein he doth evidently make over the goodnefs of Pcrmall. 

his Love, (i.) make us diredly to know that he dorhloveus, 
and is reconciled unto us .♦ which is done two wayes, either , 
I. By the Tefiimony of the Word apprehended by faith ; i. By 
the Tefiimony of his Spirit, caufing in us an exprefs evidence 
and fenfe of Gods love, as a witnefs, and as a feal. Now one of 
thefe wayes God is pleafed to manifeft his reconciled favour, or 
to evidence it unto the penitential foul, and fom^times both. 

^. The time which God taketh to declare or make known (in a The time of 
more formal way of evidence) his reconciled love unto the pf- this mini fcfts- 
mtential foul y is not -^eceffary and determinatCy but arbitrary "°"^* aibitra- 

' Bb and'^* 

_-_ - ■ - — — ^— — ^— ^— ^-^^^^— 

1 86 Gods gracims Acaftancc 

^ndfree. It is not reftrained to the very birth or hour of our 
Converfion, nor limitted to any one part of time after it more . 
then an other. But God is pieafed differently to mike himfelf 
knov7n> and his loving favour known. X-/4[/^ partaked of Joy 
as foon as 'be partaked of Grace ; but with other Chriftians it 
may be, perhaps, as with St??%eoK^ that their eyes do not fee their 
Salvat'on till near their death in the latter end. 
The mcafurc 4. The meafure of Gods djfpe^jf/ition in this farticfiUrj Is a/ft' 
of Gods Dif-^ i;(jrji different and vhtIohs :■ Every Penitent hath not one and the 
^*"^*^^TfF^ *' fame degree that another hath ; andhevYho hathmoft of it in 
\t^w ' ' evidence, hath it but mixt and imperfe6>. A Declaration there is- 
to every penitent foul that God loves it , but not equall, nor 
This Dcdara- 5. T^^'^^^ Declaration of Divine Love^ thfugh It he verj-com* 
tloii IS ff pjra- fiTtahle^ yet it is ver j fef arable^ ejfeclally hi the fen fe and feeling 
ble ac leaft in ^^/^ . ^oi it is (for the duration of it) an effect of mcer favour, 
tecccot It. vY}5ichfsletoi;t^^^<r??^^//j?r/V/^;wonly, and it is not an eflential 
to the Chriftian condition, therefore it may go off. So that this 
is the fum of the Propofition, That Gods reconciled favour is 
a thing which maybe known, and God is pieafed to make it 
known to all penitents either Naturally or Formally, at fome time 
- or other, in fome meafure or other, fo long as he himfelf fhall 
judge bed. 
Keafons of ir.^ j^e Re.ifons whereof are thefe .• i. His promife Is not only t(y- 
Gods P.omiic ^^^^ ^^-^ peofle^ hnt llkewlfe to makj kjtown his love to them ; not 
knowne his ^^^^^Y ^^^ aftection,but the declaration of it is in pr6mife,£^f /^. :?4^ 
loYC to them. 50. Theyjhall hnsw that I the Lord their God am ivhh them^ 
and that they-y even the houfe of Ifrael^ are my people ^ faith the 
\^*h^G^d"^ X/7r^ God, 2. It Is the thing which the penitential people of 
people dc fire. ^^^ ^^ exceedingly crave and de(lre. Pfal.4. <5. Lord lift up 
the light of thy Countenance uprn me, Pfal. 17.7. Shew thy 
marvellous loving klndnefs. Pfal. 10^.4. Rememher me^ Lordy 
with the favonr thou bearef^ unto thy people^ O vlflt me with thy 
falvatlon, Pfal. up. 1:52. Look^uponme^ and he merciful un^ 
to me ^ as thou ufefl- to do unto thofe that love thy Narne, 
Cant. 1.2. Let him kjfs me with thekjffes of his mouth j for- 
th y love Is better then Wtne, Now I pray confider two things , 
that, I. The prayers which God commands his people to make*. 
2. The tilings which God promiies to grant ; where proraifes^ 


of the Returning Frodtgal, 187 

are made, and commands are made,there if prayers be made,God 
will fulfil diem. Ths manifettation of Gods favour is that which 
the people of God are commanded to feck; ( Seek^ ye my face , 
Pfal. 27. 8. ) and God hath promifed to declare his loving fa- 
vour to theng , and therefore if they feek it, he will. 3. It it is theihfnj 
^ the thing which they do exceedingly need: Though not fim- which chty 
ply to their ^Jffy ytt refpe6lively to their Be»e ejfe, The/ovi^^g^^^^* 
kjnd/:efs of God it is their /ifij and it is the Joy of their j'alvation , 
and it is their reviving, it is the binding up of their wounds, the 
fetling of their fears, the ftrength of their foul, the peace of 
their corfcieiice , the anchor of their Hiip, the Ark of refc 

4, The Lord vpHI grarit mt9 his feofle^ even in this life^the G^d vrill give 
firfl fruits of their glorious life : though hereafter they iLall ^^^ proplc here 
fee him face to face , yet here they fhall^;7^Hf him as throng f^aci "'* 
a Glafs ; here they fhall taft how good he is, that they may |ifg^ 

more carneftly look after a full and Beatifical fruition of him. 

5. And likewife to let themk^orv the difference twixt afnfnl^ Ta let them 
^nd penitent courfe ^ in the one they fhall know how jufl: he is in ^"ow tbc|(liftc- 
wrath, to hate, and punil"h (in ; in the other how gracious, and ^ "^* ^^'J^ * 

' merciful he is, to comfort, and revive a penitent. 6. Yea, niJcnciiUoutfc 
yet more, he doth declare his reconciled favour to them that To diftinguifli 
they likewife may diftinguifh twixt thefe foor^ f^lfe-, niiferahle^ twlxc cbc plea- 
joUities^ and pleafures^ which they had hy Jin -^ and twixt thofe furfsoffin and 
foul reviving tranfcendently affeBing comforts^ nnffeakjahle u^i^°iu a 
joies , unconceivable -peace which arife to them^ upon the kncw^ 
Jedg of God reconciled to them in and through Chrlfl : That 
there is not that juice, that fupport, that delight, that £ngu- 
larity of contentment in any way, as in a 'good way ; nor the 
like life and fpirit to be drawn from any fmful or earthly fpringf:, 
as from the goodnefs and kindnefs of his loving favour : that a 
God reconciled is the only happinefs of the foul. 

Doth the Lord manifeft unto penitential perfons his reconciled Ufe 
favo.r ? Then you who take your felves to be converts ard Sa:isfy not 
penitents, fatisfie not y&ur felves^ he not contented until you find 5'^"'^ ^^^^^^ 
the Seals and tokens of Gods fav9ur. You have(I know)his Word ^a[^^"\ U* (f. 
and Bond for your reconciliation, and your condition really is the favour, 
ftate of reconciliation ; you do love the Lord, and the Lord doth 
love ycu:But yet advance fomwhatfarther,ftriveto find the kife, 
the gracious exprdTions and evidences from God,that he is recon- 
ciled unto you. B b 2 Tfo 


1 88 ^ods gracious Jcceftance 

Motives, The Motives to excite you hereto, are m.my and forcible. 

Ttii diftetcn- i .77?^ differences trvlxtGed and you have keen very great and hlghj 

ccstwixtGod fuch as have much provok-d the Lord; and they have been of 

and you have j^j^g continuance, fuch as have defervcd ten thoufand Hells: 

hath pardoned you,and is in Chriii gracioufly reconciled unto you ? 
If there have been differences ber.vixt us and a man of place, we 
will ufe all the m-ans to take up the controverfie, and get a re^ 
leafe of all ihings ; how much more having to do with God ? 
Reconcllf d 2, This Reconciled Love is rvorth the fmng out : No love like 

love is worth ft; partly, b^caafe it doth fo immediately concern the foal of a 
ibeluiri our. chrifiian. It is a love which accepts of a (inner^ and makes the 
finner accepted ; it is more to him then the Princes pardon to^a 
Traitor : Indeed,it is his paiTingfrom death to eternal Life.What 
fhould become of a finner, if the Lord were not reconciled to him ? 
If the Lord be his enemy and holds diftance , the foul can never 
ftand before him in Judgment : Farewel Peace, farevvel Heaven 
without it. Par tly,becaufe it is the choicefi c^ chiefefiLtve th^itGod 
doth beftow: There is no one whom he doth imbracc vvith the love 
of friendilnip and reconciliation ,but Eled perfons,and fuch as he 
intends for Glory. Therefore this Love is called,/-/?^ ancient Love^ 
great Love^ Efh. 2. and ihtfree Love^ and the Love of his chofen^ 
and a Loz^^ which is fure, and a Love which neither Powers ^ nor 
frlncimlitlesy nor worlds nor hfe.mr deaths nor things prefenty nor 
things to come ^ can extlr fate or ahollfh. You may partake of his 
common Love,and the common eifedls of that Love, yet you may 
be his very enemies,and veflels of wrath. P^tly, becaufe It frees 
yoti from the foreft- fears^ and fharf eft- torments. You know that 
there are no troubles like thofe in Conrc)erce,r<or fears like thofe 
concerning our eternal Conditions. Whn ' if I be one whom the 
Lord hates ? what if I lliould Gye,and then be damned ? what if J 
be not in favour with the Lord ? what if fuch or fuch a fin be not 
yet pardoned? Now the evidence that rodisreconcile<iroyou, 
doth filence thefe fears, and eifcs the confc-ence o^ rhefe torment- 
ing fufpicions : The Lord Is my light (fa'd O'lvfd, VM, 27. i.) 
yphomfhall 1 fear ? And,/ vpIV lay me dovon In teace^Vh.^. 8. 
It comfcrtf tfce ^.^^ l^ ^^^ of the mofl admirable comforters of the foal In any con- 
foul in any dltlon. If your condition be prof perot^s^ whv^thQ .i[^\iti\^cq th^i: God 
foncUiion. jc reconciled unto you, makes ill your outward comforts the mor« 


if the Returntfig frodtgd. 1 8p 

comfortable unto you : It is like he.3ltb to a good complexion, 
which ipriiiklesit over, and inameis the face with a fair beauty ; 
or like the light to colour, which unveils and difclofeth allihcir 
art ; or like the dew to the herbs, which makes them the more fra- 
grant ; when a man can fay,I have all things, and God is recon- 
ciled to me too ; I havefuch a Lordil:)ip, and the King is my 
friend too ; fuch hoiours, friends, eftate, and x^z Lord hadi ac- 
cepted of me too, and I know that all is pardoned ; is not this a 
comfort, when cill is ple.ifant on earth, and all is right in heaven :, 
whereas, if the Lord be not reconciled to a man, wh.n avails all 
the world ? // jo''*r conditions h caUmlteWj yet the aflUrance 
that God is reconci'ed to you, is an admirable cordi.il. You read 
in Mat^g. 2. Of a mm (ick^whh a dead Pal fey ^ ( a difeafe which 
exceedingly dejeds thefpirits; )Chriit comes unto^^im,and gives 
him a Cordial ; what was it, think you ? why this , Son he ofgo-od 
cemforty thyfns are forgiven thee. You will think this an im- 
proper comfort to a mm in fuch a difeafe, but it was not ; tht af- 
iurance that our fins are pardoned, and that God is reconciled, re- 
vives, and cheers up the heart , nothing more. So S. P^///fpeaks 
of Tribulation^ Dl'lrefs^Perfecmiony FarHineyJVt^ks^KefsyPeri/y 
Swordy Yea,<Tf Death it /(f//,Rom. 8. 3 5 , 3(5.and addeth.^'. 37./;? ak. 
titefe things we are more then conquer etirs ; he made light of them 
all, they were as nothing. How fo?vvhence came thisPvvhylfrom af- 

furanceof Godslove;for(faitbhe,z',38,39.X^'^?^'/^^^'^^5 ^^^^ 
neither death mr life , nor any Creature fhall he able to fe far ate us 
from the hve of God^vchich is in Chrifi Jejtu our Lard.If ymr con- 
dition he piousythls evidence is the main thing whic^fi makes i t moft 
comfortable ; all the habits of graces are no a61ual comfons,unlefs 
they become evident ; and fo far do they comfort you, as they are 
true and real evidences of Gods reconciled love and favour unto 

^. It mil be an unfpeakahle flay unto you in death ; you know Ic will be a 
thedayof death will iTiortly overtake every one of us: Hereft«iyin D«c^ 
is no abiding City ; and what temptations may befall us then, we 
cannot aflure our feK^es ; we know not what Satan or confcience 
snay raife up againft us : When, our fouls are ready todeparr,then 
either to be dete^minare ; God is not yet reconciled to me , 
(that jufl: God , before whom I muH immediately appear to an- 
Aver, and make accounts ; ) or to be indeterminate • It may be, I 


ipo ^^^^ Gracious Acceptance 

em reconciled, it may be I am not, I never had any folid evi- 
dence of it; how diltra(5ling a thing is this, that the foul, one 
minute hopes the belt, and prefently,it doubts the worft ? Now 
I think I iliall go to Heaven ; and by and by , I fear left I iliaU 
be calt into Hell : But if you had obtained to an evidence of 
Gods reconciled favour unto you, that thz Lord had pardoned all 
the (ins of your life,and had gracioufly accepted of you inChrift, 
though death it felf appears, you would not much be moved. / 
know that my redeemer fives y faid J oh C ip. And Tve kriow^ that if 
onr earthlj hotife he dljfolved , we have a bmld'mg $f Gody dn 
honfeeterndm theheAvenSy{{iix}i\\!az Apoftle) 2 Cd?r. 5.1. 
„ ^. It is of all the mo [t ^ulck^wg andforwardingthingtothe 

Qakkni^^ift ^^^^h M the performarice $f all forts of htly duties ; We often- 
jiuty. times complain, what dull and flow hearts we have to Prayer ; 

were we more alfured that God is reconciled to us, we fliould 
quickly find hearts more affe6led, and more enlarged for Prayer ; 
though we be afraid, and flye from an angry and juft God, yet 
we would hye in, and fpeed un:o a reconciled^and gracious God. 
Pf al. 63. I. Thotiart my God ; ( here hedifcerns that where- 
of we fpeak./^. God reconciled ; ) and then it followes, early mil 
Jfeek^Hnte thee. Again, we wonder at our liiineffes of our fpirits 
to the werd , that we do not mind itjlong after it, afFe6l it more ; 
were you more affured of Gods love, being more afFedted with 
him, we fhould certamly grow more affected with his word. 
They , in i Pet. 2. 2. muft defre the fincere Milk, of the Wordy 
as new horn Bahes (./.) with much eagernefs, and delightfulnefs ; 
but how might this apprehenfion be wrought in them. Why ! v. ^. 
If fo hy that you have tafledy that the Lord Is gracious^ q.d. a taft 
( an experience, an affurance ) that God is your gracious God , 
that is it which will whet an edge and appetite after the word ; 
I fay no more but this, you will ferve the Lord with more willing 
hearts, and cheerful, then ever you did in all your lives, if fo be 
you could §Qt affurance that God is reconciled. 
Itmsk«su$ 6, It makes your hearts mvfi confident on God In evil time 5 ^^ 

Confident in when aflflidions are upon you, when dangers arife, when diftra- 
cvill tim<$. (^ions are in the world, when any near calamity breiks in ; \)[it{z 
are I ike Land- floods, which carry away all, or like the deluge in 
Noah's time, which exceeded all the mountains5fo do thefe drown 
all the vain hop e>, and confidences of evil men, that are not re- 

of the Returning Prodigal. i ^ i 

conciled to God ; they know not in the world what to do , they 
bavc no heart to go in unto God , for their confciences now tell 
them plainly, that they are in the elkte of enmity, and wrath. 
But even now, though the foundations of the earth be Ihaken > 
the afliired perfon , who knows God is reconciled to him, knows 
alfo that his foundation of love f lands fure and firm, and through 
all, does he mike his addrefs unto the God of his mercies, and 
Ihali find acceptance with him. 

7. Ladly, It isthMtwbiehmll vfionderftiUj inlarge pur gra. It will won- 
ces ', the Apoftle delivers it in the general , that the k:4owledgef^''^^'^}}y'^^^^^^ 
the love of Chrifi , is a means by which we come to ht filled with ^^^ ^""5. 
allthefnlnefs of God, Eph. ?.i9. See but Lnkj 7. 38. You fhall 
find that much was there forgiven ; the woman, though a great 
(inner, was graciouily reconciled ; what foUowes on this,f^f loved 
much^ fhe weft muchy fheiiumbled her felf much, her affection? 
to Chrift ; her tears for her fins, her humility of fpirit, all of 
them are fet down as exemplary copies ; this is it, which will make 
the light of our Mom^ to be as the light of the Sun ; and our light 
ef the SuKy as the light of feven daves. 

You may perhaps reply unto me , this evidence that God \s 
reconciled to us (which is fo excellent in itfelf,and produces fucb 
cffeds) were a very heaven upon earth, if we could attain unto It. 
But, what means fhould we ufe , that we may at length enjoy It : Mwns toat- 
I con:,e6lure thus, that the means of obtaining it, are twofold. In- tain it. 
ternal. External. The Internal means are three, viz,. Confcience, 
the Spirit of God, and Faith; for allthefe have in them a re- I««"^*Aa»"n« 
fiexive, and an evidencing virtue or power. ^ 

I. The n^j OH mtifl get yonr confcience s renewed', Confcience, Gee your Con- 
ablolutdy*confidered,hathareflexing power, it can look on our fcicnees 
natural adlsand conditions ; but it muff be confcience renewed, renewed. 
which mufl tef+ifie of thefpiritual effate,and that God is reconciled 
to you. The teffimony or evidence of confcience renewed,is fyou ' 

know) fyllogiff ical,and nothing ^iz but the eccho of the word,z^.^^ 
whofoever truly repents of fin,the Lord is reconciled to him ; this 
is the propofition of the word, as you may read in //-?/'. 14. i, 2, 3.. 
They are defcribed, as acting the parts of true penitents ; and 
then v. 4. Iwlll love them freely. So Jer. ?i. 19. Ephraim/jf 
tHYned^^xA repents,and then v. 20. Er hraim Is a dear child , and 
4t fleafant Son ; he is earneftly remsmbred,and fure mercy is his ; 

(.i.) Efhralm 

ip2 Go^^ gracims Accep^nce 

(.1.) Efhralm is reconciled, and dearly loved of God. Here re- 
newed confcience aliumes,But I do unfainedly repent, I do truly 
niourn,and forfake fin;and now with allurance,it concludes by way 
of evidence and teiiimony, Therefore the Lord is reconciled unto 
me,he doth freely and furely love me.O^y.But it is objecled,Con- 
fcience may be deceived; it may aflume without ground, and fode- 
ludingly conclude the matter. Sol, I grant that confcience may be 
erronious in its grounds,but confcience as renewed,and coHcludin«> 
as a renewed confcience, will not delude you, nor err ; for confci- 
ence renevved,concludes not upon an empty imagination, but upon 
a folid examination of the heart and life. It finds that integrity in 
the heart,and that uprightnefs in ordering the life, which doth an- 
fwer the word of God; And reading that the Lord loves the ufright^ 
And that he will Jjhew his Jalvatlon to him that orders his converfa-- 
tion aright : Now uponfearch, finding this habitual and a6tual 
uprightnefs, it concludes, Surely I am the perfon whom the Lord 
loves, and to whom he is reconciled. 
Get the fpiric -' ^^^ mtiftget thefpirit of God: The Apoftle in Rom,^,^, 
of God. faith, that the love of God is (bed abroad in onr hearts hj the holy 

Choft ; fo that if ever you would know the love of God unto you, 
you mult have the fpirit of God : the fpirit of God hath many 
operations given unto him , ^s that he inlightens the mind, hum- 
hies the hQan^fa/^^iifies it, and then that hcfealeth and comforteth 
it; and as thefe effe6ls,fo the order of them is obiervable ; he doth 
not firfl of all feal or aflure,and then inlighten, and then fan6tifie, 
aiid then humble ; but he firli inlightens, humbles, fan6i:iiies and 
converts the foul,and then affures and comforts it : Perufe Rom.S, 
you rhall find, that the witnefs of thefpirit that we are the chll- 
drenof Gody v. i6, foUowes the fpirit of bondage^ a-z^d of adoptio^iy 
and of fuppHcatioHyW 1 5 ,and the qmckningof the fpirity v. 1 1 . a»d 
) A leading of the fpirit ^ v.\^. So that if ever you would be aflured 

that the Lord is reconciled to you, you mufl get his fpirit con- 
vincing, humbling,renewing,and leading you ; fo much evidence 
as you have of holinefs , fo much aifurance you may build on of 
Gods reconciled favour unto you. Obj, But here alfoitisob- 
je6^ed, we may thta be coz^ened with Enthufiafms^ taking a fond 
dream and delufion, for a witnefling or teftimony of Gods fpirit. 
Soil anfvver, this is a fond and ridiculous exception ; for thefpirit 
c£ God(as S,Ardrofei^iks)Q2.'a neither deceive,nor be deceived. 


of the Returning Prodtgd, ip ? 

Thefealing or affuring teitimony of Gods Spiri t, is never iVW;/^ 

nor Nfid^ti.m tefilmomfim ; but as it is afeal to a dec d drawn, (I 

mean an heart firii written over with renewing graces; ) foin the 

fcaling, it alwayes produceth more tender and lively operations of v ^ 

holinefs, in all good rvorks. 

3. La(Hy,lf you would get affurance of Gods love reconciled 
unto your fouls,/^/^ mufi get Faith. Faith is the eyc,by which we ^ p . . 
look on God, and it is that light, by which we fee God looking on ' * * 
us : How did Simeon fee Chrlfl to be his Suviour ? Or Panl l^now 
that Chrlfi loved himyhiit by F<«/V/?f There are two wayes by whicii 
Faith can and will bring the foul to fee or know God reconciled 
unto it; One is ,^7 W /» Chrifi ; there is no feeing of a reconciled 
God,but in a Mediator, and therefore Chrift is called fo often our 
Peace, our Atonement,ourReconciler.-The other is,^^ afjd through 
the Promtfesywhich is therefore called the Covenant of Grace; q,d. 

fcts forth,and prefents God unto us,a^ graciouflyrcconciled.If you 
have fo much faith as will bring you to Chrift,to know hiin,to em- 
brace and accept of him, to rely on him , you m.iy with fafeft 
confidence conclude and be perfwaded,that God is your reconciled 
God : For God was in Chrifi reconciling the world to himfelf. 

2. 7l>f ^^f^«>r/ w^4«j of obtaining aflurance are : i. Confci- External 
enable and diligent amplication of onr f elves to the Word, The word °'^*"*' 
of God is both the inliriiment of our Regeneration^ and of our ^/'^^^"^ ^^" 
Confolation ; and is not only produdive of faith, as '\x.\% an adhe- fj/^g cTihc^"^ 
rencc, but able alfo to produce il^ as it is an evidence : and there- Word. 
fore, as you read that faith in acceptance depends on the word, 
Rom, 10. 17. fo we read that faith in affurance flovves likewifc 
from it. I Joh.^.i^. Thefe things have I written unto pu that 
hilieveonthe Nameef the Son of God ^ that ye may knovo that ye 
have eternal lift. And as the Word is oftentimes ciUed a 
Word of Faith ,fo it is fomctimc? called aLip of Pe.ice.//^. 57.19. 
^. it produceth an affurance from which that peace doth flow. 
2. jind to the Sacrament, The Sacrament hath, I confefs, mmy y . ^ , 
ends;and it is(as the Word of God is)anOrgan or Inlirument of iht ^^^ * ^'^^ 
Divine fpirit,for much good unto believing fouls. Among the reft, 
it hath a lingular virtue to breed afliirance of Gods love,and there- 
fore it is called, a Seal'm R0.4.. i i.In it Chrift Jefu<^(in whom God 
is reconciled) is moft diftin6lly rcprefented in his Pa(rion,as mak- 
ing peace by his blood for our fouls : In it the fame Chrift Jefus i.<? 

C c parti- 

i^^ Gods graciom Accepame 


particuhrly offered and applyed unto us, with ail the benefits and 
efficacies of his perfon : Take^eat .this Is my body nvhich wasgi- 
'venfor y9Hj i Cor.i i. 24. As if God fhould fay, As furely as I 
give thee this bread and wine, fo I give thee my Son, and the 
purchafe of his death,even reconciiiation,and pardon, and mercy. 
A believing celebration of the Sacrament is a mott admirable 
means to remove our doubts , and to eftablilli our hearts with an 

Fervent and ^^ui^^i'i^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^ reconciled unto us. :? . Tervent ^W jment 
Trayer ; prizing the favour of God, as David did, Pfal.63.3, 
Hungringand thirfting after it,as he hid,P/^/. 106.4,5. And thus 
continuing to feek with diligence , being withall teiaderly careful 
in our hearts and wayes to pleafe the Lord ; we /hall have the de- 
fires of our Souls crowned with the teftimonies of his love here, 
and with the full glory of his face, and favour hereafter, 

Luke 15. n, 22, 2^. 

21. And the Son [aid unto hlm^ Father^ I have pnmd agAmfi hea^ 
*veH^ and in thy fight j and am no mtre ivorthy to bs callsd thy 

22. But the Father f aid to his fervants^ Bring forth the hefi 
Robe^and ftit it on him^ and put a Ring on his handy and Shoes 
en his feet, 

23. And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it^ and let us eat ^ 
and be merry, 

Thefe words contain in them. t. The real aBing of a feni- 
tential intention: The matter whereof, in his humble and fad confef- 
fion,I have infifted on already,when I touched on'i^.i8,i9.NovvI 
fhall obferve a little more from the circumihnce and manner of it. 
2. Thefirange alteration of his condition : The heart of man ne- 
ver alters from fin to its prejudice ; the bcft courfes ever draw af- 
ter them,the be(^ comforts. While he was a prodigal,he had nei- 
ther bread to eat, nor Rags to cloath him, nor houfe to lodg him> 
much lefs Jewels to adorn him, and feafts to entertain him : But 
now he becomes a penitent, here is a Father to admit him into a 
houfe, to put the beft Robe on his back, and the Ring on his fin- 
ger, and Shoes on his feet, and likevvife to provide meat, even the 
choiceft for his belly.Before I touch on thefe,diHine"lly and parti- 
cularly, there are fomePropofitions, which I will briefly touch 
on^v.^. D06I. That 

of the Returning Prodigal, - l ^ j 

D06V. Thatynomtthekjndeflexfreffions of mercy dofilencCA Xh« klndeft 
irtily ^enhcmial hearty from an humble cenfeJfioN of Jin ; Kindeft exprtflions of 
mercies driw out humblelt confcifions : The Father pities,meets, "iiffcyjdo 00c 
embraces, kiffeth this penitential Prodigal. What doth he ? rife ^''"'^'[^*^" ^^^^ 
up and ilight all hat hath been evil ? Oh no ! mercy melts him ^^^^ Qf (^^. 
down, and he confefteth with tears. Father I havtjiftnedy^c.q.d. 
What is this, that thou iliouldft fo eafily, fo freely, fo mercifully 
behold fo finful,fo unworthy a vvretch as I have been ? As DavU^ 
when God declared unto him the intentions of his further mcr- 
cies,for him and his pofterity : He fate before the Lord and faid, 
Whi am ly O Lord God f and what is my hov.fe that thou hajt 
hroHght me hitherto ? So is it with the true pcnitent,upo!i the De- 
claration of pardoning and accepting mercy.Novv, O Lord God, 
who am I? I, who have done fo Wickedly, yet to be rcmembred 
fo gracioufly ? The Dme you find in Panly who, though he recei- 
ved a teftimony of his pardon and acceptance,by a mclfenger gra- 
cioufly diipatched from Jefus Chrift himfelf, u4^s 9. 17. Yet he 
doth moft frequently , and humbly aekno.vledg and confefs the 
kinds and greatnefs of his former tranfgrcfllions. 

There is (for the time) a twofold ConfefTion . i . u^ntecedenty There h a 
which is that humbling way, which God defigns for the aflecuti- cvrofold Con- 
on of mercy.See Prov,22. 1 3. & i J^, 1.9. To mike us indite,^and ^f ^*^"* 1 
condemn ourfelves, that he may acquit and pardon us. 2. Confe- Co^f^q^jjic] 
4^He»t',\\h\ch is that judging,and felf- condemning way,after mercy 
is obtained : The fight of mercy breeds four notable effe6^s in a 
true penitent ; i . Mnch Admirations (Oh,that God fhould look 
on me ! ) 2. Much Deteflation^ ( Oh, that God fliould ev^er par- 
don me ! ) 3. Mor^ contrition^ (Oh, that I fhould fin againft fuch 
a God ; ) 4. More Confefflon^ (I have finned, and done very foo- 
lil>ily to fin agiinft a God much in mercy. ) 

2,Thif confequrnt confe ffion. whkh foil owes the expTelTions or Confcquent 
teliimonies of r ardomng mercy hath the] e cjualities, i. -'^^^ '^'^ rhcfe qualicies. 
ack^orv [edging of Jin^ with more comfuntilon of fptrlt : Sight of It js an sc- ^< 
pcirdon doth not only open our lips, but our eyes, and fetcheth knowlcdgment 
forth not only words but tears; the he.irtdoth breakout, when °f fin, with 
mercy br^^aks forrh : The heart never confefieth fin with m^re ^?^* ccoipun- 
filial grief , then when it apnrehends fin,miich fin difcharged with 
a paternal love : the wind breaks the clouds but the Srn melt«: 
them mort into fhowers, fa CT'f. 2. It is an acknoA'ledgi^^g of 

C C 2 fin, 

1^6 Gods gracious JcecftAnce 

WJthmote in- fin, with more indignation ; The greater mercy makes a peni- 
dignacion- tent to be the fharper Judg ; the more God is no.v pleafed with 
him , the more is he dii'pleafed vvuh himfelf, for finning againrt 
him. When God r erne mhrtd his Covenant^ Ezek.id. do. then 
did che peiitemial Ifraelites remember their wayes with [h^me, 
v.6i. And vvhen he m^de it known to them//?^f he wa^ faclfyed 
towards them , then were they confounded , and never of ened their 
momhs more^ v. 5 :? . 3, 1 c is an acknowledging of fin with more 
Wi-h more jg- aggravation : Servile confefiions are ufually more deceitful and 
jravaiion. partial ; as Adam did acknowledg his fin, but puts it on Eve ; no 
confeifions are fo free and full,as fuch vvhich arife from the appre- 
henfion of mercies. David got his pardon for a great tranfgref- 
fion ; but then how exact is he in the diliin6t accufation of him- 
felf, and humble acknowledgment of his fin,in all the articles and 
circumftances of it? P(aL 51. 4. It is an acknowledgment of 
With more dc- fin, with more deteji^athn. Evidence of pardon produceth two 
leflation. effects : One isymore ardent affe^lon of love to God ; Another i$ 

(which neceflariiyfollowes)^ deeper hatred of [m^ which oppofed 
fo gracious a goodnefs. All that good which God mentions in the 
Covenant, -E;;:,^^.:? 6. 2 5. to the end of -z/. r?o. produced a better 
remembrance of former evils,and alfo a deeper loathing of them- 
felves for their iniquities, v.-^i. As Job upon Gods appearing to 
him,and conferring with him,«ow abhors hlmfelfln duft andafhes^i 
So the penitent upon the manifeftation of di\'ine favour , doth 
more acknowledg his vilenefs, judg his follies, and abhor his ini- 
quities; it is ever true, that the greateli mercies fet the heart at 
greateft diftance with fin. 

But now it is demanded ; Why fliouldtbe expreffions of mercy 

elicite confeffion of fin, if it be pardoned ? why any more con- 

Resfons of ir. feifion ? Reafons though hereof be mmy. i. Piety In man is 

Piety in man is ^^^ offojtte^ but only fnbordlnAteto Pity In God, Divine love doth 

but7ubcr<Jinitc ^^t dettroy, butincreafe duty : Affurancefol loves the habits , 

to pity in God. and alwayes advances the ads of grace: As it is our duty to 

feek our pardon by confe(rion,fo alfo to carry away the fame with 

continued confeffions ; confeffion of finis not a tranfient , but a 

conftant duty ; As the Mathematicians fpeak of a Line, That it is 

Hot funElum^nX fluxHs fun^orum ; fo I fay of any duty, It is not 

one indivifible 2^ only,but an a^l repeat-ed : to believe is a duty , 

in which one ^^i only i^ not enough , iat I muft ftill keep my 


0fthc Returning Prodigd. 1^7 

eye upon Chrift. So to confcfs fin, is a duty not done altogether, 
becaule once donejbut lUll to be done, bccaufe a duty to be done : 
though Ood be plealed to forget, yet it is our duty to remember. 
Buc iecondly, By conjcjfion of fin^ lifter remijfion and uftimony^ yi^xt^ i; now 
mcrfj is now acknowledged to be mercy : What a man may fpealc acknowledged 
in (iraights is one thing, what in free circumltances, when ex- co be mercy. 
tra aleam^ is another. Many a man cryes out for mercy, who 
perhaps fcarce will give mercy all the glory afterward. But 
when we are pardoned, and yet confefs fin, we do really profefs. 
That it was not Worthinefs in us, but only Goodnefs in God, 
that pardoned. No man can more fully give the glory of his pardon 
to fole mercy , then he who doth confefs his fins after mer- 
cy : What is this confeflion of fin , but as if the perfon fhould 
fay, O Lord , to me, indeed, nothing did belong but Oiamc 
and confufion ; for I, for my part, have thus and thus finned 
againft thee, and deferved thy wrath, but itwas meer mercy that 
favcd and pardoned me ? :?. The more pardoning mercy «, 
God ilr\t\ys , The more hHmlUty is thereby wrou^t in the heart; J . *"^'P*^* 
for who can behold much pardon , but wiihal muft know, it rhemorcHu-'^' 
was much fin that hath that much pardo i ? He hath great- milicy 
cr caufe of iliamc , becaufe all this while a God of fuch mer- 
cy hath been otfended : So that here is more caufc for the 
heart to abafe it felf and to confefs its own vilenefs. 4. ^p-vT..«-nJ 
»n gracio^*s rcmjjjion , moye , and new grounds of C onjejjion do grounds of conn 
Arifei Before 1 am pardoned, I confefs my fins, becaufe ft^ondoarife 
God requires confefiion , and alfo becaufe he doth upon a 
right confeflTion rrom'fe RemilTion. When I am pardoned , 
more rcafons of ConfefTion are upon mercy, namely, mer- 
cy granted, and m.rcy fealed. O then ! have I notm<^re 
caiife to corfefs my finful vilenefs, having talied of moft unfpeak- 
able goodnefs in the pardon of ii? 

Doih the penitent perfon hnmMy co-^fefs his fins after the „.f 
pardon of them ? Why , let us {If any of us thinks that we are q ;l^^^^ ^^ 
fardoned) do fo too : Tis a truth, that of all things vve are moft pardon let us 
W'll'rg to fo get our fins ; we have rnixh adoe to keep our tiofo. 
thoughts on them in a penitential way ( i's de^'h almoft tofome 
m:ntothipkon their fins thus) ^M in c^^t if by a little du- 
ty we have got the leaft hot-)c of pardon, we ordinarily put 
thofefins off from any future folemn Confeifioi^is, This I con- 


ipg Gods Gracious Accepance 

ceive arifeth from two caults ; the one is th^ fenpke wflfience 

rphlch Jin (often to be thought on) imfrlf^s on the eoHfcicKce, 

Af.er confiderations of fin, we have ulually molt bitternels and 

trouble, which we willingly would not fed. Another is m Igm- 

ranee of the power and ^fe of fardonmg mercy; which as it brings 

Such as fail in R^^ft) P-ace, fo moli hearty grief and conteifion: I will fay to 

ifcer confcffi- men preiumirg on pardon, and yet failingin an after confeificfi 

*'": . r. . . of their fins, i. It is fufpidons whether ever they had any far don 

whithc? m "* ^f ally or real aflurance thereof; forafmuch as they fail in this af- 

they had any ^^^ effe6l of confeflTion, which is alwayes the more increafed by 

Pardon at all. the greater evidence of divine mercy. 2. It isfufficiom whether 

Or whecbcr they ever truly repented or no; for as much as true repentance doth 

^ c*^ *^f ^'^'*^^ incline us to go over and perfect all the ac^s and branches of Re- 

j: pane or no. p^^-j^^j^^^^ whereof confelTion, in a right manner perfcHrmed, 

is not the lea ft. 

But for our parts, if any of us upon a penitential courfe have 

been fo far blefled as to fee the face of Ltod with peace, and 

have found any teftimony of his pardoning mercy, let us never 

ceafe to blefs that mercy, and with mournful and felf- judging 

hearts to iterate and continue our confeifion of the fins for which 

we have found mercy. 

Mot ive$ ro'it. Motives hereunto are thefe, i . we fhall hereby the better pro^ 

u'h k *^*' ^^^£/^^ increafe our affnrance of divine mercy • I conje6l:ure that 

increafc"u" X^"^ ^^'^^ ^" X^^^ experience find this truth, viz.. That aflurance 

aflurance of lives longefiin a believing Eye, an humble Spirit, and in a Soul 

mercy. accufiomed to the liridil excrcife of Repentance : the way to get 

afiiirance of pardon, is ever the bell way to preferve and inlarge 

OurConfci- -^^ ^^ Hereby o^r Con fciences (hall moft- accfuit hs for the fin- 

ence will here- . r ■ r rr A^j*^nj-'^i -ii 

by acquit us cerity oj our conjejjion : Antecedent acts do not alwayes yield 

for .he linccri- unto US that fol id ground as fubfequent a6ls .- As about our out- 
ty of our Con- vvard mercies, after prayers do more denominate the celeftial 
feiion. frame then former prayers, bcc.mfe thofe may be depending on 

felf-lovc and neceffity, but the other fprings out of fpirimal 
love and piety, and refpe6ls to divine glory. So is it in the bu^ 
finefs of confeiTion of fin ; to confefs under the beams of mercy 
is a better temper then to confels under the firokes of Juftxe ; 
it argues a more holy Ingenuity to acknowledg and bewail our 
vilenefs, being difcharged of wrath and punifhment, then only 
to.exclaim either upon the Rack > or upon hopes to be taken oflF. 

3. Hereby 

of the Returning Trodtgd. ig^ 

g. Hereby the frame of the heart is k^ept more tender againfl fi»^ rhcfrimeo^ 
S&Ez,rA 9.14. Should Tve agalyibreak^thy Commandments ^ Con- '^cbeart is 
tinuedfenfe of fin produceth four fmgular effeds, and with much ^^"^^^y ^^?^ 
addition too ; Mo ji cordial rhankft*lncfs^ Mojl tender Fearful- ^'"jl^ft'fl*^ 
ftefsy M0 ft diligent Frmtfulnefsy Mojf careful Tendemefs, The ^ *^* 

daily judgcr ot his former lins by a penitential confeifion , he 
is the mm who abounds moii with the thankful Lip, the watch- 
ful Hcc^rt, the fruitful H.md and tender Confcience. Two things 
make us hard ':ed and carelefs ; Forgetfnlnefs of Mercies from 
<jody and of Sins again ft God. But no more of this AiTer- 

- There is another implicit Obfervation from the carriage of the 
Father to this penitential Prodigal upon his Confefifion. It is 
this, As there is nothing in the Sons thoughts and exprelfions but 
his Sins,fo there is nothing in the Fathers Intentions and expref- 
lions but Kindnefs. The Son he thinks of his fins , intends to 
leave his iins, aiui to confefs them, and fo he doth ; The Father 
he thinks of mercies andcompalflons, intends to accept and par- 
don him ; and when he comes, he doth not fpeak a word of his 
iins, but e\^ery exprefifion is mercy, and peace, and kindnefs ; 
Fetch the be ft Roky put on the Ring^ &c. Whence Iconje6lure 
this Propofition is obfervable ; 

That God tak^es no notice of our ftns uftn our true Repentdncfy j)^ ^- 
but wholly exprejfeth himfelf in love and kjndnefs. There are God takes no 
two Branches of this AfTertion ; i. One^ that God takes no no- notice of our 
tice of forrMr fins upon our true Repentance, There is a threefold ^"^ upon Re- 
notice of (in in refpe<^ of God ; i. N9titia Intuitiva ; which is P*""""» ^f^ 
his all obferving eye of Omnifcience, from which nothing can "f" holly la ' 
be hid ; but every Creature, and operation of the Creature, love and kind- 
whether open or fecret, isvifibleand manifeft unto God : that ncfs. 
diftindion of known and unknown , fecret and open, hath no 9°!^ fa'^« no 
pkce in God, to whofeeye all things arc n.iked. In thisrefped^ mcr fins 
the former (ins of a penitent fall within Gods notice ; for the jhcre it, 
goodnefs of Divine Mercy doth not blind- fold the .eye of Di- Hotith intu- 
vine Omnifcience. 2, Notit^ Charitativa; which is a notice ^^i'^^-^ 
of (ins, as akind Creditor takes notice of Debts owing unto him, ^^^^f^^O^' 
andfet down in his book , his eye is on them, and his Pen alfo 
to crofs and dafh them out. And in this refpcd alfo God 
takes notice of former (ins, namely, fo as ont of rich love , 


200 ^ods gracidus Acceftance 

^nd gracious favour to crols and forgive them : unlefs we will 
fondly imagine that God forgives fms by hap-chance, at an ad- 
venture, never feeing and conhdering what he doth. ^.Notitia 
f^QtitUyiJi" Fi»dlBlva; which is a J udiciary notice, as a Judge takes notice 
MHiva, of the evil fads of a Maiefadtor to Condemn him, or to trouble 

and vex him. In this refpedl, upon true Repentance, God takes 
no notice of former fins, (./.) cither to co/7d€mn the peuitem per-- 
fon for themy or, to uf braid him and diihearten him by calling 
them into his difli, or hitting of him in the teeth, as we fpeak 
Proverbially. Hence hofe phrafes in the Scripture upon fup- 
pofition of Repentance, Jer. \i. ^4. / will forgive their ini* 
quity^ and I will remember their ftn no more. Not that Repen- 
tance makes God forgerful (for he is no: capable of fuch a de- 
fe6t as Oblivion) but that when men ceafe to fin,God will ceafe ^ 
to argue and fpeak with them after a Judicial manner for their 
fins. So Ezek. iS. 21. // the wlckjdwill turn from all hisfms 
that he hath committed ; ver. 2 . All his tranfgreffions tvhich he 
hath commute dy they (hall not be mentioned unti him ; he means> 
in any harfii, judicial, and cutting way. More fuch phrafcs 
there are, as, that he will cover our fins, caii them into the depths 
of the fea, and caft them behind his back ; and though they be 
fought for, yet they iliall not be found. 
He expreffeth The fecond Branch is^ that he expreffeth himfelf wholly in 
himfelf wholly love and kjndnefs ; the which is moft evident in J^n^i.19, 
In love and when Efhratm repented and confefled his fin , all the exprefiions 
kindn$r$. ^^^^ ^^^^ q^^ ^^^ f^Q ^^ tender Love, Is Fphraim my dear fon ? 

is he a f leaf ant child?! do eameftly remember him flilly(Ephmm 
thinks that I have forgotten him, that I regard him not, but there 
is no fuch muter ; ) my bowels are troubled for him^l will ft4relj * 
have mercy on him,Hof. 14. 2, ^ Ifrael is rcpenting,and confeffine, 
and pray ing,ind how doth God anfwer him ? See v.^J will heal 
their backrfidings^ I will love them freely^ for mine anger is 
turned away from him, Ver. 5, / will be as the dew unto If- 
Dlftin juffii Yet here we muft diftinguifb, i.Tvyixt Gods exfrefpons^which 

Twixf Gods are alwaycs very gracious, gentle, clofing up, comforting and re- 
A^d*? "p* • vivingof the penitent. And the penitents apprehenfons^^ which 
jcmiApprc'"^" by reafon of feveral principles in him, arefrmetimes mifplaced 
hcflfions. andmiliaken: Cod is jul^, anjd he is afinncr 5 he is a penitent 
/ ■ £nner. 

of the Returning Prodtgd, 201 

/inner, andUod is nKrciiul : Now \y)[\i[^s iho. penitent appre^ 
hends his Sins only, and not his Repentance; or Gods Juihce 
only, and not his M:rcy, that tender gracioufnefs and lovin.c^ 
- kindnefs, is not fo acquitted by him in his apprehenfions. Not 
that God is not really tender to him, but that he, through mifiake 
and error, apprehe-^.ds it not fo. 

2. Again, you mutt dilHnguilli Gods tender tove^vA kindnefs rj.^. 
as it is coniiderable, m Divine fromlfe^ and in Humane fenfe and God 1^"'^ ^ 
feeling-: You can no fooner repent,but Cod is wholly in terme,'? of is °confi Jcr'b'e 
tender love , if you will behold Kishehavlottr towards you In his » ' Divne P. 0- 
Fromlfes : In them indeed you have the Idea, as it were, of '^'^''^^ *"^ ^i»- 
his mmdand affedion ; they are the right glalTc to behold the ^^"^ ^^^^' 
face of his mercifulnefs in ; through which, if you look, you 
iliall not find any one harfli word, or look, or intention towards 
a penitent, but all his thoughts in th^m are thoughts of peace , 
and all his words in them are lips of peace. Though the Sama- 
maritan poured both Ode and Vinegar into the wound, yet God, 
through his promifes, pours out only the Oile of gladnefs. But if 
you" confult with his fenfe and feeling (which is out of the roade 
of Faith) then indeed this gracious tendernefs is not (0 evident, 
but we arc apt, through incredulous haihnefs, and unground- 
ed mif-judgings , to exclaime with Zlon , But my God hath for- 
gmen me; or with David ^ He hides away his face from me : 
orvvith J<7^, (it was in the fits of impatience) He writes bitter 
things again fl- me. 

^. T^xTdytToHmuftdlfllngtiljhofthefenitent khavlng him- ^^fltinguiih of 
fe/fy either, ad modum fenltentls^ as a pCmtQntjad modum peccan- ^^* behaviour, 
r/V, as a delinquent. Let him repent and keep on in the vvayesof "^5^*^^]^?^' 
repentance , he fhall meet with nothing from God but [wcQt- qu*n ' ' 
nefs of love and mercy ; twQvy ftep of rlghteoufnefs is a path of * 
fea<:eand ]oy ; but if he (kp afide, if he goes to a by-Lane, he 
may quickly lofe the fight of the City; if the arm or foot fl'p 
out of joynt, then indeed there is ache and pain , inftead of 
cafe and quiet ; , fo, if a penitent perfon do what is finful, he 
muft not think that God will appear in that amiablenefs ; for as t).>i. .^ 
God will frown on no man which is in a good way,fo will hefmile QQ^^stxortm^ 
on no man, if found in an evil path. ons of himielf, 

4. Laftly, 7o!4, mufl dlftlngmjh of Gods expreffion of hlmfe/fy 3n<J Seirans re- 

^^d either Satans or our own unkllevinp hearts reprefematl- P''/^ "^^ ions ^ 

rv J *^ ^ ^ ot hiai. 


202 Gods gracious Accepance 

ons of God : Before we repent our own hearts and Satan reprc-- 
fentGod all in mercy to us, and when we do repent, fofar as 
our hearts are fmful , they are IHll guileful, and conjoyn with Sa- 
tan to reprefent God unto us all in Juftice and terror. But a 
natural and proper reprefentation is one thing, and a preternatu- 
ral and corrupt reprefentation is another thing. How the difpofi- 
tions and a6l:ions of men may prefent me in their due and real 
Entity to a man, is one thing; and how the cunning lies, and ar- 
tificial devices of an envious enemy may report m", this is an- 
other thing. This th^n is the fenfe of the aflertion, That when 
anyperfon doth truly repent, God will not only not upbraid, 
and objedl unto him his fins , but will gracioufly pafs them over ; 
and for his part, the penitent behaving himfelf like a penitent, 
and judging of him aright, according to his nature and promifes, 
ihall find all in love , gracioufnefs, and kindnefs toliim and for 
Reafcnscfir. Reafons whereof are thefe ; i, .Vpo» tme reperita-^ce fn is 
Upon true Re- pardoned: Repent^ faith S, Peter ^ that your fins may he blotted 
P*"J'"^*^^^ ** oHt^ A6ls 3. tAnd he that forfakes his Jin fhall find mercj^Vrov. 
pardoned. ^^^ And Ifa.^<^,j, Let the wicked forfake his way^ andlwi/i 
fihiindant I y pardon : Whence I infer, If fin be pardoned, then 
there is no voice from heaven to be heard but that of Love and 
kindnefs. Indeed while we continue in fin, like Adam^ we hear 
the voice of God and, are afraid ; for then it is the voice of his 
wrath and threatnings : but fin being pardoned, wrath is remo- 
ved, God is reconciled , and his voice now is only the fweet 
voice of the Gofpel ; not the thunders of "^S/W, but the glad ty- 
God will not ^ dings of ^Z^';^ .• Therefore, 2. God hath faid^ That he will not 
^iT\ ^^* ^'^"^" breahjhe hruifed reed^ and takes it ill from any to add affli6li- 
^ ^* ' ons to the affli6^ed. Now there is no expreilion more obferved by 
a penitent then Gods. Gods exprelTions are bruifing or raifing % 
all is for comfort or difcomfort, as it comes from God ; the leaft 
hnnhnefs from him would {^i back the penitent into an overwhel- 
ming multitude of terrors,fears, and diftradions, and difcourage- 
ments ; the which the Lord likes not , having made the foul fit 
for his mercies, n, . Comfort is the proper expreffion for the peni- 
Comfort !s tic ^^nt : As thrbatnings are the moft proper for an impenitent perfon, 
fioTfor thfpc^ ^^ comfort for a penitent It were a dangerous miftake to give a 
nitcnr. * Vomit when a Cordial is or ; binding up is proper for the 


of the Returning Prodigal, 203 

broken in heart, and comfort for mourners, and reviving 'for the 
contrite. Gracio.s exprefllons from God, are the very thing 
which the penitent needs,his fpirit cannot eh e live aixl uphold it 
felf. There are two things under which the fpirit of man cannot 
.well bear up and fuihin it felf ; One is,near andftrong afflidions 
without Divine flrength ; Another is,the quick fenfe of fm with- 
out the gracious fight of mercies. As they are needful, fo are 
they fealondble, for as much as i. Satan is mod ready to fall f .ul 
upon the Soul, upon its Re^^entance, with ftrongeft accufations, ^ 

falfeft fuggeitions and oppreffions, to overvvhelm it with defpair, 
as on him in the Corinthians, 2. The Heart at fuch a time i$ 
molt apt to fear the worft , to fufpe6l its owtj foundnefs and 
rGods kindnefs. 3. Nothing would fettle and quiet the Spirit 
of the penitent perfon more then Gods gracious exprclTions : 
This IS light in darknefs , life in death, the only Reftorative to a 
fenfible (inner, and a langui fhing foul . Therefore, 

The firlt Ufe of this Point , fhall be to imitate God in this yfi 
kindnefs of ex f re fflon^ and goodnefs of ohlivion : When VVe Imitate God fn 
iee per fons truly penitential for former (ins, as we mufl: not this kindnefs 
i:A{Evil,Good^ fo neither muft we call Coed, Evil-, if God will *^^ soodncfi. 
-not mention former (ins to a penitent , how dare we to do 
it ? It is an ufu?! way of a fly and malicious perfon in^ his 
t3etra6^ations ; Yea, he is fo and fo now indeed , but what was 
he heretofore ? And thus he digs up thofe old rotten corrup- 
tions with his maiicious tongue, which the penitent hath 
long buryed with many tears, and God hath covered with 
much mercy. It k an argument that thou art of a beaftly 
nature, who art ftill in the wounds and not on the found parts. 
Speak againfl fin , and condemn it as well in thy felf as in 
"Others , with all fir zeil , but fparc at le.i(t the converted and 
penitent (inner : Never open a wound which God hath healed, 
iior fhamefully blaze the (in which God hath mercifully par- 
doned. 2. Ton fee the ivay to have your fins covered and \^\xitt the 
hid : Men upon (inful commilTions devife m^iny fhifts , and ^'V ^^ ^^''^ 
colours, and arts to keep their (ins clofe and hid, as if the ^j*^^"? k^7"^ 
Sun could be muffled, or the Fire (Rifled, 'or the Wound not ^ *" * ' * 
cured, would not break out ; No, truly repent of (ins , and 
that is the beft way for to get (ins concealed as well as par- 
doned. Now the Lord will^.-ot mention them; but if we 

D d 2 con- 

204 Cods gracious Accepancc 

continue impenitent y the Lord will fet our fins in order ,. 
they lliall break out to our fhamc as they have broken OHt to 
his diilionour. 

But the Father [aid to his fervams ^ Br wg forth the kfl Rohy 
andfut It on him y and -fHt a Ring on his handy and. Shoes 
on his feet ^ 

The fpecial fa- jhefe Words are a Lift of the fpecial favours which were con- 
rcdupon^he" furred upon the penitential Prodigal ; where you have, i. The 
penitential Nnmher of them-^ i. The Rohe^ z.The Rlngy ^»The Shoes'^ afuit 
Piod jgal. large enough from top to toe . We need a compleate furniture,and 
God here beltows it. 2. 7 he Qmlity of them-, i.. The Robe is? 
the bed; and 2. The Ring is precious; and 3. The Shoes are prop- 
er,and fitj.and the befi God gives unto his people what is moft 
excellent, and what is moft ufeful., 3.. The Order of them; firft 
the Robe,and then the Ring ; becaufc if the Allufion be to a Mar- 
riage^ the Wedding Garment is ever put on before the Wedding 
Rnig. Or elfe becaufe the Garment (which is the Robe) is al- 
wayes more neceffiry then the Ornament (which is the Ring.)Or 
which is choiceft, becaufe Intereft in Chrift, preeedeth our Bene- 
fits by Chriii Again, as the Robe before the Ring , fo the Ring 
before the Shoes -^ not becaufe the Hands are moreeiiimable then 
the Feet, but becaufe our Feet can never tread well with Shoes of 
Patience, until! we firft finger the Ring of Faith ; we can never 
go well, nor bear well, unlefs firft we believe welL 
The prime fa- j j^g^in with the firft of thefe, the prime Favour beftowed on 
ii°"n the Pi o -^^^ Prodigal; in which you have obfervable, i . The matter of that 
dfcal. ' favour^c^kd a Rok^ md the Fefi Robe. What this Robe \s^ and 
Tbc matter of Why called the Beft, whether for Order,or for D'gnity,or for Ne- 
it- celfity,or all, we fhall prefendy difcufs. 2. The Author ofthisfa^ 

The Auvhor ^^^^.r j^^^ j^atherfaid ! Why that phrafe,the Father ? why not,God 
faidPSurely bccpife our mercies,choicer mercies, come out of the 
hand of a reconciled God;they come from the Father of mercies, 
who is al fo the G od of a I ! gr a c t. And why no more then, The Fa-- 
ther faid ? 5ic. becaufe frying from G od is enough,it is z% good as 
doing : his Imperative f^y'ng,is a Gaufative faying;if he fpeaks the 
ofcoitoine "^^^^^ we are made whole ; and we, thaigh n^iked, arecloathed. 
it, 3 . The manner of (onferring ity \Jlefaid to his fervantSy Bring it 


0fthe RetHrningFrQdigal. . 205 

forth^ and put it on ; ] Some think the fervants here are the An- 
gels ; Others rather think them to be the Minifters of the Gof[;cI. 
But why , faith he, to his fervants, bring itforth,and put it on ? 
IS he not able to do it himfelf ? True, God alone is able ; but he 
who for power is able alone to coHfer any grace,being Lord of all, 
in wifdome thinks fit to confer and difpence Grace by the Miniflry 
of fervants, that fo the ufe of means liquid alvvayes accompany 
the dependance on his power: But why, faith he not, let the 
Prodigal put it on himfelf? Iconjedure, becaufe, as God only 
hath Grace, fo he only can inveft us with it; we can no more 
drefs our felves with fpiritual abilities , then the child that is 
newly born: God finds the Garment, and he alfo finds the; 
hands to put it on ; gives Chrift, and an hand of Faith to put 
him on ; gives grace, and a will alfo to receive it. If the Prodi- 
gal had been naturally able , as the Pelagians chmour it, it had 
been enough that the Garment had been brought forth, and 
jfhewed unto him as the belt, and then he could have of himfelf 
put iron, but there is no fuch matter ; the Prodigal wanted not 
only a Robe to wear, but Itrength alfo to put it on , and therefore 
the Robe is by his Fathers will , both reprefented to him, and he 
invelled with it by a Forinfecal Induition. So that you 
have at this time, r. The gift and the excellency ef it^ 

2. The Author^ or caufe of it, 3. The means , or man-- 

ntr of Application of it. Touching the firft, two queftions 
crave our refolucion: 

I. what thit Kohe or Garment is ^ which is here beftovved on What this 
the returning Prodigal ? Sol. There is,you know,a forcfold Gar- R^^c or Gar* 
ment. 1. Natural : Our Skin is the Garment that fwathes our "^^^'^^s. 
fletli and body, fob feemeth to infinu:ite this, to be as a moth- 
eaten Garment .^ c. 1 3. 2X. and a changeable f nit y c.30. 1 8. The Text 
fpe%notof it. 2. Civih Such as we, wear for ufe and di- 
ftinilion ; nor of this doth the Text fpeak. 3. Evilx The 
Apoftle calls it a Garment f potted with the flcfhyjude v. 2 3 .and thQ 
Prophet (tiles it a menftrmus f/<7^r^,andS.?^///advifeth us to put it 
wholly ofiF,iE/?^.4. 4. 5f /nV//^/: Which is ofth.it regardand con- The Spiritual 
cernment to the Soul, as a civil Garment is to the body; this is iho. ^o^- 
garment of which theTextdoth fpeak. This agiin is twofold,either 
I. ImpHtedrighteoMfnefs.2.0' Inherent righteoufnefs^both of thefe 

are in Scripture cxprefled as Garments,, and we are often called 

■ to 


2o6 ^^^^ Gracious Acceptance 

to put them on, as Rom. 1 3 . Efh,^. and the JVoman in the Reve- 
lation is faid to be ehaihed with th€ Sim, 

The Robe, though as, I conjecture in this place, is^ that of 
Of imputed imfHted rlghteoHfnefs^ namdy,the active and paiFive obedience of 
Rifibceoufncfs. Jeius Chrilt,\vhicn we then put on, when by faith we receive je- 
Puconby fus Chrilt ; and it is well compared to a Robe or Garment, 
^lith. j^ For '/lecejfuy ; though all lores of Garments be not necellary, 

RoS^*^ ^° * y^^ ^^"^^ ^^^? F^J^fW, to cover ourfhamt a-rd tjakednefs^md defeds, 
For N^s.flTny. that they appear not : before the fall of aAdam^ nakednefs was 
a badg of mnocency , but after it, a reproach and (hame ; and 
therefore God made our firft paren s Garments to cover their 
fhame : In like manner, if we would have our finful, naked Souls, 
which .ire Ihameful in the eyes of God and man , covered from 
the revenging eye of his juttice, that our nakedness appear mt^ 
Rev,7^^i^, Of neceflfity, wemuft be cloathed vvith th^ Robe of 
Chrifts righteoufnefs : Partly, 71? prote^ us from Injuries of ex^ 
treme cold in the wlnte-r^ and violent heat in the Summer^ &c. Of 
the fame virtue , is the Robe of Chrifts righteoufnefs tofecurc 
the Soul from the fcorchmg flames of divine wrath , and the pier- 
cing terrours of a guilty and accuiing confcience ; by the Hiadow 
of it, we enjoy peace unfpeakable, and moft delightful tranquil- 
lity : 71? preferve and cherijh natural heat and life ; our Gar- 
ments are the warm Bed we walk in, and fomewhat anfwerable to 
food for prefcrvation : uch is Jefus Chrift, in rcfpedl of julH- 
fying righteoufnefs, a very quickning fpirit, our life, and the ftay 
thereof, and the fpring of our fweeteft comforts, and refreiliings 
in coiifcience ; for what is juftification but life from the dead, 
mercy at the bar, pardon to a condemned perfon , God atone 
TorOrna- vvith us, and we eftated into his favour and happinefs? ^, For 
meat. Ornament , Therefo"e you read of coftly Apparel,of Purple , 

and foft Raiment,of Cloathing of wrought Gold,and Raiment of 
needle work, all vvhich are beautiful adornings, and fetus out in 
a kind of Majeliy and State. Doth not the righteoufnefs of 
Chrift do fo ? it is our comely :5nd glorious Ornament, which for 
the glory of it, is called the cloathing of the San , and heamiful 
Ornaments ; luch as make us altogether comely, and lovely, vvith- 
out fpotor wrinkle , and verv pleafant and precious : It is the 
For Dlftindi- choicelt Jewel which the Chriftian can wear. :?. For diflinBion : 
Qvu Nations you know , arc diftinguiflicd by their habits ; and fo 


' — — ' - ' '<! - 

of the Returning Prodigal. a c 7 

amongft us, the orders of Callings are, or iliould be differenced 
by variety of Garmeats. Thus our profelfion of , and reliance 
only on the righteoufnefs of ChriR, doth dilHngui/h us from all 
Infidels, Jews, Papifts, who either deny the thing,or elferely on 
lomeching elfe. 

3. But why is this G/irment called the tefl Rahe ? Some think To the bcft 
it is called Beft, byreafon of its amqmtjfimi therefore they ex- R-^be. 
pound r ^ohh T •T^^arnv^Stotam primfimyth^ firlt RobCjas if Jidam 
had wore this Garment before his Fall ; but how he lliould get 
Chriiis Garment (who in thateliate neither had, nor did need 
his perfon ) I cannot ye: conceive : Others interpret the Belt- 
nefsof this Robe, not fo much by the antiquity , as by the ex- For excellency. 
cellency ; for it is a garment more excellent then any other in all 
the world : To lliew its precedency , in refped of our ordinary ^ 

GarmentSjis a meer idle and vain labour ; for indeed there is no 
comparifon twixt them, becaufe of different kinds, andof vaft 
difproportion. But frame the comparifon with Garments,which 
have fome excellency in them, yet,as Solomon fpake of the daugh- 
Xtx^ihe furm-mnted^kizm all ; fo here,&c. 

Firft, Comport h with that Garms^t which Adnm hadtrtlnno- 
cency , yet this of Chrifts is better .• Better if you confider the ^{^l^^^^f^ 
ffdjefis^ChnR and Adam ; or the duratlon^ioi ftability,or vigour, Aim in inno- 
for our benefit : Thz firfl Adam was a perfe6l man, but the ccnc/. 
fecond Adam was perfed God as well as man ; the righteoufnefs 
in the one, though it was perfe6l pr<? ftatu^sti it was both mutable, 
and incommunicable ; zy^dam might,and did lofe it, nor did he 
derive it in the virtue and benefit of it to another, or in the mat- 
ter it felf ; But Chrifts righteoufnefs is immutable,and alfo com- 
municable ; it is a Garment for the head, and for the members , 
and not in dur keeping , but in his own ; and therefore not a 
changeable Suit, but a Garment which fhall never wax old. 
Secondly, Compare it with the Garments which the high Prie/} ^ . 

did wear., it is far more excellent then any of them. The Ef hod', ^{([-^ t|,g q^^^ 
■ which the high Prieft was to wear , was made of white Linnen , mcnts of the 
and it was 1 irge, and ^tt with many precious ftones ; and fo alfo bi^h Piicft. 
was the Breft-ffate of fudgmentvery precious , and the Rohe of 
theEphod, which had the Pomgranats , and the Bells of Gr>ld ; 
as alfo the Embroidered Coat which was curiou fly wrought of moft 
precious matter, and cunning workmanfliip. But far inferiour 


2o8 ^^^^ gracious Acceptance 

to this Garment of Chrifts righceournefs, of which all thofe 
Garments were but types and iliadowes, but a Ceremonial adum- 
bration of his fubftantial perfection, fuggefting that more admi- 
rable perfedion, and excellency which was to b^ believed, and 
^ • h • h ^^^^^^ ^^ Chrirt and his righteoufnefs. Or thirdly , Compare 
rent holincfs. " ^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ holme fs which we call inherent y becaufe exiting in us ; 
though this be a rare and diftinguiflimg, and excellent Garment , 
yet it is not comparable to that of Chrijfts righteoufnefs ; Becaufc 
. ijt wants much of perfe^tomlt is not theSun,but a twinkiingStar ; 
there be many iioles to be pickt in this Goat, ix. falls, flionfor 
length and breadth • much corrup ion clings about it 5 Weknovy, 
and 'believe, and love, and obey, but in part. 2. It wants ex^ 
ceedlnglj in reffeB of dignity and merit ; VVe cannot get ,the blef- 
fing for its fake;though it be "via yet it is not canfa. But tht righ- 
teoufnefs of Chriil, it is a moi\ abfoluce and compleat thing, and 
alfo eminently meritorious ; it is a full price, and def^^rves Hea- 
ven it felf for us ; we ftand perfe6t, re^i in curia^ before God in 
it; it covers all our defe6l:s, and reprefentsus altogether accep- 
table before the judgment-feat. In a word , to fum up all con- 
It is beft in re- cerning this Garment r It is the beft in refpeil-, Of Divine De(i^ 
o^n* • A ^^^^^'^^5 ^^^ wifdome of God appoints it as the choiceftand 
fitnat/on"^ chiefeft : Of Divifte acceptation ; Heiooks upon ix. with more fa-^ 
Of Divine ac- vour then any other righteoufnefs: Of Com^arifon^ with all o- 
ccptation. thers, as I have fhevved .• And of our Condition^ there is not fo 
Of Compari- proper , andfoufeful, and fo meritorious a Garment for any 

Of '* C^"ft^^" ^^ P^^ ^"> ^^ ^^^^• 

don. °"^'" - Thus briefly of the excellency of the Gift. Now I proceed 
to thefecond Branch,which contains the Author 01 Giver thereof, 

ihis^C^ft ' [The Father f aid. Bring forth] as alfo the manner of Application 
of it, \_ He faid to his fervants, Pfiton, ] 

God is the Au- ^ • ^^^ lAmhor of this RighteoHfnefs(\yhkh is the beil Robe) 

iborof it. is God^y and therefore it is frequently called the Gift of righteouf- 
nefsj Rom, 5. ly.and the righteoufnefs of God^Phil, ^.p.Becaufe it isf 
a righteoufnefs of his giving. God is th^ caufe of it, By giving 
of Chriiltobeour righteoufnefs, who is expreflyfaid, of God to 
be made unto m wife dome and righteoufnefs , i Cor. i. 30. By 
giving unto us the means by which that righteoufnefs is commu- 
nicated, i'/^. Word and Sacraments : By blefflng thefe means 
to work in us Faith to receive Jefus Chrirt, and fo become par- 
takers ' 

^ . 

of the Returning ?rodtgd. 209 

takers of his rightcoufnefsjby imputing that righteoufncfs ©fChrift 
unto us, upon our believing, and lb accepting of us to eternal life. 

2. The manner of Af plication : Put it onhimyhith i\\z Tt\t, -r^ ^ 

There is a threefold Application of this Robe of righteoufnefs un- Application.^" 
to finncrs : One,^A' fane donanth^which is God,tlie prime caufe, 
who applies it to ush Impntationy as you may evidently fee m 
Bj,^. i? ?, 5 . A fecond,^ AT fane mimjhaj^tisyVfhxch are the means , 
through which the righteoufnefs of God is revealed, and likewifc 
(^7 the effe^nal csKcomitancy of the ^/>/V/V)applied unto us : The 
Ordinances §f God are the Orb which carry the Sun of righte- 
oufnefs. A third is , ex parte recifiems : and the Application, 
or putting on of this robe of righteouincfs on our part, is partly 
Sacramental y\y\\^x\ we are baptized into Chrift , aftd pr of efs pub- 
iickly to receive him : partly Spiritua/y which belongs to that 
faith(which Gcd alone implants) inabling us to put on Chrijft, as 
the Scripture often exprefl'eth it. 

I will now bring down all this to our felves,in fome ufeful Ap- Vfe, 
plications: All that I will infijft on at this time,{liall be reduced un- 
to two heads, i. For Examination; whether this beft Robe be put p 
upon us,yea or no. 2. For AVf(^/^;;. i.How to get it, i.Howtoufe ^5°^ Exammi- 
and wear it. Examine your fclves what Wardrobe you have ? You 
have, I perceive, many fafrions,many kabits;we know not hovy to ^*''* y°" P*« 
call them,whether civil,or uncivil, you fhift fo often: there is fuch ^"nV?^^ 
a vanity in man, that difpofeth his fancy to alterations; and befides 
that,there is an extream pride in perfons , they muft be in brave 
cloathing, and mithke their conditions, and abilities : though they 
lofe theirRcputation and their Elhte for it, They will wear after the * 

beft.Wel,if you have fuch a mind to richGarments,what fay you to 
the bcft Robe that ever any finful perfon did wcar?what fay you to 
the righteo'-ifnefs ofChriftPhave you put it on,yea or no? Confidcr 

I . It is fuch a Garment ythat of all other thou needejl moft : Our j^ f j iGirmeA 
beft Garments are many times fupcrfluous, we need them not, that of alio- 
we can attire our felves, well enough without them ; but this beft tb«r$ we ncc4 
Robe is the moli needful ; thou canft not live without it, nor °*^** , 

mayft thou dye without it : How naked art thou with thy ' ll 

fiithinefs , before the eyes of a pure God ? And how at once P 

may his wrath pour out it felf like fire, and confume thee, having 
no covering at all to fhelter thee? Friend (faid he) to 
that btruder in the Gofpel , JfJoav camefi thon in hnc without 

E e thy 

210 Gods grmous Acc^pamc 

thy mdd'mg Gdrment ? When thou goeit to Prayer, or fteps ta 
the Sacrament, or art giving up thy Soul into the hands of God ^ 
and haft no covering for any of thy fins ; miy not God in the 
fame way of judgment fay unto thee, and befpeak thes .- How 
doft thou prefent thyfelf before me with all this finfulnefs ? thou 
knoweft that I am a God of purer eyes then to behold fin, and 
there is no communion tvvixt light and darknefs : I tell thee,thac 
there is, No acceptance of thy perfon without this Robe; the Lord 
cannot abide the fight of thee without it, for tkou canft not but 
provoke him, as oft as thou appears before him in thy nakednefs 
^Tvi. vilenefs : No refped unto thy fervices; not that the Lord do h 
diflike any duty, but that the perfon muft be rtrft covered with the 
righteoufnefs df Chrift, if he would have his offering tobeac- 
By njturc wc cepted. 2. By namn we are horn nakjd^ utterly deftitute of this 
are born niked. pj:ecious Robe.^//or the nativity [[zidGod tojerufalem)/;? the day 
that thofi waft hornet hy Travel was not cut ^neither waft thou wafljed 
in Witter to [piffle theej^elther waft thou fa/ted at alienor fwadled at 
all. Ezek.id.4.0f as Chrifi to the Church of LaadtcAyThoH art 
wretched^and mlferahle^and foor^and bllnd^and naked : So we by 
nature,cloathed only with raggs of corruption {w'wh filthy raggs^ 
Ji^^.6^.6.) mdy^s Jojhua in Zach,^, :^^ C/oathed with filthy Gar- 
f«^??rj,deftitute of God, of Chrift, of all righteoufnefs : as if you 
fhould fee a naked child, born with Sores,aHd Boils, and Plagues , 
Wc are of no and Leprofies, running and fpreading from top to toe. ^,Toh are of 
excellency n9 excellency without this Robe : Then only we come to excellent 
witbout thh Ornaments when this is put on. All the Robes you get on you, 
• . are but the llirouds of dead men,or like Velvet caft over an Herfe.. 
KiSolomon faid oi beauty in a fooliili womanjit is but as a ^ewel\in 
a fwines fnout : So we fay of all other Garments , they are Or- 
There is none naments put on a bafe dead and loathfomefoul. 4. The Robe of 
like it. Chrifts righteoufnefs^ there is none like it^ for thy good And benefit : 

It is an Otna- Foi* I .^^ i^ ^» Ornament as well as a Garment: All our acceptance 
ment as well as before God is as we are cloathed with it,then are we cloathed with 
a Garmcnr. the Sun,noVY are we precious in his eye^; it makes us beautiful and 
An Armor as Jovely,- and accepted in the eyes of God. 2. It is armour as 
well as an Or- weU as Ornament : For the precioufnefs of it, it is a vefiure of 
namcnt. puj-e Gold; and for the ftrength of it,it is, as a Coat of }AiA\Let #« 

fut on the Armor ofLght-fRom,! ;?. 1 1. We may by it5keep off the 
ftrongeft accufaticms of Satan,and ftand even before the judgment- 

of the Returning Prodigal, - 2li 

feat/ / ^m yiAck^hnt comely ^ faith the Church, Cant, 1.5. though 

in her felf black, yet in this rightcoufnefs comely.It can anfvver all 

our own imperfedtions, and all that Satan can objedi againli us, or 

the Lavv,or our own fearful hearts ; Sins and imperfections, and 

defers, cannot anfwer Go^ ; but a perfe6l righteoufnefs can. 

:^, his a Garment for warmth as wtU as for fight : When we look j^ jj jGarmcnc 

on our felves and our own righteoufnefs,our fpirits may dye within for watmch as 

us ; but peace and comfort flow from the righteoufnefs of Chrilf, ^tl! is iot 

it was ]:erfe(l;l,and meritorious,and accepted;and this will chear the ^i*^^* l 

heart above all , if we be fomd In Chrijf having his righteoufnefs. 

There goes wonderful virtue from the hem of this Garment, both 

to fatisrie God , and to pacifie the confcience ; as Jacob got the 

bleffmg with the elder Sens Garment-^ fo do we ^ti all our mercies, 

and comforts, and bklTings , by being cloathed with the Robe of 

Chriifs righteoufnefs. 

But hvvfi may rvekjtow that we have jm on this hefi Robe ? How may we 
SoL I will inrtance but in three particulars to difcover this. i. If know that we 
jwe havep,'.ton Chrtfis Robe^ we havefm ef our own Rags ; ( vve *^*^^ P"^ ^^ °*** 
have put them off, i. AfeUu, 2. CemuA As it was with ^^^''^^P"^ 

rr n rj \ rr- ri I -n J / / 0" OUrOWa 

jojhua^ Zacn.^.4. His filthy Rags were takjnaway^ and then g^g^,^ 
he wa4 ihathed with change of Raiment : So here , no man 
can aflure himfelf that he is cloathed with Chrifts righteoufnefs, 
unlefs he doth difmantle himfelf of his own unrightcoufnefs. 
Eph. 4. 21. If y^ have been taught as the truth u in Jefus ; 
V. 22.Put ofroncerning the former converfation^the old man which it 
€orYHp according to the deceitful lufls. v. 2:?. And fut on that new 
man^Uc, Rom. 1 :? . 1 2 ,Caft ojf the }yorkj of Darknefs , and fut on 
the Armour of light: For a man to imagine that he hath the 
Robe of Chrifts righteoufnefs,and yet to walk in the paths of un- 
righteoufnefs, in chambering and wantonnefs^in f^rife and envying^ ' 
in all volupt\ioufnefs, and beaftlinefs , &c. No w^;;,faith Chrifl-^ 
foweth a piece of new C loath to an old Garment ^ Mark 2. 7. i . 'Tis 
truc,that none but finners are cloathed with this Robe ; but then 
it is as true, that no iinners are cloathed with it, but drive widi all 
their might,' to put off their finful rags by hearty contrition, and 
confeifion , and <:onverfion. 2. Only faith puts on this Robe ; Only faith ,' 
And therefore , as this Robe is called the righteoufnefs of God , P"» 0" thh 
bothfo: derignation,imputation, and acceptation ; Soitis alfo ^'^^** 
called the righteoufnefs of Faith : Not that Faith in a formal 

E e 2 fenfe 

212 Cods gracious Ace ep ami 

fenfe is our righteoufnels : For Faith did not dye for us ,. nor 
can Faith of itfelf merit for us ; nor is Faith of itfelf com- 
plear>but imperfeft : bm becaufc it is the InftrHrwKt which appre- 
hends Chnft and his righteoufnels , and by which we put on 
Chrill with his righteoumefs. Have you Faith, or have you not ? 
Nay, but deceive not your felves, The Faith which puts on 
this righteoufnefs, muft be able, i, Tq det^ji our own rlghte-^ 
enf-nefsy to take of ail confidence in the fleili ; Faith cannot put 
on Chrilis righteoufnefs , until it hath put off your own. 2. 7» 
fee a need of this rlghtetufnefs ^ and to prize and defire to be 
found in it, above and before all other ; the Laodiceans muilfee 
that they /ire naked^and then hny Rmment^zs, 3. 5, Tonmte 

tii to Jefus Chriflilt mufi work in us,both eifimation(for our judg- 
mentsj and acceptation (for our vrills; )io that it muff make us one 
with Chrif^, and fo we come to be cloathed vvi:h the Garment of 
Chrili : But perhaps you can reft upon your own good meanings, 
works , innocency. You are r/V/?, and need not to borrow 
any Garment ; you are united to yoi;r luih , and will not part 
This Robci vvith them for Chrif^, nor for all his Ornament.. :;, This Rok 
and chat ot ho- */ righteoufnefs^ and that other of hollnefs are Infef arable ,'■ It 
lineistrc infc- is granted,that inherent holinefs is not formally the fame with im- 
parabif. puted righteoufnefs ; it is granted, that the one is in Chrift , the 

other is in us ; that the one is perfe6l , the other is imperfed ; 
that the one is meritorious,the other though '\x be precious,yet it 15 
not meritorious : Yet as the light,and heat of the Sun,though the 
one be not the other, yer they go together; fo the Robe of righte- 
oufnefs, and the Robe of holinefs go together ; the new Garment 
is only to befeenupon thenewm^.n. Therefore you read, that 
Chrif}: is made not on\y Righteoufnefs ^hwt alfo5^;7^/^r/?r/W:Righte- 
€)ufnefs,this is a grace without us,vvhereby we are advanced ; San- 
^ification,this is a grace wrought within us,by which we advance 
and glorifie God; that refr>ecl.s the State, this the nature of the per» 
fon:^J Grace muft reign through righteoufnefs to eternal life ^"Ko. 5, 
21. Soalfo holinefs mufl reign to ezerlaftlng life yRo. 5.22. The 
one as a cauTcjthe other as a mcans.Now then,as If thou canft dif- 
cern any light in the morning, thou concludeft that the Sun is ri- 
fen,fo if thou canft difcover any true holinefs in thy heart, thou 
maift conclude that the Sun of righteoufnefs is rifcn : the ap- 
pearing of holinefs is a fign of the rifmg of righteoufnefs* 

Yea J 

efthe Returning Frodtg^l. 213 

Yea, the Prophet fpeaking of the Sun of Righteoufnefs,faith,//l? 
Jhallarifc with healmg in his wings ^ Ma/,^, 2. to intimate, That 
where righteoufnefs comics, there holineis comes. Ah 1 doft 
thou find no change in thy Nature, in thy judgment, in thy 
Mind, in thy Will, in thy Arfedtions ? why (as fure as the Lord 
lives) thou haft not yet put on this Robe of righteoufnefs. Doth 
Chrili prefent thy pcrfon unfpotted before God ? and doth he 
(thinkfl: thou)leave thy heart with all its fpots and filthinefs ? 
[^And fat a Jiing on his Hand, j 
This is the fecond favour conferred on the penitent Prodigal 
by his Father. A Ring is fuch a piece of fubftance which is 
put on the finger,partly for Ornamenc,and partly to telHfie Nup-^ 
tial union and conjunftion. S. Chryfofiom doth conjedure, that 
the Ring in this place is, Nuftiarum infigne qui has Chriflns 
Eeclcfiam Sponfat^ an embleme of the Efpoufals mixt Chrift: 
and his Church. So that then we have this Proportion to . 
infift on: 

That God gives unto the penitent perfon a precious Faith^ By Docl, 2 
yvhich he is Efpoufed or Married unto Chrift, There are three G^d ^i^^s [be 
things, which being explained, will give up unto us the full fenfe P«ni:cnc pcrfon 
of this Affertioa: i. What it is to be married unto Chrift. P«itiJ ^y wbicti 
2. That Faith doth Efpoufe and Marry a perfon unto Chrift ; JcS 
and what faith that is, and in what refped"^. 3 , That the penitent 
perfon hath this faith. 

Quefi.i, For the firft of thefc ; H^hat it is to ^ Efpoufed or Whit it is to 
Married unto Chrift^ (which is here fignified by putting on the ^* matred un- 
Ring.) Sol, They who write of Marriage do conjed^ure that thefc ^° ^^^*^- 
fix things concur unto it, i . Mutum Confenfwyi mutual Confent- 
ing. 2.Mutuus Contrafius^^ mutu.^1 Cbntrading; ^,Mutua Obli- 
gation a mutual Obliging ; 4. Mmua Conjun^lloy a mutual Union 
and Conjun6lion ; ^. MutuA Poteflas^gt mutual faculty or Right; 
6, Mutua SocietaSy^ mutual ,ufe or Society, Tranfl.ite this from a 
Civil to a Spiritual confideration,and then to be married to Chrift 
impl yes, 1 ,A Confent to take or accept of Chrift: Though knowledg 
of perfons be neceffary and ^t^ yet it is not fuflFicient to marriage ^^ '[J'pVw^ ^ 
without confent ; for marriage ought t^be a voluntary tranfaition ^°"^^"^ 
of perfons,and in it we do,in afort,give away our felves ; but then 
this is not without our felve?; yea,and therein we doele(^ & make 
choice for our felves, and therefore confent is a neceffary concur- 

2 1 A Gods Gracious Acceptance 

rence to marriage. Novv this confent is nothing elfe but a free gnd 
plain a6t of the will, accepting of Jefus Chriit, before all othd:,to 
be its Head and Lord. Chrift offers hinafdf in theGofpel un.o 
aperfon, I am the only Saviour of finners, and Lord of ail, dc- 
figned to be Prieii, Prophet and King ; art thou willing to ac* 
cept of me ? canft thou like of me before ail others ? doft thou 
f ? doii thou m.^ke choice of me for thy Saviour and Lord? 
A mutual 2. A Contra^wgof the SfHlwhh Chrlfl : Cont ravins \iw^i\\m^ 
Contraft. elfe but cQnfenfns exflicatHs^ a con trad is a confent expreffed in 
words; but then they muft be words pro^r to make Marriage, 
Theymuftnotbe v€ri^a dnhU^ dubious words ; as, I will marry 
Hone but you ; but verba cUra & afjirmativay affirmative, I 
* will marry you : for the Rule of the Cafuitts is good, Cotifenftii 
mn datur fer ?neram Ktgmonem, And as they muli not be verba 
dtihla^ hut affirmativa^ fo they muii not be verba futura (^r con-- 
dltionatay hereafter, or upon fuch a condition, but v^rba de j)re-^ 
ferny I now accept or take, &c. Then a man is Married unto 
Chrif^, when he doth freely, and abfolutely, and prefently re- 
V ceive the Lord Jefus. Not, I would have Cbrift if it did not 
prejudice my worldly eftate, eafe, friends, dec. Or, hereafter 
I will accept of him, when I come to dye, and be in diftrefs j 
but now when Salvation is offered, now while Chrifl tenders 
himfelf, I now yield up mv heart and life unto him. 5. A;t ob- 
A mutual Ob- ligmg of the Soul to Chrlfl ; for, ex coniraEiti oritHrvinmlam ; 
ligation. iox^z call this tradition or, refignatio : and therefore Marriage is 

/ a Knot or Tye, wherein perfons are mutually limitted and bound 

each to other in a way of Conjugal feparation from all others ; 
and this in Scripture is called a Covenant. So when any one 
Marries Chrifl , he doth therein difcharge himfelf in affedion 
and fubjedion from all that is contrary to Chrift ; and folemn- 
ly Covenants and binds himfelf to Chrift alone : He will have 
no Saviour and no Lord but Chrifl, and to him will he cleave for 
ever; Slrfffliclter & Indijfolubl liter ^c^ fer fona^C^ flatt^^ & tem^ 
fore : It is not every apprehenfion, nor every tranfcient appro- 
bation, but the Will muft come to an obligation, bindinj^ it felf 
A Mutual ^"^ 3 perpetual Covenant to Chrift alone. 4. An Union or Con-- 
Conjundion juntlion with Chrlfl : Before Marriage the perfons were diftin6V, 
and had no other relation but what was common to Nature ; 
but upon Marriage two ^rem fide &nf fejhy iCor,6,i6. This 


- — -- . ■ ^ 

of the Returning Prodigal. 215 

is bone of my hone^ and flejh ef my flejh-i faid Adam of his Wife, 
Gen, 2. So when the foul is married unto Chrift, not only in refpe6i 
of affe5^ion (for love unites) but likevvife in refpedl of nature ; 
he that // jojned to the Lord is one Sprite faith the Apoftie, 
lCor,6,ij, That Nature which is in Chrift, it is participated 

, of by him that is married unto Chrift ; fo that there doth arife, 
upon this marriage, the neareft and deareft relation of union that 
is ill all the world. 5. A f amity of right or merefii Indeed ;^ Q,ufu i 
Chrifts faculty over us is, facuitas Domimly & facnltas Infiu- Riohc. 
entidL ; a faculty of Domlmo^ (he hath a right to rule and guide 
us) and a faculty of InflHerxe , he hath a right to teach and heal 
us : Such a faculty of Soveraignty we have not over Chrift • yet 
we h^vizfactiltatem Jurls^ a faculty of Right or Intereft, which 
they call Jus Ifjre, or as others,a faculty of propriety. Though the 
Wife hath not a power of authority over her Husband, yet ilie 
hath a power of propriety in her Husband ; that as he can fay. 
This IS my Wife, fo fhe can fay. This is my Husband. In like 
manner, whofoever is marryed unto Chrift, he hath an intereft 
in the perfon, in the condition of Chrift ; there" hath pafled fuch 
an intire, and proper, and peculiar, and mutual refignation, that 
he may fay as the Church in the Canticles, My Beloved is mlne,^ y 

And I am his : The married unto Chrift gives up the right . of 
his foul and body unto Chrift ; O Lord Jefus, all that I am, all 
that I have, all that I can do, is thine and for thee. 6, Laftly, A mucual So- 
There is Society and Ufe : As marriage infers with it Co-habita- cicty. 
tion and Co-intereft, they dwell together, and make ufe of either, 
both perfons and eftates. Thus is it when any perfon is married 
unto Chrift, there is a holy fociety and fellowftjip of him with 
Chrift ; Chrift dwels in him, and he dwels in Chrift ; Chrift de- 
lights in him, and he delights in Chrift; Chrift makes ufe of 
him, and he makes ufe of Chrift: If he wants grace, or mer- 
cy, or ftrergth, or peace, or comfort , why, faith Chrift, I am 
thine, I have them for thee, make ufe of me : And if Chrift 
would ufe him in any ferrice , Lord, faith the foul that is mar- 
ried to Chrift, If thou wilt have me to fpeak for thee, I will 
fpeakfor thee; If thou wilt have me to do for thee, I will do . . - • 

Tor thee ; if thou wilt have me to fuffer for thee, Iwillfufe 

- for thee ; if thou wilt have me to dye for thee ; I wili 
dye for the Name of Chrift , faid TohI. So that you fee 


21 S €ods gracms Jeceftanee 

what the Ring in the Text may import, namely, the marriage 
of the foul unto Chritt, and what that is. 
What it i» Qf^efi. 3. The next thing to be difcufled is, Hijatthat Is 

which mirri- which marrjeth us unto Chriji- ? and that I told you was Faith : 
«h us unto jf^e principal caufe of this match is the Spirit of jefus Chrift, 
Faitb'^^^ but the internally inftrumental caufe is Faith. I know you 
know the feveral acceptations of the word Faith; I take it 
in the Habitual fenfe, not in the Dodrinal, and there too ia 
„ the choice and eminent part; I meanjas retrained to J uftifyiog 

do^h'u. ^"*^ Saving : of ail other Graces in man, this is it which makes 

the match and draws up the marriage twixt the Soul and 
Chrift. And the manner how it doth efte6t itj I conceive may 
be thus : 
By Difcovcr- ^* ^/ ^'7^''^^^% ^^^ frehemincnt excellencies of Chrifl : For 
inj the excel- till the foul can difcern a better excellency in Chrili then in any 
lencict of other thing, it will never yield to match it fclf unto him. 
Ch ift. jvJq^y Faith hath two Virtues ; One is, to nuike the mind rightly 

to judge all finful and worldly things as hafe and vile^ drofs and 
dung f Phil. ^.) i'n com far if on of Chrift, Another is, to refrefent 
unto the foul the real and f^rpajjing excellencies of Chrift. It 
is the Jacois StafFwhich makes us to take the heigth, and depth, 
and breadth of the excellency of Chrift ; that there is no Belo- 
ved like Chriit ; he is the Choiceft of ten thoufand ; fuch a one 
• in whom the God-Head dwels bodily; full of Grace; the holy 
One of God ; the brightnefs of the Fathers Image ; the Lord 
of Life ; tfee Prince of Glory ; the moft excellent in himfelf,and 
moft ccxnplete and abfolute for the Redemption and Salvation of 
a fitiner. 
Byfubjf^ing 2. 3y fuijeBing the Judgment to the ajfent and af probation of 
thf J udgmcnt j^;^ excellent trmhy That none is like Chrift for afmner ; That he 
batioV^/his ^^ ^^^ ^"^7 ^^viour and Redeemer ; and that fuch an offer of Je- 
cxedlcncy. fus Chrift unto a (inner, is worthy of all acceptation; the fmner 
is made for ever if he can get Chrift, and he peri/lies for ever 
if he enjoyes him not. As a woman in a difpofition to Mar- 
riage , ilie confidcrs of the perfon , and his qualities , and 
. condition, and thinks often , This man hath choice parts in him, 
a good eftate , I cannot better mv felf if I rcfufe him, I fee I may 
do very well if I match unt© nim. Anfwerable effedls doth 
Faith work in the foul , it doth make the mmde of a man 


of the Returning Prodigal. 217 

'to fee the fuperlative excellency of Jefu's Chriff , and to fall in li-^ 
king of him and them. Come, I need a Saviour ; Chriit is he, 
and none eJfe ; he is the Prince of my peace, the Lord of my 
life ; his Nature is excellent, Redemption fuflicient and proper. 
Laws righteous and good ; it is my vvidcme, it is my Tafety, it is 
my falvation to accept of him, and to bcltow my foul on him. 

^. Bylnclimng the mil to confent and emhracc the Lord jefns : ^ ' V \ 
For true Faith is not a meer notion, buc an operating grace ; it ^be will r.o fm- 
is as light in the mind, and as heat in the will ; there it is a fmgu- brace him, 
lar reprefentation, and here it is an eflfedual inclination. It \s 
•granted, that to embrace, or 10 be willing, or to confent, are the 
ndls of the will ; but to. embrace Ghrift with a conjugal confent, 
to be willing to belbw our felves on him, this comes from faith 
enabling the Will fo to will. Not by way of coad^ion, for the 
Will cannot be compelled ; nor doth Faith work in a violent way, 
though it works in an effectual way, enabling the Will to a free 
eledion of Chrift before all others, ( /.) predominant caufes in 
Chrill, to accept of him, and to refign up to him, rather than 
to fin, or world, or any thing elfe ; and when the Wil is wrought 
upon, fo as to accept of Chrift in his Perfon, and Offices, and 
Eftates, the foul is now matched or married to Chrift by Faith. 
It beftows it fclf, and gives Chrift all the right, and cleaves.un- 
"to him in an indiifoluble bond of affection and fervice. 

Quefi, :^ . The third refolveable, is,concerning the SubjeB of this The fubic a of 
falth^ who hath it ? The Text refolves that, by telling us, that chi$ fiicb. 
the Ring was put on the returning Prodigals finger, fo that the 
femtCfft ferfoH is he who wears the Riffg^ ( /.) who is anefpoufed fbe pcnhert 
or married perfon by Faith unto Chrift : You miy be married P^"^^®" «sonely ^ 
toyourLulfe, and to the World, though you be impenitent ; yet^?"^^""^* 
none but Penitents are married unto Chrift by Faith. Not that 
Repentance goes before Faith in Chrift, ( for no Grace habitually 
confidered, is in time before another, though in operation it be:) 
'Nor that Repentance is thecaufe of Faith ; for it is a moft im- 
proper Affertion, to make one Grace to be the caufe of another 
Grace, when as every Grace doth come onely from the Spirkof ^**^°''**' 
Chrift as the caufe. But becaufe, i . The penitent perfon is only the pj,. pcnrm- 
ftih^ecb of Faith which doth marry us to Chrift ; no perfon 15 a be- perfon onely 
liever,who \^ not a penitent perfon : The Prodigal, while onely a hitfe faiih. 
Prodigal, he hath neitherGarment nor Ring; but when he is a retur- 

Ff . ning 

2 1 8 Cods Gracious Acceftance 

, ning Prodigal, then he hath both, and not till then. 2. One-^ 
Onely pcni- y^ -pemtent ferfons can evidence their faith and efpoufal luita 
caa^^Wence ^^^^^ • Another, who is impenitent^ can no more evidence 
their faith. his intereft or title to Chrift, then an Alien that never heard of 
this Land, can e\adence or conclude his title and right to any 
Goods or Chattels of yours. The title to Chrift is proper onely 
to the Penitent ; for them he lived, and for them onely he 
died. ~ . 

Why will tilt Novvifanyfhould yet further demand, why the Lordjhau/d 
Lord give this £ive unto penitent perfons a free tons faith to effonfe them to Chrifi ? 
to penitent j conje6lure, briefly, thatthefe may be the Grounds or Reafons* 
^r ons. ^ ^ To convince all the worlds that there is no lofiin leaving of Jin, 

theworlT" -Ai^jice te5ifim & tolie coslfm, faid one. The repentant perfon 
is no lois^n forfakes his fins, but prefently finds a Saviour ; he is divorced 
leaving iifl. from that which would damn him, and by faith is efpoufed unto 
To fupport the one that will fave him. 2. To fafport the foul of the penitenty 
foul of the he a- which of all other is mofi Pck^aftd heavy laden : It is molt fenfible 
vy laden. .q£ f^^^^ ^^^ gyii^.^ ^^^^ Qq^js difpleafure, on all which it cannot long 
look alone. If the penitent perfon had not faith to fee a Media- 
tour, he Would not long have an eye to look upon his tranfgreffi- 
ons. It is a truth, that Repentance could never ac^ it felf, un- 
lefs the penitent perfon had faith to a6l it felf too. The forrow 
in Repentance would infinitely fink into defpair, and the forfa- 
king of fin would turn into a forfaking of God, if Faith favv 
not a Mediatour for Tranfgreifions, and a mercifull God through 
Gd intends him. 5. Laftly ; The Lord intends jingtdar mercy to the pe- 

finjulsr Hicr- nitent perfons ; to perform many precious promifes of pardon and 
ne$ to the Pe- o^qq ^^^ comfort unto them, and therefore gives them Faith, 
unto which all the Promifes are made. The promifes may be 
confidered two ways ; either in refpe6l, i. oi Intention^ fo they 
look unto the Penitent ; of Application^ fo onely Faith- 1^ the 
Hand in the Penitent which actively applies the Promifes. A- 
galn, you know that the Promifes of God are Tea^ and Amen In 
Chrifi:^ (/.) they are all fealed by him, and made good unto us 
by him ; fo that firfi: we muft have Chrifi, before the Promifes 
m:ide good unto us by Chrift : And therefore God gives unto the 
pemtent perfon the Grace of Faith to efpoufe him untoChril^, 
that fo be may fettle upon him all the Dowry ( upon the Marri- 
;ige ) of the rich mercy and good in his precious Promifes, 


■I II I I t tiitmtmbmmm 

of the Returning Prodigal. 219 

The main life which I will make of this aiTertion, is, 71? rr; 
surfe/veSy whether we have this freclom Ri'/ig of Faithy (aRin*^ ^ c\ 

more precious than that of Gold,) put on our fingers, yea, or ^hcthcr^ wV" 
no. ' It is as neceilary a demur as ever you were put unto all your wist this pre- 
dayes, whether you confider, i. The paftcitjr of true k/ievers, (^'^oatUlib, 
All men have mtfalth^ faith the ApoHle : Ail men ? nay, very A n,cc{Iiry 
few ; fvho hath believed our re fort ? faid the Prophet : We ""'' *^ '^^ 

preach, we offer Chrirt unto you, we befeech you to accept of f?"^^^"» . 
^iTi/^T--/. • L. ^ ji- I- ^1 Ttie paucity of 

the Lord of Life, to give up your hearts and lives unto him ; but tr^ bciicycrs. 
who believes our report? We tell you that Chrirt is better than all 
the world, his bloud is better than rin,it's better to love and ferve 
him than world or fm;but who believes our report ? Men care not 
to know the excellencies of Chrift, they prize him not, they 
care not to hear him fpeak in his Ordinances, they will in no wife 
confentand yield to his terms and conditions. 2. The Vti- The utility of 
Tttyofit. To the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, if we come ic« 
without our Wedding- Ring, it will be as fad a day to us, as to 
him roho came without his fVedding Garment, We do not onely 
receive no good at the Sacrament ; for we have neither hand nor 
inouth to take and eat, if we have not Faith ; not title at all to 
the intrinfecal benefits by Chrift, if we have not faith in him. 
Nay, we occafion much evil and Judgment upon our felves,^ we 
adventure to e^tanddrir^ onr owk damnation^ notdifcemingthe iCot.iil 
Lords body i And righteoufly may the Lord judge us for coming 
to his Sacrament without Faith, forasmuch as info doing, we 
do not onely prefume againft an exprefs prohibition that wc 
fliould hold off, but alfo we do ( at the leal^ interpretative! y ) 
affay to make God a Liar, and a favourer of all villany, as if 
he would put his Seal of Pardon and mercy, and for all the good 
.of his Covenant in Chrift, to a wicked, impenitent, and un- 
believing finner. ^. The Hypocrijiepf our hearts ^ fo apt to ^. 
deceive themfelves with fhadows in ftead of fubftances, not^fp^JJ®" • 
confidering, that Satan can delude a man with the fhew of any 
grace. Every .Ring is nota Ring of Gold ; nor is every Faith 
A precious aod unfeigned Faith: There is a thing called Pre- 
fumption,. which is bold enough, but it is not Faith ; and there . 
is Knowledge of Chrift, as revealed in the Word, which a maa 
may have, and utter too, and yet not have Faith ; there is Pro- 
i^ffion of Faith, for the truth againft ercours, and yet the Grace 

Ff 2 of 


Cods Gracious Accepmce 

The miftry 
and danger. 

Qualities pro- 
duced by an 
cfpoufini faith. 




of Faith is another thing. A man may have fo much faith as to be-- 
lieve that there is a Chrift, and to confefs his excelL^ncies,anci in 
feme fort to fee his own neceflities of Chrift, yea,he may begin to 
article and capitulate as the ToHng-man^ and yet break otf^and be 
far enough from a Faith which doth indeed efpoufe andm^rry his-. 
foul unto Chrilh 4. LalHy, The mlfery and danger : Suppofe 
you do deceive your feives, and in the event it appears that you 
are not efpoufed to jefusChrift by Faith,, th^t you never gave 
your hearts unto him, that there never was any conjugal Union 
and Bond twixt you ; if thou indeed fhouldft live Chrililefs, and 
die Chri(ilefs,what helplefs, hopelefs, happylefs perfon art thou f 
But you will reply. We truft that we are truly penitent per- 
fons,and that God hath given unto us fuch a Faith,whereby we are 
really married unto ChrilL So/, Well ; if. that be fo, you 
have great caufe to bl efs the Lord :. And that you may not be de- 
ceived therein, I will deliver unto you, fime proper ejfe^s rvhlch 
that Faith produceth in every foul that is indeed married unto. 
Chrifi, There are four Q^ialities produced by anefpoufmg. 
Faith. I. Eftimation: Let the wife fee that fhe reverence her 
Hfishndy faith the. Apoftle, Ephef ^. She muft both ackriowledg. 
him as a Head, and honour him as a Lord, judge and efteem of 
him ( in a relative consideration ) above all other. The likeef- 
fed doth Faith produce, if it efpoufcth us to Chrifi, it fets up 
Chrift above all, accounts of him as moft excellent, judgeth of 
all other things but as drofs and dung in comparifon of him, will 
part with all for to get Chrift : The beauties of Chrift are glo- 
rious in the eyes of every believer ; Chrift doth not feem a 
mean thing, an ordinary or common thing ; but he is the Pearl, 
the Sun of Righteoufnefs .• My Lordy and my God^ faith Tho^ 
miu. In a word, Faith (if right) exalts the Excellency of 
Chrift, and the Authority of Chrift ; the Excellencies of his 
Perfon, and the Authority of his Will and Laws. 2, E'efiion : • 
We make choice of Chrift before all other.. Though fins, though 
the pleafures and profits of the world, proffer themfelves, yet, 
as the Martyr at the ftake. None ^at Chrifi : Or as Paul, Idejire 
t^ kn0w nothing hm Chrifi crucified : So the true believer ,Give me 
Chrift, I have enough, I have that which is beft of all; he is the 
the Optimum and the Vmcnm to Faith. 3. Affeciion : Conju- 
gal Faith ever produceth conjugal Love. It were a monftrous evil, 


of the Returning Vrodi^d, 


for a womm to marry a man, and no- love him ; and it were an 
adulterous thing,for her to love any more then her own Husband. 
Marriage doth,by way of Djty,infer and draw with it two qualities 
of Love; one is excluiive,and it is an unity ofLove-^iht other is in- 
tenlive,and it is a rednndaKcy of Love : Thus is it with us;it Faith 
hath efpoufed us unto Chriiijit do.h kindle in us a love untoChrili; 
not a divided love, a love to Chril^, and a love to (in ; a love to. 
Chrifijand a- love to the world -, but an tmted hve ; none is by us 
elieems^d and loved as our Lord,but Chrift.-Nor doth it fadshe it 
felf with a remifs and diminutive love,which may ferve any inferi- 
our objecljbut dLS Chrilt is in himfelf the molt excellent objedi/o 
Faith produceth fuch a degree of love which bears fome proporci- 
on with that objedi:, viz., ^ f/iperlatlve love^^ love of Chrili above 
all, and more then all; more fet on Chriit than on any other objeil, 
which yet may lawfully beloved more than our fat her, or mother, 
or wife,or children. Do we find this love in our hearts to Chrili, 
againlt all,and above allfNay again,True conjugal love infers with 
it a Love,i .0/ Comflacency^to delight in the thmg loved; 2 .*/ So- 
ciety ^io be with the perfon loved-.Is itfo with usPwhat delght have 
we in Chrift? in his perfon,in his cxcellencies,in his vvorks,in his 
ordmancesfls it our beft joy to hear him,to fee him,to fpeak with 
him. 4. Suyje^lon : I confefs that marriage doth not make the ^"^i^^i^n- 
woman a {lave,yet by vcrtue thereof fhe is bound to fubmiiliori 01; 
fubje6lion; flie, doth in a fort give away her felf wnto the difpofal 
of another in the Lord : Thy dejirt^^zixh Qoi fieri, -^,16. (hall he to 
thy huihAnd^and hcjhall rule over thee. If thou hali a Faith which 
doth efpoufe thee unto Chri(i,that Faith brings thy heart into the 
obedience and fubje6tion of Chrift. It fubjeSs thy will to Chrifts 
will,and thy judgment to his truths, and thy defire to his rule, and 
thy works to his laws. If Chrill would have thee be and do one 
thing,and thou wilt- be and do another, that thy will is Hill contra* 
diding of Chrifts will, and thy way is ftill contrary to his way ; - , 

Though a man may be married to fuch a ftubborn and perverfe 
piece, yetChrift is not ; for all that are married unto him by 'i 

Faith, have in fome meafure wrought in them, an obediential 
fpirit, defirous to know the mind of the Lord, and willing t© 
live godly in Chrift Jefus. Now this fubje6lion which is the 
cffedl of an efpoufing Faith, hath thefe properties in it, v}z,. 
I . Vrnverfality ; the wife is fubjeft in all things : 2, jyillgencc', 



222 Cods Gracious AcceftarKe 

we mud take care to pleafe him : 3. De light f nl^e Jb -^ it muli 
be no burthen : 4. Confimcj ; as long as we live, we mull be 
<i , fubje6l to the will of our Lord. 

V(c 2. The hli Ufe lliall be ioi Exhort Atm^ That in cafe you find 

ij Exnoitacign. this Ring of Faith, by which you are efpoufed unto Chrifl, gi- 

I' I ven unto you, then be very carefull to wear it, and to bring it 

'I ' along with you to this next Sacrament. We uiually put on our 

'i ; Robes and our Rings, when we come to any folemn Fealis : The 

Sacrament of the Lords Supper is a Feaft of good things, there 
is Chriff, and mercy, and redemption, and fandification, and 
what not for the foul ; but bring your Ring with you ; Chrift 
looks that you fhould come with it, and you can do no good at 
ihe Sacrament, if you have not the Ring^on your hand : Though 
you put forth your hand, yet if the Ring be not on it, the 
hand may take the bread , but the Ring is it which onely 
can take Chrifl: ; therefore bring Faith with you to the Sacra- 
ment. Jofefhs Brethren murt bring Benjamin with them, or 
elfe they muft not fee his face, nor fliould get food. And 
\tx. your faith work upon Chrilt all along ; on the love of Chrill, 
on the fufferings of Chrift, of the Covenant of God with you in 
Chrift, of the offer of Chrift unto you, ( now under feal that 
he is yours ; ) feal with your Ring, put your Seal to the Cove- 
nant and Deed of Chrift and God ; and feed on him, believe on 
him, draw from him ; This is my Lord, this 1% my Saviour, this 
bloud was fhed for me, my Chrifl will do me good, I fliall be 
faved by his bloud, reconciled by his bloud, healed and preferved 
by his Spirit. 
' Ard fljoes on his Feet, 

This is the third Favour which is beftowed upon the re-- 

penting Prodigal ; his Lips were kifTcd, his Back was clothed, 

his Hand was adorned, and now his Feet are fhod ; the pe- 

What !s meant nitent perfon is onely the compleat perfon. But what tnefe 

by fliocs on his Feet are, and what the Shoes which are put on them, is a point 

* differently conjed'hired of by Interpreters. SoL Not to 

walk time, both the Words are Metaphorically to be under- 

ftood for fome things which do in fome ref pedis anfwer to 

Feet, and Shoes. Teeet are taken fometimes, i. for the 

fprings of our adlions and courfes ; as for our will and Af^ 

feUioHS^ fo £.c<:lef, 5, i. 2, For the aftions and courfes 


■■■! " I 

of the Returning Prodigal, 1 23 

thenafelves, which Solomon calls the fath of our feety Prov.4. 

26. And in this fenfe David faith, fVllt thou Kot k^ep my feet 
from falling ? Pfal. 56. J 3. and God is faid to guide the feet 
of his People, and to prefer ve die feet of his Saints, i Sam. 

2. p. And Shoes on the feetj are alfo diverfly taken in a 
metaphorical fenfe : i. Sometimes for a mortified dlf portion 
to the worldy as the flioes keep the feet at a diihnce from the 
earth, and with them we trample upon the earth. 2. Some- 
times for firength againfl paffive Injuries and evils 5 as feet iliod 
can p.ifs upon fharp thorns and (tones j this is called, Teet 
fhod with the preparation of the Gofpel of Chrlfi , Ephef. 6, 

3. Sometimes for a fit ability in all walking ; for the llioes 
do not onely adorn the feet, but ftrengthen them in and untQ 
motion : From all which we may, I thmk, obferve this Propo- 

That Godd^th enable a penitent perfon with grace and ftrength BoFl, 
for a better andfngular walking or courfe of Life and Obedience, G )d doch fna- 
The Prodigal before his Converfion walked with naked feet, ^Jc a penitent 
wildly, loofely, difgracefully, dangeroully ; but upon his re- P^^^o" wuh 
pentance, he hath fbocs put on his feet ; not onely his Heart is strength for a 
altered, but his Life ; not onely his difpoficion, but condition ; finguUr walk- 
not onely his condition, but his converfation : He was another inj. 
man, and now walks as another man. The fame you fee in Paul^ 
before his Converfion, and after it : Before his Converfion^ his 
feet were fwlft to [bed bloudy he perfecuted the Saints and Mem- ^ 

bers of Chrilt to the death ; but after his Converfion^ he exalts 
JefusChrirt, and is endeared in higheftaflFe6^ion unto him and his 
fervants, prizeth Chrift above all, loves Chrirt above all, ftrives 
for the propagation and for the obedience of the Gofpel above 
all-, and his feet carry him to molt places and perfons for the fer- 
vice of Chrift : And this alteration in the courfe of life, Paul 
exprefleth to be in all that arc effeilually called and con- 
verted, that they do not now walk^ as other Gentiles^ Ephef. 

4. 17. nor as they themfelves once did, in darknefs dnd voluptu- 
oufnefs, but do put off their old Converfation^ Ephef. 4. 22. 
and walk^ as children of the light ^ Ephef. %. 8. and become fer^ 
vants of right eoufnef^y Rom. 6, 1 8. and have their fruits unto 

bollnej?, V. 22. W^^if ^^'«^n- 

But the Queftion may be, fVhat that fngular courfe of living j^^"^*^ walking 

or ' 


224 Cods Graciof^s Acceptance 

or walking is, unto which God doth enable penitent perfons ? 
A hcavfniy '^^^' I conjedure of it thus. i. It is an heaven' j and ffirhnal 
and fpiritual walkjng. In Abraham this is called, a walking before God* 
walking. ZYid'm Ngah^ avpalkingwith God ', in the Galatians, a walking 

in the Spirit ; in others, a walking in Chrifl ; in the I^hillifpians^ 
a conversation in heaven. Before our converfion,, we mind no- 
thing, and endeavour after nothings andimfloy our felves in no- 
thing but linfuU, fenfual, vain things andcourfes : But when the 
foul is truly made penitential, now our hearts mind a God, and 
- his Word, and his Glory ; now they meditate on his Will and 
Laws, now they crave after Orace and heavenly Rrength, novv 
they bufie and endeavour, What jliall we do to be faved f Now 
our feet can bring us to the Courts of God, and now we can con- 
fcionably prize and ufe communion with Cod ; we take more de- 
light a thoufand times to read his Word, than all Play-books, and 
merry Hiftories ; to hear the voice of Chrift, to oe reforming 
of what is evil, to be much in Prayer, and all the works of 
holy Obedience, than in any v^icked or vain way whatfo- 

2. It is a regular cturfegf life : The feet, when fhoes are on 

ccu'-r^of fife ^^^^> ^^^ ^^^n reftrained, as it were, and confined ; they are 
kept to a fize, and do not fquander and expatiate : So is it with 
the courfe of a man who is made a true Penitent ; it is not novv 
loofe and wild, guided by the feaf on of every company, nor by 
the examples of every man, nor by the courfe of the world, nor 
by the lulls of his own heart ; what others do, is no rule to him; 
and what others applaud, is no rule to him ; and what others de- 
cide, is no rule to him ; and what his own heart fuggefts, is no 
rule to him: But he hath a furerule unto which he takes heed, 
and according to which he orders his converfation, and walks. If 
/ the Word of God faith. Go, he goeth ; if that fay, Come, he 
Cometh : If that, like the Cloud before the Ifraelitesy moves by 
Precept, he rifeth up, and endeavours to follow it ; if that, like 
the fam,e Cloud, doth reft and forbid, he fits down, and dares 
not do it ; He doth not do what he will, but wh it he may ; live 
after an Humour, but after a Law ; he would have every a6lion, 
not bad, but good ; and that it may be fo, firft conful ts with tnQ 
Word, Is itlawfull? and then refolves topra6lifeit, becaufeit 
Is fo. 

3. It 

of the Returning Prodigal, 225 

5. It Is an even and u fright courfe of life -, as the ilioes keep An even and 
the feet up on either iide. Such feet doth God beftovv upon pe- up'itht courfc 
ni tent people, as the living cre.uures had, their feet were ff-raight ^^ ^^'^ 
feet^ E2ek.i.7. not like the Im-'ges feet in Daniel 2. 3 3. which 
were fart ef Iron^ ar:d fart of CUj, A converfuion that is like 
-the Profhets cake , which was not ^/.rW, Hof. -7. 8. Douc^h- 
^ baked bread on the one fide, and dough on the other ; fo Pious in 
one pare, an d Impious in another; publickly Religious,and fecrct- 
ly Frophane ; in one foci-ety Angelical, in another Diabolical ; 
in one place a Doclrme, and in an other an Ufe of Confutation : 
like a Filli, to give a frisk into the Aire, and then to plunge in- 
to the Ocean of Lulls. Such a Leopard-like life, fpotted courfe 
is ignoble ; when the Chriftian runs, like that Beaft with two feet 
of different length, with a general unevennefs in his wayes • but 
ftrait feet are thofe which the Penitent walks withal ; as he 
hath not an heart and an heart, fo he hath not a foot and a foot : 
Tis granted, he may be fometimes lame and trip ; frailties and 
infirmities befal the beft , but an even, equal tenour is yet to 
be found in the main bulk of his paths. He hath no Artificial 
Aioes , wider and lefler , made on purpofe, but in the bent of 
his heart and endeavours, defires to have a good confcience in 
all things, void of offence to God and man. The Philofopher 
doth diftinguifh twixt a Complexion which arifeth from Paflft- 
on, and that which buds out from an Habitual temper; when a 
perform occafionally bludieth, though he be of a oale Complexion, 
yet colour arifeth in his face ; but the Sanguine temr)er is ftill of 
a ruddy face : PalTionate adions are rare and unequal', but natural 
are frequent and even. The penitent, in the whole courfe of his 
conTerfation,is homo qtiadrattis^^o^w^x^^^wd uniform,and beautiful, 
and comely in theexpreifion of holinefs. 

4. li'is Ingenious and fngle : His life moves notbyfeveral Inj^nious ani 
Rules , nor yet runs by fever ai Principles, nor yet is carryed finglc. 
unto oppofite Ends. The Mariner he fpends his life at Sea 
for Profit, and the Scholar he fpends his life in Study for Know- 
ledg, and the Ambitious man he follows the Court for Honour, 
and the Hypocrite he trades in Duty for appliufe: but the true 
Penitent, he is careful, and vvatchful, snd diligent over all his 
vvayes, and in all the duties of piety, for Divine glory, Gre- 
gory NaxAdnx^en diftinguiilieth of three forts of men ; fome 

G g are 

226 Gods Gracious Acceftance 

arc Mercenaries , who work to get a good reward ; others are 
ServafitSy who work to avoid puniiliment ; others are SonSy, 
and thefe labour for thehigheft good, to enjoy God, and to 
fet out his Glory : whether rve live^ we live mto the Lord^ 
faith the Apoftle. The Chriftian lives by the Lord; By the 
Grace of Gody 1 am that I am^ faid Vaul, And he lives up- 
on the Lord , The life that I now Uve^ I live by. the Faith 
p/ the Son of Gody faith S, Paul again. And he lives unto 
the Lord, both to his approbatiori and to his honour. So 
that Chrlfi may he ma^nfed , faith Paul yet again : his in- 
tentions are fuch as have the glory of God molt principally 
in them ; fo that if you could unbowd the wayes of a Chri- 
fiian to difcern their fcope , you lliould find in them this In- 
fcription , To the Glory of God, And the a6lions themfelves 
( for the courfe of them ) are fuch as refpe6l the glory of 
God , they are all of them Hoiinefs to the Lord, God is mag- 
nified by them. 
Aprr Stable 5. It is a profitable Walkjng.'^ The Impenitent mm is a dead 

walkirj. man, and his life is a deadly life, like the Plague, which is an 

infedting difeafe ; like the Prophets girdle , rotten , and good 
for nothing. Either he is a dead letter, barren to any good, or he 
is a killing letter, doing much evil ; either he is a rotten ftick, 
good for nothing , or elfe he is a fire-brand, caufing much 
wickednefs. But when aperfon becomes penitent, now his 
heart is made good, and his life becomes prohtable. As Paul 
wrote of Oneftmus to Philemon , That In time paf} he was 
unprofitahle to him, hut new^ faith he , profitable to thee and me, 

* There is good to be got by him that is mide good ; blood runs 

* through all the veins of his Converfation;one may get heat at his^ 

* fire, and light at his candle, and refrell:iing at his flreams, and 

* clothing by his fleece ; one may mel t by his tears,go by his light, 

* learn to truft by his faith, to fear by his tendernefs, to live by 

* his obedience. Oh how he flrives to convert others, with S.Au- 
^filn; to give kiowledg to others, WithS.Paul; to warn and 

* befeech others,w^th Lot ; to profit thefouls of others, and help 

* the bodies of o:hers.In his general calling he is diligent,and inhis 

* particular he is a6live ; his counfels arefavoury, and his walkings 

* are heavenly, fuch as mv^y fave himfelf and thofe about him, if 

* they be fo humble and wife as to apprehend and learn. 


of the Retuming Prodigal. 2 27 

6. Laftly, It is a comely walkirig ; hovf btatitiftd arc thy feet j^ jj, ccmeiy 

' mthjhoes^ Uith Chrift of the Church, Cant.j,\, (Congruous to walkiiij. 
the condition of his pldce, of Grace ; ) the walkings of a pe- 
nitent are beautiful walkings, fuch as adorn his profellion , fuc'i 
as become the Gofpel of Chrifl , fuch as fet out the truth of 
Grace, which he hath received, and the hope of glory which he 
expedfs , like fo many Stars which are the glory of heaven : fo 
are his particular actions inamelled with that Ornament of A>^^- 
nefsy with that Crown of mfdome ^ with that Tendernefs of 
CireHmjfeBlor^y with that Sweetnefs o^Charitjy with that Grace- 
fuhiefs of Piety , that no: only the mouths of fome are flopped, 
but likewife the mouths of others are opened y by beholding the 
uniform light of his new Converfation , to glorifie our father 
which is in heaven, 

2. Qj^f^, Thus you fee what that better and fingularcourfe 
of life is,unto which God enables penitent perfons : Novv let us 
confider the Reasons v^hy God doth enable them thus to walk. RcaCons cf it. 
It cannot but be thus,if you confider i . The frinciple which is ^^^^^ ^^^ " . ^^^ 
imflamdtnthem : As things are in being,fo they are in vyorking; ciple which is 
that nature which is moft predominant in any, hath ftill the com- implaactd ia 
mand of the adions in him. Doth the penitent now live an ^^^^' 
heavenly life ? Why, God hath given unto him a fpiritual, and 
heavenly nature ; He is made fenaker of the Divine Nature y 
which of all others is moli holy , and fpiritual , and heavenly. 
Doth he order his life by the rule of the Word ? Why,the Word 
of God is ingrafted in him, and abides in him in the virtues and 
efficacies of it, fo that he was converted by it, and will now be 
guided by' it. Doth he lead an upright life ? Why, the Lord 
hath taken from him the fpirit of guile and deceitfulnefs, and 
hath givdn unto him an One heart, a plain , fincere , perfedi , or A 

upright heart ; aright heart which cannot abide doubling, and 

^ dividing, and hollownefs, but it is of the truth ; there is truth i 

in the inw.ard farts , and therefore, there is truth in the outward 
a'6l^'. ' £)othhelcadafingleIifefor Divine Glory? Why, he 
hath r^?:eiveH real, grace from God, which will work only for 
Cod ; the Waters which come from the ^ea , will run into the 
5ca again. Doth he live la profitable life ? Why , it is the na- 
turp of true grace , and true repentance to make us as adtive in a 
gOodvY^, as we wete viofent in a bad;the nature of Good is to be 
' '-^'-^ *•' G ? 2 ^ diffu- 

228 ^ods gracious Accepanee 

diffufive y as the nature of fire is to heat , and of the Sun is to 
give light: The love of Chrlft coHftralr;eth me ( faith P^/^/,. ^ 
Docn he adorn his holy profeilion with an anfvverable converfa^ 

I tion ? Why ! how can it be oiherwife, but that gracious habits, 

fliould breed gracious a6ls ; and glorious qualities , fhould breed 

^i glorious effects ? It is the nature of a Star to fliine, as it is the 

nature of dirt to defile; and it is the nature of a Diamond to 
fparkle, as it is of the^earth to be black, &c, 

f \ 11:001 the pcca- 2. The fectilUr diffofltloyi of Refemance, Repentance in 
liar d'.rpoficion theproper nature produceth two effects, i. One in neronefs of 
t Kepeatance. ^^y^ . j^. -^ ^^^^^^ the truth of Repentance for a man to live the 

fame life > to keep on the fame courfe, for this is iinpenitency ; 
not converfion, but continuation ; not a regrefs, but a progrefs ; 
not a change of life, but a courfe of the fame life : But when 
Repaitance comes, change comes ; for what is repentance but 
the new purpofefor a new life ? A man muft Be what hevYas not, 
and do that which he never did, and run an other courfe quite con- 
trary to what he did ; i^nt off the old corrverfaiwH^arjd fm on a new ; 
Ceafe to do evil', and learn to do well ; put off the fervice of un- 
righteoufncfs, and become the fervant of holinefs ; this is to be 
a penitent. 2» Another is revenge : you know the Apoftle 
makes this one of the fruits of godly forrow and repentance ; 
jiea what revenge} 2. Cor. 7. Now this revenge., as it confil-ls in 
mmy other things, fo in this efpecially ; that as we have imploy- 
cd our f^iules and bodies in wicked a6ls to ferve againft the Lord 
to his diflionor, fonow we imploy ^nd improve them in holy fer- 
vices to the proper glory of God ; now we bufy them, to know 
him, to love him, to obey him, to honour him : The penitent 
perfon is fo fenfible of the infinite dilTionour which God hath had 
I 6y his finful life, that if he had now a thoufand fouls and bodies, 

,. and ten thoufand lives , all were little enough in all holinefs 

f of Conrcrfation to redeem thofe dilhonours , and repair 

j ^^ them. ^ ^ ..,.^ 

' Tbe peculiar ^, The peculiar intentions which God hath toward^f pemteM per- 

oTd^towTrds M ^ ^^ ^'^^ mend much glory to himfelf hy them , for; 
Peniccnc fia- ^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^ people whom he doth form for his glory, and 
j nerj. raife up to declare his praife, as is evident in P^«/, and all other > 

H intcRds Angular penitents, they have been the great inliruments .of 
much Glory by 1^^ glory; but they cannot bring him glory unlefs they be 
'I *°^* » ' ■ enabiJed' 

of the Returning Prodtgal, 229 

enabled to live better lives then before. If they be alienated from 
the life of God, they necelTarily are alienated from the glory of 
God. Right believing, and righ t living,thefe are our methods to 
difplay the glory of God. 2. He doth ir4e»d much peace and joy ^^^ ^^^^i 
unt their Cot: fclences y a peace which paffethall underlianding, pea c and joy 
and a joy which pafleth all expreffion ; even that which fprings un.o ihcm. 
from his gracious favour and reconciliation -with them inChrift, 
which both pacifies the confcience,and alfo quickcnsand revives it. 
But this could not be , unlefs he enabled them to new and better 
lives ; the life of holinefs is the only path of peace, that of wick- 
ednefs is a way which knows not peace ; there is no peace unto 
wicked men,nor unto wicked wayes. And for Joy,that only breeds 
joy in confcience , which mikes the confcience not to accufe,but 
excufe;not to tormettt,but comfort ; only the new life is the pro- 
. perly joyful and comfortable life ; there are no fpirits in the life 
which is not fpiritual. 3. He doth intend mtieh outward mercy to ^^^^ much, 
them : See how full the field of bleffings is to the penitent; but it outward mercy 
is upon this condition,If his life be obedient ; as it were upon his to them. 
good behaviour, If ye confent and obey ye lliall eat the good of 
the Land. 4. He doth intend them Glory before men , and Glory And Glory be- 
with himfelf in heaven : For the penitent he m.ikes to be the ex- ^'^j"' meojand 
cellent on earth ; his refined pieces of gold,a choice people whom !^^^ himfcli in 
Nations fhall honour, and the people fhall call bleffed. When a ''^^' 
man leaves a fordid and ignominious courfe of finning, he then be- 
comes honourable in the eyes of God,and reputable in the eyes of 
men. Now the fpots of Leprofie fall off from Naoman , and his 
flefh grows clear and fair; but how lliould this Sun break outjif the 
clouds ftill remiine ? Of neceflfity the life mull alter,if we would 
have the opinions of m.en to alter ; ye.i, and to what purpofe '\% it 
to imagine an eternal life hereifter,unlers we here firfi live an ho- 
ly \]{tywithofU which noman fhall fee God ? 

Doth God inable the true penitent to a new and better life or ,'^J ^ ^* 
walking ? then let us refleB on O' r wayes and lives, How do wc live ? vVhat kind of 
•What kind of life is that which we do now live ? Is it the life of a life dodt ihou 
penitent or no ? Never talJ^ that thy heart is as good to God-ward '^ve ^ 
as any mans though thy life be vile '^ thou deluded thy felf; ? ^5*,r*^ ?^jj 
.if thy life be evil, afliiredly thy heart is not good: The Tree, Shfg^Jnefsof 
fayes our Saviour, is known by his fruits-^ for a perfon to talk thy hcarr,ifrhy 
«>f a penitent heart, and what terror he hath had for fin, and in life be bad* 


2 20 ^^^^ gracious Acceptance 

feme par ticulars to m ^ke a little femblance of godiinefs,vYhen yet 
all this while he goes on in a courfe of drunkennefs,or of unclean- 
nefsjof riotoufneis, or of lying, or of pride, or of covecoufneis, or 
of injuftice, or of fcoffing/&:c. What a monftrous and wilful de- 
ceit is this of a mans foul ? Thou a penitent, who art ftill a 
fervant of Luit I Thou a penitent , who (iill walkell in 
darknefs 1 Thou a penitent whofe very courfe of life is nothing 
but a confutation of repentance, a trade in fin ! Knowelt thou 
not,0 finner,that where the heart is changed,the life will change? 
If thou haft once put off thy corrupt ^nature, thou wilt eafily put 
off thy corrupt converfation. Who doth as he did, if he be not 
as he was ? No,real repentance turns us, and that is,from the love 
of fin in the heart,and from the courfe of fin in the life ; as it fuf- 
fers thee not to be an hypocrite , fo it abhors that thou lliouldft 
be profane ; if thy life be bad, queftion it not, thy heart is bad ; 
that filthy fpeech comes from thy filthy Nature , that haughty 
look from thy proud Nature, that griping hand from thy auel 
Nature>that fraudulent tongue from thy coufening Nature. 2. As 
No? with a much are they deceived who go on gently and gravely in their old, 
cold, formal, formal, cold,negative way of repentance ; deeming themfelvcs 
peowacc 1^0 lefs then Penitentiaries, who have this only to plead, They 
never in all their lives did wrong or harm, &c. But remember, 
O felf-deceiver , if ever God gives to thee repentance indeed, 
thou Wilt find other finful courfes to be left befides thofe of Com- 
mifiion ; thou wilt find thine OmifiTions to be a highly guilty 
courfe of fin,that thou frequently omits calling upon God, hear- 
ing of his Word , reading of his Word, examining of thy heart, 
humbling of thy foul, walking in an holy , and heavenly, and 
exa6t manner, &c. Thou often crieft out. What bad courfe am 
t! I in ? I demand of thee, what holy courfe art thou in ? what other 

courfe of life leadefi: thou then ever, &c. Well, I will fay no 
more but this ; but if other and better lives be the arguments of 
true Repentance, the Lord be merciful to us, there are then but 
very few penitents ; the fame oaths, the fame curfings, the fame 
worldlinefs, the fame pride , the fame drunkennefs, the fame 
Vfi 2. uncleannefs,the fame neglects of God andfpirirual duties ; we are 
let as ftievi not others then we were, we live not otherwife then v^e kave done. 
ourRepentance Butfecondly, If any of you take yourfelves to be penitents, 
c r"ion.°^' ^ befeech you then, let us carefully {k€w if by our lives atd 


of the Returning Prodigal. 25 1 

$9rnjerfamns^ Confider to this purpofe, i. If there be trmh of If there be true 
Refentanse^ there mil be nervnefs of Corfverfati$yi : A monlirous K.-pentancc 
tningtofec a manibrtup and walk with his Coffin and Crave- ''^^'^,,^ ^f 
cloaths. If it b^ light it will iHne, and if it be tire it will heat, converradon. 
and if it be fait it will feafon ; if thy heart be purged indeed, thy 
life will aUo be reformed indeed. // ye have been taught as the Ephcf.4.11, 
truth isinjefus: fm cjf.^coyicern'y/jgthe former converjat'ion^ the 
old man, 2. The Lord jefus hath -pHr chafed thy Life as well as /-u 'a u- 1 
thy 5W, and redeemed thy Converfation as well as thy Nature; purchaied thy 
He did dye not only co recover thy inward Man, but alfo to cure lif? ss well >s 
thy outward Man ; that as thy Heart iliould not be profane,fo thy thy Coui, 
Converfation lliould not be vain : Chrlf}- hathfuffered for us In 
thefejhy that vpe.fhottld no longer live the re fl; of our time in the- 
flejhy I Pet. 4. I, 2. Chrifi hath dyed for thee, that now ihou 
iliouldfl: live unto him. 3. The honour of Religion Ijes upon thy Tbc honour of 
Life : Thy heart may be a fecret, a clofet of much good or evil, R«i«&>^" '>^* 
we leave it to the Searcher of hearts; but thy life is apublick ^^^^ ^ ' ^^ 
Letter, an audible Voice, a common Ob je6l : The profefllon 
of truth and holinefs is an honourable thing in itfelf, but a good 
and anfwerable Converfation adds and reflects a greater honour to 
it. As the Heaven is a beautiful Creature, but it is the more 
beautified by thefhiningof the Stars: So is it with Religion, 
it is an Excellency in it felf, and is made the more excellent by an 
excellent Converfation. But a lewd, rude, foolifli, boyftrous, in- 
congruous, fowl, uneven, evil life, makes Religion to look like 
Gold in the dirt, or like a Jewel in a Swines fnout, or like Beau- 
ty in a Whore. It is the very fcandal of Religion, and as a death- 
verfe upon an holy profelTion : What is it,that thou now and thea 
filleft the eyes of men with a little gravity, and the ears of men ^ 

mih a little piety, when ftill thou, by thy vvicked life, armes the 
hearts of men to fcorn, and the tongues of men to bl.tlpheme the 
Name of • ■oi and Profeflors ? The more pretence thou haft to 
repent^nce,^e more odious art thou,by thy impenitent life, to the 
profcflion thereof. The ftrideft eyes are upon the ftridleli profef- 
fors,and.no mifc-trriiges takefo fooGWith men,or damp Religion 
moTQ.^, The fouls of men He much upon their lifeiWhM Greg.Nor- The fouls of 
z.ianz,S?\d of the Painter, That he teacheth not by his lang«age,but ^^^ c^cTufc*. 
by his hand;and Chryfo/fom of the Mini(kr,That his firft part is to 
Live well, and iheu to Teach well ; that is true of every penitent 


2 52 ' Gods gracious Acceptance 

Chriitian, for his inward affeclions come not fo into our fcales 
as his ouavard adions : We judge of nim, and imitate him not 
by whjt lies hid in his heart, but by what appears in his life ; and 
Q/i ail men we are moil confident to imitate the actions of thole 
who pretend moit agund fin.- Now then, if thou who pretend- 
ell: to repent of all iin, by thy fmful life lliouldli mulciply finncrs 
amonglt men, or Ikengthen the hearts of finners from returning, 
O how bitter, O how difmil, how fearful, how an amazing ac- 
count, that thou even under a forme of -Repentance, iliouldft 
keep men in an dUtz of impenitency, to damn their fouls by thy 
continual finnings ? Sins in converfation are alwayes of more'pub- 
lick danger then thofe of difpofition, as aFeavor.or a Pla.^ue, 
„-, r ^. The ecmfort and feace of thy Conscience lies much in It : 

and peace cf A good Life is the beft Commentary of an upright heart, and up- 
cby Conicitnce rightnefs is a comfort : A good Life is the beli Star to clear up 
Iks much in ir. Qq^s gjory ; and to bring him glory, is to bring our felves com- 
fort. Confcience will judge thee more for evil in life, as more 
perfedled, more hurtful, than for that within. A good life is the 
only Plaifter, by which we heal others ; the only Pilot by which 
.\vedire6l others ; the only Hand, by which we hold up others : 
We may think good,but this circumfcribes it felf with our felves- 
we may defire good, but this alfo confines ix. felf with our 
felves. The good life is the life only which doth good to o- 
• thers ; and the more good we do, the more comfort ftill we have. 
rhcRfward 6, Ihe reward will he great to the life that is good: Its true, 
^*'' ^"J'r*/ ^^ ^^^t God in his future retribution hath refped to the inward gra- 
:he good iitf. ^^^ ^^^ difpofitions, but he takes publ-ck notice of the operadons 
of ihem in our lives, as for a6ling themfelves, and therefore pro- 
nounceththc reward to the doer, and the kingdom unto him that 
cloaths,andfeeds,andvifits,&:c. What! an eternal life for a good 
All that ar« jj^£g | gy^. j^f^jy Loq]^ on all who are trnly penitent, or have 

bavebecn very ^^^^ J^ ' ^^^ tender and circumfreci they have been of their 
dtc'jmf^td q{ l^'^^^ ^^dwalkjngs : How extranely circumfpe6l was David o£ 
tfacir lives. his tonguQ^P fa, :?p. and as exceedingly penfive for any unbefeem- 
ing word or fa6l, much more for any fcandalous evil ; f!ich a fool 
ftich a beaft was /, Pfa, ^ i. So the Apoftles, both in their wayes 
and in their dire6lions unto all the Saints, prefling ear- 
neftly, and that by the Lord Jefus, th^.t they live and walk 
as becometh Saints, and as becometh the Gofpel, and 


of the R e turning Prodigal, 233 

that the Name of Chrift be not blafphemed ; and as he who 
hath called them is holy, fo iliould they be holy in all manner of 

Qutft, But how fliould our lives be foled, that it may appear jht minner 
we are Penitents indeed ? Sol. For ih^manner of life which of a P^nh^nc? 
the truly Penitent fhould lead, either it refpeds, i. God^ in du- '*^^' 
ties of Piety. And herethefe adjundls of Life are necellary : Asurcfpe^as 
I. Solidy and not formal perform apices of RellgloHs Services ; in ^<5;J'>«iii'i« 
the main Duties ; not an empty cloud, a naked vizard, a life *^ ^^^^* 
without life. 2, Adeqmte^ and not partial ways of obedience, 
like and diflike. '3. Conftant^ and not light and changeable ex- 
ercifes of holy a6ls ; without wavering and unfetlednels. Se- > . „^ « 
condly, Men : And here the walking or converfation muft be, ^^^' ^^^P^"* 
1. fvifty and not ridiculous ; 2. Meek, ^nd gent k^ and not tur- 
bulent ; :?. Proftahle^ and not vain or evil ; ^, Merclfdl^ and 
not cruel ; 5. HtiTnhle^^Lnd not cenforious ;- 6, Jufi^md not fcan- 
dalous and injurious ; 7. In all things clrcHmfpeB without offence. 
Thirdly,T/?o/f In relation to as : And here the life muft be an Oh- 
fervAnce^ without contempt and flighting of thofe to whom ho- 
nour is due ; 2. AffeBlon with love and pit^y without fcorn or 
rigour ; ^. A Care, with furtherance of their fouls, without 
ncgled and wearinefs. 


For this my fon T»as dead, and is alive again ; hs rpas lofiy and is 
found : And thejf began to be merry ^ 

Thefe words feem to be an Abridgement of the whole Parable 
of the Prodigal Child. And they comprehend in them, 1. His 
natural J iinfull, or unconverted condition; [^ This my fon was 
dead, and was loflj] A natural man is a dead man, and a lolt man; 
either of thefe expreffes a fad mifery, but both of them conclude 
him complcatlymifer able. 2, His fapernatiiral^chm^Qd'^o^ con- 
vened condition; land Is alive agaln^and Is found,'] No man live?, 
till he be a converted man. Fult (faid Seneca) non vlxlt ; cr ah 
eo tempore cenfemur^ ex cjho In Chrljlo renafcimur^ faith Hierome, 
^, ^'The joy^ comfort,, and delight of that altered condition; lAnd 
they hegan to he merry, '\ Joy is a drop diftilled from Grace.; the 
c6ndition is then comfortable, when it is godly. I begin with the 
firft part,and there with the loft eftate of the Prodigal; where ob- 
ferve, H h Thai 

_ MPI ^IBIB. !■■ I ' B^n ■ ~ ' ^* ^ ^^^^-^ ■ • » » I J — ■ ■ ™ 

234. (S'i?^!// Gracious Jccep;ance 

That every j'tnftill or unconverted man is a lofi r/yan, [ This 

'Do^, I. my fen was lofi,] There are two forts t)f Tinners in Scripture, 

Every lixituii vvho are ftikd loii i. Finally Im^emtent: Thefe are irrecover- 

nian^is^riolt ^^^^ ^^^^ ' ^^^^' ^"^ "^^^^ found. Thus JW^ was loft ; ^None of 
Bian. ^^^'^ ^ ^<5[/^) ^^^ ^^^ /^^ ^/ f^'fditioyi^ Joh. 17. I :. And of fuch 

the Apoftle fpeaks, Ifonr Cofpel be hld^ *tu hid to them that are 
loft, 2 Cor. 4. 3. 2. 1 emforary ypanderers ; vvho qMAntum 

ad fiattim frefemem are lolt, but quoad decretum de fnturo lliall 
be found : Tothefe that faymg feems to refer, in ^«^. 19. 10,. 
7 he Son of Man u come to feek^ and to favethat which was lofi. 
Again, One may be faid to be iolt, i. vvho is ftept out of tiie 
way : Every (inning is a ftraying, and every liraying is a kind of 
loftnefs ; thus even a converted man is many times ioii / have 
gone a fir ay (faith David ^ Pial. 119. I70.) ///</ a lofi fkeef, 
2. who 16 n&t 04 jet come int^ the way : Thus the unconverted 
man is loft. Pfal. 58. 3. The wicked are eftranged from the 
Tv^^w^ ; they goaftray asfoon as they beborn. And Pfal.i^, -^^ 
They are gone afde. And Rom^ 9. 1 2. They are all gone out of 
the way. 
And may be To Now an unconverted man may be called a loft man, in eight 
called in d^bt refpe^ls. Becaufe, i. He hath lofi his God: Everyman (at 
refpcfts. ^ ti^e ^^1^ ^ l^^j Qq^ jQ [^ f^jg Q^ . b^t j^3j^ finned, and by fin 

He bach loll his every man loft God : We never lofe our felves, but when we 
^ • lofe our God ; and we never lofe our God,but by finning. There 

lypmaahus. ^'^^^ ^^^ once, ivho loft his Kingdomefor a draught of Heater ; and 
we, in ^dam^ loft our God for rhe tafte of an Affle, This is 
a great lofs, to lofe our God. A Child may lofe his Father, arid 
yet live; the Mariner may lofe his Anchor, and yet fail: But if 
the World doth lofe the. Sun, it lofeth all ; But if Man lofeth his 
God, he lofeth him who is better than All. There are four 
great loiTes in that one lofs of God: There is a lofs, i. of the 
Image ofGody that Royal Crown is gone ; 2. of the Favour of 
Cody that friendly look is gone; 3. of the Society of God^ that 
fweet fruition is gone ; 4. of the Hapfinefiof Gody that onely - 
life is gone: AjuftGod remains ftill, and a Mighty God re- 
mains ftiil; but the Gracious God is loft, b>it the Biefled God 
is loft. :■;; 


Loft hh Para- 2. He hath loft his Paradife : Paradife was the garden of 
^ir<, bleifings, and of all delights ; and fome con jefture^ that allhap^ 


Vi II 

of the Returning Prodigal, 235 

■pmefs CGftfifts in delight ; but the im]:)enitent, wandring, un- 
•converted fmner, is far from blefTing or conitort. The child of 
dif obedience is only an heir of the curfe; fVrlte that mm cWddle^^ 
faid God of Cm^h ; fo may it be faid of an unconverted finner> 
Wri^e th.it man comfortlefs. Or as Jeremiah faid of Pafhury 
Thou rh:)ltbe called Magor-mijfMhy terrour round ahom ; the 
fame may be affirmed of this fmner, He is exiled from all com- 
fort and blefllng, there is no peace unto him, no blefling ; he 
cannot juflly expe6l one crop of mercy, not one good day all his 
days; the womb isaprifon, the world a fea, fia agrave, life a 
vvildernefs, death an hell, to a wicked man. 

3. He. hath loft hu font : And what is left when my foul i^ t a t,f r t 
loft ? There are divers kinds of lofles ; fome Lolfes are Gain ^ 
to us, ( fuch was Pauls hf^ Phil. 3.) Some Lolfa are a Pam 
to us, a little diminution, an excire onely of this or that com- 
fort; fome lofe Sin, and get Chrift ; fome lofc Earth, and get 
Heaven ; but no lofs like the lofs of the Soul : Now every un- 
converted man hath loft this Jewel, this Soul of his ; He hatk 
loft his Soul, I . To Satan^ who hath the dominion and ufe of it^ 
he rules, and he works mightily in it, and over it ; a wicked 
mans foul is the Devils flave, he takes it captive at his pleafure : 
2. To a co'/idemmngandrevenglngGtd I The foul th^t fins jhall 
die ; the Leafe is forfeited ; fin forfeits the foul into the hands of 
a condemning God, and there it is flayed for ever, unlefs a price 
be paid by the bloud of Chrift to ranfome and recover it. 

4. He hath loft his Excellencies : His Glory is departed. Sin- Loft his Excel- 
full man doth not know what is become of created man ; yea, he Icncies. 
hath lolt thefe fo long, that he knows not whether ever he had any 
of them, or no ; whether he ever had fuch an eye or Lamp of ex- 
quifite knowledge, whether he ever had fuch a vefture of righte- 
oufnefs, whether he ever had fuch a flock of ability and futiici- 
cncyfor Obedience. As he once could not find Ro?»e in Rome^ 
nor they know Jez,akl to have been 'jes^ahel ; jufl fo is it with a 
poor (inner. He once was a child of Light, a Ton of Obedience, 
he was created holy and righteous : But what is become of all his 
created flock? Butmandleth^ and manglveth uptheghoft^ and 
ivhere is he ? Job 14. 10. So here, man hath finned, and man 
hath lofl all his excellencies, and where is he ? Adam^ where art 
the^i ? faid God; A fad queflion, Where art thou? An hour 

H h 2 fi ce. 


2^6 Gods Gracious Acceptance 

fince, ^^^;wwas^^<ifw; but upon his (inning, Adam^ where is 
Adam f Where is righteous -^i^/?^ ? Where is ^rf'^^/^, who had 
power to believe, to love, to obey all my will ? Where ]S he f 
and where is all this ? All is loft. 

Left his way ^' ^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^'^^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^ ^^"^^ * Every (infull man is 
a wandring Meteor, a very Planet on earth ; he is gone from the 

fold, as a filly fheep ; he is gone from his Fathers houfe, as a fil- 
ly Child ; he is gone out of the right path, like a filly Traveller 
in the Wildernels. Sin puts us into a Maze, into a Labyrinth ; 
we go' frcm one (In to another fin, out of one by-path into ano- 
ther by-path ; and the further we go in finfuU paths,the more ftiU 
we go cut of the way ; But the right path which leads back to our 
God, O the finner hath not an eye to fee it ; and when he hath 
light to fee it, yet he hath not an heart to turn unto it^nor feet to 
.walk in it, Rom, 5.12. 7I69' are all gone out of the rvay ; v.iy. 
The way of peace they have not known, Pfal.p 5. 10. It is a people 
that do err In their hearts^ and they have not known my ways. The 
loft finner hath an erring mind, and an erring heart, and erring 
affe6Vions.There is but one way to come h^ck to God,which is by 
Chrift, {lam the waj^ &c.) but the loft finner knows not Chrift, 
nor the way unto Chrift. 

Loft his abi- ^* ^^ ^^^^ ^^fi ^^^ Abllhy : He who once had power to fall, 
li:y, being fallen, hath now no power t© rife any more ; a felf-deli- 

verance is as impofifible as a felf-creation : It muft be light which 
finds that which is loft, but finfuU man is darknefs ; it muft be 
ftrength which raifeth up one who is fallen, but loft man is lefs 
than weaknefs. He who lofeth himfelf by (m^ muft come back 
again by grace ; but the natural man hath no grace, no not a de- 
fire of it, no not a thought of it^ no nothing of all of it. What 
Sin c^ih down. Faith muft ^zt up ; but the unconverted man 
dorh not, nay, cannot believe ; of himfelf he cannot : As all our 
powers were at firft in Adams hands, fo all our powers now are 
in Chrifts hands. 
Loft inrefpea y. The finner is z^o lofi mrefpeU of his Title rndPlea^ and 
of his iibcny, '^^ refped^ of his Liberty and Freedome, fo that now every finner 
How man is a very flaveand bondman, Ohj. But how comes man to be 
CO aits to be a loft man ? I anfwer, Man came to be a loft finner, Firft, 
loft. ;^y Temptation : The Dcvil loft his own happinefs, and by his 

Bjr tcQiptacion- cunning feducements, Man loft his happinefs too. Four things he 


of the Returning Prodigal, ■ 237 

ufed for this : i. He raifed a fufpition and je.iloufie in our hearts 

of God ; 2. Then a diliike of ourprefent condition ; 3. Then an 

atfedtation of an higher condition ; 4. A falfe perfwaiion of Gods 

threatning. Secondly, Bjt his own will. And there were (be- gy Y\\% own 

fides our original Liberty ad titmmlibet) four principal fins which will. 

brought us into our Lolin^fs : i. Pride ^ 2. "Unbelief y ^.Prefum- 

ftioriy ^,Difconteyitment.. 

Objet}, But how may a man know that he is as yet in a lofi con- How a man 

dition ? Sol, This may be refolved by thefe Queries : i. Where may know ihac 

is thy Home ? 2. What is thy way ? :j.When didft thou return? ^^ " ^°*' 

I. Ever^ lofl man Is a man afar off". In longum abiit^ he is gone Every loft man 

far from home, from his Father : When the Prodigal was loft, ** "^""^ °^* 

where was he then ? The Text idiim^ That he vfas gone into afar 

Cauntrey, When the E^hejians were loft, where were they ? Afar 

offy Ephef. 2. 1 7. When the Jfraelites were loft, where were they? 

7 hejt aregone arvayfarfrommey ]t^,2. ^, A natural man is fiir 

from God, ( take me right,) you can never find God and a wick- 
ed man together ; his nature is far from God, and his thoughts 

are far from God, and his affe6^ions are far from Cod : O, he 

cannot endure the prefence of God, he cannot endure Holinefs, 

he cannot endure holy Ordinances, nor holy Services, nor holy 

Admonitions,nor holy Reproofs,nor any holy Communion ; ih^ 

further he is from thefe, the better doth he think his conditioii to 

be. A man is never at home till he hath a God, and till he ftands 

in Gods prefence, and till he hath communion with his God : But 

the natural man, &c, 2. Every loft- man is in a falfe- way j in Every loft man tii 

a by-way ; his ways are finfuU ways : The loft man, he is out of is in a falfc 
, the common and known Road ; he is in the Woods, in the Ditch- ««/• 

es, in the Deferts, in the Fields, and he goes from one ftrange i 

place to another ftrange place. O man ! whileft thou walketi 

after thy fins, whileft thou runneftfrom fin to fin, whiles thy way 

and courfe of Life is in the fulfilling and following of thy Lufts, 

aifuredly thou art a loft man. ?. Didfi thou ever yet return ta He is loft fihi 
' God ? If not, then as vet thou art in a loft condition. O confi- ^ '^^^ not re- 

derthis, confideritferioufty. When didft thou return ? How '"'^"* 

didft thou return ? Wherein didft thou return back unto thy God ? 

Is not he loft, who is ftill lofing of himfelf ? who ftill goes- on in 

his Wildernefs ? And this thou doeft ; where thoii waft twenty 

years ago, there thou art ftill. 


ajS Gods Gracious AccepAnce 

' ^ That a loftfinner may h^fomd, \_This wj [on was ioft^ anA « 

A I hfinner ff^^^^l In Scripture there is a two-fold finding, i. We are 
niay'b:(ound. ^^^^ to find God: Seek^the Lord) while he may k fonndy Ifa. 
55.5. I fomd himwhommy [ohI lovethy Cant, 3.4. 2. God 
is faid to find us. Now God finds a finner two ways : i. Judici- 
ally, and in vyrath, ade:venendiim:y 2. Gracioufly, and in mercy, 
ad emvertendnm. Here three Queifions offer themfelves to oe 

M fiffn"/* '^'^ ^^^^- ^ • ^^"^ ^ '^ ^^^^ fi"""^^ "^ ^"^^ '^'"''^'^ ^ ^''(' ^^^ ^"'" 
o ^ inntr? ^^^^^ -^ ^^^^ ^ j^ -^ q^^ onely. / W// /^^^ that which was lofi.^ 

one y. £z.€kj, 34. id. It was he who found Abraham in Caldea amongft 
the Idolaters, and David among the fheep-folds, gnd M^naps 
among the thorns and bufhes, and Vaul in the way to Damafcns^ 
and Matthew at the receit of Cuftome, and the Ifrae/ltesm their 
bloud, and Mary Magdalene in her uncleannefs. Ihe finnercon" 
not find hlmfelf ; he can lofe htmfelf, but he cannot find himfelf; 
he can wander, but he cannot return of himfelf : Avertere a Deo^ 
man can do that ; but convertcn ad Deum^ -man cannot do this. 
Man loves to wander ; but to come back, man hath neither will 
nor power. N9 man can find a hfl^ finner. He may find a lofl 
finner, by way of difcovery, but he cannot find him by way of 
recovery ; I may ^/Jcot/^r, but not r^r (j'&'^r ; 2. Bewail^ but not 
■prevail ; 3. give Comfel^ but not give Grace .• I may fee one 
running from God, but I cannot bring him back to God ; I may 
fee him wandring to Hell, but I cannot fet his heart to turn back 
to Heaven ; and Imay bewail a loft finner, yet I cannot prevail 
upon a loft finner ; and I can give him counfel to come home, 
but I cannot give him grace to come home : It is God, God one- 
ly, who can find a loft finner, Quis ovemferdlcamrecjmrefe 
debeaty mnneqm ferdidlty quis ferdtdlt ^ nonne qui habuit f Qms 
habulty ncnne qui fecit. So Tertulllan appofitely. He onely that 
made man, he onely it is who can find the finner. 
HovrGod finds QH?fi' ^' Hi?^ God finds a lofi finner ? Sol, There are 
B loftfinncr ? ^^ven A6ls of God, which are converfant about the finding of a 
jHc 'is moved ^^^ finner. i. He is moved with comjajfion towards him ; the 
wiih compafli- Lord pities fuch a finner : Alas, faith God, this poor, ignorant, 
on towards foolifli man, is gone from me, the fountain of his life ; lo,how 
'^lra» his lufts deceive him, how Satan rules him, how he wanders up 

and down in vanity j he is quite out of the way of his happinefs ; 


of the Returning Trodigd, 2 39 

he is running towards hell, but perceives it not ; he is undoing 

and deftroymg his immortal foul, but obferves it not ; he knows 

not whether he goes ; he is undone for ever, if I ftay him not, 

if I turn him not. 2. He Intends good to this panicti/ar lofl ^^ intends 

fmer, I will fare ly have mercy on him, 1 have feen his ways^ ^^od to this 

a?7d will leal him, I k/iow the thonghts that I thinks towards him^ loft finncr. 

tho'fghts ofgoodj and mt of evil, J will gloriiie all my mercy and 

goodnefs m ihis very finner ; I will not fuffer him to run on thus, ^ - 

1 will look after him, I will bring him home to my felf, and fave 

him. 3. He fends out after him ; one fervant, and another H« fends out 

ferv.^nt; one Minifter, and another Minito: Go, faith God, *^^" ^^'"* 

to fuch a Parilli, and x.o fuch a Family, and preach, and make 

enquiry, Is there not fuch a miferable finner here ? is there not 

fuch a (oft man there ? one that is gone from his Fathers houfe ^ 

tDne that hath fpent all in riotous living ? Is there never a man 

here, who hath departed from God, lived without God, run all 

his life in finfull, loofe, bafe courfes of difobedience, and would 

no.v be glad of mercy ? This is the general feeking of a loft fin^ 

ner, a^. He makes a^privyfe arch after him -^ ioi ( perhaps )" He mskes a- 

the general Hue and Cry will not find the finner, and therefore privy fcarcb^ 

the Lord makes a privy fearch : As to find out Achan^ there was •^'^ ^^°^''' 

Tribe fearched by Tribe, and Family by Family, and Perfon by ^ 

Perfon; and thus doth the Lord in finding of a loft finner; He 

comes more diftindlly, and his Word or Afflidions draw after 

this finner more perfonally ; they light at his door, ( upon his 

perfon ) and knock, and enquire. Art not th6u the man I doth 

not the lo(^ finner abide here ? Art not thou he who haft lived ig- 

noramly,or profanely, and gone aftray from thy God? 5. He He IJgbis on 

li^s OK him at length : And then the Lord lights on a loft finner, ^^ *^ Icng-ib, 

when he ad^uates and quicken^ Confcience in hrra,- which now 

can be filent no longer, but crie? out, ' Lord, her^ he is ; Here 

* is the Swearer, Drunkard, Whoremonger, Sabbath-breaker, d^r. 

And now out comes the loft finner, with a trembling heart, and a 

giiilt-fmiting fpirit, *Lord, who is it that you look for ? do you 

Mtiok tfter a^ finner, a loftfihner ? 1. aiij the min you look for : 

*'^Oh'^ I haye^fifjnibrj^ f have vvatidtedi I have been loft atl . rHy 

^ my^\ l^at '^MI f^'f hkt^^ 

*vVhi(t:^n-ralH do ? Oh V -iif thou takeft not pity on liie, if thou 

Ihe.yeft not mercy- unto mbjTperilli, I die, I am loft for even 

•^^ . 6.H§ 

240 Gods Gracious Acceftance 

H rl 1 • h ^* -^^ ^^^^^ ^'^^^^ ^^^ firmer to return and come hack^ unto him, 

him t« return ^^^- 14. i. O Ifraely return unto the Lord thy God \ for thott 

P hafi: fallen hy thine iniquity. And there are four vyays which the 

^^ ' . Lord uleth to prevail upon a loft finner, to turn back unto him : 

By Expoftula- ^' "^y Exfojitilation : What have I been unto thee, or what have 

lion. I done unto thee, or what iniquity haft thou found in me, 

that thou haft all this while departed from me ? Was not I the 

God that formed thee ? the Father that brought thee forth ? the 

Mafter that fed thee, and took care of thee ? Was there not 

goodnefs, and kindnefs, and fulnefs enough in me ? why haft 

Bf Convidi. ^^^" ^^^^^ ^^"^ unkindly with me ? 2. By Conviction of his 

on. wandring condition, with the bafenefs and miferablenefs thereof. 

Thefe are thy ways, and thele have been thy doings, and what 

profit haft thou by thofe things whereof thou art or raayeft be now 

afhamed ? Why 1 what haft thou got by all thy finfuU wan- 

drings ? See how naked thou art of all fpiritual good, how ftiame- 

full thy courfe hath been : Is the Wi'dernefs a place for a 

Child ? How poor and undone thou art ! Thou haft fpent all ; 

and if thou continueft in thy finfull ways, thou wilt certainly pe- 

rifti with hunger : Sin hath been thy lofs ; and if thou return 

not, it w 11 certainlybe thy ruine. Return, O loft Sinner, re- 

By t^rcpofici- turn, return, why wilt thou die and perilli for ever ? 5.^7 

©ns of M(rcy, Profofitions of Mercy : As S. John raa after that youag loft man 

oi^jerufialem^ crymg unto him. Return, my fon, return ; Chrift 

will yet accept of thee, Chrift will yet fhew thee mercy. So 

doth the Lord God, when he would bring back a loft fmner ; 

Return^ faith he, and live^ return and live, Ezek. 1 8. 3 2. Though 

thou haft forgot the Duty of a Child, yet I have not put off the 

Affe6lion of a Father : I am that Father, in whofe houfe then is 

bread enrngh^ and to ffare ; Do but come back unto me, and all 

fliall be well: Canft thou live without Bread? canft thou live 

without my Mercy ? Mercy ilhall be thine, if thou wilt return 

By dircftfnt ^^^^ ^^y ^^^ ^"^ ftnfuU courfes. 4. By dircEllng him into the 

him into i;be ^^J of coming hack^: As I . With nfeurnfull confeffion of his fins, 

way of Return- Hof, 14, 2. Take with you rvordsy and return unto the Lord; fay 

^V mto himyT^ke away iniquityy and receive Hi graciouflj^, 2iff^ith 

penitential reformation, Jfa. 5^5. 7. Let the wicked forfake his 

WAy^ and thennrighteem man his thought s^ and let him return un- 

to th Lord^ md he will have mercy on him-^ and to our Gtdy for 


of the Returning Prodigal. 241 

'hs will iihun^Anilj far don, ^ . ffith hcucvir^ application : Thou 
muH go, laith Vjod, to my Son ; for he is tiac way aiid the life, 
and he: came tofeek and to lave that which Wis loft. Seventh- By UyUt hold 
ly : Now, notwthlianding ail this, the loft ftnner isnotperfed- upon him bjr 
ly fr>und, and therefore the Lord doth one thing more ; he doth ^^^ Almijbty 
vviih ihis 1(41 finner, as the fliepherd did with the loft ilieep, Jf^'Y^t^hr^" 
who took him on his llioiilders, and brought him home ; So the a wtulnine"* 
Lord lays hold on this poor loft fotd^ by his Almighty Spirit 9f hcirc. 
GracCy ar,d puts into him a returning hearty an other heart, and 
m.ikes him willing and glad to leave his iinfull wayes, and to re- 
turn to himfelf, and to implore his reconciled favour and accep- 
tance in Jefus Chrift : Which being done, now is the loft finnec 
found indeed ; for then, and then onely is a loft finner found, 
when he, in truth, turns back to God, and enjoys him as his re- 
conciled God in Chrift. Jer, 3. 22. Return^ ye back^-fliding 
children : Behtld^ we come unto thee^ for thou art the Lord our 

Qnc^"^. ^ ^'h ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ look^fter and find a loft fimer > '^^J.^^^'^^ 
Sol, TheReafons may be thefe. i. Although the (inner be no: f^j^^er ? * ^ 
worth the looking after, yet the foul of a finner is worth the looks tat foul is 
ing after,' The finner is the Devils creature, but the foul is worth the look- 
Gods creature, (7 he foul that I have made^ faith God, Ifa. ing aftar. 
57.1(5.) The loft fioeep was worth the looking after, andfowas 
the loft groat ; furely then a loft foul is worth the looking after, 
which i5,at leaft,Gf as much value as a loft Groat. Chrift (faith 
Theophylafl on Matth. 1 8.) was the man who left the Ninety 
nine ftieep, and lookt after one loft ftieep ; he left the fociety of 
Angels in Heaven, to find one loft Soul on Earth. O, the Soul 
of Man is a precious, a valuable Subftance made only by God,and 
fit only torn Itch and convcrfc with God. 2. As God knows God knows tb« 
the worth of a foul, fo God knows the lofiof a Soul : O Sirs ! we ^^^^ of «rwui, 
make little account of lofing fouls ; but verily no lofs like the 
lofs of a foul : As Chrift fpake of the fall of that houfe. The 
fall thereof v^as great^ that^s true of the lofs of a foul, the 
lofs thereof is very great. A man. In the event, lofeth no- 
thing, though he lofeth all the world, if his foul be not loft ; But 
if the foul be loft, all is l^ft, all is loft to an eternity ; nnd Jthere- 
fore the Lord, out of unfpeakable pity," looks after a loft finner. ^^"ft hath 
3. Jefus Chrift hath laid df,w»aprici for fome foulsy and Jefus '/i^e'^fr" fculf 

I j Chrift ^'^" 

242 Cods Gracious Acceptance 

Chriil: Jhall fee of the travel of his Jo44/y he (hall have his pur- 
Goi will have chafe 10 the full value. 4. God will have fome to magnlfie the 
fomc 10 magni- riches of his gloriotii Grace j and Love5and Kindnefs,and Mercy, 
fie the riches i f yea, and to enjoy eternal Glory with himfelf ; therefore he will 
his Grace. ^j^ j ^^^^ yj^ hnners : For no finner but a found finner jCan either 
glorifie God, or be glorified with him. 
Vfe 1: The hrrt U^^ fhall be for Examination of oar felves, Whether 

Examiiiacion. our loft fotils he found thus of Cod, or no ? I will propound 
Iftr'^Tb"'^ unto you, i. Some Argtimems of: Motives to put you upon this 
foundT ^^^^^» 2. Then the trials or Charaders^ of a perfon whom 

God in mercy hath found. 
Motives to a The Arguments which may move us toaferious Trial, whe- 
fcriaus Trial, ther we be found perfons, or no, arethefe: i. Everyman is 
Hrcry man is loft^ km every man is not found : All are loft, but few are found f 
loft, but eviry ^j^^ ^y^y ^£ ^^^ j^ general, but the way of mercy is fpecial : Mat, 
fiiund, 1* "^S* ^i^^ ^ the gate^ and broad is the -way that leadeth to de^ 

fir ntlion^ and many there he that go in there at, v. 14. Btitflrait 
is the gate y and narrow is the. way that leadeth mta life^ and few 
there be that find it. You read of a general complaint. They are 
all gone om of the way I but you read not of a general acclama- 
tion, They are all returned into the way. Take the way of find- 
ing a loft fmner, asxl bringing him home to God, either i. by 
MepeMance : Why 1 the number of finners is exceeding large, but 
the number of repenting finners is very fcant. As hefaid once of 
an Army,. Here are many Men, but few Souldiers ; fo may it 
be faiii in this cafe : Sinners are like the Sands in the fea, very 
numerous; but Penitent Sinners are like Pearls in the fea, very 
rare and precious. - -2^ Bj> Faith : All are finners, but few, 
very few are rrue believers : Hi/teical Faith, though it be a 
common faith, yet it is not very common ; who hath believed our 
report ? They are the feweft part of the world, who do credere 
Chrififimy believe that there is a Chrift ; but hovvfew^ even of 
thefe, do credere in Chrifium^ believe in Chrift ? And Men,'are 
never found , til 1 Fdith be found in them. 
It is 8 very fad 2. It is a very had ^ and a very fad condition^ not to be found' 
conditicn, not oHt ofy biit to he found [till in alofi condition : If it were no more 
10 be found, but this. That fuch a perfon cannot find himfelf imder the clafp 
or compafs of anyfaving mercy, this were heavy : To be in a 
Dsfertj and not to know that ever he fhall come alive oiit of it 5 


of the Returning Frodtgal. , 243 

tobs in the Ocean, and not to know that ever he fliall comefafe 
to Land ; to be in a finfuU condition, and not to know whe her 
ever Divine Mercy will pull him out of this condition : Yet this 
is the cafe of a loR linner ; he cannot tell whether ever Divine 
Mercy will look after him, or no ; perhaps it will, perhaps it 
will not. 

Butbcfides this, let's confider what may find thatloftfinner, ' 
whom Divine Mercy hath not yet eftediually and gracioully 
found. I. All external miferies may fuddenly fmd him. A- All external 

d^m run away from God, and what did he find ? and ^oyiah^ and i'^Vr*'? T'!, 
what did he find ? All lolfes may fpeedily befal a loli perfon ; ^^^^""^^ ^* 
Safety is at home, and Dangers abroad : In how many dangers is 
the loit fheep upon the mountains ? In how many perils is the 
loft man in the wildernefs ? they may become an eafie prey to all 
devouring beafis, and are oft times forced to eat up themfelves 
to preferve themfelves. A loft, impenitent, unconverted fin- 
ner, is fure of no mercy ; and he is naked, and expofed to all 
mifery. In the fidnep of hts [n^cUncj ( faith Zophar^ Job 
20. 2 2.) he [hall he In ftrelghts^ every hand of the wicked iliali 
come upon him, v. 23. When he is about to fill his belly, God 
fiiallcaft the fury of his wrath upon him, and fhall rain it upon 
him while he is eating. 2. A gmlty andamaz^ingConfcience . ,. _ . 
may qmckjy find him ; that inward Hell, as one fpeaks :' The ^ifnce'^may'** 
gliftring Sword cometh out of his Gall, terroars are ufon hlmj qaickly find 
J oh 20. 25. When Judas had loft himfelf, how quickly did he him. 
find a guilty Confcience ? It is an heavy thing, to be found out 
by that which, as Bernard fpeaks, is Bailiff, and Jailor , and 
Witnefs, and Jury, and Sheriffs, and Judge, and Executioner T 
too. Everyman that finds me will kill me^ faid Cain^ Gen 4. 
5. And Death may find thee ; to which thou wilt fay, as Ahal X)zx\h may 
to the Prophet, Hafl- thou found me^ O mine enemy ? And findtUee.' 
Death may return 'the Prophets anfwer unto thee, Tea^ I havs 
foundthee, hecaufe thou hafi fold thy fe fto work^ evil in the fight 
of the Lordy i Kin. 21. 20. 4. And Gods condemning Q^s canitvA' 

Judgment will find thee. If thou, O loft finner, be not now "*"§ Ju'^f- 
found to thy converfion, God will one day find thee to thy ^«n's wUlfind 
fubverfion ; if Mercy finds thee not to come baclc to ^ ^* 
God, Juftice fliall find thee to caft thee quite away from 

ij2 5. h 


Ic it unfpcak- 
able joy, if 
God have 
found thy loft 
Here is, 
Rcfcuing mcr 


with God- 

Thy foul feall 
be found in 

Afany men 
think (bcm^ 
Iclvcs fou dj 
who yet arc 

Gods Grmous Accepance 

How may one 
know tlac God 
festh found bis 
left iouL 

Trials of it. 

He finds him- 
felf rob: nun- 
ly loft. 

g. It is an fi^fpeakjtkk jo^y If thou canft find that God hmh 
in mercy found thy hfifopiL O there are many precious mercies 
which a fouad foul doth and may find* i. Refctm^ mercy : 
H; IS delivered f rora Sin and Satan. Is it not a mercy to be freed 
of a Diieafe, of a Prifon ? O vvh'at then to be delivered from Sm, 
from Satan 1 2. Pardoning mercy. That of the Prophet is 
certainly verified of thee, in J ^r. 50. 2 o. In thofe days^and in that 
timey faith the Lordy theinii^tiity of Ifrael fhall he fought for.y^ and 
there fhall he none ; and the fins of fudahy and they (hall y.ot h^ 
found : for Iivill fardonthemy Sec. ^. Reconciled commnmon 

with thy God : Thou who waft found in Jail , before, mayeft now 
be found in thy Fathers houfe;-thou who waft a Vagab(»ii before^ 
art now a Son ;: God hath accepted of thee, thou haft found fa- 
vour in his eyes, and mayeft find free acccfs unto his prefencc; 
4, Nay, If God hath fonnd thee in mercy y it mil not he long ere, 
that foul of thine fhall he found in Glory, 

4, Many men do reckon ufon /V, that tbey.are fonndy when yet. 
they remain in A loft condition. There are three things vyhich dif- 
cover the miftdke of men in this kind. i.. Though they fay, that 
they have found out their fmfull condition, yet ftiil they rem*ain 
in their finfuU condition. 2. Though they fay, that they have 
found out the true way of life, yet they cannot be found walking 
in that way of life. ^. Though they fay that God hath found 
them, yet you cannot find them to fear this God, nor to love this. 
God, nor to honour and exalt this God ; all the marks of Loftnefs 
are upon them, ignorance, blindnefs, fuperftition, profanenefs, 
vile wayes, &c^ 

But will fome fay, How may me kj^siVythat God hath found (in 
convertingmercy ) hi^ loft fonl ^ This -leads me to thefecond 
thing, which comprehends the Trials or Cbar36lers of a loft foul 
truly found : And there are Nine infallible Evidences of a loft 
perfon gracioufly found. 

I. fvhen a lofi (inner is found hy God^ he doth then find him felf t9^ 
he utterly loft, Vnckany uncleany faid the Leper. Undone, un- 
done, God he mercifiill to me a PnneryiixA the Tuhlican. In me there 
dwels no goody I am thtgreateft offinnerSy faid Paul. God finds us 
by making us to find our felves. There is a vaft difference twixt 
I. A vnlgar confejfiony I am a (inner, all men are finners ; 2. An 
sxferimemal conviBion^ I am the loi^ finner, thefe fiins, thefe my 



of the Returning ProS^al, 2 4 j 

fins have undone me ; I am undone and lo(i for fuch a rip> and 
for fuch a fin ; I perilli, I perilli, if I get not out of this conditi-^ 
on ; my God is lofl, and my foul will be loft ; I am gone from 
God, I am out of the way of life ; if I iiiy here, I die ; / ferljh 
for hunger ^ faid the found Prodigal . Thou lookeft on thy felf and 
Ihte, but how ? as finfuU ! well ; but doeft thou look on that thy 
finfuU eftite, as aperilHng, as thy perifhing condition ? as a con- 
dition, not a day, not an hour, not a moment more to be Ihyed 
in f Doeft thou look on it as on the Leak in the Ship, as a fink-t 
ing Leak, as afplitting Rock,.as a feul-deltroying, murthering, 
ruming condition ? The Lord never finds any man, but he finds - 
him and brings him back> fo as he fhall acknowledge who hath . 
found him>(even a God,)and what hath found him,(even his mer- 
cy ; ) arjid this will never be acknowledged, until God makes us> 
firft to fee how utterly loft we were ; that the found (inner may 
fay, 'Twas mercy that pi tied me, 'twas mercy that looked after. 
me, 'twas mercy that lighted on me, 'twas mercy which dealt, 
with me, wooed me, overcame me, brought me back, favedme-. 
meer mercy ; for I was utterly lofi, I had perifhed, if mercy 
had not recovered me, &6, 

2. when God finds a loft- (inner ^ that Jinner finds hlmfelf without He finds hfm- 
41U ftrength t9 come backet God. Though you find your felves to Ui( without 
have !oft your God, yet if you can find ftrength of your owti to ^fcngth to rs^ 
bring you back unto your God, affuredly your loft fouls are not .^"'"' 
found : For (tofpeak,pun6hially ) no man finds himfelf loft., 
who as yet can find any thing in himfelf to fet up himfelf; if I 
yet poffefs ftrength^ I am not yet loft : But a truly and experi- 
mentally loft foul, feels in it felf not onely a lof<? of God, but aU 
fo of power to come forth, to come back to God ; Rom. 5. mth- 
9m ftrength. It knows not, by its own light, one foot of the way; 
and when it is made known, alas, it finds no power to ftir ; nay,. 
if .1 might have mercy, and heaven upon the freeft term.=?, but for 
coming home, I am not able to do i t. O how a found loft foul 
complains ! It complains as much of an impotent heart,' as of a * 
wandrins; heart : I cannot com2,I cannot turn thus wandrirg heart 
into the rigkt wy;comc back to my God I lliould,but come I can- 
HOt;go to Chrift I ftiould,but go I cannot; if Chrift doth not come . 
to me, I dial I never be able to come to him ; if he doth not feek 
me,I fhall never feek him; if he finds not me with ftrength,I flaall 
weyer find him with comfort and fafety. 3. If." 

-2^6 Gods Gracious Jcceftance 

„ .M , 3. If God hath indeed found thee, Iha^ wllty above all 

alltbii£?dc- thwgs^ defire to h found in Chrifi, The found ibul prefently 

fire to be found finds a need of Chriii P^^/, as foon as mercy found him, 

in Chrift. would by no means be found m huiifelf, but by all me.ans be 

found in Chrilt ; That I may kfonrJ In htm, faith Partly PhiL 

^. p. There was a Nobleman ( one ElyeariHs ) who was fuppo- 

fed to be loft, and his Lady fent up and down to find him ; One 

at length meets with him, and tels him how follicitous his Wife 

was to find him out; O ( anfwered he ) commend me to my 

Wife, and tell her, That if Hie defires to find me, iTie mult 

look for me in the heart of Jefus Chrift,for there onely am I to be 

found. And verily, there is no poor foul, whom God is finding 

and bringing honie tohimfelf, on whom he hath imprinted a true 

fenfe of his loftnefs, but prefently the foul cries ou*, What fball 

I do ? what ilicill I do to be faved ? O that I might have Chrift 1 

and O that I might be found in Jefus Chrift ! Remember two 

things: I, Thatthe Lord will hr'wghack^to hlmf elf no foul, hut 

by Jefm Chrifi ■: Chfifi is the finners way to the Father ; he is 

the door by which you are admitted ; If ever the Lord caits an 

eye on thee, or take thee by the hand, it is for his Chrift'sfake. 

2, A lofi foulyWhich is found,yrWx a^ ahfolute need of Jefus Chrifi: 

Nothing out of Chrift can make peace, can juftifie,can reconcile, 

ran fet us ftraight, can make us accepted. Had I all other things, 

and had not Chrift, I were ftill a loft perfon : Had I the righte- 

oufnefs of Angels, yet if I had not Chrift, I were loft ; could 

I mourn, could I repent, could I pray, could I live holily, 

could I walk exactly, yet I am loft ; I amitill loft, until I 

get into Chrift. / count all things but lofi^ for the excellency of 

the knowledge of Jefus Chrifi my Lord, God will look on me as 

my Judge, he will look on mie as his enemy, he will not own me 

as a Father, as a reconciled Father, but in Chrift. 

JefusChrift 4- If thy lofi foul be truly fomd, then Jefus Chrifi may he 

may be found found injhat lofi fettl of thine. They report of Ignatim, that 

in that lolt the Letters of Jefus were found written in his heart : This I dare 

^°"^* affirm. That the Piauredf Chrift, the Graces of Chrift, tlie 

Life of Chrift, is to be found in every found man. Pauly Lydiay 

the Jailor, Chrilt was fought by than, and found in them. It 

cannot be, that a finner fhould be found, if Chrift be not to be 

found in him. Why I if thou be a Chriftlefs man, who doubt? 

of the Returning Prodigal, 2 47 

ky but that thoa art a loR man ? Now do not deceive thy foul ; 
thou canlt fay, that Chnil once was to be found ni the Temple, 
and Chrili once was to be found on the Crofs, and Chrilt is liill 
to be found at the right hand of his Father ; but is there no: one 
place more where thou cantt find him ? hait thou not a heart ? 
Is Chrilt to be f«iind there, I fay, there, in thy heart ? I find 
him in thy Ear wh^n thou hearert, and I find him in thy mouth 
when thou fpeakeft, and thou findeft him in thy mind when thou 
thinkeli ; but Hill I ask. Doit thou find him in thy heart > which 
bves, which fears, which joys, which delights, which embra- 
ceth ? O, is Chrifl in thy heart ! what > a found man, and no- 
thing of Chrili to be found in thee 1 I know not, perhaps 
wilt thou reply. Why this is Ikange, that Chrift fhould be in 
thee, and thou never know it ! Chrill dwels in the broken heart, 
in the believing heart ; Chrirt lives in him, who onely lives upon 
Chriii Chrift was a crucified Chri(t, doth he crucifie thy heart ? 
He was a holy Chrift, doth he purifie thy heart? He was an 
humble Chrift, doth he abafe thy heart ? He was a tender Chrift, 
doth he mdlifie thy heart ? He was a fatisfying Chrift, doth he 
paci fie thy heart ? He was an obedient Chrift, doth he command,, 
doth he lead, doth he rule thy heart ? He did for thee, canft^ 
thou do for him ? He died for thee, canft thou fuffer for him ? 
He loved thee, canft thou delight in him? 

• 5. If the Lord hath gracioufly found thy loft foul, and indeed Then thou wile 
brought it home unto himfelf. Then thm wilt find [ujficlency^ m find fufficiency 
emtigh at leafl^ in thy Fathers houfe. There is enough in God, in thy Fatherr* 
to allure and draw a finner home, to keep a finner at home that - 
be needs not wander abroad, mercy and pleafurcs for evermore : 
This the Prodigal difcover'd afar off, even in the birth of his 
finding ; There is bread Cnongh^ and to /pare, God feems a poor . 
thing, a mean thing, an infuflRcient thing to a loft man ; and 
therefore he WJinders up and down, and ferves his lufts, and begs; 
from the Creatures to make him out fome delight, fomeplea- 
fure, fome proRt, fome fubfiftence, fome contentment : But 
God is a rich thing, a Fulnefs ; He alone is enough ; One God 
is enough for my one foul, if my foul indeed be found of him : 
O, he hath Mercy enough for me to fave me. Love enough for 
aie to delight me, Heafure enough for me to comfort me, Dig- 
mty enough for me to advance me, Help enough for mc to 


248 Cods Gracious Aeceftanee 

I preferveme; Happinefs enough forme, to fave me. If I want 

-Grace, he is the ood of Grace ; if 1 want Peace, he is the God 

of ^i2iCt - if I want Mercies, he is the Father of Mercies ; if I 

. ^ want for Earth, the Earth is the Lords ; if I VYould nave Hea- 

! ven, he is the God of my Salvation. Now^ friend, what fay 

you? hath God found your loft foul? and what hath your foul 

found in your God? What canft thou fay of this God, of .his 

Mercy, Love, Entertainment, Communion ? with thee thefa^ 

theriejs fi'/ideth mercy ; Thy favour is better than life ; It is good 

for me to draw near unto God ; canft thou fay thus ? is there bread 

enough f«)r thee in thy Fathers houfe ? If fo, why doeft thou yet 

run away? run abroad to Sin for delight, to the Creature for fa- 

tisfa6lion ? 

Thou wilt be 6. If God hath gracioufly found thee, and brought thee out of 

afraid to lofe thy loft and wandring condition, Ihon wilt he afraid to hfe thy 

-f thy idf ajain. f elf again j to wander again, togoaftray again from thy God who 

hath found thee. There arefe things which the found and re- 
covered perfon doth a pprchend ; i . The great imftlty in h is for- 
merly loft and wandring courfe of life. 2. His great vanity 
all that while, to forfake his own mercies, to fow the wind, and 
' reap the whirl vvind. what profit had ye in thofe things whereof ye 

^ dre now afhamed f Rom.6. ^^ The great ki^dnefi and love 

' which God hath manifefted towards his loft foul, in bringing him 
back to himfelf, and now to own him as a Fatlier doth a Son. 
4. The great ingratitude^ to difpleafe that mercy which was 
pleafed to find him. %, The madne ^ of folly ^ to return to an 
experimental mifery, and to forfeit fvveet mercy, which he hath 
liberally tafted fince he was found. 6, The great haz,ardy 
whether -mercy will ever look after him any more, who hath fo 
prefumptuoufly abufed mercy received. O no ; the found fin- 
, ner hath found fi-ch freenefs, fulnefs, fweetnefs of entertain- 
ment ; fuch rich mercy, fuch free love, fuch wonderfull klnd- 
nefs, that as Peter in another cafe, ( it is good for hs to he 
here ; ) or as the returning Church, ( it is beft being with 
my firft Husband ; ) or as Panl about his being with Chrift, 
fo he about continuing and complying with his God, It i§ 
heft of all. And therefore he cries out againft all temptations, 
Shall I return to folly, when God hath fpoken peace ? fhall / 
•fin again, fincc Gad hatt given me fuch a deliverance as 


f •' 

of the Returning Prodigal, 249 

this? O no,0 no ; C^nann is bcj.ter then £gyfty Paradife is bet- 
ter then a vvilderncfs , a Fathers Houie is better then to ferve 
Swine, plenty is better then famine; NovvGod rmiiesonme , 
and ("hall I raile his frowns ? Now confcience fpeaks peace, Ihall 
I turn this oyle into a Sword ? O let me never unjoynt the Rones 
which mercy at leng h hath let ; O let me never darken the Sun, 
which lliines fo comtortably ; O let me never feed on husks,who 
may (Hll feed on bread ; O let me never run from a Pailace to a 
Prilbn : It w.is Gods mercy,and my happinefs to be refcued out 
of a loft condition ; let it never be my fin and curfe, to throw my 
felf dutof Heaven, to cart myfelfoutof Paradife again, for a •' 
fins fake which formerly loft me , to depart from mercy , which 
hathgraciouflyfound me. 

'7. If fit found ferfon doth ftray \ h cannot he qniet until he he If he do firay 
foHndy and come hack^agam to his. God, Ffal.i 19.175. I have *l^'^"°^ ^'^'^ 
gone ajlray like a loft fheef^ [eek^ thy fervant : There is this dif- ^ . ^ ^°^* 
ference twixt the ftrayings of the Godly, and of the wicked ; 
when a wicked man ftrayes he is then at home, ( fin is his home , 
and finful paths are the paths in which he loves to wander ; the 
mire and dirt are the delightful home of the Swine ) and there- 
fore he delights to be abroad, and cares not to come back again : 
But a Godly man, if he ftrayes, if he fins, he is now from home, 
hefeethfome fteps of loftncfs in every ftep of finfulnels, his 
heart is aptprefently tofmite him for it; Alas! what hav6 I 
done ? whether am I going ? ihall I go again from my Fathers 
Houfe? whatayled me thus to ftep a fide ? I cannot reft thus, 
I will home again vvhat ever comes of it. And back he comes 
with an afhamed heart , as Ephraim did ; and with a mourn- 
ing heart, as Peter did ; and with a felf- judglrg heart, ^s David 
did : O my God , O my Father, I, even I have finned, finned 
again ; yet for Chrifts fake, accept of me sgaiu. ' Me thinks it 

* IS with him , jufi as it is with a poor Child, vvhomevilcom- 

* pany hath feduced from home ; hi^ heart akes , and he flips 
^ from them , and under a Bufh he fits, and there bethinks him- 

* felf, and fighs,and weeps as if his heart would brenk; after which 
*: he rifeth, and home he comes, and Ikals to the door, and liftens, 
' and knocks fof tl y ; and the Servants comes forth, and, fliy they, 
^ where have you been all this while ? O, your Father wonders 

* at you ! and hath been much troubled that you have dealt 

K k ' thus 

2 50 <^ods Gracious AccepAncc 

* thus with him : Now the child takes on,and is cut to the heart j 

* and V7iil not my Father be pacifyed ? I know that I have oifea- 

* ded him, and dealt unkindly with him : Never had a Child fo 

* good a Father ; I pray you, fpeak for mc, and tell him, I am 

* without. Let him come in, faith his Father : In he comvS, and 

* falls do.vn, and with floods of tears acknowledges his ikayings, 
*-and humbly intreats his Father to pafs by this wandring, and to 

* own him again,and to look on him as he was wont to do : O Sir, 
'(faith he) I canno: live without your favour,, nor will I live out 

* of your houfe.. Even thus is it with a found Child of God,if he ; 
^ happens to ftray and rin,his heart fmites him,and his heart akes ; . 
^(Ofaith he) what have I done to deal thus with my good God 

* and Father , I am ailiamed and grieved ; To one Muiifler he 

* goes, and perheips to another ; Do yow think that the Lord will 
' be merciful to me again ? Yea,, to God he goes, and confefleth 

* all,, and befeecheth him to deal with him like a Father ; Lord, 

* ( faith he) it hath been a woful and bitter time to me, I cannot 
*ftand it out ; I come in unto thee , fin is my burthen , and thy 

* difpleafure is my burthen : I befeech thee to pardon the tref- 

* pafs of thy fervant, , and be reconciled unto me, and OrVn mc 

* with thy favour and mercy once again. 

He fades vours B. //<? Tvh& is truly found by Gods Grace and Mercy-, doth de^ 

, 40 £cd ©iters, pre And endeavour to find others , c r that others may alfo hefofirJ ; 

, Jf. 1.43, 45. Chrift finds P/:///p, zndPhlllf Rnds Nathamef t 

• ' There is no good man who would pertake of Grace and Heaven 

alone ; and there is no vvicked m.'in who vould enjoy fin and hell 
alone ; Wicked men are like thofe that are drowning, who catch] 
hold on others ; and every good man is like a Candle, which be- 
ing lighted holds out light to others ; or like a fiick of fire,which 
being kindled, would kindle more ft'cks : Good Lord, the fame- 
Meicy, the fame Grace , the fame Ch'-'fi , the fame reconciled 
<}od,and Father for my poor Child too,and for my poor HusSand 
too, and for my poor Parents too : O Lord, pity them too,tlaey 
are loft, and they know not themifery of a loft condition , nay, 
the happinefs of . a found condition : Good Lord, open their 
I eyes, and bring them home to thy felf inChrift,, And to his 

friends he goes >. O continue not in this condition, you are loft, 
I was fo ; Return to God,you knovV not the fweetnefs of his mer- 
cy, of. his love, . 

f . If 


of the Returning Trodigd. 251 

9. If God hath found thee indeed, Then thou mayfi be fomd ^^ ^^^^ ^^ 
in Gods wajes : The wayes or courfe of life which a man leads, ,,,.jna in Gods 
plainly difcovers whether he be found or loft; a man that is ftill v^a/($. 
loli , he continues in vvayes which are loofe and loll, which will 
brin^ him to everlafHng perdition and lofs : A man ihat is found 
by Grace, isno\v, in fuch vvayes as brings Glory to him which 
finds, and alio brings him to Glory who is found ; What ' talk of 
being found by Gods mercy , and yet wallowing in thy ki^s, itill 
runnmg on in thy finful bafe vvayes 1 whatibrought back :o God, 
and (hll running away from God ! Affuredly, thefound man is 
to be found in new waves, in the paths of righteoufnefs and ho- 
linefs ; he is alliamed of his old vvayes, and forfakes them : P^f*^ - 
is not perfecuting now, but humbling himCelf for it, and praying, 
and preaching, and living to Chrift. . 

The next Ufe fhall be of Exhortation unto a twofold Duty. p^^l^{[]^^^ 
I. Ta find out your loll condition. 2. To get out of a loft 
conditioii. i. L/thvur to find ont your lofi C9n2ltloH : Be con- To find out 
vinced, that naturally you are loft men. There are two ReaCons our loft condi-^ 
which may move you to this. i. The extream fride andfelf-con- "°^' . 
ce'itednefs ; the felf-conceit,andfelf-deceitm every fmner ; there y^" fxcresa 
is no finner thniks himfelf fo fafe ai^d vvell as the loft (inner ; pridt and fdf- 
Jhave need of n9thlng({2iid Laodlcea.)! tv as alive o»#tf(faid Pauiy) conc«itc<lners 
fVe Tvrre never in bondage (faid the Jews. ) 2. Toti mil never feek^ of every (i oRcr. 
unt9 the Lord to bring you out of a lofi condition^ until yopi find 5^^ c^\ 
jour [elves Ufi .- Who feeks his bread but the hungry ? or asks ^^ ^^*^ ^^^ ' 
theway,who thinks himfelf in the way?or comes hDme,vvho is not feivci loft, 
gone abroad ? 

Ohj, But you will fay , how may a man be convinced that his 
condition is loft ? Sol, I anfwer, there are feven fpecid con- 
vidionsof if. i. The fall tf mankind in Adam : Ourna- Seven Gonvi- 

ture was like a ftock depofited in his hand , what he had, we had ; aions of our 
what he kept,we kept ; when he feU,.wc fell ; and what he loft, io^ conditiQa. 
we alfoToft; his condition was not pcrfonal, but natural ; not 
particular, but Univerfal : Oh, that Ship is fpHt, tha^ Tree is 
fallen, that Stock is fpent. 2. Tfje Obfervatifx of onr w^yes 

findfathes : do but eye them, and judgof tiiem : Asr/hcn 
God opened the, eyes of the Syrians , they faw themfelves to be 
mt\t&m\d{{o^ Samaria'^ fo if God ever open th'ne eyes, thoii 
VYiItf^eand confefs thatali thy vvayes are but wandrings, and.»I! 

' ' K k a the . 

252 ^^^^ Gracious Acceftance 

the time of thy life hath been loft in iniquity , and vanity. 
3. The P^udy of the Law: Ah! When wilt thou read thy 
felf in it! thou v^'iit find thy felf many a thoufand mile from 
home, and to have been along, very long wanderer, aloft and 
undone perfon» Rom. 7. 9. JVhen the CommAniment came , fm 
revivedj and I dyed, 4. u4 confctcnce inllghxned and qmckc 
ned: There is no one faculty in mm, which can difcover his 
prefent condition to him, fo certainly and fo clearly as Con- 
fcience; Men fpeak, fancy fpeaks, corrupted judgment, and 
reafon Ipeak, yea, but what doth confcience fpeak, mprivate, 
on a fick bed, in an imminent judgment ? 5. The judgment 
of Godly and exferienced Chn'flians , who have known experi- 
mentally a loft condition, and a found condition. 6, The 
un-lnc It nation of hii fpirit to all Commmton with God : Nay, 
the very averfnefs of it thereto. 7. The ahfolme inexferi- 
ence of his foul,, in the family of God, never yet knowing what 
fuch a fathers houfc doth mem. 
Scrivetogct Secondly, when yon have found om your lojl condhlony then 
ou? oHbis left flrlve to get out of it : O, do not continue in it , either through 
Condition, prefumption, that you can quickly come home,or through defpair, 
that G od now will never look after you,nor regard you ; Bat pray 
the Lord in mercy to turn thy heart, to give thee an heart to 
come back unto him. 0^/. But I have wandered fo long, that 
I fhall never be accepted, nor welcomed, although I ftiouldcome 
back. SoL ^ay not fo : But confider well of thefe enfuing 
particulars, i. The Lord faith, 1 hat he hath been found of them 
that fought him not ; and will he not then be found of them 
that return and feek him ? Sifecc.am , ^uid pemtenthfi errantl 
^md qudrenft? If he looks after thee then, will he not look on 
thee now? 2. There was never a wandering loft Soul ^ that ever 
returned hack^to his Fathers Houfe , but the door hath been opened 
to him^ and he ha h found mercy ; the Prodigal h^rty Manajfes^ 
Paul Scc^ f?. If thou hafi a heart to turn home^ It Is a certain 
fign that God Intends thee rnercy ; he. h:ith putreturning.thoughts 
in, thee, becaufe he hath already contrived thoughts of mercy to- 
wards thee. We love hlm^ becaufe. he loved us firfi ; we turn to 
, him, becaufe he firft turned to us. 4. The Lord God hath fent 
Jefis Chrlftfrom Hea:zcny to look^aftery and to findy andiofapfi 
that which was /op : Novy, though thouxajqift ru>t expe<S to find - 

■" ■ the 

of the Returning Prodigal, , 253 

/ the door epened for thine own fake; yet thou flialtfee the door 
open , and the Armcs of Mercy open to thee, for Chrifts fake. 
5. How m,iny mejjengers and ^ervmts hath God-, and doth God ft ill 

_,. fend afttr^ which cry earnelHy unto thee, Come back, return and 
live? Thus the Gofpel cries, thus Confcience cries, thus all thy 
mercies cry, thus all thy affli6lions cry : If God be yet feeking 
after thee, thou mayit yet be found ; and if thou wilt feek, and 
wait a while, thy poor lof-t foul fhall alfo be found. 6, God hath 
chalked $Ht the wajes and fte^s of returning home to him. j, God 
hath fgy.nd men in their blood , and hath [aid unto them^ Live, 
Ezek. (5, 

For this my Son n>as dead-, and is alive again, 

Thefe words do hold forth a pithy defcription of a finners 
converfion ; that is, a paffige from death to life ; or a mutation 
from a dead condition, into a living condition ; the eftate of fin 
is a dead eliue, yea,a deadly eliue ; and the 'ik:\.x.t of Grace, is a 
living eftate, ye^^, a lively eftatc. There anyminy Do£^rinal 
PropofitionS) which are couched in thefe words : As i . That an 
impenitent, or unconverted min , is a dead man : [ This my 
Son was dead ] 2. That when a finner is converted , he is, then 
mide a live : [And is alive'] jj. That God doth fometimes con- 
vert a very great and notorious finner : [This^thismySon] 4, That 
great aifliclions are fometimes the means of a great finners Con- 
verfion : [7 his my Son was] 5. That there is an almighty power,re- 
quired to convert or change a finner [ As much as to make a dead 
man to live.l 6, That true Converfion is a very great and confpicu- 
ous alteration : (No change is like that from death tolife.) y.That 
true Converfion is an inwirdror a foul-alteration 5 notof cloath?, 
or painting : (It is the putting of life into a dead min. ) 
"6, That a finner contributes nothing at all towards his CoHver- 
fion, but Co'iverfion of a finner , is the fole work of a God ; 
(for it is God only, who can quicken the de.id, no dead m in 
can make h'mfelf alive. ) 9. That the Lord takes notice nf e-- 
very condition of m>n (of the Prodigals former condition, 
he was deady and of his prefent condition, hut he is alive again. ) 
10. That the Lord doth own every converted perfon, as a Fa- 
ther ovTns a- Son : [ This my Son, ~\ 

, "■ That 

2^^ A Gods gracious Acceptance 

■pa. I . That an impenitent or unconverted man is a dead man [ Thu 

An unconvcr- ?«7 Son was dead ] Thefinriwris in Scripture fom.^tiines itikd, A 
ted man, is a fallen man. i/^/. 14. 1 . Thou haft fallen by thine imqiiitj : Yc^a, 
dead man. ^^t this fall is a deadly fall ; not like Epitjchits Fall, Aots 20. 29. 
in whom yet there was life, verf. 10. But like ^haz,iah's Fall, 
- which was deadly to hini, 2 Kings i .4. A difeafed man, {I fa. i .5. 
From thefole of the foot even to the heady there is no fo-indnefs) but 
this difeaie is a deadly difeafe; and therefore fin is called the P/a^nff 
.fif the hearty 1 Kings 8. No difeafeis fo deadly as tke Plague, 
and no Plague is fo deadly as the Plague in the heart. A -wjund- 
edmivi ( Luk^. 10,^0, A certain man fell among Theeves^ wht 
wo:-ndedhim,) But this wound is a deadly wound,likethac which 
the King of Bahilon gave to Pharaohy\yhxdim ide him groan with 
the groanings of a deadly yvomdsd man^ E z ek. 3 o. 24. An inthr ailed 
man. 2 Pet. 2.19. Of whom a man is overcsme^ of the fame he 
z^ brought in Bondage ; But this Bondage is a deadly Bondage; 
whether $f Jin unto death (faith the Apoftle) of the fervants of fin, 
Rom,6, 16, A dead man ; and this is the highe({,unlefs you fay, a 
damned man ; frequently doth the Scripture Phrafe this way. 
Fjalm 106, 2^, The-y did eat the facrifices of the dead ^ becaufe 
offered to dead Idols, and by dead Idolaters. Prov, 21. 16. 
The man that vpandreth out of the way of under ftanding^ fhall 
remain in the Congregation of the dead^ ( ./. ) of the ungodly, 
wicked , impenitent : The Efhejians , what were they before 
their converfion? See Chap. 2. i. Bead in fins and trefpajfes. 
The Ctloffians , what were they before their converfion ? See 
Chap. 2.1^. AndyiH being dead in your fms^ &c. i Pet.4. (5.71^^ 
G of pel was preached to them that were dead/S.) to wicked and im- 
penitent perfons; nay, jWf,v.i 2. fpeaks of fome that were twice 
dead ; dead in refpe(5^ of Original Sin^ and dead in rcfpe6l of 
ABualfin ; or,dead in rdpe6^ of corruption, and dead in refpe6i: 
to their former profefTion. I grant, that an unconverted finner 
may be alive. 1, In rQUpQ^oi his own opinion: I was once ^ 
live (faid Paul Rom. 7.9.) but when the Commandment came , 
fin revive d^and I d)'ed, 2. In the opinion of men. Rev. :^. i. Th$fi 
haft a name that thou liveft^and art dead ; So Chrift of the Church 
of Sardis, 3. To Jinful workj ; he lives in them, and lives with 
them,and lives to them;but this life is death, this life is a fign that 
ke is dead, that untofpirituals he is dead* This is a great Point,of 


of the Returning Prodigal, 2 55 

which I am now difcourfing, and hath been the fubje^l of much 

dilpute, as in former A^es , fo iii this latter Age. There have 

been f( me that have denyed (utterly) this death of a (inner ; 

others have held finful men to be wounded, and to be half dead : . . ^ 

The Pelagians ^^o this way, fo do all ih^ Papijh , and verily the 

Armlnians come not much lliort herein ; yea, moft men preiume 

that though they be finners, yet that they are not altogether dead, . 

but fome life llill remains in them, or fome power. Favour me 

therefore,to o:en the point with fome diftin6lions,and then I lliali 

confirm the truth delivered, both with Scripture and Arguments , , rv-n, - 

and wind up the reft with fome profitable Applications to our ^j^J^* "•' 


I. For the firft of thefel diftinguifh thus; Man is confiderable Mm confidcr- 
under a threefold eftate. i . Of I'/iflhmlo?7^or Creation fWhtrdn he ''d under a ihtee- 
was alive,and had a power to live or dye. i^ofDef^mtion^or Deoe- ^2^f ^*^^* , 
neratttn : In this eftate every man hving is dead. 3. 0/ Rcflituusny Qp oc^nera- 
6r Regeneration : And here he is born again, and is made alive a- tion, * 
gain. Again,man in his degenerate or fallen e(iue5may be confider- Ot R?gen«ra-- 
ed in relation to adiionsjand obje(^s, either, i . Natural : To thefe ^ion. ^ 
he i^ alive ; the foul in man is no dead,but living thing, and is able ^f^ ^" *^*? 
to underftand, will, dciire, difcourfe, and realon; and this man can colffidered Is 
eat,drink,{leep,c^f.2.Pc//r/V;^/;Herealfo life is found in him;even to 
a wicked man (deftitute of all Grace) is alive to trade, to bargain, Nacural adi- 
to buy,to fell,to planr, ro build, ^,Theolegica/y or Spiritual : Now °"^. ^ 
here the ^mr cm tent, or unconverted mm hflane mortuu6 , ftark j^',^^'^* ' '** 
dead. An un^erfl-andlrg ( I confefs) he ftill hath, but none that is Or* Thcolori* ^ 
able to know God aright, or Chrift, or any faving truth (without caL 
Divine aid or Grace.) 2 Cor. ^.5. ff^e are not /efficient of onr 
fehesy te thinks any thing as of onrfelzesy If we ( Apoftle and 
regenerate) be not fuilicient, who is! if not to think, then 
to what 1 to think, is the loweft a6l of power, i Cor. 2. 14. 
The natural man reeeizeth not the things of the Spirit of God j . 
for they arc foolifhn^fs unto him ; neither can he knorv them^^ 
kecanfe they are fpiritnaUy difnemed, John i. ^. The light 
fhineth in darkle fs , and the dark^efs comprehended it mP, ^ 
mil alfo I gr<int unto the natural and unconverted man , . 
for he could not be a m^n , if he bad not a will , but this will 
(without Grace) cantTOt do any fpiritual good, rtorchufeit,, 
norleve.it, nor dcfire it: No» joteji h$mo aliquid velle nlfl 


255 Gods gracious Acceftance 

Adjpivettir ah eo , qui malmn non f(^efl velle : So S. Anflln a- 
^m\ii Pdagiusy 'lom. 3. De ffinm O' Liter a cap. 3. wlthom 
me (laith Ciirift)^^ can do nothings J oh 1 5.5. No ma,n comes tome^ 
exec ft the Father draw him^ J oh. 6. 44. h is God who workj in m 
to will and to do (faith the Apoftie) 'Phil, 2.13. And Workj^ \ grant 

im o this man, but fpiri ual work I d^ny to them. ^/W ^oW /?/?- 

tef}: ferditus mfi in qHamum k ferditione liherattis \ Auitm inEn- 

chirid.C^o, Ihej that arn in the p^ cannot f'.ea[e God^ faith the 

Apofile^ Rom. 8. 8. An evil Tree cannot bringforth good fruit ^ 

fo our Saviour, Mat. 7. 1 8. without faith it is imfojjlble to pleafe 


J. r .. 2. But let US proceed further, and fearch What Reafons may 

be produced to demonrtrate the Aflertion: That the natural, or 

unconverted man is fpiritually dead , and as to fpirituals altoge- 

H t bath no ther dead ; Thus th^i, i . He who hath no Commmion at all with 

communion the principles of fpiritnal life , is (in a fpiritual fenfe) altoge- 

¥*ub the prm- ^-j^gj. ^^^^^ . f^^. vvhere there is no principle of life, there can- 

tua'uifc. ^^'*" not be any thing but death : Tolle animam^ tdle vitam :^ but the 

impenitent and unconverted finner, hath no communion with any 

one principle of fpiritual life : Therefore, (^c. There is a twofold 

principle of this life. i. A primitive conjunBion with God ^ In 

theefiateof Imocency r^ but this is lofi 2. ^renewed Con- 

junRionwith God by Chrljl ; but yet this \s not attained to by an 

unconverted finner. It is a confeffed truth, that Jefus Chrift is the 

Author of fpiritual life to the finner : He that hath the Son^hath 

hfe^and he that hath not the Son^hath not life^ Joh. 5.17. And the 

finner hath it partly hy Faith ^ which taking Chrirf, takes life 

from him ; by the Spirit of Regeneration^which renewg, and makes 

him alive ; but the unconverted finner, hath neither the one, nor 

the other ; had he either, he were then converted. 

Origin a! (in, ' 2. Original Jin (whilfi reigning) is a compleat caufe offpirittial 

Is a compUac death : But original fin reigns in the impenitent and unconverted 

caufc of fpiri- finner, therefore he is dead. The Fathers have diverfly Phrafed 

tual death. Original fin ; fome call it Venenum Syerpentis^^o Cprian ; others 

Flagamferpent.iSj{oIreneus; others Vitium parentum^ {oF^u- 

linius in Aujlin ; the Apoftle Faul calls it, fometimes, the body 

°f P'^t (otnQtimQs^thebody of deathj fometimes, the Law of fin 

and death ^(omtXimts-ithe Vnclrcumcifion of the heart, 0\jx. Divines 

generally conceive two things in it, 2;/^. In Original fin, there is 

I. nA 

of the Returning Prodigal. 257 

X. A total deprivation of original right eoufnejS : The Faculties 
remain, but the Redtitiide is gone. It is reported of an excel- 
lent Philofopher, that he fell into a Difeafe, which daflncd out 
all ihe Learning that ever he acquired, fo that he forgat even 
his own Name. Original fin is like the extinguifliing of a 
Candle ^ the Candle remains IHII, but the Light is gone: 
Or like the quenching of red Iron; the L:on remains, but the 
fiery rednefs is all gone : O: like a Tree, the Limbs remain, 
but the Life is gone. It is an Univerfal fpoil ; it hath robbed 
. us of all our fupcrnaturals ; worfe to us than the Devil to J#^, 
who took away all that he had, yet fpared his Life ; But Ori- 
ginal Sin not onely took away Paradife and Righteowfnefs, but 
all felf- power fo much as todefire to be good. 2. A tctdl 
depravation of all the man, Seges uhl Trola : The Soul of 
Man was once like a Garden, fully fet with the fweeteit Flow- ' 
ers of Righteoufnefs ; but now it is become like a Wildernefs 
run over and filled with Briars and Thorns : Or it is like a Face, 
vvh'ch once was the moft curious of features, ( every part ex- 
prefllng moft amiable fweetnefs ; ) now it is like the fame Face, 
moll deformed with the clufters of the Pox, and the very fhame 
and reproach of it felf. There is not a Faculty in the Soul, but 
it is like the Bough of a fruitful! Tree, thicMy laden with Ini- 
quity : It is a Spring, bubling out nothing but averfatiow, en- 
mity, refinance to fpiritual good ; and rcadinefs, incfination, 
cagerncfs, unfatiablenefs to all that is evil : Godfarv that every 
imagination of the thoughts of the heart of man vfOf onely evil 
contwHaUy^ Gen. 6. 5. The beft of men complain of blind- 
nefj, of dulnefs, of deadnefs ; Alas then, what, or how is it 
with the worft of men ? Paul could not do good, a wicked 
man would not do good : Paul complains for want of pow- 
er ; what then may an unconverted man do ! By all this 
( I think ) it manife6lly appears , That the unconverted 
man is fpiritually dead , becaufe Original Sin reigns in 
bim ; ( if in any, then in him ; ) and where Original Sin 
reigns, there is. a total privation or ^bfence of all fpiritual 
Life , and total corruption or prcfence of fpiritual Death in 
the Soul. Thetfrmsuft^ 

3. The Terms ufed in Scripture to exprefs a finners converfi- *^ ^^"pturc t* 
•n, dofeem futficiently weighty, to prove, That before his con- ^^^ * «»¥«• 

LI vcrfion 

2 J 8 Cods Gracious Acceftame 

vefion he was fpidtually dead : For it is fet forth fometimss, By 
the RefHrreEiionof the dead -^ Ephef, 5. 14. Aivaksy thon that 
Jleepefi^ and arife from the dead. By the Generation of a per f on. 
Of hi4 own good will hegat he us mth the word oftrmhy Jam. 1. 1 8. 
By Creation, 2 Cor. 5.17. If any man he in Chri^^ he is a new 
creature. Now obferve ; if Converfion be a Rerurre6^ion, ' a 
fpiritual Refurreclion, then the foul before Converfion was fp'i- 
ritually dead ; if Converfion be a Regeneration, then a new life 
is brought into ihe foul, which it totally wanted before ; If Con- 
verfion be a Creation, and the converted m.in qtia talis be a new 
creature, then he had no fpiritual being before. If fpiritual Life 
• be a creature onely of ChrilFs making, then, &c, 
Tke promifcs 4. To me, thofe fpiritual Prowifes which God mak^Sy ofgi^ 
ot giving* fpi- i^lng a fpiritual being and life^ do abundantly clear, that man is 
andUfc''"'' ^^^^ ° "^^' of pouring forth the Spirit of Grace, giving his Spi- 
rit, taking away the heart of Stone, and giving the heart of Fie ("h, 
of giving Knowledge, Love, Fear, c^^. Such kinds of Promi- 
' fes imply three things : i. 0:4r total want mi n^Qd ; 2. Gods 
Hndertaki.ng to he flow them ^ 5 , A free and total donation of them 
to us on Gods part. 
The (Juzy of 5. S. ^^iflin ufeth the t)uty of Prayer, to prove this Aflfertibn 

i fa/cr, againft the Pelagians ; Petenda a Deo lpphaoif$m a, ergo nihil boni ex 

rfiohis poffamm^ And in an Epi (tie to ^/m/^, he faith, Prorfus 
V r*on erampii^DeHfn^ fed orare ms fngimuifi nos ipfof non Ilium credit . 
mus facer e quod or dmtis, 

6. I will add but one Argument more, 'viz-^ That man is tc- 

Afan cannoc ^ tally dead, ( qtiantum ad fpiritaalia^) who cannot fo much as 

so^i^f" ^'^^^^ prepare himfelf, no not remotely, no not in any degree unto the 

life of Grace: But, the Unconverted man cannot, ('^^V^^'^/^r^?- 

jria^ and without fupernatural aid,) in h : leaft degree'prepsre 

himfelf, &e, for, without that aid, he cannot de&e deliverance 

- .out of his finfwll eftate, nor m<:>urn over it, nay not feel it, nay 

Rotfpiritually knowit. ^. ^-^ 

The Ufe which I defire to Bi^ke 'orthis Point, I^allrSdfice 
unto, I. Information,:?, Jfialj 3 Inl^rii(5lion. 
InformatloD* ^ For /^/^^'w^^f/W Is every natural and unconverted man. a 
Tbc unccn- fpiritually dead man? Hence we may be informed of fevehl 
]n?h f"d(left Truths. i. That the unconverted man is-, of all men- on the 

seiididon, f^rphy in the faddejl^ vlle/l, mferahlefi (ondition : Why? Be- 


of the Returning Prodigal. 259 

caiife he is fpiritually dead, dt^d-^ fpiritually dead. A wounded 
man is in a tedious condition, and a difeafed raan is in a languifh- 
ing condition ^ but what is a VYound to death ? what is a difeafe 
to death ? Me morientl morl ; Death is the Sun-fet of all 
coinfort ; Death is the drowning of a little world ; Death is the 
very Hermitage of forgetfulnefs and loathfome corruption: 
Death is the loweft and vileft condition; what then is a fpiritual 
Death ? No Death like the fpiritual Death. O my friends, con- r n l. 
lider Ipintual Death, eitnerm companion, or m its proper com- d-a^^^ 
plexion, or in the confequents of it, furely, no Death, no con- 
dition is fo difmal as it. i. In comfmfon mth any other Inccmparlfoa 
Death : This is the worft, this is the heavieft. There is the Death wich ochct 
of our Goods di\-\d Eftate^ ( inco which Job fell ; ) of oixt Name «icatiu 
and RepHtatioyi^ ( into which David fell ; ) of our Bodies and 
natural Llfe^ ( into which Laz^artu fell ; ) of the Sonl^ the im- 
mortal foul of man, into which every unconverted finner is fal- 
.len ; Now what is a dead Eftate to a dead Soul ? Or what is a 
dead Name to a dead Soul ? Or what is a dead Body to a dead 
Soul ? It is not fo much as the death of a Dog to the death of a 
Man. Every unconverted man hath a dead foul; a converted 
man may have a troubled foul, but the unconverted man hath a 
dead foul, fin hath flain his precious foul ; If the foul be dead, 
what is alive ? What is that man whofe foul is dead ? In all other 
deaths , fomething is alive \;^ if Goods be gone, the Name 
lives; if the N^me be gone, th^ Body lives ; if the Body be 
gone, the Soul lives : But if the Soul alfobe gone, what lives ? 
2. In tt felf : Why fpiritual Death is a total privation of God, Inicffftf, 
ofChriii, of Grace; no life of God, nolife of Chrili, no life 
of Grace is there in any unconverted perfon ; none at ^11. Ah 
rpoor wretch ! what art thou, and what is thy condition, who art 
thus dead? A total corruption, diifufion, pofleHionwithGn. S. 
Aufi'm affirm>. That the very Vertues of the Heathens were but 
[pkndida feccata^ meer flowers on a dead man: And Solomon^ 
7 he facrlfices of the wickjd are an ahom'inathn tojhe Lord, What 
a gaiHy fight would it be, to open a gra^ve, ancn<e the' dead bo- 
dy run over with crawling worms, and 'a general putrefa6lioa 
over all the parts 1 And truly, fo it is with the foul of an uncon- 
verted perfon ; it is the filthieft, n^iftieft, corrupted^, may I 
fay, Carrion,.^ X//5/;£r.iaid once, SomanyfiniSj fo-many hells ; 


a5o ^^^^ Gracious Accepanct 

furely, I may then fay, So many Sins, fo many Deaths. The 
unconverted man is full of (in : his heart is fttlUfevilj fo 5#/(?-» 
wan. ; He is filled with all mrighteoufnej^y fo Paul affirmetb. Joif 
was filled with botches, yea, but he was not filled with fins ; ^nd 
X.az>arHs was filled wiih fores,yea,but he was not filled with fins; 
and Davids foul was filled with complaints, and Chrifts foul was 
filled wich forrow, yea, but it was not filled with fin. Every un- 
converted mans dead foul is filled with living fins, as a good 
mans foul is filled with dying and dead fins ; and a foul full of 
living fins, is much like a foul filkd up with Hel-fire. There 
is no evil fo evil as fin, and no fin fo evil as living fin, and no 
living fin fo evil as a fulnefs and an onlinefs of living fin. 
Inj^eeonfc- 7,. In the confequents of it : I will name but three of them, 
qucms of ic. I, ^u the guile of all thbfe fins lie on him alone. 2. All the 
wrath of God looks on him, the fentence of curfe^ 3, An eter- 
nal death may foon befal him. 
No mirvd that 2.. Then m marvel^ that fuhtick, and private admmtiffns^ couH' 
admonitions, fels^ reproofs^ , prevail not with the mofl of merh We Miniikrs 
reproofs, coun- preach, and we think we preach Religion, and with evidence 
with^ mVflt "°^ ^°^?^ of Reafon, and deliver things fairly and plainly and 
aijn, convincingly ; and now we wonder at it, that men ihould hear 

fuch clear and undeniable truths, and not be moved and perfwa- 
ded 1 And Parents give admirable counfels and inftrud^ions to 
their Children, and no good comes of them ! &c. Why Sirs, 
are not unconverred men dead men? And what can all our un- 
dertakings ( alone confidcred ) do unto ded men ? Afluredly, 
unlefs the Lord of Life himfelf will fpeak.thefe counfels and thefc 
admonitions unto finfuU men, they will never hear them fo as to 
be (iirred, fo as to be moved, fo as to be converted by them ; they • 
will remain in their finfull condition- and obftmate waycs to eter- 
2e is Gods 3- Then it is of Gods meet mercj^dnd pitj^ andfoyver^ if ever 

mercy that an*/ thy poor font he converted : Never afcribe it to thy excellency, 
fouliscenveri- ( vvhat excellency is there in a dead man ? ) to thy power, (what 
* power is there where there is no life ? ) to thy felf preparations, 

(Avhat a6liv€ difpofihg or preparation can a dead man afford ? ) ' 
The dead finncr is the meer objedi of purefl mercy, and the dead 
iinner is without all ftrength ; if ever his fouls live^,then to Chrift 
snuflL that life own it felf,, and to Divine Mercy, and Po^ver, &.ti 


of the Returning Prodigal, 16 1 

The next Ufe (hd\\ be for Trial or Examination. Since every 
unconverted man is fpiritually dead 5 let's therefore fearch our ^ • ^-'^.u*. 
hearts, in what a cowdition they are : Are not many of us yet thlJ*^^ bclpi- 
dead in fins and trefpaffes ? fpiritually dead men ? There are four ricually dead. 
Tokens of a man fpiritually dead. i. V^f^nfilflcnefs : Where ^^^^ ^^.j^gn, jj£ 
there is no life, there is no fenfe ; of all finners, the unfenfible it. 
finner is in the molt deadly condition. Tante pejor quAmo infen- Ui^f^nfibiencrs* 
fihliter^ faith Anfrw, Do what you will to a dead man, he is 
unfenfible of it; ca'l to him, he hears not; put the fweeteli 
perfumes to him, he fmels not ; kick him, cut him, burn him, 
he feels not; although he be full of loathfomnefs, he perceives 
it not. Now I befeech you mind this Trial ; for verily, if fpi- 
ritual unfenfiblenefs prevail upon you, you are fpiritually dead : 
If fpiritUvil fenfe be the firft evidence of Life, then e contrHy 
fpiritual unfenfiblenefs is a fure evidence of Death : And what 
fpiritual fenfation is yet wrought in you ? There are fins upon 
fins ( mountains upon mountains ) in your hearts, the leaf! of 
them hath been an heavy burthen to a living foul, but what haft 
thou ever felt of thy (infiill heart and life ? There is in the Mi- 
niftry of the Gofpel, no lefs than riches of Mercy, freenefs of 
Love, glories of Ffeavcn tendred to you ; but what do you per- 
ceive in it ? Didlt thou never yet feel and cry out of a body of 
Death ? O here, here is a dead heart, an ignorant heart, a proud 
heart, an unbelieving heart, an heart in which there is no good, 
in which is all evil. Ah poor man, thou art a dead man ; no 
feeling, no complaining, no crying out of thy he^t againit all ' 
thofe many many vile and notorious fin<?. ^ 

2. An Hrtiverfal 4nd einj^ant coidnej?. If life be gone^ heat Anuniverfal' 
is gone ; the Feet are cold, and the Hands are cold, and the whole and conftint-' 
•Body is cold, and the very Heart is cold too : A living man may coldncfs. 
have cold hands and feet, but he never bath a cold heart ; for life is 
there,and heat is there. Why ! there is no one converted man un- 
der heaven, but he hath fome heat in him ; though not much in 
fome of his a6tions,yet certainly fome in his heartK>;faith he,I ap- , 
prove of what is good,and I would do good,and I delight in theLaw 
of God after the inward man; I beiieve,Lord help my unbelief. But 
now,an unconverted man hath,^ j, A eM heart mf any ffirltHal 
good. Suppofe he be at Prayer,and at Sermon; why! but he huh no 
heart to' or in thefe duties,hchath no mind to thefc worte, no de- 


^6i G^di Gracims AccepAnce 

liglit in thciii, or in the S,abbath> or in a F^^lt i. and thoiigh his 
body be pcefent, yet hi5.he;arx is, aftirjotf, it goes after h^sco- 
vetoufuers, 2:. And /this -..C^j/^/zf/ ^ mlverfal ; There is noc. 
any one fpiritual Duty, unto which his heart is not dead or cold. 
He will tell you when he hears Catechizing, I fhould like Prea-r 
. ching ; and To when he hears Preaching, I could like. Praying ; 
and lb when Praying comes, I couldlijce Reading ; and when 
Reading coines, I could like: Meditatii^ ; ,ahd when that comes, 
I could like Pradlifing; and when Practifing^coine^,: I couldt 
like Underftanding : But he dilTenibles, he loves not one Duty 
at all ; his heart to thefe is like a fick ilomack, that feems to like 
any thing but what it hath, but/indeed likes, no meat. . . 3. A^d 
. it is Mfo confidnt : I confefs, even a good and converted heari; 
may find foimetimes more actual indifpolitions to good, than at 
other times, and fometimes a greater meafure of dulnefs and 
deadnefs ; but an heart conliantly cold, from one end of the 
year to another, all the life lo:ig, i^ll tp loath fpiritual fervices, 
never to attain unto a delightfull and affei^^liionate comipunion 
with God, This is a Token of a dead foul. 
Where the 3» Where the Word i^s ache ci is hut a dead Letter mto the heartr^ 

Word preathrd certainly that man is in a dead condition. If our Go/pel he hldy 
is but a dead 'tis hid to them that are lofl^ faith the Apoftic : So may I fay, 
il-«cer. If our Gofpel be dead, it is fo cnely to them that are dead. The 

Gofpel is tlie great Trumpet of Chrif>, the Silver Trumpet by 
which he raifeththe dead ; ,as, atthelaO, he (liall raife the dead 
■ by the Voice of the Tri-mpet ; this is that by which Jefus Chrift 
quickens and pulls a feul out of its finfull condition, i. It lets 
in light to fee that condition: . 2. It affeSs Confcience to feel 
iti ^. It puts 'in Faith to .go to Chrilt to fetch life ; Yet 
many men are not wrought on at all by the Gofpel preached ; 
Unmoveablenefs'is-the token of a dead man. 
Adclightin 4. Adelight indeadthingSy andln deadwork^ fl^inly declare 

dcadwoiks. a dead condition, Paftlj in Ephef, 2,1. tdsthQ Ephefans^ that 
they were once dead ; hat how did that appear ? See verf, 2, 
In time pafl ye walked according to the eonrfeiff this world. And 
' verf. :?. Te had your converfation in the Ififts of the fle'fh^ fulfilling 

\ the de fires of the flefh. and of the mind. J. In dead things.- 

. ^Dead men are heavy, and defcend to the earth ; worldly things 

" ■■aretheO/r/w/i.andtbe:.Z^A?Wo£ anijrxonve;rtedhjeart. who 


of the Returning Prodigal, 26^ 

-willfheTf ns anj good'^ \KA, 4. If that of P^;^/ ( Coi. ^. i, .2. If 

■ye he rijen with C hrift^ then feek^ thvfe things, that are above y and 

-Jet yonr afj^^lensofj things that are ahove^yhit^ l:\xt ^-i^n of a li- 

^ving railed m.in, then e contra^ to feek, to fettle atfe:^ions on 

things below, is a true hgn of a dead man. 1, In dead 

yvorkj : Th^^t bferamorttia & mortifera. And truly, nothing 

doth more difcover a fpirituai death, than a delight, and a 

fervice of (in ; c'ertainly,' I'uch a man is yet an unconverted . 

man. • ^" 

The laft U^o. Hiall be for Infiru5iJonnnto(cvtrA Duties. I will ^r^ 
but glance a : them. - 1 . Nave 06 little fociety with wicked men Lift, u Aioii. 
< AS may he ; for tiiey ar^ deadftien ; Would any man living have y^yj ^^ jj^^jg 
a dead man to be his companion? There is- a two-fold Society fxicty with 
with men : i . One isnecejfaryy in refpeCl: of our Relations, or unconvcrttd 
of our Commerce and Trade, which cannot well be avoided : wen as may be. 
'2. Another is ariitrary^ in rerpe6l of our Election; avoid this, 
""do not -make choice of vvicked-fociety. There are two Reafons 
''tQ hearken to this advice :; Ghe is. Ton fhall never get any fpiri- - 
■ tmi good by their [octet y ', a Wicked man iscin unprotitableman ; 
. Can any one gather Figs of Thorns, or Grapes of Thiftles ? 
'-'Who is the better for a dead man ? ■ Another is. Ton fhallre- 
♦ 'ceive much h»nbyft4chfoclety : The JsvVs were unclean, if they 
*did but touch a dead body. It was the practice of a Tyrant bnce, 
'to tiea dead man to^ a' livingtrian, that! 'the filthy favour of the 
^'-dead-man m'ght infe6i and deftroy the life of the living man^ 
'• O "you' who are to marry your children, take heed of marrying - 
'them' to the dead ; and you who are Free- men, ^ take heed of em- 
bmcingfociety with the dead. ^ There are three notorious mif- - 
chiefs vyiU enfue hereupon : ''■i.*''I>?^^'/5c-/V/-)' iv/7/, bydegreesy 
'^ hrlng yoH into (t deadnej^'of heart \ 'wicked company wi ll certain! y 
'abate your zeal and holy^'aflFee^ions, as waters do the- flaming 
'fire ; 2. Dead fociety will quench your Life in fpirituai Dn- - 
'^^r/fr^'^they will not enely 'imerrupt,-but miticrate your fweet 
/ai|d' Wonted fociety with God "and gaod^men '. 7^: Tkad fo^ 
^^ciiny^'wiliy in^ timCyi corrtipp-yotito dead^vorkj : Remember So- 



2, Lament and bewail thy unconverted Friends and Kt^dred, Lament thy 
^'Yoii'-tead that David wept ^o^ Ahfa'om, O Ahfalom, my fon, unconrertcd 
^%rfjifHy&cc. ^nd youi-read5-that'Chrift Wept fbr-X^^^^r;^, being "''"^*«- • 


2^4 C0d$ Gracious Mcef tame 

^ — — — 

dead ; and ,you read, of both of thefe weepirg alfo for thofc 
that were fpirituaUy dead: David, Pfal. 119. J^lv^rs of tears 
run down mini ejes^ bscaufe men kief not thy Law, Chrifl came 
near to Jerufa/emy and wept over /V, faying. Oh if thon hadfi 
kKowny eventhoH^ at theleaftin, &c. Wouldit not thou vveep 
to fee thy Fathers, or Mothers, or Silters, or Brothers dead 
body carrying out to the grave ? and fay, Alas my Father, alas 
my Brother, alas my Child ? How then canft thou refrain tears 
for their dead fouls ? Why doeft not thou pity the dead and un- 
converted foul of chy Father },&c. At a Funeral Feall, ihere is 
no mirth, becaufe the Mafter of thehoufe is dead; Ah, weep 
orer thy JFather, over thy Son ; the Matter of the houfe is dead, 
his precious foul is dead : Thy pity can do a dead body no good, 
but it may do a dead foul fome good, efpecially, if you take in 
the next Duty, which is. 
Pray for the ;?. Fray for the dead : I mean not in the Popifh fenfe ; they, 

l>c«do you know, pray for fouls departed, fuppofing them to be in Pur- 

gatory, where the pains, as they fay, are intoUerable, equal to 
them in Hell, and the fouls are deprived of the vifion of God ; 
and therefore their Priefis and others often pray for them ; and 
iipon the Graves they infcribe, Pray for the foul of fuch a one,and 
on his foul Jefu have mercy : But this is a wicked fuperftition. 
. We acknowledge no Purgatory, and.no need of Prayers for fouls 
, <leparted,yet we hold Prayers requifite for one another, whiles we 
are upon the earth. And becaufe fome are dead whiles they live, 
O pray to the Lord for them ; Lord Jefu, have mercy upon the 
foul of my Husband, Child, Wife ; O convert them, quicken 
them from the dead, fuffer them not, their poor fouls, to die 
for ever. When Steven was t® die, he prayed for thofe that 
were fpiritually d^ad : When Chrifi was dying, he alfo prayed 
for them : And Monica, the Mother o^Auftin, prayed for him; 
and all of them were heard. OhjsB, But I have prayed, but 
yet no good comes of it. S@L Pray iWl ; as long as there is 
life, and as long as there is prayer, there is hope : It will be an 
excellent comfort to thee, and eternal happinefs to thy friend, if 
thou canft, at length, by thy prayers, prevail with God todeli- 
U Te tbe means ver that one foul from death. . 

by waich you ^^ If the Lord hath opened any of your eyes but to fee what 
^A ^^ ^^^^' your fpiritMal condition is, that, you are yqt in your graves, y,et 


of the Returning Prodigal. 265 

dead in trcfpaffcs and (i;.s ; my advice unto you is this, 6'<7, 
ufe thi means hy which johy dead fouls may be qmcky^ed^ 
Ohjett, Why ! but this is ridiculous, to bid a dead man do work, 
go,{Hr,do any thing. Sol, I anfiver, i. Th<ire is a ditference 
tvvixt a man corporally dead, and a man fpintually dead : The 
former can do no action vvhatfoever, neither fpiritual, nor civil, 
nor natural ; the latter, though he can do nothing in fpirituals, 
yet for the other, he may, and can. 2. You m\xi\ diftinguifh 
tvvixt a fpiritual adVion, and an adiion which brings to a fpiritual 
means : He cannot convert his own heart, yet he hath power to 
hear the Word, VYhich can. 'Ti-s true, that a wicked unconver- ■ 
ted man cannot exert any one fpiritual aclion ; neverthelefs, he 
hath liberty and power to go to Church, and hear a Sermon : 
Why ! ufe this power, and this liberty, to come to the 
Pool where the Angel ft Irs ; to come to the Ordinances, where 
God is pleafed to quicken and raife the dead. 3. When 
thou art under a fpiritual Ordinance, thou art under the voice 
of Chrift himfelf, who hath faid , That the dead Jhall hear 
the voice ef the Son of God, and live. And truly , let me 
tell thee, That the Voice of Jefm Chrlfi in his Word, hath 
not only a power to find a loft man, but alfo to quicken a 
dead man. 

I have finirhed the firll Proportion out of thefe words,' vlz^, Luh, I ^.la"* 
That the unconverted man is a dead man : I now proceed to the ' 

fecond, which is this ; ^ 

That every converted man is a living matt. When the finner DoH,!, 
is converted, he is then made alive. Conversion is a Sinners Every convcrc- 
Life. So the Text, 7 his my fon is alive again. It is report- «d rfisn h a li- 
ed of Slmllisj Captain of the Guard to the Emperour Adrian^ ^*^l °**"' 
that he retired from the Court into the Countrcy feven years be- 
fore his death, and caufed this to be written on his Tomb, Hie 
jacet Slmllis ctijm atas multortiTn annorumfulty i^fte [epem dun- 
tdxat Annas vtxlt t For fo many years only was he converted. 
We count the length of our lives from the time of our hirth^ and 
voe mufl count the life of our fouls from the time of our nerv hlrthy 
faid Hlerem, It is frequent in Scripture, to ftile converted 
pcrfons living perfons, or perfons made alive, Rom. ^.13. 
Yield your felves unto God^ as thofe that are alive from the dead. 
Chap, t, V. 10, // Chrlji he in ym^ the fflrit is life hecanfe of 

M m righteouf* 

2 6o Gods Gracious Acceftmce 

righteotifnep. Gal. 2. 26. I /he^ hiih Paul, Col. 2.13. Tan 
who were dead In jonr fins hath he qtiickjied. For the advanta- 
gious dircuifion of this Point, I AuU briefly open unto ycu, 
I, What Life thit is, which the converted (inner attains un- 
to ? 2. How it may appear that he is inverted wi-th fuch a Life?and 
why ? 3. Then the uleful Application of all this unto our felves* 
What is the i* What Life that is, wherewith the converted man is inved- 

\ih of a son- ed ? Sol, I fpeak only of that Life incident unto man, which 
vcncd (inner, is four-fold. i . Life natural^ which \s> a power to move and 
A four- told ad. / C9H/it not my life dear unto me^ {ixAPanl^ A61:. 20. 24, 
^ * All that a man hath he mil give for his Itfe^ Job i. This is 

Natural. ^j^^ ^jf^ ^£ Nature, a^id every man, good or bad, enjoys it. 
Life connatu- ^* ^'7<? <^^^^^^^^^ ; vvhich is a profpe^ousfrui don of our Lives 
ral. with peace, contentment, and comfortable fuccefles, in the ex- 

tern?! matters and affairs of our life :. This alfo is poffibly inci- 
Pfctcrnstural. dent to all forts of men. -:^. Preternatural ; which is a death, 
rather than a life : A finfull life, a life aded under the power 
and motion of (infull lulis. I was alive once^ faid Panl^ Kom.y* 
Supernjturai. In this refpecf, wicked and ungodly men only are alive. 4. Sh- 
fematural; a divine life, a new life, a life in Chrift, and from 
Chrill, and to Chrift : Of which there are two parts, and they 
*are proper only to converted perfons. i. There is the Life of 
€race^ which they enjoy in this world : 2. There is the Life of 
Glory ^ which they enjoy in the world to ccme, called often in 
The life of Scripture, eternal life. The Text fpeaks of the firft of thefe; The 
Gracej is converted Tinner is invelied with the Life of Grace : And this 
The life of Ju- ^gain is branched into the life of, i. Jufilfication ; for when « 
fiificaiion. (inner is juftified, he is then in the condition of life : The un- 
juiHfied man is a dead man, ( for he lies under the fentence of 
death ; ) andthe juftified man is a living man, he is palled from 
death to life ; the Lord takes off the fentence of eternal death 
from him; He fhall not die for the fins which he hath committed, 
for I have pardoned all his fins, and now he fhall live,and not die, 
Of Sanaifica- faith the Lord. -2. SanBlfication : When a finner is fandifi- 
'^®"; ed, he is then made alive. At this, I fuppofe, the Text doth prin- 

^^'r^ "'•y ^^ cipally aim. This Life is confiderable, i. I» the Canfe of it, 
cf ill * ^ and the Soul together ; and upon this union, the Soul is quick- 

md with the life of Chriii / live ^/ th^ faith of the Son of Gody 

of the Returning Prodigal. . 257 

.Gal, 2, 10. 2, Lithe Nat fire of ft ; it is a nevum & fplrhuale 
effe^ which doth regenerate the man, and, as it were, create him ^^f i^^ 
again. The Scripture (tiles this quality, a mvf creature^ andr^^ 
new m(in: It is an holy Jiving principle. In aword, this life is 
nothing elfe but the Grace of the Spirit, regenerating, artd re- 
newmg the whole foul of a finner. It is faving light fet up in the - 
Mind, and faving vvifdome fet up in the Judgment, and faving 
grace fet up in the Will and Atfedions, which alter the old fin- 
full nature in man, and are a new fpiritual inclination to matters 
that are fpiritual, ye^) and a new fpiritual ability or power in the 
whole foul of man to work that is fpiritual : Whereas the Un- 
derftanding could not know the things of God, now it is enabled 
to know them, and to admire them, and to ttudy them : where- 
as the Will was both unable to good, and unwilling to good, 
and only fet on what was evil ; now, being quickned by Grace, • 
it is drawn off from that affectionate inclination to evil, and it is 
bent and inclined, and in fome meafure enabled to defire Chrift, 
to love Jefus Chrift, to fear God, to obey God, and to walk with 
Cod : And when this comes into the heart of a finner, he is faid 
to be alive again. 

Shall I draw out my thoughts of this Subjed more clearly unto When a finnic 
you ? Take me then thus. When any finner is made fpiritually is made ali?f. 
alive, I. JefuiChrlfi affiles himfelf to the Soul^'and he JcfusCbrifi: 

breaths Into it the Spirit of Life. He doth with a poor dead foul, applies hicr/clf 
much like as Eliah did with the Shmamites dead child ; who ""J^,^.^*- {°^^'^ 
lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon the childs mouth, f°l^ thcbrcath 
and his eyes upon the childs eyes, And his hands upon thechilds of life 
hands ; and he flretched himfelf upon the child, and the lie /1\ 
of the child vvaxed warm : So the Lord Jefus applies .himfelf by 
his Spirit to the foul of a finner, ( to all the foul of a finner,) and 
works mightily in it, producing knowledge in a blind mind, and 
feeling in an hard heart,and faith in an unbelieving fpirit, and all 
his Graces in the whole Soul. 2. which graciom frincifles Hc puts in if- 
are all of them living frl^cifles ; and alter all the foul, and in- ving princi- j 
cline it fpiritually : So that the man who cared not for God, P^"* . 
nor Chrif^, nor Grace, nor holy Duties heretofore ; now his 
foul bends tothefe, and he minds thefe, and he is never better 
than when he is thinking of God, and mourning for his fins, and 
thirfting for Chrifl:, and praying to God, and hearing of the 

Mm 2 Word 

2 68 Gods Gracious Acceptance 

Word of God ; this is his defire, and this is his delight^. 

There is power 3. T^^^y^ is ^ fower in thefe frinclfles of fplrlmal life, A povv- 

of rpirituai lift cr agaiait his fins ; fo- that now he cat! hate them, and fay,. H^hat 

in rhefc prin- j^^^g i^q do an j more with Idols ? Get ye hence. And a power in 

'^ "* his afFc:6tions ; fo that now he is able to love God above all,. 

and able to fear God, and n6t difpleafe him willingly. And a 

power in his will; fo that.nowheis able to come to Chrift, 

and cleave to Chril^, as his onely happinefs. And a power 

to fpificual adtions ; fo that he is now able to hear and under- 

fiand, to pray and vvrelile, to pray and believe, to believe and 


How this may Queft. 2, How It mdj he evidenced,^ that the converted man is 
beevluencd. thus made fflrltually alive , SoL Thus, i. Every converted 
Me hath a \i- man hath a living mionrvith Jefm Chrlft ; he is brought into 
^^"sunioa fdlowlliip with Chrili Now Jefus ChrilHs aliving Head, and 
wit Chrift. ^11 i^-g j^-jeiT^i^ers are living Members, i J oh. 5. 12. He that 
hath the Son^ hath life. And J oh, 6. 51. I amthellvlnghread^ 
Y . Jf ^^y man eat of this hready he fhallUve far ever, 2. All 

• i?ai^l^«**^^ *^^^ ^^^<^^ is of a llvmg nature : Falfe mce is a dead thin^ , it 
hath no life, and can give no life ; but true grace is living. True 
faith is a living faith, / live by the faith of the Son ofGody Gal. 
2. 20. And true hope is a living hope 5- i Pet, i. 5. God hath 
begotten us to a lively hope. True repentance is a \Wm^ repentance, 
. a repentance unto life, 3.. Every- converted man is the child of 

^dMn*Gof ^^^ I'^'vlngGod; he is born of the Spirit, who is i^^z Spirit of life. 
® * God k not the Godof the deady hut of the living - and God as a 
Father never begets any dead Children : All his children are be- 
got after his:Own image ; they are partakers of the Divine nature, 
Yt^Y , and that is a living nature. 4. The converted man lives the refl 

reft of his life ^f ^^ ^'^f^ ^^^^^ ^^^' ^ ^^^' ^* ^* A/^?;?^? of us liveth to hlmfelfi 
10 God. /or whether we live j n-e live unto the Lord^ Rom. 14. 8. Can he 

podibly live unto the Lord, until he be made alive by the Lord ? 
What glory can God get by the life of a dead finner ? The li- 
vings the Hvmgy he fhall fralfethee^ a^ L do this day y faid ii/i?- 
z^eklahy If J!. 38. 19. God vmii have much glory from the con- 
verted man ; not only paffive glory on him, ( this he hath on 
wicked men,) but a6live glory fro^k^jm, glory from his belie- 
ving, and glory from his obedience, which cannot be unlefs he 
be made alive, fpiritually aliv^ '' 


of the Returning Prodigal, 2 69 

The life of this Do6lrine iliall be to draw you into a fearch- 
iiig acquaintance with your fpiritual condition. There is not L, . ^J^' 
a bufmefs which can poiTibly concern you more nearly than this, j-^iyg, ^[^^^ 
Whether you be children of Death, or of Life ? Whether yet our fpiritual 
dead in fins, or quickned by the life of grace ? Can it be faid life 
of us a? here of the Prodigal, This ray Son was dead, but is 
alive ? So we were fometimes difoMie^t^ Ignorant-i froad^ vlle^ 
fervlng divers lufts .- bat after that the grace of God hath ap- 
feared^ we are alive ; we have put off thofe luRs, and have 
other Principles, (^her Natures, other Lives. Let me oifer 
unto you four Motives^ to try your fouls about their fpiritual W'^"j^c« to this 
Life. *'**^- 

1, Ten have enjoyed the means of Life, The Gofpel is often .\ouhav5fn- 
called, the Wordof Llfe^ a quickning and regenerating Word ; 0/1,^^, 

it carries Chrift in it, the Author of Life ; and the ApolHe calls 
it, the Adinlfiratlofi of Life : And perhaps it hath been fo to 
fome poor man and woman, and to fome of thy children. But- 
O how long haft thou heard it? how often hiftthou come to 
this Bread of Life ? to thefe Waters of Life ? What 1 and yet 
dead in thy fins ? not yet quickned and made alive ? Why 1 
thou art a reproach to the Gofpel ; and thy fins have not only 
given death to thy foul, but death to the Gofpel of Chrift, t\k 
Gofpel is made by them a dead Letrer ; it is not fo initfelf, 
but thou hafl made it fo : And how wilt thou anfwer God, 
for killing thy foul , and killing his Chrift , and killing his 
Gofpel ? 

2. Many have a name that the y live ^ hm (like the Angel of ^^^n/ ^''^^ * 
the Church of Sard^ ) thy are dead. Revel. 3. i. Oh Sirs! "*^*'°^j'g' 
Spiritual life, ( the life of grace,) is a rare thing, and a difficult ^^^^^ 
thin^. Every mm love> his life, but few love this life: No mm 

hates his own life ( almcft,) but raoft men hate this life of 
grace^becaufe it is deftrudive to this life of fin : And many think 
they have it, and others think fo too, and yet they have it nor. . 
You know, it is one thing to put Flowers upon a dead body, 
and another thing to put life into a dead man : It is one thing 
for the Sun to convey light, another thing for the Sun to con- 
vey life, I might fhew you, that men miftake fpirituallife 
exceedingly : Education in a perfon may lead him far, and 
fo may an enlightned and generous Coafciencej and Co miy 


z6^ Gods Gracious AccefUms 

reftrnining Grace, and fo may Art, andfo may the common 
gifts of the Spirit ; they may enable a man to ftrange concepti- 
ons, and ftrange affedions, and Grange acfions, and yet the 
man may be fpiritually dead : Not any of thefe flow from a gra- 
cious prniciple of fpiritual life : Why ! common Gifts may lead 
up the foul far, and Education may lead to Duties much, and 
Confcience may awe fin exceedingly, and Art or Hypocrifie may 
counterfeit the very life of Grace ( as a Stage-player doth a 
King ) wonderfully. O therefore, look to it, that you have 
more than a name of life ; that you live indeed. 
It would be vf- 3*^f p^ jhonld deceive your [elves ^ and when you come td 
ry fad to he dc- die, you find that you have been dead all your lives, and never 
ccivcd in this, vvere fpiritually made alive ; Oh ! in vvhat a condition will 
thy poor trembling foul be 1 To die, and fee nothing but 
death 1 I thought there was life in my heart, and life in my 
'. (irong faith, and life in my troubles of- fpirit, and life in my 
obedience ; but alas, I never lived, I never enjoyed Chrift, never 
enjoyed grace, &c, i 
To be alive, is 4, If the Lord hath made thee alive from the deadly I do not 
caafcof ^reat know any man living on the earth, that hath [uch canfe of joy 
'°y* iinfpealiahle and glorious, I will mention but three particulars 

unto thee. i. Hereby thou majefl heajfuredofthy intereflin 
the richefi mercy ^ and great eft love of God to thy poor fouL 
Read but the Apoflle in Efhef, 2.4. But Gody who is rich 
in mfirejy for his great love wherewith he loved us^ v. 5. even. 
whe'4 we were dead in fnSj hathquickpedus, 2. Thoumayeft 
palpably difcover the tokens and vertues of Jefm Chrift upon 
thy foul , the very Effigies of the faving works of Chrifi ; 
that which Paul fo longed to know , even the power of the 
death and of the refftrrettion of Chriftj Philip. 3. 10. In thy 
death to Sin, and in thy 1/fe of Grace, doth the power of 
Chrifts death, and of Ch rifts refurre6lion appear. 5. Thoti 
?nayefl certainly knowy that Heaven fhall he the place of thy 
refi hereafter. Spiritual life comes from Heaven, and bends 
to Heaven, and fhall bring to Heaven : It prepares for Hea- 
ven, and it Is a part of Heaven, and it fliall be perfe6led and 
filled up in Heaven. O vvhat things are thefe ! who would mifs 
of thefe ! For Chrifts fake, fearch throughly whether you be 
made alive. 


of the Returning Prodigal, 261 

Now ms thinks I hearfome foul fecretly longing to know how 
it miy be cleared un:o it, That God hath quickned it from the Sijns of fpirl- 
dead ; That as it vVas once dead^yet it is now alive. Sol. There ^"*^ ^^^^' 
are m.iny things which miy. clearly declare it ; for indeed, life is 
fuch an a6live things ( efpecially fpiritual life,) that it may eafi- 
ly appear, fometimcs or other, to him who hath it. 

I. If fin be alive, then thou art flill dead y zndif fnhe deady '] , 

thou art certainty alive. I will open both thefe par^s. ^' "^f u 6 h v % 
Jtn be alive, thtn the man is dead ; for it is impoifible that the ^^^ man is * 
fame man flxould be alive and dead under the fame confideration. ^^^^, 
Spiritual Life and fpiritual Death are incompatible at the fame 
time in the fame fubj\:6t: And therefore, if fin be alive, quelH- 
onlefs you are fpiritual! y dead. Now there are four things which 
manifeli fin to be alive in any mans foul. i. The flaming 
hems, and infatiable defires of the heart, after things forbidden 
in the Word, Ephef. 4. 19. we read of fin with greedinefi '" 
2. The HKiverfal and eafle authority, law, or command that it 
hath over the foul and body ; that it can ufe them in the fervice 
of lufts, when, and as it pleafeth, B^hef, 2. 2, 3. 3. The 
joyfuU contentatlrn and fatlsfa^lon which the heart takes in evil 
things ; as we do in meat and drink. 4. The cujlomary trade- 
and coHrfeofour life in finfull ways ; a walking in them, a living 
in them. O, if thefe be yet found in thee, fin is alive ftill', and 
thou art dead ftilt. 2. But if Jin be dead^thon art certainly alive, \{ fm be ^ttl> 
I confefs, fin may be retrained, and a man not alive ; and fin thou art tlivc . 
may be troublefome in fome refpe6ls, and a man not yet alive : 
But if it be dead, the man is fpiritually alive ; for fin in thea 
can never come to be dead, but by fpiritual life. Now fin is 
dead in thee, if thou canil find two things, i. If it hath Ufl 
thy affe^ions : If love to fin be gone, and hatred of fin be come ; 
if delight in fin be quenched, and forrow for fin be implanted. ~ 
Oh Sirs ! the love of fin is the life of fin ; and if the hatred of . , 

fin doth live, then the love of fin is dead. 2. // it hath loj^ 
its Amhority, its free and uncontrolled power ; although it 
molefls iiill , and tempts ftill , yet it rules not , thou art 
not a flave to it , and fubjebl: to it , thou wilt not ferve 
it, obey it any longer: If thou hift Chrift for thy Lord, the 
Law of Chrift for thy Rule, iuad Sin for thy Enemy, thou art 

272 Gods GractGUS Acceftance 


A Cplricual . '^' A fecond fign of fflrhual life u, a ffirlmal ferife rf fpr 

fcnreof rpiritu- ^^^^^^ warns. This is an undoubted imth. That where there is 

ai warns. ii^e, there is fenfe ; and where there is fenfe, there is life: tf 

the life be a fpiritual life, then the fenfe is a fpiritual fenfe, a 

feeling of our fpiritual wants. . When the Prodigal bt^m to live, 

he began to feel ; to feel his nakednefs, to' feel his poverty, to 

feel his wants ; And when Pafil began to live, he beg.an 10 fee 

.^ his wants ; Rom.j, 14. The law is fpiritual ^ but I am carnal^ 

\^\i\y fold under fn-: I kj^orv that in me there dwelleth no good things 

J f^^ how t9 perform that which is good^ I find not. O when God gives 

. . grace unto the heart, that grace, though never fo weak, affords 

two operations,: i. It gives "^ow a clearer f^t of fin \ 2, it 

g'ves you ^ fuller fight of your wants. It is Learning which 

makes us to fee how much Learning we want ; it is Healtli which 

makes you fee how much Health you want ; it is Grace which 

makes you fee how little Grace you have, and how much you 

ftill need: No man rightly feels the want ef more Faith, but 

by fomc Faith ; the want of more Softnefs, but by fome Soft- 


Howafpirkuji ObjeB. But now the Queftion may be. How a man may 

{cnft m»y be . know, that the fenfe of his wants be a fpiritual fenfe of them ? 

known. f^j. ^^^^ ^^^ f^y ^|^^^ ^j^gy ^y^^t fuch and fuch fpiritual 

Graces, and yet they have not a fpiritual life in them. 
Sol, I anfwer. There are four things which declare the fenfe 
of our fpiritual wants to be a true fpiritual fenfe: i. Or- 
Ic follows after dinarily, it follows after a deep ConviBion of fin ; that man 
aion^o?£n' ^^c^^v^ himfelf, who talks of fpiritual wants, and yet ne- 
ver faw his fpiritual fulncfs of lin. The Lords ordinary way 
in Converfion is , To (irip us wholly of our felves ; and 
therefore, i. He opens our eyes to fee how rich we have 
been in fin ; 2. To fee how poor and nothing we are in 
It IS an hum- Grace. 2. If it be a fpiritual fenfe, it is an hnmhling 
biing feiie. f^nfe : He .who can fee much (in in himfelf, and not be 
troubled, is" not rightly fenfible of fin ; and he who can 
fee much want of grace in himfelf, and not be humbled, 
is not fpiritually fenfible of his fpiritual wants. What! arid 
yet fo little Knowledge 1 yet fo little Faith ! and yet fo lit- 
tic Love of Chrift ! yet no more flrength Xc> pray, to deny 
iaiy felf, to overcome my fins ! And now he mourns and weeps. 

3' H 

of the Returning Prodigal, 2 73 

3. If it be a living rpintual lenfe , h Is an hiimh'.e [enfe, Tiie Xt is an ham- 
pcefence of Gra-ce ( though little ) breeds x^n high conflict with ^^* ^'"^^* 
all fin , nnd a lowly ipirit under all wants. This m^u admires 
at other Chriiiians Graces, and prizes them, and goes home, and 
confefleth, Lord, / am lefs th'/i the lea^ of all Saints, ^, If 
it be a fpirhu.-il fenle, then it is a careful and, an alllve [mtje : It 1^ '* ^ c^refti 
would have thefe wants fupplied ; it is full of inquiry, vvh-ufhall*"| aa a^iv^ 
I -do } and it is full of Prayer , I believe^ Lordjjel^my mbiltefe : 
The fenfe of want will not ceafe but in the fenfe of fup^P/. 

3. A fprhtat appetite is a Jignof fpirltual life ; You know There isa fpi- 
that life feeks its own prefervation ; the living man mult have ritual jppcche. 
food,and will have food ; As foon as ever a child is borH,Lf it be 
living, nature prompts it to crave the brells ; and verily , fo it is 
with ev^ery nevy born Chriftian ; As new bom babes defre the 
jincere mllk^ of the n-grd, i Pet. 2, 2. As foon as the Prodigal 
began to be fpiritually alive, he prefently thought of food ; O, 
(faith he ) there is bread enga^h in my Fathers h$fifey and to f pare .- 
As there is bread for life, lo there is bread of life ; and as there 
are waters for life , fo there are waters of life ; there is fpiritual 
bread, and fpiritual water: Corpus Chrifil efl pabulum fldei^ 
The Lord Jefus and his Ordinances are the fpiritual food of 
the foul ; and when a man receives a fpiritual life, he cannot live 
without them, but depends on them as for the nutrition and pre- 
fervation of his life. 

Here again it may be dem?iwded,Ho'ir a Chriftian may kno'.Y that 
his appeiitc is a truly fpiritual appetite, flowing from life? To which signs of »ppc- 
I anfwer thus.-If it be an ap;:etite flowing from fpiritual life,!. Then cite flowing 
it is ^ft-rong (ippetite;th^ Scriptures call it an hmgrlng and thirfii^gy ^^^^ 1*^* 
the ftrongeft and ficrceit of all appetites:OSirs,There is an appetite ^^ *f ? "^ 
<dainty,and there is an appetite hur!gry;there is a difference twixt a 
wanton empty deflre,and an hungring,or an appetite for life. Give 
me children^ or elfe I dye ; the word is to fuch a man, more then 
his appointed food, 1. It is an Vnlverfal Appetite: Some men 
have a iiomack to the Word, but not to the Sacrament ; and fome A MnUtx'iA 
have aftomack to the Sacrament : (0,th*tthey muft have)butnot aFp^cicc. 
to the Word; and fome have a (iomickto this part of the Word,not 
to that part of the Word,and to it as thus drefred,and another way 
drefled ; New Difhes for dainty ftomacks : But ft Chriftia'n 
ki whom the life of Grace is wroi5ght,why ! he is for the Word, 

N n and 

[ f. 274 Gods Gracious Acceptance 

and he is for Sacrament, and he is for all Chrlfls Ordinances ,. 
and all Chrifts truths : Why ! ( faith he ) I have a proud heart, 
and fuch a truth will humble i: ; and I have a troubled heart, 
and fuch a truth will comfort it ; and 1 have a doubtful heart , 
and (uch a truth will dire6t it ; and I have a weak heart, and fuch 
an 0;dinance m\\ ilrengthen it • fo that he fees food in all o£ 
A esnftaacap- them, and he hath an appetite to all of them 3. It Is aeon- 

ptdtc, fi^'f^^ appetite : Give a living m,in food in the morning, and Life 

looks for fome at night ; he can feed to day, and he can feed to 
morrow too. Thus it is with a living man; though when a 
man is dying, his ftomack dies in him, and leaves him: One; 
Sermon a moneth, or a year, will fatisfie. A living ChriiHan , 
he takes in provifion every market day ( every Sabbath ) for his[- 
foul,- and he longs for the m.irket day again : O, when will the 
Sabbath come again 1 O, when fhall I appear before God again ! 
O, when fhall I lit down, and be entertained at Chrifts Table a- 
gain! O, I could hear of Chri/i , of Faith, of Mortification, 
of the Love of God, of newnefs of Obedience, C/^f. ftilllneed 
more heavenly nouriiliment for my Graces, drc. 
There Is fpirl- 4* ^P^^^^^^^^ Growth is a pgn of Spiritual Life: You know 
mljrowth, that living men do grow, until they attain unto that proportion 
and meafure, which Nature (fay the Philofophers,) God (fay we) 
allots unto them. Therefore living Christians are compared to a 
fucking and thriving child , which fucks and grovves by fucking : 
And to living branches that grow into more ftrength ; and in Scri- 
pture, True Grace (which is the fame with fpiri:ual life) it is of 
an increafing and growing nature ; Chrift compares \t.\.oagrain 
#/ Muflard-feed^ which is little at firrt , but in time grovves and 
fpreads exceedingly ; and 5i?/W^« compares it to the Sm^ which, 
rifeth more and more to the perfe6l day. Patil commends the 
Corinthians^ that they did ^fo/W in all Grace '^ and praies for 
the Philipp'ans^ that their love m'ght a bound yet more and more in 
kr^owledg^ and in all Judgment ; And he himfelf for gat what was 
behind -i and pre ffed forward^ and counted himfelf not to have ap' 
prehended, O you ! who take your felves to be alive,do you grow 
in grace ? Many men grow worfe and worfe under the means of 
Grace ; many grow in notions, but they do not grovv in Grace ; 
many grow in'o new opinions, but they do not grow in holy atfe- 
fiions. But do you grow in Grace? and do you grow in all 


— — — — - - - 

of the Returning Prodigal. 275 

Grace? and do you grow according to the means of GrovYth ? \ 

Alas I many men decay apace , and many m^n, like pidlures, re- 
tain the lame dimenfions ; fin is no more vvcakned after forty years 
living, then at the firft ; their old fins retain their old (Irength , 
and their faith receives no augmentation ; they are no more able 
to trail on God for their bodies, nor to rely on Chrid for their 
fouls then heretofore. The barrennefs and unfruitfulnefs of Chri- 
ftians, is'an unfpeakable dillionour to the Gofpel, and an evident 
teiHmony, that they have but a form of Godlinefs without the 
power of it; I might now have fhewn you, that true fpiritual 
Growth is i. Eipecially an inward Growth. 2.Andagene^ 
ral Growth. 3. And the Growth comes in by the Growth of 
Faith. 4. Andappearsbeft in the Growth of humility. 

^, A fflrituaUry or breath •, is Another fign of ffirlmul life : There is a fpi- 
If a man can but groan and breath, that man is a living man. "tual breach. 
When Pau/ was converted , Anani^^s was fent unto him, as to a 
^hofen Veflel, Behold (faid God unto him) he pra^eth : in Zach. 
12. 10. The Spirit of Grace^ and of Supplication ^:^]oy\\^dy fot 
the one never goes without the other: But will fome reply. 
This cannot be a fure fign of fpiritual life ; for a wicked man may 
pray, and cry to God ; we read of their Prayers and cries in 
Scripture often. I grant it. But i. There is a difference twixt 
a fpiritual cry, and a natural cry ; their cries arife from natural 
principles , but not from a fpiritual principle. 2. It is the cry 
of adiilreffed man, but not of a renewed man. ^. It is a cry 
for natural and outward good, but not for fpiritual and everlafting 
good. 4. And when they cry for mercy and heaven ; it is not 
that mercy may bring them into an holy communion with God > 
fcut only that mercy may keep them from wrath and Hell. 

6, Lalily, A fpiritttal manner of workj^tg is an infallible evi- There is a fpirl- 
id^ncegf a fpiritual ^mckjiing : When the Lord converts a man wl manner of 
and makes him fpiritwally alive", he now works fpiritual work. ^^^^^%* 
1. By Spiritual Rules. 2. From SpiHtual Principles in the 
ftrergthof.Chrifi, byFaith, and from Idve..''^ With Spin'tu- 
al Affe6^ion§, willinglyj cheerfuHy^'^n^^deHghtfulIy. 4. For 
Spiritual ends. i. B^ Spiritual Rules ; To as many as wall^acr By fpiritual 
kdrding to this Rule ^ pea^e he onthem^ G^h6.i6, A dead and '*^^*'. 
iirfebfiverted rtianl'Ves by the Rules of his ferfual Luff? , or the 
iTuftomes of the Wofld/or'the vvifdome of cainM policy ; /In 
. N n 2 ' nil2S 

,, -,-■-- . ^^^ I " »• . . - , ^ 

2n6 Gods Gracious Aeeeftance 

^ ■ " > II ■■»»■■■ I " ' — H I ,. . I. ■ ■ 1 i« I I » ■ I I ■ ■ ■ ^ 

rules hiiH) and men rule bun, and his profits and pleafwres rule 
him: But when the man is converted, now God rules him ; 
he fiends in ^rve ef G§ds JVord , md lives , as x Pet.4. 2 . 7 # the. 
will of Cod : His a(^ions, intentions, defires, fteps are meafured 
by ihe word;tis not An likt^hut An licet ; The word lets him out^ 
and brings him in : whether the living Creature went^ thither 

¥rom fpiriru?!^^^^^'^^^^-^'^^^^'^^'^^- 2. From ffiritml FriKcifles .- O Sirs, 
principles. a man may do much work (which we call fpirimal) from a Carnal 
and low principle; felf-Love, vain-Glory, Education, a quick 
Confcicnce, may fet out much : But the living Chriftians-work 
ariTes from union with ChriR ; all is done in th^ ftrength of 
Chnft , and Filth fetchcth llrength from . Chrift to pray , and to 

With fpirhual P^'^^^^'^^^^^^:^^"^^'^^"^^^^^^?^^*^^'^^* 5* With fplritptal af- 

tCdicas. jeBions : There is a connatural ncfstwix-t a fpiritual hearty and a 

fpiritual work. Thy word was the rejoycing of ray heart ; / wot 

glad ( faid David ) when they faid mte me , let hs go to the 

Hoiife of th^ Lord, 1 delight ( faith Panl ) in the Law of 

God After the inward man: It is good for me to draw near ts 

God:. There are affe6^ions in the works of a living man; his 

works drop out of his heart , another mans fall out of his party. 

fd? fpiritual 4- ^^^ ffi^i^^"^^ ^^^^ l ^0 that Chrift may be glorifyed: wc.live 

ciids. unto the Lord, unto him that dyed for us; whatfoe'ver yedo',, 

do it. to the Glory of God ; that G»d in all things may he glorify id 

through jeffisChrifi J iPet.4.11. 

Complaints of ^H* ^"^ ^"^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^Y ' i^ ^^cfe be figns of the: life of 
the want of sU Grace; of one being made fpiritually alive, then I am in a 
i^bcfc. f^d condition : For i. I hnd much fm ftill. living in me. 

2. And' I find very dull , if not dead affe6lions ; and I find, 

3. Exceeding, impotency to what is good. 4. And I can- 
not find that old appetite , and thofe old fervent cries of Prayer 
which heretofore I found. 5. And as for growth under fpiritual 
means,. O', my heart finks to behold therich feafons of Grace , 

iknfwered. .andmy barrennefs andunfruitfulnefs under them. i'*/.;Iftould 
be loath that any trulyiiving Soul fliould go away ^VYithafad 
heart ; therefor? give me leave to anfvver thy fears, i.^Genci'ally. 
.2. Thendifiindly. ^ 1 

^cncraMy. • i. Generally thus: , i^ SuphcQipjlaints as thefe {ordinarily ) 
0ire the language not of the dead^ hm of the living : When mall 
joM-hear fucb inditeftients from a bafe,lewd>fin-loving,and fcr^ing 

perfon ? 

ef the R etHrning ?Y$iigd, 277 

perfon ? O no, th^fv^ are the complaints of an heart that is fpiii- 
tually fenffile, and Tpiritually tender, and fpiritually jealous, and 
which would not be deceived in its fpiritual condition. 2. If 
fftch complaints as thefe ke attended with inward hHmlfhngs^ and a^ 
yajings »f the hearty and with dejires and endea'itmrs of hel^ , af- 
furedly they arc the Tcltimonies of a living mm ; H'hofhall de- 
liver me ^ O wretched man ! was the complaint of living Paptl, 
3. Jf th$ii canfi n$t fit all times find every oneoi the forenamed 
Symf tomes of life ; yet if at any time thoa canfi find Anj one ef 
them , it is a fign that thou lived ; if the child doth not go ,. 
yet if it fucks , this fhews life ; if it doth not fpeak , yet 
if it cry, it is alive; if it doth not cry, yet if it breath, it is 
a fign of life : If there be groanings under the burden of fin , 
and fighings , for help , for grace , for Chrift, &c. they are a 
fign of life. O Chriftian , the fpiritual life is fometimes more 
open, and full, and lively, and quick inad'ons; and fome- 
times it is reduced to defires , to a will , to a complaint, to a 
tear, to a figh, to a groan ; O, that I could pray, O, that I could 

2. Didin6tly to the particular Cafes. Difti-aiyro- 

Oh], 1. Then fearefi that thoH art not alive , hcaufe much cbt paiticular 
fin u jet living in thee -' To which I anfwer. i. It iswith the C2[cs. 
Chriftiftn made a/ive hy Grace , as it was with Lazarus made alive 1 aoi noc aHvr,^ 
by Chrift^ who had for a while his grave cloathes on him, and {i'"s'iivin%f,- 
he was bound hand and foot, and yet he was made alive ; fo me. 
there may be many finful corruptions, yet cleaving to that Anfwcred, 
foul , which is indeed quickned with fpiritual life. Nay , if 
thou didfi feel no finful corruptions , I iliould qucftion whe- 
ther yet thou wert made alive, for fpiritu;^! life or grace doth 
give unto the foul, i. The clearefi fenfe of fim 2. t^nd 

the greatefv grief for fin. 3. And the firongefl comhate 

and conflict with fin, 2. There is a difference twixt a feeling 

cf fin fim flirring in «/, and of the life of fn flill ruling in us : 
Thou feel eft fin living in temptation , but doft thou feci fin 
living in thy affe6tion ;^ Thou feel ett fin moleflingof thee 3i% z' 
Tyrant, but doft thou acknowledg fin ruling over thee as a 
Kirg. ^. And what dosfl thoti^ when thoti fndefi fn thns 

j¥orkinz? Doli thou dye daily .^ If thou feeleft fin as if 
it were alive, dpth not ^his humble. thee? asd doth not 




Geds gracioHS Acceft^nse || 

this haften thee by Faith uato Chrift , for more crucifying 
virtue ? 
There i h ^^J' ^' ^^^^^ feireft that yet thou art not alive , becaufe tho^. 
dulnefs and difcemejl m chjftrltHal dnlnefs^md deadnefs In thji ajfeciions and 
deadnefsin operations, Sol. I anrwcr. i. Even the Ihing have foind tot 
my sfFcdions ^^uch ffirltHal deadnefs in their hearts : Davids foul was heavy, 
and operiti- ^^^ ^^^^ down, and indifpofed, and a deadnefs poflefled him, and 
Anfwcfcd. ^^ prayes often ; O Lord quicken me. 2. But is there not 

a difference twixt deadnefs and death ; death is the total privation 
of life ( where there isfpiritual death ? tkere is not fo much as 
the habit cf grace ) but deadnefs is fome diminution, or fome 
damp upontiie habit of grace , that it ileps not out toitsa6l'S, 
vviih that liberty, and that alacrity as it was wont, andfuch a 
deadnefs may be in a living foul. And thi:d[yy Thou fec/e/i- this 
deadnefs^ and than diflikefl it, and thou bewailefl: it, and thou 
prayell , how often , how earnelHy : Lord quicken this dead 
heart of mine ; Is it thus where death prevails ? do dead men do 
thus ? 4. The actions of life are various ; Let the a6lion for 
the quantity be what it will, greater or leffer, quick or dulL, free 
• or checked, and interrupted ; yet if what thoudoft be done in the 
llrength of Chrift , if it be wrought with an humble and an up- 
right heart; afluredly, thou art not adeadfinner, but a Hving 
(though perhaps troubled ) Chriftian. 

Ohj.^, But / have no power to do any good ; I cannot believe, I 
I have no pow- ^^j^^qj. pj-^y^ \ cannot mourn. Sol. i . iVhat^ no Power at all ? 

good. °*"'^ never any power , no power from thy felf , nor any power from 
AnCwcrcd. Chrift ; no power perhaps to this work ; but what, no power to 
any fpiritual work ? no power ( perhaps at this time ) to an 
eminent a^ , but then is there not a power to pray for power ? 
Though power appears not in the work, doth not power yet ap- 
pear in the will and defire ? JRom,j, 1 8. / kj^ow that in me (that 
is in my f-^fh^ dwelleth no gosd thing. For to will is prefent with 
p^e ; hut to perform that which is good I find not : I cannot do 
it, but I would do it. 2. If there be a power living in the wHl^ 

it is the heflfjgn of life : A wicked man doth often the go&d 
which his will is againft , and the good man often doth not the 
good, cannot do the good, which his will is yet for. Now God 
looks upon the will, more then upon the work : If gracious a6^$ 
be couchant in the willj life is in thee, 3. However, although 


cftheR €t Hrning FroMgai ^79_ 

Thnhafi not forver ( i ometimes ) let down for ffirhnal work^; 
yet thou hail fo much forver fit// remaining^ 04 to lift Hf weal^ 
hands for more power : Though thou c an(t not believe , no: re- 
pent, nor mourn as thou tninkeft , yet there is anhearttofeek 
unto Jod in Clirift for this power to believe, &c. 

Oh I 4. But my 0ld /ive/y affetilons are gone, my old eilimations, My o.d hvcly 
my old hungrinos and thirilings, my old delightful communion ^ftj^^J^iQ'^^ «" 
with God in praycrjand in his ordinances. So/,To this I would on- ^j^^^^j-g^j, 
ly fay thus much. i. There is a difference mi xt the intenfive 
fwlftnefs^ or flafh of affeBlons , and the Intenfive f/rength^ and 
weight of the ajfeftions, A young Chriftian is moft in the former, 
an old Chriftian ( who a6ts more upon Judgment and Faith ) 
is molUn the latter. 2, The cafe fee ms rather to be of a living 
man^ /Ike to dje^ then dead : Of a man decaying in Grace,rather 
.then tot.illy deprived of grace; of a fick ChriiHan, rather then 
of a deadChrifiian. :?. And th^rc^oTQ fer loaf! j fear ch the 
catifes of the remlffion of thy firfl /ove , of thy ancient favour in 
holy communion : O, look whether a dead flye be not fallen in- 
to the ointment, whether fome infnaringlurt, fleOily, or world- 
ly hath not robbed thee of thy ftrength. 4. If fo , Be ham* 
h/ed great/ Yy and repent ^ and dothy firfl worJ^^. 

Obj,^, "^But where there Is llfe/here is growth y but I find it not. ^ ^^^^^^ 
So/, A word to this : The denial of growth m^y be either Anfwcrcd,. 
I. Negative y. Never any at all; this is impoOlble if life be 
wrought. 2. Comparative '^ Not fo much as another, notfo 
much as I have found under fuch, or fuch means ; not fo much as 
I defire; and this may be where there is life. 

I have finiilied two Proposition from this Text : Onercfpe- 
6ling the death, and the other refpe6ling the life of a finner ; I 
now proceed to a third, which is. That a very great and notorious ^ocl, ^. • 
fnnermay be (at length ) converted and changed, \_ This my Son ^ ^-'y ^''**bc 
was dead, and is alive again :^^ This Son! and who vvas he, orj"^^'^?^^^ 
what was he ; in the precedent Verfes, you miy fee his pi^ltire , 
you miy read the Hiftory of him ; he was one , who would be 
gone from his Fathers Houfe, and into a far Country he went, and 
there he did waRe his fubftance with riotous living. He m ide an 
end of all of it , and in the bafeft of wayes , amongft Harlots ; 
and then betakes himfelf to fordid lliif ts : He offered himfelf 
to feed Swine , and would have fed with the Swine , nay, woild 


2.8o Gods grdcious Accepmce 

have lived upon the Otfals and Husks which the Smne left : He 
ftood it out to the Uii\ if he could poiVibly have fuhiifted, if 
lie could but have lived , he would never have ccmc back to his 
Father : Yet this Son^ this Son at length comes bac^, at lengtii 
is converted, and is alive again. But I obta'iK^d mercy (laid Paal^ 
I Tim. 1,1 3. ) Miferlcordlam donar>tem-, mercy of Converiion ; 
mifericordiam coyiddi'ianiem^ mercy of remiHion:! obtained mercyl 
Why ! what was he more thsn another, that he does fo emphati- 
cally fpeak of himfelf, I obtained mercy I Yea, there was reafon 
to let it oflf thus with an Emphafis ; for he was a notorious linner, 
/ was ( faith he ) a BUfphemer , and a Ferfccmer and Injurlotis , 
yn 1^1 obtained msrcy \ Some of you know that it hath been an 
ancient quetiion and debate about the equality or inequality of 
fin; I think thus, i. Ihat Orlgwal fin {^quantum adfe^ ts e- 
qually divided amongfi all men , there is atqudis carentia dehhl ^ 
and £qti(ilis lyih^rema I»debiti(m touching the nature of Original 
.fin)in every man;in refpeCl of it, one finner is not a greater (inner 
then another, i, Tetthe aHHalexerclfeof that fin-, may bemore 
in one man^ then In mothr ; and hence it is, that fome tinners we 
call them lelTer , and others we cil them greater : By a great 
{inner , I mean one who exceeds another very much in (inful 
wayes and guilt. And one may be called a great, a very great 
^ou!^°l^"L.!^ (inner in four refpe6ls ; neverthelefs thev have not hindered con- 

firmer in four verlion. 

itfpcas. ^ J. One may be called a very great (inner , whafe fingle fin is of 

When a (inele ^^ ^^^^i'^^g qmlity ; fuch as not only Scripture condemns, but 

(in is of ?.n a- even nature (Tirinks at it, as Incefi and Sodemy ; there is a kind of 

mazing quali- relu6lancy , and abhorrency in nature againit thofe, and the very 

ty- Heathens jftart at them : Yet God hath converted fome men 

guilty of thefe (ins. The ineeflmtis Corinthian^ ivhom Paul -ivould 

have delivered to Satan , was wrought upon, and converted, and 

repented ; and 1 Cor. 6, 9. Some of them who were abnfers of 

themfeheswith mankjnd^ V. 11. Were yet wafhed^ and fanBify" 

ed and jufiifjed, 2. One may be called a very great (inner , 

Wbofc kincSs of y^hofe kinds of fiming are very many , and all of them exceed- 

fmningarc vc- ingly frozoking: When they ^re as a volly of poyfoned ar- 

rymsnyand rowe*, all of them levelled at, andfliot into the very face of 

provotmj. x3od; every one of them, like 5^«/, is higher by the head then 

other fins, which in comparifon are ®f a lower (iatiwe : Such a 


of the Returning Prodigal. 

great fiimer was ManAJfes ; he was one of the hlghefl Idolaters 

that evo- we read of, and a witch^ and dealt with the Devil^ and 

offered fome of his children to the Devil ^ 2 Chron. 35. 5, 

4^ 6. and jhed much Imscent blond : Yet this notorious (iiv 

ner at kngth humbled himfdf greatly, and was converted : 

See verf, 12, 13. 3. One may be callecTa very great fin- vv ho barhcoo 

ner, who hath continued a long time in the conrfe ar:d pra^ife tinucd a long 

pf great finsy perhaps twenty, forty, fifty years : Abraham tim«»nacourfe 

continued a long time in his Idolatry, and at length was cal- «>^r"^ ^"5. 

led and converted : The Ephejians walled according to the 

cmrfe of this worldj and had their coKverfation tn times fafi 

in the liifis of the flefh , ftlfiliing the defires of the flejh , 

and of the miyidj Chap. 2. verf.2,3. yet at length were quick- 

ncd and converted, verf. 5. 4. One miy be called a great whofc fin$ arc 

(inner, whofe Jinr/r/igs are \Q}[y greatljf circtimftanced : Cir- •: ready cit cum- 

cumfiances, you knuW, give a very great accent unto moral ft«i*ccd. 


Quefl:, But how may it appear, that a very great finner may Dw-monftrati- 

be converted ? SoL There arc four Reafons of it, or De- ®^** "' 

monlirations for it. i. Becaufe fame oreatfinners hdonitothe ^ - , 

r, -,' c r- 1 ^ T> 1 r ^ L r ^ ^ ^om« great fan- 

Eleciwn of Gods Grace .- Paul was ( as you have ieen ) a very „? rs belong to 

great finner ; yet faith God of him, A^i, 9. i ^. He ts a chofen the Elsdfou o£ 
^ejfel unto me. There are two things ( amongft many other ) Grac«^ 
which belong to the Divine Eletilion. \, It is a free AB^ and 
if Imiy ufe the word without offence, an Independent A(^, 
raifed only from the good pleafure of the Divine Will, and not 
from the corydition of the Obje6l. Rom. 9. 1 5. I will have mer- 
cy on whom I will have mercy ^ and I will have compaffion on whom 
I win have co'nfaffion. Verf. 16. It is not of him that willeth^ 
nor of him that rnnneth^ but of God that (heweth mercy. If God 
will choofe foolii-h things, and bafe things, &c, 1 Cor, i. 27,28. 
2. It is an infallible Decree : I mean, fuch a Decree which 6od 
will certainly fulfil. In Ebdion, God doth decree or ordain a 
perfon unto falvation ; and this perfon God will certainly bring 
unto falvation, by thofe meai-^s which he hath appointed fdr 
rh.U purpofe : And therefore , if a great finner be within 
the compafs of Gods Eledion, him in time will God con- 
vert ; A^, I ^. 4S. As many as were ordained to eternal life^ 

O i,BecAHfe 


283 Gods Gracious Aceeftance 

The converfi- 

2, Bscanfe the Conver[ionof a Sinner u an omm^Qteni worl^: It 
on"f Tfinner ^^^^^d^ ^^ ^^^> ^<>.^^'honi nothing is too hard; he can pardon 
Is an omnipo- great fins as Well as little, and convert great finners asfvell as or-* 
KnEivork. dinary finners.. There is as muchpo^ver put forth to convert a 
finner> as there was to make a world, yea, and more: For in 
Creation> there ^as nothing in the Subject created to refift and 
vvithftand ; but when a Sinner is to be converted,, there is an ex- 
ceeding great refilhnce, fuch a refuiancc, -as is able to put by 
all the {irength and power of a moral Agent. No created and 
finite power can convert a finner :. An infinite power is required ;. 
and if that be pat forth, the fiouteft and ftrongeft finner mull and 
doth yield. If the Sun rifeth, then the diickelt darknefs flees 
away and vanifheth : If Chrift fpeaks the word, then Laz.arn4^ 
who had been dead four dayes^ lives again, Steven preaches, and 
not only Paul flights his Sermon, but confents alfo to hk death : 
But when Jefus Chrift fpake only a few words unto him, Paul 
now quakes, and trembles, and yields, Lordy what wilt thou have 
me to do, 
©od hath the 3- ^^^^^j^ ^he Lord God hath the ah [olute dominion over the 
abiblute domi- heart ; he can difpofe, fafl\ion, alter, tunrit, as he pleafeth,, 
nica.oYer che and when he plealeth : ^ Ke hath the command of the heart and 
heart. grace.. Take the heart '( as ufually we do ) for any or all the 

faculties of the foul, yea, as corrupted by nature and cuflome^ 
yet God hath a dominion over ir, and he can make new impref- 
fions, and divine alterations and inclinations upon it. The Un- 
derflanding naturally is blind and dark, unable to unfold and ap- 
prehend the morality of conditions, ailions, obje6ls; but God 
can turn it from darknefs to light ; he can imprint on it the clear- 

I, efl light, whereby it lliall be able to behold what is good, and 

I what is evil. The Judgment naturally is erroneous, it miftakes 

f good for evil, and evil for good ; judgeth finfull evil as the hd\ 

j- and fweeteft way, condemneth good as moft contrary to us, to 

aur delights, courfes, ends : But God is able to imprint on mans 
Judgment, a difcerning and righteoufly fentencing ability, that 
a man lliall not only fee his finfull nature and life, but condemn 
it ( Iwas^ mad, faith Pan/ ; fuch a fool, a beafl was I. The^ 
pall remember their evil wayes, and loath themfelves, Hof. 2. 7.) 
^ his greatefl: evil arid mifery ; and conclude, that a new holy 
penitent life is the belt of all lives, and that for himfelf. The 


of the Returning Prodigal. 2 8 ? 

CoKfc'iencc is either fleepy or leared naturally : But God can avva- 
kvin it> and imprint on it a porver to feel fin; to complain, accufe, 
indite, wound, and Hay the finner, that he iliall have no reft as 
long as he lies in his (intull condition : Sin revived a^d I diedy 
Rom.q, The will is naturally averfe, andperverfe; itisfet 
againll all fpiritual good, and fet upon evil: But cannot God 
alter this Will ? He can eafily turn it about ; let him but drop 
in the lenft degree of Grace, and the Will prefently wheels 
about, and is as ready, and defirous, and cleaving to good, as 
ever it was to evil : Lord^ whatwiltthoHhavemetodof hdi,(;. 
So for the -AfeBions^ the Lord hath the dominion over them : 
He 'can make them to love him as much and more than ever they 
loved fm ; and to grieve, and to hate, and to fear fin, &c. Get 
thee hcKce ; vphat have I any more to do with Idols ? 

4. The Lord doth fometimes convert a great fmerto glorifle his God doth this 
own Grace, i. The fower of it, that it is able to cure great and to glorific his 
ftrong difeafes. If ordinary finners onely were converted, men °^" S*"*^^' 
would im.igine but a common and vulgar power lay in converting 
Grace ; where there is a lefler oppofition, there a weaker Orength 
may fuffice to do the work : But if fin be firong, now the pow- 
er of Grace appears, in refcuing the foul even from the Gates 
of Hell, and from the Powers of Darknefs . 2. The riches of 
it : When all the world knows, and the man himfelf knows. 
That there was nothing in him, but a vileft heart, and lewdeft 
courfe, and yet Divine Grace hath converted him ; O, faith he, 
this was rich Mercy and Grace indeed. The Apoftle faith, That 
God quickned the de3d Ejhepans, that he might fkew the exceed- 
ing riches of his grace, chap. 2. verf. 7, O, faith the great 
finner, ( now converted,) never was there fuch a gracious and 
fuch a mcrcifull God, fuch ^'indand loving God ; I was dt^dy 
and he hath made me alive ; I was the greateft of finners, and I 
have yet obtained the fweeteft of mercies ; I Avas the greateil 
Enemy, and yet God would be my kiaideft Friend* overcome 
by Sin, and now overcome by Grace ; falling down into Hell, 
and now lifted up to Heaven ; fo bad, that Jurtice might' have 
had much Glory to damn me, yet God hath been fo good, that 
Mercy fhall have the Glory to fave me. Vfe i. 

The firft life of this Point (hall be, To relieve any troubled ^0 rdicve the 
0nd difirefed Confci^m:e. You fhall find by experience thefe ''.^y^^^ ^^"' 

O i. two 


284 CodsGr/icious Accepame 

trvo Truths ; i. That whiles men are in a dead, lott, vile, and 
unienfible condition, they then imagine that their fins are little, 
and mercies great, and they have power to turn to God when 
theypleafe: 2. Thai when they come to be truly fenfible of 
their hearts and ways, then their iins appear exceeding great, and 
the mercy and grace of God feem little ; O ! th jy have withitood 
the offers of grace, and ail felf-power is gone, and the great- 
nefs of their linning is an abfolute bar to their converfion. 
Reafons why a -^^^^ ^^^^^ are eight Reafons, why a mm ( made fenfible of. 
man fenfible ef his great {iifnings ) inclines to think that God will never con-*^ 
hisgrcstfin, vert him. I. Beeatife he hath been o^e who h^th exceedlfjgly 
wiiUotc ^ p^"^^^W Gsd to wrath againfi klm : He fees great wrath in God, 
vtrthim. ' and that he hath, by his continual finnings, incenfed the Lord, 
O, faith he, it is mercy that m.urt convert ;, but I have turned a 
mercifull God into a juft God, and a kind God into an angry 
God ; my great fms have put me into the hmds of nis great 
wrath, 2. Beeatife fueh a f erf on fees his condition lying under 

the threatmngs of Gady and oM of the reach of the promifes ef God ; 
God threatnmg him. Warrants iifued out to take and arreH him, 
an Arrow levell'd at him ; God hath faid, That he will wound 
the hairy fca/f of him that goes flillyn in his iniquities ; and that 
he who hardens his hearty hsmg often reproved^ fhall he dejtroyed 
without remed J ; Now I have been that finner. ^^ Becaufg 

jueh a f erf on feels the imfrejfisns of Gods diffleaf^re on his Con" 
u fcience : He is in the very hands of wrath; Confciencc tells 

him, Thou art the man, and thefe have been thy finnings, thefe 
have been thy ways and thy doings ; and Confcience condemns 
him for one who hath delighted himfelf in zwil^ and fecretty goes 
and fmites him with unavoidable fears and terr ours. Now when* 
a man feels wrath, 'tis an hard thin^ to perfwade him, that God 
hath any thoughts and intentions "of mercy and grace for him. 
M i^. Sueh a -per f on ordinarily, lookj morenpon the examples of de- 

j. JirnBionj th^ri upon the mftances of comer ft on ; rather what God 

A heirraeHfs'^^^'^^'^"^^&'^^"'^ ^^^^^' than for any of them. O, faith he, God 
pral. 81. 11. i" Scripture hath often left fuch and fuch great Tinners to their 
2 Thcf. z. own hearts lufts, and he hath given them up to Satans delulions, 
J;r. Jj. 14. and to a reprobate mind and fenfe, and would not have mercy 
on them, he would deal with them no more. 'y, Ihe dlflanct 
iwixt his greatly fmingfotily and converting gracCy feems to him 


of the Returning Prodigal, 285 

wondroufly large : If I had been but fick andvveik! but can a 
dead m.in live ? lliould a Rebel be embraced ? can a Blackmorc 
be made white ? Jt is great grace to convert a little fmner, but 
what grace is fufificient 10 convert fo great a finner ? 6. He 
fneaf fires the diffejitionof Divine Grace^ by the Ir^dlffoftlon of hit 
own heart, O, faith he, I have been, how long, how iTubbornly 
unwilling to receive grace,how violent to oppoie grace 1 If I had 
negleded it only, but I have rejeded it ; I have been fo long 
unwilling, defpifing, will Grace be pleafed and fo willing to one 
fo unwilling ? Grace will not be willing to fmile on him who hatb 
fro.vned on it ; Grace will not ftoop to him who hath trampled 
upon Grace: Can Divine Grace and I be foeafily friends! ^ 
What, forty years lying in Hell, and now to think I ili^iU go to 
Heaven! all my life toferve the Devil, and yet novv to think 
that God will take me, or make me his ferva it ! 7. Such a 
man fees htsfns in another manner than ever before : The face of 
fin is unvailed, like fo many fpears in the heart of Chril-l, like 
fom my wounds given to fweeceft Mercy, like fommycupsof 
poyfon that he ha:h drunk, andfo miny cups of wrath which he 
hath made Chrift to drink, and as fo much dung caft upon the 
Beau:ies of Holinefs. 8. Tea^ and he feels his fns In another 
manner. O, faith he, I feel my proud heart ftill, and my adul- 
terous heart Itill, and my covetous heart ftill ; and when any 
good arifeth, it is furprized, it it refifted, it is quenched by a 
thoufand evil motions ; And though I hear, and though I feek 
God, yet it is thus with me. O ! my fins have been fo great, that 
God vvill never undertake my converfion, my change ; had I 
been more civil, had I beenlefs evil, perhaps he would. 

Now I would'fay {\\ things to this s^reat finne-. i. Great: Six things ro 

ingly, befeech God to give thee an heart to mourn exceedingly ; fens of great 
and think not, that God cannot do much go:»d, becaufe thou hift ^u nbiings, buc 
done much evil. 2. Great (Innings (hoMwork a fe/f-defpalr^ "occf unbelief. 

hat they (honld never yvo^k,a God~defpalr. Great finnings fhew Grrat Gnnings 
a great fclnefs of fin, which cannot be overcome, but by a greit '^,^"1^ ^^®^^* 
God. Thou art a great finner, but God is a great God ; tliere ^^^~^ GiT-dc^^ 
u no finner like to thee, and there is no God lik^i to him : fpair. 


286 ^ Gcds gracms Acceftance 

He is great in povvei', ( if he were not able to convert a great 
finner, he were not great in power ; ) atid he is great in mercy 
^d love, ( he were not great in mercy to pardon, nor great in 
love to fave, if he did not pardon great iinners, and convert 
great fmners : ) Therefore, as the leait iinner ihould defpair of 
his own power, fo no (inner, no not the greatell, (hould defpair 
Cod bsth ccn- of Gods power, 3. God hath cativerted great finner s, Ufual- 
vcfccdgreac jy^ ^^ fmners whom God hath converted, they have been of 
iina«ri. the greateli rank of fmners; He hath pafled by many an hun- 

dred civil righteous perfons, and his converting Grace hath laid 
hold on the notorious finner. Thou art not the iiril Idolater, the 
firft Thief, the foil Whore, the firil Adulterer, the foft Drun- 
kard, the firft Swearer, the firft Sodomite, the firii Perfecutor, 
the firf^ Unbeliever and refufer of Grace, that Divine Grace 
hath affayed and converted : They had no more power to contri- 
bute towards their converfion ; there was no more reafon in them 
to move the Lord to look upcnthem, than there is in thy felf ; 
No fmncr can yet 'God did convert them. 4. Though a ferfon can [ay^ 
lay, God ml ^^^^ q^^ ^^^^ ^^^ hitherto converted htm ; jet no finner ( living- 
^un. ^°"^^*^^ under the means of Grace ) can fafely fay^ that God will never 
conven htm : For no finner can know his eternal Reprobation, this 
is a fecret counfel which is refervedin the bofome of God ; can 
know the feafon, the very defigned feafon whai God will convert 
him ; for the Lord referves the power of converiion, and the 
feafon of converfion to himfelf ; he converts fome at one time, 
fome at another : God never revealed to any man, that at fuch 
a time, at fuch an hour he would convert him ; Confi^nenter^ a 
man may know the hour of his converfion, but Antecedemer^ he 
could not know that God would then ( juft then ) convert him. 
^herc is mere 5. There is m»re frohablllt y that God will convert thee ( thus fen^ 
probsbility of fil;/e^ &c.) than that he will not. For I. The clearing of thy 
Lv ^"^"r^^r".' ^^^^^ finfulnefs unto thee, andthefettingof th y great fins in or- 
hblf^thanno:" ^^'^'^^^^^^^^"'^^ ^y^-^ ' ^' '^^^ quicknings of thy Confcience 
Reafonsofit. ^^ ^^^^ ^^^ burthen and weight of thy great: tranfgreffions ; 
.3, The great- perplexities and fearsin thy heart becaufe of thefe 
gre.it fins, are no ,evil figns at all : Of the two, the troubled 
Confcience is much more hopefull than the feared Confcience. 
F'lclnlor falutl eft dolor -pat tenth quam fiufor mn fentientlsy as 
jiuftm well. Though trouble in Confcience be not alwayes an 


of the Returning Pr^digd^ ^^1 _ 

infallible Argument of UiQy yet it is an ordinary Antecedent 
unto Spiritual Life : The Itill Voice came after the Whirlwind, 
and Chrilt c^me after the ftorm, and Canaan came after the 
WiLlemefs, the Spirit of Adoption comes after the Spirit of 
Bondage. 6. But what if the Lord hath already converted What if the 
thee ? What if God have done that work in thee which thou Lord bive al- 
fearelt he will never work further ? ' Alfuredly, if thou art great- r«<^y convct- 

* ly alliamed of thy great trangreilions ; if thy foul can now '^^ '^"' 
' loath ic felf for all its abominations ; if thy heart can remember 

* them, and bitterly mourn over them ; if thy cries be great to 

* be delivered from them ; if thy fears be great to fin no more ; 
' if thy he.irt will not be content without a new heart ; if thou 
' and God mult be reconciled ; if thou haii received an heart wil- 

* ling.to be converted ; What fhall I fay ? Thou art indeed con- 
^^ verted.] Remember twofupports which I leave with thee : 


No poor firmer can be fo ready and willing to be converted by 
God, but God is much more ready and willing to convert him ; 
2. A willingnefs to be converted, is converfion begun ; the firft 
flroke of converfion lights upon the Will of a Tinner, and the 
greateft part of converfion appears in the change and converfion of 
the Will ; it is from the will of Gods grace, that ihou art willing 
to have grace. 

A fecond life Hi all be of Caution, Let kb man f re fume to con- ^r 2* 
timie in great fins y or to remain fecure and carelefs, becaufe he ^^^'*''"* 
hears that a great fmner may be changed and converted : For' i.. p^]\^^^ ^o 
Although God doth comert fome^reatfimiers^ one Abraham^ one continue in^ 
Vanly one Mary Magdalene ^ yet there are m.xny of them whom he great finsa 
never converts, 2. Perhaps he may converty perhaps he may not ; 
and what if he dodi not ? It is but contingent to thee : Perhaps 
he will convert thee, this lliould move thee to feek him ; per- 
haps he will not, this may affright thee to ftand out any 
longer againft him. Therefore , to be bold in fin , becaufe 
God can, and fometimes doth convert a great finner, miy move 
thee rather to conclude, he will rot, he intends not to convert 
thee, than that he doth. When Divine Goodnefs is madeen-^ 
courageable to fin againrt that Goodnefs ; when it is not a melt- 
ing Sun, but an hardning Sun ; it is a prefnge rather of a mans 
fubverfion, than of his converfion. :?, Thongh God can^ and 
doth fometimes convert a grfatfinmr^ yet ufuatty the ^ eater finner 


288 Gods Gracimis Aeceftance 

comes off vfith the Jharper co^werfo». The great Malefaclor lome- 
times hath his Book and his Lite too,but he is burned in tlie Hand> 
and in the Shoulder, Paul was a. great finner, and was convert- 
ed 5 but his great fms, which were a troubling to Chnli, did 
} rove a trembling to his heart. God puts luch a (inner upon the 
Rack ; he lirikes and wounds him, that all the Countrey iTiaii 
hear of the troubles which his Conicience feels for his fmnings 
againll God ; Cod doth, as it were, finge him with the flames 
of Hell , before he meets him with the kilTes of Heaven. 
^, Moji lifuallj^ thofe great and Kotorlous finners whom God con- 
vert s^ are p/ch who have thus fanned under their tgmrance, I was 
A blasphemer ^ &c. faith ?atd^ b/.t I did obtain mercy ^ for I did 
h Igfiorayitlj^ and thro'igh misbelief. He did not know what he 
did, he thought he had been in the right : You feldome read of 
one knowing Pharifee, who perfecuted Chriii, thnt was conver- 
ted ; yet you read of many of the Jews, and of the Elders, 
that were converted ; for they did not know Jefus Chrift to be 
the Lord of Glory. I will not fay, that no knowingly notorious 
iinner Hiall ever be converted ; but certainly, Converfion is ve- 
ry rare, where Knowledge holds the Cand'le to long and great 
works of Darknefs. Thofe fmners who go on :igmiii the work- 
ings of an enliehtning Spirit, fall very rarely within the favour 
of the converting Spirit : Therefore let no man gather poyfon 
from this honey, drc. 
^'^fi 3' The I aft life O-iall be a word of Dlre^ilon to w great and mto- 

Direction ro noHs f-nner^ whom God hath been p/eafed mightily and fracloufly 
fuch converted ■' \ , , j u r » j r / u- r 

fiar>cj$ ^^ comert. I would commend theie Adviloes unto him. i. Let 

Take pains to ^^^^ ^^^ much fains to get his Acquittance fairly writ andfealed ; 

be atJurcd of ^ mean, to be well aflured that his fins are pardoned. Believe 

pardon. it, no man i nail find his title fo queftioned, his heart fo affault- 

cd with often doubts and fears of pardon, as one who hath been 

a great Tinner : The Provocations have been great, and Confci- 

ence haih been boillrous, and Satan can lay in fhrewd excepti- 

K«pcon"c*i- ens, C^r. 2. Let Confclence he exceeding tender : O awake 

tiics icn^cr. it x\ot-^ difpleafe it not by new adventuring? ; all the old wounds 

will bleed afrefh : A little new fm committed, will raife up the 

old ghofls ; it will revive the fcnfe of all the old great fms, 

which although they be pardoned, yet thou wilt now think they 

are not. A perfon who before his Gonverfion lived as li he had 


of the Returrjin^ Prodigal, 2 8p 

been in Hell , fliould after his -Converlion live as if he were in 

Heaven. ^. Lovfmnchy and do much \ do fome great thing Love much, 

for Gods Glory. and do mi'cb. 

This my Son rvas deady and is alive again. 

Alive again ! but how Cdme this about ? what vv.is the occafi- 
on of this Prodigals Converfion ? look backuntot^.i5,i(5. he 
was brought fo low as to feed Swine , and would have been glad 
of the Husks,but no man gave unto him, and he is ready to p^riili 
with hunger ; and now returning thoughts came into his rnind ; 
now he refolves to come back again unto his Fathers houfe : 
Whence obferve. 

That great afjUnJons are fometimes an occajion ef the Conner- Dool,^, 
p on of a great [inner. There are two forts of atHiitions, i.ln- Gf<:at aiH.cti- 
vpardy which fet upon the confcience ; thefe are fometimes an °"^ ^^^ ^°'"^" 

i r r^ r A 111 r • ^ ' times an occs- 

occahon of Converfion.- A troubled confcience dotn many fionof '^rcac 

times end in a renewed confcience ; troubles of heart are often- ficners convcr- 

timesclofed with change of heart. The great ftorms occafionthe fion. 

Traveller to come in for fhelter : The biting Serpents occafi-^ 

oned the Ifrae/ites to lookjo the hrafen Serpent ^thc avenger of blood 

made the guilty perfon to fje to the City of refuge ; and a con-r 

demning confcience oftentimes makes a poor troubled Soul to 

Gomc in unto JefusChrili for cafe and refl:. z^Omward^which light 

upon the body and elbte of a (inner ; thefe alfo fometimes ferve 

to fetch in a (inner; as he once faid, perlljfem nlfi perllffem , I had 

perillied unlefs I had periilied. Jojephs brethren had never found 

JofephyZnd craved food of him,unlefs a famine had befallen them. 

If God had not deprived fome men of their worldly goods, they 

had never come in to feek heavenly Treafures : We may 

fay of them that if they had been fed , they had been fami- 

fhed; and if they had not been famillied, they had never 

been fed with the bread of life. 

Again, thefe outward affli6lions may be confidered two waye?, 
either 1. Simply y and nakedly in themfelves ; fo they cannot con- 
vert any linner, no more then the pool of Bethefda (alone) 
could heale a dif^afed Perfon, or Elijahs fait could heal the wa- 
ters, 2, Co;7f#w/V^«/-/7, as accompanied with, and fanci^ifyed by 
Gods Spirit : It is not the hammer,but the fire which foftens the 
i,j^^\ P p Iron, 

2po ^^^^ Gracious Acceptance 


iron ; It was not the Water,but the Angel that liirred the water, 
vvhicn made the water medicinal : It is not the Rope, but the 
i^rength of the hand upon the Rope, which dravvs m the Boar. 
Afflictions in themfelves are privations of a comfortable good ; 
~ but if God fan^tihes them, they may then be a means of our 
everlafting good : Cjod can ufe them as a bridle,not only to tiop 
us running out of the way, but alfo to turn us into the right way. 
Hof. 2. 1 4./ will a/hre her^ and bring her Into the wilderness. By al- 
lurmg,he means a gracious and effectual perfvvaiion,a prevailing e- 
ven to Converlion; but then he will bring her into the wildernefs; 
God brings men into the Wiidernefs( into a barren,defolatemife- 
rable conaition)and then allures or converts ^^m.Manajfes was a 
great imnerjjnd yciGod hnmhlcd him greatljf^md(^ it is thought) 
converted him;but what means did he ufe for this? See 2 Chro. :^ ^. 
11,7 he Lord brought ufm htm the captains of the heft of the King 
#/ Aflyria, who tool^Mm^i\^h amongthe Thorns y andbomdhim 
with fetters y and carrj'ed him to B^ihylou. v. 12. And when hs 
was In ^tffl:[}iony he be fought the Lord his God^ and humbled him- 
fe If greatly, Nebuchadnez,z,ar was a proud and lofty (inner , 
and therefore God puld him down ; he did drive him from men , 
and he did eat Grafs as Oxen , and his body was wet with the 
Dew of Heaven', and having thus abafed him, he wrought up- 
on him to acknowledg and praife the true God, Dan.^. 3 3, 34. 
How this may Que ft, HovY may it appear that, &e, Sol, There 'are four 
sppor. things attending uponfandifyed atfl!dicns,and all of them contri- 

Afflidons bute to Converfion. i. AffilHlons ( fantilfyed) are the 
^r^^ Is Lo''V ^^^^^ Loifklng'Glafsy wherein a man may fee his fins , which are 
ia? G.aiies. ^^^ caufes of afflidlions ; there are divers Glafles in which we 
may fee the face of otir fins. i. TheGlafs of the Word. 
2. The Glafs of Reproof. 3. The GKifs of Confcience.- 
4. The GL^fs of Aifli61:ions : Affliction is a Glafs wherein a 
perfon firft fees his own fins ; Ocules quam cm fa claudlt fena a- 
perlt. We were verily guilty of the blood of our kr other ( faid fo- 
fepWs, Brethren • ) and as 1 have ferved other s^ fo the Lord hath 
fervedme(jL2idAdonlbez.eckJ) 2, See^them asfinners. Ih pro^. 
fperity we fee the pleafures of (\:\ , but in adverfity the bitter:,-' 
nefs of fin ; in the one we fee them as our friends , in the other 
as our enemies : An evil and bitter thing that we have forfaken 
the L$rd {^[q Jiremlah i'^^A^ih,) ^, Sees therewith a feriouf 


of the Returning Prodigal, 2p I 

/#«i^; lees them, and thinks of th^m ; Tecs them, and hyes them 
toh^art: Thy mekednefs hath prscnrfd thefe thir:gs unto thee. 
Now when a perfon is brought to aright fight of (in, to fee his 
own fins, and as fins, and ferioufly confiders of them ; this is a 
way tending to his Converfion : leonfidered my wayes ( faid 
David ) a^dtHrned my feet tm$ thy tefttmonles, 

2. ^^ichlofiS (^fan^tfyed) rpork^much tifon the Cof^fcie^e ; jj,gy ^^^ j^ 
they are the rods of God upon the Soul ; they are the Waters of much upoa the 
Mar ah ^ bitter Waters, and theyltir up confcience to fpeak confa^Acc. 
bitter words unto us : Thefe Were thy wayes , and thefe were 
thy doings ; thou wouldfinot be warned, thou wouldft not hear- 
ken , and now fee whither thy fins do tend, now fee into v\'iiat 
liraits they have brought thee, now ihou vvilt believe that God 
is difpleafed with thee : When confcience is ftirred , when the 
burden of afflictions turn into the burden of confcience, two 
things ordinarily cnfue rhereuf on. i. A mans carnal Jecnri^ 
ty If hrok^n : The man thought himfelf fafe and fecure before ,; 
but now he fees his condiuon to be very fad, unfound, unfafe , 
and miferable ; not only my goods are gone, but my God alfo is 
gone. 2. The heart comes to be humbled: O, A working 
confcience, afmiting confcience is the KcHTimer of God, by 
which he breaks and bows the foul. AfHidions nowftir up the 
Gall and the Wormwood, and the foul is humbled by them; 
and when the foul is brought to fee fin , and to confider of 
fin , vand to be humbled for fin , it is now in a fair way of Con- 

^. Afjiiftlons ( if fanFlifyed ) are gales t9 Prayer : Lord y x,eyarc gsUs 
in trouhle have they vijltedthee ; they fowredout a Prayer^ when to pjaycr. 
thy chaflening was upon them, Ifai.id. to. ^^ theiraffliEiioyiSy they 
will feel^ me early , Hofea 5. It is almoft natural for an 
afflided man to pray , and afflictions put an edge of z^al on 
Prayer ; we are feldome more frequent and more fervent in that 
duty, then in the times of o:ir diiirefs. But then obferve,that as 
affli6lions are apt to quicken prayer ; fo if they have occ ifioned 
a fenfe and trouble in the heart for fin. Then i. Vfnally they 
ftiruf Prayer for far don of fn , and for converfion from fin. 
Blot oHt my tranfgrejfions^ praies afflidled David, Turn thoti me ^ 
and I (hall he turned^ praies diftreffed Ephraim, Jer. 31.18 Thefe 
are the two great defires of a diflrefted foul. 2. Ufually God 

P p 2 hears 

_ .. ■■ ^l■ ■■■■ ,1 ,— .. — — ■ ■ 

2^2 ^^^^ Gr adopts Accepmcc 

hears thefe PrAyers^ The facrlfices of God are a broken fpirit ; 
a broken and a contrite heart ^O Ged-^thou wilt not defplfe^ pf, 51.17. 
A poor finner cannot put up a more acceptable rcqueft unto God 
then this : Lord, I beieech thee,change and turn my heart,fubdue 
muie iniquities 1 let not fin have d- ^minion over me ! I befeech 
thee, fuffer m^ not to diilionour th^e any more ! So that now you 
fee that afflictions have brought the Soul and God together ; the 
affliiled Perfon fees a need of Mercy and Grace , and unto j 
God he applies himielf who is jhe only Author of a finners Con- J 
verfion> theonly Phyfician of afinfulfoul. ' 

Tfef Y incline 4. Affil^lons (If fancilfjed) Incline hs unta converting Ordl- 
ustoconvec- nances: You fliall obferve that men under their affii6tio.:s are 
snjordinancis. j^ Jt^are willing to hear, 2. More attentive In hearln(J, -i^ More 
tra'ciable and fllable^{,\.)mort eafie to be vvrough upon m hearing : 
when a man Is chafined with patn^ and his flejh confnmed away , 
and his foul draws near to the Grave ; then he will make ufe of a 
Meffenger^ of an Inter preter^ of one amo/7g a thotifand to [hew unto 
him his fiprlghtnefs J ]ob 33. ig.toi:^. Oh, what a Divine in- 
fluence and authority hath the Word over fuch a mm ? he can 
be content to have his fins ript open, and he can hear and weep, 
Oh,a finner ! and he longs to hear of fome word of hope,and when 
he hears it, Oh, how good is God ! and he catcheth greedily at the 
word of dire6lion ; and v^hen he hears it,Oh,vvhen fhall I be this ! 
when (hall I do this ! Lord,givegrace,give ftrength unto thy poor 
fervant ; the man in his profperity would not know the Lord,nor 
bear-ken to him ; he was above counfel and inftru6^ion, but now 
his ear Is opened to dtfcipltne , and inftruBion Is fealed unto htm , 
Job 2i,,i6, Now it is^ Lord^ that which I fee not^ teach thou me ; 
and If I have dene Inlqmtj^ I will do no more^ Job ^4. 3 2. 
Vfe, • The lirR Ufe fhall be ioxTrlal of ourfelves, what the fruit ef 

TihU^hii i\i all ojir ajplBlons ts I I think there is no man almcft in all tiie 
^'m^' ^^^ Kingdome , but Go,d hath of late fome way or other afflidled 
iffl^ionjs. ^jj^^ Many have loll all their eiiaces , not an Houfe is left to 
them, nor Land, nor a Rag to their backs-; many have loft their 
Husbands or their Children in the War ; many have loii fome 
of their Family with the Plague lately ; who hath not been fome 
V IS the faddc ft yyay Qj- Qther afflidled ? Now confider, i . It Is thefaddefi affll^ 
^^tf k" ' "°fl ^^*^^' ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^^ bettered by affll^h'ons ; No mifery like that , 
byaffliftioa, ^0 ^^c the fins, and Continue ftill inihe fins which brought our 


of the Returning Fndtgd, ___ ^^3 

mirery : Oh, co be as far from our friends (as before) aiid as far 
from our God as before ; to be thrufl: out of an earthly poflelfion, 
and no: yet to get an heavenly inheritance ; to lofe our Lands5and 
not yet to get Chrilijto have no home to go tohere,nor any home 
to go unto iiereaf ter;to lofe our eihtcs,and keep our lins^to lofe the 
\Yorld,and to lofe the foul too; to lofe all our comforts,and yet not 
to lofe the caufe of all ourdifcomforts. It was a miracle that the 
three children were in a fiery furnace ^ jet net one hair ef their he^ds 
was finged ; It was a miracle that Aiofes bujh was btrmng^and Kot 
eoKfumed : Oh, it is a fad wonder thatfo many afflidlions are upo i 
men, and not one fin troubled, not one fin confumed, mortifyed ! 

2. A'f^fiy ferfons, thangk much afflicted, arJ long affiled, yi^t are ^ perfons 
not converted ; God compLiineu of old , they return not to him c^otijb much 
that [mites the?n ; and in another place, yet have ye not returned to md long artli- 
wf, faith the Lord. There are eightforts of men, whofe atili- ^^^^'/"^"^^ 
£tions have not been etfeclual to their Converlion. i. Stufid Sin- ^^^^^fo ts o£ 
>iers , who know not from whom afflidrions are fent, nor to: what p.^^^^^g. 
end: Pf^herefore hath all this evil befallen uSyWid th^y. 2. D^- Stupid (inncrs. 
/jpfr;«r<f 5/Wrj-, who forfake God in their afflictions ; They cry D. p:racc fm- 
not when he bi^deth them^ J ob. 3 c. 13 . This evil is of the Lard-, rvhy "^ ' ^* 
fhould I wait ufon the Lord any longer ? faid he in 2 Kin. 6. 3 3. 

3. Boldfinnersy\\[\o grow worfe and vvorfe under their alBicl:ion;as Sold firmer* 
the Anvil e by blovs is more hardened ; like Ahaz. in his difirejjes 

who finned yet more ^ 2 Chr.28.22. 4. Proud Sinners ^ who repine, p j r 
and murmur, and complain ag.iinitviod, fretting againrthim,and 
perhaps curfing of God, as they m //8, 2 1. ^^Carelefs Sinners^swho CareUfs da- 
regard not the operations of Cods hands y and lay nothing to heart : ncrs^ 
The unjnfi knows no fha?rte^Zt^, 7.5. 6.Pe/itickSinnerSy\vho think Poij^icfe Ci:v 
to make up their lolTes by any rem norizing compliances.y.D^/j?^/- n-rs. 
ring Sinners^who fuik under the burden of workily lolfes and crof- P-ipairing 
fes ; a worldly forro.v doth feize on them, even unto death,and ^^"'^^"• 
crulli them as ^^^r/jf/, Sec. X. Hypocritical Sinners^ who C^^m ^ - • --al 
to turn unto God in Prayer and Fafting,but it is like Judah^friend- ^^ ^ J^^j 
ly not with their whole hearts ; at the beft they doe but itop in 
(inning,but they do not forfake their (ins ; their righteoufnefs k 
but as the morning dew, Hof 6. I will but fay three things to 
all thefe men. i. It is afnrejign , that the ajfiiclionsare whips 
$f wrathy and not rods of love , they come not from a Father , 
but from a Judg. 2, It is a fure fign that greater aJJlifiioKS- 


2^4 Gods gracious Accepance 

aretofollevp , J will chaftifeyotif^v^n times mon^ Lev. 26. zr, 
or elie,vvhich is vyQr'ie,etern?l deikudiou. Reprobate Silver jhaU 
they he called : Becatifel vpoHldh^'ve pttrgedthee ^ and thou wa^ 
mt purged^ then jhalt not he f urged till 1 caufe my fury to rtft mon 
thee, 3. ,^f Is a fign that men ^re very wxked , drovvnid in 
the love of fin, or the World, or that a fpirit of Atheifm prevails 
and reigns in them. 

I now proceed to another Propoiition , which is implyed in 

thefe words : 

3ofl:, ?. That there is an Alm'ghty Power re quired to eonvert or changed 

The c is an si- fimer^ no lefs then is requifite to quicken a deadman : ( This mj 

milhcy pcvrer Son was dead , and is alive again ; ) To awaken a man out of 

required co fl^ep, needs no great power ; ( a word, a call, a cry, a little ftir^ 

aiverc a m- ^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ ^ _j l^^^ to quicken a dead man,here calls,and cries, 


and itirrings will not do it, all the power of Men and Angels will 
not do it. In zy4Bs 2,^1. you rQ3.dot three thouf and converted 
at one Sermon, And in ^Bs 4. 4. of five thonfand converted 
m another Sermon^ fo many, fo quickly converted ; certainly the 
Power that wrought this mufi be Almighty. Jefus Chrifi him- 
felf mult come , and he muft cry , and he mult cry with a loud 
voice -^ Lazar^^, come forth^ Joh.i 1.43. The Apoille fpeaks of 
xhi exceeding greatnefs of Gods Power ^ towards them that believe , 
and of the working of his mighty Power ^ Ephef. i . 1 9. Even 
fuch a Power as God wrought in Chrifi^when he raifed him from the 
dead yV, 20, 
The power pur There is a twofold opinion about the power which is putfprth 
forih in con- i" ^ finners Converfion. i. Some hold it to be Moral only ^ 
verfion. becaufe this is moft congruous to the will of man, which vi a mo^ 

Nor moral «n> j-al fubje6l. God ( they imagine ) dodi offer and propound fuch 
"^ Obje6ls, with iuch Arguments which do wooe,and allure, and pre- 

vail with the will of a finner. Sol. It is true that the outward 
means work only after a moral way. The word ( which \s 
the miniflry for Converfion ) it coth offer to the finner Argu- 
ments of life, and death ; It reveales, and commands, and pro- 
mifeth and " threatneth : But a moral fuafion ( as they call it ) 
is notfufflcient to convert: And there are four Reafons wh-'ch 
Proved. to me feem verv ftrono andunanfwerable a^ainlHr, i. The 

very Phrafes by which a Jinners Converfon ts exfreffed in Scri- 
. ft fire J do furmount a moral fualien : There is no lefs power to 


of the Returning Fr$dtgd, 295 

convert a iiimcr then there was i. To create man at the firft, 
2. There iliall be to raife the dead at the lad ; when a finner is' 
converted, he is faid to be created again, to be born again, to be 
regenerated; his heart is faid to be opened', and circumcifed ; 
bis Hrong heart is taken away , an heart of flefh is given unto 
him; furely all this is more then amoral power. t. This 
wotaI ftmfgyt mnfineceffarlly preffippcfi fome power ayid abJltles in 
him with whsm it deals ; as if you counfel a man , you fuppofe 
fomething in him to incline him to hearken ; . if you do not fup- 
pofe fuch a power, then it mull be fuppofed that your counfel is 
in vain; as if you fhould counfel an Ethiopian to change his skin, 
or a blind m m to fee ; this were in vain, for there is ho power in 
t-hem to do thde. 7, The corrverjron of fi finner i» refpeB of ' 

Godfhotild he then contingent ; It might be, and it might not be ; 
Though God intends to convert a man , yet he may fail and mifs 
of ihe event , for as much as a moral work is reliftable, and may 
eafily be put by. Ho^ ofttn wovdd I have gathered y»tir children^ 
and yon would not ; '' jee alwa^jes rtfifl'theHoly-Ghol^. 4. Tea^ 
the Converfion of a fnner fhotdd in the event dep€nd mors upon the 
will of man^ then $'4 the will of God. The grace oftered is com- 
mon, and it is made peculiar, and differential by mans will : the 
r-ifzhtufeof grace is not of grace, but of freewill ; fothat dif- 
enmenfiHoTHm Dei c^fec!i/ij\s a natHr^yUOt ex gratia. The mo- 
ral fuafi on isprefented unto two finners, the fuafion is- alike; 
why doth it brin^^ this man and not the other m ^n to Conver(ion ? 
There can be no reafon given but this , that the one would hear- 
ken to It, the other would not ; fo that the effed of Conversion 
( by this opinion)is manifettly placed in the liberty of a finners 
will, where.is the Scripture plainly afcribes ictoihe will of him 
\y ho calls, not to the will of him who is called. 2. Others 
hold it to be much beyond this ; To he a mofl High Power ^ a i, isa mnft 
Creating Power , a Divine Power , an Alm'ghty Powder , fuch a ^ig'^ power, a 
Power as overpowers all the finful power in man, bears it down," «fa"n| power, 
and overcomes a Droud,llubb;^rn, refilling heart; though it dot9 
not toialiter eradicare , yet i t doth aBnaliter predominari (^ vlnce- 
rs refifieniiam voluntatis. Now thatnolefs power is fulHcient, ef- Proved. 
fe6tually to convert a {inner, m ay be cle ired by thefe A:'gumcnt5. 
I. If you. confider the nature of Converfon itfe/f : there are two ^^^^ ^^' "'• 
tliiiigs which Conyerliondoth d^iote ; 6;;^ kunimmediatt vPark^ p"^^°^ conves- 

2p5 Gods gracious Accepancc 

of God ^ renevving mm, or giving unto him a new birth- this 
cannot be done without an ahnighty Power. Our Divines in ' 
ahe Synod of Dort^ call il^is Mir f^blls^n oferationem -^ Proffsr 
calls this Grace Bomrum In nobis creatricem : This is the creat- 
ing work, to bellow a Soul upon the Soul , a Spirit of life upon 
aipirit ; this mull: be the work of an alm'ghty God indeed, 
Ormifotentijjima foteflas ^ncrin^^rAi hnmanorum cordmm : 
Auilm ^e Cor, & Gra, c, 14. No man nor Angel can make 
a. creature , only a God can make creatures, and new creatures : 
The Ethtspian cannot change his skin , and can any but a God , 
change the heart, the nature of a finner ? Another is, Awork^ 
of mm by Faith , and Refcntance , turning himfelf unto God ; 
forae term the ioimticonverjior.em-primam^ and the latter ^tf;?- 
verfionem fecurJam ; thefe two in the order of time cannot 
fcarce be dilHnguitlied, but in order of caufality they are, the 
work of God convertmg man is before , and it is a caufe of 
the a6lion in man converting unto God : Now Con\'erfion 
in this fenfe. depends upon an almighty Power ; even the 
believer cannot believe without Gods mighty Power ; there 
is a wonderful Power required to draw out the adt of believing : 
Oh, how much power is neceffary to make any troubled broken 
heart ailually to come unto Chrift , a6lually to believe,to em- 
brace Jefus Chrift ! how many Seas mufi be divided firfl ? how 
many Meuntains levelled and removed out of their places 
lirft ? It murt come from the Father , if any do c©me unto 
the Son. See Ji?. 6, 37. 45. Vnt^ yon it is given to believe, 
( rl 'Trmv^v ) Faith is the gift of God , and the ail of Faitii 
is the gift oi God too ; a renewed will is from God , and when 
\t is renewed , even now to will is from God : God works 
in you to will and to do of his good pleafure. Phi/, 2,1^, there 
mull be his good will to make us will good, and his hifyuv 
for our TO «vf f >#<v,his work to make us to work. 2. If you confi- 
From the ^^^ ^^^ ftrength of fn in mans nature : wc look upon two things in 

ftrcngth of fin fin ; ihtgtiUt of it ; Oh,this was fo^great,fo mighty that it could 
InmaAsoacure. never be expiated but by an almighty fatisfaclion, even the blood 
of the Son of God ; tht fi/th and corruption of it,vvhy ! thus con- 
fidered, it is of that ftrength in the Soul, that no Power but what is 
Divine can overcome it, an almighty Power is neceflary to this, it 
muft be a ftronger then the ftrong that muft difpoflefs this lirong 

man j 

of the Returmn^ Prodigal, 2P7 

man ; they are no weak weapons, but mighty weapons ; and 
mighty through God, which muft pull down thefe {irong holds ; 
the heart of man is full of cvllj faith Solomon; it is defter At sly 
Tvickjdy Taith 'jercmj : I bcfeech ycu paul> a while upon two 
Conftderations. i. 1 here is an exceeding ftrerjgth in Sin^ even 
in {he Regenerate^ and converted R erf on : Raul cries out, / am 
fold, I aw led captive. David is weeping for no k^fs fins then of 
eyidtilteryy and Murder : Peter weeps bitterly for no lefs fin then 
denying of Chrift^ then for fwearing and curing. In the very 
bed thefefh lu/leth again/} the Spirit ; So that they cannot do the 
Good' they would^ and cannot overcome the evil that they hate. 
Now mark, if there be fo much ftrenghth in finful nature dying, 
how great is the ftrength in (inful nature living ? If there be fo 
much power in a broken arm, how great is the power in a perfect, 
ftrong unbroken arm ? If all the Chriftians Grace he hath be 
fometimes too weak for his finful inclination, afluredly then all 
external counfels, advifes, reproofs are too weak to alter the 
whole finful nature ; for the quality of Grace is much more 
urong, then the exhortation unto Grace. 

2. That there isfuch a firength in JtHy that all the de^ees of 
Grace unto which a converted per f on can pojfihle attain in this life^ 
are not able totally to rid the foul of it. Till the mud-wall be quite 
pulled down, fome of the Ivy will ftick unto it ; Jacob went hal- 
ting unto his grave. Till death makes an end of our lives, Grace 
cmnot make an end of our fins. Is it thus with the converted 
perfon, that- neither Counfels, nor Exhortations, nor Grace re- 
ceived can utterly extirpate fin ? nay is fometimes too weak 
for fin ? verily then there can be no converfion of a finner with- 
out an Almighty power : the power of fin in an unconverted man 
being in fulleft ftrength,in every facility and making highefl: rcfi- 
ftance toGracejbecaufe naturally of deepeft contrariety thereunto. 

^. Nay thirdly, confider as there is a mighty (trength From thir 
in fin , fo there is a mighty firength joyned with Jin , to op- ftrength joynfd 
fofe the fnners Converfion ; and the finner "cannot be converted ^'^^^ ^*"5 '° ' 
until both thefe -irmies be conquered : i. Satans firength is ''^^^^^^^f/^^^ 
joyned with the firength of fin .- the finner is under the dominion ^.i. 
of fin, andheislikevvifc under the dominion of Satan; and as 
fin is a powerful Lord, To Satan is a powerful Prince ; he is the 
God of this world, he workj mightily in the Children of difohe- 

Q^q dienfe^ 

2<^g Gods gracious Accep^nee 

1, I .. dlence^ EpheC 2. 2. He takes th^m captive at his plealurc ; 

Li and as P/?^rWj raifed all his hoft, vvhen the Children of Ifrael 

\ were 10 go out of Egjft i fo doth Satan ftir up all his policy, and 

j; put forth, all his povver, to withhold a perfon from being con- 

verted. He arms the Judgment with reafons, exceptions, iliifts, 
difputes ; and he arms the Will with averfnefs, unreafonablenefs, 
ft ubbornncis, pride ; And he arms the Confcience, and he arms 
the Affedlions. O what corrupt re^fonings ? how many proud 
denials ? what hideous reprefentations of the wayes of Grace ? 
what delights, wh.it prohts we have had by fin? what im- 
poiTibilities, what difputes, what feares, what terrors, what 
dampings of the Word, what diftra6lions in Prayer, what agonies, 
and continual, and vehement, and violent conflio^s, doubts, 
fcruples, &c ? 2 ^// thefe rnufi he anfwered^ and all thefe 
muR be conquered, if the foul be converted. Andean all this 
be done by amorall power ? O no; it muft bean Almighty 
power, which muft refcue a poor foul out of the hands of two 
fuch mighty Lords. The people of Ifrael could not be delivered 
from one King, and with a temporal deliver an ce,but by the excee- 
ding greatnefs of Gods power,and by an high and infuperable wor- 
king of divine Grace. 4. There is more then an ordinary 
&&. ' hich P<^^^'^^ required for ejfeHs which fa/i (kort of Converfion : and if 
falliliort of ^^ ^^^^ ^hen an almighty power bs required for thefe (^^\\iq\{ are 
Converfion. at the heft but fubordinate and preparative workes to the main 
work of Converiion, ) queftionlefs then, the work of Converfion 
- depends, and muft depend on an almighty Power. Such a 
'\, quantity of power cannot be denied for the greater, which yet 
;' muft- be granted for the leder works, in the fame Order. There 
\ ' ■ Sync6. Djrdr. are fome good and learned Divines, who handling the preparatives 
pag. 160. ^Q Converfion, do conceive four precious ads or works, wrought 
before it. v, g. i. Notltla dlvlnA mlantatis^ a knowl edg of the 
Divine will. 2. Seyifiu fee cm ^ a fight and feeling of our fins, 
and iinful condition ; ^. Coghatiode I ikratior,e, {om^ tho^Q^hts 
and defires of deliverance; 4. SjesvenU^ an hope at hit of 
apolTibility of mercy and pardon : all which God works by the 
preaching of the Word. As upon Peters fermon^ they came to 
a fenfe of their fin , and fear, and trouble, and defire, and had 
fome hope of deliverance preached unto them, the promife being 
made to them and unto their Children ; upon -which God con- 

ef the Returning Prodigal, ^ 99 

verted them. No.v mark me ; There is a neceifity of aa al- 
xnighty Power to produce thde anteccdaneous,and inferior work?. 
None but the God of our Lord Jefus Chrlft^the Father of Glory ^can 
InUghtcrtthe eyes of the EfhefiaKSy c. i. 17, iS. Surely chen,nnne 
lefs then he can open the heart of the Hphefi.iiis ; for which is 
the greater work, to open an eye, or to open an heart ? Is it not 
more to give life to the dc^d^ then to give fight to the blinde? 
None but God can make a finner fenfible of his Ci^m ; when the 
Commandment came J fin revived-, and I die d^ Fvom. 7.5?. NovY 
which is the greater work, to make me feel my fins, or to m^.ke 
me forfake my fins ? to trouble my heart, or to alter my heart ? 
to feel my difejife, or to heale me of my difeafe ? to fhew me 
my fetters, or break off thefe fetters ? 

5. It is (at lea(t) as great a vfork^ to convert a, finner^ as It Is tt ^''°^ ^^* P°^' 
freferve a [inner converted ; aad one would think a greater work ; p^gf/rvc^'j {^n- 
lor to the one man is dead , to the other he is living. Is it not ner converted, 
more to make the houfe, then to repair the houfe ? but to pre- 
fcrve or keep a converted pcrfon (tedfaft to the end, there needs 
no lefs then the power of a God .- {fVe are k^ft by the power gf 
God throH^h faith Hnto Salvation, iPet. i. 5.) therefore to 
convert a iinner doth require no lefs power then that of a^ God. 
Now put all thefe things together ; the nature of i^onvcrfion, 
the Power of a (inful heart, xv\z Strength of Satan, the Power 
required for leffer works then converfion,thcGreatners of makings 
then keeping,and then I think it wil manifeily appear,That no lefs 
then an almighty Power is neceilary to a finners Converfion. 

Is there an almighty power required to convert a fin- '^r ^» 
ner, as ^reat a power as to make a dead man alive ? how To humble us 
may this humble all our thoughts^ and all our hearts ! you may fiom the con- 
judl of the depth of the difeafey by the bredth of the Remedy ; io fi^icrstion of 
may we of the sreatnefs of our fall , by the ereatnefs of the ^^' ^T^ °* 
power which is required to raifc us up. O who can utter the im- 
fulnefs of a (inner 1 who of us would believe that there is fo 
great a ftrength in one of his fins ! that all the powers in heaven 
andearth(lcfs then Gods)arc not able,are notfufficient to turn his 
heart from it 1 That one luft of Pride, that one luft of Unclean- 
nefs, that one lurt of Covetoiifnefs, that one lui^ of vain- 
Glory, &c. is too ftrong for thee, and it is too ftrong for all the 
-men on earth, and it is too ftrong for all the Angels in heaven. 

Ci,2 Th'Ugh 


Gods Gracious Acceft/ince 

Though Gse puis and the other puis, and all of them pull toge- 
ther, Lijey cannot pull it from thy heart, nor thy heart from it: 
you re^.d in 2 Kings 4. 31. that Gehajz,l went before Elijha 
and laid thefiajfufoK the face of the Chi/dy but there was nei- 
ther voyce, nor hearhig ; wherefore he went again to meet£///^^, 
and told him laying, The child is not awaked ; Why ! thus it is 
w'ith thy heart under all the means of life and Grace ; they may 
all turn back to God and fay, This fmner is not yet awakened, he is 
not yet turned ; The word of G od may fay , h cannot with all 
my inftruclions, with all my Reproofs,, with all my^ Exhortations 
convert him : nor can I, faith Confcience ; nor I, faith Afflidlion; 
nor I, faith the Minifter ; nor I, faith the Faiher, ' The proud 
Pelagians, .. Papii^s, Aimini.ms dre?m in this Point of a fleeper> 
but think not of a death 5 . they talk of a prifon, and opening 
the doore, but think not of the chains wherewith the prifoner is 
bound and fettered : they talk of a.Counfelkr, but forget 
the Phydtian ; they w;ice,as if a linner were to:be converted with 
Logick and Rhetorick ; but alas ! if any word converts a finncr, 
it muft be an almighty word ; God mull quicken, as well as call ; 
God muft heal, as well as fpeak ; God muft work as a God, or 
elfe the (inner will remain an eternall finner. 
It IS foolifli ^' *^^ %^ ^-"^ almighty Power be neceffary to convert a flnner, " 
frcfuoipticn to then what a /W//^ PrefamftloM is h to defer to beg Refemanctj 
defer Rcpcn- ftiffsfng a lurklr^g dormant power in the heart to turn when nr 
lifi; ? But, O vain mm I why yet a little Oeep more , and yet a 
little flumbring more ! and why to morrow, or why hereafter ? 
.what is thy power, or what is thy ftrength to come off from thy 
fms, or to overcome and turn thy hnful heart? Why! Go and 
tryfomeleffer thing, change the Leopards fpots, turn night into 
day, raife thy dead child out of the grave. Hop the courfeof the 
Sea, and fweeten it: Read the word, and m.Tke'-rhyfelf to 
underftand it ; Read thy heart and m:ike thy felf to humble it ; 
if thou cmi\ not do the leffer , the weaker, why wilt thou endan- 
ger thy felf with a prefuming to- do the greater, the ftronger ? 
Is it credible, that a (inner is able to do the work of a God ? 
thou canft not break the ihred, and fhalt thou be fufficient to 
bre^k the Cable ? thou canft not pluck up the plant, and fhalt 
thou be able to pull up the Oak ? thou art not able to extinguifh 
the rifing of a linful thought, and wilt thou ever be able to con- 

tancc upon a 
prtccnce of 
turning when 

cfthe Returning Prodigal, 301 

vert a finful nature ? And telme fcrioufly, doth thy finful power 
decreafe by finful actings ! In civil trading the fiock is foinetimcs 
diminiihed ; but in hniul tradings, fin increafeth the more in 
ftrength, by how much ihe more is it laid out m (inning ; and 
the more that finful pover increafeth, the more need is there of 
a greater power to convert the heart. If the wcakeft finner doth 
' need an almighty power to convert him, O what an almighty, 
almighty power doth the flrong finner, doth the long (inner need 
for his Converfion ! 

3. If an almighty power be required to the Converfion of a if you would 
(inner ; then^ if ever you W9;4ld he converted^ look^tothat which be converccd 
is more then a finite fewer. If thou VYouldii have thy felf con- ^^^K ^^^^"^ ** 
verted, or any who belong to thee converted, do not expe6l it *^^*&^^y ^^' 
from men or means' ; Friends may delire coriver(ion, and M:ni- 
fters may preach thedo6trine of Converfion, but it is God only 
who can effedi the work of Converfion. I ffal^eunto thy Difci- 
p/fj(faid that troubled m.in about his pofTefled child) r<? cajlhim 
oHt^ dnd they coM not ^ Mar. 9. 18. Iconfefs, we miifl: ufe fpi- 
ritual means, we muft hear,- we mul^ pray, we muR confer, but 
if you think that any of thefe (';^//^^ vlnnte) by their own natural 
power can convert, you are deceived. It is not the word, but 
God by the' word; {the power of God to falvation : ) it is not 
prayer, but God to whom ye pray ; it is not the minifter, but God 
who fends the minifter, who is abile to enlighten thy mind, to 
■quicken thy confcience, to convert thy heart ; Turn tha:^ me^ and 
Ifhall be turned^ faid Ephraim^ Jer.31. 18. So fay thou, O 
Lord, thou art the living God, thou only art the Lord of life, 
I come to thee to convert mee unto thee ; I hear, I read, I 
confer, I meditate on arguments, I purpofe, and yet I am not 
converted ; Minifters deal with me, and Friends deal with me, and 
Mercies deal with me, and Atfliclions deal with me, and 0;di- 
nantesdeal with me, and yet I am not converted ! O Lord, I 
am without ftrength, and they are without ftrength ; but thou 
arf not without (length. No power lefs then thine will be fuffi- 
cient for my Converfion : Now , O Lord, reveal thine arm ; 
ftretch out thine hand ; O pity, fpeak, quicken, turn, faveone 
(inner more ; nothing is too hard fo: thee, thou didft m.ike a world 
by thy mouth, and thou wilt raife the dead, by thy word ; O fpeak , 

but one word, andmydeadfoulHialllive. 4. Doth the coi- 

^^ verfion 



202 Gods gracious Acceftancc 

~7 . " " verfion of a (inner depend upon an almighty power ? then let us 
a mkbty" n-° ^"^^ deffaiVy of a mighty fnner ; nor yet let a mighty iinner defpair 
ncf, * of a poiribility of Converfion. God hath an almighty Power 
to condemn a finner, therefore let him not prefume ; God hath 
an almighty Power to convert a finner, therefore let no finner 
Blcfs God for 5» Then if any of you be converted, Blefs God fork : we 
our converfion. Could never do it ; it is God,and God alone, who hath done it : 
there are reafonswhy God referves the power of a finners Con- 
verfion to himfelf alone; i. That men fhould feek to him 
alone for it; If God alone had not all the power of giving, he 
iliould lofe of all the duty in praying, and askicg. 2. That he 
Comfort to us ^l^ne may have all the glory, and praifc. 
that God con- 6. This is of exceeding Comfort to Hs^That It belongs to the aU 
Ktrts by an al- mighty power of God to convert a finner : For i. That power 
mi|hiy Power, jg pQ^ygj- fufiicient : 2, It ever abides in God : 3. It is accom- 
panied with an exceeding willingnefs ; if thou feekeft to him,thou 
fhalt find his will to be as great as his power ; he is as vvilhng as 
he is able to convert thee ; thou canft not come with a more ex- 
ceptable petition. 

tuke 15. 24. 

7 his my fon was dead^ and Is alive again, 

Thefe words comprehend in them ( if I miftake not ) a mofl: 
exad difcription of a finners converfion ; both i. In the ge- 
neral nature of it, that it is a(perfe6tive) change ; [wasy and Is ; 
was dead^and Is alive ;] 2. And in the differential or proper ingre- 
dients of it, which are couched in thefe VYords [^is alive again J^ In 
which three diftinguifhing ingredients of converfion are efpi- 
able; namely, That it is a C^^;?g^ : i. Yzx^ great ^ znd not- 
able : The inlivening of a dead man is fo. 2. Very fecret and 
internal ; the puting of life into a dead man is fo. 5. Very 
ffreading and unlverfal ; wJien a dead man is made alive, it is 
fo. I confefs that every one of thefe particulars doth merit a 
full and large difcourfe ; but becaufe I defire to open unto you 
the true nature of converfion, at the firft, in as narrow a comoafs 
as I can, I fhall therefore endeavour to draw all thefe goodly 
truths into one little Map , that fo you may be the better able to 
underftand and remember them* With your fayour* I will 

of the Returning Prodigal, ^oj 

grafp them into this one Propofition. 

That triicCoHVjjr^on is a change , a very or eat ^ and i.vUfard^ DoB. 6. 
And umverfal c hangs. You plainly fee four things in this Aiierti- •^ruc canvcr- 
on which offer th jmtelves to our confiderat'on. i. TrueConver- ^'^^ *^ * 
fion is a change ;(wa^ dead and is 4-/V^;)certainly here is a change. [ *"^^\* ^l^ul 
EgofmnegOy faid the Harlot, here was no Converfion, Eg^non ^^\^j^^[l[ 
fum egoy anfwercd ih^ young man ; here was converfion, for here Change, 
was a change ; There may be a was^ and an «, without a change. It " aChanje. 
Chrifl was God, and is God, Kevel, i. S. And in many m^n the 
yvasy and the ^, are without a change; They were ignorant, 
and are ignorant ftill ; they were filthy, and are filthy ftill ; 
Rev. 2 2. II. But if a man be converted, the 7y^/,and the is^ are 
dirferent, they are changed : Ivpas a Perfecntory faid Pay.l^ but 
being converted he is not fo ; [uch were fome of joa^ faid Panl of 
the Corinthians, hm ye are wajhed^ bm ye are fan^iified. Now 
when I fay, that Converfion is a change, you mult know that there 
is a t.Vo-fold Change : One is, Suhftantia/, which alters the 
fubltance of man, as in Generation, and in Corruption, of which 
■ the Philofophers fpeak: Converfion is no fuch change ; the foul and 
body of a man remaines the felfe fame fubftance before and after 
Converfion: It was the fame Pafi/ who Was a Perfecutor,and Is a 
Preacher of Chrift : As in the Sacrament, it is the fame Bread for 
fubfiance dfcer Confecration, which it was before Confecration ; 
So is it the fame mm, for the Philofophical fubfiance, before and 
after converfion. ' , , . 

Another is accidental, which alters the qualities of man. N'aa- 
man was the fame man when he was aLeper,and when he was cu- 
red of his Leprofie ; he w.3s thef^me for fubftance, (of it there ' 
was no change,)but he was not the fame for the accidental quality, 
(becaufe his leprofie was changed.) Such a ch inge is there in con- 
verfion ; the finfull Leprofie is changed, and a fair beautiful form 
of holinefs is put into his foul ; . the Glove is now perfumed, 
the bitter water is nowfeafoned, another nature contrary to his 
form.^r nature is now infufcd ; old things are pafi arvay, all things 
Are become nevfy 2'. Cor. 5. 17. Againe obferve, that the acci- 
dental change, or alteration of a perfon, is likewife two-fold ; 
I. One is Corr/zpr/V, wh'ch is from good to evil ; fuch a change 
was there in the Angels thatfell^ (they fell from heaven to hell, 
from being Children of Light, to be the Princes of darknefs) 


304 Gods gracious Acceftame 

and Tuch a change was there int^dam that fell.O what a change ! , 
what a fudden iois of great poflelTions, of unCpeakable perfecti- 
ons. O how good once he was, O what a linner now he is! 
2. Another is perfeUive^ which is from evil to v cod ; Such a 
change is Converfion : Why 1 it is from f\n to God : It is more 
then fcxjofeph to leave theprifon and be made a Prince : when 
a man is converted , he is now raifed and enabled with the na- 
ture, and life, and excellencies of God and Chrift ; true Conver- 
lion is a perfeding change. 

One diftindlion more I cannot omit ; It is this, The perfe6live 
change is likevvife tvYo-f old i. ReUtivemdfon'^feca/y ai in the 
Juliitication of afinner; when a (inner is juftified, the fhte of 
this (inner is changed ; before it he was in the ftate of death and 
condemnaiion ; after it he is in the (bte of life and abfoludon. 
2, Inhere yjt and mr In fecal ; as here in the converfion of a finncr, 
which is a change within a man ; a change not fo properly of his 
iondhlony as of his difpofitlon ; even from one contrary to ano- 
ther, 2x\d\}[[2XaGenere ad Genus ^ from one kind of quality to 
another kind. A fmner hath fometimes a contrary motion of good 
to evil put into him, but this is not Conver(ion ; for it is not 
a mutation,but a motion: A Tinners inclination is fometimes with- 
held, that he doth not fm; yet this is not converfion, for it is 
a chaining only, not a changing of his difpofition ; the Lyon 
is a Lyon in chains. A fmner goes from one fin to another ; 
he leaveth his riotoufnefs, and turneth to coveteoufnefs ; he 
leaveth profanenefs, and turneth to hypocrify ; yet this is not 
Converlion, for his (inful difpofition is not altered from kind 
to kind: It is but a fhlf ting from one evil to another evil; as 
the wind from one poynt to another ; it is not a change from 
evil to good. If a man could leave all the (ins in the world, 
and yet he loved and ferved but one, this man is not a conver- 
ted man, bee aufe converfion is a change from one kind to a con- 
trary kind, which the m.m comes fliort of whofe heart is ftill fet 

on any one fin. - - 

U is a very 2. True Converfion is a very greM and notable Change ; 

I reac and not ^^j.^ jg j^q change, I think, in all the world of that height and 
zHx change. ^^^ ^^ ^^ converfion of a finner. No not that from Grace 

to Glory ; becaufe it is but ah imffrfe^fiy and this is a eon- 


pfthe Returning Frodigdl. 305 

trmo. The Scripture doth frequently parallel it even with thole 
changes which are miraculous: When Chrill mide i\\t blind 
t9 fee 5 and the deaf to hear , and the dHinTf to fpeak^y and the 
dead to live y mddlfpeffeffed Devils -^ thefe were very great and 
notable changes , take them Tingle and they were lo. Mow 
all thefe miracles are wrought m any one converted perfon ; 
*Tis called a Creation ^ ^ Reftirrecilon^ &:c. becaule God puts 
out as much Power in the Converlion of a finner , as he did in 
creating the World. It is the prime work of the Spirit of 
■ Chril^,the top^ths very higheft ; when any one man is converted, 
the blind is made to fee , and the deaf is made to hear : 
(Ifai. 29. 1 8. In that day fhajl the deaf hear the words of the Bookj^ 
and the eyes of the blind (hall fee out of obfeurityy a^d tnt of darks 
nefs , j and the dumb is made to fpeak , and the lame is made to 
leap: Ifai. ^5. 5. The eyes of the blind fhall he openedy and the 
ears of the deaf fhal I be Hn flopped, y.6. Then Jhall the lam^ man 
leap as an harty and the tongue of the dumb fng : X'\ 5 and the 
dead is made to live ; \Thu my Son was deadyand Is^ alive again ; ] 
and fo many fins as there are from which the heart is converted, 
of fo many Devils is that heart diipofiefled ; thy fiUhinefs was ^ 
an unclean Devil , and thy perfecution was a raging Devil ; 
every fm that pollcfTed thee was aRrong Devil within thee : 
Oh, what a great change is it to behold a ftone turned into 
flelli ! and yet in Converfion, The heart of flone is turned Into 
an heart of fe^^ Ezek. 3<5. 26. What a change were it to fee a ^. * 
itone changed into a Son of (*y4braham ! and yet in Converfion a 
llony hearted (inner is changed into a Son of God ; what a 
chan?,e were it to fee darknefs turned into li^ht 1 vet in Convert- 
on it is fo ; Te were once darknefs ^but now are ye light In the Lordy. 
Eph.5.8.What fhall I fay ? in Converfion, the Bramble becomes 
a Fig Tree, and the Lion becomes a L3mb,and the Wildernefs [^ 
turned into aParadife, and Hell is turned into Heaven ; the Ex- 
tortioner turns liberal, fo did Zachem ; the Perfecutor becomes a 
.Martyr, fo did P^^/ ; the hideous finner become a Saint, fo did Fnar things fet 
the Corinthians ; the .blafphemer now fears an oath. There are cutrhe grcai- 
four thing's which fet out the greatnefs of the change in a fi.nners "^^^ ®^ ^^* 
Converfion. i. There is a change of nature In nature ; there is -r^J^^^ 
a man, and a man, in the fame man ; an old man,and a nevV man, chance of na- 
, in the fame man ; two judgments in one judgment, two wills in turc in nature, 

R r one 

'/ ■ 

2o5 Gods Gracious Acceftance 

one will, like two Armies in one Field , or like the Twins in 
This !s in a Rebeccas. Womb. 2. There Is the ftrangefi ptnlikenefs to tt 

Bjomenc. mans f elf in a moment that ever was ; in a moment to hate Chrilt 
exceedingly , and the next moment to love Chrift above all ; 
tocrucifte Chrift becaufe he faidhew^sthe Son of God, and 
prefently confefs that he is the Son of God ; to mock the Apo- 
liies as drunkards, and prefently cry out, what fhall we do ? &c. 
this moment to love fin, as i£ it were my only Heaven ; and the 
next moment to loath fin, as if it were my only Hell: Now 
to count all truth and holinefs , but as dung to the World; 
and prefently to count all the World but as dung to Grace and 
There is the Chrili 3 . There Is the hlghefl contrariety in aHlons and conr- 
tijgheft contra- /^-^ ^/^^-^ ^'^^^ ^^ ; to fee a mm pull down what he built up, and 
ricty of courfes to build up what he pulled down ; to bemad againft Chrift, and 
andsdions. then prefently evenbefides himfelf for Ghrift ; tofcourgeand 
revile Taid and Silas ^ and prefently after, honour and embrace, 
and almoft adore them : To reproach the Saints and their wayes, 
and fuddenly to admire them, and value them and their paths, as 
And a little vvorthieft of our dearciUove and fociety. 4. And a little^ 
grace to pro- "iJ^yj little Grace to froduce all this : That one drop fhould fwee- 
duce all this, ten thegreat bitter Ocean ; that one little fpark fhould caufe all 
this flame ; A very little Engine fhould move all the World, and 
level the Mountains ; a little Grace to enter the Throne , and to 
turn all the foul round about. That Mofes little Rod [hould di- 
vide the Sea^ and melt the Rock; a little Ant tumble down a 
Mountain ; that the Grain of Mujlard-feed^ which is the leal^ 
of feeds, fhould grow into a Tree : That a very little Grace 
Ihould transform the molt rebellious heart,humble the moft proud 
heart, quicken the dead, purifie the moi\ vile afte^ions, con- 
quer the Gates of Hell, overthrow fin, difpoffefs Satan ; fhould 
beget fuch a River of Grief, kindle fuch a flame of love, fuch a 
zeal for God, tendernefs in Confcience, fuch a ftrcngth to do , 
and fufFer, to believe, life in death, joy in forrows , hopes in 
defpair ; raife fo high as to love them that hate us , blefs them 
that curie us, pray for them that defoightfully u(t us, and do good 
\: js an inwird for evil. ^. True Converfion Is an Inward change : When 

- cbanic. a dead man is made alive , this is done brthe mfufion of an in- 

ward principle of life ; the cloathing of a dead man is one thing, 
Slid the quickning of a dead man is another thing ; it is one 


of the Returning Prodigal, ^ 307 

thing to plainer an old houfCjond it is another thing to build anew 

houie ; ConverIi:.n may be confidered two vvayes; either i. Ex- 

tenfvely : So it is a change even of the life, and outward a^^i*- 

ons of men ; it is a cleanfing of the flelli, as well as of the fpi- 

fit ; itis af^ndlifying of the body , as well as of the foul : It 

is a fHttlng off the former Coyrverfatton^ Eph. 4. 2 2. 2. Dem- 

minatlvely : So it is an inward change ; the Prophet calls it a 

wadding of the heart, fVafhthi^e hearty Ojerufa/emy J^r. 4. 14, 

The Apoftle calls it a transformation by the renewing of the mind, 

Rom. 12. 2, and a Clrcumcifon of the heart-, Rom. 2. 2p. 

St. John calls it,^ laying the Ax to the root of the TV^f ,Mat. ;? . t o. 

Ezjeklel calls it,the giving of a new heart , and of a new fflrity 

E2ck. 3d. 2(5. Every converted man hath a changed heart ; 

we fay in nature, that Cor eji frlmnm vlvens : It is true alfo in 

Grace, thefirftworkof quickning and converting Grace begins 

in the heart of a (inner. The heart firft fell from God, and it 

is the firft that turns unto God. The heart is the firft Scat of 

Sin, and it is the firft Throne of Grace : Sin is the wound and 

difeafe of the heart, and Grace muft bring the Plaifter thither ; 

fin is firft in the heart, and moft in the heart ; dominion is there , 

the poyfon is there ; bring in the heart, prevail with it, and you 

bring in all the man : An outward change without an inward 

change, is i. But Hyfocrlfte : The Hypocritical Pharlfees 

made clean the out fide of the Cup y hut not the injlde ; a golden 

profeflion and * rotten heart, this is but Hypocrifie. ' 2. But 

Vanity ; it is to lop tke Boughs, and leave the Roots which can 

fend out more ; it is to empty the Ciftern , and to leave the 

Fountain running, which fills it again. :?. Butfelf andfoul^ 

deceit : What a foolifh fancy is it to think my felf a converted 

man, becaufe my Tongue is quiet, and yet my heart doth curfe Whether every 

God ? becaufe my body is honeft, when yet my heart burns and jntemalchange 

boils with luft ? becaufe my hands ftrike not, and yet my heart is ^f trVconvei^ 

full of malicc,and revengc,and murder ? (^op^ 

Quefl:, But here a fia'=;le fcruple may be propounded, viz., Fonr internal 
whether every Internal change he an evidence of true Converfion, chsn^es may 
To which I anfwer, it is not ; there are four Internal changes ^^*" *"^" ""' 
-which may be in a man unconverted. i. A change from Igno- ^ change from 
ranee to k^wledg : The man who was an ignorant finner , may ignorance n 
become a knowing finner, and yet remain ftill an unconverted knowledj, 

R r 2 fianer ; 

5o8 ^^^^ gracious Acceftinfe 

{inner ; for a man may hate the good which he knows , and 
love tile evil which he knows ; neither of which can confift with 
Fom error to true Converfion. 2. Kchmgi fror^ error to truth. Many 
iru;h. a manforfakes the Poplfh Religionjand embraceth the Proteltant 

Religion ; his opinion and judgmenc cf things mxy be altered , 
and yet his finful heart may not be altered ; he may hold juiH- 
fication by faith only, and yet his heart be utterly void of faving 
faith ; . he may deny merit unto the works of Repentance , and 
yet his heart never truly repent; he may hold the true and right 
Government of Chriltin his Church, and yet that Government 
of Chrill mw never be fet.up in his own heart. ^. A change 
From fccurity fromjectirhy to tronhl^ and perplexity r \i is poifible that a great 
lotiou&ie. ^ iiimer who was as fenfelefs as the Rock, may now be as trembling 
as the Leaf 5 and his confcience troubled as the Sea , and yet his 
heart not converted ; Cain was troubled, fo was Pharaoh , fo 
was Sauly fo was Judas^ yet none of them converted : There 
is a trouble which rifeth from a quick confcience, and there is a 
trouble which rifeth from quickning grace; this latter is an evidence 
A tcmporay Qf true Converfion, the other is not. 4. A temf ovary cha?7ge^oz 
cfcangc. rather a tranfient diverfity in the affe6lions. It is poifible for 

fome fcornful perfon to hear the Gofpel preached by fomc John 
Baftlfl (as Herod did) with joy , and to hear fome Paul (as Fe^ 
llx did ) yvith trembling , who formerly fcorned all preach- 
ing ; yea, this man m.iy be in a great changeablenefs , 
yet never be truly changed; divine truths may fall upon 
him with that evidence and efficacy , as to fhake his heart , 
ilir his afFe6l:ions, excite his refolutions , and yet after a little 
while , . as the cold doth on Water that is Seated , all 
thefe workings expire into nothing , his old incorporated , 
familiar lutts prevail over them, and work themvvholly out ; till 
the inward change be a change of the heart, it is not a truly con- 
verting change. ' 
It is a uflisfcr- 4. Laftly, true Converfion is an miverfal change : When 
h\ change. ^ ^^^^ ^^^^^ -g qyickned , the foul is not. only infufed, . but al- 
fo diffufed , it is tota in toto^ c^ tota in qftallhet fane , the 
whole made alive ; fo is it in true Converfion , that grace 
which converts a finncr, doth change all the finner, every facul- 
ty of the foul for the quality of it, and every member of the 
body, for the fpiritual ufe of it ; Therefore, converting 

- grace 

of the Returning Frodtgal, 309 

grace is compared to the L!gk\yh\c\\ runs through all the body 

of the aire, every part whereof is inlightned ; and it is compared 

to Z/f^z^^;? which fpre.ids and infinuates it felf into every part of 

the Lump. You cannot dip into any leaf of this Book, into 

any parcel of a converted man , but you fliail find a divine and . 

fpiritual change , a fpirit of grace on it. He is fanctifyed 

throughout. In [ohI^ fptn't and body : I confefs , it were a 

work worthy of the deepeit liudy of the exa6lefl: Minifkr to 

find out , and deliver two things unto us : i. One is, the 

Mlnimtim c^md fc , the leall breath or life of converting 

grace. 2. Another is. The fpecifica/ operations of convert wg 

grace , j'pj all the fac ft/ties of the foul , fo that one may fay 

lafely, this faculcy is changed, and that faculty is changed 

by grace and nothing elfe. This Imakeno queiiionof, that 

converting grace doth mike the whole man alive. For 1 . It is ~ 

a nerv and renen^wg qnallty, 2. It is of a difftifve virtne^ 

being a good in Genere optlmoram, 7,, It m\x\\ be Co-extenpve 

with ftnyy\\\c\\ hath perverted the whole man : But yet to fet out 

its changing work in every faculty of the fou' , I cannot undertake 

it in theexquifitenefs thereof; yet if you will favourably accept ConccrmVe 

of my endeavours , I iliall attempt towards it, that fa you may ^\^\^ univciul 

the better conceive of that univerfal change wrought in a finner changr, 

upon his Converfion. 

I. I prem'fe a few Proportions which I take for granted PremiTefcme 
truths, i'^'g.) T. That converting Grace ^ (vvhich chahgeth the things, 
foul ) is a Concatination of all particular faving graces : It is ^o verting 
not Faith onIv> nor Repentance only , nor Hooe only, nor Love S'^" '^ * ^^J^' 

only, C^'c, but all of them, a Lmk or Golden < ham, as it were, aiif,ving fra- 
of them. 2. That allthefe are fimultaneoHS in their birth -^ ces. 
they are not implanted one before another , or one more than ^U thefe are 
another, (habitually confidered ) but are of a fimultaneous^ ?''^^"';*"^°"' 
and coexirtent produi^ion, although in the order of working and '" ^^^^^ 
mmifeftationof work, there be a precedency. ;?. j^llthefe p^\\ jhefc con- 
graces concur in their fpecifical nature^ and immediate operation , cur in their fpe* 
as to a change of the foul. The change wrought in the mind, *^*^<^^1 nature^ 
is of the fame nature with that which is wought in the will ; ^^ ^° ^^'* 
and the change in the will , is of the fame nature with that *"^'* 
in the affedlions. ; every faculty is renerved and changed 
with the fame kind of Grace in Converfian ; for all true 



3 10 Gods gracious Acceptance 

Graces are of the fame nature, and all of them concur to wc^k 
a like faving change ; though one grace be feated in one faculty , 
and another grace m another faculty ; ail of them are like lb ma- 
ny ikeams flowing from the fame Fountain , ^d coming into 
diverfe Rooms, and vvafhing, or cleanfing of them all,fo that the 
whole houfe is made clean by them. 
. 2. Thefe things being premifed; I fhall now briefly ilievv 

ky of "this" "'^^^ y'^" the Umverf?licy of change vyrought by converting 
cbJirge (hewed Grace. i. In ihtmind or mderftandmg oi a Tinner ( when 
in tht particu- he is converted ) there is implanted an heavetily and faving light 
!«"• . or knowledg, which removes the power and dominion of dark- 
In chc mind. ^^^^ ^^ ignorance, and now inables the perfon to behold the fav- 
ing truths, and will, and vyayes of God in Chrift, in a fpirituai , 
clear, ferious, and delightful manner;all which he looks upon,not 
with a naked or mecrly intuitive apprehenfion , but with admira- 
tion, but with application, but with delight, and Angular dcfire, 
and a certain kind of transformation. 2 Cor. 3. 18. Bmwe all 
■with of en face beholding as in a glafs the G lor ^ of the Lor dy are 
changed into the fame image from Glory to Glory : When the 
mind is renewed, it hath now a fpirituai light to fee and conceive 
of fpirituai things in their fpiritud excellency and worth. Jefus 
Chrifl appears as an excellent Objeft to Paul^ Phil. 3.8. and the 
Statutes of God an excellent Objedl: to Davidy Pfal. 119. 4, 5. 
In the judg* 1, In the judgment of a hnner ( when he is converted } there 
^enr» is alfo a faving and a gracious change ; for there doth converting 

Grace cafl down the high imaginations of afinner (as touching 
himfelf ) and his carnal reafonings , and fleflily difputes againft 
God and Chrift, and holinefs , and io captivates the judgment of 
a flnner, that he conf efleth and acknowledgeth, and approvcth of 
all the methods, truths, caufes, means, andwayesof falvation,as 
bcft, and befl for him,and now beft for him ; Oh, none hm Chrifi^ 
none km Chrifi (faid the Martyr : ) It it wonderful to behold 
how the judgment of a converted man condemns what he for- 
merly approved mofl , and how it approves what he condemned 
mott ; the man now judgeth of his fin, as the only evil, and of 
Chrift as his only good: Oh, howfoolifli, how vain, how 
vile , that I have lived in, and ferved , and followed my finful 
lufts I Oh , how glorious, how happy, how defireable is a part in 
Chrift and Grace ; yea, and the judgment now is as fruitful and 


of the Returning TrUtgd, 311 

vigorous in forming Arguments to forfake fin , a? it was once to 
dravv the heart to fm, and fees a thoufand times more rcafon to > 
embrace Chrift,and love holinefs, then to flight and refufe them. 
3. In the will of a finner ( when he is converted ) there isalfo i^^he will, 
a change wrought by Grace ; the refifting, proud, unreafonable 
fiubbornnefs and enmity of it is fubdued , and an holy piiable- 
nefs, yieldingnefs, willingnefs is conveyed into \x, Tis rare 
to behold how the Needle with one touch of the Adaman: wheels 
about , fo to behold the admirable inclinations of the will of a 
finner, upon one touch of Grace from Chrirt ; not long fince 
deaf, bu: now hearkening ; not long fince refitting of Chrifi to 
the death, and now following Chrift as for life ; a little while 
fince fhuttmg the door, and barring it , and now unlocking the 
door, and opening it ; ere while I will not, and now Lord, what 
wilt thou have me to do ? I fhould be tedious unto you to dif- 
courfe of the new inclinations and averfations^of the new electi- 
ons and rejedions, of the new purpofes and refolutions, of the 
new conform iblenefles and fubje6lions which are i^l.iinly evident 
upon Converfion in the will of the (inner. 4. In all the affeBi- ^^ ^j^^ a£Ai- 
oKso[ a (inner, which in Converfion are fo m -tam :>rphored or on$. 
changed, that you can hardly perfwade yourfelf , this is the man 
to day, whom you knew yelterday; one affection feems to be 
changed into another, love into hatred, and hatred into love; 
joy into grief,boldnefs into fear ; Lately , the dc(ires were, who 
will fhew us any good ; now the de(ires are, what fhall we do to 
be faved ? Lately , the delights were irt (in, in fenfualities , in 
vain focietie^ ; now they are in the favour of God , in Jefus 
Chrift , m pardon of (in , in heavenly communion : Lately, the 
love was feton that which was moft unlovely , now it is feton 
themcrt lovely ob'e6l indeed, Chrift is the center, &c. Lately , 
the grief was a turbulent Sea for worldly lofles , but now it is a 
running River for finning again(t God : Lately , the affedions 
were wings for iniquity, but now they are fprings for duty : I 
may not inlarge ; by what you have heard, it m^y plainly appear ^-monftraci- 
that true Conver(ion works an univerfal change in the (inner : b!7cbaD£"in'* 
Demonftrations that therein a notable change in Coiver(ion. Converlion. 
I. 77?^ f^^/o« converted , he Is made -per taker of the Dlvme Na- From the per- 
tiire^ 2 Pet. 1.4. He Is a>mvp Creature^ 2 Cor. ^.7. He is ^///V/<7 'o" conv:itf<i. 
nedfrom the dead, Eph. 2.1. He is horn again, Jo. 3. 3. 2. The ^/^^^'^i^^'' 

« : 

312 Gods gracious Acceftmct 

work, of Converfion : It is the eftc6t of the great and good will 
. of Elc6lion; and in it, God difplayes the glory of his great Love 
andGrace^and Mercy ; And Chniifees of the travel of ^is foul , 
fome fpecial fruit of his wonderful fufferings and purchafes ; And 
the holy Ghoft doth manifeif his alnnighty Po,ver,and the noblei! 
a6l ihereof ; and converting grace is a ne^v contrary nature, a new 
F o-nthccnd ^'^"* 3* ^^^^ ^^^ ^f Converfton: Converlion is the firft 
ot Conrcifion. inward Work for heavenly glory. It is wrought to mt^k? 
us meet to he -partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in 
light 'y Naturally we are oppofite to God 5 and to all Commu- 
nion with him ; Without holinefs no man fhall fee the Lord '^ 
no unclean .thing can enter there ; finning Angels were caft 
out of Heaven ; God qualifies thofe whom he will dignifie ; 
he qualifyed Saul for an earthly Kingdome , much more the 
finner for an heavenly Kingdome : Heavenly glory is abfo- 
lutely inconfifient with a gracelefs heart ; the promife of it is 
fo, and the nature of it is fo , and the work of it is fo , and the 
reward of it is fo. 4. Converted perfons are to live other lives , 
Converted ^^^^j ^q Jq ^^]^^^ works : therefore, there muft be a chans^e of their 

live o'hcr lives. -^^^^5) ^"^ Prmciples, and Powers. 

f^r^ ^ Is true Converfion a change ? a great change ? an internal and 

Thisconvin- Cordial change? an universal change? Why! then this one 
ce:h many to truth palpably convinceth multitudes of people^ to he (as jet) Kot 
bs yet uncon converted, 

Vui u I. There are fome men inwhom there appears no chanz^ at 

buchin whom ^j, • 1 - j i 1 t j r . • *^ 1 

appears na '^'^J neither mward nor outwara ; the jeopards ipots remam, and 

change at all. the Blackmores skin is unchanged ; they were ignorant, and fa 
are ftill ; they vvere drunkards, fwcarers, railers, fcoffers, mock- 
ers of godlinefs, and godly men, Sabbath-breakers, unclean, proud, 
and fo are {fill. The Prophet fpeaks of i^omQ-,whofe fcum depart^ 
ed not from them,Ezck, 24,12. And theApoftle, of (omQwht 
cannot ceafe to do evily 2 Pet. 2. 14. And David , of fome who 
hate to he reformed^VM, ^0.16, And St even j of fome who alwayes 
refijithe holy Ghoft ^ A6IS7. 51. And Paul ^ of fome whg 
wax worfe and worfe^ 2 Tim. 5.13. Although changes go over 
I their age, they were young, and now are old, yet no change goes 
over their hearts and lives; although changes go over rfieir bodies , 
(their ftrength is changed into weaknefs, and their health is chan- 
ged into ficknefs ; ) although changes go over their eftates, ( their 


of the Returning Frodigdl. ' 315 

wealth is changed into poverty, and their abundance is chan- 
ged into want;) althouj^h changes go over the times, (peace 
is changed into war , and fafety is changed into danger :) 
nay although fometimes changes goe over their confci^nces, , 
( Stupidity IS changed into horrour, and pleafurc into terrour : ) 
yet their hearts are not changed : (they approve, love and de- 
light in their fins as much as ever : ) and their Converfations 
are not changed ; they drive the fame trade, run on to the 
fame excefs of Riotoufnefs, wallow in the fame mire of Un- 
godlinefs ; defpiie converting Ordinances , converted Per- 
fons, converting Graces. Now what fhall I fay to thefe Perfons ? 
They are unchanged finners, and fo is God an unchangeable 
God ; who hath threatned them, and fvvore his Wrath againft 
them. Thou wilt not repent of thy fins, nor will God repent 
of his Wrath ; thou ivilt not turn to kim, and therefore witllie 
turn away his mercy from thee, and will ovcnnrny overturn^ 
overturn thee, as the Prophet phr:feth it. 

2. There are fome vphefe change is only $Htvfardy hut It is Such whofe 
mt inward and cordial ; they ftand off from many (ins, and come Change is 
on to many duties , and yet their hearts are not changed .• o«ly ouwrd 
There are fix things which may convince a man, that his heart 
is not changed ; i . When a man feems to be tender leafi he fhonld *|* ^^]^P <^<5n- 
commit a /«, but yet his heart was never tender and humbled J''"" * ^^P' 
for all the fns which he hath committed, Jer. ,^1.19. / Tsfas a(ha- ^^^ chanted. 
med^ yea even confounded^ hecaufe 1 did hear the reproach of mj 
youth. If Repentance begins not in tears, it will end in tears. 
When I look forward and fee fin with a trembling eye, (O I 
dare not offend my God : ) and when I look backward and 
fee fin with a mournful eye ; (0 1 have finned, I have finned :) 
thefe indeed do fhew a converted and changed heart. But I 
fear it is rather a policy, then a change, and a regard more to my 
credit, then my confcience, when I expoftulate with a fin in 
Temptation, and never mourn for many fins in Commifllon. 

2. When a man leaves many fins, but yet he doth not loath 
any fn. Many a man fometimes abftains from meat, yet loves 
it ; but a good heart abftains from fin, as from a ferpent, which * 
he hates. He turnes his face from them, but he turnes not his ■> 
heart from them; he doth not a6l the fin,nor doth hate the fin ; ^ 
he doth not let fin out of door , nor yet crucify it within 

S f door; 

514. ^ods gracious AcceftAr^ee 

door; he feems not to be a friend, and yet is not an enemy to 
(in ; this mans heart is iiot changed, 3. When a man aEIs frem 
an awing Co/.fcleKce and -not from a reriewiKg Spirit ; flies from fin, 
only, when confcience flies' upoii^ him tor hnning, and dodi 
good only when confcience is unquiet ; wlien not Horace (which 

vvorlts uniformly,) but ter our (which works accidentally) is hi? 
Prniciple ; though a while there be feme diverhty and diverfion 
too in this man, yet there is no change of heart in him ; even 
.Pharaoh under a judgment yielded, who yet upon a refpite 
hardned his heart again ; and Iron, whiles hot, becomes malle- 
able, neverthelefs, it is not changed in its Intrinfecal difpofi- 
tion. 4. When a man is f or;»^/ m duties, but not Sfiritml 
in duties ; he holds a cuftomary courfe, but not a confcientious 
courfe ; this mxans heart is not changed : Jpidas was as bufie about 
Chrift as the 'other Difciples, yet he was not changed ; Some 
unconverted man may be as frequent in religious duties as con- 
verted perfons are, yet their hearts unchanged. There are four 
Four tbln|s things vyhich prove a formal Chriftian to have an unchanged 
prove a torcnal Heart ; for though he doth good duties, yet he doth them, 
Cbriftianto i^ prom carrM Frincifles^ of Cuftome, Education, Example, 
^^pV^'m" ' "^t from Faith, Love and Spiritual Principles. 2. Yo: Carnal 
argea ^car.. £^^j.^ ^^,-j.|^ ^ refpe6l to his Elf imation with men, rot with 

God ; or he doth feme good, to blind and cover more evil. 
3. As a Carnal or Natural work,not as a Communion with God 
or Chrift ; if he doth them it is fufficient, but whether he 

j meets with God in them, or God with him in them; whether 

he pleafeth Cod, and God accepts of him and them, or what 
heavenly revenues come into his foul upon them, he regards 
not. ^. without any Delight *j Agoodm^n hates the fin which 
he doth, an e\il man hates the good which he doth ; he delights 
not in the Law of God after the Inward man ; he is glad when 
the work is done, but not to do the work: It is his Task, it is 

'' not his Pleafure ; It is a Heavinefs, but not an Heaven to him ; 

his Spirit is weary, a^ much as his Body ; he cannot take hold of 
God, be importunate in prayer for any Grace ; he doth not 
put out a Might, a Power, a Zeal in holy Services ; but a6ls 
the^n with a fleepy, faint, wearifome undelightful Spirit. 

|{ ^. when c man hath been and ftill is a ftranger to Inward Con- 

fii^Sy certainly that mans heart was never changed : there may 

if " 

fifthc Returning frodtg^l. 315 

be two conditions , wherein all may be quiet : One is in ano- 
there life vviiere grace Itands alone ; in rieaven there is no fm , 
but holinefs is grown unto its utmoft perfedHon , and therefo: c 
it is above contrariety and conflict Another is in thislif:^,where 
fin liinds alone, it hath the dominion, and blinds the mind, fears 
the conference , and hardens the heart ; there is neither a con- 
trary light, nor a contrary grace, to raife any ffirs aiinconflidls. 
But then there is a third condition, which hath msdi:m pmicipa- 
tioms m it, in which the foul is partly flc:lli and partly ipirit , fin 
is there, and grace is there ; there are two contrary Natures, two 
contrary Lawes, two contrary Inclinativons and workings ; two 
Adamants as it were , one drawing the foul to evil , the other 
drawing the foul to good, one willing, the oth :f unwilling , one 
yielding, the other refifling, one putting on to faith, to love, to 
mourning, to praying, to repenting, the other putting oB-" the 
foul from all thefe ; when 1 would do goody evil u prefect with mc , 
faith ?mL And verily it is thus with every converted and chan- 
ged man : l^he fejh lufleth Againfl the Spirit^ and the Spirit lu- 
fieth Ag^infl the fiefh i ^nd thefe two are contrary one to another , 
fo that they cannot do the good th^t they would ^ Gal. ^,17. And if 
no fuch thing be in thee, thy heart was never changed : That 
man who never finds an unbelieving nature , oppofing and con- 
fliding with a believing nature ; hardnefs conflicting with foft- 
nefs, &c. his heart was never changed , for converting grace is 
in us but in part ; and if but in part, then fome finfulnefs ftill 
remains ; and believe it, there are not two more a6live , more 
contrary, more conflidVmg prindples then grace and fin in the 
fame fubje6l. 6, When a man is conftantly formal in the 

fame rode and pofture , all his daycs like a Picture , never better . . ^ 
rirNH itr/^.-r-* ' Such who Kcm 

norworie. b h n d 

^. There are many men who feemto be changed without and ^i-houcand 
within^ yet the change is mt a total or univerfal change ; and there wichin^bwc ii is 
are two things which do manifeft a partial change only to be in not total. 
many men. 1 . when they do not come up fully to GodJn refpeB Two things 
of ms commanding will '^ they cannot come up to the Will of ^,^^1 ^^jj^,^'^ 
God, when his willhmofl fpiritnal^ when his will is moftftriCl When they Uo 
as felf-denial , when his will is moli difficult ; Oh, tofacrifice not esmc up 
Ifaac that beloved Child, to part with Benamin^ this is againft ^"^'y ^° ^^* 
them ; to pluck outthe right eye,and cut off the right hand, ^^^^ JyiiUrGod^ 

' S f 2 is 

21^ Gods gr^ieus Acceftanee 

is an hard faying, when his will is mofi ftijferlng : For ihtyomg 
man to forfake all his riches, ihis is a forrovvful Injundion ; to 
renounce all our honours with Mofes , aiid to fufter reproaches 
with the people of God ; to leave Friends , and Father, and 
. Mother, and Brethren, and Siiters, and Children, and Lands , 
and Life too , as the Apoftles did. When a man is converted , 
he is nowfo changed that his will and Gods Will are notfutable, 
but alfo coextenfive ; It is pliable , and it is parallel : Gods 
Will is my will, and what he wills I will ; the Law of God it 
vfritten in his heart , every command of God is ingraven upon 
it ; there may you read the Mafters Copy , and the Scholar 
writing after it. This is to be done (faith God,) this I defire to 
do, faith the Godly heart; this I would have thee to believe. 
Lord I believe y he/p my w/ibehef -^ Thus much I would have thee 
to fuffer ; Lord ftrengthen me, and give me not only to believe , 
but to fuffer for thy fcike : But in a partial change it is otherwife. 
Nor ro the for -• ^hen they do not fully come uf to God in refpefi of his for bid- 
bidJing Will ding will ; You know that God forbids all (in , he forbids fpiri- 
of God. tual fins, (pride,ambition,c^"^^.)^s well as flefhly ftns,2 Cor.7.1. 

little lins ( faith and troth, vain thoughts ) as well as great fins ; 
fecret fins ( alone ) as well as open fins ; heart fins ( heart- adul- 
tery, revenge, malice ) as well as life fins ; Gofpel fins ( un- 
belief and grieving of the Spirit of God) as well as Lawfii-js'-; 
fins of OmiiTion as well as fins of Commiilion ; breeding or 
original fin as well as a6lual. ' 

How a man Q^^fl* But fome msy fay unto me ; If the cafe be fo. How 

ir%y know that may one know that God hath indeed converted and changed his 
^^j^h ^.*"^ ^'^^'y heart,, fo that he may confidently fay , that although I was 
fcis heart ^^* ^"^^ dead, yet I am now alive ? This Queftion deferves a feri- 
Some things ^tis Refolution. For i. ^^ There are many abortive changes ^ 
prcmifed. *' deluding changes, rifing from falfe and infufficient Principles, 
There are ma- tt £^q^ ^ terrifyed confcience , or from politick parts , or from 
my abortive "the power of reliraint , or from denial of occafions, or from 
' * ^ ' . *' prevalent paffions , or from the contrariety of one fin to ano- 
"ther, or from aprefentand fiidden apprehenfion of matters, 
" or from the defeat of ftreiigth, or from judicial imprelTions, 
*^ by the appearing of death, or from education, or from refpe6l 
" to our fuperiours and friends , and hopes^ which we have from 

If tse heart be ci jj^^jj^^ ^g^ 2. If the heart (hoti Id never gracioufly be changed^ 
a.verciang? , ^^^ 

of the Returning Prodigal, jiy 

( as fure as God lives ) the man will he damned ; though the the man ij 
man may have parts, abilities , honours , be civil , ingenuous, ^aB^"c<i« 
Cvindid and punctual with men, and in-ofenlive in his dealings : 
O friends ! the Heart ( or Soul ) is that which God looks on , 
and every man is as his heart is ; as that is, fo the man is ; he is 
fo for the prefent , and he is fo for eternity. Except a man he 
born again he cannot enter into the Kingdome of Gcd , faid Chrlfl 
to Nicodcmus^ Joh. :?.;?. // ^/^/ man he in Chrlfl^ he is a new 
creature^ faith the Apoftle 3 C^r.^.iy. Old things are ^a ft a- 
v?aj^ all things are become new, Chrlfi you know is the way , 
the trmhy and the life : Can the Chriftlefs man ever be a hea- 
venly man ? ailuredly no Chrilt, no Heaven : But then if a 
man be m Chrift he is a new Creature (J.) Chrift doth change 
him, and forms him a new ; he (-trips him of his old heart , and 
puts into him a new heart. 

Thefe things being premifed : I now come to anfwer the Cafe The csfe an- 
propounded ; Only I mufl: crave favour to acquaint you with two fwcrcd, 
things. One, that I fpeak not of ff^ch a change as implies perfe- 
^ilon^ but only of that which although it be rr^'^and faving-, is 
neverthelefs Imperfeci^ for fo is all the work of grace in this life. 
Another is, that I intend not to give you CharaEiers of a progref- 
fiz'echange^ which may be found in Chnftians whom God hath 
called, and converted , and changed for many years, in whom 
the work of Converfion is come to much maturity and Ikength ; 
but only of an initial change, as it Hands in truth and fincerity , 
although newly wrought , and perhaps it be very feeble and 
weak, yet it is to be found in every man whom Divine Grace 
doth convert. Now this Initial change m ly be evidenced hy -^ht initial 

the fever al contrary habitudes and fixed carriages in the converted change eviden- 
perfon , as to time paft , and time prefent , ^ and time future ; in ced by the fc- 
refpedl of all which you fhall clearly difcern. a fingular alteration, ^*/*^ conuari- 
if the Converfion be true. *""• 

I. The firft contrariety or alteration, rd^pock^ the time pafl - ^st-irhziimt 
Before the limier was converted, there were four unhappy qualities P^^^- 
poflefflngof him, as touching his linfulnefs. j. A marvel- 

Lous hl'mdnefs^ an J reflexive unfenliblenefs of his finful condition, 
dead in tref gaffes ^ndfns ^ Eph. 2. Pafi feelings Eph. ^. i^, 
2. A wonderful erroneoufnefs and falfe judgment of his eftate ; 
thinking highly and proudly of himfelf, as once Laodicea did^ and 


2i8 Gods gracious Acceftancc 

the Jews and Piiarilces did ; JVe are Abrahams feed^ and never In 
bondage^ j oh, 8. 33. 3. -^ miserable Security of fpirit^ 

extreamly carelefs and negligent about the internal and eternal 
concernments of his ibul ; a/lvc oas without the Law^ Rom.7.9. 
Somy take thine eafe^ &:c. They {^y^peacea^d fafety, i Thef.5.5. 
ii}.. Aremorfelefi purfuing of his Jtnftd luft^s^ Without any heart- 
fmiting troubles for his finning and provoking of God. No man 
repented^ fajtng^what have 1 done ? every one turned tg his coarfe^ 
Jer. 8. 6. 5. Alienation from the life of God^ Eph. 4. 18. 

Thus it was with the mm, before God converted him , and chan- 
ged him ; but now behold the alteration and contrariety. 

1. There Is a gracloufly qulck^ and a^ilve qmckning light fallen 
into him , which opens his eyes , and affetts his conference to a 
clear and right fight of his finful heart and life. Rom.7.9. -^^^ 
when the Commandment came^ fin revived-^ &c. As if the light 
of the Sun brake into a darkroom, and reprefented all the nalti- 
nefs in it. Acts 2(5. 18. To open their eyes ^ and to turn them 
from darlinsfs to light , otnd from the power of Satan unto God, 
His fins arefet before him , and confcience acquaints him with 
his forepaft evils, fo that he is convinced , and can make no de- 
fence , but cries out with the Leper , lam unclean^ unclean, 

2, All his erroneous and proud conceits of hlwfelf are tumbled 
down ; jthe Mountains are laid low, and the man judgeth of him- 
felf, as if he were the greateft and vilett finner that ever lived ; 
he abhors himfelf , Oh, how wicked 1 Oh , how vain ! Oh , how 
vilel Oh, howmnd! Oh,hovvfo©lillil Oh, how beaftly ! I 
have been a tranfgreflbr from the womb; I have lived without 
God, againft God ; none fo ignorant, none fo proud, none fo 
filthy, none fofroward and rebellious againii the Will of God, 
againlf the goodnefs of God as I : In me there dvoelleth no good 
thing ; I am without firength : No man living hath fuch pro- 
per thoughts, fuch humble thoughts of himfelf as he. Oh, un- 
fit to dye, unworthy to live, undone if mercy be not free mercy, 
and abundant mercy. 3. His C a file offecurity isdemolljhed^ 
andthefecure negligent man becomes now amoft anxious and 
felicitous and careful man about the condition of his foul. 
2Cor.7.ii. what carefulnefs it wrought in yoH '^ this now takes 
him up. whatfhall we do ? fay they to fohn the Baptifl : And 
yphatfhall we do f fay they to Peter : , And wh^t fkall 1 do to he 

fa^ed ? 


of the Returning Prodigal, jip 

faved ? Ads 1 6. :?o. O my Soul ( my poor lofi, wandring, fin- 
ful, undone Soul ) what fliallldo? vvhdt will become of me? 
and vvhat will become of thee for all thefe fins ? And now the 
m -in m quires 5 and hears , and confers , and prayes , as for his 
life : Oh (faith he) I need mercy, and mercy I mult have ; I 
need Chrilt , and Chrifl I muft have ; I need grace , and grace 
1 mull have ; and as that impotent perfon lay at the Pool for 
cure, fo doth this converted fmner ; he lyes at the pool of the 
word, and at the gates of heaven day and night ; and there he - 
cries out, God be merciful to me a finner ; and there he wrefi/es 
ivithGody ^sjacohonct; 1 will /m let thee go unlefs thou blefs 
me -^ until thou be reconciled, until I have Chrift , until my 
heart be fandifyed. 4. Hishardncd remorfelefriefs Is kow 

turned into ci fmgnUr hrokennefs and grief of fpirit ; the Rock 
is fmitten, and the waters giiHi out ; a Fountain is opened within 
him: He who made but a fport of finning before;he who could grafp 
the nettles, and tread on hell, and vex mercy, and ilioot through 
the heart of Chri(l,and not be moved or troubled at all : Oh now, 
how is the mm altered ? I fee him trembling and quaking with 
Patd^ I fee him bitterly weepi^^ with Peter y l[<dQ him wajhmg 
his Couchywith David ; I fee him in heavinefs and bitternefs for 
his finnings, ns one for his firR born. One while he meditates , 
and then weeps ; thus,and thus, and thus have I diilionoured my 
God. Another while he hears, and reads, and weeps, I am that 
m.in,0 Lord ; I am he of whom thou fpeakeft, I am that finner ; 
lam he who hath ou*-faced thyLaw,out-ftood thy offers of grace, 
and refilkd (Oh how often ) thy good Spirit, ^. He is novo for 
the life of God to he wrought in him : This he now prizeth as the 
molt excellent life ; and for this, he praie5,Lord,another heart, a 
new fpirit. 

2. The fecand contrariety refpetls the tl??^e prefect : And As to rhrclmt 
there arefour diings for the time prefent, in a truely changed and P^dcnr. 
converted perfon which never were in him before. i. A 

prefent hatred of fin. 2. A prefent flying unto Chrif^. 

:?. A prefent love of God. 4. A prefent courfe of new 

obedience. i. When the Lord hath converted and changed 

the heart of afinner, there is wrought in him^ prejent hatred of 
fin ; the m:w loved his fins before, and took pleafure in unrighte- 
cufnefsjheld it f art,and defended it 5 fin is now feen as the greatert 


320 Gods gracious Accepmct 

evil , and the ntore he fees it , the more he hates it : As foon 
as e\'er the heart is changed, immediately it is a lin-hating heart ; 
I do not fay there is no fin , but I fay the heart hates fm : The 
evilthdt I'hate^ i^id Pan/ y Rom. j. 15. znd in JEz^el^. 36. where 
God promifech to give them a »jw heart , he faith , Then 
P^aU jeremembsr ycHY own evil wayes y and jh^ll loath your feives 
in your own fght for your imqtiities , and for yonr abomina- 
Hjw a msn Qj;^!^* But here novv is a great Scruple , how a perfon may 

way know ikac ^^^vv that he hates fin ? Many think they do fo,and are deceived, 
he ha.ei fin. it proves only a pafTion. 

Sol, In true hatred there are fix things, i. zAn extream 
detejiation : Eviery diflike is not hatred , but true hatred is an 
extream loathing. Thofi fhalt caji them away as a menflrmns 
cloath ; thofi {halt fay unto it -^ Get thee henee^ Ifai. 30.22, 
2. An earnefl fefaration : He ihat hated his wife did fue out a 
Bill of divorce from her in the Law. 3. An irreconcileable 

Alienation: Two angry men may be made friends ; but if two 
men hate each other , friendlliip is everlafiingly broken betwixt 
them. 4, A con/fant and ferpetual tollu^ation : If they 
cannot be fevered one from the other, they (lili oppofe and con- 
flidl one with the other. 5. A deadly intention ^hd dd^m- 

dtion ; for nothing fatisfies hatred , but death and ruine ; Saul 
hated -DW^, and fought his life , Ahfalom h^tcd Amnon^ and 
killed him. 6. An impartial averfation ; hatred is of the 
whele kind, / hate every falfe i»ay .• Wilt thou novv know whe- 
ther God hath changed thy heart , then ask thy heart ; What 
is it that thou abhorreft as the fuperlative evil ? what is that 
which thou wouldft have feparated as far from thee , as hea- 
ven is from hell ? what is that thy heart will never renew league 
or friendfhip with any more ? what is that againft which thy 
fail doth rife, and with which ( as Ifr^el with Amalek^ , ) thou 
haft war for ever ? what is that which thou wilt be avenged of, 
and daily doft endeavour the mortifying and crucifying of ? vVhat 
is that which thou fets thy heart againft, in the comprehcnfive la- 
titude thereof, whether great, or little, open, or fecret ? If it be 
fin, if it be thy fins, affuredly here is true hatred of fin, and af- 
furedly here is a moft dil^inguifhing Chara6ler of a found Con- 
verfion and change. It was not wont to be thus with thee, nor 


of the Returning Prodigal, 521 

is this findeablc in any unconverted perfon whofoever. Sin vv^s 
once to thee as Da/i/inh to Samfon , and now is it to thee as 
Tamar to <*Amnoft, It was a Iweet morfel once which thou 
heldrifaft, but now it is the ^lendruous cloath which thou dolt 
caii away, and fay, get thee herce ; what have I to do any more 
with Idols ? If it be thus with thee , blefs thy Qod who hath 
Aiewed grace to thy foul. 

2. When the Lord hath changed and converted the heart of a 
finner, the fmner frefently flies unto Jefus Chrift : The firit 
itrokeof Grace is on the heart, andthehrii breathing of Grace 
is for Chrift ; as the new born babe flies unto the brelts , or as 
any creature doth to its center, and place of refh For when ihe 
heartis changed by converting grace, i. It breeds the moft 
cxquifite dil'covcry an^ fenfe of fin , and confequently of the 
fouls need of Chrili 2. It is moft impatient of diftance or 
difference with God, and prizeth his reconciled favour fuperla- 
tively, cannot live without it. 3. It i^^m nothing 

more valuable in it felf , or more futable to its condition then 
Chriti, Chriftus amor mew fondus menm. And therefore, if you 
take notice of it , you may experimentally find upon the firft 
impreflions of Grace,that the foul is moftly taken up with Chri(^, 
and with Faith : Oh, that I nbight be found in him ! Oh, that 
I could believe on h'm ! It fees excellency in Chrill, and\Peace 
in Chrirt , and Redemxption in Chrift,^ and Righteoufnefs in 
Chrift, and Grace in Chrili, and Kindnefs in Chrifc, and Help, 
and Life, and Heaven, and all in Chriii. In Converfion, 
Chrift fecretly draws the Soul to himfelf ; and being conv;:rted, 
the foul ttrives to draw Chrift to it felf ; It would have Chrift, it 
muft have Chrift; it is never well, it is never fatisHed until it 
hath Chrift. 

5. When the Lord hath converted and changed the heart of a 
Tinner, there is wrought in him a f reflect love of God : It is vvon- 
derful to fee how the Tide turns upon Converfion. There was / 
once one found weeping very bitterly; and being demrnded, 
why ! O, faid he, all other things are loved , but Amorum a-- 
?w^r/^r, Love it felf is not loved. So before Converfion, a 'man 
could find love for his Parents, and love for his relations, and 
love for his Recreations, and love for his Profits, and love for his 
Sii^ ; but no love for God. But afcer Converfion , the man can 

T t fcaxe 

^2% Cods gracicus Accepmee 

fcarce find any love for any, unlefs it hz for his God, and in 
his God. A gracioully changed Heart is enabled to fee, i. The 
V glories in God ; thole moft Pure and Amiable Excellencies irt 
God. 2. The Tranfcendcnt Love of God to it, in the Eternity 
of it, in the Freenefs of it, in the Svvectnefs and Goodncfs of 
it. 3. The. Unfpeakable Communications and- Bounties of God 
towards it in jcius Chrift ; for the prefent, and for the future z 
ft is Grace w^ ich makes us to fee^vvhat a gracious God he is ; It 
is Grace which makes us to fee what a Royal gift Jefus Chrift is ^ 
It is Grace which makes us apprehenfive of all the Love in God,. 
and from God ; and therefore no marvel that the changed heart 
fals prefently in love with God ; (0 Love the Lord Ml ye his 
Saints^ into a Leve of Friendjhljy and into a Love of Comfia^ 
cence ^ as they fpeakc ; that it admires God, and prizeth 
Communion with him ; and takes its full and highcft delight 
irjhim: Tlufquam mea^ flufquam meoSy fltifquam ?w, faid 

4. When the Lord converts and changeth a perfon, the man 
prefently Stefs Into the path of new Ohedience ; when Grace hath 
changed the Heart, the Heart inftantly changeth its Mafter and 
its fervice ; O it will not live as it hath done, for a thoufand 
Worlds ; It is a fervant of lin no more, but a fervant of righte- 
oufnefs : look on any converted man(fince the Word began,) as 
foon as ever Grace dropt into his Heart, anevvnefs of Obedience 
dropt into his Life , againft all Eafe, Pleafures, Profits, En- 
couragements, Difcouragements, Threats, Dangers ; It was fo 
with Abraham^ with VayA^ with all thofe thoufands in the A6ls, 
with all thoi^c Ef he fans ; And indeed it cannot be otherwife, 
forafm ch as al' their external courfe is but the pulfe of the Heart. 
The Pondus of the will is changed, it is at the command of the 
Heart ; whici being brought into God, the fervices of the heart 
are alfo brought in with it, O, that you would perufe your 
felves in this fecond Tryal, what prefent contratiety you find in 
your Hearts ; It is a very neer Tryal, and a moft Infallible dif- 
covery of the truth or falftiood, of your Change. 
tlie lime ^- '^^^ ^^*^^ Contrariety or C hange (which I iliall but touch) 
f-acVrc. * ' refpet^s the time Fmure : there are five admirable Proper- 

ties for the time future , which may be found in every 
truly Changed and Converted perfon. i. He is very tender 


:$ to 

ef the Returning Prodi^dl, 3 2 j 

and fearful, leaft he lliould (in againll his GoJ : Keef thy fer'^apjt 
from frefum ftfioHS (ins ; cUanfe thou me frtm fecret faults • 
Pfal. 19. 12, 13. Should, K9C again hreak^ thy Commandments I 
faid Exra,c.9.i4 Mov^tan 1 do this Great mckednefs^ and fin a. 
fa'inft God I faid Jofcph, Gen. 39. 9. There is in a Changed and 
Converted man, i. A tender Jealoufy over a Deceitful heart. 
2. a tender Watchfulnefs, againfl Alluring temptations. 3.2 
tender Confcience, which feels the firft Rifings of fin. 4. a 
tender Diffidence ci" his Own (Irength. 5. a tender Fear, and 
aweful Regard of Gods Prefence and Goodnefs. He is afraid 
to fin, although the fin be Secret ; and although it be Com- 
modious ; and although it be Pleafant. I will but name the reft. 
2. He is very Zealous and Adive for God ; Pml even befidcs 
himfelf. ' 3. He is very Faithful and Conftant unto God. 4. He 
is very Serious and Iniuftrious, to get aflurance of Gods love, 
and of his inheritance in the highefl: heavens. Give all di- 
ligence dec. 2 Pet, 1^0. 5.. He ftrives for the Convcrfion arid 
change of others. 

The next Ufe muft be of dmfort and Supporty to all fufh ^r ^ 
-who find this change wrought In their hearts by converting Grace, 
There are four Adjun6ts which make this' Converting change Comfort to 

unfpeakably Comfortable and Joyous. i. Next to ^^^'7^ ^'^ '^han cd! ''* 
jsthe choice ft and chlefefi gift that the heart of man is capable of 
in this life. The gif cs of God are of feveral Orders and fcveral N«t hc^ch"u 
Natures, ufcs and ends ; fome are in order to a natural prefcrva- " ^y^^^jhs 
tion, as food, and raiment, and Health. S*me are in order to an heart is capable 
cxtrinfecal condition or State of Life, as Honours and civil Au- of. 
thority ; Some are in order to private fociety and relation, as 
Wife, and Husband, and Children ; Some are in order tofecu- 
lar converfe, as Father and Friends , politick wifdome, and 
parts, &c. Thcfe are all of them good in their kind, but as it 
is faid of diverfe Captaines belonging to David-, although they 
did great matters, yet they attained not to the a6ls of the 
three firft Worthies : So none of thefe rife or mount ei- 
ther to that intrinfecal Dignity, or to that fupernatural 
and ultimate End, which the change by Grace doth ; The 
leaft drop of Grace is more then all the Ocean of the 
World. The Apoftle Paul faith , it is ^ change from 
GUry to Glory ^^ the work is a work of Glory and the man 

T t 2 becomes 

2 24 ^^^^ Gracious Accepance 

becomes glorious who is a converted man. S. Peter faith, He Is 
mrv m^de fart^kjr of the Divine Nature .- The excellencies 
of God are llamped on thy foul ; the Sun is now rifen within 
thee as the Glory of God filled the Temple .-^fo when a man 
is converted, the be^ms cf grac« do fill his foul ; thou art pre- 
cious, the filthy rags are taken away. 
J . ._ 2. It Is an evidence of 'great love and rich mere j^ Eph, 2. 4. 

dencc cf great -^^^ God who Is rich In mercy , for his great love wherewith he 
love. loved 1^ when we were deady hath qtilckned us^ &c. It \% ate- 

llimony of the greateit love , as it is of the greateii hatred in 
• God, to be left to our finful lults and wayes. 
Ic is the fi ft 3. Converting grace tt is the fir ft: ^ vlfible and fare charaBerlftU 

vifibU diftin- sal diflvMlon twlxt Hell and Heaven ^ twixt Death and Life, 
dicabetwixi: twixt a Goat and a Sheep, twixt a wicked condition, andaCod- 
hcli and hca- |y condition. There is a twofold diiHn6lion of perfons touch- 
ing their everlafting eftates ; One is In decretoy which lies in the 
breft and counfel of God ; the other is In ohje^oy which is to be 
found in the heart of mm. Now quoad ms c^ quantum ad obje- 
Bum ; Converting grace makes the difference , it fliews who is 
loved, and who is hated ; it fhews who is for Heaven, and who 
isfoirHell. It is not honour , nor wealth, nor ftrength, nor 
parts, nor civility, nor meannefs, nor poverty, nor education , 
nor knowledg, nor trouble of confcience , nor reliraint, 
nor profeiTion , nor external a6tion, which is the partition wall 
which divides and decides the ftatefor theprefent and future. 
If Miniftsrs or Angels rhould affure thee of an intereft in Chrift, 
and of remilTion of thy fins, and of future happinefs while yet 
thy heart is unconverted , they do certainly delude and deceive 
thee ; for if any man be in Chrili, he is a new Creature : But 
if God hath converted and changed thy heart, thou arc affurcdiy 
p.ifl from death to life, thou art among the firrt born of God : 
No forts of v^icked men are in this changed and converted con- 
^dit'on, no prophane perfon, no hypocritical perfon ; as foon ^s 
any is converted, it may be faid of him, as Chrift of Zacheusy 
This day Is falvatlon come to him for as much as he alfo is a child 
cf Abraham. 
Ic never goes 4. It never goes alonCy it is alwayes accompanied with juftifi- 
»io^c* cation, pardon, intereft in Chrift , reconciliation with God. 

feftis was fent to hlefs them in turning them Away from their inl- 


■ / 

of the R eturning Predtgal, 325 

qnities^ A6ls 3. 26. Be converted that your fns may be blotted 
o;^f, Acls 3. 19. Cotne now^ and /et us reaf or: together^ l[ii.^^.j, 
I Cor. 6. II. But ye are Tvajhedy but ye are faMfyedy bntyeare 
jttfilfyedy&cc, _ Icischcmoft 

5. It Is the mofl comfortable and joyful condition i for now comfortable 
there is a change of all , without and within you. The con- coaduioir. 
verted fouls are^/W, A6ls 2. 47. the converted JWor rejoyced^ 
j4Eis\6, 34. xhz Eunuch rejoycedy AUs «. 6, 8. The firft work 

of the Spirit is ^r<^^^, the next is ;^/; Heaven now Itands open 
for you to fee all, crc, Threatnings are turned into promifes , 
curies into bleifings, enemies unto friends , aliens into fons, ac- 
cusing into an excufing confcience,voice of terror in^o a voice of 
peace, hell into heaven. _ Ids the only 

6, It is the only unpre judicial change on earth • In all other unprejudicial 
changes there is either diminution or danger. If a rich man be- charge on- 
comes poor, there is a diminution of his Condition ; if a poor ^"^'•^* 
man becomes rich , there is a danger to his fpirit, left he be- 
comes covetous 0: proud. If a man be lifted up to greatnefs and 
authority,there is a dangcr,left he forgets God,and be injurious;if 

an healthy man becomes fick and weak,here is an impairing, alofs 
and-danger of life : Only, when a wicked mvn is converted, and 
becomes holy,There'is neither diminution nor danger ; converting, 
grace is no thief in the Candle : It is no preternatural heat 
which fuck^ away that rvhich is vital ; thou lofell: nothing at all 
by it , no fpot to thy credit, no burden to thy confcience, no 
eclipfe to thy honour, no gall in thy Cup, nor waft to thy Lands : 
It doth not darken thy name , nor weaken thy ftrength , nor di- 
minilli thy coffers , nor imbitter thy comforts : No lofs but 
the lofing of fin, which we cannot keep but to our lofs ; all that 
it doth is" this , that it decreafeth and deftroyeth thy finful lulls ; . 
it roots out thofe weeds, it pulls out hell, it hejils thy wounds , 
and is the deadly enemy to thy deadlieii enemies. 

'J, The converting change is an unchangeable change : The \.\^.^ j^- 
next change is into Heaven. A wicked mm may be changed c-.ingrab!e 
into a Godly mm, and a Godly man may be changed into Hea- cbsnjc 
ven, but the Godly mm lliali never be changed again into a 
wicked mm : the (iite of crace is an unchangeable ?i^x^^ a bet- 
ter condition them ayidams in Paradife ; his was perfe6l but mu- 
table, this is imperfe6\, but not changeable : Once a Son, and 


226 ^^^^ gracious Acceftancc 

ever a Son; the Son abides in the hmfefor ever (fayes Chrift;)once 
converted, and for ever blefied. Gods converting Grace is an 
abiding feed > and it is immortal feed, and it is a gift which God 
never repents of, although much of the ftrength of it may be a- 
batedby our falls, as fire is raked up under the afhes ; although 
thefenfe of it doth fcmetiine fail us, and the comfort, and tne 
liveiinefs of operation appears not, yet as there is life in the root, 
though there be not leaves on the Tree , and as there is a foul in 
the man, though iicknefs be in his body , fo the truth and ftate of 
grace continues under all a ChriiHans eclipfes , weakneffes , fail- 
ings ; for converting grace comes from an unchangeable vvill in 
God, the will of his love, whom he loves once, he loves to the 
end. 2. It defends Hfon an everUfttng Commmion mth 

Chrifly who marries the foul to himCelf for ever. 3. And it 
is given as a fledg and fawn of eternal ghrj, 4. And it is 
ajfifted with an everlafl'mg arm^ and power of God. 
No other 8. No other change (hall hurt you ^ hut further you ; Affli6li- 

chanje {hall ons, Death,-it is gain unto you, it iz the laft ftile, and then you are 
huaus, but at home for ever. 

iuru.er us. QhjeB.^ But now foxne difireffed perfon may reply, Thefe arc 

comforts indeed, but not to me ; for I fear that my heart is not 
^ changed, nor yet truly changed; I am not indeed altogether 
what once I was , but this I fear is but a flop of confcience, or 
tT ch 'n ^d ^^^ ^^ ^^"^^ ^ hypocrifie. Oh, I feel fuch changes on my fpirit 1 
tcuy c »ngc * j^ ^ j^ ^ way cs alike, and fo much finfulnefs, fo much unbelief, 
fo much hardnefs, fo much difficulty to good, fo much weaknefs 
under temptations ; furely my change is not true, a gre^t, an in- 
ward, a total change,and therefore none of thefe comforts apper- 
tain unto me. 

Sol. Shall I fpeak a few words to fuch a perfon, ( furely fomc 
fuch there may be.) 

1 . The change hy Confuerfiofiis hut mferfeU in this life ; it is a 
This chan|c total change , although ix. changeth us not totally : A converted 
f*!"^ \^f*|:. man is fan6iifyed throughout,but not perfedHy throughout ; when 
la in»s e. ^1^^ ^^y breaks, there is a change that one may truly fay,the night 
is paft, and yet many degrees of darknefs ftick in the air ; as 
foon as ever Cod infufeth grace into the foul, there is immedi- 
ately a change as to the denomination of the eftate, though not 
as to the confummation of the eftate ; TauH eftate was a con- 


of the Returning Prodigal, 327 

verted and changed eftate , and yet there was a Law in his Mem- 
hers , as well as a Ltiyv in his Mlndy Kona. 7. Converfion is a 
change from the dominion of what was contrary , not from the' 
abfolute being of a contrary. Though a Tyrant dwell and llirs - 
in a Kingdoms , yet if a lawful Monarch ridesj the Kingdom* is 
changed : Many fins are in a converted man liill ; but if grace 
doth rule the heart now, which formerly was ruled by fin, that 
man is a changed man. 

• 2. Converting grace ^ although It be nroHght at once ^ yet It is Conrertinf 
hrou^t on by degrees \ The truth of it begins in an inftant, but |ra«, though 
the ftrength of it comes in time. It is a very curious queftion ""^'"S^^^l 
why God gives Grace by degrees , or fucceffively in this life,and b^ouih^on by 
not all at once , but fli'll leaves fome finful corruption behind, acgrecs! 
Divines conjc6lure three reafonsofit f i. Onr prefent Inca- 
faclty of a prefent fnlnefs : The Bottle cannot be filled but by 
degrees, though the Ocean be full ; there is as much grace given 
at firft as to make a new creature, but not a ftrong creature. 
2. Our efi ate OK earthy mufibea combating eflate^ to difference 
the eftate of grace and glory ; that in heaven only is the crown- 
ing and triumphing. 3. Anditis an ^y?^/-^ of faith -^ which 
is a continual dependance, and a continual drawing of help, and 
a continual recourfe to the fountain : In Creation, Perfe6lion of 
being w.is at once , and in Glorification at once ; but not fo in 
San;Sification, this rifes like Ez^ki^ls Water,or like the light of 
the Sun. This may yet fatisfie thee , though grace beimperfe6l 
and not full at once. 1. Juf^ification is perfedl:. 2. Though 
you find but little, yet you cannot be fatisfyed without more. 
\, You have perfecting means of holinefs, though you have hot 
pcrfe6lholiners;aword to build you up. 4. That God who 
hath begun, has promifed to-finifh , and your little is a pledg of 
more. 5. Truth of grace may lye in a little compafs. 

;. There may he many changes upon the fplr It of a many which There may be 
yet are not inconjl ft ent with the favlfig change of his Spirit : Some- many changes 
t^raes he may be lively and quick, fometimeshe may be flat and notinconfillent 
dull, fometimes he may be confident and cheerful , and at fome JJ,"^/^* ^*^^^'^ 
other times he may be afraid and mournful ; fometimes he may ■ * 
be full, and enlarged ; and at fome other time he may be aukard, 
and ftrcightned ; fometimes he may have more fenfe of Gods 
Love , and fometimes more fenfe of his own fins ; None of 


328 Gods gracious Acceptance 

ihefe things are elT^ntial to the converted eft'.ue ; a mans heart 
may be truly changed by converting grace, notwithitanding ma- 
. ny erodes and afflidlions on his outward eitate, many eclipies in 
his comforts, many varieties in his fpiritual adings, many con- 
trarieties tvvixt his ience and his faith , many temptations upon 
his fpirit, to many doubts and fears in his heart. 
Sinful corru- 4* Smful corrHftions never iivork^ yolth amore [enfible firength , 

prions work ^^^^^ vohen the heart is truly co'/rverted and changed: Bcitore 
wiih more fen- Converfion, our fins do work more mightily, but we do not then 
fibic ftrcngth perceive the workings, becaufe your delight was then in finning , 
is^r^'^' h*"^ and nothing is burthenfome to delight ; and nothing was mus 
irue.y an> ^^^^^^^^ to our finnings ; theftrongman kept all the houfe, and 
every faculty was a friend and fervant to fin ; the river ran ail one 
way : But when the heart is converted, there is n©vv laid into it 
I. The quickeft principle of feeling. 3. The contrarieft prin- 
ciple of refifting. 3, The propereft principle of deftru6ti- 
. on to fin ; and therefore no marvel that we feel our finful natures 
more than formerly ; for all qualities are moil active, and mofi: 
felt in cafes of refiftance and deftrudtion ; neverthelefs none of 
thefe mult conclude againft our Converfion, but rather for it, be- 
caufe I. Thegreateft work of grace is inward. 2. Theienfe 
of finful workings Joyned with an hatred of them, and humbling 
of the heart under them,and with addreffes to God for fubduing 
power, is certainly a fign of converting grace : Therefore hear- 
ken unto me tliou diftreffed foul : i. Though the Glory of 
Grace confifts in ViEiory , yet the Trmh of Grace appears in 
Combats ; the fighting Souldier is as right to the caufe , as the 
conquering Souldier ; there is fire in the fmoaktngfiaxy as well 
as in the flaming furnace. 2. Thit great corrtiftions fiill 

remaining in temptation^ are the htttdens of dweah^ ChrlflUn ^ 
but are not the Charfi.^ers of a falfe ChrifiU^, ;. Jefus 
Chrifi: can by a h'nU grace weaken flrongeft corrupt ims : The 
le?.ft true grace will help thy foul to c hrill , through whofe 
ftrength thou who art now in confli6l fhalt ere long be made 
more than a Conqueror. 4. True grace begins In weakj^efsy 
goes on with combaty but ends in vi[iory : There is but little light 
at the firft, and more darknefs for quantity ; but the light of 
the Sun is rifing,anddiffipating,and at length remains alone. Con- 
quering grace hath comfort, confliclinggracchath ftrength, and 


of the ReturniYig Prodigal. 5 29 

even mourning grjce hath truth ; Peters tears ilievved truth of 
Grace, aswdl as Panl's Triumph. 

But how may I detcern my char:geto arife from thc^ower of con- How \i tray be 
vcrtlnggrace^ and not from the power only of a troubling confci- <i>f«rnccl, thsc 
ence? Sol, I conceive thus5in four particulars. i. ^^» '^'^^ ^^^"S^ •'« 
the cha-fige Is made 9nly from the f^ing of cenfciCKce , thm chiinge |J,g ^racf ^anJ 
gtes'ojf^ a^d var.ifheth , when the trouble of confcience ,goi:s ott', 00c froai the 
and continues only while that doth continue : whiles thetrouble po^crcfacrru- 
of confcience is on the man, the man will hear, and the man will ^'^"5 "' ^^'^"^ 
pray, and the man will confult, and profefs, and purpofe, and re- ^^r^j^j^, 
folve, yea,andnovv too, to become a new man ; yea, and he will ' , 

cry cut againft his fins , and will not come near his fins. But 
when that trouble is off, all is off again ; the Water which was 
heated, grows cold again ; SahI is purfumg D/ivld again , and 
Focllx is covetous again. But if the change be from grace ,^ 
though trouble be off, yet the heart is againft fin , and is for 
good ; for grace fets us againft fin, as it makes us unholy, and e- 
vil, and not only , or principally , as it makes us uncomfortable 
and miferable. 2. When the change arifcth only from a 
troubling confcience , not from a contrariety to God , but to us : 
It doth '/20t arifefnm 4 hatred of fi^y and a love of good ; ^ht only 
from a hatred of torment ^ a [el f -love ^ and a love of eafe; the 
man loves that fin, that he dares not now commit , and hates the 
good which now he doth ; he doth the 'ood, .only as a means to 
' take off his trouble'; he doth it not as a work in which he delights, 
- nor doth he flie fin as an evil which he hates ; he flies fin as it 15 
malum fenfihile^ not as it is malum fprltuak .- But in a gracious 
change, trouble doth not caufe hatred , but hatred caufeih trou- 
ble of fin. 3. When the change is only from a troubling 
confcience, then vohen the trouble Is gone , the mans heart is more 
hardned, and hegrovves more wicked then ever before, and in 
after finnings, Icfs fenfible, and lefs troubled ; as Iron growes 
more hardned after it hath been in the fire , or water that is flop- 
ped more violent . // thej he again tntangledy and ovtrcome^ the 
latter end is wtrfe with them then the beginning , 2 Pet. 2. 20, 
But where the heart is changed by grace, the more gr-ace, ftill 
the more fenfe of fin, and ftill the more fear to fin , and ftill the 
more love of God. 4. When the change comes only from 
ih^ttonU^of caL^[cicncQ y the. change extends no further then t§ 

V u that^ 

530 gods ^'^^^i^^^ Accepanee 

thaty or thofe particular fins for which the confcience doth trou- 
ble the man ; if the other fms trouble not , they are not left :.. 
But when the change is wrought by grace, this change extends to 
all fins. J hate every evil jv^/(faith David ; -) they do m irnqnityy 
Pfal. 1 1 9. 'Let US cleanfe onr [elves from allfilthinefs of fejh and 
. fpirity 2 Cor, 7. I. 
. Qnefi. How may a man know that his change is mt the fruit of 

thh^cL'ngc'^s ^7?^<^K/^^ but of Converting grace ? ^ Sol. This may bedif- 
not the fruit o; cerned thus. i Thechange byHypocrifie li Is not Cordial y 
Hypocrifif. ^q Hypocrites heart is changed : In heart yework^ m'ckjdnefs, 
Anf^vercc.. The Hypocrite dares to give way to heart fins : Jud^h turned 
not with her heart but feignedly, 2. Is not %Jmverfal : The 

Prophet tells the hypocritical Ifraelites, that they were as a Cake 
' half h^ked , and not turned ; an hypocrite , though he forfake 
many fins , yet he loves fome fin ; Jehu cannot part with the 
golden Calves, though he did deftr oy Baal. 7^. Is not l^fting^ . 
but changeable ; futable occafions are too ftrong for an heart 
falfely changed. 4. Is not able to abide three Trials^ of the 
Wordy of Confcience y of Beath. 
^fg . The third Ufe fliall beto^^^^r^ and entreat ustoftir up all 

Exhortation to ^^^ hearts, to beg of Godtorvork^ln them this admirable change by- 
iK| of God to Converfon. I read in Scripture that the blind man cryed out , 
work this fefu .' thou Son of David have mercy on me ; Qnd again, Thou Son 
change. ^£ j)^^;^^ g^^. and all this was for a change in his eyes ; and I 

read that Naoman took a great journey into the Land of Ifrael,and 
all was to be cleanfed of the Lefrofleoi his body. And why will 
we not take a little pains to have our hearts and fouls changed by 
H^ other want gr^ct-, Confider ferioufty, i. That a man Is not excluded 
excluGesfrom fy-Qj^ l^^aven^for an] 9ther yfant \ not for want of Wifdome, or 
This want ccr- p3rts,or riches, or dignities, 2. Thou art certainly excluded 
tainly c2uiuJes from heaven^ tho. door is fhutup againft thee, if thou be not con- 
ns, verted and changed; the holy God will never look upon thee , 
and thou fhalt never look upon that holy God in his holy place. 
The unclean perf on was flmtout of the Camp, and no unclean 
It 3s thy duty thing finall ever enter into heaven. ^■. It is thy duty ^ thou art 
io be changed, bound to be a converted and changed perfon ; every man i^ 
bound to'hate and forfi;ilce his fins and to come back, and love, 
andfcrve hisGod ; did God make thee to fcrve thy Ms? hath 
te, preferved thee all this while to fin againft him ? Is. this the 


of the Returning frodtgd, 33 1 

fruit of thy dreadful Covenant which thoCi hafhuade v\^ith him ? 
^, iVi.i^t mltthoti get by k^ejing thy fms^ or any one of them ? What wilt thoa 
Be perAvadedthereiore at leaii unto two things. i. To be- v-^ by keeping 
fecch the Lord to char?ge arid convert thy heart ^ even thine alfo,^^y""^' 
remember well. i. None can change a fmner but God: The pobcfcrchtbc 
MuIiCian muli tune the Inftrument. 2. It is no fn to beg of L^rd to chsne': 

G9d a Corwerfionfi om Jin ; No, no, thou canii not put up a more thy heart, 
acceptable requelt : Lord, I am weary of my (ws-^ I would dif- 
honour thee no more, I would be good, I Tvould Terve thee ; thou 
only canll change me,and enable me ; for thy Mercies fake do fo, 
and heal, and turn me, fo lliall 1 be healed and turned. ^. God 
hath changed and converted great fnners ; was not Manaffes fo I 
M, Magdalen fo ! Vanl fo ! the Corinthians fo ! Why, venture 
toward his mercy feat; who can tell but he may dofo to thee? 
4. He hath changed fnners^ who have not fought him ; and will 
he refufe it for them, who do feek it of him ? if he many times 
be found of them that feek him not , wilV he deny to them, who 
feek ? 5. ToH have his promt fe to do thii very converting work^ for 
you ; He will give his holy Spirit to them that ask^ hlm^Luk, 1 1 . 1 5 . " 
/ will give a new heart, and a new fplrlty Ezek. 36. 26, Behold 
he calls thee, he tells thee that he is willing to convert thee,why, 
then art thou not willing to receive it, to have it done ? do not 
fay, thou art a finner ; God never did convert any but a firmer , 
nor does he promife to convert any, who is not a (inner, 6, Did 
ever any beg thls^ and failed of it ? Lord ( faid one 'to Chrift ) 
If thou wilt , thspi canfi make me clean, ( what, faith Chrift to 
him ? doth he not anfwer him at all ? Doth he fay, I cannot ? 
Or doth he fay, I will not ? O no, his anfwer is ( and it is a pre- 
fent anfwer,) / wlll^be thou clean, 2. To come to the Word, and Cgmc to the 
come for this end, that God may convert and change ; many came word for thi« 
to the Tool of Bethefda, to look on it ; and an Impotent man C3me end. 
thither to be cured in it , and there he was cured; many come 
to hear the Word, to mock at it ; and many come to get fome 
notions from it, and many come to catch the Miniftcr \ 
at it, but he who comes for this very end to be converted 
aixi changed by it, I believe he fhall firft or laft attain his end ; 
the word (hall convert and change him. The word is femetimes 
compared to a Glafs , which difcovers; Jam, i. 29. and fome- 
times to a Laver vvkich wafheth and cleanfeth, Pfal, i ip.^. even 

V u 2 the 

5^2 Gods Gracious Accep^nce 

the yotmg man ( who of all other is irioft unruly and wild ) is 
converted by it. , The Power of God^ goes with the Word of 
God ; and the Grace of God, conies by the Word of God; it 
is Vehlculnm S^lrlttu^ & eamlis Gratia ; Thoufands have been 
converted by it, and fo mailUhou. 
Vfe^, Hath God converted and changed thy heart? hearken then to 
Counitistothe a few com[els, i. Talie heed of fmrnng after Converfion' 

canvercti. Do not fin againft grace received ; if thou doit, thou wilt wea- 
ken and lame thy ftrength, wilt darken thy heaven , wilt perplex 
thy confcience , wilt ihew thy felf more ungrateful then any 
mm ; no wicked man can have fuch an aggravation of fin upon 
him, as thou hafl:. 2. Honmr God with that Grace which 

thoH haj} received : Converfion fits and enables a man for Gods 
Service and Glory. 

Luke 15,24. ^ndthey he-ganto be merrj, 

Thefe words are as the Banquet after the Feaft ; they are the- 
clofc, and the reckoning that is brought in upon the loft Son be- 
ing brought home. The cafe is wonderfully altered with him , 
( all is altered, when the (inner is altered ) when he was wandring 
from his Father, he ran up and down the Country, and wafted all 
his eftate among Harlots ; he fhifted him/elf to his very skin, and 
out he is turned amongft the Swine , and no mm regarded him ; 
the poor wretch wanted Father, and Houfe, and Cloaths, and all 
Comforts, and was upon his laft Leggs, at the very point of ftarv- 
ing and famifLing. But now being found and returned home , 
all mercies come in unto him ; there's a Father to embrace him, 
and an Houfe to entertain him, and Raiment to cloath him, and 
Friends to welcome him , and a feaft to rejoyce him. [. o^W 
they began to he merry : ] As formerly you have had the nature: 
of Converfion, fo in thefe , you have the frnlt of Converfion, 
When Jefus Chrift was born, there was great joy ; and when a 
dnncris born again, hereupon alfo arifeth great joy. The Pro- 
portion on which I intend to infifi,is this : 
jy^'^ -^ That Cstiverjion brings the Sou L Into a joyful J a very joyful ce'/t' 

Conv.Tiion dltlony [ They began to be m.erry ] Mirth is the accent of joy, 
bnrgs thcfoulitisanemphatical joy; but when did they begin to be merry ? 
'^'p° ® \^/y y'^' why ! as foon as it was faid, This my Son is alive , and this my 
^u;cojicjcion. c^n is found ; now tkcy begin Xo be merry. Converfion may 



of the R et timing Prodigal, 333 

be conlidered three vvayes. 1, Ante cede mer : For thepreci--^ 
ous qualities and works, which immediately go before, and ordi- 
narily uH-er in Converlion ; fo it is fad, and bitter, and iharp 5 
for there tke law imprints a fenfeof fm , and of wrath, and a 
fpirit of bondage t® fear • the Needle pricks , and the Sword 
cuts and wownas , and the Hammer bruifeth , and the Plough 
rents and tears. 2. Formallter : as it is a perfe^live change , 
and alteration , even from hell to heaven, frombafeft lulb, to 
fweetelt holinels ; and thus it is ( at the leaft ) a fundamental , 
radical,and virtual joy. 3. ConfeqHenter : For the Crop and pre- 
fent harveli, which refults out of Converhon ; thus it is the Mu- 
fick after the tuning of the {kings ; the fruit of righteour«efs is 
peace, fo the fruit of converfion is joy and delight. There are 
three things unto which I defire to fpeak about this point. 
i. That upon Converfion , the condition becomes very joyful 
andpleafant; quod Jit. 2. What kind of joy and pleafure 

Converfion doth bring; ^^^/^/?r. • 3. Reafonswhyfo;^-//r/r .• 
and then the ufeful Application. 

£lf4eft, I, For the firft of thcfe ; thatConverfion doth bring 
the foul into a very joyful condition. j.^^ ^^^ r^ 

So/, There are four things which demonftrate the qi^od ft of aemonftrated. 
this. I. Ma^)f fregndnt f laces of Serif ture ; Pfal. 5^2. 11. . 

Shotit for joy ^ all ye that are nfrtght in heart ^ Pfal. 132. p.. ^ cripture. 
Let thy Saints fkout for joy ^ Ifai. 35. 10. Ihe ranf^med 5/ the 
Lord (hall return^ and come to Zion wlthfongs^ and ever.Uftlng :ey 
J4f$n their heads ; they fhall obtain Joy and gladnefs , and farrow 
andfighlng jhall flee away, Ifai. (55. 13. Behold my fervfints 
fhailrejoyce^hit yefhall be afhamed. y, i^. Behold my fervants 
(hall fing for joy of hearty bm ye fhall cry for forrow of heart, 
Ifai. 61. 10. I vplll greatly re:oyce in the Lordy my fonl (hall be 
joyful In my God. Rom. 14. 17. The Kingdom: of God confijh ^ 

in righteoufnefs , and -peace , and ioy In the Holy Ghofl, 
Prov. 3. 17. Her w ayes are wayes of p/eafantnefs ^ axd all her 
paths are peace. 2. Many pregnant teflimomes and injionccs : ^. I. jx^^^^^ 

Whea Z^r/)^^vvas converted, he came down :oyj ally ^ andrecei- ^; 
vedChrifty Luke 19. (5, 9. When the three thoufand were con- 
verted y there enfued fingular gladnefs and joy ^ A6ls 2. 41. 
When the Eunuch was converted,/?^ went home re oyclngyASt. "6, '^9. 
WhcDthofe in Samaria were converted, the. Text faith, There 



Gods gracious Acceptance 

By Compari- 

wds great joy Inthat City ^ hdis%, ^^6, When the Jailor was 
converted. He rejOjcedy hellcviKg in God with all his honfe^ A6fe 
16.34. When they to \'^hQm Peter wrote were converted,they did 
rejojce with joy unffeakal^le , And full of Glory , i Pv^t. i. 8* 
3. Thzmxny Comfar if ons^ by which converting grace is expreU 
fed, doth comhrm it, that it m.ikes the fouls condition very joy- 
ful, and delightful : The eAate of grace is let forth by all the 
things which are elkemed pleafant, and delightful, and joyfuL 
Men take Deligh , and Joy, in Honour, Beauty, trength. Youth, 
Riches, Pearls, and Jevvels, in Birth, in Wifdome, and Know- 
ledg, in Springs, Orchards,, Spices, Perfumes, Buildings, V16I0- 
ries. Life, Duration, Friends. Why 1 when converting grace is 
conveyed into the heart, the man now is honourable, and of high 
dignity; now the beauties of Chrift are on fi is foul , all his gra- 
ces are more precious then Pearls , and Gold, and Silver ; he is 
rich in fpiritual treafures, he is one born of the Spirit of God, 
never truly knowing and wife, till now, crc. Nay, grace is phra- 
fed by fuch things, which yield a general and univerfal content- 
ment and del ipht to the whole mm: It is fometimes called 
Lighty which is pleafant to the eye ; Oyyitmenty which is pleafant 
to the fmell ; wine^ which is pleafant to the taft ; Mnjickj, or the 
joyful found, which is pleafant to the ear. Nay, yet again,it is 
fometimes called 7V/^/-^,and that is pleafant to the underftanding ; 
Goodnefs , and that is pleafant to the w'ill ; a Kingdonte , and 
that is pleafant to defire ; an Inheritance^ and that is pleafant to 
hope ; Cemmuniony and that is pleafant to love ; a Poffejfiony and 
and that is pleafant to joy ; a V'iEiorjy and that is pleafant to ha- 
tred ; ^Security^^nd that is pleafant t© fear ; Heaven^the Kingdeme 
cf Heaven^ and that is pleafantnefs itfelf; and all this even under 
fears and combates', when atthefirft, andweakeft, andloweft: 
Nay, yet once more, it is fet out by all the occafioMs , and by all 
the times of joy, to the hirth of arnairchild ; for joy that a man- 
child is born (faidChrift; ) A converted man is anew-born. 
To the day of Marriage , which fome call the only day of joy ; 
a converted man is marryed toChrift ; To zFeafi-^ Ifai. 25. 6^ 
Every difh is filled with mercy. To a Coronation day^ which was 
a day of ghdnefs of heart to Solomon^ Cant. 3. 11. There Is a 
crown of life for every converted foul. To the time ef Harvef^^ 
when the Husbandman reaps with joy,//*/, p. ^. To the returns 

of the Returning Prodigal, 335 

ef Merchants upon the incredfe of Wine and Oyk ; Pfal. 4. 
To a ranfomc- and releafe from bondage and captivity ; a 
converted m.in is fet at liberty, he is a freeman in Chriii 
4. Confider Converfion in the Caufes of it^ or in the very BytheCsufei 
Nature of it, or in the A6ls flovying from it; certainly by all of it, 
of them you may be induced to believe that it makes the Con- 
dition ;oyful and pleafant. i. The Caufes ofhy which are four, 
I. The Radical caafe, Whyl Converfion drops out of the 
Eternal Love of God to a mans foul. Behold what manner of 
Love^ I Jo. 5. I. as many as were ordained to eternal life believed, 
Adls. i^. 2. The Meritorious cat^fe : who loved t^s and gave 
hlmfelf for ///, Gal. 2. It is one part of Chrifts purchafe, he 
merited Grace and Glory for his. 3. The Efficient cafife » 
(immediately efficient) it is the firft breath of Gods fandlify- 
ing Spirit, the Spirit of true Comfort and Joy. 4. The /«- 
flrti?nental caaje ; the word which is called fvveet, and fweeter 
then the Hony, and the breafts of Confolation, is the inftrumcnt 
of Converfion, Jam. i. 2. Its owne Nature, Converting g ^^ j^, 
Grace hath three things intrinfecal unto it. i. Goodnefs ; it is .of i:. 
good, and it only makes us good : Now Goodnefs is the foun- 
dation of Delight ; Nothing is truly pleafant, but what is truly 
good. 2« Suteabknefs ; There is nothing fo futeable either to 
the nature of the foul, or end of die foul, as true Grace. 
3. PerfeEiion ; it is the Glory of the Soul. 

q. The aEis flowing from It ; If the ads flovving-from Con- gy jj,p .^5 
verfion be fuch as God himfelf takes delight in, {He takes delight ftow'ngfrom ir. 
In the fray er of his fervants^ in the broken hearts of his fervants, 
in the Faith, and in t\\t Fear, and in the Hope of his fervants ; 
all their fer vices are a fweet favour unto him, as Noahs facrifice 
was ; ) Surely then Converfion is- able to make the converted 
Soul joyful and delightful. Againe, there cannot be a greater 
del'ght and joy then when an A6live and Aclual intercourfe is 
maintained twixt an immortal Soul and perfedl Bleffednefs ; when 
my Soul hath a free converfs with Bleffednefs it felf, and Blef- 
fednefs it felf hath a Gracious converfe with my foul, this 
is as if two deeply in Love converfed vYith e-ich other : this is 
as if Jonathan and David met together ; this is as if Jacob and 
Jofefh met together, and infinitely more : But upon Conver-- 
fioH, the foul and God have mutual communications. (And is not 


335 ^^^^ gracioHS Acceftmcc 

God the bleflednefs of mans foul, and is not bleflednefs a joy- 
ful and plcafant fight) God fpeaks to that foul, and that foul 
fpe.iks with God ; the foul opens its feif to God, and God o- 
pens himfelf to that foul. £rgo. 
By I he diftio- 5* ^^ ^^^^ ^ mighty dlfkomnr to God that his Wayes^ his Image^ 
nourthac o- ^cmU he barren of joy, and yet the Divels vvayes and fin, plea- 
durwifc vrouid fant. 6. A G re. u motive to draw in a foul Were I oR. j. Grace 
redcund to (Joth fpiritualize our joyes, it doth not nullify true joy. 
vvh^' fc' ^ Sj^^fi.2, What kind ofjoy and Pleafuredoth i onverfion bring 
Joy Convfr- ^^^^^ the Soul. SoL There are five properties in the joy vvhicii 
fion brings. ^ onverfion lets into the Soul. 

ALswfui Jov. I- It Is a lawful Joy and Pleafure. There are many things 
Q^iidam. ' which are pleafent, but they are not Lawful : StolUn waters art 
1. Ncc bona fwm^ faith Solomon^ but Cod allowes them not; the Tree in 
nee ]ucunda. the garden was Pleafant, but it was not Lawful for Adam and 

3. Jucundafcd ^^^^ ^^1 '^^ forbidden fruit ;^ God hath curfed fin and all that 
non bona. comes out of fin. Agrli^pn'a poyfoned her husband with the 

4. Jucunda et jj^eat he moft delighted in. Wicked men delight and rejoyce 
f°5*i i i^^^^i^^u^^^i^^gs? but this is only fwect Poyfon, God allowes it 

not; norisitf«fe: But converfion yeilds a Joy, which the foul 
may fafely feed on ; It is lawful to rejoyce in the Lord, and to 
rejoycein Chrift, and to reioyce in thepardon of our fins, and 
to rejoyce that our names are written in the book of Life. 
.... 1 . 2. It is ^ Sflrltual Joy ; A Joy that reacheth to the fpirit of 

piritua joy. ^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^ becomes the fpirit of man, and that raifeth the 

fpirit of mm, i. Many men have joy in their faces, and yet 
not joy in their hearts ; A man in a feaver hath a lively colour, 
when yet he hath a dying heart ; and many have joy in their 
tongues and mouthes, and yet no joy in their confciences. As 
hefaidto one that commended his fine flioe. But you doe not 
know where it pincheth me ; a vvicked man hath an hell in his 
confcience, who yet hath a fmile in his countenance ; But a Con- 
verted inans joy, is an heart joy ; My fervants fhall fingfor joy 
of hearty][z. 6$, i^. My Sflrltrejoketh InGodmy Savior^ faid 
Mary, Luk. 2. 2. And it is a fpirit becoming joy. Laugh- 
ter Is not feemly for a fool-, faid Solomon ; There are joyes 
which are not feemly nor becoming an Immortal foul : Ageflaus 
faid of fome pleafures, that they were fit for flaves, not for Free- 


of the Returning frodtgd. ' 337 

men : a wicked man ta-kes joy either in Vile things, which Hghc^ 
againll the Soul ; or in vain things, which are bclo.v a Soul ; iiis 
joyes are fetcht out of hell, or out of the Creature ; either fuch 
joyes as delight the Devil, or delight the hearts, or delight the., 
bafelland vaincft of men; in Whoring, and Drinking, and 
Curhng, and Dicing, and Dancing, and Gaming, and Mum- 
ming, and Masking &c. Kut Converfion i^^6.% the Soul with 
the joyes of the Holy Ghort, with Divine ]o^j^ joy drawn out 
of the wells of Salvation, Ifa. 1 2. 2. And it \^ a Spirit-raifing 
joy : when the foul is ca(t down, and all the comforts on Earth 
cannot lift it up and chear it, yet Converfion can let in a fetch- 
ing Cordial; it can open a window to fee the light of Gods 
countenance and favour , which can turn night inio day, and 
troubles into pe^ce , and heavinefs into an exceeding joy ; 
even DaVids,wfj^ art thou caft down O my Sonl ? into Praife the 
LordO my S§ul i. It Is of rvo^jd^rfnlljoy ; There are two y^^^j^^^cff^j 
cafes wherein men do wonder, how a man can pofTibly be joy- joy. 
ful. I. One is, when all the comforts of the Creature fail him ; 
not a Candle but is without light, not a Well but is ftopt ; not 
a Spring but is dry ; No friend to look ai and pity, no main- 
tenance, no fubfiftance .• Yet in fuch a . cafe (which is wont to 
be a time Sighs and Tears) can a converted man rcjoyce. Hab. 
;. ly. Althotigh the Fig-tree (hallmt hlo^ome^ neither fkall fruit 
he In the VlnCy The labor of the Olme fhall falle^ and the field 
jh all yell d no meat ^ the foe k^ (hall be cm off from the fold-, and 
there fhall he no Herd In the ftals ; Tet I will re-^ofce In the Lordj 
IwilljoylntheGfidofmyfalvatlon. 2. Another is, when all 
outward miferies are upon him .- as when all his outward Q{{it^ 
is taken away, yet then converted perfons h.ive u\zw jey fully ' 
the fpoyling of their (j<7(3"^/, Heb. 10. 54. When Aflflidlions, 
Derihons, Reproaches, Bonds, Imprifonments,Scourgings, cruel 
Torments, are laid on him ; Yet faith Paul, Wee rejojce In 
Trlhdatlons alfo^ Rom, f, :^, Yet i^aith'Chrift, when men [hall - 

rezile yoUf and perfecute yoa^ and fay all manner of evill agamfi 
you falfly for my fakj-, Reoyce and he exceeding glad , Maf. 5. 
11,12. And the Apoftles when they were imprifoned and bearen , 
rejoyced that they were counted war thy to fuffer fhame for his 
namey Atk. 5. 41. My Brethren count it all Joy^ when ye fall intf 
di<;€rfe Temptations ^]dVCi, i. 2. WJien he is going to endure 

X X" ^ '- ' -"^ a cruel 

2^g Gods Gracious Acce ft An ce 

a cruel death, as burning in th^ Fire, devouring by wild Beafts, 
ro-Uiing on the Gridiron, boyling in Oil, br^jakmg of the Bones, 
tearing cue the Bo.vels ; All chele hav- co werted perfons fa(tein— 
ed, with unfpeakeable Courage, dapping of the Hands, kiifing 
of the Stake, and Glorious Rejoicings, Why, the truth is 
that though all the Candles on .Earth be put out, yethehith 
Light and Comfort,, dill the .^un fti'nes, nothing can diffolve, 
- - . nor yet interrupt tfee fouls fvveetC onununion with God. 4. It is <« 
puce Joy* ^irmey and Fure^ and V^-doggid Joy ; an unconverted man 
h,ath his joy, and his delights, and his mirth, and pleafure ; 
but there are three doleful burdens under which all this while he 
lies. I. Notwithftandin^ all his joyes, he lies under the ha- 
tred of Godo . 2. Notwichilanding all his joyes, he lies under 
the dominion of his fmful Lufts. 3. Notwithftanding all his 
joyes, he lies under the power of a Guilty, and Accufing, and 
Condemning Confcience ; but now the Converted mans joy is 
aPerfe6ljoy, a Wei -grounded joy ; God loves him, Chrift 
hath fatisfyed for him, his heart is fan6i:ifyed, and his con- 
Mi-mtW ending fcience pacified. ^. It is aT»ell ending joj- ; A joy which ends 
Ifh . in joy : an unconverted man hath his joyes and pleafures,but they 

end in Griefe and horror. O my poor Soul, faid Adrian^ when 
he was dying, whither art thou now going ? all thy Mirth, and . 
Joy, are at an end .• nee mfoles dahlsjocosy thou art- ^ovn^ away, 
and all thy joyes are going away : Luk. i5. i ^. But Abraham 
faid to DiveSy Remember thmthon in thy life time received ft thy 
oqodthlngSy and LAz^arus evill-thngs "j bm nonv he Is comforted^ 
and thoH art tormented, Dives fared fumptuoiifly every day, he 
had pleafure on earth, but after them his foul went into hel! 
torments : he never had pleafure more. Babylon, it is faid of 
her Rev. 18.7. hoyi> much (he hath glorified her felf^ and lived 
dpllcloHJlyj fo mtich torment and forrow give her : Job f peeking 
©f theWicked,chap. 21.7 . faith, That they take the Timbrel and 
Harfy and re-oyce at the found of the Organ : v. 12. they fpend 
their dayes w wealthy and In a moment go down to the Grave : 
Solomon fpeaks ironically to the Voluptuous Youthes, EccIeC 1 1. 
^ Reoyce young man In thy Totfthy and let thy heart cheer 
thee In the dayes of thy ToHth-, and walk^ In the wayes_ of thine . 
hfarty and tnthe pght of thine eyes ; But kjitw thoHy that for 
nil theft things God will bring thee into Judgment : So then the 

of the Returning Prodigd. ^ ^ p 

converted man's joy> is a (hort joy, and a joy that ends in bitter- 
citlbrrovv: But a converted man's joy > is a lafiingjoy, and it 
ends in perfe6t joy; vviiv^n he dies, yet his grace dies not, yet 
his joy dies not : fVell done good and faithful Servant ^enter into thy 
Maficr*s joy ; the end of hfe, is the beginning of all joy. 

<5. It is a trdnfcendent joy ; it exceeds all worldly joyes. A tranfceiidciic 
Pial. 4. 7. Thou hafl frngiadnefs In my heart , more th^n in the joy. 
lime that their C9rn and their fvine increafed, Pfal. (5o. 3, Thy 
loving k.iy^rie[s is better then life, 

Qiiffl, 3. Whydoch Convcrfion make the fouls condition fo Rcifons of it. 
joyful? Sol, it cannot but befo, ii youconfider Convcrfi- 
on, either as to God, or as to Chrift, or as to Confcience. 

I. As to God, As to God. 

1. Trtic dnverji^n is the certain ejfeU of Gods gracious elegit- Convjrlion 2s 
9n\ Although Converfion be not the caufe of eledion, yet it is the certain ef- 
the fruit of ele6tion, it is the counterpane of eIe6Hon. A6i:. 1 3. ^^,^^} ^^^* 
4^. e>^-f many as were ordained to eternal life^ believed, 1 Thef. 

1,4. Knowingy Brethren J Beloved^ thee led:ioft of God, v. 5. For 
§nr Gofpel came not to yon in word only , but in power alfoy and in 
the Hoi J Ghofl„ 2 Pet. i. ic. Give diligence to make yonr cal* 
ling and eleElion fur e. When the word comes totheperfon, in 
the Letter only , this is no fign of his ele6lion, but when it 
comes in power, and in the Holy Ghoft it is ; for to come in 
povver,and in theHoIy Ghoft,is mightily,and eflfed^ually to change 
and convert a perfon , and this the Apoftle makes an evidence of 
eledlion ; and queftionlefs , a copy of a man's eledlion cannot 
but be a caufe of great joy • Rejoyce (faith Chrift to his Difci- 
ples ) ihsit your names are written in heaven: Oh, what a com- 
fort is it to know that God from all eternity hath written and re- 
corded it down , This is the man whom I will have mercy 0n,and 
will glorifie to all eternity ! 

2. True Convcrfion , It is the fnguUr fruit of God's great It « a iintui^t 
Love^ and of his rich mercy to a mans foul , the fure token of J*""" °*' ^'^-^ 
great love : God hath a common love and mercy , and God hath 

a choice love and mercy ; there are fome to whom he hath a great 
love, and unto whom he fliews rich mercy : Now Converfion 
is a drop out of that great Ocean ; the man is greatly beloved 
of God, who is converted by God. i Joh. 3. i. Behold wh^t 
manner of L$vethe Father hath beflomd onnSy that r»c (hould be 

X X a ^ called 

jAQ Cods gracious Acceptance 

called the So>is of God, Eph. 2.4,^. Bnt Gsd^ypho Is rich inmir-^ 

cy.for hisgredt loie yvheremth he loved tu^ \\^,Eve?j when we 
were dead infms^ kath cjucksiedm. 
It brings z foul ?• True Converfion brings a fod tvtder f.Il the good And kind 
ander sll the LAKgHAge of God^ under the fm:les ef Gid'. All the Ordinan- 
fmiksaf God. ces are ^s ^l'lk, and Honey, ?nd Wine, and Oyle to a convert- 
ed man. The Word is a good Word to hkn, and the Sacrjim ent 
is a good Sacrament to him ; Why ! when an unconverted man 
hears of all the mercy , and kindnefs , and happinefs which God 
portions out for a converted finner ; I fay, when he hears of all 
chis , and gets but a lick or a taife of it upon the top of his 
Tongue, it'erfeds him, and makes him glad. Herod heard John 
Baptift^W/jK , and the ixony ^wund received the feed with /o^ ; 
and lliarl not the converted m.m, whofe due portion all this is, 
fhall not his heart have joy and gladnefs ? lliall ^ ftranger 
who peeps over into the Garden, and is afpeclator only at 
the Feaft, fhall he find a relilli? and lliall not he who 
hatk the Pofie at his Nofe fmell the fweetnefie ? lliall 
not he who eates at the Table , be filled with the ^ood- 
nefle, and fat, and m-^rrow, ana rejoyce , and bleffe 
G^ ? 
It IS the dafp 4- True Converfion, It is a CUfpe ^ the Golden Clafpetf 
of the Cove- that ezerlafiing Covenant of Gods Grace, Note here two 
nam of Grace things. i.' All the defireable delicacies of the foul arc 
treafured up in the Covenant of Gods Grace ; in it are 
contained all the gracious attributes in God, all the graci- 
ous affe6lions of God , all the gracious relations of God, 
all the gracious promifes and engagements o^ God. There 
you find the reconciled God, the merciful God , the par- 
doning God, the fin-fubduing God, the ftrengthning and 
helping God, the guiding and upholding God, the blelling and 
comforting God ; you cannot think of a mercy for the 
foul-, ef a mercy for the body, of a mercy for this life , 
of an happinefs after this life, but there it \s^ but there 
it is for you , but there it is afl'uredly for you. 2. Every 
converted perfon is in this Covenant ; Why ! the new heart, 
and the new fpirit , ( is not this Converfion ? ) are a very part 
©f it ; Ez^ehi, -3,6^ i6, I will give them a nevo heart , and a ficvp 
li^rit : If this befo, tben certainly Converfion brings a perfon 


ef the Returning Prodigal, 54 1 

into a very joyful condition. Mirk a little : If the mercies 
which miny receive only from P;ovidjnce do del'ght and pleafe 
them , Hiall not the mercies which men receive from Gods 
Covenant ple-ife and rejoyce th:m ? Bread is fweet to an 
hwngry m.m , out of vvhaifoever hand it comes; and is it not 
more fweet when it com^s out of the hind of love and 
kindnefs ? O Sirs ! even the ordinary mercies to a converted 
m.in,havea fweet difiinilion in them ; they are fo pcrfum :d , 
they are fo diitilled, they are fo carved, they are all of 
them the kifles of a father, the gifts of a gracious God. 
Every bit of Bread thou eatefi, aid every draught of Beer 
thou drinkefi, and every piece of Cloath thou wearefi, it is 
the fpecial provihon of thy moft gracious God, and thy lov- 
ing Father : If fome me royal mercy in th^ Corenant be 
able fometimes to fweeten an Ocean, to turn hell into heaven, 
to wipe off all tears , and put the foul almoft into anextafie 
of joy ; what rivers of joy then can the whole Covenant 
afford ? If the lifting up cf the light of Gods countenance 
upon the foul , ( which is but one beam of the Covenant ) 
if his faying to a man, Soul , I am thy Salvation ; if one 
word , Son , he of good cheer , thy fins are forgiven thee , 
im^'>rints a fuperlative comfort, a joy unfpeak.ible and full 
of glory; if one drop be fo f^veet, how fweet is the Foun- 
tain ? if one Grape , what is the clufter of Grapes ? Now 
not only this or that mercy in the Covenant belongs to a 
converted man , but every mercy , the God of all mercies , and 
all the mercies of God ; the God of all comforts, and all the 
comforts of God. 

5. True Converiion, Jt is the inUUlble fore-runner^ the Izh&amhWU 
earnefly the pawn of Glory : the pledg vvhich God leaves in ^1* forerunner 
hand, the firll fruitsof thy eternal Glory in the h'gheft hea- °f S^o^l- 
vens ; and is nor this a caufe of great joy? if I look back, and 
fee a love from all eternity; if forward, and fee a glory to all 
eternity. Truly, if I lliould never taHe Honey on earth ; if all 

the Wells of a prefent comfort were (topped up , if my Father 
iliould never fmileon me in the vvay,if all my Life were a fayling 
ow brinifh tears , and my Ship \vere ftill to be toflcd with 
tcoublefome waves ; yet , if I were fure at 'length td put 
jn at this Port, to come fafe to Heaven at length, toaopear 



Gods gracious AcceftAnce 


bdfore the God of Gods at the la(i, to fee him in Glory, 
and enoy his face, and the pleafures at his right hand foe 
evermore, even this confidence and afliirance were enough 
to make me to re Joyce in the hope of the Glory of God. Oh 
Chrilfian , beiides all that joy which arifeth from converting 
grace ( which is it felf a Aveet Rofe ) and befides all thole 
Honey dewes which fall upon the foul in the exc^rcife of grace,, 
in the way to Hea\'en, ( Thou meeteft him that reojcsth And 
workjth rtghtesnfnejs , tho[e that remember thee In thy Tva-yes^ 
Ifai. 64. 5. ) There is alio refer ved in the higheli heave^ns , 
that moft perfect happinefs , that moft perfect tranquillity, 
that moft perfect joy ; Oh, Icannotexprefs it, I cannot com- 
prehend it. I Pet. I. 3. He hath begotten us again tints a 
lively hope, v, 4. To an inheritance incorrnpihle , and un- 
.defiled y and that faaeth mt away ^ reserved Inhe/ivenfor yon, 
*' Ponder the words \ an inheritance , the bell of poffeili- 
*' ons ; incorruptible , the beft of inheritances ; undefiled , 
*' the beft of incorruptibles ; unfading, the beft of undefileds ; 
'** and referved in heaven , the beft of unfadings : Nothing 
*'isfo furely kept as that which is kept in heaven for us, and 
** born unto all ihis, and a lively hope of all this : Oh,what com- 
fort 1 Oh, what joy comes out of all this ! If I had all the world , 
and lookt up towards heaven, but my heart ftiould tell me, that 
goodly Canaan will never fall to thy pordon ; it would be now 
with me,as once with v^^^^,who, though he enfoyed a Kingdome, 
yet was very fad^ becaufe the heavens were ds Brafs to him. But in 
the midft of all diftrcffes to look up to Heaven, to think of God, 
and the future Beatifical Vifton, and upon infallible grounds, to 
fay, that God is my Father, that Heaven is my inheritance, that 
place of Glory is my home, there fhall I be lliortly, there fhall I 
be to eternity,! have die eameft of it,the pawn of it in my heart, 
the firft fruits, &c. 

2. Secondly cXf to Chrlft : The converted condition can- 
not but be joyful,becaufe the converted perfon hsLih,i, A neer rela- 
tion toChrlfi ; Bone of his Bone. 2, tA,l^»gularprofrlfty In 
Chrlfi ; my beloved Is mlne^ &c. ; . An admirable revenue hy 
€hrlfl ; wonderful riches, of andbyChrift allarey§urs^ for se 
^t Chrl/hs, 4. He Is h>ught by Chrlft^ and reconciled oy 
Chrift, and loved by Ckrift, and diichargedby Chrift, and 


-^ — ■ - 

of the Returning Fredtgd, 343 

owned by Chrift, and defended by Chrilt, and kept byChrijft, 
and lliall one day befaved by Chritt. 

3. As to Coyjjcience : As a mans confcience is, fo is his comfort As to Canfci- 
or difcomfort, fo is his joy orlorrovv : One drop of an evil con- encc. 
fcience (faith Lmher) doth imbitter the whole Sea of worldly joy : , 
an evil confcience is an hell in the breR^and in hell (faid Latimer) 
there is no mirth.-and on the contrary, a good confcience it is a kind 
of heaven ;-, one good word from it will fwceten all our miferies, 
and caufe us to rcjoyce under all forrows. Solormn faith It Is 4 
cmtlntfol feal^yix. is the year of J«^//^^;confcience fpeaks the truelt 
joy,and the Rrongeit joy, and the highelt joy, and no man hath a 
good confcience but a good man : Confcience cannot fpeak peace 
till a man be converted ; and when he is converted , confcience 
hath then a commiiTion and authority to look on the man,and fpeak 
to the man as God doth. When thou heareft of pardon of fins, 
Oh,faith confcience,hearken and be of good cheer,that s thy por- 
tion : when thou heareft of Jefus Chrift,and of hisfutferings,and . 
of his fatisfa6lions,and merits,hearken,faith confcience, and take 
hold,for all this alfo is thy portion ; when thou heareft the Co- 
venant of Grace gracioufly explained, and all the glories in hea- 
ven ; Oh, faith confcience, all this alfo is thy portion : when - 
thou art about to pray, and fears are intruding themfelves ; do not 
fear, faith confcience , thou art fpeaking to thy Father : when ^ 
thou art about to dye, and tremblings are upon thee, do not doubt 
or tremble , faith confcience , thou art going to thy God ; when , 
Satan fuggefts thou h-ift nothing to do with the mercy-feat, what, , 
fuch afinner ? thou haft,faith confcience; when unbelief fuggefts, 
Chrift will have nothing to do with thee , he will , faith confci- - 

Now , againft all that hath been faid ; it is obje6^ed, That the - 
affection of joy for a converted perfon cannot be true : Becaufc 
i.No perfons arefo expofed to aflBi6lions,and perfecutions,and in- 
famies as converted perfons.They are appointed to them, 1 Thcf. ^. 
And they that will live godly in Chrift Jefus , muft fuffer perfe- - 
cutions ; how can that condition be fo very joyful, which may, 
and oftentimes doth deprive a man of all his comf^ rts. 2. Con- - 
verfion brings the perfon into a narrow path,and under thef-lraiteft 
rules,even fuch as condemn^and cut off a vvorl J of pleafures, and 
del^hts 5 caia that condition be very joyful which denies us the 


2^^ Cods gracious Acceptance 

fruition of m.iny joyes and delights. r. Converfion breeds the 

decpeli fenfe of lin, and the greatcllmcurning for fins ; Noth ng 

mikes the heart more mournful then coiwertin^ grace. S^t Zach, 

12. lo. Can that condition be fo very joyful, which m. ikes the 

hear tfo exceeding mournful? 4. We iee no f crfons walk more 

uncomtbrtably then ( at le.iif ) feme converted peribns : Yet the 

elf ate is joyful,thou§h the man is not alwayes fo ; God^ii a God 

of comforr, and they can pray for comfort ; comfort, O Lord , 

thy fervants foul ! But more fully. 

How can this Oi;/^,i, Noperlonsare fo expofed to alHidlions andperfecu- 

condi:ionbe tions as Converted perfons , and thefe do deprive us of joy and 

joyful that is comfort. 

lofxpofedto Tothslanfwer, i. Itisatruth that Converfion doth expofe 
* A f^"^'d. ^ p^rfon to m©ft alHidions and perfecutions.; Many are the ^Z- 
HioKS of thirlghteoHS^imh DAVidjViAr^^.i^, All that wl I Hive 
godly in Chrifi J ejus ^ mufi fhffer perfecationy faith Paul^z Tim. 5, 
1 2 . F/7/V lucls^^^tFilti crucis^irid Chrifiianus is CrHCianfis((iid Lu- 
ther,) In the World yotifhall have tropthles (faid Chrill to his Difci- 
ples) and the Difclple ts r,ot above his Mafier ; if the Mafter dyed 
upon the Crofs,is it much that the Difciple take up the Cfcfs ? Ne- 
verthelefs in the fecond place , as it was emblemed in Reverend 
Hoofers MoitG^ There was a Li^mb in a £.iming Bulli, with 
the Sun fliining upon it; or as it was with the three Chil- 
dren , though they were in a fiery Furnace , yet the Son 
of God walked with them, and preferved them: So, though 
converted perfons meet with many affli6lions , there is yet a 
fpring of joy, a Sun of comfort open unto them ; therefore heed 

I. AfjUBionsaKdferfecmions dornlj take away theChrlftians 

Affl^a^ons on- ^,^^^^^^ comforts : The Shell,not the Kernel ; the Cafe, not the 

their outwfrd Jewel ( which neither make nor marr the joy and comfort 

comforts. of a converted perfon ) they do not take away tha true prin- 

" ciples of comfort. There are three forts of comforts ; Senfual ; 

which are drawn out of our finfuJ luRs ; Converfion is an enemy 

to thefe : Senfiive ; which' are drawn out of the creatures; a fflidi- 

on is an enemy to thefe: Sflrltmly which are drawn out of the 

favour of God, the blood of Chrill, theTell'monyof a good 

confcience ; atBi6lions cannot hinder thefe, and only a finful un- 

convirfion is' an enemy to thefe : Tke Winter freiezeth up the 

of the Returning Prodigal, 

_ ,345_. 

Ponds, bun not the Ocean i the winds bloTV out the Candle, 
but not the Sun : An Unconverted man n^ay have an exemption 
from all outward Afflidlions, and yet have no inward Joy ; fo: 
although he hath peace with men, yet he hath no peace with 
God ; and although he hath no trouble upon his Ethte, yet he 
may have terror upon his Confcience. But a Converted man, al- 
though he be compafled with out\Yard Sorrows , neverthelefs he 
hath inward Joy ; though all the Candles be blown out, yet I 
am Comforted as long as the Sun doth lliine. There are two 
forts of evils ; there are mala trlftia^ dr mala turfia : affli6tL- 
ons are only Sorrowful evils as to our fenfc, they are not Sin- 
ful evils as to our confcience. Now no evil is able to take away 
fpiritual comfort, unlefs it be a i^nfuU evil ; I confefs, that did 
a godly man look upon creature comforts as his ifomm uhimtim^ 
as that which made him happy, then afHidlions would be incon- 
fifient with his joy, he might well cry out, as Micah onc^y Te 
have takjn away my gods^ and what have I more ? But he doth 
not fo : It is not the Creature, but^the Creator , which is the 
foundation of his Happinefs and joy. A man may be Bad Who 
hath them, and Good who wants them : // tve had hope tnly 
in this life (faith the Apottle, \Cor.\^.) yoe were of aR men the 
mo ft miferahle, I with that you would or could give credit unto 
two things, one is. That that only m:ikes the efkte comfortable 
which denominates it to be good ; for nothing can be truly de- 
lightful, but what is truly good. The other is. That there is a 
greater power in the prefence of the chiefeft good to make the 
Soul joyful , then there can be in the recefs or abfence of the 
leaft kind of g^od to make it uncomfortable. Were Aflfli6lions 
the greateft evils, and were Creatures the beft good, then joy j 

could not confift with afflidlions ; but God is the chiefeft good, 
and the Chriftian enjoyes him under all affli6lions as his infepa- 
rable good; ^rgo, 2. As AfHicVions do not take off the Times of af--' 

Chriftians true joy, fo the times of ajjilcilons are oft times the mofi flift ions arc bis 
frofer feafoMS for joy and comfort t9 hu foul. There are three ^^^ proper 
fealons of fpecial comforts which God is pleafed to referve for ^"^°°* ^°^ ^'^' 
his fervants , one is after great temptations^ or to prepare againft 
them ; as that Voice, 7%is u my well he loved Sony came to 
Chrift immediately before bis temptation. The fecofld is, ^fter 

Yy great: 

^a6 €odsgrAcms Acccftanee 

' ffCM HtimiliMions. God who csmfons them that Are eafl dovf^y 

iutn Paul y 2Cor.j.6. The Angel comforted Chriii after his 
Agony ; the Cordial comes after the Phyfick. The third 
is, before and under great affi61:ions and tryals; Paul vvas.to 
appear before Neroy but firit God appeared to him fayir;gy Be of 
good c heer Paul . He u come^ he is co % ^ , faid the Martyr when 
nefaw thefta^e; and^re-p^f^ [aw heaven opened before he dy- 
ed. The comforts of heaven ci^me into his heart juR before 
theflones were thrown at hm to daili out his brains. 2 Cor, 
1.3. Bjjfed kGtdy even the Father of oar Lord Jefns Chri/}, 
the Father of mercies ajid God of all comforts , who comforteth 
HS in all our trlbtilaiions ; for as^ our fujferings ahoHndy fo our 
C9nfolationahomdeth through Chrifi, Is not the night afeafon 
to light a Candle ? and is not weaknefs the feafon to give a 
Cordial ? and is not the winter a feafon to make a Fire ? When 
doth or can the Chriiiian more need the comforts of God, then 
when all comforts en earih do fail him ? ^. As afflictions 
/ffliaions dejrrive not the ChrilHan of the true principles of Joy, fo r.ei- 
cannoc hinder ^^^ ^^^ they hinder thofe principles in himfelf from aBing in a way 
©fYoV'from^ (>f comfort. There are two principles (efpeciallyj in theChri- 
aamginaway ftian which enable h^m to joy and cemfort : One is Faith i 
of ccmfori. It is ttill Day,and never Night with Faith ; the Star fhines bcft 
in the night ; (Believing ye rejoyced with joy unfpeakahle andfuK 
if Glory^ I Pet.i.8.) iSJow Faith can aa very comfortably in 
uncomfortable times; it can fee the fame God, with the fame 
Love, and in the fame Covenant, and in the fame Relation, in 
Adverfity as in Profperity: i/^^.^.iy. ^Although the Fig-tree 
jhoill not hlojfomey T^c. yet I will rejoyce in the Lord^ &c, Rom. 
J. 3. And not only foyhut we glory in tribulation^ &c, i Sam.ip.^^ 
the people fp^ke of ftoning him, ^t David encouraged himfelf 
in the Ltrd his God. Rom.8. 35. J^ho fhall feparate us fnm 
the love ofChrifi ? &c. If even in afflictions I can go unto the 
fame armes of Chrift, and unto the fame breftsof divine Love, 
and into the fame chamber of Prefence ; if I can look upon 
God as my God, and fee him to be my Father, that I can make 
known my heart toh?m, and he can make known his favour to 
me, what (hould hinder me new to be Joyful, who ftrll do en- 
joy him who ("alojae) makes all my joy? Another is, the 


cf the Returning ?rodigd, 347 

TeHlmony of Cortfclence ; This is the Friend in adverfity. This' 
is onrrejoyc'iyjg^ even the teHtmony of o^r Cor^fclerjce^ 2 Cor. 
I. 1 2. Conlcience is a mins night or day, his Hell or I:feaven, 
his Palace of delight or Jail of bitternefs ; If Conlcience be 
fan6):i[ied or pacified, itcanfpeak a peace or joy that none can 
cruili ; none can hinder, but under the greateft afflid: ons and 
perfecutions a converted man may and doth enjoy theteftimony 
of a good Confcience : Thou art uf right y fa'th Confcience to 
Hfz.ekjah on his fick-bed ; Thoitfeareft 6ody faith Confcience 
to J oh under the lofs of all ; Thou loveH Chrifty faith Confci- 
ence to Pau/y even in the Prifon. 

Ohjea, 2. Now to the fecond Objec^lion, That converting brin^uHntr 
Grace brings the perfon into a narrow path, and under the ftri- amfrow path, 
6Vett rules, even fuch as condemn a multitude of joys and de- i: i$ an enemy 
lights ; how can that condition be fo joyfull, which denies and to many dc- 
abridgeth, drc ? Sol, To this I anfwer. ^ ^'&^"- 

1. It is granted, That converting Grace brings the perfon in- Anfwercd. 
to a very narrow path, and under very ftrid rules. A converted There is a 
man mufl not walk as other men ; he mull not al!ow himfelf to ftriancfs re- 
think, and defire, and love, and fpeak, and a6l as formerly ; 4^"<a» 
He mufl: fear to fin, he muH love the Lord with all his heart, and 

with all his foul, and with all his might ; he mui\ order kis fleps 
by the Word of God ; he muft deny himfelf, and cmciRQ his -^ 

deareft lults, and not fhun the hardeft duty, nor delight in the 
lesft iniquity. 

2. But then, Thi^ ftrl^lnef is no adverfary t>o his trite joy. Ik This ftrldneft 
kjeplfjg of thy commandments there is great reward^ faith David-, '^ noadverrary 
Pfal, I p. II. Great peace have they who lovethj lawy Pfal. 119. ^^ ^^"^ ^^^' 
16%, As many as yvalk^accordlng to this rule^ peace Jpi en them^ 

and mercy upon the Ifrael of Gody Gal. 5. 1 5. I bcfeech you to 
confider four things : i. Let thine own Confcience judge ^ whether 
it he not a more comfort ahk courfe to ohey Gody then to dlfobey God ? 
to have grace to ferve God acceptably, then to have an heart Rill 
free and ready todiilionour and provokeGodPWho hath moft true 
comfort, the bones found and in place, or broken ? to walk on 
the Land, or to be troubled at Sea ? the Child who runs away 
from his Father, or the Child who waits upon his Father ? the 
Child that defires to pleafe, or the Child that continues to grieve 
and vex ? the wandring and famished Prodigal, or the returning 

Yy 2 and 

54.8 ^^^^ Gracious Acceptance 

and embraced Son. Hof, 2. 7. / wii/ return to my firfl Husband-^ 
{or tien it was better with me then now. 2. Rightly underhand 
what it u ftn^ilj to wa'k^ with God ; It is an endeavour in your 
affe6lions and duties to draw near to God in ail well-plevifing, 
and to anfwer txhe will of God. The ChriiHans courfe of obedi- 
cnce,it is his daily communion with his God in this life : When 
thou prayert, what is Praying, but a divine conference of the 
foul withGod ? ai\d when thou hearefi, what is this but a di- 
vine conference of God with the foul? and when thou repent- 
di, what is that but a recovery and return of the foul to .God ? 
and when thou believeft, what is that but the recumbency of the 
foul on the goodnefs of God ? and when thou receiveft the Sacra- 
ment, what is it^ but a communion, a feafling with Jefus Chrift ? 
If a ftri6l walking be nothing but a divine and heavenly com- 
munion with God, why doeft thou, how dareii thou to judge of 
it as the onely Bar to iliut out all joy and comfort ? Was there 
ever any affeiiionate Wife, that thought it an injury to her Joy 
to fpeak with her Husband, or to enjoy the fociety of her Huf- 
band ? Was there ever any faithfull Friend, who thought it a 
mifery, a burthen to enjoy xh^ fociety of his Friends, to open 
his heart unto his Friend ? How then can it be a prejudice to 
any mans joy, to enjoy communion with his God ? 3. Con- 
fult with experienccy which hath travelled in the ftrid ways of 
God ; either thine own experience, ( if any,) which day of thy 
life kath been clofed up with heartieft joy ? whether the day of 
iicentioufnefs, or the day of ftri6hiefs ? That day which thou 
hafl let out to thy lulis,haih made the night a trembling to thee; 
that day which thou hail redeemed for walking with God, hath 
always given unto thee the fweeteft refi and repofe at night : 
' The experience of godly people ; have any of them ever found 
more foul rejoycing then when they have abounded in ftri^left 
obedience ? This is thy burthen, but it is their ddight ; the 
pureft walking hath diftilled the fweetel^ joy, and their loofer 
walking hath been thecaufe of their grcateft forrows. It is with a 
ftri6t ChrilHan as with the Sun, which ftill keeps to the Ecliptiquc 
Line, and is of all the Stars the moft glorious and comfortable 
when it is at the highefl; and the higher Sun,the purer and warm- 
er light : And it is with the loofe Chriftian as with the uneven 
fdot, the wry fteppiBgis thecaufe of unj5ynting,or pinching and 


of the Returniiig Prodigal. 3 49 

paining. 4. The firiciwalk^i^gy what is it but a path te ever-^ • 
lasting life ? every ikp of it is a liep to heaven. Strait is the 
gate which leads unto life^ faith Chrilt ; There is an eafie way 
for m^n to walk in, but that s the way to hell, and what comfort 
is it, afccr all to go to hell, to go to hell with eafe. There is* a 
ftrict way for men to walk in, but it is the way to life, to eternal 
life : NovY even that alone is fu fHcient to create joy, that thefe 
ileps after a while Will bring me to appear before the God of 
Gods in Sion ; and truly, there is no end whatfoever, the which 
if it be ( in it felf ) amiable and comfortable, but it darts alfo 
an amiablenefs and comfortablenefs upon all the Heps and paths 
which tend unto it, 

3. Laftly, CorwertingGrace doth not condemn or deny any law- Convertinz ■ 
f till joy and comfort : It doth onely two things ; i. It abfo- grace denies 
lutely condemns and abridgeth the foul of man of all finfull joys, "oc any lawfull 
of joys and delights which arife from his finfuU lufls and ways ; i^^* 
and is it not the great goodnefs of Cod, to deny us leave to drink 
cups of poifon, and glafles of hell ? Or is it poilible that any 
Chriftian iliould fet up finfull lulls for his fouls delight ? The 
Lord be merciful! to thee, that fin fhould be thy delight, which 
is a departing of the poor foul from God, which is an incenfing 
of the wrath of God, which was fuch a dreadful! burthen to Je- 
fus Chrift, which puts tlie foul under the wrath and curfe of God ; 
one a6l whereof muft coft more then all the world is worth to 
pardon it, 2. It doth onely order our outward 1 a wfull joys 
and delights, for the feafons, for the meafures, for other circum- 
ftanccs ; fo that they may be our fauce, not our food ; our helps 
to Godlincfs, not damps thereto : It is but the Bridle on tlie 
Horfe, the Pale for the Garden, the Finger on the Dial. Con- 
verfion abridgeth us of no delight, but of that which to want 
is a true delight; and fo orders the reft, that you maynotlofe Convcrfion^ -' 
delight. makes us 

Ob':eH, :?. Conver/ion breeds the quickeR fenfe of (ifi, and mournful for 
the dcepeft mourning for fin, yea, a continual mourning for fin, ^"' ?"^*!-°^^ 
makes the clouds to drop, never mournful! till converted ; and "^y" 
can that condition be fo joyful! which makes the heart fo mourn^ Anfwcted. ] 

full ? . T^ue grace 

To this I anfwer, i. It is certain, that true grace i. doth makes the 
M-^ke the fle^refi- difcovery of fn : z. Jp yields the tendered fenfe ^"" 1"°"^^* 5 

J JO Oods gr actons Acceftarics 

ofjifty (ioi it takes avvay the heart of ftone; and gives an h^art 
of fleflij and nothing m.ikes the heart more mournfull, then 
true grace. 
E K this h not ^' ^^^^ ^^^^^ knovv, that moHrnwg for fm anA jojf in the heart 
iiiconlitknc ^^^ ^^ ^^^7 inconft stent. Ifai 12. 3. ;^/V/j ;<?/ (h(iU je drarv wa^ 
\i^iib joy. ter out of the wells of falvation, • Three things 1^ would grant, 

I. Thatloveof fin and true joy are inconfittent ; 2. Worldly 
forrovv and fpiritual joy are inconfiiknt ; 3. That terrour for 
fin and joy of heart are inconfiftent ; Legal terrour and Evan- 
gelical joy are fo, but Evangelical forro.v and Evangelical joy 
are not fo *, for as one grace is eonfiiknt with another grace, fo 
one heavenly atfe6lion is confident with another heavenly affe- 
6lion. And there are three things which ( to me ) fully con- 
vince,ThatEvangelical mourning is confi(-tent with Spiritual joy : 
One is. That fuch a mourning is but a drop out of the eye of 
faith ; They fha/l loo'<^ ufon him whom they have fierce d^ and 
mourn-i Zach. 12. 10. and certainly, nothing comes from faith, 
but what is comfortable ; all is Gofpel that Faith trades in. 
Another is, That the mourning heart is ^ renewed heart, and ve- 
rily the gracious heart is a joyoui heart. The third is, That the 
mourning finner is a pardoned finner ; ( Cum intueor flentem^ 
fentis ignofcihllem^) if the fountain of forrow be fet open in the 
heart, the fountain of mercy is fet open in heaven, Zach. 12.10. 
compared with chap. 13. i. Yea let me add to this alfo three 
experiences : i. One is this. That the Christian is ^evermore 
fad and mournfully then when he feels his heart lea ft mourn full : 
He is then c-aft down ; O ( faith he ) into vvhat a condition am 
I brought ? I was wont to find a tender, fenfible mourning 
fpirit ; but mc thinks now my heart is grown hard again :• O 
Lord, why am I now hardened frc^n thy fear ? And the man 
never gives over with God and himfelf, until tendernefs 
be renewed in his heart again. 2. Ihat the Christian Is 
never more joyfull , then when he is mo ft mournfull : Blef- 
fed are they that faw hepdes all TVaters ^ faith the Pro- 
phet. Blejfed are they that mourn^ for they (hall k csmfort- 
edy faith Chrift. They that fow in tears (kail reap in 
joyy faith David. Godly forrow is the Water that- is turn- 
ed into Wine ; One drop of a guilty Confcience is a-ble 
- to turn all our Joyes into Bittcraefs , and one drop of 


" — ' m ■ ■■ iwiiiMi ■ I 

of the Rettirning Prodigal, . jj i 

godly forrovv is able to turn all our bitternefs into joy. / rejojcfy 
faith Paul, thdt I miUeyouforry ; what c^ufe then had they to 
rejoyce.who were forry ? forry after a godly fort ; forry with a for- 
ro.v that bred repentance unto falvation , never to be repented of. 
^. That the Chrifiia^ is never more mournful then when he ts 
mofi joyful : The time of a Chriftians higheft joy, is the tim 

of his greatelt aflurance : Sealing and affuring times are the foul- 
raifmg and reviving times. And the times of greateft aflurance, 
are the times of our greatett mournings .• The more manifefta- 
tion of Cods Love, and the more aflurance of Gods Mercy,do 
ever caufe in the heart more Humility and more forrow ; here 
is now the greateft joy for mercy, and here is now the greateft 
mourning for finning againfi mercy. 

ObjcB^, 4. We fee noperfons to walk more fadly and moreun- ^j ^umo per- 
comfortably then (at leaft) many do who are converted perfons, |?"^ ^^^ ^^^^ 
Ergo. To this give me favour to anfwer more fully : i . This ^^^J^^ p^^vcTm' 
is ^FalfeCharge^ and a very unjuft Calumny : take the divifi- Anfwcred, 
onsof the fons of men according to the diveriity of their fpi- ItisaFalfc 
ritual conditions, compare men with men, according unto them, Charge 
and I dare confidently affirm. That no condition is more dread- 
fully fad then the condition of men Unconverted ; and no con* 
dition is more comfortably cheerful , then the condition of 
men truly Converted ; let's a while perufe the phrafes and in- 
ftances of fuch. Me thinks the terrible paflages in Scripture 
may abundantly convince us of the dreadfulnefs of' an Uncon- 
verted and wicked pcrfon> Ifa.5'7.20. The wicked are like the 
raging fea that cannot refiy whofe waters caft up mire and din, 
ver.2i. There is no peace ^ faith my God^ to the wicked. Job 20. 
i^, 17, 2:^, '•4,25. there Zophar {qIs him out: Hefhallfuck^ 
the gall of y^fpSj and the Vipers tongue fhall flay him. He fhall 
not fee the Rivers^ ntr the floods and fireams of Honey and 
Butter, when he is about to fill his belly , God fhall fend upon 
him the fiercenefs cf his wrath , and (kail caufe it to rain 
upon him. The bow of Steel fhall ffrik^ him through , the 
gliftring fword cometh out of his gall , terrors are upon him, 
Pfal. 11.6. XJprn the wicked he fhall rain fnares y fire and 
brtmftone^ and an horrible tempefi •. this fhalt be the portion of 
their cup. Again , did you ever read of any one godly 
and converted perfon who fell into that horrible ddTpair 


Gods gracims -Acceptance 

as Cain or ^ndas did ? B,ut take the hardetl agonies incident to 
true converts, they are i. rather fears then horrours j 2. rather 
doubts then defpairs ; 3. effeds of a milhking Confeience 
..then a righily condemning Confcience ; 4. They can look to- 
wards the Promifes, as Jo;^^/? did in the deeps towards God; 
5. Faith 'doth doth a6l for relief, and will hold fome cominunioa. 
with God: 6. They are abated by the Ordinances ; 7. They 
are but for a time ; 8. They end in fullefl fetling and glorious 
comforts, andlikewife wi:th advantage to their gracious conditi- 
on. And truly, it is impodible that wicked and ungodly men 
iliould ever enjoy that ferenity and peace as the §odly do, for 
as much as all the principles and caufes of uncomfortablenefs 
abide on the wicked. i, Sm is In them in all its flrength : 
They have a thoufand hells and arrows cf guilt flicking in their 
hearts ; they have fouls full of plague fores, the deadly ftrokes 
of death, the reftlefs motions of evil fpirits. 2. They carry 
a roaring Lion in their hreftsy I mean, an evil, acculing, fmi- 
ting, wounding, racking, condemning Confcience ; which if it 
once awake, it vvill tear the caul of their hearts, and crulli them 
with the flames of unavoidable, unfuppor table and continual 
wrath. 3. 7 he J have no City qJ Refuge ojento their fucc our y 
no land or fliore, no place to caft anchor, no portion in Chrift ; 
and therefore the Law of God ftands in full force againlt their 
fouls, and under its curfe they lie, and at that Bar of Juftice 
mull they be tried. 4. Ihey end in an eternal and -ferfeU: 
Hell. 5. Take them at their beft, God is their Enemj^ (th^y 
never yet made peace with him,J and all their outward blejjlngs 
fire flee-ped in gall^ and drenched in Wormwood ; as their forrows, 
fo their bleflings are diftributed in wrath. 
Many convert- 2* Many converted ferfons are not really fad and uncom- 
Old pcrfons arc fortable^ but onely feem fo to the mean and childifh opinions of vain 
not really fads f^en^ 2 Cor. ^. 10. jis forrowfull^ yet always re joycing. The 
they onejy j^y ^^ Chriftians is an hidden joy, ( Hidden Mmnay Revel. 
2. 20.) it is a fpiritual joy to which thou art a ftranger, meat t© 
eat which thou knoweft not of. Suppofe that thou rejoyceft not 
in a fine Baby, and a Toy, which is a Childs great delight, art 
thou therefore fad .? All obje6ls yield not contentment to an 
high mind, nor joy to a good man ; he cannot take pleafure in 
an Alehoirfe and Taverw, in fwaggering and masking, in dicing 


of the Returning Prodigal, ^ ^ ^ 

and carding, and ivv'earing, ' and whoring ; but yet he can take 
delight in a reconciled uod, inaChriii, in the Word otGod, 
in praying to God, in gracious returnes trom God, in expectati- 
on of Jie Glory of God. A fwine deligh:s in mire, but a man 
doth not. Tlie Moon is oft times dark to the world , when yec 
that part which faceth to the Sun is beautiful andlightfome : The 
countenance and carriage of a ChrilHan, as to the world, feems 
dull and uncomfortable, but if you could lo.k into the heart of 
him (which faceth towards heaven) O there is Righteoufnefs, 
there is PeAce, there is joy in the Holy C hort ' 

^, If any cerrverted ferfons hefad-^andwant a^ual joy and com- If thty be fad, 
fort^ yet their Corrverfion is not the canje thereof , Can the Sun be Convcrlion is 
any^cauie of darknefs ? But, amonglt others, thefe arethe Cau- ^^\ ^^' "^^* 
fesofitj Either i. Thy Hnconv£rfion. It is the unconverted 
husband, child, mafter, which makes fadnefs in the heart of the 
converted wife, father, &c. Itis thy drunkennefs, thycurfing 
and fwearing, thy fcorning and fcofting , thy refining and iliift- 
ing the offers of Grace, thy lying and ilandering, thy pride and 
loofnefs which makes the hearts of Miniikrs ready to break, and 
the hearts of thy godly friends ready to fink in them ; O they 
tremble at thy condition, and they grieve to fee God fo extreme^ • 
lydiihonou''ed.. Ifal.iip. 136. Rlvsrs of tear jjrpm down mine 
eyes^ becanfe they keef not thy Law, ver. 1 58. W^eheld the tranf- 
greffors and was grieved^ becaufe they kept not thJfVord. 2 Pet. 2, • 
7,8. The wicked deeds of the ungodly Sodomies vexed thefonl 
of righteous Lot, Luke 19.41. Jt sw as Jerfifalems proud obilinacy, 
that wo ft Id not ky.ow in her da^y the things which concerned her peace^ 
that made Jefta- Chrifi to weep, 2 , Their Captivities to fm, Pauls 
converfion did ne\'er trouble him, but this did trouble him, that 
he didthe evil which he wohU «or;his Corruption,not Converfion; 
That the Law of his members led him captive again'^t the Law of 
his mind, lt\y^s not Peters Converfion^ hut Peters tray/fgrejjfion, 
that mide him go forth and weep bitterly. It was not Davids 
Cornier fion^ but Davids great finning^ which made him go fo hea- 
vily, and roirfo greatly, Pfal.T^z, :?. The Fears and Suf- 
pitions that vhey are not yet truly converted. wretched man that 
I amy who [hail deliver me f'-om this body of de^th ! O they feel 
fomany vvo.k'ng Corruptions ftill, and folittle^pf the ftrength of 
Ghriftftill, and fo much unbelief ftill, and fopany indifpofiti- 

Zz / cni. 

^iTA " Gods gracious Acceptance 

^ ons ftilijand To m.iny failings ftill,and To many doubis about thefe; 

This urace is not right^tiiiv; favmg Work is not begun ; and tiiefe 
tilings make them -o iigh, and Wv^ep, and go heavily all the d^y 
long. 4. The ^ are hnt newly creft out of the jke/l : The 

Spirit of^ Bondage is yet hdrdly worn crt, feme legal Dmts ftick 
on them : they are either ftillm travel, or but ncvvly delivered ; 
Or it they be got out of the ftate of Bondvige, yet they are for ihe 
prefeni under I'piritud conflicts ; and as ipiritual Bondage before 
Converlion, fofpiritual conflicts after converfion fufpends the 
tafie of a prefent and adlual joy : Or if that be not the damp, 
then perhaps it is fome ignorance or unexperience ; they are not 
yet come to read their Fathers Will and Chriits Teiiament5vvhat 
portion is left and laid cut for the Children of God : Ox if that 
be notlt, then perhaps it is a prefent fit of unbelief, they camiot 
yet be perfvvaded that God means fo much mercy, and fo much 
love, and fo many great things for them. 
Vje I. Is itfo, That C onverfion brings the perfon into a very joyful 

Information. Condition ? Hence then i. We may be Informed of four 

They are rnc- I. That they are enemies to their joy and comfort ^ who are ad- 
tnies to their verfarles to their Converfion, Prov. 1.22. How long ye fmfle ones 
j®y, who ?r£ y^lU ye love fimfllclty-^ and ye Scorners delight In f cor mng^and fools 
Conmlicn. ^^^^ kr<owledg ? Six things flievv one to be in an unconverted 
condition; Unfenfiblenefs, Love of fin, Path of evil, hatred of 
Reformation, defpifingthe Means of Converiicn, loathing of 
Ccnverted-Perfons. There are fome perfons who hate to be re- 
formed, who hold fall their iins, and will not let them go ; they 
arelikethofeftiff-necked Jewes, who^/ji^^/fj reft fled the Holy 
Ghojl ; a difobedient people to the Call of God, they refufe to 
put their necks into the yoak of Jefus Chrifl:,and will not be bound 
with his cords ; They love their finful wayes, and will not re- 
turn to the Almighty : Why ! JVme that man chlldlefs , faid 
God o'iCenlah ; So I fay of thefe men, Write them comfortlefs: 
Will theLord lye for you } Or will he mifplace his hands for you? 
• Peaceis theetfe6tof righteoufnefs, and Joy is the fruit of Con- 
verfion. And fhalt thou have pleafure,who takeft pleafure in un- 
righteoufnefs ? Shalt thou know the wayes of Peace, who wilt not 
"know the path of Holinefs ? Did ever God fmile on him who 
";iiated God ? Ox dafp him VYith joy, who defpifed his grace with 

hatred ? 

of the Returning Prodigal, jjj 

hatred ? Go enquire and fearch all the Springs of joy, and knock 
at all the Gates of pleafure, dih'gently ask, What of'deh'ght they 
contain for thee ? Knock at the n,€rcj-fi(^t^ which is the Gate of 
God, and ask ; Lord, had thou not j'-y for one who will go on in 
his fms, and will not return unto thee ? No (^faith God) not any; 
hut he whoforfakss his f'/isfhall have mercy , and he who hardens 
his heart {hall fall into mifchlef Prov. 28. i :^, 14. Knock at 
the Goffely which is the gate of Chrill: , and ask ; Blefled jefu, 
hall thou no word of comfort for him who refifts thy fpirit , and 
will not come in unto thee ? No not I (faith Chrilt; not any ; 
thou dcfpirell the goodnefs of God , and by thy Imfenitency and 
hardnefs^ treafnrefi unto thy felf wrath againfi the day of wrath. 
Knock >^ con fcience J which is the gate oi^ thine own foul, and 
ask ; O co.nfcience, Ivft thou not a word of peace to fpeak to one 
who loves his fins, and is an enemy to God and godiinefs ? Who, 
1, faith confcience! not I ; thou art an enemy of righteoulnefs , 
andin Lhegall of bitternefs, and exxept thou repent , thou llialt 
certainly periOi. Knock at the Scrlfturesy which are the Gate 
of truth , and ask ; May not the wicked and uncor,verted perfon 
fuck at the brefts of your confolation ? are not th /e wells of 
falvation open for me to draw joy and comfort out of ? Oh no, , 
fay the promifes, we are childrens bread, and legricies for fons ; 
if thou be a believer , we are a Fountain opened for thee ; if 
thou be an unbeliever , we are a Fountain fealed againft th^e. 
Knock at r.\\(^ Creatures^ which are the Gate of Pr^ovidence , and 
ask ; Have ye no CommilTion of Comfort for one who cares not 
to remember his Creator ? O no,fay all the Creatures, Sin long 
ago hath call thee out of Paradifc , and turned the earth into a 
curfe, and thy bleifings arecurfed, and thy linnings do poifon all 
the flowers in our Garden unto thee. Nay, Knock at thy very 
Sins , which are the Gate of Hell, and ask them ; Ye of all 0- 
ther are my deareil: friends, and choiceft makers, and hive ye no 
Joy es and Comforts for me ? O yes, fay they, we have, but 
they are forbidden fruit ,but they arepleafures of fin for a feafon, 
but ihey will end in everlafting torments and forrow. Thus is 
every wicked and unconverted man in T^/W condition, who cryed 
out. Behold^ thou hafi: driven me out this day from the face of the 
ear th^and from thy face fh all I he hld^andl (hall he a fugitive and a 
vagabond In theearthyG^n.^A^, 


55^ . Gods Gracious Acceftance 

2. That the J are eyiem'es and jlandercrs of the goodness a,nd 
dcrer^sof ^^' f'^^^^'^^f^ ^f the wajes of Gody who load the efiate of Convert on 
fwcetnti's of '^^^^^ ^^'^ ^^^^ igKomlnio'is reproachjs of faidnefs and heav'mefs • and 
G^ds ways, mopilhnd's, and m^lancnoly, and bitcernefs, and gravv oi all 
who ibos re- joy andpleafure: A-; the 5/;;V/ of oid traduced thegooJ and plea- 
prosch cne ftate |-^j^|. j^j^^ ^f Ca aan^ which al?9'.irJsd with mllk^ andhony^ O it 
/ * * was a land that did eat up the Inhabitants thereof ; But as God 
fpake once to -Aaron and Adlriam^ Haw were je not afraid to 
ffeak^agalnfi my fervant Mofes } To I to thefe ; How are ye not 
atraid to reproach the vvayes of the living God ? Is not God 
the God of comfort ? Is no' ChriR the conlolation of Ifrael ? fs 
not the Holy Gholt the comforter ? are not the Scriptures writ- 
ten for our confolation ? are not the Promifes the breads of Con- 
folation ? are not all the pathes of Wifdome pathes of pleafant- 
nefs ? are not the Graces of God the very beds of Spices ? Is 
not the peace of Confcience a peace that pafleth all underftand- 
ing ? Doth David find the Word fypeeter then the hony comb ? 
Doth fob find it better then his appointed foed ? Doth Jeremiah 
find it the Rejoyclng of his heart ? Doeft thou read of fo m my 
Converted perfons in Scri'.^ure full of joy and gladnefs, rejov- 
cingin Chrifi, rejoyclng in the hope of the Glory of Gody re iy^ 
clng in Iro'dbleSy in PerfecHtlenSy yea, in Death itfelf^ and yet 
d^xdl thou to revile andfcandalize the converted mans condition 
as the only fea of Bitternefs, and darkeit night, eclipfing all joy 
and comfort ? I pray thee to confider, i . This doth arlfe from 
the gall of thy wicked and imblttered Splrlty hiting and defpifin^ 
the goodly excellencies of holinefs and holy perfons. 2. It 
doth fhew a, cur fed heart to call good evil y as it doth to call evil 
good; and as he that jufiifiesthe wlckedy fo he that condemns the 
jtifly is an abomination to the Lord ; How much more then, he who 
condemns Righteoufnes itfelf. :?. This doth flievv TmUnt^ 
verfal rage agalnft Gods glory and mans happlnefs ; So heavily 
doft thou load the pathes of Converfion, that fo much as in thee 
lies, thou diffw ideft and difcourageft all the men on earth from 
leaving off theT fins,fo that God lliall have no Glory from them; 
. nor they any true happinefs from God. 4. And laftly.-Take heed 
leafi- God deal with theey as once he did with the lying fptes ; fhut 
them out of Canaan^ anddeffroyed them with a remarkable Judg- 

3.. That 


of the Returning Prodigal. 357 

2. That they have hitherto deluded and deceived themfelv^s ^^ 
' I r ,r ' n 1 r 1 . r They who nc- 

with jalje joj/y in ft cad of true joy^ who as yet never jaw a csn- ^^^ ^^^.^ ^^^^ 

verted condhioH, All thy mirth .ind joy hath been but falie fire; vcrced, celude 
amadnels, nota joytulneis ; fparklesof thy o>vn kindling; thcu .hemfelvcs 
\\\{\ fed on the husks all tiiis while, on a fancy, on a Dre.im ; ^^^^^ ^*^'*^ i^J^» 
thou haft never in ail thy life took in one draught of true oy, 
nor ever ihalt thou, till God convert thy foul. Take heed of 
fetling your fouls, or relling your fouls on any works, or on any 
affedions which are antecedent to converfiop, even the forro.vs 
and troubles before converfion are no matter of joy and ccm- 
fort ; if any joy depends on them, it is rather becaufe conver- 
fion hath followed them ; and the joys which many men take be- 
fore their converfion, certainly they are falfe joys, poor joys, 
they are not ple^^fures of Gods right hnnd. There are three pro- 
perties of true Joy : i. It is not the Vf)cr which goes before, 
but the Handmaid that follows after Grace. 2. It is not a Stir- 
fet to dcidy but a Cordial to ftrengthen ; and it is not a Feaft to 
fatisfie, bat a 5^jv^ff to quicken communion with God. g. It 
is not ^temptation to fin, but upholds againfl: the new temptations 
of fin. True Joy never goes before true Grace, but follows ic 
Do you ufe to gather fruit before you plant, or reap before ye 

4. Then if ever yen wotdd have joy , and live joyful! If you wouli 
lives ^ get converted hearts. Every man deures joy ; and as the ^*^^ ^"^^^ ^^ 
Bee hunts for honey, fo do men naturally hunt for delight ; u^^Jr^ 
u »ri^A tt nKifA ant jHCHnde aut non ommno. Let the thing Of ' 
condition be what it will, if we take no delight m '\X^ it is a bur- 
then to us : Heaven would not be Heaven to him who cannot 
find delight in it. Now C^onverfion is the true path to true 
joy. If God would be pleafed ( once ) to convert thy foul, his 
converting Grace would lick thy fores, and pull out the ftings in 
Confcience, and fweeten the bitter Springs, and clear the Hea- 
vens to thee ; it would make thy bed to be eafie, and thy bread 
tobcfweet, and thy condition to be a Paradife ; even the Wil- 
dernefs fhould drop honey to thee, and thy heart lliould fing for 
joy. It is a witty paft'ige of Bernards^ ( de bonis deferendis ) Be 
willing to facrifice thy ICuCy and thyK^^c (hall live, IfaaCy you 
know, fignifies laughter ; do but facrifice thy finfull pleafure, 
and then thy true pleafure fLali not die, but live, Cains gave 


5^8 gods gracious Accepanee 

unto A griff a a Chain of Gold which was as heavy as the Chain 
of Iron that he endured in ti\z Priion : Sins do [. ut upon us a 
Chain of Iron, which if we would forfake. Con verlion would 
\ ut upon us a Chain of Gtld ; thou iliak not lofe, but better thy 
pleaiures, by forfaking of thy (ins and the pleafures of them. 
Ok that all the joys which you have heard attending.a converted 
condition, m'ght allure all our hearts to become converted per- 
lons. I obferve five things about the converted condition in 
Scripture. i . The j^^vit^tio^ unto it^ and there joy prefents it 
felf ; Turn and live^ turn and live ; hearken diligently unto me^ 
md eat ys thai which Is goody and let jow foul delight it felf 
infatnefi If a. 55. 2. 2. Th^ e/a ranee Intotty and there joy 
einbr.iceth the perfon .- As^foon 2s the l-Todig:il Sonreiurned, his 
Fat her f aw him a far off-, ( O how quick is Mercy to efpy a Con- 
vert!) and had con^fajfiony (O how tender is Mercy to yern over 
a Convert I ) and ran^ ( O how fwift is Mercy io receive a Con- 
vert ! ) and fell on his necJ^^ ( O how how out-ftretching is Mer- 
cy to embrace a Convert ! ) and klffed hlm^ ( O how kind is 
Mercy to entertain a Convert \ ) ^. The motion or conrfe of 

ity and there joy attends the perfon : / harje rejojcedy faith Da^ 
vidy Pfal. 1 1 p. 1.4. in the way of thy teftimonles^ '^ much m in 
all riches. When a converted man doth A/e-^/V^/-^, his medita- 
tion is ftiled fweet ; Hear^ he hears with Joy ; when they heard 
this they were glad : Pray^ this is a fweet incenfe to David ; 
jird I mil make them joyfuUinmy houfe of frayer^ Jfa. 56. 7. 
Believe^ he doth believe and rejoice : Mourns there is appointed 
thzoyl of joy for mournlfi'gy Ifa. (5i. 3. Do the will of God^ it is 
his delight to do the will of God: Sujfer ; Rejoyce^ faith the 
Apoftle, I Fet, 4 i :^. in as much as ye are far takers of Chrifls 
f offerings, 4. The conclufion or end of It ^ why! there al fo 

doth ]oy accompany him .• Ffal,:^^, Mark^the ferfeEi man^ and 
khold thejuH-j for the end of that man Is feace, 5:. The re- 

ward and recomfence of it^ and there alfo joy doth clafp xho. con- 
verted perfon : Tnter into thy Makers jo/y faith Ch rift to the 
good fervant : Gaudium fupra omne gaudium, ^t thy right hand 
are f leaf ures for evermore , faid David. 

O ! that all thefe things might foat&6l our hearts this day, as 
to forfake our fins, and turn back to God Pleafure is the great 
bait which is laid forth to catch the foul of man ; Satan draws us 



of the Retnrmng Frodigd. 359 

to fin by plccjfure, and God draws us to grace by pL-afure ; iLall 
pleafure move thee .o dcimn thy ibul ? and Aail not true plea- 
lure move thee to favethy foal? Our Averhon from God depends 
much upon pleafure, and our Converfion unto God depends much 
upon pleafure ; me thinks that Gods promife fhould be more 
accounted then the Divels temptation ; is it not more probable 
to buy a better pennivvorth from heaven then from hell? and is it 
not more reafonableto traffick ac the gates of life for joy, then to 
trade at the gates di death for comfort ? Returnjreturn, 6 finner 1 
yet, yet, come back to thy God, and do not for lying vanities any 

longer forfake thine own mercies, But God mutt perfwade 

Jafhet, * r^rg ^ 

Try whether you are in a converted condition or no. There Xy wh<-rhJr 
are two forts of perfons. i. Some plainly unconverted, converccd cc 
2. Some deceiving themfelves about it. Nine things do fnew '"'^; 
that a man is as yet abfolutely in an unconverted condition. ^^^^ ^^^'^^ , 

I. VrifenfhUnefs : -^ God promifeth to take away the ftony unc^nvcncd."^ 
heart; qnanto inlenfihllior^ tamofejor. This is the Stone upon 
the Grave: 

^. Love of pn : Wicked men are defcribed by this in Scri- 

5. walklr.g in the path of fin : It is his \vork,his trade ; when 
a man chufe h an evil way, and fits in the Chair , is a fervant of 
unrighteoufnefs,walks in the way of wicked men. 

^. Hating to he reformed : It is an abomination ^to him to be 
^ood , that will rather be d.imned then reformed, brer.ks the 
Cords, will not have Chrill to reign. 

<. Be f fifing of the menns of. Converfon : The Word of the 
Lord is a reproach to him ; his heart rageth when the word finds 
out his fins, and would feparate h'm and his lufts. 

6. Loathing of converted ferfons ; c.innot endure the hght of 
grace ; his fpecial diflikes are of the godly, and difgraces, and 
difcountenancings of them ; he is exceedingly difpleafed and 
grie\^ed at the eftimations of godlinefs,and rejoyceth in the cloud- 
ings, and fetting of it. 

7. IncommtmonwithGod: It is a note of a wicked man , 
that God is notin all his thoughts , and that he calls not upon 
God , but is a Granger to him , the ftii-bo:n child is a dead 


S, Difva-^ 

56o* Gods gracious Accepmce 

8. D'fvalfiationsof jefus Chrij}^ and of all the.precious fea~ 
fons of grace, and opportunities of mercy ; the Svvine traiiiples 
Hpon the Pearl, the da yes of the Son of man are of no account 
with him. 

9. A?i earthly reft and fails faBlon : When he is a m.m only 
for this life, and for this prefent world , fets up his ftait on this 
fide J ordan ; all. his hopes are in this life. 

Bivc things Secondly-, Five things which do iliew that a man fl.itters and 

(ht w a man dc* dxeives himfelf about his condition , that it is converted,when 

ccivcd about y^t it f^Us ji-ioj-t thereof. 

hss convcrwn. ^ ^ j^^^^ k^owledg ; though a min knovvs never fo much , yet 
if he be but a knowiiig^m.^n, he may be a learned man, but he is 
n'^L a converted man. it is one thing to know con tr overlies, ano- 
ther thing to know Converfion : If the knowledg be without 
3^ Exferience ; know what Cm is, but fee! it not ; know what 
Chrilt is, but never feel the virtues and powers of his death and 
refurredlion: 2. Propriety ; kno,v Chrijft as a purchafe, but not 
as an inheritance ; what he is,^ and hath done , but not what he 
is tome, or hath done for me : 5. Power -^ as a candle that 
lightens ,. but not as fire to burn , as an Ornament on a Tomb , 
not as a Soul to the Body ; as a Star which lliines in the night, not 
as. the Sun which makes day • new knowledg, but ftill an old 
heart : 4. ti^ffeBions ; know fin, but hate it not, nor mourn for 
it ; know Chrift, but love and defire him not ; ^. Pracllfe , 
like aScholler,whoknows Countries , but never travels to them ; 
reads the Copy, but writes not after it , know" the way to heaven , 
but never walks the way to heaven, 

2,.. Meer trouble of confeience : A troubled condition is one 
thing, a converted condition is another ; Cain and Judas were 
troubled, yet not converted ; many things may fuffice.to trouble 
us,vYhich yet are not fufficient to convert us ; the Law,the' Wrath 
of, God, thequicknefsof confeience, fear of death and hell and 
fhame may fu ffice to trouble us, yet not to convert us. The Sea 
; may be troubled, and yet remains brlniili ; the Iron may be bro- 

ken, and yet it is hard ; the Water boils, and yet it is Water : 
T-hareisa difference twixt pa iTive trouble, and a6live trouble; 
twixt a trouble that I would get off, and godly forrow which I 
would gee up; twixt trouble in rati&ne fm^^ and m rat lone gratis ; 
twixt being troubled for fin as it is malum fenfiblle , and as malum 

' ^ Ipri" 

of the Returning Frodigal, 

fplritfiale^imxt malum as caafa mall^ and malum as ajfeclus mall, 
l^hc Land-ilood is high , but it leaves the tnud and dirt behind • 
the Wells water is leis, but It deanfeth. 

j^. Limited Reformation: When only external ; if internal, 
yet partial , will (Hck with Chriit for fome one tiling. True 
Converfion is^an invifible work, it is feed under ground, tisa 
child formed in the womb, it is the hidden man of the heart, 
tis Chriit formed and living in us , it is a new Creation of the 
heart, the new heart, a law written there. The Phar fees were 
good at Outworks,all fair to the eyes of menrOutward abitinence 
from fi ! may confift with an invVard love of it ; and a man may 
do much good, who yet is not good: Self-gr0unds,and ends,of 
profit, of efteem,of hopes, -of compliance with others, befides 
thofe workings of confcience, &c, may lead us out to vifiblc 
conformities, when yet, c^f. - 

4. Accidental reftlutions : When a perfon will on a fuddea 
»rowg^d altogether, only upon mutable occafions ; i. As in an 
exigence of Confcience, 2. In a fit of Sicknefs, 3. Some pre- 
fent convidlion of the Word, 4. Some imminent judgements, 
5. Some prefent hopes ; not upon folid Convidion, confiderati- 
on, fervent prayer to God to work the change, &c. 

5. FaJfioftAte Jo/es : If taken by the Word upon the difcovc- 
rics of Grace, and Mercy, andLoveofChrift, and of future glo- 
ry 'y like one who is taken with the Ware , yet will not come up 
to the Price : The young man would have heaven,but vyill not fell 
all, take up the Crofs and follow Chrift. But when a man is tru- 
ly converted , he is like the fVife Mercha?tt , vpho fouffd the 
Fearlj and rejticed^ and fold all^ and bought it. He will part 
with all hisLufts, and Friends, and Pleafures, and World, to 
enjoy Chrift.- ' tjC 

Doth Converfion brln^ the foul into a joyful condition ? Then ^ ^^' ^* • 

, ;/•;/•; • ji- L Let every con- 

Ict every converted ferfon takj ha dm portion^ and live as becomes y^^jj^j mx[o^ 

himfelf, joyfully. Pfal.g2.11. Be glad In the Lor d^ and rejoice take his poni- 
yt righteous, Phil. 4. 4. Rejoice in the Lord alrvay , and again on of joy. 
/ fay , rejoice, I wirfi that converted perfonj would con- 

I. That God doth not referve all their joyes unto another life : God doth not 

O no, fpiritual joy if an allowance alfo for this life; a good jo/co anclhcr 

A a a . bit ^jf^^ 


Gods gracious Accepanee 

God would 
bsivs the life 
of Gr^C£ a 

bit and bait by the way. Nay, it is not a meer Toleration or 
Permiirion, hut it is an expreis Command and Injundion ; and 
as a man doth fm who refufeth Grace, fo fomc man may liu 
who refuleth Joy. 2. God would have the life of Grace t9 

he afrlmsrdlal (hadow (at leaft) of the life of Olor^ ; and in- 
deed our eihte of Grace is an Epitome of that in. Olory ; only 
ftiadow of the ^1^^. -g 3 £y^gj. aj^^ i^i-ger Volume : We h^ve the fame Cod, 
\iU of Gio:y. ^^^ ^^^^ Ciirift, the" lame Spirit, the fame Communion in- 
this as in that ; only here it is more Mediate, tijere more Im- 
mediate ; here Imperfect, there Perfed ; here Mixt, and there 
Pure. And doeli thou fo poorly conceive of God, that He who 
is able to make an heaven full of joy to Eternity hereafter, is 
not able or willing to let fall a few drops of joy upon thy foul 
on earth? Or that there can or Hiould beany Communion with 
fuch a God, which iliould not be joyful and delightful ? The 
God wouU Emperor would have none to go away fad. 3. God would 
hssti\itQhi\' have the Chrift tans life ^ 06 to be the fruity fo to he the crgdit of 
i^ians Iif« to Grace, Grace is an ornament to the foul, and fpirituai joy is an 
be the crcdu of Ornament to grace ; IttelHfies to the world, that converfion 
^^^"* quits all colts : What ! flial madnefs be found in the habitations 

of the wicked, and iliall not joy be found in the tabernacles of the 
juft ? Shall the worldly man rejoice in a Creature, and fhall not 
the godly man re Joyce in his God ? Shall the condemned ma- 
lefak^l:or take delight, and lliall not the acquitted perfon take com- 
fort? Shall wicked men fuck pleafure out of bitier waters, and 
fhall not good men draw joy out of the wells of falvation^ Toy 
is not comely for a fool^ faith Solomon , but it becomes the upright 
tore;oicey faith David, 4. As fpritnal ;oy u an or-rjament^ 

joy IS an Im- r j^ ^ ^^ improvement to grace, Jt is a certain truth, that j^race 
Gra«j IS ^^^ Mother of joy, and true joy is the Nurfe of grace. Spiri- 

tual comforts are inlargements to' fpiritual graces ; look as it is 
with finful pleafures, they do add to our finful principles ; the 
more delight that any man finds in finful waves , this adds the 
more love, and the more defire, and the more eariieftnefs for to 
fin; fo is it in fpiritual wayes , the more joy and delight any 
man takes in them, this adds a new quickning io his graces, a 
freilier edge unto them ; nothing makes either a communion, 
or an aftion more frequent, or more fervent then delight ; didii 


of the Returning Prodigal, 3 63 

thou ever find thy hejrt more apt to pray,or more fixed in prayer, 

then when thou t'oundeft molt delight and com.'ort, m,or upon 

praying ? fofor other duties. 5. Sfirhualjoj mil ^exceedingly £c wjn cxcej- 

facklitate the way and ivorl^ for heaven : It is ou: facandm Co- dinjly faciU- 

mes^ which is pro l^ehlcalo. As ib^fear of the Lord is our trea- ^^^' '^l^^ "^^1 

/«r^,Ita.;3.6. So thepyof theLordlsoHV ftrength,Nth,'6,iQ, ^^'^^^ ^"^^^ ^^ 

An heavy,dull, fad fpirit, is a burden of[ it felf , and is very apt to '' "* 

make everything elte a burden : Nowfpiritunl joy , it takes off 

dulnefs and deadnefs , and enables us to run the vTay of Gods 

Comm.indments, and to run the r^ce that is fet before us. Aman- 

ti nihil di^ cite , it makes our fpintual work to come off; the 

Wheels run if oyled. 

Quefl, This is rue,willfome reply ; but wh u fhould converted VVhacfhouia 

perfonsdo, that they m-iy walk jovfully? Sol, There aretwo J^"'''?'^^^ P*f: 
i r J r ' 7 ' ' L I n J lons^o to \Yalk 

iortsof converted perl ons : iKcipientes; who are newly called, j^yf^Hy ? 

newly wrought on, newly brought home ; andthefe ordinari- 
ly are full of fears, of doubts, of temptations, of confli6ls, of 
heavinefs : Proficlentes ; who are long ftanders in the wayes of 
grace. Will you favour me to fpeak a few words to either of 

I. To perfons newly converted : I would hianbly prefent Dlrei^ionj. 
thefe direAions, as proper means or Conduits of joy and comforts T^ perfons 
to their fouls. _ _ * ■ "^J^^X "nver- 

I. Draw lif yotir fflrltpial condition to fome Iffue : Do not live ^^* 

with a doubtful fufpition ; perhaps you are converted, P^^^^P^ ^-pi^i^uafi con- 
you are not converted : As ignorance is an enemy to grye, fo ^^^{^^ ^^ ^^^^ 
doubtfulnefs is, an enemy to comfort. That man who is iHll in Iflfac. 
fuit, whether his Convcrfion be true, will not dare to lay claim 
to the joyes which reiult from Convcrfion : If I fear my grace , 
I lliall much more fear my comfort ; Give all diligence to make 
your calling and eleBion fure. Therefore do this ; bring thy fouls 
eftate to the word, ( that is the rule, that is the fire, that is the 
touchftone ; ) if the Word of God will approve and de- 
cide for thee , blefs God, and maintain the truth of thy fpi- 
ritual eftate, againft all the fuggeftions of Satan, and ca- 
vils of thine own heart ; when once that doth fay , truth of 
grace is in thee ; confcicnce will fay , truth of comfort belongs 

unto thee. 

A a a 2 2, Getr 

2 5a Gods Gracious Acceptance 

2. Get a Ihtle more faith ; ons dram more would turn the 
^*^';. ^ /^l"^* thefcaie, and fettle thme heart. Faith trades with the Foun- 
tain, with the God of Comfort, and of Peace, and with Jefus 
Chrift : It 13 Faith that lets you into Chrift , and it is Faith 
vvhich lets comfort into you. The God of hope fill yon with all 
joy and peace inhelieving^ Rom. 15. 13. There are five privi- 
• ledges of Faith : It hath the firlt look^ of Mercy , it hath the 
firlt hlfs from Chriit , it hath the firrt neves of acceptance unto 
Life, It hath the firit anfwer of Peace,it hath the firfi draneht of 
Joy : Oh, get a little more faith ; a little more faith would 
weaken the grounds of thy fears, quell the motions of thy doubts, 
clear thy way to the fountains of comfort , imprint on thy heart a 
moft joyful Communion with thy God and Chrili ; no life of 
joy, but that of faith, 
letrne to live 3 And Le<^rn to live hy falth^ and then you will have more 
by f alch. joy and comfort. Four things would make a mans life very joy- 

full and comfortable, i . If he were eafed of all burthens. 2. If 
he were fecured from all prejudices. 3, If what he had were 
good5and enough. 4. If hewereafTured,that whatfoever good 
he iliould need,, of that he fhould not fail, but be fupplied with 
it in due time. Now the life of faith, i. Eafeth yon of all pur 
burthens : There are but two burthens upon us ; i. Tht finfull^ 
Faith fees this taken off by Chrift, He hare our [ins : 2. The 
earthly , of cares ; Faith fees Gods providence taking that 
off. The Lsrd is a Sun^ &:c. Pfal, 84. / will never leave thee^ 
Heb, 13. Bread [hall be given to hlm^ his waters fhall be fure, 
I fa. 33. 1 ^. Caft your care on him ^ for he careth for you^ 
1 Pet. 5, 7. 2. Secures you again ft all prejudices and hurts : 
Faith finds us ilill in Gods hands, and in a fafe cuftody : Thou^zh 
there be evils in the world, yet they fhall not come nigh you ; 
and his work goes on, though ours do not : God is with you, 
who can be againft you. There's a Deluge, but JVoah*s in the 
Ark ; a ftorm,but you are in an hiding place : He holds you in his 
hand, and covers you under his wings ; makes all things to work 
for good. Faith fees the Trouble and the San6luary both. Oc- 
currences and Providence both, ruling, carrying on, obferving, 
watching, prefervlng : If Earth won't keep you fafe, Heaven 
iliall, 3. It renders the prefent pojfejfion as goody and enough • 


of the Returning Prodigal. 3 65 

Your portion is fo : For what \s a Chriliians portion ? Is not 
God ? IS not his favour ? And is not God enough ? is not his fa- 
vour better then life ? He who cannot be contented with a God, 
and a Chrift, and a Covenant of Grace, and Heaven, will be fa- 
tished with nothing. You have but little of Earth, Ai but you 
have God and Chrift. If a man have but a little Garden, yet 
if he have a large field, &c, A little of Earth, and much of Hea- 
ven, makes a fair Efiate. 4. It ajfures jon ef fupp/ies mi- 
-verfal andfe^ifonaifle, Vnlverfal ; I ihall not want, Pfal, 2 :j. i. 
No good thing mil he withhold^ Pfal. 84. 1 1. No good for foul, 
no good for body, ( you have his Bonds for both;) and this is for 
life ; Shy el y goodnep and mercy ^oal I follow me all the days of my 
life^ Pfal. 23. Nay, for everhftingnefs ; I mil marry thee to 
my [elf for ever ^ Hof. 2. 19. 2. Seafonahle ^ In an acceptable 
lime, &c. In the mount Gsd mil be feen, 

4. Get a little more under (landing and judgment ahom your con- ^''n^'^''f "^" 
<verted andgrac'iotu condition. Shall I help thee a little with a few ^^^ judcmfat 
Confiderations and Informations ? Know then, i. The great about your 
F»Mntainofthy Joy lies more in^ thy Jujtlfsationthen tnthy San^i- converted con^ 
fication. Thou haft not fo much Holinefs as another, but thou ^H^io'*' 
haft of Chrifts Righteoufnefs ; thou canft not apprehend fo 
ftrongly, but thou art apprehended as llrongly, Chrift lays as faft 
hold of thee. 2. That Grace and PVeal^n^fi may dwell together. 
It may be very true, though very weak, the fmoakjng flax, and 
tbe hrtiifed reed, and the grain of mnflard-feed ; A Father hath 
one Child in the Cradle, and another in the Shop ; a Shepheard 
hath Lnmbs in the flock, as well as Sheep ; the Gardiner hath 
Plants, as well as Trees ; and Chrift hath Babes, as well SiS 
ftrc<?g Men, belonging t® him. 5. That the leaFt Grace, and 

the great Love of God de go together : The little drop of Grace 
comes out of the Ocean of his ^reat Love ; the Penv, as well ^5 
the Shilling, bears the Superfcription. 4. That the leafide- 
gree of true Grace denominates the condition to he converted : I 
would believe, is Faith; I would love thee, is Love; Idefireto 
do thy will, is Obedience: Not Strength, but Truth denomi- 
nates. 5. True Grace and many ConfliBs go together : Let 
the motions of fin be never fo vile, but I hate them ; never fo 
many, but I refift them ; here Grace is the Lord which rules me, 


266 Gods gracious Acceptance 

though fin be the Enemy which molelb me. Why ami thus 
Alasj there are contraries in thee, Light andDarknels, Fieila 
and.v^^irit. 6. Tr^.e Grace and foms Fallings may lodge tose- 
ther : I may at the fame time be a Captive to Sin, and yec a Ser- 
vant to Grace; fin mayibmetimes be tooftrong even for him 
who hates fin. 7. ^11 fervices to God are interpreted andac- 
cepted hj God, according to the will of a converted person : Although 
tijou cand not pray lo freely, fo fully, fo uniformly, yet if God 
fee a will in thee defirous fo to do, \x iliall pafs for currant ; 
groans, and fighs, and chattcrings, anddefircs, aixi tears, &c, 
^. Iho'A never doe ft any Vmjy hm J^f^s Chrtft gives accemance 
mto it by his Inter cefflon ; his fvveet Incenfe takes off the ill fa- 
vour : Thegreateil work done by thee , if '\\. comes in thy own 
n.ime,is rejected ; the vYeakeft,jf prefented in his Name, a figh or 
groan 5 is gracioufly accepted ; as the Sacrifices by the Prieft, 
9. Qod never expeBs thou fhoaldeft hay om thj own pardon^ or 
bring from thyielf any fatisfadion for any of thy fins \ he hath 
defigned that work onely to Jefus Chrift, in whom he hath ac- 
cepted thee, and for whofe fake alone he doth and will difcharge 
thee : You trade in Heaven upon gracious terms ; when you 
come for any graqe and help, thy Reafons and Motives are in 
G od, who gives, and freely gives. i o . ^s foon m ever con- 
vening Grace prevails upon thy hearty Salvation is come to thy 
]ohI : Thou art now a Believet ; and if a Believer, a Son ; and 
if a Son, an Heir of all the comfortable Promifes now, and a 
Co-heir with Chrifl: hereafter. 11. 7'he Lord will If lej^ thy 
hiidsy and increase thy ftock^of Grace : He will water, as well as 
plant it. 1 2. That little- Grace fhall never fail thee^ never 

leave thee, till it brings thee to Heaven : Thegreateft Grace is 
imperfedl:, and -he leaft Grace is invincible ; the greateft Grace 
is weak, and the weakeft Grace is immortal. 

Now if Chriftians did believe all xh^[z Truth?, and would 
confider of them, would not their condition be more joyfuU ? 
Here's a Weaknefs, I but it is Grace ; that Grace '\s> little, I 
but it comes from Gracioufnefs, and makes me gracious : O how 
many conflidls! I but 'tis 'twixt Grace and Sin ; yea, and ma- 
ny finnings, I but not love of fin, n® voluntary fervice : But 
how poor in Duties ! I but God regards the Will ; But what will 


of the Returning Prodigal, ^6j 

become of me for my former fins ? Why ! Chiift hath fatisfi- 
ed, and God hath pardoned : But if I hadftrength of Grace, I • 
might take comfort ; Why 1 the vveakll Convert is a Believer,- 
and the vveakdl believer hach Chrirt ; Ergo. 

Secondly, to Perfons long fr.ce convened ; What fhould they. Xo pfrfonj 
do to walk with joyful hearts ?^ I anfwer, i. Ofiren examine long (incc coo- 
and revieiv jour Spritnal condition ; this will keep you z^dk God verted, 
friends : often look upon the evidences of Gods favour to your Of^^ncxa- 
Souls, and maintaine and cleare them if blotted ; Such ex- "lew ^futy'- 
periences are bathes of Comfort : Remember the days of old. rltuircondfti- 
2. Se upright ; maintain theOyI, and you m.tintain the light, on. 
The rvork^of Righteoufnefs jhali he peace ; and the ejfetl of Righte^ B; upri^hc. 
oiifnefsy qttietnefs and affarance for ever : Ifai. 32. 17 A liable 
Spirit will further a il-^ble Joy ; one wry ftep puts the bone out 
of joynt , That man lofeth his Spiritual pleafure, who fkps out 
for finful pleafure ; remember Davids fwarving, and Peters^ and 
Jacobs, 3. Live by faith: We never meet wirh more troii- Live by faitlu 
bles then when we ihift for our felves. That mm who can truft 
God moft, him doth God truft with mott Grace and peace : 
fee Habak. f;. 17, 18. 4. Hold up clofe communion with God Holdupdofe 
^nd his people ; hewhorrades moft at heaven, gets the greateft communion 
ftock of Grace and comfort ; even the negle6!: of one prayer ^"^ ^^^' 
may lofe a man much comfort; be fatisfied with God alone, 
and let not out your minds to earthly things ; And that one fer- 
mon which thou didft overflip, brought in exceeding Joy to thy 
fellow Chiirtian. 5. Walk^in the fear of God all the day long : ^^^^}^J^l 
Self-confidence mnkes theperfon to lye down in tears; but he ,h!^jl„ u,,/ 
who feares to Im, fortihes his uraces and comforts; expoienot 
your felves to Temptations. 6. Renew afolemn andfpeedy Peace Renew pwce 
HpoH every fall ; Light may quickly be reftored to a candle new- upai every fall. 
ly blown out, and the bone difphced may preCen ly be fet again ; 
Let not a difeafe fettle. 7. Engage not thy mind to vain and new E.^g?^: n$t to 
Opinions, Mind the maine things of Life and Salvation, and "^^ opinions, 
not unprofitable ftrifes. He who hath not more Grace to get, 
hath afluredly much comfort to lofe ; an Unfetled Judgment 
will quickly raife an uncomfortable heart. 8. Preferve an hnm^ ^ . 
hie and contented Spirit. Pride is the father of difco nentment, huribl/and 
and Difcontentment is aprifonto our Graces, and a. Sea to our coaccntad Spi- 

com- "«• 

3 58 Offds graciom Accepmcf .^r 

comforts. Thy Grates will ;not be pleafant to^he^ if thy out- 
Be aftive and Ward condition pleafe thee not . g. Be aBlve. md thriving. That 
iferiving* man wbo^oth moft f or God, doth alfo moft for his own comfort ; 

Barrennefsjs nogood,fign of Life, and therefore no good way for. 

comfort ; the travelling Bee is laden with hony : Thriving Grace 

is a clear evideace of truth, aid adds to our excellency and 

Dur joy. 

F I "ii I ^» 

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