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Full text of "Works of George Swinnock, M.A"

€ihtary of ^he theological ^tminavy 


The Rev. John M. Krebs 
Class of 1832 

BX 9315 .S9 V.2 

Swinnock, George, 1627-1673 




Mitlj 6^mral ^xd's.a 








W. LINDSAY ALEXANDER, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational 
Union, Edinburgh. 

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh. 

THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University, 

D. T. K. DRUMMOND, M.A., Minister of St Thomas's Episcopal Church, 

WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Church 
History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presby- 
terian Church, Edinburgh. 

4?fncrat 'JJbitor. 
REV, THOMAS SMITH, D.D., Edinburgh. 




VOL. 11. 






A short Memoir of Sivinnock is reserved for a subsequent 
Volume. — Ed. 



The Christian Man's Calling — Part II. — continued, 1 


VI. How Christians may exercise themselves to godliness, 
in the relation of masters, with a good wish about 
the duty of a master, . - . . . 3-22 

A good wish about the master's duties, wherein 

the former heads are epitomised, . . 22-29 

VII. How Christians may exercise themselves to godliness 

in the relation of servants, . . . 29-42 

A good wish about the duty of a servant, wherein 

the former heads are epitomised, . . 42-45 

VIII. How a Christian may exercise himself to godliness in 

prosperity, ..... 46-73 

A good wish of a Christian in prosperity, where- 
in the former heads are epitomised, . . 74-82 
IX. How a Christian may exercise himself to godliness in 
adversity. Containing motives to it, and the nature 
ofit, . . . . . . 82-120 

X. The means whereby Christians may exercise themselves 
to godliness in adversity. As also a good wish 
about that condition, .... 120-140 

A good wish of a Christian in adversity, wherein 

the former heads are applied. . . 140-161 



The Christian Man's Calling— Part III., . . . 163 

The Epistle to the Reader, .... 165-184 

Preface, ....... 185-187 


I. How a Christian may exercise himself to godliness in 

his dealings with all men. As also a good wish 

about that particular, .... 187-220 

A good wish of a Christian in relation to his 

dealings with all men, wherein the former 

. heads are applied, .... 220-237 

II. How Christians may exercise themselves to godliness 

in the choice of their companions, . . 238-267 

A good wish of a Christian about the choice of 
his companions, wherein the former particulars 
are applied, ..... 267-279 

III. How a Christian may exercise himself to godliness in 

evil company, ..... 280-315 
A good wish concerning a Christian's carriage in 
evil company, wherein the former heads are 
applied, ..... 315-330 

IV. How Christians may exercise themselves to godliness 

in good company, with a good wish about that parti- 
cular, ...... 330-377 

A good wish about a Christian's carriage in 
good company, wherein the former heads are 
applied, ..... 377-403 

V. How a Christian should exercise himself to godliness 
in solitariness. As also a good wish about that 
particular, ..... 403-453 

A good wish about the exercising ourselves to 
godliness in solitude, wherein the former par- 
ticulars are applied, .... 454-485 

VI. How a Christian may exercise himself to godliness on 

a week-day from morning to night, . . 485-510 

A good wish about the Christian's carriage on a 
week-day from morning to night, wherein the 
former heads are applied, . . . 510-525 


PART 1 1. — [continued.) 

' VOL. II. 




Hoio Christians may exercise themselves to godliness, in the rela- 
tion of masters, luith a good loish about the duty of a master. 

The third and last relation in a family, is that of master and ser- 
vants ; the other two relations had a being in man's estate of 
innocency, this was brought in by man's apostasy.l Civil subjection 
to man came in by our sinful defection from God. "VVe lost our 
liberty by casting off God's service.^ The word servant is thought 
to be a derived a serva7ido, because those who were taken in battle, 
and might have been slain, were saved, 2 Kings v. 2. As servi- 
tude came in with a curse, (the first time the word servant sounded 
in the world, was when Noah cursed his son Ham, Gen. ix. 25,) so 
sovereignty is promised as a blessing. Gen. xxvii. 29, andxxv. 23. 

There are usually reckoned three causes, or rather occasions, of 
service. 3 

1. Victory ; when men are conquered in war : the victor often 
spared their lives, but took away their liberty. 

2. Necessity ; when men are sold for debt. It was usual for the 
debtor to become servant to the creditor amongst the Romans, ■* by 
the law of the twelve tables. The French were wont also to sell 
themselves to noblemen for debt.^ And the Jews were not ignorant 
of this practice, Lev. xxv. 39 ; Exod. xxi. 7 ; 2 Kings iv. 1, though 

^ Chrysost., Horn. 29 in Gen. 

^ Servum hominem homini aut iniquitas aut adversitas erit. — Akq'. Quest. Sup. 
Gen., lib. i. 15. 

3 Basil. De Spirit., cap. 20. ■* Gel., lib. xx. cap. 1. 

* Caesar, vi. De Bell. Gal. 


their usage by their brethren was much differing from the usage of 

3. Utility ; when one committeth himself, or is committed to the 
government of another for his education. 

Among the Jews there were two sorts of servants. Some that 
were of other nations ; their servitude was perpetual and hereditary, 
both of themselves and their children. 

Others that were of their own nation, which were to serve but six 
years, and in the seventh to go out free, Exod. xxi. 2. Some reckon 
among them four sorts of servants. 

First, The highest in that degree, as Abraham's steward ; such 
were said to stand before their masters, 1 Kings x. 8. 

Secondly, Such as waited on their master's person immediately ; 
these are said to pour out water upon their master's hands, 2 Kings 
iii. 11. 

Thirdly, Such as were employed in inferior offices, as in dressing 
of meat, or reaping harvest, 1 Sam. viii. 13. These were called 

Fourthly, Such as did their lowest and basest work ; and these 
were said to sit behind the mill, because they thrust the mill before 
them as they wrought, and this was one of the basest works about 
which such were occupied, Exod. xi. 2; Isa. xlvii. 2. 

Amongst the Komans there were two sorts of servants. 

1. Such as were taken in war ; over these the master had an 
absolute power to dispose of them as he pleased, these were slaves 
for life ; all they got was their masters' ; they might sell them, or 
kill them, and were never questioned for it.^ Titus Sempronius 
would sell his aged and weak servants as cattle, and so Cato Pollio 
commanded one ,of his servants to be thrown into his fish-ponds 
for breaking a glass, which he valued highly, though he had store 
of them ; which in humanity, when Augustus Caesar understood, 
he entered the place where the glasses were, and broke them all, to 
preveut the like cruelty for the future. 

2. Such as were servants by compact ; over these the master had 
only a conditional power. He had right, not to the persons, but 
only to the actions of these, to their work. 

Reader, if God hath called thee to the relation of a master, 
remember that thou aid; his servant, and carry thyself accordingly ; 
give to thy servant that which is to hUaiov koX t)]v laorrjTa, just and 
equal. Col. iv. 1. Do not use him as a slave, but as thy fellow- 
servant of the same Lord. God teacheth us, both by his pattern 

^ Macrob., lib. i. cap. 6. 

Chap. VI.] the christian man's calling. 5 

and precept, to mix our authority with clemency, for he hates 
tyranny. Though he hath sovereign, and ilHmited, and absokite 
dominion over all the world, and might pluck up and pull down, 
slay and destroy without pity, and none could say to him, what 
doest thou ? yet his mercy is over all his works, judgment is his 
strange work, Isa. xxviii. 21. And as he hath committed to some 
persons dominion over others, so hath he commanded them to 
exercise it with moderation. A king is his deputy on earth ; but if 
a prince would fix upon a sure foundation, he tells him his laws 
must not be written, as Draco's were, in blood : ' Mercy and trutli 
preserve the king; his throne is established by mercy,' Prov. xx. 28. 
A father hath authority over his child, but mark what a caution 
God gives him not to abuse it : ' Fathers, provoke not your children 
to wrath.' The husband is the head of the wife, but observe what 
care he takes lest any should be so unnatural and cruel to their 
own bodies : ' Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against 
<them.' So also, because the ma.ster hath much power over his ser- 
vant, God limits his commission, and appoints that it be tempered 
with mercy : ' Masters, do the same things to your servants, and for- 
bear threatening.' Still God manifesteth this to be his pleasure, 
that the sword of power be furbished with the oil of pity ; yet herein 
there must be care that a master's carriage do not expose him to 
contempt from his servants. As masters milst not be fierce, so 
neither familiar with their servants. Cato was in both the ex- 
tremes ; one while he would eat and drink, and work naked with 
them, and when he had worn them out with work, sell them like 
horses in a market. ^ So the Romans in general, at their feast 
called Saturnalia, did wait on their servants ; the servants sat at the 
table, and the masters served them ; yet possibly, before the year 
was expired, would kill them as dogs.^ 

But servants are most apt to be slighted ; it is too usual an ex- 
pression, by way of reproach. He is but a ser\w.nt, or, She is but a 
waiting-maid. (It is free grace that thou art not a servant. I pray 
thee, who made thee to differ ?) The Son of God himself, when he 
took upon him the form of a servant, was of no reputation ; he was 
despised and rejected of men, Phil. ii. 7 ; Isa. liii. 3. 

I shall lay down two or three motives to quicken thee to thy duty 
in this relation, and then shew thee wherein it consisteth. 

First, Consider they are made of the same earth with thee ; when 
thy proud heart esteems them vile and base, think with thyself that 
they have the same pedigree and parentage with thyself ' The poor 

1 Plut. in Vit' 2 Athen., lib. xiv. cap. 17. 


and the rich meet together, and the Lord is the maker of them 
both,' Prov. xxii. 2. There is no such vast difference betwixt thy- 
self and thy servant, as thy haughty spirit would suggest.-^ Thou 
and he meet together in the same common mother, the earth, and 
in the same common Father, in heaven. Master and servant are 
made of the same mould, and have the same maker. Nay, a poor 
servant is so little thy inferior, that he is called thy own flesh, Isa. 
Iviii. 7. Though there be a civil difference, there is no natural 
difference, for he is the same flesh, thy own flesh. 

Therefore it is said, ' He that despiseth the poor, reproacheth his 
maker,' Prov. xvii. 5. He despiseth the maker of his person, and 
the maker of his portion. He reproacheth God for his work of 
creation, for making such a man or such a maid ; and he reproacheth 
God for his work of providence, for making such a one poor, and 
such a one a servant and an inferior.2 For our civil conditions, as 
much as our natural constitutions, are from God. As he maketh 
cedars and shrubs, mountains and valleys, so also masters and ser-» 
vants, bond and free. This argument kept Job within the bounds 
of his duty; he durst not, though a master, nay, though a magistrate, 
(and so in no fear of punishment from man,) abuse his servant upon 
this account : ' Did not he that made me in the womb make him ? 
and did not one fashion us in the womb?' Job xxxi. 14, 15 — i.e., 
Should I in passion flee in his face, or through pride trample him 
under my feet, who is a child of the same father with myself ? 

Secondly, Consider, as they are made of the same earth, so they 
are heirs of the same heaven with thee. If there be a civil distinc- 
tion, yet there is no spiritual distinction. In Christ there is neither 
bond nor free, Col. iii. 11 ; he paid the same price, and bought 
the same purchase for both. We read under the law that all the 
Israelites, both poor and rich, gave the same ransom for their souls, 
Exod. xiii. 15 ; signifying that the same precious blood of the Son 
of God was to be shed for the redemption of all sorts of persons. 
And it is recorded in the Gospel, that ' God hath chosen the j)Oor of 
the world, rich in faith, and heirs of a kingdom,' James ii. 5. I may 
say the same of masters and servants, as the apostle speaks of Jews 
and Gentiles, * God hath given them (servants) the Holy Ghost as 
well as us, (masters ;) and hath put no difference betwixt us and 
them, purifying their hearts by faith,' Acts xv. 8, 9. Thy servant, 

' Fortima distinxit dominos a servis, natura utrisque communis et eadem. — 
Philo. De Spec. Leg. 

* Vis tu cogitare istiim quern servum tuum vocas, ex iisdem seminibus ortum, 
eodem frui cselo, teque spirare, teque vivere, ajque mori. — Senec, Epist. 47. 

Chap. VI.] the christian man's calling. 7 

if born again, is God's son ; and if a son, then an lieir, an lieir of 
God, a joint-heir with Christ. Take heed therefore that thou do.st 
not abuse God's child ; great heirs are tenderly used. It called for 
great lamentation, when the precious sons of Zion, comparable to 
fine gold, were esteemed as earthen pitchers. Lam. iv. 2. And will 
it not be sad for thee to trample one of God's jewels as dirt under 
thy feet ? Oh, how wilt thou be ashamed of it at the last day ! 

At present thy servants may be before thee in grace ; how clearly 
doth thy experience teach thee that the poor receive, when the rich 
reject, the gospel. Mat. xi. 5, &c. The Lamb is offered in sacrifice, 
and acceptable to God, when the lion as an unclean creature is cast 
by. How many a master, like Potiphar, is an enemy, a foe, when 
the servant, like Joseph, is a great friend and favourite in the 
heavenly court ! i God's church are called the congregation of his 
poor, Ps, Ixxiv. 19 ; and to despise the poor is counted by God, 
and called a despising the church, 1 Cor. xi. 20. Thy servant may 
be poor in spirit, when thou art poor in spirituals. He may be 
rich in grace, in good works, which is infinitely the better, when 
thou art possibly only rich in gold and outward goods. Thou 
esteemest him at a poor rate, and not worth a penny ; but be it 
known to thee, man ! that he is, if holy, worth thousands, and 
millions. Thy servant, like Levi, though he hath no part in the 
earthly Canaan, may have the boundless God for his portion. 
What wise man would esteem a horse by the gaudiness of its 
trappings and furniture, or a knife by its gilt haft. So truly no 
wise man will esteem another by his fine clothes, or great estate, or 
any outward ornaments, but by his spiritual endowments. 

Hereafter thy servants may be above thee in glory. It is taken 
notice of, that a contemptible grasshopper, the silliest almost of all 
creatures, is advanced into the chief city of England, (London,) and 
a principal part of that city, the Koyal Exchange, when far more 
noble creatures are less regarded. He that took upon him the form 
of a servant, and was vilified and scorned as a Avorm on earth, is 
certainly the highest in heaven. A poor servant, like Lazarus, may 
be comforted and highly exalted, when a rich master, as Dives, 
may be disgraced and tormented. He that hath not a foot of land, 
may have a title to the inheritance of the saints in light. 

Thy servant may be the Lord's freeman, 1 Cor. vii. 22, and 
therefore must not be used as a slave. Though he be of low degree, 
yet he is a brother, and must accordingly be treated, Jamp s i. 9 ; 

1 Dominus fidelem habens servum, diligat ut filiuin, vel ut fratrem, propter fidei 
societatem. — Clemens Constit. AposL, lib. iv. cap. 12. 


Lev. XXV. 39. Though his spiritual relation do not privilege him 
from dutifulness and subjection to thee, yet it should prevent thy 
oppression of him. Do not dare to put those vessels to sordid 
sinful uses, which are now vessels of honour, and must shortly, 
according to the martyr's phrase, be scoured bright, and set on the 
high shelf of heaven. 

Thirdly, Consider that thou hast a master in heaven. As ser- 
vants are, if gracious, God's sons, and thereby may be comforted, 
so masters are God's servants, and thereby may be cautioned. Is 
thine eye upon thy servants, to see whether they do their duties 
faithfully ? I must tell thee, God's eye watcheth thee much more, 
to observe whether thou carriest thyself in thy relation conscien- 
tiously. Thy servants may cheat thee, and thou never the wiser ; 
but thou canst not cozen God, for all things are naked and open in 
his sight. The awe of this master kept holy Job from abusing his 
power to the prejudice of his servants. ' If I despised the cause of 
my man-servant or maid-servant, when they contended with me ; 
what then shall I do when God riseth up ? and when he visiteth, 
what shall I answer him?' The fear of God, not any human 
affection, made him faithful to the meanest in his family. Fellow- 
servants will not abuse and smite one another whilst their master 
is in presence.i 'What then shall I do when God riseth up?' 
Oppressing and unjust masters will fall, when God riseth to judge 
servants' causes, and to revenge their quarrels. ' Tliou shalt not 
rule over him with rigour ; but fear thy God,' Lev. xxv. 43. 

God delights to appear in the behalf of the afflicted poor, and such 
as have none to take their part. How severely hath he punished 
many masters for their want of pity to their servants. When the 
Jews were false and unfaithful to their servants, he turned their 
own liberty into bondage and slavery, and made them experience 
by the cruelty of the Chaldeans what it was to be served as slaves. 
When the hard yoke was upon their own necks, to the grating and 
goring their flesh, then they felt their servants' misery, Jer. xxxiv. 
8-21. As divine, so human writ confirmeth this. The Chians, a 
people of Grecia, who were infamous for their inhumanity in this 
particular, being conquered by Mithridates, were made by him 
slaves to their own servants.^ The Lacedaemonians also were cruel 
to their servants, the Tenarenses, but their city on a sudden was 
so shaken, that all those houses wherein their cruelty had been 
exercised, except four, were destroyed. ^ God makes such men 

^ Posse et non velle nocere argumentum est hominis deum timentis. — Athen. 
^ Athen., lib. vi. cap. 6. ^ JElian., vi. 76. 

Chap. VI.] the christian man's calling, 9 

know many times here that wherein they deal passionately and 
proudly he is above them, but always hereafter ; ' they shall have 
judgment without mercy that shew no mercy.' 

Keader, think often in all thy dealings with thy servant, that 
thou hast a master in heaven, wlio may suddenly, but will shortly, 
reckon with thee ; and if thou now afflictest him, when God visiteth, 
what wilt thou answer him ? As he will not favour thy servant 
barely for being an inferior, so he will not fear thee in the least for 
being a superior. ' Forbear threatening, and do to thy servant that 
which is just and equal, knowing that thy master also is in heaven; 
and with him there is no respect of persons,' Eph. vi. 9 ; Col. iv. 1. 
Oh do but consider ! Thy master in heaven is omniscient, and 
knoweth all thy unjust dealings with thy servant. He is holy, and 
hates all thy oppression ; nay, he is omnipotent, and his hand will 
reach thee, and punish thee for it. 

Fourthly, Consider he is God's servant, God hath the original, 
illimited right to thy servants ; thou hast only a derivative, bounded 
power over them. God commands the Israelites to treat their ser- 
vants mildly upon this motive, ' For they are my servants,' Lev. 
XXV. 42. Hence some tell us that the Jews, in the infancy of their 
commonwealth, were very meek and moderate towards their ser- 
vants. They did not put them to do either any vile office or any 
hard work ; they allowed them the same meat, drink, and lodging 
with themselves, say the Kabbins ; and thence arose that proverb, 
He that buyeth a Hebrew servant buyeth himself a master. 
Therefore several of them loved their service so well, that they 
would rather have their ears bored through, and continue in that 
condition, than enjoy their freedom. Sure I am, God's servants 
must not be used as Satan's slaves. If men should not have hard, 
uncharitable thoughts of others, because they are another's servants, 
much less may they be uncharitable and cruel in their actions to- 
wards such. ' Who art thou,' saith the apostle, ' that judgest an- 
other man's servant ?' Eom. xiv. 4, So may I speak to thee, reader, 
if an unjust master, who art thou ? and what art thou that abusest 
and oppressest another's servants? Do what thou wilt with thy 
own servants, if ever thou canst get an absolute dominion over any, 
but darest thou to wrong another's servants, and the Lord's ser- 
vants too ? 

If a friend should, when he is necessitated to go abroad, commit 
his servant to thee for some time, wouldst thou not use him kindly 
and courteously for thy friend's sake ? And when thy God hath 
committed his servants to thy care and keeping for some time, to 


be instructed in his word, and acquainted with his worship, wilt 
thou abuse his servants as dogs, and bring them up as brutes ? To 
be the servant of God was a title that the greatest masters in 
Israel gloried in, and well they might. Now, wilt thou abuse and 
abase those whom God himself doth thus honour ? The heathen 
moralist, to dissuade a master from cruelty and rigour, can tell him 
that though they are servants yet they are men, and fellow-servants 
with us of the same supreme deity, i 

One thing, reader, I would in a word warn thee of, before 1 
speak to thy duty in this relation, that thou consider whom thou 
takest into thy service. It is dangerous to admit diseased persons 
into thy house : let none wait on thee who will not worship God. 
It was said of Hannibal's army, that it consisted ex coUuvie omnium 
gentium, of the scum of all nations ; but let it not be said so of thy 
family. He that knowingly harbours a traitor is himself a rebel. 
Some servants will hinder thee from discharging thy trust in refer- 
ence to their souls ; but having spoke formerly to the well-choosing,2 
I shall speak now to the well-using of servants. 

Thy duty in relation to thy servant will be discovered in these 

Thy duty is to endeavour the welfare of thy servants' souls. 
Turks mind nothing about their slaves but that they do their own 
work ; but Christians must mind that their servants do God's work 
also. Some read that Gen. xiv. 14, ' And Abraham armed his 
catechised servants, born in his own house, three hundred and 
eighteen.' It is clear that he commanded his household, the 
greatest part of which were servants, to keep the way of the Lord, 
Gen. xviii. 19. Joshua was for his whole house to serve God, 
Joshua xxiv. 15. And the fourth commandment is full for it: ' Tliou, 
thy son, thy daughter, thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant,' 
Exod. XX. 10. ' . " 

He is esteemed a cruel master that will not allow his servant 
bodily food ; but God counts him infinitely more savage who gives 
not his servant spiritual food. Shimei looked so much after his 
servants that he lost his life by it-; but many masters look so little 
after their servants that it will cost them their souls for it. 

Instruct thy servants in the word and worship of God. I told 
thee before, they are God's servants ; and wilt thou not take care 
that they serve him ? Holy Esther would not only fast and pray 
herself, but ' I and my maidens will fast also.' It was happy for 
those servants that they had such a mistress ; it is likely their ser- 
^ Seacc. dc Clem. - Vide the First Part, cap. ult. 

Chap, VI.] the christian man's calling. 11 

vice, whicli was corporal, was instrumental to their spiritual liberty, 
Esther iv. 16. 

Take time in the evenings, and on the Lord's-daj's, to teach them 
the principles of the oracles of God. Be often speaking to them 
of the threefold state of man, and the three offices of Christ ; wdth 
gentleness and mildness draw them towards God. Do thou fre- 
quently in their hearing commend the sweetness of God's love in 
Christ to sinners, the richness of that inheritance which he hath 
laid up for his servants, and the monstrous unthankfulness of men 
in rejecting that love and neglecting this life. Give others cause, 
that frequent thy family, to speak to thee, as the queen of Sheha 
to Solomon, ' Happy are thy men ; happy are those thy servants, 
which stand continually before thee,' 1 Kings x, 8. As he is the 
best servant that looks most to the main of his master's estate, that, 
thougli he forget some smaller matters, will be sure to remember 
the principal ; so he is the best master that looks most to the main, 
the precious soul, and eternal salvation of his servant. 

Pray with and for thy servants. Possibly they have good na- 
tures, but no grace. They mind thy work carefully, but neglect 
God's worship carelessly ; and canst thou think, without bowels and 
jiity , of their eternal perdition ? When Elisha's servant was sore dis- 
tressed by reason of the Syrians, Elisha prayed for him : ' Lord, open, 
I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And thje Lord opened 
the eyes of the young man ; and he saw,' 2 Kings vi. 17. Keader, 
are none of thy servants blind, not knowing, in a saving degree, the 
only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent ? Canst thou 
let them alone in this condition, and not cry to God to open the 
eyes of the blind, and to turn them from darkness to light ? Oh 
pray hard ; thou knowest not but God may hear and cause them to 
see in their day the things of their peace. 

When the body of the good centurion's servant was sick, his mas- 
ter went to the Lord Jesus for his cure, saying, ' Lord, my servant 
lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.' So go thou 
to Christ : Lord, my man-servant, my maid-servant is sick ; full of 
spiritual diseases, sick of the stone in the heart, of the tymjjany of 
pride, of the fever of lust, of the dropsy of drunkenness, of the con- 
sumption of atheism ; Lord, help him, help her ; for he, for she is 
grievously tormented. For thy comfort, consider what answer 
Christ gave the centurion, ' I will come and heal him.' Jesus Christ, 
upon thy fervent prayer, may send thee in such an answer as may 
rejoice thy soul, and the heart of thy poor servant for ever. 

Be careful that thy servants frequent the public ordinances of 


God. Elkanah would go up to offer sacrifice with his whole house, 
1 Sam. i. 21. When thou appearest before God, let not thy servant 
be left behind. It is not so safe to go alone as with company. Do 
not, as the Egyptian masters did, when thy God calleth thy servant 
to sacrifice, tell him he is idle, and wanteth more work. When 
they have attended on the word, examine them what they remem- 
ber. Scholars never learn their lessons well when they beforehand 
know they shall not be questioned about them. If thou sendest thy 
servant on an errand about thy temporal estate, thou wilt call him 
to an account how well he hath done it. Let thy conscience be 
judge whether thou hast not much more cause, when he is sent 
about his own eternal estate, to question him how he hath per- 
formed it. 

Thy benefit doth not a little depend upon thy servant's piety, 
which may encourage thee to promote it to the utmost of thy power. 
The more thy servant is conscientious to please God, the more care- 
ful he will be to please thee. A wicked servant will make nothing 
of blemishing thy name and impoverishing thy estate ; as Gehazi, 
he will make thee a cloak for his own covetousness ; as the unjust 
steward, he will lessen thy stock to enlarge his own ; when a 
godly servant, as Joseph and Jacob, will rather wrong himself than 
rob thee. It is observable of Onesimus, that though, before his 
conversion, he was as a rotten post in his master's house, threatening 
to pull it down, yet afterwards, as a sound pillar, he assisted to bear 
it up. ' I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begot- 
ten in my bonds ; who was in time past to thee unprofitable, but 
now is profitable to thee and me,' Philem. 10, 11. When once he 
became a new creature, instead of robbing and running away, he 
would enrich his master. There are no such faithful servants to 
men, as those that are faithful subjects to God. Grace will turn 
him w^ho is a moth to waste, into a merchant to increase their out- 
ward stock; when a graceless servant, like Ziba to Mephibosheth, 
will make no bones of deluding the magistrate, so he may defraud 
his master. 

Famous is that story of Pyrrhias,! a merchant of Ithaca, who 
seeing an aged man captive in a pirate ship, had compassion on 
him, and bought him and all his commodities, which were certain 
barrels of pitch. The old man considering that merely out of 
charity, and not out of covetousness, Pyrrhias had done this, pre- 
sently discovered to him a considerable treasure hid in the bottom 
of the barrels, whereby he became exceeding rich. 

^ Willet, Hexapla in Lev. 

Chap. VI] the christian man's calling. 13 

Reader, if the redemption of one out of bondage to man through 
the divine providence had so large a recompense, surely thy work 
of redeeming thy poor servant out of slavery and bondage to sin and 
Satan shall receive a far greater reward. Besides thy temporal, 
thou mayest expect to reap an eternal reward. The redemption of a 
soul, as it is far more precious, so it is infinitely more profitable, 
James v. 20 ; Dan. xii. 3. 

2. Provide what is just and convenient for thy servants' bodies. 
Prefer tlieir souls, but provide for their bodies. ' Masters, do to 
your servants that which is just and equal,' Col. iv. 1, Some covet- 
ous wretches will overwork their servants, but underkeep them, 
either of which is unjust. That dealing is just towards a servant 
which a master from his heart would desire might be used towards 
himself, if he were in the condition of a servant. 

Convenient food must be allowed thy servants. Thou canst not 
rationally expect that they should be diligent about their work, if 
thou deniest them convenient diet.i Thou knowest thy horse must 
have his provender, or he cannot well perform his journey. ' The 
hired servants in my father's house have bread enough,' Luke xv. 
17. They have not what is toothsome, but sufficient of what is 
wholesome ; bread enough ; nature, not lust, must be nourished. 
God commandeth thee to satisfy their hunger, but not to pamper 
their carnal appetites. ' He that delicately bringeth up his servant 
from a child, shall have him become his son at last,' Prov. xxix. 21. 
He that affordeth his servant raiment too costly, or nourishment 
too dainty, or carrieth himself towards him too familiarly, will find 
him at last a young master in his house, so malai:)ert as to equalise 
himself with the children, and to tyrannise over his fellow-servants. 
Solomon's son, Rehoboam, did, by sad experience, find the truth of 
this. The wise man himself saw it in Jeroboam, whom for his 
parts, not for his piety, he had received into his service, and pre- 
ferred before worthier persons, till at last he took state upon him, 
and did not only endeavour to be as his son, but even aspire to be 
his sovereign. 

But though servants' sloth and sin may not, yet their bodies must 
be cherished. He cheats himself who will not allow his servants, 
nay, and cattle too, sufficient food. The good housewife alloweth 
meat, as well as appointeth work to her maidens : ' She riseth 

^ 'Domini, quod justum est, servis exliibete,' Col. iv.l. In opere servis injungendo 
justitiam colit, qui nee premit laboribus immodicis, nee sinit otio et desidia torpes- 
cere. Sic in cibo prsebendo, qui nee detrahit illis victum necessarium ac convenientem, 
ncque patitur illos guise et ebrietati iudulgere.— Z)aw., in loc. 


whilst it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a task 
to her maidens,' Prov. xxxi. 1,5. Work without meat would quickly 
famish the natural body ; meat without work would feed the body 
of sin ; therefore she mindeth both. The labourer is as worthy of 
his meat as his lord of his work. 

The Hebrew Rabbis tell us that the first wise men among them 
gave their servants and beasts meat before they did eat them- 
selves. Masters must also allow physic to their diseased servants. 
He was an Amalekite, an enemy to God, that left his servant, when 
sick, to the wide world : ' And my master left me, because three 
days ago I fell sick,' 1 Sam. xxx. 13, which act of cruelty God pun- 
ished severely. He took care, by his providence, that the poor ser- 
vant should be recovered, and the oppressing master destroyed. 
The good Samaritan will bind up the wounds of a distressed stranger, 
much more of a servant. Xenocrates, though a heathen, was piti- 
ful to a poor sparrow, that, being pursued by a hawk, fled to him 
for succour. He sheltered her while the enemy was fled, and after- 
wards letting her go, said, Se supplicem non prodidisse, That he had 
not betrayed his poor suppliant.-^ A Christian should have more 
pity for a distressed Christian than a heathen hath for a bird. A 
master should be a physician to his servants ; as careful to preserve 
their healths and prevent their death, as to provide them work. 
Ischomachus told his wife that it was part of her office, and the 
most grateful part of it, in case a servant fall sick, to take care of 
his recovery. 2 The centurion, though a soldier, (and their hearts 
usually are more obdurate and less compassionate than others,) was 
earnest and diligent for the help of his sick servant. Mat. viii. 

Clothes or wages must also be afforded servants. Apprentices 
have raiment from their masters, others have money to find them- 
selves ; now in both, or either of these, thy duty is to be faithful. 
The good housewife minds raiment for them to whom it is due, and 
that neither too neat nor nasty, but such as is suitable to the sea- 
son, Prov. xxxi. 21. 

Be careful to pay them their wages. It is high injustice to de- 
tain their dues. God will pay those masters who will not pay tlieir 
servants. He hath wrath for them who have no wages for others. 
Such covetousness brings a dreadful curse : ' Woe be to him 
that usetli his neighbour's service without wages, and giveth him 
not for his work,' Jer. xxii. 13. The mean and low servant hath 
the great and high God for his avenger. His eyes see such cruelty, 
and his ears hear the poor servant's cry. This is one of those cry- 

^ iElian. Yar. Hist., lib. xiii. ^ Xenopbon. 

Chap. VI.] the christian man's calling. 15 

ing sins ■wliicli will give God no rest till lie revenge it. Murder or 
blood liatli a loud voice ; it crieth, Gen, iv. 10. As the blood of 
the Mediator cried for pardon, so the blood of meo, unjustly shed, 
crieth for punishment. The souls of the good, and the blood of the 
bad, if their bodies be murdered, will cry for vengeance. God hath 
washed his hands in their blood (and thereby kept his honour 
unstained) who have stained their hands in the blood of others. 
Sodomy is another crying sin ; man with man, doing that which is 
unseemly. Human bestiality calleth for divine severity. Gen. xviii. 
22. Hell shall be rained out of heaven, but that such an unnatural 
sin shall be revenged. This hellish fire in men shall be punished 
with fire from God. Oppression is a third crying sin, Exod. iii. 7, 
and xxii. 23. To keep back the servant's wages is to dare the mas- 
ter in heaven to a duel, James v. 4. Though the poor servant be 
silent, yet the sin itself hath a large throat, and will cry aloud. It 
is cursed covetousness not to be charitable ; but it is inhuman 
cruelty to suck out poor men's sweat and spirits, and to deny them 
what is their due for its reparation. This sin hath a louder voice 
than the sinner. The very land will cry and the furrows complain 
when the poor man, armed with patience, doth not, or, awed with 
power, dareth not. Job xxxi. 39. 

This scarlet crying sin is of a double dye. When masters pay 
servants less than their work, or late for their work, they are in 
some measure guilty of it. There ought to be a proportion between 
the work and the wages. Laban, by his shuffling and cutting with 
Jacob, was met with himself at last. It is unworthy and wicked 
for any master to w^ork upon the necessities and wants of others. 
We have a saying, There is nothing cheap but poor men's labour. 
But I am confident, how cheap soever their work is here, many a 
griping master will find it dear enough in the other world. To 
delay the payment of servants is also sinful. To defer, by the law 
of man, is all one as to deny. When they slip the time appointed, 
the bond is forfeited. God would not permit the Jews to sleep with 
such money in their purses. ' Thou shalt not oppress an hired ser- 
vant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of 
thy strangers that are in thy land : at his day thou shalt give him 
his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it ; for he is poor, and 
setteth his heart upon it : lest he cry against thee,' Deut. xxiv. 
14, 15. 

3. Command thy servant nothing but what is fit and lawful. 
Two things I include under this head : that thou shouldst enjoin 
thy servant nothing but, 


1. What is agreeable to God's law ; that his soul be not injured. 

2. What is suitable to his natural strength ; that his body be not 

First, Nothing but what is agreeable to God's word. Thou art 
but a steward, and therefore to appoint those that are thy inferiors 
that only which thy lord directeth. They and thou also are God's 
servants, wherefore his pleasure must always be preferred.! The 
Holy Ghost in thy description giveth thee a good caution. He 
calleth thee a master KaTcu crdpKa, according to the flesh, or a bodily 
master, Eph. vi. 5 ; Col. iii. 22. Thou hast power to give laws to 
his body, but no power at all to make laws for his soul. His flesh 
may be at thy beck, but his spirit must only be at God's bidding. 
If in any command thou transgressest God's laws, thou exceedest 
thy limits. And I must tell thee that thy servant is not bound to 
obey thee, nay, he is expressly forbidden it. I shall by and by charge 
him in God's name not to do it, and be it at his own peril if he dare. 
Some masters indeed, as Absalom, enjoin their servants what God 
forbids, to steal, or cozen in their callings, to lie, or bear false wit- 
ness, when it is for their profit and credit, and to profane the Lord's- 
day by working ; and think, as that proud prince, that their word 
must be an unquestionable and sufficient warrant, ' Fear not, have 
not I commanded you ?' But such men must know that they them- 
selves are guilty of high treason, by commanding others to become 
traitors. Oh be not thou called master in this sense, for one is thy 
master, even Christ ! Mat. xxiii. 9. It was the saying of Anastasius 
the emperor, that he would venture upon no design, though never 
so gallant and glorious, that might cost a drop of the blood of his 
subjects.^ And wilt thou venture upon those commands which 
may cost the soul-blood both of thyself and servant ? Abraham 
was careful not to trouble his steward's conscience. Gen. xxix. 8. 

Secondly, Nothing is to be enjoined tliy servant but what is suit- 
able to his strength. Neither his inward man must be wronged by 
sinful, nor his outward man by cruel commands. Thou may est use 
him, but thou mayest not abuse him. It is one thing to work, and 
another thing to rack and wear out a servant. It is thy duty to 
keep him from sloth, but thy sin to suck out his spirits. A tyrant 
and a master differ specifically ; ^ 'Ye shall not rule over one another 

1 Omnis authoritas et superioritas, a Deo derivatur, et ideo debet divinse authori- 
tati subordinari. Prseceptum ergo inferioris potestatis non obligat ad obedientiam 
quando contrariatur praecepto superioris. — Durandus, lib. ii. ist. 39, qu. 5. 

- Evagrii., lib. iii. 

^ Masters must consider, Et quid ferre valent humeri, et quid ferre recusant. — 
I'or. in Art. Poet. 

Chap, VI.] the christian man's calling. 17 

with rigour,' Lev. xxv. 46. It is for wicked Egyptians to com- 
mand bricks and deny straw, to make their servants' lives bitter, 
and their service an iron furnace ; yet I fear that some famihes in 
England may be called, as Egypt, a house of bondage, wherein 
governors, according to the prophet's phrases, ' eat the flesh, and 
flay the skin, and break the bones of poor servants,' Micah iii. 3. 

The master should be, as the servant of Naaman called him, a 
father to his servants ; esteem his servant, according to Seneca's 
appellation, as a lower or lesser friend, l Satyrus in Atheneeus was 
called Ev8ov\o<; koI Evoiko<;, because he was kind to his servants. 
If a merciful man be merciful to his beasts, much more to his ser- 
vant. God contemneth the service of those masters, when they 
worship him, who are cruel to their servants, Isa. Iviii. 5, 6. He 
that overstraineth his horse at work wrongs his own purse ; but he 
that overworketh his servant wrongs his conscience. 2 Oh, it is a 
barbarous act for any man to command what may likely hazard his 
servant's life ! He that takes such earnings drinketh his servant's 
blood, which holy David would not do, 2 Sam. xxiii. 17. And some 
think it troubled his conscience that he had by a wish, though he 
never gave any word of command, occasioned the dangers of his 
three worthies' lives. It was said of the Massilians, it is better to 
be their sheep than children. It may be said of some masters, it is 
better to be their swine than servants, they are so unmerciful to 

4. Masters must be faithful in teaching their servants that trade 
and calling to which they are bound. As the servant is bound to 
be faithful to his master in obeying his lawful commands, so the 
iuaster is bound to be faithful to his servant in instructing him in 
his calling. It is a gross and grievous fault in many masters, in 
taking their servants' work, and their parents' wealth, and conceal- 
ing from thern the mystery of their trade. This is robbery and 
unrighteousness. Their covetousness will persuade them to teach 
inferiors so much as will make them profitable servants, but their 
envy and avarice together hinder them from teaching them so much 
as may make them honourable masters. Hence it comes to pass 
that apprentices, when their time is expired, are still in bondage ; 
for being ignorant how to buy and sell, or in some essential parti- 
cular of their trades, they dare not take a shop, lest, through their 
unskilfulness, occasioned by their masters' unfaithfulness, it should 

^ Humilis amicus. — Sencc, Epist. 97. 

- Merpia fiev rj 6eu 5ov\eia, dfierpos Se r/ to7s avdpunrois. Moderata servitus est qua2 
Deo placet, immoderata quae ad bumanam libidinem exigitur. — Plat., Epist. 9. 



in a few months fall on their heads. Ainsworth tells us that God 
would not have servants sent away empty, lest they should be ne- 
cessitated to return to service, from which second servitude he 
would free his people.! But these masters purposely (I mean many 
of them) keep close their art and mystery to continue their servants 
to them in a little nobler slavery, that, when their indentures are 
ended, their apprentice may step into a journeyman, which is but 
bondage in a second edition, and somewhat a fairer print. Others 
fear, if their servants should be made skilful in their calling, they 
would some way or other get away their custom ; and therefore con- 
ceal their trade, hereby turning a possibility of their future suffer- 
ing into a certainty of present sinning, just like one that, because it 
is possible somebody hereafter may give him a cup of wormwood, is 
resolved to prevent it by taking a present cup of poison. But what- 
soever be the root, the reason of it, sure I am the fruit is bitter 
and distasteful to God, and all sober men. A common robber on 
the road is not in so deep a degree guilty of theft as an unfaithful 
master. This man robs the father of his money now, and the com- 
fort he might expect from his son hereafter ; he robs the servant of 
his present labour and his future livelihood ; he robs his country of 
that service which the apprentice might have done it if the master 
had been conscientious in teaching him his calling ; and he robbeth 
God and his own soul most in wronging all these, and in being so 
false and unfaithful to his covenants, which, under his own hand 
and seal, will be brought out against him at the day of Christ. 

I know some servants are dull and backward, and cannot easily 
learn ; and others are untoward, and will not be easily taught ; but 
let masters do their endeavour and discharge their duties, and then 
the sin will not another day lie at their doors. 

But, reader, I would be rightly understood ; I do not intend by 
teaching thy servant the mystery of his art and trade, thy instruct- 
ing thy servant in the mystery of iniquitj^, those sly, subtle tricks 
which some masters have (by false weights, or rotten wares hand- 
somely glazed or glossed, or any other sinful way) to cozen their 
customers. No. If thou art skilled in this hellish black art, keep 
it to thyself and the devil, whence it came, but let not thy servant 
be abused by doing thy work so many years, and then turned off 
like thy horse, after such hard labour, without any reward. 

By that small acquaintance I have in the city, I find the urging 
this duty exceeding necessary, many masters being faulty herein, to 
the great prejudice and wrong of their apprentices ; and I do some- 

* Ainsworth in Deut. xv. 14. 

Chap. VI.] the christian man's calling. 19 

what marvel tliat those who write of relation duties, do generally 
omit it — not one that I ever read of so much as mentioning it. 

5. Masters ought to exercise discipline towards their servants. 
Eeproof is due to a servant sinning, as much as his diet ; nay, a 
servant that will not be corrected with words, must with blows, 
Prov. xxix. 19. The philosopher tells us, a servant may challenge 
three things, ipjov, rpocprjv, koI KoXacriv, work, meat, and correc- 
tion ; and it is clear, as the case maybe in the last, that the master 
in giving them all, doth no more than what is just and equal. Some 
servants, like the Phrygians, will do nothing any longer than they 
are beaten to it. But that servant who knoweth his master's will, 
and doth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes, Luke xii. 47. 
The Scythians, when their servants, upon their long absence in 
Asia, had married their wives, and at their return withstood them, 
conquered their servants with whips, though they could not conquer 
them with swords. i 

The master ought to be wise, especially in this part of his duty. 
Correction is like physic, not to be given without good advice and 
caution ; if it be too frequent, it works no more than our meat with 
us ; some faults that are lesser, may be pardoned without danger, 
Eccles. vii. 21, 22. 

Every house must not be turned into a house of correction. The 
servants' disposition must be observed. We use a difference when 
we go about to hew a rugged piece of timber, and to smooth a little 
stick, which you can bend as you please. 

A fit season must be observed. Cut your trees at some time of 
the year, and you kill them ; prune them at other times, and they 
thrive much the better. 

The fault must be plain. Arraignment and conviction in all our 
courts precede judgment and execution. Some masters in their heat 
and haste fly on their servants upon a supposition which is false ; 
like those who hang men for a fact, and then examine whether they 
are guilty or no, and if they be found innocent, take their bodies 
down from the gibbet, and allow them a burial. No man was to be 
beaten among the Jews, say their writers,^ but by witnesses and evi- 
dence, and they were to examine the witnesses by inquiry and dili- 
gent search, even as they did in judgments of life and death. 
Joseph's master sinned in putting him into prison upon his wife's 
bare assertion. Gen. xxxix. 20. 

The correction must be moderate. Servants must not be wrought 

1 Fez. Mel. Hist. 

2 Ainsworth in Deut. xxv. Ex Maimon. in Sanliedrin., chap. xvi. sec. 4. 


like horses, nor beaten like clogs. When Hagar fled from the too 
hard dealing of her mistress, and groaned to God, he heard her cry. 
Deut. xxiii. 15, he cannot endure that our brother or sister should 
be vile in our eyes. Adrianus the emperor banished one Umbra, 
a matron, for five years, for handling her maids cruelly, Deut. xxv. 
3, 4. Whosoever did beat his servant amongst the Hebrews im- 
moderately, was to be beaten himself, unless there were a fine by 
tlieir judicial laws, as in some cases, imposed on him.i It is evi- 
dent, that if the master had wronged his servant, though but in "^a 
tooth, he was to make him satisfaction, Exod. xxi. 26, 27. The 
Eomans punished their faulty servants, by forcing them to carry a 
piece of wood called fiirca, in w*ay of disgrace, up and down among 
all their neighbours, and the offender was called fui^cifer.'^ 

6. Masters ought to encourage good servants. Sometimes by 
seasons for lawful recreations. The naturalist, who speaketh much 
that servants should not want work, saith also that they must have 
rest and recreation, apylav, as well as epyov, refreshment as em- 
ployment. Their hard meat will go down the better with a little 

Horses too strait reined in, are apt to rise up with their fore- 
feet ; when they are allowed convenient liberty with their heads 
they go the better. 

Sometimes by preferring him, if it be in thy power : ' A wise ser- 
vant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have 
part of the inheritance among the brethren/ Prov. xvii. 2. God 
would have those that are low and lowly exalted to higher places. 
Potiphar, though he had no fear of God, yet having found Joseph 
faithful, he preferred him, a poor slave, to be over all his house. 
The centurion's honest servant was dear to him, eVrt/ios-, of great 
price ; a good servant is a jewel of great price, and therefore he 
should not always be put to mean, servile use. It is pity a gracious 
person should ever, much less always, stand in a low place. Oh, 
suffer not live coals to go out for want of blowing ; let thy words 
and thy works shew that grace in a mean man is glorious. 

Paul writes to Philemon on the behalf of his godly servant, ' Ke- 
ceive him not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother 
beloved, especially to me, but how much more to thee, both in the 
flesh, and in the Lord?' Philem. 16. It is sordid in many masters 
that dismiss their servants, when they have dwelt with them many 
years, and served them faithfully, rather as prisoners out of a jail, 

^ Ainsivortli in Deut. xxv. Ex Maimon. in Sanhedrin., chap. xvi. sec. i. 
^ Plutarch. 

Chap. YL] the christian man's calling. 21 

ragged and tattered, than as brethren out of a Christian society. 
God commandeth the Jews, when their servants apprenticeship was 
out, ' In the seventh year thou shalt let him go free. And when 
thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away 
empty : hut shalt liberally furnish him out of thy flock, and out 
of thy floor : of that wherewith the Lord thy God hath blessed thee 
thou shalt give him,' Deut. xv. 13, 14. Heb., In furnishing thou 
shalt furnish him, that is, certainly do it. Some read it, Adorn 
him as with a chain, release him with honour, and not turn him 
out as a vagabond. For the quantity, the law appointeth not how 
much the master should give his servant. 

The Hebrews gather out of Ej;od. xxi. 32, that he might not 
give less than thirty shekels, whether it were of one kind (of the 
things forementioned) or of many.i Now these judicial laws, as 
to their equity, are still in force. But how far from conformity to 
the equity of this precept are those crabbed, covetous persons, who 
instead of good works deny their honest servant a good word at 
parting ; nay, and when they are gone, and set up for themselves, 
envy them their custom, and do their utmost to hinder them in 
their callings; such masters degenerate into savage beasts, scrambling 
to have all themselves, and fighting, at least in thoughts and Avords, 
that no others may share with them. 

7. Masters should set a good pattern before their servants. 
Masters are the looking-glass by which servants usually dress them- 
selves. If they be false glasses, their servants will be attired but 
in ill-favoured fashions. Servants are as members, masters as the 
head ; now the members accompany the head, whether through a 
dirty ditch, or through a cleanly path — whether to a tavern or to 
the temple. It is the unhappy privilege of a master to have, like 
Korah, a company following him in his wicked courses and worst 
practices. ' The eyes of a servant are to the hands of his master, 
and the eyes of a maiden to the hands of her mistress,' Ps. cxxiii. 2. 
Keader, observe it, to the hand of master and mistress ; the hand is 
the organ of action, the instrument of working, servants' eyes are 
as much, often more, to their masters' and mistresses' works, as 
their ears to their words. Their voice to their superiors is like that 
of Tiberius to Justinus, If you please I agree, if you refuse I deny 
also ; or as the king of Judah to the king of Israel, I am as thou 
art ; or as that scribe to Christ, ' Master, I will follow thee wherever 
thou goest,' Mat. viii. 19 ; what care therefore should masters take that 
their race be by rule, lest poor servants should wait on, and follow 

' Maimon. Treat, of Servants, chap. iii. sec. 14. 


after tliem to bell ! If a governor be bad, all bis servants are 
wicked, Prov. xxix. 12. Pbaraob's servants took after tbeir master, 
and so did Saul's. Servants are as sunflowers, tbey follow tbe 
motion of (tbe sun) tbeir masters, wbetber to good or evil. If tbe 
bigb priests, and tbe beads of tbe Jews, prove corrupt, tbey sball 
not want company in tbeir evil courses, tbougb it be to buffet and 
persecute, and deride tbe Lord Jesus Cbrist. Inferiors are like a 
flock of cranes, wbicb way tbeir superior, tbe foremost, flietb, all tbe 
rest follow. Tbe servants of Absalom will join witb bim in bis sin, 
sooner tban tbe servant of Elisba will join witb bim in bis sanctity. 
If tbe first sbeet in tbe press, upon its last review, go off ill, full of 
errors, tbe whole fifteen bundred^or two thousand tbat come after, 
bave all tbe same faults ; but if tbat go off well, tbe rest will 
resemble it ; truly wbat tbe first sbeet is to tbem tbat remain, tbat 
is a master to bis men-servants, and a mistress to ber maidens. If 
tbe master make conscience of bis words, of bis deeds, if be be 
serious in, and diligent at, boly duties, servants, at least in pretence, 
will imitate bim ; but if be be a curser, a cbeater, a liar, a Sabbatb- 
breaker, bow ordinary is it for servants to take after bim ! Tbe 
works of commanders and masters, are usually tbe commanders 
and masters of servants' works. Consider therefore, reader, bow 
thou carriest thyself, lest those that thank thee in this world for 
thy pains and faithfulness in teaching them their trades, curse thee 
in the other world for leading tbem by thy wicked pattern to tbe 
place of torments. 

A good tuish about the master's duties, wherein the former heads 

are epitomised. 

Tbe sovereign Lord of tbe whole world, who bath manifested bis 
manifold wisdom in appointing such a subordination amongst his 
several creatures, as might be most conducible to tbe ends of their 
creation, and bis boundless goodness in bestowing dominion on some 
for tbe welfare and happiness, not for the injury and hurt, of 
others, tbat the poor and weaker, as they yield subjection to, might 
receive protection and provision from, the rich and stronger, having 
out of his mere mercy, not for any merit, called me to be a master, 
I wish tbat I may never behave myself in this relation as a slave to 
Satan, or a servant of unrighteousness, by making my bouse to my 
servants, as Egypt to Israel, an iron furnace and a bouse of bondage, 

Chap. VI.] the christian man's calling. 23 

either to their souls or bodies ; that I may not abuse my power to 
the prejudice of the poorest, but that I may give unto all my ser- 
vants that which is just and equal, knowing that I myself have a 
Master in heaven. 

I wish that, whenever my heart is ready to insult over them, or 
my hand ready to fall heavy upon them, I may consider that 
though there be some difference betwixt us in regard of civil 
condition, yet there is none in regard of natural constitution. 
Did not he that made me in the womb make them ? and did not 
he form us all in the womb ? Should the children of the same 
father with me be used like beasts by me ? Our births, our beings, 
our lives and deaths, are the samcj; I am made of the same essential 
parts, live by the same providence, breathe in the same common air, 
and must shortly be buried in the same earth with them ; and is 
here any ground for arrogancy in me, or cruelty towards them ? 
When they are my fellow-travellers, that came out of the same inn 
of the womb, are willing to wait upon me as I journey, and walk 
with me to the same grave, shall I rob or wrong them by the way ? 
Lord, since nature made no difference betwixt me and the meanest 
servant in the world, but whatsoever difference there is comes from 
thy free grace, enable me to carry myself towards them righteously 
and mercifully, as towards my fellow-creatures, those that are of 
the same make and mould with myself, lest by despising the poor 
I reproach both their and my maker. 

I wish that I may behave myself towards my servants as towards 
those that are God's sons. As they differ not from me in natural 
princii^les, so neither do they differ in spiritual privileges ; they 
have right to the same God, to the same gospel, to the same 
Saviour, and to the same salvation. Though they are poor, yet 
they have an equal title here to the exceeding rich and precious 
promises, and hereafter to the purchased possession. What though 
they want those external fading accomplishments of birth, breed- 
ing, honour, estate, which others boast of, when they may have the 
real internal endowments of the love of God, and the blood of Christ, 
and the embroidery of the Spirit, which are the only things of 
worth and price ! Good kings will not suffer their subjects to be 
wronged, much less their children. He that toucheth God's chosen, 
toucheth the apple of his eye. How sure am I to suffer, if I offend 
one of Christ's little ones. Oh let me never, according to the world's 
judgment, esteem persons by their outward ornaments; but as 
David shewed kindness to lame Mephibosheth for Jonathan's sake, 
so let me shew kindness to low servants for Jesus' sake. Lord, 


since thou makest not tlie least difference betwixt me and them in 
spirituals, let me make the less difference in civils ; let me never 
be so foolish, and so much my own foe, as to oppress and abuse 
thy favourites, but let me use them in all resj^ects as those that 
are or may be thy heirs, and partakers with me of the same holi- 
ness, and the same heaven. 

I wish that the fear of my Master above may make me faithful 
to my servants here below. His eyes behold all my ways, his 
heart doth perfectly hate all my wickedness, and his hand can 
punish me when he pleaseth ; he will not spare me for my place, 
nor fear me for my power ; with him there is no respect of persons. 
Shall not his dread fall upon me, and his terror make me afraid ? 
If the presence and awe of a king make a judge righteous to his 
subjects, shall not the omnipresence and dread of a God make me 
just to my servants? Oh that I might never be so far possessed 
with unbelief as to think my Lord delayeth his coming, and thence 
to take liberty to beat the men-servants and maidens, (to neglect 
their souls, to wrong their bodies, by oppressing them with work, 
or not paying them their wages,) and to eat, and drink, and to be 
drunken, lest my Lord come in a day when I look not for him, 
and in an hour when I am not aware, and cut me asunder, and 
give me my portion with unbelievers, Luke xii. 45, 46. Ah, should 
I be a hard master to them, how heavy would the hand of my 
God be on me ! If an oppressed Israelite groan by reason of his 
bondage, God will hear his cry, and maintain his cause ; and what 
plagues will then fall down on such Egyptian masters ! Lord, 
though I could abuse my servant without any fear of men, let me 
not dare to rule with rigour, out of the fear of thee. For if I 
despise the cause of my man-servant, or my maid-servant, when 
they plead with me, what then shall I do when thou risest up ? 
and when thou visitest, what shall I answer thee ? Job xxi. 14, 15. 

I wish that I could consider that I am but a deputy-master, 
that God only hath an absolute dominion, and therefore my ser- 
vants must be always used answerable to their relation to him. 
Who am I, that I should offer to abuse the servants of another 
man ? And do I dare to abuse the servants of the great God ? If 
it were ground enough for Pharaoh, a heathen, to let Israel en- 
joy their liberty because they were God's people, — ' Let my people 
go, that they may serve me in the wilderness,' — surely it should be 
reason enough with me, a Christian, to rule over my servants with 
meekness and mildness, because they are God's servants ; reason 
and civility would forbid me to oppress the servants of a stranger. 

Chap, VI.] the christian man's calling. 25 

and shall not religion and sanctity withhold me from abusing the 
servants of my Father and Saviour? Lord, my flesh is apt to 
suggest that I am a sovereign, and therefore may deal with them 
according to my passion ; but thy word hath told me that I am 
but thy substitute ; oh, let me therefore govern them according to 
thy precepts ! 

I Avish that, because they are God's servants, I may be the more 
careful to teach them his statutes, and the more conscientious to 
acquaint them with his word, and command them his worship ; I 
hinder God of his honour, and them also, to my power, of heaven, 
if I mind nothing about them, but my own work. Would I be 
willing that poor servants should, out of my house, stumble into 
hell ? Their souls are as precious as of the greatest earthlj princes. 
My God in the making of them took as great pains ; my Saviour 
in the purchasing them laid down' the same price ; the Holy Spirit 
will dwell in them, if they be pure, sooner than in the soul of the 
highest ungodly potentate ; and shall I trample those jewels, which 
my God esteems at so dear a rate, as dung and dirt under my feet ? 
Oh that I might not, as covetous wretches, ever increase my tem- 
poral goods, by being cruel to my servants' souls, and neglecting 
their eternal good. Within a few days they shall enter into their 
unchangeable estates: heaven or hell must hold their precious 
souls for ever ; and shall I be no more mindful of my man or my 
maid than I am of my beasts, that when they die have a period 
both of their pain and pleasure ? Lord, I beg it of thy sacred 
Majesty, that my servants may, through me, as an instrument, 
receive from thee saving mercy. Oh that my faithfulness might 
be so real, and thy favour so effectual, that none might go out of 
my family into the unquenchable fire. 

Dearest Redeemer, who wast pleased to take upon thee, for our 
sakes, the form of a servant, and didst not disdain in the days of 
thy flesh, here on earth, to give a visit to a poor sick servant, let 
it please thee to visit my sick men, my sick maids, with thy gra- 
cious and powerful presence ; shew thyself a charitable, skilful, and 
compassionate physician in healing such poor, dangerous jDatients, 
for God's sake. They are not able to requite thee, but thou lovest 
freely ; oh heal their backslidings, and receive them graciously, and 
they will render thee (what they are able) the calves of their lips, 
the thanks of their hearts, and the praise of their lives to all 

I wish that I may be true to their bodies, though I be most 
tender of their souls ; I ought to prefer the inward, but yet to pro- 


vide for their outward man. Why should I be so unrighteous as 
to withhold their due, whilst I accept their duty ? and so unreason- 
able as to expect their labour, and yet to grudge them that which 
maintaineth their lives ? I would neither pine nor pamper them, 
but feed them with food convenient and sufficient. Charity bindeth 
me to feed and clothe others in necessity, according to my estate 
and ability ; but justice requireth me to requite these. They earn 
their bread in the sweat of their brows, and should they be turned 
off with a knock and a bit ? The ox must not be muzzled that 
treadeth out the corn ; and is not the Christian labourer worthy of 
his hire ? If my serviceable beast were ill, I would willingly be 
at the cost of his cure ; and doth not my Christian servant, when 
sick, deserve much more care ? What though he should, when 
recovered, prove ungrateful, or die, and thereby be disenabled to 
acknowledge my kindness ; yet my God, who is a sure and liberal 
paymaster, would not fail largely to recompense my labour of love. 
Lord, let nje never be of the number of those gallants who through 
their pride bring up their servants (pampering them in wanton- 
ness and wickedness) to bring down their families ; nor of those 
muckworms who, out of penuriousness, deny them their due ; but 
let me regard them as thy servants, both in health and sickness, 
and afford them, with respect to my wealth and their wants, as those 
that are or may be thy adopted sons, 

I wish that I may never abuse my power to the wrong of my 
Saviour or servant, by commanding anything which my God for- 
biddeth. My authority is derivative from him, and therefore must 
be exercised in obedience to him. It is his free grace that I am a 
master, not a servant, and shall I not improve his favour to his 
glory ? How unworthy should I be if, like Jehu, I tight against 
my Master with his own soldiers, and use the power which he hath 
given me to dethrone and dishonour him ? I am greatly ungrate- 
ful if I do not acknowledge his kindness by improving it to his 
credit ; but what a monster of ingratitude am I, if I abuse the 
gracious commission of my king, to the robbing him of his crown ! 
Lord, preserve me from following Sennacherib's heathenish and hell- 
ish pattern, who commanded and sent his servants to revile and 
reproach the living God ; but let all the work I shall ever appoint 
them, be agreeable to thy word. Since my person is by millions of 
engagements bound to subjection, and my dominion is received 
wholly from thee, let my person and power ever be imjjroved in 
subordination to thee. 
■• I wish that I may never wrong their bodies by immoderate work. 

Chap. VI.] the christian man's calling. 27 

as well as not injure their souls by anything that is wicked. They 
are come to be my servants, not to be my slaves. I am called to 
be their master, not to be their tyrant. Oh, let me never be so 
barbarous, as, by working them like beasts, to drink their blood ! 
If a merciful man be merciful to his beasts, what a man of blood 
is he that is cruel to Christians ! Lord, keep me from imitating 
those pharisees, who bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be borne, 
on the shoulders of inferiors, but they themselves will not move 
them with one of their fingers. 

I wish that I may be faithful in teaching them fully that trade 
to which they are bound. How cursedly do I cozen both parents 
and children if I deal deceitfully with them in my calling ! With 
what conscience can I use them as servants, whilst I resolve they 
shall never be masters ? And doth it not pity me to see how hard 
they work, and what pains they take to buy their future beggary ? 
Do I deal with othei's as I would be dealt with myself ? Can I 
imagine that such covetousness, or whatsoever be the cause of this 
injustice, shall escape a curse ? I hinder, by my unrighteousness, 
their temporal weal, but I further my own eternal woe. Lord, 
suffer me not to raise myself by robbery, nor, as many rich per- 
sons, to build my house upon others' ruin ; but let justice in all 
my actions run down like water, and righteousness in tliis relation 
like a mighty stream, 

I wisli that my servants' souls may be always dearer to me than 
their sins ; I mean, that I may never allow them in anything that 
is unlawful. The human nature will help me to discourage them 
in that which may poison their bodies, and shall not the divine 
nature hinder me from encouraging them in that which will pollute 
their immortal souls ? My frowns, through God's blessing, may 
famish, but my favour will too probably fatten, their body of sin. 
Will sin deal so tenderly with their souls if they go to the place of 
torment, that I should be so meek and so mild in reproving it ? 
How perfectly doth my God hate sin, when he inflicteth such dread- 
ful judgments on sinners for sin's sake ! What ignominy and 
agony, what sorrows and torture, did my Saviour undergo to make 
satisfaction for sin ! What pains doth the Spirit take to cast sin 
down, even Avhen he doth not cast it out, in any soul ! and shall I 
allow any in sin ? 

Besides, I am guilty of that profaneness which I may, and do 
not, prevent. Their debts, contracted through my connivance, will 
be laid to my charge at the dreadful day of Christ. And are my 
own sins so light a load that I must cry for others' burdens, and. 


as a man pressing to death, call for more weight ? Oh that I might 
never wink at either wife's, or children's, or servants' wickedness ; 
but though I love their persons, may yet loathe their vices, and so 
reprove them, as one that would not have his poor house removed, 
when they leave this world, into hell. Lord, did I never feel sin, 
and that I am still apt to have such favourable thoughts of it, both 
in myself and others. Hath not the law's curse, because of it, 
gone over my soul, and thy wrath j)ressed me very sore ? and shall 
no learning teach me ? Oh, whatsoever affliction it be thy pleasure 
to chastise me with, preserve me from thy curse, the permission of 
sin in my own or any others' soul. 

I wish that I may be fit to reprove others, by living without re- 
buke, and being irreprovable myself. Eyes filled with dust cannot 
see spots in others' faces. Hands that are filthy are not fit to wash 
out the defilement of the other members. Besides, if I commit, 
and am guilty of that swearing or drunkenness, or any sin which 
I condemn in others, I do but, like David in condemning them, 
pass a sentence of eternal death upon my own soul. I wish, there- 
fore, for my own sake, and the sake of my followers, that I may 
be a follower of Christ, and walk in all things as I have him for 
an example. How soon will my servants tread in my steps, whether 
right or wrong ! As the body in a beast, so do servants in a house, 
follow the head, the master. And am I willing to make them 
wicked with me, and to be for ever woeful with them ? Will not 
hell-fire be the hotter for so much fuel ? Oh that, since servants 
are the soft wax, and my life is the seal, I might live so righteously, 
soberl}^, and godlily, as to be a pattern of piety, and a credit to the 
gospel, and instrumental to stamp God's image on their souls. 
Lord, the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man to 
direct his own steps. I beseech thee, therefore, to lead me in 
thy truth, and so to order all my steps by thy word, that the 
iniquity of my heels — I mean of them that follow me at the heels — 
may never compass me about. 

I wish that I may not only be a terror to evil-doers, but also 
an encouragement to those servants that do well ; that I may, as a 
wise gardener, be as diligent to cherish the good plants, as to pluck 
up the evil weeds. It is infinite pity that virtue should famish for 
want of favour, that grace should languish for lack of countenance. 
Oh, how carefully doth my God encourage piety in never so mean 
a person ! He looks on their enemies as his enemies. It were 
better that a millstone were hung about the neck of the greatest 
emperor, and he thrown into the sea, than that he should offend 

Chap. VII. J the chkistian man's calling. 29 

one of these little ones. They are holiness to the Lord, the first 
fruits of his increase ; all that devour them shall offend, evil shall 
befall them. He makes it the character of a true Christian to 
honour them, poor or rich, bond or free, that fear the Lord. They 
are precious in his sight, and honourable, though the world judge 
them base and contemptible ; though he be the high and lofty One, 
yet he humbleth himself to make these poor in spirit the habita- 
tion where his holiness dwelleth. Lord, help me, who profess 
myself to be thy son, to resemble thee in my carriage towards 
my servants, that wheresoever I behold any sproutings of grace, 
or buddings of godliness, I may afford those tender buds such 
warm beams as may cause them, through thy blessing, to ripen 
into fruits of holiness, and to end at last in everlasting life. 

Finally, I wish that I may, in every particular of this relation 
of a master, carry myself as a faithful servant to Christ. Lord, 
if I expect such reverence, obedience, and diligence from my ser- 
vants, because I give them, through thy bounty to me, a little food 
and wages, whs^t reverence, obedience, and diligence mayest thou 
expect from me, when I owe my life and all my comforts to thy 
free grace, and am bound by millions of engagements to thy blessed 
Majesty ! Oh that as mountains overflowing with water do thereby 
help to fatten the valleys, my heart might be so filled with living 
water, that I may be instrumental to make my servants and infe- 
riors fruitful in godliness ! Blessed Grod, remit all my miscar- 
riages in this relation, and be pleased so to renew my soul after 
the image of thy dear Son, that I may carry myself towards my 
servant as a vessel of honour, fitted and prepared for my master's 
use ; and when the day of my death shall come, that servants 
shall be free from their subjection to me, I may be free both from 
sin and suffering, under which I am now sold, and enter into my 
master's joy. Amen. 


Hoiv Christians may exercise themselves to godliness in the relation 

of servants. 

The lowest relation in a family is this of servants, in which, as 
well as in the rest, religion must be minded. Therefore the Spirit 
of God giveth directions in his word how these should carry them- 


selves ; and the minister, as he is a steward, is bound to give the 
meanest in his master's family their portion. 

Some servants in the days of the apostles thought that their 
spiritual freedom by Christ had exempted them from bodily and 
civil subjection to men. The first author of this opinion is thought 
to be Judas of G-alilee, mentioned by Gamaliel, Acts v. 37, and he 
is there said to have stood up in the days of the taxing. Eusebius 
ascribeth this heresy to the Essenes. And Josephusi saith that 
after them rose up the Galileans, who taught that none was to be 
called Dominus, lord or master, but God only ; and they would 
suffer the most exquisite torments rather than give this title to any 
man. In succeeding ages rose up the Manichees,^ a.d. 273, who 
denied all civil authority, whether public or private. After these 
followed, A.D. 1296, the Pseudo-apostoli, whose ringleader was 
Gerardus Sagarellus de Parma, whose doctrine was neminem subjici 
nisi soli Chrisfo, that none should be subject to any save to Christ 
alone. Of latter times some licentious Anabaptists did drink in the 
same poisonous liquor. 

But the doctrine of the gospel doth not free men from their ser- 
vice, but fasten them to it.^ It freeth servants from sinful subjec- 
tion to their masters, I mean in anything which God forbiddeth, 
but not from civil subjection in those things which are lawful. 
Eeligion doth not consume but confirm the master's authority. 
Hence the gospel layeth down such precepts for the carriage and 
usage of servants. If all service to men had been sinful, the Holy 
Ghost would not have laid down rules, both for servants' duties to, 
and dues from, their masters. Christ's kingdom is not of this 
world, neither is the liberty which he purchaseth for his people of 
this world. All are one in Christ in regard of internal and eternal 
salvation, not in regard of external condition. For they remain 
after conversion, master and servant, high and low still. Surely 
Paul, after Onesimus was born again, would never have turned him 
to his master if service had been unlawful. 

Eeader, if thou art called to be the servant of man, carry thyself 
therein as the servant of God. It is thy privilege that in thy low 
place thou mayest honour the blessed and glorious potentate. As 
' in every nation,' so in every calling and condition, ' he that feareth 
God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him,' Acts x, 35. 
Thy subjection to thy master on earth should be performed so 

1 Joseph. Antiq., lib. xviii. cap. 2: ^ Prateol. Ear., lib. xi. cap. 6. 

3 Servi cum crediderint, plus dominis carnalibus servire debent. — Cypri. Testhn., 
lib. ii. cap. 72. 

Chap. YII.] the christian man's calling. 31 

religiously that it may be service to thy Master in heaven. Ser- 
vants, be obedient to them that are your masters, not with eye-ser- 
vice, but with the service of Christ, doing the will of God from the 

I shall first lay down some motives, and then speak to the ser- 
vant's duty. 

First, Consider, godliness will much sweeten your present subjec- 
tion and servile condition. Possibly thy life is full of black lines, 
thy yoke is very hard, by reason of a hard master. Now, how wilt 
thou make it easy but by godliness ? Thy corporal servitude 
should make thee the more desirous of spiritual liberty. Thy pre- 
sent disgrace should whet thy endeavours after the eternal weight 
of glory. Will it not be sad for thee to be slighted and despised of 
men for thy mean condition, because thou art a servant, and to be 
hated and plagued of God for thy reigning corruptions, because 
thou art a servant of sin ? Doth not thy heart ache to think of two 
hells — a hell on earth, and a hell in hell ? Believe it, without god- 
liness thy present slavery is but a pledge of thy future misery. 
Now, it may be thy master is a Nabal, such a man of Belial that 
thou canst not speak to him ; his looks are ever lowering, his lips 
are always railing at thee, and his hand is often heavy on thee. Ay, 
but thou wilt find Satan an infinitely more cruel tyrant. This 
severity is but a shadow of thy sufferings hereafter. Now thou 
workest hard all day, wearying out thy spirits and wasting thy 
strength, and art turned off with a bit and a knock, and possibly at 
night thy master thinks thy pains are never great enough, and thy 
reward is never little enough ; but these things are but the begin- 
ning of thy sorrows. The devil, after all thy painful j^loughing in 
his field, and hard grinding in his mill, in the day of thy life, will 
turn thee into the stable of hell, with thy galled back, at the night 
of death. 

Do not delude thyself, that because thou art afflicted here thou 
shaft be spared hereafter ; for thy jail in which thou now livest 
may be to thee, as to many others, the way to execution. Thou 
mayest go, as prisoners do, from this jail on earth to the gallows in 
hell. Believe it, God will never pity thee for thy poverty, if thou 
art one of the devil's ragged regiment. It is the poor in spirit, not 
in purse ; the lowly in disposition, not the low in condition, that 
are blessed. 

David tells us the abjects gathered themselves together against 
him, Ps. XXXV. 15. Some servants are saucy dust, that fly in the 
face of God and his people : but such must know that the breath 


of divine vengeance will blow away such dust. Oh how sad is the 
state of that servant who now dwelleth in an iron furnace, and 
must dwell hereafter in the unquenchaj^le fire. Wicked men in a 
hard service are like naked hands exercised in hedging ; they are 
sure to be pricked and pained much ; but they who make religion 
their business in such places, are like hands armed with strong 
gloves, they are fenced against those thorns and briers. A godly 
servant, by looking to Grod, alters the nature of his hard service : 
for that bitter potion which is loathsome to him, when given him 
by the hand of a man, is lovely when presented to him by a loving 
and gracious God. Though we hate poison when it is mingled 
with our meat by a malicious enemy, as knowing that it may kill 
us, yet Ave take it willingly when it is sent us well tempered by a 
faithful and skilful physician, as hoping it may cure us. 

Secondly, Consider, the holy life of a servant is a great ornament 
to the gospel. A poor servant may credit religion as well as a rich 
master. Poor servants carry lanterns and torches, whereby they 
direct others how to walk without stumbling. A pious servant 
may shine so with the light of purity as to guide others' feet in the 
ways of peace. 

In the days of Christ the poor received the gospel, and by walk- 
ing suitably thereunto they adorned the gospel ' Let servants,' 
saith the apostle, ' be subject to their masters, and shew all good 
fidelity.' But what forcible motive doth he use to persuade to this 
faithfulness ? ' That they may adorn the doctrine of Grod our 
Saviour in all things,' Titus ii. 9, 10 ; — i.e., though possibly they 
shall have no thanks from their masters for all their diligence, yet 
this they shall do, which will bring them thanks from God, they 
shall adorn the doctrine of God their Saviour. 

The gospel is adorned when it is rendered beautiful and amiable 
in the eyes of others. Poor servants, if pious, may bring their un- 
believing masters to be in love with religion. As Naa man's ser- 
vant, they may be helpful to cure, and to convert their masters. 
That dish, which before they could scarce endure the sight of, may 
be so neatly dresf^ed by a cleanly servant, as may cause them both 
to look on it and to like it. At least, a faithful servant will take 
away occasions from a profane master of blaspheming God and the 
gospel. Sanctity will help to put him to silence, and nothing will 
command so much reverence as religion. Fire in a wilderness is a 
good shelter against the fury of wild beasts. When holiness spark- 
leth in a servant's life, and he is very faithful in the discharge of his 
trust, it preserveth religion from the rage and rancour of evil men. 

Chap. VII.] the christian man's calling. 


On the other side, an unfaithful servant is a disgrace to the 
blessed Saviour. They who profess godliness, though never so low, 
if they fall, will have many that are high looking and laughing at 
them. If a saint step awry, the world will quickly spy it, and then 
they cry out. This is a gallant and goodly profession indeed ! They 
will conclude the profession is not of God, if the professors walk 
like men. 

Keader, if thou art a servant, consider the credit of the gospel is 
engaged in thy carriage. The gospel is thy best friend, and canst 
thou find in thy heart, by an unholy life, to trample it under thy 
feet ? It is the greatest love-token which thy God hath sent thee, 
and doth it not behove thee to be tender of it, and to walk an- 
swerable to it ? ' Let as many servants as are under the yoke count 
their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and 
his doctrine be not blasphemed,' 1 Tim. vi. 1. Oh, how much doth 
the child's unruliness reflect on his father, and the servant's un- 
faithfulness reflect on his master, in heaven ! 

Thirdly, Consider, God will reward you for all your faithful ser- 
vice. It may be thou may est labour hard, and serve thy master 
with much diligence and conscience, and for all thy work scarce 
receive a good word from him ; but know this, thy God will give 
thee a rich and sure reward : he that with good- will doth service 
to God shall never miss of his pay. A good servant serveth God 
more than his master, and he serveth God in serving his master ; 
and therefore may expect that God should give him his reward. 
' Servants, be obedient to your masters, with fear and trembling. 
With good-will serving the Lord, and not man ; and know ye, that 
whatsoever good thing a man doeth, the same shall he receive of 
the Lord, whether he be bond or free,' Eph. vi. 5-8. A good ser- 
vant soweth good seed by his faithful service to his master, and 
God will take care that he reaps a good crop. 

God sometimes gives a good 'servant a reward in this world. 
Jacob served Laban faithfully many years, and though his master 
dealt churlishly with him, yet God paid him bountifully in the end. 
He had full wages for all his work. ' A faithful man shall abound 
with blessings,' Prov. xxviii. 20. Joseph was conscientious in his 
mean place under Potiphar, for which he was advanced to be his 
steward and chief servant, and afterwards he came to be lord of 
Egypt. ' A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth 
shame,' Prov. xvii. 2. Mordecai was faithful when he sat as porter 
at the king's gate, and God honours him and sets him above all the 
princes in the court of Ahasuerus. 

VOL. II. * c 


But if God do not reward thee here, he will not fail to do it here- 
after. Though the gratuities or gifts are uncertain, yet the salary- 
is certain. And truly the longer men forbear the interest, the 
greater will the principal be. ' Servants, be obedient to them that 
are your masters, according to the flesh, in all things ; knowing 
that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of inheritance ; for ye 
serve the Lord Christ,' Col. iii. 22-24. Faithful servants shall have 
the reward of sons, nay, of heirs. ' Ye shall receive the reward of 
inheritance.' Heaven is an undefiled and incorruptible inheritance, 
which God hath prepared for all them that serve him with a pure 
conscience. When the children of the kingdom shall be cast out, 
pious servants shall be called in. Mat. viii. 11. 

I come now to shew wherein the duty of a servant consisteth. 

1. Thy duty is to reverence thy master. The distance in this 
relation is the greatest, and therefore commandeth the greatest 
reverence. ' If I be a master, where is my fear?' Mai. i. 6. A 
saucy servant is a sinful servant. He hath no fear of his Maker, 
who doth not fear his master. ' Servants, be subject to your own 
masters with all fear,' 1 Pet. ii. 18. ' Servants, be obedient with 
fear and trembling,' Eph. vi. 5. Because servants enjoyed spiritual 
freedom, they were apt to think themselves exempted from corporal 
subjection ; therefore the apostles of Christ are diligent to acquaint 
them with their duties. Their privilege by Christ, as it should 
make them the more cheerful in their service, so also the more 
awful of their superiors. 

Some thought that, if their masters were believers and l>rethren, 
all were equal, and there needed not any respect or reverence to be 
shewed to them. Therefore, saitli the Scripture, ' Let as many ser- 
vants as are under the yoke count their masters worthy of all hon- 
our ; and they which have believing masters, let them not despise 
them, because they are brethren ; but rather do service, because 
they are faithful and beloved,' 1 Tim. vi. 1, 2. It seemeth some 
servants, under the pretence of Christian liberty, would have cast 
off the yoke of obedience. They objected, that as their masters were 
in Christ, so were they, and in Christ there is neither bond nor free ; 
but the Holy Ghost answereth, that though there be no spiritual, 
yet there is an external and civil difference. Servants' relation to 
their masters is not dissolved by their relation to, and union with 
Jesus Christ. They are servants still, and ought to give their 
Christian masters double honour. They should honour them for 
their relation as masters, and more for their religion, as they are 
Christian masters. 

Chap. VII.] the christian man's calling."' .35 

Others could reverence their masters, they say, if they were reli- 
gious and courteous ; but the apostle Peter bids servants to fear and 
honour such masters as are froward. ' Servants, be subject to your 
masters, not only to the good and courteous, but also to the fro- 
ward,' 1 Pet. ii. 18. If the master be good or bad, courteous or 
crabbed, it is all one in this particular; for the honour is due, not 
to the man's nature, but to God's order. 

2. Thy duty is to yield obedience to him in the Lord. In the 
civil law a servant is said to be dnrpoaoiTro^, one that sustaineth no 
person, but is a dependent and an adjunct to his master, as one that 
ought to form himself to his master's mind. ' Exhort servants to 
be obedient to their own masters, and to please them well in all 
things,' Tit. ii. 9. Servus non est persona, sed res, saith the civilian. 
He is an instrument to be acted at his master's pleasure. The cen- 
turion describeth a servant : ' I say to one, Go, and he goeth ; to 
another. Come, and he cometh ; to a third. Do this, and he doeth 
it,' Mat. viii. 9. The apostle also gives his true character : ' His 
servant ye are whom ye obey,' Rom. vi. 16. He is not a servant, 
but a master, that must have his own way and will. Such a one 
putteth off the formal nature of a servant. Servants are bound to 
be at the disposal of their master and mistress, both for the matter 
and the manner of their work ; though some, like forward lapwings, 
run when the shell is scarce off their heads ; though they be, com- 
jDaratively, but boys or girls, yet their work must be done at their 
own time and in their own way. Job's servant was highly faulty, 
who was so far from acting that he refused to answer his master. 
' I called my servant, and he gave me no answer,' Job xix. 16. Sul- 
lenness in a servant is a great sin. Silence is sometimes a sign of 
consent ; but when it proceeds from sullenness, it is ever a sign of' 
contempt. Not to answer a stranger is incivility, and against the 
law of courtesy ; but not to answer a master is a great iniquity, and 
against the law of justice, for the servant's tongue, as well as his 
hands, is his master's. Servants are too ready to answer when they 
ought to be silent, and too ready to be silent when they ought to 
answer. Therefore elsewhere the Holy Ghost forbiddeth servants 
to answer again : ' Not answering again,' Tit. ii. 9. They may 
answer, but they must not answer again. They must answer when 
asked, but may not answer again when reproved. There is a two- 
fold answering again. 

1. By way of opposition ; when servants say somewhat to their 
masters, but it is by way of gainsaying their minds. Some servants 
can give their master or mistress word for word, nay, two for one ; 


this the apostle dissuadeth from. Those that are slow of their feet 
are swift of their tongues. Lazij and loud may be their motto. 
Others are nimble at their hands, and thence take liberty to be 
nimbler at their tongues. Few do their work well, who do not by 
their cutting words spoil all. 

2. By way of submission. Coming, and going, and doing are the 
best answer to a master. Servants may answer in language of 
reverence, and with the carriage of obedience. A nod of the head 
or beckoning with the hand should be a sufficient word of command 
to them, Ps. cxxv. 2. Eeader, consider how urgently thou art en- 
joined by thy Maker to be obedient to thy master: ' Servants, be 
obedient to them that are your rhasters according to the flesh, in 
singleness of heart, as unto Christ,' Eph. vi. 5. In which words 
we have, 

First, The servant's subjection expressed : ' Servants, be obedient' 
A disobedient servant denieth his name, his relation. Obedience 
should be the garment, the livery wherewith all in such places 
should be clothed, or otherwise they contradict their title. 

Secondly, The restriction of that obedience implied : ' To them 
that are your masters according to the flesh.' Intimating that the 
master's dominion is bounded, it is over the flesh, (he hath no liberty 
to make laws for the servant's spirit,) and so is the servant's subjec- 
tion limited. Servants are not only to suffer when they have sinned, 
but rather to suffer than to sin. Conscience bindeth to obedience, 
but not to obedience against conscience. ' Be not,' saith the same 
apostle, ' the servants of men ; ye are bought with a price,' 1 Cor. 
vii. 23. Christ hath redeemed servants from sinful slavery, though 
not from civil servitude. Joseph did obey the sinless laws of his 
master, but he refused to obey the sinful lust of his mistress. l They 
are masters over the flesh or body, not over the soul ; therefore so 
long as the soul is not wronged, the rule of the servant's obedience 
must be his master's will, be it irksome or wearisome, not his own. 
But still, if the master, as Absalom and the chief priests in their 
commands, oppose God's commands, servants must submit to their 
punishments, not obey their precepts. It is much better to suffer 
for forbearance than to sin in obedience. Masters may tell their 
servants, as that unnatural son did his, that he would excuse them, 
2 Sam. xiii. 28. But that proud prince's word was no warrant for 
his servants' wickedness. Though the master be doubly guilty in 
commanding, the servant is not guiltless in obeying. Whosoever 
be the authors, God will punish the actors of sin. 

^ Subjectio potest esse ubi non est obedientia. 

Chap. VII.] the christian man's calling. 37 

3. Diligence is thy duty. Some servants are like gentlemen, 
humble servants, but it is only in a compliment. They are all for 
words and show, nothing for works and substance. Their care is 
to fare well and go fine, but as gaudy pictures, rather than active 
persons, they are nothing for action. How many hire others to do 
their work, and pay them with their master's money ! being hereby 
guilty of double theft, for they rob their masters of their time first, 
and then of their goods. Eliezer, Abraham's steward, preferred 
his employment before his natural refreshment, and refused to eat 
before he had done his errand. But how many servants are all for 
their belly, their diet, and nothing at their hands, at their duty. 

There is a kind of heron called okvos, slothful, whereupon there 
was raised a fable that an idle servant was turned into this bird, 
which is ap'yoraTO'i, most idle. It is frequent with maid-servants 
to have the green-sickness, and men-servants the scurvy, both dis- 
eases which make them lazy. Jacob served Laban with all his 
might ; though the master was churlish, yet the servant was con- 
scientious. In the heat of the day and the cold of the night, he 
was careful of his duty, and his faithful pains brought him in much 

A slothful servant is his own torment. Laziness, like envy, 
eateth him up. He walketh through a hedge of thorns, because 
he will not take the pains to go about, and so pierceth himself with 
anguish. He is a grief to his master, whilst he hinders him in 
his estate, and disappointeth him in his hopes. ' As vinegar to the 
teeth, and smoke to the eyes ; so is the sluggard to them that send 
him,' Prov. x. 26. Some servants will labour in their master's 
presence, but loiter in his absence, which is a clear sign they do not 
serve him out of conscience. * Servants, obey in all things your 
masters ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers ; but in singleness 
of heart, fearing God,' Col. iv. 22. Servants who look no further 
than their master's eye are men-pleasers ; those only who set God 
ever before them, and thence are always diligent in their work, are 

4. Thy duty is to be faithful to thy master. Every servant hath 
soAe trust committed to him, to which he ought to be faithful and 
true : fidelity is the servant's glory, and the master's gain. ' As the 
cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to 
them that send him ; for he refresheth the soul of his master,' Prov. 
XXV. 13. 

An unfaithful servant is a rotten pillar, which breaketh under 
the weight laid on him, the trust committed to him. As an unsound 


tooth, he doth frustrate his master of his hopes ; and if put to any 
stress, wounds him to the very heart with torment. 

1. Thy duty is to be true in thy words, not lying. Take heed of 
Gehazi's lie — ' Thy servant went no whither,' 2 Kings v. 25 — lest 
thou meetest with his leprosy. Some servants' words are like the 
writings of Appius, which, saith Josephus,! are -y^evaixara avy- 
')(yTtKa — a dunghill of shameless untruths. Bat such servants are 
the devil's sons, for he is the father of lies. A liar is Satan's picture. 
' Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie ?' Acts v. The devil hath 
a hand in most, if not all, sins ; but the liar hath the devil in his 
heart : he is full of Satan who liveth in lying. This practice 
speaketh the wicked one to have full possession. Why hath Satan 
filled thine heart? A lying servant hath a great disadvantage 
whilst he liveth, that when he speaketh truth he is not believed ; 
though the dreadfullest when he dieth, that he is one in the list for 
the unquenchable lake, Kev. xxi. 8. 

2. Be faithful in thy works, not purloining. Servants must be- 
ware of making any waste of their master's estate. It is their duty 
to endeavour the preservation and increase of it. Gen. xxxix. 8, as 
of their own. Servants are apt to cut large thongs out of others' 
hides ; hence the apostle warns them, ' Not purloining, but shewing 
all good fidelity,' Tit. ii. 9. Those that give away to others, or take 
to themselves any of their master's goods, without his leave, are 
guilty of purloining. 

Servants endeavour to excuse their thefts to their consciences, 
but cannot, by all their pretences, excuse them to God. They 
think sometimes. It is but a small matter that I make bold with, 
for myself or friend. But let such consider — 

(1.) The taking of a little, though but a piece of bread for a friend, 
or a peck of corn, or anj^thing, without leave, is theft and sin, as 
truly as the taking of much more : a little pot of water is of the 
same nature with a river. 

(2.) God is the less beholden to that servant that will break with 
him, and incur his anger for so small a matter. 

(3.) He that is unfaithful in a little, will, if opportunity be ofiered, 
be unfaithful in more. A little wedge makes way for a greater ; *he 
that begins to put his finger in the money-box, will come at last to 
put his hands in the money-bags. They who will serve the devil 
for a penny, will do him much more service for a pound. 

Again, some servants satisfy themselves with this : Their masters, 
say they, are hard men, and work them much, but do not reward 

^ Joseph., lib. i. 

Chap. VIL] the christian man's calling. 39' 

them according to their deserts, therefore they may help themselves. 
I answer, Servants ought neither to be their own judges, nor their 
own paymasters. They ought not to be their own- judges : servants 
are more fit for a bar than a bench ; they are parties, and so unfit 
to determine such a question. Their masters may give them above 
their labour, when their covetous hearts think all to be under ; but 
if their masters be failing herein, they must not therefore be their 
own carvers. Because, reader, thy master is a churl, is there a 
necessity that thou shouldst therefore be a cheat ? If he deny thee 
thy due, the law is tliy refuge ; if some overplus for thy extraordi- 
nary service, patience must be thy remedy : for both, if thou art 
conscientious, God will be thy reward. 

Some, for their knavery in wronging their masters, plead Jacob's 
policy, Gen. xxx. 37, about Laban's sheep. But Jacob's righteous- 
ness will, according to his own expression, answer for him in time 
to come. For — 

[1.] The counsel which Jacob had was supernatural. God revealed 
it to him in a dream. He referred his cause to God, (which is 
every servant's best course,) and God directed him such a way as 
requited him well for all his work. Gen. xxxi. 9, 10. 

[2.] The means he used were natural : ' He set the rods which he 
had pilled in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks 
came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. 
And the cattle conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle 
ring-straked, speckled, and spotted,' Gen. xxx. 38, 39. It is natural 
for \dsion to cause assimilation. 

[3.] The contract was plain betwixt him and his master : ' And 
Laban said. Behold, I would it might be according to thy word/ 
ver. 34. Here is a clear bargain, therefore no wrong done. Laban 
did what he could to cozen his faithful servant, though God had, 
by his own confession, prospered his flocks for his sake ; but God 
appeared on his side. Now, let servants first see that their cases 
be parallel with Jacob's ; I mean, that they serve their masters as 
he did, conscientiously, with all their might, and then, when their 
masters, as Laban did, deny them their dues, do nothing to right 
themselves but what God shall direct in his Word, (for now God 
doth not reveal himself by dreams,) and in pursuance of a plain 
agreement betwixt their masters and them, and no good man will 
blame them. It is thy duty not only to forbear stealing, but also 
to further thy master's estate. Those apprentices are thieves that 
endeavour to rob their masters of his customers. Some, when nigh 
their freedom, have fine devices to call another man's pigeons to 


their loctiers. They will tell their master's best customers that he 
might afford such commodities cheaper, but he is grown rich, and 
cares not much for dealing, and therefore is so excessive in his 
gains. Many other ways they have, like Absalom, to steal away 
the hearts of such men. But if he that hides his master's talent, 
and doth not increase it, will be counted at last a wicked and 
slothful servant, and condemned to eternal sufferings, what will 
become of him that is so far from endeavouring to enrich, that he 
makes it his business to impoverish his master ? Mat. xxv. 29. 

The truth is, servants have degenerated so much from their duty, 
and there have been so few of them faithful, that the word anciently 
used for a servant is now used for a thief, as appears by the poet — 

'Quid domini faclant, audent cum talia fures !'^ 

3. Be faithful to the name of thy master. Do not reveal his 
nakedness who giveth thee clothing. It is ordinary for servants to 
be tattling to others of their master's or mistress's infirmities. 
Oh how glad are they when they have got a tale to carry to their 
fellows ! But such messages, like Uriah's letters, will light most 
heavy at last upon the messenger ; they are spies in a house to 
discover its weakness, and may expect the punishment of a spy 
from God for their wickedness. Soldiers received into a garrison 
for its defence, if they reveal its wants to the enemy, can look for 
nothing but the reward of traitors. God hath martial-law for those 
servants who are taken into a family for its protection, and, by dis- 
covering the governor's secrets, conspire its destruction. He or she 
is unfit to be a servant, that cannot conceal the frailties of their 
master. Such backbiters shew little love to their superiors on 
earth, and less to their Sovereign in heaven. They are worse 
thieves that rob theui of their good name, than those that wrong 
them of their goods. Servants, whenever they speak of their master 
or mistress, should represent them, as some looking-glasses do our 
faces, to the best advantage. He who is guilty of Ziba's act, of 
slandering his master, may expect Zimri's end. 

4. Be faithful to the person of thy master and mistress. It 
was a usual speech formerly, Quot servi, tot hostes; how many 
servants, so many enemies. Some still find it true that their ene- 
mies are those of their own household. The servant of Elali slew 
him; that sword which he took to defend him destroyed him. 
The Duke of Buckingham, who had been a chief instrument of 
advancing Kichard the Third to the crown, falling into displea- 

^ Vide Serv. in Yirg. 

Chap. VII.] the christian man's calling. 41 

sure at court, fled to one of his servants named Bannister, who 
betrayed him, and conveyed him to Salisbury, where, without any 
arraignment, he lost his head.i 

Some of the heathen have been famous for their faithfulness to 
their masters. Urbinius Panopian being proscribed fled, and being 
pursued, one of his bondmen changed clothes with him, let his 
master out at a back-door, lay down in his master's bed, and chose 
death by the hands of the soldiers to save his master's life. 2 

The Mohammedans in the Great Mogul's country are commended 
for their faithful service to their Christian masters that hire them. 
They follow their masters on foot, carrying bucklers, or bows and 
arrows, for their defence.^ One work of servants is to defend the 
whole body of the families in which they are ; how faulty, therefore, 
are they that seek to destroy the head of it ! The two chamber- 
lains of Ahasuerus, in seeking their master's death, found their own 
graves, Esther ii. 21, 23. 

Servants also in their places must endeavour their superior's 
eternal peace. It may be, reader, thou hast a wicked master, one 
that scorneth and scofifeth at godliness ; it behoveth thee to walk 
the more watchfully, that by thy fidelity and humility thou mayest 
move him to like and love it. We say of some servants that they 
can do what they will with their masters, they have so large an 
interest in them. Thou dost not know how prevalent thy consci- 
entious carriage may be to draw thy master to Christ. 

Austin reports of his mother, that she was cured of her drunken- 
ness by her maid's calling her tneribulam, a wine-bibber.^ I can- 
not justify the maid's sauciness, though it proved happy for her 
mistress ; but sure I am, a submissive, prudent advice from a ser- 
vant to a superior may, through God's blessing, tend to his eternal 
good. It is, without question, lawful for a servant to admonish 
his master or mistress, so it be done with reverence, and out of 
conscience. David was brought to repentance by Nathan's 
parabolical reprehension. 

A poor contemptible child that hath his sight, may lead a man 
that is blind to a costly feast. As mean as thou art, if thou art 
holy and humble in the discharge of thy duty, thou may help thy 
master, though he be at present so backward to feed on the gospel 
dainties. Possibly thy master or mistress hath a respect for thee, 
and thou dost really love and reverence them. Oh, shew thy love 

^ Speed Chron. 

* Diod. Sic. ^ Purch. Pilgrim., p. 1476. 

* Austin Confess., lib. ix. cap. 8. 


by helping them to lay hold on eternal life ! Study and contrive 
how thou mayest most probably interest them in durable riches, 
who give thee temporal rewards. Be more solicitous to preserve 
their souls from ruin, than to keep their estates from rapine. Those 
herbs which lie on the ground, and are liable to be trampled upon 
by every one, have been instrumental for great cures. Blessed is 
that servant who is diligent to bring others into his Lord's service ; 
it is no hurt though he be a footstool, so he can lift others nearer to 

A good ivish about the diCty of a servant, ivlierein the former heads 

are epitoitlised. 

The wise and omnipotent Jehovah, who worketh according 
to his own pleasure, and disposeth of all creatures for his own 
2? raise, having by his providence called me to the lowest place, J 
wish that I may abide in the calling to wdiich my God hath called 
me with cheerfulness and patience, lest, looking enviously on those 
persons that are above me, or eying unworthily those things which 
are below me, I lose the crown which is set before me. Lord, since 
it is thy will that I should be mean and contemptible amongst 
men, help me in this relation of a servant to be so faithful that I 
may be honourable in thy sight. Enable me to be subject to my- 
niaster according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in single- 
ness of heart, as unto Christ, not with eye-service, as a man-pleaser, 
but as the servant of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart : 
with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men. Know- 
ing that whatsoever good thing any man doth, the same shall he 
receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free, Eph. vi. 5-9. 

I wish that, as Manasseh's iron fetters were far more worth to him 
than his golden chain, being instrumental to his spiritual freedom, 
so the daily labour of my body may make me more mindful of 
liberty for my soul ; and the present pains I take, and shame I 
undergo, may (Quicken me to be more eager arid earnest after the 
glory to be revealed, and the pleasures at God's right hand for 
evermore. Oh, how sad is my life if I be a servant of men, and a 
servant of sin ! if my outward man be in subjection to an oppres- 
sing lord, and my inward man in slavery to damning lusts ! And 
ah ! how dreadful will my death be, to exchange whips for 
scorpions, and to remove from a jail to a gibbet ; from Egypt, an 

Chap. VII.] the christian man's calling. 43 

iron furnace, to suffer the vengeance of the eternal fire ! Surely 
the curse of Ham to be a servant of servants, was a comfort, a 
blessing to my condition. Lord, help me so to serve thy divine 
Majesty with a pure conscience and faith unfeigned, (in serving 
my master,) that I may enjoy the liberty and jDrivileges which 
Christ hath purchased ; and give me thy grace so to labour here 
that I may rest hereafter. 

I wish that the credit of the gospel may make me more holy 
and circumspect in my carnage, lest, by my carelessness in my 
conversation I should give others cause to blaspheme that worthy 
name by which I am called. By my profession I proclaim to the 
world that I live to adorn religion. If I, through unfaithfulness, sin, 
the gospel is sure to suffer, James ii. 8. The disorders of a servant 
reflect on the master whose livery he weareth. If I walk like a 
Christian, I gain it esteem and credit. Lord, let me so shine with 
the light of holiness in my place, that others seeing my good works 
may glorify thee,, my heavenly Father, and that none may ever have 
cause, through my miscarriages, to speak evil of the way of truth. 

I wish that I may have such an eye to the recompense of reward, 
as to be the more encouraged to fidelity and industry in my work. 
Though I serve a froward master, that, after all my hard labour, 
will hardly afford me a good look, yet, if in serving my master, I 
serve my Maker, my labour shall not be in vain in the Lord. In 
orchards, some trees stand higher, some lower, but the husbandman 
esteemeth them not according to their height, but according to 
their fruit. My God valueth none according to the excellency of 
their parts, or eminency of their places, but according to the integ- 
rity of their hearts, and sanctity of their lives. With him there 
is no respect of persons ; but in every nation, and in every relation, 
he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him. 
Lord, assist me so to serve the Lord Christ in serving my master, 
that howsoever I shall be defrauded, or whatsoever unrighteousness I 
shall meet with at this day, yet I may obtain mercy at that day, 
even the mercy of my Lord Jesus Christ unto life eternal. 

I wish that I may honour my master, as one whom my God hath 
made my superior. If his portion on earth be small , and his person 
seem never so contemptible ; nay, though he be a servant of Satan, 
yet my reverence is due to him by virtue of God's ordinance. As 
I ought to honour him in the Lord, so also I ought to honour him 
for the Lord ; for in reverencing my master, I reverence God's 
order. It is enough to satisfy my conscience, whatever he be in 
his carriage, that my God hath set him over me, and made me, not 


his fellow or familiar, but his servant and inferior. Lord, whilst 
others make themselves merry at the deformity, impiety, or mean- 
ness of their masters, let me, in my affections, words, and actions, 
carry myself towards him as a humble servant and holy Christian, 
because thou hast so commanded. Though some contemn his per- 
son, let me reverence his power, because of thy precept. 

I wish that I may obey my master after the flesh, yet that I may 
never obey him in any fleshly command. I receive my food and 
wages to do his work, and observe his will in the Lord. By putting 
my neck under the yoke, I profess myself to be at his disposal. 
If I make my own will my rule of obedience, I am both unrighteous 
to him, and injurious to my own soul. Though his precepts be 
painful, if not sinful, I am bound to subjection to my power. My 
God commandeth me to be subject, not only to the good and cour- 
teous, but also to the froward. Lord, let me prefer thy will above 
all the commands of men, and be sure to j)lease thee, whomsoever 
I displease ; but let the will of my master, when not opposite to 
thine, be the rule of my work, that I may obey him under thee, 
and for thy sake. If I am reviled, keep me from reviling again, 
that I may imitate my Saviour, who, being abused when he abased 
himself to the form of a servant, committed all to him that judgeth 

I wish that I may not be slothful in business, but diligent in 
every duty that concerneth me in this relation. My time and 
strength are not my own, but, under God, my master's. If I, to 
gratify any lust, or indulge laziness, deny them to him, I am a 
thief, and rob him of his right. Whether he be present or absent, 
the eye of my God is ever on me, to record my ways, and reward 
me after my works. Lord, cause me so to set thee before me, that 
I may be fervent in spirit about my general, and industriously 
diligent in my particular, calling. Thou hast said, ' If a man be 
diligent in his business, he shall stand before kings, and not before 
mean men,' Prov. xxii. Oh let me be so laborious in my place, 
that at last I may come to stand in thy presence, where is fulness 
of joy and pleasure ! 

I wish that I may be faithful in the improvement of every talent 
committed to my trust. He that is faithful in the unrighteous 
mammon shall be trusted with the true riches. If I be faithful in 
a little, my God will make me ruler over much. Oh that conscience 
to God's precepts may provoke me, and the consideration of my 
own profit encourage me, to shew all good fidelity in my place ! I 
would be faithful to liis estate, relations, and body, but especially in 

Chap. VII.] the christian man's calling. 45 

the service of his precious soul. If he be bad, by my humble 
counsel and holy example, I may be helpful to reform and convert 
him ; if he be good, to rejoice and confirm him. My Saviour 
taught his disciples by a little child. They that could not bring 
gold towards the tabernacle, brought goats' hair. Lord, help me, 
either as Naaman s servant, to be instrumental to cure my master 
of his spiritual leprosy ; or make me, if he be a believer, some way 
or other to further his spiritual welfare. Let him be the better for 
such a servant, and me be the better for such a master ; and both 
of us the better for thy righteous servant, who, by his knowledge, 
justifieth many. 

Lord, if the service of some men be so desirable, because their 
natures are so kind and courteous, their work so easy and com- 
fortable, and their pay so sure and bountiful, what a favour, what 
an honour is it to serve thy blessed Majesty ! whose being and 
essence is love, whose ways are ways of pleasantness, and whose 
reward is above what eye hath seen, or ear hath heard, or the heart 
of man can conceive. Princes and sovereigns have gloried in 
being thy servants. Oh be pleased to put me in some place under 
thee, though never so low and mean ! be it but to be a door-keeper 
in thy house, or to sit upon the threshold there. I shall esteem 
it above sitting on the highest earthly throne. I confess I have 
played the prodigal, and wasted the stock thou hast put into my 
hands. I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no 
more worthy to be called thy son ; yet, oh make me as one of thy 
hired servants, then I shall not disdain to do all the offices of thy 
commands to my fellow-servants, whom thou settest over me. 
Lord, enable me to serve them faithfully, for thy sake, and to 
serve thee truly in serving them, that I may hereafter enjoy the 
privileges of thy servants, in sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, 
and Jacob in thy kingdom, when the children of the kingdom 
shall be shut out ; where the servant is free from his master, and 
the weary are at rest ; where I shall receive a blessed welcome 
from thy hands, and hear that happy voice, ' Well done, good and 
faithful servant : thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will 
make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy 



How a Christian may exercise himself to godliness in prosperity. 

Thirdly, Thy duty is to make religion thy business in all condi- 
tions; gracious persons must have a carriage suitable to every 

As the year hath summer and winter ; the natural day, light and 
darkness ; the sea its ebbing and flowing ; and as the sun sometimes 
shineth forth clearly, sometimes is under a cloud, sometimes is in 
an eclipse ; so the condition of man is liable to many alterations. 
His life is a mixture of mercies and miseries, and often a transition 
from prosperity to adversity, and from adversity to prosperity. 
What then ought a Christian to do, but to take care that his 
spiritual disposition be answerable to his temporal condition ? 

Some men, besides their ordinary wearing apparel, have garments 
ready by them, both for a wedding and a funeral. If they be 
called to either, they can habit themselves handsomely in a meet 
and fit livery. The saint must not only have his everyday's gracious 
attire, but also, if he be called to fasting or feasting, to adversity 
or prosperity, put on raiment suitable to those seasons. 

Some flying insects dress themselves according to the months in 
which they live. The forester goeth usually in green, in the 
same colour with the leaves of the trees, and the grass of the field, 
amongst which his ordmary walk is. Believers must know both 
how to want, and how to abound, Phil. iv. 7, 8, and clothe them- 
selves in the same colour with the house to which they are called, 
whether it be the house of mourning or of mirth. 

Saints are compared to doves in scripture, Isa. Ix. 8 ; Cant. ii. 
14. The turtles, according to the naturalists, can live and thrive 
both in cold and hot places ; nay, in summer, they delight in a 
cold, in winter, in a hot climate.^ Christians must ever, whether 
the world smile or frown, be going forward in their holy course, and 
learn in prosperity not to be exalted, and in adversity not to be 

It argueth an excellent constitution of body to be able to bear 
heats and colds without complaint and injury to the outward man. 
And truly it will speak a special frame of soul to be able to under- 
go the weight of mercies and miseries without wrong to the inward 
man. Extremes are very dangerous, whether of the one or the other ; 

1 Arist. dc Gencr. Animal., lib. iv. cap. 6. 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling. 47 

the medium between both is least perilous. Drought burieth the 
seed in the earth, moderate showers refresh the earth, immoderate 
drown it. Upon which good ground it was that Agur prayed 
against both : ' Give me neither poverty nor riches, but feed me 
with food convenient, lest I be full and deny thee, or lest I be poor 
and steal, and so take the name of my God in vain,' Prov. xxx. 9, 
10. Extreme want, or extreme wealth, are both extreme tempta- 
tions to wickedness. A garment that is fit, is much better than 
one too big, or too little for the body. If it be too big, it is cum- • 
bersome ; if too little, it is uneasy and troublesome. When Giges, 
the most puissant king in his days, sent to the Oracle of Delpho3 
a second time, to know who was the happiest man next to Phedius, 
(whom the Oracle had declared to be happy before, for dying in 
the service of his country,) answer was made that Aglaus was 
happier than he.i Now this Aglaus was a plain, honest man, 
dwelling in a corner of Arcadia, who had a little house and land 
of his own, in which he employed himself, and with which he main- 
tained his family. A middling staff may help a man in his jour- 
ney ; one very little will do small service, one too big will hinder 

Because both these conditions have their snares and temptations, 
they call for the greater care and circumspection. I shall there- 
fore lay down some directions for each, and begin with prosperity. 

Prosperity is a condition which consisteth in the fruition of out- 
ward good things, as health, strength, friends, riches, honours, and 
the like. As a constellation is a collection of many stars, so a 
prosperous condition is a confluence of many temporal comforts. 
God in his wise providence is pleased to give some persons large 
draughts of these sugared pleasures, their cup runneth over. They 
are in themselves mercies for which we may pray with humble 
submission, and for which we must praise God with holy affections ; 
but through the corruption of our hearts, they often prove prejudicial 
to holiness. Those fires which were made to warm us, do often 
black and burn us. Small vessels carrying a great sail are apt to 
be overturned with every tempest. 

A prosperous condition is called a slippery place, Ps. Ixxiii. 18 : 
' Thou hast set them in slippery places.' Those that walk on ice 
had need to be wary how they set their feet, lest they slip and fall. 
It is observable that Elisha begged a double portion of Elijah's 
spirit, 2 Kings ii. 9. Which petition may seem at first sight to 
savour of presumption, but if we weigh things well, there wiU 

1 Plin. Nat. Hist., lib. vii. cap. 46. 


appear great reason for it. Elisha saw that his master Elijah had 
been exercised with trials and troubles all his time ; that Ahab and 
Jezebel had been continually beating up his quarters, and thereby 
forced him to keep a constant watch, and to stand night and day 
upon his guard ; but he foresaw that himself should be a favourite 
at court, have the prince's eye and ear, and therefore needed a 
double degree of grace to be preserved upright and vigilant in such 
a prosperous estate. 

Of all winds, the northern, though it be cold and sharp, is most 
healthful. The south wind, though it be warm, is hurtful, for with 
its moisture and warmth it raiseth vapours which cause diseases ; 
when the north wind with its cold drieth those vapours and purgeth 
the blood. Elisha knew that under this warm south wind of prosr 
perity, his soul would go near to contract some distemper, if it were 
not fenced by an extraordinary degree of spiritual health before- 
hand. ' If thou faintest in the day of adversity, thy strength is 
small,' Prov. xxiv. 10. But if thou fallest not in the day of pros- 
perity, thy strength is great. He that is very rich, and yet religious, 
is richly religious. 

Because it is so rare for a person not to decrease in his inward 
estate, when he doth increase in his outward, Grod giveth these 
bodily mercies, with many mementoes, a comfort and a caveat ; a 
comfort and a caveat. ' Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul 
diligently : when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into 
the land which he sware to thy fathers, and shall give thee houses 
full of all good things, and wells, and vineyards, and olive-yards, then 
beware lest thou forget the Lord. When thou hast eaten and art 
full, beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God,' Deut. iv. 9, 23, 
vi. 10-12, and viii. 10, 11. These favours are delivered, as it were, 
under lock and key, to bind the possessor to his good behaviour. 
Epaminondas stood sentinel, when his citizens were at their feasts. 
It concerneth thee highly to use much spiritual caution when thou 
enjoyest many temporal comforts. 

I must tell thee that God expecteth a crop answerable to his cost, 
that thou shouldst be the more holy because of his bounty. There 
is an island, called Lounda, in the kingdom of Congo, where the 
water, when the ocean ebbeth, groweth brackish, but when the sea 
floweth, it is most sweet ;^ if in the low water of adversity thou 
hast been incorrigible, it is thy sin, and to be bewailed. My work 
now is to persuade thee in the tide of prosperity to be profitable to 
thy own soul, and serviceable to the blessed God. 

1 Pur. Til., vol. ii. p. 919. 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling. 49 

First for thine help herein, I shall only lay down three particulars 
to quicken thee to circumspection in the use of creature-comforts, 
and then shew thee wherein the power of godliness, or the making 
religion thy business in this condition, consisteth. 
. 1. Consider what a grievous sin it is not to serve God in the en- 
joyment of mercies. Some indeed are the more vicious, because 
God is so gracious. The devil would have stones turned into bread, 
and they turn bread into stones, and throw them at God himself. 
As tenants maintain a suit at law against their landlords with their 
own rent ; so they fight against the highest Majesty v/ith his own 
mercies. The goodness of God, instead of leading them to repent- 
ance, occasioneth their riot and impenitency, Hosea ii. ; like unruly 
horses they break those gears, and snap asunder those traces, which 
should hold them together ; no cords of love will hold them. The 
moorish grounds, the more showers they have from heaven, the 
more toads and venomous creatures they breed ; so many rich men, 
the more merciful God is to them, the more sinful they are against 
him ; but the horridness of this sin should make us hate it. It is 
sad to sin under afflictions, (Ahaz is branded for it ; ' this is that 
King Ahaz,' 2 Chron. xxviii. 22,) but most sordid to sin against 
mercies ; this will stop a man's mouth, and leave him without excuse 
for ever, Ezra ix. 6-9, 13. It is lamentable to offend the justice of 
God ; he who hath that for his enemy, is sufficiently miserable, 
Heb. xii. 28 ; but it is abominable to provoke the love and goodness 
of God, If mercy be thy foe, thou hast no friend in this or the other 

Michael Balbus is chronicled for a monster of mankind, for mur- 
dering his prince the same night in which he had received his 
pardon from him. Popilius Lenas is registered to be a most un- 
regenerate wretch, because he struck off Cicero's head, who had 
before saved his life. Oh, what monstrous- unthankful persons are 
they, who, like rebellious, unnatural Absal<fci, proclaim war, and 
fight against their own father, conspire^and endeavour to rob and 
ruin that God who doth maintain and enrich them ! 

To abuse a friend upon whom thou hast a continual dependence, 
and by whom thou hast thy daily subsistence, is far worse than to 
abuse a stranger. The more our obligations are to any person, the 
more of baseness and unworthiness there is in our unsuitable prac- 
tices. The unkindness of a neighbour is not so bad as of a servant ; 
the disobedience of a servant is not so evil as of a son. It was the 
holy Israelites' greatest grief, that they had not served God in his 
great goodness, Neh. ix. 35. Heathens will give that love to 



others which they receive from others, and do good to men who do 
good to them ; and wilt thou be worse than heathens ? Truly, if 
thou sinnest against the favours of God, thou sinnest against the 
very light of nature, Mat. v. 46. Though nature love some, yet she 
loathes this sin. Lycurgus, the Lacedaemonian, made no law against 
ingratitude, because he thought no man could act so irrationally as 
to be unthankful for courtesies. 

Beasts manifest some respect to them that feed and tend them. 
The Holy Ghost saith, * Be not like the horse and mule,' Ps. xxxii. 
9. He is too bad who resembleth a beast ; how bad is he then who 
is worse than a brute ! ' The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass 
his master's crib : but Israel doth not know, my people doth not 
consider,' Isa. i. 3. Shall the ox and the ass, the dullest of irra- 
tional creatures, acknowledge their master, and will not thou thy 
benefactor ? ' Hear, heavens, and give ear, earth, (saith God :) 
for I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled 
against me. The ox knoweth his owner,' Isa. i. 2. They live at 
God's charge, and yet not to obey his command, is such a grievous, 
astonishing sin, that even heaven and earth, those senseless crea- 
tures, seemed to abhor it, and to be amazed at it. 

None sin at so dear a rate as they who sin against the riches of 
mercy. God is never more incensed than when his goodness is 
abused. When Haman wronged David's ambassadors, Avhich he 
sent to him out of good-will, there ensued a deadly and a bloody 
war. Truly, reader, if thou abuse thy honour by making it fuel to 
thy pride, and thy riches by making them instruments of revenge, 
which God giveth thee out of good-will, expect that God should 
Ijoth take them from thee, (for what prince will suffer weapons in 
the hands of rebels ? and what parent will not take away food 
from children that spoil it ?) and also be highly provoked to 
destroy thee, Amos. ii. 13. He that is higher than others in mercy, 
if he abuse it, must expect to be lower than others in misery. The 
greatness of thy burden (be it of never such precious commodities) 
will sink thee the deeper into hell ; the largeness of thy estate will 
but enlarge thy condemnation ; though both be bad, yet it is much 
better to go to hell out of a cottage, than out of a court. It is in- 
finitely more eligible to have Job's botches and boils, with his 
poverty, than, like Judas, to carry the bag, and betray the Saviour. 
Ah, how pitiful is that plenty which makes way for eternal poverty ! 

2. Consider that prosperity will try thee to purpose. The warm 
summer discovereth tliose poisonous roots which were in winter hid 
in the earth. As strong liquors try men's brains, and very hot 

Chap. YIII.] the christian man's calling. 51 

climates try men's bodies ; so prosperity will search and try men's 
souls. Afflictions are called bands, Ps. Ixxiii. 4, and cords ; now 
when men's hands are tied down, it cannot be known what they 
are ; the fierce, cruel nature of beasts doth not appear when they 
are in chains. 

Cornelius a Lapide observeth, on Prov. i. 32, that the Hebrew 
word for prosperity is translated by the Arabic investigatio, searching, 
because prosperity will search men to the quick. Walking on the 
top of high pinnacles will try whether men's heads are apt to be giddy 
or no. When the weather groweth very hot, then diseases appear. 

It is a remarkable expression which Elisha useth to Hazael, when 
the prophet had told him that his present weeping was caused by a 
foresight of the courtier's future wickedness : ' Because I know the 
evil which thou wilt do unto the children of Israel. Their stronor- 
holds wilt thou set on fire, their young men wilt thou slay with the 
sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with 
child.' And Hazael said, ' But what, is thy servant a dog, that he 
should do this great thing ? ' And Elisha answered, (observe it 
reader,) ' The Lord hath shewed me that thou shalt be king of 
Syria.' No more. Power in thy hands will quickly discover the 
pravity of thy heart. Thy heart is now a vessel full of corruption ; 
thy prosperity and preferment will broach it, and then that poison- 
ous matter will be discovered to thyself and others. It had never 
been known how evil some men were, if they had not enjoyed much 
outward good. When such liquors boil over a good fire, then their 
froth is seen at the top. 

3. Consider, Prosperity most commonly is abused to profane- 
ness. We say. It is pity fair weather should do any harm ; yet 
it often doth, causing a famine and scarcity of food ; sure I am it 
is a thousand pities that the mercies of God (as friends, riches, and 
honours) should do any hurt, yet they often do, causing neglect of 
God, and a famine of godliness. It was the saying of Frederick 
the emperor, concerning Sigimbird Flisk, afterward Innocent the 
Fourth, advanced by him to the popedom, I have lost a cardinal, a 
friend, and got a pope, a foe. God, I am sure, may say of many 
whom he hath exalted, I have lost seeming friends, and got real 
enemies. ' Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked,' Deut. xxxii. 15. Men, 
like beasts, the better feeding they have, and the fatter they grow, are 
the more wanton and unruly. Those that eat much food often sur- 
feit, and are always the more unfit for use and for service. Foolish 
flies burn their wings about these candles of outward comforts. 
The camel's bunch on men's backs hindereth them from enterino- in 


at the strait gate. The Sodomites were infamous for impiety, and 
as one occasion of it, they were famous for prosperity. Their 
wickedness was grievous.^ ' The men of Sodom were wicked, and 
sinners before the Lord exceedingly,' Gen. xiii. 13. This phrase, 
' before the Lord,' speaketh the high degree of their sin, it being 
common with the Hebrews to add the name of great 2 when they 
woukl increase and heighten the sense. Their wealth was great. 
Sodom was a pleasant place, by reason of the overflowing of the 
sweet streams of Jordan ; it is called Eden, the garden of the Lord, 
for its fruitfulness. Carnal hearts are ever like highways, the more 
dirty for the showers of heaven. Lunatics are worst when the moon 
is at the full. When the kidneys of beasts are overgrown with fat, 
they quickly die.*^ Cyrus therefore would not suffer his Persians 
to- change a barren habitation for a fruitful, saying that dainty 
habitations make dainty inhabitants. 

None throw such ticklish casts as those that bowl from some high 
ascent. Saints themselves have by these long garments been 
brought to stumble and fall, and much hindered in their journey 
to heaven. How few were ever the more pious for prosperity ! 
David was tender, when hunted as a partridge ; but when he pros- 
pered, he declined in piety. Ah, how much did this man after God's 
own heart disgrace religion, after his caves were turned into a 
crown, and the dens, in which he had lurked, into a diadem. We 
read of David's first ways ; it is recorded to the honour of Jehosh- 
aphat, ' That he walked in the first ways of his father David,' 2 
Chron. xvii. 3, which expression intimates that his first ways, when 
Saul persecuted him, were his best ways : David by rest contracted 
rust. The Israelites were religious in Egypt, but rebellious in 
Canaan. Children, when strangers abuse them, run to their parents, 
but mind not home when they fare well abroad. The sweet fruit- 
trees of Canaan bred strange worms ; the Jews, in that place of 
dainties and delight, committed strange wickedness. The ranker 
the ground was, the ranker the weeds grew. The tenderest and 
finest flesh soonest corrupts and putrifieth. As men abound in 
prosperity, too too often they abound in profaneness. Severus* the 
emperor was wont to say. That the poorest soldiers were the 
best ; for as they grew rich, they grew riotous. Coldest airs are 
most wholesome ; the hottest are many times unhealthy. The papist, 
who when he was a monk seemed very pious, and spread his fishing- 
net for his table-cloth, to shew his original, did, when he came to be 

1 Pererius. * Qu., "God"?— Ed. 

' Arist. De Animal., lib. iii. cap. 17. * Li v. in Vit. 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling. 53 

abbot, grow very proud, and cast it by, giving this for his reason, 
that he had been all this while fishing for the abbot's place, which 
now he had caught, and therefore had no further need of his net ! 
When men have served their ends on God, their serving of God hath 
an end ; while the corn is growing, the field is well fenced, but 
when it is carried in, the field is thrown open. When men are in 
expectation of mercies, religion is regarded ; but when they enjoy 
them, it is neglected. 

I shall now lay down some directions for thy carriage in pros- 
perity, and shew thee wherein the power of godliness, or the making 
religion thy business in that condition, consisteth. 

1. Be especially watchful against those sins which a prosperous 
estate is most liable to. As there are sins proper to every calling, 
and to every constitution, so also to every condition. Anglers have 
their summer as well as their winter baits ; they have their distinct 
coloured gaudy flies for several months, with which the silly fish 
are caught. Satan hath his baits for prosperity, as well as for 
adversity ; he can put himself into the livery of the season to take 
souls, and cast them into the eternal fire. Thy duty is to watch 
that door, at which he standeth to enter, and there especially to 
keep a strong guard. Believe it, in these worldly thickets he layeth 
most dangerous ambushments to surprise thee at unawares. 

In general, take heed of atheism ; let not earthly prosperity lessen 
either thy love to, or labour for, heavenly things. When there is 
much wool on a sheep's back, it is sometimes caught in the thorns 
and famished. Much wealth, much bodily mercy, hath many times 
so hampered and entangled a man, that his soul is starved. Ah, 
how hath Satan (as Delilah Samson) tied many a soul with the 
green withes of carnal comforts ! which they being not able, as he 
was, to break in sunder, their spiritual strength departeth from 
them. It is not seldom that that proves an occasion of forgetting 
God, which should be a means of remembering him. How wretchedly 
do some thrust him out of their minds, whilst he thrusts fat morsels 
into their mouths ; Hosea xiii. 6, ' According to their pasture, so 
were they filled ; they were filled, therefore have they forgotten me.' 
The sun of prosperity shining powerfully on the hearth of their 
hearts, did put out that fire of piety which seemed to glow there. 

When the moon is at the full, then it darkens the sun most, to 
whom it is beholding for its fulness. When men are at the full of 
outward favours, they frequently obscure most the author of them. 
Themistocles told the Athenians, his ungrateful countrymen, that 
he was their oak ; in a storm they would call for him, and cry to 


him. Who but Themistocles then ! But when the storm was over, 
they despised him ; then they could banish him, then they could cut 
down their oak and burn it. Truly, thus too many serve the blessed 
God ; if poverty, or disgrace, or sickness surprise them, then none 
but God, He is, say they, the best, the only friend ; then they 
complain to him, and lament after him ; but when their afflictions 
are removed, and estates, or honour, or health restored, then they 
can do well enough without him, and banish him their hearts and 

Job acquainteth us with the parts and fruits of some men's pros- 
perity, Job xsi. 6-16. God's bounty to them is described in life 
and death; 1. In life, in reference to their persons: ' They live, 
become old, yea, are mighty in power,' ver. 7. Life is a mercy ; it 
is the Lord's mercy that we live, saitli the church, in a low estate ; 
but they do not only live, but are lusty, so the word signifieth. 
Sickness doth much embitter life, but they have health, nay, live 
long ; their life is a summer day, long, as well as clear and shining. 
They become old, yea, are mighty in power ; they sit in the chiefest 
seats, and are placed upon the highest pinnacle. 

In reference to their relations : ' Their children are established in 
their sight, and their offspring before their eyes,' ver. 8. ' They 
send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance,' 
ver. 11. Children are great blessings and comforts : ' The children 
which God hath graciously given thy servant,' saith Jacob. Many 
are a greater mercy : ' Blessed is he that hath his quiver full of 
them.' For parents, whilst they live, to see these young plants 
removed into another soil, and there to thrive and prosper, is an 
extraordinary increase of the favour ; but they- enjoyed all this. 

In reference to their habitations : ' Their houses are far from fear, 
neither is the rod of God upon them,' ver. 9. Their houses are full 
of outward happiness, know not what misery meaneth ; their dwell- 
ings are full of outward blessings — peace and joy, not strife and 
grief. In regard of men, there is no force nor violence offered to 
them. In regard of God, he doth not execute any vengeance on 
them ; they are free from the divine rod, as well as human robberies. 

In reference to their possessions : ' Their bull gendereth, and 
faileth not ; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf,' ver. 10. 
Their flocks are fruitful as well as their wives ; both the male and 
the female help to increase his herds. Where there is such a con- 
stant conception, there must needs be an extraordinary multipli- 

Thus whilst they live, they spend their days in wealth. They are 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling. 55 

not pinched with want. Their whole time is spent in a serene 
clime, and they enjoy a perpetual calm. 

When they die, ' in a moment, they go down to the grave,' ver. 
13. They die quickly and quietly ; as they live in much pleasure, 
so they die without much pain. 

Here are persons who enjoy a prosperous condition in its various 
and largest dimensions. But what is the fruit of these favours ? 
One would think, if there be any men in the world who will please 
and praise the blessed God, these are the men. It seemeth impos- 
sible but such pleasant streams should lead them to the ocean and 
fountain of all their happiness. Who would not expect a holy con- 
clusion from such happy premises ? Can any be so far possessed 
with a devil as to break these cords of love, and burst these bands 
of kindness in pieces? Alas! alas! bitter fruit groweth on this 
sweet root. ' Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us ; we 
desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty that 
we should serve him ? and what profit shall we have if we pray unto 
him?' ver. 14, 15. Who would not wonder at such monstrous 
wickedness, that such horrid blasphemy should be the child of such 
heavenly bounty! That illative particle ' therefore' may call and 
cause heaven and earth to be astonished, ' Therefore they say unto 
God, Depart from us.' It had been rational, angelical arguing ; 
therefore they say unto God, Draw near to us. If the streams are 
so sweet, how sweet is the fountain 1 If God be so good in his crea- 
tures, how good is he in his own nature ! If these candles give 
such light, oh, what light is there in the Sun of righteousness I 
Surely it is good to be near him. But it is the logic of hell to con- 
clude as they did. Because his hand is open to us, therefore our 
hearts shall be shut against him. Oh what mad, what Bedlam rea- 
soning is it ! Because he is so bountiful a benefactor, wherever he 
Cometh, therefore we will expel him out of our borders. 

Keader, doth not thy heart rise against this abominable ingrati- 
tude ? Take heed it be not thine own case, that thou dost not fight 
against God with liis own mercies. Naturalists observe, and expe- 
rience teacheth us, that in summer, when the sun shineth hottest, 
then the deep springs are coldest. Be not more remiss in thy duty, 
because God is so intense in his mercy. Evagrius notes of Mauri- 
tius, that notwithstanding his prosperity he retained his ancient 
piety. This was rare, for usually the rankest corn is soonest laid. 
As the days lengthen, the cold strengthens. Beware, lest as the 
sunshine of thy prosperity increaseth, thy love to God should cool. 

In particular, take heed of pride, carnal confidence, and sense- 


lessness of others' sufferings, wkicli three sins prosperous men are 
prone to. 

(1.) Pride. Prosperous men are apt to be proud. Poor men beg, 
and rich men boast, Ps. lii. Their blood and their goods rise to- 
gether. Bladders filled only with wind do swell ; so do men with 
wealth and outward mercy. ' There are no bonds in their death ; 
their strength is firm. They have more than heart can wish ; they 
are not in trouble like other men, neither are they plagued like 
other men.' But did this heap of goodness make them humble ? 
No : their hearts grew big with their herds. Like the peacock, 
they were proud of their gay feathers ; ' Therefore pride compasseth 
them about as a chain,' Ps. Ixxiii. 4-6. As they were high in con- 
dition, so were they also in disposition. Men in liigh places grow 
giddy and ofteri fall, when those that walk in low valleys are safe. 
Satan serveth many, as the high wind doth the trees, first lifts them 
up, and then throws them down ; first he lifteth up with pride, 
and then tliroweth them down into perdition. 

The fire shrinks and shrivels up things to nothing, when the 
water swelleth them. The fire of adversity makes men little, yea, 
nothing in their own eyes, when waters of a full cup wrung out to 
men (the periphrasis of prosperity) occasioneth their height and 
haughtiness of heart, Job xxxiii, 17 ; Hosea xiii. 6. 

Those that were truly gracious and habitually humble have, in a 
confluence of outward comforts, manifested too much pride; as 
the waters of Nilus, though all the year else they kept within their 
channel, yet in times of wheat harvest will overflow the banks. 
David, who at other times was as sweet and lowly as the violet, yet 
when God prospered him grew proud. His inward corruption 
broke out in this scabby expression, ' Go, number the people from 
Dan to Beersheba,' 2 'Sam. xxiv. 2. If the sun fall backward ten 
degrees for Hezekiah, his spirit riseth higher, and goeth ten degrees 

Oh, it is hard to keep a low sail in a high condition, and for a 
child of God not to applaud his own deservings as the cause of his 
Father's gracious dealings. This rich wine flieth into men's brains 
that they know not where they are ; they think themselves better 
men than others, because they have better means. A little of the 
earth makes them great (and others small) in their own eyes. 

Keader, in the highest tide of earthly comforts, keep thy heart 
within the channel. The more mercies thou enjoyest, consider, the 
more thou art indebted to God ; and surely it may humble thee 
that thou art in bonds for greater sums than millions of others. 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling, 57 

Should stage- players be proud of their borrowed robes ? and why 
art thou of thy borrowed riches ? Be thou like a vessel, the fuller 
thou art, make the less sound ; and like the stars, the higher they 
are, the lesser they seem to be ; and like trees, ever least at the top 
of all 

(2.) Carnal confidence. Man by nature relieth upon the creature ; 
his earthly inheritance is the foundation of his confidence. The 
world saith to man, as the bramble to the trees in Jotham's par-able, 
' Come and put your trust in my shadow,' Judges ix. 15. I will 
refresh you in scorching seasons ; and men generally trust in these 
lying vanities. ' The rich man's wealth is a strong city, and an 
high tower in his conceit,' Pro v. x. 15. ' A strong city.' As sol- 
diers look upon a strong city as a good place which they may retire 
to for safety in times of flight, so worldly men in their distress and 
danger esteem their wealth the only means of relief and succour ; 
or as a marching army expects supply, if need be, from a well- 
manned and victualled city, so men in their fainting fits, and under 
dreadful crosses, expect to be revived by their earthly cordials. 
' And an high tower in his conceit.' A tower fortified by nature 
and art, and raised very high, is trusted to as an impregnable place. 
Rich men have as high conceits of their outward comforts as sol- 
diers have of their strongest castles. Hence it is that riches are 
called ' strength,' Job xviii. 12 ; not only because strength is requi- 
site to get and keep riches, Prov. xi. 16, but because of the world's 
corrupt opinion of them. They esteem them their strength, and 
hence give them their hope and trust. ^ But the world was never 
true to them that trusted it. ' Charge them that are rich in this 
world, that .they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, 
but in the living God,' 1 Tim. vi. 17. That which is uncertain is 
no fit foundation for trust. The whole world is called a sea of glass. 
Rev. iv. 6, because of the slipperiness of it ; glass yields no good 
footing, nor the world to them that stay themselves on it. Trust 
must have a sure bottom ; it must be the quiet repose of the soul, 
in the hands of an almighty God and an immutable good. No 
creature hath strength sufficient to bear the weight and stress of its 
fellow-creature. Men, by leaning on these thorns, as Christ calleth 
them, cause them to run into their sides, and thereby pierce them- 
selves through with many sorrows. 

The huntsman catcheth the elephant by sawing a tree almost 
quite through, which the beast leaning on falleth down, and not 
being able to rise is taken. Thus Satan catcheth souls by men's 

' Arist. divitias appellat vires, lib. i. Polit. cap. 8. 


leaning on, and trusting to, the comforts of tlieir bodies. Such men 
deny God, and therefore God will deny them. ' If I said to gold. 
Thou art my hope, and to fine gold, Thou art my confidence, I 
should have denied the God that is above,' Job xxxi. 24, 28. Trust 
is the fairest respect of the creature to his Creator ; it is one of the 
most sparkling diamonds in his crown of glory. Now to give this 
to any other is idolatry. As the heathen, so many nominal Chris- 
tians, pay their devotion, their trust, to this goddess wealth. Keader, 
thy work is to keep the world at a due distance, and not to give thy 
greatest heap the least of thy hope. Alas ! these things are called 
water, and are as weak as water. Water may be strong enough to 
drown thee, but is too weak to revive thee in thy distress, though 
thou drinkest it down. Thou canst never rest too little on these 
reeds, nor too much on the Kock of ages. To trust God in adver- 
sity is honourable, but to trust him in prosperity is heroical. 

(3.) Senselessness of others' miseries. It is hard for him who feeds 
high to have his bowels pinching with others' hunger. When men 
eat the fat and drink the sweet, they are apt to forget them who 
feed on ashes, and mingle their drink with weeping. They that 
drink wine in bowls, and eat calves out of the stalls, too too often 
forget the afflictions of Joseph, Amos vi. 4. Those that lie on 
down-beds can scarce feel their brethren's cords ; their robes and 
golden chains make them unmindful of others' rags and iron fetters. 
' He that is ready to slip with his feet is a lamp despised in the eyes 
of him that is at ease,' Job xii. 5. There is a twofold slipping of 
the feet : 1. A slipping into sin or corruption. ' My steps were 
almost gone ; my feet had well-nigh slipped,' said the psalmist, Ps. 
Ixxiii. 2 ; he meaneth into that grievous crime of abandoning piety 
upon occasion of wicked men's prosperity. Every sin is a slip, a 
fall, as well as the first sin, Kom. xiv. 21 ; 1 Cor. x. 12. 2. A slip- 
ping into suffering or affliction. When a man descendeth from 
glory to ignominy, or slideth from wealth to want, or declineth in 
outward favours, he slippeth with his feet. The settlement of a 
person in safety is set out by this, ' He will not suffer thy feet to be 
moved,' Ps, cxxi. 3 ; and the change of a man's condition by this, 
' Their feet shall slide in due time,' Deut. xxxii. 35. The firmness 
of a man's feet notes the firmness of his estate, and the slipping of 
his feet forespeaks his fall. But as we have in the verse Job de- 
scribing this man's condition, ' He that is ready to slip with his 
feet,' so we have othere' carriage towards him, ' He is a lamp des- 
pised in the thought of him that is at ease.' Those that are at ease 
contemn such as are in pain. They who enjoy a day "of light and 

Chap. VIII. ] the christian man's calling. 59 

comfort scorn and laugh at a lamp, especially when its oil is spent 
to the last drop. Distressed David was the song of the drunkard. 
The same Hebrew word signifieth both to be rich and to be at ease ; 
we translate that Job xvi. 12, ' I was at ease ;' the vulgar Lat., ' I 
was rich,' i to note that rich men usually mind their own ease and 
pleasures, not others' sorrows and sufferings. 

Some observe that the Egyptian priests gave their god Apis (a 
deity which they worshipped in the form of an ox) water out of a 
pit or well, not the water of Nilus, and that, not because they 
thought those waters profaned by the crocodile, but because the 
waters of Nilus were fattening waters, therefore Apis must not drink 
them, lest they should make him senseless of the sufferings of his 
servants, and careless of their safety. It is certain fattening waters 
make men secure, and unmindful of others' woe. 

But, reader, consider, God's command is that, in thy greatest 
plenty, thou shouldst sympathise with others' poverty : ' Weep 
with them that weep,' Rom. xiv. As it is with the strings of a viol, 
if one be touched, though the rest be not meddled with, yet they 
all quiver and tremble. So when the hand of God toucheth others 
in their names, or estates, or liberties, though it passeth by thee, 
thou oughtest to quiver, to tremble at it, and to be sensible of it. 
Surely Nehemiah was a nonsuch, who, though he enjoyed much 
prosperity, being in great favour and high honour with his prince, 
yet even then suffered in the church's sufferings, and was troubled 
with the church's troubles. Oh, how holy was that heart, which 
could willingly leave a rich, pleasant court for a ragged and tottered 2 
city ! and forsake the company of illustrious lords for twelve years 
to toil and moil like a day-labourer ! Blessed soul ! when he deli- 
vered wine to' his sovereign, (for he was the king's cup-bearer,) he 
thought of the water which the poor subjects of Christ drank ; and 
though his own particular condition called him to be merry, yet the 
sepulchres of his fathers caused him to put on mourning, Neh. i. 
and ii. o 

2. Value thyself, not by thy estate in this, but by thy inheritance 
in the other, world. Grace will teach a saint in poverty to have 
nothing, and yet to possess all things ; in plenty to have all things, 
and yet to possess nothing, 1 Cor. vii. 31. It is a sure sign of saint- 
ship when a Christian, in the greatest confluence of creatures, can 
rate himself only by his estate in the covenant ; and a special part 
of godliness for a person who hath large possessions to overlook all, 
and esteem himself wholly by his eternal portion. Grace is the 

^ Fui opulentus.— Vulg. * Qii., " tattered" ?— Ed. 


freiglit, spiritual riclies the lading of the vessel, outward good things 
are but the ballast. The mariner doth not value himself by his 
ballast, but by his freight. As Job's friends erred, on the one hand, 
in judging him wicked because afflicted, so many err, on the other 
hand, in presuming themselves to be pious because they are pros- 
perous, and rating themselves for heaven according to their riches 
on earth. Ephraim argued, because he was rich, therefore he was 
righteous, Hosea xii. 8. He had gotten him substance, therefore 
he was guilty of no sin. Dionysius, because he found after his 
sacrilege a favourable wind, fancied that the gods favoured his 
wickedness. Some are as foolish as children ; they value them- 
selves by their gay coats and gaudy clothes. A man may have a 
shop full of earthenware, and yet be worth little. The tenth part 
of that room in silks and satins will speak a man to be worth more. 
A great deal of earth will not prove thee to have any real worth. 
A little grace, one drachm of Grod's special love in Christ, is worth 
millions. ' My fruit is better than silver, and my revenues than 
choice gold,' Prov, viii. 19. As a painted countenance is no sign of 
a good complexion, so neither is a fair estate of a gracious or happy 
condition. They may be high, and have large possessions on earth, 
whose portion shall be in the lowest hell. A monkey is but a 
brute, notwithstanding its golden collar and silver bells. God may, 
as men, give larger entertainment to strangers than to his children. 
The worst in the world have often most of the world. Job xxi. 7-1 G. 
Some live in a serene clime, and enjoy a constant calm here, who 
must dwell hereafter amongst terrible tempests, and in an eternal 
storm. The unclean beasts, as the bear and vulture, may be spared, 
when the clean, as the lamb and dove, may be sacrificed. Vessels 
which are empty swim at the top, when those that are full of gold 
sink to the bottom. Hearts empty of grace may prosper, when 
they which are full may perish, Eccles. vii. 15. Some indeed have 
their estates, as children their provision, from a loving father, but 
others, as prisoners, their allowance till the day of their execution. 

There is a great difference between a glistering tumour in the 
face and true beauty, and as wide a distance between outward plenty . 
and inward prosperity. Many say, ' Who will shew us any good ?' 
Ps. iv. 6. God may shew them much good, to whom he sheweth no 
good- will. ' I am sore displeased,' saith God, ' with the heathen 
that are at ease,' Zech. i. 15. These heathens were at ease when 
they had no true rest ; for at the same time they were under God's 
wrath, Heb. xii. 6. 

God punisheth some in mercy, and prospereth others in fury. 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling. 61 

Jerusalem's case was never worse than wlien God said, ' My fury 
shall depart from thee ; I will be quiet, and no more angry,' Ezek, 
xvi. 42. The fire of God's anger is never more hot than when it is 
thus kept in, and not suffered to break out. When he intendeth to 
use the axe or sword he spareth the rod. Prisoners escape whipping 
who are to be hanged or to be executed. We do not lop or prune those 
trees which we intend within a short time to cut down for the fire, 
Alas ! reader, it is ill valuing thyself by the sunshine of common 
providence, when thousands have it who shall miss the undefiled 
inheritance. Many enjoy fair weather as they pass on to endless 
woe. The dolphin sports most before a tempest. When the air is 
most clear, then cometh the greatest thunder. Thou mayest be like 
stubble laid out a-drying to burn in hell, Marullus telleth a story 
how Ambrose came to a great man's house, who boasted to him 
that he had never suffered any affliction, whereupon the father 
iiasted away, lest, saith he, I should perish with the man that ever 
l)rospered ; but he was no sooner out of doors but the earth opened 
her mouth and swallowed up man and house too.i God may defer 
thee when he doth not discharge thee ; nay, as an arrow, the more 
drawn back by a strong hand the deeper it pierceth ; so the longer 
it is before God reckoneth, the greater will be the sum of wrath 
when he cometh to pay thee. Esteem thyself therefore so much 
worth, as thou art for the other world. Eate thyself by thy trea- 
sure in heaven, by the pardon of thy sins, by thine interest in Christ, 
and by the durable riches and righteousness. These only are the 
mercies which are worth thousand millions ; others are but painted 
cards and brass counters to these. Outward mercies serve the flesh, 
and last for a brittle life ; but these mercies concern the soul and 
relate to eternity. 

3. Let God alone have the glory of outward mercies ; do not 
crown thine own head with laurel, but pay thy rent of laud and 
praise to God alone, who is the true landlord. The merchant, for 
non-payment of custom, forfeits his commodities. 

It is God's bounty which filleth thy heaps, and therefore his 
glory must fill thy heart. Art thou rich ? 'The Lord maketh 
poor, and maketh rich,' 1 Sam. ii. 7. He maketh their persons ; 
the needy and wealthy are both his workmanship. He is the 
maker of their portions ; it is from him that some have plenty and 
others poverty. Pro v. xxii. 2, He is the maker of the partition. 
Civil differences as well as spiritual are from God ; earth drops out 
of heaven. The crumbs of this life are God's gift, as well as the 

1 Mar., lib. v. cap. 3. 


crown of a better life. This is the blessing of his throne, that of 
his footstool. It is the son of Joseph who causeth the cup of gold 
to be put into Benjamin's sack. No man cuts out his own fortune, 
or contrives his own condition. 

Hast thou honour ? God is the author of it. ' Promotion cometh 
neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south ; but 
God is the judge; he putteth down one and setteth up another,' Ps, 
Ixxv. 6, 7. Not any wind from any quarters of the earth can blow 
one man above another. High mountains are of God's making, as 
well as the low valleys and mole-hills. None ever mounted into 
the saddle of preferment but God's providence held the stirrup for 
him. It is reported of one of the kings of France, that he should 
say. Thousands were born the same day (in my dominions) that I 
was, yet none of them born to such dignity as I am ; how much 
therefore am I bound to God ! God may speak truly what Satan 
did falsely, of the riches, honours, and pleasures of this world : ' All 
these are mine, and to whomsoever I will I give them,' Luke iv. 6. 
Now as all these comforts are from God, so the credit of them all 
must be to God. As golden vessels do not retain the beams of the 
sun which they receive, but turn them back, and double them by 
reflection, so men who receive from the Sun of righteousness many 
warm, refreshing mercies, must reflect them back in glory and 
praise to the author of them. Pteader, if thy lot be fallen in a 
fruitful land, be not unthankful, do not bury God's blessings in the 
grave of ingratitude. Many a man is like a bucket, which being 
empty, and let down into the well, doth, as it were, open its mouth 
to receive water, but being once full, sheweth its back only to the 
well that gave it. Their mouths are open for mercies; as the 
chapped earth gapes for rain, but when satisfied, shutteth again. 
When they enjoy their desired blessings their hearts are shut, and 
they turn their backs upon God. Beware of this sin. As the 
beams of the stars return (as far back as they can) to glorify the 
face of the sun, which giveth them their beauty, so thy soul should 
be enlarged, as far as is possible, to praise God for his bounty. 
The bird, when got on a high tree, singeth more sweetly than on 
the ground ; the more highly God advanceth thee, the more sweetly 
thou shouldest sing his praise and advance him. 

It was a fault observed and condemned in the Carthaginian s,l 
that whereas they were sprung from Tyrus, and used yearly, when 
they were mean and poor, to send tithe of their incomes to Her- 
cules, the peculiar god of the Tyrians, when they grew rich and 

T- Diod. Sic, lib. xx. 


wealtliy they neglected to send. How many serve the true God as 
these heathen their false god — owning him when they have little, 
but set light by him when they are laden with benefits ! Holy 
David was of another carriage. When God blessed him in bestow- 
ing real mercies, he blessed God in acknowledging them to his glory. 
' Bless the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits,' Ps. 
ciii. 2. The holy Jews, by giving fit names to persons, seasons, and 
things, which were monuments of God's mercies, kept his favours 
always in memory, Esther ix. 21, 22 ; Gen. xlii. 51, 52; xxii. 21, 
22, and xxxiii. 20 ; Exod. xvii. 15. The benefit hereby wdll be to 
thyself, not to God. As an orator by his speech addeth no real 
worth to the person whom he commendeth, but only declareth 
what is in him, so by giving glory to God thou only acknowledgest 
what is in God, addest nothing to God ; but as the vapours which 
are sent from the earth, thick and foggy, are returned to it in silver 
showers, so thy praises of him, though imperfect, will be returned 
back, and much to thy profit. 

It may be, reader, thou art one whom God hath exalted from a 
poor and low to a plentiful and high condition. Remember thy 
former poverty to his praise. Do as David did; he took special 
notice that God took him from following sheep to feed his people 
Israel. If God remember thee in thy low estate, thou mayest well 
remember him in thy high estate. God gave special command to 
the Israelites, that when they came into the land of Canaan, a land 
flowing with milk and honey, they should bring a basket of the 
first-fruits, and set it down before the altar of the Lord, and say, 
' A Syrian ready to perish was our father, and he went down into 
Egypt, and sojourned there with a few, and became a nation, great, 
mighty, and populous : and the Egyptians evil entreated us, and 
the Lord brought us forth with a mighty hand into this land. And 
now behold, we have brought the first-fruits of the land, which 
thou, Lord, hast given us,' Deut. xvi. 1-12. The reason of this 
command was, because the acknowledgment of their former penury 
did enhance the price of their present plenty, and thereby tended 
much to God's glory. 

It is storied of Agathocles, king of Sicily, that having been be- 
fore a potter's son, he would always be served in earthen vessels, to 
put him in mind of his former meanness. But as our proverb is. 
The priest forgets that ever he was clerk ; men usually are forgetful 
of what they were, and so the less thankful for what they are. 

4. Love God the more for the mercies he bestoweth on thee. We 
ought indeed to love God principally for himself His own perfec- 


tions, not our possessions, must be the original of our affection. 
That servant is mercenary who worketh only for wages ; and that 
love of a wife is spurious which is placed on the husband's portion. 
True love is fixed on his person ; yet as fire which hath fuel enough 
to burn of itself, ilameth out the more by having oil poured upon 
it, so the mercies which flow from God must increase that fire of a 
Christian's love, which is founded in, and abundantly fed by, those 
excellencies that are in God. The love of the man after God's own 
heart was much helped by the bounty of God's hand. ' A psalm of 
David, in the day wherein God delivered him out of the hands of 
all his enemies, and from the hands of Saul. I will love thee, 
Lord, my strength,' Ps. xviii., title, and ver. 1, The heat of his love 
was great. ' I will love thee dearly and entirely,' saith the original ; 
' from the very bottom of my bowels.' David's affection to God 
was not only without dissimulation, but also above his expressions. 
His heart was too hot for his tongue ; it was little else but a live 
coal, or lump of love. But, reader, if thou wouldst know what was 
the bellows which blew it up into such a heat, truly God's bless- 
ings. His deliverance from his foes made him such a debtor to the 
fountain of it, and his heart was so exceedingly taken with it, that 
having little else to give, he bestoweth his highest, his hottest love. 
As the ear of corn, the more it is laden, bendeth the more to the 
earth, the original of its fulness ; so a gracious soul, the fuller it is 
of favours, the more it bendeth and inclineth towards God, the 
author of them. 

Some, indeed, who have abundance of outward favours, fall in 
love, like children, with fine clothes, and affect them above their 
fathers. But as Augustine saith, That love is adulterous, and the love 
of a harlot, which is greater to the gift than the giver. Temporal 
comforts may be in our houses, but the God of consolations must 
be in our hearts. Bodily blessings are compared to thorns, Mat. 
xiii. Thorny hedges are about our fields, not in them. Our estates 
may be about us, but not within us. Thorns may do well enough 
in a man's hand, but if they once pierce his heart he is in danger of 
death. It is observable, that all these things here below are said 
to be ' put under our feet,' Ps. viii. 6. Why under our feet ? but 
because they, as a stirrup, or footstool, should raise our hearts 
higher, and mount our minds nearer to our God. A trunk of silver, 
if above us, will press us down, if under us, will lift us up. 

Engagements to a bountiful benefactor work much upon an in- 
genuous spirit. ' Every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts,' 
Prov. xix. 7. But how should our infinite obligations to the blessed 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling. Q5' 

Creator work upon us ! The ice, we know, which hanged on the 
eaves of the house, though it endure the blasts of the wind, yet it is 
dissolved by the shining of the sun. Though under the cold of 
adversity thou hast been frozen, yet let the sunshine of prosperity 
thaw and melt thy spirit into the love of God. As men by presents 
woo, and endeavour to gain the affections of maidens, so God by 
mercies seeketh to get the love of men and women, ' I beseech you, 
by the mercies of God, give up your souls and bodies a living sacri- 
fice to God,' Kom. xii. 1. The flint, though it be not broken upon 
the hard pebbles, yet it is upon the soft pillow. The goodness of 
God should lead thee to repentance. 

It is sad for thee, like the Pead Sea, to drink in the pleasant 
streams of Jordan, and to be never the sweeter, to receive many 
kindnesses from God, and not to be the more in love with God. 
Eeader, do thou rather say, as the psalmist, ' I will love the Lord, 
because he hath heard the voice of my supplication,' Ps. cxxvi. 1. 
That God may say of thee, as once of Israel, ' With loving-kindness 
I have drawn him,' Jer. xxxi. 3. Blessings are binders. We read 
of cords of a man, and bands of love ; let them draw and bind thy 
heart close to God. A pewter dish set against a good fire will 
reflect much heat back towards the fire again. Surely the great 
fire of God's love may well make thee reflect some love back to 
him again. 

5, Do God the more abundant service. The more liberally God 
soweth, the more liberally he should reap. The more wages men 
give, the more work they expect. Where the sun shineth hottest, 
there are the biggest and the best fruits. Some observe, that Solo- 
mon's altar was four times as large as that which Moses made, 
Exod. xxvii. 1, to teach us, that as our peace and plenty increase, so 
must our piety in a due proportion. ' Charge them that are rich 
in this world, that they do good, and be rich in good works,' 1 Tim. 
vi. 17, 18. Those that are rich in goods and wealth, must be rich 
in good works. To do a little good will not be sufficient for them 
who have received much good. As men increase in their estates, so 
they advance in their attire and behaviour. The rents which men 
pay are answerable to the land which they enjoy. Hezekiah re- 
turned somewhat to God, but he returned not to the Lord accord- 
ing to his benefits ; therefore there was wrath upon him from the 
Lord, 2 Chron. xxxii. 25. The greater thy receivings are in 
this world, the greater will thy reckonings be in the other world. 
He that receiveth five talents, by trading gaineth five more. If he 
had got but two more, as he did who received but two. his loi'd 



would not have counted, and called him a ' good and faithful ser- 
vant,' Mat. XXV. We look that our beasts should serve us accord- 
ing to their keepings ; the better they are kept, the more service 
they should do us. Surely God may expect the same of us. Fat 
pastures and lean souls do not agree. Those good trees, whose roots 
spread farthest, and derive most of the earth's fatness, do bring 
forth the more fruit for it. Shall plants and beasts thrive answer- 
able to what they receive, and man only in his work be unsuitable 
to his master's charge ? The ship, the fairer the wind is, moveth 
the more swiftly ; the bird, the larger her wings are, flieth the 
more speedily. And shall man be shamed by these ? 

Those who enjoy many mercies, as the father saith of rich men, 
have more tools to work with than others ; they have more oppor- 
tunities for closet duties and public ordinances ; they have more 
influence upon inferiors, who have many times some dependence on 
them ; they have many advantages to do good, and receive good, 
which others have not ; when others are working hard to earn 
bread for their families, or they must starve, these men may go to 
their chambers and beg hard for the bread of life ; they have 
more time and more talents to trade with, and must do much more 
work, or they will hear at last, ' Cast the unprofitable servant into 
utter darkness.' The man did not waste his talent, but because he 
did not improve it [therefore he was condemned.] 

Most come short of trading suitable to their talents. As bells 
when raising strike thick, but when raised are set and still, so many, 
when in hope of outward good things, do somewhat for God, who 
when they are largely blest with them, will do little or nothing. 
Plutarch observeth that the ass hath the fattest heart, and is the 
dullest of all beasts. They who have the fattest possessions are 
generally the dullest in the matters of religion. Like the sun, they 
move most slowly when highest in the zodiac. Oh, it is far better 
to be a low tree and fruitful, than a tall one and barren. In this, 
it were well if great men would resemble the sun. Though other 
planets are above him, for he is seated in the middle, yet he is most 
serviceable. Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars are before him in place, but 
he is before them in use. 

God, in the fore-quoted place, commandeth persons who prosper, 
to be ready to distribute, and willing to communicate, 1 Tim. vi. 
17, 18. God, therefore, makes some poor, and some rich, that the 
one might be able to give, and the other to receive. The fuller 
the clouds are, the more they refresh others with their showers. 
The more mercy thou receivest, the more thou art to shew. Seneca 

Chap. VIII.] the christian majst's calling. 67 

calletli uncharitable rich men areas' chests, made only to hold and 
take in : they are all for keejjing, for laying np. ' Thou hast goods 
laid up/ not a word of laying out. The superficies of the earth is 
most barren, not capable, say the naturalists, of the least improve- 
ment, where the richest mines are in its bowels. But saints have 
not so learned Christ. They know it is on*e thing to be rich in this 
world, another thing to be rich for a better world, and that an 
opportunity to give is a favour and grace, 2 Cor. viii. 1, and accord- 
ingly they improve it. David's heart was much affected with this 
favour, that he had ability to give anything to God. ' Our God, we 
thank and praise thy glorious name. But who am I, and what is 
my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this 
sort ? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given 
thee,' 1 Chron. xxix. 13, 14. What a mercy did he esteem it, 
that God should give him both means, and a mind to give them 
back to him. 

The great luminary of the world draweth up vapours into the 
air, not to keep them there, but to return them to the earth for its 
relief, and the advantage of many. 

Bernard reporteth of Pope Eugenius, that meeting an honest, 
poor bishop, he gave him certain jewels to present him with. Sure 
I am, that all that wealth which we give to God, either by poor 
persons, or other pious uses, is given us first by God. 

We blame that gentleman, who, being nobly entertained at his 
friend's house, doth not remember the servants. Surely he is more 
sordid and base, whom God feedeth, nay, and feasteth daily, if he 
doth not remember the servants of God. This kindness God takes 
as done to himself, and puts it down in his own debt book, resolving 
to pay it. ' He that giveth to the poor, lendeth to the Lord, and 
he will repay him,' Prov. xix. 17. God paid Jonathan, in Mephi- 
bosheth, for all his kindness to David, and seemeth to say to every 
rich, charitable person, as Paul wrote to Philemon concerning One- 
simus. If that poor man or woman owe thee anything, set that on 
mine account. ' I have written it with my own hand, I will repay 
it,' Philem. 19. Suitable to which is the form of begging in Italy, 
Fate be7i per vol. Not as ours in England, bestow somewhat for 
the Lord's sake, but, do good for your own sake : giving is the 
best way of thriving. Wells that are drawn spring more freely. 
The widow's oil increased by pouring out. 

6. In prosperity, prepare for adversity. Summer will not last 
all the year, therefore men provide for winter, i The wind will not 

^ iEliaa. Var. Hist., lib. ii. 


always set in one corner. The south wind of prosperity now bloweth, 
but expect the north wind of adversity. If thou hast two heavens, 
thou hast more than Christ himself had. Babylon indeed said, ' I 
sit as a queen, and shall see no sorrow,' Rev. xviii. 7. She saw her 
state Avas high— a queen ; and she presumed that it was firm by 
her posture in her place, '1 sit as a queen.' But the greater her pre- 
sumption was, the greater her destruction was. Prosperity is not 
tied to us, as Dionysius thought his kingdom was to him, as chains 
of adamant. Job iii. 26, ' The thing that I feared is come upon 
me.' There is a fed,r of wisdom and caution ; as also a fear of tor- 
ment and vexation. Job's fear was the former ; like Noah, being 
moved with fear, he prepared an ark before the flood came. 

The atheist, by his prosperous condition, is wholly unfitted for 
affiiction. He is so used to great fires and soft beds, that when 
he Cometh to sharp air and stormy weather, he sickens and dieth. 
As Hannibal's soldiers were so much effeminated by the pleasures 
they enjoyed at Capua, that their bodies being used to fine raiment, 
could not bear the weight of heavy armour ; and their heads being ' 
used to silken nightcaps, could not endure iron head-pieces. I 
fear that neck, saith Tertullian, which is used to pearl chains, will 
hardly offer itself to the sword. But Christians are better taught 
than in such times to neglect preparations for trial. Some observe 
this piece of providence in the hedgehog, that in summer she 
hoardeth up food in some hollow tree, where she liideth herself in 
hard weather.^ Surely the Christian should not be inferior in 
prudence to this creature, but lay up against a dear year. The 
Egyptians in time of plenty laid up abundantly against the seven 
years of famine, or otherwise they might have starved-. The Chris- 
tian must in fair weather provide for a rainy day ; in health and 
life, prepare for sickness and death, or he will be undone eternally. 
Oh how cutting is affliction ! how killing is death to them whom 
they surprise on a sudden ! Sudden, extraordinary mercies have, 
like a great quantity of strong waters, slain some ;■ but what, then, 
will sudden, extraordinary miseries do ? Sudden evils are the sorest 
evils, the most searching evils. 

He that is ready armed, and prepared for his enemy, hath a 
very great advantage of him who is surprised on a sudden, and 
when he is not aware. Some say of the cockatrice, if a man see 
him first, he dieth, but if he see the man first, the man dieth. If a 
Christian see affliction first, by a provident foresight, it loseth all its 
rigour and venom : it can do a man no harm ; but if that see a man 

^ Arist., lib. de Gen., cap. 5. 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling. 69 

first, it often killeth him. As strong physic meeting with a very- 
foul body, it haste neth his end. 

The ship must be rigged before the storm, for then it will be too 
late. Ca3sar cashiered that soldier who was found whetting his 
weapons when he should have been using them. It will be sad 
with thee if thy grace be to get, as it was with the five foolish 
virgins, when thy grace is to use, and God should call thee to a 
winter of afiliction before thou hast laid in provision. It is very 
sad, but certain, many a man's work is to do when his time is 

Naturalists observe,! that whilst the halcyon bird is breeding her 
eggs, and bringing forth her young, there is usually fair weather, 
whence we call good times halcyon days. She neglecteth not any 
of those days, but sitteth close on her nest, and is very diligent in 
bringing forth, lest, if there should be a change of weather, the 
waters should grow high, and her young ones be in danger of 
drowning. Eeader, now God giveth thee health and strength, and 
Sabbaths and seasons of grace, do not loiter, but improve them to 
the uttermost, in laying up a good foundation against the time of 
need. Alas ! thou knowest not how soon the weather may alter. 
God may speedily call thee to great changes in thy hfe. He will 
certainly call thee to a great change at death, and how wilt thou 
do to undergo them, if thou dost not make preparation for them ? 
It is preparation for suffering which will cause them to be, not 
mortal, but medicinal to thy soul. 

As Anaxagoras said when he heard of his son's death, Scio me 
genuisse mortalem, I know that I begot one that was mortal. So 
when a Christian shall be called from wealth to want, from pros- 
perity to persecution, if he can say, I know that Christ and his 
cross usually go together ; I know that all who will live godly in 
Christ Jesus must suffer persecution, and that I must, through many 
tribulations, enter into the kingdom of heaven ; I know that religion 
might cost me my estate, my limbs, my liberty, and my life ; that 
if I would reign with Christ, I must suffer with him. All this I 
know beforehand, and I resolved upon it, and provided for it. The 
cross will never break the back of this man. The holy apostle did 
believe that bonds and afflictions did abide him in every city. 
Acts XX, 23, and being forewarned he was forearmed. He looked 
for those guests, and provided against their coming ; hence it was 
that he was so pious and patient under, and so victorious over, 
them all. A person who now enjoyeth honours and riches, who 

1 Plin. Nat. Hist., lib. x. cap. 13. 


preparetli for disgrace and want when God calleth liim to it, is like 
one that descendeth from the uppermost room in a high house, to 
the cellar, the lowermost, by stairs ; he cometh safely down ; where- 
as another, who is unprepared, when he is brought from a high 
to a low estate, doth, as the devil would have had Christ, cast 
himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, and thereby break 
his neck. ' A prudent man,' saith the wise man, ' foreseeth evil, 
and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished,' 
Prov. xxvii. 12. Afflictions are often called falls in Scripture. A 
wise man when he falls, possibly from freedom to fetters, from 
soundness to sickness, from life to death, he falleth forwards, which 
•is a great advantage to a man ; his hands will help therein to secure 
his head. He falleth into those troubles he did foresee, and for 
which he did provide and forecast. But when a simple man falleth, 
it may be from glory to ignominy, from a palace to a prison, from 
life to death, he falleth backward, like old Eli, and breaks his 
neck. He did not think of it beforehand, nor prepare for it, and 
therefore his fall is his downfall. He, many times, never riseth 
more. When once he is thrown, he is overthrown for ever. To 
help thee herein, I shall advise thee to these two things : — 

First, Be sure thy peace be made with God, When the back is 
sound, a man may carry a burden cheerfully, but if the back be 
wounded and sore, a small burden will put a man to much pain, 
nay, he will be ready to flinch, and shrink, and throw it off. So 
when the conscience is sore with the guilt of sin, and curse of the 
law, and wrath of God, and fear of hell-fire, what torture and tor- 
ment will afflictions put this man to. A small sword with these 
edges will cut deep, a little potion imbittered with these ingredients 
will make his back and belly, his head and heart, and all to ache to 
purpose. But when the conscience is sound, as being healed by 
the blood of Christ, and thereby reconciled to the blessed God, this 
man may bear a great burden with courage, and bid whatever 
befalls him welcome, as knowing it comes from a God in covenant : 
Eom. V. 1-3, ' Being justified by faith, we have peace with God 
through our Lord Jesus Christ.' We glory in tribulation. We 
glory in disgrace, we triumph in troubles ; Kavj^wfxeOa, the word 
speaketh the highest note that joy can possibly reach ; joy with 
boasting, with exultation. But mark, reader, the rich wine which 
did thus raise the spirits and rejoice the hearts of Christians : ' Being 
justified by faith, we have peace with God.' Peace with God hath 
such a sweetening property, that it will make the bitterest potion 
pleasant. They need not fear the saddest fits, whoever carry this 

Chap. VIII. ] the chkistian man's calling. 71 

rich cordial about them ; what dangers and deaths may not they 
look in the face who have a reconciled God to countenance and en- 
courage them ? 

A person who hath secured his eternal life, may with courage 
bear any temporal losses. What is sickness of the body to him 
who hath a sound soul ? How little are they troubled at the frowns 
of men, who enjoy the favour of God ! The Hebrews could take 
the spoiling of their goods joyfully, knowing that they had a more 
enduring substance, Heb. x. 34. They who have all their portion 
and happiness in outward things, may well lay the loss of them to 
heart, for they are undone ; they were worth but a little, and this 
little is lost. But he that hath God for his friend may abide the 
most fiery trial without fear. 

When there cometh a storm, and the ship leaketh, how can it do 
otherwise than sink ? Friend, if a storm of some extraordinary 
civil danger, or of sickness or death come, and the vessel of thy 
soul leak, be found in a carnal, unregenerate state, having God for 
thine enemy, and hell for thy heritage, it is impossible but thou 
shouldest sink into the gulf of misery and desperation. Oh how 
wilt thou do to behold or undergo that danger, which for aught 
thou knowest may both kill thee and damn thee ! Saints them- 
selves, when they have but a little crack by some sin in their peace 
with God, have sounded but harshly when they have been stricken 
and afflicted. 

Sin is the sting of every suffering ; if that be taken out, trouble 
may hum and make a noise, but it can never harm a Christian. Get 
but thy sins pardoned, and thy God pacified, and thou needest not 
fear the wrath of men, or rage of devils. He that hath drunk 
poison, vomits it quickly up, or if he drinketh after it he dieth. 
When thou art overtaken in sin, be quick in thy repentance, and 
petition for pardon, that so affliction may not surprise thee before 
thou hast made thy peace. The great question to every affliction 
must be that which the elders propounded to Samuel when they 
trembled at his coming, ' Comest thou peaceably ?' 1 Sam. xvi. If 
it answer, Peaceably, from a God at peace with thee, all will be 
well ; thou mayest bid it welcome, though it be death itself, for it 
cometh purposely to anoint thee, (as Samuel did David), to a glori- 
ous and eternal kingdom. 

2. If thou wouldest in prosperity prepare for adversity, get thine 
affections mortified to all the comforts of this life. Though out- 
ward favours cling about thee, yet let thine heart climb above them. 
He who counteth all worldly gains to be small, will never count any 


worldly loss to be great, i Excessive love to the creature causetli 
excessive grief in the loss of creatures. A man may pull off his 
glove quickly and quietly, but not his skin, because this sticks close 
to his flesh. The closer the world cleaves to us, the harder it will 
be to part it from us. 

Jacob was overmuch perplexed at Joseph's supposed death ; 
though his children came to comfort him, he refused to be com- 
forted. But mark the cause of his impatient carriage, he over- 
loved, he over-valued him, Gen. xxxvii. 35. What we over-love 
in the fruition, we over-lament in its amission ; we never err in our 
actions, till we err in our affections ; and we never err in our affec- 
tions, till we err in our judgments. According to the price we set 
upon things, such is our pleasure and joy in their presence, and our 
pain and sorrow in their absence ; they who esteem the world as 
their portion, may well weep and wail at parting. He who wisely 
rates the world according to its true worth, (vanity of vanities, all 
is vanity,) will neither be proud of its smiles, nor perplexed much 
at its frowns. 

Holy Paul was ready for all conditions : ' I am ready not only to 
be bound, but also to die for the name of the Lord Jesus.' It was 
all one to him whether God called him to a prison or to a palace, 
to a pleasant dinner or a painful death. But what made him so 
indifferent, and so ready for worldly afflictions ? Truly, because he 
had mortified his earthly affections. He was crucified to the world ; 
as a dead man, he did neither hear its music, nor fear its furnace ; 
as a crucified person, he was neither tickled with its favours, nor 
troubled at its fury, Acts xxi. 13 ; Gal. vi. 14. It is easy to cut off 
the limbs of a dead man ; whether he be used courteously or cruelly 
it is all one to him, for he takes notice of neither. He who is dead 
to the world, is the only man that lives indeed. 

He may defy earth and hell, and be happy in spite of both, who 
hath but a heart weaned from tlie earth, and placed in heaven.2 
Reader, thou wilt patiently bear the loss of that to which thou hast 
but little love. It will be no hard thing to persuade thee to live 
apart from the world, if beforehand thou hast given it a bill of 
divorce. Study the emptiness of sublunary things, and when God 
puts them into thy hands, do thou put them under thy feet ; hereby 
thou wilt be contented to leave them at God's call. 

The meteors which are caused by fogs that arise out of the earth, 
never imprint any real evil on the sun and stars, which are far 

1 Eum nulla adversitas dejicit, quem nulla prosperitas corrumpit. — Greg. Mor. 

2 Fidem secunda poscunt, adversa exi^unt. — Senec. in Agamem. 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling. 73 

distant ; but in the lower region, by reason of their nearness to the 
earth, they often break out in^o thunder and lightning.! When 
earthly comforts lie near the heart, they must needs cause strange 
storms and tempests ; but when the heart is far from them, and 
much above them, there is no danger of evil by them. Therefore, 
friend, love heaven as thy paradise, and look on earth but as the 
place of thy pilgrimage, then thou wilt cheerfully travel in all 
ways, whether fair or foul, it will be enough that they lead to thy 

What I am now writing is of no mean concernment to thy soul. 
Troubles will come possibly, nay, probably in the day of thy life, 
however in an hour of death, and what wilt thou do to meet thine 
enemies if thou art unarmed ? Tacitus speaketh of Csecina (Annal. , 
lib. i.,) that He was acquainted with dangers beforehand, and 
therefore so provident for them, as not to be fearful of them. None 
feel evil more when it comes, than those who would not prepare for 

Thus, reader, I have finished what I intended to offer touching 
thy godliness in a prosperous estate. Shall I persuade thee so to 
demean thyself in it, that thy temporal benefits may not prove 
spiritual curses, but spiritual blessings ? Josephus tells us^ that 
James, the son of Alpheus, was by commandment of Annas the 
high priest thrown down from the pinnacle of the temple at Jeru- 
salem, and so lost his natural life. Alas ! how many hath Satan 
thrown down from the pinnacle of their high places and preferments 
to the loss of their eternal lives ! He catcheth those fish in a 
glistering pool, which he could not in a troubled sea ; though he 
could not get Christ to turn stones into bread, yet he gets men to 
turn bread into stones; the mercies of God into the weapons of 

Plancus Plan tins, hiding himself in the time of the proscription, 
was found out only by the smell of the sweet oils wherewith he was 
wont luxuriously to anoint himself, and so slain.3 Take thou heed, 
reader, lest what is given thee for meat to be nutritive, be turned 
into poison, and prove destructive ; but consider God's end in all 
his gracious acts, and endeavour to answer it, ' He brought forth 
his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness : and gave them 
the land of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the 
people ; that they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws. 
Praise ye the Lord/ Ps. cv. 43-45. 

1 Tempore sic duro est inspicienda fides. — Ovid. 

" Antiq., xx. cap. 8. ^ Camerer, Med. Hist. Cent., i. cap. 20. 


A good ivish of a Christian in prosperity, wherein the former heads 

are epitomised. 

A prosperous condition, being a sweet fruit of divine beneficence, 
and a strong obligation to obedience, both as it encourageth me to 
serve so bountiful a master, and as it affordetli me more talents and 
instruments of doing his work, I wish that I may never turn his 
grace into wantonness, nor suffer the showers of heaven's mercy to 
increase or ripen the weeds of my corruptions ; but that as the heat 
of the sun putteth out the fire, so the warm beams of divine love 
may extinguish the fire of lust in my soul, and my heart may be 
so affected with his bounty as to be the more abundant in duty. 
Oh that, though others feed their hellish flame *of uncleanness, 
drunkenness, pride, revenge, and atheism, with such fuel, as if they 
were delivered to do all these abominations ^ yet I may fear the 
Lord and his goodness, and the goodness of my God may lead me 
to repentance ! Lord, since the renovation of my nature, and the 
reformation of my life, is the message upon which thou sendest thy 
mercies, let me never cause thee to miss of thine end, nor them of 
their errand ; but let thy mercies prevail with me, to present my 
body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, to thy Majesty, which is 
my reasonable service, Rom. xii. 1. 

I desire that I may often and seriously consider the horrid, 
heinous nature of sins against divine favours, the more to quicken 
me to caution, lest I should abuse my God's compassions. If the 
word of God brand Ahaz for sinning in his distress, with how 
black a coal shall I be marked by God himself, if I sin after de- 
liverances ! If not to hear the voice of the rod bring down such 
wrath, what fury will be my portion if I am deaf to the entreaties 
of mercy ! When justice pursueth me, mercy can protect me ; but 
if by abusing mercy I make it my foe, how can I ever hope to have 
justice my friend ! If it be unworthiness and a high wickedness to 
fight against a prince, with a costly sword which he had sent his 
subject as a present, what is it for me to fight against God himself 
with his own favours ! Christians must do good for evO. How 
contrary am I then to a Christian, if I return evil for good ! 
Heathen themselves will requite good with good, and have abhorred 
the contrary ; and shall I put off the nature of a man ? The ox, 
though a dull beast, knoweth his owner, and shall I be below a 
brute ? If my God be provoked with them that return evil for evil 
to their fellow-creatures, how much will he be incensed if I return 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling. 75 

evil for good, and that to himself, the infinite Creator ? Great 
persons cannot endure that their favours should be slighted, and 
will my God bear it, if his mercies be abused ? Lord, should I, as 
Benhadad against Ahab, war against thee with that life which thou 
hast given me, would it not at last prove my death ? And ah ! 
how miserable would it be to be pressed to death with the weight 
of mercies, and to sink into hell under a load of loving-kindness ! 
Oh let me never be guilty of such monstrous ingratitude ! but since 
grace, and reason, and nature itself are against unthankfulness, 
cause me to hate it with perfect hatred, and out of thankfulness to 
thee, to walk before thee in holiness and righteousness all my 

I wish that my desire to evidence my uprightness to my own 
conscience, may make me the more holy in my highest condition. 
Godliness in prosperity will best speak my sincerity. The day of 
light and comforts is a fitter season to discover the colour and 
complexion of the. soul than the night of darkness and sorrows. An 
Ahab may walk softly when a writ is sent out against him, or upon 
a commination ; a Pharaoh may cry for mercy when he is arrested 
upon an execution ; but he is a Job, a rare person indeed, that can 
walk in a high place and not be giddy, abound in grace when he 
abounds in goods, and keep his heart within the compass of its 
duty to God and man when he is laden with comforts. Lord, 
though the hottest seasons discover others' spiritual diseases, and, 
like wild beasts, when the chains of affliction are taken off, that 
they enjoy their liberty, they bewray their wantonness and lusts, 
let me be faithful to thee, when thou art merciful to me ; and the 
more thou discoverest thy love, the more let me discover that thy 
law is written in my heart, by a gracious and exemplary life. 

Because prosperity is too often abused to profaneness, I wish that, 
as the dove, when I fare best I may fear most, and I walking in 
such a slippery place may walk the more warily. Bees are suffo- 
cated in their own honey, their combs being melted by the heat of 
the sun. How many, like those poor insects, find their death in 
that which they laboured for with so much diligence! In the 
warmest climates men live the shortest lives. Grace, like the palm- 
tree, seldom groweth in hot soils. Man's corrupt nature hath ever 
a will to commit wickedness, but sometimes it wanteth power. 
Now prosperity gives him strength and opportunity, which he useth, 
or rather abuseth, to his ruin. The prosperity of fools slayeth 
them. Nay, wise men have stumbled when they have drunk of 
•this atrong drink. Noah, who had seen the whole world drowned 


in water, is himself no sooner delivered but he is drowned in wine. 
Lot is scarce preserved out of Sodom but he is polluted with sin. 
Yea, Solomon, the wisest king that ever the world had, was as 
notorious for apostasy as famous for prosperity. Lord, let others' 
falls make me to fear. Alas ! if such torches were like to be 
blown out with the strong gales, in what danger is my poor rush- 
candle ! If their load of benefits weighed them down, notwith- 
standing their strength, how surely will such burdens, though of 
precious things, break my weak back, unless thou puttest under 
thine everlasting arm ! Though thy mercies be as the sail and 
wind, to further the vessel of my soul in its heavenly voyage, yet, 
except thy Spirit steer, they will drive another way. Oh, let thy 
grace to me, and thy grace in me, like the unicorn's horn, so heal 
those waters, which are apt, through corruptions, to poison my soul, 
that I may drink of them without danger, and be so refreshed 
thereby as with more speed and cheerfulness to run the ways of thy 

I wish that I may keep a strong watch at that door at which 
Satan waiteth to enter ; I mean, that I may be specially careful 
against those sins to which a prosperous estate makes me most 
prone. Ephraim and Manasseh, plenty and forgetfulness, are 
brethren. I am most apt to forget my God in my high estate, 
when he hath remembered me in my low estate. The more wealth, 
the more wanton. After good showers worms crawl ; flies will 
settle on these sweet conserves ; sin cleaves to wealth as rust to 
•money. Men, like apes, when they climb high, discover most of 
their deformities. How prone am I to be proud when I prosper, to 
suffer my heart to S'well with my heaj)s, and to boast myself in the 
multitude of my riches ! Though the more mercies I receive, the 
more I am in debt here, and the greater will be my account here- 
after ; yet, as a new-blown bladder, my heart is ready to be puffed 
up with every blast, and, as a beggar, to be proud of my borrowed 
clothes. Lord, the greater sum in thine eye, let me be the lesser in 
my own ; keep me humble in my highest estate, knowing that thy 
mere mercy, not my merit, is the sole cause of all my comforts, for 
I am much less than the least of all thy mercies. 

I wish that my trust may have a surer foundation than these 
things which are vain and fading. My confidence is due, not to 
dead goods, but to the living God. My God can brook no rival, 
especially in that which is his prerogative-royal. If I make an 
idol of creatures, he will quickly make nothing of them ; by lean- 
ing on these staves I break them in pieces. Should I rely on them, 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling. 77 

I take the way to make tliem take their wings and fly away. Be- 
sides, if I say to gold, Thou art my hope, or to fine gold, Thou art 
my confidence, I deny and dishonour the God that is above. It is 
sinful for a wife to give that respect to her husband's picture which 
belongs only to his person ; but it is abominable to give it to some 
small present which he sendeth her. I may not trust my graces, 
much less my riches. Lord, though I am rich in this world, pre- 
serve me from the inflammation of pride. Whilst I contemn 
others for their poverty, I wound thee in thy providence, who 
givest every one his portion. Let me not, therefore, be high- 
minded, or trusting in uncertain riches ; but enable me to trust in 
thee, the living God, who givest me all things richly to enjoy. 

I wish that this rich wine may never so fly up into my head, or 
so possess my heart, as to make me mindless of what I do, or sense- 
less of what others suffer. Prosperity not seldom begetteth secu- 
rity. They who drink wine freely, little think of others' water or 
wormwood. Experience of misery is a strong provocation to mercy. 
Israel did the more pity strangers because they were strangers in 
the land of Egypt ; but they who live all their days in ease are 
little affected with others' pain. I have read that the Jews, when 
they build a house, will leave some part of it unfinished, in remem- 
brance that Jerusalem lieth desolate ; at least some part unplas- 
tered, wherein they write in great letters, Zecher Leclwrhan, the 
memory of the desolation. Lord, in my greatest plenty, help me to 
mind and feel others' poverty, and in my most prosperous condition 
keep me from forgetting the afilictions of thy Joseph. 

I wish that I may esteem myself, not by the abundance of crea- 
tures, but by the unsearchable riches that are in Christ. All my 
outward comforts are but ciphers, and signify nothing of special 
love, or of my right to eternal life. He that was rich on earth, 
faring deliciously every day, is a beggar in hell, frying in those 
unquenchable flames. The fairest trees are soonest marked for 
felling. How beautiful is a field of corn one day, when it is cut 
down the next ! Many are high in place, whose portion is in the 
bottomless pit. The money-changers were scourged out of the 
temple, as having little interest amongst God's people. The poor 
of the world are the heirs of heaven ; the rich have commonly their 
portion in this life. Why should I value myself by that which 
God gives to his foes, and denieth to his chiefest favourites ? Can 
I carry my earthly favours into hell with me, to bribe my flames, 
or corrupt my tormentors ? No. As I came into this world naked, 
so I must go out of the world naked. Neither my glory nor my 


goods shall descend after me. Or can I with my possessions buy 
out my pardon before I come thither ? No. The redemption of 
my soul is more precious, for all my treasure it must cease for ever. 
Lord, suffer me not to ' lay up for myself a treasure on earth, which 
rust or moth may corrupt,' but let me provide myself ' bags that wax 
not old, a treasure in heaven that faileth not, where no thief ap- 
proacheth, nor moth corrupteth.' Let me ever esteem myself by 
thy favour, and not by these things which thy saints have trampled 
under their feet. 

I wish that I may acknowledge my God to be the giver and 
author of all my mercies, that so I may bless him when he 
blesseth me. Though I reap a rich harvest, yet my God sowed 
all the corn ; if I refuse to pay my rent I forfeit my lease. I can 
rationally expect the showers of blessings no longer than I con- 
tinue to send up vapours of praises. Unthankfulness is the devil's 
sponge, wherewith he would wipe God's mercies out of my mind ; 
but thankfulness is God's treasure and honour : ' He that offereth 
praise, glorifieth me.' Oh that I might never be worse than a 
Samaritan, in denying to praise him who prospereth me. The 
Philistines, upon the receipt of mercies, would offer sacrifice to 
their Dagon, the Komans to their Jupiter Capitolinus. When the 
god of this world hath his trophies erected, shall the God of 
heaven, who loadeth me and mine with benefits, go without ? ' 
Lord my God, how many are thy wonderful works which thou hast 
done, and thy thoughts to me-ward : they cannot be reckoned up 
in order unto thee ; if I would declare and speak of them, they are 
more than can be numbered,' Ps. xl. 5. I beseech thee, enable me 
to use all thy favours to me and mine, as so many stones to rear 
up and raise a pillar and monument of praise to thy name, and let 
the name of it be written on it, ' Ebenezer, Hitherto hath the Lord 
helped us.' Yet I desire that when I am offering this sacrifice of 
thanksgiving to my God, my heart may be most affected with, and 
enlarged for, spiritual blessings. My God is worthy of glory for 
giving me health, food, raiment, friends, arid all temporal benefits, 
when many others are racked with sickness, vexed with hunger, 
and pinched with poverty ; but oh ! what thanks doth he deserve 
for his gospel, his ordinances, his Spirit, and his dear Son ! If the 
favours of his left hand, which his enemies may enjoy, call for 
praise, what hallelujahs may the favours of his right hand, the 
favours of his favourites, command ? Lord, it will be the work of 
eternity to give honour, glory, praise, and thanks to thy Majesty 
for redeeming me to thyself by the blood of thy Son ; help me to 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling, 79 

ply this duty beforehand, that my soul may be put in tune here, 
to make the better music in heaven. 

I wish that my heart, under the sunshine of prosperity, may 
(like wood laid out a-sunning) be the sooner fired, and the more 
inflamed with love to my God. His mercies are love-tokens, his 
kindnesses are cords of love ; by these gifts which he presents me 
with, he wooeth for my affections. I can' love my father, my friends, 
from whom I receive some small favours ; and shall I not love my 
God, who is the fountain and father of all my mercies? Lord, 
let thy great love to me, as the beams of the sun united, kindle 
love in me ; thou lovest, that thou may be loved. Circumcise my 
heart, that I may love thee with all my heart, with all my soul, and 
with all my strength. Though I love thee much for thy compas- 
sion to me, let me love thee most for those perfections in thee ; for 
thou art altogether lovely. When I was nothing, before I had a 
being, thou didst love me ; when I was worse than nothing, in my 
blood and pollution, thou didst love me ; the time of loathing was 
a time of love. In the womb, by thee I was wonderfully and 
curiously wrouglit ; in my body I have not so many limbs as 
tokens of thy love. But oh ! in my soul, capable of thy fear and 
favour, of thy love and likeness, how lively doth thy love appear ! 
From my birth to this moment, all thy paths towards me have 
been mercy and truth. In my infancy thou wast my nurse, to 
preserve me from those knocks and falls to which I was liable. 
As I grew up, mercy grew up together with me. The journal of 
my whole life is but a volume of thy love. And shall (as too much 
wood puts out the fire) the multitude of thy mercies lessen my 
love ? Lord, suffer me not to be so ungrateful, but as thou art 
infinitely both loving and lovely, let me think all my love too 
little for so worthy an object ; and let my only measure of loving 
thee be to love thee without measure. Though others love thee 
only for their own sakes, because thou fillest their houses with good 
things, hence (as Amnon served Tamar, who was first sick for 
her, and having satisfied his lust was as sick of her) when they 
have served their own ends, they leave off to serve thee ; let me 
love thee for thine own sake, as well for thy purity and holiness, as 
for thy mercy and goodness ; let me love thee as my King and 
Lord, not only because thou art able to advance and prefer me, 
but also because thou dost command and purify me. Let me love 
thee striking me as well as stroking me : when thy hand is against 
me in the greatest affliction, let my heart be towards thee with the 
greatest affection ; yea, cause my love, like lime, to be tlie hotter 


for all waters of opposition, to be always increasing, till it comes 
to its perfection. 

I wish that I may be a faithful steward in the improvement of 
my talents, and that the work I do my God may be answerable to 
the cost and charge he is at with me. My God is the owner of 
all I have — the fee-simple is his ; I am but the possessor to employ 
it for his praise. Other creatures thrive somewhat answerable to 
their keeping; the better the pasture, the fatter is the beasts. 
Hares have longer legs behind than before, and therefore run the 
faster up hill ; why should not I, who have more helps than others, 
make more haste than they up thy holy hill of Sion ? Those whom 
my God calleth to the highest places, he calleth to- the greatest 
service. If he planteth his vineyard in his best ground, he ex- 
pecteth the most plentiful clusters of grapes. Oh that the rent 
which I pay to him might be somewhat proportionable to the 
lands which I hold of him ! My God hath made me to be, not a 
cistern to hold in, but to be a conduit-pipe to convey out, the water 
of his blessings ; I would not therefore, as the moon, who receiveth 
from the sun a full light, but reflecteth only a faint light again, 
return less than I receive from my God ; much less, as fatted beasts, 
be the more unfitted for service, or like a carcase, be the more un- 
savoury for the hot beams of mercy. But, Lord, help me to be the 
more fruitful in holiness for the showers of thy goodness ; let thy 
Spirit enable me to trade answerable to my talents, and let thy 
grace encourage me to be always abounding in thy work, believing 
that thou wilt at last recompense me with a glorious and eternal 

I wish that I may be so prudent and provident, as in a summer 
of prosperity to prepare and provide for a winter of adversity. 
Though the heavens are now clear and shining, yet they will be 
cloudy and showering. I cannot imagine that the day of my life 
should have no foul weather on it ; there is no mountain so firm 
but may be moved with an earthquake. If men in policy will 
prepare a cloak for the wet, lay in provision for winter, shall I lay 
in nothing against a rainy day ? This life is a valley of tears, and 
shall I think always to laugh ? This world is a sea, and though- 
now it be calm to me, yet I must expect tempests, and shall I not 
rig and fit the vessel of my soul before the storm cometh ? Even 
silly pismires will in harvest provide for winter. The bee will 
gather honey whilst the flowers are in the field, to prevent her 
famishing in frost and snow, and some say, will foresee bad weather, 
and therefore go but a little way from her hive, that upon the least 

Chap. VIII.] the christian man's calling. 81 

alteration she may return speedily home. My God hath made me 
their master, but I may well be their scholar, to learn this lesson 
from them. Oh that, whilst health, and life, and time lasteth, I 
might prepare for sickness, death, and eternity ! To deny myself, 
and take up my cross, is a hard lesson ; but that scholar will say 
it best when called to it, that cons it most beforehand. How sore 
will those evils be which surprise me on a sudden ! like an enemy 
that comes behind me, and is unseen, they may easily kill me. 
Lord, cause me in my greatest plenty and best estate to think of 
and prepare for poverty, and the worst estate that can befall me. 

To this end, let me be always suing out my pardon in thy gospel- 
office, that the evil of sin and the evil of suffering may not seize on 
me at the same time. How deep will the sword of affliction wound 
me, if sin sharpen its edge ! I may bear many miseries through 
thy mercy, but the least sin is a burden too heavy for me to bear. 
Affliction without sin is physic, which, though not toothsome, I can 
drink, if my Father put it into my hands ; but sin mingled with 
it, turns the potion into loathsome poison. Lord, let me, a poor 
condemned prisoner by the law, never be satisfied without some 
hope and sense of my pardon ; that so, whatsoever officer of afflic- 
tion thou shalt send me, I may be nothing affrighted, being con- 
fident he cannot come to drag me to execution. 

That I may be ever ready for the greatest losses and crosses ; I 
wish also that my heart may be loose to all the comforts of this 
life. If I give my heart to them, when they are taken from me, I 
may well be heartless. Alas ! my estate and my comfort will be 
buried in the same grave. Affections unmortified will be soon 
wounded, as a scalded head is soon broken ; the young man whose 
heart was set upon his heaps, could not think of parting wdth them 
without much heaviness. If I lay the stress of my affections on 
the things of this world, as the cripple his full weight on his 
crutches, no wonder if, when they are taken from me, I fall and 
bruise myself. When the vapours are gotten within the bowels of 
the earth, they may well cause concussions and earthquakes. Oh 
that my affections might be so weaned from all earthly posses- 
sions, and so placed on heavenly comforts, that I may be able to 
bless my God taking from me as fully as when he giveth to me. 
Lord, though I take outward mercies, let them never take me. 
Though I use the world, let me enjoy none but thyself. Thou 
madest me to be master of the work of thy hands, and hast put 
all things under my feet ; oh let me not be their servant by laying 
them in my heart. As thine apostle, when he had nothing, pos- 

voL. II. r 


sessed all things; so, though I have all things, let me possess 

Finally, I wish that, as a skilful alchymist, I may extract gold 
out of iron, improve these temporal blessings to my spiritual bene- 
fit ; that whilst they are millstones to others, through their wicked 
hearts, sinking them into hell, they may be loadstones to me, through 
thy Holy Spirit, drawing me towards heaven. Lord, if the mercies of 
thy footstool be of such a price, how much worth are the mercies of 
thy throne ! If uncertain riches bring such comfort, and are of such 
value as to answer all things, of what virtue are durable riches and 
risjhteousness ! If the honour of men be so desirable, how amiable 
is that honour which cometh from God ! If corporeal liberty be so 
precious, how precious is the glorious liberty of thy children ! If a 
table spread with creature enjoyments be such savoury food, surely 
thy gospel dainties make a costly feast. If bodily health help me 
to relish these outward comforts, will not thy saving health sweeten 
the bitterest cup ? If thou art so liberal to thy foes, how bountiful 
wilt thou be to thy friends and favourites ! Put me not off with 
a portion in this life. Give me not my reward, my consolation, in 
this world ; but whatsoever thou deny me, give me those mercies 
that accompany salvation. Though thou grantest me a plentiful 
allowance in my minority, let it not hinder me of the inheritance 
when I come to age. Whilst I have these things in possession, 
let me esteem thee only as my portion. Oh look upon me, and 
be merciful to me, as thou art unto them that love thy name. 


How a Christian may exercise himself to godliness in adversity. 
Containing motives to it, and the nature of it. 

Adversity is a condition of life which consisteth in the want of 
outward good things, and presence of outward evil things, as sick- 
ness, disgrace, poverty, imprisonment, and the like. 

1. The efficient cause of it is God. Whosoever or whatsoever be 
the rod, it is his hand that gives the stroke.^ Though he abhorreth 
the thoughts of tempting men to sin — ' Let no man say when he is 

1 Afflictio est malum quod patitur creatura rationalis, cedens in gloriam Dei et 
elcctorum salutem. — Polan. Syntag., lib. vi. cap. 4. Metonymice dicitur ira Dei. — 
Rom. i. 18. Metaphorice calamitas ; Synecdochice, Visitatio. 


Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 83 

tempted, I am tempted of God : for God tempteth no man,' James i. 
13 — yet he challengeth the power of bringing men to suffer. ' Is 
there any evil in the city which I have not done ? ' Amos iii. He 
created the natural light, and he formeth civil darkness, Isa. xlv. 
7. Tlie heathen hammered at this, that the same power dispenseth 
both comforts and crosses, when they painted fortune in two forms, 
with two faces of contrary colours, the foremost white, the hinder- 
most black, to signify that good and evil came both from goddess 
Fortune,! 1 Sam. ii, 6, 7. 

2. The meritorious cause of it is sin. The evil of corruption doth 
naturally beget the evil of affliction.^ Sin is the vapours and wind 
which causeth all these storms and tempests. ' Why doth living 
man complain ? man suffereth for his sin,' Lam. iii. 39. Sin and 
suffering came into the world together : man had never tasted these 
sour herbs if he had not eaten of the forbidden fruit. Sin is the 
worm at the root of our tree of comforts, which, when it spreads 
fair, and is fully laden, makes it wither and die. And sin is the 
only mother that breedeth and bringeth forth all these Benonis, 
sons of our sorrows. Indeed, every affliction is not for sin ; yet 
every affliction is from sin. Sin is sometimes the natural cause of 
affliction, as intemperance of sickness, but it is ever the moral cause 
of affliction, 1 Kings xiii. 24 ; Micah vii. 9. 

3. The formal cause of it is the absence of something necessary 
or convenient for us, or the presence of something troublesome 
or tedious to us. No affliction at present is joyous, but grievous. 
It is a potion which, though profitable, is not pleasant — a medicine 
which may be wholesome, but is not toothsome. Afflicting days 
are therefore called evil days, Eccles. xii. 1. And those that are 
afflicted find and feel them to be evil, and for that cause are said 
to be in heaviness, and to have no pleasure in them, 1 Pet. i. 6. 

4. The final cause of it is either to prove or to purify. 

(1.) Sometimes God afflicteth to prove men. Some men have 
strong backs, and therefore God layeth on them heavy burdens, 
that their strength may appear to his honour. The master who 
hath excellent scholars desireth that they may be examined, and 
posed thoroughly, because their jDrofiting doth thereby appear to his 
praise. The Lord of hosts hath in his army of saints some heroic 
spirits, who delight to jeopard their lives in the high places of the 
field, against the world and wicked one for his sake. Now he calleth 

^ In rebus adversis cogitandum est homines et diabolum posse esse illarum mini- 
stros et instrumenta ; varum a Deo tanquam potissima causa immitti. — Pet., Mart. 
Neces. in viii. cap. Exod. 


those valiant soldiers to dangerous services, that their noble exploits 
and conquests might redound to their general's renown and credit. i 
Job and Paul shall be picked out and sent upon the forlorn hope, 
to proclaim to the whole earth, that weak, dying man can overcome 
hell itself, through the assistance of Heaven. When the servant is 
put upon some extraordinary work, and performeth it well, both 
his master and himself are honoured thereby, Job ii. 3 ; 1 Pet. 
i. 7. 

(2.) God usually afflicteth to purify. He sendeth sharp frosts to 
kill the weeds of sin ; Isa. xxvii. 9. ' By this therefore shall the 
iniquity of Jacob be purged, and this is all the fruit, to take away 
their sin.' He useth his knife to cut out what is rotten in the fruit, 
and his hatchet to hew off the hard knots from his timber. 2 As 
refiners of sugar take much sugar out of a chest, some of which 
they melt often, and some but once, and the reason is because they 
intend to make the former more pure and white ; so God giveth 
some affliction as physic, which they take but seldom, at spring and 
fall, when he giveth it others as diet drink, which they take con- 
stantly every day, (as in some sinners there is a legion of devils, 
so in some saints a legion of distresses,) and the end is to make 
the latter more healthy, more holy. ' He chastiseth for our profit, 
that we might be partakers of his holiness,' Heb. xii. As by black 
soap we make our clothes white, so doth God, by heavy afflictions, 
make holy persons. Affliction is like a sink, in itself unsavoury, 
but the whole liouse is the cleaner for it. 

My w^ork, reader, is to direct thee how thou may est, like Samson, 
fetch meat out of this eater, and take this physic which is so un- 
jileasing to thy flesh, for the greatest profit and advantage of thy 
spirit. If thou wilt take Scripture for thy rule, the wind of afflic- 
tion may make the coal of thy graces to blaze the more by its blowing 
on them. Sweet spices, the more they are pounded, the more 
fragrant smell they send forth. The gold of grace shineth most 
brightly in the fire. The vulture feedeth and fetcheth nourish- 
ment from things of ill savour, and so may the Christian from what 
his God calls him to suffer. Wine will draw much good out of 
the flesh of vipers. The believer may gather grapes from those 
thorns, and figs from these thistles. 

1 Augustinus assignat fideles castigari, tribus de causis. 1. Ad demonstrationem 
debitac miseriaj. 2. Ad emendationem labilis vitac. 3. Ad exercitatiouem neces- 
sarian patientise. — Tractat. in Johan., 124. 

^ Afflictiones humiliter sustinentes, ccelestia multiplicant. — Greg. Honiil. Super. 
Evan (J. 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 85 

Saints in this life must look to- suffer. Affliction is their portion. 
They must not be Christians if they will not take up their cross. 
It was a notable speech of Sir Horace Vere, Baron of Tilbury, when 
in the Palatinate a council of war was called, and a Dutch lord 
said that it was dangerous to fight, for the emperor had many pieces 
of ordnance. My lords, if you fear the mouth of a cannon, you 
must never come into the field. They who fear hardships must not 
set out for heaven. In the world ye shall have tribulation ; in 
this sea ye must expect tempests, John xvi. 33. Saints are ships 
richly laden, therefore will have many pirates watching for them, 
to rob and spoil them. Every one will have a cudgel for a tree 
laden with fruit. The thief striveth most to meet the traveller 
that hath most money in his purse. The highest and richest 
Christian is most eyed and envied by the enemies of our salva- 

Satan's rage is greatest against the people of God. It is the corn, 
not the chaff, he takes such pains to winnow. The tiger is enraged 
at the smell of sweet odours ; so is the devil at the sweet scent of 
the saints' graces. If Christ's soldiers will storm heaven, and take 
it by force, he is resolved they shall have hot work of it, for he will 
raise all the powers of hell to oppose them. Many of those storms 
which vex the saints, as that which blew down the house of Job's 
children, are raised by Satan. He troubleth the waters, thinking 
that then it is the best fishing. The prince of the air raiseth the 
winds of affliction, hoping that the vessels of Christians' souls will 
be brought thereby to make shipwreck of faith and a good con- 
science. Though all his winds tend, by God's over-ruling provi- 
dence, to settling, yet he hopes thereby to overturn those trees that 
are planted in the house of the Lord. When we hear of any 
troubles and hardships befalling them that are holy, we may ask 
the question, which David did to the widow of Tekoah of Joab, Is 
not the hand of the devil in all this ? He hath hand in most of 
their sins, and at least a finger in most of their sufferings. Like 
a dog, he barketh seldom at those of his own family, but always at 

The world hateth the saints, and this is another cause why they 
meet with so many crosses. When the wind and tide cross each 
other, then are the greatest tempests.^ They that are after the 
spirit are contrary to, and therefore persecuted by, them that are 
after the flesh. Contraries never meet but they fight. Saints are 

^ Dnra fidelium militia, ut exerceatur eorum fides. — Calvin in Ps. xxxix. 
^ Per varios casus, per tot discrimina rerum, Teiidimus in coGlum. 


strangers here — ' I am a stranger in this earth,' Ps. cxix. 19— and it 
is ordinary for natives to gather themselves together against, and 
to abuse, strangers. Even princes in disguise, — such all God's 
children are, — suffer many affronts. 

God hath decreed the saints to distress. As he foreappointed 
them to heaven, so he foreappointed them to heaviness and hard- 
ships. ' Unto which also ye were appointed,' saith the apostle, 1 
Thes. iii. 3. The same God that appointed them to a crown as 
their end, appointed them to the cross as the way ; i and that they 
must through many tribulations enter into the kingdom of heaven. 
The wilderness is the road to Canaan. Christ went by Bethany, 
the house of grief, to Jerusalem, the vision of peace. What was 
said of Christ may be said of a Christian, ' Ought not Christ to 
suffer these tilings, and to enter into his glory ? ' Luke xxiv. 26. 
None ever yet went to heaven without combats and conflicts. Chris- 
tians must therefore be always ready for, that they may be steady 
in, these storms. The wise man saith, ' If thou faintest in the day 
of adversity, thy strength is sn;iall,' Prov. xxiv. 10. Yet it is true, 
he that standeth in a day of misery, his strength is great. Ad- 
versity hath strong teniptations attending it as well as prosperity. 
Those who have conquered the world's allurements, have been foiled 
by its affrightments. More clothes are required in winter than in 
summer. Though a small candle may be kept alight in a close 
room, yet in the opei^i air, in a windy night, a torch is needful. 

The philosopher tells us, they are the stronger sheep that hold 
the frost wheii it falleth ; those to be weak that through feebleness 
shake it off.2 He is a skilful pilot indeed that can steer his vessel 
aright in storms, amidst rocks and sands. 

Reader, in the prosecution of this pai'ticular, viz., that thou 
mayest exercise thyself to godliness in this estate, I shall, 

1. Propound some motives to quicken thee to caution in this 

2. Speak to the matter, or shew thee wherein the power of religion 
doth manifest itself in aflfliction. 

3. Offer thee some means or helps for the performance of it. 
I begin with the motives. 

First, Consider, affliction will search whether thou art sound or 
no. Great troubles are great trials. Hence it is that afflictions 

^ Nulla calamitas casu aut cccco infortunio et sine voluntate Dei contingit, sed 
juxta asternum Dei consilium ; nam si ne pilus capitis, multo minus magna calamitas, 
sine voluntate Patris venit. — Polan. Syn. 

^ Arist, Hist. Anim., lib. viii. cap. 10. 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's causing. 87 

are called temptations : ' My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall 
into divers temptations/ James i. 2 — i.e., into divers trials. Grace 
is brought to the proof, when it is brought to persecution ; as gold 
to the trial, when to the touchstone. A saint comes to the test, 
when he comes to tribulation. The soldier's knowledge or ignor- 
ance, courage or cowardice, will appear when the enemy, strong and 
subtle, meets him in the field. 

Many trees are thought sound and fast in the earth, till a high 
wind turneth them up by the roots, and discovereth them to be 
rotten. Much scouring will manifest whether a vessel be gilded 
only, or all gold. The hearts of some had never been known to 
have been so unholy, if they had not been brought to great hard- 
ships: Mat. xiii. 20, 21, 'He that receiveth the seed into stony 
places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy 
receiveth it ; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a 
while : for when tribulation or persecution because of the word 
ariseth, he is offended.' 

Locusts and grasshoppers are only for the summer season, the 
winter killeth them. The cuckoo and lizard hide themselves the 
four cold months. The hypocrite, like the hedgehog, if the wind 
change, will alter his nest, and be sure to make it in the warmest 
place. As the river Novanus in Lombardy, though at mid-summer 
he may seem to overflow the banks, jei in mid-winter he is clean dry. 

Magistratus indicat virum. Magistracy will discover the man, 
and so will misery. Nature vexed betrayeth itself ;i when the 
winds blow, the waters roar : ' Because thou hast kept the word 
of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of tempta- 
tion, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that 
dwell upon the earth,' Rev. iii, 10. Crystal looks like pearl, till 
it comes to the hammer. So do they that have common grace, like 
those who have true special grace, till they come to the trial ; but 
when the winter is approaching, the former fall off, like leaves in 

Satan, the great politician, knew that some heavy cross, if any- 
thing, would bring Job to curse God : ' Touch him, and he will 
curse thee to thy face,' Job i. Do but touch him with some afflic- 
tion, and like one that hath a boil or great sore, he will kick and 
fling to purpose. And indeed he guessed shrewdly ; for had not 
Job been upright, the rod of God's hand would soon have discovered 
the rottenness of his heart. If the house of his holiness had had no 
higher foundation than that wherein his children were, and had 
^ Natura vexata prodit seipsam. 


been built on the sand, that touch would have thrown it down. If 
worldly advantages had been the weights which had caused the 
wheels of his soul to move God-ward, when they had been taken 
away, he would have stood still. 

Header, hath God brought thy soul into great sufferings? I 
may say to thee, as Simeon did to the pillar, which he whipped before 
the earthquake, ' Stand fast, for thou shalt be shaken : take heed, 
for now thou art trying.' Give not God cause to say of thee, as once 
of Israel, ' When 1 would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of 
Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria,' Hosea 
vii. 1 . God was wounding Israel, that he might heal it ; ^ he lanced 
their sores, and then their imposthumous matter did appear. Nay, 
as a physician when he gives physic to remove one disease, by the 
working of it discovers many; so when God, by his judgments, 
Hosea vi. 5, would have purged away Israel's sin, they discovered 
many more sins, and were impatient of their physic, hated to be 
healed, and like madmen railed and raged against their physicians. 
Affliction shakes the glass, and then the dreggy settlement in the 
bottom appears. Affliction, as a drift rain, searcheth the house, 
whether the windows be well pointed, and the roof well tiled, and 
often discovereth many places where it leaks, which were not before 
thought of. 

Secondly, God intendeth to sanctify thee, and to make thee better 
by affliction.2 He sendeth prosperity to quicken thee to praise, and 
he sendeth adversity to stir thee up to patience and prayer. He 
hath many ways to make his scholars learn their lessons,-^ and one 
is by the rod, which Luther calls Theologiam Christianorum, the 
divinity of Christians ; ' Blessed is the man whom thou correctest, 
and teachest in thy law.' He forceth thee, like the ark, to sail in 
deep waters, that thy soul might mount the nearer to heaven. The 
musician hangs his viol within scent of the fire, that when played 
on, it might make the sweeter music. The blessed God giveth thee 
bitter aloes to purge away the ill humours in thy heart, and keepeth 
thee in an afflicted estate, that thy prayers and performances may be 
more upright, humble, and spiritual, and thereby the more melodious 
in his ears. The husbandman throweth his seed into deep furrows, 
and is glad of a sharp winter, because it will thrive the better. 

1 In fornace ardet palea, et purgatur aurum.—Avr;. in Ps. Ix. 

^ Aurem cordis tribulatio aperit quam ssope prosperitas claudit. — Greg, in Moral. 

3 Tanquam in schola aliqua in vita prscsenti per morbum, per afflictionem, per ten- 
tationes, per paupertates, per csetera item quae mala esse videntur, erudimur, ut apti 
efficiamur ad futurorum bonorum perceptionem. — Chrysost.Homil, Decim. in Epiit. a<l 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 89 

David taught the men of Ammou by making them pass through 
the brick-kiln, 2 Sam. xii. 31. He taught them more manners than 
to abuse his ambassadors, and so wickedly to despise the signs of 
his good-will. It may be, reader, thou art one that hast slighted 
God's messengers and message ; thou hast taken little notice of his 
love-letters, his gospel, and his love-tokens, his favours of all sorts. 
Well, he makes thee pass through the brick-kiln ; he brings thee to 
affliction, to teach thee to prize his ministers, and to value his 

In the promontory Nimpheeum, there cometh out a flaming fire, 
out of a rock Avhich burnetii the more for rain.l Glod sendeth the 
shower of ti-oubles to increase the heat of thy zeal for him, and love 
to him. Therefore do not frustrate God of his end, let not his 
labour be lost. If thy friend send a servant to thee, thou wilt not 
send him away without his errand. If a king send a messenger to 
thee, what a stir wilt thou make to succeed his message ! Affliction 
is a servant, a messenger from thy sovereign, and thy best friend ; 
do not therefore dismiss him till his business be done, especially pon- 
dering that thy God hath sent him for thy profit. 

Thirdly, Many are the worse for affliction. Beasts rage the more 
for being chained up ; so do beastly men for the restraint afflictions 
put upon them. It was a true saying of a martyr, in the days of 
Queen Mary, to the smith who was fastening the chain with which 
he was to be bound. Be sure you make it fast, for the flesh will 
have its course. The flesh, like a violent stream, roareth the more, 
and riseth the higher, for being stopped. Though the fire heateth the 
water, and makes it more serviceable, yet it wholly consumeth the 
wood. 2 The same flail that purgeth the corn, bruiseth the stalk. 
Afflictions that better a saint, and make him more holy, harden a 
sinner. Sheep when it thundereth cast their young ; and how 
many, when trouble comes, cast away their faith and confidence ! 
Aristotle tells us goats are more impatient of cold than sheep. Ahaz 
in his distress sinneth more against the Lord, 2 Chron. xxviii. 22, 
23. As a beast by baiting, a wicked man by beating groweth mad 
and desperate. Every plague on Egypt increased the plague of 
Pharaoh's heart ; his heart, like the smith's anvil, did but wax the 
harder for being smitten so often. When physic doth not work 
kindly, but co-operate with the disease, it leaves the patient much 
worse than it found him. Those that by suffering, as some men by 

1 Plin. Nat. Hist., lib. ii. cap. 170. 

2 Ignis non est diversus, tamen diversa agit ; paleam in cineres vertit, auro sordes 
toUit. — Aut/. in Fs. xxxi. 


sickness, have been forced to keep tlieir chambers, and have lost 
their stomachs, yet vfhen they have recovered out of their afflic- 
tions, they have had canine appetites, fallen hungrily to their cor- 
ruptions, and have committed iniquity with the more greediness. 

The titmouse is a great destroyer of bees, and the better to obtain 
his prey, will in winter watch at the door of tlieir hives ; and if any 
come forth, he snatcheth them ; if none appear, he will knock with 
his bill, and they flying out to know the cause, are taken and killed. 
Satan is Apollyon, the great destroyer of souls ; he watcheth, espe- 
cially in the winter of affliction, to seize and surprise us. He is a 
cunning fowler, that then especially layeth his snares and lime-twigs, 
wherewith he taketh and killeth silly birds. When these fore- 
mentioned fljang insects are benumbed with cold, then mice and 
rats rob and plunder them. 

Physicians tell us, men are never more subject to receive infec- 
tion, than when their spirits are lowest, and therefore then they 
prescribe cordials. Experience teacheth us, that when their condi- 
tions are lowest, they are apt to take the deadliest contagions. How 
many, foolishly thinking to rid themselves of their misery, have 
poisoned their bodies ; and others, to get out of affliction, have pol- 
luted and poisoned their souls ! The very sheep of Christ have 
lost some of their fleece amongst the thorns. Sharp frosts have 
killed some flowers, and much nij^ped others. 

Indeed the cedar of which the temple was made, was not liable 
to putrefaction, nor is it possible for the saint to fall finally by 
affliction : yet when he walketh in these stony ways, if he use not 
the more watchfulness, he may fall so foully as to wound his con- 
science, and his comfort, and to make him limp whilst he liveth. 

Fourthly, If godliness be thy business, under the cross thou 
mayest expect God's company. The worse the ways and the wea- 
ther ai'e in which thou travellest, the more need thou wilt have of 
good society. Good company will be comfortable, when thou art 
called to journey in a dangerous road ; especially such a companion 
will be a mercy as will bear thy charges and thy cross all the way. 
Truly such a friend will thy God be to thee, if thou goest therein 
upon his errand. He is not so unkind a master as to leave his 
servants in the lurch when they fall sick in his service, and even 
in their sickness are solicitous about his business. Ah, see thou to 
that, may become a wicked Jew, (when his slave is dying in his 
cursed cause,) but it will never come out of the mouth of the blessed 
Jesus, Mat. xxvii. 3, 4. The captain of our salvation, as a faithful 
general, ever goeth foremost to look danger in the face, and seeth 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 91 

all his soldiers safe before he leaves the field. The Christian's tide 
of comfort hath not seldom been at the highest, when the Avaters of 
afHiction have been at the deepest. If the sick child carry himself 
dutifully, he need not fear but his mother will bring out her sweet- 
meats and cordials, which were denied him in his health. 

Naturalists tell us that those violets are the sweetest which grow 
near garlic, and such strong-scented herbs, because they draw away 
any noxious nourishment ; sure I am the saints' inward comforts 
are then often greatest, when their outward conditions are lowest. 
Under a shower of stones about Stephen's ears, his eyes saw the best 
sight that ever was seen, Acts vii. 56. If God's sons be in danger 
of death, then his bowels yearn over them, and he thinks nothing 
too good for them. Israel had the rarest manifestations of God, 
when they were in the wilderness. On a watery cloud the sun 
causeth cm-ious and beautiful colours in the rainbow. Whoever be 
neglected, the sick child shall be tended, and that not by the maid, 
but by the mother herself. Though God may leave his prospering 
saints to angels, yet his afflicted ones shall be sure of his presence 
and favour, both in the water and in the fire, Isa. xliii. 3, 4. 

The hare is called in Greek Sao-uTroy?, of her hairy feet ; ^ this de^ 
fence nature hath given her, to keep her tender, fleshly feet from 
galling when she is forced to much running. The only way to 
keep thy feet from being hurt when thou art pursued by thine 
enemies, is to be holy, to have thy feet shod with the preparation 
of the gospel of peace. It is the godly person that, as the Irish, 
can tread lightly, and ruu swiftly over those bogs in which others 
sink and perish. 

Eeader, I would here only give thee one caution, and theij pro- 
ceed to the second particular. Take heed that thou dost not bring 
affiction upon thyself, either through thy wickedness or thy wilful- 
ness. All men gather those rods themselves with which they are 
scourged; but some silly Protestants, like superstitious papists, 
whip themselves. The lion will beat himself (if there be none to 
vex him) till he be angry. Some Christians bring themselves into 
sufferings ; every one ought to take up his cross and follow Christ, 
but they make their crosses either by being evil-doers or busy- 
bodies. That man can expect little countenance from his parents, 
whose prodigality and pride hath cast him into a prison ; nor that 
person any encouragement from God, who hath put fetters upon 
his own legs, and then entreats him to set him at liberty. If, like 
turpentine, thou drawest fire to thyself, expect to be burnt. The 
^ Aaaiiirovs pro lepore a daavs densus et TroOs^^es. — Arist. Hist. Anim., lib. iv. 


Lord make me so holy as to choose suffering before sin, and yet 
withal so wise, as to know for what I suffer. If I sacrifice a stout 
body to a stubborn mind, it will be but as the offering up of swine's 
flesh, an abomination to the Lord. Zopyrus wounded and mangled 
himself that he might attain his own ends. But though pirates 
by sea, and thieves by land, often suffer much, yet none pitieth 

I come now to the second thing, to direct thee how thou mayest so 
behave thyself in this encounter, that, like Joseph, thy bow may 
abide in strength, though the archers should sorely grieve thee, 
shoot at thee, and hate thee. Nay, that every stone thrown at thee, 
may become a precious stone to adorn and enrich thee. Health and 
strong persons, saith Plutarch, concoct serpents, when weak stomachs 
nauseate delicates. 

As to the nature of making religion thy business in this condi- 
tion, it consisteth partly in avoiding those sins which an afflicted 
estate is prone to, as despising God's hand, impatience, envying at 
those that prosper ; and partly in exercising those graces which are 
required, and proper in adversity, as faith, rejoicing in the Lord, 
contentedness with thy condition, &c. But I shall propound them 
to thee in these particulars. 

First, Be sensible of God's hand ; it is a sin to faint under it, but 
it is a duty to feel it : ' My son, despise not thou the chastening of 
the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him,' Heb. xii. 5. A 
Christian must carefully avoid these two extremes of despising the 
chastening of the Lord, or despairing when he is chastened, and 
walk in the golden mean between them both. To despise God's 
hand is not patience, but pertinacy, and much nearer a stoical 
apathy, than Christian magnanimity. 

When the proud Greeks had lost two castles, Zembenic, or Coir- 
idocastron, the hog's castle, and Maditus, upon the Turk's first 
setting foot in Europe, they said vainly. There is but a hog-sty 
lost.i And afterwards, when they were deprived of Callipolis, they 
would, in a jeering manner, say, The Turks have taken from us but 
a bottle of wine. But they are most undutiful children who laugh 
when their father is scourging them. It is an ill sign when the 
chirurgeon lanceth the sore, and the patient is not sensible. Wounds 
that bleed well, do much the better. Till men be sensible, affliction 
will never be profitable. 

Holy Job, when God rent his possessions and liis relations from 
him, rent his garments, to shew that his heart was rent. When 

^ Turk. Tlist. in Life of Orchanes. 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 93 

God humbled him with sufferings, he humbled himself with sorrow. 
Had his limbs, (his children which came out of his loins,) been cut 
off, and he not felt it, certainly he had been cauterised ; but when 
God cast him down with the strokes of his hand, he cast himself 
down by sensibleness of heart: ' Then Job arose and rent his 
mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upoij the ground and 
worshipped,' Job i. 20. 

God cannot bear it, that his blows should not be felt : ' Thou 
hast stricken them, and they have not grieved,' Jer, v. 3. They 
are not affected with aught that hath been inflicted upon them, 
either by Sennacherib, Pharaoh-Necho, or the Chaldeans. Though thy 
rod had fetched blood from their backs, yet it hath not fetched tears 
from their eyes, Isa. x. 5, 6 ; 2 Kings xxiii. 37, and xxiv. 17. 

It is reported of Galienus the Roman emperor, that hearing how 
Egypt was revolted from him, he said. Quid ! Sine lino A^gyptio 
vivere non possumus ? What ! Can we not live without the hemp 
of Egypt ? 1 So many, when God takes some part of their estates, 
or one child. Let him take all if he will, say they ; we can do 
well enough without them : ' The bricks are fallen (say they, Isa. ix. 
10,) but we will build with hewn stone.' It is an unhappiness, but 
we know how to help it. These stocks and stones, instead of mov- 
ing God to pity them, provoke him to punish them more severely. 
When the rod will not do, the jail must, with the stubborn servant. 
Reader, doth God call thee to suffer? Bear thy cross as thy 
burden ; do not make a fire of it. If thou fearest thy God, thou 
wilt feel his rod. Do not slight any suffering, like the dog, that 
when he gets out- of the water, into which he was cast, shakes his 
ears, runs away, and makes nothing of it. But as thou wouldest hear 
the voice of the rod, do thou feel the strokes of it. The scholar 
will never mind his lesson, who is regardless of whipping. It is a 
dreadful sign for any to be, like Pharaoh, sleejiing when God is 
thundering. Surely those that can snore when their house is on 
fire, as if they were no whit concerned, will be consumed in its 

Afihction is a messenger sent by the great God to us, about busi- 
ness of concernment. Now as David could not bear it, that those 
servants which he sent to the Ammonites out of good- will, should 
be despised, so neither can God endure it, that his messenger should 
be slighted. He that slighteth the messenger, affronts his master. 

As thy duty is to be sensible of God's hand, so also to be sub- 
missive to it. Though we must groan and feel God's hand, yet we 

1 Turk. Hist. 


must not grumble and fret at his dealings. Obedience is due to 
his severest precepts, and patience is thy duty under the sharpest 
providence. He is too just to be questioned, too good to be sus- 
pected, and too great to be quarrelled with. Holy Eli, when he 
heard such news, as like a sudden clap of thunder made the ears 
of such as heard.it to tingle, and their hearts to tremble, calmly 
and quietly submitted to it: ' It is the Lord, let him do what he 
pleaseth,' 1 Sam. iii. 18. He doth not fly in God's face in a passion, 
but falls down at his feet in a humble submission ': ' It is the Lord, 
let him do what he pleaseth.' So Aaron, when Grod was speaking, 
(for his rod hath a voice, Amos vi. ,) had the manners and the grace 
to be silent : ' And Aaron held his peace,' Lev. x. 3. If we con- 
sider the greatness of the punishment, we shall find the more cause 
to commend the greatness of his patience. Stars shine in the 
night that were not seen in the day. 

1. He lost his children. The loss of a man's estate is nothing to 
the loss of a child. The child is the father's bowels, Philem. 12. 
How strong is the stream of parents' love to their children ! Truly 
so great, that the blessed God expresseth his infinite affection to his 
chosen by this comparison, Ps. ciii. 12. Therefore Satan, the arch- 
politician, reserved the loss of Job's children, as the great cannon, 
till the last onset, knowing that if any loss brought him to curse 
God this would do it. How sadly doth Rachel screech out, ' Give 
me children or I die.' It was the lack of children that Abraham 
so much lamented : ' Lord, what wilt thou give me, if I go child- 
less ? ' Yet at the loss of children Aaron is contented : ' And Aaron 
held his peace.' 

2. He lost two children. How pathetically doth David bewail 
the loss of one ! ' my son Absalom, my son, my son, Absalom ! 
would God I had died for thee, Absalom, my son, my son ! ' 
2 Sam. xviii. 33. Eebekah could not think of losing both her 
sons without extreme sorrow : ' Why should I be deprived of you 
both in one day ? ' Gen. xxvii. 45. Yet Aaron loseth two children 
in one day, in one hour, and saith not a word : ' He held his 

3. He lost two sons. Sons are in themselves greater blessings 
than daughters. The masculine gender is more worthy than the 
feminine. When God would give Abraham a child to his great 
comfort, the promise runs to Sarah, ' Thou shalt bear a son,' Gen. 
xviii. 10. Sons bear their father's name, and bear up their fami- 
lies. Parents are most desirous of sons. Elkanah's speech to 
Hannah implieth it: 'Am not I better to thee than ten sons?' 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 95 

The Shunammite's words express it : ' Did I desire a son of my 
Lord ? ' 2 Kings iv. 28. And their greatest delight is in sons : 
' God hath given me a son,' saith Kachel, Gen. xxx. 6. ' And fear 
not, thou hast born a son,' was thought to be a cordial strong 
enough to revive a dying mother, 1 Sam. iv. 20. Yet Aaron loseth 
two sons, and is not sullen, though he held his peace. 

4. He lost his two eldest sons. If two of his younger sons had 
died it had been a great affliction, but to lose his eldest, his first- 
born, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power, did 
sharpen the edge of the dispensation. The greatest grief in this 
world, even the grief for crucifying the Lord Jesus, is set out by a 
parent s sorrow for the loss of liis eldest son : ' And shall be in 
bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born,' 
Zech. xii. 10. Yet Aaron, at the loss of his two eldest sons, is 
silent : ' He held his peace.' 

5. He lost his two eldest sons by a sudden death. Sickness is 
usually the usher of death, to prepare the way before it. Had he 
been forewarned, he would have been forearmed. What we fear, 
for that we prepare. David took the loss of his young child 
patiently — the disease had fitted him for his death ; but he took 
the sudden death of Absalom passionately ; that Serjeant arrested 
him before he was ready. Yet Aaron loseth his two eldest sons by 
a sudden death, when he might have thought they had been re- 
joicing in their new office, and under this sharp providence held his 

6. He lost his two eldest sons by a violent death. Though they 
had died suddenly, so they had died naturally, from some inward 
distemper, the cause of grief had not been so great ; but they died 
not in their natural beds, but by a supernatural rod. ' And there 
went out fire from the Lord and devoured them, and they died 
before the Lord,' Lev. x. 2. Though they were consumed by fire, 
yet Aaron was not in a fury, but held his peace. 

7. He lost his two eldest sous suddenly by a violent death, in 
such a manner as might speak God's anger. A religious father 
had rather lose all his children in the favour of God, than one child 
in the fury of God. But the way of their suffering pointed out 
their sin, and gave fear that they died in their sins.i Strange 
fire was their sin, and strange fire was their punishment, which 
might occasion Aaron to fear it was but the forerunner of the un- 

^ Duo fecerunt contra mandatum Dei. L Quod igne extero usi sunt. 2. Quod 
locum sacrum ingrediebantur, quod ne summo sacerdoti licebat, nisi certis legibus 
certoque tempore. — Jun. in loc. 


quencliable fire. He might think, Surely my sons were overjoyed 
at their new office, the first time they were called to their honour- 
able work ; they were so unworthy as to manifest abominable 
wickedness, and the jealous God would not bear it, that man's will 
should be the rule of his worship ; wherefore I fear he hath sent 
them from their mirth to mourning, from solace to the place of 
eternal sorrows. The head of this arrow seems keen enough to 
pierce any sensible man to the heart ! Yet whatever pain he felt 
he was not impatient against Grod, for Aaron held his peace. 

Reader, when thy flesh is prompting thee to passion, lay before 
thee this pattern of patience. Do not say, None is afflicted as thou 
art. Consider Job's and Aaron's trials in all their circumstances, 
and let thy tribulation work patience. Compare thy condition with 
many others on earth, and in hell, and thou wilt find infinitely more 
cause to extol him with praise than to wrangle with him for thy 
pain. Hast thou lost thy friend, thy child, thy husband, thy estate ? 
Truly here is no loss, so long as thou hast not lost thy soul and thy 
Saviour. Dost thou think of them whose souls, whose Grod, is lost for 
ever ? I may say to thee of thy loss, compared with theirs, what the 
Turk said of his master's loss at the battle of Lepanto, compared 
with the Venetians' loss of Cyprus : My master's loss is like the shav- 
ing a man's beard, which will quickly grow again, but the loss of the 
Venetians is like the cutting off" an arm, which can never be re- 
covered. Thy loss will be made up, but theirs never. 

Holy Greenham endured much torture with much content. He 
could lie spread upon his form, quietly looking, for the chirurgeon's 
knife, and bind himself as fast with a resolved patience as others 
with the strongest cords, and endure the carving of his flesh, and 
rifling of his bowels, whilst others are passionate at the pricking of 
a vein. 

Some men are like flints, they are no sooner smitten but fire 
issueth out of them. If God scourge them they are full of fury, 
and in their wrath and rage will not spare heaven ; as the 
Thracians, when it thundereth, impudently shoot up their arrows 
against heaven. But it is brutish, and the voice of an ass, to say, 
Why smitest thou me ? and exceeding childish to strike at the 
thing that hurts us. 

Heathen themselves have been famous for their courage under 
crosses, though they wanted our Christian principle. Valerius 
Maximus, when he heard that his mother and wife, whom he loved 
dearly, were slain by the fall of a house, and that his younger son, 
a hopeful youth, died at the same time at Urabria, never changed 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 97 

coimtenance, but went on with the business of the commonwealth 
as if no disaster had befallen him. When Pompey the Great, in 
his travels, called at Khodes to see Possidonius the philosopher, 
whom he found much affected with the gout, and told him he was 
sorry he could not hear his lectures, he answered him. That for all 
his disease he could discourse; and when the torches w^ere put to his 
feet he spake excellently, That nothing was good but what was 
honest, and nothing was evil but what was criminal; and after 
such discourse, at last concluded. Oh pain, in vain dost thou 
attempt me, for I will never confess thee to be evil as long as I can 
honestly bear thee. Plato, being asked how we might know a wise 
man, answered : He is a wise man who, being praised, will not be 
proud, and being punished or rebuked, will not be passionate. 
Socrates said. My mind and my means are matched. Yet some 
Christians, when called to the cross, though they have higher 
hopes, and every way greater helps, are hearty in nothing but cry- 
ing and complaining. 

The truth is, an impatient person is his own punishment ; he that 
murmurs at God, martyrs himself Affliction, like the high wind, 
doth not hurt the stalks of corn that yield to it, but rents in pieces 
the sturdy oak that resists it. Massurius Sabinus tells us, that the 
image of the goddess Angerona, was, with a muffler on her mouth, 
placed at the altar of Volupias, to signify that pleasure will be their 
portion who bear sorrows with silence. But the discontented both 
lose the comfort of their present mercies, and double their misery. 
They lose the comfort of their present mercies, for, like children, 
because they have not that piece which they desire, they will have 
none at all. Because Kachel had not children, as an aguish palate 
she tasted no savour ; she could relish neither life, nor health, nor 
food, nor husband, nor any of those millions of mercies which she 
enjoyed. The hedgehog is an apt hieroglyphic of such a person. 
Naturalists tell us she will gather many great apples upon her 
bristles, and then go to a hedge-side to eat them ; but if she happen 
to let one fall by the way, she throweth down all the rest, and will 
not so much as touch them. An impatient person also doubleth 
his misery. The prisoner that kicks and flings about because of 
his chains on his feet, galls himself the more with his fetters. The 
bird that flutters about with his wings on the lime-twigs, is the 
more entangled. 

Thirdly, Justify God in the greatest affliction which befalleth 
thee. Doth God lay heavy things on thee, in the loss of thy health, 
or estate, or liberty ? Have thou high thoughts of him. Though 



he condemn thee, do thou acquit him ? ' Glorify the Lord,' saith the 
prophet, ' in the fire,' Isa. xxiv. 15. In the fire — that is, in afiliction. 
In the fire, God purifieth us ; and therefore in the fire we must 
glorify him. Nay, in the fire he magnifieth us, and therefore in the 
fire we must magnify him, Job vii. 18. It is observable that the 
children of God have lifted him up very high, when he hath cast 
them down very low. As men in a deep well or pit in the day- 
time have seen the stars, when they that were on the top of the 
earth could not behold them, so a Christian in deep waters, in 
deep affiiction, hath many times seen the goodness and justice of 
God to shine forth clearly, when they who prospered could not 
behold them. Holy Job doth notably commend that power of 
God which he felt to his smart and punishment. Job ix. chap, per 
tot. The psalmist acknowledgeth God to be good, even then when 
he suffered much evil, when he was plagued very sore, Ps. Ixxiii. 
14. When the church was under the heaviest cross, at the lowest 
ebb, when God poured on her his fury like fire, even then she 
findeth cause to justify him. Lam. i. 18. The Lord is righteous. 
Her apprehensions of him were honourable when her condition was 
most sad and miserable. Though God dealt hardly with her, yet she 
would not speak hardly of him. In the darkest night of dread and 
terror, saints can see the righteousness of God to sparkle gloriously. 
Sinners sometimes do this forcedly. Their confession, as water 
out of a still, is caused by the fire. ' I have sinned,' saith Pharaoh 
under the rod ; ' the Lord is righteous,' Exod. v. These, as persons 
condemned by the Dutch to die, are racked, and their acknow- 
ledgments extorted from them. Toads, if beaten, vomit up their 
venom ; but saints do it freely. Their confessions are as water out 
of a spring. When the children of Israel were grievously op- 
pressed, they acquitted God. ' Lord, righteousness belongeth to 
thee, but to us confusion of face, because we have sinned. For the 
Lord our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth ; for we 
obeyed not his voice,' Dan. ix. 7, 8, 14 — i e., Lord, though some 
may be apt to accuse thee of severity, when they hear of thy chosen's 
captivity, yet we acquit thee. Thou art righteous ; we have not 
the least wrong ; we may thank ourselves for all our sorrows. The 
pain which we feel is of our own procuring ; the rods which scourge 
us are of our own gathering ; our own sins are the spring and 
source of all our suffering ; our own wickedness is the original of 
our woe ; the web in which we are entangled, like the spider's, is 
woven out of our own bowels ; we obeyed not his voice. Nay, they 
are so sensible of their sins that they acknowledge his dealings in 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. ' 99 

regard of rigour and sharpness to come far sliort of their deservings : 
Ezra ix. 13, ' And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, 
seeing thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities de- 
serve.' Mark, Ezra first confesseth their iniquities to be the mother 
of all their misery, and then their many afflictions to be less than 
the merit of their transgressions. Do we drink water? thinks he ; we 
might have been drinking blood. Have we grievous burdens on earth ? 
we might have been burning in hell. Our God is not only righteous 
in laying thus much on us, but also gracious that he layeth no 
more : ' Thou hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve.' 

It is recorded of Themistocles, that, having invited many philo- 
sophers to supper, he borrowed all his dishes of one Amyntas, who 
came in the midst of supper and took away half of them. One of 
the philosophers asked Themistocles how he could bear such an 
affront. He answered mildly. He might have taken away all. So 
saith a Christian When God takes away part of his estate, or one 
of his children, and some of his comforts, He might have taken 
away all. 

Wicked men, ordinarily, when they are tied with the cords of 
their own corruptions, instead of indicting themselves, arraign God ; 
and when they should fall down at his feet, fly in his verj'' face. 
' And they {i.e., the wicked Jews) shall pass through it, (meaning 
the land of Judah,) hardly bestead, and hungry, and shall fret 
themselves, and curse their king, and their God, and look upward,' 
Isa. viii. 21. As a pot boiling with a good fire under it (this 
metaphor is included in this word fret) casteth up its scum and 
filth, truly so do ungodly men in affliction. i They rage under the 
rod, and instead of blessing, blaspheme the name of God, Eev. xvi. 
9, 10. As the ravens in Arabia, when they are hungry, screech 
horribly, and the Syrians, when they come to die, roar dreadfully ; 
so when sinners come into dangers and civil deaths, their spirits 
boil with wrath, and their mouths are black with blasphemies 
against the Lord. ' The foolishness of man perverteth his way, 
and then his heart fretteth against the Lord,' Prov. xix. 3. The 
apostate Julian shot up his darts against heaven when he was in 
distress.2 As rusty hinges of a door, when the door is opened and 
shut, they shriek and make a noise, because they want oil ; so 
wicked men in afiiiction fly out, and cry out against God himself 
sometimes ; but the reason is, they want the oil of grace. 

1 In eadem afflictione mail Deum detestantur et blasphemant ; boni autem prc- 
eantur et laudant. — Aug. De Civit. Dei, lib. i. cap. 8. 
* Niceph., lib. x. cap. 35. 


Keader, whatsoever the rod be with which thou art scourged, do 
thou kiss it. Though Grod shoukl dishonour thee, do thou glorify 
him. When he punisheth thee, do thou praise him. Bless God 
taking from thee, as well as giving to thee, and this will turn thy 
blows into a blessing, the grievous cross on thy back into a glorious 
crown on thy head. It is easy and ordinary, as to commend a per- 
son when we are hired with large presents, so to speak well of God, 
when he dealeth well with us ; but it is hard and rare, as to extol 
one who vilifieth us, so to advance God when he debaseth us. The 
hypocrite is in and out with God, as he dispenseth himself towards 
him in blessings or crosses ; as men will commend the bee when 
they taste of its honey, but are out of patience with it when they 
feel its sting. Thou art a Christian indeed, if, under the saddest 
dispensation, thou canst say, as the holy Emperor Mauritius, when 
his wife and children were slain before his eyes, Kighteous art thou, 
Lord, and in very faithfulness hast afflicted me — if thou canst 
bless him when he maketh breach upon breach on thee. 

Possibly thou art the man that hast seen affliction by the rod 
of his wrarth. God hath shewed thee great and sore troubles. Thy 
whole life, it may be, hath been a winter, and most of thy days ac- 
companied with stormy weather. In this case, it will be much for 
thy credit and comfort if thou canst justify God under the cross. 

Wheu thy sense a-nd reason are at a stand, that thou canst not 
apprehend the ground and cause of such severe corrections, set faith 
awork, and believe God to be wise and righteous and gracious, even 
then when thou canst not see him to be so. God's paths are often in 
the seas, and his goings in deep waters. His judgments are a great 
deep, which our short reason can never fathom or find out. There 
are as hard chapters, and as dark texts, in the provinces l of God, as 
in his prophecies. Now, because we cannot expound them, we are 
apt to accuse them. Job was somewhat rash, according to some, 
' Behold I cry out of wrong, but am not heard ; is it good that thou 
shouldst oppress ? ' But observe the reason, ' Who is this,' saith God, 
' that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge,' Job x. 2, 
ix. 7, and xl. 2. Samson's friends quarrelled with him, because 
they could not understand his riddle. Some of God's friends have 
been ready to question him when they could not find him. Pompey, 
when beaten by Ceesar, said, there was a mist over the eye of pro- 
vidence, when indeed the mist was over his own eyes. How many 
wrangle with God, merely because they cannot reach God ; and 
reprehend him, because they cannot comprehend him. But herein 

^ Qu., " providences " ? — Ed. 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. lOT 

appeareth the excellency of Christianity, that when sense is tired; 
and reasoti nonplussed in the conflict, faith will believe God's jus- 
tice, and bring the soul off with conquest. Hence Jeremiah, when 
he could not see God to be righteous, would say that God was 
righteous : Jer. xii. 1,2,' Eighteous art thou, Lord ; let me plead 
with thee of thy judgments.' His carnal part seemed to plead 
against it, but his spiritual part would be sure to premise it, and 
profess it. Human reason is no fit judge of divine actions ; not that 
any of God's works are against reason, but because many of his 
ways are above our reason. God's actions are the highest, the 
truest reason, yet such reason as is above our natural reach. 

As a stick in the water seemeth crooked to the eye of sense, 
through the refractions of a double medium, the air and water, 
when the eye of our understanding seeth and knoweth it to be 
straight ; so the dealings of God with his people seem to the eye of 
sense many times to be harsh and rigid, as if in the ways of his 
providence he did tread awry ; but even then the eye of faith 
seeth them to be right, and knoweth assuredly all his footsteps to 
be equal and straight. Faith believeth men may do justly, but 
faith is confident God cannot but do justly. Papists tell us, saith 
Luther, that the Pope may do what he will, none must question 
him. Sure I am, what they falsely ascribe to the man of sin, faith 
doth most truly and fitly in the darkest dispensations ascribe to 
the holy God. He giveth not account of any of his matters, and 
who may say to him, What dost thou ? God's works are sometimes 
like a printer composing his sheets, who setteth his letters back- 
wards. Now we feel and see the letters, but cannot read them, nor 
spell out the meaning of them ; but in the life to come, we shall 
fully know the sense of them, and see infinite reason and wisdom 
in every passage of divine providence. 

Fourthly, Wait God's leisure for deliverance. There is a twofold 
patience required in every Christian. 

1, A patience of bearing th-e evil inflicted ; and, 

2. A patience of forbearing the good promised. God, indeed, 
hath engaged to deliver his people out of all their troubles ; but 
between the seed-time of the promise, and the harvest of the perfor- 
mance, a sharp winter often interposeth ; therefore the Christian 
must wait. David had a promise that he should be Israel's prince, 
yet, after this, he is hunted as a partridge upon the mountains. 
What, therefore, doth he do in the meantime ? ' Truly, my soul 
waiteth on God ; from him is my salvation,' Ps. Ixii. 11,5; or, as it 
is in the original, ' Nevertheless, my soul is silent to Jehovah ; ' as 


if he had said, Tliough I, who have a patent from heaven for the 
crown, am in Heu thereof laden with crosses ; though the provi- 
dences of God towards me are so grievous that they seem to contra- 
dict rather than to confirm his promises, yet my soul hath not a 
word to say against God, but I am contented to suffer his pleasure, 
and to stay his leisure, knowing that it is good that a man should 
both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of God. Nevertheless, 
my soul is silent to Jehovah. 

It was a great sin in Israel, that though they had had such ex- 
perience of his power, they would not take his word for a drop of 
water : ' They waited not for his counsel, but limited the holy One 
of Israel,' Ps. Ixxviii. 41. God must come at their call, at their 
time, or else they conclude he will not come at all. It was a witty 
speech of a king, that he liked a circle about his head, meaning 
his crown, but he could not endure a circle about his feet ; he 
would have them at liberty to go and come when he pleased. It 
is dishonourable to God to be limited. What an affront is it to a 
prince to be made his subjects' prisoner ! and it is unprofitable to 
man. Mercies in haste, or deliverance before God's time, is like 
meat overdriven, which will not take salt, but quickly corrupteth 
and putrefieth ; or like fruit that children cry for before it is ripe, 
which breedeth worms and diseases. Jacob had a promise of a 
blessing, but he is too quick with God for it. He stayeth not God's 
leisure, but hasteneth its accomplishment with a lie. Now, what 
doth he get by it? indeed, he obtaineth the blessing, but with 
jnany blows, the smart of which he felt to his dying day. Had he 
stayed till the vintage, where the grapes of the i3romise had been 
ripe, he had found them sweet and cordial ; but because he gathered 
them green, no wonder that they were sour, and set his teeth on 
etlge so long. His sufferings for so many years are attributed to 
his unwillingness to wait on God some few days. 

Eeader, hath God laid on thee some heavy cross ? be not im- 
patient, but let God take his own time to remove it. Chirurgeons 
know best how long wounds must be kept open ; the patients that 
skin them over, because they put them to pain, and heal them up 
in haste, do it to their own hurt. Men in misery are like prisoners 
in the jail, who are sure to be released, if they will but stay quietly 
till the assize ; but when they are hasty for their liberty, and take 
indirect courses, breaking the prison to get out, they are taken 
again, fastened with more fetters, and either stay longer for their 
freedom, or are dismissed from the jail and sent to the gallows. If 
Saul in distress will turn to a witch, it doth but increase his woe. 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling, 103 

A man that washeth himself, sometimes ventures past his depth 
before he is aware ; now this man, being in danger of drowning, 
hastily catcheth at what comes next to hand, possibly on sedgy 
weeds, that do but entangle him and draw him deeper under water, 
and there keep him down from ever getting up, till he, by that 
whereby he thought to save himself, be drowned indeed. Thus, 
whilst many, unwilling to wait God's leisure for deliverance out of 
distress, catch at what comes next to help themselves, they do but 
plunge themselves further into a labyrinth of evils, out of which 
they never escape. 

It is a true saying in this sense, I am sure, Haste makes waste, 
and. The more haste the less speed. Many have by woeful experi- 
ence found the truth of those proverbs. Friends, God's time is the 
best time. ' The Lord is a God of judgment,' saith the prophet ; 
therefore, ' blessed are all they that wait for him,' Isa. xxxvi. IS. 
Judgment is here not opposed to mercy, but to folly. The Lord is 
a God of wisdom, and can time and order all affairs to the best. 
Though it be a burden to wait upon a fool who maketh rage or 
weakness his rule, yet they are blessed who wait for the resolutions 
of the only wise God, to whom angels are comparative fools, Job iv. 
17, 18, who ijiaketh reason the rule of all his actions, who will not 
let his promises bring forth to his people before they have gone 
their full time, lest the birth should prove abortive ; and who will 
not let them stay a moment beyond their reckoning, but then will 
cause them to fall in labour, and to bring forth in full feature and 
favour answerable to their conceptions. reader ! thou wilt never 
repent of thy patience, when those vessels of the promises, 
which stayed so many years in the Indies, come home richly 
laden with their silver and golden wedges. With the sense of thy 
Father's love, the fruits of thy Saviour's death, and freedom from 
all thy fears and fetters which now affright thee, how wilt thou with 
the church sing victory, shout for joy, and cry up thy wise and faith- 
ful God with an Ecce of admiration : ' Lo, this is my God ; I have 
waited for him, he will save me. This is the Lord ; I have waited 
for him, I will be glad and rejoice in his salvation,' Isa. xxv. 9. 

Fifthly, Eejoice in God in the meantime. Saints are compared 
to lilies, afflictions to thorns. The lily is fresh, and looks fair 
in the midst of thorns. A Christian may be cheerful under the 
heaviest bodily cross. He hath fair weather overhead, the sunshine 
of God's favour, therefore he may go merrily on though it be dirty 
under feet. ' The king shall rejoice in God,' saith David, Ps. 
Ixiii. 2, when he wandered as a poor exile in the wilderness of 


Keilah ; when he had neither relations nor possessions, for he was 
banished from both, to rejoice in, he had a God still.^ So, when 
his condition was more dangerous, and indeed seemed to be des- 
perate, his estate was plundered, his wives and children captivated, 
and his own life endangered, for his own soldiers spake of stoning 
him. ' But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God,' ^ 1 
Sam. XXX. 6. In cold weather, the blood and spirits retreat to the 
heart and inward parts, which are the source and fountain of them. 
In the hardest season a believer may retire to, and be refreshed by, 
the fountain of his being and blessedness. The Lacedf^moniaus 
use music in their wars ; truly so may the saint in his wars with 
the affrightments of the world, and make the joy of the Lord his 
strength. There is mention made of some poor Christians banished, 
and one standing by and seeing them pass along said. It is a sad 
condition these persons are in, to be hurried from the society of 
men, and to be made companions of beasts. True, said another, 
it were sad indeed, if they were carried to a place where they 
should not find their God ; but let them be of good cheer, God goeth 
along with them.^ 

The bells ring as pleasantly at a funeral as at a wedding. The 
godly man may be merry in the absence, as well as in the presence, 
of outward mercies. When the streams are dried up, he hath the 
spring. The upper city of Jerusalem built on Mount Zion was 
called Millo — fulness or plenty — because, amongst the people of 
God, there is want of nothing, whilst they have him who is all 
things. This was the church's consolation in her most dreadful 
condition : ' The Lord is my portion, saith my soul ; therefore I will 
hope in him,' Lam. iii. 24. She could not say friends were her 
portion ; her lovers and friends were put far away. She could not 
say honour, or riches, or pleasure were her portion : ' The enemies 
wagged their heads at the daughter of Jerusalem. They that did 
feed delicately were desolate in the streets ; they that were brought 
up in scarlet, embraced dunghills,' Lam. ii. 15, 16, and iv. 5. The 
Chaldeans had robbed her of all such jewels ; but that which kept 
her head above water, and her heart from sinking, when those boister- 
ous waves went over her soul, was this, ' The Lord is my portion.' 
He that hath God for his portion hath all things, even when he 
hath nothing. Hagar's provision and patience were both spent at 
once; her bottle and her hope both out together; because her 

' Tua prtesentia, Domine, Laurentio ipsam craticulam dulcem fecit. — Aug. in Ps. 
* Qui habet habentem omnia, habet omnia. — Augustine. 
^ Aug. de Civit. Dei. lib. ii. cap. 26. 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 105 

water was gone slie falls a-weeping, but had slie seen the fountain 
so near she would have saved her tears. There is a witty conceit 
mentioned of one of the Dukes of Florence, that he should have for 
his arms a fair spread tree, having one branch only lopped off, with 
this motto, Uno avulso non deficit alter; intimating that, whilst the 
tree was well-rooted, there was no fear though a branch or two were 
lopped. A godly man may rejoice though he lose his estate, for he 
hath a better treasure in heaven ; he may rejoice though he lose his 
children, his liberty, nay, and his life ; for though those branches 
are lopped off, he hath his God, the root of all. 

It was the speech of Paulinus Nolanus, when his city was taken 
by the barbarians, Domine, ne excrucier ob aurum et argentum ; tu 
enim es omnia ; Lord, let me not be troubled for my silver and 
gold which I have lost, for thou art all things.' As Noah, when 
the whole world was overwhelmed with water, had a fair ej)itome of 
it in the ark, having all sorts of beasts and fowls there ; so he that 
in a deluge hath God to be his God, hath the original of all mercies. 
He who enjoyeth the ocean may rejoice, though some drops are 
taken from him. But he, indeed, who hath no god, may well 
mourn when he is deprived of his goods. A consumptionate man, 
when he cometh into a sharp, searching air, sickeneth and dieth 
because his vitals wei*e not sound, but he who hath good inwards, 
is the better for a cold winter. 

Aristippus having lost a farm, by a law-suit, to one that bewailed 
his loss, made this answer, I have two farms left still, and that is 
more by one than you have, or than I have lost. When wicked 
men, though it be but seldom, pity a saint in distress, a saint with 
a compassionate heart may answer him, as Christ did the woman 
who followed him weeping, Weep not for me, but weep for thyself, 
and the misery that is coming upon thee, unless thou reformest thy 
life ; for notwithstanding my sad losses, yet I have my Saviour, my 
soul, and my eternal happiness left still, and that is far more than 
you have. 

The lapwing hath his name in Latin iipupa, and in Greek. 
cTTu-v/r, because she hath always, whether she be full or hungry, a 
sad, querulous cry cry, Pu, pu. Every sinner hath cause to be sad, 
whether he be full of comforts, or be under crosses ; therefore it is 
no wonder that in distress his heart, like Nabal's, dieth within 
him. Creatures on the earth are all for accumulation, as the 
ant and bee, and they cannot live without it ; but those, as birds 
that mount up to heaven, neither sow nor reap, yet have their 
merry notes. 


Saints have rejoiced in their greatest sufferings, and triumphed 
in their most grievous tribulations. They have gloried in their 
disgrace for Christ : ' And they departed from the council, rejoicing 
that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name sake,' 
Acts V. 41. Their spirits have been most enlarged, when their flesh 
hath been most straitened. Paul and Silas in the stocks could 
sing ; the fetters on their feet were more precious and honourable 
in their eyes, than the costliest chains of gold about their necks 
could have been : Acts xvi. 25, ' At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, 
and sang praises to God.' Wicked men, like common birds, can 
sing in summer ; but saints, like special birds, can sing in winter. 

It is a privilege to imitate Christ in his passion ; the Philippians 
were to count it a favour that God called them to suffer, Phil. i. 29. 
These are God's gems and precious jewels, said Munster to his 
friends, pointing to his sores and ulcers."^ Ignatius triumphed in 
his journey to Kome to suffer, considering that his blood should be 
found among the mighty worthies, and that when the Lord makes 
inquisition for blood, he will count from the blood of Abel, not only 
to the blood of Zacharias, but also to the blood of mean Ignatius. 
To die for Christ, saith Philpot, is the greatest promotion that God 
can bring any to in this vale of misery ; yea, so great an honour 
that the glorious angels in heaven are not permitted to have. 2 It 
were easy to instance and shew how many of the jnartyrs were 
merrier when they were going to the fire, than ever carnal wretch 
was when he was sitting down to a delicate feast: Mat. v. 10-12, 
' Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and 
say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Kejoice, 
and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven.' Leap 
and skip for joy, as wanton cattle do in spring-time, when they graze 
in good and pleasant pastures, so the word, aKiprdco, signifieth. 

It is an honour to weak, sinful man to be scourged by the great 
and glorious God ; it is a favour that he will condescend to correct 
us. Some saints are more famous for their crosses, than ever Ceesar 
or Alexander for all their victories and conquests. The rod where- 
with they are afflicted, is a sceptre wherewith they are adorned : 
' My brethren, count it (saith the apostle) irdaav %a/^<x^', all joy, 
when ye fall into divers temptations,' James i. 2. Though the na- 
ture of affliction be evil, and so not joyous but grievous, yet the 
concomitants and consequents of it are so excellently good, that the 
Christian may rejoice in it. 

The Neapolitans wore garlands, and triumphed when Pompcy 

^ Joli. Manl., Loc. Com. ^ Acts and Mon., p. 1744. 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 107 

was sick at Naples, out of respect and honour to liim. Those in- 
fidels had better thoughts of sufferings than many Christians. Two 
sights, saith Luther, the devil delights in — to see a wicked man 
merry, and a saint sorrowful ; but two sights do intolerably vex 
him— to see a sinner mournful for his sins, and to see a saint joyful 
in his sufferings. David, saith he,'^ made psalms, and sung them ; 
we sing psalms as well as we can to the honour of our God, to spite 
and deride the devil and his spouse. 

Sixthly, Take heed of envying wicked men in prosperity. Men 
who are at the bottom of the hill, are apt to envy those that are at 
the top. AVhen David was chastened every morning, and in great 
adversity : ' I was envious at the foolish,' saith he, ' when I saw 
the prosperity of the wicked,' Ps. Ixxiii. 3. ' When I saw ;' his sight 
was an inlet to this sin. The basilisk is called rex invidorum, because 
the strength of its poison is conveyed by the eye ; it kills with its 
look. The envious man is described by his evil eye. Mat. xxi. 22. 
The bright and glorious sunshine of wicked ruen's prosperity did 
pierce and pain David's sore eyes ; and the truth is, it hath been a 
pearl in many of the saints' eyes, Jer. xii. 1-3; Hab. i. 13. Cor- 
rupt nature first looked out at this window, Gen. iv. ' The spirit 
that dwelleth in us, lusteth to envy,' James iv. 5. Those especially 
who are afiiicted, are prone to conceive evil at the good which 
others receive. 

He who doth but consider the state of wicked men, will rather 
pity than envy them in the most prosperous condition. Alas ! the 
devil, like an indulgent father, doth not disturb them, because they 
are his own children, as the crocodile, according to Aristotle, suf- 
fereth the bird trochylus to enter into his mouth, and pick his teeth, 
and then to fly away without any I^arm. 

Eeader, if thoij art sick of this distemper, use David's receipt for 
its cure. It is a tried remedy, received out of the sanctuary. David 
considered that their prosperity is neither full nor fast ; it is not 
full, it is but bodily at best, and usually but skin deep ; their mirth 
is rather in their brows, than in their breasts : ' In the midst of his 
sufficiency, he is in straits/ Job xx. 22. Like the kidney of a 
beast, he is lean, even when he is covered with fat. All his heaps 
cannot cure the itch of the head, or afford one hour's quiet of heart : 
' As a dream, Lord,' saith the psalmist, Ps. Ixxiii. 7. He com- 
pareth their prosperity to a dream ; now we know the comfort or 
satisfaction which a man enjoyeth in a dream, is but fancied and 
imaginary, not solid or substantial. All their laughter is from the 

' Luth. Colloqu. Meiisal., cap. 37. 


teeth outward. Hainan, in the midst of all his honour and favour 
at court, had somewhat lay like a lump of lead on his spirit to im- 
bitter all : ' All this availeth me nothing,' saith he. Because he 
wanted a bow from Mordecai, all his comforts were nothing worth. 
The abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. A small 
bird sings pleasantly in his little bed of down, when the bigger birds 
in their great nests of briers and thorns have but harsh notes. 
Great men have such gnats of cares to sting them in the night that 
many times they cannot sleep, Avhen the sleep of a labouring man 
is sweet. How many of them possess a great estate, who enjoy 
nothing ! Eccles. ii. 26. As the stag hath great horns, but no 
courage to use them. 

Their prosperity is not fast. Their riches and honours do but 
shew themselves like a rainbow in all their dainty colours, and then 
vanish away : ' Thou hast set them in slippery places,' ver. 18. 
They stand on ice ; are as soon off almost as on. How quickly is 
the beauty of all worldly blessings blasted ! ' The triumphing of 
the wicked is short,' Job xx. 5. Though their pains shall be for 
ever, yet their pleasures of sin are but for a season : They are rich 
in this world, not in the other world, 1 Tim. vi. 17 ; ' They live 
in pleasures on earth,' James v. 5. The place of their pilgrimage 
is the only place of their pleasures. They have a time of mirth, 
but they shall have an eternity of mourning. God hath some work 
for wicked men to do, (though they observe not his precepts, yet 
they serve his providence,) and till that be done, his providence will 
serve them ; but when the building is erected and finished, the 
scaffold, as high and as sure as it is seated, shall be taken down: 
' Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath per- 
formed his whole work on mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will 
punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria,' Isa. x. 12. 
When those busy bees have done all their work, and that will be in 
a short time, they shall be smothered with smoke, and destroyed. 

Their prosperity is fatal. Their sins are the greater, and their 
sufferings will be' more grievous. How certainly do their mercies ^ 
like perfume to one sick of the plague, convey the infection by its 
sweet smell ! As the moon at the full darkens the sun most, so in 
the abundance of favours they dishonour God most. Vatablus 
expoundeth that clause in Ezek. iii. 20, ' I lay a stumbling-block 
before him,' — that is, I will prosper him in all things, and not keep 
him from sin by affliction. I will not hedge up his way with thorns, 
but lay all common, and suffer him to wander whither he will. 
God strikes most heavily when he doth not strike at all : Isa. i. 5, 


Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 109 

' Why should they be smitten any more ? ye revolt more and more.' 
Their sufferings are the greater also. They are raised to their ruin : 
' Thou hast set them in slippery places, and turnest them down to 
destructioD,' ver. 18. 

Naturalists tell us that the eagle lifteth the shell-fish very high, 
and lets it fall on some rock, whereby it is broken, and then devoured. 
Ungodly men are lifted up high on earth, to be thrown the lower 
into hell : ^ ' The prosperity of fools slayeth them,' Prov. i. 32. Like 
the Eoman monster, they hang themselves with their silken halters. 
As the phoenix is consumed in a bed of rich spices, so are profane 
men by all their hoards and heaps. Their comforts are but as a 
vessel of rich wine, presented to one sick of a high fever, which he 
drinketh largely of, whereby he is inflamed and dieth. The more 
wealth they have in this world, the greater their woe will be in the 
other world. As a river dammed up for a time, when that which 
hindereth is removed, poureth forth with the greater violence ; so 
that flood of wrath which is stopped for a time by God's inflnite 
patience, when it comes to break forth, will rush upon thee with 
the more dreadful vengeance. Prosperity, like physic to an incur- 
able disease, hasteneth death, and makes it more painful. 

Who will envy a fellow that goeth up a high ladder to be turned 
off and hanged ? Who would grieve that his enemy hath a curious, 
richly enamelled knife, when with it he cuts his own throat ? 
Surely none can grudge them their sweetest morsels on earth, who 
believe the bitter reckoning which they must pay in hell. He is 
brutish in his knowledge, that can envy a beast its high and sweet 
pasture, when it is but thereby fitted for the slaughter. What 
man would not think of Theramenes rather with pity than envy, 
who being one of the thirty tyrants at Athens, though he escaped 
when his house fell down on him, yet afterwards was tortured to 
death by his colleagues ! 

It was the speech of a soldier going to execution for stealing 
grapes, to one that asked him. What ! are you eating grapes now ? 
Oh, saith he, do not envy me ; my grapes they cost me dear, they 
must cost me my life. Truly so may sinners bespeak envious 
saints : Do not envy us our honours, our high seats ; do not envy 
us our carnal pleasures, and our huge treasures ; do not envy us 
our plays and our pastimes, our sinful sports, and our vain delights. 
Alas ! they must cost us dear, they must cost us our lives, nay, the 
life of our very souls ; they must cost us our heaven, our God, our 

^ Parci sibi putat cum excajcetur, et servetur ad ultimam opportunamqne vindic- 
tam. — Aug. in Ps. ix. 


Saviour, and that for ever. Who would envy a beast the garland 
and ribands with which the heathen adorned them when they went 
to be sacrificed ? ' Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be 
thou envious at the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut 
down as the grass, and wither as the green herb, Ps. xxxvii. 1, 2. 

A man may see a trade and not know the mystery of it, and the 
various and curious contrivances in it. A country fellow may see 
a picture excellently drawn, and yet be wholly ignorant of that rare 
art which appeareth in it. There is embroidered wisdom in God's 
works, which men are not aware of. ' When the wicked spring as 
the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that 
they shall be destroyed for ever,' Ps. xcii. 7. When with those 
wisps he hath scoured his vessels, he will throw them into the fire. 
' Besides, the best of wicked men is infinitely inferior to the worst 
estate of a saint. The palest gold is better than the brightest brass ; 
persecuted piety is better than prospering profaneness. They have 
but the bran, the dregs, thou hast the flour, the spirits, of outward 
things. Thou canst say, God is thy portion ; and dost thou com- 
plain of thy part ? Nay, canst thou forbear saying, Ps. xvi. 5, 6, 
' The lines are fallen to me in a pleasant place, and I have a goodly 

It was an aggravation, and a great one, of David's sin, that being 
a rich man, and having great flocks, he should take away the poor 
man's only lamb ; so it is a sad heightening of thy sin, if, when thou 
art rich, and hast multitudes of real mercies, (the covenant of grace, 
the blood of Christ, the love aud image of God, which are worth 
thousands and millions, and which will do thee good to all eternity,) 
thou shouldst envy a poor sinner who hath only a little sleep, and 
meat, and drink, with many an aching heart, and gripes of con- 
science, like a condemned prisoner, till the set day appointed for 
his execution. Thales being asked how a man might be cheerful 
and bear up in affliction, answered, If he see his enemy in a worse 
condition than himself. His expression savours of vitiated nature, 
and is contrary to grace ; but if the misery of an enemy can make 
a heathen merry in affliction, sure I am it may preserve a Christian 
from envy. 

Queen Elizabeth envied the milkmaid when she was in prison ; 
but had she known the glorious reign which she was to have for 
forty-four years, she would not have repined at the poor happiness 
of so mean a person. Christians are too prone to envy the husks 
which wandering sinners fill themselves with here below ; but would 
they set before them their glorious hopes of a heaven, how they 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. Ill 

must reign with Christ for ever and ever, they wouhl see little 
reason for their repining. Alas ! what a pitiful nothing is the por- 
tion of the world's greatest potentates, compared with the inheritance 
of the saints in light. Those fowls that fly aloft have so small a 
spleen, saith the great naturalist/ that it can hardly be discerned, 
and he gives this reason, because those birds that mount in the air 
have least of that part which is terrestrial, for the spleen is the seat 
of melancholy, which hath an earthly quality, being dry and cold. 
Sure I am, those saints have least of this spleen of envy, who mount 
up to heaven oftenest on the wings of faith and meditation, and 
take a view of their future happiness. 

Lastly, Study and answer God's end in thy afflictions. This 
indeed, though named last, is the first and chiefest of all. The 
errand upon which a messenger is sent from a great prince is much 
to be minded. It is not enough to forbear fretting at him, or to 
rejoice with him, but to interpret his language, to spell out his 
meaning, is 'required. A disease once known is half cured. It is 
a great piece of prudence to find out God's end, and a special part 
of piety to answer God's end when found out. God spake as truly 
by his ten works, his ten plagues to Egypt, as he did by his ten 
words, his ten precepts, to Israel. Every affliction comes to thee with 
a message, as Ehud did to Eglon — ' I have an errand to thee from 
God ' — with an errand and message to thee from the great God.^ 

Gideon took briers and thorns and taught the men of Succoth. 
God takes these sharp prickles of affliction, thereby intending to 
teach thee his statutes : 3 Ps. xciv. 11, ' Blessed is the man whom 
thou correctest and teachest in thy law.' 

I shall first shew thee what God's ends are, and then help thee 
to find out his end in thy particular afiliction.* 

God's ends in afflicting are divers. 

First, It may be to try and discover thee to thyself ; to try 
the strength of grace. Thou couldst hardly have thought thy 
faith to have been so weak till thou wast, like Peter, walking on 
these tempestuous waters, and ready to sink in them. Thieves, 
when endeavouring to break into a house, and are prevented, do 
this courtesy often to the master of the house, that they shew him 
the weakest part of his dwelling. Satan, by the troubles he brings 
on saints, doth them often this kindness, that by his rough waters 

I Hist., ii. cap. 15. 

^ Qui beneficiis noii intelligitiu- vel plagis intelligatur. — Cypr. in Dementia. 
' Crux est velut instrumentum quo Deus nos expolit. — Polan., lib. vi. cap. 39. 
* Yerberat et lacerat ; non est sx'vitia, certameii est. — *Se?i€C. de Prov., cap. 4. 


their leaks are made known to tliem. To try the truth of grace, 
God therefore led Israel many years through the wilderness, when 
he could have carried them a nearer way in a few days to Canaan, 
' to prove them, and to know what was in their hearts,' Deut. viii. 
2. ThePsilli, a people, saith Pliny, (lib. xxviii.,) whom no venom 
will hurt, if they suspect any of their children to be none of their 
own, put an adder to its breast ; if it be stung, and the flesh swell, 
they cast it away as spurious. It is not affliction, but a holy en- 
during of it, — ' if ye endure chastening,' Heb. xii. 7, — which is a 
sign of adoption. A father will sometimes cross his child to try his 
disposition. I have read a story of a little child about eight or nine 
years old, that being extremely pinched with hunger, looked one day 
pitifully necessitous on her mother, and said. Mother do you think 
that God will starve us ? The mother answered, No, child, he will 
not. The child replied, But if he do, yet we must love him and 
serve him. Here was language that spake a well-grown Christian. 
For indeed God brings us to want and misery, to try us whether we 
love him for his own sake, or for our own sakes ; for those excel- 
lencies that are in him, or for those mercies we have from him; 
to see whether we will say, with the cynic to Antisthenes, Nullus 
tarn durus erit haculns, &c. There shall be no cudgel so crabbed 
as to beat me from thee. 

Secondly, It may be to purge out some sin which thou harbourest ; 
the stock is purged by salt water. A garment is stricken with a 
staff that the dust may be beaten out. Tribulation comes from 
tribulus, a flail, because it makes the husk fly off. Crows, when 
sick, take stones which make them vomit, and then they are well. 
Affliction doth, as a Serjeant or bailiff, it comes to bring our sins, 
our debts, to remembrance. Joseph spake roughly to his brethren, 
to make them remember themselves, and repent of their sin ; 
when that was done, he discovered himself, and spake kindly to 
them. So God dealeth severely with his children, to make them 
mindful of, and mournful for, their sins. When once he hath 
brought them to that, he smileth on them. David hath one psalm 
which he calls ' A psalm to bring to remembrance,' Ps. xxxviii. 1, 
which treateth of his great afflictions, because they, like Pharaoh's 
dream to his butler, make men remember their faults.! 

Art not thou in love with the world ? No wonder that then 
God makes it an iron furnace, that thou mayest no longer value it 
as an ivory palace. He turneth earth into a kind of hell to thee, 

1 Sciebat enim quam facile et cito eranescant poense divinitus inflictae, quibus in 
totam vitam nos erudiri decebat. — Calv. in loo. 

Chap. IX.] • the christian man's calling. 113 

because thou hast made it thy heaven. God carried Israel about 
in the wilderness, because their hearts hankered after Egypt. He 
rubs wormwood on the breasts of the world to wean thee from it. 

Art thou not secm^e ? No wonder then that he applieth blisters 
to thy neck, cupping-glasses to thy back, and wax-lights to thy 
feet, to awaken thee out of thy lethargy. Shouldst thou be suf- 
fered to continue sleeping, thou wouldst sleep the sleep of death. 
He beats up thy quarters, to make thee stand upon thy guard. 
When enemies flank- an army, it makes them orderly in their march, 
and keeps them from straggling. 

Art thou not proud and conceited ? If so, he gives thee a thorn 
in thy flesh, to prick thy bladder of pride, lest thou shouldst be puffed 
up above measure. He makes thee low in thy condition, that thou 
mayest be lowly in thy disposition. Tliat which lessens our heaps 
and estates, often lesseneth "^ our hearts. God therefore brought the 
Jews to great hardships, to make them humble, Deut. vi. 2. The 
poor useth entreaties, saith Solomon. 

Hast thou not dallied with mercies ? Now God removes them 
from thee, that by the want of them, thou mayest know the worth 
of them. Naturalists tell us, if musk hath lost its scent, by being 
put into a sink, it will recover it again. Hunger and fasting will 
make thee relish thy food ; sickness will make thee prize thy health. 
The spring is more pleasant after a sharp winter ; harmonious 
sounds are much commended to us by the darkness and silence of 
the night ; the bells sound best near the waters ; no meat so de- 
lightful as those dishes wherein sour things are conveniently mingled 
with sweet. 

Possibly thy heart is hard ; thou wast hardly ever sensible of thy 
own sins, or others' sufferings. Now there are but two ways to cure 
the stone in the bladder, either to dissolve it by soft medicines, or 
by cutting the party. God tried mercies with thee, soft means, and 
could not dissolve the stone of thy heart, therefore he is now cutting 
thee, with an intent to cure thee. A good fire wiU melt the hardest 
metals. In Silesia, there is Fons Solis, the Fountain of the Sun, out 
of which at mid-day, when the sun is nearest, floweth cold water ; 
and at midnight, when the sun is furthest, floweth hot water. Those 
who have been cold in bewailing their sin when they have prospered 
in the world, when they have been visited with affliction, their reins 
chastising them in the night seasons, have been hot and fervent at it. 

Possibly thou didst rely on creatures. Thy leaning on those 
staves hath broken them in pieces, which otherwise would have 

1 Qu., " lessoneth " ?— Ed. 


been helpful to thee in thy journey. Many a time hath our Father 
made the creature our grief, that it might not be our god. If any 
of these, or any other sin, be the end for which thou art afflicted, 
search it out. As the mariners in a storm inquired for whose sake 
it came, and never ceased till they found him out, and had thrown 
that Jonah overboard ; so do thou seai'ch as narrowly for thy lust 
as for thy life — expect no calm till this be done. Wlien thou hast 
found out the sin, go to God speedily, confess it thoroughly, with 
all its aggravations, and bewail it heartily. When the Jews had 
found out Paul, whom they supposed to be a pestilent fellow, and a 
mover of sedition, they cry out, 'Men of Israel, help : This is the 
man that teacheth everywhere against the people, and the law, and 
this place : and further, brought Greeks also into the temple, and 
hath polluted this place,' Acts xxi. 28. So do thou cry to God, 
Help, Lord ; this is the sin that hath so much provoked thy majesty, 
profaned thy name, grieved thy Spirit, and polluted my own soul ! 
Lord, help me to mourn for it, and help me to turn from it. Let 
the hatred wherewith I shall hate it, be greater than the love where- 
with I have ever loved it. Help, Lord ; this is the sin that hath 
caused all my sorrows, all my sufferings. 

When God had afflicted that noble worthy, he tells God, ' Thou 
inquirest after my iniquity, and searchest after my sin,' Job x. 6. 
Now if God by affliction searcheth after thy sin, it concerneth thee 
to search and try thy ways, Lam. iii. 4 ; for if thou dost not find out 
thy iniquities, be confident thy iniquities will find thee out ; and 
then thou mayest say, as Ahab to Elijah, ' Hast thou found me, 
mine enemy ? ' for it will come to thee, as the prophet to the king, 
with dreadful, doleful tidings indeed. 

Thirdly, It may be, the end of God in afflicting thee is to increase 
thy graces. Wisps scour vessels and make them the brighter. ' I 
will bring a third part into the fire, and refine them as silver is 
refined,' Zech. xiii. 9. The fire purifieth the vessels of gold, and 
makes them more meet for the master's use. True Christians, like 
the vine, bear the more fruit for bleeding : Dan. xi. 33-35, ' And 
some of them of understanding shall fall to try them, and to purge 
them, and to make them white.' Here are the three ends of afflic- 
tion. Some refer their fall to the sad afflictions which they suf- 
fered in the days of Antiochus, of which there should be this 
threefold use : — 1. Some should be tried ; 2. Some should be purged ; 
3. Some should be made white. Those frosts and showers should 
whiten and purify the faithful. 

Isiael in Egypt, the more oppressed, the more they multiplied. 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 115 

The camomile springs the more and the better for being trodden on. 
Pliny, in his Natural History ,i writeth of certain trees growing in 
the Bed Seas, which, being beat upon by the waves, stand like a rock, 
immoveable, and in a full sea they are quite covered with water ; 
these trees are bettered by the roughness of the waves. A Christian 
that is by faith planted into the Ked Sea of Christ's blood, doth not 
• only stand fast in, but also flourisheth the more for, the billows of 

It is reported of the lioness that she leaves her whelps till they 
are almost killed with crying, and hereby makes them the fuller 
of courage. So God often leaveth his children till they are even 
ready to despair ; he lets his David cry out till his throat be dry, 
and his moisture turned into the drought of summer, before he 
sendeth from heaven and saveth him, and hereby he increaseth 
his faith and patience. ' Here is the faith and patience of the 
saints,' saith the apostle, speaking of great afflictions, Kev. xiii. 10. 
Here it is exercised, and here it is increased ; for frequent acts of 
grace strengthen the habits of grace. The fire strengthens our 
liquors ; the better they are boiled, the stronger they are. The 
hottest cordial water, and strongest spirits, are distilled and ex- 
tracted by fire. The fire of affliction increaseth the strength of 
our graces. As in winter the outward cold fortifieth our inward 
parts, by forcing in, and uniting our natural heat ; so adversity 
strengtheneth the Christian, by forcing him to use and unite all his 

Now it is probable thou wilt say, I would willingly answer God's 
end, but how may I find it out ? I cannot understand the lan- 
guage of the rod, and so cannot obey its voice. 

To satisfy this query, I would advise thee, 

1. To observe the kind of thy affliction. Sometimes the sin is 
written in broad letters on the forehead of the punishment. When 
Absalom killed Amnon, and defiled his father's concubines, and 
was afterwards slain by Joab, David might easily see his sin in 
the face of his suffering. Because he neglected to do justice on 
Amnon, therefore God suffered Absalom to murder him unjustly. 
Because he defiled the wife of Uriah secretly, God permitted Ab- 
salom to lie with his wives openly. Because he cockered Absalom, 
though the blood of Amnon required blood, therefore God let out 
the blood of Absalom by the hand of Joab. The Sodomites burned 
with unnatural fire, that was their sin, and God punished them 
with supernatural fire. The Egyptians killed the Jewish children, 

^ Lib. xii. cap. 5. 


and God slew their first-born ; punishment often bears the image 
and superscription of the sin upon it. 

Art thou oppressed in thy estate ? Consider whether thou never 
didst oppress others, as the greater fish devouring the smaller. 
Art thou cheated and cozened of thy right ? Look back upon thy 
life ; didst thou never defraud others of their due, like a beast 
of prey, tearing away by thy power others' portions ? Art thou ■ 
disgraced ? Examine thyself, whether thou hast not slandered 
others, as a cupping-glass drawing their worst humours, and re- 
vealing their faults, when thou hast concealed their virtues. So, 
whatsoever thy affliction be, put the question to thy soul, whether 
thou hast not to others occasioned the same suff'ering ? God payeth 
some in their own coin. If sickness or continual pain be thy 
affliction, consider whether thou hast not been intemperate, and 
so brought thyself to the rack. The sinner sometimes reapeth 
the same seed which he soweth ; you may read who is the father 
of the child, what sin begot the affliction, by the favour and features 
of the child's face, it doth so much resemble its father. 

2. If thou canst not find out the cause of thy disease by that 
symptom, hearken to the voice of conscience. Look into that 
book, and see what debts thou owest to divine justice, for which 
thou art now arrested. When the debtor doth not mind his pay- 
ments, the Serjeant or bailiff is sent to quicken him. Is there no 
way of wickedness which thou allowest ? Though in the day of 
prosperity carnal pleasures make such a noise that the voice of 
conscience cannot be heard, yet in the silent night of adversity 
conscience often obtains audience. And in affliction, like an officer, 
it sheweth the mittimus, which mentions the offence for which the 
malefactor is committed to prison. 

It is possible God may be reckoning with thee for some old 
debt which thou hadst forgotten. Look into thy remembrance, thy 
register-book, and there thou mayest find it. It is observable that 
the patriarchs had committed a great sin in the sale of Joseph, 
which passed many years unregarded and unrepented. The golden 
dust of prosperity had so covered the looking-glass of conscience, 
that they could not behold in it the ugly face of their crimson 
fault ; but when they came to be in great perplexity in Egypt, 
adversity did them that friendly office, as to wipe off that dust, 
and then conscience makes a true representation to them of their 
sin. As what is written with the juice of lemons, their sin was 
legible when brought to the fire. ' We are verily guilty concerning 
our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he be- 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 117 

sought ns, and we would not hear ; therefore is this distress come 
upon us,' Gen. xliii. 21. Affliction untieth the tongue of conscience, 
that it speaketh plainly to men and women — this is the sin, this is 
the lust, that hath brought this load of sufferings. And affliction 
unstoppeth the ears of men and women, that they hearken to its cry. 
Oh ! it is true indeed, we did thus and thus, conscience charged, 
and God commanded us to the contrary, and we would not hear ; 
we are verily guilty, therefore is this distress come upon us. 

3. If thou hast been faithful in empannelling conscience upon 
the indictment, and that bring in an ignoramus, go to God, and 
entreat him to acquaint thee with his mind in his providence, and 
with the meaning of thy punishment. When the children struggled 
in Kebekah's womb, she said, ' Why am I thus ? And she went 
to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations 
are in thy womb,' Gen. xxv. 22. So now thou art in the midst of 
strivings and stragglings, go to God, inquire of him ; possibly he 
may answer thee. Two parties, two princes, are within thee, flesh 
and spirit, Christ and Satan, and they are striving which shall be 
the conqueror. Or do as Job under his sore troubles, ' Lord, do not 
condemn me ; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me,' Job 
X. 2. Lord, my troubles and crosses are well known ; the eyes of 
others see them, and my heart feels them ; but the cause of them 
is unknown. There is a veil upon my understanding, that I can- 
not discern thy meaning ; there is a curtain drawn between me 
and the ground of my crosses. Oh scatter these mists that hinder 
my sight, that I may know the reason of my sufferings ; for though 
I know that I am a sinner, and am guilty of many weaknesses, yet 
I know also that I am not wicked. I have examined myself, and 
am not conscious of any ungodliness or close hypocrisy, much less 
of any profaneness or scandalous enormity, which should provoke 
thee thus severely to punish me. I do not desire to know it as 
suspecting thy goodness and holiness, but as suspecting my own 
evil heart. Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me, whether 
it be for sin or no ; if for sin, for what sin ; that I may repent of 
it, and return to thee. If not for sin, shew me for what end, 
whether to prove and try me, or to purify and strengthen me. 

There is no better way for a prisoner to know the reason of his 
confinement, than to ask the justice or magistrate that committed 
him ; there is no surer way to know the cause of our sufferings, 
than to go to that God that sends them. Every wise agent can 
give a rational account of his actions. Though God's will be a 
sufficient answer to all our queries, — ' he doth whatsoever he please th 


in heaven, and in earth, and in all deep places,' — yet he wills nothing 
without infinite reason, and is pleased to let his friends know what 
is his end in his actings. ' The secrets of the Lord are with them 
tliat fear him,' Ps. xxv. 

But, reader, when thou goest to God by prayer, to know why 
thou dost suffer, do it in a serious, solemn manner, and with a 
settled purpose to answer his afflicting providence. An ordinary 
seeking will not serve turn in extraordinary sufferings. When a 
famine was in the days of David upon Israel three years, year after 
year, the holy king doubtless did often desire of God to know what 
fault in Israel had incensed him to send a famine on Israel. It is 
not probable he would suffer so mortal a distemper to infect the 
body politic so long, and never look after its cause and cure ; yet 
he could not find it out, till at last, after the end of three years, he 
goeth to God, by that grand and most solemn way of inquiry, by 
Urim and Thummim,^ and then God answers him, ' It is for Saul 
and his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites,' 2 Sam. xxi. 1. 
Upon which he hangs up some of Saul's sons, and the judgment 
was removed. If thou canst not by thy daily fervent prayers find 
out the cause, set apart a day, or days, of humiliation and fasting. 
As some devils will not be cast out without fasting and prayer, so 
the reason of some distresses will not be found out without fasting 
and prayer. On such a day of prayer unbosom thyself freely and 
fully to God. Oh, it is sad to be hiding thy sins when God is 
searching for them. Entreat him to try thee ; say, as the psalmist, 
' Search me, God, and know my heart: try me, and know my 
thoughts : and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me 
in the way everlasting,' Ps. cxxxix. 23, 24. Bewail thy original 
pollution, which is the grand remote cause of all affliction, though 
some particular corruption may be a nearer cause, as the brittleness 
of man's body is the natural remote cause of death, though some 
one disease be the next and immediate cause. Bemoan also all thy 
actual transgressions, which thou canst possibly remember, and 
accent them with their crying circumstances. After this, condemn 
thyself for them, and resolve, through divine help, to forsake them. 
If God make known to thee which is thy darling sin, that hath cost 
thee so much sorrow, which is the Absalom, (that had he received 
his due, had been hanged long before for the murder of Christ,) that 
now is in arms to rob thee of thy crown and life, causing such dis- 
turbance and distress unto thee. As thou lovest thy soul, entertain 
not any favourable thoughts of him. Do not wish. Oh that he 
might be spared, and dealt gently with for thy sake ; but with the 

Chap. IX.] the christian man's calling. 119 

greatest hatred hasten his execution. Let such a day be as the fast 
among the Jews, wherein all their blasphemers were put to death. 
Let no one malefactor be hid, like Joash, in a secret chamber, to 
avoid the stroke of vengeance. After this renew thy covenant with 
the Lord, to walk before him in holiness and righteousness all thy 
days. Kesolve upon every known duty, and against every known 
iniquity. Call aloud to Jesus Christ, to stand bound for thee, and. 
to be thy surety for thy good behaviour ; and if thou art but sin- 
cere and faithful in these particulars, thy affliction may be removed. 
When the wound is well the plaster falls off ; the messenger de- 
parts when he hath done his errand ; or however it is sanctified to 
thee, and sanctified misery is a greater mercy than the whole crea- 
tion. Now thou mayest ' rejoice in tribulation ; knowing that tribu- 
lation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience 
hope, and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is 
shed abroad in thy heart.' i Though thy chastisement be no in- 
fallible sign of God's love, yet thy improvement of it in this 
gracious manner is a sure sign of his special favour. If the philo- 
sopher Zeno, after his shipwreck, blessed fortune for his prosperous 
misfortune, because it made him a better scholar, having deprived 
him of that which had diverted him from his studies, surely thou 
hast more cause to bless providence for thy hajDpy unhappiness, be- 
cause it hath made thee the better Christian. Thou mayest say, 
' Lord, it was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn 
thy statutes. Before I was afilicted I went astray, but now I keep 
thy word,' Ps. cxix. 67. 

But, on the other hand, it will be ill if, after thy afflictions, and 
the pains God hath taken with thee, thou art not more holy. It is 
sad to be put to pain to no profit, to be cut and lanced, and not to 
have thy bad blood let out. God complaineth of this : ' In vain 
have I smitten your children, and they have not received correction,' 
Jer. ii. 80. I gave them physic, but to no purpose ; but it is dole- 
ful for a man to come out of affliction, as a sheep out of a ditch, 
dirty and defiled; or as a piece of iron out of the smith's. hand, 
after it hath been first in the fire and then in the water, more 
hardened than it was before. It is bad not to be the better for 
afiliction ; for a person to come out of his chamber, where he was 
at the gate of death, amended in body but not in soul. Ephraim 
remembers his incorrigibleness upon the day of his repentance ; 
' Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unac- 
customed to the yoke,' Jer. xxxi. 18 — rather kicking at, than sub- 

^ Post afflictiones vita bonis tranquillior. — Nazian. in Orat. ad Cyp. 



mitting to, my deserved sufFerings. To such a man Augustine 
sadly expresseth himself, Perdidisti utilitatem ccdamitatis; Thou 
hast lost the profit of thy physic, i The cost which God was at -with 
thee was thrown away. But oh how intolerable is it for the child 
to be the more froward when he is corrected for his faults ! The 
next thing he may expect is to be turned out of doors. Not to be 
reformed by afflictions, speaks a child of rebellion and disobedience ; 
but to wax worse by affliction, speaks a son of reprobation and per- 
dition. The tree which, after dunging and pruning, is unfruitful, 
is for the fire. If the ten plagues do not reform Pharaoh, the 
Eed Sea shall ruin him. 


The means ivherehy Christians may exercise themselves to godliness 
in adversity. As also a good ivish about that condition. 

Having laid down the motives, and also discovered wherein the 
nature of exercising thyself to godliness in adversity consisteth, I 
proceed to the third thing promised, and that is to acquaint thee 
with the means which may be helpful to thee herein. 

First, If .thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness in affliction, 
labour to see God's hand in all thy afflictions. Do not, like the 
dog, snarl at the stone, but look up to the hand that throweth it. 
Consider, whosoever be the messenger that bringeth it, God is the 
master that sendeth it, and then the present, whatsoever it be, will 
have the more acceptance for the author's sake. ' Can a bird fall 
into a snare, where no gin is for him ? Shall there be any evil in 
the city, and the Lord hath not done it?' Amos iii. 6, 7. The bird 
seems to be taken by chance, but he is taken by providence. The 
bird did not see the snare, but the fowler set the snare purposely 
for him. Afflictions seem to come accidentally on men, but we are 
caught in them intentionally by God. Though we do not foresee 
them, yet God fore-appoints them, and to him we must look if we 
would improve such providences. 

We are at least silent when we suffer from them who are much 
our superiors. Though, when our equals or inferiors strike us, we 
presently run for a writ ; yet if our sovereign, whose laws we have 

^ Perdidiatis utilitatem calamitatis ; et miserrimi facti estis, et pessimi perman- 
sistis. — Aug. de Civitate Dei, lib. i. cap. 33. 

Chap. X.] the chkistian man's calling. 121 

broken, scourge us, or brand us by his officers, we submit. Boys 
will reverence the rod in the hand of their master, though they 
lauo-h at it in the hands of their fellows. ' Who art thou that re- 
pliest against God ? ' is sufficient to make a Christian both patient 
and pious under the heaviest cross. This consideration moved Job, 
instead of blaspheming, to bless God, when he received such smart 
blows from God : ' The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken 
away, blessed be the name of the Lord.' Had he said and thought, 
The Lord hath given, and the Chaldeans and Sabeans have taken 
away, his rage might probably have conquered his reason, and 
Satan might have been gratified in what he so impatiently desired; 
but because Job knew that his potion was sent him from heaven, he 
cheerfully takes it, and pays, according to his estate, his thanks to 
his physician : ' The Lord hath taken, blessed be the name of the 
Lord.' We value and esteem our gifts according to the quality and 
sincerity of the giver. Jerome would persuade his friend Julian 
to say, upon the loss of children, Lord, thou hast taken away 
the childi'en which thou gavest me ; I do not murmur at thee for 
taking them, but I thank thee for giving them. His dominion over 
us commandeth submission.! Jje giveth out of his mercy, and he 
takes away out of justice : may not he do what he will with his 
own? Mat. xx. 15. 

A sight of God, like the word of Christ in the ship, did allay 
and calm those high winds and boisterous waves which threatened 
to overturn the soul of the psalmist : * I was dumb, and opened not 
my mouth ; because thou, Lord, didst it,' Ps. xxxix. 9.^ If you con- 
sider the third verse of the psalm, you will find that his heart was 
very hot, and the fire of his inward passion was so great, by reason 
of his afflictions from Saul and his courtiers, that it was like to 
break out into a flame to his own ruin. But this was the water 
that quenched it : ' Thou, Lord, didst it.' As when our lungs are 
exceeding hot with their motion, and ready to burn up themselves 
with their own heat, even then they are cooled by the air which 
they suck in ; so the heart of the prophet, heated with anger and 
impatience, was cooled with this gale, that it was God's pleasure. 
When he once saw God's hand and seal to the warrant for his cor- 
rection, he durst not open his mouth against it. The hand of an 
infinite, unquestionable, only wise God, is such a muzzle on a saint's 

^ Tulisti liberos qiios ipse dederas : non contristor quod recepisti, sed gratias ago 
quod dedisti. — Jerome. 

* Quia tu fecisti, i.e., non casu aut fortuna, aut temere ista mihi acciduiit, sed 
sapientissimo tuo consilio, et justo judicio res liominum reguntur. — Moller. in loc. 


mouth that he cannot murmur, ' I was dumb, and opened not my 
mouth; because thou, Lord, didst it.'l 

As men generally look not up to the author of their mercies, and 
thence are so unthankful, so they look not up to the author of their 
afflictions, and hence are so impatient and fretful. It is observ^able 
that patience did wonderfully triumph in David's breast under 
Shimei's bitter railings. Though that traitor struck fire again and 
again, he was wet tinder, he did not take. Yet at another time, 
when Nabal offered him a little unkindness, that small wind raised 
a grievous storm of passion in his spirit : ' So and more also do 
God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him 
by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall,' 1 Sam. 
XXV. 22. But if we read the story, we may quickly see the reason. 
David heard God's voice in Shimei's language, but did not see 
God's hand in Nabal's carriage. ' Let him alone, and let him 
curse,' saith he of Sliimei ; ' for the Lord hath said unto him. Curse 
David,' 2 Sam. xvi. 9, 10. The Lord hath bidden him with a 
word of sufferance, though not of allowance, with the word of his 
providence, though not of his precept ;2 therefore I must bear it with 
submission and patience ; he who hears God speaking will, if he 
know himself, be silent. 

The foolish heathen, whose understandings were darkened, could 
see no farther than second causes, hence acted like distracted per- 
sons under the cross.3 Xerxes, the Persian monarch, having re- 
ceived a loss by the rage of Hellespontus, caused three hundred 
stripes to be given it, and cast fetters into the water, as if he could 
make it his prisoner, and bind it at his pleasure. Darius, because 
the river Gynde had drowned his white horse, threatened to divide 
it into many channels, and so weaken its strength, that one should 
go over it on foot.^ Those that look only at means thus murmur, 
and bewray their madness. 

When men drink of waters far from the spring, and nigh the 
sea, they are brackish, and of an ill taste; but if they drink them in 
the fountain {Dulcius ex ipso fonte, &c.), they are sweet. As Solinus 
reports of Hj^panis, a Scythian river, that the water thereof is 
bitter, as it passeth through Exampius, but very sweet in the 
spring. 5 When men drink the waters of affliction, in the musty 
vessels of instruments, no wonder that they are the waters of 

^ Nihil ad compescendos doloris impetus aptius est, quam ubi nobis in mentem 
venit, non cum homine mortali, sed cum Deo negotium esse. — Calvin, in loc. 
=" Verbo providentioa, non prsecepti. — Jim., in loc, ^ Herodot., lib. vii. 

■» Sencc, De Ira. « Cap. 20. 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 123 

Marali, bitter waters, and set men, as those waters did the Israel- 
ites, a-murmuring ; but when they drink them in the fountain, 
consider them in the blessed God, the principal efficient, they are 
tolerable, if not pleasant. Christians can take anything kindly 
from the hands of their God. It was a holy speech of that honour- 
able Lord Duplessis, at the death of his only son, I could not have 
borne this from a man, but I can from my God. Beasts will take 
blows from their master, surely then we may from our Maker. 

2. Consider, God's affection is the spring, as to him, of all thy 
afflictions. Thy temporal cross comes from the same love that 
thy eternal crown comes from. Infinite and eternal love is the 
root from which every rod springeth, with which God scourgeth 
thee.i ' As many as I love, I rebuke; whom the Lord loveth he 
chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth,' Kev. iii. 
17 ; Heb. xii. 5. Men will not take the pains to correct stubborn 
servants, but turn them out of doors ; but love forceth them to 
chastise their sons. God out of hatred lets many a sinner go un- 
punished in this world. He prunes not the tree which he intends 
for the eternal fire. When the rope is designed, the rod is spared. 
The malefactor, according to our law, escapes the whipping-post 
that is condemned to the gallows. ' The wicked is reserved to the 
day of destruction ; they shall be brought forth at the day of wrath,' 
Job. xxi. 30. But out of love, he afflicteth saints. 2 ' In very faith- 
fulness thou hast afflicted me,' saith David, Ps. cxix. 75 ; as if 
David had said, Lord, thou art not only righteous in giving me to 
di'ink the fruit of my disobedience to thy law, but thou art also 
gracious in causing me therein to taste the effects of thy love. Thy 
correcting severity proceeds from thine electing mercy ; ^ thou 
couldst not be faithful to my soul and thy covenant of salvation, if 
thou shouldst suffer me to wander from thy commands, and not 
bring me home, though by Weeping-cross. It is worthy our obser- 
vation, that God binds himself as well to give his children a rod in 
their minority when they offend, as the inheritance when they come 
to age. ' If they break my statutes, and keep not my command- 
ments, then will I visit their iniquity with a rod, and their trans- 
gressions with stripes ; nevertheless, my loving-kindness I will not 
take from him, nor suffer my faitlifulness to fail. Once have I 
sworn by my holiness, I will not lie unto David.' How then should 

1 Magna est misericordia hie virga corrigi, ne alibi duro malleo conterantur. — 
Nic. de Clemang. Epist. 58. 

" Quod Deus amat, indurat et exercet non in deliciis sed in castris. — Sen. Epist. 67. 
* !Magna Ira est, quando peccantibus nou irascitur Deus. — Jerome Ejjisl. 33. 


he be faithful to his word, if they who transgress so often should 
never feel his rod, much less if he should let them run on to their 
ruin ! He visits their iniquities with stripes, that he might not 
take from them his loving-kindness, nor suffer his faithfulness to 
fail. The punishments of sinners are vindictive, the fruits of pure 
wrath ; but the afflictions of saints are corrective, the genuine pro- 
duct of true love. ' All his ways are mercy and truth ; ' not only 
his comforting, but his correcting ways. If he smile, it is in mercy ; 
and if he smite, it is in mercy. Grod may change his dispensation 
towards his children, but never his disposition, Ps. xxv. 10. 

Some write of the Russians, that their women think those hus- 
bands do not love them who do not beat them, and those husbands 
to love them most who beat them most. Sure I am, those that 
have felt most of the weight of God's hand have had the greatest 
room in his heart. As it was said of Asher, his shoes are iron and 
brass, but his feet are dipped in oil, in love; so I may say of God. 
When his shoes are iron and brass, when he treads hard and treads 
heavy, yet his feet are dipped in oil, in love, Deut. xxxiii. 24, 25. 
Those bands of affliction with which he binds his saints, are bonds of 
kindness, and those cords with which he scourgeth his chosen, are 
cords of love ; every lash speaks love, and is laid on by love. 

Now, what a sweet syrup is this for thee, Christian, to take 
the bitter pill of affliction in ; I cannot but think it must needs go 
down the glibber, and also work the better. Doth love send it, and 
wilt thou slight it ? Shall love present it to thee, and wilt thou be 
pettish and peevish at it ? God's anger is more grievous than any 
pressure whatsoever, but his love will make amends for the want of 
any outward favour. Thy loving-kindness is better than life ; 
therefore, as long as thou hast this sauce in thy dish, it may make 
anything go down. ' A dinner of herbs with love, is better than a 
stalled ox with strife.' The eye is a tender part ; yet, when dim or 
dusky, we apply sharp powders or waters to eat out the web, or dry 
up the rheum, and yet love it nevertheless. Friend, God may love 
thee as the apple of his eye, even then when he afflicteth tliee 
sharply ; therefore, take his love-token kindly. 

Gentlemen prize their hawks, and deliglit to feed them, yet they 
put wervils upon their legs, and a hood upon their heads. But 
why, saith Bernard, is she blinded and fettered ? because they 
esteem her, and would have her always within call. If they have 
a hawk that they regard not, they will not take such pains with 
them, but let them fly away. Some sinners escape scourging, and 
are suffered to take their swing, because God doth not love nor 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 125 

esteem them ; but his saints, whom he vaUieth, he will he sure to 
correct, that he may have them always within his call and com- 

Children will take that potion willingly which a mother gives 
them, when, if a stranger should pour such a draught down their 
throats, they would cry out. We are poisoned. And what is the 
reason ? why, they are persuaded of their parent's love, that is the 
lump of sugar which sweetens it. He in Terence could say, when 
he was in his own thoughts hardly used, Pater est ; si pater non 
esset, &c. : It is my father ; if it were not my father I should not take 
it so well. Anything is pleasing which love doth present ; even 
blows in love are lovely, and the wounds of a friend are healing. 
David had much rather lose his life by the hands of courteous 
Jonathan, who loved him, than of cruel Saul, who hated him, 1 Sam. 
XX. 8. Elijah could beg death from a gracious God, — ' It is 
enough; now, Lord, take away my life' — even then when he 
feared it, and fled from it, by the hands of a spiteful, malicious 
woman, 1 Kings xix. 3, 4. Our blessed Eedeemer drank off freely 
that cup of venom and poison, of gall and wormwood, which would 
have turned the stomachs of all men and angels in the world to 
have tasted it, when it was put into his hands by a loving Father. 
When sinless nature had a reluctancy, the thought of a father 
carried it : ' The cup which my Father giveth me to drink, shall I 
not drink it ? ' Had the Lord Jesus considered only the fury of 
hell, and the wrath of his foes on earth, his potion would have 
been much less pleasing ; but when he thought of the love of his 
Father — how love provided it for him, and love presented it to him ; 
how there was not the least bitter ingredient in it, but lovq^ pre- 
scribed it, and love prepared it, he drank off liis cup, thus spiced 
with his Father's love, cheerfully. 

The truth is, our eyes are bad, and in our journey towards heaven, 
mountains and hills interposing, we lose the sight of the true Sun, 
and the sense of our Father's love ; but when we come to our 
Father's house, we shall see grace and love displayed in all its 
colours. 2 Though our Jesus now, like Joseph, acts the part of a 
seeming enemy, yet then we shall see that he loved us, all the while 
that he used ,us so hardly ; then he will speak plainly : I am your 

^ Disce gratiam esse, ubi Deus cito peccata punit; per hoc enim cumulus pecca- 
torum decrescit : cum enim poenas difFerat, tunc cum his culpa augetur ac conse- 
quenter poena. — Cornel, a Lap. in Gen. xv. 

" Exaudit iratus, non exaudit propitius; non parcit propitius, parcit iratus. — Aug. 
Cont. Jul., lib. V. cap. 4. 


brother Joseph whom ye sold — I am your brother Jesus whora ye 

Thirdly, Consider, God will proportion thy burden to thy back. 
He will not assess thee above thy estate. When any were scourged 
among the Jews, they fitted the whip to the person, and gave either 
all the stripes which God allowed, not exceeding forty, Deut xxv. 
3, at once, or at two several times, according to the strength of the 
ofiender ; to this end, the work of one of their judges was to num- 
ber the strokes, that they might be sure not to exceed. God 
numbereth as well the saints' sufferings as their sins, and will not 
permit one stroke beyond their strength. He limits their sufferings, 
both for their nature and their length ; he hath some strong, able 
servants, old men and fathers, therefore he calleth them to the 
harder services, that their strength might not be lost. Those that 
have great estates, much spiritual riches, must live accordingly, or 
else their wealth would be given them in vain. He hath others 
who are weak babes in Christ, little children ; now, though he 
drives these towards their heavenly country, when they would 
loiter and play with the toys of the world by the way, yet he doth 
not over-drive them, but, as Jacob's ewes great with young, drive 
them tenderly, ' as they are able to bear it,' Gen. xxxiii. 14. 

God is not like an empiric, who hath but one remedy for all per- 
sons, and all maladies, but first considers his patients, what age they 
are, of how long standing in Christ's school, of what strength, what 
proficiency they have made since they were entered, and accordingly 
writes his bill. Because, some bodies Avill bear it, he will give them 
physic two or three days together : ' Let us return unto the Lord : 
he hath torn, and he will heal us. After two days will he revive 
us : in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his 
sight,' Hosea vi. 1, 2, Nay, possibly ten days together he may give 
a diet drink : ' Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, 
and ye shall have tribulation ten days,' Eev. ii. 10. But because 
others of his children are of weak constitutions, he will purge them 
only one day, Zech. iii. 9, or give them pills one night : ' Heaviness 
shall endure for a night,' Ps. xxx. 5. Nay, if they be very sickly, 
it shall work but an hour : the apostle mentioneth, ' an hour of 
temptation,' Pvev. iii. 10. Nay, as the patient may be but a moment : 
' These light afflictions, which are but for a moment,' 2 Cor. iv. 17. 
And if there be any of his weaklings, whose stomachs cannot bear 
it so long, they shall have it less time, (if it may be, that this point 
is divisible :) ' For a small moment have I forsaken thee ; but with 
great mercies will I gather thee,' Isa. liv. 7, 8. Well might the 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 127 

apostle say, ' God is faithful, who will not suffer us to be tempted 
above what we are able.' AVith which verse Latimer comforted 
Eidley, when they were both going to the stake, adding, Be confi- 
dent, brother, God will either assuage the violence of the flames, or 
give us strength to bear it. 

After their physic, he gives cordials to keep them from fainting, 
he is so tender of his faithful ones. If he knock down Paul with 
one hand, and strike him blind, he will lift him up with the other 
hand, and that to the third heavens, where he shall see such blessed 
sights as mortal ears cannot hear of. He sendeth snow in Salmon, 
light in darkness. When it showers, it shines on a saint. I thank 
my God for this prison, said one of the martyrs, more than for any 
23alace ; for in it I find my God most sweet to me. When Philip, 
Landgrave of Hesse, was prisoner a long time together under Charles 
the Fifth, he was asked w^hat upheld him ; he answered, I feel the 
divine comforts of the martyrs. The cross of Christ is sweet wood ; 
it bears cordial spices. These lions, as Samson's, prove a hive of 
sweetness, and produce a swarm of comforts to the saints. When 
the waterpots are full of water, then the best wine is coming. It 
may be said of the Christian, what Plutarch speaketh of Egypt, 
He hath many poisons, but as many antidotes. i 

I have read of one that, digging under a cross,' found a great 
treasure ; saints have never found greater riches of grace and com- 
fort than under the cross. The wine of their joy is usually most 
brisk and lively when they drink it in those low, damp cellars, at 
the head of the pipe. When Jacob halts through a blow on his 
thigh, the place is turned into a Peniel, that is, the face of God. 
It was a happy sight that was accompanied with a sight of God's 

There are three great differences between the punishments God 
inflicts on sinners, and the afilictions he brings on saints in this 
world ; ' Hath he smitten him, as he smote those that smote him ?' 
Isa. xxvii. 7. No ; for, 

1. They difi'er in the manner. God punisheth his enemies with 
joy : ' Ah, I will ease me of mine enemies,' Isa. i. 24. As if he 
were in pain till they are punished, and could have no ease but in 
then' pain ; whereas, when he afflicts his children, it is with much 
compassion : ' His soul is grieved for the miseries of Israel,' Judges 
X. 15. He takes the rod into his hand with tears, as I may say, in 
his eyes. And when he hath it in his hand, hath many conflicts 
with himself, whether he should strike or no : ' How shall I deliver 

^ Multa venena, et multa salubria. — Plut. 


thee up, Ephraim ? how shall I give thee up, Israel ? how 
shall I make thee as Admah ? how shall I set thee as Zeboim ? 
(Admah and Zeboim were part of the Pentapolis which God des- 
troyed ; the other three were Sodom, Gomorrah, and Zoar ;) my 
bowels are rolled within me, my repentings are kindled together,' 
Hosea xi. 8, 9. Mark how he striveth with himself before he can 
strike his people. As if he had said, Ephraim, Israel, thou 
art a wicked, stubborn child, and art •worthy to be whipped till 
thou bleedest ; nay, to be whipped to death, and to be a monument 
of my fury, like to those cities which I consumed w^ith fire ; but 
though thine iniquities deserve it, and thine adversaries desire it, 
yet my tender mercies debate it, and implead it. How can I do it ? 
When God is destroying his enemies, he laughs at every lash, 
though it fetch blood from their backs : ' I will laugh at your des- 
truction, and mock when your fear cometh,' Prov. i. Their destruc- 
tion is the object of his derision. He strikes them with hatred and 
detestation of them, as a man strikes a toad. But when he is 
chastising his friends, his sons, after he hath overcome himself to 
do it, from the necessity of it, truly even then he doth it with sor- 
row, and every stroke, as it were, goeth to his very heart : ' In all 
their afflictions he is afflicted,' Isa. Ixiii. 

2. They differ in the measure. When God punisheth his enemies, 
he hath no regard at all what they can endure, and what they can- 
not, but strikes according as they have deserved : ' I will reward 
you according to all the evil of your doings, and till they be utterly 
destroyed,' Jer. xxv. But when he afflicteth his people, he doth 
consider what they are able to suffer : ' As a father pitieth his chil- 
dren, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth their 
frame ; he remembereth they are but dust,' Ps. ciii. 12, 13. He 
observeth what weak vessels they are, and therefore will not use 
them to hard knocks, nor suffer them to be too near, or too long by 
the fire, lest they fly in pieces. 

He correcteth his people, not according to the greatness of his 
power : ' Will he plead against me with his great power ? ' No ; 
but ' he will put strength into me,' Job xxiii. 6. Nor according to 
the fierceness of his anger : ' Many a time turned he away his anger, 
and did not stir up all his wrath/ Ps. Ixxviii. 38. Nor according 
to the grievousness of their errors : ' Thou hast punished us less 
than our iniquities deserve,' Ezra ix. 13. But he correcteth them 
in measure : ' Though I make a full end of all nations whither I 
have scattered thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee : but I 
will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee wholly un- 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 129 

punislied,' Jer. xxx. 11. He meteth out their sufferings in a due 
proportion, like those that do things exactly by weight and measure, 
(not a drachm too much,) with respect both to the quality of the 
disease, and the ability of the patient's body. 

As a judge, when he correcteth his child, hath respect not only to 
the child's wantonness, but also to the child's weakness, and accord- 
ingly whips him ; but when he sits on the bench, and is sentencing 
a malefactor at the bar, only considers his offence, and what the law 
inflicts ; never whether the poor prisoner be able to endure burning 
on the hand, or hanging; so God deals with his children in the 
relation of a Father — mildly, moderately, according to their strength ; 
but with others, in the relation of a judge — severely, yet justly, 
according to their demerits. 

3. They differ in the end. God afiiicteth his children to sanctify 
their polluted hearts ; he punisheth his enemies to satisfy his 
offended justice. God cometh to his people, as a chirurgeon to 
his patient, pricking and cutting him to let out his bad blood, it 
may be, bleeding him till he is ready to faint, that there may be a 
spring of better ; but he comes to his enemies as a creditor to his 
debtor, taking him by the throat, and bidding him pay what thou 
owest, which because he cannot, to prison he must go. 

When God striketh his children, he doth, as a fencer to his 
scholars, now and then give them a blow with a bliint weapon, for 
instruction, to teach them the better how to defend themselves ; but 
when he striketh sinners, he strikes as one of the Koman gladiators, 
to kill and slay ; he first whets his glittering sword, and his hand 
takes hold of judgment, and then he renders vengeance to his 
enemies, and a reward to them that hate him, Deut. xxxi. 41. His 
judgments on the sinners are for their jDunishment, as an earnest- 
penny of their endless misery ; but his corrections on the saints are 
for their profit, for the preventing or purging away of their iniqui- 
ties. But more of this in the next particular. 

Fourthly, Consider that all thy afilictions are needful, and shall 
work for thy good. Nothing is intolerable that is necessary. The 
waters are not more needful to waft the ship, than afflictions are to 
carry the vessels of our souls to their port of bliss. Affliction, saith 
the martyr to his friend, will scour and rub you bright, that you 
may be fit to be set on the high shelf in heaven : ' Though now for 
a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold tempta- 
tions,' 1 Pet. i. 6. ' If need be ; ' whilst we have diseased bodies, jDhysic 
is as needful as food ; whilst we have diseased souls, misery is as 
needful as outward mercies. The winter is as necessary to bring on 



harvest as the spring ; affliction is as helpful to bring forward the 
harvest of glory as any condition. Winds and thunder trouble the 
air, but withal they purge it. Corrections are grievous, but withal 
they purify and make us gracious. There is a necessity that the 
patient be made sick, for otherwise he cannot be well. We hold 
but our arm to a chirurgeon, to lance us for our good, when if an- 
other should cut us, we would be ready to take the law of him.l 
Christian, thou may est well with patience undergo divine correc- 
tions, because they are for thy profit. 

God and the world differ much in their ends about the saints' 
afSiction.2 The world persecuteth them out of hatred ; God afflicteth 
them out of love, the world intendeth evil in it. As Joseph said to 
the patriarchs, ' Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it 
unto good, as it is this day, to save much people alive,' Gen. xv. 20. 
So the saints may bespeak the world in regard of those slanders 
and fetters, and other calamities which they bring on them : As 
for you, ye thought evil against us, but God meant it to good, as 
it appeareth this day, to save our souls alive. The physician and 
the leech have several ends in drawing the patient's blood : the end 
of the leech is to satisfy herself ; the end of the physician is to 
better the state of his patient's body. The end which the world 
aimeth at in the crosses which they bring on Christians is to satisfy 
their own pride, and malice, and revenge : ' My lust shall be satis- 
fied upon them,' saith Pharaoh, when he was pursuing Israel, Exod. 
XV. 9 ; but God's end is to sanctify his people's souls. 

One of the sharpest calamities that ever befell Israel was the 
Babylonish captivity, yet even this was in mercy : Jer. xxiv. 5, 6, 
' Thus saith the Lord ; Like the good figs, so will I acknowledge 
them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent 
out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.' 
How ! of freemen be made prisoners, and that in a strange land 
amongst heathen, to be removed from their own houses, vineyards, 
friends, nay, and from the temple of God, and all this for their good ! 

Possibly, reader, thou wilt be apt to say, as the unbelieving lord. 
Though God should work a miracle, could this be ? I tell thee, 
God doth with his rod of correction, as Moses with his rod in Egypt, 
work wonders, and it shall be. 3 As the goat, through common 
providence, can digest hemlock, and draw good sustenance from it, 
which is counted a deadly weed to other creatures ; so the Christian, 

1 Finis dat amabilitatem et facilitatem mediis. 

' Veneniim aliquando pro remedio fuit. — Scnec. De Benefic, lib. ii. cap. 18. 

3 Medici pedes et alas Cantliaridis, cum sit ipsa mortlfero, prodtsse dicunt. — Plut. 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 131 

through special assistance, can feed on the evil of affliction, and get 
strength from it, as deadly as it is to profane persons. 

Sometimes God prevents sin by affliction. A purge or bleeding 
in the spring may prevent diseases in autumn. Suffering hath 
many a time killed sin in the embryo, and prevented its birth. 
When Cato urged in the senate i that Carthage might be destroyed, 
Scipio opposed it, saying, that the fear of Carthage made the 
Komans watchful, whereas, if it should be destroyed, they would 
degenerate into luxury. Salt marshes preserve sheep from the rot, 
which otherwise they would be infected with, and die of. When 
the waters are abated, the dove herself is apt to wander and to be 
defiled, therefore the continuance of the waters is for her good ; it 
prevents her wandering out of the ark. 

External hardships have hindered souls from hell, from eternal 
heaviness. Manasseh's iron chains prevented the chains of ever- 
lasting darkness. ' We are chastened of the Lord, that we might 
not be condemned with the world,' 1 Cor. xi. 31. God hath by 
adversity carted some to heaven, whom prosperity would have 
coached to hell. A corroding plaster, though it puts a man to 
pain, yet, by eating out the festered matter, prevents the cutting 
off his limb, and many times the loss of his life. Had the prodigal 
found his fill of husks, it is probable he had not thought of his 
father's house.2 Now, reader, is not that needful, and for thy good, 
which prevents sin, nay, which preventeth hell ? 

Sometimes God purgeth away sin by affliction. He useth the 
file to take away that which is rugged. Affliction, saith Chrysos- 
tom, is the shepherd's dog, which takes the lamb into its mouth 
when it goeth astray; not to bite it, but to bring it home. God's 
design in thy sufferings is not to ruin, but to reform, thee. A gar- 
dener diggeth his ground, breaketh the clods, maketh the earth 
as small as he can ; but an ordinary capacity knoweth his end is 
to mend it, not to mar it : Prov. xx. 30, ' The blueness of the 
wound cleanseth away evil ; so do stripes the inward parts of the 
belly.' There was a time when the Israelites went down to the 
Philistines to sharpen their weapons. It may be God lets wicked 
men loose upon thee, to detract, backbite, and slander thee ; but his 
end is that their evil words should make thee more watchful, and 
help to sharpen thy spiritual weapons. 

1 Flor., lib. ii. 

2 Nisi ego fuissem mordas (inquit Luth.) Papa fuisset vorax. Had not I been 
a perch, with sharp fins, the pope had swallowed me ; so had Satan many a Christian, 
had it not been for affliction. — Col. MmsaL, cap. 37. 


The Christian is like the Athenians, of whom some write, Non 
nisi atrati, they mend not till they are in mourning. Trees set 
in the winter thrive most ; the oftener the hair is shaved, the thicker 
and the more it groweth. It is said of the Phrygians, they wax 
not wise except they are beaten to it ; and one of our great statesmen 
ohserveth of us English, that we are best when we are in black. 
When we are merry, we are worst ; when we are sorrowful, we are 

Apollonius writes of a certain people that could see nothing 
in the day, but anything in the night. Saints, like those creatures 
that have fiery eyes, see best the sinfulness of sin, the worthlessness 
of the word, and the preciousness of their Saviour, in the dark night 
of affliction. In the day of light and outward comforts, the sun- 
shine of prosperity doth many times so dazzle their eyes, that they 
are almost blind. ^ Oh, how much doth the Christian esteem the 
smiles of the Lord, when he is under the frowns of the world ! There 
are no strains in music so delightful as those in which discords are 
artificially bound up with concords. Dark shadows set forth a 
beautiful picture, and represent it more lovely and lively. Tribu- 
lation, saith Luther, is the best expositor of Scripture, without 
which a man can never know the will, or the goodwill, or love of 

Quails love to fly with the wind, because of their small strength 
and little bodies, yet not with the south wind, which is moist and 
heavy, but with the cold north wind. Holiness oftener accom- 
panieth the cold north wind of adversity, than the warm south wind 
of prosperity. It was observed, in the days of Edward the Sixth, 
when the sweating sickness raged in England, and swept away 
many, then the churches were thronged, and servants sent to this 
and that minister. You must come to my lord ; you must come to 
my lady ; they beseech you to pray with them, to pray for them ; 
here is a bag of money they desire you to give to the poor. Since 
that, when the plague raged in England, and the bills of mortality 
swelled to several thousands in one week, in one city, how piously 
were fasts observed, how zealously was heaven importuned, how 
devoutly were Sabbaths sanctified ! But as soon as those judgments 
were removed, piety was abated, profaneness abounded, and the 
Author and Father of all our mercies provoked to his face. 

^ Anglica gens est optima flens, et pessima gaudens. 

^ Cum tremore nobis considerandum est quod Justus et omnipotens Deus, quum 
irascitur prajcedentibus peccatis, permittit ut coeeata mens in alia dilabatur. — Greg. 
M. Ezek. iii. 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 133 

Men mistake often the end of God in their suflferings, hence 
are so unwilling to undergo them. When the taste is vitiated, as 
in diseased persons, they mistake their meats, and therefore nothing 
pleaseth them. If there be a suffusion in the eye, as in the jaun- 
dice, everything seemeth yellow ; when those who have seen God's 
end have counted affliction a favour and an honour. Luther prayed 
for it, Fei'i, Domine, feri, Strike, Lord, strike, and it shall be a 
mercy. King Alfred prayed God to send him some sickness to 
keep under his flesh. Job, speaking to God of afflicting him, 
saith. Job vii. 18, ' What is man, that thou shouldst magnify 
him ? that thou shouldst visit him every morning, and try him 
every moment ? ' 

Eeader, art thou in great troubles ? ponder this — thy God brings 
them on thee for thy profit. Thou wilt take bitter physic for the 
good of thy body, and shouldst thou not be as ready for that which 
tendeth so much to the health of thy soul ? i Though the whet- 
stone grate upon, and somewhat wear the knife, yet withal it 
sharpeneth it. Suflferings may somewhat pain and wear thee, but 
they will quicken thee God-ward, and sharpen thine appetite after 
spiritual things. 

If thy God deny thee a confluence of outward comforts which he 
granteth to others, thou mayest be confident it is for thy good. 
Infinite wisdom seeth it best to keep thee short. Thy God knoweth 
how much the vessel of thy soul will carry, and therefore putteth 
no more goods aboard, lest thou shouldst sink in the bottomless 
gulf of perdition, as many poor barks have done out of covetousness, 
to take in a greater freight than they could safely sail to heaven 
with. Because the storms of temptation threaten danger to none 
so much as to those that are deepest laden, he lades thee lightly, 
that thou mayest sail to thy port of bliss safely. 

Further, thou mayest be assured that thine afflictions shall worjc 
for thy good. God hath promised it, and he will perform it, Kom. 
viii. 28. There is a twofold kingdom of Christ ; the one is his 
spiritual kingdom, whereby he ruleth by his Spirit and word in the 
hearts of liis people. In this respect he is called King of saints, for 
they submit to him as their sovereign. 

The other is his providential kingdom, whereby he ruleth in the 
world, disposing of all things therein ; in this respect he is called 
King of nations. He sits at the stern of the world, and steereth it 
which way he pleaseth, for the government is upon his shoulders. 

^ Quicquid divinitus ante ultimum judicium vindicatur, non ad interitum homi- 
num, sed ad medicinam valere credendum est. — Aug. Cont. Ejnst. Mar., cap. 1. 


Now he orderetli his providential kingdom for the advancement of 
his spiritual kingdom ; so that his kingdom, which ruleth over all, 
shall be disposed as may be most for the welfare of his people. 
Thou mayest say of thy affliction, if thou art a member of Christ, 
as Paul did of his, ' I know that this shall turn to my salvation,' 
Phil. i. 19. Though instruments intend thy destruction, yet thy 
God, who governeth all, will turn it to thy salvation. 

Wouldst thou be angry if thy father should send workmen to 
pull down an old smoky cottage in which thou livest, and to build 
up a handsome, stately dwelling at his own charge ? i And canst 
thou take it otherwise than kindly at the hands of thy God, when 
he sendeth afEictions to pull down sin and thy body of death, though 
he thereby put thee to a little trouble, when he intendeth to build 
up thy soul a more pure and glorious piece ? It is the observation 
of Salmeron,2 If a man should throw a rich diamond at you, and 
hit you upon the hand, so you might have the diamond for it, would 
you count that an injury ? ' All things shall work together for 
good to them that love God.' All things, not only thy comforts, 
but also thy crosses ; not only the love of God, but also the hatred 
of the world, and the malice of hell. 

Fifthly, Consider how the people of God have formerly endured 
great afflictions ; nay, how the Son of God himself drank deepest 
of this cup. The best of saints have borne the worst of sufferings. 
Heaven's chief favourites have been trampled on as the world's filth. 
Thou thinkest none hath suffered so much as thou hast, but, alas ! 
hast thou resisted unto blood ? Dost thou know the racks and 
tortures which many of the Lord's chosen have endured ? Socrates 
was wont to say. If all the calamities of mortal men were heaped 
into one storehouse, from whence every one should take an equal 
portion, each man would choose rather to go away with that part and 
pain which he hath already. 

David was the song of the drunkards ; Elijah fled for his life ; 
Jeremiah was cast into a dungeon ; Daniel into a lion's den ; Micaiah 
fed in prison with bread and water ; Paul's whole life, after his con- 
version, was, as it were, one continued affliction, till he came at last 
to end all with his life under Nero. Consider the patience of Job ; 
saith the apostle, ' Take the prophets, who have spoken in the name 
of the Lord, for examples of suffering affliction, and of patience,' 
James v. 10. How deep did the primitive worthies wade in these 
waters ! Solamen miseris, &c. It is some comfort that thou hast 

^ servum ilium beatum cujus emendation! Deusinstat, cui dignatur irasci ? — Ter. 
de Patient,, cap. IL '^ Salmer. in Johan., iii. 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 135 

company ; thou dost not break this snowy, icy way. The road is 
ah'eady beaten by many who have gone before thee. 

Antiochiis being to fight with Judas, captain of the host of the 
Jews, to make his elephants fight the better, he shewed them the 
blood of grapes. The Komans, in the place of their Olympic 
games, pictured those who had been famous at that exercise, to 
encourage others to do worthily. 

Keader, thou art compassed about with a great cloud, or pillar, 
of witnesses, do thou therefore run with patience the race set before 
thee, Heb. xii. 1. It is enough for thee to fare as the rest of thy 
father's children. If they drunk so much wormwood, and did eat 
such bread of affliction, who were so dutiful and obedient, thou hast 
little reason, who art so froward and stubborn, to expect better. 
Why shouldst thou desire God should make thee a new way to 
heaven, different from that wherein his people have always gone ? 
How unreasonable is it to think that the w^orld, which was their 
purgatory, should be thy paradise ; that, above all thy brethren, 
thou must have two heavens ! Eemember Midas, who would turn 
everything he touched into gold, ruined himself by it. 

Eemember especially Avhat thy Saviour suffered. Though he 
were without sin, yet he was a man of sorrows ; all thy sufferings 
to his are but a feather to a mountain of lead. If God spared not 
his own Son, who was without sin, he hath little cause to spare thee, 
who art little else but sin ; if he dealt so severely with the green 
tree, how severely may he deal with the dry. 

When Alexander marched through Persia, his way was stopped 
with ice and snow, insomuch that his soldiers, being tired before 
with hard marches, were wholly discouraged, and would have gone no 
further, which he perceiving, dismounted, and went on foot through, 
the midst of them all, making his way with a pickaxe, whereat 
they being ashamed, first his friends and officers, and then all the 
rest, fell to work.i Thy Saviour hath gone before thee, and given 
thee an example, that thou mightest follow his steps, 1 Pet. ii. 21. 
Art thou poor ? so was Christ ; he had not a house to put his 
head in. Mat. viii. 20. Art thou slandered? so was Christ; a 
friend of publicans and sinners, a Samaritan, one that had a devil, 
was the language the Jews gave him. Art thou hungry, and 
thirsty, and weary ? so was Christ. Art thou tempted ? so was 
Christ, Mat. iv. Is thy soul sorrowful ? so was his, unto death. 
Do thy friends wrong thee and forsake thee ? so did his. Doth 
God hide his face from thee ? so he did from him. And canst 

^ Prior bibit medicus, iit bibere non dubitaret segrotus. 


thou imitate a better than thy Saviour? should not his pattern be 
prevalent with thee ? It is reported,! that though the amber- 
ring were of no esteem among the Romans for a long time together, 
yet when the emperor did once wear it, every one followed him. 
How contrary soever the cross is to thy nature, yet one would think 
thou shouldst be ambitious to resemble the king of saints. Hath 
he drunk to thee in a cup of affliction, and hast thou neither the 
manners nor grace to pledge him ? 

Sixthly, Considei", thy sin is the meritorious cause of all thy 
sufferings. Sin is the weight on the clock which makes the ham- 
mer to strike. God may say to -thee under the saddest providence, 
as he said to the Roman emperor, formerly a cutler, This is the 
sword which thou madest, and by which thou now must die ; this 
is the cross which thou madest, and by which you now must smart. 
Thou complainest of thy cross, but thou mayest thank thyself for it; 
therefore, turn thy complaint against thy corruptions. 

If sin lie heavy upon thee, all afflictions will be light. Luther 
gives this reason why he slighted the rage of pope and emperor, 
and all his outward enemies ; They are all little to me, saith he, 
because sin is so weighty on me.^ The like we may observe of 
the blessed apostle Paul ; he cried out much , of his sins, and 
thence complained not at all of his sufferings. Though he was in 
grQat distresses, and in deaths often, yet he never bewailed them, 
saying, ' wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the 
death of this body ! ' because he bemoaned sin so much. ' wretched 
man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death ! ' 
Sense of sin swalloweth up sense of afflictions, ias the ocean doth 
little rivers. He who hath carried a good part of a sheet of lead 
upon his back, will make nothing of a few bags of feathers. Truly, 
affliction to sin is but as a feather to a sheet of lead. 

Reader, I assure thee this is an excellent receipt for the cure of 
thy murmuring and impatience under the hand of God. Consider, 
whom canst thou be angry with but thyself, when thou hast brought 
thy troubles on thyself ? ^ 'I will patiently bear the indignation 
of the Lord,' saith the church, ' because I have sinned against him,' 
Micah vii. 9. It is as natural for sin to beget suffering, as for a 
father to beget a son. 

It will break the violence of the stream, thy passion, by turning 

^ Tacitus. 

- The heathens could see this. Sua quemque fraus, suus terror maxima vexat ; 
suum quemque scelus agitat, &c. — Cic. Orat. pro Rose. 

^ Quid de acerbitate ptenarum querimur ? unusquisque nostrum ipse se punit. — 
Salvi. de Guh. Dei, lib. iii. 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 137 

the water of thy sorrow into another channel — from thy affliction 
to thy sin. When men spit blood, or bleed too much at the nose, 
physicians ordinarily cure it by opening a vein, and turning the 
blood another way. Thy worldly sorrow is as dangerous to thy 
spirit as inward bleeding to thy flesh: to stop it, try but this 
remedy of diverting it into sorrow for sin, and I am confident thou 
wilt set thy jivohatum est to the receipt. Godly sorrow will eat uj) 
worldly, as Moses' rod did the rods of the magicians. The noise of 
a great cannon in the ear drowns the noise of pistols, that they are 
not heard at all. 

Lastly, Look much up to heaven. To allay thy present sufferings, 
think of thy future solace. Though thou hast a hell here, where 
wicked men enjoy their heaven, yet thy hell shall end in heaven, 
and thy heaven shall never end. The meditation of heaven will 
much abate thy heaviness. Those birds that fly lowest mourn 
most. The dove hath a doleful note, but the eagle, which soareth 
higher, hath no such mournful voice. Moses had an eye to the 
recompense of reward, and therefore he ' chose rather to suffer afflic- 
tion with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for 
a season,' Heb. xi. 

When Saul was anointed to a kingdom, though many sons of 
Belial despised him, yet he held his peace. And shall not the 
thought of thine eternal, glorious kingdom, to which the Spirit of 
God hath anointed thee, move thee to patience under all the 
world's calumnies and cruelties P What the sponge is to the 
cannon, cooling it when it is so heated with much shooting that it 
is ready to fly in pieces, that is a sight of heaven by faith to a 
suffering Christian ; it cools liis heats, and quiets his heart, when it 
is ready to break in pieces through impatience. It is no wonder 
that Paul was so valiant to suffer ; that whatsoever cross God laid 
down for him, he took it up as cheerfully as if it had been a crown — 
triumphing in tribulations, defpng death itself, and scorning the 
world's most direful threatenings as bugbears to fright children 
with, when he had before been rapt up into the third heavens, and 
heard there things unutterable. That celestial music had so 
ravished and enchanted his ears, that they were deaf ever after to 
the roarings of the world's lions. Ah ! what hardship will not 
that soul endure, that walks within the view of heaven ! 

The worldling, who, like the silk-worm, is wholly for the earth, 
may well, as they, be terrified unto death at the noise of thunder, 

^ Vitus duas habemus, unam in qua sumus, alteram quam speramus. Tolera in 
qua es, et habebis quam nondum habes, in qua nou tolerabis. — Aug. in Ps. 


but the Christian that can mount up to heaven may sing in such 

Indeed, reader, if thou refusest to suffer with Christ, thou re- 
fusest to reign with him, 2 He who putteth off his gospel-shoe, as 
a suffering spirit is called, Eph. vi. 17, doth as he who put off 
his shoe among the Jews, Dent. xxv. 9, 10 ; Kuth iv. 7, 8, disclaim 
any right to inheritance. But those who attend Christ on mount 
Calvary to his crucifixion, shall attend him on mount Tabor to his 
glorification. When David went to Hebron to the crown, he 
carried all those with him who had followed him up and down in 
the caves of the earth. Christ will own and honour all them in 
his glory who owned him in his ignominy. Solomon spared the life 
of Abiathar, though he had been guilty of high treason, upon this 
account, ' Because,' saith he, 'thou hast been afflicted in all wherein 
my father was afflicted,' 1 Kings ii. 26. And will not the true 
Solomon prefer and advance them that have fellowship with him in 
his sufferings ? 

The sufferings which thou now endurest are not worthy to be 
named with the joys which God hath provided for thee. If we 
rightly consider, saith Luther, how great the glory of the life to 
come will be, we should not be so unwilling to suffer all manner of 
tribulations, which by the wicked world are put upon us. When 
the Son of man, our Lord Jesus Christ, shall appear to sentence the 
good and the bad, then we shall be ashamed, if any possibility of 
shame, that we so unwillingly suffered a small cross and a slight 
tribulation, as a wrongful imprisonment, a casting into a dungeon, 
&c. Then we shall say, Oh fie upon me, in that I threw not myself 
down under the feet of all the ungodly, to be trod and trampled 
upon, for thy glory's sake, which now I see revealed. Therefore, St 
Paul well and truly saith, ' For I reckon that the sufferings of this 
present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which 
shall be revealed in us.' 

The apostle doth, as it were, put the cross, with all its encum- 
brances, into one scale, and the saint's crown, which will be the end 
of his sufferings, into the other scale, and teUs us that our present 
burdens are so infinitely outweighed by our future bliss, that they 
are not worthy to be mentioned with it, or compared to it. I 
reckon,^ saith he, it is an allusion either to an accountant that 
reckons up disbursements and receipts, and at the foot of them 
sums up all what they amount to — i.e., I have examined strictly 

1 Ulys. Aldrovand. Hist, de Insect., lib. ii. ^ Look my Sermon on Eom. viii. 18. 
^ \oyiioij.ai, Numero, conclude. « 

Chap. X.] the chkistian man's calling. 139 

your layings out for Christ in this worki, and have also cast up 
what he hath laid up for you, and ye shall receive from him in the 
pther world, and find that your receipts do infinitely surpass your 
disbursements ; nay, they amount to such millions that all imagin- 
able expenses here deserve not to be named the same day with the 
glory hereafter. Or it is an allusion to a disputant, who seriously 
weigheth arguments pro and con, and afterwards delivers his judg- 
ment — i.e., I have soberly pondered all your sufferings that are 
possible, how much it may cost you to reign with Jesus Christ, 
and after all my consideration, this is my collection, my conclusion; 
that the sufferings of this present life are no more comparable to 
the glory to be revealed, than this small drop or moment, in which 
narrow compass all our sufferings are contracted, is to the vast 
ocean of eternity. 

Eeader, chew that text a little with the mouth of faith, and thou 
wilt find it sweet. 

1. Thy sufferings are little, some few drops may light on thee 
in thy journey, but thy glory is great. Thou shalt bathe thy soul 
in rivers of pleasures when thou comest home. For thy light afflic- 
tions thou shalt have a far more exceeding weight of glory. Thy 
cross is little, is light, but thy crown is maSsy, is weighty indeed. 
Oh what a small pain is this, said a Dutch martyr in the flames, to 
the pleasure hereafter. 

2. Thy sufierings are outward only, in thy name, or estate, or 
body : neither men nor devils can hurt thy soul, or make a flaw in 
that diamond ; but thy glory shall be both outward and inward. 
Thy body shall shine like the sun in its noonday dress ; but ten 
thousand suns will be darkness to thy soul's attire. Thy soul is 
the chiefest seat of grace, and thy soul will be the choicest subject 
of glory. 

3. Thy sufferings are mixed with solace ; there is some sugar in 
the bitterest cup. Non dantur puree tenehrce. But thy glory shall 
be pure, there shall be not the least mixture of shame or sorrow, or 
any evil to allay its virtue, or abate its value. If thy condition 
here be like the lower heavens, foul and fair in the same day, thy 
condition hereafter will be like the upper heavens, always shining, 
never showering. 

4. Thy sufferings here are generally common to mankind. Man 
is born to sorrow, as the sparks fly upward ; but thy glory hereafter 
is special, as Joseph's field, ' a portion above thy brethi'en.' Though 
thou sharest with the world in their sufierings, they shall not share 
with thee in thy solace. 


5. Thy sufferings are due to thee ; the snares in which thou art 
taken are of thine own laying ; the cords in which thou art bound 
are of thy own twisting ; but thy glory is free, a gift of grace. In 
regard of God's promise, it is called a crown of righteousness ; in 
regard of the price paid for it by Christ, it is called the purchased 
possession ; but in regard of the persons to whom it is promised, 
and for whom it was purchased, it is called mercy : ' The mercy of 
our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life/ 2 Tim. iv. 8 ; Eph. i. 14 ; 
Jude 23. 

6. Thy sufferings are short, only for this present time. Heavi- 
ness may endure for a night, mourning lasteth but tiU morning ; 
it is but a day of adversity at most. Hcgc non durant cetatem, 
These things will not last an age, said Jewel in the Marian days, 
Eccles. vii. 16 ; but thy glory is eternal, an eternal weight of glory. 
That sun will never be clouded, will never set. Who would not 
suffer a while for eternal glory ! 

A good loish of a Christian in adversity, ivherein the former heads 

are applied. 

The mighty possessor of heaven and earth, who, out of his mani- 
fold wisdom, hath appointed from all eternity his providences to 
be chequer-work, a night and a day, a summer and a winter, an 
ebb and a tide, a mixture of sour and sweet in this world, as know- 
ing that to be best for his creatures — if they felt nothing but fear, 
they would despair ; if nothing but mercy, they would be secure, — 
reserving pure wrath and pure rest, pure mercy and pure miseiy, 
for the other world ; and who foreordaineth his own chosen to 
drink deepest of the cup of affliction, and to take up their cross and 
follow Christ; having out of his love and grace called me to a suffer- 
ing condition, which he knoweth to be most needful for my spirit, 
though it be painful to my flesh, I wish that my feet may be so 
shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, that I may cheer- 
fully endure hardship, as a good soldier of Christ, and be so faithful 
unto death, that at last I may obtain a crown of life. Lord, since 
thou vouchsafest me this favour and honour, as to take the pains, 
and stoop so low to chastise me, when thou mightest permit me to 
run on in sin till I come to hell, let instruction accompany my cor- 
rection, that I may imitate my Saviour, and learn obedience by the 
things that I suffer. Oh enable me so to hear the voice of thy rod, 


that I may, like a torch, burn the brighter, and, as some trees, bear 
the better for beating. As the earth by a winter becomes the more 
fruitful at harvest, so let me by thy afflicting hand be the more 
abundant in holiness, that I may at last, through many tribulations, 
enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

I wish that, now my God is searching and examining me, as the 
chief captain did Paul, by scourging, I may be found sincere. The 
rod of his hand will discover the rottenness of many hearts ; un- 
sound fruit falls off apace in stormy weather ; sharp air trieth my 
body, whether sickly or no ; and so will sufferings try my soul, and 
great batteries will prove the strength of the bulwark. The eagle 
proveth her young by holding them up to the sun ; if they can 
behold it in its full glory and beauty, she acknowledgeth the birds 
to be her own brood. My God is examining me by the sun of per- 
secution, whether I am a bastard or one of his children. He hath 
brought me to the fire to discover what metal I am, whether true 
or counterfeit; he knoweth me thoroughly, but would have me 
known to myself ' Though I go on the left hand, where he doth 
work, I cannot behold him ; he hideth himself on the right hand, 
that I cannot see him ; but he knoweth the way that I take. Oh 
that, when he Jiath tried me, I might come forth like gold,' Job 
xxiii. 9, 10. Lord, though others, like cranes, never fly against, 
but always with, the wind of the times, and if they see any altera- 
tion of weather, sit still on the ground, let me never follow a mul- 
titude to do evil, but follow the Lamb wherever he goeth ; be so 
ready for all resistance which the world or hell can make against 
me, that over all I may be more than a conqueror, through him 
that loveth me. My God led Israel in the wilderness forty years, 
to humble them and to 'prove them — to know what w^as in their 
hearts, whether they would keep his commandments or no. Oh 
that, when he trieth me, he may find truth in mine inward parts ! 
Lord, though many, like earthen, empty vessels, break in pieces 
when they come to the fire, let the trial of my faith, which is more 
precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, be 
found to my praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of 
Jesus Christ. 

I wish that, considering how wicked hearts naturally grow worse 
by afflictions, as Jeroboam by his withered hand, I may be the 
more watchful. Stinking weeds, the more they are bruised, are the 
more unsavoury. Water after heating groweth colder than before. 
The thief on the cross rails even on Jesus Christ. How many are 
more filthy under their misery ! Corruption stopped in its course 


by affliction, as a river by a bridge, doth roar and swell the more. 
These waters have not seldom polluted those persons whom they 
should have cleansed. Not a few have been more sinful after their 
sufferings. Children do not shoot up more in bodily stature after 
an ague, than they in ungodliness after affliction. Though I am 
one of Christ's sheep, yet I am in danger of losing my fleece 
amongst these thorns and briers, if I have not the more care. Oh 
that I might be so watchful, that that scouring and rubbing which 
frets others, may make me shine the brighter, and that weight 
which crusheth others, cause me, like the palm-tree, to grow the 
better ! Lord, thou knowest more ballast of grace is requisited in 
the vessel of my soul in this tempestuous season than in a quiet sea, 
to prevent my sinking. Let thy Spirit so poise this small bark, that 
I may be steady in all storms, and all these high winds which 
threaten to overturn me, may further me in my voyage towards my 
eternal and blessed haven. 

I wish, since my God afflicteth me, not as fathers of the flesh, 
merely for his pleasure, but for my profit, to make me partaker of 
his holiness, that I may, as a rose in the still, smell the sweeter, 
and as a vessel of gold, by this fire be the more purified for my 
master's use. Fish thrive best in cold and salt waters. The 
pomander becomes the more fragrant for chafing. The viper, when 
lashed, casts up his poison. The traitor, when on the rack, will 
tell the whole truth. Even a Joab, in distress, will lay hold on 
the horns of the altar. My God leads me through this great and 
terrible wilderness, wherein are fiery serpents, and scorpions, to do 
me good at my latter end, Deut. viii. 16. Oh that his fires might 
burn up my dross, and his flails beat off my husks, and that this 
might be the fruit of affliction, even the taking away of sin ! Lord, 
when thou layest me on my back, let me look up to thee for thy 
blessing ; teach me, as a nightingale, to warble out thy praises the 
more pleasantly for these thorns at my breast. Since my affliction 
is a messenger sent by thee to purge out my present wickedness, 
and prevent my future wanderings, let it not return unto thee void, 
but accomplish that which pleaseth thee, and prosper in the thing 
whereto thou hast sent it. 

I wish that I may be so patient and pious in my sufferings, that 
my God may not disdain to give me a visit in my sickness. Surely 
my God and adversity will be good company. If I go to prison, 
and there enjoy his gracious presence, it will be more comfortable 
than the most glorious court ; if I be disgraced, he will be a crown 
of glory ; if I be impoverished, he will be better than rubies, than all* 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 143 

riches. Do I sit in darkness ? the Lord will be a light unto me. 
Am I called to die ? in his favour is life ; yea, his loving-kindness 
is better than life. Whatsoever my distress be, I am safe whilst he 
is my defence. My God will supply all my needs out of the riches 
of his grace in Christ Jesus. Though mine iniquities provoke him 
to put me into the fire, lest I should be condemned, yet his mercy 
will prevail with him, to pluck me as a brand out of the fire, lest I 
should be consumed. If he afford his help, nothing can hurt. The 
most heavy burden will be but light, if he please to strengthen my 
back ; I can do all things through Christ strengthening me. Oh 
that these thoughts might prevail with me, to be so Christian in my 
carriage under the hardest cross, that whatsoever I want, I may not 
want the company of my God ! Lord, thou hast spoken by the prophet, 
Zech. i. 8, ' I saw by night, and behold a man riding upon a red horse, 
and he stood amongst the myrtle-trees that were in the bottom.' 
Thy saints are the myrtle-trees, low and weak j^lants, but lovely and 
of great price ; their lot in this world is to be in the bottom ; thy 
myrtle-trees delight in valleys, and sea-shores, and river-sides ; 
thy saints here below are in mean and low estates, many of those 
waves go over their souls, and indeed they thrive best by those 
Avaters. But, Lord, who is that man on the red horse, that is so 
kind and full of compassion, as to own thy saints in their abject 
condition? It is much below thy majesty to take notice' of such 
unworthy ones in their misery ; yet surely it is thy Son, the Son of 
man, and the Son of God, for thou callest him (ver. 20) the Lord. 
And is my Saviour so pitiful as to be present amongst his afflicted 
people ? Will he not only be with them in his sanctuary, but also 
in their sufferings ? How contrary is this carriage to the course of 
the world amongst men ! Though the rich find many friends, yet 
the poor is forsaken of his neighbour. And yet thy Son owns his 
poor afflicted, despised, persecuted saints. No wonder that thy 
chosen are so cheerful in their misery ; and, like leviathan, can 
laugh at the spears which the world and hell shake at them, when 
they have such good company. Oh grant me this favour, in my 
greatest danger to have the presence of my Lord Jesus, and then, 
though thou castest me with the three children into a fiery furnace, 
it wiU be more pleasant than the stateliest palace. Lord, bring me 
into what distress, what danger, what dungeon thou pleasest, so I 
may but enjoy my Saviour's powerful comforting presence ; for I 
know that hell itself with Christ, would be changed into heaven. 
' To be with Christ is best of all.' 

I have heard of some that afflict themselves with wilful famine, 


walking barefoot in pilgrimage, whipping themselves till they bleed. 
I wish that I may take up my cross which my God layeth down for 
me, and follow Christ, but never make my cross, and go before him. 
He is a bold servant that runneth before his master. My God 
saves me this labour, for he whips me daily with the scourge of a 
sickly body, the suffering of my fellow-members, and many times 
with the eclipses of his own gracious countenance, which is much 
the sorer, because it concerns the tenderest part, my soul. Oh teach 
me to make a right use of thy corrections, and then I shall not need 
to correct myself ! 

I wish that I may never faint when I am afflicted, yet that I may 
always feel my afflictions. Corrections are my God's love-tokens, 
and how ill would he take it if I should despise them ! When 
physic makes not the patient sick, it is the more unlikely to make 
him well ; he who doth not feel the smart of the rod, will never 
hear the voice of the rod. Besides, if a touch of God's finger will 
not fetch tears, I must expect the weight of his whole hand to fetch 

Should I, like a salamander, live in the fire here, and not feel it, 
I must expect a hotter fire hereafter in hell. Let me never, as 
some men, who, when they have been in a shower, dry themselves, 
and mind it no more ; but feel my sufferings, so as to fear the 
more, whilst I live, the meritorious cause thereof, my own sin. 
Lord, what an undutiful child am I, if when thou troublest thyself 
to correct me for my frowardness, I neither see thy hand, nor hear 
thy voice, but add to my guilt, and to thine anger, by my senseless- 
ness ! May est thou not justly cast me off for a castaway, and say, 
Why should he be smitten any more ? He revolteth more and 
more. How dreadful then should my condition be ! Correction is 
the lot of thy children; but rejection is the portion of rebels, of 
reprobates. Oh rather, since my heart is so hard, let thy hand be 
so heavy, as to make it soft and sensible. Thou art a wise physician ; 
if weak lenitives will not stir me, give me a stronger potion, rather 
than permit me to perish. Scourge me, strike me, lance me, to 
recover me out of my lethargy. Do what thou wilt with me here, 
so thou love me now, and spare me hereafter, 

I wish that, when I feel the smart of the rod, my pain may never 
make me out of patience. If I quarrel with instruments, I bewray 
my distraction. What man in his wits ever was angry with a knife 
for cutting, or a thorn for piercing ? The worst malefactor on the 
gallows will pardon the executioner. If I quarrel with the efficient, 
I discover the height of rebellion. Shall the clay strive with the 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 145 

potter, or the creature contend with his Creator ! Who am I, that 
I should reply against God ? I have a little derived propriety in my 
children and cattle. My son offends me, I scourge him, probably out 
of passion, and without reason ; yet how ill do I take it, if he offer in 
the least to resist or repine ! If he do me reverence, who am but 
the father of his flesh, when I chastise him for my pleasure, shall 
not I much more be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live ? 
My beast under me flags, I switch him forward ; he still slacks, I 
spur him till he bleeds again and again; he bears all quietly. 
Shall beasts take blows from their master, and not I from my 
Maker ? If any demand the cause why I use my child, my cattle, 
with so much cruelty, I answer, What doth it concern them ? Are 
they not my own children, my own cattle ? May not I do what I 
will with mine own ? And shall not my God do what lie will with 
his own ? Hath not he a greater propriety in me, than I have in 
any of my children or cattle ? His propriety is essential, mine 
derivative ; his is absolute, mine conditional ; his is illimited and 
eternal, and mine is in trust for his use, and but for a short time. 
Shall I scourge, nay, possibly abuse, another's servants, (for they are 
far more God's than mine,) and take it ill if I be questioned, and 
when my God (whose I am, by all manner of titles and right im- 
aginable) correcteth me with infinite reason and righteousness, shall 
I quarrel with him ? Oh that I might never be so mad as to rage 
at instruments, much less so desperately and impudently traitorous 
as to wrangle with the principal efficient, but let my heart speak 
under the severest execution, what Eli did under a dreadful threaten- 
ing : ' It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.' Further, 
the murmurer is his own martyr. I double my misery by despising 
or dis]3uting it. He that strives with his burden, makes it the 
heavier. The partridge that flutters in the net, doth not break it, 
but her own wings. If I struggle, I do but as a fish on the hook, 
both fasten and torture myself the more. Lord, though others are 
so much their own foes, as when they are afflicted for their good to 
fret against thee, let me be so satisfied in thy dominion over me, 
and so sensible of thine affection to me, that as by faith I possess 
my Saviour, and by love I possess thy saints, so by patience I may 
possess my own soul. 

I wish that I may not only submit humbly to my punishments, 
but also acquit my God honourably under the sharpest providences. 
Heathen moralists have with courage undergone heavy crosses, and 
without murmuring drunk down their portion of misery. And if I 
do no more than those, what singular things do I ? Nay, a Pharaoh 

VOL. it. k 


under torment, can utter this truth, ' The Lord is righteous, I have 
sinned.' And shall I, a Christian, come behind that hardened 
Egyptian ? Oh that I might from my heart, what he did only 
from the teeth outward, even justify my God when he condemneth 
me. Men inay do justly, my Grod cannot hut do justly ; righteous- 
ness is an accident in them, which may be parted from them. Some- 
times they are ignorant, and so through weakness, like David in the 
case of Mephibosheth, pass a wrong judgment. When the eyes are 
blinded, the hands strike at a venture, friends or foes. Sometimes 
they are wrathful, and so through wickedness, as Saul frequently, 
they pass an unrighteous sentence ; dogs in a rage bite them of 
their own families, or the next that come by. But justice is the 
essence of my God, and inseparable from him. He knoweth vain 
man thoroughly, and therefore cannot err through ignorance. All 
things are naked and open to his eyes ; he is light, and in him 
there is no darkness at all ; he will not suffer an unrighteous person 
to enter heaven, much less will he suffer an unrighteous act to be 
done by his own hand. Alas ! the least of his mercies is infinitely 
above my merits, and the greatest of my suffering are infinitely be- 
neath my sins ; and shall I not justify him, who is both righteous 
and gracious ? Lord, help me so to behold thy justice sparkling 
in the darkest night of my sufferings — yea, and thy goodness also, 
in giving me to be chastened of the Lord, that I might not be 
condemned with the world — that I may lift thee up when thou 
castest me down, and see and say, ' The Lord is holy in all his ways, 
and righteous in all his works.' When my body is sick, I send to 
a physician for something proper for my distemper. He sends me 
a bitter pill ; though my stomach loathes it, I force it down, and 
withal I thank and reward him. My soul is sick, I am not sensible, 
(the more dangerous is my disease) my heavenly Father seeth it, 
pitieth me, and, unsent to, (the more am I beholden to him,) sends 
me something that is wholesome, though not toothsome, for my 
cure ; and shall my heart rise against the bitter physic, and repine 
at my physician ? Oh let thy love so sweeten all my wormwood, 
and let the health of my soul be so precious to me, that I may 
receive it thankfully, drink it up cheerfully, and bless thee as well 
for crosses as for comforts ; ' For righteous art thou, Lord, and in 
very faithfulness hast afflicted me.' 

I wish that, since my God is wise, and knoweth which is the best 
time, I may quietly wait for his salvation. Though it be a burden 
to attend the pleasure of a fool, who lets his opportunity slip, yet it 
is easy to stay for the resolutions of the wise, who do not delay 


out of rashness, but reason, and defer only till an opportunity is 
come. It is likely, now I am in trouble, I shall be tempted to rid 
myself out of it by any means, whether right or wrong. When a 
man that hath lands is arrested for debt, the usurer offereth him 
money if he will mortgage his lands to his loss, thereby preventing 
his prison at present, but making way for his future poverty. When 
saints are distressed, Satan offereth his help for their deliverance. 
If Cranmer be in fetters, he will find a way for his freedom, if he 
Avill but deny his Saviour, and mortgage his soul to him, thereby 
easing him of present frights and fears in his flesh, but bringing 
him to far worse terror and horror in his conscience. How many 
hath he, by his cursed counsel, helped out of a fire on earth, to help 
them into the fire of hell ! Oh that, how greatly soever I may be 
distressed, though Philistines be upon me, and the Lord seem to 
depart from me, yet I may never, like Saul, run to a witch, or take 
any unlawful course for ease ; — thereby I shall but, as that wicked 
prince, increase my pain, — but ' wait on the Lord, who hideth his face 
from the house of Jacob, and look to him,' Isa. viii. 17. To lengthen 
my patience, is the best way to shorten my troubles ; and to lessen 
my patience, is the speediest way to lengthen my pain. Women 
that are in labour, being impatient of their pangs, send sometimes 
in haste for a man-midwife, and thereby have suffered much more 
torture, and, it may be, have destroyed both their babes and them- 
selves ; whereas, if they had waited with patience some hours 
longer, they might have been delivered with more ease and safety. 
I am my own foe if I offer to limit God. He is sure, though, to 
my depraved flesh, he be slow. ' I shall reap in time, if I faint not.' 
My God never fails of coming at his own time, the best time, though 
he seldom comes at our time. ' The vision is yet for an appointed 
time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie.' Though it tarry, it 
will surely come ; it will not tarry one moment beyond God's time. 
Servants wait on their masters, because of their dependence ; sub- 
jects wait on their sovereign, because of their distance, and are 
willing, when they prefer a petition, to stay their leisure for an 
answer. my soul, hast thou not a greater dependence on thy 
God, when thy life and all thy comforts, thy being and all thy 
blessings, hang every moment on his mercy ? And is there not an 
infinitely greater distance betwixt thee, a poor worm, and heaven's 
glorious majesty, when the whole creation in comparison of him is 
less than nothing ? Didst thou never see a poor beggar, that had 
nothing of her own to subsist on, but lived wholly on others' charity, 
how quietly and resolvedly she sits herself down at the rich man's 


door ? how slie begs and waits — she works and waits ? Though an 
ahns be not presently given her, she doth not Hmit, but wait her 
good dame's leisure. Nay, tliough she be not only deferred, but 
denied, yet she will wait a long time in hope. Hast thoa not in- 
finitely more reason to wait on thy God in all respects ? Thy wants 
are more, thy dependence is greater ; he is engaged to thee by 
promise, and will be sure to perform them in season. Those indeed 
that receive but small sums, as some few pounds, have ready money ; 
but they who are to receive hundreds and thousands, are contented 
to take bond, and to give time, and do it cheerfully, when their 
estate lieth in safe hands. The men of the world, whose portion 
is in this life, are greedy for ready money ; and their wealth being 
but some small matter, a little empty honour, and brutish j^leasure, 
and earthly treasure, thy God giveth them present pay. But thy 
estate, thy freedom from all evil, and the fruition of all good, in the 
eternal, full, and immediate enjoyment of the blessed God, is of 
unspeakable value, worth thousands and millions ; therefore thou 
mayest well be satisfied with the bond of the promises, and give 
him his own day for their accomplishment, especially considering 
thy wealth lieth in sure hands, and the public faith of heaven is 
engaged for thy security. Besides, my soul, by thy patient 
continuance in well-doing, under the evil things which thou suf- 
ferest, thy joy groweth sweeter, thy glory higher, and thy reward 
greater. If thou patiently waitest and suflPerest the fruit, which is 
of incomparable worth, to hang on the tree of the promise till it is 
ripe, it will be both the bigger and the pleasanter. They who 
reap their corn whilst it is green, find it to grow, and to be of 
smaller price than that which is ripe. Winter corn, though it be 
longer between sowing and reaping, is more worth than other corn. 
Oh, sow liberally, both in doing and suffering the will of thy God, 
and be patient till the harvest ! and the longer thou stayest, the more 
liberally thou shalt reap. Lord, though others, — like Tamar, be- 
cause Shelah was not presently given her to be her husband, defiled 
herself with Judah ; — because the good things engaged to them are 
not presently bestowed, commit spiritual fornication with earthly 
vanities, and take them into their bosom and embraces ; let me 
never forego heaven in hope, for earth in hand ; nor, as that wicked 
king, draw a hellish use from a heavenly doctrine, and say, ' This 
evil is from the Lord, why should I wait on the Lord any longer ? ' 
but ' as the eyes of servants are to the hands of their masters, and 
as the eyes of a maiden are to the hand of her mistress ; so let 
mine eyes wait upon the Lord my God till he have mercy on me,' 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 149 

Ps. cxxiii. 2. Though others are all for ready money, and there- 
fore, like Demas, forsake Christ to embraee the present world, make 
me a follower of them who, through faith and patience, inherit 
the promises. 

I wish that, whilst I have little in possession, I may rejoice in 
the hope of my reversion ; and whilst I am pinched with present 
poverty, comfort my heart with that plenty in my father's house, 
which is preserved for me when I come to age. He that hath store 
of good bills and bonds is rich, though he hath not a penny in his 
purse. If others have the stars, I have the sun ; if they have some 
cities, T have the kingdom ; if they have some gifts, I am the child 
of the promise, and have all. ' Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, 
or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, 
all is mine.' The inventory of my estate includes all that earth 
and heaven are worth ; and am not I a discontented, covetous 
wretch indeed, if the covenant of grace, the unsearchable riches in 
Christ, and the boundless God, will not satisfy me ? Though it be a 
paradox, yet it is orthodox. When I have nothing, I possess all things ; 
and will not all this afford matter of mirth ? Oh that thougli 
others can only swim in a warm bath, and never sing but in a sun- 
shiny day, I might, as Paul and Silas, sing in a prison at midnight. 
Belshazzar can rejoice in his stately palace, but the three children 
can sing in a fiery furnace. He that was hunted like a partridge 
in Israel, was the sweetest singer in Israel. It is both the duty and 
privilege of saints in all things to give thanks. A heathen can 
say,i Be it supposed a man hath a princely court, with gallant 
orchards, pleasant gardens, fruitful trees, were it not an unreason- 
able thing for this man to repine and complain that a few leaves 
are blown ofi" by the wind, when the house, the trees, and the fruit 
remain? And shall not I, a Christian, be contented and cheerful, 
though the gale of providence hath blown off some small outward 
mercies, when my soul is safe, and my eternal salvation secure ? 
Lord, let me, when I receive earthly comforts, live upon thee above 
them, and now I want them, live upon thee without them. Enable 
me so to see thy goodness in calling me to suffer here, that I might 
not suffer hereafter ; in causing me to be scourged with whips, to 
prevent my scourging with scorpions ; that I may not only kiss thy 
rod, but also thank thee for this infinite favour ; and under my 
greatest cross, stab Satan, who longs to hear me blaspheme thee, to 
the heart with this dagger : ' The Lord hath given, and the Lord 
hath taken away ; blessed be the name of the Lord.' 

1 Senec. ad Polyb. 


I wish that, though I am perishing in my outward condition, I 
may never envy those that are prospering in their profaneness. 
Alas ! their seeming prosperity is their real misery, and calls more 
for heart pity than envy. The higher they are at this clay, the 
lower they shall be another day. Their greatness is but like the 
swelling of a dropsy, which hasteneth their death and destruction. 
Their riches are but like fuel to make the unquenchable fire the 
hotter, in which they must fry for ever. Their pleasures are but 
shallow, skin-deep. They may sometimes counterfeit a smile ; but 
if thou press these glowworms that in the night of this world make 
such a lightsome, fiery show of joy, thou findest nothing save a 
cold and crude moisture. But their pain is real ; their sins gripe 
them many a time, and even cause their hearts to ache with the 
forethoughts of their future torments. What is a little giggling of 
the countenance, to the grumbling and racking of their consciences ? 
or a few smiles of the brow, to that inward wolf which lieth gnaw- 
ing at their breast ? Their pleasures are short ; their race is soon 
at an end ; their sun soon sets ; they shall soon be cut down as the 
grass, and wither as the green herb ; but their pain is eternal. Their 
day of light is a winter day — short, and little heat of true comfort ; 
but their night of darkness is long, for whom is reserved the black- 
ness of darkness for ever. Would I eat of their dishes to pay their 
reckoning ? How unreasonable is it for one that is worth thousands, 
to envy him that acts the part of a lord, upon the stage of this 
world, for one short day of life, and afterwards is a beggar for ever 
in hell ! What is all their wealth to spiritual wisdom ? What is 
all their greatness to the eternal weight of glory ? and what are 
their pleasantest gardens to the true paradise? The prosperous 
sinner hath some cause to envy the perishing saint ; but the most 
afilicted saint hath cause to pity the most prosperous sinner. Be- 
sides, how dishonourable is it to my God that I should thus ques- 
tion his wisdom, and quarrel Avith the works of his providence. 
May not he dispose of his gifts according to his own will ? Must 
he ask my leave in what measure, and to what persons, to distribute 
his favours ? Is mine eye evil because his is good ? Must I needs 
be sick because others are well, and make their plenty the founda- 
tion of my pain ? Lord, though, when I am in adversity, mine 
enemies are joyful, yet now they are in prosperity, let not me be 
fretful. Though thou hast put them into fresh pastures, yet thou 
art but fatting them for the slaughter. When thou hast whipped 
out the folly that is in the hearts of thy children, thou wilt throw 
thy rod into the fire. Preserve me from fretting myself because of 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 151 

evil-doers, or being envious at the wicked ; for there shall be no 
reward to the evil man — the candle of the wicked shall be put 

I wish that, as Joshua, when Israel was discomfited before the 
men of Ai, went and fell down before the Lord, with his clothes 
rent, and dust on his head, to know the cause ; and when he had 
found out that Achan was the person, he stoned him to death ; so 
now my God hath distressed my soul, I may with a humble, broken 
heart inquire into the source of my sufferings, what accursed thing 
hath caused my sorrows, and never be quiet till I have discovered 
and executed that troubler of my peace. There is some root of 
bitterness in me, which occasions my God to write bitter things 
against me. How happy should I be, if I might both find and 
answer the end for which my God affiicteth me. Afilictions are 
servants which he hath under him. ' He saith to one. Go, and he 
goeth ; to another, Come, and he cometh : ' he is infinitely wise, and 
never sends his servants abroad but upon weighty errands. I am 
sure, in general, the account upon which this messenger is come, is 
to persuade me to abandon and deliver up those traitors to execu- 
tion, which I have lately entertained, and return to my obedience 
to his master. I may say to him, as the woman to the prophet. 
Art thou come to call my sins to remembrance ? But, oh that I 
knew what rebel it is that hath hid himself in my house undis- 
cerned ! Sure enough there is some Sheba in it, which hath lift up 
his hand against the Son of David, for whose sake he hath sent his 
servant to besiege me ; and till the head of this traitor be thrown 
over the wall, he will not depart but in my destruction. Lord, 
help me, as the wise woman of Abel, to find out the cause why thou 
dost beleaguer me so closely and strictly. If my heart doth not 
deceive me, I would live peaceably and faithfully in Israel. I 
know assuredly thou seekest not to destroy any soul, much less to 
swallow up any part of thine own inheritance ; but some son of 
Bichri, some enemy to the crown and sceptre of thy Christ, hath, 
without my knowledge, sheltered himself in my heart. Oh that it 
might please thee to discover him to me, and to help me to destroy 
him, that thou mayest enlarge me. Do not condemn me ; shew me 
why thou contendest with me. I can never expect this swelling 
should decrease, or its throbbing and aching abate, unless the 
thorn in my flesh which causeth it, be taken out. In vain doth 
the sick man tumble and toss from one side of his bed to the other 
for ease, whilst his disease, the original of his pain, continueth. Oh 
that, though others are most industrious how their afilictions mav 


be removed, I might be most industrious how mine may be im- 
proved ; that mine eyes, like the windows of Solomon's temple, 
might be broad inwards, to find out my own provocation, and that 
I might not be asleep, and so lose the season and benefit of God's 
visitation. ' Search me, God, and know my heart : try me, and 
know my thoughts : and see if there be any way of wickedness in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting,' Ps. cxxxix, 

I wish that I may not only feel, but also see, the hand of my God 
in all the afilictions that befall me. Afiiiction doth not spring out 
of the earth, nor trouble come out of the ground. The evil of sin 
hath only a deficient cause, but the evil of suffering hath an effi- 
cient cause. My God challengeth it, as one of the prerogatives of 
his crown, to make war or peace. Is there any evil in the city, and 
I have not done it ? Could I but see my God at the end of all my 
troubles, how silent should I be under it ! how submissive to it ! 
and how sedulous to improve it ! He is my Father, correcting me 
out of love for my fault, and therefore I must reform. He is my 
sovereign, punishing me according to law, and therefore I must not 
resist. He is my God, who doth whatsoever he pleaseth, and 
therefore I may not so much as repine. He is too great to be de- 
spised, too good to be suspected, and too wise to be questioned. 
The whole earth cannot lessen, and hell itself cannot add, one 
scruple to the weight which he hath allotted me. My proportion 
was debated and concluded at heaven's council table from eternity, 
and is surely beyond all exception. To this very suffering, both for 
the nature and measure, was I fore-appointed. His arm is almighty, 
and so above all opposition. Who ever contended with him, and 
prevailed? He that strikes me, loves me; though his hand be 
against me, his heart is towards me ; nay, it is love that strikes 
every stroke, and shall I be so unthankful as to despise it, or so un- 
believing as to despair under it ? It were extreme folly to doubt 
of his wisdom, the greatest madness to oppose his power, and mon- 
strous ingratitude to slight his love. Lord, thy servant David could 
say, ' Let the righteous (man) smite me, though only with his 
tongue ; it shall be a kindness : and let him reprove me ; it shall be 
an excellent oil,' Ps, cxli. 5. And shall not I, when thou, the 
righteous God, art pleased to favour me so much as to strike me 
with thy hand, take it kindly at thy hands? Oh, whatsoever 
hatred others may return for such friendly reproofs, let me love 
thee the more, especially considering that by such stripes I am 
healed ; that such wounding is an excellent oil to cure my spiritual 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 153 

I wish that I may divert the point of that anger against instru- 
ments or efficient, which I am prone to under the cross, by turning 
it upon myself, and the procuring cause of all my sin. The worms 
which pain me are bred in my own bowels ; the vipers which sting 
me are hatched in my own bosom ; the rod which whips me is of 
my own making ; and the dart which wounds me of my own shoot- 
ing ; and have I the least cause of complaining ? Men and devils 
could not afflict me ; the great God would not, if I did not afflict 
myself. I may well accept the punishment of mine own iniquity. 
Some that have more grace have fewer mercies, and that have less 
sin, have more afflictions than I, Besides, in vain do I, like the 
silly deer, mourn and bleed inwardly for the pain which I endure 
whilst the dart sticks in my side. 

I may long enough work at the labour in vain, in seeking to dam 
up the stream whilst the spring is unstopped, and in working at the 
pump whilst the leak continueth. Oh that all my sorrow and 
anger might be spent upon my sins, the original of all my suffer- 
ings. That all this water, which I am apt daily to draw and spill, 
might be employed in helping the mill of my heart to grind and 
consume my corruptions. Oh what pity is it that such pearls 
should be cast away upon swine, that such sweet water should be cast 
away upon nasty sinks, which would serve for most excellent uses ! 

Lord, let all my anger be against myself for provoking thee to 
anger, and let all my sorrow and grief be for my sins, whereby I 
have grieved thy good Spirit, and made the soul of thy dear Son 
sorrowful unto death. Let mine eyes and heart be ever more to- 
wards that which dishonoureth thy name, than that which disturb- 
eth my peace. Though the sting of sin to others be affliction, let 
the sting of affliction to me be sin : and when the desire of their 
soul is. Take away this plague, entreat the Lord to take away this 
death only, the prayer of my soul may be. Lord, make me to know 
the plague of my own heart. Take away this body of death, take 
away all iniquity, receive me graciously, so will I render the calves 
of my lips. 

I wish that I may consider my God loveth me when he lasheth 
me ; and that he therefore lasheth me because he loveth me. 
Though Absalom were banished for his fault, and not admitted 
to see David's face, yet the king's heart was towards Absalom. 
Now, my God denieth me his favourable presence, and makes me 
feel the effects of his fury, yet his heart is towards me. He is 
pained in my pain, in all my afflictions he is afflicted. 

Whilst he is a God correcting, he is a God in covenant : ' I will 


bring the third part into the fire, and will refine them as silver 
is refined, and try them as gold is tried : they shall call on my 
name, and I will hear them ; I will say, It is my people : and they 
shall say. The Lord is my God,' Zech. xiii. 9. Though the son of 
Joseph speak so roughly to me, and seem to deal so ruggedly with 
me, to bring my sins to remembrance, and to try my love to my 
brother Benjamin, yet all the while he keeps his afi'ection and rela- 
tion, and will ere long speak plainly to me, I am thy brother Joseph. 
Because he afFecteth me, he afiiicteth me ; but because he hateth 
others, he will not take the pains to scourge them. He useth not 
the rod where he intends to use the sword. The whipping-post is 
for them that shall escape execution. It is the same love which 
chose me from eternity which chasteneth me in time. There is not 
a twig in my rod, but love fetched it, nor a drachm in my potion, but 
love infused it. Love was the root upon which they grew, love was 
the hand with which they were gathered ; shall not I accept it ? 
Pure love denieth those outward mercies to me, which pure wrath 
granteth to others. The father will allow his servants that luscious, 
unwholesome fruit which they are so greedy for, when he denieth 
it to his children. Oh, wdiat an unbelieving heart have I, to think 
1 have less love, because I have less allowance, than others ! The 
power of my God is as great in making a little fly as in making a 
great ox ; and his love may be as great, often greater, in giving a 
penny, as in giving many pounds. If I am his child, though my 
portion be but a penny, it hath the image and superscription of my 
Father's love, which is better than life. 

Lord, strengthen my inward sight, that I may behold thy love 
in the darkest night of afiliction ; be pleased to enable me, by the 
eye of faith, to spell and read thy love in the hardest characters — 
nay, when thou writest it in red letters, in letters of blood : for I 
know that thy thoughts are not as my thoughts, nor thy ways as 
my ways. ' As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are thy 
thoughts higher than my thoughts.' Thou knowest the thoughts 
which thou hast towards me, thoughts of good and not of evil, to 
give me an expected end, 

I wish that I could set before me those worthy patterns of con- 
stancy and courage, under the greatest crosses, which are chronicled 
in Scripture, to encourage me to undergo my sufferings with 
patience ; it is some comfort in my journey, though the road be 
deep and dirty, to travel with much and good company. All the 
saints in the several parts of the world, at this day, go to heaven in 
the same w^ay of sufferings ; the same afilictions are accomplished 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 155 

in my brethren, which are in the world ; they that are gone before, 
patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and the rest, did all enter into glory 
through this strait gate ; there is no temptation hath befallen me, 
but such as is common to men, to Christians. Some indeed found 
the path so full of serpents, that their blood was sucked out as they 
journeyed ; they lost their lives on earth, to find them in heaven ; 
but all found it full of thorns and briers. Some had trial of cruel 
mockings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment ; others were 
stoned, were sawn asunder, were slain with the sword ; they wan- 
dered about in sheep-skins, and goat-skins, being destitute, afilicted, 
tormented. The wilderness to them all was the way to Canaan : 
they went by the cross to their crown. I have a threefold advan- 
tage by their examples ; I see that the way to bliss (though it be 
deep) is passable. I do not undertake an impossible task, when I 
set out for the Father's house ; the noble army of martyrs waded 
through it, even there where it was much out of their depths. It 
is doleful to travel in a very bad way, that is wholly untrodden ; 
but I may with the more delight pass on, when I see the steps of 
thousands that have passed before me. They had the same flesh 
and blood with me, they were as sensible of pain as I, they loved 
their relations as well as I ; life was as dear to them as to me ; yet 
they trampled upon their relations, scorned their scorners, triumphed 
in their tribulations, jeoparded their lives in the high places of the 
field, endured the shot of earth and hell, fought every inch of theh 
way through men and devils, and at last went off the ground 
(though killed) conquerors, carrying with them the spoils and 
trophies they had gained from their enemies, as tokens of their 
valour and victory. Why may not my soul fight the Lord's battles 
with the same success ? Indeed, had that power by which they 
prevailed been their own, I should never expect the same event ; 
but they were of themselves as weak as I ; my God can be as strong 
in me as in them. Oh that I might have their grace, and then 
what end my God pleaseth. 

Again, the heroic acts of the Lord's worthies encourage me to 
such noble enterprises. How famous are they for their bloody com- 
bats in the cause of Christ ! How brightly do their names sparkle 
(as stars in the firmament) in the Holy Scripture ! The Roman 
generals were never so illustrious and honourable for their triumphs, 
as Christ's private soldiers for their trials ; the poorest saint that 
is a sufferer, is more illustrious than Ceesar the conqueror. The 
greatest battles that ever Alexander fought and won, was but 
children's play with pop-guns, in comparison of the noble exploits 


of the soldiers of the Lord of hosts in their conflicts with, and 
conquests over, the world and hell. Who would not be ambitious 
to follow such file-leaders ! Once more, I have the less reason to 
expect freedom from the cross, when the people of Grod in all ages 
have been afflicted. My betters have suffered worse things than I 
suffer. Those that were more holy than I, have suffered more hard- 
ships than I, Christ himself, who was free from transgression, 
was yet fullest of afflictions. He was a man of sorrows, made up of 
sorrow. His whole life, from the womb to the tomb, was a circle of 
sorrows. When Christ himself hath drunk to me in a cup of 
affliction, shall I not pledge him ? Should there not be a symmetry 
betwixt the head and the members ? God had one Son without sin, 
but no son without suffering. There is no son whom the father 
chasteneth not. And would not I be used like a son ? Cannot I 
be contented to fare as my brethren ? 

Lord, let me never join in that presumptuous petition of the sons 
of Zebedee, to desire to fare better than my fellows ; but seeing I 
am compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, help me to 
' lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset me, and 
to run with patience the race set before me, looking unto Jesus, 
the author and finisher of my faith, who for the joy that was set 
before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down 
at the right hand of the throne of God.' 

I wish that, now I am afflicted, I may be the more pious, because 
my God aimeth therein at my spiritual profit. Ho"w much do 
worldlings suffer to increase their heaps of earth, though death, like 
a passenger's foot, will trample it all down ! How do they run, and 
ride, waste their time, wear out their strength, lose their sleep, 
venture their health and life, nay, and inestimable souls ! Like 
spaniels, they follow their master, the world, through hedge and 
ditch, through thick and thin, and all for a few bones. How busy 
are they, like bees, flying to this and that field ; fighting by the way 
with wasps and drones, to carry a little more honey to their hives, 
though after all their pains and toil, within a few days they must 
be consumed with flames and leave it ! And have not I more 
cause to suffer any hardship, and to take any pains for those riches 
which are durable, which will be current in the other world ? How 
much do wicked men suffer for the gratifying their lusts ! They 
lavish their estates, undo their children, dishonour their names, 
wreck their own bodies, and ruin their families, by gaming or un- 
cleanness, or intemperance. How do they lackey after the devil, 
like pack-horses, doing his drudgery, and bearing his burdens all 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 157 

the days of their life, though, after all their hard service, he will 
turn them at the night of death, with their galled backs, into the 
stable of hell ! And shall not I, for the sanctifying my soul, be 
willing to endure what my God calls me to suffer in the way to 
heaven ? If need be, I am in heaviness. The rod of God is as 
needful for me as the word of God. The plough and harrow are 
as necessary for the earth, in order to the harvest, as the seed is. 
By it he openeth mine ears, and sealeth my instruction. Many 
blows are needful to fell a stout oak, and many strokes are necessary 
to subdue my stubborn heart. Kesty horses will not move till they 
bleed with the spur. How little is corn worth, or to what use doth 
it serve, till it be cut down with the sickle, beaten out with the 
flail, ground small in the mill, and baked in the oven ? And of 
how little use I should be to my soul, and my Saviour, without 
affliction, my God knoweth. Oh that self-love might make me as 
willing to suffer, as my God is to have me suffer ! 

Lord, thou comparest me to a vine ; I know the best vine, if not 
pruned, will run out into superfluous stems, and become less fruit- 
ful ; so will my soul, if thou shouldst deny me the favour of pruning, 
run out into luxuriant branches, and become less serviceable to thy 
majesty. If it be painful to bleed, it is far worse to burn. Thou 
art a wise husbandman, and knowest what is needful for all the 
plants in thy vineyard ; rather prune me with the knife, that I may 
bring forth more fruit, than suffer me to decay and wither, and to 
be cut up at last with thy bill for the unquenchable fire. 

I wish that the consideration of my God's wisdom and tenderness 
may make me more cheerful and contented in all my trials. Though 
his anger at sin provoke him to scourge me for it, yet his love to 
my soul will move him to proportion his strokes to my strength. 
He hath a perfect estimate by him of all my spiritual riches, and 
therefore I need not fear to be taxed above my estate. He never 
yet called any of his children to a martyr's fire, till he had indued 
them with a martyr's faith. If my body were distempered, and 
my skilful physician thought fit to purge me several clays to- 
gether ; though I were fearful of my own strength to bear it, yet 
I should believe him in his calling, and being confident of his 
knowledge of me, and love to me, undergo it with courage. My 
God is fully acquainted what the diseases of my soul require, and 
what the strength of my soul can endure. He is the only wise God, 
whether he purge me much or little, once or often. Oh that I 
might rely on his love, and submit to his wisdom ! I read indeed 
that the saints of God ' have been pressed out of measure, above 


strength, insomuch that they despaired even of life,' 2 Cor. i. 8. 
But yet I believe that, at the same time, they were corrected in mea- 
sure, for they were delivered, and did escape. They were pressed 
above their own human strength, but not above their divine 
strength. How often hath the voice of their flesh been, ' I shall one 
day perish by the hand of Saul,' when it hath quickly been corrected 
with the voice of faith, ' I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the 
land of the living ! ' Lord, how many a time hath this weak vessel 
been loaded so deep in the vast seas of troubles, that the waters 
have come up to the brim, and I have been ready to cry out, with 
thy disciples of old, ' Save me, master, I perish ?' Is not this frail 
flesh a ship of thine own building ? and is not the burden it carrieth 
of thine own lading ? Thou knowest how deep it is already, and I 
know thou wilt not overcharge it. It is impossible for me to sink 
whilst I sail in thy love. Though a deluge overflow the whole 
earth, yet I need not fear drowning, whilst I am housed in that 
ark, if thou pleasest to shut me in. I confess he is a presumptuous 
child that would choose his own rod ; yet, oh that I might prevail 
not to be scourged with the withdrawings of thy comfortable pre- 
sence ! Blessed Father, by the strength and the sense of thy love, 
I can bear the greatest load ; but if that be withdrawn, I am ready 
to fall, nay, to die, under the lightest. I find a wounded estate, I 
feel a wounded body, and if thou put a wounded spirit upon me too, 
who can bear it ? Oli what a night of heaviness and sorrow will ensue, 
if thou, Sun of righteousness, shouldst depart ? Nevertheless, I 
yield to thy judgment, and rest on thine affection : for thou art infi- 
nitely wise, infinitely loving, infinitely faithful, and wilt not suffer me 
to be tempted above what I am able, but wilt with the temptation 
also make a way to escape, that I may be able to bear it, 1 Cor. x. 3. 
I wish that the thought of my future happiness may make me 
joyful under my present hardships. My hope of the rivers of 
God's own pleasures, and of the glory to be revealed, may well 
bear up my heart, and counterbalance all my pain and disgrace. 
What though I am under the rod, whilst I am a child, and am 
denied those toys and rattles which others have to play with ! yet 
I am a great heir, and shall shortly be of age and enjoy the in- 
heritance, when I shall be above both that rod and those rattles. 
As I now have more sufferings than others, so then I shall have 
more solace than others ; as I exceed them in affliction, so I shall 
excel them in consolation. The deeper I am ploughed, the greater 
will my harvest be. In all the furrows of my misery are sown the 
seeds of saving mercy. And the more liberally I sow, the more 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 159 

liberally I shall reap. It is true I sow in tears, but I shall reap 
in joy ; I may well be contented with a wet seed-time, when I am 
sure of a sunshiny and joyful harvest. Oh that I had the wings 
of a dove, that I could fly up to heaven, by faith and meditation, 
and see that vast and boundless recompense of reward ! surely I 
should then leave my mournful tone, and sing another tune. 
These light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work in me, 
or w^ork me for, a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 
For my afflictions I shall have glory. Who would not, with Joseph, 
go through a prison into a palace, and with Jesus suffer many 
things, and so enter into his glory ! My afflictions are light, but 
my glory is a weight, a far more exceeding weight ; I may well 
carry a little bag of thorns, when I shall be rewarded for it with 
a heavy bag of pearls. Who would not endure a few affronts for 
a large kingdom ? My afflictions are but for a moment, but my 
weight of glory is eternal. I do but pass through a short shower 
to an endless banquet ; and sail through the narrow seas, which 
are quickly passed, in a moment, to an everlasting, blessed haven. 
Besides, these light afflictions work and fit me for this weight of 
glory ; as by the fire the plate is wrought into a vessel of gold for 
a prince's table. The boiling waters are not more necessary for 
clothes, that are to be cast into a pure scarlet dye, than afflictions 
are to prepare my soul for my God's presence. Lord, it is thy 
pleasure that every man shall have both a heaven and a hell ; 
the wicked man hath his heaven on earth, his hell is to come. 
His hell is miserable, because eternal ; his heaven is uncomfort- 
able, because, at best, but short and uncertain. My hell is in this 
world, in manifold temptations ; my heaven in the other world, in 
endless bliss. If it be ill with me in this world, it is well with 
me, because my hell is so little, and so short. Let me never be so 
covetous as to desire two heavens ; only let my hell here fit me 
for my heaven hereafter, and let my heaven hereafter support me 
under my hell here ; ' for I reckon that the sufferings of this pre- 
sent time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall 
be revealed.' 

Finally, I wish that I may gather grapes from these thorns, 
and figs from these thistles. I mean, that I may so demean 
myself, like a Christian, under the greatest cross, that I may turn 
these stones into bread, and these blows on my outward man, into 
blessings to my inward man ;. yea, that my joy and obedience may 
be at the highest, when my worldly comforts are at the lowest. 
Although I want the streams, what do or can I lose whilst I enjoy 


the fountain ? What conditions is there wherein I may not draw- 
water with joy out of that well of salvation ? ■ Am I in fetters ? 
the Son hath made me free, and therefore I am free indeed. 
Though my prison be some low, dark dungeon, yet there I may 
find more light than in a court, and may pity the darkness of 
others' liberty. They have but the natural sun to enlighten their 
world, which every cloud dimmeth and liideth from their eyes ; 
but the Father of lights (in comparison of whom all the bright 
stars of heaven are but as the snuff of some dim candle) shines 
into my pit, and makes it a heaven of comfort, which the world 
intended to be a hell of sorrow. What darkness can be where 
the Father of lights shineth ? Am I banished my country ? If 
I were banished my God, I might weep and wail ; but when 
neither earth nor ocean can separate betwixt him and me, I may 
well be satisfied. If heaven be my home, my God is my heaven ; 
and so, wherever I am with him, I am at home. He cannot be 
said to fly that never stirs from his house, from his home. When 
I have all my relations by me, and all my possessions with me, I 
cannot be called an exile ; I have all these, and infinitely more, in 
one God. Am. I hated of the world ? It is a good sign that I 
am not a man of the world, for the world loveth its own. It 
cannot hate me so much as God hates it, nor more than it hates 
God. What need I care to be hated of them who hate, and are 
hated of, God himself ? Surely he is a wricked servant who would 
fare better than his master ; and he is unworthy of God's love 
who cannot think it happiness enough without the Avorld's favour. 
Well, let the world contemn me, I will be revenged, by requiting 
it with like for like. I will have as base and contemptible 
thoughts of it, through the strength of Christ, as it can have of me. 
Am I poor ? It is impossible ; I cannot be less than vastly rich, 
whilst I possess him who is the mighty possessor of heaven and 
earth. What though I have no money ! I have the pearl of price, 
worth millions ; and a treasure in heaven, above all apprehensions. 
I have no lands on earth, but I have the inheritance of the saints 
in light. That is improperly called riches, which may be lost, 
which must be left. My estate is riches in the most proper sense, 
for it is durable ; it is the good part which can never be taken from 
me. If I forego all to my skin, yet I have not lost the least part 
of my portion ; for if he be rich that hath something, how rich is 
he that hath the maker and owner of all things ! Am I diseased 
in my body ? my physician is both omniscient and almighty, and 
therefore I cannot miscarry. My soul is sound, and I must not 

Chap. X.] the christian man's calling. 161 

say I am sick when my sins are forgiven me. Although my house 
doth not grow, nor my cattle, nor my corn, nor my children are 
sure to me, yet my Grod hath made with me an everlasting cove- 
nant, stable in all things and sure, which is all my salvation, and 
all my desire. Oh, what can I want who have all-sufficiency for 
my supply ? My God is liberty in prison, home in banishment, 
light in darkness, glory in disgrace, life in death, and all things 
in nothing. Oh make me fearful of nothing but thine anger, and 
careful of nothing but thy favour, which, whilst I enjoy, I shall be 
happy in spite of earth and hell. 

Lord, help me, whilst I am here in these lower regions, amidst 
such boisterous winds and waters, to endure all with patience, to 
be a gainer by every providence, and in all things so to obey thy 
precepts, that when my body shall be parted from my soul, my 
soul may be j)arted from all these sufferings, and translated to 
thine upper region of heaven, whither those vapours which cause 
these storms and tempests can never ascend ; where all tears shall 
be wiped from my eyes ; where thou wilt give me beauty for ashes, 
the garment of gladness for the spirit of heaviness, (and, after all 
my grievous conflicts with the flesh, the world, and the wicked 
one,) a crown of glory on my head, a song of triumph in my 
mouth, a palm of victory in my hand, and to reign with Christ 
for ever and ever. Amen. 






Such is the beauty of holiness, the excellency of divine nature, 
and the reasonableness and righteousness of the service of God, 
as also the necessity of man's devoting himself wholly to it, that 
were not his understanding, which is the sun in the lesser world, 
strangely muffled with clouds, his will, which, as the moon, bor- 
roweth its light from it, full of spots and changes, and desperately 
bent upon evil, his affections as stars of malevolent influence, 
brutishly enslaved to his sensual appetite, and his whole nature 
deplorably vitiated, it were impossible for him to turn his back 
upon the authority, commands, and threatenings of his Maker ; to 
trample on the bowels, and blood, and entreaties of his Redeemer' ; 
to despise the motions, and persuasions, and assistance of the Holy 
Spirit, in order to his recovery out of that bottomless gulf of 
misery into which he hath plunged himself, and his restoration to 
a state of purity and eternal happiness ; and there would be no 
such need of calling so frequently and fervently, and of crying so 
urgently and earnestly to him, to exercise himself unto godliness. 

As he that is an atheist in his principles, and denieth the being 
of such a thing as religion, must deny his very senses, since his eyes, 
and ears, and taste, and feeling, do all loudly preach deity to him ; 
so he that is an atheist in his practices, and denieth the making 
religion his business, must deny his reason, and debase himself 
into a beast. For common understanding, notwithstanding its great 
loss by the fall, will inform him that he is made for higher things 
than the service of a brutish flesh, and the pursuit of earthly, fading 
enjoyments, and that the worship of his Grod (the fountain of his 
being, and wellspring of his happiness) as most suitable to his 
spiritual nature, as most conducing to his own advancement, in- 
terest, and perfection, is most worthy of all his heart, and soul, and 
strength, and of all his time, and care, and labour. 


But, alas ! the sad fruit of man's apostasy, in the depravation of 
his nature, abundantly manifesteth itself to every eye that is not 
stark blind. As an old disease doth not only afflict the part of its 
proper residence, and by its habitual abode there make a continual 
diminution of the strength, but also makes a path and channel for 
the humours to run thither, which, by continual defluxion, dig an 
open passage, and prevail above all the natural power of resistance ; 
so hath original sin debauched the mind, and made it think crooked 
things straight, and straight things crooked ; loathsome things 
lovely, and lovely things loathsome ; perverted the will, and made 
it, as a diseased stomach, to call for and eat unwholesome meat 
against his own reason ; enthralled his affections to sensuality and 
brutishness ; chained the whole man, and delivered it up to the law 
of sin, and laid those strengths of reason and conscience in fetters, 
by which it might be hindered in its vicious inclinations and course 
of profaneness. Hence it comes to pass that neither the beauty of 
grace, nor equity of living to Grod, nor the absolute necessity of 
man's exercising himself to godliness, will prevail with him. 

So great is the glory and amiableness of the new creation, that 
not only the saints, who are indued with wisdom from above, and 
can judge aright, esteem it above their honours, and riches, and 
relations, and lives, and rejoice in it as their peculiar privilege and 
highest dignity, but even angels behold it with admiration, and 
look on their own purity, and conformity to the divine nature and 
pleasure, as their greatest perfection. Nay, God himself, whose 
being is the pattern, and whose will is the rule of holiness, is 
ravished and enamoured with it, as that which is the travail of the 
soul of his dear Son, the immediate work of his own Spirit, and the 
end, and glory, and masterpiece of all the works of his hands. Yet 
this heavenly offspring, this divine image, this supernatural beam 
of light, this resemblance and picture of God's own perfection, this 
royal attire of the celestial courtiers, which rendereth the poorest 
and meanest Christian more noble and excellent than his highest 
and richest ungodly neighbour, and makes him more glorious than 
a clear sky, bespangled with the shining stars, or an imperial 
diadem, sparkling with the richest diamonds, is the scorn and 
derision of the blind, unworthy world. That as Salvian^ complained 
in his days. Si lionoratior quispiam religioni se applicuerit, illico 
Jwnoratus esse desistit ; si fuerit sublimis, fit despicahilis ; si splen- 
did issimus, Jit vilissimus ; si totus honoris, fit fotus ijijurice, &g. If 
a noble person betake himself to religion, he is presently degraded, 

^ Salv., lib. iv. De Gub. Dei ; Tert., Apol. 


and all his former fame, and honour, and renown, turned into dis- 
grace, contempt, and contumely, and men are forced to be vicious, 
lest they should be counted vile. 

Foolish worms, pretended Christians, are like persecuting 
pagang, "who could think and speak well of some of the saints, 
only their religion, they judged, like copperas, turned all their wine 
into ink, gave a dash to all their virtues and excellencies. Bonus 
vir Caius Sejus ; sed mains, tanquam quod Christianus, was the 
heathens' voice in Tertullian's time. Blind beetles, men admire 
fancies, shadows, nothings, and trample on true worth and real 
excellency. As the Egyptians, if they met with a cat or crocodile, 
bowed down to it, and worshipped it, when they passed by the 
great luminaries of heaven without admiration ; so these, behold- 
ing the poor mean treasures and fleeting honours of this world, 
bow down the knees of their souls to them, and worship them, but 
pass by the beautiful image of the blessed God, the unsearchable 
riches in Christ, and the glory to be revealed, without any respect 
or regard. 

So reasonable and righteous is man's devoting himself to the 
worship of the blessed and most high God, that he cannot without 
manifest injustice, as well as ingratitude and folly, deny the exer- 
cising himself to godliness. Unless man were his own maker, he 
cannot have any title to become his own master, Ps. cxix. 73. The 
Eedeemer's title to us is certain, and clear, and unquestionable, 
whether we own it or no, and all the while we keep anything from 
him, or deny subjection to him, we rob him of his right : ' Ye are 
not your own, but bought with a price ; therefore glorify God in 
your bodies and spirits, which are God's,' 1 Cor. vi, 20. The slave is 
not his own man, but his who redeemed him, though his proud 
and stubborn spirit may refuse to acknowledge it. Man is not in 
the condition of those persons who are servants by compact and 
agreement, for a year, or so long as they think fit, and upon their 
own terms ; but like those whom the Romans took in war, over 
whose persons and estates they had an absolute dominion, as well 
as a right to their works and service. Though the commands of 
Christ are all holy, just, and good, as profitable for man, as honour- 
able for himself, yet he hath absolute authority over man, and all 
that he hath, and may command him what he pleaseth. As Laban 
said to Jacob, ' These daughters are my daughters, these sons are 
my sons, these cattle are my cattle, and all thou seest is mine ;' so 
the Redeemer, by virtue of the price he laid down, his most pre- 
cious blood, may say to every man, This soul is my soul, this body 


is my body, this estate is my estate, these children and friends are 
my children and friends, this name, and credit, and interest is mine, 
and all thou hast is mine. Yet, alas ! men who will give their 
relations their due, strangers their due, enemies their due, nay, 
according to their proverb, the very devil his due, and far, more 
than his due, will not give Jesus Christ his due, but, against all 
justice and righteousness, rob and wrong him of that which is his 
own, and dearly bought too : Kom. xiv. 7, 8, ' For whether we live, 
we live unto the Lord ; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord : 
whether therefore we live or die, we are the Lord's. For to this 
end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be 
Lord both of the dead and living.' 

So absolute is the necessity of man's making religion his busi- 
ness, that upon his diligence or negligence herein, his eternal salva- 
tion or damnation doth depend. If any man will be Christ's 
disciple, he must deny himself, disclaim all title, and disown all 
right to himself ; have nothing more to do with himself, as upon his 
own account, and make an unfeigned, unreserved dedication of 
himself, and all that he hath, to the honour and interest of his 
Redeemer. Sanctification is a separation from all common to 
sacred uses, and this must be done with all the heart, and soul, 
and strength, in the whole course of the life, by all that will escape 
the wrath to come. God commandeth men to strive to enter in 
at the strait gate, to work out their salvations with fear and 
trembling, to be holy as he is holy, in all manner of conversation ; 
and his word is like the law of the Medes and Persians, which can- 
not be altered. He hath enjoined nothing but what his infinite 
wisdom saw fit, and he is resolved not to vary the least tittle, not 
to abate the least farthing of the price he hath set. Foolish men 
are so besotted by their deceitful hearts, and befooled by the devil, 
that they compliment with religion, and only give it an outside 
formal salute, instead of cordial embraces, and real entertainment. 
They deal with religion, as Anacharsis saith the Athenians dealt 
with money, using it for no other end but to number and cast up 
accounts with, whereas it might have served them for excellent 
purposes. So they use religion only for a show, for fashion, for 
custom, and are satisfied with a hypocritical way of worshipping 
God, and think to put God off therewith, whereas it would serve 
them for high and honourable ends ; it would, if entertained in the 
power and life of it, elevate the Christian above this beggarly world, 
enable him to combat with, and conquer, his sturdy, stubborn lusts, 
and the power and policy of hell, help him to a conversation in 



heaven, to converse and communion with the Father, and Jesus 
Christ his Son, and dress his soul for a blessed eternity, 

Keader, if thou art unacquainted with this high and honourable, 
this worthy and noble, calling of Christianity, I shall api:)eal to 
thy reason and conscience, in the tender of some questions, possibly 
one or other of them may prevail with thee to bind thyself ap- 
prentice to it. As a fowler, according to the different nature of 
his game, contrives and appropriates his stratagems, that some he 
catcheth with light, as larks with a glass and day nets ; some with 
baits, as pigeons with peas ; some with frights, as blackbirds with 
a low-bell ; some with company, as ducks with decoy fowl ; so I 
shall endeavour to suit my questions to thy temper, whatever it be, 
that if either the light of reason, or the bait of unconceivable and 
infinite profit, or the frights of dreadful threatenings and com- 
minations, or the company of Christ, the Captain of our salvation, 
and all his followers and soldiers, who marched to heaven in this 
Avay, will win upon thee, I may persuade thee to make religion thy 
business. Oh that, being crafty, I might catch thee with holy 
guile ! To this end I beseech thee to weigh the questions again 
and again as thou readest them, and to dart up thy prayers to 
heaven for a blessing on them, that thou mayest not reject the 
counsel of God against thy own soul, but hearken to counsel, receive 
instruction, and be wise for thy latter end. 

1. Is not that worthy to be made thy business, upon which the 
true comfort and joy of thy life, during thy whole pilgrimage, doth 
depend ? Comfort is the cream, the top of life ; joy is the flower, 
the honey, the life of life. Life without comfort, without delight, 
is a living death. If the body be disquieted with diseases, and 
aches, and pains, the soul, as a tender husband sympathising with 
his bride, though the patient be heir of a kingdom, and commander 
of large dominions, yet all creatures to him are unsavoury morsels, 
and, as an aguish palate, he can taste, can relish nothing. Job in 
distress speaks in such a man's dialect: ' Why is light given to him 
that is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul ? ' Job iii. 20. Light 
is one of the most excellent things that God hath made, and is 
therefore used by the Holy Ghost to set out, not only the word of 
God and the work of godliness, Ps. cxix. 105 ; 1 John i. 7, but 
also Christ, and heaven, and God himself, 1 John ix. ; 1 Col. xii.; 
1 John i. 5. Life is the apex, the highest stair, the top stone, the 
choicest of all temporal mercies. There is no flower in nature's 
garden for beauty or excellency comparable to it ; therefore men, if 
brought to the pinch, will part with all to redeem this — skin for 


skin ; all that a man hath will he give for his life. The loss of life 
is the chiefest outward loss, and esteemed the greatest satisfaction 
to justice or nature. The desire of life is indeed the greatest 
earthly blessing the most loyal people can desire for their loving 
prince ; ' Let the king live.' But light and life, as precious pearls as 
they are, become burdens most toilsome and tedious to men without 
comfort. Joy to life is as the form to the matter, which animates 
and actuates it, and makes it spiteful and lively. ' Why is light 
given to one in misery, and life to the bitter in soul ? ' 

Now, reader, it is religion that is the comfort of thy life, by 
bringing thee to him who is the life of all thy comforts. Other 
things can never suit, and so can never satisfy, and therefore can 
never truly refresh or rejoice the soul of man. The body may 
sooner be fed and preserved with air and wind, as the soul filled 
with the whole world. They who swim down with a full stream of 
outward good things, who have waters of a full cup wrung out to 
them, and have more than heart can wish ; though they be masters 
of hidden and bottomless mines, as the Spanish ambassador boasted 
of his sovereign's treasures in the Indies; though they have thousands 
and millions of heads bare, and knees bowing to them, and are 
mounted to the loftiest pinnacle of honour, and fame, and renown ; 
though their garments are of finest silk, scented with the sweetest 
perfumes, embroidered by the most skilful artist, and enamelled 
with the richest jewels ; though their food be the most choice and 
luscious delicates, the most mellifluous nectar, that earth, air, and 
water can afford, and though their bodies be in the most perfect 
state of health, and thereby enabled to extract the quintessence of 
all this, and so relish it in the highest degree ; yet all this is not 
able to give them the least drachm of true delight, the smallest 
crumb of true comfort. In the midst of their sufficiency, such 
monarchs are in straits. They may possess much, but enjoy 
nothing. Their faces sometimes are featured with laughter, when 
at the same time their souls are in little ease. In the midst of 
mirth their hearts are sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heavi- 
ness. As some plums that are sweet and luscious in the outward 
part, but have bitter kernels ; so the most rich and honourable sin- 
ners, in the midst of their mirth, and giggling, and sports, have 
inward gripes, which, like leaven, soureth the whole lump of their 
enjoyments. Haman, though exalted to the highest seat next the 
throne in the Persian court, and had the command of him who 
commanded one hundred and twenty-seven provinces, yet had an 
aching heart, and a worm gnawing his inwards, that he crieth out. 


' All this avails me nothing,' &c. The world's greatest darlings, 
whom she dandleth most upon her knees, and to whom she granteth 
her sweetest kisses, are but at best like a curious marble chimney- 
piece, glorious and shining without, but full of soot and blackness 
within. God did at first, for man's fall, judge the earth to bring 
forth briers and thorns, and all the fruit it beareth will be piercing 
and paining, whatever men fancy to themselves. 

But, reader, though the curse of the earth be thistles and thorns, 
yet the blessing of heaven is light and joy. Though the world be 
empty, and vain, and vexatious, yet religion is full, and filling the 
soul with content and comfort. Observe the very formal nature of 
it : ' The kingdom of God {i.e., religion) consisteth not in meats 
and drinks, but in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost,' Kom. xiv. 17. Peace and joy is the heart-cheering wine 
which groweth upon this vine ; a good conscience is a continual 
feast. Natural things must be brought to their centre before they 
can enjoy rest ; and how can it be expected that spiritual beings can 
enjoy true repose but in their centre, the Father of spirits ? That 
peace which passeth all understanding, that joy which is unspeak- 
able and full of glory, are the true and legitimate children of the 
power of godliness. Outward things and forms, like glow-worms, 
may be glistering, but they are not warming. It is the power of 
religion, like the sun, that brings refreshing light, and enlivening 
heat along with it. The wicked is snared in his wickedness, but 
the righteous sing and rejoice, 

2. Is not that worthy to be made thy business, in which thou 
hast to do with an infinite, glorious, and jealous Majesty ? If men 
are serious about the concernments of a father, or master, or noble- 
man, or king, how serious should they be about the concernments 
of a God ! I must tell thee, reader, that thou hast every moment 
of thy life to do with the great God. Whether thou art eating, or 
drinking, or walking, or buying, or selling, or ploughing, or sowing, 
or reaping, as well as when thou art praying, or hearing, or reading, 
or meditating, thou hast still to do with God. In all companies, in 
all thy relations, in all natural actions, in all civil transactions, at 
all seasons, thou hast more to do with God than with any creature, 
than with all the creatures ; and is his work to be slighted or 
dallied with, or slubbered over ? Is it good playing or toying with 
his interests and concerns, in whose hand is thy breath, and life, 
and all that thou hast ? Dost thou not know that his eyes are ever 
upon thee ; that his arm is able to reach and revenge him on thee 
when he pleaseth ; that he looks on himself as worthy to be observed 


and pleased, in all thy thoughts, and words, and deeds ? And wilt 
thou dare him to his face, and provoke hiui before his eyes, and 
cast him behind thy back, as not deserving to be minded or 
regarded? Is his fury so light a burden, or his favour so little a 
blessing, that thou art so indifferent unto either ? Ah, didst thou 
but know what a God thou hast to deal with, in every part, and 
passage, and moment of thy life ! how sweet his love is, far better 
than life ; how bitter his wrath is, more dreadful than death. 
Didst thou know how great a good, how blessed a friend, how high 
an honour, how choice a happiness, how rich a cordial, how vast a 
treasure he is to them that make his service their business ! Didst 
thou know how powerful an enemy, how intolerable his anger is, 
what a lion greedy of his prey, what a consuming fire he is to them 
that do his work by halves and negligently ! Didst thou know him 
as the saved in heaven know him, to be a hive of sweetness, a river 
of pleasure ; or as the damned in hell know him, to be a sea of 
wormwood, meeting thee as a bear robbed of her whelps! Oh, what 
wouldst thou then think of making religion thy business ! Speak, 
friend, in thy conscience ; wouldst thou then live without him in 
the world, and leave him out as one unconcerned in the several 
passages of thy conversation ? Wouldst thou then put him off 
with the skin, and shell, and carcase of religion, as if he were an 
idol, and had eyes, and saw not, and ears, and heard not, instead 
of a hearty dedication of thyself, and all thou hast, to his service ? 
Wouldst thou then eat, or drink, or buy, or sell, or do anything 
without asking his leave, and begging his blessing, and observing 
the rules and commands which he hath prescribed thee ? Or 
wouldst thou not rather do all things as in his presence, according 
to his precepts, and as may be most for his praise, believing that he 
is not a God to be dallied with ? 

3. Is not that worthy to be made thy business, which is the end 
of thy being and preservation, and of all the mercies that thou 
enjoyest, and of all the cost and charge which the great God is 
night and day at with thee ? For what end dost thou think the 
great and glorious God formed thy body so curiously in the womb, 
and animated it with a heaven-born soul, but that thou mightst be 
made capable of admiring his excellencies, adoring his perfections, 
and obeying his precepts. Canst thou be so foolish as to think that 
he created thee to despise his dominion, and break his laws, and 
dishonour his name, and walk contrary to him in thy conversation ? 
Wherefore dost thou imagine God doth preserve thee in thy being, 
afford thee health, and strength, and sleep, and food, and raiment, 


and friends, and respect, and protect thee in thy outgoings and in- 
comings, and defend thee from invisible enemies, who are continu- 
ally waiting to destroy thee, and have power enough to drag thee 
into hell every moment, but are only restrained by his almighty 
arm ; but that thou mightst, by these streams, be led upward to the 
fountain, employ these talents as a faithful steward for the honour 
of thy master, and by these gifts, tokens of his love, be persuaded 
to own and acknowledge the giver ? Canst thou be so sottish as to 
think that he bestoweth these favours upon thee, that thou shouldst 
walk after the flesh, and embrace the present world, or to strengthen 
thee in thy treasons and rebellions against him ? To what purpose 
dost thou imagine he bestoweth on thee his gospel, his ministers, 
his Sabbaths, his ordinances, many golden seasons of grace, but to 
help and enable thee to draw nigh to him, to seek out after him, to 
desire him, and delight in him, as thy only happiness and heaven ? 
Surely thou canst not be so brutish as to conceive that he giveth 
thee all this, as women give babies to children, to play and toy 
with ; or, as the Dutch are repoi-ted to have sent powder and shot 
for money to the Spaniards, to fight against him with ? Doth not 
the husbandman, who takes care by dunging, and ploughing, and 
sowing, and harrowing, to manure his ground, expect that it will 
bring forth the greater crop, and so recompense his cost, that the 
profit which he shall receive by it at harvest will answer all his 
pains ? When a father is at a great charge in the nurture and 
education of his child, providing him tutors, or sending him first to 
some considerable schools for a good while, next to the university, 
then to the Inns of Court, is it not his end that his son may be an 
honour to him, continue his name with credit, and be a prop and 
support to his family ? And canst thou think that the only wise 
God, to whom all men are absolute, and angels comparative fools, 
is at such infinite cost and charge with thee upon any other 
account, than that thou mayest be serviceable to his interest, 
advance his kingdom, and make his praise glorious, by a pious, 
gracious, and exemplary conversation, and by making his service 
thy business ? 

4. Is not that worthy to be made thy business, which is the ele- 
vation, and advancement, and perfection of thine heaven-born, 
immortal soul ? The advancement and restoration of a prince, and 
one nobly born, to his kingdom and birthright, is much more de- 
serving our care, and pains, and treasure, and blood, than the 
exaltation of a beggar from the dunghill. The soul of man is 
royally descended, begotten of God ; holiness is its restoration to its 


original glory, and primitive perfection, which is lost by the fall, 
and therefore is worthy of all our cost, and care, and study, and 

Thy soul, reader, is of unconceivable value and excellency : — 

(1.) As it is immediately created by God, without any pre- 
existing matter. 

(2.) As it is of an immaterial and spiritual nature. 

(3.) As it is capable of the image, and life, and love, and fruition 
of God himself. 

(4.) As it is immortal, and of eternal duration ; though years, 
and ages, and generations, and time have an end, the soul hath no 

(5.) As it is the bottom in which the body and its everlasting 
good is embarked. 

(6.) As it is the standard and measure of all our outward excel- 
lencies; as friends, and health, and food, and life, and riches, and 
honour, and ministers, and ordinances, are more or less worth, as 
they are more or less serviceable to the soul. Now, grace and 
godliness is the honour, and elevation, and excellency of the soul ; 
it is soul beauty, Cant. iv. 1 ; it is soul wisdom, Prov. iv. 7 ; it is 
soul riches, Luke xii. 21 ; it is soul glory, soul comfort, soul food, 
soul raiment, soul rest. Oh how worthy is that form Avhich ani- 
mates and elevates the soul of man, as its subject and matter ! He 
that addeth honour to a puissant king must be high and honourable 
indeed. That which is the form of our form, and the soul of our 
soul, that exalteth and honoureth so noble a piece, must needs 
deserve to be our only business. 

5. Is not that worthy to be made thy business, which was the 
great design ancT end of the blessed Eedeemer's birth, life, death, 
burial, ascension, and intercession ? No man, unless worse than 
distracted, can possibly conceive that the glorious God, whose wis- 
dom is unsearchable, and love to his Son unquestionable, would 
send his only-begotten Son out of his bosom; or that Christ, in 
whom were all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, would give 
himself to be born so meanly, to live so poorly, to die so painfully, 
to be disgraced, reviled, buffeted, scourged, crucified, for anything 
that was not superlatively eminent, and deserved to be the main 
work and business of every man in this world. The greatness of 
the price, the blood of God, doth to every rational understanding 
fully speak the preciousness of the pearl. Now, how clear and plain 
is it in the word of truth, that the Kedeemer ' gave himself to redeem 
us from all iniquity, and to purify unto himself a peculiar people, 


zealous of good work/ Titus ii. 14, that ' being delivered out of the 
hands of our enemies, we might serve him in holiness and righteous- 
ness all our days.' 

Surely, reader, that which the Son of God, who thought it no 
robbery to be equal with God, thought worthy the taking on him- 
self the form of a servant, and the suffering, the spite, and malice 
of men, the wrath and rage of devils, and the frowns and fury of 
his Father, to purchase for thee, doth deserve to be minded and 
regarded by thee, as the only thing thou foUowest after, and settest 
thyself about during thy pilgrimage. 

Alas ! all the pains, and labour, and watching, and working, and 
time, and strength, and lives of all the men in the world, are not 
equivalent to one drop of the blood of Christ, or the least degree of 
his humiliation ; and wilt thou deny to make that thy business, for 
which he shed so much blood, and laid down his life ? 

6. Is not that worthy to be made thy business, which is the pecu- 
liar work of the Holy Ghost, and for which the Spirit is infused 
into the hearts of men ? The worth of the Father doth speak the 
deserts of the child. Though men, who pretend to honour the 
Father for his work of creation, and to admire the Son for his work 
of redemption, blasphemously deride and wretchedly slight sanctifi- 
cation, which is the work of the Sj)irit, yet undoubtedly the work 
of the Spirit is no whit inferior to either ; nay, is the beauty and 
glory both of creation and redemption, as being the end and perfec- 
tion of both. The Father created the world in order to the new 
creation by the Spirit, as that choice workmanship which he resolved 
should bring him in the largest revenue of praise and honour. It 
is the new heavens, wherein dwelleth righteousness, that doth most 
declare the glory of God, and the firmament (of sparkling graces) 
that sheweth forth his most choice and curious handiwork. Sancti- 
fication is the travail of the Son's soul, a spiritual, sacred life, the 
great end of his death. The Son redeemed man from slavery to 
sin and Satan, and unto the service of righteousness, by laying 
down the price thereof, his own most precious blood. One of the 
Son's main works was to purchase the re-impression of God's image 
on man, the actual performance of which is the peculiar office of 
the Spirit ; hence he tells us, John xiv., ' I go away that the Com- 
forter may come;' and again, John vi., 'The Spirit was not yet 
given,' (*.e., so plentifully and universally,) 'because Jesus was not 
yet glorified.' And therefore we read, that in few days after his 
ascension, to acquaint us what was one main end and fruit of his 
death and suffering, he poureth down the Holy Ghost in an extra- 


ordinary manner and measure. So that creation, the work of the 
Father, doth, as it were, provide the matter, the wax ; redemp- 
tion, the work of the Son, buyeth the image of God, the seal ; and 
sanctification, the work of the Spirit, stampeth it on the soul. 

Now, reader, doth not the sanctification of thy soul deserve to be 
thy main business, when it is the curious work of the Holy Spirit, 
as that which the Father's eye was chiefly on in thy creation, and the 
Son's in thy redemption ? 

7. Is not that worthy to be made thy business, which addeth a 
real worth to everything, and without which nothing is of worth or 
value ? Every one will grant that what is so richly excellent, as 
to ennoble and add an intrinsic value to whatsoever it is affixed, 
and the lack of which maketh everything, be they in other respects 
never so precious, low and mean, must needs deserve to be our 
business. Truly, friend, such is holiness : it makes the word of 
God a precious word, ' more to be embraced than gold, yea, than 
much fine gold ; ' the ordinances of God, precious ordinances ; 
the people of God, a precious people, the excellent of the earth. 
What is the reason that some, in the account of him who is best 
able to judge, though they be never so rich or beautiful, or high 
and honourable in the world, are called dross, chaff, stubble, dust, 
filth, vessels of dishonour, and counted dogs, swine, vermin, ser- 
pents, cockatrices, but want of holiness ? What is the reason that 
some, though poor, and despised, and mean, and houseless, and 
friendless, are esteemed, by him who can best discern true worth, 
the glory of the world, the glory of Christ, a royal diadem, a royal 
priesthood, higher than the kings of the earth, more excellent than 
their neighbours, princes in all lands, such of whom the world is 
not worthy, but because they are godly persons, a holy people ? 
Why are some angels advanced to the highest heavens, waiting 
always in the presence of the King of kings, honoured to be his 
ministers and deputies in the government of this lower world, when 
other angels are thrown down into the lowest hell, for ever banished 
the celestial court, and bound in chains of darkness, as prisoners to 
the day of execution, but holiness in the former, and want of it in 
the latter ? 

8. Is not that worthy to be made thy business, which will and 
can refresh and revive thee in an hour of death, and enable thee 
to sing and triumph at the apiDroach of the king of terrors ? The 
master of moral philosophy tells us, that it is worth the while for a 
man to be all the time he lives learning how to die well. The 
unerring Spirit of God acquaints us, that it ought to be our great 


work to be wise for our latter end. Doubtless, it must be a rich, 
costly cordial indeed, and deserves not a little time and pains and 
charge to prepare, which can keep a man from fainting in such a 
day of extremity, wherein our honours and treasures, friends, wives, 
children, nay, our flesh and hearts, will fail and forsake us. That 
cannot be of mean worth, which can make a man encounter his last 
enemy with courage and conquest, at the sight of which kings, and 
captains, and nobles, and the greatest warriors, have trembled, as 
leaves with the wind, and their hearts melted as grease before the fire. 

Now, reader, godliness is that wine which will cause thee to sing 
at the approach of this Goliath, and enable thee, as leviathan, to 
laugh at the shaking of his spear ; when whole hosts of others, 
without godliness, fly like cowards' before it, and would give all 
they are worth to avoid fighting with it. Hark, what a challenge 
the godly sends to his adversary, daring it to meet him in the field ! 
' death, where is thy sting ? grave, where is thy victory ? 
The sting of death is sin ; and the strength of sin is the law. But 
thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory, through our Lord 
Jesus Christ,' 1 Cor. xv. 55-57. The naturalists tell us of a pre- 
cious stone called Ceraunias, that glisters most when the sky is 
cloudy, and overcast with darkness. Godliness, friend, will cast 
the greatest lustre on thee, and put the greatest comfort in thee, 
when thy time of trouble and day of death is come. This, this is 
the friend that is born for the day of adversity. Therefore, the 
sweet singer of Israel having this ^nth him, promiseth, ' Though he 
walk in the valley of the shadow of death, he will fear none ill,' 
Ps. xxiii. 

9. Is not that worthy to be made thy business, which will help 
thee to comfort and confidence at a dreadful day of judgment, and 
cause thee to lift up thy head with joy, when thousands and mil- 
lions shall weep and wail ? The day of judgment will be a terrible 
day indeed. The judge will come inflaming fire — a fire devouring 
before him, and behind him a flame burning. His tribunal will 
be a tribunal of fire. Out of his mouth did proceed a fiery law, 
and by that law of fire he will try men for their eternal lives and 
deaths. The earth at that day will be consumed with fire, and the 
elements melt with fervent heat. If the cry of fire, fire, in the 
night now be so dreadful, and dotli so afl'right and amaze us, though 
it be but in one house, and possibly not very near us, how dreadful 
will that day be, when we shall see the whole world in a flame, and 
the judge coming in flaming fire to pronounce our eternal dooms ! 
' Who can abide the day of his coming ? or who can stand when 



he appearetli ? Then ' the kings, and captains, and nobles, and 
mighty men will call to the rocks to fall on them, and to the hills 
to hide them from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and 
from the wrath of the Lamb,' Kev. vi. 15, 16. 

reader, of what worth is that which will help thee, as the three 
children, to sing in the midst of so many flaming fiery furnaces, 
and preserve thee from being hurt, or so much as touched there- 
with ! Truly, godliness will do this for thee. It will turn this 
day of the perdition of ungodly men into a day of redemption to 
thee. As true gold is not consumed by the hottest fire,^ and the 
salamander can live in the greatest flames, so the godly man, in 
the midst of all those fires and flames, will live and flourish, though 
millions of ungodly ones are scorched and tortured. As he is a 
king now, reigning over his stubborn lusts and unruly passions, that 
will be his coronation-day, wherein he will appear before the whole 
world in all his glory and royalty. As he is a husbandman now, 
sowing to the Spirit, that will be his harvest-day, wherein he shall 
reap the fruit of all his prayers, and tears, and watchings, and fast- 
ings, and labour, and sufferings. As he is compared to a virgin, 
betrothed to Christ, now, keeping his garments white and clean, 
and devoting himself to the service and honour and commands of 
his Lord, that will be his marriage-day, wherein he shall be arrayed 
in fine linen, the righteousness of the saints, adorned with the 
jewels of perfect graces, and solemnly espoused to the king of 
saints, the heir of all things, and the fairest of ten thousands, the 
Lord Jesus Christ. As he is a servant now, doing not his own, 
but the will of his master in heaven, and finishing his work, that 
will be the day wherein his indentures will expire, and he shall 
enjoy the glorious liberty of the sons of God. As he is a son now, 
yielding reverence and obedience to the Father of spirits, that will 
be the day wherein he shall be declared to be of full age, and enjoy 
his portion and inheritance. As he is a soldier now, fighting the 
good fight of faith, warring a good warfare, enduring much hard- 
ship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, that will be the day wherein 
he shall be called off the guard, discharged of those tiresome, toil- 
some duties, incumbent on him in this life, and receive his garland, 
a crown of everlasting life. 

Little dost thou conceive, reader, the worth of godliness at that 
day. Godliness will then be honoured and admired, not only by 
them that have it, and rejoice in it, but also by the most profane 
and carnal wretches, and those who now despise and deride it. 
Then the blind world, who now shut their eyes and will not see. 


and the atheistical world, who harden their hearts, and will not 
believe, shall return, and discern, and see, and believe a difference 
between the godly and ungodly ; between them that fear the Lord, 
and them that fear him not. friend, what wouldst thou give 
at that day, that godliness had been thy business at this day ! 
Godliness will make the judge, the Lord Jesus Christ, thy friend ; 
the Father, by whose authority he sits the king of all nations, thy 
friend ; the justices who will be upon the bench, — for he shall come 
with thousands of his saints, — thy friends. Godliness would make 
the law, by which thou art to be tried, thy friend ; godliness would 
make thy conscience, which is to be brought in as the evidence, thy 
friend. Godliness would strike dumb all thy accusers, Satan, thy 
corruptions, and suffer none of them to hurt thee as thy foes. And 
is not godliness worthy to be made thy business, which will do all 
this for thee ? 

10. Is not that worthy to be made thy business which will do 
thee good to eternity ? The fool is for goods for many years, but 
a wise man is for goods that will last to eternity. In worldly 
matters, we value those houses and goods liighest which will last 
longest. We will give much more for the fee-simple or inheritance 
for ever of a dwelling or lands, than for a term of few years, or for 
a lease for life, though we can enjoy them but during life. Oh, 
why should it not be thus in spirituals ? Why should we not 
set the greatest price, and take the most pains, for that which 
is not for years, or ages, but for ever ? for that which we may 
enjoy, and have full, solid comfort in, to eternity ? No good that 
is eternal, can be little. If it be but a human friend whom thou 
lovest, to enjoy him for ever, or a bodily health, to enjoy it for ever, 
or near relations, to enjoy them for ever, will infinitely advance the 
price and raise the value of them ; but to enjoy a God for ever, 
the blessed Saviour for ever, the comforting Spirit for ever, fulness 
of joy for ever, rivers of pleasure for ever, an exceeding weight of 
glory for ever, a crown, a kingdom, an inheritance for ever, which 
is the fruit of godliness, what tongue can declare, what mind can 
apprehend the worth of these ? Alas ! frailty is such a flaw in all 
earthly tenures, that it doth exceedingly abate their value, and 
should our affections to them. Who would esteem much of that 
flower, which flourisheth and looks lovely in the morning, but 
perisheth and is withered at night ? How little are those things 
worth which are to-day mine, and to-morrow another's ; which 
make themselves wings, and, as birds, fly away ; are no sooner in 
sight, but almost as soon out of sight ! Though all the works and 


creatures of God are excellent, and admirable in their degrees and 
places, yet some are of far m^ore worth than otliers, because of their 
nearer relation to our spiritual souls, and their eternal duration. 
When I look upon honours, and applause, and respect in the world, 
methinks its worth is little ; for I can see through that air. It is 
but a breath, a blast that quickly passeth away. When I look upon 
houses and lands, and silver and gold, I may well judge their 
price low ; for there is a worm that will eat out and consume the 
strongest- timbered dwelling ; and gold and silver are corruptible 
things. Riches are not for ever. When I look upon my wife and 
children, in whom I have, through mercy, much comfort and con- 
tentment, yet their value, as natural relations, is small ; for so they 
shall not be mine for ever ; and therefore ' they that have wives ' 
are commanded to be ' as though they had none.' But when I look 
upon grace, upon godliness, upon religion, upon the image of God, 
oh, of what infinite worth, and price, and value are they, because 
they are lasting, they are everlasting, they are mine for -ever ! 
When honours, and crowns, and I'obes, and s6eptres- are but for a 
few days ; when stately palaces, and costly manors, and treasures, 
gold, and pearl are but for a short time ; when the most lovely 
and loving wives, and husbands, and sons, and daughters, and 
friends are frail and fading ; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring 
for ever. Godliness is the good part that, when thy relations, and 
possessions, and all the good things of this life shall be taken from 
thee, shall never be taken from thee. 

Reader, what an argument is here to provoke thee to spend and 
be spent, to employ all thy time, and strength, and talents, to sell all 
for this pearl, when it is of so great price ; that when all other privi- 
leges, excellencies, royal or noble births, high breedings, preferments, 
favours with great men, riches, pleasures, will only, as brass or 
leathern money, be current in some countries, in this beggarly earth, 
it will enrich thee and enliven thee, refresh and rejoice thee, for ever. 

11. Is not that worthy to be made thy business, which all men, 
even the greatest enemies to it, will, sooner or later, heartily and 
earnestly wish had been their business ? We have a usual saying, 
that what one speaketh may be false and light ; and what two speak 
may be false and vain ; and what three speak may be so ; but what 
all speak and agree in, must have something of truth and weight 
in it. And again, we say. Vox populi est vox dei, The voice of 
all the people is an oracle. Though as Christ said of himself, so I 
may say of godliness, God himself beareth witness of it, and his 
witness is true, and it needeth not testimony from man. Yet as he 


made use of the testimony of John to convince the Jews of their 
desperate wickedness and -inexcusableness, in not submitting to his 
precepts, and accepting him as a Saviour ; so may I improve the 
witness of the whole world on the behalf of godliness, to convince 
thee, reader, of thy folly and sinfulness in neglecting it ; and to 
shew thee how inexcusable thou wilt be found at the day of Christ, 
if thou dost not presently set upon it, and make it thy business. 

It is evident that many men, whose hearts are full of opposition 
to the ways of God, and whose lives are a flat contradiction to his 
word and will, do yet in their extremity seek him early, and cry 
to him earnestly, and fly to godliness as the only shelter in a storm, 
and fastest anchor in a tempest. The most profane and atheistical 
wretches, who have in their w^orks defied God himself, and in their 
words blasphemously derided godly men and godliness, when they 
have been brought low by sickness, and entered within the borders 
of the king of terrors, and have some apprehension upon their 
spirits that they must go the way of all the earth, then, as 
naturalists observe of the dying cuckoo, they change their note ; 
send for godly ministers, godly Christians, desire them to pray with 
them, to pray for them, hearken diligently to their serious instruc- 
tions ; wish with all their hearts, and would give their highest 
honours, and richest treasures, and imperial diadems, and kingdoms, 
if they have any, and all they are worth, that they had made god- 
liness their business ; and promise, if God will spare them, and 
lengthen their lives but a few days upon earth, that they will have 
no work, no calling, no employment, no design, but how to please 
God, and obey his counsel, and submit to his Spirit, and follow after 
holiness, and prepare their souls for heaven. Oh, then godliness is 
godliness indeed, and grace is grace indeed ! Then they call and cry, 
as the foolish virgins to the wise, ' Give us of your oil, for our lamps 
are gone out.' Oh, give us grace ; give us godliness in the power 
of it ; for all our formal, outside, lazy, serving of God is come to 
nothing. The serpent that is crooked all her lifetime, when dying, 
stretcheth herself straight. 

As Dionysius on his death, when he heard Thales discoursing 
excellently about the nature and worth of moral philosophy, cursed 
his pastimes, and sports, and foolish pleasures, that had taken him 
off, and diverted him from the study of so worthy a subject ; so 
these lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, whose lives are 
little else than brutish delights in a circle, or a diversion fi'om one 
pleasure to another, whose business now is to mock at piety, and 
persecute the pious ; when they come to be thrown by a disease on 


tlieir beds, and their consciences begin to accuse them for their 
neglect of godliness, and to convince them of its absolute necessity, 
and they have some fears to be overthrown by death ; then they 
curse their hawks, and hounds, and games, and cups, and com- 
panions, and sensual delights, that hindered them from making reli- 
gion their business. Experience testifieth this frequently in many 
parts of the nation, where the consciences of dying sinners are not 
seared with a red hot iron. 

Some wish this whilst they live, either under some great affliction, 
or on a dying bed ; nay, I am persuaded that most wicked men that 
live under the gospel, in their prosperity even, when they have the 
world at will, in the midst of their sensual delights, have inward con- 
viction that the course they take will prove cursed in the end, and 
have some velleities or weak desires, (though overruled by carnal, 
headstrong affections,) that they could leave those vanities, and make 
religion their business. But all wicked men after death, when they 
come into the other world, will wish in earnest, with all tlieir hearts 
and souls, that they had minded nothing but the service of God, 
and exercising themselves unto godliness. There, there it is, that 
the whole world that now lieth in wickedness, and will not believe 
the word and wisdom of their Maker, will all set their hands and 
seals to the truth of that which I am now endeavouring to evince. 

When God sends his officer, death, to arrest sinners for the vast 
sums which they owe to his justice for their breach of his laws, and 
this Serjeant, according to command from the King of kings, exe- 
cutes his writ, and delivers his prisoner to the devils, God's jailors ; 
and they seize, as so many roaring lions, on the poor trembling prey, 
and hale them to their own den, hell ; that dungeon of eternal 
darkness, where sinners see and are assured that all their meat must 
be flakes of fire and brimstone, and all their drink a cup of pure 
wrath without mixture, and all their music howling, and weeping, 
and wailing, and gnashing of teeth ; and all their rest torments day 
and night for ever and ever; and all their companions frightful 
devils, and a cursed crew of damned wretches, and all this to come 
upon them for not making religion their business whilst they were 
on earth ; then, oh then, they will wish with all their souls and 
strengths, again and again, that they had minded the Christian 
man's calling, and made religion their business whilst they were in 
this world, though they had been slaves, or beggars, or vagabonds, 
and had lived in poverty and disgrace, and prisons, and fetters dur- 
ing their whole pilgrimage. 

Now, reader, if the witness of one enemy be a double testimony, 
what is the witness of all the enemies of God and godliness, on the 


behalf of tlie Lord, and his ways, against themselves ! Shall it not 
prevail with thee to set speedily and diligently about the work of 
Christianity ? Ah how dumb wilt thou be struck another day, if 
thou wilt not believe either God, or good men, or thy conscience, or 
thy companions, or all the world ! 

12. And lastly, Is not that worthy to be made thy business, upon 
which thine eternal life or death, salvation 6r damnation, doth 
depend ? Consider it, friend, here is salvation and damnation 
before thee, eternal salvation- and eternal damnation, and they 
depend upon thy making religion thy business or neglect of it. 
Oh what weight is there in these few words ! Make religion thy 
business, and thou art eternally blessed ; be formal and careless 
about it, and thou art cursed for ever ; upon the one and the other 
turneth thine eternal estate. -The almighty God hath, under his 
own hand, set down this making religion thy business to be the 
only terms upon which heaven shall be had, and it is impossible to 
alter or abate his price, John vi. 27 ; Mat. vi. 33 ; Phil. ii. 12. 
Canst thou be so foolish as to think that Christ, and happiness, and 
eternal life can be obtained upon easier conditions, when he must 
make God a liar, and the gOspel a lie, (which the devil himself is 
not so wicked as to think possible,) who arriveth at the port of bliss 
without exercising himself to godliness ? The promises, ever since 
the world was, had the same conditions, and ever will whilst the 
world shall endure. The gospel is therefore called the everlasting 
gospel, because it will continue, without the least change or altera- 
tion, the same for ever. Thou mayest be confident that God doth 
not, as some indiscreet citizens, ask much more for his eternal glory 
and life of men than he intendeth to take. 

I say again, ponder it, for this argument hath more in it than 
thine understanding can possibly conceive or imagine. Is not that 
worthy to become thy business, and main work in this world, upon 
which thine everlasting weal or woe, thine endless estate in the 
other world, doth depend ? 

Keader, if that doth not deserve all thy time, and pains, and 
soul, and heart, and infinitely more, upOn which unchangeable joy 
or eternal torments hang, then, I am sure, nothing doth. Alas ! all 
the things of this world, whether about food, or raiment, or houses, 
or lands, or wives, or children, nay, and life itself, are but toys, and 
trifles, and shadows, and nothings, to an everlasting condition in the 
other world. Oh that thou wert but able to conceive what it is to be 
eternally in fulness of pleasure, or eternally in extremity of pain — 
to be frying in flames for ever, or bathing in rivers of delight for 
ever ! To enjoy God in his ordinances, though it be but imper- 


fectly, and in a low degree, one hour, one day, how sweet is it ! 
His tabernacles are highly amiable upon that account : 'One day 
in thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.' But to enjoy 
God fully, immediately, and for ever too, oh how superlatively, how 
infinitely pleasant and delightful will it be ! To be in God's lower 
house, though but a little time, under some pious, powerful minister, 
how reviving and refreshing is it ! But to dwell in his upper house 
for ever : ' blessed are they that dwell in that house, they always 
praise thee ! ' The eternal presence of God will cause an eternal 
absence of all evil, and an eternal confluence of all good. 

reader, who will not work hard, labour much, exercise him- 
self to godliness night and day — do anything that God com- 
mandeth, suffer anything that God inflicteth, forbear anything 
that God forbiddeth, to be saved eternally, to be infinitely blessed 
in the fruition of God for ever ? Surely it is worth the while to 
obey the counsel of God in order to eternal salvation. On the other 
side, eternal damnation, how dreadful is it ! if it be but the scratch 
of a pin for ever, or a little ache of the head for ever, it would be 
very doleful ; but a violent headache or toothache, or fits of the 
colic, or .stone, for ever, oh how intolerable would they be ! But 
ah, how terrible is the wrath of God for ever, darkness of darkness 
for ever, the fire of hell for ever, to which all the racks and tor- 
ments in thi,s life, are pext to nothing ! Ah, who can dwell in ever- 
lasting burnings ! 

1 suppose thou wouldst avoid thy v/icked companions, and for- 
bear thy sinful courses, do anything thou couldst, rather than to 
boil in a furnace of scalding water for a thousand years, nay, one 
year ; and wilt thou not make religion thy business, when otherwise 
God himself hath told thee, thou shalt boil in a furnace of scalding- 
wrath, infinitely worse than scalding lead, for ever, ever, ever ? 
Consider ,what thou hast read, and the Lord give thee understand- 
ing, that thou mayest be wise to eternal salvation ! 

Eeader, these twelve questions being proposed, I desire thee to 
answer them to him, before whom thou shalt answer ere long for 
all the motions. of thy heart, and passages of thy whole life ; and I 
shall not detain -thee longer in the passage, though it be much larger 
than I intended when I first put pen to paper about it. If thy soul 
receive any profit by it, I shall not repent of my pains, only beg thy 
prayers ; that thou mayest, is the desire of 

Thine and the church's servant in the blessed Saviour, 

George Swinnock. 



But refuse profane and old wives fables, and exeyxise thyself unto 
godliness. — 1 Tim. iv. 7. 


And exercise thyself unto godliness. 

The life of man is not seldom in the word of God compared to a 
walk,i Ps. xxxix. The womb is the place whence he first, in the 
morning of his age, sets out, and his actions are the several steps by 
which he is always hastening to his journey's end, the grave, that 
common" inn of resort. The life of a Christian is called a walking 
in the light, 1 John i. 6, a walking in the law, Ps. cxix. 1, because 
his motion is regular, and his whole race by rule. He must have 
a divine word for all his works, and a precept from God for all his 
practices. Scripture is the compass by which he steereth, and the 
square by which he buildeth. Hence he is said to walk with God, 
because he walketh according to his commands ^nd his example ; 
he doth not walk Kara avOpcoirov, as man, 1 Cor. iii. 3, but Kara 
©ebv, according to his measure, as God willeth, and as God walketh. 
Further, the holy life of a saint is compared to an orderly walking 
in these two respects. 

First, In regard of his gradual proficiency.2 He doth not stand 
still, but gets ground by his steps : ' They go from strength to 
strength,' Ps. Ixxxiv. 4 ; ' From faith to faith,' Rom. i. 17. He is 
ever going forward in heaven's way, and never thinks of sitting- 
down till he comes to his Father's house. Sometimes indeed he is 

' Ambulare Hebraica phrasi significat cursum vitse instituere. 
- Est motub progressivus. 


SO straitened that he can only creep, at other times he is enlarged 
that he can run ; but at all times he is going on towards perfec- 
tion.! The light of his holiness, though at first but glimmering, is 
always growing, and shines brighter and brighter till perfect day, 
Prov. iv. 18. 

, Secondly, In regard of his uniform perseverance. 2 It is not 
taking a step or two in a way which denominateth a man a walker, 
but a continued motion ; it is not one or two good actions, but a 
good conversation wdiich will speak a man to be a right Christian. 
A true believer, like the heavenly orbs, is constant and unwearied 
in his motion and actings. An expositor observeth of Enoch, that 
it is twice said of him, ' He walked with God,' Gen. v. 22 and 24, 
to shew that, as he first began to walk and profit in God's path, so 
he always continued profiting to the end."^ No man is judged 
healthy by a flushing colour in his face, but by a good complexion. 
God esteemeth none holy for a particular carriage, but for a general 
course. A sinner in some few acts may be very good. Judas 
repenteth ; Cain sacrificeth ; the scribes pray and fast ; and yet all 
were very false. In the most deadly diseases there may be some 
intermissions, and some good prognostics, A saint in some few 
acts may be very bad. Noah is drunk ; David dcfileth his neigh- 
bour's wife ; and Peter denieth his best friend ; yet these persons 
were heaven's favourites. The best gold must have some grains of 
allowance. Sheep may fall into the mire, but swine love night and 
day to wallow in it. A Christian may stumble, nay, he may fall, 
but he gets up and walks on in the way of God's commandments : 
the bent of his heart is right, and the scope of his life is straight, 
and thence he is deemed sincere. 

It is the character of the Christian to be constant in his gracious 
course. If you would speak with the tradesman you may meet him 
in his shop. The farmer's usual walk is in the fields. He that 
hath business with the merchant, expecteth him in his counting- 
house, or amongst his goods ; and he that looketh for the Christian 
shall not fail to find him with his God.'^ Whether he be alone or 
in company, abroad or in his family, buying or selling, feeding 
himself, or visiting others, he doth all as in his God's presence, and 

^ Ambulare in Christo duo denotat. Progredi et perseverare in doctrina et fide 
Cliristi. — Dav. in Col. ii. 6. * Est motus perpetuus. 

■* Bis de Enoch dicitur, Ambulavit cum deo, ad explicandum quod ab ineunte 
retate profecit in via Dei, et perseveravit proficiendo in eadem semper. — Cajet. 

* Ambulare est vivere. Hac loquendi formula admonemur, Christianum esse in 
perpetuo itinere A'ersus coelestem patriam, neque unquam esse illi subsistendum in via, 
sed perpetuo ambulandum et progrediendum. Dav. in Col. 

Chap. I.] the christian man s calling. 187 

in all aimetli at his praise. As the sap of a tree riseth up from the 
root, not only to the body, but also to the branches of the smallest 
twigs ; so grace in a saint springeth up from his heart, and floweth 
out, not only in his spiritual and higher, but also in his civil and 
lower actions. 

How the saint may make godliness his business in religious 
actions, (as in praying, hearing, receiving the Lord's supper, and 
sanctification of the Lord's day,) in natural actions, in his recrea- 
tions, in his particular calling, and in the government of his family, 
I have largely discovered in the first part of the Christian Man's 

The second part will help believers in the relations, (of husbands 
and wives, parents and children, masters and servants,) and in the 
conditions of prosperity and adversity. 

Eeader, the design of this treatise is to direct thee further in this 
continual exercise of piety. It divideth itself into these particulars. 
I shall herein, 

First, Endeavour to discover wherein the nature of godliness 
consisteth — 

1. In thy dealings with all men. 

2. In all companies, whether good or bad ; and therein I shall 
speak both to thy choice of companions and carriage in com- 

3. In solitariness. 

4. On a week-day, from morning to night. 

5. In visiting the sick. 

6. On a dying bed. 

Secondly, I shall offer thee some means which will be helpful to 
thee in this business. 

Thirdly, I shall annex some motives to stir thee up to this high 
and gainful callino:. I besrin with the first. 


How a Cliristian may exercise himself to godliness in his dealings 
luitli all men. As also a good wish about that particular. 

First, Thy duty is to make religion thy business in thy dealings 
with all men. True godhness j)ayeth its dues to men, as well as its 
duty to God ; nay, it cannot do the latter without the former. 
Upon these two poles all religion turns, and upon these two feet it 


walketh. That man's holiness is lame which always keeps home, 
and doth not walk abroad and visit his neighbours. It is a sign of 
a sickly temper for a man to sit always brooding in a chimney- 
corner, and not to dare to stir out of doors. Sure I am, thy reli- 
gion is of a sad, distempered constitution, whatsoever hopes it may 
give of healthiness in family duties, if it goeth no farther, and doth 
not appear in the open air of thy converses with strangers. Keli- 
gion bindeth the Christian to his good behaviour towards all men. 
True holiness will provide things honest, not only in the sight of 
God, but also in the sight of all men, 2 Cor. viii. 21. The king's 
coin hath his superscription without the ring, as well as his image 
within it. The saint's civil as well as his spiritual actions have 
divine impression stamped on them, and he is walking with God in 
his trading with men. As thy heart must be pure, so thy hands 
must be clean, or thou canst never reach heaven : Ps. xxiv. 3, 4, 
' Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord ? and who shall stand 
in his holy place ? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart,' 
To be void of conscience in thy civil actions speaks thee to have 
no right to the beatifical vision ; he that comes short of heathens 
must needs come short of heaven. And truly to be careless in 
making godliness thy business in them will very much hinder thy 
progress in holiness. If all the passages of the body be not ojien, 
there is no thriving in health. 

The ostrich is very swift, and said to outrun the horse : ' He 
mocketh the horse and the rider,' Job xxxix. 18 ; but what is the 
reason ? Truly this, he hath two helps of speed, his wings and his 
feet, whereas other creatures have but one. The hawk hath wings, 
the hare and horse have feet ; but he hath and useth both wings 
and feet, and hence is so nimble in his flight. The right Christian 
maketh haste, and runneth the way of God's comnlandments, be- 
cause he doth use not only the wings of religious performances for 
that end, but also the feet of his ordinary actions. When some are 
only for holy duties, and others only for honest dealings, he out- 
strips them all, marrying them both, together, and making them like 
husband and wife, serviceable each to other. It is true, his piety 
is the husband, which hath the command and dominion ; but his 
dealings with men, as a dutiful wife, further his weal by their 
obedience and subjection. No Christian ever made more haste in 
heaven's way than Paul : 1 Cor. xv. 10, ' I laboured more abun- 
dantly than they all,' saith he ; but how came it about ? Why, 
through divine assistance, he exercised himself to keep a conscience 
void of offence, both towards God and towards all men, Acts xxiv- 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 189 

16. The stream must needs be the swifter for the meeting and 
uniting of the waters of grace out of both those channels. The 
bark which covereth the tree seemeth to be of httle worth compared 
with the body of the tree, yet if that be peeled off the tree dieth. 
Though righteous dealings seem to be but the bark and outside of 
religion, yet if once thou castest them off, thy religion, as thriving 
as thou thoughtest it to be, will quickly wither and come to nothing. 
The heart-blood of thy godliness may be let out by a wound in thy 

I shall lay down a motive or two to quicken thee to conscientious- 
ness in thy dealings with all men, and then acquaint thee wherein 
it consisteth. 

Section I. 

First, Consider, it is a sure sign of hypocrisy to be unrighteous 
and careless in civil dealings, how conscientious soever thou mayest 
seem to be in sacred duties. He that seems righteous towards men, 
and is irreligious towards God, is but an honest heathen ; and he 
that seems religious towards God, and unrighteous towards men, is 
but a dissembling Christian. To make conscience of one duty and 
not of another, is to make true conscience of neither. The soul 
that ever had communion with God above, comes down, like Moses 
out of the mount, with both tables in his hands, the second as well 
as the first, and the first as well as the second. One stone in a 
mill, one oar in a boat, will do little good ; there must be two, or 
no work can be done. A perfect man consisteth of two essential 
parts, a soul and a body. Though the soul be the principal, and 
doth specificate the compound, yet the body is so necessary, that 
without it none can be a complete man. A Christian that is (evan- 
gelically) perfect, is also made up of these two parts, holiness and 
righteousness. Though holiness be the chief, as that which doth 
difference the saint, yet righteousness is so requisite that there can be 
no true Christian without it. The holy apostle argueth the purity 
of his conscience from the honesty of his conversation : ' We trust 
that we have a good conscience in all things, willing to live honestly/ 
Heb. xiii. 18. The goodness of the fruit will commend the tree. 

1. Their honesty was visible, ' to live honestly ' ; not only to mean 
well, and think honestly, or to tqilk, but to live honestly. 

2. Their honesty was universal. ' In all things ' (not in one or two 
particulars) ' willing to live honestly.' Visibility and universality are 
popish marks of a true church, and Protestant marks of a true 


Christian. A hypocritical Jehu may do some things ; a murderous 
Herod may do many things ; but an upright Paul is in all things 
willing to live honestly.l A ship that is not of the right make 
cannot sail trim ; and a clock whose spring is faulty will not always 
go true ; so a person of unsound principles cannot be constant and 
even in his practices. The religion of those that are inwardly 
rotten, is like a fire in some cold climates, which doth almost fry a 
man before, when at the same time he is freezing behind. They 
are zealous in some things, as holy duties, which are cheap, and 
cold in other things, especially when they cross their profit or 
credit; as the Mount Helga^ is covered with snow on one side, 
when it burnetii and casteth out cinders on the other side ; but the 
holiness of them that are sound at heart, is like the natural heat, 
which, though it resort most to the vitals of sacred performances, 
yet, as need is, it warmeth, and hath an influence upon all the out- 
ward parts of civil transactions. It may be said of true sanctity as 
of the sun, ' There is nothing hid from the heat thereof,' Ps. xix. 5. 
When all the parts of the body have their due nourishment distri- 
buted to them, it is a sign of a healthy temper. 

As the saint is described sometimes by a clean heart, Ps. Ixxiii. 
1 ; Mat. V. 8, so also sometimes by clean hands. Job xvii. 9, because 
he hath both ; the holiness of his heart is seen at his fingers' ends. 
He is as the ark, pitched within and without with the same ; as he 
is sometimes characterised by sacred duties, Ps. xxiv. 6, and cxix., 
Eev. i. 3, so at other times by righteous dealings, Ps. xv. ; Isa. Iviii., 
because he mindeth both. If either be separated from the man, 
you kill the Christian ; for though he may be a man without either, 
he cannot be a Christian without both. The Greek word for sin- 
cerity, eiXiKplveia, is very elegant, and signifieth (quasi iv elXf/ 
Kpiveiv) such a trial as is made of things by the sunlight. As the 
eagle, according to Aristotle, bringeth her young to the sun to try 
whether they are spurious or legitimate, so the actions of a sincere 
Christian will endure the open air, the light of the sun. He is as 
the street of the New Jerusalem, transparent glass — all one without 
and within, you may see through him. He dares appeal both to 
God and men for the holiness and righteousness of his conversa- 
tion : ' Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly we 
have had our conversation in the world,' 1 Thes. ii. 10. 

Beader, never please thyself in .the name of a Christian, if thcu 
hast not the nature of Christianity, which giveth God and man 

^ Non est vera religio qupe cum templo rclinquitur. — Lactant. 
^ Thus is " Hecla."— Ed. 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 191 

their due. It is not the great sound of a professor, uor the loud 
noise of holy performances, that will speak thee sincere, if thou 
makest not conscience of thy carriage towards thy neighbours. 
The Sadducees derive their name from Zeduchim, or Zadducajus, 
a just man ; but the worst men, saith the historian, got the best 
names. The Alcoran of the Turks hath its name from brightness, 
(Al 1 in the Arabic being as much as Karan in the Hebrew, to shine 
or cast forth a brightness,) when it is full of darkness, and fraught 
with falsehoods. It will be little comfort to thee, though the 
world commend thee for a holy man, if God condemn thee for a 
hypocrite. Doth not the word of truth tell thee, that they who 
are partial in the law have no part in the gospel, and that none are 
justified by Christ but those that are just towards Christians ? Do 
not think thy spiritual constitution to be sound, if j)lague-sores 
break out on thy body. The gods, saith Aristotle, do not so much 
respect the costliness of the sacrifice as the conversation of the 
sacrificer. Sure I am, the true God rejects those prayers, seem 
they never so glorious, where the petitioner is unrighteous. All 
thy oblations will be vain if thy conversation be vicious ; the 
sweetest incense is unsavoury if the hands that offer it be filthy. 
' Bring no more vain oblations ; incense is an abomination to me ; 
the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot 
away with ; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new 
moons and your solemn feasts my soul hateth : they are a trouble 
unto me ; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your 
hands, I will hide mine eyes from you ; yea, when you make many 
prayers, I will not hear.' But what is the reason that all these 
ordinances, which were of God's own appointment, are thus rejected ? 
' Your hands are full of blood,' Isa. i. 13-15. An unclean hand 
tainteth whatsoever it toucheth. 

Secondly, Consider the credit of religion is engaged in thy 
public dealings. More eyes are upon us when we walk abroad 
than when we are at home, and therefore it concerns us to be 
handsome in our habits, and very circumspect in our carriage. A 
professor may be rotten- hearted in holy duties, and the world never 
the wiser ; they are ignorant of it, and so do not disgrace religion 
for it ; but if he be once unrighteous in his dealings, the whole 
country will quickly ring of it, and cry him up for a cheat, and his 
religion for a cozenage. God indeed looks most to our hearts, 
whether they be sound, and accordingly esteemeth of our per- 

' This is a mistake. Al in Arabic signifies the ; Coran is generally considered to 
be derived from the verb which signifies to read; and &o Alcoran is simply the booh, 
or the bible. — Ed. 


formances ; but men look only to our hands, whether they be clean, 
and accordingly judge of our profession. If the servants of reli- 
gion behave themselves unseemly, their mistress shall be sure to 
bear the blame. When David had defiled Bathsheba, the name of 
God was blasphemed. A saint cannot do evil before men, but he 
occasions sinners to speak evil of Grod. If there be any spots on a 
Christian's coat, the world will soon spy them, and be ready in 
scorn to ask Christ himself, as the patriarchs did Jacob, ' See 
whether this be thy son's coat or no.' To look high by thy profes- 
sion, and live low and basely in thy practices, will betray both thyself 
and the gospel to scorn and derision. Augustine confesseth there 
were many such in his time, who, professing the Christian religion, 
did by their licentious lives give great scandal, and with them the 
Manichees were wont to reproach the whole church of Christ, though 
the church did disown them ; and though she could not reclaim 
them, she did disclaim them. — Aug., De morihus Ecclesice, cap. 34. 

The wicked first watch for a godly man's fall, and then are big 
with blasphemy against godliness. Like miners, they work hard, 
though unseen, to blow up a saint's name. The psalmist tells us, 
' They compassed us in our steps, they have set their eyes bowing 
down to the earth,' Ps. xvii. 11. It is an allusion to hunters, who 
go poring on the ground to find the print of the hare's claws, when 
their dogs are at a loss in their scent ; so Satan's agents go with 
their eyes bowing down, marking the saints' footsteps, to find out 
if it be possible where they have slipped or stepped awry, that their 
bloodhounds may follow both their persons and their profession 
with loud cries and fresh noise. The baggage world is both de- 
sirous and industrious to scar that face, and to spy the least 
blemish in it, that is fairer than herself 

If the Christian be once defiled, Christianity itself will quickly be 
defamed. Though sins in secret duties have their aggTavations, yet 
sins in our public dealings do in a threefold respect exceed them. 

1. These are scandalous to the good, which those are not. The 
children of God weep bitterly when they hear that others walk 
disorderly. Their hearts bewail their brethren's wickedness ; now 
wouldest thou sadden the spirit of a saint ? Alas ! they have grief 
enough from their enemies, and shall they be wounded in the house 
of their friends ? 

2. They are infectious to the bad, which secret sins are not.l 
Thy sins are like St Paul's in London, on high for the gaze of the 

' Scandalum est dictum, aut factum, quo alius redditur deterior. — Paraus in 1 
Cw. viii. 9. 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 193 

world ; but thy virtues, as St Faith, under ground, they do not note 
them. How soon will the world plead a Christian's sinful act, to 
excuse and justify their own sinful habits ! They are like raven- 
ous birds, that fly over sweet and pleasant flowers, and pitch only 
upon unsavoury carcases ; they take little notice of thy graces, but 
will be sure to mind thy vices. The philosopher saith that the 
fleeces of such sheep as are killed by the wolf are most apt to breed 
lice ; one of Christ's sheep, foiled by Satan in the eyes of men, doth 
much mischief. Now, will it not trouble thee that these unclean 
fowls should pick that from thee which will feed and nourish their 
filthy nature ? Alas ! they move fast enough towards hell with the 
tide of their own evil hearts, and shall the wind of thy example 
make them sail more swiftly ? 

3. Thy open sins occasion the wicked to speak ill of God, which 
secret sins do not. The name of God is blasphemed among the 
Gentiles through you, saith the apostle to the Romans, Rom. ii. 24. 
Christians ought to be shields, to ward off those blows of reproach 
which would fall on the name of God. How unchristian are they, 
then, that are swords in the hands of the wicked, wherewith the 
name of God is wounded. Truly, an unrighteous professor is such 
a one. If thou studiest to do thy God disservice, and to bring on 
his blessed name dishonour, thou canst not do it sooner than by 
unjust actions under the livery of a high profession. The devil 
himself cannot dress a man in a more ridiculous habit, to make 
both him and his Master the scorn of the company, than by putting 
on him a coat patched up of divers pieces and contrary colours — a 
glorious name of a saint, and the unrighteous works of a reprobate. 
Friend, beware how thou behavest thyself in the world. The snow 
makes a fair show to the eye, but, being melted, it makes a dan- 
gerous flood. They who. make a fair show in the flesh, by walking 
ojffensively, may cause such a deluge as may drown the souls of 
others, and give many a dash at the name of God himself. The 
Indians would not hear of heaven, when they were told that the 
Spaniards (whom they had found to be barbarous and bloody) 
went thither. The Jews are hardened in their enmity against 
Christ by the evil lives of pretended Christians. Epiphanius saith, 
that in his days many avoided the Christian's company because of 
the looseness of some men's conversation. When some beasts have 
blown on grass, others will not eat of it for a good while after. It is 
no wonder that religion finds so few greedy of her service, when her 
Avork is so much disparaged by those that already seem to be her 
servants. Men will easily be discouraged from travelling in tliat 



road which is haunted with thieves and robbers. Either walk up 
to thy calling, or lay thy calling down. Why shouldst thou give 
conscience cause to say to thee truly, (what Michal did to David 
falsely,) Thou hast made thyself like one of the vile and base fel- 
lows of the earth. 

Section II. 

As to the exercising thyself to godliness in thy dealings with all 
men, it consisteth partly in the manner of thy dealings, partly in 
the principle of thy dealing, and partly in the end thou propoundest 
in thy dealings. 

First, Be careful in thy carriage towards others as to the manner 
of it, that it be righteous, meek, and courteous. 

1. Be righteous in thy dealings with all men. Kighteousness 
strictly taken is a virtue, which guideth and ordereth the whole 
man for the good of his neighbour, as the understanding to con- 
ceive, the will to choose, the affections to love and desire, and the 
whole man to act and do what may tend to the welfare of others. 
This righteousness is of so great concernment to godliness, that it 
is sometimes put by a synecdoche for the whole of religion : 1 John 
iii. 7, ' He that doeth righteousness, is righteous ;' so Rom. vi. 17. 
And the Christian is denominated from this part of Christianity : 
Gen. vii. 1, ' And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy 
house into the ark, for thee have I seen righteous before me ;' so 
Ps. V. 12, ' For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous.' The moral 
philosophers tell us that justice is the sum and epitome of all 
virtues ; the divines will inform us that righteousness, largely taken, 
is the string upon which all the graces hang ; if that be broken or 
snapped asunder, they all fall off and are lost. I must tell thee. 
Christian, that civil righteousness is as really necessary as sacred. 
He that seemeth righteous towards God, and is unrighteous towards 
men, is unrighteous both to God and man. I say, be righteous in 
thy dealing with all men, — viz., let thy righteousness be real and 
universal, commutative and distributive. Be righteous in thy 
actions, expressions, and towards all persons. 

(1.) Be righteous in thy works or actions. Deal with men as one 
that in all hath to do with God. If thou art a Christian, thou art 
a law to thyself ; thou hast not only a law without thee, (the word of 
God,) but a law within thee, and so darest not transgress. Thy 
double hedge may well prevent thy wandering. Alas ! what do 
those unruly beasts get, whom no fence can keep in, but a more 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 195 

speedy slaughter ! It is said of an unrighteous man, ' his own 
counsel shall cast him out,' Job xviii. 7. Unjust men think by 
their craft to cast others down, but their own counsel will cast 
themselves out. Out ! out of what ? Out of their houses ; for 
such dwellings are built upon powder, and a spark of wrath sooner 
or later will blow them up, Ps. xxxvii. 9, ] 0. Out of their lands 
and possessions, for some providence or other (as Flavins Vespa- 
sianus served his prowling officers) will press such sponges hard, 
and squeeze out all their impure water which they have so greedily 
sucked in.l Out of their shops and all earthly comforts ; for such 
wealth is but like the flesh which the eagle fetcheth from the altar 
with a coal in it, which fires and consumes the whole nest, Hab. 
ii. 9. And, which is worst of all, their counsel will at last cast them 
out of heaven ; God himself hath locked the gate of bliss against 
them, and with all their craft and counsel they shall not be able to 
pick it open : 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, ' Know ye not that the unrighteous 
shall not inherit the kingdom of Grod ? ' It was a true saying of 
Bishop Latimer, when one told him the cutler had cozened him, 
in making him pay as much more for his knife as it was worth. 
No, saith he, he hath not cozened me, but his own conscience. 
That knife cut deep into the poor cutler's soul, and made wider 
gaps than he was aware of Oh, how foolish is man to conceive 
that by fraud he shall keep himself up, when God himself saith 
that his own counsel shall cast him down ! 

Eeader, if thou art one that, like Balaam, lovest the wages of un- 
righteousness, bethink thyself speedily ; for thy wealth, unjustly 
gotten, will, like Achan's wedge of gold, cleave thy soul in sunder. 
Eighteousness in thy works must appear both in buying and in 

Be righteous in buying. Take heed lest thou layest out thy 
money to purchase endless misery. Some have bought places to 
bury their bodies in, but more have bought those commodities 
which have swallowed up their souls. Injustice in buying is a 
canker which will eat up and waste the most durable wares. An 
unjust chapman, like Phocion, payeth for that poison which kills 
him, and buyeth his own bane. A true Christian will, in buying 
as well as selling, use a conscience. Augustine relates a story of an 
histrionical mountebank, who, to gain spectators, promised, if they 
would come the next day, he would tell them what every one's heart 
desired. When they all flocked about him at the time appointed, 

^ Quod quasi et siccos madefaceret, et exprimeret humentes; because he did 
advance and wet them well when dry, and press them hard when wet. — Tacit. 


expecting the performance of his word, he told them, This is the 
desire of every of your hearts, to sell dear and buy cheap ; but it is 
a sign he was an empiric by the falseness of his bill, for a good 
man would buy as dear as he selleth. His buying and selling are 
like two scales, that hang in an equal poise. 

In buying do not work either upon the ignorance or the poverty 
of the seller. Do not take advantage by the seller's ignorance. 
This would be as bad as to lead the blind out of the way : 1 Thes. 
iv. 6, ' Let no man go beyond, or overreach another in any matter : 
because that the Lord is the avenger of all such.' Mark, reader, those 
that overreach men are within the reach of a sin-revenging God. 
Some persons will boast of their going beyond others in bargains, 
but they have more cause to bewail it, unless they could go beyond 
the line of God's power and anger. It is an ordinary saying, but 
sinful, a man may buy as cheap as he can. Augustine tells us,^ a 
certain man (himself I suppose he meaneth) was offered a book by 
an unskilful stationer, at a price not half the worth of it ; he took 
the book, but gave him the just price, according to its full value. 
Sure I am, those wares which are half bought, through a cun- 
ning chapman's outwitting the silly tradesman, are half stolen : 
' It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer : but when he is gone 
his way, then he boasteth,' Prov. xx. 14, but hath more reason to 
weep, for his subtle words, how cheap soever he buyeth, will make 
it a hard pennyworth in the end. He makes the best market that, 
like holy David, payeth the full just price : ' Nay, (saith he of 
Oman's threshing-floor,) but I will buy it for the full price,' 1 Chron. 
Sxi. 22, 24. Ahab never bought a dearer purchase than Naboth's 
vineyard, for which he paid not one penny. 

Do not work upon the seller's poverty. This is to grind the faces 
of the poor, and great oppression. It is no mean sin in many rich 
citizens, who take advantage on the necessity of poor tradesmen. 
The poor man must sell, or his family starve ; the rich man knoweth 
it, and will buy but at such a rate that the other, with all his labour, 
shall not earn his own bread. God made the rich to relieve, but 
these (I must be bold to say) rob the poor. It is an ill way for any 
to raise themselves higher in the world, by trampling poor men 
under their feet, God hath sometimes made their houses, as high 
and as firm as they were, to fall down upon their heads, who have 
thus sucked out the blood of poor men's hearts. Some will tell us, 
they do no wrong herein ; for if poor men will not take their money, 

1 Justum pretium, quod multo amplius erat, necopinanti dedit. — Avg. 2>e Trin., 
lib. xii. cap. 3« 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 197 

they may let it alone ; they do not force them. Eeader, if thy soul 
be dyed with this crimson sin, I shall only ask thee this question, 
Is this to love thy neighbour as tKyself ? If thou hadst a wife and 
several small children, and the providence of God had called thee to 
this poor man's condition, wouldst thou be contented to work hard 
a whole week, and when thou wast compelled to sell thy wares to 
buy food for thy family, to receive (the money for materials .de- 
ducted) but sixpence or twelvepence for all thy pains ? Let thy 
own conscience be judge in this case. Is not this for men to live 
like fish, the greater devouring the lesser ? I have heard a country 
mercer say (who is now in heaven) that several times, when poor 
men have brought lace, or ribands, or other ware to him, he hath 
tried how low he could beat the price, and because of their necessi- 
ties, he hath brought them to allow their commodities for less than 
the very materials cost them ; but after he had so done, he durst 
not but give them a just, equitable price ; his conscience would not 
suffer liim to make them suffer, because their poverty necessitated 
them to sell. And truly, where men act otherwise, though their 
consciences may be quiet, because asleep, yet they have no true 
rest, and the time will come that conscience will awake to their 
woe. When some of the Jews had bought lands and vineyards of 
their brethren at an under rate, they being forced to mortgage them 
to get bread, Nehemiah rebukes them severely for working upon 
others' extremity, and desires God to shake every man out of his 
possession who did ^not make restitution, Neh. v. 2-4, 12, 13. 
Such wealth to a man, is like Jonah to the whale ; though he 
swallow it down, yet he will find it too hard a morsel to digest, and 
have no ease till he hath it restored, and vomited it up again. 

Be righteous in thy payments. Pay what thou agreest, and pay 
it in good money. 

Pay what thou contractest for. If thou buyest wares with an 
intention not to pay, thou stealest them ; and truly such wealth 
will melt away like wax before the sun. Such ill-gotten goods will, 
as commodities in a damp cellar, moulder and come to nothing. 
He that hath any such riches, saith Chrysostom, must speedily 
away with it, or else he locketh up a thief in his counting-house, 
which will carry all away, and, if he look not the better to it, his 
precious soul also. He is notoriously unrighteous, that, like the 
harpy, (which hath its name in Hebrew from injustice,) seizeth 
upon all he can meet with as prey. Mark, reader, how pious honest 
Jacob was in this particular ; when the patriarchs had bought corn 
in Egypt, and given their money to them that sold it, yet when 


upon their return he found the money in their sacks : ' Take (saith 
he) the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, 
carry it again in your hands : peradventure it was an oversight/ 
Gen. xliii. 12. How many would have concealed the money, 
stopped the mouth of their consciences with the first payment, and 
have kept it now as lawful prize ; but Jacob's conscience was more 

Let thy payments be in good money. It is treason against the 
king to make bad money, and it is treason against the King of 
kings knowingly to pay brass money. If thou dischargest thy 
debt in adulterate coin, thou contractest a greater debt on thy soul, 
and defilest thy conscience. He that putteth God off with false 
service, is a spiritual hypocrite ; he that puts men off with false 
silver, is a civil hypocrite. Such a man's conscience is farther from 
being current than his coin. ' And Abraham weighed to Ephron 
the silver, which he had named in the audience of the sons of Heth, 
four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant,' 
Gen. xxiii. 16. He that makes light payments may well expect 
heavy judgments. 

Section III. 

Be righteous in selling. Be careful, whilst thou sellest thy wares 
to men, that thou dost not therewith sell thy soul to Satan. Be- 
lieve it, thou wilt follow thy calling to sad purpose, if thou foregoest 
thine inward peace for a little outward profit. 

Be righteous in the substance of what thou sellest, and that in 
regard of its quality and quantity. 

In regard of its quality: put not bad ware for good into any 
man's hand. God can see the rottenness of thy stuffs, and heart 
too, under thy false glosses, and for all thy false lights. Thou 
sayest, caveat emptor, let the buyer beware ; but God saith, caveat 
venditor, let the seller be careful that he keep a good conscience. 
To sell men what is full of flaws and defective, for what is sound 
and sufficient, will make a greater flaw in thy conscience than thou 
art aware of. If thou partest with thy goods and thy honesty to- 
gether, though for a great sum, thou wilt be but a poor gainer. 
Thou wilt ask, possibly, whether every man be bound to reveal the 
faults of what he selleth, supposing that he knoweth them. I an- 
swer, That every man is bound, either to discover them, or else to 
take no more for his wares or beasts than they are worth, at a 
market-price, with those defects. It is clear that it is sinful to use 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling* 199' 

tricks and arts to hide those faults from the eyes of the chapman ; 
for such deeds are done purposely to deceive. I would also know 
reader, whether thou dealest herein as thou wouldst willingly be 
dealt with. Wouldst thou be glad to pay double, or half as much 
more, as a commodity is worth ? 

Be righteous in the substance of what thou sellest, in regard of 
its quantity. We have a common saying. Weight and measure, are 
heaven's treasure. It is certain, ' A false balance is abomination 
to the Lord ; a just weight is his delight,' Prov. xi. 1. ' The right- 
eous Lord hateth unrighteousness, but his countenance beholdeth 
the just.' They wrong themselves most who rob others of their 
right ; he hatcheth a cockatrice egg, who sits brooding on ill- 
gotten goods, and, like Agrippina to Nero, bringeth forth and gives 
life to that which will be his death. The jealous God is very 
punctual in this particular: "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in 
judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, 
just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have ; I am 
the Lord your Grod, which brought you out of the land of Egypt,' 
Lev. xix. 35, 36. God is pleased to count up all in his command, 
that they might not have the least colour of excuse for cozening in 
anything. Nay, he loatheth so much false weights and measures 
in their hands, that he will not allow them to be in their houses : 
' Thou shalt not have in thy bag diverse weights, a great and a small. 
Thou shalt not have in thy house diverse measures, a great and a 
small. But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect 
and just measure shalt thou have,' Deut. xxv. 13-15. Thou 
shalt not have in thy bag diverse weights ; in the Hebrew it is a 
stone and a stone, because the Jews did not make their weights of 
iron or lead, or any metal that would canker and wax too light, but 
they made them of the clear stony rock, or of glass, i They might 
not have an unjust weight or measure in their houses, because some, 
not knowing them to be defective, might use them, and deceive 

The face of Ephraim's sin was visible, under all the masks which 
he used to hide it : ' He is a merchant, the balances of deceit 
are in his hand : he loveth to oppress. And Ephraim said, Yet 
I am become rich, I have found me out substance ; in all my 
labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin,' Hosea 
xii. 7, 8. Here is, 

1. His calling, that was honourable : ' He is a merchant.' When 
some accused a young gentleman for staining his family by his 
1 Maimon. Treatise of Theft, cap. 7. 


employment, and dishonouring the noble house of which he des- 
scended, Apollonius stood forth in his defence : Ye talk, saith he, 
of a dangerous trade, and truly, such is the life of merchants ; they 
travel into foreign parts, run great hazards, make many ill bargains, 
and sometimes are bought and sold themselves, and all this they 
venture to serve their country, and ought they not to be highly 
esteemed ? Ephraim was a merchant ; but how unsuitable were 
his practices to his high and honourable profession ; for observe, 

2. His cozenage, that was abominable : ' The balances of deceit 
are in his hand ; he loveth to oppress.' When a buyer comes for a 
commodity, he weigheth it out fairly in the balance, but he hath a 
deceitful bag of weights, or a deceitful beam. He dares not cozen 
openly for shame, but he doth covertly, with the sleights and mysteries 
of his calling ; but to rob by fraud, in a shop or warehouse, is as 
bad as to rob by force upon the road. Both are thieves, and the 
former, in some respects, the greater, as more dissembling in 
their dealings, and more frequent in their thefts. These cheats 
that do it cunningly, as rabbits, making holes under ground, and 
so think themselves secure, will at last be ferreted out and slain. 

3. His case and cover of his sin : 'I am become rich, I have 
found me out substance ; in all my labour they shall find none 
iniquity,' — as if his riches did prove him to be righteous, and his 
prosperity had argued him free from all impiety. Whereas God 
suffereth many, like ravenous birds, to build their nests on high 
with stolen materials, intending at last, by some fierce blast of 
providence, to bring them down, and destroy the whole brood. 
Thieves seldom find joy in their new purchases, but never stability. 
Geese, say some, if they chance to take hold of a root with their 
bill, they will bite and pull so long to have it, that many times 
they break their necks before they leave their hold. So unjust men, 
by their greediness to enrich, usually ruin themselves ; such goods 
are like the fox which Plutarch mentions the Lacedeemonian boy 
to have stolen, and rather than he would be discovered, put it into 
his breeches, but it quickly did tear out his bowels. 

Be righteous in the manner of thy selling. The seller may not 
exact upon the buyer's necessity, but sell by the rule of equity. I 
am not bound to sell cheap, because 1 buy cheap ; neither may I 
sell dear, because I buy dear. Not my buying or selling, so much 
as the price of the market, should be my standard. Though I con- 
ceive a market rate to be most righteous, yet it is wicked, by keep- 
ing in commodities, to raise the market : ' He that withholdeth 
corn, the people shall curse him,' Prov. xi. 26. Such a man, like a 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 201 

corrupt, impostliumated member, would draw all the nourishment 
to himself, and cares not though the other parts of the body perish ; 
but the people shall curse him. This oak, which will suffer no 
small trees to thrive near it, will in time fall with the breath of so 
many curses. Probably you would know whether a tradesman, 
that knoweth such and such commodities will fall very much, by 
letters which mention several ships coming home laden with them, 
or some other way, may not sell off his own wares at the present 
price, and hide his news from his country customers. Keader, I 
shall answer it with a question not much unlike it in a heathen 
author,^ expecting that Christians should not be excelled by heathen. 
A man brings a ship of corn from Alexandria to Rhodes, saith 
Cicero, in a time of great famine ; he may have for it what price 
he pleaseth. He knoweth of many more ships which will be there 
the next day ; may he conceal this from the Rhodians ? No, saith 
the orator ; and what sayest thou, reader ? 

In all thy contracts, purchases, and sales, cast an eye upon that 
golden rule, mentioned by our Saviour, Mat. vii. 12, ' Therefore 
all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye 
even so to them ; for this is the law and the prophets.' This is the 
I'oyal law, the golden rule, the king's highway, and the standard of 
all righteousness. Whatsoever, in a well-ordered judgment, thou 
wouldst have others do to thee and thine, do the same to them and 
theirs, supposing conditions alike ; for this is the sum and epitome 
of all that is delivered in the law and the prophets concerning thy 
carriage towards others. Jerome commended this saying to a holy 
woman, to be written on her heart, as an abridgment of all right- 
eousness. Lactantius saith. It is the root and foundation of all 
equity. Severus the emperor had often this saying in his mouth, 
and caused it to be proclaimed by the crier as often as he punished 
a soldier for injuring any other.2 It is very profitable for a Chris- 
tian, in his dealings with others, to make frequent appeals to his 
own conscience. Would 1 be dealt thus with, were I as this man 
is, or as this woman ? Would I be willing to have this measure 
measured to me or mine ? Would I be glad to be served so as I 
serve others ? Is this to love my neighbour as myself ? Reader, 
such serious soliloquies may prevent much unrighteousness. Though 
charity begins at home in regard of order, yet not in regard of 
time ; for a man no sooner loves himself aright, but he loves his 
neighbour as himself. That proverb came from the devil. Every 
man for himself, and God for us all. For God saith, ' Let no man 

' Tull., De OfSc. - Quod tibi non vis, alteri ne feceris. — Sever. 


seek his own, but every man another's wealth,' 1 Cor. x. 24. And 
again, ' Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,' Gal. v. 24. He 
is but a beast that preyeth for himself alone. Inanimate creatures 
are beneficial to others. Fire, air, earth, water, are all serviceable 
to others besides, and more than to themselves. How soon would 
the frame of nature be dissolved, if everything should be confined 
within the narrow compass of self. Water moveth downward, 
fire upward naturally ; yet both will cross their own nature to 
prevent a vacuum, and preserve the universe. 

Besides, I must tell thee that the subject's house, as well as the 
king's throne, is preserved by righteousness. That speech of Neves- 
san the lawyer is contrary to Scripture : He that will not venture 
his body, shall never be valiant ; and he that will not venture his 
soul, shall never be rich. Eighteousness, not robbery, is the way 
to riches. He goeth the farthest way about that endeavours to 
increase his strength by sucking others' blood, or to get an estate 
by injustice. Nay, he takes a contrary course ; for he pulls down 
on his head the divine curse j which, like a hectic fever, will cause 
an irrecoverable consumption of all his comforts, both temporal 
and spiritual. Such treasures and owners are like the Canaanites 
to the land ; the land will groan till it spue them out : ' Treasures 
of wickedness profit nothing,' Prov. x. 2. Observe, reader, 

1. The excellency of these comforts in themselves. They are 
treasures — that is, heaps of outward good things. The word in- 
cludeth a multitude, for one or two will not make a treasure ; and 
a multitude of precious things, for a heap of sand, or coals, or dust, 
is not a treasure ; but of silver or gold, or some excellent earthly 
things. It is here in the plural, treasures, noting the greatest con- 
fluence of worldly comforts. Note, 

2. The impiety of the owners : they are treasures of wickedness. 
The purchasers got them by sinful practices. They were brought 
into his house slily at some back-door. He was both the receiver 
and the thief. Treasures of wickedness, because gotten by wicked 
ways, and employed to wicked ends. There is an English proverb, 
which too many Englishmen have made good, That which is got 
over the devil's back, is usually spent under the devil's belly. 
When sin is the parent that begets riches, it many times hath this 
recompense, that they are wholly at its service and command. 

3. The vanity of those treasures : they profit nothing. Treasures 
of wickedness profit nothing. They are unable to cheer the mind, 
to cure the diseases of the body, much less to heal the wounds of 
the soul, or to bribe the flames of hell. Alas ! they are so far 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 203 

from profiting, that they are infinitely prejudicial. Such powder- 
masters are blown up with their own ware. These loads sink the 
bearers into the unquenchable lake. The philosopher l tells us of the 
sea-mew, or sea-eagle, (called in Greek d\td6To<;, because she seeketh 
for her prey in the waters,) that she will often seize on her prey, 
though it be more than she can bear, and falleth down headlong 
with it into the deep, and so perisheth. This fowl is a fit emblem 
of the unrighteous person ; for he graspeth those heavy possessions 
which press him down into the pit of perdition : ' They that will 
be rich (that resolve on it, whether God will or no, and by any 
means, whether right or wrong) fall into temptations, and a snare, 
and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in 
destruction and perdition,' 1 Tim. vi. 9. ' They that will be rich.' 
Men that scrape an estate together unjustly are frequently said in 
the word of God to get it in haste — ' To make haste to be rich ' — 
because such will not stay God's time, nor wait in his way till 
he send them in wealth, but must have it presently, and care not 
though it be unrighteously. But, as we say, matches made in 
haste are repented at leisure ; so, truly, riches got in haste are often 
lamented for ever. It is most true here. The more haste, the less 
speed. Food hastily eaten is seldom so well digested as what is 
eaten leisurely. ' He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be 
innocent. He that maketh haste to be rich hath an evil eye, and 
considereth not that poverty shall come upon him,' Prov. xxviii. 
20, 22. Sometimes God suffereth a cruel hand to pluck the stolen 
feathers of this unclean bird, and then he is left bare whilst he 
liveth. Sometimes he is hurried away in the prime and pride of 
his age to hell, from his goods which he got in haste : as the 
lizard's eggs are hatched in six months, and yet the old one never 
liveth to see them, saith the naturalist. 

Fair and softly goes far. None thrive so well as those that stay 
God's leisure, and expect wealth in his way. 2 Titus Vespasian 
stamped in his coin a dolphin and an anchor, with this impress, 
Sat cito, si sat bene, Soon enough, if well enough. A dolphin 
outstrips the ship, that is soon enough ; and an anchor stayeth the 
ship, that is well enough. So both together make soon enough, 
if well enough. And of this prince it is reported, Ahstinuit alieno 
si quis unquam ; if ever any was free from injuring others, he was 
the man. None are more guilty of unrighteousness than those 

^ Arist. Hist. Animal, ix. cap. 24. 

^ Festina lente. Illud adagium arriJebat duobus imperatoribus facile laudatissi- 
mis. — Aug. and Eras. Adag. 


that huddle up riches in haste. They are most harmless who are 
contented to live in hope, and to wait patiently on God. That 
wealth which is gotten well enough, is gotten soon enough. All 
other is worse than an abortive birth, that comes before the time. 
That fruit which is soon ripe will be soon rotten. ' An inheritance 
may be gotten hastily at the beginning, but the end thereof shall 
not be blessed,' Pro v. xx. 21. As honey, over-liberally eaten, 
though it be sweet and pleasant at first, yet afterwards, causeth 
strange vomitings and sad gripings in the stomach and belly ; so 
an estate over-hastily gotten, though it may cause a smile in thy 
countenance, and rejoice thy carnal part at the beginning, yet will 
afterwards cause dreadful gripings in thy conscience, be a vulture 
gnawing at thy heart, and its latter end be cursed to thee and 
thine. I have read of a philosopher who bought a pair of shoes 
upon trust, the shoemaker dieth, the Pythagorean rejoiceth, and 
thinks his shoes clear gains ; but a while after, his conscience 
twitches him, and will allow him no rest, because of his robbery. 
He repairs to the house of the dead, and casts in his money, saying. 
There, take thy due. Thou livest to me, though dead to all besides. 
He that carrieth such luggage on his back all day, must expect 
to find his conscience galled to purpose at night. 

friend, take heed of setting thine inestimable soul to sale for 
a little corruptible silver. If it will not profit thee to gain the 
whole world and lose thy own soul, surely it will not advantage 
thee to gain a small pittance of it, and lose thy soul. Thou rakest, 
and runnest, and it may be cozenest and cheatest, to leave thy child 
a considerable estate. I must tell thee, thy son is little beholden 
to thee for leaving him a gay knife to cut his throat with ; a gaudy 
suit with the plague in it ; a great, stately dwelling haunted with 
devils ; a large portion with the curse of God. No man in his wits 
would give one hair of his head to be made thine heir, wert thou 
worth thousands. The devil himself, though he will thank thee 
for getting it so unjustly, yet he would not thank thee if thou 
shouldst bequeath him all thy iU-gotten goods. No ; he doth not 
love the curse of God so well. Thou wouldst shew thyself a more 
loving father in leaving thy son a bottle and a basket, to beg with 
from door to door, than the greatest heap of such riches. 

Besides, what comfort will it be to thee, for thy son to live in 
honour, and bathe himself in carnal pleasure, with that wealth 
which thou hast unjustly scraped together, when thou art frying in 
unquenchable flames for thy injustice. Thy children are rejoicing 
with thy silver, and the devils are revelling with thy soul at the 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 205 

same season. Canst thou think that the contentment of thy 
posterity will in the least abate thy torments ? It may be thou 
pleasest thyself with an intention of giving somewhat in thy will 
to the poor, and so to pay thy debts to God with the devil's goods, 
with that coin which hath the image and superscription of the prince 
of darkness on it ; and art thou so mad as to think that it will be 
acceptable ? I tell thee, God hates robbery for a sacrifice, and thy 
stolen goods for a burnt-offering, Isa. Ixi. 8. The great sultan, as 
giddy as he was with the noisome fumes of Mahomet's Alchoran, 
was yet so well, in his wits as to tell his bashaw, who persuaded 
him to build an hospital with the wealth he had unjustly taken 
from the Persian merchants, That to dispose his money to relieve 
the poor would not please God ; but to restore it to the right 
owners would be acceptable. Will a king thank that man who 
robs his honest subjects of a hundred pound upon the road, and 
then thinks to make amends by paying half-a-crown out of it 
towards his service. Thou canst not groundedly hope that thy 
unrighteousness should be remitted, until thy mammon of unright- 
eousness be restored by the law of God, as well as of men. Debts 
must be paid first, and then legacies ; justice must be first minded, 
and then charity. It may be thou cheerest thy heart with the 
thoughts of an honourable burial. It delights thee to think, how, 
when thy will is open, people will applaud thee for the large pro- 
vision thou makest therein for thy children ; with what a great 
company thou shalt be attended to thy grave ; and what a costly 
monument shall be erected to thy memory. Well, since thou art 
so much joyed with a curious tomb, I shall take the pains to write 
thine epitaph, and if thou hast a spark of true love to thy soul, 
thou wilt think of it whilst thou livest, Here lies interred one that, 
to make his children gentlemen on earth for a few days, made 
himself a beggar in hell to all eternity. He was one that, to gain 
a little earthly treasure, of which he hath now taken an everlasting 
farewell, sold his precious soul, and the endless, blissful fruition of 
the blessed God. Did ever fool buy so dear, or sell so cheap ? 
Oh, look on him, and learn to be righteous. 

Section IV. 

Secondly, Be righteous in thy words and expressions, as well as 
in thy works. The Christian's tongue should be his heart's inter- 
preter, and reveal its mind and meaning ; and the Christian's hand 
should justify his tongue, by turning his words into deeds. Though 


the right Christian is not a worshipper of Mercury, to whom tongues 
were only offered in sacrifice, yet M^th the Athenians he doth speak 
well, as with the Lacedaemonians do well. The burgess of the new 
Jerusalem is known by this livery : ' He walketh uprightly, work- 
eth righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart ; he sweareth 
to his own hurt, and changeth not,' Ps. xv. 2, 4. 

First, He speaketh the truth in his heart. His speech is the 
genuine and natural offspring of his heart ; there is a great resem- 
blance between the child and the parent. That language, which is 
confused, and not to be understood, speaks not a citizen of Sion, 
but a builder of Babel or Babylon. When the words are spurious, 
and not the heart's own, like Abimelech, they destroy the family 
of which they descend ; sometimes that tongue cuts the owner's 
throat : ' The getting of treasure by a lying tongue, is a vanity 
tossed to and fro of them that seek death,' Prov. xxi. 6. The 
deceitful tongue seeketh death, though not intentionally, yet even- 
tually. The saint's words and thoughts are univocal, they speak 
as they think, and are like clarified honey, clear to the bottom ; his 
heart is the mine, his mind frameth the matter, and his tongue is 
the shop that exposeth it to public view. 

Secondly, He sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. His 
hand will make good his lawful promises, how much soever they 
shall be to his prejudice. There is a symmetry between his hand 
and his tongue ; he is slow to promise, not hasty to enter into 
bonds, but being once engaged he will be sure to perform. He 
dares not falsify his word, knowing that his God was an ear- 

It was the saying of Lysander, that if the lion's skin would not 
serve (to cozen with) the fox's must be sewed to it ; and that chil- 
dren were to be deceived with toys, and men with oaths ; but this 
fox himself was at last taken in a trap, and slain at the foot of the 
Theban walls. The justice of God will some time or other seize 
upon such unjust men ; false conceptions are as dangerous to the 
souls of men as to the bodies of women. 

The Eomans built a temple to the goddess Fidelity, and offered 
sacrifice to her image, so highly did they esteem of faithfulness. 
Attilius Regulus, their general against the Carthaginians, being 
taken prisoner and sent to Eome with conditions of peace, upon his 
word to return, if the terms were not accepted, judging the condi- 
tions dishonourable, he dissuaded the Romans from embracing 
them, and went back to his enemies according -to his promise, 
though he knew beforehand, that upon his return they would pre- 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 207 

sently put him to death, l The prisoner that got from Hannibal 
by eluding his oath, was by the senate apprehended and sent back 
again, saith Livy. Attica fides, was free or sure hold ; and Atticus 
testis, one that keeps touch, because the Athenians were so faithful 
to their words. What a shame is it then for Christians to regard 
their promises and oaths no more than their old clothes, which they 
throw by, when they have made what use of them they desire. 
Such men do much wound their credit, (that after a little know- 
ledge of such Nullifidians none will trust them,) but much more 
their consciences. The deceitful and bloody are joined together, 
Ps. V. 6. He that is deceitful to others is bloody to himself ; he 
may raise others' skin, but he wrongs his own soul, and draweth 
his own heart-blood. Machiavel, as bad as he was, would not 
allow fraud to lodge save in soldiers' tents. 2 

The jealous God hath made himself known to be a God of truth 
in accomplishing his threatenings on those that have affirmed and 
attested such lies. One Ann Averies, widow, (in the days of Queen 
Elizabeth,) having bought six pound of tow in a shop in Wood Street, 
falsely said that she had paid for it, and swore to it ; but she pre- 
sently fell down and died, to the terror of all such unrighteous and 
perjured persons. The trade indeed of lying hath crept almost 
into all trades, as if it were the only way to get a livelihood, when 
it hath deprived some of their lives, Acts v. 7, 8. A lying tongue 
is one of the six things which the Lord hates, Prov. vi. 17. The 
Scripture speaks of such persons, that their own tongues shall fall 
upon them, meaning to destroy them, as Benaiah fell on Joab, and 
David's soldier on the Amalekite ; for so the phrase is frequently 
taken, Ps. Ixiv. 8 ; 1 Kings ii. 29, 30 ; 2 Sam. i. 15. 

Header, Be so true to thy own soul as to put away lying, and to 
speak the truth to thy neighbour, Eph. iv. 25. Do not delude thy- 
self with mental reservations, or Jesuitical equivocation, but let thy 
words and thoughts join in concert. A Christian should be like crys- 
tal, the same all over, and visible throughout. As our clothes repre- 
sent the proportion of our bodies, so should our words the propor- 
tion of our minds. It was an unpolitic precept which Louis the 
Eleventh of France gave his son, when he charged him to learn no 
more Latin than what would teach him to dissemble. Deceit is a 
gin that men set often to catch serpents, which, when they have 
caught, sting themselves. Cleomenes, king of Lacedaemonia, who, 
making truce with the Argives for seven days, and fell upon their 

1 Tul. de Offic. 

^ Usus fraudis in bello gereudo laudabilis, in aliis actionibus detestabilis. — Machiav. 


quarters in the night, was repelled by the Argive women, and after- 
wards banished into Egypt, where he miserably slew himself. Pro- 
mises are, as it were, the connexion and ligaments of the several 
parts in the body politic ; if they be once broken asunder and loosed, 
the whole will quickly be dissolved. Such men are like to some 
fruits, which by their luscious smell, and delightful colour, invite 
a man to eat, but prove unsavoury and unwholesome. He that had 
only nature's moonlight to see by, could say, Perditissimi est homi- 
nis, fallere eum, qui Icesus non esset, nisi credidisset ; none but the 
most villainous will deceive him, who had been safe if he had not 
trusted, saith Cicero. 

Thy righteousness must extend to all, according to their several 
places and relations. That righteousness which is real, will be 
universal. ' Pwcnder, therefore, to all their due : tribute to whom 
tribute is due : custom to whom custom : fear to whom fear : hon- 
our to whom honour,' Kom. xiii. 7. He that is just in his actions, 
hath a due respect to all persons, whether superiors, or equals, or 
inferiors. He who is righteous to his fellow-subjects, and wrongs 
his sovereign in his custom or tribute, is a rebel against the crown 
and dignity of Jesus Christ. He is undutiful to the king of na- 
tions, who payeth not his due to the king of that nation in which 
he liveth. Kender, saith Christ, to Cassar the things that are 
Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. Jerome, on that 
place, doth well observe, that the name of Caesar is not proper, but 
appellative, because from the first Roman emperor, Julius Cassar, 
all his successors were so called. Hereby Christ intimates that 
tribute belongs to every person clothed with the supreme power. 
And Gerrhard, in his Harmony, saith, that our Saviour doth parti- 
cularly in that text understand Tiberius, that monster of men, en- 
joining payment of tribute to that persecuting prince. How great, 
then, is their crime, who cheat a king that is a Christian ! Such 
unnatural members must expect to fare the worse for impoverish- 
ing their head. The wealth of a political father, is both a credit 
and support to his children. If the root be kept without water, 
the branches must needs wither. 

The ancients emblemed a just man by one with a pair of bal- 
ances in one hand, a sword in another, and both his eyes shut, to 
dispense impartially to all justice, both commutative and distribu- 
tive ; a magistrate must distribute justice to every one alike. He 
may see a difference in causes, but no difference in persons. When 
righteousness reigneth, it is said to run down like water, and as a 
mighty stream, Arads v. 24, I^ow water is as free for the poor as 

Chap. L] the christian man's calling. 209 

the rich, the stream runs clown by the meanest cottage as much as 
by the prince's court. Kighteousness must be as common as water, 
as universal as a stream : ' David reigned over all Israel, and exe- 
cuted justice and judgment to all his people,' 2 Sam. viii. 15. His 
righteousness was as large as his realm ; to all his people. 

Section V. 

Secondly, As to the manner of thy dealings, thy duty is to be 
courteous as well as righteous. Some men soil the lustre of their 
justice, and hinder the honour it might bring to the gospel, by the 
crabbedness of their carriage. A rugged, unhewn piece of timber 
disgraceth, when a neat, smooth one crediteth the building. One 
end of our dealings with men (as I shall shew by and by) must be 
to gain them to mind godliness, which end will be much furthered 
by an affable conversation. Men delight not to walk in rugged 
ways, nor to deal with rugged men. As curious flowers draw the 
eyes, and rare music the ears, so doth courtesy allure the hearts of 
men after it. He that pleaseth all men in all things (indifferent) 
is the likeliest to save some, 1 Cor. x. 33. It was the affable car- 
riage of Titus, amongst other things, which made him the delight of 
mankind. It is said of Julius Ca3sar that he overcame their affec- 
tions by his humanity, whose persons he had before subdued by his 
power and policy. l He gloried in nothing so much as in pardoning 
his enemies, and gratifying his friends, saith Augustine.2 They who 
durst speak to Caesar, saith Marius, were ignorant of his greatness, 
and they which durst not, were ignorant of his goodness. We may 
gain their love by soft words, who would hate us if we went about 
to ravish them, or to lay violent hands on them. Alexander won 
the love of his soldiers by calling them fellow-footmen. Courtesy, 
like the loadstone, will draw even iron to it. Pharaoh, a heathen, 
was full of courtesy, and, though a king, condescended much in his 
carriage towards Jacob. Abraham is noted not only for his faith 
in God and holiness, but also for his discreet familiarity and affable 
behaviour towards men. Gen. xlvii. 8, 9, and xxiii. 7. Our blessed 
Saviour is therefore said to come eating and drinking, because of 
the sweetness and attractiveness of his conversation. This Lord of 
glory, in all his converses, had a comely and winning grace. They 
who are truly noble are ever affable. Those that, like the Persian, 
keep up state, are but, according to the French dialect (of their 

■^ Beniguitate adeo preeditus, ut quos armis subegerat, dementia magis vicerit. — 
Solin. ^ Augustine, Epist. 5. 



iiaughty upstarts) gentle villains. Contempt or arrogancy is a 
weed that ever growetli in dunghills. It is from the rankness of 
the soil that it hath its height and haughtiness. They are but 
windy spirits that bubble thus above others ; it is the froth only 
that gets always to the top of the water. 

It is a divine command, ' be courteous,' 1 Pet. iii. 8 ; the word 
signifieth friendly-minded, studious to do such things as are 
grateful to others. i Obedience to this command is cheap, and 
costeth nothing, which whosoever denieth will certainly never 
obey those precepts which will put him to charge. He who 
denieth men a good look, will not at God's call lay down his life 
for the gospel. 

The Komans, because they would not have any defrauded of civil 
respect, retained admonitors, called oiomenclatores, who should sug^ 
gest the name and quality of every one they encountered, that so 
he might be saluted in a conformable style. 

We read in Scripture frequently of salutations sent to and from 
the saints, Kom. xvi. God never intended that when men put on 
Christianity they should put off civility.^ Those Quakers who, like 
idols, have eyes, and see not, mouths, and speak not, are so far 
from being invested, above others, as they pretend, with the divine 
nature, that they are even divested of the human nature. The 
very Turks' salutation to him they meet is, Salaum aleek, Peace be 
to thee; and the reply is, Aleek salaum, To thee be peace also. ^ 
When Boaz came into his field, ' The Lord be with you,' saith he to 
his reapers ; ' The Lord bless thee,' say they to him, Euth ii. 4. 
Indeed, Christ commands his disciples, ' Salute no man,' Luke 
X. 4. But the occasion of this prohibition is considerable. The 
disciples were sent about business of importance and expedition ; 
and the salutations Christ speaks of, are in the nature of those 
which we call compliments, a filling up of precious time with need- 
less toys and trifles. As if Christ had said. Your work is of weight, 
and requires haste, do not therefore loiter by standing to talk with 
any by the way, but mind your business. It is not intended by a 
master who gives his servant such a charge, that therefore he must 
not put off his hat, or bid any good-morrow, or ask their neighbours 
how they do, for ever after. The same law-giver doth command 

^ ^L\6<pp(av, comis, affabilis, humanus, et ad yitae consuetudinem facilis commodusque- 
— Eras. Tanquam 6 to, (pi\a ^pevZv, Qui sapit arnica, i.e., Qui studet facere ea quae 
alteri sunt arnica et grata. 

"^ Comitas (alias dicta humanitas, aifabilitas) est virtus in conversatione mediocri- 
tatem serTans, ne quis juste ofFendatur. — Prator., p. 2; Theat. Eth., sect. 13. 

* Blunt'a Voyage. 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 211 

salutations by his own mouth : ' Into what house ye enter, say, 
Peace be to this house,' Luke x, 5, 6 ; and also commends it to us 
by his ministers, 1 Cor. xvi. ; Col. iv. 10, 14. We may not bid 
them God-speed, whom we see employed about the devil's designs, 
lest we be partakers of their evil deeds ; but if we know not their 
actions to be bad, our charity must hope the best. He that hath 
but common humanity must needs be a civilian. Though nature 
be a crab stock, yet if she be but graffed by education, this will be 
part of her sweet fruit. 

3. As thy duty is to be righteous and courteous, so also to be 
meek in thy dealings with men. Courtesy is a good servant, to 
wait upon meekness as its master. Both together are no small 
credit to a professor. He that is highest in godliness is fullest of 
meekness. The purest gold is soonest melted, and they are usually 
the best blades that will bend well. The lion of Judah for courage, 
was a lamb for condescension. The saint must learn of his Saviour 
to be meek and lowly in heart. The passionate man is one of Luci- 
fer's disciples, and followeth him in his fall from heaven. This 
meekness (I speak of it in relation to man as its object) is a virtue 
by which we moderate our passions, and keep them in subjection, 
lest we should wrong our neighbours. Patience is sister to meek- 
ness, and humility is its mother.i The passions of our minds are 
like the winds in the air ; if they lie still, the ship must lie still too, 
or at least make but small speed ; if they be too boisterous, they 
endanger the dashing the vessel upon a rock, or casting it upon the 
quicksands ; but when they blow moderately, between a still calm 
and a violent storm, they are most helpful to the mariners. Our 
affections are of no use if they be suffered to sleep, and do not rise 
at all ; for then, though the name of God himself be shot at, they 
will not hear the murdering piece. Such meekness is worse than 
mopishness. God did not give the soul these wings in vain. 

On the other side, if our affections are tempestuous, and rise too 
high, they threaten to overturn both ourselves and our neighbours. 
A passionate man is, like the torrid zone, too hot for any to deal with 
him, or to dwell near him. The work therefore of meekness is to 
keep the affections within their bounds ; so to moderate this fire 
that it may warm, not flame out to burn itself and others. He that 

^ Mansuetudo est virtus quae mediocritatem servat circa iram. — Golius., lib. iv. ; 
Etli., cap. 5. Mansuetudo est virtus quse hominem ita tractabilem facit in communi 
conversatione, ut non praeter sequum et bonum exasperetur aliorum ineptiis, morosi- 
tatibus et peccatis levioribus etiam in suam injuriam tendentibus. — Dav. in Col. 
iii. 12. 


is inebriated with passion is unfit for any action ; like Samson's 
foxes, he scattereth firebands abroad, to the hurt of all that are near 
him. Alexander, in his anger, flies upon his best friend ; Parmenio 
himself must perish by that wild fire ; Cato's best emperor was he qui 
potuit imperare affectus, that could keep his own passions in subjec- 
tion. When one said he was a wise king that was kind to his 
friends, and sharp to his enemies ; another said, he was a wiser 
prince, that could retain his friends in love, and make his enemies 
like them. The Spirit of God gives us a mark to know a wise and 
noble man by : ' Who is a wise man and indued with knowledge 
amongst you ? let him shew out of a good conversation his works 
with meekness of wisdom,' James iii. 13. 

Two particulars offer themselves to our view out of this verse. 
1. That meekness is a sign of a wise man. The world counts 
them only the brave spirits, that scorn to suffer the least affront, 
and who will repay a single injury with double interest ; but these 
in God's accounts are fools. What a fool is he that suflfereth (his 
passion) that which should be his servant to become his master, 
and to tyrannise over him ? What a fool is he that, perceiving a 
musket discharged, will not stoop a little, or fall down a while to 
avoid the bullet, but keep his place and height to the loss of his 
life ? Truly, such a fool is he that will never yield to another's 
wrath. Is not he a fool that, seeing a fire in his neighbour's house, 
anger in his neighbour's heart, is so far from helping to quench it 
by the water of mildness, that he throweth more fuel on it, and in- 
creaseth its flame, even to the burning down of his own ? is not he 
a fool that ventureth his inestimable soul at every trifling cast, and 
runneth headlong upon the greatest hazards ? Surely it is not with- 
out reason the wise man speaks so often of a fool's wrath, and that 
anger resteth in the bosom of fools, Pi'ov. xxvii. 3, and xvii. 12, 
&c. ' A wise man deferreth his anger, lest it burn with too hot a 
flame,' Prov. xxix. 11. He will draw back the brands, lest the fire 
exceeding its bounds should consume him. How many have been 
thrown, nay, utterly overthrown, by laying the reins upon the neck 
of their brutish passions, when their persons would have been safe, 
had but their passions been curbed! Charles the Sixth, king of France, 
was mad for anger and desire of revenge on the Duke of Brittany. 
Excess of wrath cost Ajax his life, if the poet may be believed.^ 
Sylla, in the height of fury, vomited up his blood and his breath 
together, saith the historian.^ When such winds blow, they raise 
black and dark clouds. A furious man hath few friends ; like Ish- 

1 Ovid, Metamor. ^ Plutarch. 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 213 

mael, his hand is against every man, and every man's hand is 
against him. The heron's name in Hebrew signifieth to be angry, 
and it is observed scarce any fowl hath so many foes ; the eagle 
preyeth upon her, the fox catcheth her in the night, the hawk de- 
stroyeth her eggs. How foolish is the bee, that loseth her life and 
her sting together ! she puts another to a little pain, but how dearly 
doth she pay for it ! 

The greatest conquest is to overcome ourselves, and the vilest 
bondage to be our own slaves. Pro v. xvi. 82. He that is most 
mild, is most manly. It sullied the glory of all Caesar's valour and 
victories, that he was his own vassal, i It is the glory of a man to 
pass by offences. Those dogs which were presented to Alexander, 
by the king of Albany, were counted the best in the world, and 
upon this account, because they were so noble as not to stir at all, 
when small beasts were brought to encounter them ;2 and through 
an overflowing of courage would never fight, save with lions and 
elephants. Those men, without question, are far from true worth, 
and most ignoble, who upon every supposed petty wrong, fly to the 
common law, or civil war, for revenge.^ By the laws of England, 
a nobleman hath this privilege, that he cannot be bound to the 
peace, because it is supposed that a noble person will scorn to en- 
gage himself in quarrels, but keep the peace without a bond. It is 
the base and vile bramble, the fruit of the earth's curse, that teareth 
and renteth what is next it.^ 

Plutarch reports of a falling out between two famous philosophers, 
Aristippus and ^schines, and how, after some time, Aristippus 
went to ^scliines, saying. Shall we not be friends before we be a 
table-talk to all the town ? Yea, with all my heart, saith ^schines. 
Kemember then, saith Aristippus, that though I am your elder, 
yet I sued for peace. True, replied the other, I acknowledge you the 
better and worthier man ; for I began the strife, but you the peace. 
In this pagan glass, many Christians may see their own deformities ; 
for even heathen agree with Scripture in this first particular, that 
they are most wise and prudent who are most meek and peaceable. 

^ Infirmi est animi exiguique voluptas 
Ultio; continuo sic coUige, quod vindicta 
Nemo magis gaudet quam fcemina. — Juvenal, Sat. xiii. 
^ Nobilissimum genus vindictse est pareere. 

3 Contemnere oportet injurias, et quas injuriarum umbras dixerim, contumelias, sive 
merito mihi accidant, sive immerito. Si merito, non est contumelia, sed judicium. 
Si immerito, illi qui injusta facit, non mihi erubescendum est. — Senec. quod in Sap 
non cadit injuria. 

* If injuries be shameful, it is ry Sikovvti, fir) tQ d5iKov/x^v(^, to him that doth the 
wrong, not to him that sufFereth the wrong, saith Socrates. 


2. The other which floweth from the forementioned verse, is, 
that the Christian's meekness must be mixed with wisdom. The 
apostle calls it meekness of wisdom ; meekness opposeth fury in our 
own quarrel, not zeal in God's cause. The same Spirit that ap- 
peared in the form of a dove, appeared also in the form of fiery 
tongues. It may be my duty to be silent when I am wronged, 
but it is sinful not to speak when God is reproached. Though I may 
compound for my own debts, yet I have no power to compound for 
another's. It is a singular mark of a saint, to be wet tinder when 
men strike fire at himself, and touchwood, when men strike at 
God. The meekest man upon the face of the earth, was the fullest 
of fury in the cause of heaven, Num. xii. 2 ; Exod. xxxii. A 
skilful musician knoweth when to strike a string of a lower sound, 
when of a higher. A wise Christian knoweth when to abate, 
when to increase, his heats. 

Naturalists observe of bees, that they will ordinarily suffer any 
prejudice when they are far from their hives, and their own parti- 
cular is only concerned ; but when they are near their hives, that 
their commonwealth is engaged in their combats, they are furious, 
and will lose their lives, or conquer. Thy work, Christian, is 
not to abate the least of God's due, but to pocket up many private 
injuries, and to forgive thy personal debts. Be not like some, as 
cold in God's cause as if they had neither sense nor life ; and as hot 
in their own, as if their work were to make good the opinion of 
Democritus, that the soul is of the nature of fire, nothing else but 
a hot subtle body, dispersing itself into fiery atoms. Excess of 
fury is a spiritual frenzy, and it is ill for them wKo come within 
the biting of such mad beasts. 

I have read of Themistocles, that, having a house to let, he 
pasted on the door, Here is a house to be hired, that hath a good 
neighbour. It is a great comfort to dwell by a pious and meek 
person, but no small cross to live near the peevish and passionate. 
A meek man is a good neighbour in these respects. For, 

1. He is so far from wronging others, that he will forgive those 
that wrong him. He is not only contrary to them who, like furious 
curs, fall upon every one that passeth by, without the least cause, 
but also if he be wronged, he never studieth revenge, though he 
may seek sometimes for justice. The world hath learned of the 
devil to offer injuries, and he hath learned of God to suffer injuries. 
He dares not usurp God's throne, but leaves his cause to the judge 
of all men. Lev. xix. 18. He knoweth also that good men must 
have their grains of allowance ; and children of the same father are 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling^ 215 

too prone to quarrel, therefore he beareth both with the bad and 
the good ; with the former for Christ's sake, with the latter because 
they are Christ's seed. I^ow such a one is a good neighbour. 
Calvin said, though Luther should call him Satan, yet he would 
honour Luther as a faithful servant of God.i It is reported of Cato, 
that when a rash, bold fellow struck him in the bath, and sometime 
after came to ask him pardon, he had forgot that he had been in- 
jured, Melius putavit non agnoscere, quam ignoscere, saith Seneca. 
He scorned to approach so near revenge, as acknowledge that he 
had been wronged. It is below a generous moralist to take notice 
of petty affronts ; he kills such slimy worms by trampling on them. 
The Christian, upon a better consideration, destroyeth those vermin 
with the foot of contempt. He hath experience what millions of 
pounds are forgiven him by Godj and therefore out of gratitude 
cannot but pardon some few pence to man : ' Forgiving one an- 
other, as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you,' Eph. iv. 32.2 
He knoweth that he needeth favour from others for his offences 
against them ; he doth not always walk so carefully, but some time 
or other he hath bespattered those that went near him, and it is but 
just that he should allow that pardon which he expecteth:^ Eccles- 
vii. 21, 22 ; Tit. iii. 2, 3, ' Shewing all meekness towards all men ; 
for we ourselves were sometimes foolish, living in malice, and envy, 
hateful, and hating one another.' The Lacedfemonians were wont 
to pray in their public service, that the gods would enable them to 
bear private wrongs with patience. 

2. A meek person will part with much of his right to buy his 
peace. Where he may not wrong his family too much, nor dis- 
honour his God, he will yield far to preserve or purchase a friend. 
Though his privilege be superior, yet he can be contented to hold 
the stirrup to others, and give them place. Abraham was the elder 
and the nobler man, yet he offereth Lot his choice of the country, 
and was willing to take what he would leave. 

^ Si«pe dicere solitus sum : Etiamsi me Lutlierus diabolum vocaret, me tamen hoc 
illi honoris habiturum, ut. insignem dei servum agnoscam. 

^ Jerome observeth upon Eph. iv. 32, that the apostle saith, x'^P^^^f^^''^'- (avrSts, 
that is, saith he, avrois vfilv, rather than dWrjXois, freely forgiving yourselves. Nam 
quod bene in alium fit, magis ei reponitur qui prjEstitit, quam cut datum est. 

^ Hanc veniam petimusque damusque vicissim. — Horat. Non vivitur inter per- 
feetos et bonos, sed inter illos qui ssepe ex infirmitate, et inscitia peccant ; quod et 
nos ipsi etiain facimus. iEquum est igitur peccatis veniam poscentem, reddere 
rursus.— jDav., ibid. 


Section VI. 

Secondly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness in thy 
dealings with all men, look not only to the manner of thy dealing, 
but also to the principle. Thy righteous, courteous, and meek 
carriage must proceed from obedience to God's command. Many 
of the heathen, as thou hast heard, were just in their contracts ; they 
would as soon die as deceive. Now, how wouldst thou know whe- 
ther thou exceedest them, but by a principle of conscience from 
which thou actest ? If pagans and Christians be found travelling 
in the same path, the only way to difference them, is to inquire 
whence they both set out, and whither they are going ; what is the 
principle from which they act, and what is the end of their journey. 
According to the principle of a man, such is his end. If the barrel 
of the musket be crooked, it will never carry the bullet right ; 
therefore thy principle must especially be minded. There be many 
things that move orderly, and yet their motion is not from a prin- 
ciple of life ; as a mill moveth by reason of the water, yet is no 
living creature. An outward principle of custom, or fashion, or 
glory, may make a man just and patient in his actings ; many do 
the things commanded, not because they are commanded, but upon 
some sinister account. Morality and Christianity differ especially ; 
the moralist worketh from nature, a little refined by study or 
education ; the Christian from nature, thoroughly renewed by the 
Holy Ghost. Where this spring is wanting, no motion can be 
true ; be the fruit never so fair to the eye, if the root whence it 
groweth be not good, it will be unpleasant and distasteful. Laban 
at the last was just in his agreement with Jacob, but shame, not 
conscience, was the curb that held him in. Such dealings, like 
fruits which are ripened by art and force, are not kindly, neither be 
they acceptable to the heavenly taste. Indeed, all such righteous- 
ness is unrighteousness, and all such persons, though they are just 
to men, and do them no wrong, yet are unjust to God, and deprive 
him of his right. 

The true Christian's righteousness towards men proceedeth from 
the fear of his God : ' The former governors (saitli Nehemiah) were 
chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, 
besides forty shekels of silver ; yea, even their servants bare rule 
over the people : but this did not I, because of the fear of God,' 
Neh. V. 9, 15. The dread of the Most High was the hedge which 
kept him within his bounds. 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 217 

Look therefore, friend, to the ground of thy dealings. Nothing 
will be commendable in God's eye, which doth not flow from his 
awe ; if the desire to keep up thy name, or to please thy neighbour, 
whose good word thou valuest, be the main reason of thy right- 
eousness, thou servest thyself, but not thy God. He is a false 
servant who payeth the debts his master appointeth him, but more 
in his own name, and lest he should be counted a cheat, than 
because of his master's command. Thou art a true servant, if 
therefore thou darest not deceive men, because thou dreadest the 
just and jealous God. Joseph encourageth his brethren to expect 
fair dealings from him upon this ground : ' Do this and live, for I 
fear God,' Gen. xlii. 18 — i.e., Ye need not fear unrighteous actions 
at my hands, since the fear of God is in my heart. As long as this 
guard is set upon me, I shall do violence to no man. It was a 
pretty answer of Xenophon's, when Leelius told him that he was a 
timorous fellow, because he durst not play at dice with him. Very 
timorous indeed, and fearful to do evil.i 

Thirdly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness in thy deal- 
ings with men, let thine end and aim in thy dealings be good. 
Have an eye in them, not only to thine own temporal good, (this 
is low and mean.) but chiefly to the glory of God, and the spiritual 
good of thyself and others. Christians must not deal together as 
Indians, merely for trade and outward advantage. It is but a 
beggarly calling to trade only for the dirt and pebbles of worldly 
profit ; but it is high and honourable to be a merchant for the 
diamonds and pearls of spiritual riches. The heathen and the 
Christian both may meet in the manner of their dealings, but they 
part in their ends. The thief and the honest countryman are both 
found riding in the same road, but they have diflerenjfc ends therein, 
and that distinguisheth them. He is a dwarf indeed, and looks 
very low, whose eye in such actions is wholly upon earth. True 
saints soar aloft, and have more noble designs in their ordinary 
dealings. Mat. v. 16. Like the moon, they enlighten others with 
their borrowed brightness, and endeavour to their power to reflect 
their beams back to the sun, the fountain of their light. 

How ungratefully doth he slink away, that dieth and returneth 
no glory to his Father, neither raiseth up any seed to his elder 
brother : ' I seek not mine own profit, but the profit of many, that 
they may be saved,' saith St Paul, 1 Cor. x. 33. He hath cause 
to fear his own going to heaven, who would go thither alone ; 
true favourites desire their king may have many loyal sub- 

1 Plutarch. 


jects. Every creature almost is of an assimilating nature : fire 
turneth what comes near it into fire, earth changeth what we 
commit to it into earth, water moistens what it meets with, stones 
grow and spread in the veins of the earth, even flowers and herbs 
will be scattering their seed for the increase of their kind. Good 
men cannot but desire and endeavour that all they converse with 
might be like themselves in goodness. The first blessing which 
God bestowed on man after his creation was this, ' Be fruitful and 

How industrious are Christ's enemies' to spread their poison, and 
draw men from their allegiance to him ! I have read of a Jew 
who turned Turk,i how, shortly after, in buying grapes, he fell out 
with a Turk and beat him soundly, whereupon a certain Jew 
asked the abused Turk why he would suffer himself to be so much 
wronged. The Turk answered. You shall beat me as much if you 
will turn Mussulman. It is too visible that Kome's agents are also 
sufficiently active to make proselytes to their idolatries, and wilt 
thou sit still and do nothing towards the gaining of subjects to thy 
Lord and Saviour ? Holy David was more diligent to enlarge the 
borders of Christ's than of his own kingdom : he would blaze 
God's honour and power before the highest, and not shrink for 
shame, Ps. cxix ; and the success of his industry is considerable. 
Though great fish are seldom caught by such angles, yet king 
Hiram came to be converted to God by his converse with David. 

It is likely, reader, thou dealest with sinners ; thy first care must 
be that thou mayest not partake of their sins. It is reported that 
at Belgrade in Hungary, Danubius and Sava, two famous rivers, 
the one pure, the other filthy, meet, and j^et their waters mingle no 
more than water and oil ; not that either float above the other, but 
both join unmixed, so that near the middle of the river, saith my 
author,^ I have gone in a boat and tasted the Danow as clear as a 
spring, and, putting my hand an inch farther, I have taken of the 
Sava, as troubled as the street channel, tasting the gravel in my 
teeth ; thus they run together unmingled sixty miles. So 
shouldst thou in thy contracts and dealings with the wicked keep 
thyself pure and undefiled. Thy next care must be to make them 
better ; a meek, gracious carriage may win them to Christ. Some 
fish have been caught with a golden hook ; sometimes by parting 
with a little of thy right, by losing a little silver, thou mayest gain 
a precious soul. He that always stands strictly and stiffly upon his 
right, may thereby wrong both God and his gospel. Heavenly- 

^ Turk. Hist,, 1332. * gjj. Henry Blunt's Voyage into the Levant. 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 219 

mindedness, shining in a Christian's dealings with profane men, 
hath such a beauty in it, that it attracteth at the first sight the 
eyes of every beholder, like the sudden appearance of a candle in 
a dark room. ' As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all 
men,' Gal. vi. 10. An opportunity to do good to others is a great 
mercy to ourselves. The oil of grace, like the widow's, 2 Kings 
iv. 6, increase th by pouring out ; an opportunity is a special season 
which Grod affordeth us for the benefit of our own and others 
souls. When time and helps meet and marry, their offspring is 
opportunity. Thou dealest with those at one time whom thou 
mayest never see again ; possibly their hearts being big with sin, 
they bring forth in thy presence either swearing, or slandering, or 
mocking at holiness. Now God gives thee an opportunity, by 
a prudent, affectionate reproof, and by serious savoury advice, to 
kill those brats of hell as soon as they are born, and to make the 
parents barren in regard of such a cursed brood for ever after, 
which if thou neglectest thou shalt never have again. The bird 
of opportunity is usually upon the wing ; she flieth away of a 
sudden, and we never see her again ; therefore, whilst thou hast her, 
make the best use of her. Thou thinkest, it may be, that thy 
counsel to such men would be but cast away, as pure water in a 
nasty sink ; but do thy work, which is to endeavour their conversion, 
and leave the success, which is God's work, to him. Benhadad's 
soldier drew a bow at a venture, and his arrow pierced within the 
joints of the harness and slew Ahab ; the man shot the arrow at 
he knew not who, but God levelled it at the king amongst all the 
company. Do thou draw the bow according to thy duty, and God 
may so direct the arrow of admonition as to make it enter the 
sinner's heart, and let out the very life of his sin. Sometimes 
things are done best on a sudden ; Tiberius was happier in his 
extempore speeches, than those which he made upon study and 
premeditation.! Thou mayest, as Philip to the eunuch, fall in with 
a person on a sudden whom thou never sawest before, nor shalt 
ever see again, and by seasonable counsel be instrumental to his 
eternal comfort. It may be thou meetest with such as do believe, 
then thy care must be to build them up ; saints must be land- 
marks to direct others in the way to life. Apollos was a stranger 
to Aquila and Priscilla, but coming into his company they ex- 
pounded to him the way of God more perfectly. Acts xviii. 25. 
The members of the mystical body must be helpful to one another. 
Christians, with whomsoever they converse, ought to endeavour 

^ Repentinis responeionibus et consiliis melior, quam meditatis.— 4«?-e?., Vicl. 


either their gaining to, or growing up in, Jesus Christ. Alexander's 
body was of so exact and rare a constitution, saith the historian,! 
that it perfumed every place where he came. The gracious soul, 
being itself filled with spikenard, and calamus, and cassia, and all 
sweet spices, may well leave a sweet savour among the persons with 
whom he converseth ; they are dead and withered grains of corn, 
out of which there doth not one ear spring up. 

A good iDishofa Christian in relation to Ms dealings loitJi allme7i, 
ivherein the former heads are applied. ' 

The living and eternal God, whose I am, and whom I am infi- 
nitely bound to serve, whose unquestionable dominion over me 
calleth for universal subjection from me, having commanded me 
in his word to be holy as he is holy, in all manner of conversation, 
and to walk by rule in my commerce with men, as well as in my 
immediate converses with his glorious majesty, I wish in general 
that I may make religion my business, not only in my sacred duties, 
but also in my civil dealings ; that I may trade with God in divine 
performances as if men saw me, and traffic with men in human 
affairs as knowing that God beholdeth me, and herein daily exer- 
cise myself to keep a conscience void of offence towards God and 
towards all men, Acts xxiv. 16. I wish, in particular, that my 
earthly actions may never clash with, or encroach upon, my heavenly 
calling ; that I may not endanger the loss of religion in the throng 
and crowd of outward dealings, but may be so limited and directed 
therein by God's law that all my works may be worship ; and when 
I am labouring for my body and family, I may be furthering the 
good of my soul and my eternal felicity ; that as my chief natural 
quality, reason, commandeth in my lower actions of eating and 
drinking, so my supernatural excellency, religion, may bear sway in 
every passage of my life. Lord, who hast given me a perfect rule, 
and appointed me to order my life in all things according to it, be 
pleased to write all the laws in my heart, that I may be tender of 
both tables — love thee with all my soul and strength, and love my 
neighbour as myself, for thy sake. If one link of the golden chain 
of thy commands be broken, the whole is dissolved ; they love one 
another too well to part company : where one precept is wilfully de- 
spised, all are disobeyed. Thou hast said it. He that breaks one 

1 Plut. 

Chap. I.] the christian man's caixing. 221 

is guilty of all. Oh, enable me to be as universal in my conformity 
and duty as thou art in thy mercy and bounty, for then shall I not 
be ashamed, when I shall have respect to all thy commandments ! 
Ps. cxis. 

I wish that the soundness and integrity of my heart may appear 
in the cleanness and purity of my hands. The sound will speak 
what metal the bell is of ; the flowers that shew themselves above 
ground will declare the nature of the root which lieth hid. How 
often doth the face discover the faults of the vital parts ! If my 
tongue and speech be double, my spirit cannot be single ; if my 
actions be unrighteous, my inward man must needs be irreligious. 
How grossly do I delude myself, if I presume that I am holy because 
I mind the first table, if I be dishonest and live in the breach of 
the second ! When there is so much religion in the duties of the 
second table that there can be no religion without them, my de- 
ceitful heart is apt to suggest that it is but a small matter if I 
should supplant my brother, and that there is no such need of care 
in my ordinary outward carriage. But my sovereign, to whom I 
have sworn allegiance, hath told me in the word of truth. Mat. 
xxiii. 23, that justice and mercy are the weighty matters of the. 
law, and hath commanded me, Micah vi. 8, to do justly, and to 
love mercy throughout my whole life. Oh that I might never 
allow myself in the breach of those precepts, which in the world's 
blind judgment are the least of his commands, and by my pattern 
teach men so, lest I be found at last the least in the kingdom of 
heaven ! Lord, thou hast enjoined me to keep thy law as the apple 
of mine eye, Prov. vii. I know a small thing will pain, a little 
dust will offend mine eye, but thy law is infinitely^ more tender ; 
thy word forbids and condemneth the smallest wandering ; the 
very conception of sin in a vain thought, much more its birth in an 
unrighteous action, is abominable and odious to it. Thou hast 
commanded me to keep thy precepts diligently. Oh that my ways 
were directed to keep all thy commandments ! Though I abound, 
and am never so strict in thine ordinances, if I be careless and 
loose in my contracts with men, thou canst espy the evil constitu- 
tion of my soul notwithstanding such painting. Thou canst see 
the rottenness of my heart in the rottenness of my wares, under the 
false gloss 1 put upon them ; and if thy moral precept find not 
obedience with me, my spiritual performances will never find 
acceptance with thee. The pie, a speckled bird, whose feathers 
were white and black, was unclean. Should I seem pious in those 
duties which concern thy worship, and yet be perverse in my deal- 


ings with men, I am in thy judgment a wicked person. Thou 
hast said of such, ' Shall I count them pure with the wicked bal- 
ances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?' Micah vi. 11. If 
there be iniquity in my hands, there is hypocrisy in my heart. 
How clearly doth a person that picketh and chooseth his food, 
(liking this, and loathing that, though never so wholesome,) prove 
a foul stomach ! and how fully do I demonstrate secret filth in my 
inward parts if I pick and choose amongst the food of my soul, the 
precepts ! When the soul is clean and sound, every command 
will be sweet ; if my heart be sincere, all my dealings will be 
square. Oh, let me never be like those Pharisees, who made long 
prayers for a cover, that they might j^rey the more closely upon 
their neighbours ; but let thy Spirit in my heart send up the sap of 
grace into every branch of my life, that all the passages thereof 
may abound in the fruits of righteousness, and I may esteem all 
thy precepts, concerning all things, to be right. 

I wish that the glory of religion may be so dear to my heart, that 
I may render it amiable to the eyes of others, by walking every 
way suitable to my profession. The name of my God is holy and 
.]-everend, and shall I offer it to reproach ? Some write that the 
Jews would not foul their mouths with that unclean word of blas- 
pheming God, but always expressed it by a contrary word of bless- 
ing God. If it were so execrable that they hated to speak it, shall 
I be so vile as to act it ? It were a sin to wrong a man of his 
good name ; what is it, then, to rob my God ? If I dress myself in 
the livery of Christ, and in that habit wallow in the mire of un- 
righteous dealings, I give up the blessed Kedeemer to the scorn 
and derision of the world. Every one that nameth the name of 
Christ should depart from iniquity. The colours of Christ, which 
I wear, cause many to look upon me ; every professor is like a 
city on a hill, visible to all. Spots are sooner seen in scarlet than 
in sackcloth ; blots appear fouler in a strict professor than in a 
loose and profane person. None wonders to see swine dirty ; but 
to see the ermine's beautiful skin bemired is prodigious. How 
watchful are the wicked to observe my wanderings ! All my 
familiars watch for my halting ; they mark my steps when they 
watch for my soul. If they can find the least tincture of falseness 
in my words, or colour of unfaithfulness in my works, they soon 
make it much greater, looking on it through the spectacles of 
malice. How quick do they post it abroad, and publish it amongst 
their companions ! ' I hear the defaming of many, fear on every 
side. Keport, say they, and we will repoi't it.' What a shame was 

Chap. L] the christian man's calling. 223 

it, that the great Turk should take the violated covenant of the 
Hungarian king out of his bosom, and present it to the blessed 
God as the act of those that wore his livery, and professed them- 
selves his servants ! When those that should be the beauty of 
Israel are slain in the high places, and those that, by their pro- 
fession, are the mighty, fall in the streets, they soon tell it in Gath, 
and publish it in Askelon ; the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, 
the sons of the uncircumcised triumph ; then the banks of blas- 
phemy are broken down, and the floods of scoffs and scorns come 
pouring in. Ezek. xxxvi. 20, ' And when they went among the 
heathen, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, 
These are the people of the Lord.' How doth the world conclude ? 
Surely the parents are very bad whom their own chiklren discom- 
mend so much ! Certainly there is little love, or power, or faithful- 
ness in their father, when his own sons dare not trust him for a 
little food, but go up and down to steal and filch from others. Oh, 
how ordinary is it for the profane to throw the dirt of professors' 
sins on the face of their profession ! None give such wounds to 
the credit of the blessed God, as some who pretend to be his own 
children. The higher the place is whence a stone falls, the deeper 
it pierceth ; no blows more mortal than those of a thunder- 
bolt. My profession is high ; if my practices be vile and base, 1 
strike religion to the very heart. Oh, let me never be so vile a 
traitor, as by my sordid courses, like Judas, to betray the holy 
Jesus to the buffetings and mockings of his adversaries ! Why 
should I harden the bad, by my sinful shifts, in their wickedness ? 
Shall I be the devil's broker, to put off those rotten wares for him, 
of cozening and cheating, which otherwise might lie upon his 
hands ? Why should I sadden the good ? Shall I cause them to 
hang down their heads with sorrow, as the patriarchs did theirs, 
when the cup was found in Benjamin's sack ? Lord, thou art ten- 
der of the reputation of thy chosen, and hast many a time \NT0Ught 
wonderfully for their renown and credit. When the wicked world 
hath blown upon their names, endeavouring to blast them and 
make them unsavoury, thou hast magnified thy power to vindicate 
their honour ; and shall I make thy glorious name contemj^tible, 
when thou makest my vile name honourable ? Can I be so void of 
love to thy Majesty, as to tread upon that name of thine, that is 
more worth than heaven and earth ? Besides, many a season I 
have pleaded thy name in prayer, and that with success. My 
voice hath been in the behalf of my own soul : ' For thy name's sake, 
pardon mine iniquity, for it is great. Thou art my rock and my 


fortress ; tlierefore, for thy name's sake, lead me and guide me;' Ps. 
XXXV., and xxxi. 13. When thou hast answered me, ' Behold I, even 
I, am he that blotteth out thine iniquities for my name's sake ; I 
will defer mine anger for my name's sake, and for my praise will I re- 
frain for thee, that I cut thee not off,' Isa. xlviii. 9. Oh, how many 
a blessing hath thy name been — both the orator to procure, and the 
messenger to bring ! when many others have treaited to little pur- 
pose that that hath been the undeniable ambassador to prevail 
for peace and pardon. Thy name hath been my shelter in many 
a storm, and my supply in many a strait ; and shall I be an 
enemy to that which is so great a friend to me ? Can I be so un- 
worthy as to cause others to trample this great favourite at heaven's 
court under their feet ? Hath not the polluting thy name been 
the argument which I have sometimes used for the perdition of 
thine enemies. I have cried to thee, ' Eemember this, that the 
enemy hath reproached, Lord, and that the foolish people have 
blasphemed thy name ; ' and shall I be guilty of that which I plead 
as a reason for others' ruin ? Again, my daily prayer is, Hallowed 
be thy name ;' and shall my practices give my prayer the lie, and 
profane it ? Should I cheat and cozen, as the men of the world, 
my great profession would cause my sin, like a cart heavy laden, to 
make deep furrows, into which many might trip and fall. How 
ordinary is it for Egyptians to follow the dark side of the Israelites' 
pillar to their perdition ! Foolish man that I am, is not the bur- 
den of my own sins already intolerable, and shall I add to them by 
being partaker of other men's sins ? Is the river of wrath due to 
me so slow, so little, that I must invite streams from every place 
to swell it into an ocean ? Oh that for my own sake, for the sake 
of other men, and especially for thy sake, I may order all my ways 
by thy word ! Lord, preserve me by thy Spirit, that I may never 
lay a stumbling-block before the wicked, nor, as the unbelieving 
spies, by my distrust of thy providence, and using indirect courses 
to relieve my family, bring an ill report upon the good land. Assist 
me, that I may look not only to the power of religion, but also the 
honour of religion ; let thy grace ever accompany me, and enable 
me to keep a conscience void of guile before thee, and a conversation 
so void of guilt before men, that whereas they speak against me 
as an evil-doer, they may be ashamed at this day, and may, by my 
good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of 

I wish that I may look to the righteousness of my actions, as 
well as to the righteousness of my person, and never think that my 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 225 

house can be firm, if it be built upon the rotten foundation of in- 
justice. My God hath said, ' Woe be to him that buildeth his house 
by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong.' As high as my 
house is raised, and as sure as it is seated, the breath of this curse 
will blow it down. Though my estate seem never so fair, yet how 
easily and how speedily may this scorching curse cause it to fade, 
and to wither in my hands as a flower. Have not mine eyes beheld 
the ruins of some stately dwellings, which have been built upon 
rapine ? Unrighteousness, like rabbits in some countries, hath 
undermined the foundations, and overturned the buildings ; and 
shall mine escape ? Whether I will believe it or no, my God hath 
spoken, that unjust gain will prove my own loss, and he will see it 
accomplished. Whatsoever fine terms I may call my cheating by, 
as an art in my trade, or the mystery of my calling, yet my God 
counts it theft, and me for it but a thief. Though I may put a 
fair colour upon my false dealing, yet he forbids it under the plain 
censure of stealing : ' Thou shalt not steal.' And oh, how great a 
thief am I, if I be guilty of this in my ordinary dealings ! I wrong 
my neighbours that trade with me, and that most hypocritically, 
under the pretence of doing them right. To kill a man in the 
field by force is wicked ; but to poison him at my table by fraud 
is worse, because in this latter I pretend friendship. To rob on 
the highway by open power is grievous ; but to rob in my shop by 
this hellish policy is more odious, for I wrong one that is my friend, 
and in such a way, that he hath no means to help himself. The 
righteous God saith, 'My hands are full of blood,' Isa. i. 15, not 
only when I murder a man's person, and take away his life, but 
also when I injure a man's portion, and take away his livelihood. 
Such unjust persons must expect sore punishments. The law of 
man punisheth cheats in some measure ; but the law of the jealous 
God is more severe to such jugglers as endeavour to unglue the 
whole world's frame, knit together only by commerce and con- 

I rob my own family as well as my neighbour's. He that is 
greedy of gain, troubleth his own house. False dealing, like fire, 
consumes what comes near it. My children were better be left 
beggars, than heirs of those riches which I have got by robbery. 
AVhat is well-gotten will fare the worse for the neighbourhood of 
my ill-gotten wealth. This, as a rotten sheep, will infect the sound 
flock. Whilst I am digging deep, to lay the foundation of my 
house sure, I do but lay in barrels of powder to blow it up. 

I rob my own soul most of all by my unrighteousness. How ill 

VOL. IL p 


is that gain which causeth the loss of my God ! How cheap do I 
sell those wares with which I buy endless and intolerable woe ! 
How dear do I buy that silver for which I sell my inestimable soul 
and salvation ! Ah, what an ill market doth he make, that puts 
off his soul at any price ! If it be unprofitable to gain the whole 
world and lose my own soul, what a fool, what a madman am I to 
set my soul to sale for a very small part of the world ! Into what 
a miserable dilemma doth my deceitful dealing bring me ! Either 
I must repent and vomit it up, which will tear and rack my very 
heart, or else I must burn for ever in hell. Oh that I might never 
be so bereaved of my wits, as to touch or meddle with such dis- 
tracting wealth ! Lord, thou hast informed me that, ' A little 
which the righteous man hath, is better than the possessions of 
many wicked,' Ps. xxxvii. 16 ; that ' better is a little with right- 
eousness, than great revenues without right,' Pro v. xvi. 8. I know 
that the comfort of my life doth not depend upon a confluence of 
outward good things, but upon thy love and goodwill towards me. 
Let me rather choose the greatest want, than riches from Satan's 
bands, and in hell's way. Be thou pleased to sparkle my little 
with the precious diamond of thy love, and then it will be better 
indeed than the riches of many wicked, yea, more worth than all 
the world. 

I wish that, in my buying and selling, I might ever have an 
eye to the balance of the sanctuary. My person must be tried by 
Scripture at the last day, for my everlasting life and death ; and 
shall not my actions be squared by it at this day ? How sad a 
bargain should I make, if I should buy my own bane ! What a 
dreadful trade should I drive, to sell, like that son of perdition, 
the incomparable Saviour for a little corruptible silver ! Is that 
wealth worth getting, which will make way for eternal want? 
Though my heaps swell never so much by unlawful means, yet it 
is but like the swelling of the dropsy, a presage of death. my 
soul, what will it avail thee to be rich here, and to be a beggar 
hereafter, and that for ever ? Thou pretendest to purity, but 
thy God tells thee that holiness and righteousness are like husband 
and wife, joined by him together, and none may part them asunder. 
Thou art unsound in all thy sacred duties, if thou art unrighteous 
in thy civil dealings. When the unjust dealer is cast into the 
unquenchable fire, what will become of the great professor ? 
' What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when 
God shall take away his soul ? ' Job xxvii. 8. When the thief is 
taken and carried to the jail, all the money he hath stolen is taken 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 227 

from him. When death seizeth thee, and sendeth thee to the prison 
of hell, all thy ill-gotten goods must be left behind. When thou 
art lost eternally, what will become of thy unjust gains ? Thy 
children may be ranting with it on earth, and thou art roaring for 
it in hell. Ah, what dear contracts dost thou make, to sell thy 
present peace, and thy future endless joy, for a little perishing 
pelf ! The comfort of thy life now consisteth in communion with 
thy God ; but he that saith he hath fellowship with God, and 
walketh in darkness, is a liar, 1 John i. 6. Thy God hates to 
taste of those waters which run out of such musty vessels ; much 
less will he suffer any of such rotten hearts, and stinking breaths, 
to draw near to him in heaven, ' Know ye not that the unright- 
eous shall not inherit the kingdom of God ? ' 1 Cor. vi. 9. No 
such cattle shall ever come into the celestial court. Unrighteous 
heathens shall be shut out of heaven, and surely, then, unrighteous 
Christians shall be cast into the lowest hell. Oh, let the fear of 
thy God ever possess thee, that the love of this world may never 
pollute thee ! Manifest thy love to thy Saviour, by loving thy 
neighbour as thyself. Blessed God, who lovest righteousness and 
hatest iniquity, the scej)tre of whose kingdom is a righteous sceptre, 
who wilt render unto every man his righteousness, and who hast 
appeared to me by that grace which teacheth me to deny all un- 
godliness and worldly lusts, and to live righteously in this present 
evil world, let thy good Spirit fill me with all the fruits of right- 
eousness. Do thou so lead me in the paths of equity, for thy name's 
sake, that I may follow after righteousness, and inherit a sure 

I wish that I may be righteous in every relation wherein 
I stand, and towards all persons with whom I deal, that I 
may give to superiors the things that are theirs, to inferiors 
the things that are theirs, lest by denying either I rob all. 
My God is no respecter of persons, but just in all his ways, and 
righteous in all his works. When shall I imitate his blessed 
Majesty ? He tells me, ' Blessed are they that keep judgment, and 
he that doth righteousness at all times,' Ps. cvi. 3. If I expect 
the blessing propounded, I must mind the righteousness enjoined, 
and that is to be righteous at all seasons. my soul, what 
encouragement hast thou to do justly upon all occasions ! 
Thy righteousness shall have a large recompense. Thy chil- 
dren may fare the better : ' The just man walketh in his in- 
tegrity, and his children are blessed after him," Prov. xii. 7 ; 
nay, thy whole family. The voice of joy and salvation is in the 


tabernacle of the righteous. Whereas thou mayest fear that thy 
plain dealing may bring thee and thine to poverty, thou hast his 
promise, that he will make the habitation of thy righteousness 
prosperous, Job A'iii. 6. Above all, thou thyself wilt have the 
greatest solace. Thy righteousness shall answer for thee in time to 
come ; and whereas the dishonest wealth of others is a corroding 
worm to gnaw their consciences, thy justice will afford thee present 
comfort. ' In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare ; 
but the righteous doth sing and rejoice,' Prov. xxix. 6. Ah, who 
would not sow righteousness, when he shall certainly reap so much 
mercy ! Though others, as if they had pitchy hands, take to them- 
selves whatsoever they touch, to the defiling of their own souls, and, 
like whirlpools, suck in all that comes near them, to their own de- 
struction, do thou mete out all thy dealings by that royal measure : 
' Whatsoever thou wouldst that men should do to thee, do the 
same to them ; for this is the law and the prophets." When 
thou art buying or selling, or about any bargain with thy neigh- 
bour, reflect upon thyself : Would I be glad to be thus dealt with ? 
Were I in this man's case, would I be willing that he should serve 
me as I serve him ? Am I as plain-hearted, as true, as just in my 
carriage towards him, as I would desire him to be in his trading 
with me ? Would I be contented to be defrauded ? Should I 
take it well to be defamed ? Is this action of mine such as I could 
be contented to receive the like ? Do I in this business love my 
neighbour as myself ? Lord, who hast promised that the righteous 
shall be had in everlasting remembrance in this world, and shall 
shine as the sun in the other world, and who hast put the un- 
righteous, and lovers of themselves, in the front of that black list 
which is for the unquenchable fire, 2 Tim. iii. 2, do thou deliver me 
out of the hands of mine enemies, that I may serve thee in holiness 
and righteousness all the days of my life, Luke i. 75. 

I wish that I may mind righteousness in my words, as well as in 
my works, and not dare to hide deceitful and foul intentions under 
fair and fawning expressions. To say what is true, and to be true 
to what I say, is the property of a true Christian. My God is a 
God that cannot lie, Titus i. 2 ; his people are a people that will 
not lie, Isa. Ixiii. 8. If I therefore be found a liar, how unlike 
am I both to God and his people. ' Lying lips are an abomination to 
the Lord, but they that deal truly are his delight,' Prov. xii. 22. 
Though lying lips may be perfumed with sweet words to men, yet 
God smells the stench, and loatheth the ill savour of those rotten in- 
wards whence they proceed. And though truth may beget hatred 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 229 

from men, such sweet breath is his love and delight. He is the 
God of truth ; his law is the truth, Ps, cxix. 142 ; his gospel 
is the word of truth, Col, i. 5 ; his Son is the true and faithful 
witness, Rev. iii. 14. Oh that truth of heart, truth of words, and 
truth in deeds, may be all in me, which are so agreeable to the 
true God, and so acceptable to the God of truth ! Can that tongue 
lie so loud to men, which even now called so loud on God ? Shall 
those hands be filching in my neighbour's pocket, which were so 
lately lifted up to heaven in prayer ? Is my speech given me for 
my glory, and shall it be the drivelling of a devil, that father of 
lies ? Lord, let me in all my dealings choose rather to be a loser 
than a liar ; and let that be my character which thou hast given of 
the citizens of Zion, that I may never lift up my soul to vanity, nor 
swear deceitfully, but walk uprightly, work righteousness, and 
speak the truth in my heart, Ps. xxiv, 3, and xv. 2. 

I wish that I may be courteous, as well as righteous, towards all 
with whom I converse. Humanity is a debt which I owe to all 
mankind ; why should I therefore, as some proud men, dam up and 
contract my civility into so narrow a compass, that it shall swell into 
flattery towards my superiors, and not suffer one drop to descend 
towards inferiors ! I would not, as formalists in fashion of habits 
or outward vesture, discover the lightness of a carnal mind ; nor 
like hypocrites, by composed actions, or artificial gesture, manifest 
the looseness of a frothy spirit ; but as a prudent, yet serious Chris- 
tian, be so affable in my carriage, that I may be the more accept- 
able in my counsel for the good of others' souls. Humanity doth 
cast a lustre to attract the eyes and hearts of others. Courtesy is 
commendable, and an adorning adjunct to sanctity. Holiness is 
honoured by the attendance of this handmaid. Grace is rendered 
more lovely, when it is accompanied with a kind nature. It is pity 
that jewel should not ever be in thi-s soft velvet cabinet. ' One end of 
my trading must be to commend to others the excellency of spiritual 
wares, and to encourage them to buy the truth ; but if my behaviour 
be morose and unkind, I shall fright men from being my customers, 
and inflict on myself part of Nebuchadnezzar's penalty — separate 
myself from amongst men, by forcing them to withdraw from me. 
If my language be fierce, and my looks frowning, I may deter men 
from my company, but shall never allure them to Christ. Where 
the carriage is sour and pouting, the counsel will never be sweet and 
prevalent. Oh that I might never disadvantage religion by any 
rugged disposition, but by the kindness of my nature may do a 
real kindness to grace, and become all things to all men, if by any 


means I might save some. Yet I would not be so courteous to 
others, as to be discourteous to myself ; I mean, be so courteous 
to sinners, as to comply with them in their sins. It is far better 
that the world should count me uncivil, than the Lord should 
esteem me ungodly. Let me be an enemy to their corruptions, 
when I shew myself most friendly to their persons, and never be 
so much a courtier as to forget that I am a Christian. Lord, who 
hast commanded thy people to be kindly affected one towards an- 
other, teach me to shew the true affection of my heart in the 
kindness of my tongue and hand. Courtesy is as salt, and drieth 
up these ill-humours which are distasteful to others, and will make 
my counsel the more savoury. Thine angels themselves used salu- 
tations in their occasional converses with mortals. Give me to do 
thy will on earth, as it is done by those noble courtiers in heaven ; for 
I believe that they were in heaven when they were discoursing with 
thy chosen on earth. Grant me so much gracious good manners, as 
by my prayers to send the next man I meet, even all I deal with, to 
thee. Let me bestow the alms of some hearty ejaculation, as well as 
the outward expressions of The Lord he with you, upon them. Yea, 
let me, for thy sake, be kind and gentle to all men, that I may 
draw them to thyself : yet suffer me not to be so friendly in my 
words, as to have fellowship with any in their wickedness, but help 
me to dispense even my civilities by a standard measure, lest what 
I intend as shy net to take other souls, prove Satan's trap to catch 

I wish that I may be both so just as not to offer injuries to 
others, and also so meek as to suffer with patience what others 
offer to me. The world will never leave its old haunt of persecut- 
ing them that are holy ; it is natural for wolves to hate and devour 
sheep. If I were of the world, I should be one of its darlings, for 
the world loveth its own. My "God hath called me from it, and 
chosen me out of it, therefore it hates me. I need not marvel at 
its malice, when it did spit its venom at the author of its being, 
and took away life from him who gave life to it. The servant is 
not above his master, nor must the disciple look to fare better than 
his Lord. If the soft pillow of meekness be not laid on my back, I 
shall never bear the burdens of their calumnies and cruelties with 
the least comfort ; what pain doth such vinegar cause when it 
meets with the raw wound of an impatient spirit ! The more mad 
the world is, the more meek I had need to be, if I would enjoy 
myself ; besides, there may be fallings out amongst the best friends. 
Good men are not all of the same stature, nor all of the same 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 23T 

temper ; some are like broken bones — if but touched, they fret and 
fling. How full are some of jealousies and suspicions, which would 
soon be increased by my passions ; and that spark which might be 
extinguished by my lenity, is blown into a flame by my fury. 
Some are sickly and in constant pain, others are under some smart- 
ing providence ; some offend me upon mistake, and though others 
should do it out of malice, yet even they also call for my pity more 
than my passion. The best have need of pardon from man as well 
as God, and shall I, who want it more than others, not allow it to 
others ? Alas ! what harm do I get by others' heats ? The air 
when beaten is not injured, no, not so much as divided, but returns 
to its place, and becomes thicker than before. The sharpest words 
cannot wound me, if I do not put my hand to the weapon. All 
those tongue-squibs of reproach which the malevolent world throw 
at me, will go out alone, and die of themselves, if I do not revive 
them. My well-grounded patience will, as a walking-staff, preserve 
me from many a fall whilst I travel in rugged ways. 

The distracted world indeed judgeth him the bravest fellow that 
will not pocket up the least affronts ; but the wisest man that ever 
was, nay, the only wise God, tells me, ' The patient in spirit is 
better than the proud in spirit,' Eccles. vii. 3. my soul, whom wilt 
thou believe ? — the world, that long since hath lost its wits, and 
must ere long, for its frenzy, be fettered with the chains of ever- 
lasting darkness in the bridewell of the bottomless pit, or that 
God to whom angels themselves are comparative fools. Job iv. 18. 
Oh be not hasty to be angry ! for anger resteth in the bosom of fools, 
Eccles. vii. 4. What a fool art thou to break thy own bones, to give 
another a smart blow ! A furious man is like Tamar, who, to be 
revenged of her father-in-law, defiled him and herself with incest. 
Revenge is a thief that steals away a man's estate from the lawyers. 
It is of the nature of the viper, and eats out the bowels of that 
wealth which gave it birth. What a fool am I to defame myself ! 
That rancour and spleen which I spit at others, is like his that spits 
against the wind, driven back into my own face, to the besmear- 
ing of my credit amongst all that are judicious. What a fool 
am I to destroy my own grace, my own peace I What flowers of 
holiness will grow, where such locusts abound ? what fruits of 
righteousness can thrive in such a scorching climate ? what good 
work can be done within-doors if the house be in a flame ? How 
unfit is a man in a passion to go to God in prayer ? surely no 
more than a person that comes reeking and sooted from a kiln is 
for the presence of his prince. I must not expect to meet God in 


a duty, if my spirit be in a fury. A righteous man fallen down 
before the wicked is like a troubled fountain, Prov, xxv. 26. I 
seldom fall down more foully before wicked men, than when I 
render reviling for reviling, and revenge for revenge ; but then how 
unfit am I to fall down in holy duties before my God, for I am as a 
troubled fountain ; and if men will not drink of the water of a 
fountain, though in itself pure and wholesome, when it is troubled 
and muddy, can I think that my God will drink of that vessel that 
runs thick. Oh that I might never, because others are my enemies 
in defaming me, become my own enemy, in defiling my own soul, 
and hindering it of that comfort which it might have in divine 
communion. Lord, who art the God of peace, let me be known 
to be one of thine, by being a son of peace ; enable me to pass on, 
like a wise traveller, in the way of thy commandments, and not to 
be stirred at the barking of those dogs that pursue me with open 
mouth. My confident neglect will soonest make them quiet ; let 
me never break the peace but in the quarrel of truth. Give me, 
for peace sake, sometimes to part with my right, but never with 
my righteousness. Let the same mind be in me which was in Christ 
Jesus ; teach me from him to be meek and lowly in heart, and yet 
to be eaten up with the zeal of thy house. Make me willing to 
suffer, but not to have thy name suffer. Grant me to follow peace 
with all men, and holiness. Oh bestow on me that wisdom from 
above, which is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and though 
hardly provoked, yet easy to be entreated. 

I wish that those beautiful childi-en of righteousness, courtesy, 
and meekness in my carriage, may have the Spirit of God for their 
parent ; I mean, that the fear of my God may be the principle from 
which they flow. I shall lose the race, how well soever 1 run, if I 
do not set out at the right place. Men look only to my practices, 
and accordingly judge of my principle ; if my life be without fault, 
their charity tells them that my heart is without fraud. But God's 
eye is on my principle, and accordingly he judgeth of my practices ; 
if my affections be not gracious, he knoweth that my actions cannot 
be righteous. My God knoweth me through and through ; he 
spieth the rottenness and crawling vermin that are in the bowels of 
a painted sepulchre. If I be like a peach, with a craggy stone in 
my heart, under the cover of a velvet coat, he understandeth it al- 
together. I may cozen the dark eyes of men, who, when they be- 
hold the inoifensiveness of my life, and the height of my profession, 
are ready to cry out of me, as Samuel of Eliab, when he saw the 
comeliness of his countenance, and the height of his stature, ' Surely 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. _ 233 

the Lord's anointed is before him,' 1 Sam. xvi. 6, 7. But I cannot de- 
ceive God ; he seeth not as man seeth ; for man looketh on the out- 
ward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. Alas ! if I have 
no more to shew for my title to heaven than a fair outside, what have 
I more than a hypocrite, nay, than some heathen ! A few flourishes 
in a paper or parchment is but a poor evidence for an inheritance. 
How many be there in the world, who, as some revelling gallants, 
by their gay clothes, and gaudy attire, speak that they are worth 
thousands, when they have not a penny in their pockets ; who, by 
their outward conversations, seem to be rich in grace, when indeed, 
like Laodicea, they are poor and miserable, and blind and naked ! 
Oh that all my fruits of righteousness might grow upon the root of 
holiness, and spring from a renewed nature ! Then, and not till then, 
they will be acceptable to my Saviour ; then my beloved will come 
into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits. I would be mindful of 
these moral duties, because my God commandeth them, and as 
knowing that I cannot be religious if I be not righteous. ' 
Though the sensitive soul may be without the rational, as in beasts, 
yet the rational soul is never without the sensitive. Though right- 
eousness towards men may be without holiness, yet holiness before 
God is never without righteousness before men. Lord, thou ex- 
pectest and commandest that I should act both for thee, and from 
thee ; thou vainest the vessel, not by the ballast of a few good ac- 
tions, which a heathen may gather up at any port, but by the 
freight of a sanctified heart, which is peculiar to thy chosen. Let 
my obedience to the second table arise from my conscience of the 
first table ; that whilst the righteous, friendly, and meek carriage 
of others, that runneth along amongst those with whom they con- 
verse, is little better than puddle water in thine esteem, because it 
proceedeth from the sinks of their natural and defiled hearts, jus- 
tice may not only in my actions run down like water, and meek- 
ness in my conversation like a mighty stream, but be so fed with, 
and flow from, the spring of thy Holy Spirit dwelling in my heart, 
that it may be delightful, and of worth in thy sight. 

I wish that I may design somewhat for my God in all my deal- 
ings with men, and carry myself the more sweetly and circumspectly, 
that I may gain their affections, and thereby win them to the 
greater love and liking of religion. Christianity is my calling, and 
wherever I go, my duty bindeth me to be always furthering it. It 
was one article which I sealed to, when I first entered myself 
Christ's servant, to endeavour the making others proselytes to his 
service ; and if I neglect it, I am unfaithful to my Master, and for- 


feit my indenture. My pattern may witk some be very prevalent. 
If I shine with a virtuous life, I am as a lighthouse set by the sea- 
side, whereby mariners sail aright, and avoid dangers ; but if I pre- 
tend high, and walk loosely, as a false lantern, I shipwreck those 
that trust me. My holy life is a good lecture of holiness to others, 
which, if written in a fair character, will invite those with whom I 
converse, both to read it, and to learn it ; my advice may to others 
be very advantageous. If in the morning I sow the seed of some 
savoury counsel, and in the evening withhold not my hand, though 
carnal reason tells me it is cast away upon barren earth, which will 
make no return, yet my God can cause it to spring up richly. 
Possibly other particular callings may depend on mine, and there- 
by many persons for their livelihoods, under God, on me; now 
what an opportunity of doing them good, of serving my Lord, and 
of furthering my own account, is put into my hands \ How willing 
are those who have their dependence on me, to model themselves 
to such a form as will best suit my temper ! Thougli they are as 
hard as rocks to others, they are as soft as wax to me ; and shall 
not I labour to imprint the image of my God upon them ! Oh that, 
by those cords which bind their civil interest, I might draw them 
to a consideration of their spiritual estates, and let them know that 
there is but one way of approving themselves to God and me ! 
How false am I, if I do not improve the ground I have got in the 
hearts or hands of any for the honour of my Master ! Enlightened 
souls are all liberal to disperse their rays for the good of others. 
How busy are most men to propagate that quality which is predo- 
minant in them ! The scholar would have his companion learned, 
the courtier his associate handsome in his carriage, the soldier his 
comrade valiant; and shall not I endeavour that my friends be 
virtuous ? Nay, how diligent are the devil's agents to spread the 
poison of vice amongst all with whom they converse ! Though 
they find sin already thriving, yet they think it not enough to 
nourish those ill weeds which grow so fast of themselves, but even 
sow new seeds of oaths, and cozening, and profaneness, as if their 
mutual commerce did oblige them to diffuse their venom to each 
other, and as if it were a dishonour to the tradesman to go to hell 
without his customers and chapmen. my soul ! dost thou not 
blush at thy own backwardness in bringing souls to thy God, when 
the emissaries of hell are so forward ? Do they devise wickedness 
continually ? Prov. vi. 14 ; search out iniquity ; yea, accom- 
plish a diligent search ? Ps. Ixiv. 6 ; leave no means untried, no 
ways unattempted, but study and search narrowly for fit seasons, 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 235 

when they may convey their infections to others, and communicate 
their plague-sores with the greatest success ? and wilt not thou, as 
a liberal man, devise liberal things, sit down and contrive how 
thou mayest give counsel to poor sinners, administer comfort to 
poor saints, to the best advantage of their souls ? Shall Satan go 
about, seeking whom he may devour, and wilt not thou go about 
seeking whom thou mayest recover out of the snares of the devil ? 
Though grace sets bounds to thy conscience, yet it doth not to the 
love of thy God. If the love of thy God be without limits, will 
not thy desires and endeavours to exalt him be as large ? It is his 
favour to trust thee with any talents for his honour. Opportunities 
of doing him service (which now and then he affordeth thee) are 
precious ; the stump of time remaineth, when the branches of op- 
portunity are lopped off. In times of scarcity, men j^ick up all the 
grains of corn, that none be lost ; he that in a dearth gives his corn 
to his beasts, is himself a brute. 

Seasons for the advancement of thy Saviour, and the soul-advan- 
tage of thy brother, are rare, and wilt thou throw them away upon 
vain talk and needless toys ? David could say. Is there none left 
of the house of Saul, to whom I may shew kindness for Jonathan's 
sake ? And mayest not thou say. Is there none left of the house- 
hold of faith, or belonging to it, though now aliens from it, to 
whom I may shew kindness for Jesus' sake ? Ah, Lord ! whence 
is it that my soul is so backward in sending beggars to thy gate ? 
Am I ashamed to let the world know how much I am indebted, 
and what bountiful alms I have there received ? Art thou so bad 
a Master that I should blush to tell others to whom I belong, or 
afraid that, if I should commend thee to them, and send them to 
thee, they would find me false ? Surely to sit at thy feet, and to 
wait at thy gate, is infinitely more honourable and comfortable than 
to sit on the highest worldly throne, and to be waited on by the 
greatest earthly princes. What, then, are the fetters that hinder 
me from running to invite others to thy gospel feast ? Do I fear 
that thy house will not hold us all, or that the inheritance of thy 
saints, being divided amongst so many, the lesser share will fall to 
me ? No, I believe that in my Father's house are many mansions, 
that there is room enough and to spare for all thy righteous ones, 
and that my sight of thee, the true Sun, will never be the less 
pleasing and refreshing though millions of worlds should enjoy 
thee. If ever it be true, it will be there, The more the merrier. 
An innumerable company, which all thy creatures cannot number, 
may draw water with joy out of the well of salvation, and yet there. 


not be one drop the less. Where still is the fault that I am so 
unfruitful, and do not encourage others to enter themselves in thy 
family ? Am I the fig-tree which thou hast cursed, and said to, 
Never fruit grow on thee more ? or is it not rather my wicked 
heart of unbelief that tells me, Godliness is grown with most but 
a dead commodity, and if I offer to put it into my chapman's hands, 
my own wares will go off the worse ? How often hath it suggested 
to me, that to commend truth to my customers will be the way to 
lose my trade ; that I must not follow holiness too close at the 
heels, lest it dash out my brains ; that it is to no purpose to 
persuade men to godliness, and that I do but lose my labour in 
all my counsels and admonitions to others ! This unbelief. Lord, 
is the traitor which is such an enemy to the crown and sceptre of 
thy dear Son. Oh, let it please thy Majesty to execute it speedily ! 
Why should this worm lie gnawing at the root, and hinder my soul 
from glorifying thee, by bringing forth much fruit ? Is not my 
soul a vine of thine own planting ? Thou broughtst her out of 
Egypt, a state of bondage and slavery to sin and Satan, and she is 
come up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved. Why 
doth this boar of the wood waste her, and this wild beast of the 
field devour her, even this evil heart of unbelief, whereby she 
departs away from the living God? Return, I beseech thee, 
God of hosts ; loob down from heaven, and behold, and visit this 
vine ; fence it by thine almighty power, prune it by thy providence, 
water it with the showers of thy grace, and so quicken it with the 
beams of thy favour that it may bring forth much fruit to thy 
glory. ^ 

I wish that I may, like Enoch, walk so with my God in all my 
actions, whilst I walk amongst men, that in thy good time my soul 
may be translated, and I may not see death, either as the wicked 
in this world do, with terror, or as the damned in the other world 
do, in torment, to their everlasting woe. Lord, thou art Jehovah 
Tsidkenu, the Lord my righteousness ; be pleased to clothe my 
person with the robe of thy Son's imputed righteousness, that my 
nakedness may not appear before men and angels, to my eternal 
shame; let all my actions be covered with the garment of thy 
Spirit's imparted righteousness, that they may be acceptable and 
amiable in thine eye. Let thy grace so fill my heart that godliness 
may be visible in my hands, and I may thereby draw others towards 
heaven. Thou hast said. Behold, I make all things new; what 
wilt thou then do with this old corrupt nature of mine ? Oh, re- 
new that, or nothing will be new to my comfort. God, create a 

Chap. I.] the christian man's calling. 237 

clean heart, and renew a right Spirit within me. I know the time 
will come that thou wilt create new heavens and new earth, wherein 
shall dwell righteousness. My body is the earth, and my soul is 
the heaven which thou hast already made ; but might thy servant 
prevail with thy Majesty to create my soul thy new heavens, and 
my body thy new earth, wherein may dwell righteousness, how 
infinitely should I be bound to thy distinguishing mercy ! Thy 
hands have made me and fashioned me ; oh give me understand- 
ing, that I may keep thy commandments ! Were my soul be- 
spangled with the glorious stars of thy graces, and my body em- 
broidered and curiously wrought, so as to be the temple of thy 
Spirit, then indeed thou mightst reflect upon what thou hadst 
made with complacency ; for, behold, it would be very good. Hast 
thou not made the great world for man, and the little world, man, 
for thyself ? When shall I be so pure as to invite thy presence, 
and so sanctified as to be set apart from all others, and to be only 
for thy service ? Oh, make it appear that I am thy workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which thou hast before 
ordained that I should walk in them. If thou pleasest to set forth 
this heaven and earth, this little epitome of the creation, in a new 
edition, I know it would be done in so fair a character as to de- 
light thine eyes, and to ravish the hearts of all that behold it. It 
is confessed the copy was perfect when it came out of thy hands ; 
there was no unrighteousness or impatience, not the least blot or 
blemish in it ; but my parents, who transmitted the book to the world, 
through their unfaithfulness, filled it from the beginning to the end 
with errors. Adam begat a son in his own likeness, after his image. 
Gen. V. 3. The first sheet went off the press, through his cursed 
falseness and negligence, imperfect, and full of faults, and the many 
millions that followed have still retained the same defects. Yet, 
Lord, since thy Son was at the cost of a new impression, let it 
please thee, for his sake, to be at the pains of correcting this 
volume so effectually, that those who look into it may read right- 
eousness, courtesy, meekness, faith, humility, patience, heavenly- 
mindedness, printed in so large a letter, free from the former errors, 
that they may so like it as to embrace and imitate it. Oh then I 
shall be assured that, at the general resurrection, when thy last 
hand shall pass on me, and I shall be published in the newest and 
last edition, none of those blots and blurs wherewith I have defiled 
it shall be found in it, but thy image shall be printed on me in 
such a lovely character, and in so perfect a manner, that thou wilt 
delight in me, and I in thee, for ever and ever ! Amen. 



Hoiv Christians may exercise themselves to godliness in the choice 
of their companions. 

Secondly, Thy duty is, to make religion thy business, and to 
exercise thyself to godliness, in relation to thy company. Man, 
saith the great philosopher, is ^coov ttoXltlkov, nature's good-fellow 
— as one Englisheth it, A creature in love with company. i Cosmo- 
graphers observe, that the farthest islands of the world are so seated, 
that there is none so remote, but that from some shore of it another 
island or continent may be discovered, as if nature hereby invited 
countries to mutual commerce. God never intended that the 
world should be a wilderness, nor the chief inhabitants thereof, as 
barbarous beasts, to live alone, lurking in their dens. Monks, and 
nuns, and hermits, who, under pretence of sanctity, sequester them- 
selves from all society, are so far from more holiness, and being 
better Christians, than others, that they seem to have put off the 
very human nature, and not to be so much as men. Unclean, nasty 
persons, love to be always private, and by their good will, would 
neither see, nor be seen of others. Birds of prey fly always alone, 
and ravenous brutes come not abroad till others are retired, Ps. civ. 
23. Our very senses speak that God would have us sociable ; nay, 
it is the natural voice of our tongues ; for our speech, and hearing, 
and sight, would be in a great degree lost, and our Maker's end in 
giving us those organs and instruments for converse much frus- 
trated, if every man should immure himself in his own cell. The 
graces and spiritual riches of saints would, in some measure, be use- 
less, if they did not deal with some to whom they might distribute 
them. The law of man condemneth engrossers of external goods ; 
and the law of God condemneth engrossers of spiritual good things. 
They who study to monopolise all to themselves, undo others. As 
the world shall never want poor men, that the wealthy may always 
have objects of charity, and opportunities of laying out and im- 
proving those talents which are committed to their trust ; so the 
world shall never be without needy Christians, that those who are 
rich in grace may have fit objects and occasions of employing their 

^ Siquis est qui congressus, et societates hominum ferre non possit, aut nullo egeat, 
quod seipso contentus sit ; is profecto in parte civitatis nou est habendus ; ita vel 
Deus putandus. — Arid. lib. ii. De Repuh. cap. 2. 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 239 

gifts. 1 The moralist's axiom is right, Omne honum quo communius 
eo melius ; Every good thing is so much the better, as it hath many- 
sharers in it. In this sense, there is a truth in that, It is not good 
for man to be alone ; not that it was a formal evil, but incon- 
venient. Infinite wisdom hath so dispensed his gifts and graces, 
that no man is so sterile, but he hath something wherewith to profit 
others, nor any man so furnished and fruitful, but he standeth in 
need of others' help.^ The head cannot say to the foot, much less 
the foot to the head, I have no need of thee. The king himself, 
who seemeth to have least want, cannot subsist without the meanest 
workmen, even them that grind at the mill : ' the king is served by 
the field,' Eccles. v. 9. 

Company is both comfortable and profitable.^ The pelican 
avoideth other birds, and keeps alone, but her tone is always 
sorrowful. Christians walk more merrily in the way of God's 
commandments, when they have many fellow-travellers ; Christian 
discourse doth so enchant the hearts of the passengers, that God's 
statutes are their songs in the house of their pilgrimage. A part- 
ner, though it be in misery, is a mercy ; and to have one to sympa- 
thise with us in our sufferings, is no small ease. The way to pre- 
vent the flying in pieces of these vessels, filled with the most pierc- 
ing sorrows, is to give them vent, by opening ourselves to others. 
This made David bewail the want of such friends : ' My lovers and 
my friends stand aloof from my sore, and my kinsmen stand afar 
off.' Haman sings, or rather sighs, to the same doleful tune : 
' Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquain- 
tance into darkness,' Ps. xxxviii. 11, and Ixxxviii. 18. Besides, there 
is as much profit as comfort in companions. The Vulgate read that 
which we translate company, Job xvi. 7, the members of my hody, 
because associates, as members of the same body, are serviceable 
to one another ; as the several parts of the same building, they help 
to bear up each other in their proper places, which, if divided, 
would all fall to pieces. They never walk long, being soon weary, 
whoever walk alone. 4 Many houses in the city have such weak 
walls, and are so slightly built, that if they stood several in the 
open fields, they would not stand a year ; a high wind would easily 

1 Nullius rei sine socio jucunda possessio. Non magis utilitati est ager cum red- 
ditibus amplis, quam vicinus osqualis cum moribus bonis. — Senec, Epist. 11. 

^ Amicitia est omnium humanarum divinarumque rerum benevolentia et charitate 
summa consensio, qua quidem baud scio, an, excepta sapientia, quicquam melius 
bomini sit a diis immortalibus datum. — Cicero, De Amicitia. 

^ Comes jucundus in via pro vebiculo est. — Senec. 

'' Societas est adunatio hominum ad aliquid perficiendum. — Aquin. 


tumble them down, which now, standing in streets together, receiv- 
ing support from, and returning it to others, continue many scores 
of years. Thus many Christians would be easily overthrown by 
the storms of temptations, were they single and solitary, who resist 
them with courage, and come off with victory, being assisted with 
their companions.! But this benefit ariseth not from every com- 
panion ; some are like coals, which, instead of warming us, do 
black, nay, burn us. It is better to travel alone, than with a thief. 
Better is a blank than an ill filling ; bad humours infect the 
blood, and evil men infect the soul. It is better, though it be 
melancholy, to travel alone, than with them who lie in wait for our 
blood. He is no better than distracted, who knowingly goeth 
with them that will lead him into by-paths, to his ruin. Though 
God did not like that Adam should be alone, but intended him a 
companion, yet it was such a one as was a meet help. Beasts 
were no fit companions for Adam, nor those whom God calleth and 
counteth beasts, for Christians. Cato, being desired by a voluptu- 
ous wretch, that he might live with him, answered, Cum eo vivere 
non possum, qui palatum magis sapit quam cor^ I care not for 
living with him that hath more skill in his meat than in his mind. 
Therefore, reader, I shall — 

1. Speak to the choice of thy companions. 

2. To thy carriage in. company. 

In order to the first particular, I would ofi'er thee some motives, 
that I may quicken thee to care in thy choice, and then direct thee 
about it. 

Section I. 

First, Consider of what concernment the choice of thy com- 
panions is to thee. They will either be great helps, or great hin- 
drances, according as thy choice is right or wrong. Antisthenes 
wondered at the folly of those who were curious in buying but an 
earthen dish, to see that it had no cracks, and careless in the choice 
of friends, to take them with the flaws of vice. A friend is called 
the friend of our bosom. A companion is taken into our bosom ; 
and surely men had need to be wary and wise what they take into 
their bosoms, whether saints or serpents, a disciple or a devil. We 
can converse frequently with nothing, but it is insensibly assimi- 

^ Solem e mundo toUunt qui tollunt amicitiam. — Artib. De, Amicitia, cap. 7. 
" Plutarch. 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 241 

lating us to its own predominant quality, i Waters vary their savour 
according to the veins of the soil through which they slide. Brutes 
alter their natures answerable to the climates in which they 
live. Men are apt to be changed for the better or worse, 
according to the conditions of them with whom they daily con- 
verse ; 2 the election therefore of our companions is one of the 
weightiest actions of our lives, our future good or hurt dependeth so 
much upon it. It is an excellent speech of Clirysostom, If men, 
good and bad, be joined together in a special band of society, they 
either quickly part, or usually become alike. This made the 
mother of Alexander, the twenty-sixth emperor of Kome, keep a 
guard of men continually about, that no vicious persons might 
come to him to corrupt him. 

If thy choice be bad, thou art in a double danger, of sin and 

1. Thou art in danger of being drawn to sin. They who dwell 
in Ethiopia quickly change their skins into a black colour. It is 
ill and unwholesome for our souls to breathe in an infectious air. 
Looking-glasses that are very clear and clean, are quickly obscured 
and dimmed with the foul breath of such as blow upon them. The 
river Hypanis, famous for the sweetness of its water, by receiving 
the bitter waters of the fountain Erampes, is poisoned. Joseph 
learned the court phrase, to swear by the life of Pharaoh, by his 
living amongst them whose tongues were tipped with such language. 
David was brought to feign himself frantic, and to dissemble, as if 
he could have fought against God's favourites, and sheathed liis 
sword in the bowels of his friends, by associating with uncu'cum- 
cised Achish. If Peter needlessly thrust himself among the high 
priest's servants, how soon is he taught, even with a curse and an 
oath, to deny his Master ! Men, like children, come in time to 
speak the wicked language and cursed dialects too of the country 
and company in which they dwell.^ ' Make no friendshiiD with an 
angry man, and with a furious man thou shalt not go,' saith the 
wise man. But mark, reader, his reason, ' lest thou learn his ways, 
and get a snare to thy soul.' The love of friends may quickly breed 
a love to their faults ; and so, by getting a friend, thou gettest a 
snare to thy soul, Prov. xxii. 24, 25. If thou wouldst avoid the 

^ Vix dici potest quanto libentius imitamur eos quibus favemus — Quint., lib. x. 
cap. 2. 

^ lit nummum exploras, num sit adulterinus, priusquam eo sit opus, sic amicus 
probandus antequam eo sit opus. — Plut. Moral. 

^ Amicitife ut pares qujerunt, ita et faciunt. Amicitia parem aut facit, aut accipit. 

Jerome in Mich, Proph. 



contagion of sin, avoid all needles.? communion with sinners."^ He 
who walks much in the sun is tanned insensibly. Wicked men 
will be likelier to make thee worse, than thou to make them better. 
Israel could not bring Egypt to worship the true God, but Egypt 
brought Israel to offer sacrifice to their false god. It was from them 
that the Jews sucked that poison which cost both them and their 
posterity so dear. The golden calf was first fashioned in the iron 
furnace. The tyrant Mezentius tied the living bodies of the cap- 
tives to the dead ; 2 the dead stunk up the living, but the living could 
not quicken the dead. Lewd men are continual weights, pressing 
down others to wickedness. How few live in Yenice but grow 
lecherous ? or in Spain, but become proud ? or in France, and are 
not fantastic ? or among the Dutch, and do not drink in both their 
deceitfulness and their drunkenness ? It is natural for men to put 
on the fashions, be they never so wicked, of the country or com- 
pany wherein they abide. It is said of Rome, He that goeth 
thither once, shall see an evil man ; if he like so well as to go a 
second time, he shall gain his acquaintance ; but if he go a third 
time, he shall bring him home with liim.^ The mind, like Jacob's 
sheep, receiveth the tincture and colour of those objects that are 
presented to it. Sin is a gangrene, which, if it seizeth one part, 
quickly spreadeth and infecteth the other parts which are near it, 
2 Tim. ii. 17. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump, whether 
it be the leaven of error, or of scandal, 1 Cor. v. 7 ; Gal. v. 9. 
Sinners are plague-sores, as the LXX read Xoi/moc, pests, Ps, i. 1, 
which we translate scorners, that convey the contagion to all their 
companions. A little wormwood will embitter much honey, and 
one sinner destroy eth much good, Eccles. ix. 18. Of a certain 
prince of Germany it is said, Usset alius si esset apud alios, He 
would have been a better person, if he had but been with better 
companions. An unclean, leprous person under the law, tainted 
whatever he touched ; therefore God would have him distinguished 
by his bald head, his torn habit, and his habitation apart, that all 
might avoid him. And what is the gospel of it, but tliat men 
should avoid the scandalous, infectious sinner, lest they be defiled 

^ Rerum natura sic est, ut quoties bonus malo conjungitur, non ex bono mains 
melioretur, sed ex malo bonus contaminetur ; diversitas euim rerum nunquam potest 
habere concordiam, et multos soUicitat societas nefanda. — Chrys. in Mat. 

- Corpora corporibus jungebat, mortua vivis. 

^ Ante ignem consistens, etiamsi ferreus sis, aliquando dissolveris ; proximus peri- 
culo diu tutus non erit. Per assiduitatem cito peccat homo. Sajpe familiaris im- 
plicavit, sfepe occasionem peccandi dedit, saBpe quod voluntas non potuit assiduitas 
superavit. — Isiodor., lib. ii. Soliloq. 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 243 

with his sin. The Nicopolites so hated the braying of an ass, that 
for that cause they woukl not endure the noise of a trumpet. 
Eeader, if thou hatest every false way, according to thy duty, if 
every sin be loathsome to thee, I doubt not but thou wilt be far 
from loving the cup in which this cursed potion is, I mean the 
sinner's company. Those that company much with dogs, may well 
swarm with fleas. God tells Israel, ' Thou shalt not make a cove- 
nant with them, (meaning the Canaanites.) They shall not dwell 
in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me,' Exod. xxiii. 32, 33. 
There is great prevalency in evil patterns. Evil precepts persuade, 
but evil patterns compel men to sin ; ' lest they make thee sin against 
me.' The Pelagian error is, that no sin came in by propagation, 
but all by imitation ; but it is an experienced truth, that sin is 
much spread and increased by example. It is common to sin for 
company, and that cup usually goeth round, and is handed from 
one to another. At least, evil company will abate the good in thee. 
The herb of grace will never thrive in such a cold soil. How 
poorly doth the good corn grow which is compassed about with 
weeds ! Cordials and restoratives will do little good to the natural 
body, whilst it aboundeth with ill-humours. Ordinances and 
duties are little effectual to our souls, whilst Christians are dis- 
tempered with such noxious inmates. It is said of the mountain 
Kadish, that whatsoever vine be planted near it, it cause th it to 
wither and die. It is exceeding rare for saints to thrive near such 
pull-backs. It is difficult, even to a miracle, to keep God's com- 
mandments and evil company too ; therefore, when David would 
marry himself to God's commands, to love them, and live with 
them, for better for worse, all his days, he is forced to give a bill 
of divorce to wicked companions, knowing that otherwise the match 
could never be made : ' Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, 
for I will keep the commandments of my God,' Ps. cxix. 115. As 
if he had said. Be it known unto you, sinners, that I am striking 
a hearty covenant with God's commands ; I like them so well, that 
I am resolved to give myself up to them, and to please them well 
in all things, which I can never do unless ye depart ; ye are like a 
strumpet, which will steal away the love from the true wife. I can- 
not as I ought obey my God's precepts, whilst ye abide in my 
j^resence ; therefore depart from me ye workers of iniquity, for I 
will keep the commandments of my God. Sometimes saints are 
ashamed to shew themselves whose servants they are,' sometimes 
they are afraid of giving offence to their friends or neighbours of 
the synagogue of Satan ; some snare or other the great soul-hunter 


catcheth tliem in, when he finds them amongst his own, that they 
shall refrain their mouths from all good, while the wicked is before 
them, Ps. xxxix. 3. They who touch the fish called torpedo, lose 
their senses, and find their members so benumbed for a time that they 
cannot stir them. How often hath spiritual sense been taken away 
and grace been, as it were, in a swoon by the noisome vapours, 
and filthy exhalations, that have arisen from ungodly companions ! 
How many of them, like the pine-tree, with their shadow, hinder 
all other from growing near them ! A conjurer in Tindal's pre- 
sence could not shew his cheats, but confessed there was some 
godly man in the room that hindered him. A Christian who 
thrusteth himself into vain fellows' company cannot do the good, 
shew the grace he should, and may acknowledge ungodly persons 
to be the cause. A tender person used to warm chambers, coming 
into the open air, finds his members chilled and unfit for action. 
Oh what a damp hath many a Christian found to come upon his 
spirit, by his conversing with those that are wholly carnal ! Antis- 
thenes would frequently say. It was a great oversight in men that 
would purge their wheat from darnel, not to purge their common- 
wealth from lewd persons. 

2. Further, thou art in danger of sufi'ering, as well as of sin- 
ning with them. The wheat hath many a blow for being amongst 
the chaff. The gold would not be put into the fire, if it were not 
for the dross with which it is mingled. God loves his saints so 
well, that he sometimes savetli sinners temporally for their sakes. 
Holy Paul was the plank upon which all that sailed with him got 
safe to shore ; the grass in the alleys fares the better for the 
watering which the gardener bestoweth on his flowers in the banks. 
Israel is a blessing in the land of Assyria, Isa. xix. 24. The 
whole world will stand the longer, because Christians bear up the 
pillars thereof. But God hates sinners so much, that even his own 
people, being amongst them, have suffered temporally with them. 
Lot chose wicked Sodom for a pleasant habitation ; but what did 
he get by it, when he was captivated with its inhabitants, and 
afterwards forced to leave that wealth, which drew him to love it, 
to the destroying flames ? Josiah, though peerless for his piety, 
was not spared when he joined with the Assyrian, but his league 
with them cost him his life.i When two are parties in a bond, 

^ In the wars against the Albigenses, when the Popish army took the populous 
city of Beziers, they put to the sword above sixty thousand, amongst whom were 
many Catliolics, their own friends, who suffered for being amongst their enemies. 
The Pope's legate being general, commanded it, and gave this reason, Ccedite eos 
omnes ; novit enim Deus qui sunt ejus. 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 245 

though one be the principal, both may justly be cast into prison. 
It is ill being in a felon's company when the officer of justice over- 
takes him ; he may come to suffer for the treason, who harbours 
and abetteth the traitor : ' A companion of fools shall be destroyed,' 
Prov. xiii. 20. The apostle St John, saith the ecclesiastical his- 
torian,! finding Cerinthus, a blasphemous heretic, in the bath, and 
some others as bad as he, departed away presently, lest divine 
vengeance should find them together. Nay, the very heathen had 
some sense how unsafe it was to associate with vicious men. 
When Bias was in a ship amongst a wicted crew, and a storm 
arising, they cried aloud for mercy ; he bade them hold their peace, 
and not let the gods know they were there, lest the ship should be 
sunk, and all perish for their sakes.2 When the great ordnance of 
wrath shattereth a wicked man in pieces, the force of it may strike 
down those that are next him. ' We command you, brethren,' saith 
the apostle, ' in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye with- 
draw yourselves from every brother who walketh disorderly,' 2 Thes. 
iii. 6. The word withdraw is an allusion to mariners' heedfulness 
to avoid rocks and sands, lest they should be ruined by them. 
They who would not shipwreck themselves, must decline both 
sinners' courses and company. ^ The psalmist would not eat of 
their dish, lest he should pay their reckoning ; ' let me not eat of 
their dainties, nor drink of their cup.' He durst not be so familiar 
as to feed with them, lest he should afterwards fare as they. 
Friend, as thou wouldst not suffer with sinners, take heed of sit- 
ting with them. 

It is enough to bring a man into suspicion at court to be inti- 
mate with one whom the king hates. Entireness with wicked per- 
sons, saith one,* is one of the strongest chains of hell, and binds 
us to a participation both of sin and punishment. When the 
deer, pierced with the arrow, and pursued by the hounds, runneth 
to the herd for shelter, they will not admit her amongst them, out 
of a principle of self-preservation, lest the dogs, in fetching her out, 
should fall on them. If thou wouldst not have divine judgments 
to attack thee, beware of being found amongst them who are 
marked out for vengeance : ' Come out from her, my people, that 
ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her 
plagues,' Kev. xviii. 4. It was dangerous being near those who 
were to be cast into the fiery furnace which Nebuchadnezzar had 

1 Irenffius Advers. Heres., lib. v. cap. 3. * Diogen. Laert. in Vit. 

=» SreXXo/tai verbum sumptum est a nautis, qui flexo cursu declinant scopulum aiit 
periculum. — Eras. Ps. cxliii. * Bishop Hall. 


made. The men that took them np were scorched to death. Cle- 
mens Alexandrinus tells it as the world's saying, If a fish that is 
taken break the snare, and get away, no other of that kind is taken 
that day. How many that, throngh mercy, have been given to 
ill company, and broke the snares, have told ns the mischief thereof 
afterward. Let their example make thee fearful of such snares. 
Some tell us that swallows would not fly into Thebes, because their 
walls were so often beleaguered ; and wilt thou run into that com- 
pany which is always besieged with God's thundering curse ? Oh 
take heed with whom thou strikest friendship, for when the breath 
of God's anger overturneth the house of the drunkard or swearer, 
the houses of their next, though best, neighbours, may fare the 
worse for its fall. Let me give thee the same advice which physi- 
cians do their friends, touching persons infected with the plague, — 
Cito, longe, tarde : speedily shun their company ; fly far away 
from them. Let it be long, even till their sores be healed, before 
thou returnest to them again, for it may be truly said of evil com- 
panions, what one saith of Komney Marsh, It is bad in winter, 
hurtful in summer, good never. 

If thy choice be good, it will redound very much to thine ad- 
vantage. It is no small happiness to have him for thy friend who 
is a favourite in heaven's court. Elisha offered it as a great kind- 
ness to his courteous host, ' Shall I speak for thee to the king?' 
This favour thou mayest expect in a greater measure from thy 
Christian friend. He will speak for thee to the King of kings, 
and send many a rich venture for thee into the other world, whence 
the return will be certain, and the gain superabundant. Oh it is 
good to have an interest in that heart which hath an interest in 
heaven ! The great apostle begs hard, as upon his knees, for a 
share in the saints' prayers. Seldom hast thou heard a starving 
beggar so importunate for a piece of bread, as he is to be a partner 
in their joint stock : Rom. xv. 30, ' I beseech you, brethren, for the 
Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye 
strive together in your jjrayers to God for me.' And what is the 
reason ? Truly Paul knew that united force was stronger, that 
such persons' prayers would be prevalent ambassadors to obtain the 
errand they were sent about. The father who denieth or delayeth 
a single child, when several of them together desire favour, granteth 
it speedily. It is hard to turn stones into bread, to fetch meat 
out of the eater, afiliction ; yet the saints' jDrayers have been help- 
ful to do it. ' I know that this,' — i.e., great tribulation, — 'shall 
turn to my salvation through your prayers,' Phil. i. 19. A good 

Chap. IL] the christian man's calling. 247 

companion is a rare jewel, and of great value. It is observable 
that Moses, proceeding by degrees, ascendeth at last to the highest 
step of persons that may win upon us, and nameth friends as the 
top of all, and dearer than all relations: ' If thy brother, or son, 
or daughter, or wife, or friend, which lieth in thy bosom, which is 
as thine own soul,' Deut. xiii. 6. A godly friend is a choice book, 
out of which we may learn many excellent things, and a precious 
treasure, whereby our souls may be enriched with virtue : ' He 
that walketh with the wise shall be wise,' Prov. xiii. 20. They 
who walk with them that are strong-scented with grace, must 
needs receive somewhat of its savour. The very sight of that 
holiness which shineth brightly in their works will kindle thy spirit, 
and enlarge thy mind with an honest emulation of their worth. If, 
— as some credibly relate of Persina, the Ethiopian queen, by seeing 
the fair picture of Perseus and Andromeda, she was delivered of a 
fair child, — the frequent view of a fair picture hath such an opera- 
tion upon the body, as to cause an Egyptian woman to bring forth 
a beautiful child, surely thy constant beholding the amiable image 
of the blessed God in thy pious companion, may have such an 
energy on thy soul, as to assimilate thee to its own nature, and 
help thee to bring forth a lovely issue, a Jedediah, whom the Lord 
loveth. The ground is the more fruitful which is near such trees 
of righteousness, for the dunging and dressing which the good 
husbandman bestoweth on them. When a friend of Phocion's 
would have cast himself away, Phocion suffered him not, saying, I 
was made thy friend for this purpose. 

Keader, if thou hast any truth of grace, thou wilt, above all 
things in the world, value God's presence ; but if thou wouldst find 
him, it must be amongst his people ; they are his habitation, where 
he always resides.! Joseph and Mary sought Jesus amongst his 
kindred. If thy soul have any longing after the holy Jesus, the 
best way to find him is amongst his disciples, for they only are his 
kindred. He stretched forth his hands towards his disciples, say- 
ing, * Behold my mother and my brethren ; for whosoever shall do 
the will of my Father wliich is in heaven, the same is my brother, 
and sister, and mother,' Mat. xii. 50 ; Luke ii. 44. 

Secondly, Consider, the choice of thy companions will discover 
thy condition. It is a Spanish proverb, Dime con quiem andis a 

^ Amabilis socius omnibus est ofRciosus, et nulli onerosus, quia devotus ad Deum, 
benignus ad proximum, sobrius ad mundum. Domini servus, proximi socius, mundi 
dominus, superiora habet ad gaudium, sequalia ad consortium, inferiora ad servi- 
tium. — Hugo, lib. iii. De Anima. 


dezirte lie quiem eres, Tell me with wtom thou goest, and I will tell 
thee what thou art. Sylla shewed the vileness and viciousness of 
his disposition by his companions, which were, Roscius, a maker of 
common plays ; Sorax, a prince of scoffers ; and Metrobius, a sing- 
ing man.^ It is easy to know to what house some persons belong, 
by their usual walking with those of the same family, either children 
or servants. It will be manifest to others, whether thou apper- 
tainest to the household of God, or the synagogue of Satan, by those 
with whom thou delightest to associate. The sheep of Christ do 
not love the company of unclean and unsavoury goats. Augustus 
Caesar found out the temper of his two daughters, by observing 
their company at a public show, where much people were present ; 
at which time his daughter Livia discoursed with grave and pru- 
dent senators, and his daughter Julia joined with loose and riotous 
persons.2 The Lacedaemonians, inquiring after the dispositions of 
their children sent abroad to school, only demanded of their 
masters to what playfellows they were linked, whether those who 
were studious and serious, or such as were wanton and vicious, not 
doubting but they were suitable to them in their natures, whose 
fellowship they fancied. Many, if they walked alone, would be 
thought, by reason of their rich clothes, men of better estate than 
they are, and others meaner than they are, by reason of their mean 
attire, who yet both are discerned of what rank they be by their 

" Dulce quidem dulci se adjungit, amaraque amaris, 
Acre perinde acri accessit, salsum quoque salso." 

It is said of the apostles, that being dismissed from the council, 
they went Trpo? tou? l8iov<;, to their own, or to their proper and 
peculiar friends, so the original ; we translate it, to their own 
company, because saints are a select corporation by themselves ; 
their privilege or charter is peculiar, and so are their companions, 
and the persons interested in it. The citizens of Zion are a distinct 
company from the rest of the world ; and when they can get loose 
from their persecutors, they go to them of their own livery. The 
disciples were amongst the high priests and wicked men by con- 
straint, and to their grief; but amongst their own only out of 
choice, and with their good- will. Birds of a feather will flock to- 
gether. Servants of the same Lord, if faithful, will join with their 
fellows, and not with the servants of his enemy. 

' Abraham sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange 

1 Plut. in Vit. Syll. 2 Sueton. 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 249 

country, dwelling in tabernacles, (not with the Canaanites, the 
natives, though he dwelt amongst them, but,) with Isaac and 
Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise,' Heb. xi. 9. When 
a man comes into an inn, you may give a notable guess for what 
place he intends, by the company he inquires after. His question, 
(Do you know of any travelling towards London ? I should be 
heartily glad of their company,) will speak his mind and his course. 
If he hear of any bound for another coast, he regards them not ; 
but if he know of any honest passengers that are to ride in the 
same road, and set out for the same city with himself, he sends to 
them, and begs the favour of their good company. This world is 
an inn ; all men are in some sense pilgrims and strangers, they have 
no abiding place here ; now the company they inquire after and 
delight in, whether those that walk in the broad way of the flesh, 
or those who walk in the narrow way of the Spirit, will declare 
whether they are going towards heaven, or towards hell. A wicked 
man will not desire the company of them who walk in a contrary 
way, nor a saint delight in their society who go cross to his journey. 
Can two walk together except they be agreed ? They who walk 
together are supposed to have one will, because they are seen to 
have one way, Amos iii. 3. When Elihu would prove Job to be 
bad, this is his argument : ' He goeth in company with the workers 
of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men,' Job xxxiv. 8. If Job 
did not follow their ungodly calling of working iniquity, or acting 
sin with art, as the word signifieth, you would not find him so much 
in their company. His doctrine was true, though his application 
of it was false. ^ A godly man may fall into wicked company by 
chance, but he never walks with such out of choice. He may be 
necessitated to dwell with them, but he cannot delight in them. 
To associate with the profane, is proper to the profane. As soon as 
Paul was sanctified, this was almost one of the first signs it ap- 
peared by : ' And Paul assayed to join himself to the disciples,' 
Acts ix. 26. He that before was for the company of the high 
priests, and persecutors of the saints, when once converted, is for 
the company of the saints, though persecuted. He who before, as 
one mad with rage, breathed out nothing but prisons and slaughter 
against them ; being now enlightened to see the beauty of their 
persons, and the excellency of their communion, assayeth to join 
himself to them. 

The young partridges hatched under a hen, go for a time along 
with her chickens, and keep them company, scraping in the earth 
^ Qui sequo animo malis immiscetur, malus est. 


together ; but when they are grown up, and their wings fit for the 
purpose, they mount up into the air, and seek for birds of their own 
nature. A Christian, before liis conversion, is brought up under the 
prince of darkness, and walketh in company with his cursed crew, 
according to the course of the world ; but when the Spirit changeth 
his disposition, he quickly changeth his companions, and delighteth 
only in the saints that are on earth. 

He that would not be found amongst sinners in the other world, 
must take heed that he do not frequent their company in this. 
Those whom the constable finds wandering with vagrants, may be 
sent with them to the house of correction. Lord, said a good 
woman on her deathbed, when in some doubt of her salvation, 
Send me not to hell amongst wicked men, for thou knowest I 
never loved their company all my life long. David deprecates their 
future doom upon the like ground, and argueth it as sign of his 
sincerity : ' I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in 
with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil-doers ; 
and will not sit with the wicked. gather not my soul with 
sinners,' Ps. xxvi. 4, 5, 9 — i.e., Lord, I have not loved the wicked so 
well as to sit with them for a little time, and shall I live with 
them for ever ? I have not lain amongst them rotting on the 
earth ; and wilt thou gather my soul with those sticks for the un- 
quenchable fire of hell ? Lord, I have been so far from liking, that 
thou knowest I have loathed the congregation of evil-doers. Do 
not I hate them that hate thee ? Yea, I hate them with perfect 
hatred ; and shall thy friend fare as thy foes ? I appeal to thy 
Majesty, that my great comfort is in thy chosen. I rejoice only to 
be amongst thy children here, and shall I be excluded their com- 
pany hereafter ? Oh do not gather my soul with sinners, for the 
wine-piess of thine eternal anger ! Marcion the heretic, seeing 
Polycarp, wondered that he would not own him. Do you not know 
me, Polycarp ? Yea, saith Polycarp, Scio te esse primogenitum 
diaholi ; I know thee to be the first-born of the devil, and so 
despised him. 

Section IL 

Thirdly, Consider that there can be no true friendship betwixt 
a godly and a wicked person ; therefore it concerneth thee to be 
the more wary in thy choice. He that in factions hath an eye to 
power, in friendship will have an eye to virtue. Friendship, ac- 
cording to the philosopher, is one soul in two bodies. But how 
can they ever be of one soul that are as different as air and earth, 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 251 

and as contrary as fire and water ? All true love is, 3Iotus animi 
adfruendum l)eo propter ipsum; se et proximo propter Deicjn, — A 
motion of the soul towards the enjoyment of God for himself, him- 
self and his neighbours for God's sake ; so that he can never truly 
love man who doth not love his Maker. "l God is the only founda- 
tion upon which we can build friendship ; therefore such as live 
without him, cannot love us in him. That building which is loose, 
without this foundation, can never stand long. A wicked man 
may call that profession he maketh to his brother by the name of 
love, but heathens can tell us that virtue alone is the hand which 
can twist the cords of love ; that other combinations are but a con- 
federacy, and all other conjunctions in hypocrisy. It is impossible 
that vitiated nature should move any other way than the principle 
of self carrieth it, which is directly opposite to true friendship.2 
Unfeigned love, saith Aristotle, is a benevolent affection, willing 
good to another for his own sake. How, then, canst thou expect 
the comfort of a friend from him who steereth wholly by the com- 
pass of self ? He saith he loves thee ; I am sure his lust hath 
more of his heart than thou hast.^ Either then thou must love 
the dog, his brutish lust, or he will tell thee shortly thou dost not 
love the master. If ever thou happenest to touch on his sore place, 
to tell him of his fault, (which thou art bound to do, if thou wilt 
be faithful to God, to him, and to thy own soul,) he will soon kick 
up thy friendship, and publish to the world that thou art an un- 
civil, saucy, and unintolerable person. Such are like unwholesome 
meat, which can neither be detained in the stomach without danger 
of diseases, nor cast up without pain. By patching up a friendship 
with a carnal man, thou bringest thyself to this miserable plunge ; 
either thou must turn caterer for his flesh, purvey for his sensual 
appetite, and provide the air of flattery (a more hellish wind than 
any the Laplanders sell) to feed the cameleon of his pride, or else 
snap the bones and ligaments of friendship in sunder, which will 
not be done without some pain and regret on each part. Cardan 
tells us that he would never rend a false friendship in pieces, but 
fairly pick the threads by which it was sown together ; but this is 
hard to do. Oh what folly is it to make choice of him whom thou 
canst not keep for thy friend without God's disfavour. 

^ In deo diligere noii potest qui deum non diligit. — Bernard. 

* Hominum charitas gratuita est. — Cicero, Be Natura. Deor., lib. i. 

•^ Humanitas vetat superbum esse apud socios, vetat avarum verbis, rebus, affec- 
tibus ; communem se facilemque omnibus prsestat ; nullum alienum malum putat, 
bonum autem suum ideo maxime quod alicujus bonum futurum esse amat. — Seri., 
Epist. 11. 


Reader, if thine end be good in desiring companions, thou wilt 
be wholly frustrated in it, unless thou art wise in thy choice.l 
Canst thou think that he can love thee sincerely who is hypocritical 
in his love to his own soul ? 2 Jonathan was a true friend, and 
loved David as his own soul. So it is said of Basil and ISTazianzen, 
anima una, inclusa in duobus corporibus, — a wicked man [will] 
quickly love thee as his own soul, but not in Jonathan's sense. He 
loved David as his own soul, according to a renewed and spiritual 
light, as one that saw the worth of his soul, and his eye affected 
his heart ; but a wicked man hath no love to his own soul in this 
sense ; he loveth (or rather seemeth to love it, by carking and 
caring to please and pamper it, for indeed he hateth) his dying 
flesh, but he careth not at all for his ever-living spirit, mindeth 
not whether it sink or swim for ever. Now is it likely that he 
should be a faithful friend to thee, to direct thee in thy doubts, 
reprove thee for thy faults, who is such a cruel enemy to himself ? 
Such a one may scare birds, but he will never secure a Christian. 
As the dolphin, in a calm sea he is never from the sides of the ship ; 
but if a tempest arise, he is gone. He may indeed shroud his 
private aims under the cloak of friendship, but this the very moral- 
ist 3 will tell you, non est amicitia, sed mercatura, is only to make 
a trade and merchandise of one another. There may be fire in the 
pan, when there is none in the barrel of the piece ; there may be a 
profession of love in his words, but there is no love in his heart. 
I cannot more fitly compare such a man's friendship than to some 
plants in rivers, which have broad leaves at the top of the water, 
but scarce any root at all.^ He may make a great show of love, 
and tell thee. You shall never know what I will do for you, and 
then he speaks true ; but his high building hath no basis, his great 
profession hath no root, and therefore is rotten. 

To be brief, reader, thou wilt easily grant that there can be no 
true friendship betwixt a man and a beast, their natures being so 
differing. I must tell thee, it is more impossible for true friend- 
ship to be betwixt a true Christian and a carnal person, for their 
natures are more differing.^ The beast and a profane man differ 

^ Inter dispares mores firma non potest esse amicitia. — Aug., De Amicitia, cap. 14. 

® Omnium societatum, nulla proestantior est, nulla firmior est, quam cum viri boni 
moribus similies sunt familiaritate conjuncti. — Sen., Epist. 11. 

s Sen., Epist. 9. 

* Amicus est qui amat, et redamatur. — Arist., lib. ii. JRJiet. 

^ Vera ilia amicitia, et Christi glutino copulata, quam non utilitas rei familiaris, 
non prajsentia corporum tantum, non subdola et palpans adulatio, sed Dei timer, et 
divinarum scripturarum couciliant studia. —Jerome in Epist. ad Paulin. 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 253 

indeed, yet are not contrary, nay, they are so much alike, that the 
sensual appetite is the predominant quahty and commander-in- 
chief in both ; only beasts are innocent subjects to it, as breaking 
no law thereby ; but man, by being a slave to that usurper, is a 
traitor to his supreme Lord, and to his viceroy within him, reason. 
But a saint and a wicked man are contrary ; consider them from 
head to foot, they stand both in defiance against each other. Their 
understandings are contrary ; the one is light, the other is dark- 
ness ; the one judgeth sin to be the greatest and most abominable 
evil, the other judgeth it to be a pleasant, eligible good. Their 
wills are contrary ; the one is a resolved soldier under the captain 
of his .salvation, fully set to lose his life before he will give up his 
cause, or leave his colours, the other is a sworn officer under the 
prince of the powers of the air, (an implacable enemy to the former 
general,) and stoutly bent to die, nay, be damned, rather than 
desert him.i Their affections are contrary : the affections of the 
one, as fire, ascend upward, are set on things above ; the affections 
of the other, like earth, tend downwards, and are set on things 
below. What the one loves above his life, the other hates unto 
death ; what the one forsakes as worse than poison, the other fol- 
loweth after as his only portion. 

Are these two, reader, like to agree, and to be, as friends should, 
of one heart and of one soul ? Idem velle et idem Jiolle est vera 
amicitia, saith the orator : It is true friendship to will and nill 
the same things, "What kind of friendship must it be, then, 
between those that always will and nill contrary things ? 2 Let 
thy own reason be judge. If likeness be the ground of love, what 
love can there be amongst them that are wholly unlike ? Oh, let 
not any carnal interest sway thee to choose Sodom for the place of 
thy habitation, much less to accept of God's foe to be thy bosom 
friend : ' For what communion hath light with darkness ? or what 
fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness ? and what 
concord hath Christ with Belial ? or what part hath he that be- 
lieveth with an infidel ? ' 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15. Like as the elements, 
according to Empedocles' opinion, are always at strife together, 
but specially those that are nearest, so godly and evil men are 

^ Mos fuit inter reges barbaros, quoties in societatem coirent, &pplicare dexteras, 
pollicesque inter se vincire, nodoque constringere ; etubi mox sanguis in artus extremes 
pervenisset, levi vulnere eruorem eliciebant, atque invicem habebant, idque fsedus 
arcanum, quasi mutuo cruore sacratum haberi solitum. — Tacitiu. 

2 Some tell us that two who desired to become intimate friends, came into Vul- 
can's shop, begging this boon of him, that he would beat them on his anvil, or melt 
them in his furnace, both into one, the which he granted. 


always at odds, but those especially that are nearest. The horse 
hath a natural enmity against the camel, and the camel against 
the horse ; therefore Cyrus being to fight with the Babylonians, 
Avho excelled in horses, used as many camels as he could get. The 
sinner is like the horse, altogether unclean ; the Christian is like 
the camel, (that cheweth the cud, though he divideth not the hoof,) 
is partly clean, partly unclean. Now, there being an enmity be- 
twixt these, there can never be any society. The feathers of eagles, 
say naturalists, will not mingle with the feathers of any other fowls. 
Many complain of the treachery of their friends, and say, as Queen 
Elizabeth, that in trust they have found treason ; but most of these 
men have greatest cause, if all things be duly weighed, to complain 
of themselves for making no better choice. He is right served, in 
all men's judgments, who hath his liquor running out which he 
puts into a leaking vessel or riven dish. 

Section III. 

I come now to shew wherein the power of godliness consisteth, 
or how a man maketh religion his business in the choice of his 

Fu'st, Be as careful as thou canst, that the persons thou choosest 
for thy companions be such as fear God.i The man in the Gospel 
was possessed with the devil, who dwelt amongst the tombs, and 
conversed with graves and carcases. Thou art far from walking 
after the good Spirit, if thou choosest to converse with open sepul- 
chres, and such as are dead in sins and trespasses. God will not 
shake the wicked by the hand, as the Vulgate read Job viii. 20, 
neither must the godly man. David proves the sincerity of his 
course, by his care to avoid such society : ' I have walked in thy 
truth ; I have not sat with vain persons,' Ps. xxvi. 5, 6. 

There is a twofold truth — 

1. Truth of doctrine. Thy law is the truth, free from all dross 
of corruption, and falsehood of error. 

2. Truth of affection, or of the inward parts. This may be 
. called thy truth, or God's truth, though man be the subject of it, 

partly because it proceedeth from him, partly because it is so pleasant 
to him, in which respect a broken heart is called the ' sacrifice of 
God,' Ps. li. 6. As if he had said, I could not have walked in the 
power of religion, and in integrity, if I had associated with vile and 

^ Non sunt fideles in amicitia, quos munus, non gratia copulat, nam cito deserunt, 
nisi semper acceperint. Dilectio enim quae munere glutinatur, eodem suspense dis- 
solvitur. — I lid. lib. iii. De Sum. Bon. 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 255 

vain company ; I conld never have walked in thy precepts, if I had 
sat with vain persons. Observe the phrase, I have not sat with 
vain persons. 

1. Sitting is a posture of choice. It is at a man's liberty, whether 
he will sit or stand. 

2. Sitting is a posture of pleasure. Men sit for their ease, and 
with delight ; therefore, the glorified are said to ' sit in heavenly 
places,' Eph. ii. 6. 

3. Sitting is a posture of staying or abiding, 2 Kings v. 3. 
Standing is a posture of going, but sitting of staying. The blessed, 
who shall for ever be with the Lord and his chosen, are mentioned 
' to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of 
heaven,' Mat. viii. 11. David in neither of these senses durst sit 
with vain persons. He might, as his occasions required, use their 
company, but durst not knowingly choose such company. They 
could not be the object of his election, who were not the object of his 
affection : ' I hate the congregation of evil-doers," saith he, in verse 
7. As sitting is a posture of pleasure, he did not sit with vain 
persons. He was sometimes amongst them to his sorrow, but not 
to his solace. They were to him, as the Canaanites to the Israelites, 
pricks in his eyes, and thorns in his sides. ' Woe is me, for I dwell 
in Mesech, and my habitation is in the tents of Kedar ! ' Ps. cxx. 
5. It caused grief, not gladness, that he was forced to be amongst 
the profane. 

Again, he might stand amongst them, but durst not, unless 
necessitated, as a prisoner kept by force in a prison, sit with them. 
A godly man may go to such persons, as we do sometimes to felons 
in a jail, about business, but he likes not to stay in such a nasty 
place. It is said of the lizard, an unclean bird, that she liveth in 
graves, and such places of corruption ; but the dove, a clean crea- 
ture, loves to build and lie clean. Though the sinner, like Satan, 
delights in herds of swine, the saint disesteemeth ' a vile person, 
and honoureth them that fear the Lord,' Ps. xv. 4.1 The burgess 
of the new Jerusalem, saith one upon that text, reprohos reprohat, 
et prohos prohat, he rejecteth the vicious, and though they may be 
great and high, counteth them but vile. Elisha was so far from 
bestowing his love, that he thought an evil king not to deserve a 
look. ' As the Lord liveth, were it not that I regard the presence 
of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look towards thee, 
nor see thee,' saith the prophet to the king of Israel, 2 Kings iii. 

^ One gave his friend this advice : Have communion with few, be intimate with 
one, deal justly with all, speak evil of none. 


14. That unerring pattern, our blessed Saviour, did not judge 
wicked Herod worthy of one word : ' Then Herod questioned with 
him in many words, but he answered him nothing,' Luke xxiii. 9. 
But the true Christian honoureth them that fear the Lord, though 
he disesteemeth the wicked. Saints are God's jewels, and therefore 
must needs be of great price with them that have any judgment. 
Ingo, an ancient king of the Draves, at a feast, sets his pagan 
nobles in his hall below, and entertained a company of poor Chris- 
tians at his own table in his presence-chamber, in the most royal 
manner, and with the costliest cheer that might be ; and when this 
different dealing was wondered at by his peers, he gave them this 
reason : I do this act, not as king of the Draves, but as king of 
another world, where these poor men shall be my companions and 
fellow-princes. 1 David was a great sovereign, yet the saints only 
were his associates. ' Let them that fear thee, turn unto me, and 
such as keep thy righteous judgments.' ' They who but touched 
the carcases of men,' and wicked men are but moving carcases, 
' were unclean seven days,' Num. xix. 11. ' The flesh that 
toucheth any unclean thing shall not be eaten,' Lev. vii. 19. God 
commanded the Jews, ' Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a 
diverse kind. Thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed : 
neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon 
thee,' Lev. xix. 19. This, indeed, taken literally, was ceremonial 
to them, and is vanished with their commonwealth ; but taken 
mystically, there is something in it which is moral, and binding to 
us — namely, that God abhors mixtures of good and bad persons 
more than of different things, and the apostle applieth it to the 
same purpose. 

Keader, if God hath opened thine eyes, thou seest that saints are 
lovely, though low, and precious, though poor. ' I am black, but 
comely, ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar,' Cant, 
i. 5. Kedar signifieth black, and the tents of Kedar were of hair- 
cloth, made of goats' hair, wherein they dwelt. Here the church, 
which elsewhere is called the ' tents of Jacob/ Jer. xxx. 18, is for 
her persecutions, and pilgrimage, and poverty compared to the 
tents of Kedar, saith Ainsworth ; but I suppose there is one thing 
more in it, and that is, as the church did resemble the tents of 
Kedar in her outward condition, so also in her inside. The tents 

^ Convictor delicatus paulatum enervat et emoUit, necesse est aut imiteris, aut 
oderis, utrumque autem devitandum est, ne aut similis malis fias quia multi sunt, ne 
Tel inimicus multis quia dissimiles. Cum his conversare, qui te meliorem facturi 
Bunt ; illos admitte quos tu potes facere meliores. — Senec, Epist. IL 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 257 

of Keclar were stored with gold, pleasant odonrs, and jewels within. 
Oh, how glorious is the king's daughter within ! Her inward 
ornaments are infinitely more worth than wrought, than choice 
gold ! Dost thou not behold the saints' virtues under their veil ? 
their beauty under their black cypress ? How they are a crown of 
glory, a royal diadem, princes in all his lands, higher than the 
kings of the earth, more excellent than their richest, wisest, and 
most honourable neighbours ; the Lord's portion, his peculiar 
people, his privy councillors, his children, his love and delight, and 
doth not thine understanding prize them, thy will choose them, 
and thy affections cling and close with them ? Surely, such per- 
sons are worthy to be thy companions. Christians must resemble 
the loadstone, to attract that only to them which is of some worth, 
and not, like the jet, draw stubble, and hay, and straw, to which 
wicked men are compared : ' To the saints that are in the earth, 
and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight,' saith that man 
after God's own heart. 

Further, it is thy interest to choose them only for thy friends ; 
others will one time or other prove false ; those men will stick 
closer than a brother. ' Greet them that love us in the faith ; ' such 
love will be firm, Titus iii. 15. Ungodly men may be about us as 
mice in a barn, whilst something is to be had, but when all the 
corn is gone, they are gone too ; if thou ceasest to give, they will 
cease to love. When the weather is foul — as swallows, though 
they chattered about our chimneys, and chattered in our chambers — 
they will take their flight, and leave nothing behind but dirt and 
dung, as the pledge of their friendship. Haman's friends, who, 
when he was in favour, were ready to kiss his feet, no sooner 
saw the king incensed against him, but they are as ready to cover 
his face, and help him to a halter. There is no faith in that man 
who hath no fear of the great God. 

Section IV. 

Secondly, If thou wouldst manifest godliness in the choice of thy 
companions, thy care must be, not only to choose such as are godly, 
but also to choose them because they are godly. As godliness 
must be a ruling quality in them that are chosen, so it must be 
the ground of thy choice. A man may keep company with godly 
men because they live near him, or because they are related to him, 
or because they are wise, learned, or ingenious persons, or because 
they may do, or have done, him a courtesy, and yet not put forth 



the least grain of godliness in it. When God's grace in them is 
the only ground of our choice, and God's image on them the chief 
loadstone of our love, then we exercise ourselves to godliness in the 
choice of our companions. If I love my neighbour, and like his 
company, because heresembleth me in his feature or in his nature, 
or because he is a mild, meek, peaceable man, or because I expect 
some kindness from him, herein I shew my love to myself, but 
none to my God, and therefore nothing of godliness. Laban 
delighted to have Jacob with him, and would by no means hear of 
his departure ; he sets him to be chief over his flock, he bendeth 
and boweth to him, he ilattereth and fawneth on him, though his 
servant and underling, and who so much as Jacob in his books ! — 
but mark the ground of all: 'And Laban said unto him, I pray 
thee, if I have found favour in thy sight, tarry ; for I have learned 
by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake,' Gen. 
XXX. 27. He loved Jacob for himself, or rather loved himself in 
Jacob ; he courted him, not because he was a good man, but because 
he was a good servant. Herein was nothing of religion — as the 
Jews followed Christ, not for the miracle, but for the meat, John 
vi. Such men love others for the outward goods they bring to 
them, not for the grace or godliness they see in them ; for if they 
were not holy, they would desire their company. This is feigned, 
and not the love the apostle speaks of, 1 Pet. i. 22, ek ^tXaSeX- 
(fiiap avvTTOKpnov, ' the unfeigned love of the brethren,' or ' love 
without dissimulation,' The voice of a worldling in the choice of a 
friend, is much like that of Joram to Jehu, ' Is it peace, Jehu ?' Is 
it wealth ? is it honour ? is it power ? then be thou my friend. But 
the voice of a Christian is like that of Jehu to Jonadab, ' Is thy 
heart right, as mine is ?' Is there the fear of God, truth of grace, 
in thy heart ? then give me thy hand, come up into the chariot, 
be thou my friend. 

The choice of a Christian must flow from another fountain than 
worldly profit — namely, the amiableness of the image of Christ in 
the person. The heat and light of a wicked man's love, as a lamp, 
is fed with, and floweth from, some earthly substance, and is ex- 
tinguished when that is denied ; but the heat and light of a saint's 
friendship, as the solar rays, springeth from a heavenly cause, and 
therefore will continue. The apostle speaketh of love out of a pure 
heart, 1 Tim. i. 5 ; that is, pure love, a pure stream, which ariseth 
from a pure heart, a pure spring — that is, not only the grace of God, 
secret in a Christian, but the grace of God, seen in his companion 
whom he loveth. It is clearly visible that many associate wdth 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 259 

Christians, not for their virtues, but at a venture — they were pos- 
sibly the first they fell in league with, or upon some other respect i 
— for they know others as high in holiness whom they slight, nay, 
possibly hate ; whereas he that loveth grace in one, lovetli grace in 
all. It is an infallible sign of a crooked nature, saith Cicero, to be 
affected with none but prastors and great men. It is little si«-n I 
am sure, of grace, to join only with those saints that are rich or 
high in the world. If thou admirest holiness in scarlet and robes, 
and contemnest it in sackcloth and russet, I must tell thee thou art 
grossly deceived ; for thou admirest the scarlet and honour, not the 
holiness at all. 

I do not deny but amongst Christians a man that hath the 
opportunity may choose out some, rather than others, to be his 
most intimate companions. Christ, though he loved all his dis- 
ciples, yet had one especially, the beloved disciple, who leaned on 
Jesus' bosom. Amongst all the apostles, he vouchsafed to three 
only the favour of his extraordinary friendship. When he raised 
up the ruler's daughter, he suffered none to go in, save Peter, James, 
and John. When he was transfigured, he took up with him only 
Peter, James, and John ; in his bitter and bloody agony, these 
three were taken out from the rest, Luke viii. 51 ; Mat. xvii. 5, and 
xxvi. 37. 

But if I might advise thee, reader, in such a choice, I would 
give thee these two cautions : 

First, That thou prefer those whom Grod prefers ; I mean, such 
as have most grace. It is a sign of a coward to choose a weak 
enemy, and it is a sign of little grace to choose the weakest Chris- 
tian friends ; he that hath most of God's heart, deserveth most of 
thine. I am ready to think that Peter, James, and John, that had 
more of Christ's love than the rest, had more of his likeness and 
image than the rest. I confess, some resjDect in the choice of a 
bosom friend ought to be had to his prudence. Some men, though 
holy, are indiscreet, and in point of secrets are like sieves — can 
keep nothing committed to them, but let all run through. A blab 
of secrets is a traitor to society, as one that causeth much dissension. 
It is good to try him whom we intend for a bosom friend before 
we trust him,2 as men prove their vessels with water before they 
fill them with wine ; if we find them leaking, they will be useless 

^ Amicos secundse res optime parant, adversse certissime probant. — Sen. 

- Diligentes agricolEe tenam prius uotulis quibusdam deprehendunt, et explorant, 
priusquam illi credaut sementem. Ita exploraudus amicus antequain committas 
arcanum. — Erasmus. 


as to that purpose. Too many are like the Dead Sea, in whicli 
nothing, saith Aristotle, sinks to the bottom, but everything thrown 
into it swims at the top and is in sight. Nakedness in mind is as 
well a blemish as nakedness in body. It is wonderful folly which 
some persons manifest in stripping themselves naked before every 
one, and unbosoming themselves whoever stands by. Pictures 
that have no curtains before them gather much dust, and so do 
those minds that are ever open and exj)osed to every man's view. 
Others are like the sea, full of wealth and worth, of great abilities 
in spiritual things, but there is no coming at it ; they are so con- 
cealed, that none is ever like to be the better for it. Those golden 
mines that are never known enrich none. 

There are a middle sort of Christians between these, that, like a 
secret box in a cabinet, is not seen without some difficulty, but, as 
occasion is, it is opened, and then many jewels of rare value appear.i 
The bow that is hardest to bend doth the most service, for it send- 
eth forth the arrow with the gi'eatest force. The nut that is hard 
to crack hath the best kernel. These Christians may, as likely as 
any, be thy bosom friends, though some respect, I confess, may be 
had to suitableness of disposition in him whom thou choosest for 
an intimate friend. As in marriage, so in friendship, it is best 
when there is some equality and likeness in pairs, as of tongs or 
gloves there must be a parity. Such friendship, founded both in 
grace and nature, is like to be lasting. 

2. That in preferring some, thou castest no contempt upon others. 
The smallest piece of pearl is worthy of esteem ; the little violet is 
pleasant. The poorest Christian, he that hath the least grace, de- 
serveth our love and observance. Christ takes notice of two mites, 
of a little strength, of some good thing, and shall not we ? Mat. 
xii. 43 ; Kev. iii. 8 ; 1 Kings xiii. 14. Babes in Christ, being 
unable to help themselves, have most need of good nurses ; weak 
saints, who can hardly go alone, do most want a helping hand. A 
saint that is mean, as well as a mean saint, must be countenanced. 
It is good to countenance godliness in the rich, but it is evil not to 
encourage it in the poor. Our love must, like the ointment poured 
on Aaron's head, which ran down, not only to his beard, but to the 
very skirts of his garment, be drawn out to the highest, and fall 
down on the lowest saints ; David by tliis shewed the life and 
truth of his love : ' I am a companion of all that fear thee, and 
keep thy statutes,' Ps. cxix. 63. Of all ; none that hath thy fear 

^ Tu omnia cum amico delibera, sed de ipso prius. — Senec. De Bene/., lib. vi. 
cap. 24. 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 261 

but shall find me their friend : though I am their king, and above 
the highest, yet for thy sake I can cheerfully be companion to the 

Section V. 

Thirdly, In thy choice, have respect to spiritual ends, and accord- 
ingly imj)rove it. Attend and intend thy own and thy companions' 
soul good in it. Friendship hath a key to the heart which it may 
use, not only to let itself into its secrets, but also to introduce its 
own conceptions. He hath a great advantage of persuading another 
to, and encouraging him, in holiness, who is already entertained as 
his friend into his heart. Where the person is so acceptable, the 
instruction will be the more welcome. We carry others sometimes 
along with us to our friends' houses, and they are kindly enter- 
tained for our sakes. Now, to improve this interest any other way 
than on God's behalf is sacrilege. How abominable were it then 
to use this key for the bringing in of thievish lusts and murderers 
upon him ! There is no nearer union than of intimate friends ; 
they are one soul.^ He then that loves himself, and knoweth grace 
to be his own greatest perfection, must needs endeavour that his 
friend may have a large portion of it. Persons of quality have a 
great delight to adorn and beautify the places where they inhabit, 
and loathe to live in dirty styes or nasty dungeons. True friends 
dwell in each other. The soul is, saith one, not so much where it 
liveth, as where it loveth ; how delectable then must it needs be for 
them to seek the embellishing and embroidering those hearts with 
holiness, in which they have taken up their abode !2 Love is apt 
to transport us, so far as to imitate the errors of those whom we 
aflPect, like unskilful painters, who express only the wrinkles and 
blemishes of a face, not being able to reach its beauty. Without 
question, this love, if rightly improved, would be more prevalent to 
make thy friend ambitious to resemble thee in virtue, in regard to 
the amiableness of virtue in itself, and its great advantage above 
error. It is clear that grace hath a much more ravishing and delec- 
table appearance than vice, in all her paint and daubery, even 
when she is looked upon through the devil's optics. 

A good friend in this respect is of much worth ; therefore Alex- 

^ Non est vera amicitia ubi est fallax adulatio. — Amb., De Offic, lib. iii. 

- Solatium hujus vitae est, ut habeas, cui pectus tuum aperias, cui arcana com- 
munices, ut coUoces tibi fidelem virum qui in prosperis gratuletur tibi, in tristibus 
compatiatur ; facilis vox et communis, Tuus sum totus, sed paucioris est effectus. — 
Amb., De Offic, lib. iii. 


ander, when one desired to see his treasure, shewed him, not ap'yv- 
plov ToXavra, but Toixi (jf)iA.ou9, not his talents of silver, but his 
friends ; and Menander counted him a happy man that had but 
the shadow of one. Though fortune hath shewed me many 
favours, saith Plutarch,^ that deserve I should be thankful to her 
for them, yet there is none that maketh me so much bound to her, 
as the love and good-will my brother Timon doth bear to me in all 

God hath caused many wants and weaknesses in us, that we may 
be needful to one another, and purposely given diversity of gifts 
and graces, that we may be helpful to each other. No nations 
have all the commodities they use of their own growth, but need 
trading with others for their supply. Believers cannot keep house 
well without borrowing from their neighbours. There is ' that 
which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in 
the measure of every part,' Eph. iv .10. If our Christian com- 
munion be not employed for this end, we are slothful servants, 
hiding our talents in a napkin ; if to a contrary end, we are miser- 
able alchymists, and extract poison- out of a cordial. Countries 
that are joined together in a strict league, often grow rich by 
mutual traffic. Christians have found, by experience, that mutual 
commerce well employed hath brought them in very great gains. 
Paul himself, that was of a great spiritual estate, and much given 
to hospitality and feeding hungry Christians, yet expected some- 
times to be entertained at his poor neighbours' tables. He writes 
to the Komans that he hopes to be filled with their company, 
Eom. XV. 24 — filled or feasted with some heavenly repast by their 

Oh it is lovely and happy when two friends are like Moses and 
Aaron : ' He shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou to him 
instead of God/ Exod. iv. 16 ; where their love is shewn by edify- 
ing and building up one another in holiness. This were some 
prelibation of heaven, where those lines of love, which stretch 
themselves to every part of the circumference, do all meet in God 
as their centre. But I shall speak more to this in the fourth 

I shall conclude this particular with an answer to two objec- 

ObJ. 1. Christ commandeth us to love our enemies. Mat. 
V. 45 ; Gal. iv. 10 ; and what love do we shew if we turn our backs 
always upon them, and banish them our company ? Besides, we 

1 In Vit. 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 263 

are commanded to do good to all. I am bound to seek ray wicked 
neighbour's salvation, and to love my neighbours as myself, Lev 
xix. 18, which how can I do if I always shun him? Again, if I 
should avoid all that are carnal, I must untie the bonds of my re- 
lations, which Grod and nature forbid, and cast up my calling, which 
I am commanded to mind. 

Ans. In answer to these things, I shall first lay down one or two 
distinctions, and then some positions. 

1. Distinct. There are sinners of several forms in Satan's school. 
Some that learn too much the lesson he sets them, but quarrel not 
with the scholars of a contrary master ; though they are ungracious, 
yet they are not outrageous. These are wild beasts in a cage, or in 
chains, that a man may sometimes take notice of without any hurt. 
Others do not only study the lectures he sets them, be they never 
so full of blasphemy and debauchery, but seek to make proselytes, 
and cast scorn and contempt upon all piety, and rail at those that 
will not learn their black art ; these are in his upper form, and 
have proceeded from standing in the way of sinners, to sitting in 
the seat of the scornful, and will be ready in a short time to be sent 
to hell, the only academy to which he prefers his scholars. These are 
worse than the dogs of Egypt ; they, when the Israelites marched 
towards Canaan, did not stir their tongues, but these bark at all 
that sets out for heaven. Many who had risings and spots in the 
skin of the flesh, were not to be judged unclean, and shut out of 
the camp ; but those that had the scab spreading much in the skin, 
(typifying those whose sinful courses were gaining and growing 
upon themselves or others, Lev. iii. 3, 4, 8,) they were to be thrust 
out of the camp. 

2. Distinct. It is one thing to come into wicked men's company, 
as a man's occasions or relations require, and it is another thing to 
choose such company. David was frequently amongst the bad, but 
his delight and joy was only amongst the good. An acquaintance 
is one thing, and a companion is another thing : acquaintance is 
the herd, a companion is the particular one culled out of it for 
a special friend. It is one thing to have intimate familiarity, and 
another thing to have common and civil commerce with such men. 

1. Position. To love my neighbour as myself, doth not infer 
an equality, but the quality of my love. A Christian must love 
all men truly, but is not bound to love all men equally. The 
greatest degree of our love is limited by God himself (next to his 
blessed Majesty and ourselves) to these two objects, the house- 
hold of faith, and our own household — not excluding others, but 


preferrijig these. For even within ourselves there is a difference 
in our love ; we love our head, and heart, and other vital parts, 
with a closer affection than those outward integral parts that are 
not of so great concernment to us. I may therefore love every 
man as myself, and yet love some above others, and my own soul 
above all. Exemplar potius est exem'plato, The example is before 
the thing exemplified. If a man is bound to love another as him- 
self, he must needs love himself first, and more than another. Thy 
love to them may cause thee to hope that thou mayest convert them, 
but thy love to thyself should make thee fear lest they should per- 
vert thee. 

2. Position. A Christian is bound to avoid all needless society 
with wicked men. Mark, I say needless ; when our relations coni- 
mand it, as amongst husbands andwives, and parents and children, 
or our vocations call for it, then it is necessary. Those precepts 
that enjoin us to forbear their company, are to be understood when 
we have no call to it. We may trade with wicked men, we must 
perform all moral duties ,to our kindred, and acts of courtesy 
and charity to the worst of our enemies, so we be careful to 
keep ourselves from their corruptions, and use their company no 
longer than the discharge of those duties doth require. When 
by admitting their persons, we cannot avoid their vices, we must 
deny both. 

3. Position. Christians should, as God gives them opportunity, 
if there be any hope of doing good, endeavour to reform men, 
before they wholly reject their company ; nay, and pray for their 
welfare after they have refused them for companions. It is small 
kindness to shut up a man that hath the plague, lest he should 
infect others, and to use no means for his own cure. If I find that 
a man is desperately bent in wickedness, that religion is the object 
of his laughter, and to give him any serious counsel is to cast pearl 
before swine, I must judge such Ishmaels and Esaus unworthy of 
human society ; but it is a very hard case to shut a man up in a 
coffin, and bury him before he be quite dead. Sometimes vicious 
men are in distress, and a godly man hath a call from God to do 
him some charitable office ; here the Christian may have less fear 
of receiving hurt from them. Afflictions are bonds, and these beasts 
in chains are not so unruly. Paul's vii)er, benumbed with cold, did 
not sting him. Here a Christian hath also more hope of doing 
good to them. The hard metal, when in the fire, may receive im- 
pressions. Men will take that physic willingly in their sickness 
which they refused in health. 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 265 

4. Position. A Christian may love a wicked man sincerely, 
though he wholly shun his society. He may affect him with a 
love of pity, though not of complacency ; he may shew his love by 
pouring out his heart in petitions to God for him. Though a saint 
deny a scandalous sinner his presence, yet he doth not deny him 
his pity nor his prayers ; nay, our non-communion may be a means 
of their conversion : ' If any obey not the word, have no company 
with liim, that he may be ashamed,' 2 Thes. iii. 14. Shame and 
confusion is a good step towards conversion. A wicked man's pres- 
ence burdens a saint, and a godly man's presence hardens a sinner. 
Surely, thinks he, I am, if not praiseworthy, yet tolerable, and not 
very bad, since such a good man is so much with me. They 
who did eat and drink in Christ's presence on earth, wondered 
much to be excluded from his heavenly banquet. Mat. vii. 23. 
Hymeneus and Alexander were excluded Christian society, that they 
might learn not to blaspheme, 1 Tim. i. 20. This wounding is 
the way to healing ; it makes profane men bethink themselves, when 
sober persons avoid their presence. 

Ohj. 2. Did not Jesus Christ accompany with wicked men? 
Can I follow a better pattern ? or can any pretend to more purity ? 
Is not Christ upon this account called a friend of publicans and 
sinners ? 

Ans. 1. I answer, more generally, All our Saviour's actions are 
for our instruction, but all are not for our imitation. Christ indeed 
hath left us an example, that we should follow his steps, 1 Pet. ii. 
21, but not in all the prints of his feet. Christ did nothing amiss ; 
but he that shall undertake to do in all things as he did, will follow 
him too close, and do many things amiss. It may be commendable 
to imitate my sovereign, but it is possible enough to do it so far as 
to be guilty of treason by it. Some of Christ's actions were done 
by him as man, others were done by him as mediator, or God-man. 
In many of these latter we cannot imitate him, in others we may 
not. Who can work miracles, forgive sins, &c., as Christ did? 
Who may appoint apostles, constitute laws for the church, &c., as 
Christ did ? 

Ans. 2. More particularly, Christ had a call, which all others 
have not, to go amongst wicked men. Where should a physician 
be but amongst his patients ? To deal with such is his calling. 
Christ came to call sinners to repentance, to heal their vitiated 
natures ; and therefore it was necessary he should associate with 
them. He went amongst them, not as a friend to their sins, but 
as a physician to their souls. How should he otherwise have cast 


out devils, cured their sicknesses, and proved his deity to their 
faces ? An ambassador, being commissionated by his prince, may do 
that which, if an ordinary subject should do, may cost him his life. 
Abraham might, having liberty from God, stand still and behold 
Sodom flaming, when Lot might not so much as cast an eye, or 
have a glance towards it. Christ was sent to the lost sheep of the 
house of Israel, and so he went to them in discharge of his errand 
and mission ; he had also a commission under his Father's hand 
and seal, Luke iv. 18 ; John vi. 27. 

Ans. 3. Christ had no tinder about him to take fire, being 
conceived without sin ; but we are little else than dry tinder, 
and therefore have cause to avoid the least spark. ' The prince 
of this world cometh,' saitli Christ, ' and findeth nothing in me,' 
John xiv. 30 ; he cometh with his baits, but there is nothing 
in me that will be nibbling at them. Besides, his deity was 
a perfect antidote against all infection. As the beams of the 
sun, he could be in filthy places, and amongst defiling persons, 
and not receive the least pollution ; when we have such infectious 
souls, that we are ready to receive the contagion from the least 
infectious breath. Our corrupt nature is like fire, which, if there 
be any infection in the room, draweth it straight to itself. 

Alls. 4. Christ did not choose the company of publicans and 
sinners, though he was often amongst them. A physician is not 
in a pest-house with delight, though his own pity, and their misery, 
may call him thither. Sinners were the guests, saints only the 
delight of Christ ; wicked men had his company, but the disciples 
only were his companions. He was intimate with none but believers ; 
others were his care, they his comfort. It was to them he said, I 
have not called you servants, but friends ; ' for the servant knoweth 
not what his lord doth : but I have called you friends ; for all 
things that I have heard of the Father I have made known unto 
you,' John xv. 15, 16. 

To conclude, reader, be not thou envious against evil men, 
neither desire to be with them : charity forbids the former, and 
Christianity the latter. Love to them must preserve thee from 
envy, but love to thyself must keep thee from keeping them com- 
pany. Whenever providence calleth thee amongst them, make 
them thy fear, not thy familiars ; ' For their heart studieth destruc- 
tion, and their lips talk of mischief,' Prov. xxiv. 1, 2. 

1. Society in evil we may not hold; no, not with the best men, 
Eph. V. 7, 11. Si cum malts, non tamen in malts, Ps. cxli. 4. 

2. Society in good, (i.e., in sacris,) in the worship of God, 

Chap. II.] the christiajst man's calling. 267 

we may hold with the worst men, Mat. xxiii. 1, 2, and xxi. 
12, 13. 

3. Society in things indifferent we may have with all men, as in 
civil commerce and offices of humanity, Gen. xxiii ; 1 Cor. x. 27. 

A good loish of a Christian about the clioice of his companions, 
luherein the former 'particulars are applied. 

The blessed and glorious God, the Father of mercies, and foun- 
dation of all communion, of whom the whole family in heaven and 
earth is named, wdio hath sufficiently evidenced the good of com- 
panions in saying, It is not good for man to be alone, and who hath 
sanctified society by his own example in creating angels and men, 
not only for mutual comfort in the fruition of each other, but also 
that his sacred Majesty, and those heaven-born spirits, might have 
fellowship together, as intimate friends, and especially in that in- 
finite complacency which he had in his beloved Son, and his Son in 
him from all eternity, who was daily his delight, rejoicing always 
before him ; having made me' rational, and thereby meet for con- 
verse with men, religious, and thereby capable of communion 
with Christians, I wish that I may never abuse his kindness by 
shutting up myself, as monks and nuns, in cells or cloisters, or as 
some melancholy persons, in a closet or chamber ; but may know 
both how to be alone, and how to be in company, and be so sensible 
of his love in affording me fellow-travellers, that my journey to my 
Father's house may be the more pleasant, that I may accept it 
thankfully, and improve it faithfully to his own praise. My God 
suflfereth my spiritual wants, that I may look for help, under him, 
from others' wealth ; and he affords me spiritual riches, that I 
might be able to supply others' poverty. It is his pleasure that 
none of his children (though to some he gives liberal estates, to all 
a competency) should be able to live without being beholden to 
their neighbours. Though privacy hath fewer incitations to evil, 
company hath more provocations to good, by so much as doing 
good is better than not doing evil. Let me prefer society before 
solitariness ; yet. Lord, let me never be a good fellow in the world's 
sense, to join with all sorts, but let my fellowship be with them 
that have fellowship with thee. Though I may have bad acquaint- 
ance, let me not have a bad companion ; whatsoever commerce I 
may have with sinners, let my communion be only with thy Majesty 


and thy saints. Ob, let them that fear thee turn unto me, and 
such as keep thy righteous judgments, Ps. cxix. 79. 

I wish that the consideration of the great influence which com- 
panions will have upon me, to hinder or help me in the way of 
holiness, may make me the more prudent in my choice. Though 
there be some quicksets of grace in the soil of my heart, yet these 
evil weeds may endanger their death, at least will prejudice their 
growth. How often hath ill company, as an east wind, nipped and 
destroyed those buds which gave hopes of becoming in time good 
and wholesome fruit ! If the fire of my godliness be not extin- 
guished, (no thanks for that to myself,) yet it is sure to be abated, 
by these waters. My spiritual life is maintained only by that pro- 
vision which my God is pleased daily to send me in ; and can I ex- 
pect that he should send supplies into his enemy's quarters ? What 
man will send goodly furniture into his house until the dust and 
rubbish be cast out ? With what reason can I look for succour 
from heaven, when I run myself into the jaws of hell ? Though 
others that are found out by their grand foe may receive help from 
God, and come off with conquest, yet if I go to seek out the 
tempter (for where can I sooner find him than in his house ?) 
amongst his own children, I shall have little pity, and may well 
expect to be foiled in the fight. Again, how doth familiarity with 
what is evil make it less frightful ! Children are much startled at 
some creatures, which, when they are accustomed to, they are not 
at all afraid of. Possibly my anger against sin at present is very 
hot ; but evil company is a drug that will much allay the heat of 
that simple. The filthiest disease is not so loathsome in a wife or 
child as in a stranger, nor in an intimate friend as in another. If 
there be not a due distance betwixt the visive faculty and the object, 
there can be no true sight. If the sin be too near me, (in a friend 
that lieth in my bosom,) I cannot behold its ugliness and deformity, 
its heinous, hateful nature. I doubt not but that poisonous apple, 
which had eternal death at its core, would have been far more 
loathsome and detestable in Adam's eyes (much less would it have 
been so lovely and acceptable) had he seen it in any other hands 
than of his dearest and only companion on earth. Oh that, since 
he was wounded by the hand of his nearest and most intimate 
friend, who had the breastplate of complete righteousness and per- 
fection of grace for his shield, I might never dare to thrust myself 
amongst such enemies, who am, compared with him, wholly naked 
and unarmed ! I am apt to think that I can secure myself against 
their shot ; but, alas ! the long and often playing of the cannon 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 269 

will batter the strocgest wall ; a continual dropping will pierce a 
stone. Dotli not experience tell me, that it is no hard matter to 
give such a weakhng as I am a fall ? And is it likely that I should 
stand fast in so slippery a place ? My God asketh me, Can a man 
take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burnt ? Can one go 
upon coals, and his feet not be burnt ? My clothes, notwithstand- 
ing all my care to the contrary, will smell of the coals, and my feet 
will blister with the fire. My God tells me that sin is a canker, a 
gangrene, and experience teacheth how spreading and infectious 
sinners are, 2 Tim. ii, 17. I may think to make them better, but 
they are more likely to make me worse. Sickness is catching, but 
not health ; the rotten sheep infect the sound, but the sound sheep 
do not cure the rotten. Solomon's bosom companions drew his 
heart from his God ; but I read not of any one of them whose heart 
he drew to his God. If pitch be but touched, it defileth ; but 
fuller's earth doth not so soon cleanse. If Israel once join them- 
selves to Baal-peor, they quickly eat the offerings of the dead, and 
bow down to their idols. It is as ordinary to put on other men's 
faults as their outward fashions. One Korah did but kindle the 
fire of rebellion, and presently two hundred and fifty captains 
brought wood to increase its flame, to their own destruction. If I 
know of any that have infectious diseases, love to my body will not 
suffer me to drink of their cup, or to sit at their table ; and when I 
know of them that have such contagious spiritual sicknesses, shall 
not love to my soul move me to forbear their society ? Lord, my 
prayer hath often been. Lead me not into temptation ; shall I run 
into temptation ? Thou knowest how prone I am, should I walk 
with wicked persons, to walk in their wicked paths, and hast there- 
fore laid thy strict command upon me, ' Enter not into the path of 
the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not 
by it, turn from it, and pass away,' Prov. iv. 14, 15. Keep me from 
hazarding this frail potsherd (my flesh) upon the rock of evil com- 
pany, from venturing amongst those vipers, lest I be stung. Enable 
me to avoid the congregation of evil-doers, and keep me from going 
with the wicked, lest I learn their ways, and get a snare to my soul. 
I wish that I may be the more fearful of joining with sinners, 
lest my God join me with them in their sufferings. It is evil and 
woeful to be found in that house which is aU over in a flame. The 
anger of my God is worse than a consuming fire, and shall I as- 
sociate with them that are always under his fury ? When a city 
is taken by storm in the night, the sword makes no difference, 
amongst the inhabitants, betwixt friends and foes. What safety 


can I expect in being near them that are far from God's law and 
love ? Wicked men are dross, they have no good metal in them ; they 
are neither fit vessels to serve, nor current money to enrich me. 
But though I be gold, if mingled with such dross, I must look to be 
melted. If the stork accompany the cranes, it is no wonder if she 
be taken in the same net. Jehoshaphat was a good man, yet for 
joining with the wicked, wrath came upon him from the Lord, 
2 Chron. xix. 2. If I follow him in his sin, shall I be free ? All 
that sailed in the ship fared the worse for one disobedient Jonah ; 
his company cost them the loss of their lading, and was like to 
have cost them their lives. The whole body of Israel fell before 
their enemies, because wicked Achan stood amongst them. my 
soul ! dost thou think, then, to afford such thy presence, and not to 
share in their punishment? Consider with seriousness what thy 
God saith : ' Depart from the tabernacle of these wicked men, and 
touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in their sins.' "Wouldst 
thou, for any carnal profit, be found amongst those i^ersons who are 
every moment in danger of the bottomless pit ? The earth clave 
asunder that was under them, and swallowed them up — their houses, 
goods, and all that appertained to them. Oh what man, unless bereft 
of his wits, would be one hour contentedly in the company of these 
Korahs, that are always liable to God's curse ? Let the great use 
thou makest of such dreadful doctrines be, not to partake of their sins 
so much as by thy presence, that thou may est not partake of their 
plagues. ' And they that were round about them fled at the cry of 
them ; for they said, Let us be gone quickly, lest the earth swallow 
up us also,' Num. xvi. 26, and xxxi. 34. Lord, thine enemies en- 
joy many mercies, through their neighbourhood to thy friends. 
Thou art so loving a Father, that the servants of sin, whom thou 
countest no better than dogs, do fare much the better for that 
bountiful table which thou keepest for thine own children. The 
dogs have eaten the crumbs which fall from the children's table. 
The tares continue the longer in the field, and the sickle of thy 
justice doth not yet cut them down for the unquenchable fire, 
because the wheat is amongst them ; but thy saints have suffered 
much outward misery for their nearness to sinners. Thou art such 
a holy jealous God, thine hatred of sin is so infinite, that when 
the fire of thy wrath hath consumed unbelievers, some sparks of 
it have lighted on their best neighbours. When the hand of thy 
fury hath fallen heavy on the workers of iniquity, thy chosen 
sitting by them have been sensible of the blow. My prayer hath 
often been, Kemove thy stroke away from me, and my complaint, 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 271 

for I am consumed by the blow of thine hand. I tremble to think 
of the frowns of thy face, but surely the weight of thy hand would 
sink me indeed. Oh guard thy servant so powerfully by thy grace, 
that I may avoid^ all appearance of evil. As I would avoid thy 
batteries, let me avoid the camp of thine enemies, and keep me from 
giving them the least countenance, that I may not be wrapt uii in 
their vengeance. 

I wish that the great gain which I may get by good companions, 
may make me the more diligent to find them out. Thouo-h it is 
no small unhappiness to be joined to them that are ever standino- 
under the spout of the Lord's fury, yet it is blessed to be near 
them that are always under the droppings of divine favour. Christ 
is always present with his people, and therefore I may say with 
Peter, ' It is good to be there.' When a king comes to visit one of 
his peers, all the family ofttimes tasteth of liis bounty, but the noble- 
man's relations of his grace and love ; he converseth with them, and 
they with him. If sinners are the better for the neighbourhood of the 
saints, and for their sakes God lets his enemies experience his good- 
ness, surely believers shall be the better for the neighbourhood of 
their brethren, and shall have experience of special good- will. I 
cannot conceive the kindnesses which may be done for me by these 
friends at court. Their interest is great in the blessed and glorious 
potentate. The King is not he (as was once said in another sense) 
that can deny them anything: Whatsoever they ask the Father 
in Chiist's name, he will do it for them. When guilt flieth in my 
face, and I dare not appear, or when, through the prevalency of 
temptation, I cannot pour out a prayer, they will appear for me, 
put up my suits, and that with success ; if I be dull, they may 
quicken me ; if I am in doubts, they may resolve me ; if I wan- 
der, they will be faithful in acquainting me with my faults to re- 
duce me ; if I walk uprightly, they will be helpful, by administer- 
ing heavenly cordials, to encourage me. A faithful friend will be 
my second self, and love me as his own soul. When I faint, he will 
endeavour to revive me ; when I fall, he will do his utmost to 
recover me ; he will rejoice with me in my joys, and sympathise 
with me in my sufferings ; in every condition, to his power, be a 
suitable consolation. Oh that the value and virtue of this pearl 
may make me esteem it at a high price, and the more wary that I 
be not cheated in my choice ! Lord, thou hast ordained the com- 
munion of saints to be for mutual comfort and counsel, let me 
choose those for my friends that will be faithful to their own, and 
to my soul. 


I wish that I may manifest to my own conscience the truth of 
my conversion by my companions, and that I am passed from death 
to life, because I join with, and love the brethren. Beasts flock to- 
gether, sinners join hand in hand, and saints are of the same heart, 
and walk together towards the same heaven. My associates will 
discover my nature, whether virtue or vice be my master. My 
comrades will speak to what captain I belong. If I join with the 
black regiment of the prince of darkness, it is a sign I am an enemy 
to the Lord of hosts. The members of Christ's mystical body go 
in company. It is presumed they are unchaste women who com- 
pany with known harlots, and it is supposed they are dishonest 
men who are familiar with thieves. If Christ and grace be pre- 
dominant in me, I cannot like and love their enemies. A holy soul 
cannot delight in profane sinners. Melted gold will unite itself 
with the substance of gold, but not incorporate with dross. A 
heart truly good cannot brook those that are evil. All creatures 
desire to join with such as are of the same nature. Fish, fowls, 
birds, beasts, all, every one strive to be with them that are of the 
same species. Confederacy in sin is the livery by which the black 
guard of hell is distinguished from the rest of the rational creatures. 
True friendship is the cognisance of true Christians : ' By this shall 
all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another.' 
Love is the badge of the household of faith, which witnesseth to 
what lord they appertain. Where love is in truth to their per- 
sons, there will be a delight in their presence. For what is love 
but a motion of the soul towards, and its complacency in, the 
object beloved. In vain do I pretend myself a disciple, without sin- 
cere love, which is the life of a disciple. Love to my God is the 
soul of religion, which keeps it in being, in motion ; without this, 
the whole body of it decayeth and dieth. All my performances, if 
this be lacking, are but as an unsavoury corpse, without either love- 
liness or life. Love to my brethren is the sign of religion, which 
ever sheweth itself at the door, where the substance is within. He 
that loveth him that begetteth, must needs love him also that is 
begotten. The child is acceptable for the father's sake. The pic- 
ture is amiable, because of the person it representeth. Oh, how 
grossly do they delude their souls, that think they love the head, 
when they hate and despise the members ! that say they affect and 
prize Christ above their lives, when they reject and persecute 
Christians to the very death ! Lord, thou hast told me, ' He that 
loveth not his brother abide th in death.' All thy children are my 
brethren ; they have the same father, the same mother. Oh, suffer 

Chap. II.] the cheistian man's calling. 273 

me not to give conscience cause to witness against me, that I am in 
a state of death, of damnation, for want of this brotherly affection ; 
but grant that the hot beams of thy love may so warm my heart, 
that I may be always reflecting back love to thyself and thy saints, 
as an evidence of my eternal salvation. 

I wish that I may consider whom I choose for my companions, 
lest I be disappointed in the ends of company. My God intendeth 
society to be helpful to his people in the best things ; but they are 
never likely to further me in holiness, who walk in the broad way 
that leadeth to hell. Satan's servants will not teach me to do the 
Lord's work. That friendship is ill made which is soon broken : 
no band can hold him who is a stranger to religion. Where there 
is no fear of God in the heart, there can be no true friendship. 
They who are two in disposition will scarce be one in affection. 
Where there is no true likeness there can be no true love. Can 
two walk together unless they be agreed ? Grace is the only cement 
which conglutinates hearts, and maketh two friends. A brutish 
sinner and a believer are contrary each to other. An unjust man 
is abominable to the just, and he that is upright in his way is 
abominable to the wicked. The eagle hath perpetual enmity with 
serpents, and dragons, and their seed ; so hath the eagle-eyed Chris- 
tian with the seed of the serpent. Beasts hate fire, and so do those 
whom God calleth foxes, and lions, and bulls, the fire of grace that 
burneth in a saint's heart, and flameth out in his life. Lambs and 
wolves, doves and ravens^ cannot unite. Jerusalem and Babylon, 
Zion and Sodom, can never be compact and at unity together. 
Can I expect love from that person that hath none for his own soul, 
nor for the blessed God ? Can contraries meet and not fight ? Is 
there any hope of an amicable conjunction betwixt them that are 
not only differing, but opposite ? I am born of God, he is of his 
father the devil. My work is to do the will of my Father in heaven, 
his work is to do the lusts of the wicked one. Self is the bias by 
which he moveth. Scripture is the compass by which I sail. I am 
travelling towards heaven, he is hastening to hell ; and is it pos- 
sible for us to have one heart? Oh that no worldly advantage 
might make me ever strive to strike a covenant with them to whom 
I am thus contrary ! They must needs be false to me, that are 
made up of unfaithfulness. A true friend is another self. A 
vicious man cannot be a true friend, because he is never himself. 
Sometimes he is drunk with passion, and so loseth his guide, and 
leaveth the dictates of reason ; those servants are often in rebellion, 
and then, like the troubled sea, he casteth up mire and dirt. In 

VOL. II. s 


his fury lie will strike at friends or foes, and discover what he 
knows, and more many times. Passion is a high fever, wherein 
men talk idly ; therefore the wise man gives a special caution 
against such companions : ' Make no friendship with an angry man ; 
and with a furious man thou shalt not go,' Pro v. xxii. 24. Some- 
times he is overcome with wine, and then the beast in him puts 
the curb into the mouth of reason, and hath the command of it. A 
drunken man hath Nebucliadnezzar's brutish heart, and is fit only 
to graze with cattle. Clitus is killed by his drunken master; and 
such a one speaketh and doth, he knows not what. He speaks what 
he should forget, and forgets what he hath spoke. The drunkard's 
mind and stomach are alike, neither can retain what they receive. 
Solomon likewise sets a brand at this man's door, to discourage 
every sober man from coming there : ' Be not amongst winebibbers, 
amongst riotous eaters of flesh.' Always he hath some lust or 
other lording it over him ; and according as their interests lead him, 
so he acteth, that his friend must expect no more of him than they 
can spare ; and is such a person like to prove a cordial friend ? 
He may abound in frothy words, but 1 must expect no faithful 
deeds from him, if ever I come to sufferings. Like a drum in a 
battle, he may make a great sound, but will act nothing for my 
succour. Like a cipher, though now in my prosperity he stands 
for thousands, in my adversity he will stand for nothing. Such a 
friend will be like a familiar devil, which forsakes the witch when 
she is in fetters. How much shall I miss of my expected help from 
him, when I am brought into hardship ! As a lemon, he may be 
hot without, but is altogether cold and cooling within. Oh that I 
might never manifest so much folly, as to choose him for my friend 
whose principles will teach him to be false ! He so often changeth 
his dwelling for his own end and interest, that I shall not know 
where to find him when I 'stand in most need. As a fly, he will 
tarry no longer in the kitchen than there is grease to feed him. I 
am but his pond, which he will use whilst there is any water, but 
when dry, I shall hear no more of him. Lord, how far would thine 
end of society be frustrated, and my hopes of comfort in companions 
be disappointed, should I choose him who is ruled neither by re- 
ligion nor reason ? I beseech thee, let my lot fall amongst those 
persons that are filled with the fruits of thy Spirit, for they only will 
be faithful to the true and holy ends for which thou hast ordained 
friendship. Preserve me from walking in the counsel of the un- 
godly, and standing in the way of sinners, lest, being found in their 
company, I come to inherit their curses. 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 275 

I wish that I may, like Paul, join myself to the disciples, and be 
in league only with them who are joined to the Lord, in an ever- 
lasting covenant, never to be forgotten. I profess myself to be a 
follower of God ; my God hath set apart him that is godly for him- 
self, Ps. iv. 3. If the godly man be the object of my God's choice, 
he may well be of mine. If he be separated for his service, he is 
without question worthy of my society. Surely there is some 
value in those vessels which are meet for the master's use. Com- 
mon and ordinary things are not fit for a prince's table ; neither is 
every person meet for a king's presence. They are specially quali- 
fied with parts and abilities that stand before great men. Pharaoh 
would have none but men of activity to serve him in tending his 
cattle. Nebuchadnezzar would have children in whom was no 
blemish, but well-favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning 
in knowledge, and understanding sciences, and such as had ability 
in them, Dan. i. 4, to stand in the king's palace. What manner of 
men are those, then, whom the glorious God hath chosen to wait 
upon him ? There cannot but be rare perfections in them that are 
set apart to shew forth all his praise. He is infinitely wise, and 
would not honour them so much that are not of eminent worth. 
my soul, what a loadstone is here to draw forth thy love towards 
the saints ! Thy constant, thy loving, thy best friend, sets a high 
price upon them. All the world besides is a wild wilderness to 
him ; they only are his garden, wherein he delights, and wilt not 
thou walk there with him, amongst such fragrant flowers, and 
pleasant fruits ? He esteems others but as dust ; they are his jewels. 
Observe what he tells thee : ' The heart of a wicked man is little 
worth, but the tongue of the righteous is as choice silver.' The 
heart of man includes the understanding, will, and affections, the soul, 
and all its faculties, and is the noblest part of man ; it is the foun- 
tain of life, the spring of motion, the feet of his empire and regi- 
ment; nay, the commander-in-chief, that ordereth and disposeth 
of all at pleasure. Yet this heart, which is the most excellent part, 
in a wicked man is of small price, it is little worth — nay, is worse 
than naught ; but the tongue (a far inferior member) of the right- 
eous, is (no mean metal) as choice silver, and makes a most delight- 
ful sound. Wilt not thou join thyself to these excellent ones ? If 
their tongues be as choice silver, surely their hearts do infinitely 
excel fine gold ; nay, are more precious than rubies. The topaz of 
Ethiopia cannot equal them, neither shall they be exchanged for 
jewels of fine gold. Who would not be greedy of acquaintance 
with men of such surpassing eminence ? It would bewray extreme 


want of wisdom not to be ambitious of communion with persons 
of such worth. Besides, should I join with others, I choose them 
that are my God's enemies. It is not only ingratitude, but treason, 
to countenance them that are traitors against the crown and 
dignity of Jesus Christ. It was a sharp and cutting reproof which 
Jehu gave to king Jehoshaphat. I wish I may never give cause 
for the like to me. Shouldst thou help the ungodly, and love them 
that hate the Lord ? My God counts my enemies his enemies, and 
hates them that hate me, and shall I esteem his enemies my friends, 
and love those that hate him ? Wicked men are a generation of 
vipers ; they hiss at godliness, and spit their poison at God himself : 
' They stretch out their hands against God, and strengthen them- 
selves against the Almighty/ Job xv. I shew but small kindness 
to the God of all my comforts, if I take his foes to be my friends. 
Once more, I disgrace my birth, my breeding, I dishonour my pro- 
fession, my prince, if I accompany with wicked persons. It is 
below a great heir to company with beggars. It is a discredit to 
a king to be taken up with porters : ' A companion of riotous men 
shameth his father on earth,' Prov. xxviii. 7. A companion of 
vicious men shameth his Father in heaven : it speaketh his educa- 
tion to be very mean, and his expectation to be low, both which 
reflect upon his father. Oh that I might never disgrace my God's 
goodness, in the cost and charge he hath been at with me, by 
choosing the scullions and filth of the world to be my companions, 
nor disparage my own judgment in refusing the excellent of the 
earth, and them that are princes in all lands. Lord, thy people are 
thy portion : ' Jacob is the lot of thine inheritance ; they are precious 
in thy sight, and honourable, for thou hast loved them : they are fair 
in thine eyes, and altogether lovely.' Help thy poor servant to 
resemble thy Majesty. Give me spiritual eyes to see their beauty ; 
and let my soul be so ravished with that comeliness in them, which 
thy Spirit hath put upon them, that those which are a royal priest- 
hood, a chosen generation, a peculiar people, higher than the kings 
of the earth, the glory of Christ, and a royal diadem in thine hand, 
may be the delight of mine eyes, the joy of my heart, and my fellow- 
travellers towards that house not made with hands, but eternal in 
the heavens. 

I wish that the commands of my God may be the warrant of my 
election ; and the beautiful image of my God may be the only 
motive of my affection to his chosen. Should I shew favour to the 
saints, and not with respect to the fear of my God in them, I mani- 
fest no sanctity. It is possible for me to love the man, and yet 

Chap. II.] the chkistian man's calling. 277 

hate the Christian, in the same person. How frequent is it to love 
men that are godly, and yet not to love godliness ! Potiphar 
respected Joseph, a good man, but not for his goodness' sake ; he 
preferred him as a good servant to him, not as a good subject to 
God. The children of Heth honoured Abraham for the sake of his 
riches, or courtesy, not upon the account of his righteousness and 
piety. Abimelech struck a covenant with Isaac as a good neigh- 
bour, not as a believer. It is one thing to love peace, and another 
thing to love purity ; this latter is proper to a Christian, the former 
compatible to heathen. Oh that my love might never, as Laban's 
to Jacob, be mercenary — carried out towards any of God's people, 
more for the good I get by them, than for the good that is in them ! 
How unsuitable is such a love to the divine nature, and how un- 
worthy of my profession ! If I love them for their wealth or their 
bounty, I love their riches, not them ; or rather, I love myself, and 
neither them, nur anything of theirs. This is self-love, not saint- 
love. If their persons were stripped of those ornaments wherewith 
they are now clothed, such love would languish and die. Should 
these be the wheels upon which my love moves, when they are 
wanting, my love will stand still ; such friendship is but like a fire 
of straw, which burns brightly whilst it hath matter to feed upon, 
but that being neglected, it is extinguished, and turned into ashes. 
my soul, consider what foundation thy love is built on, lest it 
appear to be feigned. If thou lovest men for their parts, or for thy 
own profit, thou dost not love thy Saviour in them, but thy carnal 
self, and thereby dost evidence thine hypocrisy more than thy 
sincerity. It is not all kindness to saints, nor all joining with 
Christian society, which is an act or sign of sanctity. The Baptist 
had fair respect from Herod, and yet the king could take off his 
head. The barbarians shewed great courtesy to Paul and his com- 
panions, but not the least Christianity. Thy God commandeth 
thee to love the brotherhood, that is, to love them as brethren, not 
as kind, or wise, or great, or wealthy; and to love the whole 
fraternity and brood of thy Father, not this or that brother. Oh do 
thou, in the choice of thy familiars, look over those natural or civil 
excellencies which infinite wisdom bestoweth only upon some, and 
mind chiefly that supernatural quality which is truly praiseworthy, 
and inherent in all. Thy God hath chosen the poor of the world, 
and he is no respecter of persons. Oh do thou follow his honourable 
pattern, and let the poor, the mean, the lowest members of Christ, 
be lovely and amiable in thine eye ! Choose godliness in all, and 
then thou wilt refuse none, but choose all that are godly. Though 


the holiness of some be but as the smoking flax, do not thou choke, 
but cherish it. Lord, thou, hast a tender respect for thy little 
children and babes in Christ, Mat. xviii. 6 ; it is thy pleasure that 
thy little ones should not be offended, that such as are weak in the 
faith should be received, Kom. xiv. 1. Cause thy servant to love 
all thy saints, and to be able to say, with that man after thine own 
heart, ' I am a companion of all that fear thee, and keep thy statutes,' 
Ps. cxix. 63. 

I wish that my end, in the choice of my companions, may be prin- 
cipally to further my own and their everlasting peace. If I use 
any company upon other accounts, I frustrate my God, I cozen my 
own soul. For me and others to unite in sin would be a conspi- 
racy against heaven, and too lively a resemblance of those gover- 
nors of hell, whose only work is to draw others to, and to encour- 
age them in, wickedness. For us to join in gratifying the flesh, 
and purveying for our appetites, and passing away the time that it 
may be less tedious, would be a confederacy against the Spirit, and 
but a more cleanly and neat acting of the part of beasts, who 
understand no other happiness than to feed and sport together. 
For us to accompany only about worldly employments, to get an 
insight into commodities and callings, that we might be wiser to 
buy and sell, or to hear and tell news, this would become a Turk, 
and were but a cutting time,, the most precious commodity of all, 
to waste. For us to associate, barely to increase our knowledge, 
and widen the windows of our understandings, or to quicken and 
raise our fancies, and enlarge our natural parts and endowments, 
even this would be but a transcript of the lives of the most refined 
heathen, who were ignorant of the true weight and worth of eter- 
nal concernments; but to meet together, as Christ did with his 
apostles, to discourse about the things appertaining to the kingdom 
of God, to provoke one another to love and to good works, to ad- 
monish, advise, encourage, and comfort, and to build up one an- 
other in the most holy faith, this is a work worthy of a Christian, 
and becoming them that are called to be saints. Oh that my God's 
end may be much in my mind, when I converse with any of his 
chosen, that all our conjunctions may be fruitful in holiness ! 
Christians are choice tutors and rare masters, by whom many pre- 
cious things may be learned ; my God hath lent them me for a 
little while, and intendeth shortly to send for them home ; why 
should I loiter or trifle with them, when such excellent lessons are 
given me by them ? Lord, I know within a few days I shall be 
deprived of these and all other helps. Oh help thy most unworthy 

Chap. II.] the christian man's calling. 279 

creature, in that little time that he doth enjoy them, to make the 
most, the best improvement of them, to love them as my own soul, 
and to do them the greatest service I can ; enable both them and 
me to be fellow- workers and fellow-helpers unto thy kingdom, th?i!^ 
when we come thither they may bless thee for me, and I may bless 
thee for them, and all of us may bless thee for thy dear Son, and 
thy blessed self, for ever and ever. 

Finally, I wish that I, who am a pilgrim and stranger in this 
earth, may join myself, not with the natives, the men of the world, 
whose portion is in this life, by whose company I am sure to con- 
tract either guilt or grief, but with my fellow-sojourners, who are 
travelling with me towards the same heaven. Though I love the 
wicked with a love of pity, I would love only the saints with a love 
of delight. Let my choice be of them now, with whom I would 
choose to be for ever. Oh let me join with those on earth, and that 
in discoursing of thy gracious word and glorious works, with 
whom I hope to join in heaven in admiring thy boundless perfec- 
tions, and giving thee everlasting praise. Lord, if there be such 
comfort in thy chosen, and their voices be so lovely, and their faces 
so comely here below in the estate of their minority, when they are 
blacked with the world's calumnies and cruelties, and besmeared 
with their own corruptions, what delight will there be in them 
above, when they shall come to their full age, be parted from all 
their defilements, and be perfectly adorned with thine image! 
How lovely will their voices be, when they shall join with thy celes- 
tial choir in singing hallelujahs, and in running division on thine 
infinite attributes and excellencies ! How comely will their faces 
be, when they shall be freed from all the freckles and spots of sin, 
and so see thee as to be fully like thee ! Oh if grace in its infancy 
be so ravishing, what will it be in its- maturity ! If the morning of 
holiness be so glorious, how glorious will it be in- its noonday lustre ! 
Lord, if my soul rejoice so much in thy saints, who shine only as 
stars in their several orbs, with a borrowed light, what joy may I 
have in thyself, the true Sun ! Oh, cause thy servant so to glorify 
thee in my choice of companions, and in my carriage in all com- 
panies, that I may come at last to enjoy immediate communion with 
thy beautiful saints and thy blessed Majesty, world without end. 



How a Christicm may exercise himself to godliness in evil 

Having spoken to the choice of companions, I proceed, reader, to 
thy carriage in company ; and, first, in evil company. 

Though evil men are not to be the object of a Christian's choice 
or delight, yet he must sometimes fall into their company, or go 
out of the world,! 1 Cor. v. 10. Our relations, or vocations, or 
offices of charity, which we owe to the worst of men, will command 
our presence now and then amongst them. Civil commerce with 
them is lawful, though intimate communion be sinful. It is certain, 
the less we have of their society, the more of safety ; but because 
civility and our necessities require us sometimes to be with them, 
Christianity must help us, as a glass window, to let in the light, 
and keep out the rain, to get what good we may, and to prevent the 
hurt they intend. ^ God, in the first creation, separated the light 
from the darkness, and so must the godly man amongst wicked 
persons. Swine will be cleanly in a fair meadow ; sinners civil, 
sometimes, in the society of saints ; but Christians must keep their 
garments unspotted when they walk in dirty places, and amongst 
defiled persons. Godliness will be thy best armour to ward off 
those blows, and hinder those wounds, which those sons of violence 
and villany would cause in thee. A wise physician, whatsoever 
diseased patients he goeth amongst, will take some preservative ; 
but if he be to go into a pest-house, an antidote. It will be a sign 
of an excellent complexion, if thou canst walk, as occasion is, in 
the sun, and not be tanned. The Komans had a law, that every 
one, wherever he went, should wear a badge of his profession, or 
trade, either on his garment or in his hat, that he might be known. 
Christianity must be owned in every company, as that which is our 
great and worthy calling. The nobleman carrieth his garter or 
George with him in all places, because he esteems them his glory 
and honour ; and if he be of the blood-royal, he desireth that all 
may take notice of it. Oh, what an honour and happiness is it to 
be a Christian, to be related to Jesus Christ ! and how willing 

^ Malorum consortia fugere debemus, quoad privatam consuetudinem, non quoad 
publicam conversationem ; corde, non corpore. — Amh. Offic, lib. i. cap. 20. 

^ A malis corde semper disjungimini, ad tempua caute corpore copulemini. — Aug., 
lib. Dc Salut Document. 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 281 

sliouldst thou be to own and aclmowledge it as the badge of thine 
honour, amongst all persons ! He is abase servant that is ashamed 
of his lord's livery. It is said of the teal,^ a certain wild beast in 
Ethiopia, that he hath two horns of a cubit long, which he moveth 
as he pleaseth — either both forward, to offend his enemy, or both 
backward, to defend himself, or one forward, and the other back- 
ward, to both uses at once. A Christian in evil company should be 
as wise as a serpent, that he do not bring himself into suffering, 
but yet as innocent as a dove, that others do not draw him to sin. 
Walk as prudently as thou canst, only walk piously. Use as much 
caution as thou wilt, but be sure thou keepest a good conscience. 

The apostle gives a special precept for our pious carriage in such 
company : ' Walk wisely towards them that are without,' Col. iv. 5 ; 
in which words the qualification of the act, and the specification 
of the subject, are considerable. 

1. The qualification of the act: 'Walk wisely,' — that is, graciously. 
Grace is wisdom: ' To fear God is wisdom, and to depart from evil 
is understanding.' He who walketh in the law of the Lord, and 
according to the rule of the word, is the wise walker. Job xxviii. 
28 ; Ps. cxix. 1; Gal. xvi. 16. Whatsoever our company be, we 
must walk by precept, not by pattern ; he may be a good courtier, 
but he is a bad Christian, that alters and orders his carriage accord- 
ing to his company. If, like musicians, we play no lessons but 
what the company calls for, and what pleaseth them, our music 
will be harsh and jarring in God's ears : ' If I please men,' saith 
Paul, ' I am not the servant of Christ,' Gal. i. 10. He walks fool- 
ishly that, to please a few weak, dying men, displeaseth the jealous 
and almighty God ; he walks wisely who will be sure, whoever be 
offended, to please him upon whose favour his life and all his com- 
forts depend. 

2. The specification of the subject : ' Towards them that are with- 
out.' Wicked men are said to be without ; 

1. Because they are visibly without the church. Scandalous 
sinners proclaim to the world that they are not so much as visible 
members of Christ : ' What have I to do to judge them that are 
without ? do not ye judge them that are within ? but them that 
are without God judgeth,' 1 Cor. v. 12, 13. 

2. Because they are really without God and Christ. God may 
be in their mouths, and they may call him Father, but he is far from 
their hearts, and will never own them for his children. ' That at that 
time ye were without Christ, and without God in the world,' Eph. ii. 12. 

1 Plin., Nat. Hist., lib. viii. cap. 21. 


3. Because they shall go at last without heaven. This followeth 
from the former ; they being visibly without the church, and really 
without God and Christ, must needs be without heaven. Without 
are dogs, children only are within-doors, Eev. xxii. 15 ; Luke xiii. 
25. The manner of the apostle's expression is worth our observa- 
tion. He saith not, Walk with them — no, they ought not to be 
our companions — but walk wisely towards them ; let them be the 
object of your caution. As if he had said, I know your callings, or 
relations, or some occasions or other will bring you into the com- 
pany of many that are not members of the church militant, and 
shall be excluded the church triumphant ; but take heed to your- 
selves that ye keep good consciences in such company, that ye 
defile not your own souls by being partaker of their sins ; be watch- 
ful that ye give no offence to them, and that ye take no infection 
from them. Walk wisely towards them that are without. 

Sect. I. 

Friend, to quicken thee to the greater caution, I shall offer thee 
these two thoughts. 

First, Consider that evil company is very infectious. Wicked 
men, like the crocodile, slime the way to make thee fall, and when 
thou art down, suck out, as it were, thy blood, and with it fatten 
their insulting envy. Thy experience tells thee, that they are 
industrious to make men wicked and wretched. Such is the cor- 
ruption of our nature, and the nature of our corruption, that 
we are sooner polluted by the wicked than they purified and 
amended by us, as the good corn is rather soiled by the bad, than 
the smutty made bright by the good. The fresh waters run into 
the sea, yet they do not sweeten, but are made brackish by it. 
Our sinful hearts, as onions, if there be any infection in the room, 
are apt to draw all to themselves. We may hope to save them, 
when they may destroy us. How many have leaped into the 
waters to save others from drowning, and been drowned with 
them ! Wholesome plants, if in conjunction with those that are 
malevolent, are of bad influence. It is recorded by the Holy Ghost, 
concerning the Israelites, ' They were mingled among the heathen, 
and learned their ways,' Ps. cvi. 35. They who join with wicked 
persons are prone to learn their wicked practices. Evil men are 
as mildew to the good corn, which makes it black. It is an en- 
couragement to men to walk in bad and byways when they have 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 283 

company with them. Sinners are compared to dust, that breeds 
vermin in houses ; to sepulchres, which send forth noisome vapours ; 
and to thorns and briers, that pierce and pain such as meddle 
with them. Can they be too wary, then, that handle them ? Luke 
XV. 8 ; Kom. iii. 13 ; Heb. vi. 8. The owl is a night bird, and alto- 
gether for darkness ; but they that hawk for birds, make a stale of her, 
and whilst the silly birds are wondering at her, catch and kill them. 
The devil, who makes it his work to take and destroy souls, doth often 
make use of ungodly men as stales to further his designs.^ Samson 
was too hard for the Philistines when they opposed him by force ; 
but when they procured Delilah, a wicked companion, to tempt 
him, by that fraud they prevailed against him. The reason, 
according to some, why our Saviour forbade the disciple to go and 
bury his father was, not out of averseness to civil, much less to natural 
respect, but lest his corrupt kindred, who might be present at the 
funeral, should corrupt him again, and so he should die with them. 
When the raven went out of the ark, it returned not again, meet- 
ing, as is supposed, with some dead carcases by the way. The 
caprimulgus, or goat-sucker, flieth upon the goats, and sucketh 
them, that their milk drieth up, and they are afterwards blind.2 
I write these things, reader, to make thee more careful in such com- 
pany. If thou wouldst keep thy graces lively and flaming amongst 
such damps and waters of wickedness, thy watchfulness must be more 
than ordinary. The more stones lie in thy way, the greater must 
thy caution be if thou wouldst not stumble. A common pilot may 
serve in a calm sea, but he that would steer a vessel right in a 
tempestuous ocean, amidst rocks and quicksands, had need to be 
eminent both for sldll and care. 

Secondly, Consider, it is possible for thee, not only to keep thy- 
self from waxing worse, but to be the better for evil company. I 
speak not this to encourage thee to cast thyself into temptations, but 
to quicken thee to the more care when God calleth thee among them. 
The weasel is an unclean creature, and many ways hurtful, yet it de- 
voureth mice, (whence it is named in Latin mustela,) and so is useful. 
Unclean sinners, that are intentionally pernicious, may be providen- 
tially profitable to the saints. Some creatures can draw nourish- 
ment from hard bones. A saint may suck honey out of dry and 
bitter herbs. The wise God would not send evil things, (as afflic- 
tions,) but for the good of his chosen, nor suffer evil persons, but for 

I Melius est, habere malorum odium quam consortium. Sicut bona multa habet 
communis vita sanctorum, sic plurima mala afFert societas malorum. —Isiodor., lib. ii. 
SolU. ^ Arist., Hist. Anim., lib. vi. cap. 19. 


tlieir i^rofit. ' Pluck not u}3 the tares, lest the wheat be pulled up 
also,' Mat. xiii. The good husbandman makes a hedge of unfruit- 
ful plants, as briers and crab-trees, and other barren trees, to defend 
the vineyard from cattle, and the good trees in it from harm. The 
lion, as cruel as he was, defended the old prophet's body. God left 
some Canaanites amongst the Jews, lest the beasts of the field should 
overrun the country, Exod. xxiii. 29. God leaves some wicked 
ones amongst his chosen in this world, to keep under their brutish 
lusts, which otherwise might undo them. The lees are helpful io 
preserve the wine, and the chaff is useful to preserve the corn ; 
vermin are good against the jaundice. The taunts and scoffs of 
evil men have sometimes been instrumental to cure good men of 
their spiritual diseases. The sword of an enemy may let out thy 
rank blood. Jason had his imposthume opened, and so healed by 
a blow that he received in the wars from his enemies, which his 
friends the physicians could not cure. Those tongues which have 
been as sharp as razors, piercing the Christian's good name, have 
proved instrumental to heal their depraved natures. The more 
the wicked twit thee with thy weaknesses, the more they may 
quicken thee to watchfulness. Thou wantest, possibly, a faithful 
friend to admonish thee, therefore God sendeth thee furious 
enemies to cast thy faults in thy teeth, and if now thou dischargest 
thy duty, thou mayest hope that their malice shall be a medicine 
to increase thine inward health and welfare."^ A fool loseth the im- 
provement of his friends, but a wise man can make an advantage 
of his enemies. As the herb called Ros soils, though the heat of the 
sun lie upon it all day, yet the hotter the sun is, the moister it is ; 
so the Christian is the more softened and tender, when others are 
hardened and bitter against godliness. 

Section II. 

I proceed now to shew wherein the exercise of godliness in evil 
company consisteth. 

First, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness in evil society- 
labour to keep thyself unspotted from their sins. Ungodly men 
are called filthy, and compared to swine, that are apt to defile all 
that have to do with them. They, as the night, are dark, and full 
of unwholesome vapours ; it concerns thee, therefore, to be well 
fenced, that thy spiritual health may not be impaired by them. 

^ Sicut amici adulantes pervertunt, sic inimici litigantes pleruaque corriguat. — 
Aug. Confess., ix. 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 285 

Be careful that they hurt thee not, either inwardly or outwardly. 
Thou art in a double danger amongst sinners ; thou art in danger 
of having thy soul wounded, and also of having thy name and 
estate blasted. There is a necessity, therefore, of a double guard ; 
of a guard upon thy soul, that it may not be wronged, and of a 
guard upon thy tongue, that thy outward comforts may not be 
ruined. I say, 

1. Be watchful over thy soul, that thou contractest no guilt. It 
is hard to be near those that are dirty and defiled, and yet to keep 
our garments unspotted and clean. Wicked men, as dyers and 
painters, who use colours, are usually besmeared themselves in their 
hands and habits, and they also besmear others. The Lake of 
Sodom is called Asphaltites, or the Dead Sea, because of the ven- 
omous vapours which arise out of it, insomuch that birds which fly 
over it fall down dead, and beasts that drink of it sicken and 
die. Some men have found evil society as poisonous to their souls, 
as brutes have found the Dead Sea to their bodies. Pope Nicholas 
the Third's concubine, by looking on a bear frequently, was brought 
a-bed of a monster. Thy frequent vision of their wicked actions 
may cause too great a likeness in thy conversation. But the 
saint should resemble the carbuncle, which being cast into the 
fire, is no whit defiled or impaired thereby, but therein shines most 
brightly. If it be closed fast, say some, in a ring of lead, and cast 
into the fire, we may see the lead molten, but the carbuncle not so 
much as mollified, or in the least blemished. 

Thy watchfulness, friend, must be great, if thou wouldst keep 
thyself unspotted from the world, James i. 27. Rust will fret into 
the hardest steel, but not into the emerald. Sin will find speedy 
acceptance with a profane sinner, but not with a precious saint. 
Joseph kept his chastity, though often in the company of his wanton 
mistress. Lot did not lose his sanctity, though he dwelt amongst 
ungodly Sodomites. The archangel disputed with the arch-devil, 
yet was not infected by his poisonous breath. Satan did set upon 
the blessed Saviour, but could not fasten the least sin upon him. 
Naturalists tell us that the diamond, if .true, will lie in the fire and 
not consume. The herb Narcissus, or Yellow Crowberries, flowereth 
in February, and keepeth its flower under the snow. The olive- 
tree, in the midst of the flood, kept its branches green. The Chris- 
tian ought so to converse with the wicked, that his grace may 
neither waste, nor his conscience be wounded. Thy duty is, as 
clothes well dyed, to keep thy colour in all weathers ; and, as a good 
constitution, to retain thy spiritual health in the most unwhole- 


some airs. The apostle writes to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. v. 11, 
' Not to company with any that are called brethren, and are forni- 
cators, or covetous, or idolaters, or railers, or drunkards, or extor- 
tioners.' The word in the original is avvavafxiyvva-dat, both in the 
ninth and eleventh verses, which signifieth, not to mingle with them.^ 
They may be amongst them, but they may not mingle with them. 
That which mingleth with any filthy thing, receiveth of its filth ; 
and though it were pure before, is polluted thereby. The people 
of God ought not in this sense to mingle with the world, but to 
keep themselves, though not untouched, yet untainted. It is storied 
that the rivers of Peru run into the main sea twenty or thirty 
miles, and yet are not mingled with the sea, but continue fresh 
water. So the river Khodanus is said to run purely through the 
lake Lemanus, without mixture of waters. 2 It is also reported of 
the river Dee, in Merionethshire, in Wales, that runneth through 
Pimbe Mere, it remaineth entire, and mingleth not with the waters 
of the lake.3 Thus should the people of God, those crystal streams, 
though they are necessitated sometimes to meet with, keep them- 
selves entire, and not mingle with the puddle water of unclean 
persons. Pliny reports of a family near Eome, that could walk on 
live coals, and not be burnt. It is honourable to keep thyself pure 
among them that are evangelically perfect ; but to preserve thyself 
from pollution amongst them that are profane, is heroical. It is 
the excellency of a Christian to hold on his course without slipping 
or falling, when many rubs and hindrances are laid in his way ; 
and it is the glory of grace to keep its beauty and lustre, notwith- 
standing the attempts of the world and the wicked one to soil it. 
It was a notable speech of the soldier that Erasmus speaks of, who, 
being told of a numerous army coming against him, answered, 
Tanto plus glories re/eremus, quanta sunt jplures quos superabimus, 
The more famous our opposition, the more illustrious our conquest. 
That great commander had never been so renowned, if he had not 
eaten his way over the AIjds, that were supposed inaccessible. The 
greater our difficulties, and the more grievous our enemies, the 
greater our valour, and the more glorious our victory. That ex- 
pression concerning Asia hath some worth. Though it be no praise 
never to have seen it, yet to have lived soberly and temperately in 
it, is praiseworthy indeed. 

The Holy Ghost giveth thee wholsome counsel : ' Be not partaker 

^ Idem in 2 Thes. iii. 14. Mr] crwava/j.iyi'vcrde. Ne commercium liabete. — Beza. 
Ne commisceamiui. — Vulg. 
2 Abbot's Geogr. 3 Cambd. Britt. 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 287 

of other men's sins : keep thyself pure,' 1 Tim. v. 22. It may be, 
reader, thou art called sometimes amongst swearing, drunken, and 
imgodly persons. AVell, thou art in more danger than in a pest- 
house ; therefore, look well to thyself. Satan thinks, though he 
could not conquer thee amongst the saints, that now he hath caught 
thee amongst a company of venomous serpents, one or other of 
them will sting thee, and then he hopes to overthrow thee. Watch 
thyself narrowly, if thou wouldst be safe: 'Be not partaker of 
other men's sins.' It may be as bad to have communion with 
others' sins, as to commit sin in thy own person. He that is surety 
for another, is as liable to the debt as the principal, and we count 
him most foolish that takes another's debt upon himself Indeed, 
Satan hath this for his comfort, that hereby he hath the more in 
bonds to the law's curse. 

Three ways thou mayest partake of those sins which are com- 
mitted in thy company. I shall not speak of thy commanding men 
to sin ; so David was guilty of Uriah's death, though the sword of 
the Ammonites slew him, 2 Sam. xii. 3. Nor of counselling men 
to sin ; so Jonadab was guilty of Amnon's incest, 2 Sam. xvi. 21. 
Nor of commending others for sin ; so a man may be accessory after 
the fact, Kom. i. 32 ; Ps. x. 9. Nor of setting others a bad example ; 
so Jeroboam was guilty of the idolatry of the Jews ; but of those 
ways whereby Christians are usually guilty of others' sins when they 
are amongst the wicked. 

1. By compliance. If, when thou seest or hearest others sin, thou 
dost inwardly approve it, thou art partaker of it. He that consents, 
though but in his thoughts, to another's fraud, is before God a 
felon. Paul, before his conversion, was consenting to the death of 
the proto-martyr. Acts viii. 1 ; and after his conversion, pleads 
guilty of the murder. Acts xxii. 20. It may be, reader, when thou 
hearest lascivious stories, or sinful, witty jestings, or tales of sly, 
subtle cheats, or the like, thou dost secretly applaud and approve 
them. I tell thee, thou art partaker of tliem. If thou hast a heart 
in the sin, thou hast a hand in the sin. Thy affecting it makes 
thee as really guilty as if thou didst act it. Nay, I must tell thee, 
the greatest guilt arise th from the fullest consent of the will. It 
is possible for the approver to be more guilty than the actor. 

2. By silence, or not reproving sin. A man may sin by speaking, 
and he may sin by silence. This silence, when sin is committed, 
speaks thy consent to it. It was a speech of a heathen, that he 
had often repented of speaking, but never of holding his peace ; 
but there is a sinful holding the peace, as well as a sinful speaking. 


It is bad to hold tlie breath long. Nicodemus, though he was at 
first fearful, and wore the badge of his profession under his cloak, 
out of sight, yet when he was amongst the enemies of Christ, he 
took courage, and would not, by his silence, betray his Saviour, and 
wrong his own soul, John vii. 50, 51.1 It is a sign of little love to 
see men wounding, by oaths and blasphemies, or scoffs and jeers, 
our best friend, and not to wish them to forbear, and do our utmost 
to take them off. Dion writes of Severus, that he was careful what 
he did, but careless what he heard ; but the good Christian is care- 
ful of the latter, as well as the former, knowing that sin may enter 
in at that casement, and remembering that the cannon bullet, which 
split the vessel in which all the hopes of mankind were embarked, 
was shot in at that port-hole. The crocodile, because he hath no 
use of a tongue, living always in the waters, hath none ; but God 
hath given man a tongue, and calls it his glory, Ps. xvi. 9 with 
Acts ii. 26, partly because speech is one thing wherein men excel 
beasts. Brute creatures can make a noise, but man only articulate 
his voice, partly because it is given him to glorify God withal. It 
is pity he should ever open, his lips, whose mouth will not shew 
forth God's praise. Thou canst usually no way better clear thy- 
self, than by condemning the sin to the very face of the sinner. 
As the world thinks of God when he is silent, and doth not destroy 
them with the breath of his mouth, so the wicked think of the 
godly when they are silent, and do not open their mouths to re- 
prove them : ' These things thou didst, and I kept silence ; thou 
thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself,' Ps. 1. 21. 
Silence in the presence of sin implieth a liking of it. Though 
thou sayest not euge, saith Augustine,2 yet if thou sayest not afage, 
there is a mutual approbation. Nay, he goeth farther, and saith, 
Pejor es tacendo quam ille convitiando, — Thy silence is more dan- 
gerous to thee than his sin to him. But I shall speak more largely 
to this duty of reproving before I conclude this chapter. 

3. Thou mayest be partaker of others' sins by provoking them to 
sin. Our Lord is said to be crucified at Eome, Kev. xi. 8, because 
he was sentenced by a Koman judge, executed by Koman soldiers, 
and put to death by authority of the Koman empire ; yet the murder 
of Christ is all along in Scripture charged on the Jews. Peter, 
preaching to them, saith, ' Whom by wicked hands ye have taken 
and slain ; ' and Stephen expressly, ' Of whom ye have been the be- 
trayers and murderers ;' because, though the execution of it was 

^ Consentire est silere cum arguere possis. — Bernard. 
" Aujr. in Mat. xvi. 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 289 

from tlie Komans, yet the provocation to it was from the Jews, 
Acts ii. 23, and vii, 52. That which is committed by our in- 
stigation, is onrs by just imputation. I fear many good men are 
partakers of others' sins in this sense, either by stirring up others 
that are passionate to anger, or by inciting some that have been 
guilty of handsome — in the world's judgment — cheats, to relate 
and boast of them ; for it is little difference whether men hold the 
sack open or fill it — both are guilty. 

Section III. 

Secondly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness in evil 
company, do not needlessly expose thyself to sufferings. He is but 
a fool that will lay his life in another's lap without a call. Christ 
did not commit himself to the Jews, because he knew their hearts, 
and we are not lightly to commit ourselves to any, because we know 
not their hearts. Set a watch before thy tongue, lest it make thy 
throat thy sepulchre — a grave to bury thy estate and outward com- 
forts in. It is a sin in many Christians that they know not when 
to be silent. The wise man tells us, ' There is a time to speak, 
and a time to keep silence,' Eccles. iii. 7. This is a great part of 
Christian prudence, to understand when to keep silence. It is 
much harder to learn to be silent than to learn to speak. Though 
we must not, as some Turks, be always dumb, perpetuum silentium 
tenent ut muti, yet we ought sometimes to hold our breath in : 
' Therefore the prudent shall keep silence, for it is an evil time,' 
Amos V. 1 3. 

1. Their cross was weighty ; it was an evil time, a time of much 
danger and difficulty. Sin abounded, sinners were enraged, God 
was provoked, and the godly oppressed, l 

2. Their carriage was wise ; they shall keep silence. The words 
may have a twofold exposition : 

(1.) If they be taken in relation to God, as some think, they speak 
the patient submission of the faithful, in that evil day, to the divine 
providence and pleasure. 

(2.) If they be taken in relation to men, as others expound them, 
they speak the prudent conversation of the gracious in that day of 
persecution ; they shall not causelessly throw themselves into greater 

1 ISTon turbatur navis quae Petrum habebat, sed turbatur ilia quae Judam habebat ; 
etsi multa illorum discipulorum merita naufragabant, tamen adlluc perfidia prodi- 
toris agitabatur; in utraque Petrus; sed qui suis meritis firmus est, turbatur alienis. 
Caveamus igitur perfidum, Caveamus proditorem, ne per unum plurimi fluctuemus. — 
Amb.^ Super. Luc, lib. iv. 



miseries, but shall keep all due silence, to avoid needless sufferings. 
Indeed, thy care must be to own Christ ever, and to profess him 
publicly when thou art called to it ; but as thy policy should not 
eat up thy zeal, so thy zeal must not eat up thy wisdom. I would 
not discourage thee from confessing the Lord Jesus, yet I must 
tell thee that thou art not bound to proclaim in all companies of 
what judgment thou art, nor what church government thou wouldst 
choose, nor what society thou meetest in, &c. ; nay, thou art bound 
to the contrary. He that hath a good mixture of zeal and pru- 
dence, is like a fire on the hearth, of much use and service ; but zeal 
without discretion is like fire on the top of the chimney, which 
often doth much mischief. Zeal to a Christian is like a high wind 
filling the sails of a, ship, which, unless it be ballasted with discre- 
tion, doth but the sooner overturn it. Abdias, a bishop, mised a 
dreadful storm of persecution by his intemperate zeal. I doubt not 
but the whole company of believers in some nations have suffered 
through the indiscreet heats of some pai'ticular persons. Zeal in a 
man is like wings to a bird, or mettle to a horse ; but the bridle of 
discretion is requisite, as thq^oets fable that Minerva put a golden 
bridle on Pegasus, lest he should fly too fast. Bernard hath a good 
saying. Discretion without zeal is slow-paced, and zeal without dis- 
cretion is heady ; let therefore zeal spur on discretion, and discre- 
tion rein in zeal. Paul was full of heavenly fire. It is said of 
him, when he came to Athens, and beheld their idolatry, that his 
spirit, 7rapco^vi/eTo, was stirred within him, Acts xvii. 16 ; yet it is 
worthy our observation, though he preached much against idols in 
general, yet he pleads not at all against Diana in particular, the 
goddess of whom the Athenians were so foolishly fond. His zeal 
moved him to oppose idolatry to his power, but his prudence 
directed him to forbear particular invectives against Diana, and to 
do it in such a way as might be, in probability, most profitable 
for them, and least dangerous to himself. The rash zeal of some 
godly persons hath set others at a further distance from piety. 
When every unskilful Phaeton takes upon him to drive the chariot 
of the sun, it is no wonder that the whole world be in a flame. 

Geese, say some, when they fly over Taurus, keep stones in their 
mouths, lest by their gaggling they should discover themselves to 
the eagles which are amongst the mountains, waiting there to take 
them. It were well for some persons if they could keep their mouths 
with a bridle, whilst the wicked are amongst them, who wait and 
watch to destroy them. 

Keader, I would be understood rightly ; I do not intend, by any- 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 291 

thing I have written, to incite thee to take all courses, good or bad, 
to avoid suffering, but to dissuade thee from bringing thyself into 
suffering. Grace may teach thee not to choose sin, and both grace 
and nature teach thee not to choose suffering. Follovs^ the lamb 
wherever he goeth, and whithersoever he calleth thee ; but take 
heed of going before him, lest he leave thee to suffer at thy own 
charges. He that will take a bear by the tooth, or a mad dog by 
the ear, may thank himself if he be well bitten. 

It is too ordinary for some Christians, when wicked men give 
them a few good words, and pretend a little goodwill, to open their 
minds fully and freely to them, even to the hazard of their own 
liberties and lives ; but such do not consider the counsel which God 
gives them : ' Trust ye not in a friend, (much less in an enemy, as 
every wicked man is to the godly,) put ye not confidence in a guide, 
(though he may be full of power, and policy, and promises :) keep 
the door of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom,' (lest, as 
Samson's wife, she tell all to thy undoing,) Micah vii. 5. Every 
smooth face and smiling countenance is not to be trusted ; kisses do 
sometimes betray us. When the tongues of some cry Ave, they 
threaten a Vce, saith Augustine. They come, Ps. cxviii. 12, about 
me like bees, with honey in their mouths, and a sting in their tails. 
As butchers, they claw the ox about the ribs, that they may have 
the fairer blow at his head. The pelican swalloweth shell-fish, and 
warmeth them in her stomach, but it is to make them gape, that 
she may pick them out of the shells (where they are safe whilst 
they are shut) and devour them. Thus some ungodly men fre- 
quently warm Christians with flatteries, to make them {K€-)(rj- 
v6T6<i, according to Aristophanes's expression of a fool) gapers, and 
to utter all they know and think, that they may make a prey of 
them. Friend, do not only look on wicked men as gins to entangle 
thy soul, but also as snares to entrap thy livelihood and life. It 
was the complaint of Luther, Afalsis amicis plus est milii periculi 
quam a toto papain : That he was in more danger by reason of 
false friends, than, by the pope and all his hierarchy. As conies, 
those unclean creatures, are dangerous about the places where they 
lurk ; — the island Majorica was overthrown, according to historians, 
by the digging of conies ; — so unclean men, even by their crouch- 
ing under thee, may undermine and overthrow thee. Consider 
their hatred of thee, notwithstanding all their show of love, is real 
and inward ; and of all wounds, those which rankle inwardly are 
most to be feared. The devil confessed Christ, yet hated him to the 
death ; and his children do all take after him. It is said of Anto- 


ninus Geta that he would always shew most love where he intended 
to bereave of life ; therefore men were more afraid of his favour 
than of his anger. Antigonus kept a priest on purpose to pray and 
offer up sacrifice to the gods, that they would preserve him from 
his seeming friends. There may he some profit of that Italian 
proverb, The Lord deliver us from our friends ; we will watch our- 
selves over our enemies,, that they do not hurt us. Solomon gives 
thee a good caution in his character of a fool and a wise man : ' A fool 
uttereth all his mind, but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards,' 
Prov. xxix. 11. And those words of Hugo Yictorinus have much 
weight in them, and are somewhat near Solomon's: There is a time 
when nothing is to be spoken, there is a time when something, but 
no time when all things are to be spoken."^ Especially if thou 
hast found a man false once, beware of him the second time. He 
deserves to break his shins that stumbleth twice at one stone. 
That proverb of the Italians is worthy of consideration, If a man 
deceive me once, it is his own fault ; if a second time, it is my 
fault. He had need to sit sure who backs that horse which hath 
once cast his rider. 

Thirdly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness in evil 
company, be sure thou dost not disown thy profession, and deny 
Jesus Christ, Though it behoveth thee to walk wisely, because 
sinners lie in wait to destroy thy life, yet be careful thou dost not 
walk wickedly, for sin lieth in wait to destroy thy soul. It may 
consist with grace, not always openly to proclaim thy profession, 
yet it is a graceless part at any time to deny it. It was a blot to 
Nicodemus that he was a night-bird. If the honour of Christ be 
engaged, and by thy silence the gospel will suffer, then not to pub- 
lish what thou art is a sin. The light of religion ought not to be 
carried in a dark lantern, and to be shewn only when thy own in- 
terest will permit, and at other times to be hid. Christ tells us, ' Who- 
soever shall deny me before men, him will I deny before my Father 
which is in heaven,' Mat. x. 33. Not to confess Christ openly 
when thou art called to it, is to deny him ; and expect the same 
measure from Christ in the other world which thou givest to him 
in this. How justly will he be disowned for a servant hereafter, 
that was ashamed to own so noble a Master here ! And how dread- 
ful will his condition be whom Christ shall deny before his Father ! 
All thy happiness depends upon his confessing thee. If he disclaim 
thee, devils will lay claim to thee, and theirs thou shalt be for ever. 

1 Est tempus quando nihil, est tempus quando aliquid, nullum autem tempus in 
quo dicenda sunt omnia. 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 293 

It concerns thee, therefore, to confess Christ, how dear soever it 
may cost, and to own religion in all companies ; for thou mayest 
truly say, what an honest man did, being occasionally in a pirate's 
ship when it was searched, and the pirates cried out, Woe be to 
us if we be known ; he said. Woe be to me if I be not known. 

There are a sort of men that, like Mercury, the good-fellow planet, 
are according to their company — good if with the good, bad if in con- 
junction with bad ; but the true Christian hath not so learned Christ. 
He who, like the mariner, changeth his course upon the change of 
the weather, is but an unsound professor. We read of some that 
feared the Lord, and served graven images, 2 Kings xvii. 41. They 
divided themselves between the true God and idols, as the Jewish 
children, which spake half Hebrew, and half in the language of 
Ashdod, Neh. xiii. 24 ; and as some gentlemen, that speak Italian 
when they are amongst Italians, French amongst Frenchmen, 
and order their language answerable to their associates. So some, 
that would be called Christians, change themselves, both for words 
and deeds, into the natm-e of their companions. Amongst the godly 
they own God, but amongst the wicked they deny him. They alter 
their colour as the sole, say naturalists, according to that which is 
nearest, and expose the name of God, rather than their own, to 
contempt. Beza said of Baldwinus that he had religionem ephe- 
merem, a religion for every day. Some men have a deportment 
suitable to all with whom they converse, resembling such as are 
sinful, and dissembling with them that are holy : these are either 
ashamed or afraid of Christ, both which are unreasonable. 

1. Some will not own him out of shame, though he be the glory 
of his people Israel. The paint of women in some countries is the 
dung of the crocodile, and their sweet powder the excrement of a 
cat ; yet people can esteem these their honour. The drunkard can 
boast of his strength to drink, the cunning cheat of his deceitful 
doings ; and, alas ! many Christians are ashamed of Christ. Oh 
how unworthy is it, that wicked men should glory in their shame, 
and good men be ashamed of their glory ! that the scum of hell 
should be prided in, and the sovereign of heaven be esteemed a dis- 
grace! that some should with brows of brass boast of the ugly 
monster, begotten of Satan, and others not dare to own the fairest 
of ten thousands, and the only begotten of the Father ! It is reported 
of Aristotle's daughter, that being asked what colour was best, 
she should answer the blush colour. Diogenes was wont to say, 
that blushing was the colour of virtue. However this colour may 
be commendable on other occasions, it is abominable in the cause 


of Christ. David saith, ' I will speak of thy judgments before 
kings, and will not be ashamed/ Ps. cxix. 46 ; neither the great- 
ness of their power, nor the brightness of their splendom-, shall make 
me bashful and ashamed to own thee. Shame doth excellently- 
become sin, but it is wholly unbecoming the blessed Saviour, Rom. 
vi. 21 ; Mark viii. 38. 

2. Some will not own Christ out of fear ; as an owl peeps at the 
sun out of a barn, but dares not come near it, so some peep at the 
Sun of righteousness, but stand aloof, as if they were more afraid 
to be nigh Grod than the devil. This made Peter deny his master. 
How daunted have many been to look danger in the face ; he who 
had sometimes courage enough to take a lion by the beard, lost his 
colour, and changed his behaviour, before wicked Achish. Slavish 
fear is a great foe to godliness. The great philosopher gives this 
reason why the chameleon changeth colour so frequently ;i he 
being a fearful creature, swelleth by drawing in the air, hereby 
his skin is pent in and made smooth, and more apt to receive the 
colour of those objects that are next him. They who are fearful of 
suffering will easily, if their company require it, change their colour, 
and disown their Saviour. Timorous creatures will run into any 
unclean places for shelter, when a magnanimous spirit, in a good 
cause, will defy death itself. He who fears his skin is no friend to 
his soul, but will defile the latter to defend the former. Fear sur- 
prising the heart takes it away, and makes the Christian weak ; and 
then it is no wonder if the smallest blow conquer him, and, like a 
reed, he bend with the least blast of wind ; but how unreasonable is 
it that any should be afraid to own the blessed Saviour, when in 
sticking close to him is their only safety ! Nothing can hurt thee 
but sin; it is that alone wliich exposeth thee to injuries and miseries ; 
if thou fearest that, thou needest fear nothing else. What a foolish 
bargain dost thou make, by denying Christ, to make wicked and 
weak men thy seeming friends, and the jealous God thy real enemy! 
Is not he distracted, who, to avoid the scratch of a pin, layeth him- 
self open to the shattering of a cannon ? And art thou not worse, if, 
to avoid the fury of poor mortals, thou incurrest the wrath of the 
Almighty ? Remember that the fearful are the first in the black 
list for the eternal fire. Rev. xxi. 8 ; and do not play the coward, as 
Furius Fulvius, to sound a retreat, when thou shouldst, as a man 
of courage, sound an alarm. The mulberry tree is esteemed the 
wisest of all trees, because it only bringeth forth its leaves after the 
cold frosts be past ; but in Christianity, he is a fool who dares not 

1 Arist., Hist. Anim., lib. ii. cap. 11. 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 295 

profess bimself a Christian till dangers be over. St Augustine, "^ in 
his Confessions, relates a story of one Victorinus, who, being con- 
verted, because he had many great friends that were heathens, durst 
not own Christ publicly, but went to Simplicianus, and whispered 
him in the ear, I am a Christian ; but Simplicianus answered him, 
Vix credo, nee deputabo te inter Christianos, &c. ; I do not believe 
it, nor will count thee a Christian, till I see thee profess it openly. 
Victorinus at first derided this answer, but afterwards, considering 
the words of our Saviour, Mark viii. 38, he acknowledged it openly. 
It is very dangerous to walk in the dark. Saints are children of 
the light, and should have their light shining before others. Louis 
the Eleventh of France was better at carnal politics than real 
piety, who desired his son might learn no more than this. He who 
cannot counterfeit, must not wear a crown.^ 

Section IV. 

Fourthly, Labour to get some good by such as are evil. The 
precious stone amianthon, being cast into the fire, is made the more 
clear and pure. A skilful naturalist will make some use of the 
most venomous herbs and serpents. A gracious person may improve 
the vilest sinner's company to his own spiritual profit. As wicked 
men are helpful to the temporal good, so often to the eternal good, 
of God's people. Like leaves, though they are nothing worth in 
themselves, yet they keep the good fruit from blasting, and hereby 
are instrumental to its further growth and ripening. Ismenias, the 
Theban musician, taught his scholars, not only by shewing them 
such as struck a clean stroke with. Do so, but also by shewing them' 
such as bungled at it with. Do not so. Antigenidas thought men 
would like better, and contend the more for skill, if they heard 
untunable notes. Satan intendeth wicked men as dirt and earth, 
only to besmear and defile them ;. but God outshoots him in his 
own bow, and makes them as fuller's earth, to purge and purify 
them. As poisonous as they are in their own nature, through the 
correctives of the Spirit they become not only not hurtful, but 
helpful, to the believer. Ungodly men are compared to dung and 
filth, which we know, being applied to the good trees, makes them 
more fruitful. That slime and mud which the overflowins: of 
Nilus carrieth along with it in the summer solstice, causeth Egypt 
to bring forth abundantly. The graces of saints have increased, 
even by the abominations and oppositions of sinners. Lot's hatred 

^ Aug. Conf., lib. viii. ^ Qui nescit dissimulare, nescit regnare. — Phil. Com. 


of sin was the greater by viewing the unclean conversations of the 
Sodomites. The serpent Tyrus, saith Brittenbacchiis, is so venom- 
ous, that there is no remedy against its bitings but by cutting off 
the member ; yet even of this there is a treacle made which serveth 
for excellent purposes. Though the flesh of the vulture, saith PHny, 
be unwholesome and unmeet for meat, yet it is most medicinable ; 
an ointment made of the fat of it is specially strengthening to the 
sinews. Though ungodly men are ill food, and not fit to be our 
ordinary constant diet, yet they may be good physic, and profitable, 
when necessity compelleth us to use them. A debauched, lewd 
master may teach a scholar many good lessons. If God send us to 
school to the beasts of the field, Job xii. ,7, ' ask the beasts, and 
they shall teach thee,' I know no reason but much good may be 
learned from these brutes in the shape of men. Some tell us that 
gold was extracted out of Ennius's dung. Thou mayest, reader, 
through the help of the Spirit, get that which is better than gold 
out of these noisome and loathsome persons. The smell of trefoil 
is often stronger in a moist and cloudy dark season, than in fair 
weather ; so should the savour of a saint's graces be most fragrant 
amongst evil companions. 

1. Let thy zeal be the more inflamed. Zeal is the heat or inten- 
sion of the affections ; it is a holy warmth, whereby our love 
and anger are drawn out to the utmost for God and his glory. 
Now, our love to God and his ways, and our hatred of wickedness, 
should be increased, because of ungodly men. Cloudy and dark 
colours in a table, make those that are fresh and lively to appear 
more beautiful ; others' sins should make God and godliness more 
amiable in thine eyes.i Thy heart should take fire by striking on 
such cold flints. David, by a holy antiperistasis, did kindle from 
others' coldness : Ps. cxix. 39, ' My zeal hath consumed me, be- 
cause mine enemies have forgotten thy word,' Cold blasts make 
a fire to flame the higher, and burn the hotter. A true child, hear- 
ing others speak faintly, is the more fervent in the commendation 
of his father : ' Because the wicked forsake thy law ; therefore I 
love thy commandments above gold, yea, above much fine gold,' 
Ps. cxix, 127. Do others in thy presence declare their loathing of 
God's precepts ? do thou love them the more. Do they trample 
them under their feet ? do thou prize them at the greater rate. 
Truly, the more they dishonour God by their swearing and scoffing 

^ Quemadmodum siquis margaritam in luto conciilcet, ejus ampliiis demonstrat 
pulcliritudinem. Sic virtus sanctorum, quocunque earn projeceris, declarat suum 
splendorem, in servitute, in carcere, in prosperitate. — Chrys., Horn. 62 in Genes. 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 297 

at godliness, the more reason thou hast to honour him. Phinehas 
is sainted in God's calendar for being zealous in God's cause. As 
varnish addeth a lustre to all colours, and makes them amiable, 
so zeal addeth a beauty to all our services, and makes them the 
more acceptable. The Spirit of God works like fire, and if it 
dwell in thee, it will make thee fervent in spirit. How little sign 
have they of their saintship, who can hear sinners belch out their 
blasphemies against God, and tear the precious body of Christ in 
pieces with oaths, and yet are as senseless as stocks and stones, as if 
they had no relation to God and Christ ! • The redeemed of the 
Lord are a zealous people. Tit. ii. 14. Thou art but false in thy 
profession of friendship, if thou canst behold others abusing thy 
friend, ^nd sit still. Ah, what true Christian can see hellish lusts 
embraced publicly, and the glorious Lord disoAvned openly, and not 
loathe the former, and love the latter the more for it ! The Grecians 
would bring their children to hate drunkenness, by shewing them 
drunkards wallowing in their vomits, what loathsome persons they 
were in such conditions. Good examples are provocations to holi- 
ness, Mai, iii. 8 ; bad examples may work a detestation of vice, 
Deut. xviii. 9 ; Eph. iv. 17. Wise men have more to learn of fools, 
than fools of wise men, said Cato. That trumpet which is filled 
only with wind, may encourage and awaken a living man to the 
battle ; that person who is dead in sin, may rouse up a sleepy yet 
living Christian, and raise his affections more towards God. 

2. Let thy heart be the more enlarged in thankfulness. Dost 
thou behold the profane glorying in their pollutions ? Dost thou 
see simiers abusing God's creatures? Dost thou discern ungodly 
ones making a mock of sin, jeering at holiness, and riding post to 
hell ? How should thy heart be raised in thankfulness to thy dearest 
Redeemer, that thou dost not run with them to the same excess of 
riot, and in the same road of eternal ruin ! Every time thou 
comest into such company, and observest their wicked courses, thou 
mayest well pity such deluded souls, and praise thy gracious Saviour. 
Mayest thou not think thus with thyself : Lo, here are those that 
play with the eternal fire, and sport with the Almighty's fury ; that 
dance merrily over the bottomless pit, and take pleasure in the way 
to endless pains ; that are wholly regardless of God, and Christ, and 
heaven, and their unchangeable estates in the other world. I was 
as bad as the worst of them, or at least I had slipped as deep into 
that mire of profaneness, and equalled or exceeded them in all 
manner of impiety, if free grace had not withheld and prevented me. 
I have the same root of bitterness, and had doubtless brought forth 


the same cursed fruits, if the hand of mercy had not new grafted 
me. What thanks do I owe to my Kedeemer, who makes me to 
differ ! and what cause have I to love and laud, to please and praise 
him, world without end ! Oh, friend, if the Israelites blessed God 
for their preservation from those waters in which the Egyptians 
were drowned, hast not thou cause to give thanks for preservation 
from that wickedness in which others are damned ? 

3. Thy care and watchfulness should be the more increased. 
The falls and failings of others should be sea-marks, and give thee 
warning to avoid those rocks and shallows, if thou wouldst avoid 
shipwreck. Thou hast the same poisonous seed, therefore take 
heed lest thou committest the same sin. ' These things,' saith the 
apostle, ' were written for our example, to the intent we should not 
lust after evil things,' as they did, 1 Cor. x. 6, 16. All these things 
happened unto them for examples, and they were written for our 
admonition. As the sins and sufferings of others are recorded for 
our instruction, so God lets them be acted before our eyes for our 
admonition. If he that walketh before me falleth and breaketh 
his neck, I have the more reason to ponder the paths of my feet. 
If a fire break out in one house, every wise man will look the more 
to his own. If enemies be near the walls, the garrison will be the 
more diligent to keep watch and ward. Ah, how foolish is that 
mariner, who beholdeth a ship before him, cast away upon some 
rock, and doth not steer his course with the greater care t 

Thus the sword of Goliath may be serviceable to a David, and 
those weapons of unrighteousness, which are designed for our 
destruction, may be helpful to our preservation. Those kites that 
destroy chickens, do also eat up oflPals of beasts, and many noisome 
things, which otherwise would infect the air ; whence, say some, it 
is a law in England, that near a market-town they should not be 
killed. Unclean beasts are serviceable to men, and unclean men 
may be helpful to Christians. 

Section V. 

Fifthly, Endeavour their reformation. Thy duty is, as a good 
physician, to loathe the noisome disease, but to pity and strive to 
recover the patient. What difference is there betwixt thee and a 
carnal person, if thou suflferest him to die, and offerest not thy help 
for his cure ! Thy Father doth good to all ; he causeth his sun to 
shine on the just and on the unjust. Oh, remember that thou art 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 299 

his son, and that his pattern is worthy of imitation. l That piece 
of iron which is rubbed with the loadstone, will draw another piece 
of iron. We read of magnetical rocks in some islands, that draw 
all ships to them which have iron pins, and hold them so fast that 
they are not able to stir. Shew that thou hast been touched with 
the Spirit, that the Spirit of God dwelleth in thee, by thy endea- 
vours to draw others to God, Christ never sat at table with any 
sinners, but he made better cheer than he found. If he sat with the 
j)rofane, he did convert them, if with the pious, he did confirm them, 
Luke vii. 

Be not discouraged at the weakness of thy gifts, or the small 
degree of thy graces, but consider that the event of the enterprise 
' depends upon him who sets thee a-work, and that it is all one to 
him whether ye have great means, or small means, or no means. 
A poor contemptible fly may hinder an elephant from sleeping ; a 
poor upright Christian may awaken great sinners out of their 
spiritual sleep and lethargy. A little boat may land a man at a 
large continent ; a weak believer may help a soul to heaven. 

Endeavour to reform them these three ways : 

1. By wholesome counsel. Every place thou comest into should 
be like Libnah, in which the Israelites pitched — a place of frank- 
incense, perfumed by thy presence. The breath of a man serves 
him both to cool his broth when hot, and warm his fingers when 
cold. The breath of a Christian should serve to put some warmth 
into them that are cold heavenward, and to cool and slake them 
that are hot hellward. ' A wholesome tongue is a tree of life,' 
Prov. XV. 12. Thy tongue should be like the tree of life in Eden, 
of which he that did eat was to live for ever. Gen. iii. 22 ; or like 
that tree of life in the midst of the street, which bare twelve 
manner of fruit, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of 
the nations, Eev. xxii. 2. I have read of a person who led a disso- 
lute life,2 and was so wrought upon by the counsel of a good man, 
that he turned over a new leaf j and when his companions asked 
the ground of that change, which they soon observed in him, and 
why he would not walk along with them in his old wicked ways, he 
answered them, I am busy, meditating and reading in a little book, 
which hath but three leaves in it, so that I have no leisure so much 
as to think of any other business. In the first leaf, which is red, I 
meditate on the passion of my Lord Jesus Christ, and of that pre- 

^ Christus omnibus omnia factus est, pauper pauperibus, dives divitibus, — Cum 
Maria flet, cum apostolis epulatur, &c. — Amb., Sup. Luc, lib. iv. 
^ Ant. Douralt. Speculum Exemplorum. 


cious blood which he shed for the remission of my sins ; in the 
second leaf, which is white, I meditate on the unspeakable joys of 
heaven, purchased for me by the death of my Kedeemer ; in the 
third leaf, which is black, I meditate on the intolerable torments of 
hell, provided and kept in store for the wicked and ungodly. Pru- 
dent and pious advice may bring wandering sinners home to 
Christ's fold. There is a special art in baiting the hook aright, so 
as thou mayest take sinners ere they are aware : ' I being crafty, 
caught you with guile,' 2 Cor. xii. 16. It is possible thou art 
amongst men that are moral and civil, yet unsanctified ; by com- 
mending civility, yet discovering its insufficiency, thou mayest beat 
them out of their rotten holds, and cause them to run to Christ for 
help. Mat. v. 20. It may be thou meetest with those that are 
openly profane ; by bringing in wisely an example of God's judg- 
ments on such persons, thou mayest fright them from such lewd 
practices. Sometimes thou mayest turn earthly discourse by degrees 
into heavenly, and spread a table, and set a running banquet before 
them, which they never thought of. Do they ask, for want of other 
discourse, what news ? After some prudent preface, answer them, 
that thou canst tell them good news from a far country, which is 
worthy of all acceptation — namely, that Jesus Christ came into the 
world to save sinners. Do they ask how such and such do ? acquaint 
them concerning their bodily welfare, and, if it may be done con- 
veniently, that the health of the soul is most to be inquired after, 
as that which is of greatest weight and worth. Do they ask into 
the price of commodities ? thou mayest thereby raise their hearts 
to the wine and milk which is to be bought of Christ, without 
money and without price. This is true alchymy, and will turn all 
into gold. What heavenly fruit did our Redeemer gather from 
such earthly trees ! When the Pharisees spake of eating with 
defiled, that is, unwashen hands, he told them of inward defile- 
ments, and what danger there was in unwashen hearts, Mat. xv. 
20. When the woman of Samaria came to draw water, how soon 
doth he lift up his discourse to living water, of which whosoever 
drinketh shall never thirst ! John iv. 21. When the multitude 
followed him for the loaves, he improves that occasion to quicken 
them to labour for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life, 
John vi. 25-27. Thus thou mayest, reader, distil cordial water 
out of dregs and lees. 

2. Endeavour to reform them by thy gracious carriage in their 
company, A Christian is God's jewel, Mai. iii. 17, and should 
always cast a radiancy and lustre before the eyes of others, but 

Chap, III.] the christian man's calling. 301 

especially amongst them that are wicked. He is double guilty 
who walks disorderly amidst his Master's enemies. Saints should, 
like diamonds, sparkle graciously in a ditch, and as stars, shine the 
brighter in cold nights : ' Be blameless and harmless, without re- 
buke, shining as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse 
generation,' Phil. ii. 15. Believers should, like lights hung out in the 
city, shine so brightly as to prevent others wandering and stumbling ; 
the word is cjicoarype';, such lights as the sun, moon, and stars are, 
which do not keep their light to themselves, but communicate it to 
others.i This gracious conversation is often profitable to the convic- 
tion of others. They wdio, as the Atlantes, are ready to curse the sun, 
because it scorcheth them with its beams, to hate the light, because 
it discovereth their deeds of darkness, may nevertheless in their 
consciences be so convinced of its beauty and glory, that they may 
turn Persians, to admire and adore it.2 ' Shew thyself a pattern of 
good works, that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, 
having no evil thing to say of you/ Tit. ii. 7, 8 ; 1 Peter iii. 
15, 16. Grace doth powerfully, though silently, oppose and over- 
throw profaneness ; it forceth reverence from its bitterest enemies. 
The righteousness of Noah condemned the old world ; the holiness 
of the Baptist did obtain respect from wicked Herod. How did the 
magnanimous sanctity of the three worthies triumph in the con- 
science of Nebuchadnezzar ! and the innocency of Daniel in the 
soul of Darius ! Many a sinner hath been struck dumb by the 
exemplary and heroic faith and patience of the saints. Such a 
gracious carriage is sometimes helpful to the conversation of 
others. They who stood out against the word of God, have been 
won by the works of men. Sanctified actions are unanswerable 
syllogisms, and effectual demonstrations. Though the ears have 
been shut against pious precepts, the heart itself hath been opened 
to a gracious pattern : ' Abstain from fleshly lusts, and have your 
conversations honest ; that whereas they speak evil of you as evil- 
doers, they may, by your good works which they behold, glorify 
God in the day of visitation,' 1 Peter ii. 11, 12. Good works are 

^ (pw(TT7]p a (pios lumen, et r-qpecj servo, quod receptum lumen servat ; significat tale 
quid quod lumen ex se emittit, ut Sol, Luna, Stella. 

^ Sicuti cseli luminaria ac sidera in firmamento coeli a Deo collocata, cunetis in- 
desinenter quae sub coslo sunt, fulgent, et omnibus quse super terram sunt, per tem- 
pora ac tempora, per generationes ac generationes, mirabiliter relucent; alia quidem 
per noctem, ut luna et stellte, alia nihilominus per diem, ut solis speciosissimi radii. 
Sic et sanctorum virtutis insignia atque beatissimi eorum agones, omnibus in per- 
petuum singulariter fulgent, omnibus in asternum bonorum formam tribuunt, omnibus 
sub sole pietatis exemplum ostendunt. — Orig., Homil. I. in Job. 


a means, not only of silencing, but even of sanctifying evil workers ; 
and hereby those who spake evil of the children, come to glorify 
the Father. A holy life is a real confutation of unholy lusts ;l and 
whereas counsel may persuade, this compelleth the sinner either to 
embrace sanctity, or to live condemned of himself. Louis the 
Twelfth of France, hearing ill of the Waldenses, sent some to ob- 
serve and pry into their lives, who returning, told the king that 
they were free from all scandal, sanctified the Sabbath, baptized 
and catechised their children ; whereupon the king, their enemy, 
swore that they were better men than himself, or any of his sub- 
jects. The church of God is compared to a vineyard, Luke xx. 9. 
Pliny tells us, that the smell of a vineyard is such that it drives 
away all serpents and venomous creatures. The lives of God's 
people should be spotless and exemplary, that their enemies, as in 
Tertullian's days, may honour them for their holiness. Of Bucer 
it was said, he so lived that his friends could not sufficiently praise 
him, nor his enemies justly blame him ; so should every child of 

Section VI. 

3. Endeavour to reform them by faithful reprehension. Kepre- 
hension is like a dam, which, though it cause the waters to swell, 
stops its violent course ; as thunder, it purifieth the air, which 
otherwise would putrify. When thou comest amongst vicious 
persons, thy spirit, as Paul's amongst the idolatrous Athenians, 
must be stirred within thee, and thy zeal must appear in reproving 
the offenders, or else, as a pearl in a toad's head, it will be of no 
use. Servetus condemned Zuinglius for his heat and harshness ; 
but he answered, In other things I will be meek and mild, but not 
in blasphemies against Christ.^ Good blood will not belie itself, 
but when occasion is offered, shew itself: the zeal of God's house 
did eat the Redeemer up, and he whipped the buyers and sellers out 
of the temple. In the cause of God, saith Luther,^ I am, and ever 
shall be, stout and stern ; herein I take upon me this motto, Nulli 
cedo, I give place to none. 

That expression of Augustine hath weight in it, Qui non zelat non 
amat\ He hath no love to God, who hath no zeal for God, and truly 
he hath little love to his neighbour : ' Thou shalt not hate thy 

^ Viva lectio est vita sanctorum. — Greg. Moral., 24. 

2 In aliis mansuetus ero, in blasphemies in Christum non iia,.—Epist. ad Servci. ' 

'^ In Vita ejus per Anomyn. 

Chap. Ill] the christian man's calling. 303 

brother in thine heart ; thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neigh- 
bour, and not suffer sin upon him,' Lev. ix. 17. 

First, Here is no privilege as to persons either reproving or 

1. Keproving : ' Thou shalt rebuke.' It is to be done in our own 
persons, and not by a proxy. 

2. Offending : ' Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour.' 
All our neighbours, made of the same earth, bone of our bone, flesh 
of our flesh, capable of the same heaven, God excludes none, but 
offers both his grace and glory universally : ' Whosoever will, let 
him,' &c., Kev. xxii. 17. 

Secondly, No dispensation granted as to crimes : ' Thou shalt 
not suffer sin upon him.' If it be a sin, it must not be suffered. 

Thirdly, No pleading of any excuse : ' Thou shalt in any wise 
rebuke him, and not hate him.' To suffer any in unholiness is a 
sign of hatred, and such seeming charity is the greatest cruelty. 
Besides, whilst we let such men alone in their profaneness, we pro- 
voke God against ourselves, i John the Baptist rebuked Herod, 
Nathan reproved David, and Latimer, Henry YIII. Though the 
offenders were potent and high, yet the ministers of God would 
not fear their faces, but freely tell them of their faults. Nay, some 
heathen have had courage enough to check the greatest for their 
crimes. How plain was Seneca in reproving Nero, Diogenes in 
reproving Alexander, and Zeno, Nearchus ! ^ It is said of Sueto- 
nius, that in writing the lives of the twelve Caesars, he took the 
same liberty in declaring their vices wliich they took to commit 
them.3 And shall not Christians be as bold to check sin as others 
are to act it ? 

Keader, what love dost thou shew to thy neighbour, if thou seest 
him wounding and piercing his inestimable soul, and thou dost not 
endeavour, though against his will, to hold his hand ? If thou 
shouldst see him take a knife to stab himself at the heart, thou 
wouldst not stay to ask his leave, or fear his anger, but do thy 
utmost to hinder him ; and canst thou see him destroying his soul, 
and not seek to prevent him ? That pity, without question, is the 
best, which relateth to the better part. There was a barbarous 
law among the Lacedasmonians, that no man should tell his neigh- 
bour any ill news that befell him, but every one should be left in 

^ Non omnis qui parcit, amicus est ; nee omnis qui verberat, inimicus. Melius 
est cum severitate diligere, quam cum lenitate decipere. — Auy. Confes., 9. 

^ Magis amat objurgator sanans, quam adulator dissimulans. — Idem, in Epist. ad 

^ Mihi aliquando arguere permissum, tibi nuiiquam peccare. — Anib. 


process of time to tincl it out himself, i Alas ! what will become of 
poor sinners, if none should tell them what they are doing, whither 
they are going, till they come to find it in the place of torments ? 
Were love burning in our hearts, (as fire was in the temple,) or 
were our faces towards one another, (like those cherubims which 
covered the mercy-seat with their wings,) we should not only not lie 
in sin ourselves, but also endeavour that others should not die in 
their sins. That person who refused to smite his neighbour, when 
commanded in the name of the Lord, was slain by a lion, 1 Kings 
XX. 35. If we refuse to smite sin, God's wrath will smite us. 

Because this duty is of such concernment, I shall give thee some 
few brief directions. 2 

1. Be sure that which thou reprovest be a sin, and not a lawful, 
or indifferent thing. Some shew much heat, but little holiness, in 
keeping a great stir about nothing. The Israelites raised a great 
army to fight against their brethren, upon a supposition that 
they had built an altar for sacrifice, Joshua xxii. 16. Eli was mis- 
taken in chiding Hannah for drunkenness, and thinking she was 
not sober, because she was almost overwhelmed with sorrow, 1 
Sam. ii. It is dangerous to apply corroding medicines, upon sup- 
position that the person hath a festered sore, or to cut a man for 
the stone who is not troubled with that distemper. It were better 
by much to be silent, than to cry out against that which we cannot 
by Scripture prove to be sin. He that reproves the deed, will do 
more hurt than good, if he be not able to convince the doer. Tit. i. 
9. To some it may be said, as Job to his friends, who accused him 
of hypocrisy because of his calamity, as if the stick could not be 
straight because it was brought to the fire, ' How forcible are right 
words ! but what doth your arguing reprove ? ' Job vi. 25.^ Right 
words have great weight ; naked truth will be too hard for armed 
error ; but what power have mistaken or misapplied arguments ? 
what doth such arguing reprove ? Such arguings seldom reprove 
any but the arguer, and him they always reprove. 

2. Eeprove seriously. Reproof is an edged tool, and must not 
be jested with. Cold reproofs are like the noise of cannons a great 
w^ay off, nothing affrighting us. He that reproves sin merrily, as 
one that takes a pride to shew his wit, and make the company 
laugh, will destroy the sinner instead of the sin. There are those 
that spit out their friends with their tongues, and laugh them into 

' Plut. Moral. 

2 Tot quotidie occidimiis, quot ad mortem ire tepidi et tacentes videmus. — Greg. 

^ Cum vera ohjurgas, sic inimice juvas. — Auson. 

Chap. III.] the chkistian man's calling. 305 

enemies. Sharpness and acuteness dotli ill in sportful festivals, 
but it becomes purging potions. Lightness is commendable in 
nothing, but worst in things that are weighty. A vain jesting 
admonition is like rubbing a person with a poisoned oil, which 
spreads the more for being put into such a fleeting suppleness. 
The Areopagites banished Stilpo for proving, by his sophistry, that 
Minerva was no goddess, alleging this for their reason, that it was 
not safe for any to dally with things that were divine. Reproof 
is strong physic, and worketh many times to purpose, and therefore 
is not to be given in jest. Sin, which is the object of it, is not to 
be played with ; nor hell, its consequent, a jesting matter, Titus i. 13. 
The apostle enjoins Titus to reprove sharply ; the word is d7roT6fj-Q)<;, 
cuttingly, iW vyialvoiaiv iv rrj Triaret, that they may be sound in the 
faith. He that mindeth his patient's health, will not toy, or trifle, 
or play with his mortal diseases ; the flesh must feel the plaster, 
or it will never eat up the corruption in it. Shouldst thou apply 
a healing plaster to skin the wound aloft, when there is need of 
a corrosive to take away the dead flesh, thou wouldst be false and 
unfaithful to thy friend.^ When the water was bitter, and the 
ground barren, Elisha cast a cruse of salt into it, and it healed 
both. Reproof, like salt, must have in it both sharpness and 
savonriness. Alas ! how fierce is that wrath, how hot is that fire, 
to which poor sinners are liable ! And wilt thou sport with their 
souls, and join with them in making a mock of sin ? Saints must 
be zealous, not only in good works, but also in reproving evil 
workers. The command is, ' Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy 
voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and 
the house of Jacob their sin,' Isa. Iviii. 1. This belongs in some 
sense to every member, as well as to the minister. They must 
reprove sin powerfully : ' Cry aloud, lift up thy voice as a trumpet ; ' 
particularly, ' shew my people their transgressions, and the house of 
Jacob their sin.' Admonition, without serious application, is like 
an arrow with too many feathers, which, though we level at the 
mark, is taken by the wind, and carried quite from it. 

Some men shoot their reprehensions, like pellets through a trunk, 
with no more strength than will kill a sparrow. Those make sin- 
ners believe that sin is no such dreadful evil, and the wrath of God 
no such frightful end. He that would hit the mark, and recover 
the sinner, must draw his arrow of reproof home. Reproof must 

' Regat disciplinse vigor mansuetudinem, et mansuetudo ornet vigorem, et sic al- 
terum commendetur ex altero, ut nee vigor sit rigidus, nee mansuetudo dissoluta. — 
Greg., lib. v. Moral. 



be powerful : the hammer of the word breaks not the heart, if it be 
lightly laid on ; if the flesh doth not feel the plaster, it will hardly 
be healed by it. It must also be so particular, that the offender 
may think himself concerned. Some, in reproof, will seem to aim 
at the sinner, but so order it, that their arrows shall be sure to 
miss him. As Domitian, when a boy held for a mark afar off 
his hand spread, with his fingers severed, he shot his arrows 
so, that all hit the empty spaces between his fingers. i Be the 
reproof never so gracious, the plaster never so good, it will be 
inefiectual if not applied to the patient, 2 Sam. xii. 7 ; Acts ii. 
36, 37. 

3. Eeprove seasonably. Eeprehension is not necessary or con- 
venient at all seasons ; admonition is like physic, rather profitable 
than pleasant. Now, the best physic may be thrown away, if a fit 
time of giving it be not observed. Some unskilful physicians have 
wronged their patients in administering suitable potions out of 
season. It is a great part of Christian prudence to discern the 
fittest time of lancing spiritual sores ; if they be taken when they 
are ripe, the corrupt matter may be all let out, and the party be 
the healthier whilst he liveth ; but if before they be ripe, it will 
not be so well. A fool will always be talking, and is ready to 
burst if he may not have vent ; but a wise man will keep a word 
for afterward, Prov. xxix. He will neither run before an oppor- 
tunity, nor neglect to follow after it. Many a fair child is spoiled 
by an untimely birth, and good duty prejudiced by an unseason- 
able performance. 

Sometimes a sudden reproof, upon the commission of the sin, 
hath reformed the sinner ; but this is not always saf e.^ When 
men are rebuked before their companions, their hearts are usually 
enraged against the reprover, suspecting him to intend their dis- 
paragement rather than their amendment. 3 Besides, when their 
spirits are hot, and their minds drunk with passion, they are apter 
to beat the Christian than to hear his counsel. When a person is 
in a violent fever, it is not good to give him physic ; it is safest to 
stay till the fit be abated or over. Abigail would not tell Nabal of 
his danger till he was sober. Some small fish are twitched up with 

^ Suet, in Vita. 

^ There are two cases wherein reproof may be omitted. 1. When there is danger 
of bringing more dishonour to God by speaking than by forbearing, Mat. vii. 6. 2. 
When we can see no likelihood of doing good by our reproving. — Hildersham on Ps. 
li., lect. 9. ; Vide j^hir., ibid. 

^ Qui non corrigit resecanda committit, et facientis culpam habet qui quod potest 
corrigere, negligit emendare. — Greg. 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. .30Y 

the violence of a sudden pull, when the like action would break the 
line whereon a great one hangs. 

But I would not be understood, reader, to encourage thee in the 
least, under pretence of deferring it till a fitter day, to omit the 
duty ; if there be no probability of a better season, nor any hope of 
doing good, after some ejaculations to heaven for assistance and 
success, take the present opportunity. Fabius conquered by delay- 
ing, but Cajsar overcame by expedition. Though it is not ordin- 
arily so good to sow corn when the wind is high, yet the husband- 
man will rather do it in such weather than not at all, or than to 
want his harvest. As the bird often flieth away, whilst the fowler 
still seeks to get nearer and nearer her ; so doth a season of ad- 
vantaging our brethren's souls, whilst we wait still for a fitter. It 
is thy duty, therefore, to take hold of the present, where thou hast 
no likelihood of another, and to improve the first good opportunity, 
rather than to adventure the loss of all, by expecting a better. 

4. Reprove prudently. A Christian's wisdom in the matter of 
his reproof will very much further its working : ' As an earring 
of gold, and an' ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover to an 
obedient ear,' Prov, xxv. 12. A wise reprover is a credit to the 
reproved ; it is an honour to be wounded thus by one that is wise. 
Some men would receive blows with more patience, if they were 
given them with more prudence. None so likely to find an obedi- 
ent hearing, as they that are wise in reproving ; the best ear will 
hardly brook foolish speaking ; there is a way to make men take 
down their bitter potions before they are aware. The recovering of 
a fallen sinner, is the setting of a bone in joint, which requireth 
much skill and dexterity. Every mountebank is not fit to under- 
take this task. 

First, Have respect to the person whom thou reprovest. 

Secondly, Have respect to the crime for which thou reprovest. 

First, Respect is to be had to the person, both as to his condition 
and his disposition. 

1. To his condition and quality. Though the sins of suj)eriors 
may, nay must, be reproved, by those that have a call to it, yet not 
in that bold manner which is allowable to our equals, nor without 
some acknowledgment of that reverence which is due to their call- 
ings and conditions : ' Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a 
father,' 1 Tim. v. 1. When Daniel was to interpret Nebuchad- 
nezzar's dream, and to acquaint him with his danger, observe with 
what respectful language he clothed his dreadful message, Dan. iv. 
19, 24, 27. The prophets that spake so boldly to their princes, 


were commanded and commissioned by God what to say. Though 
superiors ought to be reproved, yet they ought not to be reviled. 

Paul, as I conceive, acknowledged his passion, when he had 
spoken irreverently to the high priest: 'I wist not, brethren, that 
he was the high priest ; ' I did not consider, as I ought, to whom I 
spake, Acts xxiii, 5. It will not excuse us to give ill words, 
though we receive ill wounds from magistrates : ' Is it fit to say to 
a king, Thou art wicked ? and to princes, Ye are ungodly ? ' Job 
xxxiv. 18. Though this text doth not silence all from acquainting 
kings with their faults, much less justify any that shall daub them 
with their flatteries, 1 Kings xviii. 18 ; 2 Kings iii. 13, yet it proves 
that princes must be spoken to respectfully, because of their places. 
Superiors may be amended by exhortation, equals by friendly ad- 
monition, inferiors by severe reprehension. 

Secondly, Kespect is to be had to the disposition of the offender. 
Some, in their fainting fits, are recovered easily, with throwing 
some cold water in their faces ; others must be beaten, or rubbed 
very hard. Some men are like briers, you may handle them gently 
without harm, but if you grasp them hard they will fetch blood ; 
others as nettles, if dealt with roughly, do the less wrong: Jude 
22, 23, ' And of some have compassion, making a difference ; and 
others save with fear.' Some are like tiled houses, that can admit 
a brand of fire to fall on them and not be burnt ; yet some, again, 
are covered with light, dry straw, which with the least touch will 
kindle and flame about your ears. By screwing strings moderately, 
we may make good music, but if too high, we break them. All 
the strings of a viol are not of equal strength, nor will endure to 
be wound up to the same pitch, We may soothe a lion into bond- 
age, but sooner hew him in pieces than beat him into a chain. A 
difference ought to be observed between party and party. An ex- 
hortation will do more with some, than a severe commination with 
others. The sturdy oak will not be so easily bowed as the gentle 
willow. Elisha recovered the dead child with a kiss, but Lazarus 
was restored to life with a loud, strong voice. Keproof must be 
warily given, for it is like a razor, whose edge is keen, and therefore 
the sooner rebated. It is dangerous to give a medicine stronger 
than the disease and constitution of the patient require. A gentle 
fire makes the best distilled waters. 

Respect is to be had also to their faults. Wise physicians will 
distinguish between a pimple and a plague-sore. Those that sin 
of infirmity, are to be admonished more mildly than they that sin 
obstinately; who would give as great a blow to kill a fly as to 

Chap, III.] the christian man's calling. 309 

kill an ox. Old festered sores must be handled in a rougher 
manner than green wounds, Phil. iii. 15; Tit. iii. 10. Ordinary 
physic will serve for a distemper newly begun, but a chronical 
disease must have harsher and stronger purges. Some offend 
ignorantly, others out of contumacy. Some offend out of meek- 
ness, being overborne by a sudden passion ; others of premeditated, 
contrived wickedness and perverseness. Some sins are of a lower 
nature, of lesser moment and influence upon others ; other sins 
overthrow the foundations of Christianity, and devour the vitals of 
religion. Now, according to the nature of the disease, and consti- 
tution of the patients, must the prescription be for their cure.^ 
Though all sins have one price for their satisfaction, yet not one 
way for their reprehension. If the linen be but a little foul, ordin- 
ary rubbing may serve ; but if it be dyed with dirt, it must have 
the more. Our Saviour called Herod, fox ; the master of the 
synagogue, hypocrite ; the scribes and pharisees, vipers. St Stephen 
calls the Jews, traitors and murderers. Cutting reproofs are for 
notorious offenders. A weak dose will but stir up, not purge away, 
their noxious humours.^ 

5. Eeprove compassionately ; soft words and hard arguments do 
well together.3 Passion will heat the sinner's blood, but compassion 
heal his conscience. Our reprehension may be sharp, but our 
spirits must be meek. The probe that searcheth the wound will 
put the patient to less pain, and do the more good, if covered with 
soft lint : those who oppose themselves are to be instructed in 
meekness, 2 Tim. ii. 25. There is a rigid austerity, which is apt 
to creep into, and corrupt our reproofs. Mollifying ointments are 
often instrumental to abate great swellings. The iron of Napthali's 
shoes were dipped in oil. Eeproofs should be as oils or ointments, 
gently rubbed in by the warm fire of love. The chirurgeon that 
setteth the bone stroketh the part. If love do not play its part 
in this scene, we do but act a tragedy. The more thou canst per- 
suade him of thy affection, the better will he take thy reprehension. 
The sweetest kisses of an enemy are rejected with disdain, but even 
the wounds of a friend are received with applause, Prov. xxvii. 6. 
Such as, in reproving, shew their anger more than their love, rather 

^ Juvenes plerunque severitas admonitionis ad profectum dirigit ; Senes vero ad 
meliora opera deprecatio blanda componit. — Greg. 

^ Qui blando verbo castigatus non corrigitur, acrius necesse est arguatur ; cum do- 
lore sunt abscindenda, quse leniter sanari non possunt,— /suZ., lib. iii. De Somno, 
cap. 46. 

' Plus proficit arnica correctio quam accusatio turbulenta ; ilia pudorem incutit, 
hsec indignationem movet. — Amb. in Lucam. 


exasperate than heal. Of all seasons, the chirurgeon had need to be 
sober, and farthest from being drunk with passion, when he is to cut 
off a gangrened member. The reprover should have a lion's stout 
heart, or he will not be faithful ; and a lady's soft hand, or he is not 
like to be successful. Holy Paul, speaking of his coming to re- 
prove some delinquents amongst the Corinthians, tells them, 'And 
lest when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and 
that I shall bewail many who have sinned,' 2 Cor. xi. 21. He that 
would gather fruit, must pluck the bough gently towards him ; if 
too hard, he may break it. A reprover is like one that is taking a 
mote out of his brother's eye ; now this must be done very ten- 
derly. For this purpose it would be convenient (where it may be) 
that reproofs be given privately. We administer physic to persons 
in their chamber. He that proclaims another's crimes up and down 
the country, wrongs his own soul, in walking contrary to the com- 
mand, ' First tell him his fault between him and thee,' Mat. xviii. 
15, 16 ; and he wrongs his neighbour in hardening him hereby in 
his sin ; for this man thinks the sinner designeth to reproach, not 
to reform, therefore he throweth the reproof with indignation back 
in his face. Socrates,! at a banquet, falling out with one of his 
friends, twitted him with his faults ; How much better had this 
been done in private ? said Plato. And had you not done better to 
have told me so privately ? said Socrates. Qui peccant coram 
omnibus^ coram omnibus corripiendi sunt, ut omnes timeant. Qui 
secreto pecavit in te, secreto corripe. Nam si solus nosti, et eum 
viscoram aliisarguere, non es corrector, sedproditor. — Aug. Be Verb. 
Domini} ' If thy brother offend thee,' saith Christ, ' tell him of it 
between thee and him,' Mat. v. Other crimes are not to be cried 
at a market. Private reproof is the best grave to bury private 
faults ill. 3 The plaster should not be larger than the sore. Our 
Saviour did not tell the woman of Samaria of her wickedness whilst 
the disciples were with him, but when he had sent them away, 
John iv. 

For this end it is also fit that reproof be given with as little re- 
flection as may be on the person reproved. ^ If there be anything in 
him worthy of praise, do not pass it by. We take pills the better 
when they are well gilt ; children lick up their medicines the more 

^ Diog. Laert. in Vit. Socrat. 

' Quicquid lacerato animo dixeris, punientis est impetus, non charitas corrigentis ; 
dilige, et die quicquid vales. — Aug. defin. 

* Ubi malum oritur, ibi moriatur. 

* Secrete admone amicos, palam lauda. — Sen. De Benef. 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 311 

freely when they are sprinkled with a little sugar ; a faithful his- 
torian will relate men's virtues as well as their vices. They are of 
a dunghill brood, that fasten only upon galled backs, and ulcerous 
sores, and take no notice of the sound flesh. Wise commanders, 
when their soldiers are making a dishonourable retreat, do not pre- 
sently upbraid them with cowardice, but often, by mentioning their 
former heroic courage, or their ancestors' noble carriage, inflame 
them with a desire to continue their repute and credit. Good 
nurses, when children fall first, help them up, and speak them fair, 
and then chide them. This were an excellent art to draw them to 
God whom thou couldst not drive; shame will not let such be 
angry with those that deal so equally the rod and crown. Some- 
times indirect reprehension hath wrought much good. A man 
may, by a parable or a history pertinent to the purpose, convince 
a sinner's conscience, and not openly injure his credit. Paul, in his 
sermon to Felix, seemed to shoot at random, not naming any, but 
his arrow pierced that unrighteous prince to the quick. The sun 
keeps the world in good temperature by moving in an oblique 
circle, not directly with the highest heavens, nor directly contrary, 
but fetching a compass a little over-thwart. The saint may keep 
the sinner from that heat and rage, which is apt to boil under re- 
proof, by fetching a little compass about. The reproof may some- 
times be given in our own persons, and declaring how ill it would 
have been for us to have run into such riotous courses ; so the 
apostle Paul reprehended the sect- makers in Corinth, by transfer- 
ring it to himself and Apollos, 2 Cor. iv. 6. A wise reprover in this 
is like a good fencer, who, though he strike one part, yet none that 
stand by could perceive by his eye, or the carriage of his arm, that 
he aimed at that more than the rest. We esteem it a singular 
commendation in a chirurgeon, when he can cure a wound in the 
face, and leave no scar behind. Indeed, some wounds are so great 
that this cannot be done ; yet a good chirurgeon will always endea- 
vour it, and leave as little a scar as possibly he can. Pliny tells 
us of one Martia, who had the child in the womb killed by light- 
ning, and yet she herself was unhurt. It is excellent when a Boan- 
erges can so cast forth lightning, as to kill sin in his conscience, 
and not hurt the sinner in his repute. To avoid this, it was or- 
dained among the Lacedsemonians, that every transgressor should 
be his own corrector ; for his punishment was to compass the altar, 
singing an invective made against himself. It is a singular credit • 
to the Christian, if he can open, and so heal men's sores, as not to 
leave any brand upon their persons. We read that God appointed 


snuff-dishes, as well as snuffers, for the lamps of the tabernacle, and 
both to be of pure gold, Exod. xxxvii. 23. The snuffers noted, 
that those who check any fault in others, should be free themselves ; 
the snuff-dishes noted, that those crimes which we reprove, we 
should forgive and remit. The Rabbis say, that those snuff-dishes 
were filled with sand, to bury the snuffs in. He who snuffs a 
candle, and throws the snuff about the room, gives ofi'ence to more 
by the ill savour he makes, than content by his care and dili- 

There is hardly any work of Christianity which requires more 
wisdom than this of admonition. The temper and quality of the 
persons, the nature and difference of the crimes, the manner and 
way of delivering the reproof, the fittest season for it, ought all to 
be seriously and diligently considered. The rebuke of sin is aptly 
resembled to the fishing for whales ; the mark is big enough, one 
can hardly miss hitting ; but if there be not sea-room enough, and 
line enough, and a dexterity in letting out that line, he that fixeth 
his harping-iron in the whale, endangers both himself and his boat. 
Eeproof strikes an iron, as it were, into the conscience of the 
offender, which makes him struggle, and strive to draw the 
reprover into the sea, to bring him into disgrace and contempt ; 
but if the line be prudently handled, and not pulled too strait, 
nor too quick, the sinner may be drawn to the reprover, and saved. 

I confess this duty of reproving is a hard and unpleasing task, 
because truth ordinarily begets hatred ; but it is far better that men 
should hate thee for the discharge of thy duty, than that God 
should hate thee for the neglect of it ; i it is much easier to endure 
their rage for a short time, than the Lord's wrath for ever. If the 
persons reproved have any true love to themselves, they will love 
thee ; and truly that man's love is little worth, who hath none for 
his own soul. Therefore, reader, obey God's precept, and leave the 
event to his providence : ' Have no fellowship with the unfruitful 
works of darkness, but rather reprove them,' Eph. v. 11. If thou 
canst advantage and gain their souls, they will give thee thanks ; 
if not, thy God will ; and surely his thanks are not to be esteemed 
at a low rate.2 It hath many times been experienced, that faithful 
reprehensions have procured, though present ill-will, yet respect 

1 Molestus est medicus furenti phrenetieo, et pater indisciplinato filio ; ille in 
ligando, iste csedendo, sed ambo diligendo. Si autem istos negligant et perire 
.permittant, ista potius falsa mansuetudo crudelis est. — Avg. ad Bonif. 

* Remedia statim mordent vel offendunt, postea conferunt salutem vel voluptatem ; 
Ita salubria monita initio sunt nonnihil amara, postea correcto jucundissima. — Plut. 
in Moral. 

Chap, III.] the christian man's calling. 313 

afterwards. Dean Colet, for delivering his conscience by way of 
reproof, before Henry the Eighth, at the siege of Tournay, was 
questioned by the Privy Councillors, but within a short time he got 
a large interest in the king's heart, by the discharge of his duty. 
' He that rebuketh a man, shall afterwards find more favour than he 
that flattereth with his tongue,' Prov. xxviii. 23.1 The sick patient, 
who at present wrangleth with his physician for his bitter potions, 
doth afterwards, when he findeth the happy effect of it in his 
health and recovery, both thank and reward him. Though thou 
meetest with an ungrateful return in his passion, yet thou may est, 
when that cloud is dispersed, expect a more serene and pleasing 
requital ; however, the best way to lose a friend (if thou canst not 
keep him and a good conscience too) is by seeking, by thy love and 
faithfulness, to save him. 

Sixtlily, Mourn for those sins which thou canst not amend ; 
those sins which thou canst not beat down with a stream of truth, 
do thou overcome with a flood of tears. When others kindled a 
fire of lust, David drew water, and poured it out before the Lord : 
' Kivers of tears run down mine eyes, because the wicked forsake 
thy law,' Ps. cxix. 135. Mark the intension of David's passion 
upon the disobedience of wicked persons. Sighs are an ordinary 
sign of grief, but tears a far greater. What sorrow was then in 
David's heart, when not only tears, but rivers of tears, ran down 
his eyes ! Surely the fountain of sorrow was very full and deep, 
when the streams did run so fast and freely. Others' guilt calleth 
aloud to thee for grief. Do they wound their souls by sin ? do thou 
wound thy own soul with sorrow. Alas ! how is it possible thou 
canst be amongst them that dishonour the blessed God, grieve his 
holy Spirit, and break his righteous commands, and not have thine 
heart broken ? Lot vexed his righteous soul with the unclean con- 
versation of the Sodomites,. 2 Pet. ii. 8. Unless thou hast lost thy 
spiritual scent, thou canst not endure the stench of their filthy, 
unsavoury breath, without much perplexity and trouble. ' I re- 
membered the transgressors, and was grieved, because they kept 
not thy law,' Ps. cxix. 158. He that hath any part of the new man 
in himself, must needs be offended at the old man in others. It is 
presumed he is of a dishonest mind, who is not offended at the 
cheats and thefts of others. Every creature is disturbed at that 
which is contrary to its own nature. If grace be the object of my 

^ Nihil pr'obat spiritualem virum, sicut peccati alieni tractatio ; quum liberationem 
ejus potius quam insultationem, potius auxilia quam c.onvitia meditatur, et quan- 
tum facultas tribuitur suscipit. — Aug., Sup. Epist. ad Gal. 


joy and delight, sin must needs be the object of my grief and 
sorrow. ' My soul shall weep in secret for your pride,' saith Jere- 
miah, chap. xiii. 17. 

Eeader, if thou lovest thy God with all thine heart, thou canst 
not but mourn that others should hate him, and walk contrary to 
him. We grieve as truly for wrongs done to those whom we sin- 
cerely affect, as for injuries done to ourselves. When one of Darius's 
eunuchs saw Alexander the Great setting his foot and trampling 
upon a table that had been highly esteemed by his master, he 
fell a-weeping; of which, when Alexander asked the reason, he 
answered, ' I weep to see that which my master esteemed at so 
high a rate made thy footstool.' i A gracious person cannot hear 
or see the Son of God, the word of God, and the people of God, 
which his God prizeth at a high rate, vilified, trampled under foot, 
and slighted by wicked men, but he falls a-weeping. ' My tears 
have been my meat day and night, while they say unto me con- 
tinually, Where is thy God?' Ps. xlii. .3. The dishonour of his 
God went nearer to his heart than his own distress, though David's 
condition was very sad at that season. Because others did eat the 
bread of violence, and drink the iwine of deceit, he did eat his bread 
with tears, and mingle his drink with weeping. As when they 
were sick he fasted, so when they sinned he prayed and mourned. 

Hasten out of evil company, if thou hast no hopes of doing good. 
That company may \Vell be to thee as the torrid zone, where wicked- 
ness sits in the chair, and religion is made a footstool. Though 
thou mayest pass through such a climate as thy occasions require, 
yet it is not safe to dwell in so unwholesome an air. Men that are 
forced to walk by unsavoury carcases hold their breath, and hasten 
away as soon as they can. It is ill being an inhabitant in any 
place where God is an exile. A little before the destruction of 
Jerusalem, there was a voice heard in the temple very terrible : 
Migremus Mnc, Let us go hence. That were a good motto for 
Christians in ill company, Let us go hence. Let such men know, 
as Manlius Torquatus told the Romans, that as they cannot bear 
thy strictness, so thou canst not endure their looseness. Take heed 
of staying in any place needlessly, out of which thy God is gone 
before thee : ' Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou 
perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge,' Pro v. xiv. 7. Running 
away was the means Joseph used against the wicked allurements 
of his mistress. It is not cowardice, but true courage, to turn the 
back upon sin and sinners. It doth often reflect upon our credits 

^ Diodor. Sicul., lib. xvii. 

Chap. Ill] the christian man's calling. 315 

to be amongst wicked men, (jEschinus the comedian blushed when 
he saw his father knock at the door of an infamous woman, i) 
but it will reflect upon our consciences to continue amongst them 
when our business with them is done. 

The apostle Peter, with many words, did exhort and testify, saying, 
' Save yourselves from this untoward generation,' Acts ii. 40. It 
appears to be a business of no small concernment and weight, that 
the apostle should use so many words about it. Wise men will 
not sjiend their time or breath in vain ; they do not send more 
messengers about any work than the consequence and worth of it 
rtquireth. Besides, as Beza observeth upon the place, he inter- 
poseth God's authority, and chargeth them in his name to save or 
guard themselves from such ill companions. "What hast thou to 
do with them that scorn to have anything to do with God ? The 
king may well frown on those, and deny to converse with them, 
that converse with traitors in no relation to his service. Eebekah 
must leave her father's and brother's house if she will be joined to 
Isaac. ' Hearken, daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear ; 
forget also thine own people, and thy father's house ; so shall the 
king greatly desire thy beauty,' Ps. xlv. 10, 11. 

A good loisli concerning a Christians carriage in evil company, 
ivherein the former heads are applied. 

The mighty possessor of heaven and earth, who governeth the 
world with infinite wisdom, and allotteth to all the children of 
men their several callings and habitations ; having permitted the 
chaff to continue amongst the corn, and appointed the tares to 
remain amongst the wheat till the great harvest day ; and calling 
me sometimes, by his providence, to deal with profane and vicious 
persons ; I wish I may be so sensible how difficult it is to be safe 
amongst such defilers and destroyers of souls, that I may walk 
with the more caution, whenever I walk in such company, and make 
them my fear, not my familiars, and rather my care than my com- 
panions. I know that I must go out of the world, if I will go 
away from the wicked. Ill humours will be amongst good in the 
body ; sins will be amongst graces in the soul, and sinners will be 
amongst saints on this earth. I am but a stranger here ; they are 

1 Terent. Adel. 


men of the world ; I must therefore expect, as Lot in Sodom, to be 
both vexed with their unclean conversations, and tempted to their 
violent corruptions. My God calleth them foxes for their craft, 
lions for their cruelty, and a generation of vipers for their rage 
and venom. In what danger therefore is my soul of being deceived 
and devoured by them ! How certainly will these ravenous beasts 
tear me in pieces, unless I stand upon my guard, and the keeper 
of Israel undertake my protection ! Lord, since it is not thy 
pleasure to free me from their company, grant me such help from 
thy good Spirit, that I may be free from their contagion. Though 
I may sit at the same table with them, as my occasions or relations 
require, let me never eat of their dish, nor feed on their dainties. 
I pray not that thou shouldst take me out of the world, but that 
thou shouldst keep me from the evil : ' Keep me from the snares 
which they lay for me, and from the gins of the workers of ini- 
quity,' Ps. cxli. Let the wicked rather fall into their own nets, 
whilst that I withal escape. 

I wish that the sense of my danger may keep me from being 
secure, and make me the more sedulous in the discharge of my 
duty. Sound eyes are apt to fall a-watering, by beholding and 
looking on sore eyes. Dry flax is not more apt to take fire, than 
my vicious nature to be inflamed ; the wet sheet of watchfulness 
is a good preservative. He had need to have much grace, who 
would not learn others' vice. It is hard to touch pitch and not 
be defiled. Ungodly men are Satan's bloodhounds, with which 
he hunteth my soul. How many hath he drawn into the pit of 
perdition by such cart-ropes! They are his strongest chains, 
wherewith he binds men now to his own work, and at last, as 
their wages, hales them to hell. Fruits of hotter countries, 
transplanted into colder climates, do not seldom die, through the 
chilling nips of the air, and the unsuitableness of the soil wherein 
they are planted ; there may be grace in my soul ready to flame 
heavenward, which may be soon quenched by the putrid fogs of 
evil companions. I know my God can keep me, (as he did the 
three children in the fiery furnace,) amongst them that are set on 
fire of hell, from being singed, or so much as having the scent of 
the fire on me ; but I know also, that then I must keep his way, 
and be watchful. Oh that I might keep my heart with such 
diligence, that, as the crystal, I may touch those toads, and not be 
poisoned ; yea, that as a true diamond in a ditch, I may sparkle 
with holiness, and shine brightly amongst defiled persons ! How 
natural is it to resemble their faults, whose faces I am wholly 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 317 

unlike ! I am apt, like a snowl)all, to carry away the dirt I am 
rolled upon ; and as an ape, to imitate those amongst whom I am, 
in their folly ; and to sin for company, rather than to he singular. 
But though the loadstone can draw iron, yet it cannot draw gold ; 
lightning may smite the dead oak, but not the green and fresh 
laurel ; though corrupt nature follow a multitude to do evil, yet 
grace, through the help of the Spirit, is invincible. Why may 
not my soul, like Moses's bush in the midst of fire, be kept from 
consuming ; and as Gideon's fleece, be moist, when all the earth 
about it is dry ? Oh that I might, as fish, retain my freshness in 
the saltest waters ; and never savour others' vices, or follow their 
steps, who depart from the commandments of my God ! Lord, 
whose promise is to thy disciples, ' They shall take up serpents ; 
and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them,' Mark 
xvi. 18, is it not thine own handwriting? and canst thou fail 
of fulfilling it? Oh let thy powerful presence accompany me, 
whithersoever thy providence calleth me ! Let thy preventing 
grace preserve me from receiving harm, and thy quickening mercy 
enable me to do good, that whereas thine enemies are apt to speak 
evil of me as an evil-doer, they may be ashamed who falsely 
accuse my good conversation in Christ, 1 Pet. iii. 16. 

I wish that I may be so far from receiving prejudice, that I may 
be profited by the worst of those with whom I associate. As my 
God created nothing in vain, so he permifs nothing but to some 
good purpose. It is true, wicked men are dogs. Mat. vii. 12, prone 
to fawn on me, that they may defile me; but even of dogs there may 
be a good use ; the flock is the more safe from wolves, and the house 
from thieves, through their watchfulness. They are dust, apt to 
breed vermin, but some creatures live upon it as their aliment, and 
in it as their element, and the basest rubbish may be serviceable 
about the foundation of a building ; 'the guts and garbage of some 
beasts are food to others. Doth not experience teach us that many 
fowls draw nourishment from unclean and filthy carcases ? Why 
may not my stomach be so good, and my spiritual constitution so 
strong, as to concoct such unwholesome food ? Lycurgus taught 
the Laceda3monians virtue, not only by the pattern of their sober 
Ephori, but also of the drunken helots, their slaves. Poisons are 
as necessary as the best diet, if they be in the hands of him who is 
able to improve and prepare them. Beer is the better, the more 
lively and brisk, for the grounds that are in the same vessel with it. 
Oh that my graces might be the more quick and active for the lees 
of others' vices, that their sins might increase my sanctity, both in 


makins: me more thankful to him who maketh me to differ, and 
more watchful over myself, lest I fall from my own steadfastness ! 
The mariners are directed in their sailings by rocks and shelves, as 
well as by the northern star ; my God instructeth Jonah by the 
shadow of a weed. Go to the pismire, thou sluggard ; consider her 
provident ways, and be wise to follow them. Observe the men of 
this world ; my soul, consider their wicked ways, and be wise 
to avoid them ! Ask these beasts of the earth, and they will teach 
thee, nay, shame thee. How unwearied are they in the pursuit of 
the world ! how diligent about their works of darkness ! how often 
do they lose their sleep to do mischief, and neglect their food and 
callings to indulge their fleshly lusts ! whilst thou, whose master is 
the Lord of glory, whose service is the only freedom, and whose 
recompense will be infinite, art loitering and lazing upon the bed 
of security ! Oh that thou mayest learn industry about the con- 
cernments of heaven and eternity, from others' industry about the 
affairs of this earth for a few days ; and take shame to thyself, that 
Satan's servants should be more forward to gratify their soul- 
destroyer, than thou art to please the blessed Saviour ! Lord, it is 
thy prerogative to cause light out of darkness, and to bring good 
out of evil ; teach thy servant to gather figs from these thistles, and 
to be the better because others are so bad ; because the wicked 
forsake thy law, therefore let me love thy commandments above 
gold, yea, above much fine gold. 

I wish that, though in pursuance of my calling I do afford my 
company to sinners, I may never bear them company in their sins. 
True gold will not change its colour or nature for the hottest fire ; 
the rock keeps its place, and is immovable, notwithstanding the 
continual dashing of the water ; the earth is not hurt either by 
the heat of summer or cold of winter ; though much dirt be flung 
at a post well oiled, it will not stick. My God hath enjoined me, 
' Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness ;' whence 
I learn these three things : — 

L That sin is a work of darkness. The prince of darkness is its 
father ; it is his natural offspring, therefore called the work of the 
devil, John viii. 44. A dark heart is its mother ; there it is con- 
ceived, thence it is brought forth. In dark holes these vermin breed 
and swarm, Eph. iv. 18 ; Hosea iv. 1-3 ; 2 Cor. iv. 4 ; its portion 
is utter darkness, blackness of darkness for ever ; all its inheritance 
lieth in darkness and the shadow of death. 

2. I learn that the works of darkness are unfruitful. The sin- 
ner makes a sad market of all his wicked wares ; he soweth vice, 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calllntg. . 319 

and reapetli vanity ; promiseth himself miicli pleasure, and findeth 
it wholly unprofitable. ' What fruit had ye in those things whereof 
ye are now ashamed ? for the end of those things is death.' Oh 
what a frightful monster is this miscreant ! It hath fruitlessness in 
the beginning, shame in the middle, and death in the conclusion. 

3. I learn that I ought not to have fellowship with these un- 
fruitful works of darkness ; indeed I have little reason, if I consider 
the two former particulars ; yet how prone am I to it, either by my 
silence when they sin, or by my secret compliance with them in 
their sin ! My corrupted heart is like touchwood, ready to take fire 
by the least spark. When others are bold to blaspheme God, I 
am apt, through an ungodly bashfulness, to hold my peace, little 
considering that I must one day answer, as well for my sinful 
silence as for every idle word. It is my duty to hold the jewel of 
my faitlx fast, lest Satan steal it from me ; to hold my profession 
to the end, lest by leaving my colours, I lose my crown ; but not to 
hold my peace in the quarrel of truth, lest by suffering sin in 
others, I wrong my own soul. Where is my love to others, if I 
stand still whilst they destroy themselves ? It may well break the 
strings of my tongue, as of the son of Cyrus,l when sin, like the 
Persian, is ready to kill my father, or brother, or neighbour. Evil 
men are like traitors, with whom if we act, or conceal, we are 
guilty. Where is my love to myself, if I take others' intolerable 
burdens on my own back ? Sin is a load too heavy for the stout- 
est, for the strongest, to carry. Should I by my silence give con- 
sent to others' oaths, or lies, or jeers at godliness and godly men, 
I become a party in their bonds, and liable to make satisfaction for 
their debts, and may expect every moment when divine justice 
should arrest me for them. my soul ! what answer dost thou 
give to these arguments ? Wouldst thou for all the world be one 
moment under the guilt of the least sin ? Didst thou never feel its 
weight, and water thy couch with tears by reason of it ? Hast 
thou not sighed out mournfully to God, There is no rest in my 
flesh, because of thine anger, nor quiet in my bones, because of my 
sin? And wilt thovi, for fear of men's displeasure, incur the 
infinite God's anger ? and to avoid, at most, a raze in thy flesh, 
admit a wide gash in thy conscience ? Oh that I might have more 
love to myself, and more respect for my neighbour, than to suffer 
sin upon him through my cowardly silence, or to join with him by 
any inward compliance, lest both be involved in the same vengeance ! 
Lord, the supplies of thy Spirit is the only preservative against all 

' Croesus. — Ed. 


infections ; be pleased to afford it to me, that I may keep myself 
pure in the most profane society, and no way be partaker of other 
men's sin. 

I wish that I may always make the choice of Moses, rather to 
suffer afiliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures 
of sin for a season ; yet that I may never, through my rash zeal, or 
indiscreet meddling with others' matters, or imprudent opening my 
mind to every seeming friend, bring myself into suffering. I have 
trials and troubles enough from others ; I need not be the procurer 
of any to myself. I am every way surrounded with foes, and shall 
I not be my own friend ? The world is my professed and danger- 
ous enemy, for his sake who hath chosen me out of the world ; 
because it cannot reach the Master, it wrangleth with, and abuseth 
his servants. He that is not its child, but born from above, must 
not expect to be its darling, but rather to be assaulted with its rage 
and revenge. The devil is my sworn and deadly adversary, always 
ready to put forth liis utmost power and policy for my ruin. His 
empire is large, his subjects all at his service, and all his forces 
shall be used to make me suffer. Besides, my God is pleased some- 
times, for the trial of my graces, and the purging out my corrup- 
tions, to cast me into manifold tribulations ; since I have then so 
many assaults and afliictions from others, I have small cause to 
afl&ict myself. I desire that I may try before I trust, and not un- 
lock the cabinet of my heart before all, lest some prove thieves. It 
is too ordinary for wicked ones, like executioners, with one hand to 
embrace a man, and with the other to pluck out his bowels. They 
may creep, and cringe, and fawn, and flatter, and as crows, peck 
out my eyes with praises, that they may afterwards more securely 
make a prey of me. They, as the spies sent by the scribes to 
Christ, feign themselves to be good men, that they might entrap 
him in his talk, Luke xx. 20. Should I believe all that may pre- 
tend love, I may quickly be bereaved of my livelihood and life. 
Companions of my secrets are Hke locks that belong to a house : 
whilst they are strong and close, they preserve me in safety ; but 
weak and open, they expose me to danger, and make me a prey to 
others. My foolish freedom of declaring my mind, may, like the 
devil in the possessed person, cast me sometimes into the fire, and 
sometimes into the water. Though many seemed to believe on 
Christ, he did not commit himself to them, because he knew all 
men, John ii. 21. Though many seem to affect me, I may not 
commit myself to them, because I know no man. They who, as 
Moses's rod, seem at present to be a staff to support and stay me. 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 321 

may by and by prove serpents to sting me. Oh that I might imitate 
my Saviour in his politics, as well as in his piety, and not, through 
my folly, put my outward comforts into the hands of them that hate 
me, and lay myself at their mercy. I would, as my Grod calleth me, 
own my Saviour in every company, and never deny him, who wit- 
nessed before Pontius Pilate a good confession for me ; but I desire 
that the feet of my zeal may always be directed by the eyes of 
knowledge and discretion, lest the faster and the farther they carry 
me, the more I wander to my woe. My God tells me, ' He that 
keepeth his mouth, keepeth his life ; but he that openeth wide his 
lips, shall be destroyed,' Prov. xiii. 3. Bees, though engaged in hot 
skirmishes with other insects, use not their stings ordinarily ; but 
when they are transported with rage, and blinded with passion, 
then they use them, to their own certain ruin and destruction. No 
less injurious is the fire of zeal to myself and others, where it is not 
bounded by wisdom, I fear many servants of God have felt the 
wrath of some men, (in a greater degree than they otherwise would,) 
through the immoderate heats of some few saints. If, under colour 
of hatred against sin, I fall foul upon persons, or instead of 
reproving sin, the work of the devil, revile magistracy, and the 
ordinance of God, I may expect to suffer, and with little comfort, 
because as an evil-doer. Zeal is like grenades, and other fireworks, 
which, if not well looked to and ordered, they do more hurt to them 
that cast them, than to the enemy. Oh that I might behave myself 
wisely in a perfect way, and behave myself prudently in the path 
of piety, that I may never be so foolish, as, with the silly fly, to 
burn myself in the candle of wicked men's power, nor yet so un- 
faithful, as to forsake my captain when he calleth me to fight the 
good fight of faith. Let my ambition be, to be high in my God's 
favour, and to have a large share in that eternal weight of glory 
above. Let my care be here below to study peace, and to meddle 
with my own business, (oh how much lieth upon my hands every 
day in reference to my everlasting concernments !) to affect rather 
quietness from the world, than acquaintance with it, and to pass 
through it as a pilgrim and stranger, with as little noise and notice 
as I can. Lord, whatsoever tribulation I meet with in the world, 
give me peace in thy Son ; make me as wise as a serpent, as inno- 
cent as a dove, that those who watch either to defile me in spirituals, 
or destroy me in civils, may be disappointed. Let me not trust 
in man, whose words may be softer than oil, when war is in his 
heart, but let my whole confidence be fixed on thyself. How freely 
may I unbosom myself to thee, without the least fear ! How 



willing art tliou to hear ! How able to help ! How true to all 
that trust thee ! Thy faithfulness never faileth ; thou art good, 
a stronghold in the day of adversity, and knowest them that trust 
in thee, 

I wish that I may confess Christ, whatsoever it may cost me, 
and though not thrust myself into danger, yet never betray my 
cause, or break through any command, to avoid the cruellest death. 
It is common with the hypocrite, as the snail, to look what weather 
is abroad, and if that be stormy, to pull in his horns and hide his 
head. The hedgehog alters his hole according to the wind. The 
swallow changeth his nest according to the season. The bird piralis 
takes the colour off any cloth on which she sits. There is a tree, 
say some naturalists, which opens and spreads its leaves when any 
come to it, and shuts them at their departure from it. The flies 
will abound in a sunshiny day, but if once it be cloudy, they vanish. 
When Christ rides to Jerusalem in triumph, many cry Hosanna, 
who, when he is taken and tried for his life, cry, Crucify, crucify. 
The jacinth is changed with the air ; in a clear season it is bright, 
but if the air be overcast, it is darksome. The unsound Christian 
is often suitable to his company : if they own godliness, it shall 
have his good word ; if they disrelish it, he can spit in the face of 
it. But pure coral keeps its native lustre, and will receive no 
colouring. The upright soul is constant in his profession, and 
changeth not his behaviour according to his companions. Oh that 
I might never, through shame or fear, disown him who hath already 
acknowledged me ! Alas ! I have that in me, which he might well 
count a disgrace to him. I am his creature, and so infinitely his 
inferior. The vilest beggar is not near so much below the most 
potent emperor, as I am in this respect to the great God and my 
Saviour. The whole creation is to him as nothing, yea, less than 
nothing, and vanity ; what then am I, poor silly worm, that lie 
grovelling in this earth ? I am a sinner, and thereby his dis- 
paragement and dishonour. If a sober master be ashamed of a 
deboice, drunken servant, much more may the Holy Jesus be 
ashamed of me, an unholy wretch, and traitorous rebel against 
his crown and dignity ; yet for all this distance, for all this dif- 
ference, he is graciously pleased to acknowledge me, and shall not 
I own him ? 

If I be ashamed of him, I am a shame to him. But why should 
I be ashamed of Christ ? The object of shame is some evil which 
hath guilt or filth in it ; but he knew no sin, though he was made sin 
for me, that I mi<rlit become the righteousness of God in him. He 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 323 

was a lamb without spot and blemish. None of his malicious 
enemies could convince him of sin. He is so far from being the 
object of shame, that he is infinitely worthy to be my boast and 
glory. He is the prince of life, the Lord of glory, the King of 
kings, the fountain of all excellency and perfection. The highest 
emperors have gloried in being his vassals. Angels count it 
their honour to serve the meanest of his servants ; and shall I 
think it a disgrace to be one of his attendants ? Oh that I 
might be ashamed of my sins, loathe myself for all my abomina- 
tions, be often confounded, because I bear the reproach of my 
youth ; but in no company, be it never so great or profane, be 
ashamed of him who is the blessed and only potentate, and the 
glory of his people Israel ! 

Again, why should I out of fear disown my Saviour ? Is there 
any safety but in sanctity ? Whilst I travel in the king's high- 
way, I have a promise of protection, but if I leave that upon any 
pretence, I run myself into peril and perdition. Those that, when 
called to fight, fly from their colours, die without mercy. What 
can I expect if I leave the captain of my salvation, but martial 
law, even eternal death ? I may, possibly, by my cowardice, keep 
my skin whole, but I wound my conscience ; I sink my soul to 
save my body ; as Lot, prostitute my daughter, my dearest off- 
spring, that will abide with me for ever, to save my guests, which 
lodge with me for a night, and will be gone from me in the morn- 
ing. What is it I fear, that I should be guilty of so heinous a 
fault ? Is it the world's frowns and fury ? Why, its kindness is 
killing, and therefore its cruelty is healing. If my God see it 
good, he can and will defend me from the world's cruelty, without 
my denying Christ, and in direct courses ; and if it be his will that 
I suffer for well-doing, I may commit the keeping of my soul to him, 
as to a faithful Creator. Certainly there is nothing to be gotten 
by the world's love, and nothing worth ought to be lost by its 
hatred. Why then should I seek that love which cannot help me, 
or fear that hate which cannot hurt me ? If I should be so foolish 
as to love it for loving me, my God would hate me for loving it. 
Do not I know that the friendship of the world is enmity against 
God ? If I loathe it for hating me, it cannot injure me for loathing 
it. Let it then hate me, I will forgive it ; but if it love me, I will 
not requite it ; for since its love is hurtful, and its hate harmless, 
I may well contemn its fury, and hate its favour. Lord, thou hast 
commanded me neither to love the world's smiles, nor to fear its 
frowns. I acknowledge that its allurements have been too preva- 


lent in gaining my love, and its afFrightments too powerful in 
causing my fear. Oh that thy exceeding rich and precious pro- 
mises might make me despise all its glorious proffers, and faith in 
thy threatenings stablish my heart against all its childish bugbears. 
The fear of man bringeth a snare, but he that trusteth in thee is 
sure. Let the dread of thy majesty swallow up, as Moses' rod the 
Egyptians', all fear of men. And since thy truth hath no need of 
my lie, thy power hath no need of my sin to preserve me safe, let 
me never break over the hedge of any of thy precepts, to avoid an 
afflicting providence, but in a way of well-doing, commit my ways 
unto the Lord, and my thoughts shall be established. Suffer me 
never to say, A confederacy, to them, to whom thine enemies say, 
A confederacy ; neither to fear their fear, but to sanctify thee, the 
Lord of hosts, and to make thee my fear continually, 

I wish that, since my God intends, in all his providences, my 
spiritual and eternal good, I may gain something by those that are 
most graceless ; and though Satan purposeth my defilement in my 
converses with them, yet they may prove my profit and advantage. 
That blowing which seems to disperse the flames and trouble the 
fire, doth make it burn the more clear ; the waters of others' oppo- 
sition may increase my spiritual heat ; a dull whetstone may set 
an edge upon a knife ; a mean, vile porter may bring me a con- 
siderable present ; black coals may scour and- make iron vessels 
bright ; ashes cast upon fire put it not out, but are helpful to pre- 
serve it all night against the morning, which would otherwise be 
consumed. Why may not my soul find some pearl in the heads of 
these toads, and get some spiritual riches by trading with them for 
temporal ? Naturalists tell me it is wholesome for a flock of sheep 
to have some goats amongst them, their bad scent being physical 
to preserve the sheep from the shakings. Surely, then, the presence 
of ungodly men may sometimes be profitable for me, and prevent 
that lightness and vanity which I am too apt to discover in every 
company. Though I am loose amongst my friends, and it be my 
sorrow, I had need to be serious amongst mine enemies, lest I 
become their scorn. Frankincense put into the fire giveth the 
greater perfume. Civet doth not lose its savour, but is the sweeter, 
in a sink. Oh that my soul might draw the nearer to God, because 
others depart further from him ; and do him the more service, and 
be the more diligent at his work, because they are so unworthy and 
wicked. Executioners and hangmen are helpful to a country, to 
free them from those felons and murderers that would destroy the 
inhabitants. My sins may receive their death's wounds, through 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 325 

the hands of them who have no true love to me. My pride may 
well be abated, because of their profaneness. Free grace alone 
makes me to differ. I had been as bad as the worst of them, if 
infinite mercy had not preserved me. I shall be as bad, if boundless 
love do not prevent me : to God alone, therefore, belongs the glory. 
Possibly they may sometimes twit me with my faults, and herein 
they may prove my friends. Every man hath need of a monitor. 
My friends too often are cowardly, and afraid to tell me my errors, 
lest they should give offence. My enemies will speak their minds 
freely, if they know anything amiss by me, and so do me a great 
kindness. Myrrh, though bitter, may heal wounds, and preserve 
from putrefaction ; so may the taunts and gibes of ungodly men 
cure my inward sores, and make me watchful against future 
wandering. It was a worthy speech of the Macedonian King 
Philip, when he was told that Nicanor spake evil of him, I believe 
he is honest, and I fear I have deserved it. 

I may also be the better for wicked men's counsel, as well as 
their carping, if I have but the wit to follow it so far as it is good. 
Evil Joab gave good counsel to David, and had he desisted upon it 
from numbering the people, it might have saved the lives of some 
thousands. It is ordinary indeed to value the advice by the person, 
and thereby it becomes unprofitable. But is silk the less precious, 
because it is spun -by vile worms ? Are roses the less sweet, because 
they grow amongst briers and brambles ? Silver and gold are not 
the worse by being taken out of the lowest element, the earth. 
That wine may strengthen and refresh my nature, which is drawn 
out of a wooden or worm-eaten cask. Oh that I might take the 
counsel of the worst in that which is good, and refuse the counsel 
of the best in that which is evil ! Lord, thou canst command that 
these stones of wicked men be made bread to nourish my soul. 
Teach me by their falls to walk more humbly with thee, and to 
cleave more fast to thy Son, through whose strength alone I stand. 
Blessed be thy justice, which hath made them examples to me; 
and blessed be thy mercy, that hath not made me an example to 

I wish that, whilst my God calleth me among them, I may do 
good to them, as well as receive good from them ; that I may, as 
musk, cast a fragrancy amongst such coarse and foul linen. Though 
I hate their sins, yet I am bound to love and pity their souls. It 
is true, they are vile and vicious, they work iniquity, they walk after 
the flesh, they walk contrary to God, and bid him depart from 
them. But may I not say, ' Father, forgive them, they know 


not what they do' ? Did they know him, they would not, by their 
sins, crucify afresh the Lord of glory. It is no wonder that blind 
men should wander out of the right way, that those who have been 
kept in dungeons all their days should be contented with the poor 
rush-candles of creature comforts, and never desire nor inquire 
after the Sun of righteousness. Alas ! the god of this world hath 
blinded their minds, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, 
who is the image of God, should shine unto them. He knoweth 
that, did they but see the grace they abuse, the love they despise, 
the excellency and certainty of that salvation which they neglect, 
and the extremity and endlessness of that misery which they are 
hastening to, they would quickly turn about, and mind the things 
which concern their everlasting peace ; therefore he holds his black 
hand over their eyes, and so they are alienated from the life of 
God through the ignorance that is in them. Oh what pity should 
I have for such ignorant persons as are running hoodwinked to 
hell ! If to him that is afflicted pity should be shewn, what pity 
doth he call for who is aU over infected with sin, and every moment 
in danger of everlasting death ! Can I be troubled to behold the 
blind, or the lame, or the sick, and have I no bowels for those souls 
that lie weltering in their blood ! Besides, the time was that I had 
as low thoughts of God and his ways, and as high thoughts of the 
flesh and the world, as they. I was once in theii' condition, a ser- 
vant of sin, an heir of wrath, and therefore I owe them the more 
compassion. Those that have been sensible of the stone, or gout, 
or toothache, are the more pitiful towards them that are affected 
with the same pain. My God bids me to be gentle, shewing all 
meekness towards all men, Titus iii. 2, 3 ; because I myself was 
sometimes disobedient, deceived, and serving divers lusts and plea- 
sures. When I was wallowing in my uncleanness, and priding 
myself in my pollutions, the heart of my God was turned towards 
me, and the hand of mercy open to me. my soul, shall not that 
infinite perdition to which thou wast obnoxious, and that infinite 
compassion of which thou hast tasted, prevail with thee to pity 
others ! Oh that thou wert so affected with the misery thou hast 
deserved, and that rich love and grace which thou hast received, 
that thou mightest seriously and studiously endeavour, by thy affec- 
tionate counsel, pious carriage, and prudent admonition, that others 
may be partakers of the same mercy and grace ! If my carriage be 
unblameable, my counsel and reproof will be the more acceptable ; 
wholesome meat often is distasteful, coming out of nasty hands. 
A bad liver cannot be a good counsellor or bold reprover ; such a 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 327 

man must speak softly, for fear of awaking his own guilty conscience. 
If the bell be cracked, the sound must needs be jarring. 

I desire that I may be as bold to reprove, as others are to commit 
sin ; yet that I may be so prudent as never to reproach the sinner 
when I reprove the sin, lest I break their heads instead of their 
hearts, and make them fly in my face, instead of falling down at 
God's feet. Bone-setters must deal very warily, and physic is given 
with great advice, and in dangerous diseases, not without a consul- 
tation. I would distinguish between crimes, and not fall upon any, as 
the Syrians did on Gilead, Amos i. 3, with a flail of iron, when a small 
wand may do the work, nor, as Jeroboam i threatened Israel, chastise 
them with scorpions, who may be reformed with whips. It was not 
the heat, but the cool of the day, when my God came down to reprove 
Adam. The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 
It is in vain to undertake to cast out Satan with Satan, or sin with 
sin. I must turn anger out of my nature, but I must not turn my 
nature into anger. Yet let me be serious, not light in all my 
admonitions. It is ill playing or jesting with one that is destroy- 
ing and damning himself. Would it not stick close to me another 
day, should I laugh at them at this day that are going into the 
place of weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth ? My frothy 
carriage would, as Hazael's cloth dipped in water, instead of re- 
covering, stifle my brother to death. Physic works best when it is 
warm. I must love my neighbour as myself True self-love will 
throw the first stone at its own sin. I may not suffer sin in myself, 
therefore not in my neighbour. Lord, thou hast commanded me 
in any wise to rebuke my neighbour, and not to suffer sin upon 
him. I confess it is an unpleasing work to rake into sores and 
ulcers. If I lance festered wounds, I make the patients angry by 
putting them to pain ; and oh, how averse is my wicked heart to 
such a task ! I am prone to fear their ill-will more than thine, 
and rather to let them rot in the honey of flattery, than preserve 
and save them by faithful admonition. How backward is my 
cowardly spirit to undertake the work ! how many excuses will it 
plead for its neglect ! When through grace I have overcome those 
lets and hindrances, how flatteringly and unfaithfully do I go about 
it! rather stroking the sinner than striking the sin. Oh pardon 
my omissions of this duty, and all my falseness in the performance 
of it ! Let thy Spirit so encourage me, that I may not fear the 
faces of men ; so direct me, that affectionately, prudently, and 
zealously I may admonish them that go astray ; and oh do thou 

^ Rehoboam. — Ed. 


SO prosper and bless, that I may bring them home to thy flock 
and fold. 

I wish that I may unfeignedly bewail others' wickedness, and 
lament that dishonour to my God, which I cannot hinder. It is an 
ill sign of my sonship, for others to blaspheme the name of my 
father, and me to be insensible. Adoption is ever accompanied with 
filial affection. If I expect the privileges, I must ensure the pro- 
perties of a child. Nature will teach me to be troubled for affronts 
that are offered to the father of my flesh, and will not grace enable 
me to be grieved at the dirt which wicked men throw in the face of 
the Father of spirits. Again, I must not look for freedom from 
others' sufferings, unless I lay to heart their sins. The mourners 
in Zion are those that in a common calamity are marked for safety, 
Ezek. ix. The destroying angel will take me to be as guilty as 
others, if it find me without grief, and so wrap me up in their 
punishments. My God himself j.udgeth me infected with those sins 
for which I am not afflicted ; and can I then think to escape ? Oh 
that my head were water, and mine eyes fountains of tears, that I 
might weep day and night, for the iniquity and misery of dying, 
gasping sinners ! Lord, thou canst fetch water out of this rocky 
heart, and open the sluices of my eyes ; break my heart, because 
others break thy commands. When others kindle the fire of thine 
anger, help thy servant to draw water, and pour it out before thee. 
Let me be so far from seeing others provoke the eyes of thy glory 
without sorrow, that whenever I remember the transgressors I may 
be grieved, because they forsake thy statutes ; let rivers of tears 
run down mine eyes, when the wicked forsake thy law. 

I cannot for my life so carry myself, but I shall sometimes fall 
amongst wicked men. Whilst I am amongst them I endanger my 
soul, either by complying with, or conniving at, them in their evil 
actions. There is no safety in evil society. Such pitch is apt to 
defile my conscience. Who can expect to come off without loss 
from such cheats and jugglers ? It is the peevish industry of Avicked- 
ness to find or make a fellow. Besides, they are children of the 
world, whose friendship is enmity against my God ; they are chil- 
dren of disobedience, therefore contrary to my new nature, and so 
must needs be uncomfortable to me ; children of the devil, therefore 
traitors against Christ, and so abominable to my God. I cannot 
be certain not to meet with evil companions, but I will be careful 
not to be their consorts. I would willingly sort myself with such 
as should either teach me virtue, or learn of me to avoid vice. And 
if my companion cannot make me better, nor I him good, let me 

Chap. III.] the christian man's calling. 329 

rather leave him ill, than he should make nTe worse. Though, if T 
depart from them, the world will judge me proud, yet, should I stay 
with them needlessly, my God would count me profane ; and is it 
not better that men accuse me falsely, than God condemn me justly ? 
What need I care what men think, so God approve ? It is to his 
judgment that I must stand or fall for ever. It is likely that those 
who cannot defile my conscience will injure my credit, and publish 
to their fellows that I am a precise fool. But this is my comfort, 
there is a time coming when innocency will cause the greatest 
boldness, and freedom from sin will do me more service, and be 
infinitely more worth, than the highest renown that ever mortal 
acquired. Lord, thy people in this world are as lilies among 
thorns ; the Canaanites of the land are thorns in the eyes, and pricks 
in the sides of thy true Israelites. ' Woe is me, that I dwell inMesech, 
and my habitation is in the tents of Kedar ! My soul hath long 
dwelt with them that hate peace.' They like not me, because I am 
not like them, and count my company not good, because it is not 
bad, and I dare not sin with them. They are mine enemies, because 
I follow the thing that good is. Oh how black are their tongues 
with railing, and their hearts with rage, against them who dare not 
provoke thee as much as themselves ! I am ready to say now, upon 
the view of their abominations, and the hearing their oaths, and 
curses, and blasphemies. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and 
their rage, for it is cruel. my soul, enter not thou into their 
secrets ; mine honour, be not thou united unto them, for in their 
anger they seek to destroy souls, and in their self-will they dig pits 
to cause others to fall. Because they cannot defile the brethren, 
they defame the brotherhood, and disgrace them whom they cannot 
deceive. Let the heat of their lust increase my longing after that 
place where there is no Judas among thine apostles, no Demas 
among thy disciples ; where all the society will be of one mouth and 
mind, of one heart and way ; where all the company will join in 
concert, and the whole celestial choir tune their strings, and raise 
their voices to the highest pitch in sounding thine excellencies, and 
singing thy praises without sin or ceasing. There will be no Tobias 
to indict thy children of treason against men for their faithful- 
ness to thee ; there will be no Ahab to accuse thy best servants as 
troublers of the state, for reproving the idolatries and enormities 
of the church ; there will be no Balaam trying his hellish tricks, 
to make thy people a prey to their bodily foes, and a provocation 
by their sins to thy Majesty ; there will be no tares in that field, no 
straw in that barn, no vessels of dishonour in that house ; into it 


can in nowise enter anything that defileth or is unclean. The com- 
l)any there will be, not tempting me to wickedness, or taxing me 
with preciseness, but part of my felicity. Oh what a happy day 
will it be, when all profane Esaus, and scoffing Ishmaels, shall be 
cast out of the house, and I shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, 
and Jacob, and with none but the holy of the Lord, in the kingdom 
of heaven ! Holy Father, let the skirt of thy mercy cover all my 
iniquities and failings in evil company ; and grant that my carriage 
amongst such persons (whilst I am, through thy providence, forced 
to be amongst them) may be so pious and gracious, that at that 
great harvest-day, when thou wilt separate the chaff from the good 
corn, and burn it up with unquenchable fire, I may be wholly free 
from their vicious infections, and vexatious presence, and associate 
with the spirits of just men made perfect, an innumerable company of 
angels, the general assembly and church of the first-born, and enjoy 
them all in, and with, thy blessed self, for ever and ever ! Amen. 


How Christians may exercise themselves to godliness in good com- 
pany^ loith a good tuish about that particiUar. 

Having despatched the Christian's carriage in evil^ I proceed to 
liis behaviour in good company. 

The communion of saints is the most desirable and delectable 
society that the whole creation affordeth. God himself is pleased to 
delight in the assemblies of his people : ' He loveth the gates of 
Zion (where they met together) above all the dwellings of Jacob,' 
Ps. Ixxxvii, 2. The evil spirit is for solitariness ; he walketh in 
solitary places, seeking rest. Matt. xii. But God is for society ; 
he dwelleth among his cliildren, and bestoweth his choicest com- 
forts upon the congregations of his poor. The Father provideth 
the greatest cheer, and maketh the best feast, when many of his 
children come together to wait upon him, though each coming 
singly is welcome to his table. The Spirit of God fell down in an 
extraordinary measure upon the primitive Christians, when they 
were gathered together in one place, and with one consent. Acts ii. 
1, 2. Naturalists tell us that strife and quarrelling among the bees, 
is a sign that the queen-bee is about to leave the hive and be gone. 
It is plain that, when the disciples were scattered every man to his 
own home, the Lord Jesus was leaving them ; but when they were 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 331 

met together with one accord, then he cam^ unto them, and said, 
' Peace be unto you ; receive ye the Holy Ghost,' John xx. 

God cannot affect contentious spirits ; he would not appear in 
a blustering wind, or in an earthquake, but in a still, low voice. 
When the difference between Abraham and Lot was over, then God 
appeared to Abraham, Gen. xiii. 14. 

As God delights in the company of his children — Isa. Ixii. 4, 
' Thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah,' i.e., My delight is in her — so the 
saints delight in communion with one another. Things of like 
nature desire to be joined together. Love, the consequent of likeness, 
hath an attractive power, and covets the presence of the party be- 
loved. Balm put into the bee-hives, causeth the bees to come to- 
gether, and others to come to them. Grace, like fire, solders together 
those that before differed ; hence saints are like doves, they fly in 
troops to their windows, Isa. Ix. 8. Though the pelican be a 
melancholy bird, and naturally inclineth to deserts, yet when they 
remove their places, they go in companies, and the first stay for the 
last, as they fly over the mountains, Isa. xxxiv. 11 ; Eph. ii. 14. 
Though saints love sometimes to be solitary, as having secret busi- 
ness with their God, yet they do not forsake the assembling them- 
selves together. That verse, Ps. Ixxxiv. 7, which we read, ' They 
go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appearing 
before God,' Junius reads it, and so it is in the Hebrew, ' They go 
from company to company.' As they went up to Jerusalem, they 
went in troops and companies. Possibly we translate it strength, 
because much of our safety consisteth in good society. He that 
travels alone is easily made a prey, e?? avrjp ovSeU dvrjp, One man 
is no man. Even counties that have been large, have drawn them- ' 
selves into associations for mutual and common defence. 

Hebron, which was a type of the church, takes its name from 
cdbar, to accompany, and thence Chebron or Hebron, a pleasant or 
delectable society. The saints are all one family, one household, 
Gal. vi. 10; one body, Eph, iii. 6 ; one sheepfold, John x, 4, 16 ; 
one brotherhood, 1 Pet. ii. 4, 5 ; one building, one vineyard, one 
army, one spouse, Eph. i. 20-22 ; to shew that oneness which ought 
to be in affection among them. Christ tells us of his spouse : Cant. 
vi. 9, ' My dove is one, the only one of her mother ;' hence the primi- 
tive Christians, though some thousands, are said to be of one heart 
and of one soul — of one heart in unity of affection, and of one soul in 
unity of judgment. Acts iv. 32. In Tertullian's time the heathen ad- 
mired the Christians for their love, saying. Look how the Christians 
love one another. Jerusalem is a city compact together, at unity 


within itself, Ps. cxxii. 3 ; Phil. ii. 2 ; 1 Cor. i. 10. Babel was 
confounded by diversity of tongues ; and the citizens of Zion are 
confirmed by being of the same mind and mouth, by speaking all 
the same thing. Oh how many arguments doth the Spirit of God 
use to persuade them to oneness and unity ! He tells them they 
have one Father, Kom. viii, 14 ; one mother, Gal. iv. 26 ; that they 
are begotten by the same immortal seed, 1 Pet. i. 23 ; and nourished 
by the same milk, 1 Pet. ii. 2. He calls them co-workers in the 
same labours, co-heirs of the same life, Eom. xvi. 3, and viii. 17 ; 
stones of the same building, than which there cannot be a more 
firm connexion ; and branches of the same vine, than which there 
cannot be a more inherent inoculation. How pathetically doth the 
loving Kedeemer exhort his disciples to love and oneness ! He 
giveth them his precept : ' A new commandment give I unto you, 
that ye love one another ; ' not but that it was an old duty, but be- 
cause envy and malice had prevailed so much among the Jews, that 
to love was a new thing. Again, ' This is my commandment, that 
ye love one another,' as if there were nothing else that he required 
but tins, or as if this, of all the commandments, was that which 
Jesus loved best. He sets before them his own pattern : ' As I have 
loved you, so ought ye to love one another.' The love of Christ 
should prevail with Christians to lay down their lives for him, and 
shall it not prevail to lay down their strifes among themselves ? 
Further, how affectionately doth he pray to his Father to bestow 
this blessing upon them : ' That they all may be one ; as thou, 
Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. 
And the glory which thou hast given me I have given them ; that 
they may be one, even as we are one ; I in them, and thou in me, 
that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may 
know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved 
me,' i.e., Father, did we ever fall out ? Was there ever any discord 
between us? Why, then, should they that are thine and mine 
disagree ? John xvii. 21-23. 

Mark these three particulars about this prayer: 

1. The petitioner, that is, Christ, who was the wisdom of the 
Father, in him dwelt the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He 
fully understood what request would be most advantageous for his 
people. Besides, he was the head and husband of his church, natu- 
rally caring for her welfare as his own, and so his love would prompt 
him to desire what his wisdom saw most conducing to her happiness. 

2. The repetition of his petition. He begs the same boon of his 
Father four times in three verses. He had the Spirit without mea- 

Chap, IV.] the christian man's calling. 333 

sure, aud so could not be guilty of vain tautologies. Surely then 
that which Christ, whose wisdom was unsearchable, and whose love 
to his beyond all compare, doth press with so much earnestness 
and instance, must needs be of very great weight and consequence. 

3. The particular season of this petition, for unity, or the subject 
of it. He had in the former part of his prayer confined himself 
within the narrow compass of the apostles ; but in the 20th verse, 
having made a perfect transition from them to all believers, to all 
that should believe on him through their word, he is importunate 
with his Father for their union and unity. When the dearest Re- 
deemer puts the whole company of believers together, both Jews 
and Gentiles, that were at that present, or ever should be in the 
world, he pitcheth upon this as the most eminent petition he could 
put up for them. It is not that they all may be enriched, or hon- 
oured upon earth ; nay, it is not that they all may be adopted, 
sanctified, and saved ; but that they all may be one as we are one; 
as if the whole kingdom of grace and glory did consist in this, and 
as if this once obtained, all were done that was needful for them. 
Besides, he makes this the visible character of their Christianity, 
that badge which would publish to all they met their relation to 
Christ : ' By this shall all men know ye are my disciples, if ye love 
one another.' This is the livery which will speak to what master 
ye belong. By this, not by casting out devils, but by casting out 
discord ; not by relieving one another occasionally, but by loving 
each other fervently, shall all men know ye are my disciples. 

The differences amongst Christians can never be sufficiently 
lamented. That they who are all near to God should behold one 
another afar off, and they who are all acquainted with Christ 
should be unacquainted among themselves. Job laments this fault 
in his three friends : ' These ten times have ye reproached me ; are 
ye not ashamed that ye have made yourselves strange unto me ? 
Job xix. 3. That they who are brethren, begotten of the same father, 
born of the same mother, fed at the same table, educated under the 
same tutor, attended with the same servants, arrayed with the same 
garments, and heirs of the same inheritance, should be strange to 
one another, is a great, a gross shame. Many hundred devils can 
agree together in one man, and yet in some parts not ten Christians 
can agree together in one house. One of the fathers was so much 
affected with the divisions of Christians, that he professed himself 
ready to let out his heart blood to cement them together. Both the 
honour of religion and our own interest do both command us to 
unite. It was no small reflection on Christians that Mohammed's 


great champion should have cause to say, I shall sooner see my 
fingers all of a length, than Christians all of a mind. It is true, 
till we have all one eye, we shall never in all things be of one judg- 
ment. But must a small difference in opinion cause such a distance 
in affection ? Must we make the devils and enemies of Christ 
music by our discords ? When the foes of God and our own souls 
are in sight of us, shall we be fighting to make them sport, and to 
give them an opportunity to destroy us ? The wicked of the world 
warm themselves by that fire of division which the heats of some 
weak Christians kindle. It is observable that the Spirit of God, 
mentioning the contention between the herdsmen of Abraham's 
cattle, and the herdsmen of Lot's cattle, immediately subjoins, in 
the same verse, ' And the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelt then in 
the land,' Gen. xiii. 7 ; some think to shew the occasion of the 
difference betwixt them, their cattle increasing so much, and those 
nations dwelling among them, they had not sufficient room, and 
therefore wrangled ; others think that latter clause is inserted to 
shew the heinous aggravation of their sin. It had been bad enough 
to have quarrelled where none but saints had been in company, and 
spectators of their strife ; but it is much worse to fall out in the 
midst of their enemies ; hereby they expose their profession to 
derision, and their persons to destruction. Plutarch observes, that 
Dion calmed the boisterous spirits of his mutinous soldiers, by say- 
ing. Your enemies yonder, pointing to the castle of Syracusa, which 
he then besieged, behold your mutinous behaviour. And shall 
neither the eyes of men nor angels, nor of God himself, which 
always observes the strifes and contentions amongst his children, 
prevail with them to put away envying, and variance, and emula- 
tion, and wrath, and persuade them to keep the unity of the Spirit 
in the bond of peace ? The foolish cranes, by fighting, beat down 
one another, and so are taken. Civil dissensions make Christians a 
prey. Neither men nor devils, which God hath used as his officers 
and constables to punish them, had ever had such power over them, 
had they but kept the King of heaven's peace. Surely, for the 
divisions of Zion there ought to be great searchings of heart. Oh, 
when shall we see the day that those glorious gospel promises and 
prophecies shall be accomplished ! ' The wolf also shall dwell with 
the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf, and 
the young lion, and the fatling together : and a little child shall lead 
them. And the cow and the bear shall feed ; their young ones shall 
lie down together ; and the lion shall eat straw with the ox. And 
the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 335 

child sliall put his hand to the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt 
nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord/ Isa. xi. 6-9, 
and Ixv. 25. One would tliink that heart-sprung pathetical ex- 
hortation of the apostle should sound a retreat, and call Christians 
off from their violent and virulent pursuit of each other : ' If there 
be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any 
fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies. Fulfil ye my joy, 
that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, 
of one mind,' Phil. ii. 1, 2. 

Keader, I shall give thee two or three motives to quicken thee to 
mind and frequent the company of good men, then acquaint thee 
wherein the exercising thyself to godliness in such company con- 

Section I. 

First, Consider the extraordinary good of Christian society. The 
children of God are like ambergris, sweetest in composition. When 
flower is added to flower, and many tied together, the posy is the 
more pleasant. 

Company is in itself eligible ; banishment is esteemed a civil 
death, and counted a punishment but one remove from a natural 
death. Hence, how much hath it been bewailed, not only by a 
Cain, ' Thou hast driven me this day from the face of the earth,' 
Gen. iv, 14, but even by a David : ' I am like a pelican of the 
wilderness, I am like an owl of the desert ; I watch, and am as a 
sparrow alone upon the house-top,' Ps. cii. 6, 7. But how much 
Avorth is the society of the saints ! Christian society is like an 
arch building, wherein every stone upholds its fellow, which, if it 
should not, the whole would suddenly fall. One hand, saith Euri- 
pides, can make but weak defence ; but, as our Latin proverb is, 
Multorum manihus grande levatur onus, — Many hands make light 
work. Several horses may draw that weight with ease which one 
is not able to stir. Saints help each other, as the several parts 
of the building. The foundation bears up the walls, the walls 
bear up the roof, the rafters bear up the laths, the laths bear uj) 
the tiles. Hence it is esteemed a privilege to a town or city to be 
made a corporation. And merchants manage their callings, not 
only more orderly, but also more successfully, when they are once 
made a company. Surely Paul would never have sent some hun- 
dred miles for Timothy, if his company had not been of great 
value. Dr Taylor blessed God that ever he came into prison, to 


be acquainted with that angel of God John Bradford. One sinner 
is a devil to another, tempting and provoking each other to wicked- 
ness. Therefore tlie philosopher, seeing two vicious persons to- 
gether, cried out, See how the viper is borrowing poison of the asp ! 
But one saint is an angel to another, persuading and encouraging 
one another to holiness. They take sweet counsel together, and 
go to the house of God in company. The patriarchs removed their 
habitations for the benefit of water- springs. Every saint is in some 
sense a well of living water ; and did men but know their worth, 
they would delight more to be with them. Sure I am, he that 
hath such a good neighbour shall never want a good-morrow. As 
a pomander ball cast into a censer will fill the whole house with 
its pleasant savour, so a Christian will endeavour to perfume all 
that come near him. How pleasant, then, is the savour arising 
from many Christians in company together ! 

The society of the prophets is able to make even a Saul to pro- 
phesy. The Pleiades, which are the seven stars joined in one con- 
stellation, (' Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades ?' 
Job xxxviii. 31,) help one another in their work, which is to bring 
on the spring, the best season of the year. Christians in consort 
are an abridgment of heaven, shining like a firmament of bright 
stars, not one malevolent aspect among them ; and they all con- 
spire together to further a spring and new shoot of grace, the best 
of blessings, in each others' hearts. As sincerity is the heart of 
religion, so society is the breath of religion ; it helps to preserve 
it alive. The spiritual life of the Philippians did, uj)on their first 
quickening, appear by this, and it was also very helpful for their 
continuance and increase, Phil. i. 5. 

No Christians are so full but they stand in need of their fellows. 
He that had as large a stock of grace as any since Christ, yet 
could not live without commerce with others, Eom. xv. 24. The 
goodliest house may want a shore. The Shunammite, though she 
told the prophet she dwelt among her own people, and therefore 
needed not any to speak for her to the king, was glad to receive 
that kindness by the hands of the servant, which she denied to 
accept from his master. 

I shall mention the advantage of good company in five parti- 
culars : 

First, By good company sinful souls have been converted. A 
crooked bough, joined to a straight one, groweth straight. Latimer 
was converted from popery by the good company and conference 
of Master Bilney. The daughters of Jerusalem came to be in love 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 337 

with the bridegroom by being in company with his bride ; by being 
acquainted with the church, they became enamoured with Christ. 
At first they wondered at her fondness of him, that she was so 
impatient till she had found him. Cant. v. 8, 9 ; but they had not 
been long with her, before the heat of her love had warmed them 
with the same earnest desire and longings : ' Whither is thy be- 
loved gone, thou fairest among women ? whither is thy beloved 
turned aside, that we may seek him with thee ?' Cant. vi. 1. They 
that come where ointments and sweet spices are stirring, carry 
away some of the savour. One live coal may set a whole stack on 
fire. Evil company, like the river Melas in Boeotia, makes all the 
sheep that drink of it black ; l but good company, rather like 
Clitumnus in Italy, makes them that drink of it white. Saul, by 
being in company with a wise servant, was brought to hear of a 
kingdom : ' He that walketh with wise men shall be wise,' Prov. 
xiii. 20. This made Algerius, the Italian martyr, say, I had rather 
be in prison with Cato, a wise man, of whom I might learn some 
good, than in the senate-house with Ceesar. 

As one circle caused by a stone thrown into the water begets a 
second, and that a third ; and as one rainbow begets another, and 
they two together beget a third ; so one Christian helps to beget 
another to Christ, and they two joining, turn more from the errors 
of their ways. Holiness, like an elixir, by contraction, if any dis- 
position in the metal, will render it of the same property. The 
Indians were brought to embrace the Christian faith, by the holy 
conference and company of Edesius and Frumentius, two private 

Secondly, By good company, pious souls have been confirmed. 
Whilst Latimer and Ridley lived, they kept up Cranmer by inter- 
course of letters. Christian conference is a great help to perse- 
verance. The staff of bonds was the Jews' beauty and safety, Zech. 
xi. 14. Company causeth courage : the beams of joy are the hotter 
for reflection. Ipse aspectus viri honi deleciat, saith the moralist, 
The very countenance of a good man makes us cheerful ; our 
sight of him is reviving to us. When Paul saw the brethren he 
blessed God, and took courage. Acts xxviii. 15. When many 
mariners pull at a rope together, they strive with the more alacrity ; 
therefore Christ sent his disciples by two and two, Mark vi. 7. 
When Jonathan went against the Philistines, he would take his 
armour-bearer along with him. The blessed Jesus, going into the 
garden to his bitter, bloody agony, chose Peter, James, and John 

1 Fulk, Meteor., lib. iv. 


to accompany him. The great apostle expected comfort from the 
Eomans' company, and hoped to confirm them by his. ' For I long 
to see you, that I might impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the 
end ye may be established.' The closer the stones of the edifice 
are joined together, the stronger is the building : ' That I might 
be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you 
and me.' Grace is the oil of gladness ; and the more of this oil, the 
more of gladness. When Paul's faith and the Eomans' met in 
one channel, such a river of oil would be a river of pleasure. The 
union of such flames could not but become a good fire, to refresh 
and rejoice their hearts. As it is said of leviathan, Job xli. 16, 
that his scales are his pride — ^.e., his strength inVhichhe boasteth ; 
and the reason of it is rendered, one is so near to another that no 
air can come between them. They are joined one to another ; they 
stick together, that they cannot be sundered. So it may be said of 
the people of God, their unity will be their security. When one 
is so near to another that no enemy can come between them, when 
they are joined one to another, and stick together that they cannot 
be sundered, then it may be said of them as of him, ' In their neck 
remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before them,'ver. 21. 

Thirdly, By good company, erring saints have been recovered. 
Holy David lay sleeping in his sin till his good friend Nathan 
jogged and awakened him. Many a one hath been roused out of 
his spiritual lethargy by private admonition. Hence, saith Solo- 
mon, ' Two are better than one ; because they have a good reward 
for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow : 
but woe to him that is alone when he falleth ; for he hath not 
another to help him up,' Eccles. iv. 9, 10. Men that are troubled 
with the falling sickness, are sometimes carried away and die with 
their distemper, it seizing upon them when none is with them ; 
but when they fall amongst company, by rubbing and chafing 
them, they often come to themselves again. Every scandalous sin 
especially is a kind of falling sickness, very dangerous to the soul. 
It is ill, therefore, for them that are overtaken with it, and have 
none with them, by serious admonition to recover them out of it. 

I have read of a minister, that in the night had a sudden motion 
to go visit a certain neighbour, and though he argued with himself 
the unseasonableness of the time, and his ignorance of any cause 
for such an action, yet the impulse upon him was so strong that he 
could not withstand it ; so going to that friend's house late in the 
night, he found none at home save the master of the house. Truly, 
saith the minister to him, I am come to your house thus late, but 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 339 

I know not to what end, nor for what purpose. Yea, saith the man 
of the house, but God knoweth ; for I have made away, through 
my profaneness, so many children's portions, and here is the rope 
in my pocket with which I was going to hang myself. But what, 
replied the minister, if I can tell you of one that made away with 
more portions, and yet was saved ? Who was that ? said the 
neighbour, Adam, saith the minister ; who, as a public person, 
was entrusted with the stock of all his posterity, and prodigally 
wasted them, yet was saved. Thus, by his serious and seasonable 
counsel, he stayed the man from his purpose, and was, probably, 
instrumental for much spiritual good to him. 

Fourthly, By good company, dull Christians have been quickened. 
Two cold things, steel and flint, smitten together, send forth fire. 
When two lie together, they have warmth, but how can one be 
warm alone ? Eccles. iv. 11. When David was old, and his natural 
heat decayed, they got a young damsel to lie near him, and to put 
some warmth in him. Cold Christians have been heated by being 
near others that have been glowing coals. When Silas and Timo- 
theus came from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in spu-it ; before, he 
was warm, but then in a light flame. Acts xviii. 5. Some men of 
weak stomachs have fed the more for seeing others fall so heartily 
to their meat : ' As iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the 
countenance of his friend,' Prov. xxvii. 17. Some interpret the 
words thus : Kub iron against iron, and it giveth an edge unto it ; 
so if a man lie often grating upon his friend, by unkind usage, it 
will sharpen his countenance to discontent, and make his spirit keen 
and angry. And to make good this exposition, they observe that 
the wise man doth not say, so a friend sharpeneth, &c., but, so a 
man ; because by his unworthy carriage he puts off the nature of 
a friend, and therefore doth not deserve the name. But I rather 
incline to the other interpretation : ' As iron sharpeneth iron.' Rub 
one file against another, and though before they were dull and 
blunt, they both become thereby bright and sharp. So friends that 
are heavy and backward, and overrun with rust for want of use, by 
mutual conference and communion, they become lively, quick, and 
keen about spiritual things. Christian society, like rubbing iron 
against iron, takes away that rust which made them so dull and 
inactive, and sets a spiritual edge upon them. Urbanus Regius, an 
eminent Dutch divine, meeting with Luther about Coburg, he spent 
a whole day in conference with him, of which himself writeth,^ 
that he never had a more quickening, comforting day all his lifetime. 

1 In Vit. 


Fifthly, By good company, much sin hath been prevented. 
Christian society is like the pulse, which ariseth from the heart, 
and hath a double motion of contraction and dilatation, both for 
the expelling of noxious fumes, through the insensible pores of the 
flesh, and for the drawing in of cool air to refresh the heart and 
vital parts. It is useful to increase grace : southernwood groweth 
best in gardens where it is first planted ; grace shoots up most in 
God's vineyard, amongst his plants ; the outlying deer, that leave 
the herd, seldom thrive ;. those parts die that are severed from 
the body. It is useful to prevent vice : that deformed harlot hath 
been ashamed to appear in such honest company ; the Komans 
durst not call for their obscene plays in Cato's presence. 

When David was like to be slain, Abishai came and rescued 
him. Good company hath prevented the Christian's falling from 
Christ. Peter confessed Christ among the holy apostles, though he. 
denied him among the ungodly servants of the liigh priest. ' If one 
prevail against a man, two shall withstand him ; and a threefold 
cord is not easily broken,' Eccles. iv. 12. Two streams united into 
one channel may bear up a vessel of some burden. Junius being 
much tempted to atheism, professed himself very much helped 
against it by discoursing with a plain countryman near Florence. 

Naturally, saith Chrysostom, a man hath but one head to advise 
him, one tongue to speak for him, two hands to work, two feet to 
walk, and two eyes to see for him. Now, saith he, had a man that 
skill and cunning to make that one head many, and that one tongue 
many, and so his eyes, and feet, and hands many, he would hardly 
be circumvented by any carnal policy. Good company doth this : 
it makes that one head many, that one tongue many, those two 
hands, eyes, feet, many ; for saints study for others' good as well 
as their own ; their eyes, their tongues, their hands, and feet, are 
always employed for the benefit of their companions. Now, in 
many counsellors there is much safety. He that hath many eyes 
to watch for him, is likeliest to be kept from falling. No vessels 
are in such hope of security, and to be defended from pirates, as 
those that sail with so strong a convoy. As God hath set conscience 
to watch over the inner man, and by reason of that help we avoid 
much unholiness, so God hath set Christians to watch over one 
another's outward man ; and truly these eyes being over us may 
prevent the commission of much evil. 

The society of saints is sometimes in Scripture compared to a 
garden. It hath fruits and drugs in it of all sorts — some for food, 
some for physic, some for corrosives, some for cordials, some to 

Chap, IV.] the christian man's calling. 341 

warm the frozen saints, some to cool the fiery sinner ; some are 
j)rofitable for one purpose, some for another, ' For as we have many 
members in one body, and all members have not the same office ; 
so we being many, are one body in Christ, and we all members 
one of another,' Bom. xii. 5, 6. A company of Christians is a great 
fair, where all sorts of provision, both for necessity and delight, is 
to be had. Hence Satan is so busy and diligent, if it be possible, 
to prevent Christian communion : ' I was coming once and again, 
but Satan hindered me,' 1 Thes, ii. 18. And his servants have 
learned this of their hellish master, Julian the apostate, and the 
heathen emperors, banished Christians into islands where they 
could not have access- one to another, being suspicious that their 
mutual communion would tend much to their mutual comfort and 
confirmation, Bradford was accused to do more hurt in prison by 
his letters and speeches than in the pulpit by his preaching. One 
Christian cometh to another, as Paul to his Komans, with the fulness 
of the blessings of the gospel of Christ, Therefore, as Cato would 
often make division amongst his servants, judging their union to tend 
to his disadvantage, so Satan soweth discord amongst Christians, 
knowing their concord would tend to the throwing down his kingdom. 
Surely, of all fellowships, this is the only good fellowship. Next 
to communion with God, there is no communion like the com- 
munion of saints. The world doth but catachrestically name their 
rabble of drunken, swearing, and riotous wretches, good fellows ; ^ 
no otherwise than the atheistical popes are termed Pii, the greedy 
cormorants called Innocents, and the earthly muckworms Ceelestines. 
The conjunction of sinners is a combination with devils. The prince 
of darkness is the head of their league, and they all wear his black 
colours ; but the communion of saints is a fellowship with God ; he 
is the foundation of their union, ' These things write I unto you, 
that ye may have fellowship with us ; and truly our fellowship is 
with the Father, and Jesus Christ his Son,' 1 John i, 3. What 
fellowshij) can in any respect compare with theirs who have fellow- 
ship, not only with Christians, the highest and most excellent of 
men, or with angels, the noblest and most honourable of creatures, 
but even with God himself, the fountain and ocean of all honour 
and perfection ! Oh how happy is that company which hath his 
presence ! how amiable is that council which hath such a presi- 
dent ! and how desirable is their amity, who are united under this 
blessed and glorious potentate ! May it not be said of such com- 

^ In the same sense that the poet speaks, Auri sacra faints ; or as mons is so 
called, a noii movendo. 


panions, what Zebali and Zalmimna spake of Gideon's brethren, 
' Each one resembled the child of a king ?' Judges viii. 18. Their 
parentage is so great, their society is so gracious, and their privileges 
are so glorious, that if a man purchase his freedom of a company 
in one of our cities at so dear a rate, what should he not give or do 
to be free of this corporation ! He that hath but an eye of faith to 
see the glory and magnificence of this society, may well express 
himself, as Titus the emperor when he saw the remainder of the 
Sanctum sanctorum, Now I well perceive that this is none other than 
the house of God, and the dwelling of the God of heaven. Neither 
was it for nought that the Jews stood so earnestly in the defence 
thereof ; for great is the glory of the temple ; the splendour thereof 
is without compare. 

Section II. 

Secondly, Consider, wicked men join together to advance the 
kingdom of Satan, and to provoke one another to lewdness and 
wickedness ; and shall not saints unite to exalt the interest of 
Christ, and to provoke one another to love and to good works ? 
There is so much monstrous enmity in the hearts of carnal ones 
against God and holiness, that when the tide of their own lusts, 
and the stream of their headstrong passions, would carry them 
swiftly towards hell, yet, as if this were too little, they hoist up 
sail, and help one another forward with the strong winds of provo- 
cation : ' They encourage themselves in an evil matter ; they com- 
mune of laying wait privily,' Ps. Ixiv. 5. As Samson's foxes, they 
join tail to tail with their firebrands to burn up the good corn ; as 
Simeon and Levi, they are brethren in iniquity, the instruments 
of cruelty are in their habitations. Shall they, as Ananias and 
Sapphira, agree together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord, and shall 
not saints agree together to please the Spirit of the Lord ? Surely 
if sinners have their ' Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us 
all have one purse,' saints may well have their ' Come, let us go up 
to the house of the Lord ; come, let us walk in the light of the Lord,' 
Isa. ii. 5 ; come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in a covenant not 
to be forgotten. 

It is considerable, that though sinners differ never so mucli 
amongst themselves, yet they can unite against the Lord and his 
chosen. Herod and Pilate, before at odds, can comply as friends, and 
join together against the Lord Christ. As dogs of differing colours, 
disagreeing bigness, and of several kinds, that sometimes for bones 
and scraps fight, and mangle, and tear one another, can with one 

Chap. IV,] the christian man's calling. 343 

voice, and cry, and consent pursue the poor innocent hare ; so the 
kennel of Satan's hell-hounds, though sometimes they quarrel 
among themselves about the honours and riches of this world, and 
are ready to rent one another in pieces, yet can, with open mouth 
and full cry, all join to persecute the harmless lambs of Christ. 

We read of such different metal, such a speckled rabble gathered 
together against Israel, that one would think the diversity of their 
countries, constitutions, customs, languages, lusts, should have kept 
them from melting and running into one piece ; yet, lo, they all 
unite against Grod's people. ' They take crafty counsel against thy 
people; they consult against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, 
let us cut them off from being a nation ; that the name of Israel 
may be no more in remembrarice. For they have consulted together 
with one consent : they are confederate against thee : the taber- 
nacles of Edom and the Ishmaelites ; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; 
Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek ; the Philistines, and the inhabit- 
ants of Tyre ; Assur also is joined with them ; and they have holpen 
the children of Lot,' Ps. Ixxxiii. 3-9. 

Shall such a cursed crew agree together to pull down Zion, and 
not the blessed company of God's children unite to build it up ? 
Oh, how shameful is it, that Satan's black regiment should with 
one consent watch for us, as the dragon for the man-child, to de- 
vour us ; and as Herod for the babes of Bethlehem, to destroy us ; 
and that we should not watch over one another for our safety and 
defence ! It may well be our grief that the children of this world 
are wiser in their generation than the children of light. 

It is true, the combination of wicked men is no true union ; but 
rather a conspiracy against God, and against their own souls. Satan 
serving them by drawing them into this league, and making 
them to be of one hellish heart, infinitely worse than Scyron and 
Procrustes, famous robbers in Attica, served the poor travellers, 
who, by cutting short the taller, and stretching out the lesser, brought 
all to an even length with their bed of brass ; yet such a confederacy 
may well move us to pity such distracted ones, and doth too much 
reflect upon us for our dissensions. 

Thirdly, Consider the backwardness of our own hearts to any 
good, and the need we have of all helps to quicken them towards 
heaven. How averse are our souls to anything that is spiritual ! 
How many excuses, pretences, delays will they make ! To sin man 
needs no tutor ; he can ride post to hell without a spur ; but how 
backward to do that work which he must do, or be undone for ever ! 
The stone is not more untoward to fly, nor lead to swim, than our 


carnal hearts to exercise any grace, or perform any duty incumbent 
on us. Our headstrong passions hurry us, our worldly interests 
bias us, and our desperately wicked hearts draw us from God and 
heaven. If the v/ood be green, there is need of constant blowing, 
or the fire will go out ; when the iron is so dull, it must go often to 
the whetstone, or little work can be done with it. It is no wonder 
that the Spirit of God useth precept upon precept, line upon line, 
here a little, and there a little, when man is like the wild ass's colt, 
so blockish and dull to understand God's way, and so backward and 
heavy to walk in it. 

How much are we in the dark about the ways, and word, and 
truths of God ! and how apt, through mistakes, to stumble and fall, 
calling evil good, and good evil ! and do we not want their com- 
pany who carry a light, a lantern, with them ? How often do we 
flatter ourselves that we are rich in grace and in the favour of God, 
when it is little so, looking on ourselves through the false spectacles 
of self-love ! And doth it not behove us to be much in their 
society who will set before us a true looking-glass, wherein we may 
behold the native countenance of our souls without any fraud or 
falsehood ? We are full of doubts, and want counsel ; and physicians 
that are able themselves, will in their own cases ask advice of others. 
We are liable to many sorrows, and want comfort ; and who can 
give it us better than those who fetch all their cordial waters out of 
Scripture ? We are apt to slumber, and nod, and neglect our 
spiritual watch : the flesh is drowsy, and the cares of the world 
fume up into our heads, and incline us to sleep ; what then will 
become of us, if we have none to jog and awaken us ? It will go 
but ill with the new man, if, whilst he hath so many enemies to hurt 
him, he hath never a friend to help him. ' Exhort one another daily, 
lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin,' 
Heb. iii. 13. 

I have somewhere read of a king, that having many servants, some 
wise, some indiscreet, some profitable, some unprofitable, was asked 
why he would keep those foolish, unprofitable fellows. To which he 
answered, I need the other, and these need me, and so I will have 
them all about me. I am sure weak Christians need the strong ; 
it is ill for a tottering house to have no prop ; and strong Christians 
may need the weak. That knife which is best metal, may some- 
times need a dull whetstone. The smallest wheel, nay, pin, in a 
watch is necessary ; and so each needing the other, there is great 
need they should hold together. While there is flesh and spirit 
combating within us, and the worse so potent and likely to 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 345 

conquer, we shall want all manner of auxiliaries to relieve the 
better part. 

Fourthly, Consider the evil of neglecting Christian communion. 
I know the children of God must sometimes be solitary ; there are 
some duties which cannot otherwise be performed, and some call- 
ings which cannot otherwise be followed ; but as there are seasons 
for solitariness, so also for society. To forbear the society of saints 
without a necessary cause is a sin, and bringeth great disadvantage 
both upon ourselves and others. 

1. Upon ourselves. We lose those helps which God hath afibrded 
for the edification of our souls. Fire laid abroad, quickly abateth, 
nay, goeth out ; when, if it be raked up together, it continueth and 
increaseth. I suppose the Spirit of God is so exact in registering 
the absence of Thomas from the apostles' company, when Christ 
vouchsafed them his personal and gracious presence, and the sad 
fit of unbelief which he fell into upon it, partly as a warning to all 
Christians that they lose not such seasons, as they love their im- 
mortal souls : John xx. 24, 25, ' But Thomas, one of the twelve, 
was not there when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore 
said unto him. We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them. 
Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my 
finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, 
I will not believe.' Had Thomas been present when the Lord ap- 
peared, how strongly might he have withstood Satan's assaults against 
his faith ! His senses had been sufficient to have confuted the father 
of lies, and helpful to have quenched his fiery darts ; but by his 
absence, how dangerously was he shaken in that fundamental truth ! 

Satan hath a wonderful advantage of that person whom he meets, 
without any warrant from God, alone. If I travel alone between 
sun and sun, I have the law for my protection, that if I be robbed, 
I may recover my loss of the country ; but if at other times, it is at 
my own peril. If I be alone at the call of my God, either when 
secret duties or my particular calling require it, and my grand 
enemy set upon me, I may expect help from him whose work I am 
about ; but if, when he commandeth me to associate with his 
people, I needlessly wander from them, and any hurt befall me, I 
must thank myself, and look for no reparation at his hands. It is 
observable that the house of Job's eldest son, which was the grave 
wherein all his children were buried, stood alone, otherwise the 
wind from the wilderness could not have smote the four corners 
thereof. Oh, it is dangerous to be solitary, when God requires thy 
company amongst his chosen ! 


Tliere is a woe to him that is alone : such a man shall be sure 
to have Satan for his companion. He is ever ready to assault when 
none is near to assist. Eve was tempted with too much success 
when she was alone, without her husband ; Dinah, gadding from 
her father's house, was defiled ; Joseph was then assaulted, when 
the whole family was gone, save the instrument of the assault. 
How soon are stragglers snapped up, when those that march with 
the body of the army are safe ! Pirates lie skulking to find a vessel 
sailing alone, when those that sail in company are a convoy to each 
other. They who separate are soon seduced. The cormorant, or 
sea-eagle, hath this property, that she will not seize upon the fish 
in the water when they are in shoals ;. but when single, she makes 
them her prey. Solitude is not more hurtful to the body than to 
the soul, and to nature than to grace. When David was an exile 
from the society of the Israelites, and wandered abroad, he fell into 
diffidence and distrust, nay, into hard and blasphemous thoughts 
of God, as if he had forgotten to be gracious, as if he himself had 
cleansed his heart in vain. He then said, in his haste, that all men, 
even Samuel, who had anointed him to the kingdom, and promised 
him from God that he should be king, were liars. 

It is a disadvantage to others. When saints do not meet together, 
their love cooleth, nay, contentions frequently follow, to the har- 
dening of the wicked, and the discouraging of the weak. The 
temple or body of Christ is not built up with blows and schisms. 
The parts of the temple were framed and squared in Lebanon ; at 
the rearing of it up in Zion, there was no noise either of axe or 
hammer. Babel itself could not be built by divided tongues, much 
less Zion by divided hearts. When Christians divide and separate, 
weak beginners know not what to do, whom to follow, but are ready 
to say with Cicero, when Caesar and Pompey were at odds. Quern 
fugiam scio, quern sequar nescio ; I know whom to fly, but I know 
not whom to follow. Oh, how dreadful are the consequents of such 
civil wars ! Discord is not without cause described by the great 
Italian to be clothed with a garment of divers colours, made up of 
patches, and they rent, cut, and torn, her lap full of writs, citations, 
processes, and arrests, attended only with clerks, scriveners, attor- 
neys, and lawyers ; but she was followed with bitter clamours and 
dismal bowlings. 

Melanchthon, persuading the Protestants in his time to peace, 
tells them a parabolical story of the dogs and wolves, who were 
meeting to fight one against another. The wolves sent out their 
scout, to know the strength of their adversaries. The scout returns. 

Chap. TV.] the christian man's calling. 347 

and tells the wolves that indeed the dogs exceeded them in number, 
but they need not fear them, for he had observed they were not 
like one another ; besides, they marched as if they were offended 
rather with themselves than their enemies, grinning and snarling, 
yea, biting and tearing one another ; therefore, let us not be dis- 
couraged, but march on resolutely. Dissension amongst men, brings 
destruction on men : ' A kingdom divided against itself cannot 
stand,' They who embodied together may be able to overcome 
thousands, divided and taken singly, may be overthrown by a very 
few. The hardest adamant, if once broken, flieth into such small 
dust that it is scarce discernible, and so cometh to nothing. The 
people of God have not seldom made themselves a jirey to perse- 
cutors by their heart-burnings and divisions. When the town is 
once set on fire by the grenades shot in from them that besiege it 
the enemies hope to take it with the more ease. 

Naturalists tell us that a pumice stone, cast into the waters, 
though it be never so big, whilst it remains entire, and the parts 
hold together, it will swim above the water ; but break it once in 
pieces, and every part sinks to the bottom. Truly, such oftentimes 
is the state of the faithful. They who, holding together, are safe, 
and as a bundle of staves, not to be bowed, when parted and taken 
singly are easily broken. It is the shepherd's observation, that when 
sheep butt one against another, it is a sign of foul weather, and of an 
approaching storm. We have too much cause to fear that the 
schisms and contentions in the church of God at this day do 
portend some heavy judgment to hang over our heads. 

Section III. 

I shall now direct thee, reader, how to exercise thyself to godliness 
in Christian company. 

First I must give thee a word of caution. Take heed of 
those sins which Christians, when they accompany together, are 
most prone to. Saints are apt to be secure, as thinking themselves 
safe, when they are, as they imagine, among none but themselves. 
But, truly, seeming honest men may deceive us sooner than known 
cheats, because we are apt to confide in the former, when we fear 
and take heed of the latter. The plague may soonest be conveyed 
through perfumed linen. Satan tempted Eve in the form of a 
serpent ; but when he sets upon Christ, whom he knew hard to be 
conquered, he sets upon him in the shape of a dove. None so fit 
as a Peter to persuade him to pity himself As God can send us 


a pearl in a toad's head, bring light out of darkness, and enable us 
to get good by polluted persons ; so Satan, like Hannibal, can 
convey poison through a gold ring, bring darkness out of light, and 
make us the worse for the company of the best Christians. The 
society of the godly is like the shop of an apothecary, in which 
there are many cordial juleps, purging potions, and wholesome drugs, 
but also some poisonous, which need strong correctives, and there- 
fore they must be the object of our caution as well as of our choice. 

Th^re are two or three things which Christians, when they meet 
together, too frequently err in, against which I would advise thee — 
in misspending time, censuring the good, and backbiting the bad. 

1. Take heed of misspending that season. Time is in itself of 
great price, and ought to be redeemed ; but opportunity is of greater 
value, and it is infinite pity to cut such a precious commodity to 
waste. It is ordinary, even with good men when they meet, though 
it relate nothing to their callings or concernments, to be talking 
chiefly of corn, and cattle, and markets, and fairs, and foreign 
transactions, as if they had not a God, a Christ, a soul, an eternal 
estate to be minding each other of. Our words are the servants of 
our reason, and to send more than will perform our business, or to 
send them upon unnecessary and trifling errands, argueth vanity 
and folly. Have we not the country to which we are all travelling, 
the purity and pleasantness of the way thither, the excellency and 
certainty of our reward there, to talk about ? St Bernard com- 
plained that in his time Christians were faulty in this particular. 
Nihil de Scripturis, nihil de salute agitur animarum, sed nugce et 
rism, et verba froferuntur in ventu7n ; Not a word of the Scrip- 
tures, nothing of your eternal salvation, but trifles and laughter, 
and words as light as the wind, take up the time. 

Some spend their time in nice questions, as what Christ disputed 
of amongst the doctors ? where paradise stood ? in what part of 
the world is local hell ? what became of Moses' body ? how many 
orders and degrees of elect spirits ? These curious persons, the 
further they go, the nearer they approach a sun that blinds them. 
Others in circumstantial controversies, when, in the interim, the 
essentials of religion are laid by. Such talk is but a wasting time, 
and those that sweat at it are but laborious loiterers, like those that 
take great pains to crack or cleave a date-stone, which, when they 
have done, affords them no kernel. Would it not be counted a 
piece of great folly for a man that had a wound near some vital 
part, to be very busy in laying a plaster upon his scratched finger, 
while the other lay unregarded ? Were it not a piece of strange 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 349 

madness, when the enemy is at the walls, and the town every 
moment in danger of being stormed, the bullets flying thick about 
the streets, for the people within to be sitting still, and consulting 
whether a musket would carry further than a trunk, or whether 
more are killed with bullets or arrows ? Truly, such folly, such 
madness is it to employ ourselves about needless discourse about 
the world, or superficial circumstantial things, when our inestimable 
souls are continually in danger of being surprised and slain. The 
apostle reproveth such as spent their time about fables and endless 
genealogies, (that is, things frivolous, and besides our work of Chris- 
tianity, though not false or directly opposite to it,) which minister 
questions rather than godly edifying, 1 Tim. i. 5. 

To prevent this, reader, offer some serious discourse, either by 
way of position or question. Thy profit by good company doth 
very much depend upon thyself. Thy question or position is the 
fire, which draweth out either the quintessence or dregs of things. 
It may be there is one in thy company rich in grace, in gifts — these 
are the treasure of the soul ; but if ever thou wouldst be the better 
for it, thou must open it by the key of some savoury question or 
sentence. An ordinary person, by some practical question, may 
lay the foundation for a goodly fabric of rich and excellent discourse. 
A little water poured into a pump, may fetch up many buckets full. 
A small lackey may call us to a costly banquet. 

Ferus on Matthew affirmeth, that it was the practice of the 
monks to meet together once in a week, and to acquaint each other 
with their temptations, the means of resistance, and the issue 
thereof. I believe, if Christians were more open-hearted in declar- 
ing to one another the state of their souls, their experiences in point 
of lessor gain in spirituals, and sense of God's favour or anger, &c., 
it would much tend, not only to the honour of God, but also to the 
defeating of our great enemy, and our own mutual advantage. 
Satan hath many wiles wherewith to wrong and destroy souls ; he 
proceedeth many times in the same method with several Christians. 
Now, when one acquainteth another with the snares he laid to 
catch him, and the way he took to avoid it, hereby the other is 
forewarned and forearmed ; forewarned to expect that such a 
trap should be laid for him, and forearmed how to avoid it. An 
almanac calculated for London, without any sensible error may 
serve the whole kingdom. That which hath been one saint's con- 
dition or temptation, may be any saint's ; and that way which one 
hath taken to escape a peril, or improve a providence, may be use- 
ful and helpful to any of the saints. 


Some tell us the art of medicines was thus perfected : When any 
one met with an herb, and discovered the virtue of it by any acci- 
dent, he did post it up in some public place, and if any were sick 
or diseased, he was laid in some common passage, that every pas- 
senger might communicate the best receipt he knew for that dis- 
temper ; and so the physician's skill was completed, by a collec- 
tion of those posted experiences and receipts. I cannot but think 
that our souls would be more safe, and our spiritual sicknesses less 
dangerous, if Christians were more free in revealing what means 
have, through the assistance of the Spirit, been instrumental for 
their recovery out of their inward distempers, and the preservation 
of their health. 

2. Take heed of censuring the good. This is another sin, that 
even good men are guilty of when they meet together. Some no 
sooner creep into Jihe cradle of profession, but immediately they 
leap out of it into the chair of censure. If a Christian do stumble, 
he saitli he falls, and so carrieth it up and down ; he always greatens 
others' and lessens his own sins. Things in a mist seem bigger to 
us than in a fair day, by reason of the indisposedness of the air or 
medium. He looks on the sins of others through the mist of envy, 
and so makes them bigger than they are ; he beholds his own sins, 
as God doth himself, afar off, or as things on a steeple, which 
seem small and little. Because some persons are not of his party, 
therefore they are in the bond of iniquity, saith the censorious man. 
Thus the Komans judged others not saints, because they were 
not exactly of their own size, Eom. xiv. 3. If good men are 
brought to the fire of affliction, it is, saith he, because they bear 
not good fruit, and are fit for nothing but fuel. Thus Job's friends 
judged him a hypocrite, and without armour of proof, because he 
was the mark at which the arrows of the Almighty were levelled, 
Job iv, 5-7. If a good man step awry, he tells others positively 
that his whole way and course is wrong. From his failing in one 
action, the censurer condemneth his whole conversation as feigned 
and fraudulent ; as if the best gold did not need some grains of 
allowance, aud the brightest burning taper had not some smoke 
with it. He judgeth according to appearance, and doth not judge 
righteous judgment. When an action is doubtful, and admits of a 
good or bad construction, to be sure he will take it in the worst 
sense. He never meets with an ambiguous text, but he makes a 
bad comment on it. If Christ associate with Zaccheus, though not 
for communion with him in his sins, but for the conversion of his 
soul, he will presently cry him up for a winebibber, a glutton, and 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 351 

a friend of publicans and sinners. In this, and in all the rest, 
he judgeth without judgment ; for indeed, it is from want of 
judgment that the heaviest judgment comes. Oh, how sad is it, 
that those who believe in a day of judgment, should walk so con- 
trary to the rule of their judge ! Mat. vii. 1 ; 1 Cor. iv. 5 ; James 
iii. 1. The dogs were kinder than such men, for they licked the 
sores of honest Lazarus ; but these rub and fret the sores of godly 
men, by publishing them to others. It is our duty to mourn for 
the sins of good men: ' Lest, when I come, my God will humble me,' 
saith Paul, ' for them that have sinned.' How contrary are they to 
Christianity, that are glad they have somewhat to talk of ! I can- 
not esteem them Christians, that think their feast wanteth music, 
unless the Baptist's head be brought in a charger at the first course. 
A desire to disgrace others never sprang from grace. It is ill to 
inquire into others' actions, that we might have matter to draw up 
a bill of indictment against them ; like those who, in reading books, 
mark only the faults, or such as take more pleasure in beholding a 
monster than a perfect man, such is a censorious person. But it is 
a swinish property to feed upon excrements ; they have too much 
affinity to the old serpent that can pick nourishment out of poison. 
Have not all men business enough of their own, without raking 
into others' graves ? but as the fish sepise darken the waters, that 
they may escape the net, so they darken the credit of others, that 
they may escape the net of censure which is due to themselves. 

These men are usually eagle-eyed abroad, but as blind as moles 
at home ; the most vicious are ever the most suspicious. As 
Galileus looked through his prospective-glass to find mountains in 
the moon, so these examine others' lives, and search their actions 
as narrowly as Laban did Jacob's stuff, to find matter of accusa- 
tion. ^ But as it is fabled of old Lamia, that she had eyes like unto 
spectacles, which she might take out a^nd put in at her pleasure, 
and that as soon as she came into her house, she always locked 
them up in her coffer, and sat down to spinning as blind as a beetle, 
and that when she went abroad, she put them into her head, and 
would very curiously behold what other men did ; so the censurer is 
so quick-sighted abroad, that he can see the motes in others' eyes, 
but so blind within-doors, that he cannot see the beam in his own. 2 

1 Qui judicat fratrem, tantum crimen elationis incurrit, ut Christi tribunal sibi 
videatur assumere, et ejus judicium prajvenire. — Ans. in Rom. xiv. 

2 Luther gives the character of wicked men : Tanquam famelici porci immergunt 
se in stercora nostra, et ex iis delicias faciunt, cum iufirmitatem nostram exemplo 
maledicti Ham aperiunt et traducunt. — Lut. in Gen. ix. 


Some of these men have a fine way of censuring and condemning 
others, by commending them, that you will not easily discern their 
envy or ill-will, because of the throng and press of their subtle 
praises. They will sel forth a Christian, eminent for grace, with 
many and large flourishes of commendation; but after all, in two 
or three words, dash out all they had spoken, and leave a blot in 
the room. As the Holy Ghost saith truly of Naaman, ' He was a 
mighty man, captain of the Syrian host, but a leper.' So they of a 
saint, whose worth they cannot for shame deny, He hath great 
parts, many excellent gifts, large abilities, but I wish the root of 
the matter were in him ; or, But he knoweth them too well ; or, 
But he is covetous or proud. As the smith that shoeth a horse, 
and pretendeth therein to do him a kindness, but pricks him in 
shoeing him, and therefore had better have let him alone. This 
one fly of hut, &c., mars the whole pot of ointment. The censurer 
with that short knife stabs his neighbour's fame to the heart. 

Keader, I beseech thee, both for thy own sake and the gospel's, to 
be tender of the repute and credit of saints. A good man's name 
is like a milk-white ball, which exceedingly gathers soil by tossing, 
and therefore is to be sparingly talked of. Words reported again 
have another sound, and many times another sense ; besides, one dog 
sets many others a-barking. Talk of his failings as low as thou wilt, 
the world is quick of hearing, and they take the size of all Chris- 
tians' clothes by the measure of the weakest. Thy charity should 
clap a plaster, supposing there to be a real wound, and cover it 
with the hand of privacy, to keep it from the open air. The 
Egyptian, who carried something wound up in a napkin, answered 
discreetly to him that asked what it was : It is covered, to the 
end that no man might see. Truly, if we know of others' failings 
and infirmities, we should hide them with the mantle of love, and 
not shew them to any but in relation to the offender's good and 
recovery ; for why should a fallen brother have cause to complain, 
I am wounded in the house of my friends ; had it been an enemy I 
could have borne it, but it was thou, man, my friend, mine equal, 
and my acquaintance ! Apelles drew Antigonus, who had but 
one eye, half -faced, whereby that blemish was hid, so should Chris- 
tians their brethren. 

The wise man tells us, the worth of a good name is above all 
wealth : Eccles. vii. 1 , ' A good name is better than precious oint- 
ment.' What a great thief is he, then, that robs his neighbour of 
it ! Our rash judging others, like the ram's horns before Jericho, may 
blow down that with a blast, which we cannot build up again while 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 353 

we live. An ill report is soon raised, but not so soon laid ; it 
usually, like the crocodile, groweth whilst it continueth. Our tears 
should be the grave to bury our neighbours' failings in, and not our 
mouths a grave to bury their names in. That one act of Alexander 
merits eternal memory, who, having read a letter with his favourite, 
Hephasstion, wherein his mother calumniated Antipater, he pre- 
sently took his signet from his finger and oppressed Hepheestion's 
lips with it, conjuring him, as it were, to seal up his lips, and not 
once to open them in revealing another's disgrace. Suppose the 
person I censure be really evil, yet my duty is to do what I can 
to amend, not to divulge his errors ; but if he be good, I dishonour 
God by disgracing his friend, and shall be sure to pay for it, either 
in tears or torment. How shall I be able to stand in that day, 
when men shall give an account of all their hard speeches ? and 
what shall I answer, when God shall ask me, as once he did Aaron 
and Miriam, ' Wast thou not afraid to speak against my servant 
Moses ? ' 

3. Take heed of backbiting the bad. When men speak evil of 
others that are absent, before many, purposely to defame and dis- 
grace them, this is backbiting, and condemned by God, though 
what we speak of them be true. Doeg spake nothing but truth of 
David and Ahimelech ; yet the Scripture calls him a lying and 
deceitful tongue, Ps. Hi. Sometimes it may be a duty to reveal 
others' deeds of darkness, as when these two things concur : 

1. That we have cause for it. When what we mention is naked 
truth, and the sin not any ways rendered more ugly and deformed 
by misconstruction or aggravations ; and, 

2. When we have a call to it, as when we are desired to mention 
what we know of others by them that have good ground to inquire 
after them ; or when, through ignorance of such things, others may 
be deceived in them ; or when we are lawfully required before a 
magistrate to testify our knowledge of such persons or actions. I 
may add a third, and that is. 

When our desires and ends are purely to get our hearts affected 
with the dishonour that is done to God by their wickedness, and 
the danger and misery of their own souls. This is supposed to be 
the subject-matter of the saints' discourse, Mai. iii. 16, when in evil 
days they spake often one to another. But for men to make it 
their business to publish others' profaneness, this is profane : ' Thou 
shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among thy people,' Lev. 
xix. 16. The word for tale-bearer in the Hebrew is Bakel, and 
signifieth a pedlar, which fitly sets forth the property of a back- 

VOL. II. z 


biter. The pedlar goeth up and down the country offering his 
wares at every door, very vrilling to put them off ; he takes them 
up at one place, and never ceaseth travelling till he hath sold them 
at another. So the backbiter catcheth up an evil report of a man 
at one house, and cannot rest till he is at some other house to tell 
it again, offering to vend it at a very low rate to any man that will 
take it off his hands. Nay, he is so full that he is ready to burst, 
if none will allow him vent. He is big with child, and can find 
no ease, till another's ears be the midwife to deliver him of such a 
deformed monster. But this is opposite to the rule by which we 
should walk, Titus ii. 3. Our God commandeth us, ' Speak evil of 
no man.' Not of good men, for they are God's portion ; not of 
bad men, for so is God's precept. This unchristian course of some 
professors hath procured them many a mischief, and brought up an 
ill report upon them all. The sinner is apt to say of such, as Ahab 
of Micaiah, ' I hate him, for he never speaks well of me.' And thus, 
instead of saving their neighbours' souls, which ought to be the 
work of every Christian, they harden them in their sins, and help 
to deepen their condemnations. Without doubt, that time which 
men spend in reporting others' wickednesses would be far better em- 
ployed in confessing and bewailing their own. It will prove at 
last but an evil means to raise our own names higher, by pulling down 
others, and building on their ruins ; and to relate their vices as a foil 
to render our virtues more beautiful and glorious. ' Let not the evil 
speaker be established in the earth : evil shall hunt the violent man 
to overthrow him,' Ps. cxl. 11. He that plotteth to pluck up 
others' names, doth it with an intent to plant his own the surer ; 
but he shall not be established in the earth, saith God. He judgeth 
himself safe, because others cannot stand before him, or are dis- 
abled, by reason of the disgrace he hath brought on them, to oppose 
him. But evil, like a pack of ravenous hounds, shall, with open 
mouth, hunt this butting stag, and sooner or later overthrow him. 
It was wise counsel which Diogenes gave the emperor. Take 
heed, saith he, of two sorts of beasts in thy court, both which bite 
dangerously — the tame beast, the flatterer ; and the wild beast, the 
backbiter. Well might he call them beasts, for a man-like spirit 
scorns to be so brutish, as to claw the itching ears of others with 
flatteries, and hates to be so currish and cowardly, as to bite them 
behind their backs ; David would have no such to be his servants, 
Ps. ci. 6, 7. The backbiter hath this sad unhappiness, that he 
wounds three with one arrow of his viperous tongue — himself, his 
hearer, and his neighbour he speaks of. 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 355 

1. Himself; for such weapons recoil and fly upon him that dis- 
chargeth them. The Holy Ghost compareth a backbiting tongue 
to a sharp sword ; and, indeed, like Saul's sword, it may be the 
death of the owner. God joins this sin with murder, Lev. xix. 1 6, 
to note, saith one, that the backbiter is a man-slayer ; and surely 
such a one shall not escape vengeance. 

2. His hearer ; the receiver is as bad as the thief. If there were 
no tale-hearer, there would be no tale-bearer ; some are fitly com- 
pared to brass pots, though they are great, you may carry them by 
the ears, which way you please. It is an excellent expression of 
Solomon, ' As the north wind drives away rain, so doth an angry 
countenance a backbiting tongue,' Prov. xxv. 23. It is a memor- 
able saying of Bernard, The detractor, and willing hearer of it, do 
both carry the devil about them ; the one carrieth him in his 
tongue, the other in his ear.i It was the wish of Plautus, that there 
were a law for the hanging of tale-bearers by the tongue, and tale- 
hearers by the ears. 

3. The person he speaketh of; he that takes away a man's 
name, leaves him little for this world worth keeping. This evil 
tongue is fitly compared to an arrow, for it wounds a man even 
afar off. As secret poison works incurable effects many times be- 
fore it is discerned, so doth a backbiting tongue. A man were bet- 
ter, like him one of the ancients mentions, carry a stone in his 
mouth three years, to prevent much babbling, than be guilty one 
hour of backbiting. 

Section IV. 

Secondly, If Christians would exercise themselves to godliness, 
they must be serviceable to the good of each other. The temple 
was built in Solomon's time by men of all sorts ; there is not the 
meanest Christian, but may do somewhat in his place towards the 
building of the spiritual temple. The communion of saints consist- 
eth in three things. 

' 1. In a mutual communication of their graces and gifts. Grace 
is given us, not only for ourselves, but also for the good of the saints : 
1 Cor. xii. 5, 6, ' There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit ; 
differences of administration, but the same Lord ; diversities of opera- 
tion, but the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifes- 
tation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.' The 
water of life is like a common stream, for the benefit of many. 

^ Detractor et lubens auditor uterque diabolum portat ; alter in ore, alter in aure. 
— Bern, 


2. In a mutual joining in the ordinances of God, Acts ii. 43. 
The servants of the same Lord wait upon him, sometimes singly, 
sometimes in company. There are set seasons, wherein they all 
meet together to attend him, though when they are parted they are 
all about his business : ' And the same day there were added to 
the church three thousand souls ; and they continued steadfastly in 
the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of bread and 

3. In mutual serviceableness each to other. Every man is a 
steward to manage his abilities for others' good, and to improve his 
talents for his Master's glory. Now, if our stock were our own, 
that we were the proprietors, to let it lie still would argue us guilty 
of much folly ; but when it is altogether another's, and we are but 
factors for him, to neglect the improvement of it, speaks us arrant 
thieves, and guilty of unfaithfulness : ' As every man hath received 
the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards 
of the manifold grace of God,' 1 Pet. iv. 10. It is but an ill pro- 
perty of the swan, that she cannot endure the goose should come 
near her, to take part of her food. Though it might be a fault in 
the church of Syracuse, what Hilary mentions, that by a law there 
was a community of outward goods ; yet I am sure it is none, that 
there should be a community of spiritual gifts. Wicked men are 
said to be of the night, but saints of the day ; now as the day en- 
lightens and warms all it shines on, calls them to their work, to 
their walk, and helpeth to prevent their falls and wandering, even 
so should the saints in love serve one another. Gal. v. 13, Such 
a man is of the earth (is right earth, that standeth on its own 
centre) who is wholly for himself. All things that have affinity 
with the heavens, move upon the centre of another which they 
benefit. The bramble, which receiveth all good, and keepeth it to 
itself, piercing instead of pleasuring those who come near it, will 
be cast ere long into the fire. It is said of one, as all the encomium 
could justly be given, Sihi natus, sihi vixit, sihimortuus, sibi dam- 
natus ; He was born to himself, he lived to himself, he died to him- 
self, and he was damned to himself. We have a common saying. 
He that is not good to himself, is good to nobody, and it is 
as true again. He that is good only to himself, is as good as nobody. 
It was the voice of a cursed Cain, 'Am I my brother's keeper ?' The 
voice of the blessed apostle, ' Consider one another, to provoke to 
love ; exhort one another whilst it is called to-day ; let no man 
seek his own, but every one his brother's good to edification,' Phil, 
ii. 4 ; Heb. x. 34. 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 357 

A company of Christians, like the plants in paradise, should im- 
part an aromatical savour each to other : ' A friend must shew himself 
friendly,' saith Solomon, Prov. xviii. But how ? by endeavouring 
to make his friends better. It was a commendable property which 
some mention in Socrates, that he always studied how he might 
better the minds of his familiars. And Seneca, when the scholars 
of Theophrastus had shewed him two men that were intimate 
friends, whereof the one was very rich, and the other very poor, he 
said to them, If they be friends, how comes it to pass that the one 
is so poor and the other so rich ?l — ^intimating that, had there been 
any true friendship, the rich man would have imparted of his 
goods to the poor man. As true love cannot stand without com- 
municating of our temporal riches, so neither without imparting of 
our spiritual for the supply of others' necessities. If there be love 
in feasting one another's bodies, there is much more in feeding each 
other's souls ; and if to distribute and communicate of our earthly 
treasures we must not forget, for with such sacrifice Grod is well 
pleased, then to distribute and communicate of our heavenly 
treasures we must be more forward, because with such sacrifice 
God is better pleased. 

Besides, it is an encouragement to Christians, that they do not 
diminish, but increase their spiritual stocks by trading. He were 
not a man that would not do another a courtesy, when by doing it 
he should dO' himself no injury. How bad is he then that will not 
benefit his neighbour, when thereby he doth a real kindness to him- 
self ?2 Money laid up, rather wasteth with rust than increaseth ; 
but money laid out, brings in considerable profit : ' To him that 
hath shall be given.' When the servant that had received five 
talents, traded and gained five more, 'Take the talent,' saith Christ, 
' from the unprofitable servant, and give it to him that hath gained 
five ;' our communication to others is no diminution, but an addition 
to ourselves. Live coals are made the hotter for those near them, 
which they enlivened. The truth is, there is no usury so lawful as of 
spiritual riches, nor is there any so profitable. Our use upon use, 
which almost doubleth the principal in seven years, is nothing to 
this. Christians, therefore lose not a tide, a market, an oppor- 

1 Si amici sunt, quorsum alter ita dives, alter ita pauper? — Seii., Epist. 8. 

^ Quanto plus profundimus fluentorum bonorum spiritualium, tanto nobis et 
fluenta sunt auctiora. Non enim in hac causa contingit, sicut in pecuniis. Illic 
enim quanto plus expendit, tanto plus * possidet pecunige, hie autem plane secus 
agitur. — Chrys., Horn. 8 in Gen., p. 37. 

Qu., "minus" ? — Ed. 


tunity, if possible ; hereby, though your beginnings be small, your 
latter end shall wonderfully increase. Many that have begun with 
very little, have by trading thus, come to die worth thousands. 

Before I come to shew wherein Christians should be serviceable 
each to other, I must a little explain myself, lest I should seem to 
allow that which the word of God forbids — namely, that every 
private Christian ought to be a preacher ; such a tenet would cut 
asunder the nerves and ligaments of this society, which is order. 
Every star must give light in its own and proper sphere. 

1. There is an authoritative, public counselling, admonishing, &c. , 
which belongeth only to pastors lawfully called. Observe what the 
Holy Ghost saith, ' Are all apostles ? are all prophets ? are all 
pastors ? are all teachers ? ' No, all are not gifted for it. It would 
much reflect upon the King of heaven to send servants upon such 
weighty errands that were unfit for them, and did rather render 
their business ridiculous. It is no easy thing for a person to be 
qualified for a public preacher. The great apostle crieth out, ' Who 
is sufficient for these things ? ' though the voice of ignorant men is, 
Who is not sufficient for these things ? Besides, all are not called to 
it. It is not gifts and parts that will make a. subject an officer at 
home, or an ambassador abroad, but a commission from his prince : 
'Let no man take this honour upon him, unless he be called of God, 
as was Aaron.' There be many works which private Christians 
may not meddle with, as to consecrate things, to constitute 
ecclesiastical laws, to excommunicate, to receive in those that are 
cast out, to administer the sacraments, &c. But those works which 
they may and ought to do, as to exhort, advise, admonish, com- 
fort, &c., they must do them as private members, not as j)ublic 
officers in the name or stead of Christ, and to private members, 
not to the church. 

2. There is a private charitative counselling, comforting, ad- 
monishing others : this may belong to any Christian, so he keep 
within his own place, and carry himself therein according to divine 
commands ; for God hath made no man a treasurer, but every man 
a steward, of those talents with which he is intrusted. Hence the 
apostle frequently commandeth believers to mind these duties. Gal. 
vi. 1 ; Heb. iii. 13 ; 1 Peter iv. 11, But in these Christians must 
keep within their bounds, as fixed stars give light to others, con- 
tinuing still in their own orbs, and not as planets, according to 
some, wander up and down out of their places. The members of 
the body do not intrude into each other's office. Uzzah's uphold- 
ing the ark when shaken, though questionless out of a good design. 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 359 

yet was the cause of his death, and instead of furthering it, 
hindered its march towards the place of its rest. 

Private Christians ought to be serviceable to each other in these 
particulars : 

1. In instructing the ignorant. Among Christians there are 
many who have but ignorant heads, though they have holy hearts ; 
though for the time they have enjoyed the means, they might have 
been teachers of others, yet themselves had need to be taught the 
first principles of the oracles of God. Now the work of knowing 
men must be to instruct such ; though they be dull and heavy, we 
should bear with them, and condescend to them. St Augustine said 
he would speak false Latin, if his hearers understood it better than 
true. By many blows we make a nail enter into a hard board ; 
by precept upon precept, and line upon line, we may beat truths 
into the heads of them that are very dull. Job's friend tells him, 
' Behold, thou hast instructed many,' Job iv. 3. In this sense Job 
was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame ; eyes to prevent their 
wandering in a wrong way, and feet to prevent their stumbling in 
the right way. David was no priest, yet he would teach others 
God's precepts. When he had once tasted God's love, others 
should taste some honey dropping from his lips : ' Then will I 
teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto 
thee,' Ps. li. 

It is a noble work for Christians that have abilities and understand- 
ing to take some pains to teach and instruct them that are ignorant. 
They cannot worship God as they ought, because they are un- 
acquainted with his word and will. How can a servant please his 
master, that doth not know his pleasure ? They cannot do the good 
they should, because they know not their duty. They who are 
almost quite blind will do but little work ; they are more open to 
temptation, both from evil men and the evil one, because of their 
ignorance. It is as easy to give a child poison as wholesome milk, 
because it hath not wisdom to discern the difference. It is not hard 
to put the poison of error into their mouths, who are but babes in 
understanding. When the quick-sighted walk steadily, these dark- 
sighted persons walk stumblingly in the way of God's command- 
ments. Oh do what thou canst, reader, to inform such poor creatures 
in the truths of God ; for as the eunuch said to Philip, ' How should 
they understand, unless some one guide them ? ' We count it worthy 
and honourable to teach others some curious art or high calling ; 
sure I am there is a day coming, when to have taught one poor 
Christian how to serve God better, and to honour him more, will 


cause more comfort and bring more credit than the instructing 
thousands in the greatest and deepest mysteries of nature or art. 

2. By quickening the slothful. The eagle loveth her young, yet 
when they are ready for flight, and lie lazing in their nest, she will 
pierce and prick them with her claws, to make them fly abroad. 
Love to others' souls should stir us up to rouse drowsy Christians out 
of their spiritual slumbers and lethargies. One bellman that is 
stirring at midnight, by crying fire, fire, awakens hundreds that were 
fast asleep in a short time ; one lively active believer, acquainting 
men with the jealousy and justice of God, and his severe proceed- 
ings against secure persons who neglect their spiritual watch, may 
quickly call them from their beds to their watch and work. ' Con- 
sider one another,' saith the apostle, ' to provoke one another to love 
and to good works,' Heb. x. 24. The Greek word ek irapo^va^wv, 
is, consider one another into a paroxysm, a violent heat of an ague 
or fever, to make each other fervent and fiery in love and good 
works. Consider one another's backwardness and dulness, and pro- 
voke one another to your duties, and that with diligence. Consider 
one another's states and conditions, and provoke one another to a 
suitable seriousness in working out your salvations. Consider one 
another's hindrances, and temptations, and weaknesses, and pro- 
voke one another to love and to good works. Christians should say 
to one another, as Judah to Simeon his brother, ' Come up with me 
into my lot, that I may fight against the Canaanites, and I will go 
up with thee into thy lot :' help me by jogging and awakening me 
if I sleep, and I will do as much for thee. Judges i. 3. And en- 
courage one another, as Joab his brother Abishai : 2 Sam. x. 11, 12, 
' And he said. If the Syrians be too strong for me, then thou shalt 
help me ; but if the children of Ammon be too strong for thee, then I 
will come and help thee. Be of good courage, and let us play the 
men for our people, and the cities of our God : and the Lord do 
that which seemeth him good.' Thus the children of God should 
bespeak each other: If the world be too hard for thee, I will endeavour 
to assist thee, by discovering the vanity of its shallow allurements, 
and the foolery of its skin-deep affrightments ; if the devil or flesh 
be too hard for me, thou shalt do thy utmost to succour me in 
withstanding their batteries, and repelling their poisonous and fiery 
darts. Only let us be of good courage, let us watch, stand fast in 
the faith, quit ourselves like men for our God, and our Redeemer, 
and our souls, and our eternal salvations, and the Lord wiU be 
found faithful, who hath assured us that he will not suffer us to be 
tempted above what we are able. 

Chap. IV.] the cheistian man s calling. 361 

3. By comforting tlie sorrowful. Christians should have a cordial 
in store for them that are fainting ; a cup of wine for the heavy in 
heart, and be able to speak a word in season to him that is weary : 
' Comfort the feeble ' — i.e. , the sick at heart, such as are ready to sink 
under the weight of sin, and are frighted with the apprehension of 
the eternal fire, 1 Thes. v. 14. Amalek is branded with a mark of 
infamy, and was followed with a curse and slaughter from God, for 
falling upon the faint and feeble ones of Israel, Deut. xxv. 18. God 
cannot endure it, he cannot bear it, that his weak, sickly ones should 
be wronged. He is tender of them himself ; he carrieth his lambs 
in his arms, Isa. xl. 11 ; and others must do so too, or he will make 
them rue it. The world doth as the herd, push the wounded deer 
out of their company ; but saints endeavour to bind up the broken 
in heart, to comfort them, as Paul commands his Corinthians, lest 
they be swallowed up of too much sorrow, 2 Cor. ii. 7. 

The husbandman doth mind his young tender trees in a special 
manner above them that are grown up and strong, because such are 
in more danger of breaking, and bruising, and other hurt, than grown 
trees ; so that, besides the wall or common fence about the orchard, 
he makes a special fence with bushes and stakes about these, and 
gives them more choice nourishment, and more frequent watering. 
God is most choice of his little ones, his weak children. ' When Israel 
was a child, I loved him : I drew him with the cords of love, and with 
the bands of a man,' Hosea xi. 1-3. Christians must imitate God in 
this, and be followers of him as dear children : ' Wherefore lift up 
the hands that hang down, and the feeble knees,' Heb. xii. 12. The 
martyrs in prison, by discoursing on the promises, shook off their 
carnal fetters. Holy Bradford made his dark dungeon by this means 
lightsome to his fellow-prisoners. Luther professed Melanchthon 
very helpful to him against his inward doubts, as he was to Mel- 
anchthon against his frights about the public state of the church. A 
friend is born for the day of adversity, Prov. xvii, 17 : and it is pity 
he was ever born, that denieth to do that for which he was born. 
It appertains especially to the office of a friend, saith Seneca, to 
assuage his friend's grief by speech ; to drive away his sadness by 
cheerfulness ; and to refresh him with his very presence. When 
women travel, they carry frequently with them strong waters, and if 
one fainteth or is sick, she that hath those cordial waters prayeth 
her to take some for her ease and comfort. The apostle prepareth 
for the Christian choice and rare cordials in 1 Thes. iv., about the 
last six verses, and then wisheth them to make use of them for their 
mutual good : ' Wherefore comfort one another with these words.' 


4. By admonishing the sinful. Saints, like clocks, made up of 
curious wheels and engines, are soon discomposed, and therefore 
often want some workman to set them in order again. A good man, 
if his friend follow virtue, will be a father to encourage him ; if he 
be full of doubts, will be a minister to direct him ; but if he fol- 
low vice, will be a magistrate to correct him. Christians must 
allow one another for their infirmities, but not allow one another 
in their infirmities : ' If a brother be overtaken with a fault, restore 
such a one with the spirit of meekness,' Gal. vi. 1. Which words 
are very emphatical, and point to us ; — 

1. The nature of his fall. He is overtaken with a fault, he doth 
not overtake the fault ; he is rather passive of it, than active in it- 
A sinner, like Ahab, sells himself to work wickedness in the sight 
of the Lord; but a brother, like Paul, is sold under sin. It is 
proper to the wicked to be volunteers in this unholy war against 
God ; saints fight not except they be pressed. The Christian is 
drawn to iniquity by cords of vanity, the other draweth iniquity 
with cords of vanity. 

2. The duty of his friend : ' restore such a one.' It is Karapri^ere, 
an allusion to chirurgeons, who set bones out of joint, though they 
put their patients to pain, and make them 'angry at present; so 
must Christians endeavour the jointing of their brethren, whose 
souls are out of order, though at present they have little thanks for 
their labour. This courtesy we owe to our brother's ox or ass, much 
more to his soul, Exod. xxii. 4. It is a strict command, ' Warn the 
unruly,' IT lies. v. 14, though most men drawback, when they 
are called to this burden, that fallen brethren lie under the same 
misery that travellers do, to find many hosts but few friends, and 
may cry out, as Louis the Eleventh of France, I have plenty of all 
things, but such as will tell me my faults. 

3. The manner how this friendly part must be performed : ' with 
the spirit of meekness.' The bitterness of reprehension is much 
sweetened, by the pleasingness of our expressions ; gentle sores are 
but anguished with too hard a pressure. Though swine are driven 
with violence, yet children that wander are gently led home. Ac- 
cording to the wound must the plaster be more or less search- 
ing. Christ reproves Martha mildly : ' Martha, Martha, thou art 
careful and troubled about many things;' but he rebuked Peter 
sharply, ' Get thee behind me, Satan.' 

The apostle, writing to the Eomans, commendeth them highly, 
that they were able to admonish one another, Kom. xv. 14. They 
had piety and grace enough to perform the duty, notwithstanding 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 3G3 

the arguments of ill will, or loss in estate, or other evils which the 
flesh suggested to the contrary ; and they had prudence and dis- 
cretion enough to perform the duty, so as it might most probably be 
profitable. But how unlike are Christians in our days to those in 
the primitive times ! Admonition is a lion which few dare come 
near, for fear it will tear them in pieces. We carry ourselves rather 
like Machiavel's scholars, who taught his followers, if their friend 
were up to the knees in water, to lend him their hand to help him 
out ; and so if he were up to the waist ; but if he were up to the 
chin, then to lay their hand on his head, and duck him under, that 
he rise no more. How many, that should reprove others, have 
their mouths stopped, as the dog's by the thief, with a piece of 
bread — some kindness or other U Or else, as Erasmus saith of Har- 
pocrates. They hold their finger in their mouths, and are afraid of 
giving offence ; they are rather like the reflection of a looking-glass, 
ready to imitate others' sinful gestures and actions, than rebuke 
them for them : ' There is no reprover in the gate.' 

Nay, heathen exceed in this many of us. The great philosopher 
tells us, that is true love which, to profit and do good to us, feareth 
not to offend us ; and that it is one of the chiefest offices of friend- 
ship to admonish.2 Euripides exhorts men to get such friends as 
would not spare to displease them, saying, Friends are like new 
wines — those that are harsh and sour keep best, the sweet are not 
lasting. Phocion told Antipater, Thou shalt not have me for thy 
friend and flatterer too. Diogenes, when men called him dog, for 
his severe kind of reproving, would answer, Dogs bite their enemies, 
but I my friends, for their good ; and are we so hardly drawn to 
this duty ? Oh how justly might the Lord reprove us cuttingly, 
and set our sins in order before our eyes, to our condemnation, for 
our backwardness to reprove others to their humiliation ! We have 
most of us cause, with Keverend Mr Eobert Bolton,3 to confess and 
bewail our neglect herein. 

Section V. 

Fifthly, By bearing each other's infirmities. Christians, like the 
clearest fire, will have some smoke, whereby they are apt to offend 
each other's eyes, and to cause anger. The best and most pious 
may sometimes be peevish ; those brethren that love sincerely, may 

1 Perrigit panem ut sileat. 

■^ Ut malus sermo inducit iu peccaturu, sic malum silentium relinquit in peccato. 
— August. ^ Iu Quat. Noviss. 


too often quarrel ; true members of the same body may, by some 
accident, be disjointed ; though' contentions argue them to have flesh, 
yet they may arise where there is spirit. Therefore the Holy Ghost 
commandeth, ' Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of 
Christ.' Here is the commandment enjoined, and the argument 
whereby it is enforced. Gal. vi. 2. 

First, The precept : ' bear one another's burdens.' 
There is a threefold burden that Christians must bear for each 

1. The civil burdens of their miseries and sufferings ; have a 
fellow-feeling with them in their afflictions. ' Who is weak, and I 
am not weak ? who is afflicted, and I burn not?' saith holy Paul, 
Eom. xii. 15. Herod and his men of war will set a persecuted Christ 
at nought ; the chief priests and elders will mock him when he 
hangs upon the cross, Luke xxiii. 11 ; Mat. xxvii. 4. Edom. re- 
joiced in the day of Jerusalem's trouble ; they cried, ' Aha, so 
would we have it ;' but the true seed of Jacob sigh for others' sor- 
rows — they weep with them that weep. ' Eemember them that are 
in bonds, as bound with them, and them that suffer adversity,' Heb. 
iii. 3. If one part of the natural body be in pain, the other parts 
are sensible of it ; when one branch of a tree is torn and mangled in 
summer, the other branches are affected with it, and out of sympathy, 
as it were, will not thrive so well as formerly. If one person of a 
family be sick, how much do his relations, from a principle of nature, 
lay to heart his pain and illness ! Christians are all members of 
the same body, branches of the same vine, children of the same 
family ; and it would be monstrous and unnatural for them not to 
feel each other's miseries, and suffer in each other's sufferings. 

2. The spiritual burden of their iniquities and sins, whether 
more immediately against God. Though we must not bear with 
them in their sins, yet we must help to bear their sins with them. 
We ought to sit on the same floor with them that are fallen down, 
and to mourn with them, and for them, and to bear some of the 
weight. This temper was so eminent in Ambrose, he would so 
plentifully weep with the sinning party, that a great commander 
under Theodosius, beholding it, cried out. This man is only worthy 
the name of a bishop. 

As stags, when they swim over a river to feed in some meadow, 
they swim in a row, and lay their heads over one another's backs, 
bearing the weight of one another's horns, and when the first is 
weary, another taketh his room, and so they do it by course ; so 
Christians must be willing to bear each other's weight, whilst they 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 365 

are passing through those boisterous waters, till they land at their 
glorious eternal harbour. 

Or whether their sins are immediately against ourselves. If the 
teeth bite the tongue, that seeketh no revenge ; when the feet, 
through their slipping, throw the body upon the ground, it riseth 
up, and all is well. Some Christians are of such weak stomachs, 
that they can digest nothing that looks like an unkindness or 
injury ; but it is the glory of a man to pass by offences. Cyprian 
saith, to bear with affronts is a ray of divinity, i A noble-spirited 
man will disdain to take notice of petty disrespects ; he will over- 
come contempt by contempt ; but a heaven-born Christian hath 
higher principles, and more sublime motives to forgive his offend- 
ing brother. ' I Paul, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to 
walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all 
lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another 
in love,' Eph. iv. 1, 2. 'And be ye kind one to another, tender- 
hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath 
forgiven you,' ver. 32. It is reported of Cosroes, the Persian 
king, that he caused a throne to be made for him like heaven, with 
the sun, moon, and stars artificially placed above it, and under his 
feet thick and black clouds, and high winds and tempests. He 
that would have a heaven here — I mean, enjoy God and himself — 
must of necessity trample these under his feet. 

It is good advice which Bernard gives in such a case : Dost thou 
hear that a brother hath said or done somewhat that reflecteth 
upon thee, or is injurious to thee? then, saith he, 

(1.) Be hard to believe it. He should have a loud tongue that 
can make thee to hear such a report. I would give him little 
thanks, in case the honour of God were not concerned, that were 
the messenger to bring me such a sour present ; his pains would 
deserve but a poor reward, that brought me tidings of a discourtesy 
to rob me of my charity. The evidence shall be very clear, or I 
will write Ignoramus upon his bill of indictment. But if the thing 
be so plain that it cannot be denied, then, saith he, 

(2.) Excuse his intent and purpose. Think with thyself, Possibly 
he had a good end in it ; he spake as he heard, or he did what he 
did upon some good ground and account. Though the action seem 
to savour of injury, yet certainly, in his intention, there was no 
evil ; had I his eyes, I should see his end was right and honest. 
But if there should be no reason for hope tljat his purpose was 
good, then, saith he, 

1 Cyprian, De Patieat. 


(3.) Think he did it ignorantly ; that had he known the con- 
sequence, he would not have been guilty of such a crime. Surely 
the man thought no hurt, he spake on a sudden ; such words came 
out of his mouth before he w^as aware, or he would never have 
spoken them ; I myself, in a heat, might have been as harsh. 
When high winds blow, storms will follow. 

(4.) If thou canst not be persuaded but the injury was wittingly 
offered, then think, He was overcome with some great temptation ; 
there were extraordinary fumes at that instant flying up into his 
head, which made him talk idly, and of which now he may be 
repenting before the Lord. The strong man was too hard for the 
weak Christian ; flesh and blood was easily conquered by princi- 
palities and powers. I may well forgive him ; his sin will cost him 
sorrow enough before his Father smile on him. 

3. The natural burden — as I may call it, though it hath a 
relation to spiritual, but not fully in the former sense — of their 
infirmities. Some, by reason of bad instruments, are but bunglers 
at their work ; they have naturally understandings very dull to 
receive, and memories very slow to retain spiritual things ; they 
have ill constitutions of body, and thereby the worse frames of soul, 
and the more apt to be peevish and fretful. ' Now we exhort you, 
brethren, that ye support the weak, and be patient towards all 
men,' 1 Thes. v. 14. All the persons in God's family are not of 
the same height and strength ; though some are old men and 
fathers, and others are young and strong, yet some are little chil- 
dren, babes in Christ ; some can go alone, or with a little help, if 
you hold them but by their leading-strings ; but others must be 
carried in arms, and will require much love and patience to over- 
come their childish frowardness. Christ winks at their weaknesses, 
who hath most reason to be moved with them ; though his disciples 
were raw, and dull, and slow to believe and understand, yet he 
bears with them ; nay, though when he was watching for them, 
and in his bloody sweat, his whole body being in a gore-blood, 
under the weight of their and others' sins on his back, and they lay 
sleeping and snoring, and could not watch with him one hour, he 
doth not fall fiercely upon them, but calmly asketh them, ' Could ye 
not watch with me one hour ? ' and afterwards excuseth it for them. 

First, From the natural cause. Their heads were full at that 
time of fumes ; their eyes were heavy with sorrow. They were 
full of grief for their dear Master, and their sorrow hindering the 
digestion of their food, filled them with vapours, which, ascending 
to their brains, inclined them to sleep. 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 307 

Secondly, From the moral cause: they would, but they could 
not. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Their 
better part would move more swiftly, and do anything at my call 
and command, but their flesh draweth back, and makes them drive 
heavily. It is no wonder that their pace is so slow, when, like the 
snail, they have such a house, such a hindrance upon their backs; 
the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Who can think of this 
infinite grace of the blessed Kedeemer in making such an apology 
for them whom he had such cause to be full of fury against, and 
not be incited to imitate so admirable a pattern ? 

There is another famous instance, in the Old Testament, and 
that is God's patience towards peevish Jonah, by which all may see 
how much he bears with his froward children. 

First, Jonah runs from his business; God sends him to Nineveh, 
he will go to Tarshish. Here was plain rebellion against his 
sovereign. One would have expected that the jealous God should 
have given him a traitor's wages, and when he was at sea, have 
suffered the ocean of waters to have swallowed up his body, and 
the ocean of fire and wrath his soul. But lo, he cannot permit 
his Jonah to perish ; he will rather whip him to his work, than 
let him wander to his ruin. But how gentle is the rod ! God 
cannot forget the love of a father, though Jonah forget the duty of 
a child, but will rather work a miracle, and make the devourer 
his saviour, than Jonah shall miscarry. It is true he was tossed 
with a violent tempest, and thrown overboard, but God provided 
him a shelter before the storm, and prepared a whale to swallow 
him down, not for his destruction, but his deliverance : ' And the 
Lord spake to the fish, and it vomited up Jonah upon the dry 

Well, now the child is brought home, you will look that he 
should make some recompense for his former disobedience, by his 
faithfulness and diligence for the future ; that the danger he had 
been in, the death he had so narrowly escaped, the miracle which 
had been wrought for him, and the extraordinary mercy he had 
so lately received, should have melted him wholly into God's mould, 
and have made him, like Abraham, to have come up wholly to 
God's foot. But, alas ! he addeth sin to sin, and neither mercy 
nor misery prevail with him to know himself. Indeed, he under- 
takes the journey and message he was called to upon a second 
command, but as unwillingly as the bear goeth to the stake. After 
he had pronounced a sentence of death upon the Ninevites, and 
shewed them a warrant under the high God's hand and seal for 


their speedy execution, how ill doth he take it that, upon their 
humble petition, a reprieve should be granted them ! He frets 
inwardly against God, and, through the exceeding heat of his heart, 
his tongue blisters with casting God's mercy in his teeth. He 
was wroth for that in which he had cause to rejoice. His love tc) 
his brethren might have made him glad of their escape, and his 
love to his God should have quieted him in all his wise and holy 
proceedings : ' But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was 
very angry, and he prayed unto the Lord, Lord, was not this my 
saying in my country ? for I knew that thou art a gracious God, 
,&c. Therefore, Lord, take away my life.' He quarrels with 
God's providence, and he doth, as it were, twit God with (that 
which is the glory of all his attributes and actions, and the best 
friend the poor children of men have) his grace and pity, desiring 
rather the destruction of above six score thousand persons, than 
that himself, by the blind ignorant world, should be reckoned a 
false prophet. Behold impatience in its largest dimensions ! Jonah 
will die, because so many thousands are allowed, out of infinite 
kindness, to live. Oh what a nest of vermin was in the womb of 
this disobedience ! Here is pride, both in preferring his own will 
before God's, and in his unwillingness to suffer a little in his repute 
in the eye of the people. Here was passion to the height, and that 
against God himself Here was murmuring against sparing mercy 
and the divine pleasure. Here was unbelief, as if God could not 
repair his name, and repay him for the loss of his credit. Here 
was uncharitableness and want of love towards the poor Ninevites, 
whose condition called for the deepest compassion. What answer 
can be judged tart enough to such a passionate prayer ? What 
language can be too harsh, what carriage can be too heavy, towards 
such a cross-grained child ? It is abominable for any man to con- 
tend with his Maker. It is bad for servants to strive with their 
master, or children to resist their father, though both these are 
their fellow-creatures ; but for any to contend with God, whose 
dominion over us is unquestionable, and their dependence on him 
indispensable, between whom and them there is an infinite distance, 
is infinitely worse. But for Jonah — not only a man, but a new 
man, a child of God, a prophet of the Lord, that should have 
taught others, by his precepts and by his pattern, to submit to the 
severest divine pleasure, one that had been signalised, above others, 
with eminent and distinguishing favours both for this and the other 
world — to fly thus in God's face, is worst of all. Surely no punish- 
ment can exceed the desert of such peevishness, such passion. Some 

Chap. IV.] the christiajst man's calling. 369 

dreadful thunder cannot but be expected as the consequent of such 
hot weather. But hear, heavens, give ear, earth, and be 
astonished at the calm mild voice of the great God : ' And the Lord 
said unto Jonah, Jonah, dost thou well to be angry ? ' Mark what 
love sounds in this language. Such an affectionate voice, after such 
gross disobedience, might make even marble to weep ; and, as that 
voice from heaven, turn a Saul into a Paul. Could the fondest and 
most indulgent father in the world be more meek, more mild in his 
expression ? He appeals to Jonah's conscience whether such be- 
haviour was answerable to his oath of allegiance : Dost thou well 
to be angry ? Is this passion suitable to that submission which 
thou owest to me and my providence ? Eli said as much to his 
wicked sons : It is not a good report which I hear of you, my sons, 
&c., when God was so incensed against him for his mildness, that 
he sends him an ear-tickling and a heart-trembling message. 
And yet God himself is so favourable and compassionate to one 
whose sin admitted of greater aggravations in some respects than 
those of Eli's sons, (Jonah sinned after such a miraculous salvation, 
and that against choosing, calling, pardoning, saving love, which 
Eli's sons did not ;) nay, and when the malefactor, upon the read- 
ing of this gentle indictment to him, instead of pleading guilty, and 
begging a psalm of mercy, had stubbornly and obstinately justified 
himself, _ God, who might have awarded judgment against him, 
according to law, still forbeareth him ; and when his pathetical 
words would not reclaim him, he trieth if a miraculous work will 
reduce him to his allegiance. Oh the tenderness of God towards 
his froward children ! I have sometimes wondered at his infinite 
patience towards so disobedient a prophet ; but, alas ! I experience 
it daily in his superabundant grace and goodness towards my own 
soul, notwithstanding my greater provocations. 

Keader, by all this thou mayest see what cause thou hast to bear 
with thy fellow-Christians, when God beareth with his creatures, 
notwithstanding those multiplied affronts and disrespects, which 
they offer to his glorious, holy, and infinite Majesty. 

Secondly, We may observe in the foregoing text, the prevailing 
argument to this precept : ' And so fulfil the law of Christ.' This was 
the great law which Christ commanded so frequently, so affection- 
ately, and the apostle mentioneth it here, as if it were the only law, 
or all the law, because this love is the fulfilling of the whole law. 
As if he had said, ' my Galatians, if ye have any love to Christ, 
and would evidence it to yourselves and others, let there be no 
bitterness, nor envyings, nor heart-burnings amongst you, but love 

VOL. n. 2 A 


your neighbours as yourselves, suffer with them in their sufferings ; 
let their sore eyes and tears for sin, set your eyes a-watering ; 
pardon them, though they may offend and provoke you ; bear with 
them, notwithstanding their passion and peevishness, for hereby ye 
will obey that great law, which is indeed the whole law containing 
your duty toward your brother, or that law which the heart of 
Christ was so infinitely set upon, that he will have it called his law, 
the law of Christ. This is my commandment, that ye love one 
another. Though he was the church's only lawgiver — and so all 
the commandments enjoined her were his — yet as amongst all the 
disciples there was one that had most of his heart, and was called 
the disciple whom Jesus loved ; so possibly amongst all the com- 
mandments, that of love had most of his heart, and may fitly be 
called the commandment which Jesus loved. ' My commandment, 
the law of Christ.' 

Oh, how sweet is the music, when saints join thus in concert ! 
and how harsh is the sound of jarring strings ! A mutual yielding 
and forbearance is no small help to our peace and safety. There is 
a story of two goats, which may excellently illustrate the benefit 
of this duty. They both met on a narrow bridge, under which a 
very deep and fierce stream did glide ; there was no going blindly 
back, neither could they pass forward for the narrowness of the 
bridge. Now had they fought for their passage, they had been 
certain both to perish ; this therefore they did, they agreed that the 
one should lie down, and the other go over him, and by this means 
both their lives were preserved. Whilst Christians are fighting, 
like some small chickens, they are a prey to kites and other 
ravenous creatures : ' In quietness shall be their strength,' Isa. xxx. 
15, is true in this, as well as other senses. 

Section VI. 

Thirdly, Christians ought in good company, not only to do what 
good they can to each other, but also to receive what good they may 
from each other. God sets up such candles, not for us to play, but 
to work by. The strongest Christian may gain by the weakest. A 
small brimstone match may help to light a great torch. A servant 
may sometimes think of a way to enlarge his imprisoned master, 
when his master dreams not of it. Every loop or pin was helpful 
to the tabernacle. A homely digger that is poor, doth sometimes 
discover rich mines, which wealthy merchants took no notice of. 
Apollos, one mighty in the Scriptures, is content to learn of a 

Chap. TV.] the christian man's calling. 371 

handicraft man. Cordials are not to be refused, because brought 
to us in a wooden spoon. Who ever sent away silver or gold, 
because brought to him in a bag of leather ? The moon, though 
she be but small, and seated in a lower orb than the stars of the 
first magnitude, and though she hath her spots and imperfections, 
yet she lends a useful light to men, prevents their stumbling and 
wandering out of their way, and produceth here and there a motion 
subordinate and obedient to a heavenly influence ; when those 
luminaries that are above her in place, are below her in use and 
service. Proud men disdain to take poor saints' advice, as if 
wisdom had forsaken all commerce with inferior persons, and taken 
' up her abode only in stately palaces. Uj)on this score Darius, in- 
stead of the thanks which he owed, paid Charidemus with no less 
than death for liis good counsel.! But it is the folly as well as the 
arrogancy of some, rather -to ascend to a dangerous height, than 
descend at the call of one below them, Prov. xxix. 1. Oh, how mad 
is he that will rather run on in hazardous paths to his ruin, than 
turn back and retreat at the desire of one that is his iriferior ! And 
such proud Christians have this usually for their reward of God, 
that when the humble that will stoop to take up jewels at the feet 
of the meanest are enriched, they get nothing by godly conference, 
"We give no relief to them that go gorgeously attired, and brag of 
their own large revenues. 

There lieth a great deal of wealth and worth in some obscure and 
neglected Christians ; men do not more usually trample upon the 
golden veins of earth in America, than conceited persons trample 
on the spiritual riches in poor Christians ; but a wise man will 
better himself by his enemies, much more by his godly friends, 
both in taking their counsel and receiving their admonition, if 
occasion be. 

1. In taking counsel. It was said of Demosthenes, that he was 
better at praising virtue, than practising it. We must write by 
that copy which we set others. It was the speech of a philosopher, 
that it is the easiest thing in the world to give good counsel, and 
the hardest thing to take it. Job's friends, though falsely, taxed 
him as guilty of this crime : Job iv. 3-5, ' Behold, thou hast in- 
structed many, and strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have 
upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the 
feeble knees. But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest ; it 
toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.' Dr Preston confessed on 
his death-bed, that he found it difficult to take that physic which 
1 Sir W. Eal. Hist. AVorld, lib. iv. cap. 4. « 


he had often administered to others. But all Christians must and 
will endeavour it ; Solomon makes it the mark of a prudent man : 
' The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he that hearkeneth 
to counsel is wise,' Prov. xi. 15. When out of self-conceit we 
refuse others' advice, we bewray our own pride and folly. Quin- 
tilian said of some, they might have proved excellent scholars, if 
they had not thought themselves so already ; this is true of too 
many in our days. They might have proved excellent Christians, 
if they had not thought themselves too good to learn. He that 
every day layeth up something, though but little, will in time have 
a good stock. 

2. In receiving admonition. The stomach of man naturally 
riseth against this bitter physic, though it conduceth so much to his 
health. Faithful reproof is the awakening of man out of sleep, 
and such are very apt to be angry. The hedgehog bristleth up 
her prickles, and will pierce, if it be possible, those that come to 
take hold of her. 

There are two things that cause men to rage against reproof. 

1. Guilt of the sin objected. Guilt makes men angry when they 
are searched, and, like horses that are galled, to kick, if they be 
but touched. They hate, saith the Holy Ghost, him that reproveth 
in the gate. The easiest medicines and mildest waters are trouble- 
some to sore eyes. Praxaspes having reproved Cambyses for his 
drunkenness, did so exasperate liim, that he shot the son of the 
reprover through the heart, to confute the father by shewing the 
steadiness of his hand. Though you stir one that hath a boil never 
so gently, yet he will fret and fume. Ahab, conscious of his own 
filth and wickedness, hates Micaiah for telling him the truth. 
There is scarce a more probable sign that the crime objected is true, 
than wrath and bitterness against the person that chargeth us with 
it. Children that have cankers will not suffer honey to come near 
their mouths, as sweet as it is. Though men are bold to sin, even 
to the face of God, yet they are so proud, that they would not have 
it visible to the eye of a man ; therefore, when by their admoni- 
tions they find that they are discovered, they wrangle and quarrel. 

2. Love to sin makes men impatient under reproof. It was 
David's fondness of Absalom that made him so strict in his charge 
to his captains concerning him, ' Deal gently with the young man 
Absalom for my sake.' It is love of lust that makes us so desirous 
it should be spared, and so passionate when it is pierced by a re- 
proof. A man may gather that sin to be his Delilah, which he 

, will suffer none to hurt. Eglebert, king of West Saxons, slew 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 373 

Earl Cambra for telling him of his faults, but it was because 
his sin was dearer to him than his soul. When a person's sin 
is to him as the apple of his eye, no wonder if he be offended at 
any that shall touch it. Solomon calls reproofs ear-rings. I 
am sure tJiey are ill bestowed on such uncircumcised ears, Prov. 
XXV. 12. 

But grace will teach a Christian contentedly to take those 
potions that are wholesome, though they be not toothsome. It is 
holy David's expression, ' Jjet the righteous smite me, it shall be 
a kindness ; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, 
it shall not break my head,' Ps. cxli. 5. Faithful reproof is a token 
of love, and therefore may well be esteemed a kindness. Such 
wounding of a friend is healing, and so David might well call it an 
excellent oil. And he did not only say so, which is easy and ordi- 
nary, but acted accordingly. He did not as the papists, who 
highly commend holy water, but turn away their faces when it 
comes to be sprinkled on them. When he had by sin, and con- 
tinuance in it, so gangrened his flesh, and corrupted himself, that 
he was in danger of death, he suffered his sores to be thoroughly 
searched without regret. Nathan was the chirurgeon whom God 
employed to search that wound which had divers months been 
festering in his soul ; and truly he did not dally with his patient, 
though he were a prince, but thrust his instrument to the bottom ; 
yet whatever pain it put him to, he took it patiently, and was so 
far from being angry with the prophet, that he made him one of 
his privy council. It is a sign of a polluted nature for a man, like 
a serpent, if he be but touched, to gather poison, and vomit it up 
at the party. ' Rebuke a scorner, and he will hate thee ; rebuke a 
wise man, and he will love thee,' Prov. xxi. 24. 

Pride scorns a corrector, and thinks it a disgrace to amend upon 
another's desire ; hence it hates him that endeavours it. Amos, 
for reproving the golden calves, was accused by Amaziah, the 
chief priest of the idols of Bethel, and struck by Uriah, the son of 
that Amaziah, with a spear on the head, whereof he died, saith 
Buntingus, Itinerar. Sacr. But reprove a wise man, and he will 
love thee. 

Austin notes it as a sign of grace in his friend Alipius, that he 
received his reproof so well. Paul rebuked Peter sharply, and 
that before a considerable company of Peter's friends, yet he loved 
not Paul the less for it ; for in his Epistle, which was written some 
time after that contest, and after the Epistle to the Galatians, which 
records it, he makes honourable mention of Paul's writings, and ot 


that very epistle among tlie rest, 2 Pet. iii. 15, 16, and calleth him 
his beloved brother. As they who love their sins hate the reprover, 
so they that hate their sins love him. When Isaiah had declared 
from God a dreadful threatening against Hezekiah for his pride, 
he doth not fly out into a passion against the prophet, but submits 
with ' Good is the word of the Lord, which thou hast spoken.' It 
is said of Gerson, the great chancellor of France, that he rejoiced 
in nothing more than a friendly reprehension. And it is storied 
of our Eichard the First, that he would be admonished by a 
poor hermit. Alphonsus, king of Arragon, being asked what com- 
pany he liked best, answered, ' Books, for they (saith he) without 
fear and flattery, will tell me my faults faithfully.' ' Faithful are 
the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful,' 
Prov. xxvii. 6. A loving reproof is a wound in love, the wound of 
a friend ; and therefore we must bestow our anger upon our faults 
that deserve the reproof, not upon our friends that give the reproof. 
How foolish is he that breaks his own head, and then rageth at his 
friend for endeavouring to cure it. Ahab quarrels with Elijah, as 
the incendiary of Israel, for reproving their idolatries ; when alas, 
like Etna, that flame arose out of their own bowels, which threat- 
ened to reduce them to ashes. Some of the heathen were so sen- 
sible of their proneness to err, and to be partial in their own cases 
when they had erred, that they both kindly accepted reproofs, and 
earnestly desired a reprover. It is reported of Alexander, that, 
having had a philosopher a long time with him, he should say to 
him. Recede a me, prorsus consortium tuum nolo, quod cum tanto 
tempore mecum degeris, nunquam me de vitio aliquo increpasti. Be 
gone from me, 1 will have none of thy company, for thou hast lived 
long with me, and couldst not but observe some failings in me, yet 
thou hast not reproved me of any. And Augustus Ceesar for this 
cause did much lament the death of Varro, because thereby he 
was deprived of one that would deal faithfully with him when 
he offended. 

Yet, as they say, some roses are too tender to endure the strength 
of the smell of wormwood ; so some Christians that it is hoped are 
sound, cannot, without wry mouths and angry faces, drink down 
this bitter liquor. Asa was a good man, yet time was when he 
imprisoned a prophet for bringing him an admonition from God. 
One would have thought that the king would have bid the servant 
welcome for his Master's sake ; but, truly, a prison was all the 
reward he had for his pains. It was the speech of a wise and ex- 
perienced Christian, that he never was acquainted thoroughly with 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 375 

any one, but first he displeased him by admonishing him of his 
faults. But as light stuff and rubbish kindleth sooner than solid 
and more substantial wood, so they are the weaker and less wise 
Christians that are so soon fired into a pet and passion, if but told 
of their errors. It is childishness to be unwilling to take bitter 
medicines. A prudent person will rather permit cupping-glasses 
and corrosives to be applied to his body, than suffer his distemper 
to reign and kill him. The sharpest fruit is most profitable and 
wholesome. The lemon is more tart, yet is more excellent than the 
orange, which delighteth the taste. 

Reader, is it not better to be awakened by a rousing reproof, than 
to sleep the sleep of death ? and wilt thou be angry with thy 
friend for doing thee tha/t courtesy ? Is it not better for thy 
familiar companion to tell thee meekly of thy miscarriages, and 
call thee to repentance, than for God to reprove thee, and set thy 
sins in order before thine eyes ? When God uttered his voice the 
heavens thundered, the mountains smoked, and Moses himself 
trembled. ' The voice of the Lord is powerful, the voice of the 
Lord is full of majesty ; the voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars, 
yea, the cedars of Lebanon ; the voice of the Lord shaketh the 
wilderness, yea, it shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.' How wilt 
thou then endure the thundering of such a cannon, a reproof for hy 
sins from the Almighty God, at whose rebuke the earth quakes, the 
rocks are rent in pieces, and the foundations of the world are moved ? 
The Israelites said unto Moses, ' Speak thou to us and we will hear ; 
but let not God speak lest we die,' Exod. xx. 19. Truly, so mayest 
thou say to thy companion, ' Speak thou to me of my offences, deal 
plainly with me about anything that thou seest amiss in me, and I 
will hear thee ; but let not God speak to me lest I die, lest his 
voice strike me down, strike me dead. There is an absolute neces- 
sity of thy sense of, and sorrow for thy sins. This ordinarily must 
be wrought in thee, either by admonition from man, or by some 
severe rebuke from God. Consider seriously^ therefore, whether it 
be not easier to take a faithful check from thy fellow-creature, than 
to be called to repentance by some dreadful judgment from the 
jealous God. Oh, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the 
living God ; for our God is a consuming fire. 

One thing more, reader, is considerable ; it is not enough to take 
a reproof with patience, but also to be awakened by reproof to re- 
pentance. It is a dreadful aggravation of sin, to continue in it after 
thou art convinced of it. Such impudence is followed with fearful 
vengeance. ' He that being often reproved, hardeneth his heart, 


shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy/ Prov. 
xxix. 1. 

Fourthly, Christians, if they would exercise themselves to godli- 
ness in good company, must rejoice in each other's grace and good. 
True love will rejoice in the welfare of another, as its own ; Peter 
beholding those eminent graces in Paul, did not repine that a 
brighter star was risen which would eclipse his splendour, but 
glorified God in Paul, and gave him the right hand of fellowship. 
It is a profane Esau that hates a Jacob for having obtained his 
father's blessing beyond himself. Envy is from the evil one. Saul who 
was without God, eyed and hated David for slaying more of God's 
enemies, and obtaining thereby greater renown than himself could. 
Yet, alas ! the spirit which dwelleth in the best, lusteth to envy : 
corrupt nature will shew itself, if it be possible, at this window. 
There are some countries, as Candia, that have, naturalists tell us, 
no poison ; but there is not any Christian without a spice of this 
sin. Joshua is ready to envy them that seemed by their light to 
darken his master. 

Cantharides, a venomous worm, usually breedeth in wheat when 
it is ripe ; the highest Christians, as the greatest favourites at court, 
are usually the greatest objects of envy. But oh, it is a sign of a 
weak eye, not to behold the sunshine of others' holiness without 
pain. The holy apostle is enlarged in thanksgiving to God for the 
faith, and love, and patience of the Thessalonians, and their grace 
was a strong cordial to revive him in his sorrows and distress. We 
give thanks to God for you all ; remembering, without ceasing, your 
work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our L.ord 
Jesus Christ. We were comforted over you, in all our afflictions 
and distress, by your faith. Nay, he was so far from grieving at 
others' graces, that he prof esse th the joy of his life did very much 
depend upon their perseverance in piety : ' For now we live, if ye 
stand fast in the Lord ; ' as if he had said, ' Our life will be but 
a death in regard of sorrow and grief, it will be so doleful a being, 
that it will not deserve the name of a life, if ye should once be 
loose and wandering from the Lord,' 1 Thes. i. 2-4 ; 2 Thes. iii. 
6-8 ; 1 Col. xii. Grace cannot but desire and delight in its like. 
He that truly loves his God will rejoice in his brother's graces, 
because they tend to his Father's glory ; and he that truly loves 
his brother will be glad at his grace, because it tends so exceedingly 
to his brother's good. Pedaretus, when he could not be admitted 
to be one of the three hundred among the Spartans, went home re- 
joicing that his country had three hundred better men than him- 


Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 377 

self.i Surely, then, Christians, when they behold others sparkling 
with grace, and shining as lights in the world, should rejoice that 
the blessed God hath some that can do him more service, and 
bring him more glory than themselves. 

A good loish about a Christians carriage in good company, 
luherein the former heads are applied. 

The Father of mercies, and only wise God, who hath appointed 
the way in which I should walk during the time of my pilgrimage, 
and understandeth the multitudes of rubs and hindrances that I 
shall encounter with, the power and policy of those enemies which 
will beset me therein, as also how weak I am, and unable to hold 
out ; how weary I shall soon be, and ready to give over if I should 
travel alone ; having out of his boundless grace and goodness called 
me to the communion of saints, that I might be directed by their 
counsel and encouraged by their company, notwithstanding all 
opposition, to run the ways of his commandments ; I wish that I 
may esteem his precept herein as my glorious privilege, improve 
their society to the greatest advantage, both for my own welfare 
and my God's honour and delight, to converse with those brethren 
here, with whom I hope to dwell in my Father's house for ever. 
What an inestimable dignity doth my God invest me with, in im- 
posing on me so sweet a duty ! How wretchedly ungrateful should 
I be if his paths should not be the more pleasant to me for such 
companions ! The worth and riches of this society may well invite 
me to trade with them, and give me hopes of profiting by them. 
All the companions on earth of the highest callings, are but a 
rabble of kennel-rakers to this noble society. The prince of this 
senate is the heir of all things, the blessed and glorious potentate ; 
such a sovereign whose dominion is universal from sea to sea, 
whose kingdom is eternal throughout all generations, and even the 
highest have gloried in being his subjects. The charter and privi- 
leges of this society are the inestimable covenant of grace, exceed- 
ing great and precious promises, wherein pardon of sin, peace of 
conscience, new natures, adoption, justification, the love of the 
blessed God, and eternal life are granted to them, and entailed on 
them for ever. The servants of this corporation are all the crea- 
tures in their several places, striving which shall do them the greatest 

1 riutarch. 


kindness. ^ They are in league with the stones of the field, and the 
beasts of the field, though never so ravenous by nature, are at peace 
with them. The glorious angels pitch their tents about them, and 
count it their honour to wait upon them, both living and dying. 
The livery in which this company is attired is the royal robes of 
Christ's righteousness, which renders them without spot or wrinkle^ 
and far more beautiful and amiable than Adam in his estate of un- 
spotted innocency. Their garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and 
cassia, and for their richness infinitely surpass that clothing which 
is of wrought gold. Their food is hidden manna, such meat as 
endureth to eternal life, the bread that came down from heaven, 
the flesh of the Son of God, which is meat indeed, and the blood 
of the Son of God, which is drink indeed. Their inheritance 
is a kingdom that cannot be shaken, a crown of life, rivers of 
pleasures, an eternal weight of glory. Some societies have boasted 
that kings and lords have been free of their company ; the King of 
kings, and Lord of lords, is both free and head of this society ; they 
are his Hephzibah, his delight ; his Segullah, his peculiar treasure. 
Ah ! who would not have communion with them wliose communion 
is with the Father and Jesus Christ his Son I Lord, let my ambition 
be to be enrolled a citizen of Zion, and to walk amongst them, 
worthy of that vocation wherewith thou hast called me, since the 
communion of thy saints here is some weak' resemblance of heaven, 
where all thy chosen shall glorify and worship thee without fault 
and faintness ; teach me to hallow thy name by doing thy will on 
earth as it is in heaven. 

I wish that the gain which I am sure to reap by joining with 
Christians in their common stock, may make me more diligent at this 
spiritual trade. The greatest privileges are granted to corporations, 
not to particular persons ; the greatest victories are obtained by 
regiments and brigades, not by soldiers engaged singly against 
their enemies. That ointment which yielded so grateful a savour 
as to delight God himself, was compounded of several spices, Exod. 
XXX. 23-25. My God hath ordained the communion of the 
faithful, for the building up one another in their most holy faith ; 
and if I expect his blessing, it must be in his own way. The body 
thrives best when all the members concur to perform their distinct 
and proper offices, for the good of the whole. Men make the most 
ravishing music, when many join in concert. The two disciples 
travelling together found the blessed Jesus to make a third, and to 
warm their hearts with the fire of his heavenly doctrine. How many 
vessels going in company have returned in safety, richly laden with 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 379 

the unsearchable riches in Christ ! If I am in doubts, good com- 
panions will advise and direct my feet in the ways of peace. If I 
sit in darkness, and see no hght, by their counsel and comfort I 
may learn the way out of the mist. If I am perplexed in any 
labyrinths, they may help me to untie that knot of which I have 
been labouring long in vain to find an end ; if I be falling, they 
will be props to support me ; if I wander, they will be guides to 
reduce me ; if I be dull, they will be whet-stones to quicken me ; 
if I do well, they will be fathers to encourage me ; whatever my 
want be, they will endeavour to supply me ; and whatever my con- 
dition be, they will be like-minded, both weeping with me in my 
sorrows, and rejoicing with me in my joys ; besides, if I expect the 
presence of my God, who is rich in mercy, and the God of all con- 
solations, where can I find him sooner than in his temple ? They 
are the temple of God, and I will dwell in them. His saints on 
earth are his lesser heaven, wherein he takes up his abode. 
my soul, what an argument is here, to persuade thee to fellowship 
with the saints ! Theirs is the only good fellowship ; their com- 
munion is a conjunction in the service of thy God, and tendeth 
abundantly to thy spiritual advantage and edification ; thy Ee- 
deemer calls them the light of the world, and they will guide thee in 
the way which he hath cast up ; the salt of the earth, and they will 
preserve thee from corruption ; their conversations are living com- 
mentaries upon that word which is thy rule, and so will both plainly 
teach thee thy duty and powerfully provoke thee to do it. Their ex- 
pressions will be savoury, and help thee to learn the language of 
Canaan. The tongue of the just is a tree of life, and beareth excel- 
lent fruit. The lips of the righteous feed many ; besides, amongst 
these children, thou mayest be sure to meet with the everlasting 
Father. ' Where two or three are gathered together in my name, 
I will be in the midst of them.' Though but two or three, that 
the wicked despise them for their paucity ; though two or three, 
never so low and mean, that the world scorns them for their 
poverty ; yet if gathered together in his name, they shall not fail 
of his presence. Surely nothing will prevail more with a faithful 
spouse to join with any company than this, she shall meet with 
her beloved husband amongst them. Oh, of what great price is 
this one promise, I will be in the midst of them ! His presence, 
like the nearer approaches of the sun in the spring, will refresh 
their hearts with the warm beams of his love when they are chill, 
and almost dead with the cold of frights and fears, and cause in 
their souls a new shooting of grace, that notwithstanding any fore- 


going winter of barrenness, they shall now abound in the fruits of 
righteousness. What can they, or thou, my soul, want, which 
his presence will not supply ? Art thou laden with sin ? he can give 
thee rest. Art thou full of sorrows ? he is the consolation of Israel. 
Art thou poor in grace? with him is durable riches and righteousness. 
Art thou dull and dead in spirituals ? he is the Lord of life, and can 
quicken thee ; he hath power enough to subdue all thy lusts, he 
hath wisdom enough to resolve all thy doubts, he hath grace 
enough to pity all thy weaknesses, and mercy enough to pardon all 
thy unworthiness ; he is able to save to the uttermost ; nay, thou 
hast not only his promise to meet thee in his garden, amongst his 
people, but thou hast also his performance of it, for thine encour- 
agement : ' Then the same day at evening, being the first day of 
the week, when the doors were shut, where the disciples were as- 
sembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, 
and saith unto them. Peace be unto you ; and when he had so said, 
he shewed unto them his hands and his side, then were the dis- 
ciples glad when they had seen the Lord. Then said Jesus unto 
them again. Peace be unto you ; as my Father hath sent me, so 
send I you ; and he breathed on them, and said, Eeceive ye the 
Holy Ghost.' Oh the value of those jewels which are locked up 
in this cabinet ! All the crowns and sceptres of the world, had 
they been thrown in amongst the disciples, could not have caused 
the thousandth part of that comfort, nor have brought any degree 
of that profit, which the disciples had by the presence of the hol}^ 
Jesus. Consider his words. Peace be unto you, peace be unto you. 
Never did sweeter words, or more melodious music, ever sound in 
human ears. What tidings could be more welcome to them that 
had known the terrors of an angry Grod, and felt the curses of his 
righteous law ? Didst thou never see a poor debtor arrested by 
severe Serjeants, and hailed to the jail, (in which nasty miserable 
place he was like to continue whilst he lived,) with wringing of hands, 
and watering of cheeks, and doleful screeches, and afterwards upon 
the payment of his debts by some loving surety, with what clapping . 
of hands and gladness of heart he was enlarged ! If so, thou hadst 
some poor resemblance of that exuberancy of joy which the disciples 
felt when they saw the Lord, and heard those blessed words, ' Peace 
be unto you.' They were all liable every moment to the arrest of 
divine justice for those vast sums which they owed to the holy and 
jealous God, and in continual danger to be hurried by devils, his 
officers, to the prison of hell, whence they could never have come 
out. Now, his appearance to them did evidence that the law was 

Chap. IV.] the christian man's calling. 381 

satisfied, that all their debts were discharged, in that the surety, 
who took upon him the payment of them, was by order of the 
judge released. What news could find more acceptance with those 
that dreaded the fury of the Lord more than death, and esteemed 
his favour far before life, than that which did speak him reconciled 
to them ! And further, observe the work of the blessed Redeemer, 
and he breathed on them, ' Eeceive ye the Holy Ghost,' as if he had 
said, I know your unbelieving hearts will think the news of a re- 
conciled God, and of peace with him, too good to be true ; behold, 
therefore, his love token, receive the earnest of his favour, his Holy 
Spirit, who knoweth his mind fully, and was at the council table of 
heaven when all your names were engrossed in the book of life, and 
all the methods of grace and good-will towards poor sinners were 
debated and concluded, and is sent to you on purpose to reveal them 
to you, and assure you of them, and, therefore, is an unquestionable 
evidence that he is at one with you. This, my soul, was the blessed 
heavenly banquet which the Redeemer entertained his disciples 
with when they met together, and wouldst thou miss such a feast 
for all the world ? Lord, thou lovest the assemblies of thy saints. 
They are the habitations of thy glorious majesty, and the place 
where thine honour dwelleth. There thou makest the largest 
discoveries of thyself, and grantest the fullest communications of 
thy grace. Oh let me take sweet counsel with thy people, and go 
to serve and honour thee in their company. 

I wish that the confederacy of the wicked in sin may provoke me 
to a league with the Israel of God, for a free trade and commerce 
in holiness. Shall they, whose lusts are often contrary, and set 
them at variance, unite against God and his holy ways ; and shall 
not we, whose graces are ever alike, and of a cementing nature, not 
join together for God and his worship ? Do they conspire to defile 
and destroy each others' souls, as if vitiated nature did not lead 
them fast enough to sin, or as if they could not run singly quick 
enough to hell ; and shall not we encourage one another in the 
worship of the living God, and provoke one another to love and to 
good works ? Oh, how much do the servants of Satan, by their 
conjunctions in evil, shame the children of God for their backward- 
ness in good! Their master is the prince of darkness, a cruel 
tyrant, a roaring lion, that goeth about seeking whom .he may 
devour. Their work is far worse than any Turkish slavery ; it is 
bondage to corruption, the service of unrighteousness, the diversity 
and contrariety of their lords, their lusts tearing them as it were in 
pieces, for the promoting of their particular interests. Their wages 


is the vengeance of the eternal fire, the worm that never dieth, and 
the fire that never goeth out. After all their vassalage to their 
barbarous masters, and hardships which they have been put to in 
making provision for, and gratifying such opposite furies, they are 
recompensed with extremity and eternity of torments ; yet they 
can unite their hearts, and hands, and heads, for the advancement 
of so hellish a lord, about the prosecution of so base and devilish a 
work, and to earn so miserable a reward, when the soldiers of Christ, 
whose captain is the Lord of hosts, the most courteous and compas- 
sionate general, whose combats and contests, which they are called to, 
are noble and heroic, and whose crown and garland will be beyond 
all comparison and apprehension blessed and glorious, do rather fight 
against themselves than against their enemies, or for their endless 
happiness ! Ah, foolish Christians, who hath bewitched us ! May we 
not well blush that Satan should even outboast the living God in 
the unity of his subjects, that the children of this world should be 
wiser in their generation than the children of light ! Alas, is it a 
time for mariners to be quarrelling, when their enemies are joined 
in discharging their cannons against them, and the bullets fly thick 
amongst them ? Is it a time for Christians to be wrangling, when 
their adversaries are united in a confederacy to destroy them all ? 
Lord, thou hast promised that thy people, in the days of the gospel, 
shall no more envy one another, that the wolf and the lamb shall 
feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock, and dust 
shall be the serpent's meat, that they shall not hurt nor destroy in 
all thy holy mountain. Thy dear son, when leaving an ungrateful 
world, left peace as one legacy to his children, not only peace with 
thee, but also among themselves ; thou knowest how much his 
heart was set upon it, when he begged so hard, so earnestly, so 
affectionately of thee this blessing, a little before he went to lay 
down the price of it. Let it please thee for thy promise' sake to 
make all thine of one heart, and one way ; for, because thou hast 
spoken it, therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this 
prayer before thee this day. Let it please thee, for thy Son's sake, 
whom thou hearest always, to take away all envyings, and wrath, 
and emulation, and strife out of the hearts of thy people, and heal 
thy Zion in its breaches, for thou seest it shaketh. 

I wish that the injury I do myself by unnecessary solitariness 
may make me the more in love with good society. My God hath 
told me, Woe to him that is alone. David was alone, when Satan 
drew him to defile liis neighbour's wife. Whilst the sheep flock 
together they are safe, as being under the shepherd's eye ; but if one 

Chap. IY.] the christian man's calling. 383 

straggle from the rest, it is quickly a prey to the ravenous wolf. It 
is no hard matter to rob that house that stands far from neighbours.