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Full text of "The works of George Swinnock, M.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. 

C Ditor. 












A short Memoir ofSwinnock is reserved for a subsequent 
Volume. ED. 





VII. How a Christian may exercise himself to godliness in 

visiting the sick, ..... 3-24 
A good wish about the visitation of the sick, 

wherein the former heads are applied, . 24-37 

VIII. How a Christian may exercise himself to godliness on 

a dying bed, ..... 38-69 

A good wish about the Christian s exercising 
himself to godliness on a dying bed ; wherein 
the former heads are applied, . . 69-89 

IX. Means whereby Christians may exercise themselves to 
godliness : A good foundation ; living by faith ; 
setting God always before our eyes, . . 89-112 

X. Means whereby Christians may exercise themselves 
to godliness : A constant watchfulness ; frequent 
meditation of death; daily performance of sacred 
duties, ...... 113-131 

XI. Means whereby Christians may exercise themselves 
to godliness : Frequent meditation of the day of 
judgment; a daily examination of our hearts; 
avoiding the occasions and suppressing the begin 
nings of sin, ..... 131-148 



XII. Means whereby Christians may exercise themselves 
to godliness : A humble frame ; suppressing sin in 
its first rise; the knowledge of God, . . 148-158 

XIII. Means whereby Christians may exercise themselves 

to godliness : A contented spirit ; avoiding those 

things that hinder godliness, . . . 158-166 

XIV. Motives inciting Christians to exercise themselves to 

godliness : The vanity of other exercises ; the 
brevity of man s life ; the patterns of others, . 167-179 

XV. The excellency of this calling, and the conclusion of 

the treatise, . . . 179-199 



To THE HEADER, ...... 208-209 

PREFACE, . . . . . . 210-226 

I. The division of the chapter, and interpretation of the 

text, . . . . . . 227-229 

II. The doctrine, That such as have Christ for their life, 
gain by death, with the explication of the phrase, 
1 To me to live is Christ, .... 230-235 

III. What privative gain the Christian hath by death, . 235-244 

IV. What positive gain a Christian hath by death, . 244-252 
V. The difference betwixt a sinner and a saint at death, 253-258 

VI. The sinner s privative misery at death, . . 258-274 

VII. The positive part of a sinner s misery at death, . 274-284 

VIII. A second use of trial, with motives to enforce it, . 284-293 

IX. The marks of a true Christian from the text, . 294-299 

X. Other marks of saints, .... 299-309 

XI. The third use viz., Exhortation to mind spiritual 

life, 309-316 

XII. The life in Christ must be minded speedily, with the 

grounds of it, . . . . 316-322 



XIII. This life in Christ must be minded diligently, -with 

some motions to it, . . . . 322-331 

XIV. The first direction for the attaining a spiritual life, 

Illumination, ..... 331-336 
XV. The second help to a spiritual life, Humiliation, . 336-348 
XVI. The third help to a spiritual life, Application of, or 

affiance on, Jesus Christ, .... 348-355 
XVII. The fourth help, Dedication to God, . . 355-361 

XVIII. Two other helps, The word and prayer, . . 362-370 

XIX. Motives to mind this spiritual life : It is the most 

honourable, most comfortable, most profitable life, . 370-382 
XX. Comfort to true Christians, .... 382-383 
XXI. Comfort against the world s fury, and Satan s rage, . 383-386 
XXII. Comfort against our own corruptions, our own or 

other believers dissolution, . . . 386-390 

XXIII. The exceUency of heaven, .... 390-394 

XXIV. The certainty that saints shall obtain heaven, . 394-396 
XXV. The eternity of the saints happiness in heaven, . 396-399 



I. The preface, division of the psalm, and coherence of 

the text, ...... 417-421 

II. The interpretation of the text, and the doctrine, that 

man s flesh will fail him, .... 421-426 

III. The reasons of the doctrine, Man s corruptibility, 

God s fidelity, and man s apostasy from God, . 426-430 
IV. First use, Discovering the folly of them that mind the 

flesh chiefly, 430-434 

V. Second use, An exhortation to sinners to prepare for 
death, with three quickening motives : Death will 
come certainly ; it may come suddenly ; when it 
comes, it will be too late to prepare, . 434-442 



VI. Three motives more : A dying hour will be a trying 
hour; the misery of the unprepared; the felicity 
of the prepared, ..... 442-453 
VII. What is requisite to preparation for death. A change 
of state and a change of nature, with a most 
gracious offer from the most high God to sinners, . 453-466 
- VIII. The second exhortation to the serious Christian, shew 
ing how a saint may come to die with courage, . 466-471 


P A K T II 1. (continued.) 





How a Christian may exercise himself to godliness in visiting 

the sick. 

FIFTHLY, Thy duty is to exercise thyself in visiting the sick. The 
visitation of the sick is a work of as great weight as any enjoined 
us relating to others, and as much neglected and slighted in its 
management as almost any duty commanded. Sickness is so 
common, and death so ordinary, that with most their frequency 
takes away the sense of them, and charity in many sickens and 
dieth as fast as others bodies. The generality of pretended Chris 
tians, like the priest and the Levite, if they see a man wounded, 
both in his body and soul, though it be to death, pass on the other 
side of the way, not caring to meddle with any that are in misery. 
They tell us they are true members of Christ, but, like a bag of 
suppurated blood, they feel nothing, neither have any communion 
with the body. Many on their dying beds, whose souls are worse 
and more dangerously sick than their bodies, may speak to their 
minister or neighbour (for the duty belongs to the people as well 
as the pastor) almost in the words of Martha to Christ, Sir, if 
thou hadst been here, my soul had not died. Some visit the sick, 
but rather out of a compliment than out of conscience, or to profit 
themselves more than their neighbours. The ingenious heathen 
Seneca, will tell such, If a man visit his sick friend, and watch at 
his pillow for charity s sake, and out of his old affection, we approve 
it ; but if for a legacy, he is a vulture, and watcheth only for the 
carcase. The discourse of these is chiefly about worldly affairs, 


and nothing about the great concernments of eternity. Others 
sometimes go about the work, but perform it so ill, administering 
cordials when there is need of corrosives, sewing pillows under 
their sick friends heads, that they may die easily ; or if they tell 
them of their danger, they do it so coldly and carelessly, and by 
halves, that, as he said, there is plus periculi a medicamento quam 
morbo, more danger from the physic than the disease ; their soul- 
sickness is curable, but the unsuitable medicines they take make 
it incurable. It may be said of many a soul, as Adrian s counsel 
lors said of him, Multitudo medicorum, &c., Many physicians have 
killed the emperor. Ah ! how dreadful is it, when unskilful and 
unfaithful mountebanks undertake to tamper and trifle with im 
mortal souls, that are just entering into their eternal estates; 
Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. Galen saith, 
in respect of bodily medicines, In medicina nihil exiguum, There 
is nothing small in physic ; everything in it is of great conse 
quence ; a little mistake may cause death. I may upon greater 
reason say, There is nothing little in spiritual physic ; a small 
error in our prescriptions to sick souls, may cause dreadful mis 
chief; instead of curing, we may kill the patient. Hazael s wet 
cloth was not more deadly to his master s body than the discourse 
of most is to their sick neighbours souls. Fear of displeasing, and 
a natural propensity to flatter, prevail with too many to soothe 
their dying friends into unquenchable flames. But surely there 
is more love (as well as more faithfulness) in frighting a sick 
person out of his spiritual lethargy, than in fawning him into the 
eternal lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. Some venomous 
creatures tickle a man till he laughs, even when they sting him 
to death ; so doth the flattering minister or neighbour he raiseth 
a sick man, void of grace, to the pinnacle of joy, and highest 
hopes of heaven, and thereby throweth him down into the gulf of 
irrecoverable sorrows, and leaves him to undeceive himself in hell. 
I shall first lay down two or three motives to stir up the reader 
to this work, and then direct him about it. 


First, It is a duty commanded thee by God. Men are apt to 
think the visitation of the sick to be only an act of courtesy 
and civility, which they may omit or perform at their pleasure, 
when it is an act of charity and Christianity, which every Chris 
tian is bound to by a divine precept. The ministers of Christ are 


especially enjoined this task ; but every member of Christ also, 
when God gives him opportunity, oweth this debt to his neigh 
bour : James v. 14, 15, If any be sick, let him send for the 
elders of the church, and let them pray over him. The same 
word which commandeth the sick man to send, commandeth the 
elder to go. Indeed, it is a gross fault in many sick persons (and 
therein they are exceedingly their own enemies) that they either 
send not at all for the minister, or if they do, not till they have 
done with the physician ; when their bodies are past all hope, then 
they look after some hope for their souls. But without question, 
it is a duty for the elder sometimes to go uncalled. It is good 
manners to be an unbidden guest at a house of mourning. Our 
Master was found of them that asked not for him, and so should 
his servants. There are those that can invite themselves to their 
neighbours tables, who withdraw themselves from their chambers. 
Some are drunk so often with their parishioners whilst they are 
in health, that they are afraid or ashamed to discourse seriously 
with them when they are sick. God may speak to many, as to 
the shepherds of Israel, Woe be to the shepherds of England, that 
do feed themselves ! should not the shepherds feed the flock ? 
Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that 
are fed ; but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not 
strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither 
have ye bound up that which was broken ; but with force and with 
cruelty have ye ruled them/ Ezek. xxxiv. 3, 4. None are more 
cruel to the flock than those that are most covetous of the fleece. 

Oleaster, on Lev. xiv. 44, Then the priest shall come and look, 
and, behold, if the plague be spread, &c., (that being the third 
time the priest was to visit the infected house,) hath this useful 
observation, Si sacerdos toties invisit leprosam domum, cur tu non 
cegrum ? If the priest were commanded so often to visit the 
leprous house, why dost not thou visit the sick person ? The 
plague in the heart calls for more pity and help than the plague 
in the house. 

This duty also belongs to private members, as well as to public 
officers. Every Christian should love his neighbour as himself, 
which he cannot do unless he have a sense of his sickness, and 
endeavour to improve such an opportunity for his neighbour s 
salvation. True love, like fire, burns hottest when the weather 
is coldest. Histories make mention of one Ursinus, a physician, 
that being to die for the gospel, and beginning to waver, Vitalis, 
a godly man, stepped to him, and, though he knew it would cost 


him his life, encouraged him, saying, What ! have you been so 
industrious heretofore, to preserve men s bodies, and will you 
now shrink at the saving your own soul ? Be courageous ! For 
which faithful counsel he was condemned, and suffered accord 
ingly. It is our duty to assist them that die natural, as well as 
those that die violent deaths. To visit persons in their affliction, 
is one testimony of the truth of our religion at this day. Holiness 
and charity are like father and child. Pure religion and un- 
defiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless 
and the widows in their afflictions, &c., James i. 27. The 
fatherless and widows are expressed, (but the sick, and strangers, 
and captives are included,) because these are usually most afflicted 
and most neglected. Those that have received mercy, cannot but 
shew mercy. As visiting the distressed is a sign of it now, so it 
will be the test of Christianity at the great day. Mat. xxv. 
34-36, Come ye blessed, &c. I was hungry, and ye fed me ; 
naked, and ye clothed me ; sick, and ye visited me, &c. Works 
of mercy fill up the whole bill, as the evidence of the saints right 
to heaven. Whereof Luther gives this reason : because the con 
sciences of the wicked shall justify Christ as well in the absolution 
of the godly, as in their own condemnation. Though Christians 
do not give their alms, -or visit the sick, to be seen of men, yet in 
doing many offices of love, and acts of charity, they are seen of 
men. So they who can witness the truth of Christians mercy, 
will be forced to acknowledge the equity of Christ s sentence. 


Secondly, It is a special opportunity of doing and receiving 

1. Of doing good. I think it the more necessary to speak to 
this motive, because many are apt to judge all pains with sick 
persons to be to no purpose. They are discouraged from en 
deavouring the conversion of profane men upon sick-beds, sup 
posing that such men s repentance will be as unsound as their 
bodies, even when they are sick unto death. Though I would not 
give the least encouragement to any men to defer their turning to 
God, believing him worse than mad who puts off the weighty 
business of his soul, because peradventure God may grant him 
repentance hereafter ; yet I must obviate this suggestion of the 
devil, which hinders men from doing their duty God may shew 
mercy to a soul at last. There is one example in Scripture, that 


none might despair. Sickness is with some men the tide-time of 
devotion. They who scorned godly men, and made a mock of godli 
ness in their health, will prize the saint, and desire his sanctity 
above all the world, when they lie upon sick-beds, and consider what 
a holy God they are going to appear before. Sickness, as one saith, 
is, Officina virtutis, morum disciplina, The shop of virtue, and 
the school of manners. Therefore king Alfred was wont to say, 
I ever find myself best when worst ; best in soul when worst in 
body : the sickness of my body is physic to my soul. Experience 
daily informeth us that the swaggerers and gallants of the world 
(whose consciences are not seared with a hot iron) though they 
gave themselves up to drunkenness, and gluttony, and gaming, 
and whoredom, and all manner of wickedness in their youth and 
strength, yet when they are weakened much with a disease, and 
have no hopes of continuing longer on earth, begin to wish that 
they had spent their time to more purpose, and are sensible of 
their neglect of God and Christ, and their souls, and eternity; 
then many of them will desire the company of those that fear 
God, and beg their prayers, and hearken to their counsels, and 
would give all they are worth for a little of their grace and 
holiness. Even Benhadad, the king of Syria, an enemy to the 
prophets and people of God in his health, will send a prince to 
Elisha with a large present, and most submissive expressions 
c Thy son Benhadad in his sickness, 2 Kings viii. 9. Sickness 
gives men a double advantage for holiness. 

(1.) It takes off their hearts from creatures, by teaching them 
experimentally what a poor, weak cordial the whole creation is 
to sick or dying men. When men are strong and lusty, they can 
taste and savour earthly things ; carnal comforts hinder their en 
deavours after spiritual. They take up with creatures, as Esau, 
and say, they have enough ; but sickness makes them know the 
emptiness of all sublunary things. When men are sick, they 
cannot relish the world s dainties and delicates. The preferments, 
and riches, and pleasures of the earth, are all unsavoury and un 
comfortable to them. They now see the vanity of those things 
which heretofore they so much idolised ; how unable they are to 
revive their fainting spirits, or to allay their pain, or purchase 
them the least ease, or procure them the least acceptance in the 
other world; and hence the price of the world s market falls 
abundantly in their judgments. Bernard tells us of a brother of 
his, that when he gave him many good instructions, and he being 
a soldier, regarded them not, he put his finger to his side, and told 


his brother, One day a spear shall make way to this heart of thine, 
for admonition and instruction to enter. 

(2.) In sickness conscience is usually allowed more liberty to 
speak its mind, and men are then more at leisure to hear it. In 
health, their callings, or friends, or lusts, or sports, or some carnal 
comfort or other, take up their hearts and time ; that conscience 
must be silenced, as too bold a preacher, for offering to disturb 
them in their pleasures, or if it will use its authority, and continue 
to speak in God s name, and forbid their foolishness, and atheism, 
and sensuality, and profaneness, they are deaf to its calls and 
commands, and drown its voice with the noise of their brutish 
delights. But in sickness they are taken off from their trades, 
and pastimes, and merry meetings, and jovial companions ; when 
their bodies are weak, their fleshly lusts are not so strong as 
formerly, whereby conscience hath a greater opportunity to tell 
them of their miscarriages and wickedness, and they themselves 
are more attentive to its words and warning. 

Header, it is a special piece of wisdom to improve such a season 
for the good of thy neighbour s soul. When the wax is softened, 
then we clap the seal upon it, lest it harden again, and be in 
capable of any impression. When the hand of God hath by 
sickness made the heart of thy wicked friend or brother soft and 
tender, then do thy utmost to stamp the image of God upon it. 
Paul would preach whilst a door was opened, and there was likeli 
hood of doing good. It is a great encouragement to work, when 
the subject upon which we bestow our pains seems capable of 
what we prosecute, and probable to answer our labour. We have 
some heart to strike a nail into a board, because there is hope it 
will enter; but no list to drive a nail into a flint, because we 
despair of effecting it. The smith strikes when the iron is hot ; 
he knoweth, if he should stay till it is cold, his labour would be in 
vain. Friend, take the advantage of others bodily sickness to 
further their spiritual health, lest they either die in their sins, or 
harden upon their recovery. Opportunity is like a joint in some 
part of a fowl, which, if we hit upon, we may easily carve and 
divide the fowl ; but if the knife fall on this side or that side of 
the joint, we do but mangle the meat, and take pains to no 
purpose. It is the speech of Master Eichard Rogers in his Seven 
Treatises, I have visited some persons that have been condemned 
to die, in whom, (through the blessing of God upon his endea 
vours,) I have found as good signs of saved persons as of any that 
died in their beds, not having tasted of repentance before. 


2. It is a special opportunity of receiving good. "We are taught 
more effectually by the eye than by the ear. The sight of a sick 
or dying person hath often a strange and a strong operation upon 
the beholder. When the father heard of one that sinned notori 
ously, he cried out, I may be as bad as this man is. When thou 
seest one dangerously sick, thou mayest think with thyself, I must 
be as this man is, sick unto death, when none of my relations or 
possessions can afford me the least comfort ; and oh how much doth 
it concern me to prepare beforehand for such an hour ! If this 
man s work be now to do, when his life is ending, how sad is the 
condition of his precious soul ! Oh that I were wise to consider 
timely, and to provide seasonably for my latter end ! The sight of 
a dead man was instrumental to the spiritual life of Waldus. The 
sight of others sickness may well quicken me to the greater in 
dustry and diligence after spiritual health. Do I behold my 
neighbour, whose sail formerly swelled with a full gale of worldly 
enjoyments, now wind-bound, chained to his chamber, or fettered 
to his bed, unable to relish his food, or take any comfort in his 
friends ? do I see him full of aches and pains, tossings and 
tumblings, crying out in the evening, Would God it were morn 
ing, and in the morning, Avould God it were evening, because of 
the anguish of his spirit ? do I behold his cheeks pale, his eyes 
sunk, his lips quivering, his loins trembling, his heart panting, and 
nature striving and struggling with the disease to keep its ground, 
and yet at last forced to quit the field, and leave the victory to its 
adversary ? how many excellent observations may I draw from such 
a text ! What a fool am I to trust the world, which leaves this 
man in his greatest want ! How mad am I in loving sin, which is 
the cause of all these crosses and miseries, and which makes death 
so mortal to poor souls ! Of how much worth and value is the 
blessed Eedeemer, who will comfort a Christian in such a time of 
need, and carry him through his last conflict with joy and conquest ! 
How careful should I be to get and keep a good conscience, which 
in such a day of extremity will yield me true courage and con 
fidence ! The wise man doth not without cause tell us : It is 
better to go into the house of mourning, (to the terming or charnel- 
house,) than to the house of feasting : for that is the end of all 
men ; and the living will lay it to heart/ Eccles. vii. 2. Men in a 
house of feasting are apt to be forgetful of their duty to God, them 
selves, and their neighbours, Isa. xxii. 13, 14 ; Amos vi. 3, 6 ; Isa. 
v. 11, 12. When the body is filled, the soul is often neglected. 
Job was afraid of this in his sons : Job i. 6, It may be my sons 


have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts, i.e., when they had 
been feasting at their elder brother s house. God gives Israel a 
special caution against this, Deut. viii. 12, 14. Men, in a house 
of mourning, are put in mind both of God s sovereignty, who 
draweth away their breath and they perish, Ps. civ. 29, and their 
own frailty, how soon they are gathered and withered, even in their 
prime and pride, Ps. xxxix. 5. I am blind if I do not see mine 
own end in the end of another ; and distracted if 1 do not provide 
for my last enemy, which I must necessarily encounter. Thus it is 
a mercy to ourselves, to be merciful unto others ; and whilst we 
visit the sick, we visit our own souls. Who would not do his 
neighbour good, when he may be confident it will tend to his own 
gain ? I have but hopes by my visit of advantaging a sinner ; but 
I may be sure, if I be faithful therein, of profiting myself. 


Thirdly, It may be the last opportunity thou mayest ever have 
of advantaging thy sick neighbour s soul. His sick-bed may be his 
death-bed, and then it will be too late to counsel or advise him. 
There is no purgatory in the other world. Diseases, both bodily 
and spiritual, must be purged away before death, or never. He 
that is filthy at death, must be filthy still, even to all eternity. All 
the tears in hell will not wash out the least spot in the soul ; all 
the fire of hell will not purge out the least dross. Therefore Christ 
took the opportunity of dropping good counsel into the heart of the 
thief on the cross, knowing that if he had omitted it a very few 
hours longer, the soul of the poor thief had been lost for ever. 
Hadst thou a friend going to sea, and never to return again, wait 
ing at a port for a wind, and then to be gone, and hadst business 
with him of as great concernment to him as his life thou couldst 
tell him of a quicksand which he must beware of, or he will be cast 
away wouldst thou not be quick and speedy to acquaint him with 
it, lest he should be under sail before thou didst see him ? Would 
it not cut thee to the heart, if he should miscarry through thy 
negligence ? The application is easy. The soul of every neigh 
bour is, or ought to be, dearer to thee than the body of thy nearest 
friend or relation. When thy wicked neighbour is sick, his soul is 
launching, for aught thou knowest, into the ocean of eternity, 
whence he shall never, never, return more. He waits only for a 
wind, a word from God, and he is gone. The sick-bed is the pass 
age or pathway to the grave. Thou hast work to do with him, 


that is more worth to him than his life, that is of as great value 
as his immortal soul, and eternal salvation. Now thou mayest 
acquaint him, while he is on the shore, with his danger, and the 
way of his delivery ; but if once he launch into the main, thou 
mayest call loud and long enough after him in vain. Oh, will it 
not pierce thee to the quick, if his soul should be swallowed up in 
the boundless and bottomless sea of divine wrath, through thy 
laziness or unfaithfulness? When the day drew near for the 
destruction of the Jews, the heart of Haman swelled with hopes, 
and Esther had then an opportunity to step in and preserve the 
lives of her countrymen. Mordecai tells her, Who knoweth whe 
ther thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this ? She 
made use of the season, and saved their lives with the hazard of her 
own. Had she delayed a little longer, it had been too late ; they 
had all been sacrificed upon the altar of Hainan s ambition. When 
the hour of a wicked man s death approacheth, the heart of the 
roaring lion is big with expectation of his prey, and a Christian 
friend hath then possibly an opportunity to save the poor creature s 
soul. Now or never ; there is no knowledge nor wisdom in the 
grave, whither the sick person is going. If he make use of the 
price God puts now into his hands, by serious, prudent, faithful, 
and affectionate counsel, he may help the sinner to heaven. Who 
knoweth whether he be come, by the providence of God, into the 
sick man s chamber for such a thing as this ? 

I have but one thing more to commend to thee, and then I shall 
speak to the work itself. 

Before thou goest to thy sick neighbour, go to God by prayer ; 
entreat him to direct thee what to speak, and to succeed what shall 
be spoken ; it is his own ordinance, and therefore thou mayest the 
more comfortably beg and expect his assistance. Nehemiah would 
speak to God before he spake to the king for the afflicted Jews ; 
Esther prefers her petition, first to her Maker, that her prayer 
might prosper, and then her petition to her husband for the lives 
of her countrymen. God is the principal agent ; and if he be left 
out, all thy labour will be lost. 

Wherein the exercising thyself to godliness in visiting the sick 

1. In endeavouring to benefit the soul of thy neighbour. 

2. In getting some spiritual profit to thyself. 

First, In endeavouring the spiritual good of thy neighbour. We 
are enjoined, in the eighth command, to mind and further our neigh 
bour s temporal wealth, but much more his spiritual welfare. It 


was true which Bucer s physician told him, when he expressed his 
eagerness to die, Non sibi, sed multorum utilitati, se esse natum, 
That he was not born for himself, but for the good of many others ; 
every saint is to be, as it were, a common stock for the profit of 
many. He is born, and new born, not only for himself, but for 
others benefit. The lynx is a spotted, unclean beast, that, knowing 
how his urine will congeal into a precious stone, and be profitable 
to men, maketh a hole in the ground when he pisseth, to hide it 
from them. Job, who knew the advantage that might accrue to 
others thereby, would not conceal either the word or works of God 
from them, Job vi. 10, and xxvii. 11. To this end 

1. Labour to be acquainted with the state of the sick person s 
soul. It is dangerous to give either purges or cordials ignorantly, 
or at peradventure. The souls of men are of unconceivable value, 
and therefore not to be tampered or trifled with. It is a good step 
to the cure to understand fully the disease, and the constitution of 
the patient ; therefore physicians feel the pulse, view the urine, in 
quire of the sick person, or his friends, concerning his former course 
of life, diet, present digestion of his food, place of his trouble or 
pain, &c., that they may proceed upon good grounds, and give suit 
able and effectual advice. So shouldst thou, reader, in visiting the 
sick, inform thyself, either by conference with some serious Chris 
tians of their acquaintance beforehand, or by some searching, prudent 
questions to the sick, concerning the condition of their souls. The 
ignorance of a physician may occasion the death of the patient. 
Some practitioners in physic, who intend much good, do much 
hurt for want of judgment to find out the tempers and distempers 
of the sick. A mistake in soul-cases is of more hazard than in 
body-sickness. If I undertake to humble a person who is already 
cast down sufficiently, and wants a cordial, or to comfort one who 
is full of presumption already, and needs a corrosive, how good so 
ever my meaning maybe, my acting is evil ; and instead of relieving, 
I may destroy my brother. The eastern churches did not without 
cause enjoin the minister, or such as were appointed to visit the 
sick, to continue with them seven days together, that in that space 
they might discover the man before they applied themselves to 
him, either in a way of admonition, or counsel, or consolation. 
Job s friends, when they came to visit him, spake not a word, either 
reproving or advising him, till they heard him open his mouth and 
curse the tongue that told the news of his birth. The knowledge 
of the sick man s spiritual condition is, as it were, the foundation 
upon which we must build all our discourse with him, and prayers 


to God for him ; or at least it is the rule by which we must build, 
and therefore it is very dangerous to mistake in it. If the founda 
tion be laid ill, the superstructure will never stand well ; if the 
rule be crooked, the building cannot be straight. A blind archer 
may as soon hit the mark, as one ignorant of his neighbour s state 
advantage his soul. 


2. Apply thyself to him suitably to his condition. As the condi 
tions of men are several, so must the application be ; that which 
cures one may kill another. One medicine will as soon cure all 
diseased bodies, as one way all sick souls ; indeed the physic to be 
prescribed every patient is the same for substance the blood of 
Christ ; by his stripes we are healed. But there are several ways 
of tendering this to sinners, that they may be prepared for it, and 
give it all acceptation ; that physic which is given to one in a 
potion, is given to another in a powder, to a third in an electuary, 
to a fourth in a pill, according as it will be most profitable and 
most acceptable to them. It is not easy so to write the bill, that 
the sick may receive what is prescribed to his greatest content and 
advantage ; for as many perish errore medici as vi morbi, by the 
error of the physician, as by the power of the disease. Though I 
judge it next to impossible for me to set down, exactly and fully, 
directions answerable to the difference of sick persons condition, 
disposition, education, calling, guilt, &c., yet I shall speak to the 
most ordinary cases, and be careful not to omit the main work, 
namely, that which concerneth the conversion of graceless and 
Christless persons, if, on a sick-bed, God peradventure will give 
them repentance. 

If the sick person be judged carnal and unregenerate, (for the 
tree is known by its fruits ; besides, it is no breach of charity to 
fear the worst of them whose lives do not speak a positive holiness, 
especially whilst we are endeavouring their good,) then in general I 
would advise thee to speak, 

(1.) To the depravation of man s nature, and the trangressions of 
life, with the sad aggravations thereof ; how holy man was by 
creation, how universally and desperately vicious he is by his fall 
from God, and what horrid unthankfulness he is guilty of in con 
tinuing in sin, notwithstanding the grace that is offered to him in 
the gospel. It is fit to speak to the purity and equity of the law 
of God, and to the difference and contrariety of his heart and life 


to it ; to the sinfulness of sin, in its offensiveness and opposition to 
the nature and word of an infinitely holy, glorious, and gracious 
Majesty ; in its destructiveness to the present peace and future per 
fection of his own precious and immortal soul ; and in that the stain 
of it is so deep, and the venom of it so great, that nothing beneath 
the blood of God could wash out its spots, or be a sufficient antidote 
for its poison. Tell him of the folly of sinners in refusing heaven 
for earth, angelical delights for brutish pleasures, the blessed God 
for a base lust ; and of his own madness likewise in running on so 
eagerly upon his own ruin, against the counsels of men, the com 
mands, threatenings, and entreaties of God, the convictions of his 
conscience, the calls and invitations of a loving Kedeemer, and the 
motions of the Holy Spirit. 

(2.) Speak to the merit of sin, how it being committed against an 
infinite Majesty r deserveth infinite wrath and severity. Tell him 
that the wages of sin is death, temporal, spiritual, eternal. Ac 
quaint him with the justice, holiness, and jealousy of God ; how he 
will by no means clear the guilty, but hath threatened all manner 
of plagues and judgments on the workers of iniquity, and cannot 
fail in the least of accomplishing his word ; how he is resolved to 
make all the children of men feel sin to be an evil and bitter thing, 
either in broken bones on earth, or broken, backs, and endless tor 
ments in hell. Let him know his own bnoxiousness, by reason of 
his many and grievous sins, to the curse of the law, the wrath of 
the Lord, and the vengeance of the eternal fire. Tell him that he 
is by nature a child of wrath, an enemy to God, and an heir of 
hell ; that it had been just to have cast him out of the womb into 
hell ; that God s patience in bearing with him thus long, will but 
increase his condemnation, and endless misery, unless he prevent it 
by sincere conversion. 

This is the first thing requisite in order to the recovery of his 
soul. Till sin be discovered in its heinous nature, and bloody 
colours, it will never be lamented, nor the Saviour esteemed accord 
ing to the duty of the sinner. The first thing usually which the 
Spirit doth in the change of a sinner, is to convince him of sin, 
John xvi. 8 ; and this is also first in the minister s commission, 
Acts xxvi. 18. The great neglect of this, in ministers and others, 
is one reason that so few sinners are awakened ; the needful work of 
humiliation is so dangerously slighted, that poor souls go sleeping 
and dreaming all is well, till they come to be undeceived in hell. 

(3.) Speak to his own inability to help himself, that no less than 
infinite power can recover him out of his miserable condition. Men 


are prone to act like brutes, when they are wounded, to under 
take the licking themselves whole, as if it were an easy thing to 
renew a carnal creature, and heal vitiated nature ; but, alas ! the 
work is not so soon done. It is another manner of work to open 
the blind eyes, and enliven the dead soul, than the secure careless 
worldling doth imagine. It is called a resurrection from the dead, 
a new creation, the work of God, because nothing less than a divine 
almighty power can effect it, Rev. xx. 6 ; Eph. ii. 10 ; John vi. 29 ; 
Eph. ii. 6. 

(4.) Speak to the necessity of a change in him, both of his disposi 
tion by repentance, and of his condition by faith in Jesus Christ. 
That these are not works which may be done, or left undone, but 
such as must be done, or he is undone for ever. Tell him the 
necessity of a change, 

[1.] Of his nature, by repentance ; how God himself hath said, 
Except he repent he shall perish, and that it is not possible for 
the whole creation to make void God s word. That, as he is a cor 
rupted, depraved creature, he is no way capable of heaven, for God 
hath shut him out, and barred the gate of bliss against him : Into 
it (i.e., heaven) can in no wise enter anything that defileth, or is 
unclean, Eev. xxi. 27 ; and he hath shut himself out by his vicious 
nature, for spiritual pleasures are not suitable, neither can be en 
joyed by depraved and ungodly creatures. Let him know that 
swinish dispositions cannot relish heavenly delights, and therefore, 
if it were possible for him to get to heaven in a carnal estate, 
heaven would be no heaven, that is, no place of joy or pleasure to 
him. Acquaint him especially wherein the nature of repentance 
consisteth, not in a few sighs or sobs for sin, or in crying God 
mercy, or saying, I am sorry I ever sinned, but in a real change of 
the heart and nature ; that his mind must be changed to see the 
ugliness and deformity of sin, his will to refuse it as the greatest 
evil, his affections to loathe it and hate it above all things whatso 
ever ; that he must abhor himself, and loathe himself, and bemoan 
himself, for all his abominations, if ever he would find mercy, Job 
xlii. 3 ; Jer. xxxi. 18 ; Ezek. xlvii. ; that he must in his whole 
man be altered, turned upside down, be contrary to what he is by 
nature, be converted and born again, or he can never see the king 
dom of God, Mat. xviii. 3 ; John iii. 3. Forget not also to discover 
the necessity of a change, 

[2.] Of his state, by faith in Jesus Christ ; how the Son of God can 
alone deliver him from the wrath of God ; that there is no name 
under heaven by which he can be saved, but the name of Christ ; 


that all his prayers, and tears, and duties, cannot satisfy the divine 
justice for the least of his sins, or deserve the least favour on the 
behalf of his soul ; that he must of necessity be united by faith to 
Christ, and submit to his guidance, and give up himself to his go 
vernment, or perish eternally; that though Christ died for him 
without his will, yet he will not save him against or without his 
will, but he must be heartily willing to accept Christ as his Saviour 
and sovereign, as ever he looks for salvation by him. Here it may 
not be amiss to acquaint him with the fulness of Christ s merits, and 
the freeness of God s mercy to them that do sincerely repent and 
believe. How God commands, entreats, threatens, promiseth, and 
all to draw men to mind the things of their peace. 

(5.) Speak to the shortness of his time to do this weighty and 
necessary work in ; that now there is no dallying, no delaying, for 
within a few hours it may be too late ; that grace must be got now 
or never ; that Christ, and pardon, and life must be obtained now or 
never ; that no sin shall be forgiven, no person shall be justified, no 
soul renewed or cleansed in the other world, that is not pardoned 
and sanctified in this ; that heaven and hell are before him, and 
within a short time the matter will be determined which of the two 
he shall be in for ever; that he must now get a title to bliss, or miss 
it for ever ; now prevent the unquenchable fire, or burn in it for 
ever ; that he is now upon the shore, just stepping into the ocean 
either of honey or wormwood, joy or horror, and therefore it con 
cerns him nearly to consider what he doth, and to be diligent to 
the utmost, if he would escape the endless company and torments 
of devils and damned spirits. Take heed of giving him hopes of 
recovery, which many do to please the sick or their friends ; for 
hereby thou mayest exceedingly injure his soul, frustrating all the 
means used for his spiritual health. Think not much to be often 
with the sick person in case thou hast opportunity. Let his misery 
move thee, and the love of Christ draw thee. When we fell an 
oak, thirty or forty of the first strokes seem to be lost, because the 
tree stirs not ; yet if we continue, it comes at last down, and sheweth 
the effects of the first as well as the last strokes. If he be converted 
thou wilt be satisfied ; however, thy reward is with God. If this 
unconverted person be scandalous, then it may be sometimes con 
venient to hint at the horrid nature of such sins, being committed 
against common light, and abhorred by many of the very heathen, 
and marked particularly for vengeance by the jealous God, 1 Cor. 
vi. 9, 10 ; Gal. v. 19-21 ; Eph. v. 5, 6. Thou mayest have the 
more hopes of success in visiting such a one, because conscience in 


this sinner will probably prove thy friend, and join with thee in 
terrifying him for those sins from which it could not (though it 
frequently attempted) dissuade him. 

If the unconverted person be one that lived civilly and orderly 
in his outward conversation paying every man his own, keeping 
his church, forbearing enormous crimes, &c. it will be then needful 
to commend his civility ; Jesus looked on such a man and loved 
him. But also to discover its defects and insufficiency, that there is 
one thing lacking ; how his nature is universally polluted, and it 
must be thoroughly purified, or he is a lost man ; that it is one thing 
to have a wound hid, and another thing to have it healed ; that 
many infidels have been unblameable in their outward carriages, 
who yet perished, being without Christ ; that the scribes and 
pharisees went farther than most civil men, for they had not only 
a negative holiness in denying gross sins, but a positive holiness, 
(in show at least,) they prayed, fasted, &c. ; yet he, to whom it is 
impossible to lie, tells us, Mat. v. 20, Except your righteousness 
exceed the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, ye shall in 
no wise enter the kingdom of heaven." It will be good also, in 
dealing with such a person, to insist much upon the latitude and 
purity of the law of God ; how it forbiddeth (and condemneth for) 
the least sinful thought, and how nothing less than perfect obedience 
can answer its demands, or satisfy the law-giver ; because such men 
are apt to judge themselves righteous, comparing themselves with 
those that are notoriously vicious. They think all is well, their 
minds being darkened, and unable to discern and discover the secret 
lusts which are hugged in their hearts ; besides, their consciences 
being defiled as well as other faculties, are not so true to them as 
to convince them powerfully of that pride, hypocrisy, unbelief, 
impenitency, atheism, and ungodliness which they are guilty of. 
And Satan hath a strict watch over them to keep them asleep in 
sin, not caring, so men go to hell, whether they go thither in the 
dirty road of scandalous and crying crimes, or in the cleanly path, 
and through the fair meadows of civility. Whether the person be 
scandalous or civil, it will be needful to let in light at some crevice, 
and not to leave the sinner wholly in the darkness of despair. The 
good Samaritan poured oil as well as wine into the wounds of him 
that fell among thieves. A little hope may melt that heart which 
despair would harden. Sturdy thieves have wept at the news of a 
reprieve, that have stormed and raged at the sentence of condemna 
tion ; but this is wisely to be done, lest the sinner be encouraged to 
presume. Lenity is to be joined with severity. Let there be love, 

VOL. in. B " 


but not emboldening them to sloth ; let there be terror, but not 
driving them into a fury, saith Gregory. 1 

If the sick person be one that is judged a true member of Christ, 
then speak to the excellency of grace, and Christ, and heaven ; to 
the certainty and worth of those promises that are entailed on 
believers, to make his passage into the other world as comfortable 
as thou canst. It will be fit also to speak to those graces of faith, 
patience, love, heavenly-mindedness, and joy in God, which should 
be minded and exercised in a time of sickness ; how the time of 
affliction is the spring, the special time wherein those graces should 
shoot up and shew themselves ; that God expecteth some service 
from him under his sickness ; and that his last works should be 
better than his first. If he be under doubts and fears for Satan 
will take the advantage of his sickness to assault him with his fiery 
darts, and saints are too apt to question God s love when they feel 
his hand, the weakness of the body discomposing the mind, and 
denying it the free exercise of spiritual judgment then advise him 
to review his former experiences of divine goodness, and trials of 
divine grace within him ; to hold fast on Jesus Christ, and to con 
sider that sickness is common to men, good as well as bad ; that 
though they differ vastly in the other world, yet not at all in their 
passage thither. Singular saints have been afflicted with the sorest 
sickness ; Job was a non-such for sanctity, yet full of sores. It is 
a question whether he were more eminent for corporal distempers 
or spiritual health ; Hezekiah, David, Asa, Paul, Epaphroditus, 
were all thus chastened of the Lord, but not condemned with the 

Whatsoever the sick person be, whether gracious or graceless, 
it will not be amiss to mention the three great lessons which God 
would teach every one by affliction. 

First, The emptiness of the world, appearing in its inability to 
afford the least ease to the body, or comfort to the soul, of the sick. 
How little worth is that which fails a man in his greatest need ! 

Second, The preciousness of Christ, and grace, and the promises of 
the gospel, which can enliven and encourage a dying person ; that 
can cause light in darkness, joy in sorrow, and life in death ; that 
can enable a Christian to rejoice in tribulation, and to welcome 
pain and sickness, nay, and the very king of terrors, and to look 
into the other world with comfort and confidence. 

Third, The sinfulness of sin, which is the original of all diseases, 

1 Miscenda eat lenitas cum severitate ; sit amor, Bed non emolliens ; sit rigor, sed 
non exasperans. Greg. Mor., 10. 


and aches, and grief ,and separation of friends, and losses, and miseries 
whatsoever. The rabbis say, that when Adam tasted the forbid 
den fruit his head ached. It is clear sin is the original of sickness. 
The body is the instrument of unrighteousness, therefore the sub 
ject of diseases ; for this cause many are weak and sick, 1 Cor. xi. 
30. All the evil in this and the other world are the issue and off 
spring of sin. Ah ! what a root of bitterness is that, which brings 
forth such bitter fruit ! Be sure to take the thoughts of the sick 
off from resting in physicians, or any means used for their cure ; 
this was the fault of good Asa, 2 Chron. xvi. 12. Let them know that 
it is God that wounds, and he only that can heal, and therefore he 
must not be tempted, either by despising those helps which his 
providence giveth, or by relying on them. Hippocrates gave this 
counsel to all physicians, that when they went upon any occasion 
to visit their patients, they should consider, first of all, whether 
there was not divinum aliquod in morbo, something of God in the 
disease. If so, he held the patient to be desperate, and his recovery 
impossible : Cujus contrarium verum est. If it were the hand of 
God that smote them, the same hand can help them, for with him 
nothing is impossible. Let them understand that sickness hath a 
supernatural as well as a natural cause. That all diseases are, like 
the centurion s servants, at the command of God : He saith to one, 
Go, and it goeth ; to another, Come, and it cometh ; to a third, Do 
this, and it doeth it. God would have the Israelites know that 
not only sword, and famine, and captivity, but also pestilence, con 
sumptions, fevers, and burning agues, are sent from heaven, Deut. 
xxviii. 21 , 22. He causeth those storms, and tempests, and quar 
rels, and contentions that are between the humours in our bodies, 
to their disturbance and destruction. Therefore Moses, beholding 
the whole body of the Jews (except two renowned members) cor 
rupted for he lived to see all that came out of Egypt besides to 
die cried out, Thou turnest man to destruction, and say est, Re 
turn, ye children of men/ 


3. Deal closely and faithfully with him ; let not fear of giving 
distaste, or hope of some advantage to thyself, make thee false to 
the soul of the sick. Do not play the part of a mountebank, in 
using palliating medicines to allay the distemper, or anodynes to 
stupefy the patient, and neglect the root of the malady. Alas ! 
carnal wretches are prone enough of themselves to deceive and 


flatter their own souls, till it be too late for second thoughts, and 
the wicked one will be at their bed-sides, to hinder, if it be pos 
sible, all means from awakening and undeceiving them. Be care 
ful, therefore, lest thou shouldst be any way accessory to Satan s 
design. Sin is like the little serpent aspis, which stings men, 
whereby they fall into a pleasant sleep, and in that sleep die. 
Sinners need all the rousing and affrighting considerations that 
may be. He that gives a potion, which, instead of furthering 
health, procureth death, is a murderer. The flatterer is like the 
worm teredo, mentioned by Pliny, (in Nat. Hist.,) as soft as silk 
in the feeling of the hand, but it biteth so hard with the teeth, 
that it eateth out the heart of the strongest timber. Flattery is 
to sin, what oil to fire ; it makes it flame the more. Oh it is dan 
gerous to speak peace where God speaks war ! shouldst thou do 
so, the blood of such a soul would be required at thy hands, Ezek. 
xxxiii. 8 ; Jer. xxiii. Faithful dealing will bring thee in most 
comfort at present, and most credit hereafter, as also be most ad 
vantageous to the sick person. When the great day comes, the 
man that hated flattery, and scorned, for a little profit or favour, 
to disown his duty, or prove false to the soul of his neighbour, will 
hold up his head with courage, but the cowardly and fearful will 
hang down their heads with shame, Kev. xxi. 8. 

4. Pray with him, and for him. Sick persons are often full of 
pain and grief, and are more than usually assaulted by Satan, 
whereby they are the less able to pray for themselves, and have the 
more need of the prayers of others. It is observable that though 
the Holy Ghost commandeth men in other afflictions to pray them 
selves Is any afflicted ? let him pray yet when he mentioneth 
sickness, he saith not, Is any sick ? let him pray ; but, Is any sick ? 
let him send for the elders of the church, and let them pray over 
him, James v. 14 i.e., A sick man is not so fit to pray himself; 
he wanteth others to pray for him, and with him. The soul sym- 
pathiseth in the sufferings of the body, and the inner man is seldom 
at rest, if the outward man be distempered and disquieted. The 
mind is unfitted for duties by the diseases of the flesh. Paul calls 
his bodily weaknesses a temptation, Gal. iv. 13, 14. Afflictions on 
the flesh are temptations to the spirit, and sickness is a piercing 
arrow in Satan s quiver of temptations. 

If the person be carnal, what motives hast thou, from his misery, 
to quicken thee to the duty! The poor creature is going to hell, 
and knoweth it not. His destruction is near, and he is not aware. 
How should the thoughts of that extremity and eternity of torments 


which he is every moment liable to, stir thee up to be earnest and 
instant with God on his behalf ! It may be thou wouldst sit up a 
whole night to watch with him for the comfort of his body ; dost 
thou not know that the soul is infinitely more worth ? Oh watch 
and pray, that he enter not into eternal condemnation ! Thou art 
not ignorant that God hath made promises of grace, as well as 
promises to grace, and canst not tell but that grace waiteth in 
heaven for the sick person, only thy prayer must be the messenger 
to fetch it thence. God hath shewn mercy at the last ; he can do 
it to this man, therefore thou mayest have the more hopes. Be 
sides, it may be his sickness shall not be unto death, but only to 
heal his diseased soul, and so to give him a new life, both natural 
and spiritual. The question before thee is, whether that poor sick 
creature s soul shall be Christ s or the devil s for ever ; and wilt 
thou not plead hard with God that it may be thrown in to Christ, 
whose title is unquestionable, and that the grand and arch-enemy 
of Christ and men may be frustrated and disappointed in his ex 
pectation ? Zeal to the advancement of thy Kedeemer s interest, 
and love to the soul of thy neighbour, should actuate and animate 
thy requests, and put life and fervency into thy petitions. 

If the sick man be godly, thou hast the more encouragement to 
pray. God hath promised as much to him as thou canst rationally 
desire for him. He hath hopes to speed, that goeth to an honest, 
able man, and sheweth him his bond for what he demands. God 
is infinite, both in righteousness and power, so that there is no fear 
of a repulse, if you can shew his hand for your request. He delights 
to hear his promises pleaded in prayer, and to see his children so 
full of affection, as to be fervent in their petitions for each other. 
Thou mayest send the same message by prayer to Jesus, that the 
sister of Lazarus did, Lord, behold he whom thou lovest is sick, and 
mayest be confident of the like gracious answer : This sickness is 
not unto death (eternal) but for the glory of God, that the Son of 
God might be glorified thereby. 

Next to thy endeavours for the good of thy sick neighbour s 
spiritual estate, it will be fit to advise him about his temporal estate, 
that he may dispose of his worldly affairs, and his wealth, if God 
have given him any, with wisdom, and settle things so firmly, 
that his relations may not be wrangling for his goods, when his 
body is at rest in his grave. 

Secondly, The exercising ourselves to godliness in visiting the 
sick, consisteth in getting good to our own souls by it. Though it 
be forbidden us to inquire of the dead, and ask their counsel, yet it 


is commanded us to inquire of the dying, and to learn of them, 
Deut. xviii. 11 ; Eccles. v. 1, 2. Sick men may teach them that 
are in health many excellent lessons. Some say that ground covered 
with ashes, is made thereby the more fruitful. The dust of the 
dead, falling upon a right soil, an honest heart, will make it the 
more abundant in holiness. A Christian findeth walking in 
hospitals or churchyards, among the sick or dying, much conducing 
to the health and life of his soul. He that was cast dead into his 
grave, by touching the bones of dead Elisha, was ravished to life. 
That which Elias said to Elisha, when he begged a double portion 
of his spirit, If thou seest me when I am taken from thee, it shall 
be so unto thee/ may fitly be alluded to in this place. The sight 
of others sickness and death, and their departures from us, is a 
great means to increase the spirit in us, and to double our care and 
diligence in preparing for such an hour. 

1. In laying to heart thine own frailty. He is but a cold clod of 
clay, and dead already, who doth not see his own death in the death 
of others. Sickness is but one remove from death ; the sick-bed is 
the way to the coffin ; therefore, when thou visitest the sick or dying, 
reflect upon thyself, and consider : This will be my case, or a worse, 
a violent stroke. The same enemy that encountered my neighbour, 
is upon his march towards me, and will certainly overtake me. 
The feet of them that carry my friend to his grave, are ready to 
carry me also ; what need have I to be always in a dying frame, 
and ready for death ! The very next arrow that death shoots, may 
be levelled at me ; and shall not I stand always upon my guard in 
expectation of it, and armed for it ! Oh how deep will the head of 
that arrow pierce me, if it find me naked. 

2. In considering God s mercy to thee, and blessing him for the 
health thou enjoyest. The pain of others will tell thee that ease is 
a mercy ; the racking sickness, and restless nights of others, do 
speak aloud in thine ears, that health and rest are mercies. 1 Oh 
how shouldst thou adore that God who distinguisheth thee thus 
graciously from others. Mayest thou not think with thyself, here 
is a person full of pain, the day is full of darkness to him, and 
wearisome nights are appointed to him. Lo, his wife, and children, 
and friends are weeping about him, but cannot relieve or redress 
him ; all the comforts of this life are unsavoury to him. His aches, 
and grief, and diseases, hinder him much in spiritual performances, 
and in the prosecution of a better life ; how much am I bound to 
the Lord, that it is not so with me ! I can relish outward mercies, 

1 Carendo potius quam fruendo sapimus. 


and am refreshed with bodily comforts. I have no such distemper 
or pain to take me off from prayer or Scripture, but I may be as 
frequent and as urgent as I will about my soul and eternal concern 
ments. Bless the Lord, my soul, and all within me praise his 
holy name. Surely health is the prince, the first-born, of outward 
blessings. Though foolish men deprive themselves frequently of it, 
for the satisfaction of a sensual, wanton appetite, yet it is more 
worth than a thousand of those brutish transitory delights. A 
stomach is of more value than meat, and a good digestion than 
raiment. Men think not much to part with much of their wealth 
in their sickness for a little health. Oh, it deserves thy prayers to 
God for it, with submission to his will, when thou wantest it, and 
thy praising of God for it, with enlarged affections, when thou 
hast it ! 

3. In observing the necessity of a timely repentance, and its diffi 
culty on a dying bed. How unfit is a man to begin to live, when 
he is racked with pain, and going to die. The dolour and trouble 
of his body are great impediments to the good of his soul. When 
the outward man is in great distress, and the inner man sympathis 
ing with it, the best words are often wasted and thrown away, and 
the mind is unfit either to receive counsel or comfort. Further, 
how irrational is it to give Satan our prime, our health, our strength, 
and God our weak, and consumptionate, and dying parts ; to pre 
sent our enemy with our quick, and nimble, and active faculties 
and members, and to put off our best friend with a body full of 
sores, and a soul full of sin. Besides, the longer men continue in 
sin, the more difficult their conversion will be. He that hath wan 
dered or travelled out of the right way all day, will hardly be per 
suaded to go back all the way, and set out again at night. Where 
Satan hath dwelt long, he will hardly be removed. A ship, the 
longer it leaketh, the harder it is to be emptied. The farther a 
nail is driven in, the more trouble to get it out. The longer my 
soul continueth in disobedience, the harder it will be to bring it to 
repentance. The more sin is riveted and habituated in me, the 
more pains, and toil, and grief, it will cost to get it subdued 
and slain. 

4. In learning more the excellency of grace, and an interest in 
Christ and God, which will do a man good in a day of sickness, and 
an hour of death. He is a friend indeed that is a friend in a day of 
adversity. The sinner s folly in neglecting durable riches, teacheth 
the Christian wherein true wisdom consisteth, and the worth of it ; 
that it consisteth not in heaping up such treasures, or getting such 


friends as will be useless and unprofitable in a time of need, but in 
laying up a treasure in heaven, and insuring eternal comforts. 
Cold sharp weather sheweth the value of a healthy constitution. 
A storm will speak the worth of a sure anchor and a skilful pilot. 
The excellency of grace, and holiness, and Christ, and God, are not 
fully known till we come into the other world, where all sublunary 
comforts are wanting ; but the more any condition in this world 
resembleth that, and the nearer we approach that, the more visible 
is the value of divine and lasting blessings. A cordial is not 
esteemed till we come to fainting fits. A soul that in time of 
health, and wealth, and outward prosperity, made the fear and 
ways of God, and the estate of the godly, the object of his scorn 
and contempt, when he comes to be awakened by the alarum of 
death, and to look into the other world, will make them the object 
of his choice, and give a world, if he had it, for them. 

A good wish about the visitation of the sick, wherein the former 
heads are applied. 

The righteous Lord, and God of all grace, who for sin afflicteth 
man with sickness, yet in the midst of judgment remembereth 
mercy, intending his instruction, not his destruction, by it having 
designed such afflictions, as rods to whip men to himself, to make 
them out of love with sin, the spring of all their sufferings and sor 
rows, and to wean them from the earth, who otherwise would make 
it their heaven ; and hath also appointed men to be the means 
through which these mercies shall be conveyed, and sicknesses sanc 
tified to them ; I wish, in general, that I may never omit to visit 
those neighbours with pity, whom God hath visited in fury ; much 
less insult, as the Edomites over the afflicted Israelites, and perse 
cute them whom God hath smitten, drawing blood from those 
wounds which are already blue with the blows of the Almighty ; 
but may be faithful to the precept and purpose of my God in this 
particular, and adopt my second table duties into the family of the 
first table, by visiting the sick, not out of common civility, but out 
of charity, and in obedience to the God of my health. It is my 
privilege that my alms may become sacrifice, my courtesies worship, 
and in paying that debt of love which I owe to my neighbour, I 
may pay that duty which I owe to my Maker. Oh that in all my 
common transactions I might move upon principles of reason, and, 


especially in works that have a tendency God-ward, act upon grounds 
of religion. Lord, thou hast an eye to my good in all thy provi 
dences and dealings ; why should not I have an eye to thy glory 
in all my practices and actings ? Cause thy fear so to possess my 
heart, that I may visit the sick out of conscience, and let thy grace 
so assist and accompany my endeavours, that thou mayest visit 
them to their eternal comfort. 

I wish that the command of my God may be a sufficient motive 
and warrant to make me set about the practice of this work. It is 
my duty to visit them that are sick, as I am the Lord s servant. I 
disown his authority, I deny his image, if I do not sympathise with 
others in misery. Nature itself commandeth me to be affected with 
the conditions of such as are afflicted. All creatures will commise 
rate those of their rank and order that are in misery. Bees will 
rather stay and starve with those of their kind that are unable to 
fly to their hives, by reason of the weakness of their wings, than stir 
from them or forsake them. The swine are so sensible of their fel 
lows sufferings, that if one of the company be lugged, all the rest 
will after their manner condole it. If a beast be slain, and its blood 
spilt, others of that sort will shew their love and pity by scraping 
earth on the blood, burying their fellow, and solemnising his funeral 
with a kind of lamentation. Grace doth much more enjoin me to 
be sick in others sickness, poor in others poverty, and to remember 
them that are in bonds, as bound with them, and them that suffer 
adversity, as being myself also in the body. David, speaking of his 
enemies that sought his destruction, saith, But as for me, when 
they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth : I humbled my soul 
with fasting ; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I 
behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother : I 
bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother/ Ps. xxxv. 
13, 14. My God hath said, To him that is afflicted, pity should 
be shewn. Sickness is one of the greatest outward afflictions ; it 
renders all the comforts of this life uncomfortable. The largest 
houses, revenues, honours, the most loving acquaintance, friends, 
relations, are all unsavoury to them that are under great sickness. 
To visit the prosperous and healthy is courtesy, but to visit the 
distressed and sick is charity. The sweetest showers should fall on 
the lower grounds. Lord, thou art the Father of mercies, and art 
afflicted in all the afflictions of thy children ; thy soul is grieved 
for the miseries of Israel. How suitable is it for them who expect 
mercy another day, to shew mercy at this day ! Make me a fol 
lower of thee, as a dear child, to put on bowels of compassion, and 


to be merciful in heart, tongue, and hand, as thou my Father in 
heaven art merciful. 

I wish that, as a wise merchant, I may make the use of this 
price, which is put into my hand, for the furtherance of my own 
and my neighbours peace. Sickness is a special opportunity, 
wherein I may advantage others souls ; the most poisonous viper 
is at such a season benumbed with cold, and so may be handled 
without much danger. The strength of the body of sin is much 
abated, at least in regard of act and exercise, by the weakness of 
the natural body. They who counted holiness a fancy, and holy 
ones fanatics, in their health and power, will beg hard for purity, 
and desire the saints prayers in their sickness. The waters of those 
passions, which in a summer of prosperity did overflow their bounds, 
and threatened to overwhelm and overthrow all that was near, are 
frozen up in a winter of adversity, and kept within their banks ; 
there are many nicks in time, as we see in a clock, which, if they 
hit, the work goeth on well. The hardened hearts of sinners are 
often melted, when their persons are confined to their warm cham 
bers ; as tinder when dry easily takes fire, by the least spark that 
falls on it, so when the souls of ungodly men are made soft by sick 
ness, and their thoughts of the evil of sin in the pain it brings on 
their bodies, makes their affections combustible, it will be much 
the easier to kindle the fire of repentance in them. Affliction boreth 
or openeth the ear, and then it is seasonable to drop some whole 
some counsel into it. Though a load on the ground be hard to be 
stirred, yet a load on the wheels is easy to be drawn. The illness, 
and aches, and distempers of sinners bodies do, as it were, set the 
work of conversion, and minding the good of their souls, upon the 
wheel, and therefore such opportunities ought to be diligently im 
proved. Sickness is a good time when charity is in season. It is 
a grace to have an opportunity for the service of my God, but a 
greater to improve it. The eastern people do plough and sow their 
grounds, when the former rain hath softened it ; and why should 
not I endeavour to plough up the fallow-ground of my neighbour s 
heart, and to sow in it the seeds of savoury instructions, when it is 
made tender by sickness ? Lord, thou layest hold of every oppor 
tunity to bless me with mercy answerable to my necessities ; make 
me both wise to discern time and judgment, and faithful to make 
use of all such seasons to do thee service. 

I wish that the opportunity I have thereby of doing good to my 
own soul, may move me to be the more careful and conscientious 
in visiting the sick. It is the wise man s speech, It is better to go 


into the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting ; 
for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to heart. 
It is better, as it is most suitable to my present state. It is not 
proper for pilgrims to spend their time in pleasure. Sorrow is 
becoming in a valley of tears. A house of mourning agrees well 
with the mourners in Zion. This world is a sea, I am a mariner, 
and mariners rejoice in the haven, not in the tempestuous ocean. 
This life is a warfare, I am a soldier ; it is too soon to be joyful 
whilst I am fighting ; it will be time enough when all my enemies 
are foiled. Oh how harsh is it for a child to be jocund, when he is 
far from home ! Weeping is good language for them that sit down 
by the river of Babylon ; how can I sing the Lord s songs in a 
strange land ? Again, it is better to go into the house of mourn 
ing, as it is most profitable to my precious soul. Grace thrives 
best in a wet soul ; * by the sadness of the countenance the heart is 
made better. The inner man is best when clad in mourning. 
Trees planted by the water-side hang with clusters, and bring forth 
fruit in due season. The sick-bed is a pulpit, and though there be 
a wicked man in it, he may teach me rare instructions ; if he be 
wholly silent, his condition preacheth to me that sin is the greatest 
evil, that the world is a cheat and imposture, and that grace is the 
most desirable created good. His dark chamber, weeping friends, 
watered couch, aching head, trembling heart, pale lips, quivering 
loins, all call aloud to me to consider of and prepare for such an 
hour. Abel, being dead, yet speaketh ; my sick, my dead neigh 
bour speaketh, Prepared be to follow me. Some have been raised 
to life by beholding the dead. Oh that I were wise to observe and 
improve the opportunities which free grace affordeth me, for my 
own and others welfare ! If I lose a good market for the further 
ance of my outward estate, I befool and bewail myself. Ah, why 
should I not be as much affected with the loss of opportunities for 
my inner man ! Sinners observe their seasons for the gratifying 
their loves, and the satisfying their lusts. The thief waiteth for 
the full purse till the market is over, and commodities be sold. 
The adulterer makes use of the dark night for his deeds of dark 
ness. Satan watcheth every opportunity to ensnare and destroy 
me ; if I give him the least advantage, by idleness or carnal security, 
or running into occasions of sin, he doth presently lay hold on it to 
pollute me. All men indeed may shame me. The mariner doth 
spread his sails when the winds blow. The merchant observes his 
exchange hours, when he may meet with many friends, and des 
patch much business in a little time. The lawyer minds his terms. 


There is a time when kings go out to battle, 2 Sam. xi. 1, which 
soldiers will not neglect. The husbandman makes hay whilst the 
sun shines ; yet, ah, how foolish am I to let slip those golden sea 
sons which my God giveth me, for working out my own salvation ! 
Lord, thou hast made everything beautiful in its season ; but poor 
silly man knoweth not his time, Eccles. iii. 11, and ix. 12. Grant 
me so much prudence, that, as the men of Issachar, I may have 
understanding of the times, 1 Chron. xii. 32, and so much piety as 
to serve the times, not as worldlings, in altering my course accord 
ing to the fashions and customs of men, but in embracing what is 
tendered in due time, for my own and others good, always adhering 
to the commands of thee my God. 

I wish that the uncertainty of my sick neighbour s outward 
recovery, may make me the more careful and solicitous about his 
spiritual health. If he die, he is stated and fixed for ever and 
ever, and I am for ever deprived of all opportunities of profiting or 
advantaging his soul. Now he is sick, he is nigh death, but one 
step from it. The sick stand upon the borders of the grave, upon 
the brink of the pit, nay, of eternity. Those that are in most per 
fect health, are inclining towards death ; but they that are sick, 
are approaching the chambers of darkness. Such a man may 
speak, in the language of Haman, My life draweth nigh unto the 
grave, Ps. Ixxxviii. 3. Should he depart this life in a natural 
estate, he falleth into the jaws of eternal death. All prayers for 
him will then be fruitless, and there is no giving counsel to him 
after death. I must now advise, exhort, persuade, beseech him to 
rnind faith and repentance, or never do it; I must now put up 
hearty cries and groans to God on his behalf, or never do it. The 
loving-kindness of God cannot be declared in the grave, nor his 
faithfulness in destruction, Ps. Ixxxviii. 11. When he is wailing 
in hell for the ungodliness of his heart and life, I may be weeping 
on earth for my neglect of him, or unfaithfulness to him, but both 
our tears will be ineffectual, and our cries comfortless. Oh that 
the love of my Saviour, the command of my God, the worth of a 
soul, the weight of an eternal estate, the fear of losing such a sea 
son, and the impossibility of recalling or recovering it, may all 
provoke me to be instant with the sick, to turn to God, and abhor 
and bewail their sins, and to be fervent with God, that he would 
crown my endeavours with success ! Lord, I may speak thy mind 
and will to men, but thou alone, who didst make the ear, canst 
enable them to hear; let it please thy Majesty so to affect my heart 
with a due sense of others misery, so to direct my tongue what to 


speak in order to their recovery, and so to prosper the undertakings 
of thy servant, that as often as I visit any unconverted person in 
his sickness, I may turn a sinner from the error of his ways, save a 
soul alive, and hide a multitude of sins. 

I wish that I may be solicitous to understand the spiritual con 
ditions of the sick, that my prescriptions may be profitable, being 
suitable to their several sores. The knowledge of the disease must 
necessarily precede directions for its cure. It is folly to undertake 
their recovery, whose estates I am ignorant of. He works at the 
labour-in-vain who goeth about to heal a wounded patient, when he 
knoweth not the place or nature of his pain. The mistake of the 
physician may be as mortal and dangerous as the disease itself. It 
will be no wonder if a blind man shoot awry, and miss the mark. 
This was the cause that Job s friends, though holy men, and de 
signing a good end, wandered exceedingly ; and instead of adminis 
tering comfort by their visitation, wounded him to the quick, and 
proved his greatest cross. The Sabeans and Chaldeans robbed him 
of his cattle, Satan wronged him in his body, but his three friends 
vexed his soul, and did break him in pieces with words. Their 
ignorance was the ground of the hurt they offered, instead of the 
help they intended, Job xix. 2. A friend may do that mischief 
upon a false supposition, which an enemy doth out of malice. 
Though the doctrine be true and right, if the application of it be 
wrong, I may kill sooner than cure the person to whom I apply it. 
The husbandman must know the nature of his ground before he 
casteth in his seed, or otherwise he will miss of his expected crop. 
Lord, thou knowest the conditions and dispositions of all men by 
immediate intuition, and needest not that any should testify of 
man ; thou knowest how needful it is for me to understand by 
rational discourse who and what those sick persons are, how things 
stand betwixt thy Majesty and their souls, whose recovery I go about. 
Oh help me to find out their sickness, and to give such advice out 
of thy word, that thou mayest work their care ! 

I wish that, when the condition of the sick person is found out, 
neither fear nor flattery may make me unfaithful to his soul. 
Those prescriptions cannot be profitable that are not answerable to 
his estate. I am unfaithful to God, my neighbour, and myself, if 
my application be not suitable to his condition. My God com- 
mandeth me to proclaim war against the presumptuous, to preach 
peace to the penitent ; and if I act otherwise out of fear or affec 
tion, I act contrary to my commission ; I am false to my trust if I 
keep not close to the will of my Lord. He that takes not his 


master s precepts for his rule, will at last be counted and punished 
as an unfaithful servant. I hinder also my neighbour s good, 
whilst I give him counsel unsuitable to his case. I may pretend 
love and respect, but it is real hatred to flatter him who is hasten 
ing to the unquenchable fire. How dreadful will his fall be, from 
the high turret of presumption into the infernal pit .of perdition ! 
and how little thanks will he give me in the other world for cozen 
ing his soul, by telling him all was well, till he came to see his own 
and my mistake in hell 1 Again, the guilt of such a crime would 
make a deep gash in my own conscience. It is ill slighting or 
tampering with inestimable souls. His blood will be required at 
my hands ; and if the blood of a slain body cry so loud for ven 
geance, what will the blood of a murdered soul do ? Why should 
I, to humour any man s lust, injure his soul, hinder my own peace, 
and incur the anger of the Lord ? Oh that no foolish pretences 
whatsoever may keep me off from acquainting sinners with the evil 
and end, the nature and danger of their sins. It is God s order, 
first to cast the soul down r and then to lift it up. The ground 
must feel the plough before it receive the seed. Sorrow must pre 
cede comfort ; and they must sow in tears who would reap in joy. 
God must shake all nations before the desired of all nations will 
come to him. We come to Sinai, the mount that burneth with 
fire, and to blackness and darkness, and a tempest which makes 
even a Moses to fear and quake exceedingly, before we come to 
Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, 
and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of 
sprinkling, that speaketh better things than the blood of Abel. 
The law is a schoolmaster to drive us to Christ. Austere John, 
with his axe laid to the root of the tree, threatening the fire to those 
that bring not forth fruit, prepareth the way for the sweet alluring 
Jesus. Mourning and grief is the midwife of true mirth ; peniten 
tial tears are the streams that lead to the rivers of pleasures. Even 
the doleful sound of the trumpet attendeth the judge when he is 
going to acquit a prisoner by public proclamation. Violence must 
be offered to corruption, or there will be no acceptance of the Lord 
Christ. The building of holiness is the more strong for having its 
foundation of humiliation laid deep. The safety of the soul doth 
depend, like Jonah s, upon his being cast overboard, and utterly 
lost in his own apprehension. 

The blessed Jesus himself is brought into a desolate wilderness, 
before angels are sent from heaven to comfort him. Oh that I 
might follow my God in his usual way, and never prophesy smooth 


things to rugged and wicked men, but endeavour to break their 
hearts on earth, who have persisted in the breach of his holy laws, 
that their backs may not be broken in hell. Yet I would not, in 
stead of beating down the rotten paper walls of presumption, drive 
any into the dungeon of desperation ; but, as the good nurse, have 
the breast of consolation, as well as the rod of correction, in readi 
ness for such children. Moses and Christ met together upon Mount 
Tabor. The gospel must be preached to heal those wounds which 
are opened and discovered by the law. The Lord sendeth me to 
proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to 
them that are bound. Lord, thou killest and makest alive, bringest 
down to the grave, and bringest up. It is easy and ordinary with 
thee to break those bones which thou iritendest to rejoice, and to 
perplex those rams in briers and thorns which thou intendest to 
accept of as a sacrifice. Teach thy servant to know how to speak 
a word in season, both to the wicked and to the godly ; how to 
divide thy word aright, both in its minatory and consolatory parts, 
that, as occasion shall be, I may awaken the wicked out of their 
deadly slumbers, and quicken the godly to their spiritual watchful 
ness, and help to sweeten that bitter cup which thou hast put into 
their hands. Oh that thy blessing might water my labours for 
both their welfares ! Alas ! poor sick unregenerate ones are drop 
ping into boundless and endless sorrows, and yet are without sense. 
Though they are dying, they know not what they are doing, nor 
whither they are going. Their eyes are shut by the god of this 
world, that they see not that unspeakable misery to which they are 
liable every moment ; their hearts are hardened through custom in 
sin, that neither threatenings nor promises prevail with them to 
feel their wounds and sores. thou great physician, thou Lord 
of life, thou God of health, open their eyes ; send some Ananias to 
them, that they might receive their sight, and be filled with the 
Holy Ghost ; enable them so to mourn now, that they may be com 
forted when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of 
the Lord ; and help thy servant to deal so faithfully with those 
whom thou callest me to visit, that I may never give thy Majesty 
cause to say of me, as once of the prophets of Israel, They have 
healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, 
Peace, peace, when there is no peace. 

I wish that I may be close and home in my applications to sick 
persons, and speak what is proper to their estates, with ardency and 
affection, to their very hearts. It is ill dallying with edged tools. 
Oh, how sad is it to toy and trifle, to be formal or customary, in 


counsel, or reproof, or comfort to immortal souls that are launching 
into the ocean of eternity ! Death is a serious thing, and that 
which they never did before, nor shall ever do again. Sin is a 
serious thing, as the damned find in hell by woeful experience. 
Though there they are in blackness of darkness, yet they have light 
enough to see sin to be the evil of evils, and altogether sinful. 
Christ was serious when he took upon him my nature, and therein 
did offer up himself a sacrifice for sin. God is serious in com 
manding faith and repentance, and in promising heaven to the 
faithful and holy, and hell to unbelievers and atheists ; and shall 
not I be serious and in earnest when I am dealing about matters 
of eternal life and death, and about the concernments of God and 
Christ, and souls and eternity ? Oh, with what earnestness should 
I persuade the wicked to turn from their wickedness and live ! If 
ever their souls would draw near to the Lord of life, it concerns 
them to do it when their bodies are drawing nigh to the chambers 
of death. It is but a very few hours, and their condition will be 
past all amendment, all alteration. In this poor pittance of time, 
all must be done upon which the scales must turn for their salva 
tion or damnation. They are going to make that change which 
will admit them into endless joy or torment, and render their estates 
unchangeable. Their time is hastening that they must struggle 
with dreadful pains, and strong distempers, and death, the king of 
terrors, and must review that life which is ending, and look back 
upon all that they have done, and judge their persons and actions 
impartially, whether they will or no ; that they must take their 
leave of all their friends, and food, and sleep, and lands, and houses, 
and honours, and pleasures, and riches, and step into eternity, and 
appear before God, without their relations, or possessions, or any 
worldly comforts to help or encourage them ; that they must be 
tried by a holy law, and a holy judge, for their everlasting lives or 
deaths ; and can my expressions be too full of weight and reason, 
or my affections too full of bowels and pity, in my dealing and dis 
course with such men ? Lord, thou knowest the poor silly chil 
dren of men are unable to judge of eternal affairs according to their 
weight ; they are quickly lost, when in their thoughts they begin to 
launch into that boundless sea. The ponderousness of the subject 
is ready to affright and press them down, being so much beyond 
and above their shallow understandings. But wouldst thou please 
to enable them, though it were but to peep into the other world, 
and to behold, through some crevice, what is doing and enjoyed 
there, both by thy friends and thine enemies, they would soon have 


other thoughts of thee and thy service, and other carriages when 
they are about thy work. The greatest seriousness would then be 
too little, the greatest ardour would not be thought enough for thy 
worship. They would then, indeed, be fervent in spirit when they 
are serving the Lord. Oh teach thy servant, though he cannot see 
into the other world with the eye of sense, yet so to look into it 
with an eye of faith, that he may transact the concerns thereof 
with that diligence, faithfulness, and fervency which thou acceptest, 
and whilst he liveth be zealous of good works ! 

I wish that my heart may be so affected with pity towards sick 
and afflicted persons, that I may often and earnestly remember them 
in my prayers. A little captive, considering the leprosy of her 
master, was instrumental for his cure, by crying out, Would God 
my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria ! for he would 
recover him of his leprosy. I have more reason, when I behold a 
leprous soul, near its last gasp, to look up to heaven with, Would 
to God that poor creature were with Jesus Christ, that great pro 
phet of his church, who is able and willing to enliven, and pardon, 
and sanctify, and save ! would to God he would be persuaded to 
come to Christ, to cling to Christ, to close with Christ ! for he would 
recover him. And what do I know but my prayers may be pre 
valent on his behalf ? Christ; when dying, prayed for his enemies, 
for them that imbrued their hands in his blood ; and shall not I 
pray for my friends when they are dying, and possibly ignorant 
whither they are going ? My prayers are a cheap courtesy, and 
diminish nothing of my estate, either spiritual or temporal. Their 
misery is an awakening motive to the duty. Never did they stand 
in such need of help from others, and wrestling with God on their 
behalves, as now that they are taking their journey into a far coun 
try, and entering upon an unchangeable condition. They may say 
to me, as Nehemiah to Geshem, I am doing a great work, &c. I 
am going to die, to bid adieu to all the folly, and vanity, and com 
forts of this world, to take possession of my long home, of the place 
wherein I must abide for ever. Oh pray for us, that we may be 
pardoned and saved, that we may repent and believe, that we may 
die in the faith, and obtain the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ 
unto life eternal. They have many distractions upon their own 
spirits, by reason of pains and bodily distempers, and the loss and 
lamentation of their kindred and relations, that they cannot pour 
out their hearts to God with that freeness, and seriousness, and ear 
nestness which probably they desire. Their enemies, and assaults, 
and temptations at such a time are more quick, and strong, and 



violent, and full of rage, having but a short time. I must now 
pray for them, or never pray for them ; now beg mercy for them, 
or never beg mercy for them. When their life is gone, all tears, 
and cries, and groans for them are in vain. David s greatest pas 
sions for dead Absalom were to no purpose. They are then gone 
the way they shall not return, and fixed in that place whence they 
shall never remove. Lord, I confess that my narrow heart hath 
not pity enough for afflicted, and sick, and dying souls, and my weak 
hands have not power enough to supply or support them in their 
sad estates ; but thou hast both. Oh be pleased to look down from 
heaven, the habitation where thine holiness dwelleth ; behold their 
miseries, hide thy face from all their iniquities, out of thine infinite 
fulness relieve their necessities ! Let the eyes of their souls be 
opened to see their sins and their Saviour, before the eyes of their 
bodies be closed. Give them patience and strength answerable to 
the burden thou layest on their backs ; enable them to do their last 
works well, and let them be better than their first. Open thou their 
lips, and let their mouths shew forth thy praise, before they go to 
the place of silence. Stand by them in their last conflict with their 
enemies, death and devils, that they may overcome both be more 
than conquerors through him that loves them, and pass through 
the jaws of death to the joys of a blessed eternal life ! 

I wish that my soul may be the more sound for every visit I 
bestow on sick bodies. There is not so much danger of catching 
their outward diseases, as there is hope of increasing my spiritual 
health, if I am not wanting to myself. The sick and dying bed is a 
pulpit, out of which I may be instructed more fully in many serious 
truths, though the sick or dying man be speechless. King Joash-ob- 
tained three famous victories over the Syrians, by visiting sick Elisha, 
and might have gotten a complete conquest over them, if it had 
not been his own fault, 2 Kings xiii. 14-20. The fight of sick .and 
dying men may assist me in my conflicts with the three great enemies 
of my present purity, and future comfort and bliss. It teacheth me 
how vain it is to make provision for that flesh which will itself ere 
long be provision for worms. Ah, how foolish am I to pamper and 
please that which, instead of relieving or refreshing, will in my 
extremity pierce and pain me ! It teacheth me that the world 
itself is the greatest cheat and impostor in the world. That though 
it laughs and smiles on men, dandling them on her knees, and 
hugging them in her arms, whilst they are in health, and promis 
ing all sorts of comforts and pleasures ; yet in their sickness and 
misery she turns them off and leaves them, as Absalom s mule did 


him, to be shot through with the heart-cutting arrows of eternal 
death. By discovering the emptiness and falseness of these two 
seeming ends, the flesh and the world, it helpeth me to overcome 
my third enemy, and to repel the fiery darts of the devil. The cup 
of temptation, which hath so often bewitched me to drink down 
his deadly poison, had its prevalency from the worldly profit with 
which the outside was gilded, or the fleshly pleasure with which 
the inside was sweetened. Ah, could I but bid a hearty defiance 
to the world and the flesh, and conquer them, I need not fear the 
wicked one. They are the powerful advocates by which Satan 
pleads, and too often prevails with the soul ; by these handmaids 
he wooeth the mistress. But the sick-bed is a book in which I 
may read their deceitfulness and treachery, their perfidiousness and 
fallacies, and thereby learn to avoid them. 

Further, I may read the sinfulness of sin in others sickness. 
That parent must needs be a deformed monster, that begets such 
uncomely and ill-favoured children. In the dreadful effects I may 
behold the poisonous cause. Man had never known sickness in his 
body, if he had not known sin experimentally in his soul. It is the 
plague and stone of the heart that causeth those in the flesh. 
When I behold the sick man labouring under his distemper, how 
he is chastened with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his 
bones with strong pain, so that his life abhorreth bread, and his 
soul dainty meat ; how his flesh is consumed away that it cannot 
be seen, and his bones stick out ; he is filled with tossings to and 
fro unto the dawning of the day ; when I behold his eyes sinking, 
his heart panting, his wife and children wailing and wringing their 
hands, his friends weeping, his tongue faltering, his throat rattling, 
his breath failing, his strength languishing, his whole body in a 
cold clammy sweat, wrestling with his pain and disease, may I not 
well cry out, Oh what an evil is sin, which bringeth all this upon 
the poor children of men ! My Eedeemer is therefore said to bear 
our sicknesses, because he bare our sins in his body on the tree, 
1 Peter ii. 24 ; Mat. viii. 17 ; and in all his applications for the 
cure of the diseased, he had an eye to the root of the malady. To 
one that was diseased he said, Be of good cheer, thy sins are for 
given thee ; to another, Sin no more, lest a worse thing come 
unto thee. When the angel was smiting Israel with a pestilence, 
holy David s thoughts ran upon the procuring cause, I have sinned, 
I have done very wickedly. My God teacheth Israel the grievous 
nature of their defilement in the greatness of those judgments 
which they brought upon them. Speaking of his severity towards 


them, he tells them, Thy way and thy doings have procured those 
things unto thee ; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, be 
cause it reacheth unto thine heart, Jer. iv. 18. Our bodies are full 
of natural corruption, because our souls are full of moral corrup 
tion. Oh how fitly may I therefore, when I behold the evil of 
affliction on others, abhor and bewail the evil of sin in myself ! 

Once more, I may be instructed in the necessity of a timely pre 
paration for such an hour of affliction. Can I think a sick-bed a 
fit place, an hour of pain and grief a meet season, to begin that great 
business of turning from sin, of loathing myself for all my abomi 
nations, and working out my own salvation ? Is it rationally to 
be imagined that trembling joints, dazzled eyes, a fainting heart, 
failing limbs, a body full of aches and diseases, a soul sympathising 
with it, and full of vexation and grief, should be fit instruments 
about such a work, which an angelical strength, and agility, and 
freedom, is little enough for ? Ah, what wise man would build his 
eternal making and welfare upon such a tottering and sandy foun 
dation ! The greatest strength, and longest time, and most vigor 
ous health, is not in the least degree too much for this needful and 
weighty business ; and shall I put it off till my strength fails, my 
health is gone, and my time near its last sand ? Lord, beside all 
these, I may learn the excellency of thine image and thy favour. 
Sickness cannot waste them, nor death itself destroy them. Where 
the curtains are drawn, and the windows close, in the darkest 
chamber of the dying man, the comeliness of thy likeness, and the 
sweetness of thy love, are most sparkling and glorious. The want 
of outward comforts doth convince the unbelieving world of the 
worth of eternal blessings. When the flesh and world, that made 
show of such love to their deluded favourites, turn them off in 
their extremity, as the Jews did Judas, complaining to them of his 
folly and wickedness, What is that to us ? see thou to that. Thou 
standest by and ownest thy servants, thou knowest their souls in 
their days of adversity ; and, however thou dealest with them in 
their health, wilt be sure to tend and look to, to be both nurse and 
physician to thy sick children. Thy grace is a reviving cordial, and 
thy love will make even death itself a sweet and desirable dish. 
Oh help thy poor servant to gain much spiritual good by those 
natural evils which others suffer ! As others sickness speaketh 
these things to mine ears, and their conditions make them visible 
to mine eyes, do thou write them in my heart, that all such pro 
vidences of thine towards others may make sin more ugly, the 
world more empty, thy graces and favour more comely and desir- 


able, and that, furthering my purity at present, they may further 
my eternal peace hereafter. 

Finally, I wish that the sickness of others may cause me to be 
the more industrious in a faithful improvement of my health, and 
take me wholly off from priding, and pampering, and making pro 
vision for that flesh, which is so apt to breed diseases, and in its 
greatest beauty and strength is so near to death. The goodliest 
structure of body is but earth a little better wrought, or more 
curiously than usually moulded up, and with an ordinary disease is 
marred and defaced, and so calleth on me to be humble rather 
than lifted up. The flesh that I provide for my flesh, is not more 
subject to corruption, or more perishing, than the flesh for which it 
is provided. Within a few days I shall have an end both of food 
and feeding. Oh that I might waste that body in God s service, 
which will ere long waste with sickness ! spend and be spent in 
his work, who gives me my health, and strength, and hath pro 
mised a bountiful reward ! Sure I am, I can never bring them to 
a better market, nor put them off at a higher price. Is it not 
better to consume my flesh in doing good, in glorifying my God, 
than with idleness and ease, or with distempers and diseases? 
Satan s servants do not grudge to give their prime and chief, their 
health and strength, to their lusts ; and shall not I give mine to my 
Lord? Ah, Lord, an unthankful, selfish, unbelieving heart, hath 
too much hindered me from, and disturbed me in, those excellent 
duties which thou callest me to. Oh deliver me from it, for thy 
mercies sake ! Strengthen me by thy good Spirit, both to do good 
to, and receive good by, such as thou chastenest with sickness ; so 
to consider the poor and afflicted, and to visit others in my health, 
that thou mayest visit me with thy saving health. Strengthen me 
upon my bed of languishing, and make all my bed in my sickness, 
that my most mortal sickness may not be unto death (eternal), but 
for thy glory, and my passage into endless bliss ; yea, that in the 
other world, I may stand among thy sheep on thy right hand, and 
hear that blessed heart-cheering voice, Come, thou blessed of my 
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for thee before the founda 
tion of the world. For I was hungry, and thou gavest me meat ; 
I was thirsty, and thou gavest me drink ; I was a stranger, and 
thou didst take me in ; I was sick, and thou visitedst me ; when 
my soul shall be above all sin, and my body above all sickness, 
and both blessed in thy favour and fruition, for ever and ever. 



How a Christian may exercise himself to godliness on a 
dying bed. 

Sixthly, and lastly, Thy duty is to exercise thyself to godliness, 
if God give thee opportunity, on a dying bed. The work of a saint 
is to glorify God, not only in his life, but also in his death. The 
silk-worm stretcheth out herself before she spin, and ends her life 
in her long-wrought clew. The Christian must stretch out himself 
on his dying bed, and end his life in the work of his Lord. Every 
man by his death payeth his debt to nature. He is earth in regard 
of his original creation, and must be earth in regard of his ultimate 
resolution : Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return, Gen. iii. 
19. The sinner, when he dieth, payeth his debt to sin, Satan, and 
the law. To sin, as he is the servant of unrighteousness, and so 
must receive its wages, which is death ; to Satan, as he hath sold 
himself to work wickedness at his will, and so must have his 
tempter to be his eternal tormentor ; to the law, as he hath vio 
lated its precepts and commands, and therefore must undergo its 
punishment and curse. The saint, when he dieth, payeth his debt 
to God, for he oweth him honour as well by his death as by his 
life. Hence we read, not only of their living in the Lord, and to 
the Lord, but also of their dying in the Lord, and to the Lord, 
Rom. xiv. 8 ; Rev. xiv. 13. Which, though some expound, in that 
place of the Revelation, to the cause for which they died, they did 
not die out of humour, or obstinacy, or any carnal, selfish interest, 
but purely as martyrs at God s call, and for God s cause; they 
loved not their lives to the death for the testimony of Jesus ; yet 
the words may as clearly speak 

1. The state in which they died. They died in the favour of 
God, reconciled to him through the death of the Mediator. The 
castle of their souls was not taken by storm, or in a state of enmity 
and opposition, but by a quiet voluntary surrender, or in a state of 
peace and amity. 

2. The manner of their deaths. They died in the fear of God ; 
they exercised grace as well in sickness as in health, and when 
dying as when living; their spiritual motions were quick, when 
their natural motions were slow. 

Plutarch reports of Lucius Metellus, high priest of Rome, that 
though he lived to a great old age, his voice did not fail him, nor 


his hand shake in his sacrificing to the gods. It is said of Moses, 
when he was a hundred and twenty years old and died, that his 
natural sight did not fail him, neither was his heat abated. So it 
may be said of the Christian, that though he die old, his spiritual 
sight doth not fail him, nor his divine heat abate. As Caleb, he is 
as strong in regard of grace, his inward strength, when he is enter 
ing into the promised Canaan, as he was when he first went forth 
as a spy by faith, to search the land flowing with milk and honey. 
The heathen counted him happy that died either in the midst of 
the goods of fortune hence they say, if Priamus had died a little 
before the loss of his town, he had died the greatest prince in all 
Asia or in the exercise of their moral virtues. Hence they so 
highly extol Seneca and Socrates, who seemed to dare even death 
itself, out of resolution and fortitude. Though those seeming vir 
tues were but, as Augustine terms them, splendidajlagitia, famous 
vices, and their confidence arose not from any grounded knowledge 
of their good estates, but from their blindness and ignorance of 
their depraved, wicked, and woeful estates. He is the happy man 
indeed that dieth in the faith, that sleepeth in Jesus, that goeth to 
his grave in the exercise of grace. The master of moral philosophy 
commendeth that pilot whom a shipwreck swalloweth up at the 
stern, with the rudder in his hand. The most high God com 
mendeth that person whom death seizeth, doing the work for which 
he was sent into the world. Even the blind mole, if naturalists 
may be credited, opens his eyes when he comes to die ; and the 
crooked serpent stretcheth out herself straight, when she is going 
to fetch her last breath : and shall not the saint be best at last ? 

Header, observe how careful the saints have been to do their last 
work well, and to go out of the world like some sweet spices, per 
fuming the room in which they fetch their last breath with holiness, 
and leaving a sweet savour behind them. Jacob, when dying, wor 
shipped, leaning on his staff, Heb. xi. 21. What a character doth 
he give of the angel of the covenant ! and what blessings doth he 
pray for, and prophesy to come on his children, when he was going 
from them ! How was his heart enlarged in pantings after the 
Lord Christ ! Gen. xlviii. 16, and xlix. per tot. The living waters 
of his graces ran with the greater strength, when they were empty 
ing themselves into the ocean of glory. Moses, like the dying swan, 
sings most sweetly, being to go up to Mount Nebo to die there. 
What excellent doctrines, reproofs, instructions, doth he deliver to 
the Israelites ! How pathetically, rhetorically, divinely, doth he 
dictate his last legacies to his political children ! Who can read, 


and not be ravished with wonder and delight, Deut. xxxii. and 
xxxiii. Joshua, like the morning star, shines brightest at last ; he 
gives his people so strict a charge to serve the Lord, such gracious 
counsel, when he was going the way of all the earth, that it could 
not but be remembered many days after. Dying Joseph will lay 
his bones at stake for God s faithfulness, and that he will visit 
Israel and deliver them out of Egypt. Samson did the church of 
God more service, in slaying more of her enemies at his death, than 
in his life. Julius Cassar among the Eomans, and Olympia, the 
mother of Alexander, among the Grecians, were famous for their 
care to die handsomely, and not to commit at last any ill-beseem 
ing action, whereby their memories should have been rendered in 
glorious ; but the Christians care hath always been, to die holily, 
and to do their God most service when they are going to that place, 
where they shall do him no more in a proper sense. Philosophers l 
tell us that the soul, upon death s approach, is more divine and 
supernaturally inclined ; certain it is, the soul of a saint only doth 
then more aspire heavenward, when it is returning ?rpo9 TO irpoyovov 
Qelov, to its original divinity, according to Plotinus s phrase of 
death. As his Saviour, he brings out his best wine at last, and his 
last works are more than .his first, Rev. ii. 19. 

The blessed Prince, and Lord of life, should be our pattern at 
death. He got his Father most glory, he did his church most 
good, by his death, though he ^was eminently serviceable to both 
all his lifetime. It is said of him, he was obedient, Phil. ii. 7, to 
the death ; which may import, 

1. His continuance in -well-doing. His obedience lasted to the 
last moment of his life ; so should ours. Elisha would not leave his 
master, till taken from him into heaven ; and we should not leave 
our Lord, till taken to him into heaven. Polycarp, in his old age 
being urged by the proconsul to deny Christ, answered, I have 
served him eighty-six years, and he never once hurt me, and shall 
I now deny him ? 

2. His obedience in his death. His death was a free-will offering, 
in obedience to his Father s command. Not only his birth and 
life was an answer to his Father s call, A body hast thou prepared/ 
&c. Then said I, Lo, I come (to put on that body, to take upon 
me that nature, and thereby and therein) to do thy will, God ; 
but also his death was in pursuance of his duty : This command 
ment received I of my Father. Thus the Christian s death must 
be offered up as a sacrifice to God, in obedience to his command. 

.j lib. viii., Plut., Apol. 


The sinner s soul is pressed to this war, in which there is no dis 
charge : This night thy soul shall be required of thee. The saint, 
understanding the orders from the Lord of hosts, is a volunteer ; 
he gives up the ghost : Into thy hands, Lord, I commend my 

3. The gracious manner of his dying. The Sun of righteousness, 
when setting, did shine most gloriously. Though at his death he 
had such infinite disadvantage, being to wrestle with the frowns of 
an incensed God, the fury of earth and hell, and met with clouds, 
black and thick enough to have obscured the graces, and hindered 
the holiness of any but himself from shining at all, yet how 
brightly did they break forth in the midst of all those fogs, and 
mists, and darkness ! What holy counsel and comfort did he give 
his disciples to prepare them for his departure, in his last (and one 
of his longest) sermon ! John xiv., xv., xvi. What a heavenly 
prayer doth he put up to his Father for them, and all his elect ! 
to give them both a taste and a pledge of that intercession which 
he was going to heaven to make for them. When he was hanging 
on the cross, under such a heavy weight as the sins of the whole 
world, grace was not depressed. His love to his mother is observ 
able : Woman, behold thy son ! And from that hour that disciple 
took her to his own house, John xix. 26. But his love to his 
members, though enemies, was wonderful: Father, forgive them, 
they know not what they do. His faith in his Father : Father, 
into thy hands I commend my spirit. His pity to one of the 
thieves. His patience in bearing the scoffing words and taunts, 
more bitter than wormwood, of them that passed by, reviling him, 
as well as in suffering the racking of his bones, and whole body, 
and the anger of an infinite God in his soul, without any murmur 
ing, may well call for our admiration. Header, he hath set thee a 
pattern, that thou shouldst follow his steps. Some tell us the 
phoenix of Saba, in Arabia Faelix, (so called from Phcenicea, or the 
purple colour of her wings,) liveth six hundred and sixty years, at 
the end of which time she buildeth her a nest of cassia, calamus, 
cinnamon, and other precious spices and gums, which the sun, by 
the extremity of his heat, and the wavering of her wings, fires, and 
she, taking delight in the sweetness of the savour, hovers so long 
over it, that she burns herself in her own nest. 1 Thus did the 
blessed Jesus, and thus ought his followers, to expire in a nest of 
sweet spices, the exercise of the graces of the Holy Spirit. It was 
a poor farewell to the world, which even Octavius Augustus gave 

1 Pliii., lib. ix. cap. 35. 


when at the point of death he called for his looking-glass, com 
manded to have his head and beard combed, and his shrivelled 
cheeks smoothed up ; then asking his friends if he had acted his 
part well ; Cum ita responderint, Vos omnes igitur, inquit,plaudite. 1 
It is a dreadful conclusion which Pliny relates the Hyperboreans 
to make, who, when they have lived to one hundred years or more, 
make a great feast, to which they invite all their friends, and after 
their jollity and mirth, throw themselves down a steep rock, and 
so perish. 

Ungodly men are always worst at last ; when they come to the 
bottom, they are flat and dead, and nothing but grounds and dregs. 
How often, in the eyes of tjie world, do wicked persons go out like 
a lamp, leaving a stench behind them ! The scandalous sinner 
usually, like the goat s beard, or star of Jerusalem, closeth up the 
flower of his presumptuous hope at high noon ; he is cast in his own 
conscience long before his death. The hypocrite ordinarily, as the 
daisy and dandelion, declares the approach of the evening by shut 
ting up before its approach. If he be gold in the morning, and 
silver at noon, yet (as we say of butter) he is lead at night. What 
is the hope of the hypocrite, when God shall take away his soul ! 
As it is storied of the Pandora, a people in India, that in their 
youth they have silver hairs, but in their age their hairs are quite 
black ; or as the she-wolf hath a yearly defect in generation the 
first time she hath five, the second time four, then three, then two, 
then one, then barren ever after ; so the hypocrite declines and 
decreaseth in goodness, faster than the moon in its last quarter, and 
is commonly worst at last. But the sincere Christian hath his best 
at the bottom, and hath his daintiest dish reserved to be served in 
at the last course. Naturalists tell us of honey, that that is the 
thickest and best honey which is squeezed last out of the comb. 
Oh, what excellent periods and endings, both in regard of the exer 
cise of grace and comfort, have many of the children of God made ! 
The death-bed to some saints hath been like Tharah to the Israel 
ites in the wilderness, where, after many journeys, growing near to 
the land of Canaan, they rested themselves, and it was called Tharah, 
from Koah and Tarah, which signifieth a breathing time. The 
sun, when it declines into the west, hath even then much more 
light than any of the stars. The meanest upright Christian, when 
he is near setting, hath more joy and comfort than a specious 
hypocrite any day of his life. When some asked (Ecolampadius, 
lying on his death-bed, whether the light did not offend him, he 

1 Suetonius. 


answered, pointing to his breast, Hie sat lucis, Here is abundance 
of light, of joy. He asked one of his friends, What news ? His 
friend told him, None. Then, saith he, I will tell you some news 
I shall presently be with my Lord Christ ! 

I shall give thee two or three quickening motives, and then direct 
thee about the work of exercising thyself to godliness on a dying 
bed ; and because it is the last time of a Christian s working for his 
God, I shall in the third place annex some brief helps to this duty. 

In reference to the motives, consider 

First, What a serious thing death will be to every man and woman 
in the world. It is ill and dangerous for any to cozen themselves, 
and undertake to mock God in their health and life ; but it is worst 
of all and desperate for any to do this on a sick and dying bed. 
The heathen, hardened in sin, and wholly under the power of Satan, 
ignorant of the evil of their hearts and lives, and of the sad conse 
quence of a wicked end, made light of death. Flavius Vespasian, 
none of the worst of the Roman emperors, died, as Sir Thomas 
Moore, with a jest in his mouth : Ut puto, Deus fio ; Methinks I 
am going and growing to be a god. Augustus Cassar, esteemed 
the best of them, whose death the people so much lamented, that 
they said, Utinam aut non nasceretur, aut non moreretur, Would 
he had never been born, or never died, went off the stage of the 
world with a compliment, Livia, nostri conjugii memor vive, et vale, 
Farewell, and live, wife, mindful of our marriage. Galba died 
desperately, crying out, Feri, si ex re sit populi Romani, Strike, if 
it be for the common good. Tiberius died dissemblingly, of whose 
death Tacitus wittily, Jam Tiberium vires et corpus, non dissimu- 
latio, deserebant, Now strength and life hath left Tiberius, but not 
dissimulation. 1 But Christians, who understand the holiness and 
justice of God, the infinite demerit of sin, the certainty of an un 
changeable condition in the other world, either in joy or torment, 
know that death is no jesting matter ; that to die is one of the most 
serious, searching things that they can possibly do. 

Two or three particulars will shew what a serious thing death is. 

1. Death will try men. When the bridegroom comes, it will 
appear who have oil in their vessels, and who have none. As soon 
as ever thou takest thy leave of temporal good things, thy spiritual 
riches will be known. A scorching summer discovers what streams 
are fed with ponds, and what with springs. The wind sheweth 
which clouds have rain in them, and which have none. Death will 
anatomise every soul, and reveal all that is in it. Conscience will 

1 Seuton., Aurel., Victor. 


then bring in a true verdict, in despite of all those bribes and 
frights which formerly kept the bill in suspense, or caused it to 
write on it an ignoramus. There are marks by which saints and 
sinners may be distinguished whilst they live, as great men s ser 
vants are by the liveries that they wear ; but these characters, being 
most inward, and known to none but themselves, and the Lord they 
serve, it is their dying only that will reveal infallibly what they are, 
and to whom they belong. This world is as a common inn, wherein 
all are lodged, and no difference is made between the good and bad, 
only that the worst men have the best usage ; but the very moment 
of men s dissolution makes a plain and vast distinction. Death is 
the way of all the earth, according to Joshua s periphrasis of it ; 
but this way hath two turnings, one on the right hand, to joy and 
bliss, another on the left hand, to misery and horror. Now, as when 
the attendants of two lords travel together on the road, their ser 
vants cannot easily be distinguished, especially if the servants of 
the one counterfeit the livery of the other ; but when they come to 
the bivium, the parting way, then it is clearly known who belong 
to the one, and who to the other, for each then folio weth his own 
master, waits on him to his house, stayeth and abideth there with 
him. So, though whilst men live, all professing themselves Chris 
tians, and most, for a show at least, putting on the livery of Christ, 
it is not known who belong to the Prince of life, and who to the 
prince of the powers of the air ; but death will discover it to them 
selves and the elect angels. 

2. It will appear that death is a serious thing, in that it stateth 
the creature for eternity. When thou diest, thy condition will be 
like the law of tfre Medes and Persians, such as cannot be altered. 
At death thou goest the way that thou shalt never return. David, 
speaking of his dead child, saith, I shall go to him, but he shall 
not return to me ; and Job, by asking the question, denieth it : If 
a man die, shall he live again ? God will never trust thee with a 
second life, or give thee leave for second thoughts, or better pur 
poses, or more serious and sober actions, when thou art once landed 
in the other world. He will not offer thee a Christ, and grace, and 
heaven, when thou art gone from this earth. Think of it seriously, 
is not that work to be done well, which can be done but once ? 
Shouldst thou not use thine utmost care, and strength, and diligence 
to die well, when thy everlasting making or marring dependeth on 
it ? Ah, friend, if thou failest now, thou failest for ever ; if thou 
dalliest now, thou art undone eternally : There is no wisdom nor 
knowledge in the grave, whither thou art going, Eccles. ix. 10. 


3. Death will appear to be a serious thing, in that all the 
powers of hell will then assault thee. Thou mayest say of it, in 
some respects, as Christ did to wicked men, and the wicked one, 
This is your hour, and the power of darkness. The devil, it is 
observable, is most busy at the conclusion of a duty, as of prayer, 
that the Christian might be hindered and distracted, when he 
closeth up all in the name of Christ, and so all his desires be frus 
trated ; so he is most busy in the conclusion of our days, adding 
fearful dreams to our slumbers, strong distractions to our fancies, 
increasing our pains with terrors, driving the good, if possible, to 
despair, and intoxicating the bad with presumptuous conceits, and 
all because his time is little : The devil is come down, having 
great rage, knowing that his time is short, Rev. xii. 12. At the 
approach of death, through pain of body, and perplexity of mind, 
men are least able to resist, and therefore this cowardly enemy will 
then be most ready and fierce to assault. When the Christian is 
down, then, if possible, he will trample upon him. The last per 
secutions of the church, under Dioclesian and Maximinian, were 
the sorest. The last messenger the devil sent to Job, concerning 
the sudden violent death of all his children, pierced his heart 
deepest. The subtle serpent reserved that great ordnance for the 
last, hoping the former small guns, of the loss of his cattle, and 
estate, and servants, would have done some execution, in making 
some breach upon his faith and patience ; and this great gun play 
ing, when he was before tired in defending, must needs shatter him 
in pieces. He may fitly be called the wolf of the evening, Jer. 
v. 6, that devoureth. This roaring lion walketh in the night to 
seek his prey. There have been few eminent saints but have found 
their death-bed a bed of thorns, in regard of temptations. Mr 
Knox said, when he came to die, In my lifetime the devil tempted 
me to despair, casting my sins in my teeth ; but now, in my sickness, 
he tells me, I have been faithful in the ministry, and so have 
merited heaven ; but blessed be God, who brought those texts into 
my mind, Not I, but the grace of Grod in me : What hast thou 
that thou hast not received ? The Israelites never met with so 
much opposition as when they were to take possession of the land 
of Canaan ; then all the kings of Canaan combined together, and 
came out and fought them. When Satan was to be cast out of the 
possessed person, and never to enter into him more, he rent him 
and tore him, that the people thought he was dead. 

Now, reader, what need hast thou to be serious and holy on a 
dying bed, to the utmost of thine ability, and to fetch in all the 


strength thou canst from heaven, when thou hast such cruel power 
ful enemies to encounter with ! It was one of the most quickening, 
prevalent arguments, that Alexander used to the Macedonians, 
before their third and last fatal battle with Darius, that they were 
to fight with all the strength of Persia at once. What an awaken 
ing argument should it be to thee, that thou art to fight with all 
the powers of hell at once ! 

Secondly, Consider, it is a special season wherein thou mayest 
glorify God. A saint by his death may bring God more honour 
than by all his life. The actions and speeches of dying men make 
a deep impression on the hearts of those that are about them. The 
wicked themselves, who have mocked at the purity and strictness 
of the saints lives, have admired their patience and cheerfulness in 
their deaths. Though they look on the believer s words in health 
as savouring of self and sinister ends and humour, and so neglect 
them ; yet when they hear a dying saint commend the love and 
faithfulness of God, the pleasantness and excellency of his ways and 
worship, and to bless the time, and pains, and strength, that ever 
they spent in his service, they esteem his language, and begin to 
have other thoughts of holiness and heaven ; for they consider, that 
surely now the man is entering upon the borders of eternity, he is 
serious and in earnest. Hence the patriarchs, knowing the pre- 
valency of such words, urge Joseph with Jacob s dying charge: 
Thy father, when dying, said, Forgive, I pray thee, the iniquity of 
thy servants, Gen. 1. 16. That Eussian that would live with his 
fellow-rioters, beholding the holy behaviour of Ambrose on his 
death-bed, would choose to die with Ambrose. The enemies of 
Christ, beholding at the death of Christ how the rocks were rent, 
darkness covered the face of the earth ; how the veil of the temple 
was torn in sunder, the graves were opened, the dead raised, were 
forced to cry out, Doubtless this man was the Son of God. So 
when the adversaries of God s people see them on their death-beds, 
and behold their patience in bearing their sickness, their faith in 
relying on their Saviour, their charity in forgiving their enemies, 
their zeal for the honour and interest of their Master, their constancy 
in defending the gospel they did before profess, they are compelled 
in their consciences to acknowledge, Doubtless these are the servants, 
the sons and daughters of God. Much more will a holy behaviour 
on a dying bed benefit such as fear God. It convinceth sinners, that 
they, whether they will or no, must have other thoughts of holiness 
and holy men than formerly, and it confirmeth saints in their gra 
cious practices, and makes them more diligent in their preparation. 


Mr Bilney, the day before he suffered death, being told that, though 
the fire was hot, God s Spirit would cool it, to his everlasting re 
freshing, answered, putting his hand in the flame of the candle, I 
feel by experience, and have known by philosophy, that fire by 
God s ordinance is very hot ; but yet I am persuaded, by God s holy 
word, and by the experience of some spoken of therein, that in the 
flame they felt no heat, and in the fire no consumption ; and I con 
stantly believe, howsoever the stubble of this my body shall be 
wasted by it, yet iny soul and spirit shall be purged thereby ; a pain 
for the time, whereon followeth joy unspeakable. And then he most 
comfortably treated on Isa. xliii. 1, 2, But now thus saith the Lord 
that created thee, Jacob, and that formed thee, Israel, Fear 
not : for I have redeemed thee. When thou passest through the 
waters, I will be with thee ; and through the rivers, they shall not 
overflow thee.: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not 
be burned ; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. Which words 
he applied both to himself and his friends then present ; of which 
some reaped such fruit that they caused the words to be fair written 
on tables. The comfort whereof, in several that were with him, was 
never taken from them to their dying day. Oh, it is very profitable 
to others, when a saint so behaveth himself on his death-bed, that he 
may say to .his friends and relations, as Sir Eobert Harleigh did to 
his children, I have formerly taught you how to live, and now I 
teach you how to die. 1 

Thirdly, Consider, it is the last opportunity that thou shalt ever 
have to do any work for thy God and Saviour, and thy own soul. 
When thou diest, thou goest to the place where thou shalt receive 
thy reward, and shalt never, never more have any season to sow to 
the Spirit in, to serve thy Redeemer in, and to manifest thy thank 
fulness to him for his love to thee.: I must work the work of him 
that sent me, whilst it is day/ saith Christ, for the night cometh, 
wherein no man can work/ John ix. 4. Thou mayest, when dying, 
say to thy friends, as the crier of the Ludi seculares, which hap 
pened but once in a hundred years, did at Rome, Come see that 
which ye never saw before, nor shall ever see again. He that hath 
but one arrow to shoot, but one throw to cast, but one opportunity 
left him to work out his salvation in, may well improve it to the 
utmost. A certain martyr going to surfer, expressed his sorrow that 
he was going thither, where he should do his God no more service. 
Our God is so good, that his work is desirable ; and were it possible 
for any grief in heaven, saith Dr Sibbes, it would arise from a Chris- 

1 Woodrifl^ Simeon s Song., Epist. Dedicat. 


tian s consideration, that he did no more for his God, and that it 
cost him so little pains and labour to be saved. When Samson was 
nigh his death, and should have no more opportunities to exalt his 
God, and advantage his church, he lifted up his heart to heaven, 
Assist me this once, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for 
my two eyes. So, reader, when thou enterest thy chamber, and art 
betaking thyself to thy dying bed, what weighty reasons hast thou 
to pour out thy soul, and wrestle with God for divine strength ! 
Lord, I am now come, in my own apprehension, to the close of my 
days, after which, I shall never more enjoy a season to glorify thy 
Majesty, or further my own account. I am going to do a great 
work, which I never did before, nor shall ever do again. I acknow 
ledge that I have been guilty of too much slothfulness, and unfaith 
fulness, in my life, and have given these Philistines, that are enemies 
to my soul, too much advantage against me, and occasion to mock 
and deride me. Oh assist me now this once, that I may do thee 
and thy church some eminent service, that I may be strong in 
faith, an example of patience, humility, heavenly-mindedness, and 
charity, and be the death of those uncircumcised ones, my cursed 
corruptions, and be avenged on them, for all the dishonour they 
have done to thee, though I die with them. 

I come now to shew wherein thou oughtest to exercise thyself to 
godliness, on a dying bed.. 

First, In commending God and his ways to others. The words 
of dying men are living oracles, and do not die with them. It is 
the unhappiness of worldlings and wicked men, that when they come 
to die, they cannot commend the work that they have followed, the 
wages which they have merited, or the master whom they have 
served - r but it is the privilege of Christians, that they have cause 
to praise the sweetness of that love which they have tasted, the 
equity of those laws which they have obeyed, the grace, and mercy, 
and bounty, and faithfulness of that Lord whom they have prayed 
to, and delighted in, and worshipped, and the vastness, and rich 
ness, and certainty, and eternity of that reward which they are going 
to possess. The men of this earth, when they are dying, do often 
cry out and complain of the falseness and unfaithfulness of the 
world, and the flesh, how they have cozened, and cheated, and 
deceived them; and of their own folly and madness, in toiling and 
moiling, and drudging night and day, to please and gratify that 
which now in their extremity turns them off. Oh how should the 
children of God extol their Father, and his care of them, and kind 
ness to them, magnify their Eedeemer, and his passion for them, 


and affection to them, exalt the word and ways of the Lord, as 
those which they have found by experience to be the most comfort 
able and gainful ways. The last breath of a saint should be spent 
in his God s service. Oportet imperatorem stantem mori, was 
Vespasian s motto. Oportet episcopum, concionantem mori, was 
holy Jewel s motto. Oportet C hristianum glorijicantem Deum 
mori, should be every saint s motto- 

Dying Jacob will speak highly of God s providence, though he 
bring it in, as it were, in a parenthesis : The God which fed me 
all my life long to this day, Gen. xlviii. 15. Dying Joseph will 
praise the Lord s faithfulness to his promise, and pawn his body for 
its performance : I die ; and God will surely visit you, and 
bring you out of this land. And Joseph took an oath of the 
children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall 
carry up my bones from hence, Gen. 1. 24, 25. Dying Moses 
ascribes greatness to his God, tells the Israelites, He is the Rock, 
his work is perfect ; all his ways are judgments ; a God of truth, 
and without iniquity ; just and right is he/ Deut. xxxii. 3, 4. 
Dying Joshua will appeal to the consciences of his hearers, whether 
God had not kept touch with them to the least tittle : I am going 
the way of all the earth : and ye know in all your hearts, and in all 
your souls, that not one good thing hath failed of all that the Lord 
our God hath spoken/ Joshua xxiii. 14. As Moses and Joshua did 
sound forth the praises of their God, so also, when dying, they did 
persuade and exhort the Jews to godliness, Deut. xxxii. 23 ; Joshua 
xxiii. per tot. So Paul, meeting with those Ephesian elders, that 
should see his face no more, doth solemnly charge them to take 
heed to the flocks, over which the Holy Ghost had made them 

I remember, saith Senarclseus, concerning Alphonsus Diazius, 
his friend and bed-fellow, when he and I were at Neuberg, the night 
before he was murdered, he prayed before he went to bed more 
ardently, and somewhat longer than ordinary ; after which he spent 
a good part of the night in discourse concerning the works of God, 
and exhorting me to the practice of true piety ; and truly, I found 
myself so inflamed, when I heard him, that I thought I heard tho 
Spirit of God speaking to me. 

Mr Knox gave good advice to all his visitors ; among the rest, the 
Earl of Morton came to see him, to whom he thus spake : My lord, 
God hath given you many blessings wisdom, riches, and many 
great friends, and now is about to prefer you to the government of 
the realm. (The Earl of Mar, the late regent, being newly dead.) 



In his name I charge you, use these blessings better than formerly 
you have done ; seeking first the glory of God, the furtherance of 
the gospel, the good of his church and ministers. Be careful of 
the king, to procure his good, and the welfare of his realm. If you 
do thus, God will be with you, and honour you ; if otherwise, he 
will deprive you of all these honours, and your end shall be shame 
and ignominy. These words the earl called to mind nine years 
after, at the time of his execution, saying, that he had found John 
Knox a true prophet. 

Mr Ignatius Jordan, of Exeter, 1 one famous in his generation for 
godliness, was observed, in his sickness, to take all occasions to 
exhort others to constancy in the truth, zeal for God, and to make 
sure of heaven ; and when the mayor of the city sent to visit him, 
he said to the messenger, Remember me to Mr Mayor, and tell him 
from me, that he make sure of heaven, be careful to do justice, and 
provide for the poor. 

We should, when dying, in a special manner mind this work of 
commending God and godliness to our relations, 1 Chron. xxviii. 1 , 
8, 9, vide; they are more affected than others with our sickness, 
and so also with our sayings. Our counsel may probably do them 
good, when we are turned into corruption. Jacob calleth his chil 
dren together to bless them ; David layeth a strict command on his 
son Solomon : And thou, Solomon my son, know the God of 
thy fathers, and serve him with a perfect heart and a willing mind/ 
Cyrus, upon his death-bed, conjures his sons to peace, lest they 
should lose the kingdom he left his heir. The saint must conjure 
his children to purity in the first place, lest they lose their souls 
and the kingdom of heaven. Mr Robert Bolton, on his death-bed, 
called his children together, wished them to remember the counsel 
he had formerly given them, and he verily believed none of them 
durst meet him at the great tribunal in an unregenerate estate. 

Mr Sanders, a little before his death, in a letter to his wife, 
writeth thus : Dear wife, riches I have none to leave behind me, 
wherewith to endow thee, after this world s manner, but the trea 
sure of tasting how sweet Christ is unto hungry consciences 
(whereof I thank my Christ I feel part, and would feel more) I be 
queath to thee, and to the rest of my beloved in Christ, to retain the 
same in sense of heart always. 2 Oh, how pathetically, how earnestly, 
should dying Christians, who know somewhat of the worth of grace 
and holiness, and of the evil and end of sin and sinners, persuade 

1 Mr Nicols in his relation of the life and death of Ignatius Jordan. 

2 Foxe, Martyr., vol. iii. p. 138. 


their children and relations to love, and fear, and serve the Lord, 
when it is the last time that ever they shall advise or counsel them. 
How hard should they woo, that the souls of their kindred may be 
married to Christ. 

Secondly, In commending thyself and others to God by prayer. 
When the body breathes shortest, it breathes quickest. Though 
the Christian on his death-bed may want strength for long solemn 
devotion, his short ejaculations should be both fervent and frequent. 
The first thing a child of God doth, when new born, is to breathe, 
to pray, Acts ix. 11. And it is one of the last things he doth, Acts 
vii. 60. He entereth praying into the place of praise. Paul 
the hermit was found dead, saith Jerome, 1 with his hands and 
eyes lifted up to heaven, that the dead corpse seemed to pray. 
Demus operam ui moriamur in precatione ; Let us endeavour to 
die at prayer, saith Augustine. 2 

1 . The sick man should pray especially for himself. Lord Jesus 
receive my spirit, saith Stephen ; Father, into thy hands I com 
mend my spirit, saith Christ ; Lord, saith dying Beza, perfect that 
which thou hast begun, that I suffer not shipwreck in the haven. 
Children desire to die in their father s bosom, or on their mother s 
lap. Mr Perkins died begging remission of sin, and entreating 
mercy at God s hands. Bishop Usher was often heard to desire 
the like end that Mr Perkins had ; which he obtained ; for the last 
words which he was heard to utter were, But, Lord, in special for 
give my sins of omission ; not long after which he expired. Luther s 
prayer, a little before his death, or rather thanksgiving, was, Pater 
mi ccelestis, Deus et Pater Domini nostri Jesu Christi, ago tibi 
gratias quod Jilium tuum Jesum Christum mihirevelasti, cuicredidi, 
quern sum professus, quern amavip &c. ; My heavenly Father, the 
God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, I thank thee for revealing 
thy Son Jesus Christ to me, whom I have believed, whom I have 
professed, whom I have loved. 

Others must not be forgotten by us, but our own souls must in 
a special manner be remembered. Bellarmine tells us 4 of a desperate 
advocate in the court of Home, who, being exhorted on his death 
bed to pray to God for mercy, made this speech, Lord, I have a 
word to say to thee, not for myself Ego enim propero ad inferos: 
neque enim est ut aliquid pro me agas for I am hastening to hell, 
neither is there anything that I would beg on my own behalf, but 
for my wife and children. This he spake, saith Bellarmine, who 

1 Jer. in Vit. 3 Au?. de ve. invo., cap. 33. 

8 Melc. Adam. * Bellar. de Arte Mor., lib. ii. cap. 19. 


was then present, as boldly as if he had been taking his journey 
only to some neighbouring village. 

2. For his relations. The more hot our affection is to any, the 
more fervent our petitions should be for them. 1 Praying parents 
are the most loving parents. When dying, chiefly they should 
bless their children in the name of the Lord. So Isaac did, Gen. 
xxviii. 1 ; thus Jacob, Gen. xlviii. 15, 16. Godly parents may 
plead the covenant made to them and theirs, unto God, on their 
dying beds with comfort. They are best acquainted with their chil 
dren s conditions, conversations, wants, weaknesses, and so fittest 
to open their cases to God, and to beseech grace on their behalves, 
that they may be a holy seed, a generation arising to shew forth 
his praise. Christ, when nigh death, committed his spiritual chil 
dren to his Father, and earnestly begged his care of them, and 
favour for them : Holy Father, I come to thee ; I am no more in 
the world, but these are in the world; keep them through thy name, 
keep them from evil, sanctify them through thy truth. So should 
a godly father, or mother, when dying : Lord, I am leaving my 
poor children in the midst of snares, and temptations, and miseries, 
Euth i. 8, and ii. 19 ; 2 Tim. i. 18. I am coming out of the world 
to thy Majesty, where I shall be above all frights and fears, and 
beyond all malice and mischief ; but my children are in the world, 
and will daily be environed with allurements and affrightments, 
with assaults and batteries, from their spiritual enemies ; thou 
knowest the power and policy of the world and the wicked one, the 
treachery and deceitfulness of the flesh within them, and their 
weakness and inability to wrestle with, and overcome the flatteries 
of the world, and the suggestions of the devil. Oh, keep them 
through thy name, that they may look beyond the world, live above 
the world, and expect and eye their portion and happiness in a 
better world. Though they live in the world, let them not live as 
the world, but walk all their days as heirs of another world. 
Keep them from the evil of sin, however it please thy Majesty to 
deal with them about the evil of suffering. Give them the shield 
of faith, whereby they may quench the fiery darts of the devil. Let 
thy covenant of grace be their portion, thy love their cordial, and 
thy mansion-house their eternal possession. Be thou their Father, 
to direct, protect, govern, and provide for them, and give them a 
name in thy house, better than of sons and daughters. Oh sanctify 

1 I have read of one that used to pray, God bless my father and mother, brethren 
and sisters, and none else ; to whom one that heard him answered, It were better 
the devil had thy father and mother, and brethren and sisters, and none else. 


them through thy truth, that they may be saved, and may meet me 
with joy at the great day ! Luther, when dying, made this will for 
his wife, great with child, and his little sons : Lord God, I thank 
thee, that thou wouldst have me to be poor in this world ; I have 
no house, land, or money that I should leave them. Thou hast 
given me wife and children, I restore them to thee. Do thou, 
Father of orphans, and judge of widows, nourish, teach, keep them, 
as thou hast hitherto me. 

3. For the whole church of God. It is good to pray by our 
selves, but it is ill to pray only for ourselves. 1 When we are dying, 
and going to the church triumphant, we should be sure to put up 
some requests for the poor members of Christ, and the church 
militant. Calvin was heard before his death often to sigh out, 
How long, Lord, how long will it be ere thou avenge the blood of 
thy servants? The people of God are the purchase of Christ, 
and of the same family and body with the dying Christian, and 
therefore must needs be dear to him. 

4. For his benefactors, and those that have done good to him 
and his, Ruth i. 8, and ii. 19. Paul had received some kindness 
from Onesimus ; 2 he refreshed him in his bonds, and in 2 Tim. 
i. 18, which was the last of his epistles, and thought to be written 
but a little before his death, for he tells us in it, I am ready to 
be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand, how pathetically 
doth he pray for him ! The Lord grant that he may find mercy at 
that day. 

5. For our enemies. This is to follow God s pattern, who doth 
good for evil, and to obey his precept, who commandeth us to pray 
for them that despitefully use us. Stephen, when departing out of 
the world, entreats mercy for them who were cruel to him : Lord, 
lay not this sin to their charge, Acts vii. 60. Our blessed Saviour 
dying, begs hard for their eternal lives who were the instruments 
and authors of his bloody death : Father, forgive them ; they know 
not what they do/ Luke xxiii. 34. 

Thirdly, In a holy exercise of faith, courage, repentance, cha 
rity, and patience. 

1. Faith. It is the character of God s children that they live by 
faith, and they die in the faith, Hab. ii. 6 ; Heb. xi. 31. The 
water, say some, of the pool of Bethesda (wherein the priest washed 
the sacrifices before he offered them) was of a reddish colour, to 
note that men must be washed by faith in the blood of Christ, be- 

1 Si pro te solo oras, pro te solus orabis ; si pro omnibus rogas, omnes pro te roga- 
bunt. Amb. 2 Onesiphorus. ED. 


fore they are ready to be offered a peace-offering to God by death. 
The dying Christian must expect strong assaults against the bul 
wark of his faith ; but whatever he let go, he must keep his hold 
on Christ. I know no grace that the devil is such a sworn enemy 
to as faith, and I know no season that he is more diligent in to 
overthrow their faith, than when they are under some dangerous 
sickness ; therefore it is the observation of a good man, that he 
seldom seeth a sick saint, followed close with temptations, to recover 
of that sickness ; for Satan, knowing he hath but a little time, useth 
all his craft and strength to separate the soul from the Rock of his 
salvation. Upon a dying bed, reflect upon former experiences of 
God s love to thy soul, and recollect the former evidences of thy 
title to Christ, and thereby to heaven. I must tell thee, though 
the certainty of thy salvation depend upon the truth of thy faith, 
the comfort of thy dissolution will depend on the strength of thy 
faith. Faith is the shield of the soul, and therefore, above all, 
in thy encounter with thy great enemy Satan, and thy last enemy 
death, take the shield of faith, Eph. vi. 14. Epaminondas, after 
his victory at Leuctrum, wherein he was mortally wounded, un 
derstanding that his buckler was safe, bade his chirurgeon boldly 
to pluck out the dart that stuck in his side, and died cheerfully. 
The saint, the soldier of Christ, who is wounded even to death, 
and keepeth his shield of faith safe, may leave the world with 
courage. The apostle Paul, who knew whom he had believed, 
2 Tim. i. 12, rings a challenge in the ears of death : death, where 
is thy sting ? and sings a triumphant ditty at the approach of 
death : The time of my departure is at hand, I have fought a good 
fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith ; henceforth 
is laid up for me a crown of righteousness/ 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. When 
Jacob had believed the report of Joseph s life, his heart was revived. 
Is Joseph yet alive ? saith he ; I will go down and see him before 
I die. When the true Israelite can firmly credit the testimony 
which God hath given of Jesus, the son of Joseph, how he, being 
an enemy, was reconciled to God by the death of his Son, and shall 
much more, being reconciled, be saved by his life, and by faith can 
cling on him, his heart, though dying, is then enlivened. Oh with 
what comfort can he take his journey into the other world ! When 
Philip viewed his young son Alexander, Now, saith he, I am con 
tent to die. Old Simeon springs young again at a sight of Christ ; 
and having embraced his Saviour in the arms of faith, as well as 
in the arms of his body, he begs a dismission out of this valley of 
tears, being assured thereby of an admission into fulness of joy : 


Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace 
according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation/ 
Having with an eye of faith beheld Christ, he counts his life but a 
bondage, and desires to depart or be loosed from fetters, as the word 
signifieth, and is taken, Mat. xxvii. 17. We read of the Lord s 
worthies, that by faith they stopped the mouths of lions. Death is 
a fierce and cruel lion, but faith will pull out its teeth, that it can 
not hurt us ; or stop its mouth, that it shall not devour us. This 
grace, like the angel sent from heaven when Daniel was cast into 
the lions den, will save the Christian from being torn in pieces. 

friend, the robes of Christ s righteousness is the only coat of 
mail which can defend thy soul against the shot of death. If thou 
canst with Moses go up to Pisgah, and take a view by faith of the 
land of promise, thou wilt comfortably, with him, lay down thine 
earthly tabernacle. Job desired death as eagerly as the labourer 
in a hot summer s day desires the shadow ; Paul longed for it as 
vehemently as the apprentice for the expiration of his indentures ; 
and all because they had first beheld Christ by faith. It is no 
wonder that many of God s children have called earnestly to be 
laid to bed, knowing that it would prove their everlasting happy 
rest; and when their bodies are carried by mortal men to their 
mother earth, their souls should be conveyed by glorious angels to 
their Father in heaven. 

2. Courage. A Christian should be a volunteer in death. Many 
of the martyrs were as willing to die as to dine ; went to the fire 
as cheerfully as to a feast, and courted its pale and ghastly coun 
tenance as if it had been a beautiful bride. When King Lysima- 
chus threatened Cyrenaeus Theodorus with hanging : l Istis quceso 
(inquit) ista horribilia minitare purpuratis tuis ; Theodori quidem 
niliil interest, kumine an sublime putrescat: Threaten these terrible 
things to thy brave courtiers ; Theodorus cares not whether he rot 
in the air or on the earth. Cyprian said amen to his own sentence 
of martyrdom. Jerome reports of Nepotianus, that he gave up his 
life so cheerfully, that one would have thought he rather walked 
forth than died. When Ignatius was led from Syria to Eome, to 
be torn in pieces of wild beasts, he often wished by the way that he 
were in the midst of those beasts that were to devour him, and that 
their appetites might be whetted to despatch him ; fearing lest it 
should happen to him, as to some others, that the lions, out of a 
kind of reverence, would not dare to approach them, being ready, 
he said, rather to provoke them to fight, than that they should 

1 Cic. Quaest. Tusc., lib. i. 


suffer him to escape. Bradford being told by his keeper s wife that 
his chain was a-buying, and he was to die the next day, pulled off 
his hat, and thanked God for it. When some wondered that Adam 
Damplip could eat his food so well, when his end was so near, he 
told them, Ah, masters, do you think that I have been God s 
prisoner so long in the Marshalsea, and have not yet learned to die ? 
Yes, yes, and I doubt not but God will strengthen me therein. 
Anne Askew subscribed her confession in Newgate thus : Written 
by me, Anne Askew, that neither wisheth for death, nor feareth 
his might, and as merry as one that is bound towards heaven. 
Indeed it is said of a wicked man that his soul is required of him, 
and that God takes away his soul, Luke xii. ; Job xxvii. 10 ; but 
of a godly man, that he giveth up the ghost, and he cometh to his 
grave, Gen. xxv. 8 ; Job iv. 21. Nature will teach the heathen 
that death is the end of all outward miseries to all men, hence some 
of them drank of its cup with as much constancy and courage as if 
it had been the most pleasant julep; but grace will teach the Chris 
tian that death is not only a remedy against all his bodily and 
spiritual maladies as Sir Walter Kaleigh said of the sharp axe 
that should behead him, This will cure all my infirmities but also 
an inlet into fulness of joy and felicity. Keverend Deering said on 
his death-bed, I feel such joy in my spirit, that if I should have the 
sentence of life on the one side, and the sentence of death on the 
other side, I had rather a thousand times choose the sentence of 
death, since God hath appointed a separation, than the sentence of 
life. Titus Vespasian, the mirror of mankind, being a stranger to 
Christ, was very unwilling to leave the world ; being carried in a 
horse litter, and knowing that he must die, looked up to heaven, 
and complained pitifully that his life should be taken from him, 
who had not desired l to die, having never committed any sin, as he 
said, but only one. Socrates, and some of the wiser heathen, com 
forted themselves against the fear of death with this weak cordial, 
that it is common to men, the way of all the earth. Hence it was, 
when the Athenians condemned Socrates to die, he received the 
sentence with an undaunted spirit, and told them they did nothing 
but what nature had before ordained for him. But the Christian 
hath a greater ground for a holy resolution, and a stronger cordial 
against the fear of death, even his hopes of eternal life ; and surely, 
if he that exceeds others in his cordials be excelled by them in 
courage, he disgraceth his physician. Aristippus told the sailors, 
who wondered that he was not, as well as they, afraid in the storm, 
1 Qu., deserved ? ED. _ 


Ye fear the torments due to a wicked life, and I expect the reward 
of a good one. It is no marvel that they who lived wickedly should 
die unwillingly, being frighted with the guilt of their past sins, and 
with the fears of their future torments. Therefore the Holy Ghost 
saith of such a one, The wicked is driven away in his wickedness/ 
Prov. xiv. 32, as a beast that is driven out of his den to the 
slaughter, or as a debtor driven by the officers out of his house, 
wherein he lay warm, and was surrounded with all sorts of comfort, 
to a nasty, loathsome prison ; but that the righteous, who hath hope 
in his death, should even die almost with fear of it beforehand, is 
matter of wonder. Lot s soul is exceedingly vexed with Sodom, yet 
he is not loath to leave it. This world is a wilderness, a purgatory, 
a step-mother, a persecutor to all the saints, and yet some of them, 
when called to leave it, sing loath to depart, and would linger 
behind ; partly from nature, which dreads a dissolution, and partly 
from the weakness of grace. To fear death much argueth some 
times wickedness, always weakness. 

3. Kepentance. It is said of St Augustine, that he died with 
tears in his eyes, in the practice of repentance ; and Posidonius 
saith of him, that he heard him often say in his health, that it was 
the fittest disposition for dying Christians and ministers. 1 Lauda- 
tos, saith he, Christianos et sacerdotes absque digna et compe- 
tenti pcenitentia exire de corpore non debere. We die groaning in 
regard of our bodies, why should not our souls sigh that ever they 
sinned against so good a God ? Beasts bite their enemies with more 
venom and indignation, when they are ready to die ; Maxime mor- 
tiferi solent esse morsus morientium animalium. The Christian 
should give sin his most deadly bite, his greatest abhorrency, and 
grief, and shame, when he is dying, and shall never see sin, or sor 
row, or shame more. As it is noble and excellent to die forgiving 
sinners, so also taking revenge upon sin. Moses, a little before 
his death, is commanded to avenge the children of Israel of the 
Midianites, and then he is gathered to his people, Num. xxxi. 1, 
2. Samuel takes vengeance on Agag, when he was old, and knew 
not the day of his death ; David could not die with comfort, till he 
had charged Solomon to execute that justice on Joab which he had 
omitted. The last time the judge seeth the felon, he passeth sen 
tence of death upon him. Oh, how should the soul of a dying saint 
be inflamed with anger against sin, when he considers the rich love 
that it abuseth, the glorious name that it dishonoured, the blessed 
Saviour that it pierceth, and that vast happiness which he is going 

1 Posidon. in Vit. Augustini. 


to possess, of which, without infinite grace and mercy, it had de 
prived him. Some persons, when they have been to take their last 
revenge on their enemies, have done it to purpose. The believer, 
on his dying bed, takes his last revenge on sin ; he shall never have 
another opportunity to shew his love to his God and Saviour in 
his spite at, and hatred of, sin ; therefore then he should do it to 
purpose, as dying Samson put forth all his strength, and beg 
divine help, that he may utterly destroy it, and be avenged on it, for 
all the defilement and bondage it hath brought on his soul, and 
dishonour to his Saviour. Dying Jacob cursed the sins of his own 
sons : Cursed be their wrath, for it was fierce ; and their anger, for 
it was cruel ; my soul, enter not thou into their secrets/ The 
dying child of God should curse his passions, his pride, his unbelief, 
his selfishness, even all his lusts, for disobeying such righteous laws, 
and displeasing such a gracious Lord. When David Chrytasus lay 
a-dying, he lift up his head from his pillow to hear the discourses 
of his friends that sat by him, saying, I shall die with the more 
comfort, if I can die learning something. The Christian, both by 
his painful sickness, and approaching death, may learn something 
of the evil of sin, and certainly he may die with the more comfort, 
(for godly sorrow and joy may be contemporaries, as the heaven 
shine and shower at the same time,) if he die in a flood of tears for 
his unkindness to Christ. 

4. Charity in a double respect. 

(1.) In forgiving them that have wronged thee. If the natural 
sun should not go down upon our wrath, much less should the sun 
of our lives. It is bad to bear anger or malice one hour in our 
hearts against any, but it is worst of all to carry it with us into 
the other world. How can he expect to die in peace with God, 
who dieth in war with men, when God himself hath said, Except 
ye forgive others their trespasses against you, neither will your 
heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses ? Amilcar, the father 
of Hannibal, when he was dying, made his son take a solemn oath 
to maintain a perpetual war with the Eomans. Edward the First 
adjured his son and nobles, that if he died in his expedition against 
Bruce, king of Scotland, they should not inter his corpse, but 
carry it about with them till they had avenged him on that usurper. 
But certainly it is a desperate thing to leave children heirs to the 
parent s wrath and rage, as well as to his riches. Oh how dreadful 
is his estate, who takes his enemy by the throat, when God by death 
is taking him by the throat, and ready to throttle him for ever. 
If thou hast wronged others, either in name, or goods, or body, 


seek reconciliation, and make satisfaction ; for this is righteous and 
just. If thy brother hath aught against thee, thou hast never more 
need of reconciling thyself to him, than when thou art approaching 
the altar of death, there to offer up the last sacrifice to God in this 
world. If thy brother have wronged thee in any sort, remit it this 
is charity ; to do otherwise, is to give place to the devil, Eph. iv. 
16, 17, and thou hast least cause to give him ground when his rage 
is greatest, and his batteries strongest, in thy last conflict with him. 
Oh imitate that blessed martyr Stephen, and the incomparable 
Saviour, in begging God s love for them who hate thee ! Acts vii. 
60 ; Luke xxiii. 34. 

(2.) In remembering the poor and afflicted, if God hath made thee 
able. It is best to be merciful in our lifetime, to make our own 
hand our executors, and our own eyes our overseers, for the pay 
ment of our gifts and legacies to our spiritual kindred ; for such 
have a particular promise that God will make all their bed in their 
sickness. But it is good to be charitable when we are dying ; true 
friends shew most love at parting. Though justice must be blind, 
not to see persons, yet charity must be quick-sighted, to pick out 
the fittest objects, viz., the poor, and the pious poor in the first 
place. Our goods will not extend to God, therefore they must to 
the saints. When Jonathan was beyond the reach of David s 
charity, he doth for his sake manifest it to his son. God is beyond 
all our gifts, therefore for his sake we must bestow them on the 
godly, that are his children : Make you friends of the mammon 
of unrighteousness, that when that faileth, ye may be received into 
the everlasting habitations. Hereby men lay up a good foundation 
against the time of need. Godly parents are ignorant how their 
children may employ the estate they leave, whether as fuel for cor 
ruption, or as oil to keep the lamps in God s sanctuary burning. 
It is good therefore for themselves with prudence to dispose of what 
they may to God s servants and service. 

Some men have estates dropping on them out of the clouds, as it 
were ; large inheritances, fair patrimonies, like Canaan, both in 
regard of their fruitfulness, and abounding with all sorts of com 
forts, and in regard of their easiness of obtaining them without 
sweat or labour. They inherit, as the Israelites, houses which they 
built not, wells which they digged not, and vineyards which they 
planted not ; upon both these accounts, such persons are engaged 
to do good, and distribute, and to be rich in good works. God 
expects a return of his talents with advantage. How liberal, nay, 
lavish, have many papists been upon their death-beds, to friars and 


monks, even to the wronging their wives and children, that some 
states, as Venice, have been forced to make laws to restrain men, 
^est the church should in time swallow up all the revenues of the 
commonwealth, and all this upon a foolish, vain conceit, that they 
should the sooner pass through purgatory. It is certainly a great 
disgrace to the disciples of Christ, and no mean dishonour to Christ 
himself, that so many, and such large gifts, have proceeded from 
the false faith of merit-mongers, when the faith of his most glorious 
gospel doth not work the like in true believers. How will Chris 
tians answer it, that an idle dream, and fancied fear of an imaginary 
purgatory, should do more than the sure persuasion of the love of 
God, and the certain hope of eternal life ? 

(4.) Patience and submission to the will of God, both as to our 
death or life, and also as to our pain or ease in sickness. As to 
our life and death, we must know God is wise, and will never 
gather his fruit but in the best season. None, unless a fool, but 
will be willing God should choose for him. It is excellent for a 
sick person to be wholly at God s disposal, as knowing that whilst 
he is here God will refresh him with the first-fruits, and when he 
goeth hence, receive him into that place where he shall enjoy the 
whole harvest. It was the speech of dying Julian, He that would 
not die when he must, and he that would die when he must not, 
are both of them cowards alike. To desire to live, when one is called 
to die, is a sign of cowardice ; for such a one is afraid to enter the 
list with the king of terrors. To desire to die, when one is called to 
live, speaks a faint-hearted creature ; for such a man dares not look 
an affliction or disaster in the face, therefore would take shelter in 
death. Cato, Cleombrotus, Lucretia, shewed more cowardice than 
courage in being their own executioners. The Romans commended 
Terentius for his resolution to live after his army was routed by 
Hannibal. He is the most valiant person that can die willingly 
when God would have him die, and live as willingly when God 
would have him live. He that is weary of his work before the 
evening is an unprofitable servant, and is either infected with 
idleness or with diseases. jWhen Dr Whitaker was told death 
was approaching, he answered, Life or death is welcome to me, 
which God pleaseth. Mr Robert Bolton being told that it would 
be better for the church of God if God pleased to spare his 
life, said, If I shall find favour in the eyes of God, he will bring 
me again, and shew me both it and his habitation ; if not, lo here 
I am, let him do with me what he pleaseth. Another pious soul in 
his sickness cried out, Domine, si tibi sim necessarius, non recuso 


vivere, Lord, if I may be further serviceable to tliee, I am willin- 
to live. Lucius Cornelius, lieutenant in Portugal under Fabius the 
consul, was infamous to following ages for his impatience in com 
plaining of his physician, and railing at jEsculapius for not accept 
ing his vow and passionate desire of having his life spun out to a 
longer thread. 1 We cannot blame them who have their portion in 
this life for their unwillingness to leave it, and to become beggars 
in hell for ever. Mori timeat qui ad secundam mortem de hac 
morte transibit, saith Cyprian, de Moral., Let him fear death who 
must pass from this death to the second death. To such a one, 
indeed, death is a murderer ; like Jehoram s messenger, comes to 
take away the life of his soul and all his happiness, and therefore he 
may well call, as Elisha did, Shut the door, and keep him out. 

Many saints who died violent and cruel deaths yet gave their 
very enemies cause to admire their patience. They wearied out 
their bloody persecutors by their meekness and patience. Bonner 
said of the martyrs in Queen Mary s days, A vengeance on them ; 
I think they love to burn. When that old disciple, Polycarp, came 
to the stake at which he was burnt to death, he desired to stand 
untied, saying, Let me alone; for he that gave me strength to come 
to the fire will give me patience to endure the flame without your 
tying. Cassianus, with admirable meekness, suffered a cruel martyr 
dom from his own scholars, who, at the command of the barbarous 
tyrant, became his executioners, some with their pen-knives prick 
ing and lancing his flesh, others casting stones at him, till they had 
killed him. Eulalia, a chaste virgin of a noble family in Portugal, 
being for a time kept close by her parents, for fear her bold profes 
sion should cause her death, one night getting from them, and 
appearing before the tribunal of Maximinus, she was, for refusing 
to sacrifice to his idols, executed in this manner : first, two hang 
men, with all their might, rent her joints in sunder, then her flesh 
was scratched from her sides with the talons of wild beasts, and hot 
burning torches were set to her sides, which ended her life. 

A Christian should also exercise patience and submission to God s 
will under his pain. It is the rule of Hippocrates, that that sickness 
is most dangerous in which the sick man alters his countenance. 
Undoubtedly it is ill and unbecoming Christianity, when men who 
in health are mild and meek, in sickness are altered to be peevish 

1 L. Cornelius, legatus sub Fabio Consule. Vividam naturam et virilem animam 
servavi, quoad animam effiavi ; et tandem desertus ope medicorum et ^Esculapii 
Dei ingrati, cui me voveram, sodalem perpetuo futurum, si fila aliquantulum optata 
protulisset. Epitaph. 


and passionate ; that their relations and attendants, who pity their 
pain, and pray for their ease, and watch and work night and day 
to serve them, are requited with harsh words and fretful returns. 
Caius Marius suffered the veins of his legs to be cut out for the 
cure of his gout, and never shrunk for it. The Grecians were 
cowardly in their encounters with men, but valiant and patient in 
their conflicts with diseases. Master Jeremiah Whitaker, who on 
his death-bed had dreadful fits of the stone, bore them with marvel 
lous patience, often turning up his eyes to heaven, and saying, 
Blessed be God this is not hell. The saint who is in covenant 
with God, and hath engaged himself to God to submit to all his 
providences, and hath God engaged to him to lay no more upon 
him than he will enable him to bear, may well with patience endure 
the divine pleasure. 

Vincentius, a Spaniard, who was martyred at Valence under 
Dacianus, the president of the cruel tyrant Dioclesian, was used in 
this manner: first he was laid upon the rack, and all the joints of 
his body distended till they cracked again ; then all the members 
of his body were pierced and indented with deadly wounds ; then 
they vexed and tore his flesh with iron combs sharply filed ; then 
they laid his body on an iron grate, and when they had opened his 
flesh with iron hooks, they seared it with fiery plates, sprinkling 
the same with hot burning salt ; last of all, they cast him into a 
vile dungeon, the floor whereof was first thick spread with the 
sharpest shells that might be gotten, his feet then being fast locked 
in the stocks, there he was left alone till he died all which he 
endured without murmuring or complaining and, according to his 
name, (Vincentius,) was over all a conqueror. And shall not 
Christians, who die in their beds in peace, with much less pain, 
be patient ! Many who knew not God did look on death as a favour, 
and one of the greatest which their gods could bestow on them. 
Agamedes and Trophonius, having built the temple of Apollo, asked 
of that god a reward for their services. 1 They were answered, that 
within seven days they should be bountifully paid for their pains ; 
at the end of which time they died in a sleep. One of Caesar s 
crazed soldiers desired the favour of the emperor to have leave to 
kill himself. 

Especially, the thoughts of the happy issue of the most painful 
sickness and death to a child of God may, as the wood thrown into 
the bitter waters of Marah, make them sweet unto him. Some 
choose to be cut rather than to be daily tortured with the stone, 

1 Plut. ad Apol. 


though they know that cutting will put them to much pain, because 
they hope that cutting will cure them of their distemper. When a 
jailer knocks off a prisoner s fetters and bolts, though it puts him 
to much more pain than the constant wearing them, though every 
blow goeth to his heart, yet he flincheth not, he complaineth not, 
because he knoweth his future ease will make amends for his pres 
ent pain. Christians are here fettered with sin and misery, which 
constantly grate upon their spirits. Death is the jailer to knock off 
their shackles, and let them into the glorious liberty of the sons of 
God. What though it put them to much pain ; they may bear it 
with much patience, knowing that it will end in eternal pleasures. 

Though a hypocrite, like a piece of brass, when stricken with the 
hammer of sickness or death, maketh a sharp and irksome noise 
with impatience, and breaketh in pieces, is undone for ever, yet the 
sincere soul, as a piece of gold, when so smitten, may sound sweetly 
and be pliable. True gold may be stretched out in length and 
breadth, in thin and fine leaves, as you please. 

Now, reader, that thou mayest thus glorify thy God, credit thy 
profession, further thine account, and advantage others by thy 
death ; it is requisite that thou be always ready for it. The 
quarter-day never comes amiss to him that hath always his rent 
ready by him. The loving husband, let him come when he will, is 
ever welcome to a faithful spouse. The actual unpreparedness of 
some holy persons hath caused their petitions for a longer stay when 
God seemed to call them hence, Ps. xxxix. 13. As a nobleman who 
is a loyal subject, and affectionately desires his prince s presence and 
company at his house, may wish that it may be deferred when his 
house is out of repairs, till it is in a better order. The habitual 
unpreparedness of sinners I mean, their predominant impenitency 
and unbelief hath made death cutting to them indeed. The pismire 
fears not the winter, having laid in her provision against that season; 
but the grasshopper, being unprepared, is starved therein. 

Let thy whole life be but a preparation for death. He that would 
die but once I mean, escape the second death must die daily, live 
in a constant expectation of it, and preparation for it. Pliny calleth 
a sudden death the greatest fortune of a man s life. Julius Caesar, 
the day before his death, in discourse with Marius Lepidus upon 
that point, what was the best end of a man s life, preferred that 
which was sudden and unlocked for, which was his fate the next 
day. Augustus, his successor, was of the same judgment, and 
desired mortem celerem, et insperatam ; but the Christian findeth 
by experience that death to be the best which was most expected 


and prepared for. Heditatio mortis, vita perfect issima, The medi 
tation of death is the holiest life, saith the father. Tota vita, me- 
ditatio mortis, et discendum est mori, The whole life is but a learn 
ing to die, saith the philosopher. Wise princes lay up ten years 
for one day s battle. A wise Christian will lay up every day some 
what for his last day, knowing that if he win that combat, he is 
made for ever. Invasions or insurrections, like a sudden breach 
of the sea, carry all before them, when pitched battles give equal 
advantage, and cause less terror on each side. Evils premeditated 
are often prevented, always mitigated, the mind gathering reason 
and strength together wherewith to encounter them. But un- 
thought-of troubles, like fire in the night, are most frightful, start 
ling the secure sinner from his quiet repose. 

In order to this preparation, I shall mention two or three par 
ticulars, but briefly, having spoken to them elsewhere. 

1. Keep a clear conscience in thy health. Kemember that sin is 
the sting of death ; therefore be afraid of sin, if thou wouldst not 
be afraid of death. It was Nero s answer to Seneca, when he ad 
vised him to desist his wicked courses, that he might please the 
gods, Vereor ego deos, cum talia facio, Do you think I fear the 
gods, who dare run upon, such actions ! But he who did not dread 
the gods found death dreadful to him ; for the historian observeth 
that he cried pitifully, like a child, when he was called forth to be 
killed. It is the righteous only that is bold as a lion, because the 
righteous only hath a conscience sprinkled with the blood of the 
Lamb, and a conscience void of offence towards God and man. 
When Hilarion was nigh death, Depart, my soul, saith he, depart ; 
what dost thou fear ? Thou hast served Christ almost seventy 
years, and art thou afraid of death ? l Bernard obseryeth of Ger- 
rard, I beheld him r exultantem in morte hominem, et insultantem 
morti, exulting in death, and insulting over death. St Ambrose 
undauntedly encountered his last enemy, saying, I have not so 
lived that I am afraid to live any longer, neither do I fear to die, 
because we have a good Lord. The testimony of a good conscience 
was the great apostle s comfort in the midst of his trials and 
troubles, 2 Cor. i. 12. It is guilt which makes us shy of a severe 
and holy God s presence. 

It is no marvel that Alexander the Conqueror was struck almost 
dead at the sight o Cyrus s tomb ;. that Sigismund, when dying, 

1 Hilarion morti proximus dixisse fertur, Egredere anima mea, Egredere ; quid 
dubitas ? Septuaginta prope annos serviisti Christo, et mortem times ? Jer. Epist. 
Fam., lib. iii., et in Vit. 


should forbid his servants to mention the word death ; that Louis the 
Eleventh should, while in health, enjoin his courtiers not to speak 
of death, and when sick, prohibit the naming it upon pain of death. 
I do not wonder that Saul, upon the news of his approaching dan 
ger and death, falls grovelling on the ground, and hath no strength 
left in him ; nor that Belshazzar, upon the tidings of this sergeant s 
coming to arrest him, fell into an ague, quaking and shivering so 
violently, that all the wine which he drank so plentifully in his golden 
bowls could not cheer his heart, nor fetch blood into his cheeks. 
The malefactor may well dread the thoughts, much more the ap 
proach, of an assize, knowing that he is bound over to it, and must 
appear to be arraigned, condemned, and executed. The entry of 
death may well be forcible upon them whom it ejects out of all their 
happiness, and whose lives have been made up of unholiness. It 
is vice that paints death with such a formidable countenance, with 
a whip and flames in its hand. Friend, let thy conversation be 
pious, if thou wouldst die in peace. 

Such as a man s life is, usually such is his death. An unholy 
life is ordinarily followed with an unhappy end. A filthy adulterer, 
mentioned by Luther, expired in the arms of a harlot. So also 
Tigellinus, Cornelius, Gallus, Ladislaus, king of Naples. One of the 
popes died in the embraces of strange flesh. A great swearer, when 
lie came to die, saith Mr Bolton, swore apace, and as if he had been 
already in hell, called upon the standers-by to help him, with oaths. 
King Henry the Second on his death-bed cursed his sons, the day 
wherein he was born, and in that distemper departed the world, saith 
the historian, which himself had so often distempered. We read of 
one who lived well, that died ill ; and of but one in the whole book 
of God who lived ill, that died well. A sinner may presume upon 
peace at death, and bespeak, in the language of Jehoram to Jehu, 
Is it peace, Jehu? Is it peace, death ? Or as the elders to Samuel, 
Comest thou peaceably? But the answer will be the same with 
that of Jehu to him, What peace can there be so long as the whore 
doms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many ? 
What peace can there be so long as thy lusts, and atheism, and 
ignorance, and profaneness abound, and thy abominations are so 
many ? It is no wonder that such persons, like owls, are never 
heard but at night, the close of their days, and then they screech 
horribly. What shall we call a mocking of God, saith a learned 
person, 1 if they do not mock him who think it enough to ask him 
forgiveness at leisure, with the last drawing of a malicious breath ? 

1 Sir w. Rawley s Ep. Hist. World. 


These find out a new god, make one, a leaden one, like Louis the 
Eleventh of France. And again, let us not flatter our immortal souls 
to neglect God all our lives, and know that we neglect him, trusting 
upon the peace we think to make at parting ; for this is no other than 
a rebellious presumption, and a contemptuous laughing to scorn, and 
a deriding of God, his laws, and precepts. 1 Unquestionably such 
will be grossly mistaken at last, in falling from their heights into 
hell. As the daughter of Polycrates dreamed that her father was 
lifted up, that Jupiter washed him, and the sun anointed him ; but 
it proved to him but a sad prosperity ; for, after a long life and 
large prosperity, he was surprised by his enemies, and hanged up 
till the dew of heaven wet his cheeks, and the sun melted his 

Header, let me bespeak thee, as Jotham did the men of Shechem, 
Hearken unto me, that God may hearken unto you ; hearken unto 
me in this day of thy health and life, that God may hearken unto 
thee in the day of thy sickness and death. Make thy peace with 
God now, give a bill of divorce to sin, strike a hearty covenant 
with Christ, keep thy conscience clean every day ; allow not thyself 
in any known sin, if thou wouldst leave this world in favour with 
God, in the love of good men, and to thy eternal gain. Nihil est 
in morte quod metuamus, si nihil timendum vita commisit, saith 
the ancient ; Death hath nothing frightful, but what a profane life 
makes so. They who fly from the holiness of God in life, may well 
fear the justice of God at death. A sinner, indeed, is every day 
carrying more fagots to that pile in which he must burn for ever, 
and always twisting those cords with which devils will eternally 
scourge him ; and therefore the guilt of his wicked life, and fear of 
his dreadful wages, may well represent death to him in a frightful 
vizard. But he who makes it his constant business to please his 
Maker, to mortify his earthly members, to crucify the flesh, to serve 
the will of God in his generation, and to dress his soul against the 
coming of the bridegroom, shall find his latter end comfortable, 
and the day of his death better than the day of his birth. 
friend, if thou wouldst die comfortably, live conscientiously ! A 
happy death is the conclusion of a holy life ; God hath joined them 
together, and none can part them asunder. It is reported of the 
Dardani, that they never wash but three times, when they are born, 
when they marry, and when they die. The true Christian must be 
daily washing his soul by faith in the blood of his Saviour, and 
bathing himself in the tears of repentance, and hereby his soul 
1 Sir W. Kawley s Ep. Hist. World, lib. i. cap. 2. 


will be fit to be commended into the hands of God by well 

2. Clear up thine evidences for heaven. Be not contented to 
leave thy salvation at uncertainty. They who walk in the dark, 
are full of frights and fears. The comfort of thy death will depend 
much upon the clearness of thy deeds and evidences for eternal life. 
The want of diligence about this, hath caused many of the chil 
dren of God to go crying to bed, and wrangling to their eternal 
rest. They die, and know not how they shall speed in the other 
world ; they fall into the hands of their enemy death, as the lepers 
into the hands of the Syrians, expecting nothing but cruelty and 
misery, trembling every step of the way, though they find good 
cheer, and all sorts of comforts. 1 

3. Dwell much in the thoughts of death. Cicero said of fenc 
ing, Fortissimo, cudversus mortem, et dolorem disciplina, it was 
the strongest fence against the fear of death ; so I may say of en 
tertaining death frequently in our meditations, it is a good guard 
against the terror of death ; custom dimmisheth the dread of things 
which to nature are so frightful. Marius, before he would bring 
out his soldiers to fight with the Cimbres, caused them to stand 
upon the trenches, to acquaint themselves with the terrible aspect 
of those savages, and so brought them to contemn them, which at 
first sight they so amazedly feared. When we are on a sudden 
surprised by an unexpected adversary, we want time to unite our 
strength to resist the assault ; but what we expect we provide for, 
and so are the better able to encounter with it. The old people that 
lived near the Kiphasan mountains, were taught to discourse much 
of death, and to converse with it, and to speak of it, as of a thing 
that will certainly come, and ought so to do ; hence their reso 
lutions were strengthened to undergo it with patience and courage. 
As cordials lose their virtue, so even poisons their venom, by 
frequent use. Mithridates, by constant use of it, made it so far 
from being mortal, that it was nourishing to him. Though death 
in its own nature be venomous, the Christian, by frequent medita 
tion of it, and application of the blood of Christ to his soul, may 
make it profitable to him. 

4. Wean thy heart from the earth. They who love the earth as 
their heaven, will be unwilling to leave it, though for heaven. 
Canst thou bear the loss of some worldly comforts, when God takes 
them from thee ? If not, how wilt thou be able to bear the loss of 
all worldly comforts in a dying hour ? If running with footmen 

1 Vide more of this in Fading of the Flesh, pp. 85-87. 


weary thee, how wilt thou be able to run with horsemen ? If a 
little loss, a little load, be ready to break thy back, what wilt thou 
do under the weight of a great one ? Paul was martyred in his 
affections, before he was martyred in his body ; and dead to the 
world, before he was slain by the world ; hence he came to dare 
even death itself, and to bid it do its worst : I protest by your 
rejoicing, which I have in Christ Jesus, I die daily/ Should a 
messenger have come to Paul and told him, You must die to-mor 
row, and leave all the good things of this life ; he might have 
said, That is not now to do, for I died yesterday, and this day, and 
every day, and I have already taken my leave of this world and all 
its vanities. 1 Those that, like eels, lie in the mud of worldly 
pleasures, are unfit to be sacrificed to God, as being unclean crea 
tures, and unwilling to part with their present delights, though for 
those that are more excellent. The immoderate love of sublunary 
vanities makes men say, as Peter at Christ s transfiguration, It is 
good to be here ; albeit, like him, they know not what they say. 

5. Set thy house in order. After the heart is set in order, the 
next work is to set the house in order, according to God s counsel, 
Isa. xxxviii. 1. Abraham was careful, before his death, to settle 
the affairs of his household, as appeareth by his providing a fit 
spouse for Isaac, and his giving gifts to the children of his second 
wife, and sending them away, Gen. xxiv. 1 , 2, and xxv. 6. This 
ought to be done in the time of our health and strength, partly 
because we are uncertain whether we shall have time and ability 
in sickness to do it or no. How many have died suddenly; and 
why not thou and I as well as others ? Some who had a mind to 
make their wills, have not had a tongue to do it with. Others who 
have had a tongue, have lost the use of their understandings. Partly 
because in sickness we should have as little as may be to do with 
the world. All occasions of disturbance or distraction to our souls 
should be prevented. 

The disposition of what God hath given thee must be with 
prudence, for the maintenance of love among relations ; with plain 
ness, that thy meaning may not be mistaken ; and with judgment 
and ability, for the preventing of all quarrels and lawsuits amongst 
such as are interested in it. 

Header, if thou art careful and faithful in the discharge of these 

particulars, thy funeral will prove a festival, and the sun of thy life 

will set, as the natural sun, in a clear evening, not in a cloud, but 

in such a red sky as to prognosticate the ensuing day to be fair 

1 See more of this in Fading of the Flesh, pp. 88, 89. 


thy certain and comfortable resurrection to bliss and honour. Thy 
name will live when thou art dead, and thy memory be blessed 
amongst all that fear the Lord. Tacitus makes one of the Sem- 
pronii, not wholly to degenerate from the honour of his house, only 
for dying well : Constantia mortis hand indigna Sempronio nomine. 
Nero did tacitly wipe Claudius the emperor, though himself were 
the worst of the two, when, in an ambiguous phrase, he mentions 
his death : Desinit morarii inter homines. Every sinner goeth out 
like a snuff, but the just shall be had in everlasting remembrance. 
By practising these duties thou shalt come to die in the Lord, to 
rest from thy labours, and to have thy works following thee to thine 
endless blessed reward. 

A good wish about the Christians exercising himself to godliness on 
a dying bed; wherein the former heads are applied. 

The righteous God having appointed death to be the end of all 
the children of men, as the common road through which they pass 
into the other world, to receive according to what they have done 
in this life, whether it be good, or whether it be evil, I wish that 
I may be wise to consider of my latter end, and so live that I may 
rather desire than be afraid to die ; that my last days may be my 
best days, and I may imitate my Kedeemer in bringing my God 
much honour, and doing his church much service, when I am en 
tering into my Master s joy. The evening praiseth the day ; the 
last scene commends the act. The rivers, the nearer they draw to 
the sea, the sooner they are met by the tide. Though to guide a 
vessel safely along in the ocean argueth much skill, and such a 
pilot is worthy of praise ; yet at the very entrance into the haven, 
then to avoid the rocks, and to cast anchor in a safe road, argueth 
most skill, and deserveth most praise. Musicians reserve the 
sweetest strain for the close of their lesson. Orators, though in 
every part of their speech they use great care, yet in the close of 
their speech they use the utmost of their rhetoric, and put forth all 
their art and skill to stir up all the affections of their hearers, that 
they may leave at last the deepest impressions upon their hearts of 

1 Morari, having the first syllable short, signifieth to stay, and so the meaning is, 
Claudius ceased to stay amongst mortal men ; but take it as it is derived of the 
Greek jtw/>ds, stultus, and hath the first syllable long, in which sense Nero spake it, it 
iinporteth, Claudius hath now made an end of playing the fool amongst men. 


those things which they would persuade to. My whole life ought 
to be nothing else but a pleading with my God for mercy, and a 
walking according to his word ; but when I come to the period of 
my days, how powerful should my prayers, how pious my practices 
be ! how lively my graces ! how holy my whole conversation ! that 
my God may say of me, as once of Thyatira, I know thy works, 
and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works ; 
and the last to be more than the first. Though violent motions 
are slowest at last, as being farthest from that strength which forced 
them contrary to their own inclinations ; yet natural motions, pro 
ceeding from an inward principle, the nearer the centre, the swifter 
the motion. Though hypocrites, and such as have only a form of 
godliness, grow worse and worse, and fill up the measure of their 
lusts with the measure of their lives, yet gracious persons, and such 
as have the power of godliness, grow better and better, and com 
plete their task with their time. Oh that the longings, the desires, 
the faith, the hope, the delight of my soul, like the approaches of 
a needle, may be so much the more quick, by how much they draw 
nearer to their loadstone, Jesus Christ. Lord, thou hast an abso 
lute dominion over me, both living and dying. It is thy word, 
None of thine liveth to himself, or dieth to himself; but whether 
they live, they live unto the Lord, and whether they die, they die 
unto the Lord ; and whether they live or die, they are the Lord s/ 
Oh help me to glorify thee, both by my life and by my death ! 
Let thy Spirit be strong within me, when my flesh is weak. When 
the keepers of the house shall tremble, shew thyself the keeper and 
strength of my heart. When the grinders shall cease, because 
they are few or weak, give me to feed on the manna of thy pro 
mises, and that bread which came down from heaven. When the 
daughters of music shall be brought low, let me hear by faith the 
song of Moses and the Lamb, sung by the celestial choir. When 
they that look out at the window are darkened, let the eyes of my 
soul be opened, to behold, with thy dying martyr Stephen, Jesus 
sitting at the right hand of God. Let my hope and desire look out 
at the windows, and say, Why is his chariot (sent to fetch me to 
himself) so long of coming ? Why tarry the wheels of his chariot? 
Make haste, my beloved, be thou like the hart and roe upon the 
mountains of spices. Whether I perish in the field with Abel, or 
in the prison with the Baptist, or in my bed with Jacob, grant me 
thy gracious comforting presence, and then, though I walk in the 
valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear none ill. Oh do thou 
undertake my conduct in my passage over the rough waters of this 


Jordan, into Canaan, and then there will be no danger of drown 
ing ! Assist me so to live by faith, that I may die in the faith ; and 
when my friends take my earthly body to their disposal, oh do thou 
receive my heaven-born soul into the arms of thine infinite mercy, 
for thou hast redeemed it, Lord God of truth. 

I wish that I may frequently ponder what a serious, solemn 
thing it is to die. However light, or vain, or jesting my life hath 
been, my death will be in earnest. I cannot dally or trifle with it; 
it will not dally or trifle with me. It can be done but once, and 
upon it my everlasting making or marring depends. It is so cer 
tain, that all must, willing or unwilling, ready or unready, undergo 
it. Neither the policy of Ahithophel, nor the strength of Samson, 
nor the wisdom of Solomon, nor the beauty of Absalom, nor the 
piety of Abraham, nor the wealth of the rich glutton, can prevail 
to avoid it. No time, no place, no company, no houses, no lands, 
no relations, no youth, no strength, no power, no preferments, can 
privilege me against the arrest of death. God hath decreed it, sin 
hath deserved it, and I must expect it. It is so searching that it 
will discover all the children of men, both to themselves and angels. 
Though ships are usually distinguished by their flags, yet that is 
no sure sign ; for mariners, when in sight and fear of their enemies, 
will ordinarily hang out the colours of other nations, and say they 
belong to them ; but when they come to their haven to unload their 
vessels, it appears to what country they belong. Though men are 
usually distinguished by their outward behaviours, yet many for 
their own ends put on Christ s livery, who are of Satan s family ; 
but when they come to be searched and unladen at the end of their 
lives, it will be known to whom they belong. When I come to 
die, then the great controversy between Christ and Satan concern 
ing my soul will be determined, whose it shall be for ever. my 
soul, that thou couldst but conceive what it will be to be sent by 
death into an unchangeable estate, either of bliss or misery ! If 
thou diest in thy sins, thou art killed with death. Shouldst thou 
now live without conscience, thou wilt die without comfort, and 
remain comfortless for ever. Ponder a little with thyself the fear 
ful death of a sinner, that thou mayest fly his wicked acts, as thou 
wouldst his woeful end. In the midst of his jollity and mirth, when 
he is in an eager pursuit of carnal pleasures, and posting in the 
way of worldly delights, and running to all excess of riot, he is on 
a sudden, by death s harbinger, sickness, commanded to stand, and 
proceed no further. This cuts him to the very heart. His former 
prosperity, like oil, hath suppled his body, and makes him more 


sensible of his present pain. And his immoderate love to those 
fleshly delights doth abundantly greaten his grief, and increase his 
loss. Now the man is thrown, whether he will or no, upon his 
sick-bed, that must be his death-bed. In this his extremity, his 
companions, and friends, and wife, and children, and honour, and 
places, and preferments, and silver, and gold, and houses, and lands, 
and costly attire, and dainty fare, are all dry things, and unsavoury 
to him ; no creature can afford him the least comfort. If he look 
into his chamber, his wife is weeping and wringing her hands, his 
children are sighing, his friends are lamenting and wailing, but all 
this doth increase, net mitigate, his vexation and misery. If he 
looks into his conscience, he finds that taking courage, and telling 
him to his face, that though formerly he would not suffer it to 
speak, yet now it must tell him the truth, that death, and hell, and 
wrath, are the wages of his ungodly works. It will bring to his 
mind the time he hath misspent, the talents that he hath mis- 
improved, the day of grace that he hath despised, the great salva 
tion that he hath neglected; his secret, and private, and public 
sins, the sins of his childhood, of his youth, of his riper age, those 
sins which he had forgotten, and thought should never have been 
remembered, are all set in order before his eyes. His heart, which 
was before harder than the nether millstone, is now pierced, though 
not with an evangelical contrition, yet with legal terrors and tor 
ments. His sickness will allow no rest to his body, and his sins 
will afford no ease to his soul. In the evening he crieth, Would 
God it were morning ; in the morning, Would God it were evening, 
because of the anguish of his spirit. His bones are filled with a 
painful disease, and his body with unquietness. The arrows of the 
Almighty are within him, the poison thereof drinks up his spirit ; 
and the terrors of God do set themselves in array against him. 
His review of his past actions, his remembering of his slighting 
Christ for a brutish pleasure, or a little fading treasure, or a base 
lust, and provoking God, and continuance in sin, against mercies, 
judgments, warnings, the light of conscience, the motions of the 
Spirit, are as so many envenomed arrows sticking in his side, and 
piercing him through with many sorrows ; but the thoughts of his 
necessity of dying, and his forethoughts of the consequence of death, 
how hell rides upon its back, and eternal torments attend it ; how 
he must fry in unquenchable flames, and take up his everlasting 
lodging amongst roaring lions, frightful dragons, and the hellish 
crew, sink him quite down. To add some more gall and wormwood 
to his cup of bitterness, the devil now steps in, and sheweth him 


his sins in their black hue, in their bloody colour and countenance, 
to make him hopeless and desperate. The poor creature, in this 
miserable plight and plunge, knoweth not what to do, whither to 
go for relief. Die he would not, but must ; live he would, but can 
not. Now he wisheth that he had prayed and served God, and 
minded his soul and salvation more, and gratified his flesh, and 
embraced the pleasures and honours of the world less. Now he 
desireth that he might live a little longer, and thinks, Oh how 
would I redeem time, and follow after holiness, and walk with God, 
what would I not do and suffer to lay up some comfort, some cor 
dial against such an hour ! But whilst he is thus in the midst of 
his vain wishes, death tells him, by the violence of his distemper, 
that the time of his departure is at hand. His eyes now begin to 
sink, his speech to falter, his breath to shorten, and his heart to 
fail him, and a cold sweat to seize on his whole body. He strives 
and struggleth with all his might to continue here, but death, like 
a cruel sergeant, drags him to the bar of God, whence he is imme 
diately, with frowns and fury, dismissed, and hauled to the dreadful 
and eternal dungeon of hell. Oh the howlings, the screeching, the 
groans, the grief, which possesseth this poor soul, when he is attacked 
by devils, those merciless officers, and carried by them to the lake 
that burns with fire and brimstone for ever ! The spirit being now 
gone, the body remains a cold lump of clay, forsaken of its dearest 
friends, loathsome to its nearest relations, fit for no company but 
the worm-eaten congregation, amongst which it must abide till the 
last day, when it shall be joined to the soul, and partake with it in 
unconceivable arid endless torments. 

Ah, who can read such a soul s estate with dry eyes ; or think of 
such a condition without sorrow ! my soul, what are thy thoughts 
of such a death ? Wouldst thou, for the most prosperous world 
ling s life, die such a death ? Doth not thine heart ache whilst 
thou art musing on it ? If thou wouldst not meet with the end of 
such men, avoid their ways. Lord, I confess myself a great sinner, 
and thou mightst justly leave me to walk in the counsel of the un 
godly, and to go in the paths of the destroyer, that my feet should 
tend to death, and my steps take hold of hell ; yet, for thy Son s 
sake, teach me thy way, and lead me in thy righteousness, that 
my soul may never be gathered with sinners, nor my life with 
bloody men, that I may die the death of the righteous, and my 
latter end may be like his. 

I wish that I may look upon a dying bed as a fit pulpit in which 
I may preach my Maker s and Redeemer s praise. The speeches of 


dying persons are often highly prized, as savouring of most sincerity, 
and least suspected of selfish ends. They who scorned my counsel, 
and rejected my advice, in my health and strength, as fearing it 
proceeded rather from interest than simplicity of heart, will, if they 
have the least grain of charity, believe me in earnest, and my 
words to be the language of my soul, when I am dying, and enter 
ing into my eternal estate. The worst of men have some reverence 
and respect for dying Christians. What thrusting and crowding, 
even to the prejudice of their bodies, hath there often been to hear 
the speeches and last words of dying men. The vilest malefactor, 
who is cut off by the sword of justice, is permitted with patience to 
speak, and attended to with diligence at the gallows. If enemies 
have some respect for dying felons, and will hearken to them with 
meekness, what hopes may a dying saint have of advantaging the 
souls of his friends ! Oh that I might greedily embrace such an 
opportunity of advantaging the interest and honour of my God, 
the service and good of my neighbours, and by my pious language 
and gracious carriage at my latter end, make others in love with 
holiness, holy men, and the Holy One of Israel ! Sinners catch 
hold of every season to propagate their ungodly seed, and commend 
Satan s rotten wares to the men of the world ; why should not 
saints be as vigilant, as diligent, for their God and Saviour ? Lord, 
I know not in what manner, by what distemper, it will please thee 
to call me to thyself. I beg, if it may seem good in thy sight, that 
nothing may befall me on my dying bed, which may render me in 
capable of commending thee, and thy ways and worship, to others. 
My cheerfulness in bearing thy will, and activeness to extol thy 
work and reward, may through thy blessing persuade Satan s 
drudges to forsake his slavery, and admit themselves thy servants. 
Oh that I might allure others to prepare for such a day, by lifting 
up my head with joy, when that day of redemption draweth nigh ! 
The apprentice makes merry when his time is expired, and he en- 
joyeth his freedom. The bride hath a feast and music when her 
marriage-day is come. This life is my time of service, death sets 
me at liberty. In this world I am contracted to my dearest 
Saviour ; my solemn marriage is in the other world, into which I 
pass through death. Why should I fear that messenger which 
brings such good news, and be troubled at that friend who will do 
me so great a courtesy ? Oh enable me to live every day according 
to thy gospel, that keeping my conscience clean, and my evidences 
clear, I may, in the day of my death, rejoice and be exceeding glad. 
Give me to savour the sweetness of thy love, the pleasantness of thy 


paths, to feel the powerful influences of thy Spirit, the virtue and 
efficacy of thy word ; so to relish communion with thyself and thy 
dear Son all the days of my life, that when I am going out of the 
world and coming to thee, Father, I may from my own experi 
ence quicken and encourage others to forsake earthly vanities, be 
fore earthly vanities forsake them, and to take thee for their 
chiefest good, and choicest happiness, who will never leave them 
nor forsake them. 

I wish that the nearer I draw to my reward, the more zealous 
and industrious I may be about my work ; and that when my body 
droopeth and faileth most, my soul may be most vigorous and active 
in the exercise of grace. 1 am infinitely indebted to the blessed 
God, for his unspeakable grace to my precious soul ; my engage 
ments to the dearest Kedeemer, for loving me and washing me in 
his own blood, are far beyond my apprehension. This is the last 
opportunity that I shall ever enjoy to testify my thankfulness, 
and to do my God, my Saviour, my soul, any service ; oh how 
diligent should I be to promote their interest, and improve this 
season ! Nature, in its last conflict with a disease, puts forth 
itself to the utmost. It draweth in those spirits, which before 
were scattered in the outward parts, to guard and arm the heart ; 
it rallieth all those forces which are left, if possible, to win the 
day. Oh why should not grace, in its last encounter, muster up 
all its strength, and put forth itself to the utmost ! Lust is 
strong to the last. When nature is weak and spent, and the sinner 
disabled from his unclean or intemperate acts, even then he can 
hug them in his heart, and roll them under his tongue as a sweet 
morsel, and commit them over and over again in his thoughts, and 
fancy, and affections. The dying thief on the cross, when his 
hands and feet were nailed, and by force kept in order, could yet 
find his tongue at liberty, before his death, to rail at and revile the 
Lord of life. Ah, is it not a thousand pities that grace should be 
outvied by lust, and that those that are paid with such lamentable 
wages as everlasting burnings, should die serving their cruel master, 
and enter into hell, belching out their blasphemies, and spitting 
their poison in the face of Heaven ! and that the children of God 
should do their Father so little service, when they are going to their 
blissful mansions, and can do him no more ! Love to myself, as 
well as to my God, may quicken me to labour with all my 
might, when I draw near my last hour. As I fall now, I lie for 
ever. My eternal estate dependeth more upon my death than my 
life. It is possible, though rare, that a profane life may be cor- 


rected by a penitent death ; but a wicked death can never be 
amended. He that shoots off a piece, if he be not steady just at its 
going off, loseth his charge, and misseth his mark. He that dieth 
ill, dieth ever ; he is killed with death. He that goeth awry, when 
he goeth out of the world, shall never come back to recall or amend 
his steps. If I am a conqueror now, I am a conqueror for ever ; if 
I am foiled now, I am foiled for ever. Cowards will fight despe 
rately when they are in extremity, and must either kill or be 
killed. The historian saith of On. Piso, a confederate of Cataline s, 
that though he had a heart like a hare, yet he could fight like a 
lion when he apprehended a necessity of fighting for his life. Oh 
that my pains, my diligence, may be answerable to my peril and 
my danger. Lord, when that day and hour draweth near, that I 
must go hence and be no more seen, do thou draw near in boundless 
mercy to my poor soul. When I must enter into the chambers of 
death, and make my bed in the grave, save me from the paws of 
Satan, and the power of hell, that the bottomless pit may not shut 
her mouth upon me ; and give me to triumph in that hour of tribula 
tion, as knowing that neither tribulation, nor persecution, nor prin 
cipalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor 
life, nor death, can separate me from thy love, which is in Christ 
Jesus my Lord. 

I wish that, when I am going to the place of silence, I may speak 
the excellencies of my God, and make his praise glorious. It is 
the unhappiness of worldlings and wicked men that they cannot, 
when they die, commend the principles whence they have acted, 
nor the vain pleasures which they have minded and pursued. How 
many of them, whose lives have been nothing but a bundle of false 
hood and lies, when God hath called them to leave the world, have 
spoken the truth, and told their friends and relations that sin is an 
evil and bitter thing, that carnal pleasures are gilded poisons, 
that the greatest and choicest of worldly comforts, though they 
may have honey in their mouths, have a sting in their tails ; and 
what a vain, empty nothing the whole creation is ! How often 
have they complained how the world hath deceived them, the flesh 
deluded them, and the devil beguiled and destroyed them ! It is 
my privilege, as well as my duty, to extol my Master whom I have 
served, to commend the sweetness of his ways, the pleasantness of 
his worship, the reasonableness of his precepts, the richness of his 
promises, and the vastness of that portion which he hath laid up 
for his children when they come to age. I have sometimes tasted 
his work and ways to be sweeter than the honey and the honey- 


comb. I have viewed by faith his reward to be vastly glorious, and 
beyond all apprehensions excellent. Oh, why should I not dissuade 
others from their eager pursuit of foolish, fading shadows, and per 
suade and encourage them to earnest endeavours after real sub 
stance and durable riches ! The sinner, who hath wallowed all his 
lifetime in the mire of filth and wickedness, will, when he comes to 
die, and begins to return to his wits, from his own experience of the 
emptiness and unprofitableness of his ungodly courses, and from 
the convictions of his natural conscience, acknowledge a sober, 
sanctified conversation to be safest, and the ways of God to be 
most gainful ; and upon these accounts, advise his friends and rela 
tions to forsake and abandon the lusts of the world and flesh, and 
to follow after holiness, as they would be happy eternally. And 
have not I much more cause to shew my abhorrency of sin, and love 
to my Saviour and his image, when I am entering into my Father s 
house ? The sinner hath only found at last a fleshly life to be vain 
and fruitless, and is like to pay dear for his learning ; but I have known 
the paths of piety to be paths of pleasantness, and rejoiced more in 
them than in all riches. The sinner hath only the dim light of 
nature to shew him the loathsomeness of vice, and the loveliness of 
grace; but I have the Holy Spirit of my God to enlighten my 
mind in the knowledge of both. The sinner hath only a carnal 
love to his neighbours and kindred ; he knoweth not what it is to 
love them in Christ, and for Christ. I have some knowledge of 
the love and law of Christ, of the worth of their souls, of the price 
paid for them by the Lord Jesus, and their unchangeable condi 
tions in the other world. Oh that my language to them might 
be somewhat answerable to the love of Christ to me ! Lord, it is 
unrighteousness to die in debt to man, and not to endeavour to 
make them satisfaction according to my power. I am sure to die 
in thy debt ; for I am less than the least of all thy mercies, and 
unable to requite thee for the smallest of thy favours. It is my 
comfort that all the recompense thou expectest is a thankful 
acknowledgment and hearty acceptance of thy grace and goodwill. 
Oh what injustice and ingratitude were I guilty of, should I deny 
thee so small a request ! Be pleased to help thy servant in his 
last hours, both to accept unfeignedly of thy grace for his own 
good, and to acknowledge thy goodwill, and bounty, and faithful 
ness, to thy glory, for the good of others. 

I wish that my last breath may be drawn heavenward ; I mean, 
that I may enter praying into the house of blessing and praise. I 
am no Christian, if I do not give myself to prayer whilst I live. It 


is one choice piece of my spiritual armour, whereby I have often as 
saulted and conquered my soul-enemies. It is the ambassador which 
I have many a time sent to the heavenly court, that always received 
a favourable audience, and obtained his errand. It is the vessel 
which hath brought me food from far, and ever returned richly 
laden, if it were not my own fault. It is the element in which I 
live ; the aliment by which I subsist ; the pulse, the breath of my 
soul, without which it must needs die. On my death-bed I have as 
much need of its succour as at any season. My adversaries will 
then employ their greatest power and policy to rout and ruin me ; 
I am but weak flesh and blood, altogether unable to combat with 
principalities and powers ; and how can I expect supplies from the 
Lord of hosts, unless I send this messenger to entreat it ? My 
wants and weaknesses at such a time will be more than ordinary. 
Faith must then be acted, in spite of all the frights and fears which 
a malicious devil, and an unbelieving heart, from the number and 
nature of my sins, the strictness of the law, and the justice of God, 
may put me to. Kepentance must then be exercised, and my sins 
lie nearer my heart than my sharpest diseases. In patience I must 
possess my soul, under all the pains and pressures which the wise 
God shall lay upon me. I must then cheerfully submit to the 
divine pleasure, and by my willingness to leave all the world to go 
to Christ, shew that I hate father, mother, wife, child, house, lands, 
life, and all for Christ. Those graces, and many other, must be put 
forth at such a time, none of which I can do by my own power, 
and therefore have abundant cause to fetch help from heaven by 
prayer. Besides, the distempers of my body will discompose my 
soul, and unfit it in a great measure for all holy service. Again, 
my benefactors, my near friends and relations, the poor afflicted 
church of God, do all call aloud to me to pray for them, as the last 
kindness I shall ever do for them. I profess I love them, how can 
I manifest it better than by commending them to God in prayer ? 
Should I leave them thousands of silver and gold, if I were able, 
it would not all amount to the price of one fervent prayer. My 
riches might wrong them through the deceitfulness of their hearts, 
and cause them to be contented short of heaven ; but my prayers 
cannot prejudice them, but may much further their eternal welfares. 
Men whose natures are crabbed and cruel, have granted the requests 
of their dying children, when they have been contrary to their own 
humours ; how much more will God, the Father of mercies, whose 
nature is love, whose bowels are infinite, satisfy the desire of his 
dying children, when they fall in with his own design and desire ? 


If Joab had hopes to speed in his supplication for Absalom, be 
cause he knew the king s heart was more for it than his own, may 
not I be confident to speed, when I beg that he would pay my debts 
in spirituals with interest to those who have bestowed carnals on 
me for his sake ; when I ask that my children and relations may 
love, and fear, and worship his Majesty, and be his workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus unto good works ; and when I entreat that 
he would accomplish all the great and good things which he hath 
promised to his church, the purchase of his Christ, knowing that 
his heart is infinitely more for these things than mine can be! 
Lord, when I die, I shall no more put up prayers for myself or 
other particular persons. My natural obligations to my kindred 
and relations, my civil engagements to my friends and benefactors, 
besides my spiritual bonds to them and thy whole Israel, may well 
provoke me to be fervent and instant with thy Majesty at such an 
hour on their behalf. My Kedeemer, before his death, wrought 
hard at this duty : he offered up prayers and supplications with 
strong crying and tears. Ah, how should I pray for myself and 
others, when I am taking my leave of prayer ! Oh let thy Spirit 
of supplication be so poured down on me, that I may pour out my 
spirit in supplication unto thee for my own and other souls, through 
thy Son, with the greatest success. 

I wish that the night of my death may shine gloriously with the 
sparkling stars of divine and heavenly graces. In particular, I 
desire that when the time of my combat with my last enemy, and 
my last combat with any enemy, shall come, I may above all take 
the shield of faith, whereby I shall be sheltered against the sting 
of death, and quench the fiery darts of the wicked one. The wise 
mariner, perceiving a storm approaching, makes haste to fasten his 
vessel with anchors, that it may be steady, and not altogether at 
the mercy of the winds. I must expect the greatest tempest when 
I am entering into my eternal haven ; then all the powers of dark 
ness will conjure up their strongest winds, if possible to shipwreck 
the vessel of my soul. Ah, how much doth it concern me to put 
forth this grace, the anchor of my soul, both sure and steadfast, 
and which entereth into that within the veil, and thereby to fasten 
on the rock of ages ! If I fail in this, I fall, I miscarry for ever. 
God is a severe judge to condemn all guilty malefactors. Without 
his Son, I am clothed with guilt, and so under his boundless 
wrath. When Adam had disrobed himself of original righteous 
ness by disobeying the law, he fled from God, and dreaded the sum 
mons of offended justice. There is no appearing in the Father s 


sight with acceptance, but in the garments of his Son. None can 
have boldness to enter into the holy of holies, but by the blood of 
Jesus. It is faith only that interesteth in this blood. I know that 
through the Red Sea of this blood I may pass safely, though 
enemies pursue me hard, into the land of promise. Lord, I confess, 
through an evil heart of unbelief, I have many a time departed 
away from the living God ; yet, Lord, I believe, help mine unbelief. 

Lord of life, be not far from me, when devils and death are near 
me ; help me, with thy servant Stephen, to see heaven open, by 
faith, and the Son of man at thy right hand. Enable me to dis 
claim whatsoever duties I have performed, or graces I have exer 
cised, and to rely alone on a crucified Christ for pardon and life. 
Though thou killest me, let me die trusting and clinging on, and 
cleaving to, Jesus Christ. Let this pilgrim s staff of faith be never 
out of my hand, till I come to my journey s end. Thou art the 
Lord of hosts, and the captain of my salvation. Oh help me to 
put on the whole armour of God ; grant me such skill to use it, that 

1 may be able to stand in the evil day. Teach thou my hands to 
war, and my fingers to fight, that through thee I may do valiantly, 
and through thee may tread down mine enemies. Grant me so 
to finish my course, to fight the good fight of faith, that at death I 
may receive the crown of righteousness, which the righteous judge 
shall give to all that love his appearing. 

I wish that my faith may ripen into full assurance, that thereby 
I may depart with joy, and an abundant entrance maybe ministered 
unto me, into the kingdom of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 
Moses and Simeon could sing at their own funerals. The great 
apostle could call to be put to bed, expecting thereby his sweetest 
eternal rest. How many martyrs have gone more joyfully to die 
than ever epicure did to dine, and leaped when they drew near the 
stake, believing that they drew near their home, their happiness, 
their heaven ! What is it, my soul, that makes thee start and 
flinch back at the sight of this bugbear ? What is there in death 
that is so dreadful to thee ? Is it the sweetness of life, or the pain 
of death, or thy future estate after death ? Consider them all 
seriously, and then judge rationally whether any of these should 
make thee sigh, so loath to depart. 

First, The love of life need not make thee so backward to obey 
the call of death. If all thy time were made up of holidays, death 
would bring thee greater advantage. The garlic and onions of 
Egypt are nothing comparable to the clusters of Canaan. But, 
alas ! it is far otherwise ; thy whole life is a civil death. Thou art 


born to sorrow as the sparks fly upward. Thy days are few, but 
full of trouble. The earth to thee is a valley of tears ; the cross is 
thy daily companion, which accompanieth thee wherever thou 
goest. The sufferings of the flesh are neither few nor small. How 
many diseases in thy body, losses in thy estate ! how much dis 
grace, ignominy, slander, oppression, art thou liable to ! The suf 
ferings of thy spirit are more and greater. Thine own sins, the 
provocations of others, the dishonour of thy God, the wants, and 
weaknesses, and oppression, and persecution of the church of Christ, 
do all give thee daily occasion to mingle thy bread with ashes, and 
thy drink with weeping. What is this world, that thou art so fond 
of it ? Thy God calls it a sea of glass, mingled with fire, Rev. xv. 
2. A sea for its turbulency ; it is never at rest, but ebbs and flows 
continually, though sometimes more, sometimes less. Its work is 
to bubble up mire and dirt, especially on them who are chosen out 
of the world. A sea of glass for its fragility ; all its pomp and 
pride on a sudden vanisheth. Glass is both easily and irrecoverably 
broken in pieces. A sea of glass, mingled with fire, for the fiery 
and dreadful miseries that befall men in it. All its apparent com 
forts are mingled with real crosses. In heaven there is solace, 
without the least grain of sorrow ; in hell there is mourning, 
without the smallest drachm of mirth ; but on earth there is no estate 
without mixture. The saints have joy in God, but if need be they 
are in heaviness through manifold tribulations, 1 Pet. i. 6. The 
merry sinners, in the midst of their pleasures, have their hearts 
heavy. Some of the wiser heathen were so sensible of human 
miseries, that one of them, when ancient, told his scholar, that if it 
were offered him to be young again, he would not accept it. Saints, 
of all men, must expect a large draught of sufferings ; the world is 
their enemy, and raiseth all its forces against them. If I be a 
disciple, I must look to follow my Master in bearing his cross. O 
my soul, why shouldst thou hug that which hates thee, and doat on 
this world, which is neither a fit match for thee, as being unsuit 
able to thy nature, nor, if she were, can be faithful to thee, being 
made up of wavering and inconstancy. Or, secondly, Is it the pain 
of death that thou art so frighted at ? Surely the fear of it is the 
greatest torment. How many have felt greater pain in divers 
diseases, as in the stone, or strangury, or colic, than in a dying 
hour ! Some of God s children have felt very little pain, in the 
judgment of those that have seen them dying. The waters of 
Jordan, though rough to others, have stood still when the ark was 
to pass over. But though I were sure my pain should be sharp, 



yet I am sure it shall be short. In a moment, in the twinkling of 
an eye, I shall be transported over the gulf of misery into endless 
glory. My pangs will be almost as soon gone as come ; sorrow will 
endure but for a short night, joy will come in the morning. If I 
were assured of a great purchase made for me in Spain or Turkey, 
which upon my first coming over I should enjoy, would I not ad 
venture a passage through the boisterous ocean to take possession ? 
My Saviour hath made a larger, a better purchase for me in heaven. 
He is gone before to prepare a place for me. My passage thither, 
though it may be more painful, is less perilous. It is impossible 
for me to miscarry in it. Oh, why am I so slothful to go in and 
possess the good land ! Surely the pleasures of the end may well 
sweeten the ways to it, were they never so bitter. With what 
cheerfulness do some women undergo their sharp throes and hard 
labours, supported with this cordial, that a child shall thereby be 
born to them ! Oh, how infinitely inferior is the joy of a man- 
child brought forth into this world, to the joy of a sanctified soul, 
brought out of this world into heaven ! 

Again, I have a tender Father, who knoweth my frame, and will 
lay no more upon me, living or dying, than he will enable me to 
bear. He hath said it, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. 
my soul, thou hast little reason to dread a contest with this 
enemy for this cause ! Thou inayest contentedly undergo a little 
pain to go to thy dearest Lord, when many a sinner hath suffered 
greater to satisfy his hellish lust. 

Thirdly, Is it thy future condition that makes thee unwilling to 
die ? Dost thou not know that death is thy portal, through which 
thou shalt pass into the true paradise? It is the strait gate 
through which thou shalt enter into life. Though it is the wicked 
man s shipwreck, which swalloweth him up in an ocean of wrath and 
torment, yet it is the saint s putting into harbour, where he is 
received with the greatest acclamation and richest welcome im 

Travellers who have met with many dangers and troubles in their 
journeys, rejoice when they come near their own country. I am a 
pilgrim here, and used, or rather abused, as a stranger ; shall I not 
be glad when I come near my blessed home, my eternal, happy 
habitation ? Children in some parts, when they first behold the 
stork, the messenger of the spring, testify their joy with pleasant and 
loud shoutings. Oh, why shouldst not thou lift up thy head with 
joy, when sickness, the forerunner of death, is come to bring thee 
tidings that the winter of thy misery, and cold, and hardships, is 


past, and the summer of thine eternal light, and joy, and pleasure 
is at hand ? Thy death may well be a free-will offering, consider 
ing that though the ashes of the sacrifice (thy body) fall to the 
earth, yet that divine flame (thy immortal spirit) shall ascend to 
heaven. In death nothing diethof thee but what thou mayestwell 
spare, thy sin and sorrows. When the house is pulled to pieces, all 
those ivy roots in the wall shall be destroyed. The egg-shell must 
be broken, that the little chick may slip out. Thy body must be 
dissolved, that thy soul may be delivered ; yet thy body doth not 
die, but sleep in the bed of the grave till the morning of the resur 
rection. That outward apparel shall not be utterly consumed by 
the moth of time, but locked up safe, as in a chest, to be new 
trimmed, and gloriously adorned above the sun in his greatest 
lustre, and put on again when thou shalt awake in the morning, 
never, never, to put off more. Oh that I could so live, that I might 
not only be always ready, but also, when God calls me, desirous to 
die. If I borrow anything of my neighbour, I pay it back with 
thanks. My life is God s ; he lends it me for a time. Why should 
I not, when he calls for it, restore it with thanks, that he hath 
been pleased to lend it me so long ? Lord, thy children love thee 
dearly, and believe that when they come home to thee thou wilt 
entertain them kindly ; yet their flesh, like Lot s wife, is still 
hankering after the Sodom of this world, and loath they are to 
leave it, though it be for their exceeding gain. Give thy servant 
such true faith in thy Son, that I may neither love life nor fear 
death immoderately ; but as the heart of Jacob revived when he saw 
the waggons which Joseph sent to fetch him to Egypt, so my heart 
may leap for joy to behold the heavenly chariot which the Son of 
Joseph shall send to convey me to the true Goshen. 

I wish that I may with patience submit on my dying bed to the 
divine pleasure. It hath been far from some moralists to murmur, 
either at the extremity of their sickness, or the necessity of dying. 
By impatience I do not help, but rather kill myself beforehand. 
It is the general lot of mankind to sicken and die. Am I angry 
that I am a man, that I am mortal ? Because I know that I must 
be sick and die, I know that I must submit. The knowledge of 
an approaching evil is no small good, if improved. Though it 
cannot teach me to prevent it by all my power or providence, yet it 
may teach me to prepare for it, and to bear it with courage and 
patience. Discontent and quarrelling are great arguments of 
guilt and a defiled conscience. The harmless sheep, conscious of 
their innocency, do quietly receive the knife, either on the altar or 


in the shambles, and give death entrance with small reluctancy, 
when the filthy, loathsome swine roar horribly at their first hand 
ling, and with hideous cries are haled and held to the fatal block. 
The children of God and members of Christ, who are perfect 
through their head, do often give up the ghost, and desire to be dis 
solved, and to be with Christ ; when the souls of wicked men are 
required of them, they are strangely passionate at the approach 
of death, and with dreadful screeches salute its harbinger, sickness. 
Oh that patience might have its perfect work in me, when I amj 
taking my leave of it, and its work is near an end ! Lord, my] 
heart is too prone to be impatient under thy hand, though thou art 
infinitely wise as well as gracious, and knowest what is best for me. 
In my sickness turn mine eyes upon my sins, that my discontent 
may be at myself, for that which is the original of all my sorrows ; 
and then I shall never repine or murmur against thee. 

I wish that I may daily think of death, and wait, believing and 
repenting, and working out my salvation, till my change shall 
come. My whole time is given me, that therein I might prepare 
and dress my soul for my blessed eternal estate. Why should it 
not be employed for that end ? The child who hath all day been 
diligent about his duty, may expect his father s good word at night. 
But what master will give a reward to him in the evening, who 
hath all the day long served his enemy ? My life is the seed which 
will yield a crop of horror, or comfort, in an hour of death. If that 
be good, my harvest will be glorious and joyful ; if that be sinful, 
my harvest will be bitter and sorrowful. Do men gather grapes of 
thorns, or figs of thistles ? The grapes of comfort are not to be 
expected from the thistles of corruption ; nor thejfigs of peace, from 
the thorns of impiety. I should blush to commit to the keeping 
of a cleanly and considerable person, a foul and filthy vessel. With 
what face can I commend to the holy and glorious God an impure 
and polluted soul ? Oh how dreadful will it be to meet with my 
dying bed, before I have met with the Lord of life ; and to be going 
out of the world, before I have seriously considered why I came 
into it ! My great work in this world is to get my depraved nature 
healed by the blood and Spirit of Christ ; if I forget my business 
when I have tune to do it, and trifle away my days in doing evil, or 
doing nothing, I lose my soul, am unfaithful to my Master, and 
deepen my judgment by the number of my days. That traveller 
may well be aghast and perplexed, who hath a long journey to go| 
upon pain of death in one day, for which the whole day is little 
enough, and seeth the sun near setting before he hath begun his 


journey. How ill doth the evening of my time, and the morning 
of my task, accord together ! How justly may God reserve the 
dregs of his wrath for me, if I reserve the dregs of my days for 
him ! What folly am I guilty, of, in deferring my preparation for 
death ! If he be a ridiculous person, that having choice of lusty 
horses, should let them all go empty, and lay an extraordinary 
heavy load upon a poor tired jade, that is hardly able to go, much 
more foolish is he that prodigally wasteth his youth, and health, and 
strength, in the service of the flesh and the world, and leaves the 
great and weighty affairs of his soul and eternity to be transacted on 
a sick or dying bed. my soul, what little cause hast thou to 
future or delay thy solemn provision for the other world ! First, thy 
life is uncertain ; thou hast not another day at thy disposal. There 
are some creatures, they say, in Pontus, 1 whose life lasteth but one 
day : they are born in the morning, come to their full growth at 
noon, grow old in the evening, and die at night. What is thy life 
but a vapour, that soon passeth away ? The first minute thou didst 
begin to live, thou didst begin to die. Death was born when thou 
wast born ; the last act of life is but the completing of death. As 
on thy birthday thou didst begin to die, so on the day of thy death 
thou dost cease to live. How many outward accidents, and inward 
diseases, art thou every moment liable to ! May I not say to thee, 
as Michal to David, Save thyself to-night, for to-morrow thou shalt 
be slain ? Others have died suddenly, by imposthumes, or the 
falling-sickness, or violent means ; and if thou promisest thyself a 
fair warning, before the fatal stroke, thou dost but cozen and cheat 
thyself. But, secondly, If thou wert sure to see the evening star of 
sickness, before the night of death overtake thee, thou art not sure 
thy sickness shall not be such as may not incapacitate thee for the 
working out thy salvation. Extremity of pain, anguish of body, 
lack of sleep, the violence of a fever, may indispose thee, and distract 
thee, that thou canst not so much as think of God. Or thy dis 
temper may be such, that the physician may charge thee not to 
trouble thyself with melancholy or sad thoughts, lest thou wrongest 
thy body, and yet the minister commandeth thee to pull up those 
sluices of sorrow, if thou wouldst not lose thy soul for ever. Or 
cold diseases, as the lethargy or palsy, may surprise thee, and in 
cline thee to continual slumbers, till at last thou sleepest the sleep 
of death. Oh how sottish art thou, and how grossly doth the 
destroyer of souls delude thee to defer that work of absolute neces 
sity, of conversion to God, upon which thine endless weal or woe 

1 Plut. 


dependeth, to a dying bed, when thou art not sure to die in thy bed, 
but mayest as well die in thy shop or fields, or in the streets ; when 
thou art uncertain what disease, if thou shouldst meet with a dying 
bed, should send thee to thy eternal home ; when thou art neither 
master of thy time nor reason, nor of thy natural abilities, much 
less of supernatural grace, which is indispensably requisite to this 
great work ! Oh that, since I must die once for sin, I might die 
daily to sin ; and as the Philistines, that they might the better deal 
with Samson, cut off his hair, wherein his great strength lay ; so 
that I may the better deal with death, I may by faith and repent 
ance, daily cut off and destroy sin, wherein the strength of death 
lieth ! May I not say to thee, my soul, as Joshua to Israel ? 
Prepare ye victuals, for within three days ye shall pass over this 
Jordan, to go to possess the land which the Lord your God giveth 
you. Prepare the spiritual food, the flesh of Christ, which is meat 
indeed, and the blood of Christ, which is drink indeed ; a heart 
weaned from the world, longing to be with God ; for within a few 
days thou shalt go in, to possess the land of promise. Lord, I 
know nothing more certain than death. Sin hath deserved it, my 
brittle body enforceth it ; thou hast decreed it, and none can prevent 
it. I know nothing more uncertain than the time when, or the 
manner how. Thou hast many ways and means to bring me to my 
grave ; not only ordinary distempers of my body, but thousands of 
casual dangers. I cannot promise myself freedom from it, in any 
place or condition. Death may seize me abroad, at home, in com 
pany, in solitude, at bed, at board. Why should I not always pro 
vide for that extremity, that enemy, which I cannot avoid ? Why 
should I not ever be ready for that which may come at any time, 
and will come at some time or other ? Surely I do not hasten my 
death by preparing for it, but sweeten it exceedingly. I shall not 
die a moment the sooner, but infinitely the better. Should death 
overtake me in my sins, alas ! where am I ? What will become of 
me for ever ? I may well salute it, as Ahab Elijah, with, Hast thou 
found me, mine enemy ? For it will come to me, as the prophet 
to that king, with doleful, dreadful tidings. It will bring me news 
of a dismal dungeon of darkness, to be my habitation ; of lions, and 
scorpions, and dragons, to be my companions ; of a never dying 
worm, an unquenchable fire, pure wrath without mixture, full tor 
ments without measure, to be my portion for ever and ever. Oh 
teach me so to live above this vain empty life, so to be crucified to 
this world, so to make my peace with thy Majesty, through the 
great peacemaker, and Prince of peace, my Lord Jesus, so to set 


my heart and house, my spiritual and temporal concernments in 
order, that I may be delivered from the paw of the lion, from the 
teeth of this monster, from the sting of this serpent ; and though 
my body be destroyed, yet my soul may escape, as a bird out of the 
snare of the fowler, and mount up to thyself, to enjoy that happy 
life which shall know no death. 

I wish that all the days of my appointed time I may exercise 
myself herein, to keep a conscience void of offence towards God, 
and towards all men. There are but two which can afford me real 
comfort in a dying hour, which always take the same side, and join 
together, God and my conscience. Human friends often stand afar 
off, when they should be most near, and I have most need. Some 
of them are loath to come to a sick man s chamber. Mournful 
objects must not disturb their jollity and mirth. They are sworn 
enemies to sorrowful occasions, and banish such foes their quarters, 
or themselves from such coasts. Others, if they come to visit me, 
love not to see my ghastly countenance, like not to hear my deep 
and deadly groans. But be they never so full of pity, they can only 
sympathise with me, they cannot relieve, refresh me. The most 
they can do, is to accompany me to my grave, and there they leave 
me. But, oh the comfort which a loving God, and a conscience 
sprinkled with the blood of Christ, and purged from dead works, 
will afford me in a dying hour ! The smiles of a God, and cheer- 
ings of a good conscience, will be music indeed, to welcome me to 
the shore, after all my tumblings and tossings in this tempestuous 
ocean. They will make my bed in my sickness, help me to lie 
easy, hearten me in my sighs and groans, be my feast at my 
funeral, bid me be of good cheer, for my sins are forgiven me ; tell 
me that my Kedeemer liveth, and because he liveth, I shall live 
also ; lodge my body in a grave, as in a bed of spices, and convey 
my soul into my Savipur s bosom and embraces ; when my houses, 
lands, honours, friends, wife, children, leave me, they will cleave to 
me; nay, when my breath, life, heart, flesh forsake me, they will 
not fail me ; yea, when faith, hope, patience, repentance, shall bid 
me farewell, weeping, as Orpah did Ruth, these, like Naomi, will 
stick to me, go with me, and seek rest for me. Oh that my heart 
may be so upright in the service of my God, that when I shall 
receive the sentence of death, I may be able to say, with good 
Hezekiah, Remember now, I beseech thee, Lord, how ] 
walked before thee, in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done 
that which is good in thy sight/ my soul, what a friend shouldst 
thou be to thy God, thy conscience, how faithful to their warnings, 


now in life, if thou wouldst have them thy friends at death ! Hereby 
thou mayest be able to triumph in that hour of temptation, to defy 
death itself, and bid it do its worst. Though it be the common 
gate through which the sinner goeth into prison, where he meets 
with chains and fetters, and cold, and all sorts of miseries, yet thou 
shalt go through it, into the king s palace, where thou shalt have 
rivers of pleasures, and choice entertainment. If Jacob went down 
so joyfully into Egypt, when God had Baid to him, Fear not to go 
down, for I will go down with thee, and I will bring thee up again ; 
what needst thou fear to go down into the grave, when thy God 
hath undertaken to go down with thee thither, and to bring thee 
up again ? Thy body may be turned into dust, but thy God is in 
covenant with thy dust ; and thy head, the blessed Eedeemer, will 
not suffer one muscle, or nerve, or artery, or vein of any of his 
members to be lost. With what cheerfulness mayest thou take thy 
leave of thy body. Farewell, sweet body, thou hast been in some 
measure faithful to thy soul, in the service of thy Lord. Farewell, 
I must bid thee good-night, till the morning of the resurrection. 
Be thou content to go to bed and sleep in the dust, and rest in 
hope ; For though after the skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my 
flesh shall I see God. Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes 
shall behold him, and not another, though my reins be consumed 
within me/ Though thou art sown in dishonour, thou shalt be 
raised in glory ; though thou art sown in weakness, thou shalt be 
raised in power ; though thou art sown a natural body, thou shalt 
be raised a spiritual body, and fashioned like unto the glorious 
body of Christ himself. Thy dust shall live, and thou shalt arise 
and be joined to this soul, and both join with the great assembly of 
the first-born, in singing the praises of thy Master and husband. 
The soldier is glad when he is called to receive his pay, though the 
ways be deep and dirty through which he travelleth to the place of 
muster. The husbandman rejoiceth when his fields are white to the 
harvest, and with piping and shouting accompanieth his last load 
into the barn. Oh that my life might be so sanctified and devoted 
to my God, that at my death he may be my solace ! Ah, Lord, it 
matters not who be failing to visit me on my sick-bed, so thou be 
present with me. Nay, though mine enemies come and say. When 
shall he die, and his name perish ? An evil disease cleaveth to 
him ; now that he lieth down, he shall rise up no more. If thou 
pleasest to visit me with thy saving health, I shall not be afraid 
when I walk in the valley of the shadow of death. Oh, when the 
sun of my life shall be setting, let the Sun of righteousness so arise 


upon me, that I may be delivered from the power, curse, and 
of death, and may find it, through his merits, to be my haven of 
rest, after all my foul weather ; a bed of ease, after my sore labour ; 
a release out of prison, and my jubilee to give me possession of an 
inheritance undefiled, incorruptible, that fadeth not away, which is 
reserved in heaven for me. Amen. 


Means whereby Christians may exercise themselves to godliness. 
A good foundation. Living by faith. Setting God always 
before our eyes. 

I come now to the second thing promised namely, to lay down 
the means whereby Christians may come to make religion their 

First, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, be sure that 
thou layest a good foundation in a renewed heart and nature. I 
begin with this, because it is the chiefest requisite, and the basis of 
all. Godliness must first spring up in the heart, before it can over 
flow in the life. Other means are like those parts of the body, the 
want of which may be supplied by others ; but this is like the 
heart, which if wanting, nothing can make up its want. A dead 
man will as soon arise and walk, as an unsanctified person make 
religion his business. Everything will act according to that prin 
ciple which is predominant in it ; though for a time it may, by 
violence, work contrary to its natural inclination, yet it will endea 
vour the removal of that force, and return to its old course. Fire 
moveth upwards, and earth downwards, both striving to overturn 
what standeth in their way because the place of fire is above, of 
earth, beneath. A river may be stopped and hindered in its cur 
rent ; but it will never cease till it hath overborne the dam, and 
attained its former passage. Water that is naturally sweet, may 
be made brackish by the overflowing of salt water ; but it will not 
leave till it hath worked out that saltness, and returneth to his 
natural sweetness. So every man, whether good or bad, will act 
according to his nature, whether gracious or vicious. A good man 
may be hindered in his holy course by temptations, and the vio 
lence of the flesh ; but, because his nature is gracious, he will never 
be at rest till he hath forcibly broke through those impediments, 
and got into his former way of godliness. An evil man may step 


into the path of piety through the example of others, or good edu 
cation, or some slender convictions of a natural conscience ; but he 
will quickly be weary ; he will not hold out in it ; he will break 
through those obstacles, because his nature the stream of his 
heart runs another way. 

The heart of man is like the spring of the clock, which causeth 
the wheels to move, right or wrong, well or ill. Hence it is that 
God s precept is to this, Make you a new heart, and a new spirit; 
and his promise of this, I will put my fear into their hearts, and 
they shall never depart away from me/ The fear of God in the 
heart will bind thee fast to God in thy life. If the heart be 
thoroughly drawn to him, the tongue and hand will not depart from 
him. If the heart once set forward for God, all the members will 
follow after : the mouth will praise, the ears will attend to him, 
the eye will watch him, the feet will go after him ; all the parts, 
like dutiful handmaids, in their places, will wait on their mistress. 
There was a great master among the Jews, which bid his scholars 
to consider and tell him, What was the best thing, or the best 
way, in which a man should always keep ? One said, A good 
companion was the best thing in the world. Another said, A 
good neighbour was the best thing he could wish. A third said, 
A wise man, or one that could foresee future things. A fourth 
said, A good eye, that is, a liberal disposition. At last came one 
Eleazer, and he said, A good heart is better than them all. 
True, said the master, thou hast comprehended in two words 
all that the rest have said ; for a good heart will make a man both 
contented, and a good companion, and a good neighbour, and help 
him to foresee things that are to come, that he may know what is 
on his part to be done. Indeed, without this there can be no god 
liness ; all professions and performances are but a show, a shadow ; 
and where there is this, there is all godliness in all manner of con 
versation. As the king of France said of Dover, that it was the 
key of England, and if his son, who then invaded the Britons, had 
not that, he had nothing ; so it may be said of the heart, it is the 
key of the whole man, it opens and shuts the door to godliness 
and wickedness, and if grace hath not this, it hath nothing. The 
philosopher, when he w r ould persuade the king to settle his residence 
in the midst of his dominions, and thereby keep all his people the 
better in subjection, took a bull s hide ready tanned, upon which, 
when he stood on any side of it, still it rose up on the other ; but 
when he stood on the middle, he kept down all alike. The only 
way to subdue sin is to do it in the heart ; that commands all ; 


otherwise, though one unruly passion may be kept down, another 
will rise up. 

The heart is the great workhouse where all sin is wrought, be 
fore it is exposed to open view. It is the mint where evil thoughts 
are coined, before they are current in our words or actions : Out 
of the heart proceed evil thoughts, Mat. xv. 19. That is the nest 
in which those hornets breed. The heart is the original of sinful 
words, as well as sinful thoughts : Out of the heart proceed false 
witness, blasphemies, Mat. xv. 19. They were in the heart before 
ever they were in the tongue. It is said of the weasel, that it con 
ceives at the ear, and brings forth at the mouth. Every sinner 
conceiveth at the heart, what he brings forth at the mouth. Such 
stinking breath comes from rotten inwards. The heart is the vessel 
of poisonous liquor, the tongue is but the tap to broach it : Out 
of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. The heart is 
the forge also where all our evil works, as well as words, are ham 
mered out : Out of the heart proceed murders, and thefts, and 
adulteries, and fornications, Mat. xv. 19. You will say that mur 
ders and thefts are hand sins, and that adulteries and fornication 
belong to the eye and outward parts of the body ; but, alas ! the 
heart is the womb wherein they are conceived and bred. The out 
ward parts are but the midwives to deliver the mother of those 
monsters, and to bring them into the world : An evil man, out of 
the evil treasure in his heart, bringeth forth evil things/ There is 
no sin but is dressed in the withdrawing-room of the heart, before 
it appear on the stage of the life. 

Apollodorus dreamed one night that the Scythians had taken him 
and flayed off his skin, with an intent to boil him ; and as he was 
lifting into the cauldron, his heart said unto him, It is I that have 
brought thee to all this. 1 There is a real truth in this, that the 
heart brings men both to all their sins, and all their sufferings. As 
the chaos had the seed of all creatures, and wanted nothing but the 
motion of the good Spirit to produce them ; so the heart hath the 
seed of all evil, and wanteth nothing but the motion of the evil 
spirit, and a fit opportunity to bring it forth. 

It is in vain to go about a holy life till the heart be made holy. 
The pulse of the hand beats well or ill, according to the state of 
the heart, and the inward vital parts. Our earthly members can 
never be mortified, unless the body of sin and death be destroyed. 
The foul bird of sin must be killed in the nest, the heart, or it can 
never be thrown on the dunghill, die in the life. Therefore the 

Plut. Moral. 


Holy Ghost calls on men to take away the cause, if they would 
have the effect to cease : Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wick 
edness. Cleanse your hearts ye sinners, and purify your hands 
ye double-minded ; first the heart cleansed, then the hands, Jer. 
iv. 14 ; James iv. 8. If the chinks of the ship are unstopped, it 
will be to no purpose to labour at the pump. It is not rubbing or 
scratching will cure the itch, but the blood, whose corruption is 
the cause of it, must be purified. When the water is foul at the 
bottom, no wonder that scum and filth appear at the top. There 
is no way to stop the issue of sin, but by drying up the matter that 
feeds it. 

As Moses cast the tree into the bitter waters, and sweetened the 
springs; and as Elijah cast salt into the fountain, and thereby 
healed the waters ; so the salt of grace must be cast into the spring, 
the fountain of the heart, or the streams of the life will never be 
sweet. Till trees are grafted, and their nature altered, all the fruit 
they bring forth is wild and harsh, and little worth ; till the Chris 
tian is grafted into Christ, and a new and another nature be infused 
into him, all his fruit is unsavoury and unacceptable to God, vain 
and unprofitable to himself. Such a one is like a cypress tree, fair 
to look on, but barren. Like a painter, he may make a great stir 
about the colours and shadows of things, the form of godliness, 
and shew all his wit, and art, and skill in expressing the outside, 
but wholly neglecteth the substance, and contemneth the inward 
parts, the power thereof. 

There be several things which may help to make the life fair in 
the eyes of men, but nothing will make it amiable in the eyes of 
God, unless the heart be changed and renewed. Indeed all the 
medicines which can be applied, without the sanctifying work of 
the Spirit, though they may cover, they can never cure, the corrup 
tion and diseases of the soul. The best man, without this, is like a 
serpent painted as it were without, but poisonous within ; as the 
herb biscort, he may have smooth and plain leaves, but a crooked 
root ; or as a pill, be gilded on the outside, when the whole mass 
and body of it is bitterness. It is one thing to be angry with sin 
upon a sudden discontent, as a man may be with his wife, whom he 
loves dearly, and another thing to hate sin, as that which we abhor 
to behold, and endeavour to destroy. A filthy heart, like a foul 
body, may seem for a while to be in good plight; but when the 
heats and colds of temptations appear, it will bewray itself. Some 
insects lie in a deep sleep all the winter, stir not, make no noise, 
that one would think them dead ; but when the weather alters, and 


the sun shines, they revive and shew themselves ; so though lusts 
may seem dead in an unregenerate man, they are only laid asleep, 
and when opportunity is, will revive. Shame may hide sin, but it 
will not heal sin ; corruption often lieth secret in the heart, when 
shame hindereth it from breaking out in scabs and blotches in the 
life. Some court holiness as hard in show, as Saul did Samuel, to 
be honoured before the people, when, like him, they hate it in their 

Fear may do somewhat to curb a vitiated nature, but it can 
not cure it. The bear dares hardly touch his desired honey, for fear 
of the stinging of the bees ; the dog forbears the meat on the table, 
not because he doth not love it, but because he is afraid of the cudgel. 
Many leave some sin in their outward actions, as Jacob parted with 
Benjamin, for fear they should starve if they kept it, who are as 
fond of it as the patriarch of his child. This inward love of sin is 
indeed its life, and that which is most dangerous and deadly to the 
soul. As an imposthume is most perilous for being inward, and 
private rocks under water, split more vessels than those that appear 
above water ; so sin, reigning only in the heart, is oftentimes more 
hurtful than when it rageth in the life. Such civil persons go to 
hell without much disturbance, being asleep in sin, yet not snoring 
to the disquieting of others ; they are so far from being jogged or 
awaked, that they are many times praised and commended. 

Example, custom, and education, may also help a man to make 
a fair show in the flesh, but not to walk after the Spirit. They may 
prune and lop sin, but never stub it up by the roots. All that 
these can do, is to make a man like a grave, green and flourishing 
on the surface and superficies, when within there is nothing but 
noisomeness and corruption. It hath often appeared that those means 
which the great moralists have used to bridle their lusts and pas 
sions, have rather, like strong scents to epileptic bodies, raised them 
than recovered them. Indeed, if the chief fault were not in the 
vital parts, then outward applications might be effectual ; but when 
the heart, and lungs, and inwards, are all corrupted, plasters ap 
plied to the face, or hands, or thighs, or sides, will do little good. 
When the fault is in the foundation of a house, it cannot be mended 
by plastering or rough-cast. A leopard may be flayed, but he is 
spotted still, because the spots are not only in the skin, but in the 
flesh, and bones, and sinews, and most inward parts. When the 
disease is accidental, as to lose the sight by the small-pox, or the 
like, there the physic of morality may be advantageous ; but where 
the disease is natural, as in the man that was born blind, there 


physic will do no good a miracle alone must restore such a one to 

Unsanctified persons at best act from themselves, and therefore 
for themselves. As the kite, they may spread their wings and soar 
aloft, as if they touched heaven, when at the highest their eyes are 
upon their prey upon earth. Lucullus told his guests, when he had 
feasted them liberally, and they had admired his bounty in their 
costly entertainment, Something, my friends, is for your sakes, but 
the greatest part is for Lucullus s own sake. An unconverted person 
may do something, some small matter for the sake of religion, from 
common gifts of illumination, &c., but the most that he doth is for 
his own sake, for that credit or profit which he expecteth thereby. 
If anything be enjoined which thwarteth his interest, he will reply 
with Ajax, when commanded to spare Ulysses, In other things I 
will obey the gods, but not in this. 

Eeader, make sure of this inward change ; otherwise, though thy 
conversation may be specious, it can never be gracious, nor thy pro 
fession durable. If the house be built on loose earth, it will never 
stand long. When the principles are variable and uncertain, so 
will the practices be. If the arguments upon which thou takest 
upon thee the livery of Christ, and the grounds of thy engagement 
in his service, be not firm and constant, the love of God, and hope 
of eternal life, &c., such as the world and flesh cannot overtop, thou 
wilt throw up thy profession, and leave thy master, when thou art 
offered in thy blind judgment a better service, though it be v but the 
pleasures of sin for a season, with eternal pains at the end of them, 
for thy soul, and Saviour, and eternal salvation. How well may he 
prove a bankrupt, who is worse than naught when he first sets 
up ? I wonder not that many professors disown the Lord Jesus, 
when they were ignorant why they at any time owned him. He 
that takes up religion on trust, will lay it down when it brings him 
into trouble. As the celandine springeth and floweth at the com 
ing of the summer birds, but withereth at their departure ; and the 
corn, that promiseth a good harvest in the blade, is blasted in the 
ear, because its root is withered and naught ; so the person that 
hath no sound foundation, though he seem to look high, will never 
hold out. 

The turnsole makes a show for a time, with white velvet leaves, 
and yellow flowers, but fadeth away without bringing forth any 
fruit. Christ tells us, some which heard the word, though for a 
season they rejoiced in it, when tribulation came because of the 
word, were offended at it, because they had no root. 


To prevent that sad apostasy which many are guilty of to their 
eternal undoing, friend, consider seriously beforehand, what it will 
cost thee to be a Christian indeed. A foolish builder, that under 
takes to raise a structure as high as heaven, and pondereth not the 
charge thereof, gives over before he hath finished it, and so loseth 
all his expense and labour. As in marriage, one that is wise, and 
considereth the person, his portion, and his precepts, with the cares 
and burdens that are incident to that condition, for such must have 
trouble in the flesh, and after this, upon mature deliberation, 
accepteth him for a husband, will stick and cleave to him loyally 
and faithfully, whatever befalls him ; whereas a foolish maid, that 
huddleth up a match in haste, hand over head, promising herself 
nothing but delight and pleasure, when she comes to suffer poverty 
or imprisonment, or disgrace with her husband, repenteth of her 
bargain, and forsakes the guide of her youth. So the Christian, that 
hath duly pondered the excellencies in Christ, his misery without 
Christ, absolute necessity of Christ ; what love, and joy, and peace, 
and endless bliss, God offereth with his Son ; what Christ expecteth 
from all that will be married to him, even the denial of themselves, 
the taking up of their cross, the contempt of father, mother, wife, 
children, estate, life, and all for him, and after he hath duly con 
sidered all this, gives himself up to Christ, will be faithful unto 
death, and own the Lord Jesus Christ, whatever it may cost him ; 
when the man that followeth Christ for the loaves, or for fashion, or 
on a sudden stikes a leagues with him, expecting nothing but com 
forts and joy in his contracts, will quickly leave him, if called to 
suffer with him. He that followeth Christ, he knoweth not why, 
will forsake him, he knoweth not how. 

If thou art, reader, to begin this work of entering thyself into 
Christ s army, I would advise thee to bethink thyself upon what 
grounds thou engagest in his quarrel ; for Christians are not called 
to their spiritual war for love of fighting, as cocks, that fall to it 
upon sight of each other. Consider the enemies thou art to fight 
against, how potent, and crafty, and cruel they are, continually 
seeking thy destruction. The captain thou art to fight under, how 
wise he is to direct and command thee, how able to protect and 
defend thee, how faithful and bountiful to crown and reward thee. 
The excellency of the cause ; it is for thy soul, thy God, thy Saviour, 
thy salvation. The dangers thou must encounter, and hardships 
thou wilt be called to endure. The certainty of thy conquest ; how 
impossible it is to miscarry in so just a quarrel, under such an 
almighty captain, and then lift thyself to fight the good fight of 


faith, and fear not but thou shalt be more than a conqueror through 
him that loves thee. 

Secondly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, live by 
faith. The life of faith, it is the only life of holiness ; and un 
belief is the mother of all apostasy. When God would persuade 
Abraham to sincere and singular godliness, he doth it by offering 
him sure footing for his faith : I am God All-sufficient, or the 
Almighty God ; walk before me, and be thou perfect/ Gen. xvii. 
1 ; knowing that, unless his faith were firm, his steps could never be 
even ; if he had not believed God s power, he could not be evangeli 
cally perfect. And hence that father of the faithful became so 
eminent in obedience, from the strength of his faith. It is said of 
him, Isa. xli. 2, that he came to the foot of God. That child was 
dutiful indeed, that, when his father did but stamp with his foot, 
left whatever he was about, though it were never so delightful or 
gainful to him, and ran to his father to know and obey his com 
mands. Thus truly did Abraham, when God called him to turn 
his back upon his relations, and the place of his nativity ; nay, to 
sacrifice his Isaac, the child of the promise, as well as of his love ; 
he did not question God s pleasure, nor quarrel with his precepts, 
but obeyed them presently, and all from his faith. His strong 
faith caused strong obedience, Heb. xi. It is observable that all 
the noble and heroic acts of obedience of the Lord s worthies, men 
tioned in that little Book of Martyrs, were performed under the 
conduct and command of faith. 

Faith is one of the best antidotes against the poison of profane- 
ness, and one of the greatest helps to holiness. None are more 
faithful to God than they who have most faith in God. They who 
believe, will be careful to maintain good works, Titus iii. 8. As 
the natural heat is the life of the body, and as that increaseth 
with the radical moisture, strength and health abound ; so faith is 
the life of the soul as that is strong or weak, his godliness is more 
or less. He that is highest in affiance is highest in obedience. 
This is the strength of the soul : according to man s strength, such 
is his walk, either straight or stumbling ; according to a man s 
faith, such is his life, either even or crooked. 

1. Faith destroy eth sin. 

2. It enableth to live to God. 

1. It killeth sin. If the pulse of a Christian s hand or life beat 
uneven, it is because his faith, which is his heart, doth falter. This 
is the shield of the soul, which secures it against all assaults and 
dangers. Other pieces of the Christian s armour are serviceable to 


defend particular parts of the new man, as the girdle of truth, the 
loins; righteousness, the breast; the gospel of peace, the feet; 
but faith is a shield, moveable at pleasure, and surroundeth and 
guardeth the whole man : With favour wilt thou compass him as 
with a shield, Ps. v. 12. Faith secureth the head from evil prin 
ciples. What sense denieth, and reason understandeth not, faith 
believeth. Aristotle, reading Moses, concerning the creation, is 
reported to say, Egregie diets, domine Moses, sed quomodo probas ? 
Thou speakest nobly, but how dost thou prove it ? The answer to 
him is easy, By faith we believe that the worlds were made of God 
Heb. xi. 3. 

Faith clears up the understanding, and scattereth the mists of 
error. The presence of this sun disperseth those clouds. Faith 
secureth the heart from evil purposes. It is the besom that 
sweepeth out such dust, and keeps the heart clean : Having their 
hearts purified by faith/ Acts xv. 9. Faith entertaineth the King 
of saints into the heart ; it sets him on the throne, and these traitors 
fly before him. His presence makes these rebels to hide their heads. 
Who ever could find in his heart to hug sin, whilst he was viewing, 
by faith, his bleeding Saviour ! Faith secureth the hand from evil 
practices. The martyrs chose the flames rather than the denial of 
their Master, and all because of their faith. Those worthies of the 
Lord, of whom the world was not worthy, through faith stopped 
the mouths of lion-like lusts, quenched the violence of hellish fires, 
were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain 
a better resurrection, Heb. xi. 33-35. By faith we stand/ 2 
Cor. i. 24. As a soldier, under the protection of his shield, stands 
his ground, and doth his duty, notwithstanding the shot that are 
made against him ; so a Christian, under the protection of faith, 
keeps his place, and mindeth his work, whatsoever opposition he 
meets with. Faith, like Joab, stabbeth this Abner under the 
fifth rib ; it wounds sin mortally. Hope, like Saul, hath slain its 
thousands, but faith, like David, its ten thousands. Whole armies 
of lusts have turned their backs at the sight of this warrior. By 
faith the walls of Jericho fall down. Whilst unbelief liveth, no sin 
will die. All iniquity sheltereth itself under the banner of infidelity. 
If once the banks of faith be broken down, a flood of wickedness 
will rush and flow in. What made Abraham deny his wife, and 
expose her to such temptations and wickedness, but unbelief? 
What made Isaac tread in his father s steps, and leave Kebekah to 
the heathen s lust, but unbelief? What made David dishonour his 
God, by his uncomely carriage before Achish, and injure his soul by 



his unholy language, that he should one day perish by the hand of 
Saul, but unbelief? What made Peter deny and forswear his 
Master, but unbelief ? These tares were sown by the enemy, when 
the husbandman, faith, was asleep : had they believed the power 
and faithfulness of God to defend them in their dangers and dis 
tresses, without their lies, and his grace and bounty to reward them 
largely, for all their sufferings for his sake ; had they believed that 
God, when he called them to straits, would, without any sinful 
means, have brought them off safe on earth, or safe to heaven, they 
would never have used such sinful shifts for their own safety. 
Faith would secure the soul against all those temptations, and 
prevent such sinister and sinful doings. He that belie veth, maketh 
not haste. He will patiently wait God s leisure, and submit to his 
pleasure, and not venture upon forbidden courses, and unlawful 
ways, to deliver himself out of distress. 

Unbelief is the dung which makes the soil of corrupt nature so 
fruitful in the unfruitful works of darkness. Whence cometh 
such immoderate love of a perishing world, but from want of 
faith and belief of that transcendent glory that is to be revealed ? . 
Whence cometh such dulness and deadness in holy duties, but from 
unbelief, either of the holiness and jealousy of that God with whom 
we have to do, or of his goodness and mercy, that his reward will pay 
the charge of diligence in his work ? Whence comes such cozening,* 
and cheating, and overreaching in dealings^with men, but from dis 
trust of God s power and providence, as if he could not, or would 
not, spread a table for his children in the most barren wilderness? 
Whence comes that impatience and murmuring in adversity, but 
from want of faith, which would encourage the heart in the Lord 
his God, in the saddest estate, and when the fig-tree doth not 
blossom, nor the vine yield its fruit, enable the soul to rejoice in 
the Lord, and be glad in the rock of his salvation ? Whence cometh 
such pride and carnal confidence in prosperity, but because men 
believe not the meanness, and vanity, and emptiness of riches, and 
that divine mercy, not the merits of men, are the original of them ? 
There is no sin so monstrous, but unbelief will venture upon it. He 
that believeth not, will never be allured by divine promises, nor 
affrighted at divine threatenings, nor obey divine precepts, nor 
submit to divine providences. As Cicero said of parricide, I may 
say of unbelief, It is a teeming vice, a well of wickedness ; many 
sins are bound up in it. No wonder the apostle gives such a 
serious warning, and so strict a charge, against infidelity, as the 
mother and nurse of all apostasy : Take heed lest there be in any 


of you an evil heart of unbelief, whereby ye depart away from the 
living God/ Heb. iii. 12. The superstitious pagans thought that 
their idol Vibilia kept them from erring out of their way; the 
religious Christian knoweth, by experience, that his faith keeps 
him within the limits of his duty. Faith ingrafts the soul into 
Christ, and into the fellowship of his death, by which the old man 
is crucified, and the body of sin destroyed, that henceforth we 
should not serve sin, Kom. vi. 5-8. For therefore did Christ 
bear our sins in his body on the tree, that we might become dead 
to sin, 1 Pet. ii. 24. 

Faith enableth the soul to conquer sin, by enabling it to over 
come the three grand provocations to sin: the world, the flesh, 
and the wicked one. There is neither of these enemies but faith 
hath wounded mortally. 

(1.) Faith enableth to overcome the world. The world, indeed, 
hath conquered millions ; the greatest soldiers have been slain by 
it. Alexander could subdue the nations in it, but could not sub 
due his affections to it. As great a conqueror as he was over it, he 
-was its slave and vassal ; for his ambition was still larger than his 
dominions. But faith, clothing the Christian with the sun, helps 
him to trample this moon under his feet : This is your victory 
over the world, even your faith, 1 John v. 4. 

The world hath two faces the one ugly and deformed, to affright 
the saint ; the other comely and painted, to allure him to sin ; but 
faith seeth how pitiful, only touching the body, her threatenings 
are, and how poor, only skin deep, her promises are, and makes 
the soul to disdain both. 

It was by faith that Luther could say, Contemptus a me Romanus 
et favor, et furor, I scorn both Home s favour, and Home s fury. 
The world s furnace and music are much alike to a believer ; he is 
blind and deaf, nay, dead to both. The special object of faith is 
the cross of Christ, whereby, saith the apostle, I am crucified to 
the world, and the world to me. Tickle a dead man, or lance him, 
it is all one, he is sensible of neither. As Fabricius, the noble 
Koman, told Pyrrhus, who one day tempted him with gold, and 
the next day sought to terrify him with elephants, I was not yester 
day moved with your money, nor to-day with your beasts. So 
Basil, when first offered preferment, and afterward threatened with 
imprisonment, if he would not deny Christ, and turn Arian, to 
this purpose answered the messenger, Such babies of preferment 
are fit to catch children with, and such bugbears of bonds and im 
prisonment may fright your tender gallants and courtiers. Faith 


enableth the Christian to mount up to heaven, and thereby secures 
him from the baits and shots, the snares and lime-twigs, which 
attend him on earth. Homer saith Ulysses caused himself to be 
bound to the mast of the ship, and every one of his fellows ears to 
be stopped with wax, that they might not hearken to the songs of 
the syrens, and so be drowned in the sea. Faith fastens the soul 
to Christ, and so ravisheth its ears with the glad tidings of pardon, 
and peace, and eternal life, that it is deaf to the world s music. 

[1.] Faith enableth the soul to overcome the affrightments of the 
world. Faith, like blown bladders, keepeth the soul from sinking 
in deep waters. It is a target under which a soul is free from the 
hurt, though not from the smart, of evil. It is the ark wherein he rides 
triumphing, when the windows from above are opened, and pour 
down, and the floods from beneath are broken up. In this strong 
tower the soul finds shelter. Faith, like Joseph, layeth up in a 
time of plenty against a time of scarcity, in a day of prosperity 
against a day of adversity, and so feareth it the less. 

Faith sheweth the Christian a place of refuge in the time of 
trouble. He shall hide thee, saith faith, in the secret of his pres-- 
ence, i.e., cover thee with the warm wings of his providence. He 
shall keep thee secret in his pavilion an allusion to princes re 
tiring rooms, which are sacred and secure places for their favour 
ites. Nature teacheth all creatures to run in distress to that which 
they count their defence. The conies run to the rocks, the goats 
to the hills, the ravenous beasts to their dens, the child to his 
mother s arms. This grace discovereth to the soul a rock, a refuge, 
a fort, a fortress, a high tower, which makes him fearless of the 
world s threatenings and bugbears. The lame and the blind, those 
most shiftless creatures, when they had got the stronghold of Zion 
over their heads, scorned the host of David, 2 Sam. v. 6, 7. The 
Egyptians that dwell in the fens are much troubled with gnats, 
therefore they sleep in high towers, whither those insects cannot fly. 
The name of the Lord is a strong tower ; the righteous run unto it, 
and are safe, Prov. xviii. 10, Such a soul is like a strong tree, which 
no wind can shake, or like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved. 
Therefore he can sing when unbelievers quake and tremble: 
Though the earth be troubled, though the mountains be carried 
into the midst of the sea, though the waters roar, and the moun 
tains shake, yet we will not fear. The Lord of hosts is with us, 
the God of Jacob is our refuge, Ps. xlvi. 2, 3, 7, and xci. 2. Faith 
is like the cork in the net ; when the lead would sink the net, the 
cork keeps it above water. This faith is the anchor of the soul, 


both sure and steadfast, entering into that within the veil, and so 
stayeth the saint against all the winds and waves of affliction. 
Faith or belief of the resurrection, and that happiness which then 
should be enjoyed, was that which enabled Paul to die daily, and 
to fight with beasts at Ephesus, 1 Cor. xv. 31, 32. 

In the greatest distress, faith can see deliverance ; and when it 
is at the greatest distance, salute it, as Abraham did Christ s day, 
afar off. When the weather is cloudy, it can see the heaven begin 
to clear, and notwithstanding his present pain and poverty, cause the 
Christian to rejoice in his hope of bliss and glory. The eye of faith, 
looking to the recompense of reward, seeth afflictions with the 
Israel of God, much more eligible than the pleasures of sin. Sym- 
phorianus, 1 a Christian young man, after he was almost scourged 
to death, being dragged to execution at Augustodunum, met his 
mother, not crying, or tearing her hair, but like a holy lady thus 
comforting him, Son, my son, I say, remember life eternal, look up 
to heaven. Life is not taken from thee, but exchanged for a better. 
At which words of his mother, he went on willingly to the block, 
and exposed his throat to the fatal axe. One of the Dutch martyrs, 
feeling the flame coming to him, said, Oh what a small pain is this, 
to heaven ! Our blessed Saviour had an eye to the joy set before 
him, and thereby was encouraged to endure the cross, and despise 
the shame. Indeed, if faith spring a leak, then the waters break 
in, and the Christian sinks apace, as we see in Peter s denial of his 

As faith in the promises, so also faith in the threatenings, makes 
the Christian a conqueror over the world s affrightments : where the 
world threatens bonds, and whips, and dungeons, and death, if 
the Christian will not sin against God, and begins to stagger the 
soul : Take heed what thou dost, saith faith, for God threateneth 
fire, and brimstone, and chains, and blackness of darkness for ever, 
as the wages of all sin. Is the wrath of an infinite God not more 
to be feared than of weak dying men ? Is the pains of a violent 
death, which will quickly be over, and the most the world can do 
against thee, comparable to the pains of eternal death ? And thus 
faith, by the terror of this great ordnance-, drowns the noise of 
those small pieces, that the soul is deaf to their report. 

[2.] Faith enableth the soul to overcome the allurements of the 
world. If the world cannot terrify the saint with its fiery furnace 
to disown and deny his Saviour, it will seek to enchant him with 
its music, and thereby to make him deaf to the call and commands 

1 Drexel., Consid. ^Eternit. 


of Christ : thus it served Joseph. When it could not prevail 
on the left hand, by selling him for a slave, it trieth him on the 
right hand, by setting a Delilah to tickle him with pleasure ; but 
by faith he saw the hook under the bait, and durst not nibble at 
it, much less swallow it. Though the world, like Jezebel, painteth 
her face, and tireth her hair, to render her amiable and lovely, and 
as a strumpet, sheweth her naked breasts of pleasure and profit, to 
entice the believer to go a-whoring after her ; yet he vieweth by 
faith the deformity of her person, under all her daubery, and the 
dregginess and deceitfulness of her pleasures, notwithstanding their 
show of clearness, and so rejects them with scorn and disdain. 
Pliny saith of Cato that he took as much pleasure in the honours 
he denied as in those that he enjoyed. The believer can glory 
more in his refusal of glory for Christ, than unbelievers in all their 
preferments. Indeed, if the Christian did consult with sense, or 
carnal reason, he would take the world s present money ; but the 
believer doth not consult with flesh and blood, like wise Abigail. 
Knowing how much it will conduce to his advantage, he can part 
with his estate for God, and never make those Nabals privy to the 
design, lest they should hinder it. 

Besides, faith discovers pure rivers of pleasures, more noble and 
excellent delights, to be the portion of those that refuse to grate 
their teeth with such kennel water. As man is a rational creature, he 
would sell his wares to them that will give most. Now faith shew 
eth how infinitely God outbids the world. Sense saith, The world 
offereth fair it offereth comforts, suitable to thy flesh, such as they 
desire, and it offereth ready money, present possession : but saith 
faith, God ofiereth thee better ; the comforts he ofiereth are more 
excellent, being suitable, not, as the world s, to a carnal, brutish 
nature, but to a heavenly, divine soul, and more durable, being 
eternal, when the pleasures of sin are but for a season. He that hopes 
for no better market, will take the present money offered him ; but 
he that is assured of greater gains, will refuse the lesser. An un 
believer, who expects no better bargain than what this life affords 
him, may well take up with present pay, whatever it be ; but the 
believer, who seeth the glory to be revealed, and fulness of joy in 
heaven, and is assured that if he be faithful unto death, he shall 
receive that eternal crown of life, turns his eyes off the honours 
and comforts of this beggarly world. Those stars of creature joys 
do all disappear in the presence of this sun. Gold bears little 
sway with the soul that knoweth his title to the new Jerusalem, 
that is paved with gold, in which gold is trampled under foot. 


Those birds that fly aloft in the firmament, are not so easily snared 
by the fowler s gins. Though the things of this world were glori 
ous in his eyes, during his estate of unbelief, yet now he hath dis 
cerned a world beyond the moon, and sent faith as a spy to search 
and coast that country, which hath brought word back, that it is a 
good land, flowing with milk and honey, and in it there is want of 
nothing, they have no glory, by reason of that glory that doth so 
infinitely exceed. When a man is below, things above seem small ; 
the great stars, that are bigger than the earth, seem not so big as a 
bushel, and things below seem great : but when a man is above, 
as upon the top of a steeple, then things below seem little he be- 
holdeth men like grasshoppers. Were he conveyed to the highest 
hill in the world, men would not be discerned ; great kingdoms 
would be but small cottages. Unbelief sets a man below, here on 
earth, and so the things of heaven are little in his eye ; but faith 
soars aloft, it carrieth the Christian up to heaven, and then the 
whole earth is but a small spot in his eye. Joseph bids the patri 
archs, Regard not your stuff, for the good of all the land of Egypt 
is yours : so saith faith to the Christian, Regard not the lumber and 
rubbish of this world, for all the great and good things of the 
other world are thine. Faith gives the soul a taste, the first-fruits 
of heaven : And as no man having drunk old wine, desireth new, 
for he saith the old is better ; so no man, having tasted "the wine 
of heaven s pleasures, desires carnal delights. A pilgrim travelling 
to Jerusalem, saith one, came to a city where he saw a goodly 
training and mustering ; there he had a mind to stay, but that he 
remembered that was not Jerusalem. He came to another city, 
where he saw gallant sports and pastimes ; there he had some good 
will to abide, but that he remembered it was not Jerusalem. He 
came to a third, where were goodly buildings, fair ladies, curious 
music, &c., where also he had some thoughts of settling, but still 
he remembered it was not Jerusalem. So the believer, when the 
world offereth him great treasures, high honours, &c., may, through 
the subtlety of his flesh, have a mind to embrace them, only seeing 
by faith Jerusalem, where are greater treasures, higher honours, 
he slights and rejects them. By faith Moses refused to be called 
the son of Pharaoh s daughter, esteeming the reproaches of Christ 
greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he had an eye to the 
recompense of reward. 

Faith makes things future, present ; it looketh into heaven and 
saith, as David, before he had conquered those places, Grilead is 
mine, Manasseh is mine ; heaven is mine, eternal life is mine, ful- 


ness of joy is mine, that kingdom in comparison of which this 
whole world is a dunghill is mine, because God hath sworn by his 
holiness, that he will not lie unto his David ; and whilst the soul by 
faith seeth and is assured of these felicities, for their sake it can 
trample under foot the world s largest offers. 

(2.) Faith enableth the Christian to conquer Satan. Though the 
wicked one be full of power and policy, yet faith makes him flee 
like a coward. It is said of the crocodile, that he flieth if resisted, 
but followeth those that fear and flee from him; truly so doth 
Satan : James iv. 7, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 
But how must he be resisted? the apostle Peter answers that 
question, Whom resist steadfastly in the faith/ 1 Pet. v. 9. The 
crocodile cannot endure the sight or smell of saffron, therefore in 
Egypt they sow saffron to keep him away. Faith is this saffron, 
Cant. iv. 14, which drives away the devil. Faith, like little David, 
wounds the great Goliath of hell. They overcame him (meaning 
the devil) by the blood of the Lamb. The wild bull, say natural 
ists, cannot endure a red colour, therefore the hunter putteth on 
red garments, and standeth before a tree, which the bull runneth 
against with all his might, and the hunter stepping aside, his 
horns stick fast in the tree, whereby he is taken. The Christian, 
by faith in the blood of Christ, overcometh those infernal spirits 
who thought to overcome him. This is the only holy water that 
will fright away the devil. Our blessed Saviour, in his speech to 
Peter, acquaints us how to subdue Satan : Peter, Peter, Satan 
hath desired to winnow thee as wheat is winnowed, but I have 
prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not/ Which words imply, that 
whilst Peter s faith stood firm, he should not forsake Christ; whilst 
that was up, he could not be down ; his faith flagged before his 
courage failed, or he himself fell so foully. A tree is soon felled 
when the root is once loosened ; faith roots the soul in Christ, and 
therein his safety consists ; but as his faith fails, so he is loosened 
from Christ, and thereby in danger of falling. The Christian s 
strength lieth in his faith, as Samson s in his hair ; if the uncir- 
cumcised one can deprive us of this, he may make sport enough 
with us. Hence it is that Satan s chiefest guns are shot against 
the royal fort of faith, knowing that that commandeth all ; and if 
he can make a breach there, he fears not but to enter with success. 
The first mine which he ever sprang, to blow up the first Adam 
and his wife, and in them the whole race of mankind, was by 
weakening their faith : Hath God said, In the day ye eat thereof, 
ye shall die ? When he came to the second Adam, he endea- 


voured to slay him with the same sword : If thou be the Son of 
God, command that these stones/ &c. And without question, his 
aim was more at Job s faith, than his cattle, or servants, or chil 
dren ; he had a greater intent to have blown down that house of 
Job s conscience, than that wherein his sons and daughters were 

Therefore, reader, Above all, take the shield of faith, whereby 
thou mayest quench the fiery darts of the wicked one, Eph. vi. 
16. Goats in the island of Crete, when they are stricken with a 
dart, do seek for the herb dittany, which will cause the dart to fall 
out. Truly, such juice hath faith, that it makes all the darts which 
Satan shoots at the Christian ineffectual. 

(3.) Faith enablethto conquer the flesh. The great apostle, who 
lived by faith, brought under his body, and crucified the flesh. 
Faith seeth the safety of the body to consist in its subordination to 
the soul, and that the only way to save the life, is at God s call to 
lose it. By faith Abraham left his kindred and country, and 
obeyed, and went out, not knowing whither he went, Heb. xi. 8. 
Indeed, the flesh is. the worst enemy of the three partly in that it 
is so near us, always about us, so that we can as well fly from 
ourselves as from it. A traitor in the bedchamber, is much more 
dangerous than one in open arms against us in the field. A snake 
in the bosom, is like to do more hurt than one under the grass ; 
partly in that it knoweth our minds exactly, and so can temper its 
poison suitable to our palates ; but faith can discover its secret con 
spiracies, and prevent their execution. Though it dig its mines 
never so closely, and covertly, and craftily, faith will find them out, 
and countermine them. 

2. Faith enableth, as to die to sin, so to live to God. The life 
of holiness doth so much depend on faith, that it is said to consist 
wholly in it. The just shall live by his faith. Though he cannot 
live by sense, that upon which he lives being invisible ; nor by 
reason, because his food is supernatural ; yet he can live by faith, 
and make a good living of it too. As the body lives by the soul, 
so religion lives by faith. A mortal wound in faith, lets out the 
heart blood of all holiness. It is faith that actuates and animates 
the new creature. Faith puts him upon high designs, and holy 
enterprises, for God and his own soul. David saith, I believe, 
therefore have I spoken/ It may be said of a Christian, he be 
lie veth, therefore he speaks so much of God, for God, and to God. 
He believeth the unquestionable certainty, incomparable excellency, 
and eternity of that reward which is set before him, and therefore 


he prayeth, and watcheth, and readeth, and heareth, and denieth 
himself, and worketh night and day that he may attain it. Ferdi- 
nando of Arragon, believing the report of Columbus, concerning 
the richness of the Indian mines, and the likelihood of his possess 
ing them, was at great cost and charge in sending out men in 
ships, and made them venture their lives, and labour hard to get 
those golden and silver veins. Faith believeth the report which 
the gospel makes of the glory to be revealed, and the unsearchable 
riches in Christ, and the likelihood, nay, certainty of his enjoying 
them, if he will but strive and labour, and use those means which 
God hath appointed ; and this puts the soul upon its greatest in 
dustry and integrity, in the performance of what the word requireth, 
in order thereunto, and a resolution to obtain them, whatever it 
cost, or to die in the undertaking. 

It is by the sap, which from the root is derived through the bark 
to the branches, that makes them fruitful ; it is from the strength 
which faith derives from Christ, that the Christian becomes so 
abundant in holiness. Cut off the bark, and the tree withereth ; 
take away faith, and no more good works. The extension of the 
branches, ariseth from the intension of the sap ; and how shall that 
be conveyed but by the bark ? Christ, like Joseph, keeps the 
granaries, wherein is abundance of soul-food, and faith unlocks 
those storehouses, and takes out supplies. As Pharaoh, when the 
Egyptians cried to him for bread, said, Go ye to Joseph, and 
what he saith to you, do ; so God saith to Christians that call on 
him for grace, Go ye to Christ by faith, and he will relieve you. It 
pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. Here is 

(1.) Fulness, abundance ; not a drop, or a small degree of living 

(2.) A II fulness, a redundance ; the fulness of a spring, a fountain, 
not of a vessel. 

(3.) All fulness dwelling, abiding there to eternity ; running over, 
and running ever. But you will say, What is a Christian the bet 
ter for it ? I answer, Of his fulness, by faith, we all receive grace 
for grace. As a pipe from the river supplieth the house upon all 
occasions, and the several offices therein with water ; so doth faith 
supply the Christian with grace from Christ, answerable to his 
several exigencies and necessities. Indeed, all the graces act 
valiantly in their several places, under the command of this general. 
Hence, though fear, and love, and heavenly-mindedness, were 
specially operative in many of the patriarchs actions and passions 
for God, yet still the crown is set upon the head of faith, under 


whose banner and conduct they fought, Heb. xi. per tot. When 
this champion, like Goliath, is vanquished, the other graces, as the 
Philistines, are put to the rout. As dark clouds obscure the 
glorious stars, so doth unbelief blemish the lustre of a Christian s 
graces. If this shepherd, faith, be smitten, other graces, like 
sheep, are scattered. If this grace keep the field, the rest always 
keep their ground. The length of the days depends upon the 
shining of the sun ; as this shines more or less, so the days are 
longer or shorter. The degrees and measures of other graces 
depend exceedingly upon this grace. The branches blossom an 
swerable to the sap which they receive from the root. * Other 
graces bud and blow according to the sap which they receive from 

For example sake ; 

[1.] Repentance is more or less according to the degrees of faith. 
It is the fiducial apprehension of divine love that mollifieth the 
stony heart. None mourn so much as they who apprehend God a 
father. The hot beams of divine grace and favour, by faith united 
in the soul, thaw the most icy heart. They shall see him whom 
they have pierced, i.e., with an eye of faith, and mourn for him as 
one that mourneth for his only child. Peter saw Christ s love in 
his look, and then went out and wept bitterly. 

[2.] Humility. We are never lower in our own eyes than when 
faith assures us that we are high in God s favour. The centu 
rion s humility seems to keep equal pace with his faith. Though 
Christ saith of his faith, I have not found so great, no, not in Israel ; 
Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof ; 
neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee. When Nathan 
brought David word that God had a great respect for him, and 
would build him a sure house for ever, he presently crieth out, 
What am I ? and what is my father s house, that thou hast brought 
me hitherto ? &c., 2 Sam. vii. 18. 

[3.] Love. The fire of love flames more or less according to the 
fuel which faith provides : To whom much is forgiven, the same 
loveth much. The knowledge of a pardon granted by such a Lord, 
who hath all the reason in the world to loathe the soul, turns it 
into a lump of love. 

[4.] Joy. Faith broacheth the pipe of the promises, and presenteth 
that wine which rejoiceth the heart of the new man: In whom 
believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory/ 1 
Pet. i. 8. 

[5.] Patience. He that belie veth his bonds are good, that his 


estate is in safe hands, and that his forbearance doth abundantly 
increase it, will wait quietly for the day of payment. He that 
believeth, maketh not haste. None quarrel or fret, but from want 
of faith: Run with patience the race set before you, looking at 
Jesus. If the Christian be weak, faith will give him the staff of 
the word to lean on ; if he be weary, faith will shew him his 
journey s end. Lo, yonder is heaven, saith faith ; hold out a little 
longer, your work is almost done. As the eagle by stretching 
herself towards the sun, through its heat hath her old feathers 
fallen off, new ones growing in their places, and her strength re 
newed ; so the Christian cleaving to Jesus Christ, the Sun of right 
eousness, by faith reneweth his strength, as the eagle, runneth and 
is not weary, walketh and is not faint. It is reported of the crystal, 
that there is a virtue in it to quicken all other precious stones ; 
when it toucheth them, it puts a lustre and brightness on them. 
It is true of faith, it hath a virtue in it to enliven and quicken all 
other graces. These stars have the greatest influence, when in con 
junction with this sun. 

As the philosopher saith of water, aptarov /J,ev vSwp, It is of all 
things the best, most sovereign, and precious, because it is of 
universal influence in the life of man ; so I may say of faith, it is 
of all graces most excellent, in regard of the universality of its in 
fluence upon all duties, graces, providences, ordinances. 

It is by faith that prayer becomes so prevalent : Whatsoever ye 
ask of the Father, believing, ye shall receive, John xvi. 23. An 
unbelieving prayer, is a messenger without a tongue ; no wonder if 
he despatch not his errand, Heb. xi. 6. 

It is by faith that Scripture is so powerful. This sword of the 
Spirit doth no execution, save in the hand of faith : The word did 
not profit them, not being mingled with faith in them that heard 
it, Heb. iv. 2. 

It is by faith that the Lord s supper becomes so nourishing and 
strengthening. This is the hand that receiveth that flesh which is 
meat indeed, this is the mouth that eats it, this is the stomach that 
digests it ; without this thou inayest receive the elements, but not 
the sacrament, 1 Cor. xi. 24, 25. Unbelievers, like wasps, may sit 
upon the tops of these flowers, and seem to gather honey, but, alas ! 
they are far from any such thing. 

It is by faith that crosses are turned into comforts, and afflictions 
into mercies. This, like Mithridates, can digest poison, and get 
strength from the wrath and rage of men and devils, Phil. i. 19 ; 
Heb. xi. 38. 


It is by faith that water is turned into wine, temporal mercies 
into spiritual advantages ; faith worketh by love, and draweth men 
with the cords of love. 

It is by faith that men are so fruitful in their lives, Heb xi. 32, 
33 ; and so cheerful in their deaths, Horn. viii. 37-39. reader, 
above all thy gettings, get faith, and above all thy keepings, keep 
faith ; for it must be faith that must keep thee from falling in an 
hour of temptation, and from fainting in an hour of persecution. 
The unbeliever is fitly called an unreasonable man, because it is 
unreasonable that the God of truth should not be credited, and that 
he, to whom it is impossible to lie, should be distrusted ; and also 
an absurd man, because it is absurd for a workman to go without 
his tools, which he shall every moment have need of. It is said 
of the serpent, that of all her parts, she is most careful of her head, 
well knowing that, though she be mangled and cut never so much 
in her body, yet if her head be whole, that will cure the wounds of 
all her other parts. Let thy great work be to secure thy faith ; if 
that be whole, all will be well ; whatever decays there may be in 
other graces, this will help them to shoot forth again. 

Thirdly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, set God 
always before thine eyes. Subjects will carry themselves hand 
somely and loyally when they are before their sovereign : they who 
walk before God, will be upright. His eye is the best marshal to 
keep the soul in a comely order. Let thine eye be ever on him, 
whose eye is ever on thee : The eyes of the Lord are in every place, 
beholding the evil and the good/ Prov. xv. 3. Seneca persuaded 
his friend Lucilius, for the keeping him within compass, to imagine 
that some grave man, as Laslius, did still look upon him. Header, 
couldst thou walk ever as in God s presence, thou wouldst keep 
close to his precepts. Consider, therefore, that in all places, in all 
companies, at all times, the eye of God is on thee, and he takes 
exact notice of all thy thoughts, words, and actions ; that he 
knoweth thy natural parts : In his book were all thy members 
written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there 
was not one of them ; that he knoweth all thy moral passages : 
Thou understandest my thoughts afar off, and art acquainted with 
all my ways : There is not a word in my tongue, but thou, 
Lord, knowest it altogether/ There is no drawing a curtain 
between God and thee ; he seeth thee through and through, far 
more perfectly than thou canst the clearest crystal : Darkness 
hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day ; to thee the 
darkness and the light are both alike. The darkness of the air 


may hide thee from men, and the darkness of thine understanding 
may hide thee from thyself ; but there is no darkness nor shadow 
of death, where the workers of iniquity can hide themselves from. 
him. Neither the ring of Gyges, nor the helmet of Pluto, can hide 
thee from God s eye. Observe how strict God is in observing thy 
ways : Thou numberest my steps ; dost thou not watch over my 
sin? Job xiv. 16. By steps, is understood his inward motions, 
and outward actions ; whatsoever is done either in the retiring 
room of the heart, or common hall of the life. To number the 
steps, notes an exact account ; we say of a man that goeth very 
leisurely and softly, such a man telleth his steps. God is said to 
tell or number our steps, because he is so exact in his observation 
of, and so severe in his inquisition into, all our thoughts, words, and 
deeds. He is supposed to be void of shame, that doth not fear to 
sin before many witnesses. Though thou art in secret, consider, 
conscience is present, which is a thousand witnesses, and God, who 
is a thousand consciences. The Italian was somewhat conceited, 
who wrote a supplication to candle-light, to disclose to him the 
secrets of his kingdom. It is thought the light of the candle seeth 
more wickedness than the light of the sun ; but to God the day and 
night, darkness and light, are both alike ; he seeth all things, in all 
places, and at all times. 

It was a pretty fancy of one that would have his chamber painted 
full of eyes, that which way soever he looked, he might still have 
some eyes upon him ; and he fancying himself, according to the 
moralist s advice, always, Sub custode et pcedagogo, under the eye 
of a keeper, might be the more careful of his carriage. 1 And it 
was a wise answer of Livius Drusus, when an artist offered him so 
to contrive his house, that he might do what he would, none should 
see him ; No, saith Drusus, contrive it so rather that all may see 
me, for I am not ashamed to be seen. 2 If the eyes of men make 
even the vilest to forbear their beloved lusts for a while, that the 
adulterer watcheth for the twilight, and they that are drunk are 
drunk in the night, how powerful will the eye and presence of God 
be with those that fear his anger, and know the sweetness of his 
favour ! Moses forsook the sinful pleasures of Pharaoh s court, 
not fearing the wrath of the king, for he saw him that was invisible. 
A good commander causeth good government in a town or city. 

1 A reverend divine had this written in his study, Noli peccare, nam Deus videt ; 
Angeli astant, Diabolus accusabit, Conscientia testabitur, Infernus cruciabit. 

2 Tu vero, si quid in te artis est, ita compone domum meam ut ab omnibus conspici 
possit. Velleius Paterculus. 


This truth wrought home, and set close to the heart, would cause 
good orders, good government, in it. 

The thought of this omnipresence of God will affrighten tnee 
from sin. Gehazi durst not ask or receive any part of Naaman s 
presents in his master s presence ; but when he had got out of 
Elisha s sight, then he tells his lie, and gives way to his lust. Men 
never sin more freely than when they presume upon secrecy. 1 They 
break in pieces thy people, Lord, and afflict thine heritage. They 
slay the widow and stranger, and murder the fatherless ; yet they 
say, The Lord doth not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard 
it/ Ps. xciv. 5-7. Eliphaz, though falsely, accuseth Job as guilty 
of the same crime, upon the same account, Job xxii. 5-7, 13, 14. 
They who shut God out of their hearts, shut him also out of the 
world, through their atheism, and then are at liberty for all manner 
of wickedness. They who abounded in abominations said, The 
Lord seeth us not ; the Lord hath forsaken the earth, Ezek. viii. 

The wise man dissuadeth from wickedness, upon the considera 
tion of God s eye and omniscience : And why wilt thou, my son, 
be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a 
stranger ? For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, 
and he pondereth all his goings, Prov. v. 20, 21. Joseph saw God 
in the room, and therefore durst not yield ; but his mistress saw 
none but Joseph, and so was impudently alluring and tempting 
him to folly. I have read of two religious men that took contrary 
courses with two lewd women, whom they were desirous to reclaim 
from their vicious course of life. One of the men told one of the 
women that he was desirous to enjoy her company, so it might be 
with secrecy, and when she had brought him into a close room that 
none could pry into, he told her, All the bars and bolts here cannot 
keep God out. The other desired the other woman to company 
with him openly in the streets, which, when she rejected as a mad 
request, he told her, It was better to do it in the eyes of a multi 
tude than of God. How doth the adulterer, or drunkard, or thief, 
when they come abroad at midnight for the satisfaction of their 
lusts, sneak and steal away when they spy the watch, or any persons 
who would be witness of their vices ! and shall not the presence of 
that God who hates sin, who is resolved to punish it with hell- 
flames, make us ashamed or afraid to sin, and dare him to his face ? 

1 Turpe quid ausurus, te sine teste time. Magnum nescio quid majusque quam 
cogitari potest numen est, cui vivendo operam demus. Huic nos approbemus, nam 
nihil prodest inclusam esse conscientiam, patemus Deo. Senec. 


2. The thoughts of this omnipresence of God will quicken thee 
to holiness. The soldiers of Israel and Judah were prodigal of 
their blood in the presence of their two generals, 2 Sam. ii. 14. 
Servants will generally work hard whilst their master stands by 
and looks on. It is said of Alexander, that his presence caused 
such courage in his soldiers ut illo prcesente nullius Jiostium arma 
vel inermes timuerunt that when he was with them, though they 
were unarmed, they feared not the weapons of any of their enemies. 
Our blessed Redeemer exhorteth to prayer in secret, upon this 
consideration, that God seeth and heareth it, Mat. vi., and to 
charity in secret, because, though the left hand knoweth not what 
the right hand doeth, God knoweth what the right hand doeth: 
Your Father which seeth in secret will reward you openly. 

There is a story of Bishop Latimer, that he having in a sermon 
at court much displeased the king, (Henry VIII. ,) was commanded 
to preach again the next Lord s-day, and to recant his former 
sermon. According to appointment, he cometh up, and prefaceth 
to his sermon in this manner : Hugh Latimer, dost thou know this 
day to whom thou art to speak? even to the high and mighty 
monarch, the king s most excellent majesty, who can take away 
thy life if thou offendest ; therefore take heed how thou speakest 
a word which may displease ; but, (as if recalling himself, he pro 
ceeded,) Hugh, Hugh, dost thou know from whom thou comest, 
upon whose message thou art sent, and who it is that is present 
with thee, and beholdeth all thy ways ? even that almighty God j 
who can cast body and soul into hell for ever ; therefore look about 
thee, and be sure thou deliverest thy message faithfully. And so 
he went to his text, and confirmed what he had spoken the day 
before, and urged it with more vehemency than ordinary. The eye 
of God, as of the sun, will call the Christian to his work. Those 
countries that are governed by viceroys seldom flourish or thrive so 
well as those kingdoms where the prince is present in person. 
Conscience, God s viceroy, may much quicken a Christian to holi 
ness ; but God the prince himself much more. I have kept thy 
precepts, saith David, for all my ways are before thee. 



Means whereby Christians may exercise themselves to godliness : 
A constant watchfulness, frequent meditation of death, daily 
performance of sacred duties. 

Fourthly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, watch 
over thyself continually. This spiritual watchfulness is the main- 
guard of the soul, which, if once called off, we lie open to the shot 
of every enemy. This, like one of the Nethinims, must stand con 
tinually porter at the door of our hearts, God s temple, to keep out 
whatsoever is unclean. Watchfulness is a diligent observation of 
ourselves in all things, and at all times, that we may please God 
always. He that watcheth hath his eyes in his head, according to 
the wise man s phrase, and seeth, as the Chinese say of themselves, 
with both eyes. David expresseth it fitly : I said, I will take heed 
to my ways, Ps. xxxix. 1 i.e., I will ponder my paths, and consider 
where I set my feet, lest I should tread awry. Without this wari 
ness there is no safe walking. Secure Laish is made a prey to their 
enemies, Judges xviii. 9, 10 ; and the secure soul is made a prey 
to his spiritual adversaries. Soul lethargies are most dangerous, 
most deadly. Those that slept in the sweating sickness generally 
died. He who watcheth not is led about, like one in his natural 
sleep, by any temptation, he knoweth not how nor whither. When 
the wolves in the fable once prevailed with the sheep to part with 
the dogs, they soon devoured them. If Satan can but get men to 
forego this means of their safety, he will soon make them his prey. 
The old world was drowned in sleep before they were drowned in 
water. Sodom and Gomorrah were secure when they were destroyed 
by fire. 

It is reported of the dragon, that whilst he sleepeth, a jewel is 
taken out of his head. Noah lost the jewel of temperance, David 
the jewel of chastity, whilst they were fallen asleep. If this eye of 
watchfulness be once shut, the soul is open to all wickedness. 
When Argus, notwithstanding his hundred eyes, was by Mercury 
piped into a sleep, he was transformed into a cow. 1 

Reader, hearken to God s watchword : Ye are all children of 
light, and children of the day ; we are not of the night nor of dark 
ness ; therefore let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and 
be sober, 1 Thes. v. 6, 7. Sleep is not seasonable in the day of 

1 A pheasant or peacock. ED. 


grace, nor suitable to a child of light : They that sleep, sleep in 
the night, 1 Thes. v. 7. The night is for sleep, therefore in it 
God draweth a curtain of darkness about us ; as the nurse, when she 
would lay her babe to sleep, throweth a cloth over the head of the 
cradle. But the day is for watching, for working. 

He hath little reason to give himself to sleep, who is every moment 
surrounded with mortal enemies, which are neither few nor weak. 
Naturalists tell us that the bird onocratulus and the pelican take 
their rest with their beaks upright, expecting the hawk; and 
that the whale and dolphin sleep with their heads erected above 
water, for fear of hurt. Though there were but that one text of 
Scripture, 1 Pet. v. 8, relating to this duty, it were enough to alarm 
any wise man, and to call him to his arms : Be sober, be vigilant ; 
for your adversary the devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seek 
ing whom he may devour. If that voice among the ancient Romans, 
Hannibal ad portas, Hannibal is at the gates, were sufficient to 
make them leave whatsoever they were about, and run to their 
weapons, and stand upon their guard, what watchfulness should 
this voice of the Holy Ghost, The devil is at the door, call thee 
to ! Reader, take that verse a little in pieces, and see what a foe 
thou hast to fight with, and then tell me whether it doth not con 
cern thee to watch. Consider, 

1. His power : Your adversary the devil/ It is not a weak man, 
but a mighty devil. Thou art not called to wrestle with flesh and 
blood, but principalities and powers. Is man a match for a devil ? 
or a stripling nodding fit to enter the lists with Goliath ? What is 
a pigmy to a giant, or a dying creature to the prince of the powers 
of the air ? Had David been asleep when the lion out of the wood 
came against him, the lion had sooner tore him by the throat than 
he had taken the lion by the beard. The cobweb may as soon 
withstand the broom in the maid s hand, and the dust oppose the 
force of a violent wind, as a nodding, secure Christian the tempta 
tions of Satan. 

2. His policy: Seeking whom he may devour. Had our enemy 
strength without craft, there were not so much danger, nor cause of 
vigilancy ; but when he hath seven heads, as well as ten horns, and 
exceeds us in subtlety as much as in power, it concerneth us to be 
watchful. He that playeth with a cunning fencer will heed his 
wards the more. Reader, the devil hath a shrewd guess what 
Delilah is most likely to entice thee, and deprive thee of thy spiritual 
strength ; and if amongst all the uncircumcised there be any that 
will fit thee, thou shalt not want her. He hath not walked to and 


fro in the earth so long for nothing ; hut he knoweth what weeds 
will take best and thrive most in the soil of thy heart ; and be con 
fident he will help thee both to the seeds and plants of them. 
The subtle serpent, that could wind himself into paradise, knoweth 
surely how to wind himself into thee. If he were too crafty for 
man when he was perfect, much more is he for man polluted. 
And can such a strong politic foe be resisted when thou art lazing 
upon thy bed of security ? 

3. His industry : Your adversary the devil goeth about. He is 
a diligent servant, never from your elbow. As Joseph s mistress, 
when denied, still solicited, and Samson s harlot pressed him with 
continual importunity night and day, that his very soul was vexed 
unto death ; so the devil serveth men ; he will never forsake 
them, but follow them with his darts and assaults, till they are safe 
in heaven from him, or safe in hell with him. He is called the 
prince of the powers of the air, and his angels spiritual wicked 
nesses in high places ; the air is the seat of his empire, and truly, 
as ravenous fowl hover up and down in the air, to catch and kill 
little chickens ; and though they be frighted away by any one, yet 
they lie near at the catch, and the person is no sooner gone, but 
they are descending to destroy them ; so those infernal spirits are 
hovering up and down, walking to and fro, to defile and destroy 
souls ; and though they are resisted and foiled, yet they impudently 
continue their former endeavours to undo us. Now, hath he any 
time for sleep that is every moment in such danger ? 

4. His cruelty: As a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 
The lions of the forest have no pity : Lest he tear my soul like a 
lion, rending it in pieces/ Ps. vii. 2. The lions brake the bones of 
Daniel s accusers before they came to the bottom of the den. But 
the lions of hell have much less pity ; his tender mercies are cruel 
ties indeed. It is not the loss of thy life, but of thy soul, and thy 
God, and thy Christ, and that for ever, which he looks after. The 
racking of thy body, and rending thy bones, is nothing to the 
flames, and whips, and torments which he makes men suffer, and 
that not for a day, or week, or year, or age, but to all eternity. 

Reader, is there not infinite reason for watchfulness ? Had 
not the apostle ground enough for his precept, Be sober, be vigilant/ 
when our adversary is so strong a devil, so sedulous, going about, 
so cruel, as a roaring lion, and so crafty, seeking by all means whom 
he may devour ? Yet, alas ! this is not all. Go where we will, we 
see abundant cause to look well to our feet. Every place we come 
into is a net to ensnare us ; we cannot look out of our eyes, but we 


see a baited hook, nor open our ears, but we hear the syren s songs ; 
we cannot put forth our hands, but we touch pitch, nor set our feet, 
but in the midst of nets ; every part of the body is a Judas, a 
traitor to the soul. Our crosses and afflictions, if we be secure, will 
be to us as the jail to a prisoner, filling us with vermin. Our 
greatest earthly comforts, if we be not watchful, prove but like traps 
set for vermin, pleasant and killing. When the world sings most 
sweetly in our ears, she doth but, like Orpheus with his pipe, en 
deavour to lead us by the ears into unquenchable flames. Thieves 
with provender in their hands catch horses to steal them ; the 
world allures our hearts by its pleasures and profits, and steals 
them from God. Our own hearts are Jacobs, supplanters of us, 
deceitful and desperately wicked. As the water-fowl in Friesland 
will decoy other wild-fowl in a net, and then give a watchword to 
their master to seize on them, so officious will our own hearts be to 
the devil. And shall we not watch and pray that we enter not into 
temptation ? 

Sleep is the great leveller which makes all equal. The strongest 
Samson is as liable in his sleep to be slain as the smallest infant. 
When a deep sleep from the Lord had seized on Saul and his sol 
diers, how easily might David, if he had pleased, have killed them! 
He took away Saul s spear and cruse of water, to assure him that 
he could have taken away his life. Ah, how soon may the devil, 
or world, or flesh, defile, deceive, and destroy a sleeping soul ! 
Bees, that have many enemies, mice, spiders, drones, hornets, birds, 
and beasts, never dare, say naturalists, to give themselves to security, 
but night and day have their scouts, and sentinels, and corps-de- 
garde, to keep watch and ward, lest some of their many enemies \ 
should on a sudden surprise them. The Christian may learn this 
duty from such creatures. Spiders weave their cobwebs near the 
flowers where the bee.s use to gather, and also just over the pas 
sage out of their hives, that so at their going out, but especially at 
their coming in, laden and weary, they may catch them, and make 
a prey of them. David saith, In the way wherein I walked have 
they privily laid a snare for me/ So mayest thou, reader, say, In 
the way wherein I daily walk doth Satan privily lay baits to catch 
me ; at my table, in my closet, in my shop, in my bed, in the 
streets, in all places where I go, he hath laid snares for my soul. If 
there be a snare, and such danger in all things, then let me advise 
thee, if thou wouldst avoid them, in the words of Paul to Timothy, 
Watch thou in all things, 2 Tim. iv. 5. 

Watch against sin, against all sin. The gardener doth not only 


watch over his flowers, to water and cherish them, but also watcheth 
all weeds, to pluck and root them up. Take heed lest there be any 
root of bitterness. Epiphanius tells us, when a dead corpse was 
carried by any of the Israelites houses, they used to shut their 
doors and windows, intimating that men must be watchful against 
the scent and infection f sin. It is in vain for a captain to guard 
one gate of a castle, to prevent the enemy s entering there, if he 
leave another open, when the whole fort is beleaguered and sur 
rounded with mortal enemies. 

Watch especially against thine own sin. If a man have many 
wounds, whereof one is more dangerous than the rest, being near a 
vital part, though he will be mindful and careful of all, yet he will 
have a special care of that which is most dangerous. A Christian 
must watch against all sin, all soul diseases, but principally against 
his own sin that disease which is most dangerous ; as a wise governor 
will have a special eye upon that particular person in his garrison 
whom he knoweth to be a traitor. 

Watch for the doing of good ; for seasons of prayer, and hearing, 
and Christian communion. The countryman watcheth for the bell 
ringing on the market-day, when the sacks will be opened, that he 
may buy food for himself and his family. The mariner watcheth 
for the tide ; the diseased folk watched for the moving of the waters 
by the angels. David watched as a sparrow on the house-top, 
where he might peck up some corn, get some spiritual nourishment. 
An opportunity of worshipping God is a jewel ; the Christian may 
well watch to take it up. 

Watch in duties. The child must be watched at school, or he 
will play and toy, instead of getting his lesson. The heart must be 
watched in an ordinance, or it will wander wholly from the business 
in hand : Continue in prayer, and watch in the same, Col. iv. 2. 
Take heed how ye hear. The Bible will drop out of the sleeper s 
hand, and prayer is a wrestling with God, which is not a work to 
be done nodding. They who talk in their sleep talk idly. 

Watch after duties. Kunning carelessly into the open air, im 
mediately after the taking of physic, is dangerous. When the 
garden is dressed, and the seed sown in it, we must watch it lest hogs 
get into it, and root up all. Satan thinks to take the Christian at 
an advantage, after the duty is over ; and though he could not beat 
him in the fight, yet to do it when the saint hath laid by his wea 
pons. It was a wise speech of Marcus Aurelius, after he had van 
quished Popilion, general of the potent Parthians, and won the day : 
I tell thee of a truth, that I stand in greater fear of fortune at this 


present than I did before the battle, for she careth not so much to 
overtake the conquered, as to overcome the conqueror. Truly Satan 
will be industrious to destroy both the conquered utterly, and to 
overcome the conqueror. 

Watch thy senses. These are the Cinque Ports, as one calls 
them, of the Isle of man, which, if not well garrisoned, will let in 
strangers and disturbers of our peace. At these havens much of 
Satan s lading is taken in. Job made a covenant with his eyes ; he 
would not suffer them to gad and gaze at random, lest they should 
return defiled. Democritus walking abroad, would shut his eyes, 
lest by their wandering his mind should be taken off from the con 
templation of honest things. Actseon became, as the poet fancieth, 
meat for his dogs, by suffering his eyes to wander. Lusting hath 
often been the issue of looking ; witness Joseph s mistress, David, 
Achan, the Israelites, Num. xv. 39. Stratonice took Mithridates 
with a song. The heart hath often been angled into sin by the ear, 
and led into temptation by the eye ; therefore Cassian relates that, 
to preserve the cleanness of the heart, the Egyptian masters taught 
that men must be surdi, cceci, muti, deaf, blind, and dumb. If 
those outworks be well guarded, the royal fort is in the less hazard. 
Shut up the five windows i.e., guard the five senses, that the 
whole house may be full of light, according to the Arabian 

Watch your affections. If those waves be tempestuous, they 
will cast up much foam and froth, mire and dirt. He had need to 
make a strong wall, that would keep these raging waters within 
their bounds. 

Watch your tongues. The sea hath not more need of banks to 
keep it in, than the tongue of a bridle. The tongue is compared 
to a sword, to a razor, both which are keen weapons, and must 
be handled warily: Ps. xxxix. 1, I said, I will take heed to my 
ways, that I offend not with my tongue ; I will keep my mouth 
with a bridle, whilst the wicked are before me. 

Watch your hearts. The heart is the forge, the spring of life, 
and a wound there is mortal. Keep thy heart with all diligence, 
(super omnem custodiam, above all keeping, Jun. ;) out of it are 
the issues of life. Watch over all things, watch in all things. 
This voice, saith Bucer, 1 should always sound in our ears, Watch, 

How frequent is Christ in his precepts to this duty, as knowing 

fully the weight and concernment of it : Watch ye therefore, for 

1 ilcrito debet semper sonare in auribus, Vigilate. Bucer in Mark xiii. 


ye know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man cometh. 
Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. What I say unto 
you, I say unto all, Watch. And he is as frequent in his promises 
to it : Blessed is that servant whom his lord when he cometh 
shall find watching ; blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his 
garments ; and if he shall come in the second or third watch, and 
find him so, blessed is he/ Luke xii. 37, 38, 43. Surely blessedness 
is worthy our waking ; bliss is worth keeping our eyes open a few 
days for. Apollonius, held in his time for an oracle, coming early 
in the morning to Vespasian s gate, and finding him, then a pri 
vate person, up, and at study, he said to his companion, This man 
is worthy to reign and command an empire ; which afterwards came 
to pass. 1 He that watcheth, with Christ, the short hour of this life, 
shall be counted worthy to reign with him in his kingdom forever. 
Sion, which is frequently put for the church of God, signifieth a 
watch tower, because from that hill a man might see the Holy 
Land, and all the countries thereabout ; but the spiritual significa 
tion of it may be this, that all the members of God s church must 
be like soldiers in a watch-tower, observing who cometh in and 
who goeth out, lest traitors should steal into the fort of the heart 

Fifthly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, think often 
of thy dying day, and of what price and value godliness will be to 
thee at such a time. There are few thoughts more terrible or more 
profitable than of death. Hence it is that God commands man so 
often to remember his latter end, because the meditation of it is so 
gainful to him. The first day man was made, he was called to 
think of his last day. God minded him of death in the tree of 
knowledge, and the threatening annexed to the prohibition, that 
he might thereby keep hitn from sin. Satan could not prevail with 
Eve to taste of that killing fruit, till he had prevailed with her to 
distrust that threatening of death, Ye shall not surely die, Gen. iii. 
4. After the fall, God reneweth this meditation, by turning the 
conditional into an absolute commination, Dust thou art, and to 
dust thou shalt return. And though the Holy Ghost omitteth 
many particulars about God s carriage with the long-lived patriarchs, 
and their holy conversation before him, yet he is exact in register 
ing their deaths and he died, and he died, of every one, Gen. v. 
to quicken us to fear God, because we are but dying, frail men. 
There is hardly anything about which we deal, but God gives us 
by it a memento of death. Our clothes are all fetched out of death s 

1 PhUostr. in Vit 


wardrobe, our food out of death s shambles. The sun is an emblem 
of life s posting, the night of the chambers of darkness. The year 
hath its autumn, the day its night. Our candles should mind us 
of the wasting of our days, the evening of the shadow of death ; 
our undressing, of our putting off our earthly tabernacles ; and our 
lying down in our beds, of our lying down in our graves. 

If thou wouldst make religion thy business and main work, think 
often and seriously of thy death and departure of this world. He 
that guides and steers the ship aright, sits in the stern or hinder- 
most part of it. He that would order his works, his way, according 
to God, must be frequent in the meditation of his end. The end 
of his days must be at the end of all his thoughts. Zeno Cittiaeus 
consulted with the oracle how he might live well, and received this 
answer, El avj^pwrt^oiTo TO?? ve/cpois, If he would be of the same 
colour with the dead. 

Header, if thou wouldst live much, and well, get thy heart as 
much affected with godliness in health as it will be in sickness. 
Have the same thoughts of it, the same seriousness about it, the 
very same carriage towards it, whilst the world salutes thee with 
its smiling face, and bewitching features, which thou wilt wish 
thou hadst had when thou shalt come to take thy leave of it, and 
lie upon thy dying bed. Be of the same colour with the dead. 
Oh what thoughts have the dead of godliness, and of making it 
one s business ! The dead in Christ, and the dead out of Christ, 
have both other manner of thoughts of religion, and making it 
one s occupation, than thou canst possibly imagine. 

Those who, while they live, delay repentance, and dally about 
religion, minding it as if they minded it not, who neither, in their 
dealings with men, nor duties towards God, nor in their relations 
nor vocations, make it their business, but misspend their precious 
time, misemploy their weighty talents, neglect God and their 
eternal welfares, as if they had not been made to mind either, when 
they come to die, and perceive in good earnest that that surly 
sergeant death will not be denied, but away they must go into the 
other world, and fare well or ill for ever, according as their hearts 
and lives have been godly or ungodly, good or bad here, good 
Lord, what thoughts have they then of godliness ! How hearty 
are their wishes that they had made it their business ! What 
worlds would they give that religion had been their principal work ! 
What prayers and tears do they pour out for a few days to mind it 
in ! What sighs, and sobs, and groans, that they have neglected 
it so long ! What purposes do they take up, what promises do 


they make, if God spare them, to follow hard after holiness, and 
make it their only business ! A philosopher asking Euchrites 
which of the two he had rather be, Croesus, one of the richest 
and most vicious in the world, or Socrates, one of the poorest 
and most virtuous, Euchrites answered, Croesus vivens, et Socrates 
moriens, Croesus while he lived, and Socrates when he died. The 
cuckoo, when wearing away, changeth her note. The worst men, 
when they come to die, alter and change exceedingly. 

It is worthy our observation, that those who are greatest 
strangers to death are most familiar with the works of darkness. 
No place abounds more in wolves, no person in wickedness, than 
where this mastiff is wanting : Jerusalem hath grievously sinned. 
Her filthiness is in her skirts ; she remembereth not her last end ; 
therefore she came down wonderfully, Lam. i. 8, 9. Jerusalem 
hath grievously sinned ; hath sinned sin Heb., Hath committed 
a great or grievous sin, so the Chaldee. Behold here the colour 
of her sin ; it was not of an ordinary dye, but of a black, a bloody, 
a heinous nature. Her filthiness is in her skirts/ Lo, here her 
carriage after her sinning : she made of it an open show, so far 
was she from shame. It is a term taken from prostituted strum 
pets or menstruous women, saith Diodat. The outward looks of 
the former bewray her inward lusts, and the marks of the latter s 
defilement are visible on her garment. Thus the show of Jeru 
salem s countenance did publicly evidence her crime. She did as 
clearly by her skirts proclaim her filth, as if it had been written 
on her face and engraven on her forehead. Here was impiety in 
her practice, Jerusalem hath grievously sinned ; and impudency to 
purpose, her filthiness is in her skirts. But what dust was that 
which bred such vermin ? what polluted seed was that which begat 
such a poisonous serpent? Reader, if thou wouldst know the mother 
which brought forth and bred up this ugly monster, she remem 
bereth not her last end, therefore she came down mightily. * It was 
her forgetfulness of death which nourished and cherished her wicked 
deeds. They who mind not their reckoning, care not how much 
they riot and revel. 

They who put far away the evil day, cause the seat of vio 
lence to come near, Amos vi. 3. The further we drive death from 
our thoughts, the nearer we draw to sin. They who fancy their foe 
to be very far off, will not prepare and make ready to fight. Men 
that are young do not consider that the old ass often carrieth the 
skin of the young to the market ; that death comes like a thunder- 

1 Immunditise suae in firabriis suis mercedem nondum recordata. Trem. 


bolt and lightning, and blasteth the green corn, and consumeth the 
strongest buildings ; if they did, they would flee youthful lusts. 

He who seeth death at his door, will be most diligent about 
his duty : a serious consideration of the death of the body will be 
a sovereign though a sharp medicine to kill the body of death. 
The naturalists tell us, that the ashes of a viper, applied to the 
part which is stung, draweth the venom out of it. They who 
look on themselves as pilgrims and strangers, will abstain from 
fleshly lusts, which war against the soul, 1 Pet. ii. 11. Who 
would make his belly, his gut, his god, who considereth that every 
meal may be his last ? or that thinketh his dainty diet, his fine 
fare, doth but provide a greater feast for worms? Who would 
give way to sinful wantons, who believeth that whilst he is un 
loading his lust, God may put a period to his life ? He that is 
high in conceit of himself, little dreameth how low he must shortly 
be laid. Who would be proud of that body which shall ere long 
see corruption, become such a noisome, loathsome carcase, that 
the nearest and dearest relations will not endure the sight or scent 
of it ? He who loveth the world inordinately, forgetteth that he 
may leave it suddenly, and must leave it certainly. Would 
Haman have bragged so much of Esther s banquet, if he had known 
that his own corpse should be served in for the last course? 
Would the Israelites have tempted God for meat, if they had 
thought that death should have been their sauce ? Would Achan 
have coveted the golden wedge, if he had mused of his so sudden 
departure into the other world? Without question, he would 
have forborne the Babylonish garment, if he had seen death at his 
back, so ready to strip him naked. Had the rich fool thought 
that his bed should that night have proved his grave, he would 
never in the day have prided himself in his goods. Who would 
not at God s call vilify that flesh which will be ere long a lump 
of filth, and be choice of that soul which lives for a more high 
and heavenly flight ! 

It is reported of the Brahmans, that they use no clothes but 
bear-skins, no houses but caves, no food but such as nature dresseth. 
When Alexander came to them in his travels, he asked them the 
reason of this severe kind of living. They answered him, We 
know we shall die, whether to-day or to-morrow we know not; 
and therefore why should we .take care, either for power to govern 
others, or for riches to live in pleasures, or for honour to be 
esteemed of ? None are so loose to the world, that great hinder- 
ance of holiness, as they who ponder they must leave it. Travel- 


lers who look on themselves near their journey s end, care not to 
burden themselves with much baggage. Their moderation will be 
known to all men, who believe the Lord is at hand. 

Those who are most mindful of their deaths, are most faithful 
in their lives. Job was eminent in grace, because Job was daily 
conversing with his grave. All the days of his appointed time he 
waited till his change came, Job xiv. 14. That servant will follow 
his work most and best, who expecteth his master s coming every 

It is said of the kite, that by the turning of his tail he directs 
and winds about his whole body ; the same is reported of the glede 
or puttock. Fish also, say naturalists, turn and wind about by the 
fins in their tails. Header, could I but prevail with thee to mind 
the end of thy life, it would help thee very much to order thy con 
versation aright. 1 Oh, said God, that my people were wise ! then 
would they consider their latter end, Deut. xxxii. 29. 

The Thebans made a law, that no man should build a house 
for himself to dwell in before he had made his grave. Several 
of the philosophers had their graves made before their doors, that 
whenever they went abroad they might remember their deaths. 
If thou wouldst but in thy outgoings and incomings behold the 
place of thy burial, I doubt not but thou wilt be watchful over all 
thy ways. When thou art in the midst of thy delights, as Joseph 
of Arimathea, have thy tomb in thy garden, and it may prevent 
thy surfeiting by those dainties. When thou sittest at table, let 
the first dish set before thee be, according to Prester John s 
custom, a death s head, and then with what fear wilt thou feed ; 
how thankfully wilt thou receive the creatures, even as through 
the beloved Son ! how soberly wilt thou use them, even as in 
God s sight ! If God raise thee to the height of prosperity, and 
some friend do but (as Moses and Elias to Christ, when his face 
did shine as the sun, and his raiment was as white as snow, Luke 
ix. 30, 31) talk to thee of thy decease, which thou must shortly 
accomplish, it will abate thy love to the world s withering vanities, 
and quicken thine endeavours after the eternal weight of glory. 
If God cast thee into great adversity, and thou dost but consider 
thy time here is but short, and therefore thy troubles cannot be 
long, this will make thee contented in the saddest condition. 
When thou beholdest thy relations, and forethinkest that thine 
eternal separation from them is at hand, and that within a few 
days thou shalt never have another opportunity to help them 

1 Consideratio mortis tanquam cauda ad vitam optime regendam confert. 


heavenward, how will it stir thee up to do them all the good thou 
canst now, both by thy precepts, pattern, and prayers ! If, when 
thou attendest on public ordinances, thou wilt but cast thine eye 
on the graves in the churchyard, as thou passest along, and 
meditate thus : Within a little time I must be laid in the dust, 
when I shall hear no more, pray no more, enjoy a Sabbath no 
more ; when I shall never, never more have a tender of a Saviour, 
never more have a season to beg mercy in for my poor soul. 
After such awakening thoughts, with what attention wouldst thou 
hear ! with what affections wouldst thou pray ! with what inten 
sion and devotion, with what seriousness and uprightness, wouldst 
thou perform every duty ! 

Some say that nothing in this world is so strong as death, 
because it subdueth the mighty, it conquereth the greatest con 
querors, it overcometh all. Sure I am, that death hath great 
force and power over men s souls, as well as over their bodies. 
The thought of it hath raised some to a spiritual life. The 
consideration of death hath also caused others to live much in a 
little space ; when they have seen the sun of their lives near setting, 
and the night of their deaths approaching, they have in the day 
followed their work with the greater diligence. None will work 
so hard as they who think themselves near their everlasting 

There were two emperors, Adrian and Charles the Fifth, that in 
their lifetime caused their coffins to be carried before them, and 
their exequies to be solemnly celebrated, to this end possibly, that, 
considering they were but men, dying men, they might thence be 
righteous in their government, and virtuous in their actions. 

It is reported of Turannius, 1 that after he was ninety years old, 
he got leave of Caesar to retire himself from court ; and the old 
man would needs be laid in his bed, as one that had breathed out 
his last, and all his family must bewail his death. Friend, do 
thou in earnest what he did in jest. Suppose thou wert this day 
to bid adieu to thy friends, relations, honours, and possessions, and 
to travel into the unknown other world; to take thy leave of 
hours, and days, and months, and years, and time, and to sail 
into the boundless ocean of eternity ; suppose thou sawest death 
creep in at thy chamber window, come up to thy bedside, draw the 
curtain, take thee by the hand, and tell thee that he is come from 
the infinite, almighty, jealous, most holy God, to fetch thee im 
mediately into his presence, there to answer for all thy thoughts, 
1 Sen. de. Brev. Vit., cap. ult. 


words, and deeds, and to receive either matchless and endless pain, 
or unchangeable and unconceiveable pleasures, according as thy 
practices have been, what wouldst thou think at such a time of 
godliness ? Good Lord, what a price wouldst thou set upon it ! 
what wouldst thou not do or give for it ! Then godliness will be 
godliness indeed, as little and as lightly as thou settest by it now. 
And why is it not worth as much now ? Dost thou not see death 
like a mole digging thy grave under thee ? Dost thou not feel 
that worm within thee, which will ere long consume thee ? 

Believe it, thy death may be nearer than thou dreamest; the 
glass of thy life may be almost out, though thou thinkest it is but 
new turned. The murdering piece which kills thee, parting thy 
soul and body, may be discharged with white powder, give thee 
no warning at all. The next arrow which is shot may hit thee ; 
the next time the bell goes may be to tell others that thou art 
dead; the next time the earth is opened may be to receive thy 
body in. Thou seest some fall on thy right hand, some on thy 
left hand, some of thy very age, and of greater strength and health, 
and canst thou esteem thyself shot-free ? Is not every carcase a 
crier, and every tomb a teacher, calling upon thee to number thy 
days, and apply thine heart unto wisdom ? 

Silly man is like the foolish chicken, though the kite comes and 
takes away many of their fellows, yet the rest continue pecking the 
ground, never heeding their owner, nor minding their shelter. 
Death comes and snatcheth away one man here, a second there ; 
one before them, another behind them, and they are killed with 
death, undone for ever, Rev. ii. 23 ; yet they who survive take no 
warning, but persist in their wicked and ungodly ways. They are 
destroyed from morning to evening ; they perish for ever without 
any regarding it. Doth not their excellency which is in them go 
away ? they die, even without wisdom, Job iv. 20, 21. 

It is the saying of a heathen, 1 That it is impossible for a man 
to live the present day well, who doth not purpose to live it as his 
last. I may say to thee, friend, it is impossible for thee to live 
the present day ill, if thou wilt but live it as thy last day. If 
thou dost but consider, Well, this place may be the last place I 
shall come into, shall I pollute it with sin ? or shall I not rather 
perfume it with sanctity ? This expression may be the last that 
ever I shall speak, shall it be tainted with vice ? or shall it not 
rather be seasoned with grace ? This action may be the last that 
ever I shall do, and shall it be a deed of darkness ? or shall it not 

1 Muson apud Stob., Ser. 1. 


rather be a work of the day, of the light ? This sermon may be 
the last that ever I shall hear, and shall I now be heedless ? After 
this I shall never more have a call from Christ, and shall I now 
be careless ? This prayer may be the last prayer that ever I shall 
pour out to God ; if God deny me now, I am damned and undone 
for ever, and shall not my head, and heart, and will, and mind, 
and all be working, that it may be a prosperous, a prevalent 
prayer ? This Sabbath may be the last Sabbath that ever I shall 
sanctify ; I may from henceforth and for ever be deprived of all 
such opportunities of getting and increasing grace, of serving and 
honouring my Saviour, and of working out my own salvation. If 
I sow not now good seed, I must never expect a happy harvest. 
If I buy not now, the market will be quickly over. Shall I lose 
any precious minute of this holy day ? Is it time now to trifle 
about the affairs of my soul and eternity ? Well, I will, through 
Christ, take heed how I hear ; I will hear in hearing, I will pray 
in praying ; I will hear and hearken, cry and call, with all my heart, 
and strength, and soul, and mind, that if it be possible, the Lord 
may not leave me without a blessing. When the orator thinketh 
he is at the close of his oration, then he useth his chiefest art and 
rhetoric to move his auditors affections ; he would have his last 
part his best part. 

reader, if thou wilt but often wind up this weight of thine 
approaching death, it would keep thy soul in a quick, spiritual, 
and regular motion at all times. As ashes preserve fire, and 
keep coals from going out, so the thought that we shall ere long 
be turned into ashes will preserve the fire of grace alive and in 

Sixthly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, mind a 
daily performance of sacred duties. He that hath nothing of his 
own whereupon to live, must be frequently fetching in provision 
from the shops or market where it is to be had. The Christian s 
life is maintained, not by himself, but by what he receiveth from 
God ; not that we are sufficient of ourselves, our sufficiency is of 
God ; therefore there is a necessity of daily converse with God by 
holy ordinances, and of waiting at his gate ; as the beggar, who hath 
neither a bit of bread, nor a penny to buy any, at the rich man s 
door for supply. Our spiritual strength is like Israel s manna, 
rained down daily ; we are kept by a divine power, and allowed 
but from hand to mouth, that we might continually depend on, and 
resort to, the Lord Jesus for our allowance. Paul speaks in some 
places of his great disbursements how much he laid out for God 


and his people, that he laboured more than all the apostles ; but 
you must think, Whence had Paul such a spiritual stock that he 
was able to outvie all others in his expenses ? He tells you that 
the Son of God kept house for him, and that he was the steward to 
spend of his treasure, and thence his disbursements were so large. 
I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me : and the life that I live in 
the flesh is by the faith of the Son of God/ Gal. ii. 20. As the 
plant mistel, having no root of its own, both grows and lives in the 
stock or body of the oak; so the apostle, having no root of his 
own, did live and grow in Christ. As if he had said, I live, I keep 
a noble house, am given to hospitality above many, in labours more 
abundant, in watchings, in fastings more frequent, in perils, and 
dangers, and deaths often ; but the truth is, I do all this at another s 
cost and charge, not at mine own ; I am beholden to Christ for 
strength to do and suffer whatsoever I am called to. He carrieth 
the purse for me, and gives out to me according to my necessities. 
I have not a farthing of my own wherewith to buy the least morsel. 
I can do nothing of myself, but I can do all things through Christ 
strengthening me. 

Man is a weak creature, and so far from running, that he is not 
able to creep in the way of God s commandments, unless Christ 
strengthen him : Without me ye can do nothing, John xv. 5. 
If Christ withdraw himself as the sun, he carrieth the light of holi 
ness along with him. The easiest duty is too hard, and the weakest 
enemy too strong for us, unless Christ assist us. It is upon his 
wings alone that we can mount to heaven, in an ordinance, and 
through his power, that we do improve any providence. It is not 
the standing army of habitual grace that will make the Christian 
a conqueror, he must daily t?e recruited with auxiliaries from 
heaven. The watchman doth not only make the watch, and set 
every wheel in its right place, but he or some other must wind it 
up daily, or it will stand still. Exercising grace is as requisite to 
our spiritual motion, as habitual grace to our spiritual being. The 
razor, though it be never so sharp or keen at first, if it be used, 
must be often at the whetstone, or it will grow dull. 

The wife that hath frequent occasions for money for provision for 
herself, and children, and servants, and for clothes and all family 
necessaries, and not a penny but what comes out of her husband s 
purse, and he, fearing she should be prodigal, lets her have money 
by driblets, but from hand to mouth, must be always going or 
sending to him, or otherwise starve. The shopkeeper that drives a 
great trade in the country must go often to London, or abroad in 


other parts, to fetch in commodities. The Israelites in the wilder 
ness were maintained for water by the rock. They drank of the 
rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ. The rock fol 
lowed them ; they did not only drink of it at first, but had a con 
stant morning s draught, and drank of it often in the day ; it ran in 
a stream after them, and every day supplied them. It is no marvel 
the apostle commandeth us, Pray continually, pray without ceasing, 
pray evermore, when he knew all our living was got by begging, 
that all our supplies must be from above, and we must expect no 
thing without asking. Ordinances are the food of the soul. As 
cows afford us both milk and beef, so ordinances are milk to babes, 
and meat for strong men. Our God is the fountain of spiritual as 
well as of natural life. It is said most truly, in respect of a natural 
life, In him (meaning God) we live, and move, and have our 
being, Acts xvii. 28. We live. Now as God hath made the 
heart the spring of natural life, and hath drawn from thence a 
multitude of arteries to carry the vital spirits through the whole 
body, and disperse life through every part of it ; so he hath made 
the Mediator the spring of spiritual life, and his ordinances the 
arteries to convey life to every part of the soul. In whom we 
move/ As God hath from the head derived manifold sinews to 
carry out thence the animal spirits, and with them the faculty both 
of sense and motion over all ; so the Lord, from Jesus Christ the 
Church s head, through the sinews of sacred duties, conveyeth 
spiritual sense and motion to all his members. And have our 
being. To preserve our being, he hath made the liver a fountain of 
blood, and from thence drawn the veins to convey it over the body, 
to the nourishment of the whole. Ordinances are those veins which 
convey and disperse gracious spirits over the whole new man. 
With him is the well of life, Ps. xxxvi. 9. 

Sacred duties are as needful every day for our souls as food and 
raiment for our bodies. The body must continually be repaired 
with nourishment, because it is continually consumed by our 
natural heat. Yesterday s bread will not keep the labourer to-day 
in strength and vigour to go through with his work ; he must have 
new diet, or he cannot hold out. Friend, I must bespeak thee, as 
the angel to Elijah, Up and eat, for the journey is too great for 
thee. Up and be doing in prayer, and Scripture, and holy ordin 
ances, that thou mayest feed and receive spiritual nourishment ; 
for otherwise the business of exercising thyself to godliness, the 
duties required of thee to be performed, the graces to be exer 
cised, the temptations to be resisted, the deadly enemies to be 


conquered, will be too hard for thee, the journey will be too great 
for thee. The Amalekite, by long fasting, grew faint and unable 
to go his journey. If the bringing stream be not as large as the 
running stream, the bottom will quickly be without water. The 
greatest stock will lessen apace, if a man spend daily on it, though 
but in a small quantity, if he hath no way of getting. Those that 
are under-kept, and called to hard labour, can never perform what 
is required of them. The spirits daily are decaying, and if not 
daily renewed by proper nourishment we perish. The vessels that 
are always leaking, must stand constantly under the conduit to get 
what they lose. When Jonathan, through fasting, became faint, 
he tasted a little honey, and his eyes were enlightened. How 
much more/ said he, if haply the people had eaten liberally of the 
spoil of their enemies which they found ? for had there not been 
now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines, 1 Sam. xiv. 
29, 30. The more a Christian mindeth divine ordinances, in 
obedience to God s precept, and affiance on God s promise, the 
more strength he shall receive to conquer his spiritual adversaries, 
and to discharge the several duties incumbent on him. The truth 
is, our religious life, our heavenly flame, is like a straw fire to 
malt, which must constantly be tended and fed with fuel, or it 
will go out. There is not more need of the shepherd s constant and 
daily tending his weak sheep in the summer season, than of the 
saint s daily regarding his precious soul. As trees being well 
ordered with skill and diligence, they become abundantly fruitful ; 
but being left to themselves, without culture and care, they bring 
forth little or no fruit. So Christians, by a diligent use of means, 
abound in the fruits of righteousness, but neglecting ordinances, 
they decline and decay. 

The heart of man is, like Keuben, unstable as water, and is 
stablished with grace, Heb. x., which cannot be expected, but 
through the means of grace. The viol, that with every change of 
weather is apt to be out of tune, must be constantly hung within 
scent of the fire. Whilst we are in the care of this world we are 
full of damps, and therefore need all means of quickening. Our 
hearts are like clocks, twice a day at least the plummets must be 
pulled up, or their motion and course will be hindered. 

Indeed, as God could preserve our bodies without food or any 
sustenance by his omnipotent power, as he did Moses and Elijah forty 
days together, but he will not where he affordeth ordinary means ; 
so he could preserve our souls in life without ordinances, but he 
will not where his providence giveth us opportunity to enjoy them. 



Header, I must say to thee, as Jacob to the patriarchs, Behold, I 
have heard that there is corn in Egypt ; get you down thither and 
buy for us, that we may live and not die. Behold, thou hast 
heard there is spiritual food in heaven ; the son of Joseph hath his 
granaries full of corn, go thou thither daily by sacred duties, that 
thy soul may live and not die. There is a sensible decay of the. 
strength in husbandmen, whose work is great, upon one day s 
abstinence. If tradesmen grow careless of their business, and 
neglect their shops, they quickly decay in their estates. When 
Christians grow careless of duties, and neglect their closets, it is no 
wonder that they decline in their spiritual stocks. When the 
moon hath her open side downward she decreaseth, but when her 
open side is upwards towards heaven she increaseth in light. 
There is no growing in grace and holiness, but by conversing with 
heaven. Grace, like armour, may easily be kept bright if it be 
daily used, but if it hang by the wall, it will quickly rust, and cost 
much time and pains to scour. 

Much fasting takes away the stomach ; and omission of closet 
duties at one time makes a man more backward to them, and dead 
about them, another time. When a scholar hath played the truant 
one day, it is difficult to bring him to school the next day. Fear 
and shame both keep him back ; when he comes thither he is the 
more untoward about his book. Our deceitful hearts, after they 
have discontinued holy exercises and are broken loose, are like 
horses gotten out of their bounds, not found or brought back with 
out much trouble. When an instrument is daily played on, it is 
kept in order ; but if it be but a while neglected and cast into a 
corner, the strings are apt to break, the frets to crack, the bridge 
to fly off, and no small trouble and stir is requisite to bring it into 
order again. 

We read of the Jews daily sacrifice, Luke i. 10, which was morn 
ing and evening, Exod. xxix. 38, and xxx. 7, 8. David was for 
morning, and evening, and noontide, Ps. Iv. 17. Daniel was three 
times a day upon his knees, Dan. vi. 10. 

In the morning the saints were at their devotion, which is thought 
to be the third hour, when the Holy Ghost descended on the 
apostles, Acts ii. 15. This is deemed to be our ninth hour. 

The middle or mid-day prayer was termed the sixth hour, which 
is our twelfth, John iv. 6. At this time Peter went up to the 
house-top to pray, Acts x. 9. 

The evening prayer was at the ninth hour, which is our three 
o clock in the afternoon. Now Peter and John went up together 


into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour, Acts 
iii. 1. So Cornelius, Acts. x. 30, At the ninth hour I prayed in 
my house/ Some think the primitive Christians had these three 
hours in such regard and use that thence they were termed canoni 
cal hours. David tells us, Seven times a day do I praise thee, 
because of thy righteous judgments, Ps. cxix. 164 ; 1 Thes. v. 17. 
The more frequent a Christian is at holy duties, (supposing he doth 
not make the commands of God to interfere, and neglect his calling 
and family, when his presence is required in them,) the more 
thriving he shall be in his spiritual trade. The oftener we go to 
the fountain or river, the more water we bring thence. As runners 
in a race do daily diet their bodies, and use exercise to keep them 
selves in breath, that they may be more able and active when they 
run for the wager ; whereas, if they should neglect it, they would 
grow pursy and short-winded, and unlikely to hold out when they 
run for the garland ; so Christians, who would hold out to the end, 
and so run as to obtain, must be daily feeding and dieting their 
souls, and renewing their strength by these means which God hath 

As the sun is the cause of life and growth in vegetables, so is 
the Son of God the efficient cause of motion and growth in Chris 
tians; where the Son is present in any soul, there is spiritual 
motion and growth, budding, and blosoming, and bearing fruit ; but 
when the sun withholds and withdraws, when this sun departs, the 
soul is at a stand. Now, ordinances are the means whereby the 
Mediator conveys heat, and life, and growth to men. 


Means ivhereby Christians may exercise themselves to godliness. 
Frequent meditation of the day of judgment. A daily examina 
tion of our hearts, avoiding the occasions and suppressing the 
beginnings of sin. 

Seventhly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, meditate 
much upon the day of judgment. They will prepare themselves 
best to the battle who always hear the sound of the last trump in 
their ears. Zisca, that valiant captain of the Bohemians, com 
manded his countrymen to flay off his skin, when he was dead, 
and to make a drum of it. Which use, saith he, when ye go to 
battle, and the sound of it will drive away the Hungarians or any 


of your enemies. Could the Christian but, with Jerome, hear the 
sound of the last trumpet in his ears at all times, it would encourage 
him in his spiritual warfare, and enable him to fight manfully, and 
to cause the enemies of his salvation to flee before him. He who 
can frequently, by faith, view the Judge sitting on his throne of 
glory, hear the last trumpet sounding ; behold the dead raised, the 
books opened, the godly examined by the covenant of grace, all 
their duties, graces, services, sufferings publicly declared, approved, 
and rewarded ; the wicked tried by the law of works ; all their 
natural defilements, actual transgressions in thought, word, and 
deed which ever they were guilty of, with their crimson bloody 
circumstances, openly revealed, their persons righteously sentenced 
to the vengeance of the eternal fire, and that sentence speedily, 
without the least favour or delay, executed on them, will surely 
loathe sin as that which brings him certain shame and torment, and 
follow after holiness, which will be his undoubted credit and com 
fort at that day. The apostle, writing to the Jews concerning the 
terror of that day, how the heavens must pass away with a great 
noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also and 
the works therein burnt up, makes this use of it, Seeing, then, that 
all those things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought 
we to be in all holy conversation and godliness ? 2 Pet. iii. 11, 14. 
And again, Wherefore, beloved, seeing ye look for these things, be 
diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and 
blameless. He had need to be exact in his conversation, who must 
undergo so strict an examination. Well may the time of judgment 
be called a day, for it will declare and manifest the worth of grace 
and holiness, which in the night of this life is not observed. 

Ah, who can conceive the value which the vilest wretch on earth 
will put upon holiness at that day ! Then grace will be grace indeed, 
and godliness will be godliness indeed. Then they who mock at 
saints for their purity and strictness, and look upon sanctity but as 
hypocrisy, and the acting of a part to] cozen the world with, and 
think it is enough to put God off with a few prayers now and then, 
when their pastimes and lusts will give them leave, will call to 
believers, as the foolish to the wise virgins, Give us of your oil, for 
our lamps are gone out ; then the graceless princes and potentates 
of the world will throw their crowns and diadems at the feet of the 
meanest Christian for a drachm of his grace and holiness. 

The apostle, speaking of that day, puts the question, Where 
shall the sinner and ungodly appear ? 1 Pet. iv. 18. Now, indeed, 
those that scoff, and deride, and scorn at holiness and holy ones, may 


appear before great men in many parts of the world with praise 
and applause. Now they may appear in the country, and be re 
spected of their drunken, atheistical, brutish neighbours, and pro 
bably be the more honoured for their opposition to the spirit of 
grace and holiness ; but then, where will the sinner and ungodly 
appear ? Not in heaven, for that is no sty for swine, no kennel for 
dogs, no jail for malefactors, no place for such unholy, God-pro 
voking persons. Into it can in no wise enter that which is defiled 
or unclean. Such a palace is not fit for beasts ; snakes, and ser 
pents, and adders are more fit for the bosom and embraces of men, 
than such men for the bosom and embraces of God. Heaven cast 
out wicked angels, and will not take in wicked men ; where shall 
they then appear ? Not on earth, for that will be burnt up with 
fire. Their houses and places must know them no more for ever. 
The earth groaned under their weight whilst it bare them, but now 
is eased of such loads, and shall not be pestered with such plagues 
again. But where shall they appear ? Not before Christ the judge 
with any comfort, for him they have derided, buffeted, crucified ; 
they have rejected his laws, trampled on his blood, told him to his 
face that they will not have him to reign over them. But where 
will they appear ? Not before the saints, for they have maligned, 
oppressed, imprisoned, persecuted them as a company of cheats and 
hypocrites. Oh, where shall the sinner and ungodly appear ? 

1. Consider the holiness of the Judge. He is the holy Jesus. 
He loveth righteousness, and hateth iniquity, Ps. xlv. What will 
the ungodly sinner do when he shall be judged by the holy Saviour? 
Who can stand before this holy God ? 1 Sam. vi. 20. His eyes are 
like a flame of fire, and so he knoweth the most secret works of 
darkness. His law is very pure, and observeth and condemneth the 
least spots, the least defilement ; and how will unclean ones endure 
to be judged for their everlasting lives and deaths by such a law ? 
His throne is a white throne ; and how will the black sinner do to 
stand before this white throne ? 

Header, thou hast need to be a faithful and loyal subject, if thou 
wouldst then be owned and acknowledged by thy sovereign. How 
exact should he be in his life, who must be tried by so holy a law ! 
If thou callest him Father, who without respect of persons will 
judge every man according to his works, pass the time of thy 
sojourning here in fear, 1 Pet. i. 17. 

2. Consider the strictness of his proceedings. Every thought, 
word, and action shall be revealed, examined, and weighed in the 
balance of the sanctuary : There is nothing hid that shall not be 


revealed, nor secret that shall not be made known. The thoughts 
of thy heart shall then be as visible as the features of thy face : 
When God shall judge the secrets of men s hearts by my gospel, 
Born. ii. 16. All thy words will then be as audible as if thou 
hadst had a voice to reach every child of Adam, both alive and 
dead : Verily I say unto you, that of every idle word ye shall give 
an account at the day of Christ, Mat. xii. 36. Every action of 
thine will then be legible, not only to God, as it is at this day, but 
also to angels and men : We must all appear before the judgment 
seat of Christ, to give an account of all things done in the body, 
whether they be good, or whether they be evil/ 2 Cor. v. 10. All 
the works of darkness will then be brought to light. We must 
all appear, ffravepwdrjvai, not only be present in person, and not 
by a proxy, but be laid open and manifest, be transparent, so the 
word signifieth, to give an account of everything done, &c., to 
render a reason of every individual thought, word, and deed 
what was the principle from which we acted, what was the rule 
by which we acted, what was the end for which we acted. When 
Benjamin s sack was opened, the silver cup appeared. On that 
fair day all men s packs will be opened, and then it will be known 
what ware they carry about with them. 

Hence some have conjectured that it will not be a short time, 
nor the judgment soon passed over. It is called a day, but not in 
relation to our natural or artificial days, for Christ, judging as man 
in his human nature, by his divine power, will probably employ a 
far greater time in searching into, and publicly revealing, every 
man s condition and conversation. Though I am not of their 
opinions who say it will be precisely a thousand years, because it 
is said, A thousand years are in thy sight but as one day, yet I 
judge it to be taken indefinitely ; and, as Augustine saith, 1 that the 
day of judgment shall begin is certain, but when it shall end is 
uncertain. I find two divines, eminent both for grace and learning 
in their generations, speaking : one saith, I humbly conceive that 
the day of judgment shall not be passed over in an instant, but 
shall be of long continuance ; for if Christ should judge only as 
God, he could despatch it in a moment ; but he, judging as man, 
it must be after the manner of men, that the creature may under 
stand, admire, and approve what is done. The other saith, It must 
take up some large quantity of time to manifest all the secret sins 
of men, and therefore it may be made evident, both from Scripture 

1 Per quot dies hoc judicium extendatur incertum est. Scripturarum more diem 
poni solcre pro tempore nemo nescit. Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib. xx. cap. 1. 


and reason, that the day of Christ s kingly office, in judging the 
world, shall last haply longer than the day of Christ s private 
administration now in governing the world. 

3. Consider the weight of the sentence. It is called the eternal 
judgment, because the sentence then pronounced shall never be 
reversed, but stand for ever. In this world God judgeth men 
sometimes mediately, sometimes immediately, which is the first 
judgment, from which men may appeal by repentance to his mercy- 
seat ; but this the last judgment, once for all, once for ever, in 
which men receive their final, their eternal doom, John xi. 24. 
Here Jacob appeals from Laban to a higher tribunal, Gen. xxxi. 
53 ; and David from Saul to the King of kings, The Lord judge 
between me and thee, 1 Sam. xxiv. 12; Ps. xvii. 2; and Paul 
appeals from Festus to Caesar, I stand at Cesar s judgment seat, 
Acts xxv. 10. But then there can be no appeal to a higher court, 
no writ of error can be brought, no arrest of judgment, no second 
hearing obtained. The sinner condemned to eternal death then is 
gone for ever : no pardon, no, not so much as a reprieve can be 
procured for one hour. The saint, absolved and declared an heir of 
eternal life, is blessed for ever ; he shall be beyond all fear, all 
doubts in himself; above all shot, all opposition from others. In 
this life Nineveh was threatened, Nineveh repented, and Nineveh 
was spared. The sentence pronounced was not executed, at least 
it was respited ; but then every sinner will repent, weep, and wail, 
but repentance will be hid from the eyes of the Judge ; all their 
tears will be in vain. When they are cast, then they are gone for 

To provoke thee to holiness, 

4. Consider the felicity of the godly at that day. Oh, with what 
joy will they lift up their heads when that day of their redemption 
is come ! This life is the day of their oppression and persecution, 
but that day will be the day of their redemption. At this day 
they are troubled and vexed with a tempting devil, and deceitful 
hearts, and false, proud, unbelieving flesh, but that will be the day 
of their redemption from them all. No wonder they love the ap 
pearing of Christ, and look and long for his appearing, when it will 

r be the day of their redemption, and time of their refreshing from 
the presence of the Lord. When thousands and millions shall howl 
and lament ; when the orator will be silenced, and have his mouth 
stopped ; when the soldier, that durst venture into the mouth of 
the cannon, and dare death itself, shall play the coward, and seek 
for any hole to hide himself in ; when the captains, and kings, and 


nobles, shall call to the rocks to fall on them, and the mountains 
to cover them from the presence of the Lord, and the wrath of the 
Lamb, even then the godly shall sing and rejoice. 

(1.) Their godliness will then be mentioned to their eternal honour. 
As God hath a bag for men s sins, ( Thou sealest up mine iniquities 
in a bag, ) so he hath a book for their services : A book of remem 
brance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and 
thought upon his name. Then all their prayers, and tears, their 
watchings, fastings, faith, love, zeal, patience, alms, imprisonment, 
loss of goods, name, liberty, life for Christ and the gospel, will be 
manifested to their honour, and praise, and glory at the coming of 
Christ, 1 Pet. i. 7 ; Mat. xxv. 34. 

(2.) Their names will be then vindicated. With the resurrection 
of bodies there shall also be a resurrection of names. Now, indeed, 
the throats of wicked men are open sepulchres, wherein the credit 
of the godly is buried. Joseph is an adulterer, Nehemiah a traitor, 
Jeremiah a rebel against the king, Paul a mover of sedition, a pes 
tilent fellow, and one that turned Christian for spite, because the 
high priest would not give him his daughter in marriage ; but when 
the sea, and death, and hell shall give up their dead, then shall the 
throats, the open sepulchres of wicked men, give up. the names of 
the godly : Then their righteousness shall be cleared as the sun, 
and their uprightness as the noon-day. 

(3.) Their persons shall be then publicly acquitted. They shall 
be cleared by public proclamation before God, angels, and men. 
Hence it is said, Their sins shall be blotted out, when the time 
of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord. The 
sentence of absolution passed in their conscience by the Spirit at 
this day is sweet, and puts more joy into their hearts than if all 
the crowns and sceptres of this world had befallen them ; but oh 
how comfortable will it be to be declared just by the Judge him 
self before the whole world at that solemn and imperial day ! They 
may then ring that challenge, Who shall lay anything to the 
charge of God s elect ? Horn. viii. 33 ; and none will accept it, or 
take up the gauntlet. Who? Shall God, whose children and 
chosen they are ? No ; it is God that justifieth. Shall the Judge ? 
No ; it is his undertaken work to present them to the Father with 
out spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. He hath washed them in 
his own blood, and made them as white as innocent Adam or 
angels. He was judged for them, and will not pass judgment 
against them. He cannot condemn them, but he must condemn 
himself, for they are his members, his body, his brethren, bone of 


his bone, and flesh of his flesh. Shall the law ? No ; they have 
fully answered all its demands, superabundantly satisfied it through 
their surety, both in perfect obedience to all its precepts, and under 
going its punishment. What the law saith, either in regard of 
commanding complete subjection, or cursing for the omission of it, 
it saith to them that are under the law ; but they are not under 
the law, but under grace. Shall conscience ? No ; next to God 
and Christ, it is their best friend. As Christ pleads for them to his 
Father, so conscience pleads for them to themselves : This is their 
rejoicing, the testimony of good consciences, that in simplicity and 
godly sincerity they had their conversations in this world/ 2 Cor. 
i. 12. Shall Satan ? No ; the accuser of the brethren will be then 
cast down, and his place will be found no more in heaven ; then, 
then those blessed promises will be performed, The seed of the 
woman shall break the serpent s head, and the God of peace shall 
tread Satan under your feet. 

(4.) The saint s happiness will be then perfected, and he shall 
never know more what sin or sorrow meaneth, or what want of 
God s favour, or doubt of Christ s love, or defect of joy and comfort 
meaneth. The Christian hath so much laid out upon him in this 
world, vocation, adoption, pardon, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost, 
hopes of glory, that, in the worst condition that men and devils can 
plunge him into, he finds cause to say, Yet God is good to Israel, 
to them that are of a clean heart; but then, when he shall enjoy 
all that is laid up for him, and know the full extent of God s pro 
mises to him, the all of Christ s purchase for him, and the utmost 
reward of his piety, then surely he will cry out with the psalmist, 
how great is that goodness which thou hast laid up for them 
that fear thee, which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee 
before the sons of men ! Clemens Alexandrinus makes mention 
of a place in Persia where there were three hills ; when people came 
to the first, they heard a clashing of armour ; when they came to 
the second, they heard a confused noise ; when to the third, nothing 
but songs of triumph. At the day of the saint s conversion, he 
comes to the first hill, then he heareth a clashing of armour, listing 
himself under the captain of his salvation, and proclaiming open 
war against the world, flesh, and wicked one. At the day of death 
he comes to the second hill, a confused noise ; his friends are weep 
ing and grieving, his wife and children are mourning and bemoan 
ing their loss ; though his soul be rejoicing to think of the rest to 
which it is going, yet the flesh sweateth, panteth, is pierced and 
pained. At the day of judgment he comes to the third hill, where 


he heareth nothing but songs of triumph Victoria, Victoria, hal 
lelujahs, salvation, honour, glory, praise to the Lord, and to the 
Larnb for ever ! At that day of judgment the whole world shall 
see and say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous ; then shall 
the wicked return and discern a difference between them that fear 
God, and them that fear him not. Then grace will appear in all 
its embroidery and glory on that day of its coronation, when the 
worst in hell shall admire and adore it. Now holiness hath a won 
derful disadvantage, partly by the persecutions, afflictions, bonds, 
and imprisonments that attend it, and chiefly from the darkness of 
men s understanding, and the weakness of their eyes, they are not 
able to view the thousandth part of its comeliness ; but then holiness 
shall be freed from that black guard of hell that dogs her to destroy 
her, and then the eyes of all the world shall be strengthened so 
much as to behold her amiableness ; then she shall be owned, ho 
noured, acknowledged by God, angels, and all the children of 
Adam ; then she shall be attended, not with mulcts, and penalties, 
and bonds, and fetters, but crowns, and sceptres, and palms, and 
kingdoms; and then, oh then, how lovely, how beautiful, will she 
be indeed ! 

5. To affrighten thee from sin, consider the misery of sinners at 
that day. It is called the day of perdition of ungodly men. Sin 
will be sin indeed at that day. When sin shall be stripped naked 
of the favour and countenance of great men, of the preferments, 
and advantages, and riches, and honours, and offices with which it 
is clothed here below, and instead thereof be invested with fire, 
and flames, and brimstone, and blackness of darkness, and whips, 
and serpents, and inconceivable and eternal torments, what an 
ugly, loathsome strumpet will she be, even in the eyes of them that 
now dote on her, commit whoredom with her, and sacrifice their 
strength, and time, and estates, and souls, and God, and Christ, 
and heaven, and all to her ! Then the drunkard will find his 
liquor more bitter than wormwood, when he shall have a cup of 
pure wrath, without the least mixture of mercy, brought to him, 
and he forced to take it down, though there be eternity to the 
bottom. Then the persecutor of God s people shall find that it 
had been better to have been rotting in a ditch, or boiling in a 
furnace of lead, than to have spent his time in wronging the poor 
est, meanest member of Christ, when God shall recompense tribu 
lation to them that persecute his people, and to them that are 
persecuted, rest and peace ; then every sinner will believe and feel 
what now, though God himself tell him, he will be an infidel in, 


that it is an evil and bitter thing to depart away from the living 
God. The wicked is reserved, as the beast for the slaughter-day, 
to the day of destruction ; he shall be brought forth, as the con 
demned malefactor on execution-day, at the day of slaughter. Ah 
how dreadful will the sinner s doom be then ! The tribunal of the 
Judge will be a tribunal of fire ; he shall come in flaming fire, to 
render vengeance, &c. ; the law by which he will try them shall be 
a law of fire, or a fire of law, Deut. xxxiii. 2 ; the Judge himself 
to them will be a consuming fire, Heb. xii. 29 ; and the judgment 
which he will denounce against them will be, Go, ye cursed, into 
everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels for ever. Ah 
who can dwell in everlasting burnings ? who can abide devouring 
flames ? Who can imagine the shame that will cover their faces, 
the horror that will fill their hearts, the terrors, and tortures, and 
torments that must seize them for ever ? If Judah was so ashamed 
when he saw Tamar s signet and staff, the remembrances of his 
sin, how will they be confounded when all their revellings and 
roarings, their chambering and wantonness, their cursing and 
swearing, and all their sins shall be opened before all the world ! 
If Herod was so affrighted when he supposed that John was risen 
from the dead that the Baptist s ghost, by walking in his conscience, 
robbed him of all comfort what affrightment will possess them to 
see the saints whom they have nicknamed, disgraced, imprisoned, 
and it may be murdered, risen from the dead, owned and honoured 
by the Judge, and the chief favourites in the heavenly court ? If 
Saul was so troubled when he did hear Christ call to him out of 
heaven, that he fell to the ground, what trouble, what tribulation, 
will possess them whom he shall curse with a bitter curse, and call 
to devils to seize on, and associate with, and prey upon, for ever 
and ever ? The saint shall find mercy, the sweetest mercy, in that 
day of judgment; but the sinner shall have judgment, the sorest, 
the most cutting, killing judgment, without the least drop of 
mercy. If the day when God gave the law was so dreadful, full of 
thunderings, and lightnings, and fearful noises, that the people 
cried out, Let not God speak to us, lest we die, and Moses him 
self did exceedingly quake and fear ; and if the day were so dread 
ful when the Son of God s infinite love bare the curse of the law, 
that the rocks were rent, the earth trembled, the sun was darkened ; 
how dreadful will that day be when God shall make inquisition 
into, and deal with the vessels of wrath for the breach of the law I 
Who can abide that day of his coming ? who shall stand when he 
appeareth ? Well may it be called the great and terrible day of 


the Lord Jesus. Well might the wise man, when he had seem 
ingly laid the reins on the young man s back, and given him leave 
to run on in the way of his own heart and eyes, pull him in with 
this curb, Remember that for all these things, God will bring 
thee to judgment. 

When Sapores, king of Persia, had raised a violent persecution 
against the Christians, Usthazanes, an ancient nobleman, and a 
Christian, who in the king s minority had the government of the 
people, was so terrified that he denied the faith ; but sitting at the 
court-gate, when Simeon, an old bishop and holy person, was lead 
ing to prison, he rose up to salute him ; but the good bishop, frown 
ing on him, turned away his head with indignation ; upon which 
Usthazanes fell a-weeping, went into his chamber, put off his 
courtly attire, and burst out into this speech, Ah, how shall I 
appear before the great God of heaven, whom I have denied, when 
Simeon, but a man, will not endure to look upon me ! If he frown, 
how will God frown when I come to appear at his tribunal ! 
Upon these considerations he repented of his apostasy, assumed 
courage, and became a glorious martyr for Christ. If Felix, a 
heathen, trembled when Paul reasoned of judgment to come nay, 
if the very devils so far believe that day as to tremble at the 
thoughts of it well may the consideration of that day make 
Christians tremble at the thoughts of sin, and not dare thereby to 
treasure up wrath upon their heads against that day of wrath, and 
the declaration of the righteous judgment of God. 

Reader, at this day think much of that day of judgment ; hereby 
thou wilt be stirred up to judge thyself, to repent of sin, to ensure 
an interest in Christ the Judge, to keep a good conscience, and so 
to think, speak, and act as one that must be judged by the law of 
liberty, 1 Cor. xi. 31 ; Acts iii. 19, and xvii. 31 ; 2 Peter iii. 11 ; 
Eccles. xii. 14; James ii. 12 ; Acts xxiv. 16. 

Eighthly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, call thy 
self often to account. This is a special help to holiness : I con 
sidered my ways, and turned my feet to thy testimonies/ saith 
David, Ps. cxix. 59. A man that goeth out of his way will continue 
wandering, if his mind be occupied about other things, and he 
consider not what he is doing, and whither he is going. The 
Christian that is careless of his carriage, and seldom compareth his 
heart and life with the divine commands, to observe how they 
agree or disagree, will never order his conversation aright. When 
a clock is out of order we take it to pieces, and search where the 
fault lieth, knowing that one wheel amiss may hinder the going of 


the whole clock. Our hearts are every day out of order ; our work 
must be to take them to pieces by examination, and to see where 
the great fault is. Seneca s sober young man, ita laborat, ita ludit, 
ita ccenat, ita potat, ita loquitur, ita vivit, ut qui ephemerides 
patri est approbaturus ; So labours, so playeth, so eateth, so 
drinketh, so speaks, and so lives, as one that is daily to be account 
able for all to his father. He that would keep his spiritual estate 
must keep his account-books well ; the neglect of this hath been 
the breaking of many tradesmen. When shopkeepers live high, 
far above their incomes, and for want of searching into their books 
are ignorant whether their gains will allow such large expenses, it 
is no wonder if they prove worse than naught. They who expect 
the coming of great and severe strangers, who will observe narrowly 
how their house lieth, and how their vessels are kept, and publish 
it either to their credit or discredit, according as they find, will 
keep their houses in order, sweep them clean, have their pewter 
bright and clear, and all things exactly in their places. When the 
Christian looks every night for the coming of God s deputy, his 
conscience, to spy and search into his heart and life, how clean and 
holy both have been kept all the day, it will be a special means to 
make him watchful over his ways, and exact in his carriage and 
conversation. Bee-masters tell us, that they are the best hives 
which make the greatest noise ; so that conscience is the best which 
makes the greatest noise in daily reasonings and debates before its 
own bar. 

Examination is the quickest way to bring the erring sheep home 
to the fold. Honest men will examine their weights and measures 
by the standard, that if they be defective they may be mended. 
The honest heart will examine its thoughts, its words, its actions, 
by the royal law, that their unsuitableness to its strictness and lati 
tude may be repented of, and to the utmost of its power reformed. 
Let us search and try our ways. For what cause ? What will 
be the issue of such a scrutiny ? And turn again to the Lord, 
Lam. iii. 40. What man will seek to a physician, or accept his 
advice, or take his prescriptions, who doth not know himself dis 
tempered, and feel his disease ? It is examination of our hearts 
and lives, by the holy and pure law of God, that gives the know 
ledge of our spiritual sickness, and helpeth us to feel it, to prize 
our physician, and thankfully and heartily to accept his directions 
for our cure. 

It is observed of the Dutchmen, that they keep their banks, not 
withstanding the threats of the insulting ocean, with little cost and 


labour, because they look narrowly to them, and stop them up in 
time. If there be but a small breach, they stop it presently, and 
hereby save much charge and trouble. Frequent examination will 
do this courtesy for the Christian ; it will maintain his peace with 
little charge and trouble comparatively. As soon as any breach is 
made by sin, that arch-makebait, between God and the soul, it will 
help the Christian to run presently to Christ, to heal and make it 
up in heaven by his merits ; and in the soul, by his purifying and 
pacifying Spirit. 

The counsel which the philosopher gave the young men at 
Athens may suitably and profitably be applied to Christians, That 
they should often view themselves in a glass, that if they were fair 
and well-featured, they should do such things as were beseeming 
their amiable shape ; but if foul and ill-favoured, that then they 
should labour to salve the body s blemishes by the beauties of a 
mind accoutred with the ornaments of virtue and good literature. 

Examination is a special preservative against sin. No children 
are more bold to defile themselves, and to play with dirt, or rake 
in kennels, than those who know their parents are so foolishly fond, 
like David of Adonijah, that they never displease them at any time 
in saying, Why hast thou done so ? The child that expecteth to 
be reckoned with at night will be careful how he dirtieth his clothes 
in the day. 

Examination will help the Christian, if not to hinder a coming 
disease, yet to prevent its growing and increase. 

The ship that leaketh is more easily emptied at the beginning 
than afterwards ; the bird is easily killed in the egg, but when once 
hatched and fledged, we may kill it when we can catch it. A fre 
quent reckoning with ourselves, will pluck sin up before it is rooted 
in the soul. 

Examination will help the Christian that hath fallen and bruised 
himself to heal the wound whilst it is fresh, before it is festered. 
This one advantage, if there were no more, is extraordinary. As 
the sting of a bee, though the bee be fled, works itself into the flesh 
deeper, and diffuseth its venom more strongly, causing the greater 
pain, that every man, unless foolish, will speedily pull it out, lest 
he increase his own anguish ; truly so doth sin ; though the honey, 
the pleasure of it, be gone, yet the sting remains ; and the longer it 
is before it is pulled out by faith and repentance, the deeper it works 
itself into the soul, and the more sorrow it will put us to, in this or 
the other world. 

It is examination at night that brings the soul to mourn for and 


repent of its failings in the day. It is like the tree which Ctesias 
speaks of in describing India, that besides fruit, distilleth certain 
tears, of which are made precious amber ; or as the drops of the 
vine, it is excellent against the leprosy of sin. Ephesus would 
never repent till they had examined and considered whence they 
had fallen. 

When sin is admitted into the soul, and as a thief in the night 
stole in at unawares when the eye of the soul s watchfulness was 
fallen asleep, examination will light the candle of the word, and 
search the house narrowly, and find out this ill guest ; and before 
it hath done so much mischief as it intended, apprehend it, indict, 
condemn, and execute it. 

Examination every day is like purging the body at the beginning 
of a distemper, which takes it before it hath habituated itself, and 
so is much the more easily repelled. An enemy may much sooner 
be forced out of his holds, when he hath newly taken possession, 
than when he hath continued so long as to cast up his banks, make 
his ditches, placed his guns, and fortified them. After we have 
been foiled by our spiritual enemies, and by examination find out 
the cause, it will make us more watchful at that gate at which they 
entered, and careful of that particular wherein they got the advan 
tage of us. As when David had received intelligence that the 
Ammonites had given his army some small defeat, he sends Joab 
word of the reason they went too near the city and wisheth 
him to make the battle more strong against the place, 2 Sam. xi. ; 
So examination finds out the reason of a Christian s defeat by 
Satan : either it was through self-confidence, or want of spiritual 
watchfulness, or love to some known sin, and helpeth the saint to 
bewail the cause of his defeat, and directeth him how to provide 
better against the next onset 

Frequent examination keepeth the conscience raw and tender, 
that the least touch of sin will be offensive and troublesome to it. 
When the heart is used to yield at a small willow, it will never be 
quiet under a great oak. Searching into our souls makes sin more 
loathsome to us. Whilst these filthy sinks are unstirred, they do 
but little disturb us or annoy us with their filthy savour, but when 
by examination we rake into them, their noisome stench ofiendeth 
us extremely, and shews us what need we have of cleansing. 

Examination every night will help the Christian to a good 
night s rest. How comfortably may he lie down who hath made 
all even with his Maker, and heard his everlasting Father bidding 
him good-night ! How quietly may he sleep who has his pardon 


under his pillow ! He needs not fear any officer to call him up at 
midnight, and attach him for any treasons or misdemeanours. 

It is said of Cato, that constantly at evening he would call to 
mind whatever he had seen, read, or done that day. 1 It was 
Pythagoras rule to his scholars, that they should no night suffer 
sleep to seize their senses till they had three times recalled the 
accidents and passages of the day. Oh what a shame is it that 
moralists, who had no true sense of the benefit of such a duty, 
should out-go the Christian in the performance of it ! that many 
persons should know the chronicles of other countries or kingdoms, 
some ages past, and yet not know the passages of their own souls 
one day past ! 

Header, if thou wouldst walk closely with God, and keep even 
with him, reckon daily with him, call thyself to a strict scrutiny : 
What do I ? How live I ? Where am I ? Is the work I do 
warrantable by the word or no ? Is my life the life of faith, of 
holiness, or no ? Am I in God s way, under his protection, or no ? 
Have I truth of grace, the power of godliness, or do I please myself 
with the form of it ? Do I thrive and increase in grace, or do I 
decay and decline ? Suppose I were to die this night, what ground 
have I to hope for heaven ? What assurance that I shall escape 
the power and rage of frightful devils ? What evidences have I 
that I am a new creature, engrafted into Christ, and thereby 
entitled to life and bliss ? Thus feel the pulse of thy soul, inquire 
into its state, visit it often, and see how it doth. 

Call thyself to an account for thy sins ; let heart and life sins, 
open and private sins, omissions, commissions, personal, relative, 
be all reckoned for. Ask thy soul, as Kebekah, Why am I thus ? 
Why am I so false to my God, so unfaithful to my covenants ? 
The heart is like a ditch, into which filth is continually running ; 
and therefore it behoveth thee, by examination, to be always empty 
ing it. The stable that is daily fouled must be daily cleansed ; 
the hands that are daily contracting dirt must be daily washed. 
Our souls are more polluted and diseased than our bodies; we 
have always a filthy issue of sin running, which we must be daily 
searching into and dressing, or our stench will make us loathsome 
to, and unfit for, any communion with God or his people. 

Call thyself to an account daily, for thy mercies; ask thyself, 
How much am I indebted to my God ? what privative, what positive 
mercies do I partake of? what old, what new, what night, what 
day, mercies ? what mercies at home, what abroad ? what personal, 

Cicer. de Senec. 


what domestics!, what national, mercies do I enjoy, or am a sharer 
in ? what bodily, what spiritual, mercies do I receive ? what time, 
what talents, have I to trade with and reckon for ? This will help 
the soul to be speedy and hearty in thankfulness, and force it to 
David s interrogation, What shall I render to the Lord for all his 
benefits ? What hot love should I return, what a holy life should 
I lead ? Do this daily ; it is much better to pay sums when they 
are little, than when they are large. Wise men that are able, find 
it the best way to pay ready money for their wares. Neglect 
herein causeth many mistakes and inconveniences, and many times 
differences, among friends. 

Having spoken to this particular in the sixth chapter, I shall 
say no more to it here, though, indeed, I judge it next to a new 
nature, not inferior to any means of godliness. 

Ninthly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, avoid the 
occasions of sin. He that would avoid the commission of sin, must 
avoid the occasions of sin. If we would not fall down the hill, we 
must beware of coming near the brow of it. Keep thee far from 
an evil matter. Children, which in frost venture upon the ice, 
may possibly be safe, but yet many times they break their limbs, 
and sometimes lose their lives. It is possible for a saint to come 
off safe from occasions of sin, but is very seldom seen. A fair 
booty makes many a man a thief, who otherwise might have lived 
honest. It was counted, therefore, a great part of wisdom in 
Alexander, when he had taken the beautiful daughters of Darius 
prisoners, not to see the fair ladies, lest their beauty should have 
enticed him to folly. The same word in Hebrew signifieth both 
an eye and a fountain, to shew that from the eye, as from a foun 
tain, sin doth too often flow. Job s practice was such, that he 
would not look on a maid lest he should lust after her; and David s 
prayer was, Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity. We 
take the wind of those that are infected with contagious diseases. 
The wise man gives notable counsel to men, if they would avoid 
drunkenness : Look not upon the wine when it is red, when it 
casteth its colour in the glass, Prov. xxiii. 31. When it laughs in 
thy face, then shut thine eyes, lest it steal into thy heart. We are 
ready to think, What hurt, what danger is there in beholding the 
wine in the glass, sparkling and brisky? But Solomon knew, 
that from looking on it, men come to like it, from liking to tasting, 
from tasting to a draught, from one draught to another, till the 
man is metamorphosed into a beast, Gen. xxxix. 10 ; Ps. cxix. 
37. The wise Socrates could advise men to beware of those meat$ 



which would entice men without hunger to eat, and those drinks 
which would entice a man without thirst to drink, knowing that, if 
men come within those traps and baits, they are easily taken. A 
guest may easily be kept out of the house at first, but if once 
entertained, it is hard to turn him out of doors. When a governor 
of a fort once comes to parley with the enemy that besiegeth him, 
there is great fear that the place will be surrendered. I have read 
of one, that, having a great mind to go to Rome, yet knowing it to 
be a corrupt place, and a corrupter of others, entered the city with 
his eyes close shut, neither would he be persuaded to see anything 
there but Peter s church, which he went to visit. Solomon per 
suades his son, if he should not be enticed by the harlot, that he 
would not come near her house : Remove thy way far from her, 
and come not near the door of her house, Prov. v. 8. 

He that carrieth always along with him a heart ready to 
break out into a flame, prone to all wickedness, had need to take 
heed of those bellows that will help to blow up the fire. I more 
fear, saith Luther, that which is within me, than that which is from 
without. When a distempered stomach comes to meet with toss 
ing waves, sickness ensueth, though the prime cause is not from 
the billows without, but choler within. Occasion and the heart 
are like Dinah and Shechem, if they meet, they usually part not till 
folly is committed. Those that desire to hinder the generation of I 
vice, that brat of hell, must keep the male, occasion, and the female, 
a wicked heart, asunder, one from the other. They who have 
bodies always ready to take infection, must be more careful of their i 
diet and company than others ; insensible vapours bring forth hor 
rible tempests : Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth ! 
The best heart is like a flint ; there is fire in it, though it doth not! 
appear ; occasion is the steel that fetcheth it forth, which, being let 
alone, would be quiet. Bees in winter, being sensible of their weak 
ness, keep their hives, and will not expose themselves to the sharp 
air and bitter frosts, lest thereby they sicken and die. Alas ! how 
weak is man, how unable to resist the occasions of sin ! no more 
than the hound can forbear pursuing the hare before his eyes, and 
therefore it concerns him to avoid them. A candle newly extin 
guished, will quickly be lighted again. Powder meeting with a 
light match presently takes fire. 

For this cause, it was ordained of God in the law of the Nazarite, , 
who did for a time specially consecrate himself to God, that besides 
his not coming to the dead, and suffering his hair to grow, he 
should abstain from these things: 1. From wine and strong drink. 


2. From the vinegar of wine or strong drink. 3. From any liquor 
of grapes, though it were but the water wherein they were steeped. 
4. From the green or moist grape. 5. From the dried grape or 
raisin. 6. From the husk or kernel of them, Num. vi. 3, 4. Had 
the Nazarite eaten but the skin of the grape or raisin, he had 
broken the law. Hereby the Holy Ghost would teach us that those 
who separate themselves from the world, to be in a special manner 
serviceable to the Lord, must avoid not only plain sin, but the 
appearance of sin, and all occasions of it, though we may look upon 
them but as the husks of grapes, to be of small moment, and little 
danger. Beza giveth this reason why the Levite, when he saw the 
man that fell among thieves, passed on fhe other side of the 
way. Ne cadaveris contactu pottueretur, Lest he should be defiled 
with the touch of the corpse. He would be so far from touching 
a dead carcase, that he would pass on the* other side of the 
way when he saw one dying : Enter not into the path of the 
wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not 
by it, (i.e., come not near it,) turn from it, and pass away Prov 
iv. 14, 15. 

He that will do all he may, will quickly do what he may not. 
tt is lawful to enjoy bodily pleasures and delights, but not to buy 
them with hazard to our souls. Soldiers in a garrison that venture 
a the outmost line, are often snapped up by those that besiege them. 
We sometimes, when in danger of a siege, burn down those houses 
in the skirts of the city which might be serviceable to us, when we 
sannot well defend them, lest they should prove helpful to our 
metnies against us. Theseus is said to cut off his golden locks, 
est his adversaries should in fight take hold of them. Even in 
;hings lawful, it is commendable for Christians to deny themselves, 
when there is danger, by taking liberty therein, of gratifying the 
enemies of their souls. Cotis, king of Thracia, manifested possibly 
nore prudence than prodigality in breaking the cupboard of curious 
glasses presented to him, lest, his nature being extremely choleric 
le should deal too severely with his servants in case they had broken 
my of them.i Aristotle hath a story of Satyrus, that being a pleader, 
ind knowing himself passionate, and in that drunkenness of the 
nind apt to commit many indecencies, and to rush into foul ex- 
ravagancies, he used to stop his ear with wax, lest the sense of ill 
anguage should move him to choler. 

Reader, as thou wouldst shun sin in the action, shun it in the 
rccasion ; remember thou earnest thatch about thee, and therefore 

1 Plutarch. 


oughtest to avoid the least sparks. 1 A little wind will drive a ship 
with the stream and tide, and a small temptation may carry thee 
that way which thy wicked heart inclines thee. A little pulling 
will draw a strong man whither he is willing to go ; it is safest, 
therefore, to be out of harm s way, and the greatest magnanimity 
to fly from the sight of such an enemy as sin is. He hath most 
true courage who makes a timely retreat before he be wounded. 


Means whereby Christians may exercise themselves to godliness. 
A humble frame; suppressing sin in itsjirst rise; the knowledge, 
of God. 

Tenthly, if thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, walk 
humbly with thy God. A tree, the more deeply it is rooted, the 
more it groweth under ground, the more upward in fruitfulness. 
The Christian will find that, by growing in humility, he shall thrive 
in godliness. He that turneth his eyes upward, is ready to stumble 
at every rub that lieth in his way ; but he that looketh down 
ward, seeth and avoideth those stones. A proud man is like a 
little man with a high-heeled shoe, raised thereby, in his own 
conceit, above others of the same rank, but it fits him with many 
a fall. The proud person giveth not glory to God, and therefore 
must not expect that God should give grace .to him ; but the 
humble man honoureth God, and sanctifieth his name, and sets 
the crown on his head, and so may expect, because God hath 
promised, that God should honour him, and sanctify his soul. Goa 
resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. He leaves 
those high hills barren, but makes the valleys to abound in corn. 
It is in vain to undertake to pour liquor into a full vessel, it will 
all run over; but the empty vessel will receive it. The proud 
person is full still of self, and so will not be thankful for an alms; 
but the humble man is empty, hungering and thirsting, and he 
shall be satisfied. Proud Vashti divorceth herself, and provoketh 
her lord to disown and disclaim her ; but humble Esther is thought 
worthy of a crown, and admitted into the king s embraces. The 
fig-tree that blooms not at all, brings forth most pleasant fruit, 
when the sallow, which hath most glorious palms, is barren. 
Hypocrisy kills the flower of grace at the root ; pride nips it in 
1 Quantum possumus a lubrico recedamus, &c. Sen. Epist. ad Lncil. 


the bud. Sincerity, like Paul, planteth grace ; humility, like 
Apollos, watereth it, and helpeth it to flourish. We may take 
notice all along in Scripture, that the humblest men were the 
holiest men; and those that were eminent for any -grace, were 
eminent for humility. The deepest streams were most silent, and 
made the least noise. Abraham was famous for faith, strong in 
faith, he believed in hope against hope, but lo, how lowly was he : 
Behold I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am but 
dust and ashes. So Jacob, named Israel by God himself, for his 
fervency and prevalency in prayer : I am less than the least of all 
thy mercies. David, that man after God s own heart : I am a worm 
and no man ; as a child weaned from his mother s breasts for 
humility. So Asaph, Ps. Ixxiii. 21 ; Agur, Prov. xxx. ; Isaiah, chap, 
vi. 3 ; the Virgin Mary, the centurion, the Syro-Phcenician, Paul, 
all, like full vessels, sounded not their own praise, and like stars, 
the higher they were in holiness, the less they appeared. When 
Elisabeth had conceived, she hid herself three months. They who 
are most fruitful in holiness, make the least boasting of it. Lord, 
said holy Hooper, I am hell, but thou art heaven ; I am full of sin, 
but thou a gracious God. Bradford would subscribe his letters, 
The most miserable, unthankful, hard-hearted sinner, John Brad 
ford. The greater the fire of grace, the less the smoke, or show of 
it, to the world. The weightiest wheat seeks for the lowest place, 
when the light chaff flieth in the air. 

When the sun is at the highest, the shadow is the least, and 
the more directly the sun shineth on us, the less our shadow is ; 
so the higher Christians are in God s favour, the lower they are in 
their own eyes. The more God exalted David, the more he debased 
himself : What am I, and what is my father s house, that thou 
hast brought me up hitherto ? and yet thou speakest of thy servant s 
house for a great while to come, 2 Sam. vii. 18, 19. This was 
David s language, when Nathan brought him word that God 
would build him a sure house. Those trees which spread much 
and grow low, near the ground, most commonly bring forth more 
and larger fruits than high trees, that aspire up into the air. The 
highest trees are barren so the proud and high-minded man ; but 
with the lowly is wisdom. 

The humble Christian is nearer God than others, and so must 
iceds thrive above others ; though God beholdeth the proud afar 
iff, he dwelleth in the humble heart. The lowly Christian is most 
:0vely in his eye, and shall have most of his company. God 
.ppeared to Moses, not in a lofty cedar, but in a low, mean, abject 


bush. If he that walketh with wise men becomes wise, and is the 
better for such good company, what good doth the humble Chris 
tian get by walking with his God ! 

Pride is li ke the remora to a ship, which will arrest it under full 
sail, hinder the saint in his heavenly passage when he is making 
the greatest speed ; it is like those weeds, which are of so poisonous 
a nature that they will suffer no good herbs to grow near them. 
The servant that hath been trusted and honoured by his lord, if 
he prove a thief and steal from his lord, provokes him to take his 
stock out of his hands, and to trust him no longer. The proud 
man steals from God, and robs him of that glory which is due to 
him; and therefore it is no marvel if he deny to trust such an 
unfaithful servant with any more spiritual riches. 

It is the empty barrel that makes the greatest sound. The poor 
women that have nothing but a few matches, or pins, or band- 
strings, or thread-laces, the men that have only a few brooms, or 
some small coal or roots, make a great stir and loud noise about 
the city, and would have everybody acquainted with their ware ; 
when the great usurer, that is worth thousands in bills and bonds, 
and the rich shopkeeper, whose estate swelleth to a vast bulk, never 
proclaim what they are worth, but rather endeavour to hide it. 
Those that have least spiritual riches are most guilty of boasting. 
Laodicea bragged much, that was poor, and miserable, and blind, 
and naked, and worse than naught. They who are fullest of faith, 
and richest in good works, make the least sound. When their 
hearts and lives, like the face of Moses, shine brightly with grace 
and holiness, they do not, they will not, know it ; they consider 
their greatest light and lustre is but a reflection from the Father oi 
lights, and therefore they have no reason at all to boast of borrowed! 

The worm of pride breeds soonest in rotten wood. The proud 
pharisee, who justified himself, had nothing in him but matter of 
condemnation ; when the poor humble publican, affected with his 
own vileness and baseness, had something of worth in him, even 
his sense of his own un worthiness. Brass makes a greater sound, 
and is heard farther, than gold, but every one knoweth there is no 
comparison between them. Chaff is seen above the wheat, not 
because it is better, but because it is lighter. 

Alas ! what is man ? what hath man that he should be proud ? 
He is but enlivened dust, moving earth, refined clay, that which 
beasts trample under their feet. He hath nothing that good is but 
what he hath received. He lives wholly upon the alms and charity 


of another. A proud heart and a beggar s purse do not agree. 
As he is a sinner, he is more vile and base, more noisome and 
loathsome, than any toad, or snake, or serpent ; and hath he any 
reason to be proud ? Reader, be clothed with humility ; learn of 
thy Eedeemer, for he was meek and lowly in heart. Though he 
thought it no robbery to be equal with God, yet he made himself 
of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, Phil, 
ii. 7, 8. 

When pride cometh, then cometh a fall. As a wrestler, if he 
can lift his fellow from the ground, quickly gives him a fall ; so the 
devil, if he can lift up with pride, doubts not but to throw them. 
Physicians observe that the dropsy and consumption are usually 
together ; when once thou swellest with this dropsy of pride, expect 
a consumption of thy godliness. He walks but dangerously who 
walks on high places, as on the ridges of houses and on ropes ; he 
that walks below is more safe. Angels, Adam, David, Hezekiah, 
Peter, and many others in Scripture, confirm the wise man s pro 
verb, Pride goeth before a fall. Trees that are set on mountains 
are easily shaken and torn up by the roots when stormy winds 
arise. Indeed, it is no wonder that a proud man should fall into 
sin, for he relieth on his own strength, which is but a broken reed. 
Peter had not fallen so foully if he had not undertaken to stand 
upon his own legs, which were too weak to bear his weight. But 
before honour is humility. The lower the foundation, the higher 
the building. 

A proud man hath a great infelicity, in that he is his own 
enemy, and makes all others his enemies. God is his enemy; 
there is no sinner whom he proclaims such open war against, 
in such express terms, as the proud : God setteth himself in 
battle array against the proud. It were better earth and hell 
should unite their force against him than one God. Ah, who 
knoweth the power of thine anger ! Men are his enemies ; he 
disdaineth others for their meanness, or poverty, or want of parts, 
and they disdain him for his pride. He that overvalueth himself 
shall soon be undervalued by every one. Pride makes him scorn 
friends, for familiarity would deprive him, he thinks, of that reve 
rence which he deserves, and therefore all must be his enemies ; 
but he is his own enemy most, in cutting such a gash in his soul 
by his pride, and making way for all other sins to fall on. He that 
is lifted up with pride, quickly falls into the condemnation of the 
devil. Satan had found this vice, pride, by experience so prevalent 
to draw the creature from God, that he knew no better bait to catch 


Adam with, Ye shall be as gods; and when afterwards he encoun 
tered David, it was with this weapon he tempted David to number 
the people. 

Yet, alas ! though it be so prejudicial, how natural is it to us ! 
Pride is a weed, a worm that gets into the best garden. It was a 
witty taunt which a proud cardinal had from a friend of his, that 
upon his election went to Home on purpose to see him, where, rind 
ing his behaviour stretched to nothing but pride and state, he 
departed, and put on a mourning suit, and the next day comes in 
black to visit him. The cardinal, asking the cause why he was 
in mourning, he answered, It was for the death of humility, which 
fetched its last breath in him when he was elected cardinal. Most 
of us have cause to put on mourning upon the same account. 

Eleventhly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, sup 
press sin in the beginning. This foul bird is easiest killed in the egg. 
When a fire is first broke out in a chimney, it may with much less 
labour be quenched than when it hath seized the timber of the house. 
What small beginnings had those fires which have conquered 
stately palaces, and turned famous cities into ruinous heaps ! A 
hair is but a little thing, yet some have been choked with it. If 
the tetter be not killed, it will come to be a ringworm. Passion at 
the first kindling may be quenched ; but if let alone, sends such a 
smoke into the understanding, which thickens into a cloud, and 
hinders us from the sight of ourselves and our duties. The tree 
may soon be pulled up before it hath taken root, but then it may 
be too hard for the strongest man. A prick with a pin or a thorn, 
being let alone, hath sometimes caused the cutting off of a limb, 
nay, the loss of life. Minutes to sin are like cyphers to a figure, 
which quickly increase it to vast sums. Sin increaseth by degrees, 
James i. 14, 15 : first it surpriseth the heart in a thought, then 
it stealeth into the affections for approbation, then the affections 
plead with the will for its consent, and then that commandeth the 
act of it, and frequent acts cause a habit, and custom in sin causeth 
despair, despair causeth men to defend sin, their defence of sin a 
boasting and glorying in it, and the next step is hell. Sin is there 
fore fitly by the prophet compared to a chain, for one link draweth 

As the ivy by little and little creepeth upon the oak, till at last 
it doth destroy it, so doth sin cling about the soul, and by degrees 
overrun and undo it. When the water begins to freeze, it will 
hardly bear a pennyweight ; let it alone a little longer and it will 
bear a shilling, then a pound weight, then a man, then a horse, 


then cart and load and all. As the cloud which Elijah s servant 
saw was at first no bigger than a man s hand, but afterwards it 
spread till it covered the heavens. Peter first denieth his Master, 
then sweareth, then curseth, and forsweareth himself. Cain first 
harbours envious thoughts of his brother, then murdereth him in 
his heart, then kills him with his hand, then quarrelleth with God, 
and despaireth. There is no staying, when we are once down the 
hill, till we come to the bottom. If this giant of sin get in but a 
limb, he will quickly get in his whole body. Wanton thoughts, if 
not stifled, bring forth actual uncleanness. Sin is like water if we 
give it the least way, run it will in spite of us. If we get not the 
conquest over it in its infancy, we shall not overcome it when it is 
brought to maturity. He that cannot put out a spark will be much 
more unable to put out a flame. The smallest of these twigs will 
prove thorny bushes, if not timely stubbed up. 

The horse must be broken when a colt, and the lion tamed when 
a whelp. It is best to deal with sin as Jocasta with (Edipus, to 
cast it forth in its infancy. The Israelite must dash these Baby 
lonian infants against the wall, if he would be a blessed man, Isa. 
xiii. 18. The Christian that checketh and curbeth sin when it 
first appeareth, doth, as David to the Philistine, wound it in the 
forehead, and so slayeth it certainly. As the snail by little and 
little creepeth up from the root of the tree to the top, consuming 
the leaves as it goeth, and leaving nothing behind it but filth and 
slime ; so sin gradually infecteth the whole man. This poison, if 
not presently vomited up as soon as taken down, flieth to and 
destroyeth the vitals. The apostle calleth it a canker, and truly 
80 it is in regard of its spreading nature, both as to persons, from 
one man to another, and to parts, from one faculty of the soul and 
member of the body to another. How dreadful was the effect of a 
few boys joining with Masaniello in Naples, A.D. 1647, whom the 
officers and people laughed and jeered at instead of subduing! 
What murders and burning palaces and churches did ensue and 
arise from so contemptible means ! Therefore, as wise princes will 
be heedful to suppress riots and petty insurrections, knowing that 
if they be let alone they will break out into open rebellion, and 
cause much bloodshed and mischief; so, reader, do thou stifle and 
kill sin in the womb before it be quick, lest that, like the young 
serpents, if brought forth, it tear out thy bowels, and its birth cause 
thy death. 

Twelfthly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, study 
the knowledge of God. It is ignorance of God that is the origin of 


all sin. Did men know the sad fruits of his fury, they durst not 
by sin provoke him. Did men know the sweetness of his favour, 
they would do, they would suffer anything to please him. It is 
in the mist of ignorance that they lose their way, and wander from 
him who is the chiefest good. The devil is bound in chains of 
darkness, and so are all his children. 

They who know God most, love him most, and fear him most, 
and trust him most. It is life spiritual, and the seed of life eter 
nal, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou 
hast sent, John xvii. 3. All godliness, all grace, is seminally in 
the knowledge of God, and floweth from it. They who with open 
face behold the Lord, though but as in a glass, are changed into 
his image, from glory to glory ; from one degree of grace to an 
other, 2 Cor. iii. 18. 

They who know the infiniteness and immensity of his being, 
cannot but despise all things for him, esteem all things as nothing 
to him, as nothing without him ; look on the whole creation as less 
than nothing in comparison of him. Ah, what admiring, reverent 
thoughts of that being of beings, of him whose name is I AM, have 
they who launch a little, for it is but a little that they can here, 
into this ocean ! All nations before him are as nothing, and they 
are counted to him less than nothing and vanity ; they cannot but 
desire and labour to enjoy so boundless a portion. 

They who know the power of God cannot but fear him, and 
stand in awe of his presence and threatenings. They fear him 
who is able to cast soul and body into hell, Mat. x. 28 ; Heb. xii. 
27, 28. They will depend on him, because there is no want which 
the Almighty cannot supply, no weakness which he cannot remove, 
no danger which he cannot prevent or support in. Acquaintance 
with him who is mighty in strength makes the Christian resolute 
in God s cause, and as bold as a lion at his call and command. 

They who know the eternity of God, will choose him before tem 
poral vanities. What are the pleasures of sin for a season in his 
eye, who seeth the pleasures at God s right hand for evermore ? 
What are the honours on earth to him who knoweth the eternal 
weight of glory ? What are temporal relations in comparison of 
the everlasting Father ? Nay, what is his natural life to eternal 
life ? No good is little that is eternal. How great, then, is the 
infinite and eternal God ! 

They who know the wisdom of God will submit to his providences, 
and acquiesce in all his dispensations. He is wise in heart, his 
understanding is infinite, and he knoweth what is best for thee, and 


me, and all others, and therefore there is all the reason of the world 
why I should rest in his will, and be satisfied in his pleasure. It 
is the Lord, saith the soul in his greatest afflictions, who is infinite 
in wisdom, and knoweth what will do me most good. Let him do 
what seemeth good in his eyes. 

They who know the faithfulness of God will credit his word, and 
make him the object of their hope and faith : They that know thy 
name will trust in thee, Ps. ix. 10. His truth commandeth our trust. 
We will rely on faithful men, who will not lie ; but the Christian seeth 
infinitely more reason to rely on the faithful God, who cannot lie. 

They who know the mercy, and love, and goodness of God, will 
love, and admire, and trust, and praise him. The knowledge of his 
love to us will call out our love to him, as one that deserves it, 
being infinitely amiable in himself, and the more deserving of our 
love for his love to such loathsome ones as we are. It will cause 
us to rely on him ; for infinite love, joined with infinite strength 
and faithfulness, will not, cannot, deceive us. It will help us to see 
the odious nature of sin, in that it is an abuse of infinite love. The 
goodness of God will lead the soul to repentance. 

They who know the holiness of God will sanctify him in their 
approaches to him, and walk humbly and watchfully with him. 
They know that sin is loathsome to him, because contrary to his 
holy nature, and therefore they hate it. They know that holiness 
is lovely, as it is his image and excellency, and therefore they follow 
after it. They are upright, and serious, and zealous, and humble, 
and reverent in their holy performances, because therein they have 
to do with such a holy God. 

They who know the anger of God will stand in awe, and not sin. 
They know that God is not to be mocked ; for it is a fearful thing 
to fall into the hands of the living God, for our God is a consuming 
fire. They know his fury is terrible, intolerable ; none can abide 
it, no sinner can avoid it. Therefore they hate sin, the object of 
it, and fly to Christ, who delivereth from it. 

Oh what a work, a gracious sanctifying work, doth the knowledge 
of God make in the soul ! It makes the understanding to esteem 
him above all, the will to choose him before all, the affections to 
desire him, to delight in him, more than all ; the whole man to seek 
him, to serve him, to honour and praise him beyond all in heaven 
and earth. What is the reason that God is so much loved, ad 
mired, and worshipped, and glorified in his church, when all the 
world besides despise him, but this, In Judah is God known : his 
name is great in Israel ? Ps. Ixxvi. 1. 


reader, be confident of this, the more thou knowest of the ex 
cellencies of God, the more thou wilt prize his Son, submit to his 
Spirit, crucify the flesh, contemn the world, fear to offend him, 
study to please him, the more holy thou wilt be in all manner of 

Hence the main work of Christ s prophetical office was to reveal 
God to the world. 

And the devil s great work is to keep men from this knowledge 
of God, knowing that it will tend so exceedingly to their sancti- 
fication and holiness, and to the overthrow of his interest. The 
miller muffleth and blindeth his horse that draweth his mill, and 
thereby keeps him at his round, deceiving him in making him to 
think he goeth forward. The first work of the Philistines was to 
put out Samson s eyes, and then they made him grind at their mill, 
and make them sport. The eagle, saith Pliny, (Nat. Hist., lib. x. 
cap. 20,) before he setteth upon the hart, rolleth himself in the 
sand, and then flieth at the stag s head, and by fluttering his wings, 
so dustieth his eyes that he can see nothing, and then striketh him 
with his talons where he listeth. Satan darkeneth men s under 
standings, and thereby commandeth their wills and affections, and 
destroyeth the whole man. If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them 
that perish, in whom 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, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. 

When men are spoken in Scripture to be vicious and profane, 
they are only said not to know the Lord, and there is no knowledge 
of God in the land, Jer. iv. 22 ; Hosea iv. 1 ; and when God under 
takes, in his covenant of grace, to sanctify and make men holy, he 
is said to put his knowledge in their hearts, and his promise is, 
They shall all know me, from the least to the greatest, Heb. x. ; 
Jer. xxxi. 34. And they that would grow in grace are commanded, 
in order thereunto, to grow in knowledge, 2 Pet. iii. 18. 

Ignorance is the mother of all irreligion, of all atheism : Eph. 
iv. 18, They are alienated from the life of God through the ignor 
ance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts/ As 
owls, sinners may see in the night of this world, have some know 
ledge in worldly affairs ; but they cannot see in the day, are ignor 
ant of spiritual, of heavenly things. Sin, like the pestilence David 
speaks of, walketh in the dark, Ps. xci. 5 ; and Satan is the enemy 
that soweth his tares by night. This is one cause why sin is called 
a work of darkness. It is from that darkness which is in men s 
understandings that they turn their backs upon God, and run upon 


their own eternal ruins. It were impossible for the rational crea 
ture to be so desperately mad as to play with the wrath of God, 
and slight the love of God, to neglect his mercy, and despise his 
justice, if they did but know God. When princes go incognito, in 
a disguise, and are unknown, then they are disesteemed. Hence 
they who are obstinately profane and resolved on wickedness say 
unto God, Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy 
ways, Job xxi. 14. The hooded hawk, that seeth not the partridge, 
will never fly after it. The Israelites pitched in Mithkah, which 
signifieth sweetness, before they removed to Cashmonah, which sig- 
nifieth swiftness. They only who know the sweetness of God will 
fly to him with swiftness. Ignoti nulla cupido. He who knoweth 
the all-sufficiency of God will never turn to the creature ; even as 
the bee, if it did not find honey enough in one flower, would never 
hasten to another. 

Those that are ignorant of God abound in all manner of atheism 
and wickedness. The families which know not God will not call 
on his name. There is no truth, no mercy, but lying and stealing, 
and swearing and killing, where there is no knowledge of God, 
Hosea iv. 1,2. It is no wonder to see blind men stumble and fall, 
and break their limbs. I do not marvel to see ignorant men, who 
know not God, to live without him, to turn him out of their hearts 
and houses, as if they had no dependence on him, or engagements 
to him. 

Whence is it that men are regardless of their souls and eternal 
estates, that they dance over the unquenchable lake, and are merry 
and jovial at the very brink of destruction ; that they despise the 
God that made them, preserveth them, bought them, and hath 
them in his hands and at his mercy every moment ; that they 
slight his Son, his Spirit, his law, his love, his wrath, his promises 
of eternal life, as if they were things of no value, and rather fit to 
be trampled on than esteemed ; that they can lie down and sleep, 
and rise up and eat, and drink, and follow their sports and pleasures, 
and laugh and sing under the guilt of sin and curse of the law, and 
infinite wrath of the Lord, but their ignorance of God ? Ah, did 
they but know his holiness, his jealousy, his power, his justice, they 
would sooner undergo any misery that men could inflict on them, 
than incur his anger, or provoke him to jealousy ; they would never 
neglect his worship, or put him off with a few heartless prayers. 
Ludentes cum Deo ut pueri cum suis pupis, as Calvin hath it ; 
playing with him, as children with their babies, when they come 
immediately to his presence, and pretend to seek his face. 


The holy times under the gospel, wherein the people of God 
should be of one heart, are spoken of as proceeding from this cause : 
The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as waters 
cover the sea, Isa. xi. 9. The perfection of grace and holiness in 
heaven will be the effect in part of this knowledge of God. When 
we shall see him (perfectly) we shall be (perfectly) like him, 1 
John iii. 2. 

Reader, be persuaded, therefore, to study this knowledge of God ; 
think no labour too much for it ; pray, and read, and hear, and 
confer, and mourn that thou mayest know God. Believe it, it is 
a jewel that will pay thee well for all thy pains. Incline thine 
ear unto wisdom, and apply thy heart unto understanding. Yea, 
if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for under 
standing ; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for 
hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and 
find the knowledge of God: For the Lord giveth wisdom, and out 
of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding, Prov. ii. 2-6. 
Did men but spend that time and strength about the knowledge of 
God which they spend in endeavouring to raise their families, and 
advance their parties and interest, and to suppress them that in 
their apprehensions stand in their way, we should quickly have a 
nation as famous for peace, and love, and holiness, as now it is 
notorious for divisions and profaneness. 


Means whereby Christians may exercise themselves to godliness. A 
contented spirit avoiding those things that hinder godliness. 

Thirteenthly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, labour 
to get a contented frame of heart. A settled, fixed frame of heart 
as to all outward occurrences, is like ballast to a ship, which will 
help it to sail trim in all waters ; whereas a discontented spirit is 
as a light, small boat in the ocean, tossed about with every blast, 
and always in danger of drowning. I doubt not but the great 
apostle s diligence to learn this lesson perfectly I have learned in 
what state soever I am to be contented ; I know how to be abased, 
and how to abound, Philip, iv. 12 was a special means of his extra 
ordinary growth and proficiency in grace. It is generally observed 
that peevish persons, whom nothing pleaseth, are usually lean and 
thin in their bodies ; but those who. are of cheerful tempers, and 


not overmuch troubled with any disasters, are thriving and health 
ful. The discontented soul, whom every heat or cold above ordin 
ary puts into a fright or fever, will rather decline than increase in 
his spiritual health ; but the Christian who is ever cheerful in his 
God and Saviour, and lives about these lower things as one indif 
ferent about them, will never be hindered by them in his work of 
holiness. As a sickly man is hindered in his journey by every 
storm, and ready to run to a house, or stand under a hedge, at every 
shower ; so is a discontented person ready to turn aside, or stand 
still, at every unexpected providence, when a contented man, like a 
lusty, resolved traveller, keeps on his course whatsoever weather 
comes. Godliness requires a contented mind to grow in, 1 Tim. 
vi. 6. It is said of the pelican that she is caught by the shepherds 
in this manner : they lay fire not far from her nest, which she find 
ing, and fearing the danger of her young, seeks to blow out with 
her wings so long till she burns herself, and makes herself a prey, 
out of foolish pity to her young. So many men, out of unwise pity 
to their relations and possessions, when they are at any time in 
danger for want of this contented spirit, and quiet submission to 
infinite wisdom, trouble themselves so much and so long about 
them, till they make themselves a prey to Satan, and no whit pre 
serve or secure those persons or things about which they are so 
immoderately anxious and solicitous. 

Whilst we are in this world we must expect various winds some 
sharp, some warm, some nipping, some refreshing, some with us, 
some against us ; and unless we are prepared for all by a holy 
pliableness, we shall be injured by every one. Every strong 
wind, whether with us or against us, will be ready to overturn 
us if we want this ballast. There is no condition in this life 
so blessed as to afford the perfection of content; and yet there 
is no estate in this life so wretched but a Christian may be con 
tented with it. If thou hast as much as thou wantest, thou hast 
as much as in reason thou desirest, and therefore hast cause to be 

The way to true riches, saith Plato, is not to increase our heaps, 
but to diminish the covetousness of our hearts. It were well for 
the world, saith another, if there were no gold in it ; but since it is 
the fountain whence all things flow, it is to be desired, but only as 
a pass to travel to our journey s end without begging. Every man 
is rich, or may be so, if he will equal his mind to his estate, and be 
but poor in his desires. He that hath most wants something, as 
Haman, when he had the commander of one hundred and twenty 


provinces at command. He that hath least wants nothing, if he 
wants not a contented spirit. 

He that can bring his heart to an even poise in all providences 
will avoid many temptations, and escape many snares in which 
others are entangled. The want of this renders many a man s life 
as unserviceable to God as uncomfortable to himself. The discon 
tented person, like the sea, is seldom seen without storms and tem 
pests. A small matter puts him out of order and joint, and so un 
fits him for spiritual actions. As hot iron, the smallest drop sets 
him a hissing ; like a ruffled skein of silk, every way taken to com 
pose him entangleth him. Discontent, like ink poured into a bottle 
of water, turns all into blackness. friend, beware of it ! 

It hinders from praying. A discontented man will rather pour 
out his passions than any sober prayers before the Lord. 

It hinders examining ourselves. Though quiet and calm waters 
will, like a glass, if we look into it, shew us the image and likeness 
of ourselves, yet troubled and muddy waters will make no such 
representation. Though the heart, when calm and contented, may 
shew us the face and features of our souls, yet if muddied by dis 
content they cannot do it, John xiv. 27 ; Ps. Iv. 4, 5. 

It hinders from hearing. The noise of passion drowns the voice 
of the preacher. Men must with meekness receive the ingrafted 
word, if they desire it should save their souls, James i. 

When a fountain is troubled, there can no water be drawn out of 
it but what is filthy and unsavoury. When a person is discon 
tented, all his duties are distasteful and unacceptable to God. 
Therefore, Christ more than once dissuades his disciples from it : 
Let not your hearts be troubled. Let not your heart be troubled, 
neither let it be afraid, John xiv. 1, 27. 

Diogenes resolved, since many evils would befall him, to keep 
himself steady in all. He would oppose resolution to fortune, 
nature to the law, his reason to his affections. But the Christian 
hath a better guide, and better grounds for contentedness. 

There be several thoughts which may quiet and compose the 
heart in all occurrents. 

1. That infinite wisdom ordaineth whatsoever befalleth me, and 
the present condition that I am in is ever best for me. If a greater 
portion of outward good things had been good for me, I had had 
it. My Father is not so careless of his children as to deny them 
anything that is good for them ; and if it be not good for me, why 
should I desire it ? He acteth without reason, as well as without 
religion, who craveth^ what is hurtful to him. If my condition 


were cut out by the will of malicious men, I might have some 
ground of grumbling; but when it is cut out by the infinite 
wisdom of a gracious God, I have not the least cause of discontent- 
I take it ill if my children be not satisfied with what food and 
raiment I think fitten for them ; and may not God much more 
take it ill at my hands if I sit not down quietly with his allowance, 
be it more or less ? 

2. That the smallest mercy is above my merits. If my condition 
be not so good as I desire, yet it is better than I deserve ; if my 
estate be not so flourishing as I would it should be, it is not so bad 
as I know it might have been. Beggars must not be choosers ; 
they who have nothing but of charity and alms, must be satisfied 
with a bare allowance, and contentedly be at another s disposal : 
Why doth living man complain? Lam. iii. 39. Man, a reason 
able creature, and complain against his Maker ! Living man 
complain, when the most miserable estate out of hell is a mercy to 
him ! 

3. That, be our estate as low as it will, it is better than we 
brought with us into the world. Some give us this reason why 
man, when none besides of the visible creatures, is born naked, 
weeping, helpless, but to teach him contentedness. Have I any food ? 
I brought none with me. Is my garment coarse and thin ? I was 
born naked. Am I blessed with any comforts ? I came into the 
world without any : Naked came I into the world, and naked shall 
I go out of the world ; the Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, 
blessed be the name of the Lord/ 

4. That a better condition might and would make me worse. 
If I were mounted high in the world, I should be like the flag at 
the top of the mast, more liable to storms and winds. The full 
purse invites the thief, and perhaps may occasion a stab, when the 
empty pocket is secure, and the poor man may travel the road 
without any such danger. Low shrubs escape many a cold blast 
with which tall trees are assaulted : They have no changes ; 
therefore they fear not God/ Ps. Iv. 19. Atalanta lost the wager she 
ran for, by gathering up the golden apples which Hippomenes for 
that purpose had thrown in her way. 

5. That others, who are better than I, and more holy, are worse 
for this world, and suffer more hardships. In spiritual things look 
on those above thee, that by an honest emulation thou mayest 
reform and amend; but in temporal things look on those below 
thee, that thou mayest not complain or murmur. How many are 
in fetters, wandering up and down from house and home, set upon 

VOL. in. L 


the rack of diseases, and have an ounce of misery for every drachm 
which thou hast ? Stay, sirs, said the wise Harry in the fable, let our 
estate content us ; for as we run from some, so others run from us. 

6. That all shall work for my good. The saint is sure to thrive 
by his sufferings. When children meet with nuts, or apples, or 
primroses, in their way, those are ofttimes occasions to make them 
loiter in their errands, incur their parents anger, and sometimes 
their late return finds the door shut against them ; when such as 
meet with danger make the more haste, and their speed procureth 
them the greater welcome. They who meet with pleasures are apt 
to loiter ; they who meet with miseries make the more haste, and 
shall find the better cheer. The Christian hath a promise, and the 
very Godhead of the Almighty engaged for its performance : We 
know that all things shall work together for good to them that love 
God, to them that are called according to his purpose/ Rom. viii. 
28. Why should not the Christian, with a holy resolution, hold a 
steady course in all weathers ; and though he be forced with cross 
winds to shift his sails and catch at side winds, yet wisely steer and 
keep on his course by the cape of good hope, when he may be 
certain that every wind that bloweth shall help him forward to hisi 
eternal joyful haven. Though we cannot see how some passages 
of God s providence, as persecution, oppression, loss of relations on 
estates, sickness or disgrace, should do otherwise than hurt and 
injure us; and are ready to darken counsel by words without 
knowledge, and to say, as Jacob, Joseph is not, and Simeon isi 
not; all these are against rne/ Children are not, honours are not, 
riches are not, liberty is not ; all these are against me. But Christ 
may say to us of such severe dispensations, as once to Peter, What 
I do thou knowest not now, but shalt know hereafter. The issue 
will prove a truth in God s promises, and the conclusion will speak 
what was in the womb of the promises. I am confident, when God 
sendeth afflictions, they are at that season more fit for me than out 
ward mercies ; and though at present I am ready to blaspheme, yet 
when I find the fruit of them in being thereby partaker of his 
holiness, I bless him for them. A Lacedsemonian woman, when 
Sparta had got the day in a battle, could not only submit, but 
rejoice, though her five sons were slain in the fight. If I get the. 
victory over one sin, I have cause to rejoice, though it cost me some, 
outward comforts. 

7. That the more I repine, the worse I make my condition. A 
discontented man, like one in a barrel of pikes, which way soever i 
he turns, he finds something that pricks ; he is best at ease when 


he lieth still. Murmuring turns whips into scorpions, and makes 
that which would be but as a little finger, heavier than weighty 
loins. They who by an even poise may sit safe in a boat when the 
waters are rough, by rising up or stirring are drowned. Passions, 
like rain or mist to the best firs, 1 breed vermin in the soul. Because 
this man hath not what his lust craveth, he enjoyeth not what God 
hath given him ; but like an ass, feedeth on herbs, whilst he carrieth 
better food on his back for others. A single mischief by discontent 
is made double. The prisoner galls his legs by striving with his 

8. The examples of others may have some prevalency with us ; 
Abraham, Moses, Paul were eminent for this grace. 

Many heathen who were ignorant of the wisdom, goodness, and 
faithfulness of God, yet upon principles of morality were constant 
and even in their behaviours, not changing their countenances with 
the change of their fortunes and conditions, but bringing their 
mind to their estates, when they could not bring their estates to 
their minds. Xantippe said of Socrates that she always found him 
returning home though he often met with affronts and abusive 
language abroad with the same face and carriage with which he 
went out. Furius Camillus was ever like himself, neither by 
obtaining the dictatorship inflamed with arrogancy, nor, being 
banished his country, sick with melancholy. The whole body of 
Eome, after their disaster at CannaB, where their consul was slain, 
and the flower of their gentry and soldiery cut off by Hannibal, 
when the whole world did ring their passing bell, and judged their 
fortune dying and desperate, "were even then heroic in their car 
riage, and acted nothing unworthy their former greatness. In 
their Asian enterprise they proposed, before the battle, conditions to 
Antiochus, as if they had conquered him ; and after the fight and 
victory offered him the same terms as if they had not conquered. 

Abdolomius, a poor gardener, though of the king s stock, when 
advanced by Alexander to be king of Zidon, and asked by him how 
it was possible for him to endure his poverty with contentedness, 
answered, I pray the gods I may continue the government of this 
kingdom with the like mind ; for those hands were sufficient for 
me to live by, and as I had nothing, so I wanted nothing. 

9. The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his 
works. He doeth thee no wrong, he cannot do thee any wrong ; 
now why shouldst thou complain when not injured ? It is un 
reasonable to murmur when a man hath right done him. 

1 Qu. furs ? ED. 


10. God is gracious and good in all his dealings with thee. 

If thine estate be but little, yet that little, with the fear of the 
Lord, is better than the possessions of many wicked men, Ps. 
xxxvii. A penny which is the earnest of some great bargain, is 
another manner of thing than an ordinary penny, and more worth 
than many pounds, being given and received under another notion. 
Thy little is an earnest of infinitely more than thou canst imagine, 
and therefore more precious than others thousands. A dinner of 
herbs, with the love of thy God, is infinitely more eligible than the 
stalled oxen of the wicked, and his wrath therewith. Who would 
desire Eglon s present with the dagger, Sisera s milk with the 
nail and hammer, and Hainan s banquet with the gallows that 
trod upon the heels of it ? Truly such is the riches of every 
wicked man. 

The smallness of thy temporal may increase thy spiritual estate. 
If God recompense thy want of earthly with a supply of heavenly 
riches, thou art no loser. Nicephorus tells us of one Cyrus, a 
courtier in the time of Theodosius the younger, who, through the 
envious occupation of some favourites, being spoiled of his goods, of 
a pagan became a Christian, and of a Christian a minister of Christ. 
Eudoxia, the daughter of a philosopher in Athens, being cast out of 
her father s house by unkind brethren, and coming to Constanti 
nople to beseech Theodosius to right a poor orphan, found such 
favour in his eyes that he made her his queen. Affliction is the 
way to honour with men, to more holiness from God, when pros 
perity causeth our fall both into sin and misery. He holds the 
garments of his godliness fast in a boisterous wind, who would lay 
it off in a sunny day. 

Lastly, If thou wouldst exercise thyself to godliness, take heed 
of those things that will hinder thee therein. As if a man would 
have his trees to thrive, he must not only open the earth sometimes! 
and mind its watering, but also lop off superfluous branches ; and; 
as a gardener, if he would have his herbs and flowers to flourish, 
must be sure to keep his banks and beds well weeded, as well as 
dunged or watered ; so if thou wouldst thrive and flourish in godli-. 
ness, there is a necessity of avoiding what is hurtful to it, as well] 
as of using what is helpful. 

There be several things which will keep a Christian from the 
exercise of his holy calling, some of which I shall but briefly name,, 
having had occasion to speak of others, and also to these, in other 

1. Avoid evil company. Wicked persons delight to have or to 


make fellows. Hence we find in Scripture that they go as the 
unclean beasts into the ark in pairs : Adam and Eve, Simeon and 
Levi, Ammon and Jonadab, Hymeneus and Alexander, Phygellus 
and Hermogenes, Ananias and Sapphira. Can a man take fire in 
his bosom and not be burned ? Expect not that the flowers of thy 
graces should flourish unless these weeds be removed from them. 
He that walketh in the rain must expect to be wet ; he that walketh 
in the sun must expect to be tanned ; and he that walks among 
polluting persons must expect to be polluted. 

2. Take heed of idleness. An idle man is like a heap of dry 
straw, quickly fired by the sparks of Satan s temptations, Prov. 
xxviii. 19; I Tim. v. 13; 2 Thes. iii. 10, 11. 

Whilst the oyster lieth gaping against the sun, he is devoured 
by the crabfish. Whilst the Christian lieth lazying on the bed of 
idleness, he is a prey to Satan. 

The purest river water, if it stand still in a vessel, will become 
unsavoury. The best corn, if not stirred, will be musty. As the 
caterpillar consumeth the leaf, and the canker the rose, so will idle 
ness thy godliness, Ezek. xvi. 49. 

As men in war lying in the field, if they be slothful and lie lazy- 
ing on the ground, must expect to be a prey to their enemies ; the 
Amalekites found this by experience. The sluggard will rather be 
killed than take the pains to defend himself. A slothful man, who 
will not employ his stock, cannot expect to improve his stock. The 
diligent hand maketh rich, in goods and in grace. 

3. Love not the world. The thorns of the world hinder the 
growth of the good seed of grace. This world s best, are the other 
world s worst husbands. It is hard for the periwinkle in the sea to 
swim, because of the house on her back ; it is impossible for them 
to swim heavenward who have the world, not on their backs, but 
in their hearts. The more thou delightest in this world, the more 
thou wilt neglect the other world. He who is taken with, and fond 
of a harlot, will quickly abate in his love to, nay cast off, his 
honest wife. The palm-tree is least at the bottom, and the higher 
it groweth, the thicker and greater it is, contrary to all other trees. 
The higher a Christian mounts in his affections, and the more 
heavenly he is, the more he will thrive in Christianity. The child 
cannot thrive that feedeth on dirt ; the more a man loveth the 
earth, the less he will do or suffer for heaven. Such Esaus will 
sell the birthright for a mess of pottage ; such Gehazis will dis 
honour and belie their master for a talent of silver ; such Achans 
will destroy themselves and families, and trouble a whole Israel, 


for a wedge of gold ; such Judases will sell their Lord and Saviour 
for a goodly price, thirty pieces ; for a piece of bread such a one 
will transgress. The fire which breaks out of this bramble devours 
the cedars of Lebanon. The Athenians did set up a pillar, wherein 
they published him to be an enemy to their city who should bring 
gold out of Media as an instrument to corrupt them. Inordinate 
love of creatures is a canker which in time will eat up the very life 
of godliness. Reader, if thou art risen with Christ, seek those 
things that are above, where Christ is. It is recorded by divers 
historians, both of the East and West Indians, and some blacka 
moors in Guinea, between both, that many subjects willingly die 
with their princes, and women with their husbands ; that some men 
give their wives, others their children, others their servants, to be 
buried alive in the grave with their kings, to serve him, as they 
conceit, in the other world ; that some women cast themselves into 
the fire in .which the dead bodies of their husbands are consumed. 
If these can cast away and contemn the world and all things in it 
for the love of a poor wretched creature, what a shame is it to 
Christians if the love of Jesus Christ, their head, their prince, their 
husband, do not mortify them to the world, and make them despise 
all in it, to enjoy him whilst they live, and to be with him where 
he is when they die ! 

4. Allow thyself in no known sin. This is like a thief used to the 
shop, which will steal away all thy gains, and keep thee assuredly 
from thriving in thy heavenly calling. There is no possibility of 
making religion thy business without the gracious concurrence on 
the Holy Spirit ; he it is that must lay the foundation, rear up the 
building, and perfect what he beginneth ; but thou canst not expect 
his company or assistance if thou harbourest any corruption in thy 
heart. Though this dove may fly to thee, desirous to make its 
abode with thee, as the dove went out of the ark, yet if it behold 
the earth under water, thy heart in any way of wickedness, it will 
return again whence it came ; doves will lie clean, or be gone. 
Bees will not continue in a stinking or impure hive; therefore 
those that would not lose them, prepare the stools where they set! 
them with perfumes and sweet-smelling boughs, lest ill savours 
force them to forsake their stations. Thus, saith ChrysostomJ 
deals the Holy Spirit ; our souls are the hives, which, if perfumed* 
with grace, invite his presence, but, if polluted with any known! 
sin, provoke him to depart. Oh let there not be any way of wicked-| 
ness in thee, if thou wouldst run the way of God s commandments !; 



Motives inciting Christians to exercise themselves to godliness. The 
vanity of other exercises. The brevity of man s life. The patterns 
of others. 

Thirdly, I shall annex some motives to quicken thee to exercise 
thyself to godliness, and then conclude the treatise. 

First, Consider the vanity of all other exercises and labours. 
The wise man begins his Ecclesiastes with vanity of vanities, all is 
vanity ; and after a large and exact demonstration thereof, makes 
this use, and ends his book with, Hear the conclusion of the whole 
matter: Fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the 
whole duty of man. It may be, reader, thou takest much pains 
and spendest much time ; thou risest early, and sittest up late ; 
and wastest thy body, and wearest out thy strength ; and toilest and 
moilest about the things of this life ; but, alas ! to what purpose ? 
to what profit ? The foot of all thy accounts, when at the end of 
thy life the total comes to be summed up, will be only ciphers, and 
signify nothing. Thou workest all this while at the labour in vain. 
Like the disciples, thou fishest all night, and catchest nothing. 
Thou spendest thy strength for what is not bread, and thy labour 
for what will not satisfy. If the word of truth, and the God rfo 
whom it is impossible to lie, may be believed, all the things of this 
life separated from godliness are lying vanities, broken cisterns, 
ashes, lies, wind, vanity of vanities, and things of naught, Jonah ii. 8 ; 
Jer. ii. 13 ; 1 Sam. xii. 21 ; Hosea x. 13, and xii. 1 ; Eccles. i. 2 ; 
Hab. ii. 13. It is Chrysostom s saying, that if he had been to preach 
to all the world, and could so have spoken that all should have 
heard him, he would have chosen that text, mortal men, how 
long will ye love vanity, and follow after leasing ! Democritus 
gave that for the reason of his continual laughter, which occa 
sioned his countrymen to look on him as distracted, that when he 
beheld the labour and diligence, the running and riding, the 
sweating and panting, nay, the fighting and killing of men to get 
one above another, and to heap up a fading treasure, he could not 
but deride their folly. 

Indeed, though the heathen laughed at the ridiculousness of 
such persons, the sensible Christian seeth great cause to weep at 
the emptiness and unprofitableness of such actions, and the mad 
ness of the agents. Cyprian advised his friend Donatus to sup- 


pose himself at the top of the highest mountain, and thence to 
behold the tumults and chances of this wavering world, and told 
him that then he could not but either laugh at it, or pity it. It is 
no such wonder that brutish horses should leave good provender to 
feed on litter, as some jades do ; but that men who are indued 
with reasonable souls, that seeming Christians, who have a table 
spread before them with hidden manna, with angels food, with 
meat indeed, and drink indeed, with all the dainties of heaven, 
should neglect these and feed on ashes, may well be matter both of 
admiration and lamentation. 

The Holy Ghost tells such, that they follow after vain things, 
which cannot profit them, 1 Sam. xii. 21. All outward things are 
like an olive or date stone hard to crack or cleave ; but when with 
much labour they are opened, they are nothing worth. 

The wise moralist, speaking of such laborious loiterers as work 
hard for nothing, compares them to such as spend many months to 
learn to write with their feet, and when they have learned it, are 
never the better for it. Cassar compares them to such as fish for 
gudgeons with a golden hook hazard more than the fish when 
taken are worth. Life is precious ; health, and strength, and time 
are precious, because all these have a relation to an eternal estate ; 
now how foolish is he that wasteth them upon toys and trifles, and 
neglecteth provision for the other world ! Surely every man 
walketh in a vain show ; surely they are disquieted in vain, Ps. 
xxxix. 6. 

Observe, reader, how dearly men pay for their gilded nothings, 
for their earthen potsherds covered with silver dross ; they walk up 
and down, run hither and thither, disquiet themselves with cares 
and fears, and heart-piercing frights and vexations, for a vain show : 
The people labour in the fire, and weary themselves for very 
vanity, Hab. ii. 13. Their work is hot and hard ; they labour in 
the fire, even to lassitude and weariness. But is it about the noble 
concernments of their immortal souls ? Is it that their sins may 
be pardoned, the vitiosity of their natures healed, and that their 
souls may be fitted for the heavenly mansions ? No, it is for very 
vanity ; for that which will not afford them the least good, or make 
them in any respect better or blessed. Alas ! how much below, 
nay, contrary to, reason doth man act, to cast away pearls upon 
swine, gold upon dross, diamonds upon dirt to throw away his 
time and seasons of grace, which are more worth than rubies, than 
all riches, upon that which is vanity and vexation of spirit ! 

It was a worthy check which Cyneas the orator gave to the 


monstrous ambition of Pyrrhus. When that king of Epirus was 
solicited by the Tarentines, and other people in Italy, to become 
the head of their league against the Komans, whilst he was musing 
upon that affair, his favourite Cyneas came into his presence, and 
perceiving the king in a study, desires the knowledge of his 
thoughts. Pyrrhus courteously opens his heart to him, and asketh 
his advice whether he were best to accept of that honourable offer 
or no, but resolving before to join with them, and promised himself 
success. The orator answered him, That in case he should join 
with them and prevail, what would he then do ? Pyrrhus told him, 
Then Sardinia and Sicily will be at my command. Cyneas con 
sented, and replied, What then will you do ? Pyrrhus told him, 
Then Africa will soon be conquered. Cyneas asked, What then 
will you do ? Then said Pyrrhus, Greece will yield to my vic 
torious arms. Cyneas continued, When Greece is brought under, 
what will you do next ? The king, perceiving the intention of his 
favourite, replied, smiling, Then, Cyneas, we will sit still, rest our 
selves, and be merry. That, said Cyneas, you may do presently 
without any bloody fight or barbarous outrageous acts, without 
tiresome marches, pinching quarters, tormenting fears of losing the 
day, without any hazard or danger to yourself or others. 

Truly, reader, I may tell thee, if thou art one that busiest thy 
self about a throng of worldly businesses, and crowdest thy mind 
and heart with projects and designs to increase thy heaps, and 
advance thy name, and provide for thy children, and procure thy 
self a comfortable subsistence for a few days, that after all thy care, 
and trouble, and restlessness, and vexation, and hazards, and dan 
gers, thou wilt be never the better ; thou wilt but, like them that 
spend their time, and money, and thoughts for the philosopher s 
stone, reap thy labour for thy pains, and find all unprofitable. 
Felix Platerus is of opinion that all alchymists are mad, in being 
so laborious for nothing. 

May I not say to thee truly concerning thy pains and time, what 
Judas did falsely concerning the ointment, To what purpose is this 
waste ? To what purpose is thy waste of time, and strength, and 
health ? Alas ! what profit will all thy pains bring thee in ? 

The vanity of other labours will appear in that all other things 
are unsuitable, deceitful, unsatisfying, vexatious, and uncertain. 

1. Unsuitable to thy soul. Gold is unsuitable to hunger, food 
to the sick, honour to the weary ; so are all the comforts of this 
life to thy soul. What is an earthly treasure to the poor in spirit ? 
what is the best physic-garden to a wounded conscience ? what are 


all the dainties on the table of the creation to one that is hungry 
and thirsty after the righteousness of Christ, and the grace of the 
Spirit ? Bodily things are not suitable to our spirits, nor temporal 
substance to an immortal soul. The fattest increase of the earth 
is from the excrements of beasts, which must needs be far from 
answering the nature of a heaven-born spirit. 

2. Deceitful. As Jael to Sisera, the world brings forth meat to 
us in a lovely dish, and saith, Come in, my lord, turn in ; but she 
puts her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workman s 
hammer. With the hammer she smites foolish Siseras that trust 
her; she smites off their heads after she hath pierced their temples. 
It serveth its greatest darlings in their extremity, as Plutarch 
reporteth Pompey to have served Cicero, who, when Cicero fled to 
him in his misery for succour, fled out at a back-door, and left him 
to the mercy of his enemies. The world, next man s heart, is the 
greatest cheat and impostor in the world. Like a host, it welcomes 
us in our inns with . smiles and embraces, but kills us in our beds, 
when we suspect no such matter. As the wise man wisheth thee 
to be moderate and abstinent at a full table, and to put a knife to 
thy throat, for they are deceitful meat ; so I may say of all the 
dainties and delicates of the creation, they are deceitful meat, 
pleasant, but poison. Like the bramble, the world promiseth us 
protection and refreshment under its shadow, if we will suffer it to 
be our king, and reign over us ; but a fire comes out of it to destroy 
the cedars of Lebanon, the souls of men. 

As the plover, to put a man out of his way, flieth before him, 
clapping her wings, that he, minding the noise she makes, and 
following her, might not find her nest ; so the world, with its noise 
and clamours, its songs and music, keeps men still in admiration 
of her, and hinders them from finding out her cozenage and thievery: 
He that trusteth in vanity, vanity shall be his recompense, Job 
xv. 31. It is reported of one Oromazes that he had an enchanted 
egg, in which, as he boasted himself, he had inclosed all the hap 
piness of the world ; but, being broken, nothing was found in it 
save wind. Truly such is the world s inside, wind, whatever 
appearance it hath in the eye of a worldling. As the forbidden 
tree seemed to promise knowledge to our first parents, but it took 
their knowledge from them, and brought in ignorance ; so the 
world promiseth great matters, much joy and delight, but payeth 
us with the contrary sorrow and horror. The worldling s voice is 
like that of the thief, Come, let us lay wait, &c. ; We shall find 
all precious substance, and fill our houses with spoil ; when, alas ! 


instead of precious substance, they find pernicious shadows ; and 
instead of filling their houses with spoil, they fill their hearts with 
gall and wormwood. The world, as a cunning courtezan, flattereth 
and fawneth upon the young gallant, to commit spiritual unclean- 
ness with her, and then casteth him from the height of fancied 
delights into the depth of real horror, Prov. i. 10, 11. 

3. Unsatisfying. All these sublunary comforts are but skin- 
deep. As a mist, they may wet the blade, but leave the root of 
the corn dry ; they may cause a smile in the face, but cannot 
refresh the heart, or satisfy the soul. The countryman thinks, if 
he were at the top of some high hill he should touch the heavens ; 
but when, with much pains, and sweat, and toil, he is gotten 
thither, he finds himself deceived. Men think if they could attain 
to such a degree of honour, or such a quantity of riches, or enjoy 
such brutish pleasures, then they should be satisfied, but they find 
their thirst after creatures as immoderate as before ; like men in a 
fever or dropsy, the more they drink, the more they desire : He 
that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that 
loveth gold with increase. Many men have too much of the 
world, but no worldly man hath enough ; his voice still is like the 
horse-leech, Give, give. Though he hath enough to destroy him, 
yet he hath not enough to content him. When the Parthians had 
taken Crassus, the covetous Koman who had robbed the temple, 
they poured molten gold into his mouth, saying, Drink now thy 
fill, thou greedy wretch, of that which thou hast so long thirsted 
after. The covetous caliph of Babylon, when taken prisoner, was 
set by the great Khan of Tartary in the midst of those treasures 
which he had wretchedly scraped together, and bidden eat his fill 
and satisfy himself, but amongst all his heaps of silver and gold 
he was miserably famished. 1 The soul will starve, for all the food 
which the whole world affordeth it. A worldling is like Tantalus, 
who had apples at his lips and water at his chin, yet pined for 
want; in the midst of his sufficiency, he is in straits. If thou 
triest the whole creation, and empanellest every creature upon the 
jury, to inquire where satisfaction is to be had, they will write 
Ignoramus upon the bill. If thou askest the sea, it will answer, as 
concerning wisdom, The sea saith, It is not in me ; and the depth 
saith, It is not in me ; the earth saith, It is not in me. Ask every 
worldly blessing particularly, and it will say, It is not in me. 
Thou mayest call and cry to them in thy need for comfort, as 
eagerly and earnestly as Kachel for children, and each will answer, 

1 Turkish History, 113. 


as Jacob did here, Am I in God s stead, that hath withholden thy 
desire from thee ? or as the angel to the woman, Why seek ye 
the living among the dead ? he is risen, he is not here/ Am T, 
a poor finite being, in God s stead, to satisfy the vast desires of thy 
capacious soul ? Why seekest thou living comforts amongst dead 
creatures ? it is gone, it is not here. The world entertains its best 
guests no better than Caligula did his favourites, whom he invited 
to a feast, and when they were come, set golden dishes and golden 
cups empty before them, and told them they were welcome, and 
he would have them feed heartily. All the trees in the garden of 
the creation are like those trees which Solinus mentioneth in 
Assyria, the fruit whereof seemeth as yellow as gold, but, being 
touched, is as rotten as dirt. 

4. The things of this world are vexatious. Their sting paineth 
far more than their honey pleaseth. They are like the Egyptian 
reed, which will not only fail them that trust it, but also pierce 
them with splinters, and wound them deeply sooner or later : They 
who will be rich, pierce themselves through with many sorrows, 
1 Tim. vi. 9, 10. Instead of satisfaction, thou wilt find vexation. 
The things of this world are not only wind for their vanity, but 
also thorns for the vexation they cause. As when the blood is 
corrupted by a poisoned arrow, it flieth to the heart, thinking to 
find some remedy there ; but as soon as it toucheth the heart, it 
findeth death where it looked for life. Thus men that are pressed 
with miseries, run to the world as their refuge, hoping to find com 
fort and refreshment there ; but, alas ! that doth increase their 
afflictions, and gives them rather matter of more mourning than 
any abatement of their sorrows. They who dive into the bottom 
of this sea of the world, to the hazard of their lives, instead of the 
pearl of contentment and happiness, which they take such pains for, 
bring up nothing but their hands full of the sand and gravel of 
vexation and anguish. All the ways of worldly delights are strewed 
with nettles and briers, so that its greatest darlings are but like 
bears robbing a bee-hive, that with much labour get a little honey, 
but are soundly stung for their pains. Therefore reason, much 
more religion, may sound a retreat, and call us off from our eager 
pursuit of these lying vanities. Car ou il n y a rien d gagner que 
des coups, volontiers il riy va pas: No man makes haste to the 
market, where there is nothing to be bought but blows. 

5. Uncertain. There is no constancy in outward comforts. As 
brooks in winter are carried with violence, and run with a mighty 
stream, flowing over with abundance of water on every side, when 


there is no want nor need of waters ; but in the heat of summer is 
dried up, when water is scanty and hard to be had ; such is the 
friendship of the world ; it will promise us many things when we 
have need of nothing ; but when the wind turns, and afflictions 
overtake us, it is like a tree withered for want of sap, and as a 
ditch without any water to refresh us. When the sun of our pros 
perity is hid and covered with a cloud, these shadows vanish and 
disappear. As leaves fall off in autumn, so doth the friendship of 
creatures fail men when the sap of that maintenance which com 
manded their company is withdrawn from them. Man in honour 
doth not abide, Ps. xlix. As the rising sun, coming into our horizon 
like a giant ready to run his race, appearing to us with a full and 
glorious countenance, within an hour s space is obscured with mists, 
or darkened with clouds ; and however, if it meet with neither of 
these, when it arriveth at its noon-day height, it declines, descendeth, 
setteth, and is buried under us ; so the ambitious person sheweth 
himself to the world as chief favourite at court, with much pomp 
and pride ; by and by his honour is eclipsed by the hate of the 
people, or frowns of his prince, or envy of his fellow-courtiers ; or 
if not, yet he dieth, and carrieth nothing away, and his glory doth 
not descend after him. The like is evident of earthly treasures ; 
they are soon gone, though not soon gotten. As a gallant ship, 
well rigged, trimmed, tackled, manned, with her top and top-gal 
lant, and her well spread sails, putteth out of harbour to the 
admiration of many spectators ; but within a few days is split upon 
some dangerous rock, or swallowed up of some disastrous tempest, 
or taken by some ravenous pirate ; so are this world s goods on a 
sudden taken from their owners, or their owners from them. 

There is a hole in our strongest bags, and rust in our choicest 
metal. The apostle calls riches uncertain riches, and honour a 
fancy, and all the things of this world a fashion, 1 Tim. vi. 17 ; 
Acts xxiv. ; 1 Cor. vii. 31. We are not certain to keep these birds 
in our yards whilst we live ; for riches make themselves wings and 
fly away ; but we are certain, if they do not leave us, that we shall 
leave them. We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain 
we shall carry nothing out of the world. 

Header, how unwise is he who neglecteth eternal substance for 
fading nothings ! The Komans are recorded as guilty of much 
folly, that in their fight with Mithridates, they were so eager after 
their prey, that thereby they missed taking the king, who could 
not otherwise have escaped their hands. Ah, how foolish art thou, 
if, through thy violent pursuit of a perishing world, thou shouldst 


lose an eternal kingdom ! As Constantinople was lost through the 
covetousness of the citizens ; so is the crown of life and glory, the 
city that hath a foundation, through men s eager endeavours after 
earthly things. The beloved disciple doth not unfitly represent all 
the beauties, and glories, and excellencies of this lower world, under 
the name and notion of the moon, which is ever in changes, and 
never looks upon us twice with the same face ; and when it is at 
the fullest, is blemished with a dark spot, and next door to declin 
ing, Kev. xii. 1. 

An old man of Brazil, discoursing with the merchants of France 
and Portugal, and perceiving the long and dangerous voyages 
which they took to get riches, asked them if men did not die with 
them as well as in other countries ? They told him, Yea. He 
asked them who should possess their riches after their deaths? 
They said their children, if they had any ; if not, their next kin 
dred. Now, saith the old man, I perceive ye are fools ; for what 
necessity is there for you to pass the troublesome seas wherein so 
many perish, and to run so many hazards ? Is not the earth that 
brought you up, sufficient to bring up your children and kindred 
also? We have children and kindred that are likewise dear to 
us ; but when we consider that the earth which nourisheth us is 
sufficient to nourish them, we rest satisfied. 

That busy bee and great trouble-world, Alexander, had a tart 
yet wise reproof from Diogenes, when, being taken with the philo 
sopher s witty answers, he bade him ask what he would, and he 
would give it him. The philosopher desired him to grant him the 
smallest portion of immortality. Alexander said, That is not in my 
power to give. Then, saith the philosopher, why doth Alexander 
take such pains, and make such stir to conquer the world, when he 
cannot assure himself of one moment to enjoy it ! Ah ! why should 
thou neglect thy God and Christ, and soul and eternal good, and 
tire and weary thyself night and day, for these unsatisfying com 
forts, which may leave thee to-morrow, and of which thou canst 
not secure the enjoyment of one moment! If God complain of 
wicked men, and threatens them with fierce wrath and fiery in 
dignation for selling the righteous for silver, and the poor for a 
pair of shoes, and would make them know that he valued his 
people at a higher price, and would not suffer them to be sold at 
such a rate ; what will become of thee if thou shouldst sell thy 
soul, thy salvation, thy God, thy Christ, for silver, for vain, unsatis 
fying corruptible silver, when their value is above millions of 
worlds ! Oh take heed that thou dost not cast away thyself for 


such transitory trifles. Let not the world s venison cause thee to lose 
thy Father s blessing. It was a poor change of Glaucus to exchange 
gold for copper ; but oh what a sad exchange wilt thou make to 
exchange heaven for earth, the endless fruition of the blessed God 
for a moment s enjoyment of creatures ! 

Thou wouldst condemn that mariner of folly, who, seeing a fish 
in the water, should leap into the sea to catch it, which, together 
with his life, he loseth. What a fool art thou, for mortal comforts 
to lose an immortal crown ! The women bf Corinth, saith an 
ancient father, did set up tapers at the birth of every child, with 
proper names upon each of them, and that taper which lasted 
longest in burning, had its proper name transferred to the child. 
God himself gives the highest and richest, though conceited world 
ling, his name : Thou fool, this night/ &c. Nabal is his name, 
and folly is with him. 

The plain truth is, the world is the ruin and destruction of men. 
Its pleasures and honours make the sinner merry and jolly, as the 
herb sardonia the eater, who eating dieth : They that will be 
rich, fall into temptations and snares, and many hurtful lusts, which 
drown men in perdition, 1 Tim. vi. 9. The world serveth its 
darlings as that tyrannous emperor did his servants let them 
through a sliding floor into a chamber full of roses, .that, being 
smothered in them, they might meet the bitterness of death in 
sweetness. Oh do not spend thy strength for that which is not 
bread, but hearken to Christ, and thou shalt eat that which is good, 
and thy soul shall delight thyself in fatness, Isa. Iv. 8, 4. 

Secondly, Consider the brevity of thy life. He who hath but a 
little time, and a great task, must work hard, or his work will not be 
done. The birds know their time, and improve it. In some 
countries, the shorter the days are, the faster they fly. Heathen 
have been sensible of this. Theophrastus cried out on his dying 
bed, Ars loTiga, vita brevis ; Time was short, and not sufficient for 
human arts and sciences. Seneca saith of himself, Nullus mihiper 
otium exiit dies, partem noctis studiis devovi; I lose no day 
through idleness, but even devote part of the night to my studies. 
The very devils follow their cursed trade with the greater diligence, 
knowing that their time is short, Kev. xii. 12. 

Now, reader, consider how few thy days are. What is your life ? 
even a vapour, a coming and a going, a flood and an ebb, and then 
thou art in the ocean of eternity. I have read of one, that being 
asked what life was, was answered answerless; for the party of 
whom the question was demanded only turned his back and went 


away. We come into the world, and take a turn or two about in 
it, and God saith, Return, ye children of men. A little child may 
number the days of the oldest man. We project high things, and lay 
foundations for an earthly eternity, but the longest life is less than 
a drop to that ocean. Yet, alas ! the most are blown off in the 
spring, and few continue to fall off in autumn. Plutarch compareth 
Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, in regard of their short reign, to kings 
in tragedies, which last no longer than the time in which they are 
represented on the stage. 

The river Hypanis in Scythia, bringeth forth every day little 
bladders, out of which come certain flies, which are bred in the 
morning, fledged at noon, and die at night : Man cometh up like 
a flower, and is cut down : he fleeth as a shadow, and continueth 
not, Job xiv. 2. 

This short time posteth away with speed ; how soon do our days 
vanish ! Job tells us that his little time made great haste to be 
gone : My days are swifter than a weaver s shuttle, Job vii. 6. 
The weaver s shuttle is an instrument of very swift motion, and so 
swift that it is used for a proverb, for all things that are swift and 
speedy. Radius textoris dictum proverbiale ; Radio velocius. 
The Latins express it by a beam of the sun, or a word which 
signifieth a ray, which is darted in a moment from one end of the 
heavens to another ; such speed doth our life make to pass away. 

Cardinal Bellarmine, when he had a full prospect of the sun 
going down, to perceive the quickness of its motion, took a psalter 
in his hand, and before he had twice read over the fifty-first Psalm, 
the whole body of the sun was set, whereby he concluded, the earth 
being twenty-one thousand miles in compass, the sun must go seven 
thousand miles in half a quarter of an hour. However the Cardinal 
might be mistaken in his reckoning, yet man s days are swifter 
than a post : they flee away, they see no good. They are passed 
away as the swift ships ; as the eagle that hasteth to the prey, Job 
ix. 25, 26. It is our shame and misery that our days shpuld be so 
swift, and we so slack ; that our time should be as speedy as a post, 
or ship, or eagle, and our hearts as slow about our eternal concern 
ments as a snail. Our negligence herein speaks us brutish, and 
void of common sense. Reason will teach him that followeth its 
directions, to be most industrious about matters of such import 

The heathen historian 1 can agree with Scripture in this : Vita 
nostra sicut fabula, non refert quam diu sed quam bene ; Our life 

1 Liv. lib. xv. cap. 7. 


passeth away, as a tale that is told ; it matters not much whether it 
be long or short, but whether it be well or ill. 

Surely it concerneth thee, reader, to make religion thy business, 
and work the work of God, when thine everlasting happiness de- 
pendeth on it, and thy time is so short that thou hast to do it in. 
In the days of Ptolomeus Philopater, when the huge and great 
anchor of the ship Thalmegos was laid out upon the shore, the 
children of Alexandria did ride upon the stalk, and crept through 
the ring of the anchor, as if it had been made purposely for their 
pastime, whereas wise men knew it was appointed for better uses, 
namely, to stable and make sure the great vessel in storms and 

Truly, so do too many serve time ; they play, and toy, and trifle 
it away, as if God had given it to them for that end ; when he who 
bath but half an eye, as we say, may see that it was given for better 
purposes, viz., to furnish his soul for his eternal voyage, and 
thereby to help to stablish and fasten him when he shall launch 
into the stormy ocean. Protogenes made himself ridiculous in the 
judgment of all that are sober, for spending seven years in drawing 
Falisus and his dog ; for though the most excellent pictures are 
longest in drawing, yet to spend years about that which may be 
finished in days, argueth want of wisdom. But having spoken 
somewhat largely to this in the sixth chapter, I am the more brief in 

Thirdly, Consider the examples of others, who have wrought 
hard at this heavenly calling. Cicero tells us, Nothing prevails 
more with men than similitudes and examples. Indeed, worthy 
patterns are of great power. Thucydides brake forth into tears, 
out of love to learning, upon hearing Herodotus read a history that 
he had written. Themistocles tells us, the statue of Miltiades 
would not sufFer him to sleep. Alexander was much provoked to 
valiant acts by reading the prowess of Achilles and Hector in 
Homer. Csesar was so stirred to courage by reading the conquests 
of Alexander in his youth, that he wept for anger that he had done 
nothing worthy of himself at that age. Iron put into the fire is 
turned into fire. Consider, therefore, the prophets and apostles 
of the Lord, how diligent they were at their duty, how hard they 
^wrought for God. 

The great apostle was indefatigably industrious for his soul and 
his Saviour. Consider him in reference to his outward man, how 
unwearied was he at his Master s work ! and in reference to his in 
ward man, how zealous, how fervent in spirit, serving the Lord ! 



From Jerusalem to Illyricum I have preached the gospel/ His 
travels are computed to be twelve thousand nine hundred and 
seventy miles. He gives us, when necessitated thereunto, a brief 
catalogue of his actions and passions for Christ. Are they minis 
ters of Christ ? I am more ; in labours more abundant, in stripes 
above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the 
Jews, five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I 
beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, 
a night and a day have I been in the deep ; in journeyings often, 
in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own coun 
trymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in 
the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils by false brethren ; in 
weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, 
in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Besides those things 
which are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of 
all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak ? Who is 
offended, and I burn not? 2 Cor. xi. 23-29. 

Header, think thou hearest the apostle speaking to thee, as 
once to the Corinthians, Be ye followers of me, as I am of Christ. 
How did our blessed Saviour work the work of him that sent him 
while it was day ? He went about doing good. Godliness was 
his meat and drink : I have meat to eat which ye know not of. My 
meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 
He wrought so hard that he forgot to eat his bread, and was taken 
by his kindred to be mad. It was his sleep and rest. He went 
into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 
He prayed with strong cries and groans ; and being in an agony, 
he prayed the more fervently. He was taken to be about fifty 
years old when he was little above thirty, so much was he worn 
out with labour for his God, Acts x. 38 ; John iv. 34 ; Luke vi. 12 ; 
Mark i. 34 ; Heb. v. 7. 

reader, let Christ be the copy after which thou wilt write, and 
the pattern which thou wilt follow, and be a follower of others as 
they are of Christ Jesus. Did Christ work so hard for thee; did 
he lose his food, and sleep, and wear out himself, that his strength 
was dried up like a potsherd, and his heart was melted like wax in 
the midst of his bowels, and wilt not thou spend and be spent for thy 
Saviour ? I would say for thy own soul ; for in serving him thou 
servest thyself. Think of it when thou art trifling away thy time, 
and neglecting thy spiritual watch, and dull and dead in holy 
duties. How eager and earnest, how zealous and sedulous, thy 
Lord Jesus was in working out thy salvation ! He did not play, 


nor dally about the work of thy redemption, but made it his busi 
ness, and did what he was called to with all his heart, and soul, 

and strength. 


The excellency of this calling, and the conclusion of the treatise. 

Fourthly, Consider the excellency of this calling. As it is said 
of God in respect of beings, Who is like thee, God ? Among all 
the gods none is to be compared to thee ; so I may say of god 
liness in respect of callings, What is like thee, godliness? 
Amongst all callings none is comparable to thee. 

1. It is the most honourable calling. The master that thou art 
bound to is King of kings, and Lord of lords, the fountain of 
honour, and Lord of glory ; one of whom the greatest princes and 
potentates of the world hold their crowns and sceptres, to whom 
they must kneel and do their homage ; one to whom the whole crea 
tion is less than nothing. The work that thou art employed in is 
not servile and mean, but high and noble ; the worship of the great 
God, walking and conversing with his blessed Majesty, subduing 
brutish lusts, living above this beggarly earth, a conversation in 
heaven, a conflict with, and conquest over, this dreggy flesh and 
drossy world, and powers of hell, to which the greatest battles and 
victories of the most valiant warriors that ever drew the sword are 
worse than children s play. To conquer our passions is more than 
to conquer kingdoms. Themistocles is renowned by Cicero for 
telling some who disparaged him for his ignorance in playing on 
the lute, that he knew not how to play on the lute, yet he knew 

W to take a city. To subdue one lust, is more than to subdue a 
thousand cities. Thy fellow-servants are the elect of God, glori 
ous angels and saints, who are higher than the kings of the earth, 
princes in all lands, a crown of glory, a royal dia4em, a chosen 
generation, the excellent of the earth, vessels of gold, the children 
of the Most High, of whom the world is not worthy. The privi 
leges of this calling and company are eminent. Adoption, remis 
sion, growth in grace, divine love, perseverance in holiness, an eter 
nal kingdom, are all contained in the charter granted to this cor 
poration. The covenant of grace, that hive of sweetness, that mine 
of gold, that cabinet of jewels, to which all the world is but a heap 
of dust, is their part and portion, and contains more in it for their 
comfort than heaven and earth is able to contain. 


To serve God is one of the fairest flowers in the saint s garland 
of honour. Hence the Lord s kinsman glorieth in being the Lord s 
servant ; and the Lord s mother calleth herself his handmaid, Jude 
1 ; Luke i. 38. If the meanest offices about earthly princes are 
esteemed honourable, what an honour is it to wait on the King of 
heaven ! The saints duty is their preferment, and that service 
which is commanded them a privilege. The great apostle boasteth 
of his chain for God as his glory and credit, and holdeth it up as a 
mark and badge of honour : For the hope of Israel I am bound 
with this chain, Acts xxviii. 20, and begins one of his epistles with 
this honorary title, Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, Philem. 1. 

It is not earthly riches that make a man honourable ; we mis 
take in calling and counting rich men the best men in the parish. 
Riches without godliness are but a gold ring in a swine s snout, 
for which the brute is nothing the better. It is not airy applause 
or worldly preferments that will make a man honourable. Titles 
are but like feathers in the hat, or glistering scarfs under the arms, 
which add not the least worth to the man that wears them. A 
great letter makes no more to the sense of the world than a small 
one. Worship, honour, grace, highness, majesty, make nothing to 
the real intrinsic value of any person. The great monarchs of the 
world are but beasts in God s account. Antiochus Epiphanes, 
whose name signifieth illustrious, whom the Samaritans styled the 
mighty God, is called by the Holy Ghost, because of his ungodli 
ness, a vile person, Dan. xi. 21 ; In his days shall stand up a vile 
person. All honour without holiness is fading, as well as fancied 
rather than real. External nobility, though it glitter in the face 
of the world, is but, as Seneca saith, vitrea, brittle as glass, and 
compounded of earth. The potentates of the world are often like 
tennis-balls, tossed up on high to fall down low. Hence some of 
the wiser heathen have called them ludibria fortunes, the scorn of 
fortune. Haman honoured one day, the next day hanged. Geli- 
mer, the puissant prince of the Vandals, Belisarius, Charles the 
Fifth, and Henry the Fourth, emperors, and many others, experi 
enced the brittleness of worldly glory. But that honour which is 
from above is true and eternal. Plutarch tells us the Roman 
nobles, as a badge of their nobility, wore the picture of the moon 
upon their shoes, signifying, as their nobility did increase, so it 
would decrease. All privileges, all prerogatives, all titles, all 
dignities, without godliness, are vanishing shadows. It is the new 
creation that rendereth the children of Abraham like the glorious 
stars in heaven. 


The world looks on the saint (possibly he is poor and mean in 
the world) as the Jews looked on Christ, as a root out of a dry 
ground, and so saw no form nor comeliness in him ; but they who 
could pierce into the inside of Christ, could see that in him dwelt 
the fulness of the Godhead bodily ; and they who can see into the 
inside of Christians, behold the King s daughter all glorious within. 
As the precious stone sandastra hath nothing in outward appear 
ance but that which seemeth black, but, being broken, poureth 
forth beams like the sun, so the church of Christ is outwardly black 
with affliction, but inwardly more bright and glorious than the sun, 
with thriving virtues and celestial graces. The power of godliness 
in a mean Christian is a rich treasure in a mean cabinet, but vice 
in robes, in scarlet, is poison in wine, the more deadly and dan 

Tamerlane s tomb was rifled by the Turks, and his bones worn 
by them for jewels, though their enemy, and one that had conquered 
them in divers combats, and captivated their emperor, and carried 
him up and down in an iron cage for his footstool. God makes 
his people honourable in the eyes of the wicked : Since thou wast 
precious in my sight, thou art honourable, and I have loved thee ; 
therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. The 
sons of them that afflicted thee shall bow before thee, and thine 
enemies shall lick the dust, Isa. xliii. 4. A wicked king, Jehoram, 
honoureth and waiteth on a servant of God, Elisha ; Herod rever- 
enceth the Baptist. Grace is a powerful, though silent orator, to 
persuade all that see it to love and honour it. What Diogenes 
spake of learning is truly applicable to grace, or the knowledge of 
God in Christ. It makes young men sober, old men happy, poor 
men rich, and rich men honourable. 

When Agesilaus was ready to die, he charged his friends that 
they should not make any picture or statue of him : For, saith he, 
if I have done anything that is good, that will be my monument ; 
but if otherwise, all the statues you can make will not keep my 
name alive. The Egyptians, in their funeral orations, never com 
mended any for his riches, because they thought them the goods 
of fortune, but for his righteousness and justice. 

Piety is a lasting pillar, that causeth the righteous to be had 
in everlasting remembrance. Time shall not outlive the saint s 
honour : grace renders him more illustrious than ever the Mauso- 
lean mountain did that Carian. As the hairs of Tarandrus are 
not to be pierced with any weapon, so the name of a saint cannot 
be hurt by all the slanders and calumnies of the wicked. They 


who are sainted in heaven s calendar, and whose names are enrolled 
in the Lamb s book of life, are truly honourable and eternally glo 
rious, maugre the malice of men and devils. The disgrace which 
the wicked cast on the righteous is, at worst, but like the noise of 
some loud-tongued gun, ceased as soon as heard ; but the honour 
which God and Scripture put upon the godly is a pillar which en- 
dureth to all eternity ; such a monument as neither age, nor time, 
nor envy, can waste or wear out. Demetrius, under all the obloquy 
and contempt which his countrymen cast upon him, could comfort 
himself in this, that though the Athenians demolished his statues, 
yet they could not extinguish his virtues, the cause of raising them. 

Sin is so base and beggarly, so loathsome and shameful a thing, 
that not only the children of God, but even wicked men, have been 
unwilling to own it, and ashamed to be taxed with it, or found out 
at the commission of it ; when godliness is so high and honour 
able, so noble and excellent a mistress, that those who deny the 
power of it, will take upon them the form of it ; they who hate its 
work, will wear its livery. There are hardly any jewels of grace, 
but for each of them vice hath counterfeit stones. Oh how noble a 
mistress, how honourable a lady is that, whom all pretend relation 
to, and even those that hate her would not be thought her enemies, 
but blush to be taxed as strangers to her ! 

2. It is the most comfortable and delightful calling. Satan 
would represent Christians under ugly vizards, and Christianity 
frightful, to make men loathe both the one and the other. As he 
transforms himself, the prince of darkness, and his ways, which are 
darkness, into an angel of light, and seeming light, so he endeavours 
to transform Christians, who are children of light, and their holy 
ways, which are paths of light, into children of darkness and paths 
of darkness. He endeavours to make men think the power of god 
liness antipodes to all cheerfulness ; but holiness is far from such a 
crabbed face and austere countenance as he would have us fancy. 
No trade hath so much mirth with it and in it ; joy is one essential 
part of this calling : The kingdom of God consisteth not in meats 
and drinks, but in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost, Bom. xiv. 17. The servants of God do not only rejoice in 
the forethoughts of their reward, to think of the time when their 
indentures shall expire, and they shall enjoy the glorious liberty of the 
sons of God We rejoice in hope of glory ; but also in their work. 
They are joyful in the house of prayer ; they sing at their work, Thy 
statutes are my songs in the house of my pilgrimage ; nay, at the 
hardest and most tiresome of their work : We rejoice in tribula- 


tion. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temp 
tations. Joy is the beam which is darted from the sun, the stream 
which floweth from the fountain of godliness. It is observable that 
the beginning, the least degree of grace, causeth joy, great joy ; 
what, then, will its growth and perfection do? When Christ did 
but call to Zaccheus, he came down hastily, and received him joy 
fully, Luke xix. 6. When the eunuch was converted, he went 
home rejoicing, Acts viii. 39. When the Samaritans had received 
Christ into their hearts at Philip s preaching, there was great joy 
in that city, Acts viii. 6-8. The jailer, after his heartquake, re 
joiced, believing in God with all his house, Acts xvi. 34. The joy 
of the saints, as it is invisible, so it is unutterable : In whom be 
lieving, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory/ 1 Pet. 
i. 8. For the measure of it, it is compared to the joy of harvest, 
to the joy of the bridegroom and bride on their wedding-day, Isa. 
ix. 3 ; Hosea ii. 19. 

Hence it is that grace and godliness are compared to, and set 
forth by, those things which are pleasant and delightful, and bring 
joy with them : as music, the joy and delight of the ears ; a feast, 
the joy and delight of the taste ; to light, the joy and delight of the 
eyes ; life, wine, which rejoiceththe heart; perfumes, which delight 
the scent ; good, the joy of the will ; truth, the joy of the under 
standing. Godliness hath joy proper and suitable for every sense, 
whether outward or inward. As the higher the sun is, the greater 
its light is, so the holier the Christian, the greater his joy is. The 
more clear the fire burns, the more comfortable it is ; smoke fetcheth 
tears from our eyes. When grace burns clear, it is refreshing in 
deed ; it is the smoke of sin that turns our houses into bochims, 
places of weeping. When good men step awry, not pondering their 
goings, then they wrench their feet, or put their bones out of joint, 
and so put themselves to much pain. 

Indeed, wicked men who are ignorant of the mystery of godliness, 
because they see no sunshine in the faces of godly men, judge it to 
be foul weather in their hearts. As the Roman soldiers, when they 
entered into the Sanctum sanctorum and saw no images, presently 
reported the Jews to worship the clouds ; but a Christian s joy is as 
far out of wicked men s sight to discern it, as out of their power to 
remove it. A stranger intermeddleth not with his joy : Your hearts 
shall rejoice, and your joy shall no man take from you. A wicked 
man s joy is most in his face. As a blackamore, he is white nowhere 
but in his teeth. Seneca compares him to a commander in a 
desperate battle, who, lest his soldiers should run away, sets a good 


face on it, when he is inwardly terrified and full of fear. He is 
like one in a high desperate fever, having a good colour, when his 
heart is heavy, and he is at the gate of death. The godly man s 
joy is most in his heart : he is like that fish which hath a rough 
outside but a pearl within. When there are storms without, there 
is music within peace of conscience, which passeth all understand 
ing. A wicked man is as a book of tragedies, bound extraordinary, 
gay and gilt on the outside, but full of doleful, dreadful stories 
within ; or, as Alexander said of Antipater, he was white without, 
but purple within ; his face may be white and smiling, but his con 
science is red and fiery. But the godly man s inside is his best 
side; though his full sacks of joy and delight are not opened till he 
comes to his Father s house, yet the blessed Jesus gives him, as 
Joseph the patriarchs, sufficient provision for the way. The law 
gave the first fruits of the earth to God ; the gospel gives the first 
fruits of heaven to men, which are both an earnest and a taste of 
their glorious and everlasting harvest. 

All sorrows proceed from sin. As the shadow followeth the body, 
so doth grief follow guilt. Lust, like rotten flesh or wood, will 
breed worms to gnaw in the sinner s bowels. Therefore it is no 
wonder that Nabal, Saul, and Belshazzar, when their lusts flew in 
their faces, died, or were ready to die, with horror. If a godly man 
sin wilfully, and wound his soul, it is no wonder if he feel the smart 
and pain of it. When David steps awry, and slips with his feet, 
and falls dangerously, he may well keep his bed, and water his 
couch, and cry out of his aches and broken bones ; yet the very 
sorrow of a saint for sin against his God, hath more real joy and 
delight in it than all the skin-deep pleasures of giggling gallants. 
Crates could dance and laugh in his threadbare coat, and his wallet 
at his back, which was all his wealth. The saint can rejoice in his 
saddest afflictions ; though he seldom live in palaces, yet he always 
lives in a paradise, having, if he be careful to keep a good con 
science, a constant youth of joy and perpetual spring, as that place 
they write of under the equator. The tears of those that pray, 
saith Augustine, are sweeter than the joys of the theatre. 

It is true, godliness doth abridge men of sinful pleasures, but it 
is the more pleasant for separating itself from that which is worse 
than poison. Agesilaus could taste by a natural appetite that such 
pleasures are more fit for slaves than freemen. Averroes and the 
rest of the Arabian philosophers are ashamed of that sensual and 
beastly paradise which their Mohammed provided for them, as 
most unworthy the soul of man, and infinitely short of true delight. 


Godliness doth not deny us our natural delights, only rectify and 
regulate them, lest we should surfeit on them. It doth not deny 
us drink, but drunkenness : nor meat, but gluttony. Nature, even 
in things in themselves lawful, would run out unlawfully if she 
were not restrained. Grace only keepeth the reins in its own hands, 
lest that skittish colt should, through its wantonness, break its own 
neck. It is as the pale to the garden, to preserve the flowers in it 
from beasts, or as a hedge to a field, to keep what is in it within 
bounds. As Leonidas the captain, perceiving that his soldiers left 
their watch on the city walls for the ale-houses, commanded that 
the ale-houses should be removed to the city walls, that they might 
both enjoy their pleasure and discharge their duties together. 
Godliness alloweth men the comfort of their relations and posses 
sions, only it so limiteth our delight in them, that we may not by 
them be hindered from working the work of God, and minding our 
eternal salvations. 

Godliness brings more noble and excellent pleasures. Others are 
puddle-water ; those pleasures which godliness giveth are pure and 
clear streams, such as flow from God himself. There is more 
sweetness in one drop of the fountain, than in all the waters of the 
sea. There is more joy, more comfort, in a little communion with 
God, than in the greatest confluence of creature enjoyments. Au 
gustine saith, 1 How sweet was it to me on a sudden to be without 
these sweet vanities ! thou, Lord, who art the true sweetness, didst 
take them from me and enter in thyself, who art more pleasant than 
all pleasure, and more clear than all light. The world, as they 
say of fairies, deprives of true children, and puts changelings in 
their room ; deprives men of true substantial joy, and gives them 
shadows in the room ; but godliness, on the contrary, deprives of 
painted poisons, and gives them wholesome and real pleasures. 
All the comforts of this world, to a person void of grace, are but as 
a sack of perfumes and medicines, and cordial drugs to the back of 
a galled horse, which may vex and enrage his sores with their weight, 
but do not ease or abate his pain with their virtue. A saint s life, 
notwithstanding his greatest sufferings, whilst it is blessed with the 
smiles of his Father, is a heaven upon earth ; but the sinner s life, 
notwithstanding his honours, and pleasures, and riches, and rela 
tions, whilst under the wrath of an infinite God, and anguished 
with the gripings of a guilty conscience, is little less than an 
earnest and taste of hell. Grace is sugar to sweeten all our crosses, 
and sin is vinegar to sour all our comforts. The iron seems to 

1 Conf., lib. ix. cap. 1. 


embrace the loadstone with great delight, and to be rapt with an 
amorous ecstasy ; so as Thales thought it animal. And yet that 
motion is void of the least sense of pleasure. The wicked man 
seems, by his smiling face and giggling countenance, to be the only 
merry man, when he is as far from true pleasure as from true piety. 
The least bee finds more delight in making and tasting a little 
honey, than the great sun and all his glorious attendants in their 
high and perpetual courses. The meanest Christian hath more 
comfort in making sure his salvation, and tasting the sweetness of 
his Saviour, than the kings of the earth and their courtiers in their 
abundance of all earthly comforts. 

The wise man tells us concerning the ways of wisdom, wherein 
a Christian s daily walk is, Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and 
all her paths are peace, Prov. iii. 17 ; and the saints find them so 
by experience. The word of God, which is the rule of their 
work, is sweeter to them than the honey and the honeycomb, and 
they delight to do the will of God. The sinner s life is an uncom 
fortable life; besides those inward gripes and horror which sin 
causeth in the conscience at present, and its end, the sting in the 
tail, which is the eternal fire, there is trouble, and fear, and shame, 
and vexation in the very act or commission of many sins. To for 
give an injury, which is one piece of Christianity, is pleasant and 
delightful ; but to revenge an affront, what heats and colds, what 
passions and perturbations, doth it cause ! To love our neighbours, 
and wish their welfare, is a. sweet thing, a reward in itself it hath 
"meat in its mouth ; but to envy my neighbour, because he is richer 
or more honourable, or hath larger gifts and more friends than 
myself, is as rottenness to the bones; it wasteth and consumeth 
the inward parts, as rust eateth out iron, according to Solomon s 
phrases. A contented man hath a heaven upon earth ; all the year 
with him is spring-time or summer; like a child, he takes no 
carking care for food, or raiment, or house-rent, but minds his 
duty, and leaves all to his Father, who knoweth what he hath need 
of. But the covetous, who, like the barren womb, hath never 
enough, pines with fear of want, and can neither eat, nor drink, nor 
sleep quietly, lest he should lose what he hath, or not have suffi 
cient to hold out ; nay, he will not allow himself convenient food 
or raiment, though he have never so much ; but, like a beast, feeds 
on thistles, when he hath all sorts of provision upon his back. 
Temperance hath health and strength with it, and thereby renders 
the other comforts of this life savoury and comfortable ; so also 
chastity. But gluttony, and drunkenness, and whoredom bring 


weakness and sickness on men s bodies, and embitter all other 
blessings, besides the fear of being discovered, to the shame and 
iisgrace of the authors, which torrnenteth not a little. There is 
3omfort in dealing honestly and righteously ; but if a man will 
iheat, and cozen, and filch, and steal, no wonder if he tire his head 
with plots and projects to carry it on cunningly and secretly, and 
;errify his heart with apprehension that it will be known, and then 
shall be branded for a knave, or suffer the penalty of law in a 
more severe degree. 

The sinner is hurried hither and thither by his opposite lords 
and contrary lusts, and torn piecemeal by them, as a man by beasts, 
which draw the parts of his body contrary ways. The commands 
of sin are harsh and heavy ; no tyrant ever put his subjects upon 
more crabbed, painful work ; but the commandments of God are 
not grievous, 1 John v. 3. Sin is slavery, and its servant worse 
;han those that row in Turkish galleys ; but God s law is a law of 
iberty, and they walk at liberty who seek his precepts. The ways 
of sinners are called crooked ways, rugged ways, which are un 
pleasant to travel in ; but the ways of God are called straight ways, 
plain paths, which are delightful to passengers. I am confident 
:he true Christian hath more true pleasure in suffering for Christ, 
or one act of mortification, or victory over one lust, than the highest 
earthly potentate hath in his largest dominions, in the multitude of 
ais subjects, in the richness of his kingdoms, and in all the honour 
;hat is done him, or good things enjoyed by him all his days. 

3. It is the most profitable calling. Reader, this argument is 
Achilleum, or instar omnium, the strongest argument, and instead 
of all ; with most men gain is the great god of this world, that com- 
mandeth all their heads, and hearts, and hands, to whom they bow 
down the knees both of their bodies and souls. The thief and 
murderer are quickened by this to their hellish trade : Come, let us 
[ay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause. 
We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with 
spoil, Prov. i. 11, 13. The Shechemites, upon this ground, will en 
dure the pain of circumcision, and throw up their former religion : 
Shall not their beasts, and their cattle, and their substance be ours ? 
The soul for this will scale the walls, and leap upon the pikes, and 
run upon the mouth of the cannon. The husbandman for this will 
rise early, go to bed late, eat the bread of carefulness, toil and moil 
all day, and make a drudge, a slave, a pack-horse of himself all the 
year. The merchant for this will plough the ocean, dance upon 
the surging billows, suffer many dangers and deaths through his 


whole voyage. The shopkeeper for this will crowd into any hole 
of the city, break his sleep, waste his health, run about hither and 
thither, early and late. Gehazi, Achan, Judas, Balaam, for this 
will venture their bodies, their souls, any things, all things. Profit 
is such a bait that all will bite at. The devil, that arch-politician, 
who hath had so many thousand years experience, besides his 
extraordinary natural knowledge, could not judge any topics more 
likely than this to take with our blessed Saviour : All these things 
will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. The gods 
themselves were said by the Athenians to be corrupted with Philip s 
gold, that their oracles still were in favour of him. Money is the 
absolute monarch, which can put men upon the most dangerous de 
signs. Therefore Cassius, surnamed the Severe, one of the wisest 
of the Homan judges, in all doubtful causes that came before him. 
would demand, GUI bono, Who gained, or had the profit? weU 
knowing that that is the bias which turneth men aside to wrong 
others ; and the heady, wanton horse, which breaks through the 
fence to trespass upon neighbours. 

Now, reader, if profit will prevail with thee, godliness with con 
tentment is great gain. All the gold of the world is dross, all the 
diamonds of the world are dirt, all the gains of the world are loss. 
to this gain of godliness. Egypt watered by Nilus hath four rich 
harvests, say some, in less than four months. Solinus saith the 
Egyptian fig-tree beareth fruit seven times in a year. Godliness 
brings forth thirty, sixty, a hundredfold increase ; it giveth a 
hundredfold in this world, and in the world to come life everlast 
ing, Mat. xix. 29. After ye had your fruits unto holiness, in the 
end everlasting life, Rom. vi. 22. Did the sinner but believe Scrip 
ture, that speaks the infinite reward of holiness, he would quickly 
set up this trade. Pindar the poet saith, in regard of the fertility 
of Ehodia, and the wealth of the inhabitants, that it rained gold in 
that country. The fruit of wisdom is better than silver, and th( 
gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies . 
and all thou canst desire is not to be compared to her, Prov. iii. 
14, 15. 

Lucian fancieth all the heathen gods and goddesses sitting in 
parliament, and each making choice of that tree which best pleased 
them. Jupiter chose the oak for its strength; Apollo, the bay- 
tree for its greenness ; Neptune chose the poplar for its length : 
Juno chose the eglantine for its sweetness ; Venus chose the myrtle- 
tree for its beauty ; Minerva, sitting by, demanded of her father 
Jupiter, why, since there were so many fruitful trees, they all had 


shosen barren ones. He answered, Ne videantur fructu honorem 
vendere, Lest they should seem to sell honour for fruit. Minerva 
replied, Well, do what you please ; I for my part make choice of 
jhe olive, for its fatness and fruitfulness. They all commended her 
ihoice, and were ashamed of their own folly. This fiction doth 
fitly represent the foolishness of men at this day, in choosing the 
honours, and preferments, and glory of the world, which are barren 
and unfruitful things, of no worth in the other world, before that 
honour which is from God, and the eternal weight of glory, and 
also the convictions of their consciences another day, which will 
force them to be ashamed of their own folly ; and to commend the 
;hoice of a Christian for preferring grace and godliness, which will 
stand him in stead in an hour of death and day of judgment, and 
Dring him in unspeakable gain, before the airy honours and wither 
ing vanities of this life. 

Header, if thou wilt give conscience free liberty to speak its 
mind, I know it will tell thee that no calling is comparable to this 
for profit. 

The gain of godliness is real gain, rich gain, certain gain, eternal 

1. It is real, if the word of truth may be trusted ; its fruit is there 
fore called substance, in distinction from earthly riches, which 
are shadows: I will cause them that love me to inherit sub 

2. It is called also true riches ; other riches are feigned. Hence 
also godly men are said to be rich towards God, and other men to 
be rich in this world. It is rich gain, as it hath relation to the 
best part ; it makes the soul of man truly precious, as it is most 
serviceable to our last end, and prepareth man for the fruition of 
God, and also as its reward is unconceivable. The vessels of mercy 
shall swim in an ocean of glory : Eye hath not seen, nor ear 
heard, nor can the heart of man conceive what God hath laid up 
for them that love him, 1 Cor. ii. 9. Its reward is beyond all expres 
sion, above all apprehensions ; no comparison can fully resemble it, 
no understanding conceive it. 

3. It is eternal gain. Other gains are fading, deceitful brooks, 
dying flowers, withering gourds, and vanishing shadows : Kiches 
are not for ever/ Prov. xxix. ; Man in honour abideth not, Ps. 
xlix. 12 ; The pleasures of sin are but for a season, Heb. xi. 25 ; 
but this gain is for ever. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring 
for ever, both in the nature of it, it is incorruptible seed, and in the 
fruit of it, which is the gift of God, eternal life. Though other 


trades shall all fail, as useful only in this needy world ; though other 
callings shall vanish, and time itself shall be no more, yet this 
trade, this calling, shall run parallel with the life of an irroaortal 
soul. Though gold be a corruptible metal, the gain of this calling 
is better than much fine gold ; it is an inheritance, undefiled, in 
corruptible. Our work, whether in doing or suffering the will of 
God, is but for a moment ; but it works for us a far more exceed 
ing and eternal weight of glory. Oh what a happy good, what an 
excellent gain, is that which is eternal ! Mary hath chosen the 
good part, which shall never be taken from her. When thy lands 
and houses shall be taken from thee, thy place and dwelling shall 
know thee no more ; when thy friends and relations shall be taken 
from thee Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire 
of thine eyes with a stroke ; when all the comforts of this life shall 
serve thee as vermin and lice do a dead man, though they stick 
close to him in his life, run from him at death ; this calling will 
stand by thee, encourage thee, never leave thee nor forsake thee. 
In other things thou choosest for that which is most lasting. If 
thou buyest a house, or beast, or suit of apparel, thou art desirous 
to have that which is most durable and strong. Oh, why shouldst 
thou not choose that good which is everlasting ! When Demetrius 
had taken Megara, and his soldiers plundered the city, he, fearing 
the philosopher Stilpo might receive some loss, sent for him, and 
asked him whether any of his men had taken anything of his. 
Stilpo answered, No ; for I saw no man that took my learning 
from me. Godliness is such wealth, such learning, as will abide 
with thee in general plunder ; indeed, neither men nor devils can 
rob thee of it. 

4. It is certain gain. He that sets up of this trade may be trusted, 
for none ever brake of this calling. God himself, whose is the 
earth and the fulness thereof, is bound for them, and hath under 
taken for their preservance, and growth, and gains. The merchant 
that trades into the other world, is not properly a merchant ven 
turer ; for the gospel, which is the insurance office, hath engaged 
infinite power, and love, and faithfulness for the security and safe 
return of all the vessels which he sends forth. The promises are 
all yea and amen, the sure mercies of David ; the covenant of grace, 
which containeth all their gains and riches, is stable in all things, 
and sure, 2 Cor. i. 20 ; Isa. Iv. 6 ; 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 

If there were a free trade proclaimed to the Indies, and every 
man that went promised as much gold as he would desire, and a 
certainty of making a good voyage, who almost would stay at 


home ? What crowding would there be to port towns, and what 
haste to take shipping. 

Header, though God will not suffer this to be in reference to 
earthly treasures, knowing out of his infinite wisdom how hurtful 
they would be to immortal souls, yet he offereth thee all this, and 
infinitely more, in calling upon thee to mind godliness. He saith 
to thee, as Joseph to his brethren, Gen. xlv. 18, Come unto me, 
and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat 
the fat of the land. Come unto me, and I will give you the good 
of Canaan, and ye shall eat the pleasant fruits of that land flowing 
with milk and honey. 

reader, didst thou know the worth of this jewel, thou wouldst 
trample upon all the wealth of this world as dung in comparison 
of it. Little dost thou think or imagine the advantage, the virtues, 
of this diamond. It is the true loadstone that draweth all good to 
it. Luther saith of one psalm : This psalm hath done more for me 
than all the potentates of the world. I may say to thee, This call 
ing will feed thee with bread that came down from heaven, and 
clothe thee with fine linen, the robes of God s own righteousness ; 
it will protect thee and maintain thee, it will advance and honour 
thee, it will enrich and ennoble thee in life, refresh and rejoice 
thee in death, crown and reward thee after death, do more for thee 
than all the princes or potentates, relations or possessions, persons 
or comforts upon earth can do. 

In thy prosperity and enjoyment of outward good things, godli 
ness would, like sugar and spice, correct their windiness, and make 
them wholesome and profitable to thee. It would, like Elisha s 
meal and salt, make thy meat sweet and savoury, and thy drink 
pleasant and refreshing to thee. It would make thy bed soft and 
easy, thy garments warm and sweet-scented. It will so far abate 
thy appetite to this luscious food, that thou shouldst not feed im 
moderately, to the surfeiting thy soul. 

As the fiery bush which Moses saw in the mount Horeb, though 
it was in a flaming fire, did not consume ; or as the shining worm, 
that, being cast into the fire, doth not waste, but is thereby purged 
from its filth, and made more beautiful than all the water in the 
world could make it ; so affliction should not ruin, but reform and 
purify thee. In the greatest danger this will be thy defence. 
Though others, like the old world, are drowned, are destroyed in 
these waters, yet thou shouldst ride safely in a well-pitched ark ; 
and to free thee from any fear of miscarrying, the Lord himself 
would shut thee in. When others are in the open air, on whom 


storms and tempests have their full force, thou shoulclst be housed 
in God s presence-chamber, and kept secret by his side. As 
Gideon s fleece, thou shouldst be dry, when all about thee are wet. 
The whale of destruction might digest thousands of mariners, but 
one godly Jonah is too hard for him. The torrent of fire that ran 
from jEtna, and consumed the country, yet parted itself to safe 
guard them that relieved their aged parents. When the Grecians 
had taken Troy, and given every man liberty to carry out his 
burden, they were so taken with the devotion of .ZEneas in carrying 
out first his household gods, and, upon a second license, his old 
father Anchises and his son Ascanius, instead of treasures, which 
others carried out, that they permitted him to carry what he would 
without any disturbance. 1 Jeremiah, in the Babylonish captivity, 
was tendered and regarded highly by the king of Babylon. When 
Sodom was destroyed, Lot was preserved. It was storied of Troy, 
that so long as the image of Pallas stood safe in it, that city should 
never be won. It is true of godliness, so long as the fear and love 
of thy God are within thee, so long as thou makest religion thy 
business, nothing shall hurt thee, everything shall help thee. God 
liness will bring in all gain, and at all times : No good thing will 
he withhold from them that walk uprightly. A child of God, 
by adoption, is in some sense like the Son of God by eternal gene 
ration, heir of all things : 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23, Whether Paul, or 
Apollos, or Cephas, or life, or death, or things present, or things to 
come, all are yours: and ye are Christ s; and Christ is God s. Nay, 
the Christian s riches are not only unsearchable, Eph. iii. 8, but also 
durable, Prov. viii. 15. When a wicked man dieth, all his riches 
die with him. His treasure is laid up on earth, therefore, when he 
leaves the earth, he leaves his treasure, Ps. xlix. 17. When a godly 
man dieth, his riches follow him, Rev. xiv. 13. His treasure is in 
heaven, and so when he dieth he goeth to his gains. 

reader, what an argument is here to provoke thee to piety. 
Godliness is profitable in all conditions, in all relations, in both 
worlds. In prosperity, it will be a sun to direct thee ; in adver 
sity, a shield to protect thee ; in life, it will be thy comfort, and, 
which is infinitely more, in death, that hour of need, it will be thy 
enlivening cordial. The smell of trefoil is stronger in a cloudy, 
dark season, than in fair weather. The refreshing savour of the 
sweet spices of grace is strongest in the saints greatest necessities. 

When death, the king of terrors, comes to enter the list, and 
fight with thee for thy soul and eternal salvation, for thy God, and 
1 Dares Phryg. de bello Trojano. 


Christ, and heaven, and happiness ; when all thy riches, and hon 
ours, and friends, and relations would leave thee in the lurch, to 
shift for thyself, as dogs leave their master when he comes to the 
water, godliness would be thy shield, to secure thee against its shot, 
and make thee more than a conqueror over it. Thou mightst call 
thy dying bed, as Jacob the place through which he travelled, Ma- 
hanaiin, a camp, for there angels would meet thee, to convey thee 
safe through the air, the enemy s country, of which Satan is lord 
and prince, to thy Father s house, where thou shouldst be infinitely 
blessed in the vision and fruition of thy God and Saviour for ever. 
Godliness would be the pilot to steer the vessel of thy soul aright 
through those boisterous waters to a happy port. The Arabic 
fable mentions one that carried a hog, a goat, and a sheep to the 
city ; the hog roared hideously, when the other two were still and 
quiet ; and being asked the reason, gave this account of her crying : 
The sheep and goat have no such cause to complain, for they are 
carried to the city for their milk, but I am carried thither to be 
killed, being good for nothing else. The ungodly person may 
well cry out sadly when sickness comes, for then guilt flieth in 
his face, and conscience tells him death will kill him ; he is good 
for nothing but to be killed with death, Kev. xi. 5 ; he never 
honoured God in this world, and God will force honour out of 
him in the other world. He may well screech out dreadfully at 
the approach of death, whose body death sends to the grave, and 
his soul to intolerable and unquenchable flames ; but the godly 
man may bid death welcome, knowing it will be his exceeding gain 
and advantage. 

Header, when others, like the Israelites, are afraid, and start 
back at the sight of this Goliath, thou mightst, like little David, 
encounter him in the name of the Lord, and overcome him. Thou 
mightst triumphantly sing in the ears of death, death, where is 
thy sting ? grave, where is thy victory ? The Lord of life would 
sweeten death to thee, and subdue it for thee ; nay, make it at 
peace with thee, that thou mightst say to death, as Jacob to Esau, 
I have seen thy face, as if it had been the face of God/ who hath 
made thee to meet me with smiles instead of frowns. Death 
would help thee to that sight, to that knowledge, to that state and 
degree of holiness for which thou hast prayed, and wept, and fasted, 
and watched, and laboured, and waited many a day ; as it is said 
of Job, there was none like him in the earth, so I may say of this 
calling, there is none like it upon the face of the earth, the very 
enemies of it, in their hours of extremity, being judges. Ah, who 

VOL. in. N 


would not work for God with the greatest diligence, and walk with 
Grod in the exactest obedience, and wait upon God with the greatest 
patience, when he is assured that, in the doing of his commands, 
there is such great reward ; and those that sow to the Spirit, shall 
of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 


Keader, I have now ended this treatise ; but whether thou, if a 
stranger to this calling, wilt put an end to thy carnal, fleshly ways, , 
and begin this high and heavenly work or no, I know not. If thou ; 
art ambitious, thou hast here encouragement sufficient ; godliness ; 
will ennoble thee, and render thy blood not only honourable, but j 
royal. If thou art voluptuous, here is a bait which may take thee ; I 
godliness will bring thee to a river of pleasures, to such dainties ! 
and delights as take the hearts of perfect and glorious angels. If j 
thou art covetous, here is a golden weight to turn the scales of thy ] 
desires and endeavours : Godliness is profitable unto all things ; it j 
hath the promise of this life, and of that which is to come. When 
thy house, and lands, and honours, and neighbours, and wife, and] 
children, and flesh, and heart fail thee, and forsake thee, godliness ] 
would say to thee, and stand to it also, as Peter to Christ, Though j 
all forsake thee, yet will not I. When the world s trinity credit,! 
profit, and pleasure serve their lovers and worshippers as rats and] 
mice do a house, leave it when it is on fire, fly from them in their! 
need and extremity, godliness would stick to thee as close, as fasti 
as Euth to Naomi ; where thou goest it would go, where thoul 
lodgest it would lodge ; nay, it would follow thee into the otherl 
world, and abide with thee, a cordial, a comfort for ever ; it would! 
give thee cause to say to it, as she to her daughter-in-law, Thoul 
hast shewed more kindness to me at the latter end than at the] 

What canst thou have to object against godliness, that sets thee i 
at such a distance from it ? Wilt thou believe a lying world, a! 
deceitful flesh, a destroying devil, or the God of truth ? Who isj 
thy greatest enemy, God or they ? Who will do thee most good, I 
God or they? If thou wilt be tried by the confessions of the! 
greatest enemies that godliness hath, even they, in their hours of j 
extremity, will tell thee grace is of infinite worth ; godliness is the] 
best of all. Ah, how happy had we been at this hour, had we been] 
as faithful servants to religion as we have been slaves to foolish ; 
lusts and pleasures ! 


If reason may be heard, tliou will not defer one moment the 
entering thy name in this society, and binding thyself apprentice 
to thy Saviour ; thou mayst see plainly that it is thine interest as 
well as thy duty; and all thy happiness for this and the other 
world dependeth on it. If Scripture may be heard, thou wilt 
quickly set about thy general calling, and make religion thy busi 
ness ; it calleth loudly to thee to turn thy back upon earth, and 
face about for heaven ; to forsake the flesh, before the flesh forsake 
thee. It telleth thee plainly, under the hand of thy Maker, that 
if thou livest after the flesh, and sowest to the flesh, thou shalt die 
eternally. If the conscience within thee may be heard, thou wilt 
presently give a bill of divorce to thy carnal, brutish delights, 
and strike a hearty covenant with Jesus Christ ; it often warneth 
thee of thy duty and danger, and terrifieth thee with the fore 
thoughts of that fire and fury which thou art hastening to feel. 
If thy friends and relations, who have any sense of a jealous God, 
and eternal estate, may be heard, then thou wilt immediately 
hearken to the counsel I commend to thee from God, and exercise 
thyself unto godliness. They advise, and persuade, and entreat 
thee to turn over a new leaf, and lead a new life, and to mind 
in thy day the things of thy peace. If the God upon whom thou 
livest, by whom thou movest, from whom thou hast thy being, 
may be heard, thou wilt now wink on the world, crucify the flesh, 
loathe thyself for thy filth and folly, and devote thy heart and soul 
to his fear. He commandeth thee by his dominion over thee, and 
thy obligations to him; he threateneth, promiseth, affrighteth, 
allureth, and all to make thee mind thy allegiance to him, and 
the work he hath given thee to do in this world. If thy Saviour, 
who humbled himself for thy sake, and took upon him the form of 
a servant, and in thy nature was buffeted, scourged, and crucified, 
may be heard, then thou wilt immediately take the counsel that is 
given thee, and turn to the Lord with all thy heart, and loathe 
thyself for all thine abominations. He pleads with thee most 
pathetically, presenteth to thee the stripes and wounds which sin 
caused in his blessed body; the blood which he shed, the ignominy 
he endured, the agony, the death he suffered, and all to satisfy for 
sin, to make himself Lord both of the dead and living. He tells 
thee he gave himself for thee, to redeem thee from all iniquity, and 
to purify thee to himself a peculiar child zealous of good works. 
If the daily, and nightly, and hourly mercies that thou enjoyest ; if 
the sickness, or pain, or loss, or disgrace, or afflictions which some 
times thou sufferest, may be heard, there would not be so much 


ado to persuade a wretched creature to be blessed, and an ungodly 
person to be holy and happy. If the inanimate and irrational 
creatures, the earth beneath thee, the heavens above thee, the 
beasts and birds about thee, might be heard, thou wouldst, whilst 
it is called to-day, now, after so long a time, attend to the call and 
command of him, in whose hand is thy life and breath, and follow 
after holiness, without which thou shalt never see the Lord. Shall 
a centurion s servant go, when he bids him go, and come, when he 
bids him come ; and wilt thou not go and come at the voice of 
God? Did Balaam s ass speak at God s command, and reprove 
the madness of the prophet ? Did ravens at God s command feed 
Elijah ? Did caterpillars, and locusts, and frogs, and lice, execute 
God s judgments upon Pharaoh? Do fire, and hail, and snow, 
and vapours, and stormy winds fulfil his word ? Doth the earth 
open, the rocks rend, the stars fight in their courses, waters stand 
up in heaps as a wall, the moon stand still, the sun go backward, 
wildernesses tremble, things cross the course of nature to obey his 
pleasure, and wilt not thou obey him? man, bethink thyself! 
wilt thou be worse than these irrational and inanimate creatures ? 
are not thy engagements to God infinitely above theirs? What 
wilt thou have to say for thyself, when every stone in the street, as; 
well as star in the heavens, when every bird, and beast, and fowl, 
will condemn thee ? Oh where wilt thou appear ? 

I must tell thee that a perilous time, a day of extremity, ani 
hour of trouble and anguish, is hastening upon thee, which thoid 
canst no more escape or avoid, than thou canst fly from thyself a 
when the pleasures, and delights, and honey, and beautiful counte-j 
nances of those scorpions, thy fleshly lusts, will all be past and gonej 
but the sting remain to pierce and torment thee ; when those dreggy! 
waters in which thou bathest thyself now will all be dried up a 
when all thy possessions, and preferments, and friends, and rela-j 
tions will serve thee, as women their flowers when they are dead 
and withered, who throw them away, or as sinking floors, that will 
fail men when their weight is on them. And then, oh then, whai 
wilt thou do ? Thou wilt wish that religion had been thy busi 
ness, and call and crypto it, as the elders of Gilead to Jephthaj 
when the children of Ammon made war with them : Come thod 
and be our captain, and save us from our enemies. Come thorn 
and be my captain, to save me from the curse of the law, the terrors 
of my guilty conscience, the wrath of the infinite God, and tha 
torments of the eternal fire. But godliness will answer thee, as 
Jephtha did them : Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my, 


father s house ? and why are ye come unto me now ye are in dis 
tress ? Didst not thou hate me, and expel me out of thy heart and 
house ? Didst thou not deride, and jeer, and persecute me, against 
all the commands, and threatenings, and promises, and entreaties 
of God and his word ? And why art thou come to me now thou art 
in distress ? I must tell thee, thou wilt then weep, and howl, and 
lament to God, as the Israelites did in their extremity : Deliver us 
only, we pray thee, this day. Lord, help me, Lord, save me, deliver 
me this day from the jaws of the roaring lion ; Lord, let not hell 
shut her mouth upon me. Who can dwell in everlasting burnings ? 
who can abide devouring flames ? But thou mayest expect the same 
answer which God gave them : Go and cry to the gods which ye 
have chosen ; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. 
Go to the flesh, and the world ; go to thy riches, and honours, and 
sinful delights, which thou hast chosen and preferred before me ; 
and let them deliver thee in this time of thy tribulation. Where 
are those gods, the rocks in which thou trustedst ? Let them rise 
up, and help thee, and be thy protection/ Judges xi. 6, 7, and 
x. 14, 15 ; Deut. xxxii. 37, 38. 

A saint can sing in such a day of trial, knowing that death is 
come to him as the angel to Peter, striking on his side, not to 
hurt, but to awaken him, to beat off his fetters, and set him in 
the glorious liberty of the children of God. 

The saint and the sinner never differ so much, at least in open 
view, as in their ends. Sin in the bud is sweet, but in the fruit 
bitter ; and holiness, though at first draught seems not so pleasant, 
yet afterwards is all sweetness. 

Though the path of sin be smooth, and pleasing to thy flesh, 
yet thou wilt find it slippery, and killing to thy spirit : it is like 
an evening star, to usher in a night of blackness, of darkness, for 
ever. The way of holiness is more harsh to the body, but the 
only nectar of the soul. Ah, reader, if thou wilt but choose it, 
thou wilt find by experience that it will be like Hannibal s pas 
sage over the Alps, a way which will require some pains, but it 
will lead thee into the heavenly paradise, as that did him into the 
world s garden, Italy. 

Eeader, let me therefore bespeak thee, or rather God himself: 
Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Turn unto me, saith the Lord of 
hosts, and I will turn unto thee, saith the Lord of hosts/ Zech. 
i. 3. After all thy neglect and contempt of God and his word, 
after all thy wanderings and wickedness, thou hast one call more 
to turn and live, in which thy Maker doth three times pawn and 


interpose the authority of his name to confirm his word. The 
Lord of hosts : three times he doth as it were bring his angels, his 
hosts with him, in this precept and promise, as once to Sinai at 
the delivery of the law. 1. As witnesses of his truth; 2. As 
avengers of him on them that despise his call ; 3. As rejoicers 
for those that turn unto him. friend, consider it, that God, 
who might have turned thee into hell, commandeth thee now, after 
all thy folly and lewdness, to turn to him ; yea, he promiseth that 
if thou dost come at his call, he will meet thee half way, and turn 
unto thee. It is not for his own sake that he is so earnest with 
thee, for he can be happy without thee ; he hath no addition by 
thy salvation, he suffereth no diminution by thy damnation ; but 
he calleth on thee for thy good, that thou mightst be happy in 
his favour. It was the saying of Antigona, that she ought to 
please them with whom she hoped to remain for ever. Ah, doth 
it not concern thee to please that God upon whom thou dependest 
for thy eternal weal or woe ? 

When Antiochus was in Egypt, in arms against the Eomans, 
they sent P. Popilius with other anibassadors to him, where, wher 
he had welcomed them, P. Popilius delivered some writings to 
him containing the mind of his masters, which he commanded 
Antiochus to read, which he did. Then he consulted with his 
friends what was best to be done in the business. Whilst he was 
in a great study. P. Popilius, with a wand that he had in his 
hand, made a circle about him in the dust, saying, Ere thou stir 
a foot out of this circle, return thy answer, that I may tell the 
senate whether thou hadst rather have war or peace. This he 
uttered with such a firm countenance, that it amazed the king ; 
wherefore after he had paused awhile, he answered, I will do what 
the senate hath written, or shall think fit. 1 

Header, I shall only allude to it, and conclude. Thou art, if in 
thy natural estate, a rebel against God ; thy heart is full of enmity, 
and thy life of treason against his blessed Majesty ; thou art daily 
discharging whole volleys of shot against him ; he hath sent me 
as his ambassador to offer thee terms of peace, and to require thee 
in his name to throw down thine arms, and to submit to his 
mercy. I know thou art ready to consult with thy seeming friends, 
but real enemies, the world and the flesh, what thou wert best to 
do in this case ; but whilst thou art thus musing, I charge and 
command thee in the name of God, and by his authority who sent 
me to thee, that before thou closest the book, thou return to thy 

1 Justin, lib. xxxiv. ; Jos., lib. xii. cap. 5. 


Maker in thy conscience thine answer, whether thou hadst rather 
have peace with him, whose wrath is infinitely worse than death, 
and whose favour is better than life, or war ! If, considering the 
excellency, necessity, and profit of godliness, thou sayest, I will, 
through the help of Christ, do all that the Lord hath written, or 
thinketh fit to be done, in order to my recovery out of this estate 
of woe and misery, I shall inform thee that God is ready to 
receive thee, the Spirit to assist thee, thy Saviour to embrace thee, 
the rich and precious promises of the gospel, containing pardon, 
love, peace, eternal life, are all ready to welcome thee. But if 
thou deniest thy God, thy real, able, and faithful friend, and wilt 
gratify thy professed, though politic enemy, the devil, so much as 
to continue in thine ungodly courses, I must assure thee that, 
Phrygian-like, thou wilt repent when it is too late, and be taught 
by woeful experience that it had been far better to have heark 
ened to the counsels and commands of God; that with prudent 
Prometheus thou mightst have foreseen a danger, and shunned 
it, than to walk on in the broad way to hell with foolish Epime- 
theus, without any consideration, till thou art unconceivably and 
irrecoverably miserable, and plunged in that lake, and amidst 
those dreadful torments, of which there is no end. 



To the Worshipful, and my esteemed friend, RICHARD BERESFORD, 
Esq., Clerk of the Pleas to His Majesty s Court of Exchequer. 

IT was the unhappiness of judicious Calvin, either through his 
own mistake, or the misreport of others, to retract his first Dedica 
tion of his Comment on the First Epistle to the Corinthians in 
another edition, and to prefix a new name before it, viz., the noble 
Galeacius Caricciolus, Marquis of Vico, wishing that either he 
had not known at all, or had known more fully, the person whose 
name he was forced to blot out. 1 I bless God I have not the 
least cause for the like course. But this small treatise (part 
whereof was formerly preached in your ears at the funeral of 
your dear mother) presenteth itself this second time to your eyes, 
not for your protection, (divine truths desire none from men, and 
human errors deserve none from any,) but for your direction. It 
containeth that in it which is able to make you wise unto salva 
tion, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 

You have a double right to the dedication of this book : partly 
in, regard of the occasion of it ; partly in regard of the author s 
obligation unto you, which is great, for your liberality; but far 
greater for your encouraging of, and exemplariness in, the truth 
and life of Christianity. 

I did not think myself a little bound to that providence which 
gave you relation to that parish whereof I was once minister, and 
I suppose not without cause, when the power of godliness hath 
few such considerable patrons. Men of your rank, though some- 

1 Utimam quo primum tempore in lucem prodiit hie Commentarius, vel mihi 
ignotus, vel saltern probe notus fuisset ille, cujus nomen huic paginse hactenus 
inscriptum hinc delere cogor. Calv. Ep. Dedic. coram Comment. 1 Epist. 


times, to stop the mouth of conscience, or for their credit, they 
take up a form and profession, yet do usually neglect, if not 
cursedly deride, the strictness and power of religion. They are 
too often, like the moon, furthest from, and in direct opposition 
unto, the Sun of righteousness, when they are at the full of out 
ward plenty, and receive most light of divine bounty from him ; 
their carnal hearts, as the sea, turn the showers of mercy from 
heaven, and fresh streams from the earth, into the salt waters of 
corruption. 1 In our natural bodies, the more fat there is, the 
less blood in the veins, and, by consequence, the fewer spirits. 
Greatness and goodness are beautiful and happy, but rare con 
junctions. 2 You know who hath said, Not many such are called, 
1 Cor. i. 26 ; and experience teacheth us, that they are like stars 
of the first magnitude, thinly scattered in the firmament of a 
country. How much therefore are you engaged to that distin 
guishing love, which enableth you to look after the things of a 
better life ! 

I shall take the liberty, which I know you will give, to speak 
a few words to you by way of advice. 

First, My counsel will be, that you would more and more 
ensure your effectual calling. We say, where men intend to live 
long, they build strong. I am confident all that you are worth, 
for your endless condition in the other world, dependeth, under 
Christ, upon your inward change. And if ever any wires had 
need to be firm and strong, then questionless they upon which 
such heavy weights hang as your eternal, unchangeable estate. 

You have a large room in the hearts of many that are holy. 
But, alas, sir, the best man s confidence of me would prove but a 
bad evidence for heaven ! He is not approved whom man com- 
mendeth, but whom the Lord commendeth. 

The great affection which you bear to the souls of the people- 
amongst whom ye were born, is worthy of imitation ; and so is 
your care and cost in scattering some practical and home treatises 
in several families, whereby souls may be converted, and wherein 
you may have comfort at the day of Christ ; for soul-charity is 
the soul of charity. But the best charity begins at home, though 
it never ends there ; your main business lieth within your own 

1 There is scarce one of a thousand, Cui prcesens felicitas si arrisit non irrisit. 
Bern., lib. ii. De Consolat. 

2 Quies hath no plural number ; God seldom giveth two hearens. Tamen 
aliquando Christus voluit Reglnam in codum vehere, saith Luther of Elizabeth, 
Queen of Denmark. Luth. in Epist. ad Jo. Agric. 


doors, to make sure that good work within you which shall be 
perfected hereafter. 

The ordinary security which most men trust to, will not serve 
when they come in the other life to lay their claims, and shew 
their deeds for the inheritance of the saints in light. Many flaws 
will then be found in their evidences, which now, through their 
wilful blindness, they neither see nor fear. He had need to have 
armour of proof, that would enter the list with his enemy death, 
and not be foiled. 1 The heart not ballasted with renewing grace, 
may hold out in the calm of life, and shallows of time ; but when 
it meets with the storm of death, and launcheth into the ocean 
of eternity, it suffereth a desperate and everlasting shipwreck. 
The want of this is the leak which sinketh many a precious vessel 
(soul I mean) in the gulf of perdition. 

There is as much difference between a nominal and a real 
Christian, as between a lifeless picture and a living person. True 
Christianity, which consisteth in the soul s humble, unfeigned 
acceptation of, and hearty resolved dedication unto Christ, as 
Saviour and sovereign, is a paradox to most. There are many 
Christians, as Salvian complained in his time, without Christ; 2 
but they which know experimentally what the sanctification of 
the Holy Ghost meaneth, are few indeed. The moralist in his 
best dress of civility, the formalist in his gaudy attire of cere 
monies, and the hypocrite in all his royalty, is not arrayed like 
one of these. I do not write these things as in the least suspect 
ing your sincerity, but to quicken you to a godly jealousy over 
your own soul. If the apostles and disciples needed such rousing 
cautions : Take heed lest that day come upon you unawares/ 
Luke xxi. 34 ; Take heed lest any man fail of the grace of God, 
Heb. xii. 15 ; then much more you and I, who are more drowsy 
and prone to slumber, do require awakening considerations. 

Secondly, That you would walk exemplarily. Man is a crea 
ture which is led more by the eye than the ear, by patterns than 
by precepts. Great men therefore, which are copies after which 
many write, had need to be exact. You are the looking-glasses 
by which others dress themselves ; the heads of the people, Deut. 
i. 15 ; now the whole body will go along with the head. 

You are like beacons upon a hill, visible to all. 3 The sun 

1 Fallens aurum melius est quam fulgens auricalchum. Bern. 

2 Christian! sine Christo. Salv. 

3 Qui in excelso agunt, eorum facta cuncti mortales novere. Sallust. ad 
C cesarcm. 


may as soon go unseen as you unobserved. A small star may be 
darkened, and none take notice of it ; but if the great luminaries 
are eclipsed or obscured, a thousand eyes will be gazing on them. 
A little spot in silk or scarlet is more looked on than a great one 
in russet or sackcloth. A crack in a pebble is nothing so eyed or 
prejudicial as a small flaw in a jewel. Corruptio optimi pessima. 
Satan doth therefore plant his strongest batteries against the royal 
forts of magistracy and ministry, (whoever are spared, David and 
Peter shall be sifted,) knowing that he gaineth a double advantage 
by their miscarriage, example, and scandal ; by which two wings 
it will soar higher, and fly much further. An ordinary tradesman 
may prove bankrupt without much noise ; but if an alderman or 
merchant, that had a name for a great estate, breaks, the city and 
country ring of it. The honour of God and credit of the gospel 
are much engaged in the carriage of a gentleman that is a pro 
fessor. The many eyes that look upon you, the many feet that 
follow after you, and the glory of the blessed God which is con 7 
cerned in you, do all call aloud to you, to have your eyes in your 
head, (ses the wise man s phrase is, Eccles. ii. 14,) to make straight 
paths for your feet, and to walk nobly, exactly, worthy of the Lord, 
even unto all well -pleasing. 

Besides, honour is apt to be a snare and temptation, and there 
fore requireth the greater care and circumspection. Places of 
honour are like strong meats, which, being well concocted, yield 
much good nourishment, bring much glory to God, and good to 
souls; but they are of very hard digestion. He must have a 
strong brain that will bear much wine, and he much grace that 
will walk humbly and closely with God in a high condition. 

In a word, your time is little, your work is great ; your talents 
are many, your account will be weighty ; your Saviour observeth 
every moment how tender you are of his honour, that was so tender 
of your eternal welfare ; how you testify your thankfulness to him 
for all the bitter agony and ignominy which he suffered for you. 
You shall shortly never more have the least opportunity (though 
you would give a thousand worlds for it) to do anything in, for 
God s glory, your own and others good. Work therefore the work 
of him that sent you into the world, while it is the day of your life, 
for the night of death is hastening on you, wherein you cannot 
work. Up and be doing, and the Lord be with you. 

Sir, I have no more to speak to you, but that the hearer of 
prayers may hear often from you, that I may take heed to the 
ministry which I have received of the Lord, and fulfil it, and to 


assure you that my prayers at the throne of grace shall be, that 
you and your religious consort may continue to dwell together 
as fellow-heirs of the grace of life ; and your hopeful children 
may be planted with, and grow up in, grace, till they shall be 
transplanted into the true paradise, the kingdom of glory. This, 
through the help of heaven, shall be the petition of 

Your real servant in the ever blessed Saviour, 



CHRISTIAN HEADER, There are two things which should be of 
highest regard with us, a serviceable life, and a comfortable death ; 
and they are both so inseparably conjoined, that in vain do we hope 
for the one without the other. Which of these is to be preferred, 
was a doubt which put the apostle to an anxious disquisition. On 
the one side there was service, on the other side there was gain. If 
he lived, he should preach Christ, if he died, he should enjoy Christ, 
and remain with him for ever ; therefore Paul was at a stand, and 
knew not what to determine. Surely he had a holy heart that 
could thus set duty against enjoyment, and think his service worthy 
to come into competition with his spiritual and eternal interests ! 
That which made Paul so indifferent and incurious as to the means, 
was the resolved fixing of his scope his end and scope was Christ s 
glory. Now, it was all one to him how God would use him to such 
a purpose; as a man that is resolved upon a journey, taketh the way 
as he findeth it, fair or foul ; it is enough that it leadeth him to his 
journey s end ; so Christ might be glorified, either by his ministry, 
or by martyrdom, Paul was indifferent ; it was enough that 
Christ should be glorified. None have such an unfeigned respect 
to Christ s glory but those that live in the communion of his life. 
Men s tendency is according to the principle by which they are 
acted; carnal men, that act by their own life, and live upon their own 
root, bring forth fruit to themselves. Water riseth no higher than 
its fountain ; but those that have life from Christ, use it for him; to 
them to live is Christ ; as they live in him, and by him, so they live 
for him, and to him. We need then to take all occasions to press 
men to get into Christ, that they may live in the communion of his 
life, and in the strength and influence of it be carried out to his 
glory. This is that which will make life serviceable, and death 
sweet ; and to this we need to be pressed by all kind of arguments 


both those which are taken from God s relation to us, as also those 
which are taken from our expectations from him, Kom. xiv. 8. We 
are all the Lord s by every kind of right and title, and therefore 
owe all manner of service to him, even though nothing should come 
of it; but they that do the Lord s work will not want his wages; 
though he might require our service out of mere sovereignty, yet he 
conclescendeth to propound a reward, and that so full and ample, 
that it should ravish our hearts every time we think of it. These 
considerations, which I have here loosely discoursed of, are notably 
improved in the ensuing treatise, which being communicated to me 
by a friend of the author, I could not but return it with this char 
acter, that it is a discourse grave and judicious, and yet quickened 
with such warmth and vigour of illustration, as that it may be of 
great use to awaken men unto more seriousness in the great con 
cernments of their souls, among which nothing can be more momen 
tous than our living in Christ, that we may live to him, and then 
with him for evermore. This being signified, I leave thee to the 
work itself, which I cannot but judge to proceed from one both of 
a good head and heart, and profess myself 

Thine in the service of the gospel, 


VOL in. o 




I HAVE sometimes considered with myself, (not without some re 
morse and grief of spirit,) the multitudes of men and women, that 
even in those places where the word of God is plainly and power 
fully taught, run headlong in the broad way which leadeth to 
destruction. And, indeed, if my head were waters, and mine eyes a 
fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night, (though every 
tear were a tear of blood,) I could never sufficiently bewail the slain 
of the daughter of my people, of that parish to which the provi 
dence of God hath called me. 

That the lying vanities of this world should by most be so, 
greedily pursued, and the real mercies relating to a better world 
so wretchedly despised ; that a brutish flesh, which must shortly 
be food for worms, should be so highly prized and constantly gra 
tified, and an angelical spirit, the soul, which must live for ever, 
be so basely slighted and unworthily neglected ; that every soul- 
damning lust should be so heartily embraced, and the soul-saving 
Lord but coldly and complimentally entertained ; that the road to 
hell should be so exceedingly filled, and the way to heaven almost 
wholly unoccupied ; surely this ought to be for a bitter lamenta- . 
tion ; and oh, what sea of blood is enough to bemoan this horrid : 
wickedness ! 

It hath seemed to me, therefore, a matter worthy of diligent; 
inquiry, what special malefactors should be indicted for these many! 
soul-mischiefs, and soul-murders, which are committed amongst us. 


And truly, by that acquaintance which I have with the word of 
God, and experience of the soul-affairs of men, I find, though many 
accessories might be named, that ignorance ought to be arraigned 
and condemned as one of the principals : The people perish for 
want of knowledge, Hosea iv. 6. Inner darkness is the beaten 
path to utter darkness, to the blackness of darkness for ever. Men 
in this mist of ignorance, like ships, run upon those rocks which 
split them eternally. As the Indians prefer every toy and trifle 
before their mines of gold ; so they every sensual, sinful pleasure, 
every foolish, perishing creature, before the beautiful image of God, 
the unsearchable riches in Christ, the endless happiness in heaven ; 
because they know not the vanity and emptiness of the former, the 
excellency and preciousness of the latter. Ignoti nulla cupido. Did 
men know the gift of God, and who it is that speaketh to them, 
and what he offereth, they would ask of him, and he would give 
them living waters, John iv. 10. 

What is the reason that so many make a mock of sin, and dance 
merrily over the infernal pit, and play with the unquenchable fire, 
but ignorance ? The child doth not know that the fire will burn 
him. As the horse, they rush into the battle fighting against God 
and their souls not knowing it will be to their destruction, to their 
damnation. These Balaams run greedily after the wages of un 
righteousness, not seeing the angel that standeth in the way with a 
drawn sword in his hand ready to kill them. Did they know what 
they do, when they wilfully break God s law, they would sooner 
leap into a furnace of scalding lead, than provoke so jealous a God. 
But sin goeth in a disguise, and thence is welcome ; like Judas, it 
kisseth and kills ; like Joab, it salutes and slays. The foolish sin 
ner seeth the pleasant streams of Jordan, but not the Dead Sea, 
into which they will certainly empty themselves to his ruin. 

What is the reason that the devil carrieth so many captive at 
his will, leadeth them whither he pleaseth, but ignorance ? They 
are ignorant of his wiles, of his devices ; they know not, as drunken 
Lot of his daughters, when he cometh, nor when he goeth. The 
prince of darkness takes up his throne in dark understandings : 
The god of this world blindeth their minds, 2 Cor. iv. 4, lest 
the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine upon them. 
How easy is it for him to lead blind men out of the way, and then 
to destroy them ! As Pliny saith the eagle deals with the hart, she 
lights upon his horns, and there flutters up and down, filling his 
eyes with dust, borne in her feathers, that at last he may cast him 
self from the rock, and so be made a prey unto her ; so the wicked 


one bindeth a muffler before men s eyes, and then turneth them off 
the ladder, and executes them. 

What is the cause of men s scandalous practices, but ignorance ? 
The dark corners of the earth are full of the habitation of cruelty, 
Ps. Ixxiv. 20 ; the flood-gates of wickedness are open, when the 
door of knowledge is shut. The cause why there was no mercy nor 
truth in the land, but swearing, and lying, and stealing, commit 
ting adultery, and blood touching blood, was ignorance, Hosea iv. 
1, 2. This is the root of bitterness on which those cursed fruits 
grow ; this is the blind captain which, like Zilpah, hath a Gad 
a troop of enormities following him. Paul thanks ignorance for 
his blasphemy and persecuting the church, 1 Tim. i. 13. The 
reason why the heathen did not call on God, was because they did 
not know him, Ps. Ixxix. 6. The most ugly and monstrous wick 
edness which ever was hatched or brought forth, calleth ignorance 
mother. Had they known, they would never have crucified the 
Lord of glory/ 1 Cor. ii. 8 ; Acts iii. 15, 17. What Augustine 
saith of original sin, is, in some respects, true of ignorance ; it is 
peccatum, pc&na peccati, et causa peccati; it is a sin as contrary to 
the law of God, which requireth men to know him, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9 ; 
Lev. v. 15, 18. It is the punishment of sin, as the fruit of our 
apostasy from God ; it is the cause of sin, as toads and serpents 
grow in dark cellars ; as blind ale-houses are sinks and sources of 
all villanies, so are dark and blind hearts. They are strangers 
to the life of God through the ignorance that is in them/ Eph. 

iv. 18. 

What is the cause of men s erroneous principles, but ignorance ? 1 
They err, not knowing the Scriptures, Mat. xxii. 29. Impostors, 
like cozening tradesmen, when they have men in a dark shop, put 
what rotten, deceitful ware they please into their hands ; they lead 
captive silly women, that are ever learning, and never coming to 
the knowledge of the truth, 2 Tim. iii. 6, 7. Heretics, like nurses, 
may put meat or poison into their mouths who are babes in under 
standing; they that are children in knowledge will be tossed to 
and fro with every wind of doctrine. The blind man eats many a 
fly, and the ignorant man swallows many an error. Men will 
easily be brought to deny the truths which they understand not, 
and to speak evil of the things which they know not/ Jude 10. 
Simul ac desinunt ignorare, desinunt odisse, saith Tertullian (in 
Apolog.) of them that condemned the Christian religion. 

1 Ignorantise duse pessimae filise, Falsitas et Dubietas. Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib. xxii. 
cap. 22. 


What is the reason that men put God off, either with no service 
or worship at all, or else with a few cold, superficial, lazy duties, 
without either heat or life, but their ignorance ? They know not 
the majesty, purity, jealousy, and severity of God ; they worship 
they know not whom, and therefore they worship him they care not 
how. Their altars are of any slight form or fashion, because, like 
the Athenians, they are dedicated to the unknown God ; they that 
know not their master s will cannot obey it. Some cry up their 
good meanings to excuse their ignorance ; but ignorant devotion is 
like feet without eyes, which the farther they carry men, the 
greater is their wandering and woe. 

What is the reason that men take up short of Christ, and renew 
ing grace ; that they please themselves with the shadow instead of 
the substance of religion ; that they cry peace, peace to their souls, 
only upon some outward privileges, or a few inward good meanings, 
as they call them, when they are in a most damnable condition, 
and sudden destruction is ready to seize on them, as travail on a 
woman with child, which they cannot escape. Surely it is ignor 
ance of the nature of Christianity and sanctification ; they know 
not what regeneration is, and what faith and repentance are, which 
are the conditions upon which salvation may be had. Therefore 
they rest in forms, which will fade, when their hearts and lives 
deny the power of godliness. This, this is, not as papists would 
persuade their deluded votaries, the mother of devotion, but the 
monster which causeth such hideous births of corruption ; this is 
the epidemical disease that reigneth all the year long, and killeth, 
I fear, more souls than any of our new distempers doth bodies: 
For the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty 
angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not 
God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 
which shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the pres 
ence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, 2 Thes. i. 7-9. 
This, this is the source of men s sins on earth, and eternal suffer 
ings in hell. 

But one would think such truths as these might be seasonable in 
Turkey or India, or in Spain and Italy, where the tree of know 
ledge is forbidden fruit, where they may not read their Father s 
mind in their mother tongue ; but is it possible that in England, 
where the will and word of God is more powerfully preached, more 
practically applied, more clearly discovered, than in any nation of 
the world, there should be any ignorant persons ? Alas, alas ! we 
find by woeful experience that there are many, very many, Indians 


and heathen, for ignorance, in England ; men and women that 
know as little of God and holiness, of Christ, his natures, offices, of 
true faith and repentance, as if they had been born and bred up 
all their time in Turkey or India. I am ashamed to write what I 
know of the sottish, stupid, hellish ignorance of many, and some 
that are aged too, that are going to die, and yet never knew what 
it was to live, either to God or their souls. The good Lord affect 
my heart more with the danger and dreadfulness of their eternal 
conditions ! 

Oh how sad is it that so many precious souls should lie lazing on 
their beds of security and idleness, and though the sun shine 
brightly in upon them, they will not draw their curtains and open 
their eyes to behold it ! That in a valley of vision, a Goshen, a 
land of light, thousands should live and die in worse than Egyp 
tian darkness ; that the Bible should be a sealed book to them, and 
almost every one have the dark side of that glorious pillar towards 

Header, to cure this soul-murdering distemper, I have endea 
voured, according to the trust committed to me, and the grace be 
stowed on me, to discover in this treatise the life in Christ, or true 
Christianity, with the matchless, endless felicity that accompanieth 
it ; as also the nature and danger of unregeneracy, with the means 
to come out of it, by which thou mayest see that many cozen their 
souls with counterfeit coin (false evidences for heaven) instead of t 
true, which will not abide the touchstone of Scripture ; and so, like : 
Uriah, they carry those letters about them, though they know it . 
not, which will at last cost them their lives, and cause their eternal i 
deaths. That there is no fool like the sinner who selleth his soul 
for a song; his Saviour, his eternal happiness, the unspeakable, 
pleasures at God s right hand for evermore, for the perishing, empty- 
profits, and base, brutish pleasures of sin, which are but for a 
season. That, though sin be delightful in the act, to carnal 
wretches, yet it will be bitterness in the end. It will be a bitter 
sweet to all its lovers, when for their momentary pleasure they 
shall be recompensed with eternity of intolerable, unconceivable 
pain ; that it is not for nothing that ministers call so loudly and 
earnestly to thee to kill those lusts which would kill thee, and to 
follow after holiness, without which no man shall ever see the 
Lord/ Heb. xii. 14. It will teach thee that God and Christ, 
heaven and hell, thy soul and eternity, death and judgment, are not 
things to be dallied with ; believe it, thou wilt one day find that it 
is bad jesting with such edged tools. Surely the greatest serious- 


ness that is imaginable is too too little for them. Oh hadst thou 
but the thousandth part of that seriousness about them which they 
deserve and call for at thy hands, thou wouldst have other manner 
of thoughts of them, and carriage towards them, than now thou 
hast. Well, I have four special things at present from the living 
God to commend to thee, and leave with thee, in order to thine 
eternal good, (I know not how soon I may be taken from thee.) If 
thou lovest thy soul, practise them faithfully ; if not, answer the 
contrary when thou and I shall meet in the other world, at the great 
and terrible day of the Lord Jesus. 

First, Do thou labour for the knowledge of God and his Son, 
thyself, and the duty which thou owest to thy Maker and Kedeemer. 
Hast thou not read the doleful consequence of ignorance? and 
doth it not nearly concern thee to get out of that damnable condi 

Without this thou canst never be religious, notwithstanding all 
thy pretences that thou meanest well, and hast as good a heart as 
the best : If thou knowest not the God of thy fathers, thou canst 
never serve him with a perfect heart/ 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. All thy 
worship will be but wild, and wandering from God ; all thy services 
but the sacrifice of a fool The foundation of obedience must be 
laid in knowledge, Mai. i. 8 ; till then thou offerest up to the Lord, 
the lame and blind, which he will not accept. God expecteth 
reasonable services, Eom. xii. 1 ; such for which thou canst give 
a good reason out of his word, which must be the warrant of thy 
worship. Be not therefore in shape a man, a reasonable creature, 
and, as Nebuchadnezzar, in heart a beast; be not as the horse 
and mule, which hath no understanding, Ps. xxxii. 9. 

Without knowledge thou canst not be saved : If the gospel be 
hid, it is hid to them that perish, 2 Cor. iv. 3. Wilful ignorance 
is a sad sign that thou art in God s black bill. If God will ever 
have thee to be saved, he will bring thee to the knowledge of this 
truth, 1 Tim. ii. 4. When Haman s face was covered, his execu 
tion was near. Do not delude and destroy thy soul by presuming 
that thy ignorance will not damn thee; for if thou art without 
knowledge, he that made thee will not save thee, and he that 
formed thee will shew thee no mercy, Isa. xxvii. 11. Mark, 
reader, but this one place, Ps. xcv. 10, 11, where the God of truth con- 
firmeth it by an oath, that they which do not know his ways shall 
not enter into his rest. One would think that a prisoner should be 
both earnest and diligent to learn his neck verse, who knoweth he 
must be hanged if he cannot read ; and dost not thou read in broad 


characters, in the word of God, that thou must be an eternal monu 
ment of divine fury in hell, if thou dost not learn to know the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent ? Doth it not then 
behove thee to be diligent for knowledge ? 

1. How shouldst thou wait on the word of God, which enliveneth 
the mind, and maketh wise the simple ! Ps. xix. 7, 8. David had 
more understanding than the ancients, because God s word was his 
meditation, 1 Ps. cxix. 98, 99. Watch at wisdom s gate, with a 
humble, hungry soul, and God may fill thee with good things. God 
maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by his ministers in every 
place, 2 Cor. ii. 14. If thou wouldst see, go where the sun shineth. 

2. Ply the throne of grace with incessant prayers, that God 
would enlighten thy mind in the knowledge of his will. 2 If any 
man lack wisdom or knowledge, let him ask it of God, who giveth 
liberally, and upbraideth not, James i. 5. Entreat him to open 
thine eyes, that thou mayest see the wonderful things "contained in 
his law, Ps. cxix. 18. I If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest 
up thy voice for understanding ; if thou seekest her as silver, and 
searchest for her as for hid treasure ; then shalt thou understand the 
fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord 
giveth wisdom ; out of his mouth cometh knowledge and under 
standing, Prov. ii. 3-6. 

3. Take heed of sinning against those commands which thou 
knowest. Hold not the truth in unrighteousness. Do not wanton 
away the light, lest God give thee up to judiciary darkness. Thou 
knowest thou shouldst pray with thy family, and in secret ; make 
conscience of the Lord s day, instruct thy children, forbear drunken 
ness, swearing, lying, uncleanness, and the like. Be sure thou do 
not shut up this knowledge in thy conscience, and deny it in thy 
conversation, lest, as a candle pent up in a dark lantern, it swail 
out quickly : If any man will do my will, he shall know my doc 
trine whether it be of God or no, John vii. 17. To practise what 
you know is the way to know what to practise. Knowledge is the 
mother of obedience, it breeds it ; and obedience is the nurse of 
knowledge, it feedeth and nurtureth it. If thou improvest thy little 
stock well, doubt not but God will add to it and increase it ; leave 
no means untried for the obtaining this purchase. I have offered 
to instruct thee to my power in the mysteries of Christ, appointed 
also days for that end ; it may be thou art one of those many that 
art too old to learn, that scorn to be taught. I would ask thee one 
question, and think of it, Art thou not too old to be saved ? Dost 

1 Auditus est sensus discipline. 2 Bene orasse est bene studuisse. 


thou not scorn to go to heaven ? Surely thou dost ; by contemning 
the way, thou scornest the end. Well, take heed thou dost not die 
without knowledge ; for if thou dost, all the world cannot keep thee 
one quarter of an hour out of hell, and then thou wilt have time 
enough to befool thyself for refusing a good offer, and wilfully 
rejecting, through thy pride, those things which concerned thine 
eternal peace. I shall conclude this head with the words of that 
eminent and pious writer : : 

How long, saith he, may a poor minister sit in his study before 
any of the ignorant sort will come upon that errand i.e., to learn 
the knowledge of God and themselves ? Lawyers have their clients, 
and physicians their patients ; these are sought after, and called 
up at midnight for counsel ; but, alas ! the soul, which is more 
worth than raiment and body too, that is neglected, and the min 
ister seldom thought on till both these be sent away. Perhaps, 
when the physician gives them over for dead, then we must come 
and close up their eyes with comfort, which were never opened to 
see Christ in his truth, or else be counted cruel because we will not 
sprinkle them with this holy water, and anoint them for the king 
dom of heaven, though they know not a step of the way that leads 
to it. Ah, poor wretches, what comfort would you have us speak 
to those to whom God himself speaks terror ! Is heaven ours to 
give to whom we please ? or is it in our power to alter the laws of 
the Most High, and save those whom he condemns ? Do you re 
member the curse that is to fall upon his head that maketh the 
blind to wander out of the way ? Deut. xxvii. 18 ; what curse 
then would be to our portion if we should confirm such blind souls 
as are quite out of the way to heaven encouraging them to go on, 
and expect to reach heaven at last, when, God knows, their feet 
stand in those paths that lead to eternal death ? No, it is written, 
we cannot. God will not reverse it ; you may read your very 
names among those damned souls which Christ comes in flaming 
fire to take vengeance on, 2 Thes. i. 8. And therefore, in the fear 
of God, let this provoke you, of what age or sex, rank or condition 
soever you be, to labour for the saving knowledge of God in Christ, 
whom to know is life eternal, John xvii. 3. 

Secondly, Do not rest in bare knowledge, but endeavour to get 
thy will, affections and heart renewed. A clear head must be 
accompanied with a clean heart ; saving knowledge is ever a sanc 
tifying knowledge. Content not thyself with anything short of 
regeneration and the power of godliness. Mr Kobert Bolton, when 

1 Mr Gurnal, Arm., part i. pp. 239, 240. 


dying, told his children that he verily believed none of them durst 
think to meet him at the great tribunal in an unregenerate estate ; * 
so I am confident that none of you can with any comfort, nay, 
without unspeakable horror and sorrow, meet me at the bar of 
Christ in your natural estates. Oh how sad will it be for thee that 
art now asleep in sin, to awake, like the jailer, at the midnight of 
death, and to find this inward change, this new creation, this life 
in Christ missing! what a heartquake will possess thee! how 
pale and trembling wilt thou spring into the presence of Christ in 
the other world for thy particular judgment ! Consider, thy profes 
sion will not serve turn ; the storm of death will wash out all 
colours of profession that are not laid in the oil of renewing grace, 
Mat. xxv. 8. 

Thy privileges will not do it ; circumcision is nothing, nor un- 
circumcision, but a new creature, Gal. vi. 15. Thou mayest enjoy 
Scripture, and Sabbaths, and sacraments, and many seasons of 
grace, and hell at last ; nay the higher thy exaltation, in regard 
of these privileges, if thou diest unconverted, the greater thy con 
demnation will be. None go to such chambers of utter darkness 
as they that are lightened thither with the torches of ordinances. 
Heathen will keep holiday in hell in comparison of those that are 
now lifted up to heaven and perish. If the sweetest wine make 
such sharp vinegar, and the cold lead when melted be so hot and 
scalding, how pure and weighty will that wrath be which shall be 
extracted out of abused love and mercy ! Grace is the sweetest 
friend, but the bitterest enemy. If thou waste the riches of grace, 
God will recover out of thee riches of glory. Thy performances 
also can be no infallible evidence of thy good estate. The pharisees 
prayed, fasted, did, many of them, abound in outward acts of 
charity, righteousness, and holiness (which are commanded by 
God, and must be minded by all that will be saved) ; and yet 
Christ telleth us expressly, that except our righteousness exceed 
the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, we shall in no wise 
enter into the kingdom of heaven, Mat. v. 20. There was in them, 
as in the young man, one thing wanting, and that was the re 
generation of their natures, the actual predominancy of the interest 
of God and Christ in their hearts, above all interest of the flesh and 
world. I beseech thee, therefore, make sure of the new birth, with 
out which it is impossible for thee to escape the second death. I 
have in the third use of this treatise endeavoured to awaken thee to, 
and to direct thee about, this great work, as in the first use I have 

1 Mr Bolton s Life by Mr Bagshaw. 


discovered the unspeakable endless misery of them that die before 
it be done. Those which had the sudor Anglicus, or sweating sick 
ness, died assuredly if suffered to sleep ; those were their best 
friends that kept them waking, though they possibly had little 
thank for it. It may be thou mayest think I am too sharp ; but, 
truly, the wound is deep, dangerous, yea, deadly, and therefore, 
though I put thee to pain by lancing it, I am forced to it, other 
wise thou wilt not be cured. Sin, and hell, and holiness, and 
sanctification are other manner of things than the sleepy world 
dreameth of. 

The Lord give thee a heart to obey his counsel in order to thy 
conversion, and then I am sure thou wilt have cause to give him 
thanks that I would not let thee sleep quietly on a bed that was in 
a flame, nor in a condition that was next door to infinite misery and 
eternal desperation. 

Thirdly, Exalt godliness in thy family. If once Christ be chief 
in thy heart, I am confident he will, to thy utmost power, be so in 
thy house that thou art really, which thou art relatively. Labour 
that thy children and servants may know and serve God : Dwell 
with thy wife as a man of knowledge, as heirs together of the grace 
of life, that your prayers be not hindered/ 1 Peter iii. 7. Bring 
up thy children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, Eph. 
vi. 4. Teach thy servants their duty to God and their own souls. 
Consider, these are the laws of the righteous God ; and ere long, 
when thou shalt leave all the dying and lying vanities of this world, 
thou must give an account in the other world how thou hast obeyed 
them. God hath committed a great trust to thee, even the charge 
of the souls of all in thy family ; and doth not thine heart tremble 
to think of soul-blood, of soul-murder ! I assure thee thou mayest 
be as truly and really guilty of their deaths and damnations by 
starving them, as by poisoning them. I mean by not instructing, 
catechising, and principling them in the things of God ; by not 
praying with them, and overseeing that they mind the worship of 
God, as in making them drunk, and teaching them to steal and swear. 

For thy children, dost thou not know that they are born children 
of wrath, and heirs of hell ? and canst thou be quiet till thou seest 
in them some signs and hopes of regeneration, an interest in Christ, 
and thereby a right to heaven ? When thou readest of Herod, how 
he murdered poor children, thou condemnest him ; thou thinkest, 
Ah, hard-hearted Herod ! but dost not thou do ten thousand times 
worse, in murdering the souls and bodies of thy dear children for 
ever ? Ah, hard-hearted, ah bloody father ! Herod was a man of 


bowels, a merciful man to thee. Is it any wonder to hear, saith 
one, of that ship sunk, or dashed upon a rock, that was put to sea 
without card or compass ? nor is it a wonder to hear children sink 
ing in perdition, who are thrust into the world, which is a sea of 
temptations, without any knowledge of God and their duty. One 
would think, every time thou readest and hearest of the extremity 
and eternity of hell s torments, of the multitudes that must undergo 
them, of the few even of those within the visible church that shall 
be saved, and of the difficulty of obtaining salvation, that thy loins 
should tremble, and thy joints smite together ; that thy head, yea, 
heart, should ache, for fear any of thy dear children should be 
among those many that must drink that cup of the Lord s pure 
wrath ; and that thou shouldst be restless night and day in wrest 
ling with God, and instructing them in using all means to prevent 
their endless ruin ; surely, if thou hadst a spark of true love to 
thy children, thus it would be with thee. 

And for thy servants, unless thou art careful that they serve the 
Lord, they are but little beholden to thee for thy service. Thou 
givest them, possibly, food and outward things convenient, but dost 
thou not do as much for thy cattle ? And is it, thinkest thou, 
enough to do no more for those souls which must live in unspeakable 
pain or pleasure for ever, than for thy beasts ? If he that provideth 
not for the bodies of his family, be worse than an infidel, 1 Tim. v. 
8, surely he that provideth not for their souls is kin to a devil. 
Say not, They are stubborn and will not be taught. Hast not thou 
power in thy hands either to teach them, or turn them out of doors ? 
Let none serve thee that will not serve God. Thou wilt not keep 
a servant that knoweth not how to do thy work, at least, if he will 
not learn, and then follow it with diligence. Now, let thy con 
science be judge : Is not God s work, the pleasing and glorifying 
his infinite Majesty, of far greater concernment than thy greatest 
and weightiest work ? and darest thou keep one that neither 
knoweth how to do it, nor will learn ? Follow the man after God s 
own heart : Ps. ci. 2, 7, I will walk within my house with a 
perfect heart. Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful in the land, 
that they may dwell with me. He that walketh in a perfect way, 
he shall serve me/ It is said of Constantine, that in this he was 
truly great, that he would have his whole court gathered together, 
and cause the Scriptures to be read to them, and instruction to be 
given them from the word of God. 

Besides, if thou didst but regard thy own temporal good, thou 
wouldst instruct thy servants and children in spiritual things ; for 


they that are unfaithful to their Master and Father in heaven, will 
be unfaithful to their master and father on earth. They that make 
no conscience of their duty to God, but rob him of his service and 
worship, will never make conscience of their duty to thee, but if 
they have opportunity, will rob thee of thy time, service, and 

Be sure that thou perform family duties, as praying, reading, and 
the like, morning and evening. Do not serve the flesh and the 
world all day, and then put off God with a few sleepy petitions at 
night : the command is Pray continually, 1 Thes. v. 17. Daniel 
was at it three times a day, Dan. vi. 10 ; David seven times a day, 
Ps. cxix. 164. God s mercies are renewed on thee every morning, 
and should not thy prayers and praises be renewed every morning ? 
Doth not the preservation of thy family every night deserve family 
acknowledgment in the morn ? Wearisome nights are appointed 
to others ; the beds of others prove their graves ; thou and thine 
might have awaken in hell ; doth this distinguishing mercy deserve 
no thanks ? Is not thy family every day liable to many dangers, 
both bodily and spiritual ? Doth it not need pitying, sanctifying, 
pardoning, directing, preventing mercy every day, nay, every mo 
ment ? and is not all this worth a prayer ? Upon no account 
neglect the offering up of these morning and evening sacrifices. 
Let thy prayers, and of the rest in the family, come up before the 
Lord in the morning like incense, and the lifting up of thine hands 
at night as an evening sacrifice. 

Do not say, as sometimes I have heard of thee, that thou canst 
not spare time for these duties ; thy family is great, and thou canst 
not get them altogether ; thy business is great, and a little time 
spent this way may wrong thee ; I answer thee, 

1. Canst thou get all thy family together twice a day to set meals 
for their bodies, and canst not thou get them together twice a day 
for set meals, family duties, for their souls ? 

2. What greater or weightier business canst thou have, than the 
working out the salvation of thy own, and the souls committed to 
thy charge ? Are not the most important affairs thou canst pos 
sibly deal about but toys and trifles to this ? 

3. Was not David s family greater than thine, and his occasions 
weightier ? and yet he could find time, though a king, for family 
duties, Ps. cxix. 164. He and his queen did both instruct their 
child in the things of God, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9 ; Prov. iv. 3-10, and 
xxxi. If thou art poor, and sayest thou art to provide for thy 
family, see an answer to that in this book, though God will give 


you both another manner of answer to your foolish pretences, when 
ye appear at the judgment-seat of Christ. 

Have a special care also of the sanctification of the Lord s-day 
in thy family. Kemember the living God commandeth thee that 
thou, thy son, thy daughter, thy man-servant, and thy maid-servant, 
and all within thy gate keep that day holy. Do not make the sins 
of others thine by thy pattern or permission ; let not that queen of 
days be deflowered or profaned by idleness, earthly thoughts, words, 
or actions. Spend the whole time which thou sparest from the public 
ordinances in secret and private duties, as praying, reading, singing, 
catechising, taking an account of thy children and servants, what 
they know of the mysteries of Christ, and particularly what they 
have learned that day. Esteem it a special privilege, a great mercy, 
that thou and thine may upon that day sequester yourselves wholly 
from worldly employments, and enjoy communion with the blessed 
God in the means of grace. This I shall be bold to tell thee, that 
religion, and the service of the most high God in thy family, depend- 
eth much, yea, very much, upon thy observation of the Lord s-day. 
Thou inayest expect its increase or decrease according to the sanc 
tification or profanation of it. In the primitive times, when the 
question was, Servasti Dominicum ? The answer was, Christianus 
sum, omittere non possum. Thou pretendest to be a Christian, 
make conscience of every minute of that day of Christ. Be sure 
that thou, and as many of thy family as can possibly be spared, 
attend with all diligence and reverence at the public place of wor 
ship. There God receiveth greatest praises, and there he bestoweth 
the choicest mercies : Oh blessed are they that dwell in his house ; 
blessed are they that wait at wisdom s gates; that watch at the 
posts of her doors, Prov. viii. In all things shew thyself a pattern 
to them that are under thy oare and charge ; the people committed 
to thy government will sooner imitate thy doings than obey thy 
sayings. Sin cometh in at first by propagation, but is increased 
exceedingly by imitation. Thou that hast thy children and ser 
vants following thee, either to heaven or to hell, hast need choose a 
right path, even the narrow way that leadeth to life. Weigh thy 
words, considering that they will learn thy language. Avoid those 
sinful expressions of faith and truth let your yea be yea, and your 
nay nay, for whatsoever is more is evil of repeating others oaths, 
of speaking irreverently of the great God and his word, of wishing 
evil to any man ; for the command is, Bless them that curse, Mat. 
v. 44. Let no evil communication proceed out of thy lips, but let 
thy speech be seasoned with grace, that it may administer good, 


and be exemplary to the hearers. Look well to thy works, that 
they may be agreeable to the word of God. 

In thy religious performances especially manifest all reverence, 
fervency, and seriousness, that thy children and servants may see 
that thou art in earnest about soul affairs, about eternity concern 
ments. Thou little knowest how profitable such a pattern may be 
unto them. Do thy utmost, use all means commanded thee to save 
thyself and those that dwell with thee. 

Be confident that shortly Christ will say to thee, as Eliab to 
David, With whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilder 
ness? What is become of the children and servants which I en 
trusted thee with? Will it be enough, thinkest thou, for thee 
then to answer, Lord, for my children, I brought them up without 
any charge to the parish ; or, Lord, I bred them gentlemen ; or, I 
put them out to trades ; or, I left them competent estates ; and for 
my servants, I paid them their wages, gave them their meat and 
drink, according to my agreement with them ? When Christ shall 
reply, Man, what is become of their souls, which I created capable 
of the immediate fruition of myself, which I redeemed with my 
precious blood ? What shame will then cover thy face, and what 
horror fill thy heart, when the blood of their souls shall be required 
of thee ! Oh therefore let Joshua s practice and resolution be 
thine, that thou and thy house will serve the Lord, Joshua 
xxiv. 15. 

Fourthly, Make religion, and the worshipping and glorifying the 
great God, the great business of thy whole life. Improve all thy 
time, power, estate, interest, and talents whatsoever to the utmost, 
for the honour of God and thine own everlasting good. Look on 
thyself as created, preserved, supplied with nightly, daily, hourly 
mercies not for the service of the flesh, no, that end were mean 
and low, but that thou mightst be enabled unto and encouraged in 
the service of the glorious God. Surely, saith that noble Lord du 
Plessis, if all the world were made for man, then man was made 
for more than the world, l All the favours thou enjoyest are but 
baits laid by God to catch thy soul ; as they come all from him, so let 
them be improved all for him. It is godliness alone that will hold 
out when thou comest to the greatest hardships at the day of afflic 
tion and the hour of thy dissolution. The good man and his godliness 
are like Saul and Jonathan, lovely in their lives, and in their deaths 
they are not divided; therefore exercise thyself unto godliness. 
It may be thou art one to whom God has given much in the world ; 
1 In the epistle before Veritas Christia. Eelig. 


I must tell thee that much will be required of thee. The greater 
thy receipts are, the greater thy returns must be, and the larger 
thy disbursements for God : Make to thyself friends of the mammon 
of unrighteousness, that when that faileth thou mayest be received 
into the celestial habitation. The way to get that which thou 
canst not part with, is by charity to part with that which thou 
canst not keep. Thou canst not carry thy bags to heaven ; it is 
good to take bills of exchange from the poor, whereby thou mayest 
receive there what thou couldst not carry thither. Laudent le 
esurientium viscera, non ructantium opulenta convivia, saith 
Jerome. It is storied of Alexander, that having given away almost 
all he had, one of his friends asked him where his treasure was, he 
answered, pointing to the poor, In scriniis, in his chest. He asked 
what he had left for himself, Alexander answers, Spem majorem. 
Let thy charity especially relate to the souls of people. What were 
it for thee to maintain four or six poor children at school, whereby 
they may come to read, and learn to know the way to life ? Doth 
it not grieve thee to understand the gross ignorance of many ? And 
what do they tell us, when we reprove them for it? that they are 
not book learned, they could never read ! What were it for thee, 
that hast possibly several hundreds per annum, to give twenty 
pounds a year this way ? I tell thee that God expecteth more 
than this for his service ; and I am confident thou mayest have 
more comfort in such acts of soul- charity than in ten times the 
value bestowed on the world and the flesh. I am sure God keeps 
an exact account how thou employest thy revenues ; and think of 
it again and again, what thou wilt do in such an hour, when thou 
shalt stand naked at the judgment-seat of Christ, and all thy 
receipts and disbursements shall be declared and mentioned before 
the Lord, angels, and men. 

When, imprimis, pride cometh with her tailor s long bill of so 
many thousands for new fashions, foolish fancies, or gaudy attire 
for thee or thine, when the poor members of Christ were ready to 
perish with nakedness ; item, gluttony, or drunkenness, or luxury, so 
many thousands ; item, so many hundreds for hawks, or hounds, or 
gaming ; item, so many hundreds for idle, needless expenses ; item, 
for propagating the gospel, relieving the poor, exalting the interest 
of Christ, so many pounds, or only some few scraps, which the 
knight, or esquire, or gentleman could spare, after he had made 
full provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Believe it, 
thou wilt wish then thou hadst done more for God and his interest, 
and less for the flesh. It was a wise speech of Lycon the philosopher, 


when a wealthy merchant bragged to him of the multitudes of his 
ships and furniture for sea, how he was able to trade into all parts, 
I esteem not that to be felicity which hangs upon ropes and 
cables. 1 Sure I am thy wealth hath wings, and will within a few 
days take an eternal flight from thee. The way to make the best 
of it is not to lay it up, but to lay it out as may be most for the 
glory of God. 

Whoever thou art, whether poor or rich, make an absolute dedi 
cation of thyself and thy all unto Christ, if thou wouldst attain 
salvation by Christ. He that cannot live of himself, must not live 
to himself; for if he doth, he dieth eternally, he loseth himself 
for ever. If heaven might be had upon men s cursed terms of 
liberty for their lusts, Christ would have customers enough ; but 
he that bought the purchase is fittest to set the price. 

Header, I set before thee in this treatise life and death, heaven 
and hell ; if thou art a true Isaac, and hast a spiritual appetite, I 
dare promise thee such savoury meat as thy soul loveth ; but if, 
Gallio-like, thou carest for none of these things, or, as the two tribes 
and a half, desirest thy portion on this side the land of Canaan ; if, 
as Spira, thou wilt put thy relations and possessions, honour an,d 
pleasure, and outward good things, in one scale, and God, and 
Christ, and heaven in the other, and then choose the former, and 
refuse the latter, I hope I shall never envy thy happiness, nor desire 
to eat of thy dainties, or drink of thy cup, but pray that the Lord 
would have mercy on thee, and change thy heart ; only let me tell 
thee, if thou wouldst avoid the inconceivable endless misery of the 
damned ; if thou wouldst attain the eternal matchless felicity of the 
saved ; if thou wouldst have all thy former rebellions blotted out 
through the blood of the Son ; if thou wouldst have thy person 
reconciled to the Father ; if thou wouldst have God in Christ to 
stand by thee when none of thy friends or comforts shall own thee ; 
if thou wouldst appear at the dreadful bar of Christ with comfort, 
when thousands and millions shall weep and wail ; if thou wouldst 
not have me nor this book to be a witness against thee before the 
Lord, angels, and men, then turn from sin speedily, cleave to thy 
Saviour unfeignedly, give up thyself to all the commands of Christ 
unreservedly. To-day if thou wilt hear his voice, harden not thy 
heart, lest he swear in his wrath that thou shalt never enter into 
his rest, Heb. iii. 

Eeader, I shall detain thee but a little longer in the porch, only 
to give thee a brief account of this ensuing tractate ; though I con- 

1 Laert. 


fess I never liked large apologies for any publications ; for if men s 
books are like to be serviceable to the honour of the infinite God, 
and the welfare of the souls of men, a small apology will serve]; if 
they are not, why do they trouble the world with them ? It is not 
all the image and superscription, which their excuses can stamp on 
them, shall ever make them current coin with me. I was called to 
preach a sermon at Borden, in Kent, October 17, 1658, at the 
funeral of a grave, religious gentlewoman, (one that, as I am in 
formed, was a tender mother of her children, and a dutiful daughter 
to the Father of spirits,) Mrs Beresford, widow of Mr Michael 
Beresford, a learned, painful, godly minister of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, who had a good report of all men that feared God and 
knew him, and of the truth itself. He was minister of the above- 
named parish above twenty years. 

I was, after the preaching of it, requested to publish it, and pro 
mised that a considerable number should be freely scattered in 
several families, whereby, through the blessing of God, some poor 
souls might be turned from darkness unto light, and from the 
power of Satan unto God. Before I had prepared the sermon for 
the press, I was entreated to enlarge it into a treatise. All which 
desires I was willing to satisfy, partly out of the great respect I 
did bear to one * especially that earnestly begged it, but chiefly out 
of the weak desire I had to be instrumental for the conversion of 
the souls of them to whom the sermon was preached, and of the 
parish which the Lord had committed to my charge. I considered 
with myself, that by reason of my sickly and infirm body I was not 
likely to continue long with that people to which the providence of 
God did at first join me, and from which far greater things could 
never divorce me ; and therefore it might not be needless to leave 
to them some testimony of my unfeigned desires of their eternal 
welfares. Who knoweth what this mean piece may do, if the 
divine power please to accompany it ? Possibly out of the seed 
that is here sown, when the husbandman is dead, a harvest may be 
reaped of glory to God and good to souls. 

Header, if thou gain any spiritual profit by it, let God have the 
praise ; and let him be remembered in thy prayers who is 

Thy servant for Christ s sake, 


1 Mr^John Beresford, citizen and apothecary, one that feareth the Lord abort 


For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. PHIL. i. 12. 


The division of the chapter, and interpretation of the text. 

IT is a memorable observation of that Christian heathen, as he hath 
been sometimes called, that the two great lessons which every man 
hath to learn in the whole time of his life, are, how to live, and how 
to die; 1 how to live virtuously, and how to die valiantly. These 
two weighty questions are clearly and fully answered in this 
text. It declareth and delivereth such directions about life as could 
never be learned in the school of nature, improved to the utmost. 
It prepareth and provideth such a cordial against death as could 
never be extracted out of all the creatures distilled together. And 
indeed herein the excellency of the Christian religion appeareth 
ibove all religions in the world. None enjoin eth such pious pre 
cepts, none subjoineth such precious promises, none sets the soul 
ibout so noble a work, none satisfieth it with such an ample 

The scope of the apostle in this epistle is, first, To confirm the 
Philippians in the faith of Christ, against the scandal of the cross ; 
ind, secondly, To exhort them to such godliness as might be 
inswerable to the gospel. 

In this first chapter, Paul encourageth them greatly to be con- 
itant in Christianity. 

1 Vivere tota vita discendum est, et quod magis fortasse miraberis, tota vita 
iscendum est mori. Sen. ad Paulin, cap, 7. 


1. From the nature of God, who never doth his work by halves, 
but performeth what he promiseth, and perfecteth what he begin- 
neth, ver. 6. 

2.. From his own prayer, which was for their increase and 
perseverance in grace, and that inoffensively to God s glory, ver. 


3. From the happy fruits of his sufferings for the faith. The 
rod wherewith he was scourged, like Aaron s rod, blossomed. First, 
The gospel was the more propagated, ver. 12. The more the hus 
bandmen were dispersed, the more the seed of the word was scat 
tered ; and the deeper the ground was ploughed, it took the better 
root, and brought forth the greater fruit. Secondly, The ministers 
of the gospel were the more emboldened, ver. 14. True zeal, like 
the fire, burns hottest in the coldest season ; and sincerity, like the 
stars, though it may be hid in a warm day, yet it will be sure to 
shew itself in a frosty night. Thirdly, Paul himself should be 
much advantaged, 1 ver. 19, which latter he amplifieth by acquaint 
ing them with the reason of that hope namely, the assistance ol 
the Spirit of Christ, ver. 19, and the assurance God had wrought 
in him, from his experience of what God had done for him, that hie 
Saviour should be honoured, and his salvation furthered, both by 
his life and death, ver. 20, 21. 

The text, considered relatively, contains the ground why the 
Philippians should not be troubled so much at Paul s trials : For 
to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain, i.e., If I be a gainer ID 
all conditions, why should you be discouraged by my afflictions r r 
If sufferings advantage the pastor, why should they dishearten the 
people ? The children may well enjoy a calm in their spirits, 
when their spiritual father is safe, nay, a gainer in the greatesi 

Take the words absolutely, and they include, first, the charactei 
of a Christian while he liveth, To me to live is Christ ; and : 
secondly, The comfort of a Christian when he dieth, and to die it 
gain. Or you may take notice of the piety of a saint in life : Tc 
me to live is Christ ; and his profit by death, To die is gain. 

For the meaning of the words. 

To me, e/iot. To me who am the mark at which hell and th( 
world shoot their arrows of persecution ; to me whose life hath beet 
a rino- of miseries ever since my conversion ; to me who am set t( 
undergo both men s and devils opposition; yet to me there an 
spiritual and inward consolations. For to me to live is Christ. 

1 Eveniunt mihi ut mihi sint salutaria. Trem. in Phil. i. 19. 


To me to live is Christ, TO ^v Xpio-rosl To me who am in 
Christ, to me to live is Christ. I live not only the life of nature, 
but I live also the life of grace. I have not only a being from 
Christ as a man, but likewise a well-being in Christ as a Christian ; 
as I did receive my life from Christ, so I do improve my life for 
Christ; his honour is my utmost desire, and my greatest en 

And to die is gain/ TO airoQavdv /eepSo?, i.e., I have had no 
other object, no employment but Christ and his service in my life, 
shall certainly have an eternal advancement at my death. 2 Or 
Christ is my life here by grace, and hereafter by glory. He is both 
the author and the end of my life. I live for him, I live to him, I 
live in him, I live by him ; and if I be put to death, that shall no 
way endamage me, but rather bring me great advantage, in regard 
that thereby I shall gain heaven for earth, and happy, eternal life 
for this miserable mortal life ; so our larger annotations sense it. 
Some, indeed, read the words, Christ is my gain both in life and 
death, and therefore the apostle was little troubled at, but rather 
indifferent to, all conditions.3 There is a certain truth in this 
exposition, though Piscator * will by no means grant it to be the 
mind of the Spirit in this place. 

In the words you may see the sign of a saint, to him to live is 
Christ; and his solace, to him to die is gain; his holy descrip 
tion in the former, his happy condition in the latter. 

The text being thus explained affordeth this truth, taking both 
parts of it together. 

1 Nam mihi vivere Christus est, i.e., Tota mea vita ad hoc ordinata est, utper meum 
ministerium perque meam vocationem verbis et factis promoveam pro mea virili reg- 
num Christi. Annon hsec res bona et cuique fideli optanda lZanch. in loc. 

3 Diodati to this purpose. 

3 Atqui Christus, in utroque membro subjectum esse debet ; Christus vita in vita ; 
Christus lucrum in morte Cal. in loc. Mihi enim est Christus et in vita, et in 
morte lumen. Beza. 

4 Sic hscc sententia non cohserebit ut ratio cum precedente, quod tamen pos- 
tulat conjunctio yap- nam aliud est gloria Christi, aliud salus Pauli. Pitcator 
in loc. 



The doctrine, That such as have Christ for their life, gain by death, 
with the explication of the phrase, To me to live is Christ. 

That such as have Christ for their life, shall have gain by their 

He that liveth in Christ on earth, shall live with Christ in 


Where the soul hath the seed of holiness, it shall reap a harvest 
of happiness. 

The apostle, when he summeth up the estate of a believer, 
counteth death as a part of his riches : Whether Paul, or Apollos, 
or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death ; all are yours/ 1 Cor. iii. 
22, and ye are Christ s. He that can say, I am Christ s, may as 
truly say, Death is mine. If thou canst say, I am Christ s servant, 
I am Christ s subject, thou mayest say, Death will be my prefer 
ment, death will be my advancement 

For the explication of this doctrine, I shall shew, first, What is 
meant by that phrase, to me to live is Christ ; and, secondly, 
Wherein it will appear that death to such a man is gain. 

For the former, To me to live is Christ, may imply these four 
things : 

First, Christ is the principle of my life. All living creatures 
have an inward principle by which they live, and according to 
which they act. Plants have a principle of vegetation, and beasts 
have a principle of sense ; men have a principle of reason, and their 
lives are different, answerable to their different principles. But a 
Christian hath a higher principle that is, Christ dwelling in his 
heart by faith, Eph. iii. 17 and thence it is that he lives a higher 
life. 1 As the body liveth by its union with the soul, so the Chris 
tian liveth by his union with Jesus Christ. Christ is the fountain 
and spring of life, the soul of his soul, and the life of his life. I 
live, saith the apostle, Gal. ii. 20 ; ( yet not I, but Christ liveth in 
me : and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith, 
of the Son of God. 

As the branches they live, but it is by the root ; they derive sap 
from it, and so live by it. So the believer, he liveth spiritually ; 

1 Ad vitam spiritualem quod attinet, certum est ad nos derivari exiguos quosdam 
rivulos, ipgum autem fontem in Christo latere. Daven. in Col. iii. 3. 


but it is by Christ ; he deriveth the sap of grace from this true vine, 
and so liveth by him. 

The water in the rivers doth not more depend upon the ocean, 
nor the light in the air upon the sun, than the life of a Christian 
dependeth on Jesus Christ. And therefore the Holy Ghost telleth 
us, He that hath the Son hath life ; and he that hath not the Son 
hath not life, 1 John v. 12. 

I have sometime read that the lioness bringeth forth her whelps 
dead, till after some time the lion roareth aloud, and then they live. 
This is certain, every man and woman is born dead ; dead to God, 
dead in sins and trespasses, till this Lion of the tribe of Judah 
uttereth his voice, then they arise from the dead, and Christ giveth 
them life. When the soul, like the body of Lazarus, hath been 
dead so long that it stinketh and is unsavoury, when it hath been 
many days, nay, many years, rotting in the grave of corruption, then 
if Jesus Christ calieth effectually, Lazarus, come forth, sinner, 
come forth of thy carnal, unregenerate estate ; then, and not till 
then, the soul heareth the voice of the Son of God and liveth. 

Grace is of a divine birth,* John iii. 3 ; it is the seed of God, 
1 John iii. 9 ; an unction from the holy one, 1 John ii. 27 ; called 
dew, which is of a celestial extraction, Ps. ex. 3 ; and light, 1 John 
i. 7. The fountain of water is in the earth, but the fountain of 
light is in the heavens. 

The web of godliness was never spun out of man s own bowels. 
As none can see the sun but by its own light, so none can with an 
eye of faith see the Sun of righteousness, but by the light of grace 
derived from him. 

We are his workmanship/ saith the apostle, Eph. ii. 10, created 
in Christ Jesus unto good works/ His workmanship, not only in 
our natural capacity as men; as creatures ; and in our civil capacity 
as rich or poor, high or low ; but also in our spiritual capacity as 
Christians, as new creatures. 

Secondly, To me to live is Christ, i.e., Christ is the pattern of 
my life ; my life is not only from him, but according to him. 
Christ is the rule according to which I walk, the copy after which 
I write. As sin and disobedience is a resemblance of the first, so 
grace and holiness is a resemblance of the second Adam. 

True Christianity consisteth in nothing but our conformity to, 
and imitation of, Jesus Christ.2 And, indeed, as the child in genera- 

1 John iii. 3, tLvwOfv Except a man be born from above. Non nascimur, sed rena- 
scimur Christiani. 

3 Sanctitas dicitur per quam mens seipsam et suos actus applicat Deo ; BO the 


tion receiveth from the parent member for member, part for part ; 
and the paper from the press, word for word, letter for letter ; and 
the wax from the seal, figure for figure ; so in regeneration Christ 
is formed in the soul, and it receiveth, according to its proportion, 
grace for grace. 

One end of Christ s incarnation and life in the flesh was to set an 
exact pattern for our lives in the Spirit : He left us an example, 
that we should follow his steps, 1 Peter ii. 21. All the actions of 
Christ are instructions to a Christian. His actions were either 
moral or mediatory ; in both the Christian imitates him. In the 
former, doing as he did, exercising the same graces, performing the 
same duties, resisting the same temptations, forbearing the same 
corruptions ; in the latter, by similitude, dying to sin, as he died for 
sin, rising to a spiritual life, as he rose again to a natural life. 
None indeed can parallel the life of Christ, but every new creature 
imitateth Christ in his life ; he walketh as Christ walked, 1 John 
ii. 6. The same mind is in all the saints, so far as they are re 
generated, that was in Christ ; the same will, the same affections ; 
they love what he loveth ; they loathe what he loatheth ; what 
pleaseth him, pleaseth them ; what grieveth his spirit, grieveth their 
spirits. As the wicked are like their father the devil, unholy as he 
is unholy ; so the children of Christ are like their everlasting 
Father, holy as he is holy; only with this difference, in Christ there 
is a fulness, in them a measure in Christ pureness, in them a mix 

Thirdly, To me to live is Christ, i.e. , Christ is the comfort of my 
life. Though I have many crosses, yet I have Christ for my com 
fort. He is the comfort of my life, and the life of all my comforts. 
All my joys come in at this door, all my contentments come swim 
ming in this stream. 

Piscator observeth that the consolation of Israel is the peri 
phrasis of Jesus Christ, Luke ii. 25 ; because all the consolation 
of a true Israelite, as Jacob s in Benjamin, is bound up in Christ. 
If he be gone, the soul goeth down to the grave with sorrow. As 
all the candles in a country cannot make a day no, it must be the 
rising of the sun that must do it ; so all the health, wealth, honours, 
pleasures, relations, possessions, nay, the greatest confluence of com 
forts that the whole creation affbrdeth, cannot make a day of light 
and gladness in the heart of a believer ; no, it must be the rising 
of this Sun of righteousness. The light of his countenance causeth 
more joy than all the corn, and wine, and oil of this world can. 
He saith, as Luther, Christ liveth, or otherwise I would not desire 


to live one moment. Or, as that noble Marquis of Vico, Their 
money perish with them that think all the wealth in the world 
worth one hour s communion with Jesus Christ. 

His comfort ebbeth and floweth as Christ manifesteth himself to 
him, or withdraweth himself from him. Like the marigold, he 
openeth and shutteth with the rising and setting of this sun. When 
the bridegroom is taken away, the children of the bride-chamber 
mourn. The voice of the true dove is ever doleful in the absence 
of her mate. Many a long look hath this gracious soul after its 
absented Saviour. Many a time doth it sigh out, for lovers hours 
are full of eternity, Why is his chariot so long a-coming ? why tarry 
the wheels of his chariot ? Make haste, my beloved, and be thou 
like the hart and roe upon the mountain of spices. It, like Zaccheus, 
climbs up into the sycamore tree of the ordinances, that it may 
have a sight of its beloved ; for it heareth that he useth to pass 
that way ; and when it spieth him afar off, for love is quick-sighted, 
coming towards it, hearken how the soul calleth aloud to faith to 
lift up the gates, to lift open the everlasting doors, that the king 
of glory may enter in. Desire, like Joseph, makes ready its chariot 
to go forth to meet this God of Jacob ; and when he draweth nigh, 
it cometh down hastily, and receiveth him joyfully. It crieth out, 
with the martyr," 1 in a flame of love, He is come, he is come. Now, 
like Mary, it closeth with him, cleaveth to him, clingeth and clasp- 
eth about him, and thinketh it can never have enough of him, or be 
near enough to him. Who can express the welcome which this 
pious soul giveth him ; what warm affection it hath to him ; what 
complacency and delight it hath in him ; what enlarged egress of 
spirit it hath after him ? If the wise men were so glad when they 
saw the star that led to him, how glad is this soul in seeing this 
Sun ! If the babe in the womb of Elisabeth sprang for joy when 
the mother of the Lord came to her, how doth the heart of this 
Christian spring with joy when the Lord of that mother comes to 
it ! And out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, 
Dearest Jesus, why earnest thou no sooner ? why tarriest thou no 
longer? Sweetest Saviour, why should this meeting ever, ever 
part ? Be thou like a bundle of myrrh, lodging all night betwixt 
my breasts ; yet be not like a wayfaring man, to tarry with me 
but for a night, but do thou abide in me, and dwell with me for 
ever. Good Lord, how good is it to be here ! Oh, how blessed 
are they that dwell in thy house ! They ever, and not without 
infinite cause, praise thee. Lord, grant me this happiness, what- 

1 Mr Eobert Glover, Acts and Mon., vol. iii. p. 427. Lond., an. 1641. 


ever thou deniest me, that my heart may be thine everlasting home. 
Ah, what a holy emulation hath this saint at the spirits above, 
that they should have so much and he so little ; that they should 
drink full draughts out of the rivers of pleasures, and he can only 
taste God to be gracious. Ah, what a heavenly vexation hath he 
at the necessities of his body and family here below, that they must 
call him away, and hinder his communion with his beloved ! Oh, 
how willingly would this soul be separated from its dearest wife, 
that it might more nearly be conjoined to its dearer husband ! 
Surely such a soul would with cheerfulness die in these embraces 
of Christ, breathing out, with Augustine, Lord, since no man can see 
thee and live, oh let me die that I may see thee. 1 

This, indeed, is the foretaste of the saints future happiness, their 
morning of glory, the suburbs of the new Jerusalem, the first-fruits 
of their great and eternal harvest, the joy that strangers inter 
meddle not with, Prov. xiv. 10. It may better be conceived and 
felt, than described or expressed ; 2 and therefore is most fitly by 
the apostle called joy unspeakable and glorious, 1 Pet. i. 8. Thus 
Christ is the comfort of a Christian. 

Fourthly, To me to live is Christ, that is, Christ is the end of 
my life. Christ is both the author and the end of my life ; as my 
life is from Christ, so my life is for Christ. The great care of the 
apostle was to magnify Christ, both by his life and death, Phil, 
i. 20. All the gain I aim at, both in life and death, is Christ, 
namely, to glorify him by my service. 3 

According to the principles of a man, such are his end. He that 
acteth from self, acteth for self. That obedience which ariseth 
from the creature, will be terminated in the creature. 4 Solomon 
saith, Eccles. i. 7, All the rivers run into the sea ; unto the place 
from whence the rivers came, thither they return again ; so the life 
of a Christian coming from Christ, must necessarily tend to Christ. 
A sincere saint doth not, like the hypocrite, look asquint at self- 
applause, self-profit, and such beggarly ends, but his eyes look 
straight on at the glory of Jesus Christ. If Christ be glorified, 
though he be disgraced, he is satisfied. When Christ hath hon 
oured the soul by giving it grace, the soul honoureth Christ by 
giving him glory. Grace is the most curious work, and therefore 
no wonder if it be for the credit of the workman. Trees bear 
fruit for the owner, Cant. iv. 16. Of him and through him 

1 Aug. on those words, Moriar Domine ut te videam. 
3 Verba non Talent exprimere, experimento opus est, 
3 Larg. Annot. 4 Operari sequitur esse. 


are all things, therefore to him. be glory for ever and ever, Rom. 
xi. 36. 

It is confessed the flesh will propound other ends, but the spirit 
carrieth the vote. As some write of the heavenly orbs, that they 
have a proper motion of their own, different from the motion of the 
primum mobile, yet in obedience to this first mover, they follow its 
motion ; thus it is with the unregenerate part of a man ; it hath 
proper ends of its own, pride, and flesh-pleasing, and the like, con 
trary to the ends of the spirit ; but in obedience to the regenerate 
part, the Christian leaveth the former ends, and follows the ends of 
the latter. 

The honour of Christ is exceeding dear to a true Christian. It 
is dearer than his name. Lord, saith a father, use me for thy 
shield, to keep off those wounds of dishonour which would fall on 
thy Majesty. 1 Let the reproaches wherewith they would reproach 
thee fall upon me. And Luther is called a devil, saith Luther, in 
an epistle to Spalatinus ; but be it so. So long as Christ is magni 
fied I am well apaid. 2 Nay, the honour of Christ is dearer than 
life to a believer. Paul, as one saith of him, stood a-tiptoe to see 
which way he might glorify Christ most, whether by life or death. 
Neither count I my life dear unto me, so I may finish the ministry 
I have received of the Lord Jesus, Acts xx. 24. 


What privative gain the Christian hath by death. 

I come now to the second thing promised, and that is, to mani 
fest wherein the Christian that hath Christ for the principle, pat 
tern, comfort, and end of his life, shall be a gainer by death. And 
truly, reader, in speaking of this gain, I shall acknowledge myself 
at an unspeakable loss. When I have spoken my utmost, I must 
entreat the reader, as once Cicero 3 did his, when he spake of So 
crates and Lucius Crassus, Ut magis quiddam de Us quam quce 
scripta sunt suspicarentur : That they should imagine some far 
greater matter than they find written. Though my tongue were 
as the pen of a ready writer, it could never express it, and if my 
pen were as the tongue of a ready speaker, it could never describe 

1 Bonum est mihi, si Deus me uti pro clypeo dignetur. Bern. 

2 Prorsus Satan et Lutherus, sed vivit et regnat Chrietus. Amen. 
8 Cic. iii., De Orat. 


it. The land of Canaan, notwithstanding all the helps we have, 
is still for the most part terra incognita, an unknown land. The 
sights there are light, inaccessible as to mortal eyes, 1 Tim. vi. 16 ; 
and the sounds there are words not audible as to mortal ears, 2 Cor. 
xii. 4 ; words which may not, or cannot be uttered, or both. 1 

One being asked what God was, answered that he must be God 
himself before he could know God fully. I am sure it is requisite 
that that Christian should be in heaven first who would know 
heaven fully. Fame, which in other things is too free and prodigal, 
in this is too sparing and penurious, and that in so great a degree 
that, reader, after thou hast heard it set forth by the holiest, hea- 
venliest man alive, though of the greatest capacity and oratory, yet 
if ever thou gettest thither, thou wilt find cause to speak, as the 
queen of Sheba did in another case, 1 Kings x. 6, 7, It was a 
true report that I heard in mine own land of thy glory and thine 
excellency. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and 
mine eyes had seen it ; and, behold, the half was not told me : the 
delight and happiness exceedeth the fame which I heard. There 
it is indeed that God doth more for the believer than he is able to 
ask or think. As the loss of the damned will be beyond the most 
melancholy man s fear, so the gain of the saved will be above the 
strongest Christian s faith. The eye of a man may see much good, 
the ear of a man may hear more, the heart of a man may conceive 
most of all ; but yet neither hath eye seen, nor ear heard, nor can 
it enter into the heart of man to conceive, what God hath prepared 
for them that love him/ 1 Cor. ii. 9. They which have written 
most of this subject, might have added at the end of their books, 
as in other treatises some have done, Desiderantur nonnulla, or plu- 
rima desunt ; More is desired, or more is wanting. It is as easy, 
saith one, to compass the heavens with a span, to contain the ocean 
in a nutshell, as to relate heaven s happiness. 

Reader, I shall speak to this subject but briefly. Set the Holy 
Land before thee, as it is in a map, in a little room, yet by what I 
shall speak in this place, and in the last use, as the spies by the 
clusters of grapes, thou mayest gather, the land is good, it floweth 
with milk and honey, and this is some of the fruit of it, Num. 
xiii. 27. 

The Christian s gain by death will appear in these two particu 
lars : He shall gain a freedom from all evil, the fruition of all 
good ; and is not this man a gainer ? 

., i.e., quod fando explicari a quopiam homine non potest; Beza. 
et Eras, ita exponunt. 


First, He shall by death be freed from all evil.l The immediate 
and full presence of the chiefest good which the believer shall en 
joy after death will cause the absence of all evil. The influences 
of that sun will scatter every mist, and disperse all clouds which 
now darken the conditions of pious souls. The day of a Christian s 
dissolution will be the day of his redemption, Luke xxi. 28. This 
may be the reason why the apostle placeth redemption last, saith 
an expositor : 1 Cor. i. 30, Now we have Christ made unto us 
wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, but then redemption. When 
the saint is passed through the red sea of death, and landed at the 
true Canaan, he shall then see all his bodily and spiritual enemies 
dead on the shore. In the middle region there are storms and 
tempests, and so here below; but above, all is calm and quiet. 
While the Christian is upon earth, evils, like Job s messengers, 
follow him, one upon the heels of another ; but when he leaveth 
the earth, every evil will take its eternal leave of him. 

There are two evils, which are indeed the only evils, though the 
first is by much the worst : the evil of sin, or defilement, and the 
evil of suffering, or chastisement. Now a believer by death should 
be freed from both these. 

First, From the evil of sin ; and in this take notice, that death 
will deliver the Christian both from the commission of it, and from 
all suggestions tending to it. 

First, Death will free the saint from the commission of sin. In 
hell there is nothing but wickedness, in heaven there is nothing but 
holiness. The unregenerate man is never so wicked as after death: 
now sin is in its minority, then it will be in its maturity ; now it is 
but the sinner s evening, but then it will be a perfect night of black 
ness, of darkness. The godly man is never so holy as after death : 
grace is now in its infancy, then it will attain to its full age ; now 
it is as the morning light, then it will attain to its noonday bright 
ness. Sin is now by a spiritual life mortified, that it doth not 
reign ; but then by death it shall be nullified, that it shall not so 
much as remain in a believer. 

The ungodly after death shall be perfectly like the devil, (the 
Indians, some write, have a conceit that death will transform them 
into the ugly shape of the devil ; and therefore in their language 
they have the same word for a dead man and a devil,) and the godly 
after death shall be perfectly like God. 

They are now partakers of the divine nature, and so like him, yet 
how much unlike him 1 .but when they shall see him in heaven, 

1 Ademptio omnium malorum. 


then they shall be like him indeed, 1 John iii. 2. 1 Vision causeth 
an assimilation in nature, Gen. xxx. 37, 38 ; in grace, 2 Cor. iii. 
18 ; so here in glory. 

The schoolmen put the question, how the angels and souls of 
men in heaven come to be impeccable, or without sin ? and answer 
that it is by the beatifical vision. 2 The apostle seemeth to intimate 
as much in the fore-quoted place : When he shall appear, we shall 
be like him, for we shall see him as he is. As the pearl, by the 
often beating of the sunbeams upon it, becomes radiant ; so the 
Christian, being ever beheld by the Lord, and always beholding the 
face of his Father in heaven, shall be more like him than ever child 
was to father on earth. Then that profession of Christ will be 
abundantly verified, Behold, thou art fair my love ; behold, thou art 
fair. Thou art all fair, my love ; there is no spot in thee/ Cant. iv. 1 , 7. 
Then the end of Christ s passion shall be fully attained, when he shall 
present to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, or any 
such thing, Eph. v. 27 ; not only in regard of imputed righteousness, 
or justification, but also in regard of imparted righteousness, or sanc- 

Here the heart of a Christian is like Eebekah s womb it hath 
twins struggling in it; the appearance of the church is, as it were, the 
company of two armies, Cant. vi. 13; the old man and the new man, 
flesh and spirit, the law in the members warring against the law of 
the mind. As there was war betwixt Asa and Baasha all their 
days, so there is betwixt the regenerate and unregenerate part all 
the time of this life ; but this gracious conflict shall then end in a 
glorious conquest, when the death of the body shall quite destroy 
this body of death. Sin in the heart is like the leprosy in the 
house, which would not out till the house was pulled down, Lev. 
xiv. 44, 45. But when soul and body shall be parted for a time, 
sin and the soul shall be separated to eternity. 

And as the heart, so the life of a Christian is like a book which 
hath many errata in it ; and therefore Legendus cum venia. The 
whitest swan hath her black feet ; the best gold must have its 
grains of allowance : There is no man that liveth upon earth, and 
sinneth not/ Eccles. vii. 20. All of us offend in many things, and 
many of us in all things, 3 James iii. 2. Our righteousness is as a 

1 Pet. Martyr tells us of a deformed woman, married to an uncomely man, that 
by looking much on beautiful pictures, brought forth lovely children. Loc. Com. 
pars. i. cap. 6. 

* Visio beatifica impotentes reddit ad peccandum. 

3 Omne opus justi damnabitur si judicio Dei judicetur. Luth. in Alfert. 


filthy rag, Isa. Ixiv. 6. Our graces not without their defects : c Lord, 
I believe ; help mine unbelief, Mark ix. 24. Our duties not with 
out their defaults : When I would do good, evil is present with 
me, Bom. vii. 21. The purest fire hath some smoke, the richest 
wine some dregs, but death will turn sin out of all its holds, and 
leave it not so much as a being in the Christian. The bodies of 
men have usually a mighty shoot at death ; but oh what a shoot 
will the soul of a saint have, when it shall be carried by angels to the 
place where the spirits of just men are made perfect ! Heb. xii. 23. 

Secondly, The soul alive in Christ, shall be freed at death from 
all temptations to sin. Then a Christian shall be above the reach 
of all Satan s batteries ; then that promise will be performed, that 
the God of peace will tread Satan under the saints feet, Kom. 
xvi. 20. Now Peter is winnowed, Paul is buffeted, David is stirred 
by the wicked one to number the people ; if Joshua be ministering 
unto the Lord, Satan will be at his right hand to resist him, Zech. 
iii. 1. It is no small unhappiness to a saint, that he is here followed 
with unwearied assaults, that the prince of darkness is restless in 
casting in his fire-balls, to put the soul into a hellish flame ; though 
he should never be conquered, yet for the Christian to have his 
quarters beaten up night and day, must needs disquiet him. To 
have blasphemous thoughts of a God infinitely great and gracious, 
to have mean and vile apprehensions of a Saviour incomparably 
precious, cast into him, though he close not with them, cannot but 
wound him to the heart ; as for a chaste matron that loatheth the 
thoughts of dishonesty, to be continually solicited to folly, is a sore 
vexation. The temptations of our Lord Jesus were a sad part of 
his humiliation. 

But death will ease the soul of this trouble : as in heaven there 
shall be no tinder of a corrupt heart to take, so no devil like steel 
and flint to strike fire. The crooked serpent could wind himself 
into the terrestrial, but shall never creep into the celestial paradise. 
His circuit is to go to and fro in the earth, he cannot enter the 
confines of heaven ; when he fell from his state of integrity, he left 
that place of felicity, and cannot possibly recover it again. The 
saints on earth indeed are militant, fighting with him, but the saints 
in heaven are all triumphant, wholly above him : More than con 
querors, through him that loveth them/ Eom. viii. 37. There the 
children of God are gathered together, and no Satan among them ; 
there the Son of David delivereth his true Israelites from all their 
fears of this uncircumcised Philistine. When the heavenly Mor- 
decai comes to be a chief favourite in that high and holy court, he 


shall be freed from all his frights about this enemy and adversary, 
this wicked Haman. 

The ark and Dagon could not stand together in one house, much 
less can light and darkness, Michael and the dragon, God and the 
devil, dwell together in one heaven. 

If Ireland, as some write, be so pure a soil, that it will not 
nourish any venomous creature, I am sure heaven is so pure, 
that into it can in no wise enter anything that defileth, Kev. 
xxi. 27 ; it will not harbour those poisonous serpents. 

Heaven once, saith an author, spued them out, and it will not 
return to its vomit, or lick them up again ; no such dirty dog shall 
ever trample on that golden pavement. There is such a cursed 
irreconcileable contrariety in their natures, to the blessed company 
and exercises in heaven, that certainly they cannot desire, much less 
delight in that place ; if the presence of Christ were such a torment 
to them in his estate of humiliation, what a torment would it be in 
his estate of exaltation ! It is observable they left their own habita 
tion, Jude 6 ; the word seemeth to imply, that when they lost their 
primitive purity, they willingly lost that habitation of spiritual 
pleasures. But whether he will or no, he shall be banished 
those coasts ; though he now dog the saint at, and disturb him in, 
every duty, he shall do it no more : The accuser of the brethren 
shall be cast down, neither shall his place be found any more in 
heaven, Kev. xii. 8, 9. 

Secondly, A Christian by death shall not only be freed from the 
evil of sin and defilement, but also from the evil of suffering and 
chastisement : the cause being taken away, the effects will cease. 1 
Sin is that great-bellied mother, or rather monster, which conceiveth 
and bringeth forth all those losses, crosses, diseases, disgraces, 
sorrows, and sufferings whatsoever, that befall the children of men. 
Though man may be the butt, yet sin is the mark at which the arrows 
of divine displeasure are shot ; man weaves a spider s web of sin out 
of his own bowels, and then is entangled in it. Wickedness alone 
is the original cause of all woe, Lam. iii. 39 ; Eom. vi. 23. But 
now, at the death of a saint, the fountain of sin will be dried up, 
and therefore the streams of sufferings must be dried up also. The 
fuel being taken away, the fire will go out of itself; sin and 
sorrow were born, do live, and shall die together. 

As sin is the original cause^of all, so it is the final cause of most, 
afflictions. Sometimes they are for probation as we shoot at good 
armour that we may prove it, and that we praise it but most 
1 Sublata causa, tollitur eflectus. 


commonly they are for purgation, to amend something that is 
amiss : the fathers of the flesh chastise for their pleasure, but the 
Father of spirits for our profit, that we might be partakers of his 
holiness, Heb. xii. 6. The quiet fruits of righteousness blossom 
from the correcting rod ; bitter aloes purge the worms ; winds and 
thunder clear the air; frosts and showers whiten cloth; the husband 
man useth the flail to separate the chaff, and the refiner the fire to 
consume the dross. But when the wheat shall be clean, there will 
be no need of the flail ; when the gold pure, no use of the fire. 
1 Now, saith the apostle, if need be, ye are in heaviness, 1 Pet. i. 6. 
Mark, now, if need be ; now men have hard knots, and therefore 
need sharp wedges ; now men have strong corruptions, and there 
fore need strong corrections ; now the rod is as necessary as our 
daily bread. Chastisements are to teach men in God s law, Ps. 
xciv. 12; to search and heal their spiritual sores. But now at 
death the scholar in Christ s school will have perfectly learned his 
lesson, and therefore there will be no need of a rod: then the 
wounds of the soul will be perfectly cured, and these plasters will 
fall off of themselves. Death will make him whole that he can sin 
no more ; and so no worse or so bad thing shall come to him. 
There are three evils of affliction which I shall mention : 
The first on the name. 
The second on the body. 
The third on the soul. 

From all which a believer shall be freed by death. 
First, Death will free the saint from ignominy on his name. 
Here, if the world cannot make the Christian wound his conscience 
they will be sure to wound his credit. Elijah is counted the 
troubler of Israel ; Nehemiah a rebel against the king ; David the 
song of the drunkards and the scorn of the gluttons, Ps. Ixix. 1 2, and 
;xxv. 16 ; Isaiah and his children for signs and wonders, Isa. viii. 
8 ; Jeremiah is a man of contention, Jer. xv. 10 ; the Son of man 
a wine-bibber and a glutton; Paul a pestilent fellow and a mover 
of sedition, Acts xxiv. 5. The uprightest saint is marked for a 
hypocrite in the world s calendar. If they cannot smite him with 
their hands their arms are not long enough always-they will not 
fail to smite him with their tongues. What a precise fool, say 
they, is such a fellow; he dares not take up his cups as we do; 
but could we see his heart, it is as bad as the worst of ours. He 
will do as bad or worse when nobody seeth him ; he will not swear, 
but he will lie, 1 11 warrant you. He spendeth his time in nothing 
but going to sermons and meetings, and is as arrant a dissembler 

VOL. III. _ 


as liveth. Such a one of the same society was guilty of such a 
sin, and they are all alike : these are your professors 1 Thus the 
corruption of their hearts break out at their lips, and they most 
wretchedly wound even Christ through the sides of the Christian. 

But heaven will not only wipe away all tears from the Christian s 
eyes, but also all blots off from his name. Upright Hezekiah in 
heaven is above the sound of cursed Eabshakeh s tongue, which 
was set on fire of hell. Now holy David is got up that heavenly 
hill, that mount Zion, he heareth not the railings and revilings 
of sinful Shimei. The most spiteful scorner of them all cannot 
throw that dirt so high with which he bespatters the saints repu 
tation here below. 

Secondly, As death will free the Christian from ignominy in his 
name, so likewise from infirmities in his body. Diseases cause 
death, but death will cure all diseases ! In this life Job had his 
botches, Hezekiah his boil, David his wounds and sores, the poor 
widow her issue of blood; one man wasteth away with a con 
sumption, like a candle, till all the matter is spent; another 
laboureth under a continual ache, that, like the importunate widow, 
will give him no rest day nor night ; this man spends his days in 
pain, that man hath wearisome nights appointed to him. In some 
the bridle is taken off the fire, and they burn with a fever ; in 
others the flood-gate is taken up from the water, and they are like 
to be drowned with a dropsy. The patient man complaineth, My 
breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the grave is ready for me, 
Job xvii. 1. The upright man crieth out, My wounds stink and 
are corrupt ; my loins are filled with a loathsome disease. In one, 
the keepers of the house tremble with a palsy or lameness ; in a 
second, the sound of grinders is low through weakness ; in a third, 
those that look out of the windows are darkened through blind 
ness ; in a fourth, the daughters of music are brought down with 
deafness. Oh what an army, not only of moral, but natural adver 
saries, hath every man in his own bowels, constantly set in array 
against him, marching up, sometimes one, sometimes another, as 
the Lord of hosts giveth the word of command. Physicians tell 
us that two thousand diseases annoy man s body, whereof two 
hundred affect the eyes ; so that indeed man s body is a spital, 
or an hospital, for diseases. But death will help all this. As the 
blind man told the lame, when they met at the stake, Brother, 
you may cast away your staff, death will cure us both. The 
physician of souls will by death heal all the diseases of the saints 
bodies. There are some diseases which are called opprobria medici, 


because they cannot cure them ; but none are opprobria Christi he 

healeth all whom he undertaketh. If the higher a house standeth 
on earth, it be esteemed the healthier, surely then the highest 
heavens must be a pure air and all health, Kev. xxi. 4: there "shall 
be no more death, nor any more pain, for the former things are 
passed away. So that every Christian that dieth in the faith, how 
diseased soever he were before, shall then immediately, as in the 
Gospel, be made every whit whole, John vii. 23. 

Thirdly, As death will free the believer from diseases in his 
body, so also from sorrows in his soul. The Christian liveth upon 
earth as in a valley of tears, and often mingleth his drink with 
weeping. As he is a man, he is born to sorrows as the sparks fly 
upward : he cometh into the world crying, and goeth out groaning ; 
and his whole life from the womb to the tomb is in some regard a 
living death, or a dying life. But as he is a Christian, he drinketh 
deepest of this cup of sorrows. The world is a tender mother to 
her children, but a stepmother to strangers. Sometimes the afflic 
tions of the good cause high water in the saint s heart: by the 
rivers of Babylon he sits down and weepeth when he remembereth 
Zion, Ps. cxxxvii. 1. He cannot but sympathise with the miseries 
of his fellow-members, as being himself in the body. He is not as 
a wooden leg, senseless of the other members sufferings. Some 
times the transgressions of the bad clothe him with mourning: 
like Croesus son, though dumb before, yet he crieth out when his 
father is wounded. As with a sword they pierce his bones, when 
they blasphemously say unto him, Where is thy God ? Ps. x lii. 10. 
Kivers of tears run down his eyes, because the wicked forsake 
God s law, Ps. cxix. 136. Sometimes his own corruptions, like so 
many daggers, stab him to the heart, that he should abuse such 
an ocean of unspeakable love by so unsuitable a heart and so 
unanswerable a life. He confesseth his iniquities, and is sorry for 
his sins, Ps. xxxviii. 18. Sometimes divine desertions darken and 
cloud all his comforts : When God hides his face, he is troubled, 
Ps. xxx. 7. As there are no joys like to those joys wherewith God 
reviveth him in the day of his favour, so there is no sorrow like 
to those sorrows wherewith God depressed him in the day of his 
anger. Thus his life is a circle of sorrows ; but death will be the 
funeral of his sorrows and resurrection of his joys: now he soweth 
in tears, but then he shall reap in joy. The day of death is a 
saint s marriage-day. Samson s wife indeed wept on her wedding- 
day, Judges xiv. 16 ; but when the soul, which in this life is 
contracted, shall at death be solemnly espoused, and more nearly 


conjoined unto Jesus Christ, all tears shall be wiped from its 
eyes ; there shall be no more sorrow, Kev. xxi. 4. At that 
marriage-day Christ will turn all water into wine, all mourning 
into mirth, all sighing into singing, and cause the bones which he 
hath broken to rejoice. Now the saints sorrows are not perfect 
sorrows, non dantur puree tenebrce to the believer it shineth and 
showereth at the same time. He sorroweth not as they which have 
no hope ; but his joy at death shall be perfect joy, fulness of joy, 
Ps. xvi. 11, and permanent joy; when they shall see Christ at 
death, their hearts shall rejoice, and their joy shall no man take 
from them, John xvi. 22. Then the ransomed of the Lord shall 
return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their 
heads : they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing 
shall flee away, Isa. xxxv. 10. 

So much for the privative gain of a Christian by death, or his 
freedom from evil. 

What positive gain a Christian hath by death. 

There is a second thing, which is positive ; and that is the frui 
tion of all good, which a believer shall gain by death, and in this 
head I shall observe these three gradations : l 

First, A believer, by death, shall gain the company of perfect 
Christians. Death will exempt him from all commerce with sin 
ners, and teach him fully the meaning of that article, the commu 
nion of saints. In the field of this world the tares and the wheat 
grow together, but in that heavenly garner they are parted asunder. 
There is no treacherous Judas among the apostles ; no covetous 
Demas among the disciples ; no Amorites to be pricks in the eyes 
and thorns in the sides of the Israelite ; no bestial Sodomite to vex 
righteous Lot with their unclean conversation ; no flattering Doeg 
sets his foot in that heavenly sanctuary. David doth not there 
complain, Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the 
tents of Kedar ! my soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth 
peace, Ps. cxx. 4, 5 ; nor Isaiah, that he dwelleth among a people 
of unclean lips, Isa. vi. 5 ; nor Elijah, that he is left alone. Hell 
holdeth none but sinners, and heaven hath only saints. He that 
dieth in the Lord goeth to the congregation of the first-born, to the 
1 Adeptio omnium bonorum. 


spirits of just men made perfect, Heb. xii. 23. And questionless 
the sweet company will be part of our felicity. If Platinus the 
philosopher could say, Let us make haste to our country, there are 
our parents, there are all our friends ; and if Cicero * the orator 
could say, Oh what a brave day will that be when I shall go to the 
counsel and company of happy souls, to my Cato, and other Koman 
worthies ! How much better will it be with the Christian, when 
he shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom 
of heaven ; when he shall leave the rout and rabble of wicked ones, 
and be admitted into the society of all that died in the faith, and 
be joyfully welcomed by the melodious choir of angels, and be 
heartily embraced by the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, yea, all the 
saints ! Surely if ever that proverb were true, it is here, The more 
the merrier. The fair streams there will never be drawn dry, 
though it be divided into many channels ; the music there is not 
the less harmonious, because many hear it ; nor the light of the Sun 
of righteousness the less pleasant, because many see it; and oh 
what a gain will this be, to enjoy the company of them that are 
holy ! If Aaron, when he met Moses on earth, was glad at his 
heart, certainly there was greater joy at their meeting in heaven. 
If David placed all his delight, Ps. xvi. 3, in the saints here below, 
when they shined a little, with the light of purity, like the moon, 
and had their spots in them, what delight doth he take in them 
above, now they have perfect purity, and shine like the sun in the 
firmament of their Father ! Mat. xiii. 43. If it were so lovely a 
sight to see Solomon in his rags of mortality, that the queen of 
Sheba came so far to behold it, what will it be to see him in his 
robes of glory ! 

I remember I have sometimes heard an able holy minister, 2 now 
with Christ, say, that that sight of five hundred saints, and Jesus 
Christ among them, 1 Cor. xv. 6, was one of the bravest, goodliest 
sights that ever eyes beheld on earth. Sure I am they that are in 
heaven see a far better, beholding Jesus Christ in the midst of many 

Secondly, A Christian shall gain by death the nearest commu 
nion with the Lord Jesus Christ ; and oh what happiness is in 
cluded in this head 1 The presence of Christ on earth can make 
a mean cottage a most delightful court : to the three children it 

1 prseelarum diem, cum ad illud animorum concilium ccetumque proficiscar. 
Cic. de Senec. 

2 Mr Thomas Wilson, minister of Maidstone, in Kent, an eminent servant of the 
Lord Jesus. 


turned the fiery furnace into a delectable palace ; what will it do 
then in heaven ? Bernard saith l he had rather be in his chimney- 
corner with Christ, than in heaven without Christ. Luther saith 
he had rather be in hell with Christ, than in heaven without 
Christ. Communion with Christ can sweeten the bitterest con 
dition. Christ alone is the salt which seasons all the saint s com 
forts, without which nothing is savoury to the spiritual taste. A 
duty without Christ is like a body without a soul, which hath 
neither loveliness nor life in it. Communion with Christ is one 
great motive which enticeth the saint to, and encourage th him in, 
the ordinances of God. He attendeth on Scriptures because they 
are they that testify of Christ ; the pearl of price is hid in that 
field ; in them the lips of Christ, like lilies, drop sweet-smelling 
myrrh, Cant. v. 13 ; and oh how his heart burneth within him with 
love to Christ, whilst Christ is opening to him the Scriptures ! He 
frequenteth prayer, because therein Christ and his soul converse 
together ; in that ordinance he enjoyeth much of Christ s quicken 
ing presence ; he speaketh to Christ by holy supplications, and 
Christ to him by heavenly consolations : he mindeth fasting, because 
therein his soul may with Jesus Christ have a spiritual feast ; or 
the greatest cause of his weeping is, with Mary, They have taken 
away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. The 
means of grace are therefore so desirable and delightful, because 
they are the galleries wherein he walketh, talketh, feedeth, and 
feasteth with the Lord of glory. 

The highest duty without Christ, is as a dish without meat, from 
which he goeth as empty and unsatisfied as he came to it. It is to 
him as Tully s Hortensius to Augustine, of little worth if the name 
of Jesus be not there. 

If he love the saints with a love of complacency, it is because 
they are Christ s seed ; if he love the sinner with a love of pity^it 
is for Christ s sake. His affections are contracted or enlarged to 
wards anything, as it hath less or more relation to Christ ; and 
nothing is of true value or worth in his esteem which hath not 
aliquid Christi, something of Christ in it. 

Now consider, reader, if the presence of Christ be so precious, so 
pleasant to the Christian here, when he can see so little of his ex 
cellent beauty, and receive so little of his infinite bounty, what will 
it be when he shall appear to the soul in all his royalty, and fill 
the water-pots of the soul up to the brim with the riches of grace 
and glory. 

1 Mallem in cumino meo dim Christo quam in coelo sine Christo. Bern. 


Demarathus of Corinth saith, they lost the chief part of their 
life s happiness that did not see Alexander sit on the throne of 
Darius. If that were such a happy sight, what a sight shall the 
saints have to see Christ on his Father s throne ! Oh how much 
is included in these few words, to be with Christ, which is the 
description of the saint s gain by death ! Phil. i. 23. This was the 
great legacy and portion which Christ bequeathed his in his last 
will and testament : John xvii. 24, Father, I will that those which 
thou hast given me be with me where I am. This was the great 
promise and sweetmeats which the tender Father provided to com 
fort his fainting children with at his own funeral: John xvi. 22, I 
will see you again, and your hearts shall rejoice. This was the 
great prayer which Paul maketh for his beloved Timothy: 2 Tim. 
iv. 22, The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. This was the 
enlivening cordial which the good physician administered to the 
dying patient : Luke xxiii. 43, This day thou shalt be with me in 
paradise. This is the great reason for which the godly long for 
death : Phil. i. 23, I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. 
I desire death, saith Melanchthon, 1 that I may enjoy the desir 
able sight of Christ. And oh when will that blessed hour come ! 
when shall I be dissolved ? when shall I be with Christ ? said holy 
Mr Eobert Bolton on his deathbed. Surely, then, this gain is great 
which the saint shall have by death. He that hath Christ with 
him by grace, may say with Peter, Master, it is good to be here ; 
but he that is with Christ in glory, may say with Paul, To be with 
Christ is far better ; without doubt best of all. They were blessed 
which saw him in his estate of debasement, Luke x. 23, but much 
more blessed will they be that shall see him in his estate of ad 

Thirdly, The saint by death, shall gain the full and immediate 
fruition of God. The former were excellent ; but this, as the sun 
among the planets, surpasseth them all. The other were as rivers, 
this is the ocean. They were as branches bearing goodly fruit, but 
this is the root upon which they grow. They all as lines meet in 
this centre ; this is the top-stone of the celestial building, this is 
the highest stair, the apex of the saints happiness. This is the 
greatest gift which the creature can possibly ask, or the infinite 
God bestow. The boundless God cannot give a greater mercy than 
this. Is anything, yea, are all things in heaven and earth equal to 
God ? God alone is the highest object of faith, 1 Pet. i. 21, and 
therefore the greatest ground of joy and satisfaction to the soul, 

1 lit desiderate fruar conspectu Christi. 


Ps. xvii. 15. The vision of God is the beatifical vision, 1 John 
iii. 3, and therefore the fruition of God will cause perfection in the 
soul. The enjoyment of God is the great desire and delight of the 
saints on earth, Ps. xlii. 1, 2; nay, it is the happiness of the 
human nature of the Lord Jesus, Ps. xvi. 5, 6. Without question 
then it will be the heaven of heavens. That excellent description 
of heaven mentioned by the apostle, 1 Thes. iv. 17, is a being ever 
with the Lord. This is all. The most fluent tongue must be here 
silent, and the most capacious understanding will be soon at a 
stand, in the consideration of the felicity which floweth from the 
fruition of God. Loquimur de Deo non quantum debemus, sed quan 
tum possumus. In speaking of God we speak not what we ought, 
but what we are able, said Gratianus the emperor in his epistle to 

The presence of this King will make the court indeed. For the 
Lord to be with us is our chiefest security : Though I walk in the 
valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with 
me/ Ps. xxiii. 4. But for us to be with the Lord, will be our chiefest 
felicity : In his presence is fulness of joy ; at his right hand are 
pleasures for evermore/ Ps. xvi. 11. God is not wealth, or honour, 
or comfort, or friends, or earth, or heaven, but something infinitely 
beyond all these. God is an immense ocean of all excellencies and 
perfections, without either banks or bottom. God is virtually, 
eminently everything, all things. 1 As in the wars between Charles 
the Fifth and Francis the First, king of France, when the emperor s 
heraldhad bid defiance to the king, fromCharles, emperor of Germany, 
king of Castile, Leon, Arragon, and Naples, archduke of Austria, 
with the rest of his titles, the king commanded the heralds to 
return the challenge from Francis, king of France, commanding 
them to repeat France as many times as the other had petty earl 
doms in his style, intimating that one France was worth them all ; 2 
so truly one God answereth all things. He is health and strength, 
riches and relations, joy and pleasures, light and life, and much 
more, all the excellencies scattered and shadowed in the creature, 
are united and realised in the Creator, who is blessed for ever. 
One God is worth more than all his creatures can sum up in mil 
lions of ages. 

This is the gain of a saint by death, he shall gain the fruition of 
God. He who hath lost God, hath nothing more to lose he hath 
lost all ; the loss of God is hell, 2 Thes. i. 9. But he that hath 

1 Solus tu es jucunditas; totus mundus est amaritudine plenus. Aug. in Ps. Ixxxv. 

2 Heil. Geogr. 


gained God, hath nothing more to gain he hath got all; the 
gain of God is heaven. 

It is worthy our observation, that Job, speaking of God, Job xiii. 
16, saith, He shall be my salvation. An expositor 1 observeth on 
that text, Job doth not say, He shall give me salvation, but He 
shall be my salvation. It more pleaseth a saint that he enjoy eth 
God than that he enjoyeth salvation. As nothing that a godly man 
giveth God will content him, unless he give God himself, so nothing 
which God giveth a godly man will satisfy him, unless God giveth 
himself to him. 2 His voice is Non tua, sed te, Domine; Lord, not 
thine, but thee. He is better pleased that God is his salvation, than 
that he saved him. Whom have I in heaven but thee, saith he. 
There are saints, angels, archangels, saith Musculus, but in the pre 
sence of this glorious sun those stars must vanish and disappear. 
What are saints, what are angels without God ? And it is true of 
things as well as persons : What is the glory, what the pleasures, 
what the joys of heaven without God? What is all the robes and 
riches, what is all the crowns and comforts, what is all the delights, 
the delicates, the diadems of heaven, without the God of heaven, but 
as the funeral banquet for some eminent prince, where is large pro 
vision and great cost, but no cheer ? ISTo, it is God alone that is 
the centre to which the saint moveth, and in which he resteth. 

Oh what happiness shall the holy man have at death, to be ever 
with God! If that queen could say of Solomon s attendants, 
Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand 
continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom, 1 Kings x. 8. How 
happy are they that dwell in God s mansion-house, ever beholding 
his face, and hearing his voice ! It is reported of Eudoxius, that 
he was so extremely desirous to be near the natural sun, that he 
might see it, and know its nature, that he professed, so he might 
obtain his desire, though but for one hour, he would willingly be 
burnt up by it the next hour. How much worth then is the sight 
and knowledge of this Sun of righteousness ; and what gainers are 
they by death, that come thereby to see him as he is, and to know 
him, as they are known of him, 1 John iii. 2 ; 1 Cor. xiii. 12. 

But the Christian shall not barely enjoy God after death, for 
that he doth in this life, but he shall enjoy God fully. Now the 
saints enjoy a little of God, and oh how refreshing is it to his 
weary soul ! But then he shall have as much of God as his heart 

1 Car. in loc. 

2 Fecisti nos propter te, et inquietum est cor nostrum donee requiescat in te. 
Aug. Confes, lib. i. cap. 1. Ps. Ixxiii. 24. 


can wish or hold. In this life there is a communication of God, 
answerable to the capacities of men ; and the fault is in us, not in 
God, that we receive no more of him on earth. The ground is not 
in the sun, but in the narrowness of our windows, that we partake 
no more of its light ; the cause is in the smallness of our vessels, 
not in the well, that we carry away no more of its water. If our 
mouths were never so wide opened, God would fill them now. 
But then the windows of the soul shall be widened, and the vessels 
of the heart enlarged, and so fitted for, and filled with, a greater 
participation of God. There is not the least complaint of want; 
all the patriarchs sacks are there filled with corn. There David s 
cup runneth over indeed ; there the holy Ephesians are filled with 
all the fulness of God. In that Father s house there is bread 
enough, and to spare, for all his children. There is given to all 
good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, 
Luke vi. 38. 

We say there is no fishing like to the sea, because the sea hath 
the greatest plenty, and the vastest capacity ; there are fish enough 
to fill all our nets, and lade all our ships. I may more truly say, 
there is no fruition like to the fruition of God. He hath enough 
not only to supply all our indigencies, and to satisfy all our neces 
sities and desires, but he can do abundantly for us, above what we 
are able to ask or think, Eph. iii. 20. God hath enough to fill 
himself, as boundless a being as he is ; surely then he hath enough 
to fill the limited soul of man. That which can fill the ocean, may 
well fill a spoon. 

Now a Christian is described by his hungering and thirsting, his 
panting and breathing after a perfect conformity to God, that 
thereby he may be prepared for perfect communion with God ; but 
blessed are they which now thus hunger and thirst, for then they 
shall be filled, Mat. v. 6. Well filled, as beasts are after a good 
bait, as the word used by our Saviour signifies. 1 He that drinketh 
of that water which God shall there give him shall thirst no more. 
That God, who filleth the bellies of his enemies on earth with the 
hidden treasures of common bounty, will surely fill the souls of his 
children in heaven with the precious treasures of special mercy. 
The soul, that now sippeth of the water of life, shall then drink a 
full draught out of the rivers of God s pleasures. The Christian, 
who can now only taste God to be gracious, shall then have a full 
meal, when he shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. They are 

1 xofn-a.6^crovrai, hoc proprie dicitur de armentis ; nam x6prov prati vocant gramen 
aut pabulum. 


before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his 
temple : and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more ; neither shall 
the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb, which is in 
the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto 
living fountains of waters/ Kev. vii. 15-17. 

Observe, reader, I say a Christian shall gain by death a full 
immediate fruition of God. Now the saint drinketh the waters of 
life, and they are pleasant, though through the conduits and cisterns 
of ordinances ; but with what joy will he draw water immediately 
out of the well of salvation. 1 We read in Joshua v. 12, when Israel 
came to Canaan manna ceased, and they did eat of the fruits of the 
land. While the saint is in the wilderness of this world, he needeth, 
and feedeth on the manna of the word, sacraments, prayer, and the 
like; but when death shall land him at that place, of which 
Canaan was but a type, the manna of ordinances shall cease, he 
shall eat the fruits of that land. Ordinances are necessary for, and 
suitable to, our state of imperfection. Jacob drove his flocks as 
they were able to go, so doth Christ his sheep. 

Here we are in a state of uncleanness, and therefore want water 
in baptism to wash us, saith an eminent divine ; in a state of dark 
ness, and therefore want the light of the word to direct us ; in a 
state of weariness, and therefore want a Lord s-day of rest to 
refresh us ; in a state of weakness, and therefore want bread in the 
supper to strengthen us ; in a state of sorrow, and therefore want 
wine to comfort us; in a state of beggary, and therefore want 
prayer to fetch some spiritual alms from the beautiful gate of God s 

Whilst the saint is as a child, he thinks as a child, speaks as a 
child, understands as a child ; but when he shall come to be a per 
fect man, he shall put away these childish things. When every 
earthly member shall be mortified, and the body of death wholly 
destroyed, when the faculties of the soul shall be enlarged, and the 
sanctification of the inner man perfected, when the rags of mor 
tality shall be put off, and grace swallowed up in glory, the sun 
shall be no more thy light by day, nor the moon thy light by night, 
but the Lord thy God, thine everlasting light, and thy God thy 
glory, Isa. Ix. 19. 

Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, are for the perfecting of the 
saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ, no longer than till 
we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the 

1 Dulcius ex ipso fonte, &c. 


Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of 
the fulness of Christ, Eph. iv. 11-13. When God shall be all in 
all, then, and not till then, ordinances will be nothing at all. When 
the saint comes to his journey s end, he may throw away his staff. 
Now, how much will this add to the former, that the Christian 
shall without ordinances enjoy God ! How lovely is the face of 
God, though it be but in the glass of the gospel ! 2 Cor. iii. 18. 
This was the one thing which David begged, that he might dwell 
in the house of the Lord, to see the beauty of his face, Ps. xxvii. 4. 
Ah how lovely will he be, when the Christian shall see him face 
to face ! 1 Cor. xiii. 12. 

If it be so good to draw near to God on earth, Ps. Ixxiii. 28, 
and if they are blessed that watch at wisdom s gates, and wait at 
the posts of her doors, Prov. viii. 34, how good will it be to draw 
near to God in heaven ; and how blessed are they that wait not at 
the door, but dwell in that house ! 

How pleasant will it be for the soul, when its eyes shall be 
strengthened to see God as he is, without the spectacles of ordi 
nances. We esteem that honey sweetest that is sucked immedi 
ately out of the comb, though honey out of a dish is sweet ; and we 
do with more delight eat that fruit which we gather ourselves from 
the tree, than we do that which is brought to us through other 
hands. The enjoyment of God is so sweet in the dish of a duty, 
that a Christian would sooner lose the best friend he hath than it. 
But oh how sweet will it be in the comb of immediate communion ! 
This fruit is very delightful and pleasant as it is conveyed through 
the hands of ministers, (though the liquor will scent of the cask,) 
but oh with what delight, (Christian, canst thou read it and thy 
heart not warm with joy ?) with what pleasure wilt thou with 
thine own hands gather this fruit from the tree of life, that stand- 
eth in the midst of paradise ! Rev. xxii. 2. 

Thus I have given thee a little of that great gain which a saint 
hath by death ; death will free him from all evil, both of sin and 
suffering ; it will give him the fruition of all good, in the enjoyment 
of perfect saints, and the blessed Saviour, and in full immediate 
communion with the infinite God, who is blessed, and blessing his 
for ever. This is the heritage of a righteous man from God, and 
this is the portion of his cup : thus shall it be done to the man 
whom the King of Heaven delights to honour. There is but one 
thing more required to make the Christian perfectly happy, and 
that is the eternity of all this ; but I shall speak to that in the last 
use. I now proceed to the application of the point. 



The difference betwixt a sinner and a saint at death. 

The first use which I shall make of this doctrine shall be by way 
of information. If such as have Christ for their life shall have gain 
by their death, it informeth us of the difference betwixt the death 
of the sinner and the saint : the one is an unspeakable gainer, the 
other an inconceivable loser by death. Death to the good is the 
gate through which they go into the kingdom of heaven ; death to 
the bad is the trap-door through which they fall into hell. The 
godly dieth as well as the wicked ; but the wicked man dieth not 
so well as the godly. The metal and the dross go both into the 
fire ; but the metal is refined, and the dross consumed. As the 
cloud in the wilderness had a light side to the Israelite, but a dark 
side to the Egyptian : so death hath nothing but light and comfort 
for the Israel of God ; nothing but darkness and sorrow for the 
sinful Egyptians. Death to every one is a messenger sent from the 
Lord of life ; it cometh to the regenerate, as the young prophet to 
Jehu, I have an errand to thee, captain. And what was his 
errand ? He poured the oil on his head, saying, Thus saith the 
Lord, I have anointed thee king over Israel, 2 Kings ix. 5, 6. It is 
a messenger from God, to call the Christian to a kingdom which 
cannot be shaken. But it cometh to the unregenerate, as Ehud to 
Eglon : And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. 
And what was his message ? Judges iii. 20, 21, And Ehud put 
forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and 
thrust it into Eglon s belly/ It is a messenger from God, with a 
mortal, wounding, killing, stabbing message to a sinner. The pale 
white horse of death rides before, and the red fiery horse of hell fol 
lows after. 

The people of God pass safely through the red sea of death, which 
his enemies assaying to do are drowned are damned. 

There is a great disagreement in the lives of the holy and un 
holy ; but oh what a vast difference is there in their deaths ! they 
are like two parallel lines ; how far soever they go together, they 
never touch in a point. Their ways differ, and therefore their ends 
must necessarily differ. Every man s end is virtually in his way ; 
their ways differ as much as light and darkness, and therefore their 
ends must differ as far as heaven and hell. The one walketh in 


his own ways, Prov. xiv. 14 ; in the ways of his own heart, 
Eccles. xi. 9 ; in the broad way of the flesh and the world, Mat. 
vii. 13 ; and so his end is damnation, Phil. iii. 19 ; his latter end 
is, that he shall be destroyed for ever, Num. xxiv. 20. The 
other walketh in the way of the Lord, Ps. cxix. 1 ; in the way. 
t of his testimonies, ver. 14 ; in the narrow way of self-denial, 
mortification, and crucifying the flesh, Mat. vii. 14 ; and so his 
end is peace, l Ps. xxxvii. 37. Such as the seed is sown, such is 
the crop which is reaped. The unregenerate man soweth to the 
flesh, and of the flesh reapeth corruption ; the sanctified soul 
soweth to the spirit, and of the spirit reapeth life everlasting, 
Gal. vi. 6, 7. 

The blind world, indeed, as it seeth not their difference in life, 
(the life of a saint is a hidden life ; Col. iii. 3, Our life is hid 
with Christ in God. The king s daughter is all glorious, but it 
is within, Ps. xlv. 13 ; the jewels of her graces are laid up in 
that privy drawer, the hidden man of the heart,) so it beholdeth 
not the difference in their death. As dieth the wise man, so 
dieth the fool, to the eye of sense, and they want the eye of faith, 
Eccles. ii. 16. We see no difference, say they, betwixt the death 
of them you call profane, and your precise ones ; they die both 
alike to our judgments. 

But this conceit, reader, if thou art such an atheist, proceedeth 
from thy blindness and unbelief. . Thou art probably in the cham 
ber when a drunkard, a swearer, or a civil, moral, yet unsanctified 
neighbour departeth this life ; thou seest his body trembling, pant 
ing, groaning, dying ; but thou dost not see the ten thousand times 
worse condition his poor soul is in. Thou seest his kindred or rela 
tions weeping ; but thou dost not see the infernal spirits rejoicing ; 
thou dost not see the greedy devils that waited by the bedside, like 
so many roaring lions, for their desired and deserved prey ; thou 
dost not see when the soul left the body how it was immediately 
seized on by those frightful hell-hounds in a most hideous, horrible 
manner, and hauled to the place of intolerable and eternal tor 
ments ; thou dost not see the shoutings of those legions in hell, at 
the coming in of a new prisoner, to bear a part in the undergoing 
of divine fury, in their blasphemies against heaven s majesty, and 
in their estate of hopelessness and desperation. 

Men, saith a modern writer, like silly fishes, see one another 
caught, and jerked out of the pond of life ; but they see not, alas ! 
the fire and pain into which they are cast who die in their sins. 

1 Fine discernuntur improli ab electis. Moller. in Ps. xxxvii. 


Oh, it had been better surely for such if they had never been born, 
as Christ said of Judas, than to be brought forth to the murderer 
(that old man-slayer) to be hurled into hell, there to suffer such 
things as they shall never be able to avoid, or abide. 

On the other side, thou standest by a scorned, persecuted saint, 
when he is bidding adieu to a sinful world ; thou seest the strag 
glings and droopings of his outward man, but thou seest not the 
reviving cordial the physician of souls is preparing for his inward 
man ; thou dost not see those glorious angels which watch and wait 
upon this heaven-born soul. 

That waggon or chariot, which the son of Joseph sendeth to 
fetch his relation to a true Goshen, the inheritance of the saints 
in light, is as invisible to thee, as those chariots of fire on the 
mountain were to the servant of the prophet. Never Koman em 
peror rode in such a chariot of triumph, as the saint doth to heaven. 
When the soul biddeth the body good-night, till the morning of 
the resurrection, thou dost not see those ministering spirits, sent 
down for the good of this heir of salvation, presently solacing and 
saluting it. Thou dost not see how stately it is attended, how 
safely conducted, how gladly received into the bosom of Abraham, 
into the father s house, into that city, whose builder and maker is 
God. Thou dost not see the soul putting off, with the clothing of 
the body, all sin and misery, and putting on the white linen of the 
saints, even perfect purity, matchless joy, and eternal felicity. 
When thou canst see these things with the eye of faith, thou wilt 
easily grant a vast difference between the death of the gracious and 

Reader, if thou art dead in thy sins, and unacquainted with this 
spiritual life, which I have before described, nothing of that endless 
gain which the godly shall enjoy at death belongs to thee ; none 
of that fulness of joy, of those rivers of pleasures, of that eternal 
weight of glory, shalt thou partake of. I may say to thee, as Simon 
Peter to Simon Magus, Thou hast no part nor lot in this matter, 
for thine heart is not right in the sight of God. Thou mayest, 
like the madman at Athens, lay claim to all the vessels that come 
into the haven ; but the vessels of the promises, richly laden with 
the treasures of grace and love, do not at all appertain to thee. If, 
, like a dog, thou snatchest at the children s bread, thou art more 
bold than welcome, and wilt one day be well beaten for thy pre 
sumption. If thou art unregenerate, and so diest, look to thyself, 
for thy lot must fall on this side the promised land. 

Thou mayest, like a surveyor of land, take a view of another s 


manor, and bring a return, how stately the house is, how pleasant 
the gardens, how delightful the walks, how fruitful the pastures, 
how finely it is seated, how fully it is wooded, how sweetly it is 
watered, how fitly it is every way accommodated ; but as long as 
the pronoun is wanting, it can be but little comfort, it is none of 

So thou mayest read and hear much of that comfort, joy, and 
richness of that incomparable kingdom, which the holy shall imme 
diately upon their deaths enter into ; but what is all this to thee, 
when thou must be without it for ever ? Thou mayest see Abraham 
afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom, but between him and thee there 
will be a great gulf. 

As a stranger, thou mayest hear the last will and testament of 
Christ read, and therein the fair, rich, and large portions which 
he hath bequeathed to his children, John xvii. 24 ; Luke xii. 32, 
but not the. least mention made of any good for thee. Look from 
the beginning of Genesis, to the end of the Kevelation, and see if 
there be one good word spoken to thee, whilst thou art in thy 
natural estate. Moses-like, thou mayest, by the prospective of 
scripture, have a Pisgah sight of Palestine, of that good land flow 
ing with milk and honey ; but, as God is true, if thou diest in 
unregeneracy, thou shalt never enjoy one foot of it. 

The worst of a saint is past when he dieth, but thy worst, 
sinner, is to come. There are some dregs in the bottom which 
thou art yet to drink down. Thou hast thy good things here, and 
he his evil things ; but at death he is comforted, and thou art 
tormented. He hath all his hell upon earth, his heaven is to 
come ; thou hast all thy heaven on earth, and thy hell is to come 
when thou passest into another world. The hell of a saint is an 
easy hell ; but ah, how hot is that hell in hell, how fiery is that 
furnace, how terrible those torments 1 I may conceive somewhat, 
the damned feel most, but no tongue can express them. 

But it may be, friend, thou art one that thrivest in this world, 
and therefore dost not trouble thy head, much less thy heart, with 
the things of another world. Thou art unwilling to put a spoonful 
of those thoughts into thy sauce, lest it should make thy meat 
unsavoury: it would mar thy mirth and spoil thy sports. As 
Sigismund the emperor did not love the pronunciation of the 
Greek Zeta, because it represented the gnashing teeth of a dying 
man ; so thou art resolved to banish such enemies, as thou thinkest, 
out of thy coasts, and, like a bear, to go down that steep hill of 
death backward. 


But know thou, man, that whether thou wilt consider of thy 
leath beforehand or no, it is hastening upon thee. Though thou 
mttest it far from thee, whether thou wilt or no, it draweth nigh 

thee. The ship moveth not so fast in the waters, nor the sun 
n the heavens, as thou art hastening towards thy long, thine ever- 
asting home, and then death will bring thee up a reckoning for all 
;hy sweet morsels, merry-meetings, time and talents whatsoever. 
Mieve it, then, thou wilt have sour sauce for all thy sweetmeats ; 
hy presumption will prove but like Hainan s banquet before exe 
cution . 

What advantage, then, will thy sunshiny morning of common 
mercies bring thee, when, as on Sodom, it will be followed with 
lakes of fire and brimstone before night ? Dost thou not know, 
hat when the wicked nourish, it is that they may be destroyed for 
ever ? Ps. xcii. 7. The higher thou ascendest on this ladder, the 
;reater thy fall when death turneth thee off. Thou art but ripen- 
ng for ruin, and fatting on earth to fry in hell, all the while thou 
art flourishing in a course of sinning ; nay, thou mayest be much 
nearer hell than thou art aware of. 

The metal, when it shineth brightest in the fire, is nearest melt- 
ng. Thou, like a candle, mayest give a blaze when thou art going 
out of the world, into blackness of darkness for ever. The hawk 
lieth high, and is as highly prized, being set upon a perch, and set 
out with the jingling bells of encouragement,, and carried on his 
master s fist ; but being once dead, and pitched over the perch, is 
:ast upon the dunghill as good for nothing. The hen scrapes in 
,he dust, nothing rewarded while she liveth, but being dead, is 
)rought as a choice dish to her master s table. Thus wicked men 
in this life are set in high places, godly men lie grovelling with 
;heir mouths in the dust ; but being dead, the former is cast into 
hell, the latter brought to heaven s table. 

But that I may awaken thy conscience, secure sinner, and 
make thee look about thee, whilst there is time and hope, if the 
gracious and powerful God please to assist, I shall give thee an 
!stirnate of the sinner s losses by death, by which thou mayest see 
what a difference there is between the death of the titular and the 
real Christian. 

And here, reader, thou mayest help me with thy conceptions, for 
I shall come infinitely short in my expressions. As none can endure 
it, so none can declare it ; for who knoweth the power of God s 
wrath ? Ps. xc. 11. 

The orator, when he would describe the violent death of the 



cross, doth it by an aposiopesis : What, saith he, shall I say of the 
death of the cross ? l Much more cause have I to speak so of this 
death, What shall I say of this eternal death ? 


The sinner s privative misery at death, 

By death thou shalt lose all thy earthly delights and carnal con 
tentments. The table of thy life possibly is richly spread with 
variety of outward enjoyments, riches, relations, honours, pleasures, 
beauty, and bravery ; but death will come in with a voider, and 
take all away. It is called an unclothing, 2 Cor. v. 4, and indeed 
it will strip thee naked of all such garments and ornaments. 
Thine eye shall no more see good, Job vii. 7 ; i.e., the good things 
of this life, they will all die with thee, as to thy use and comfort. 
It is a doleful expression of Abraham to Dives, Thou hadst, or 
thou receivedst, thy good things in thy lifetime, Luke xvi. 25. Oh 
what a cutting word was that to his heart, when he was passed into 
another world, Remember there was a time when thou and they 
were joined together, but now ye are parted for ever. To have 
been happy was no small aggravation of his misery. 2 It is with 
thee, while in this world, as it was with the Jews, in the vineyards 
and fields of their neighbours, pluck and eat they might, while 
there, but pocket up, and carry away, they might not, Deut. xxiii. 
24, 25. 

Death is the great thief which will rob thee of thy riches. The 
wealthiest emperor, the next moment after death, hath no more 1 
than the poorest beggar. As thou earnest forth of thy mother s 
womb, naked thou shalt return, to go as thou earnest, and shall 
take nothing in thy hand of all thy labour, Eccles. v. 15. Thai 
gold which thou lovest, and trustest more than God, these pebbles 
which thou valuest above the pearl of price, that treasure on earth, 
which thy heart is set upon more than on the true treasure in 
heaven, will all leave thee when death findeth thee. Mr Rogers. 
in his Treatise of Love, tells us of one, that being nigh death, 
clapped a twenty shilling piece in his mouth, saying, Some wisei 
than some, I will take this with me, however ; but alas ! poor fool 
he could not be so good as his word. The Holy Ghost excellently 

1 Quid dicam in crucem tollere. Tull. 
a Miserum est fuisse felicem. 


;ermeth rich men, rich in this world, because riches will not make 
men rich in another world, 1 Tim. vi. 17. 

Death will seal a lease of ejectment, and turn thee out of all thy 
possessions ; and death will give thee a bill of divorce, and separate 
;hee from all thy relations. The relations of husband and wife, 
parents and children, are calculated only for the meridian of this 
world, and shall not outlive this life. Thy dear husband, or thy 
loving wife, and thy most dutiful children, will all serve thee as 
Orpah did Kuth, chap. i. 14, follow thee while thou art full, but 
forsake thee when thou art empty ; cleave to thee in thy health and 
life, but leave thee in thy. greatest danger at death. And thy birth 
and breeding, honour and respect, will serve thee in the like kind ; 
they are but a shadow, which will not be seen when the sun of thy 
life is set. The great distinctions in the other world will be holy or 
unholy, not noble or ignoble. 

Be not afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house 
is increased ; for when he dieth he shall carry nothing away ; his 
glory shall not descend after him, Ps. xlix. 16, 17. Death is the 
great leveller, making princes and peasants equal. 1 

All thy sinful pleasures will also be lost. The sweet taste thou 
foundest in thy mouth will be gone, though they will rise in thy 
stomach, and after in thy belly be more bitter than gall. Thy 
merry meetings, jovial companions, witty jests, sporting, recreations, 
pictures for thine eyes, music for thine ears, dainties for thy taste, 
thine eating and drinking, and all these delights on earth, which 
thou solacest thy sensual soul with, desiring no other heaven, will 
all, like leaves in the autumn of thy death, fall off from thee. 
Though in the short summer of thy life thou art richly laden with 
ihem, yet in thy long, thine everlasting winter, thou shalt be stripped 
naked of them. 

Thou mayest say to all the forementioned delights of riches, rela- 
ions, honours, and pleasures, and whatever it is which thou fool 
ishly rejoicest in, as Charles the Fifth, emperor of Germany, whom 
the world counted most happy, did to his trophies, treasures, and 
things of the like nature, Abite hinc, abite longe, Be gone, get you 
far out of my sight. Be assured, that as a false harlot leaves her 
[overs when they are arrested for debt, and followeth other cus 
tomers, so this painted strumpet, the deceitful world, that now 
layeth open her fair breasts, to allure thee to go a-whoring after her, 
and commit spiritual fornication with her, when death shall arrest 
thee by a writ from heaven, will wholly forsake thee, and follow 
them that survive. Now, what a loss will this be ! 

1 More sceptra legionibns sequat. 


But it may be thou comfortest thyself against this, that all, even 
good as well as bad, will join with thee in this loss. But, reader, 
dost thou not consider, that they who enjoy the stars all night, and 
come in the morning instead thereof to enjoy the glorious sun, are 
no losers ; the sun hath all the light of the stars, and far more. 
Neither can the godly be properly called losers of these comforts, 
because they enjoy them all, and infinitely more, in the blessed 
(rod: As money answereth all things, Eccles. x. 19. Money is 
equivalently sheep, oxen, corn, meat, drink, cloth ; whatsoever you 
want in this life is virtually in money. So God to a gracious soul 
after death will answer all things ; he will be eminently and 
virtually father, mother, wife, child, wealth, honour, pleasure, and 
all things ; though he loseth them here, he will find them there, 
and much more ; but when thou, sinner, losest them in this 
world, they shall never be made up to thee in another world. Thou 
losest not only the streams, but the fountain ; not only the beams, 
but the sun ; and therefore thy portion will be scorching drought 
and dismal darkness. Besides, these things are not the portion, the 
all, of a good man ; they are not his estate or inheritance, they are 
but an additional overplus, cast in over and above. So much the 
words of Christ imply, Mat. vi. 33, And all other things shall be 
added to you. As when a father giveth his son a thousand pounds 
worth of ware, he casteth in paper and pack-thread ; or one thousand 
yards of cloth, he doth not stand upon the breadth of the thumb 
which is to be allowed in measuring. So God, having given himself 
and his Son to his saints out of his vast bounty, casteth in the crea 
tures as an overplus; they are not their estate, or portion, or all. No; 
when a godly man, at the great and terrible day of the Lord Jesus, 
shall see his house, and land, and outward good things in that com 
mon flame which shall burn up the earth, he may then behold it with 
comfort, and say with the philosopher, I have my all still. 1 

But, sinner, thy loss of them will be a loss indeed ; for these 
things are thy all they are all thy God, and all thy Christ, and 
all thy happiness, and all thy heaven ; they are all the fulness 
of joy, and all the rivers of pleasures, and all the weight of glory 
which thou shalt enjoy ; they are all thy riches, all thine inherit 
ance, all thy consolation, all thy reward, all thy portion, and all 
thou shalt be worth for ever. Look Luke xvi. 24. They have received 
their consolation, (cold comfort, indeed,) ye have your reward, 2 
Mat. vi. 2. It is one of the saddest speeches in the book of God, 

1 Omnia mea mecum perto. Pias. 

2 djr^xw, they receive it as their full pay, whence CLTTOXTJ an acquittance. 


whose portion is in this life/ Ps. xvii. 14. Ah ! poor portion. Thou 
hast no other paradise but thy garden, no other mansion but thy 
beautiful building, no other inheritance but thy land, no other 
kindred but thy wife and children, no other honour but the stink 
ing breath of thy flattering neighbours, no other God but thy gold, 
no other heaven but the earth; all thy estate is in dust, rubbish, and 
lumber; surely, then, it will be a loss with a witness to lose all that 
in a moment, and that for ever, wherein all thy happiness consisteth. 
Will it not be a sad sight for thee to stand, as it were, upon the 
shore, and to see the vessel in which is embarked all thy treasures, 
all thy near and dear relations, all thy respect and esteem, all thy 
joy and delights, sinking before thine eyes, and lost for ever ? or to 
see that house, in which is thy plate and jewels, thy wife and chil 
dren, and all that ever thou art to be worth, in a flame, and nothing 
possible to be recovered ; would not thine eyes affect thine heart with 
unspeakable horror ? Now this, reader, will be thy case if thou 
art unsanctified at death. When thou liest upon thy death-bed, and 
art going out of the world, thou mayest take thy leave of thy friends, 
istate, honour, and delights in such language as this : Farewell, my 
dear wife, children, and all my friends ; farewell for ever. I am 
*oing where lovers and friends will be put far from me ; I must 
never, never have any friend more, but shall remain friendless to 
all eternity. Farewell my house and land, my silver and gold ; 
iarewell for ever. I shall from henceforth and for ever be a beggar, 
and though I beg but for one drop of water to cool my tongue, 
when this whole body shall be in unquenchable flames, I must 
iverlastingly be denied. Farewell my honours and delights ; fare 
well for ever. I shall never more be respected or comforted ; con- 
iusion of face and easeless pains are to be my endless and unchange 
able portion. Thus, man, thou wilt most miserably even outlive 
thy felicity, and when thou comest to live indeed, i.e., in the other 
world, want all thy comforts and joys. 

Thou shalt lose by death all thy spiritual preferment. It is now 
no mean mercy to thee, hadst thou a heart to prize and improve it, 
that thou enjoyest the ordinances of God, the means of grace, many 
golden seasons for the good of thy soul ; that thou mayest sit at 
God s feet, and hear his voice out of Scripture, fall down on thy 
knees and seek his face by prayer ; but know to thy sorrow, death 
will rob thee of all these jewels. Now thou hast the tenders of 
mercy, the entreaties of the minister, the motions of the Spirit, the 
invitations of Christ, liberty to cast thyself down at the footstool of 
heaven s Majesty, and to be as fervent and instant as thou wilt for 


mercy, but then the gate will be shut, and there will be no pray 
ing, or hearing, or preaching, in the place "whither thou art going : 
Ps. Ixxxviii. 11, Shall thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave? 
or thy faithfulness in destruction ? The interrogation is a strong 
negation. There is no preaching of God s clemency or fidelity 
either in the grave or hell. All the lectures read in the former 
are by worms, of man s mortality ; and all the sermons heard in the 
latter are of man s misery and God s severity. Header, I assure 
thee from the living God, that though in this life thou art now 
and then bungling about a duty, and giving God thy stinking 
breath, a few cold, lazy petitions, which proceed from thy corrupt 
lungs, thy cursed heart, thou shalt do so no more after death. As 
the saints shall be above this mediate enjoyment of God, so thou 
shalt be below it. And truly, hadst thou ever had communion 
with God in a duty, this loss would go near thee. How amiable is 
the worshipping of God to a gracious soul ! he prizeth ordinances, 
because they are the means of it in this world, above his estate, 
and food, or whatever is dear to him, Ps. cxix. 14, 72, 111 ; Job 
xxiii. 12 ; Ps. Ixxxiv. 1-3. And this privilege he shall have by 
death, to be employed still about the same work of pleasing, glorify 
ing, worshipping, and enjoying God; only he shall do it in a more 
excellent and more delightful way. 

He continueth, as it were, in the same school ; death only removes 
him to a higher form, or, if you will, death sends him from the 
school, in which he was fitted and prepared, to the university of 
heaven. But, sinner, thou must be deprived of this happiness ; 
indeed, now thou esteemest the ordinances of God a burden; ai 
precious as they are to others, they are tedious to thee. The church 
is thy jail, the Sabbath is thy ague-day, the commands of Christ 
are bonds and fetters to thee, Ps. Ixxii. 3. The voice of thy carnal 
heart is, When will the glass be out ? when will the duty be done ? 
when will the Sabbath be over, that thou mayest follow the world ? 
Amos viii. 5. Thou thinkest the prayer is too long, the sermon is 
too long, the Sabbath is too long, the duties^are all too long ; well, 
be patient but a little, a short time, and thou shalt never be troubled 
with these long duties more. The night is coming when there it 
no working, John ix. 4. There is no enjoying Sabbath, or sacra 
ments, or seasons of grace; no wisdom, knowledge, or device, in the 
grave to which thou art hastening, Eccles. ix. 10. 

Now the minister exhorteth thee to cast away thy sins, and com* 
to thy Saviour, to reject thy soul-damning lusts, and accept of . 
soul-saving Lord. The Father commandeth thee by his sovereignty 


over thee, and propriety in thee as thy Creator. The Son entreateth 
thee by presenting his bloody sweat and sufferings unto thee, as he 
is thy Redeemer. The Spirit stirreth thee to pity thy precious 
soul, and to mind thine unchangeable estate ; to consider seriously 
in this day of God s patience the things which concern thy eternal 
peace. The gospel is a treasure of inestimable value, freely offered 
thee, upon condition thou wilt but heartily embrace it and the easy 
yoke of Christ together. The word of God chargeth, inviteth 
allureth, beseecheth, promiseth, threateneth; all these, like so 
many trumpets, do loudly sound a retreat, to call thee off from thy 
slavery to the world and flesh unto the glorious liberty of the sons 
of God ; but thou art as deaf as the adder, and will not hear the 
voice of these heavenly charms ; as hard as the rock the waves of 
threatenings which dash unweariedly against thee stir thee not; 
the showers and dews of promises which fall on thee continually 
make no impression ; neither mercies nor judgments, neither men 
nor God, can prevail with thee. Well, sinner, think of it again 
and again and thy heart is hardened with a witness if it do not 
tremble to think of it the hour is approaching when thou shalt 
never have these tenders, these invitations, these means, these 
motions more ; though thou shalt earnestly and incessantly desire 
them, and willingly accept of them if they could be granted thee, 
after thou hast fried as many millions of years in hell as there are 
stars in the heavens, piles of grass on the earth, and sands on the 
sea-shore, yet thy entreaty upon such a hard condition shall be 
denied. Then thou wilt befool thyself to purpose for staying till the 
day after the fair, for not accepting when thou wast well offered ; 
then mercy will be mercy indeed, then grace will be grace indeed, 
then the gospel will be glad tidings indeed, when by the want of 
them thou shalt fully know the worth of them. 

Now God holdeth the candle of his word to thee, and instead of 
working, thou playest. Instead of working out thy own salvation, 
instead of working the works of him that sent thee into the world, 
thou playest the fool, the drunkard, the beast, the hypocrite, the 
atheist ; well, thou shalt go into utter darkness, where those lights 
which thou now enjoyest will never shine. 

Plutarch observeth of Hannibal, He might once have taken 
Eome, and would not ; afterwards he would, and could not. Now 
God offereth thee heaven, thou choosest earth ; and notwithstand 
ing he assureth thee that now is the only acceptable time, now is the 
only day of salvation, yet thou wilt not hear when he calleth. I tell 
thee the day is near when thou wouldst, but God will not ; when 


thou shalt call, but he will not hear ; and then thou shalt find no 
place for repentance, though, Esau-like, thou seek it carefully with 
tears. When once thy particular judgment is passed, it will be in 
vain to beg a psalm of mercy, Heb. ix. 27. 

Thou shalt at death lose the society of all the godly, even of those 
excellent ones, in whom is the delight of Christ, Prov. viii. 31, and 
all the delight of Christians, Ps. xvi. 3. It is a blessing to thee 
upon earth, did the Lord but sanctify it to thee, that thy lot is cast 
in a land, in a parish, in a family, where those holy ones are, that 
thou mayest hear their gracious prayers, see their pious patterns, 
and enjoy their precious precepts. A saint is, as the proverb is in 
Africa, A man whose coming is prosperous. This churlish Laban 
could confess, Gen. xxx. 27, and the heathenish Egyptian found by 
experience, Gen. xxxix. 2. All the country fareth the better for a 
good and rich Christian; he eateth not his morsels alone, but keepeth 
open house for all comers. 

He both desireth and endeavoureth that others might be not 
almost, but altogether as he is. None are more spiritually covet 
ous to make proselytes than the true Israelites. As the wall which 
receiveth heat from the sun reflecteth it on the passengers, so he 
wisheth so well to the worst, that they were made partakers of 
the same grace, that they may have fellowship with the Father, 
and Jesus Christ his Son, 1 John i. 3. Like the bee, he goeth to 
this and that flower, to this and that ordinance, and sucketh some 
sweetness, some spiritual good, and carrieth all home to his house, 
to his hive. As sin is diffusive, a little leaven leaveneth the whole 
lump, 1 Cor. v. 6. Some say, they that have the plague are very 
desirous to infect others; so is grace, like oil spreading, the 
gracious desire to go to an innumerable company of angels with a 
numerous company of saints. 

Their examples are amiable, and sometimes instrumental for the 
conversion of others, 1 Peter iii. 1 ; 1 Cor. vii. 16. Justin Martyr 
confesseth of himself, that beholding the saints piety in life, and 
patience at death, he gathered their doctrine to be the truth, and 
was converted. Their prayers are desirable, and that in the 
esteem of profane and ungodly men, Exod. viii. 28, and ix. 28 ; 
Acts viii. 24. 

In a word, the saints are clouds which water the earth, Heb. xii. ; 
the salt which keepeth the world from putrefaction, Mat. vi. That 
place, Prov. x. 25, But the righteous is an everlasting foundation, 
the Hebrews expound, the righteous are the foundation of the world, 
which but for their sakes would soon shatter and fall to ruin. I 


bear up the pillars thereof/ saith David, Ps. Ixxv. 3. It is for the 
sake of the good that the bad are spared, Acts xxvii. 24. All that 
sailed with Paul were saved for his sake. 1 How many a time have 
they stood in the gap, and diverted a flood of wrath from breaking 
in ! Ps. cvi. 30 ; Num. xiv. 20. How many a mercy hath come 
flying to the world upon the wings of their prayers ! 

But, sinners, herein will be a part of thy misery, that thou 
shalt for ever be banished their company. Now possibly thou 
thinkest the parish the worse for such strict inhabitants, thy dwell 
ing the worse for such precise neighbours, thy family the worse for 
such a humble, zealous wife, child, or servant. Now thou dost not 
know what thou gainest when thou hast their society, but thou 
shalt know what thou losest when thou hast lost them to 

If Cicero did so bewail his banishment from the Roman moralists, 
that though the countries through whLch he travelled did him much 
honour, yet he would often look towards Italy with sighs and tears; 2 
and if the disciples wept so much for the loss of Paul they fell 
about his neck, and kissed him, and wept, sorrowing most of all for 
the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more in 
this world, Acts xx. 37, 38 how wilt thou sigh and sob, weep 
and wail, when thou shalt be parted from them in the other 
world ! 

Did the devout men make such great lamentation for the loss of 
one good man for a little time, Acts viii. 2, what lamentation shalt 
thou make for the loss of all good men to eternity ! Surely, as in 
Eamah, there will be a voice heard, lamentation, weeping, and 
mourning, for the loss of these children of God. 

When thou diest, thou shalt lose all thy hope, or presumption 
rather. Thy dead hope, for saints only have a lively hope, 1 Peter 
i. 3, will fail thee at death. As thou hast no true holiness, so thou 
canst have no true hope ; but something it is likely thou hast, upon 
which thou reliest as to thy future estate. It may be thou hast the 
good things of this life, and thence concludest thy right to a better 
life ; as if because the great housekeeper of the world throweth 
some bones to the dogs, therefore he must love them with a paternal 
love. Thou dost not consider, their houses may be full of gold 
whose hearts are empty of grace, and whose souls shall assuredly 
come short of glory, Job xxii. 17, 18 ; Ps. xvii. 13, 14. 
. It may be it is thy profession of religion that holds thee up by 

1 Sanctum semen statumen terrse, Isa. vi. 13. Absque stationibus non staret 
mundus. 2 Plut. in Vit. 


the chin, and keepeth thee from sinking ; as if, because a stage- 
player is dressed in the robes, and for a quarter of an hour acteth 
the part, of a king, he must therefore have a real right to the 
dignity, iominions, and revenues of the regal office, not believing 
that these colours of the form which are not laid in oil, in the 
power of godliness, will be washed off at death, Mat. xxv. 8. Or 
it is likt.ly thou enjoyest the privileges of the gospel; Sabbaths, 
sacraments, and the seasons of grace are the bladders, with the 
help of which, without an inward change, thou thinkest to swim 
to heaven. Dost thou not know that many go to hell-fire with 
font-water on their faces, and from the table to the tormentor? 
Mat. xxii. 13 ; that Esau, a castaway, and Ishmael, an outcast, had 
both Abraham to their father ? And so had they whom truth itself 
assureth, that they were of their father the devil, John viii. 44. 
Circumcision availeth nothing, nor uncircumcision, but a new 
creature/ Gal. vi. 15. All such things are but lying words, where 
an internal work of grace is wanting, Jer. vii. 4-6. 

Or possibly thou art a man of many performances ; thou mindest 
secret, family, relation duties, which too too many neglect, praying, 
reading, hearing, Christian communion. Like the spider, thou 
weavest a curious web out of thine own bowels, and therewith 
makest thee a house in which thou restest quietly ; but, friend, 
God hath a besom of death which will sweep this down, Job viii. 
14, 15. This, and all the rest, as nigh as they seem to be to heaven, 
will prove but a castle in the air. Whether any, or all these, or 
something else, be the pillars by which thy hope is upheld in life, 
they will fail thee at death ; and then the rotten props being taken 
away, the house of thy hope will fall. These are all but a sandy 
foundation, and therefore when that great storm comes, they will 
down to the ground, Mat. vii. 26, 27. 

It is possible thou mayest hope all the time thou livest, but thy 
life and hope will depart together. Like thy neighbours, thou 
ma rest be full of hope even when thou art going into the pit of 
despair, and die in peace, though thou art going unto the place of 
eternal war ; but the next moment after death, thy hopes will take 
wings and fly away : Prov. xi. 7, When a wicked man dieth, his 
expectation shall perish ; and the hope of unjust men perisheth. 
He died perhaps with his head full of hopes and expectations, as 
those seemed to have done that came bouncing at heaven s gate 
with, Lord, Lord, open to us ; but soon were their hearts filled 
with desperation when they heard, Depart from me, ye workers of 
iniquity, I know you not. Etiam spes valentissima periit, as some 


read that forecited place : his great hope shall be little worth. A 
false heart and false hope can never hold out in such a real hard 
ship : Job xxvii. 8, What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he 
hath gained, when God shall take away his soul? An expositor 
glosseth on it thus : The anchor of a wicked man s hope entereth 
not within the veil, as a godly man s doth, closing with God him 
self in Christ, Heb. vi. 19, which anchor in all storms is sure and 
steadfast, but is cast upon false and loose ground, and therefore, 
when the storm comes, his anchor drives, and is unsteadfast ; and 
so his hope and heart fail together. The stoutest unregenerate 
man alive will droop at last when God cometh to take away his 
soul ; then his crest falls, and his plumes flag : The wicked is 
driven away in his wickedness, Prov. xiv. 32. 

He being arrested by death as a cruel serjeant, in the devil s 
name, is hurried away, and hurried into hell. As syrens are said 
to sing curiously while they live, but to roar horribly when they 
die ; so thou that art high in hope on earth, wilt be the lower in 
grief in hell, when thou shalt see all thy hopes, like Absalom s 
mule, to fail thee in thy greatest extremity. 

We say, If it were not for hope the heart would break ; what 
wilt thou do then, when thy hope shall depart, and thy heart 
continue ? 

How sad will thy condition be. when thou shalt fall from the 
high pinnacle of thy presumption into the bottomless gulf of des 
peration ! Surely thy raised expectation disappointed will prove 
a sore vexation. How extremely wilt thou be perplexed, when 
thou shalt fall as low as hell, whose hopes were raised as high as 
heaven! If hope deferred make the heart sick, Prov. xiii. 12, 
then hope of such happiness wholly frustrated will kill it with a 
thousand deaths. 

When a gracious man dieth, his hope is perfected in the fruition 
of all, and ten thousand times more, than he hoped for. When a 
graceless man dieth, his hope perisheth in an utter disappointment 
of all that he, though with little reason, so much expected. 1 

Thou shalt lose by death thy precious soul. This will be a loss 
indeed. The price of this pearl is not known to thee on earth, but 
it will be fully known in hell This one head, reader, didst thou 
but understand what is included in it, would stab thee to the heart, 
and the thought of this one loss would be enough to embitter the com 
forts of thy whole life. The soul of man is called the man, Job iv. 19 
though not in a natural, yet in a moral, consideration, saith one 

1 Improbi, dum spirant, sperant : Justus, etiam cum expirat, sperat. 


upon that place, it being the most noble, the most excellent part 
of man -, 1 and it is usual to denominate the whole from the better 
part. The body is but a house of clay, its foundation is in the 
earth ; but the soul, the inhabitant of this house, is of an angelical, 
spiritual nature. The generation of this was from heaven, Zech. 
xii. 1. 

The operations of this are most noble ; the redemption of this 
cost the blood of God, Ps. xxxi. 5 ; Acts xx. 28. This is that part 
of man which is capable of the image of his Maker, Col. iii. 10 ; 
Eph. iv. 24. The working out the salvation of this is the whole of 
a saint s care and labour, Phil. ii. 14. It is upon the welfare of 
this that the body dependeth for its unchangeable estate. What a 
loss then will the loss of this be ! 

A heathen can tell us that it is an easy matter to bear the loss 
of an earthly house for our bodies when we die ; but certainly it 
will be hard to bear the want of a heavenly habitation for thy soul. 
Let him that bought this ware speak to its worth and thy loss : 
What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose 
his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his 
soul ? Mat. xvi. 26. Behold what an incomparable, what an irre 
parable, loss is here ! It is such a loss there is none like it. The 
gain of the whole world cannot balance the loss of one soul. If a 
temporal life be more worth than meat, and the body than raiment, 
what is an immortal, eternal soul worth ? Couldst thou set thy 
soul to sale for all the world, yet for that thou wouldst be a loser, 
nay, as the rich man, a beggar. This is an irrecoverable loss. If 
thou losest one eye, thou hast another ; if thou losest one limb, 
thou hast more ; if thou losest thy estate, thou mayest recover it 
again ; if thou losest thy life, thou mayest be a gainer by it, thou 
mayest find it again, Mat. xvi. 25 ; but if thou losest thy soul at 
death, thou hast no more ; there is no second throw to be cast, no 
after-game to be played ; thou art gone, thou art undone for ever. 
Here is a loss, man, that may make thy hair stand an-end ; thy 
head, yea, thy heart, to ache when thou readest or thinkest of it. Do 
not thine ears tingle and thy loins tremble to hear of it ? 

When God would smite the rich fool under the fifth rib, as it 
were, and strike him so home as that there need not a second 
thrust, he doth it in those words, Thou fool, this night thy soul 
shall be required of thee/ Luke xii. 20. Ah sad sentence ! wherein 
every word speaketh woe, every syllable sorrow and sighs. Had it 

1 Quia anima est principalior pars hominis, unumquodque autem consuevit ap- 
pellari id quod in eo est principalius. A quin. in Job iv. 19. 


been, Thou wise man, the message might have been welcome, and 
death desirable as a passage to eternal life ; but it is Thou fool. 
Had it been this year, or this month, nay, had it been this week, 
the man might have been forewarned and forearmed ; but it is, 
This night thy soul shall be required of thee. Had it been, This 
night thy riches shall be required of thee, how harsh would it have 
sounded in his ears, who had no other god but his gold ; who, like 
a mole, lived in the earth as his. element ! Oh how hard would it 
be to part this covetous muck- worm and his mammon of unright 
eousness ; but it is not thy silver, but thy soul shall be required of 
thee. Had it been, This night thy relations shall be required of 
thee, thy wife and children, and all thy kindred, shall be required 
of thee, what heavy tidings would it have been to his heart, that 
had no kindred in heaven! with what wringing of hands, and 
watering of cheeks, and sighs and sobs, would such news have been 
entertained ! Many an eye would a tender husband and father have 
cast upon his loving wife and lovely babes, and oh how would his 
eye have affected his heart with grief and sorrow, to consider that 
these thriving, hopeful plants must be removed into another soil, 
that this near conjugal knot must be untied, and he and his dear 
relations, who had so often and so much rejoiced together, so sud 
denly be separated, and that for ever ! But it is not thy wife that 
is one flesh with thee, but thy spouse that is a spirit within thee : 
Thy soul shall be required of thee. Had it been, This night all 
the means of grace shall be required of thee, it had been worse than 
the loss of a limb to him that had any spiritual life. The ordi 
nances of God to a soul, are as the sun to the world, without which, 
notwithstanding all his earthly delights, it would be but a place of 
darkness and of the shadow of death, Mat. iv. 16 ; but it is thy 
soul. The former might have spoken the man s condition very 
dangerous, but this speaks it altogether desperate, Thou fool, this 
night thy soul shall be required of thee. The former, although 
sad, are yet nothing to this, not so much as the noise of a pop-gun 
to the noise of a cannon. This is the great ordnance which in 
cludes, and yet drowns, those smaller pieces. 

Couldst thou, saith one, 1 upon the forecited text, purchase a 
monopoly of all the world, hadst thou the gold of the west, the 
treasures of the east, the spices of the south, the pearls of the north, 
all is nothing to this incarnate angel, this invaluable soul. 
wretched worldling, what hast thou done thus to undo thy soul ! 
Was it a wedge of gold, a heap of earth, a hoard of silver, to which 

1 Ambult., p. 69. 


thou trustest ? see, they are gone, and thy soul is required. Alas, 
poor soul ! whither must it go ? To heaven ? No ; there is an 
other place for wandering sinners : Go ye into everlasting fire, 
prepared for the devil and his angels. Thither must it go, with 
heaviness of heart, into a kingdom of darkness, a lake of fire, a 
prison of horrible confusion and terrible tortures. 

Header, if thou art not new-born, put this case to thyself, and 
ask thy soul what it will do in such an hour, when the grave shall 
come with an habeas corpus for thy body, and the devil with an 
habeas animam for the soul ; when thy soul shall leave this dwell 
ing of thy body, and pass, naked of all its comforts, into a far 
country, where devils and damned spirits are the inhabitants, where 
screeching, yelling, and howling is the language, where fire and 
brimstone is the meat, and a cup of pure wrath, without the least 
mixture, is the drink; where weeping and wailing is their 
calling, where a killing death is all their life. Assure thyself, if 
thou diest unsanctified, thou wilt find far more and worse than all 

O my soul, saith Bernard, 1 what a terrible day shall that be, 
when thou shalt leave this mansion, and enter into an unknown 
region ! Who can deliver thee from those ramping lions ? who 
shall defend thee from those hellish monsters ? 

Now thou most unworthily undervaluest thy precious soul, little 
caring what flaws by sin thou causest in this diamond. Like the 
cock on the dunghill, thou knowest not the worth of this jewel, but 
preferrest thy barleycorns before it. I have read that there was a 
time when the Komans wore jewels on their shoes. Thou dost 
worse ; thou tramplest this matchless jewel under thy feet. Whilst 
thy dying body is clothed and pampered, thy everlasting soul is 
naked and starved. Some write of Herod, (I suppose because of 
that infant massacre,) it was better be his swine than his son ; for 
when his superstition hindered him from slaying his hogs, his 
ambition helped him to kill his child. I say, it were better to be 
thy beast than thy soul. Thou canst, every morning and evening, 
whatever happen, take care that thy beasts be watered and fod 
dered, and many times in the day look abroad after them, to see 
what they ail, and accordingly take order for their supply ; and 
yet, man, or rather brute, thou canst let thy soul go a whole 
day, and never feed it with the set meals of prayer, Scripture, and 
meditation; yea, and in a whole day (nay, it may be a whole 
week) not ask thy soul in good earnest how it doth, what it 

1 Bern. Meditat. 


wanteth, what sins it hath to be mortified, what grace it hath to be 
bestowed or increased, what spiritual necessities to be supplied. 

Reader, is it not so? Let conscience speak; and canst thou 
read these lines without blushing and heart-breaking, that thou 
shouldst spend more time and strength upon thy beasts than upon 
that soul, which truth itself saith is more worth than a world ? 
Mat. xvi. 26 ; which is created capable of such a high work as 
pleasing, glorifying, and enjoying God, and of such a happy reward 
as the immediate and eternal fruition of, and communion with, his 
infinite Majesty in heaven. Well, this soul thus despised, when 
lost, though then too late, will be esteemed. Hell will read thee 
such a lecture of thy soul s worth, that it will make thee under 
stand it, and believe it, whether thou wilt or no, and then thou 
shalt have time enough (in that eternity in which thy soul shall 
be lost) to befool thyself for thy desperate madness in gratifying 
thy brutish flesh, and thus basely neglecting thy soul, that heaven- 
born spirit. 

Thou shalt by death lose the infinitely blessed God. This is 
the loss of losses, the misery of miseries, the very hell of hell, such 
a loss as there was never the like before, nor ever shall be again 
after it ; such a loss as no tongue can express, as no heart can con 
ceive, yet such a loss as thou shalt know fully, when experimentally. 
The four first losses might have been borne with comfort and de 
light by the person that had but gained this good, and the fifth 
could not have been without this. The eternal death of the soul 
consisteth in its farthest separation from that God whose favour is 
far better than life. This is the lowest round in that ladder by 
which thou shalt descend into the bottomless pit. This is the foot 
of this black, bloody account, the head of that arrow which pierceth 
the heart of the damned. 

This is the worst effect and fruit of sin, that it is privative of 
our union with, and fruition of, God. 1 Depart from me is as 
terrible a word as everlasting fire. Ah, whither do they go that 
go from him, when he alone hath the power of eternal life ? How 
dismal, how dark must that dungeon be where this sun will not 
shine in the least degree with the light of his countenance ! Well 
may it be called blackness of darkness for ever/ Jude 13. The 
hell of the hypocrites, which will be hottest of all, is set out by this : 
Job xiii. 16, The hypocrite shall not come before God/ Couldst 
thou have all the mercies that the world can give, yet in this want 
of God thou wouldst be completely miserable. Ten thousand words 
1 Vines on James iv. 8, p. 23. 


cannot speak a soul more unhappy than those two words, without 
God, Eph. ii. 12. Thou mayest be without riches, without friends, 
without health, without liberty, nay, without all outward blessings, 
and yet blessed ; but if without God, thou art cursed with a curse. 
When God would couch all arguments in one to persuade to duty, 
this is instead of all, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, 
Jer. vii. 23 ; when he would dissuade and drive them from iniquity, 
this is the stinging whip, Be instructed, Jerusalem, lest my 
soul depart from thee/ Jer. vi. 8 ; when he would strike Israel dead 
with a blow, this is it, Woe unto them when I depart from them, 1 
Hosea ix. 12. How sad a saying is that of Saul, I am sore dis 
tressed/ (and well he might ;) the Philistines are upon me, and 
God is departed from me, 1 Sam. xxviii. 15. 

If a partial eclipse of the sun cause such a drooping in the whole 
creation, what will a total eclipse of this Sun cause ? How mourn 
fully doth Micah bemoan the loss of his dunghill deity 1 Ye have 
taken away my gods, and what have I more ? and what is this ye 
say unto me, What aileth thee ? Judges xviii. 24. Surely the 
damned, as they will have infinitely more cause, so they will with 
more horror and anguish bewail the loss of the true God, though 
all the tears in hell are not sufficient to bewail the loss of this 
heaven. If the body from which the soul is parted be such a de 
formed, sad spectacle, what shall the condition of that soul be from 
which God is parted for ever ? 

How unable are the children of God to bear the absence of God 
in this life, though it be but in part, and for a short time ! Take 
Heman, Ps. Ixxxviii. 14, 15, Lord, why castest thou off my soul ? 
why hidest thou thy face from me ? I am afflicted, and ready to 
die ; while I suffer thy terrors, I am distracted. Observe, the good 
man is at death s door, and no wonder, whenas to his apprehen 
sion the life of his soul had left him ; for though no man can see 
the essential face of God and live, yet no saint can live unless he 
see the providential face of God. Consider Job, a man of courage, 
one that had entered the list against Satan, and foiled him. The 
Sabeans and Chaldeans were too hard for his servants, and cap 
tivated his cattle ; but Job was too hard for them ; he conquered 
them. The wind that blew down the house on his children could 
not blow down the tower of his confidence, his hold on Christ ; yet 
when this valiant warrior comes to encounter with the withdraw- 
ings of God, how exceedingly is his courage withdrawn : Job xiii. 

1 Sicut sole recedente succedunt densae tenebrse, sic Deo recedente succedit horri- 
bilis maledictio. Parceua in Hos, i. 


24, Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and boldest me for thine 
enemy ? Why, Lord, are all the appearances from heaven so black 
and lowering ? Why is it that I see not the former smiles of thy 
face ? Oh, what is the cloud that hindereth the light of thy coun 
tenance from shining on me? What sin is the mist which is 
gathered about the true Sun, impeding my sight of thee ? Where 
fore hidest thou thy face, and countest me for thine enemy ? 

Behold our Lord Jesus himself, that could bear the spiteful buf- 
fetings of some, the bloody scourgings of others, the scorn and 
derisions of many ; that could suffer the treason of one apostle, the 
denial of another, and the unkindness of them all, without com 
plaining ; yet when the deity did but withdraw itself for a time, 
that the humanity might suffer for our sins, how mournfully doth 
he sigh out that expression, My God, my God, why hast thou 
forsaken me ? Mat. xxvii. 46. It was not his torturing from men, 
nor the terrors of devils, not the presence of all the powers of dark 
ness, that Christ complained so much of, as the absence of God : 
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? 

Now meditate, O sinner, if the departure of God, though partial 
and temporal, were so terrible to his saints, to his Son, how in 
tolerable will the loss of God be to thee, when it shall be total and 
eternal ! Do they mourn so bitterly when for a small moment he 
forsaketh them, though with great mercies he gathereth them ; 
when in a little wrath he hides his face from them, though with 
everlasting kindness he hath mercy on them? Isa. liv. 7, 8. 

How bitterly wilt thou complain when he shall forsake thee to 
eternity, when he shall hide his face from thee for ever, and not 
bestow on thee the least mercy, or smallest kindness ! This will be 
a woe with a witness. Suffering may be the portion of saints, but 
separation from God the punishment of devils. As the face and 
comfortable presence of God is the greatest felicity of the saved, so 
the full withdrawings or absence of God will be the greatest misery 
of the damned. 1 

Now thou dost not value the enjoyment of God ; thou thinkest 
often that he is too near thee ; the coming of God to thee is as to 
the devils, a torment, Mat. viii. 29. If he draw nigh to thee some 
time in a sermon, in a private instruction, in a motion of his Spirit, 
or in a conviction of thy conscience, thou wishest him farther off 
with his precise laws, that thou mightest have more liberty for thy 
fleshly lusts. The voice of thine hellish heart unto God is, De- 

1 Summa more animae est alienatio a vita Dei in seternitate supplicii. Aug. de 
Civit. Dei, lib. vi. 

VOL. III. 8 


part from me, I desire not the knowledge of thy ways, Job xxi. 
14. Well, thy petition shall be granted to thy destruction, and 
God will take thee at thy word, and give thee thy wish to thy woe, 
when thy doom shall be to depart from him, Luke xiii. 27 ; Mat. 
xxv. 41 , and then thou shalt know the incomparable worth of him. 
Thy understanding shall be cleared, though not changed, that 
thy knowledge may increase thy sorrow. Thou art now wilfully 
ignorant of him and his will, (some never look up to the sun but 
in an eclipse,) but then thou shalt know so much of him to grind 
thee with tormenting grief for thy loss of him. 

As a prisoner through the grates may see the costly apparel, 
the precious liberty, the pleasant and plentiful provision which 
others enjoy, whilst he is vexed with hunger, nakedness, cold, and 
bondage, so thou shalt see bread enough in the Father s house, and 
the children sitting round about his table eating and feasting in 
the kingdom of heaven, whilst thou art perishing with hunger. 
Thou shalt see those rivers of pleasures wherein the godly bathe 
their souls, those soul-ravishing delights which they enjoy in God, 
the fountain of all good, whilst thou art sentenced to an eternal 
separation from him. 


The positive part of a sinners misery at death. 

Now, tell me whether the sinful wretch be not a loser by death 
when he shall lose all his wealth, friends, and opportunities o: 
grace, the company of all the saints, all his false hopes of heaven 
his precious soul, and the ever blessed God ; and tell me whether 
sin, how sweet soever it be in the commission, will not be bitter in 
the conclusion ; whether, in such an hour, the devil will not pay 
thee thy full wages for all thy wicked works ; whether it be worth 
the while to continue in thine unregenerate estate, though thou 
couldst gain never so much, when it will certainly end in such in 
estimable loss. In a word, answer me whether the greatest pleasure 
thou canst gain for thy flesh, the greatest addition thou canst gain 
to thy estate, by a sinful, irreligious life, can countervail the ever 
lasting loss of God and thy soul ? 

But this is not all, sinner ; I have not done with thee yet. I have 
told thee a little of thy loss ; for the whole of it no tongue can tell, 
no pen can write. I will now tell thee thy gain by death, and then 


do thou cast up thy account, and tell me whether thy wickedness 
will not end in woe. 

First, By death thou shalt gain a cursed ripeness, perfection of 
sin, if it may be called perfection. Upon earth the most notorious 
sinner is a lion chained up, and kept in ; but in hell he will be let 
loose, and then his ravenous nature, and cruel disposition, will appear 
to purpose. 

Thou yet standest in a soil, saith that accurate writer, 1 not so 
proper for the ripening of sin, which will not come to its fulness 
till transplanted unto hell. Thou who art here so maidenly and 
modest, as to blush at some sins out of shame, and forbear the 
actings of others out of fear, when there thou shalt see thy case as 
desperate as the devil doth his ; then thou wilt spit out thy 
blasphemies, with which thy nature is stuffed, with the same malice 
that he doth. 

The vilest man in this world is like a swine in a fair meadow ; 
but in the other world, there will be the wallowing in the mire. 
Thy heart now is like the sea, which cannot rest, but is ever cast 
ing up mire and dirt of sin, foaming out thy own shame, yet still it 
is shut up with bars and doors of restraining grace : Hitherto shalt 
thou come, and no further ; and here shall thy proud waves be 
stayed. But then the doors will be opened, the banks broken down, 
and the flood-gates taken up ; and oh what a deluge, what an over 
flow of sin will be there ! 

Here if Grod should not put a bridle into the mouth of these un 
ruly beasts, and hold them in, there would be no living for a saint 
among them ; but then, when the good shall be parted from them, 
the reins shall be laid, in some respect, on their own necks, and 
then they will run to the same excess of riot and sin with the very 

All the weeping in hell will not wash thee a whit the cleaner, 
and all the fire there will not consume the least of thy dross. 2 He 
that is filthy at death, will be filthy still ; and he that is unjust then, 
shall be unjust for ever, Kev. xxii. 11. 

Hell may fitly be called Pompey s theatre, the glory of old Home, 
a sty of filthiness. 3 Every bottle of wickedness will be there filled 
with those bitter waters ; thou that now makest a match with mis 
chief, shalt then have thy bellyful. Here sin is thy sin and defile 
ment, but there it will be thy hell, thy punishment. Here thou 

1 Gurnal s Armour, part i.. p. 257. 

2 Voluntas morientis confirmatur in eo statu in quo moritur. 
2 Arcem omnium turpitudinum. 


sportest with it, but there thou shalt smart for it. Now it is thy 
pleasure, but then it will be thine everlasting pain. 

Sin is ugly to a saint on earth, notwithstanding all her gaudy 
attire, and painted face ; but oh what a deformed monster she will 
be in hell, when she shall be stripped of all her ornaments of 
pleasure and profit, and when all her paint shall be washed off with 
rivers of brimstone ! I thus preach, and thus think, saith Chryso- 
stom, that it is more bitter to sin against Christ than to suffer the 
torments of hell. And holy Anselm saith, that if the evil of sin 
were proffered to him, and the torments of hell, he had rather 
choose hell than sin. Thus odious sin is to a godly man in this 
world, and surely it will not be amiable to a wicked man in the 
other world ; but they who now glory in their shame, will then be 
ashamed of their glory, and find their lusts more burdensome to them, 
how lightly soever now they go with them, than ever prisoners did 
their chains and fetters. 

If thy soul be so unhealthy in so pure an air as this, compara 
tively, is among the saints of God, how diseased will it be in that 
misty region of darkness, in that pest-house, among devils and in 
fectious spirits ! 

Secondly, Thou shalt gain by death a fulness of sorrow. When thy 
sins come to their highest degree, then will thy sorrows likewise, both 
in regard of intension and duration. 

1. In regard of intension ; and how great this will be I am not 
able to tell thee. When one was desired to paint the Spanish in 
quisition, he took a table and besmeared it with blood, implying 
the torments were so cruel and bloody that his pencil could not 
delineate them. Sure I am Phalaris s bull, Low-Country racks, and 
all outlandish tortures whatsoever, are but plays and bugbears to \ 
the sufferings of the damned. There are no sorrows like to their 
sorrows, wherewith the Lord afflicteth them in the day of his fierce 
wrath. If the wrath of God be kindled but a little, and a spark 
thereof light into the conscience of a saint, what a work doth it 
make. 1 There is no rest in his flesh, nor quiet in his bones. 
When the arrows of the Almighty stick within him, the poison 
thereof soon drinks up his spirits, Ps. xxxviii. 3 ; Job vi. 4. What 
will their condition then be, against whom God shall stir up all 
his wrath ! Ps. Ixxviii. 39. Hell is said to be prepared for the devil 
and his angels, Mat. xxv. 41 ; as if the almighty and infinite 
God had sat down and studied the most exquisite torments that 
could be to inflict on them. 

1 Una guttula malae conscientise totum mare mundani gaudii absorbet. Luth. 


As when he would glorify the riches of his mercy, on them that 
love him and keep his commands, he provideth fulness of joy, and 
greater pleasures than the heart of man can possibly conceive ; so 
when he would glorify his justice, in the highest degree, on them 
that hate him, and wilfully break his laws, he prepareth fulness of 
sorrow, and greater pain than any, yea, than all the men in the 
world can possibly comprehend. A melancholy man may fancy, 
saith one, 1 vast and terrible fears, fire, sword, tempests, racks, fur 
naces, scalding lead, boiling pitch, running bell-metal, and, being 
kept alive in all these, to feel their torments ; but these come far 
short of the wrath of God. 

For (1.) There are bounds set to the hurting power of the creature. 
The fire can burn, but it cannot drown ; the serpent can sting, but 
not tear in pieces. 

(2.) The fears of the heart are bounded within those narrow appre 
hensions which itself can frame of the hurts which may be done. 
But the wrath of God proceeds from an infinite justice, and is 
executed by an omnipotent and unbounded power, comprising all 
the terror of all the creatures, as the sun doth all other light, 
eminently and excessively in it. It burns, and drowns, and tears, 
and stings, and can make nature feel much more than reason is 
able to comprehend. 

A wounded spirit who can bearP Prov. xviii. 14. The wise 
man gives a challenge to the whole creation, to find out a person 
that is strong enough to undergo such a burden, and certainly none 
ever dared to accept the challenge. How intolerable hath such a 
weight been to them that are lions for strength and courage ! This 
caused David s broken bones and watered couch. This made 
Heman at his wits end, Ps. Ixxxviii. 15. This made Spira, that 
seven years monument of God s justice, as Mr Shepherd, in his 
Sincere Convert, calls him, to roar so horribly out of anguish of spirit. 
This made Daniel choose rather to be cast to the cruel lions, than 
to carry about with him such a ravenous lion in his conscience. 
This made some of the martyrs to feel a very hell in their con 
sciences after their recantation. No wolf in the breast, no worm 
in the bowels, no frenzy so outrageous as a gnawing, corroding con 

If the wrath of a king be as the roaring of a lion, oh what is the 
wrath of God ! And if his wrath be so terrible in this world, where 
there is ever some mixture of mercy with it, what will it be in the 
other world, when the soul shall have a cup of pure wrath to drink, 

1 Dr Reynolds on Hosea xiv., p. 23, sermon 1. 


when God shall shew the unconceivableness of his strength, in tor 
menting the creature, and preserving it to feel those torments ? * 
1 Who knoweth the power of his anger ? Ps. xc. 11. There will 
be tribulation and anguish, indignation and wrath, on the soul of 
every man that doeth evil, Kom. ii. 8, 9. There is fire to burn, and 
brimstone to choke, Mat. xii. 40, and chains to bind, and serpents 
to sting, and worms to gnaw, Mark ix. 44 ; Jude 12, and darkness 
to affright ; there is variety, universality, and extremity of tor 

Augustine admires it, and saith, that for vehemency of heat it 
exceeds our fire, as much as ours doth fire painted on the wall. 2 
But the sufferings of thy soul, will be the soul of thy sufferings ; 
the worm that never dieth, will be the killing death. When thou 
shalt remember all thy former sinful pleasures, of which nothing 
remaineth but thy present shame and pain ; when thou shalt reflect 
upon the former offers thou hast had, of all the dainties which 
others feed on in heaven, and despair now of ever obtaining the 
least crumb that falleth from the master s table ; when thou shalt 
foresee the great and terrible day of the Lord Jesus, the reuniting 
of thy body to thy soul, the easeless and endless torments which 
soul and body must endure together ; thy sins past will horribly 
perplex thee, thy present shame will lamentably confound thee, thy 
future tortures will unspeakably affright thee. 3 

Oh it will be a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living 
God ! Heb. xii. 29. One touch of it made a man at arms to cry out 
sadly, Have pity upon me, my friends, have pity upon me, for the 
hand of God hath touched me, Job xix. 21. One blow of it broke 
the backs of the angels, Jude 6. Alas ! sinner, what wilt thou do 
under the whole weight of it ? how will thy heart endure, or thy 
hands be strong, in this day that the Lord shall thus deal with 
thee ? The Lord hath spoken it, and he will do it, Ezek. 
xxii. 14. 

Now thou canst hear, and read, and talk of hell, and be no more 
troubled than physicians are at the many diseases which affect their 
patients ; nay, it may be thou dost jeer, when thou shouldst fear ; 4 
like leviathan, laugh at the shaking of the spear. If a minister 
come to thee, as Lot to his sons-in-law, and warn thee to leave 

1 Prima mors animam nolentem pellit a corpore; secunda nolentem retinet in cor- 
pore. Aug. de Civil. Dei, lib. xxi. cap. 4. 

2 Aug., ibid., lib. xii. cap. 13. 

3 Memoria prceteritorum, sensus prcesenlium, et metus futurorum, are the whole of 
soul s torments. 

* Crtdo quce de inferis dicuntur falsa existimas, said Cato to Csesar. 


the Sodom of thy sinful, sensual life, and tell thee that otherwise 
the Lord will destroy thee, that fire and brimstone will be thy por 
tion ; he seemeth to thee (as Lot to them, Gen. xix. 14) as one 
that mocketh ; thou thinkest that he is in jest, but they feel what 
they would not fear. Now they are suffering the vengeance of eter 
nal fire, Jude 7 ; and so wilt thou, if God prevent not by renewing 
thy heart, and reforming thy life. And though now thou art so 
senseless, that the seat thou sittest in, and the pillar thou leanest 
on, are as much affected with the threatenings and denunciation of 
the judgments of God as thou art, yet then thou wilt be sensible 
enough ; and thine eyes, so dry now, will weep enough when they 
come to that place, where is nothing but weeping, and wailing, and 
gnashing of teeth, Mat. xxiv. 51. As the love of God is a known 
unknown love, Eph. iii. 18, 19 ; none know it fully, but they that 
enjoy it in glory ; so the anger of God is a known unknown 
anger, Ps. xc. 11; none can know it perfectly, but they that shall 
feel it eternally. 

2. It will be full in regard of duration : all thy sad losses, and 
all thy sorrowful gains, will be for ever. There was nothing else 
wanting to make thee completely miserable, but the everlasting 
duration of them ; and, lo, here it is. The positive part of thy 
punishment will be permanent ; there the worm dieth not, and the 
fire is not quenched, Mark ix. 44 ; and the privative part also shall 
be perpetual thou shalt suffer everlasting perdition from the pre 
sence of the Lord, 2 Thes. i. 9. 

Whatsoever relateth to the torments of the carnal is eternal. God, 
who damneth them, is eternal : 1 Tim. i. 17, Now, to the King 
eternal, immortal, the only wise God, &c. The fire which tor- 
men teth them is eternal Jude 7, suffering the vengeance of 
the eternal fire ; the chains which bind them, the worm which 
gnaws them, the judgment given against them, are all eternal, 
Jude 7 ; Heb. vi. 2. Thou sinnest in thy eternity, and God will 
make thee suffer in his eternity. 

Thou sinnest against an infinite God, and therefore thy punish 
ment must be infinite ; which, because it cannot be in regard of 
intension, thy back being not strong enough to bear an infinite 
stroke, therefore it must be in duration. Infinite power cannot 
inflict greater or longer pains than infinite justice doth call for. 
The debt thou owest to the righteousness of God will be ever paying 
and never paid, and therefore thou shalt not escape out of that 
prison, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing, Mat. v. 23. 

The command of Caius Caligula to the executioner, after he had 


condemned a malefactor, was so to strike that they might feel ; 
themselves dying, and endure the pains of an enduring death. 1 
Such will be the everlasting death of the damned : they will be 
ever, ever dying, and never dead ; they shall seek death, but not 
find it ; follow after it, but it will flee from them, Eev. ix. 6. 

The same author reporteth of one that requested of Tiberius 
Caesar death rather than long imprisonment, how he was answered 
by the emperor, You and I are not yet friends. 2 The truth is, 
the punishment there must needs be long, yea, eternal, because 
God and the sinner shall never be friends. In this life God 
treateth with the soul by his ambassadors upon terms of peace; 
nay, he beseecheth the sinner to be reconciled, 2 Cor. v. 20 ; the 
carnal man still continueth in his enmity against God, walking 
contrary to him, and fighting against him. God continueth many 
a day, to some many a year, offering peace, desiring there may be 
a league made ; only it must be offensive and defensive. It must 
be a holy peace and league against the devil, the world, and the 
flesh. Upon this the sinner breaks off; he will not be an enemy 
to his old cursed friends. Now at death this treaty dieth ; and the 
breach then continuing, it is irrecoverable for ever. Then the King 
of kings causeth his terrors to set themselves in array against the 
sinner, and proclaimeth open and eternal war. 

Header, for thy soul s sake let me beseech thee to ponder this 
but one half quarter of an hour every morning, that the pain which 
sin bringeth will be eternal. Oh how may it take off the edge of 
thy love to thy most pleasing lusts ! Endless misery must needs 
be easeless; no condition so intolerable as a miserable condition 
that is unalterable. It is a comfort to a woman in travail, in the 
midst of her sharp throes and bitter pangs, to think these will 
have an end ; the hope of that doth much help her to hold out ; 
but, woe and alas ! they whose end is damnation, shall have damna 
tion which hath no end. 

It doth much support the saints under the anger of God, that, 
though it be sharp, it will be but short ; his anger endureth but for 
a moment, Ps. xxx. 5. But then, will not the heart of the sinner 
be rent in pieces with rage and despair, to know that the wrath of 
God must abide on him ? John iii. 36. 

The Egyptians three days darkness was esteemed a sore plague ; 
but what will thy punishment, sinner, be, when thou shalt suffer 
utter darkness, blackness of darkness ? Jude 13. Ah, wounding 
word, Ever, Ever ! the most cutting word in comparison of this is 

1 Ita feri, ut se mori sentiat. Suet. * Nondum tecum redii in gratiam. 


healing ; the bitterest word in respect of this is sweet. Despair 
will be the cutting off of all hope ; to have hope, the anchor of the 
soul, cut off, will be the deepest cut in the world; then the vessel 
of thy soul will be liable to all storms and tempests imaginable. 

Suppose that one of thy hands were to continue burning in one 
of our fires as many millions of years as there hath been minutes 
since the creation, couldst thou undergo it with any patience? 
What thinkest thou of it ? Alas ! this were a mercy, a heaven to 
the misery of men in hell. What wilt thou do when thy whole 
man shall suffer the vengeance of eternal fire ? Jude 7. Who can 
dwell with the devouring fire? Who can dwell with everlasting 
burning? Isa. xxxiii. 14. 

It is storied of one Koger, Bishop of Salisbury, that being in 
prison extremely tortured, live he would not, and die he could not. 
Truly such will the case be of rebellious ones : they shall long for 
death, but it will not come ; and dig for it more than for hid trea 
sures. Oh how would they rejoice and be glad if they could find a 
grave ! But a being must be given to them that are in misery, 
and life to the bitter in soul. It is called death indeed, because 
life is neither desired there, nor can it properly be said to be 
enjoyed : it is a living death, or a dying life; such a death as shall 
never taste of life, and such a life as shall never taste of death. 
After the murderer of his soul hath continued in that lake of fire 
as many thousand years as there are fish in the mighty ocean, and 
as there are creatures great and small upon the whole earth, and 
as there are stars in the heavens, and after this as many millions 
of ages as there are hours in all the forementioned time, yet, after 
all this, his torment will not be one moment nearer to an end. Oh 
eternity, eternity, eternity, what art thou ? to what shall I liken 
thee, or with what comparison shall I compare thee ? Thou art 
like a vast ocean which hath no banks, like an outrageous fire which 
knoweth no bounds, like the grave that is never satisfied, like the 
barren womb that never saith, It is enough; in respect of God, 
thou art like Melchisedec. without father, without mother, having 
neither beginning of days nor end of life. In respect of the good, 
like a day which had a morning, but shall never have an evening ; 
in respect of the bad, like a night which had an evening, but shall 
never have a morning. In thee it is that the justice and severity 
of God, the sinfulness and malignity of sin, the deceitfulness and 
vanity of the world, the madness and desperate folly of sinners, will 
sufficiently be demonstrated. In time men are whipped, but in 
thee it is that they are executed. In thee it is that men must 


suffer long for all their abuse of the long-suffering of God. In thee 
it is that the swearer shall have enough of wounds, and oaths, and 
blasphemies, when he shall have devils wounding his soul with their 
fiery darts, and when he shall blaspheme the name of God through 
extremity of torments. In thee it is that the adulterer will have 
enough of lust and lasciviousness, when he shall embrace deformed 
devils, and lie down in a bed of fire instead of feathers, surrounded 
with curtains of frightful fiends. In thee it is that the drunkard 
will have enough of his cups, when a cup of the pure wrath of an 
infinitely incensed God shall be presented to him, and be forced to 
drink it all up, though there be eternity to the bottom. In thee it 
is that the Sabbath-breaker shall have enough of disturbing God s 
rest, when he shall be tormented, and have no rest day nor night 
for ever and ever, Kev. xx. 10. In thee it is that the atheist in his 
family shall have enough of his prayerlessness and regardlessness of 
God, when he shall be ever, ever praying with his whole heart for 
a drop of water to cool his tongue, and God shall never, never shew 
the least regard towards him. In thee it is that the hypocrite will 
have enough of putting off God with a painted holiness, when he 
shall find a real hell. In thee, lastly, it is that the covetous world 
ling, that, like Korah, is swallowed up of earth alive, and yet hath 
never enough, shall have fire enough, pain enough, and wrath 
enough in hell. 

Consider this, ye that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, 
when there is none to deliver you, * Ps. 1. 22. Good God ! whither 
is man fallen ? what desperate hardness hath seized on his heart, 
that he should be every moment liable to such a boundless, bottom 
less sea of scalding wrath, and yet as insensible of it as if it did no 
whit concern him. Ah, did but the seduced world believe thy 
word, they would mind other works than now they do. 

But, reader, what is that judgment ? is not the mirth of every 
sinner that maketh a mock of sin worse than madness ? Should not 
the sting in sin s tail deter thee more than the false beauty of its 
face allure thee ? Shalt thou look henceforward upon the most de 
lightful sin, as any better than Claudius did mushroom, pleasant, and 
poison ! Well, whoever thou art that readest this use, be confident 
all this, and ten thousand times more, is thy birthright ; thou art 
by nature an heir to this estate, that lieth in the valley of Hinnom. 
All this is the wages due to thee for thy service to sin ; sin payeth 
all that die its servants in such black money ; and shouldst thou go 
out of this world before thou art new-born, thou shalt as certainly 

1 Gehenna nihil graviue, Bed ejus metu nihil utilius. Chrysost. 


find and feel more than all this in the other world, as there is a God 
in heaven, and as thou art a living creature OD earth. The God of 
truth hath spoken it, and who shall disannul it ? Mat. xviii. 3, and 
v. 10 ; John iii. 3. Though thou art not actually under it, yet thou 
art every moment liable to it ; this cloud of blood hangs night and 
day over thy head, and thou knowest not how soon it may break, 
and shower down upon thee. The decree and sentence is already 
passed in heaven, that thou who turnest not in time, shalt burn to 
eternity ; and thou canst not tell how soon God may seal the 
warrant for thy execution. 

Bellarmine is of opinion, that one glimpse of hell-fire were enough 
to make a man turn, not only Christian, but monk, and to live after 
the strictest order. Drexelius tells us of a young man given to his 
lust, that he could not endure to lie awake in the dark ; and on a 
time, being sick, he could not sleep all night ; and then he had these 
thoughts, What ! is it so tedious to lie awake one night to lie a 
few hours in the dark ? what is it then to lie in everlasting chains 
of darkness ? I am here in my house, on a soft bed, kept from 
sleep one night ; oh to lie in flames, and in darkness everlasting, 
how dreadful will that be ! This was the means of his conversion. 

Oh that, reader, what I have written might work such an effect 
upon thy soul ! how abundantly should I be satisfied for all my 
pains ! how heartily should I bless that God, who by his providence 
called me to this task ! Shall I entreat thee, as thou hast the least 
spark of true love to thy dying body, to thy immortal soul, to thine 
eternal peace, to break off thy sins by repentance, and fly all un 
godliness as hell ; for dost thou not perceive out of the word of the 
living and true God, that though thy lust may be sweet in the act, 
yet her end is as bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged 
sword. Her feet go down to death ; her steps take hold on hell, 
Prov. v. 4, 5. 

And in order hereunto, I desire thee to observe faithfully those 
directions I shall give thee in the third use ; for I would not only open 
the sore, and shew its danger, but also, by the help of the physician 
of souls, prepare a plaster. The Lord enable thee to apply it for thy 
cure ! 

Take a man that is most addicted to his pleasures, 1 and bring 
him to the mouth of a furnace red hot and flaming, and ask hkn, 
How much pleasure wouldst thou take to continue burning in this 
furnace for one day ? he would answer undoubtedly, I would not 
be tormented in it one day, to gain the whole world, and all the 

1 Drexel. Eter. iii. Consid. 


pleasures of it. Ask him a second time, What reward would you take 
to endure this fire half a day ? Propound what reward you will,! 
there is nothing so precious which he would buy at so dear a rate] 
as those torments ; and yet how comes it to pass, God, that for a 
little gain, and that vile ; for a little honour, and that fugitive ; for? 
a little pleasure, and that fading, men so little regard hell-fire, ; 
which is eternal. 

By this time I hope it is day in thine understanding, and thou 
seest clearly that there is a difference between the death of the] 
righteous and the wicked ; that as the same perfume, which is] 
mortal to the ravenous vulture, is refreshing to the true dove ; than 
as the same herb which cureth men stung with serpents, killeth 
beasts ; so the same mortal disease which cureth the godly of all! 
their spiritual and bodily distempers, killeth the wicked ; they are 
killed with death, Eev. vi. 

Heaviness to a saint may endure for the night of this life, but 
joy will come in the morning of death ; whereas the freshest streams 
of sinful delights will end in a salt sea of sorrows and tears. The 
most prosperous sinner is but like a thief that goeth through a 
pleasant meadow to the gallows. 


A second use of trial, with motives to enforce it. 

I come now to a second use, and that will be by way of examina 

If it be so, that they who have Christ for their life shall have 
gain by their death, then examine whether you are one of them, 
to whom to die will be gain. Like a merchant, cast up the ac 
counts between God and thy soul, and see how much thou art 
worth for another world. It is good husbandry to know the state 
of thy flock, Prov. xxvii. 23 ; but there is a greater necessity of 
knowing the state of thy soul, of communing with thy own heart, 
Ps. iv. 4. Many a man may say of himself, as the epigrammatist 
of his unneighbourly neighbour, In urbe tota nemo tarn prope tarn 
proculque nobis. Is it not a thousand pities to live known to others, 
and to die unknown to thyself ? to speak so much, and so often, 
to others, and yet, in the many years that thou hast lived, never to 
have spent one hour in serious discourse with thyself about thine 
eternal condition, what shall become of thee for ever ? 


Friend, it may be thou hast been very solicitous to know what 
I shall befall thee whilst thou livest ; is there not more cause for thee 
to be inquisitive what shall befall thee when thou diest ? I think 
it concerneth thee to be faithful and diligent about this work of 
examining thy soul, whether Jesus Christ be thy life, when all thy 
happiness hangs on this hinge, even thine estate for eternity. 
Trivial matters may be passed over slightly, but things of weight 
must be minded seriously. 

Header, hadst thou ever a matter of greater or equal concernment 
to thine unchangeable and eternal estate ? Are not thy following 
thy trade, thy providing for thy family, thy eating, drinking, sleep 
ing, and the most necessary things thou canst imagine about thy 
outward man, but rattles and babies, but toys and trifles, in com 
parison of this ? 

Suppose the title I am speaking of did but concern an estate in 
land of one hundred pound per annum, which thou wert buying, 
wouldst thou not consult with this and that man, whether the title 
were good or no ? Wouldst thou think two or three days ill spent 
in searching and advising, to prevent the cozenage of thee and thy 
children ? And doth not thy soul, thine eternal estate, deserve 
more care, more time, more pains, more consulting, searching, and 
questioning, for fear of an everlasting miscarriage ? Let thy reason 
be judge. Had not those wires need to be strong, that have such a 
weight as thy eternal welfare hanging on them ? should not that 
anchor be cast sure, which is intrusted with a vessel so richly laden 
as with thy soul, that jewel of inestimable value, more worth than a 
world ? Can that foundation be too firmly laid, that hath such a 
building as eternity of happiness depending on it ? Without ques 
tion, those deeds and evidences, if ever any, had need to be un 
questionable, that convey the inheritance which is incorruptible, 
undefiled, reserved in heaven. 

And the rather shouldst thou try thy soul thoroughly, because, 
shouldst thou content thyself with a counterfeit title to heaven, as 
most men and women amongst us do, by virtue only of some deeds 
which the devil and thy carnal heart have forged, and wouldst so 
die, thou wouldst assuredly be dealt with as a cheat, and cast into 
the prison of hell, and then thy condition will be most lamentable, 
because it will be irrecoverable. 

If thou missest at all when thou diest, thou missest for ever and 
for ever. An error then can never be mended ; there can be no 
second throw cast, no second edition can come forth to correct the 
errors of the former ; but the great work for which thou wert born 


not being done, thou art undone to eternity ; and then, as godly 
men befool themselves in this world, while they live, Ps. Ixxiii. 2, 
for their corruption, so thou wilt befool thyself in the other world, 
when thou diest, for thy presumption, Jer. xvii. 11, that thou 
shouldst think the rotten props of a little profession, of a few out 
ward privileges, and inward good meanings, as thou callest them, 
could bear the weight of thy soul, and thine endless state, that thou 
should build so slightly for a dwelling of perpetuity. Set thy 
heart therefore to all the words that I speak unto thee ; for it is 
not a vain thing, but it is for thy life, Deut. xxxii. 46, 47. 

Well, friend, the great question which I shall put to thee will be 
this : Canst thou say, to thee to live is Christ ? Thy gain by 
death dependeth on this. Examine thyself thoroughly, 1 prove 
thyself whether thou art in the faith or no, 2 Cor. xiii. 5. The 
eagle trieth her young ones by the sun whether they be of the right 
brood or no, as some affirm. Do thou try thyself by this Sun of 
righteousness, by this life in Christ, by thine ingrafting into 
Christ. Ask thy soul whether it be acquainted with the new birth, 
the new creation, the divine nature, the renewing in the spirit of 
thy mind, the sanctification of the Spirit, the walking after the 
Spirit, the image of God, the writing of his laws in thy heart, the 
law of the spirit of life in Christ, effectual calling ; unless thou 
hast that one thing signified by all these things, thou hast nothing ; 
then, and not till then, thou hast crossed the line, shot the gulf, art 
safely landed in Christ, and hast attained that which ever accom- 
panieth salvation. 

But because this self-trial, though it be a necessary duty, yet is 
a work of much difficulty it is easier for a man to speak to the 
stateliest king in the world, than to himself as he ought to speak 
and because, naturally, men s sores and corruptions make them so 
unwilling to be searched for fear of pain, I shall annex two or three 
quickening motives to persuade thee to this much-neglected duty. 

The first motive. 

Consider how easy and ordinary it is to be deceived, though it be 
in a work of such infinite weight ; now where the business is 
weighty, and the mistake ordinary and easy, it requireth thee to 
search thoroughly. It is one of the most ordinary and easy things 
in the world for a child of disobedience to live and die asleep in 

1 trttpkffTf, d irflpw, to pierce through and through, because by piercing a thing 
is tried what it is within, whether sound or no. 


sin, and never dream of hell, till he come to awake in the other 
world in a bed of fire. Thy deceitful heart will be night and day 
inclining thee to sleep, and the devil will be sure to keep the cradle 

Alas ! how very few are there that will be persuaded to cast up 
their spiritual accounts ; but, like men that we say are worse than 
naught, loathe the thoughts of looking into or summing up their 
estates ; or like some women, when they come to be old, turn the 
back side of their looking-glasses toward them, as unwilling to see 
their own wrinkles and deformity. 

And of those that do sometimes examine themselves, how many 
are there that do it slightly and superficially, contenting themselves 
with false marks, quickly believing what they would have, even all 
to be well, till they are sent to be undeceived in hell. 

Maude, mother to King Henry the Second, being besieged at 
Oxford, she got away with white apparel in the snow, undiscov 
ered. 1 So do many hypocrites, with their profession of snow-like 
purity, pass among men ; but God knows the heart. 

All is not gold that glitters, nor is all grace that makes a fair 
show in the flesh. There is much counterfeit coin in the world, that 
goeth current among men, as if it were as good as the best ; so 
there is a great deal of counterfeit holiness in the world, a great 
deal of civility, of morality, of common grace, which is taken (or 
rather mistaken) by men for true saving grace ; much fancy is 
taken for faith, presumption for hope, self-love for saint-love, and 
worldly sighs for godly sorrow. 

What can the saint do, but as, to the outward appearance, the 
sinner may do the same ? As the devil is God s ape, so is the self- 
deluding soul not seldom the saint s ape. 

Doth the saint abstain from gross sins ? so doth he whose reli 
gion consisted so much in negatives, Luke xviii. 11. Doth the 
saint pray ? so do the pharisees, and make long prayers too, Mat. 
xxiii. 14. Do the saints fast ? Neh. i. 4 ; Dan. ix. ; so do they, 
Mat. vi. 16, and ix. 14 ; and it may be twice in one week, Luke 
xviii. 12. Do the saints give alms ? Acts x. ; so do they, Mat. vi. 
1,2. Do the saints confess sin ? the sinner can do it in the very 
same words, 1 Sam. xv. 24. Doth Ephraim repent ? Jer xxxi. 18 ; 
so doth Judas, Mat. xxvii. 3. Doth Abraham believe ? Eom. iv. ; 
so doth Simon Magus, Acts viii. 13. Doth Hezekiah humble him 
self ? 2 Chron. xxxii. 26 ; so doth Ahab, and walk softly into the 
bargain, 1 Kings xxii. 15. Doth the man after God s own heart 

1 Camb. Brit. 


fulfil all God s will ? Acts xiii. 22 ; you shall hear that a Jehu 
shall do very much, and that by a testimony from God s own mouth : 
2 Kings x. 30, Thou hast done well in executing that which 
was right in mine eyes ; thou hast done unto the house of Ahab 
according to all that was in mine heart. What a great resem 
blance is there in all these outwardly, but a vast difference in 
wardly ! The ungodly sometimes do attain to the outward actions, 
but never to the inward sanctified affections of the godly ; as the 
painter may paint fire, but he cannot paint heat that is beyond his 
skill. Many titular Christians are like the onyx-stone, of which 
naturalists write, that it is clear and bright in the superficies, but 
dark and muddy at the centre : men of civil conversation, but not 
of sanctified actions. Now all this calleth aloud to thee, to try 
thyself whether thou goest beyond them, that do all before-men 
tioned, and yet come short of heaven. 

Besides, it is not seldom that a true Christian, for want of a 
prudent trial, judgeth himself unsound. As the face of Moses, so 
his heart shines with grace, and he knoweth it not ; Christ is in 
him, as he was with the two disciples, and he, as they, is ignorant 
of it. Many Christians, like Hagar, weep and mourn that they 
must die for thirst, when the water of life is by them, yea, within 

There is that maketh himself rich, full of peace and joy from 
assurance of God s favour and his salvation, yet hath nothing not 
one jot of grace or true ground of joy ; there is that maketh him 
self poor persuadeth himself to be in a most wretched estate and 
yet hath great riches, Prov. xiii. 7, is highly in God s favour, and , 
hath great store of saving grace. 

But most commonly the error is on the other side. How doth 
every swaggering, or, at best, civilised sinner, presume that he is a 
saint ! How often hath he blear-eyed Leah lying by him all night, 
and he thinketh it is beautiful Rachel, till the light of the morning 
discover the contrary ! How many have the devil and the world 
lodging in their arms and embraces, and think it is Christ, the fair 
est of ten thousand, till upon examination it be found otherwise ! 

Reader, take heed this be not thy case ; that thou, like Uriah, 
carriest letters about thee, importing thy own execution, and yet 
thou not know of it. It is ordinary for men to think they are spi 
ritually rich, and increased with goods, and to have need of no 
thing, and not to know that they are wretched, and miserable, and 
poor, and blind, and naked, Rev. iii. 17. They cry, like Agag, 
Surely the bitterness of death is past ; there is no fear of death, 


of wrath, of hell, or damnation, when they are liable every mo 
ment to be hewn in pieces before the Lord, to be torn in pieces by 
the roaring lion. Oh, how many a precious vessel (soul I mean) 
hath been split upon this rock of presumption ! Doth it not there 
fore concern thee to be serious and faithful in searching thy heart, 
lest thou shouldst, as the most, deceive thyself about a business of 
such unspeakable consequence ? 

The second motive. 

Consider the fewness of them that have Christ for their life, or 
that live this spiritual life. Every one almost that liveth within 
the visible church is ready to say that heaven is his inheritance, 
and he shall escape the wrath to come, when the word of God and 
the works of men do clearly and fully speak the contrary. 

The devil hath his droves : all the earth wander after the beast, 
Rev. xvii. 8. The whole world lieth in wickedness/ 1 Johnv. 19. 
The enemies of God cover the earth like grasshoppers for multi 
tude, Judges vii. 12. They fill the country, when the Israelites 
are like two little flocks of kids, 1 Kings xx. 27. The good and 
the true shepherd calleth his flock a little flock, Luke xii. 32, nay, 
a little, little flock, there being in the original two diminutives, to 
shew their fewness. When four, if not five cities were destroyed, 
one righteous Lot with his small family is delivered, Gen. xix. 15. 
When a whole world is drowned, a few, that is, eight souls, are 
saved, 1 Pet. iii. 20. Therefore the children of God are called a 
remnant, Micah vii. 18 two or three yards remaining of forty or 
fifty ; and compared to the gleanings after the vintage, Isa. xvii. 6 
one or two bunches may be left under some thick or utmost bough ; 
but what are they to the many basketfuls that were gathered 
before ? The saints are jewels : now, how few are there of such 
pearls, in comparison of pebble ? Mai. iii. 17 ; and strangers, Ps. 
cxix. 19, how small is their number to natives, which are the 
world s own, John xv. 19. The church of Sardis hath a few names 
only that have not defiled their garments, Rev. iii. 4. 

^ Some have divided the world into thirty parts, and have affirmed 
nineteen of those to be without Christ, in whose name alone is 
salvation ; and six of the remaining eleven to be papists, which 
certainly are in no safe way to heaven ; and five parts of thirty only 
to be protestants, amongst whom they that read of their way of 
worship beyond the seas will find many of these to be but mongrel 
protestants. But, to waive this, and to come to England, where it 
VOL. in. T 


is generally by godly men believed that God hath as numerous an 
issue of new-born children as in any such quantity of ground in the 
world, and, reader, take the public congregation thou dost join with 
in the solemn worship of the ever-blessed God upon his own day ; 
and suppose one should come and sweep out of it, in the first place, 
all notorious sinners drunkards, swearers, adulterers, extortioners, 
liars, railers, scoffers at godliness, Sabbath-breakers, and the like, 
upon whom, whosoever looketh with Scripture spectacles may see 
the devil s mark on their foreheads, hell written on them in great 
letters, they continuing impenitent would not such a besom sweep 
away much dust, even a great part of the people of the parish where 
thou livest ? But suppose one should come, in the second place, and 
purge out your civil and moral, yet unsanctified men and women 
such, I mean, as are fair and just in their carriage and dealings ; 
you cannot say, black is their eye ; they pay to every man his due ; 
these are good second-table men and women ; their religion con- 
sisteth altogether in their righteousness towards men ; they will not 
for a world wrong their neighbour of a farthing, but they make no 
conscience of robbing God of the great fear, chief love, choice 
delight, strong trust, which are due to his Majesty ; they know not 
what it is to know him and his will, to acknowledge him by reli 
gious performances of prayer, reading, and the like, in their families 
and closets ; they can scarce tell you what God is, or what Christ 
is, or what the Lord Jesus hath suffered or purchased for sinners. 
As old as many of them are, they are more ignorant of the natures, 
offices, states of Christ, of regeneration, justification, and sanctifica- 
tion, than little children ; and yet they are too old to learn. The 
minister cannot persuade them to come to him, and be instructed 
by him in the principles of the oracles of God ; nay, and they will 
not believe that ignorance is a damning sin, though God hath 
spoken so peremptorily, that Christ shall come in flaming fire to 
render vengeance on them that know not God, 2 Thes. i. 8, and 
he hath told them expressly, that men perish for want of know 
ledge, Hosea iv. 6 ; Prov. i. 22, 29. 

Suppose, I say, one should purge out all these civil, righteous, 
yet ignorant and irreligious persons questionless he would purge 
out two parts of three of the remaining ill-humours how very 
many would that blind captain, ignorance, lead out of a congrega 

But suppose one came, in the third place, again, and take away 
them that are righteous in their dealings with men, and seem reli 
gious in their duties towards God; that pray, and hear, and read, 


and fast, and instruct their families, and call upon God in secret, 
and yet are only so good to the eye of man, being, like some fruit, 
fair in the outside, but rotten at core, having self-ends and carnal 
principles in all they do, Mat. xxiii. and vi. 

After three such sweepings, how few, thinkest thou, would be 
left in a congregation, or in a parish. If Christ should come with 
his whip of cords, and scourge all these out of his temple whom 
the word of God clearly condemneth would not Jesus be left almost 
quite alone, as he was in John viii. 9 ? 

Besides all those forementioned, how many are there whose reli 
gion consisteth merely in opinions, or heresies, or schism, and 
separation from the people of God and public worship, and from 
the good old way of faith and repentance, that mind neither 
Sabbath, nor sacraments, nor family duties, and trust for salvation 
to the light within them, even till they come to utter darkness, 1 
2 Pet. ii. 1,2; Jude 11, 12 ; 1 John ii. 19. Oh, how few are there 
that shall be saved ! If Ulpian complained there were few true 
philosophers, have not we more cause to complain there are few 
true believers ? for who hath believed our report ? and to whom is 
the arm of the Lord revealed ? Isa. liii. 1. 

The terms of denying a man s self, or crucifying the flesh with 
the affections and lusts thereof, or cutting off right hands, and 
plucking out right eyes ; of hating father, mother, wife, child, name, 
house, and lands without which Christ will not save the soul 
are so irksome, and contrary to the sensual, brutish man, that 
rather than admit them, they will take their leave of both Saviour 
and salvation. Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that 
leadeth to life, and few there be that find it, Mat. xvi. 24 ; Gal. 
v. 24 ; Mark ix. 43 ; Luke xiv. 26 ; Mat. vii. 14. 

Header, I take not delight to number the people of God, much 
less to lessen their number. The Lord knoweth I have not written 
this head without some sorrow of heart ; my prayer is like that of 
Joab s, The Lord add unto his people an hundredfold, and grant 
that his sons may come from far, and his daughters from the ends 
of the earth, that the dominions of his Son may be from sea to sea, 
and from one end of the land unto the other, 2 Sam. xxiv. But, 
without all controversy, they are comparatively very few; and 
why doth the word of God mention it so much but to make thee 
more diligent and violent for the kingdom of heaven, Mat. vii. 13, 14. 
If there were but few damned, and many saved, out of the places 
where we live, I think it would behove thee to try upon what 

1 Totus mundus est Arrianus. Jerome. 


ground thou standest, lest thou shouldst be one of those few that 
must suffer the vengeance of eternal fire ; but when so many, when 
such multitudes, go in the broad way that leadeth to destruction, 
when the love of many waxeth cold, and it is but an lie almost that 
shall endure to the end, and be saved, Mat. xxiv. 12, how much, 
how much doth it concern thee to look about thee that all things 
are right within betwixt God and thy soul. 

The third motive. 

Thirdly, Consider the profitableness of a serious faithful examina 
tion of thy estate ; if thou hast this spiritual life, thy comfor 
dependeth upon the knowledge of it. He that hath true grace 
shall go to heaven certainly ; but he only that knoweth it, shall g 
to heaven comfortably. What the lawyers say of civil things, 
may say of spiritual : Things that appear not, are all one as if the] 
were not at all in being. 1 What comfort hath he that is heir to 
vast estate, till he know of it, more than he that hath nothing to do 
with it ? What comfort is it to thee that thou art a child of God, 
a member of Christ, an heir of heaven, unless thou knowest it upon 
Scripture grounds ? If twenty or thirty are condemned, and one 
be pardoned, this man torments himself with fears and terrors as 
much as the rest, till he knoweth of his pardon. Doth not many 
a Christian, like Jacob, go down to the grave with sorrow, and re 
fuse to be comforted, only upon a false supposition, that the Joseph 
of their soul is dead, when indeed he is alive, and in favour in the 
heavenly court, as they upon a true search and inquiry will find ? 
The saints have known their good estate. I do not put thee upon, 
the labour in vain, Gal. ii. 20 ; 2 Cor. v. 1 ; and the profit will] 
answer thy pains. And how contented wilt thou be in all conditions^ 
when thou hast once attained the knowledge of the good estate God- 
ward. Thou wilt bid every messenger welcome for his sake thati 
sendeth him ; thou needest not fear any servant can night or dayi 
knock at thy door with ill news. How willing wilt thou go to duty, 
and with what alacrity perform them, knowing the God whom 
thou drawest nigh to is thy loving Father ; the Christ, in whose 
name thou approachest, is thy lovely Saviour ; nay, how joyfully 
mayest thou think of death, as the portal through which thou shalt 
go into thy Master s joy and endless life. Believe it, thy life will 
be a heaven upon earth. And shouldst thou find -thy estate lost, 
will it not be an infinite mercy to thee, that thou didst know it be- 

1 De non apparcntibus et non existentibus, eadeni est ratio. 


fore it was too late ? How will it awaken thee out of thy security, 
and affrighten thee upon the apprehension of thy misery ! how will 
it quicken thee to mind thy duty, in loathing thyself, in leaving 
thy sins, and in flying to thy Saviour ! Sound conversion begins 
at self-examination : first we search and try our ways, and then 
turn to the Lord, Lam. iii. 40. The way to have our sores 
cured, is first to have them thoroughly searched : ; I considered my 
ways, and turned my feet to thy testimonies/ Ps. cxix. 59. If 
thou wouldst have thy face clean, look into the glass of the law, 
and view thy spots. He that knoweth not that he is in a wrong 
path, will not turn back, though the farther he goeth, the greater is 
his deviation and danger. Jer. xxxi. 19, After I was instructed, 
or after I was made known to myself, I repented. As Abigail said 
to David, If thou hearken to thy servant, it will be no grief of mind 
hereafter to my lord, that thou art kept from shedding of blood. 
So say I to thee, If thou wilt faithfully examine thyself, it will be 
no cause of sorrow hereafter to thee, that thou wert thereby kept 
from a further shedding the blood of thy soul. I will conclude this 
motive with the meditation of the learned and holy bishop, now 
with Christ. 1 

" That which is said of the elephant, that being guilty of his 
deformity, he cannot abide to look on his face in the water, but 
seeks for troubled and muddy channels, we see in well moralised 
men of evil conscience, who know their souls are so filthy, that they 
dare not so much as view them, but shift off all checks of their 
former iniquity, with the excuses of good fellowship. Whence it 
is that every small reprehension galls them, because it calls the eye 
of the soul home to itself, and makes them see a glimpse of what they 
would not. So have I seen a foolish and timorous patient, which 
knowing his wound very deep, would not endure the chirurgeon to 
search it ; whereon what can ensue, but a festering of the part, and 
a danger of the whole body. So have I seen many prodigal wasters 
run so far in books, that they cannot abide to hear of a reckoning. 
It hath been an old and true proverb, Oft and even reckonings 
make long friends. I will oft sum my estate with God, that I may 
know what I have to expect and answer for ; neither shall my score 
run on so long with God, that I shall not know my debts, or fear 
an audit, or despair of pardon." 

1 Bisb. Hall s Meditat. and Vow., Cent. ii. Meditat. 4. 



The marks of a true Christian from the text. 

I come to the touchstone, by which thou must be tried, whether 
thou art true gold or counterfeit. It is likely thou presumest thy 
estate is good ; well, art thou willing the word of God that must, 
whether thou wilt or no, judge thee for thy eternal life or death at 
the last day should try thee at this day ? l If thy wares be right 
and good, thou wilt not be afraid to bring them out of thy dark 
shop into the light. If thy title be sound and good, I know thou 
wilt be ready for a fair trial at law, even at the law of God. 

I shall try thee two ways, though both will lead to the same 
place. I must first entreat thee to put those four particulars to thy 
soul, which in the beginning I told thee were included in that ex 
pression, To me to live is Christ. 

The first mark. 

Ask thy soul what is the principle of thy religious performances, 
what is the spring of thy obedience. Men indeed judge of others 
principles by their practices, because they cannot discern the heart, 
whether it be right in a duty or no ; but God judgeth of men s 
practices by their principles, as we may see by his speech of Paul, 
Behold he prayeth, Acts ix. 11. Paul was a pharisee, one of the 
strictest of them, and they were much in prayer. But God, who knew 
his heart was wrong in former duties, takes not any notice of them. 
Now behold he prayeth ; he might say a prayer before, but he never 
prayed a prayer till now. When he had a right principle, being re 
generated by the Holy Ghost, then, and not till then, he made 
a right prayer. Till the tree be good, the fruit can never be good, 
Mat. vii. 16. Now friend, what is the principle of thy duties ? is 
it fear of men, hope of honour, desire of gain, or merely the stopping 
the mouth of conscience, or custom ? are these the weights that 
make thy clock to go ? and if these were taken off, would thy de 
votion stand still ? then thy heart is not right in the sight of God ; 
entreat him, for the Lord s sake, that the thought of thy heart may 
be forgiven thee. Or do thy pious actions flow from a renewed 
will, and renewed affections ? Doth the outward correspondency 
of thy life to the law of God, proceed from an inward conformity in 

1 Ad hunc librum, ut judicem; ad alios, ut judex divenio ; saith Melanchthon. 


thy heart to the nature and law of God, from the law written 
within ? If it be thus, thy condition is safe ; for the deeper the 
spring is from whence the water comes, the sweeter the water is, 
and thy services the more acceptable to God. 

Speak thyself, whether thou prayest, readest, nearest, singest from 
the divine nature within, from love to the infinitely amiable God, 
from the delight thou takest in communion with him in duties. Oh 
how sweet is that honey, that drops of its own accord from the 
comb ! and how pure is that wine which floweth freely from the 
grape ! So grateful and acceptable is that sacrifice to God, which 
is seasoned with sincere love : Blessed is the man that feareth the 
Lord, and delighteth greatly in his commandments, Ps. cxxviii. 1. 

Or dost thou worship God from the same principle the Sadducees 
do, who deny the resurrection only from a desire it may go well 
with thee in this life ? or from the same principle from which the 
Persians do the devil only from fear lest he should do thee hurt ? 
Surely that service will be sour, which like verjuice is squeezed out 
of the crabs. To serve God with a filial fear is commendable, but 
to serve him from a servile fear is unacceptable. 

The upright Christian worketh from an inward principle, the 
new creation within ; and thence it is that spiritual things are so 
natural and delightful to his regenerate part ; as we see in David, 
I delight to do thy will, my God. How cometh this to pass, 
but from an inward principle ? Thy law is within my heart, Ps. 
xl. 8 ; or as it is in Hebrew, Thy law is in the midst of my bowels. 
But now, a hypocrite usually acteth from some outward principle, 
as the pharisees did, Mat. xxiii. 14, 27, and vi. 1 , 5. The wind from 
without makes their mill to go ; some goads, or whips, force them 
forward ; hence it is that, like tired jades, they are presently weary, 
and desire nothing more than to rest, and cease from such un 
pleasant labour. 

TJie second mark. 

Ask thy soul what is the pattern of the life ; whom dost thou 
labour to imitate ? is it Christ or thy neighbour ? Dost thou set thy 
watch by the town clock, or by the dial of Scripture, because that 
never faileth of going according to the Sun of righteousness ? A 
man dead spiritually, like dead fish, ever swimmeth down with the 
stream of the times ; will follow a multitude to do evil, cannot 
endure to be singular. Like the planet Mercury, at best, if in con 
junction with good, he is good ; if with bad, he is bad ; or, like 


water, taketh the figure of the vessel, whatever it be, into which it 
is put. But now a living Christian doth not dress himself by the 
glass of the times ; whilst he is in the wilderness of this world, he 
may follow the cloud of faithful witnesses, but it must be no farther 
than they follow Christ, 1 Cor. xi. 1. Christ is the great standard 
by which he measureth and trieth, and which he endeavoureth to 
imitate in his thoughts, words, and actions. He doth uti verbis et 
nummis prcesentibus, et vivere moribus prceteritis, use such words j 
and money as is current at present, but lives after that example 
which was in times past. The patterns of godly men bear much 
sway with him ; but he knoweth there are some things in their 
lives, which are sea-marks to be avoided, and not land-marks to 
direct us. Therefore, like the eagle, he looketh most at the sun, 
Christ himself. 1 Now, Christian, examine thyself, whom dost thou 
look upon for thy pattern ; is it thy desire and care to regulate thy 
family and life, as such a knight, or esquire, or gentleman in the 
parish where thou livest ordereth his, or as the profane, irreligious 
neighbours do theirs ? or dost thou look upon, and labour to re- j 
semble Jesus Christ, to govern thy house and heart as he did his, 
praying with his apostles, instructing them in the mysteries of the 
kingdom of heaven, and the like ? Mat. vi. Walking humbly, in 
offensively, and worthy of the Lord, even unto all well-pleasing/ 
Heb. vii. 26 ; 1 Peter i. 19. 

It is reported of Jerome, that having read the religious life and 
death of Hilarion, he cried out, holding up the book, Well, Hilarion 
shall be the champion whom I will follow. So when thou readest 
in the Scripture of the heavenly pious life, and holy patient death 
of the Eedeemer, how he did all things well, and none could con- 1 
vince him of sin; is thy soul so ravished with the beauty and] 
lustre of those many graces, which shined so eminently in him, that 
it breatheth out, Oh that I were like him ! oh that I could be as 
meek and lowly as Christ, that I could deny myself, and despise 
the world, and glorify God as much as Christ did, that the same 
mind were in me that was in Christ Jesus ! 2 And though to thy 
hearty sorrow, thou seest how far short thou comest of a perfect 
conformity to him, yet thou resolvest to use all means appointed,, 
that thou mayest be more like him, and concludest, Well, Christ 
shall be the only champion whom I will follow. Answer thy con 
science within thee, whether it be thus or no ; for if thou art a 

1 Admonet non omnes promiscue esse imitandos. Calv. in Phil. iii. 
z Christian! a Christo nomen acceperunt, et operae pretium est, ut sunt hseredes 
nominis, ita sint imitatorea sanctitatis. Bern. Senten., p. 496. 


living member, thou wilt resemble thy head : Those whom God 
did foreknow, he did predestinate to be conformable to the image 
of his Son, Rom. viii. 29. As the image in the glass resembleth 
the face, in figure, feature, and favour, so doth the true Christian 
after his proportion resemble Jesus Christ. 

The third mark. 

Is Christ the comfort of thy life ? When trouble, like frosty 
weather, overtaketh thee, which is the fire at which thou warmest 
thy heart ? Is it this friend, or that place of preferment, or any 
outward comfort whatsoever ? or is it thy relation to Christ, and 
his affection to thee ? When damps arise out of the earth, is it 
the joy of thy soul that light springs down from heaven ; or dost 
thou trust to the candle of the creature, which will burn blue and 
go out? Is Christ, man, or the world the door through which 
thy joys come in, the dish on which thou feedest with most delight? 
If Christ should give thee the long life of Methuselah, the strength 
of Samson, the beauty of Absalom, the wisdom, wealth, and renown 
of Solomon, and deny himself to thee, canst thou contentedly bear 
his absence, or wouldst thou say, as Haman in another case, and 
Absalom ; 2 Sam. xiv. 24, All this availeth me nothing, so long as 
I may not see the king s face. As Artabazus, when Cyrus gave 
him a cup of gold, and kissed Chrysantas, told the king, The cup 
thou gavest to me, was not half so good gold as the kiss thou gavest 
Chrysantas; so saith the living saint, when Christ blesseth him 
outwardly, and withdraweth himself from the soul : Lord, the cups, 
the wife and children, the food and raiment, the pleasures and 
treasures, all the earthly mercies thou givest to me, are not a quar 
ter so gcod gold as the kiss of thy love which thou givest unto thy 
favourites. kiss me with the kisses of thy mouth, for thy love 
is better than wine, Cant. i. Remember me, Lord, with the 
favour that thou bearest unto thy children : visit me with thy 
salvation; that I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice 
in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inherit 
ance, Ps. cvi. 4, 5. Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto 
me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name/ Ps. cxix. 
132. These are the holy petitions of a gracious soul for a child s 
portion. Common mercies will never content them that have special 
grace, nor satisfy them that are sanctified indeed. 

As the needle touched with the loadstone is restless, till it points 
toward the north, so the saint that is touched effectually by the 


Spirit of God, is unquiet till he turn unto, and have fellowship with, 
Jesus Christ. He may flutter up and down, like the dove, over the 
waters of this world, but can find no rest for the soles of his feet, till 
he return to Christ, the true ark till Christ put forth his hand and 
take him in, Gen. viii. 9. Then, and not till then, he crieth out, 
with the psalmist, Keturn to thy rest, my soul, for the Lord 
hath dealt bountifully with thee. 

Now, reader, what sayest thou ? how is it with thee ? Do thy 
affections, as the water of Jordan, overflow their banks at the time 
of thine earthly harvests ? Joshua iii. 13 ; or, like the bird, dost 
thou then sing most merrily when thou art mounting up to heaven ? 
Art thou willing to be served as the children of Abraham s concu 
bines, put off with ordinary gifts ? or must thou, like Isaac, have 
all, even Jesus Christ, or else thou esteemest thyself to have nothing ? 
Gen xxv. 5, 6. 

The fourth mark. 

Is Christ the end of thy life ? Is it thy main scope to live to 
him that died for thee ? Doth the compass of thy soul without 
trepidation stand right to this pole, the glory of Jesus Christ? 
For none of us liveth to himself, saith the apostle, and no man 
dieth to himself. But whether we live, we live unto the Lord, and 
whether we die, we die unto the Lord ; whether we live therefore 
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 dead and living, 
Bom. xiv. 7-9. A sincere Christian dedicates his body, soul, name, 
estate, relations, interests, and his all to the glory of Christ, and 
wisheth he had something better to consecrate to him. As the 
Grecian told the emperor, If I had more, more would I give thee. 
So the saint desireth that he may believe more, and repent more, 
and hate sin more, and for this end, that he may exalt Christ more. 
The philosopher telleth us that means move by the goodness of 
their ends ; l not by any absolute goodness of their own, but by their 
relative goodness, the goodness of their ends. As we take physic, 
not for physic s sake, but for health s sake ; so duties and ordinances 
move a Christian to mind them, not so much for their own sake, as 
for their end s sake. He prayeth, fasteth, readeth, meditateth, that 
he may thereby and therein please, glorify, and enjoy the Lord 
Jesus Christ. 

But now, a professor without the power of godliness hath another 

1 Media movent bonitate finis. 


end. He goeth to church, but it is as the cut-purse, not to seek 
God, but his prey. He performeth duties, but either for self-credit, 
Mat. vi. 2 as Pliny observeth of the nightingale, that she will sing 
much longer and louder when men are by, than when they are not ; 
or else for self-profit, Mat. xxiii. 14. As that emperor who com 
manded all golden idols to be pulled down out of churches, not out 
of hatred to the idols, but out of love to the gold ; and like him in 
the comedy, that cried out, heavens, but pointed to the earth. 
Keligion is either this man s stirrup, by which he hopes to get into 
the saddle above his neighbours, or else it is his stalking horse, 
which he contentedly followeth all day, because it may bring him 
in some gain at night. Like Satan, he may assume the shape of 
Samuel, but it is only upon some particular errand, and for his own 
ends. This man is not holy, but crafty, and doth not serve God, 
but himself of God. Header, search whether thou art one of these : 
Thou art but an empty vine, if thou bringest forth fruit to thyself, 
Hosea x. 1. Oh how many a work, materially good, being fly 
blown with self, proves formally bad, and so becomes stinking and 
unsavoury in the nostrils of God ! Self is the pirate which too too 
often intercepteth the golden fleet of religious performances, that 
they cannot return freighted with blessings. It concerneth thee 
therefore to observe thy ends ; what are thy ends in thy eating and 
drinking, and all thy natural and civil actions ? Is thy end to 
please and gratify the flesh, or is it that thou mayest get health and 
strength, and thereby be the more serviceable to thy Maker and 
Kedeemer? What is thy end in thy spiritual undertakings? is 
duty the end of duty, or is obedience to the honour of, and com 
munion with, Christ the end of thy performances ? Make a pause 
before thou readest farther, and answer the Lord, who commandeth 
thee to examine and know the state of thy soul. 

Other marks of saints. 

But because I would willingly find thee out, whoever thou art, 
and have thee fully acquainted with thy spiritual condition, I shall 
desire thee to try thy spiritual condition by the efficient cause of it, 
and that is the Spirit of God. The Holy Ghost is called the Spirit 
of life, Horn. viii. 2, and indeed he only hath this spiritual life that 
hath this Spirit of life. As all the members of the natural body 


are actuated and enlivened by the same human spirit from the 
head ; so all the members of the mystical body are quickened anc 
actuated by the same divine Spirit from their head, the Lord Jesus 
Christ. Mark, therefore, that one place in Horn. viii. 9, how full it 
is to this purpose ; for upon that place the weight of all I have to 
speak further about this use of trial will depend. The words are 
these : But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the 
Spirit of God dwell in you. Mark, Now if any man have not ; 
the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Observe, I beseech thee, 
If any man, let him pretend never so much, let his privileges be 
never so many, let his profession be never so great, and his per 
formances never so numerous, yet if he have not the Spirit of] 
Christ, he is none of his ; so that if the Spirit of Christ have not its 
habitation in thee, thou hast no spiritual relation to Jesus Christ. 

Now I shall teach thee to know whether the Spirit be in thee or 
no, by two of its effects or properties ; the first will be more gene- ; 
ral, the second more special. 

The first mark. 

The Spirit of God, if it be in thee, will purify thee, for it is a 
purifying Spirit. Sanctification is the proper work of the Spirit of] 
Christ. It is called the Holy Ghost ; and it is holy, not only sub 
jectively, but effectively ; it worketh holiness, and makes men holy, ; 
1 Cor. vi. 11. It infuseth holy habits and principles into the soul,< 
whereby it is enabled to fight with, and by degrees to foil, its cor-1 
ruptions ; it changeth the understanding by illumination, the will 
by renovation, and the affections by sanctification ; it doth not in 
fuse new faculties into the soul, but it doth renew the old ; it turn- 
eth the same waters into another channel they ran before after the" 1 
world and the flesh, but now after God and his ways ; it is, as it were, 
the same viol, only it is new tuned ; before it could make no music- 
in praying or singing, but now it is so melodious that it delighteth 
the heart, and ravisheth the ear of God himself. The old moon 
and the new moon are the same, only the new hath a new endow 
ment of light from the sun which it had not before ; so it is here, 
the purified person is the same man he was before, only he hath a 
new endowment of the light of holiness which he had not before. 

Now thus the Spirit ever worketh where it dwelletb ; it is there 
fore called a river of living waters, John vii. 38, not a pond of 
dead, but a river of living, waters. A pond will suffer dirt and mud 
to continue in it without opposition ; but a river of living waters 


purgeth out, and casteth up, its mire and dirt, its foam and scum, 
Isa. Ivii. 20. So the spirit of the world and flesh will let atheism, 
pride, and unbelief to lodge and lurk in the soul without resistance, 
unless it be a little from a natural conscience ; but the Spirit of 
God worketh out these gradually, as generous wine worketh out 
lees and dregs. The Spirit is also called fire, Acts ii. ; Mat. iii. 11 ; 
for as fire fighteth with the cold water that is over it, and by de 
grees conquereth it, and reduceth the water to its own likeness of 
heat, in some measure ; so the Spirit lusteth and fighteth against 
the flesh, and by degrees overcometh the interest of it, captivateth 
the soul to the obedience of Christ, and conformeth the whole man, 
in some measure, to the image of God. 

Examine thy soul by this ; doth the Spirit within thee combat 
with and conquer thy corruptions ? Doth it enable thee to cast 
them away with shame and detestation ? Hath it turned the bent 
of thy heart and stream of thy affections after spiritual and hea 
venly things ? The waters of the sea, as some write, though by 
their natural course they follow the centre, yet in obedience to the 
moon are subject to her motion, and so turn and return, ebb and 
flow. So though thou by nature didst follow the lusts of the flesh, 
the lusts of the eye, and the pride of life, yet in obedience to the 
Spirit dost thou now follow its motions ? Hath the interest of the 
Spirit an actual predominancy in thy soul above the interest of the 
flesh ? Canst thou say that the interest of the Spirit and the in 
terest of the flesh do often meet together on a narrow bridge, where 
both cannot go forward together, and usually thou sufferest the 
Spirit to go forward, and the flesh to go back ? When two masters 
walk together, and a servant followeth after, it is not easy to know 
to which of the two the servant belongs ; but when the masters 
part, the servant is discovered whose he is. When religion and the 
world have their interests together, thou mayest be hid ; but when 
thy credit and Christ, thy pleasure and the Spirit, come in competi 
tion, as they will very often, thou mayest discover thyself clearly 
whose servant thou art. Speak, friend, and let thy conscience wit 
ness whether it be thus or no. Thou mayest deceive, and thereby 
undo thyself, but thou canst not deceive God ; for if the Spirit do 
not sanctify thee, the Son will never save thee. Pharaoh s court 
admitted of frogs and lice, and Noah s ark received unclean beasts 
into it ; but no such vermin can crawl into the heavenly court : 
Into it can in no wise enter (observe, reader, in no wise) any 
thing that is defiled or unclean, Eev. xxi. 27. These are the words 
of the true and living God. Canst thou think that thou hast the 



Spirit of God, and shalt be a gainer by death, who art a servant of 
unrighteousness, who hast vainglory, covetousness, hypocrisy, car- 
nal-mindedness within thee, and never mournest under them, as 
one heavy laden with them, nor longest after, nor usest diligently 
the means for deliverance from them ? l Dost thou live a spi 
ritual life, that, instead of being dead to sin, art dead in sin ? and 
sbalt thou arrive at heaven, who walkest in the road to hell ? I 
assure thee, a king will sooner admit dunghill-rakers and privy- 
cleaners, in their nastiest, filthiest pickle, into his bed, than God 
will take thee, if thou be such a one, into heaven. No ; heaven is 
for the holy, and for them only. 

The second mark. 

The Spirit of God is a praying spirit : it is called the spirit of 
grace and supplication, Zech. xii. 10; the spirit of adoption, Horn, 
viii. 15 ; and of his Son, whereby they that have it cry, Abba, 
Father, Gal. iv. 6. 

As Christ in heaven makes intercession for them without them, 
Heb. vii. 25, so the Spirit of Christ on earth maketh intercession 
for them within them. God never had any still-born children. 
The fathers after the flesh sometimes have dumb children, but the 
Father of spirits never had any such. Man s invocation of God 
presently followeth upon God s effectual vocation of him. One of 
the first signs of spiritual life in Paul was spiritual breathing : Be 
hold he prayeth, Acts ix. 11 ; and it is observable that prayer is the 
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending almost of all his 
epistles. And David was three times a day, Ps. Iv. 17, nay, seven 
times a day, at this blessed duty, Ps. cxix. 164; yea, he was so 
wholly employed in it, that he speaketh as if he were altogether 
made up of it, Ps. cix. 4. But I [give myself unto] prayer, as it is 
read in our translations, 2 is added for explanation, as the different 
character sheweth,as if prayer had been his essential constitutive part. 

Some write of Latimer, that he would pray so many hours, that 
he was not able to rise. Nazianzen saith of his sister Gorgonia, 
that she prayed so much, that her knees seemed to be grown to the 
very ground. Paul the hermit was found dead kneeling upon 
his knees, holding up his hands, and lifting up his eyes. 3 Con- 
stantine the emperor would not have his effigies set up as other 

1 Kegeneratio gratuitam coram Deo justificationem individuo nexu comitatur, nee 
ab ea separari potest, etiamsi distingui debeat. Polan. Synag., lib. vi. cap. 37. 

2 Et Ego Oratio. Moller. Legit. 3 Jerome in Vit. 


princes had, in his armour, leaning, but in a posture of prayer, 
kneeling. 1 Thus all the children of God are frequent at asking 
their heavenly Father s blessing. It is the character of the worst 
of sinners they call not on God, Ps. xiv. 4 ; a man once speechless 
is nigh unto death. 2 

Now ask thy soul, Doth the Spirit of God bring thee often upon 
thy knees ? Art thou one of the generation of seekers ? Ps. xxiv. 6. 
Art thou one of God s suppliants ? Zeph. iii. 10. Dost thou know 
what it is to be poor in spirit, to be a beggar, and to live altogether 
upon the alms-basket of heaven s bounty? Is there a constant 
trade driven betwixt God and thy soul God sending down mercies, 
and thou sending up prayers ? This is the daily exchange. Canst 
thou better live without thy daily bread than this daily duty? 
When thy heart is big with grief, whither dost thou go ? Is this 
thy great ease, that thou mayest empty thy soul into God s ears ? 

Are thy prayers fervent prayers ? Is this holy fire put to thy 
daily sacrifices ? Is thy prayer made without ceasing, or instantly ? 
Acts xxvi. 7, ev eicreveta, stretched out upon the tenters, as the 
word signifieth ; not so much in the length of the petitions, as in 
the acting of holy affections. 3 

Dost thou labour in prayer? Col. iv. 12, i.e., wrestle with God, 
as the word imports, bending and straining every joint of the new 
man in the soul, that they may all help to prevail with God. Are 
all the heavenly forces within thee united when thou prayest, that, 
if possible, thou mayest take the kingdom of heaven by storm, by 
violence ? Mat. xi. 12. 

What sayest thou, reader? Dost thou, like the importunate 
widow, take no denial, but use a humble impudency, 4 as the word 
of Christ includeth, when thou art entreating the divine Majesty 
for spirituals ? Or dost thou pray, but it is as if thou prayedst 
not so dully and coldly, that thou canst hardly hear thyself? 
only, as it were, between sleeping and waking, thou mumblest over 
a few petitions, either out of custom, or to stop the mouth of con 
science, never regarding whether God answer thy requests or no. 

Didst thou but consider the dreadful majesty of that God to 
whom thou prayest, the invaluable worth of the soul, and endless 

1 Euseb. 

2 Quorum spiritus domiti sunt, et qui sese Deo subjiciunt(mendici spiritu.) Junius 
in Mat. v. 3. 

3 dyovi6/j.evoi ; Rom. xii. 12, irpoffKaprepovvres, instant in prayer, a metaphor from 
hunting dogs, which will not cease following the game till they have got it. 

* dvatSeia, Luke xi. 8. Nazian. Baith of his sister Gorgonia, that in prayer she was 
modestly impudent. 


state for which thou prayest, and the poor pittance of time, upon 
which thy eternity dependeth, that thou hast to pray in, it might 
rouse thee out of thy security. 

Common beggary, as it is the poorest, so it is the easiest trade. 
A whispering devotion is seldom answered with a loud echo from 
heaven, (Dr Arrow., Sermon on 1 Sam. vii. 12, p. 15 ;) but this 
special, as it is the richest, so it is the hardest. The fervent prayer | 
is the prevalent prayer, James v. 16. The bullet will fly no farther j 
than the force of the powder will carry it. That arrow of prayer 
that would hit the mark must be drawn with full strength. He j 
that in prayer for grace, through a humble dependence on Christ, 
will not be denied, shall not be denied. 

Lip labour doth no more than a windy instrument, makes a loud 
noise, and that is all. Prayer without the travail of the soul isi 
but the cold carcase of a duty, and no wonder if it be unsavoury in- 
God s nostrils. How many among us are there that pray every 
day for pardon and holiness, and yet shall die without them, and 
perish eternally for want of them, and all because they never begged 
them in good earnest, but were always indifferent whether God 
heard them or no. I would have such know that the blessed God 
valueth his special ware at a higher rate than to bestow it on such] 
as will not esteem it something answerable to its worth. 

It were easy to instance how fierce and fervent the children of 
God, in whom was this Spirit of God, (which is compared to fire,) 
have been in their supplications. Look Gen. xxxii. 24, 25 ; Ps.. 
v. , Ixxvii. , and Ixxxviii. Jacob wrestled with God, knd would not let 
him go unless he blessed him. Christ seemed willing to shake him 
off: Let me go, saith Christ ; I will not let thee go unless thou! 
bless me, saith Jacob. 

My limbs may go, my life may go, but no going for thee without 
a pawn, without a blessing. Thus, indeed, doth the seed of Jacob 
seek the face of their God, and thence are called Israelites ; for, as 
princes, they have power with God, and prevail, Gen. xxxii. 26, 27. 

No day passed wherein Luther spent not three hours in prayer. 
Once it fell out that I heard him, saith Vitus Theodorus of him. 
Good God, what a spirit, what a confidence was in his very ex 
pressions ! with such reverence he prayed as to a God, with such 
assurance as to a father or friend. The child hath escaped many a 
stripe by his loud cry. Heartless motions do but bespeak a denial, 
whereas fervent suits offer a sacred violence both to earth and 

And this is the difference betwixt the prayer of a living and a 


dead Christian : the prayer of the former is instant and fervent, 
not discouraged, but rather increasing, by opposition, as lime, by 
water cast upon it, burneth the hotter ; see Mat. xv. 22, and xxv. 
27 : the latter is flat and indifferent, easily put off, though it be 
with a crumb instead of a crown, with a bubble, a butterfly, instead 
of the everlasting fruition of God. 

Any temporal good is satisfying to them that have no true 
spiritual good in them, Ps. iv. 5 ; and the reason is clear. The 
breath of a pair of bellows is cold, because it doth not proceed from 
a living principle within ; but the breath of a man is warm, be 
cause it cometh from a principle of life within. So the prayer, the 
breath, of a hypocrite is cold, because it doth not flow from the 
Spirit of God, the only inward principle of spiritual life ; but the 
I prayer, the breath, of a sincere saint is warm, is fervent, because it 
proceeds from this living principle, the Spirit of Christ within. 

Indeed the Christian knoweth not how to pray as he ought, but 
the Spirit helpeth his infirmities with sighs and groanings which 
cannot be uttered, Rom. viii. 26. 

Dost thou pray constantly? That duty which is done out of 
conscience will be done with perseverance. A godly man will seek 
God s face evermore, Ps. cv. 4, and cxvi. 2 ; he calleth upon God 
as long as he liveth. Breathing heavenward in prayer is the be 
ginning and ending of his spiritual life upon earth, as we see in 
Paul, Acts ix. 6 ; and Stephen, Acts vii. 60. Paul begins his life 
with prayer, and Stephen ends his with it. 

He never taketh his leave of prayer till he is entering into the 
place of praise. Prayer is his element ; he cannot live without it, 
and communion with God in it. Prayer is the vessel by which he 
is continually trading into the holy land ; he sendeth it out fraught 
with precious graces, faith, hope, desire, love, godly sorrow, and 
the like ; and it cometh home many times richly laden with peace, 
joy, and increase of faith. 

But now a hypocrite, Job saith, will not pray always ; he will not 
always call upon God, Job xxvii. 10. Possibly he may sometimes 
cry out, as a scholar under the rod, or a malefactor upon the rack, 
For deliverance out of some affliction ; but when God openeth his 
band, and bestoweth the mercy, his mouth is shut, and his heart 
too, that you shall hear but little more of this duty. 

If he pray on his sick-bed, and God raise him up, he leaves his 
prayers sick a-bed behind him. His prayer was but a messenger 
sent about some particular errand; when that is done, the mes 
senger returneth. 



As that story of the friar speaketh, how, when he was a poor 
friar, he went ever sadly casting his eyes upon the ground ; but 
being abbot, he went merrily, looking upward. One of his com 
panions asked him the reason of that alteration : he answered, that 
when he was a common friar, he went dejected by looking down 
ward for the keys of the abbey, which now he had found, and 
therefore left that posture. 

So when a hypocrite hath the temporal good thing he desireth 
for that usually is most desired by him he hath his ends, and his 
prayer an end too. 

Or if God do not hear him presently, he will not submit patiently, 
but often flingeth away in a rage, with that wicked king, Why 
should he wait upon the Lord any longer ? 

If there come not in present profit, he will give over his trade 
as Tully said to his brother, that he would pray to the gods, bul 
that they have given over to hear. Whereas a godly man will cry] 
in the day, and not be silent in the night; he will direct his prayer 
to God, and look up, Ps. v. 3. He will pray and wait, wait andl 
pray, as you see beggars in some places ; they will beg and knit, 
knit and beg, and continue still begging and knitting. So a righ 
beggar at God s door, he will pray and work, work and pray ; ha 
will believe and pray, hope and pray, read and pray, wait and pray a 
he knoweth that it is not good to limit the Holy One of Israel ; bud 
it is good that a soul should hope, and quietly wait for the salva-! 
tion of God, Lam. iii. 26. 

A divine 1 giveth me this simile, which doth excellently illustrate 
our present subject : Take some draught-horse, and he will draw 
when the load is coming; but if he feel it not coming, he wilf 
trample, and not draw ; but take a horse of a right breed, and put 
his traces to a tree or a post, he will strain and strain, and die upon 
the place, before he will give over, though nothing comes. 2 So A 
rotten Christian, if he find no present gain coming, he gives over 
duty, fearing all is lost; but a right Christian will pray continually, 
1 Thes. v. 17, whether God hear him presently or no ; he knoweth 
that both the command of God and his own wants call upon him 
never to give over. 

Besides, this spirit of prayer abides in him for ever, John xiv. 
14, 16. 

Examine thy heart by these marks faithfully, and do not, by 
flattery or self-love, or rather self-hatred, deceive thy soul nc 

1 Mr Car. on Job xxvii. 

a Of Carolus Magnus it is said, Carolus plus cum Deo quam hominibus loquitur. 


deceit like soul-deceit but pass sentence upon thyself impartially, 
and if thou findest thy condition good, bless God, keep close to 
Jesus Christ, and labour that thou mayest walk worthy of the Lord, 
even unto all well -pleasing, Col. i. 10. The great and extra 
ordinary privileges bestowed on thee do call aloud for gracious and 
extraordinary practices from thee. 

How exemplary shouldst thou live among them, who art to live 
eternally with God ! What singular things wilt thou do for that 
God, for that Saviour, that hath done such singular things for thy 
soul ! Can any love be too much ; can any labour be too great ; 
can any honour be too high ; can any service be too holy, for that 
God to whom thou art by millions of eternal obligations thus in 
finitely infinitely bound ? 

Oh, let the fruitfulness of thy heart and life in holiness proclaim 
thine abundant thankfulness for such mercies, as for weight and 
worth exceed the very thoughts of men and angels. How abun 
dant shouldst thou be in the work of the Lord, when thou knowest 
that thy labour shall not be in vain in the Lord. 

When thou art confessing thy sins, meditate on the choosing, 
calling love of that God against whom thy sins are committed, and 
try whether the heat of that burning love will not thaw thy heart, 
and dissolve it into tears when it is most hard and icy. When thou 
art backward to a duty that hath some difficulty in it, consider Jesus 
Christ was not backward to his bitter, bloody sufferings for thy sins. 

As the soldier told Augustus when he denied his petition, I did 
not serve you so at the battle of Actium ; so say to thy soul, Jesus 
Christ did not serve thee so when he was to drink the cup of his 
Father s fierce wrath for thee ; and see whether such melting per 
suasions will not prevail with thee to subject thyself to the hardest 

When thou art departing away from God by any sinister course, 
or insincere carriage, remember who thou art one that art called 
not to sin, but sanctity ; not to uncleanness, but holiness. 

As Antigonus, being invited to a place that might probably 
prove a temptation to sin, asked counsel of Menedemus what 
he should do ; he bade him only remember he was a king s son. 
So do thou remember thine high and heavenly calling, and do 
nothing unworthy of the God that hath enrolled thy name in the 
book of life, that hath ransomed thy soul with the precious blood 
of his Son, and hath sanctified thee by the effectual operations of 
jhis Spirit, but walk worthy of the vocation wherewith, and where- 
unto, thou art called, Eph. iv. 1. 


It is an excellent meditation of Eusebius Emissenus : Though 
the devil, saith he, should be damned for many sins, and I but 
for one, yet mine would exceed the devils impiety. They never 
sinned against a God that became an angel for them; they! 
never sinned against a Mediator that was crucified for them ; j 
but miserable and wretched I and it is wonderful that my 1 
heart melteth not when it thinketh on it I have sinned against 
a God that became a man for me, against a God that died 
an ignominious death for me ; against a God that hath left me 
an example of love and holiness. I am more unworthy than the! 


Consider it, friend : no sins admit of higher aggravation, nor 
are matter of deeper provocation, than the sins of those that are;, 
interested in God s special distinguishing affection. In a word- 
for I had not thought to have told thee so much ; it was for the 
sake of others principally that I append this piece since it shall 
be thy reward to be like an angel in happiness, ever to behold the 
face of the Father, let it be thy work and endeavour to be like an 
angel in holiness, to do the will of God on earth as it is in heaven, 
readily, heartily, and universally. 

But if thou find, upon a thorough search, that thou art a stranger 
to this spiritual life, if conscience, sent to inquire, bring in this 
verdict, that this purifying, praying Spirit dwelleth not in thy 
soul, let me beseech thee, in the fear of the Lord, to bethink thy 
self what is like to become of thee for ever. 

One of the martyrs put his finger into the candle, to try how he 
could endure the fire in which he was afterwards to be burnt. Do 
thou but read over again the former use of information, and con 
sider whether thou art able to undergo that loss, and that terrible, 
intolerable, eternal wrath of an omnipotent God, which is therein 
declared, and by Scripture proved, to be the portion of all that live 
and die in thy condition. 

Suppose thou shouldst hear a voice this hour, as that wicked 
pope did, Come, thou wretch, unto thy particular and eternal 
judgment,! what wouldst thou do? where wouldst thou appear? 
and where wouldst thou leave thy glory ? Isa. x. 3. I would not 
for a world take thy turn. How is it possible that thou canst eat, 
or drink, or sleep with any quietness of mind ; that in the day thy 
meat is 2 sauced with sorrow, and thy drink mingled with weeping ; 
that in the night thou art not scared with dreams, and terrified 
with visions, when thy whole eternity dependeth upon that little 

i Veni, miser, in judicium. 3 Q- is not ? ED. 


thread of life, which is in danger every moment to be cut asunder, 
and thou to drop into hell ? 

Art thou a man that hast reason, and canst thou be contented 
one hour in such a condition ? Art thou a Christian, that believest 
the word of God to be truth, and canst thou continue one moment 
longer in that Sodom of thy natural estate, which will be punished 
with fire and brimstone ? 

I tell thee, didst thou and the rest of thy carnal neighbours but 
give credit to Scripture, thou and they too would sooner sleep in a 
chamber where all the walls round, the ceiling above, and floor be 
low, were in a burning-light flame, than rest quietly one moment 
in thine estate of sin and wrath. But for thy sake, thy condition 
yet not being desperate, though very dangerous, that thou mightst 
avoid the easeless misery of the sinner, and attain the endless 
felicity of the saint, I have purposely written the next use, which 
I request thee, as thou lovest thy life, thy soul, thine unchangeable 
good, nay, I charge thee, as thou wilt answer the contrary at the 
great and dreadful day of the Lord Jesus, that thou read carefully, 
and that thou practise faithfully, the means and directions therein 
propounded out of the word of God. 


The third use viz., Exhortation to mind spiritual life. 

Thirdly, My third use shaU be of exhortation to those that are 
dead in sins to labour for this spiritual life. Whoever thou art 
that wouldst have gain by thy death, then get Christ to be thy life. 
Hast thou read of that fulness of joy, of those rivers of pleasures, 
of that exceeding and eternal weight of glory, of that kingdom 
that cannot be shaken, of that enjoyment of Christ, of that full im 
mediate fruition of God, and in him of all good, of that perfect 
freedom from all evil which they, and only they, shall be partakers 
of who have this spiritual life ? And is not thy heart inflamed 
with love to it P 1 thy soul enlarged in desire after it? thy will re 
solved to venture all, and undertake anything, for it ? Surely, if 
thou art a man, and hast reason, thy will and affections will be car 
ried out after things that are good ; but if thou hast but a spark 
of Christianity, thou canst not but be exceedingly ravished with 
things so eminently, so superlatively, so infinitely good. The his- 

1 Extrema Christianorum desiderantur, etsi non exordia. Jer. 


torian observeth that the riches of Cyprus invited the Komans to 
hazard dangerous fights for the conquering it. How many storms 
doth the merchant sail through for corruptible treasures ! How 
often doth the soldier venture his limbs, nay, his life, for a little 
perishing plunder ! Header, I am persuading thee to mind the 
true treasure, durable riches, even those which will swim out with 
thee in the shipwreck of death. 

Stephen Gardiner said of justification by faith only, that it was 
a good supper doctrine, though not so good a breakfast one. So 
the power of godliness, this spiritual life, though it be not so plea 
sant to live in as to the flesh, yet it is most comfortable to die with. 

When Moses had heard a little of the earthly Canaan, how ear 
nestly doth he beg that he might see it: Deut. iii. 25, I pray thee, 
let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that 
goodly mountain, and Lebanon. Thou hast read a little of the 
heavenly Canaan, and hast thou not ten thousand times more cause 
to desire it ? 

Plato saith, If moral philosophy could be seen with mortal eyes, 
it would draw all men s hearts after it. May not I more truly say, 
If the gain of a saint at death could be seen with spiritual eyes, 
with the eye of faith, it would make all men in love with it, and 
eager after it. Balaam, as bad as he was, did desire to die the 
death of the righteous ; and surely they that dislike their way, can 
not but desire their end. But God hath joined them both together, 
and it is not in the power of any man to put them asunder ; there 
fore, if thou wouldst die their deaths, thou must live their spiritual 
lives. Holiness is the seed out of which that harvest groweth. If 
thou wouldst be safe when thou shalt launch into the vast ocean of 
eternity, if thou wouldst be received into the celestial habitation, 
when thou shalt be turned out of thy house of clay, make sure of 
this life in Christ, Isa. ii. 12. If a heathen prince would not ad 
mit virgins to his bed before they were purified, canst thou think 
the King of kings will take thee into his nearest and dearest em 
braces before thou art sanctified ? Believe it, heaven must be in 
thee before thou shalt be in heaven. Unless the Spirit of God 
adorn thy soul, as Abraham s servant did Kebecca, with the jewels 
of grace, thou art no fit spouse for the true Isaac, the Lord of glory. 

The brutish worldling, indeed, would willingly live profanely, 
and yet die comfortably; dance with the devil all day, and sup 
with Christ at night ; have his portion in this world with the rich 
man, in the other world with Lazarus. As the young swaggerer 
told his graceless companion, when they had been with Ambrose, 


and seen him on his death-bed, nothing affrighted at the approach 
of the king of terrors, but triumphing over it, Oh that I might live 
with thee, and die with Ambrose ! l But this cannot be. A happy 
death is the conclusion of a holy life. The God who giveth heaven 
hath in great letters written in his word upon what terms, and no 
other, it may be had : He chooseth to salvation, through sanctifi- 
cation of the Spirit and belief of the truth, 2 Thes. ii. 13. 

It is as possible for thee to enjoy the benefit of the Son s passion, 
without the Father s creation, as without the Spirit s sanctification. 
Believe the word of truth : John iii. 3, Verily, verily, I say unto 
thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of 
God ; and Heb. xii. 14, Follow holiness, without which no 
man shall see the Lord. Consider, friends, this is the word of the 
true and living God ; and this law, this standing law of heaven, is 
like the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be altered ; 
not one jot or tittle of it can possibly go unfulfilled, Mat. v. 18. 
Darest thou think that the God of truth will be found a liar for 
thy sake, as he must be if he save thee in thy sinful, unconverted 
state ? I tell thee, the God of holiness and justice will send mil 
lions of such carnal wretches as thou art to hell, there to suffer the 
vengeance of the unquenchable fire, before he will stain his hon 
our in the least. No, he is more tender of his glory than so. Though 
thou carest not how much thou trample his honour in the dust by 
the wilful breach of his commands, yet he is exceeding jealous of 
his great name ; and when his very being is engaged for the accom 
plishment of his word, he will not ungod himself to glorify thee 
in an unsanctified condition ; and therefore do not delude thy soul 
in presuming that he that made thee will not damn thee ; for he 
saith himself, that unless thou art new made, and hast that true 
understanding to fear his majesty, and depart from iniquity, he 
that made thee will not save thee, and he that formed thee will 
shew thee no mercy, Isa. xxvii. 11. I hope, therefore, thou art 
fully convinced that it highly concerneth thee to be night and day, 
with the greatest diligence imaginable, labouring for this spiritual 
life, when thine everlasting comfort in the other world, thine eter 
nal life, dependeth so much upon it. 

1 There is a story of one that, being reproved for his vicious life, and persuaded 
to mind godliness, would answer often, That it was but saying three words at his 
death, and he was sure to have eternal life. Probably his three words were, Miserere 
mei Dew, but he riding one day over a bridge, his horse stumbled, and as both were 
falling into the river, he crieth out, Capiat omnia diabolus, Horse and man and all 
to the devil. As he lived, so he died, with three words, but not such as he hoped to 
have had. 


Art thou rich ? hearken to this word of counsel from God, look . 
after these durable riches, Prov. viii. 18. Thy earthly riches are 
not for ever, Prov. xxvii. 24. Though thy heart possibly is more 
set upon thy houses and hoards than upon heaven, yet thou must 
take thine everlasting leave of them ere long ; when these un 
searchable riches in Christ, which I am persuading thee to mind, 
outlive the days of heaven, run parallel with the life of God 
and line of eternity, Prov. viii. 18 ; nay, till thou livest this 
spiritual life, all thy wealth is want, all thy glory is ignominy, 
all thy comforts are crosses, yea, curses to thee, Prov. i. 32 ; Ps. 
Ixix. 22. 

All thy outward comforts, like the rainbow, shew themselves in 
all their dainty colours, and then vanish away ; or, if they stay with 
thee till death, then they die with thee. Oh how hath the moon 
of great men s plenty often been eclipsed at the full, and the sun 
of their pomp gone down at noon ! 

Through the corruption of thy heart they prove but fuel for thy 
lusts on earth ; and if thou shouldst die, having only this world s 
goods, they will feed the eternal fire in hell. It is storied of 
Heliogabalus that he had silken halters to hang himself with, ponds 
of sweet water to drown himself in, and gilded poison to poison 
himself. Truly more hurtful are the world s trinity, riches, hon 
ours, and pleasures, to them that have great estates in the world, 
but no estate in the covenant. Poison worketh more furiously in 
wine than in water, and so doth corruption many times bewray 
itself more in plenty than in poverty. It is sad that thou shouldst 
not be led to God by that which came from God. But oh how 
lamentable is it that thou shouldst, Jehu-like, fight against thy 
Master with his own soldiers ; like the dunghill, the more the sun 
shineth on it, it sends forth the more stinking savour ; that thou 
shouldst, by the riches which his Majesty hath given thee, only 
have this cursed advantage, to be the greater rebel. 1 Many good 
works hath Christ done for thee ; for which dost thou stone him ? 
John x. 32 ; for which of them dost thou stone him out of thy house ? 
By oaths, or drunkenness, or gaming, or by atheism and irreligion, 
or at least by putting him off with a few short, cold, formal prayers, 
and that but now and then neither. Many good works hath he 
done for thee ; for which of them dost thou stone him out of thy 
heart ? By letting the world, and the things of the world, have 
the highest seat there, the throne thy chiefest esteem, warmest love, 

1 The poet feigned Pluto to be the god of riches and hell, as if they had been in 
separable. Homer. 


and strongest trust ? What sayest thou:? is it not thus ? And is 
this to be led by his goodness to repentance ? Oh consider thy 
body s mercies are holy baits laid by God to catch thy soul. He 
trieth the vessel with water, to see whether it will hold wine. 
Do not, like the foolish fly, burn thyself in this flame of love ; turn 
not his grace into wantonness, but let the kindness of God be 
salvation unto thee. Thou shouldst, by those cords of love, be 
drawn nearer unto him, and by those bands of mercies be tied 
closer to his commands. How shouldst thou gather ; if the streams 
of creatures be so sweet, what sweetness is there in God, who is 
the fountain. If he be so good in temporals, surely he is better in 
spirituals, and best of all in eternals. How unsatisfied shouldst 
thou be with all these outward gifts, which may consist with his 
everlasting hatred, and resolve, with Luther, not to be put off with 
the blessings of his left hand, of his footstool. 1 Thou hast the 
more cause to look about thee, because few of thy rank are truly 
religious. A little godliness will go a great way with great men, 
though of all men they have most obligations from God. See James 
ii. 5, God chooseth the poor of the world rich in faith, and heirs 
of his kingdom ; and Christ telleth us, it is easier for a camel to 
go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into 
the kingdom of heaven/ Mat. xix. 24. Our Saviour, indeed, doth 
not speak of an impossibility, but of the difficulty of it, and the 
rareness of it. Job unfolded the riddle, and got through the 
needle s eye with three thousand camels. But it is hard to be 
wealthy, and not wanton ; too too often are riches, like bird-lime, 
hindering the soul in its flight towards heaven. A load of earth 
hath sunk many a soul to hell ; and the enriching of the outward 
occasioned the impoverishment of the inward man. A rich man is 
a rare dish at heaven s table. Blessed be God there are some, but 
surely few rich of those very few that shall be saved, 1 Cor. i. 26. 
The weighty burden in a vessel, though it consisted of the most 
precious commodities, hath not seldom caused its miscarriage, when 
otherwise it had arrived safely at its, desired haven. As the moon, 
when she is at the full, is farthest from, and in most direct opposi- 
tion to, the sun, so it is the temper of most in thy condition to be 
farthest from, and most opposite to, Christ, when they receive the 
most light of prosperity from him, and are fullest of the blessings 
of his goodness. Take heed thou be not like the horse and mule, 
Ps. xxxii. 9, to drink plentifully of the streams, and never look to 
the fountain ; but let thine eyes, as the church s, be doves eyes. 
1 Valde protestatus summe nolle sic ab eo satiari. Melch. Adam, vit. Luth. 


When the dove hath pecked her corn, she turneth her eyes heaven 
ward ; she looketh up, Cant. i. 15. 

It is reported of the Spartans, that they use to choose their king 
every year, during which year he liveth in all abundance, but is, 
after the year be expired, banished into some remote place for ever. 
One king, knowing this, being called to be king, did not, as others, 
prodigally spend his revenues, but heaped up all the treasure he 
could get together, and sent it before to that place whither he 
should be banished ; and so, in the year of his government, made 
a comfortable provision for his whole life. So wise are they that 
lay up a treasure in heaven against the time of their departure out 
of this world. 

Art thou poor? Labour for this spiritual life; it will make 
thee rich indeed. Thou hast little on earth, but thou mayest have 
a treasure in heaven. God oifereth thee grace, Christ, and life, as 
freely as others ; take heed thou neglect them not, and think, as 
they in Sweden, that it is only for gentlemen to keep the Sabbath ; 
that it is only for gentlemen to mind religion. Thou hast a soul 
to save, an endless estate to provide for, a hell to escape, a heaven 
to attain, a dreadful day of judgment to prepare for, as well as 
they. It is a great mercy, that though God difference thee from 
others in temporals, yet not in spirituals. Among the Israelites, 
the price for their ransom was equal, half a shekel ; and the rich 
shall not give more, nor the poor less, Exod. xxx. 12, 15, 16, 
thereby signifying, 1 that the same price was paid by Christ for the 
redemption of all, poor as well as rich, and that the virtue and 
merits of Christ s passion belong equally to all. Thy outward con 
dition doth not exclude thee from an interest in Christ s death and 
intercession. Poor Lazarus may lie in the bosom of rich Abraham. 
The poor may be gospelised, as that Mat. xi. 5 is sometimes read ; 
not only have the gospel preached to them, but be changed by it. 
God accepted the lamb and dove in sacrifice, when he rejected the 
lion and eagle. But thou must be one of God s poor, not of the 
devil s ragged regiment. Will it not be sad for thee to have two 
hells ; one on earth, in cold, hunger, thirst, and wants, and another 
in hell, in heat and unspeakable woe ? How many of thy condition 
serve the devil and the world all their days in drudgery and slavery, 
and are turned into hell as a sumpter horse at the night of death, 
after all his hard travel, with his back full of galls and bruises. 

A low man, if his eye be clear, may look as high as the tallest ; 
the least pigmy may from the lowest valley see the sun as fully as 

i Willet in loc. 


a giant upon the highest mountain. 1 Christ is now in heaven ; it 
is not the smallness of our person, nor the meanness of our condi 
tion, that can let us from beholding him. The soul hath no stature, 
neither is heaven to be had with reaching. If God clear the eyes 
of our faith, we shall be high enough to behold him. 

Do not say, thou art to provide for thy wife and children, and 
hast no time to regard thy soul in a solemn, serious performance of 
duties. Remember the same God that commandeth thee to follow 
thy particular calling as a man, enjoineth thee likewise to follow 
thy general calling as a Christian; and that, in the first place, 
Seek first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, and 
all other things shall be added to you, Mat. vi. 33 ; and also with 
the greatest labour : John vi. 27, Phil. ii. 12, Labour not for the 
food that perisheth, but for the food that endureth to everlasting 

Where our Saviour doth not indeed absolutely forbid labour for 
the body, but comparatively ; labour for the food that perisheth is 
not prohibited, but labour for the meat which endureth to everlast 
ing life is preferred. Thy labour for thy soul should be so much, 
so great, that thy labour for thy body should be no labour at all, 
not deserve the name of labour in comparison of it. Now consider 
what answer thou wilt make to the great God when he shall plead 
with thee for the breach of these commands ; besides, hast not 
thou many spare hours in many evenings, and on wet days, wherein 
thou mightst go to God in secret, and with thy family, and humble 
thy soul in a mournful confession of thy sins, and sensible appre 
hension of the wrath which is due to thee, and wherein thou mightst 
be importunate for pardon and grace, without which thou art lost 
for ever ? Nay, the Lord knoweth how many Lord s days thou 
hast enjoyed, which days he hath set apart, as well out of mercy 
as out of sovereignty, not only for the glory of his name, but also 
for the good of thy soul, wherein thou mightst both publicly, 
privately, and secretly, have furthered thy spiritual and eternal 
good. But how dost thou squander away those precious hours, 
sometime in corporal labour, always in spiritual idleness, in sleep 
ing, or sitting at thy door, or talking with thy neighbours, and yet 
thou hast no time for thy soul. 

But, lastly, Tell me, hast thou time to eat, and drink, and work, 
and sleep, and no time to work out thy salvation, to fit thy soul for 
death, for judgment, for eternity? If thy house were in a flame, 
thou wouldst not let it burn, and say, I have no time to quench it. 

1 B. Hall, Contempl. 


If thy neighbour call thee to sit, or talk, or dine, or, it may be, to 
go to the alehouse with him, thou dost not answer him, I must 
provide for my family, I have no time ; but when thy Maker and 
preserver, the blessed God, calleth upon thee, by his Spirit and 
word, to be diligent for the making thy calling and election sure, 
2 Pet. i. 10, thou must provide for thy family, thou hast no time 
for this. Foolish worm, leave off thy vain and cursed pretences, 
and set upon the business for which thou wast sent into the world, 
even the glorifying and obeying the Lord, or thou shalt have 
another manner of answer to thy simple excuses from the judge of 
quick and dead, when, for thy want of time to serve him in, he 
shall give thee an eternity to suffer in. 

Header, I have two things to desire of thee, before I deliver thee 
the directions which I have received of the Lord for thee ; and in 
deed unless thou grant me, or rather God and thy soul, these two 
requests, all that I have to say will be to no purpose at all My 
requests are, that thou wouldst follow the counsel of God, in order 
to the recovery of thy soul out of its bottomless misery with all 
speed and with all diligence. Now, because they are of such ex 
ceeding importance, that, if thou art once persuaded to them, my 
work will be half effected ; and because delays and laziness are the 
two great gulfs in which such multitudes of souls are drowned and 
perish, I shall speak the more to them. 


The life in Christ must be minded speedily, with the grounds of it. 

My first request to thee is, that thou wouldst presently set about 
the affairs of thy soul. We say of things that must be done, there 
needeth not any deliberation about them. 1 Is not this the one thing 
necessary, to prepare for the last hour, to make sure of thine ever 
lasting welfare ? If thou believest the word of God, thou wilt not 
give the flesh so much breath as to debate it, much less wilt thou, 
as Felix did, put off the thoughts of righteousness and judgment to 
come, till thou art at better leisure, till thou hast a more convenient 
season. 2 What more weighty work hast thou to do, than to work 
out thy own salvation ? Is the following thy calling, hoarding up 
a heap of earth, feeding, clothing that flesh which shall shortly be 

1 De rebus necessariis non est deliberandum. 
a In re tarn justa nulla est consultatio. 


food for worms ; is any of these half so necessary as thy provision 
for eternity ? 

If thou art old, it is high time to begin to prepare for thy latter 
end. Thou hast the feet of thy body almost already in the earth, 
in the grave ; and hadst thou not need have the feet of thy soul, 
thy affections, in heaven ? Thou hast but a little time to converse 
with men ; doth it not behove thee to be much in communion with 
God ? Death often, possibly, knocketh at thy door by the hand 
of sickness, and warneth thee to look after another habitation, for 
thou art to be turned out of thy house of clay. Dost thou take 
warning ? what wilt thou do if thou shouldst die before thou didst 
ever begin to live if the sun of thy life should set before the sun 
of righteousness hath arisen on thee ? All the while thou livest thou 
art dead, and thou livest long to add to thy torments, as others have 
died soon to hasten them. Thou art but like stubble, laid out 
a-drying to burn the better in hell, all the while thou continuest a 
stranger to the new birth. 

Thou hast every day been treasuring up wrath against the day 
of wrath, Rom. ii. 5 ; been gathering, as it were, more wood to in 
crease those flames in which thou, if thou thus diest, shalt live for 
ever. Because judgment against an evil work is not speedily 
executed, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to 
do evil. Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and his days be 
prolonged, it shall not go well with the wicked, Eccles. viii. 11, 12, 
13. The sinner an hundred years old shall be accursed/ Isa. Ixv. 

I have read of the Circassians, a kind of mongrel Christians, that 
they divide their time betwixt the devil and God, dedicating their 
youth to robbery, and their old age to repentance. How much time 
hast thou spent in the service of sin ! how little time hast thou 
lost for the service of God and thy soul ! Is it not high time for 
thee to number thy days, and to apply thy heart unto wisdom 
speedily ? 

Old sinner, dost thou not tremble to think that there is but a step 
betwixt thee and death ! nay, betwixt thee and hell. Oh the time, 
and talents, and opportunities which thou hast to reckon for more 
than others! Happy, happy had it been for thee to have been 
turned out of the womb into hell, rather than to die an old man, 
and not a babe in Christ. If thou hast a spark of love to thyself, 
mind thine inward change presently, lest thy change come, even 
death, and send thee to unchangeable misery. 

If thou art young, mind the gathering the manna of godliness in 


the morning of thine age ; present the first-fruits of thy life to that 
God who desireth the first ripe fruits, 1 Exod. xxii. 29. The firstlings 
are his darlings, Gen. iv. 4 ; and that cloth will keep colour best 
that is dyed in the wool; the vessel will scent longest of that liquor 
with which it is first seasoned. Let thy soul, like Gideon s fleece, 
drink up betimes the dews of grace. As young as thou art, thy 
life is every moment at the mercy of the Lord. There is a saying, 
that in Golgotha there are skulls of all sizes. In the churchyard 
thou mayest see graves of all sorts, and some of thy very length ; 
thou art concerned, therefore, to remember thy Creator in the days 
of thy youth. Aquinas telleth us, the young man hath death at his 
back, the old man before his eyes, and that is the more dangerous 
enemy that pursueth thee, than that which marcheth up towards 
thy face. This calleth for the greater care and watchfulness. In 
the Isle of Man the maids spin their winding-sheets the first thing 
they spin ; do thou in youth and health ponder and prepare for thy 
death, lest, as young and strong as thou art, death trip up thy heels 
and throw thee, and it prove thine everlasting overthrow. 

Besides, canst thou imagine that such a sinner deserveth favour, 
who cometh in to serve God at last, when he can serve his lust no 
longer ? Is it equal (be thy own judge) to give the flower of thine 
age, the spring of thy life, the best of thy time, thine health and 
strength, to the devil and thy brutish flesh, and to give the dregs, 
the snuff, the bottom of all this, to the infinitely glorious God, whose 
creature thou art, at whose cost and charge thou livest every day 
and night, and who calleth upon thee for thy service, not for the 
need he hath of thee, but because of the need thou standest in of 
him, all whose happiness doth consist in the pleasing and enjoying 
his majesty ? 

Whoever thou art, of what age soever, either set speedily about 
thy soul work, or answer these few questions the Lord shall put to 
thee, or be speechless and without excuse at the day of Christ. 

First, Hath not God waited upon thee long enough already ? 
Wouldst have him, whom the heavens and heaven of heavens cannot 
contain, who hath millions of glorious angels waiting on his majesty, 
to wait on thee, miserable worm, always ? 

I tell thee, all the while thou art sinning his eyes behold thee, 
his heart is incensed against thee, and his hand can reach thee and 
avenge him on thee every moment, How many hath he sent into 
hell that never tasted of his patience, as thou hast done. The 
angels sinned, and were not waited upon one hour for their repent- 

1 Honor adolescentum est, timorem Dei babcre. Ambros. de Offic. 


ance ; yet how many years hath he endured thee with much long- 
suffering, and still waiteth upon thee, that he may be gracious unto 
thee ! Isa. xxx. 18. The last oath thou didst swear, he could have 
cursed and rotted thy tongue. The last time that thou wentest 
prayerless to thy rest, he could have sent thee to little ease, to the 
place where there is no rest day or night. The last time thou 
didst quench the motions of his Spirit, and stifle the convictions of 
thy conscience, he could have taught thee by experience what is the 
meaning of the worm that never dieth, and the fire that goeth not 
out ; and yet he spareth thee, stretching out his hands all the day 
long to a rebellious child, Isa. Ixv. 2. Should not his long patience 
quicken thee to speedy repentance ? Answer God whether he hath 
not waited enough, been long-suffering enough already ; and if 
he have not, continue in thy ungodly course, and see who shall 
suffer longest at last, he or thou. It is one thing to forbear a debt, 
another thing to forgive the debtor. The longer God is in fetch 
ing his hand about, the heavier his blow will be when he striketh. 
The threatening is like a child, the longer it is kept in the womb 
the bigger it groweth, and it will put thee to the more pain when 
it cometh to the birth of its execution ; therefore, bethink thyself 
before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, be 
fore the fierce anger of the Lord come upon thee, Zeph. ii. 2. 

Dost thou not see in the Scriptures many examples of God s 
severity upon the abuse of his patience ? What became of Sodom 
and Gomorrah, when God waited in the days of Lot ? Are they 
not suffering the vengeance of eternal fire ? Jude 7. What 
became of the Jews, upon whom Christ waited, calling upon them, 
and crying to them to return and reform ? is not wrath come 
upon them to the utmost ? 1 Thes. ii. 16. Are not these like the 
mast of a ship sunk in the sands, standing up to warn thee to avoid 
their course, lest thou sink eternally ? Have not these the same 
inscription on them with Sennacherib s tomb, Look on me, and learn 
to be godly ? Do not the Sodomites seem to say, Look on us, and 
learn to be godly ? Do not thy atheistical neighbours in hell, 
that thought they had had time enough before them, and futured 
their repentance, cry, Oh look on us and learn to be godly, and that 
with speed ! Friend, take example by others, lest thou be made 
an example to others. To-day, after so long a time, if thou wilt 
hear his voice, harden not thy heart, Heb. iv. 7. 

My second question which I desire thee to answer is, Hast thou 
not served the world and the flesh long enough already ? Is it not 
yet time to serve God ? hath not lust had too much of thy heart, 


and the flesh of thy life, already ? may not the time past of thy life 
suffice thee to have wrought the will of the flesh ? 1 Peter iv. 3. 
Canst thou have the face to say, with the sluggard, a little more 
slumber, a little more sleep, a little more drunkenness, a little more 
swearing, a little more wickedness ? Is not the debt which thou 
owest to divine justice great enough ? Is not the heap of wrath 
and fury which thou hast provided for thyself against death and 
judgment big enough ? Dost thou think that thou mayest serve 
the flesh too little, and the Lord too much ? It may be thou hast 
served the devil twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, or seventy years, 
and knowest not whether thou shalt have so many hours to serve 
God in, and is it not yet time to begin ? Answer me, Hast thou 
not wallowed long enough in the mire of atheism, worldliness, and 
sensuality ? Wilt thou not yet be made clean ? ah, when shall it once 
be ? Jer. xiii. 27. 

3. If one should offer thee a house and land, or a bag of money, ] 
wouldst thou not presently accept it ? wouldst thou say, I am : 
not yet at leisure, hereafter will be time enough ? And is there not 
infinitely more reason why thou shouldst presently close with Christ, 
and leave thy sins, and seek the kingdom of heaven ? Is not heaven 
more worth than earth ? are not the fruits of Christ better than 
silver, and his revenues than choice gold ? Prov. iii. 15. 

When gold is offered thee, saith Ambrose, thou dost not say, I 1 
will come again to-morrow and take it, but art glad of present pos 
session ; but salvation being proffered to our souls, few men haste 
to embrace it. 

Is it not a sordid slighting of Jesus Christ the Lord of glory, for 
thee to be more ready and hasty to take a little perishing wealth, 
than his most precious blood ? 

Canst thou read the story of Pope Gregory the Seventh, how he 
made the emperor Henry the Fourth, with his wife and child, to 
stand bare-feet and bare-legged three days and three nights in a 
cold frosty season, before he would admit them into the house, and 
thy heart not rise against the pope s pride and wickedness ? And 
why doth it not rise against thy own obstinacy and vileness, that 
hast suffered the King of kings to stand knocking at the door of thy 
heart till his head hath been wet with the dew, and his locks with 
the drops of the night ? and though he hath waited thus many 
years, yet thou hast denied him entrance, and art not to this hour 
resolved to give him speedy acceptance. 

4. Dost thou not find by experience that the longer thou delayest, 
the farther thou wanderest from God and holiness, and the more 


unfit thou art for, and the more unwilling unto, the work of conver 
sion ? Is it not time therefore to turn with speed, when continu 
ance in sin insensibly hardeneth thy heart, and gradually indisposeth 
it more to the work of repentance ? As the ground, so is thy 
heart ; the longer it lieth fallow, not ploughed up, the harder it 
will be. Wilt thou go one step farther from God, when thou must 
certainly come back every step, and that by Weeping-cross all the 
way, or be damned for ever ? The purchase of heaven is like buy 
ing the sibyl s prophecies, the longer thou boldest oif, the dearer. 
A stain which hath been long in clothes is not easily washed out ; 
a house that hath long run to ruin will require the more cost and 
labour for its reparation ; diseases that have been long in the 
body are cured, if at all, yet with much difficulty. The devil which 
had possessed the man from his infancy was hardly cast out, and 
not without much renting and raging, Mark ix. 21, 26. Satan 
thinks his evidence as good as eleven points at law, now he hath 
once got possession ; and the longer he continueth commander-in- 
chief in the royal fort of thy heart, the more he fortifieth it against 
God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty. All the 
while thou delayest, God is more provoked, the wicked one more 
encouraged, thy heart more hardened, thy debts more increased, 
thy soul more endangered, and all the difficulties of conversion daily 
more and more multiplied upon thee, having a day more to repent 
of, and a day less to repent in. 

5. Canst thou promise thyself the next hour to repent in, and 
darest thou defer it to another hour ? Thou sayest thou wilt mind 
these things when thou art old ; but what if thou diest while thou 
art young ? thou deferrest it till to-morrow, 1 but suppose thou die 
to-day, and God say to thee, as to the rich fool, This night thy soul 
shall be required of thee ? Boast not thyself of to-morrow ; thou 
knowest not what a day may bring forth, Prov. xxvii. 1. 

It is a good saying of Aquinas, That though God promise for 
giveness to repenting sinners, yet God promiseth not to-morrow to 
repent in. Think how many hundred casualties thou art liable to, 
how many others die suddenly, 2 and take the counsel of Michal to 
David, Save thyself to-night, to-morrow thou mayest be slain. 
Save thy soul to-day, to-morrow thou mayest be damned. 

6. Art thou sure that God will accept thee hereafter, if thou 

1 It was a wise answer of one that was invited to dinner on the morrow, saith he, 
A multis annis crastinum non habui. 

1 Waldus, he the father of the Waldenses, seeing one suddenly fall down dead, 
was converted, went home, and became a new man. 



shouldst now delay and dally with his Majesty ? It is good seek 
ing the Lord while he may be found, and calling upon him while 
he is near, Isa. Iv. 6. There is a time when men shall call, hut God 
will not hear ; cry, but he will not answer ; and that because when 
God called they would not hear, but did set at nought his counsel, 
Prov. i. 24, 29. Whilst thine eyes are open, the things which con 
cern thy peace maybe hid from them, Luke xix. 42. Thou mayest 
live to have thy soul buried long before thy body, Ezek. xxiv. 13, 
14. God would purge thee now, and thou wilt not ; take heed he 
clap not the same curse upon thee, which he did on some others, 
that thou shalt never be purged till thou diest. The Spirit of God 
probably now stirreth thee to turn presently, and offereth thee its 
help ; if thou lovest thy soul, do not now deny it, lest the Spirit serve 
thee as Samuel did Saul ; Saul disobeyed him, and Samuel came no 
more to Saul to the day of his death, 1 Sam. xv. 35, i.e., never. 
So take heed of quenching this motion of the Holy Ghost, lest it 
depart in a distaste, taking its everlasting leave of thee, and thou 
never feel it more to the day of thy death : Now is the accepted 
time, now is the day of salvation, 2 Cor. vi. 2. This day if thou 
wilt hear his voice, harden not thy heart, lest he swear in his wrath 
that thou shalt never enter into his rest, Ps. xcv. 7-11. 


This life in Christ must be minded diligently, with some 
motions to it, 

My second request is, that thou wouldst make the attaining this 
spiritual life the whole business of thy natural life, that thou 
wouldst esteem it as the great end of thy creation, preservation, 
and of all the mercies and means of grace which God bestoweth on 
thee, as the great end why God is so patient towards thee, so pro 
vident over thee, so bountiful unto thee, that thou mightst repent 
and return unto him from whom thou hast gone astray. 

Shall I entreat thee, for the sake of thy poor soul, to let thy 
greatest labour be for thine eternal welfare ! Is not this a business 
of the greatest necessity, of the greatest excellency, and of the 
greatest commodity and profit that thou didst ever undertake P 
To be everlastingly in heaven or in hell, to enjoy endless and match- 

1 It is the unum necessarium, Luke xxiv. The primum qnarendum, Mat. vi. 33. 
The totum hominis, Eccles. xii. 13. 


less pain or pleasure, are other manner of things than men dream 
of. Good Lord ! that men did but believe what it is to be happy 
or miserable for ever, how then would they fly from the wrath to 
come, and strive to enter in at the strait gate ! Mat. vii. 14. 
Surely things of the greatest weight call for the strongest work ; 
matters that concern thine unchangeable felicity, require the 
greatest industry. 

The philosopher would not buy repentance at too dear a rate ;* 
sure I am thou canst never buy this inheritance too dear, though 
thou spendest all thy time, and strength, and sellest all thou hast to 
purchase it. Friend, if ever thou art saved, thou must work out thy 
own salvation, Phil. ii. 12. God giveth the earth to the meek and 
patient, but heaven to the strong and violent, Mat. v. 5, and xi. 12. 
It is a saying of Lombard, God condemns none before he sins, nor 
crowns any before he overcomes. The blind, carnal world thinks 
that a man may go to heaven without so much ado. As Judas said 
of the ointment, so they of diligence in duties, To what purpose is 
this waste ? Mat. xxvi. 8. They tell us it is waste time to pray so 
frequently, and it is waste strength to pray so fervently : To what 
purpose is this waste ? They presume that godly men might spare 
a great deal of their pains heavenward. As Seneca told the Jews 
that they lost a seventh part of their time by their sanctification of 
the Sabbath ; so the earthly-minded man will tell us that such 
and such men spend all their time almost in reading, or hearing, 
or praying, or instructing their families, or neighbours, and they 
count it but lost time. These men, if you will believe them, have 
found out an easier and a nearer way to heaven than ever Jesus 
Christ did ; they are the right brood of wicked Jeroboam, that told 
the people, 1 Kings xii. 28, it was too much to go up to Jerusalem 
to worship ; he had found out a cheaper and an easier way of 
worship. The calves at Dan and Bethel would save them much 
labour, and, in his conceit, serve to as much purpose. Thus they 
delude themselves that their lazy, cold trading God-ward, their 
slight indifferent prayers, will bring them in as much gain as the 
most zealous performances of the saints. But, reader, I hope thou 
wilt obey the voice of God, and not of men, in this : consider his 
promise is to the laborious, They that seek him early, shall find 
iim, Prov. viii. 17. 

He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him, Heb. xi. 6 ; 
so Prov. ii. 3, 4. His precept is for labour. Strive to enter in at 
the strait gate, Mat. vii. 13. Be diligent to make your calling 

1 Demost., Non tanti emam pcenitere. 


and election sure/ 2 Pet. i. 10 ; so John vi. 27. Nay, lie curseth 
them that put him off with their lame sacrifices : For I am a great 
king, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful/ Mai. i. 14. 
Further, he is peremptory that the slothful shall be for utter dark 
ness, l Mat. xxv. 26. The Egyptian king would have men of acti 
vity and industry to be his servants ; and will God, thinkest thou, 
who is a pure act, accept of those that are not active ? Canst thou 
imagine that he should ever bestow pardon of sin, eternal life, the 
sanctification of the Spirit, the precious contents of his own promise, 
the invaluable fruits of Christ s purchase, upon those that do not 
judge them worthy of all their strength and time, and hearts and 
pains, and ten thousand times more ? Besides, for what reason 
dost thou suppose God to have given thee these things ? Surely 
thou canst not be so brutish as to think that the great God made 
thee, and serveth thee daily with such variety of mercies, health, 
strength, food, raiment, influences of heaven, and fruits of the earth, 
only, or chiefly, that thou shouldest eat and drink, and follow thy 
calling, and provide for thy family. Were such low ends the ground 
of his kindness ? Or is it not that thou mightst ravish that pure 
and virgin inheritance, by a holy and heavenly violence, that thou 
mightst employ them and improve them to the utmost about his 
service and thy own salvation ? 

Header, I must desire thee to consider and grant me these two 
or three suppositions, in prosecution of this my second request to 

1. Suppose thou hadst seen the Son of man, who now sitteth at 
his Father s right hand, rising from his place, and attended with 
the thousand thousands that are before him, and with the ten thou 
sand times ten thousand that minister to him, coming and spark 
ling so gloriously through the firmament, that he dazzleth the very 
eyes of the sun, and makes him to hide his head for shame, and 
sitting down in the clouds, with the glory of his Father, a fire 
devouring before him, and behind him a flame burning. 

Conceive now with me, that thou hearest him call to the arch 
angel, Sound the last trump, that the dead may arise and come to 
judgment. Hark to the sound of the trump ! how it rendeth 
rocks, melteth mountains, breaks in pieces the bands of death, and 
bursts asunder the gates of hell ; how it pierceth the ocean, and 
fetcheth from the bottom of the sea the dust of Adam s seed ; how 
it descendeth into the belly of the earth, and forceth it to vomit up 

1 Agathocles got to be king of Sicily by his industry. So may the Christian by 
violence attain the kingdom of heaven. 


all the bodies which it had ever taken down ; how it openeth the 
marble tombs of princes and potentates, and makes their highness 
and majesty stoop as low as the meanest to the King of glory. 

Dost thou not see the bodies of the saints ? Look how they fly 
upon the wings of the wind to their souls, and both to the bosom 
of their beloved Saviour. See how the spirits of unregenerate ones 
leave for a little while the dark vault of hell, and enter, though 
most unwillingly, into the stinking carrion of their bodies, and both 
hauled by angels to the judgment-seat of Christ. 

When the court is thus set, conceive the commission read, 
wherein Jesus Christ is authorised, in his human nature, by his 
divine power, to be judge of the quick and dead. The law is pro 
duced, both of nature and Scripture. The books are opened, both 
of God s omniscience and man s conscience, by which all men are 
to be tried for their everlasting lives and deaths. 

The holy ones are now called ; their persons, through the right 
eousness of Christ, acquitted by public proclamation, before God, 
angels, and men ; their performances, duties, graces, services, suffer 
ings, punctually related to their glory, and infinitely rewarded in 
their perfect freedom from all evil, and eternal fruition of the 
chiefest good. 

Behold, how the unholy are with violence dragged to the bar, 
examined strictly by the covenant of works, have all their sins, 
secret, open, personal, relative, of nature, and practice, in thoughts, 
words, and deeds, revealed publicly, and aggravated fully with all 
their crimson-dyed, bloody circumstances. Hark how pitifully 
they plead what poor evidences they had for salvation, what sorry 
excuses for atheism and abominations ; their conscience, instead of 
a thousand witnesses, accuseth them, the law casteth them, the 
judge pronounceth against them a most severe sentence of con 
demnation, the devils seize on them for its speedy execution. Now 
what confusion and shame of face, what lamentation and sorrow of 
heart, possesseth them ! What doleful screechings ! What bitter 
yellings are heard among them ! Here is the body cursing the 
soul for being so ungodly a guide, and the soul cursing the body 
for being so unready an instrument ; and both cursing the time 
that ever they met together, and wishing, though in vain, that they 
might for ever be parted asunder. 

Now the worldling curseth his flocks and his farm, his gold and 
his silver, that had more of his heart, and of care and time, than 
his precious soul. Now the lazy Christian curseth his madness and 
folly, that he should think a little formal preparation were sufficient 


for such a strict examination. A bloody husband hast thou been 
to me, saith the wife ; thou mindest provision for me for a little 
time, and never regardedst my instruction about the things of 
eternity. A cruel father hast thou been to me, saith the child, for 
generating me a child of wrath and heir of hell, and never endea 
vouring my regeneration, whereby I might have been a child of 
God and an heir of heaven : and thus cursing, crying, roaring, 
raging, they are sent to the place where is mourning without mirth, 
sorrow without solace, darkness without light, death without life, 
pure wrath without mixture, perfect pain without measure, nothing 
but weeping and wailing, sighing, sobbing, and gnashing of teeth, 
for ever, ever, ever. 

Suppose, I say, that thou hadst heard and seen all this, and God 
should after it try thee in this world forty years, wouldst thou not 
night and day be struggling and striving with God by prayer, 
watching over thy own heart, waiting upon thy Saviour ? With 
what earnestness wouldst thou pray ! With what seriousness 
wouldst thou read and hear ! With what exactness and exemplari- 
ness wouldst thou live ! How diligent and laborious wouldst thou 
be in a faithful improvement of all thy time, talents, and oppor 
tunities, that thou mightst find mercy at such a day, even the 
mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life ! Wouldst thou 
after such a sight think any time too much, or any pains too great, 
for thy eternal good ? Couldst thou give the world and the flesh 
the choicest place in thy heart, and the chiefest part of thy life, as 
now thou dost ? Shouldst thou dare to be nibbling again at the 
devil s baits, or to be playing with the eternal fire, or to put oflf God 
with a few cold, formal prayers, and that by fits, instead of hearty, 
fiery, continual supplication ? Or to put off Jesus Christ with a 
compliment, that thou wearest his livery, and professest thyself a 
Christian, instead of a sincere, resolved dedication of heart and life 
to his word and law ? What sayest thou, man, and why wilt thou 
not be diligent and as holy now ? Thou mayest in the glass of 
Scripture see all that I have spoken, (for the substance of it at; 
least,) if thou hast but an eye of faith ; and, without question, the 
sight of faith is as sure and true as a sight of sense. What reason 
canst thou have why thou shouldst not work as industriously to 
escape hell and obtain heaven as if thou hadst known these things 
experimentally, when the word of the living and true God speaketh 
them so expressly ? Look 2 Cor. v. 10 ; Acts xvii. 13 ; Eccles. 
xii. 14. 

2. Suppose thou wert sure to die this day come month, and take 


possession of thine eternal estate, to do that which thou never didst 
before, nor shalt ever do again, even to throw thy last cast for 
eternity, wouldst thou not then lay aside all other matters, and 
make it thy only business to ensure an interest in Christ, and to 
make sure of a regenerated, sanctified nature ? wouldst thou not 
then think, Well now, there is no daubing, no dallying any longer. 
I am now going to my long, long, everlasting home : if I now de 
ceive myself with anything instead of the power of godliness, and 
mistake at death, I shall miscarry for ever ; if I be not then right, 
I shall be wrong for ever. Now or never, now and ever. 

Wouldst thou not highly prize every week of that month, every 
day of those weeks, every hour of those days, yea, and every minute 
of those hours, and say, Ah, desperate folly to leave a work of such 
infinite weight, for which my whole life was little little enough, to 
so short a space; and yet, oh infinite mercy, that I have any 
seasons of grace left, wherein I may yet work out my salvation with 
fear and trembling ? How wouldst thou labour as for life in this 
duty, and that ordinance, hanging on those breasts, and tugging 
hard for some spiritual good ! Wouldst thou not, with Jacob, 
wrestle with God, weep, and make supplication ? wouldst thou not, 
with the Ninevites, cry mightily unto God for mercy ? How would 
thy prayers proceed from the very bottom of thy heart ! and with 
what force would they pierce the very heavens ! How wouldst 
thou, with the Bereans, search the Scriptures, and see upon what 
terms Christ and heaven may be had ! Wouldst thou not strive 
to break thy heart with the hammer of the law, and to melt it with 
the sunshine of the gospel, that thou mightst repent ? Would 
thou not encourage thy soul, from the freeness of God s mercy, and 
fulness of Christ s merit, to believe ? Oh, what sad thoughts wouldst 
thou now have of thy soul and thy sins! what serious thoughts 
wouldst thou have of God and Christ, of hell and heaven, of death 
and judgment ! Surely other manner of thoughts than now thou 
hast. . 

Thus, friend, it will be with thee if thou wert to leave this world 
within a month, or thou wert worse than a madman. And why 
shall it not be thus with thee now, when thou art so far from 
insuring thy life for a month, that thou canst not promise thyself 
the next hour ? Dost thou not believe that thy foundation is in 
the dust ? Job iv. 19 ; that man at his best estate is altogether 
vanity ? Ps. xxxix. 5 ; that one dieth in his full strength, being 
wholly at ease and quiet, his breasts being full of milk, and his 
bones moistened with marrow ? Job xxi. 23, 24. Thou art not a 


tenant at thy own will whilst thou dwellest in thy house of clay. 
Thou cuttest large thongs of God s time if thou assurest thyself 
another week. 1 But look, reader, dost thou not see that eternity 
is at the very threshold of thy house, that there is but a step, a thin 
paper wall of life, between thee and eternity ! Is there not much 
more reason that thou shouldst be more industrious for thy soul 
and salvation, when thou art not sure to live a day, than if thou 
wert sure to live a month ? 

There is a bird peculiar to Ireland, called the cock of the wood, 
remarkable for its fine flesh and folly; all the difficulty to kill 
them is to find them. They fly in woods in flocks ; and if one be 
shot, the rest remove not but to the next tree, and there stand 
staring at the shooter till the whole covey be destroyed ; yet, as 
foolish as this bird is, it may be the emblem of most wise men in 
point of mortality ; death sweeps away one and one, and one and 
another, and all the rest remain no whit moved, till at last they are 
destroyed, and then their folly is, though too late, bewailed. 

3. Suppose thou couldst speak with thy carnal, unregenerate 
neighbours or friends that are now under endless remorse, frying 
in those unquenchable flames, and shouldst ask them what caused 
them to miscarry for ever, and how they came to that place of 
torment ; and they should tell thee, friend, I thought heaven 
might have been had without so much ado, that there had been no 
need of that seriousness and laboriousness which a few precise ones 
practised, and which ministers so much pressed. I thought I 
might do well enough with a formal, lazy, outside serving of God, 
because my neighbours did no better. I presumed, that because 
God was merciful, and Christ meritorious, and I enjoyed the out 
ward privileges of the gospel, and gave God some of the time I 
could spare from the world and the flesh in a little heartless devo 
tion, that I should be saved ; never looking at that inward renova 
tion and outward reformation which, I see now to my sorrow, are 
required in all to whom the special mercy of God and merit of 
Christ shall be extended, and now we, and, alas 1 I, am tormented 
in these flames. 

After such a hearing from hell, wouldst thou not be diligent to 
prevent thy damnation? Wouldst thou not take heed of those 
knives of negligence, idleness, and formality, resting in a few good 
means, which did cut the throat of others souls? Wouldst thou, 
after this, jest at heaven and hell, or trifle about regeneration or 
the new birth ? Wouldst thou again mock God, or cozen thyself 

1 Mortalium nemo est qui crastinum sibi audeat polliceri. Eurlpid. 


with a form, a shell, a carcase of religion ? Would not the worjl 
thou hadst lately heard be always sounding in thine ears, and 
piercing thy heart, and quickening thee to be sedulous and indus 
trious about thy soul affairs ? And why wilt not thou do as much 
now, when I can assure thee from the mighty possessor of heaven 
and earth, that this is as true namely, that many souls are eter 
nally sunk by reason of those quicksands as if thou hadst heard 
it from the mouth of hell ; nay, it is possible a damned wretch may 
deceive thee, but it is impossible that the blessed God who speaketh 
as much with his own mouth should deceive thee. Look 1 Thes. 
v. 3 ; Mat. vii. 21-23 and v. 20. 

4. Suppose thou hadst, with Moses, had a sight of the back parts 
of the infinite God about whose service I am persuading thee to 
be diligent or, with Isaiah, hadst seen some extraordinary mani 
festation of his glory ; or hadst been with the disciples at the trans 
figuration of Christ. Or suppose thou hadst been in heaven, and 
seen the royalty and majesty of God in those glorious angels and 
saints which continually wait upon him, and in the glorified Saviour 
who sitteth at his right hand, and representeth him as lively and 
fully as is possible to the eyes of men. Suppose thou hadst taken 
strict notice of the number how many millions ! and order of 
God s servants there, how high and noble their work is ; how holy 
and pure their worship, and hadst known the infinite power, holi 
ness, wisdom, and justice of God as they do, and God should turn 
thee again into this world, wouldst thou slubber over thy duties, 
and play with his ordinances, as now thou dost ? Wouldst thou 
pray to this God as if thou prayedst not ? or hear from his Majesty 
as if thou heardest not ? or attend on him carelessly, as if thou didst 
not attend on him at all ? or wouldst thou not rather think, I can 
never be too serious in the service of such a God ; I can never 
wait on him with humility enough, and with watchfulness enough, 
with uprightness enough, and with care and diligence enough ? 

Shouldst thou not be laborious in the service of such a good 
God ? Give me leave to urge this thought a little farther, and to 
give thee a scripture or two which, through the free grace of God, 
have sometimes helped me against deadness and dulness in duties. 
The one is 2 Chron. ii. 5, where Solomon telleth us, The house I 
am to build must be great mark the reason for great is our 
God above all gods. If God be so great a God, how greatly is he 
to be reverenced ! Canst thou do too much service for him, or give 
too much glory to him ? Can thy love to him be too great, or can 
thy fear of him be too great, or can thy labour for him be too great, 


when this God is so great, that he measureth the ocean in the 
hollow of his hand, and meteth out the heavens with a span, and 
comprehendeth the dust of the earth in a measure, and weigheth 
the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance ? Behold, the 
nations are as a drop of the bucket, and are counted as the small 
dust of the balance : behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little 
thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof 
sufficient for a burnt-offering. All nations before him are as no 
thing, and they are counted to him as less than nothing, and vanity, 
Isa. xl. 12, 15-17. God is a great God, and therefore greatly to be 
feared, Ps. Ixxxix. 7. God is a great God, and therefore greatly 
to be praised ; for his greatness is unsearchable, Ps. cxlv. 3. 

If he be a great God, he may well require a great house to be 
his material temple ; and if he be a great God, may he not justly 
.call for a great part of, yea, all thy heart, to be his spiritual temple ? 
It is likely the son Solomon learned this of his father David, who 
giveth us this as the reason why he danced before the ark of the 
covenant of the Lord of the whole earth with all his might, 2 Sam. 
vi. 14, 21. It was, he saith, before the Lord ; as if he had said, 
Had it been before men only, or in their service, I might have been 
cold and careless, slothful and sluggish; but it was before the Lord, 
the infinite, incomprehensible, and holy God, to whom I am un 
speakably obliged for his distinguishing mercy in choosing me before 
thy father s house ; and therefore all my might and all my strength 
was little enough for such a God. I might mind thee further, that 
thou hast wrought hard in thy slavery to the world and thy -flesh, 
in thy drudgery to the devil and thy lusts, whose reward and 
wages is nothing but disappointment and vexation, hell and damna 
tion ; and shouldst thou not be fervent, fiery eoyre9, seething hot, 
as the word signifieth in spirit when thou art serving the Lord, 
Horn. xii. 11. I might also ask thee to whom thou owest thy whole 
strength and thy whole heart, if not to God ? Art thou so much 
indebted to the world and thy flesh, those enemies of thy salvation, 
as thou art to the blessed God ? and who will at last pay thee best 
for thy strength and time, God or the world, Christ or the flesh ? 
But I may speak more to this in another place. 

Well, reader, have I yet, or rather the Lord by me, persuaded 
thee to set about this great business, upon which thy eternal felicity 
dependeth, timely, that is, presently, and throughly, that is, with all 
thy strength, as the main, chief, and only work thou hast to do ? 
Art thou resolved to do thine utmost endeavour, and through the 
strength of Christ faithfully to follow the directions which I shall 


commend to thee from the Lord, in order to thy recovery out of 
that bottomless misery into which thou hast plunged thyself ? Is 
there not abundant reason in what thou hast read ? Are they the 
words of a sinful dying man, or of the jealous, ever-living God ? 
Is it I only that call upon thee to mind this spiritual life, or do not 
the daily and nightly mercies which thou, unworthy wretch, en- 
joyest? Do not the dreadful judgments which others feel, and 
thou hast too much cause to fear ? Do not thy sweet babes, thy 
dear children, cry often and aloud in thine ears, that there were 
a heart in our father, in our mother, to fear the Lord, and keep all 
his commandments always, that it might go well with them and 
with their children for ever ? Deut. v. 29. Nay, doth not the 
almighty God, who observeth all thy wickedness, in whose hands 
thou art every hour, who can with a word speak thee into that 
place of woe, where the worth of grace and holiness is better known, 
and where the weight of sin and ungodliness is more felt ? Well, 
in hope that thou wilt not be such an enemy to the God that made 
thee, that thou wilt not do that despite to the Spirit that moveth 
thee, that thou wilt not be such a wilful murderer of thy precious 
soul as to neglect them, I shall set them down ; the Lord set them 
home to thy heart ! 

Come along with me, and I will shew thee the bride, the lamb s 
wife, how she must be trimmed and adorned for the marriage. 


The first direction for the attaining a spiritual life, illumination. 

First, Get thine understanding enlightened in the knowledge of 
thy sins and misery. The knowledge of thy disease and danger 
must precede thy recovery and cure. Oh how many thousand 
souls have miscarried in the dark of ignorance ! Did men know, 
surely they would not daily by their sins crucify the Lord of glory. 
Did they know their misery, they would not be so merry as they 
are in ways of iniquity ; they rush into sin as the horse rusheth 
into the battle, not knowing it will be to their death, to their 
destruction. I have sometimes read a story of a king that was 
ever pensive, and never seen to smile, and being asked by his 
brother the cause of it, he put him off till the next day for an 
answer ; and in the meantime caused a deep pit to be made, com 
manding his servants to fill it half full with fiery coals, and then 


causeth an old rotten board to be laid over it, and over the board 
to hang a two-edged sword by a small slender thread, with the 
point downwards, and close by the pit to set a table full of all 
manner of delicacies. His brother coming next day for an answer, 
was placed at the board, and four men with drawn swords about 
him, and with all the best music that could be had to play before 
him. Then the king called to him, saying, Eejoice and be merry, 
brother ; eat, drink, and laugh, for here is pleasant being. But he 
replied, my lord and king, how can I be merry, being in such 
danger on every side ? Then said the king, Look how it is now 
with thee, so it is always with me ; for if I look above me, I see 
the great and dreadful judge, to whom I must give an account of 
all my thoughts, words, and deeds ; if I look under me, I see the 
endless torments of hell, whereinto I shall be cast if I die in my 
sins ; if I look behind me, I see all the sins which I have com 
mitted, and the time which I have spent unprofitably ; if I look 
before me, I see death every day drawing nearer and nearer unto 
me ; if I look on my right hand, I see my conscience accusing me 
of all the evil I have done, and good I have left undone in this 
world; and if I look on my left hand, I see the creatures on their 
Maker s behalf, crying out for vengeance against me a rebel. Now, 
then, cease hereafter to wonder why I cannot rejoice in the things 
of this world. 

This is the condition of every unsanctified man and woman, and 
did they but know it, they would see but little cause to spend their 
days in pastimes and pleasure ; but what the eye seeth not, the 
heart grieves not. Had Haman known he had been so nigh his 
funeral, he would hardly have boasted so much to his friends ; but 
it is the policy of the God of this world to blind men s eyes, lest 
they should see and avoid damnation. As when a malefactor is 
for some capital crime cast at the assize, he is then carried into a 
dark dungeon, and thence to execution. So the devil, knowing 
that all the sons and daughters of Adam are cast by the law of 
God, the law shutting them all up under sin and wrath, endea- 
voureth to keep them in the dungeon of ignorance till the day of 
their execution. 1 When Nebuchadnezzar had conquered Zedekiah, 
2 Kings xxv. 7, he put out his eyes, bound him in fetters, and 
then carried him away to Babylon. Thus Satan, as soon as he 
entereth into the soul, laboureth to put out the eyes of the under 
standing, and so to lead them hoodwinked to hell. Did men know 

1 Diogenes being demanded what burden the earth did bear most heavy ; answered, 
an ignorant man. 


what they had done against God, and how they had undone them 
selves, they would be restless till they attained a remedy ; did the 
sinner but know the purity, jealousy, power, and justice of that 
God, whom he daily provoketh ; did he but know the love and kind 
ness, the blood and bowels of that Saviour, whom he undervalueth ; 
did he but know the pleasures, and joy, and happiness in heaven, 
which he neglecteth ; did he but know the beauty and amiable- 
ness, the delights and comforts of grace and holiness, which he 
despiseth ; did he but know the emptiness and vanity of this deceit 
ful world, which he so heartily embraceth ; did he but know where 
sin is in the premises, sorrow and hell, without faith and sanctifica- 
tion, must be in the conclusion ; did men, I say, but know these 
things, how quickly would they turn from sin unto God, giving a 
bill of divorce to their most beloved lusts, and entering into a most 
solemn covenant with the Lord ! But having their understandings 
darkened, they are alienated from the life of God, that is, a life of 
holiness, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the 
blindness of their hearts, Eph. iv. 18. Observe how expressly the 
Spirit of God speaketh ignorance to be the reason why men are 
such strangers to the power of religion. 

Header, thou mayest by all this see the necessity of knowledge, 
if ever thou wouldst be converted and saved. The devil, as I said 
before, carrieth men hoodwinked to hell ; but God will never carry 
thee blindfold to heaven : The end of a saint is the inheritance 
in light, Col. i. 12 ; and the way thither is a way of light : The 
path of the just is as a shining light, Prov. iv. 18 ; and surely in 
respect of knowledge as well as in other respects. Do not please 
thyself, that though thou art not book-learned, yet thou hast as 
good a heart as others, as thy foolish, ignorant neighbours will 
prate, for when thou thus speakest, thou speakest beside thy book ; 
for the book of God telleth us otherwise. 

The soul without knowledge is not good, Prov. xix. 2. There 
may be a clear head without a clean heart, the light of knowledge 
without the heat of grace ; but a gracious heart in a grown person 
not distracted, was ever accompanied with a competency of know 
ledge in the head. And indeed knowledge is so near akin to 
grace, that it is often in the word of God put for it : John xvii. 3, 
It is life eternal to know thee to be the only true God, and Jesus 
Christ whom thou hast sent, So 1 Cor. ii. 2 ; Phil. iii. 8 ; Isa. 
liii. 11. 

If thou would be sanctified and saved, get knowledge : Seek 
knowledge as silver, and search for it as for hid treasure, Prov. ii. 3,4. 


This is the first thing to be done ; it is first in the minister s com 
mission. I send thee, saith God to Paul, to open the eyes of the 
blind, and to turn men from darkness unto light/ Acts xxvi. 18. 
And this is first in the Spirit s operation on the soul. It con- 
vinceth the man of his sins, John xvi. 10, 11. It presenteth to 
the understanding a catalogue of its many and bloody provocations. 
Imprimis, Thus guilty in Adam of high treason against heaven s 
Majesty, and thereby of want of original righteousness, and of a 
deep deadly pollution in the whole nature : Item, So many hundred 
ungodly actions, so many thousand unholy and idle expressions, so 
many millions of evil thoughts and suggestions : Item, So many 
omissions and so many commissions : Item, So much precious time 
mis-spent, a moment of which cannot be recalled or purchased with 
the revenues of the world : Item, So many talents of health, 
strength, food, raiment, esteem, riches, and the like misemployed : 
Item, So many sacraments, sabbaths, seasons of grace misimproved: 
Item, So much uncorrigibleness under afflictions, so much unprofit 
ableness under mercies. Thus the Spirit enlighteneth the sinner s 
mind to see his sins with their circumstances, and black aggrava 
tions ; as also what is like to be the fruit and effect of sin, even 
nothing less than suffering everlasting perdition from the presence 
of the Lord. It may be the Spirit may cause him, as it were, to see 
the smoke that ascendeth from the bottomless pit, to smell the scent 
of that infernal brimstone and fire, to hear the roarings and howl 
ing of the damned ; nay, possibly, to feel a very hell in his own 
conscience. The Spirit indeed is a free agent, and worketh in 
what manner and measure he pleaseth. But this is certain, he 
convinceth all of their sins and miseries ; conviction doth go before 
conversion. The physician of souls will heal none but such as 
know both their distemper and their danger, and thereby how 
infinitely they are obliged to him for their cure. As in the first 
creation one of the first things God made was light ; so, in the 
forming the new creature, illumination is before sanctification. 
Every one is able to say in Christ as he in the Gospel, This I 
know, whereas I was blind, now I see, John ix. 25. 

This is absolutely necessary in order to the second direction I 
have to commend to thee, which is the sincere humiliation of thy 
soul. There must be a daybreak of light in the understanding, 
before there can be a heartbreak of sorrow in the affections ; till 
sin and wrath be discerned by knowledge in the mind, they will be 
no burden to the conscience, nor grief to the spirit. As no good 
wrapt up in darkness excites desire, so no evil swathed up in 


ignorance striketh terror. We may observe this by the holy 
apostle s expression, I was alive without the law, but when the 
commandment came, sin revived, and I died/ Bom. vii. 9, i.e., the 
time was that I was ignorant both of the law s strictness and my 
own sinfulness, and then I thought myself to be very safe ; my 
conscience was very quiet, and my heart full of hope, or more 
properly, presumption, about my future eternal happiness ; thus I 
was alive without the law. But when my eyes were enlightened, to 
see how exceeding broad the commandments of God were, and that 
once I compared my crooked race with that straight rule, and took 
notice how far short I came of that obedience which the law 
required, I was then dead, a lost man : I quickly pulled in my 
plumes, and took down my sails, with which I was hastening in my 
conceit to heaven ; for I found that I was in very deed in the road 
to hell. When the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 
There was then life enough in my lusts to wound me unto death, 
for I died. 

Header, if thou art convinced so far of the absolute necessity of 
conversion, as to desire it unfeignedly, let me request thee, for 
the sake of thy poor soul, to set some considerable time apart ; thy 
body hath had many years, surely thy soul deserveth one day, and 
that speedily, to be serious in about its endless estate, and to com 
pare thy wicked life with the pure law of God, and observe how 
exceedingly thou hast swerved from the precepts therein com 
manded. Consider not only its outward and literal, but likewise its 
inward and spiritual meaning, and thou mayest presently discern 
that thy whole conversation for so many years as thou hast lived, 
hath been a continued aberration and wandering from the Lord and 
his laws. If thou lookest aright in that glass, it will discover all 
the spots, all the dirt, that hath been in the face of thy heart and 
life, James i. 23. By the law is the knowledge of sin, Horn. iii. 

Consider also, that thy breach of the law makes thee liable to the 
curse of the law, which is the infinite eternal wrath of the law 
giver : Cursed is every one that continue th not in all things that 
are "written in the book of the law to do them, Gal. iii. 10. 

The law must be satisfied ; since not in its accomplishment, it 
will in thy punishment. 

If God cast the glorious angels out of heaven, and reserved them 
in chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day for one sin, 
and that, as some think, in thought, into what a hell may he cast 
thee, whose iniquities for weight are like the sand of the sea, and 


for number like the sparks of a furnace, and the stars in the firma 
ment ! Think of it with all possible seriousness ; thou hangest over 
the mouth of hell every moment by a small thread of life, and if 
that should be cut asunder, the whole world cannot save thee from 
dropping into it. 


The second help to a spiritual life, humiliation. 

II. In the next place, labour to get thy heart deeply and 
thoroughly affected with thy sins and misery. Humiliation must 
follow illumination. It is not enough for this knowledge of the 
transgressions thou hast committed, and the wrath thou hast deserved, 
to swim in thy head it may be there as fire in the flint, to no 
profit but it must sink down into thy heart, and be beaten out into 
an application of, and lamentation for, thy guilt and wickedness. 

Man is so sinfully subtle, that he can bear the historical know 
ledge of these things in his understanding ; he can hear the name of 
sin and hell, and be no more troubled than at a painted devil, or a 
tale of purgatory ; but when God brings down sin from being a 
notion to be an obligation, and entereth an action against the soul 
within itself, then it will begin to melt and mourn under the sense of 
its sins and sufferings. Thus, after the Spirit of God hath been a 
spirit of conviction, it becometh a spirit of bondage : that eye which 
was before enlightened to see the lewdness of his heart and life, 
cometh now to affect his heart with grief and sorrow. This we 
find in those converts, Acts ii. 37, when they had heard of their sin 
and guilt they began to recant and repent : When they heard those 
things, they were pricked to the heart. The nails which had 
pierced Christ s hands now pierce their hearts. It was with them, 
saith one, as if the sharp points of daggers had been stuck or 
fastened in their hearts. They wounded themselves with sorrow, 
that ever they had wounded the Lord Jesus with their sins. 

The whole life indeed of a true Christian is, in some respects, a 
life of repentance. He is often grieving God s Spirit, and therefore 
he is often grieved in his own spirit. As long as the ship leaketh, 
the pump must go. Though the Christian doth not paddle or 
wallow in the mire of sin every day, as graceless ones do, yet he 
findeth that daily his hands contract dirt and his soul guilt, there 
fore he must daily wash with faith and repentance. 


Some report of Mary Magdalene that she spent thirty years in 
Galba in weeping for her sins ; and Tertullian saith of himself that 
he was born for repentance. Anselm telleth us, that with grief he 
considered the whole course of his life. I found, writeth he, 1 the 
infancy of sin in the sins of my infancy, the youth and growth of 
sin in the sins of my youth and growth, and the ripeness of all sin 
in the sins of my ripe and perfect age ; and then he breaks out into 
this pathetical expression, What remaineth for thee, wretched man, 
but that thou spend thy whole life in bewailing thy whole life ? 

But especially at the time of a Christian s conversion he is to 
mind contrition : when the vessel is newly tapped, then it runneth 
most^ freely and plentifully. None might approach the king of 
Persia s court in sackcloth and mourning, Esther iv. 2; but no 
wandering sinner may draw near to the King of heaven without it. 
Except ye repent, ye shall perish/ 2 God is resolved to break the 
sinner s heart on earth, or his back in hell. He will have the 
wound searched and the pains of it felt before it be bound up and 
cured. The wicked prodigal must come to his Father with com 
punction in his soul, as well as confession in his mouth. 

Look, therefore, sinner, into the book of thy conscience, and 
read over the black lines that still are in thy cursed heart, and the 
bloody leaves of thy wicked life, how long thou hast lived to little 
purpose, yea, to the killing of thy soul for ever ; how far thou hast 
aeen from accomplishing the end for which thou wast born, and 
the errand for which thou wast sent into the world. Keep a petty 
assize in thy heart ; prefer a large bill of indictment against thyself ; 
accuse and condemn thyself, not only verbally, but cordially, if ever 
thou wouldst have Christ to acquit thee. Thou hast spent many 
rears in sinning, and shouldst thou not spend some hours in sorrow 
ing ? Thou didst make the soul of Jesus Christ sorrowful unto 
ieath ; shall not therefore thy soul be sorrowful when thy sorrow 
may be unto life ? Did the rocks rend when he died for sin, and 
shall not thy rocky heart that thou hast lived in sin ? He bled for 
;hee, and wilt not thou weep for thyself? Thou hast filled God s 
>ag with thy sins, 3 and hast thou no tears for his bottle? 4 
Hast thou so long broken the holy commandments of God, and 
shall not thy heart now at last be broken ? The damned feel sin ; 
t lieth heavy on their souls : could thou lay thy ear to the mouth 
)f that bottomless pit, thou mightst perceive by their yellings and 
bowlings that sin is sin in hell, how lightly soever it is regarded 

1 In Lib. Meditat. * Aut pcenitendum, aut pereundum. 

3 Job xiv. 17. P s . x lvi. 8. 

VOL. III. y 


by men upon earth. The Lord Jesus felt sin : hadst thou been in 
the garden, and seen his blessed body all over in a gore blood, 
beheld those drops, yea, clods of blood that trickled down his 
face, surely thou wouldst have believed that it was some heavy 
weight indeed which caused such a bloody sweat in a cold winter 

And art not thou yet weary and heavy-laden ? Do I speak to a 
man or a beast ? to a living creature, or to a rock that will never 
be moved ? If thou hast a disease in thy body thou canst grieve 
and complain, and why not for the diseases of thy soul ? Are not 
they far more deadly, more dangerous ? If thou losest a child, oh 
what crying and roaring, what wringing of hands and watering of 
cheeks ! Nay, if thou losest a place of profit, a house, or a beast, 
thou canst mourn, and think of it often with sorrow; and doth it 
not grieve thee that thou hast lost, not thy child or cattle, but thy 
Christ, thy Saviour, thy soul, thy God, to eternity ? If thou missest 
a good bargain that was offered thee, whereby thou mightst increase 
thy estate, or if thou buyest or hirest at too dear a rate, how dost 
thou beshrew and befool thyself for it ! Hast thou not ten thou 
sand times more cause to be really and highly displeased with 
thyself, and to abhor thyself in dust and ashes, that thou shouldst 
have all the riches, and glory, and pleasures of the eternal kingdom 
tendered to thee with many entreaties, and yet thou hast refused 
them for the lying vanities of this world, and for the pleasures of 
sin, which are but for a season ? Thou hast denied heaven s happi 
ness for a bubble, a butterfly ; all things for nothing. Did ever any 
fool buy so dear, and sell so cheap ? Like Saul, busy himself in 
seeking asses when a kingdom sought him ; like Shimei, seek his 
servant, and thereby lose himself ? No fool like the sinner, that 
embraceth a shadow which will certainly flee from him, and ne- 
glecteth the substance which endureth to eternity. 

Honorius the emperor, hearing that Eome was lost, cried, Alas, 
alas ! very mournfully, fearing it had been his hen so called, which 
he exceedingly loved ; but hearing it was the famous city of Home 
that was become a prey to his cruel enemies, he made a tush at it. 
Thus too too many can grieve sufficiently for the loss of vanities, 
for toys and trifles, but not at all for the loss of God, and Christ, 
and enduring felicities. 

Well, friend, repent timely and truly of this thy folly ; for I must 
tell thee, shortly it will be too late. If repentance be hid from thy 
heart now, repentance will be hid from God s eye then, by whose law 
thou art now a condemned man already. If thy heart be hardened 


DOW in sinning, the heart of God will ere long be hardened in 
sentencing thee to an eternity of suffering. 

It is an infinite mercy that God yet alloweth thee liberty for 
second thoughts ; that notwithstanding thou hast shipwrecked thy 
soul, yet thou mayest swim out safe upon the plank of repentance. 
Oh therefore think no pains too great to break thy stony heart ; it 
is worth the while, when free grace hath promised a vast reward to 
that heaven-born work. Hadst thou once offered up to God the 
sacrifice of a spirit truly sorrowful, out of love to God, and self- 
loathing because of sin, I could tell thee as good, as joyful news, as 
ever thine ears heard. The Father of mercies and God of comforts 
would be reconciled to thee in the Lord Jesus. Thy prayers for 
pardon and life would pierce God s ears, and find acceptance, if 
they proceed from a broken heart, from sincere repentance. A 
penitent tear is a messenger that never went away without a satis 
factory^ answer. Prayers with such tears are prevalent ; yea, in 
Luther s phrase, omnipotent. Music upon the waters sounds most 
pleasantly. Thou hast heard the voice of my weeping, saith David 
Ps. vi. 8. 

Augustus Caasar having promised a great reward to any that 
could bring him the head of a famous pirate, did yet, when the 
pirate heard of it, and brought it himself and laid it at his feet, 
not only pardon, but reward him for his confidence in his mercy. 1 
The God of bowels and compassion would do more for thee upon 
thy sincere submission. 

As Antipater was answered by Alexander, Thou hast written a 
long letter against my mother ; but dost thou not know that one 
tear of hers will wash out all her faults ? 2 When the returning 
sinner weeps, the tender-hearted Father smiles. As he rejoiceth 
and laugheth at obstinate sinners destruction and ruin, Prov. i. 26 
so he rejoiceth and smileth at the penitent sinner s conversion. 3 He 
will do something for a hypocritical humiliation, to assure us that 
he will do anything upon a sincere humiliation. Seest thou, saith 
God, how Ahab humbleth himself? This judgment shall not be 
in his days, but in his son s days, 1 Kings xxi. 29. A pitiful 
humiliation it was, God knew ; he looked sadly, like a fox in a 
trap, merely to get out ; yet God takes notice of it, and deferreth 
the judgment upon it. If God set such a price upon counterfeit, 
what will he upon true gold ? Fierce Esau relenteth towards sub 
mitting Jacob, though he came against him ready and resolved to 

1 Suet, in Vit. * Plutarch in Vit. Alexand. 

3 Quod Deus loquitur cum risu, tu legas cum fletu. Aug. 


destroy him. Surely, then, the God of compassions to whose pity 
and mercy the bowels of all the creatures are but as a drop to the 
ocean who calleth those that go from him, will not cast away 
those that come to him. 

Header, little dost thou think how much he longeth for thy con 
version and humiliation. Little dost thou know what kisses and 
embraces, what robes and rings, what mercies and merits, what a 
heaven and happiness, what a God, and Christ, and grace, and 
glory, are all ready for thee, and wait only for thy readiness and 
preparedness for them, by thy humiliation for, and an aversion 
from, thy deceitful corruptions. 

Alexander s Macedonians having offended him, laid by their 
arms, put on mourning apparel, came running in troops to his tent, 
where for almost three days together they remained with loud cries 
and tears to testify their remorse for offending him; 1 and wilt not 
thou do as much for offending God ? 

As thou therefore lovest the life of thy soul, endeavour to get 
thy heart thoroughly humbled for thy sins ; take a view of thy sins 
in the word of God, in the glass of his law, how in its nature it is 
contrary to his blessed nature and perfect law, and for its effects it 
maketh thee obnoxious to all the threatenings of the word, to all 
the vials of God s wrath, to all the miseries of this life, and to all 
,the torments of hell for ever. 

Consider, while thou livest in thy estate of impenitency, thou art 
a, cursed sinner, and if thou diest in it, thou art a damned creature : 
tine hand of God, which is lifted up in the commination and threat 
ening, will fall down in execution. If the wrath of a king be as a 
messenger of death, oh what then will the wrath of a God be ! ^ As 
that, Christian king of Hungary told his brother, that sprang into 
his presence pale and trembling, because of the executioner and 
deaWs-man, that had sounded his trumpet at his chamber door in 
the dead time of the night to call him away to execution, 
brother, thou hast loved me, and never offended me, and is the 
Sight of my executioner so dreadful to thee ? How then should I, 
a grievous sinner, fear to be brought to judgment before Jesus 
Christ ! Consider the day of the Lord s wrath is coming, and who 
shall abide it ? This terrible fire is kindled, this horrible tempest 
is gathered, and ready to fall on thy head every moment. Do not 
put these things far off, as many do, who thereby deprive them 
selves of the happy effects which these thoughts might produce. A 
cannon afar off, though never so great, doth no execution ; men 

1 Plutarch in Vit. Alexand. 


will not tremble and fall down for fear of it, when once they appre 
hend it many miles off. Things afar off, though very big, will seem 
very small ; a star that is bigger than the whole earth, seems no 
bigger than a torch, being many miles from us. Look therefore 
on all that misery that is treated of in the first use as thy portion, 
and as nigh to thee, even at the very door ; like a serjeant, it wait- 
eth continually to arrest thee, and hale thee to the prison of hell. 
There is not a night in which thou liest down to sleep, but this 
roaring lion of the wrath of God lieth down before thee, and is 
ready, when thou art asleep, little dreaming of it, to rend thee 
asunder, and tear thy soul in pieces. In the morning when thou 
risest it waiteth upon thee, dogging thee all the day long, whatso 
ever thou dost, and following thee like a bloodhound wheresoever 
thou goest ; thou mayest as soon fly from thyself as from it, till 
thou art effectually humbled for thy sins, the cause of it. And be 
not insensible of it, because it is invisible to thee. The influences 
of the sun are hottest among the minerals in the bowels of the 
earth, where it is not at all visible, nor they sensible : so the fire 
of divine fury is hottest where it is not visible, nor the person sen 
sible. Though thou mayest see it as plainly in the Scripture as 
the sun at noon-day : God is angry with the wicked every day, 
Ps. vii. ] 1. There is wrath prepared for the workers of iniquity, 
and it will assuredly and speedily be inflicted, if thou art not timely 
and truly humbled and converted. 

I would also desire thee to ponder much the free grace of God, 
which is discovered in the gospel. What bowels of compassion in 
the Father to give his Son ! what infinite affection in the Son to 
give himself for the reconciliation and salvation of his enemies ! 
It is probable the heat of this unknown love may melt thy frozen 
spirit ; the flint itself is broken with the hard hammer and the soft 
pillow : this is the most ingenuous sorrow that is never to be sor 
rowed for, which springeth from the consideration that thou hast 
sinned against so good, so pure, so perfect a God, in conformity to 
whom, and communion with whom, all thy happiness consisteth. 
The law indeed is of excellent use to open the sore, to search the 
wound, to make the patient feel his need of, and set a price upon, 
his physician ;^thus it is a schoolmaster to drive the soul to Christ ; 
but winter fruits are more harsh and sour, when summer fruits are 
sweet and pleasant. God taketh most delight in those tears and 
sorrow which are the fruits of hot love to his blessed Majesty. 
And could I see them once in thee, I durst joy thee of the babe of 
grace, the new creation. They are at least the kindly bearing 


throes of one in travail, very near her hour of delivery, as also often 
the after-pains. A stroke from guilt, from wrath, broke Judas 
heart into despair ; a look from love, from Christ, broke Peter s 
into tears. 1 That sap and moisture which in frost and snow lieth 
hid and buried in the earth, sheweth itself pleasantly in the fruits 
of the trees, when it is called forth by the warmth of the sun. 

Even Saul himself will lift up his voice and weep, when he seeth 
a clear testimony of the love and undeserved kindness of David. 

Hast thou never beheld a condemned prisoner dissolved into 
tears, upon the unexpected and unmerited receipt of a pardon, who 
all the time before was as hard as a flint ? The hammer of the 
law may break the icy heart of man with terrors and horror, and 
yet it may remain ice still, unchanged ; but when the fire of love 
kindly thaweth its ice, it is changed and dissolved into water it is 
no longer ice, but of another nature. Where the sun is most pre 
dominant, there are the sweetest spices, the richest mines, and the 
costliest jewels. Do thou therefore meditate much on the love of 
God and Christ to thy unworthy soul : think what love is it that 
still spareth thee, notwithstanding all thy God-daring and soul- 
damning provocations, and that when others, probably better than 
thyself, are every day and night sent to that place, where God 
hath large interest for his long patience. What love is it, not only 
to forbear thee, but also to do thee good 1 Thou his enemy art 
hungry, he feedeth thee ; thou art thirsty, he giveth thee drink. 
If a man find his enemy, will he let him go ? 1 Sam. xxiv. 19. 
But lo, God findeth thee every moment. As all thy sins are within 
the reach of his eye, so thou thyself art continually within the reach 
of his arm ; he can as easily turn thee into hell, as tell thee of hell : 
and yet he letteth thee go, and more than that, doeth thee good. 
Thou spendest every hour upon the stock of mercy. God is at 
great charge and much cost in continuing meat and drink, and 
health and strength, and time which thou dost ravel out, and wan 
ton away unprofitably. 

What love was that in the Father which sent his own Son to 
die, that thou mightst live ! Well might the beloved disciple say, 
God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that 
whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting 
life, John iii. 16. In this the bowels of divine love are naked, as 
in an anatomy : in other things the love of God is as the beams of 
the sun scattered, which are warm and comfortable ; but in this it 
is as the beams of the sun united in a burning glass, hot, fiery, 
1 Aspexit Christus, et flevit Petrus. Ambr. 


burning love. God so loved the world, so dearly, so entirely, so 
incomparably, so infinitely : it is a sic without a sicut, as one ob- 
serveth a pattern which can never be paralleled. In this God 
commended his love towards us, in that when we were sinners 
Christ died for us, Kom. v. 8. When God sent his Son into the 
world, he did, as it were, say to him, My dear Son, thou Son of my 
chiefest love and choicest delight, go to the wicked, unworthy 
world, commend me to them, and tell them, that in thee I have 
sent them such a love-token, such an unquestionable testimony of 
my favour and good-will towards them, that hereafter they shall 
never have the least colour of reason to suspect my love, or to say, 
Wherein hast thou loved us ? Mai. i. 2. 

What love was that in the Son of God, which moved him to be 
come the Son of man, that thou mightst become the son of God ! 
What love was that which made him so willingly undergo the 
scorns, and flouts, and derisions of wretched men, the rage, and 
malice, and assaults of ravenous devils, the wrath and fury of a 
righteous God ; such pangs and tortures in his body as no mouth 
can express, such sorrows and horror in his soul as no mind can 
conceive ; and all that thou mightst escape such misery, and ob 
tain everlasting mercy ! 

* Greater love than this hath no man, that a man lay down his 
life for his friend, John xv. 13. The passion of Christ was the 
greatest evidence of his affection. The laying down of life did 
abundantly proclaim his love. His love before was like wine in a 
cask, hardly seen ; but oh how did it sparkle and cast its colour in 
the glass of his sufferings ! This diamond, before hid in the shell, 
doth shine radiantly in the ring of his death. If his tears did so 
much speak his love to Lazarus, that the Jews who saw him weep 
ing, cried out, Lo, how he loved him ! surely his heart-blood doth 
far more demonstrate his love to his members. They that beheld 
him bleeding in the garden, had far more reason to say, Look, lo 
how he loved his ! 

What love is that which did all this for such a worm as thou 
art such a sinner, such a rebel ? what would God lose if thou 
wert eternally lost ? the least tittle of his happiness would not be 
diminished. This sun is no loser when men shut their eyes, and 
will not behold its light ; what gaineth God, if he gain thee to 
himself, to his service ? thou canst not add the least cubit to the 
stature of his perfections. The refreshment is to men, not to the 
spring, when the weary passengers drink of it. He doth not com 
mand thee to repent from any need he hath of thee, but from the 


pity lie hath to thee. He entreateth thee to return, not that he 
may be blessed and happy, but that he may be bountiful and 
liberal in bestowing on thee those blessings which accompany 
salvation. Methinks the apprehension of God s great love and 
goodness should have such an impression on thee as to make thee 
little and low in thine own thoughts. Is it not a wonder that 
God should vouchsafe a gracious look upon such a clod of earth, 
a piece of clay, as thou art ? but what admiration can answer this 
love and condescension, that God should wait and entreat to lift 
thee up, who would cast him down ? that an emperor should 
sue to a traitor ; that majesty should thus stoop to misery ; that 
the Lord of life and glory should prepare for thee exceeding rich 
and precious promises, a crown of life, a purchased possession, and 
beseech thee to accept of them ! Were thy heart never such hard 
metal, one would think that such a hot fire of burning love 
should melt it. I have in two or three authors read of five men 
that met together, and asked each other what means they used to 
abstain from sin ? The first said, the thoughts of the certainty 
of death, and uncertainty of the time, moved him to live every 
day as if it were his last day. The second said, he meditated 
of the day of judgment, and the torments of hell, and they frighted 
him from meddling with his dangerous enemy, sin. The third con 
sidered of the deformity of sin, and beauty of holiness. The 
fourth, of the abundant happiness provided in heaven for holy 
ones. The last continually thought of the Lord Jesus Christ and 
his love, and this made him ashamed to sin against God. 

Reader, if thou hast but any ingenuity, the abuse of such love 
and kindness should work upon thee. Some say, the blood of a 
goat will soften an adamant ; shall not then the blood of this 
true goat dissolve thy adamantine heart? Beasts themselves 
have been won by kindness, and wilt thou be worse than a beast, 
that such philanthropy and kindness of God shall no whit stir 
thee or humble thee ? 

There is a twofold necessity of a deep, serious humiliation, for 
which cause I have been the more large upon it, though indeed 
I have added very much more than I first intended, in order to 
the two next directions which I shall prescribe thee. 

First, In order to thy hearty acceptation of Jesus Christ. 
Humiliation is like John Baptist, to prepare the way of Christ 
before him. Christ will not be a Saviour to them that do not 
set a high valuation upon him ; now an unhumbled sinner is a 
man conceitedly whole, seeing no need of, and therefore setting 


little price upon, the physician of souls. Till men see that they are 
cast by the law of God, and condemned men, they will never 
heartily desire and value a psalm of mercy. According to a man s 
sense of misery, such is his estimation of mercy. When Paul saw 
himself the chiefest of sinners, then that saying, that Christ 
Jesus came into the world to save sinners, was worthy of all 
acceptation, 1 Tim. i. 15. This sharp sauce of repentance doth 
commend Christ exceedingly unto the spiritual palate. The more 
bitter and irksome sin is, the more sweet and welcome Jesus Christ 
will be to the soul. When the sinner seeth that he is lost in him 
self, then, and not till then, will he truly request to be found in 
Christ ; the prodigal did not prize the bread in his father s house 
till he was ready to perish for hunger. Ministers preach much of 
the infinite excellencies that are in Christ, of the unspeakable 
misery of sinners without Christ, of the absolute necessity that 
men and women stand in of Christ, and yet preach to little pur 
pose. Most prize their shops and their lands, their relations, yea, 
and their sensual lusts, above the Lord Jesus, notwithstanding all 
their pretences to the contrary ; they see no such need of him, nor 
such worth in him, as the preachers and Scriptures speak of. 
What is the reason of it ? truly this, they were never sensible of 
the stings of the fiery serpents ; if they had, they would look up 
to the brazen serpent with an eye of greater respect. They were 
never pricked to the heart, and therefore cry not out, Men and 
brethren, what shall we do to be saved? But when God dis- 
covereth his wrath to the soul, and shutteth the soul up under it ; 
when he commandeth conscience in his name to arrest the soul for 
all its debts which it oweth to divine justice ; and when, in pursu 
ance thereof, conscience doth, in the name of the dreadful God, 
charge on the sinner the guilt of all his sins, and hales him to the 
judgment-seat of God, where he seeth nothing but frowns and fury, 
fire and brimstone, and feeleth nothing but tribulation and 
anguish, indignation and wrath; now the sinner crieth out in 
bitterness of spirit, wretched, miserable man, alas, alas ! I am 
undone ! What desperate madness possessed my soul, thus to 
provoke the almighty God by my sins? Into what a sea of 
misery have I brought myself by mine iniquities ! The 
God whom I see is angry ; the wrath which I feel is heavy ; the 
torments which I fear are infinite ; the law which sheweth no 
mercy is violated ; the God who will have full satisfaction for the 
breach of his law is incensed ; conscience, which is his jailer, is 
commissionated to wound and terrify me, and whither shall I go ? 


There is wrath above me, wrath below me, wrath without me, 
wrath within me, wrath round about me. A world, mark now, 
for a surety to discharge me of these debts ; a thousand worlds for 
that balm which can heal this wounded conscience ; ten thou 
sand thousand worlds for a Jesus that can deliver from the wrath 
to come. When sin comes to be sin indeed, then, and not till 
then, a Saviour will be a Saviour indeed. 

Secondly, Humiliation is necessary in order to the soul s hearty 
resignation of itself to every law and command of Christ. Accord 
ing to a man s humiliation, such will his subjection to Christ be. 
Humiliation is, in some sense, the foundation of a Christian s 
obedience, and the strength of the building dependeth upon the 
strength of the foundation. The reason why the religious build 
ings of hundreds of professors in our days, though they have 
been very fair and beautiful to the eye, have miscarried, is this, 
the want of this foundation, their hearts were never thoroughly 
humbled. The reason why the stony ground did not bring forth 
good fruit, was this, the plough had not gone deep enough, it 
did not take deep root, Mat. xiii. 20, 21. 

Men would never dally with God as they do, or halt, as the 
Israelites, between two opinions be sometimes for God, and 
sometimes for the world ; holy by fits and girts if they had 
ever felt the weight of sin. Christ, when he cometh into the soul 
as a Saviour, will come also as a sovereign to command and govern 
the whole man. He is the true Sun, and he will have the whole 
heaven, the whole heart, to himself ; he will allow no writ of parti 
tion ; his law forbiddeth inmates as well as man s. Now, against 
this, the natural carnal man riseth and rebelleth exceedingly ; he 
hath ever at this time some lust or other which he valueth as his 
limbs, some right hand that he desireth may not be cut off, 
some right eye which he would not have plucked out, some 
Herodias that must not be meddled with, some Absalom that the 
sinner entreateth Christ to spare, and deal gently with for 
his sake. 1 Therefore, before the Lord of hosts can make an ab 
solute conquest, before he can persuade the besieged soul to sur 
render itself wholly and altogether to his government, he is forced, 
by the grenadoes and thundering cannons of the law s curse, and 
God s wrath, to fire and fright it out of all its sinful holds. Then 
it will come up to those excellent terms of the Lord, which are 

1 Probably, therefore, fleshly lusts may be called earthly members, Col. iii. ; not 
only because they flow from the body of death, but also because they are as dear to 
men as their bodily members. 


most honourable for the Saviour, and most profitable for the soul. 
Now he seeth most certainly such a sting in sin s tail, that he 
dares plead no longer for the beauty of its face ; now he feeleth 
it as a dart in his liver, as an arrow sticking in his heart, as a 
coal of fire in his hand ; he is heartily willing, yea, thinks himself 
much beholden to that Redeemer that will pluck out this dart, this 
arrow. Oh how readily doth he throw away this coal of fire, fear 
ing to be burnt by it any more ! We have two famous instances 
of this in Scripture. The one is in Paul, Acts ix. 6 ; when Paul, 
that was posting in the road to hell, comes to be knocked down, 
and to feel those tremblings and terrors in his spirit, he crieth 
out, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? He had probably heard 
much before of God, but he regarded it not, till now he receiveth 
a word and a blow a word from without, and a wound within to 
set it home ; now it is, ! Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? Before 
it was, What will the high priest, the scribes and pharisees, have 
me to do ? and what will the vain imaginations and high thoughts 
which exalted themselves against God and Christ have me 
to do ? But now it is, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? 
Before, his heart was like hard wax, it would take no impression 
from God ; but now it is softened by this fire of inward humiliation, 
it is ready for any stamp. God may imprint what he pleaseth ; 
Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? The other instance is in 
the cruel, rough, hard-hearted jailer. After the earthquake and 
the heartquake which God had caused, he springs trembling in, 
and fell down before Paul and Silas, crying out, Sirs, what shall I 
do to be saved ? Acts xvi. 29, 30. Observe, now, the man is heart 
sick indeed, he is willing to take the most bitter pills ; as if he had 
said, Sirs, do but tell me what I must do for salvation ; though the 
terms be never so hard, the conditions never so unpleasant, the price 
never so much, the pains never so great, yet I will submit to any 
thing, to all things, for salvation. What must I do to be saved ? 

When the Israelite first sets out towards Canaan there is a 
mixed multitude, as when they marched out of Egypt, of carnal 
affections, which desire and endeavour to bear him company ; now, 
because God knoweth that the land is too good for such evil in 
habitants, and, besides, that they will cause many mutinies in the 
way, he brings therefore the Israelite into the wilderness, to humble 
him and to cut them off. 

Before the soul be thoroughly humbled it dodgeth with Christ, 
it plays fast and loose, off and on ; this it liketh, and that it dis- 
liketh ; this part of the yoke is uneasy, this burden is too heavy, 


and such and such commandments are grievous ; fain it would 
have Christ and his precious promises, but loath it is to forego its 
old friends, its beloved lusts ; but when God is pleased to take the 
sinner by the throat, and to shake him out of his security, by shew 
ing him sin and wrath in their colours, making him sensible of the 
one, and terrifying him with a fearful expectation of the other, 
laying him at the pit s brink, within the smoke of hell, within the 
the smell of that brimstone, within the scorchings of that eternal 
fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels, now the sinner 
seeth that God is in earnest, and therefore dareth not halt or halve 
it any longer ; now he is in a boisterous storm, and casteth all those 
goods, his darling sins, into the sea, perceiving that he must perish 
if he do not. 

God is necessitated to lance men s wounds, and put them to 
pain, because otherwise they cannot be cured. When the metal is 
thus melted, God may cast it into what mould he pleaseth. Oh 
thrice happy is that heart which hath been deeply and truly 
humbled ! it shall hold out in those tempests wherein many others 
shall make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. 


The third help to a spiritual life, Application of, or affiance on, 

Jesus Christ 

Thirdly, If thou hast been faithful in following my former advice, 
to get thy mind enlightened to see, and thy heart thoroughly 
humbled for thy sin and misery, thy next work is to rest and rely 
upon the Lord Jesus Christ for pardon, grace, and salvation ; to 
look upon him as one appointed by the Father, given by himself, 
sanctified by the Spirit, and revealed in the word of truth, the gos 
pel, to be the only and all-sufficient Saviour of lost souls. It is 
now the proper time for thee to cast thy soul, thy sins, thine eter 
nal estate, upon the infinite meritoriousness of the blessed Eedeemer. 
Experience sheweth, that it is very easy for an unbroken sinner to 
presume, but surely it is very hard for a humbled sinner that hath 
had all his vileness and unworthiness displayed before his eye, and 
the infinite wrath of God, like a mountain of lead, oppressing his 
conscience, to believe, and therefore I have prepared some choice 
cordials for such fainting spirits, which I shall give thee anon. 
But my work now is to beseech thee, broken heart, that thou take 


heed of thinking to lick thyself whole. I know the devil and thy 
heart will be both busy and diligent to get thee to make a Christ 
of thy contrition, and a Saviour of thy humiliation. Oh how un 
willing is man, when he hath shipwrecked his soul, to commit him 
self naked to the sea of Christ s blood ! how earnest is he to have 
the chains and jewels of his earthly affections along with him, and 
to swim out upon the rotten boards of his own works ! 

Header, now therefore especially, if thy soul be in a flame, be 
careful out of what well thou drawest the water to quench it. 1 
This is one of the chiefest, nay, the chiefest of all, fundamentals in 
religion, and therefore it behoveth thee to be very tender. Now 
thou art nigh drowning, near sinking in the ocean of divine fury, 
thou hadst need to make sure that the bough or stake, or whatever 
it be by which thou boldest, be strong enough, and able to bear 
thy weight. It is likely, nay it is certain, if thou art humbled as 
aforesaid, thou prayest, thou mournest, thou sighest, thou loathest 
thyself for thy wickedness, thou admirest God for his forbearance, 
thou longest after help and deliverance. Be sure that thou do not 
look on these as so much money wherewith thou mayest purchase 
thy pardon, and buy off thy guilt ; for believe it, if thou dost, as 
white as thy silver is, it will draw black lines ; instead of wiping off 
thy old score, thou wilt thereby run further into debt. Evangelical 
humiliation is required, not so much to make thee acceptable to 
Christ, as to make Christ acceptable to thee. It is a good evidence 
of the beginnings of sanctification, but it is a bad advocate for thy 
justification. It is as truly dangerous to appear before God in the 
rags of thy own righteousness as in thy sinful nakedness. 

If ever thou receive the blessing of pardon and love from thy 
heavenly Father, it must be by appearing in the garments of thine 
elder brother. He maketh his accepted, but it is in Christ the 
beloved, Eph. i. 6. Nothing but perfect righteousness will pacify 
God s anger, or satisfy his justice, please those eyes which are purer 
than to behold the least iniquity. And this righteousness is only 
in Christ, who was made sin for thee, that thou mightst become 
the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. v. 21. 

Do not therefore, when thou ceasest to be an atheist, begin to be 
a papist, in relying upon thy good works ; for though God will not 
save thee without them, yet he will never save thee for them. 
Canst thou, saith an eminent minister now with Christ, 2 make 

1 This spiritual life is a life of faith ; and indeed upon this the whole almost of 
thy work dependeth. Fide regeneramur ; resipiscentia non solum fidem subsequitur, 
sed ex ea nascitur. Calv. 

2 Shepherd s Sincere Convert, p. 107, edit. 5. 


thyself a Christ for thyself ? Canst thou bear, and come from 
under an infinite wrath ? Canst thou bring in perfect righteous 
ness into the presence of God ? This Christ must do, else he could 
not satisfy and redeem. And if thou canst not do this, and hast 
no Christ, desire and pray till heaven and earth shake, till thou 
hast worn thy tongue to the stumps ; endeavour as much as thou 
canst, and others commend thee for a diligent Christian ; mourn in 
some wilderness till doomsday ; dig thy nails, weep buckets full of 
hourly tears, till thou canst weep no more ; fast and pray, till thy 
skin and bones cleave together; promise and purpose, with full 
resolution to be better; nay, reform thy head, heart, life, and 
tongue ; and some, nay, all sins ; live like an angel, shine like a 
sun, walk up and down the world like a distressed pilgrim going to 
another country, so that all Christians commend and admire thee : 
die ten thousand deaths, lie at the fire-back in hell so many millions 
of years as there be piles of grass upon the earth, or sands upon the 
sea-shore, or stars in the firmament, or motes in the sun. I tell 
thee, not one spark of the wrath of God against thy sin shall be, 
can be quenched by all these duties, nor by any of these sorrows, 
for these are not the blood of Christ. 

It is both unacceptable and unprofitable for thee to approach 
God, either in himself or in thyself. I dare not meddle with an 
absolute God, saith Luther. 1 God in himself is a consuming fire, 
but in his Son a loving Father. Do thou, therefore, now thou 
knowest thyself and sin, labour to know Jesus Christ, and him 
crucified, 1 Cor. ii. 2, and count all things dung and dross for the 
excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus thy Lord, Phil. iii. 8. 
Read, and pray, and weep, and pant, and thirst, that thou mayest 
be found in him : Not having thy own righteousness, which is 
according to the law ; but that which is through the faith of him, 
the righteousness which is of God by faith, Phil. iii. 9. Take a 
view of him in the gospel, where he is crucified before thine eyes, 
and behold him displayed in both his natures, and all his offices, 
and therein his suitableness unto, and sufficiency for all the wants 
and necessities of thy dying soul. Dost thou see a cloud of judg 
ments gathering apace, and ready to pour down on thy head ? Run 
to him for shelter ; he is both a shadow from the heat, and a shelter 
from the storm, Isa. xxv. 4. Is thy conscience wounded with thy 
sins ? Hasten to the wounds of the Saviour : by his stripes thou 
mayest be healed, Isa. liii. Do the murdering pieces of the law s 
curses threaten to destroy thee ? Fly like the distressed dove to 

1 Nolo Deum absolutum. Luth. 


the clefts of the Eock of ages, the bored hands and feet, the pierced 
side of thy blessed Kedeemer ; there thy soul may be sure of safety. 
He is the only ark wherein thou mayest be saved, when the whole 
world that lieth in wickedness shall be drowned, shall be damned. 
He is the little Zoar whither thou mayest retire, and thy soul shall 
live, when fire and brimstone, yea, hell, shall be rained from heaven 
on ungodly ones. 1 He is the true city of refuge, wherein thou 
mayest assuredly escape the wrath of God, which, like the avenger 
of blood, pursueth thee. A hearty, thankful acceptation of Jesus 
Christ, as he is tendered in the gospel, will at the day of judgment 
be a plea as acceptable unto God, and profitable unto thee, as per 
fect subjection to all the commands of the law. 

Consider how full his merits are ; he is a horn of salvation, Luke 
i. 69, i.e., strong to save, the strength of the noble beasts lying in 
their horns. There is no sinner so black but the blood of this 
Saviour can make white, Rev. vii. 14. There are some diseases 
which other physicians cannot cure, but he healeth all diseases. 
All are dangerously, but none desperately sick whom he under- 
taketh. Thou owest a vast debt to justice, but the Lord Jesus is 
an able surety : He is able to save to the uttermost those that 
come unto God by him/ 2 Heb. vii. 25. 

Oh what is it that thou wantest, which perfect righteousness and 
infinite meritoriousness cannot procure ? Dost thou want remission ? 
God forgiveth sin for Christ s sake, Eph. iv. 32 ; the blood of 
Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin/ 1 John i. 7. He was 
a great sinner, as Luther observeth, by imputation, that thou 
mightst be innocent through condonation and pardon. 3 Dost thou 
want reconciliation with God? He maketh peace through the 
blood of his cross, Col. i. 20. God is in Christ reconciling the 
world to himself, 2 Cor. v. 20. He endured his Father s frowns 
and fury, that thou mightst enjoy his smiles and favour. Dost 
thou want sanctificatiou ? His blood is sanctifying as well as justi 
fying, Heb. ix. 14. He did not only buy off thy score of guilt, but 
also purchased a new stock of grace for his bankrupt creature to set 
up with again. 

1 Gehenna e caelo. Salv. 

2 It is a folly to think that an emperor s revenues will not pay a beggar s debts. 
Christ hath undertook to satisfy, and he hath money enough to pay. Free grace 
can shew you large accounts, and a long bill cancelled by the blood of Christ. Mr 
Manton on James, p. ult. 

3 Themistocles appeased the anger of king Admetus by holding the king s young 
son in his arms ; so doth the Christian appease God by holding his Son in the arms 
of faith. 


The oil of grace was abundantly poured on the church s head, 
that it might fall down on the skirts and members. Of his fulness 
thou mayest receive grace for grace, John i. 16. Dost thou want 
salvation ? He hath the power and gift of eternal life, John x. 28, 
and xvii. 24. He is the author of eternal salvation, Heb. v. 9. Thou 
mayest have boldness, through the blood of Jesus, to enter into the 
Holy of holies, Heb. x. 19, 20. He paid an infinite sum to pur 
chase the Father s house for thine everlasting home. Whatever 
thy need be, he is able to supply it, for he is a universal treasure 
which can never be spent, a spring that can never be drawn dry : 
In him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily, Col. ii. 9. 

Consider also how free his mercy is, as well as his merits full. 
Thou mayest drink of the water of life freely, Rev. xxii. 17. If 
thou wilt buy his benefits, thou must leave thy money behind thee ; 
his wine and milk is to be had without money and without 
price, Isa. Iv. 1. Do not hold off, thinking to carry worthiness to 
Christ, but believe on him, and thou mayest fetch worthiness from 
Christ. The same free grace which gave Christ for thee without 
thy prayer, will, at thy desire, give Christ to thee. Do not always 
lie poring upon thy unworthiness, but if thou art sensible of it, and 
sorrowful for it, believe it thou art worthy enough to divine accep 
tation, though not to divine satisfaction. As his omnipotency an- 
swereth thy weakness, and his fulness thy wants, so doth his free 
grace all thy unworthiness. The natural sun doth not enlighten 
more freely, than this Sun of righteousness doth enliven all that 
come under the shadow of his wings. 

Ponder how universal his offers of grace are. Jesus Christ, with 
all his merits, are tendered to all. The proposals of divine mercy 
and love are general and universal. Go preach the gospel, ob 
serve, to every creature. He that believeth shall be saved. Ho 
every one that thirsteth/ Isa. Iv. 1. If any man, let him be poor 
or rich, high or low, thirst, let him come to me and drink, John 
vii. 37. 

It is a great encouragement that, in the offers of pardon and 
life, none are excluded ; why, then, shouldst thou exclude thyself. 
Come to me all ye that are weary and heavy-laden, Mat. xi. 28. 
Mark, poor sinner, all ye. Art not thou one of that all ? Is not 
thy wickedness thy weight, and thy corruption thy burden ? Then 
thou art called particularly as well as generally. Jesus Christ 
taketh thee aside from the crowd, and whispereth thee in the ear, 
poor sinner, that art weary of the work, and heavy-laden with 
the weight of sin, be entreated to come to me ; I will give thee rest. 


Why doth thy heart suggest that he doth not intend thee in that 
call ? Doth he not, by that qualification, as good as name thee ? 
Ah, it is an unworthy, a base jealousy, to mistrust a loving Christ 
without the least cause. 

Once more, meditate how willing he is to heal thy wounded 
spirit, and be not faithless, but believing. He is willing to accept 
of thee, if thou art willing to accept him. What mean his affec 
tionate invitations ? He seeketh to draw thee with cords of love, 
cords that are woven and spun out of his heart and bowels : Cant. 
iv. 8, Come away from Lebanon, my sister, my spouse; from the 
lions den, from the mountains of leopards/ Christ s love is hot 
and burning ; he thinketh thou tarriest too long from his embraces : 
Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled, Cant. v. 
2. Christ stands begging for entrance : Lost man, do but suffer 
me to save thee; poor sinner, suffer me to love thee. 1 These are 
the charms of gospel rhetoric. None singeth so sweetly as the bird 
of paradise, the turtle that chirpeth upon the church s hedges, that 
he may cluck sinners to himself. What mean his pathetical ex 
postulations, Why will ye die ? Ezek. xxxiii. 11. What reason 
hast thou thus to run upon thy death and ruin ? What iniquity 
have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me ? 
Jer. ii. 5 ; what harm have I ever done them ? what evil do they 
know by me, that they walk so contrary to me ? But one place for 
all : Micah vi. 3, 4, my people, what have I done unto thee ? 
and wherein have I wearied thee ? testify against me. For I brought 
thee out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house 
of servants. my people, remember now what bowels of love 
are here sounding in every line ; what fiery affection is there in such 
sweet expostulations ! Oh admirable condescension ! 

What meaneth his sorrow for them that refuse him for their 
Saviour ? He is grieved because of the hardness of men s hearts, 
Mark iii. 5. 

He shed tears for them that shed his blood. When he came 
nigh that city, which was the slaughter-house of the prophets of 
the Lord, and of the Lord of the prophets, he wept, Luke xix. 41 : 
If thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day. The brokeuness 
of his speech sheweth the brokenness of his spirit. He is pitiful 
towards their souls that are so cruel to themselves, and weepeth for 
them that go laughing to hell. 

What meaneth his joy at the birthday of the new creature, when 
he is received with welcome into the sinner s heart ? The mother 

1 Mr Manton on Jude, p. 75. 


is as much pleased that her full breasts are drawn as the child can 
be. The day of thy cordial acceptation of him will be the day of 
the gladness of his heart. At such an hour he rejoiced in spirit, 
saith the evangelist, Luke x. 21. He wept twice, and he bled, as 
some affirm, seven times ; but we never read of his rejoicing, if I 
mistake not, but in this place. And surely it was something that 
did extraordinarily take the heart of Christ, which could, in the ! 
time of his humiliation, tune his spirit into a merry note, and cause 
this man of sorrows to rejoice. Ah, sinner, believe it, he would 
never so willingly have died such a cursed, painful death, if he had 
not been willing that sinners should live a spiritual and eternal 

What mean, I say, his invitations, expostulations, grief upon 
refusal, joy upon acceptance, his commands, entreaties, promises, 
threatenings ; his wooing thee by the ministers of his word, by the] 
motions of his Spirit, by his daily, nightly, hourly mercies, by his] 
gracious providence, by his unwearied patience, but to assure thee] 
that he is heartily willing to accept thee for his servant, for his son,] 
if thou art heartily willing to accept him for thy Saviour and for! 
thy sovereign ? He would never present thee with such costly gifts,] 
if his offer of marriage were not in earnest. Besides, broken-hearted] 
sinner, for it is to thee that all this while I have been speaking ; 
how darest thou any longer entertain such a traitor against the 
King of saints in thy breast, as a thought that the Lord Jesus can 
be guilty in any of the forementioned particulars of the least in 
sincerity ? 

Do not, therefore, like the silly hart, go ever up and down moan 
ing and bleeding with the arrow in thy side, thy sins sticking ia 
thy heart, but desire his helping hand to pluck them out, and with^j 
out question thou shalt have it. He had a special command and 
commission from his Father to remember and redeem thee : Isa. 
Ixi. 1-3, To bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the 
captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to 
comfort them that mourn ; and dost thou think it possible for him 
to be unfaithful in his office or to his Father ? No certainly ; he 
keepeth all his Father s commandments, and continueth in his 
love, John xv. 10, 11. 

When he was upon earth, like a physician, he was in fris element 
when among sick and diseased persons, so much did he love to heal 
and cure. And now he is in heaven, though he be free from pas 
sion, yet not from compassion ; his heart pitieth thee most tenderly, 
and his hand will help thee effectually. Cheer up at last, droop- 


ing soul, and look up with an eye of faith to this Lord of life, to 
this brazen serpent. I may say to thee, as Martha to Mary, The 
Master is come, and he calleth for thee. Hark how loudly he pro- 
claimeth his general tender of grace : Ho, every one that thirsteth, 
come to the waters, 1 Isa. Iv. 1 ; how lovingly he beseecheth : As 
though God did beseech you by us ; we pray you in Christ s stead, be 
ye reconciled to God, 2 Cor. v. 20. See how cheerfully he looks, 
out of hope that thou wilt by believing receive him into thy heart : 
His countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. His mouth 
is most sweet ; yea, he is altogether lovely, Cant. v. 15, 16. How 
hastily he runs to meet thee more than half-way 1 love s pace is very 
swift : Behold, he cometh leaping over the mountains, skipping 
upon the hills ! Cant. ii. 8. Observe how bountifully he provideth 
for thy entertainment : A feast of fat things, a feast of wines on 
the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well re 
fined, Isa. xxv. 6. Behold he standeth at the door and knocketh ; 
if thou hear his voice, and open to him, he will come in and sup 
with thee, and thou with him, Eev. iii. 20. 

The fourth help, Dedication to God. 

Fourthly, Dedicate thyself, soul and body, and all thou hast, unto 
the service and glory of Jesus Christ. If thou hast been unfeigned 
in the practice of the former directions, I doubt not in the least thy 
willingness to this. If thy sorrow for sin hath been sincere, like a 
burnt child thou wilt dread that fire. The sense of former unkind- 
ness to Christ is fresh in thy heart ; and a very glutton, in pain 
under a distemper, dares not but forbear such meats as will feed it. 
If thy marriage to Christ hath been hearty, thou hast given a 
universal bill of divorce to other lovers, and hast accepted him for 
thy head and husband, to govern and command thee, as well as to 
protect and provide for thee, and instate heaven as a jointure upon 
thee. 2 If thou expectest an immortal life from him, thou must con 
secrate thy mortal life to him. I hope then thou art contented to 
take Jesus Christ, for better, for worse ; with his shameful cross, as 

1 Vocations and interjections speak very affectionate bowels toward the distressed ; 
God lays his mouth, as it were, to the deaf ear of the unbeliever, and crieth aloud, 
4 Ho, every one that thirsteth. 

2 The jewel of faith must be laid up in the cabinet of a good conscience. Though 
faith justify our persons, yet good works must justify our faith. 


well as his crown of glory ; with his trials, as well as his triumphs ; 
with his gracious precepts, as well as his gracious promises : nay, I 
hope thou seest so much equity in his commands, so much beauty 
in his ways and worship, so much of thy soul s felicity wrapt up in 
holiness, in order to its perfection and happiness, that thou wouldst 
much rather choose the easy yoke, the light burden of Christ, than 
the drudgery of the world, or the bondage of corruption. Truly 
thus it must be with thee, if ever thou art saved; and thus I 
thought to have found thee by this time, at least to leave thee. 

One excellently compareth holiness and happiness to those two 
sisters, Leah and Rachel. Salvation or happiness, like Rachel, 
seems the fairer even the carnal heart may fall in love with that ; 
but sanctification or holiness, like Leah, is the elder, and beautiful 
also, though in this life it appears with some disadvantage, her 
eyes being bleared with tears of repentance, and her face furrowed 
with the works of mortification. But this is the law of that 
heavenly country, that the younger sister must not be bestowed be 
fore the elder. We cannot enjoy fair Rachel, heaven and happiness, 
except first we embrace tender-eyed Leah, holiness, mortification, [ 
self-denial, and all those severe duties which the church s lawgiver j 

Friend, sit down and consider what it may cost thee to be a 
Christian. It must cost thee the absolute denial of thy sinful, 
carnal self, of the body of death and its earthly members, which ! 
are expressly forbidden in the word of God ; and thy main work 
must be every day to crucify and mortify them. Sin must die,! 
though it may be never so dear to thee, or thy soul cannot live. If j 
thou lettest any sin go, since every one is appointed by God to de-] 
struction, thy life must go for its life, as the prophet told AhabJ 
1 Kings xx. 42. When Christ came in the flesh, sin crucified] 
him ; but when Christ comes in the spirit, he will crucify it. As 
Samson, an eminent type of Christ, pulled down the house upon] 
the heads of the lords of the Philistines, that he might slay them,] 
and so be avenged on them for his two eyes ; so Jesus Christ, if he] 
be thy Saviour, is resolved to pull the house in which sin harbours i 
itself down about its ears, and by its slaughter, to be revenged on] 
it for his two eyes, for all the ignominy and shame, agony and^ 
pain, which sin put him to. He will teach thee better than to beg 
the life of those Barabbases, those foul murderers and robbers of 
God of his glory. And surely ingenuity will learn thee otherwise 
than to expect such infinite favours from this King, and yet to en- . 
tertaiii in thy heart any that are rebels against his Majesty. 


Thus it will cost thee the absolute denial of thy sinful self. It 
must cost thee the conditional denial of thy natural self, and all that 
is outwardly dear unto thee. Nay, it may cost thee the actual loss 
of relations, possessions, honour, pleasure, liberty, limbs, life, and all 
these for Jesus Christ. Thou must resolve, whenever they come 
in opposition unto, or competition with Christ, his glory, kingdom, 
and command, to let them go. As when Levi s relations came in 
competition with the glory of God, he did not know his father, nor 
would he acknowledge his brethren, Deut. xxxiii. 9. When Moses 
glory and pleasures came in competition with a precept of God, 
he chooseth to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than 
to enjoy the pleasures of the court, Heb. xi. 25. When Paul s 
liberty and life come in competition with the kingdom of Christ, 
he is ready, not only to be bound, but to die for the name of the 
Lord Jesus, Acts xx. 24. They all willingly left their own com 
forts to obey God s call and commands. In conversion, as one 
well observeth, 1 the use and the property of all we have is altered. 
All our vessels, all our merchandise must be superscribed with a 
new title: Holiness to the Lord, Isa. xxiii. 18 ; Zech. xiv. 20, 21. 
Then men s chief care will be to honour the Lord with their sub 
stance, Prov. iii. 9 : to bring their sons, their silver, their gold, to 
the name of the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, Isa. Ix. 9. All we 
are, or have, we have it on this condition : to use it, to leave it, to 
lay it out, to lay it down, unto the honour of our Master, from whose 
bounty we received it. 

It was a notable saying of a noble lord of this land, 2 that that 
person may be deceived, who thinks to save anything by his religion 
more than his soul ; and surely he that saveth his soul, saveth all 
that is worth saving. He meant that his religion might cost him 
the loss of all other things. There is certainly, if thou wilt be a 
Christian indeed, a necessity of laying thy health, strength, time, 
estate, name, friends, interests in the world, thy calling and com 
forts whatsoever, at the feet of Christ, to be employed wholly in his 
service, and improved altogether for his glory, and to be denied 
or enjoyed, in whole or in part, according to his call and command. 
This may seem a hard saying to carnal minds, that rather than 
break, and leave off all show of trading with God, to which their 
stirred consciences will by no means yield, would willingly com 
pound and give Christ a part, and the world and flesh the other 
part ; but as Christ is worthy of, so he will have, all acceptation. 
The gods of the heathen are good fellows, and share their honour 

1 Dr Reyn. Sermon on Self-denial. 2 L. Brooks. 


among themselves ; but this Lord over all, who is God blessed for 
ever, will not give his glory to others ; he will not suffer that super 
lative esteem, trust, and love of the soul, to be bestowed on any 
but himself, or to be divided betwixt himself and any other. He 
will allow no superior, nay, no equal. As Alexander answered 
Darius, when Darius sent to him about peace, because there were 
empires enough in the world to satisfy them both, The whole world 
could endure but one sun, but one Alexander. So the heart of man 
must have but one general, but one commander-in-chief, and that 
must be Jesus Christ. 

Truly, reader, I hope that these things will not discourage thee 
from the ways of God. Do but rationally consider them ; is it not 
most just and equal, that since all these things come freely from him, 
that they should be laid out purely for him ? Thou givest thy 
servant a little meat, and drink, and money, or rather God by thee, 
and what service dost thou require of him ? Thou art instrumental, 
under God, to the birth and breeding of thy children, and what 
duty dost thou expect from them ? Art not thou ten thousanc 
times more engaged to Jesus Christ, for every bit of bread anc 
breath of air, for every night s sleep and day s supply, for every 
mercy that thine enjoy, for every moment s abode on this side hell, 
for every soul-favour, and body-kindness. 

In him thou livest, movest, and hast thy being ; the light dotl 
not so much depend on the sun, as thy life and all thy comforts de 
pends on Christ. Now, be thy own judge, what service, what 
obedience, may the Lord Jesus look for at thy hands? If the 
world or the flesh could do half so much for thee, thou wert more 
excusable, than now thou art in doing so much for them. 

Again, when the question ariseth, whether Christ or the flesh, 
Christ or the world, should have thy greatest esteem, or love, or 
trust, or the most of thy time, and strength, and talents. One 
would think thou shouldst be ashamed to put such a question, or, : 
at least, that the very mention of it would be a sufficient answer to 
it. Alas ! what are all the honours and pleasures, riches and rela 
tions, delicates and diadems, of the whole world to Jesus Christ, but 
as pebbles to pearls, dirt to diamonds, dross to gold, nothing to all 
things ? there surely is no comparison. The whole world of heaven 
and earth doth not so far excel a feather, as Jesus Christ doth the 
whole world. 

Besides, this request of mine should rather encourage thee, in 
regard this absolute resignation of thyself to Christ tendeth to the 
perfection and happiness of thy soul. Thy misery by thy fall is 


chiefly in this, that thou hast thereby lost the image of God. Thy 
want of conformity to him, is the cause why thou hast not com 
munion with him. Beasts do not converse with men, nor trees 
with beasts, because they do not live the life of each other. Sense 
must fit trees to converse with beasts, and reason must fit beasts to 
converse with men, and grace and holiness must fit thee to converse 
with God. When thou once livest the life of God, as this unre 
served soul-resignation or sanctification is called, Eph. iv. 18, thou 
mayest then bathe thy soul in his love. 

Now this is the way to it. The life of Christianity consisteth in 
a hearty dedication of thyself and all thou hast to Christ. When 
thou hast done this, thou art a Christian indeed. 

The excellency of everything standeth in two things: first, 
The perfection of beauty in which it was made, and the perfection 
of use for which it was made. Now the beauty of man consisteth 
in this, that he was made like unto God, Gen. i. 26 ; and his end 
and use is this, that he was made for God ; first to serve him, and 
after to enjoy him, for the Lord hath set apart him that is godly 
for himself; therefore to recover the image of God, which con 
sisteth in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness, to work to 
the service and glory of God, to aspire to the possession and fruition 
of God, must needs be man s greatest good. l 

By what hath been largely spoken before in this use, thou mayest 
perceive that there is no going to heaven per saltum, by leaping out 
of a dirty and stinking jakes into the presence of the glorious God. 
There is a being made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of 
the saints in light, Col. i. 12, which is by sanctification. 2 As 
clothes are by lighter colours fitted to receive a deep scarlet dye, 
so thou must, by this spiritual life of holiness, be fitted for the 
eternal life of glory. Observe, 2 Cor. v. 5, the apostle tells us, He 
that hath wrought us for the self-same thing (i.e., heaven) is God. 
Man is a rugged piece of timber, an unhewn stone ; now the stone 
must be polished, and the timber squared, before it can be fit for the 
heavenly building wrought for it. 

Joseph, when he was sent for to Pharaoh out of prison, changed 
his raiment, and trimmed himself, and then appeared before the 

And as there must be regeneration, or the beginning of grace, so 
there must be a proficiency or growth in grace, to prepare the soul 

i Dr Reyn. on Hos. xiv., Sermon 7. 

1 Operatione et acceptatione diviaa idonei constituimur ad participandam sortem 
sanctorum. Davenant in loc. 


for the weight of glory. There is a double right which every child 
of God hath to heaven. 1 1. Jus hcereditarium, a hereditary right, 
and that is at regeneration, when he is put into Christ, and made 
a co-heir with him of his inheritance, having grace begun in him, 
which shall be perfected in glory, and was given as a principle 
ordained to such a perfection. 2. Jus aptitudinarium, and that is 
a right of fitness, whereby we are qualified to receive such a mercy ; 
and that as an heir hath a right of inheritance in his non-age, but 
he hath not a right of fitness till he come to years, and be able to 
manage his estate when he hath received it. Header, in both these 
respects there is a necessity that thou presently make a deed of 
gift of thyself and thy all unto Jesus Christ ; and that thou never 
more look upon thyself, or anything thou hast, as thine own, 
but as a servant entrusted with them for thy Master s use and 

Well, reader, I suppose thou dost ere this fully understand the 
conditions upon which thy soul may be contracted unto Christ. 
My work is to treat with thee about this marriage. I am com 
manded by the Lord, as Abraham s steward by his lord, Gen. 
xxiv., to provide a wife for my Master s Son. I do here, in the 
presence of the living God, by commission from his Majesty, tender 
thee the most honourable, profitable, delightful match that was 
ever offered to mortals. It is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of 
life and glory, the only-begotten of the Father, the fairest of ten 
thousands, to be thy head and husband : hereby thou shalt have 
the King of kings, the Lord of heaven and earth, for thy Father ; 
a queen, the church, for thy mother ; the saints, those truly excel 
lent, noble, illustrious ones, higher than the kings of the earth, for 
thy brethren and sisters ; the covenant of grace, in comparison of 
which all the gold of the Indies is but dirt and dung, for thy trea 
sure ; glorious angels for thy servants, the flesh of the Son of God 
for thy meat, and his precious blood for thy drink ; perfect right 
eousness, which is more beautiful than the unspotted innocency of 
Adam or angels, for thy raiment ; a palace of pleasures, a place of 
glory, a building of God, a house not made with hands, but eternal 
in the heavens, for thy habitation. And all this only upon these , 
terms, that thou wilt be a loving, faithful, and obedient wife, which 
the poorest beggar in the country expects from his wife ; that thou 
wilt heartily give up thyself and all thou hast to his service and 
glory ; and this he desireth also for thy good and benefit, that he 
may make thee a more excellent creature, and render thee more 

1 Mr Strong, Holiness the Way to Happiness, p. 45. 


acceptable to God, and more capable of his dearest love and eternal 
embraces. As the rain is sent up from the earth in thick and foggy 
vapours, but the heavens return it in pure and silver showers, so 
though thou givest an unbelieving, hard, earthly heart unto Christ, 
he will return it unto thee again, believing, tender, heavenly, such 
a heart as shall be more pleasing both to God and thyself ; and for 
this he is pleased though ten thousand suns united into one are 
but darkness to him, so great is his glory to condescend to become 
a suitor to thee, to beseech thee to accept of him, who knoweth thy 
portion to be misery and beggary, who seeth thy person to be full 
of ugliness and deformity, who gaineth no addition to his happiness 
by thine acceptance of his love, nor suffereth the least diminution 
by thy refusal. Well, what sayest thou to this match ? Art thou 
heartily willing to take Jesus Christ for thy wedded husband, to 
protect and direct thee, to purify and pardon thee, to sanctify and 
save thee, to guide thee by his counsel, and afterwards to receive 
thee to glory ? And wilt thou here, in the presence of the Lord, 
and before thy conscience, which is as ten thousand witnesses, 
promise and covenant to obey him universally, to love him un- 
feignedly, to resign up thyself and all thou hast to his disposal 
unreservedly ? What sayest thou ? Art thou willing or no ? 
Take heed of dallying in a match that is so unquestionably and 
infinitely for thy advantage. Believe it, thou shalt not have such 
offers every day. Do not stick at any of his precepts, for he can 
require nothing but what is equal, excellent, and honourable. Do 
not trifle or defer it, if thou lovest thy soul, for this may be the 
very last time of asking. If thou wilt deal kindly and truly with 
my Master, tell me ; or, if not, tell me, that I may return an answer 
to him that sent me, Gen. xxiv. 49. 

These four directions which I have laid down already are without 
question the whole of Christianity ; and that soul shall be certainly 
saved by whom they are uprightly practised: yet there are two 
special means which God hath appointed for the enabling the soul 
to perform them, which I shall speak briefly to, and for method 
sake join them altogether. 



Two other helps, the word and prayer. 

Fifthly, If thou wouldst attain this spiritual life, be much con 
versant with the word of God ; be often reading it, meditating on 
it, but especially frequent it in public where it is preached ; by 
losing one sermon, for aught thou knowest, thou mayest lose one 

Death at first entered into the world by the ear, Gen. iii., and so 
doth life. Faith comes by hearing, Rom. x. 17. Thou seest in the 
gospel that faith and repentance are this spiritual life, Mark xvi. 
16 ; Gal. ii. 20 ; and thou mayest see as clearly that they are both 
the fruits of the ministry of the word ; for faith, that forequoted 
place, Rom. x. 17, is full; and for repentance, that of Acts ii. 
37 speaketh home, When they heard these things, they were 
pricked to the heart: mark, When they heard these things. The 
word of God is a hammer with which God is pleased to break the 
stony heart, and a fire wherewith he melteth the hard metal, Jer. 
xxiii. 29. In this respect it is that the minister is called the 
father of some converts, namely, those whom he begetteth through 
the gospel, 1 Cor. iv. 15. 

There is a resurrection of souls at this day, when ministers lift 
up their voice like a trumpet, Isa. Iviii. 1 ; Acts ii. 37, as well as 
there shall be a resurrection of bodies at the last day by the trump 
of the archangel. This is the net which God is pleased to cast 
into the sea of the world, and wherewith he hath caught many a 
soul, three thousand at one draught, 1 Acts ii. 41. Spiritual life is 
the gift of God, as well as eternal : the gift of all grace is of grace ; 
but ordinarily of his own will he begetteth souls by the word of 
truth, James i. 18. If thou wilt have wisdom s dole, thou must 
wait at wisdom s gate, for there it is given, Prov. viii. 34. 

Grace is the law written in the heart, and usually the ministry 
of the word is the pen wherewith the Spirit of God writes it. 

That is the bed wherein the children of God are begotten, Cant. 
i. 16 ; that is the school wherein the disciples are taught of God, 
and learn the truth as it is in Jesus. The minister s commission 
doth abundantly evince this : I send thee, saith God to Paul, to 

1 Job. Isaac, a Jew, was converted by reading the 53d of Isaiah, Junius by the 
first of John s Gospel, Augustine by the 13th of Romans : I will never forget thy 
precepts, for by them thou hast quickened me, David, Ps. cxix. 


open the eyes of the blind, and to turn men from darkness to light, 
and from the power of Satan to the living God. 

God indeed is a most free agent, and can work when and how he 
pleaseth ; but it hath pleased him to make the gospel of Christ his 
own power unto salvation, Bom. i. 16 ; and it pleaseth him by 
the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe, 1 Cor. i. 21. 
Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, to the eye of sense may 
seem better than all the waters of Israel ; but Jordan can cleanse 
and heal when those cannot, because it hath a divine precept and 
promise annexed to it. Nay, observe how God is pleased to dignify 
his word, and to honour his own ordinance. When he hath begun 
the work of conversion himself immediately, he will not perfect it 
without the ministry of his word. He sendeth Paul to Ananias, 
Acts ix. 15, to learn what he should do ; and biddeth Cornelius by 
an angel for an angel must not do that work to send for Peter, 
and from him to hear words whereby he and his house should be 
saved, Acts x. 5, 6. David, who was wiser than the ancients, than 
his enemies, than his teachers, lieth many months asleep on the 
bed of security, in a most filtry ! pickle, till a prophet is sent to call 
him up and awake him ; then, and not till then, he mindeth cleans 
ing, as appeareth plainly by the title and body of the 51st Psalm. 
So David s heart smote him for numbering the people : but mark 
the means of it. For, saith the text, when David was up in the 
morning, the word of the Lord came to Gad, and commanded him 
to go to David, 2 Sam. xxiv. 10-12. 

Yea, the very honour of saving souls, the Most High ascribeth to 
the ministry of his word, 1 Tim. iv. 16. Timothy is spoken of 
as saving himself and them that hear him, i.e., instrumentally ; 
thus highly God doth magnify his ordinances, though many men 
vilify them. Do not thou therefore forsake the assemblies of the 
saints, as the manner of some is, Heb. x. 25, but lie constantly at 
the pool, praying and waiting for the troubling of the waters of 
the sanctuary ; the angel of the covenant may move there, and thy 
diseased soul thereby be healed. Some that have come to church 
to sleep, as Mr Latimer saith, have been taken napping. As thou 
wouldst learn that lesson whereby thou mayest be wise to salva 
tion, do not play the truant, but frequent that school where the 
prophet of the church teacheth. As thou wouldst not quench the 
Spirit, despise not prophesying, 1 Thes. v. 19, 20. They that came 
to catch the preacher, have been caught by the sermon, as Augustine 
by Ambrose. 2 And they that come to see fashions, as Moses came 

] Qu. filthy ? ED. z Aug. Confes., lib. v. cap. 1. 


to the bush, may be called as he was. The soldiers or officers 
that went to apprehend Christ were probably apprehended by 
Christ, John vii. 46. When Henry Zatphen was preacher at 
Breme, the papists sent their chaplains to hear, that they might 
entrap him, but God converted by his ministry many of them. 
Slead. Comment. 

If thou wouldst have thy heart thoroughly humbled, make use 
of the word ; you may read of a bad, hard, cursed heart indeed 
humbled by this, 2 Chron. xxxiii. 12, 19. Manasseh in his afflic 
tion humbled himself greatly ; for God sent unto him prophets 
and seers, that spake unto him in the name of the Lord ; so 2 Sam. 
xxiv. 10-12. 

Wouldst thou rest upon Jesus Christ for salvation ? Mind the 
word : Every one that hath heard and learned of the Father 
cometh unto me/ John vi. 45. 

Wouldst thou have thine inward man renewed and changed ? 
This may be done by the blessing of God accompanying his word ; 
therefore it is called the ingrafted word, James i. 21. To teach 
us that, as the scion of a good apple grafted into a crab tree 
stock, hath virtue to change the nature of it ; so hath the word 
preached, for of that he speaketh, as is manifest, ver. 19-23, 
virtue to change the heart of man. 

Header, let me persuade thee to have a reverent esteem of, and 
to be very familiar with, the word of God, reading it constantly, 
and hearing it frequently, as the Lord shall give thee opportunities ; 
but take heed how thou nearest, Luke viii. 18, how thou readest. 
Attend on the word, having first laid aside all superfluity of 
naughtiness ; weeds must be rooted up before the ground of man s 
heart is fit to receive the seed of the word. 1. With meekness 
of spirit, James i. 21. The humble sinner is fittest to be Christ s 
scholar. The meek he will teach his way; the meek he will guide 
in judgment, Ps. xxv. 8, 9. When the heart is tender, it is most 
teachable ; it is like white paper for any inscription, like soft wax 
for any impression. A proud person is too good, in his own conceit, 
to be taught ; he quarrelleth and rageth, either at the person that 
preacheth, or at the plainness of the sermon, but to his own ruin. 
He rejecteth the counsel of God, but it is against himself, to his 
own hurt, Luke vii. 30. The weak corn, which yields to the wind, 
receiveth no damage by it, but the proud, sturdy oak, which resisteth 
it, is often broken in pieces. 

2. Attend on the word, with a resolution to obey whatever the 
Lord shall in his word command thee. Oh it is excellent to sit 


at God s feet, hearing his voice purposely that thou mightst do 
his will ; like a servant, to go to thy master and know his mind, 
that thou mayest fulfil it ; when thou canst say, I am here present 
before the Lord, to hear and do the things that are commanded 
me of God, Acts x. 33 ; like the Komans, to deliver up thyself 
wholly to that form of doctrine, et<? TVTTOV StSa^ry?, which God hath 
delivered down unto thee, as metal for any stamp and mould, Horn, 
vi. 17. 

3. With self-application. Do not think this concerneth such a 
man, and now the minister hitteth such a one ; but consider, now 
God speaketh to my soul, and this truth doth nearly concern me. 1 
If the word be not mixed with faith, it will not be profitable to 
them that hear it, Heb. iv. 2. Whilst truths rest in generals, 
little good will be done, but when they come to be particularly 
applied, and to sink down into the heart, then they work effectu 
ally for the soul s salvation. Truths generally received are like the 
charging a piece, but the particular application of them dischargeth 
it, and doth the execution upon sin. 

4. With supplication before and after reading or hearing. Begin 
with God : Lord, open mine eyes, that I may see the wonderful 
things of thy law, Ps. cxix. 18. Begin duty with duty : The pre 
paration of the heart in man is from the Lord, Prov. xvi. 1. And 
after thou hast heard or read, pray, as the disciples after they had 
heard, Lord, open to us this parable, Mat. xv. 15. This scripture, 
Write thy law in my heart, and thy truth in mine inward parts ; 
teach me thy way, lead me in thy righteousness. Give me under 
standing, and I shall keep thy law ; yea, I shall observe it with my 
whole heart, Ps. cxix. 33, 34. 

Urge thy soul with the necessity of this duty, that thou must be 
converted or condemned ; and it is the law of the Lord that is per 
fect, converting the soul, Ps. xix. 7. That thou must know thy 
misery, or feel it eternally ; and it is the precept of the Lord that 
is pure, enlightening the mind, Ps. xix. 8. That thou must re 
pent or be ruined ; and it is by hearing that men come to be 
pricked at the heart, Acts ii. 37. That thou must believe or 
perish ; and how shalt thou believe on him of whom thou hast not 
neard ? Rom. x. As ships will ride a long time in a roadstead, 
when they might be in the haven, for this end, that they may be 
in the wind s way to take the first opportunity that shall be offered 

1 Plato, as he walked in the streets, if he saw any dissolute or disordered, would 
reflect on himself with Num ego tolls, Am I such a one as this man is? Diogen. 
Latrt. in Vita. 


for their intended voyage ; so do thou ride in the road of God s 
ordinances, waiting for the gales of the Spirit. Thou knowest not 
how soon that wind may blow on the waters of the sanctuary, and 
drive the vessel of thy soul swiftly, and land it safely at the haven 
of happiness, of heaven. 

Sixthly, If thou wouldst attain this spiritual life, be frequent 
and fervent at the throne of grace, that the God of all grace would 
infuse grace into thee, and breathe into thy soul the breath of this 
spiritual life. As Abraham pleaded for Ishmael, Gen. xvii. 18, Oh 
that Ishmael might live before thee ! so do thou for thy soul, Oh 
that my soul might live before thee ! And as the ruler for his son, 
Lord, come down quickly ere my soul die, yea, ere it die eternally. 

Go to God with a sense of thy own unworthiness and iniquities, 
that though thou comest to his Majesty for the greatest favours, 
yet thou art less than the least of all his mercies, acknowledging 
that thou hast sinned heinously against heaven, and before him, 
and art unworthy to be called his son. Confess thy original, actual, 
heart, life sins, with their bloody aggravations, and entreat him to 
pardon and purify thee. Oh with what humility, reverence, and 
self-abhorrency should such a guilty prisoner approach the judge 
of the whole earth ! Arraign, accuse, and condemn thyself and thy 
sins, if ever thou wouldst have God to acquit thee. 

Pray also with a sense of thy own impotency and weakness. 
That though there be a necessity of humiliation, if ever thou 
wouldst escape damnation, yet thou canst as soon fetch water out 
of a rock, as tears from thine eyes, or sorrow from thine heart, for 
thy sins ; till the wind of the Spirit bloweth, those waters will never 
flow. It is God that must give to thee, a poor Gentile, repentance 
unto life, Acts xi. 18. That thou must believe, or thou canst not 
be saved ; yet thou canst as easily cause iron to swim, as thy soul 
to believe in the Son of God. 1 Faith is the gift of God, Phil. i. 
29 ; Zeph. iii. It is as hard a work to believe the gospel, as to 
keep the law perfectly. Nothing less than omnipotency can enable 
the soul to either. As thy first birth and generation, so is thy 
second birth and regeneration, from the Lord. Men and means may 
be instrumental and subservient, but their efficacy and success de- 
pendeth on God. 

When thou hast, through the strength of Christ, wrought thy 
heart to some sense of thy weakness and unworthiness, then look 
into the Scriptures, and fetch arguments from God s own mouth, 

1 Non minus difficile est nobis velle credere quam cadaveri volare. Btza Confes., 
p. 22. 


weapons from his own armoury, whereby thou mayest prevail with 
him, and overcome him. Beseech him to consult his glorious name 
and gracious nature ; mind him that he is the Lord, the Lord God, 
gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, 
forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, Exod. xxxiv. 6. Tell 
him that he delighteth not in the death of sinners ; that he taketh 
more pleasure in unbloody conquests, in the cheerful services, than 
in the painful sufferings of his creatures ; that he had much rather 
have trees for fruit than for the fire. Say, Have mercy upon me, 
God, according to thy loving- kindness ; and after the multitude 
of thy tender mercies blot out mine offences, Ps. li. 1. thou 
that art rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith thou lovest 
souls, quicken me in Christ, that by grace I may be sanctified and 
saved. Since thou delightest in mercy, be pleased, Lord, to delight 
both thyself and thy servant, by extending thine hand of mercy to 
pluck me out of this bottomless depth of misery. Entreat God to 
consult his own honour, as well as his gracious nature. Mind him, 
that if he condescend to convert and save thee, he shall have the 
glory of his patience, in waiting thus long to be gracious ; the 
glory of his providence, in causing all things to work together for 
thy good ; the glory of mercy, in pitying and pardoning such a 
grievous sinner ; the glory of his justice, in that noble satisfaction 
it shall have from the death of his Son ; the glory of his power, in 
bringing such a rebellious heart into subjection unto Jesus Christ. 
Entreat his Majesty to consider, that he may pardon and cleanse 
thee, through Christ, without the least diminution to his glory ; 
nay, that far more revenues will come to his crown from thy sal 
vation, than from thy damnation ; that the forced confessions of 
them that perish, as of malefactors upon the rack, do not sound 
forth his praises so much, nor so well, as the joyful hearty accla 
mations of his saved ones. Say, Lord, if thou suffer me to continue 
in my filth and pollution, and never wash me by the blood and 
Spirit of thy Son, and suffer me to perish eternally, thou art right 
eous ; but, Lord, if I perish I shall not praise thee ; thy glory will 
rather be forced out of me with blows, as fire out of a flint. Thou 
delightest to see poor creatures volunteers in thy service; the 
damned do not celebrate thy praise, they that go into the infernal 
pit give thee no thanks, Ps. xxx. 9. The living, the living, they 
shall praise thee they that live spiritually, and they that live with 
thee eternally, Ps. Ixxxviii. 10, 11 ; Isa. xxxviii. 19. Oh what 
hosannas and hallelujahs ! What honour, and glory, and blessing, 
and praise do they give to the Lord, and to the Lamb that sitteth 


upon the throne for ever ! Oh let my soul live, and it shall praise 
thee. Thine is the kingdom and power, do thou work within me 
by thy grace, and thine shall be the glory. 

Desire God to consider his own promise as well as his praise. 
Urge his own word, that they that ask shall receive, that seek 
shall find, that knock shall have heaven opened ; that if men 
know how to give good gifts to them that ask, how much more will 
the Father in heaven give his holy Spirit to them that ask ; that 
he will circumcise the hearts of men and women to love him, Deut. 
xxx. 6 ; that he will put his fear into their hearts, and they shall 
never depart away from him, Jer. xxxii. 40 ; that he will write 
his law in their hearts, Jer. xxxi. 33. Go in to him when thou 
art full of heaviness, as Bathsheba did to David, 1 Kings i. 17, 18, 
and say, Did not my Lord promise thus and thus, and is it thy 
mind that thy word should go unfulfilled ? Lord, are not these 
thy own words, thine own handwriting ? Whose staff and brace 
let is this ? If thou hadst not promised, I should not have found 
in my heart to pray ; and if thou shouldst not perform, where 
would be the glory of thy truth ? Thy mercy, Lord, is great 
unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds, Ps. Ivii. 10. My 
soul cleaveth unto the dust, quicken thou me according to thy 
word, Ps. cxix. 25. Kemember thy word unto thy servant, upon 
which thou hast caused me to hope, Ps. cxix. 49. 

Beseech him to consider thy mercy. 1 Like a beggar, uncover thy 
nakedness, shew thy sores and wounds to move him to pity. Tell 
him, that in regard of thy spiritual condition thou art at present 
wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, Kev. iii. 17 ; without 
God, without Christ, without hope, an alien from the common 
wealth of Israel, and a stranger from the covenants of promise ; 
and that thine eternal state is like to be the worm that never dieth, 
the fire that never goeth out, amongst devils and damned ones, in 
blackness of darkness for ever. Say, Lord, open thine eyes, and see 
thy poor creature weltering, wallowing, polluted in his own soul- 
blood ; and now I am in my blood, open thy mouth and say unto me, 
Live ; yea, now I am in my blood, say unto me, Live, Ezek. xvi. 6. 
Since no eye pitieth me to do any good unto me, open thine heart, 
and let thy bowels yearn towards me. Let this time be thy time 
of love ; spread thy skirt over me, and cover all my nakedness. 
Enter into a covenant with me, and enable me to become thine for 
ever. Since thou beholdest all the wants and necessities of my 
poor soul, open thine hand and supply all my spiritual need. 

1 Qu. misery ? ED. 


There is bread enough, and to spare, in the Father s house, oh let 
not my dying soul perish for hunger. Open thine ears and hear 
the prayers and supplications which thy servant poureth out before 
thee night and day. Thou hast the key of David, and openest, and 
no man shutteth ; open the iron gate of my heart, which will never 
open of its own accord, that the King of glory may enter in. Thou 
didst open the rock, and cause it to send forth water. Bow the 
heavens and come down ; break open this rocky heart and come in, 
and take an effectual, universal, eternal possession of my soul. 
Consider thy bottomless mercy, Christ s infinite merits, my un 
speakable misery, and let thine heart be opened in pity, and thine 
hand in bounty, that my lips may be opened, and my mouth may 
everlastingly shew forth thy praise. 

Only in thy prayers be instant, constant, and look up to Jesus 
Christ. Beg hard, though humbly, when thou art begging for 

Hast thou never heard a malefactor, condemned to he hanged, 
begging for a reprieve or pardon ? With what tears and prayers, 
what bended knees, watered cheeks, strained joints, he entreateth 
for his mortal life ! Thou hast much more cause to be earnest 
when thou art begging for spiritual life. Think of it ; thy soul, 
thy eternal condition, are engaged and at stake in thy prayer. Oh 
how should all the parts and faculties of thy body and soul work 
and unite in prayers that are of such concernment ! What fer 
vency shouldst thou use, considering that, if thou art denied, thou 
art undone ! If thy prayers be lost, thy God is lost, thy soul is 
lost, thy happiness is lost for ever. 

Pray constantly ; resolve to give God no rest day nor night, till 
he give thee rest in his Son. Besides set times every day, (for 
which thou canst not oifer so little as two hours a day, it being 
soul-work, God-work, eternity-work, and in which I would desire 
thee to be as serious and solemn as is possible ;) thou mayest often 
in the shop, or in the field, in thy journeying, on thy bed, thou 
mayest turn up thy heart to heaven, in some ejaculations (it is thy 
great privilege, wherever thou art, thou mayest find God out) such 
as these, when wilt thou come unto me ? Ps. ci. 2. Hear me 
speedily, my God, make no tarrying, Ps. xl. 17. Shall I never 
be made clean ? good Lord, when shall it once be ? Save me, 
Master, or I perish/ 

But be sure, in all thy addresses to God, thou look up to Jesus 
Christ as thine advocate with the Father, as the only master of 
requests, to present and perfume all thy prayers, and thereby make 
VOL. in. 2 A 


them prevalent. Through him we have access with confidence unto 
the Father, Eph. ii. 18. It is possible thou mayest have seen a 
child going to be scourged for its faults by a stern mother, the ten 
der father sitting by ; and how the child, seeing the rod taken 
down and the mother in earnest, casteth a pitiful, lamentable look 
upon its father, both longing and expecting to be saved by his me 
diation. Go thou and do likewise ; and know, for thy encourage 
ment, that if David heard Joab, whom he loved but little, for rebel 
lious Absalom, and if Herod heard Blastus, a servant, for those of 
Tyre and Sidon who had offended him, then, without doubt, God 
will hear the Son of his infinite love for thee. And if thou art but 
sensible of thy soul-sickness, thou mayest be confident that thy 
spiritual physician, who is authorised by his Father to practise, 
and delighteth exceedingly in the employment, will come and heal 
thee. Thy sickness shall not be unto death, but for the glory of God 
and thine eternal good. 


Motives to mind this spiritual life : It is the most honourable, 
most comfortable, most profitable life. 

I shall, in the next place, only annex three properties of thi 
spiritual life, as motives to encourage thee to a laborious endeavour 
ing after it, and then leave both thee and this exhortation to the 
blessing of God. 

First, This spiritual life is the most honourable life. No life 
hath so much excellency in it as the life of godliness. If I had my 
wish, saith Luther, I would choose the homely work of a rustical 
Christian before all the victories of Alexander the Great and Julius 
Caesar. 1 The excellency and dignity of every life dependeth upon the 
form which is its principle, and its specificating difference. There 
fore the life of a man is more noble than the life of a beast, because 
it hath a more noble form, a rational soul, which distinguished 
it specifically from, and enableth it to act more nobly and highly 
than a beast. And truly, therefore, the life of a Christian is more 
honourable and excellent than the life of any other man, because 
he hath a more noble form which is the principle of it, and dif- 
ferenceth it specifically from the life of graceless men Jesus Christ, 

1 Si daretur mihi optio, eligerem Christian! rustic! agreste opus, pr omnibus 
victoriis Alexandri Magni et Julii Csesaris. Luth. in Gen. xxxii. 


the Lord of life and glory, dwelling in his heart by his Spirit, as 
the principle of his spiritual life. If there be an excellency in that 
body which is united to a soul, what excellency is there in that 
soul which is united to a Saviour ! It is called the life of God, 
Eph. iv. 18. Surely no life can be more honourable than the life 
of God ; yet in their measure the sanctified ones live the very same 
life that the glorious God, the fountain of all true honour, liveth. 
David, though a king, thought himself honoured by being God s 
subject ; and therefore as others, before their works, mention those 
titles which belong to them, and speak their honour, David styleth 
himself, before the six and thirtieth Psalm, a servant of God, as his 
most honourable title A Psalm of David, a servant of the Lord. 
If it be such an honour to serve an earl, a king, what is it to serve 
the King of kings and Lord of lords ! l 

Godliness is called a walking with God, Gen. v. 24 ; a conversing 
or having fellowship with the Father, and Jesus Christ his Son, 
1 John i. 3. For God to walk and converse with us is his greatest 
humiliation ; but for us to walk or converse with God is our highest 

The righteous, saith the wise man who had judgment to set a 
due price upon persons is more excellent than his neighbour, 
Prov. xii. 26. Let him live by never so rich or great men, yet if 
they want grace, they are not comparable to him. 

The godly man hath the most honourable birth he is born of 
God, John i. 13 ; the most honourable breeding he is brought up 
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord ; the most honourable 
tutor and teacher, the good Spirit of God, John xiv. 16 ; the most 
honourable attendants, the glorious angels ; the most honourable 
employment his main work is to wait upon and worship the most 
high God. 2 

The most honourable relations: a king for his father, 2 Cor. 
vi. 18 ; a queen for his mother, Gal. iv. 26 ; the excellent of the 
earth, Ps. xvi. 3 ; lords in all lands, Ps. xlv. 16 ; higher than the 
kings of the earth, Ps. Ixxxix. 27 ; those worthies, of whom the 
world is not worthy, for his brethren and sisters. 

Numa, second king in Rome, though a heathen, could say that 
he held it a higher honour to serve God than to rule over men. 

The Jews say that those seventy souls which went down into 

1 Constantino and Valentinian, two emperors, subscribed themselves Vassallos 
>| Ckristi.Socr. 

2 Sumus Domini non tantum in genitiro singular! ; sed etiam in nominativo 
plurali. Luih. 


Egypt were more worth than all the seventy nations of the world 
beside. If the glorious angels in heaven are more honourable than 
the devils, sure I am it is holiness that maketh the difference. 

The most gaudy and goodly fruits of morality, springing from 
the soil of nature, manured and improved to the utmost ; the 
heavens bespangled with those glittering stars, and adorned with 
that illustrious sun, are nothing glorious in comparison of the heart 
of a poor Christian that is embroidered with grace. It is god 
liness alone that addeth worth and value to all our civil and 
natural things ; as the diamond to the ring. Nothing doth really 
debase and degrade a man but sin; and nothing doth truly advance 
or ennoble the soul but holiness. Job scraping himself on the 
dunghill, and Jeremiah sinking in the mire, were more honourable 
and glorious than Ahab and Ahaz on their thrones with their 
crowns. If the respect we have from others makes us honourable, 
then they that are most precious in God s sight are most honour 
able, Isa. xliii. 4. If it be some internal excellency that makes men 
honourable, then they that have the image of God must be most 

It is worthy our observation that sin is so ignoble and base, that 
those wicked ones who love it most, are ashamed to own it openly ; 
but because of the excellency of holiness, will set that forth for their 
colours, their banners, though indeed they fight Satan s battles. 
That forlorn hope for hell, 2 Tim. iii. 5, of covenant-breakers, 
blasphemers, men without natural affection, yet they will have a 
form of godliness ; though they do sin s drudgery, yet they are 
ashamed of their base master, and therefore wear the saints livery, 
having a form of godliness. Nay, the devil himself will appear in 
Samuel s mantle, and transform himself into an angel of light. 

But holiness is so excellent that God is pleased to esteem it as 
his own beauty and glory. How often is he called the Holy One 
of Israel ! The angels ascribe holiness to him by way of eminency : 
Holy, holy, holy, Isa. vi. 3. We read not in Scripture of any of 
God s other attributes thrice repeated, to shew that the dignity of 
God consisteth in this. And so do the saints in heaven praise him 
for it as his excellency, Kev. vi. 10, and the saints on earth, Exod. 
xv. 11. Holiness is the character of Jesus Christ; the image of 
the infinitely glorious God; nay, it is called the divine nature. 
Surely, then, they that have most of it are most honourable ; and they 
which want it, how full soever they are of all other excellencies, are 
base and contemptible. 

Secondly, As this spiritual life is most honourable, so it is most 


comfortable. There is no life so pleasant and delightful as the 
life of a saint. The merry grigs and jolly gallants of the world, 
whose sinful mirth is worse than madness, will needs tell us, that 
godliness makes men moppish and melancholy ; that when once we 
salute religion, we take our leave of all delight and consolation ; 
whereas, indeed, there never was true peace born, but it had purity 
for its parent ; all other is spurious and illegitimate. But the world, 
like the primitive persecutors, put Christians into the skins of 
bears and bulls, and then bait them, as if they were really such. 
And the hand of the devil is in all this, who, like the Indians, 
maketh great fires to fright mariners from landing at such coasts 
as would be most for their comfort and contentment. Believe, 
reader, the true and faithful witness, His ways are ways of 
pleasantness, and all his paths are peace, Prov. iii. 17. It is not 
sanctity, but their want of it, or mistake about it, which maketh 
them sorrowful. 

It is confessed saints may be sad ; they do not cease to be men, 
when they begin to be Christians. It was in thy company, it may 
be, sinner. No wonder. Fish cannot sport themselves when 
they are out of their element. Birds do not sing on the ground, 
but when they are mounting on high towards heaven. And pro 
bably their hearts were heavy out of compassion to thee, whom they 
observed to be hastening to hell, and dancing merrily over the 
very pit of destruction and easeless misery. Thou seest their 
sorrows sometimes, thine eyes may behold their tears ; but thou 
dost not see their joys, thy heartoannot conceive them. 

St Augustine relateth concerning a heathen that shewed the 
father his idol gods, saying, Here is my god, where is thine ? 
and then pointing up to the sun, he said, Here is my god, but where 
is thine ? I shewed him not my God, saith Augustine, not because 
I had none to shew, but because he had no eyes to see him. 1 Thus 
the joys of a saint are invisible to the wicked, because they are in 
ward spiritual joys, though they are joys unspeakable and 

They have such joy as thou art not to intermeddle with, Prov. 
xiv. 10 ; they have meat to eat which thou knowest not of. Their 
life is a hidden life, Col. iii. 3, and their comforts are hidden 
comforts. Their secret meals fatten their souls, and their bread 
eaten in secret, how pleasant is it ! 

The kingdom of God, which is this spiritual life, consisteth not 
in meats and drink, but in righteousness, and peace, and joy in the 

1 Augustine Confess. 


Holy Ghost, Kom. xiv. 17 ; and besides, it cometh not with 
observation, Luke xvii. 20 ; the world taketh no notice of it. It 
doth not consist in the laughter of the face, in the smiles of the 
brow, but in the tranquillity of the mind, solid contentment in the 

Christ takes his spouse apart from the crowd of the world, and 
then gives her the sweetest kisses, the dearest embraces, yea, her 
very fill of love. Many a loving visit hath the saint from the 
Saviour ; when Christ came in at the back door, the neighbours 
neither saw when he came, nor when he went away. A true 
Christian hath the most heart-cheering wine, though he hangs out 
no bush, maketh no show of it in the world ; the wealthy merchant, 
that is worth thousands, doth not cry his commodities up and down 
the city. 

The parlour, wherein the Spirit of Christ entertains the Christian, 
is an inner room, not next the street, for every one that goeth by to 
smell the feast : The stranger doth not meddle with his joy, 
Prov. xiv. 10. Christ and the soul may sit at supper within, and 
thou not see one dish go in, nor hear the music that sounds so 
sweetly in the Christian s ears. 1 Perhaps thou thinkest he wants 
peace, because he doth not hang out a sign in his countenance of 
that peace and joy within. Alas, poor wretch ! may not the saint 
have a peaceful conscience, with a solemn, yea, sad countenance, as 
well as thou and thy companions have a sorrowful heart, when 
there is nothing but fair weather in your faces ? 

Whether they have the greatest comfort or no, do thou judge. 
Sure I am, there are none in this world that have so much ground 
to be comfortable as they have. They have the most delightful 
company ; they walk with God, they sup with Christ ; their fellow 
ship is with the Father, and Jesus Christ his Son, which is the only 
good fellowship, 1 John i. 3. They have the most delightful food ; 
they eat of the bread that came down from heaven, and drink of that 
love which is better than wine. They are abundantly satisfied 
with the fatness of God s house, and made to drink of the rivers of ; 
his own pleasures, Ps. xxxvi. 8, and are bidden welcome with, Eat, : 
friends, drink abundantly, beloved ! These are exceedings j 
indeed ; but, if it be not their own fault, they have them often, 
besides their every hour s fare of a good conscience, which is a con- .j 
tinual feast. They have the most delightful music, they hear the , 
joyful sound of the gospel of peace, the glad tidings of pardon, ; 
adoption, salvation, and so may rejoice in hope of glory ; many al 
1 Mr Gurnal, Arm., 2d part, p. 343. 


time surely their hearts are warmed, and their ears ravished, at the 
hearing of the affection which Christ beareth to them, and the 
benefits he hath bought for them. They have the most delightful 
lodging ; they lie all night between Christ s arms, in the chamber 
of the great King. They have the richest mercies, the special love 
of the Father, the precious blood of the Son, and the divine graces 
of the Spirit, when others have only the blessings of the footstool, 
of the left hand, such giftless gifts, as one calleth them, as may 
consist with an eternal separation from God. They have the mercies 
of the throne, of the right hand, the blessings of his own children, 
and such as do accompany salvation. No wonder that they sit 
under Christ s shadow with great delight, and his fruit is sweet 
unto their taste, Cant. ii. 3. 

The child of God, by virtue of a good conscience, in the midst of 
the waves of affliction, is as secure as that child which in a ship 
wreck was upon a plank with his mother, till she awaked him then 
securely sleeping, and then, with his pretty countenance sweetly 
smiling, and by and by sportingly asking a stroke to beat the 
naughty waves. At last, when they continued boisterous for all 
that, sharply chiding them as if they had been his playfellows. 1 Oh 
the innocency, oh the comfort, of peace of conscience ! 

It is likely, indeed, that when they wander from Christ, they may 
come home by Weeping-cross, as outlying deer are full of fear, and 
therefore, it is observed, seldom fat, but they run the ways of God s 
commandments with enlarged hearts. And whatever be the cause 
of their sorrow, whether their own sins, or thine, or others , or the 
afflictions of the church, whatever it be, their mourning is better 
than thy carnal mirth. 

And this I dare undertake for them, that in their most discon 
solate condition, they shall not change with the most prosperous 
prince in the world that is out of Christ. Alas ! the comfort of a 
sinner, as it is but short, like the crackling of thorns under a pot, 
so it is but shallow, skin-deep at most, like a sudden storm of rain 
which wetteth the surface of the earth, but never sinketh to the 
root. 2 Their joy may smooth the brow, but cannot warm the breast ; 
their looks may be sometimes lively, but their hearts are always 
heavy : For there is no peace to the wicked, saith my God, Isa. 
Ivii. 21. Their mirth is like some juicy plums, which have stones 
with a bitter kernel. It is not the great cage that maketh the bird 
sing, nor the great estate that bringeth real comfort. The stateliest 

1 Dr Stoughton. 

2 Caeterse hilaritates non implent pectus, sed frontem remittunt. Sen., desapi. 23. 


and best accommodated houses of unsanetified men, are but like 
the nests of wasps, where there may be curious combs, but no honey, 
many outward mercies, but no true inward mirth, no sweetness- 
When the voice of joy and salvation is in the tabernacle of the 
righteous, Ps. cxviii. 15, they only have the strong consolations, 
Heb. vi. 18, the joy unspeakable and glorious, 1 Peter i. 8, 
the peace of God which passeth all understanding, to garrison 
their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, Phil. iv. 7. 

As they have more afflictions than others the disciple of Christ 
must take up his cross so they have more consolations than others ; 
and their soul comforts are not seldom the sweetest, when their 
bodily crosses are greatest, (as the sweetest roses grow nearest 
the most stinking weeds,) although the blind world see them not. 
As a man standing, saith a divine, upon the sea-shore, seeth a great 
heap of waters, one wave riding upon the neck of another, and 
heareth the loud roarings thereof, but though he seeth the waters, yet 
he doth not see the wealth, the infinite riches, that lie buried in them ; 
so wicked men see the waters, the afflictions, the conflicts, but not 
the wealth, the comforts, the inward joy of the children of God. 

Thirdly, As this spiritual life is the most honourable and com 
fortable, so it is the most profitable life. No calling bringeth in 
such advantage as Christianity : Godliness is profitable unto all 
things, 1 Tim. iv. 8. There is a universal gainfulness in real god 
liness. Plutarch telleth us that the Babylonians make above three 
hundred several commodities of the palm-tree ; but there are many 
thousand benefits which godliness bringeth. No merchant ever had 
his vessels returned so richly laden, as he that tradeth heavenward. 

Observe, reader, after the apostle s affirmation, his full confirma 
tion of it : Godliness (saith he) is profitable unto all things ; it 
hath the promise of this life, and that to come, i.e., It hath heaven 
and earth entailed on it, and therefore it must needs be profitable. 
It giveth the Christian much in possession the promise of this 
life ; but infinitely more in reversion the life that is to come. 

The promises of God are exceeding great for their quantity, and 
precious for their quality, and they all belong to a godly man ; 
he is called an heir of the promises, Heb. vi. 17. Whensoever the 
tree of the Scripture is shaken, whatsoever fruit of those precious 
promises falleth down, it falleth into the lap of a godly man. If at 
any time that box of costly ointment be broken, and sendeth forth 
its fragrant scent and virtue, it is to the refreshment only of the 

Godliness is profitable to thyself : If thou art wise, thou art 


wise for thyself; and if a scorner, thou alone shalt bear it, 
Prov. ix. 12. The sinner is nobody s foe so much as his own ; 
the murdering pieces of sin which he dischargeth against God 
miss their mark, but do constantly recoil and wound himself. 
The saint is nobody s friend so much as his own ; others fare the 
better for his great stock of grace, but the propriety in all, the com 
fort of all, and the profit by all, is his own. It enables him to give 
away the more at his door, but how rich a table doth he thereby 
keep for himself and his own family ! 

Godliness is profitable for thy children : The just man walketh 
in his integrity, and his children are blessed after him, Prov. xx. 
7. Personal piety is profitable to posterity, yet not of merit, but 
mercy. Though grace come not by generation, but donation, and 
though God hath mercy on whom he will, yet the seed of the saints 
are visibly nearer the quickening influences of the Spirit, than the 
children of others. When God saith he will be a God to the godly 
man and his children, I believe he intendeth more in that pro 
mise for the comfort of godly parents than most of them think of, 
Acts ii. 36, Gen. xvii. 7. The children of believers are heirs-appa 
rent to the covenant of grace in their parents right. Godliness is 
profitable in prosperity ; it giveth a spiritual right to temporal good 
things. A gracious man holdeth his mercies in capite, in Christ, 
(that is his tenure,) as Christ is a joint-heir of all things, he being 
married to him by this spiritual life is a joint-heir with him. He 
enjoy eth earthly things by a heavenly title ; and one penny en 
joyed by special promise is far more worth than millions which un 
godly men enjoy by a general providence, as the beasts of the field do 
their provender. It is godliness that causeth a sanctified improve 
ment of mercies. Grace alone, like Christ, turneth water into wine, 
corporal mercies into spiritual advantages. The more God oils the 
wheels, the more cheerfully and swiftly he moveth in the way to 
heaven. The more showers of heaven fall down upon him, the 
more fruitful and abundant he is in the work of the Lord, as we 
see in that gracious king Jehoshaphat : 2 Chron. xvii. 5, 6, The 
Lord established the kingdom in his hand ; and all Judah brought 
presents unto him, and he had riches and honour in abundance 
And his heart was lift up in the ways of God. Mark, the more 
God s hand was enlarged in bounty, the more his heart was en 
larged in duty. The more highly God thinks of David, the more 
lowly he thought of himself, 2 Sam. vii. 18. Outward mercies to a 
believer are a ladder by which he mounteth up nearer to heaven. 
Thus godliness, like the philosopher s stone, turneth iron and every- 


thing into gold ; but the want of this spiritual life causeth a cursed, 
hellish use of mercies. Ungodly men, like the spider, suck poison 
out of those flowers out of which the bees, the saints, suck 
honey. Their mercies are like cordials to a foul stomach, which do 
but increase the peccant humour. He feedeth on such plenty, 
that he surfeits himself because of their abundance, Job xxi. 7-14, 
Therefore they say unto the Almighty, Depart from us ; for we de 
sire not the knowledge of thy ways. Like the Israelites, they make 
of the jewels which God giveth, a golden calf, and worship that 
instead of God. 

Godliness is profitable in adversity ; it maketh a Christian, like a 
rabbit, to thrive the better in frosty weather. The child of God 
learneth the better for the rod : Before he was afflicted he went 
astray, but now he keepeth God s word/ Ps. cxix. 67. Well may 
grace be called the divine nature, for it can bring not only light 
out of light, spiritual comfort and good out of outward good things, 
but also light out of darkness, good out of evil, gain out of losses, 
life out of death. It will, like Samson, fetch meat out of the 
eater ; like the ostrich, digest stones ; like Mithridates, fetch nourish 
ment out of poison ; when wicked men, like Ahaz, in their dis 
tress sin more against the Lord. As fire, the more it is kept in in 
an oven, the more it rageth, so doth corruption ; but godly men, 
far otherwise, are by the fire of affliction the more refined and puri 
fied for their Master s use. 

Godliness is profitable to thee while thou livest. In doubts it 
will direct thee, as a light to thy feet, and a lantern to thy paths ; 
in dangers it will protect thee, by setting thee on high, and giving 
thee for a place of defence the munition of rocks ; in wants it will 
supply thee, by affording thee bread in the word, when thou hast 
none on the board ; and money in the promise, 1 Tim. iv. 8, which 
is by thousands the better, when thou hast none in thy purse ; in 
thy pain it will ease thee ; in disgrace it will honour thee ; in 
sorrows it will comfort thee ; in sickness it will strengthen, by 
causing thee to count the crosses of this life as nothing, and 
unworthy to be compared to the pleasures and glory which shall 
be revealed ; in all distresses it will support thee, and make thee 
more than a conqueror over all, through him that loveth us, Kom. 
viii. 37. 

Lastly, Godliness will be profitable to thee when thou diest. 
Death, which is the terrible of terribles to others, will be the com 
fortable of comfortables to thee. Thou needest never fear ill news in 
thine ears, having Christ and grace in thy heart ; others shall not be 



such unspeakable losers by death, but thou shalt be as great a 

When thou liest on thy death-bed, where all thy friends, and 
riches, and earthly comforts will fail thee, this spiritual life is the 
good part which shall never be taken from thee. Thou mayest 
look upward, and see, as it were, God smiling on thee in the face of 
Christ, and hear him call to his angels to go and fetch thee, his 
child, who hast been all this while at nurse, home to the Father s 
house. Thou mayest look downward on thy relations, and with 
much faith and cheerfulness commit thy fatherless children to 
God, and bid thy weeping widow trust in him, who will be infinitely 
better to them than ten thousand of the richest, tenderest fathers 
and husbands in the world. Thou mayest look without thee into 
Scripture, and behold it as a garden full of sweet flowers, comfort 
ing cordials, refreshing, heart-reviving promises ; and though it be 
an enclosure to others, it is open and free to thee. Thou mayest 
pick and choose, cull and gather, where thou pleasest, and needest 
not fear to be children. In the multitude of those perplexing 
thoughts which at that time may be within thee, thou mayest find 
choice comforts there to refresh thy spirit. If thou look within 
thee, thou shalt not have thy conscience, like an unquiet wife, frown 
ing on thee, and scolding at thee; but thou shalt hear a little 
bird singing merrily and sweetly in thy breast, Lord, now lettest 
thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word ; for mine 
eyes have seen thy salvation. 

How joyfully mayest thou leave thy dearest wife, to go to thine 
infinitely dearer husband ! How willingly mayest thou forsake thy 
lovely children, to go to thy loving God and Father ! How freely 
mayest thou part with all thy friends, honours, and pleasures, to 
go to the congregation of the first-born, those rivers of pleasures, 
and eternal weight of glory ! How cheerfully mayest thou bid 
adieu to nothing for all things, to stars and streams at best, for a 
full, immediate, eternal enjoyment of the Sun himself, and an im 
mense ocean of happiness ! With what a lively colour in thy face, 
and true comfort in thy heart, mayest thou behold that pale-faced 
messenger death, the thought of whom, though afar off, is death to 
others, entering into thy chamber, and coming up to thy bedside ! 
How heartily welcome mayest thou bid him, as knowing that he 
cometh purposely to give thee actual possession of fulness of joy, 
unspeakable delights, a kingdom of glory that is eternal in the 
heaven ! Oh the gain of godliness, the profit of piety ! surely the 
price of this pearl is scarce known in this world ! 


A merchant will in the morning gain five hundred pounds by a 
bargain, whereas poor people work hard a whole day for a shilling. 
Such a rich trade driveth the godly man. Godliness brings in 
thousands and millions at a clap, when the moral and civil, yet un- 
sanctified man, may work hard, and yet earn but some poor busi 
ness, some outward blessing God may give them, and his eternal 
wrath at last. 

Now, reader, consider if here be not abundant encouragement 
for thee presently and diligently to labour for this spiritual life. 
Is it not the gainfullest calling that ever was followed, the richest 
trade ever was driven ? Why dost thou spend thy strength for 
what is not bread ? and thy labour for that which will not satisfy ? 
hearken to me, and eat thou that which is good, and let thy soul 
delight itself in fatness. 

As Saul said to his servants, Hear now, ye Benjamites ; will the 
son of Jesse give you fields and vineyards, and make you all cap 
tains of thousands, and captains of hundreds ? 1 Sam. xxii. 7. So 
say I to thee, Hearken, friend ; will a sensual, fleshly life give 
thee such honour as to be the son of the infinite God, such comfort 
as to drink of the pure rivers of God s own pleasures, and will it 
make thee bold at death, and confident at judgment, an heir of 
heaven, and so happy in every condition ? Can it do this ? Can 
it give thee, as godliness can, so much in hand, and infinitely more 
in hope ? If it can, I will give up my cause, and leave thee to thy 
choice ; but if it cannot, as doubtless thou art convinced, so, un 
less thou art a heathen amongst Christians, why dost thou labour 
so much and so eagerly for the pampering and pleasing thy flesh, 
for the food that perisheth, and so little and so lazily for this food, 
which will endure unto everlasting life ? 

It was an excellent answer of one of the martyrs, when he was 
offered riches and honours if he would recant, Do but offer me 
somewhat that is better than my Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall 
see what I will say to you. 

Reader, could the world, or the flesh, shew thee anything that 
were better, nay, equal, nay, that were but ten thousand degrees 
inferior to Christ and godliness, thou mightst have some colour 
for thy gratifying the flesh, and unwillingness to walk after the 
Spirit ; but when the disproportion is so vast, that the one is not 
worthy in the least to be compared with the other when the dirFer- 
ence is as great as between a sea of honey and a spoonful of gall ; 
a whole world of pearl, and a little heap of dirt ; a heaven of 
happiness and a hell of horror is it not unconceivable madness, 


and inexcusable folly, to choose that life which is after the flesh, 
and refuse that which is after the Spirit ? 

Header, if thou wouldst be truly honourable in the esteem of 
God himself, who is the fountain of all honour ; if thou wouldst 
have those spiritual consolations, which can warm the heart in the 
coldest night of affliction; if thou wouldst be profitable to thy 
dear children, to thy own soul, be a real gainer in prosperity, in 
adversity, while thou livest, when thou diest; if thou wouldst, 
when thy wealth, and friends, and flesh, and heart shall fail thee, 
have God in Christ to be the strength of thy heart, and thy portion 
for ever ; if thou wouldst, in thy greatest extremity, when thy soul 
shall be turned, naked of all earthly delights, out of thy body, 
escape the fury of roaring devils, and unquenchable burnings ; if 
thou wouldst in that hour of thy misery find mercy, and be received 
into the place of endless bliss, then get this spiritual life, this true 
wisdom, to fear God and depart from evil. Get wisdom, get 
understanding ; forget it not ; above all thy gettings get wisdom. 
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth 
understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the 
merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is 
more precious than rubies : and all the things thou canst desire are 
not to be compared to her. Length of days is in her right hand ; 
and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of 
pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to 
all that lay hold upon her ; and happy is every one that retaineth 
her, Prov. iii. 13-18. 

And now, reader, I have done this large use of exhortation, which 
is of such infinite concernment to thy precious soul ; but what thou 
wilt do, or what use thou wilt make of it, I know not. Could I 
have told what other holy bait to have laid, which had been more 
likely to have caught thy soul, it is probable I should have laid it. 
I appeal to thy conscience, whether there be not unspeakable 
weight, and unquestionable truth, in the particulars which are laid 
down. Well, what sayest thou to them, and what effect have they 
wrought upon thee? Art thou resolved, through the help of heaven, 
speedily and diligently to practise the directions which I have 
from the almighty God enjoined thee ? Is it not a thousand thou 
sand pities that such endless, matchless happiness should be so gra 
ciously offered by God, and so unworthily neglected by men ? that 
an empty, perishing world should be so eagerly pursued, and heartily 
embraced, when the unsearchable riches in Christ, the image of the 
blessed God, the eternal weight of glory, are basely undervalued, 


and wretchedly despised? Good Lord, what tears of blood are 
sufficient to bewail this monstrous unthankf ulness ? Friend, if thou 
art truly resolved to obey the counsel of God, thou wilt have cause 
to bless that providence which called me to this task ; and I may 
rejoice in thee, and thou in me, at the day of Christ. But if thou 
either delayest the work till thou art more at leisure, or dalliest 
about it, doing it as if thou didst it not, I am sure the greatest 
wrong will be to thyself ; for, behold, thou sinnest against the Lord, 
and be confident, thy sins will sooner or later find thee out. 


Comfort to true Christians. 

I come, in the next place, to my last use, which will be of conso 
lation. If they who have Christ for their life, shall have gain by 
their death, what comfort is here to the new-born creature ! Here 
is wine indeed to make glad the heart of every one that is holy. 
Reader, art thou sanctified and alive in Christ ? then thou art freed 
from all the misery which is mentioned in the first use, as the por 
tion of the ungodly. I may say to thee, as Gryneus, when he had 
been reproving and threatening sinners, would, turning to the 
saint, say, Bone vir, hoc nihil ad te ; Good man, all this is nothing 
to thee. Though they are losers, thou shalt be a gainer by death. 
Come but with the mouth of faith, and thou mayest suck much 
honey from this comb, thou mayest draw much milk of consolation 
from this breast ; to thee to die shall be gain. Surely here is 
enough to ballast thy soul, and keep it steady, in the most 
tempestuous condition, and to balance and weigh down the greatest, 
the heaviest affliction. 

Jerome comforted the hermit that was in a wilderness sad and 
pensive, Meditare codum et tamdiu non eris in eremo. 

If thou hadst hope only in this life, thou wert of all men most 
miserable ; but because thou hast hope beyond this life, thou mayest 
be of all men most comfortable. 

Should such a man as I fly? Neh. vi. 11. Should such a 
man as thou fear, that art heir to a crown, to a kingdom ? Luke xii. 
32, Fear not, little flock ; it is your Father s pleasure to give you 
a kingdom/ In thy greatest losses this may support thee, that 
death will be thy gain, by giving thee possession of a life which 
will make amends for all. If a heathen could say, it is unbecom- 


ing a Koman spirit to cry out, I am undone, while Caesar was safe, 
sure it is more uncomely for a Christian to complain, as if he were 
undone, when his soul is safe, his eternal estate is secure. 

For thy help, I shall digest this use into this method briefly. 

First, To shew thee against what it is comfortable. 

Secondly, Wherein it is comfortable. 

Comfort against the ivorld s fury, and Satan s rage. 

For the first, it is comfortable, first, Against the opposition of the 
world: The world will hate thee, because thou art not of the world/ 
John xv. 19. She is a paradise to her children and lovers, but a 
purgatory to aliens and strangers. Whilst thou art in the stormy 
sea of this world, thou art a ship bound for the straits. He that 
goeth towards the sun, shall have his shadow following him ; but 
he that goeth from it, shall have it fly before. He that goeth 
towards the Sun of righteousness, shall be sure to have these 
shadows, these afflictions, at his heels. 

Infinite wisdom seeth fit to imbitter the breasts of the creatures 
to wean thee from them. Trouble upon earth is one legacy which 
thy Saviour hath left thee: In the world ye shall have trouble, 
John xvi. 33. The soldiers were to have his garments ; Joseph 
was to have his body ; his Father was to have his soul ; he had 
his cross left, and that he bequeaths to his disciples. But be of 
good cheer, he did not only leave thee his cross, but hath also made 
thee heir to a crown : I give to them eternal life. 

He never looked over the threshold of heaven, that cannot more 
rejoice that he shall be glorious, than mourn in present that he is 
miserable. 1 

Oppose thy future felicity to thy present misery, thy happiness at 
death to the hardships thou meetest with in life ; this will be the 
way to counterpoise the temptation, and to keep thee from fainting 
in tribulation, whilst thou lookest not at the things which are seen, 
which are temporal, but at the things which are not seen, which 
are eternal, 2 Cor. iv. 

I have read of one Giacopo Senzaro, an Italian, who having been 
long in love, and much crossed about his match, filled a pot full of 
black stones, only one white stone among them, and being asked 
1 Bishop Hall, Heaven upon Earth, sec. 14. 


the reason, answered, There will come one white day (meaning his 
marriage day) which will make amends for all my black days. So 
whatsoever poverty, nakedness, hunger, cold, pain, shame, losses, 
thou undergoest here in this world, how many soever thy black days 
are of trials and troubles, of persecutions and opposition, thou 
mayest say, There is one white day of death, one long day of eternity 
coming, which will make amends for all. 

It was a brave speech of Luther, when he was demanded where he 
would be when the emperor should with all his forces fall upon the 
elector of Saxony, who was the chief protector of Protestants ; he 
answered, Aut in ccdo,aut sub ccelo ; Either inheaven,or under heaven- 

Why shouldst thou be discouraged at any loss, considering thou 
hast a treasure in heaven, a more enduring substance ? at any 
disgrace, considering thou art heir to a crown of glory ? at any 
pain or sorrow, when thou art entitled to fulness of joy and pleasures 
for evermore. 

No storm should disquiet thee, that shall shortly enjoy an ever 
lasting calm. What a pitiful thing that was, that Alexander, 
that was lord almost of the world, should be troubled that ivy 
would not grow in his garden at Babylon ; and is it not a poor 
thing for thee, that art a child of God, the spouse of Christ, the 
temple of the Spirit, an heir of the most glorious, rich, and delight 
ful kingdom that ever was, to lie whining and pining if thy head do 
but ache, or thy estate decrease, or thy friend forsake thee ? For 
shame ; remember who thou art, and to what thou art called, and say, 
as the martyr, Hold out faith and patience, your work is almost at 
end. Thou shalt ere long leave this world, and all its evils, and go 
where there is neither sorrow nor sin, and indeed there can be no 
affliction there, because there will be no corruption there, which is 
the original of all miseries. As there cannot be any thunder or 
lightning in the upper region, because the vapours which are the 
materials of it cannot ascend so high ; so, because no unclean 
thing can be there, therefore no sorrow, no suffering, can be there. 

How may this comfort thee ! Basil tells us 1 how the martyrs, 
that were cast out naked in a winter s night, being to be burned the 
next day, solaced their souls with these words : Sharp is the cold, 
but sweet is paradise ; troublesome is the way, but pleasant shall 
be the end of our journey. Let us endure cold a little, and the 
patriarch s bosom shall soon warm us ; let our feet burn a while, 
that we may dance for ever with angels. 

2. It is a comfort against the temptations of the devil. Whilst 

1 Basil &s TOVS papr. 


thou livest in this world, thou art liable to his wiles. If thou wilt 
go to heaven, so boundless is his malice that he raiseth all the 
powers of hell against thee, and forceth thee to fight every foot of 
the way. He is the strong man that hath full possession of carnal, 
unregenerate ones, and therefore all is at peace with them, Mat. 
xii. What need a captain bend his forces against a town which 
hath delivered up itself into his hands ? What need he plant his 
cannons and batteries against these gates which are already set open 
to him ? This jailer doth not trouble himself much about those 
prisoners which are fast in his dungeon, with his irons on their legs, 
and are led captive by him at his will, 1 Tim. ii. 26 ; but for thee, 
who hast by the help of Christ broken prison, and in part got out 
of his power, he raiseth all the country with hue-and-cry to bring 
thee back to thy old place of bondage. But be comforted, Christ 
hath conquered him already in his own person as thy head ; is daily 
conquering him in thee, his member, by his Spirit; and will shortly 
crush him fully under thy feet, 1 Eom. xvi. 20. Some refer that 
shortly to the day of judgment, which will come shortly, and 
wherein Satan shall be utterly crushed under all the saints feet for 
ever. And it is as true of the day of death, in reference to every 
particular saint. As when a man dieth, all those vexatious law 
suits, with which he was before molested, do cease ; so when the 
believer dieth, all those false actions which Satan had commenced 
against him in the court of his conscience, and all that inward 
trouble which did arise thereupon, do all cease. 

It is no sign now, Christian, if thou resistest, that thou art 
assaulted by the wicked one. A thief will not break into a house 
that is empty. A pirate will not fight but for some considerable 
prize. A father will not seek to destroy his own children. 
Temptation is no sign of God s hatred, but of the devil s. But let 
this be thy solace, that within a few days thou shalt be at rest, not 
only from thy own labours, but also from Satan s snares and sugges 
tions. God doth thee much good by them now ; the noise of those 
guns causeth the conies to hasten to their burrows, and the birds 
to their places of refuge. The more the tops of sound trees are 
shaken with the wind, the more deeply their roots are fixed in the 
earth ; the more eagerly Satan followeth thee, the faster thou fliest, 
and the closer thou clingest to Jesus Christ. But God will do thee 
the greatest good without them ; and when that shall be, thou shalt 
be wholly freed from them. Since the devils were cast out of 
heaven, we read of their being sometimes in the sea, Mat. viii. 33 ; 

1 Paraeus in loc. 
VOL. III. 2 B 


sometimes in the earth, Job i. 7; and sometimes in the air, Eph. ii. 
3 ; and they are called principalities and spiritual wickednesses in 
high places, Eph. vi. 12, but never in heaven. They aspire to get 
as high as they can, but they can get no further than the air ; 
Satan and his angels find no more place in heaven, Eev. xii. 8. 

Now what comfort is this, Christian, that thou shalt serve the 
Lord without distraction, without temptations ! 


Comfort against our own corruptions, our own or other 
believers dissolution. 

3. It is comfortable against the corruptions of thine own heart. 
What is it now that is thy greatest sorrow ? Is it not thy sin ? 
These are the weights which hang on the clock of thy heart, and 
will not suffer it to rest day or night. Well, rejoice in hope ; at 
death all these Achans, which are the troublers of thy peace, shall 
be stoned to death ; all these Jonahs, which cause such storms in 
thy soul, shall be cast overboard ; all these Hamans, which seek 
the ruin of thee and thy people, shall be executed. 

Now it is thy great care in every ordinance to kill thy sins. 
Dost thou not, like Joab, set the Uriah of thy beloved lust in the 
forefront of every duty, and retire from it, out of pious policy, that 
it may be slain ? And when at any time it pleaseth the captain 
of thy salvation to send the supplies of his Spirit, and wound mor 
tally thy corruption, that it lieth gasping and dying before thee, 
dost thou not look up to Christ and say, as Cushi to David concern 
ing dead Absalom, Would to God that all the enemies of my 
lord the king, and all that rise against thee to do thee hurt, were 
as that young man is. Lord, that all my sins might drink of the 
same cup, and be served the same sauce ? Blessed be the Lord my 
God, which hath avenged me this day of mine enemy. If God 
should thrust the knife of mortification up to the haft in the very 
hearts of all thy sins, that thou couldst see thy pride, distrust, un- 
thankfulness, hardness of heart, and every corruption in a gore- 
blood, fetching their last breath, would it not be a lovely sight to 
thee ? Wouldst thou not look upon it with as much content as 
Hannibal did upon a pitful of the blood of men, when he cried out, 
formosum spectaculum ! beautiful sight ! Or as that queen, 
that cried out, when she saw her subjects lie dead before her eyes, 


the goodliest tapestry that ever she beheld ! At death all this 
shall be done for thee. One touch of Jesus Christ at death will 
quite dry up that issue of corruption. Death will give thee a writ 
of ease from all those weights and sins which do so easily beset thee. 
Thou shalt be without fault before the throne of God, Kev. xiv. 5. 

Will it not indeed be a brave world with thee in the other world, 
when thou shalt have as much holiness as thy heart can wish or 
hold ? If God should grant thee such a request upon earth, that 
thou shouldst have as much of his image and of his Spirit as thou 
couldst desire, wouldst thou not think thyself the happiest man 
alive ? I am confident thou wouldst ; and also that nothing less 
than perfect purity would be thy prayer. Well, death will help 
thee to this : When I awake, I shall be satisfied with thy likeness/ 
Ps. xvii. 15. 

Now thou hast enough to stay thy stomach, but then thou shalt 
have a full meal. When the Israelites went out of Egypt towards 
Canaan, there was not one feeble person among them. When the 
Christian entereth into the true Canaan, he that is feeble among 
them at that day shall be as David, nay, as the angel of the Lord 
before him. 

When thy frame of nature shall be ruined, thy frame of grace 
shall be perfected and raised to the height of glory. 

4. It is comfortable against thy dissolution. To thee to die is 
gain ; death will be thy passage into eternal life. Thou needest not 
fear death as a foe ; it will be one of thy best friends. How did 
this hope of happiness at death hold up the martyrs heads above 
water, and carry them through those boisterous waves of violent 
and cruel deaths, with the greatest serenity and alacrity of spirit. 

Agesilaus, king of Sparta, used to say, that they which live virtu 
ously are not yet blessed persons, but they had attained true feli 
city who died virtuously. 1 

What is there in death, that thou art so afraid of it ? Wilt thou 
fear a bee without a sting ? Dost thou not know it had but one 
sting for Christ and Christians, and that was left in Christ the 
head ; whereby now, though it may buzz and make a noise about 
their ears, yet it can never sting or hurt the members. The 
waters of Jordan, though tempestuous before, yet were calm, and 
stood still, when the ark was to pass over. 

If thou hadst been banished many years from thy dear relations, 
whom thou lovedst as thy own soul, and from thy rich possessions 
and comforts, which might have made thy life pleasant and delight- 

1 Xenophon. 


ful, into a place of bondage, a valley of tears, a prison where thy 
feet were fettered with irons, and thy face furrowed with weeping ; 
wouldst thou be afraid of a messenger that came to knock off thy 
shackles, and fetch thee out of prison, and carry thee to those 
friends and comforts ? * And why art thou afraid of death, which 
cometh to free thee from thy bondage to Satan, sin, and sorrow, 
and to give thee present possession of the glorious liberty of the 
sons of God ? Art thou afraid to be rid of thy corruptions ? of 
Satan s temptations ? of the world s persecutions ? Art thou afraid 
to go to saints, where are no sinners, to Christ without his cross, 
to the full, immediate, eternal fruition of the blessed God ? Then 
why art thou afraid to die, and dost not rather desire to be dis 
solved and to be with Christ, knowing that while thou art present 
in the body, thou art absent from the Lord ? 2 2 Cor. v. 6. Well, 
the best of it is, thou art more afraid than hurt. 

It is well observed by a judicious expositor, that the periphrasis 
of death, mentioned John xiii. 1, where it is called a departing out 
of the world, and a going to the Father, doth belong to all the chil 
dren of God ; it is to them but a going out of the world to their 
dear and loving Father. And questionless this was that which 
made the saints so desirous of death. Basil, when the emperor s 
lieutenant threatened to kill him, said, I would he would, for then 
he would quickly send me to my Father, to whom I now live, and 
to whom I desire to hasten. Calvin, in his painful sickness, was 
never heard to complain, but often lifting up his eyes to heaven, to 
cry out, How long, Lord ! how long, Lord ! 

It is reported of a heathen, Epaminondas, 3 that when he was 
wounded with a dart at Mantinea, in a battle against the Lacedae 
monians, and told by the chirurgeons that when the dart was 
drawn out of his body he must needs die, he called for his squire, 
and asked him whether he had not lost his shield ? He told him 
no; whereupon he bade them pull out the dart, and so died. 
Surely, Christian, thou hast more cause to die with courage, when 
thou hast not lost thy God, nor thy soul, nor anything that was 
worth the keeping. 4 

5. It is comfortable against the death of thy friends and rela 
tions which die in the Lord : To die is gain. If it be their gain, 
why should it be thy grief ? Nature will teach thee to mourn, but 

1 Mors non vitam rapit, sed reformat. Prudentiv*. 

* Calvin in loc. Jewel was offended at one that in his sickness prayed for his life. 

1 Plutarch in Vit. Dicique beatus ante obitum nemo, &c. 

4 Non aestimendum quod nos liberat ab omni timendo, Tertutt. 


grace must moderate that mourning. We may water our plants, 
but must not drown them. We may sorrow, but not as they which 
have no hope, lest we sin. 

When Anaxagoras was told that both his sons were dead, he 
boldly answered the messenger, I knew that I begat mortal crea 

The people were enraged and perplexed at the death of Komulus, 
but were afterwards quieted and comforted with the news which 
Proclus brought, that he saw him in glory riding up to heaven ; 
so when thou art sorrowing for the death of thy child or husband, 
or father or mother, or brother or sister, that sleep in Jesus, thou 
shouldst hearken to the news which faith brings, that it saw them 
filled with joy, mounting up to heaven, and there enjoying rivers of 
pleasures and a weight of glory ; and surely if after such news thou 
shouldst continue weeping, it should be for joy. 

Friend, this text containeth choice sweetmeats for thee to feed 
on at the funeral of thy dearest godly friend. 

I suppose if thy relation died out of Christ, thou h