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


The Rev. John M. Krebs 
Class of 1832 

BX 9315 .S9 V.4 

Swinnock, George, 1627-1673 




lit^ (^^lural iprefate 







W. LINDSAY ALEXANDEK, 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.R, 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. 

General *JEDitot. 
REV. THOMAS SMITH, D.D., Edinburgh. 












The Fading of the Flesh — continued, . 1 


IX. The second doctrine, That God is the comfort of a 
Christian, with the grounds of it : his happiness is 
in God, . . . . . .1-3 

X- God must needs be man's happiness, because he is an 

all-sufficient good, .... 3-7 

XI. God the happiness of man, because of his suitableness 

to the soul, ..... 7-9 

XII. God the saint's happiness, because of his eternity, and 

the saint's propriety in him, . . . 9-12 

XIII. The first use, The difference betwixt a sinner and a 

saint in distress, . . . . • 12-14 

XIV. The difference betwixt the portions of gracious and 

graceless persons in this world, . . - 14-18 

XV. The difference betwixt the sinner's and saint's portion 

in the other world, .... 18-22 

XVI. A use of trial, whether God be our portion or no, with 

some marks, ..... 22-27 

XVII. An exhortation to men to choose God for their portion, 27-33 

XVIII. God is a satisfying and a sanctifying portion, . 33-40 

XIX. God a universal and eternal portion, . . 40-46 

XX. Comfort to such as have God for their portion, . 46-51 

The Epistle Dedicatory, . . . • • 55-56 

The Pastor's Farewell, ... • • .57-100 



The Epistle Dedicatory, 
The Gods die like men ; or Magistrates are mortal, 



The Epistle Dedicatory, ..... 147-155 

To THE Reader, . . . . . .156 

The Beauty of Magistracy ; An Exposition of Psalm Ixxxii., . 157-299 


The Epistle Dedicatory, ..... 303 

To THE Reader, ...... 304 

The Dignity of Magistracy, and the Duty of the Magistrate, . 305-372 

The Epistle Dedicatory, ..... 375-379 

I. The preface and meaning of the text, . . 381-385 

II. God is incomparable ; 1. In his being, . . 385-388 

III. The incomparableness of God in his being. It is 

from itself, for itself, and wholly independent, . 388-390 

IV. God incomparable in his being, as he is absolutely 

perfect, universal, unchangeable, . . . 390-395 

V. God incomparable in his being, as it is eternal and 

without composition, .... 395-397 

VI. God incomparable in his being, as it is infinite and 

incomprehensible. .... 397-402 

VII. God incomparable in his attributes, in his holiness, 

and wisdom, ..... 402-412 

VIII. God incomparable in his attributes, in his knowledge 

and faithfulness, . . . . . 412-417 

IX. God incomparable in his mercy and patience, . 417-421 



X. God incomparable in his attributes, as they are from 
him, as they are his essence, as they are all one in 
him, as they are in him in an infinite manner, . 422-424 
XI. God incomparable in his works, creation, and provi- 
dence, 424-431 

XII. God incomparable in the work of redemption ; he can 

do all things, ..... 432-435 

XIII. God incomparable in the manner of his working : he 

worketh irresistibly, arbitrarily, . . . 435-439 

XIV. God incomparable in his working ; he doth the 

greatest things with ease, and without any help, . 439-444 
XV. God is incomparable in his word ; he speaketh with 

incomparable authority, condescension, and efficacy, 444-449 
XVI. God is incomparable in his word : in its purity, 

mysteries, prophecies, .... 449-452 
XVII. God incomparable in his word, as it is converting, 

affirighting, and comforting, . . . 452-455 

XVIII. If God be incomparable, 1. How great is the malignity 
of sin, which contemneth, dishonoureth, and op- 
poseth this God ! . . . . .456-461 

XIX. If God be incomparable, how great is the madness and 

misery of impenitent sinners ! . . . 461-467 

XX. If God be incomparable, how monstrous is their pride 

who compare themselves to the incomparable God ! 468-471 
XXI. If God be incomparable, then incomparable service 

and worship is due to him, . . . 471-479 

XXII. Labour for acquaintance with the incomparable God : 
motives to it. The knowledge of God is sanctify- 
ing, satisfying, saving, .... 480-487 
XXIII. The means of acquaintance with God. A sense of our 

ignorance. Attendance on the word. Fervent prayer, 488-492 
XXIV. Exhortation to choose this incomparable God for our 

portion ; with some motives thereunto, . . 492-497 

XXV. Exhortation to give God the glory of his incomparable 

excellency; with some considerations to enforce it, 497-505 
XXVI. Comfort to them that have the incomparable God for 

their portion, ..... 505-508 




Tlie second doctrine, That God is the comfort of a Christian, 
loith the grounds of it : his happiness is in God. 

I PEOCEED now to the second doctrine, from tlie second part of the 
text, The saint's comfort : ' But God is the strength of my heart, 
and my portion for ever.' 

That the comfort of a Christian in his saddest condition is this, 
that God is his portion. The psalmist's condition was very sad 5 
his flesh failed him. Man's spirit often decays with his flesh. 
The spirits and blood are let out together. His heart fell with his 
flesh ; but what was the strong cordial which kept him from 
swooning at such a season ? Truly this : ' But God is the strength 
of my heart, and my portion for ever.' Aristotle affirmeth of the 
tortoise, that it liveth when its heart is taken away.i The holy 
man here liveth when his heart dieth. As the sap in winter 
retreateth to the root, and there is preserved, so the saint in 
crosses, in death, retireth to God, the fountain of his life, and so 
is comforted. David, when his wives were captivated, his wealth 
plundered, and his very life threatened — for the soldiers talked of 
stoning him — was- doubtless in a very dreadful estate ; one would 
have thought such a heavy burden must needs break his back ; but, 
behold, the joy of the Lord was his strength. ' But David encour- 
aged his heart in the Lord his God,' 1 Sam. xxx. 6. When the 
table of earthly comforts, which for a long time at best had been 
but indifferently spread for him, was quite empty, he fetcheth 

^ T7JJ KapSias a.(pr]pr]fiiv7]s. — Lib. de Juv. et Sen., cap. 3. 


sweetmeats out of his heavenly closet. But David encouraged his 
heart in the Lord his God. Methodius reporteth of the plant 
pyragnus, that it fiourisheth in the flames of Olympus. Christians, 
as the salamander, may live in the greatest fire of affliction at this 
day ; and, as the three children, may sing when the whole world 
shall be in a flame at the last day. They are by the Spirit of God 
compared to palm-trees, (Ps. xcii. 12,) which, though many weights 
are hanging on the top, and much drought be at the bottom, are 
neither, say some naturalists, borne down nor dried up. This 
nightingale may warble out her pleasant notes with the sharpest 
thorn at her breast. 

The only reason which I shall give of the doctrine is this : because 
a godly man placeth his happiness in God. It is natural to the 
creature, in the midst of its sufferings, to draw its comfort and solace 
from that pipe, whether supposed or real — happiness. All things 
have a propensity towards that in which they place their felicity. 
If a stone were laid in the concave of the moon, though air and 
fire and water are between, yet it would break through all, and be 
restless till it come to the earth, its centre. A suitable and un- 
changeable rest is the only satisfaction of the rational creature. 
All the tossings and agitations of the soul are but so many wings to 
carry him hither and thither, that he may find out a place where 
to rest. Let this eagle once find out and fasten on the true carcase, 
he is contented ; as the needle pointing to the north, though before 
in motion, yet now he is quiet. Therefore the philosopher, though 
in one place he tells us that delight consisteth in motion, yet in 
another place tells us, fidWov iv ^pe/xia ■^ iv Kivrjaei, that it con- 
sisteth rather in rest.'^ 

Happiness is nothing but the Sabbath of our thoughts, and the 
satisfaction of our hearts in the fruition of the chiefest good. 
According to the excellency of the object which we embrace in our 
hearts, such is the degree of our happiness ; the saint's choice is 
right, God alone being the soul's centre and rcst. Omnes literce in 
Jeliovah stmt literce quiescentes, say the Eabbis. Let a sinner have 
but that which he counteth his treasure, though he be under many 
troubles he is contented. Give a covetous man wealth, and he will 
say, as Esau, I have enough. When an ambitious man mounts up 
to a chair of state, he sits down and is at ease. If a voluptuous 
person can but bathe himself in the streams of carnal pleasures, he 
is as a fish in his element. So let a godly man enjoy but his God, 
in whom he placeth all his joy and delight, in whom is all his hap- 

^ Eth., lib. vii. cap. ult. 

Chap. X.] the fading of the flesh, 3 

piness and heaven, he is well ; he hath all. ' Shew us the Father 
and it sufficeth ; ' no more is desired, John xiv. 8. 

No man thinks himself miserable till he hath lost his happiness. 
A godly man is blessed when afflicted and buffeted, because God 
is the proper orb in which he doth fix, and he hath his God still, 
Job V. 17. When a few leaves blow off, his comfort is, he hath the 
fruit and the tree still. As a man worth millions, he can rejoice 
though he lose some mites. In the Salentine country there is men- 
tion made of a lake brimful ; put in never so much, it runneth not 
over ; draw out what you can, it is still full.i Such is the condi- 
tion of a Christian — he hath never too much ; and take away what 
you will, having God, is still full. Augustine out of Varro allegeth 
two hundred and eighty-eight several opinions about happiness ; 
but those philosophers were vain in their imaginations. I shall 
clearly prove the strength of man's happiness to flow from another 


God must needs he mans happiness^ because he is an 
all-sufficient good. 

There are some things in God which speak him to be the saint's 
happiness and chiefest good. 

First, Because of his perfection and all-sufficiency. That which 
makes man happy must have no want, no weakness in it. It must 
be able both to secure him against all evil, and to furnish him with 
all good. The injuries of nature must be resisted, and the indi- 
gencies of nature must be supplied. Now this Sun of righteous- 
ness — as the great luminary of the world when it mounteth above 
the horizon — doth both clear the air of mists and fogs, and cheer 
the inhabitants with his light and heat. And according to the 
degree of our enjoyment of him, such is the degree of our happi- 
ness, or freedom from evil and fruition of good. Those that enjoy 
God perfectly in heaven know no evil ; they are above all storms 
and tempests, and enjoy all good. ' In his presence is fulness of 
joy,' Ps. xvi. 11. They have a perpetual spring, a constant summer, 
never understanding what an autumn or winter meaneth. The 
Christian, who enjoyeth God but imperfectly, as all saints on 
earth, doth but in part enjoy these privileges. His life is a vicissi- 
tude of day and night, of light and darkness, of good and evil. 

1 Pliny, Nat. Hist., lib. ii. cap. 103. 


Evil cannot hurt him, but it may fright him. He may taste of 
the chiefest good, but his full meal is reserved till he comes to his 
Father's house. 

1. God is able to free a man from evil. The Greeks call a 
happy man /jiafcdpi,o<;, one that is not subject to death and 

That which is the happiness of man must be able, by its power, 
to secure him against all perils ; but creatures cannot afford this 
help, therefore cannot be our happiness. He that trusteth to second 
causes, is like him that, being on the top of a tree, setteth his feet 
on rotten boughs, which will certainly break under him ; or like 
the passenger, who in windy stormy weather runs to some totter- 
ing out-house, which falls upon him. But God is the almighty 

The schoolmen tell us the reason why Adam in his estate of 
innocency felt no cold, though he were naked, was because of liis 
communion with God. God is the saints' shield to protect their 
bodies from all blows. Gen. xv. 1. He is therefore compared in 
Scripture to such things and persons as shelter men in storms, 
defend them in dangers. Sometimes he is called a wall of fire, 
because travellers in a wilderness by this means are secured from 
wild beasts, Zech. ii. 5 ; those creatures fly from fire. Sometimes 
to a river of broad waters, because a city, well moated and sur- 
rounded with waters, is thereby defended against enemies, Isa. 
xxxiii. 21. 

A good sentinel is very helpful to preserve a garrison in safety. 
God is therefore said to watch and ward : ' I the Lord do keep it, 
lest any hurt it : I will keep it night and day,' Isa. xxvii. 3. And 
though others, when on the guard, are apt to nod and sleep, and so 
to give the enemy an advantage, ' He that keepeth Israel never 
slumbereth nor sleepeth,' Ps. cxxi. 4 ; he is so far from sleeping 
that he never slumbereth. Some naturalists tell us that lions are 
insomnes ; possibly because their eyelids are too narrow for their 
eyes, and so they sleep with their eyes partly open. But it is most 
true of the Lion of the tribe of Judah. As Alexander told his sol- 
diers, he wakes that they might sleep in safety. He is compared 
to a refuge : Ps. cxlii. 5, ' Thou art my refuge and my portion ;' a 
metaphor from a stronghold or castle, to which soldiers retreat, and 
in which they are secure, when beaten back by an overpowering 
enemy. But instead of all, he is called the Lord of hosts, or general 
of his people, because a faithful commander goeth first into the field, 
and Cometh last out of the field. God looketh danger in the face 

Chap. X.] the fading of the flesh. 5 

before his people, and seeth them safe out of the field before he 
departeth : ' The Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel 
will be your rereward,' Isa. Hi. 12. 

Travellers tell us that they who are at the top of the Alps can 
see great showers of rain fall under them, but not one drop of it 
falls on them. They who have God for their portion are in a high 
tower, and thereby safe from all troubles and showers. A drift-rain 
of evil will beat in at the creature's windows, be they never so well 
pointed ; all the garments this world can make up cannot keep 
them that travel in such weather from being wet to the skin. No 
creature is able to bear the weight of its fellow-creature, but as reeds, 
break under, and as thorns, run into the sides that lean on them. 
The bow drawn beyond its compass breaks in sunder, and the string 
wound above its strength snaps in pieces. Such are outward helps 
to all that trust to them in hardships. 

But Christians, being anchored on this rock of ages, are secure in 
the greatest storm. They are like Zion, which cannot be moved. 
The Church, according to the motto of Venice, Immota manet. ' In 
time of trouble he hides them in his pavilion, and in the secret of 
his tabernacle he sets them upon a rock,' Ps. xxvii. 5. God's 
sanctuary is his hidden place, Ezek. vii. 22, and his saints are his 
hidden ones, Ps. Ixxxiii. 3 ; and there he hides them from whatso- 
ever may hurt them. Therefore he calls his children, when it rains 
abroad and is stormy, to come within doors out of the wet : ' Come, 
my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors upon 
thee, and hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the in- 
dignation be overpast,' Isa. xxvi. 20. 

The Christian therefore is encouraged against evils, because God 
is his guard. He knoweth, whilst he hath this buckler, he is shot- 
free, not to be pierced by any bullet : ' He covereth him with his 
feathers, and under his wings doth the saint trust,' Ps. xci. 4. As 
the hen secureth her young from the kite and ravenous fowls by 
clucking them under her wing, and sheltering them there, so God 
doth undertake to be the protection of his people, and through his 
strength they can triumph over trials, and defy the greatest dan- 
gers. ' At destruction and famine they can laugh,' Job v. 22 ; and 
over the greatest crosses, through him, they are more than con- 
querors, Rom. viii. 37. 

2. As God is able to free from all evil, so to fill the soul with all 
good, therefore, is its happiness. That which beatifieth the reason- 
able creature, must undertake the removal of what is destructive, 
and the restoring to him whatsoever may be perfective. Weak 


nature must be supported, and empty nature must be supplied. 
Now the whole creation cannot be man's happiness, because it is 
unable both to defend him from evil, and to delight him with good. 
The comfort which ariseth from creatures is like the juice of some 
plums, which doth fill with wind, but yields no nourishment. He 
that sits at the world's table, when it is most largely spread, and 
fairly furnished, and feedeth most heartily on its fare, is as one that 
dreameth he eats, and when he awakes, lo, he is hungry. The best 
noise of earthly musicians can make but an empty sound, which 
may a little please the senses, but not in the least satisfy the soul. 
The world hath but small choice, and therefore makes us but small 
cheer ; for as sick and squeasy stomachs, we are presently cloyed 
even with that which we called so earnestly for. Hence it was that 
those who esteemed their happiness to consist in pleasing their 
brutish part, did so vehemently desire new carnal delights. Nero 
had his officer that was styled. Arbiter Neroniance libidinis, an 
inventor of new pleasures. Suetonius observeth the same of 
Tiberius,! and Cicero of Xerxes ; for these men, like children, were 
quickly w^eary of that for which they were but now so unquiet. 
And the reason is given us, by the moralist, because error is 

The thirst of nature may be satisfied, but the thirst of a disease, 
as the dropsy, cannot. The happiness of the soul consisteth in the 
enjoyment of good commensurate to its desires, which no creatm^e 
is, nay, not all the creatures. 

But God is the happiness of the creature, because he can satisfy 
it. The Hebrews call a blessed man AsJirei, in the abstract, and in 
the plural number, blessednesses, Ps. xxxii. 1. because no man can 
be blessed for one or another good, unless he abound in all good. 

The soul of man is a vessel too capacious to be filled up with a 
few drops of water, but this ocean can do it ; whatsoever is requi- 
site, either to promote decayed, or to perfect deficient nature, is in 
God. ' The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,' Ps. xxiii. 1. 
Where is all wealth, there can be no want. ' My God shall supply 
all your need,' Phil. iv. 19. One God answereth all necessities, 
because one God includeth all excellencies. He is honum compre- 
liensivum ; in him are all the treasures of heaven and earth, and in- 
finitely more. ' The God of all comforts' is his name, 2 Cor. i. 3. 
As all light is in the sun, so all comfort, all good, is in God. 
Theodoret calls Moses an ocean of divinity ; some have called 
Eome the epitome of the world. It is true of God, he is an ocean 

^ Sueton., cap. 43. ^ Omnibus error immensus. 

Chap. XI.] the fading of the flesh. 7 

of all delights and blessings, without either bank or bottom, and the 
epitome of inconceivably more, and incomparably better, than all 
this world's felicities. 

' The God of peace fill you with all joy,' Eom. xv. 13. Observe, 
here is joy which is the cream of our desires, and the overflowing 
of our delights ; it is the sweet tranquillity of our minds, the quiet 
repose of our hearts ; and as the sun to the flowers, it enlargeth 
and cheereth our afi'ections. Joy is the mark which all would hit ; 
and is by the philosopher well observed to be the dilation of the 
heart for its embracing of, closing with, and union to, its most be- 
loved object. 2. Here is all joy ; variety of what is excellent add- 
eth much to its lustre and beauty. The Christian sits at a ban- 
quet made up of all sorts of rare and curious wines, and all manner 
of dainties and delicates ; he may walk in this garden, and delight 
himseff with diversity of pleasant fruits and flowers. All joy. 
One kind of delight, like Mary's box of ointment, being opened, fill- 
eth the whole house with its savour ; what then will all sorts of 
precious perfumes, and fragrant ointments do ? 3. Here is filling 
them with all joy ; plenty, joined with variety of that which is so 
exceedingly pleasant, must needs enhance its price. There is not a 
crevice in the heart of a Christian into which this light doth not 
come ; it is able to fill him, were he a far larger vessel than he is, 
(as they filled the pots at the feast of Cana,) up to the brim with 
this water, or rather with this wine. The joy arising from the 
creature is an empty joy, like the musician in Plutarch, who, having 
pleased Dionysius with a little vanishing music, was recompensed 
with a deceived hope of a great reward ; but this is a satiating 
satisfying joy : ' Fill you with all joy.' But, 4. On what root doth 
such a variety and plenty of lovely luscious fruit grow ? Truly 
this light of joy doth not spring out of the earth ; its fountain is in 
heaven: ' The God of peace fill you with all joy.' The vessel of 
the creature runs dregs ; it can never yield such choice delights : 
this pure river of water of life proceedeth only out of the throne 
of God, Eev. xxii. 


God the Imppmess of mem, because of Ms suitableness to the soul. 

This delight and joy in God ariseth from his suitableness to the 
nature of the heaven-born saints, as I shall discover in the next 
heads, and their propriety in him. 


Secondly, God is a proportionable good. That which makes a 
man happy, must be suitable to his spiritual soul. All satisfaction 
ariseth from some likeness between the faculty or temper whicli 
predominateth, and the object. The cause of pleasure in our 
meats is the suitableness of the fallen humour in our taste to that 
in our food. Therefore silver doth not satisfy one that is sick, nor 
raiment one that suffereth hunger, because these are not answerable 
to those particular necessities of nature. The prince of philosophers 
observeth truly, that those things only content the several creatures 
which are oUeLa rfj (jjvaei, accommodated to their several natures.! 
Birds, and beasts, and fish, do all live upon and -delight in that 
food which is proportionable to their distinct beings. The ox 
feedeth on grass, the lion on flesh, the goat on boughs ; some live 
on the dew, some on fruit, some on weeds ; some creatures live in 
the air, others sport themselves in the waters ; the mole and worm 
are for the earth ; the salamander chooseth rather the fire ; nay, in 
the same plant, the bee feedeth on the flower, the bird on the seed, 
the sheep on the blade, and the swine on the root ; and what is the 
reason of all this, but because nature must have its rest and delight 
from that only which is suitable to its own appetite and desire. 
Hence it is that though God be so perfect a good, yet he is not the 
happiness of evil men or evil angels, for he is not suitable to their 
vitiated, depraved natures. The carnal mind, which beareth sway 
in unregenerate men, is enmity against God, and devils are as 
contrary to God's nature as fire is to water. Hence it is that spir- 
itual men place and enjoy happiness in the Father of spirits, be- 
cause he is the savoury meat which their souls love. Though the 
sinner can live upon dregs, as the swine on dung, yet the saint 
must have refined spirits, and nothing less than angels' food and 

It is an unqestionable truth, that nothing can give true comfort 
to man but that which hath a relation and beareth a proportion to 
his highest and noblest part, his immortal soul ; for his sensitive 
faculties were created in him, to be subordinate and serviceable to 
their master, reason ; therefore he is excelled in them by his infe- 
riors, as the eagle in seeing, and the hound in scenting ; nature 
aiming at some more sublime and excellent design, the perfection 
of the rational part in those lower particulars was less exact ; there- 
fore the blessed God alone being a suitable good to the heavenly 
spiritual soul of man, can only satisfy it. Philosophers tell us the 
reason of the iron's cleaving to, and resting in the loadstone is, be- 

^ Aristot. Eth., lib. s. cap. 7. 

Chap. XII.] the fading of the flesh. 9 

cause the pores of both bodies are alike ; so there are effluxes and 
emanations that slide through them and unite them together. One 
cause of the saint's love to, and delight in God, is his likeness to 
God. Creatures are earthly, the soul is heavenly ; they are corpo- 
real, the soul is spiritual ; therefore, as when friends are contrary 
in disposition, the soul cannot take up its rest and happiness in 
their fruition ; but God is suitable, and therefore satisfying : ' I am 
God all-sufficient,' Gen. xvii. 1. Some derive the word Shaddai, 
almighty, all-sufficient, from shad, a dug ; for as the breast is suit- 
able to the babe, nothing else will quiet it, so is God to his chil- 

A man that is hungry finds his stomach still craving. Some- 
thing he wants, without which he cannot be well. Give him music, 
company, pictures, houses, honours, yet there follows no satisfac- 
tion, (these are not suitable to his appetite,) still his stomach 
craves ; but set before this man some wholesome food, and let him 
eat, and his craving is over. ' They did eat, and were filled,' Neh. 
ix. 25. So it is with man's soul as with his body ; the soul is full 
of cravings and longings, spending itself in sallies out after its 
proper food. Give it the credit, and profits, and pleasures of the 
world, and they cannot abate its desire ; it craves still , (for these 
do not answer the soul's nature, and therefore cannot answer its 
necessity ;) but once set God before it, and it feeding on him, it is 
satisfied; its very inordinate, dogged appetite after the world is now 
cured. 1 He, tasting this manna, tramples on the onions of Egypt: 
' He that drinketh of this water shall thirst again ; but he that 
drinketh of the water which I shall give him shall never thirst,' 
John iv. 


God the saint's happiness, because of his eternity, and the saint's 
propriety in him. 

God is a permanent good. That which makes a man happy 
must be immortal, like himself. As man is rational, so he is a 
provident creature, desirous to lay up for hereafter ; and this fore- 
cast reacheth beyond the fool's in the Gospel for many years, even 
for milKons of ages, for ever, by laying hold on eternal life. He 

'^ miserabilis humana conditio, et sine Christo vanum omne quod vivimus. — 
Jerome, Epit. Nep., torn. i. p. 25. 


naturally desires an immortality of being, (whence that inclination 
in creatures, say philosophers, of propagating their kind,) and 
therefore an eternity of blessedness. The soul can enjoy no per- 
fection of happiness if it be not commensurate to its own duration ; 
for the greater our joy is in the fruition of any good, the greater 
our grief in its omission. Eternity is one of the fairest flowers in 
the glorified saint's garland of honour. It is an eternal weight of 
glory, 2 Cor. iv. 17. Were the triumphant spirits ever to put off 
their crown of life, the very thought thereof would be death, and, 
like leaven, would sour the whole lump of their comforts. The 
perpetuity of their state adds infinitely to their pleasure : ' We 
shall ever be with the Lord,' 1 Thes. iv. 17. Here they have many 
a sweet bait, but there God will be their standing dish, never off 
the heavenly table. 

The creature cannot make man happy, because, as it is not able 
to fill him, so it is not fast to him ; like the moon in the increase, 
it may shine a little the former part of the night, but is down before 
morning. Man is not sure to hold them whilst he liveth.i How 
often is the candle of outward comforts blown out by a sudden blast 
of providence ! Many, as Naomi, go out full, but come home 
empty ; some disaster or other, as a thief, meets them by the way, 
and robs them of their deified treasure. The vessel in which all of 
some men's wealth is embarked, while it spreadeth fair with its 
proud sails, and danceth along upon the surging waters, when the 
factor in it is pleasing himself with the kind salutes he shall receive 
from his merchant for making so profitable a voyage, is in an 
instant swallowed up of unseen quicksands, and delivereth its 
freight at another port, and to an unknown master. Those whose 
morning hath been sunshiny and clear, have met with such showers 
before night as have washed away their wealth. However, if these 
comforts continue all day, at the night of death (as false lovers 
serve men in extremity) they leave us the knife of death, which 
stabs the sinner to the heart, lets out the blood and spirits of all his 
joys and happiness. But God is the true happiness of the soul, 
because he is an eternal good. As this sun hath no mists, so it 
never sets, so that the rest of the soul in God is an eternal Sabbath ; 
like the New Jerusalem, it knoweth no night. Outward mercies, 
in which most place their felicity, are like land-floods, which swell 
high, and make a great noise, but are quickly in again, when the 
blessed God, like the spring-head, runneth over, and rimneth ever. 

1 LEetitia Bseculi cum magna expectatione speratur ut veniat, et non potest teneri 
cum venit. — Aug., Tract. 7 in Job. 

Chap. XII.] the fading of the flesh. 11 

Fourthly, Because of the saints' propriety in this good. Though 
God be never so perfect, suitable, sure a good, yet it is little com- 
fort to them that have no interest in him. Another man's health 
will not make me happy when sick. What happiness hath a beggar 
in the shady walks, pleasant garden, stately buildings, curious 
rooms, costly furniture, and precious jewels of an earl, when they 
are none of his ? A crown and sceptre may be as suitable to the 
nature of a subject as a sovereign, yet the comfort of them extends 
not to the former, for want of this propriety in them. The leaving 
out one word in a will may mar the estate and disappoint all a 
man's hopes ; the want of this one word, my (God,) is the wicked 
man's loss of heaven, and the dagger which will pierce his heart in 
hell to all eternity. The degree of satisfaction in any good is 
according to the degree of our union to it, (hence our delight is 
greater in food than in clothes, and the saint's joy is greater in God 
in the other world than in this, because the union is nearer ;) but 
where there is no propriety there is no union, therefore no com- 
placency. Now this all-sufficient, suitable, and eternal God is the 
saint's peculiar portion, and therefore causeth infinite satisfaction : 
' God is my portion for ever. God, even our God, shall bless us,' 
Ps. Ixvii. 6. The pronoun my is as much worth to the soul as the 
boundless portion. All our comfort is locked up in that private 
cabinet. Wine in the glass doth not cheer the heart, but taken 
down into the body. The propriety of the psalmist's in God was 
the mouth whereby he fed on those dainties which did so exceed- 
ingly delight him. No love potion was ever so effectual as this 
pronoun. When God saith to the soul, as Aliab to Benhadad, 
' Behold, I am thine, and all that I have,' who can tell how the heart 
leaps with joy in, and expires almost in desires after him upon such 
news ! Others, like strangers, may behold his honour and excel- 
lencies, but this saint only, like the wife, enjoyeth him. Luther 
saith. Much religion lieth in pronouns. All our consolation, in- 
deed, consisteth in this pronoun. It is the cup which holdeth all 
our cordial waters. I will undertake, as bad as the devil is, he shall 
give the whole world, were it in his power, more freely than ever 
he offered it to Christ for his worship, for leave from God to jDro- 
nounce those two words, my God. All the joys of the believer are 
hung upon this one string ; break that asunder, and all is lost. I 
have sometimes thought how David rolls it as a lump of sugar 
under his tongue, as one loath to lose its sweetness too soon : ' I 
love thee, O Lord my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my 
fortress, and my deliverer ; my God, my strength, my buckler, the 


horn of my salvation, and my high tower/ Ps. xviii. 1, 2. This 
pronoun is the door at which the King of saints entereth into our 
hearts, with his whole train of delights and comforts. 


The first use^ The difference heiwixt a sinner and a saint in distress. 

This doctrine may be useful by way of inference, and by way of 
trial and counsel, and by way of comfort. 

First, If the comfort of a Christian in his saddest estate be this, 
namely, that God is his j^ortion. it informeth us of the difference 
betwixt a sinner and a saint, both in their conditions when trouble 
comes, and in their portions. 

1. In tlieir conditions when in afl&iction. 

The saint, in the sharpest winter, sits at a good fire. When 
abused by strangers he can complain to, and comfort himself in, his 
Father. Though stars vanish out of sight, he can rejoice in the 
sun. Like the prudent dame, whithersoever he travelleth, knowing 
how liable he is to fainting fits, he carrieth his bottle of strong 
waters along with him : ' When thou passest through the fire, I will 
be with thee,' Isa. xliii. But the sinner, when a storm comes upon 
his head, hath no cover. When a qualm comes over his heart, 
he hath no cordial, for he hath no Cod : Eph. ii. 12, ' Without God, 
without hoj)e, strangers to the covenant of promise.' A godless man 
is hopeless. If he be robbed of his estate, and have little in hand, 
his case is dreadful , for he hath less in hope. The promises are the 
clefts of the rock whither true doves fly, and places of shelter where 
they are safe from ravenous fowls ; but he is a stranger to these. 
When the floods comes he hath no ark, but must sink like lead in 
the midst of the mighty waters. 

The godly man, in the lowest ebb of creatures, may have a high 
tide of comforts, because he hath ever the God of all consolations. 
As Jezebel's idolatrous priests, so in the greatest outward famine 
God entertaineth his people at his own table, and surely that is 
neither mean nor sparing. As their afflictions abound, their conso- 
lations by Christ superabound, 2 Cor. i. 5. The world layeth on 
crosses, and Christ layeth in comforts. Men make grievous sores, 
and God provides precious salves. ' The Lord is my portion, saith 
my soul ; therefore will I hope in him/ Lam. iii. 24. If you mind 
the season, you may a little admire at the church's solace. The 

Chap. XIII.] the fading of the flesh. 13 

whole book is but a pathetical description of her tragical condition, 
and is generally concluded to be written by Jeremiah in the time of 
the Babylonish captivity, when her land was wasted, her people 
enslaved, her sabbaths ceased, and her temple profaned ; yet this 
bird of paradise sings in a cage, and in this hard winter, ' The Lord 
is my portion, saith my soul ; therefore will I hope in him.' 

The godly man may be robbed of his possessions, but he is well 
so long as he hath his haj)piness, his portion. Lazarus was happy 
when {sine domo, because he was not sioie Domino) without goods, 
because he was not without God. As he in Plutarch said of the 
Scythians, Though they had neither wine nor music, yet they had 
the gods. The prophet, when the ponds were dried up, fetched his 
water from the fountain : Hab. iii. 17, 18, ' Although the fig-tree 
shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine ; the labour of 
the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat ; the flock 
shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the 
stalls : yet will I rejoice in the Lord, and I will joy in the God of 
my salvation.' It is considerable that he expresseth not only things 
for conveniency, as the vine and fig-tree, but things for necessity, as 
the meat of the field, and flocks of tlie stall, and supposeth the total 
loss of both ; yet, in the want and absence of such comforts of life, 
he supports himself with God, the life of all his comforts. But the 
ungodly is not so. When afflictions come, they hit him upon the 
bare, for he is without armour. He is as a naked man in the midst 
of venomous serpents and stinging scorpions. When troubles come 
like so many lions, they tear the silly lamb in pieces, having none 
to protect him. ' I am greatly distressed,' saith Saul ; and well he 
might, ' for the Philistines are upon me, and God is departed from 
me,' 1 Sam. xxviii. ]5. Alas ! poor soul, had the Philistines been 
his burden, and God strengthened his back, all had been well ; he 
might have gone lightly under it. But when enemies approached, 
and God departed, he must needs be greatly distressed. The crea- 
ture may well be full of frights and fears that stands in the open 
fields where bullets fly thick and fast, without any shelter or de- 
fence. David's foes had proved their conclusion to the full had 
their medium been true : ' Persecute and take him ; for God hath 
forsaken him,' Ps. Ixxi. 11. If God leave a man, dangers and 
devils may quickly find him. No wonder that Micah cried out so 
mournfully, ' Ye have taken away my gods, and do you ask mo what 
I ail ? ' at the loss of his false gods ; much more will the loss of the 
true God make men mournful. As it was said of Coniah, ' Write 
this man childless,' Jer. xxii. 30, it may be said of every godless 


man, Write this man comfortless, helpless, hopeless, and that for 

Vast is the difference betwixt the case of the good and bad in dis- 
tress : the former, as clothes dyed in grain, may keep his colour in 
all weathers ; the latter, like quicksilver, may well be ever in mo- 
tion, and, like a leaf, tremble at the smallest wind. Naturalists 
observe this difference between eagles and other birds [ ; when they] 
are in want and distress, they make a pitiful noise ; but the eagle, 
when in straits, hath no such mournful note, but mounteth aloft, 
and refresheth herself with the warm beams of the sun. Saints, like 
true eagles, when they are in necessity, mount up to God upon the 
wings of faith and prayer, and delight themselves with the golden rays 
and gracious influences of his favour ; but the sinner, if bereft of 
outward comforts, dolefully comj)lains. The snail, take him out of 
his shell, and he dieth presently. The godless person is like the ferret, 
which hath its name in Hebrew from squeaking and crying, be- 
cause he squeaketh sadly if taken from his prey. When the godly 
man, (as Paulinus Molanus, when his city was plundered by the 
barbarians,) though he be robbed of his earthly riches, hath a trea- 
sure in heaven, and may say, Domine, ne excrucier oh aurum et 
argentum ; tu enim milii es omnia, Lord, why should I be disquieted 
for my silver and gold ? for thou to me art all things. Having 
nothing, yet he possesseth all things, 2 Cor. vi. 10. 


The difference hetwixt the portions of gracious and graceless 
persons in this loorld. 

2. It informeth us of the difference in their portions. The wicked 
man hath a portion of goods : ' Father, give me the portion of goods 
which belongeth to me,' Luke xv. 12. But the godly man only 
hath the good portion. I shall instance in three particulars, wherein 
the portion in this world of a sinner differeth from the saints. 

First, Their portion is poor. It consisteth in toys and trifles, 
like the estate of mean women in the city, who make a great noise 
in crying their ware, which is only a few points, or pins, or matches. 
But the portion of a saint lieth, though he do not proclaim it about 
the streets, as the rich merchant's, in staple commodities and jewels. 
The worldling's portion at best is but a little airy honour, or empty 
pleasure, or beggarly treasure. But the Christian's is the beautiful 

Chap. XIV.] the fading of the flesh. 15 

image of God, the incomparable covenant of grace, tlie exceeding 
rich and precious i^romises of the gospel, the inestimable Saviour, 
and the infinitely blessed God. The sinner's portion is nothing ; 
' Ye have rejoiced in a thing of nought,' Amos vi. 13 ; a fashion, a 
fancy, 1 Cor. vii. 30 ; Acts xxv. 23. But the saint's portion is all 
things : ' All things are yours ; and ye are Christ's, and Christ is 
God's,' 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23. As Abraham gave gifts to the sons of his 
concubines, and sent them away, but he gave all he had to Isaac, 
so God giveth common gifts of riches, or friends, or credit, to wicked 
men, which is all they crave, and sendeth them away, and they are 
well contented ; but he gives grace, glory, his Spirit, his Son, him- 
self, all he hath, to his Isaacs, to the children of the promise. Gen. 
xxv. 5, 6. He giveth earth into the hands of the wicked, Job ix. 
24 ; all their portion lieth in dust, rubbish, and lumber ; all they 
are worth is a few ears of corn, which they glean here and there in 
the field of this world. But he giveth heaven into the hearts of the 
godly ; their portion consisteth in gold, and silver, and diamonds, 
the peculiar treasure of kings, in the love of God, the blood of 
Christ, and the pleasures at his right hand for evermore. Others, 
like servants, have a little meat, and drink, and wages ; but saints, 
like sons, they are a congregation of the first-born, and have the 
inheritance. Oh the vast difference betwixt the portion of the pro- 
digal and the pious ! The former hath something given him by 
God, as Peninnah had by Elkanah, though at last it will appear to 
be little better than nothing, when he gives the latter, as Elkanah 
did Hannah, a goodly, a worthy portion, because he loves them, 
1 Sam. i. 4, 5. 

Secondly, Their portion is piercing. As it is compared to broken 
cisterns for its vanity, so to thorns for its vexation, Jer. ii. 13 ; Mat. 
xiii. 22. A sinner layeth the heavy lumber of his earthly portion on 
his heart, and that must needs oppress it with care, and fear, and many 
sorrows ; whereas the saint's portion, the fine linen of his Saviour's 
righteousness, lying next his flesh, is soft and pleasing. ' The 
abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep,' Eccles. v. 12. 
His portion hinders his peace ; his riches set him upon a rack ; his 
cruelty in getting it, his care to increase it, and the secret curse of 
God accompanying it, do, like the importunate widow, allow him 
no rest day or night ; when the godly man's portion makes his bed 
easy, lays his pillow soft, and covers him warm : ' I will lay me down 
in peace and sleep, for thou, Lord, makest me to dwell in safety.' 
Nay, such an excellent sleeping pill is this portion, that, by the 
virtue of it, David, when he was pursued by his unnatural son, and 


was in constant danger of death, when he had the earth for his bed, 
the trees for his curtains, the stars for his candles, and the heavens 
for his canopy, could sleep as sweetly, as soundly as ever he did on 
his bed of down in his royal palace at Jerusalem. ' Thou, Lord, 
art a shield for me ; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head,' Ps. 
iii. 3. ' I laid me down and slept ; I awaked, for the Lord sustained 
me,' Ps. iv. 8. 

The sinner's portion is termed wind, Hosea viii. 7. If wind get 
into the bowels of the earth, it causeth concussions and earth- 
quakes. His riches, and honours, and friends lie near him, are 
within him, and thereby cause much anxiety and disquietness of 
spirit. His portion, like windy fruit, fills his belly with pains. 
It is smoke in his eyes, gravel in his teeth, wind in his stomach, 
and gripes in his bowels. The saint's part is his joy and delight : i 
' Then shall I go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy,' 
Ps. xliii. 4. It is music to his ears, beauty to his eyes, sweet 
odours to his scent, honey to his taste, and melody to his heart : 
' In ^the presence of his portion is fulness of joy, and at his right 
hand are pleasures for evermore,' Ps. xvi. 11. He sits at an in- 
ward heart-cheering feast in the greatest outward famine, when 
the worldling in the midst of his gaudy show of wealth is but 
a book fairly gilt without, consisting of nothing but tragedies 
within. His portion is too narrow a garment than that he can 
wrap himself in it, and too short a bed than that he can stretch 
himself on it. 

The vanity of the sinner's portion makes it full of vexation to 
him ; because it cannot fill him, therefore it frets him. ' In the 
midst of his sufficiency he is in straits,' Job xx. 22. Though his 
table be never so well spread, he hath not a heart to use it, but 
pineth himself with fear of poverty, and runneth hither and thither, 
up and down like a beggar, to this and that door of the creature 
for some poor scraps and small dole. He may possess many 
pounds, and not enjoy one penny, Eccles. vi. 2. 

But the portion of the saint affords him a comfortable subsistence. 
Though the whole be not paid him till he come to full age, yet 
the interest of it, which is allowed him in his minority, affordeth 
him such an honourable maintenance that he needs not borrow of 
his servants, nor be beholden to his beggarly neighbours. He hath 
enough constantly about him to live upon, and therefore may spare 
his frequent walk to the creature's shop for a supply of his wants. 2 

^ Sine Deo omnis copia est egestas. — Bern. 

2 Tantum habet quantum vult, qui nihil vult nisi quid habct. — Seneca. 

Chap. XIV.] the fading of the flesh. 17 

Thirdly, Their portion is perishing. This fire of thorns at which 
carnal men warm their hands — for it cannot reach the heart — after 
a small hlaze and little blustering noise, goeth out. Carnal comforts, 
like comets, appear for a time, and then vanish ; when the portion 
of a saint, like a true star, is fixed and firm. A worldling s wealth 
lieth in earth, and therefore, as wares laid in low, damp cellars, 
corrupts and moulders ; but the godly man's treasure is in heaven, 
and, as commodities laid up in high rooms, continueth sound and 
safe. Earthly portions are often like guests which stay for a night 
and away ; but the saints' portion is an inhabitant that abides in 
the house with him for ever. 

It is said of Gregory the Great, that he trembled every time he 
read or thought of that speech of Abraham to Dives, ' Son, remem- 
ber that thou in thy lifetime hadst thy good things,' Luke xvi. 25. 
To have his all in time, and nothing when he entered upon his 
eternity ; to live like a prodigal one day, and be a beggar for ever : 
surely it was a sad saying. The flower sheds whilst the stalk 
remains ; the sinner continues when his portion vanishes. The 
sinner's portion, like his servant, when he dieth, will seek a new 
master. ' Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of 
thee : and then whose shall these things be ? ' Luke xii. 20. 
Whose ? possibly the poor's, whom he had wronged and robbed 
to enrich himself It may be his child's, who will scatter it as 
prodigally as he raked it together penuriously. But whosesoever 
it was, it could be none of his, and then, when parted from his 
portion, what a poor fool was he indeed ! not worth a farthing. 
But the saint's wealth will accompany him into the other vrorld. 
The truth is, that is the place where he receiveth his portion : 
' Blessed are they that die in the Lord : they rest from their labours ; 
and their works follow them,' Kev. xiv. 13. 

When men go a great journey, as beyond the seas, they carry not 
their tables, or bedsteads, or any such heavy luggage and lumber 
along with them, but their silver, and gold, and jewels. When 
the sinner goeth the way of all the earth, he leaves his portion 
behind him, because it consists wholly in lumber ; but the saint's 
portion consisting wholly in things of value — in wisdom, which is 
better than silver, and grace, which is more worth than pure gold, 
and in God, who is more precious than rubies, and all that can be 
desired is not to be compared to him — he carrieth all along with 

It is said of Dathan and his companions, that the earth swallowed 
them up, and their houses, and all that appertained to them ; so 



when the earth shall at death swallow up his person, it will also, 
as to his use, swallow up his portion, Num. xvi. 33. 

This whole world must pass away, and what then will become 
of the sinner's portion ? Surely he may cry out, as they of Moab, 
' Woe to me ! I am undone,' Num. xxi. 29. But even at that day 
the saint may sing and he joyful at heart ; for till then he shall not 
know the full value of his inheritance. 

It is as sad a speech as most in Scripture, ' whose portion is in 
this life,' Ps. xvii. 14. All their estate lieth, as the Keubenites', 
on this side Canaan. 


The difference hetwixt the sinners and saint's portion in 
the other world. 

But there is a further difference betwixt the portion of a sinner 
and saint ; and still the farther we go, the worse it is for the one, 
and the better for the other ; and that is in the other world. 

The sinner's portion here, as poor as it is, is a comparative 
heaven ; but there a real hell. Their portion is cursed on 
earth, but what is it then in hell? Job xxiv. 18. 'Upon the 
wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible 
tempest : this is the portion of their cup,' Ps. xi. 6. The words 
are an allusion to the Jewish custom at meals, wherein every one 
had his allotted portion of drink, his peculiar cup, Gren. xliii. 34. 
Suitable to which the godly man can tell you what nectar and 
nepenthe he shall meet with, when he sits down at that banquet 
from which he shall never rise up. ' The Lord is the portion of 
my cup : thou maintainest my lot,' Ps. xvi. 5. 

But look a little into the sinner's cup, and see what a bitter 
potion is prepared for him. I think we shall scarce find a drop in 
it, but is infinitely worse than poison. Reader, take heed thou 
never come to taste it. It is indeed a mixture of such ingredients 
as may make the stoutest heart alive to tremble and faint away if 
it come but within the scent or sight of it. Snares, fire and brim- 
stone, and an horrible tempest. The Lord poured on the Egyp- 
tians such a ' grievous rain, as had not been in Egypt since the 
foundation thereof,' Exod. ix. 18 ; but this potion of the sinner is 
far more bitter than that plague. Pliny tells us, that amongst 
the Romans, when M. Acilius and C. Porcius were consuls, it 

Chap. XV.] the fading of the flesh. 19 

rained blood ; i but what is that to fire and brimstone ? Observe, 
first, The extremity of pain which will be caused by this potion : 
* Upon the wicked he shall rain fire and brimstone.' Fire is 
dreadful to our flesh, though it be but applied outwardly. What 
miserable torment did Charles the Second, king of Navarre, endure, 
when he was burnt to death in a flaming sheet steeped in aqua 
vitcB ! 2 but much greater torment will it cause when taken inward. 
Fire in the belly, in the bowels, will pain the creature to purpose. 
The inward parts are more tender, and so more liable to torture. 
But this drink, like poison, will diffuse itself also into all the parts, 
that none shall be free from pain. It was an unknown punish- 
ment which the drunken Turk underwent, when, by the command 
of the Basha, he had a cup of boiling lead poured down his throat : 
who can think what he felt ? But sure I am, as bad as it was, it 
was but a flea-bite to this cup of fire which the Lord hath prepared 
for the sinner, fire and brimstone. Fire is terrible of itself, but 
brimstone makes it to burn with much greater violence ; besides, 
brimstone added to the cup of fire will make it of a most stinking 
savour. The sinner now burneth in lust, but then in a flaming 
fire ; now he drinketh his pleasant juleps, but then his loathsome 
potion. Fire is the most furious of all elements : nothing in this 
life is more dreadful to nature ; but our fires are but like painted 
ones to true, in comparison of this rain of fire in hell. Nebuchad- 
nezzar's furnace, though heated seven times more than ordinary, 
was cool to this fire. Oh who can fry in such a flame as the 
breath of an infinite God doth kindle ! ^ Fire and brimstone. 
Three drops of brimstone, saith one, lighting on any part of our 
bodies, will make us cry and roar out for pain. What then will 
befall the sinner, when he shall both ever drink and ever live in 
this lake of fire and brimstone ; when he shall drink this cup of 
pure wrath, of poisonous dregs, of fire and brimstone, though 
there be eternity to the bottom ! ' Who can dwell in everlasting 
burnings ? ' Isa. xxxiii. 14. 

Observe, secondly. The certainty of the punishment. ' Upon the 
wicked he shall rain a horrible tempest.' Some read it a whirl- 
wind, a horrible blasting whirlwind, which carrieth all before it ; 
but it is properly, saith Ainsworth, a hideous burning tempest, 
named by the Greeks ivpvKkvhoiv, Acts xxvii. 14. It is an allusion 
to the boisterous wind turho, which casteth down and overthroweth 

1 Plin. Nat. Hist., lib. ii. cap. 56. ^ Heyl. Geogr., p. 42. 

2 Damnati exquisitissimos dolores sentiunt, quibua majores nee dari nee cogitari 
possunt. — Qerh. loc. com. 


all that is near it ; which, as it is hot and fiery, is named prester, 
and burnetii and layeth along whatsoever it toiicheth and encoun- 
tereth.i The sinner thinketh that he is sure, but this horrible 
tempest will overturn him. His squeasy stomach, used to rich 
wines, nauseates this loathsome nasty water. When God puts 
this cup into his hand, oh how his heart will rise against it ! but 
he shall be forced to drink off this cup of fire and boiling brim- 
stone, whether he will or no. 

Observe, thirdly. The suddenness of this plague and potion: 
'Upon the wicked he shall rain snares.' When they are asleep 
and little dream of it, then this horrible tempest stealeth them 
away in the night. Job xxvii. 20. What a doleful screech and 
dreadful cry will this cause, (as amongst the Egyptians at midnight, 
Exod. xii. 30.) Snares take men at unawares. The sinner's woe 
shall come without warning. ' As the fishes that are taken in an 
evil net, and as birds that are caught in the snare ; so are the sons 
of men snared in an evil time, when it cometh suddenly upon 
them,' Eccles. ix. 12. The fish looks fi)r a good bait when it is 
caught by the hook ; the bird expects meat in the snare in which 
it is taken and murdered. When Abner expected a kiss, a kind 
salute, behold, then he meets with a sword which kills him. 
When Belshazzar was carousing in his cups, and his head full 
of wine, then the cup of trembling is given him by the hand- 
writing on the wall. When the sinner, like the dolphin, is leaping 
merrily, then he is nearest his endless misery. ' Upon the wicked 
he shall rain snares.' When it rains he expects silver showers to 
refresh him, but lo ! gins and snares to entrap him. The wicked 
man's cloud drops not fatness, but fury and fire. 

Now, let us cast up the account, and see what the worldling's 
portion amounts to, and how much he will be worth in the other 
world. The liquor in his cup is most painful and loathsome, 
fire and brimstone. All his estate lieth in the valley of the 
shadow of death. Scalding lead were a wonderful favom-, if he 
might drink that instead of boiling brimstone. No heart can 
conceive what a terrible potion that is, which a God boundless in 
wisdom, power, and anger, doth prepare. Yet though it be dread- 
ful, if it were doubtful, the sinner's grief would not be so great ; 

^ Videtur significare ventos urentes, quales illi in Africa, qui arenas ardentes calore 
solis excitant, et homines involutos ita adurunt, quasi igne corpora essent tosta. 
Alii vertunt spiritum procellarum seu turbinum, quia procellosis ventis excitantur 
tempestates, quas postea sequitur fulminatio, cujus hie est descriptio. — Moller. in 
loc, vide Calv. in loc. 

Chap. XV.] the fading of the flesh. 21 

but as the liquor is most loathsome, so the cup is most certain. 
Grod will pour this dreadful drench down his throat. He cannot 
abide it, neither can he avoid it. Infinite power will hold his 
person, whilst infinite anger gives him this potion. And it is not 
the least aggravation of his sorrows that they shall come on a 
sudden. This rain of fire and brimstone, which will cause such 
matchless mourning, will come, as on Sodom, when it is least 
exjDected, after a sunshiny morning. 

But there is one thing more in the cup, which, beyond all the 
former, makes it infinitely bitter, and that is this, it is bottomless,"^ 
Luke viii, 31. The sinner's fire is eternal, and the smoke of his 
brimstone ascendeth for ever and ever, Jude 7 ; Rev. xiv. 11. If a 
purging potion, which is soon down, and in some few hours out of 
his body, go so much against the hair with him, what wry mouths 
and angry faces will he make when he shall come to drink this 
bottomless cup of fire and brimstone ! His cup is like the ocean, 
which can never be fathomed. This rain may well be called wrath 
to come, for it will be ever to come, and never overcome. His 
darkest night here may have a morning ; but there his portion will 
be blackness of darkness for ever. There will be no end of his 
misery, no exit to his tragedy. He will be fettered in those chains 
of everlasting darkness, and feel the terrors of an eternal death. 

But the portion of a saint is, like the wine which Christ provided 
for the wedding, best at last ; he shall never know its full worth till 
he appears in the other world, and then he shall find, that as money 
answereth all things, so his portion will protect him from all misery, 
and fill him with all felicities, and answer all the desires and neces- 
sities of his capacious and immortal soul. 

The cup which he shall drink of is fiUed out of the rivers of 
God's own pleasures ; and how sweet that wine is, none can tell but 
they who have tasted it. The thought of it hath recovered those 
who have been dying, and recalled them to Kfe ; what then will a 
draught of it do ? All the men in the world cannot describe the 
rich viands and various dainties which God hath for his own pro- 
vided diet: nay, the most skilful cherubim can never count nor 
cast up the total of a saint's personal estate. Till angels can 
acquaint us with the vast millions that the boundless God is worth, 
they cannot tell us the utmost of a saint's portion. 

It is said of Shusa, in Persia, that it was so rich that, saith Cassi- 
odorus, the stones were joined together with gold, and in it Alex- 

1 Prima mors animam dolentem pellit de corpore, secunda mors animam nolen- 
tem tenet in corpore. — Aug de Civit. Dei, lib. xxi. cap. 32. 


ander found seventy thousand talents of gold. This city if you can 
take, saith Aristagoras to his soldiers, you may vie with Jove him- 
self for riches. But what a beggarly place is this to the new Jeru- 
salem, where pure gold is the pavement trampled under the citizens' 
feet, and the walls all of precious pearls ; who entereth that city 
may vie with thousands of such monarchs as this world can make, 
and with all those heathenish gods for riches. The infinite God, 
quantus quantus est, as boundless a good as he is, to whom heaven 
and earth is less than nothing, is their portion for ever. But of this 
more in some of the following chapters. 


A use of trial, lohetlier God he our portion or no, with some marks. 

The doctrine may be useful by way of trial. If the comfort 
of a Christian in his saddest condition be, that God is his portion, 
then, reader, examine thyself whether God be thy portion or no. I 
must tell thee, the essence and heart of rehgion consisteth in the 
choice of thy portion ; nay, thy happiness dependeth wholly upon 
thy taking of the blessed God for thine utmost end and chief est 
good ; therefore if thou mistakest here, thou art lost for ever. 

I shall try thee very briefly by the touchstone which Christ hath 
prepared : ' Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,' 
Mat. vi. 21. Now, friend, where is thy heart ? is it in earth ? is it a 
diamond set in lead, or a sparkling star fixed in heaven ? Are thy 
greatest affections, like Saul's person, among the stuff and rubbish of 
this world ? or do they, like Moses, go up into the mount and con- 
verse with God ? Do they, with the worms, crawl here below ? or, 
like the eagle, soar aloft, and dwell above ? A man that hath his por- 
tion on earth, like the earth, moveth downward, though he may be 
' thrown upward by violence, as a stone, by some sudden conviction, 
or the like ; yet that impressed virtue is soon worn out, and he fall- 
eth to the earth again. But he who hath his portion in heaven, like 
fire, tendeth upward ordinarily, though, through the violence of 
temptation, he may, as fire by the wind, be forced downward ; yet, 
that removed, he ascendeth again. 

It may be, when thine enemy death beats thee out of the field of 
life, thou wilt be glad of a God, to which thou mayest retire, as a 
city of refuge, to shelter thee from the murdering piece of the law's 
curse ; but what thoughts hast thou of him now, whilst thou hast 

Chap. XYI.] the fading of the flesh. 23 

the world at will ? Dost thou count the fruition of him thy chief est 
felicity ? Is one God infinitely more weighty in the scales of thy 
judgment than millions of worlds ? Dost thou say, in thy prevailing 
settled judgment, of them that have their garners full and their 
flocks fruitful, ' Blessed is the people that is in such a case ; or yea, 
rather happy is the people whose God is the Lord,' Ps. cxliv. 

Every man esteemeth his portion at a high price. Naboth 
valueth liis earthly inheritance above his life, and would rather die 
than part with it at any rate. ' God forbid that I should sell the 
inheritance of my fathers,' saith he. Oh the worth of the blessed 
God, in the esteem of him that hath him for his portion ! His 
house, land, wife, child, liberty, life, are hated by him, and notliing 
to him in comparison of his portions ; he would not exchange his 
hopes of it and title to it for the dominion and sovereignty of the 
whole world. If the devil, as to Christ, should set him on the 
pinnacle of the temple, and shew all the honours, and pleasures, 
and treasures of the world, and say to him. All this I will give thee, 
if thou wilt sell thy portion and fall down and worship me ; who 
can tell with what infinite disdain he would reject such an offer? 
He would say, as a tradesman that were bid exceedingly below the 
worth of his wares, You were as good bid me nothing, and with 
much scorn and laughter refuse his tender. This man is elevated 
to the top of the celestial orbs, and therefore the whole earth is but 
a point in his eye ; whereas a man who hath his portion in outward 
things, who dwelleth here on earth, heavenly things are little, the 
glorious sun itself is but small, in such a man's eye, earthly things 
are great in his esteem. 

Keader, let me persuade thee to be so much at leisure as to ask 
thy soul two or three questions. 

1. In what channel doth the stream of thy desires run ? Which 
way and to what coast do these winds of thy soul drive ? Is it to- 
wards God, or towards the world ? A rich heir in his minority, 
kept under by tutors and guardians, longs for the time when he 
shall be at age, and enjoy the privilege and pleasures of his inherit- 
ance. Thou cravest, and thirsteth, and longest, and desirest ; some- 
thing there is which thou wouldst have, and must have, and canst 
not be satisfied till thou hast it. Now what is it ? Is it the husks 
of this world, which thou inquirest so earnestly for somebody to 
give thee ? or is it bread in thy Father's house which thou hungerest 
after ? Dost thou, pant after the dust of the earth, according to the 
prophet's phrase? Amos ii. 7 ; or with the church: ' The desire of my 


soul is to tliy name, and to the remembrance of tliee ! ' Thou art 
hungry and thirsty, unquiet, unsatisfied ; what is the matter, man ? 
Dost thou, like the dry earth, gape and cleave for showers to bring 
forth corn and wine ? Is the voice of thy heart, ' Who will shew us 
any good' ? or is it, ' Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance on 
us' ? Physicians can judge considerably of the state of their patients' 
bodies by their appetites ; they who long only for trash speak their 
stomachs to be foul ; they who hunger after wholesome food are 
esteemed to be in health. Thou mayest judge of the state of thy 
soul by thy desires ; if thou desirest chiefly the trash of the world, 
thy spiritual state is not right, thy heart is not right in the sight of 
God ; if thou canst say with David, ' Whom have I in heaven but 
thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire in comparison of 
thee,' blessed avt thou of the Lord ; thou hast a part and lot in 
this boundless portion. Observe, therefore, friend, which way these 
wings of thy soul, thy desires, fly. He who thirsteth after the 
kennel water of this world hath no right to the pure river of the 
water of life ; but he who hungereth after the dainties of the Lamb's 
supper, may be sure the scraps of this beggarly world are not his 
happiness. The true wife longeth for the return of her husband, 
but the false one careth not how long he is absent. 

2. What is the feast at which thou sittest with most delight ? Is 
it at a table furnished with the comforts of this world ? Are the 
dishes of credit and profit, of relations and possessions, those which 
thou feedest on with most pleasure ? Or is it a table spread with 
the image of God, the favour of God, the Spirit of God, and the 
Son of God ? Are those the savoury meat which thy soul loveth ? 

If this Sun of righteousness only causeth day in thine heart when 
he ariseth ; and if he be set, notwithstanding all the candles of 
creatures, it is still night with thee, then God is thy portion. Oh 
how glad is the young heir when he comes to enjoy his portion ! 
With what delight will he look over his woods, view his grounds, 
and walk in his gardens. The Roman would tumble naked in his 
heaps of silver, out of delight in them ; but if thy affections only 
overflow with joy, as the water of Nilus, in the time of wheat 
harvest, when the world floweth in upon thee, the world is thy 
portion. He who like a lark sings merrily, not on the ground, but 
when he is mounting up to heaven, is rich indeed. God is his ; 
but he who like a horsefly delighteth in dunghills, feedeth most 
on, and relisheth best these earthly offals, is a poor man ; God is 
none of his God ; it is an undeniable truth, that that is our portion 
which is the paradise of our pleasures. The fool who could expect 

Chap. XVI.] the fading of the flesh. 25 

ease on his bed of thorns — ' Soul take thine ease, thou hast goods 
laid up for many years' — had his portion in this life ; but Moses, 
whom nothing could please but God's gracious presence, had him 
for his portion : ' If thy presence go not with us, carry us not 
hence ; I beseech thee shew me thy glory.' 

Thirdly, What is the calling which thou foUowest with greatest 
eagerness and earnestness ? Men run and ride, and toil and moil 
all day, they rise early, and go to bed late, and take any pains for 
that which they count theu' happiness and portion. The world- 
ling, whose element is earth, whose portion consisteth, like the 
pedlar's pack, in a few pins, or needles, or pewter spoons, or brass 
bodkins, how will he fare mean, lodge hard, sleep little, crowd into 
a corner, hazard his health and life and soul too, for that wliich he 
counteth his portion ; lil^e a brutish spaniel, he will follow his 
master, the world, some hundred of miles, puffing and blowing, 
breaking through hedges, and scratching himself with thorns and 
briers, running through ponds of water and puddles of dirt, and all 
for a few bones or scraps, which is all his hope and haj)piness. 
The Christian, who hath the blessed God for his portion, strives 
and labours, and watcheth and prayeth, and weepeth, and thinks no 
time too much, no pains too great, no cost enough for the enjoy- 
ment of his God. As the wise merchant, he would part with all 
he hath, all his strength and health, all his relations and posses- 
sions, for his noble portion. Eeader, how is it with thee ? thou 
travellest too and fro, thou weariest thyself, and wantest thy rest, 
thy head is full of cares, and thy heart of fears, and thy hands are 
always active ; but whither doth all this tend ? What is the market 
to which thou art walking thus fast ? Is it gold that thou pursuest 
so hot ? ' The people labour in the fire, and weary themselves for 
very vanity,' Hab. ii. 13. Or is it God that thou pressest after — as 
the hound the hare, so the word signifieth, Phil. iii. 12, Sicokq} — with 
so much dihgence and violence : ' My soul followeth hard after thee,' 
Ps. Ixiii. 8. Thus have I laid down the characters briefly of such 
as have God for their portion. Thy business is to be faithful in 
the trial of thine estate. 

If upon trial thou findest that God is thy portion, rejoice in thy 
privilege, and let thy practices be answerable. Like a rich heir, 
delight thyself in the thoughts of thy vast inheritance. Can he be 
poor that is master of the mint ? Canst thou be miserable who 
hast God for thy portion ? I must tell thee that thou art happy 
in spite of men and devils. If worldlings take such pleasure in 
their counters and brass farthings, what joy mayest thou have in 


God, to whom all tlie Indians' mines are worse than dross ! Nay, 
if all the gold of Ophir, and of the whole world, were melted into 
one common stream ; and all the pearls and precious stones lay on 
the side of it as thick as pebbles, and the quintessence and excel- 
lencies of all other the creatures were crumbled into sand, and lay 
at the bottom of this channel, they were not worthy to make a 
metaphor of, to set forth the least perfection in this portion. Shall 
Esau say he hath enough, and be contented, when the narrow field 
of some creatures was the utmost bounds of his estate ? And wilt 
thou complain as if thou wert pinched with poverty, when the 
boundless Grod is thy portion? Art not thou an unreasonable 
creature, whom the infinite God will not satisfy? For shame. 
Christian ; bethink thyself, and let the world know by thy cheerful- 
ness and comfort, that their mites are nothing to thy millions. 
Consider, though the whole world turn bankrupt, thou art rich; for 
thy estate doth not lie in their hands. Do not pine thyself, there- 
fore, with fear of penury, but keep a house according to thy estate 
which will afibrd it, in the greatest plenty. Let thy practices also 
be suitable to thy portion. Great heirs have a far different carriage 
from the poor, who take alms of the parish. Thou oughtest to live 
above the world. Eagles must not stoop to catch flies ; the stars 
which are nearest the pole have least circuit. Thou who art so 
near God needest not wander about this world, but shouldst live 
as one whose hope and happiness is in a better world. When one 
was asked whether he did not admire the admirable structure of 
some stately building. No, saith he, for I have been at Eome, 
where better are to be seen every day. If the world tempt thee 
with its rare sights, and curious prospects, thou mayest well scorn 
them, having been in heaven, and being able by faith to see infinitely 
better every hour of the day ; but if, upon examination, it be found 
that God is not thy portion, think of it seriously, thou art but a 
beggar ; and if thou diest in this estate, shalt be so for ever. It 
may be thou art worth thousands in this world, but, alas ! they 
stand for ciphers in the other world ; how little will thy bags of 
silver in thy chest be worth, when thou enterest into thy coffin ! 
It is reported of Musculus, that when he lay upon his death-bed, 
and many of his friends came to see him, and bewailed the poverty 
such an eminent minister of Christ was brought to, one of them 
said, quid sumus! Musculus overheard him and cried out, 
Fumus. When thou comest to die, the whole world will be but 
air and smoke in thine own account. What, man, wilt thou do ? 
Whither wilt thou go ? The God that thou wilt cry to in distress, 

Chap. XVII.] the fading of the flesh. 27 

weep, and sob, and sigh to at death, is none of thy God. Thou 
rejectest him now, and canst thou think that he will affect thee 
then? either make a new choice, or thou canst never enter into 


An exhortation to men to choose God for their poi^tion. 

The third use which I shall make of this doctrine, shall be by 
way of exhortation. If the comfort of a Christian in his saddest 
condition be this, that God is his portion, let me then persuade 
thee, reader, to choose God for thy portion. I look on thee as 
rational, and accordingly shall treat thee in this use, not doubting, 
but if reason may be judge, I shall prevail with thee to repent of 
thy former, and resolve on a new choice. Thou art one who hast 
chosen the world for thy portion ; but hast thou not read what a 
poor, what a pitiful, what a piercing, what a perishing portion it 
is? ' Why then dost thou spend thy strength for what is not 
bread, and thy labour for what will not satisfy ? Hearken to me, 
and eat that which is good ; and let thy soul delight itself in fat- 
ness.' I offer thee this day a portion worthy of thy choicest affec- 
tions, a portion that, if thou acceptest, the richest emperors will be 
but beggars to thee, a portion which containeth more wealth than 
heaven and earth ; nay, ten thousand worlds are nothing in com- 
parison of this portion. If a man should offer thee a bag of gold, 
and a bag of counters, a bag of pearls, and a bag of sand, which 
wouldst thou choose? Surely the former. The world in com- 
parison of God is infinitely less than brass to gold, or sand to pearls, 
and wilt thou not choose him for thy portion ? Didst thou never 
laugh at children for their folly, in choosing rattles and babies 
before things of much greater worth ? And art thou not a bigger 
child, and a greater fool, to choose husks before bread, a mess of 
pottage before the birthright, the blessing; to choose a seeming 
fancy before real felicities ; a little honour, which is but a farthing 
'handle, that children can jDuflf out with one breath, and blow in with 
another blast, before the exceeding and eternal weight of glory? 
To choose broken cisterns before a fountain of living waters, dirt 
before diamonds, vanity before solidity, drops before the ocean, and 
nothing before all things? Man, where is thy reason ? Samuel 
said to Saul, ' Set not thine heart on asses ; for is not the desire of 


all Israel to thee ? ' Friend, why shouldst thou set thy heart on 
asses, or thy flock, or shop, or any treasure, when thou hast the 
desire of all nations to set thine heart upon ? As Christ said to 
the woman of Canaan, ' If thou knewest the gift of God, and who 
it is that speaketh to thee, thou wouldst ask of him, and he would 
give thee living water,' John iv. 10. So say I to thee, If thou 
knewest the blessed God, and who it is that is offered to thee, the 
sweetest love, the richest mercy, the surest friend, the chiefest good, 
the greatest beauty, the highest honour, and the fullest happiness, 
thou wouldst leave the colliers of this world to load themselves 
with thick clay, and turn merchant adventurer for the other world ; 
thou wouldst more willingly leave these frothy joys and drossy 
delights for the enjoyment of God, than ever prisoner did the fetters, 
and bondage, and misery of a jail, for the liberty, and pleasures, 
and preferments of a court. Augustine speaks of a time when he and 
his mother were discoursing together of the comforts of the Spirit : 
Lord, saith he, thou knowest in that day how wisely we did esteem 
of the world, and all its delights. reader, couldst thou but see 
the vastness, the suitableness, and the fulness of this portion, I am 
confident thou wouldst suffer the natives, the men of this world, Ps. 
xvii. 14, to mind the commodities which are of the growth of their 
own country, and wouldst fetch thy riches, as the good housewife 
her food, from far. 

The cause of thy wrong choice (I mean thy taking the world all 
this while for thy portion) is thy ignorance of the worth and excel- 
lency of this object which I am offering to thee. It is in the dark 
that men grope so much about present things, 2 Pet. i. 9 ; knowing 
persons prefer wisdom before silver, before choice gold, nay, before 
rubies, Prov. iii. 14, 15. Every one will sell his heart to that 
chapman which biddeth most. Now the devil courts man for 
his soul with the brutish pleasures of sin ; the world wooeth for 
the heart with its proffer of treasures and honours, which, like itself, 
are vain, vexatious, and perishing ; God comes, and he offereth for 
the heart the precious blood of his Son, the curious embroidery of 
his Spirit, the noble employment and honourable preferment of 
angels, fulness of joy, and infiniteness of satisfaction, in the fruition 
of his blessed self to all eternity. Now what is the reason that the 
devil's money is accepted, and the world's offer embraced, and God's 
tender (which is farther superior to theirs than the glorious heavens, 
where the King of saints keeps his court, and sheweth all his state, 
and royalty, and magnificence, is to a stinking dunghill) should be 
rejected? Truly nothing but this: men know not the worth of 

Chap. XVII.] the fading of the flesh. 29 

what God biclcleth them for their wares. The money which the 
devil and world offer are their own country coin, and a little of this 
they sooner take, because they know it, than much more of another 
nation's, the value of which they do not understand. Swine trample 
on pearls, because they know not the worth of them. None look 
off the world but they that can look beyond it. 

The turtle, saith the philosopher, brings forth her young blind. 
The most quick-sighted Christian brings forth blind children : 
now they, not being able to see afar off into the other world, prefer 
these poor things which they may have in present possession, before 
these unsearchable riches which are offered them in reversion. 
Hence it is also that the devil, as the raven when he seizeth the 
carcase, as soon as he layeth hold on any person, the first thing 
he doth is to peck out his eyes. Pro v. xxx. 17, knowing that as 
soon as they come to see the blessed God, and the happiness which 
is to be enjoyed in him, they will quickly turn their backs on 
these shadows, and face about towards this eternal substance, 2 Cor. 
iv. 4. Oh how dull would the world's common glass be in his 
eye who had once beheld the true crystal ! The loadstone of earth 
will not draw man's affections whilst this diamond of heaven is in 
presence. When Moses had once seen him that was invisible, how 
low did the price of the honours, and treasures, and pleasures of 
Egypt fall in his judgment ! Knowledge is by one well expressed 
to be appetite's taster ; for as he that hath eaten sweetmeats cannot 
relish the strongest beer, so he that hath fed on the heavenly banquet 
cannot savour anything else. 

A man that is born in a dark dungeon, and there continueth a 
long time, when he comes, after twelve or fourteen years, to see a 
candle, he wonders at the excellency of that creature. What de- 
light will he take in beholding it, and inquiring into the nature of 
it ! But bring this man afterwards into the open air, and let him 
behold the glorious sun, his admiration of the candle will cease, 
and all his wonder will be at the beauty and glory of this great 
luminary of the world. Every man is naturally in darkness ; 
hence it is that, when he comes to behold the candles of creature 
comforts, he is so ravished and taken with them ; but let him once 
come to see the Sun of righteousness, the all-sufficient and eternal 
God, he despiseth those glimmering rushes, and all his wondering 
is at the excellency and perfections of this glorious being. That 
which was glorious before, hath now no glory in comparison of this 
glory that excelleth. All things are small and little in his eye who 
hath once had a sight of the great God. The great cities of Cam- 


pania are but small cottages to them wlio stand on tlie top of the 

Philosophers observe that lumen est vehiculum infiuentice, light 
is the convoy of heat. Certain it is, reader, that this light of 
knowledge would quickly cause heat in thy affections. Couldst 
thou but see God with an eye of faith, thine eye would so affect 
thine heart, that (as some who have beheld Mahomet's tomb have 
put out their eyes, lest they should be deffled with common objects 
after tliey have been blessed with so rare a sight) thou wouldst shut 
thine eyes at those gilded poisons, and wink ever after on those 
specious nothings. Couldst thou see this God as he is visible in 
the glass of the creatures ; couldst thou compass the earth which 
he hath made, the several islands and continents which are in it ; 
couldst thou, like the sun, so surround it as to see all the nations 
in it, their several languages, carriages, customs, their number, 
order, natures, and the creatures in every kingdom and country ; 
the various plants, birds, minerals, beasts, and savage inhabitants 
in wildernesses, their multiplicity, variety, dispositions, subordina- 
tion, and serviceableness each to other, and all that concerneth 
them ; what thoughts wouldst thou then have of this God for a 
portion ! Couldst thou behold at one view the vast ocean, discern 
the motion of the huge waters in the cause of its ebbing and flow- 
ing, all the storms and tempests which are there raised, and all the 
persons and goods which have been there ruined ; couldst thou see 
how those proud waves are laid with a word ; how, when they 
swell and rage, it is but, Peace, be still. Matt, viii., (as a mother 
will hush her crying infant,) and all is quiet ! how they are kept 
in with bars and doors, and, for all their anger and power, cannot 
go beyond their decreed place ; couldst thou dive into it, and see 
the many wonders that are in that great deep, the vast riches which 
are buried there out of the sight of covetous mortals; the leviathan, 
whose teeth are terrible round about him, whose scales are his 
pride, shut up together as with a close seal, by whose neezings a 
light doth shine, and whose eyes are the eyelids of the morning ; 
whose breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth ; 
who esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood ; who maketh 
the deep to boil like a pot, and the sea like a pot of ointment ! 
Couldst thou behold the innumerable fish, both small and great, 
that are there, good Lord, what wouldst thou think of having the 
author and commander of the earth and ocean for thy portion ? 
Couldst thou ascend up to the sky, and fully perceive the beauty, 
glory, nature, and order of that heavenly host, how they march in 

Chap. XVII.] the fading of the flesh. 31 

rank and file, come forth, when called, in their several courses, 
know the time of their rising and setting ; couldst thou know the 
sun perfectly in his noonday dress, and what influences those higher 
orbs have on inferior bodies, what wouldst thou then give to enjoy 
him who gave them their beings, who appointeth them their mo- 
tions, who knoweth the number of the stars, and who calleth them 
all by their names, for thy portion ? But oh ! were it possible for 
thee to hold aside the veil, and look into the holy of holies, to mount 
up to the highest heavens, and see the royal palace of this great 
King, the stately court which he there keeps, the noble entertain- 
ment which he there gives to his friends and children ; couldst 
thou know the satisfying joy, the ravishing delight, and the uncon- 
ceivable pleasure which the spirits of just men made perfect have 
in his favour and fruition; couldst thou see him as he is there 
visible (like a pure sweet light sparkling through a crystal lanthorn) 
in the glorified Kedeemer, and know him as thou art known of him, 
then, then, reader, what wouldst thou think of this God for a por- 
tion ? What poor apprehensions wouldst thou have of that beggarly 
portion which thou now admirest ! what dung, what dogs'-meat 
would the world be to thee in comparison of this God ! As Alex- 
ander, when he heard of the Indies, and the riches there, divided 
the kingdom of Macedonia amongst his captains, so thou wouldst 
leave the swine of the earth to wallow in the mire of brutish com- 
forts, the foolish children of disobedience to paddle in the gutter 
of sensual waters ; and wouldst desire that thy portion might be 
amongst God's children, and thy heritage amongst his chosen ones. 
Then, then, friend, all thy love would be too little, and no labour 
too great, wouldst thou think, for such a peerless and inestimable 
portion. How willingly should the Zibas of the world take all, so 
thy Lord and King would but come into thy soul in peace ! How 
earnestly, how eagerly wouldst thou cry with Moses, after he had 
known somewhat of Canaan, ' Lord God, thou hast begun to 
shew thy servant thy greatness and thy mighty hand : for what 
God is there in heaven or in earth that can do according to thy 
works, and according to thy might ? I pray thee, let me go over 
and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly moun- 
tain, and Lebanon.* Lord, though others be put off with common 
bounty, let me partake of special mercy ; though they feed on husks, 
give me this bread of life. Let me not for this whole world have 
my portion in this world, but be thou the portion of my cup ; do 
thou maintain my lot. Whatsoever thou deny to me, or howsoever 
thou deal with me, give me thyself, and I shall have enough. 


Thongli strangers and enemies to thee scramble for the good things 
which thou scatterest here below, and desire no more, yet let me 
see the felicity of thy chosen, rejoice with the gladness of thy nation, 
and glory with thine inheritance. friend, it is eternal life to 
know this only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, 
John xvii. 3. 

Were I able to set this Grod forth in the thousandth part of that 
grace and glory wherewith he is clothed, as with a garment ; could 
I present him to thee in any degree suitable to his vast perfections, 
and give thee eyes to behold him, it were impossible but that thou 
should choose him for thy portion: but, alas! all the angels in 
heaven cannot draw him at length ! Surely, then, we who are 
clogged so much with flesh, know less of this Father of spirits. 
Simonides being asked by Hiero, What God was ? required some 
time to consider of it, and as much more at the end of that time, 
and double at the end of that: of which delay Hiero asked a 
reason. He answered, Quo magis inquiro, eo mimes invenio, The 
farther I search, the more I am at a loss. There can be no finding 
God out, there being no equal proportion between the faculty and 
the object. If I had been in heaven, and seen him face to face, I 
should know him to my perfection, but could not know him to his 
perfections. But suppose I had been there, and seen those infinite 
beauties and glories, according to the utmost of my capacity, yet 
my tongue would not be able to tell it thee, nor thine ears to hear 
it. Oh, what an unspeakable loss am I at, now I am speaking of 
this infinite God ! My thoughts run into a labyrinth ; I am as a 
little cock-boat floating on the ocean, or as an infant offering to 
reach the sun. My meditations please me exceedingly. Oh, how 
sweet is this subject ! I could dwell in this hive of honey and 
happiness — Lord, let me ! — whilst I have a being. How pleasant 
are thy thoughts to me, God, thou true paradise of all pleasure, 
thou living fountain of felicity, thou original and exact pattern 
of all perfections ! How comely is thy face, how lovely is thy 
voice ! While I behold, though but a little, of thy beauty and 
glory, my heart is filled with marrow and fatness, and my mouth 
praiseth thee with joyful lips. My soul followeth hard after thee. 
Oh, when shall I come and appear before thee ? When wilt thou 
come to me ? — or when, rather, will that blessed time come that I 
shall be taken up to thee ? Sinners miss thee walking in the mist 
of ignorance. Ah, did they know thee, they would never crucify 
the Lord of glory ! When they come once into that blackness of 
darkness, where they shall have light enough to see how good thou 

Chap. XVIII. ] the fading of the flesh. 33 

art in thyself, and, in thy Son, to immortal souls, and to see their 
misery in the loss of an eternal blessed life, how will they tear their 
hairs, and bite their flesh, and cut their hearts with anguish and 
sorrow for their cruel folly and damnable desperate madness in 
refusing so incomparable and inestimable a portion ! Saints bless 
themselves in thee, and rather pity than envy the greatest poten- 
tates, who want thee for their portion ; having not seen thee, they 
love thee, and in whom, though now they see not, yet helieviDg, 
they rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. 

But, reader, whither do I wander ? I confess I am a little out 
of my way ; but I wish, as Augustine, when preaching, forgat his 
subject he was upon, and fell to confute the Manichees, by which 
means Firmus, at that time his auditor, was converted, so that my 
going a few paces astray may be instrumental to bring thee home. 
What shall I say unto thee, or wherewith shall I persuade thee ? 
Could I by my prayer move God to open thine eyes — as the pro- 
phet did for his servant, 2 Kings iv. — to see the worth and worthi- 
ness, the love and loveliness of this portion, thou shouldst not an 
hour longer be alienated from the life of God through the ignor- 
ance that is in thee. But be of good comfort. Bead on ; he that 
made the seeing eye is willing to open; the eyes of the blind, and 
thou mayest possibly, before thou art come to the end of the book, 
meet with that eye-salve of the sanctuary which may do the work. 

What I have farther to offer to thee in relation to this choice, 
shall be to encourage thee to it by four properties of this portion ; 
in the handling of which I shall put the world in one scale, with 
all its mines of gold, and allow them as many grains as can be 
allowed them, and put this one God in the other scale, and leave 
thy own reason to judge wliich scale is most weighty. 


God is a satisfying and a sanctifying portion. 

First, God is a satisfying portion. The things of this world 
may surfeit a man, but they can never satisfy him. Most men 
have too much, but no man hath enough ; as ships, they have that 
burden which sinks them when they have room to hold more. ' He 
that loveth silver is not satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth gold 
with increase,' Eccles. v. 10. Worldlings are like the Parthians, 
the more they drink, the more they thirst. As the melancholy 

VOL. IV. c 


chemist, they work eagerly to find the philosopher's stone, rest and 
happiness in it, though they have experience of its vanity, and it 
hath already brought them to beggary. The world cannot satisfy 
the senses, much less the soul : the eye is not satisfied with seeing, 
nor the ear with hearins:. 

As the apes in the story, finding a glow-worm in a frosty night, 
took it for a spark of fire, gathered some sticks, and leaped on it, 
expecting to be warmed by it, but all in vain : so men think to 
find warmth and satisfaction in creatures ; but they are as the 
clothes to David, when stricken in years, though covered with 
them, not able to give any heat. Where shall contentment be 
found, and where is the place of satisfaction ? The depth saith. It 
is not in me ; and the earth saith, It is not in me : nay, heaven 
itself, were God out of it, would say. It is not in me. 

Eeader, thou longest for the things of this world, and thinkest, 
couldst thou have but a table full of such dishes, thou shouldst 
feed heartily, and fill thyself. But dost thou not know they are 
like the meat which sick men cry so much for, that, when brought 
to them, they can taste of possibly, but not at all fill themselves 
with. The pond of the creature hath so much mud at the bottom, 
that none can have a full draught. The sun and moon seem 
bigger at first rising than when they come to be over our 
heads. All outward things are great in expectation, but nothing 
in fruition. The world promiseth as much, and performeth as 
little, as the tomb of Semiramis. When she had built a stately 
tomb, she caused this inscription to be engraven on it : Whatsoever 
king shall succeed here, and want money, let him open this tomb, 
and he shall have enough to serve his turn ; which Darius after- 
wards, wanting money, opened, and, instead of riches, found this 
sharp reproof: Unless thou hadst been extremely covetous and 
greedy of filthy lucre, thou wouldst not have opened the grave of 
the dead to seek for money. Thus many run to the world with 
high hopes, and return with' nothing but blanks. Hence it is that 
worldlings are said to feed on lies, and to suck wind from this 
strumpet's breasts, both which are far from filling, Hosea x. 13, 
and xii. 1. 

Eeader, since the controversy is so great amongst men, whether 
rest doth not grow on the furrows of the field, and happiness in the 
mines of gold; whether creatures wisely distilled may not have 
happiness drawn out of them, let us he^ir the judgment of one that 
enjoyed the woi'ld at will, and had prudence enough to extract the 
quintessence of it ; who was thoroughly furnished with all variety 

Chap. XVIII.] the fading of the flesh. 35 

of requisites for such an undertaking, who did set himself curiously 
to anatomise the body of the creation. And what is the result ? 
' Vanity of vanities ; all is vanity,' saith the preacher. Mark, 

1. Vanity in the abstract ; not vain, but vanity. 

2. Plurality, YomiY of vanities ; excessive vanity, all over vanity, 
nothing but vanity. 

3. Universality, All is vanity: everything severally, all things 
collectively. Riches are vanity, Eccles. ii. ; honours are vanity ; 
pleasures are vanity ; knowledge is vanity ; all is vanity. 

4. The verity of all this, saith the 'preacher ; one that speaks not 
by guess or hearsay, but by experience, who had tried the utmost 
that the creature could do, and found it to come far short of satis- 
fying man's desire ; one that spake not only his own opinion, but 
by divine inspiration ; yet the total of the account which he gives 
in, after he had reckoned up all the creatures, is nothing but 
ciphers ; ' Vanity of vanities, all is vanity/ saith the preacher. 

Men that are in the valley think, if they were at the top of such 
a hill, they should touch the heavens. Men that are in the bottom 
of poverty, or disgrace, or pain, think, if they could get up to such 
a mountain, such a measure of riches, and honours, and delights, 
they could reach happiness. Now Solomon had got to the top of 
this hill, and seeing so many scrambling and labouring so hard, 
nay, riding on one another's necks, and pressing one another to 
death to get foremost, doth seem thus to bespeak them : Sirs, ye 
are all deceived in your expectations ; I see the pains ye take to 
get up to this place, thinking, that when you come hither, ye shall 
touch the heavens, and reach happiness ; but I am before you at 
the top of the hill — I have treasures, and honours, and pleasures in 
variety and abundance, Eccles. ii. 12, 13 — and I find the hill full 
of quagmires instead of delights, and so far from giving me satis- 
faction, that it causeth much vexation ; therefore be advised to 
spare your pains, and spend your strength for that which will turn 
to more profit ; for, believe it, you do but work at the labour in 
vain. ' Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,' saith the preacher. 

We have weighed the world in the balance, and found it lighter 
than vanity ; let us see what weight God hath. David will tell us, 
though the vessel of the creature be frozen, that no satisfaction can 
be drawn thence, yet this fountain runneth freely to the full con- 
tent of all true Christians : ' The Lord is the portion of my cup, 
and inheritance ; thou maintainest my lot.' The former expression, 
as I observed before, is an allusion to the custom of dividing their 
drink at banquets, the latter to the division of Canaan by lot and 


line, Ps. Ixxviii. 55 ; according as tlie lot fell, was every one's part. 
Now David's part and lot fell, it seems, like the Levites under the 
law, on God, but is he pleased in his portion, and can he take any 
delight in his estate ? 'The lines are fallen to me in a pleasant 
place, yea, I have a goodly heritage,' Ps. xvi. 5, 6. As if he had 
said. No lot ever fell in a better land ; my portion happeneth in the 
best place that is possible ; my knowledge of thee and propriety in 
thee affordeth full content and felicity to me. I have enough, and 
crave no more ; I have all, and can have no more. Though crea- 
tures bring in an ignoramus to that inquiry concerning satisfaction, 
yet the all-sufficient God doth not. 

If it were possible for one man to be crowned with the royal dia- 
dem and dominion of the whole world, and to enjoy all the trea- 
sures, and honours, and pleasures that all the kingdoms on earth 
can yield, if his senses and understanding were enlarged to the ut- 
most of created capacities, to taste and take in whatsoever comfort 
and delight the universe can give ; if he had the society of glorious 
angels and glorified saints thrown into the bargain, and might en- 
joy all this the whole length of the world's duration, yet without 
God would this man in the midst of all this be unsatisfied ; these 
things, like dew, might wet the branches, please the flesh, but 
would leave the root dry, the spirit discontented. Once admit the 
man to the sight of God, and let God but possess his heart, and 
then, and not before, his infinite desires expire in the bosom of his 
Maker, Now the weary dove is at rest, and the vessel tossed up 
and down on the waters is quiet in its haven. There is in the 
heart of man such a drought, without this river of paradise, that 
all the waters in the world, though every drop were an ocean, can- 
not quench it. Oh what dry chips are all creatures to a hungry 
immortal soul ! Lord, saith Augustine, thou hast made our heart 
for thee, and it will never rest till it come to thee ; and when I 
shall wholly cleave to thee, then my life will be lively. i 

There are two special faculties in man's soul, which must be an- 
swered with suitable and adequate objects, or the heart, like the 
sea, cannot rest. The understanding must be satisfied with truth, 
and the will with good. For the filling of these two faculties men 
are as busy as bees, flying over the field of the world, and trying 
every flower for sweetness, but after all their toil and labour, house 
themselves, like wasps, in curious combs without any honey. The 
understanding must be suited with the highest truth ; but the world 
is a lie, Ps. Ixii. , and the things thereof are called lying vanities ; 

1 Auir. Confess. 

Chap. XYIII,] the fading of the flesh. 37 

they are not what they seem to be, Jonah ii. 8, and hence are un- 
able to satisfy the mind ; but God is ceterna Veritas, et vera mter- 
nitas, eternal truth, and true eternity. All truth is originally in 
him ; his nature is the idea of truth, and his will the standard of 
truth ; and it is eternal life and utmost satisfaction to know him, 
because by it the understanding is perfected ; for the soul in God 
will see all truth, and that not only clearly — I speak of the other 
world, where the Christian's happiness shall be completed — face to 
face, but also fully. Aristotle, though a heathen, thought happi- 
ness to consist in the knowledge of the chiefest good. If Archi- 
medes, when he found out the resolution of one question in the 
mathematics was so ravished that he ran up and down crying, I 
have found it, I have found it ; how will the Christian be tran- 
sported when he shall know all that is knowable, and all shadows of 
ignorance vanish as the darkness before the rising sun. The will 
also must be suited with good, and according to the degree of good- 
ness in the object, such is the degree of satisfaction to the faculty. 
Now the things of this life, though good in themselves, yet are vain 
and evil by reason of the sin of man, Kom. viii. 20 ; and likewise 
are at best but bodily, limited, and fading good things, and there- 
fore incapable of filling this faculty. As truth in the utmost lati- 
tude is the object of the understanding, so good in the universality 
of it is the object of the will. Further, that good which satisfieth 
must be 02)timum, the best, or it will never sistere appetitum, the 
soul will otherwise be still longing ; and maximum, the most per- 
fect, or it will never implere appetitum, fill it. But God is such a 
good, he is essentially, universally, unchangeably, and infinitely 
good, and therefore satisfieth. ' When I awake I shall be satisfied 
with thy likeness,' Ps. xvii. 15. When my body hath slept in the 
bed of the grave till the morning of the resurrection, and the sound 
of the last trump shall awaken me, oh the sweet satisfaction and 
ravishing delight which my soul shall enjoy in being full of thy 
likeness and thy love ! Nay, in the meantime, before the happi- 
ness of a saint appear to his view in a full body, it doth, like the 
rising sun, with its forerunning rays, cast such a lightsome, glad- 
some brightness upon the believer, that he is filled with joy at pre- 
sent, and would not part with his hopes of it for the whole world in 
hand. ' They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy 
house, (while on this side heaven ;) and thou shalt make them drink 
of the rivers of thy pleasures,' Ps. xxxvi, 8. Though the wedding 
dinner be deferred till the wedding-day, yet beforehand the Chris- 
tian meets with many a running banquet. He hath not only plea- 


sures, ' fatness of thy house,' but also plenty of it here below : 
' They shall be abundantly satisfied.' 

The world is like sharp sauce, which doth not fill, but provoke 
the stomach to call for more. The voice of those guests whom it 
makes most welcome, is like the daughters of the horseleech, 
Give, give; but the infinite God, like solid food, doth satisfy, the soul 
fully, (' in my Father's house is bread enough,') and causeth it to 
cry out, I have enough. 

Secondly, God is a sanctifying, ennobling portion. The world 
cannot advance the soul in the least. Things of the world are fitly 
compared to shadows, for be thy shadow never so long, thy body is 
not the longer for it ; so be thy estate never so great, thy soul is 
not the better for it. A great letter makes no more to the signifi- 
cation of a word than the smallest. Men in high places are the 
same men, no real worth being thereby added to them, that they 
are in low ones. 

Nay, it is too too visible that men are the worse for their earthly 
portions. If some had not been so wealthy, they had not been so 
wicked. Most of the world's favourites, like aguish stomachs, are 
fuller of appetite than digestion; they eat more than they can 
concoct, and thereby cause diseases ; nay, by feeding on this trash 
of earth, their stomachs are taken off from substantial food, the 
bread of heaven. The soldiers of Hannibal were effeminated, and 
made unfit for service, by their pleasures at Capua. Damps arising 
out of the earth have stifled many a soul. Aristotle tells us of a 
sea wherein, by the hollowness of the earth under it, or some whirl- 
ing property, ships used to be cast away in the midst of a calm,^ 
Many perish in their greatest prosperity ; and are so busy about 
babies and rattles, that they have no leisure to be saved, Luke 
xiv. 18. 

That which doth elevate and ennoble the soul of man must be 
more excellent than the soul. Silver is embased by mixing it with 
lead, but ennobled by gold, because the former is inferior to it, but 
the latter excels it. The world and all things in it are infinitely 
inferior to the soul of man ; and therefore it is debased by mingling 
with them ; but God is infinitely superior, and so advanceth it by 
joining with it. That coin which is tlie most excellent metal 
defileth our hands, and is apt to defile our hearts ; but the divine 
nature elevateth and purifieth the spirit. 

The goodliest portions of this life are like the cities which 
Solomon gave to Hiram. ' And Hiram came from Tyre to see the 

1 Arist. Probl., sect. 23. 

Chap. XVIII.] the fading of the flesh. 39 

cities which Solomon had given him ; and they pleased him not. 
And he said, What cities are these which thoii hast given me, my 
brother ? And he called them the land of Cabul (that is, dis- 
pleasing or dirty) unto this day,' 1 Kings ix. 12, 13, The plea- 
santest portion here lietli in the land of Cabul ; it is displeasing 
and dirty ; it doth both dissatisfy and defile, when the heavenly 
portion doth, like honey, both delight and cleanse, both please and 

Outward things, like common stones to a ring, add nothing at 
all to the worth of a soul ; but this sparkling diamond, this pearl 
of price, the infinite God, makes the gold ring of the soul to be of 
unspeakable value. ' The heart of the wicked is little worth,' 
Prov. X. 20, His house is worth somewhat, but his heart is worth 
nothing, because it is a ditch full only of dirt ; his earthly portion 
hath possession of it ; but the heart of a godly man is worth mil- 
lions, because it is the cabinet where this inestimable jewel is laid 
up, ' The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour,' Prov, 
xii, 26, because he partaketh of the divine nature. God, like gold, 
enricheth whatsoever he is joined to ; hence it is that things which 
excel in Scripture are usually said to be things of God; as the 
garden of God, Ezek, xxviii. 13 ; the hill of God, Ps, Ixviii. 15 ; the 
mountains of God, Ps. xxxvi. 6 ; a city of God, John iii. 3 ; 
the cedars of God, Ps. Ixxx. 10; — that is, the most excellent 
garden, hill, mountain, city, and cedars. God is the perfection of 
thy soul; and therefore would, if thy portion, advance it to purpose. 
Oh what a height of honour and happiness wouldst thou arrive at 
if this God were thine ! Now like a worm thou crawlest on, and 
dwellest in the earth, the meanest and basest of all the elements, 
that which brutes trample under their feet ; but then like an eagle 
thou wouldst mount up to heaven, contemning these toys, and 
leaving those babies for children, and, as an angel, always stand in 
the presence of, and enjoy unspeakable pleasure in him who is 
thy portion. Thy life at present is low, little differing from the 
life of a beast, consisting chiefly in making provision for — that 
which should be thy slave — the flesh ; but thy life then would be 
high and noble, much resembling the lives of those honourable 
courtiers, whose continual practice is to adore and admire the 
blessed and only potentate. 

Dost thou not find by experience that earthly things obstruct 
holiness, and thereby hinder thy soul's happiness ? Alas ! the best 
of them are but like the wings of a butterfly, which, though 
curiously painted, foul the fingers ; but if thine heart had but 


once closed with God as thy portion, it would be every day more 
pure, and nearer to perfection. Thou hast, it may be, gold and 
silver ; why, the Midianites' camels had chains of gold, and were 
they ever the better ? Judges viii. 26. Many brutes have had silver 
bells, but their natures brutish still ; but oh the excellency which 
God would add to thy soul by bestowing on it his own likeness 
and love ! 


God a universal and eternal joortion. 

Thirdly, God is a universal portion.l God hath in himself 
eminently and infinitely all good things ; and creatures are bounded 
in their beings, and therefore in the comfort which they yield. 
Health answereth sickness, but it doth not answer poverty. Honour 
is a help against disgrace, but not against pain. Money is the 
most universal medicine, and therefore is said to answer all things ; 
but as great a monarch as it is, it can neither command ease in 
sickness, nor honours in disgrace, much less quiet a wounded spirit. 
At best, creatures are but particular beings, and so but particular 
blessings. Now man, being a compound of many wants and weak- 
nesses, can never be happy till he find a salve for every sore, and 
a remedy which bears proportion as well to the number as nature 
of his maladies. Ahab, though in his ivory palace, upon his throne 
of glory, attended with his noble lords, and swaying a large sceptre, 
was miserable because the heavens were brass. Haman, though he 
had the favour of the prince, the adoration of the people, the sway 
of a hundred and twenty-seven provinces, yet is discontented because 
he wanted Mordecai's knee. If the world's darlings enjoy many 
good things, yet they, as Christ told the young man, always lack 
one thing, which makes them at a loss. 

But God is all good things, and every good thing. He is self- 
suflicient, alone-sufficient, and all-sufficient. Nothing is wanting 
in him, either for the soul's protection from all evil, or perfection 
with all good. Eeader, if God were thy portion, thou shouldst find 
in him whatsoever thine heart could desire, and whatsoever could 
tend to thy happiness. Art thou ambitious ? He is a crown of 
glory, and a royal diadem. Art thou covetous ? He is unsearch- 
able riches, yea, durable riches and righteousness. Art thou volup- 
tuous ? He is rivers of pleasures and fulness of joy. Art thou 

1 Operari sequitur esse. 

Chap. XIX.] the fading of the flesh. 41 

hungry ? He is a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of 
marrow. Art thou weary ? He is rest, a shadow from the heat, 
and a shelter from the storm. Art thou weak ? In the Lord Je- 
hovah is everlasting strength. Art thou in doubts ? He is marvel- 
lous in counsel. Art thou in darkness ? He is the Sun of right- 
eousness, an eternal light. Art thou sick ? He is the God of thy 
health. Art thou sorrowful ? He is the God of all consolations. 
Art thou dying ? He is the fountain and Lord of life. Art thou 
in any distress ? His name is a strong tower ; thither thou mayest 
run and find safety. He is ttuv (fxip/xaKov, a universal medicine 
against all sorts of miseries. Whatsoever thy calamity is, he could 
remove it ; Avhatsoever thy necessity, he could relieve it. He is 
silver, gold, honour, delight, food, raiment, house, land, peace, wis- 
dom, power, beauty, father, mother, wife, husband, mercy, love, 
grace, glory, and infinitely more than all these. God and all his 
creatures are no more than God without any of his creatures. As 
.the Jews say of manna, that it had all sorts of delicate tastes in it ; 
it is most true of God, he hath all sorts of delights in him.l This 
tree of life beareth twelve manner of fruits every month. Rev. xxii. 
2. There is in it both variety and plenty of comforts. The former 
prevents our loathing, the latter our lacking. 

One being desirous to see the famous city of Athens, was told, 
Viso Solone vidisti omnia, See but Solon ; and in him you may see 
all the rarities and excellencies in it. Eeader, wouldst thou see all 
the wealth and worth of sea and land ? Wouldst thou be upon the 
pinnacle of the temple, as Christ was, and behold, and have the 
oifer of all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them ? Xay, 
wouldst thou view heaven's glorious city, the royal palace of the 
great King, the costly curious workmanship about it, and the un- 
heard-of rarities and delights in that court, which infinite embroi- 
dered wisdom contrived, boundless power and love erected, and 
infinite bounty enriched ? Thou mayest both see and enjoy all this 
in God. See but God, and thou seest all ; enjoy but God, and thou 
enjoy est all in him. 

As a merchant in London may trade for and fetcli in the horses 
of Barbary, the Canary sacks, the French wines, the Spanish sweet- 
meats, the oils of Candia, the spices of Egypt, the artificial wares of 
Alexandria, the silks of Persia, the embroideries of Turkey, the 
golden wedges of India, the emeralds of Scythia, the topazes of 
Ethiopia, and the diamonds of Bisnager, so mightst thou, were but 

1 Quid qusBris extra ilium ? quid desideras prteter ilium ? quid placet cum illo ?— 
Bern. Serm. de Misce. Com. 


this Grod thy portion, fetch in the finest hreacl to feed thee, the 
choicest wine to comfort thee, oil to cheer thee, joy to refresh thee, 
raiment to clothe thee, the jewels of grace to beautify thee, and the 
crown of glory to make thee blessed, nay, all the wealth of this and 
the other world. If all the riches in the covenant of grace, if all 
the good things which Christ purchased with his precious blood, 
nay, if as much good as is in an infinite God can make thee happy, 
thou shouldst have it. If David were thought worth ten thousand 
Israelites, how much is the God of Israel worth ? 

This one God would fill up tliy soul in its utmost capacity. It 
is such an end that when thou attainest thou couldst go no farther, 
shouldst desire no more, but quietly rest for ever. The necessity of 
the creatures' number speaks the meanness of their value ; but the 
universality of good in this one God proclaims his infinite worth. 
As there are all parts of speech in that one verse, 

' Vaj tibi ridenti, quia mox post gaudia flebis;' 

so there are all perfections in this one God. What a portion is this 
friend ! 

Fourthly, God is an eternal portion. The pleasures of sin are 
but for a season, a little inch of time, a to vvv, a season is a very 
short space, Heb. xi., but the portion of a saint is for ever. ' God 
is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.' The greatest 
estate here below is a fiood soon up and soon down ; but if God say 
once to thy soul, as to Aaron's, ' I am thine inheritance,' Num. xviii. 
20, neither men nor devils can cozen thee of it. ' The Lord know- 
eth the days of the upright ; and their inheritance shall be for ever/ 
Ps. xxxvii. 18. 

The prodigal wasted his portion, and so came to poverty. The 
glutton swalloweth down his portion, burying it in his belly. The 
drunkard vomiteth up his portion. The ambitious person often 
turneth his portion into smoke, and it vanisheth in the air. Those 
whose portion continueth longest will be turned out of possession, 
when death once comes with a writ from heaven to seal a lease of 
ejectment ; for all these portions are dying gourds, deceitful brooks, 
and flying shadows. But ah, how contrary hereunto is the por- 
tion of a believer ! God is an eternal portion. If he were once thy 
portion, he would be for ever thy portion. When thy estate, and 
children, and wife, and honours, and all earthly things should be 
taken from thee, lie is the good part which shall never be taken 
from thee, Luke x. 42. Thy friends may use thee as a suit of ap- 
parel, which, when they have worn threadbare, they throw off, and 
call for new. Thy relations may serve thee as women their flowers, 

Chap. XIX.] the fading of the flesh. 43 

who stick them in their bosoms when fresh and flourishing ; but, 
when dying and withered, they throw them to the dmighill. Thy 
riches, and honom'S, and pleasures, and wife, and children, may 
stand on the shore and see thee launching into the ocean of eternity, 
but will not step one foot into the water after thee ; thou mayest 
sink or swim for them. Only this God is thy portion, will never 
leave thee nor forsake thee, Heb. xiii. 5. Oh how happy wouldst 
thou be in having such a friend ! Thy portion would be tied to 
thee in this life, as Dionysius thought his kingdom was to him, with 
chains of adamant ; there would be no severing it from thee. The 
world could not ; thou shouldst live above the world whilst thou 
walkest about it, and behave thyself in it, not as its champion, but 
conqueror. ' He that is born of God, overcometh the world,' 1 John 
V. 4. Satan should not part thee and thy portion. Thy God hath 
him in his chain ; and though, like a mastiff without teeth, he may 
bark, yet he can never bite or hurt his children. ' I have written 
unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one,' 
1 John ii. 13. Nay, it should not be in thine own power to sell 
away thy portion. Thou wouldst be a joint-heir with Christ, and 
co-heirs cannot sell, except both join ; and Christ knoweth the worth 
of this inheritance too well to part with it for all that this beggarly 
world can give, Rom. viii. 17. The apostle makes a challenge, 
which men nor devils could never accept or take up : ' Who shall 
separate us from the love of Christ ? shall tribulation, or distress, 
or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or sword ? Nay, in all 
these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved 
us,' Rom. viii. 35, 37. Nay, at death thy portion would swim out 
with thee in that shipwreck ; death, which parts all other portions 
from men, will give thee full possession of thine. Then, and not 
till then, thou shouldst know what it is worth ; yea, even at the 
great day, the fire which shall burn up the world shall not so much 
as singe thy portion. Thou mightst stand upon its ruins and sing, 
I have lost nothing ; I have my portion, my inheritance, my happi- 
ness, my God still. 

Other portions, like summer fruit, are soon ripe and soon rotten ; 
but this portion, like winter fruit, though it be longer before the 
whole be gathered, yet it will continue. Gold and silver, in which 
other men's portion lieth, are corruptible ; but thy portion, like the 
body of Christ, shall never see corruption. 

When all earthly portions, as meat overdriven, certainly corrupts, 
or as water in cisterns quickly groweth unsavoury, this portion, like 
the water in ^sculapius's well, is not capable of putrefaction. 


friend, what are all the portions in the world, which, as a 
candle, consume in the use, and then go out in a stink, to this eter- 
nal portion ? It is reported of one Theodoras, that when there was 
music and feasting in his father's house, withdrew himself from all 
the company, and thus thought with himself: Here is content 
enough for the flesh ; but how long will this last ? This will not 
hold out long. Tlien falling on his knees, Lord, my heart is open 
unto thee. I indeed know not what to ask, but only this, Lord, let 
me not die eternally. Lord, thou knowest I love thee ; oh let 
me live eternally to praise thee. I must tell thee, reader, to be 
eternally happy or eternally miserable, to live eternally or to die 
eternally, are of greater weight than thou art aware of, yea, of far 
more concernment than thou canst conceive. Ponder this motive 
therefore thoroughly. God is not only a satisfying portion, filling 
every crevice of thy soul with the light of joy and comfort ; and a 
sanctifying portion, elevating thy soul to its primitive and original 
perfection ; and a universal portion ; not health, or wealth, or 
friends, or honours, or liberty, or life, or bouse, or wife, or child, or 
pardon, or peace, or grace, or glory, or earth, or heaven, but all these 
and infinitely more ; but also he is an eternal portion. This God 
would be thy God for ever and ever, Ps. xlviii. 14. Oh sweet word 
ever! thou art the crown of the saints' crown, and the glory of their 
glory. Their portion is so full that they desire no more ; they 
enjoy variety and plenty of delights above what they are able to ask 
or think, and want nothing but to have it fixed. May they but 
possess it in peace without interruption or cessation, they will 
trample all the kingdoms of the earth as dirt under their feet ; and, 
lo ! thou art the welcome dove to bring this olive branch in thy 
mouth. This God is our God for ever and ever. All the arithme- 
tical figures of days, and months, and years, and ages, are nothing 
to this infinite cipher ever, which, though it stand for nothing in 
the vulgar account, yet contains all our millions ; yea, our millions 
and millions of millions are less than drops to this ocean ever. 

If all the pleasures of the whole creation cannot countervail the 
fruition of God, though but for one moment, how happy shouldst 
thou be to enjoy liim for ever ! If the first fruits and foretastes 
of the Christian's felicity be so ravishing, what will the harvest 
be ? Friend, little dost thou think what crowns, sceptres, palms, 
thrones, kingdoms, glories, beauties, banquets, angelical entertain- 
ments, beatifical visions, societies, varieties, and eternities are 
prepared for them who choose God for their portion. If the 
saint's cross in the judgment of Moses — when at age, and able to 

Chap. XIX.] the fading of the flesh. 45 

make a true estimate of things — were more worth than all the 
treasm-es of Egypt, and he chose it rather, what is the saint's 
crown, eternal crown, worth ? 

To conclude this use, reader, take a serious view of this portion 
which is here tendered to thee, and consider upon what easy terms 
it may be thine for ever. The portion is no less than the infinite 
God. ' Behold, the nations are as a drop of the bucket, and are 
counted as the small dust of the balance : all nations before him 
are as nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing, and 
vanity,' Isa. xl. 15, 17. Other portions are bodily ; he is spiritual, 
and so suitable to thy soul. Other portions are mixed, like the 
Israelites' pillar, which had a dark as well as a light side ; but 
he is pure ; there is not the least spot in this sun ; he is a sea of 
sweetness without the smallest drop of gall. Other portions are 
particular ; there are some chinks in the outward man which they 
cannot fill, besides the many leaks of the soul, none of Avhich they 
can stop; but he is a universal portion. All the excellencies of 
the creatures, even when their dregs and imperfections are removed, 
are but dark shadows of those many substantial excellencies which 
are in him. He made all, he hath all, he is all. The most fluent 
tongue will quickly be at a loss in extolling him, for he is above all 
blessing and praises. Other portions are debasing, like dross to 
gold, an allay to its worth ; but he is an advancing portion, as a 
set of diamonds to a royal crown, infinitely adding to its value. 
Other portions are perishing ; they may be lost ; they will be left 
when death calls ; thy cloth will be then drawn, and not one dish 
remain on the table. But he is an everlasting portion. The souls 
that feast with him, like Mephibosheth at David's, eat bread at his 
table continually. ' In his presence is fulness of joy, and at his 
right hand are pleasures for evermore.' Now, is not here infinite 
reason why thou shouldst choose this God for thy portion ? 

Consider the terms upon which he is willing to be thy portion. 
He desires no more than thou wouldst take him for thy treasure 
and happiness. Surely such a portion is worthy of all acceptance. 
Be thy own judge ; may not God expect, and doth he not deserve, 
as much respect as thine earthly portion hath had? Can thy 
esteem of him be too high, or thy love to him be too hot, or thy 
labour for him too great ? Oh what warm embraces hast thou 
given the world ! Throw that strumpet now out of thine arms, 
and take the fairest of ten thousand in her room. What high 
thoughts hast thou had of the world ? What wouldst thou not 
formerly do or suffer to gain a little more of it ? Now, pull down 


that usurper out of tlie throne, and set the King of saints there, 
whose place it is. Esteem him superlatively above all things, and 
make it thy business, whatsoever he call thee to do or suffer, to 
gain his love, which is infinitely better than life itself. Do but 
exalt him in thy heart as thy chiefest good, and in thy life as thine 
utmost end, and he will make a deed of gift of himself to thee. Is 
it not rational what he desires ? Why shouldst thou then refuse ? 
Here is God, there is the world ; here is bread, there is husks ; 
here is the substance, there is a shadow ; here is paradise, there is 
an apple; here is fulness, there is emptiness ; here is a fountain, 
there is a broken cistern ; here is all things, there is nothing ; here 
is heaven, there is hell; here is eternity, I say, eternity of joy and 
pleasure, there is eternity. that word eternity, of sorrow and 
pain ! Choose now which of the two thou wilt take, and advise 
with thyself what word I shall bring again to him that sent me, 1 
Chron. xxi. 12. 


Comfort to such as have Godfo?' their portion. 

Fourthly, The doctrine may be useful by way of consolation. It 
speaketh much comfort to every true Christian — Grod is thy por- 
tion. Thy portion is not in toys and trifles, in narrow limited 
creatures, but in the blessed boundless God. He cannot be poor 
who hath my lord mayor to his friend, much less he that hath 
God to his portion — a portion so precious and perfect, that none of 
the greatest arithmeticians ever undertook to compute its worth, as 
knowing it impossible — a portion so permanent, that neither death, 
nor life, nor the world, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things 
present, nor things to come, can part thee from it. This cordial 
may enliven thee in a dying estate. None can part thee and thy 
portion. The winter may freeze the ponds, but not the ocean. 
All other portions may be frozen and useless in hard weather, but 
this portion is ever full and filling. Hagar, when her bottle of 
water was spent, wept, because she did not see the fountain that 
was so near her. The absence of the creatures need not make thee 
mourn, who hast the presence of the Creator. 

Thou mayest have comfort from thy portion in the most afflicted 
condition. Do men plunder thee of thy estate ? Thou art rich 
towards God, and mayest suffer the spoiling of thy goods joyfully. 

Chap. XX.] the fading of the flesh. 47 

knowing that thou hast a more enduring substance, Heb. x. 34. 
Do they cast thee into prison ? Though thy body be in fetters, thy 
soul enjoy eth freedom. No chains can so fasten thee to the earth, 
but thou mayest mount up to lieaven upon the wings of meditation 
and prayer. Do they take away thy food ? Thou hast meat to eat 
which they know not of, and wine to drink which makes glad the 
heart of man, Ps. civ. 15. Is thy body sick ? Thy soul is 
sound, and so long all is well. The inhabitants shall not say, I am 
sick. The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their ini- 
quities. Is thy life in danger ? If thine enemies kill thee, they 
cannot hurt thee ; they will do thee the greatest courtesy. They 
will do that kindness for thee, for which thou hast many a time 
prayed, sighed, wept ; even free thee from thy corruptions, and 
send thee to the beatifical vision. When they call thee out to die, 
they do but, as Christ to Peter, call thee up to the mount, where 
thou shalt see thy Saviour transfigured, and say, Let us build 
tabernacles. Oh, it is good to be here. Though Saul was frantic 
without a fiddler, and Belshazzar could not be cheerful without 
his cups, yet the philosopher could be merry, saith Plato, without 
music, and much more the Christian under the greatest outward 
misery. What weight can sink him who hath the everlasting 
arms to support him ? What want can sadden him who hath 
infinite bounty and mercy to supply him ? Nothing can make him 
miserable who hath God for his happiness. ' Blessed is the people 
whose God is the Lord.' Christian, thou mayest walk so that 
the world may know thou art above their affrightments, and that 
all their allurements are below thy hopes. 

In particular, the doctrine is comfortable against the death of 
our Christian friends, and against our own deaths. 

First, It is a comfort against the death of our friends. God is a 
godly man's portion, therefore they are blessed who die in the 
Lord without us ; and we are happy who live in the Lord without 

It is a comfort that they are happy without creatures. What 
wise man will grieve at his friend's gain ? In the ceremonial law 
there was a year of jubilee, in which every man who had lost or 
sold his land, upon the blowing of a trumpet had possession again. 
The death's-day of thy believing relation is his day of jubilee, in 
which he is restored to the possession of his eternal and inestimable 
portion. Who ever pined that married an heir in his minority, 
at his coming to age, and going to receive his portion ? Their 
death is not penal, but medicinal ; not destructive, but perfective 


to their souls. It clotli that for them which none of the ordinances 
of God, nor providences of God, nor graces of the Spirit ever yet did 
for them. It sends the weary to their sweet and eternal rest. 
This serpent is turned into a rod, with which God works wonders 
for their good. The Thracians wept at the births of men, and 
feasted at their funerals. If they counted mortality a mercy, who 
could see death only to be the end of outward sufferings, shall not 
we who besides that see it to be the beginning of matchless and 
endless solace ? A wife may well wiing her hands, and pierce her 
heart with sorrow, when her husband is taken away from her, and 
dragged to execution, to hell ; but surely she may rejoice when he 
is called from her by his prince, to live at court in the greatest 
honours and pleasures, especially when she is promised within a few 
days to be sent for to him, and to share with him in those joys and 
delights for ever. 

Some observe that the Egyptians mourned longer (for they 
mourned seventy days) for old Jacob's death than Joseph his own 
son ; and the reason is this, because they had hopes only in this 
life, when Joseph knew that, as his father's body was carried to the 
earthly, so his soul was translated to the heavenly Canaan. ' I 
would not have you ignorant concerning them which are asleep, 
that ye sorrow not even as others that have no hope/ 1 Thes. 
iv. 13. 

As they are happy without us, for God is their portion ; so we 
are happy without them. We have our God still ; that stormy 
wind which blew out our candles, did not extinguish our sun. Our 
friend, when on his or her deathbed, might bespeak us, as Jacob 
his sons: ' I die, but God shall visit you ; I go from you, but God 
shall abide with you. I leave you, but God will find you ; he will 
never leave you nor forsake you.' Eeader, if God live, though thy 
friends die, I hope thou art not lost, thou art not undone. May 
not God say to thee, when thou art pining and whining for the 
death of thy relations or friends, as if thou wert eternally miserable, 
as Elkanah to Hannah : ' Am not I better to thee than ten sons ? ' 
Am not I better to thee than ten husbands, than ten wives, than ten 
thousand worlds ? Oh think of it, and take comfort in it ! 

Secondly, It is comfortable against thy own death. God is thy 
portion, and at death thou shalt take possession of thy vast estate. 
Now thou hast a freehold in law, a right to it ; but then thou shalt 
have a freehold in deed, make thy entry on it, and be really seized 
of it. It is much that heathens who were purblind and could not 
see afar off into the joys and pleasures of the other world, the hopes 

Chap. XX.] the fading of the flesh. 49 

of which alone can make death truly desirable, should with less 
fear meet this foe than many Christians. Nay, it was more diffi- 
cult to persuade several of those pagans to live out all their days, 
than it is to persuade some amongst us to be willing to die when 
God calls them. Codrus could throw himself into a pit, that his 
country might live by his death. Cato could, against the entreaty 
of all his friends, with his own hands, open the door at which his 
life went out.l Platinus, the philosopher, held mortality a mercy, 
that we might not always be liable to the miseries of this life. 
When the Persian king wept that all his army should die in the 
revolution of an age, Artabanus told him that they should all 
meet with so many and such great evils, that they should wish 
themselves dead long before. Lysimachus threatened to kill 
Theodoras, but he stoutly answered the king, that was no great 
matter ; the cantharides, a little fly, could do as much. Cleom- 
brotus having read Plato of the soul's immortality, did presently 
send his own soul out of his body to try and taste it. The bare 
opinion of the Druids, that the soul had a continuance after death, 
made them hardy in all dangers, saith Cpesar, and fearless of 

Christians surely have more cause to be valiant in their last 
conflict ; and it is no credit to their Father that they are so loath to 
go home. The Turks tell us that surely Christians do not believe 
heaven to be so glorious a place as they talk of; for if they did, 
they would not be so unwilling to go thither. It may make the 
world think the child hath but cold welcome at his father's house, 
that he lingers so much abroad ; certainly such bring an ill report 
upon the good land. 

Christian, what is it in death that thou art afraid of ? Is it not 
a departure, the jail delivery of a long prisoner, the sleep of thy 
body, and a wakening of thy soul, the way to bliss, the gate of life, 
the portal to paradise ? Art thou not sure to triumph before thou 
lightest, by dying to overcome death, and when thou leavest thy 
body, to be joined to thy head? The Koman general, in the 
encounter between Scipio and Hannibal, thought he could not use 
a more effectual persuasion to encourage his soldiers, than to tell 
them that they were to fight with those whom they had formerly 
overcome, and who were as much their slaves as their enemies. 
Thou art to enter the list against that adversary whom thou hast 
long ago conquered in Jesus Christ, and who is more thy slave than 
thine enemy. Death is thine, 1 Cor. iii. 22, thy servant and slave 

1 Plut. in Vit. Utic. Cat. 2 Cajs., lib. vi. De Bell. Gal. 



to help off thy clothes, and to put thee to thine everlasting 
happy rest. 

Is it tlie taking down of thine earthly tabernacle which troubles 
thee ? Why, dost thou not know that death is the workman sent 
by the Father to pull down this earthly house of mortality and clay, 
that it may be set up anew, infinitely more lasting, beautiful, and 
glorious ? Didst thou believe how rich and splendid he intends to 
make it, which cannot be unless taken down, thou wouldst con- 
tentedly endure the present toil and trouble, and be thankful to 
him for his care and cost. He takes down thy vile body, that he 
may fashion it like to the glorious body of his own Son, which for 
brightness and beauty excels the sun in its best attire, far more 
than that doth the meanest' star. 

Is it the untying of the knot betwixt body and soul which per- 
plexeth thee ? It is true they part ; but, as friends going two 
several ways, shake hands till they return from their journey; they 
are as sure of meeting again as of parting ; for thy soul shall return 
laden with the wealth of heaven, and fetch his old companion to 
the participation of all his joy and happiness. 

Is it the rotting of thy body in the grave that grieves thee ? 
Indeed, Plato's worldling doth sadly bewail it : Woe is me, that I 
shall lie alone rotting in the earth amongst the crawling worms, not 
seeing aught above, nor seen. But thou who hast read it is a sweet 
bed of spices for thy body to rest in, all the dark night of this 
world's duration, mayest well banish such fears. Hast thou never 
heard God speaking to thee, as once to Jacob, ' Fear not to go 
down into (Egypt, into) the grave, I will go down with thee, and I 
will bring thee up again,' Gen. xlvi. 4. 

Besides, thy soul shall never die. The heathen historian could 
comfort himself against death with this weak cordial, Non omnis 
moriar, All of me doth not die ; though my body be mortal, my 
books are immortal. But thou hast a stronger julep, a more rich 
cordial to clear thy spirits ; when thy body fails, thy soul will 
flourish. Thy death is a burnt-oflfering ; Avhen thy ashes fiill to the 
earth, the celestial flame of thy soul will mount up to heaven. 
Farther, death wdll ease thee of those most troublesome guests, 
which make thy life now so burdensome ; as the fire to the three 
children did not so much as singe or sear their bodies, but it burnt 
and consumed their bands, so death would not the least hurt thy 
body or soul, but it would destroy those fetters of sin and sorrow, 
in which tho'i art entangled. Besides, the sight of the blessed God, 
which is the only beatifical vision, which at death thy soul shall 

Chap. XX.] the fading of the flesh. 51 

enjoy.i Popish, pilgrims take tedious journeys, and are put to 
much hardship and expense to behold a dumb idol. The queen of 
Sheba came from far to see Solomon, and hear his wisdom; and 
wilt thou not take a step from earth to heaven — in a moment, in the 
twinkling of an eye, thy journey will be gone, and thy work be 
done — to see Jesus Christ, a greater than Solomon? Hast thou not 
many a time prayed long, and cried for it ? Hast thou not 
trembled lest thou shouldst miss it ? Hath not thine heart once 
and again leaped with joy in hope of it ? And when the hour is 
come, and thou art sent for, dost thou shrink back ? For shame, 
Christian ; walk worthy of thy calling, and quicken thy courage in 
thy last conflict. As the Jews, when it thunders and lightens, open 
their windows, expecting the Messias should come. Oh when the 
storm of death beats upon thy body, with what joy mayest thou set 
those casements of thy soul, faith and hope, wide open, knowing 
that thy dearest Kedeemer, who went before to prepare a place for 
thee, will then come and fetch thee to himself ; that where he is, 
there thou mayest be also, and that for ever. 

^ Nazian. Orat. 



To his honoured and courteous Friend, Mrs Mary Beresford, 
Wife of the Worshipful John Beresford, Esq. 

There are two things which I have always judged chiefly requisite 
in a pastor, as he standeth related to his people — viz., labour and 
love. The former is a work of the head, the latter of the heart: 
faithful labour will speak his love, and sincere love will sweeten 
his labour. Labour without love is unacceptable to God ; as a sweet 
perfume without fire, it cannot send forth its pleasant, fragrant savour. 
Love without labour is unprofitable to men ; like Rachel, it is 
beautiful, but barren; both together — as soul and body are the 
essential parts of a man — are the whole of a minister. Whether 
to my power I discharged my trust or no in these particulars, 
whilst the divine providence continued me in your parish, I must 
leave to his judgment, whose eyes behold, and whose eyelids try 
the children of men ; nay, whether I did not many times so labour 
as to prejudice my own body, that I might serve and profit others' 
souls ; but sure I am, when I left you I could not better manifest 
my love to you than by commending you to him who will never 
leave nor forsake his people. 

It is the saying of Euripides, That a faithful friend in adversity 
is better than a calm sea to a weather-beaten mariner. Indeed, 
the world is full of false lovers, who use their friends as we do 
candles, burn them to the snuff, and when all their substance is 
wasted, trample them under their feet, and light others ; but God 
to his chosen is- as the ivy clasping about a wall, which will as soon 
die as desert it. Extremity doth but fasten a trusty friend ; whilst 
he, as a well-wrought vault, is the stronger by how much more 
weight he beareth. Though many men are as ponds, dry in the 
heat of summer, when there is most need of them, yet the blessed 
God dealeth not so with his saints ; but his help is nearest when 
their hardships are greatest. When they walk in the valley of the 
shadow of death, he is with them. 

How great a happiness it is to be under the favour and influence 
of this God can never be fully known on this side heaven. The 
Prince of Orange had a mirror, say some, which perfectly repre- 


sented the beauty of the natural sun. But this Sun of righteous- 
ness is ever in a great degree ecHpsed to us who dwell in this lower 
world. Here we know but in part. Pompey, who presumed to 
enter the holiest of all, when he came out was asked what he saw. 
He answered, That the house was full of a cloud. Indeed, he maketh 
darkness his secret place, and yet is pleased to let so much of his 
glory and goodness be seen in the glass of his word, as may cause 
us to admire and affect him, and also assure us that he is the 
chiefest good. 

Somewhat of that felicity which floweth from his favour you will 
find in some measure discovered in the ensuing discourse, which I 
present to you as a small acknowledgment of my great engage- 
ments to you. Lycurgus, the Lacedasmonian lawgiver, made no 
law against ingratitude, as thinking it impossible for any man to 
degenerate so much as to be unthankful. I esteem it my duty to 
retain the former favours in memory which I and mine have 
received from yourself and my honoured friend, your husband; 
and I know not better how to testify my gratitude, than by endea- 
vouring to my power your everlasting welfare, and that you may 
come to your graves in a full age, as a shock of corn in its season. 

It is a mercy to be full of days, a far greater mercy to be full of 
grace ; but to be full of days and full of grace is one of the most 
blessed, beautiful sights in this world. I hope you are passed 
from death to life, because you love the brethren ; but your age 
calleth upon you to ensure your effectual calling. The truth is, 
death borders upon our births, and our coffins hang over our 
cradles ; but though, according to the saying of Epaminondas, we 
may salute young persons with good-morrow, or welcome, into the 
world ; yet we must salute old persons with good-night, for they 
are leaving the world. The nearer it is to night, the harder we 
should work, when we know, if our work be not done in this day of 
life, we are undone for ever. Natural motions are swiftest at last. 
The stream of grace must run with greatest speed when it is, empty- 
ing itself into the ocean of glory. The good Lord enable you to 
be more and more upright and abundant in well-doing, and so 
bless your whole family with his fear and favour, that when death 
shall break it up ye may be preferred from his lower house of 
prayer to his upper house of praise, where is fulness of joy, and 
where are pleasures for evermore ; which is the desire of 

Your servant in the blessed Saviour, 

George Swinnock. 


And noio, hretliren, I commend you to God, and to the ivord of Ms 
grace, ivJiich is able to build you up, and to give you an inherit- 
ance amongst all them that are sanctified. — Acts xx. 32. 

Human histories have been valued at such a high price, that they 
have been dedicated to the most honourable persons, as worthy of 
their serious perusal. Pliny's Natural History to Vespasian ; our 
English History to King James ; the small treatise which Paulus 
Jovius wrote, De Kebus Turcicis, unto the great and mighty 
emperor Charles the Fifth ; scarce any national piece but it is 
presented into the hands of the prince. Surely divine histories 
then, such as this treatise, the Acts of the Apostles, which contain 
the heroic acts of the Lord's worthies in their combats with, and con- 
quests over, not only men and the world, but sin and Satan, deserve 
the eye, and ear, and hearts of a noble Theophilus, of great and 
small, of all men whatsoever. 

The former part of the New Testament contains the great mys- 
tery of Christ, the head of his church. This book of the Acts con- 
tains the glorious history of the church, the body of Christ. 

In the beginning of the book some particulars are mentioned of 
all the apostles, to chapter xiii. ; but it treats most largely of Paul's 
trials and travels, in regard that, as his conversion was most miracu- 
lous, so his conversation was most illustrious. 

In this 20th chapter we have this famous apostle in his fourth 
peregrination arriving at Miletus, a city upon the borders of Ionia 
and C^esarea, close by the shore of the jEgean Sea, and sending 
thence for, and speaking to, the Ephesian elders. 

In his speech we may observe these four parts. 

First, His vindication of himself. Ministers are bound not only 

58 THE pastor's farewell. 

to look to tlieir consciences, but also to their credits. Naturalists 
tell us, if the loadstone be rubbed with garlic it loseth its virtue. 
When the name of a minister is contemptible, his doctrine will be 
the less acceptable. The apostle vindicateth himself — 1. As to the 
integrity of his life : ' Ye Imow from the first day that I came into 
Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serv- 
ing the Lord with all humility, and with many tears,' vers. 18, 19. It 
is excellent when the pastor can appeal to the consciences of his 
people for the purity of his conversation. Holy ministers are called 
angels, Eev. ii.,but unholy ones are degenerated into devils : ' Have 
I not chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil.' 2. As to his 
fidelity in his doctrine : ' And how I have kept back nothing that 
was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you 
publicly, and from house to house,' ver. 20. The steward is faith- 
ful who distributeth to every person under his charge their proper 
and peculiar portion. The symbol of Wolfius will become every 
preacher: Pietate et lahore.'^ By a sacred life, and sedulous labour, 
he will best declare his love to his people. Ministers must be stars 
by the influence of their lips feeding, by the regular motion of 
their lives confirming, and by the light of both directing many. 
Paul magnified his office, why should others debase it ? 

Secondly, His exhortation to them. As he taught them before 
by his pattern, so now by his precepts : ' Take heed to the flocks 
over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers,' ver. 28. 
Take heed,2 that is, let all your care and study be for your own and 
people's welfare and prosperity ; like good shepherds, work and 
watch night and day for the good of your sheep. This counsel 
the apostle urgeth upon a threefold ground. 

1. From the person who committed to them this charge : ' Take 
heed to the flocks over which the Holy Ghost hath made you over- 
seers.' It concerns you to be true to your trust, when it is com- 
mitted to you by the Spirit of God. That unfaithfulness which is 
but felony against the charge of a subject, may be treason when it 
is against the charge of a sovereign. Oh it is ill trifling with the 
most high God's trust ! 

2. From the price paid for them : ' To fee'd the church of God, 
which he hath purchased with his blood,' ver. 28. Things of the 
greatest cost call for our greatest care ; souls are infinitely precious, 
and therefore deserve our utmost pains. If God thought them 
worth his blood, we may well esteem them worth our tears and 

^ Melcb. Ad. * Upocrexere, Toti sitis addicti, totis animis adhaereatis. 

THE pastok's farewell. 59 

3. From the peril their flock was in : vers. 29-31, ' For I know- 
that after my departing, shall grievous wolves enter in among you, 
not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, 
speaking perverse things, to draw disciples after them. Therefore 
watch,' &c. If wolves will watch to devour, shepherds must watch 
to defend the sheep. Those commanders who are entrusted with a 
garrison, when they are sure to have their quarters beaten up, had 
need to be ever upon their guard. 

Thirdly, His prediction of his future sufferings, 1. Pro- 
pounded. ' And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit to Jeru- 
salem, not knowing what shall befall me there: saving that the 
Holy Ghost witnesseth that in every city bonds and afl&ictions 
abide me,' vers. 22, 23. Christians of all men must bear their 
crosses ; ministers of all Christians must look to undergo misery ; 
and the more good a minister hath, the more evil he must expect. 
The fuller the tree is laden, the more cudgels will be thrown at it ; 
the most fruitful meadows hear oftenest in the year of the scythe. 
Pious and laborious Paul was the chief butt against which men and 
devils shot. 2. Amplified, from the liberty it thereby denied 
them of ever seeing Paul again : ' And now, behold, I know that 
ye all amongst whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, 
shall see my face no more,' ver. 25. Sad news tp honest hearts 
upon a double ground ; partly their lack of him. He had told them 
of wolves entering in among them ; now at such a time for the 
flock to be without a guide ; when the storm arose for the vessel to 
be without a pilot ; when the soldiers were to engage in hot service 
with enemies, for their expert commander to be wanting ; must needs 
be woeful. That the nurse should be taken away before the chil- 
dren could go alone, did much affect and afflict their spirits. Partly 
their love to him. As Paul was a religious person, and as he was, 
probably, their spiritual parent who had begotten them, brought 
them up in the nurture of the Lord, and upon all occasions advised 
and assisted them, they could not but love him in a high degree, 
and therefore much lament his loss. 

Fourthly, His valediction to those Ephesian elders in the words 
of the text: ' And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the 
word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you 
an inheritance amongst all them which are sanctified,' ver. 32. 
Before he had given them a command from God, and now he com- 
mends them to God. The words contain the legacy which Paul 
bequeathes to his Christian friends. He taketh his farewell of 
them; and wisheth a welfare to them. 

60 THE pastor's farewell. 

And noiv, koI vvv, since I see that I, who am your guide, must 
shortly be gone, and since I foresee that wolves will arise, so rave- 
nous as to consjjire and endeavour your ruin, what remains, but 
that I should commend you to God, who can prevent the effects of 
their cruelty, and supply the want of my company. And now the 
reason is observable. It is the last and the greatest kindness I 
can do to commend you to Grod. The occasion is considerable. 
And now the dying father commits his children to a faithful guar- 
dian : And now I must leave you, never to see your faces more ; 
but now I shall leave you to one who will never leave you nor for- 
sake you. ' And now,' 

Bretlwen, aZek^ol. This title is an affectionate term, and speaks 
how dear and near they were to the apostle. It discovereth much 
of his humility ; though they were his inferiors, yet he calleth them 
his equals. Brethren stand on the same level. But more of his 
love. This even relation is accompanied with great affection : 
' Love as brethren,' 1 Pet. iii. 8. Love, like water, doth not easily 
ascend, but will run swiftly and pleasantly on even ground. And 
now, my dearly beloved, whom I both love and esteem as brethren, 
who are both near and dear to me, since providence is parting us, 
I cannot better evidence my affection to you, or care of you, than 
by committing you to him, from whom none can part you. ' And 
now, brethren,' 

/ commend you to God.'^ To commend one to another, in our 
English phrase, is either to praise him for some worth in him, or 
to present some respects from him ; but in Scripture sense, besides 
the former acceptations, it sometimes signifieth to refer one to the 
care of another : Kom. xvi. 1, ' I commend to you Phebe our sister.' 
To commend in this place signifieth to commit them as dear pledges, 
or as precious jewels, to the tender custody and keeping of the 
blessed God. As if he had said, Be not discouraged nor disconso- 
late at my departure, as if thereby ye should be left desolate, 
for I commit and commend you to one who will abundantly make 
up my absence by his almighty power and favourable presence. 
Though I am taken from you, and constrained to forsake you, yet 
I commend you to that God who will be careful of you, and never 
fail you ; who hath infinite strength for your protection, and infi- 
nite wisdom for your direction, and infinite favour for your consola- 
tion. * And now, brethren, I commend you to God,' 

1 JlaparidepLai vfids rCb Qiw. TlapaTiOe/xai, significat patrocinio, curse, ac tutelse alte- 
rius aliquid commendare. — Beza. Commendare veluti commeadatur depositum 

THE pastor's farewell. 61 

And to the word of his grace, koI tw Xoiyw T779 %apiT09 avrov. 
The Scripture is called God's word, because as men by their words 
discover their wills, so God by the Scripture doth manifest his mind 
and pleasure. But it is that part of Scripture which we call the 
gospel, which is emphatically termed here, and in some other places, 
the word of his grace, because it speaketh God's good-will and 
good-pleasure to the children of men, Acts xx. 24 ; Tit. ii. 11. 
The covenant of works which God made with Adam, and in him 
with all mankind, was in some respects a covenant of grace, for 
God was not bound to promise man eternal felicity upon his perfect 
obedience, but might have required it by virtue of his sovereignty 
and dominion. But since man's apostasy, and impossibility thereby 
of attaining happiness by his own works, God hath been pleased to 
accept of the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ, on the behalf of the 
believing, penitent Christian ; which act of infinite grace being 
revealed in the gospel, it is most fitly called the word of his grace. 
The law, as the case stands with man now, speaks nothing but fury 
and death, but the gospel speaks favour and life ; the law wounds 
man with his blows, the gospel heals him with its balsam ; the law 
condemneth man without pity to the sufierings of hell, but the 
gospel alloweth him a psalm of mercy, and so saveth him from the 
wrath to come. Now the afiectionate apostle commendeth his 
fainting patients to this rich cordial, the word of his grace. They 
might think it was small comfort and a poor courtesy to be com- 
mended to a righteous and jealous God, as stubble to be committed 
to a consuming fire ; therefore he tells them, I commend you to 
God, not under the notion of an angry judge, but in the relation 
of a gracious father, and compassionate friend, which, if ye doubt 
of, do but look into the gospel, which is heaven's court rolls trans- 
cribed, wherein ye may see the naked bowels of his good-will, and 
read his curious eternal contrivance of magnifying his grace in you, 
and towards you. I commend you to that word of his grace 
wherein every line speaks love, and each expression his tender affec- 
tion to you. I know your poverty, but that word of his grace is 
a mine of unsearchable riches ; ye are hungry, but that is bread ; 
when ye are weary, there ye may find rest ; whatsoever your con- 
ditions be, there is suitable consolation. ' And to the word of his 

Which is able to huild you \up, tc3 Bwafxevco iiroLKoho^ovcraL. 
These words, with them that follow, are by Erasmus, according to 
our translation, referred to the word of his grace, but according to 
Beza and some others, God is the antecedent to this relative, who 

62 THE pastor's farewell. 

is able to build you up, &c. The reason of the doubt is, because 
both are of the same gender, whereby it is uncertain to which of 
the two this latter part hath relation. But there is a certain truth 
if we refer them to either : God is able to build them up, &c. ; and 
also the gospel or word of his grace is able to build them up, &c. 
God as the first cause and principal efficient, the word of his grace as 
the second cause and subordinate instrument. The gospel cannot 
do it without God, and God will not do it without the gospel. God, 
ordinarily, by the gospel doth both sanctify and save, build up and 
give an inheritance. 

' Which is able to build you up.' The foundation of godliness was 
already laid in their hearts, but something was still wanting, a 
greater degree of grace and holiness. Paul knew that his brethren 
would not be contented barely to know Christ, but were desirous 
to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ, and did therefore 
the more lament his loss, because he, as a faithful steward, had 
furthered the welfare of their souls, by giving them their food in 
due season. Now, to allay their fears of famishing for want of his 
care, he commends them both to the same master, and to the same 
meat, by which they had hitherto thriven and prospered, and which 
were able still to continue the same virtue, and communicate the 
same strength ; which is able to build you up. 

And to give you an inheritance, koX hovval v/jllv KXijpovofjuav. 
Two things the children of God do exceedingly desire — proficiency 
in grace, and perfection thereof in glory. The apostle, in his vale- 
dictory speech, commends them to that God, and to the word of 
his grace, which can answer both their requests, progress in holi- 
ness, and the possession of happiness, ' which is able to build you 
up, and to give you an inheritance.' Saints are heirs, joint heirs 
with Christ, Eom. viii. 17. Heaven is their proper and peculiar 
inheritance : ' The inheritance of the saints in light,' Col. i. 12. The 
gospel or word of his grace purifieth and prepareth them for it, and 
also is the deeds or conveyance speaking their right and title to it ; 
therefore is called the gospel of our salvation. God is the author 
and donor of it. Glory is his free gift : ' It is your Father's pleasure 
to give you a kingdom,' Luke xii. 32. 

Among all them that are sanctified, iv roi<i rjycacrfjLevoLi; Tracriv. 
The inhabitants of heaven are all holy. Those that shall be glori- 
fied must first be sanctified. The inner court was a type of heaven, 
into which none might enter but the priests, which were holy to 
the Lord. Saints are all priests ; a holy priesthood, Eev. i. 6. 

The sum of the whole verse is thus much : ' And now, brethren,' 

THE pastok's farewell. 63 

&c. And now, my dearly beloved brethren, since infinitely wise 
providence seeth fit to deprive you of my presence, and I know the 
groans of your spirits to be after a farther degree of sanctification 
here, and its consummation hereafter, I commit and commend you 
to God, through whose strength the word of his grace is able to 
give you both growth in grace while ye live, and the crown of glory 
when ye die, amongst all them that are prepared for it by being 
partakers of the same hope and holiness. ' And now, brethren, I 
commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able 
to build you up, and to give you an inheritance amongst all them 
that are sanctified.' 

In the words we may observe these three parts : 

First, The compellation, ' brethren.' The company of saints are a 
society of brethren : ' Love the brotherhood.' The company of sinners 
are a rabble of conspirators. 

Secondly, The commendation of these brethren : ' And now, 
brethren, I commend you.' This commendation of them is ampli- 

1. By the object — (1.) To God, as the fountain of their grace 
and bliss ; (2.) To the gospel or word of his grace, as the channel 
in which it was conveyed to them, 

2. By the effects, which are two : (1.) Proficiency, 'which is able 
to build you up' ; having laid the foundation, it is able to increase 
the building of grace ; (2.) Perfection, it is able to lay the top- 
stone, and overlay it with glory, ' and to give you an inheritance 
among all them that are sanctified,' 

3. The occasion, or special season of this commendation. ' And 
now, brethren.' No doubt Paul had many a time before commended 
them to God : ' Without ceasing he made mention always in his 
prayers ;' but now, upon his leaving them, he doth in a special 
manner commend them to God's care and keeping: 'And now, 

I shall draw some observations from the words, and then lay 
down the doctrine which I intend to prosecute. 

That sanctity is no enemy to civility. The apostle being to 
leave them, doth not abruptly turn his back upon them, but 
solemnly takes his leave of them. ' And now, brethren.' Some 
think they cannot be Christians unless they be clowns, that good 
works and good manners are inconsistent ; but though Christianity 
pare off the luxuriant branches of courtesy, yet it doth not root it 
up ; like those spices which we apply to windy fruits, it takes 
away the flatulency and oflfensiveness which may be in it, but doth 

64 THE pastor's farewell. 

not cast it away. Civil language and a courteous carriage are, 
though no part of, yet an ornament to, Christianity. The saints of 
God are ever civil; and whereas sinners are complimental, they 
are cordial in all their salutes. The holy apostle spendeth the 
greatest part of a chapter in courteous salutations, which he would 
not have done had it been either unlawful or unnecessary. 

That grace will turn civil courtesy into serious Christianity. 
The apostle doth not take a bare civil farewell of them, according 
to the custom of most men, but solemnly takes his leave of them 
by commending them to the blessed God : ' And now, brethren, I 
commend you to God.' A gracious man prefers his low and civil 
actions unto the high form of religion ; wicked men debase actions 
that are sacred, and godly men advance actions that are civil. As 
the iron mine gives a tincture and relish of its own nature to all 
the waters which run through it, making them thereby more salu- 
brious to our bodies ; so grace gives a savour and taste of its own 
nature and property to all the actions about which the subject in 
which it is is conversant, and thereby makes them more healthful 
to our souls. It sanctifieth our very salutes : ' Salute one another 
with an holy kiss,' Eom. xvi. 16. Kissing seems to be wholly 
civil ; but among the godly it is sacred — ' an holy kiss.'l 

That all Christians are brethren. ' And now, brethren.' Saints 
are all linked together in the bond of brotherhood. The Jews 
called all brethren of the same country ; and it was the custom of 
the primitive Christians to call all brethren and sisters of the same 
communion.2 They are brethren if we consider their relations ; 
they have all the same Father, God : ' I will be to you a Father, 
and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty,' 
2 Cor. vi. 18. They are not only adopted, but also begotten again, 
or regenerated, by the same God, John i. 12 ; James i. 21. They 
are all children of the same mother : ' Jerusalem which is above is 
free, the mother of us all,' Gal. iv. 26. They suck the same breasts, 
Isa. Ixvi. 11 ; 1 Pet. ii. 2; wear the same garments, and as they 
grow up, feed at the same table, and shall dwell together in the 
same house for ever. They are united under the same head, re- 
newed with the same hearts, and travel to the same heaven. They 
are brethren in regard of affection. The curtains of the tabernacle 
were joined together with loops, and so are true Christians with 
love ; they love as brethren, seeking the good and welfare of each 

^ The use of kissing was frequent amongst the saints in their holy meetings. — 
Tertul. de Orat. 
2 Tertul. Apol., cap. 39. 

THE pastor's farewell. 65 

other. A saint's talents are not an enclosure for his private profit, 
but a common for the advantage of others. Their desires are not 
confined within their own dwellings, but they reach thousands in 
their jDrayers, whom they can never reach on earth in their persons. 
' For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be 
within thee,' Ps. cxxii. 8 ; they sympathise in each other's sufi'er- 
ings, and rejoice in one another's solace. Every saint is a great 
merchant, who hath his factors in all parts of the world, trading 
for him at the throne of grace. 

That the gospel is the word of God's grace. ' And to the word 
of his grace.' The word grace is taken in Scripture, 

1. For favour or good-will. ' Grace be with you.' And so Col. 
i. 2, ' Grace be unto you.' 

2. For the effects and fruits thereof: Jude 4, 'Turning the 
grace of God into lasciviousness.' 

The gospel in both respects is fitly termed the word of his 
grace — 

1. Because it containeth the infinite grace and favour of the 
most high God to sinners. The law speaks in eff'ect man's bot- 
tomless misery, but the gospel speaks God's boundless mercy ; the 
law is a court of justice, but the gospel a throne of grace. Grace 
sits as commander-in-chief in the gospel, and, as Ahasuerus to 
Esther, holdeth out the golden sceptre of mercy, for poor condemned 
persons to touch with the hand of faith, and live. The sum of the 
gospel is comprehended in the song of that angelical choir : ' Glory to 
God in the highest, peace on earth, and good-will towards men.' 
The substance and body of God's love to man was never dissected 
and laid open to the view of mortals till the gospel was preached. 
Before, it ran as a river under ground ; but in the gospel it bursts 
forth and sheweth itself, to refresh us with its pleasant streams. 
The law is, as it were, a warrant under Heaven's hand and seal for 
man's execution; but the gospel, like the dove, comes flying swiftly 
to prevent it, with the olive branch of peace and pardon in its 
mouth. Choosing grace, Eph. i. 5, calling grace, 2 Tim. i. 9, jus- 
tifying grace, Kom. iii. 24, and glorifying grace, 1 Pet. iii. 7, are 
all discovered in the gospel ; and therefore it may well be called 
the word of his grace. 

2. Because the gospel is the effect and fruit of God's grace or 
good-will to men. Philosophers observe that dew never falleth in 
stormy, tempestuous weather : the dropping of the dew of the gos- 
pel on parched, scorched hearts, is a sign and fruit of serene, calm 
heavens. That our parts of the world, like Gideon's fleece, should 

VOL. lY. E 

6fi THE PASTOK's farewell. 

be wet with this dew when other parts are dry, this is merely from 
grace : ' I have caused it to rain on one city, and not upon another,' 
Amos iv. 7. This rain of the gospel, which cooleth heat, melloweth 
the hearts, and cleanseth the unholy, goeth by coasts, Ps. cxlvii. 
19, 20. 

3. Because the gospel is the usual means of begetting grace. 
As manna fell about the Israelites' tents with the dew, so grace is 
distilled and dropped down with the gospel. Many of the Jews 
heard the thunders of Sinai, the threatenings of the law, and were 
not moved ; but the Baptist wins their children with the songs of 
Zion, the promises of the gospel : ' Keceived ye the Spirit by the 
preaching of the law or the hearing of faith ? ' The ice which is 
hardened by the cold, is melted with the sun. When the murder- 
ers of our Saviour heard the gospel, they were pricked to the 
heart, Acts ii. 37. The hard flint is broken upon the soft 

That the gospel is effectual, not only for conversion, but also for 
edification. ' Which is able to build you up.' The gospel doth not 
only bring forth souls to Christ, but likewise build up souls in 
Christ. The natural child is nourished, when in the world, by the 
same seed, by a further concoction turned into milk, by which it 
was conceived in the womb ; the spiritual child is begotten by the 
gospel : ' I have begotten you through my gospel ; ' and built up by 
the same : 1 Pet. ii. 2, ' As new born babes desire the sincere 
milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.' 

That the word of God's grace can carry men to glory. ' And to 
give you an inheritance.' It doth, like Moses, lead the saint out of 
iEgypt, deliver him from bondage to his lusts, conduct him through 
the wilderness of the world, and also, like Joshua, bring him into 
Canaan, the land of promise. It is called ' the grace of God which 
bringeth salvation,' Titus ii. 11. It bringeth salvation to man, and 
it bringeth man to salvation. 

That heaven is an inheritance. * And to give you an inheritance.' 
An inheritance is an estate left or given by the father to his son 
and heir; saints are all God's sons, and his sons are all first-born, 
and so heirs. God's natural Son is his natural heir, but his adopted 
sons are his adopted heirs, and so have an inheritance given them by 
their Fathei'. Others have inheritances by their births; saints have 
theirs by their new birth. Their inheritance is incomparable ; it is 
the same which the natural heir hath, 'joint heirs with Christ;' 
earthly possessions are to it less than nothing. Their right to it is 
indefeasible ; ' an inheritance reserved for us in heaven,' 1 Pet. i. 4. 

THE pastor's farewell, 67 

They can never be deprived of it, either by others' cruelty, nor their 
own carelessness, for it is in God's keeping, reserved for us. 

That the inheritance of heaven is only for them that are holy. 
' Among all them that are sanctified.' None but the children of 
God, such as are born again, are heirs of this inheritance. All 
that are saved must be sanctified. The inheritance is undefiled, 
and so must all the inhabitants be. If a carnal, unsanctified per- 
son ever enter into that royal palace, he must first make the gospel 
a lie, and God a liar : ' And into it can in no wise enter anything 
that is defiled or unclean,' Eev. xxi. 27. All that are there are 
admitted into God's immediate service ; and will so great a king 
be served in unclean vessels ? Dirty feet are not for royal presence- 

The doctrine which I intend to prosecute, and which will in- 
clude the substance of the verse, is this : 

The doctrine. That the greatest good a pastor can do for his 
brethren whom he must leave, is to commend them to God. ' And 
now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace.' 

I shall speak principally to the fountain of their being and bliss, 
their recommendation to God, and in the close of the sermon briefly 
touch the channel of the gospel, which he hath cut out as the 
means of conveying his blessings to the children of men. I say 
again, that it is the duty, and the greatest good a minister can do 
for his friends whom he must leave, to commend them to God. 
The apostle had a great love to, and tender respect for, the brethren, 
but how doth he manifest it ? By commending them to God. 

That it is the practice, duty, and greatest kindness of Christians 
to commit their friends to God, is visible in the Scriptures. Paul 
and Barnabas, when they came to Derbe, commended the brethren 
to the Lord, on whom they believed, Acts xiv. 23. 

But especially when parents leave their children, they commit 
them to the care of some faithful person. When old Jacob was to 
die, he commends his children to the living God, Gen. xlviii. 15, 
16, and 49 ; before Moses left the Israelites, in his swan-like song, 
Deut. xxxii. and xxxiii., he doth not only command them God's 
precept, but also commend them to God's protection. 

Our blessed Saviour, who is an unparalleled pattern and prece- 
dent, being to depart out of the world and go to the Father, would 
not leave his disciples fatherless. He knew the hearts of his ser- 
vants were heavy, that their Master was to be taken from their 
head ; alas ! what can the chicken do, when the hen under whose 
wings they used to be clucked and cherished was killed ? therefore 

68 THE pastor's farewell. 

lie commends tliem to God, as the greatest good wliicli his bound- 
less love could do for them. . ' And now I am no more in the world, 
but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep 
through thine own name those whom thou hast given me. I pray 
not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou 
shouldest keep them from the evil,' &c., John xvii. 11-16. How 
affectionately, how pathetically, doth he entreat his Father to take 
the care and charge of them. Father, keep them, holy Father, keep 
them, as if he could never speak it enough. How many arguments 
doth he use to persuade and prevail with his Father to be the guide 
and guardian of his children ! Father, I must leave them, oh do 
thou love and keep them, that they may not be left alone. Father, 
I beg not their immediate translation to glory, but only their pre- 
servation in an estate of grace ; I desire not that they should be 
kept from the evil o/" affliction, but only from the evil in affliction, 
and shall I be denied ? The world hates them for thy sake, and 
what will become of them if thou wilt not help them? 
In the explication of the text I shall shew, 

1. What it is for a minister to commend his friends to God, or 
how this is done. 

2. Why it is a minister's duty, and the greatest good a pastor 
can do for them from whom he must part, is to commend them to 

First, how a minister can commend his brethren and friends to 
God. This is done two ways, namely, by prayer and by faith. 

1., By a cordial supplication to God, or by prayer. The departing 
parent appointeth his executor to be careful of, and faithful to, his 
children, and so commendeth them to him ; but the departing 
pastor entreateth God to be gracious to, and mindful of, his people. 
As by preaching the minister commends God to his people's accepta- 
tion, so by prayer he commends his people to God's benediction. 
The principal part of the priest's office under the law, was to offer 
sacrifice, and to pray for the people ; Aaron must bear the names 
of the children of Israel before the Lord. And the main work of 
us ministers of the gospel is to stand betwixt God and our people, 
by giving precepts from God to them, and by putting up prayers 
to God for them : ' On this wise shall ye bless the people, saying 
unto them. The Lord bless thee, and keep thee,' Num. vi. 23. We 
bless them when we beg of God to bless them. God blesseth 
imperatory, by commanding a blessing on men : ' There the Lord 
commanded his blessing, even life for evermore,' Ps. cxxxiii. 3. 
Ministers bless impetratory, by commending them to God's blessing. 

THE pastor's farewell. 69 

God's blessing is operative, his henedicere est henefacere ; our 
blessing is optative only ; we wish the blessing, and that is all, but 
God can work the blessing. 

The apostle Paul usually made prayer the Alpha and Omega, 
the preface and ending, of all his epistles. If we observe it well, 
we shall find that each of them is scented with this sweet perfume, 
Rom. i. 9, XV. 13, and xvi. 24 ; 1 Cor. i. 3, 4, and xvi. 23 ; 2 Cor. 
i. 2, 3, and xiii. 14 ; Gal. i. 3, and vi. 18 ; Eph. i. 2, 3, 15-20, and 
vi. 23, 24; Phil. i. 2-4, 9-11, and iv. 23; Col. i. 2, 3, and iv. IS ; 
1 Thes. i. 2, iii. 10, and v. 28 ; 2 Thes. i. 2, ii. 16, and iii. 18 ; 1 
Tim. i. 2, and vi. 21 ; 2 Tim. i. 2, and iv. 22 ; Titus i. 4, and iii. 
15; Philem. 4; Heb. xiii. 21, 22. Prayer was his salutation, and 
prayer was his conclusion ; nay, as some persons of quality seal 
all their letters with their coats of arms, so the holy apostle all his 
epistles with prayer for the persons to whom he wrote, and gives us 
leave to look on all as forged where this mark was missing : ' The 
salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every 
epistle: so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with 
you all. Amen,' 2 Thes. iii. 17, 18. All Christians must pray for 
others ; it is their general calling in part. Among the Persians, he 
that offered sacrifice prayed for all his countrymen, saith Herodotus, 
lib. i. : ' Pray one for another,' James v. But it is the particular 
calling of a minister. We must give ourselves to prayer ; it must 
be the element in which we breathe and live : ' He is a prophet, 
and he shall pray for thee,' Gen. xx. 7. Prophets, of all men, must 
be frequent at prayer. 

But there are some persons which ministers must in a special 
manner commend to God in their prayers — namely, the people 
which God hath committed to their special charge. A good house- 
keeper will relieve and help his neighbours and strangers, but he 
hath a greater regard, and more tender respect, for his children and 
those of his own family. Our prayers, like Sir Francis Drake's ship, 
must encompass the whole world, even all in the land of the living 
that have not sinned the sin unto death : ' I will that supplications 
and prayers be made for all men,' 1 Tim. ii. 1. The higher a man 
is, the further he seeth, and the richer a man is, the more he 
relieveth ; the higher a man is in holiness, the further he seeth 
into others' indigencies, and the richer he is in grace, the more he 
by prayer begs the relief of their necessities. But in the wide earth 
our eye must principally be on God's vineyard, to water that with 
our tears, and to beg the influence of heaven, for the refreshing and 
ripening the fruits thereof: ' Praying always with all prayers for 

70 THE pastor's farewell. 

all saints,' Ej)h. vi. 18. The tongue may well pray for the other 
members of the same body. Christ hath taught us this in that 
prayer of prayers, as a father calleth it. ' Our Father.' Father 
speaketh our faith in God ; our enjoineth charity to our brethren ; 
but in this vineyard our love and labour must be specially for that 
part of it which is committed to our trust. Of all debts, specialties 
must first be paid. Prayer is a debt : ' God forbid that I should 
sin in ceasing to pray for you,' saith Samuel ; and in regard of our 
particular parishes, a bond, a specialty: ' We are bound to thank 
God always for you,' 2 Thes. i. 3. The minister's prayers, as well 
as his parts, are the common stock of the parish, in wliich all have 
a share. Or as the buckets which hang up in the churches at 
London, they are useful and helpful to any part of the city as 
occajrion is, but specially for the benefit of those parishes in which 
they are. We must, as some shopkeepers, drive a trade afar off, 
beyond the seas, but be sure not to be idle in our shops at home. 
We must mind others at the throne of grace, but be sure to 
remember our own people. He that starveth his family, is not 
likely to feast his neighbours. 

2. Secondly, By a fiducial expectation of good, or by faith. We 
commend our business to a friend when we cast on him the care of 
it, and trust him with it. Ministers commend their friends and 
affairs to God, by beseeching his favour towards them, and believing 
that he will be tender of them. We have many cares and fears 
about our dear friends whom we do love, and whom we must leave ; 
but faith easeth our hearts by committing them into safer hands. 
The burden of all the churches lay on Paul, and surely it was heavy 
enough to have broken his back, had he not learned the art of 
faith, by which he removed it to stronger shoulders : ' Cast thy 
burden on the Lord, and he shall sustain thee,' Ps. Iv. 22. Here is 
our charge, and our discharge. Our charge is, to cast our burden 
on the Lord ; and our discharge, he will sustain thee. The apostle 
praiseth God for the grace given to the Philippians, and prayeth to 
God for its increase : ' I thank my God upon every remembrance 
of you. Always in every prayer of mine making request with joy,' 
Phil. i. 3-5. But mark how he enliveneth his prayer by the soul 
of faith, knowing that without it, it would be but a dead corpse : 
' Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a 
good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,' 
ver. 6. 

Our prayers for our people will be to little purpose if faith be not 
joined with them. There are, indeed, many blessings in the womb 

THE pastor's FAKEWELL. 71 

of prayer, but without the midwifery of faith, it will never be de- 
livered: 'Whatsoever ye ask in my name, believing, ye shall receive.' 
Prayer is the key that openeth God's treasury, but faith is the hand 
which takes out and receives of his infinite bounty. Prayer must 
have a promise, or else it is a vessel without a bottom ; and that 
promise must have faith, or else the vessel lieth still, and cannot 
stir at all. When a full gale of faith fills the sails, then the vessel 
of prayer launcheth forth most hopefully, and returneth with its 
riches freight. 

When Grod had acquainted Abraham with his intention to destroy 
Sodom, Abraham, sensible of his nephew's danger, commends him 
to God by prayer and by faith, Gen. xviii, 23. Now mark the 
issue ; God remembered Abraham, and brought Lot out of Sodom, 
Gen. xix. 29. Abraham's prayer hit the mark at which it aimed, 
but it is because the eye of faith levelled the arrow. 

Faith honours God, by committing to him so great a trust as the 
inestimable souls of his people ; and God honours faith, by being 
true to his trust, and answering fully his chosen's and suppliant's 
faith. The children of Jadah prevailed, because they relied on the 
Lord God of their fathers. Faith engaged God in the combat, and 
therefore they could not but conquer, 2 Chron. xiii. 

He that prayeth for himself, and not for others, is fitly compared 
to a hedgehog, who laps himself within his own soft down, and 
turns his bristles to all the world beside. And he that prayeth for 
others without reliance on God through Christ for audience, works 
at the labour in vain, and, like Penelope, undoeth by night all that 
he wrought in the day. The truth is, we lie to God in prayer, if 
we do not rely on him after prayer. 

So, then, for the preacher to commend his brethren or friends to 
God, is in brief thus much: To open their cases and conditions to 
God in prayer, earnestly begging the relief of their indigencies, 
and believing that through Christ he will supply all their neces- 

In the next place, I come to the reasons why the pastor must 
commend his brethren and friends to God, and they shall be drawn 
from these three heads : from God, from the world, and from the 
brethren themselves. God's propriety in them, the world's enmity 
against them, and their own impotency, do all require that they 
should be commended to God's care and charge. 

I shall now shew the necessity of commending them to God ; 
that it is the greatest good will appear in the use, because he is 
the most able, loving, and faithful friend. 

72 THE pastor's farewell. 

First, In regard of God, his propriety in them. None so fit to 
take care of the chikl as its father. A brute will venture itself, 
and encounter with that which is much stronger, in defence of her 
own. The fearful hen, which hath nothing but flight to secure 
herself from the dog, will yet hazard a duel against the kite, to 
protect her little chickens. The blessed Jesus gives this ground 
why he commends his church to God : ' I pray for them : I pray 
not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me out of 
the world ; for they are thine,' John xvii. 9. I pray not for strangers, 
nor enemies to thee, but for thine own people, thine own family, 
for them thou hast chosen, called, and loved, for they are thine ; 
thy jewels, thy portion, thy temple, thy children. Men in a flame 
will venture far to secure their own jewels. Naboth would hazard 
and lose his life, rather than part with his own portion. What 
cost will some be at, and what care will they take, to keep their 
own houses in good repair. David would have died, that his own 
son might have lived. Propriety is a sufficient ground for special 
protection. God doth, by a general i3rovidence, take care of all his 
creatures, because of his general propriety in them, because they are 
his creatures. He feeds the young ravens, and satisfies the hunger 
of the sparrows. He is, upon this account, the preserver of man 
and beast; but his special providence is exercised about them 
in whom he hath a special propriety. The saints are his Xao'i 
7r6pLovcno<;, peculiar people, and therefore he hath over them a 
peculiar protection. Hence his peculiar care is compared to a bird 
flying over the nest where her young ones are, Isa. xxxi. 5. He 
abhors him as an infidel who doth not provide for his own ; surely, 
then, he will take care of his own himself. Aristotle saith pro- 
priety is the ground of all the toil and labour in the world. If all 
things were common, every one would be careless ; but because it 
is their own ground, therefore they dung, and plough, and sow it ; 
because it is their own wealth, therefore they work hard to increase 
it. God hath a propriety in his people ; they are his by election. 
The new creature was conceived in God's eternal purpose before 
he was born. They are his by redemption ; he paid an infinite 
price for them. They are his by regeneration, begotten by him, 
and born of him. They are his by promise : ' I entered into cove- 
nant with thee, and thou becamest mine. I will be their God, and 
they shall be my people.' Now, because they are his, therefore 
they go to him for protection : ' I am thine, save me,' Ps. cxix. 94 ; 
and therefore he affords them his special and gracious presence : 
' Israel is holiness to the Lord, the first fruits of his increase ; all 

THE pastor's farewell. 73 

tliat devour him shall offend ; evil shall befall them,' Jer, ii. 3. 
None can wrong God in anything that is his at an easy rate. 

Secondly, The world's enmity against them. The sheep need 
some dogs to defend them, that have so many wolves to devour 
them. They who have many and mighty enemies, surely want 
some faithful, able friend. This was another ground why Christ 
commended his disciples to God : ' I have given them thy word, 
and the world hath hated them; because they are not of the world, 
even as I am not of the world,' John xvii. 14. Father, keep thy 
children, for they are surrounded with a wicked world, whose 
tender mercies are cruelties. Alas ! what shall become of thy 
lambs, who are ever amongst roaring, ravenous lions, if thou 
shouldst not protect them ? 

The old enmity between the serpent and the Avoman is not yet, 
neither ever will be, worn out. There are natural antipathies 
between some creatures, for which little reason can be given ; as 
between the lion and the cock, the elephant and boar, the camel 
and horse. The serpent, saitli Aristotle, will rather fly into the 
fire than come near the boughs of a wild ash ; but there is a 
greater antipathy between the seed of the woman and the seed of 
the serpent : ' An unjust man is abomination to the just, and he 
that is upright in his way is abomination to the wicked,' Prov. 
xxix. 27. The eagle, saith the philosopher, hath continually 
enmity with the dragon and serpent. Saints are eagles ; they 
have enmity with the serpentine brood, but it is odium offensionis; 
they hate wicked men's sins, but not their persons. They loathe 
the poison, but not the cup in which it is. As tender physicians, 
they hate the noisome disease, but pity the patient. Thus the un- 
just man is abomination to the just ; but the wicked hate the 
godly, odio inimicitice, with a hatred of perfect enmity, wishing 
evil to their persons, and working it to the utmost of their power. 
They that are born after the flesh persecute them that are born 
after the spirit. Their rage is so great, that, were their power 
answerable to their malice, they would cut Israel off from being a 
people, that the name thereof might be had no more in remem- 

Indeed every Christian may say, as David, ' They hated me 
without a cause.' The world hath no just cause to hate and curse 
the people of God; but there is a reason of all their rage and 
wrath, enmity and cruelty, against the saints ; and that is, because 
they are saints. Wherefore did Cain imbrue his hands in his 
own brother's blood ? ' Because his own works were evil, and his 

71 THE pastor's farewell. 

brother's righteous,' 1 John iii. 12. The light is burdensome and 
grievous to owls and bats, and all night birds ; the light of a 
saint's holiness is offensive to sinners, that are used only to the 
deeds of darkness ; nay, the greater the light, the more painful to 
their sore eyes. Swine cannot endure sweet odours. Those that 
are unclean, and delight to wallow in the mire of vice, hate the 
fragrant perfumes of grace. The pleasant smell of spikenard is 
poisonous to them. Horse-flies are killed with ointments. 

Now if saints fight with enemies that are more politic and 
powerful than themselves, they must be conducted by one that is 
strong indeed, or they will be forced to leave the field. Besides, 
it is an engagement to God to help his people, because, for his 
sake, the world hates them. A prince counts it a dishonour to 
forsake him who hath ventured his life and lost his limbs in his 
cause and quarrel. 

Thirdly, Their own impotency. They are not able to take care 
of themselves, and therefore must be commended to another. In 
the civil law, there is provision made for outcasts ; there are some 
hospitals to entertain them. By the common law, if parents die, 
there are officers appointed to take care of poor fatherless children. 
' With God the fatherless find mercy,' Hosea xiv. 3. Those that are 
orphans want a guardian. Children which cannot go alone, need 
their mothers' helping hand. The strongest Christian is but a 
child, and except God hold him by his right hand, will every day 
get many falls and knocks. The greatest saint is but a glass with- 
out a bottom, which cannot stand any longer than it is held ; 
hence they are compared to a new-born infant, which is both pol- 
luted and ready to perish, if none take care of it, Ezek. xvi. 5. 

If believers' dangers be temporal, their defence must be the 
almighty and eternal God, or they are foiled. ' We have no 
strength, but our eyes are unto thee,' saith 2 Chron. xx. 12. They 
cannot do the ordinary actions of nature without his assistance, 
who is the God of all grace : ' In him we live, and move, and have 
our beings,' Acts xvii. 14. They live in him, and move by him, 
as they have their beings from him. If the fountain fail, the 
streams soon are dried up ; if God denieth his influence, man 
droppeth into earth. Inesse est de essentia creatmre, Inherence 
is essential to the creature. 

When spiritual perils overtake them, they cannot hold out with- 
out God's protection. When Hezekiah was left but a little in his 
own hands, how much doth he discover the pride of his own heart. 
Though Peter seemed so resolute and valiant a captain, as to go 

THE pastor's farewell. 75 

before all the apostles in courage, yet when Christ did but for an 
hour or two withdraw, how shamefully doth he fly back like a 
coward! The weak breath of a maid bloweth down the strong 
castle of his confidence. If God do but depart from Samson, his 
strength departs also, and the Philistines may make what pastime 
with him they please. The holiest man is no match for a devil. 
If our God leave us, our defence is departed from us, and the uncir- 
cumcised one will make sport with us indeed. 

All our power for sacred performances is wholly from another. 
' Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything,' 2 Cor. iii. 
4. To think, we suppose, is an easy thing ; but unless God help, it 
is too hard for us. God gave Israel their manna every day, or they 
could not have subsisted. God must give us fresh supplies of his 
Spirit in every duty, or they cannot be rightly performed. The 
greatest fulness of a Christian is not the fulness of a fountain, but 
of a vessel, which, because always is letting out, must be always 
taking in. The conduit, which is continually running, must be 
always receiving from the river. The Christian's disbursements are 
great and constant ; therefore such must his incomes from God be, 
or he will quickly prove a bankrupt. 

Habitual grace itself lieth as water at the bottom of the pum}), 
and cannot by all our labour be raised up till God pour in his ex- 
citing grace. The flame doth not more depend upon the fire than 
we upon God. Things that are weak lean on that which is strong ; 
the wood-vine, not able to stand of itself, clings about the hedge or 
tree, and thereby gets to some height. The weakest will go to the 
walls if not protected. 

This reason is implied in Christ's petition to his Father: ' Father, 
keep them.' As if he had said. They are poor shiftless children, 
that can neither stand nor go without help ; therefore they must not 
be left alone. Alas ! they are such pitiful, helpless creatures that 
any one may wrong them of the legacies which I have purchased 
for them, and bequeathed to them ; they will lose the grace I have 
given them, and fall into the sins which I have kept them from, 
whilst I was with them, if they be but one moment out of thine eye 
and arms ; therefore, Father, keep them. If they who were to be 
endowed with an extraordinary measure of the Spirit were unable to 
keep themselves, much more unable are we ; if pillars cannot stand 
of themselves, much less can weak reeds. 

Having spoken somewhat in the explication, I shall proceed to 
the application of the point. 

First, It informeth us of the piety of a true pastor. He com- 

76 THE pastor's farewell. 

mends his people to God ; this is his character. When others curse 
their people, and commit them to the devil, he blesseth his parish- 
ioners, and commendeth them to God, The mouth of some indeed, 
like Eabshakeh's, are full of railings, and their tongues are even 
black with blasphemies against God and his people ; though their 
curses are but like false fire, which may flash a little, but will do 
no execution ; but the faithful ministers of the gospel have learned 
other language — as they are blessed men, so they are blessing men. 
Some ministers are ministers of Satan ; all their business is to 
accuse the brethren. They are the saints' enemies, because they 
follow the thing that good is. Publicans bless them that bless them; 
but though the people of God pity them, and pray for them, and 
beg the blessing of God on them, yet they, far worse than publicans, 
return cursing for blessing. But true shepherds seek and study the 
welfare of their sheep. The false mother did not care though the 
child were divided and slain, but the true mother cried out, ' Divide 
not the child, in nowise slay it ; for her bowels yearned towards her 
child,' 1 Kings iii. 26. Ministers are called fathers, and their people 
their children. Wicked ministers are false fathers, and care not 
what becomes of their children. The great murderer of souls may 
slay them at his pleasure, and they will not open their mouths 
against him ; nay, too too often they help him drive the poor silly 
sheep out of tlieir pastures to the slaughterhouse. But godly min- 
isters, like true fathers, endeavour by all means the welfare of their 
children ; they cry out, with Hagar, ' Hoav can I see the death of 
my child ? ' How can I see the eternal death of my poor, ignorant, 
carnal neighbours ? They open their mouths, and their hearts too, 
(for their bowels jearn towards their children,) for their people to 
God, as the ruler to Christ, ' Sir, come down quickly ere my child 
die.' Lord, such unregenerate, scandalous children whom thou 
didst commit to my charge, are at the very j)oint of death. I have 
acquainted them from thee of the evil and end of their wicked ways, 
but cannot obtain so much as a sober hearing ; but. Lord, if thou 
wouldst speak to them they would hear thee ; thou canst open their 
eyes, break their stony hearts, and make them stoop. Lord, come 
down quickly ere my children die, nay, die eternally. 

Secondly, It discovereth the great privilege of a gracious people. 
When they are deserted by man, they are commended to God. 
Those that part them and their pastor cannot part them and their 
God, ' And now, brethren, I commend you to God,' Though 
Christians may be left by weak, earthly friends, yet they shall never 
be forsaken by their Almighty heavenly Father, Christ prayeth 


for them in heaven, Christians pray for them on earth ; how rich 
must they needs be who have a stock in such faithful hands, em- 
ployed for their use in both worlds. It was the misery of Julian 
that the church shut him out of her jDrayers, and that was a fore- 
runner of his sad future doom. It is the felicity of true Christians 
that they are in all the saints' prayers. 

All the felicity of man is bound up in the favour of God, and 
therefore to be commended to his care must needs be a great com- 
fort. I must tell you no people can enjoy a greater privilege. 
Israel was famous for this abo^'e all the nation's on the face of the 
earth ; ' For what nation is there so great ? ' saitli Moses, Deut. iv. 7. 
They that consider Israel's outward condition, may somewhat won- 
der how Israel should be glorious beyond all comparison. Israel 
was now wandering in a desolate, howling wilderness, having no 
food for their bellies but what a miracle must send them in, and no 
raiment for their bodies but that on their backs. Heaven must 
rain down bread, or they must perish with hunger ; a rock must be 
broached to give them water, or they die for thirst ; tlieir clothes 
must grow with their bodies, and not wear out neither, or they must 
go naked ; they had not a house to hide their heads in, but some 
slender tents ; turn which way they will, they fall into the paws of 
ravenous beasts, or into the hands of men no less cruel. Yet in this 
barren desert, and in the midst of these distractions, no nation in 
the world, were their tables never so richly spread, and their ward- 
robes never so largely filled, can compare with Israel for honour 
and happiness. But what is the reason ? Truly none but this, 
God was their patron and guardian. ' For what nation is there so 
great which hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is 
in all things we call upon him for ? ' Other nations might excel 
them in number, in treasure, in creatures ; other nations might have 
honours and pleasures nearer them ; but every nation was inferior 
to them, because no nation had God so near them. It is the near 
approach of this sun that causeth a spring and summer of light and 
gladness, of warmth and delights. That nation from which he de- 
parteth, whatsoever they enjoy, have but long dismal nights, and 
sharp bitter frosts. 

When men are said in Scripture to be obnoxious to all evil, they 
are only said to be forsaken by the chiefest good : ' I have forsaken 
my house, I have left my heritage,' Jer. xii. 7. But what is the 
fruit of God's forsaking his house? Cannot the building stand 
though the workman be gone ? No, it is tumbling down apace. 
' I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hands of her 

78 THE pastor's farewell. 

enemies. Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have 
made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness,' ver. 10. When 
this fence is removed, the vineyard is quickly destroyed. When 
David would pray his worst against the church's enemies, what doth 
he beg ? ' Let them be confounded,' Ps. xii. 5, or disappointed in 
all their designs. This is much, to conceive with sorrow and to 
have hard labour, and then to bring forth nothing. ' Let them be 
as the grass upon the house-top, which withereth before it be grown 
up,' ver. 6. Let them perish speedily, suddenly, and irrecoverably. 
This is more. The former was bad, that they should take much 
pains to no purpose ; but this is worse, that their pieces that they 
discharge against others should not only miss their mark, but recoil 
upon themselves. But all this and much more, ver. 8, which the 
psalmist addeth as an amplification of the latter, ' Neither let them 
that go by say. The blessing of the Lord be upon you;' this is worst 
of all. David knew that if they were out of God s care they should 
be under his curse, and then they should be miserable indeed. As 
an eclipse of the sun darkens the creation, though the other lights 
of heaven shine never so brightly, so whatsoever comforts any man 
enjoy eth, if God be wanting he is miserably woeful. It is Seneca's 
observation of Alexander, He overcame the Persians, but he slew 
Callisthines ; he conquered to the ocean, but he slew Callisthines, 
&c. That the slaughter of his friend drew a black line over all his 
honourable enterprises, and, as too much shadow to a picture, sullied 
the glory of them. It may be said of some men, they have large 
estates, but no God ; they have high preferments, but no God ; they 
have excellent parts and natural accomplishments, but no God. 
This want of a God gives a dash to all the other, and, like copperas, 
turns all their wine, be it never so rich, into ink and blackness. 

On the other side, the fruition of God is the greatest favour. As 
some write of the crystal, that what stone soever it toucheth, it puts 
a lustre and loveliness on it ; so whomsoever God approacheth to, 
he puts beauty and glory on the soul. 

Because the witness of an adversary is a double testimony, let 
Balaam, who, as some write of a toad, had a pearl in his head, 
though his body was poisonous, give in his evidence : ' How goodly 
are thy tents, Jacob, and thy tabernacles, Israel!' Num. xxiv. 5. 
He speaks both by way of interrogation and admiration ; their tents 
were so comely, and their tabernacles so lovely, that their very 
enemy was affected and ravished with them. But whence came 
Israel to be such a well marshalled army, that he who came to fight 
against them, thinks them beyond all compare, nay, doth himself 

THE pastor's farewell. 79 

admire their postures and order, their glory and gallantry ? Why, 
from the presence of their Lord-general. ' The Lord their God is 
with them, the shout of a king is amongst them.' 

The new temple, which the Spirit of Grod describeth so exactly in 
its various dimensions, and curious perfections, such as should never 
have parallel, hath all its glorious privileges from God's gracious 
presence : ' The name of that city from that day shall be, The Lord 
is there,' Ezek. xlviii. 35. 

It is observable, Exod. xxxiii. 1-4, that God seemeth to make 
Israel a very gracious offer : ' And the Lord said unto Moses, De- 
part and go up hence, thou and the peo|)le which thou hast brought 
up out of the land of Egypt, unto a land flowing with milk and 
honey. And I will send an angel before thee ; and I will drive out 
the Canaanite, and the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite ; 
for I will not go up in the midst of thee, for thou art a stiff-necked 
people, lest I consume thee in the way.' Yet mark how the people 
take this bountiful tender : ' And when the people heard these evil 
tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on his ornaments,' 
ver. 4. What evil tidings were here, 1. To have an angel their 
guide and guardian : ' I will send an angel before thee.' Surely that 
nurse would have been very tender of his Lord's son, his first-born. 
2. To have all their enemies conquered : ' And I will drive out the 
Canaanites.' Might not Israel march along without fear, when God 
had engaged that all their foes should be thrown at their feet. 8. 
To be conducted to the goodliest country under the cope of heaven, 
to a land flowing with milk and honey, to a place that was the 
paradise of the earth, and the fittest to be the type of heaven. 
Would not thousands have valued such a promise at a high price ? 
What was there in all this which called for mourning, that the 
Israelites take it so heavily, and lay it so much to heart ? Truly 
this, the want of God's presence, which could not be made up by 
all these privileges, therefore Moses prays, ' If thy presence go not 
with us, carry us not hence. Lord, it is better to be in a howling, 
barren wilderness with thy presence, than in Canaan without thee.' 
It is not a glorious angel's being our captain which can give us true 
comfort ; it is not the casting down our enemies that can lift us up 
in glory ; it is not the pleasant land flowing with milk and honey 
that can please us, without thy presence. If thou leave us, all our 
Isaacs, do they promise us never so much joy or laughter, are 
Benonis, sons of our sorrows, and Ichabods, the glory, the honour, 
the happiness is departed from Israel : ' If thy presence go not with 
us, carry us not hence.' But here is the privilege of saints, they 

80 THE pastor's farewell. 

have God's presence : * My presence shall go with you, and I will 
give you rest.' 

Thirdly, Here is comfort for Christians ; they are commended to 
the living God's care. The apostle had little to give his sorrowful 
friends, but he would speak for them to that King who was able 
and willing to give them all things. And indeed this was his 
greatest charity. By bodily alms he had opened his own purse, but 
by commending them to God he opened heaven's treasury. Paul's 
prayers were more worth to them than the empire of the whole 
world. The apostle was a right courtier ; he observed his prince's 
will, and drew up his petitions according to his pleasure, and there- 
fore knew they should be prevalent. Joab did not doubt of suc- 
cess, when he set the woman of Tekoah a-work, for that which 
David desired more than himself. 

Beloved friends, I esteem it my duty and privilege that I may 
write after the apostle's pious copy. Ye are the people to which I 
was first called to be a pastor ; though opportunity hath sometimes 
been offered for greater preferment, yet I still waived all thoughts 
of leaving my first love, and removal to any other parish. I have 
been amongst you these eleven years, and cannot wholly complain 
that I have spent my strength in vain, and laboured in vain ; some 
have acknowledged that they are the seals of my ministry, others, 
that God hath made me instrumental for their increase in grace. 
God's power hath appeared in my weakness, and his mercy 
been manifest in my unworthiness, yet, alas ! how many of you have 
had the dark side of this glorious pillar of the gospel all this while 
towards you, which is matter of sad lamentation ! Oh how speech- 
less will they be at the day of Christ, who, after so many years' pub- 
lic and private preaching of the word to them, shall be found in 
a Christless, graceless estate. Surely none sink so deep into hell 
as they who are pressed down thither under the weight of the 

I must, notwithstanding tliis ground of unspeakable grief, admire 
that free grace which hath made me helpful to any one soul's good. 
Besides that, I enjoyed more of God in his ordinances amongst you, 
than ever I have enjoyed all my life. I cannot but acknowledge 
that many of you have had much hearty kindness and respect for 
me, not only above my deserts, but much above what any parish that 
I have known or heard of in the county have had for their minister. 
I may say as Paul did, My joy was the joy of you all that feared 
God ; but now the providence of God is parting us, I know not 
better how to speak my love and faithfulness to you than by imi- 

THE pastor's farewell. 81 

tating this holy pattern in the text, and commending you to God 
and the word of his grace. Indeed, all is in this one God ; if he 
charge himself with you, none can hurt you ; if he be yours, every- 
thing will help you. When Alexander asked Porus, his prisoner, 
how he would be used, Porus answered, Ba(n\iKa)<;, Like a king. 
Alexander asked the same question again, he gave the same answer 
still. Do you desire no more ? said Alexander. No, saitli he, all 
is in that one word, (Plut.) If it were demanded of you to whom 
ye would be commended, I hope ye would answer to God, for ye 
cannot but know that all good is in one God. The covenant of 
grace is a rich mercy, to which all the crowns and empires in the 
world are but nits and nothings ; but this is the Sun which makes 
that heaven so glorious ; this is the sum and substance of it, ' I will 
be your God, and ye shall be my people.' The design of the Son 
of God in his birth and death was certainly high and honourable. 
It was a noble end that was in the eye of such an agent, but it was 
no more than to beg and buy of God to take care of man, whom 
for his rebellion he had cast off: ' He suffered, the just for the un- 
just, to bring us to God/ 1 Pet. iii. 18. Living David, when his 
soul was amongst lions, and ready to be torn in pieces every hour, 
commits it into God's hands : ' Into thy hands. Lord, I commit 
my spirit,' Ps. xxxi. 4. The dying Redeemer, who knew the worth 
of that inestimable jewel, his own soul, by the price which he paid 
for the souls of others, desired no other cabinet to have it laid up 
in : ' Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.' To commend 
you to God is all that I can do for you, and it is indeed all that ye 
can desire of me. Were you my nearest relations, and the object 
of never so dear affections, though you were as near and dear to me 
as my own soul, if I had the strongest engagement to you imagin- 
able, and the greatest obligations possible, I could do no more, I 
need do no more, than to commend you to God. Therefore give 
me leave, now I am taking my leave of you, to commend you to 
God. ' And now, brethren, I commend you to God.' 

First, I commend you to his special favour and affection. The 
good-will of God is such a lump of sugar as will sweeten the bit- 
terest cup ; it hath a virtue in it which will turn the smallest liquor 
into cordial water. The little bird in her small down nest sings 
pleasantly, when the great birds in their large thorny nests have but 
harsh voices. The saint in the soft bed of God's special love 
sleepeth comfortably, when the wicked in their high places, great 
preferments, for want of this are in little ease. His general love is 
like the ordinary beams of the sun, which convey light and heat for 


82 THE pastor's farewell. 

the refreshment of all the world. So the Lord is good to all ; his 
mercy is over all his works ; but his special love is like the beams 
of the sun united in a glass, which, passing by others, fires the 
object only, God's love to his new creatures in Christ is burning 
love ; he hath choice good, and good-will too, for his chosen ones : 
' Let me see the good of his chosen. Look upon me, and be merci- 
ful to me, as thou art to them that fear thy name.' It is said of 
Socrates, he prized the king's countenance above his coin. 

A kiss from God is of greater value than all the kingdoms on 
earth. The Christian can travel merrily, though his way be dirty 
under foot, if the heavens do but favour him, and it be clean over 
head : If in the light of a king's countenance there be life ; and 
his favour be quickening and refreshing as a cloud of the latter 
rain, Pro v. xvi. 15 ; Avhat is there then in the light of God's coun- 
tenance ! If a heathen could say, Contemno mmutos istos deos, 
modo Jovem. proinUum ludjcam, I care not for those petty gods 
and demi-gods, so I can have but Jupiter's good- will ; surely a 
saint may say, I care not for men's frowns, or devils' fury, so I may 
obtain but the blessed God's favour. 

This special favour of God is a pearl of such price, that it was 
bought with the blood of Christ, and none can beg a greater for 
themselves or others. This was David's prayer for himself: ' Lord, 
lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me,' Ps. iv. As the 
single saint, so the church : ' Cause thy face to shine upon thy 
servants, and we shall be saved,' Ps. Ixxx. Believers who love 
their neighbours as themselves can desire nothing better or greater. 

Joseph loved Benjamin entirely: ' His bowels yearned upon his 
brother,' Gen. xliii. 29, 30. But how doth he shew it ? What 
doth he request for him? 'God be gracious to thee, my son.' 
Daniel, who fasted, prayed, and was sorely affected with the 
church's afflictions, when he poured out his very heart to God 
for them, and would sum up all his prayers into one petition ; this 
is it : ' The Lord make his face to shine upon his sanctuary that is 
desolate, for the Lord's sake,' Dan. ix. 17. The prayer of the high 
priest for the people was to this purpose : ' The Lord make his face 
to shine upon you, and be gracious to you,' Num. vi. 24. Affec- 
tionate Paul's lips spake the same language on the behalf of his 
Corinthians : * The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love 
of God, and communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all,' 2 
Cor. xiii. 14. 

Now to this God, in whose favour is life, Ps, xxx., nay, whose 
loving-kindness is better than life, Ps. Ixiii., I commend you, and 

THE pastor's farewell. 83 

my prayer shall be, ' God be merciful to you, and bless you, and 
cause his face to shine upon you,' Ps. Ixvii. 1. 

Secondly, I commend you to his special care and protection. 
Angels are the church's guardians: ' He shall give his angels charge 
over thee ;' but God himself is captain of the saints' life-guard. He 
is Lord of hosts. 

It was an honour to David, and granted to him by Achish as a 
special favour, to be keeper of his head for ever ; but it is an infinite 
condescension in the glorious God ; yet this office he is pleased to 
take upon him, to be keeper of his saints' heads, or their head- 
keeper for ever. Nay, he is known by this name, ' He that keepeth 
Israel.' And if you would know how he keepeth them, truly so 
diligently that he saith, ' I keep it night and day ' ; they are every 
moment within the view of his favourable eye, and under the guard 
of his almighty arm, Isa. xxvii. 4 ; and so tenderly, that he is said 
to keep them as the apple of his eye, Zech. ii. 8, which is the 
tenderest piece, the crystalline humour, say naturalists, of the 
tenderest part of man's body ; of which nature is so tender, that she 
strongly guards it with tunicles. A great blow is better borne on 
the back, than a small touch on the eye. Oculus et fama non 
2oatiuntur jocos. 

God's providence extendeth to all his creatures ; it is like the sun, 
of universal influence, but in a special manner it is operative for 
the safety of his saints : i ' He is the Saviour of all men, (that is, in 
respect of preservation or temporary salvation,) but especially of 
them that believe/ 1 Tim. iv. Godly men are compared to wheat, 
wicked men to chaff. Good husbands will not sjDoil their chaff, 
but they are specially careful of their good corn. When a fire 
breaketh out, God may leave sinners, as lumber, to be consumed, 
but he will be sure that his saints, which are liis jewels, shall be 
saved. The church is God s house, and therefore that shall be well 
guarded, whatsoever be neglected : ' The eyes of the Lord run to 
and fro through the whole earth, to shew himself strong on the 
behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him,' 2 Chron. xvi. 9. 

The words contain, 1. The universality of God's providence. His 
eyes walk the rounds ; as Satan's feet go to and fro through the 
whole earth to devour, so God's eyes run to and fro through the 
whole earth to defend. Diana's temple was burnt down when she 
was busy at Alexander's birth, and could not be at two places 
together ; but God is present everywhere, at the same time ; and 
therefore his church, which is his temple, can never suffer through 
^ Deus sic curat universos quasi singulos, sic siagulos quasi solos. — Aufj. 

84 THE pastor's farewell. 

his absence. Though heaven be God's palace, yet it is not his 
prison. His eyes run to and fro through the whole earth. 

2. The efficacy of his providence, to shew himself strong. God 
fights with his eyes as well as his hands ; he doth not only see the 
people's dangers, but save them from it. When the philosopher, 
in a starry night, was in danger of shipwreck, he cried out. Surely 
I shall not perish, there are so many eyes of providence over me. 
King Philip said, he could sleep safely because his friend Anti- 
pater watched for him. God watcheth and wardeth for his people 

If God forsake a people, every enemy and evil will quickly find 
them : ' They are bread for us, for their defence is departed from 
them,' Num. xiv. 9. The outlying deer are shot, while they within 
the pale are safe. The Komans in their wars used to call out their 
tutelar gods of those cities they besieged, as judging them invincible 
while they remained there, but easily won if they departed. When 
God left the Israelites, though but for a little while, the Holy Ghost 
said they were naked, Exod. xxxii. 25. How naked ? Not for want 
of raiment or weapons of war, but for want of God's presence and 
protection, saith Junius.^ 

Whilst God continueth with you, ye are safe ; if trials and 
troubles come, run under the shelter of this shield ; if he doth not 
prevent the evil of affliction, he will protect you from the evil in 
affliction. When the city of Shechem was taken, the inhabitants 
fled to the tower, God is a strong tower, Prov. x., that no cannon 
can pierce, and he is a high tower, which no ladder can scale, no 
arrow can reach, Ps. xviii. 

As it was said of the tribunal of Cassius,- that it was piorum 
rupes et reorum scopulus, a rock of refuge to the good, a rock of 
revenge to the bad ; so it may be said of God, he is a refuge for 
the oppressed saint, a present help in time of trouble, though he 
wound the heads of sinners. 

Now to this God, whose power is an all-sufficient shelter, and 
whose special providence is sure protection, at whose beck and 
bidding are all creatures in heaven and earth, who hath infinite 
wisdom to direct you, and infinite strength to suppoi't you, I com- 
mend you, and my prayer shall be : The Lord preserve you from 
all evil ; the Lord preserve your soul ; the Lord preserve you in 
your goings out, and in your comings in, from this time forth and 
for ever, Ps. xii. 1, 7, 8. 

Thirdly, In a word, I commend you to his universal benediction ; 

^ Kon veste, sed gratia et prjesidio Dei. — Jun. in loc. • Valer. Maxim. 

THE pastor's farewell. 85 

to his blessings in all your undertakings and concernments ; as to 
his grace to affect you in the midst of the world's hatred, and to 
his power to protect you in the midst of all hardships, so to his 
presence to prosper you in all the works of your hands. The fruit- 
fulness of the earth depends wholly upon the influence of heaven. 
If the sun withhold its heat, and the clouds their moisture, all 
things decay and wither. The success of all your actions depend 
on God's benediction. If he deny his concurrence, nothing prospers: 
' Except the Lord build the house, they labour but in vain that build 
it,' Ps. cxxvii. 1. It is lost labour to undertake the keeping up that 
house which Grod will have pulled down. It is to no purpose to 
plough that field which God will have lie fallow. Neither men 
can help you in civil things, nor the means of grace in spirituals, 
unless God afford his assistance. Some philosophers tell us that 
God is the soul of the world ; as the soul is in every part of the 
body, so God in every part of the world. Sure I am, as the body 
moveth not, nor any j)art of it, but as it is animated and acted by 
the soul, so neither can the world, or anything in it, but as it is 
enlivened and acted by God. He is the primtim mobile, which sets 
all the other orbs in motion. 

It is said of David, that he prospered whithersoever Saul sent 
him, 1 Chron. xi. 9 ; but what was the spring of the watch, which 
caused all the wheels to move so regularly ? ' For God was with 
him.' It is his gracious presence alone which gives success to 
every enterprise. 

His blessing can turn not only water into wine, temporal mercies 
into spiritual benefits, but even poison into wholesome food, every 
stone thrown at you by your enemies into a precious stone ; he can 
cause the wrath of men, as the hunter useth the rage of the dogs 
for his own ends, to work, not only for his praise, but also for your 
profit ; as a wise governor, meeting with opposite factions in a state, 
while each studieth and striveth to undermine the other, serveth his 
own ends, and secureth his own interest by both. The wise 
and powerful God, while wicked men plot against his people, 
makes them to conspire for his people. The world's actings are 
against the saints intentionally, in regard of the malice of their 
hearts, but they are for the saints eventually, in regard of God's 
overruling hand. That knife which wicked men endeavour to 
thrust into some vital part of the believer to kill him, doth but 
light upon some imposthume, and thereby tend to his cure. The 
scorching sun of persecution doth but ripen him for a glorious 

86 THE pastok's fakewell. 

Now to this God, who can blow upon all his enemies' plots and 
they perish ; who can breathe with his Spirit upon his people's 
actions and they prosper ; who can cause all his providences 
to tend to your spiritual profit and eternal peace, I commend you ; 
and my prayer shall be, ' The Lord hear you in the day of trouble, 
and the name of the God of Jacob defend you ; send you help from 
his sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion ; grant you according 
to your hearts' gracious desires, and fulfil all your counsels,' Ps. xx. 
2, 3, 4. 

For your further comfort, know that this God to whom ye are 
commended is an able friend, a loving friend, and a faithful friend, 
and therefore it is the greatest good I can do for you. 

First, God is the most able friend. To have a friend at court is 
a great courtesy, because such a one can command much ; but 
what is it then to have God for your friend, who can command all 
things ? God is able to do more for you than you can ask or think. 
He is thirty times called Almighty in Job ; he can do above all 
expressions, beyond all apprehensions. What cannot he do for you, 
who made the whole world of nothing, and hangs the massy earth 
upon nothing ? 

He is able to defend you from whatsoever is hurtful. There is a 
dialogue between a heathen and a Jew after the Jews' return from 
captivity, all nations round about them being enemies to them. 
The heathen asked the Jew how he and his countrymen could hope 
for any safety, because, saith he, every one of you is a silly sheep 
compassed about with fifty wolves. Ay but, saith the Jew, we are 
kept by such a shepherd as can kill all those wolves when he pleas- 
eth. God can with a breath, a puff, blast all the plots of his ene- 
mies, and cause their persons to perish. How happy are they then 
who have him for their stronghold ! The Egyptians had an idol 
called Baalzephon, lord of the watch-tower, whose office was to 
fright such fugitive Jews as fled from their masters ; but it seems 
he was asleep when the Israelites marched out of Egypt in a full 
body. God is pleased to call himself the watchman of his people, 
but he is such a watchman as neither slumbereth or taketh those 
short sleeps by day, nor sleepeth, or hath any long sleep by night ; 
his eyes never close ; all his thoughts are waking thoughts for the 
good of his people. 

If enemies come before them, he is the Lord of hosts, if behind 
them, he is their rearward. It was said of the Palladium in Troy, 
that whilst that image remained there the city was impregnable. 

THE pastor's farewell. 87 

and that till the Greeks found out a stratagem to steal that idol 
away, they could not take it. Whatever fancy there was in that, 
this is a truth, that God is the defence of a people, and while he is 
present they are safe. 

Are your dangers bodily ? he can bear off those blows. No evil 
can arrest you without leave from this King. All his servants are 
courtiers, and thereby privileged persons. He can make a hedge 
about yourselves, your houses, and all that ye have, as about Job, 
chap. i. 10, and then neither men nor devils can make a gap for any 
to enter and injure you. Hesiod speaks of thirty thousand demi- 
gods that were ^uXa/ce? avOpcoTroov, keepers of men ; the true God 
keepeth his in a pavilion, as a prince his favourite, from the mis- 
chief of others' envy and malice, Ps. xxxi. 20. 

If afflictions be near, he will not be far off. He ventures his 
fortune in the same bottom with his people : ' When thou passest 
through the fire, I will be with thee ; and through the waters, it 
shall not come nigh thee,' Isa. xliii. 2. If the church be a burning 
bush, it will not be consumed, because God is in it. As it is safe 
in the fire, so also in the water ; though it be a vessel, as that 
wherein the disciples were sailing in a rough sea, tossed up and 
down with tempestuous winds and boisterous waves, nay, filled almost 
with waters, and ready to sink, yet there is no fear, because Christ 
is in it ; for though he seem to sleep, waiting only for a fit oppor- 
tunity to manifest and magnify his power, yet when the storm 
comes, he will be sure to awake, and with his word of command to 
cause a calm. The church, as Jerome saith of Arcturus, semper 
versatur, nimquam mergitur, is much tossed, but never drowned : 
' God is in the midst of her, she shall never be moved ; he shall de- 
fend her, and that right early.' 

God is said to ride on the heavens for his people's help, Deut. 
xxxiii. 26, 27. That is, either he will come speedily, as the hea- 
vens move swiftly, for his people's deliverance ; he will not delay 
till it be too late, but prevent them with his love : or he hath 
power, and will command all his creatures to be serviceable to his 
church's safety : ' He rideth on the heavens for thy help.' As a man 
that rides on a horse can command it or turn it, and wind it with 
a curb and bit which way he pleaseth, so can the omnipotent God 
command the heavens and all their host for his people's help- 
Though enemies come with open mouth to swallow the church up 
quickly, yet she will be gravel in their teeth ; and should they ever 
take her down, as the whale did Jonah, yet God will force them 

88 THE pastor's farewell. 

to vomit her np again, and make them find, by woeful experience, 
that she is too hard a morsel for the strongest persecutors' stomachs 
to digest. 

Are your fears spiritual ? God is able to be your defence. It is 
probable your suspicions are great, that you shall fall off or fall 
away. The world is a slippery place, but he is able to keep you 
from falling, Jude 24. We are apt to fall on the right hand by 
its allurements ; its rich wine is apt to intoxicate our brains, and 
make us stumble. We are apt to fall on the left hand by its af- 
frightments ; as the silver of its comforts fouls our fingers, so the 
fire of its cross is apt to black and defile us. Those that travel in 
rugged ways and on stony lanes often fall, but God is able to ' keep 
you from falling.' If God keep his hold of you, there is no fear 
but ye will keep your feet, and your ground too. ' We are kept by 
his power, through faith unto salvation.' His power and his love 
are the eagles' wings upon which the saints are carried out of Egypt, 
through the wilderness, and safely conveyed to Canaan. 

He can keep you from falling two ways. 

1. He can deny temptations to you, if he see they will be too 
hard for you. All have not the same faith, therefore all are not 
tried in the same fire ; he may give a strong purge or vomit to a 
strong man, but will not to a babe in grace. He knoweth whether 
the armour will bow, and if it will, he can prevent the bullet. He 
is acquainted with the hardiest soldiers in his army, and them he 
will call to the hardest service, Kev. iii. 10. When the weather is 
very bad he will not venture his sickly child abroad. 

2. He can enable you to foil the tempter. Little David, in his 
strength, can conquer great Goliath. He kept Joseph's soul from 
being so much as singed — miraculously as the three children's 
bodies — by that great fire which his mistress made to have burnt 
him. Though the saint, like Daniel, be cast for his conscience into 
a den, there to fight with, and in danger to be devoured by, lion- 
like lusts, he can bring him out as safe and as whole as he was cast 
in. The goldsmith would not venture his gold in the fire if he 
knew it would be consumed by it. Man is no match for devils, 
but God over-matcheth them. 

Preservation from sin these two ways, Augustine acknowledgetli 
with much affection. Lord, saith he, when I had a heart to sin, 
thou didst keep off the temptation, and when I had a temptation 
to sin, thou didst keep off my heart. If your hearts be as dry as 
tinder, he can hinder Satan from striking fire ; if he suffer the 
tempter to strike fire, he can make the tinder wet, and hinder it 

THE pastor's farewell. 89 

from taking. As he is able to defend you from what is hurtful, so 
to relieve you with what is needful ; as the fire both purifieth the 
air, and warmeth them that sit about it.i He kuoweth that ye are 
indigent, and have nothing of your own to live upon ; but he can 
send you in such daily supplies as may afford you an honourable 
subsistence. I have read of one that feasted the vast army of 
Xerxes. God's estate is infinite, and therefore will bear a liberal 
provision for all his children. I know you desire proficiency of grace, 
and perfection in glory, above all the world. He can build you up 
in grace, he can cause all grace to abound. If this Sun draw nigh 
to you, the fruits of the spirit will ripen apace. This well of salva- 
tion can fill every vessel of your hearts, be they never so wide ; he 
can make the babe of grace to grow till he become a young man, a 
strong man, and a father. If the nurse be taken from the child, 
and the breasts be denied it, of which it used to suck with so much 
delight, he can make it thrive as well with the spoon : in the want 
of pure public ordinances, he can be a little sanctuary to his saints. 
He often sendeth them a warm bit up to their chambers when 
they cannot come down and feed with the rest of the family. He 
can give you an inheritance that fades not away ; he can conduct 
you through all your hardships, and crown you at last with 
heaven, where ye shall be kept both from sin and suffering, and 
freed, not only from foils, but also from fighting ; where the love of 
God shall never be questioned, nor his providence quarrelled ; 
where ye shall never offend others with your purity, nor have 
cause to defend yourselves from their injuries ; ' where all tears 
shall be wiped from your eyes, and sorrow and sighing shall flee 
away ; where persecutors cease from troubling, and the weary are 
at rest ;' where your names shall be fully vindicated, your infir- 
mities be wholly banished, j'our graces be perfected, and your souls 
infinitely blessed, being locked up in the bosom of Christ, and 
lodged in the embraces of God for ever and ever. 

2. He is the most loving friend. Some have power to do their 
neighbours a courtesy, but tell us they owe them not so much good- 
will. God, as he hath power enough to enable him, so he hath 
love enough to move him to do his people good. Jonathan ven- 
tured far for David's safety, and the reason was, for he loved him 
as his own soul. They who have God's heart, are sure of his 
helping hand. He chooseth his love, and then loves his choice ; 

^ Si esuris, panis tibi est; si sitis, aqua tibi est; si in tenebris, lumen est, &c. — 
Avfj. Tract, in Johan. 

90 THE pastor's farewell. 

he had precious thoughts of them before they had any thoughts of 

God loves his people, as they are his eternal choice : the mother 
loves the child whom she carried nine months in her womb. Oh 
how, then, doth God love his people, whom he carried in the womb 
of his purpose from all eternity ! He loves them, as they are his 
own picture, as they are like him in grace and holiness. Men 
have loved others the more for resembling them in sin ; so did 
Heliogabalus his children. God loves his children the more for 
resembling him in sanctity. Grace is lovely ; God cannot but love 
his saints, because he loves himself. He loves them as they are his 
Son's purchase. They which were so dearly bought, are not easily 
loathed. Jacob was exceeding tender of Benjamin, though he 
could, as occasion required, expose the ten patriarchs to all 
weathers ; yet by his good- will the wind must not blow upon Ben- 
jamin : if Benjamin miscarry, he dieth with him. And what is 
the reason of this extraordinary affection ? — possibly this, Benja- 
min was the child of his beloved Rachel ; Benjamin was dearly 
bought, he cost the life of his dear wife. So God loves his saints 
with a singular love, because they are the children of his dear Son, 
the travail of his soul. His beloved Son had many a sharp throe, 
and many a bitter pang, before he could bring them forth ; nay, 
they cost him his very life. 

He loves them above all the world besides. All others are dross ; 
they are his gold. This whole world was set up as a tent for 
them to lodge in for the time of their pilgrimage ; and when they 
shall be removed to their Father's house, this tent will presently be 
taken down. If all the wheat were but gathered into the heavenly 
garner, the chaff would not be an hour out of the unquenchable 
fire. He loves them as his own Son, John xvii. 26, 27. Who can 
tell the love God bears to his Son? The same love he bears to his 
saints. His name is love, his nature is love, his Son is the token 
of his love, his Spirit is the earnest of his love, the gospel his love- 

Hence it is that they are so happy who are committed to God's 
keeping, because he is so loving a guardian. 

All the while that his people suffer, he doth sympathise, and he 
will support them. As a tender father he proportions the burden 
to the strength of his children's back. He doth like a lutanist, 
to use Chrysostom's similitude, who will not let the strings of his 
instrument be too slack, lest they mar the music, nor suffer them 
to be too hard screwed up, lest they break. He who taught the 

THE pastor's farewell. 91 

husbandman to use several instruments for the threshing of several 
sorts of grain, and not to turn the cart-wheel about upon the 
cummin, Isa. xxviii. 25, will certainly himself not suffer his people 
to be afflicted above what they are able, 1 Cor. x. 13. 

His love will set all his other attributes at work for his people's 
good. His wisdom will contrive, his power will act, and his faith- 
fulness will perform whatsoever he promiseth for the comfort of 
his church, and all because he loveth them. What would not 
David have done for Absalom, whom he aflfecteth so dearly ? When 
Absalom rebelled against him and sought his life, his heart relented 
towards Absalom out of love. What a charge doth he give his 
captains concerning him! — 'Deal gently for my sake with the 
young man, even with Absalom.' What will not God do for liis 
chosen whom he loveth? When they wander and run from him, 
he followeth after and wooeth them. ' For the iniquity of his 
covetousness I was wroth and smote him ; I hid me, and was wroth, 
and he went on frowardly in the way of his own heart.' Mark, 
here is a child in a great crime ; his father corrects him, and in- 
stead of kissing the rod, he kicks at the hand that holds it — ' He 
went on frowardly in the way of his own heart.' Well, what is the 
fruit of this frowardness ? You might expect greater severity upon 
such contumacy. Surely, if few stripes will do no good, many 
must be laid on ; or if the rod will not do, the axe might be used. 
But, lo, what love doth ! ' I have seen his ways, and will heal 
him : I will lead him also, and restore comforts to him and to his 
mourners,' Isa. Ivii. 17-19. Well, though he be undutiful, yet he 
is my child ; I will throw away my rods, and draw him with the 
cords of love ; though he freeze under the nipping frosts, yet he 
will thaw under my warm beams. 

3. He is the most faithful friend. He is constant in his love. 
Some are able, and loving also for a time ; but their love, like a 
candle, though it burn a little in a close room and calm weather, is 
easily blown out by a stormy wind. If a Christian be called to 
the cross, he is, like the deer that is shot, by the herd pushed out 
of their company; but God is a lasting, yea, an everlasting friend. 
His love, like the sun, can never be abated, much less extinguished, 
by the greatest tempest, but is always going forth in its full 
slrength. ' A brother is born for adversity; a friend loveth at all 
times,' Prov. xvii. 17. Such a friend is God, who, when few men 
will, never fails to appear for his suffering servants, 2 Tim. iv. 16, 
17. Basil ventured very far for a persecuted friend ; and being 
blamed for it, answered, Ego aliter amare non didici, I have 

92 THE pastor's farewell. 

learned not to love otherwise. The ancients pictured friendship in 
the shape of a fair young man, bare-headed, with his breast open, 
meanly apparelled, with this inscription on his clothes: To live 
and to die with you ; and this on his forehead, Summer and winter ; 
and with this on his heart, Prope, longe, Far and near. God is 
such a friend as will never disown or deny his people. In the 
furnace the three children shall have his presence, wherever he is 

When men are mutable, and appear, as Tertullian saith of the 
peacock, all in changeable colours, use their friends as we do sun- 
dials, look no longer on them, nor regard them, than the sun shineth 
on them, ' God is a faithful creator,' 1 Pet. iv. 19; will be sure 
to mind the house that he hath built, and that most of all when it 
is out of repair and ready to fall. Bucholcerus, upon his friend's 
going to court to teach the Prince Elector's children, told him, I 
will give you one piece of counsel which may do you good whilst 
you live. His friend hearkened to him : I commend, saith he, to 
you the faith of devils ; take heed whom you trust. 

Indeed, there are many men like ponds, clear at the top, and mud 
at the bottom ; fair in their tongues, but foul in their hearts. 
The greatest men's words are often like dead men's shoes, he may 
go barefoot that trusteth to them. But oh what a faithful friend is 
God, who never faileth his ! He is such a physician as will be sure 
to visit his patients often when sick, although he may pass by their 
doors when they be well. 

He is faithful to his promise ; his word is the truth, Col. i. 5. 
His church is the pillar of truth, not to bear it up, but to hold it 
out, 1 Tim. iii ; his sacraments the seals of truth ; he himself is the 
Lord God of truth, Ps. xxxiv. 5. Who fears to be deceived when 
truth promiseth ? i He keeps his promise to a word ; ' Ye know in 
all your hearts, and in all your souls, that there hath not one good 
thing failed of all that the Lord promiseth,' Joshua xxiii. 14. The 
birth of the promise will answer their conception, and they bring 
forth in full feature and glory. 

God is usually better, but never in the least worse, than his word. 
His promise is equivalent to possession. He keeps touch with his 
jDCople in the time of performance to a day : 2 ' The self-same day 
Israel marched out of Egypt,' Exod. xii. 41. The four hundred and 
thirty years were that very day expired, nay, to a night : Dan. v. 

^ Quis falli timeat cum promittit Veritas. — Aug. Confes., lib xi. cap. 1. 
' In sacra scriptura nou solum bonitas est quod prcecipitur, et fselicitas quod pro- 
mittitur, sed etiam Veritas quod dicitur. — Hiujo. 

THE pastor's farewell. 93 

30. ' In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans 
slain.' When the big-bellied promise had gone its full time, the 
seventy years being then exjDired, it could not stay till morning for 
its delivery, but fell in labour that very night, and was safe de- 

The promises are the flowers of which the cordial juleps are 
made which refresh you in fainting hours ; but as God's love is 
the root upon which they grow, so his faithfulness is the hand that 
must bring them to you. It is your happiness that your riches 
lie in such good hands as God's, and that the public faith of 
heaven is engaged for the payment of all your bonds ; for be con- 
fident, he who will not suffer a liar to enter heaven, will much less 
suffer a lie to enter his own heart : ' Faithful is he that hath pro- 
mised, and also will do it,' 1 Thes. v. 24. 

Thus, my dearly beloved, I commend you to the favour and 
affection, power and protection, care and benediction, of this God, 
who is so able, so loving, and so faithful a friend. 

But as I desire, and shall endeavour by faith and prayer to com- 
mend you to God, so I cannot but hope, and I beg it of all amongst 
you that have any interest at the throne of grace, that ye would 
commend me to God : ' I beseech j^ou, for the Lord Jesus Christ's 
sake, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for 
me,' Kom. xv. 30. 

Before I conclude, as I have commended you to God, so let me 
commend you to, and commend to you, the word of his grace. 
Julius Cajsar being forced to swim for his life, held his commentary 
in one hand above water, and swam to land with the other. 
Without question you have more cause to value the word of God's 
grace. The law breatheth forth a cold blast, a north wind of 
threatenings, but the gospel sendeth forth a warm gale, a soutli 
wind of promises. Grace of all God's attributes must not be neg- 
lected ; love can least endure to be slighted. Oh let me beseech 
you, for the Lord's sake, for your souls' sake, to value the gospel. 
Alas ! what are we without it, but condemned malefactors, every 
moment liable to be called forth and hung up, as monuments of 
God's fury, in hell ! If ever poor creature, in fear every moment of 
being fetched out of the prison and carried to the gallows, did 
esteem a pardon, sure I am ye have cause to prize the gospel. 
sirs, how had all of us at this day been shut up under the law's 
curse, in the dungeon of endless wi-atli and misery, had not the 
gospel opened the prison doors, knocked off our shackles, and set 
our souls at liberty ! 

94 THE pastor's farewell. 

I commend the word of his grace to you under a fourfold con- 

First, To purify your affections. I know ye want grace ; now the 
word of grace can beget grace, and increase grace. It is the usual 
pipe through which grace may be conveyed into the vessels of your 
hearts. The laws of men may reform your actions, but it is the 
gospel of God which can renew your affections. Some poets speak 
of musicians that by the force of their music can make stones leap 
into walls, and tame beasts, be they never so savage. The word 
of God's grace will do much more, it will turn stones into children 
of Abraham ; it will change a heart of stone into a heart of flesh ; 
it will tame lions, and turn them into lambs, Isa. xi. 4-6. It 
hath made the very hearts of them to bleed, whose hands were 
imbrued in the blood of the Eedeemer. 

Let your endeavour be, that this word of grace may come with 
power to your souls, that you may not only hear it, but savour it ; 
and not only read it, but relish it. Oh, my friends, the lack of 
this is the undoing of thousands ! What is the reason that some 
who seemed very fair for heaven, fall away foully, and, as some 
mariners boast, can sail with all winds, to Avhat haven soever they 
blow ? Truly this, the gospel, though sometimes it conquered 
their outworks, never surprised the royal fort of their hearts ; 
though it darted in some light, yet it was never received in the 
love of it. Oh, therefore, let me beseech you that ye receive not 
the grace of God in vain, 2 Cor. vi. 1. Ah, how sad will it be for 
you if your hearts be like rocks, on which the dews of grace falling 
make no impression. As the apricot tree leaneth on the wall, but is 
rooted in the earth, so many seem to lean on Christ, but are rooted 
in their lusts : the word of grace abused is the condemnation. If 
grace be your enemy, ye have no friend in heaven or earth. The 
fruits of no trees ripen so fast, the sins of no men grow so great, as 
of them that stand constantly in the sunshine of the gospel. If 
the gospel be not a morning star to you, a forerunner of an eternal 
day, by ushering in the sun of righteousness upon you, it will be 
an evening star to you, bringing on you an everlasting night of 
death and darkness. As the ocean landeth some vessels safely at 
their happy ports, when it sinketh others, so the word of Gods 
grace will either be a savour of life unto life, or a savour of death 
unto death. 

Secondly, To be the rule of your conversations. Your whole race 
must be regular, and there is no such rule to walk or work by as 
the word of his grace : ' As many as walk according to this rule,' 

THE pastor's farewell. 95 

Gal. vi. 16 ; that is, according to the gospel. Itcontaineth not only 
promises for your consolation, but also precepts for your conversa- 
tions ; therefore it is called a royal law, James ii. 8. A law, because 
it is to be the canon of our lives. The law delivered on mount 
Sinai is by Christ adopted into the family of the gospel. A royal 
law, because given us by Grod, the king of the world, who hath 
sovereignty and dominion over all, and therefore power to com- 
mand what he pleaseth. The word of his grace is a royal law, 
because the king's highway, out of which road none may w^ander 
under the penalty of rebellion. Indeed, the gospel is a law of 
liberty, but not a law of licentiousness, James i. 25. It freeth us 
from the curse, but not from the commands, of the law. A true 
Christian is not ayo/a.09, without law, but iwofio^, under the law to 
Christ, 1 Cor. ix. 21. Look therefore to this royal law ; expound 
it, and comment on it in your lives. 

Let it be your rule for faith. The gospel is the only creed ; he 
that believeth this is a true believer. As the Word, Christ, is the 
personal foundation, so the word of Christ is the doctrinal founda- 
tion for every Christian to build on, Eph. ii, 19, 20. This we 
believe, saith Tertullian, when we first believe that we ought to 
believe nothing beyond the Scriptures. Paul proves himself a true 
believer, because he believed all things written in the law and 
prophets. Acts xxiv. 14. 

Make it your rule for worship. To serve God according to your 
own inventions, or men's prescriptions, is rebellion and disservice. 
As the moth eats out the garment, and the rust the iron, so doth an 
apocryphal worship in time eat out an evangelical worship, Mat. 
XV. 7. All worship of God, without warrant, is like private coining 
money, high treason against the King of heaven. God, though men 
durst not, charged Jeroboam with this crime : ' He offered upon 
the altar which he had made, in the month which he had devised 
of his own heart,' 1 Kings xii. 33. He took liberty to worship, 
when and where he pleased, not when and where God pleased. 
Till man can be his own maker, he may not be his own lawgiver. 
While his dependence is on God, God expecteth observance from 
him. The gospel is not only a royal law, but a perfect law, James i. 
25. It needs not additions or traditions from men to supply its 
defects. It is horrid blasphemy to accuse Scripture of deficiency. 
Christ Jesus was faithful in all his house, which he had not been, 
if the laws he left us were not sufficient for God's service. Those 
that add to his word, tell us, though not plainly, yet interpretatively, 
that he was an unfaitliful prophet. Friends, I beseech you keep 

'96 THE pastor's farewell. 

close to this rule. It will be a good antidote against the infections 
of the Papists ; when the shops are full of adulterate ware, men 
that would not be cheated will bring what they buy to the light : 
' To the law and to the testimony,' Isa. viii. 20. 

In all things live by the gospel, and look to the gospel ; let that 
be a light to your feet, and a lantern to your paths ; keep the 
word, and it will keep you, in an hour of temptation from sinning, 
and in an hour of dissolution from sinking. The lawyer, in his 
doubts, consults with his Lyttleton or Coke ; the physician pre- 
scribes by Galen or Hippocrates ; the philosopher takes advice of 
his Aristotle ; but the godly man must always take counsel of the 
gospel: Prov. iv. 26, 27, ' Ponder the paths of thy feet, and let all 
thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand, nor to the left, 
remove thy feet from evil.' 

Darius would be advised by his Zophyrus, and Scipio would do 
nothing without his Polybius. Let the law of God be your coun- 
sellor, the man of your counsel, as David made it ; fear everything 
which God's law doth not allow. 

The hen doth not only fear the ravenous fowls, but runneth 
away if she see so much as their shadow. Turn not in the least 
away from God's law, but hate the appearance, and shun the 
occasion, of evil. Many will labour to keep their credits, and to 
save their purses ; do you labour to keep your consciences, and to 
save your piety and your souls. 

Thirdly, To be your buckler against opposition. The gospel is 
a magazine, out of which Christians may be furnished with spiritual 
weapons in their holy war against the kingdom of darkness. 
Other armour, as of parts and gifts, morality and examples, is, as 
Alexander said of the Persians, when he saw them come into the 
held so richly clothed to fight with the Grecians, rather a prey 
to the enemy than a defence to the soldiers that wear it.-^ It is 
the word which is a shield against evil principles, Mat. xxii. 29 ; 
it may fitly be called, as Augustine sometime was, Hcereticorum 
malleus, the hammer of heresy. He that is mighty in Scripture, 
is the man that can hit this unclean bird in the eye, and wound it 
mortally with one blow, Acts xviii. 28. Even women, that are 
the weaker sex, with this sword in their hands, having learned 
from the Spirit how to use it, have encountered with great doctors, 
disarmed them of all their philosophical weapons, and shamefully 
foiled them. A friar being angry at Luther for spoiling their 
market, said, that had it not been for Ijuther, they could have per- 

' Liv., lib. ix. 

THE pastor's farewell. 97 

suadecl the Germans to have eaten. Lay aside Scripture, and 
seducers shall prevail with you to eat poison. 

It is a shield against evil practices : Ps. cxix. 9, ' By what 
means may a young man cleanse his way ? By taking heed thereto 
according to the word.' It must be a strong curb which can rein 
in a young man, who is hot and heady, when he is galloping with 
full career in the road of sin and hell ; but the gospel can do it. 
When a sprightful young man, which is tasting and taking his 
carnal pleasures, which his youth will help him to savour above 
others, let but the gospel spread a table before him of his dainties, 
and let him but feed thereon, and his mouth will be ever after 
out of relish with all the coarse food and homely fare of this 

Doth Satan assault you? Eph. vi. 17; use the gospel for your 
defence. It is not the sign of the cross, but the word of the cross, 
which Satan feareth ; the gospel, like mustard seed, which, Pliny 
saith, mixed with vinegar, is sovereign against the poison of ser- 

As fencers play sometimes and fight with low weapons, merely 
to teach their scholars how to use them, so the blessed Saviour, 
though he could with his deity have driven away the devil, yet 
fighteth against him with the word, Kev. xii. 11, to shew us the 
virtue of, and how we should handle that weapon, Mat. iv. 4, 

Is the world to you a place of thorns and briars? 2 Cor. x. 4; get 
5'our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and ye 
may walk comfortably through it. The Irish, some say, tread so 
lightly on the ground, that they run over bogs in which others stick 
and sink to their ruin. Though many perish in the world's sloughs 
and quagmires, yet they that have the gospel shoe on are sure to 
be safe. 

Would it allure you with prosperity to profaneness ? this indeed 
is a most dangerous bait. Adam was conquered in paradise, v/hen 
Job was conqueror on the dunghill. Whilst the oyster is tossed 
by the crab, she so claspeth her shell, that she is in little danger 
of being devoured ; but when, without fear, she layeth herself 
open to the sun, then comes her enemy, and thrusting in a stone 
to keep her open, with his claws picks her out. But the gospel 
will yield you a Pisgah sight of Palestine ; and what a jjoor nothing 
is this whole world in his eyes who is able to look into the other 
world ! He who beheld the recompense of reward, scorned the 
dignity of being son to Pharaoh's daughter, and, according to 


98 THE pastor's farewell. 

some of the Jewish Kabbis, trampled the crown she put upon 
his head under his feet. 

Would it affright you with adversity from piety ? The gospel 
will shew you that the cross is the path to the crown, and as long 
as the traveller to a glorious kingdom is in the right way, though 
it be dirty, he is contented. Christ went to Jerusalem, the'vision 
of peace, by Bethany, the house of grief. Omnis Christianus 
crucianus, saith Luther ; Every saint must be a sufferer. 

I hope ye will be willing to go to heaven in the same way 
which Christ and the noble army of saints have all marched in. 
Besides, the gospel will hold up your heads above these billows, 
by discovering the gain you shall get by afflictions. Christians, 
like some other creatures, see best in the night of sorrow and dis- 
tress. The diamond of their graces sparkle gloriously at the bottom 
of those waters. When the wind is down, the chaff remains with 
the wheat ; but when it riseth, it bloweth the chaff away. 

The word of his grace will assure you of divine supplies suit- 
able to your sufferings ; that God, like an indulgent mother, will 
be sure to tend his sick children, though he leave others to the ser- 
vants. When Christ had caused Jacob to halt, then the place was 
turned into a Peniel. Believe me, there is no such joy in the world 
as the people of Grod have under the cross, saith Philpot. Israel 
never saw so much of God as in the wilderness, — then manna from 
heaven, then the pillar goeth before them, and the rock followed 
after them. 

Fourthly, To be your cordial in all afflictions. The ram's skin 
covered the ark from the injury of wind and weather, which typified 
the defence the church hath by the gospel from those miseries to 
which she is liable on earth. This is my comfort, saith David, in 
my afflictions, thy word hath quickened me. When the weight of 
his afflictions was ready to sink him, the gospel, like blown bladders, 
preserve him from sinking. 

Some, I remember, expound that place, ' Thou, God, didst 
send a plentiful shower, whereby thou didst refresh thine heritage 
when it was weary,' Ps. Ixviii. 9. The law was rained down with 
those heavenly oracles on mount Sinai ; while the thunder affrighted 
the people, the law refreshed them. If the law did revive them in 
that terrible tempest, what will the gospel do ? If his precepts are 
sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb, how sweet are his pro- 
mises ! If his statutes are the saint's songs, surely the word of his 
grace is his triumph. 

Seneca, going about to comfort his friend Polybius, persuades 

THE pastor's farewell. 99 

liim to bear his affliction patiently, because lie was Csesar's favourite- 
The word of grace affords you infinitely richer cordials, exceeding 
rich and precious promises, wherein ye are admitted to be the 
friends of God, the members of Christ, the temples of the Spirit, 
and the heirs of heaven. The feather of the promise hath dropped 
in some comfort into a broken heart, when it hath been ready to die 
with despair, and could take nothing down : ' That ye through pa- 
tience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.' 

This life would be little better than hell, saith Bernard, were it 
not for the hope of heaven ; but the hope of your futm-e happiness, 
which is discovered in the gospel, may, like cork to the line, keep 
your hearts aloft all waters and afflictions. 

Now ye have a storm, but hereafter an everlasting calm ; now ye 
are tossed to and fro, and weather-beaten ; but faith, by the prospec- 
tive glass of the gospel, discovers land, and this, without question, 
may support your spirits. 

Therefore, when trouble comes, take heed of fetching your com- 
fort from any creature. Alas ! they are all puddle water. It is the 
word of grace which is the pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, 
the river whose streams make glad the city of God. 

Thus I commend you to the word of his grace in this fourfold 

To conclude all, it is reported of a friend of Cyrus, that, being 
asked where his treasure was, he answered, 'Ottov Kvpo<i ^tXo9, 
Where Cyrus is my friend. I hope, if any ask you where your 
treasure, your riches, your honour, your happiness is, ye will say, 
'Ottov Kvpto'i 0tXo?, Where God is our friend. Now to this God, 
according to my power, 1 have, I do, and I shall commend you, to 
his favour and singular affection, to his power and special protec- 
tion, and to his care and universal benediction. 

I cannot commend you to one so faithful ; though others fall ofi 
like leaves in autumn, he will never leave you that are his, nor 
forsake you. I know not to commend you to one so loving ; he 
lived in love, he in our natures died for love. His love is like him- 
self, boundless and bottomless. It is impossible to commend you 
to one so able ; he can supply all your needs, fill all your souls to 
the brim ; grace is lovely in your eyes, whoever beheld it. Glory 
is infinitely amiable in your judgments, whoever believed it. He 
can build you up, and give you an inheritance, where all the heirs 
are kings and queens, and shall sit on thrones, and live and reign 
with Christ for ever and ever. There ye shall have robes of purity 
on your backs, palms of victory in your hands, crowns of glory on 

100 THE pastor's farewell. 

your heads, and songs of triumph in your mouths ; there ye may 
meet together to worship him without fear, and drink freely of his 
sweetest, dearest favour ; there your services will be without the 
smallest sin, and your souls without the least sorrow. If pastor 
and people meet there, they shall never part more. It is some 
comfort now, that though distant in places, we can meet together 
at the throne of grace ; but oh, what a comfort will it be to meet 
together in that palace of glory ! But since we must part here, 
' finally, my brethren, farewell ; be perfect, be of good comfort, be 
of one mind ; live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall be 
with you.' * And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the 
word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an 
inheritance amongst all them that are sanctified.' 



To the Worshipful John Beresford, Esq., High Sheriff of the 
County of Hertford. 

Honoured Sir, — It is reported of Queen Elizabeth, i that Deborah 
of our nation, that in a letter to the king of France she should use 
this expression. That if there were any unpardonable sin, it must 
be ingratitude. And Plutarch relateth,2 concerning Pyrrhus, king 
of Epirus, that he took the death of ^ropus very impatiently, 
because he was thereby cut off from all opportunities of requiting 
the courtesies which he had received from him, I think, sir, there 
are few that have any relation to me, but know something of my 
obligations to you. And though I cannot strictly comply with the 
former, yet I bless God I have not the same cause to complain with 
the latter. Notwithstanding, the only requital I am able to make 
you, is by these lines to give you a bill under my hand that I am 
your debtor. I shall ever hold myself engaged to remember the 
frequent and real kindness which your liberal self and loving con- 
sort have freely bestowed on me and mine ; 3 for which I may say 
to you, as Furnius to Augustus, Hanc unam Ccesar habeo mjuriam 
tuam, effecisti ut viverem et morerer ingratus,^ This is the only in- 
jury you have done me by your courtesies, to force me to live and 
die ungrateful. 

Your voluntary closing with them in the parish that seek to ad- 
vance the power of godliness, your honouring them that fear the 
Lord, your disesteeming vicious persons, your charitable contribu- 
tions to the poor upon all occasions, are certainly recorded in heaven ; 
and therefore, for the honour of God and encouragement of others, 
deserve respectfully to be mentioned on earth. In testimony of my 

1 Camb. Eliz. 2 Plut. in Vitse Pyrr. 

' Ingratus est qui beneficium accepisse se negat, quod accepit ; ingratus qui dis. 
simulat; ingratus qui non reddit ; ingratissimus omnium qui oblitus est. — Sen, de 
Bene/., lib. iii. cap. 1. ■* Idem, lib. ii. cap. 25. 


gratitude I now present to your eyes, what was lately preached in 
your ears, with the addition of some things then omitted, either 
through the defect of my memory, or want of time. Acknow- 
ledging both the weight of the matter delivered, and my weakness 
in the manner of its delivery, it is very visible that this child is like 
its parent, I mean my book, if these sheets may be called by that 
name, too too much resembleth my body in infirmities. And 
indeed the consciousness of my own inabilities hath been the chief 
reason why I have not yet satisfied the desires of some persons of 
quality in publishing two former sermons composed on the like 
occasion. Only my respect to you hath caused this sermon, like 
Jacob, Gen. xxvii. 36, to supplant its elder brother i by getting away 
the birthright, and like Pharez, Gen. xxxviii. 29, to make a breach 
upon his brother Zarah, and get into the world before him. But 
the Almighty God, who is a free agent, often worketh great things 
by small means. He can, by the blowing of rams' horns, cause the 
strong walls of Jericho to fall down, Joshua vi. 16 ; with common 
clay he can make a precious salve to open the eyes of the blind, 
John ix. 6. It pleaseth his wisdom, by the foolishness of preaching, 
to save them that believe, 1 Cor. i. 21. Herein the sovereignty of 
the gospel is most excellently set forth, in that it leadeth the soul 
by the hand of a child, Isa. xi. 6, and is as truly, though not as 
abundantly, powerful, from young Timothy as from Paul the aged, 
1 Tim. iv. 17.' 

The favourable and extraordinary acceptance which this sermon 
obtained when it was heard, moveth me to hope that, through the 
blessing of heaven, it will be profitable when it shall be read. 

Sir, in it you may discern that there will be an end of, and that 
there is an emptiness in, all earthly perfections, Ps. cxix. 96. That 
death is the great leveller, making all equal, seizing as boldly on, 
and dealing as hardly with, the greatest emperor as the poorest 

' Divesne, prisco natus ab Inacho, 
Nil interest, an pauper, et infima 
De gente, sub dio moreris, 
Victima nil miserantis orci, 
Omnes eodem cogimur, omnium 
Versatur urna ; serins, ocyus 
Sors exitura, nos in reternum 
Exilium impositura cymbas. 

—Hor., lib. ii. Ad Del. 

^ A sermon preached at a former assize on the former part of the text, not yet 

- Dr Eeynold's epistle before Jleditat. on Lord's Supper. 


That the rich man's wealth, which is his strong city, Prov. x. 15, 
and a high tower in his conceit, cannot secure him against the 
assault and hattery of this grand adversary ; that the grave maketh 
no difference between the dust of princes and peasants •,^ that they 
which cannot be contented with much earth while they live, will be 
contained in a little when 4hey die. As the Macedonian king, 
Phihp, having got a fall in the sand, as he was wi'estling at the 
Olympic games, when he rose again, seeing the print of his body in 
the sand, cried out. Oh how little a parcel of earth will hold us 
when we are dead, who ambitiously seek after the whole world 
whilst we are living ! That image in Daniel, chap. ii. 32, doth 
notably set out the frailty of worldly greatness ; the head of it was 
of fine gold — that spake the Chaldean empire ; the breast and arms 
of silver — this that empire of the Medes and Persians ; the belly and 
thighs of brass — by these the Grecian empire is understood ; but the 
feet were part of clay. The feet of this image were the strength 
and foundation of the image, and speak thus much to us, that all 
worldly pomp and majesty will fail, all earthly power and dignity 
will fall, for the image stands upon clay. Gyrus, therefore, did fitly 
cause this epitaph to be engraven on his tomb, man, whosoever 
thou art, that shalt come hither, know that I am great Cyrus, that 
first erected the Persian monarchy, therefore envy me not this little 
earth that now covereth my body. 2 

From it you may learn that your greatest care should be to fit 
yourself for your last hour ; your main work is to do your last act 
well. The Koman gladiators appointed to death were very solici- 
tous how they should contrive their bodies so as that they might 
fall handsomely, and die modestly. Your business is so to furnish 
your soul that you may die piously, to get such riches as will swim 
out with you in a shipwreck ; 3 to be rich towards God, Luke xxii. 
21 ; to be rich in faith, James ii. 5 ; to be rich in good works, 1 Tim. 
vi. 18, 19. Alas ! how poor is that man who hath no other riches 
than what are at the courtesy of the thief, moth, and death ! 
Hereby you will lay up a good foundation against the time to come, 
and lay hold on eternal life. 

It will shew you how absolutely necessary an experimental know- 
ledge of a crucified Christ is to a dying Christian, that no weapon 

' Their bones and skeletons have no inscriptions or titles of honour remaining on 
them. — Vines Ess. Fun. 

- Q. Cur., Nudus pascit aves, jacet en qui possidet orbem, Exiguaj telluris inops. — 
Claudian of Pomp. Mag. 

^ Hujusmodi comparandaj sunt opes qua3 simul cum naufragio enatent. 


is more requisite for us to have and use, wlien we enter the lists, 
and encounter with our last enemy, than the shield of faith ; oh 
how cheering and comforting to a dying body will the warm blood 
of the Lord Jesus be, being applied by a true lively faith to the 
soul ! He, and he only, may look on the king of terrors without 
fear, that hath first looked on the King of saints with the eye of 

It will acquaint you that a saving work of grace must be wrought 
upon the heart before death can be a passage to the weight of glory. "■ 
That all the godliness of an unregenerate man will die with him. 
That the lamp of profession which shineth gloriously whilst a man 
liveth, if it be not fed from oil in the vessel, true grace in the heart, 
a renewed nature, the image of God stamped on the soul, it will go 
out in a stink when he dieth, and not advantage him at all. And 
therefore Christians should not, like some tradesmen, live alto- 
gether upon their credit with others, but labour to find some 
testimony within them, that there is a real change wrought upon 

It will tell you, that it highly concerneth you to be laborious for 
your soul ; for your Saviour now you live, because you must rest 
when you die. That you should be much in thinking highly of 
God, in speaking humbly to God, in acting vigorously for God. 
That you should abound more and more in the work of the Lord, 
1 Cor. XV. 58. Saints must not, like Joshua's moon, stand still, 
Joshua X. 12, 13 ; much less, like crabs, go backward ; no, not like 
the snail, creep forward ; but, like the sun, rejoice to run his race. 
The path of the just must be like the shining light, that shineth 
brighter and brighter to perfect day. Pro v. iv. 18.^ 

Truth of grace is ever followed with growth in grace ; though 
perfection be the honour and reward only of the saints in heaven, 
yet it is the desire and endeavour of the saints on earth. That you 
should persevere and increase, both by your pattern and precept, in 
discouraging the bad, and encouraging the good. That you should 
improve all opportunities, employ every talent, your honour, riches, 
power, life, health, strength, relations, interests, all you have, are, or 
can be, to the utmost in his service, and for his glory, who, I hope, 
hath loved you, and washed you in his blood. Pharaoh would have 
active men to be his servants, Gen. xlvii. 6 ; the great King of 

^ A painter may paint fire, but he cannot paint heat. A person civilised may attain 
to the outward actions, but cannot to the inward affections, of a sanctified Christian. 

2 Falsi illi sunt, qui diversissimas res expectant, ignavise voluptatem, et prasmia 
Tirtutis. — Salust. Non incepissesed perfecisse virtutis est. — Aug. ad/ratr. in erem. 


heaven is a pure act, and he loveth most and liketh best those ser- 
vants that are most active for him. Hereby you will please the 
most high God, though hereby you will displease profane men. 
The world, indeed, whom the Spirit of God compareth to dogs, 
2 Pet. ii. 22, if a man go softly will be quiet ; but if he ride apace 
in the way to heaven, they will bark exceedingly, yea, and bite if 
they can;i do but hinder their progress in sin, and, like waters 
stopped at a bridge, they will roar and make a noise to purpose. 
But surely the favour of God will build up the heart against all the 
anger of men. Those persons which the wicked besmear with 
calumny, and those actions which ungodly men speak of with scorn 
and contempt, God will entertain with an Euge, and reward with 
glory : ' Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faith- 
ful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many cities, enter 
thou into the joy of thy Lord,' Mat. xxv. 21. 

Sir, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Kickmersworth is, 
that it might be saved. And I hope the divine providence will ere 
long put a greater price into your hands than ever yet you had, 
wherein you may manifest your fear of his majesty, your zeal for 
his glory, your hatred of iniquity, and your real love to the place of 
your nativity ; which, that you may faithfully discharge at this day, 
and comfortably account for at the last day, and that you and yours, 
when these earthly houses of your tabernacles shall be dissolved, 
may have a building of God, a house not made with hands, but 
eternal in the heavens, 2 Cor. v. 1, shall be the prayer of him 
whose desire is to be. 

Your faithful servant in the work of your faith, 

George Swinnock. 


^ His speech savoured more of wit than grace, who counselled his friend not to 
come too nigh unto truth, lest his teeth should be beaten out with its heels. 




I have said, Ye are gods : and all of you are children of the Most 
High : hut ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. 
Ps. Ixxxii. 6, 7. 

One of the fathers i resembleth the whole Bible to the visible 
heavens, wherein, saithhe, the Psalms are like the sun, whose beams 
shine brightly, and rays warm comfortably. An English divine 
compareth all the Scriptm-es to the body of man, and the Psalms 
to the heart, the most pathetic part, the seat and centre of sweet 
affections. 2 Nay, as one observe th, the very Turks that disclaim 
both Old and New Testament in general, yet will swear as solemnly 
by the Psalms of David, as by the Alchoran of Moliammed. But 
what need have we of the testimony of men, when God is pleased 
to give such large witness in the Gospel to this book of Psalms, 
in which the Psalms are quoted above sixty times. 3 The apostle 
calleth them spiritual songs. Col. iii. 16, both because they were 
inspired by the holy Spirit of God, and because they are instru- 
mental to spiritualise men's affections ; and also because they do 
suit with men's spirits. They are so penned, that every man may 
think they speak de se, in re sua, of himself and to his own con- 

1 Ambr. Offic. lib. i. cap. 32. 

' Luther calleth them parva biblia, et summarium utriusque testamenti. 

» Leigh's Hist. p. 35. 


This eighty-second Psalm containeth a severe reprehension of 
superiors for their ungodly oppression of inferiors.^ 

The text presenteth you with their majesty and with their mor- 
tality. In ver. 6, ' They are gods : and children of the Most High : ' 
there is their majesty. In ver. 7, ' They die like men, and fall like 
princes : ' there is their mortality. 

Plautus telleth us concerning Hercules, that he was the son of 
Jupiter, and so immortal ; and the son of Amphitrion, and so mor- 
tal. The former verse speakeththat ye are the sons of God, thereby 
ye seem to he immortal ; but the latter pronounceth plainly that 
ye shall die like men, and therefore it is apparent ye are mortal. 

In ver. 6, ye are exalted as high as heaven ; I have said, ' Ye 
are gods.' In the seventh verse, ye are debased as low as earth : 
' But ye shall die.' 

In ver, 6, How beautiful are your features ! How angelical are 
your faces ! Nay, how God-like are your looks ! I have said, 
' Ye are gods.' In the seventh, when the other side of the picture 
is turned, what hoary heads ! what heavy hearts ! what quivering 
lips ! what trembling loins ! what dying flesh ! what decaying 
spirits have ye ! 

And it is not without cause that the Spirit of God subjoineth 
your humanity to your deity, your mortality to your majesty, as a 
means to prevent sin, and as a curb to restrain you from making 
your lust your law, or your will the rule of all your actions. 2 

In the words, we have the mortality of the magistrate, namely, 
from the seventh verse, first affirmed, ' Ye shall die like men.' 
Secondly amplified, ' and fall like the princes.' Thirdly confirmed, 
surely and certainly ; as surely as ye live like gods, so surely ye 
shall die like men, Gerte sicut liomo. Calvin, MoUer., Trem., 

I have formerly in this place, upon the like occasion, from the 
sixth verse, discovered the dignity of magistracy.^ I shall now 
proceed to the frailty of the magistrate. My work now will be like 

^ Quia reges et quicunque potestate prsediti sunt, immensam sibi licentiam, fastu 
excoecati, ut plurimum indulgent : denunciat Prophcta, reddendam esse rationem 
summo judici, quiomnem mundi celsitudinem supereminet. — Calvin, argu. Ps. Ixxxii. 

* Ut cseteriomnes natura sunt obnoxii morti, et quidem seternge damnationi, si in 
delictis adversus conscientiam ad extremuni usque perseverent : ita scitote vos 
quoque iisdem legibus subjectos esse. — Moller. in loc. Ea cogitatio de fragilitate 
vestra et de poenis secuturis commouefacere et excitare vos debebat, ut in procura- 
tione muneris vestri majore diligentia et studio versaremini. — Idem ibid. 

'■' At an assize lioldeu at Hertford, for that county, upon the 2d day of August 


Philip's youth, to mincl you that ye are but men. And I hope 
there is none here of the Persian monarch's humour, into whose 
presence none might come clothed with sackcloth, Esther iv, 2 ; 
nor like Lewis XI. of France, who would not permit the word death 
to be named in his court ; for all the dish I have to entertain you 
with at this time is a death's head. Neither shall I garnish that 
with the flowers of human eloquence, as knowing there is no need 
of it. The deformed harlot wanteth colouring, but the virgin truth 
of Grod is most beautiful in her native dress ; and there is little good 
by it. A painted window keepeth out the light ; a painted fire 
will not burn ; a painted sword will not cut ; and if ever the fire 
of Scripture, Jer. xxiii. 29, warm the heart, Luke xxiv. 32 ; or 
this sword of the Spirit wound the conscience, Eph. vi. 17, to con- 
viction and conversion, it must be drawn out of the gaudy scabbard 
of man's wisdom, 

I shall first sj^eak to the explication of the words, and then draw 
the observation from the words. 

But, i.e., for all the glorious titles wherewith ye are invested as 
gods amongst men, and the administration of justice wherewith ye 
are intrusted as my lieutenants on earth ; yet for all this, ye shall 
die ; ^ though your names are divine, your natures are but human. 

Surely, i.e., though ye should flatter yourselves because ye are 
gods, ye shall ever live ; yet know certainly that ye are but men, 
and must die. All God's words are true and sure, but on some 
there is affixed a special note of certainty, because of man's, espe- 
cially great persons', extraordinary infidelity. Though ye should 
neither regard it, nor provide for it, as if it were a thing of small 
consequence, or little concernment : ' Yet ye may say to corruption, 
Thou art my father ; and to the worm. Thou art my brother and 
sister,' Job xvii. 14. 

Ye shall die like men. Your souls and bodies that have been 
joined together like husband and wife, shall be parted asunder. 
Death will loose all bands, untie all knots, even this conjugal one, 
betwixt soul and body, which is the strongest of all. 

Like men, i.e., like ordinary men ; ^ like Adam, saith Ainsworth, 
Though in your lives ye are like Saul, higher by the head and 
shoulders than the people ; yet in your deaths they and you meet, 
are equal. 

Two things ye do as men: 

^ Ac si diceret, qaum instruct! sunt potestate ad regendum muudum, non exuisse 
tamen naturam ut mortales esse desinerent. — Calv. in loc. 
^ Sicut plebeius homo. — Tremel. 


1. Ye sin as ye are men ; ] Cor. iii. 3,i to walk as a man is to 
walk carnally, to walk sinfully. 

2. Ye die as men ; Ps. ix. 20,2 Iq know yourselves to be men is 
know yourselves to be mortal. 

And fall like one of the i:)rinces. These words have a double 
lection, and fourfold construction. 

We read them, ' And fall like one of the princes.' ^ Others read 
them, ' And ye princes shall fall like one.' 

For their fourfold construction : 

1. Some understand them of a fall into hell. So several of the 
ancients take them, like the prince of the devils. This is true of evil 
magistrates, death to them is but the trap-door to hell ; the higher 
their exaltation is, the greater and lower their damnation will be. The 
words of the prophet are emphatical : ' Tophet is prepared of old ; 
yea, for the king it is prepared,' Isa. xxx. SS.'^ The greater men's 
preferment is, the greater their defilement, and the greater their 

2. Others understand them of a fall by a violent death ; so 
many princes fall. In that bloody way, Saul, Abner, Ahab, and 
many other princes mentioned in Scripture, went to their long 
homes.^ The Koman historian observeth, that the Cassars got little 
by their places, nisi ut citius interficei^entur. Some men's honour 
hath been the knife to cut their throats. 

S^pius ventis agitatur ingens 
Pinus : et celsa3 graviore casu 
Decidunt turres, feriuntque summos 

Fulmiua moutes.— //ora<. ad Licin. 

3. A third sort expound the words of falling as the princes of 
other nations.^ Though ye are the princes of God's people, yet ye 
are not thereby privileged from the arrest of death. For as the sun 
of prosperity shineth as well on the briars in the wilderness as on 
the roses in the garden ; so the frost of adversity falleth as well on 
the fruitful corn as on the hurtful weeds. The most notorious 
sinner liveth as well as the most gracious saint ; and the most 
gracious saint dieth as well as the most notorious sinner. Grace 

^ Errare liumaiium est. 

^ Quod sint homines, i. e., quod sint miseri, infirmi, mortales. — Moller. in loc. 
^ Et sicut quilibet principes cadetis. — CaZy. Qui exquisitissimis tormentis cruci- 
antur. Potentes potenter torquebuntur. 

* Ingentia Leneficia, ingentia flagitia, et ingentia supplicia. 

* Kings, saith one, are fair marks for traitors to shoot at. — Trapp on Esther ii. 
® Deodati in loc. 


is an antidote against tlie poison of death, but not a preservative 
from undergoing death. 

4. The words are construed thus : Like the princes that have 
been before you. Ye know that your ancestors, who were as high 
in honour, and as great in power, as yourselves, yet submitted to 
death ; so must ye do as they have done. Etiam rauta clamant 
cadavera ; their graves amongst you do read a lecture of mortality 
to you. 

The term whereby the Spirit of God describeth death is consider- 
able. It is called a fall : ' And fall like one of the princes.' 

Sin is called a fall, and so is death, Kom. xiv. 13. Death is the 
first-born of sin, and therefore no wonder if the child be called after 
the name of its parent. 

Death is to every man a fall, from everything but God and god- 
liness. Ye that are magistrates fall more stairs, yea, more storeys, 
than others. The higher your standing while ye live, the lower 
your falling when ye die. 

Death to some is a fall from earth to hell ; to all, from the society 
of men to the company of worms. To you that are great men, it 
will be a fall from your richest treasures, from your delightful 
pleasures, from your stateliest possessions, from your loveliest 
relations, from whatsoever is called the good of this world : ' Your 
eyes shall no more see good,' Job vii. 7. 

' Linquenda tellus, et domus, et placens 
Uxor : neque harum, quas colis, arborum 
Te prseter invisas cupressos 

Ulla brevem dominum sequetur.' — Hor. ad Posth. 

Death is called an unclothing, 2 Cor. v. 4, because it will strip 
you of all your places of honour, of all the ornaments of nature. 
As ye came naked into the world, so ye must go naked out of the 
world. Job. i. 21. Nothing will follow you when ye die but your 
works, Eev. xiv. 13. When the good magistrate dieth, that hath 
been zealous for the Lord's honour, and studious of his soul's wel- 
fare, his works follow him, through free grace, into an eternal 
weight of glory. When the evil magistrate dieth, who hath been 
careless of his conscience, and unfaithful in his calling, his works 
follow him, through divine severity, into a boundless ocean of end- 
less misery. 

After this brief explication of the words, I proceed to the doc- 
trinal observation : 

That magistrates are mortal, or they who live like gods must die 



like men. The most potent emperor must take his leave of this 
life, as well as the poorest beggar. 

Death is called ' the way of all the earth,' Joshua xxiii. 14, be- 
cause all flesh on earth go this way. It is the greatest road in the 
world; never without many travellers of all sorts, ranks, and degrees. 
The grave is the inn or resting-place whither this way tendeth ; 
and Job telleth us, chap. iii. 19, that ' the small and the great are 

The mortal scythe of death is master of the royal sceptre, and 
moweth down as well the lilies of the crown as the grass of the 
field : Isa. xl. 6, 7, ' All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness 
thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower 
fadeth.' i 

As Athanasius speaketh of Julian, so I may say of the greatest 
king in the world, Nubecula est, quae, cito transibit. 

Do we not find by experience that the greater candles consume 
and burn out as well as the lesser ; and that the boisterous wind of 
sickness bloweth down and rooteth up as well the tall cedars of 
Lebanon, and the strong oaks of Bashan, as the lower shrubs and 
weaker trees of the valleys. 

We ministers that preach the word of life, must ere long submit 
to death ; ye have the heavenly treasure in earthen vessels, 2 Cor. 
iv. 7. And you magistrates, that are the bulwarks of the country, 
under God, to preserve us from the shot of a violent death, must 
necessarily yourselves undergo a natural death. Ye are called the 
shields of the earth, Ps. xlvii. 9 ; yet ye are but earthen shields. 2 
Ye are called the shepherds of the people, Isa. xliv. 28 ; but this 
wolf of death will seize as well on the shepherd as on the sheep. ^ 

I shall not stand to prove it any further at this present ; there 
is not one of you, either judge or justices, that hear me this day, 
but within a few days shall be the proof of the text. 

I shall only give you the causes of the doctrine, and then make 
some use of it. 

But why do the gods die like men ? 

There are three causes of it, as they are men. 

First, The moral or meritorious cause of death is sin. Sin and 

1 At one end of the library in Dublin was a globe, at the other end a skeleton, to 
shew that though man were lord of all the world, yet he must die. 

^ Scuta terrae sunt terrea scuta. 

^ As at a game at chess, when done, not only pawns, but kings, queens, and 
knights are tumbled into the bag, so, when the race of life is finished, noble as well 
as ignoble are tumbled into their graves. 


death, like Jacob and Esau, were brought forth at one birth ; they 
were twins, and came into the world together. As the thread fol- 
io weth the needle, so death folio weth sin : ' Wherefore, as by one 
man sin entered into the world, and death by sin : and so death 
passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,' Kom. v. 12, and 
vi. 23. 

A worthy divine of our own doth solidly though briefly state that 
question, viz., Whether man had not died, if he had not sinned ; i 
or whether death be natural or accidental : and doth evidently prove 
that man's life should have lasted as long as his obedience ; that 
man had never fallen into his grave if he had never fallen into 
transgression. He died, not because his nature was subject to cor- 
ruption, but because sin had corrupted his nature. If he had not 
turned from God, he had not returned to dust. Man was wholly a 
stranger to death till acquainted with sin. If he had continued in 
a state of innocency, he had continued in a state of immortality. 

Though Adam died not actually as soon as he fell, yet he pre- 
sently became mortal, and liable to death ; for immediately upon 
his fall, sentence was passed upon him : Gen. iii. 19, ' Dust thou 
art, and to dust thou shalt return ; ' according to that law, ' In 
the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die,' Gen. ii. 17.^ 
As the malefactor is a dead man in law when the sentence is pro- 
nounced upon him, though there be some time between his con- 
demnation and execution, so was man dead both in the decree and 
threatening of God when the sentence of death was denounced 
against him, though there was some respite between it and his 
actual dissolution. 

Now magistrates sin, therefore must die. 3 If you perform but 
that duty, of much difficulty, yet of absolute necessity, of com- 
muning with your own hearts, and looking sometimes back upon 
your lives, without question you will find, beside your original 
depravation, a numberless number of actual provocations. I be- 

^ Stipendium peccati mors. 

^ Some say the Pope hath a book called ' Taxa Camerae Apostolicaj,' shewing the 
rate of every sin ; at what rate one may be drunk, or swear, or keep a whore. 

'' This word death, alone implieth at what rate man maj' sin. Death temporal, 
which is the separation of body and soul ; death spiritual, which is the separation of 
God and the soul in part, and for a time ; eternal, which is everlasting and total 
perdition from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power, are the rate of 
sin, and the sad fruits that grow on this root of bitterness. Sin is the father of 
death ; but death, like Sennacherib's issue, will at last destroy its parent. Sin in 
the body is like the leprosy in the house, which will not out till it be pulled down ; 
but when the body of the saint shall be dissolved, that body of death shall be wholly 


lieve the best of you are too like the Egyptian temple, without 
fair and beautiful, but within full of serpents and crocodiles. Your 
lives possibly may be unblamable as to the eye of man, but are 
there not seven abominations in your hearts ? 

The second cause of death is the corruptibility of magistrates' 
bodies. This is the natural cause ; your bodies are corruptible. It 
is now common to all creatures mixed of elements, to be resolved 
into that out of which they were made. Contrary qualities will 
for a time contend, and at last destroy each other.i In the third of 
Genesis, ver. 19, we read man's exodus, viz., that he was dust in 
regard of his original production, and shall be dust in regard of his 
ultimate resolution. 

As the finest garment breedeth a moth, and that moth eateth up 
the garment ; as the strongest tree breedeth a worm, and that worm 
devoureth the tree ; so the fairest and strongest bodies breed such 
diseases as will at last consume them. 2 

Eliphaz, speaking of the highest men, assureth us that their 
foundation is in the dust, Job iv. 19. Now the stability of a 
building dependeth on the strength of its foundation. The church 
is therefore immoveable, because Christ, her foundation, is invin- 
cible, Mat. xvi. 18 ; but our natural foundation being in the dust, 
we cannot hold out long. The house of man's body is walled and 
roofed with earth, and founded upon no better than dust. The 
bodies of magistrates have the same foundation. The psalmist, 
speaking of a prince, saith that he returneth to his earth, Ps. cxlvi. 
4 ; as if his body could challenge no alliance to, or proj^riety in, any- 
thins: but earth. It is his earth. Alexander the Great being 
wounded at the siege of an Indian city, said, I have been told I 
am the son of God ; but I see now I am liable to wounds and death 
as well as others. ^ 

3. The supernatural cause of death is the appointment of hea- 
ven : ' It is appointed for all men once to die,' Heb. ix. 27. 

Some men, yea, most in the world, die twice ; the second death 
hath power over them ; but all must die once. The exception of 
one or two that were translated, and of them that shall be found 
alive at the coming of Christ, will not make void this general 
rule. 4 

Magistrates that execute the statute law of men, die by a standing 

1 Contraria inter se pugnant, et mutuo se destruunt. 

' Physicians have a rule, Ultimus sanilatis gradus, est morho proximus. 

3 Q. Cur. and Plut. in Vit. 

^ The greatest landlords are but tenants at God's will in these houses of clay. 


law of God. When God is pleased to give sickness a warrant 
under the great seal of heaven, it quickly executeth its office, and 
turneth men into earth. It is thus ordered in God's high court, 
that judges and justices who now sit on the bench, shall die and 
appear at his bar. The Turkish historian observeth, that when 
the great Bashas are feasting, oftentimes there cometh a messenger 
by order from the great sultan, and casteth a black mantle over 
them, and they are presently forced to submit to strangling. So 
the proudest potentates, in the midst of their mirth, are often sur- 
prised by a sudden distemper, commissionated by God, and sent to 
their long homes. 

I shall now draw some inferences from the doctrine. 

First, If magistrates are mortal, observe hence death's prevalency 
and power above all the privileges and prerogatives of nature. It 
is a memorable speech of Sir Walter Kaleigh,! Though God, who 
loveth men, is not regarded, yet death, which hateth men, is quickly 
obeyed. mighty death ! eloquent death ! whom no man 
could advise or persuade, thou canst prevail with. Take notice 
from hence, that nothing in this world can privilege a man against 
the arrest of death. 

First, Strength cannot. All the strength and power which the 
gods have cannot free them from death. Magistrates have civil 
strength as they are magistrates ; the command of whole counties, 
kingdoms, yea, empires. In this respect it is that magistrates are 
called principalities and powers, Titus iii. 1 ; yet death hath power 
over them that have power over others. Alexander and Cassar, that 
conquered countries and kingdoms, were conquered by death. 
Magistrates have natural strength as they are men, but death trip- 
peth up the heels and layeth on their backs the most strong and 
valiant. ' One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and 
quiet : his breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened 
with marrow,' Job xxi. 23, 24.2 

Put the case that a man be in the zenith and height of his estate, 
when his health is most pure, and his strength is most perfect ; 
when he hath the choicest complexion in his face, and fondest con- 
stitution in his body ; when there is most agility in his joints, and 
most appetite in his stomach ; yet even then sickness arresteth him 
at the suit of death, haleth his body to the prison of the grave, and 
sendeth his soul to his own place. Man at his best estate, yea, 

^ Lib. V. in conclusion of cap. ult. 

* Plato saith tliat marrow ia not only the source of generation, but the seat of 


' Surely every man at his best estate is altogether vanity,' Ps. 
xxxix. 5. 

Secuficlly, As the strength, so the wealth of magistrates is insuf- 
ficient. The Holy Ghost telleth us, that the rich man also died, 
Luke xvi. 22. Men may put riches into the grave with them, but 
they will not keep them one moment out of the grave. Death, 
like jealousy, will not regard any ransom, nor be content though 
men would give many gifts. l Job speaketh, supposing that he 
had died, * Then I had been at rest with princes that had gold, and 
filled their houses with silver.' It is reported of Cardinal Beaufort, 
that when on his death-bed, he should say, Fie, will not death be 
hired ? will money do nothing ? If the whole realm would save 
my life, I am able, either by wealth to buy it, or by wit to procure 
it. But it could not help him ; die he did. Money is the monarch 
of this world, but not of the next ; it can neither stave off sickness, 
nor buy out death. 

Thirdly, As neither strength nor wealth, so neither can the 
honours of men help them against this last enemy. How have the 
highest men on earth been laid as low as the earth by it ? ' Man 
in honour doth not abide,' Ps. xlix. 12. His duration is sometimes 
the less, because his reputation is so great. 

Job speaketh excellently, ' Where is the dwelling-place of princes ? 
who shall declare his way to his face?' Job xxi. 28, 31. This 
person is so high that none dareth tell him of his wicked practices. 
Kings, saith one, have clouds in their brows as well as crowns on 
their heads ; they would be adored like gods, and not reproved like 
men. 2 Yet these men, which are so high that none must speak to 
them, death will be sure to speak with them : ' Yet he shall be 
brought to the grave, and remain among the tombs,' ver. 32. 
There is much weight in that word ; yet, i.e., though he be a prince, 
so proud that he scorneth to hear men's reproofs, yet he shall be 
forced to listen to death's language ; though his dwelling-place was 
stately amongst men, yet he shall be brought to a homely one 
amongst worms : ' Yet he shall be brought to his grave, and remain 
amongst the tombs.' It was a notable speech of the king of Persia, 
who, visiting Constantine at Kome, was shown the rare edifices, 
rich coffers, and great honours of the emperor, Mira quidem hcec, 
sed video, ut in Persia, sic Romce, homines moriuntur.^ 

^ The Irish have a proverb, What aileth a rich man to die ? 

' Luther complaineth that in his time magistrates Elati superbia volehant esse ipso 
verbo superiores. 
* When Michael Paleologus, emperor of Constantinople, sent for a present to 


If magistrates are mortal, liow much folly is in him that laboureth 
most for his body ? The truth is, there is a secret conceit in the 
hearts of great persons who have the world at will, that they shall 
not die ; it is not vox oris, but it is vox cordis ; they still think of 
a longer life, though they have lived never so long. They can see 
death in other men's brows, but not in their own bosoms : ' Their 
inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and 
their dwelling-places to all generations,' Ps. xlix. ll.i Hence it 
Cometh to pass that they work altogether for this world ; so they 
have earth in their hands, they care not though they have nothing 
of heaven in their hearts. Their endeavour is to live in the favour 
of great men, and not to die in the fear of the great God. 

How many great persons spend their time, as Seneca speaketh, 
inter pectineni et speculum occupati, between the comb and the 
glass, and not between Scripture and prayer. Their labour is to go 
finely, to fare deliciously, to live honourably, to prosper outwardly ; 
but not to honour God fruitfully, to discharge that trust which is 
committed to them faithfully, or to work out their own salvation 

There is a story of a fat man riding through Eome on a lean 
horse. It was demanded how it came to pass that he, being so ex- 
ceeding fat, his horse was so lean ? He answereth. Ego meipsum, 
stabularius equum curat, I mind myself, but my groom looketh 
after my horse. Too many, God knoweth, have fat bodies and lean 
souls — their outward man is flourishing, their inward man is 
perishing ; and the reason is, they themselves regard their bodies, 
but they say they trust God, or more truly the devil, with their 

Prince Absalom is a fit resemblance of such persons ; whilst he 
lived he provided somewhat against the time he must die ; but what 
doth he provide ? only a place for his body to rest in. The Spirit 
of God takes special notice how provident this ambitious youngster 
was for his body : ' Now Absalom in his lifetime had reared up for 
himself a pillar,' 2 Sam, xviii. 18. But he never thinketh of his 
precious soul, where that might rest when it left his body. How 
foolish and faulty are many magistrates in this particular ; whilst 
they live they take special care that when they die their bodies be 

Nugas, the Scythian prince, certain royal robes, and rich ornaments, he set light by 
them, saying, Nunquid calamitates morbos aut mortem depellere possent ? 

^ How many be too like that Duke d'Alva, who, being asked whether he had ob- 
served a late eclipse of the sun, answered, That he had so much business to do on 
earth, that be had no time to look up to heaven ; so they spend so much time on 
their dying bodies, that they can spare none for their never-dying souls. 


in such a vault interred, with such a company of mourners attended, 
that such a monument be erected, but take no care that when their 
bodies go to the house appointed for all the living, their souls might 
go to that house which is not made with hands, but eternal in the 
heavens. They little consider, that when their friends are weeping 
over their bodies, the devils may be laughing over their souls. 

Oh unspeakable folly ! to make much of the cabinet, and dis- 
esteem of the jewel ; to trim the scabbard, and let the sword rust. 
Like Shimei, to seek their servants, and lose themselves. Man, in 
regard of his body, claimeth kindred with the beasts of the field ; in 
regard of his soul, with the angels of heaven ; and yet this bestial 
part is i^ampered, whilst the angelical is starved. 

It is storied of Archimedes, that when Syracuse was taken by 
the Komans, he was secure in his closet, drawing circles with his 
compass in the dust, and was then and there slain. ^ So these men 
ordinarily leave the earth when they are most busy about it. 

How did the fool in the Gospel promise himself a long and a 
comfortable life : ' Soul, take thine ease, thou hast goods laid up 
for many years,' Luke xii. 20. If he had said, Soul, take thine 
ease, thou hast a treasure in heaven, or thou hast Christ, who will 
do thee good to eternity, it had been somewhat like ; but thou hast 
goods, saith he. Alas ! how irrational is this ! You may as soon 
satiate or content corpus aura, as animam auro, the body with 
wind, as the soul with wealth. But I beseech you consider, he that 
thought then to begin to take his ease, is forced that night to make 
his end. He was but a little before flourishing exceedingly, his 
mind full of mirth, his heart full of hope, and his soul full of ex- 
pected satisfaction ; but on a sudden he is departed, and all his 
high hopes frustrated. If you ask me whither he is gone ; his 
estate to men, his body to the grave, his soul to hell. Poor wretch ! 
little did he dream when he was asleep in sin, of going from a bed 
of feathers to a bed of fire. But too too many, like him, go from 
carnal pleasures to eternal pains.^ Take notice how secure this 
rich fool was ; and yet his security was but the forerunner of his 
future calamity . When the wind lieth, then the great rain falleth. 
When the air is njost quiet, then cometh the great earthquake. 
When Sisera was asleep, then his head was nailed to the ground. 
Pharaoh in his chariot, Belshazzar in his bowls, Haman at his ban- 
quet, Herod in his robes, are secure, but not safe ; when they least 

1 Plut. in Vit. Marcell. 

' How many die like those that are stung of the tarantula, a viper in Italy, that 
even die laughing, though they are going to the place where is nothing but weeping. 



looked for it, death surprised them : ' When they cried Peace, peace, 
then sudden destruction seized on them, as travail on a woman with 
child, which they could not escape,' 1 Thes. v. 3. 

Ambitious, like the jay, they are pruning and priding themselves 
on the top of some high tree, when suddenly a shot from a fowler 
tumbleth it down dead to the earth. 

Covetous, like ants ; how busy are they. Like a company of 
ants about white and yellow earth, when death, like the feet of the 
next passenger, crusheth them to pieces. Voluptuous, like the 
little fish that swims merrily down the silver streams of Jordan, till 
they empty themselves into the Dead Sea, and there perish. 

The world's greatest darlings are in no better condition than the 
bull that goeth to be sacrificed with a garland on his head, and 
music before him, when suddenly he feeleth the stroke of the mur- 
dering axe, and is knocked down dead. 

I shall conclude this use with Job's character of this~rich sinner, 
who flourisheth for a time, and perisheth to eternity : ' The wicked 
live, become old, yea, are mighty in power. They send forth their 
little ones like a fiock, and their children dance. They spend their 
days in wealth, and in a moment go down to hell,' Job. xxi. 7-13. 

Exam. Are magistrates mortal? Let me then, in the fear of 
the Lord, beseech you that are magistrates, now presently to make 
preparation for the hour of your dissolutions. My counsel shall be, 
with a little alteration, in the words of the prophet Isaiah to King 
Hezekiah : ' Now set your house in order, for you must die,' Isa. 
xxxviii. 6. I must tell you, all the time ye have is little enough 
for a work of this weight. If Seneca can say, All a man's life is 
little enough for philosophy, etiamsi apueritia^ usque ad longissimos 
humani cevi terminos vita p7^otendatur, though the silver wire of 
life should be drawn out to the longest thread, I am sure, then, that 
all your time is little enough for Christianity. Ye have a great 
work to do, a great journey to go, and a little time will not be suffi- 
cient. Make much of time, saith Aquinas, especially in the weighty 
matters of salvation. Oh how much would he that now lieth 
frying in hell rejoice, if he might have the least moment to get 
God's favour in ! The sun of your lives, blessed be God, is not yet 
set, the gate of mercy is not yet shut. I request you, before the 
bridge of divine grace be drawn, in this day of God's patience, mind 
the things that concern your eternal peace. Augustine professeth, 
he would not be an atheist one quarter of an hour for a world, 
because he did not know but in that time God might cut asunder 
his thread of life, and so let him drop into hell. 


Let me persuade you, and the good Lord prevail with your 
hearts, to set yourselves speedily about this necessary work. Delays 
are dangerous, especially in a business of infinite concernment. 
How earnestly doth our blessed Saviour exhort you, to be always 
ready, because ye know not at what hour your Master will call 
you, Mat. xxiv. 44.1 Ceesar would never acquaint his soldiers with 
the time of removing his camp, that they might be always prepared 
to march. 

Consider that on this moment dependeth eternity. God hangeth 
heavy weights on weak wires. And how dolefully have many com- 
plained, and mournfully lamented their loss of time, when it hath 
been too late. 2 That story of a great lady of our land, which 
several speak of, may awaken secure ones, when on her death-bed 
she dreadfully screeched out, A world of wealth for an inch of time ! 
a world of wealth for an inch of time ! And I have read of Chry- 
sorius, a man as full of wickedness as of wealth, when he cometh to 
die, crieth out, Inducias usque ad mane, Domine, Truce, Lord, but 
till morning ; truce. Lord, but till morning ; and with these words 
he breathed out his last. Alter ms perditio, tua sit cautio, Let that 
which was a murdering piece to others, be a warning piece to 

Do but think, should God permit a damned sinner, that is now 
in hell, to come and sit but one hour amongst you, under the gospel 
of the kingdom of heaven, how highly would he prize this present 
opportunity ; how greedily would he embrace every tender of mercy ; 
how eagerly would he catch at every word of comfort ; how heartily 
would he close with Christ upon the hardest terms. I am per- 
suaded you should behold him with such streams of tears watering 
his cheeks, as if he were dissolved into a fountain. And will ye 
trifle away such golden seasons, and waste such precious advan- 
tages, which others would purchase with worlds, if they had them 
to give ; nay, which ye yourselves would redeem hereafter with 
your heart blood, but shall not be able ; oh, therefore, now prize 
time, before you come to enter upon eternity.^ 

And yet a little further to press this needful duty upon your 

^ Ideo latet unus dies, ut observentur omnes. 

^ Petrarch relateth an answer of one, who, being invited to dinner a day after, said, 
A miultis annis crastinum non habui. Quam serum est tunc vivere inc'qjere, cuin de- 
sinendum est !— Sen. ad Paulin., cap. 4. 

^ Quare, miser, non omni bora ad mortem te disponis ? Cogita te jam mortuum 
quern scis necessitate moriturum ; mors enim inopise non miseretur, divitias non 
reveretur ; non sapientise, non moribus, non Bctati parcit, nisi quod senibus mors est 
in januis, juvenibus vero in insidiis. — Bern. 



spirits, oil that, if it were the will of God, I had the tongue, the 
understanding, the affections of an angel ! how willingly would I 
improve them to the utmost, and screw them up to the highest 
pitch in exhorting you to this weighty and absolutely necessary 
work ! 

This, this is the one thing necessary ; this, this is the whole duty 
of man ; this is the great end for which ye were born, and the great 
errand for which ye were sent into the world. ^ It is a work of in- 
finite weight, and a business of everlasting concernment. I speak 
to you that are great men, and I assure you from the great God 
that ye must die, and that ye must come ere long to do that which 
ye never did before, nor never shall do again ; even this, to throw 
your last cast for eternity. Your everlasting weal or woe, joy or 
sorrow, pleasure or pain, dependeth on your well dying. As Scipio 
said. In hello own licet his peccare ; so may I of death, as he of war, 
In death there is no erring twice ; he that erreth once, errs for ever. 
As soon as ever your souls launch out of your bodies they sail to 
the ocean of eternity. ^ That we transgress the laws of living so 
often is the aggravation of iniquity on all men ; but that we can 
transgress the laws of dying but once is the seal of misery on most 

How pathetically doth God wish that man would mind this real 
wisdom : * that my people were wise, then would they consider 
their latter end: or that they would consider their latter end,' 
Dent, xxxii. 29 ; vide 1 Tim. vi. 17-19 ; Pro v. xix. 20. 

It seemeth to me one of the dolefuUest sayings in the book of 
God, and, by the way, let men guilty of bribery or oppression 
think of it, ' He that getteth goods and not by right, shall leave 
them in the midst of his days, and in his latter end shall be a fool,' 
Jer. xvii. 11. To be a fool, in the judgment or account of Scrip- 
ture, while a man liveth, speaketh his condition very dangerous ; 
but to be a fool when he dieth, speaketh his estate altogether des- 
perate. For a vessel to leak much in the harbour is sad, but oh 
how sad is it for the vessel to leak in the main, in the ocean ! It 
was Augustine's prayer, Hie ure, seca, ihi joarce, Lord, lance me, 
burn me here, but spare me hereafter. 

And the desire of Fulgentius, Domine, liic da patientiam, postea 

But it is very emphatical and observable in the fore- quoted place, 
that the Holy Ghost speaketh: ' In his latter end he shall be a fool.' 
He was a fool before in the estimation of God, and in the opinion 

^ Mors est seternitatis ostium. " Caryl on Job. 


of godly men, but now in bis latter end he is a fool in the convic- 
tion and acknowledgment of his own conscience ; and now he will 
think, Oh what a fool was I, who was ever dying, never to live to 
my Saviour, to my soul ! What a fool was I, to respect so exceed- 
ingly my vile transitory body, and to neglect so unworthily my 
precious, immortal soul ! What a fool was I, to make so much 
provision for a little time, and so little preparation for eternity ! 
What a fool was I, to be so dihgent about earth, and so negligent 
about heaven ; so careful about perishing, decaying vanities, and so 
slothful about real enduring felicities ! 

Pliny observeth of the mole, that though it be blind all its time 
of living, yet when it cometh to die, oculos incipit aperire, moriendo^ 
then it seeth. Men that, whilst they live, are blind in the worth of 
their souls, insensible of the weight of their sins, ignorant in the 
severity of divine justice, incredulous about the necessity of the new 
birth, when they come to die, their eyes are opened, and they see 
all these things clearly ; and oh then, what a doleful screech will 
that soul give, that stands quivering upon the pale lips of a dying 
man, ready to fly to its eternal home, Lam. i. 9, and seeth nothing 
before it but a bottomless, boundless, ocean of the wrath of God, in 
w*hich it must swim naked for ever, ever, ever, Num. xxiv. 20. 

My lords and gentlemen, I beseech you attend diligently, that 
this sermon, which is a funeral sermon in regard of its subject, may 
be a resurrection sermon in regard of its effect. Who knoweth 
what a day, yea, what a great bellied hour, may bring forth ? I can 
assure you, this sermon is a child of some prayers, yea, and of some 
tears ; therefore I hope it shall not perish. If I speak not the 
word of God, the mind of Christ, and the meaning of the Spirit, 
cast back my words as dung in my face ; but if I do, hear 
attentively, and practise conscientiously, lest my counsel rise up 
in judgment against you at the great and dreadful day of the 

In reference to this great duty of preparing for your dying day, 
I shall commend six particulars to your most serious thoughts; 
my prayer shall be that they may all, especially the two latter, be 
written in your hearts. 

1. Discharge your trust faithfully. The way to have great confi- 
dence when ye die, is to keep a good conscience whilst ye live. 
Were judges and justices always to live upon earth, there were no 
such reason for the impartial execution of justice ; but God ac- 
quainteth you this day that ye must die, and after death cometh 
judgment, Heb. ix. 27. , 


'Judex nuper eram; jam judicis ante tribunal 
Subsistens paveo, judicor ipse modo.' 

Ye are but stewards, and within a short time ye must give an 
account of your stewardship. It behoveth you, when you sit on the 
bench of men, to act faithfully, that when ye shall appear at the 
bar of God ye may answer comfortably. Kemember when ye are 
passing sentence of life or death on others, that Christ ere long will 
pass a sentence far more weighty, even of eternal life or death, on 

It is reported concerning the emperors of Constantinople,'^ that 
on their coronation day, a mason is appointed to present unto them 
certain marble stones, saying these verses, 

' Elige ab his saxis ex quo (invictissime Caesar) 
Ipse tibi tumulum me fabricare velis.' 

If ye that now are in robes would consider, death will level you 
with them that are in rags ; if ye would, with the eye of your medi- 
tation, behold your coffins standing before you on the table in the 
place of judicature, it might be an excellent curb to iniquity, and 
spur to fidelity. 

Now there are four things requisite in a magistrate that he would 
discharge his trust faithfully. 

First, Courage and magnanimity. Every magistrate should be a 
man of metal, not daunted with dangers, nor frightened with 
frowns. He should so carry himself that others should fear him, 
as a terror to evil-doers, but he should fear nothing but sin. Like 
Chrysostom, who, when a threatening message was sent him from 
the Empress Eudoxia, Go tell her, said he to the messenger, Nil 
timeo nisi peccatum. Ye are called the shields of the people, Ps. 
xlvii. 9 ; and shields ye know are venturous weapons — they are 
made to bear many blows. ' Be thou strong and very courageous,' 
Joshua i. 7, saith God to the chief magistrate of Israel. The throne 
of Solomon was underpropped with lions, 2 Chron. ix. 18 ; and a 
lion is part of the royal arms, both speaking that a lion-like spirit 
is becoming him that is in a public place, Deut. i. 17.^ 

Secondly, Uprightness and integrity. A magistrate, as he should 
not be frightened with fear, so not swayed by favour : ye should 
be like a bowl without a bias, running on fairly and evenly, not 
leaning on this side or on that side ; like the sun, which affordeth 

1 Isid. 

^ Durescito durescito infdix Landgravi, said the poor smith to the Landgrave of 
Thuriugia, who was more mild than stood with his people's profit. The sword of jus- 
tice, saith one, ought to be furbished with the oil of mercy ; but there are cases 
wherein severity should cast tlie scale. 


as gracious influences to the low violets as to the tall cedar, to the 
poorest beggar as to the most potent emperor ; like a public con- 
duit in a city, whence justice should run down like water, as freely 
and as fully to the meanest as to the greatest.^ Laws were never 
made to be nets, only to catch the little fish, and to let the great ones 
break through. 2 The great Judge of heaven is no respecter of per- 
sons, neither should justices on earth, Deut. i. 17. 

That edict of Constantino was worthy to be written in letters of 
gold ; If any of my friends, courtiers, or servants have wronged 
any, let them come to me, I will not only right them, but reward 
them. And that act of Brutus memorable, who commanded his 
two sons to be executed, and saw it done, for conspiring with Tar- 
quin's ambassadors against the commonwealth.^ 

Thirdly, Bounty and liberality. A justice should not only not be 
covetous, but hate covetousness, Exod. xviii. 21. It is the dust of 
money that is blown up into the judges' eyes, that hindereth their 
sight into causes, Exod. xxiii. 8. 

It was a witty speech of a pious person,* He is the best magis- 
trate that is good for nothing. Ye must neither take bribes your- 
selves, nor by your servants ; for optimus et maximus vender etur 
imperator. There is not a gift ye take but will be as a dagger at 
your hearts another day; like Achan's wedge of gold, it will cleave 
your souls in sunder. It will in this particular be happy for him 
that, when he cometh to die, can say, as dying Samuel, ' Behold, 
here I am : witness against me before the Lord, and before his 
anointed : whose ox have I taken ? or whose ass have I taken ? or 
whom have I defrauded ? whom have I oppressed ? or of whose 
hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes ? And they 
said. Thou hast not defrauded nor oppressed, nor taken aught of 
any man's hands,' 1 Sam. xii. S, 4. 

The fourth thing requisite in a magistrate is ability. A magis- 
trate must be not only a man of piety, but a man of parts, quick- 
sighted, of a deep apprehension, knowing the laws exactly ; because 
if he be not, he will some time or other condemn the innocent, and 
justify the wicked. And the rather every judge ought to be able, 
in regard he hath to deal with men that can draw a fair glove over 

^ It is reported of a king of Persia, that he would come off from his horse upon the 
way to do justice to a poor man. 

^ But it was a bad speech of Caesar, Causa Cassii melior, sed Bruto nil denegare 
possum. — Plut. in Vit. Cses. 

3 Plut. in Vit. Public. 

* Vines on 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14, p. 25. 



a foul hand ; blanch over a bad cause with specious pretences, as 
Ziba against Mephibosheth.^ 

1 honour the profession of the law, and I wish that some men 
did not dishonour their profession, who indeed value their substance 
above their consciences, not believing that of the father. In die 
judicii plies valehit conscientia pura, quam marsupia plena. 

Beza telleth us, that he once saw on a table the pictures of four 
sorts of persons, and their several posies. 1. The courtier with 
this posy. By my sword I defend you all. 2. The clergyman with 
this posy, By my prayers I preserve you all. 3. The countryman 
with this, I feed you all. 4. The lawyer with this, I devour you 
all. I request lawyers to consider that of God to Moses, ' Thou 
shalt not speak in a cause to wrest judgment,' Exod. xxiii. 2 ; and 
that speech of the apostle, ' I can do nothing against the truth, but 
for the truth,' 2 Cor. xiii. 8. But I have digressed too far already. 

Secondly, If ye would fit yourselves for death, live among men 
exemplarily. You that must die shortly, had need to live strictly. 
Must you ere long fall, then whilst you stand be holy to admiration, 
to imitation. Nihil sic revocat a peccatis sicut frequens meditatio 
mortis. Some say the stroking of the belly with the hand of a dead 
man will cure the tympany ; I am sure the thoughts of death seri- 
ously laid to the heart are a good medicine for an evil heart. 

Nothing in the war will so much dead the cannon, as a mound of 
earth. The consideration that ye shall be turned into earth, should 
dead the cannons of temptation which Satan shoots against your 
souls : ' As pilgrims and strangers*, abstain from fleshly lusts, which 
war against the soul,' 1 Pet. ii. 11. Lycurgus made the first law 
that the dead should be buried about the temples, intimating thereby 
that they which are dying should be very religious.2 Nothing 
maketh death evil but the evil that goeth before it ; for without 
that no evil could follow after it.3 I have read of one that gave a 
ring with a death's-head to a young ruffian, upon this condition, that 
he should meditate on it one hour every day for seven days together, 
which he did, and through the help of God, it wrought a blessed 
change in him. Take a turn or two daily in Golgotha ; walk often 
among the tombs ; ponder frequently your own frailty ; it may much 
quicken you to walk exemplarily. 

Your high places call for holy practices. It is esteemed one of 
King Alphonsus's sayings, that a great man cannot commit a little 

^ There are they that can make Candida de nigris, et de candmlihus alba. 

2 Plut. 

^ Nihil facit mortem malam nisi malum quod prgscedit, vel sequitur. 


sin.i I must tell you, ye have many following you either to heaven 
or hell, in the narrow or broad way ; ye had need to choose a right 
path. Great men's vices are as seldom unaccompanied as their 
persons. Dives was a great man, and a bad pattern, and he had 
many brethren following him to the place of torment. Men are led 
more by the eye than by the ear, and follow rather the doings of 
magistrates, than the sayings of ministers.^ 

' Componitur orbis 
Eegis ad exemplum; nee sic inflectere sensus 
Hunianos edicta valent, quam vita regentum.' — Claudian. 

Sin, indeed, cometh in at first by propagation, but is much 
increased by imitation. 

Ye are the heads of the people,^ Num. vii. 2 ; Micah iii. 11. If 
the head be giddy, the body must needs reel. Ill humours from 
the head destroy and consume the vitals in the body. 

Ye are the nurses of the people, Isa. xlix. 23 ; and our naturalists 
observe that what disease nurses have, the children will partake of. 
Now how will it gall your consciences, when ye come to die, if ye 
have been ringleaders in iniquity, and not patterns of piety. Believe 
it, ringleaders in a rebellion will be most severely punished ; and 
with those whom ye have made wicked without repentance, ye will 
be made eternally woeful. 

Take up the practice of dying Joshua, who was going the way 
of all the earth : ' I and my house will serve the Lord,' Joshua 
xxiv. 15. 

Theodosius the emperor, being asked how a prince might pro- 
mote good abroad, answered. By ordering all well at home.^ If ye 
cannot rule your family well, ye are unfit to rule cities and counties. 
Let me request you to follow David's pattern : ' I will walk in the 
midst of my house with a perfect heart until thou come unto me,' 
Ps. ci. 2 ; or, ' oh when wilt thou come unto me/ lest when ye come 
to die, ye have cause to cry out as she did : ' They made me 
keeper of others' vineyards, but mine own vineyard have I not kept,' 
Cant. i. 6, 

^ As Csesar said, that Caesar's wife should be without all suspicion of fault. 

* Vivitur exemplis potius quam legibus. 

' Many say to such, as Tiberius to Justinus, Si tu volueris ego sum, si tu non vis 
ego non sum. 

* It is a great praise that Melanchthon ascribeth to George, prince of Anhalt : His 
bed-chamber, saith he, was Academia, curia, templum. And Xenophon of Cyrus, 
that a man might wink and choose among his courtiers, he could not miss of a good 


Thirdly, As your frailty calletli upon you to be faithful in your 
places, holy in your practices ; so likewise, in the third place, to walk 
humbly with God. I would have others to have high thoughts of 
you, because ye are gods ; but I desire you to have low thoughts of 
yourselves, because ye must die like men. Pride, as one observeth, 
is the shirt of the soul, put on first, and put off last ; it is a weed 
that will grow in the best soil ; but men that are highest in place, 
are usually highest in spirit, i It is rare to see a man great in 
others' eyes, and little in his own. Honour is often the stinking 
breath of the vulgar, which bei ng blown into the bladder of a grace- 
less heart, causeth it to swell. Bat here is a pin in the text to prick 
this bladder, and take down its swelling. Did you but spiritually 
consider the brittleness of your bodies, it would abate the swelling 
of your spirits. I should think the evil. disposition of your souls, 
and the frail condition of your bodies, should keep you low while 
ye live. 

Alas ! notwithstanding all your powers, places, or preferments, 
what are ye but clods of clay — a little refined earth, moving slime, 
enlivened dust, breathing ashes ? Some naturalists observe of bees, 
that when they rise and buzz on high, if you throw dust upon them, 
they will house and be quiet. When your thoughts are lifted up 
on high, because of those places in which God hath set you, I pray 
cast some dust on those thoughts ; remember ye shall be laid as low 
as the worms are. Abraham was a prince, a great man, but how 
much did this thought humble him : ' Lo, I have undertaken to 
speak unto the Lord, who am but dust and ashes,' Gen. xviii. 27. 
I have read of Agathocles, king of Sicily, that being a potter's son, 
he would be always served in earthen vessels, to mind him of his 
original. Some write of a bird so light and feathery, that it is 
forced to fly with a stone in its mouth, lest the wind should carry 
it aw^ay. The truth is, men that are high in place, are apt to be 
carried away with the wind of high-mindedness ; they had need 
therefore to have earth in their minds, I mean their frailty, and it 
may prove, through the blessing of Heaven, a singular preservative.^ 

Oh that you who are judges and justices, would but take the 
length of your bodies in the dust, where ye must ere long lie, and 
believe that a little distemper will kill you, a little sheet will w^ind 

^ A magistrate should be like a star or spire-steeple, the higher he is the lesser he 
should seem to be. 

^ There was one Willigis, Bishop of Mentz, who, being son to a wheelwright, caused 
wheels to be hanged on the walls up and down his palace, with these words written 
over them, Willigis, Willigis, recole unde veneris. 



yon, a little grave hold you, little worms feed on you, and a little 
time quite consume you. Could ye then be great in your own eyes? 
Kemember that your remembrance is like unto dust, and your 
bodies are bodies of clay, Job xiii. 12. 

Fourthly, Must ye die, and would ye prepare for it, then be 
active for God whilst ye live ; the serious thoughts of death in your 
hearts will put life into your hands. This life is all your day of 
working, death is the night of resting : ' The dead rest from their 
labours,' Eev. xiv. 13: ' When the sun' of man's life 'ariseth, he 
goeth forth unto his labour until the evening' of death, Ps. civ. 23. 
The heavenly bodies are ever in motion, though the earth stand 
still ; and the more pure any being is, the more active it is. Deus 
est actus pu7'us. Fire is the most active of creatures without life ; 
angels of creatures that have life. Oh shew yourselves to be as 
angels amongst men, by walking humbly with God. The angels 
vail their faces in his presence, by working diligently for God ; 
angels are ever employed in the service of God. 

Work industriously in your general callings as Christians. ' Yet 
a little while the light is with you. Walk while ye have the light,' 
John xii. 35. The task of Christianity is great ; the time ye have 
is little, the time ye have lost is much. Oh now bestir yourselves 
in redeeming time, and improving every opportunity to the best 
advantage of your souls. How fervently should ye pray, as not 
knowing but that every prayer ye pray may be your last prayer ; 
that ye may never have another season to beg mercy in for your 
souls, for your relations, for the afEicted members of the Lord 
Jesus ! How attentively, and how hungerly should ye hear the 
word of life, even as for life ! How carefully, and how conscien- 
tiously should ye keep the Sabbath, considering ye may be very 
near your eternal Sabbath ! How sedulously should ye hang on 
every ordinance, as bees on flowers, never leaving them till ye have 
sucked some honey, some sweetness, from them ! Ponder this, 
there can be but a few days, and ye shall never pray more, never 
hear more, never sanctify Lord's day more, never enjoy ordin- 
ances more.i I that am now preaching, and ye that are now 
hearing, must shortly be carried on men's backs, and laid in the 
belly of the earth ; and can we do too much in so little time, espe- 
cially in a work of such infinite weight ! 

The devil is the more busy because his time is short, Eev. xii. 
12, and therefore striveth, in a quick despatch of the works of dark- 
ness, to outwit the children of light. The time is short, therefore 
^ Praeoipitat tempus ; mors atra impendet ageuti. 


be indifferent about earth, 1 Cor. vii. 29 ; the time is short, there- 
fore be diligent about heaven. The word is, the time is rolled up, 
6 Kacpo^ (Tvv6(TTaXfjbevo<; ; it is a metaphor from mariners. The sails that 
were spread before, when they draw nigh to the haven, are then 
rolled up : you know not how soon the sails of your lives may be 
rolled up, how nigh ye are to your eternal haven ; oh bestir your- 
selves carefully, ply the oars diligently, that the vessels of your 
souls may not miscarry eternally ! ' Whatsoever thine hand find- 
eth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor know- 
ledge, nor device, in the grave, whither thou goest,' Eccles. ix. 10. 

Work industriously in your particular callings, as magistrates, 
because ye must die. Be active for the punishment of iniquity, for 
the encouragement of piety. Let the practice of Christ be your 
pattern : ' I must work the work of God while it is day : the night 
Cometh, when no man can work,i' John ix. 4. To work a work 
noteth the strong intention of his spirit about the work : Christ, 
though he was rich, 2 Cor. viii. 9, and for greatness the Lord's 
equal, Phil. ii. 6 ; yet did not, as many rich and great men do, play 
his work ; he did sweat at work, yea he sweat drops, nay, clods of 
blood, Luke xxii. 44. Now be ye followers of Christ as dear chil- 
dren, and think you can never do enough for that Saviour which 
hath done so much for your souls. How sad is it, that great bodies 
should move so slowly ! 2 

How many talents hath God committed to you ? when others 
have one, ye have ten. A talent is anything that a man is be- 
trusted with to glorify God, and it is called a talent because of the 
great price that is in the least opportunity to honour God.^ Ye have 
many such talents ; ye may hinder much wickedness, further much 
holiness ; be a great terror to evil-doers, a great praise to them that 
do well. Let it not be said of you, that ye do the work of the Lord 

Did not Christ humble himself for you ? and shall you think it 
below you to search alehouses, those headquarters of hell ; to in- 
quire into men's observation of God's day ; to use all means where- 
by ye may know men's profanation of God's name, by hellish oaths, 
and cursed blasphemies, and abuse of God's creatures by drunken- 

^ 'E/x^ 5et ipydleaOai to, ^pya. 

^ Magnarum rerum tarda mole molimina. 

3 Nothing more sads the heart when a man comes to die, than his neglect of such 
opportunities which God's providence or his own place have put into his hands of 
doing or receiving good ; nor is there a siiarjjer corrosive than the reflection upon 
those days that have passed over him, Male, aliud, nihil, agentem. — Vines Ess. Fun., 
p. 19. Phil. ii. 7. 


ness, that so they may be severely punished ? l Alas ! a few days 
will come, and the best of you shall have no such opportunity to 
discover your love to God for his abundant mercies, your thank- 
fulness to Christ for his precious merits : do therefore now act to 
the utmost of your power for the glory of God, and your Saviour. 

Be not like the tallest trees, which bring forth either no fruit, or 
that which is only for swine. Remember God puts no difference 
betwixt nequaquam et nequam, an idle and an evil servant ; the 
unprofitable servant is for outer darkness, Mat. xxv. 26-30. 

Do but consider the time of your departure may be at hand ; and 
should not this resolution be in your hearts, to act vigorously and 
strenuously for God ? The nearer ye are to your centre, the faster 
ye should move : the setting sun shineth most brightly ; the dying 
swan sings most sweetly ; the approaches of a needle are so much 
the more quick, by how much it draweth nearer to the loadstone ; 
the rivers run with a stronger stream when they are about to empty 
themselves into the ocean. Ye are nearer death than ever ; be 
quicker in your motions for God than ever, that it may be said of 
every one of you, how young soever ye may die, as one said of Jewell, 
Diic vixit etsi non diufuit. 

Fifthly, Must ye die, and would ye prepare for death ? labour to 
find some inward work of grace wrought upon your hearts ; be not 
contented with forms, but mind the power of godliness.^ A man 
may live by a form, but he cannot die by a form ; a heart not 
balanced with grace may hold out in the calm of life, but when the 
boisterous winds of sickness blow, and the storm of death cometh, 
it will sufi'er shipwreck : when death cometh, when that damp 
ariseth, the candle of profession, separated from the power of reli- 
gion, will first burn blue, and then go out : the bellows of death 
will blow the spark of sincerity into a flame, and the blaze of hyp- 
ocrisy into nothing. Oh therefore get that saying of our Saviour 
written on your hearts : ' Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a 
man be born again, he can never see the kingdom of God,' John iii. 
3. A worthy divine, now in heaven,'^ observeth four things from 
this verse: 1. The manner of the assertion, 'Verily, verily.' 2. 
The matter asserted, ' except a man be born again ; ' Non unius 
partis correctionem, sed totius naturce renovationem designed. — (Cal- 
vin.) 3. The universality of the assertion; it is equivalent to a uni- 

^ Magistrates are custodes utriusque tabulce. Socrates was adjudged to death by the 
Athenians for a dishonourable speech concerning their gods. — Plut. in Tit. Nici. 
Vide Lev. xxiv. 16 ; Job xxxi. 26-28. 

- Oportet imperatorem stantem 'moYi.—Vespa. 

^ Pious Mr Strong on Heb. xii. 14-, p. 39, vide. 



versal proposition. Though he be a man civil in his conversation, a 
saint in his generation, yet he must be born again. 4. The neces- 
sity of it ; without regeneration no salvation ; he cannot see the 
kingdom of Grod. 

You know what the pharisees were ; how strict in their lives, 
according to the law blameless, Phil. iii. 6 ; how abundant in duty. 
Mat. xxiii. 14 ; they made long prayers. Mat. vi. ; gave much alms, 
Luke xviii. 12 ; fasted twice a week. Mat. xxiii. 15 ; compassed 
sea and land to make proselytes ; nay, they were so holy that the 
Jews would speak commonly, That if but two in the world went to 
heaven, the one should be a scribe and the other a pharisee. Yet 
our Saviour speaketh expressly : ' Except your righteousness exceed 
the righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, ye shall in no case 
enter into the kingdom of God,' Mat. v. 20. Pharisaical holiness 
will never evidence your right to eternal happiness.! He that con- 
sidereth how great their privileges, how seemingly gracious their 
practices were, will at first wonder why Christ should set a double 
bolt on heaven's gate to keep them out. But their chief failing 
was in this which I am exhorting you to, namely, in the want of 
the power of godliness. Their actions, to the eye of man, good, 
but their affections were bad ; their practices did not proceed from 
renewed and gracious principles. Whatsoever civility was without 
in the life, there was no real sanctity within in the heart. 

You that are magistrates may probably be free from scandalous 
enormities. None can tax you, it may be, with swearing, drunken- 
ness, whoredom, or the like ; nay, I hope you go farther, that ye 
perform duty in secret by yourselves, in private with your wives 
and children, in public with the congregation ; that ye instruct 
your families in the things of God, and be earnest with all under 
your power to mind their eternal good. These things are com- 
mendable, and the Lord increase the number of such magistrates ; 
but I must tell you, that though this reformation in your lives be 
good, yet without an alteration and change in your hearts, it is 
not sufficient. I may say to you, as Christ to the young man, 
. ' One thing lackest thou yet.' As the rude satyr in Plutarch, who 
strove to make a dead man stand upright, had so much wit as to 
say, Deest cdiqiiid intus, There wants something within ; so I say 
to you. If ye go no further, there is spiritual life, the seed of God, 
the divine nature, the new creation, the power of godliness wanting 
within ; without this all other things will come to nothing. Alchymy 
gold may shine brighter than true gold ; but, as some observe, it 

^ oi; HT), Duo negativa apud Grsecos vehementius negant. 


will neither cheer the heart as a cordial, nor pass the seventh fire. 
A drachm of true grace will be of more worth to you, when ye come 
to die, than a sea of gifts. Heaven is the Father's house, and none 
can come thither but his own children, such as are born of God. 

Lastly, If ye must die, to prepare yourselves for death, make 
sure of an interest in Christ, in the death of the Lord Jesus. 
There is no shroud to this — namely, to be wrapt in the winding- 
sheet of Christ's righteousness. 

I would request you to discharge your trusts so faithfully, to 
work for heaven so industriously, to walk with God so humbly, to 
live among men so exactly and exemplarily, to mind the reno- 
vation of your natures so carefully, out of thankfulness to God for 
his Son, out of affection to him that hath loved you, and washed 
you in his blood, out of a desire to clear up your title to the cove- 
nant of grace, as if ye were to be justified by your works, to pur- 
chase heaven by your holiness ; but when ye have done all, throw 
them away as filthy rags, Isa. Ixiv. 6, as a menstruous cloth, as 
dung and dross, Phil. iii. 8, 9, in comparison of the excellency of 
the knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

He that is to encounter with this grand enemy, death, had need 
to have armour of proof, John xi. 25, 26 ; and as David said of 
Goliath's sword, so I of this death of Christ, There is no weapon 
like it. That which makes a man die with true courage, and 
step with a holy boldness unto the grave, is to remember that 
Christ died not only before him, but for him, and hath conquered 
and vanquished the king of terrors upon his own dunghill. 

I desire, saith the apostle, to know nothing but Christ, and him 
crucified. All the mercies that believers enjoy, come streaming to 
them in the blood of Christ ; though there be much attributed to 
his intercession, yet that, like the king's stamp on silver, addeth 
no real value to it, only maketh it current. ^ By his death sin is 
pardoned, Eph. i. 7; God's justice satisfied, Eph. i. 6, and v. 2; his 
wrath appeased. Col. ii. 14, 15; Heb. ii. 14; Satan vanquished, 
the curse of the law endured, Gal. iii. 13 ; grace purchased for the 
saints here. Tit. ii. 14; Heb. ix. 14; and an eternal weight of glory 
hereafter, John xiv. 2 ; 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56. 

The whole ring of Christ's mediatorship surely takes its value, 
not only from the diamond of his divinity, but also from the pas- 
sion of his humanity. It is out of the carcase of this lion of the 

' Calvin observeth on 1 John ii. 1, that Christ's intercession is notliing else but 
a perpetual application of his death. Christ intercedeth by showing to his Father 
bis wounds in his hands and side, quot vidnera, tot ora, to plead for sinners. 


tribe of Jiidah that the true Samsons get so much honey of com- 
fort. Thence it is that the apostle rings such a challenge in the 
ears of death : ' death, where is thy sting ? grave, where is thy 
victory ? The sting of death is sin ; but thanks be to God, which 
hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,' ^ The 
apostle speaketh as alluding to a soldier that, having fought with, 
and disarmed his adversary, triumpheth : sir ! where is your 
sword wherewith you threatened so bitterly ? Where is your pis- 
tol, with which you would wound me mortally ? death ! where 
is thy sting, with which thou threatenedst to make me smart eter- 
nally ? grave ! where is that victory of which thou boasteth so 
exceedingly ? Thanks be to God, that hath given us the victory 
through Christ. Christ died not only in honum fidelmm, sed in 
loco eorum, not only for their good, but in their stead. Now 
death, like a bee, left its sting, and lost its sting in Christ, that now 
it may make a noise, but cannot sting the believer. 

Surely, if Jacob could say, when he had seen Joseph, ' Now let 
me die, since I have seen thy face,' Gen. xlvi. 30, the soul that, 
with the eye of faith, hath seen this Son of Joseph, may with 
greater boldness dare death, and encounter the grave. How sweetly 
doth old Simeon sing out his soul's requiem ; having, saith one, 
laid in his heart that holy child Jesus, whom he lapt in his arms, 
Luke ii. 29, 30, sings his 7iimc dimittas ! I fear no sin, I dread no 
death. I have lived enough, I have my life ; I have longed enough, 
I have my love. I have seen enough, I have my light. I have 
served enough, I have my saint. (?) I have sorrowed enough, I have 
my joy. Sweet babe, let this psalm serve for a lullaby to thee, and 
for a funeral to me. Oh, do thou sleep in my arms, and let me 
sleep in thy peace ! 

Be not contented with any gift from God beneath his Son.^ Say, 
as Abraham, ' Lord, what wilt thou give me if I go Christless ? ' 
Lord, thou hast given a plentiful estate, comfortable kindred, a 
goodly dwelling, lovely children, much honour from men, many 
lawful pleasures and delights ; but ah, Lord ! what are these to 
a Christ ? Give me Christ, or I die ; yea. Lord, give me Christ, 
or I die eternally. 

View thy Saviour on the cross, fighting with this last enemy for 

^ Vide Mr Herbert's Temple ; Dialogue between the Christian and Death, p. 164. 
Lenietur mortis damnum ; non enim est invicta ut antea, cum Christus illam super- 
avit, ae in suo certamine crucis, fselicissime vicit. — Pet. Martyr, loc. comm. de Luct. 
pro mort. 

^ Valde protestatus sum me nolle sic a Deo satiari. — Luther; Melch. Adam in Vit. 


thy sins, for thy soul. See his arms stretched out to embrace thee, 
his head hanging down to kiss thee, his feet nailed, that he cannot 
run from thee, his side opened, to shew thee how nigh thou liest to 
his heart ; and take him down with the arms of faith, and lay him 
in the sepulchre of thy soul. Oh, be not faithless, but believing ! 
Cry out, My Lord, and my God ! 

I tell thee, couldst thou heap up mountains of prayers — couldst 
thou pray so frequently that thy heart even bled within thee, and 
so frequently that thy knees were as hard as camels' knees, as is 
reported of James, the brother of our Lord — couldst thou weep, as 
some speak of Mary Magdalene in Balba, thirty years together — 
couldst thou fast as many millions of years as there have been 
moments since the creation — yet without an interest in this death 
of Christ it would all be of no worth, of no value, to no purpose at 

I shall, in the next place, annex some motives, that the former 
particulars may have the deeper impression on your affections. 

1. Consider how vain and unprofitable all other things will be to 
you when ye fall ; — do but ponder that word, fall ; — when ye die. 

(1.) Ye fall from the highest pinnacle of honour and reputation.^ 
The place of magistracy, which knoweth you now, will know you 
no more. One of the ancients, standing by Ctesar's tomb, crieth 
out, Uhi nunc pulchritudo Ccesaris ? quo abiit magnificentia ejus f 
Where is now the beauty ; what is become of the magnificence ; 
where are the armies now ; where the honours, the triumphs, the 
trophies of Ca3sar ? All was gone when C^sar was gone. Your 
honours and your worships, your power and your places, all die 
with you, if not before you. Titles of honour glister, like glow- 
worms, in the dark night of this life ; but in the day of death they 
all vanish and disappear. It is probable some of you may be 
nobly born, finely bred, highly advanced ; but when ye come to 
die, ye may say of all these, as Esau of his birthright, ' Behold, I 
am at the point to die ; and what profit shall this birthright do to 
me ?' Gen. xxv. 32. What good will my honour, my credit, do me ? 
Christ will do me good when I come to die ; so will the power of 
godliness : but none of my places or preferments will. 

(2.) Ye fall from your greatest. treasures and possessions. As ye 
brought nothing into the world, so it is certain ye shall carry 

^ Honour is called 56^a, an opinion, Mat. iv. 8 ; (pavraala, a fancy, Acts xxv. 23 ; 
(TX'fjfj^a, a mathematical figure, a mere notion, 1 Cor. vii. 31. One was appointed at 
the pope's enthronisation to burn a wad of straw, and, running before the pope, to 
cry out. Sic transit gloria mundi. 


nothing out of the world, 1 Tim. vi. 7. Saladin, the mighty 
monarch of the east, is gone, and hath carried no more along with 
him than ye see — i.e., a shirt hung up for that purpose — said the 
priest that went before the bier.^ 

The Holy Ghost observe th well, that rich men are by their 
wealth rich only in this world, 1 Tim. vi. 17, and they are this 
world's goods, 1 John iii. 17 ; for, as the martyr said, I am going 
to the place where money beareth no mastery ; in another world, 
gold and silver are not current coin. A divine, now with Christ,^ 
giveth me two stories of dying rich men. The one is of a miser, 
that, being to die, called for his bags, and hugging them, crieth 
out, Must I leave you? must I leave you? The other is of one 
that, being on his death-bed, called for some pieces of gold, and 
laid them to his heart ; but presently said, I find them cold, take 
them away ; they will not do, they will not do. The unsearchable 
riches that are in Christ will do ; his warm blood applied by faith 
will not be cold to thy heart. 

(3.) Ye fall from all your friends and relations ; when ye die, they 
that were near and dear to you will leave you. Ye may, when ye 
lie on your death-beds, look on your left hands, and there is none to 
help you ; on your right hands, and there is none to pity you : on 
the one side of the bed, thy neighbours may be sighing and sob- 
bing ; on the other side, thy wife and children may be wringing 
their hands and rending their hearts ; but if thou canst not then, 
with David, look up and say, ' Lord, thou art my refuge,' Ps. cxlii. 
4, 5, oh, what a sighing, sobbing, weeping condition art thou in 
indeed ! 

Oh what a comforting cordial will it be to a dying person to be 
able, in uprightness of heart, to say, with Asaph, ' My flesh and my 
heart fail me ; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion 
for ever,' Ps. Ixxiii. 26. ^ When news cometh that ye must die, can 
the ablest physician in the world prescribe or provide such a cordial 
as good Hezekiah had ? He turned to the wall and weepeth, say- 
ing, ' Lord, thou knowest I have walked before thee with a perfect 
heart,' Isa. xxxviii. 2, 3. 

Believe me, sirs, your honours, treasures, and relations will shake 

' AH the Cains of Adam are Abels; all the possessions of man are vanity. — Mr 

^ Holy Mr Burroughs. 

^ It was an excellent saying of a worthy person to a great peer of this realm that 
shewed him his houses, goods, lands, honours, pleasures, and the like : My lord, 
you had need to make sure of heaven, otherwise your Lordship will be a very great 
loser when you die. 


hands with you at death ; hke leaves in autumn, fall from you ; 
like Absalom's mule, fail you even in your greatest extremity. 
Then Dives and his dishes, Herod and his harlot, Belshazzar and 
his bowls, Achan and his wedges, Balaam and his wages, the am- 
bitious man and his honours, voluptuous man and his pleasures, 
covetous man and treasures, must part, and that for ever, ever. 
Doth it not concern you, then, to choose that part that shall never 
be parted with, which shall never be taken from you ? 

2. By this means your names may be highly honoured ; true 
glory is entailed on piety. The heathen would go through the 
temple of virtue to the temple of honour. ' Happy is the man that 
findeth wisdom ; length of days is in. her right hand, and in her 
left hand riches and honour/ Pro v. iii. 13, 15. 

I do not say that wicked men shall commend you for godliness ; 
no, their good word were a blot to your names.^ What evil have I 
done, said the philosopher, that this vicious wretch speaketh well 
of me ? Yet godliness will make you like statues of gold, which 
the polluted breath of ungodly ones cannot stain : the more the 
dirty feet of men rub on a figure graven in brass, tlie more lustre 
they give it ; but God and godly men will honour you for holiness. 
What doth God say of a living saint ? ' Hast thou not considered 
my servant Job?' Job i. 8 — i.e., I am sure, in thy travels and 
wanderings about the world, thou couldst not choose but take notice 
of Job ; he is my jewel, my darling, a special man among all the 
sons of men : he is such a spectacle as may justly draw all eyes 
and hearts after him. When thou walkedst to and fro, didst thou 
not make a stand at Job's door ? 2 I cannot but look upon him my- 
self, and consider him ; therefore surely thou hast considered him. 
And how honourably doth God speak, not only of a godly magis- 
trate living, but when he is dead also ! ' Moses my servant is 
dead,' Joshua i. 2 ; ' The seed of Abraham my friend,' Isa. xli. 8. 
So godly men will honour you if ye fear God. When your eyes are 
shut, men's mouths will be open ; and what will good men say of 
a pious judge : There was a judge that would not swerve a tittle 
from the law, but executed it courageously, without fear, impar- 
tially, without favour ; who made the malefactor to tremble with 

1 Salvian complained that in his time men thought religion made noblemen vile ; 
when indeed, saith he, it maketh vile men noble. 

^ Caryl in loc, Job was a godly magistrate. Godliness doth truly ennoble a person. 
The four monarchs, without it, are resembled to four beasts : king Herod to a fox ; 
Xero to a lion ; the princes of Israel to the kine of Bashan. 

Nam genus et proavos et quo3 non fecimus ipsi, 
Vix ea nostra voco. — Ovid. 


his frowns, and cheered the innocent with his smiles. He was one 
that did justly, loved mercy, and walked humbly with his God ; of 
whom the world was not worthy, for he is now enjoying a weight 
of glory. And of a good justice when dead, what a character will 
good men living give ! There was a justice that would secure his 
conscience,! whatever became of his credit ; that would please 
God, how much soever he displeased men ; that was not only strict 
to punish, but active to find out swearers, drunkards, and Sab- 
bath-breakers. He was one that ever counted the toleration of 
men in such sins an intolerable sin ; or, if you will have it, in the 
language of a learned divine now in heaven, he was a justice that 
would scatter drunkards from their ale-bench, and never understood 
the language of a bottle or a basket. Oh how gallantly, if ye act 
nobly for God, will these trumpets sound your praises when ye are 
in the place of silence ! 

When of a wicked magistrate they will speak, when he is dead, 
as Nazianzen of Julian, when he was smitten and wounded, It was 
to him indeed vulnus lethale, but ttuvtI tw Koa-jioi a-ojTrjpiov, the 
sickness whereby he died was, possibly, damnation to him, but it 
was salvation to us: we are thereby freed from his wicked pattern 
and ungodly practices. ^ Or as the Eomans of Pompey, by a witty 
solecism, Miseria nostra magnus est, The more he was advanced, the 
more our misery increased. The very heathen can tell us of a long- 
lived vicious man, Diu fuit, non dm vixit. 3Iultum jactatus est, 
71071 midtum navigavit.^ Believe me, the highest ungodly magis- 
trate, when he dieth, goeth out like a candle, that leaves a stinking 
scent, a noisome smell, behind him. 

3. Hereby your deaths will be truly peaceable. An ungodly 
man can never die with true peace, though he may die in much 
security. He may die by his own hands, and yet not with his own 
will. Such a man's soul is taken from him, and snatched away by 
force, Luke xii. 20 ; Job xxvii. 8. 

Were I not by experience too too much acquainted how hard and 
desperately wicked the heart of man is, I should much wonder 
how any man should die in his wits, that dieth not in the faith of 
Christ ; that their souls go not out of their bodies, as the devils out 
of them that were possessed, rending, raging, foaming, and tearing. 
I am confident, were the conscience awakened, no graceless wretch 

1 Pious Master Vines, at Essex Fu., p. 15. 

- Caligula could say of his father-ialaw, Marcus Silanus, that be was but a golden 
' Senec. ad Paulin., cap. 8. 


alive can look death in the face with blood in his cheeks. It must 
needs make the stoutest heart alive to quake, to look that distemper 
in the face, that at once may both kill him and damn him. 

Yet we see by experience that many die like lambs, whilst their 
souls are amongst lions, and they are going to the place of dragons.l 
We read, there are no bands in the death of rich wicked men, 
Ps. Ixxiii. 4. And that phrase in Job xxi. 13, ' In a moment they 
go down to the grave,' is generally interpreted thus : They die 
quickly and quietly. In quiete in infernum descendunt, saith an 
expositor, like a lamp that goeth out of itself when the oil faileth. 
So Cffisar said, the day before he was slain, Finis vitce commodissi- 
mus est repentinibs et inopinatus ; and Julian the apostate said, 
Vitam reposcenti naturce tanquam debitor bonce Jidei, redditurus^ 
exulto. But this quietness ariseth — or rather carnal security to 
them — not from any knowledge of their good estate, but from igno- 
rance of their bad estate. ' A wicked man's hope is like the giving 
up of the ghost,' Job xi. 20. He breathes out his soul, life, and 
hope together. 

The good man only hath true hope in his death,2 Prov. xiv. 32 ; 
Ps.xxxiii, and xxxvii. I am neither ashamed to live, nor afraid to die, 
having a good master to go to, said Ambrose. And how man-like 
did that feminine martyr subscribe her confession : Subscribed by 
me, Ann Askew, that neither wisheth for death, nor feareth its 
might, but is as merry as one that is bound for heaven.^ He that 
with the apostle can say, ' I have fought a good fight,' 2 Tim. iv. 
8, may sail with a plerophory, with top and top-gallant, into the 
ocean of eternity. A happy death is the conclusion of a holy life. 
The godly man and his godliness are like Saul and Jonathan, 
lovely in their lives, and in their deaths they are not divided. 

Now what an argument is here to stir you up to godliness. Is 
anything more desirable than a good end, than to do your last act 
well ? The evening crowns the day. The last scene commends 
the act : Finis "perficit tarn agentem quam actionem. Balaam could 

1 Ai-istotle, when dying, spake thus, saith one : Dubius morior, quo vadam, nescio. 
And Adrian, more dolefully : Animida, vagida, hlandula, quce nunc alibis in 
loca, &c. 

^ Some of the martyrs thanked their judges for condemning them : Sententiis 
ventris gratias agiynus, cum damnamur a vobis a deo absolvimur. — Tertul. A2)ol., cap. 
5. Si vis in pace mori, sis servus dei. 

'■^ Fox's Acts, vol.ii. p. 576. Extrema Christianorum desiderantur etsi non exordia. 
Florus saith of the Eomans, Populm Romanus scvpe jjra'liis, niinquam hello victtis : 
They were often conquered in skirmishes, but never in a pitched battle. The godly 
may be often foiled in their lives, but never in their deaths. At that long run they 
are always too hard for their most potent adversaries. 


desire to die the death of the righteous, and to have his latter end 
like theirs, Num. xxiii. 10. The papists have a proverb. It is 
good to live in France, because there is most liberty, and to die in 
Italy, there is most popish purity and strictness. When Julius 
Ca3sar was surprised and wounded in the senate, he cast his robe 
about him, ut Tionesie caderet, that he might die decently. If ye 
would not die ill, then be sure ye live well ; let holiness be your 
way, and happiness shall be your end. 

4. This will make your estates and conditions eternally comfort- 
able. Death to you then will be no night, but the daybreak of 
eternal brightness. Oh what welcome will Christ give that ma- 
gistrate in heaven that hath served him faithfully on earth ! All 
the good ye do for God or his people is now perfectly recorded, 
and shall then be bountifully rewarded. It is observable the 
epistles to the churches begin with novi opera, and end with v/w- 
centi dabo, to assure us that Christ is a strict observer of our good 
works at first, and will be a rich rewarder of them at last. 

All your industry in your general callings of Christianity, all 
your prayers, are now on the file in heaven ; all your tears for sin 
are in God's bottle ; all your fastings, watchings, duties in secret 
between God and your own souls, in public in the great congrega- 
tion ; all your sedulity in your particular callings of magistracy ; 
all your pains to preserve us in peace ; all your labour for the Lord's 
honour ; all your justifying the righteous, condemning the wicked ; 
all the good ye do, evil ye prevent, if done out of conscientious 
principles, are not lost, but will all be found to your praise, honour, 
and glory at the coming of Christ. i Duty is sweet at last ; it 
Cometh off with heaven, though hell dog it for a time. If God 
give that magistrate Jehu, 2 Kings x. 30, who served him in 
hypocrisy, an earthly kingdom to the fourth generation, surely he 
will give a heavenly kingdom that is eternal to those magistrates 
that serve him in sincerity.^ 

Oh how comfortable will your conditions be when ye die ! If ye be 
cordial to God, and zealous for God, whilst ye live, ye shall be with 
Christ: is not that enough? Did the wise men rejoice so much 

^ Locker. 

^ If God valued counterfeit coin at so high a rate, how highly will he value true 
gold ! Esse Christum cum Paulo summa securitas, esse Paulum cum Christo summa 
felicitas. — Ber. Aug. on those words, ' No man can see me and live,' saith, Mortar, 
Domine, ut te videam. Augustine desired to see Romam in Jiore, Paulum in ore, 
Christum in corpore. Bede cometh after him, and correcteth his last thus : Imo iiero 
regem in solio stellato sedentem, the king in his glory rather. I wish for death, 
saith Melanchthon, ut desiderato fruar conspectu Christi. — Mekh. Ad. 


to see the star, and will not your hearts, think ye, rejoice much 
more to see the sun in its noonday brightness ? This was the 
ground of Paul's desiring death, Phil. i. 23. This was the rich 
inheritance that Christ bequeathed to his in his last will and tes- 
tament, John xvii. 24. This was the enlivening cordial which the 
physician of souls administered to the dying thief, Luke xxiii. 43. 
In a word, this is the top of the saints' ambition here, and the apex 
of their perfection hereafter, even to enjoy Christ. Ignatius could 
say, Fire, cross, breaking of my bones, quartering of my members, 
and all the torments that man and devil can invent, let come, so I 
may enjoy my Lord Jesus. And Jerome thus sweetly: If my father 
stood weeping on his knees before me, and my mother hanging on 
my neck behind, and my brethren, sisters, children, and kinsfolk 
howling on every side to retain me in a sinful life, I would fling my 
mother to the ground, run over my father, tread my kindred under 
my feet, that I might run to Christ. What is that which causeth 
the saint to be so busy about the Scriptures, but because they are 
they that testify of Christ ; they prize the cabinet for the jewel's 
sake. What maketh the godly man so frequent at prayer ? Surely 
because therein he enjoyeth communion with his Saviour, with 
Jesus Christ : his voice to every ordinance is, ' Saw ye him whom 
my soul loveth ? ' Now this is the felicity of the magistrate that is 
godly, he shall be with Christ when he dieth. There will be a 
perfect freedom from all evil. When the sun is at the highest, 
there shall be no shadow. When the Christian hath passed this 
Eed Sea, he shall see all his enemies, both bodily and spiritual, 
dead on the shore. 

There will be a full fruition of all good : ' In his presence will be 
fulness of joy, and at his right hand pleasures for evermore,' Ps. 
xvi. 11. The presence of this king mil make a court indeed. 
There will be all that thine eye ever saw, or thine heart ever de- 
sired, or thy tongue ever asked, or thy mind ever conceived ; yea, 
ten thousand times more than thou canst either ask or think. 
There will be all beams of light in this sun, all streams of water in 
this ocean, out of whom, as out of a crystal fountain, thou shalt 
drink down all the refined sweetness of all creatures in heaven and 
earth for ever. And this condition will be eternally thus comfort- 
able, 1 Thes. iv. 17. ' We shall ever be with the Lord.' Oh how 
sweet is that word, ever ! Ever to be happy, and ever happy ; to 
enjoy Christ fully, immediately, and ever to enjoy him. Certainly 
as the word ever is the hell of hell, so it is the heaven of heaven. 
Frailty is a flaw in the best diamond of nature, which abateth its 


price. Eternity is one of the most precious jewels in the crown 
of glory, which increaseth its value exceedingly.^ 

What an argument is here to incite you to live to Christ ! Why ? 
When ye die ye shall eternally live with Christ. When the Gauls 
had once tasted the wine made of the grapes in Italy, they marched 
eagerly, desiring to conquer it.^ I have given you a taste of 
Canaan's grapes : oh use violence for the inheritance above ! ' Be 
constant, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, 
for your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord,' 1 Cor. xv. 58. 

To conclude all : It is reported that Scipio Africanus, when he had 
any weighty work in hand, would go before day into the capitol, 
in ccelum Jovis, quasi considtans de rejmblica cum Jove ; and also 
that Moses, in four causes which came before him, two whereof 
were not weighty, and two were more material, caterum tarn de 
Ms quam de illis dicehat, Non audivi.^ Of both the lighter and 
weightier Moses said, I have not heard — to wit, from the Lord ; to 
shew that a deliberation and consultation, as it were, with God 
ought to be in all judgment before sentence be pronounced. ^ Your 
custom, sirs, is commendable, to make your supplication to God 
before the administration of justice to men. I beseech you again 
and again, in the bowels of Christ, as ye would have your Saviour 
to stand by you, when all your friends, estates, honours will fail you; 
as ye would have your names to smell a sweet savour in the churches 
of God, when your bodies shall be rotten ; as ye would die the 
deaths of the righteous, and have your latter end like theirs; as ye 
would render up your accounts with joy, when ye must appear at 
the judgment seat of Christ, now execute justice impartially, live 
among your inferiors exemplarily, walk with God humbly, work 
for God zealously, mind the power of sanctity, and know a crucified 
Saviour. In a word, let true righteousness towards men, and real 
holiness towards God, be your work while ye live ; that perfect 
holiness among men that are good, and eternal happiness in the 
fruition of God, may be your reward when ye die. For though he 
hath said. Ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most 
High, yet ye must die like men, and fall like one of the princes. 

1 Baxter's Rest, excellently. 

^ Cyprus famosa divitiis paupertatem populi Rom. ut occupai-etur solicitavit. — 
Sextus Rufus. 

^ Plutarch. Pericles, that famous orator, before ever he pleaded, \TOuld entreat his 
God that not a word might fall from him besides his cause. — Plut. in Vit. 

* Jewish Antiq., lib. v. cap. 6. Plato, in his sixth lib., De Legibus, would have 
the palaces of princes joined unto temples. 




[This Treatise, or Exposition, is inserted among Swinnock's 
WoEKS, because it is contained in the original edition of 
them, and it is desired that this rejwint shoidd not contain 
less than that edition contains, — Ed.] 



To all the pious, prudent, zealous, and magnanimous, Magistrates, 
Judges, Justices, and Gentry, in England, Scotland, and Ire- 
land, Grace and peace ; preservation here, and happiness for 

My Lords and Gentlemen, — The dedication of this treatise was 
intended for the Parliament, but that being dissolved, it most pro- 
perly falls to 3^ou, who are, under God, the pillars of the state. 
Such is the corruption of the times we live in, that we are put to 
dispute every inch of ground with the enemies of truth, — magis- 
tracy, ministry. Sabbaths, sacraments, Trinity, Scriptures, &c., all 
things are now questioned, nothing believed or practised by many. 
Formerly I have vindicated baptism, learning, and the ministry, 
now I am come to a vindication of the magistracy. Many are the 
affronts and discouragements which faithful magistrates meet with 
from an ungrateful world, as well as ministers. i You are now 
cried down by those levelling libertines, the fifth monarch-men, as 
antichristian and beasts, by those brutish men, Jude 10, as well 
as we. These are their words : The beast and false prophet are 
the wicked, bloody, antichristian magistracy, ministry, and law- 
yers. 2 We are all here shipped together in the same bottom, and 
must sink or swim together, when these monsters of Munster reign. 
One while we are troubled with church-levellers, and anon with 
state-levellers ; but God hath, and will level all such as go about to 
level his ordinances, and to destroy that order which he hath set up 
in the world, as you may see in the treatise itself. 

1 Satan planteth his strongest batteries against the royal forts of magistracy and 
ministry ; whoever are spared, David and Peter shall be sifted, knowing that he 
gains a double advantage by their miscarriage — viz., example and scandal, by which 
two wings it will soar higher, and fly much further. — Sioinnoch. 

' Vide Standard of the Fifth Monarch-men, p. 20. 


The sons of Belial may as soon pull tlie stars out of the firma- 
ment, as totally root up magistracy and ministry. They are the 
two great standing ordinances of God, which must stand so long as 
the world stands. Mat. xxviii. 20 ; 1 Cor. xv. 24. They are the 
pillars of church and state ; they are like the two pillars in the 
porch of Solomon's temple, called Jachin and Boaz, i.e., straightness 
and strength, 1 Kings vii. 21.1 These are two special properties 
of a good pillar, it must be straight and strong ; and when supe- 
riors are such, then are they supporters indeed, Ps, Ixxv. 3 ; Gal. 
ii, 9. The Hebrews have a saying, that the world is upheld by 
three things — viz., by justice, religion, and gratitude; and when 
these three fail, the world, say they, decays. But a better than 
they hath told us, that when the judge and the prophet are taken 
away, then comes confusion and ruin, Isa. iii. 2, 5.2 When Sam- 
son would destroy the Philistines, he took hold on the two pillars, 
and brought the house upon their heads. Judges xvi. 25-27. Take 
away these two pillars of magistracy and ministry, and you destroy 
both church and state. 

The devil bears an inveterate hatred against these ; they are the 
two butts that he specially shoots at, because by them God doth 
especially batter his kingdom.3 Where Moses and Aaron, the 
word and the sword, go hand in hand together, there Satan's king- 
dom falls like lightning from heaven, suddenly, universally, and 
irresistibly. I have experimentally found a greater visible refor- 
mation in one year, when we had an active, prudent, pious justice 
in the parish,* than in twenty before, notwithstanding all my preach- 
ing and assisting of the officers. 

There should, therefore, be a sweet harmony and mutual assist- 
ance between magistrates and ministers, since the one helps to up- 
hold the other, and they are ordained by God for the mutual aid of 
each other. The minister wants the aid of the magistrate in tem- 
porals, and the magistrate wants the minister's aid in spiritual and 
eternal blessings. The minister hath need of the magistrate's sword 
to defend him against unreasonable men, and the magistrate hath 

^ Nee Hesperum, nee Luciferum, forinosiorem esse justitia, dixit Aristoteles. Non 
est major thesaurus, non eleemosj'na opulentior, non bonum excellentius, non rea 
hominibus utilior, post ipsum verbi ministerium, quam magistratus suum facientes 
ofScium. — Luther. 

- Neeessarise res sunt in republica bene munitaj arces, muri, turres et arma; at 
nihil sunt hcec prtesidia pras uno pio principe, publictc pacis studioso. — Luther. 

^ Pius et magnanimus magistratus est vere Gygas, qui conatibus improborum se 
audet opponere; hie enim non Hectorem, non Achillem, sed ipsum prosternit 
Satanam. — Luther in Ps. Ixxxii. 

* Col. Greayis. 


need of the minister's aid to maintain his authority in the con- 
sciences of men, Titus iii. 1. This made a learned magistrate to 
say, Were it but for ourselves, viz., for the upholding of magis- 
tracy, we had need to uphold the ministry. It is state policy and 
church policy so to do ; for without ministers men may live commo- 
diously, but not piously ; and without magistrates men may live 
piously, but not peaceably and commodiously. Like stones in an 
arch, these two help to uphold each other. Hence good Jehosha- 
phat joined princes and Levites together, the better to promote and 
countenance religion in the land, 2 Chron. xvii. 8. It is a great 
mercy to magistrates when they have good ministers to assist and 
instruct them ; it makes them prosper, as king Uzziah did when he 
had a good Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of 
God, to counsel him, 2 Chron. xxvi. 3-5, 7, 8. Hence it is that 
David had his seers, Asa his Azariah, Jehoshaphat his Jehu, Heze- 
kiah his Isaiah, Josiah his Huldah, and Zerubbabel his Joshua. 
These are, or at leastwise ought to be, the magistrate's best friends ; 
by their praying, preaching, and example, they help to keep oflf sin 
and judgment from a land. Hence it is that the prophet Nathan 
is called the friend of David, 1 Kings iv. 5 ; and Jehoshaphat calls 
the Levites his sons, 2 Chron. xxix. 11 ; and King Joash calls 
Elisha his father, as King Joram had done before him, 2 Kings vi. 
22, and xiii. 14. Such reverence did the great ones of the world of old 
shew to Grod's ambassadors. In the late troubles, we see how those 
places that had faithful ministers to instruct them, were ready to 
venture their lives and estates for the public good, when the igno- 
rant Welsh and Irish, and those dark corners of the earth, were 
habitations of cruelty. An untaught people are always an untoward 
people. Let there be no dissension then between us, for we are 
brethren. Si coUidiinur, fra'Mfimur ; if we dash one against an- 
other, we destroy one another. Let there be no interfering or en- 
croaching on each other's offices ; but let each keep within the 
bounds of that sphere and station, wherein his God hath set him. 
Magistracy and ministry are two distinct callings, as I have shewed 
in the treatise itself, i 

And since the discouragements are many which magistrates meet 
withal in the faithful discharge of their duty, I have therefore set 
before you the dignity of your calling, and shewed how sensible 

^ Magistratus est ordinatio Dei Creatoris, et ad omne genus hominum spectat ; sed 
ministerium ecelesiastieum est donum et ordinatio Christi Mediatoris, ideoque non 
proprie et jure ordinario spectat nisi ad illos qui de ecclcsia Christi. — Ames. Medid., 
lib. ii. cap. 17, sec. 48. 


God is of any indignities that are done unto you. Yet, lest any 
should be puffed up with his honours, the Holy Ghost presently 
adds the mortality of magistrates, and tells them, though they be 
earthly gods, yet they must die like men; and though they have 
been judges of the world, yet at last they must be judged them- 
selves ; and lest any should pretend ignorance of their duty, in this 
psalm, which I may fitly call the magistrates' directory, is set 
forth, 1. Negatively, what magistrates must not do; 2. Affirma- 
tively, what they ought to do, with many reasons dispersed through 
the psalm to quicken them to their duty. So that I do not know 
a more lively psalm for this purpose, all things considered, in the 
whole Book of Psalms ; so sharp and searching it is, that the bare 
singing of it at Westminster, the Sabbath before the judges were 
to vote concerning ship-money, brought the man into question that 
caused it to be sung ; and yet the psalm was composed, as the 
learned conceive, that it might be sung either at the creation of new 
magistrates, or else before the old ones, before they went to the 

I have the rather been induced to this work, because I have ob- 
served that such as rulers are, such usually are the people ; i if they 
be erroneous, the people will quickly follow them : Isa. iii. 12, ' 
my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err.' 2 One sinner, 
especially in authority, destroys much good, Eccles, ix. 18. One 
Rehoboam, Ahab, Jeroboam, falling from God, and setting up 
idolatry, will quickly draw all Israel with them, 1 Kings xii. 
28, 30 ; 2 Chron. xii. 1. ' The wicked walk on every side, (in great 
numbers and swarms,) when the vilest men are exalted,' Ps. xii. 8. 
The more potent the sinner, the more mischief he doth ; ^ they have 
greater power and more able instruments at hand to promote their 
projects and wicked designs. The great red dragon that hath seven 
heads, and ten horns, and seven crowns, i.e., that hath great poten- 
tates to act for him, draweth the third part of the stars down, and 
casteth them to the earth. Rev. xii. 4 — i.e., teachers, and such as 
by profession did shine like stars, yet by the tyrannical persecution 
of those great ones were drawn to idolatry. Great men's lives are 
poor men's laws ; they are the looking-glasses by which inferiors 
ofttimes dress themselves. All their actions are examples, and 
their examples have a kind of compulsive power. Hence Peter is 

^ Quales in republica principes, tales reliquos solere esse cives, dixit Cicero. 
^ Malorum principium sunt mali principes. — Emman. Thesaurus. Tliougli virtue 
be more amiable, yet vice is more imitable, especially in a prince. 
'^ Magnorum hominum mediocria non sunt peccata. — Luther. 


said to compel them whom by his example he drew to Judaism, 
Gal. ii. 24. What we see sinks deeper into us than what we hear.i 
On the contrary, when great men are good men, they do much 
good. If Asa and Hezekiah be forward in reforming, so are the 
people, 2 Chron. xv. 9-12, and xxxi. 1. When certain ambassadors 
praised the Lacedaemonian soldiers for their good order, who before 
were mutinous, one of them ingenuously answered, Nos iidem sumus 
ut nuper, sed alius nunc nobis est dux, We are the same men still, 
but now we have another general. This is the very end why God 
advanceth any to honour, that so they might honour him, Esther 
iv. 14. 

It was Vespasian's honour that his greatness became more ad- 
vantageous to him in the promoting of goodness. 2 To encourage 
you, know, that if you build God's house, he will build your houses, 
Exod. i. 20, 21 ; if you advance his name, he will advance your 
names, and if you honour him, you shall be honoured by him. We 
see in all ages how reforming princes have prospered, as Moses, 
Joshua, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Asa, 2 Chron. xiv. 2-8.^ What 
made Queen Elizabeth flourish? Why, she was happy in her 
counsellors, by whom she was for the most part ruled, and so grew 
amiable to her friends, and terrible to her foes. ' Wisdom is bet- 
ter than strength, or weapons of war,' Eccles. ix. 18. Romani ce- 
dendo vincunt. The welfare of a state is preserved, not so much 
by a multitude of warriors, as of wise and pious counsellors.* 
Many soldiers tliink it needless to guard those who have the long 
sword to guard themselves ; but let such know, that he is but sor- 
rily guarded who hath himself only, and a few fellow-creatures, for 
his guardians.5 If God be against you, what good can your long 
sword do you ? Ezek. iii. 3, 26. Piety and integrity are the best 

2. Encourage a learned, pious, and laborious ministry. To this 
end improve your interest for the buying in of impropriations, that 
so every congregation may have an able pastor ; for we see by daily 
experience that scandalous means breeds- scandalous ministers. 

^ Segnius irritant animos demissa per aures, 
Quam quae sunt oculis commissa. — Horat. 

2 Nee quicquam in te mutavit fortiinse amplitudo, nisi ut prodesse tantundem pos- 
ses et velles. — Plin. Epis. ad Vespas. 

3 See Mr Woodward's chronicle of tlie good kings of Judah. Princeps religionem 
roborando, ab ea roboratur. — Nazianz. 

* It Avas a foul blot upon Chilperick, a king of France, that he was titularis non 
tutelaris rex ; defuit non prcefuit Eeipublicce. 
' Optimum munimentum est munimento carere. 


Tithes are no burden to any but such as esteem the faithful dis- 
pensing of the gospel a burden ; but for men to plough and sow for 
such as are truly impropriators, is a great grievance through the 
land. How many steal the goose and stick down a feather ? swal- 
low a hundred pound per annum, and allow the minister four pound 
per annum ? The blood of souls cries against such men : and if 
the blood of Abel's body cried so loud against Cain, how loud will 
the blood of so many souls cry against these sacrilegious Canaan- 
ites? The abolishing also of that clause in 31 Henry VIII., 13, 
which exempts many great livings from paying of tithes, because 
they paid none in the times of abbots and friars, were a very noble 
work, and well beseeming a parliament ; for by this means a great 
part of many parishes pay nothing towards the maintenance of the 
gospel, and the burden lies upon a few tenants and inferior persons, 
who sometimes pay fifty shillings, whilst the lord of the manor pays 
not five pence. How many patrons of churches are latrons, rob- 
bing their ministers, whom they are bound to defend ! 

3. If ever the Lord shall call you to parliament again, labour to 
find out some expedient for an accommodation and the reconciling 
of God's people amongst themselves.! Unity and unanimity in 
God's worship, which some look upon as a misery, is indeed a great 
mercy, and is enjoined by the apostle as a special duty, 2 Cor. xiii. 
11. Be of one mind, — q.d., Though there have been divisions and 
dissensions amongst you, yet now be unanimous, and live in peace 
together. It is of greater consequence than many imagine. Divi- 
sion in the church breeds dissension in the state, and a state di- 
vided cannot long stand. 2 The apostle would never so earnestly 
have besought, and so strongly adjured God's people to unanimity, 
had it not been a special duty, Rom. xv. 5 ; 1 Cor. ii. 20 ; Phil. ii. 
1, 2. The authors and fautors of those sad divisions and subdivi- 
sions which abound amongst us, have much to answer for before 
the Lord. It is easily seen at what door they come in upon us. 
The best means that I know to suppress exorbitances in the state, 
is parliaments, and to suppress disorders in the church, is synods. 
That synods are God's ordinance, and have been blest with success 
from God, is confessed by all sober men on all hands ; and why an 
ordinance of Christ should lie so long unpractised, I know not.^ 

^ See motives and directions for an accommodation in D. Bolton's Arraignment of 
Error, p. 340, ad fincm libri. 

2 See the dangers of divisions in Mr Clark's tract against Toleration, p, 35, 40, &c. 

3 Vide Cotton's Keys, chap. v. p. 25, and Burrough's Irenicum, chap. vii. p. 43, 
44 ; Bolton's Arraignment of Error, p. 266, &c. 



How long shall the church of God lie as a field without a fence, 
and a vineyard without a hedge, so that every wild beast breaks in 
upon it ? For want of discipline, what corruption in manners, and 
errors in doctrine, like a flood have broken in upon us, and there is 
none to restrain them ! for want of it young ministers begin to de- 
generate both in their life and doctrine, since they find the reins to 
lie so loose upon their own necks. The Presbyterian government 
is that government which by covenant we are bound to promote, it 
being that government which all the reformed churches of Christ 
do practise ; and the only platform of government which carries a 
Jus divinum in the forehead of it.^ Let those that can, produce a 
better platform ; that model of our late dissenting anonymous — I 
shall not say anomalous — brethren, hath made the breach wider than 
ever ; yea, some that wavered in that point, are now convinced of 
the weakness and insufficiency of their grounds for that way of in- 
dependency. ^ We have some government in the state, yet church- 
government and reformation ought to be preferred before that of 
the state, is proved to my hand by a learned pen.^ The politicians 
of the world abuse rulers when they go about to prepossess them 
with prejudice against the kingdom and discipline of Christ, as if 
it were destructive to the civil government ; whereas if they would 
but look abroad into the world, they should find that the rulers of 
the world have not more free, faithful, loyal subjects than those 
that are truly religious, and willing to submit their necks to Christ's 
sweet and easy yoke. 

4, Eestrain that spirit of error and delusion which, like wild- 
fire, hath spread over all the land.^ Nothing will please some 
men but a boundless toleration of all sorts and sects. No magis- 
trate nor minister must control them ; all government to such un- 
governed ones is tyranny and persecution. How well this tolera- 
tion agrees with our national covenant, wherein we vowed the 
extirpation of heresies, and whatsoever is contrary to sound doc- 
trine, let the world judge. It was the great sin of Julian the 
apostate, that he granted liberty to pagans and heretics, that, by 
letting such weeds grow, he might the better destroy God's harvest. 

^ See my Comment, on 2 Tim. iii. 8, p. 174, 175, &c. 

^ Vide Declaration of the Faith, and Order of the Congregational Churches 

3 Mr Anthony Burgess' Fast Sermon on Judges vi. 27 ; preached 1645. 

"* That men shouUl be tolerated to worship the devil, as it is easy to prove the 
Quakers do, if we consider the men, the matter, and the manner of their speaking, 
is very sad. 


It is charged as a sin upon the church of Thyatira, that she tole- 
rated Jezebel to seduce Christ's people, Rev. ii, 14, 20.1 

5. It were to be wished that some effectual course were taken 
for the enjoining of all governors, under a penalty, to send in their 
children and servants, both publicly and privately, to be catechised. 
The gross ignorance which still abounds in the body of our people 
is lamentable. Eeligion makes the best children, the best servants, 
and the best subjects ; as we see in Abraham's catechised family, 
how promptly doth every one there perform his duty ! It is just 
with God to suffer inferiors to rebel against their superiors, when 
they suffer them to rebel against God, 

6. It were to be wished that some course might be taken for the 
better regulating of parishes. It is sad to see how unequally they 
are divided. In many places one parish comes to another parish 
church walls, and yet these people belong to another charge, it may 
be three or four miles off. Parochial assemblies, if they were 
made more uniform and compact, are best both for pastor and 
people. 2 

7, Free schools are very much wanting in many parts of the 
nation. Children are the seminary of the church, and if the seed 
be naught, the crop cannot be good. 

Quest. But where is the means to maintain those schools ? 

Arts. Since all is devoured, I know but one way that is left, and 
that is by the improvement of commons and waste lands. They 
might, if wisely managed by commissioners from parliament — for 
the curmudgeons of the world will never consent to part with a turf 
for Christ if they can help it — be improved to ten times the value 
that now they are at, to the benefit of the parishioners and the 
advancement of many pious uses. 

8, It were to be wished that all market towns that are very 
populous, and have men fit for government in them, w^ere freely 
made corporations, and that inferior market towns had a justice of 
peace either in them, or planted very near them, that the people 
might not run seven miles to have a swearer, drunkard, or Sabbath- 
profaner punished. This would prevent abundance of sin which is 
committed in these places, at markets and fairs especially, for want 
of justices. 

The Lord, the righteous judge of all, direct you by his Spirit, 
preserve you from sin and error ; he fasten you as a nail in a sure 
place, crown your endeavours with success for the settling of truth 

^ Against toleration, see an elaborate treatise of Mr Clerk, called ' Apples of Gold.' 
* Vide Mr Firmin against Schism, chap. ii. p. 39, &c. 


and peace upon firm foundations in this distracted, distressed church 
and state ; he make all mountains a plain before you, that you may 
be the repairers of out-breaches, and the raisers of the foundations 
for many generations, that the children unborn, in their genera- 
tions, may rise up, and call you blessed. This is, and shall be the 
prayer of your devoted servant in the work of the Lord, 

Tho. Hall. 

KiNGSNOKTON, Sept. 10, 1659. 


Christian Eeader, — Mucli might be said, and that deservedly, 
concerning the beauty of this exposition of the 82d Psalm, called 
by the worthy author ' The Beauty of Magistracy ; ' it discovering 
that ordinance of God, magistracy, in its genuine beauty and 
lustre. As my many occasions would permit, I have perused 
several parts thereof, and can assure the reader that I find the 
exposition solid and judicious, the method clear and perspicuous, 
the style terse and clean, yet grave and theological ; the applica- 
tion warm, holy, and proper ; the whole learned, gracious, and 
worthy the eye, love, and practice of a judicious reader who hath 
the encouragement to peruse it, and also that he may do it with 
profit, the prayers in his perusing it of his servant in our Lord's 

W. Jenkyn. 

Fch. 3, 1659-60. 




Ver. 1. God standeth in the congregation of the iidghty : he 
Judgeth among the gods. 

To speak anything in commendation of the book of Psalms 
were to pom' water into the sea, or to set up a light to the sun. 
It is so fully done already by others, that I shall only refer you to 
them, and so pass on.'i 

We read of divers psalms in the book of Psalms which bear the 
title of Asaph ; as Ps. 1., Ixxiv., Ixxv., Ixxvi., Ixxvii., Ixxviii., 
Ixxix., Ixxx., Ixxxi., Ixxxii., Ixxxiii. The question is, whether 
these psalms were written by Asaph, or for Asaph, since the origi- 
nal will bear both.^ Some conceive that Asaph was the author 
and inditer of the Psalm, for Asaph was a seer and a prophet, and 
made psalms as well as David, as appears, 2 Chron. xxix. 30, ' The 
Levites praised God with the words of David, and Asaph the seer.' 
Yet the best and most interpreters do conceive that this psalm was 
made by David, and committed to Asaph as chief singer, or to his 
sons, who were singers in Israel, 1 Chron. xxv. 2, to be sung for the 
use of the church of God. Hence the Geneva translation renders 

1 Vide Piscator's Preface in his Comment on the Psalms, and Mr Roberts' Key to 
the Bible, before the Psalms. Psalterium est qutedam cselestis sphsera, stellis densa 
micantibus ; est Paradisus animarum, poma continens innumera, quibus mens 
humana suaviter saginata pinguescit. — Cassiodorus. 

^ Duodecim sunt Psalmi qui Asaph inscribuntur. — A Lap., 13. Saith Weemse : Le 
Asaph, i.e., Asaphi vol Asapho, nam Le inservit tum genitive, tum dativo. ^J'aX/ids 
Tw Aaaip, Psalmus ipsi Asapho, SejJt. Versio Araiica. — Montan., Scultetus, Piscator. 


it, A Psalm committed to Asapli.i That some of those twelve or 
thirteen psalms which bear Asaph's title, yet were David's psalms, 
appears by the style of them, and is almost confessed on all hands. 
Whether this eighty-second Psalm be one of these, let the reader 
judge.2 But since David and Asaph were both holy prophets of 
God, and divinely inspired ; and specially since our Saviour him- 
self hath confirmed the divine authority of this psalm, by referring 
us to it, John x. 3G, it is needless to inquire which of them wrote 
it, since we are assured that it is canonical Scripture. ^ 

This psalm may fitly be called the magistrate's psalm, or the 
magistrate's directory. The matter of it is didactical and doctrinal, 
setting forth the dignity, duty, and mortality of magistrates and 
judges, whom the psalmist exhorts to a faithful discharge of their 
places, by an impartial administration of justice, in punishing the 
wicked, and defending the good ; and this he backs with many 
weighty arguments. 

The first is drawn from the presence of God. He is said, in a 
more especial manner, to be present and president with these his 
vicegerents and deputies, ver. 1. 

2. From the dignity of their place and calling. They represent 
the person of God, they bear his name, and are called his sons, 
and therefore they ought more especially patrizare, to resemble 
their Father in doing justice and judgment. 

3. In respect of their mortality. They must die as other men, and 
come to judgment, and give an account for all that they have done. 

4. That his words might have the greater weight, he brings in 
God himself, expostulating and reasoning the case with those un- 
just judges, for their abuse of that power which he had given them, 
ver. 2. 

5. He exhorts them to a right performance of their duty, by an 
impartial dispensing of justice unto all, ver. 3, 4. 

6. He aggravates their sin by their sottish ignorance and wilful 
negligence. They were luci/ugcv, haters of the light : ver. 5, 
' They know not, neither will they understand ; yea, they walk on 
in darkness : albeit the very foundations of the earth be moved,' 
— q.d, Though all things be in confusion and disorder, and the 

* It is usual in Scripture to put the head of a family for the family itself, as Aaron 
for his sons, 1 Chron. xii. 27. Canticum ipsi Asaph traditum ut decantaretur. — 

^ Who were the several penmen of the Psalms, you may see in the Exercitations 
of Weems, Exercit. xviii. p. 166. 

^ In re tarn parvi momenti liberum sit cuique judicium. 


very pillars of the state shake under them, by reason of their 
oppression and tyranny, bribery and partialit}^, yet they would not 
see it to amend it, but made their lusts their law, to their own con- 

7. He concludes with prayer, and by an apostrophe turns his 
speech to God: ver. 8, ' Arise, Grod, judge thou the earth,' — q.d., 
Lord, I see it is in vain to expect justice from these unjust ones. 
Do thou therefore, thou just judge of all the world, arise, and 
take the matter into thine own hands ; execute justice for those 
that are oppressed ; for all the nations of the world are thy proper 

Ver. 1. God standetJi in the congregation of the miglity : lie 
judgetJi among the gods. 

They are the words of the prophet, who, like a herald, proclaims 
the presence of God amongst the gods and judges of the earth. 
This preface the prophet makes, the better to excite the attention 
of those great ones, whose corruption, licentiousness, and pride is 
such, that they think they may act and speak, they may absolve 
or condemn at their own bar, who please themselves without con- 
trol. God doth not see, say they, nor will he take notice of our 
actings. Stay there, saith the prophet, for he sees you, and stands 
by you too, though you see not him : ' God standeth in the congre- 
gation of the mighty : he judgeth among the gods.' 

In these words we may observe, 

1. The person ruUng : God. 

2. His posture : he stands. 

3. The place where ; ' In the congregation of the mighty.' ^ 

4. An exegesis or illustration of what he had said before : ' He 
judgeth amongst the gods.' 

1. The person ruling is God, the supreme ruler of the world. 
Elohim ; the word is plural, yet the word that answers it is singu- 
lar.^ This notes, say some, a plurality of persons in unity of essence. ^ 
The Holy Ghost begins the Bible with this plural name of God, 
joined with a verb singular : Gen. i. 1, ' Elohim Bara, Dii creavit,' 
i.e., the mighty gods, or all the three persons in the Godhead, 
created.* This is one of the most ancient names of God, and 

^ ev eyKaro}, in intimo. — Aquila. 

^ Eloah is the singular number. 

3 See this point fully cleared in those elaborate annotations of Mr Ley on Gen. 
i. 1. 

^ Verbum singulars simplicissimam Dei essentiam ; nomen autem plurale designat 
tres personas. - .Si(ca?2. loc, i. p. 7, ubi plura; Consule A Lapide in Gen. 1. 1. 


the first that is given him in Scripture, Gen. i. 1, 26, iii. 1, 
and xix. 24. The word is very significant, and notes unto us, 
that as God is the Creator, governor, and upholder of the world, 
so he is also the judge and punisher of such as do evil, and the 
rewarder of such as do well. 

2. Here is his posture : ' He standeth ; ' he doth not sit. Stand- 
ing is a posture of observation. He standeth to look up, in, and 
down, as it were, that he may see and hear what every one doth 
and says. He is always present and president amongst the rulers 
of the world: "^ 1. Teaching and directing them what they should 
do ; 2. Observing their ways, to see what matters pass, and how 
they pass ; 3. Keeping watch and ward for their defence whilst 
they rule for him and his. So much the participle of the present 
tense implies. It notes a continued act, signifying that God is 
present at all the assizes, sessions, and sittings of magistrates.2 
The same word is used, Isa. iii. 13 ; the Lord standeth up, or is 
standing up, to plead ; yea, he standeth up to judge the people. 

3. Here is the place where he stands : it is in the ' congregation 
of the mighty.' Some read it thus : God standeth in the assembly 
of God.3 Had they said in the assembly of God, the original would 
bear it, for the word is El, not Eloliim, and therefore is rendered 
by the learned, in the assembly of God.^ Both translations are 
right for sense, but the words in the letter run thus : God standeth 
in the congregation of God, q.d., God standeth in his own assem- 
bly, i.e., he is present in the assembly of those judges who are 
constituted and ordained by him to execute justice and judgment 
for his people. God delights not in tumultuary routs, or seditious 
heaps, where there is no law, no rule, no order ; but he being the 
God of order, delights to dwell amongst his people who delight in 
order, and especially amongst the rulers of his people, who are 
deputed by him to rule in righteousness.^ 

^ Stat in omni consessu judicum ut ipsorum Dominus, et judiciorum author. — 

2 Nitsab, stans, i.e., commoratur ibi. — Cald. Paraph. Vide Scbools Guard, rule 
56 : Participia hsec extensa sunt ut loquuntur Scholastici, ideoque, actus continuos 
denotant, ut Micah vii. 18, Deus est condonans iniquitatem, Christus est o aipwv 
toUens, i.e., ille qui semper toUit peccata mundi. 

"* In ccetu Dei fortis.— i7^ier(/?i., Calvin, Tremel. — i.e., in medio judicum quibus 
Deus praeest, ideoque eorum coetus cojtus Dei hie appellatur. — Mas. 

* El est nomen Dei quo significatur Deum esse sua essentia fortissimum, immo 
ipsam fortitudinem, a quo omnis fortitudo emanat. — Polanus. 

^ Gnedah, ccstus, conventus, congregatio ; significat ordinatam congregationem, 
qualis eat populi qui regitur justis legibus. — Moller. Uteunque refulgeat Dei gloria 


' He judgeth (or he will judge) amongst the gods.' "^ 
These words are exegetical, and help to illustrate what he had 
said before : ' Grod standeth in the congregation of God.' What is 
that ? Why he judgeth as supreme amongst the judges of the 
woi'ld. He stands not as a cipher, or a bare spectator, but he 
himself makes one amongst them. 

1. He judgeth actively amongst them.2 We look upon men, and 
think the judgment is theirs, but it is Grod that exerciseth judgment 
amongst them. He knows the causes, directs the judges, and 
executes the sentence. Judges are but deputies under God ; the 
work of judging properly and principally belongs unto him, and 
therefore he is said not only to be amongst them, but in the very 
midst of them, 3 to let them know that none of their consultations 
or actings are hid from him. 

2. Passively, he is so in the midst of these earthly gods, that if 
they do unjustly, he will execute justice on them, and judge the 
judges of the world ; for though they be great, yet there is a greater 
than they, to whom they must shortly give an account.^ 

Quest. Some may demand. Who are meant by gods here ? 

Ans. By gods here is meant judges and magistrates, as our 
Saviour interprets it, John x. 34, who are God's lieutenants and 
vicegerents, appointed in his stead to administer justice to his 

This title in Scripture is taken three ways : — 

1. Primarily and properly. 

2. Secondarily and metaphorically. 

3. Catachrestically and abusively. 

1. This title of God, Elohim, is given primarily, properly, and 
most truly to God, who is the creator and governor of the world, 
and in this sense there is but one God, 1 Cor. viii. 6, and besides 
him there is no Lord, Isa. xliv. 6, and xlv. 22. 

in singulis mimdi partibus, prcecipuum tamen lumen hac in parte emittit, dum legi- 
tima gubernatio inter mortales viget. — Calv. 

^ Ishpot, judicabit, Heb., i.e., sicut ab initio judicavit, ita et nunc judical, et 
semper judicabit. 

2 Shaphat, judicavit, punivit, animadvertit, vindicavit, bonos defendendo, et malos 
puniendo. — Leigh. 

^ Kereb, medium, significat quicquid est propinquissimum et intimum, Gen. xlviii. 
16 ; Ps. V. 9, and xlix. 11. — Pagnin. 

* Elohim judicat, Elohim, i.e., summus et caslestis ; Elohim judicat inferiores et 
terrestres Elohim, quibus divinam suam potestatem regendi et judicandi communi- 
cavit. — A Lapide. Regum timendorum in proprios greges ; lieges in ipsos imperium 
est Jovis. — Seneca, Trayad. 



2. Metaphorically and allusively, and so there are gods many, 

1 Cor. viii. 5. Thus the holy angels are called Elohim, gods, 

2 Sam. xxviii. 13; Zech. xii. 8; Ps. viii. 5; 'thou hast made 
him a little lower than Elohim,' which the apostle calls angels, 
Heb. ii. 6, 7 ; and so Ps. xcvii. 7, ' Worship him, all ye gods,' 
i.e., all ye angels of God. Now they are called gods, because 
of all creatures they are the most excellent, and the fairest 
representations of his majesty, wisdom, and power, being always 
ready to do his will in defending the godly, and punishing the 

Some read the text thus : God standeth in the congregation of 
angels. This is a truth, but not from this text ; for the context 
clearly confutes it: ver. 2, ' How long will ye judge unjustly?' 
So that it is plain he speaks not of angels, who are perfect, but of 
men, who may and do err and act unjustly. 

(2.) The title is applied to magistrates and judges, Exod. xxi. 6, 
and xxii. 28 ; Deut. xix. 7 ; Ps. Ixxxii. 6, and cxxxviii. 1 ; and 
lest any should think that this is an Old Testament title only, we 
find Christ himself making mention of it in the New, John x. 34, 
35. Neither is the title given only to one or two, but it is given 
generally to all magistrates, be they good or bad : ver. 6, ' I have 
said ye are gods,' i.e., ye are all gods and sons of the Most High; 
not by regeneration and adoption, but in respect of your profession, 
and the office which you bear.^ 

Now they are called gods, 1 . Not essentially or by nature, for 
we see they die as other men, but by participation, representation, 
and office ;2 because they do in a sort participate of God's dignity, 
authority, and power. As stars borrow their light from the sun, so 
do rulers their power from God. He hath set them in his place, 
and therefore he gives them his title, because they are deputies 
under him to execute justice in the world. There is Qeiov re, a 
sparkle of divine majesty, appearing in magistracy ; yea, God hath 
engraven a special note of his own glory and image on them.^ So 
that by analogy they may well be called gods, as resembling God, 
in having the power of life and death in their hand ; hence the 

^ Gubernatio est divina qupsdam virtus, ideoque vocat Deus magistratus omnes, 
Deos, non propter creationem, sed propter administrationem, quiE est solius Dei : Qui 
igitur est in regimine, est quasi incarnatus Deus. — Luther. 

2 Dii dicuntur participative, nuncupative et analogice, non essentialiter et natura. 

* Dii vocantur homines admiratione digni, prossertim qui aliis praesunt, ideoque 
metaphorice propter communicatam a Deo potentiam atque officium aliis opem 
ferendi, eosque defendendi, sustentandi, fovendi, mundum, regna urbesque regendi. 
— Polanus. Humani Joves. — Plautus. 


apostle puts an emphasis on this, that they are the ministers of God, 
and rule for him, Eom. xiii. 4, 

(2.) This title is given them, because Grod is pleased to bestow 
many excellent and divine gifts of the Spirit on them ; hence it is 
that Moses is called Pharaoh's god, Exod. vii. 1 , because God had 
given him power to speak unto Pharaoh in his name, and to execute 
vengeance on him. Though all magistrates are not regenerate, yet 
they may have many excellent, heroic, moral virtues, and common 
gifts of the Spirit, as justice, prudence, patience, temperance, forti- 
tude, liberality, &c., to fit them for government. Num. vi. 11, 17; 
1 Sam. x. 6, 9, 10, and xvi. 13, 14; Acts xiv. 11. 

(3.) By deputation from God, whose lieutenants they are, and to 
whom they must give an account for the maladministration of 
their office. They derive their power from him, as his delegates, by 
commission, and so bear the title. 

3. The title is used catachrestically and abusively, and so is attri- 
buted, (1.) To idols,^ Gen. xxxi. 32, and xxxv. 2 ; Exod. xii. 12 ; 
Judges xvii, 5 ; 1 Cor. viii. 5, because idolaters give divine worship 
to them, though by nature they are no gods, Gal. iv. 8, and there- 
fore the apostle calls them nothing, 1 Cor. viii. 4. An idol is nothing ; 
though materially it is wood and stone, yet formally it is nothing, 
i.e., it is not that which the idolater conceives it is ; it is not 
God, and there is no holiness in it. Though Kara ho^av, in the 
conceit and corrupt imagination of the idolater, it is a god, yet Kar 
dXrjOeLav, and in truth, it is nothing. 

(2.) To the devil. He is called the god of this world, 2 Cor. iv. 
4, because the wicked of the world obey the devil' s will before God's 
will, and delight to do his works, John viii. 44, and so make him 
their god. He rules in them, and they readily obey him as their 
god. 2 

(3.) Anything that a man adores or esteems more than God, that 
is his god. Thus some men make mammon and riches their god, 
Job xxxii. 24 ; others make their belly their god, Phil. iii. 19 ; Eom. 
xvi. 18 ; they are slaves to their epicurean pleasures and lusts, 
serving them instead of God. 3 

Ohs. 1. It is requisite sometimes to preface before we speak, 
especially when the matter is weighty ; it is good to quicken atten- 

^ 'MLij.eTLKQjs. et nomine tenus. 

^ Diabolus non est simpliciter Deus, sed illis est Deus qui ilium anteponunt Christo. 
— Erasmus. Diabolus dicitur Deus respectu hominum, tum ratione perversEe opin- 
ionis, tum ratione vitiosse et inordinatsc subjectionis. — Gerhard. 

^ Amor tuus Deus tuus ; illud est cuique Deus quod maximc colit, cuique totue 
servit, et sese suaque omnia impendit. 


tion by some serious, grave, argumentative, and nervous preface. 
The psalmist doth so here, ver. 1. There are almost as many argu- 
ments as there are words in the verse, proclaiming the majesty, 
omniscience, and all-seeing eye of God, the better to prepare us for 
that which followeth in the psalm, wherein are matters of the 
greatest moment. i Thus when the Lord published the Ten Com- 
mandments, the better to prepare us for the hearing and obeying 
of them, he sets a short, but pithy, preface before them: Exod. xx. 
2, ' I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of 
Egypt, out of the house of bondage.' Every word hath its weight. 

1. I am Jehovah, by whom you live, move, and have your being ; 

2. Thy God, by creation and by covenant ; 3. That brought Israel 
out of Egyptian bondage, and have delivered thee from a far viler 
slavery and bondage, even from the slavery of sin and Satan ; from 
the curse of the law, the guilt of sin ; from death, hell, and wrath 
to come. So Christ himself set a preface before the Lord's Prayer, 
the better to prepare our hearts for tho duty, according to that of 
Solomon, Eccles. v. 2. 

Obs. 2. That there is a trinity of persons in the unity of essence. 
The persons or substances are three, yet the divine essence is but 
one, being equally communicated to all ; hence these three are said 
to be one,2 1 John v. 7 ; Mat. xxviii. 19 ; 1 Cor. xii. 4-6, 11, and 
ii. 13, 14. 

Now let all the world dispute and wrangle their hearts out, yet 
these three or four texts, if there were no more, are sufficient to 
settle any gracious soul in the truth of this point. 

As for those Photinian, Arian, Antitrinitarian, Socinian heretics, 
which are of late so rife amongst us, wdio list may see them fully 
and learnedly confuted in Dr Owen's treatise against Blasphemous 
Biddle, chap. vii. p. 138 ; Dr Cheynell in defence of the Trinity ; 
D. Arnoldus contra Socin., cap. i. q. 32, p. 136 ; D. Prideaux, Lect. 
xviii. p. 261, fob; Mr Norton's Orthodox Evangehst, chap. ii. andxxi. 

Obs. 3. Our God is the most mighty and powerful God. He is 
not only El, strong, but Elohim, almighties or all-powers.3 All 
the weight and power that is in the creature, it is in him originally, 
operatively, eminently. His power is like himself, infinite and 
unspeakable, beyond the tongue's expression, or the heart's imagina- 

1 Quot verba, tot argumenta ; quot dictiones, tot stimuli. 

2 Vide Kivet in Gen. i. 1, pp. 5, 6. 

3 Elohim est unum e nominibus Dei, a potentia, robore et fortitudine Dei ; Deus 
enim omnia potest.— iJamwe?. See more, Hierom's Ser. on Exod. xxxiv. 6, on the 
word El, strong. 


tion. This may comfort us in adversity, God is able to raise us 
and deliver us, Ps. xxxiv. 19. Though our enemies be great, yet 
our comfort is that there is a greater than they, Job xxxii. 14 ; 
Eccles. V. 8 ; Eph. vi. 9 ; though we be weak, yet our Eedeemer is 
strong, Jer. 1. 33, 34. This upheld those three Chaldean worthies : 
' The Grod whom we serve is able to deliver us," Dan. iii. 16, 17. 
God is not only faithful, but almighty and powerful to fulfil all his 
promises to his people. 2. It must keep us humble in prosperity ; 
for as God hath power to give, so he hath power to take all from 
us if we abuse it to his dishonour, Hosea ii. 8-13. In his hand is 
our life, health, wealth, and all that we possess. Whom will we 
fear, if we fear not him ? 

Obs. 4. Magistrates must not desire to be solitary and inde- 
pendent. As affectation of independency is an error in the church, 
so also in the state ; hence the Lord tells us here of a senate and 
assembly of judges. God hath not committed this power to one 
magistrate, for that would be a burden too heavy even for a Moses 
alone, Deut. i. 19 ; but, which is a great mercy, it is committed to 
many. One man, we say, is no man. Woe to him that is alone, 
and hath none to counsel him. That which ruined Julius Cresar, 
was self-conceitedness, and refusing to consult with the senate.i 
What a sad condition would nations soon be in if they were subject 
to the will, lust, and tyranny of one single man ! It is in the multi- 
tude of counsellors that there is safety, Prov. xi. 14. Hence Moses 
appointed many judges over the peoj^le, Exod. xviii. 21, 22; Num. 
vi. 11, 16, 17; and we read of a senate of seventy elders and 
senators, which were appointed by God himself to rule the people ; 
and he ordered appeals from inferior courts, to which all cases of 
difficulty were referred, both in ecclesiastical and civil affairs,^ Deut. 
xvii. 8-11 ; 2 Chron. xix. 8-11. Appeals are dejure naturce, they 
are founded in nature ; even reason tells us that it is unfit that any 
man should be a judge, witness, and accuser in his own cause ; no 
wise or sober man will desire such independency. Solitary birds 
are usually birds of prey ; but sheep, bees, and doves, which are 
congregative creatures, are most harmless and innocent. 

Ohs. 5. Magistracy is God's ordinance. It is no human device 
or politic invention to keep men in awe, but its original is from 

^ Julius Caesar nee in dictatura, nee in consulatu consilio senatus usus est, unde 
se et Rempublicam perdidit. Idem fecit Nero qui senatum capitaliter oderat. — Suefon. 

'^ Ne unus duntaxat judex ac forum sit, qui statim de quovis negotio ferat ultimam 
sententiam ; a qua provocare non liceat ; sed in unaquaque republica plures judi- 
ciorum gradus esse oportet, utsit locus provocationi. — Plato de Legihus. lib. vi. 


heaven ; it is a plant of God's own planting, which shall never be 
rooted up so long as the world endures, maugre the malice of all 
fanatic seditious levellers whatsoever. Indeed, when Christ comes 
to judgment at the end of the world, then, and not till then, he will 
put down all rule, and all authority and power ; for in heaven there 
will be no need of them, 1 Cor. xv. 24. God is the author, approver, 
and defender of magistracy ; from him they have their mission and 
commission ; all that rule and reign are either missi, or permissi — 
either sent by him, 1 Pet. ii. 14, or suffered by him. Usurpers by 
permission, and lawful governors by commission, from him ; the one 
by his providence and some kind of approbation, the other by his 
ordinance and appointment ; for there is no power but it is of God. 
The power is his, however men come by it, or however they abuse 
it ; though many have not only acquired it by wicked means, but 
administered it in a wicked manner, yet still the magistrate's 
authority, not only abstractly considered in itself, but concretely in 
the person administering it, is of God, Dan. ii, 21, and iv, 32 ; John 
ix. 11 ; Kom. xiii. 1. The powers that are, they are of God ; whether 
the persons be good or bad, yet the office is from him, and that not 
only permissive, ordinative, directive ; for so sin, sickness, are of 
God by way of permission, ordering, and directing ; but magistrac}' 
is of God, approhative and mandative, by way of approbation and 
command. 1 They bear his name, they wear his livery, they are 
employed in his work, he takes their account and rewards them ; 
hence it is that in the text their assembly is called God's assembly, 
and their throne God's throne, 1 Chron. xxix. 23, and their judg- 
ment God's judgment, Deut. i. 17 ; 2 Chron. xix. 6. The judgment 
is God's, i.e., it is of God, and for God ; it is of God in respect of 
ordination, and for God in respect of administration. Hence the 
apostle calls the magistrate three times together in exj^ress terms, 
the minister of God, to defend the good, and punish the bad, Kom. 
xiii. 4-6. This he could not be, had he not his power and authority 
from God. This made the psalmist to counsel kings and judges 
not to cast away their office, but to submit to Christ, and serve him 
in their places of dignity, Ps. ii. 10. He doth not condemn them for 
being kings and rulers, nor doth he bid them leave their places, but 
he minds them of their duties ; and yet it appears that this psalm 
was penned for gospel-times, when Christ should have the heathen 
for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his posses- 

' Permissio notat aliquod indultum, ordinatio vero mandatum ; 2. Permissio est 
eorum quae displicent et improbantui- ; ordinatio vero est eorum qua3 cum voluntate 
et approbatioue fiunt. — Baldwin, Oc. 


sion. So that the regulating of magistracy being here enjoined, 
the estabhshing hereof is also plainly implied. 

Magistracy is very ancient. Murderers and adulterers were to die 
by law long ago, Gen. ix. 6, and xxxviii. 24 ; and we read of magis- 
trates all along, as Joseph, Moses, Joshua, the judges, the seventy 
elders, Eli, Samuel, David, Solomon, Josiah, Jehoshaphat, Heze- 
kiah, &c. ; these godly men would never have borne rule if they had 
ever conceived that the office had been sinful. And lest any should 
object that these are Old Testament examples, we read also in the 
New Testament of a nobleman or viceroy that believed,! John iv. 
46, 50 ; and Josej^h of Arimathea, a senator and honourable coun- 
sellor, Mark xv. 43 ; and of a deputy, proconsul, or proprietor, that 
was converted to the faith, Acts xiii. 7, 12 ; and Cornelius, a cen- 
turion. Acts X. 1,2; yet did they not leave their office. The eunuch 
that was treasurer to the queen Candace, when he became a 
Christian, yet we do not read that he left his place. Acts viii. 38. 
Erastus, the chamberlain of Corinth, did not, because he was a 
Christian, cast ofi" his government, Eom. xvi. 23. So Constantine, 
Theodosius, and other good men, kept their magistracy still, which 
they would not have done had it been unlawful. 2 

2. In Scripture we find rules for rulers, Exod. xviii. 21 ; Deut. i. 
16, 17, and XXV. 1 ; Ps. ii. 10 ; Eom. xiii. 3, 4. Now these would be 
in vain if there were no rulers to observe them. 

3. God oft sends men to the magistrate for help in their distress, 
Exod. xxii. 9 ; Deut. xvii. 8. This God would not do if the office 
were unlawful. 

Object. These are Old Testament proofs. Ans. Christ sends us 
to the magistrate in the New, Mat. v. 25 ; Luke xii. 58. Paul, 
when in danger of his life, appeals to the magistrate, which he 
would not have done had it been a sin. 

4. We are commanded to pray for magistrates, Gen. xx. 17, and 
xlvii. 10 ; Jer. xxix. 7 ; 1 Tim. ii. 2 ; but if their office were evil, 
we should rather pray against them. Now, we are to pray for 
nothing but what is good and pleasing unto God. 

5. Christ, who is the eternal wisdom of his Father, tells us that 
it is by him that kings reign and princes decree justice, yea, nobles 
and all judges of the earth, Prov. viii. 15, 16. Not only superior, 
but also inferior rules are appointed by Christ. He sets up not only 
kings, but princes and nobles also ; from him they have their ordi- 
nation, conservation, and qualifications. It is he that gifts them 

^ Tis ^aaiXi-Kbs, regius quidam. — Beza. 

* Vide Plura apud Suecanum de magistratu. Para quinta, p. 594. 


witli wisdom to make good and just laws, for the benefit and peace 
of their people ; it is he that pulls down one and sets up another in 
the throne, and none may say unto him. What dost thou ? Job ix. 
12, xii. 18, and xxxiv. 24. 

6. The Lord commands subjects to obey magistrates, and give 
honour, and pay tribute to them. This certainly implies, by the 
rule of relatives, that there must be magistrates to whom this 
honour and tribute is due ; and if every soul must be subject to the 
higher powers, then there must be higher powers, to which men 
must be subject. This enjoining the duty of the subject, doth 
establish the authority of the magistrate, for they are co-relatives 
and individuals. 

7. That awe and dread which is in the hearts of men toward 
magistracy, argues that there is much of God in it.i To see so 
many thousands of men of contrary dispositions, and perverse tem- 
pers, yet to live peaceably together under the government of one 
man, shews plainly that the hand of God is here. 

Ohj. But some may object, that if God be the author of magis- 
tracy, how is it said, Hosea viii. 4, ' They set up kings, but not by 
me ; they made princes, and I knew it not ?' 

Ans. The answer is easy. They set up kings by God's permis- 
sion, but not by his approbation. I knew it not, saith God — viz., 
so as to approve of it.^ It is true, I let them go on in their own 
way, but I neither did, nor will take cognisance of what they do, so 
as to bless them in it. Many a man rules by providence, not by 
promise. So then God doth not here disclaim the ordinance of 
magistracy, but the manner of choosing him — viz., in a mutiny, and 
'without any respect to God's will. Thus Jeroboam, of whom it is 
conceived the prophet Hosea speaks, was chosen king by God, 
1 Kings xi. 31, 35, 37, and xii. 15, 24. But the seditious and dis- 
orderly manner of choosing him is attributed to the people. 

Use. Is magistracy God's ordinance ? This then, first of all, 
shews the vileness of papists, who exalt the pope above the civil 
magistrate, and give him power over princes, even to deposition, if 
they please not him. These must hold his basin, bring in his meat, 
hold his stirrup, lead his horse, yea, be his horses, I might say his 
asses, to carry him on their shoulders ; and yet you must think he 
is still Servus servoncm, or rather Diaholus diabolorum, the devil in 

1 See eight arguments more to proye the lawfulness of the civil magistrate, in Dr 
Featly, against the Anabaptists, art vi. pp. 153, 154. 

' Multa dicuntur non esse a Deo, i.e., eo jubente vel approbante, quse tamen non 
sunt sine Deo permittente et permittere volente. — Rivet. 


his pontificalihus} He takes upon him to transfer kingdoms, to 
excommunicate kings, to depose one and set uj) another in his 
stead, and to loose subjects from their oath of allegiance and fidelity. 
They look upon princes as mere laics and seculars, yea, Bellarmine 
sticks not to call them, Mundanos et profanos homines, profane 
men, preferring the pope and his shavelings before them.2 The 
magistrate must not reform the church, suppress errors, call synods, 
nor intermeddle with religion. He may indeed defend it, but he 
must not judge of it, saith Bellarmine.^ Besides, he exempts his 
clergy from the civil yoke, when Aaron, the high priest, w^as obe- 
dient to Moses, the magistrate, Exod. iv. 15, and xxxii. 21, and Christ 
himself paid tribute to Ca3sar, and yielded obedience to him in civil 
things. Besides, the injunction is universal: Kom. xiii. 1,'Let 
every soul be subject to the higher powers,' i.e., every man, even all 
that have rational souls, must obey. And it is worth observing, 
that the more holy any have been, the more respectful they have 
been to magistrates, as we see in Joseph, Nehemiah, David, Jere- 
miah, Daniel, Christ himself, Mat. xvii. 27; John xix. 11 ; Paul, 
Acts xxiii. 5 ; 1 Tim. ii. 1,2; yea, and Peter himself, 1 Pet. ii. 13. 
It is true, the papists do not in words deny the office of the civil 
magistrate, as some fanatics do, yet in their works they do very 
much abuse and abase him, by their distinctions of spiritual and 
secular, as if none were holy and had the Spirit of God but the 
clergy, when the Scripture calls all believers spiritual, 1 Cor. ii. 15; 
Gal. vi. 1 ; besides, their setting the clergy above them, their ex- 
empting them from civil tributes and taxes, their sanctuaries* to 
preserve murderers from the sword of justice, together with their 
doctrine and practice of king-killing, doth abundantly prove that 
popery is no friend to magistracy ; and that the pope is Antichrist, 
'that man of sin, who exalts himself above all that is called God,' and 
carries himself as God, 2 Thes. ii. 3, 4. 

If any would see more against these, let him jieruse Par?eus in 
Kom. xiii. 1 ; Dub. 1 ; Gerhard, loc. com. de Magistrat, tom. vi. p. 

^ Papa regibus tanquam suis vassallis susequc potestati suljectis imperat, ut etiam 
possit eos instituere et destituere. — August, de Ancona, de Ecclcsiast. Potest, q. 46. 

^ Vide Bellarm. de Exempt. Cler., cap. 2. Primiim locum tenent episcopi, et prjecipue 
Pontifex M. Secundum presbyteri, tertium diaconi aliique ministri ecclesiastici ; ulti- 
mum laici, inter quos etiam reges et prineipes numerantur. — Bellarm. de Laicis, lib. 
cap. 3, 17. 

^ See this confuted in Gerhard de Magistrat., tom. vi. p. 305 ; Eivet. in Exod., p. 
1038. Siquis tentat excipere, conatur decipere ; siomnis, quis vos excepitab univer- 
sitate ? — Bernard. 

* Against sanctuaries, see Pet. Martyr contra Asyla, Loc. Commun., Classis iv. cap. 
15, sec. 33, and Gerhard, de Magistrat., p. 336. 


458, 475 ; Moulin, de Monarchia contra Bellarni. una cum Abboto 
et Mortono ; Willet's Synops. Controvers., vii. p. 361 ; D. Downam 
de Antichrist, lib. iv. cap. 23, p. 246 ; Watson's Quodlibets, p. 119, 
283, &c. : Kutherford's Divine Eight of Presbytery, part ii. cap. 6, 
sec. 5, p. 449, 352 ; Mr Eob. Balfon's Assize Ser. on Prov. xxix. 2, 
p. 14-32. 

2. This cuts down, on the other hand, the Donatists, the Mar- 
cionites, the Manichees, who denied the authority of magistrates, 
together with the Anabaptists,^ Socinians, Millenaries, and Fifth- 
Monarchy men,2 who look and long for the abolishing of all magis- 
tracy, that Christ alone might reign amongst the saints for a thou- 
sand years. The better an ordinance the more are its enemies ; and 
though some of these in words may speak honourably of magistracy, 
confessing that God ordained it in the Old Testament, and that it is 
useful now to keeiD men in order, and therefore we ought to pay 
tribute to them ; yet wdiat they build with one hand, they presently 
pull down with the other, affirming that magistracy is an office dis- 
23leasing unto God, and unlawful for any Christian to bear ; they 
would have a parity and equality amongst Christians ; they would 
have no superiors nor inferiors, but all fellow-creatures well met. As 
that house is like to be well governed where all are governors, so 
that state is like to be well ruled where all are rulers ; as that 
body is a monster which is all head, so is that which hath no head. 
Where all govern there is no government, and where all are head 
there is no order. 

1. These cry down the coercive punishing power of the magistrate, 
and so make him a mawkin or man of straw, or like a wooden head 
and golden Neptune fixed on the stern only for a show, but not at 
all concerned in the steering of the shij), 

2. They cry down all swearing before the magistrate. 

3. They cry down all going to law before him. 

4. They cry down all going to war under him. 

5. So long as magistrates please them they will extol them, as 
the Arminians did in Germany ; but let rulers once restrain them 
in their wicked practices, and then they load them with reproach- 
ful titles, as tyrants, persecutors, the powers of darkness, encroachers 
upon people's liberties, the antichristian beast, it will never be peace 

^ Anabaptistarum error Donatistarum hscreseos rivulus fuit. — Danceus. 

^ Novi Chiliastaj expectant seculuin aliquot! uovissimum, quod vocant Spiritus 
Sancti, in quo magistratum omnem speraut abolitum iri, et sublatis impiis Christum 
in his terris visibilcm inter pios regnaturum, per mille aunorum decursum. — Ger- 


till it be down ;^ yea, and they rise against tliem, as the Anabaptists 
in Germany did against their princes. 2 These anarchical ones are 
men of loose lives, and this brings them to loose opinions, 2 Pet. ii. 
10. These lawless ones cannot endure that any should be lords 
over them, Ps. xii. 4. They vote down laws, magistracy, and 
ministry, that they may the more freely enjoy their lusts.^ These are 
those dreamers that despise government, 2 Pet. ii. 10, and speak 
evil of dignities, Jude 8-10."^ It is not the person so much as 
the office itself that displeaseth these libertines. These overthrow 
foundations, Ps. xi. 3, and do what in them lies to ruin states and 
kingdoms. No commonwealth can long subsist without govern- 
ment,5 Prov. xi. 14. Where there is no pilot the ship miscarrieth, 
and where there is no counsel the people fall. Even the wiser sort 
of heathens have extolled government and order as an excellent and 
divine thing,^ so that these brutes sin even against natural light. 
There is a great necessity of order and government for the preserva- 
tion of human societies ; 7 and no man fitter to govern, all things 
considered, than a Christian. He that hath the knowledge and fear 
of God before his eyes, is fitter to govern the people of God than he 
that w^ants it. 

Woe then to those seditious Quakers and profane libertines of 
our time, the vilest generation of railers and revilers of magistracy 
and ministry that ever the sun beheld.^ They pretend to extraor- 
dinary sanctity, when they have not ordinary manners nor common 
civility. If ever there were despisers of dignity and dominion, 
these are they. In their Avords and gestures what impudence, inso- 
lence, and irreverence do they show. These in God's dictionary are 
called blasphemers, 2 Pet. ii. 10 ;'-• blaspheming dignities, i.e., they 
make it their work and trade to go up and down libelling, mutter, 
and murmuring against those in authority. If God's Spirit calls 
rulers gods, we may easily guess what spirit leads those that call 
them devils. 10 It is dangerous to speak against any of God's ser- 

^ Vide The seditious Standard of the Fifth-Monarch men. 
^ Yide Sleidan's Commentar., lib. x. 

2 Seductores isti non dominos sed dominatum et ipsum munus a Deo constitutum 
convitiis incessunt. Sibelius in Judam. 
4 Vide Mr Jenkyn on Jude 8, p. 301, 302, folio. 
^ Ubi non est guberuator, corruit populus. — Vulg. 
^ 'Avev dpxivTuv dSvvaTov eivai irdXiv. — Aristot. Polit., lib. iv. cap. 4. 
^ Ordo quid aliud est quam series quasdam superiorum et inferiorum ? 
^ See Mr Baxter's Sheet against the Quakers, p. 4. 
® 'B\a(7<p7jiJ.ovi'Tes, blaspheniantes eos. 
'^° As Caligula was composed of impudency, so are these of turbulency. Se nihil 



vants, and especially against his servant Moses, Num. xii. 8. Ke- 
viling of judges is expressly forbidden, Exod. xxii. 28, and therefore 
Paul takes up himself with an ' I wist not, brethren, that he was 
the high priest,' Acts xxiii. 5. And if the angel would not revile 
the devil, much less may we revile magistrates, Jude 8, 9. It was 
a good saying of Memnon, a commander under the king of Persia, 
when he had hired a soldier to fight against Alexander ; the man 
began to revile Alexander. Friend, said Memnon, I hired you to 
fight against Alexander, and not to rail on him.i These, like beasts, 
bite the hand that feeds them, and crop the tree that shelters them. 
They cannot escape the revenging hand of God. Miriam, for 
speaking against Moses, became a leper. Num. xii. 10. Corah and 
his company that rose against Moses, the earth devoured them alive, 
Num. xvi. Eebellious Absalom was hanged in an oak, and perfi- 
dious Ahithophel hangs himself. The end of Shimei and Sheba 
was miserable ; and Zimri had no peace that slew his master.^ The 
opposers of lawful magistracy shall find their calamities to arise 
suddenly, Prov. xxiv. 22; he that breaketh this hedge a serpent 
shall bite him,3 Eccles. x. 8. As God is the author, so he is the 
lover, preserver, and vindicator of his own ordinance, and he will 
not suffer the violators of government to escape unpunished, as we 
see by the ex]3erience of so many thousand years. How many have 
still been heaving at it, and yet this rock abides ! They thought 
to have overthrown it, but they have overthrown themselves. The 
calling is God's ordinance, the persons are designed by his provi- 
dence, and the work concerns his glory, and therefore God looks 
upon himself as deeply concerned in their quarrel, and takes the 
despite that is done to them as done to himself, Exod. xvi. 8 ; 1 
Sam. viii. 7. He will resist those that resist his ordinance, and rise 
against those that rise against his vicegerents. Never yet any har- 
dened himself against God and prospered. Let the potsherds strive 
with the potsherds of the earth, but woe to him that striveth with 
his maker, Isa. xlv. 11. Though the sons of Zeruiah may be too 
strong for David, yet they are not too strong for the God of David; 
though they be mighty, yet God is almighty, and will reward such 
evil-doers according to their wickedness, 2 Sam. iii. 39. 

magis in natura sua laudare ac probare dixit Caligula, quam d5taTpe\plav, i.e., impu- 
dentiam. — Sueton. 

1 Ego te posco at pugnes contra Alexandrum, non ut illi maledicas. — Plutarch in 

^ See God's Judgments on such in tlie Theatre of God's Judgments, lib. ii. cap. 2, 
p. 158, folio. Vide Mr Jenkyn on Jude 3, p. 298, folio. 

3 See the Large Annot. on Eccles. x. 8. 


A71 answer to the cavils of Anabaptists , libertines, dec. 

ObJ. 1. It is against Christian liberty for Christians to be 
under the power of any but Christ, who is our only king, and hath 
made us free, John viii. 32 ; Gal. v. 1. It is a sore slavery to have 
magistrates and laws' to rule over us, since in Christ all are equal, 
Gal. iii. 28, and tliere is no distinction of superiors and inferiors, 
of rulers and ruled. 

A71S. This is the grand objection, the great Goliath, their 
darling ; liberty, liberty, liberty. Overthrow this, and you over- 
throw all. 

1. I answer, Civil subjection to superiors may well stand with 
spiritual liberty ; for spiritual privileges do not abrogate, but rather 
confirm our obedience to them. Paul, that had so fully discoursed 
of Christian liberty, yet oft enjoins obedience to magistracy, Eom. 
xiii. 1, &c. ■ 1 Tim. ii. 1, 2. So doth Peter, 1 Pet. ii. 13, 16. Had 
this subjection been opposite to our Christian liberty, Christ would 
never have paid tribute to Ca?sar, nor have commanded us to give 
unto Ca3sar what is Cajsar's.i Gospel liberty is a liberty from sin, 
2 Cor. iii. 17, not to sin ; a liberty to serve God, and not to despise 
the ministers of God. Christ never purchased a liberty for us to 
live as we list, and hold what we list ; to be Arians, Arminians, 
Socinians, &c. This is libertinism, and not spiritual liberty. 

2. Though believers, as they are in Christ, are all one and equal, 
yet considered as they are members of a politic body, and in civil 
respects, so there is an inequality : and though Christ hath freed 
us from the curse of the law, from the traditions of men, 1 Cor. 
vii. 23, and from the tyranny of sin and Satan, yet he hath not 
freed us from subjection to men, according to those ranks and 
callings he hath set us in ; and therefore, even in gospel times, we 
read of superiors and inferiors, of masters and servants, with direc- 
tions how they should walk, and promises of reward to such as 
faithfully perform the duties of their places, 1 Cor. vii. 21, 22; 
Eph. vi. 5-9 ; so that magistracy is so far from hindering true 
Christian liberty, that it helps to suppress sin, and to make us free 
indeed. Neither is a politic inequality against a spiritual equality. 
Onesimus was as good a man as Philemon, yet for all that Onesi- 
mus was Philemon's servant. 

^ Sunt tumultuosi spiritus qui regnum Christi non bene extolli credunt, nisi abo- 
leantur omnes terrense potestates; nee libertate per se data frui, nisi quodvis hu- 
manae servitutis jugum excusserint. — Calvin in Eom. xiii. 1. 


3. The Scripture speaks of magistracy as a great mercy, and not 
as a misery or burden to a people ; it calls them nursing fathers, 
shields, shepherds, &c., and the loss of them is reckoned as a sore 
judgment, Isa. iii. 1-5, and the restoring of them as a great mercy, 
Isa. i. 26, ' I will restore thy judges as at the first ;' 2 Chron. ix. 8, 
it is made a sign of Grod's love to a people. Let wicked men and 
sons of Belial call government bonds and burdens, Ps. ii. 3, yet 
believers, of all men, should be the most obedient to magistrates, 
whether they be good or bad, in all lawful things, of any people in 
the world, that so they may stop the mouths of gainsayers, and all 
the world may see that rulers have no better friends than such as 
make conscience of their ways ; for none can be truly loyal but such 
as are truly religious.^ 

4. Though Christ be the sole king of his church, yet is he not 
the sole king in his church ; for Christ's kingdom doth not oppose, 
but confirm the magistrates ; they are not contrary, but may well 
subsist together. The gospel doth not abolish, but establish the 
civil government of the world, and makes it better. Neither is 
our civil subjection to earthly kings any hindrance of our obe- 
dience to our heavenly King, but doth rather evidence and con- 
firm it.- Christ was king of his church in the Old Testament ; 
he was the same yesterday that he is to-day, and yet he had ma- 
gistrates under him then, and why not now ? Yea, he promiseth 
magistracy as a blessing in gospel times, Isa. xlix. 22, 23 ; Kev. 
xxi. 24. 

ObJ. 2. God's people are a holy, obedient, willing people, and a 
law to themselves ; but the law is made for unholy and disordered 
ones, 1 Tim. i. 9. 

Ans. Be you never so holy, you must obey. God will have 
every soul, be they never so holy or righteous in their own eyes, 
to be subject to the higher powers. In the church of Eome there 
were many saints, and yet the apostle commands them all to submit, 
in civil things, to the magistrates of those times, who were pro- 
fessed heathens and tyrants.^ 

2. The best are flesh as well as spirit, as we see in Noah, Lot, 
David ; and if there were not a law without to restrain, as well as 
a light within, we know not how far the best may fall ; for though 

' See more in my Comment, on 2 Tim. iii. 2, pp. 31, 32. 

- Subordinata non pugnant; nam in ecclesia reges Christo summo regi inserviunt^ 
proinde Cliristus Deum et Ca3sarem non opponit sed conjungit, Mat. xxii. 21 ; 
Dithmar. See more in Dr Taylor on Tit. iii. 1, p. 544. 

^ Jus divinum quod est ex gratia, non tollit jus humanum quod est ex jure natu- 
rali. — Aqvinas, 228e, q. 10, art. 10. 


the just be a law to themselves, yet they have lusts still within 
themselves which many times call for coercion and correction from 
the magistrate. A good man saith, as the martyr said once at the 
stake, when they went to bind him to the stake : That needs not, 
said the martyr ; yet since I am flesh as well as spirit, you may 
bind me if you please. So a good man, though he hath God's law 
within his heart, and he delights to do his will, and so need the 
less binding, yet since he knows the rebellion of the flesh, and the 
deceit of his own heart, he desires as many restraints as may be, to 
hedge up his way, and keep him from sinning against God. 

3. Though God's people be holy and obedient, yet they are mixed 
amongst the wicked, and so have great need of the magistrate's 
sword to defend them from the violence of unreasonable men, 
1 Tim. ii. 2. So that albeit good men should do no evil them- 
selves — though we see doves many times, and sheep, fight one with 
another, and have need of some to part them— yet they may 
quickly suffer evil, if the magistrate and his laws do not protect 

4. Though the law be not made for the condemnation of the 
righteous, yet it is ordained for a rule to direct and guide him. 
This law he cheerfully obeys, because it confines him to live in 
that element where he would live, as if one should be confined to 
paradise where he would be, though there were no law to confine 
him to it. So, then, the magistrate is not a terror to him, because 
he doth well, and doth spontaneously obey his laws. 

Ohj. 3. God forbids the killing of men, and saith he that takes 
the sword shall perish by the sword. Mat. xxvi. 52; and hath 
promised that in gospel times they shall not hurt or destroy in all 
his holy mountain, Isa. xi. 9, and Ix. 18. Hence the Socinians and 
gross Anabaptists gather that offenders now must not be put to 

Ans. 1. God forbids any private person to kill, or to take up the 
sword by way of private revenge, without a call ; l but what is this 
to the magistrate, who is a public person, and executes the judg- 
ment of God on sinners, as his vicegerent, and commissionated from 
him so to do ? for he is the minister of God for wrath to them that 
do ill. It is his glory to cut off the wicked from God's city, and 
he hath many commands so to do, Gen. ix. 6; Exod. xxi. 14; Num. 
XXXV. 30-34; Mat. v. 21, 22; Kom. xiii. 4; Kev. xiii. 10. So 
that those who would have guilty persons spared, they dispute not 

^ Occidere hominem non semper est criminosum, sed malitia non legibus occidere 
criminosum. —Z)anfe2(s. Madstratus non sunt homicid£e, sed malicidK. — Bernard. 


against us, but God, who hath commanded that blasphemous and 
notorious sinners should be cut off. 

2. That text speaks of gospel converts, not of magistrates, and 
shews the sweet peace and amity that in those days shall be amongst 

Ohj. 4. The Lord was angry with the Israelites because they 
asked for a king, 1 Sam. viii. 6, 7 ; ergo, kingly government is 

Alls. Non sequitur ; for the Lord was not angry with them 
simply and absolutely for asking a king "^ — for monarchy is not in 
itself displeasing to God, as we see in David, Hezekiah, Josiah, 
&c. — but for desiring to have a king out of an affectation of novelty, 
being weary of that government which God had established, and 
desirous to be in fashion like the Egyptians, Medes, Persians, Chal- 
deans, and other heathenish idolaters round about them, vers. 5 
and 20, and out of ambition and confidence in a king as able to 
protect them, and difilidence in God as unable to defend them in 
his own way. 2 He was also angry with them for their ingratitude 
toward holy and industrious Samuel, who had deserved so well of 
them, having spent himself wholly in their service.^ 

2. The Lord himself elected Saul to be king over his people, 
and qualified him for his office, and expressly commanded Samuel 
to anoint him king over Israel ; which he would not have done had 
that office in itself been displeasing to him. 

S. We may retort this place on the Anabaptists themselves: 
seeing the Israelites here, in rejecting Samuel, are said to reject 
God, it hence appears that magistracy is God's ordinance, which, 
whosoever opposeth, that man opposeth not men, but God. 

Obj. 5. We may not resist nor render evil for evil, Mat. v. 39 ; 
Eom. xii. 17. 

Ans. These places condemn not ordinate and public revenge, 
which God hath committed to the magistrate, who for good ends, 
and without any hatred to the person of any, is to do justice on 
them. So that albeit I may not offend others, yet I may defend 
myself, and crave the magistrate's help, who by office is bound to 
execute justice on evil-doers. 

2. If they stick to the letter of the text, this will take away the 

1 Est fallacia a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter. 

^ Peccaverunt quia petunt regem inconsulto, immo invito Deo; Deus enim insti- 
tuerat judicum aristocratiam ; banc ergo ipsi in monarcliiam mutare non debebant, 
nisi volente et mutante Deo. — A Lapide. 

^ See more in the Large Annotations; and AVeems, vol. iii., chap, iii., pp. 2, 12, &c. 


power of parents and masters, for they, in their places, do resist 
evils and punish offenders. 

Ohj. 6. We are forbidden to judge, Mat. vii. 1 ; Eom. xiv. 4 ; 
1 Cor. iv. 5. 

Ans. These places condemn rash, private, uncharitable, and un- 
seasonable judging ;i they do not condemn public, political, or 
ecclesiastical judging. 

Ohj. 7. Magistracy belonged to the Jews, who were children. Gal- 
iv. 1, and not to Christians, who are grown to perfection. 

Ans. 1. Magistracy belonged to the G-entiles as well as to the 
Jews, as appears by Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander, Augustus, 

Ans. 2. Christ himself approved of magistracy in gospel times ; 
and the prophecies of gospel times show that kings should be ser- 
vants to Christ and his church, Ps. ii. 10, 11, and Ixxii. 11 ; Isa. 
xlix. 22, 23, and Ix. 3, 10, 11, IG ; Rev. xxi. 24. Even the holy 
city that comes from heaven yet shall have kings to rule in it and 
defend it. 

Ans. 3. The world is now fuller of people, and more wicked — all cir- 
cumstances of light and privileges considered — than in the Jewish 
times ; and therefore, if they had need of magistrates to suppress 
sin, and preserve God's people in peace, much more have we. The 
devil is as busy, yea, more busy, now than ever, and his agents as 
active to seduce us as ever they were amongst the Jews, 

Ans. 4. If man in the state of innocency should have had a 
paternal and lovely, not lordly, subordination and order, surely we 
have more need of it in this state of apostasy ;2 and those that talk 
so much of perfection, show no such perfection but that magis- 
trates are needful to make them better. Men are more perfect sin- 
ners now, sinning against greater light and greater love than ever.3 
These, under pretence of perfection, bring in confusion ; and if the 
apostolical churches, that had such an extraordinary measure of 
the Spirit, had yet need of magistrates, and are oft commanded to 
obey them, Eom. xiii.; Titus iii. 1, 2; then it savours strongly 
of pride and self-conceitedness for any in our days to think them- 
selves more perfect than those primitive Christians. 

^ Est fallacia a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter. 

^ Vide Eivet. in Gen. i. Exercit. 10, in fine. 

^ Dum fanatici Anabaptists; perfectionem jactant, rerum omnium confusionem in- 
ducunt, et perfectionis colore totum Christianum orbem nituntur evertere. — Zeppcr. 
de Legib. Mos.., lib. ii. cap. 5. 



ObJ. 8. ' There is but one Lord,' Eph. iv. 5, ' and no man can 
serve two masters.' 

Ans. 1. Though there he but one primary, principal, absolute 
Lord and Judge, yet there are many subordinate ones. 

Ans. 2. Our Saviour doth not simply say that no man can serve 
two masters, but, as the context shows, he speaks of serving two 
contrary masters — such as Grod and mammon — which command 
contrary things, and have contrary ways, ends, and principles ; no 
man can serve two such contrary masters. But Christ and magis- 
tracy are not contrary, but subordinate, and therefore the magis- 
trate is called his minister for our good. 

OhJ. 9. Most magistrates are corrupt and wicked; of all the 
kings of Israel, there were not past four that were good. They 
are most of them tyrants and oppressors ; they are briars and 
brambles, not olives and vines, that seek for kingdoms. Judges ix. 
Ergo, down with them all ! 

Ans. 1. This is like anabaptistical logic. Because some abuse 
meat, drink, light, money, clothes, &c., ergo, away with them all.i 
Who knows not that the abuse of a thing must not take aw^ay the 
use of it ? Though the person may be bad, yet the office is good.^ 
Judas was bad, yet the apostolical office was good. A persona ad 
rem non volet argumentum. Vitium 2Jerso7ice non vitiat offickmi. 

Ans. 2. As for that place, Judges ix.: 1. It is allegorical, and so 
but a sorry foundation to build an argument upon, 2. It speaks 
not against magistracy in general, but against Abimelech, wdio 
usurped the kingdom, ver. 1. 

Ohj. 10. 2 Cor. x. 4, ' The weapons of our warfare are not car- 
nal ;' ergo, the sword of the magistrate is useless. 

xins. Non sequitur, for the apostle doth not speak there of 
magistracy, but of the ministry : q.d., The weapons of our warfare 
who are in the ministry are spiritual, not carnal. We do not look 
to prevail by eloquence and fine speeches, by flattery and dissimu- 
lation, or by worldly force and power, but by the mighty power of 
the gospel, which is able, through the help of God, to pull down 
the strongest hold of flesh and blood. 

OhJ. 11. John viii., Our Saviour would not punish the woman 
taken in adultery ; ergo, the magistrate must not punish 

A71S. Non sequitur, It was the magistrate's duty to punish such ; 

^ Est fallacia accidentis. 

2 JIagistratus essentialiter, intrinsice, et per se bonus est ; per accidens, abusive, 
et vitio pjrsona3, malus. 


but Christ, having no commission to meddle with the sword, let 
her go. But of this elsewhere. i 

Ohj. 12. The magistrate is called a human' ordinance,^ 1 Pet. 
ii. 13 ; ergo, it may be pulled down by man. 

Ans. Non sequitur, for magistracy is called the ordinance of 
man,3 or an human creation, not because it was invented by man, or 
hath its original from him ; for all power is from God. Though 
men may choose the man, yet it is God that confers the power, 
and commands us to obey him for his sake, i.e., because it is his 
will to govern us by such. But it is called the ordinance of man, 
1. Subjective, Because it is seated in man, and is managed by him ; 
and the choice of the kinds of magistrates is, for the most part, left 
unto men, to choose what form of government is most commodious 
for them, that so they might more willingly yield obedience to 
them ; hence some have kings, some consuls, some protectors, some 
emperors. Now, second causes do not exclude, but include the 
first : though men choose mediately, yet God orders and disposeth 
all by his overruling power to his own praise ; so that, in respect 
of their original appointment and institution, they are an ordinance 
of God. 2. Objective, Because it handleth human affairs. 3. 
Fmalite7\ In respect of its end, it was ordained for the benefit of 
man, and for the preservation of human society.* 

Obj. 13. Kev. iv. 10, 11, 'The twenty-four elders cast their 
crowns before the throne ;' e^'go. Magistrates, when they are con- 
verted to Christianity, must cast away their crowns. 

Ans. 1. Anabaptistic logic still ! The text is a vision, and 
arguments grounded on visions are very weak, and seldom demon- 

Ans. 2. The text doth not speak of magistrates, but of the whole 
church triumphant, represented here by the twenty-four elders ; 
for, as the twelve patriarchs in the Old Testament were, as it were, 
the root of the Israelitish church, so the twelve apostles, by their 

^ See my Commentary on 2 Tim. iii. 3, pp. 103, 104, where this text is fully vin- 

2 'AvdpwTrlvT] KriffLs, humana creatio. 

^ Kritrews appellatio ad Deum primum authorem nos revocat ; etsi enim magistra- 
tus creari— i.e., ordinari etiam ab hominibus dicuntur ; primus tamen eorum creator 
proprie est solus Deus, cui primitus omnis creatio cov!i\)eiii.~Sibelius. The sub- 
stance of the power is of God, but the specification of the circumstances in respect 
of place, person, title, continuance, customs, &c., is of man. — D. Sanderson ad 
Marjistrat., p. 183. Eegimen ipsum est juris divini ; at determinatio ejus ad certam 
formam mouarchife vel aristocratise pertinet ad jus gentium. 

* See more, Lex Rex, pp. 8, 9. 

^ Theologia symbolica non est argumentativa. 


doctrine were, as it were, the foundation and original of the Chris- 
tian church, who cast their crowns before the throne, acknowledg- 
ing all they have to be of free grace and mercy, not merit. i 

Ans. 3. Suppose it did speak of the Christian magistrate, yet the 
sense of the place would amount but to this : That since magis- 
trates have received their honour and dignity from Christ, there- 
fore they lay all at his feet again, giving all the praise of what 
they are and have to him who was the donor of them. 

Use 2. Is magistracy God's ordinance ? Then it will necessarily 
follow that a Christian may, with a safe conscience, undertake that 
office when called to it. That order which is just, holy, and good, 
must needs be pleasing unto God, and so may safely be undertaken 
by good men ; but magistracy, being God's ordinance, must needs 
be so ; for all God's works and ordinances are honourable and 
glorious, and do ennoble, not debase the creature, Ps. cxi. 3. As 
the ministry is God's ordinance, and marriage is God's ordinance, 
so they are pure and good, and a man may live in those conditions 
with a pure conscience, pleasing to God : so a pari, for the same 
reason, since magistracy is God's ordinance, a Christian may lead 
a life pleasing to God in that office. And the examples of all 
those good men that, in the Old and New Testament, have borne 
that office, as I have showed before, and have been high in God's 
favour, shows plainly that the office may be undertaken by pious 
men. • 

2. That which God hath promised as a choice mercy to his 
people in gospel times, the administration of that cannot be unlaw- 
ful ; but such is magistracy, as hath been fully proved before. 

3. Is magistracy God's ordinance ? Then none may usurp 
it, or enter upon it without a call from him.^ As in the min- 
istry no man may take that honour to himself, but he that is 
called ; so in the magistracy none may assume this office to him- 
self, but he that is called of God, either mediately or immediately, 
ordinarily or extraordinarily. As no man can preach jure and 

1 Ad literam loquitur de primariis, immo de omnibus, Sanctis utriusque Testa- 
menti, qui jam beati in ccelo vident, adorant et celebrant Deum. — A Lapide. Coronas 
suas ante thronum mittere, est certaminum suorum victorias non sibi tribuere, sed 
Deo, ut ad ilium referant gloriam laudis, h, quo se sciunt vires accepisse certaminis. 
■ — Grcff. Moral., lib. xxii. He that would see all cavils more fully answered, may 
peruse D. Featly, Dippers Dipt, p. 161, edit. 6. 

" Cum gubernatio sit ordo divinitus institutus, atque adeo Deus ipse prsesit guber- 
nationi politicse, non est cujusvis sibi arrogare illud imperium divinum ; aut se judi- 
cem loco Dei constituere. — Mollerus in Psalm Ixxxii. 1. It is not every man's work 
to rule, but only such as are appointed, 2 Chron. xix. 5, and have commission. 


authoritatively but he that is sent, so no man can execute jus- 
tice juridically and authoritatively but he that is sent. It is 
true, it may be, some private person may have abler gifts for 
magistracy than some that are in office, yet may he in nowise 
exercise those gifts without a call ; and if he should condemn and 
execute a man, it is murder in him, because God never commis- 
sioned him to such a work. As God was angry with Korah, 
Dathan, and Abiram for opposing Moses as well as Aaron, so he is 
the same God to the same sinners still. As two things must con- 
cur to make a gospel minister — viz. 1. Gifts ; 2. A power to exe- 
cute these gifts — so these two must concur to make a magistrate. 

(1.) Gifts and qualifications fit for his place. 

(2.) A commission and call to execute those gifts. Skill to 
govern, power to manage that skill, and will to actuate both, make 
a complete magistrate.^ Let a man be never so well gifted or 
graced, were he as holy as Job, as wise as Solomon, as learned as 
Moses and Daniel, yet, without a call and solemn designation to 
this work, he may not act as a magistrate ; or, if he do, he can 
look for no success or blessing from God in what he doth. These 
fight against God, and cannot prosper ; they break that rank and 
order which God hath set up in the world. It is per me, and not 
per se, that kings reign, Prov. viii. 15 ; it is God that hath made 
them magistrates as well as men, and not they themselves, Ps. c. 3. 
Judging and preaching are not mere acts of gifts, but office. Let 
every man, therefore, abide in that calling wherein he is called ;2 
for they are ofttimes most insufficient who think themselves most 
sufficient for this weighty calling. Ambition is an argument of 
un worthiness : Ne sit qui ambit, let not him speed that sues ; let 
not those be preferred that would have places, but such as places 
would have. It is rebellious Absalom (2 Sam. xv. 4) and tyranni- 
cal Abimelech that sue for rule. The fat olive, the fruitful vine, 
and pleasant fig-tree refuse preferment ; but it is the scratching 
bramble, the tearing briar, an empty keck, a worthless and fruitless 
shrub, that hath no shadow to refresh, but is full of prickles, good 
for nothing but to stop gaps, and after to be burnt, which desires 
to tyrannise over people. Judges ix. 8-16. Good men are modest ; 
they know honours are burdens, and they will not meddle with 
them till they be called to them. They that are worthy, must be 

1 'AvTiraaffo/j-evos, resistit, Rom. xiii. 2, est verbum emphaticum, q.d., qui magistra- 
tibus resistit, contra ordinem divinum se quasi ordinat. — Dltlimar. Polit. 

^ Tu suppUx ora, tu protege, tuque labora : Let ministers preach and pray, magis- 
trates defend, husbandmen till, and others do the duties of their places.— Zyw^Aer. 


sued to ; they are sooner found in retirement than in popularity : 
as Moses following Jethro's flock, Gideon in the barn, David at 
the fold, Saul hid amongst the stuff, 1 Sam. x. 22 ; and Lucius 
Quintius Cincinnatus was called from the plough to be dictator.i 

4. This is matter of singular consolation to magistrates, that 
since their office is God's ordinance, he will defend it against all 
the rage of men and devils ; he is the God of order, and he will 
preserve it in despite of all its enemies. As he calls his to dig- 
nity, so he will keep them in it, Ps. cxxxii. 17, 18 ; Isa. xlii. 6, 
and xlv. 13; as the judgment is not yours but God's, so he will 
assist you in it against all opposers, be they never so great, Joshua 
i. 5 ; 2 Chron. xix. 6.^ He that hath set the crown upon your heads, 
will keep it there ; if you uphold his kingdom, he will uphold 
yours ; if you be mindful of God's work, he will not be unmindful 
of your reward, Neh. xiii. 22; Isa. xxxviii. 3. Keep God's way, 
and he will keep you, as he did Moses, Joshua, Hezekiah, Josiah, 
David, Constantino, Theodosius and others. Though you meet 
with many troubles, run many hazards, and pass through many 
dangers and difficulties by reason of atheists, idolaters, libertines, 
and all the rabble of hell, yet in six troubles the Lord will be with 
you, and in the seventh he will not leave you ; ^ he will be your 
assistant in your labours, your comforter in temptations, your di- 
rector in straits, and jouv Oedipus in doubts ; he will subdue your 
people under you, and incline their hearts to obedience, Ps. xlvii. 
3, and cxliv. 10 ; he will give you peace of conscience in the faith- 
ful discharge of your duty, and a crown of glory hereafter. 

It is very necessary in these tumultuous times for magistrates to 
be well assured that their calling is from God ; it will wonderfully 
uphold their spirits in a time of trial. When Luther had written a 
book in defence of the civil magistrate, and proved it to be God's 
ordinance, and very pleasing to him, when Frederick Duke of Sax- 
ony had read it, it is said that for joy he lifted up his hands to 
heaven and gave thanks to God that now he knew out of the holy 
Scriptures that his calling was ordained of God, and that with a 
good conscience he might now perform the duties of it. It is an 
act of dignation and not of indigence that God makes use of any to 
be instruments of conveying his blessing to others ; hoc agens lib- 

^ Vide Florus de Gest. Eom., lib. i. cap. 11. 

2 Vide Mr Woodward's King's Chronicle of the Good Kings of Judah. A treatise 
worthy the serious perusal of all magistrates. 

^ Omnis qui regit, est tanquam signum in quod omnia jacula Satan et mundus di- 
risrunt. — Luther. 


errimum, he can do his own work without us, he needs us not. It 
is a great honour that he is pleased to employ us either in magistracy 
or ministry ; when he hath once invested us in those offices, and we 
discharge them faithfully, he takes the despite that is done to us, as 
done to himself, 1 Thes. iv, 8. When the Israelites rejected Samuel, 
God comforts him with this, ' They have not rejected thee, but they 
have rejected me,' who set thee as a judge over them, and have gifted 
thee with graces for the faithful discharge of thy office, 1 Sam. viii. 7. 
You are Grod's more immediate servants, Jer. xxvii. 6 ; Kom, xiii. 2 ; 
the dishonour that is done to you, reflects upon your Master : and 
if David so sharply revenged the abuse that was done to his am- 
bassadors by the Ammonites, 1 Sam. x, 45 ; let not the levelling 
Ammonites of our time, who vilify both magistracy and ministry, 
think to escape unpunished, 1 Sam. xxvi. 9 ; Pro v. xvii. 11, and 
xxiv. 21, 22; Kom. xiii. 2. Magistrates are called fathers: and 
he that cursed his father was to die for it, Lev. xx. 9. 

5. Bless God for magistracy. Every day we should be praising 
him for this ordinance ; that we can rise in peace, and rest in peace ; 
travel in peace, and come to God's house in peace, and sit every 
man under his own vine and fig-tree in peace ; all this, and a thou- 
sand times more, we enjoy by the means of magistracy, 1 Kings iv. 
25 ; Micah iv. 4. It is these Mordecais that bring wealth and 
peace to a people, Esther x. 3. Magistrates are the greatest ser- 
vants in the world ; they wake that we may sleep, they labour that 
we may rest in peace ; by them violence is suppressed, justice exe- 
cuted, religion maintained, and human societies preserved,-^ Ps. 
Ixxii. per totum, and Ixxxv. 10-13. These are, or should be, eyes 
to the blind, legs to the lame, terrors to the wicked, towers to the 
righteous, fathers to the fatherless, widows, and oppressed. 

Take away government, and what would nations be but dens of 
devils, and cages of unclean birds ? 2 We see how wickedness 
abounds though we have magistrates to restrain it ; but oh, the abom- 
inations that would be in the world if there were no government ! 
What idolatry, witchcraft, blasphemy, heresy, murder, theft, athe- 
ism, barbarism, routs and riots, cruelty and villany would overflow 
in all places ! 3 When there was no king in Israel, then every 

^ Omnium somnos illius vigilantia defendit, omnium otium illius labor, omnium 
delitias illius industria, omnium vacationem illius occupatio. — Seneca. 

^ Eemota justitia quid sunt regna nisi magna latrocinia ? — August, dc Ckitat. Dei. 
lib. iv. cap. 4. 

3 Nisi rectores civitatum essent, feriorem feris viveremus vitam, non mordentes 
tantum, sed et vorantes alios alii. — Grotius de Jure belli, lib. i cap. 4, sec. 1. See 
more Mr Jenkyn on Jude 8, Obser. 1, p. 299, folio. 


man's lust was a law, and they fell to idolatry, uncleanness and 
mncli wickedness, as appears, Judges xvii. 6, and xviii. ult., and 
xix. 1 ; lience the taking away of the judge and the prophet is 
reckoned as a sore judgment, and the very inlet to oppression and 
confusion; Isa. iii. 1, 2, 5, and xxiv. 1, 2; Amos ii. 3; Hosea x. 
3, and xiii. 11. Amongst all those heavy curses which David calls 
for against his malicious enemies, this is the first ; ' Let a wicked 
man rule over him,' Ps. cix. 6. What is an army without a gene- 
ral, a school without a master, a family without a governor, or a 
nation without rulers ? they need no foreign force to destroy them, 
they would soon destroy themselves, Hah. i. 1 3, 14.i 

Stobeus tells us of a Persian law, that after the death of their 
king every man had five days' liberty to do what he pleased, that 
by beholding the wickedness and disorder of those few days, they 
might prize government the better all their days after. 2 When Moses 
was absent but forty days in the mount, the Israelites presently 
worship a calf. In the book of Judges we read of the death of 
Ehud, Gideon, and their governors, and presently the people change 
their gods, and did evil in the sight of the Lord to their own de- 
struction ; Judges ii. 19, 20, and iv. 2, and viii. 33. Take govern- 
ment out of the world, and then take the sun out of the firmament, 
and leave it no more a Koafio^;, a beautiful structure, but a %ao?, 
a confused heap ; without this men would be like Ishmael, wild 
men ; every man's hand would be against his brother. Gen. xxvi. 

It is reported of Maximilian the emperor, that as oft as he passed 
by the gallows he would put off his hat and salute it, with a salve 
sancta justitia ! All hail, holy justice. Of all people, Christians 
have most cause to bless God for it ; for they are exposed more to 
the malice of wicked men by reason of their profession and prin- 
ciples, which are so opposite to the ways of the world, so that they 
are as lambs amongst lions, as sheep amongst wolves, as a lily 
amongst thorns, which would soon be devoured, did not the great 
Shepherd of the flock raise up shepherds under him to defend it. 
These are the ministers of God for our good: 1. For our natural 
good, for our lives. 2. Civil good, for our estate. 3. Moral, for 
defence of us in goodness. 4. Spiritual, to protect the gospel ; and 

^ Sine imperio nee domus ulla, nee civitas, nee gens, nee hominum universum ge- 
nus stare, nee ipse mundus durare potest. — Cicero, lib. iii. cleLegib. 

^ Persis lex erat, ut a morte regis, legum et juris intermissio per quinque dies fieret, 
ut intelligerent subditi in quanto pretio regem ac legem haheri deceat. — Stohmus, 
Serm. 42, p. 294. 


tbis good is reduced by tbe apostle to tbree beads, 1 Tim. ii. 2, 
Peace, piety, and honesty. They are a means under God to pre- 
serve the Hves of us and ours; our goods, sabbatbs, ordinances, 
and all that is near and dear to us : so that when government fails, 
1. Order fails; 2. Keligion fails; 3. Justice fails; 4. Strength 
fails ; 5. Wealth fails ; 6. Honour fails ; 7. Peace fails : all tbis 
is abundantly proved by a learned pen.i As where there is no 
ministry, the people perish ; so where there is no magistracy, the 
people come to ruin, Prov. ii. 14. These are shields to defend us, 
fathers to tender us, yea, nursing fathers to carry us in their bosoms, 
pillars that under God uphold the world, that it fall not into confu- 
sion, and the very life of the state. Lam. iv. 20.2 

How great then is the sin of those ungrateful men who vilify 
magistracy, and by consequence do contemn the goodness and 
providence of God to the sons of men ! yea, they contemn that 
which is the greatest glory and choice privilege of a nation. When 
David would set forth the glory of Jerusalem, he tells us, there sit 
the thrones of judgment, i.e., there sit the judges who administer 
justice to all, and keep all in peace, Ps. cxxii. 5. Hence it is pro- 
mised as a great blessing to an obedient people, that they shall have 
governors to rule them : ' And their eyes shall see the King in his 
glory,' Isa. xxxiii. 17; Jer. xvii. 24, 25, as it is reckoned for a 
choice mercy to have our own sons for prophets,^ Amos ii. 11. To 
be taught by strangers who are called to the work, is a mercy ; but 
to be taught by our own sons raised and fitted for the work of the 
ministry, that heightens the mercy ; ' I raised up your sons for 
prophets, of your young men for Nazarites ;' and as good ministers 
are promised a special blessing, Isa. xxx. 20 ; Jer. iii. 15. ; Kom. 
XV. 29, so it is promised as a special blessing that our nobles shall 
be of ourselves, and our governors shall proceed from the midst of 
us, Jer. xxx. 21. Strangers shall not rule over them, nor keep 
them in slavery, but they should have governors of their own, that 
would be tender over them. It is a sign of God's love to a people 
when he gives them rulers that will execute justice amongst them, 
1 Kings X. 9 ; 2 Chron. ii. 11, and ix. 8. When a people is but 

^ Mr Nath. Ward in his Fast Sermon on Ezek. xix. 14, pp. 9-11, &c. 

^ Magistratus est illud vinculum per quod respublica cohairet, est spiritus ille vitalis 
quem hgec tot millia trahunt, nihil ipsa per se futura nisi onus et prajda, si mens ilia 
imperii subtrahatur.— ^e?!eca de Clement, lib. i. cap. 4. 

^ Quis cogitando, nedum dicendo consequi potest, quam beata sit res sub bono et 
salutari principe vivere, qui et gloriam Dei et salutem reipublicoe quccrat, augeat et 
conservet ? Dona sunt hsec, et ut Scriptura loquitur, benedictiones Dei opulentissimse. 
— Luther in Prcef. ad Principes. 


willing to obey, violence shall no more be heard in the land, nor 
wasting and destruction in their borders, but he will restore their 
judges as at the first, and their counsellors as at the beginning, 
Isa. i. 25, and Ix. 18, and under them shall all human abilities be 
improved to the highest apex and utmost excellence ; all callings, 
laws, learning, valour, religion, arts, and faculties, thrive and flourish 
with much happiness and success under the wings and warmth of a 
godly government. Oh, then, let us bless the God of heaven, who 
is pleased to govern man by men ; as it is a mercy in the church 
that he teacheth us by men like ourselves, so it is a mercy in the 
state that he rules us by men who are, or at leastwise ought to be, 
sensible of our infirmities, and to whom we may have familiar 
recourse in our necessities ; ^ if the Lord himself, or any angel should 
ajDpear, we could not endure the sight. It is a great mercy, and 
argues his tender love unto mankind, that he hath set his own name 
upon our governors, and adorned them with the gifts of his Spirit, 
fitting them for such noble employment. 

6. Since magistrates are set up by God, it is our duty to reverence 
them as his vicars and deputies, and that not only for fear of his 
wrath,^ which yet must not be slighted, Prov. xvi, 14, and xix. 20, 
but out of obedience to God's command, who bids us honour them, 
Eom. xiii. 5, and joins them with himself, Prov. xxiv. 21; 1 Pet. ii. 
17.^ This reverence must be Co7'de, ore, opere. 

(1.) It must not be complimental, but cordial ; we must not once 
harbour an evil thought against them ; for God will find out a way 
to reveal and revenge it, Eccles. x. 8, 20. But we must pray for 
them. What if they be heathens and persecutors, and neglect their 
duty? Yet we must not neglect ours. Num. xxvii. 16; Dan. vi. 
21. Nero, Decius, Dioclesian, were heathenish tyrants, yet he bids 
us pray for them, 1 Tim. ii. 2, and the primitive Christians prayed 
for such.* Magistrates are encompassed with many cares, fears, 
dangers, and difficulties ; we should, therefore, by prayer hold up 
Moses his hands that he faint not, and beseech the Lord to enrich 
them with all graces fit for their places, as knowledge, zeal, 

' See more Caryl on Job xxix. 7, pp. 476, 477. 

^ Fear is of a preservative nature, and makes men keep within compass. </)6/3os 
effTi. (pvXaKTiKdp tl. — Aristot. 

^ Sub honorandi verbo sinceram ac candidam existimationem complectitur, et 
regem cum Deo conjungens, sanctse cujusdam venerationis ac dignitatis plenum esse 
ostendit. — Calvin. Instit., lib. iv. cap. 20, sec. 22. 

* Vide Tertul. in Apolog. cap. 30. Miremur cliaritatem Pauli, qui pro tali rege, vel 
potius tam impio tyranno, tamen Christianos omnes Deum vult orare, nee pro solo 
Nerone, sed pro omnibus illi similibus. — Soto, 


sincerity, &c. As every one receives benefit by the magistrate, so 
every one should pray for him, and bear his part in this service, as 
those busy idolaters did in their blind way: Jer. vii. 18, ' The 
children gather wood, the fathers kindle a fire, and the women 
knead the dough,' every one doth something. Magistrates and 
ministers of all men have most need of our prayers ; they are the 
common butts against which Satan and his agents shoot all their 
arrows ; he overlooks small and great, and dischargeth principally 
at the kings of Israel.i Many can rail, but few pray for them, 
which makes things go so ill with us.2 Besides, in praying for 
them we pray for ourselves ; in their peace lies our peace, and the 
peace of the churches ; hence God's people, when they were captives 
in Babylon, yet must pray for its peace on this very account, Jer. 
xxix. 7. Besides, kings' hearts are in the hand of God, and at the 
prayers of his people he turns them, Neh. ii. 4; Esther iv. 16, and 
V. 2 ; Job xii. 24 ; Pro v. xxi. 1. Yea, we must not only pray, but 
preach for them too, Titus iii. 1 ; men must often be put in mind 
of their duty to superiors ; many look upon themselves as fellow- 
creatures with magistrates, but God will have men know their 
places, and learn subjection. 

(2.) We must give them reverent and respectful titles. Aaron 
calls Moses, my lord, Exod. xxiii. 22. The woman of Tekoa calls 
David an angel, 2 Sam. xiv. 17, and so doth Mephibosheth, 2 Sam. 
xix. 27. They are the fathers of our country; and he that curseth 
father or mother, must die for it, Exod. xx. 12, and xxi. 15, 17. 
Keviling speeches do rather exasperate than mend men. It is our 
duty to make the best construction of their actions, interpreting 
nothing sinisterly, but concealing their infirmities, and with Shem 
and Japhet go backward and cover them ; we must not suffer them 
in their persons or actions to be traduced or dishonoured ; but if we 
must, as occasion requires, lay down our lives for our brethren, then 
much more for the fathers and defenders of the nation, 1 John iii. 
16. It is therefore made the brand of libertines and profane per- 
sons to despise government, and to speak evil of dignities, 2 Pet. ii. 
10 ; Jude 8. 

(3.) By reverent gestures, uncovering the head, bowing the knee, 

^ Quo magis est abies procera, evertitur Euris. 
Culmina non valles fulmina torta petunt. — Vernnus. 
" Si tarn prompti essemus ad preces pro magistratibus fundendas, qiiam parati 
sumus ad detrahendum ac maledicendum ipsis ; se res nostrse melius haberent. — 
Bugenhag. See more Caryl Serm. on Ps. Ixxii. 2, p. 30 ; Downam's AYarfare, 2, P., 
lib. ii. cap. 12, sec. 5-8, p. 500, &c. 


and making obeisance to them, as Nathan and Araiinah did to 
David, 1 Kings i. 23 ; 2 Sam. xxiv. 20. So when Joseph was made 
viceroy and governor of Egypt, they cry before him Abrech, bow 
the knee,i Gen. xli. 43. Our deportment before them must savour 
of humility, and not of insolence. Lev. xix. 32 ; Job xxix. 7, 8 ; 
Eccles. viii. 3. Next to the honour which we owe to God himself, 
we owe respect, and ought to honour magistrates, by a prompt 
obeying their just and lawful commands, in civil and political 
affairs,^ 1 Sam. xxii. 14. As our obedience to God, so our obedience 
to the ministers of God should be made known to all men, Eom. 
xvi. 19. It is reported of the kings of Peru, that they were wont 
to use a tassel or fringe made of red wool, which they wore upon 
their heads, and when they sent any governor to rule as viceroy in 
any part of the realm, they delivered him one of the threads of their 
tassel, and for one of those simple threads he was as much obeyed 
as if he had been the king himself. Yet the laws of men do not 
simply and^9er se bind the conscience, but only derivative, so far 
as they are grounded on God's law, and are agreeable thereto.^ 
We must so give to Ceesar his dues that we rob not God of his,^ 
Luke XX. 25, for the subject is not bound to obey in all things, but 
only so far as God's glory is untouched. Hence the Lord punished 
Ephraim for obeying the sinful commands of wicked men, Hosea 
V. 11 ; and the Israelites smarted for obeying Jeroboam's wicked 
command in worshipping the golden calves, 1 Kings xii. 29, 30. 
In this sense we may not be the servants of men, 1 Cor. vii. 23. 
It is true we may and must obey their hard commands, but never 
their sinful.^ "We must so honour the king, that withal we fear 
God, Prov. xxiv. 21 ; 1 Pet. ii. 17, and obey them in, but not 
against, the Lord, Eph. vi. 1 . Such flatterers as obey their wicked 
commands are great enemies to them, and help to bring God's 
judgments on them. In such cases we should answer as they did, 
Acts V. 29, ' Whether it be better to obey God or man, judge ye.' It 
is no dishonour to an earthly king to see the King of kings served 

^ Imaginem Dei rex gestat, ideoque colendus et amandus est, si non propter se, 
saltern vocationis et f unctionis suje causa. — A ug. de Vet. and N. Test. 

^ The laws of men properly bind the outward man, the conscience God reserves 
for h\mseU.— ByJield on 1 Pet. ii. 13, p. 430, 431. 

^ Leges regum turn demum obligant conscientiam, cum promulgant ea quae Deus 

* See Mr Hieron on that text, after Ps. lii. p. 446. 

^ Vide Woodward's King's Chronicle of the Bad Kings of Judah, p. 87. Malo in 
malo non est obediendum. Etsi parendum in omnibus patri, in eo non parendum quo 
efficitur ne pater sit. — Seneca, lib. ii., controv. 9. 


before him ;i the midwives are commended and rewarded Ly God 
for disobeying the wicked command of Pharaoh, Exod. i. ; Heb. xi. 
23. We must yield passive obedience where we cannot yield active, 
as the three Chaldean worthies submitted to the fire when they 
could not actively obey the king's command, Dan. iii. 18. We 
desire to give as much to the magistrate as the word of God gives 
him ; and if any give him more, the more shame for them, there is 
more of flattery than honesty in it. 

See this question, A71 leges humance ohligent conscientiam- more 
fully debated in D. Davenant de Judice ac norma Jidei, cap. 26 ; 
D. Andrews on the Fifth Cohimandment, chap. iv. p. 336 ; Ames. 
CO., lib. i., cap. 11,12; Kutherford of Church Government, p. 201 ; 
Sharpius loc. com., P. 2, pag. 240 ; Alsted's CC, p. 340, 342 ; and 
Gerhard de Magistrat. Polit. p. 355; Musculus loc. com., 645 p., 
folio ; Ames. CC, lib. .v. c. 25, q. 4. 

(4.) By a cheerful paying all tributes, customs, taxes to them. 
The godly render it as willingly, and pay it as cheerfully as if it 
were a free gift, Luke xx. 25 ; Rom. xiii. 7. So did Christ, Mat. 
xvii. 25. Tiberius Cassar was a notorious wicked man, yet Christ 
commands that tribute be paid to him, Mat. xxii. 21. The state 
cannot subsist, nor peace be maintained, without great cost and 

Yet magistrates must take heed of increasing the taxes and 
burdens of their people, when no necessity compels, but only to 
please their own lusts and luxury. God threatens such, Ezek. xlv. 
9 ; Micah iii. 2, 3. Nothing raiseth sedition and rebellion sooner 
in a nation than such overreaching practices ; this cruelty lost 
Eehoboam ten tribes at a clap, 1 Kings xii. 14, 16, 19. 

It is a scandal which wicked men in all ages have fastened on 
the godly, that they are rebellious, seditious, troublers of the state, 
enemies to Cassar, &c., whereas there are not nobler and better 
subjects in the world than such as truly fear the God of heaven. 3 

^ Contemne potestatem timendo majorem potestatem ; ille corpus, hie animam 
perdere potest ; ille gladium, hie minatur Gehennam. — Aur/. Horn. vi. de Verbis 

2 See this more fully cleared in my Comment, on 2 Tim. iii. 2, pp. 33-43. 

^ Vide D. Taylor on Titus iii. 1, p. 456, 547. See this cavil confuted in my 
Beauty of Holiness, chap. vii. obj. 11, p. 143. Solenne est ut Christianis crimina 
seditionis et Iscsee majestatis a persecutoribus affingantur, quibus tamen non sint 
obnoxii. — Cent. Magdeb. Col., 420. Vide plura apud Laurentium in 1 Pet. ii. 12, p. 
147. See more iu Mr Jenkyn on Jude 8, obs. 5, 6, p. 300, 301, folio. Vir bonus est 
optimus civis, servus, subditus. Tertullianus laudi Christianorum accenset, quod nun- 
quam inter seditiosos invent! fuerint, licet Ethuico Magistratui subjecti.— 2'e?-<M/Z2,, 


These pray for rulers, when others curse, swear, drink healths, and 
break their laws ; these obey for conscience, others for fear of 
punishment only ; these are ready to venture their lives and estates 
for their honour, when the wicked at a pinch will leave him and 
forsake him. They are sons of Belial that despite sovereignty, 1 
Sam. X. 28 ; and seditious Shebas that rise in rebellion against it, 
2 Sam. XX. 1. As for God's people, they are of those that are 
faithful and peaceable in the land, and so far from sedition, that 
they quietly bear even the cruellest tortures of the vilest tyrants. 
It were easy to show that none can be truly loyal but such as are 
truly religious. Those that are unfaithful to God, how can they be 
true to their sovereign ? He that fears not God will never honour 
the king. Eeligion takes away that ferity and brutishness of spirit 
which is in men, and makes them obey out of conscience to God's 

ObJ. Were they good men, I could willingly obey them ; but our 
rulers are wicked men and cruel tyrants ; they care not what 
burdens and taxes they lay upon us ; they do not only fleece, but 
flay us ; they tear our flesh and suck our blood, and must we obey 
such ? 

Ans. As servants must obey not only good and gentle masters, 
but also the froward and perverse heathenish ones, 1 Pet. ii. 18, so 
far as their commands cross not God's commands ; so subjects 
must obey not only pious and mild governors, but also harsh and 
cruel ones, in external and civil things, iisque ad aras, so far as 
may consist with a good conscience. The power is his, whatever 
the persons be ; the office is his, however they came by it, and so 
calls for our respect and observance.^ Even tyrants are ordained 
of God for the punishment of an ungrateful and rebellious people ; 
when men grow weary of Christ's easy yoke, it is just with God to 
put the iron yoke of tyrants on them, Deut. xxviii. 47, 48. Hence 
he is said not only to give kings in mercy to be nursing fathers, 
but also kings in wrath to be scourges to a wicked people, Hosea 
xiii. 11. He sent wicked Saul as well as religious David, and he 
is called the Lord's anointed, 1 Sam. xxiv. 7 ; and so is Cyrus, a 
heathen, Isa. xlv. 15 ; Nebuchadnezzar is called God's servant, 
Jer. xxvii. 6 ; Dan. ii. 37 ; and the king of Assyria is called God's 

lib. ad Scapulavi. Quomodo fidem Imperatori prtestabunt inviolatam, qui Deo 
suut perjuri? dixit Constantius. — Fusel., lib. i. cap. 11. 

' Potestas est a Deo, sed non abusus potestatis. Res ipsa soepe est a Deo, licet 
modus quo quis earn assequitur non sit a Deo ; sic divitioe sunt donum Dei, licet 
modus quo avari eas sibi comparant non sit a Dqo.— Gerhard. 


rod to chastise his people for their sins,i Isa. x. 5. As the wicked- 
ness of a minister doth not destroy the ministry, so the wickedness 
of a magistrate doth not destroy magistracy. Cruel parents are 
parents still ; hence it is that in the New Testament we are so oft 
commanded to be subject to heathen magistrates, to pray for them, 
to pay to them, and to yield them either active or passive obe- 
dience,^ Mat. xxii. 21 ; Kom. xiii. 1 ; 1 Tim. ii. 2 ; Titus iii, 1 ; 1 
Pet. ii. 13, 17 ; and if tyrants were not ordained by God, we must 
exclude his providence from the greatest part of the world. But 
the psalmist tells us that the kingdom of his providence and power 
reacheth over all ; Ps. ciii. 19, ' The Lord hath prepared his 
throne, and his kingdom ruleth over all.' All creatures are his 
servants ; even the devils in hell do God's will, though against 
their own ; and so do tyrants and wicked men. They oft break the 
will of God's command, and yet they fulfil the will of his decree. 
They serve his purpose and providence materially, when formally 
and intentionally they seek and serve their own, Acts iv. 27, 28. 

We are apt to complain of governors, but who complains of his 
sins, which provoke the Lord to set up such governors over us ? ^ 
Judges iii. 8, and iv. 2 ; Job xxxiv. 30 ; Ps. cvii. 40 ; Pro v. xxviii. 
2; Eccles. iii. 16; Isa. x. 5, Q; Ezek. vii. 11; Hosea v. 7, and 
xiii. 11. Let us therefore repent of them, and judge ourselves ; 
then will God make medicines of those poisons, and either turn or 
overturn such as molest his people.* As in nature, so in govern- 
ment, nothing is permanent that is violent, so that it is hard to see 
an old tyrant ; although for a time they may uphold their state by 
force and fraud, yet in the end divine justice confounds their prac- 
tices, and infatuates their counsels to their own ruin. Though 
they be great, yet there is a greater than they, who will break 
them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's 
vessel, Ps. ii. 9, easily, suddenly, irrecoverably.^ Though men 
cannot or dare not punish them, yet God will; if king Zachariah 
be wicked and draw Israel to sin, God will soon cut him off, so that 

^ Qui dedit regnum Mario, ipse et Caio Csesari ; qui Augusto, ipse et Neroni ; qui 
Vespasiano suavissimo, ipse et Domitiano crudelissimo ; qui Constantino, ipse 
Apostataj Juliano. — Aug. de Civit. Dei., lib. v. cap. 21. 

2 Dominium temporale habet fundamentum in natura, non in gratia. Ergo cum 
natura maneat in impiis, dominia exercere possunt. — Davcnant. Deterin. Q. xxx. p. 
136. See more in my Comment, on 2 Tim. iii. 2, p. 67. 

3 Peccatum populi tyrannorum vires. 

^ Tollenda est culpa, ut cosset tyrannorum plaga. — Auj. 

5 Vide Mr Woodward's King's Chronicle of the Wicked Kings of Judah, ^:>er 


he shall reign but six months, 2 Kings xv. 8 ; and Shallum that 
killed him, following his idolatry, reigned but one month after him, 
ver. 13, and Pekahiah his son continuing that idolatry, reigned but 
two years, ver. 23.1 The persecuting Eoman emperors were sixty- 
three, yet only six of them died a natural death.^ Usually God cuts 
off tyrants suddenly, and raiseth up pious and peaceable rulers in their 
stead ; after a wicked Ahaz comes a good Hezekiah, after idolatrous 
Anion a zealous Josiah. After harsh King Henry comes mild 
King Edward, and after furious Queen Mary, peaceable Queen 
Elizabeth. 3 Thus after a storm usually comes a calm, and after a 
sharp winter a pleasant summer. 

2. As for taxes, though they be great and grievous, yet the best 
remedy is prayer and patience. Things that cannot be remedied 
with patience, must be endured.* In 1 Sam. viii. 11, the Lord 
tells them what will be the practice of their king, not as approving 
or allowing of what he should do ; for it is the threatening of a 
judgment, not the imposition of a duty, q.d., This people shall 
dearly rue the casting off that form of government which I had 
given them. Yet under all their pressures there must be no rising, 
but only in prayer ; ' They shall cry unto the Lord, and acknow- 
ledge their sin,' which is the meritorious cause of all their suffer- 
ings ; yet it is the wisdom of governors to fleece and not to flay the 
flock, for fear of insurrection. It was good counsel which King 
Henry IV. upon his death-bed gave to his son ; he admonished 
him to be moderate in his taxes ; for so long as Englishmen, 
saith he, have money and riches, so long shall you have obeisance 
from them ; but when they be poor and in want, they be always 
ready to make insurrections at eveiy turn.^ 

Ohj. Magistrates are not only cruel, but careless ; they neglect 
their duty, and therefore I may well omit my pay. 

Ans. Yet this cannot excuse thee from doing thy duty ; another 
man's sin will not excuse mine ; recrimination is no purgation. 

2. If they are bad, yet better have a bad one than none at all ; 

' Ad generum Cereris sine crede et vuluere pauci 
Descendunt reges, et sicca morte tyranni. — Juven,, Satyr. 10. 

" Vide August de Civit. Dei. 1. 3. c. 15. 

^ lUud usa venit ut sceleratissimum seqiiatur optinius Princeps ; quorum enim ex- 
itus perliorrescunt, eorum vitam imitari turpe et periculosum ducunt. Sic Neronem 
Galba sequutusest; Nerva, Domitianum ; Alexander Severus princeps eruditus et 
temperatissimus, Heliogabalum non solum bipedum, sed et quadru pedum spurcissi- 
mum. — Vide Herodian. c. i. and Bodln Method. Ilistor. p. 301. 

^ See more to this point in my Comment, on 2 Tim. iii. 2, page 31. 

^ Imperantis felicitas in felicitate subditorum consistit. 


it is better living under a Nero than a Nerva ; where nothing is 
lawful, than where all things are lawful. Tyranny is better than 
anarchy ; i the one keeps things in some order, when anarchy puts 
all into confusion, and makes every man's lust his law, and set up 
as many tyrants as there are slaves to sin.2 Government is dejure 
naturae ; no nation so barbarous, no time so dark but some foot- 
steps of government might have been seen. The very bees, by the 
instinct of nature, have tlieir king, whom they acknowledge and fol- 
low ; and the cranes have a leader. Though the nature of man, be- 
ing proud, loves not the superiority of others, and being licentious, 
loves not to be straitened by others, yet it teacheth subordination, 
and chooseth tyranny rather than anarchy. The most unruly know 
not how to subsist without a ruler ; even thieves have a leader 
amongst them ; yea, and those monsters of Munster that at first 
decried magistracy, yet when they were once got into the saddle, 
they quickly set up, such a one as he was, a tailor king of their 
own. Yea, in hell amongst the devils there is a government, there 
is a Beelzebub, a prince of devils, Mat. xii. 24 ; the devils, w^ho are 
the authors of all disorder amongst others, yet have an order 
amongst themselves. It is ill with that state where men are left 
like the fishes of the sea, which have no ruler, but the greater de- 
vour the less, Hab. i. 14. Where all will rule, there is no rule, 
and where there is none to rule, there is all manner of misrule ; as 
idolatry, murder, plunder, thefts, rapes, riots, and all uncleanness, 
Judges xvii. 4-6, xviii. 30, and xix. 1, 2. So that it is a 
very bad government that is worse than none at all ; where there 
is magistracy, some may be oppressed and wronged, but none can 
be righted where there is none at all. Better poor people should 
sit under a scratching bramble, than have no hedge at all to shelter 
them from the storms of popular fury. Nebuchadnezzar was none 
of the best governors, yet he was a cedar under which the beasts of 
the field found shadow, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the 
boughs thereof, Dan. iv. 9-12. And if a heathen magistrate be 
so useful, what is a Christian one ? 

Ohs. 6. We may lawfully give titles of honour to magistrates. 
If God himself calls them gods, shields, saviours, &c., and lay upon 
them majesty, glory, and honour, Ps. xxi. 5, why should any man 
scruple the giving of them such titles ? Away then with those sottish 
Quakers, who are afraid of being too respective (such is their breed- 

' Ubi avapxl-a, ibi dra^i'a. 

' EaqusD vera sunt secundum tres gradus, Kara iravTos, /car' avTo, nal KaO' 6\ov -Kpui- 
Tov, nullam admittunt disputationem. 



ing) to God's deputies ; and therefore they call them thou Eichard, 
thou Thomas, thou John, as if they were talking to some bear- ward 8 
rather than magistrates. But the Holy Ghost hath taught them 
better manners, and to give titles of honour to men in authority ; as 
King Agrippa, most noble Festus, Acts xxvi. 25 ; most excellent 
Theophilus, Luke i. 3. But of this at large in another place.l 

Caution. Yet rulers must take heed of suffering flatterers to give 
them titles which belong not to them ; - as most holy, most uncon- 
querable, omnipotent, omniscient, our Lord God, as Domitian and 
the popes of Eome are called by their parasites. Thus James 
Naylor had blasphemous titles given him by his adherents ; as ever- 
lasting son of righteousness, and prince of peace ; they sung before 
him holy, holy, holy. Lord God of Sabaoth ; no more James, but 
Jesus, the Lamb of God, a perfect man, &c. Death is the lot of 
such blasphemers, Lev. xxiv. 16 ; Dan. iii. 29. It was the sin of 
the Persians that they honoured their kings with divine honour, as 
gods. Let such remember Herod, who for his pride in suffering 
divine honour to be given to him, was eaten up of worms or lice,^ 
Acts xii. 22, 23. . God is very tender of his own glory ; whatever 
he parts withal he will not part with that,^ Isa. xlii. 8. When Satan 
began to call for divine honour, Christ would bear no longer, but 
bids him begone, Satan. 

Ohs. 7. The calling of the magistrate is an honourable calling. God 
puts his own name on them ; they are earthly gods, they judge for 
him, they bear his image in their office, they sit on his throne, and he 
sits with them there. ^ Though they be subject to infirmities, sick- 
ness, and death, as other men are, yet their calling is honourable ; 
for the dignity of magistracy lies not so much in the persons, who 
are mortal,^ but in their office, in that they are God's lieutenants on 
earth ; they sit in his place, and exercise his power by deputation ; 
by him they are appointed to execute justice and preserve the na- 
tions in peace and purity. 7 Now the dignity of magistracy will the 
better appear if we consider those titles of honour which the Scrip- 

^ See my Commentary on 2 Tim. iii. 17, obj. 2, p. 296. 

^ Prtestat in /copa/cas quam KoXaKas incidere, quai corvi non sseviunt nisi in mor- 
tuos, adulatores vero viventes devorant, dixit Diogenes. 

3 Vide Plura apud Lauren tium in 1 Pet. ii. 17, obs. 4. 

^ Against flatterers, see Plutarcli's Morals, p. 69 ; Engl, et Aretius' Problem., 
chap. ii. p. 50 ; Greenhill on Ezek. xxii. 28, p. 296 ; Clerk's Mirror, cap. 53 ; Jcnkin 
on Jude 8, obs. 6. 

5 Vide Naylor's Examination. 

® Vide Q. Curtius, lib. viii. 

7 'EiKuv ^aaiXevs iuriv lfi\j/vxos Qeov. Imago Dei rex est animata. — Menander. 


ture graceth them withal ; for whereas libertines call them pests 
and plagues, persecutors, burdens, and abusers of the world by 
tyranny and oppression, &c. 

Yet the word of God calls them, 1. Gods ; 2. Sons of the Most 
High ; 3. Saviours ; 4. Fathers ; 5. Nursing fathers ; 6. Heads of the 
body ; 7. Eyes of a state ; 8. Servants of God ; 9. Shepherds of the 
people; 10. Healers; 11. Pillars; 12. The Lord's anointed; 13. 
Dignities ; 14. Nails in the building ; 15. Corner-stones ; 16. Shields 
of the earth ; 17. Angels ; 18. Foundations ; 19. Signets ; 20. Cap- 
tains ; 21. Kocks and hiding-places. 

1. The Holy Ghost calls them gods, as we have seen at large 

2. Sons of God, not by nature or adoption, but by office, of which 
see more on ver. 6. 

3. The saviours of the people. Judges ii. 16, and iii. 9 ; Neh. ix. 
27. The Lord saved Israel by the hand of Jeroboam, 2 Kings xiv. 
27 ; and of David, 2 Sam. viii. 3. Such a one was Jehoshaphat, 
2 Chron. xx. These God hath ordained for saviours and shelters 
to his people against the rage and violence of a wicked world ; 
hence it is that in their straits and exigencies they appeal to Caesar 
for succour. Acts xxv. 11, 12, though many times the remedy is 
worse than the disease ; and those that should be saviours become 
devourers and destroyers of God's people ; ^ but this is the abuse of 
their power. God erected them to defend and save his people, 
that, under them, they might lead quiet, honest, and godly lives, 
1 Tim. ii. 2. 

4. Fathers of the people. So Joseph, who was a prince in Egypt, 
is called a father. Gen. xlv. 8, and Deborah is called a mother in 
Israel, Judges v. 7. The Philistines called their kings Abimelech, 
i.e., the king my father,^ Gen. xx. 2, and xxvi. 1 ; Ps. xxxiv., title. 
Saul was a wicked king, yet David calls him my father, 1 Sam. 
xxiv. 11 ; and Job, who was a magistrate, a judge at least, as ap- 
pears. Job xxix. 7, 8, and, as some conceive, a king, though his 
dominions might not be so large as ours now are, yet possibly such 
as in those ancient times, and in those eastern parts of the world, 
were called kings, being a supreme governor within his own ter- 
ritories, though perhaps but of one single city and its suburbs, with 
some few neighbouring villages: hence he is called the greatest 
man of all the east. Job i. 3 ; and when he came in presence, the 

1 See D. Gouge his Arrows, on Exodus xvii. 9, sec. 40, p. 203. 
^ Abimelech, i.e., pater-rex, est nomen pietatis, potestatis et charitatis. Bonus 
princeps non differt e bono patre. — Xenoph. Cijroj)ced., lib. viii. 


princes and nobles held their tongues ; he sat as chief, and dwelt as 
a king in the army, Job xxix. 9, 25. Yet though he were thus 
great, he styles himself a father to the poor, Job xxix. IG ; and it 
was a high commendation of Valentinian the emperor, that his 
people knew not whether they had of him dominum an patrem, a 
father or a lord.i In Kome of old the senators were called fathers, 
and it was afterwards counted among the Romans the greatest title 
of honour that could be bestowed upon their consuls, generals, em- 
perors, or whoever had deserved best of the commonwealth, to have 
this addition to the rest of his style, pater patrice, the father of his 
country. This title implies not only power and authority, but also 
tenderness, care, and pity ; they should carry fatherly affections 
towards their people: as a good father loves, defends, and cherisheth 
his children, so will a good prince his subjects ; he will not grind 
them by cruel exactions, nor drink their blood to satisfy his own 
lust, nor suffer them to be poisoned with heresy ; 2 when they cry 
for bread, he will not give them a scorpion ; but he is more tender 
of his people than of himself, and more sensible of their miseries 
than his own. In all their sufferings he suffers with them ; he 
condoles their miseries, redresseth their wi'ongs, relieves their wants, 
reforms their errors, prevents their dangers, procures their welfare 
and happiness by all good means.s Thus men of public places 
should be men of paternal and public spirits ; such men need no 
guard. When King Agasicles demanded how he might be safe 
without a guard, it was answered, by behaving himself towards his 
subjects as a father to his children.* Hence rulers are called the 
arms of a people, to bear them up, and tenderly to lead them. Job 
xxii. 8 ; Ps. Ixxvii. 10 ; Jer. xlviii. 25 ; Ezek. xxxi. 17. 

5. Nursing fathers, and nursing mothers : Isa, xlix. 23, ' Kings 
shall be thy nursing fathers, and queens thy nursing mothers ;5 a 
most sweet description of the loveliness of magistracy, shewing what 
tender care should be in them towards the church of God. No 

^ Sed Eoma parentem, Eoma patrem patrise Ciceronem libera dixit. — Juven., sat. 
8. Homerus nihil aliud in rege desiderabat nisi ut esset fortis in liostes, bonus in 
cives. Cum patrire rector dicare paterque, Utere more Dei nomen habentis idem. — 

2 Nefaria fuit ista Neronis vox, Me mortuo terra igne misceatur. Et illud Cali- 
gulse, Utinam Pop. Eom. unam haberet cervicem, quam semel truncare possem. 

* Tarda sibi pater membra sua abscindit, et cum absciderit reponere cupit, et in 
abscindendo gemit, cunctatus multum diuque. Prope enim est ut libenter damnet, qui 
cito; prope est ut inique puniat, qui nimis.— /Se?i. de Clement., cap. 14. 

* Prsesunt ut prosint. 

^ Varium et multiplex studium denotat, quod liberali manu ab omni illustrium 
hominum genere impenditur in ecclesiam Dei.— Glassius. 


father or mottier shall be more tender over their children to provide 
for them, and to guard them and secure them from annoyance, than 
governors in gospel times shall be over God's poor, helpless, father- 
less people ; q.d., Whereas kings and rulers of the world are now 
opposite to the church, yet in gospel times kings and queens shall 
gladly take upon them thy patronage and protection both in tem- 
porals and spirituals ; no nurse shall be so tender over their little 
ones as they shall be over thee.^ Thy queens shall be Sarahs, (so 
it is in the fountain ;) i.e., they shall be as tender over thee as Sarah 
was over Isaac, who gave him suck ; and as the nurse, out of love, 
spares no cost nor pains, but gives even her own blood to her babe, 
so the church's rulers shall spare no cost nor care, but will venture 
their lives for the church's good." As God made several of the 
Persian kings nursing fathers and defenders of his ancient people 
the Jews, at the time of their return from Babylonish captivity, as 
we read in Ezra and Nehemiah, so we read of the Roman emperors, 
as Constantine, Theodosius, &c., that were guardians to the Chris- 
tians in their dominions. God would have governors to carry his 
people in their bosoms lovingly, carefully, mildly, and gently, Num. 
xi. 12. Hence it is that they are called benefactors or gracious 
lords,^ Luke xxii. 15, because of that bounty and beneficence which 
they do, or at leastwise ought to shew to their people, and are com- 
pared to a lofty tree which yields shade for beasts, nests and habita- 
tions for birds, and meat for all, Dan. iv. 20-22. 

6. The heads of the body politic, and the principalities of a nation, 
Num. i. 16, xiv. 4, and xvii. 2; Judges xi. 8; Titus iii. 1; and 
that (1.) In respect of sublimity. As the head is the highest and 
most honourable member in man's body, so in the state the magis- 
trate excels others in dignity and sublimity ; hence he is also com- 
pared to a mountain, which stands above and overlooks the rest of 
the earth, Micah vi. 2. 

(2.) In respect of power and profit. As the head commands the 
rest of the members, and directs their actions for the good of the 
whole, so the magistrate is set over his people, to direct and rule 
them for the benefit of the whole body ; hence it is that Jeremiah 
laments the loss of Zedekiah, the last king of David's line, but none 

^ Though they be not fathers to beget thee, yet they shall be fathers to nurse thee; 
they shall carry thy sons and daughters in their arms, i.e., they shall contribute their 
aid and assistance for the upholding and increasing of the church. — Leyford. 

- Patet hinc, omnem potestatem ecclesise esse cumulativam, non privativam in 
libertatibus quas Christus tradidit ecclesiae, &c. — Apollon. Jus Mag. Circa Sacra, 
p. 30. 

^ Principes vocantur Nedebim, i.e., benefici. Job xii. 21 ; Prov. viii. 15, quia eos 
decet dementia et beneficentia. 


of the best, with that pathetical expression, ' The breath of our 
nostrils is gone,' Lam. iv. 20. As a man cannot live without breath, 
so a commonwealth cannot long subsist without government.! 

(3.) As all the members of the body will hazard themselves for 
the good of the head, so should subjects for the good of their rulers. 

7. The eyes of a state. As the eye of the wicked watcheth his 
opportunities to do mischief, so should the magistrate's eye watch 
to catch them in their wickedness : to this end God hath set up 
magistrates to oversee the manners of the people, and calls them 
eyes, Job xxix. 15 ; Isa. xxix. 10, ' The Lord hath poured on them 
the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed their eyes.' But who are 
those ? The next words tell you : the prophets and rulers hath he 
covered. The Hebrew word which we render rulers, is heads, be- 
cause rulers are the heads of a people. And what is a head without 
eyes, or having its eyes covered? Kulers especially, when good, 
are the light of Israel, and the beauty thereof, 2 Sam. i. 19, xxi. 17, 
and xxiii. 4 ; 1 Kings iii. 28. As ministers are called seers, and 
the eyes of the church, 1 Sam. ix. 9 ; 1 Cor. xii. 16, 17, so magis- 
trates are appointed by God to be the eyes of the commonwealth, 
to foresee dangers, and prevent them, and to oversee the manners 
of people to amend them.2 Now, as they should not wear the sword 
in vain, so they should not bear these titles in vain ; they should 
not be glass eyes or wooden legs. As those artificial limbs stand 
the body natural in little stead, so do these the body politic — stat 
^ magni nominis umbra. 

^ 8. The servants of God, Jer. xxvii. 6 ; Ezek. xxix. 19, 20 ; Hag. 
ii. 23, Yea, though they be heathens, yet their power is God's, 
and therefore he calls them his servants and ministers, Eom. xiii. 
4, 6. Neither is thit> t^^]o "xny diminution to them ; but it is the 
honour of their honours that they are servants to so great a master, 
who is King of kings, and Lord of lords. The angels, those glo- 
rious spirits, count it their honour to be ministering spirits to such 
a Lord, Heb. i. 14 ; and Christ, by way of honour, is called God's 
servant, Isa. xlii. 1, and liii. 11. These are the great servants of 
the commonwealth, endowed with gifts of prudence, fortitude, cle- 
mency, &c., for the good of others. Neither are they only his ser- 
vants by right of creation, for so all creatures are his servants, Ps. 
cxix. 91 ; nor, secondly, by right of redemption, for so the elect only 
are his ; but by special delegation and commission from God ; by 

1 Magistratus est velut totius populi communis anima, qua corpus ipsum reipublicae 
sustentatur et defenditur. — Daiiceus. 

2 Oculus in sceptro was the Egyptian hieroglyphic of a prince's vigilancy. 


way of eminency they are called his servants, because they are set 
to serve him in a more excellent place. Now the more eminent the 
master, the more noble is the service. No master like God ; his 
work is wages, and such employment is high preferment. Yet 
this dignity calls for duty;i for a servant, how great soever he be, is 
but a living organ, as the philosopher calls him, to serve his master 
with all his might. He works for him, he gets for him, he lives to 
him, and dies to him ; he is wholly at his beck and service. So must 
magistrates, who have received their power from God, spend them- 
selves and all they have for his honour ; for albeit they are gods 
amongst men, yet they are but men with God. The greatest em- 
peror is but his minister. They are rulers over the persons, yet 
are but servants for the good of their people.^ People must serve 
them, and yet they are the greatest servants. As it is the duty of 
all to serve them, so it is their office to serve all. 

As magistrates and ministers are both ScaKovot, servants, and 
have the same title given them ; so it should mind us of that har- 
mony which ought to be between us. We both have one name, 
drive at one design, and serve one master, though in different 
spheres, and therefore we should assist each other in the promoting 
of God's glory in our places. It is a comely thing when the word 
and the sword go together. 

9. Shepherds of the people, Num. xxvii. 17 ; Isa. xliv. 23 ; Ps. 
Ixxvii. 20 ; Jer. vi. 3, xii. 10, and xlix. 19 ; Ezek. xxxiv. 23 ; Micah 
v. 4 ; Zech. x. 2. 

They must resemble good shepherds, (1.) In industry and forti- 
tude. As they are exposed to wind and weather, enduring summer's 
heat and winter's frost, for the good of their flocks, and venture 
their lives in their defence. Gen. xxxi. 38-40 ; Isa. xxxi. 4, against 
dogs, wolves, lions, and bears, that would worry the flock ;3 so 
must rulers be industrious in watching over the flock, defending it 
from the violence of wild beasts. He must not tolerate seducers, 
who are called dogs, wolves, foxes, to destroy the flock of Christ, 
but he must drive them from the fold, and keep his sheep from the 
poisonous pastures of heretics. The weak lambs of Christ he must 
carry in his bosom, and the strong he must preserve from going 
astray. This is the meaning of that in Num. xxvii. 17, Avhere 
Moses prays that the Lord's people be not as sheep without a shep- 
herd, but may have a ruler to go in and out before them, i.e., one 

^ Quo sublimior est gloria, eo major cura. — Cyprian. 

* Qui imperat, servus servorum est. — Luther. 

^ Od XPV TfOLvvvxi-ov eiiSeiv ^ov\7](p6pop dvdpa., — Homer. 


that may guide and govern them both at home and abroad, in time 
of war and peace. Thus did Moses himself; what indefatigable 
pains did he take for the good of God's people ! he even consumed 
himself till he had assistance provided for him, Exod. xviii. 18. It 
is said of Agesilaus, that so great was his care of the public good, 
that he could scarce get time to be sick. God hath set up rulers 
for this very end ; by good laws to guard his people, and by arms 
valiantly to defend them in their bodies, souls, goods, and good 
name, from the violence of unreasonable men. They are principally 
ordained for the good of the church. All is theirs finaUter, i.e., the 
end why God created all things was specially for the good of his 
church. As ministers, so Caesars are set up by God for the benefit 
of his people, who are exposed to more dangers than other men. 
Shepherds are set for the safety of the sheep, and not of the wolves; 
and as for the punishment of wicked men, it is principally reserved 
for the judgment of the great day, 2 Pet. ii. 9. The defence of the 
godly is the magistrate's great work. This office will take up the 
whole man. It was the sin of the bishops, that they would be 
bishops in the church, and lord-keepers, lord-treasurers, privy coun- 
cillors, and justices of the peace too ; and so, between both, they 
were neither good magistrates nor good ministers, but deceived the 
church, misled the king, and wronged the state. Of such Latimer 
complains. Since lording and loitering hath come up, preaching 
hath gone down, contrary to the apostles' times, for they preached 
and lorded not, but now they lord and preach not. They that be 
lords will ill go to plough ; it is no nieet office for them, it beseems 
not their state, and thus came up lording loiterers. And if the 
ploughman in the country were as negligent in his office as prelates 
be in theirs, we should not live long for want of food.^ Let such 
consider, [1.] That magistracy and ministry are two distinct offices, 
to be executed by two distinct persons, 2 Chron. xix. 11, in different 
administrations, having different objects and ends, and therefore 
ought not to be confounded by us; hence the domination of 
the priests is reckoned as a horrid thing, Jer. v. 30, 31 ; Ezek. 
xxxiv. 4. 

[2.] Christ himself tells us that his kingdom is spiritual, it is not 
of this world ; and when they sought to make him a king, he fled 
from them, John vi. 15, and refused to divide inheritances, Luke 
xii. 14, or to sentence the woman taken in adultery, which belonged 
to the magistrate's office, John viii. 11 ; yea, he forbade his disciples 

^ Latimer's Sermon on the Plough, pp. 19, 20 ; vide Tilenum in Syntag., p. 2, 
Disp. 32. Thes. 33; and Amesii MeduL, lib. ii. cap. 17, sec. 48. 


and their successors the exercising of any lordly or political domin- 
ion,! Mat. XX, 25 ; Luke xxii. 25. And if they might not serve 
tables and see to the poor, because it hindered their studies. Acts 
vi. 2, much less may they attend seats of judicature, which are 
greater impediments ; besides, they are expressly commanded not 
to entangle themselves in the things of this world, 2 Tim. ii. 4 ; 
and this drowning themselves in secular offices is condemned by 
many councils. 2 

(2.) In tenderness over the flock. A good shepherd doth fleece 
but not flay his sheep; so a good magistrate is moderate in his taxes 
and impositions on his people. Many rulers are tyrannical beasts, 
not shepherds ; hence those four persecuting monarchs are compared 
to beasts for their cruelty, Dan. vii. 3, 7 ; when they should be 
angels and guardians to defend, they are devouring beasts that 
have teeth, great teeth, great iron teeth. So is that beast in Daniel 
described, to shew what spoil and havoc he would make amongst 
the people. Of such unnatural shepherds the Lord complains, 
Micah iii. 3 ; Zech. xi. 5. Such must know that the flock is the 
Lord's, not theirs ; the people are the sheep of his pasture, and 
therefore they are called his, by a special propriety, John xxi. 15, 
16, my lambs, my sheep ; not thy lambs, or thy sheep. When 
Solomon prayed for an understanding heart, it was that he might 
judge thy people, 1 Kings iii. 9 ; not my people, to flay, slay, and 
destroy, but thy people, to be loved, fed, and defended by me. 
Princes are not set up to seek themselves, but their peoples' good.3 

(3.) In excellency, As the shepherd excels his sheep, so should 
rulers excel their people.^ As Saul was taller by the head and 
shoulders than other men, so ought these to excel in wisdom, tem- 
perance, righteousness, and religion, that by their good example 
they might lead their people after them. Agesilaus said well, A 
prince must outgo his subjects, not in lust and pleasure, but in tem- 
perance and magnanimity. So said Cyrus, He is not worthy to 
govern that is no better nor more virtuous than they over whom he 
is to command. 

10. Healers, and binders, and chirurgeons, which bind up the 

^ Stetisse lego apostolos judicandos, non sedisse judicantes. — Bern., lib. i. de 

^ Concil. Eliber., can. 19; Carthag., 1, can. 6, 9; Calcedon, can. 3 ; Constant., 6, 
can. 9 ; Moguntin., can. 10, 12 ; Khemens., can. 29, &c. 

^ Reipublicse salus suprema lex esto, et prsecipuus scopus quern sibi quilibet magis- 
tratus proponat. — Plato de Rep., lib. i. 

* Magistratu dignum non esse quenquam qui non sit melior subditis, dixit 


wounds of their people, and labour to heal the divisions which are 
amongst them. Hence it is that, Job xxxiv. 17, Isa. iii. 7, rulers are 
called healers, or binders up, a metaphor taken from chirurgery, 
and the binding up of wounds and sores for the cure of them.i 
And oh that the rulers of our nation would labour to make good 
this blessed title, by using all good means for the healing of all 
these sad divisions, both in doctrine and discipline, both in prin- 
ciples and practice. Parliaments for the state, and synods for the 
church, are excellent remedies against exorbitances, both in the one 
and the other. 

11. Pillars of a state. It cannot stand long without them. The 
world would soon fall into confusion, and shatter all to pieces (as to 
its civil capacity) if the Lord had not founded it on the pillars of 
government: Ps. Ixxv. 3, 'I bear up the pillars of the earth.' 
David, a king, was a pillar, that by his wisdom and faithfulness 
did bear up the inferior magistrates, whom he calls the pillars of 
the earth in a political sense. These are the stakes in the hedge of 
the state, which keep up the fence that the wild beast enter not ; 
yea, the Lord looks at anyone of them as able to make up a breach 
against him, Exod. xxxii. 10 ; Ezek. xxii. 30, 31 ; Jer. v. 1. If 
the Lord could have found but a man that executed judgment, i.e., 
but one faithful magistrate in Jerusalem, he had spared it for his 
sake. One Phinehas executing judgment stayed the plague, Ps. 
cvi. 30. 

] 2. Christs, or the Lord's anointed. So Saul was called, 1 Sam. 
xii. 3, 5, andxxiv. 6; and David, 2 Sam. xix. 21 ; Ps. Ixxxiv. 9, and 
cxxxii. 10 ; and Cyrus, though a heathen, and one that had not received 
the external unction of oil which the kings of Israel received at their 
inauguration, yet being appointed of God to do him service, this 
call of God was beyond all the external unction in the world, Isa. 
xlv. 1. It is true, the kings whose choice had somewhat extraor- 
dinary in it, were installed into their office by pouring of oil upon 
them,2 1 Sam. x. 1, and xvi. 12, 13 ; 1 Kings xix. 15, 16, and ii., ix., 
iii. Now, this ceremony of anointing signified that they were 
called by God to their office, and should receive from him all gifts 
and graces needful for their places. Yet this title is given to all 
believers,^ Ps. cv. 15 ; 1 Cor. i. 22 ; 1 John ii. 20, 27. 

i Chobesh, ligator vulnerum, from Chabash, to tie fast, because it is the part of a 
good prince to bind up the wounds of his subjects; the light of his countenance 
should be as life to his people, and his favour as the latter rain, Prov. xvi. 15. 

^ See more fully our Large Annot. on 1 Sam. x. 1. 

2 Ungere aliquem est eum turn muneri alicui prteficere, turn donis ad ilium obeun- 


13. Dignities, glories,! and majesties, dominions, principalities, 
and powers, Eom. viii. 38 ; 2 Pet. ii. 10 ; Jude 8 ; all, in the ab- 
stract, put for men tliat are set in power and dignity, and because 
of that glory and excellency wherewith God is pleased eminently 
to adorn them. Though libertines reproach them as inglorious 
and fools in Israel, yet the Holy Ghost, foreseeing what spirits 
would arise in gospel times, calls them dignities and higher powers 
in respect of their superiority and pre-eminence above others, and 
in respect of those glorious gifts and endowments which God 
adorns them withal, whereby they are fitted for an honourable, 
fruitful, and faithful discharge of their office ; as wisdom to discern 
between good and evil, clear apprehension, magnanimity, and zeal. 
Thus, even Saul, when he was made a king, was said to be another 
man, i.e., he was adorned with prudence, clemency, magnanimity, 
and other princely virtues fit for his place, 1 Sam. x. 9 ; and so was 
David, 1 Sam. xvi. 13. These are the light and glory of a land, 
of whom we may say, as the people did of David, that he was worth 
ten thousand of them, 2 Sam. xviii. 3, and xxi. 17, 

14. Nails and pins, upon which all the burden hangs, and there- 
fore they have need to be fastened in a sure place, keeping close to 
the rule of the word ; never till then will they be a glorious throne 
to their Father's house, Isa. xxii. 23. Now the magistrate is com- 
pared to a nail fastened in a wall, 

(1.) For stability and firmness. As a nail driven into a wall sticks 
fast, so God will establish and confirm the power of magistracy, 
that it shall be no more removed than a nail that is driven up to 
the head ; which may be matter of singular comfort to all faithful 
magistrates, who must look to encounter with many difficulties amd 
indignities from an ungrateful world. But he that hath called 
them to their honour will keep them there, and fix them with his 
own hand, whilst they walk in his fear, doing justice and judgment, 
Prov. xxix. 14. 

(2.) In respect of utility. As a nail that is fastened in a wall is fit 
for many uses, so a fliithful magistrate is many ways beneficial to 
the people where God hath fixed him ; and as pins do fasten tents, 
so these help to fix us in our places in peace, in despite of oppres- 
sors, Zech. X. 4 ; and as the beams of a building are fastened and 

dum necessariis instruere ; ita ut unctionis vox duo complectatur. 1. Destinationem 
seu vocationem ad aliquod munus. 2. Donorum ad muuus illud exequendum neces- 
sariorum collationem. — Ravanellm. 
^ Ao^ai, gloriffi. 


united by nails one to another, so magistracy is a means to unite 
people together in society and amity. 

(3.) In respect of the Aveighty labours that lie upon him. We 
know every one is apt to clap somewhat upon a nail or pin. Arms, 
utensils, vessels, great and small, we use to hang upon the wall. So 
the magistrate is usually loaded with employment ; every one comes 
to him for support, defence, and succour. They lay and leave their 
loads with him ; all the necessary utensils of the house hang on this 
nail. Upon it hang vessels small as well as great ; justice is, or 
ought to be, as large as Solomon's wisdom, which extended to the 
hyssop, as well as to the cedar : Isa. xxii. 24, ' They shall hang 
upon him all the glory of his father's house, and all the vessels of 
small quantity,' even little cups as well as great flagons. All 
affairs, great and small, and all the weight of the commonwealth 
shall hang on him from the highest to the lowest. The glory of a 
nation hangs on the nail of government. 

15. Corner-stones, which laid in the foundation do uphold the 
building. The main stress lies on the corner-stones : Zech. x. 4, 
' Out of him shall come the corner.' What is that? Why, the 
word is a metaphor, commonly used for governors and magistrates, 
1 Sam. xiv. 38 ; Judges xx. 2, where the chief of the people, in the 
fountain, are called the corners of the people.! As Christ is the 
corner-stone on which the church stands, Isa. xxviii. 16; 1 Pet. ii. 6 ; 
so the magistrate, under God, helps to uphold the commonwealth. 

(2.) These help to unite the building and keep it together that it 
fall not asunder. As stones laid in the corner of a building, where 
two walls meet, are thereby united, strengthened, and supported ; 
so magistrates are the stay and strength of a place, Isa. xix. 13, 
they are the strong towers and bulwarks of a state. It is true, all 
the stones in the building do conduce to the upholding of it, but 
the main weight of all lies on the corner-stones ; draw out these, and 
the building cannot stand.2 As Samson's strength lay in his locks, 
so doth the strength of a state in these. 

(3.) As it is an uniting, so it is also an adorning-stone ; it is an 
ornament to the building, because there is more labour spent in 
polishing the corner-stone, than in the ordinary stones of the build- 
ing, Ps. cxliv. 12. Magistrates are usually endowed with more 
choice parts and gifts than others, as I have shewed before. 

' Phinah, angulus exterior sedificii, et per metaph. princeps qui est robur populi. 
— Leigh. 

^ Angulus metaphorice vocatur princeps, qui rempublicam continet, stringit, pro- 
Bpicit et roborat, ut angulus utrumque parietem in domo. — Jerome. 


16. Shields of the earth, Ps. xlvii. 9; Isa. xxi, 5; Jer. li. 11, 
those which we call rulers, the original calls shields and bucklers,^ 
Hosea iv. 18. Magistrates, like shields, should protect God's sab- 
baths, ordinances, and people in their lives and estates from the 
violence of those sons of Belial which labour to bring all into con- 
fusion that they may the better enjoy their own lusts. A shield is 
for preservation ; it is a kind of partition-wall between a man and 
danger, it bears all the darts that are thrown at us.^ When judg- 
ments are abroad, they should, with Moses, Joshua, and David, by 
prayer, wrestle with God, and lie in the breach to turn away God's 
anger from them ; then God will be scutorum scutum, a shield of 
defence to such shields of the earth. 

Government is that staff of beauty with which God protects his 
people, Zech. xi. 7 ; it is called a beautiful staff for the profit and 
comfort which comes to us by it. As the shepherd's staff is for 
direction, correction, defence, and support, even so is government. 
1. It directs a man that is willing to live in order, what to do, and 
what to shun ; 2. It corrects him that will not be ruled ; 3. It 
defends the poor and oppressed, and is a support to him who is 
wearied out with hard dealing from men. 

17. Angels, for wisdom, purity, righteousness, and majesty. As 
the angels are God's messengers, always ready to execute his will, 
so magistrates must be prompt and ready to defend the good, and 
punish the wicked according to God's commandment, 2 Sam. iv. 
17, 20, and xix. 27. 

18. The foundations of the earth, Ps. xi. 3, and Ixxxii. 5 ; Micah 
vi. 2, ' If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do ? ' 
When there is no law for lewd and loose men, what can the 
righteous do but glorify God by mourning for the things which 
they cannot mend, and yet comforting themselves with this : ver, 5, 
' That the Lord is still in his holy temple, and hath his throne in 
heaven,' q.d., though all be in confusion, and we can see no help on 
earth, yet we will look unto God for aid, who sees and considers 
the sorrows of his people, and who can and will help them, when men 
will not. Magistrates, under God, are a special means to uphold 
the world, and keep it from running into confusion ; hence they are 
called Adonai, from Eden, basis,^ Gen. xlv. 8 ; Isa. xxii. 18, because 
like a foundation they uphold the building. Hence rulers and valiant 
men are called bars, Hosea xi. 6 — we read it branches, the original 

^ Sit princeps clypeus, non malleus. 

^ See more in Di- Reynold's Assize Sermon on Ps. xlvii. ult. 

* Ba(rtXei)s quasi /Sdcrts roO XaoO, fulcrum et fuudamentum populi. 


will bear both — which help to fasten our gates ; and as the ark was 
carried with bars, so the weight of the commonwealth lieth on 

19. Signets or sealing-rings, which are near and dear to us, being 
continually worn by us, Jer. xxii. 24 ; Hag. ii. 23. With these 
we seal our choicest secrets, and ratify what we would keep safe, 
wearing them as an ornament on our right hand, and giving them 
as monuments to our intimate friends. Thus Pharaoh gives Joseph 
his ring, Gen. xli. 42, and Ahasuerus gives Haman, his darling, a 
ring, Esther iii. 10. So the prodigal, when he was restored to honour 
and freedom from his swinish kind of life, had a ring given him by 
his father as a testimony of his intimate love to him, Luke xv. 22. 
In these also the Jews did inscribe some name or character of that 
which they held most precious ; hence the spouse desires of Christ, 
that he would set her as a seal on his heart, i.e., that he would 
further assure her of his love and confirm it to her, that she might 
be kept safe from her enemies, and never be forgotten by him,2 
Cant. viii. 6. By all this we see God's tender care over magistrates, 
and how he accounts himself honoured by them ; they are as a 
signet on his right hand to him when they build his house, promote 
his worship, and defend his people. Though they may be con- 
temptible in the eyes of the sons of Belial, yet they are precious and 
lovely in God's eye. 

20. Captains, guides, overseers, and watchmen,^ 1 Sam. ix. 17 ; 
Ps. cxxvii. 1 ; Prov. vi. 7 ; Mat. x. 18 ; Acts vii. 10 ; 1 Pet. ii. 14. 
As ministers are guides and bishops in an ecclesiastical sense, 
because they must see to the flock that is committed to their charge, 
Acts XX. 28 ; Heb. xiii. 7, 17, and lead them both by their light and 
lives ; so magistrates are bishops and overseers of the people in a 
political sense, and must use all means that their people under them 
may live in peace and piety. ^ 

21. A rock, a covert and hiding-place from storms and tempests, 
Isa. xxxii. 2 ; Ezek. xxviii. 16 ; Nahum ii. 5 .A man, i.e., a king, 
shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment, 
ver. 1. viz., Hezekiah and his princes, yea, all employed under any 

^ Badim proprie rami sunt arborum densiores et crassiores, parandis vectibus 
idonei, unde quidam vertunt Vectes ejus.- — Rivet. 

^ Ponere aliquem ut sigillum brachio vel cordi suo, est eum summe in pretio habere, 
yehementissime amare, arctissime sibi adjungere, studiosissime curare, fovere, cus- 
todire ac tueri. — Ravanellus. 

2 "B.'yetibves, duces et prsesides. 

4 Vos estis episcopi in ecclesia ; ego extra ecclesiam sum constitutus, dixit Con- 
stantinus Imper. 


of these ;"^ for the meanest in places of authority participate, accord- 
ing to their measure, of that which is here said of the highest ; 
every one that is set above others may, and must some way, be a 
shelter and refreshing to the affiicted. This the four ensuing 
metaphors do excellently imply, setting forth the beauty and benefit 
of government. 1 . Eulers shall be a hiding-place and covert ; these 
are words of latitude, implying any kind of shelter. By the first we 
may understand a wall, a high bank, a thick hedge, or great tree, to 
any of which we creep in a windy day ; by the latter may be meant 
a house or haven to save us from storms either upon land or sea. 
Wind imports lesser evil, annoying us ; tempests, greater mischiefs, 
quite overwhelming us. 2 Both these metaphors shew that protec- 
tion is part of good government. In the other two there is a further 
thing. 1. Kefreshment in inward drought, by rivers of waters, 
which are very precious in deserts ; 2. In outward scorching heat, 
by the shadow of a great rock, both most comfortable and reviving 
to the languishing and tired traveller, almost ready to die for thirst, 
or melted with the burning heat of the sun, in those spacious plains 
and uninhabitable deserts. This text alludes to gospel times, and 
is fitly applied to Christ, but in the letter it relates to rulers and 
magistrates, as Hezekiah and his under- officers.^ 

Now all these titles of honour Grod hath given to magistrates to 
encourage them against those discouragements which they are sure 
to meet withal in the faithful discharge of their duty. 

2. It should teach us to lament the loss of good magistrates. If 
he that hath lost a good father, friend, guardian, &c., cannot but 
mourn ; how great then should our mourning be for the loss of a 
gracious prince, in whom all those titles of love and respect do 
concentre and meet. When good Josiah was dead, what bitter 
lamentation did the people make, 2 Chron. xxxv. 24, 25. 1. All 
Judah and Jerusalem mourn for him ; 2. It is with a great mourn- 
ing ; the lamentation for him is put as the highest precedent of 
mourning, Zech. xii. 11. Great losses call for great lamentation. 
The loss of godly magistrates and godly ministers are great losses, 
and therefore the saints lay them deeply to heart. When Moses was 
dead, the people mourned for him thirty days, Deut. xxxiv. 8 ; when 
Samuel died, all Israel mourned for him, 1 Sam. xxv. 1 ; yea, when 

^ Hezekias erit ut latebra, rivus, umbra. 

^ Eex pius est murusa vento, Portus in tempestate, Rivus in siti, Umbraculum in 
sestu; hsec multo abundantius prsestitit Chrlstus, cujus typus erat Hezekias populo 
suo graviter afflicto atque jactato a vento vehementiori, a graviori siti, ab ardentiori 
sestu. — Sanctlus in locum. 

^ Haec historice de Hezekia, allegorice de Christo dicuntur. — Ac[uinas. 


a Saul, a wicked king, and David's enemy too, was dead, yet see 
how he laments his fall, and makes a panegyric or funeral oration 
in his praise, 2 Sam. i. 17, &c. So good ministers are spiritual 
fathers, the chariots and horsemen of Israel, and therefore we should 
lay to heart their deaths. Num. xx. 19 ; 2 Kings xiii. 14 ; Acts 
viii. 2 ; and the rather because it is the sins of the people that 
provoke the Lord in wrath many times to remove godly magistrates 
and ministers from amongst us. 

3. Those titles of dignity do shew magistrates their duty. Let 
no man glory in empty titles, but labour to answer them in obedi- 
ence.! Let your lives and your names answer each other. Remem- 
ber that God hath given you magistratical gifts, not for yourselves, 
but for the good of others, and to him you must shortly give an 
account of all the talents which he hath intrusted you withal. 
Hearken not then to flatterers, who would puff you up by telling 
you that you are gods, and sons of the Most High, and therefore 
you may do what you please, you are to account to none but God : 
' Where the word of a king is, there is power ; and none may say 
unto him, What doest thou?' Eccles. viii. 4 ; and Samuel tells the 
people, say these court parasites, that kings have absolute power 
over the lives and estates of their subjects, 1 Sam. viii. 11-18. 
Thus they make kings glad with their lies, Hosea vii. 3, and are 
the worst sort of beasts ; for whereas other beasts prey upon dead 
carcases, those devour men alive. 

As for that text, Eccles. viii. 4, the meaning is, th^at where the 
word of a king is, there is power — viz., to punish such as do evil 
— and none can call him to an account for so doing ; and in this 
sense none may say unto him, What dost thou ? else the wicked 
actions of kings may be, yea, and have been, reproved. Nathan 
reproved David, saying. What hast thou done ? Elijah reproved 
Ahab for his murder, saying. What hast thou done ? It is only 
God's prerogative royal to do whatsoever pleaseth him, and to be 
accountable to none : none may say unto him. What dost thou ? 
Dan. iv, 35. The greatest men in the world are, or should be, 
under law. It is not for any man to say. Sic volo, sic jubeo, stat 
pro raiione voluntas, My will's my law. No, kings themselves must 
read and rule by law,2 Deut. xvii. 

2. As for that text in Samuel, it is the threatening of a judg- 

^ Ut inveniantur in opere, quod signantur in nomine. Non sunt hie inanium 
figmentorum, sed rerum verissimarum tituli. — Musculus. 

' Nulla potentia fida est, si sit nimia. — Sen. Tyrannus dicitur avevrrevdvvos — i.e., 
liber et immunis a reddendis rationibus. — Arist. Polit., lib. iv. 


ment, and not the imposition of a duty — q.d., This people shall 
dearly rue the casting ofif that form of government which I have 
given them ;i for I will give them a king in my wrath that shall 
deal like a tyrant with them, taking away their goods and cattle 
from them by violence, and making slaves of them and theirs, as 
the kings of the nations whom they desire to be like have done to 
their subjects, ver. 9, 11. Samuel teUs them, this will be the 
manner of your king. The court bishops render it, jus regis, the 
right of the king, and thereupon inferred that all the subject had 
was in the power of the king, and lay at his mercy. 2 But Mispliat 
JiammelecJi doth not here signify right, or what kings de Jure 
ought to do, but what de facto they would do, to satisfy their lusts 
of ambition and covetousness.3 This will be their custom ; (for so the 
word is rendered, Gen. xl. 23 ; Exod. xxi. 9 ; 1 Sam. ii. 13 ; yet 
that did not justify the wickedness of the priests) not right ; for 
if kings might lawfully do all that is here set down, then Ahab 
had not sinned in taking away Naboth's vineyard by violence from 
him -A but this is expressly forbidden, Ezek. xlvi. 18, and God 
punished Ahab for it, 2 Kings xxi. 18 ; but the Lord commands 
the king to study his law, and to rule according to it,^ Deut. xvii. 
16-18, and xxii. 37, which is directly contrary to this Jus regis; 
for there the Lord commands the king not to multiply horses, ver. 
16 ; but here it is said he will do it, ver. 11. The Lord commands 
that he should not covet riches, Deut. xvii. 17; but here it is said, 
ver. 14, that he will get their fields and vineyards from them, and 
take their cattle and children from them, ver. 14-17. 

Caution. — Yet this doth not debar rulers from a legal right over 
the persons and estates of men, both in times of war and peace, 
provided they exercise it in a lawful manner — viz. , for the promot- 
ing of the public good, and the defence of the laws, religion, and 
peace of the land.6 

^ Deus hoc jus nee sancit, nee approbat, sed tantum prjcdicit, ejusque acerbitatem 
graphice depingit, ut eos a petitione regis avellat.— 4 Lajyide. 

^ Jus regis dieitur quod a rege non pro suo offieio, sed per suo arbitrio ; non pro 
sequitate, sed pro voluntate institutum est. — Mendoza in locum. 

'^ Non hie depingitur quid reges jure possint, sed quid audeant, et pro suprema 
potestate quam habere se putant, contra naturae leges et omnem humanitatem tyran- 
nice decernant. — Sandius. 

4 Cum leges prsescripsisti aliis, prsescripsisti et tibi ; siquidem naturalis sequitas 
postulat ut idem jus omnibus ex sequo reddatur. — Ambrosias ad Valentin., Epist. 32. 

5 Princeps dependet a lege naturae, divina et fundamentali; quatenus homo est, 
dieitur observare legem naturse; quatenus Christianus, legem divinam; quatenus 
princeps, legem fundamentalem. — Maccovius. 

^ Distinguendum est inter temerariam regis cupiditatem et reipublicfe utilitatem 
ac necessitatem. Si rex privata libidine et habeudi cupiditate impulsus talia sibi 


Now, as the magistrate must take heed of Anabaptists on 
the one hand, who offend in defect, and give him too little ; so he 
must take heed of court clawbacks, who offend in excess, and give 
him too much.i They make a god and an idol of him for their own 
ends, obeying his commands against God's commands, and prefer- 
ring great men's wills before God's holy word.^ Those cry up 
kings as gods, calhng them omnipotent, unlimited, independent, 
not to be questioned by any authority, &c. Thus the Arminians,^ 
to curry favour with great ones, and the better to suppress synods, 
super-superlatively extolled the power of the magistrate in ecclesi- 
astical affairs ; and this is the policy of many sectaries in our days 
to cry up magistracy, that they may the better cry down presby- 
tery, which they know would curb their errors and profaneness. 
Thus Erastus, a physician, but a rotten divine, puts all church 
censures into the hand of the magistrate, and so confounds magis- 
tracy and ministry together, which are two distinct offices, having 
distinct bounds and duties belonging to them, which they may not 
transgress, upon pain of God's displeasure. If Uzziah the king 
will be so bold as to offer sacrifice, which belonged to the priest, 
let him expect a leprosy for his pains, 2 Chron. xxvi. 18-22. 

See the Erastian tenets fully confuted by the learned Ruther- 
ford's Divine Right of Church Government, chap. vi. q. 2, pp. 257- 
647, and in his Due Right of Presbytery, in fine, chap. vi. p. 387, 
&c. ; Gillespy's Aaron's Rod Blossoming, per totum ; The Vindica- 
tion of the Presbyterian Government, by the Province of London, 
pp. 8, 9, &c.; Walpeus's Loc. Com., pp. 2, 3, and 73; Apollonius's 
Jus Magistratus circa sacra. 

4. Magistrates must take heed of dishonouring their honourable 
calling by profane practices. Their lives should be an epitome of 
their laws. They are apt to call for duty and reverence ; but let 
them do their duty to God, and honour him, and then he hath 

Tendicat, injuste ac tyrannice agit; sed si reipublica) salute et utilitate id exigente, 
talia postulat, regia sua potestate merito utitur. 2. Distinguendum inter rem et 
rei modum. Si rex in hisce exigendis modum justum ac legitimum servet, et absque 
violentia operas, decimas et tributa pro regni sui statu ac necessitate exigat, non 
potest dici tyrannus ; si vero modum necessarium et legitimum fuerit egressus, et 
ex subditorum incommodo suum duntaxatquterat commodum, potestate sua abutitur. 
— Gerhard de Magistr. 

^ Dum vitant stulti vitia, in contraria currant. — Horat. 

2 Domitianus jubebat de se scribi, Dominus et Deus noster sic fieri jubet. — Sueto- 

^ Errores Arminii qui coram suprema curia detecti essent, ne ecclesiis patefierent, 
omnibus modis allaboravit. — Pezel. Melif. Hist., pp. 119C, 1203 ; Walccus Loc, Com. 
tom. ii. p. 17. 


promised to honour them; but if they suffer God's name to bo 
blasphemed, and his worship, day, and servants to be despised, he 
will cause them to be despised, he will pour contempt on such 
princes,i Job xii. 21 ; Ps. Ixxvi. 12. If Eli's sons be vile, it is 
because they made themselves so by their wickedness, 1 Sam. iii. 
13. The loose lives of rulers doth detract from their authority. 
As a wicked minister 'cannot, with comfort and confidence, reprove 
another for those crimes of which he himself is notoriously guilty, so 
a wicked, swearing, drunken magistrate cannot with comfort punish 
another for those sins which reign in himself. We princes, said 
Queen Elizabeth, 2 are set, as it were, upon stages in the sight and 
view of all the world ; the least spot is soon spied in our garments, 
a blemish quickly noted in our doings : it behoves us, therefore, to 
be careful that our proceedings be just and honourable. As minis- 
ters in their calling, so magistrates in theirs, are God's ambassa- 
dors, and represent his person ; and therefore they must do nothing 
unbeseeming their great Lord and Master. Since God condescends 
so far as to gift them and grace them with his own name, they 
must walk like gods on earth. As Alexander said to one of his 
name. Aid fortiter pugna, aut nomen depone : Either fight like 
Alexander, or never bear his name;^ so say I, either act like 
God, or never bear his name. Rule as God would rule, judge as 
God would judge, punish as God would punish, and reward as he 
would reward. As he hath given you more power and opportu- 
nities of honouring him than he hath done to others, so he expects 
more from you than he hath done from others ; for men to be 
called gods, and yet fight against God, to make laws against his 
laws, to use, or rather to abuse, their power against that God that 
gave it, this is to be gods in name, but devils indeed.* What ! 
gods, and be drunken ? gods, and take bribes ? gods, and be 
cruel and covetous ? &c. Hell is full of such gods. To such we 
may say, as Naomi said sometimes in another case, Euth i. 20, ' Call 
me no more Naomi' — i.e.^ beautiful — ' but call me Marah,' bitter. 

^ How men abuse their authority, see Downam's \Yarfare, lib. ii. cap. 11, pp. 48(3, 

^ Vide Camden's Queen Elisab., English, p. 325. 

^ Nomcn inane crimen immane, An empty name is a great shame. Loco ignominitc 
est dignitas in indigno, tanquam simia in tecto. — Seneca. 

^ Qua fiducia iniquitatem in tribunal suum admittent quod Dei viventis thronum 
esse audiunt ? qua audacia injustam senteutiam eo ore pronuntiabunt quod divimx; 
veritati designatum esse organum intelligunt ? Qua conscientia in impia decreta 
subscribent ea manu quam ad perscribenda Dei acta sciunt ordinatum ? — Cd'via. 
Instit., lib. iv. cap. 20, sec. 6. 


So say I, call those no more gods and governors, but call them 
beasts and devils. 

Quest. But what must magistrates do that they may resemble 
God, whose name they bear ? 

Ans. They must labour to resemble him in nine particulars : 

1. In wisdom ; 2. Simplicity ; 3. Impartiality ; 4. Clemency ; 
5. Patience ; 6. Tenderness to the poor, Grod's name and worship, 
and God's ministers ; 7. In searching into causes ; 8. Judging 
justly ; 9. Doing good to all. 

1. They must get wisdom and dexterity in their calling. As 
ministers, Mai. ii. 7, so magistrates should be men of knowledge, 
Deut. i, 13 ; Ps. Ixxviii. 12, able to discern between good and 
evil, that they may rightly time and circumstantiate their actions, 
Eccles. viii. 5, and thereby uphold the state, i Prov. xxix. 2. 
David was wise as an angel of the Lord, 2 Sam. xiv, 17. Ezra 
must appoint none for judges but such as know the law, Ezra vii. 
25. It is an art of arts, and a science of sciences, even one of the 
hardest works in the world, rightly to rule men.^ He had need be 
an Argus, or like the ring in Ezekiel's wheels, full of eyes, Ezek. i. 
18 ; another Janus, to look forward and backward, that he be not 
surprised.3 Men are witty in wickedness, and subtle to smooth 
over bad causes with fair pretences ;* so that, if the magistrate be 
not a very wise, judicious, experimental man, they will easily escape 
the sword of justice: hence Solomon is commended for asking wis- 
dom, 1 Kings iii. 9. It is well observed, that Kome saw her best 
days under her most learned kings and emperors, as Numa, Augus- 
tus, Titus, Constantine, Theodosius, &c. An ignorant ruler is like 
a blind pilot, that lets the vessel be ruined on rocks and sands. 5 
Hence it is set down as a sore judgment when princes are children, 
and babes rule over men, Isa. iii. 4, 5 ; not children in years, but 
children in discretion : then men fall to oppressing and wronging 
one another. As bodily physicians, so state physicians should have 

^ Superiores sint qui superiores esse sciunt. — Bern. See Dr Seaman's Ser. on 1 
Kings iii. 9, preached 1644, p. 22. 

^ Ars est difficillima recte gubernare rempublicam ; nullum enim animal homine 

' Quantum prudentise, integritatis, mansuetudinis, continentise et innocentise 
stadium debet esse in lis, qui divinje justitise ministros se esse norunt ? — Cahin. 

* Pa. Iviii. 2, and xeiv. 20 ; Job xiii. 4 ; Jer. v. 26. Sinners are impudent, and in- 
nocency is modest, and ofttimes uneloquent. Quo honestior conscientia, iis 
plerumque frons imbecillior. — Jerome. 

* Plato could say, Felices fore respublicas, si vel studia sapientige consectentur 
rages, vel sapientes imperent. Illas respublicas beatas fore in qua juvenum hastfe, 
senum consilia pollent, dixit Plutarch. 


an eagle's eye, a lion's heart, and a lady's hand.^ Such as rule 
others, had need to be well instructed themselves, that so they may 
see with their own eyes. It is dangerous for church and state 
when the governors of it are ignorantly led by others, and cannot 
judge of the things which are propounded to them. 2 Hence it is 
that the Lord would have them to write, read, and study his word, 
that they might be able to rule according to it, Deut. xvii. 18 
which made Jehoiada, the high priest, at the inauguration of king 
Joash, to deliver the testimony or book of the law unto him, 2 
Kings xi. 12, that by observing the precepts and precedents there 
recorded, he might rule accordingly. He must know God's law, 
and he had need to know the laws of the land too ; else how will 
he be able to determine according to law if he do not know the 
law ? The Scripture is the best counsellor for the greatest states- 
man in the world. This is the way to make him prosper,3 Joshua i. 
8. To this end they should get godly and learned counsellors 
about them, that they may be able to resolve their doubts, and 
direct them in God's paths. It is of great consequence for princes 
to have a Joseph, a Nehemiah, a Nathan, a Daniel about them. 
Whilst Jehoiada the priest lived, who was a pious and a learned 
man, it went well with king Joash and all his kingdom, 2 Kings 
xii. 2 ; but when that good man was dead, all went to ruin. As a 
minister must not be a novice, lest he fall into temptations, so a 
magistrate had need to be an experimental, well-seasoned piece, 
that he fall not into snares ; and as a minister should have some- 
what in him more than an ordinary man, — ex quovis ligno non fit 
Mercurius,^ — ignorant logs become not thrones and pulpits ; so a 
magistrate should have something in him that is eminent and ex- 
emplary, and something of an orator,^ whereby he may persuade to 
goodness, recall men from wickedness, commend the virtuous, dis- 
grace the vicious, comfort the comfortless, and exhort men to vir- 
tue. Julius Cassar got the empire, and held it, by arms and letters. 
Hence he is painted standing upon the globe of the world, holding 

1 Justitia sit coeca in exequendo, oculata in dijudicando. 

^ Debet magistratus summus religionem quam defendendam suscipit, etiam cog- 
noscere, in earn inquirere, de ea judicare, earn que prius judicio suo non tantum 
apprehensive, sed etiam discretivo comprobare, &c. — Homus, Disput. 30, 156 ; uhi 

3 See Mr Strong, 31 Ser., p. 617. 

* See more on ver. 5. 

^ Vide Langii Polyanth. de Magistratu, q. 10, 11, mihi, pp. 1G66, 16G7. Vide D. 
Hall's Solomon's Politics, vol. i. p. 211, folio. Vide Moll. Histor. Observat., chap. ii. 


in his left hand a book, and in his right a sword, with this motto : 
Ex utroque Ccesar, Emperor by both. 

2. In simplicity. God mingles with nothing ; he is free from 
the mixture of a private or passionate spirit.^ So should rulers be 
pure gold without any dross, as much as in them lies, of sinful 
anger, malice, fear, or hatred, Isa. i, 25, 26 ; he that cannot rule 
himself is unfit to rule others, 

3. Impartially. As God is no respecter of persons, but punisheth 
sin wherever he finds it, be it in rich or poor, 2 Chron. xix. 7 ; Job 
xxxiv. 19 ; Acts x. 34 ; Kom. ii. 11 ; Gal. ii. 6, so rulers must 
imitate and follow him in their measure and degree. Thus Ama- 
ziah did justice on those that killed his father ; he did not protect 
them by his prerogative, 2 Kings xiv. 5 ; and Asa deposed his own 
mother for her idolatry.^ 

4. In clemency, pity, and mercy. God is pitiful even to the 
rebellious, and loath, if by any means it might be prevented, to 
destroy them, Ps. Ixviii. 18 ; Hosea xi, 8. He is not extreme to 
mark what we do amiss, but is slow to anger, though he be great 
in power. 

In this the gods on earth must imitate the God of heaven. ^ They 
must not oppress their brethren, Ezek. xlv. 8, nor rule over them 
with rigour. Lev. xxv. 43. They must not be like roaring lions 
and evening wolves, which leave not the bones till the morning,* 
Zeph. iii. 3, but they must consider that they rule over men and 
not beasts, and therefore they must deal tenderly and mercifully 
with them, that they may get the affections of their people, which 
is the best upholder of the throne, Prov. xx. 28. David by loving 
compellations wins the people's liearts,^ 2 Chron. x. 7. ' Hear, my 
brethren and my people.' So Theodosius, by his loveliness and cle- 
mency, gained many kingdoms. The Goths, after the death of 
their own king, beholding his temperance, patience, and virtue, 
gave themselves up to his government.^ When Cicero would claw 

1 Nee timidi, nee tumidi. Male irato ferrum committitur ; debet omni perturba- 
tione liber accedere ad rem summa diligentia tractandam, liotestatem vita3 neeisque. 
— Seneca, lib. de Ira, cap. 16. 

2 Of this see more in ver 2. 

^ Sic piger ad poenas princeps, ad prsemia velox : 
Nam virtus magnos base facit una Deos. 
^ Ideoque, Scipio laudatur, qui malle se unum servare civem, quam mille occidere 

^ Benevolentia populi erga principemest tutissimum illius munimentura.— G^er/ia^-fZ. 
Vide Taffyn of Amendment, lib., iii. sec. 51, p. 378. Diligi princeps, nisi ipsediligat, 
non potest.— P^»'(?/. Joshua vii. 19. 

^ Vide Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib. v. cap. 26, and Orosius, lib. vii. cap. 3i. Duo sunt 


Ctesar, lie tells him tliat his valour and victories were common with 
the rest of his soldiers, but his clemency and goodness were wholly 
his own. Nero, in the beginning of his reign, when he was to set 
his hand to the sentence of condemnation, would say, Utinam nes- 
cirem literas! I wish my hand could not now write !"^ 

Rigour breeds rebellion. Rehoboam, by his cruelty, lost ten 
tribes in one day, 1 Kings xii. 16. Choose, then, rather to ofifend 
on the merciful hand, since it is much safer to account for mercy- 
than for cruelty. ^ Let the sword of justice be furbished with the 
oil of mercy, though there be cases wherein severity must be used ; 
for we must beware of foolish pity, which ofttimes is mere cruelty, 
both to thyself, it may cost thee thy life to spare the lives of those 
whom God hath sentenced unto death ; we must not be more mer- 
ciful than the rule which God sets us,^ 1 Sam. xv. 9 ; 1 Kings 
xxi. 19. 

And secondly, To the party offending. Impunity breeds impeni- 
tency ; it hardens men in their sin, and ofttimes brings them to a 
second murder, which the indulgent magistrate becomes accessory 
to. When one told the king of France that such a one had com- 
mitted a third murder, No, said one, he hath committed but one 
murder, the other two are the king's ; for if he had not pardoned 
him he had killed but one. 

Thirdly, It is injurious to the state to spare murderers, witches, 
and blasphemers ; the guilt of those crimes lies on the whole land, 
and cannot be set off but by doing justice on the offenders, Num. 
XXXV. 33. 

5. In patience. God bears long with the vessels of wrath fitted 
for destruction, Eom. ix. 22 ; he doth not presently cut off rebellious 
sinners, but waits long for their amendment. 

So magistrates had need to be men of much patience, to undergo 
those burdens, affronts, and injuries which they must expect, if they 
be faithful, from an ungrateful world ; as we see in Moses, though 
a holy, meek, wise man, and one that had brought the people 

nomina, homo et peccator. — Aug. As a malefactor, punish him; as a man, pity 

^ Vide Pezelii Melefic. Hist., p. 336, folio. Plura clementise exempla invenies apud 
Yaler Max., lib. v. cap. 1, p. 417, edit. uU. et opt. Multos timere debet, quern multi 
timent. — Ben. 

- Prima principis dos dementia. — Calvin. 

^ Eex apum aculeum non habet, vel certe eo non utitur ; exemplar hoc magnis 
regibus ingens. — Plin. Nat. Hist., cap. 17. Caveat magistratus ne aut nimia severi- 
tate vulneret magis quam medeatur, aut superstitiosa clementife affcctatione in cru- 
delissimam incidat humanitatem. — Calv. Maxima peccandi est illecebra impunitatis 
spes. — Cicero. 


through many straits ; yet, when any new trouble came, they were 
ready to murmur and fly upon him. It was a good saying of 
Theodosius, If any man speak evil of the emperor, if it be of light- 
ness, it is to be contemned ; if of madness, to be pitied ; if of injury, 
to be remitted.^ As he must in some cases use the sword,^ so in 
some cases, especially in his own, it is his glory to bear and forbear, 
Prov. xix. 11. 

6. In tenderness. (1.) To the poor. As God takes care of the 
poor, the fatherless, and the widow, who have none to take care for 
them, Ps. Ixviii. 5, so the magistrate, who hath power, must be a 
defence to those who have no power to defend themselves. But of 
this more, ver. 3, 4. 

(2.) God is very tender over his people ; they are the apple of his 
eye, which is oculus oculi, tender, and the glory of the eye ; the 
signet on his right hand, his jewels, his portion, his pleasant por- 
tion, &c. ; so magistrates must be very tender over them. The world 
is apt to wrong them, and trample upon them by reason of the 
church's weakness ; and therefore she is compared to a vine, a dove, 
a widow, a sheep, which cannot subsist long without a defence and 
support ; and if magistrates neglect their duty, yet God will never 
fail his people, but will reprove kings for their sakes ; and though 
his church be weak, yet her enemies shall know that her Kedeemer 
is strong, Jer. 1. 34^. 

(3.) God is very tender over his own name, day, worship, ordi- 
nances, and ministers, &c. 

So magistrates, as they are God's deputies, must especially look 
to the things of God.^ As God hath exalted them, so he expects 
they should exalt his name and worship. It will be the honour of 
their honours so to do. This was the glory of those godly kings of 
Israel, that they made it their chief care to promote God's worship, 
and to abolish all the monuments of idolatry. David saw to the 
ordering of God's worship, that it might be kept from confusion, 
1 Chron. xxiii. 24, 25, 29. Jehoshaphat sent his princes with the 
priests to see idolatry abolished, and the truth settled, 2 Chron. 
xvii. 7-9. Hezekiah purgeth the temple, 2 Kings xviii. Josiah 
and Asa cast down idols, and restored the worship of God, 2 Kings 

^ Magni est animi in summa potentia injurias pati, nee quicquam est gloriosius 
principe impune Iffiso. — Seneca cle Clement., lib. i. 

* Aut fer aut feri ; ne feriare feri. 

* Prima magistratus cura debet esse religionem veram promovere, et impietatem 
prohibere. — Ames. C. Confes., lib. v. cap. 25, q. 2. 


Many would have the magistrate to defend men in their tem- 
porals, and see to the backs and bellies of people, as if he were some 
butcher or ox-herd, some Turk and Tartar that never heard of God; 
but as for religion, saith the revived Donatist of these times, that 
concerns not the magistrate, he must not once meddle with that, 
whereas this should be his chief est care.i That which we must 
chiefly pray for, that should be his chiefest care ; but the great re- 
quest of God's people is, that they may lead godly as well as peace- 
able lives under magistrates, 1 Tim. ii. 2 ; hence it is that they are 
commanded to kiss the Son, obey his commands, advance his king- 
dom, and promote his worship.2 Even Aristotle could say that, 
among other things, the magistrate ought to see to the worship of 
the gods, and that their holy things be kept from violation. 3 Mr 
Perkins speaks well to this point. The magistrates, saith he, look 
to peace and civil order ; it is well done, and it is their duty, yet 
not the principal ; and they do commonly fail in this, that they use 
not the sword for this end, to urge men to the keeping of the com- 
mandments of the first table, to a practice of pure religion, and to 
the keeping of the Sabbath-day. This is the main duty of the 
magistrate, who bears the sword especially for the good of men's 
souls. Thus that worthy and eminent light of England.* 

That magistrates ought to have a special care of religion, see 
Davenant de Judice fidei, p. 91, &c. ; Musculus Loc. Com. de Mag. 
mihi, p. 630, folio ; D. Gouge, his Arrows, on Exod. xvii. 15, sec. 
74, p. 323; Mr Marshal's Sermon on 1 Tim. ii. 2; Taffyn on 
Amendment of Life, lib. iii. cap. 6, p. 327 ; Gerhard de Magistral, 
pp. 298, &c , 312, &c. ; Srepecofia, pp. 24, 25; Burrough's Irenicum, 
cap. 7 ; Cotton's Keys, pp. 25, 53 ; D. Bolton's Arraignment of Error, 
p. 312-348. 

2. If men be obstinate, the magistrate may, and must compel 
them to keep the Sabbath, and to frequent the worship of God ; 
though he cannot make them believe, yet he may make them hear.^ 
Parents may and ought to do thus much, and why not magistrates 

^ Nee princeps corpora tantumhominum curabit,etnegligetanimos; nonenimarmen- 
tarium aut subulcum principem fingimus, cui tantummodo venter, caro et cutis 
subditorum curae sint. — Apollon. Jus. Marj. Circa Sacra, p. 106. Quid imperatori 
cum ecclesia ? dixit Donatus. 

2 See seven reasons why magistrates should more especially pomote religion, in Mr 
Ant. Burgess's Sermon on Judges vi. 27, 28, p. 5, &c., preached 1645. 

^ See five reasons for this in Mr Jenkyn's Ser. on Ps. ii. 12, pp. 6, 7, preached 1656, 
and on Jude 8, obs. 4, p. 300, folio. Vide Arist. Polit., lib. vi. cap. 8. 

* Perkin's Treatise of Callings, vol. i. p. 764. 

® See Mr Eutherford's Due Eights of Presbyt., p. 352, in fine libri. 


then ? Exod. xx. 10. Though they cannot compel them to grace, 
yet they may to the means of grace. '^ The magistrate is ensifer 
Dei, God's sword-bearer ; he must not bear or wear it for a show, 
Eom. xiii. 4, but draw it out, and use it according as God directs 
him in his word, bringing the wheel of justice over the heads of 
the wicked, Prov. xx. 8, 26. He must not be like a cypher, of no 
use but to fill a place ; like St George on horseback, who sits with 
a drawn sword, but never stirs nor strikes. Nor like that log of 
wood which Jupiter threw amongst the frogs to be their king, 
which they soon trampled on with contempt. A magistrate couch- 
ant makes offenders rampant ; sin and error lose nothing by in- 
dulgence ; such ill weeds, if tolerated, grow apace. 

3. If they be seducing heretics, he must punish them according 
to their demerits. Evil-doers are to be punished, that is confessed 
on all hands ; but seducing heretics are evil-doers, Phil. iii. 2 ; 
2 Pet. ii. 14. 2. Murder, adultery, theft, and suchlike works of 
the flesh must be punished, but heresy is spiritual murder, adultery, 
theft, and expressly called a work of the flesh. Gal. v. 19-21 ; and 
lest any should think that this was legal, it is plain that such ought 
to be punished even in gospel times, Zech. xiii. 3. The prophet 
there speaking of gospel times, tells us that he who speaks lies in 
the name of the Lord, shall die for it. 2. If they be idolaters or 
blasphemers, then it is de jure naturce, agreeable even to natural 
light, and founded on reasons of immutable equity, as the glory of 
God, the good of his people, &c., that they should be punished, and 
so binds for ever. Job tells us that idolatry is a sin to be punished 
by the judges. Job xxxi. 27, 28. The Arminians and Socinians 
would have no heretics punished, or once molested by the magi- 
strate,2 that so themselves might escape in that crowd. But what 
mischief and confusion this w^ould bring to church and state, I have 
elsewhere shewed at large.3 Indulgence breeds insolence and im- 
pudence, as w^e have seen by sad experience. When judgment 
is not speedily executed on evil-doers, they are hardened and 
heightened in sin,^ Eccles. viii. 11. Execution is the life of the 
law ; it is the same in policy which elocution is in oratory, the 
first, second, third thing, it is all in all. When the woman came 
to Philip, king of Macedon, for justice, he answered. Nolo, I will 

1 Formido pcenaj licet non reddat jiistos, utilis tamen est et servit tranquillitati 
publica3 ; dum conatus reproborum per ilium coercentur. — Musculns. 

^ Vide Pezelii Harmon. Remonstr. et Socinian, art. 21, p. 252. 

2 See my Commentary on 2 Tim. iii. 8, pp. 168, 169. 

* Impunitas incurise soboles, insolentice mater, radix impudenticc, transgressionum 
nutrix. — Bern, de Consid., lib. iv. 


not ; but she well replied, Noli ergo regnare, Lay aside your king- 
ship then. So say I, will you not punish blasphemers and soul- 
murderers, then never bear the sword of justice. Either act like 
magistrates, or never bear the office ; either discharge the duties of 
your place, or leave it to such as will ; for shame let not blasphemy 
escape better than felony, let not a cut-purse die, and a blasphemer 
live. Do not punish him that speaks a word against you, and let 
him escape scot-free that speaks two against Christ. It is a sin to 
be calm and cold when God is blasphemed. When Servetus, that 
blasphemous heretic, charged Melanchthon with harshness in a dis- 
pute against him, he answered, In aliis mitis sum; cum hlasphema- 
tur nomen Christi, non ita. I can be calm, said Melanchthon, in 
other cases, but not in blasphemy. And whereas many plead con- 
science for what they hold, it is against their conscience to re- 
nounce such errors and such heresies, Mr Burroughs shall answer 

1. An erroneous conscience doth not bind; you sin, notwith- 
standing your conscience bids you do it. 

2. Whatsoever you hold, though conscience be never so much 
taken with it, if it destroy the power of godliness, if this man be 
in Christian society, after all means used to reduce him, if he still 
persevere in it, he is, notwithstanding his conscience, to be cast out. 
If poison be got into a glass, and you cannot wash it out, the poison 
and glass too is to be thrown into the sinTc. 

3. If the error, with the profession of it, be destructive to the 
state, and he cannot be reclaimed, he may likewise be cut off from 
it, or at least be deprived of the privileges of it, and benefits by it, 
notwithstanding his plea of conscience. Thus he, who yet allows 
too much liberty in some cases. 

Ohj. This is persecution. 

Ans. Not at all. It is justice, not persecution, to punish 
thieves and murderers. These spiritual thieves and murderers are 
the worst of sinners ; others destroy but the estate or body, these 
kill souls. 

2. It is Christian wisdom to kill serpents, wolves, foxes, bears. 
Cant. ii. 15. 

8. It is love and compassion to the souls of the wicked, and may 
be a means to convert, or at least to restrain them, and so they may 
be the ministers of God for their good, not only civil, but spiritual ; 
hence the magistrate is called an heir of restraint, Judges xviii. 7; 

1 Vide Burroughs' Irenicum, chap. 0, p. 34. Vide D. Bolton, Arraignment of 
Error, p. 337, &c. 


tliere was no magistrate, or, as it is in the fountain, joresJi gneizer, 
there was no heir of restraint to repress sin, and restrain men 
from wickeclness.i Thus Saul's reigning was called restraining, 
1 Sam. ix. 17, because by his authority he restrained men from 
their licentious practices. When these curbs are gone, horses run 
wild, and people are like sons of Belial without a yoke. 

4. It is an act of mercy to others, to keep them from infection ; 
it is cruelty to the good to spare the bad. 

5. Had these seducers and their followers power, they would be 
the greatest tyrants and persecutors in the world ; witness John a 
Leyden and his fraternity. 

6. I would have all mild and gentle means used before men 
proceed to judgment.^ Care should be taken to inform their judg- 
ments, and convince them of their evil ways. The apostle is for 
two admonitions before church censure, Titus iii. 10, and the cen- 
sure of the magistrate should not precede that of the church. And 
if they be heathens and infidels, the gentler we must deal with them, 
to win them to the faith, Titus iii. 2, 3. Abominable, then, is that 
cruelty of the papists, who by inhuman tortures would force the 
poor Indians to baptize their infants, and say as they say, and hold 
what they hold. All this is but a nullity ; for as a forced marriage 
is no marriage, a forced profession is no profession. 3 

7. We must distinguish of persons and their errors : 1 . Some 
are seducers, and offend through wilfulness ; though they be con- 
vinced, yet they will not be convinced, but walk turbulently and 
disorderly, disquieting both church and state. These must be most 
sharply dealt withal. 

2. Others are seduced and misled through weakness ; these would 
be pitied. 

Next we must distinguish of errors. 1. Some are about circum- 

^ Nemo pereat, nisi quern pcrire etiarn pereuntis intersit. — Seneca. Hasreticis 
obstinatis beneficium est morte multari ; nam quo diutius vivunt, eo plures errores 
excogitant, plures pervertunt, et majorem sibi damnationem acquirunt. — 3Iusciilus. 
Ha3res interdict! vel prohibitionis. — Piscat. He must restrain, 1. Idolaters; 2. Seduc- 
ing sect-makers; 3. Vicious livers. Vide Mr Lyford's Ser. on Dan. iii. 14, pp. 7, 8, 

^ Cuncta prius tentanda, &c. Vide Dr Bolto-n's Arraignment of Error, p. 334, &c. 

s Ad fidem nullus infidelis cogendus est; nam ea suadenda, non imperanda; doc- 
tor.es non tortores adhibendi : monendo plus proficitur quam minando, docendo quam 
ccedendo. — T'denus Syntag., p. 634. Quod cor non facit, non fit. See this question 
largely debated by Gerhard de Magist., p. 385, &c. Mr Cebbett of Magistracy. Mr 
Leigh in his prolegomena to his Body of Divinity, in fine. The author of the 
Bloody Tenent would have none punished. See him confuted by Mr Bedford against 
Antinom., p. 78, and Mr Cotton against "VYilliams. Davenant de Judlce, p. 72, and 
Tactica Sacra, lib. ii. cap. 2, sect. 11, p. 123, &c. 


stantials and lesser matters, making no rent in cliurcli or state, and 
here the strong must bear with the weak, Eom. xv. 1 ; Eph. iv. 2 ; 
Gal. vi. 1. That friends might differ about the same things with- 
out breach of friendship, a very heathen affirms. l 

2. Some errors are fundamental, and overthrow the very substan- 
tial and foundation of religion directly or indirectly, mediately or 
immediately. Thus Arians, Socinians, Antinornians, papists, pub- 
lishing blasphemy to the disturbance of church and state ; such 
turbulent idolaters and gross heretics, 2 as well as other gross 
offenders, may be punished with death, as appears, Exod. xxii. 20 ; 
Lev. xxiv. 16; Num. xv. 30, 31 ; Deut. xiii. 1-10; 1 Kings xviii. 
40 ; 2 Kings xxiii. 20 ; Ezra vi. 11, and vii. 26 ; Dan. iii. 29. So 
saith Mr Perkins : The magistrate, who is the vicegerent of the 
Lord, is the keeper of both tables, and therefore is to maintain reli- 
gion with the sword, and so may put to death atheists, which hold 
there is no God, of which sort there are many in these days ; and 
heretics, which maliciously maintain and hold anything that over- 
throws the foundation of religion in the churches whereof they are 
members, s Had this good man lived in our days, he would have 
been censured by some for Perkins the persecutor ; but wisdom is 
justified of her own children. 

4. God is very tender over his ministers. None must touch his 
prophets to hurt them ; 4 he takes the injuries done to them as done 
to himself. As they are subject to greater tentations, so they are 
under more special protection : he holds these stars in his right 
hand, Rev. ii. 1. 

So magistrates should be very tender over the messengers of 
Christ, who are the best friends, if they be faithful, that princes 
have in the world. Magistracy and ministry, the w^ord and the 
sword, should go together. The pulpit guards the throne ; hence 
Nathan is called the friend of David, 1 Kings iv. 5 ; king Joram 
calls Elijah his father, 2 Kings vi. 21 ; and Jehoshaphat calls the 

^ Non eadem sentire duos de rebus iisdem, incolumi licuit semper amicitia. Ma- 
gistratus propter solum haereseos crimen non quenquam occidat, nisi forte horrendso 
atque intolerandaj in Deum blaspliemise, vel manifestso seditionis crimen accedat. — 
Hommius, Disp. 31, sec. iv. p. 163. 

" Poena capitali puniri potest non qua erro, sed qua turbo. — Prideaux. Hsereticos, 
blasphemes et seductores capite mulctandos esse, multis argumentis probat doctis. — 
Altingius, problem 19, 20, and Zepper. de Lege Mosaica, lib. iv. cap. 3, p. 244. 

^ Perkins on the Creed, p. 194, vol. i. Vide Synopsis Purior. Theolog., Disp. 50, 
sec. 56. Willet's Synopsis, Controvers. 7, q. 2, p. 373, edit. uU., and Mr Prin's 
Treatise of the Power of Magistracy, an excellent piece to this purpose, ■where all the 
Anabaptistic cavils are answered. 

* Neque tactu oris, neque tactu cordis. 


Levites his sons, 2 Cliron. xxix. 11 ; and Hezekiali spake comfort- 
able, delightful, pleasing words to the hearts of the Levites, 2 Ohron. 
XXX. 22. The magistrate must protect their persons from violence, 
and their maintenance from the encroachment of cruel cormorants, 
lest, by famishing them, he bring a famine of the word upon the 
people. He must plant the word where it is wanting, and continue 
it where it is planted. It was well observed by Queen Elizabeth, 
when the justices of peace in the county of Suffolk met her Majesty 
in progress, every one of them having a minister by him, I see the 
reason now, saith the queen, why the county of Suffolk is better 
governed than other counties ; it is because the word and the sword 
go together. 1 Then church and state are like to flourish when 
Moses and Aaron, Zerubbabel and Joshua, Zech. iv. 14, go hand in 
hand together. When the minister reproves sin, and the magistrate 
punisheth it ; when the magistrate makes use of the minister's direc- 
tion, and the minister enjoys the magistrate's protection ; when 
Joshua joins with Eleazer, and David consults with Nathan and 
Gad, the prophets of the Lord ; and Josiah with Huldah, and 
Uzziah with Zechariah the priest, then, and never till then, can we 
look to prosper, 2 Cliron. xxvi. 5. It is Aaron's office to speak, but 
it is Moses's rod that works the wonders. Ministers must preach, 
and magistrates must punish offenders. 

7. As God searcheth and inquireth into men's causes before he 
punish, and though he be the supreme and absolute judge of all the 
world, yet we find that he first cited Adam, and gave him a fair 
trial before ever he turned him out of paradise. Gen. iii. 9-20. He 
never proceeds to judgment till the fact be clear ; though he had a 
cry come up to him concerning the blood of Abel and the wicked- 
ness of Sodom, yet he searcheth and examines the matter, to see 
if it be according to the report,^ Gen. iv. 9-11, and xviii. 21 ; so 
the magistrate must be well advised what he doth, and ponder 
all circumstances, before he pass sentence. So did Job: chap. xxix. 
16, ' The cause that I knew not, I searched out.' Oyer must 
go before termiyier. First hear, and then determine. Nothing must 
be done rashly and unadvisedly, but upon serious and mature de- 
liberation must they proceed to judgment, else the judge's temerity 
will prove the innocent person's calamity. As the physician, before 

1 beatum populum in quo uno ore et uno animo utraque administratio ad sanctam 
communionem cum civili societate continendam et augendam conspiraverit ! Noa 
minuit illam hajc administratio, sed altera alteram stantem confirmat, labantem 
statuminat, coUapsam erigit. — Junius Eccles., lib. iii. cap. 5. 

- Licet Deo omnia sint aperta, non tamen puuivit audita sed visa. 



he prescribes a receipt or diet to his patient, will first feel the pulse, 
view the urine, observe the temper and changes in the body, and 
inquire into the causes of the disease, that so he may apply a fit 
remedy suitable to the malady, so ought every magistrate, in causes 
of justice, to hear both parties with equal patience fully and fairly, 
to examine witnesses thoroughly, and to lay together all allegations, 
and give judgment accordingly.^ Reports and probabilities are no 
sufficient ground; there must be a proof, and that by men approved, 
else a Jezebel may get false witnesses to accuse an innocent Naboth. 

Judges must not first hang a man, and try him after ; the law 
condemns no man till it have first heard what he can say for him- 
self, John vii. 5 ; Acts xxv. 16. It is worth observing what a heap 
of words the Holy Grhost useth to make magistrates cautious in 
this kind. 1. They must search ; 2. Inquire ; 3. Diligently ; 4. 
They must see that it be true and certain that such an abomination 
is wrought; 5. Then, and not till then, must they proceed to judg- 
ment, Deut. xiii. 14, xvii. 2, 4, and xix. 18 ; Judges xix. SO. Many 
cases are dark and difficult, and so cunningly contrived, that it is 
the king's honour to search it out, Prov. xxv. 2, as we see in Solo- 
mon, in that difficult case of the two mothers, 1 Kings iii. 16, 28. 
And if in lesser matters it be folly to answer a matter before it 
be heard, how much more in such weighty cases, Prov. xviii. IS. 
Judges especially must take heed what they do, 2 Chron. xix. 6, 
and therefore it was a great oversight in David to give away good 
Mephibosheth's land before he had heard him speak for himself, 
2 Sam. xix. 29. 

8. As God judge th by law, though he be Lord-paramount of all 
the world, and being absolute in himself, might make his will his 
law, and none may say unto him, What doest thou? yet he judgeth 
according to the law of nature ; 2. By the moral law ; 3. By the 
gospel.- So rulers must rule by law, and not by lust, Deut. xvii. 
11 ; then their words have power with them, Eccles. viii. 4 ; then 
they are the higher powers indeed, whom none may resist but at his 
own peril, Rom. xiii. 2 ; whereas a ruler and his will or lust is the 
higher weakness rather than the higher power. The strength of 

^ Qui statuit aliquid parte inaudita altera, rcquum licet statuerit, haud a3quus 
erit. — Seneca in Medea. 

^ Jubetur rex legum compendium propria manu describere, quo magis ea prsecepta 
inlisereantanimo ; nam legentibus elabuntur sententite, quod lectio moras non jjatitur; 
qui autem scribit per otium imprimit et infigit menti singula fideliter. — Philo de 
Creat. Princip. Non aliud potest rex quam quod de jure potest. — /See Lex Ilex, p. 
179-255, an excellent piece to this purpose, by Mr liutherford. Eex est lex ani- 
mata. — Philo. 


princes lieth. in tlie law, as Samson's strengtli lay in his locks, and 
these are the peoj^le's security. Laws are the best walls of a city ; ^ 
without them, even walled cities want defence. They are as physic 
to the body, both for preventing and removing of diseases ; yea, 
they are as the soul to the body ; without them, the common- 
wealth would neither have beauty nor being. "Where the magis- 
trate obeys the laws, and the people obey the magistrate, there is 
both beauty, strength, and safety.2 Such magistrates as practise 
their own laws, may the more boldly punish the transgressors of 
them. David, that went before his people in a holy example, 
threatens judgment against the workers of iniquity, Ps. ci. It was 
Lycurgus's honour that he never made a law which himself did 
not practise.3 

9. God doth communicate his goodness to all ; he causeth his 
sun to shine upon the just and unjust. So public persons should 
have public spirits ; their gifts and goodness should diffuse them- 
selves for the good of the whole. Their great care should be to 
promote the public interest more than their own. 4 So did Moses, 
Exod. xxxii. 10, 11, 32; Nehemiah, chap. v. 6-19 ; and David, 
Ps. cxxxvii. 5, 6 ; Acts xiii. 36,^ who served God and not himself 
in his generation. It was Cresar's high commendation, that he 
never had himself, after the world had him for a governor ; his 
mind was so set on the public that he forgot his own private affairs. ^ 
The stars have their brightness, not for themselves, but for the use 
of others. It is for tyrants to seek themselves ; it becomes good 
governors to seek the good of their people.7 It is, therefore, made 
one special qualification and property of a magistrate, that he be 
not covetous nor self-seeking, Exod. xviii. 22,8 l^e must not only be 

^ Vide Plura apud Gerhard, de Magistral., p. 325, &c., torn. vi. 

- Justum est principem legibus obtemperare suis; tunc enim jura ab omnibus cus- 
todienda existimet, quando et ipse illis revcrentiam prsebet. — Isklor. 

^ Lycurgus nihil lege ulla sanxit in alios, cujus non ipse primus in se documenta 
daret. — Justin. Hist., lib. iii. sec. 2. 

* Vide Mr. Ant. Burges' Ser. on Kum. li., xii., p. 34, preached 1645. 

® See Mr Jacomb's Ser. on Acts xiii. 36. 

^ Ipse se non habuit, postquam mundus eum principem habere ca3pit. Non prsees 
ut de subditis crescas, sed ut ipsi de te. — Bern. 

'^ Tyrannus suum spectat commodum, rex vero subditorum. — Arist. Polit., lib. viii. 
cap. 10, and PMo. lib. ii. Alienor, pp. 108, 109. 

Tu ciyem patremque geras, tu consule cunctis. 
Non tibi ; nee tua te movean, sed publica damna. — Claudian. 
Vide Plura in Polyanthea, de liberalitate, p. 1567. 

^ See that text fully opened in my Comment on 2 Tim. iii. 2, pp. 26, 27 ; and 
Gerhard, de Magistr., p. 270 ; and Mr. Eob. Bolton's Assize Ser., p. 59, &c. Nihil 
est tarn angusti animi, tamque parvi quam amare divitias. — Cicero, lib. i. Offic. 


an able, wise, religious, just man, but he must be one especially 
that hates covetousness, that bitter root of bribery, partiality, 
simony, perjury, sacrilege and pusillanimity. A magistrate 
should be a magnanimous, valiant man ; but this sin dispirits a 
man, and makes him cold and cowardly in the cause of God. 

Now all those governors that are thus qualified, and do resemble 
God in the particulars mentioned, shall have God's protection, the 
blessing of their people, the comfort of a good conscience when 
they come to die — as Moses, Samuel, Hezekiah, Nehemiah — and 
at the day of judgment, when the wicked shall cry to be hid, they 
shall appear with comfort and confidence before Christ's tribunal. 

See nine properties of a good magistrate in Mr Frost's Ser., 
folio, pp. 288, 289 ; Dr Hall's Solomon's Politics, vol. i., folio, 
p. 209 ; see eight qualifications in Mr Gm-nal's Ser. on Isa. iii. 
26, p. 29, &c. ; Mr Livesy's Jehoshaphat's Charge, p. 135, &c. ; 
Mr Baxter's Sheet of Directions to Justices of the Peace. 

Young gentlemen that are towards the law, may do well, in 
their minority, thoroughly to jieruse Plutarch's Lives, and es- 
pecially his Morals, Seneca, Xenophon's Cyropasdia, and Mr 
Peacham's Complete Gentleman; they are full of excellent 
notions, both for speculation and practice, and are all translated 
into English for common use. 

Quest. Will not this discourage inferior people, when they hear 
great ones called gods, and see them exalted, when they are made 
to serve in inferior callings ? 

Ans. Not at all ; for there is much of God may be seen even in 
their callings. The husbandman's calling is looked upon as a mean 
employment, yet the Lord tells us that it is he who teacheth him 
to plough, sow, and harrow, Isa. xxviii. 24-26. As he teacheth 
the warrior to fight, Ps. xviii. 34, and the ruler how to sway the 
sceptre, and Bezaleel his curious works, Exod. xxxv. 22, so he 
giveth wisdom to the husbandman how to order his affairs with 
discretion. It is reported of Heraclitus, that when his scholars had 
found him in a tradesman's shop, whither they were ashamed to 
enter, he encouraged them, saying, Quod neque tali loco dii desunt 
immortales ; That the gods were as well present in such places as in 
others ; intimating that a divine power and wisdom might be 
discerned even in those common arts which are so much despised. 
Hence Tarentinus persuaded his friends to go with him to a forge, 
and he would shew them God's handiwork there, introite, inquit, 
sunt Mc etiam dii. So may we say of other artificers, Come in and 

VOL. IV. p 


see God's handiwork here.i There is no calling so mean but some 
footsteps of a deity may be seen there, and though thou be not the 
head — thou hast the less to account for — yet the hands, feet, and 
toes are useful in their places : and if thou walk humbly with thy 
God in them, thou mayest come to heaven before princes, who 
ofttimes are gods in name, but devils indeed. It is the glory of 
a land when ministers preach, magistrates protect, people obey, 
and each in their places help to preserve human society. 

Ohs. 8. God is not only present, but president and chief ruler 
amongst the rulers of the world ; he is ' King of kings and Lord 
of lords,' 1 Tim, vi. 1.5 ; Eev. xvii, 14 ; his eye is with them on the 
throne. Job xxxvi, 7. He sits on the bench amongst them, and is 
in their assemblies ; hence their seat is called the holy place, 
Eccles. viii. 10. God is Lord chief-justice on the bench with 
them. He doth not only look on them, but he stands in the midst 
of them, and erects his throne in their thrones ; he eyes their 
affections, takes notice of their actions, attends their charges, and 
passeth a censure upon their censures. As he hath a more especial 
interest in them, so he hath a more especial eye upon them. Seneca 
would have men to do all tanquam spectet Cato ; but judges 
should do all tanquam spectet Deus, remembering God's all-seeing 
eye is still upon them. Jehoshaphat could not ride circuit with his 
judges, but God doth. He is with them, not only by way of 
assistance and protection, but also by way of observation ; he takes 
notice of every sentence that passeth, and will bring it again to 
judgment : for one special end of that great day is, Judicare non 
judicata et male judicata, To punish those sinners which have 
escaped unpunished here, and to rectify the unrighteous judgments 
of the world. This made a wicked judge on his death-bed to 
weep, and being asked why ? To think, said he, that I who have 
judged others am going now to be judged myself, 2 As masters on 
earth must remember that they have a master in heaven. Col. iv. 1, 
so judges on earth must remember that they also have a judge in 
heaven, to whom they must shortly give an account. Let judges, 
then, remember that excellent counsel of Jehoshaphat to his judges, 
2 Chron. xix. 6, 7, ' Take heed w^hat ye do ; for ye judge not for 
men, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment,''^ 

^ Nihil in natura rerum tarn minutum, tamque vile et abjectum, quod non aliquid 
admirationis hominibus adferat. — Arisiot. cle Anima., lib. i. cap. 5. 

2 Nuper eram judex, jam judicis ante tribunal subsistens paveo, judicor ipse 

^ See this text more fully opened in Sibelius, 3 Tom., Concio 10, p. 382 ; and Mr 
Blackwell's Ser. on the same text, preached 16ii ; and also Mr Case's, preached 1644, 


1. Here is a duty enjoined, and that is circumspection and 
accurate walking.! Take heed what you do, which is again repeated ; 
here is caution upon caution, ver. 7, to make the deeper impression 
in them — q.d., the execution of justice is curious work, you had 
need, therefore, of open eyes, steady hands, and upright hearts. 

Here is the means to attain this, let the fear of God be 
upon you, ver. 7. He that fears not God, will little regard the 
distresses of men, Luke xviii. 4, and will make but a sorry de- 
fender of such as do fear him ; whereas he that truly fears God, 
dares not wrong man, Gen. xlii. 18 ; Neh. v. 15. Piety advanceth 
magistracy ; it is the honour of their honours,''^ as we see in 
Constantine the Great,^ and therefore it is made a chief quali- 
fication of a magistrate, that he be one that fears God, Exod. xviii. 
21,4 2 Sam. xxiii. 3, and keeps his commandments, Joshua i. 8 ; 
Ps. ii. 10-12. The lives of rulers are the looking-glass by which 
inferiors dress themselves, and the rule by which they walk ; they 
had need, therefore, to see how they walk ; for such magistrates, 
usually such people. This fear of the Lord is the foundation of 
all other graces ; and where this is wanting, all is wanting ; all 
virtues without this are but empty shells, shows, shadows. 

2. They must not respect persons in judgment, Prov. xviii. 5 ; be 
they old or young, rich or poor, citizens or strangers, Christians or 
heathens, friends or foes, he must not look at the greatness of their 
persons, but the goodness of their cause. As God respects not any 
outward things in man to move him to do so and so, so rulers must 
resemble him. Partiality staineth justice, and cuts in pieces the 
very nerves of a state. 

3. Take no gifts. ^ Bribes blind the eyes of the wise, and make 
them to pervert judgment. Judges anciently were pictured with- 
out hands and without eyes. 1. Without hands, to note that 
judges must not take gifts. 2. Without eyes, because they were 
to administer justice according to every man's cause, without re- 

1 See ten reasons for this in Mr Livesy's Ser. on this text, p. 93. OfEcium 
geritis magni momenti ; multum potestis prodesse et obesse ; considerate igitur 
diligenter, &c. — Lavater in locum. 

- Vide Beauty of Holiness, p. 152. 

^ Vide Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib. v. cap. 25. 

4 Vide Frost's Ser. on Magistr., p. 288, folio. Decorum est ut qui dignitate, 
probitate emineat. Decet id quod optimum est, ab optimo coli. — Stobwus. Qualis 
rex, talis grex. Ubi Preses Philosophus (Pius) ibi felix civltsLS.—AristoL, vide 
Plura apud Langium in Polyanth. de Marjistrat., q. 12, p. 1670, edit. ult. 

* See my Comment, on 2 Tim. iii. 2, p. 27. Judges are called gods, and God is 
known by giving, not by receiving. 


spect to any man's relation, whether friend or foe ; as Christ, so 
those that rule under him must not j udge by outward appearance, 
but they must judge righteous judgment, Isa. xi. 3. There are 
four great perverters of judgment — viz., fear, favour, hatred, brib- 
ery ; 1 this last is not the least of the four, and therefore is so fre- 
quently condemned in Scripture, Exod. xxiii. 8 ; Deut. xvi. 17, 
19, and xxvii. 26; Job xv. 34; Prov. xv. 27, xvii. 23, 
xxviii. 21, and xxix. 4; Ps. xxvi. 10; Isa. v. 23; Amos 
V. 12 ; Micah iii. 10 ; Acts xxiv. 26. They must imitate Moses 
and Samuel, who cleared themselves from this sin, Num. xvi. 15 ; 
1 Sam. xii. 3. For he that taketh a gift selleth himself, and is 
bound to do somewhat for the bribe he hath received. It is there- 
fore made one note of a citizen of heaven, that he despiseth bribes, 
and takes no rewards to condemn the innocent, Ps. xv. 5 ; Isa. 
xxxiii. 15. There is no difference in God's dictionary between 
bribery and thievery, Isa. i. 23. There is little difference between give 
ye, and deliver ye, unless it be this, that the one goes in chains of gold, 
when others lie in fetters of iron. If any would see the question 
stated how and when a man may take a gift, let him peruse Pdvet on 
Hosea iv. 19, p. 617, folio ; Brochmand, C. Consc. vol. ii. p. 506. 

4, Since we are backward to the best things, Jehoshaphat useth 
motives to encourage and excite judges to a careful and conscien- 
tious discharge of their duty. (1.) They judge not for man, i.e., not 
simply in the name and authority of men, but for the Lord, who is 
the supreme ruler, to whom they must account ; and therefore it 
greatly concerns them to take heed what they do. Kings' causes 
call for great care and consideration ; he that will manage them 
well, must take heed what he doth. 

(2.) They must consider that God is with them; which serves, first, 
For caution. If they do ill, he is with them to punish them ; for 
though they be mighty, yet God is almighty, and there is a greater 
than they. Job xxxiii. 12, who stands in their assemblies, not as a 
bare spectator, but as a witness, judge, and avenger of such as act 
unrighteously. Job xii. 18-21, Secondly, It serves for comfort ; he is 
with them to defend them if they do well. The devil throws his darts 
principally at them. They destroy his kingdom, and therefore he 
useth all means to destroy them ; he saith to his agents, as Aram 
the king of Syria said to his followers, 1 Kings xxii. 31 , ' Fight 
neither with small nor great, but against the king of Israel ; ' for 
when the commander is conquered, the soldiers fly. 

1 Quatuor ista, limor, odium, dilectio, census, 
Stepj Solent hominum rectos pervertei'e seusus. 


(3.) ' There is no iniquity in the Lord ; ' there is no injustice in 
him, and therefore let there be none in you. But of this see more 
ver. 2, 3, of this psalm. 

How great then is the sin of those who are not afraid, in the very 
eye of the all- seeing God, to favour wickedness and act unright- 
eously. It is true they will formally and in words confess that they 
reign Dei gratia et providentia Dei ; yet they are so blinded with 
their pomp, and infatuated with their greatness, that God is not in 
all their thoughts, nor must he, his laws, or people have any room 
amongst them. These the psalmist tacitly reproves, by telling 
them that God stands in their assemblies, and takes notice of all 
their ways.i 

Ohs. 9. The judgment of judges is the Lord's judgment, Deut. 
i. 17 ; 2 Chron. xix. 6 ; they have their power from him, John xix. 
11 ; and therefore such as stand before judges are said to stand be- 
fore the Lord, because the judgment is his, Deut. xix. 17 ; yea, 
though they be wicked men, yet he judgeth amongst them ; though 
not always by consenting and approving of what they do, for they 
oft err and do unjustly, yet always by observing and overruling 
their counsels to his own praise ; ^ and though they have self ends 
and plots, yet God hath a plot above their plots, which they effect 
when they mind nothing less, as we see in Pilate, Judas, Satan, in 
putting Christ to death, Acts ii. 23, and iv. 28. 

Be patient, therefore, and silent under the unrighteous censures 
and judgments of men; for God can and will turn them to his 
people's good, as we see in Joseph's selling and imprisonment, in 
the three young men that were cast into the fiery furnace, and 
Daniel into the lion's den, yet all advanced to honour by their suf- 

Ohs. 10. Going to law, when just occasion requires, is lawful. To 
what end hath God ordained judges, Deut. xvi. 18, and commanded 
men to bring their causes and controversies before them, Deut. xix. 
17, and xxv. 1, if they might not hear them? Would God, think 
we, stand in their assemblies, and judge amongst them, if such judg- 
ments were unlawful? or would Christ have approved, or not 
rather reproved men, for going before the magistrate ? Luke xii. 
58, and xviii. 3. 

It is true indeed, 1. A man should not go to law for every trifle ; 

^ See four good lessons from God's all-seeing eye in my Commentary on 2 Tim. iv. 
1, obs. 3, p. 306. 

- Judicium est ipsius Dei originaliter, authoritative et principaliter ; at magistratus 
ministerialiter et instrumentaliter. Judicium Dei est ; proinde judex in tribus Deo 
debet conformari ; in potestate, bonitate, et veritate. 


for every vain, hasty word, or petty trespass, to disquiet a man's 
self, and molest his neighbour, argues a turbulent, unmortified 
spirit. It is the glory of a man to pass by such petty offences. 
Men should not for a sixpenny damage spend six pound ; it is a 
shame that our law is not rectified in this particular. 

2. He must not go to law in malice, or with a revengeful mind 
to destroy his neighbour, but he must do all in a spirit of love and 
meekness, defending himself from wrong by law, and seeking peace, 
truth, and righteousness.! 

3. A man must make law, as men do war, their last refuge. He 
must use all wise means to prevent it, by offering peace and recon- 
ciliation, referring it, and putting it off as long as may be ; and 
when nothing will do, we may safely fly to the law.^ 

The Anabaptists hold it unlawful, whatever the injury or abuse be, 
to go to law, or seek to the magistrate for aid. But their folly will 
easily appear if we consider, 1. That God hath ordained magis- 
tracy for this very end, to succour us in our distress ; 2. We have 
examples of those who have pleaded their cause, and that before 
heathen judges, as Christ before Pilate, John xviii. 23 ; and Paul, 
when he was in danger, did plead the law, and appeal to Caesar, 
Acts xxiii. 3, and xxv. 10, 12. 

Ohj. Mat. V. 89, 40, Christ forbids us any resisting of evil, &c. 

Ans. Christ speaks there against private and inordinate revenge, 
proceeding from wrath and passion, and not against lawful ordinate 
public defence before a magistrate.^ 

2. The words are not positive, but comparative — q.d., rather 
than thou shouldst be provoked to reward evil for evil, suffer a 
double injury ; and if by thy bearing and forbearing, peace may be 
preserved, the gospel honoured, thy profession adorned, and thy 
brother bettered, then thou must suffer two injuries rather than 
revenge one. 

Ohj. 2. 1 Cor. vi. 1-8. Here, say the Anabaptists, the apostle 
speaks against men's going to law. 

Ans. There is no such thing in the text, as will easily appear to 
such as read it at large. 

1. The apostle doth not simply condemn men's going to law, 
but he condemns their bitterness and cruelty in lawing, not bearing 
one with another, but vexing one another for trifles, when Chris- 

^ Sic certent causas, ut non certent pectora. 
^ Sapientem omnia prius experiri, quam armis decet. — Terent. 
^ See this text more fully vindicated from all Socinian cavils, by Gerhard de Ma- 
gistrat., p. 360. 


tians should be patient, ready to forgive injuries, according to that 
of our Saviour, ' Forgive, and it shall be forgiven you,' i Luke 
vi. 37. 

2. He blames them, for that they being Christians yet went to 
law before heathenish judges, to the reproach of Christianity ; for 
they, being Christians, should have had Christians to have heard 
and ended their controversies. So that he doth not condemn their 
going to law, but tells them how they should do it. 

See what Anabaptistic logic here is. Because Christ forbids 
lawing before heathens, therefore we may not go to law before 
Christians. The argument is cogent thus : The apostle condemns 
Christians for going to law before heathen judges, therefore he 
allows of it before Christian judges. 

3. If the apostle should absolutely condemn all suing to the 
magistrate in case of wrong, then he should contradict his own 
practice ; for he being in distress, did more than once appeal to 

See this case fully cleared by Mr John Downam on the Sacra- 
ment, chap. xii. ; Perkins' Cases of Conscience, lib. iii. cap. 3, q. 
1, p. 118, folio ; and Treatise of Christian Equity, pp. 446, 447, vol. 
ii. ; and Zepper. de Legibus Mosaic, lib. v. cap. 6, p. 693. 

Ver. 2. Hoiu long ivill ye judge unjustly, and accept tlie persons 
of the luicked ? Selah. 

These words are a prosopopoeical speech, where the Lord is brought 
in reasoning, reproving, and expostulating the case with the un- 
righteous judges of those times. Such is the pride of great ones, 
that they cannot bear a reproof from men ; and therefore the pro- 
phet, to procure the more authority to what should be spoken, 
brings in God himself reproving them : 2 hence some interpreters 
conceive that for explanation sake the word saying may fitly be 
added to the end of this first verse : ' God standeth in the congre- 
gation of the mighty; he judgeth amongst the gods, saying. How 
long will ye judge unjustly?' q. d., Since I am present and pre- 
sident amongst you, how long will ye favour the wicked, and plead 
their cause against the innocent ? 

In this verse we have, 1. The sin reproved in general, and that 

^ Est fallacia a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter : nam simpliciter non 
reprehendit judicia, sed temeritatem in litigando, quod nihil privatim transigere 
voluerunt, sed in re ssepe levicula alter alterum ad tribunal ethnici judicis protra- 
hebat, non sine injuria et contemptu Chi-istianitatis. — Baldwin in locum. 

2 Ut majorem efficaciam habeat objurgatio, inducitur Deus summus judex increpans 
judices minores. — Bellarm, 


is unjust judgment — a sin most proper and peculiar to judges. To 
be covetous, envious, passionate, and proud, is evil ; but to judge 
unjustly, to justify the wicked, and condemn the just, is not only 
abominable, but an abomination in the abstract,^ Prov. xvii. 15. 
This is iniquity and perverseness with a witness.^ 

2. Here is the duration of their sin, implied in the word usque 
quo,^ how long ? It implies that they had for a long time perse- 
vered in this practice, and therefore he doth not simply say, ye do 
unjustly, but how long will ye do unjustly ? How long will ye 
favour the wicked in his wickedness, and condemn the just ? The 
interrogation is a vehement negation,* q.d., ye ought in no wise 
to continue so long in your injustice as you have done. 

3. Here is the generality of the sinners implied in the word, ye ; 
how long will ye, i.e., all of ye, judge unjustly? There might be 
some few, some gleanings, as the proj)het speaks, Micah vii. 1, 2, 
of just judges, but the generality was very corrupt. 

4. Here is an exegesis, an illustration, or, if you will, an aggra- 
vation of what went before. Ye judge unjustly. What is that ? 
Why, ye accept the persons of the wicked — q.d., ye admire their 
persons, ye favour their faces, ye plead their causes ; but the cause 
of the poor and the righteous man cannot be heard.^ In the ori- 
ginal it is. Ye accept the face of the wicked. Now, to accept the 
face of a man is a Hebrew phrase, and signifies a shewing favour 
and respect to a man. Gen. xix. 22. The angel tells Lot that he 
had respected his face, q.d., I have shewed favour to thee, and have 
given thee thy request.^ The words seem to be an aggravation of 
their sin ; they did not sin through weakness, but through wilful- 
ness ; not through simple ignorance, but presumptuously ; they 
sought the faces and favour, not of poor men or of friends — that 
might savour of some humanity, though it may not be practised in 
judgment ; yea, they sought the faces, not simply of sinners, but of 

1 How abstracts increase the sense, see my Schools' Guard, rule 36. 
- Gnavel, the word in the text, which signifieth iniquity or perverseness, comes 
from gnaval, to deal perversely and wickedly. 

3 Usque quo judicabitis iniquitatem I Heb., i.e., quamdiu perseverabitis in hoc 
peccato inique judicandi ? — Piscat. 

4 See my Schools' Guard, rule 30. 

^ See this phrase more fully explained in Mr Caryll on Job xiii. 8, p. 3/7. Nasha, 
est personam respicere, honorare, admirari, et in gratiam alicujus aliquid facere. — 

^ Non dicit impios suscipitis, sed facies impiorum suscipitis ; ut intelligas eum non 
de quibusvis impiis, sed de iis loqui qui spectabiles sunt, vel propter generis prseroga- 
tivam, vel propter opum splendorem. — Musculiis. 


wicked, potent, turbulent, notorious sinners.! To get the favour of 
these who could bribe them, or some way gratify them, they per- 
verted judgment, and instead of punishing the wicked they acquitted 
them, and instead of defending the poor they contemned them and 
trampled on them. 

Selah. Where we find this word (sometimes) there is in that 
verse some remarkable thing ; as in this verse it signifies as much 
in English as if David had said, Oh how great and grievous an 
offence is it before God, for favour and affection, for gifts and 
greatness, to pervert justice and judgment ! 2 It comes from Salal, 
which signifies to raise or elevate ; and so it may signify the eleva- 
tion of the mind in marking, or of the voice in singing. Tt some- 
times signifies an asseveration of a thing so to be, and an admira- 
tion at it. 3 It is used seventy-four times in Scripture. 

Ohs. 1. Even great men, when they go astray, must be sharply 
reproved, God doth not here barely say. Do not unjustly, do not 
respect persons, &c.,but as one that is angry with them, he sharply 
and severely expostulates the case with them, saying, ' How long 
will ye judge unjustly, and respect the persons of the mighty? ' And 
as God, so his ambassadors according to their places, must not fear 
the face of man ; but as occasion requires, they must tell the great- 
est of their sins, yet with a prudential consideration of all circum- 
stances ; ^ for if we must respect elders for their age, 1 Tim. v. 1 
then much more rulers who are set in public place of dignity ; and 
therefore, as in the reproving of all men, so especially of great men, 
great wisdom and prudence is required ; as we see in Nathan, who 
wisely catcheth David in a parable, 2 Sam. xii. 1, &c., and that 
prophet which caught Ahab in his own words, and made him pass 
sentence upon himself, 1 Kings xx. 39, 40. It is not for everyone 
to say unto kings, Ye are wicked, Job xxxiv. 1 8. It is ministers, 
and such as are called to the work, that may with Elijah tell Ahab 
•of his wickedness. It is a Samuel that must reprove a Saul, 1 Sam. 
XV. 19. Isaiah reproves Hezekiah, Isa. xxxix. 6 ; Jeremiah, king 
Zedekiah, Jer. xxxii. 4 ; and John Baptist, Herod. If great men 
do amiss, we must not stick to say to kings and queens, ' Humble 

' Reshagnaim, improbi, inquieti, turbulenti. 

^ Selah hie adscriptum monet malum hoc quo nihil magis execrandum, passim et 
apud eos quoque qui admodum justi videntur, plane regnare. — Ut Scultetus eBiicero. 

3 Cantor ubi ad banc vocem pervenerat, attollebat vocem suam ; et hoe signum 
erat gravem ibi sententiam eontineri, in quam animus intendendus erat ; redditur a 
doetis per plane, summe, vehementer. — Ravanellus. See more in such as comment 
on Ps. iii. 2 ; and Rivet, in Ps. xxiv. 6, p. 170, folio. 

* See Mr Reyner's Government of the Tongue, p. 178. 


yourselves,' Jer. xiii. 19. We are set to watch not only for poor 
men's souls, but also for the souls of rulers ; yea, rather for them 
than for others, because by their example they do much hurt or 
good. Many think it no sin to do what they see great ones do. 
As like priest, like people, Jer. 1. 6 ; Hosea iv. 9 ; so usually like 
magistrate, like people ; if they be good, the people will be the 
better. Judges ii. 7 ; Joshua xxiv. 24. David's bounty in building 
the temple encouraged the people to follow him,i 1 Cliron. xxix. 6, 
7. If the king of Nineveh humble himself, so will the people, 
Jonah iii. 6. Eulers are like looking-glasses, by which most men 
dress themselves. If they be bad, like great cedars when they 
fall, they bring many branches down with them, and crush the 
shrubs that are under them. If Jeroboam sin, he will quickly 
draw all Israel to sin with him, 1 Kings xiv. 16 ; if a ruler 
hearken to lies, his servants will be like him, 2 Prov. xxix. 12. This 
made the pharisees to reject Christ, because none of the rulers be- 
lieved in him, John vii. 48, which made Luther to say, Frincifimi 
delicta sunt plane diabolica : great men's sins are the greatest sins, 
because they sin against great means of grace, and by their example 
do much mischief. When the head is unsound, the body must 
needs miscarry: 3 no error so dangerous as that which proceeds 
from the ruler, Eccles. x. 5. Jerusalem was full of abominations ; 
what is the cause? Why, the prophets were profane, and the 
princes were as roaring lions, and the judges wolves, Zeph. iii. 3. 
Subjects study the lives of their princes more than their laws ; 
they should therefore be great reformers, as Asa, Josiah, and Heze- 
kiah were, who drew the people with them, 2 Chron. xv. and xxxi. 
1, &c. Greatness, accompanied with goodness, is like a ring with 
a rich diamond, which enhanceth the price. Now the prophets, 
seeing that the public enormities of rulers have such an infiaence 
on people, have inveighed sharply against their sins, Isa. i. 23, and 
x. 1-3; Hosea v. 1; Micah iii. 1, 2; and the command is gene-- 
ral, without any limitation to high or low, 1 Tim. v. 20, ' Such as 
sin before all, rebuke before all, that others may fear.' Indeed, if 
their sins be private and mere infirmities, we must with the mantle 
of love cover them, lest we exasperate instead of healing them. 

ObJ. Such plain preachers are counted the troublers of Israel, 
Jer. xxxvii. 13, 15 ; Amos vii. 12. 

A71S. It is true they have been so accounted ; but it hath been 

^ Great men should be good men. — Vide Burroughs' Gracious Spirit, p. 204. 
2 Mobile mutatur semper cum principe vulgus. — Claudian. 
^ A capita primum computrescunt pisces. — Prov. 


by wicked men, who have themselves been the troublers of Israel, 
as Elijah told Ahab, 1 Kings xviii. 18. 

2. If great men would but hearken to the pious counsel of God's 
faithful messengers, it would prevent seditions, tumults, and 
troublers in their territories. 

Ohs. 2. That continuance in evil is a great evil. How long, saith 
God, will ye judge unjustly ? And when will you make an end of 
your unrighteous practices ? To do an unjust act is ill, but to 
persevere for many years in acting unrighteousness is the height of 
evil. As perseverance in goodness is the crown of goodness, Job ii. 
3, so perseverance in sin is sin in grain ; it is of a deep dye, it is 
hardly if ever set out again. ^ 

Ohs. 3. It is no wonder to see judges judge unjustly. They did 
so here, and God complains of such elsewhere, Isa. i. 23 ; Jer. v. 1 ; 
Micah iii. 9 ; there are some such now, and there will be such to the 
end of the world, even till he who is Judge of judges shall come to 
judgment, and shall abolish all rule and dominion. Wicked men 
in all ages have the same corrupt natures and j^rinciples within 
them, and when temptations come they discover themselves. 
Besides, the world ever did, and ever will, love her own ; wicked 
magistrates will favour wicked men ; yea, if there were no bribery 
nor flattery in the world, yet wicked great ones would favour such 
as are like themselves. 

Ohs. 4. Few great men are good men. Some there are, but they 
are thin sown. Not many wise men, not many mighty, not many 
noble, i.e., some few are called, 1 Cor. i. 26.^ They are subject to 
great temptations, and so to great corruptions. Such rank ground 
is fertile in weeds ; hence wicked men are put in the text for rich 
men : ' How long will ye accept the persons of the wicked ?' That 
is, the persons of rich and potent men ; that is the meaning, for 
judges would never accept the persons of the wicked men if they 
were poor and equal in respect of outward things. This the opposi- 
tion implies, defend the poor and fatherless, implying that the rich 
were defended by them, but the poor had no helper. 

Ohs. 5. That perverting of judgment is a great sin. It is a cry- 
ing sin ; it cries for vengeance on such as practise it. This was one 
of those sins which caused the day of Jerusalem's misery to draw 
nearer, Ezek. xxii. 6, 7, and for which the Lord threatens to visit, 
Isa. V. 6, 7 ; Jer. v. 28, 29 ; Amos ii. 6, and v. 6, 7, 11 ; Mai. iii. 
5. If he be cursed that shall remove the landmark, what shall be 

1 Humanum est errare, at diabolicum perseverare in errore. — Gerson. 
" See Mr Eobert Bolton on that text, and Mr Francis Taylor. 


done to him who takes away house, land, and all ? Deut. xxvii. 17. 
Solomon tells us, ' He that justifieth the wicked, him shall the 
people curse,' Prov. xxiv. 24; forjudges to turn aside in judgment 
to the right hand or the left, is to abuse their deputation, and as 
much as in them lies to ungod themselves and God too. An unjust 
judge, as one well observes, is a cold fire, a dark sun, a dry sea, a 
mare mortuum, an ungood god, contradictio in adjecfo, monsters, 
not men, much less gods.i A false teacher that poisons souls, and 
a corrupt judge that perverts justice, are two pestilent evils ; the 
one destroys the fountain of piety, and the other the fountain of 
righteousness. If a man be oppressed, he flies to the law for 
refuge ; but if the law be wrested and abused, where shall we find 
a remedy ? ^ It is sad with the flock when the shepherd is a wolf, 
Quis custodiet ipsos cicsfodes? 

Obs. 6. Magistrates must judge impartially. They must not 
respect persons but causes. They must look more on the face of 
the cause, than the face of the man. This respecting of persons is 
not good, saith Solomon, that is, it is very bad,3 Prov. xxiv. 23. 
It is a sin oft forbidden, Deut. i. 17, and xvi. 19 ; Job xiii. 8, 10 ; 
2 Chron. xix. 6, 7 ; Prov. xviii. 5, and xxviii. 21 ; James ii. 9 ; 
JudelG. Men must not judge according to any outward appear- 
ance or quality of the person that appears before them, but according 
to the equity of the cause, John vii. 24. As God respects not per- 
sons, Deut. x. 17 ; Job xxxiv. 19 ; Acts x. 34 ; Gal. ii. 6 ; Eph. vi. 
9 ; Col. iii, 25 ; 1 Pet. i. 17 ; so judges, who are earthly gods, 
must imitate their Lord and Master, whose person they represent, 
in whose seat they sit, and by whose command they act. So that 
if they will do anything in favour of the mighty, let them do it in 
favour of the mighty God ; and this they do, when they execute justice 
and judgment in the gate. As they must not respect the rich for 
his riches, so neither the poor for his poverty,* so as in pity to him 
to wrong the rich, nor out of fear or honour to the rich comply with 
them to oppress the poor, Exod. xxiii. 3 ; Lev. xix. 15. In charity 
we must have respect to a poor man's necessity ; but in point of 
justice neitlier the power of the rich, nor the penury of the poor, 
but right only must be regarded, Ps. Ixxii. 7. If a man might strain 

^ Quasnam potest perniciosior esse perversitas quam si apud medicum invenias 
mortem, apud doetorem mendacium, apud judicem in}ustitla.in ^—Musculus. 

2 Vide Comforts Against Oppression, Mr Ash's Sermon on Ps. ix. 9, preached 
1642, and Mr Caryll, Sermon on Ps. cxix. 134, preached 1G51. 
^ Meiosis. Vide Schools' Guard on that figure. 

■* Pressa est paupertas, opulentia splendida regnat ; 
Dives ubique valet, pauper ubique jacet. 


the law for any, it is for the poor ; and yet the Lord himself, who is 
most tender over the poor, will not have their persons, but their 
causes looked upon. A respecter of person is a kind of idolater ; i 
the respect which he owes to God and right, he gives to riches. 
Petty thieves shall wear chains of iron, when grand robbers and 
murderers sit on the bench with chains of gold. As God knows no 
honour, royalty, or greatness in the matter of sin, so neither must 
his deputies. I see no reason, said the woman, why I should be 
punished for breaking one commandment, when King Richard 
breaks all ten, and yet goes unpunished. The judges in Egypt 
were painted without hands, and blind, and the Areopagites, who 
were judges in Athens, passed their sentence in the night, and had 
their judicatories in dark rooms, that they might not be biassed by 
]3rejudice or affection to pass wrong judgment upon the person. 
Out of judgment to shew favour to our friends is not unlawful ; but 
in point of judgment they must be blind, not knowing friend or foe, 
but look soberly on the cause which is before them. When public 
right is in question, the poor person must be laid aside, and we 
must eye his cause ; for though it be seldom seen that a poor man 
is preferred before a rich man in his cause, yet sometimes it may 
so faU out that at the tears and cries of the poor, and to get a name 
for a merciful man amongst men, there may be offending on that 
hand. It is true we must shew mercy, but yet with judgment and 
discretion. In other cases we may shew respect to men for their 
age, gifts, graces, affinity, dignity, calling, &c., but not in judg- 
ment. The court must know no kinsmen. Judges must with 
David do justice to all the people, without distinction of rich or 
poor, 2 Sam. viii. 15 ; they must dispense justice with an equal hand 
and an even balance. As the law itself is equal to all, so should 
the judge, who is a living law, be the same to all that fly unto 
him for succour. So that this makes nothing for the sottish, uncivil 
Quakers, who cry down all outward respect and reverence to men 
in authority under pretence of respect to no man's person. Whereas 
the Scripture doth not condemn civil but sinful respect of jiersons ; 
the servant must reverence his master, and the child his father, and 
the subject his sovereign.^ Besides, there is a sacred respect of 
persons used both by God and man. Thus God had respect to 
Abel and his offering, but not to Cain. He had respect to Lot, 
and saved him out of Sodom, Gen. xix. 21. Thus the saints may 

^ Prosopolatria est idololatria. 

- See more on this point in my Comment, on 2 Tim. iv. 19, p. 468. 


and must love the saints with a spiritual and more intimate love, 
Ps. xvi. 3. 

Obs. 7. Wicked men and turbulent men, they are the great 
resliagnims of the world. They disquiet and trouble themselves ; 
like the troubled sea, they are always casting up the dirt and filth 
of sin, Prov. xi. 17 ; Isa. Ivii. 20, 21. They trouble their own 
houses, Prov. xv. 27 ; yea, these Achans and Ahabs trouble all Israel ; 
they are the pests and plagues, the ulcers and botches of the places 
where they live. As good men are a public good, and make the 
places where they live the better for them. Gen. xii. 2, so wicked 
men are public evils, and make the places where they dwell the 
worse for them. As grace meekens men and makes them quiet, 
Isa, xi. 6, so sin, where it reigns and is not subdued, disquiets men 
and makes them turbulent. 

Ver. 3. Defend the poor and fatherless : do justice to the afflicted 
and needy. 

Ver. 4. Deliver the poor and needy : rid than out of the hand of 
the loicked. 

Having finished the reprehension, and shewed negatively what 
judges must not do, viz., they must not judge unjustly, nor respect 
persons ; now we come to the direction, where the Lord teacheth 
them, and tells them affirmatively what they must do, viz., they 
must defend the poor and fatherless, and succour such as are in 
distress. So that having dehorted them from the vices which are 
more especially incident to rulers, he now exhorts them to the con- 
trary virtues. So that here we have a clear description of the 
magistrate's duty, which consists principally of two parts : 1. To 
defend the good ; 2. To punish the bad ; both which are also men- 
tioned by the apostle, Kom. xiii. 3. 

This counsel of God, saith Luther, is worthy to be written in 
letters of gold on the walls of all judicatories. It may fitly be 
termed God's charge to magistrates. They give charges to men, 
and here God gives four things in charge to them — viz., 1. To 
defend : 2. To do justice ; 3. To deliver ; 4. To rescue. 

2. The object, or the persons whom they must thus protect: 
1. The poor; 2. The fatherless ; 3. Theafllicted; 4. The needy. 

As if the Lord had said. This is your main business, and therefore 
let it be your great care, to defend the poor, succour the affiicted, 
and support the fatherless, and to help him who hath no helper. 
As the proper work of the physician is to cure the sick, and of a 
minister to comfort the weak, so of a magistrate to defend the 


poor, and vindicate the oppressed from the violence of the 

Quest. Must not the magistrate defend the rich man in a right- 
eous cause as well as the poor ? Must he not execute justice for 
him as well as for the needy ? Why then doth the Lord here only 
mention the poor ? 

Ans. It is true, magistrates must execute justice for rich men 
as well as for the poor ; yet, since the poor are most subject to 
injury, therefore the magistrate must be more careful to defend 
them. The poor are low in condition, and are often laid lower by 
oppression : now, God hath raised up magistrates for this very end, 
to protect them in their low condition, and to lift them up when 
they are laid lower by oppression. 

2. As for rich men, the world loves her own, especially her white 
sons, her great and prosperous children, so that their causes are 
sure to be heard, and their right improved to the utmost who have 
so many angels to appear for them.i Eich men have many friends, 
Prov. xiv. 20. Where money is stirring, let the cause be never so 
unjust, yet ofttimes might overcomes right, so great an influence 
hath riches upon the rulers of this world ; so that it is needless to 
bid rulers plead for rich and mighty men. Besides, men are afraid 
of wronging great ones, because they have great power and many 
friends to vindicate them against the wrongs of any. 

3. There is an averseness and backwardness in our natures to 
help the poor, who have no gifts nor friends to side with them, 
who have nothing to plead but only the justness of their cause. 
Men that are in poverty and adversity find few friends, hence it is 
that the poor is oft hated even of his own neighbours, Prov. xiv. 20, 
and xix. 7 ; but the lovers of the rich are many. The poor prodigal 
is called ' this thy son,' not this my brother, Luke xv. 30. 

4. Where the hedge is low, men are apt to get over. When 
men are poor, then great men especially are apt to trample on 
them, 2 1 Sam. xviii. 23 ; hence it is that God lays such special in- 
junctions on the magistrate to see to them. The birds of prey can 
shift for themselves, but it is the poor dove that is made a prey. 
Hence the fatherless, the widow, the poor, the stranger, and the 
oppressed are yoked together in Scripture, because in respect of 
their weakness they are more liable to wrong, Deut. xiv. 29 ; Ps. x. 
18 ; Mai. iii. 5 ; James i. 27. It is not the ass of the rich, or the ox 

^ Auro loquente quis tacebit ? 
^ Dente timentur apri, defendant cornua cervos ; 
Imbelles damse, quid nisi prseda sumus ? — Martial Epigr., lib. xiii. cap. 95. 


of the miditv, but it is the ass of the fatherless, and the ox of the 
widow, that is taken away, Job vi. 27, and xxiv. 3. 

5. The Lord speaks here to unrighteous judges, who sided with 
the rich and turbulent oppressors of the poor ; and to make his 
exhortation take the deeper impression, he multiplies words, and 
doth, as it were, bid them defend, defend, defend. Whom ? The 
poor, the poor, the poor. As the Lord said of Jerusalem, ' I will 
overturn, overturn, overturn it,' i.e., I will speedily and certainly 
overtm-n it, Ezek. xxi. 27 ; so the doubling and trebhng of the 
duty and persons here is very emphatical, and notes God's earnest 
affection and desire to have the poor and fatherless speedily and 
certainly defended against the oppi'essions of the mighty.^ 

Defend the poor, i.e., defend the cause of the poor, since he 
cannot defend himself ; or, judge for the poor and fatherless- (as 
it is in the fountain), i.e., in your judgment vindicate them and 
their just causes from the sons of violence. They are God's clients, 
and therefore they should be the judge's care: for this end God 
hath set them in his stead, that they might defend those who can- 
not defend themselves, and use their power for the good of those 
who have no power, Job xxvi. 2. The Hebrew word Dal, which 
we render poor,-^ comes from Dalai to spend or consume, and is 
applied to the weak and sickly, whose health is spent. Gen. xh. 19, 
2 Sam. xiii. 4 ; and to the poor, whose wealth is wasted, Ps. xli. 1, 
Ixxii. 12, 13, and cxiii. 7 ; and they fallen into decay, Lev. xxv. 35. 
The word is opposed to rich men, who in Scripture are called great 
men, full and fat, Ps. Ixxviii. 31, and only men of wealth, Euth ii. 
1 ; Jer. xlix. 32. Now, it is not these full and fat ones, who have 
many friends, but it is the lean and weak man, that is poor in 
purse, sickly in person, and many other ways brought low ; it is 
these poor hopeless, helpless ones that rulers must have a care of 
It is not only their duty, but their glory so to do. Job xxix. 11-18. 

And fatherless,* or the orphan, that hath no father or friend to 
help him, but is forsaken of all. The word signifies one that hath 
lost his sight ;= because he that hath lost his parents is deprived of 
the light of counsel and direction how to carry himself in the 
world. As God delights to help those who cannot helj) themselves, 
Prov. xxiii. 10, 11, so must earthly gods. The word is rendered 

1 Vide Schools' Guard, rule 43. 

- Shij)tu fZaZ; judicate pro tenui. — Jlont. 

2 The TTord poor is a comprehensive word, including in it all sorts of poor. 
^ Fatom, pupillus orphanus, Lam. v. 3. 

Op(pavos ab 6p(pvbs tenebrosus, quod liberi quodammodo amittunt lucem et 
pupiUas oculorum, amissis T^arentihm.—JIinshew. 


by the Sei3tiiagint, poor ; indeed, the poor and fatherless are oft 
joined in Scripture, and are synonymes, being put for one and the 
same person ; as, Ps. x. 14, ' The poor committeth himself to thee ; thou 
art a father to the fatherless.' He that is called poor in the beginning 
of the verse, is called fatherless in the end. The word is taken, 
sometimes properly, for one that hath lost his father, 2. Meta- 
phorically, for such as are in deep distress and have no helper. 
Now, we are not to restrain the sense here only to orphans ; for he 
that is a father may be called fatherless, and the child that hath a 
father yet may be called fatherless, when he extremely needs the 
help either of God or man, Hosea xiv. 3. 

Do justice to the afflicted and the needy ; or, as the original 
runs, justify the afflicted, q.d., if his cause be just, fear not to justify 
him, and pronounce him judicially just and innocent. Many 
unjust judges will hear the causes of the poor ;^ but when they 
have heard them, and found them to be right, yet they do not 
justify them, but the wicked. The afflicted and the poor are 
joined in Scripture, Zeph. iii. 12, because poverty is usually accom- 
panied with many afflictions. The word gnani, which we render 
afflicted, signifies also to be humble and meek,^ Zech. ix. 9, for as 
riches make men cruel and proud, so affliction makes men humble 
and lowly. 

'And needy.' ^ Properly the word signifies a poor man that hath 
lost his goods, and so is brought to poverty and misery, whether by 
oppression or otherwise. These are called the poor of this world, 
Jas. ii. 5, and the poor of the earth, Job xxiv. 4, Amos viii. 4. 

Ver. 4. ' Deliver the poor and needy' ^ from the violence of the 
mighty ; the same is again repeated to make the deeper impression, 
and to shew how earnest God is to have judges put it in execution. 
God drives this nail to the head with one exhortation upon the 
neck of another, to fasten it the better in our hearts and memories. 

' Piid them out of the hand of the wicked,' i.e., free and rescue him 
from the paws and power of turbulent men, who, like their father 
the devil, delight in vexing others. The words seem to be a grada- 
tion, and not a bare repetition. 1. Judges must hear the cause of 
the poor. 2. Having found them innocent, they must justify them 
and declare their innocency. 3. They must not rest there, but 

^ JTiVscZiiu, justificate, absolvite, et justum pronunciate. 

2 Humilem et pauperem justificate. — Yulg. Lat. 

^ Rash, pauper, from rash, depauperari, to be impoverished or made poor. 

* Ehion, egenus, a poor, indigent, needy creature, from Ahab desidcravit, because 
the poor that have nothing desire food, raiment, monev, and such things as they 



they must rescue and deliver them as lambs out of the paws and 
jaws of the lion.^ By this variety of words and multiplication of 
expressions the Holy Ghost denotes unto us all kind of misery 
which we are exposed to in this world by reason of potent and 
politic enemies. Whatever the misery be, whether in body, goods, 
or name, (such is God's goodness,) that he would have magistrates, 
who are his vicegerents, to take notice of it, and deliver his people 
out of it. 

Obs. 1. Magistrates must be a defence to the poor and fatherless, 
to the afHicted and the needy. They are that great tree which 
must shelter such as are under them from storms, Dan. iv. 20-22. 
They are called gods, and in this they must act like him whose 
name they bear. Now, (1.) Sometimes the poor lie in deep dis- 
tress, and then the Lord is a refuge to them, Isa. xxv. 4. He 
hears their cry, Ps. xxxiv. 6, and Ixix. 33, whether it be vocal or 
virtual ; for sometimes the poor man's afflicted condition cries, 
though he say nothing, and God hears this cry : Ps. xii. 5, ' For the 
oppression of the poor will I arise.' Though the oppressed should 
not vocally cry, yet their very oppression virtually cries for help, 
James v. 4. 

2. Sometimes they lie in the dust, and then he raiseth them, 
Ps. cxiii. 7 ; they lie amongst the pots, and are sullied with afflic- 
tion, yet then he makes them beautiful like a dove, Ps. Ixviii. 13. 

3. Sometimes they are environed with mighty enemies, and 
then he rescues them. Job v. 15, 16, by cutting off their oppressors, 
and comforting the oppressed, Job xxxvi. 6, 15. 

4. But specially the godly poor, God is very tender over 
these : he that toucheth them to hurt them, toucheth the apple of 
his eye. These are his jewels, his glory, his portion, his pleasant 
portion, his inheritance, his dove, his spouse, his anointed ones ; 
and if kings wrong them, he will rebuke even kings, for their 
sakes, saying, ' Touch not mine anointed,' Ps. cv. 15 ; Amos ii. 6. 
God visits for such sins. 

5. As for the fatherless, who are exposed to much sorrow — 
and therefore Christ promiseth his disciples that he will not leave 
them orphans, or fatherless, John xiv. 18 — God hath styled him- 
self a father to them, Ps. Ixviii. 5 ; Hosea xiv. 3. 2. He hath 
made many laws for them, Exod. xxii. 22; Deut. xvi. 11, 14, 
xxiv. 17, and xxvi. 12, 13, and curseth those that wrong them, 

^ 1. Judicate. 2. Justificate. 3. Eripite. Eripere pauperem de manu potentis est 
Bententiam adversus potentem pro paupere juste pronuntiatam execution! mandare, 
et reipsa eJficere ut pauper nihil detrimenti a potentiore iuimico patiatur. — Bellarm. 


Deut. xxvii. 19. 3. He chargetli magistrates, in the text, to be 
tender over them ; so Isa. i. 17 ; Job xxix. 12, and xxxi. 17, 18, 21. 
4. When magistrates are negligent in defending them, he hears 
their cry, and threatens to visit for that sin, Isa. i. 23, 24 ; Jer. v. 
28, 29, and xxi. 12; Mal.iii. 5. 5. If magistrates will not plead 
their cause, yet God will, Deut. x. 18 ; Ps. x. ult, and cxlvi. 9 ; 
Prov. xxiii. 11. 

6. St James sums up all religion, as it were, into this one duty. 
It is not enough that we hear, pray, and worship God ; but we 
must also love our neighbours, and show pity to the poor and 
fatherless, without which all our profession is vain, James i. 27. 
Now magistrates, in their capacity and calling, must resemble 
God, they must be a refuge to the poor, a father to the fatherless, 
and a comfort to the comfortless. Job, who was an eminent 
magistrate in his time, how tender was he over the poor and father- 
less ! He was eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, a father to the 
poor, and the blessing of him who was ready to perish came upon 
him, and he made the widow's heart to sing for joy, Job xxix. 12, 
&c., XXX. 15, and xxxi. 17, 21:^ especially he must defend the 
godly poor, who are oft contemned by the high and haughty of the 
world for their poverty, and hated for their piety. These commit 
themselves and their cause to God, Ps. x. 14, and therefore they 
are called his poor, by a special propriety, Ps. Ixxii. 2. ' He,' speak- 
ing of Solomon, ' shall judge thy people with equity.' God's deputies 
must be tender over those whom God so tenders, that he prizeth 
them above all the world besides* 

' Do Justice.' — Ohs. 2. As magistrates must administer justice 
unto all, so especially to the afflicted and distressed. These are 
most liable to injury ; and therefore, if justice incline to any side 
with favour, it should be towards the poor. This is the very end 
why rulers are set up — viz., to execute judgment, and do justice 
amongst the people, Isa. Ivi. 1 ; Hosea xii. 6 ; Amos v. 24 ; Zech. 
vii. 9. Therefore it is that David prayed for his son Solomon that 
God would give him a clear understanding and right judgment to 
discern between good and evil, and an upright heart to walk 
answerable to light received, that so he might 'judge the people 
with righteousness, and the poor with judgment,' Ps. Ixxii. 1,2; 
and Solomon himself makes the like prayer, 1 Kings iii. 9 ; and 

1 Men's necessities are manj', but most of them spring from ignorance and want 
of skill, or impotency and want of power, both noted here by blindness and lame- 
ness. Job was a guide to the blind and a staff to the lame, leading the one and sup- 
porting the other. — D. Sanderson, 1 Ssr. ad Marjistr., p. 162. 


the queen of Sheba tells him that God had raised him for this 
end, 1 Kings x. 9. It was the honour of the kings of Egypt that 
they bound their judges by oath not to act unjustly, no, though 
they themselves should command them so to do. Clothing is an 
ornament, and a diadem is a glory : all magistrates, like Job, 
should 'put on righteousness as a robe, and judgment as a diadem,' 
Job xxix. 14 : so did Christ, Isa. xi. 5.^ This was David's honour, 
that he executed justice and judgment to all his people, 2 Chron. 
xviii. 14. This is so lovely a thing, that Absalom, when he would 
entice the people from David, tells them that if he were made 
judge in the land, though David did not, yet he would do them 
justice, 2 Sam. xv. 4. As injustice is all vice, so justice compre- 
hends all virtue,^ so excellent a thing is justice. This is our duty, 
Micah vi. 8 ; as every man in his place must do justly, so specially 
the magistrate. 3 

2. It is our security, Isa. xxxiii. 15, 16 ; it establisheth thrones, 
Prov. xvi. 12, and xxix. 14 ; Jer. xxii. 3, 4, and preserves a people 
from ruin, Amos v. 15. There is no one thing, religion excepted, 
that doth more secure and adorn a nation than justice doth.^ It is 
both columna et corona Teipublicce ; it is a prop to make it subsist 
firm in itself, and, as a crown, to render it glorious in the eyes of 
others. It is as the cement in the building, which holds all to- 
gether. Take this away, and nations will quickly run to ruin, Jer. 
V. 1, and xxi. 12.* Gall is bitter, and hemlock is poisonous ; now, 
when judgment is turned into gall, and righteousness into hemlock, 
judgment is not far from that people, Hosea x. 4 ; Amos vi. 12. 
The law thunders out curses against such as pervert judgment, 
specially the judgment of the fatherless and the widow, Deut. xxvii. 
19 ; Prov. xxiv. 24. 

3. It is our glory. Kighteousness exalts a nation, Prov. xiv. 
34, and brings a blessing on it. ' The Lord bless thee, habita- 
tion of justice,' Jer. xxxi. 23 ; so that, what Solomon saith of wis- 
dom is most true of justice : ' Exalt her, and she shall exalt thee to 
honour ; she shall be to thee an ornament of grace, and a crown of 

1 The first thing we do in a morning is to put on our clothes : before we eat or 
drink, we do this. So should every good magistrate prefer public justice before his 
own private affairs, much more before his jades, his kites, his curs, and pleasures. — 
B. Sanderson, 1 S€7: ad Macjislratum, p. 155. 

2 oi) fxipos aperris, dXX' oXt} dperri. — Arist. Ethiclc, lib. v. 

^ Vide Mr Ant. Burgess' Ser. on Psalm cvi. 30, p. 2, preached 1644 ; and Dr San- 
derson's Ser. on the same text, p. 238 ; Mr Greenhil on Ezek. i. 14, p. 74. 

** Eaj respublicte ad interitum inclinant in quibus boni h, malis nihil differunt. — 


glory shall slie deliver to thee,' Prov. iv. 8, 9. Justice and judg- 
ment is more acceptable to God than sacrifice,"^ Prov. xxi. 3 ; with- 
out it, all duties are an abomination, Isa. i. 15 ; Amos v. 21, 24, 
and our prayers in vain, Josh. vii. 20. 

A heathen could say, that the choicest gift that ever God gave 
to man, considering what miseries he is subject to, was government 
by justice, which bridleth and restraineth the presumption of the 
furious, preserveth the innocent in his honesty, and yieldeth equally 
to every man his due.^ 

Now that justice may be rightly dispensed to all, seven rules 
must be observed : 

Do justice, 1. Discreetly; 2. Speedily; 3. Impartially and uni- 
versally ; 4. Eesolutely and courageously ; 5. Kighteously and 
exactly; 6. Soberly; 7. Diligently. 

1. A good magistrate will execute justice discreetly: liG is not 
rash nor heady ; but he ponders all circumstances of person, time, 
and place, and judgeth accordingly. Now, as a word spoken in 
season — or as it is in the fountain — a word set upon its wheels,^ 
having a due concurrence of all circumstances — is like apples of 
gold in pictures of silver, not only delightful to the eye, but profit- 
able to the possessor, Prov. xxv. 11 ; so an act of justice rightly 
circumstantiated, is both pleasant and profitable. He must not 
regard bare accusations ; for who then should be innocent ?^ Christ 
himself was accused for a blasphemer and an enemy to Caesar, and 
the apostles were called deceivers, and yet they were true men, 2 
Cor. vi. 8. Besides, wicked men are very subtle in concealing, 
forging, and wrapping up their sinful practices, Micah vii. 3 ; but 
a prudent magistrate will sift and search out the truth of a matter, 
Deut. xvii. 4; Job xxix. 16. For want of this, wise David was 
overseen, and gave away good Mephibosheth's estate unheard, upon 
the bare accusation of a self-seeking Ziba, 2 Sam. xix. 29 ; and it 
was hard to censure Queen Vashti before she was heard speak for 
herself, Esth. i. 19. It was good counsel, and he did practise it 
himself, which Alexander gave to his judges, that when they had 
heard one party speak, they should stop one ear to hear what the 

' Pinguior victima mactari Deo non potest quam homo sceleratus. See six mo- 
tives to quicken magistrates to do justice, in Mr TafFyn on Amendment, pp. 122, 354, 
and ten more in Mr Levisy's Jehoshophat's Charge, p. 75, 80, &c. ; Clerk's Mirror, 
chap. 74, 75. 

* Plato de Repub., lib. iv. 

^ Beophnau, super rotis suis. 

* In capital causes especially deliberation must be uaei.— Goodwin's Jewish Aniiq., 
lib. V. cap. 6, p. 195. 


other party could say for himself. It is folly to speak before we 
know the depth of the matter before us, Pro v. xviii. 13. God will 
have both parties heard, Exod. xxii. 9.1 

2. Speedily. He must expedite causes, and not make a long 
harvest of a little crop. Delay oft makes the remedy worse than 
the disease. To tire out the poor, the fatherless, and the widow, 
with tedious suits and dilatory courses till they have no means left 
to prosecute their righteous cause, is an act of great unrighteousness- 
Christ is described (and a magistrate cannot follow a better copy) 
to be one that seeketh judgment and executeth justice speedily, Isa. 
xvi. 5. So did David, Ps. ci. 8. As it is ill to do right rashly, so 
it is wrong to do it delayingly ; and as they do a double courtesy 
who do it speedily, so they do double right who do it, though dis- 
creetly and deliberately, yet quickly. When the poor woman peti- 
tioned Philip king of Macedon to hear her cause, he answered that 
he was not at leisure. Then, said she, be not king. The king, 
laying to heart her speech, gave speedy audience, not only to her, 
but to all men from that day forward. And the emperor Trajan 
on horseback, ready to go to battle., alighted to hear the complaint 
of a poor woman. 

3. Impartially and universally to all, without fear of foes or fa- 
vour to friends. As God's justice knows no relations,^ Isa. xxvii. 11 ; 
Jer. xxii. 4, 24, so magistrates in point of justice must know none. 
Levi, in this case, did know neither father nor mother, brethren nor 
children, Deut. xxxiii. 9. David punished his Absalom with a three 

.years' banishment for his fratricide, 1 Kings xiii. 38. King Asa 
deposed his own mother for her idolatry, 1 Kings xv. 13. And 
that resolution of Saul was heroic, if it had been well grounded: 
' Though the fault be found in Jonathan my son, he shall surely 
die,' 1 Sam. xiv. 39. It is excellent, but hard, to censure those we 
love. It is the cause's equity, and not the person's intimacy, that 
must sway us. If the person be wicked, though he be never so 
nearly related to thee, punish him ; as that noble Roman did his 
son for siding with Cataline, Te patrice genui, non Caialince. And 
as that man who pleaded kindred, My lord, I am your kinsman, 
said the prisoner. Are you so ? said the judge ; why then you shall 
have a higher gibbet erected,^ that all the world may see that I will 
do justice to a kinsman. When Zaleucus had made a law against 
adulterers, that whosoever should be found guilty thereof, Exocula- 

1 See more directions in Mr Lawson's Body of Divinity, on the Ninth Command- 
ment, p. 221, &c. 

" Exuit personam judicis, quisquis amici induit. — Cicero. 

^ Altiorem erigite erucem. 


retur, he should have his eyes put out. It so fell out, that his son 
was the first offender ; whereupon sentence was pronounced, and 
execution ready to be done. The people entreating the judge his 
father to pardon the fault, upon deliberation he put out one of his 
own eyes and one of his son's, and so shewed }i\ms,Q\i pium patrem, 
etjustum judicem, a good father, and a just judge. As Aristotle 
said sometimes. Amicus Socrates, &,c., Socrates I love, and Plato I 
love, but I love the truth above them all ; so say you, My friends 
I love, my kindred I love, my children I love, but justice and judg- 
ment I love above them all. Justice is pictured blind, with a sword 
in one hand and a balance in the other, i It cannot see a rich man 
from a poor, nor a friend from a foe. It makes not the law like a 
spider's web, which catcheth little flies whilst the great ones break 
through. It knows that one sinner, one Achan, one Saul, one Ahab, 
unpunished destroys much good, Eccles. ix. 18. 

4. Kesolutely and courageously. Judges must not fear the faces 
or the frowns of any; for the judgment is the Lord's which they 
execute, who will defend them in it,2 Exod. xviii. 21 ; Deut. i. 17. 
Nehemiah (chap. vi. 11) will not fear nor fly, but stands it out 
against all the plots and power of Sanballat and his confederates. 
God's Joshuas and Zerubbabels must be strong and of good cour- 
age,2 Josh. i. 9 ; Hag. ii. 4. Hence Constantino is styled a man- 
child for his courage in venturing for the Cliurch's weal. The Lord 
himself is a shield and sanctuary to the shields of the earth ; he is 
on their side, and therefore they should not fear what man can do 
unto them, Ps. Ivi. 5, and cxviii. 6. Inferior creatures, when backed 
by a superior, are full of spirit. A little dog will venture on a crea- 
ture far stronger than himself, when his master stands by to back 
him. Do justice faithfully, and then let the world fall on thee, it 
shall never hurt thee.4 If any dare to do injustice, do not thou 
fear to do justice on him. Solomon's throne was upheld by lions, 
not by fearful harts and hares,^ 2 Kings x. 20 ; 2 Chron. ix. 18, 19, 
intimating that magistrates should be such for magnanimity and 
courage. The pillars of a house had need to be heart of oak. Ma- 
gistrates are the pillars of a land, and therefore had need to be solid, 
seasoned, resolute, undaunted men, that will not warp for fear or 

^ Vide Plutarch de Iside. 

^ Magistrates must be anschei cJiajil, viri virtutis, valiant men. 

3 Judex neminem timeat nisi seipsum. See many reasons why magistrates should 
be courageous, in Dr Sanderson's 1 Ser. ad Magistratum, p. 176, &c. 

* Fiat justitia, et ruat mundus. 

^ See how magistrates must be like lions in seven particulars, in M. John Carter's 
Ser. at Norwich on Eev. v. 5, p. 120, styled the Lion. 


favour, for threats or gifts. These shields of the earth must look 
for darts sometimes from superiors, anon from inferiors, and, if they 
be not well steeled, to flatter the one or please the other, they will 
fail in duty. None but noble raised spirits can hold out in doing 
well, though they hear ill for their pains.^ There are three dogs 
which Luther would not have ministers to bring into the pulpit 
with them, — viz.. Envy ; Pride ; Covetousness. And there are three 
sins which no magistrate should bring to the seat of justice with 
him, — viz.. Pusillanimity ; Malice and anger ; Covetousness. 

(1.) A pusillanimous man dares not say nay to an unrighteous mo- 
tion, for fear of the displeasure of the people, or of some great man. 
It was their sin that condemned Naboth for fear of displeasing 
Jezebel ; and Pilate for fear of Caesar condemned Christ, though 
he found him innocent, and knew that he was delivered to him of 
envy.2 Paul's cause was good, yet Felix will not free him because 
of the people. Darius, to please his princes, sends Daniel to the 
lions' den, though with some regret. So king Zedekiah, overawed 
by his princes, delivers Jeremiah into their hands, Jer. xxxviii. 5. 
Inordinate fears are very prejudicial to men in public places. Such 
fear slays a man whilst he lives, and buries him before he is dead, 
Isa, xxii, 2. It enfeebles and dispirits a man, so that he cannot act 
so freely as becomes him. The fear of man is a snare, Prov. xxix. 
25 ; and every coward, saith Aristotle, is a murderer.^ As all 
Christians, so magistrates, then, especially had need to be men of 
good courage ; and the rather because they must oppose the torrent 
and current of the sins of the times they live in.* 

(2.) Malice and anger become not a judge. Spite will never do 
right. Malice puts men upon revenge. Micaiah must to prison 
though he prophesy nothing but truth. And why so ? For I hate 
him, said Ahab.^ Aristides, though a heathen, said well. When 
sitting as judge between two persons, the one charged his adversary 
with great wrongs done to Aristides. He answered. Friend, tell 
me only what he hath done to thee, for I sit here to do right to thee, 
and not to myself. 

(3.) Covetousness. A magistrate must not only be free from it, 

^ Bene facere, et male audire, regium est. — Se7ieca. 

s It is a good clause which I have read in Minshew, that in the oaths of the king's 
justices they shall swear to do right, notwithstanding the king's letters. — An. 18, 
£dw. 3, 4. 

^ vavra SetKbif cpoviKbv. — Aristof. 

* See Mr Ash's Ser. onPs. xxxi. 24, preached 1642. 

' AfFectus ubi judicat, ibi ratio claudicat ; et ubi est fervida vindicta, ibi non tem- 
perata justitia. 


but he must hate it, Exod. xviii. 21 ; a man that is greedy of gain, 
will transgress for a morsel of bread, Prov. xxviii. 21 ; a poor re- 
ward will put him out of his way. This sin is the root of all evil, 
bribery, simony, sacrilege, partiality, tyranny, time-serving, and 
turning of judgment backward, Isa. lix. 14 ; these are some of those 
fruits of this bitter root. Such will sell their wit, parts, power, 
conscience, religion, and all for money. I have read of many sales, 
as sale-winds, by witches, ^ sale-churches, by patrons, or rather 
latrons, sale-hands, by mercenary soldiers ; but sale-justice and a 
sale-sentence is one of the worst sales, for it makes the just man a 
sinner, and takes away the righteousness of the righteous from him. 
This Solomon looked upon as a great evil : 2 Eccles. iii. 16, ' He saw 
the place of judgment, and lo, wickedness was there.' To find 
wickedness in taverns, theatres, or mountains of prey, is no wonder ; 
but for seats of justice to be full of injustice, this is gall and hem- 
lock indeed, Amos vi. 12. These love dialectum JDoricam^^ the 
Dorick dialect, as one phraseth it, they are all for gifts, like those 
in Hosea's time, Hosea iv. 18 ; her rulers with shame love Give ye, 
/.e., in a shameful, sordid manner they call for gifts and presents, 
crying. Give, give; bring, bring; like the insatiable horse-leech, 
they cry. Hah, hah, give, give, Prov. xxx. 15 ; but will you see the 
end of such bribers? why, 'fire shall consume their tabernacles,' ^ 
Job XV. 34. 

5. Eighteously and exactly. A magistrate must not only be 
Justus, but he must do Justa, yea, and he must do them juste. He 
must hear both parties speak, and then judge righteously between 
them. They must not wrest nor rack the law, to make it speak 
what it never meant, but with just judgment must they judge the 
people. Lev. xix. 15; Zech. viii. 16. He must dispense justice 
carefully, constantly, and conscientiously. Justice justice he must 
do, i.e., pure justice,^ Deut. xvi. 20, not seeming, but real justice; 
not justice in part, but entire justice in measure and degree, with- 
out passion, corruption, or delay. He must not do an act or two 
of justice, but it must be his constant work ; it is his clothing 

^ Vide Heyling's Geogra. in Lapland. 

^ Non in homines debent imperium habere, sed in belluas, qui publicorum ofSciorum 
functionibus, non quid ex usu sit publico, sed quid rei pnvatte serviat, qusorunt. — 

^ They love dwpa, dona. 

* Siquis honorem verum amet, ab omni suspicione captandorum munerum sedulo 
cavebit, prsesertim in eo constitutus loco, in quo maxime cavendum ne iniquitas 
venalis fiat. — Rivet. 

* Justitiam justitiam, i.e., justissimam et puram justitiam. — Piscator. See Schools 
Guard, rule 43. 


which he must put on every day.l His head, and heart, and hands 
must be covered with it, Job xxviii. 14. Rulers must not free 
ravens and censure doves, nor loose Barabbas and bind Christ. 
This is not execution of justice, but persecution of the just. They 
must proportion the punishment according to the offence, and not 
barely shave the head, which for its enormities ought to be cut off. 2 
There must be an accurate, arithmetical, and geometrical propor- 
tion observed, i.e., the fact with all its circumstances must be con- 
sidered, and there must be a retaliation rendered accordingly. 
Great sins must have great punishment, and lesser sins lesser pun- 
ishment. Life must for life, and eye for eye, Gren. ix. 6 ; Exod. 
xxi. 24. 

6. Soberly. He must be a temperate man, else how will he 
govern others, that cannot govern himself, or reform others, who is 
unreformed himself ? What the apostle saith of ministers is true 
of magistrates ; if a man cannot rule himself and his own house, 
how shall he govern the house of God ? 1 Tim. iii. 5. He is not 
like to help another, who hath lost himself. Wine and strong 
drink make men forget the law, and pervert judgment. It is not 
for princes to be eating in the morning when they should be judg- 
ing the people,^ Eccles. x. 16, 17 ; Jer. xxi. 12. Judges must be 
wise and prudent ; but when temperance is gone, where is the 
prudence ? He that is luxurious and riotous, is not wise, saith the 
wisest of men, Prov. xx. 1 ; and therefore Solon made a law, that 
whatever ruler was found drunk should be put to death. 

7. Diligently. It is God's work, and he is cursed that doth it 
negligently. Justice must diffuse itself; it must run down as a 
mighty stream, fully, freely, commonly, and universally,^ Amos v. 
24. Rivers run by the poor man's door as well as the rich. It 
must be their delight to do judgment, Prov. xxi, 15. Rulers were 
not made for pleasure, but for labour. They were not born for 
themselves, but for the people's good ; hence those titles of nursing 
fathers, shepherds, stewards, &c., all which imply a great deal of 
care and pains. 

^ Judex nihil aliud est quani, S'lKaiov e/xxpuxov, i.e., jus quoddam animatum. — Arist. 

^ Distinguendum est inter pojnain seelcrum jure divino definitam, et arbitrio magis- 
tratus relietam. Quoad illam servanda est tcqualitas arithmetica, quoad banc geo- 
metrica. — Gerhard. 

^ In sicco habitat sapientia, non in humido; fundamentum ejus est temperantia. — 

* Sudandum est lis qui magistratum gerunt ; adeundaj inimicitias, subeunda; ssepe 
pro republica tempestates, cum multis audacibus, improbis, nonnunquam etiam 
potentibus dimicandum est. — Cicero pro Sestert. 


Obs. 3. Good duties need much pressing. Such is the dulness 
and indisposition of our natures to the best things, that without 
much pressing they take little or no impression upon us : hence it 
is that the Lord here calls on judges again and again to defend the 
poor and fatherless, and to deliver the needy out of trouble. So in 
Kev. ii. iii., Christ calls again and again to those that have ears to 
hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. We must have line 
upon line, and precept upon precept, and all little enough to make 
the word effectual. It is not sufficient to say, I know this and that, 
but you must love to hear it pressed upon you again and again, for 
your more spiritual improvement of it. He that loves the truth in 
truth, the more he hears it the more he loves it still, i It is but an 
adulterous love to virgin truth, to be weary of her when you are 
best acquainted with her, and to cast her off with contempt, as 
Amnon did Tamar, when you have had your fill of her. 

Obs. 4. Magistrates must administer justice oixlerly. They must 
not go preposterously to work, and condemn a man before he is 
heard. But 1. They must fully, freely, patiently, with a sedate, 
quiet, composed spirit, free from passion, prejudice, and precipi- 
tancy, hear both parties speak for themselves, for the law doth not 
use to condemn men till their cause be heard, John vii. 51 ; Acts 
XXV. 15, 16. 2. When, upon hearing, he hath found out the depth 
and truth of the cause, then he must justify and absolve the inno- 
cent, and rescue him out of the jaws of the wicked, by executing 
justice on him according to his demerits. 

Obs. 5. God is very tender over his poor afflicted people. This 
makes him here once and again to charge his vicegerents to have a 
special care over them. None must touch them to hurt them ; or 
if they do, the magistrate must rescue them ; and if they will not, 
yet God himself will, Ps. xii. 5 ; he takes the wrongs that are done 
to them as done to himself: Prov. xiv. 31, and xvii. 5, He that 
oppresseth the poor reproacheth his maker, and contemns the wise 
dispensation of God, who will have poor intermingled with the rich, 
as the valleys are amongst the hills, for his own praise. God would 
have no man oppressed, be he never so rich ; but specially he hates 
the oppressing of the poor, because low and weak, and cannot help 
themselves as rich men can. The more unable they are to help 
themselves, the sooner will God arise to help them ; though they be 
weak, yet their Redeemer is strong, Prov. xxiii. 10, 11. Though 
they be little, yet their protector is mighty. You may be able to 
contend with the poor, but can you contend with the Almighty, who 

^ Veritas quo notior, eo charior. 


is their guardian ?i No wise man will contend witli a mightier 
than himself, nor oppress the servants and sons of a prince that can 
easily suppress and crush him. The poor and fatherless, when be- 
lievers, are the sons and servants of God, and they cannot escape 
that wrong them; he hath more than once proclaimed himself 
their patron and protector, Ps. x. 14, and Ixviii. 5 ; Hosea xiv. 3 ; 
Deut. X. 17, 18, and hath denounced woes against those that hurt 
them, Isa. x. 1-3 ; Mal. iii. 5, and punished Jerusalem amongst 
other sins for this, Ezek. xxii. 7. Many think they may abuse the 
poor, because they are impotent and cannot help themselves, but 
see how Solomon counsels these men most excellently, Prov. xxii. 
22, 23, ' Kob not the poor because he is poor, neither oppress the 
afflicted in the gate ; for the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil 
the soul of those that spoiled them ;' q.d., let not his poverty and 
inability to withstand thee, encourage thee to abuse him ; yea, 
though thou be one of the magistrates, a man of power that sittest 
in the gate, yet know that there is a greater than thou, who will 
help the helpless, will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those 
that spoiled them ; i.e., he will take away the life of those that take 
away the estate of the afflicted. 

Ohs. 6. Oppressors of the poor are cruel beasts. They get the 
poor in their clutches, and as the wolf feeds on his prey, so do they 
on them, Ps. xvii. 12, till the magistrate by his power do rescue 
them. Hence for their ferity they are compared to lions, Job iv, 
10 ; wolves, Hab, i. 8 ; bears, Prov. xvii. 12 ; dogs. Mat. vii. 6 ; 
wild boars, Ps. Ixxx. 13 ; to millers, that grind the poor by their 
cruelty, Isa. iii. 15 ; to thrashers, which bruise and oppress the 
people, Amos i. 3 ; to butchers, that do not fleece but flay the sheep, 
Micah iii. 2, 3 ; hence their teeth are called swords, and their jaw- 
teeth knives, that they may at once devour the poor from off the 
earth, Prov. xxx. 14^ ; Ps. Ivii. 4. The fourth beast in Daniel's 
vision had great iron teeth, Dan. vii. 7 ; he had teeth, great teeth, 
iron teeth ; and all to note what spoil that beast should make 
amongst the nations. 

Ohs. 7. Magistrates must improve their power in rescuing the 
poor out of the paws of the oppressor. To this end they have their 
power given them, not to oppress the oppressed, or to add affliction 
to the afflictions of the afflicted, but that they might resemble God, 
who is a father to the fatherless, and the poor man's refuge. Hence 

* Gobel, i.e., assertor, vindex, propinquus, consanguineus, redemptor. — ^ Lapidein 
locum. See more on this point in Mr Gataker's Ser. on Ps. Ixxxii. 7, p. 103, 104, 
part ii., folio. 


they are called slieplierds. As the shepherd defends the flock, and 
rescues his lambs from lions and wolves, so must the magistrate by 
his power defend the lambs of Christ from the sons of violence. 
So did Job, chap. xxix. 17, he brake the jaws of the wicked, and 
pulled the spoil out of his teeth. 

Obs. 8. Merciless men are wicked men. Those that oppress the 
poor have this brand set upon them, that they are resliagnanim, 
wicked men. As tenderness, pity, and mercifulness are signs of 
election. Col. iii. 12, so ferity, cruelty and harshness are signs of 
reprobation, as we see in Nabal and Dives. See how Job describes the 
wicked, by enumerating their unmerciful practices, chap. xxiv. 2-12. 

Ohs. 9. Rich men ofttimes are oppressive men. These wicked 
men that the prophet speaks of, were not poor men, for they have 
not the power that rich men have to oppress their brethren ; neither 
do judges use to respect the persons of the poor, as they did these, 
ver. 2. Riches accidentally make men cruel and insolent. The 
rich, saith Solomon, rules over the poor, viz., with insolence and 
violence, Prov. xxii. 7. It were rich men that oppressed the poor, 
and drew them violently before judgment-seats, James ii. 6 ; so 
as when these wicked ones arise, especially to be rulers, the poor, 
especially the godly poor, hide themselves, Prov. xxviii. 28. 

Ver. 5. They hnoiu not, neither loill they imderstand ; they lualk on 
in the darkness ; all the foundations of the earth are out of course. 

This verse is a kind of parenthesis, and contains the Lord's pa- 
thetical complaint of that ignorance, stupidity, and obstinacy which 
he found in the judges of those times ; together with the sad effects 
of it in the commonwealth ; the foundations of the earth were out 
of course. 

In this verse the person is changed ; God speaks not here to the 
magistrates themselves, as he did ver. 2. He says not, ' Ye do not 
know, ye do not understand ; ' but as one troubled in mind, and 
mourning within himself to see their desperate malice, and the 
confusions that attended it, he cries out, ' They have not known, 
they have no understanding,'! i.e., they do not know nor under- 
stand. It is frequent in that language to put the prasterperfect 
tense for the present tense ; as Ps. i. 1, ' Blessed is the man who 
hath not walked,' i.e., who doth not walk in the counsel of the un- 
godly. It notes a continued act, and implies their perseverance in 
ignorance ; " q.d., But what do I mean ? Why go I about to 

^ Lo jadegnu, non cognoverunt. — Proeterit in Kal. 

* Prseterita ponnutur pro priesente, et notant actum continuum. — Piscator. 


make a blackamoor white ? It is in vain to reprove this kind of 
men, or to exhort them to the study of righteousness ; for they 
grow worse and worse ; they are so blinded, stupefied and hardened 
in their sin, that they will go on in their dark and sinful courses, 
though they ruin themselves, and the commonwealth to boot. 

In the words we have all the degrees of comparison, and in them 
the character of evil judges : 1. These corrupt judges were blind : 
they know not, that is bad. 2. They will not understand, that is 
worse. 3. They will walk on in their own dark courses, that is 
worst of aU. 4. Though the whole world be in confusion, and the 
very foundations of the earth shake under them, partly through 
their own misgovernment, and partly by the just judgment of God, 
yet they were stupid and senseless, they took no notice of it, so as to 
amend what was amiss, but went on still in their perverse practices, 
till all came to confusion. And this is super-superlative wickedness. 

1. Their first degree of evil is ignorance, ' they know not/ They 
were wise enough to do evil, but to do good they had no knowledge. 

Quest. But here a question may arise ; since these men were 
judges in Israel, and had parts, with answerable breeding, no doubt, 
to fit them for such weighty employment, how then is it said, 'they 
know not, neither do they understand ' ? 

Ans. The answer is easy. Knowledge is twofold — speculative, 
or practical. These judges were not fools and ignorant of their 
duty, they had a theoretical, notional, speculati%'e knowledge of it ; 
they knew that they were God's vicegerents and deputies appointed 
by him to execute justice and judgment amongst his people im- 
partially, and that they ought to have a tender respect to the poor 
and the afflicted ; and if they did not thus, they knew that God 
would punish them. All this no doubt, and much more, they had 
in the theory, having so many prophets as the people of Israel had 
to instruct them. 

2. But if we look upon their practice, so it may be said they 
have no knowledge ; i viz., so as to love, afi'ect, and practise what 
they know. In Scripture, knowledge without practice is counted 
no knowledge, and hypocritical false things are esteemed as no 
things.2 Thus graceless men are accounted as no men, Jer. v. 1, 
' Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see if ye can 
find a man.' Why, the streets were full of men ; yea, but because 
they were not good men, God accounts them as no men. Thus 

^ Verba notitiieapudHebraeos,affectuscomprehendunt. — JSeeSchool's Guard, Eule 11. 
* The worijadanr/, in the text, implies both knowledge with the mind, and ac- 
knowledging and regarding with the affections. 


the wicked are said to have no heart, Hos. vii. 11 ; i.e., no heart 
to goodness, and then as good have no heart at all. Thus the 
wicked are said not to hear the law, because they do not hear it 
rightly, and obedientially. Thus Saul is said to reign but two 
years over Israel, when he reigned many years: but because in his 
two first years he reigned well, and after did degenerate, therefore 
his last reigning was accounted as no reigning. So these judges, 
though they knew they should judge righteously, without respect of 
persons, yet they did judge unrighteously, with respect to persons, 
and therefore God accounted their knowledge as no knowledge ; 
' they know not.' 

* Neither do they understand.' They were stupid, and incapable 
of good counsel. They did not understand or consider (so much 
the word imports in the original) i the duties of their places, 
so as to practise them for the good of God's poor, afflicted, op- 
pressed people. The word is frequently used for consideration, 
as 1 Kings iii. 21, 'When I had considered it in the morning.' So 
Isa. xiv. IG, and xliii. 18. Consider the things of old, Jer. ii. 10, 
xxiii. 20. In the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. So 
Job xxiii. 15, and xxxvii. 14. Consider the wondrous works of 
God, so as to be affected with them, 

' They walk on in darkness.' The words in the fountain 
are very emphatical. ' They will walk on continually in dark- 
ness.'^ They take not a turn or two in this dark alley, but 
indesinenter amhulant, they are always at it, it is their work, 
their way, their trade, and no man nor means can put them 
out of it. They will walk on and continue in their wilful igno- 
rance, and sinful perverting of judgment, in despite of God and 
man. Now to walk in darkness, in Scripture phrase notes, 1. A 
livins: in isrnorance, 3 Eccles. ii. 14, when men care not to know the 
will of God, but say as those wicked in Job xxi. 14, ' Depart from 
us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.' These corrupt 
judges walked in ways of darkness, and therefore they loved dark- 
ness more than light. This made them err in judgment, as blind 
men stumble at everything that lies in their way ; and hence came 
that sedition, tumult, and confusion in the state. 2. To walk in 
darkness, is to lie in a natural condition, and live in a state of sin 

^ Jabinu, f rom Binali intellexit, consideravit. — Pagnin. 

^ It is not hallacu, ambulabunt, but lithhallacu, ambulabiiiit indesinenter. Nam 
verba in conjugatione Hithpael significationem intenduut, inimo habitum, vehemen- 
tiam et frequentiam denotant. — Pagnin. 

3 Ostendit ignorantiam istorum judicum fuisse voluntariam, ut qui noluerint ex 
lege Dei discere quid sui esset o&<i\\.~ Piscaior. 


and ignorance, without any saving knowledge of God, Jolin viii. 
12, and xii. 46 ; Prov. ii. 13 ; 1 John i. 6, and ii. 11. By nature 
these men were bHnd, but being drunken with pleasures, and be- 
sotted with the lusts of covetousness, bribery, j)rivate affection, and 
puffed up with the greatness of their power, they had contracted a 
habitual blindness, so that they could not discern right from wrong, 
darkness from light, nor truth from error. Their lusts had blinded 
them, and put out their eyes, so that they could not see the duties of 
their places, nor remember the great account which they must one 
day give unto God of their stewardship : but as Samson when he had 
lost his eyes was abused and put to grind in a mill, so these being 
blinded by Satan, were made to grind in the mill of every sin and error. 

' All the foundations of the earth are out of course.' These words 
have almost as many interpretations as there be interpreters : — 1. 
Some add the word, albeit or although, to the text ; they walk on 
in darkness, albeit the foundations of the earth be moved ; and so 
they make these words an aggravation of that prodigious stupidity 
which had possessed those great ones of the world, q.d., Such is 
their sottishness and senselessness, that though all the world be in 
confusion, and heaven and earth be ready to come together, yet do 
they snort in their security, and will by no means be quickened to 
the execution of justice, that they might prevent destruction. 

This sense is good, but with submission to better judgments, I 
conceive the words may be taken as they are in themselves, without 
any addition, for the sad effect and consequent of that ignorance, 
unrighteousness, cruelty, and stupidity which reigned in their 
rulers, — viz., that by reason of it all the foundations of the earth 
were out of course,^ i.e., all laws were broken, all orders violated, 
the wicked were encouraged, the godly discountenanced, the public 
peace disturbed, and the state of all things turned upside down ; 
nothing but murder, rapes, rapine, violence, and all outrage to be 
found. No man knows where to have right, or by whom to be 
protected from wrong. Yet they know not, neither will they 
understand, they will walk on in darkness ; and what is the issue 
of all this ? Why, the very foundations of the earth will move. 
So it is in the original, i.e., all things will run into confusion and 
disorder by reason of the stupidity and wilful disobedience of the 
rulers of this people, Ps. Ix. 2 ; Isa. xxiv. 19, 20. Others make 

^ Jimmotu, a mot., nutabunt, declinabunt omnia fundamenta terrse. — Mercer apud 
Pagnin. Fundamenta terrse videtur nominare ea quibus salus publica nititur ; ea 
vero sunt recta administratio juris, conservatio discipliuaa et pacis, defensio iuno- 
centum, et poenEe scelerum. — MoUer. 


the words a commination of some destruction at hand, the founda- 
tions of the earth shall be moved, they read the word passively, 
q.d., Grod will destroy that nation where such ill magistrates bear 
sway ; ^ as a house whose foundation is taken away cannot stand ; 
so since the rulers of my people who should be the upholders of the 
land, by executing justice, are become the destroyers of it, I will 
destroy them altogether. But the former sense is most genuine ; 
for although the Septuagint do frequently render the verb passively, 
yet why we should forsake the original, as the vulgar Latin fre- 
quently doth, to follow the Septuagint, I see no reason, especially 
if we consider the corruptness of the Septuagint which now we have. 
Take but one place for instance ; Isa. ix. 6, speaking of Christ, the 
Septuagint put ayyeXos:, for Ueus, and leave out many of Christ's 
titles there which prove his deity. 1 speak not in the least to dis- 
parage that princely work of that reverend and learned man,2 whose 
labours praise him in the gates, and for which I desire to bless the 
God of heaven, and have long since received it with a %aipe 0w?. 
But I speak it to this end, to caution young men not to lay too 
much stress upon the Septuagint, considering what the learned 
have said of it. Ista Grceca Versio quam nunc habemus, in plurimis 
locis dissentit ah Hebrceo ; midta hahet quce non sunt in Hebrceo, 
ut omnes noverunt qui in ea versati sunt. — Philo. 

Licet non ignorem nonnidlos in ea sententia esse, ut exisiiment 
inferpretationem LXX, seniorum 'penitus interiisse ; midto pro- 
habilius censeo illam adhuc superesse : sed adeo corruptam et 
vitiatam, ut omnino alia esse videatur. Bellarmin., lib. ii. de Verbo 
Dei., cap. 6. Nos summo studio, cura et diligentia LXX. interpre- 
fationem cum Hebrceo contidimus, et tot invenimus addiia, dempfa, 
depravata, immutata, et ab Hebraico prorsus aliena, ut mihi per- 
suadere nequeam illam esse LXX. interpretum. — Pagan. 

Periodos integras omisere, nee non capita integra. — Capellus. 

But this point is so excellently cleared by the learned Dr Walton 
in his Apparatus, Prolegom. 9, that I shall only refer you thither 
for better satisfaction. ^ 

In the words is set forth to us: — 1. What it is that is out of 
course: The earth,^ i.e., the inhabitants of the earth. 

2. What part of the earth ? Not the superficies or surface, but 
the very foundation of the earth,^ by which metaphorically is meant 

1 Manifeste dicitur de principibus a justitia et pietate declinantibus, qui moveri, 
i.e., non consistere in vera via et statione, dieuntur ; ideo illis graves minatur pcenas. 
— Illyricus. ^ Dr Walton. 

^ See Mr Leigh his Body of Divinity, lib. i., cap. 7, p. 72. 

* Met. subjecti. ^^ It is a hyperbolical proverbial metaphor. 

VOL. IV. ' R 


the due admiuistration of justice in punishing the wicked and 
defending the good. These be the pillars that uphold the world, 
and upon these commonwealths are chiefly founded. 

3. Here is the extent of this confusion ; not some but all the 
foundations of the earth are out of course. Those that should be 
the pillars of the earth, they are rotten posts that deceive the build- 
ing and let all run to ruin. 

Obs. 1. All reprehensions and admonitions that are bestowed on 
wilfully blind and obstinate sinners, are lost, and in vain, as to the 
parties reproved, though our labour be not vain in the Lord,^ Isa. 
xlix. 4 ; 2 Cor. ii. 15, we do but wash a blackamoor, or wash a tile ;2 
the more rain is poured on it, the blacker it grows. When men 
are set, given up and wedded to their sins, it is time to let them 
alone, Hosea iv. 14, 17. This made the Lord here leave off com- 
plaining to these judges, and to turn his comj^laint to himself and 
to his people. ' They know not, they will not understand.' God 
will not honour them now so far as to reprove them. Thus did 
the prophets when men were obstinate, past counsel and instruction, 
they turned to the earth and called upon the inanimate creatures to 
hear : Isa. i. 2, ' Hear, heavens, and give ear, earth : ' so Micah 
vi. 2, ' Hear, mountains, the Lord's controversy : ' so Dent. iv. 
26, and xxxii. 1 ; Jer. vi. 19, and xxii. 29. That preacher thinks 
his people very bad indeed, who directs his speech to the seats they 
sit on, and the pillars they lean to, q.d., Hear, ye seats, and 
hearken, ye pillars, what the Lord hath done for an ungrateful 
and rebellious people. These are scorners that do but jeer at such 
as call on them to live soberly, righteously, and religiously. Solo- 
mon bids us not reprove such, lest they hate us, Prov. ix. 8. These 
are dogs that fly in the face of such as go about to stop them in 
their sinful practices. Mat. vii. 6. 

Quest. But is not this a sufficient excuse to make us cease from 
reproving sinners ? 

Ans. No ; for the Holy Ghost before in this psalm, tliough he 
knew those he spake to were incorrigible and incurable, yet reproves 
them first, and admonisheth them to do their duty, ver, 2-4, for 
though such wicked men be not amended, yet we have discharged 
our duty, and they will be left without excuse in the day of the 
Lord, when they shall see and say they had a prophet amongst 
them to warn them, Ezek. ii. 9. 

2. We must be very cautious that we do not presently cast off 

^ See Mr Ly ford's Ser. on 2 Cor. ii. 15. ^ Laterem lavare. Proverb. 


every wicked man as a dog, that frets at reproof ;i for a good Asa 
may do so, 2 Chron. xvi. 9, 10. The Lord himself is patient and 
bears long, and loath he is to cast off his people, Hosea vi. 4. Now 
when the Lord bears, we may well bear ; but he ' bears with much 
long-suffering the vessels of wrath who are fitted to destruction,' 
Rom. ix. 22. 

Obs. 2. Ignorance is the mother of mischief. These judges judge 
unjustly, respect persons, neglect their duties, oppress the poor, 
&G. ; but what was the cause of all this ? He tells you, ' They know 
not, neither will they understand.' This in Scripture is oft set forth 
as the root of all sin, Hosea iv. 1, 2, there is no mercy, no truth ; 
nothing but killing, lying, stealing, and outrage; and why so? 
Why, there is no knowledge of God in the land, so Isa. i. 3, 4 ; 1 
Pet. i. 14; Rev. iii. 17 ; one great cause of the church of Laodicea's 
misery was this, that she knew not her misery. Ignorance, and 
working uncleanness with greediness, are joined together, Eph. iv. 
18, 19. This made the Jews to crucify Christ : Acts iii. 17, ' I wot, 
brethren, that through ignorance ye did it;' and Paul to blaspheme 
and persecute God's people, 1 Tim. i. 13. I did it ignorantly. 
When the Gentiles knew not God, then they served idols. Gal. iv. 
8. Why is not God loved, feared, obeyed? Why, because he is 
not known ; for as incognitimi non amatur, so non timetur. Children 
that know not the strength and terror of a lion, fear him not. This 
made the Sadducees to err : Mat. xxii. 29, 'Ye err, not knowing the 
Scriptures.' All sins and errors are radically, seminally, and funda- 
mentally in ignorance.2 When the apostle had said, There is none 
that understands, see what a black guard of sins do follow, Rom. i. 
28-32, and iii. 11-19 ; when the eyes of the Jews were blinded, then 
all wickedness like a flood broke in upon them, and there abides 
even to this day,^ Rom. xi. 8. 

Ignorance' is evil in any, but specially in such as are designed 
for public service. A magistrate that is ignorant of the law, and 
a minister of the gospel, are two sore judgments ; the one destroys 
many a soul, and the other mars many a good cause : ' A prince 
that wanteth understanding is a great oppressor,' saith Solomon, 
Prov. xxviii. 16. It is a great misery to a nation when the rulers 
are children in understanding, Eccles. x. 16 ; Isa. iii. 4. Magis- 

^ See this point fully stated by Mr Reyner in his Government of the Tongue, p. 
■ 170, &c. And Mr Cud worth on Gal. vi. 1, p. 351, &c. 

2 Omnis malus ctecus et ignorans. — Aristot. 

3 See more in Mr Pemble's Ser. on Hosea iv. 6, The Mischief of Ignorance, and 
Mr Clerk's Mirror, chap. liv. 


trates had need of abundance of wisdom and prudence ; sinners are 
subtle to contrive wickedness, and magistrates had need of serpen- 
tine wisdom to search it out. For as truth, so wickedness lieth in 
'prof undo, it is buried deep, Isa. xxix. 15. 

It is not for kings, say flatterers, to read, pray, study ; they must 
hawk and hunt, and game and take their pleasure, as if God had 
made them for no other end in the world ; but as he hath done the 
leviathan in the sea, to take his pleasure therein, Ps. civ. 26. No, 
God commands kings to write, read, and study his law, Deut. 
xvii. 18, 19. It must be their vade mecum, their constant com- 
panion, which they must study as well as the laws of the land. 
It is necessary that rulers should see with their own eyes, that they 
be not seduced by flatterers and parasites. We read how Moses, 
the chief magistrate, was instructed in all the wisdom of the 
Egyptians before he was called to government. Tongues, arts, 
sciences, philosophy, history, law, divinity, are all requisite to 
make a complete magistrate.^ They must not only be honest men, 
but able men, Exod. xviii. 21, men of ]3arts, gifts, and understand- 
ing, Deut. i. 13; men, as we say, cut out for the work; for as 
every one that is godly is not fit to teach others ; so every one that 
hath grace is not fit to rule others. They must be men dexterous 
in the law, else how shall they direct others according to law ? 
When rulers are children in gifts, though men in years, and babes 
for understanding, being weak as women, then follows oppression 
and confusion, Isa. iii. 4, 5, 12. As no wise man will go to an 
unskilful physician for physic ; nor venture himself in that ship 
that hath an unskilful pilot ; so no man that is well in his wits 
will venture his cause in the hands of an ignorant judge. As un- 
savoury salt is good for nothing ; so raw and rude rulers are the 
pests of their places. 

Ohs. 3. Knowledge without practice is no knowledge in God's 
esteem. In divinity we know no more then we practise.- To the 
Jews were committed the oracles of God, and they had great skill 
in the letter of the law ; but because they did not practise it, God 
complains of them as ignorant, Isa. v. 13; Hosea iv. 6. Yea, the 
priests are said not to know the law, 1 Sam. ii. 12 ; Jer. ii. 8, and 
iv. 22 ; they were priests, and so could not be totally ignorant ; ^ but 
because their knowledge was merely notional and speculative, with- 

^ How necessary all kind of knowledge is, see h, Lapide, Encomium Sapient-ae 
Ethictc, Naturalis, et Divinaj ; in Prefat. ad Ecclesiasticum, p. 1, 2, &c. 
2 Tantum scimus, quantum operamur. 
^ Multi habeut cognitioncm ?alutis, sed non cognitionem salutarcm. 


out obedience and practice, therefore God accounted it as no know- 
ledge. Thus cruel, oppressing rulers, though they had some 
speculative knowledge, yet because they hated the good, and loved 
the evil, they are said not to know judgment, viz., so as to practise 
it, Jer. X. 21 ; Micah iii. 1,2; Prov. xxix. 7. 

Rest not then content with shows and shadows ; let not Satan cozen 
thee with the leaves of speculation and external profession; but let 
thy knowledge be an effective, practical, obediential knowledge ;^ else 
knowledge without practice will but double your stripes, and in- 
crease your condemnation, Luke xii. 47; John ix. ult; James iv. 
ult. Where the spirit of regeneration comes, it brings a light with 
it, Eph. i. 17, 18, and v. 14 ; not a natural, but a divine, super- 
natural light ; not a cold light, like that of the moon : but a burn- 
ing light, like that of the sun, John v, 35 ; it is not a fading, vanish- 
ing light, but it is an abiding, enduring light, which all the devils 
in hell shall never extinguish. 2 As the joy, so the light of God's 
elect, though it may be for a time eclipsed, yet shall never be 
totally taken from them. A natural man may have a little glim- 
mering twilight ; but this is a soul-awaking, sin-conquering, soul- 
convincing, soul-commanding light ; it is effectual in the hearts of 
believers, and makes them grow in grace, 2 Pet. iii. 18. There 
may be knowledge without grace, but there can be no grace with- 
out knowledge. Knowledge is the oil in which the flame of the 
Spirit lives. 1. It is the saving knowledge of the truth that 
sanctifies us, and delivers from the bondage of sin in which by 
nature we are entangled, John viii. 31, 32, and xvii. 17. 2. It in- 
creaseth faith, Ps. ix. 10, ' they that know thee will trust in thee.' 3 

3. It will make us love him more intensively ; the more experi- 
mentally we know God, the more we shall love him. Cant. i. 4. 

4. It will make us patient under all afflictions, when we know and 
see that the Lord corrects us for our profit, Heb. xii. 10. 5. It 
will make us slight these transitory things, when we are truly con- 
vinced of the vanity of them, Eccles. i. 2 ; Heb. xi. 24-26. 

Ohs. 4. Want of consideration makes men neglect the duties of 
their callings. These judges did not consider that God sat amongst 
them, and considered their sentences, ends, and aims ; this made 
them pass such unrighteous sentences. Inconsiderateness makes 

^ Cognitio veritatis est duplex; pure speculativa, vel affectiva. — Aquinas. Vide 
Dyke on the Sacrament, chap. iv. ; Usher's Meditations, p. 1. 

2 See the difference between common and saving knowledge. Dr Preston's Saint's 
Infirmities, p. 159, 160. 

3 Quantum cognoscimus, tantum diligimus ; quia dilectio sequitur cognitionem, 
cum ignoti nulla sit cupido. 


sin abound, Lam. i. 9. They are sinners and fools tliat consider 
not what they do, Eccles. v. 1. This ruins kings and kingdoms, 
Isa. i. 3, 4, and v. 12 ; Jer. xii. 11 ; Hosea vii. 2. This ruined Eve ; 
she no sooner saw the fruit, but she presently eats of it, without 
any consideration of the misery that attended it,i Gen. iii. 6. Did 
the drunkard but consider the many woes that attend that sin, he 
would not rush into sin, as the horse into the battle, with such des- 
perate violence. So we may say of all other sinners, Jer. viii. 6. 

Ohs. 5. Wicked men are wilful men. They are obstinate in sin, 
and will walk on, whatever come on it. Had these rulers sinned of 
mere simple ignorance, it might have excused them a tanto, though 
not a toto; it might have extenuated their sin : but their ignorance 
being a gross, wilful, affected, and contracted ignorance, rejecting 
instruction, that they might sin more freely, could neither excuse 
them a tanto, nee d toto, not in the least ; but it did highly ag- 
gravate their wickedness.^ This is made a frequent character of 
wicked men, that they are wilful sinners ; they have necks of iron, 
and brows of brass ; though they are persuaded, yet they are un- 
jDersuadable. They will not hearken to the voice of the charmer, 
charm he never so wisely. They say to God, as those wicked in 
Job xxi. 14, ' Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of thy 
ways ;' their ignorance is a spontaneous willing ignorance, 2 Pet. iii. 
5, they might know, but they will not. Like those rebellious Jews, 
when God commanded them to walk in his paths, they peremptorily 
answer. We will not walk in them, Jer. vi. 16, and xliv. 16, 17 ; 'let 
favour be showed to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness: 
in a land of uprightness they will do unjustly, and will not behold 
the majesty of the Lord : yea, though his hand be lifted up in judg- 
ment, yet they will not see,'3 Isa. xxvi. 10, 11. Here are four loill- 
nots that aggravate their sin. Let strangers devour their strength, 
and gray hairs (the symptoms of feebleness, old age, and death ap- 
proaching) be upon them, yet so stupid are they, that they perceive 
it not, Hosea vii. 9 ; let God be a tender nurse to lead and love 
them, yet so sottish are they that they neither know nor acknow- 
ledge it, Hosea xi. 1, 3, 4 ; Zeph. iii. 7. These are wedded to their 
lusts, and there is no parting of them, Hosea iv. 14, 17.'* 

^ See more in my Comment on 2 Tim. iii. 4, p. 117, 118. 

^ Ignorantia crassa et alFectata jus scire spernit, ut liberius peccet ; htec aggravat 
peccatum : 1. Quia fit ex socordia, ut in otiosis. 2. Quia fit ex philautia, ut in 
superbis. 3. Quia fit ex malitia, ut in desperatis, quorum vox est, scientiam tuarum 
viarum nolumus. — Breerwood Ethic, lib. iii. p. 121. 

'■^ See Fenner's Wilful! Impenitencj'. 

* See the danger of obstinacy, in AttersoU on Xum., p. 622, &c., folio. 


Obs. 6. To persevere ia wickedness is the height of wickedness. 
None so wicked as the resolvedly wicked. They will walk on in 
darkness, and that continually ; it is their trade, and they will not 
leave it. The best may fall through weakness, but these are wil- 
ful. As resolution and perseverance in goodness is the height of 
goodness, as we see in Job, chap. ii. 3, who kept his integrity in 
despite of all that the devil could do ; and Noah, though he lived in 
a corrupt age, yet, in despite of them all, he sets his heart on God, 
and resolvedly walked with him all his days, Gen. vi. 9 ; and 
Hezekiah, when he came to die, comforts himself with this, ' Ke- 
member, Lord, how I walked before thee (continually, or with- 
out ceasing — so it is in the fountain) with an upright heart,' Isa. 
xxxviii. 3, so perseverance in wickedness is the height of wicked- 
ness, 2 Chron. xxviii. 22. 

Obs. 7. Wicked men lead miserable lives. They walk in dark- 
ness. We pity such prisoners as lie and live in deep dark dungeons 
all their days. Why, this is the state of every wicked man ; though 
they think themselves the only wise men, and that none see but 
themselves, as the Pharisees did, John vii. 49, and ix. idt., yet 
there is no prisoner that lies in the darkest dungeon, especially if 
he be godly, but is in a better condition than the greatest wicked 
man, that is spiritually blind, though he live in pompous jDalaces. 
These rulers in the text, no doubt but they thought themselves very 
wise men — and probably they were so in respect of natural and 
worldly accomplishments — yet because they abused their parts, and 
did not improve them for God's glory, he tells us here, ' They walk 
in darkness.' The princes of Zoan are called fools, i.e., Pharaoh's 
counsellors, which were worldly-wise men, yet, for want of saving 
knowledge, are called fools in God's dictionary, Isa. xix. 11. 

This will yet better appear if we consider the allusions between 
inward and outward darkness. 1. Darkness hinders us from seeing 
our way. A man that walks in darkness knows not whither he 
goes, John xii. 35 ; he may go into ditches, bogs, rivers, and mis- 
carry many ways ; so he that walks in spiritual darkness knows not 
which way to go, nor what to do : he is in perpetual danger of fall- 
ing into this ditch of error, and that bog of heresy, and to plunge 
himself into a world of sin and sorrow. Blind men cannot judge 
of colours, nor can these distinguish between truth and falsehood. 

2. Such catch many falls, and stumble at everything ; so when 
men's ways are dark and slippery, they are apt to fall every way 
into Satan's snares, Job v. 14, and xii. 17, 25, and to stumble 
and take offence even at Christ himself. 


3. Darkness is a dismal thing, it fills men with fear and horror, 
Gren. XY. 12, so that a man hath no joy of himself nor of the 
creature ; so a man that lies in spiritual darkness, being destitute 
of saYing knowledge, when conscience is awakened, he is filled 
with horror and desperation, which imbitters all creature comforts 
to him. Let us therefore labour for saving knowledge, and above 
all getting, get true understanding. Solomon prefers it before 
SLlver, gold, and pearls, Prov. ii. 2-4, because it brings grac-e, life, 
and salvation with it. Multiplicitv of this knowledge will multiply 
grace, 2 Pet L 2. This will be a light imto our feet, and a lamp 
to our paths. 1 This light is a pleasant thing ; bv it we see whence 
we came, whither we go, how to order our steps, what dangers 
to shun, what enemies lie in our wav, that we may resist them. 
Such are wise whose eyes are in their heads, but it is the fool that 
walks on in darkness. Eccles. ii. 14 : q.d., a wise man is well ad- 
vised, and goeth prudently to work : but a foolish man is imprudent, 
and imad vised in all his ways. 

Ohs. 8. Justice and judgment are the foimdations of a land. Ps. 
XL 3. A house may as soon stand without a foundation as a com- 
monwealth without government. When the righteous are en- 
couraged, and the wicked punished, this uijholds a throne, and 
establisheth a land, Prov. xvL 12, and xsix. 4. Grood laws are the 
foundation of a nation, but the iniqiuty of judges moves these foim- 
dations out of place, and makes the state like a bowing wall that 
belcheth out, or a tottering fence, Ps. IxiL 3 : Isa. -xxt 13. It was 
therefore a notable piece of policy in Ab.salom, when he would steal 
away the hearts of the j>eople from David, he went about to per- 
suade them that the king hLs father had no justice for them ; but 
oh that he were made judge in the land, that every one that had 
any cau.se might come to him, and he would do them justice, 2 Sam. 
XV." 3, 4. 

Let us therefore pray for those in authority, that Grod would give 
them wi.se and imderstanding hearts to know their duty, and, know- 
ing it, to practise it, that under them we may lead pious, peaceable, 
and honest lives ; for if these foimdations once fail, and we have 
either no magistrate, or corrupt ones, all will run into confusion. 
When once 'wickedne.ss comes to be establLshed by a law, the sin 
becomes national, and national sins bring national judgments; and 
therefore you may observe in Scripture, and in all histories, that 
when the rulers of a people have been wicked, ruin suddenly fol- 

* See the Excellency of Light. ColTenrell, Light of Xature, chap, irii., pp. 173, 

175, &c , 


lowed, Isa. l 23, 24 ; Jer. v. 28, 29 ; Micah iii. 11, 12. ^That potent 
and flourishing nations have been laid in the dust by popish, tyran- 
nical, cruel governors I 

Obs. 9. Wicked men are stupid men. Let foundations be moved, 
and all things run into confusion by their means ; yet they are 
senseless, sit still, and take their ease, never regarding the afliic- 
tions of God's people, Esther iii. ult. Let all move, yet they wiU 
not move ; let the Lord bind them and beat them, yet they cry not. 
Job xxxvi. 13 ; though they lie amidst a sea of troubles, and them- 
selves be as one that is on the top of a mast, yet there can they 
sleep fearlessly in the midst of the greatest dangers : though they 
be stricken, yet they stir not, so great is their lethargy, Prov. xxiii. 
So, 36. Pharaoh had plague upon plague, yet nothing mended 
him, but he was Pharaoh still. Hence wicked men are called 
brutish, Jer. x. 21, and dead : lay all the world on a dead man, and 
he feels it not. Bob them, ransack them, and let the fire of God's 
displeasure seize on them, yet they lay it not to heart, Isa. xlii. 
•J4, 25. It is only good men that are tender, sensible men, and 
mom*n for the afflictions of Joseph. 

Ver. 6, 7. Ihaue said ye are gods, and all of you are children 
of the Most High. 

But ye shall die like men, a7idfall like one of the princes. 

These words are a kind of prolepsis, where the Lord meets with 
the pride of rulers who are puffed up with a high conceit of them- 
selves, because these are by place exalted above others. We, say 
they, are styled gods ; yea, God himself hath styled us so, and hath 
made us deputies immediately under himself. i To this the Spirit 
of God answers, 1 . By way of a reprehensory concession : It is true 
I have said ye are gods, and I have appointed you for my vicars 
and deputies on earth, to judge for me amongst men, and to keep 
my people in peace ; but you have abused your power, and ungrate- 
fully sinned against the God of your mercies, who hath exalted you 
from amongst your brethren to rule for him. 2. By way of correc- 
tion : Yet I must tell you, you shall die like other men, and come 
to judgment, and therefore you have little reason to be proud of 
that power which is delegated to you. Or here is, 1. Their dignity 
and majesty, by reason of the eminency of their office — ye are gods: 
2. Their frailty and mortality, common to them with other sons of 

1 His verbis usus est, non iipr^viKw^, aut tantum ffi'yxuprjTiKwi et concessive, sed 
iiiagis €TnTin7]TiKu:s et repreheusive ; ut potentiorum authoritate sua abutentiiim ini- 
quitatem amplius ostenderet, evinceretque Dei ipsius verbis.— /m«jk«' Parallel, 17. 


■Adam, in respect of their human condition — ye shall die like men. 
Or, if you please, here is, 1, The root of their unrighteous and 
exorbitant practices, viz., the pride that reigned in them, by reason 
of that dignity which God had honoured them withal, in communi- 
cating his own name unto them, and calling them his sons. 2. Here 
is the remedy, drawn from the consideration of their dying and 
fading condition : 1 . They must die like other ordinary men ; 2. 
They must fall from their dignity to the dust, as other great ones 
had done before them ; so that in the words we have the excellency 
of magistracy set forth by two titles : — 1. They are gods; 2. Sons 
of the Most High. 

1. They are gods, not by nature, for we see they die, but by simi- 
litude, and in respect of their office, because they represent God's 
majesty in governing of men, and have a special character of his 
glory stamped upon them.i But of this see more at large on ver, 1. 

2. Children of the Most High, or sons of the most high God, 
This title is homonymous, and hath many significations in Scrip- 
ture.^ 1. It is sometimes taken for the natural Son of God, and in 
this sense Christ is the only natural and proper Son of God, John 
i. 14, and v. 18 ; Mat. iii. 17 ; Kom. viii. 32. 

2. For the sons of God by creation. So God is called the Father 
of angels. Job i. 6, and xxxviii. 7 ; Cant. ii. 3 ; and of wicked men, 
Mai. ii. 10. 

8. Others are called his sons by adoption : thus all true believers 
are the sons of God, John i. 12; Eom. viii. 14, IG ; Gab iv. 5; 
1 John iii. 2. 

4. Others are called the sons of God in respect of that power, 
majesty, authority, and eminency which God hath conferred upon 
them above the ordinary sort of men ; and in this respect it is that 
magistrates are called the sons of God ; for as parents give some 
part of their inheritance to their children, so the Almighty hath 
invested magistrates with part of his power and sovereignty, and 
intrusted them with the administration of his earthly kingdoms, by 
the exercise of vindictive and remunerative justice. 

Now, some conceive that magistrates are called the sons of God 
because they are more dear to God, and more acceptable to him 
than other men ; but that will not hold ; for in this very psalm 
where he calls them gods, yet he sharply reproves them for their 

^ Non participatione divinso essentia;, sed similitudiiie divinae potentiso. Non na- 
tura, sed eonditione et dignitate muneris. — Muis in locum. 

^ Gnelion, filii Excelsi, viz., Dei, quia Deus est excelsus super omnem terrain, et 
valde exaltatus super omnes deos. 


unrighteous practices ; and if rulers be wicked, they bring more 
dishonour to God, and do more mischief than inferior persons can 
do ; and so their persons are more displeasing to God than inferior 
persons are, and God looks upon them as beasts rather than men, 
Prov. xxviii, 15. But if magistrates be truly godly, then they are 
the sons of God in a double sense ; 1. As believers ; 2. As magis- 
trates ; and so they are nearer and dearer to God than ordinary 
men ; they are as the signet on his right hand, ever in his eye ; he 
looks upon them as his ornaments. As the devil useth all means to 
get men of power and parts on his side, that he may the better 
advance his kingdom ;^ so God delights in gracious magistrates as 
the pillars and upholders of his kingdom in the world. The more 
of God dwells in any, the more he loves them. If magistrates who 
are gods in name do resemble God indeed in wisdom, justice, 
purity, clemency, &c., then are they the children of the Most High 
in a spiritual sense, and God hath a paternal care over such, even 
as parents have over their obedient children. 

2. This implies participation, and tells us that magistrates derive 
all their power from God, as a son hath his from his father ; and 
therefore it is but equity that they should employ that power, which 
they have received from his goodness, to the praise of him that 
gave it. 

3. Here is the extent of this dignity ; it is not given only to 
superior magistrates, but to inferior ones also. ' Ye are all the 
children of the Most High ;' yea, wicked ones, when placed in 
authority, are called gods and sons of the Most High. Those in 
the psalm were none of the best, yea, they were almost as bad as 
bad could be, ver. 2, 5. And yet it is said here, I have said ye (in 
respect of your office) are gods, and children of God. 

4. Here is their commission,^ I have said. It is not you that 
can make yourselves magistrates, but it is I that say ye are gods ; 
all the power that ye have is from me ; and therefore our Saviour 
expounding this of the psalmist, John x. 34-36, tells us that to 
magistrates the word of the Lord came, or was made, q.d., they 
have their command, commission, and power from God to discharge 
the duties of their places. When the prophets were sent to preach, 
the word of the Lord was said to come to them, Luke iii. 2, ' The 
word of God came to John;' and then, ver. 3, he preacheth and 
puts his commission in execution. So, when God hath given 
magistrates a word of command, then, and not till then, they may 

^ Quarit abs te ornari diabolus, as Augustine said of a learned man. 
^ Ego dixi, est vox potestatis constituentis. 


act with comfort and with confidence. Our Saviour, in John x, 
34, refers us hither. When the Pharisees reproached him for blas- 
phemy, because he made himself equal to God, by saying, ' My 
Father and I are one,' he clears himself from that aspersion by an 
argument from the less to the greater. Thus : If the title of God 
may be given to princes, who are but men, and many times the 
worst of men, then much more may that title be given to me, in 
whom the majesty of God doth more especially appear, and the 
fulness of his godhead dwell. The antecedent I have proved to 
you, saith Christ, out of your law, which you cannot deny, and 
therefore you must grant the consequent. 

Ver. 7. In this verse we have the mortality of magistrates asserted 
in two words — 1. Ye shall die ; 2. Ye shall fall. 

2. The manner how — as other ordinary men, and as all other 
princes have done before you. 

3. The certainty of this is confirmed by an asseverative particle, 
Verily or certainly ; as ye live like gods, so certainly ye shall die 
like men. 

The words have some difficulty and various readings. I shall 
briefly explain them, and then proceed to the observations. 

But ye shall die like men. Some read surely or truly ye shall 
die ; and this comes nearest the original, for so the word (achen) l 
is used in Scripture, as Gen. xxviii. 16, 'Surely (achen) the Lord 
is in the place ;' so Isa. xl. 7, ' Surely the people is grass ;' and Isa. 
liii. 4, ' Surely he hath borne our griefs.' It is true the vulgar 
Latin, that so oft leaves the fountain to follow the Septuagint, do 
with them render it hut. But the most genuine signification of 
the word is surely. The sense is good either way. But, i.e., for 
all your pomp and power you must at last lie in the dust, and say 
to corruption. Thou art my father ; and to the worm, Thou art my 
brother and sister. Job xvii. 14 ; or. Surely, «.e., though you regard 
it not, nor make any provision for it, but flatter yourselves because 
you are gods, and so dream that ye shall live on earth for ever ; 
yet know assuredly that ye are but men, and must die as well as 
others. All God's words are true and sure ; but on some there is 
affixed a special note of certainty, because of man's (especially great 
men's) extraordinary sottishness and infidelity. 

' Ye shall die like men.' That is, like other ordinary men ; as ye 
came from the earth, so to earth you must return. Death fears not 

' Achen, certe, vere, profecto, sane, est adverbium affirmandi. — Pagnin, Montanus, 


you more than other men. Ish and Adam,^ the noble and ignoble, 
are alike to that grim sergeant Death. Though men have lived 
like gods, yet they must die like Adam, or any other base, con- 
temptible man ; yea, if wicked, ye shall die like beasts for all your 
honour, Ps. xlix. 20 ; though in respect of your dignity you have 
been like Saul, taller by the head and shoulders than the rest of 
the people, yet in your death there shall be no difference ; you must 
to the grave as other men, and then to judgment, for that is in- 
cluded in the word death. Heb. ix. 27, ' It is appointed for all 
men once to die, and after death comes judgment.' 

' And fall like one of the princes.' These words have many glosses 
put upon them. 1. Some understand them of a fall by a natural 
death, q.d.^ Ye rulers of the people, for all your state and pomp, 
shall fall by death like others of your rank that have been before 
you, that were as high in honour and great in power as yourselves ; 
and yet they died, and so must you.^ Their graves amongst you 
read a lecture of mortality to you ; they are gone off the stage of 
the world, and you are come on ; it is not long, but you also must 
die and make room for your successors ; and thus the word fall is 
put for dying in Scripture, Gen. xiv. 10 ; Ps. xci. 7. 

2. Others take this fall to be by a violent death. He had be- 
fore said they should die as other men ; but now he riseth higher, 
and tells them of a more especial judgment which should befall 
them rather than others, and that is, ' ye shall fall ; ' how is that ? 
Why, for your tyranny and abuse of your power against God and 
his people ye shall be cast out of your seats ; your pride shall have 
a fall, and that by a violent death ;3 for so I find the word fall taken 
very frequently in Scripture for perishing by a violent death, as 
falling by the sword, Exod. xxxii. 28 ; Hosea v. 5, and vii. 7 ; or 
by the pestilence, 1 Chron. xxi. 14 ; 1 Cor. x. 8. Tyrants seldom 
go to their graves in peace. Most of the Csesars fell by the hands 
of the people, q.d., If you be like tyrants* in sin, expect to be like 
them in punishment ; as I cast them out of their thrones for their 

^ Che Adam temutun, sicut Adam, i.e., homo terrenus, vilis, abjectus, moriemini. 
Adam, i.e., homo plebeius, opponitur ti^ Ish, i.e., vero nobili, ut videre est, Ps. 
iv. 3, xlix. 2, and Ixii. 9. 

^ Aliorum funera sint vobis specula, in quibus vestra, citius fortasse quam putatis, 
affutura spectetis. — Mendoza. 

^ Non tantum minatur deus ipsos morituros, sed ita moritiiros, ut etiam casuri 
sint de sedibus suis. — Scultetu.^s. 

* Notanter dicit Hassanm, illorum prineipum. — Muscul. Sar est princeps, et 
sarim principes, Jer. iv. 9, and xvii. 25. Sicut unus prineipum, i.e., profanarum 
gentium. — Hynech. Gen. Piscat. Ye shall fall like one of the tyrants. — Tyndal. 


insolence and violence, so will I cast you out, and yon shall fall 
like one of these tyrannical princes. 

3. Others take it for the falling as the princes of other nations, 
q.d., though you are the princes of God's people, yet are you not 
thereby privileged from the arrest of death ; for the most gracious 
saint dieth as well as the most notorious sinner. Grace is an anti- 
dote against the poison of death, but not a preservative against 
undergoing death. 

4. Others take it for a falling from a high and flourishing con- 
dition, so as they shall be had in contempt of all.^ This is a truth, 
and the word fall is oft so used in Scripture, Isa. iii. 8 ; Ps. cxvii. 
1 3 ; Jer. li. 8. But this sense is too strait for this place. The 
exegesis implies a greater falling than from their estates. 

5. Other learned men render the words thus : And ye shall fall 
like others, or ye shall fall like one of the vulgar.^ But this version 
will not hold, and that for two reasons. 1. It hath no foundation 
in the original, nor in the Septuagint, nor in any of the Oriental 
versions. 2. It is a pure tautology ; ye shall die like Adam, i.e., 
like ordinary men, and shall fall like one of the vulgar, i.e., like 
ordinary men. The three first senses are most genuine, as agreeing 
best with the original, the sense of the text, and the like Scripture 
phrase.^ The sum and substance of all is this, q.d., It is true I 
have said, and I say so still, that ye are by office gods, and by com- 
mission ye are all the sons of the most high God, whom he hath in- 
trusted with some part of his judiciary power ; but yet this doth 
not exempt you from mortality ; for though in dignity you are 
above others, yet death will level you, and you must to the grave 
as well as others who are ordinary men, and as others of your own 
rank have done before you ; and then you who have judged others 
shall be judged with others ; for after death comes judgment. 

Obs. 1. The Scriptures of the Old Testament are the word of 
God. Christ cites this very text in the New Testament, John x. 
34, 35, against the calumniating Pharisees ; yea, Christ and his 
apostles, to shew the divine authority of the Old Testament even 
in gospel times, did fetch arguments ofttimes out of the Old Testa- 

' De summo gradu ad imum, de magna gloria ad extremam miseriam prsecipitabi- 
mini. —Bellarmin. 

2 Unus quemlibet e vulgo significat. — Calvin. Some there are that follow him 
against the letter of the text, which runs thus : Sicut unus j>rincipum cadetis. It is 
not sicut unus vulgi, vel e vulgo. I honour that eminent instrument of God, but the 
text and truth I must honour above all. 

' The metaphrase. 


merit to confirm their doctrine and practice. About four liundred 
places are cited out of the Old Testament in the New. But of 
this I have spoken elsewhere at large, i 

Ohs. 2. Magistrates have their power and commission from God. 
It is he that said, and it is his word that comes to them which 
makes them gods on earth. Magistracy is no fancy of man's in- 
venting, nor plant of his planting, for then it had long since been 
rooted uj) by those sons of Belial that have so oft opposed it, yet 
could never prevail against it. If God had not been in this bush, 
(so oft set on fire,) it had been consumed long ere this ; it could 
never have stood so many thousand years against the rage and fury 
of men and devils. We may use the same argument to prove the 
divinity of magistracy, which sometimes we do to prove the divinity 
of the Scriptures — viz., the strange preservation of it in all revolu- 
tions and changes, amidst those wars and confusions which have 
been in the world. Some indeed have thrown off their governors, 
but never yet could throw off a government. As soon as one is off, 
another is in the saddle ; yea, so co-natural it is to the principles 
and notions of man's mind, that a government is found even 
amongst heathens, where no Scripture is found to teach it. But of 
this see more on ver. 1, 

Obs. 3. It is lawful to give titles of honour even to wicked magis- 
trates. Those in this psalm were none of the best, yea, all things 
considered, they were as vile as the vilest ; yet you see the Holy 
Ghost gives them their titles of honour still, ' I have said. Ye are 
gods : ' and as if that were not sufficient, he presently adds, and ye 
are all — mark that, not good magistrates only, but also the bad, 
even all (in respect of their place and office) are the children of 
the Most High ; which may for ever silence those sots, which say, 
we may give titles of honour to godly magistrates, but not to the 
ungodly. But of this see more, ver. 1. 

Ohs. 4. Even wicked magistrates have their power from God, 
Eom. xiii. 1. All power is of God;^ and yet the rulers at that 
time were heathenish persecutors. It is true, the abuse of the 
power is not from God, but the power itself is ; as the abuse of the 
ministry and marriage are not of God, though the ministry and 
marriage itself be. Be the magistrates superior or inferior, wise 

^ See my Commentary on 2 Tim. iii. 15, p. 262. 

^ All power is from God qua efficiens, and unjust power qua non impediens. Dis- 
tinguendum est inter potestatem in se, et potestatem in subjecto. Potestas in se 
est a Deo instituta, sed non semper in suljecto est justa et legitima propter usurpa- 
tionem et abusum. — Eivet. 


men or fools, good or bad, there is no power but it is of God. The 
apostle speaks not indefinitely, ' The higher powers are of God,' but 
he speaks universally and exclusively, There is no power, be it what 
it w^ill, but is of God. Though the manner of getting into power 
by fraud and force may be unlawful, and of man ; yet the power 
and office itself is of God ; and that not only by permission, for so 
is sin and the devil's power, but by special ordination ; ^ the 
powers that be are ordained of God, for the greater manifestation 
of his wisdom, power, justice, and goodness. "We must therefore 
shew all due respect and reverence to magistrates as magistrates, 
be they never so vile ; for though in respect of their wickedness 
their persons may deserve contempt, yet their calling is honour- 
able. There is a ray and sparkle of God's sovereignty and image 
in authority ; and in that respect, whatever the persons are, they 
must be honoured. We should not be too scrupulous in inquiring 
how men come to their power, but rather study how we may walk 
wisely, winningly, and religiously towards such as are in power. 

Ohs. 5. God is the Most High. He is King of kings, and Lord 
of lords, the Most High over all the earth, and to be exalted above 
all gods, Ps. Ixxxvi. 8, xcvi. 4, and cxiii. 4. This title of Most 
High is often given to God, Gen. xiv. 18, 22 ; Ps. vii. 17, and xlvi. 
4 ; Luke i. 32, 35, vi. 35, and viii. 28 ; Acts xvi. 17 ; Heb. vii. 
1, and is one of those ten names which are attributed to God,2 to 
set forth his transcendent and surpassing excellency, majesty, 
power, and authority over and above all.^ Though others be high, 
yet there is a higher than they, Eccles. v. 8, even the high and 
lofty One, who dwelleth in the high and holy place, and judgeth 
those that are high. Job xxi. 22 ; Ps. cxiii. 5 ; Isa. xxxiii. 5. No 
towers, pillars, places, or persons so high, but he can bring them 
down.4 It is this Most High that ruleth the kingdoms of men, and 
givetli them to whom he pleaseth, Dan. iv. 32, and v. 18. He is 
the great Jehovah, the Lord paramount of heaven and earth, 
there is none to be compared to him : Ps. cxxxv. 15, 'I know that 

' Emphasi non caret, cum non dicit, omnis potestas est a Deo, sed non est potestas 
nisi a Deo, q.cL, nulla uspiam potest inter homines esse potestas quae sit aliunde quam 
a Deo. 2. Non simpliciter dicit a Deo sunt, sed ordinatae sunt a Deo ; alia est 
eorum conditio quae permittuntur, alia eorum quse ordinantur ac disponuntur. 
Musculus in Rom. xiii. 1, 2. Solent plerique nimis scrupulose inquirere quo quisque 
jure adeptus sit imperium ; sed hoc solo contentos esse decet, quod videmus eos 
prsesidere. — Calvin in 1 Pet. ii. 13. 

- Vide D. Gouge's Arrows, p. 317. 

^ Ad denotandam summam Dei gloriam, potentiam et majestatem ; Deus dicitur 

■' See more in Mr Gataker's Ser. on Ps. Ixxxii. 7, p. 98-100. 


the Lord is great, and our Lord is above all gods ;' whether they be 
so deputed, as magistrates ; or reputed, as idols. He is not only- 
great, but greatness itself ; not only high, but the Most High, 
beyond the tongue's expression, or the heart's imagination. It is 
infinite, and so unspeakable ; we may as soon measure the sea with 
a spoon, or put it in a bushel, as comprehend with our shallow 
understandings his excellent greatness ; it is therefore called un- 
searchable : Ps. cxlv. 3, ' Great is the Lord, and greatly to be 
praised ; his greatness is unsearchable.' All the power, perfec- 
tion, beauty, and excellency that is dispersed through the whole 
world, that and ten thousand times more is in the Lord by way of 
eminency and transcendency. All the glory that is in angels, men, 
and all creatures, compared to his, is but as a drop to the sea, a 
shadow to the substance, or one little sand to a great mountain ; 
heaven, earth, and sea compared to him are pan^wi nihil, mere 
nothing. In Isa. xl. 12, 15-17 we have a most lively expression 
of the power of God : ' Who hath measured the water in the 
hollow of his hand, and meted out the heavens with a span, and 
comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the 
mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance,' &c. He doth these 
great things with ease, as if it were but spanning, measuring, 
weighing, &c. Hence it is that greatness is truly and properly 
ascribed to God alone. i He only is great, Deut. xxxii. 3 ; 2 Sam. 
vii. 22 ; Ps. xcvi. 4, xcix. 2, 3, and cxlv. 3 ; Titus ii. 13. Excel- 
lent is that doxology of David, 1 Chron. xxix. 11, 12, ' Thine, 
Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the 
victory, and the majesty ; for all that is in heaven and earth is 
thine ; thine is the kingdom, Lord, and thou art exalted above 
all. Both riches and honour come of thee,' &c. He is mighty in 
power ; there is no opposing him , Ps. cxlvii. 5 : mighty in counsel ; 
there is no out- witting him, Jer. xxxii. 13 : mighty in working ; 
there is no out-doing him, Deut. xxxii. 4 : and great in judgment ; 
there is no withstanding him, Exod. vii. 4. 

1. Then trust in this great God ; what though thou have great 
enemies, great tentations within and without ? yet remember thou 
hast the great God to assist thee. A weak creature when backed 
by a stronger will venture on a stronger than itself. When the 
prophet Micaiah saw two kings sitting on their thrones, he was not 
afraid, because he saw a greater than they, 1 Kings xxii. 10, 19. 
Moses by an eye of faith beheld him who was invisible, and there- 
fore did not fear the wrath of the king,^ Heb. xi. 27. Did we 

^ Nihil magnum nisi Deus magnus. ^ la te stas et non stas. — Axuj. 



stand by our own strength, we might well fear ; but our help 
standeth in the name of the Lord, Ps. cxxiv. 8. This upheld 
Abraham in his straits ; he doubted not, because God who had 
promised was able to perform, Rom. iv. 18 ; and this upheld Paul ; 
' I know whom I have believed, and that he is faithful and able to 
keep what I have committed to him,' 2 Tim. i. 12. Get a holy- 
magnanimity of spirit ; God loves to do great things for those that 
greatly trust in him, as we see in those three worthies, who were 
giants rather than children,! Dan. iii. Oppose this mighty God to 
all the might that comes against thee. Whilst others boast of 
their friends, navies, confederates, strongholds, &c., do thou make 
thy boast of God, and say, ' The Lord is my light and my salva- 
tion ; whom should I fear ?' ' There is none amongst the gods to be 
compared to him,' Ps. xxvii. 1-3, and Ixxxvi. 8. When Charles 
V. in a challenge to the king of France commanded his herald to 
proclaim all his titles, Charles, emperor of such a place, king of 
such a place, duke of such a place, &c., bids defiance to the king 
of France ; the king of France on the other side bids his herald 
proclaim no more but this. The king of France, the king of France, 
the king of France bids defiance to Charles the emperor of Ger- 
many : intimating that one kingdom of France was of more worth 
than all those empty titles of the emperor. So wdien men cry 
riches, pleasures, friends, promotion, &c., do thou cry. The Lord 
Most High is my portion,^ the Lord is my portion ; he that hath 
him hath all ; he hath the fountain, the mine, the ocean, and he 
cannot want, Ps. xxiii. 1. Get therefore propriety and interest in 
him ; for what comfort is it to hear of so high and great a God, if 
he be not ours ? That word m7/ is a little word, but there is 
abundance of divinity and sweetness in it, when with Thomas we 
can truly say, ' My Lord and my God.' Let us by faith hide our- 
selves under the wings of this most high protector, and abide 
under the shadow of this almighty shadai, and there sing care and 
fear away, Ps. xci. 1. In all our distresses let us cry unto God 
Most High, and he will hear and help us, Ps. Ivii. 2. 

2. In the church's distress let us comfort ourselves in the Most 
High God. The church, whilst it is in this world, meets with moun- 
tains of opposition ; but the comfort is, they shall all become a 
plain before God's Zerubbabels, Zech. iv. 7. The church's enemies 
in their own conceits are as great mountains unpassable, unacces- 
sible ; they proudly overlook the people of God, but God contemns 

^ Animo magno nihil est magnum. 

^ Habet omnia, quia habet habentem omnia. 


these contemners of his people, Ps. ii. 1-6 ; Isa. viii. 9, 10 ; and 
though they think themselves mountains, and their flatterers call 
them so, and God's own people looking upon them through the 
spectacles of fear and unbelief, think them such, yet God here, by 
way of contempt, asketh them. Who art thou ? q.d, Thou lookest 
high and haughty like a mountain, but thou shalt become a mole- 
hill, a nothing, before me and my people. I will overthrow those 
mountains in my wrath. Job ix. 5. I will but touch them and 
they shall vanish, Ps. cxliv. 5 ; Isa. ii. 11, 12, 14 ; and though my 
people be but as so many despicable worms, yet I will make them 
to thresh mountains, Isa. xli. 44. Let us not, then, fear, nor be 
despondent ; that God which hath brought us over the mountains 
of popery, and the mountains of prelacy ; that God will, in his due 
time, bring us over the mountains of heresy, libertinism, and inde- 
pendency, &c. 

Ohj. But how can this be ? We see no visible means to effect 

Ans. God is a free agent, and though he hath tied us to means, 
yet himself is tied to none. He hath promised to create deliverance 
for his people, Isa. iv. 5, and Ixv. 18: now Creatiofit, 1. Ex niliilo; 
2. In instanti; 3. Irresistibiliter. 1. When the Lord created the 
world, he made it out of no pre-existing matter ; so though we see 
no means how he should deliver his people, yet he being almighty, 
can without means, by weak means, yea, by contrary means, deliver 
them. 2. He can do it instantly ; when the hearts of his people are 
prepared for reformation and deliverance, the work shall be done 
suddenly, 2 Chron. xxix. 36. 3. It shall be done irresistibly. The 
work of reformation it is the Lord's, and it shall prosper in despite 
of all its enemies, Hag. ii. 4. It is of God, and it shall stand. Acts 
V. 38, 39. Let us therefore encourage ourselves in the Lord our God. 
What though giants, sons of Anak, the great Zanzummims, the higli 
and mighty of the earth, rise against the church ; yet there is a higher 
than they, who will break them with a rod of iron ; yea, if the 
nations, all nations should come against it, yet all their power, 
compared with God's power, is parum nihil; an empty nothing, 
as the prophet excellently, Isa. xl. 15. Behold the nations are 
counted of him as a drop that hangeth on the side of a full bucket, 
or that stayeth behind when the water is poured out, yet doth not 
diminish the measure ; or like the small dust of the balance, which 
remains in the balance when powder or beaten spice hath been 
weighed in it, which is easily blown away with a little puiEf of 
wind. All the men in the world, compared with this high and 


holy One, are vanity, lighter than vanity, nothing ; yea, less than 
nothing, Ps. Ixii. 20. Many are afraid of displeasing great men. 
Let the great ones of the world take heed of offending this great 
God, or of injuring his people ; for God is not only absolutely and 
essentially great in himself, but he is also relatively and declara- 
tively so to his people. The great God loves to shew his greatness 
on their behalf As his greatness is superlative to all other great- 
ness, whether they be human powers or imaginary deities ; so of 
his goodness he will extend it to the protection and preservation of 
his people, and for the confusion of their enemies. 

3. Admire the great condescension of this great God towards 
man. Though he be the Most High, yet he dwells in the lowest 
hearts, Isa. Ivii. 15. He hath but two thrones, the highest heavens, 
and the lowest heart. He overlooks the frame of heaven and earth 
to look on such, Isa. Ixvi. 1,2; nor doth he look upon them with a 
bare look of intuition, but with a look of approbation and delight. 
Barely to look on man is a condescension : Ps. cxiii. 6, ' He 
humbleth himself to behold the things on earth.' But to take up 
his dwelling with man, that is no less an act of mercy than of 

4. Serve this great God with fear and reverence. The greater 
the person, the greater must our fear be, Mai. i. 14. We cannot 
worship him rightly, unless we worship him reverently, Ps. ii. 12 ; 
Heb. xii. 29. He looks to be greatly feared in the assembly of his 
saints. We should always come with self-abhorrency into his 
presence, out of a sense of God's exceeding greatness, and our 
own exceeding baseness, Job xlii. 5, 6 ; Eccles. v. 1, 2. And if the 
angels stand before him with reverence, covering their faces ; and 
Moses quaked and feared exceedingly when he was with God in the 
mount, Heb. xii. 21 ; yea, and the very inanimate creatures tremble 
before him, the mountains melt, the hills quake, and the rocks 
rend, Nahum i. 3-7, with what soul-abasement ought we to come 
into his presence, who have so many ways provoked him ? 

5. Turn servants to him. You cannot serve a better master : 
the greater the prince, the more noble the service. Prefer his ser- 
vice before all the crowns and kingdoms of the world. Spend thy- 
self and all thou hast for his honour. There is none gives better 
wages than he. 

6. Admire and adore him for his excellent greatness. The Holy 
Ghost oft calls on us to this duty, Ps. xcv. 2, 3, and xcvi. 4. Praise 
must wait for him in Zion, Ps. Ixv. 1, or praise is silent for tliee.i 

' Tibi Domine silcntiam e.«t laus. 


A silent admiration of his greatness, and a bumble confessing of our 
inability to express his praise, is the greatest praise we can give him. 

7. Beware of offending this high and holy One. Better have 
all the world against thee, than God against thee. He is the best 
friend, and the saddest foe. As he is great, and greatly to be 
praised, so he is great, and greatly to be feared. He is a consuming 
fire ; there is no abiding when he is angry. The Lord Most High 
is terrible, and it is dangerous provoking him, Ps. xlvii. 2, and 
Ixxviii. 56. 

Obs. 6. Magistrates are the sons of the Most High. If they are 
true believers, then they are his adopted sons ; but if wicked, yet 
in respect of their office, they are nuncupative and nominal sons. 
Thus God is pleased to style them : 1. To mind them of their duty 
to him ; 2. To mind us of our duty to them, 

1. He calls them sons, to the end they might walk worthy of 
such a father, by loving, fearing, serving, and obeying him : i Mai. 
i. 6, ' A son honours his father, and a servant his master ; ' but 
God is not only a father and a master, but he is a king, a creator, 
a counsellor, a protector and assister of magistrates ; and if one of 
these relations call for respect and love, what reverence and respect 
is due to that God in whom all these relations concentre and meet ? 
Let such, then, improve the power which they have received from 
God unto his praise ; uphold his worship, advance his sceptre, 
promote his interest, defend his people, pity his poor, do justice to 
all.2 If you thus honour God, who liatli honoured and exalted 
you, he will be a father and a friend to you ; he will be a sun for 
consolation, and a shield for protection ; he will be your God and 
guide unto death. 

2. Doth God call you sons ? then woe to them that call you Satans, 
and revile the rulers of God's people. It becomes us to honour 
those whom God honours. This shews what spirit leads the fifth- 
monarchy men, and their adherents, who have so grossly, and that 
in print, reviled the rulers of God's people. 

OhJ. But they are wicked men. 

Ans. Be it so : yet if a wicked man be set in power by God for 
the sins of a people, even that wicked man must be honoured for 
his place ; but if a godly man rule, he is to be honoured for 
his person. Some kind of honour is due to a magistrate as a 

' Exemplata oportet conformari exemplar! secundum rationem format. Things 
exemplified ought to resemble their sampler according to the reality of the form. — 
Aquinas, P. 1, Q. 18, art 4. 

^ See reasons why magistrates should honour God more than others in Mr Gata- 
ker's Ser. on Ps. Ixxxii. 6, p. 76, 77. 


magistrate, and God's vicegerent ; but all kind of honour and 
subjection is due from all sorts of men to good rulers. 

3. As magistrates are sons by office, so all believers are sons by 
adoption, which is a choicer privilege, John i. 12 ; Gal. iii. 26, 
and iv. 5, 6. So that now every true believer may say with David, 
' The Lord is my shepherd ;' yea, the Lord is my father, 'and I shall 
not want,' Ps. xxiii. 1. Thou art now sure of : 1. Dilection ; 2. 
Direction ; 3. Correction ; 4. Protection ; 5. Provision. 

1. All the children of God are sure of dilection and love. Fathers 
have a natural affection to their children, and love them with a 
paternal love. How tender was David over Absalom, Touch not 
the young man Absalom ; and when dead, how doth he take on : 
Absalom, my son, my son, that I had died for thee ! Absalom, 
my son ! If David were thus tender over a rebellious Absalom, 
how tender is God over his obedient children ? and though thou 
hast many infirmities, yet God will pity thee, and spare thee as 
a man that spareth his son that serveth him, Ps. ciii. 13 ; Mai. 
iii. 16, 17. 

2. Direction. Fathers will teach their children the way which 
they should go ; so will the Lord do his, Ps. xxv. 9. It is a part of 
the new covenant, that all believers shall be taught of God. In 
all their doubts his Spirit shall be as a voice behind them, saying. 
This is the way. 

3. Correction. Fathers that love their children will correct 
them. God loves his, and therefore he chastiseth them for their 
profit, Heb. xii. 10 ; Kev. iii. 19. 

4. Protection. Fathers will defend their children, and God will 
defend his ; he is their shield and buckler, Ps. Ixxxiv. 11 ; Pro v. 
ii. 7. In six troubles he will be with them, and in the seventh he 
will not leave them. Job v. 19, 20, 21, 22. 

5. Provision. Fathers will provide for their children ; and if 
earthly parents, who have but a drop of goodness, will give good 
things to their children, how much more will God give his Spirit 
to them that ask it ? The lions natural, the lions metaphorical, 
may lack and suffer hunger ; but such as fear the Lord shall lack 
nothing that may be for their good. God hath prepared an in- 
heritance for them, Luke xii. 32, he hath given them his Son, and 
with him he hath given them all things, Rom. viii. 32. 

Ver. 7. Obs. 1. Men in high places are apt to have high conceits 
of themselves. It is a hard thing to be in honour without tumour 
and swelling thoughts. The Lord, who knows our frame better 
than we ourselves, foresaw this ; and therefore in the precedent 


verse having told them of their dignity, in this verse he tells them 
of their misery and mortality ; that they might not have the least 
time to be puffed up with pride and high conceits of their high 
places, he presently adds a humbling and abasing hut — but ye shall 
die ; what is that ? Why, synecdochically it includes all those 
miseries which are antecedent to death, as sickness, weakness, 
pains, aches, old age, and death, and also subsequent miseries 
after death ; then must great ones as well as others be brought to 
judgment, stand at God's bar and give an account as well as the 
poorest son of Adam, Those that now judge others, must shortly 
be judged themselves. 

Ohs. 2. Magistrates are mortal as well as others ; or, those who 
live like gods, yet must die like men. The most potent emperor 
must take his leave of this life as well as the poorest beggar. No 
titles of honour, nor places of honour, can privilege men from the 
grave. Their divine constitution cannot free them from their 
native condition ; princes and great men must fall, and that in 
Israel, 2 Sam. iii. 38.^ The truth of this is seen by daily experi- 
ence. It is so decreed in the high court of heaven ; the statute is 
universal, and admits of no exception ; 'it is appointed for men' — for 
all men, the indefinite is equivalent to a universal — ' once to die,' 
Heb. ix. 27. Death is the great leveller of all the world, it makes 
all equal.2 Irus and Croesus, Dives and Lazarus, princes and 
peasants, cannot be known asunder in the grave. As at a game of 
chess, when it is ended, not only pawns, but kings, queens, knights, 
are tumbled into the bag together ; 3 so when the race of this life 
is finished, noble as well as ignoble are tumbled into their graves 
together : hence death is called the way of all the earth, because 
all flesh on earth must go that way, Josh, xxiii. 14. It is the 
greatest road in all the world, it is never without many travellers 
of all sorts, ranks, and degrees. The grave is the house appointed for 
all the living. Job xxx. 23 ; Eccles. viii. 8 ; both the small and the 
great are there, even kings and counsellors. Job iii. 13, 14, 19. 
Death is pambasileus, a truly catholic universal king ; it is not 
only rex ferrorum, the king of fears, but rex terrarum, an oecu- 
menical king, that spares no age, sex, nation, or condition. In 
Golgotha are skulls of all sorts and sizes : hence it is that the pro- 
phet Isaiah must not only say, but cry, so as all may hear, for most 

^ See Mr Levisy his Ser. on that text, p. 207, &e. 
* Mors sceptra ligonibus sequat. — Horat. 

' ^quales omnes nascimur ; et imperatores et pauperes, aequaliter morimur. — 


men are deaf on this ear, that not only some, but all flesh is grass, Isa, 
xl. 6, 7, «.e., it is a feeble, empty, fading thing ; it withers while we 
touch it, yea, and the glory of it, i.e., such as have more glory be- 
stowed on them than others, are but as fading flowers ; the scythe 
of death knows no difference, but mows down both alike, Ps. cii. 
11, and ciii. 15, 16 ; Job xiv. 2 ; 1 Pet. i. 24 ; James i. 10, 11. It 
passeth upon all men, Rom. v. 12 ; he doth not say, death may pass, 
or shall pass, but it hath passed over all men ; for though it hath 
not ipso facto as yet slain all, yet death is as certain as if it were 
already executed upon all. 

2. All are sinners, even great men as well as poor, and therefore 
all must die ; for sin brought death into the world, Rom. v. 12, and 
vi. 22, 23. 

3. We are all made of fading materials. Great men dwell in 
houses of clay, and their foundation is dust as well as others,^ Job 
iv. 19 ; Gen. iii. 19, and xviii. 27. We are dust originally and 
finally ; even kings, that are gods on earth, are but gods of earth, 
or rather clods of earth : hence the earth is called his by a special 
propriety, Ps. cxlvi. 4 ; man, i.e., princely men, for of such he there 
speaks, returns unto his dust ; he doth not say, they go to their 
cities, castles, kingdoms, these are now another's ; but he goes to 
his tomb, to his dust and ashes, that is the proper possession of 

4. They are subject to the like or greater diseases, calamities, 
and judgments of poisoning, stabbing, stifling, surfeiting, &c., than 
other men. 2 

5. As inferior persons must die, and so make way for the arising 
of others, so also must superiors. God hath others to arise and 
succeed them in their places, that his power and glory may be seen 
in them also. Hence Saul dies that David may succeed him. 
Moses dies that Joshua may appear. Daniel dies, and then 
Haggai and Zechariah arise ; and when John Baptist died, then 
Christ appeared. 

6. None of those prerogatives and privileges which great men en- 
joy can privilege them from the arrest of death. It is not, 1. Riches; 
2. Strength; 3. Parts, Policy ; 4. Dignity; 5. Friends; 6. Piety. 

1. Their riches cannot save them from the grave, they avail not 
in the day of wrath, Prov. xi. 4 ; Ezek. vii. 19 ; Zeph. i. 18 : the 
rich man died as well as Lazarus, Luke xii. 20, and xvi. 22 ; those 

^ As there is terra quain terimus, terra quam qumrimus, et terra quam gerimus ; 
so there is terra quae erimzis. 

^ Nulla aconita bibuntur fictilibus. — Juven,. 


that spend their days in wealth, yet in a moment go down to the 
grave, Job xxi. 13, 32. Kich men are apt to sing a requiem to 
their souls, and dream of living here many years : this is called 
folly, Luke xii. 19, 20, and is notably confuted, Ps. xlix. 6-20. 
Princes that had gold, and filled their houses with silver, yet must 
to their graves as well as the poor, Job iii. 15. Death will not be 
bribed : we have a notable instance for this in the king of Tyrus, 
who abounded with all riches, jewels, merchandise, and lived in 
Eden, the garden of God ; he lived as it were in paradise, insomuch 
that in his own conceit he was a god for power, wisdom, and ma- 
jesty; but God made him quickly to know that he was a weak 
man, and therefore he cut him off by a violent death in his own 
city, Ezek. xxviii. 2-14. 

2. Not strength. Samson was strong, yet death was too strong 
for him. Alexander and Ceesar, which conquered kingdoms, yet 
could not conquer death. Nero, Caligula, Domitian, Titus, &c., 
the terrors of their time, yet were all conquered by the king of 
terrors. Men of power have no power over death, Eccles. viii. 8 ; 
the captain, the mighty man, and the man of war, are all in the 
grave, Isa. iii. 2, 3. 

3. Parts, policy, learning, wisdom cannot preserve any from the 
grave. Solomon the wisest of men is dead, and daily experience 
shews that wise men die as well as fools, Ps. xlix. 10 ; Eccles. ii. 
16; the judge, the prudent, the prophet, the counsellor, and the 
eloquent orator, are all swept away by death, Isa. iii. 2, 3. Death 
is nomen indeclinahile ; the greatest clerks have not been able to 
decline it. 

4. No dignity nor honour can stave off death. Herod in the 
midst of his pomp was smitten dead, and devoured by vermin. Let 
a man be never so high in honour, yet he must die and perish, Ps. 
xlix. 20 ; Job xxi. 28, 32 ; such as are the staff and stay of a state, 
even the ancient and the honourable, yet are taken away by death, ^ 
Isa. iii. 2, 3. 

5. Eriends cannot save or shelter you from this arrest ; be they 
never so great or good, in them is no help ; they cannot help them- 
selves, much less others, Ps. cxlvi. 3. 

6. Not piety. If anything in the world could save a man from 
the grave, it is this : and yet we see Moses, a pious, meek, learned, 
self-denying servant of God, dies, Deut. xxxiv. 5. Moses, the ser- 
vant of the Lord, died. David, a wise man and excellent musician, 

^ See instances for this in that elaborate Tract of Holy Love by Fonseca, chap, 


a valiant soldier, a man after God's own heart, and one that ful- 
filled all his will, and yet, after he had served the will of God in 
his generation, he fell asleep. Acts xiii, 22, 36 ; the holy prophets 
do not live for ever, Zech. i. 5, but even the righteous themselves 
do perish,^ Isa. Ivii. 1. Christ doth not free his from death, but 
from the sting of death ; that which is penal is taken away ; he 
hath made that which in itself is a curse, to become a blessing ; of 
a poison, he hath made a medicine ; and of a punishment, an ad- 
vantage. So that what Agag spake vauntingly, we may speak 
truly, the bitterness of death is past, Hosea xiii. 14. 

Use 1. Fear not great men when they are great oppressors ; for 
there is a greater than they who will bring them to judgment ; how 
oft doth the Lord blame his people for fearing such as must die, 
and then all their fury ceaseth, Isa. li. 12, 13. 

2. Trust not in them. Though they be never so great, yet 
they must die, and then all thy projects perish. If a man might 
trust in any man, it is in princes, for they can do more for us than 
ordinary men ; and yet we are expressly forbidden trusting in them, 
Ps. cxlvi. 3, 4, ' Trust not in princes, nor in the son of man, in 
whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to 
his earth ; in that very day his thoughts perish.' Where you may 
see, 1. They cannot help you. 2. If they could, yet they must die, 
and then all their projects and purposes for themselves or for thee 
perish and come to nought : and therefore trust not in them, nor in 
any of the sons of men ; for they are vain, yea, vanity, yea, lighter 
than vanity : nothing, yea, if it be possible, less than nothing, Ps. 
Ixii. 9. If you will trust in any, trust in the Almighty, for he never 
dies, Ps. xviii. 16. The prophets, they die: and our fathers do not 
live for ever. Ay, but the God of the prophets, and the God of our 
fathers, lives for ever, Ps. xc. 1. When father and mother forsake 
thee, he will take thee up ; when all thy friends are dead, yet he is 
an ever- living and an ever-loving friend, who will guide thee with 
his counsel till he bring thee to glory. 

3. This must teach great men who are in high places, oft to 
think on death and judgment. God no sooner tells us of their 
majesty, but he presently adds their mortality, to keep them 
humble in the midst of all their creature comforts. The sight of 
this death's-head will damp all carnal delights ; and this verse, 
well thought on, would make us look with a mortified eye on all 
earthly enjoyments. Mortality is a very fit meditation for magis- 
trates. Francis Borgia, a Spanish courtier, having been at the 

^ Tollitur mors, non ne sit, sed ne obsit. 


funeral of the empress, and considering how little a grave had 
devoured all earthly greatness, Totus mutatus est in melius ; he 
began to reform his life, and became another man;^ whereupon he 
told his friends, Augustce mors mild vitam attulit, the death of the 
empress hath brought me to life. A serious consideration of 
death will take off the scales from our eyes, and make us see the 
vanity of all earthly glory, how short and transitory it is ; and, 
therefore, when you find your hearts begin to be lifted up with the 
gay feathers of honour, wit, wealth, beauty, or any other fading 
excellency, then cast your eyes upon the black feet of your mor- 
tality, and it will humble you. It is said of Hoshea the king of 
Samaria, that he should ' vanish like a bubble, the foam and froth 
of water,' Hosea x. 7. We know bubbles do soon arise, and as soon 
vanish ; and as one bubble ariseth after another till all are gone, so 
it is here. How many popes enjoyed not their pomp a year!^ 
Some were cut off at eleven months, some are at ten, others at 
nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one month ; yea, some 
enjoyed the chair not months but days : Leo the eleventh sat pope 
but twenty-seven days, Pius III. twenty-six days, another twenty- 
three, another twenty, yea. Pope Urbana VII. was pope but 
seven days, and Pope Stephen II. but four days. Oh ! the mad- 
ness of these popes, many of which gave their souls to the devil 
for fading, flying, lying vanities ! As Philip, king of Mace- 
don, commanded his page every morning when he arose to cry 
Philippe, memento te esse mortalem; remember, king, thou 
art but a mortal man; so say I, Memento te esse hullam ; remem- 
ber, ye great ones of the world, that you are but bubbles which 
soon vanish. I ha^^e read of St Austin,^ that when he was at Kome 
and saw the rotten carcass of Ca3sar in his sepulchre, he brake 
forth into this pathetical exclamation, ' Where, oh where is the 
famous body of Caesar ? where are his riches and delights ? where 
are his troops of lords and barons? where are his numerous 
armies, his horses, and his hounds, his ivory bed, his arras hang- 
ings, his imperial throne, his change of raiments, his curious hair, 
his comely face ? where, oh where is he with all his pomp, that was 
once the terror of the world ? ' The answer was ; ' All these left 
him when his breath left him, they left him captive in the grave,' 
&c. Commendable, therefore, was the practice of Maximilian the 

^ V. Eibaden. de Vit. Borgise. 

" V. Mendoza in i. Eeg. iv. Numb. 22, Sec. 3 ; and 1, Reg. x. Numb. 27. Annot. 
6, p. 135. uhlplura. 

^ Aug. Serm. 48, ad fratres in eremo. 


Emperor, who some years before his death commanded his coffin 
to be carried about with him, that by the sight of it he might be 
put in mind of his mortality,^ and of the account he must shortly 
give of the empire, and might be quickened in the meantime to a 
more diligent discharge of his duty. This will be a corrosive to 
sin, and a curb to keep you from exorbitant courses. Great men 
many times are great tyrants ; they make their lusts their law, and 
as the Donatists conceited that they could not err (though few 
erred more,) ^ so there are State-Donatists that cry Quod statu- 
imus justum est, stat 'per ratione voluntas. Whatever they decree 
must pass for just, though it be never so unjust. These forget 
their last ends, as Jerusalem did before her ruin,^ Lam. i. 9. They 
remember not that they who sit on the bench now must shortly 
come to the bar. 

2. Let it be a spur to duty : our time is short, our work is great, 
our reward unspeakable. Be active for God ; do much in a short 
time ; serve not nor seek yourselves, but serve God in your genera- 
tion, as David did. Acts xiii. 36. As you have your places, your 
power, your gifts, your time and talents from God, so improve 
them all unto his praise. Live the life of the righteous, and you 
shall die their deaths. Walk in their way, and you shall attain 
their end.* Be Israelites indeed in whom there is no reigning 
guile, and then when you come to die, you may comfortably say 
with Nehemiah and Hezekiah, ' Kemember me, my God, for 
good, and remember how I have walked before thee in truth, and 
with a perfect heart, and have done that which was good in thy 
sight,' Isa. xxxviii. 3. Make it your daily exercise to keep a 
conscience void of offence ^ towards God and man, and then when 
you come to die, this will be your rejoicing, even the testimony of 
your consciences, that in simplicity and godly sincerity you have 
had your conversation in the world. 

Ohs. 3. Great men must certainly die, as well as other ordinary 
men. But doth any one question this ? It would seem so, and 
therefore the Lord, who knows our hearts better than we know 
ourselves, hath set a 'verily' on it. The pomp, prosperity, peace, 
and pleasures of great men do so blind and harden them, that they 
cannot a while to think on death, or, if they do, it is only slightly 

1 Tu mortem ut nunquam timeas, semper cogita. 
^ Quod volumus sanctum est. 

3 Nihil sic revocat liomines a peccato sicut imminentis mortis cogitatio. — Aug. 
* Non potest male mori qui bene vixit. — Aug. 

^ See the singular comfort of a good conscience at death and judgment, in 
Dyke on Conscience,' cap. 11. p. 190, &c. 


and notionally; tliey do not realise death, and look on it as ready 
to arrest them ; if they did, they would lead other lives than now 
they do. They are apt to put the evil day far from their soul, and 
therefore it is that they ' draw near to the seat of iniquity,' Amos 
vi. 3. They have made a covenant with death, and a bargain 
with hell ; hence the Lord, to awaken them out of their vain 
dreams, speaks so assertively of death : Ps. xxxix. 5, ' Verily, 
every man in his best estate is altogether vanity, Selah.' The 
words are very emphatical;^ man, every man, not only some of 
inferior rank, but su2:)eriors also; Col Adam, every son of Adam, 
and that not only in his low condition, but in the best and most 
prosperous condition ; when in the height of his beauty and bravery, 
having all creature comforts about him, yea, even then, he is but 
vain, yea, vanity, and not only in some measure vain, but altogether 
vanity. Man at his best is the very universe of vanity ; - and to 
put this further out of doubt, the Holy Ghost puts a double seal to 
it, one at the beginning of the sentence, and another at the end. 
' Verily' lets it in, and ' Selah' shuts it up. Implying that it is no 
doubtful or probable thing, but a most certain truth. 

Ohs. 4. Death is a fall. It is so to all, they fall from the 
society of men to the company of worms ; at death we fall from 
everything save God and godliness ; our good works will follow us 
to heaven ; ' The comfort of them will endure for ever,' Kev. xiv. 
13; 1 Johnii. 17. 

2. Yet some shall fall more stairs and storeys than others, as 
princes, rulers, and the grandees of the world. The higher your 
standing is whilst you live, the lower ye fall when ye die ; and 
therefore, when Abner was slain, it is said, ' A prince and a great 
man was fallen in Israel,' 2 Sam. iii. 38, 39. Such fall from their 
richest treasures, delightfullest pleasures, stately mansions, dear 
relations, yea, from whatsoever is called the good of this world; 
Job vii. 7, ' Your eyes shall no more see good,' you must now bid 
farewell to all your creature delights ; as you brought notliing into 
the world, so you shall carry nothing out. 

3. Some yet fall lower than others, as tyrants and wicked men 
who fall from earth to hell ; Ps. ix. 17, ' The wicked shall be 
turned into hell, and all the people that forget God;' he casts 
down the mighty from their seats in fury. Few tyrants but come 

* Haec omnia emphatice dicta et observanda esse innuit, ut ostendat nihil esse in 
studiis mortalium, in vita ipsa mortalium, quorumcunque, qualecunque, quantum- 
cunque, quod non sit vanum. — Muscuhis. 

^ Col Adam col hebel. Universa vanitas omnis homo. 


to violent deaths and miserable ends/ as we see in Zachariah, 
Shallum, Pekahiah, and Pekah, who in a short time M^ere cut off 
by violent deaths, Hosea vii. 7 and 10. If the rulers of Grod's people 
will be like the rulers of the world in pride and oppression, they 
must expect to be like them in punishment, and to fall as those 
tyrannical heathen princes have done before them ; for God is no 
respecter of persons or privileges, but is the same in all ages to the 
same sinners. 

Ver. 8. Arise, God, judge thou the earth, for thou shalt inhei^it 
all nations. 

In the first verse we had the psalmist's preface ; in this last 
verse we have his petitory conclusion. The psalmist seeing the 
gross stupidity of the judges of those times, how no warnings 
would work upon them, no complaints stir them, no sense of their 
mortality affect them ; by a sudden apostrophe he turns himself to 
God, and betakes himself to his prayers. ' Arise, God, judge 
thou the earth.' Before he spake in the person of God to those 
rulers ; he leaves them now as desperate and past cure, and betakes 
himself to God. ' Arise, God." Where we have, 1. The sub- 
stance of his suit or matter of his prayer, viz., that God would 
arise and judge the earth. 2. A reason drawn from the dominion 
and universal sovereignty of God over all the world.- ' For thou 
inheritest all nations.' 

' Arise,' q.d. Hitherto, Lord, thou hast sate still and concealed 
thy power, though justice hath been turned into wormwood, and 
righteousness into hemlock ; ^ now therefore arise, Lord, and take 
the throne, relieve the oppressed, right the wronged, and set all 
things in order which have been so long in confusion.* This word 
' arise' by an anthropopathy is given to God, when he exerts and 
puts forth his power (which seemed to sleep and lie dormant for a 
time, suffering his people to be afflicted whilst the wicked flourish) 
in punishing the wicked, and delivering his people out of trouble. 
So the word is used, Num. x. 35 ; Job xxxi. 14 ; Ps. xliv. 23, 
24, lix. 5, Ixviii. 1, and Ixxvi. 8, 9 ; Zech. ii. 13. 

' God,' Elohim, i.e. thou Creator, Governor, Prince, and 
Judge of all the world (so much the word implies,) thou abso- 

^ See more before on verse 1, obs. 5. 

* Addit rationem a proprio Dei jure. — Moller. 

^ Dicitur sedere Deus quando dissimulat suam potentiam neque exercet munus 
judicis.— Vatablus. 

* KumaJi, surge, i.e., ad agendum te accinge, et contra hostes insurge. 


lute, universal, supreme, and mighty Judge, do thou now arise 
and judge these unrighteous judges of the world. 

' Judge thou the earth,' ^ i.e., the men of the earth ; q.cl, since 
justice is perished from the earth, and men are so corrupt and 
careless that they will not do justice,^ but abuse their power ; 
do thou therefore, Lord, take the power into thine own hand, and 
execute justice for the oppressed and the needy ; ' For thou dost 
inherit,' or, 'thou dost possess all nations,' q.d., all nations of 
the world, and amongst the rest these oppressed ones, are thine by 
a true right and inheritance ; ^ it concerns thee therefore to take 
notice of them, and to right them in their wrongs, and not to suffer 
unrighteous judges to oppress and slay them at their pleasure, Ps. 
Ixxiv. 21. Or, ' Thou shalt inherit, or thou shalt possess all 
nations,'* q.d., thou, whether they will or no, shalt have power over 
Jews and Gentiles,^ for thou art Lord paramount, and the true 
possessor of all nations, they are all within thy jurisdiction and 
dominion ; and therefore, seeing that office belongs to thee, take 
it into thine own hand and do justice for thy people : let no tyrant 
take thy right and authority from thee, for thou dost, and for 
ever shalt possess, as thy proper peculiar, all nations whatsoever. 

Quest. But how comes the world to be called God's inheritance, 
when the church of God is frequently called his portion and his 
inheritance ? Deut. xxxii. 9 ; Ps. cxxxv. 4 ; Isa. xix. 25 ; Mai. iii. 

Ans. The answer is easy. 1. All the world is God's inheritance 
by right of creation and perpetual preservation ; but his church is 
his by right of redemption and peculiar appropriation to himself. 
It is his portion and peculiar treasure above all people ; he looks 
upon all the world but as lumber, dross, and refuse, in comparison 
of his people, Ps. cxix. 119. They are his jewels, his ISegullah,^ 
his select portion, and rich treasure which he values at the highest 

Some would make this verse a prophecy of the kingdom of 
Christ, when all nations shall be subdued to him, and be given him 
for his inheritance, according to that Ps. ii. 8 ; Heb. i. 2 ; Rev. xi. 

^ Meton. subjecti. 

- Vindica probos hujus terne incolas ab opprcssione judicum. — Plscator. 

^ Hsereditare est dominium in gentes jure obtinere. 

■* Tinchal, possidebis, hsereditabis. 

^ Goiim ssepe dicitur de gentibus infidelibus et incredulis. 

® Ecclesia vocatur hsereditas Dei et possessio ejus, quia Deo dulcis et grata est, sicut 
unicuique solet esse dulcis et jucunda hsereditas quam possidet. — Ravanella. See more 
of the word SeguUah in Mr Bell on the Covenant, p. 103. 


15. But the prophet speaks not here of Christ, or of the last judg- 
ment, but of the general providence of God, whereby he governs 
the kingdoms of the world with the sceptre of righteousness, Gen. 
xviii. 25, Eccles. iii. 17 ; defending the good, punishing the bad ; 
preserving laws, public peace, justice, and order ; and though he 
hath committed the custody of these to magistrates, who are his 
deputies, yet he himself is the chief judge ; and when they neglect 
their duty then he appears. The sum of all is this — Lord, since 
the iniquity of ungodly magistrates is so exceeding great, not only 
amongst thy own people, but even through the whole world, right- 
eousness is fled, and justice cannot be found, the righteous are 
debased, the unrighteous exalted, the nocent are countenanced, and 
the innocent condemned ; the rich are favoured, and the afflicted 
trod under foot ; tlierefore do thou. Lord, arise, bring down the 
proud, punish the nocent, set free the innocent, rescue the poor and 
fatherless from the jaws of tyrannical ones, that all the earth 
may know that thou only art Lord and supreme judge of all the 

Ohs. 1. God sometimes seems to sleep when his people are in 
trouble. He seems to be careless, and let all run into confusion, 
as we have seen in this psalm. Not that God doth indeed sleep or 
disregard the afflictions of his people, for he that keepeth his Israel 
doth not so much as slumber, much less sleep, Ps. cxxi. 4, 5. He 
hath a special eye upon his people for good, he protects them so 
that the sun shall not hurt them by day, nor the moon by night, 
i.e., no time, nothing shall hurt them, neither sun nor moon, 
neither heat nor cold. 2, No part of them shall be hurt, thy soul 
shall be preserved ; thy going out and coming in shall be guided 
and guarded ; these include the whole person of man, with all his 
just undertakings and affairs. Thus are they kept who have the 
Lord for their keeper; and as if this were not sufficient, he adds, ver. 3, 
' He will not suffer thy foot to be moved,' i.e., he will not suffer 
thee or thine to be moved or violently cast down ; the power of 
oppressors shall not prevail over thee, for the power of God sustains 
thee. Lest any should hurt his vineyard, he keeps it night and day, 
i.e.., at all times, Isa. xxvii. 3. So that, to speak properly, there is 
no passion in God, there is neither rest nor motion in him ; but the 
Scripture speaks of him by an anthropopathy, according to our 
apprehension. Thus the Lord is said sometimes to be slack, slow, 
and delay his coming ; and then by our prayers we must quicken 
him : Ps. xl. 17, ' Make no long tarrying, my God ;' Ps. Ixxiv., 
' How long. Lord, how long wilt thou forget thy people ?' Some- 


times he seems to forget liis cliiircli, and tlien his people must put 
him in remembrance : Isa. Ixii. 7, ' Ye that are the Lord's remem- 
brancers give him no rest.' Sometimes he seems to sleep, and then 
he expects that his people by their j)rayers should awaken him, as 
in the text, ' Arise, Lord.' The Lord is a God of great patience and 
long-suffering ; he bears long with the vessels of wrath fitted for 
destruction, Kom. ix. 22. He bears so long with the wicked till 
they rage again, and insult, thinking that God approves of their 
wickedness, Ps. 1. 21. He seemed to sleep at Israel's troubles 430 
years ; but at last Pharaoh and his followers paid for all together 
in the sea. The Amorites, one would think, had been wicked 
enough to have been destroyed, for they were gross idolaters, grand 
oppressors, and notorious for lust, yet God bare some hundred of 
years with them, till they were ripe for ruin. Gen. xv. 16. "Woe, 
then, to all the insulting, blasphemous enemies of God's people, 
though God seem for a time to sit still and sleep, letting the wicked 
oppress the righteous, who is better than he, Hab. i. 13. Yet as a 
man after sleep is refreshed, so God will arise like a giant refreshed 
with wine, and then his enemies shall be scattered, and those that 
hate him shall flee before him. As smoke is driven away by a 
mighty wind, though it seem black and formidable at first, yet it 
soon vanisheth ; and the higher it ascends, the sooner it is scattered ; 
and as wax melteth before the fire, so shall the wicked perish at 
the presence of God, Ps. Ixviii. 1, 2. If the Lord do once arise, 
though his enemies be never so many or mighty, yet they are soon 
scattered. Let the Lord but look upon the host of the Egyptians 
through the pillar of fire, and it troubles and torments them, Exod. 
xiv. 24. Let not then God's people be despondent, though the 
Lord make them wait, yea, and wait long ; though the vision be 
yet for an appointed time, yet at the end it shall speak comfort to 
those that patiently wait God's appointed time ; and to assure you 
of this, the promise is doubled and trebled — it shall speak, it will 
come, it will surely come, it shall not lie, it will not tarry, Hab. 
ii. 3. 

Quest. But when will the Lord arise for his people ? The harvest 
is past, and the summer is ended, and yet we are not saved. 

Arts. Though God seldom comes at our time, yet he never fails 
of his own time ; in his due tim^ he will arise and save his people, 
only do not limit the Holy One of Israel to your time ; ^ for when he 
sees it is most for his own glory, and his people's good, he will 

^ See ten seasons wherein God will arise for to help his people. Mr Case's Fast 
Sermon on Ps. Ixviii. 1, 2, p. 21, preached 1644. 



certainly arise : he only waits for a fit time to be i^racious, Isa. 
XXX. 18. Yet for your better satisfaction, know that there are two 
seasons more especially wherein the Lord loves to appear for his 
people. 1. When the enemy is most high, begins to insult and 
blaspheme, crying, Where is now their God? he is asleep and 
cannot save ; then their fall is near, Job xx. 5 ; Ps. xciv. 2, 6-23. 
Violent things last not long. 2. When God's j^eople are most low, 
and all seems to make against them ; when the enemy seems to 
carry all before him, and his people's strength is gone.^ Now, now, 
now will I arise, saith God, Isa. xxxiii. 9, 10 ; Deut. xxxii. 36. 
Cum duplicaniur laferes, venit Moses. God lets things come to the 
mount, and then he appears. Gen. xxii. 14. When his people lie as 
dry dead bones, in a hopeless, helpless, fatherless, forlorn condition, 
then God loves to appear for their help and succour, Ezek. xxxvii. 
11 ; Exod. iii. 9 ; Ps. xii. 5, x. 12, and cii. 13 ; Hosea xiv. 3. 

Ohs. 2. When God's people are in distress, they must awaken 
God by their prayers ; so doth the psalmist here : ' Arise, Lord, 
and judge the earth.' When they can have no help on earth, they 
must go to heaven. When the gods on earth will not right us, we 
must appeal to the God of heaven. ^ It is matter of singular com- 
fort, that when tyrants cruelly oppress us, and we can have no 
relief below, yet we have a God to go to, who will vindicate our 
wrongs, and plead our cause against our enemies ; but then we 
must awaken the Lord by fervent and importunate prayer. He 
seems to rest till he be disquieted by our prayers. Though he will 
help us, yet he will be sought of us to do it for us ; hence his 
people so oft cry, ' Arise, Lord, and save thy people ;' and, ' Awake, 
why sleepest thou ?' Ps. iii. 7, vii. 6, ix. 19, xvii. 13, and Ixviii. 1 ; 
Hab. i., ii., iii., per totum. 

Only remember it is not every kind of prayer that will awaken 
God; but it must be, 1. The prayer of a righteous man, such as 
Moses, Job, Samuel, Daniel, who have both imputed and imparted 
righteousness. He must come in the raiment of Christ, his elder 
brother ; there is no seeing God's face unless we bring him with us. 
Christ only is the way ; there is no coming to the Father but by 
him. It was death under the law for any man to offer a sacrifice 
himself, though it were never so good ; it must be put into the 
priest's hand, and he must offer it : ' Every sacrifice must be 
seasoned with salt,' Lev. ii. 13. Christ is that true salt which 
seasons both our persons and jDerformances, and makes them accept- 

^ See more in my Comment, on 2 Tim. iii. 9, p. 182. 
^ Kestat iter cajlo. 


able to his Father. Whatever we ask it must be in Christ's name, 
and not in our own, John xiv, 13, 14. The person must please, 
before the prayer can please. God had first respect to Abel, and 
then to his ofi'ering. The man must be good, or his prayer will 
never be heard. Grod hears not sinners, i.e., impenitent sinners, 
which make a trade of sin, Ps. Ixvi. 18 ; John ix. 31 ; there is no 
standing before God in our sins, Ezra ix. 15. An earthly prince 
will not traffic with rebels to his crown and dignity ; to such God 
saith, ' What hast thou to do to take my name into thy mouth ? ' 
Ps. 1. 16, 17; the prayers of a proud, profane libertine are an 
abomination to God, Pro v. xv. 8, and xxviii. 9 ; he esteems them 
as swine's blood, or the offering a dog's neck in sacrifice, Isa. Ixvi. 
3 ; as the howling of a dog, Hosea vii. 14 ; or as lying and dis- 
sembling, Hosea xi. 12. ' The wicked compass me with lies when 
they cry, My Father, my Father.' And therefore, whenever we 
draw nigh to God in prayer, we must wash our hearts and our 
hands in innocency, lifting up pure hearts and pure hands : ' All 
that call on the name of the Lord must depart from iniquity,' 2 
Tim. ii. 19. If we be such as do his commandments, then what- 
soever we ask we shall receive, 1 John iii. 22. Hence the promises 
run to the righteous : Prov. x. 24, ' The desire of the righteous 
shall be granted ;' Ps. cxlv. 19, ' He will fulfil the desires of them 
that fear him;' 1 Pet. iii. 12, Prayer is not a work of the wit, 
voice, memory, but of the heart: Ps. xxv. 1, Let the words be 
never so excellent, if they come not from the heart, it is but lip- 
labour, and lost labour ; Isa. xxix. 30, To pray against pride, 
covetousness, passion, hypocrisy, &c., when the heart doth not hate 
those sins, nor will they part with them at any rate, but are angry 
with such as would separate between them and their lusts, what is 
this but to mock God to his face, and to give him occasion out of 
our own mouths to condemn us? If ever we desire that God 
should hear our prayers, we must first put iniquity far from our 
tabernacles, Job xxii. 23, 27. Our prayers must not come from 
feigned lips, Ps. xvii. 1. God is nigh to all that call upon him ; 
but then they must call upon him in truth, Ps. cxlv. 18. It is the 
prayers of the upright that are God's delights, Prov. xv. 8. And 
as all sin, so three especially there are that mar men's prayers. 
The first is ignorance, when men have no sense of their own misery, 
nor of the majesty of that God they pray to; such cannot pray: 
Kom. X. 14, ' How shall they call on him of whom they have not 
heard?' or if they do, yet their prayers are abominable, Prov. 
xxviii. 9. 2. Pride, when men are full of self-confidence, and think 


to be heard for their own merits and righteousness, God resists 
such proud pharisees ; but it is the prayer of the destitute and the 
humble which he regards, Ps. x. 17, and cii. 16, 17. 3. Oppression 
and cruelty ; the cry of these sins outcries their prayers so as they 
cannot be heard. Though such should pray, yea, and make many 
prayers, yet God will not hear, Isa. i. 15 ; how can he expect mercy 
from God, who shews none to his brother? Prov. xxii. 13, 'He 
that stops his ears at the cry of the poor, shall cry himself, and 
shall not be heard. 
• The question then will be, Whether a wicked man may pray ? 

Ans. Prayer considered as a duty binds all men;i for though 
wicked men cannot pray to God as to a father, yet they may as to 
a Creator. Prayer is good in itself, though by accident the wicked 
turn it into sin ; now though, for want of faith, such prayers cannot 
please God, yet being good for matter, giving glory to God in 
sundry of his attributes, they may procure temporal blessings, or 
divert, for a time at least, some temporal judgments. The cry and 
moan of the creature oft moveth compassion in the Creator ; he 
hears the cry of ravens and feeds them ; and when the Israelites 
cried, though but hypocritically and in their trouble, yet he delivered 
them out of their distress, Ps. Ixxviii. So Ahab and the Ninevites. 

2. The prayer must be fervent ; both these qualifications we have 
in one verse : James v. 16, ' The effectual fervent prayer of a right- 
eous man availeth much.' We must awaken ourselves and cry 
aloud, if ever we would awaken God. So did the prophets : Isa. li. 
9, ' Awake, arm of the Lord ; awake, awake, and put on 
strength.' There is no getting the blessing without striving ; hence 
we are commanded to strive in prayer, Eom. xv. 30 ; Ijuke xviii. 
4, 7; Eom. viii. 26 ; Col. iv. 2. It is only weeping, wrestling Jacobs, 
that become prevailing Israels, Hosea xii. 4. It is this seed of 
Jacob that never seek God's face in vain, Isa. Ixv. 9. We must 
stir up ourselves that we may lay hold on God, and use argumenta- 
tive prayer, as Moses did, Exod. xxxii. 11-13, and get a holy 
impudence, as that widow did,^ Luke xi. 8. God loves to see us 
fervent, when it is for his own glory and his church's good. Tell 
him the cause is his ; had it been our own cause we had been silent, 
but the cause is his. And the people that are oppressed are his, and 

^ The First Commandment of the moral law requiring prayer, it obligeth uni- 
versally ; besides, all men have need to pray always, in all things, even for the 
continuance of being, because they depend on this supreme being. — Lawson. 

^ 'AmiSeia, impudentia, importunitas. See Mr Love on that text. Hsec vis grata 
Deo est. — Tertul. lib. de Orat. 


the enemies are his ; they blaspheme his name daily ; it is their 
daily practice to vent blasphemies against him and his truth, and 
therefore beseech him to arise. When things be out of order in 
church and state, prayers and tears are our best weapons. It is 
not for private persons in such cases to rise tumultuously and revile 
their rulers ; this will but exasperate, and not heal our distresses. 
God doth not say here, ye afflicted and wronged, arise ^nd slay 
your unrighteous rulers ; no, but rather slay your sins, which pro- 
voke Grod to set them over you ; and by prayer cry to him that he 
would arise and help you. Thus did the primitive Christians in 
TertuUian's time. So the people in Saul's time, when the Lord 
told them how cruelly he would deal with them, he tells them what 
they must do, 2 Sam. viii. 18 ; ye shall cry in that day, because of 
your king. They must not rise in rebellion against him, but they 
must cry unto God for aid. We must spread our case and our 
cause before him who is the judge of all the world, and who hath 
promised that the rod of the wicked shall not for ever lie on the lot 
of the righteous, Ps. cxxv. 3. 

Caution. This is spoken against private persons taking up arms, 
and not against the inferior magistrates defending rehgion and the 
godly, when the superior is an enemy to both ; of this judgment was 
the learned B. Bilsou,' a man free enough from sedition or faction. 
I will not rashly pronounce, saith he, all that resist to be rebels ; 
cases may fall out, even in Christian kingdoms, where the people 
may plead their right against the prince, and yet not be charged 
with rebellion, e.g., If a prince go about to subject his kingdom 
to a foreign realm, or change the form of the commonwealth from 
impery to tyranny, or neglect the laws established by common con- 
sent of prince and people, to execute his own pleasure ; in these, 
and other cases which might be named, if the nobles and the com- 
mons join together to defend their ancient and accustomed liberty, 
regiment, and laws, they may not well be accounted rebels. This, 
and more you may see in the place quoted, which excellently clears 
the justness of the late parliament wars. If any desire further 
satisfaction, he may see forty-four questions learnedly debated by 
Mr Kutherford in his Lex Rex, where he strongly asserts the law- 
fulness of defensive wars, and takes off all cavils that are brought 
to the contrary. 2 But whatever means be used, yet prayer may in 
no wise be neglected. It is it that blesseth all means, obtains all 
grace, and brings comfort to us in all our distress. So that a prayer- 

1 Vide Bilson's Philander, part 3, p. 279, &c. 

2 Vide Sharpius Curaus Theolog. Loc. de Magist., q. 2, p. 246, p. 2. 


less man is a graceless man, useless man, cursed man, comfortless 

1. A prayerless man is a graceless man. Grace is obtained by 
prayer ; ask and have, Ezek. xxxvi. 37. A man of much prayer 
is usually a man of much grace, as we see in Daniel, and David, who 
was a man composed as it were of prayer ; Ps. cix. 4, ' But I prayer,' 
or ' I give myself to prayer,' as being much in that work, and making 
it his only fence and refuge.^ When Paul was converted, then he 
prays, Acts ix. 11. No doubt but he, being a strict pharisee, prayed 
before.^ Ay but, says the Lord, go to him now ; for behold he prays, 
i.e., feelingly, fervently, and effectually; and not coldly, cursorily, 
and formally, as the pharisees did, which was no praying in God's 
esteem. Hence the spirit of grace and the spirit of supplication 
are joined together, Zech. xii. 10 ; and they are branded for irre- 
ligious atheists that call not upon God, Ps. xiv. 4. Let thy out- 
side be never so civil or smooth, yet if thou be a prayerless man, 
certainly thou art a graceless man. 

2. A useless man. Unfit for any service of God, a burden to 
the place he lives in ; like Jeremiah's girdle, good for nothing, Jer. 
xiii. 7. As a praying saint is a public good, even the chariots and 
the horsemen of Israel ; so a prayerless sot is a wen, a blemish, and 
burden to the church and state he lives in. 

3. A cursed man. As food, rest, riches, labour, and all other 
things are sanctified to us by prayer ; so, on the contrary, without 
prayer, all is cursed. You may rise early, and yet labour in vain, 
Ps. cxxvii. 1, 2, and get riches, but they will prove snares unto 

4. A comfortless man. He hath no God to make his moan to in 
his troubles ; and thence it is that wicked men, though in prosperity 
they be very high, yet in adversity none so despondent and amort 
as they. 

But a man of prayer is still the same ; in all his distresses he 
hath a God to go to, he hath hidden manna which the world knows 
not of. By this he gets strength from God either to overcome the 
temptation, or to undergo it patiently ; it either removes the afflic- 
tion, or else gets it sanctified. Prayer hath Virtutem pacatwam, a 
settling and composing power ; it stills the distempers of the soul, 
as sleep composeth the distempers of the body, Christ, by prayer, 
overcame his agony, and cheerfully goes forth to meet even those 
that sought to crucify him. Mat. xxvi. 44, 46. Hannah, that before 

^ Vaani tephilla, Ego autem oratio, i.e., Vir orationis, et orationi deditus. 
^ Ficta pro infectis sunt. 


was in bitterness of spirit, yet after she had been at prayer, her 
countenance was no more sacl,^ 1 Sam. i. 18. This made Luther call 
prayer the leeches of his cares, and Christ bids his pray that their 
joy may be full, John xvi. 24. As Moses, when he came from the 
mount, the people discerned that he had been with God, so a gracious 
soul never comes from God, but he carries away somewhat of God 
with him.^ Prayer is a catholicon, it is a panacea, an universal 
remedy for every malady ; if any be afflicted, internally or externally, 
let him pray, James v. 13. It is a special and eminent part of God's 
worship, in which we draw nigh to God, and he to us. By it we 
glorify him in all his attributes, in his truth, wisdom, mercy, omni- 
potence, omniscience, omnipresence, &c. Hence it is oft put for 
the tvhole worship of God synecdochically, or virtually containing 
much of God's worship in it : So Mat. xxi. 13, ' My house shall be 
called the house of prayer. '^ Not that prayer should jostle out 
other ordinances, as some would have had it, but it is spoken by 
way of eminency, because prayer must accompany every ordinance. 
So oft in Scripture calling on God's name is put for the whole 
worship of God, Gen. iv. 26 ; Ps. 1. 15 ; Kom. x. 12. This sets all 
our graces on work, as knowledge, faith, love, patience. This sets 
the crown on God's head, as Joab when he had taken Kabbah sent 
for David to take the glory of it ; so prayer gives all the glory of 
what it hath or doth to God, and therefore it is that God loves to 
do such great things for his praying people ; hence their prayers are 
called incense ; there is no incense so pleasing to our smell, as the 
prayers of the faithful are to God, clxii. 2, and sweet odours, Kev. 
V. 8. Insomuch that God even begs their prayers : Cant. ii. 14, 
' Let me hear thy voice, for it is sweet.' This is a special preser- 
vative — 1. Against sin. We live in an infectious world, and we had 
need to antidote ourselves against sin by prayer before we go forth 
of our doors. Watching and prayer is a special preservative against 
the power of temptations, Mat. xxvi. 41. 2. It is a special help 
against the concomitants of sin. Many are the miseries that attend 
on sin, as sword, plague, famine. Prayer helps against them all, 
1 Kings viii. 33-38. The psalmist tells us of travellers, seamen, sick 
men, and captives that cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he 

1 Egressa fuit e tabernaculo spei plena, et animo ad omnia perfcrenda alacri ac 
prompto ; qui orationis fructus fuit prajcipuus. — Sanctius in 1 Sam. 

^ Nunquam abs te absque te recede. — Hern. 

3 Domus orationis, i.e., divini cultus, cujus prsecipua pars est oratio ; a precibus 
enim omnis cultus incipiendus et concludendus. — Parceus. 


delivered the'm, Ps. cvii. This is — 1. A sure helper ; 2. A secret 
helper ; 3. A speedy helper ; 4. A strong helper. 

1. Prayer is a sure helper. A right qualified prayer for man, 
matter, manner, never misseth ; but ever obtains either the blessing 
prayed for, or some better thing. God always answers his, ad 
utilifatem, si non ad voluntatem ; e.g., David prays for the life of 
his child ; God denies him in that thing, but gives him a Solomon, 
which was legitimate, and every way better for him. So Paul, he 
prays for deliverance from the messenger of Satan. God suffers the 
trial to abide, but gives him grace to improve it for good, which 
was better for him than if it had been removed. Though God be 
the principal actor, yet prayer is causa adjuvans : 2 Cor. i. 11, ' You 
also helping me with your prayers/ q.d., if you will but help me 
with your prayers, I doubt not of deliverance. 

2. It is a secret helper. It secretly undetermines the plots, and 
reveals the projects of wicked men, and they know not who doth it. 
One while they curse such a man, and anon they curse such coun- 
sel, and such instruments, when it is the prayers of God's people 
that do them all the mischief David's prayers turn Ahithophel's 
policy into folly, 2 Sam. xv. 31. 

3. A speedy helper. It brings sudden deliverance. Esther 
doth but pra}^ and suddenly Haman comes down. This pierceth 
the clouds and brings us present aid. Nehemiah, chap. ii. 4, he 
darts a prayer to heaven, and hath present help. God gave him 
favour in the sight of the king. 

4. It is a strong helper. Nothing like prayer for strength.^ As 
David said of Goliath's sword, there is none like that, Luther was 
wont to say, Est quwdam precum omniiJotentia ; Prayer hath a 
kind of omnipotent power. Like the sword of Saul and the bow of 
Jonathan, which never returned empty from the battle, 2 Sam. i. 
22, it binds God, and holds his hands that he cannot destroy a 
people ; hence the Lord entreats Moses to let him alone,^ Exod. 
xxxii. 10 ; and when the Lord would destroy a people, he forbids 
his servants praying for them, Jer. vii. 16. This commands the 
commander of all things, Isa. xlv. 11 ; it is stronger than any 
charm, Isa. xxvi. 16. In their trouble they poured out a prayer, or 
made a soft muttering to thee.^ You need not go to charms in 
your troubles ; prayer can do that which they cannot do. It is 

1 See how prayer is an eightfold helper, iu Mr Gi-een's Fast Sermon on Nehemiah 
i. 3, p. 26, &c., preached 1644. 

* Feriendi licentiam petit a Mose qui fecit Mosen. 

' Lahash, precationem, propria significat mussitationem, et passim accipitur pro 
incantatione. — Piscator. 


stronger than iron ; at the prayers of the church the iron gates fly 
open, and Peter's fetters fall off, Acts xii. 5-7. The prayer of one 
Jacob is too strong for four hundred men that come against him. 
Gen. xxxii. 6, 9, and xxxiii. 4. One Moses in the mount praying 
is too strong for all the armies in the valley fighting. Jehoshaphat, 
when surrounded with enemies, by prayer OYcrcomes them. By this 
Hezekiah overthrew the great army of Sennacherib. By prayer Asa 
with a few, in comparison of those that came against him, overcame 
an army of a thousand thousand men, and three hundred chariots, 
2 Chron. xiv. 9-11. By this Theodosius overcame the potent 
armies of his adversaries, and turned their darts upon their own 
heads. "I- 

The Queen of Scotland affirmed that she did more fear the 
prayers of Mr Knox and his assistants than an army of ten thou- 
sand men.^ There are five keys in the hand of God, and prayer 
turns them all. There is — 1. The key of the heart ; 2. The key of 
the womb ; 3. The key of the grave ; 4. The key of heaven ; 5. 
The key of hell. 

1. There is the key of the heart, and prayer turns this key. 
Esau came against Jacob with an intent to kill him, but God so 
changed his heart at the prayer of Jacob, that he fell upon his neck 
and kissed him. 

2. The key of the womb. Hannah, that was barren, prayed, 
and the Lord gave her a Samuel ; and Manoah prayed, and had a 

3. The key of the grave. Hezekiah prays and hath his life pro- 
longed. The prophet by prayer raised the dead child, 2 Kings iv. 
32. Jonah by prayer is raised out of the whale's belly, and Christ 
by prayer raiseth Lazarus. 

4. The key of heaven. Elias prayed and it rained ; and again he 
prayed that it might not rain, and it did not rain ; he could turn 
this key which way he pleased by his prayers, James v. 17, 18. So 

^ Theodosius robustissimum exercitum magis orando quam feriendo vicit. Milites 
qui nobis aderant, retulerunt, extorta sibi esse de manilms qusccunque jaculabantur, 
cum a Theodosi partibus in adversaries vehemens ventus iret, et non solum quae- 
cunque in eos jaculabantur concitatissime raperet, verum etiam ipsorum tela in eorum 
corpora rotorqueret. Unde Claudianus, quamvis a Christi nomine alienus, in ejus 
tamen laudibus dixit ; 

' nimium dilecte Deo, cui militat sether, 
Et conjurati veniunt ad classica venti.' 

— August, de Civit. Dei., lib. v. cap. 26. 
^ Prayers are Chridianorum bomharda;, The Christian's best artillery. — Luther, 
Oratio justi clavis caeli. — Aug. 


it is said of Luther, the Elias of his time, Vir iste potuit quod 
voluit. He could but ask and have. 

5. The key of hell. By prayer and fasting the devil is cast out,l 
Mat. xvi. 21. By Luther's prayers one was recovered who had 
given his soul to the devil. 

Thus we have seen what great encouragement we have to pray, 
and in all our straits to cry, Arise, Lord, and help us. 

If any would see more concerning the power of prayer, let him 
peruse Mr Bob. Bolton's Comforting Afflicted Consciences, pp. 6, 
7; Dr Harris, Peter's Enlargement ; Dyke, Bighteous Man's Tower, 
p. 77, &c. ; Mr Ford on James v. 13, at the end of his Spirit of 
Bondage, p. 590 ; and for prayer in general, Bishop Andrews' 
Catechism, chap. xi. ]). 142; Perkins' C. Consc, lib. ii. cap. 
6, p. 63, folio ; Dr Preston's Saints' Daily Exercise on 1 Thes. v. 
17; Mr Cobbet on Prayer ; Tactica Sacra, lib. iii. cap. 1, p. 241, 
&c. ; Ambrose's Media, p. 305 ; D, Pet. Smith, Fast Sermon on 
Ps. cvii. 6, preached 1644; Dyke on Conscience, chap. iv. p. 53; 
Capel on Tentation, lib. i. cap. 6, sec. 5, p. 92; Bolton's Comfort 
to AfHicted Consciences, P. i. cap. 4, p. 375 ; Tenner's Practical 
Catechism ; Barlow on Timothy, p. 47 ; Clerk's Mirror, chap. 

' Judge the earth.' Ohs. God is judge of all the earth. All 
other judges are but substitutes and surrogates to this judge of 
judges. They are confined to their circuits, but all the world is his 
circuit. Hence he is called the judge of all the earth. Gen. xviii. 
25 ; Ps. xciv. 2 ; Heb. xii. 23. A man may appeal from other 
judges ; Paul appealed from Felix to Cfesar. But God is the 
supreme judge, there is none higher than he, and so no appeals can 
be made from him, but all must end in him ; and therefore the 
saints, when they could have no justice on earth, have made their 
final appeals to him who judgeth righteously. So did David, 
1 Sam. xxiv. 13, 14 ; and Jeremiah, chap, xviii. 19, and xx. 12 ; and 
Christ, 1 Pet. ii. 23. Take heed then of displeasing him who is 
King of kings, and Judge of judges. Men are careful to get the 
favour of great men, Prov. xxix. 26, but what will it avail us to 
have all the great ones of the world for us, if the great God be 
against us ? Choose rather to displease all the world, than to dis- 
please him ; and this concerns great ones ; they must remember still 
that there is a greater than they, to whom they must shortly give 
an account of their stewardship, and at whose bar they must stand 

^ Nihil est homine probo orante potentius. — Chrysostom. 


to be judged themselves, who here have judged others,'^ Eev. vi. 15, 
and XX. 12. 

' Thou shalt inherit all nations.' Obs. All nations are the Lord's 
inheritance, or, the Lord is the sole possessor of all the world, Deut. 
X. 14 ; Job xli. 11 ; Ps. xxiv. 1, 2. The earth is the Lord's, and the 
fulness thereof ; he alone is the true proprietary of it. This is his 
universal kingdom by right of creation and preservation. God hath 
a special interest in all people. The rich and the poor meet to- 
gether, and the Lord is the maker and great protector of both. Job 
xxxiv. 19 ; Prov. xxii. 2. 

1. Let us then adore and reverence the transcendent majesty of 
the great God ; if a man be king of one kingdom, we stand in awe 
of him, and reverence him as some great man ; and shall not we 
reverence the great God, who is the king of the kingdoms of the 
world ? Whom will we fear if we do not fear him ? 

2. Let great ones remember from whom they have their power, 
riches, kingdoms, and greatness, even from this great possessor of 
heaven and earth. Let them improve their power to his praise ; 
else he that raised them can ruin them, and he that gives them 
kingdoms can take them away. Job xii. 17, 18, and xxxiv. 24 ; 
Dan. ii. 21. Let them not abuse their power in oppressing the 
poor, since as good hands have made the one as the other. All 
nations are God's inheritance, and the poor are a part of it as well 
as the rich. Let them assure themselves that God will not suffer 
wrongs that are done to them to pass unpunished, because such as 
wrong them, wrong a part of his inheritance. 

3. It may comfort such as are banished from their habitations 
for the testimony of Christ and the profession of his truth. You can- 
not want though you have lost all ; for the earth is the Lord's, and 
the fulness thereof. He is the possessor of all the world ; he that hath 
so rich a mine can never want, Ps. xxiii. 1. The lions natural, and 
the lions metaphorical may want, but such as fear the Lord shall 
lack nothing that may be for their good, Ps. xxxiv. 9, 10. Such 
meek ones shall inherit the earth, Mat. v. 5. In Christ their head 
all is theirs ; the world is theirs, and all that is in it was made more 
especially for their service, 1 Cor. iii. 21, 22. 

^ See more in my Comment, on 2 Tim. iv. 1, pp. 313, 321. 








auctiorem) in LUCEM EDITAM, 



To his Eeverend Friend Mr Thomas Hall, B.D., Pastor of Kinsf's- 
Norton, in Worcestershire. 

Esteemed Sir, — I have now at last, in answer to your desires, 
and in pursuance of my promise, sent you my meditations on the 
6th ver. of the 82d Psalm. Indeed, soon after the sermon was 
preached, I was sought to, that it might be printed. But I was 
then scarce fledged, not having in years equalled the days of the 
shortest month, and so unwilling to venture a flight into the world, 
lest I should fall. And truly my apology still must be with the 
good father,^ when the fruits of his youth were stolen to the press, 
Infans eram, nee dum scribere noveram. Nunc, ut nihil aliud pro- 
fecerim, saltern Socraticum illud habeo, Scio quod nescio. Such as 
it is, I commend it to you ; and the more cheerfully, because its 
younger brother, which two or three years since supplanted it, and 
got away the birthright, did meet with a blessing. The good Lord 
make it instrumental, in these unhappy and unholy days, wherein 
Moses and Aaron, magistracy and ministry, are trampled under foot, 
for the glory of his name, and the good of his people ! So prayeth 
he who never saw you, yet lovetli and honoureth you, and desireth 
to be frequently and fervently remembered by you at the throne 
of grace, 

George Swinnock. 

^ Hiero. in Proae. ad Obad. 


In my exposition of the 82d Psalm, when I came to the 7th verse, 
I perused a sermon of my brother Swinnock's, which he preached 
before the judges, on that verse. I found it so full and satisfactory, 
that I must freely confess I received more light from that single 
sermon than from all the commentators which I had by me. 
Whereupon, perceiving by his Epistle Dedicatory that he had 
preached an assize sermon on verse the sixth, which lay by him un- 
printed, I requested him to publish it with my commentary on this 
psalm ; and thou hast it here annexed to it. The author and his 
labours are above my praise. If thou please to accept of these, our 
fraternal first-fruits, if the Lord bless us with life and health to- 
gether, thou mayest expect ere long from us a commentary on 
Psalm Ixxiii. — a psalm very seasonable for us in these times, who are 
exercised with such variety of jorovidences. It were to be wished 
that the ministers of the gospel, would join their strength in the 
promoting the truth. Jesuits can do so to destroy it, why should 
not we in defending it ? That it may be so, is the desire, and shall 
be the endeavour of 

Thine in the Lord, 

Thomas Hall. 



/ have said, Ye are gods ; and all of you are children of the 
Most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the 
priiiccs. — Ps. Ixxxii. 6, 7. 

T)ie Book of Psalms may not unfitly be called the analogy of 
faitl), the directory for practice, the epitome of Scripture, the plat- 
form lor prayer : it is abbreviated in two words — Hosanna,i Halle- 
lujah ; 2 prayer and praise being the sum and substance of the 
whole book. 

It is a throng of holy affections, sailh one, each passion acting 
apart, wound up to the highest strain by the Spirit of God, breath- 
ing poetical eloquence into the heavenly prophet. 

This 82d Psalm containeth a reprehension of princes, for their 
opprossion of the people, and it is propounded partly by way of 
objurgation, partly by way of affirmation. 

1'he text presenteth us with a concession of the magistrates' 
allegation for their illegal proceedings. They argued that, because 
they were gods, they might tyrannise over men : that the stamp of 
a deity on them would make them current coin, though they were 
never so light. The Holy Ghost granteth them to be gods, but 
denieth the consequence, that therefore they may live as they list, 
ancil rule according to their lusts, or do the work of the devil : for 
tlio'jgh they are gods in respect of their places and power, yet they 
are men in respect of their frailty and nature. They must ' die 
like men, and fall like one of the princes.' 

^ Hosanna signifieth, Save, I pray thee, or preserve, I beseech thee. 
2 Halleliij. h, praise ye the I^ord. 
\'0L, IV. U 


The sixth verse clotheth men with majesty: ' I have said, Ye are 
gods,' &c. 

The seventh verse clotheth gods with mortality : ' But ye shall 
die like men.' They are gods Kara rr)v StaKovtav, that is, in their 
politic capacity in regard of their power and rule ; but they are not 
so Kara ryv ovalav, in their physical capacity, and in regard of their 
nature and essence. 

Though ye are now above others, yet shortly ye shall be laid as 
low as others, and then ye shall both answer and suffer for wrong- 
ing of others.! The height of your places will not excuse the 
wickedness of your practices ; for though ye are high, yet there is 
one higher than the highest of you, to whom you must give an 
account of all your injustice and oppression. 

We see, then, that the sixth verse containeth a concession ■'\ the 
magistrates' power, how it is by divine appointment and institrtion. 

In it we may take notice, first, Of the magistrates' honou : Ye 
are gods, and children of the Most High.' 

Secondly, The author of it : 'I have said it.' 

Or the text presentethus — 1. With the magistrates' commii^sion : 
'Ye are gods and children of the Most High.' 2. Its seal or con- 
firmation : ' I have said.' The commission for magistracy is here 
confirmed under the broad seal of heaven. 

I, i.e., I that am the Lord of lords and King of kings, ihe 
mighty possessor of heaven and earth ; I that am Command(M -in- 
chief of the whole world, and have power to appoint whom I iii "ose 
to be my vicegerents, do call and constitute you to be my deputy- 
lieutenants on earth ; I, whose word is sufficient warrant for any 
office or ordinance ; ' I have said. Ye are gods.' 

' Have said.' How God speaketh is a point almost unspeakable. 
God speaketh or saith as well as man, but not after the ^ ime 
manner ; he doth not form a voice by such organs or instriivicnts 
of speech. But when God speaketh he doth either create a voire in 
the air, as Mat. iii. 17, or declare and make known his mind, 
sometimes secretly and immediately to the spirits of the pro^i;' ts ; 
so that phrase, ' the word of the Lord came unto me,' so freqiicnlly 
used in Scripture, is to be understood ; sometimes publicly and 
mediately by the prophets to the people. 

So then, I have said, that is, I liave in my word manifested this 
to be my will, that ye should be gods amongst men, Exod. xxi. 28. 
I that speak, and none may (or who dareth) disannul it ; 1 ^vho 

^ E(/o dixi concessio est, qua tamen ostendit propheto, nihil perversis judicibus 
prscsidii fore infacta persona quam illis Deus imposuit. — Culv. in loc. 


said, ' let there be light, and there was light ;' I who appointed the 
sun to rule the day, the moon and the stars to rule the night; I 
have said, be ye gods, and ye shall be gods, I have appointed you 
in power and dignity to excel others, and. to rule over them on 
earth, as the greater luminaries do the lesser in the heavens. 

' Ye are gods ;' that is, in my place and stead amongst men. To 
receive honour from them both of reverence and obedience ; to 
distribute justice amongst them both zealously and impartially''; 
to be terrors to evil-doers, and encouragements to them that do 
well ; to govern from love to my name, according to the rule of my 
law, for my honour and praise, as likewise the good and profit of 
the people. 

The word god is taken diversely in Scripture. 

1. Properly, and so it is given only to him who is essentially and 
by nature God ; who is an infinite being of himself, and from 
whom all others have their being ; and in this sense it is mentioned 
sometimes generally, without any limitation to a certain person, as 
Heb. xii. 29 ; John iv. 24 ; sometimes singularly, with a determina- 
tion to one person, as to the Father, John iii. 16 ; to the Son, Rom. 
ix. 5 ; 1 Tim. iii. 16 ; to the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17. 

2. Improperly, and so it is given to them who by nature are not 
gods, as, 

1. To the devil, in regard of his unjust usurpation, and wicked 
men's corruption, 2 Cor. iv. 4. He is called the god of this world ; 
he usurpeth the honour and sovereignty of God, Mat. iv. 9, and the 
wicked world obeyeth him, as if he were a god, John viii. 44. The 
god he is, not of the world simply, but of this world, of this sinful 
world, that lieth in wickedness, 1 John v. 19. 

2. To idols, in regard of the false persuasion of degenerate man, 
1 Cor. viii. 4, 5. ' There are gods many, and lords many,'^ that is, 
in their conceits, who were heathen, (they worshipped stocks 
and stones, anything, yea, almost all things,) though an idol be 
nothing in the judgment of a Christian. It is nothing, saith the 
apostle, i.e., formally, the thing signified is nothing, yet materially 
it is something, as made of wood, or brass, or the like. 

3. To magistrates, Exod. iv. 16, who have their commission from 
God, Eom. xiii., who do the work of God, 2 Cor. xiii., Rom. iii. 4, 
who ought to do all for God, 2 Chron. xix. 6. 

' And all of you are children of the Most High.' It was no won- 
der that they were called gods, for here they are the children 

^ Ccclestes, aerii, terrestres, marini dii. As many gods as creatures almost amongst 
the heathen. 


of the Most High ; now children are called after their father's 

This term, son of God, or child of the Most High,i is attributed, 

1. To Christ, because of his eternal generation, Ps. ii. 7. He is 
the only-begotten of the Father, John iii. 16. 

2. To angels, both because of their practice — they serve God, not 
as slaves a master, but as children a father, cheerfully, heartily, 
with filial alacrity and delight ; and because of their privilege, 
God useth them, not as slaves, but sons. Thej are near him al- 
ways, beholding the face of their Father, Mat. xviii. 10. 

3. To men, and that in regard of the purity and holiness in them 
— they resemble God as a child his father ; or in regard of the grace 
and favour God bestoweth on them — in these respects all believers 
are the children of God ; or in regard of their power and greatness 
— they are privileged to be higher than others in place, as sons are 
before and above servants ; and they are like him in their dignity 
and authority; so magistrates. The Chaldee paraphraseth, as the 
angels of the high God, 2 because magistrates should be like angels 
for wisdom, 2 Sam. xiv. 24. 

The words being thus opened, will yield us this doctrine. 

Doctrine. — That the God of heaven hath appointed magistrates 
to be gods on earth. 

He is God by nature, and he hath given them to be gods by 
name. The deity was by incarnation clothed with the human 
nature, and humanity is here by God's designation clothed with the 
divine name. ' I will praise thee before the gods,' saith David, Ps. 
cxxxviii. 1 ; that is, the tune of my heart shall be high in singing 
thy praise, evenbefore them that are by thy command highest in place. 

The sun in the higher world shineth most gloriously, yet he 
communicateth some of his light to the moon, whereby she sur- 
passeth, and is as queen, among the glittering stars : so God, the 
true sun, is infinitely above all ; he shineth eminently with his own 
native light and lustre, yet he bestoweth of his beauty and bright- 
ness on some men, whereby they excel and are above others in this 
lower world. 

For the explication of this truth, I shall only shew in what re- 
spects magistrates are called gods, and then proceed to application. 
Magistrates are in a twofold respect called gods. 

1. In respect of their honourable dignity. 

2. In respect of their answerable duty. 

^ And ye all sons of the Most High. — Ainsw. leg. 
^ Ainsw. in loc. 


It speaketh that their privilege is high, and that their practices 
should be holy. 

1. In respect of their dignity. God speaketh the nature of magis- 
tracy to be honourable by the names which he giveth to the magis- 
trate, i Government is not a mean employment, but a great pre- 
ferment. Magistracy is here by God himseh invested with majesty 

It is observable that God ascribeth to magistrates the most hon- 
ourable names among men. Great men, 2 Sam. iii. 38 ; nobles, 2 
Chron. xxiii. 20 ; princes, Ps. Ixxxiii. 11 ; kings, his kings, 
Ps. xviii. 50 ; fathers, 1 Sam. xxix. 11 ; chief of the people, Judges 
XX. 2 ; heads over the people, Exod. xviii. 25 ; dignities, glories,^ 
Jude 8. The ancients of the people, Isa. iii. 14, not only because 
aged persons were ordinarily elected ; for ' with the ancient is wis- 
dom, and in length of days understanding,' Job xii. 12, but also 
because aged persons are honourable persons.^ Men are com- 
manded to bow down before the hoary head, and reverence the an- 
cient. Lev. xix. 32. 

Nay, God giveth magistrates not only those names which are in 
most esteem amongst men, but the names of angels. 

Angels are the perfection, as it were, of the creation, the top- 
stone of this glorious building. When the Spirit of God would 
speak a thing or person to be excellent, it doth resemble them to 
angels : ' My lord is wise as an angel of God,' 2 Sam. xiv. 20 ; and 
Acts vi. 15, ' They beheld his face as if it had been the face of an 
angel.' Further, the great happiness of holy ones in heaven is set 
forth by their likeness to angels : ' They shall be as angels,' Mat. 
xxii. 30. Now what glorious persons then are magistrates, 
that have the names of angels given them ! Angels are called do- 
minions, principalities, powers, Col. i. 16 ; Eph. i. 21 ; so are 
magistrates, Jude 8 ; Titus iii. 1, ' Be subject to princiiDalities and 
powers ;' but the text speaketh more of their dignity. Magistrates 
have not only the highest names of the most honourable visible 
creatures, men ; and of the most honourable invisible creatures, 
angels ; but of the Creator, of God himself, the fountain and stand- 
ard of all dignity and honour : ' I have said, Ye are gods.' When 
Jacob would manifest to Joseph's children the extraordinary re- 
spect he had for their father, he doth it thus : ' My name be named 
on them, and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,' Gen. 

^ Ceterum hie nomen sicuti paulo post, et aliis locis pro judicibus sumitur, quibus 
Bpecialem glorise notam insculpsit Deus. — Calv in Ps. Ixxxii. 1. 
- Magnifica existimatio, honor, gloria. — Eras. 
^ Maxima debetur capiti, &c. 


xlviii. 16. It is a great honour to be called the servant of God. 
Paul gloried in this, Titus i. 1 ; so did David, more in being a sub- 
ject to God, than a king over men, Ps. xxxvi. title. It is a greater 
honour and favour to be called God's son, John i. 12 ; 1 John iii. 
1. ' Is it a mean thing,' saith David, ' to be the king's son-in-law ?' 
1 Sam. xviii. 23. Magistrates are children of the Most High, they 
are sons to the King of kings. But the greatest honour of all is to 
be called gods ; for God to say, my name be named on them, this 
is the highest name that can be given ; here is a ne plus ultra. 
This is the highest name, which is above all names, and, as the dia- 
mond to the ring, addeth both virtue and value to whatsoever it 
is affixed. 

As because gold is the most precious excellent metal, therefore 
we lay gold over other things ; we gild pewter, brass, yea, silver it- 
self ; so because God is the most excellent name, it is laid to other 
things, that thereby their worth may be set forth : as the sons of 
God, Job i. 6 ; the city of God, Ps. xlvi. 4 ; the river of God, Ps. 
Ixv. 9 ; the kingdom of God.'^ 

Now in their dignity magistrates resemble God in these two or 
three particulars,^ and therefore are fitly called gods. 

First, in receiving honour from others.^ Honour accompanieth 
power, as the shadow the body. There is naturally in man an 
awe and respect towards those that are magistrates : they are the 
fathers of their country ; and their subjects, like children, owe them 
both obedience and reverence. Divine worship is to be given only 
to God in heaven, but civil worship may be given to gods on 
earth. David speaketh of himself being a king : ' His glory is 
great in thy salvation; honour and majesty hast thou put upon him/ 
Ps. xxi. 5. 

Joseph, when advanced to be a ruler in Egypt, rideth in the 
second chariot, and hath one crying before him, Bow the knee, 
Gen. xli. 42, 43. The most high God, that giveth them kingdoms, 

^ It is ordinary in the Hebrew to add the name of God to a thing to heighten the 
excellency of it. A man of God is as much as an extraordinary man, an excellent 
man. It is said of the church, compared to a vine, ' She sent forth her branches as 
goodly cedars,' Ps. Ixxx. 10 ; so we read it; but in Heb. 'as the cedars of God,' that 
is, tall and excellent cedars ; and so in many other places ; because all the creature 
excellencies are derived from him, and are but a drop, a beam, a print of that glory 
and majesty which is in him. 

2 Dii per analogiam, tanquam Deum imitantes. — Theodor. 

^ This is a godlike prerogative. God is clothed with majesty and honour, Ps. 
civ. 1. The blessed and only potentate, to whom all people must pay this tribute. 
In this the gods on earth resemble him. 


doth also give them glory, and majesty, and honom', Dan. v. 28, 
29. God indeed hath the greatest honour, as the supreme 
governor and lawgiver, but magistrates receive it upon his account, 
as they are his representatives and vicegerents. ' When I went out 
to the gate,' saith Job,i (that is, to the place of administering justice, 
for that work was done in the gates, as Kuth iv. 1 ; Job v. 4 ; Ps. 
cxxvii. 5,) ' the young men saw me, and hid themselves : and the 
aged arose, and stood up. The princes refrained talking, and they 
laid their hands on their mouths,' Job xxix. 8, 9. 

' My son,' saith Solomon, ' fear thou the Lord and the king,' Prov. 
xxiv. 21. God is the proper object of fear ; hence the Greeks call 
him fear ; - but the gods, because invested with his authority, and 
intrusted with the administration of his kingdom upon earth, are 
also to be feared as superior to us, though inferior to God. 

Secondly, Their dignity, appeareth (and in this they resemble 
God also) in giving laws to others. Magistrates ' have power to 
enact laws for the encouraging of virtue and discouraging of 
vice, for the preservation of peace among their people. ^ Zanchy 
saith there are three offices of the magistrate, whereof one is to 
ordain laws for the worship of God and the welfare of men. 

There is, indeed, one supreme and absolute lawgiver, James iv. 
12, whose will and word must be the rule of others' laws. Besides, 
in spirituals, none can give laws to bind the conscience but God, 
Isa. xxxiii. 21. In that sense the Lord is our judge, the Lord is 
our lawgiver ; but in external policy the laws of men are to be ob- 
served : and they have power to make such laws as are suitable 
unto, and convenient for the wealth and safety of their dominions. 

The end of magistracy sheweth their legislative authority ; for 
neither will piety be promoted, nor the public good procured, or 
peace preserved, without it. And questionless God would never 
have enjoined subjects to obey, if magistrates had not power to 

Laws are the walls and bulwarks of a nation, which in a great 
part may secure it against invasions from abroad and insurrections 
at home ;* the standing militia, which protecteth the lives of the 
people; the hedge, which keeps men in from oppressing their neigh- 
bours ; the deeds and evidences which give us a right and title to 

1 Job fuit Eex. 

- Qebs quasi Aebs. 

^ This is a God- like privilege, Isa. xxxiii. 21, to make laws for men, to prescribe 
what creatures shall do, and what they shall forbear. — Zanch. de Mayistrat. 

* That commonwealth only can be safe where the people obey the magistrate, and 
the magistrate the law. — Solon. 


our estates, — they are the nerves and sinews of the body politic, or 
as physic to the natural body to prevent diseases, and purge out ill 

Man is by nature an untamed heifer, loathing the yoke of sub- 
jection, prone to rage and rebel, so that he needeth all means ima- 
ginable to rule and restrain him. The wise Governor of all things 
hath therefore thought fit not only to give Christians a natural law 
and moral law from himself, but also positive laws from men, that 
this threefold cord, which is not easily broken, may bind him fast. 
And this surely speaketh magistrates to be like God ; for even the 
heathen themselves would ascribe their laws to some one of their 
gods. Zoroastres, who gave laws to the Persians, ascribed them to 
Oromazen ; Trismegistus, among the Egyptians, ascribed his laws 
to Mercurius ; Lycurgus, who gave laws to the Lacedaemonians, 
would make Apollo the author of them ; Solon and Draco, among 
the Athenians, said that Minerva was their lawgiver. So almost 
in every nation, they who had the legislative power ascribed the 
invention of their laws to their false gods. But the word of God, 
which is a perfect rule for all men, doth empower magistrates to 
make laws, not according to their lusts, but agreeable to his revealed 

Thirdly, The dignity of magistracy, wherein they likewise are 
like to God, consisteth in their executing the law ; in punishing 
the nocent, and acquitting the innocent.^ Execution is the life of 
the law, the lustre and glory of the prince, the security of the 
good people. A law unexecuted is like a sword without an edge, 
for no use or service ; and a magistrate that neglecteth his duty 
herein is like a winter's sun, glorious for majesty, but yielding no 
warming or refreshing influences to them that are under him ; or 
like the king's head on a sign-post, only for show. 

The God of heaven doth not cast away the perfect man, nor help 
the evil-doer. Job viii. 20 : he beholdeth the righteous with 
favour, he woundeth the heads of sinners, Ps. Ixviii. 21 ; he cut- 
teth off the workers of iniquity ; he killeth and maketh alive ; with 
him is the fountain of life, Ps. xxxix. 9. As waters flow from a 
fountain, so doth life from God. And he can easily slay men : 
Job iv. 9, ' By the blast of God they perish.' To save and kill 
is a God-like privilege ; the power of life and death is in the hands 
of these earthly gods : they enliven with their smiles ; their favour, 
or the light of a king's countenance, is life : they kill with their 

1 Three uses of the civil sword : 1. Ad vindictam ; 2. Ad protectionem bonoriim ; 
3. Ad executionem justitise. — Willet in Rom. xiii. 


frowns: ' The wratli of a king is the messenger of death,' Prov. 
xvi. 14, 15. Herein their dignity and civil godship appeareth, that 
they can give, by reprieve or pardon, or take away a life which is 
forfeited to the law. Caesar's speech was high,i when he was opposed 
by Metellus in his taking away the money out of the Eoman 
treasury : Let me alone, or I will kill thee presently ; and then, to 
qualify his threat, and magnify his strength, he told him. Young 
man, thou knowest it is harder for me to speak it than to do it. 
But this is certain, rulers are not for nothing called powers, Titus 
iii. 1 . It is in their power, though not to tyrannise at their pleasure, 
yet to execute the laws even to the death of the offender. 

2. Magistrates are called gods, not only in regard of their dignity, 
but also in regard of their duty.^ They ought to resemble Grod in 
their execution of justice amongst men. God administereth justice 
impartially, and so should the gods. 

The Judge of all the earth doth right, and the judges that are 
on the earth should do right : ' God doth judge the Avorld in right- 
eousness, and ministereth judgment to the poor in uprightness,' 
Ps. ix. 8 ; ' And they who rule over men must be just, ruling in the 
fear of God,' 2 Sam. xxiii. 3. 

Justice and judgment are the habitation of God's throne, Ps. 
Ixxxix. 14. The Holy Ghost alludeth to the thrones of earthly 
princes, which were underpropped with pillars, as Solomon's throne 
with lions, 1 Kings xix. 20, that were both a support and an orna- 
ment to it. Now, saith the psalmist, justice and judgment are the 
pillars upon which God's throne standeth, or, as Calvin expoundeth 
it, the robe and diadem, the purple and sceptre, the regalia with 
which God's throne is adorned. 3 Thus magistrates ought to make 
good their pattern, and to take heed what they do, because they 
judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with them in the judg- 
ment,* 2 Chron. xix. 6. Magistrates are therefore called gods, 
because they should, as God doth, do impartial justice without 
respect of persons ; protecting the godly, as being the ministers of 
God for their good, Kom. xiii. 4, and punishing the wicked, which 
are malignant enemies to God and them. ^ 

1 Plut. in Vit. Cees. 

2 Magistratus dii vocantur quia sunt vicarii clei in administrando jure, exequenda 
justitia, tuendo bonos, puniendo malos. — Polan. Syntag., lib. vii. cap. 19. 

3 Propheta ad regum insignia vel pompas alludens, dicit judicium et justitiam esse 
fulturam solii ejus, acsi diceret loco sceptri, vel purpurse vel diadematis, his insignibus 
ornari Deum quo Justus, et sequus mundi judex. 

* Calvin in loc. 

* Large Annot. in Exodus xxii. 28. 


Now the impartiality of the gods, as of God, in executing justice, 
appeareth in these three particulars. 

First, In not favouring any for their nearness. Magistrates must 
imitate God in this, who is no respecter of persons, but judgeth 
every man according to his works, 1 Peter i. 17. ' Though Coniah 
be to me,' saith God, ' as the signet on my right hand, yet I will 
pluck him thence,' i Jer. xxii, 24 ; that is, though he were as near 
and dear to me as a king's sealing-ring, which is most carefully 
kept and tenderly preserved, worn commonly, yea continually, on 
some finger, yet I would do justice in plucking him off and casting 
him from me. Nay, when God's own Son, who was the Son of 
his infinite love and choicest delight, became liable to the lash of 
the law, as being a sinner by imputation, God would not spare 
him in the least, but made him bear the curse of the law, Eora. 
viii. 82. Zaleucus, the lawgiver, having enacted that every person 
guilty of adultery should lose both his eyes, did yet, when his 
own son was found guilty of that fault, put out one of his own 
eyes and one of his son's. But the great God was more just when 
his Son was a surety for sinners : he caused him to pay the utmost 
farthing ; he suffered the law to have its full stroke at him. Oh 
how just was God, that rather than violate the least tittle of his 
law, would sign a warrant with his own hand, and confirm the 
commission with his own seal, for his dearest Son's execution ! 

Thus should magistrates hear and determine, without any respect 
to friends or relations, 2 Pro v. xxiv. 23. To have respect of per- 
sons is not good ; yea, it is very evil. Magistrates must hear the 
cause, not the person, and mind not the man, but the matter 
which is brought before them. 

David was faulty, and he smarted sharply for it, in sparing Am- 
non, guilty of incest, and Absalom, guilty of murder, because they 
were his sons. But Levi did nobly, who said to his father and to 
his mother, I have not seen him ; neither did he acknowledge his 
brethren, nor knew his own children, Deut. xxxiii. 9. 

Pompey, aspiring to the Koman empire,^ and perceiving that 
Cato was against him, sent his friend Minucius to Cato to demand 
his two nieces, one for himself, the other for his son. But when 
the messenger had delivered his errand, Cato gave him this an- 
swer : Go tell Pompey, Cato is not to be won by women. As 

^ Etiamsi fuisset Jecouiah mihi charissimus, quern semper in oculis ferrem. — Jun. 
in loc. 

^ Prosopolepsis dicitur, si quis paribus imparia, vel imparibus paria tribuat. — Coc. 
3 Plutarch in Vit. Cat. Utic. 


long as Pompey shall deal uprightly, I shall be his friend, and 
in a greater degree than any marriage can ever make me. Surely 
this moralist will condemn many Christian rulers, of whom it is 
said that the sun might as soon be hindered from running his race, 
as he from doing what was just and upright. 

God will not, upon any pretence whatsoever, have his own per- 
son accepted, Job xiii. 8, much less the persons of men. 

Secondly, In not sparing or fearing any for their greatness. 
Rulers ought to be men of courage, Exod. xviii. 21:' The fear 
of man bringeth a snare,' Prov. xxix. 25, and is often the cause 
why justice is perverted. Pilate feared Caesar, John xix. 12, 13, 
and therefore, against his conscience, condemned Christ. The 
great God of heaven feareth none, spareth none, for their glory 
or greatness : he putteth the mighty out of their seats, Luke i. 
52 ; he bindeth kings in chains, and princes in fetters of iron, 
Ps. cxlix. 8 ; ' The day of the Lord shall be upon all the cedars 
of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of 
Bashan, and upon all the high mountains, and upon every high 
tower, and upon every fenced wall,' Isa. ii. 12-14. He is the al- 
mighty, all-powerful God, and therefore cares not for any might or 
power of man. 

Thus the gods on earth should do justice on all, great as well as 
small, fearing none but the God of heaven, Deut. i. 1 7 ; ' You shall 
not be afraid of the face of man, for the judgment is God's.' Pa- 
pinianus is worthy of eternal memory, who chose rather to die than 
to justify or excuse the fratricide of Bossianus the emperor. Holy 
Job, as he was eminent for fearing God, so likewise for not fearing 
men: Job xxix. 17, ' I brake the jaw of the wicked, and pulled the 
spoil out of his teeth.' Great men oftentimes are like lions, or 
ravenous beasts, that prey on others without fear or pity. Now the 
care of this pious magistrate was to secure his people against such 

When David kept his father's sheep, ' and there came a lion and 
a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock, David rose after the lion 
and smote him, and took the lamb out of his mouth,' 1 Sam. xvii. 
34. Every magistrate is, or should be, a shepherd. God saith of 
Cyrus, ' He is my shepherd,' Isa. xliv. 28. The man after God's 
own heart was called to feed his people Israel, Ps. Ixxviii. 70, 71. 
Homer calletli Agamemnon irotfzeva Xawv, the shepherd or the 
feeder of the people. And when lions or bears, men that are great 
and strong, come to devour their flock, they ought to protect or 
defend them. He is a base hireling that hides his head when the 


wolf cometli in the night, though he endeavour to preserve his 
sheep from injury by the flies in the day. For one wolf will do 
more mischief in a night than a thousand flies in a year. As the 
day of judgment will make no difference between great and small, 
rich and poor, noble and ignoble ; for then the kings of the earth, 
and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and 
the mighty men, will hide themselves in the dens, and in the rocks 
of the mountains, and will say to the mountains and rocks, fall on 
us, and hide us from the wrath of the lamb, Kev. vi. 15, 16, so 
should not the day of executing justice in this world. l 

The impartiality of God, and also of the gods, consisteth in not 
taking gifts, God is no taker of gifts, 2 Chron. xix. 7. ' Kiches 
prevail not in the day of wrath,' Prov. xi. 4 ; ' Neither silver nor 
gold can deliver them from his indignation,' Zeph. i. 18. 

Thus should magistrates resemble his majesty, not perverting 
justice either for having or for hoi3e of a reward. A bribe received 
or expected clogs or obscures the course of justice. A golden pen 
must not write the discharge ; when the hand of a judge is greased 
with gold, it cannot hold the sword of justice, but will let it slip, at 
least strike very partially. 

' Thou shalt not wrest judgment, thou shalt not respect persons, 
neither take a gift ; for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and 
pervert the words of the righteous,' Deut. xvi. 19. 

The Eoman story telleth us of two persons that were competitors 
for some place of preferment, and that a senator being asked, for 
which of the two he would give his voice ; answered, for neither ; 
because, saith he, one hath nothing, and the other hath never 
enough. He knew that poverty and covetousness are both unmeet 
qualifications for a ruler. The former maketh magistracy ob- 
noxious to contempt and derision, and the latter prompteth the 
magistrate on to injustice and oppression. 

A ruler that is a bribe-taker is a thief in robes, and is only dif- 
ferenced from those that are in rags by this, that the height of 
his place doth increase his sin, and aggravate his condemnation. 2 

I come now from the explication to the application of the doc- 

This truth will be useful, first, by way of information. If the 
God of heaven hath appointed magistrates to be gods on earth, it 

' Of Trajan the emperor it is said, that he neither feared nor hated any man, but 
that he heard the causes of his subjects without prejudieate impiety, examined them 
without sinister obliquity, and judged them without unjust partiality. 

- Privati fures in compedibus setatem agunt, publici vero in auro et purpura 
yisuntur. — Cat. 


informeth us that magistracy is of divine authority. Government 
is not an invention of some men, who desire to lord it over others, 
but it is the institution of God : ' I have said, Ye are gods.' i The 
scholars of Pythagoras counted his ipse dixit to be sufficient. 
Surely, then, God's saying it must be an establishing it to us. If 
where the word of a king is there be power, Eccles. viii. 4, then 
questionless where the word of a God is, there is warrant enough 
for any office. Now this is the word of God which cometh to the 
magistrate,^ as Christ saith, John x, 33, authorising him, and 
appointing him to that ordinance. The magistrate is therefore 
called the minister of God, Rom. xiii, 4. As justices are called 
the king's justices, because they act by commission from him; so 
magistrates are called the Lord's ministers, because they rule by 
authority derived from the Lord. Coin is carried to the mint, 
and there stamped with the superscription and image of the 
chief magistrate, and then called his coin, because current by his 

Governors are not of the devil, as satanical spirits have affirmed, 
nor of men, as others have asserted, but of God, Rom. xiii. 1. 

As in the waters there be some greater, some smaller fish ; and 
in the earth there be mountains and hills, as well as plains and 
valleys ; and in the heavens there are stars differing from each 
other in glory ; so amongst men there are some greater than 
others in power, higher in place, and excelling them in autho- 
rity and glory. 

As the natural body is distinguished by God himself into comely 
and uncomely parts, 1 Cor. xii. 23, 24, so is the political body into 
members noble and ignoble. 

The bees in their commonwealth, as is reported, have a com- 
mander-in-chief, a master bee ; the lion claimeth a command and 
superiority among the beasts of the field ; the angels in heaven 
have a chief, Michael the archangel, Jude 9 ; 1 Thes. iv. 16. The 
schoolmen indeed, being more bold than they ought, do divide the 
angels into three hierarchies, and each hierarchy into three several 
orders. The first hierarchy, they say, comprehendeth cherubims, 
seraphims, and thrones ; the second, dominions, principalities, and 
powers ; the third, mights, archangels, and angels. As also they 
assert the reason of these several names. But the more modest 
and learned expositors, who join not in the aforesaid presumptuous 
division, do yet generally conclude an order, distinction, and pre- 

^ Omnis potestas a summa potestate. 

* Non de quolibet verbo Dei, sed de special! dominandi mandate. — Calvin. 


eminence amongst angels from Eph. i. 21 ; Col. i. 16 ; Dan. x. 
] 3. Nay, there is a government amongst the very devils ; there 
is not only a prince of angels, Dan. x., but Beelzebub a prince 
amongst devils, Mat. xii. 24. They that cause so much dis- 
order amongst others, yet have some order among themselves. 
We read of the devil and his angels. Mat. xxv. 41 ; there is 
a kind of government in hell, though some would turn all out 
of the earth. 

The apostle Peter indeed calleth magistracy an ordinance of man, 
1 Pet. ii. 13, though Paul assureth us it is of God : ' The powers 
that be are ordained of God,' Eom. xiii. 1 ; and the magistrate is 
the minister of God, ver. 4. 

Magistracy is an ordinance of man in a fourfold respect. 

1. Subjective. As man is the subject thereof, by them it is 
executed. Our princes as well as our prophets are men of like 
passions with us. 

2. Ohjective. As man is the object thereof, about them it is exer- 
cised. It is for the punishment of bad men, and encouragement of 
good men, for the deciding differences between man and man. 

3. TeXiKm, Finaliter. As man is the end thereof He is the 
minister of God for man's good. 

But these things will not prove magistracy to be a mere human 
ordinance, for in these three respects the ministry as well as the 
magistracy may be said to be a human ordinance, man being 
both the subject, object, and end thereof ; yet what sober man ever 
denied the ministry to be an ordinance of God ? 

4. It is ordinance of man in regard of the kind of it, each 
nation having a liberty to choose what form of government they 
apprehend most commodious for them. Magistracy is ordained by 
God, though this particular magistrate or this form of government 
be ajipointed by man. The genus of magistracy is from God ; yet 
the species, whether monarchy, democracy, or aristocracy, may be 
at the choice of men. 

Further, though the magistrate should be of the devil, a wicked, 
ungodly person, yet the magistracy is of God. 

There is a difference between the office or power itself and the 
manner of exercising it, and the means of attaining it. The first 
is always of God, but not always the second and third. The power 
of Nero was of God, as the Holy Ghost speaketh fully, Kom. xiii., 
though he exercised it in a devilish manner, oppressing and killing 
the good, encouraging and acquitting such as were evil. The 
power of our Richard the Third was of God, though he attained it 


by ungodly and devilish means — the murdering his own sovereign 
and nephew. 

There are four particulars which will clearly demonstrate the truth 
of this assertion — namely, that magistracy is of divine authority. 

1. First, Their commission is from God. ' By me kings rule,'l 
saith God, Prov. viii. 15. Subordinate magistrates may have their 
commission from men, but supreme magistrates have their com- 
missions from God only. 

' The powers that be are ordained of God,' Kom. xiii. 1 ; not 
simply ordained of God as other things, saith a learned interpreter,^ 
but specially by precept and command from God, There are other 
things of God, saith he, as famine, war, sickness, poverty ; but they 
are not ordained by precept.'^ 

Daniel telleth Nebuchadnezzar that God had commissionated 
him to rule over men: Dan. ii. 37, 38, ' Thou, king, art a king of 
kings ; for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, 
and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men 
dwell, the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven hath he given 
into thy hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art 
this head of gold.' These higher powers are so clearly from the 
highest power, that their throne is called God's throne : 1 Chron. 
xxix. 23, ' Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king 
instead of David.' Their sceptre is called God's sceptre, and their 
judgment God's judgment : Deut. i. 17, ' Ye shall not respect 
persons; for the judgment is God's.' 

Besides, we find that several persons received their regal investi- 
ture from God himself, as Saul, David, Jehu, Cyrus, which last was 
by God named and ordained to the government of the Persian mon- 
archy above sixty years before he was born, Isa. xliv. 28, and xlv. 1. 

2. Their command to govern is from God ; the several precepts 
from God to men in high places doth fully speak their power to be 
of God. Why should God command them to rule according to his 
laws who have no authority to rule at all ? Jer. xxii. 2, 3, ' Hear 
the word of the Lord, king of Judah. Execute judgment and 
righteousness, and deliver the spoil out of the hand of the oppressed,' 
&c. If the matter or substance of their rule were unlawful, surely 
God would not own it so far as to prescribe rules for the manner 
of executing it. Now God through the whole Scriptures scattereth 
many precepts for directions to princes how they should govern, 
and what they should practise, Deut. xvii. 

^ Ek Se Albs ^ajiXTJes. * Willet in locum. 

^ Cujus jussu homines, ejus jussu reges. — Ireneus, lib. v. cap. 24. 


3. Their protection is from God. As a king defendeth his in- 
ferior officers in the execution of their offices, so the King of kings 
defendeth magistrates in the discharge of their trusts. ' God 
standeth in the congregation among the gods,' Ps. Ixxxii. 1, not 
only to observe whether they offer injuries to others, but also to 
take care that they receive no injuries from others. God is a 
stronger guard to the judge than any sheriff. And were not he a 
wall of fire about some worthy zealous justices, many beastly per- 
sons, who have been curbed by them, and hindered from leaping 
over the hedges of divine commands, would have trampled them 
under feet, if not torn them in pieces. 

It is worthy our observation how exceedingly God manifesteth 
his power and zeal for the help of magistrates against all opposi- 
tion. Korah and his company conspire against Moses and 
Aaron, magistracy and ministry, Num. xvi., and would have 
brought in anarchy. Indeed, both those ordinances have the same 
adversaries. Those that would level the ministry, making preachers, 
Jeroboam-like, of the lowest of the people, and filling the pulpit, as 
Noah's ark, with creatures clean and unclean, will at last level the 
magistracy too, and make the throne as low and as common as the 
pulpit. But observe what God saith of these opposers of magis- 
tracy and ministiy, and what God doth to them ; for his saying, 
that they are 'gathered together against the Lord,' ver. 11. They 
wounded God through the sides of Moses and Aaron, They that 
murmur and conspire against God's delegated servants, murmur 
and conspire against God himself. And surely God will first or 
last be too hard for those that thus harden themselves against him. 
For see what he doth to them. ' The earth opened her mouth and 
swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that apper- 
tained unto Korah, and all their goods ; they and all that belonged 
to them went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon 
them,' ver. 32, 33. God hath strange punishments for such strange 
principles and practices. He will work miraculously*; but that he 
will make such as are against magistrate and minister exemplary. 

Ps. xviii. 50, ' Great deliverance giveth God to the king.' The 
supreme magistrate is in great dangers, therefore God giveth him 
great deliverances ; as he is liable to more harm than others by 
reason of his place, so he may expect, if he be godly especially, 
more help than others, by reason of the divine promise, ' Be strong, 
and of a good courage, be not afraid ; for the Lord thy God is with 
thee whithersoever thou goest,' Joshua i. 9. Josephus, from the ex- 
traordinary escape of Titus, at the view of the walls of Jerusalem, 


observeth, Imperatorum pericula Deum curare, That God is the 
magistrates' guard, i 

4. The subjection of their people to them is from God.- Every 
man is by nature a Quaker, a leveller ; like a colt unwilling to be 
bridled ; like an untamed heifer, which cannot endure the yoke of 
subjection. It is therefore through the wonderful working of God 
that a few persons, or sometimes one man, as head, should rule such 
a monstrous body as the multitude. If he that ruleth the boisterous 
waves of the sea, and shutteth them up with bars and doors, Ps. 
Ixv, 7, did not put forth the same almighty power in quieting the 
spirits, and stilling the tumults of the people, it could never be 
done. Well might David say, ' It is God that subdueth my 
people under me,'^ Ps. cxliv. 1, 2, 

The multitude is an unruly monster. It was a true saying of 
that brutish emperor, Tiberius, to one that applauded his felicity 
in attaining the power of so large an empire : Oh, said he, you 
know not what a beast the empire is, how uru"uly, and untoward, 
how headstrong, and hard to be tamed. ^ The multitude is a beast 
with many heads, saith another ; cut off one, nay many, yet there 
will millions remain still. Now, that one should keep millions in 
awe, how could it be if there were not a divine constitution in a 
human person ? The devil is such an enemy to man's peace and 
welfare, and every man's nature so opposite to rule and restraint, 
that if there were not somewhat more than human in magistracy, 
one- man would be a beast, nay, a devil to another, and be no whit 
kept under by the higher powers. But we see clearly God hath 
put such a majesty on princes, that their people are afraid of their 
fuiy, reverence their persons, and submit to their authority. He 
that readeth the wonderful strength of the horse, how his neck is 
clothed with thunder ; how the glory of his nostrils is terrible ; 
how he paweth in the valley, and goeth out to meet the armed 
men ; how he mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted, nor turneth 
back from the sword. Job xxxix. 19-26 ; he that considereth the 
power of the elephant, how he moveth his tail like a cedar, how 
his bones are like strong pieces of brass, and like bars of iron, &c.. 
Job xl. 15-24 ; when he observeth how these strong, fierce crea- 
tures are ridden and ruled by weak man, and turned about at his 
pleasure, will presently conclude the reason to be this, because God 
hath put the fear and dread of man upon every beast of the field, 

^ De Bello Judaic, lib. v. cap. 2. 

^ Every one hath in him the mind of a king. — Calvin on 1 Pet. v. 5. 
•* {jTvordffCTijjv, subjecting them to me. — Septuagint. leg. * Sueton. 



Gen. ix. 2. So truly he that beholdeth many milHons of men sub- 
ject to the word, to the command of one, when they have strength 
enough to overthrow thousands, must needs acknowledge that it is 
the Lord's doing, and it ought to be marvellous in their eyes. 

Secondly, If magistrates be gods, and that by the appointment of 
the living God, (' I have said. Ye are gods,') it informeth us that they 
are guilty of great impiety that contemn and disesteem magistracy ; 
they vilify those whom God doth dignify, and fight against God 
in endeavouring to pull down that order and that ordinance which 
he himself hath set up. Such men, by denying rule and authority, 
seem to be beasts, and to put off all humanity. For places, without 
some in power, would be rather wildernesses than cities, and the 
inhabitants rather herds of beasts than societies of men. 

There are two sorts of men guilty of this sin. 

First, Those that in their principles deny magistracy to be from 
God. There have in several ages been some, that because they 
themselves were subjects and inferiors, would therefore deny all 
sovereignty and superiority. The Donatists, whom Augustine un- 
dertake th, were of that opinion ; and so were the Anabaptists 
and libertines in Germany, who armed the rude multitude against 
their magistrates, and were opposed by Luther. And truly in our 
days there are some who, against the light both of nature and 
Scripture, affirm government to be a work of darkness. Though 
it be written in the fleshly tables of their hearts, and in the tables 
of stone by the finger of God, that fathers and mothers, civil as 
well as natural, must be honoured, yet they are so wicked and 
blind that they will not see or read it. In the apostles' days there 
were ungodly men, that turned the grace of God into lascivious- 
ness, despisers of dominions, Jude 8, such as aimed at anarchy, 
(according to Calvin's comment,) and the overthrow of all au- 
thority ; being proud, they scorned rule, and being licentious, they 
were impatient of restraint. 

1. Order is needful to them that are in a state of innocency. 
Angels who continue in their estate of integrity differ in point of 
superiority ; Michael the archangel, Jude 4. Michael speaketh 
the name of his person, and archangel the nature of his office. 
There are thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, different 
degrees among those angelical spirits. Surely if such order be 
conducible to the happiness of perfect angels, it is the more desir- 
able for the happiness of imperfect man. And if there be such 
order in heaven, it is no part of our bondage to have some order on 
earth ; and therefore the Grecians do upon good ground use the 


word apXV' ^^ signify superiority or government, which, in its 
proper and native acception, signifieth principmm, to set fortli 
the antiquity of government, which had a being as soon as the 
world had a beginning, i 

2. Order and superiority are needful to them that are in a state 
of apostasy. The more wild man is, the more need he hath of a 
yoke ; the more heady our horses are, the more we curb them. 
Unruly persons, for their own good as well as for others, require 

The hearts of wicked men are like the sea, which cannot rest, but 
is ever casting up mire and dirt. Now, what a deluge would the 
boisterous waves of their unsanctified wills and affections cause, 
if there were no banks of magistracy to bound them in. 2 If some 
men were not gods to others, most men would be devils to others. 

Sin must be discouraged ; evil-doers must be punished ; human 
society must be preserved ; the good must be protected ; our 
liberties and properties must be defended ; justice must be exe- 
cuted ; the poor must be relieved ; wholesome laws must be 
maintained ; and how can either of these be done without magis- 
trates ? Many fear not sin, nor the God of heaven, and if it were 
not for suffering from the gods on earth, their lusts should be their 
law, and they would deprive the innocent of their liberties, estates, 
and lives, and turn the places where they live into Aceldamas, 
fields of blood ; nay, make the earth worse in some respects than 
hell ; for in hell there is no oppression, as no injustice, no guilty 
person freed, and no guiltless person punished ; but had these men 
their wills, it should be so upon earth. 

3. Again, order or magistracy is not only necessary to those that 
are in a state of nature, but to those also that are in a state of 
grace, Titus iii. 1, 2, Rom. xiii.. 1, 2. When^ they begin to be 
servants to God, they do not cease to be subjects to the gods. 
Christianity doth not consume but confirm magistracy : as a man, 
I obey and honour the magistrate for fear ; as a Christian, for 
conscience sake ; so that religion addeth a stronger tie and obliga- 
tion. The sceptre in Christ's hand doth not strike the crown off 

^ Politic government was probably then instituted, when man was first created 
under the old covenant of works ; for it is a natural blessing, and grounded upon the 
fifth command of the moral law, which commenced upon man's first creation, before 
Adam's fall ; and the rather may we thus judge, because it is a law of nature, which 
was binding in man's estate of innocency ; besides, Christ himself, who knew no 
sin, yet minded this duty of subjection, Luke ii. 51 ; Col. i. 16-22 ; Mat. xxii. 23. 

'^ Augustine thinketh that all civil subjection of one man to another came in by 
sin, though not all natural subjection of children to parents. — De Ckit. Dei, lib. xix. 


the magistrate's head : no, it maketh it sit the faster, especially 
where their person is crowned with grace, and the power improved 
for the glory of Christ. One ordinance of God doth not weaken, 
but strengthen another. 

I shall inquire a little, and very briefly, into the reasons which ^ 
some urge against magistracy and order. 

1. Say some, We are the Lord's freemen, and therefore should 
not be servants of men: 1 Cor. vii. 23, 'Ye are bought with a 
price ; be not the servants of men.' 

Ans. That place indeed forbiddeth sinful subjection to men, but 
not civil subjection to men. I may serve a prince, but I may not 
sin at his precept and command ; if men command what God for- 
biddeth, I must disobey men to obey God. Or that text may 
import that I must give no man liberty to give my conscience 
laws ; no, my absolute dependence for soul-direction must be only 
on Christ and his word. 

Those whom Christ makes free are free indeed, but it is from 
bondage to their own and others' lusts, not from obedience to others' 
righteous laws. 

ObJ. 2. Some tell us, they are just, and need no law, for they are 
a law to themselves. Now laws, say they, are for them that are 
wicked : 1 Tim. i. 9, ' The law is not made for the righteous, but 
for the wicked,' 

Ans. They that are so good that they need no laws for their 
correction, live among the wicked, and therefore need laws for 
their protection. 

That forecited place in Timothy is meant of the moral law, of 
which the apostle testifieth, that believers are free from its curse or 
malediction ; but surely not from it as a rule for their conversations. 

The hearts of the best are bad enough, and apt to wander, there- 
fore they need all means, the hedge of man's laws, as well as of 
God's laws, to keep them in. Laws are hedges both to fence them 
in from others' violence, and to prevent their wandering out. 

ObJ. 3. Paul forbiddeth going to law, 1 Cor. vi. 1, 2, therefore 
no use of a magistrate. 

Ans. The apostle doth not absolutely forbid going to law ; but, 
1. Before heathen judges, when godly Christians might have de- 
cided their differences and ended their controversies. They that 
deny to refer their lighter causes to honest understanding persons, 
give occasion to others to suspect both their causes and Chris- 
tianity, ver. 1, 3, 4, 5. 2. Among brethren ; the very name of 
brethren should allay heats and charm discords, ver. 8. The nearer 


their relation (though spiritual) was, the dearer their affection 
should have been, and therefore the sinfuller their division. 
3. About trivial and small matters. If Mohammedans go to law for 
mean toys, they are punished. 4. With vindictive spirits : whereas 
a Christian should go to law with a meek, mild, gospel spirit, with- 
out either hate or heat, as tilters break their spears on each others' 
breast, yet without wi-ath or intention of hurt. So, then, it is not 
simply unlawful to go to law before heathen, if right cannot be had 
elsewhere, and the matter be weighty, and we do it not out of 
spleen or malice, but with meekness and quietness of spirit. 

Ohj. 4. They tell us God is their keeper, therefore they need 
neither law nor magistrate for their defence. 

Ans. God is the good man's keeper ; but how ? not immediately, 
(in an ordinary way,) but mediately. As trust in God doth not 
consist with trust in means, neither without use of means where 
God doth afford them; for then Christ might have taken the devil's 
counsel, and have thrown himself down from the pinnacle of the 
temple, when God had afforded him stairs for his safe going down. 
Saints are under the shadow of God's wings principally ; he is 
their chief sun and shield. Gen. xvii. 1 ; but they are under the 
shadow of the gods' wings subordinately, they are the instrumental 
shields of the earth, Ps. xlvii. 9. 

God can, in regard of his absolute power, protect his people, 
without the shields of the earth, against all the opposition from 
men, as he can defend immediately from all the fiery darts of the 
devil without the shield of faith or the sword of the Spirit. He 
needeth not the agency either of magistrates in civil things, nor 
ministers in spiritual things, but he hath ordained both. It is his 
pleasure that both should, in subordination to him, be used ; and 
therefore neither can, without sinning against him, be neglected. 

Ohj. 5. Say they. We may not avenge ourselves ; we must not 
render evil for evil, but overcome evil with good, Kom. xiii. 

A71S. Though a Christian must rather suffer than offer injuries, 
yet he may, nay must, mind his own safety. He may not unjustly 
offend his brother, but he may justly defend himself. 

All private revenge is forbidden, but the magistrate is God's 
minister ; 1 therefore, as vengeance belongeth unto God, so the 
magistrate may in God's place take revenge, and one may implore 
his help, as he may commit his cause to God, so it be not done 
with a revengeful mind. 

The meaning of the holy Scriptures is far different from the 

1 R. Willet in Rom. xiii. 


sense which the apostate Julian put on them. When he had 
taken away their estates, he put them off with a mock — your 
master said, blessed are the poor ; and when he had sorely beaten 
them with his hands, he would wound them with his tongue, 
saying, your master said, if one beat you on one cheek, turn to him 
the other. The gospel certainly was never intended for a cross, 
but a comfort to a Christian ; and though its principal aim be to 
further him spiritually, yet it never designed to hinder him corporally 
by any of those commands, Christ is more tender of his people 
than to thrust them into the world, like sheep among ravenous 
wolves, and to deny them leave of calling to those civil shepherds 
to take care of them.^ God hath for that end appointed magis- 
trates to be nursing-fathers and nursing-mothers to the children of 
God ; to be as tender of them, as provident for them, as helpful to 
them as parents to their children, as nurses to their babes. They 
are set up by God himself to be a wall upon which the weak ivy of 
the church may lean, and by which it may be supported. 

Thus we see that piety is not opposite to authority, though that 
false surmise, that Christians were enemies to the policy and govern- 
ment of kingdoms, was the cause of several of the persecutions in the 
primitive times. And indeed the devil and his agents suggest to 
princes so much, to alienate their affections from religious persons. - 
But though some monstrous bodies have brought forth such an 
hideous birth — that religion denieth all rule — yet you see how far 
the gospel is from being the father of such a child, when it com- 
mandeth lawful obedience to infidel magistrates. It establisheth 
the first table, and surely doth not abolish the second. And Calvin 
thinks ^ that, lest believers should think themselves free from that 
yoke, Paul wrote the Epistle to the Komans to inform them of the 
contrary ; for it is very strange to conjecture that that God, which is 
the God of order in the churches, should be a God of confusion in the 
commonwealth. No, but the original of this error is man's corrupt 
nature, which hateth enclosures and banks, and would have all 
common and level, that he might run to excess of riot without any 
rubs or hindrances ; and thence it is that, like waters stopped at a 
bridge, he roareth and maketh such a noise. As the mad dog is 
enraged because of the chain that tieth him, and the unruly horse 
foameth and fretteth because of the bridle that curbeth him, so 

' Magistratus neeessarius ecclesiae, quia a Deo ordinatus est ad defensionem 
ecclesise. — Polan. Syntag., lib. vii. cap. 19. 

2 Herding accused, though falsely, Luther to have animated Muncer, the rebel- 
preacher, in Thuringia. 

* Calvin in Rom. 


these men, mad upon lust, cannot endure to be chained by laws ; 
these furious horses would have the reins on their own necks. 

Secondly, Those that in their practices contemn magistracy, sin 
against this truth discovered in the text; for they despise an 
ordinance of God, Kom. xiii. 2. 

Some sin in their words by uncivil, disrespectful language : the 
corruption of their hearts breaks out of their lips ; ' these filthy 
dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominions, (KuptoTT^ro? Karaijipov- 
oiivre^, they opposed not so much the officers as the office, not so 
much the magistrate as magistracy,) speak evil of dignities,' Jude 
8 ; they blaspheme glories, i It is blasphemy against the second 
table. Our wicked times are a woeful comment on that text. 
Those persons and places which are honoured by the Spirit of God 
with glorious titles, are bespattered by them with dirty, disgraceful 
language. Because they could not by the power of their hands 
displace the magistrate, therefore with the poison of their tongues 
they did disgrace magistracy. 

These men begin to speak evil of the gods, and ordinarily end in 
speaking evil of God himself ; as Aretine, by libellous and contu- 
melious speaking against princes, came at length to disesteem God 

Observe how express the command of God is: ' Thou shalt not 
revile the gods, nor speak evil of the rulers of thy people,' Exod. 
xxii. 28. This text is quoted by Paul, Acts xxiii. 2, 3, 5, where 
he called the high priest whited wall, and afterwards said, he wist 
. not that he was the high priest, which words are very much con- 
troverted by expositors.2 Some think he spake ironically, because 
he saw nothing in him worthy of that office, and because the priest- 
hood was now determined in Christ, he did usurp that office which 
did not belong to him ; and probably he was some surrogate 
brought in, through the disorder of the times, by some sinister 
practices. 3 Others, and that to me more likely, expound it thus : I 
wist not, I considered not, I heeded not, in my haste, in heat I 
took not sufficient notice, but termed him whited wall, which words, 
I acknowledge, might well have been spared. The opinion of 
Junius is, that Paul did not know him to be the high priest ; and 
therefore pleadeth his ignorance as, at least, an extenuation of his 
offence. 4 But whatever the sense of the words is, this is clear, that 

1 B\a<T4>vi^ov<n 5o|ds, idem valet quod BXdwreiv Trjv (prj/j.-rji', alterius famam leedere 

^ So Deodat. in loc. Calvin. 

3 Vide Joseph. Antiq., lib. xx. cap. 3, 5. 

* Jun. in Parall. 


sucli as revile princes disobey God's precept :i thou shalt not revile 
the gods, nor speak evil of the rulers of thy people ; that is, thou 
shalt not speak evil of them by reproach or calumny, nor wish any 
evil to them by imprecation or curses. 

Nay, the Holy Ghost speaketh the persons guilty of this sin to be 
impudent, audacious sinners : 2 Pet. ii. 10, 'They are not afraid to 
speak evil of dignities.' As if he had said, If they had feared 
either God or man, they would not have dared to commit this sin. 2 
They were bold sinners indeed that durst spit their venom in the 
faces of the gods, and with the sword of their mouths adventure 
upon the mouth of the sword. Oh, to what a height of unholiness 
are they arrived that bring railing accusations against the gods, 
when the archangel durst not bring one against the devil ! Jude 
9. But their tongues are set fire on hell, James iii. 6 ; there- 
fore no wonder if they are set against heaven, Ps. Ixxiii. 9. ' Is it 
fit to say to a king. Thou art wicked; and to princes. Ye are 
ungodly ?'3 Job xxxiv. 18. The interrogation is a strong negation. 
Kings must be courted with soft and silken language. If Elias 
and Isaiah do otherwise, they being moved extraordinarily, are no 
copies for us to write after. 

As some sin in their words, by uncivil language, so others in their 
works, by their unseemly carriage towards the magistrate. Surely 
the world is near its end, that there are so many dregs appearing, 
such brutish persons in it, that have not only banished piety, but 
humanity. They neither reverence the rulers nor honour the 
ancient. How many are in their principles antiministerial, and in 
their practices antimagistratical. As Nazianzen observeth of the 
Arians, they began in blasphemous language against the deity of 
Christ, but ended in tumultuous carriage against the peace and 
tranquillity of the commonwealth; they plead for a Christian 
liberty with their mouths, but the vote of their hearts carrieth it 
for an antichristian licentiousness. 

The time was, when a magistrate came by, the young men that 
saw him hid themselves, either for reverence of Job's person, or lest 
they should fail in their respectful behaviour towards him, or lest 
he should spy somewhat amiss in them, and the aged arose, and 
stood up, in token of honour, and to shew respect to him. Job xxix. 

1 Seneca saith of Egypt that it was, Loquax et ingeniosa in contumeliam prsefecto- 
rum provincia : in qua qui vitaverit culpana, non e£Fugit infamiam. 

* Luther cried Henry the Eighth mercy for his uncivil language, such as that, 
Audi, Domine Rex, edocebo te. 

* The mother of Artaxerxes, in Plutarch, was wont to say, that they who addressed 
themselves to princes should use silken words. 


8 ; but now the tide is turned. We are fellow-creatures, say some, 
and therefore we must be fellow-beasts, taking no notice of, nor 
shewing any respect to, one more than another. ' But now,' saith 
Job, ' they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose 
fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my 
flock. And now I am their song, yea, their byword. They abhor 
me, they flee from me, they spit in my face,' Job xxx. 1, 9, 10. So 
low, indeed, are they whom God hath set on high, through the pride 
and profaneness of men's hearts. One observeth of the Persians,^ 
that when they came into the presence of their prince, they drew 
their hands into their sleeves, in token of reverence and loyalty. 
But how many Christians come short of heathen, and that which is 
saddest of all, under the pretence of religion ! But such must know 
that, by contemning such men, they contemn Grod, ' They have 
not rejected thee,' saith God to Samuel, ' but they have rejected 
me,' 1 Sam. viii. 7 : not so much thee, who art but my minister, as 
myself, who, being their supreme Lord, do rule by thee as my 
deputy. As magistracy is God's ordinance, by despising this 
order, which is by divine appointment, they despise its author: as 
magistrates are the resemblance of his glory, God's glories, by con- 
temning the picture, they contemn the person ; and they that thus 
dishonour God shall be lightly esteemed by him. ' They that resist 
the magistrate shall receive to themselves damnation,' Rom. xiii. 2. 
My second use will be by way of exhortation, first, to inferiors. 
If the God of heaven hath appointed magistrates to be as gods on 
earth, it exhorteth us to honour them : ^ ' Honour the king,' 1 Pet. 
ii. 17, saith the Holy Ghost ; ' Honour to whom honour belongeth,' 
Rom. xiii. 7. There is honour due to our civil as well as to our 
natural parents ; so much is expressed in that standing law of God, 
the fifth commandment, Exod. xx. Though they are to be hon- 
oured as gods, yet not as the true God ; civil respect is due to them, 
not divine.^ Yet some Roman emperors, out of intolerable pride, 
have affected to be called gods, and commanded others to sacrifice 
to them. This civil honour is to be visible — 

1. In giving reverence to their persons. 

2. In yielding obedience to their righteous precepts. 

First, In reverencing their persons. Magistrates are honoured 
by God, and therefore may well be honoured by us. 

Those who are dignified by God must not be debased by men. 

^ Xenoph. Hellen., lib. xi. 

* Magistrates are patres patrite. 

2 Prohibiti sunt maledici, non jussi sunt sacrificiis honorari. — Aug. in Exod. 


We ought to honour them in our hearts, by standing in awe of 
them, by esteeming them, as they resemble God, Prov. xxiv. 21, 
and are in his place, to be higher and worthier than others.^ 'Thou 
art worth ten thousand of us,' say they to David, 2 Sam. xviii. 8. 
The godly people counted king Josiah the breath of their nostrils, 
Lam. iv. 20 ; and the Holy Ghost brandeth them for sons of 
Belial that despised Saul in their hearts, though he were a wicked 
king, 1 Sam. x. 27. In our carriage we must honour them by 
rising up to them. Job xxix. 8, by bowing the body to them, 2 
Sam. xxiv. 20, by silence when they speak. Job xxix. 9, 10. 

Honour is an outward signification of that inward reverent 
opinion which we have of them for their dignity and greatness. 

They are honoured in our speeches. The patriarchs call Joseph 
their lord. Gen. xlii. 10, and themselves his servants, ver. 19. Paul 
calleth, Acts xxvi. 25, Most noble Festus. Esther v. 8, ' If I have 
found favour in the sight of the king, and if it please the king to 
grant my petition, and to perform my request,' saith holy Esther to 
the heathen king. 

It is reported of the great-grandfather of Fabius Maximus,^ that 
though he had been five times consul, and had obtained many 
triumphs for divers honourable victories, yet when his own son was 
consul, he Avillingly submitted himself to him, served under him as 
his lieutenant, and followed on horseback his son in his triumphing, 
chariot. But such heathen will rise up in judgment against many 

Secondly, Your honouring them must appear by your yielding 
obedience to their lawful precepts. ^ In the kingdom of Christ this 
is wonderful, saith Zanchy,^ that he willeth and commandeth all 
princes and potentates to be subject to his kingdom, and yet he 
willeth and commandeth that his kingdom be subject to princes 
and potentates: Tit. iii. 1, 'Put them in mind to be subject to 
principalities and powers, and to obey magistrates.' Subjection 
notes their acknowledgment of obedience to be due, and obedience 
notes the act itself of obeying, or the practice answerable to the 
forementioned principle. By principalities are meant those that 
have the supreme power, as kings or chief magistrates. Powers 
signify such as exercise delegated authority, and hold from those 

^ Honor est agnitio dignitatis vel excellentise illius quae est in alio, cum ejusdem 
debita testificatione. Agnitio simul dicitur et testificatio, quia neque in externa ob- 
servantia sola neque in interna consistit, sed in utroque. — Ames. Med. 

2 Plutarch, in Vit. Fab. Max. 

^ Mallem obedire quam miracula facere. — Luth. 

* Zanch. Miscel., epi. ded. 


higher powers, as presidents of provinces, lieutenants of counties, 
judges, justices, mayors, &c. Now, put them in remembrance. Men 
are apt to be forgetful both of obedience to God and the gods. 
Naturally we are so proud and high, that we are unwilling to stoop 
to those that are higher ; and therefore we had need to be put in 
mind of our duties, to ' submit ourselves to every ordinance of man, 
for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or unto 
governors, as unto them that are sent by him,' 1 Pet. ii. 13, 14. Good 
rulers we must obey, saith one, as God ; bad, for God. 

But take notice, I say, magistrates must be obeyed in their law- 
ful commands. 1 If a king, saith our civil law, giveth laws out of 
his own territories, he is not to be obeyed ; and if magistrates 
command what God forbiddeth, they give laws out of their own 
dominions, and therefore, saith the divine law, they are not to be 
obeyed. God indeed is to be obeyed universally and unlimitedly, 
intuitu voluntatis, upon the bare sight of his will ; but I must 
examine the laws of men by the laws of God, and if they are dis- 
sonant and disagreeing to God's laws, I must be disobedient to 
their laws. No mere man's ipse dixit is sufficient: Acts v. 29, ' We 
ought to obey God rather than men.' The men of Calicot, say 
some, will do whatsoever their emperors command, though it be to 
worship the devil, as some Avrite they do. But we must observe 
the order of commands : ' Fear God,' is before ' honour the king,' 
1 Pet. ii. 17 ; and again, ' My son, fear the Lord and the king,' 
Prov. xxiv. 21 ; and Eccles. viii. 2, ^ My son, keep the king's com- 
mand, and that because of the oath of God,' which latter words, 
' and that because of the oath of God,'2 are not only a reason, but, 
as is excellently observed, a limitation to the precedent exhortation. 
They are a reason or enforcement. It is necessary to give obedi- 
ence to magistrates, not only out of fear towards them, because of 
their sword, but out of conscience towards God, because of his 
vows that are upon us, Kom. xiii. 5; and so it seems to relate to 
some covenant and oath of fidelity which was taken by the people 
towards their princes, 1 Chron. xi. 3 ; Isa. xix. 18. And surely 
oaths to magistrates are to be kept, though some slip oaths as 
easily as the monkeys do their collars, and, like the man possessed 
with the devil, break all those bonds asunder. God will have a 
time to make inquisition for perjury, when his roll of curses, ten 

^ Magis obtemperandum estdiis, apud quosdiutius manendum est, quam hominibus, 
quibuscum admodnm brevi tempore vivendum est. — Antigon. in Sojihoc. 
2 Vide Large Annotat. in loc. 


yards long and five yards broad, shall rest in the house of him that 
foresweareth himself, and destroy it, Zech, v. 2. 

But the words may be considered as a limitation : ' Keep the 
king's command,' but so that thou do not violate thine oath and 
obedience due to God. Thy fealty to the gods must be such as 
will consist with thy fidelity to God ; for we are bound to God and 
his service by oath and covenant, 1 Pet. iii. 21 ; Ps. cxix. 106 ; 
and no subordinate obedience must make us forget our obedience 
to him who is supreme. We must obey rulers, usque ad aras, as far 
as religion will suffer us, and no further. My obedience to man 
must be regulated by a good conscience towards God, Dan. iii. 1 6- 
18; 1 Sam. xxii. 17; Acts v. 29. As a subordinate officer is not 
to be obeyed when he useth his power against his prince, which he 
received from his prince, and should have improved for his prince; 
so neither is a prince to be obeyed when he useth his power against 
God, which he received from God, and should have improved for 
God. As we must give unto Caesar the things that are Cfesar's, so 
we must give unto God the things that are God's, Mat xxii. 21, 22. 
One observeth that the Greek article is twice repeated when he 
speaketh of God,i more than when he speaketh of Cassar, to shew 
that our special care should be to give God his due. 2 It was a 
noble speech of those worthies, mentioned Dan. iii. 16-18, who 
were commanded by the king to worship the image which he had 
set up : ' Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in 
this matter. Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from 
the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, 
king. But if not, be it known unto thee, king, that we will 
not worship thy god, nor fall down to the golden image which 
thou hast set up.' And it was a gallant answer of the Prince of 
Condee, who being taken prisoner by Charles the Ninth of France, 
and put to his choice, whether he would go to mass, or be put to 
death, or aufifer perpetual imprisonment. The former, said he, by 
God's grace I will never do ; and for the two latter, let the king do 
with me what he pleaseth ; God, I hope, will turn all to the best.^ 

We are also to honour magistrates, both by praying for them, 
and paying tribute to them ; the former is our duty, and the latter 
is their due : ' I will, saith the apostle, that prayers and supplica- 
tions be made for all men, for kings, and all in authority/ 1 Tim. 

' Ta ToO Geou T(p ©ey. 

" To pay to the king that tribute which is due to God only, is not tributum Casaris, 
sed servitium diaboli. — Chrysost. 
3 Hist. Gall. 


ii. 1 , 2, The burden which lieth on them is weighty ; we had need 
therefore to beg of God to strengthen their backs, otherwise they can 
never bear it. There is a truth in that saying, Did men but know 
the weight of a crown, they would not stoop to take it up.i Pride 
indeed is so prevalent with many persons, that they will venture 
their lives to satisfy their ambition ; these men's great care is to 
get the sword, the sceptre, not how to use them for God and his 
people ; but certainly they who mind a faithful discharge of their 
trusts find the magistrate's throne to be a place of little ease. 
They are shepherds, Isa. xliv. 28, and we know the life of a shep- 
herd is a laborious life; they endure the scorching heat of summer, 
and the nipping cold of the winter, to keep their flocks safe. Cares 
and fears about public concernments molest them night and day, 
as weights hang on a clock, and will not suffer them to sleep. If 
they watch to protect us, should not we watch unto prayer for 
them ? 2 The emblem of King Henry the Seventh, in all the win- 
dows of his house, was still a crown in a bush of thorns, surely to 
tell us that great places are not free from great cares ; that no man 
knoweth the weight of a sceptre but he that swayeth it. 

We are bound likewise to pay tribute to them, as well as pray for 
them : ' Kender to all their dues ; tribute to whom tribute belong- 
eth, custom to whom custom,' ^ Rom. xiii. 7. 

It is observable, the Holy Ghost calleth it their due. To pay 
tribute or custom is not an act of courtesy, but a duty which must 
be done out of conscience ; God commandeth it from us in lieu of 
the magistrate's care of us : ^ as ver. 6, ' For this cause pay ye 
tribute, (prcestatis, non datls, you pay ; not, you give,) ' for they are 
God's ministers,' &c. Your paying tribute and custom is a sign of 
your subjection to them, and a thankful acknowledgment of your 
protection from them; and ver. 5, ' For this cause ought you to be 
subject, not only for wrath, but for conscience sake.' God taketh 
care for the maintenance of the magistrate as well as of the minis- 
ter, and doth strictly enjoin us, that both they who watch for our 
souls, and they which watch for our bodies, should have an honour- 
able subsistence. Did such as are private but seriously consider 
this word conscience, for conscience sake, they durst not, as they do, 

^ Moses was a pious patient man, yet he telleth us, notwithistanding all his strength 
of grace, Non possum por tare, I am not able to bear all this people. Num. xi. 14. 
^ B. Hall's contemplation. 

* (jybpos capitatio, poll-money which men pay by the poll, or according to their es- 
tates ; T^Xos, vectigal, dues for merchandise. — Beza. 

* Pompey first converted the capitation or head silver to the city of Rome. — Par. 
in Rom. 


cozen the public. i The same mighty possessor of heaven and earth, 
who giveth me a right to the whole, giveth them a right to a part 
of my estate, and therefore to cozen them of their dues in tribute 
or custom, is to cozen and defile my conscience by the violation of 
God's righteous command. 

I shall, in the next place, lay down two or three thoughts to en- 
force the duty of honouring magistrates. 

First, Consider the necessity of magistracy. Without magistracy 
one man would be but bread for another ; and the world, which is 
like the sea for storms and tempests, would also resemble it in this, 
that the inhabitants of it would be as the fishes of the sea, the great 
would devour the small. ' Men are like the fishes of the sea,' saith 
the prophet, ' that have no ruler over them,' Hab. i. 14. No man 
could call anything his own, were it not for these gods. Did not 
they defend us by their power, every one would rob and wrong us 
at his pleasure. Our liberties, estates, and lives would quickly be 
a prey to the covetousness and cruelty of vicious persons. Liberty 
and property are quite banished where authority is not established. 
Who can express the malice and murders, the rapine and robberies, 
the mischiefs and miseries that reign where the magistrate doth 
not reign. ' In those days there was no king in Israel ; every man 
.did that which was right,' not in God's, 'but in his own eyes,' Judges 
xvii. 6, and xix. 1. And what evil is not good in his eye who 
hath the devil for his guide and leader, and corrupt nature for his 
law and rules ? When the gate of magistracy is shut, the flood- 
gates for all manner of enormities are open. When these that bear 
up the pillars of the house are removed, how soon will the building 
be ruined ! When God intended the destruction of the Jewish 
commonwealth, he took away their sanhedrim. And in the glass of 
our times it is too too visible what a sad deformed face things have 
when magistrates are overturned. Constantinople will witness to 
this truth, where, upon the grand signior's death, till his successor 
be on his throne, all things are in a confusion, and the janizaries 
have the rule and dominion. Some write that the Persian law 
comma ndeth that upon the decease of their kings there should be 
a suspension of the laws for certain five days, that subjects might 
know the necessity of government, and learn to value it more by 
being bereft of the benefit of it for a time. Nay, when God is ex- 

i Tiberius did not approve that shepherd that flayed his sheep instead of clipping ; 
nor Tully, him who cut the wings, so that they could never grow after. Magistrates 
are set for the good of the people, and therefore should be moderate in demanding 
their goods. 


ceedingly provoked by sin, how sharply doth he make men suffer 
by taking away their stay and their staff! — the mighty man, the 
judge, the prophet, and the prudent, Isa. iii. 1-4. The taking 
away the civil stay and staff, the prince, and the spiritual stay and 
staff, the prophet, will quickly cause the fall, yea, the utter down- 
fall of the people. Men often murmur at the magistrate, and tell us, 
many times falsely, he is a tyrant ; if he were gone all would be well ; 
but when he is out of the way, do they not find many tyrants for one? 
Everyman would be an oppressor were there no man to bea restrainer. 

What would a nation without government be but a desert of 
savage beasts ; what would towns be but dens of thieves, and what 
would families be but cages of unclean birds; yea, what would 
most men be, but like dogs trying all right and title by their teeth 
and strength? 

Men naturally are more afraid of the noise of the musket than of 
the bullet — I mean of the frowns of the rulers than of the fire of 
hell ; and therefore were they once free from them, they would do 
that which would soon undo both themselves and others. 

Now the necessity of magistrates calleth for reverence and obe- 
dience to their authority. The more needful things are, the more 
grateful they should be. Things that are superfluous may be 
slighted, things that are only convenient may be the less valued ; 
but things that are absolutely necessary must he highly esteemed. 
I tell thee, the ministry is not more necessary to the well-being of 
the church, than the magistracy to the well-being of the state. 
You may as soon see a tree thrive without a root, as a common- 
wealth flourish without a ruler. Magistrates are in Scripture called 
the heads of the people, Exod. xviii. 25, because they are as neces- 
sary to the body politic, to direct and govern it, as the head is to 
the body natural ; therefore, as the members yield respect, and are 
subject unto the head, if the head do but ache, all the humours of 
the arm, as some observe, run to the head, and therefore the arms 
are thin and slender, because they want their proper nurture ; yea, 
if the head be in danger, how do the other parts hazard themselves 
for its shelter ! Many a hand and arm hath been wounded that 
the head might be saved. Thus should subjects shew their respect 
to, and tenderness of, their superiors ; for if a member, or some 
of the inferior parts, be cut off, the body may live, but if the head 
be taken off, if governors be set aside, actum est de republica, that 
kingdom, that commonwealth, cannot stand long. 

Secondly, Consider the severity of God against the contemners of 
magistrates. There are several in the word of God that stand up, 


like the mast of a ship cast away by sands, to warn us that we steer 
not their course, lest we be sunk also. Those who opposed the 
preservers of our civil lives have not seldom been punished with 
violent deaths; Korah and his company, Abimelech, Athaliah, 
Adonijah. Absalom, Zimri, Joab, Sheba, with several others, will 
confirm this truth ; and human as well as divine writings speak 
to the same purpose. 

James the First, king of Scots, was murdered in Perth by Walter 
Earl of Atholl, in hope to attain the crown, for so had his sor- 
cerers prophesied ; and crowned he was with a crown of red iron 
clapped upon his head, being one of the tortures wherewith he 
ended at once his wicked days and desires. i Becket, Mortimer, 
Tyler, Warbeck, Sanders, Story, Campian, the Piercies, the pow- 
der-plotters, Khodulphus Duke of Suevia, Eichard the Third of 
England, and many others, have been marked with divine ven- 
geance for contemning this divine ordinance. 

' My son/ saith Solomon, ' fear thou the Lord and the king, and 
meddle not with them that are given to change. For their cala- 
mity shall arise suddenly, and who knoweth the ruin of them both ? ' 
Prov. xxi. 22 — i.e. of them that fear not God, and of them that fear 
not the king. And Eccles. x. 8, 9, 'He that diggeth a pit shall 
fall into it ; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. 
Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that 
cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby.' These four proverbial 
expressions speak the danger of them that go about to supplant 
their rulers. Whilst they are digging pits to catch others, the earth 
falleth on them, and murdereth themselves. When they are break- 
ing up the old hedge of government, serpents and adders, which use 
to harbour in old walls and hedges, will sting them. God will 
make men know that it is a dangerous thing to confound rule and 
subjection, and to break down the partition wall which he hath set 
up between magistrates and people. When these sharp instruments 
which they run against wound them deep, they will believe that it 
is bad meddling with edged tools ; and that there is a truth in those 
words of the apostle, ' They that resist procure to themselves dam- 
nation,' Eom. xiii. 2 — that is, both corporal punishment and eternal 
torment, saith Peter Martyr. 

If thou wouldst not, therefore, suffer with others, take heed of 
sinning with others. ' Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these 
wicked persons,' saith Moses to the congregation upon the conspi- 
racy of Korah, Dathan, &c., against their rulers, ' and touch nothing 

* Speed Cliron. 


of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins,' Num. xvi. 26. 
They that join in common rebellions must expect to be joined in 
common destructions. Be not impatient of rule, as thou desirest to 
avoid that ruin which God's mouth doth threaten, and his hand 
will execute on such rebellious ones. Let those many examples, 
which are in Scripture and other authors mentioned, of them that 
are hung on gibbets as monuments of God's fur}^, fright thee from 
their acts, lest thou partake of their ends. Believe it, no king can 
possibly be so tender of his own honour as God is of his own offi- 
cers. Do not, therefore, shoot off thy guns of opposition against 
the gods, lest they recoil and kill thyself. Reviling of natural 
parents was banisliment by Plato's law, death by God's law, Exod. 
xxi. 17. Those then that revile civil parents shall not always 
go unpunished. 

Thirdly, Consider thy felicity and welfare doth under God depend 
much on the gods. The apostle enforceth this use by this very argu- 
ment : 1 ' For he is the minister of God for thy good,' Rom. xiii. 
If he labour to do thee good, why shouldst thou imagine evil against 
him ? To render good for evil is God-like, Mat. v. 48, but to ren- 
der evil for good is devilish. 

Magistrates are shields, Ps. xlvii. 9 ; they defend their subjects 
from the darts and bullets with which the sons of violence would 
wound them. 

Shepherds, Num. xxvii. 17, to defend them from the devouring 
mouths of ravenous creatures. They are called the foundations of 
the earth, because they support the building from ruin and sink- 
ing,2 Prov. x. 25. Coverings, Ezek. xxviii. 16, which importeth 
that engine, under which soldiers used to be protected, in assaulting 
the walls of an enemy, against the stones and darts which were 
thrown down upon them. Guides, Prov. vi. 7, because they lead 
and direct the people. Angels, 2 Sam. xiv. 1.5, in that they defend 
and protect the people. ^ The fathers and mothers of the country. 
Gen. xli. 43 ; Judges v. 7, because they take care of, and provide 
for their people. Healers, Job xxxiv. 17, because they cure their 
wounds, and make up their breaches. They deliver the poor that 
crieth, and the fatherless, and him that hath none to help. They 
are eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame ; fathers to the poor, and 
helpers to the needy. Job xxix. 11-15. They are born not for 

' Martial policy, true religion, and civil justice, are the three pillars which uphold 
all, saith Sir Walter Raleigh. 
^ BacxiXivs quasi /Sdcrts rod \aoO. 
^ Ava^ ab dvos medela. 


themselves, but for the good of many, as Bucer's physician told 
him.-^ And they govern not seeking their own wealth, but the com- 
monwealth,2 as JElius Adrianus, emperor of Borne, would say. They 
are as trees whose leaves are fair, whose fruit much, and in them is 
meat for all ; in their shadow the beasts of the field dwell, and 
in them the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, Dan. iv. 
12, 21. 

They are the keepers of our liberties, the preservers of our lives, 
the safety of our persons, the security of our possessions, the terrors 
of sinners, the defence of saints, the nerves and sinews, yea, the 
vital spirits of the body politic, without whom all things would run 
to ruin, and quickly fall to confusion. How much then do they for 
us, and how much then should we be subject to them ! Surely, as 
little as many value them, they will find much cause to celebrate 
the funerals of these civil fathers with many tears. Our comforts 
as well as our consciences call upon us to be subject. To wish 
them harm that watch to be our helps is horrid ingratitude. 
Cicero saith, he that killeth his father committeth many sins in 
one, because he sinneth against many obligations. His father 
begat him, nourished him, brought him up. Magistrates are the 
fathers of their country ; he that resisteth them, or doth violence to 
them, committeth several sins in one, because he sinneth against 
so many engagements to subjection. We owe all the comforts we 
enjoy for this world, nay, somewhat of them that relate to a better 
world, under God, to the magistrate. We could not sleep quietly 
in our beds one night, we could not eat one meal peaceably in the 
day without them ; we could not call either children, or estates, or 
lives our own without them ; we could not enjoy such liberties for 
our souls, such frequent communion of saints without them. How 
great then is our obligation, and how great should our subjection 
be to them ! These manyi'cords of kindness should bind us to them. 
He was possessed with a devil whom no cords would hold, Mark v, 
3 ; and surely they are little better, that, against the law of God, 
and this protecting love of the gods, will not learn to be loyal. 

Trees receive moisture from the earth, and within a while pay it 
back in those leaves that fall to the earth again ; the rivers receive 
their waters from the ocean, and they acknowledge it in emptying 
themselves into it ; sheep that are fed by us acknowledge it in serv- 
ing us with their flesh and fleeces. And shall man be more brutish 

^ Non sibi sed multorum utilitati se esse natum. 

2 Noil inihi sed populo, signifying that which he was often heard to say, Ita se 
rempublicam gesturum, ut sciret rem populi esse, non suam. 


than the beast ? I shall end this exhortation with the words of 
the Holy Ghost a little varied : ' Obey them that have the rule over 
you, and submit yourselves ; for they watch for your bodies, as 
ministers for your soul, as they that must give an account/ Heb. 
xiii. 17. 

My second exhortation will be to the gods. If the God of heaven 
have appointed you to be gods on earth, then it may exhort you to 
walk as gods, and to work as gods amongst men. 

First, walk as gods among men ; your calling is high, and there- 
fore your carriage should be holy. Every calling hath a peculiar 
comeliness belonging to it. A courtier hath another manner of be- 
haviour than a country man, a scholar than a scullion, a prince than 
a peasant. The greater your privileges are, the more gracious your 
practices should be. Kemember whose livery you wear, whose 
image you bear, whose person you represent, whose place you stand 
in, and walk worthy of that calling whereunto you are called, Eph. 
iv. 1. Some would have us give no names to children, but such as 
should mind them of their duty. The Spirit of God hath given you 
a divine name, which should mind you of the divine nature. Since 
your compellations are according to God, surely your conversations 
should be according to the gospel. 

The several titles given to you call for sanctity and strictness 
from you. 

The Spirit of God calleth you kings, 1 Sam. viii. 9, and princes. 
Josh. viii. 33. Now, is it seemly or suitable, to see kings or 
princes paddling in the mire, or playing in the dirt with every 
beggar's brat ? Doth not every one expect that their linen should 
be in print, their clothes clean without the least spot of dirt ? 
And is it comely or consonant to see magistrates, honoured with a 
commission from heaven, wallowing in the mire of sin and pollution 
with every heir of hell ? Do not all expect that, as your places are 
god-like and honourable, so your practice should be godly and 
answerable, that your linen should be white, your garments unde- 
filed, and your persons higher than others, not only in place, but 
piety ? 

When King Porus was taken prisoner, and demanded by the 
conqueror how he would be used ? he answered, Like a king ; and 
being three times asked the same question, he as often returned the 
same answer. And if you ask me how you should demean your- 
selves, I would answer, Like kings, every one resembling the be- 
haviour of a king. Prov. xxxi. 3, 4, ' It is not for kings, Lemuel, it 
is not for kings to drink wine, nor princes strong drink, lest they drink 


and forget the law.i Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy 
ways to that which destroyeth kings.' Drunkenness and unclean- 
ness are sinful and unwarrantable in subjects, but they are most 
sordid and abominable in a sovereign. They are so much worse 
than others, by how much they ought to be better than others. ^ A 
disease that surpriseth the head or heart is more dangerous than 
those that infect the exterior members. A spot in silk is far worse 
than one in sackcloth. A fly in a barrel of pitch doth not the 
harm which it doth in a box of ointments. 

When Scipio was offered a harlot, he said, Vellem si non essem 
Imperator, I would if I were not a general, an emperor. Should 
such a man as I fly ? said Nehemiah. So should a ruler consider, 
should such a man as I be unclean ? I. that punish such sin in 
others, should I commit it myself? Should such a man as I swear, 
be lascivious in my language, or unsavoury in my speeches ? A 
divine sentence is in the mouth of a king, Prov, xvi. 10. I, whose 
words are laws and oracles, should speak as the oracles of God, 1 
Peter iv. 11. Should such a man as I profane the Sabbath, asso- 
ciate with sinners, be prayerless in my family, or venture upon any 
iniquity ? It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, 
Prov. xvi. 12. Peter Martyr told Queen Elizabeth, that princes 
were doubly bound to God, — as men, and as princes or chief men. 
Their sins are sins against more obligations, and therefore are sins 
of more aggravations than others. A great man cannot commit a 
small sin ; yet a great man is seldom a good man. Godliness in a 
ruler is like a diamond in a golden ring, which shines radiantly ; 
but there are few jewels so set. Among all the kings of Israel, 
not one godly man ; among the kings of Judah, very few. Men in 
high places are apt to have their heads giddy, and thereby are in 
great danger of falling. 3 Of only one Koman emperor (Titus) is 
it said that he was the better for his honour ; most are worse. 

The Spirit of God calleth you the children of God, and all of 
you are children of the Most High, Now, how exactly, how cir- 
cumspectly should the children of God walk! Much obedience 
may be expected from servants, but more from sons ; their pre- 
eminence is more, and therefore their obedience should be more. 

1 Of Bonosus the emperor it was said, he was born non ut vivat, sed ut hihat. And 
when being overcome by Probus, he hanged himself ; it was commonly jested, that 
a tankard hung there, not a man. 

* Ideo deteriores sumus quia meliores essedebemus. — Salv. 

3 Pope Urban wrote to a prelate in his time scoffingly, Monacho fervido, Ahbati 
calido, Episcopo tepido, et Archiepiscopo frigido ; still the higher in means, the worse 
in manners. 


The fathers of the flesh look for much dutifulness from their chil- 
dren ; but surely the Father of spirits may look for more from his 
children, Phil. ii. 15 : ' That ye may be blameless and harmless, 
the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and per- 
verse generation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.' Ye 
that are God's sons, are appointed to blame others that do evil, and 
therefore it behoveth you to be blameless yourselves, Qui alterum 
accusat probri, &c., but blameless and harmless, the sons of God 
without rebuke. The sons of great men should be without riotous- 
ness or rebellion ; but the sons of God should be without suspicion 
or rebuke ; that is, walk so strictly as that they should do nothing 
blameworthy. If God be your Father, where is his honour ? 
Mai. i. 6. Do you honour him in your hearts, by giving him your 
superlative love, and fear, and trust, and esteem ? Do you honour 
him in your houses, by causing all within your charges to worship 
him according to his word ? Are your houses houses of holiness — 
praying, reading, singing, catechising houses ? are they examples 
of religion to your neighbours ? Is holiness to the Lord written 
upon yourselves, your children, your servants, your estates, and 
upon all that belong to you ? Do you honour God in your lives, 
by walking as he walked ? Are ye followers of him as dear chil- 
dren ? Eph. V. 1. Do you resemble him as children their father? 
Are you holy as he was holy in all manner of conversation ? Was 
your everlasting Father, when he walked in your flesh upon earth, 
ever guilty of cursing, or swearing, or lying ? Did any rotten com- 
munication ever drivel out of his lips ? Was he ever guilty of 
oppressing the poor, or despising the needy ? of seeking himself, 
or of doing his own will ? Did he ever neglect praying, and in- 
structing his family of the apostles, or supplication by himself ? 
Was not he at prayer early in the morning, a great while before 
day, and was not he up at it all night ? Was it not his meat and 
drink to do the will of his Father, and to finish his work ? Did 
not he go about doing good, glorifying God upon earth, and doing 
what was well pleasing in his sight ? Surely ye that are the sons of 
God by name and office, should resemble the Son of God by nature. 
sirs, think of it ; ye that are the sons of God by deputation, 
should resemble this Son of God by generation. Be not as Eli's, and 
Samuel's, and David's children, a disgrace to your Father : but as 
Constantino's sons resembled their father in his good parts and 
practices,^ so be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. Mat. 
v. 48. David's daughters were known to be liis children by their 

1 Euseb. 


garments, 2 Sam. xiii. 18. Do you make it known to others that 
you are the children of God, by not defiling your garments ; by 
keeping yourselves unspotted from the world ; by looking to your 
clothes that they be not defiled, though ye walk in dirty streets ; 
be as the children of God, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked 
and perverse generation. 

Consider, the devil is ever watching for your halting, and, like 
some unkind servant, he blabs presently to the Father what a dirty 
pickle his children are in. Suppose he seeth the dirt of drunken- 
ness, of uncleanness, of squeezing tenants, of profaning the Sabbath, 
of scoffing at godliness, of irreligion and atheism in your houses, 
and immediately carries your clothes to God, as the patriarchs did 
Joseph's coat — for he accuseth men before God day and night, Eev. 
xii. 1 — saying, Lord, is this thy son's coat ? Know now whether it 
be thy son's coat or no. Gen. xxxvii. 32. Do thy children use to 
carry themselves as my children ? Surely these are of their father 
the devil. Can you imagine that God should own you? No, 
certainh^ — as the pope disowned the bishop, when the emperor had 
sent the buff-coat in which he was taken prisoner, and delivered 
him up to justice — he will not dishonour himself by owning you. 
Nay, how can you expect but that Jesus Christ, who sitteth by and 
heareth the indictment against you — who useth to appear as an 
advocate for others, when the accuser of the brethren pleadeth 
against them — should even second the bill against you, and say to 
God, as Moses, Deut. xxxii. 5, they have corrupted themselves, 
their spot is not the spot of God's children, they are perverse and 
crooked persons. Father, these are sins, not of weakness, but 
wickedness ; they are not infirmities, but enormities ; they are not the 
spots of thy children. Those that cast thee out of their hearts, and 
let the flesh have the supremacy there ; that cast thee out of their 
houses, and let the world have the superiority there ; those that make 
no conscience of thy day and their duties ; whose whole care is to 
be honoured and enriched ; whose heat and fervour is for credit and 
profit, and put thee off with a few fragments of time, and a few 
scraps of their estate, which they can spare from the world and flesh ; 
those sin like wretches, like rebels — not like saints, like sons ; their 
spots are not the spots of thy children. 

There are spots which may be, and spots which cannot be, the 
spots of God's children. All sins are unsuitable to, but some sins 
are inconsistent with, sonship ; yea, the pre-eminence of adoption 
doth absolutely deny the predominancy of any corruption. 

Wlien Antigonus was to go to a place that might probably prove 


a temptation to sin, he asked counsel of Menedemus what he should 
do. He bade him only remember he was a king's son ; so say I 
to you, that walk every day in the midst of many snares of tempta- 
tions, and therefore should have the greater care and circumspec- 
tion. Remember that ye are the sons of the King of kings, and 
do nothing unworthy of the name by which he calleth you, or the 
place to which he hath called you. 

It might have been a cutting word to the heart of Brutus, whose 
hand was then stabbing Cajsar, What, thou my son Brutus! I 
could not have expected better from a slave, but little looked for 
this from a son. How, think you, can the Lord take it, that you 
who are his children should wound the body of his Son with oaths 
and curses, his sacred laws by wickedness and wilful disobedience ? 
I beseech you be exceeding holy, that ye may shew yourselves to 
be children of the Most High. ' In this the children of God are 
manifest, and the children of the devil : he that doeth not right- 
eousness is not of God,' 1 John iii. 10. ' If ye therefore call on the 
Father, who without respect of persons will judge every man 
according to his works, pass the time of your sojourning here in 
fear,' 1 Pet. i. 17, ' forasmuch as ye know ye were not redeemed 
with corruptible things, as silver or gold, from your vain conver- 
sations received by tradition from your fathers, but with the pre- 
cious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without spot and blemish,' ver. 
18, 19. It is written of Boleslaus, one of the kings of Poland, that 
he still carried about with him the picture of his father, and when 
he was to do any great work he would look on the picture and pray 
that he might do nothing unworthy of such a father's name ; so 
when you set about any business, desire and labour that you may 
do nothing, while on earth, unworthy your Father who is in 

Nay, further, the Holy Ghost calleth you gods. How godly, 
then, should you be ; how unsuitable are the works of the devil to 
them that have the name of god ! God is light, and in him is no 
darkness at all ; and should not the gods shine brightly with the 
light of holiness, and abhor all deeds of darkness ? The gods of 
the heathen were taxed with several crimes : Jupiter with unclean- 
ness, Juno with passion, &c. Hence, saith Austin, the heathen 
took liberty to sin, because their gods were represented to them as 
patterns or approvers of such actions. As Chargea in Terence, non 
ego facer em quce Jupiter fecit ? Should I be backward to what 
the god himself was forward ? But the God of heaven is far from 
such things ; he is the Holy One of Israel, holy in all his ways, and 


righteous in all his works ; his nature is the pattern of holiness ; 
his law is the rule of holiness ; holiness is his essence, his glory, 
himself, Ps. Ixxxix. 13. 'A God of truth without iniquity, just and 
right is he,' Deut. xxxii. 4. There are many spots in our moons, 
but not the least spot in the Sun of righteousness. Now, therefore, 
you that have his name should get his nature, and be pure as he is 
pure : the name of God is an honour to you, be not you a dis- 
honour to it, James ii. 8. Do not, do not, blaspheme that worthy 
name by which ye are called. How holy should you be in your 
hearts, how watchful over your words, how wary in your works, 
how faithful in your families, how conscientious in all companies, 
for the Most High hath said. Ye are gods.i 

Alexander having a soldier of his name that was a coward, bade 
him either learn to be valiant, or be no more called Alexander : so 
say I to you that have the livery and name of God, and do the 
drudgery of Satan ; either learn to be holy, to be good, or be no 
more called gods. 

Sir, observe it, is it comely for a god to swear ? for a god to 
wrong his neighbours ? for a god to profane God's day ? for a god 
to despise godliness and godly men ? for a god to keep company 
with those that are of their father the devil ? for a god to live 
without God in his affections, house, and conversation ? Blush, 
guilty justice or ruler, and be ashamed, and either amend thy life 
and nature, or disown this name of god. 

I have sometime read of Luther, that he used to repel the darts 
of temptations with this shield, I am a Christian, I cannot do it. 
Oh would you but think, when your hearts or lives are swerving from 
God, I am called a god, and cannot, may not do the work of the 
devil. I may not do anything unworthy the name of god ; it 
might be helpful to you against the assaults of hell. 

Besides, you had the more need to walk in the way of God's 
commandments, because you have many following your steps i^ 
they that have many at their heels had need to be holy, lest they 
cause the souls of others as well as their own to miscarry for ever. 
Sin, especially in great men, is like leaven, which soureth the whole 
lump, 1 Cor. V. 6. 

The bodies of men do not sooner take infection than their souls. 
If the great trees fall, they usually brush and beat down smaller 
ones with them. When two or three men of renown, famous in 

1 Lactantius telleth us that the very heathen thought that their only way to honour 
their gods was to be like them, to do as they did. 

^ Nemo errat sibi ipsi, sed dementiam spargit in proximos. — Sen., ep. 94. 


tlie congregation, begin a mutiny against God, they shall not want 
company to join with them. Num. xvi. If the princes of the 
people be guilty of rebellion, how soon is the whole congregation in 
the same transgression. Num. xiii. 28, 29 ; Num. xiv. init. When 
a disease hath once taken the head, how often doth it thence diffuse 
itself into other parts of the body. When Charles V. went into 
Italy to be crowned emperor, being troubled with the headache, 
he cut his hair short, the great courtiers followed his example, so 
as long hair, so much in fashion before, grew quite out of fashion 
in his time. Alexander used to carry his head on one side, 
whereupon his courtiers to imitate him did the like. Before 
Vespasian's time the Komans were grown to great excess in clothes 
and furniture for their houses ; and though many laws were made 
against it, they could not be restrained ; but when he came to the 
crown, being a temperate and moderate prince, all their former 
vanity grew out of use. So true is that saying of king Alphonsus, 
that as certain flowers move after the sun, so the people follow 
the manners of their princes : and certain it is that the common 
sort, like a flock of sheep, which way the first goeth all the rest 

The actions of rulers are often the rulers of the people's actions. 
The vulgar are like soft wax, taking any and easy impression from 
the seals of great men. When men of quality swear, roar, deride 
religion, dwell without God in their houses, &c., how quickly do 
their neighbours take after them, and justify their j)ractices by 
such patterns, thinking they sin cum privilegio, if they sin cum 
prmcipe. But now, if a great man walk with God, condemn and 
reprove sin by his works as well as bywords, (being, as the chief magis- 
trate of Israel was, mighty in word and deed. Acts vii. 22,) if he 
pray with his family, keep the Lord's day strictly, work out his 
salvation diligently, how prevalent will such an example be to the 
inferior people ! Surely as when the mountains overflow with water, 
the valleys are much the better ; so when these mountains (as rulers 
are called, Micah vi. 2) overflow with the water of grace, the plains 
will abound the more in fruit. 

Think, therefore, how comfortable it will be for thee, by thy holy 
life, to direct others in the way to heaven ; and how lamentable 
will it one day be to thee should st thou lead others in the road to 
hell! How deep wilt thou sink into hell, that shalt be pressed 
down under the weight of thy own and thine other men's sins ! I 
remember Luther mentioneth this to be one of the papists' tenets,i 

^ Hain. in Vit. Lutheri. 


that if the pope be so neglectful of his own and his brethren's sal- 
vation, and so unprofitable and remiss in his place, that he carries 
along with himself innumerable people to be eternally tormented, 
no mortal man ought to reprove him for this sin. But sure I am, 
the immortal Grod will reprove both him and you for such crimes 
when ye shall meet in the other world, where the weight of sin will 
be sufficiently felt, and the worth of the soul, which is destroyed by 
it, shall be fully known. 

Further, It behoveth you the rather to walk as gods, because 
others do not only sin with you, but suffer for you. When king 
David numbered the people out of pride, how did God number the 
people to the pestilence ! 2 Sam. xxiv. What bitter fruits doth 
God make Israel to feed on : Jer. xv. 2, ' Such as are for death to 
death, such as are for famine to famine, such as are for the sword 
to the sword ! ' But if you would know the root from which those 
sour fruits spring : ' Because of Manasseh the king of Judah, for 
that which he did in Jerusalem,' ver. 4. 

Whether, saith one, a gangrene begin at the head or the heel, it 
will kill ; but a gangrene in the head will kill sooner than one in 
the heel. Even so will the sins of great ones overthrow a state 
sooner than the sins of small ones ; therefore the advice of Sigis- 
mund the emperor, when a motion was made for reformation, was, 
Let us begin at the minorities, saith one. No : rather, saith he, 
let us begin at the majorities; for if the great ones be good, the 
meaner cannot easily be evil. 

Secondly, It exhorteth you to work as gods. 

I shall branch this use into three particulars. 

1. Execute justice impartially. 

2. Excel in shewing mercy. 

3. Promote piety to the utmost of your power. 

First, Execute justice impartially. God is a God of justice and 
judgment, Isa. xxx. 18 ; the most just, Job xxxiv. 17. Others 
may do justly, he cannot hut do justly. Justice, which is an acci- 
dent in others, and therefore may be separated from them, is his 
very essence, his being. Be ye therefore like God. Let justice 
run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream. Wear 
the same garments which he doth : Isa. lix. 17, ' He putteth on 
righteousness for a breastplate, and the helmet of salvation upon 
his head.' Such garments did holy Job wear : ' I put on right- 
eousness, and it clothed me, my judgment was as a robe and a 
diadem,' Job xxix. 14. Kings and princes wear crowns and dia- 
dems, judges and other officers wear robes and other ornaments. 


Now, saith Job, others place much of their glory and state in their 
robes, in their purple vestments, which strike a reverence in the 
subject toward his superior, adding, in the estimation of men, ma- 
jesty to the person, and solemnity to the action of the wearer ; but 
I place my honour injustice and judgment. I think myself better 
clothed with these real virtues, than others with their empty marks 
and ensigns of dignity. 

I say, execute justice impartially ; that is, without fear or 
favour : 1 'Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment ; thou shalt 
not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the 
mighty,' Lev. xix. 15 ; as if he had said. Ye cannot deal righteously 
if ye spare any because he is poor, or because he is rich. It is a 
principle in moral policy, that an ill executor of the laws is worse 
in a state than a great breaker of them ; and the Egyptian kings 
i:)resented the oath to their judges, not to swerve from their con- 
sciences, though they received a command from themselves to the 
contrary. Neither fear of greatness, — It is a mercy to have judges, 
saith Cicero, modo audeant quce sentiunt — nor favour of nearness, 
should make magistrates deviate from the rule. When Charicles, 
the son-in-law of Phocion, was accused for taking bribes, he desired 
his father to defend his cause ; but he answered him, I took thee 
for my son-in-law in all honest matters only. A magistrate should 
be a heart without affection, an eye without lust, a mind without 
passion, or otherwise his hand will do unrighteous actions. He that 
goeth to the seat of judicature must leave his affections, as Abraham 
liis servants when he went to the mount, behind him. A justice 
must, like the earth, cherish and nourish the low violet as well as 
tlie tall cedar. The Grecians placed Justice betwixt Leo and Libra, 
thereby signifying that there ought to be both magnanimity in 
executing and indiflferency in determining. But the impartiality 
of a ruler is notably set out by the throne of the house of David, 
Ps. cxxii. 5, which was placed in the gate of the city towards the 
sun-rising, as some observe. In the gate, to tell us that all who 
went in and came out at the gate might indifferently be heard, and 
have free access to the judgment-seat ; but towards the rising of 
the sun, to shew that their judgment should be as clear from cor- 
ruption as the sun is clear in his chiefest brightness. 

It would be an ornament unto, and tend to the settlement of 
magistracy, for the throne is established by righteousness, Prov, 

^ It was a strange yet true saying, there was more justice in hell than in France ; 
there the guilty are punished, be they never so great ; they do not escape ; but in 
France it is otherwise. May it not be said so of England ? 


xvi. 12, if those two verses, which some say are written in letters 
of gold over the tribunal in Zant, were practised by every court of 

' Hie locus odit, amat, punit, conservat, honorat, 
Nequitiam, pacem, crimina, jura, bonos.' 

In the executing of justice, there are two things mainly to be 

1. That you be terrors to evil-doers : this is expressed as one of 
your chief duties, Eom. xiii. 3. If men be fearless in sinning, surely 
you should not be fearful in sentencing them for their sins. God 
hateth iniquity ; he is of purer eyes than to behold it ; the evil of 
sin never got a good look from God, and why should it from the 
gods ? Edward the Confessor was held a bad prince, not by doing, 
but enduring evil.i God was angry with Eli, and telleth him that 
he would judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knew, 
because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not, 
1 Sam. iii. 13. Eli was a magistrate, and should have put forth 
his authority and punished those ungodly children ; but because he 
did not, God punished both him and them. Oh it is dangerous to 
do the work of the Lord negligently. Sir, do not you, or might 
you not, upon inquiry, know of them that profane God's day, blas- 
pheme his name, frequent alehouses and the like ? Do you restrain 
them ? Do you fright such offenders with your frowns, and shew 
your love to their souls by executing justice on them for their sins? 
If you do not, look to yourself, for God hath iron hands for justices 
that have leaden heels, and will one day strike them home, for 
forswearing themselves to spare others. He will be a terror to 
thee, and make thee a terror to thyself, who wilt not at his com- 
mand be a terror to evil-doers. 2 Thou sinnest in others whilst 
thou sufferest them to sin, and thou shalt one day suffer with them, 
Kev. xviii. 4. Thou art afraid to offend thy neighbours ; I tell 
thee, God will make thee know it were better offending all the 
world than one God. I beseech you, make it appear that you are 
magistrates by being men of courage ; be as bold in executing as 
others are in transgressing the law. Shall iniquity be brazen-faced, 
and authority hide itself? If the offender be in robes, be not 
afraid of him, but make him afraid of you. I have read that the 
Athenian judges sat in Mars Street, to shew that rulers should be 
men of valour. Cowards are more fit to be slaves than rulers. A 

1 Dan. Hist. 

^ Our old word Koning, and by contraction King, comes of Con, saith Becanus, 
and comprehendeth three things : Possum, Scio, Audeo. 


magistrate should be like Moses: in his own cause as meek as a 
lamb, in God's cause as stiff as an oak, as bold as a lion. All dare 
disparage him who dareth discourage none. How punctually doth 
Scripture tell you that this ought to be your practice ! Magis- 
trates, saith Peter, are sent for the punishment of evil-doers, 1 Pet. 
ii. 14. And Paul saith, ' If thou doest evil, be afraid ; for he 
beareth not the sword in vain. For he is the minister of God, an 
avenger to execute wrath on them that do evil/ Kom. xiii. 4. The 
sword which is carried before him, as an ensign of his power, is not 
for show or for fashion, but for the wounding disorderly persons. 
' A wise king,' saith Solomon, Prov. xx. 26, ' scattereth the wicked, 
and bringeth the wheel over them ; ' a kind of punishment then in 
use, and now in many j)laces. Especially be severe to them that 
profane the Sabbath, that queen of days, that golden season of grace. 
Nehemiah would not spare the chief men that profaned this chiefest 
of days, chap. xiii. 17. This is one of the chief precepts which 
the Lord of the Sabbath commandeth you, Exod. xx., xxiii. 12. 
England's' disturbing God's rest hath raised God to disturb Eng- 
land's rest. 

He that spareth the bad hurteth the good. The chirurgeon must 
cut off incurable members, and the physician of the state must 
purge out the peccant humours of the body politic, lest they infect 
and injure the whole. The execution of justice is like a clap of 
thunder, which striketh few, but frighteth many. ' Smite a scorner, 
and the simple will beware,' ^ Prov. xix. 25. Thus by not punishing 
the evil, both the good and bad are, though unjustly, punished; 
yet the greatest injury is to the ruler, by the offender's impunity; 
for besides the guilt which he contracts on his soul, and thereby 
God's eternal wrath, he is oftentimes punished in his body, and 
made an example of God's justice to others. When the French 
king, Henry IV., was persuaded by the Duke of Sully to 
banish that generation of vipers, the Jesuits, he would not, saying, 
Give me security then for my life. But he was shortly after stabbed 
to death by their instigation. God doth not seldom make them 
examples of his judgments, that will not make others examples of 

Secondly, That you be protectors of them that do well. The 
Holy Ghost telleth you that you should be for the praise of them 
that do well. Courts of justice should be cities of refuge to them 
that are unjustly and causelessly pursued. Like Noah's ark, to 
take in and give rest to those weary doves. Like the horns of the 

^ Poena ad unum, timor ad omneg. 


altar, to which innocency should fly for protection. ' Mine eyes, 
saith David, 'shall be upon the faithful in the land,' Ps. ci. 6. 
Hide the godly especially under the shadow of your wings. Piety 
hath too much been bespattered with obloquy, and holiness suffered 
under the name of baseness. Mali esse coguntur ne viles habeantur} 
Men have been necessitated to be vicious, lest they should be 
accounted vile. Be you not only patterns, but patrons of purity. 
Let tlie world know that greatness can own and countenance good- 
ness. The kings of Gerar were called Abimelech, which signifieth 
My father, Gen. xxx. 2, noting that a king should be as careful and 
mindful, as tender and chary of his subjects, especially good ones^ 
as fathers of their children. Alas, if the magistrates will not own 
them, what shall the godly do ? The devil raiseth all the train- 
bands of hell against them that march to heaven. The world 
loveth its own, but because they are not of the world, therefore the 
world hateth them, their neighbours malign them, and rage, because 
they dare not run to the same excess of riot. The whole parish, if 
occasion be, will be gathered together against those that are pious, 
especially if they be zealous for God's glory, against others' impieties. 
Now, since God hath set you up for their shelter, surely you are 
concerned to secure them in times of danger. Sure I am that it is 
a privilege and honour to you, that you may be serviceable to the 
people of God. God carrieth them upon eagles' wings, Exod. xix. 
4, as tenderly as the eagle her young ones, of which some observe, 
she carrieth her prey between her talons, but her young under her 
wingcs ; and if a fowler shoot at her, she will first have her own 
body shot through before they shall be hurt. God is therefore 
called their shield, Gen. xvii. 1. Now a shield is between the body 
and the weapon. Look, therefore, that you imitate God in this. 
Kemember that men were not made for you, but you were made 
for them ; God took David from the sheepfold to feed Jacob his 
people, and Israel his inheritance, Ps. Ixxviii. 70, 71. 

It was said by Nazianzen of Athanasius, that he was magnes et 
adamas, an adamant in his stout resolute carriage against vice, and 
a loadstone to encourage and draw virtue to him. And the wise 
man telleth us, ' The king's favour is towards a wise servant, but 
his wrath is towards him that causeth shame,' Prov. xiv. 35. As 
the wind hurteth not the reeds and corn, which yield to it, but 
rooteth up the sturdy, stubborn oak, which will not bow, so the 
ruler should deal sharply with the obstinate, but gently with the 
mild and flexible. 

^ Salvian. 


Augustus Ca3sar, in whose time Christ was born, was so tender 
of his people, that when he died they wept, saying, Would he had 
never been born, or never died ! i 

Secondly, As you should work like gods amongst men in execut- 
ing justice impartially, so likewise in shewing mercy: God is the 
Father of mercies, 1 Cor. i. 3 : rich in mercy, Eph. ii. 4 : he 
hath multitudes of tender mercies, Ps. li, 1 : he is abundant in 
mercy, 1 Pet. i. 3 : his mercy is free, Kom. ix. 15 : great, Ps. Ivii. 
10 : matchless, Jer. iii. 1 : sure, Isa. Iv. 1. Mercy, as one observ- 
eth,2 is the chief of all God's attributes. Though in themselves they 
are all equal ; but in regard of our necessities, as oil swims above 
all other liquors, as the eagle is the chief of birds, the lion of beasts, 
gold of metals, so mercy is the chief of all God's attributes. He 
hath a mercy -seat, to note that he sitteth at ease when he is shew- 
ing mercy. Whereas judgment is his strange work, Isa. xxviii. 21. 
We read likewise that mercy pleaseth him, Micah vii. 18. Thus 
the gods should be merciful men ; your hearts should be full of 
mercy and pity to the sinner, when your hands are executing justice 
against the sin. 

The bee doth not sting till provoked ; ' God doth not afflict wil- 
lingly, nor grieve the children of men,' Lam. iii. 33. There should 
be bowels of compassion in him that pronounceth sentence of con- 

' Ille dolet quoties cogitur esse ferox.' 

Augustus never pronounced a deadly sentence without deep sorrow. 

Our laM^s forbid butchers to be jurors, because it is supposed they 
will be hard-hearted.' Among several qualifications which the 
Jews required in their judges, these were two — 1. That they should 
be fathers of children, hoping that their parental affection would 
incline them to commiseration. 2. That they should not be 
eunuchs, for they conceived such very cruel. It is a bestial cruelty 
to delight in blood. 

The laws of Draco are generally condemned, for they were 
written in blood, and the offender was sure to die, of what nature 
soever his offence was.* — A. Gell. 

Our English Deborah, Queen Elizabeth, did not without cause 
exceedingly prize Seneca's first book of Clemency, because it treated 
of that which is so needful to a prince. ^ 

^ Sueton. ^ Mr Culamy on Ezek. xxxvi. 32. p. 30, before the parliament. 

^ Goodwin Antiq. 

* Ferina rabies est sanguine et vulneribus gaudere. — Senec. de Cle., lib. i. cap. 24. 
' Nero, in the beginning of his empire being requested to set his hand to a warrant 
for the execution of an ofiender, would say, Utiiiam nescirem literari. 


It is the devil's work to be Abaddon, a destroyer. It is Christ's 
work to be Goel, a Redeemer. ' Mercy and truth preserve the 
kino-, his throne is established by mercy,' Prov. xx. 28. Mercy 
sometime to them that sin through weakness, may be as profitable, 
as severity to them that sin through wilfulness. 

It was certainly a cursed speech of that man, or rather monster, 
whom the Italian orator ^ mentioneth, that being a judge, said, To 
hang many is my jubilee, and a great execution is my great recrea- 
tion. The expression of the Roman emperor is worthy of imitation, ^ 
That he had rather save the life of one of his subjects, than take 
away the lives of a thousand of his enemies. Life is a precious 
jewel, more worth than all this world : ' Skin for skin, and all that 
a man hath will he give for his life,' Job ii. It is not, therefore, to 
be taken away for every trifle. I do not now dispute the question, 
whether any theft may lawfully be punished with death, but I am 
sure every theft ought not. Tlie Romans had their axes and rods 
carried before their consuls, to shew that if the lesser punishments, 
as of the rods, would serve, the greater, of the axe, should not be 
used. And they did justly lament the cruelty of those tribunals 
where the cheap proscription of lives made the judgment-seat differ 
little from a shambles. 

3. Work as gods among men in promoting piety to your power. 
The great design and work of God is to promote holiness in the 
world. This was his aim in his internal work or his decree, Eph. 
i. 4. This is the great end he drives at in his external works. As 
in the work of redemption, Titus ii. 14 ; Luke i. 74. In bestowing 
his word'; the precepts in it are the perfect rule of godliness. Gal. 
vi. 16 ; the promises are precious encouragements to godliness, 2 
Cor. vii. 1 ; the threatenings are like the angel with a drawn sword 
in his hand to deter men from the way of ungodliness, Rom. i.-lS. 
And his works of providence are to the same purpose. Afflictions 
are like the fire to consume the dross, and purify the gold, Heb. 
xii. 6. Mercies are like the warm influences of the vernal sun 
to draw forth the sap of grace, and hasten men's growth in holiness. 

Thus should the gods promote godliness, as the chief business 
which the most high God hath given them to do. Other things, of 
what nature soever, which come within the reach of their care, are 
questions much inferior to this. 3 And this they should do, partly 

1 siies. ^ Pint, in Vit. Jul. Caas. 

* Prima magistratus cura debet esse, religionem veram promovere, et impietatem 
prohibere.— ^mes. de Consc, lib. v. cap. 25. In hoc reges Deo serviunt in quantum 
reges. — Aug. 


by their patterns in being examples of godliness to their people ; 
their lives should be so exact that they should be able to say as 
Gideon, Judges vii. 17, Look on us and do likewise; or as Paul, 
Walk as ye have us for an example. 

Partly by your precepts ; your edicts and commands should be 
like those of Asa, 2 Chron. xiv. 2, 4, ' Asa did that which was 
right in the sight of the Lord. He commanded Judah to seek the 
Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the command- 
ment.' Mark, upright Asa did not leave men to choose their 
religions, nor to live as they listed ; but he commanded them to 
obey God's law. He did not strictly enjoin the payment of taxes 
or customs, and such civil things, and leave it as a matter of in- 
diflferency whether men would mind religion or no ; but his laws 
did enforce and confirm the laws of God, as far as he was able. 

Partly by countenancing, maintaining, and providing able mini- 
sters, 2 Chron. xix. 8 ; 1 Cor. ix. 13, for the church, as also by 
taking care that they discharge their trusts faithfully, 2 Chron. xxix. 
0-5 ; 1 Chron. xvi. It is observed of Julian, the apostate, that to 
root up Christianity he disgraced the orthodox ministry, took away 
Church maintenance, and forbade Christian schools and places of 
learning ; so Sozomen, lib. v. cap. 5. This very course is now 
cried up ; the Lord prevent it ! The prince, indeed, is not called 
to be a public preacher ; but he hath a call to see that none abuse 
that calling to the hurt or poison of his people. 

Partly by suppressing and discountenancing them whose doc- 
trines or lives hinder godliness. i Suppressing evil is necessary for 
the promoting good. Holy Asa removed his mother from being 
queen upon this very account, 1 Kings xv. 12, 13. The toleration 
of any in such sins is an intolerable sin. And the jealous God will 
one day make magistrates know that they shall bear his anger, 
for bearing such evil doers as blasphemers and heretics are. 2 I 
speak not against a true Christian liberty in things that are in- 
different, or in things that are not fundamental ; but I cannot but 
speak against this antichristian licentiousness, which is, though 
under other terms, so much pleaded for. It may well make a 
dumb child speak when his Father is so deeply wounded in his 
word, honour, people, and ordinances as he is in our days. If state 
reason compel men to suffer it, they must know that it will prove 

1 Plato would not permit in his commonwealth any such person as asserted God 
the author of sin. 

^ Christianus nulla re magis dignosci potest quam si Deo factas contumelias et 
blasphemias severissime ulciscatur, suas obliviscatur. — Guevara in ej). ad Cur. v. 


state ruin. Shall it be treason and death to speak thus and thus 
against men that are mortal, weak gods ? and shall it not at all be 
penal to blaspheme the Almighty and ever-living Grod, in denying 
his truths, which are more worth than the whole world ? Surely 
blasphemies, idolatry, and heresies, sins against the first table, are 
greater, as being more directly and immediately against God, than 
sins against the second table, and therefore deserve punishments. 
Vide 1 Kings xviii. 18; Exod. xxi. 17 ; Levit. xxiv. 10-17 ; Job 
xxxi. 25-27; Deut. xiii.,^er totum ; though care should be first 
had and means used for the informing and reforming of such 

Suffer me, as Elihu said, Job xxx. 2, 3, a little, and I will shew 
you what I have to speak on God's behalf. I will fetch my know- 
ledge from Scripture, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker. 
Because in our unholy and therefore unhappy days, the very duty 
which I am urging the magistrate to is questioned, as many other 
truths are, I shall speak a little to it. This Popish doctrine is 
now almost generally entertained, that magistrates have nothing to 
do in matters of religion, as some other Jesuitical tenets are now 
on foot.^ Parsons, the English Jesuit, in his memorial for refor- 
mation, adviseth that all the colleges in the universities, with their 
revenues, should not be employed, as now they are, for the en- 
couragement of godliness and learning, but be settled on six men ; 
and also, whatever manor or parsonage belonged to the Church ; 
that no man's conscience be pressed for matters in religion ; that 
there should be no fixed ministers, only some itinerary preachers. 
This is the way, saith he, for popery to flourish in England, 
though he nameth more ways. But that magistrates ought to 
meddle in matters of religion, and promote it to their power, may 
appear clearly to them that are not wilfully blind : — 

First, from the practices of godly rulers. What Asa did hath 
been already mentioned. Hezekiah was a prince that did also 
promote piety, 2 Chron. xxix. 2-5, 25, 30, and in 2 Chron. xxx. 
5, which places are large, therefore not here recited, but full to our 
purpose, wherein Hezekiah commanded the Levites to sanctify 
themselves, to praise the Lord with the words of David, and both 
priests and people to keep the passover. 

So Josiah, 2 Chron. xxxiv. 31-33, ' And the king stood in his 

place, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, 

and to keep his commandments.' And, mark, he caused all that 

were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the 

1 Priuceps nihil statuat de religione, saith Mariana the Jesuit. — Marian., cap. 10. 


iahabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God. 
And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries 
that pertained to the children of Israel. Observe, ' And made all 
that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their 
God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord.' 
He made them to serve the Lord, both by his precepts and by the 
punishments he inflicted on them that would not. This text can 
never be answered. All the subtle evasions which Jesuitical 
heads have used to make it invalid could never do it. For if, as 
some affirm, it is not binding to us under the New, because it is 
delivered in the Old Testament, then faith in Christ and repent- 
ance, which are the sum and substance of the Old Testament, are 
void also ; and so they may rob us, if we will believe them, both of 
our Saviour and salvation. i 

Nay, a heathen king enacted a law, that whosoever would not 
obey the law of God, as well as the law of the king, that judgment 
should be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, 
or to banishment, or confiscation of goods, or imprisonment : Ezra 
vii. 26, And for this law holy Ezra blessed God, v. 27 ; so Ezra 
vi. 11 ; Dan. iii. 29. 

Besides these patterns in Scripture, we have the like in eccle- 
siastical writers. 2 Constantine, a godly emperor, purged the church 
of idolatry, and established the worship of God by his own im- 
perial commands. Jovinian also, and Theodosius, by their royal 
edicts, set up and restored the true religion, which Julian and Valens 
had put down and discountenanced. 3 

Secondly, The precepts given by God to rulers speak this to be 
their duty. God commandeth him to write him a copy of the law, 
Deut. xvii. 18. For what end, but that he might keep it himself, 
as he is a man, and take care that others should not break it, as he 
is a magistrate ? It was an ancient ceremony in Israel at the king's 
coronation, that when the crown was set on his head, the book of 
God should be given into his hand, 2 Kings xi. 12, to shew that 
God committed the care of religion principally to him, that by his 
power and authority it might be established in his dominions. 

God commandeth magistrates to be for the good of their sub- 
jects, Kom. xiii. 4. For good, that is, for thy natural good, in pre- 

1 It is observable that in tlie Kings and Chronicles, when Henry VI.* mentioneth 
the lives of the kings of Israel, he doth in the first place take notice how they dealt 
in matters of religion, whether they brake down the graven images, or cut down the 
groves, or took away the high places, or the like. 

^ Euseb. lib. ii. de vit. Constantini, cap. 44. * Theodoret. lib. v, cap. 20. 

* Appareutly a misprint. — Ed. 


serving thy life in safety ; for thy civil good, in securing thine 
estate ; for thy spiritual good, in establishing the true worship of 
God, as a keeper of the first table. i Nay, the way to j^romote the 
civil good of a people is by promoting their spiritual good. That 
commonwealth will certainly stand longest which hath not state 
policy, but state piety for its foundation. How many nations have 
confirmed this truth, Uhi non est sanctitas, 'pietas, fides, instabile 
regnum est ! A nation without religion is like a city without walls, 
naked and open to all enemies ; like a building without a founda- 
tion, which will quickly be overthrown. Keligion to a people is as 
the palladium to the Trojans, as the ancile to the Romans, which 
kept them safe. The want of this overthrew the great monarchies 
of the world. What, besides this, hath turned so many kingdoms 
into ruined heaps, and cities into solitary deserts ? If a fruitful 
land be turned into barrenness, is it not for the iniquity of them 
that dwell therein ? Ps. cvii. 34. Tully observed,^ that the glory 
of Greece quickly decayed when the people were given to evil 
opinions and evil manners. Those rulers that tolerate heretical 
persons do but nourish a snake in their bosoms, and cherish a 
worm that in time will eat out their own bowels. 

Besides, God promiseth that magistrates shall, in the days of the 
gospel, be nursing fathers and nursing mothers to his church, Isa. 
xlix. 23, which surely was never meant of procuring only their cor- 
poral, but chiefly of promoting their spiritual good. 

Oh consider, is it not reasonable as well as religious that you 
who rule by God should rule for God ? ^ that that power which 
you have received from him should be improved mostly for him ? 
Eemember your time is short, your opportunities are many, your 
work is great, and your account will be heavy ; therefore, work the 
work of him that sent you into the world. It was a saying of 
Becket, sometime archbishop of Canterbury, when he was per- 
suaded to deal moderately with the king, Clavum teneo et ad som- 
num me vocas f Do I sit at the stern, and would you have me sleep ? 
Sirs, you steer the rudder of the state ; you sit at the helm of the 
commonwealth ; should you be sleepy or slothful ? I beseech you 
to be doing for the furthering piety, and the Lord will be with you. 

Now that magistrates may be enabled and incited to walk and 
to work as gods among men, I shall deliver a few directions, and 
two or three motives, and then conclude. 

' Parens on Romans. ^ Cicero de legib. 

'■^ Vide Zanch. de Magistrat. Gerh. loc. com. Wallseum de eodem sub. Willet in 
Kom. xiii., controver. 4. 


First, If you would walk and work as gods, then get divine 
principles. According to your principles, such will your practices 
be ; water riseth no higher than its fountain. If, therefore, you 
would walk as gods, and work for God, you must both walk and 
work from God. If ever the hand of the dial point, and go right 
without, the wheels and poises must be right within. It is noted 
of true and sincere saints, that acted for God in the regal office, 
that their hearts were perfect with the Lord, 1 Kings xv. 14 ; Isa. 
xxxviii. 3. This spiritual life in their souls made them warm and 
zealous for their Saviour. Caleb, that followed the Lord fully, had 
another spirit, a different principle from the ten carnal princes, 
Num. xiv. 24. Men's actions will then be sacred, when their 
affections are sanctified. He that followeth God he knoweth not 
why, will forsake God he knoweth not how. A magistrate that is 
zealous for God only because the times favour such, may soon be 
brought to be as zealous against God. He that is not knit 
to his service with the heart-strings of love, spun out of a 
renewed nature, will easily be parted from his service. Such 
slavish spirits will serve God no longer than they can serve them- 
selves of God. When Jehu's interest and God's are conjoined, as 
in rooting out the idolatry of Baal, how fiery is Jehu ! how furi- 
ously doth he drive ! He slayeth all the false prophets, he breaketh 
down the images of Baal and the house of Baal, and maketh it a 
draught house, 2 Kings x. 25-27. But when God's interest and 
Jehu's are divided, as in the calves at Dan and Bethel, there Jehu 
must be excused ; he will uphold them, as some do by that monster 
of toleration out of state policy, expecting that they should uphold 
him, 2 Kings x. 27, 28. But what was the reason of this ? Surely 
the want of this divine principle. The fire of Jehu's zeal was not 
lighted at the altar, for then it would have continued burning, but 
kitchen fire kindled at a common hearth, and therefore would burn 
no longer than it had such gross matter as his own credit or profit 
to feed it ; when this fuel was taken away, his fire went out : look 
in ver. 31, Jehu walked not in the law of the Lord with all his 
heart ; his heart was not perfect ; it was not cast into the fire of 
the word, and new moulded by the Spirit of God. The want of 
this foundation overturned all tiiat beautiful building which Jehu 
had set up. 

It is a question in politics. Whether a wicked man may be a 
good magistrate ? It is, I suppose, possible for a wicked man when 
he is in authority to do some good ; but I conceive he will hardly 
do the good he ought ; or like Caleb, stand for God when the times 


are against God, when the people talked of stoning him ; but like the 
king of Navarre, he will launch no further into the ocean than he 
can be sure to get back safe. Such a man is like a horse with a 
thorn in his foot, which may go fairly on in good ways, but if he 
come to hard ways, he will halt and discover himself. He that hath 
not gone through the pangs of the new birth, and heartily taken 
God in Christ for his all, and thereby secured his eternal estate, 
will scarce hazard his name or estate, much less his limbs or life 
for God, as he must do that will be faithful unto the death. For 
with what heart can he look that danger in the face, which, for 
aught he knoweth, may kill both body and soul ? 

Or if he be very bold and venturous for God, yet being an evil 
man, he can never do good, by all his activeness as a ruler, to his 
own soul. God may give him parts, and gifts, and courage, as a 
nobleman giveth dainty fare to his nurse, not out of love to him, 
but for his children's sake. He may, like a ship, be instrumental 
to land others at some happy port, whereon it never entereth itself. 
He may be very helpful to others' temporal, nay, and eternal salva- 
sion, and yet miss himself, Jehu, by acting for God, got a lease of 
an earthly kingdom for three or four lives, but he lost the heavenly 
one for ever. The most that I know, that a civil, yet unsanctified 
magistrate, gets by his forwardness and heat for God, is only a 
cooler hell ; though your names are divine, yet if ye be not partakers 
of the divine nature, ye are lost for ever. Now, what advantage will 
it be to you, like Noah's carpenters, to build an ark for the saving 
of others, and to perish yourselves ? 

Believe it, sirs, if ye would have good fruits in your lives, there 
must be this root of holiness in your hearts. A good man out of 
the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things. What 
water is in the well, such will be in the bucket ; and what ware is 
in the shop, such will be on the stall ; therefore when God promiseth 
that men shall walk in his ways, and keep his judgments, and do 
them ; he promiseth also to put his spirit, or a new spirit into them, 
which should enable them thereunto, Ezek. xi. 19, and xxxvi. 26, 
27. The flesh will serve to enable a man to walk after the flesh ; 
but the Spirit of God alone can enable a man to walk after the Spirit. 
Natural light is not sufficient to mortify natural lusts. It may 
cover for some time, but can never kill sin. Some men may be like 
the lions in Daniel's den, chained up, or restrained, and yet have 
their ravenous dispositions, their old carnal hearts still. Civility, 
though commendable, yet without inward sanctity, is not sufficient 
to prove one interested in a Saviour, or in a state of salvation. 


There is as much difference between a moral man and a real 
Christian, as between a lifeless picture and a living person. A lion 
and a lamb, a raven and a dove, darkness and light, death and life, 
do not differ more than a sinner and a saint, than a man only 
civilised and a sanctified Christian. 

Oh, sirs, think of it seriously, the terms upon which salvation 
may be had, are the same to you and the meanest beggar, i John iii. 
3. If heaven be not in you by the indwelling of God's Spirit, renew- 
ing you in the spirit of your mind, it is impossible that ever you 
should be in heaven. The tide of your natures, and the wind of 
your affections must be turned the clean contrary way to what they 
are by your birth, if ever you sail to the haven of heaven. Labour 
therefore as for life, for this principle of spiritual life, without which 
you cannot escape the second death. 

Secondly, If ye would walk and work as gods among men, then 
your rule must be divine as well as your principle. Every calling 
hath some rule to go by, in conformity to which their excellency 
consisteth. The lawyer hath his Littleton and Coke ; the physician 
hath his Galen and Hippocrates ; the philosopher hath his Aristotle ; 
the Christian hath the word of God, a sure and a perfect rule It) 
walk by. Gal. vi. 16. And this word of God is in a special mannei- 
commended and committed to the magistrate as his Directory. 
Joshua i. 8, ' This book of the law shall not depart out of thy 
mouth,' saith God to the chief governor of Israel, ' but thou shalt 
meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do 
according to all that is written therein ; for then thou shalt make 
thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success : ' And 
Deut. xvii. 18, 19, ' The king that sitteth upon the throne, shall 
write him a copy of the law. And it shall be with him, and he 
shall read therein all the days of his life : that he may learn to fear 
the Lord, and to keep all the words of this law.' 

It is a maxim of the law of England, that the law itself ought to 
be the rule by which all judges must be regulated, all controversies 
tried, and all cases decided. It is good to keep close to the laws of 
men, that are warrantable by Scripture, but it is best to keep close 
to the word of God. There are the best precepts for justice, the 
best patterns of just men ; nay, and of the infinitely righteous God. 
You have the example of God himself, how just, how holy he is in 
all his doings, how he walketh, how he worketh. Caesar's ambition 
was to imitate Alexander ; Themistocles endeavoured to resemble 

' The smoke of a great man's sacrifice smells never the sweeter before God, because 
he is perfumed with musk, or clothed in silk. 


Militiades. Do you labour to be like God, to hate sin, to love holi- 
ness, to discourage the profane, to countenance the pious, to be 
active and zealous, both by your patterns and precepts, for the 
glory of God. 

In all your difficulties make the word of God your counsellor ; 
in all your doubts let Scripture resolve you. You may look too 
much to the light within you, which is imperfect and (1 Tit.) 
defiled, as Quakers make a Christ of it ; but you can never look too 
much to this light without you, which is perfect and pure, without 
the least blemish or defect. 

The Jews say, that if printing had been found out in the time of 
Moses, yet was the king bound to write out two copies of the law 
Avith his own hand ; one to keep in the treasury, and the other to 
carry about with him as his vade mecum. Alphonsus, king of Arra- 
gon, as some say, read over the Bible fourteen times with Lyra's notes 
upon it.i And that renowned maiden, Queen Elizabeth, when she 
passed in triumphal state through the city of London, after her 
coronation, when the Bible was presented to her at the Little Conduit 
in Cheapside, she received it with both her hands, and kissing it, 
laid it to her breasts, saying, that it had ever been her chiefest 
delight, and should be the rule whereby she would frame her 
government.^ This was the delight, the joy, the counsellor of that 
magistrate that was after God's own heart, Ps. cxix. 70, and cxi. 24. 
And this made him wiser than his teachers, than his elders, Ps. 
cxix. 97-100. And, indeed, this book of books only can make a 
wise and good Christian, captain, counsellor, and ruler. Let, there- 
fore, the balance of the sanctuary weigh all, the oracles of God 
decide all, the rule of the word square all, and then nothing will be 
amiss. Let the Bible be to you as the pillar of fire by night, and 
the cloud by day to the Israelites, directing you through the wilder- 
ness of this world, till ye come to the true Canaan. 

It was a memorable saying of King Edward VI., ^ when he was 
crowned, and had three swords put into his hands, signifying his 
power over three nations, England, France, and Ireland, Deest 
adhuc unus gladius, viz., Sacrorum Bibliorum volumen ; Ille libet- 
gladius Spiritus est, et gladiis Ms omnibus longe anteferendus. 
There is one sword wanting — namely, the sword of the Spirit, the 
word of God, which excelleth them all. 

Thirdly, Let your end be divine as well as your rule, if ye would 
walk and work as gods among men. The moralists tell us that 

' Theodosius II. wrote the New Testament out with his own hand. 

2 Speed Chronic. ^ Baldse de Script. Brit. cent. ii. 


actions are much specified from their ends.i If your actions are 
materially good, yet if finally evil, they are denominated wicked. 
If they are according to Grod's word for the matter, yet if ye make 
not God's glory your end, they are evil. Therefore, if ye would have 
the arrows of your actions to fly right, let your eyes take right aim 
at this mark. Do all for God.^ Quicquid agas, propter Deum 
agas, saith Luther, As ye are men, ye were created to serve him ; 
as magistrates, doubly bound to honour your great Master. God's 
free grace is the fountain of your power, and therefore God's glory 
must be the end. It is reported of Tamerlane, that warlike Scythian, 
that having overcome Bajazet the great Turk, he asked him. Whe- 
ther he had ever given God thanks for making him so great an 
emperor ? The great Turk confessed ingenuously that he never 
thought of it ; to whom Tamerlane replied. That it was no wonder 
so ungrateful a wretch was made a spectacle of misery. For you, 
saith he, being blind of one eye, and I lame of one leg, was there 
any worth in us, why God should set us over two great empires, of 
Turks and Tartars ? So truly may you think, it was mere mercy 
which advanced you more than others, and therefore it is your duty 
to advance God more than others. If ye love your souls, take heed 
of self. Oh how many millions by seeking themselves have lost 
themselves ; by seeking their own glory, pleasure, and profit for a 
time, have brought themselves to shame, pain, and loss to all 
eternity ! Oh beware of this root of bitterness, self. Do not, like 
Demetrius, pretend to be zealous for the goddess, when in truth it 
was for his gain. Or like watermen, row one way, towards God, and 
Christ, and heaven, and look another way, towards the world and 
the flesh ; but give up thyself wholly to him. Lay out thy talents 
altogether for him ; esteem it thy felicity and privilege that thou 
hast more advantages than others, whereby thou mayest exceed 
others in serviceableness to thy maker, preserver, and redeemer. 

Let that peerless prince be thy pattern, even the Lord Jesus 
Christ : ' I seek not my own glory,' John viii. 50. And when he 
came to die, ' Father,' saith he, ' I have glorified thee on earth. I 
have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,' John xvii. 

This was the Father's end in your creation, Prov. xvi. 4 ; Rev. 
iv. 11 ; the Son's end in your redemption, Luke i. 71 ; 1 Cor. vi. 
20; the Spirit's end in your sanctification, Eph. ii. 10; John xvii, 
10. Therefore let this be your end : pray, and read, and hear, and 
watch over your own souls ; walk inoffensively before God, work 

^ Actiones specificantur ab objecto, fine, et circumstantiis. — Eustath. 
^ Omnibus operationibus nostris, cselestis intentio adjungi debet. 


industriously for God, and do all that God may be glorified, 1 Cor. 
X. 31. 

We call not those kings happy, saith Austin, who reigned long, 
hut those who have reigned most for God; i qui potestatem suam 
divinoi majestati famulmn faciunt, — that have made their autho- 
rity serviceable to the divine majesty. God can easily throw those 
crowns from men's heads which are not laid at his feet ; and he 
will assuredly lay them low that do not set him high ; for those 
that honour him he will honour, but those that despise him shall 
be lightly esteemed. 

I come now to the motives to stir you up both to walk and work 
as gods among men. 

1. Consider, God beholdeth you this day. He taketh notice, and 
observeth how ye walk, and how ye work : ' All the ways of man 
are before the Lord, and he pondereth all his paths,' Prov. v. 21. 
Be your works what they will be, God seeth them, and he weigheth 
them in the balance of the sanctuary ; and that beam will discover 
it, if they be never so little too light. 

He beholdeth not only your practices, but your principles ; he 
knoweth what is the wind which causeth the mill to go ; he knoweth 
by what rule, and for what end, and from what principle ye act ; 
all things are <yvixva koI reTpa-xrjXiafieva, ' naked and open in the 
eyes of him with whom we have to do,' Heb. iv. 13. The words are 
very emphatical, and signify thus much: that as the lineaments 
and outside of the body is very visible when it is naked and un- 
clothed, and as the bowels and inside are discovered when the body 
is dissected and anatomised, so are both your outwards and inwards, 
your actions and affections, manifest, naked, and open to God. 

Nay, he beholdeth what ye do in the dark. You may work so 
cunningly, as to hide your designs and works from men, but not 
from God ; there is no darkness nor shadow of death, where the 
workers of iniquity can hide themselves, Job xxxiv. 22. This sun 
knoweth no night, no darkness. Wherever he is, — and he is infinite 
and omnipresent, — it is light, and day ; therefore the eyes of Christ, 
Kev. i. 14, are said to be as a flame of fire, implying his omni- 
science, and that he is able to disperse all darkness. For philo- 
sophy and experience teach us that those creatures which have 
fiery eyes can see in the dark ; and the reason is clear, because they 
do not see as we do, recipiendo species ah ohjecio, sed extra-mittendo 
species, by receiving species from the object, but by sending out 
species or rays, which do both enlighten the medium, the air, and 

^ Aug. de Civit. Dei, lib. iii. cap. 24. 


apprehend the object. Thus Christ seeth in the dark, ye see ; ' yea, 
the darkness hideth not from him, but the night shineth as the 
day; to him the darkness and the light are both alike,' Ps. cxxxix. 

Ponder, then, this omnipresence and omniscience of God, and 
walk before him, and be upright, Gen. xvii. 1. The moralist would 
have his scholars to live always as in the eye of Cato : Oh do you 
live ever as in the eye of God ! Beware what thou doest, for God 
seeth thee. ' God standeth in the congregation ; he judgeth among 
the gods,' Ps. Ixxxii. 1. He judgeth among you, he is present with 
you ; not always in regard of approbation, for your deeds may be 
evil, but always in regard of observation. 

This was Jehoshaphat's argument to incite his judges to care 
and caution : 2 Chron. xix. 6, ' Take heed what ye do ; for ye 
judge not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you in the judg- 
ment.' He is with you in the judgment ; with you to commend 
and praise you if ye do well, to condemn and punish you if you do 
ill, to observe and take notice whether ye do well or ill. As if 
Jehoshaphat had said, I cannot ride circuit with you, nor be present 
with you in all your councils ; but the Lord, a greater than I, can, 
and doth: he is with you in the judgment: 'Wherefore now let 
the fear of the Lord be upon you, take heed, and do it ; for there 
is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor 
taking of gifts,' ver. 7. 

When the Ethiopian judges were set in their seats of judicature,^ 
certain empty chairs were placed about them, some say twelve, 
into which they imagined the holy angels came. And this they 
hoped would work in their magistrates circumspection, and fear of 
doing anything unworthy the angels' eye observation. I must tell 
you a greater than angels is here, even the God of angels ; there- 
fore be wary and watchful ; take heed what ye do. 

Among the Egyptians it is reported,^ when their rulers were set, 
they caused the image of a divine numen to be hung about his 
neck who sat next to the judges. The Deity is ever near you, with 
you, among you. Let the consideration thereof quicken you to 
zeal and faithfulness in all your transactions. 

This made David, the king of Israel, so upright and holy in his 
conversation : ' I have kept thy precepts, for all my ways are before 
thee,' Ps. cxix. 168. Observe his holy carriage, I have kept thy 
precepts ; and its heavenly cause, for all my ways are before thee ; 
or, as in another place, ' I have set the Lord always before me,' 

' QuintuB Pius in 2 Chron. xix, - Diodor. Sicul., lib. i. 


Ps. xvi. 8. As if he had spoken : T have not done what seemed 
good in my own eyes ; I have not walked according to my own will, 
but my race hath been according to the rule which thou hast 
prescribed me. I have kept thy precepts, for I considered thou 
wast an ear-witness to my words ; therefore I did set a watch before 
my lips, that I might not offend with my tongue : that thou wast 
an eye-witness to my works, therefore I endeavoured that my feet 
might not decline thy paths : that thou wast an heart-witness to 
my thoughts, therefore I durst not let vain thoughts lodge within 
me : ' I have kept thy precepts, for all my ways are before thee,' &c. 

Surely, if Alexander's empty chair, which his captains, when 
they met in council, set before them, did cause them to be kept in 
such good order, what behaviour should the presence of God cause 
among the gods ! 

The Jews covered Christ's face, and then they buffeted him: 
men hide God from their eyes, and think to hide themselves from 
God's eyes, and then make bold to provoke him. 

Believe it, reader, God seeth thee whatever thou dost ; he is 
present with thee wherever thou art. When thou art in thy closet, 
in thy family, among thy neighbours ; when thou art punishing 
drunkards or swearers in the jiarish where thou livest, when thou 
art sitting on the bench at the sessions or assize, he observeth in 
what manner thou actest, whether coldly and carelessly, as one in- 
different about the discouraging of sin, — tliough sin deal not so 
mildly with men, when it turneth them into intolerable and eternal 
Hames ; — or whether diligently and fervently, as one fired with love 
to his majesty, and zeal for his glory, and hatred of iniquity. He 
observeth from what principle thou actest, whether from nature 
or grace ; and for what end thou actest, whether thy own or his 
glory ; whether it be to please such a man, or the blessed God ; 
whether to get thyself a name, or to make his name great. 

Job hath a notable expression — I wish it were written on every 
magistrate's heart: — ' Hewithdraweth nothis eyesfromthe righteous, 
but with kings are they on the throne,' Job xxxvi, 7. He is totus 
oculus, all eye ; he seeth you through and through. His eyes are 
with kings on the throne, to observe what the king doth there ; to 
see whether justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne; 
whether the sceptre of his kingdom be a righteous sceptre ; whether 
he be clothed with grace as with a garment, and arrayed with 
purity as well as purple ; to see whether the zeal of God's house 
do eat him up, Ps. Ixix. 9, and he prefer the spiritual before the 
temporal good of his people ; to see whether he will suffer them to 


be lawless in religion, and allow, out of hellish policy, that which 
is destructive to piety, even a cursed toleration. 

God's eye, sirs, may well make you look well to your walking, 
to your hands and hearts. Are uncleanness, injustice, oppression, 
lukewarmness, atheism, bribery, fit objects for God's eye? It was 
ordered in the law of Moses, that when any went forth of the camp 
to ease nature, they should dig a hole with a paddle, and cover it ; 
and the reason is given : ' For the Lord thy God walketh in the 
midst of thy camp ; therefore shall it be holy, that he see no un- 
clean thing in thee, and turn away from thee,' Deut. xxiii. 13, 14. 
This law noteth how the presence of God should keep us from 
polluting ourselves. Sin is the soul's excrement; God's walking 
among us should work in us a hatred of such defilements. 

God's eye may make you work as gods among men. Cassar's 
soldiers were prodigal of their blood when he beheld them. How 
bold should ye be in the discouraging the sturdiest, stateliest 
offenders ! how forward in the countenancing the j^oorest, pious 
Christian, considering that God beholdeth you ! 

Epaminondas rejoiced much that he had done noble exploits, 
his parents being alive to take notice of them. What noble acts 
soever are done, for the promoting godliness, for the stopping the 
mouth of wickedness, by the children of the Most High, are all 
known to the ever-living Father, who recordeth them faithfully, 
and will reward them bountifully. Be therefore exact in your 
walkings, and zealous in your working, ' since your labour shall 
not be in vain for the Lord,' 1 Cor. xv. 58. 

Secondly, Consider the day of your dissolutions is hastening. 
While ye are creeping only in God's way, or doing negligently 
God's work, death is posting with speed towards you. Consider 
the verse following the text ; though he hath said. Ye are gods, 
and called you children of the Most High, yet ye must die like 
men. Your honours and your worships, your majesties and your 
highnesses, must shortly lie in the dust, and be as low as the 
meanest. Diseases spare none for their fine clothes, high places, 
or great estates, and the cannon of death doth as soon hit the great 
commanders as the common soldier ; it maketh no difference. 
Charles the Great, Pompey the Great, and Alexander the Great, 
were all little in death's hands. Men in places of greatest power 
are not persons privileged from the arrest of this surly sergeant. 

Ye that are divine in name have human mortal natures ; and as 
ye are shields of the earth, so ye are earthen shields. What is said 
of the duke of Parma's sword, is true of death : it maketh no differ- 


ence between robes and rags, between prince and peasant: it is the way 
of all the earth, Joshua xxv. 14 ; the great road in which all travel, 
and the end of all the living, Job xxx. 23 ; the great inn to which 
all travel, ' There is no man,' saith Solomon, 'that hath power of his 
spirit, to retain it, neither hath he power in the day of death ; there 
is no discharge in that war,' Eccles. viii. 8. 

It is storied of Alexander,^ that having heard of Paradise, he 
was very eager of seeking it out, and for that end came into the 
east part of the earth, when an old man, meeting some of his 
soldiers, bade them tell Alexander that he sought Paradise in vain ; 
for the way to Paradise was the way of humility, which he did not 
take : but, saith he, Take this stone and carry it to Alexander, and 
tell him that from this stone he shall know what he is. Now the 
stone was a precious stone, and of such a quality that whatsoever 
thing was weighed with it, tliat was still the heavier, only if it were 
covered with dust, then it was as light as straw ; thereby signifying 
that though Alexander, and men in authority, outweigh others in 
life, yet when they are covered with dust, when death cometh, they 
are as light as others ; all their greatness cometh to nothing. Oh 
how little earth containeth great men when they die, who will not 
be contented with much while they live ! 

If, then, ye must die shortly, doth it not behove you to live 
strictly ? If your time be little, should not your work be great for 
God and your souls ? Whether thou wilt think of it or no, death 
is approaching thee ; the sun doth not move faster in the heavens 
than thou art moving to the earth. The glass of thy life, for aught 
thou knowest, is nigh its last sand. Sure I am thou art now nearer 
thine unchangeable estate than ever thou wert ; and doth it not 
concern thee to walk exactly among men, and to work industri- 
ously for God ? Oh how much wilt thou wish at an hour of death 
that thou hadst walked humbly with God, and wrought hard for 
the Lord all the time of thy life ! 

It is observed. among the papists that the cardinals, who think 
their cowl and other religious habits ill becoming them in their 
health, yet are very ambitious to die and be buried in them : and 
I have taken notice in several churches, where are the monuments 
of great persons, that their effigies must be erected kneeling, with 
a Bible in their hands, holding their hands up to heaven, and 
looking very devoutly with their eyes up to the same place ; when 
I have heard of some of them, how profane and atheistical they 
were in their lives ; that they used the name of God often in 

^ Quin. Curt. 


swearing, but seldom in praying, and prized a romance or a play- 
book above, and read them oftener than, the Bible. Truly thus it 
is ; piety that is trampled under feet by you now in your health 
and life, believe it, will be a pearl of great price with you in your 
sickness and death ; then you will think the holiest man the 
happiest man ; the precisest Christian in the most blessed condition ; 
then you would willingly change states with them which are now 
objects of your scorn; then you will wish that you had denied 
yourselves, crucified the flesh, glorified God, and walked after the 
Spirit ; that you had spent that time in praying and reading which 
you have spent in carding or dicing, or vain recreations ; that you 
had improved that wealth and strength in the service of your Saviour, 
for the honour of God, and welfare of your soul, which have been 
laid about the world and your lusts. sirs, when this time 
Cometh, you will have other thoughts of sin and holiness, than now 
ye have ! Sin will not be so pleasant and lovely, nor holiness so mean 
and unworthy as now it is in your eyes. 

Probably you can hear of death by the reports of others, and be 
little troubled ;^ ye can stand it out stiffly against such false fire, 
with. We must all die, and nothing so sure ; God knoweth who 
shall go next ; and the like : all this while the heart not with 
seriousness considering of it, so as to be preparing for it ; the soul 
as much neglected, God as little regarded, and the aftections as 
much enslaved to fleshly lusts as before. But when death, that 
king of terrors and terror of kings, climbs up to your own windows, 
and entereth into your chamber, and cometh with its pale face to 
your bed-side, and boldly arresteth you with a warrant from 
heaven, assuring you by its symptoms on your body that you must 
in good earnest into the other world, and there have all your walk- 
ings and workings interpreted and examined by the infinitely pure 
and righteous God, and your souls, according to your deeds, 
sentenced impartially, and sent immediately to heaven or hell ; 
then surely your apprehensions of a new nature, and strict conver- 
sation, will change, and you will wish, with all your souls, for a little 
of others' oil, for your lamps will go out. The stoutest unregene- 
rate heart alive will droop at last, when God cometh to take away 
his soul ; then his crest falls, and his plumes flag. 

Now, possibly thy cup overfloweth, thou hast a large portion of 
the good things of this world, and they have so much of thy heart 
that thou art little troubled about the things of the other world ; 

^ As birds build in steeples, and are never troubled at the noise of bells, being 
used to it ; nor ye at the sight of graves or coffins. 


the table of thy life now is richly spread with honours, pleasures, 
relations, possessions, and these have the largest share in thy heart ; 
in these thou solacest thyself, desiring no other heaven : but what 
wilt thou do when death shall come with a voider and take all 
away, even all thy treasure on earth ? Then thou wilt wish thou 
couldst find a treasure in heaven, that thou mightest die the death 
of the righteous, and have thy latter end like his : but oh, friend, 
thou shouldst then have lived their lives, and have had thy conver- 
sation like theirs : as the crab in the fable told the serpent, who, 
when she had received her death's wound for her crooked conditions, 
stretched out herself straight, at oportuit sic vixisse, that she 
should have been straight in her lifetime. The way to make thy 
death comfortable is to make thy life serviceable to Grod and thy 
soul. He that would enjoy true rest when he dietli, must labour 
faithfully and diligently whilst he liveth. It will be like a dagger 
at the heart in an hour of death to reflect upon the talents misem- 
ployed, and opportunities misimproved, which free grace afforded 
you for the honouring of God and furthering of your own salvations. 
Sins of omission will wound deeper at a dying hour than most are 
aware of. God hath committed a great trust to you, and the day of 
your lives is the only time of discharging it ; besides, ye know not how 
few hours ye may have to your day, whether it shall be a winter or 
a summer day ; the shadows of the evening may suddenly stretch 
themselves upon you, and then it will be no longer day ; therefore 
work the work of him that sent you into the world while it is day, 
for the night cometh wherein no man can work, John ix. 4. Is it not 
sad that our common observation should be so much verified in the 
practices of great men, that bells strike thick while they are rising, 
but stand still and give no sound at all when they are at full pitch. 
That magistrates should, like the sun, the higher in the zodiac, 
move the slower. 

The more noble creatures are, the more active they are ; men 
more active than beasts, angels than men. One I remember ob- 
serveth, that God would not accept the first-born of an ass, because 
it was a dull slothful creature. The Spirit of God, which is in all 
that are sanctified, is compared to fire. Acts ii. ; therefore they that 
would not grieve it, must not be slothful in business, but fiery, fer- 
vent (seething hot, as the word signifieth) in spirit, serving the 
Lord, Eom. xii. 11. Hence it was that the church of Ephesus got 
letters testimonial from heaven. Rev. ii. 2, ' I know thy works and 
thy labour, how thou canst not bear them that are evil.' And 


indeed the more good a justice hath in himself, the less he will bear 
with evil in others. 

Augustine hath a true saying, Qui non zelat, non amat : he that 
is not zealous for God, hath no true love to God ; for though love 
be a passion, yet it delighteth to shew itself in acting for the 
party beloved. 

When Calvin grew sickly, some friends dissuaded him from hard 
studying, but he gave them this answer, Vtdiisiie Christum me 
invenire otiosum : would you have Christ, when he comes to me 
by death, to find me idle ? so do ye think that when sinners. Jehu- 
like, drive furiously, ye should not, like Egyptians, go heavily, lest 
death find you idle. Observe what became of the idle servant 
that hid his talent in a napkin. Mat. xxv. 30 ; he was punished 
with an eternal long night, w^ho would not work in his short day. 

3. Consider the day of judgment. God will then search and 
sentence you, discover and reward you according to your works. 
Ye that examine and try others, shall then be examined and tried 
yourselves, and ye that acquit or condemn others, shall then be ac- 
quitted or condemned yourselves. 

How should this thought move you to walk exactly, since your 
hearts shall be anatomised, and your lives manifested before God, 
angels, and men ! Could ye but, as Jerome, hear the sound of the last 
trump always in your ears, 'Arise ye dead, and come to judgment,' 
surely ye would be holy judges and justices indeed. Peter maketh 
this argument a strong enforcement to holiness: 2 Pet. iii. 10, 11, 
' The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which 
the heavens shall jDass away with a great noise, and the elements 
shall melt with fervent heat ; the earth also and the works therein 
shall be burnt up. Seeing, then, that all these things shall be dis- 
solved, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conver- 
sation and godliness ?' Observe the certainty of it, the day of the 
Lord will come. If it were doubtful, it would not be so dreadful ; 
but it will come surely, though it come slowly, therefore men had 
need to be holy. Tertullian observed of all those that professed 
Christianity in his time, none lived so loosely as those that did not 
believe the certainty of the day of judgment. But observe, 2, 
the suddenness of it : The day of the Lord will come as a thief in 
the night ; when men at midnight are securely sleeping, they 
dream not of, nor prepare for, a thief. It is sometimes called 
a day. Mat. xxv. 13, propter revelationem secretorum — things 
that are now dark and secret, shall be then as clear and apparent as 
at noonday. The fire of that day will make things legible which 

VOL. IV. 2 A 


are written with the juice of lemons. In the spring-time both 
wholesome roots and poisonous will be discovered, which all the 
winter of this life were hid. The books of God's omniscience and 
man's conscience, saith one, shall be then opened, and secret sins 
shall be then as legible as if it were written with the brightest star, 
or the most glittering sunbeams upon a wall of crystal, Eccles. 
xii. 14. And it is said to be at night, ])ropter impi^ovisionem, &c., 
because of most men's unpreparedness for it. The destruction of 
this new world by fire will find men generally in the same careless, 
carnal, secure, sensual condition, as did the destruction of the 
old world by water, Luke xxi. 35 ; as the snare on a sudden 
catcheth the bird, so will .that day of the Lord seize on such 
beasts. Observe, 3, the dreadfulness of it, ' The heavens shall pass 
away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent 
heat, and the earth and the works thereof shall be burnt up.' Well 
may it be called the great and terrible day of the Lord, when the 
Judge will be a consuming fire, Heb. xii. 29 ; and shall come in 
flaming fire, 1 Thes. i. 6, 7 ; try them by a fiery law, Deut. xxxiii. 
2 ; before a tribunal of fire, Ezek. i. 27 ; plead with them in flames 
of fire, Isa. Ix. 15 ; and condemn ungodly ones to eternal fire. Oh 
how dreadful is the voice and noise of fire ! Fire in the night ! 
How fearful and frightful, then, will such fires at the day of judg- 
ment be ! As often as I think of that day, my whole body 
trembleth, saith Jerome, i Observe, 4, the apostle's inference from 
it, ' What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversa- 
tion and godliness ! ' as if he had said. We had need to have grace 
in truth, that must undergo such a trial. We that must meet with 
so strict and dreadful an examination, had need to be holy to ad- 
miration : ' What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy 
conversation and godliness ! ' 

Surely, if any argument imaginable can persuade to purity, this 
terrible day can do it. The sound of the last trump may well 
cause a retreat, and call us off" from an eager pursuit of the fiesh 
and the world, Eccles. xi. 9 ; and it may also stir you up to purity, 
if you would meet Christ at that day in peace. The throne of 
Christ is a white throne, Kev. xx. 11, and oh, with what trembling 
heart wilt thou, oh black sinner, stand before this white throne : 1 
Pet. iv. 18, 'If the righteous be scarcely saved (not in regard of 
the uncertainty, but difficulty,) where shall the sinner and ungodly 
appear ? ' Surely the drunkard's cup then will be wormwood, not 
wine. The sentence on the swearer, then, will be of cursing, not 

^ Quoties diem ilium considero, toto corpore contreinisco. — Jerome. 


blessing. As he loved cursing now, so then will it come to him ; 
the adulterer's pleasure now will then prove poison ; and the 
prayerless man now will then pray hard ; work in prayer for some 
ease, some end, if not a pardon, yet a reprieve for one hour, at least 
one drop of water to cool his tongue ; but he shall work at the 
labour in vain, and be eternally denied. 

Oh look therefore, and make sure of true holiness, of the power 
of godliness ; for the fire of that day will discover whether you are 
dross or gold. Look that the rule by which you walk be right, 
even the word of God, for by that you shall be judged for your 
eternal life or death, John xii. 36. 

Ah, how exactly shouldst thou live, that must be tried for thine 
endless estate by so strict a law ! 

How diligently shouldst thou keep thy heart, knowing that God 
will judge the secrets of thy heart ! Eom. ii. 16. How carefully 
shouldst thou keep the door of thy lips, considering that of 
every — not only swearing or cursing, but — idle word, which thou 
shalt speak, thou shalt give account at the day of Christ ! Mat. 
xii. 35. How wary shouldst thou be in all thy deeds, believing 
that thou shalt appear at the judgment-seat of Christ, to give an ac- 
count of everything done in the body of flesh, whether it be good, 
or whether it be evil ! 2 Cor. v. 10. So think, so speak, so act, as 
one that must be judged for all at the great day of Christ. 

This may likewise incite you to work as gods amongst men, be- 
cause at that day Christ will come, and his reward will be with 
him, to give to every one according to his works, Eev. xxii. 12. 
Your actions now are seed ; if ye would reap liberally on that great 
harvest-day, ye must sow liberally in this seed-time. Clirist will then 
demand how ye improved the many advantages and opportunities 
which he put into your hands, for the magnifying his name, counte- 
nancing his people, propagating his gospel, punishing his enemies, 
and discouraging the workers of iniquity. He will ask you why at 
such a time, when you knew his name was blasphemed, his day was 
profaned, his ministers and ordinances were trampled upon, you never 
stirred, or were zealous for their vindication. You thought it was 
good sleeping in a whole skin ; you were loath to offend your neigh- 
bours, or you were unwilling to get the ill-will of great ones, that 
under pretence of love to all the people of God, would have his 
blasphemous adversaries spared, nay encouraged. See whether that 
Jesuitical tenet, that magistrates must only be second-table men, 
that they have nothing to do in matters of religion, will hold water 
at that day. Oh how exceedingly will such be ashamed of it then, 


who now own it in their principles and practices ! Possibly thou 
art one of that heathen Gallio's disciples, that would meddle in 
matters of wrong, but sit still in matters of religion : Acts xviii. 14, 
17, ' Gallio cared for none of those things.' I must tell thee thou 
art like then to find hell hot, for thy being so cold in the cause of 
the blessed and glorious God. 

Oh think of that day, and let it move thee to a faithful, zealous 
discharge of thy duty. Zaleucus Locrensis, in his proem to his 
laws, hath these words : ' Let this be often pressed upon men, that 
there are gods, and that an account must be given to them of 
men's actions.' i Consider the day of the Lord is coming, and who 
may abide it ! In a word, ' Hear the conclusion of the whole mat- 
ter, Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole 
duty of man : For God shall bring every work into judgment, with 
every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil,' Eccles. 
xii. 13, 14. 

^ Hoc inculcatum sit esse deos, et venturum esse summum et fatalem ilium diem. 



To the Worshipful Henry Ashurst, Junior, Esq. ; and to the 
Honourable Lady Diana Ashurst, his Religious Consort, 

Such is the excellency of the soul of man, that the very heathen, 
whose souls were almost wholly immersed in grease and sensuality, 
and served but as salt to preserve their bodies for a time from 
putrefaction, according to the opinion of one of the most ingenious 
among them, have acknowledged it a divine plant, a drop of the 
ocean of being, a ray of a deity ; and the body but the case or 
cabinet of this jewel. The dim rushlight of nature hath enabled 
some of them to discern the spirituality, quick, comprehensive, self- 
reflective motions, and immortality of their specifical forms, as 
they called their souls, and thence to conclude their worth and 
nobleness. But the clear sunlight of Scripture advantageth unto 
a fuller discovery of its excellency. It shows us its original, that 
it is of celestial extraction, created immediately by the Father of 
spirits, a beam of the Sun of righteousness, a bubble of the fountain 
of life, of a much higher descent than the house of clay and earthly 
tabernacle, the body. Gen. ii. 7 ; Heb. xii. 9 ; Zech. xii. 1. It 
acquaints us with its duration, that it runs parallel with the line 
of eternity, and swallows up years, and ages, and generations, and 
thousands of thousands, and millions of millions, as small drops 
and minutes and nothings, in the bottomless ocean and endlessness 
of its abode and continuance. When the body, like the sacrifice, 
falleth to the earth and is turned into ashes, the soul, like the flame, 
aspireth and ascendeth to God, Eccles. xii. 7 ; Phil. i. 23 ; Mat. 
X. 28, xxii. 31, 32. It manifesteth the soul's capacity, how no 
being is excepted from its consideration, all are within its com- 
pass and horizon ; it can view every [being] with its intellectual eye. 
It is not bounded with corporeal beings, nor limited with material 
objects, nor circumscribed with created essences, but is capable of 
apprehending the first cause, the being of beings, the original of all 


things. It is able not only to retrospect upon its own motions, and 
to survey the several parts, and ranks, and orders, and rarities, and 
delicacies, and excellencies of the earth and this sublunary world, 
but also to ascend to the highest heavens, and behold the beautiful 
face of the blessed God, till it hath looked itself into the very like- 
ness, and thereby rendered itself fit and meet for his dearest love 
and eternal embraces. 

The excellency of our souls doth eminently appear in its recep- 
tiveness of the divine image. Great princes do not stamp their 
image on mean things, as brass and pewter, but on the most excel- 
lent metals, as silver and gold, Eph. iv. 23, 24 ; Col. iii. 10 ; Gen. 
i, 26. And its capableness of enjoying immediately the blessed 
God. To stand before kings doth both speak and make a person 
honourable and worthy, Prov. xxii. 29. God alone is the foun- 
tain of honour and the standard of excellency, Isa. xliii. 5. Every 
being is his coin, and he stampeth on it the rate it shall go at. 
The holiness and happiness of the rational creature consisteth in 
these two : his holiness, in conformity to God ; liis happiness, in 
communion with him. And these two have a dependence on each 
other. They only who are like him, can enjoy him. ' If we say 
we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and the 
truth is not in us,' 1 John i. 6. Holiness, or the image of God, is 
not only an indispensable condition, without which no man shall 
enjoy God, Heb. xii. 14 ; John iii. 3 ; but withal an absolutely 
necessary disposition, without which no man can enjoy God, Col. 
i. 12 ; 2 Cor. v. And as conformity disposeth for communion, so 
communion increaseth conformity ; vision causeth assimilation in 
nature. Gen. xxxi. 38, 39 ; grace, 2 Cor. iii. 18 ; and glory, 1 John 
iii. 2. 

Though the motions of the understanding and will are in some 
respect circular, yet the understanding is the first mover and the 
leading faculty, and so the knowledge of the blessed God is both 
antecedent to, and productive of, this image. Though the know- 
ledge of creatures puffeth up, polluteth, and so debaseth and de- 
stroyeth the soul, sinking it the deeper into hell, as a vessel laden 
with silver and gold and the most precious commodities, when it 
miscarrieth, sinketh the deeper for its weight and burden, 1 Cor. 
viii. 1 ; Luke xii. 47, 48 ; yet the knowledge of God is humbling, 
advancing, purifying, and saving. Job xlii. ; 2 Pet. iii. 18 ; John 
xvii. 3. The incomparable excellency of the boundless blessed 
God is the subject of this treatise, which I present to you both as 
a testimony of the honour and service T owe to you, and of my 


desire to be instrumental for your spiritual and eternal good. The 
subject is the highest iuiaginable ; and though the manner of hand- 
ling it be plain and ordinary, and infinitely below and unbecoming 
the divine majesty — ' For who can express his noble acts, or display 
all his praise,' Ps. cvi. 2 — yet the matter of it doth deserve, and 
may prevail for your acceptance of it. 

If knowledge be the excellency of a man, and differenceth him 
from a beast, surely then divine knowledge, or the knowledge of 
God in Christ, is the excellency of a Christian, and differenceth 
him from other men. Our awe of, love to, and trust in the divine 
Majesty, are founded in the right knowledge of him. Creatures, 
the more they are known, the less they are esteemed ; but the more 
the blessed God is known, the more he is prized, desired, and 
obeyed, Ps. Ixxiii. 25; Ixxvi. 7; xc. 11; ix. 10. Our hatred 
of sin and contempt of the world proceed from our acquaintance 
with God. He only hath hateful thoughts of sin, and self-loathing 
apprehensions because of it, who hath seen the great and glorious, 
the good and gracious God, whose authority is contemned, whose 
law is violated, whose name is dishonoured, whose image is defaced, 
and whose love is abused by it. Job xlii. 6 ; Isa. vi. 5. He only 
lives above this present evil world, and all the riches and honours 
and pleasures thereof, who can look beyond it to the infinite God, 
and those unsearchable riches and weights of glory, and rivers of 
pleasures that are in and with him. That which was rich and 
glorious and pleasant to a soul before, hath now no worth, no glory, 
no pleasure, by reason of that wealth and glory and pleasure which 
doth so infinitely exceed. When the God of glory appeared to 
Abraham, he quickly and quietly left his country and kindred, and 
followed God, not knowing whither he went. Gen. xii. 1, 2; Acts 
vii. 3. If the God of glory appear to your souls, you will soon 
wink upon these withering vanities, broken cisterns, and gilded 
nothings, and count them all but dung and dross, for the excellency 
of the knowledge of him in Christ. 

You have begun well, go on and persevere in well-doing. I 
shall give you the same counsel which the holy apostle giveth to 
those of whom he was persuaded that they had those things whicli 
accompanied salvation, Heb. vi. 9. ' Take heed lest there be in you 
an evil heart of unbelief, whereby ye should depart away from the 
living God,' Heb. iii. 12. ' Look diligently, lest ye should fail of the 
grace of God,' Heb. xii. 15. When false coin is common abroad, 
we are the more careful what money we take ; when much false 
grace is up and down amongst us, and so many please themselves 



with their profession, or spiritual privileges, or sacred performances, 
or siding with this or that party, and form of worship, or the re- 
spect and repute they have with others ; it concerns you to be the 
more suspicious of yourselves, lest you should fail of that grace of 
God which conformeth the heart to the nature, and the life to the 
will and law of God. 

Sir, — You are descended of a 
worthy, ancient, and religious 
family; your grandfather, as I 
have heard, was eminent for holi- 
ness ; your father is noted and 
honoured for one that feareth 
God above many ; you have 
hereby the more encouragement, 
advantage, and engagement to 
exercise yourself to godliness. 
Tamerlane made it his practice 
to read often the heroic deeds of 
his progenitors, not as proud of 
them, or boasting in them, but 
as glorious x)atterns, to inflame 
liis soul with a love of their vir- 
tues. Man is a creature that is 
led more by the eye than the ear, 
by patterns than by precepts ; 
and no patterns are more preva- 
lent than of those whom nature 
and grace oblige us to esteem 
and affect. These examples, 
above all others, as flaming bea- 
cons on a hill, call us to a stout 
defence of virtue, when it is in- 
vaded by its enemies. Alex- 
ander, finding one of his name 
cowardly, charged him to change 
his name, or to become valiant. 
When one of the Scipios, de- 
scended of Scipio Africanus, 
became dissolute, the Roman 
senate ordered him to put off 

Madam, — Your birth is hon- 
ourable,^ but such honour with- 
out holiness extends not beyond 
the meridian of this world ; grace 
only is eternal glory. That hon- 
our which is woven in the finest 
tapestry of earthly privileges will 
lose colour, and fade away ; but 
the knowledge of God is a pos- 
session for ever. Nobility by 
parents is but nobility by parch- 
ment, and that is but skin-deep 
at most, and will waste with 
time. Godliness alone is that 
nobility which no age can con- 
sume, and which will run parallel 
with the line of eternity. 

The whole earth hath not a 
jjleasanter sight than greatness 
joined with goodness. Great- 
ness itself is venerable, but good- 
ness joined with it, addeth a 
new splendour and lustre to it ; 
as a sparkling diamond set in a 
gold ring, it attracteth the eyes, 
and challengeth a greater rever- 
ence and respect from all. Evil 
greatness is a swelling dropsy, a 
disease of the body politic, as 
intolerable a burden as the earth 
groans under ; but grace and 
virtue are the more excellent and 
amiable by the greatness of the 
person in whom they dwell. It 

' Daughter to the Riffht Honourable the Lord Pa^et. 



will be your crown and credit to 
prefer God before the w^orld, to 
esteem holiness as the only 
beauty, and a title to the cove- 
nant as the only riches of your 
immortal soul. 

that ring which he wore as the 
badge of his noble family, be- 
cause, by his vicious life, he was 
a reproach to it. The truth is, 
a wicked son of a godly father, 
as Uriah, carrieth letters of his 
own condemnation about him, 
causing the patterns and precepts 
of his family to be auxiliaries to 
his own reproach and infamy ; 
whilst the light and lustre of his 
ancestors renders his works of 
darkness the more gross and 
palpable. I mention not these 
things as suspecting your integ- 
rity, but to provoke and quicken 
you to the greater care and cir- 
cumspection in your carriage and 

Ye have both near and dear relations, whose hearts will rejoice 
in your perseverance and progress in the ways of God's command- 
ments ; that you may be helps to each other in the best things, pro- 
voke one another to love, and to good works, live long together on 
earth, and for ever together in heaven, is the prayer 

Of your servant in the Lord, 

George Swinnock. 



For ivJw in the heavens can he compared to the Lord ? ivho among 
the S071S of the mighty can he likened to the Lord? — Ps. Ixxxix. 6. 


The preface and meaning of the text. 

It is certain, that our happiness in the other world will consist 
in part in our perfect knowledge of the blessed and boundless God: 
when we shall ' know him as we are known of him,' we shall be 
blessed as he is blessed ; and when ' we shall see him as he is, we 
shall be like him ' in purity and felicity ; we shall be fully satisfied 
with his likeness and his love. Rich must be the delight which 
the most large and noble faculty of man, his understanding, shall 
receive, in its intimate acquaintance with, and clear and full appre- 
hension of, the highest truth. And it is as certain, that our holi- 
ness in this world doth not a little depend upon our knowledge of 
him, whose ' name alone is excellent.' None wander from him, 
prefer the flesh and world before him, and in their whole lives walk 
contrary to him, but from their ignorance of him. ' They are es- 
tranged from the life of God, (i.e., a spiritual heavenly conversation,) 
through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of 
their hearts,' Eph. iv. 18. Dark corners of a house are filled with 
dust, dark cellars with vermin, and dark hearts with cursed lusts : 
none are enlarged in desires after God, or ravished with delight in 
God, or can cast their souls and all their concerns on God, but 
those that are acquainted with him. They who know his beauty 
and bounty, cannot but love him, and they who know his power 
and faithfulness, cannot but trust him ; ' They who know thy 
name will put their trust in thee,' Ps. ix. 10. Whence comes it to 


pass, that believers can trample on the riches and treasures, and 
wealth of this beggarly world, that they can lay their white and 
yellow earth, their silver and gold, at the apostles' feet, that they 
can suffer the spoiling of their goods, not only patiently, but joy- 
fully, Heb. X. 34, but from the knowledge of him Mdio is true riches, 
Luke xvi. 11 ; substance, Prov. viii. 21 ; an enduring substance, 
Job X. 34 ; a bottomless mine of unsearchable riches, Eph. iii. 8 ? 
Whence is it, that they can refuse to be called the sons of king's 
daughters, that they can contemn honours and preferments, spurn 
crowns and sceptres under their feet, but from the knowledge of 
him who is their crown of glory, their diadem of renown, and the 
praise of all his saints, Heb. xi. 24, 25 ? That which to the sensual 
worldling is so glorious, hath no glory in the believer's eye, by 
reason of the Lord of glory, who doth so infinitely excel. Whence 
is it, that they can hate father, mother, wife, child, liberty, yea, life 
itself, and leave all at the call and command of their Maker, but 
from the knowledge of him who is, as Elkanah said to Hannah, 
better to them than ten sons, than all relations, than the whole 
creation ? Those stars vanish and disappear, when once the Sun of 
righteousness ariseth : how quickly, how quietly, without any hesi- 
tancy or reluctancy, will Abraham leave his country, and kindred, 
and father's house, when once ' the God of glory appeareth to him,' 
Acts ix. 2-4. In a word, whence is it that ' they escape the pol- 
lutions of the world,' in which others are mired, drowned, and de- 
stroyed, ' but through the knowledge of God,' 2 Pet. ii. 20 ? Well 
may our Lord Jesus say, ' It is life eternal, to know thee the only 
true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.' To know God 
affectionately, as our chiefest good, so as to give him our superla- 
tive esteem, and intensest love, is spiritual life here, in the habit or 
principle, as also in the act and exercise of it ; and it is the begin- 
ning, seed, preparation, and way of our eternal life hereafter. But 
who can know that being which infinitely passeth all knowledge ? 
He that would know God fully, must be God himself ; and he who 
would tell you what God is, in any measure answerable to his ex- 
cellency, had need ' to know him as he is known of him.' And 
supposing I were able to speak of the perfection of God, as one 
that, like the great apostle, had been caught up ' into the third 
heavens : ' I question whether, if I had a tongue to speak of him 
after that manner, ye had ears to hear of him, or hearts to under- 
stand what I should speak. But though I am not able to speak, 
nor you to hear of God, according to his perfection, yet through the 
assistance of the Holy Ghost so much may be spoken and heard of 

Chap. I.] the incompaeableness of god. 383 

him, as may tend to our present sanctification and future salvation. 
Though we cannot ' see him as he is,' yet we may see him as he is 
not ; though the height of his being be above the reach of our un- 
derstandings, we may get somewhat nearer to him, and indeed we 
have no other way while we are here, than by climbing upon the 
shoulders of all created excellencies, and there proclaiming, ' That 
none in the heavens is to be compared to the Lord, that none among 
the sons of the mighty is like unto the Lord.' 

In the words, the Psalmist compareth God with, and preferreth 
God before, the highest, the greatest in heaven and earth. 

In the words we have a comparison and a prelation. 

1. A comparison, and this is between God and those that are 
most excellent in heaven, and the mightiest on earth. 

2. A prelation, or preferring God before whatsoever is excellent 
in heaven or earth : the interrogation is a strong negation, as is 
frequent in Scripture, Pro v. xx. 9 ; ' Who can say I have made my 
heart clean, I am pure from my sin ?' i.e.^ none can say I have made 
my heart clean, or am pure from my sin ; so Exod. xv. 11, ' Who 
is like to thee, Lord, among the gods ? Who is like thee, glori- 
ous in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders ?' that is, none is 
like thee among the gods, none is so glorious in holiness, so fearful 
in praises, such a wonder-working God as thou art. Thus the 
Psalmist understandeth the text ; ' For who in the heavens is to 
be compared to the Lord ? Who among the sons of the mighty 
can be likened to the Lord ? ' i.e., none in the heavens, none among 
the sons of the mighty on earth is comparable to Jehovah. 

I shall first give you the meaning of the words, and then lay 
down the doctrine, which will be the foundation of my discourse on 
the subject. 

For ; this causal particle gives the reason why saints and angels 
should join together in the praise of God. ' The heavens shall 
praise thy wonders, Lord, thy faithfulness also in the congrega- 
tion of the saints : for who in the heavens is to be compared to the 
Lord ? ' ver. 5. By the heavens, Calvin understandeth the holy 
angels, who rejoice in the church's welfare, and bless God for pre- 
serving his people, and performing his promises to them ; and it is 
apparent by the apostle, that angels are present in the congregation 
of the saints, 1 Cor. xi. 11. And so this text addeth another 
ground for their admiration of the great God ; viz., his incompar- 
able excellency. His high and matchless perfections call for high 
and matchless praises. Others take the text as a ground for the 
confirmation of the Psalmist's faith in the covenant God had made 


with him, mentioned verse 3, 4, namely, God's superiority over 
angels in heaven, and men on earth ; therefore they cannot hinder him 
in the accomplishment of his word, being infinitely inferior to him. 

Who in the heavens f Who in the sky ? Ainsworth reads it. 
In the clouds, i7i nuhihus, cequahitur, is to be equalled, saith Cal- 
vin, to Jehovah, Quis enim in superiore nube par iestimetur Jehova. 
Who in the higher clouds is equal to Jehovah, so Tremell. reads it. 

Who in the heavens? i.e., say some, in the starry heavens, 
among the celestial bodies, sun, moon, or stars ; which were adored 
as gods, not only by the Persians, but also by some idolatrous Jews, 
because of their brightness and beauty, their lustre and glory. 
Which of all those famous lamps, and heavenly luminaries, is to be 
compared to the Father of lights, and Sun of righteousness ? They 
may glister like glowworms in the night of paganism, among them 
who are covered with the mantle of darkness, but when this Sun 
ariseth, and day appeareth, they all vanish and disappear. 

Who in the heavens ? i.e., say others, in the heaven of heavens, 
the highest, the third heavens, among the celestial spirits, cheru- 
bims and seraphims, angels and archangels, principalities and 
powers, thrones and dominions? Who among the innumerable 
company of angels ? who among those pure, those perfect spirits, 
who are the ancientest, the honourablest house of the creation, is to 
be compared to the Father of spirits ? 

Though angels are glorious creatures, considered simply, and in 
themselves, in respect of their power, wisdom, purity, and beauty ; 
yet if they be considered comparatively with the blessed God, I may 
say of them as the apostle doth of the Jewish worship, which was 
glorious, by reason of its divine institution, in comparison with the 
Christian worship: 2 Cor. iii. 10, ' Even that which was glorious, 
had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth/ 

Is to he compared to Jehovah ? Is to be likened to Jehovah ? Is 
to be equalled to Jehovah ? Is to be put in the scales, and worthy 
to be weighed with Jehovah, that being of beings, that God of gods. 

To Jehovah ? This name Jehovah is the chief and most proper 
name of God. It is derived from Haiah, fait, and signifieth that 
being which was, is, and is to come ; which is always the same, and 
the cause of all other beings, Eev. i. 4, 6 ; Ps. cii. 28 ; Acts xvii. 
28, and which gives a being to his word and promises. In heaven 
there is among glorious angels no such being. 

Who amongst the sons of the mighty ? Inter filios fortium. 
Who among the sons of the strong, Jun. reads it. Among the 
sons of the gods, saith Calvin ; so the Seventy read it, and under- 

Chap. II.] the incomparableness of god. 385 

stand, with the Chaldee paraphrase, angels, who are called sons of 
God, Job i. 6, and xxsviii. 7. But we, having understood angels, 
the best and highest in heaven, by the first interrogation, ' Who in 
the heavens is to be compared to the Lord ? ' it may be most con- 
venient to understand in this place, by sons of the mighty, the best 
and highest on earth, the greatest and most gracious princes and 
potentates, who are higher by head and shoulders than others. These 
are called gods, and sons of the Most High, or Almighty, Ps. Ixxxii. 
6. And hereby the prophet challengeth both worlds, heaven and 
earth, to bring forth any that may equal or compare with Jehovah. 
Can he likened to the Lord ? Is such a being as he is, can speak, 
or act as he doth; is in any respect worthy to be named with him. 


God is incomparable; 1. In his being. 

The doctrine which I shall raise out of the words is this, That 
God is incomparable; or, there is none among the highest, the 
holiest, in heaven or earth, like unto Jehovah. Take the greatest, 
the most excellent of beings in this or the other world, yet they 
come infinitely short of this being of beings : Ps. Ixxxvi. 8, ' Among 
the gods there is none like unto thee, Lord.' Mark, the psalmist 
doth not choose a weak adversary for God to contend with and con- 
quer, but the strongest. He doth not compare God with the 
meanest and lowest, but even with the highest, and prefers God before 
them. ' Among the gods there is none like unto thee, Lord.' 

1. Among those that are gods by unjust usurpation, as evil 
angels are, who are called the princes of the powers of the air, 
Eph. ii. 2 ; and the gods of this world, 2 Cor. iv. 4, Or, as anti- 
christ, who ' exalteth himself above all that is called God, or is 
worshipped ; so that he as god sitteth in the temple of God, shew- 
ing himself that he is God,' 2 Thes. ii. 4. Among these, there is 
none like unto thee, Lord. These unclean beasts are unworthy 
to be mentioned with the high, the holy God. 

2. Among those that are gods by men's erroneous persuasions 
and opinions, as idols, and those deities which the heathen worship, 
there is none like to thee, Lord. ' Their idols are silver and gold, 
the work of men's hands : They have mouths, but they speak not, 
eyes have they, but they see not. They have ears, but they heai- 
not ; noses have they, but they smell not : They have hands, but 
they handle not ; feet have they, but they walk not, neither speak 

VOL. IV. 2 B 


they tlirough tlieir throats/ Ps. cxv. 4-7. Idols are the work of 
the creatures, and their makers are infinitely below the Creator ; 
therefore they themselves are much more. ' We know that an idol 
is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one,' 
1 Cor. viii. 4. Though an idol be somewhat materially, yet it is 
nothing formally, as to the intent or purpose for which it is wor- 

3. Among those that are gods by divine ordination, as angels,! 
Ps. viii. 5 ; magistrates, Ps. Ixxxii. 6, who have the image of a 
deity stamped on them, in their authority and dominion over others, 
none is to be compared to Jehovah. These are gods by derivation, 
by deputation ; as subordinate magistrates are commissionated by 
the supreme, and have a beam of his power communicated to them, 
but still remain weak creatures, limited by his precepts, and liable 
to his judgment. So angels and kings have some impressions of a 
deity on them, but their power is derivative from God, and limited 
by his will ; yea, their essence is from him, their subsistence is by 
him, and their dependence is every moment upon him. Hence he 
is called the Most High: Ps. xcii. 1, ' thou Most High.' Kings 
and princes are high, angels and archangels are higher ; but 
Jehovah only is the Most High ; Eccles. v. 8, ' He that is higher 
than the highest considereth.' 

For the explication of this doctrine, the truth of it will be evident, 
if we consider the true God, and compare him with the highest and 
most excellent in heaven and earth. 

1. In his being. 

2. In his attributes. 

3. In his works. 

4. In his word. 

1. God is incomparable in his being ; God hath not only a being, 
but an excellency in his being ; therefore he is called his excellency: 
' Should not his excellency make you afraid,' Job xiii. 11. And he 
is said alone to be excellent : ' Thy name alone is excellent,' Ps. 
cxlviii. 13. 

By name is meant sometimes anything whereby God makes 
himself known, Exod. xx. 7. But here the being of God, or God 
himself, as Prov. xviii. 10, ' The name of the Lord is a strong 
tower'; i.e., God himself is a strong tower: Ps. Ixxvi. 1, ' His name 
is great in Israel;' i.e., the being of the great God is magnified in 
his church, or among his chosen. Now his being alone is excellent, 
because there is no such being as his ; there is no being excellent 

^ Minuisti ilium paululum a deo. — Calvin. 

Chap. II.] the incomparableness of god. 387 

besides his, because there is no being excellent like his. He is ex- 
cellent in all, above all, and beyond all. 

His being is such a being, that he alone is, and all besides are 
nonentities, and no beings in comparison of him. His name speaks 
the incomparable nature of his being. ' And God said unto Moses, 
Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent 
thee.' I Am, I, a being that really is, beside whom there is none, 
hath sent thee. What prince, what potentate can say I Am ? 
What angel, what archangel can say I Am ? No, this is the proper 
name of Jehovah. 

Therefore, when he promiseth himself to be the reward of his 
people, he doth promise himself under the notion of essence, being, 
substance, in opposition to all others, which are but shadows and 
nothings to him. Pro v. ii. 7, ' He layeth up sound wisdom (Heb., 
essentiam, essence) for the righteous.' Prov. viii. 21, ' I will cause 
them that love me to inherit substance.' Junius reads it, Ut posside- 
ant id quod est — I will cause them that love me to possess that 
which is. God is, and all other beings are not, in comparison of 
him ; Dan. iv. 35, 'All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as 
nothing.' God is, and all others are nothing; yea, if it were pos- 
sible to apprehend it, less than nothing. It is a notable expression 
of the Holy Ghost, to set forth the excellency of God's being ; and 
the pitifulness, meanness, and nothingness of all other beings, Isa. 
xl. 15-17. Behold ! (a note of attention and admiration) the na- 
tions (the Chaldeans, that are our lords and masters, or all nations 
of the world, be they never so high, great, strong, or glorious) are 
as the drop of a bucket (which falleth from the bucket, or hangeth 
on it, when the water is poured out, yet diminisheth not the mea- 
sure,) and the small dust of the balance, (which cleaveth to the scales 
when the spice is put out, yet altereth not the weight, it is so little.) 
Behold ! (wonder, be amazed at it,) he taketh up the isles, (the 
great, large, vast islands of the world,) as a very little thing, (as 
poor, small, inconsiderable things.) All nations before him are as 
nothing. Not only the great islands, but also the continents, with 
the several innumerable creatures in them, are not only little to 
this God, but as nothing, as no being to his being, and they are 
counted to him less than nothing and vanity. Put them in the 
scales with God, and they are not only light, and without any 
weight, nothing at all ; but if men were capable of conceiving any- 
thing less than nothing, such were all the world to God. Though 
the world be absolutely somewhat, yea, very great, yet compara- 
tively to God it is nothing, less than nothing and vanity. 



The incompardbleness of God in his being. It is from itself for 
itself and loholly independent. 

The incomparableness of the divine being will appear in several 

1. His being is from himself. No being in the world, beside 
his, is its own cause or original. Angels, men, the highest, yea, 
the lowest creatures, are derivative beings. They have what they 
are from another, even from God. They are drops that flow from 
the ocean of all beings ; they are rays derived from the sun, the 
fountain of light and entity. The apostle tells us that men are 
beholden to God for their beings, Acts xvii. 28. In him we have 
our beings. They were nothing till he spake them into something. 
He formed and fashioned their bodies, Ps. cxxxix. 13-15. He 
created and infused their souls; he put that heaven-born inha- 
bitant into the house of clay, Gen. ii. 7; Job x. 11, 12. The 
whole visible world is his workmanship, Acts xvii. 24. God that 
made the world, and all things therein ; the invisible world are 
also the effects of his powerful word. Angels, as well as men, may 
thank him for what they are. The greatest angel is as much 
bound to him for his being as the smallest atom ; Col. i. 16, ' For 
by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in 
earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, 
or principalities or powers,' But God is beholden to none for his 
being ; he was when none else was, even from eternity, Ps. xc. 1. 
Therefore none could contribute the least to his being. I am 
Jehovah, and there is none else besides me, Isa. xlv. 6, (^. I am 
he that giveth a being to himself, that am what I am from myself 
and of myself, and there is no such being beside me. 

2. God is being, that is, for himself ; i as he is his own first cause, 
so he is his own last end ; as he is wholly from himself, so he is 
wholly for himself. All other beings are not for themselves, but 
for another. ' All things were created by him and for him,' Col. i. 
16. Since all are from God, it is but reason that all should be for 
God. The rivers that run from the sea return to the sea again, 
owning and acknowledging their original, Eccles. i. 7. Good men 
are for God. ' None of us liveth to himself, or dieth to himself ; 
but whether we live, we live unto the Lord ; and whether we die, 
v/e die unto the Lord ; and whether we live or die, we are the 

^ Qu. " God's being, that is for himself ? — Ed. 

Chap. III.] the incomparableness of god. 389 

Lord's/ Kom. xiv. 7. Good angels are for God, for his glory, Isa. 
vi. 3. Evil men, evil angels are for God, though not in their 
intentions and purposes, yet in his intention, and by his -wise, 
powerful government of them and their practices ; Prov. xvi. 4, 
' The Lord made all things for himself, even the wicked for the day 
of slaughter.' Good beings are for him intentionally, and evil 
beings are for him eventually. Nay, all beings are for him ; of 
him, and through him, and for him are all things, Eom. xi. 36. 
But God is altogether for himself, as his highest end, and not for 
any others. He is his own end, as well as his own beginning ; who 
never had a beginning, nor shall ever have an end, Kev. i. 8. As 
all God doth is for himself; Kev. iv. 11, 'Thou hast created all 
things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created ; ' so all God 
is, is for himself ; he is i infinite, wise, almighty, everlasting, un- 
changeable, holy, righteous, faithful being, is for himself. It is 
the profaneness of some men to be somewhat for God, more for the 
world, and most of all for their carnal selves. But it is the per- 
fection of God to be somewhat for the world in general, more for 
his elect in special, and most of all for himself. Nay, in all that 
he is for the world or his elect, he is still most for himself. It is 
the excellency and purity of saints and angels to be what they are, 
and to do what they do, for God, to make him who is the efficient, 
the final cause of their beins-s and actions ; but it is the excel- 
lency and purity of God to be what he is, and to do what he doth, 
for himself. He who is his own happiness must be his own end. 

3. His being is an independent being ; he is by himself, as well 
as from and for himself; none ever in heaven or earth contributed 
the least towards the maintenance or continuance of his being ; 
neither the creatures' goodness nor their goods do him the least 
good. Not their goodness ; men may be advantaged by the good- 
ness of men, but God cannot : ' My goodness extendeth not to thee, 
but to the saints that are on earth,' Ps. xvi. 3. Not their goods ; 
he is the lord proprietor of the whole world, and if he wanted any- 
thing he would not ask the leave of any ; for all is his own, but he 
is above all w^ant : " If I were hungry, I would not tell thee ; for 
the world is mine, and the fulness thereof,' Ps. 1. 12 — i.e., 1 declare 
to the world that I am incapable of the least w^ant ; or if I needed 
a meal's meat, I would scorn to go to the creature's door to beg it. 
I could supply myself out of my own store, if there were need ; but 
there is no need at all. He challengeth all the world to produce 
any being that ever obliged or engaged him in the least : ' Who 

1 Qu. "his"?— Ed. 


hath prevented me that I may repay him ?' Job xli. 11. Where is 
the man, where is the angel, where is the creature that can say, he 
ever did me the least kindness, that hath been beforehand with me 
in courtesy, to whom I am the least in debt for my subsistence ? 
I am here ready to make him amends ; ' Who hath prevented me, 
that I may repay him ? ' 

But all other beings are dependent ; the highest, the strongest of 
them are not able to bear their own weight ; but, like the hop or 
ivy, must have somewhat to lean upon : ' By him all things subsist,' 
Col. i. 17. He preserveth them in their beings and in their mo- 
tions : ' In him we live and move, and have our beings,' Acts xvii. 
28. As the beams depend on the sun, and the streams on the foun- 
tain, so do the creatures for their beings and actions depend on God. 
' He upholdeth all things ' (as the foundation the building) ' by the 
word of his power,' Heb. i. 3. He is the Atlas that bears up the 
whole world, without whom it would fall to nothing. ' Thou pre- 
servest man and beast,' Ps. xxxvi. 6. Depeyidentia est de essentia 

God is to the world as the soul to the body ; he animates and 
actuates every thing in it, and enableth his several creatures to all 
their motions. Men are apt to think that fire can burn of itself, it 
being so natural to the fire to burn ; yet if God do but suspend his 
influence, {actum sec^mdum, as they speak,) a furnace heated seven 
times hotter than usual burns no more than water, Dan. iii. 27. 
We are ready to conceive that it is easy for a man to see, when the 
organ is rightly disposed, there is a fit medium, and a due distance 
of the organ from the object. But yet, if God deny his concur- 
rence, though there are these three requisites to sight, a man can 
see no more than if he were stark blind. Gen. xix. 11 ; 2 Kings 
vi. 18. 

Angels themselves must have their Maker for their mover ; or, 
as active spirits as they are, they must stand still. 


God incomparable in his being, as he is absolutely perfect, universal, 


4. He is an absolutely perfect being. There is a twofold perfection 
compatible to beings. Some are perfect in their kind ; that is, have 
all things requisite to that species of which they are. So we say 
the world is perfect, because it hath all things needful to a world. 

Chap. IV.] the incomparableness of god. 391 

A man is a perfect man, that hath a body with all its parts and 
members, and a soul with all its powers and faculties. But secondly, 
A being is absolutely perfect, when nothing can be added to it, or 
taken from it, when it is incapable of the least accession or diminu- 
tion. Now such a being is God, and none but God. As the sun 
gets nothing by the shining of the moon and the stars, neither loseth 
anything by their eclipses or withdrawing; so the self-sufficient 
God gains nothing by all the suits and services, prayers and praises 
of his creatures ; neither loseth anything by their neglect of their 
duties. He is above the influence of all our performances ; our 
holiness addeth not the least to his happiness : ' Can a man be pro- 
fitable to God, as he that is wise may be profitable to himself? Is 
it any pleasure to the Almighty that thou art righteous ? or is it 
gain to him that thou makest thy ways perfect?' Job xxii. 2, 3. 
He is beyond the malice of sin. As holiness doth not help him, so 
the sin of his creatures doth not hurt him. All those darts of sin 
which the wicked shoot up against heaven, fall short, and fall down 
upon their own heads : ' If thou sinnest, what dost thou against 
him ? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what dost thou unto 
him ? If thou be righteous, what givest thou him ? or what 
receiveth he of thine hand ? Thy wickedness may hurt a man as 
thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the sons of men,' Job 
XXXV. 6-8. Flesh and blood may be injured and pierced by the 
weapons of unrighteousness ; but not the Kock of ages ; that is im- 
penetrable. They who are of the same make and mould with our- 
selves may be advantaged by our blessings and praises, but not he 
who is above all blessing and praises. 

What doth the great light of the world get by the Persian's 
admiration and adoration of it? What is a fountain the better if 
men drink of its water, and commend it ; or the worse if men pass 
by, and despise it? What would God get, if he should make 
millions of worlds to laud and magnify him? or what would God 
lose, if there were no world, no creature at all ? ' Who hath given 
to him, and it shall be recompensed again?' Kom. xi. 35. He hath 
given to all whatever they are, or have ; but none ever gave to him. 
They who give to him their love, and fear, and trust, and names, 
and estates, give nothing to him. We can give nothing to him, to 
whom we owe all. Besides, all we have, and are, and do, and sufier 
for him, addeth nothing to him. His declarative glory may, but 
his essential glory, or glorious essence, admits not in the least of 
any increase or decrease. But no other being is absolutely perfect. 
Men are exceeding imperfect since their fall. They are so far from 


being above all additions that they stand in continual need of 
additions. They need the air to breathe in, the earth to bear them, 
food to strengthen them, raiment to cover them, fire to warm them, 
sleep to refresh them ; they want righteousness to j ustify them, the 
Holy Ghost to sanctify them, love to comfort them, and mercy to 
save them. Man is an heap of infirmities, an hospital of diseases, 
and a bundle of imperfections. He is so far from being absolutely 
perfect, that, in a moral consideration, since his apostasy, he is not 
perfect in his kind. And though angels are more perfect than men, 
yet they are imperfect to God. Angels, it is true, are perfect in 
their kind, but not perfect in all kinds ; something may be added 
to them, something may be taken from them. The highest angel 
may be higher, and the holiest angel may be holier, and the best of 
them may be better. Though the stars differ from each other in 
brightness and glory, yet none of them is a sun. Though angels 
differ from men, and each from others in honour and excellency ; 
yet none of them is a god, none of them is absolutely perfect. 

5. God is an universal being, he hath all good eminently and 
virtually in himself. Whatsoever excellencies are scattered and 
dispersed among the creatures in heaven or in earth, they are all 
united in, and centered after an infinite manner in the Creator. It 
is a true rule in philosophy, Quod efficit tale est magis tale, What- 
soever good is in the effect, is more abundantly in the cause. Now 
God being the principle and cause of all the good and excellency 
that is in every creature, it must of necessity be more abundantly 
in him. As some potions have the quintessence of many herbs, 
many drugs in them ; so God hath the quintessence of all creatures, 
and infinitely more in him. 

For this cause he is called by, and compared to, whatsoever is 
good and answerable, either to necessity, conveniency, or delight. 
Sometimes to that good which is necessary ; as to life, John i. 4 ; 
to the fountain of life, Ps. xxxvi. 9 ; to light, John i. 9 ; to the 
Father of lights, James i. 19 ; to food, as to bread, yea, living bread, 
John vi. 51; to water, yea, living water, John iv. 10; to rest, 
' Return to thy rest, my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully 
with thee,' Ps. cxvi, 7. He is the only ark wherein alone the dove, 
wearied about the waters of this world, can find rest. Sometimes 
he is compared to that good which is convenient ; as to a habitation, 
Ps. xc. 9, 10 ; '0 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place from all 
generations.' To health, Ps. xlii. 11-17 ; to peace, 2 Cor. xiii. 11 ; to 
protection or defence, as a shield, which defends the body from the 
shot or thrusts of men, Gen. xv. 1 ; to a wall of fire, which defends 

Chap. IV.] the incompaeableness of god, 393 

the traveller from tlie fury of beasts, Zecli. ii. 5 ; to a refuge, whicli 
secures the army, when it is foiled by the enemy, Ps. Ivii. 1 ; to a 
rock, a fortress, a high tower, Ps. xviii. 2 ; sometimes he is com- 
pared to that good which is delightful ; as to riches, Job xxii. 24, 
25 ; to unsearchable riches, Eph. iii. 8 ; durable riches, Prov. viii. 
18 ; to honour and glory, as a royal diadem ; he is called a glorious 
Lord, Isa. xxxiii. 21 ; said to be the glory in the midst of his people, 
Zech. ii. 5 ; to joy and pleasure, Ps. xliii. 4 ; to relations, he is a 
father, 2 Cor. vi. 18 ; an husband, Hosea ii. 19 ; to a feast of fat 
things, of marrow and fatness, of wine, of wine on the lees well 
refined, Isa. xxv. 6 ; which are the delight of the palate ; to beauty, 
which is the delight of the eyes, Cant. v. 10-16 ; to sweet smells, 
which are the delight of the nostrils, Cant. iv. 10, and i. 3 ; to the 
most harmonious music, which is the delight of the ears: his 
mouth is most sweet, or sweetnesses, Cant. v. 16 ; ' My soul failed 
when he spake,' so ravishing was his voice, Cant. v. 6 ; to truth, 
which is the delight of the understanding, Ps. xxxi. 5 ; John xiv. 
6 ; to good, which is the delight of the will. Mat. xix. 17. Thus 
G-od is not one good, but all good. The truth is, all the good, all 
the excellencies that are in men or angels, are not worthy to be a 
shadow, or foil to set off those excellencies that are in God. All 
good is in one God, Mark x. 29, 30. But creatures are but parti- 
cular beings. Man is but a particular being, a low limited being : 
' What is man, that is a worm ; or the son of man, that is a worm ?' 
Job xxv. 6. There is some good in one man, and some good in 
another man ; but not all good in any man ; no, not in all men. 
Angels are but particular beings, little beings. One angel is one 
drop, another angel another drop, a third angel a third drop ; every 
one is but a drop. None of them is an ocean, as God is, which 
containeth all those drops, and infinitely more. 

6. God is an unchangeable being, not only without, but in- 
capable of the least alteration. He is the same yesterday, to-day, 
and for ever, Heb. xiii. 8. He is what he was, and what he will 
be eternally. He is the same since the world was made that he 
was before the world, and that he will be when this world shall be 
no more : ' With him is not the least variation, or shadow of turn- 
ing,' James i. 17. No irapaXkayr], or variableness. It is an astro- 
nomical word, taken from the heavenly bodies, which suffer many 
declensions and revolutions, which they call parallaxes. Though 
those heavenly lights are variable, have their increases and decreases, 
their times of rising and setting ; yet our Father of lights is not 
variable. He knoweth no rising or setting, no increasing or de- 


creasing ; but sliineth always with the same light and lustre, with 
the same beauty and brightness ; nor shadow of turning, rpo7rr)<i 
aiToaKLaa-fia. The lesser luminaries or stars, according to their 
different postures, have divers shadowings or adumbrations, accord- 
ing to their nearness to, or distance from the sun, their shadows are 
greater or lesser ; but our sun is still the same, knoweth no clouding, 
no shadowing, no eclipsing. When Grod hates those angels as 
apostates, whom first he loved, as created pure and holy, he is still 
the same ; the change is not in God, but in them. Bring clay to 
the sun, it hardens it; bring wax to the sun, with the same influ- 
ence, it softens it, without any alteration in the sun. When God 
punisheth a man that is wicked, and prospereth the same man 
becoming a penitent, he is still the same. If a man walk on one 
side of a church, the pillars are on his left hand ; if on the other 
side, on his right hand. The pillars remain where they were, the 
motion or change is in the man. 

But creatures are all mutable ; the heavens seem constant, but it 
is in inconstancy ; their perpetual motion speaks their perpetual 
alteration : Ps. cii. 26, 27, ' They shall perish, but thou shalt endure, 
they shall wax old as a garment,' that is, wearing out, and wasting 
every day ; ' as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be 
changed, but thou. Lord, art the same for ever.' The old heavens 
will pass away, and new ones succeed in their room at the general 
conflagration, but the God of heaven will never pass away. Man 
is ever in motion, from one condition to another. His body changeth 
in its age, constitution, temper ; at last into rottenness, dust and 
corruption : ' I have said to corruption, thou art my father ; and to 
the worms, ye are my brother and sister,' Job xvii. 14. His soul 
changeth in its passions, affections ; love, hatred, delights, desires : 
his whole man changeth in its place, company, carriage, conversa- 
tion : he hath no consistency while he is, he continueth not what 
he was. Job xiv. 2, 3. Angels are changeable ; even the good an- 
gels, though not as men, yet as creatures ; as perfect as they are, 
they have this imperfection. ,1. They are who once were not, and, 
in regard of themselves, have a possibility not to be. 2. Angels 
may lose what they have, and attain what they have not. 3. An- 
gels are mutable in regard of place, sometimes in heaven, some- 
times on earth. What little unchangeableness is in angels, is deri- 
vative, God is the original of it ; their immutability at most is but 
from their creation, I suppose some time since ; for the good angels 
as well as bad were created mutable, but God's immutability is 
from eternity. The whole world indeed is a sea of glass, Kev. iv. 

Chap. V.] the incompakableness of god. 395 

6, always ebbing and flowing, never at a stay ; but the maker of the 
world may well say, ' I the Lord change not,' Mai. iii. 6. 


God incomparahle in his being, as it is eternal and ivithout com- 

7. Grod is an eternal being, and none is eternal but he. Time, 
which hath a beginning and end, is compatible to men, and other 
visible creatures in this world, ^viternity, Avhich hath a beginning 
and no end, is compatible to good and evil angels, and to the souls 
of men ; but eternity, which hath no beginning, succession or end, 
belongs only to God. 

1. God hath no beginning: he who ' in the beginning created 
the heavens and the earth,' could have no beginning himself,' Gen. 
i. 1. ' Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst 
formed the earth and the world ; from everlasting to everlasting 
thou art God,' Ps. xc. 2. God is eternal, a parte ante, and puzzleth 
most enlarged understanding to conceive his duration. ' Behold he 
is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years 
be searched out,' Job xxxvi. 26, Ps. xciii. 2. 

2. God hath no succession in his duration ; he dwelleth in one 
indivisible point of eternity ; he is what he is in one infinite mo- 
ment of being ; his duration knoweth nothing of former or latter, 
past or to come ; his essence is not bounded by those hedges, but 
he enjoyeth his whole eternity every moment ; hence he is said to 
' inhabit eternity,' to be fixed always in eternity, Isa. Ivii. 15. Time 
is nunc fluens, but eternity is nunc stans : ' One day with him is as 
a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,' 2 Pet. iii. 8. 
He inhabits a million of yeai'S in a moment, and each moment to 
him is as a million of years. He hath not the least added to his 
duration since the world was, though it hath been near six thousand 
years : it is not proper to say of him, he was, for none of his dura- 
tion is ever past with him, or he shall be, for none of his duration 
is ever to come ; but he is, his full eternity is always present, hence 
his name is I Am, Exod. iii. 14. Not I was, or shall be ; and Christ 
tells the Jews, ' Before Abraham was, I Am,' John viii. 58. It 
seems false grammar, but it is the most proper true divinity. In- 
deed, had Adam been then alive, it had been proper for him to 
have said, before Abraham was, I was ; or if an angel had spoken, 


it had been proper for him to have said, before Abraham was, I was ; 
because men and angels enjoy their being by piecemeals, now a 
little and then a little, somewhat of their duration is gone, and 
somewhat to come ; but it was most proper for him that was Grod 
to say, before Abraham was, I Am, because his duration is without 
all succession, the whole of it is ever present. The psalmist further 
clears this, ' Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee,' Ps. 
ii. 7 ; which words are interpreted of the eternal generation of the 
Son of God before all worlds, and also of his resurrection in time, 
which was to be some hundreds of years after, as the apostle either 
expounds it, or alludes to it. Acts xiii. 33. But it is all one, for 
both are to-day ; that which was from eternity, and that which was 
to be many hundred of years after, are both with him present this 

Past or future is all present this day ; that was not past to God 
which never had beginning, his son's eternal generation ; nor was 
that to come to God which was always before him, his son's tem- 
poral resurrection. It is still, ' This day have I begotten thee;' 
millions of years, yea, of ages, add not the least moment to his 

3. God hath no ending : as he is from, so he is to everlasting, 
Ps. xc. 2. 'Without beginning or end of days,' Ps. cii. 27. ' But thou 
art the same, and thy years never end.' what an excellent being 
is this eternal being? 'He only hath immortality,' 1 Tim. vi. 16. 
And he is eternity itself, 1 Sam. xv. 29. JEternitas Israelis, Jun. 
The eternity of Israel cannot lie. 

But are men or angels comparable to God in this ? Surely 
no. As for man, he is a bird of time, here to-day and gone to- 
morrow. Job xiv. 1. Of few days : ' As for man, his days are as 
grass,' Ps. ciii. 15 ; now flourishing, but quickly perishing. 

Man hath a beginning, succession, and ending. There was a 
time when man was not ; man enjoy eth his time by parts and 
parcels, and man ere long shall be no more. All men in this are 
alike, high or low, good or bad. There is a vast difference between 
God and all men in their duration. ' Are thy days as the days of 
man ? are thy years as man's years ?' Job x. 5. No, in no respect. 
Man's days begin, succeed, and end ; not so God's days. Well 
might David say, though he had lived as long as Methusaleh, 
' Mine age is nothing unto thee,' Ps. xxxix. 5. And truly as men 
are far from being comparable to God, so are angels. Angels had 
a beginning. Col. i. 16. Angels have a succession in their dura- 
tion ; they enjoy part to-day, part to-morrow, part the next day ; 

Chap VI.] the incompakableness of god. 397 

every moment addeth to their duration ; what is past they do not 
enjoy, nor what is to come, but only what is present ; and thus it 
is also with souls of saints in heaven. 

8. God is a simple being. In this I take simplicity, not as op- 
posed to wisdom, for in him are all the treasures of wisdom and 
knowledge, Col. ii. 9, but as simplicity is opposed to mixture and 
composition. Thus there is a simplicity in the gospel, 2 Cor. xii. 
3. So anything, the more simple it is, the more excellent it is. 
God is a most pure, simple, unmixed, indivisible essence ; he is 
incapable of the least composition, and therefore of the least division. 
He is one most pure, one without all parts, members, accidents, 
and qualities. Whatsoever is in him is himself, his very being ; 
therefore, that which is a quality in a man or angel, is attributed 
to God in the abstract. Men and angels are wise, but God is 
wisdom, Prov. ix. 1. Men and angels are holy, but God is holi- 
ness, Isa. Ixiii. 15. God is all essence, all being, and nothing else. 

But how unlike are men or angels to God in this ! Man is a 
grossly compounded being ; he is compounded of a body and a 
soul, Gen. ii. 7. His body is compounded of members and parts ; 
his members and parts are compounded of bones, and blood, and 
flesh, and skin, and sinews, Job x. 11. His soul is compounded, 
and so are the highest angels, of substance and accidents, of essence 
and faculties ; the substance of man's soul, and of angels and their 
qualities, are distinct things. Their wisdom is one thing, their 
power another thing, their holiness a third thing, and all distinct 
from their essence. An angel may be an angel, and a man 
may be a true man, and yet be foolish, weak, and wicked. Their 
understanding differeth from their wills, their wills differ from 
their affections, their affections differ from both, and all from their 
beings. But in God all these are one indivisible essence, to will 
and to understand, and to love and to hate, and to be, are all the 
same and one in God. 


God incomparable in his heing, as it is infinite and 

9. God is an infinite being. He is a being that knoweth no 
bounds, no limits. His being is without all measure, all degrees 
and determinations. His understanding, i.e., himself, who is all 
understanding, is infinite, Ps. cxlvii. 5. God is a sphere, whose 


centre is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere. ' Be- 
hold the heavens, and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee, how 
much less this house which I have built,' 1 Kings viii. 27. The 
starry heavens, or firmament, is large ; it compasseth the whole 
earth and ocean ; this terrestrial world is but a point to it ; but the 
heaven of heavens, or the imperial heaven, is larger ; it containeth 
the lower heaven, but cannot contain the God of heaven. No uhi, no 
place can define or circumscribe him. He is neither shut up in 
any place nor shut out of any place. He is above place, without 
place, yet in all places. ' Whither shall I go from thy Spirit ? 
or whither shall I flee from thy presence ? If I ascend up into 
heaven, thou art there ; if I make my bed in hell, (heaven and heU 
are most opposite places,) behold thou art there. If I take the 
wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold 
me,' Ps. cxxxix. 7-10. God is in heaven, earth, sea, hell, and in- 
finitely more, where there is neither heaven, nor earth, nor sea, nor 

Oh, what a being is the blessed God, who is boundless not only 
in his duration, of which we have spoken before, and in all his per- 
fections and attributes, of which we shall speak hereafter, but also 
in his essence and being ! No place can circumscribe him, and no 
uhi can define him. ' He is over all' creatures by his power and 
dominion ; ' in you all,' by his essence and influence ; ' and through 
all,' by his providence, Eph. iv. 6. He is everywhere, not only 
virtually, as the sun by his beams ; nor authoritatively, as a king 
by subordinate officers ; not at all by multiplication, as the loaves 
filled that place, which they did not before the miracle ; or by ex- 
tension, as the rational creature filleth that place when a man, 
which he did not when an infant ; nor by local motion, from one 
place to another, as all bodily animate creatures ; or by division, 
as our bodies are part in one place and part in another ; or by com- 
mixtion, as the air mingleth itself with the terrestrial world ; but 
essentially after an unspeakable manner. As philosophers say of 
the soul, it is whole in the whole body, and whole in every part of 
the body ; so I may say of God, he is whole in the whole world, 
and whole in every part of the world ; yea, if he should please to 
make ten thousand worlds, he would fill all, and his whole essence 
be in every part of each world, and yet without the least extension, 
or multiplication, or motion. 

But are men or angels like to God in this? i Alas, they are finite, 

* Homo est in loco circumscriptive, aiigelus definitive, Deus repletive. 

Chap. VI.] the incomparableness of god. 399 

limited beings, less than drops to this ocean. Man is in a small 
place, so as to fill it up by commensuration of parts, and to exclude 
all other bodies ; but himself is circumscribed in it. Angels, 
though they are not in a place so as to exclude bodies, yet they are 
in a uhi, or space, so as to conclude themselves therein ; they are 
in a finite compass, beyond which their being extendeth not ; they 
are so here that they are not there ; so in heaven that they are not 
on earth at the same time. But God is everywhere in his whole 
essence every moment ; ' he filleth all in all,' Eph. i. 23. 

10. God is an incomprehensible being, such a being as no crea- 
ture, whether man or angel, can comprehend or perfectly under- 
stand. This floweth from the former ; if he be infinite, he must of 
necessity be incomprehensible ; for a finite being, as all are beside 
himself, can never comprehend what is infinite. There is no pro- 
portion between a boundless being and a bounded understanding. 
But there must be a proportion between the mind of the creature 
and that object which is fully understood by it. The sun may be 
contained in a small chink, and the sea in a nut-shell, sooner than 
God can be contained in the limited understanding of men or 
angels : Job xxvi. 14, ' Lo, these are parts of his ways,' viz., ' hell is 
naked before him,' ver. 6. ' He hangeth the earth upon nothing,' 
ver. 7. ' He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds, and the 
cloud is not rent under them,' ver. 8. ' He hath compassed the 
waters with bounds,' ver. 10. ' The pillars of heaven tremble at 
his reproof,' ver. 11, &c. ; ' but how little a portion is heard of him! ' 
The vulgar read it, how little a drop ; others, a whisper, or smallest 
part of a voice ; that which is known of God, to that which God 
is, and is in God, is but like a drop to the vast ocean, and as a 
whisper to a loud terrible thunder. ' How little a portion is heard 
of him.' Surely much is heard of him, from the voice of his 
almighty works of creation and providence, and especially from the 
voice of his word and his own mouth in the Holy Scriptures. But 
how little is heard of him in comparison of that immense excellency 
which is in him, and which he is. Heathens hear somewhat of 
him, Eom. i. 20, 21. His saints on earth hear much more of him, 
Ps. Ixiii. 3-6. Perfect spirits in heaven hear most of all of him, 
2 Cor. xii. 3, 4 ; 1 Cor. xiii. 12. Yet by all these a very little 
portion is heard of him. 

The being of God is like the peace of God, ' which passeth all 
understanding,' Phil. iv. 7. And like the love of Christ, ' which 
passeth all knowledge,' Eph. iii. 19. This only can be known of 
God, that he can never be known fully ; and this only can be com- 


prehended of him, that he cannot be comprehended : ' Canst thou 
by searching find out God ? canst thou find out the Almighty to 
perfection ? It is as high as heaven, what canst thou do ? deeper 
than hell, what canst thou know ? The measure thereof is longer 
than the earth, and broader than the sea,' Job xi. 8, 9. ' Canst 
thou by searching find out God? ' it is as trong negation, i.e., it is 
impossible by all the help and advantage of nature and art, and 
grace and diligence, yea, and perfect glory too, to find out God 
fully. Dost thou, a poor mean vile man, saith Zophar, think to 
contain and comprehend him, whom the heavens, and heaven of hea- 
vens, cannot contain or comprehend ? Art thou so silly as to con- 
ceive that the short line of thy understanding should fathom his 
bottomless being ? It is not in vain for thee to seek him, but it is 
altogether in vain for thee to search him. Though he be not far 
from thee, yet he is far above thee, and far beyond thee ; far above 
thy thoughts, and beyond thy conceptions : he * dwelleth in that 
light that is inaccessible, whom no man hath seen, nor can see,' 
1 Tim. vi. 16. They who see him face to face, i.e., most clearly and 
fully, see but little of him ; clouds and darkness are in this sense 
ever about him. As in a dark day we see the beams, but not 
the body of the sun ; so even in heaven the highest angels rather 
see his rays and beams than his infinite being. 

' Canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection ? ' Men who 
seek God may find him, Prov. viii. 17 ; Mat. vii. 7 ; but they can- 
not find him to perfection : the word for perfection signifieth the 
height or utmost accomplishment of a thing. Somewhat of God 
may be known, but not all ; they who find out most are far from 
finding out the utmost of him. The sun and all the celestial lights 
may sooner be grasped in the hollow of man's hand, and the vast 
hills and mountains weighed in a pair of common scales, than the 
Almighty ' found out to perfection.' Natural questions soon pose 
the most learned men ; the forms even of inanimate creatures 
are riddles to most. How frequently do the greatest scholars be- 
take themselves to secret sympathies and antipathies, and occult 
qualities, as the cloak and cover of their ignorance : Eccles. xi. 5. 
' Canst thou know how the bones grow of her that is with child ? 
how much more must divine questions exceed human under- 

' It is as high as heaven, what canst thou do ?' It is as the high- 
nesses of heaven : take all the heights and elevations, all the 
spheres and altitudes of heaven, and try if thou canst reach them 
with thy short arm ; yea, climb up the highest storeys, the loftiest 

Chap. VI.] the incomparableness of god. 401 

pinnacles, touch, if tliou canst, the several orbs ; yet the knowledge 
of this God, or this God the object of knowledge, is above and be- 
3^ond all. What a fool would he be thought, who should under- 
take to ascend the starry heavens ; yet he who would find out God 
to perfection, must climb much higher. The heavens are famous 
for their height ; yea, the starry heavens, that some wonder that 
the eyes of man are not tired before they reach them, Prov. xxv. 3, 
' The heavens for height, and the earth for depth,' yet the third 
heavens are much higher than they ; but the most high God is far 
higher than the highest heavens. 

' Deeper than hell, what canst thou know ? ' Heaven and hell 
are at the greatest distance, and are most remote from our appre- 
hensions. Who knoweth what is done in heaven ? what in hell ? 
what is enjoyed in the one, or suffered in the other? ]S[o more can 
any know what God is. Who knoweth the nature, number, 
order, motions, influence of the heavenly bodies ; something is con- 
jecturally delivered about them, nothing certain ; much less doth 
any know th