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University orCbica^o 




GIFT OF 







i 



THE 



OUTPOURING 



OF 



THE HOLY SPIRIT; 



OR, 



THE PROSPEROUS STATE OF THE CHRISTIAN INTEREST 

BEFORE THE END OF TIME, BY A PLENTIFUL 

EFFUSION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. 



CONSIDERED IN FIFTEEN SERMONS ON EZEKIAL XXXIX. 29, 



BY REV. JOHN HOWE, M.A. 



LONDON: 
RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY, 

Instituted 1799. 

SOLD AT THE DEPOSITORY, 56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 
AND BV THE BOOKSELLERS. 

1835," 



PREFACE 

BY THE REV. DR. JOHN EVANS. 



TO THE READER. 

I APPREHEND little occasion to make an apology for 
the publication of the following discourses. They 
who relish Mr. Howe's inimitable spirit of piety, 
judgment, copiousness, and force in the manage- 
ment of every subject he hath undertaken, will be 
glad of any remains of so great a man ; and those 
who have been conversant with his writings, will 
hardly want any other voucher, besides the sermons 
themselves, that they are genuine, they so evidently 
carry in them, to a person of taste, the marks which 
always distinguish his performances. 

They have not indeed had the advantage of his 
own masterly hand to prepare them for the press, 
and to give them their last finishing, but they are his 
discourses from the pulpit, taken first in short- hand 
by the hand of a very ready and judicious writer, 
who afterwards copied them out fair with the mi- 
nutest exactness, as they were delivered. This very 
precise accuracy made it necessary that they should 
be transcribed anew, before they saw the light. This 
I have adventured to do, without the alteration or 
addition of any one thought. But, in discourses 
delivered by a preacher without notes, some repeti- 
tions naturally occur in the pulpit ; and very use- 
fully, to enable the hearer to discern the connexion 



4 PREFACE. 

of the discourse as he goes along, and to make the 
deeper impression : these might appear tedious to a 
reader, who hath the whole before him ; and there- 
fore are omitted, farther than they seemed to carry 
a peculiar emphasis, or than a different representa- 
tion of the same thought was apprehended to convey 
the idea with greater force. The writer appears to 
have religiously followed the very words of the 
author, when he cited passages of scripture by me- 
mory : it was judged proper to consult the texts 
themselves, and to cite them as they lie in the bible ; 
except where the author might be supposed out of 
choice to substitute another English word, as more 
expressive of the sense of the original. The repeti- 
tion also of former discourses at the beginning of 
another sermon hath been omitted where nothing 
new occurred. But where a new thought is sug- 
gested, in such a repetition, it hath been carefully 
inserted in its proper place. This is all the varia- 
tion I have allowed myself to make from the copy ; 
and so much I apprehend will be accounted reason- 
able and necessary by all that are acquainted with 
such things. 

The subject can hardly fail to be particularly ac- 
ceptable. The reverend author hath often indeed 
expressed in general the same catholic sentiments 
in several of the works which he published himself; 
and shown his mind to have been uniformly the 
same as nere, upon that head, wherein the pro- 
sperity of the Christian interest lies : that it consists 
not in the advancement of any party among chris- 
tians as such, or of any distinguishing name, or in 
any mere external forms ; but in real vital religion 
and conformity to God. He hath also more than 
once intimated his expectation of better times for 



PREFACE. 5 

the church of God, than the present state of it. But 
he hath no where so professedly and distinctly ex- 
plained his sentiments concerning the latter days of 
the Christian church, as in these discourses. 

They were all preached in the course of a Wed- 
nesday-lecture, which he formerly kept up at Cord- 
wainers'-hall in this city ; and all within the year 
1678, as appears by the dates prefixed to each : a 
time, wherein he was in the vigour of life and height 
of judgment, between forty and fifty years old; and 
within a few years after his settlement with that 
congregation of protestant dissenters, where he 
ministered till his death. That was a time of pecu- 
liar distress and danger, not only to protestants out 
of the legal establishment in these kingdoms, but to 
the reformed interest in general through Europe. 
This may be supposed to have engaged his thoughts 
in so long attention to this subject, which animates 
with the hope of better times to come. 

There are other discourses immediately preceding 
these at the same lecture, concerning the work of 
the Spirit in every age upon particular persons ; as 
these relate to his work upon the Christian commu- 
nity, to be expected in the last age. A copy of 
those sermons, drawn up by the same writer, is 
fallen into the hands of a very worthy brother of 
this city, by as unexpected a providence as these 
came into mine, I hope he may be prevailed with 
to introduce them into the world, if those which 
are now offered meet with a favourable reception.* 
Ami both these volumes together, will contain the 
sum of this great man's sentiments concerning the 
important doctrine of the Holy Spirit. 

* They were published and are inserted in Hunt's edition 
of Howe's Works. 



6 PREFACE. 

If any inquire, why these sermons were not in- 
serted in the late collection of Mr. Howe's works 
in folio ; I answer : beside that it was resolved to 
insert none there, but those which he had published 
himself; so, if it had been thought proper to add 
more, the copy of these came not into my hands or 
within my notice, till that edition was made public. 

Such an index cannot be judged needful to a par- 
ticular discourse, as I thought proper to add to that 
collection, where the subjects treated of are so va- 
rious. It appeared more useful here to give a view 
of his whole scheme upon the argument, by way 
of contents. 

May the great Lord of the harvest succeed the 
revived labours of our fathers, and the endeavours 
of those in the present age, who are called to serve 
him in the gospel ; and still raise a seed to serve 
him, both in the ministry and out of it, which from 
time to time shall be accounted to him for a gene- 
ration. This is the hearty prayer of 

An unworthy servant of 

our common Lord, 

JOHN EVANS. 
Pi-escot-stioct, Dec. 6th, 1725. 



CONTENTS. 



TEXT explained. Import of two expressions in it, I. Of 
God's not hiding his face, page 15. II. Of the house of 
Israel, 17. 

Two propositions from the words laid down, 18. 

Some things offered preliminary to the consideration of 
either, 19. - 

I. Some observations on the state of the Christian church 
hitherto, and as it may continue for some time longer. 
1. For the most part it hath been calamitous in external 
respects, 19. 2. Eminently so at that time, 20. 3. In no 
visible tendency to a better state, ib. 4. A great retraction 
of the Spirit from it for a long time, 21. 5. This twofold 
evil attending it in conjunction ; external calamities, and 
the Spirit retracted, 24. 6. We are most apt to be sensi- 
ble of the first, to. 7. And to covet external prosperity 
more than the communication of the Spirit, 25. 8. And 
to take wrong measures about the Christian interest, ''&. 
9. And to confine our eye to what is present, 26. 10. Or 
to be more curious about the circumstances than the sub- 
stantials of an expected state, ib. 

II. What is reasonably to be expected in a discourse of this 
nature. 1. To establish the belief of a state of greater 
prosperity to the church on earth. 2. To show the con- 
nexion between the external prosperity and internal flou- 
rishing of religion in the church, 28. 3. To mind more 
what is substantial in such a good state, than circumstan- 
tials, 30. 

Prop. I. That there is a state of tranquillity and prosperity 
appointed for the church of God, for some considerable 
tract of time in this world, 32. 

Two things evinced, 

I. That a very happy state of things is referred to in the 
text, 33. 

II. That this is yet future, 35. 1 . The prophecies in this context 



8 CONTENTS. 

not yet accomplished to the natural seed of Israel, 35. 2. Nor 
to the spiritual Israel, the Christian church, 38. (1.) That 
hath never had a happy state to the degree imported in them, 
39. (2.) Nor for such a duration. These prophecies allowed 
to relate to the same period with the thousand years in the 
Revelation, 41. What not asserted to those thousand 
years, ib. What the author apprehends may be main- 
tained. A peaceful state of the church for a considerable 
time, yet to come, 42. 

Objection answered That the prospect of such a good state 
to come is of little use to us, if we cannot hope to see it in 
our own time, 48, 

Shown, that there are in tha mind of a good Christian, 

I. Principles sufficient to make such a truth savoury and 
pleasant, though without hope of accomplishment in his 
day. 1. As, self-denial, 50. 2. Just concern for posterity, 
51. 3. Dutiful love to God, 53. 4. Compassionate regard 
to the souls of men, ib. 

Til. Principles fit to compose his spirit, and free it from dis- 
quietude in the delay of accomplishment, 55. 1. As a 
right and well-complexioned faith, ib, 2. Christian patience, 
57. 3. Weariness of sin, 58. 4. A sense of the demerit 
of sin, 59. 5. A subject, governable spirit. 60. 6. Diligence 
in present duty, 62. 7. Familiarity with death, 63. 8. 
A heavenly frame of spirit, ib. 9. A sincere devotedness to 
God and his interest, 65. 10. A religious and prudent fear 
of determining prophecies to a point of time, not determined 
by the Spirit of God, 67. 

Prop. II. That such a good state of things can never be 
brought about, but by a great effusion of the Spirit of 
God, 72. 

Shown here, 

I. What kind of communication of the Spirit this must be. 
Objectively, 72. And formally, 73. 

II. The apt and appropriate usefulness of such an effusion to 
this purpose. (1.) We are apt to distrust such a spiritual 
means of the common good, 74. (2.) And to let our minds 
hanker after other means, 75. Therefore two things shown, 

1 . The efficacy of such a pouring out of the Spirit to produce 

a better state of the church, 75. 
1. For the revival of religion in the world, ib. 
(1.) Mediately. [1.] By means of magistrates, 76. [2.] 



CONTENTS. 9 

Ministers, 77. [3.] Family order, 80. [4.] Exemplary 
religion of private Christians, 83. 

(2.) Immediately. [].] Many predictions of numerous con- 
versions, 84. [2.] Of the great improvement and growth 
of Christians, 88. [3.] Of both together, 90. 

Objection, from the difficulty of conceiving how this should 
be brought about, 92. 

Answer, in general, 93. In particular, 99. Our belief of 
this may be facilitated by considering, I. What hath 
been done already, at the beginning of Christianity, 100. 

II. In what easy and apt ways we may suppose such a work 
to be carried on, when once the Spirit poured out hath 
set the matter a going, 102. 1. That like to engage ob- 
servation. 2. Wonder, 104. 3. Discourse, 105. 4. Inquiry, ib. 
5. Approbation in the judgment, 106. 6. Apprehension of 
somewhat divine, 108. 7. Favourable inclination, 1 09. 8. 
A general reputation to religion, 111. How such a sup- 
posable gradation in carrying on this work may facilitate our 
belief of it, illustrated from our belief of the creation, 116. 

III. 1. How suitable to the blessed God it is to do this 
work. Considering his wisdom, 119. 2. His supreme in- 
terest in the world, 122. 3. His almighty power, 124. 
4. His boundless goodness, 125. 

Objection. If it be suitable to God to do such a work, why 
has it not been done already, 127. 

Answer. (1.) This rather a reason to expect that it shall be 
done at some time or other, than that it shall never be done, 
ib. [1.] Account given why such a work should be delayed 
so long, 128. [2.] And why it should be done at last, 129. 

Second. For bringing about an externally happy state in the 
church, 132. 

I. By removing the causes of public calamities. 1. Deserving 
causes, ib. 2. Working causes, 135. (1.) Causes without Hie 
church, the injurious violence of its enemies, 135. Eriiision 
of the Spirit will remove this, either [1.] by breaking their 
power. [2 ] Or overawing them, 136. [3.] Or making 
them kindly affected, 137. [4.] Or to become sincerely 
proselyted, 138. (2.) Causes within the church, reducible 
to undue self-love, 139. 

II. By working whatever hath a positive tendency to the 
happiness of the church, 1 13. To this purpose considered, 

1. The principles which th Spirit poured forth implants,*.;. 



uce 



i) CONTENTS. 

(1.) Lightj 143. (2.) And love, 144. The influence upon 
the happiness of the church from the principles of love im- 
planted, shown in reference to 

1. The love of God, 147. As comprehending, 1. Entire 
(levotedness to the interest of God, 148. 2. Desire of him 
as our best portion, 150. 

II. A due love to a man's self, 152. As including, 1. A 
strict care of the mind and inner man, ib. 2. A due care 
of the body, 153. 

III. Love to other men, as to themselves, 158. Upon which 
two things considered, 1. The reference of this love to God, 
and to his Spirit, 159. Shown by eight scripture repre- 
sentations, 160. 2. The reference of this love to the world, 
to better it, 165. [1.] It would exclude hard thoughts among 
men of one another, ib. [2.] Pride and insolence, 166. 
Selfish designs, ib. [4.] Aptness to injure another, ib. 
Proneness to receive offence, 167. [1.] It would proc 
mutual trust and confidence, ib. [2.] Mutual piety, 168. [3.] 
A promptitude to do one another good, ib. [4.] Delight 
in one another's welfare, ib. [5.] Mutual converse, ib. 

2. The effeds which the Spirit works by those implanted 
principles, 170. Reduced to two, 

I. Union amongst Christians. Shown, 1. That such a union 
will contribute much to a happy state of the church, ib. 
2. And that it is the work of the Spirit to effect such a 
union. This last shown from ten scriptural considerations, 
172. 

Two further inquiries about this union prosecuted. 

1. What kind of union it may be expected to be. In general 
such wherein the duty and happiness of the Christian church 
shall in great measure consist, 188. More particularly ; 

1. What not to be expected, 189. Not that all shall agive 
in the same measure of knowledge. Or holiness, 190. Or 
joy and consolation. Or rank and order in the church, ib. 

2. What is always among true Christians. Union in great 
and substantial things, ib. In sum, union in one common 
head, 191. Not only political but vital, 192. Of the 
distinction between the essentials and extra-essentials of 
Christianity, 194. 3. What further union may yet be hoped 
for, 196. (1.) A much higher intellectual union, 19d. 
(2.) A more inward cordial union, 199. 

2, In what way the Spirit may be expected to effect this, 



CONTENTS. 1 1 

In general by reviving religion, 203. I. More particularly, 
by increasing light and knowledge in things necessary to be 
known, 206. This more especially to be wrought by remov- 
ing the distempers of the mind by which it becomes dis- 
affected to truth. As uuapprehensiveness, 207. Slothful 
oseitancy, 208. Unreasonable credulity, ib. Excessive in- 
credulity. Inconsideration, either inability, or unaptness to 
consider, 209. Petulancy, ib. Scepticism, 210. Instability 
of judgment. Obstinacy of mind, ib. II. And by making 
Christians more generally patient of dissent from one 
another in less necessary things, 212. 1. By enabling them 
to distinguish between truths of scripture-revelation, and those 
not so, ib. 2. And between greater and less truths, 213. 
3. By making them more spiritual, and apt to be taken up 
with the great things of religion, ib. 4. By making them 
more holy, ib. 5. More compassionate to those who know 
less than themselves, 214. 6. In a more awful subjection 
to God's prescribed terms of Christian communion, ib. 

Second. Order among Christians, another effect of the Spirit, to 
make up this happy time, 216. 1. The Spirit poured forth 
will make this a certain kind of nature, 217. 2. Men will 
thereby be peculiarly fitted to the business of their own 
stations, ib. 3. All will be more humbled, ib. 4. More appre- 
hensive of the authority of God in his appointments, and 
subject to it, ib, 5. And more tender of the community, 
to which they belong, 218. 

Besides the efficacy and sufficiency of the pouring forth of 
the Spirit, to produce better times for the Christian church ; 
shown also 

Second. The necessity of such a means to reach such an 
end, 220. 1. Nothing can mend the world but what mends 
men's spirits, ib. 2. And nothing can mend men's spirits but 
the Spirit of God. No other cause universal or potent 
enough, 221. 1. This necessity more evident, considering 
the depravity of men's spirits by nature, 222. 2. And the 
continual fomenting of this depravity by another evil 
spirit, ib. 

1. The necessity of the Spirit of God to effect this better state 
further shown from the insufficiency of any other sup- 
posable means to reach this end. As, the preaching of 
the gospel, 223. 2. Nominal Christianity, 225. 3. Divine 
judgments, 226. 4. External prosperity, without the Spirit, 



12 CONTENTS 

227. 5, Any external form of church government, 228, 
6. A power of working miracles, 231. Or light, or pru- 
dence, 232. 

Inferences. 1. It must be of dreadful import, when the 
Spirit retires, 235. 2. Very strange, that the retraction 
of it should not be considered with more sense, 236. 3. A 
dismal state of things likely to forego the more eminent 
effusion of the Spirit, 238. 4. How adorable the power 
and greatness of the Spirit, that" can turn such a state of 
things into light and peace, 242. 5. The grace of the 
Spirit admirably condescending, that it will ever come into 
such a world as this, 244. 6. The face of God shall never 
shine, but where he pours out his Spirit, 245. 



SERMON I. 



PREACHED MAY 8, 1678. 



EZEKIEL XXXIX. 29. 

NEITHER WILL I HIDE MY FACE ANY MORE FROM THEM : KOB 
I HAVE POURED OUT MY SPIRIT UPON THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, 
SAITH THE LORD GOD. 

THE operations of the Holy Ghost may be consi- 
dered, either as relating to particular persons, in a 
single and private capacity ; for the regenerating of 
souls, or implanting in them the principles of the 
divine and spiritual life ; the maintaining of that life ; 
the causing and ordering all the motions that are 
proper thereunto : or as having an influence upon 
the felicity and prosperous state of the church in 
general. For this last the scripture that I have 
pitched upon gives us a very plain and sufficient 
ground. 

It is manifest, that it is a very happy arid pros- 
perous state which is here referred unto, if you look 
back upon this and the foregoing chapters.Ezek.xxxvi. 
xxxvii. and xxxviii. which are all of the same kind, 
and as it were of a piece with this. You find such 
things copiously spoken of and promised, as we are 
wont to consider in the constitution of a prosperous, 
happy state, in reference to what their case required ; 
reduction from captivity, victory over their enemies, 

B 



1 4 FIRST SERMON 

abundant plenty of all things, settled tranquillity 
and peace, entire union among themselves, both 
Ephraim and Judah, as you will find it expressed ; 
the renewal of God's covenant with them, after their 
so great and long-continued defection and apostacy 
from it ; in which covenant he would be their God, 
and take them for his people, and have the relation 
avowed and made visible to all the world, that he 
and they were thus related to one another. These 
things you may find at large in the several chapters 
mentioned ; importing all the favour that we could 
suppose any wayconducible to make a people happy. 
And indeed the same thing is compendiously and 
summarily held forth in the words of the text them- 
selves : " Neither will I hide my face any more 
from them : for I have poured out my Spirit upon 
the house of Israel, saith the Lord God." We can- 
not, in few words, have a fuller account given of 
a happy state. 

To consider these words themselves ; the con- 
tents of them are, 1. A gracious prediction : 
" Neither will I hide my face any more from them." 
A prediction, or prophetic promise, or a promis- 
sory prophecy of a most happy state. And, 2. 
The reason given hereof why God would provide 
that all things should be well with them in other 
icspects : " For I have poured out my Spirit upon 
the house of Israel, saith the Lord God." 

There are two things that must be the matter of 
a little previous inquiry, in order to our taking up 
what we are to insist upon from this scripture. 1. 
The import of this negative expression, " Neither 
will I hide my face any more from them." And, 
2. How we are to understand the subject of the 
promised favour here, as it is designed by this liiiine'. 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 15 

" the house of Israel." These things being cleared, 
the matters that I intend to recommend to you and 
insist upon, will plainly result. 

I. As to the former, what this negative expres- 
sion should mean, " Neither will I hide my face any 
more from them." It is needful, that we may 
understand that, to know what the scripture doth 
often mean, and may well be supposed to mean here, 
by the " face" of God. It is very plain, that it fre- 
quently means his providential appearances, or the 
aspect of providence one way or another. And 
thus we are more frequently to understand it when 
it is spoken of in reference to a community, or the 
collective body of a people; yea, and sometimes 
when in reference to particular persons too. And 
hence it will easily appear how we are to take the 
opposite expressions, of his making his face to 
shine ; or of his hiding, or covering, or clouding 
his face. 

It appears from sundry scriptures, that by his 
showing his face, or letting it be seen, giving the 
sight of it, or causing his face to shine, giving the 
pleasant sight of it, or lifting up the light of his 
countenance, (expressions of the same import,) the 
favourable aspect of providence is to be understood, 
when these expressions are used, as I said, more 
especially in reference to the collective body of a 
people. And so the " hiding of his face" signifies 
as much as the change of these more favourable 
aspects of providence, for those that are more severe 
and that do import anger and displeasure. For so, 
by the aspects and appearances of providence, it is 
to be understood whether God be propitious and 
favourably inclined toward a people, or whether he 
be displeased and have a controversy with them : as 

B 2 



16 FIRST SERMON 

it may be discerned in the face of a man, whether 
he be pleased or displeased. Wherefore you have 
anger and severity, which is usually signified by 
providence, and as it is so signified, held forth to us 
under this same phrase or form of speech. " I will 
surely hide my face in that day, for all the evils 
which they shall have wrought, in that they are 
turned unto other gods," Deut. xxxi. 18. See what, 
the expression there is explanatory of, or with what 
other phrases it is joined, as manifestly intending 
the same thing; such as his anger being kindled 
against them, and his forsaking them. It is inter- 
spersed among such expressions again and again. 
So ver. 17. " My anger shall be kindled against 
them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I 
will hide my face from them ; and they shall be 
devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall 
them ; so that they will say in that day, Are not 
these evils come upon us because our God is not 
amongst us ?" In the same sense the word is used 
Deut. xxxii. 20, and in many other scriptures, in 
reference to bodies of men. And sometimes in 
reference to a particular person ; as in Job xxxiv. 
29. " When he gives quietness, who shall give 
trouble ? and when he hides his face, who shall 
behold him ?" Who dare behold him when clouds 
and frowns do eclipse that bright and pleasant light 
of his countenance before lifted up, whether it be 
against a nation or a particular person ? as there 
Elihu speaks. And he had been speaking before 
of the acts of Providence, in lifting up and casting 
down at his pleasure, and according as men's ways 
and deportment towards him in this kind or that did 
make it most suitable and fit. And therefore also 
the church, being represented as in a very afflictive 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 1? 

condition, exposed to tlie insultations of tyrannous 
enemies, and having suffered very hard and grievous 
things from them ; this is the petition that is put 
up in the case, "Turn us again, Lord God of 
hosts, cause thy face to shine,- and we shall be 
saved," Psa. Ixxx. 3. 19. 

Therefore it is obvious to collect what the like 
expression here must mean, " Neither will I hide 
my face any more from them." It must mean, that 
he would put them into a prosperous condition ; the 
course of his providence toward them should be such 
as would import favour and kindness to them. And, 
" Neither will I hide my face any more from them,'' 
imports the permanency and settledness of this 
happy and prosperous state ; that it should not be 
a short lucid interval only, but through a very con- 
siderable and continued tract of time this should be 
the posture and course of his providence towards 
them. And then, 

II. For the subject of this promised favour, as 
it is designed here by the expression, " The house of 
Israel." 

1. I doubt not but that it hath a meaning in- 
cluded, as it is literally taken, of that very people 
wont to be known by that name, the house of Israel, 
the seed of Jacob. 

2. .But, I as little doubt that it hath a further 
meaning too. And it is an obvious observation, 
than which none more obvious, that the universal 
church, even of the gospel-constitution, is frequently 
in the prophetical scriptures of the Old Testament 
represented by this, and by the equivalent names of 
Jerusalem and Zion, and the like. And the reason 
was as obvious as the thing itself; for they were 
the church of God, that people, and they who were 

B 3" 



18 FIRST SERMON 

proselyted to them and the prophecies of the 
Old Testament we know were first and most im- 
mediately directed to them ; and were more likely 
to be regarded by them, by how much the more the 
church whom these prophecies did concern, was 
more constantly designed or set forth by their own 
name. It invited them to look towards the great 
things represented and held forth in these prophecies, 
as things wherein they had a special concern, and 
wherein their interest was bound up ; though they 
had no reason to think that they were things appro- 
priate to them. And we find that in the New 
Testament too the name is retained : All are not 
Israel, that are of Israel. " He is not a Jew, that is 
one outwardly," Rom. ii. 28. He means certainly 
a Christian. " I know the blasphemy of them that 
say they are Jews, and are not," Rev. ii. 9, And 
we have little reason to doubt, and there will be 
occasion to make it more apparent hereafter, that 
so we are to explain the signification of this name 
here ; not to exclude the natural Israelites, but also 
to include the universal Christian church. 

These things being thus far cleared, the ground 
will be plain, upon which to recommend to you a 
twofold truth from these words ; namely. 

FIRST. THAT THERE is A STATE OF PERMANENT 
SERENITY AND HAPPINESS APPOINTED FOR THE 
UNIVERSAL CHURCH OF CHRIST UPON EARTH. 

SECOND. THAT THE IMMEDIATE ORIGINAL AND 
CAUSE OF THAT FELICITY AND HAPPY STATE, IS A 
LARGE AND GENERAL EFFUSION OR POURING FORTH 
OF THE SPIRIT. 

' T . " 

It is the latter of these that I principally intend^ 
and shall speak more briefly to the former. ; . 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 19 

But before I speak distinctly and severally to 
either of them, I shall do what is not usual with 
me ; that is, entertain you a while with somewhat 
of a preface, to give you therein an account in re- 
ference to both s and of the whole of the intended 
discourse upon this subject, what I design, and upon 
what score I think it useful and proper, that such 
a matter as this is, be entertained into your con- 
sideration and my own. Herein I shall, 

I. Lay before you sundry things obvious unto 
the consideration of considering persons, that will 
serve for some representation of the state of the 
Christian church hitherto, and at this time, and as it 
may continue to be for some time hence. 

II. I shall show you in some other particulars, 
what it is reasonable should be designed and ex- 
pected in a discourse of this nature, and upon such 
a subject as this is, in way of accommodation to 
such a state of the case. 

I. As to the former ; these. things I reckon very 
obvious to such as are of considering minds : 

1. That the state of the Christian church hath been 
for the most part very calamitous and sad all along 
hitherto, in external respects. You know it was emi- 
nently so in the time of the first forming of the Chris- 
tian church. The Christian name was a name every 
where spoken against; and they that delivered them- 
selves up to Christ, delivered themselves up to all 
manner of troubles and persecutions, even upon his 
account and for his name's sake. He foretold it unto 
his more immediate followers, that for his name they 
should be hated of all men ; and they were to expect 
the most malignant hatred; and he told them too of 
the effects agreeable and suitable to such a principle. 
The church was externally miserable in the first 



20 FIRST SERMON . 

ages of it by persecutions from without: and after 
it arrived to a state of some tranquillity and peace, 
by the favour of the world and its more gentle aspect 
upon it ; after there was an emperor of the Christian 
religion, that would own and patronise it against the 
rage and fury that it was pursued with before ; then 
it soon bred trouble enough within itself, and grew 
factious and divided, and broken into parts, pestered 
with heresies, and filled with varieties of contending 
opinions and sects ; and then these were continually 
the authors of troubles to one another, according as 
one or another could get opportunity to grasp power 
into its hand. This hath been the state of things 
with it all along, though there have been some more 
quiet intervals here and there, in this or that part 
of the Christian world. It can hardly be said, the 
church hath ever had any considerable season of 
tranquillity and serenity, universally, and all at once y 
even in any time. 

2. It is more obvious, as we may suppose, unto 
the most, that the state of the church is externally 
very miserable and sad at this time. Those who 
understand any thing of the world, cannot but know 
so much ; and we need not to except that part of 
the church at home, as you all well enough know. 
In other countries Christians are rolling and welter- 
ing in one another's blood ; and you know the 
shattered state of things within ourselves. 

3. By the present posture of affairs, the position 
and aspect of things, we cannot say that matters are 
in a tendency unto a better state ; but have rather 
reason to fear that all will grow worse and worse. 
Clouds gather and thicken, and grow blacker and 
blacker, and spread far and wide over the church of 
Christ in the world, and are very likely to discharge 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 21 

into very tremendous storms. According to human 
probabilities and experience nothing else is to be 
expected. 

4. It is to be observed too, that there hath long 
been a retraction in a very great measure of the 
Spirit from the church. There was a gradual re- 
traction soon after that large effusion of it at first 
in the apostles' days ; unto which in Acts ii. we find 
by Peter that scripture in Joel applied, " I will pour 
out my Spirit upon all flesh." Then they said it 
had its accomplishment ; though I doubt not it is 
to have another and fuller accomplishment ; as it 
is no unusual thing for the same prophetic scripture 
to be said to be fulfilled again and again : as that 
passage, " Out of Egypt I have called my Son," 
applied to the people of Israel and to Christ. A 
long-continued retraction there hath been of that 
Spirit, which is the very life of that body, whose 
work and business it is to act and animate it in 
every part. We are not now inquiring concerning 
the cause of the retraction. Much must be referred 
to sovereign pleasure, more to justice; for un- 
doubtedly God hath proceeded according to the 
tenour of his own rule, " I will be with you as long 
as you are with me;" and he did never in any 
degree leave his people first that bare his name. 
Union always begins on his part, breaches on ours. 
But notwithstanding that large eifusion of the 
Spirit at first, when the gospel light first dawned 
upon the world, and that pleasant spring of the 
Christian interest and religion that then appeared 
and showed itself ; how gradual was the languor, 
that set it a fainting and withering by steps and 
degrees, very discernible to those who look upon 
the histories of former days ! though yet the life and 



2SJ FIRST SERMON 

vigour was still much preserved, as long as the church 
was in a suffering state from without by the per- 
secution of paganish enemies ; as we know it was 
for the three first centuries and more, in some degree 
and in some part of it. 

But after once the world came to cast more 
benign aspects upon it, how soon did the life and 
vigour of the Christian church evaporate and expire ! 
So as that there seemed to be a body left in a great 
measure destitute of a soul ; to allude to the ex- 
pression that the prophet Jeremiah uses to the 
people of Israel, " Be instructed lest my soul depart 
from you." The very soul of the church was in a 
great measure departed ; departed unto that degree, 
that it was become such a mere piece of formality, 
that another religion takes the advantage to vie 
with the Christian ; the most fabulous, the most vain, 
the most despicable, that could be invented ; and of 
the most despicable original ; from Mahomet, a mean, 
inconsiderable, ignorant, illiterate man ; but a com- 
mon soldier at the first, and yet the author of a 
religion so vastly spread in the world as it is at this 
day, and even so as to eat out Christianity in so 
considerable parts where it had obtained and taken 
place. This was argument enough of a great re- 
traction of that Spirit that made the Christian church 
and religion, while it was more visibly breathing, a 
mighty, majestic, awful, commanding thing. 

About that time, when the apostacy in the chris* 
tian church became more visible, and the usurpation 
of " the man of sin" more explicit and avowed ; 
that is, when Boniface the third obtained from 
Phocas the emperor the grant of the primacy ; about 
that very time, within sixteen years after, was the 
Alcoran framed. When the church was become so 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE #9. 23 

despicable, when the Christian religion was but a 
formality and shadow, then was the time to set up 
this despicable religion ; and nothing more despi- 
cable could have been set up ; yet at a strange rate 
it hath vied, so as to carry against the Christian in- 
terest the cause so far, and unto so great a degree, 
and for so long a time. 

And then, for the first setting up of that religion, 
a time was chosen by Satan on purpose. As the 
church history of those times doth acquaint us, 
there was nobody to make opposition to the mo- 
hammedan dotage and delirium. In the eastern 
church they were all busy in propagating such and 
such opinions, that they were contending about, on 
the one hand and the other, amongst themselves. 
And in the western churches they were all engaged 
generally, and so very busy in inventing new forms, 
and ceremonies, and rites, that there was nobody at 
leisure, not any of the doctors in the church to be 
found, (as the history tells us,) to make any oppo- 
sition, or write any thing against the dotages of 
mohammedanism, that then first began to appear. 

Afterwards, into how strange a darkness and stu- 
pidity did the Christian church and interest and 
religion sink! so that for several ages together 
there was an utter vacancy and destitution, not only 
of divine, but of all common human knowledge- 
nothing but the grossest and most horrid barbarism, 
that spread itself through the Christian church. And 
it was as bad, if we may not say worse, through the 
pride and tyranny of those that took upon them to 
be governors in the church; and the viciousness, 
immorality, and sensuality, and all other kinds of 
wickedness that abounded among the vulgar com- 
mon sort. And so it continued till some later 



84 FIRST SERMON 

stirrings and efforts towards reformation ; which, 
how partial they have been, that is, in how sma' 
a part, and incomplete where they have been, ani 
what recedations there have been, where any thing 
hath been effected and done in that kind; those 
who know any thing of former and foreign affairs 
cannot but understand. 

And even now at this day, to cast our eyes round 
about us, whether we take nearer or more remote 
views, alas ! how little, how little is there to be dis- 
cerned of the true spirit of Christianity ! yea how 
much that speaks the very opposite thereunto, the 
spirit of the world ' a spirit of malignity, that is 
working, and striving, and contending every where, 
and lurking under the profession, the usurped and 
abused profession of the Christian name ! so that, to 
speak as the truth of the matter is, a Christian is 
become but just like another man ; and the christiar 
church just like the rest of the world. Christianity 
hath put on the garb of paganism in worship in <, 
part of it ; in manners and conversation in the most 
part, the far greater part. 

5. It is to be observed and considered too, that 
we are still encountered with this twofold evil at 
once and in conjunction, wheresoever we cast our 
eye ; that is, the state of the church externally 
calamitous and miserable, and the retraction of the 
Spirit ; and the former of these still caused by the 
latter. This is very observable too, that these two 
things are in a connexion and conjunct. 

6. It is to be considered farther, that we are 
much more apt to be sensible of the effect than of 
the cause ; whether we hear of such effects abroad, 
or whether we feel or fear them at home. If we 
hear of great devastations of countries, towns sacked, 



ON BZEKIBL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 25 

.battles fought, blood spilt, barbarous usages, and 
acts of violence done ; we are struck with a smarter 
and quicker sense upon the report of these things, 
than if we be made to understand how the religion 
of Christians doth languish every where ; or when 
we hear of the prevailing of pride, and anger, and 
malice, and contention ; or of formality, deadness, 
in lifferency, lukewarmness in the things of God. 
That, is, the evils which are caused affect us a great 
deal more than those we are to reflect upon as the 
cause, and which are all comprehended in that one 
cause, the retraction of the Spirit, or that it is in so 
great a measure retired and withdrawn, 

7. It is to be considered too (as pursuant unto 
that last note) that we are a great deal more apt to 
covet a state of external prosperity for the church, 
than the effusion and communication of the Spirit, 
and those things which would be the most direct 
....issues and effects of that. Let us deal with our 
own hearts about this matter, and consider whether 
we be not more taken, and it do not far more highly 
please our imagination to represent to ourselves, or to 
have represented a state of external tranquillity and 
prosperity to the church, wherein we think to have 
a part or share, or may have, than to have a repre- 
sentation made of such a state of things, wherein 
the life and power of godliness, the mortification of 
sensual lusts, eminent self-denial, and the serious 
intending and designing for heaven, should be things 
visible and conspicuous in every one's eye. Let us 
consider whether the former of these clo not take 
our hearts a great deal more than the latter, if it 
be not more pleasing and grateful to our thoughts. 
And again, 

8. It is to be considered also that many are apt 

c 



26 FIR.ST SERMON 

to mistake, and to take wrong measures, of the 
Christian church, and the Christian interest, and the 
Spirit that breathes in and animates that church ; 
that is to reduce all these to the measure of this or 
that party, to which they have thought fit to 
addict themselves, and to judge it goes well or ill 
with the church, according as it goes well or ill with 
their own party, and to judge that there is more or 
less of the Spirit, as there is more or less zeal 
for promoting the interest of that party. And so 
the measures of the church and the Christian interest 
are mistaken, but especially the Spirit of Christ 
most of all mistaken and misapprehended. The 
heats and fervours which some have for a private, 
little, narrow interest of their own, are taken for 
that great, large, universalising Spirit of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, which in all communications works with 
the greatest sweetness and benignity, and disposes 
the spirit of a man answerably herein to itself. 

9. It is to be considered that we are more apt 
to confine and limit our eye and thoughts unto 
what is present, than to extend them to what is 
future, whether the present state of things be good 
or bad, pleasing to us or unpleasing. For if the 
state of things be good, and such as pleases us, then 
we think a change will never come, our mountain 
is so strong as never to be removed ; and if it be 
bad, we are as apt to despond, that things must be 
always just as they are now, that it can never be 
better. 

10. Those who do look forward unto what is 
future, if there be any representation set before them, 
any prospect of what is more pleasing and grateful 
to them, are more apt to be curious about the cir- 
cumstances of such an expected state, than to be 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29, 27 

serious in minding the substantiate that do belong 
to that state itself ; and that vain curiosity to in- 
quire, joined with an overmuch boldness in some 
persons to determine about the times and seasons, 
when such and such things shall be, hath certainly 
been no small prejudice unto the interest of the 
Christian religion in our days, upon a twofold ac- 
count. The disappointment hath dashed the hopes 
of many of the better sort ; and confirmed the 
atheism of those of the worst sort. Those of the 
better sort, many of them that have allowed them- 
selves to be so curious and bold, curious in their in- 
quiries, and bold in their definitions and determina- 
tions, when they have found themselves disappointed, 
have been apt to conclude concerning all the con- 
cernments of religion, as concerning those wherein 
they have found themselves disappointed, as think- 
ing, that their imagination was as true as the gos- 
pel about these things ; and so, if they have not un- 
dergone the shock of a temptation to adhere more 
easily and loosely unto the Christian profession 
upon account of such disappointments, yet, at least, 
their spirits have been as it wer-e sunk into despond- 
ency, because they relied upon false grounds, and 
which could not sustain a rational hope. And then 
the atheists and infidels have been highly confirmed 
in their scepticism and atheism, because such and 
such have been so confident of things, wherein they 
have been mistaken ; and because they pretended to 
have their ground for their belief and expectation 
out of the scriptures, therefore those scriptures must 
surely signify nothing. 

These things being considered, and we having 
the case so before us, as these things taken together 
do represent it ; then, 



28 FIRST SERMON 

II. That which is reasonable to be designed and 
expected in discourses of this nature, and concern- 
ing such a subject as we have here before us, should 
be comprised within such particulars as these. 

1. To establish the belief of this thing in the 
substance of it, being a thing so very plain in the 
scripture, that there shall be a permanent state of 
tranquillity and prosperity unto the church of Christ 
on earth. So much, I doubt not, we have a suf- 
ficient ground for in the word of truth, and even in 
this very prophecy which this scripture hath relation 
to, as we may have occasion farther to show. 

2. To settle the apprehension fully (that we 
should aim at on both sides, I in speaking, and you 
in hearing,) of the connexion between an external 
prosperity, and this internal flourishing of religion 
in the church, by the communication of the Holy 
Ghost in larger and fuller measures of it ; the con- 
nexion of these with one another reciprocally, so as 
that there can never be an externally happy state 
unto the church without that communication of the 
Spirit ; arid that with it there cannot but be pros- 
perity, if we speak of the freeing of it from intestine 
troubles, which will be the only things that it shall 
be liable to annoyance from in all likelihood, in a 
further course and tract of time. 

Take the former part of this connexion, that is, 
that without such a communication of the Spirit an 
external state of tranquillity and prosperity to the 
church can never be, we should design the fixing of 
this apprehension well ; for certainly they are but 
vain expectations, fond wishes, to look for such 
prosperity without reference unto that large and 
general communication of the Spirit. Experience 
hath done very much in several parts of the world,, 



ON E2EKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 29 

if we had no prospect nearer us, to discover and 
refute the folly of any such hope, that any external 
good state of things can make the church happy. 
How apparent is it, that if there should be ever so 
much a favourable aspect of time, yet if men are 
left to their own spirits, and acted only by them, 
all the business will presently be for one person to 
endeavour to lurch * another, and to grasp and get 
power in their hands ! And then they will presently 
run into sensuality, or make it their business to 
serve carnal and secular interests, grasping at this 
world, mingling with the spirit of it. Thus it cannot 
but be, it must be, if an effusion of the Spirit be not 
conjunct in time with any such external smiles of 
time. There can be no good time unto the church of 
God, without the giving of another Spirit, his own 
'Spirit ; that, or nothing, must make the church happy. 
And that cannot but do it ; which is the other 
side of the connexion. For, let us but recount with 
ourselves, what it must needs be, when such a Spirit 
shall be poured forth, as by which all shall be dis- 
posed and inclined to love God, and to devote them- 
selves to him, and to serve his interest, and to love 
one another as themselves, and each one to rejoice in 
another's welfare, so as that the good and advantage 
of one shall be the joy and delight of all. When 
men shall have no designs one upon another, no 
endeavours of tripping up one another's heels, nor 
of raising themselves upon one another's ruins! 
This cannot but infer a good state of things, except- 
ing what may be from external enemies. It is true, 
indeed, that when there was the largest communi- 
cation of the Spirit that ever was in the church, yet 
it was molested by pagans ; but then it was not 

* Defeat, pilfer 



30 FIRST SERMON 

troublesome in itself, it did not contend part by part 
with itself. And if the communication of the Spirit, 
as we have reason to expect in the latter days, be 
very general, so as not only to improve and heighten 
the church in respect of internal liveliness and 
vigour, but also to increase it in extent, as no doub.t 
it will, then less of trouble is to be feared from 
without. But we shall still be miserable, and it 
cannot be avoided but we must be so, if with the 
smiles of the times a large communication of the 
Spirit be not conjunct. 

It is also to be designed in such a discourse, 
3. To mind more what is substantial in that good 
state of things, whereof we speak, than the circum- 
stances which belong thereto, and especially, than 
the time and season, when it may be hoped any such 
good state of things shall commence. And that we 
may be taken off from too much busying ourselves 
about that, I shall shut up all with two or three 
considerations, as, 

(L) That to have our minds and hearts more set 
upon the best state of things that it is possible the 
church should ever arrive to on earth, than upon 
the state of perfect felicity above, is a very great 
distemper, and which we ought to reckon intole- 
rable by any means to indulge ourselves in. We 
know none of us can live in this world but a little 
while, and that there is a state of perfect rest, and 
tranquillity, and glory remaining for the people of 
God. We have, therefore, no pretence for being 
curious in our inquiries about what time such or 
such good things may fall out to the church of God 
in this world. It is a great piece of foolishness to 
cast in our own thoughts, Is it possible that I may 
live to see it ? For aught we know, there may be 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 31 

but a hand's breadth between us and glory, if we 
belong to God ; to-morrow may be the time of 
oar translation. We ought to live in the continual 
expectation of dying, and of coming to a better 
state than the church can ever be in here. It ar- 
gues a great infirmity, a distemper in our spirits, 
that we should reflect upon with severity, if we 
should be more curious to see a good state of things 
in this world, than to see the best that can ever be, 
and infinitely better than we can think, in heaven. 
And, 

(2.) That as for that part of the good condition 
of the church, which consists in the communication 
of the Spirit ; so much of it as is necessary for us 
we may have at any time, if we be not wanting to 
ourselves, and are of those that belong to God, any 
of that seed which by this Spirit have been raised up 
to Christ. It must be our fault, if we have not so 
much of the Spirit as is requisite for our comfortable 
walking with God in this world. And, I add here- 
upon, 

(3.) That that which is common to all times, yea 
and common both to time and eternity, certainly 
ought to be the greatest thing with us, and upon 
which our hearts should be most set. Let us but 
be intent upon this, to get a large measure of the 
Spirit into our own souls ; this may be had at any 
time, if we do not neglect ourselves and the rule's 
that God hath set us ; and this is a thing* common 
to time and eternity. " They that sow to the Spirit, 
shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting," Gal. vi. 8. 
And therefore look we upon things according to the 
proper importance of them, and what they carry 
in themselves. Sure I am, that without much of 
the Spirit all the best things that this world can 



32 ;r, ' SECOND SERMON 

afford me will- ijever do me the least good ; I may 
be a great deal the worse for them, but never a whit 
the better. But if I have much of this Spirit, things 
can never go ill with me ; I shall be carried through 
whatever hardships shall fall to my share, and be 
within the compass of my lot, while I am in this 
world, and never regret the thought of them when 
once I arrive to the other shore, but forget all these 
troubles, like " the waters that pass away," as the 
expression is in Job xi. 16. 



SERMON II. 



PREACHED MAY 15, 1678. 



SUCH things having been forelaid, we may adven- 
ture to enter upon the consideration of the former 
of the truths proposed, namely 

FlRST. THAT THERE IS A STATE OF TRANQUILLITY 
AND PROSPERITY APPOINTED FOR THE CHURCH OF 
GOD, FOR SOME CONSIDERABLE TRACT OF TIME HERE 
JEN THIS WORLD. 

And concerning that, there are two things that I 
labour to evince to you. 

I. That it is a very happy and prosperous state, 
which these words do manifestly import and refer 
unto, 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 33 

"V- f> 

II. That that state is yet future ; or that what is 
here predicted concerning it is not yfet., fulfilled. 

I. That it "is a very happy state of tilings that is 
here referred unto, is plain from the very import ot 
the words of the text; " Neither will I hide my face 
any more from them." What can we conceive de- 
sirable, which these expressions may not be under- 
stood to signify ? But if we understand them to 
signify only a state of external prosperity, (and be- 
cause any farther meaning, which the words in 
themselves might admit of, is fully carried und^ 

CJ * v '. . ' 

the other expression of his pouring out his Spirit ; 
and that is made causal of this, and nothing can n 
a cause to itself ; therefore we do understand them 
only of outward prosperity,) yet surely that must 
be a very happy and prosperous state, which such 
an expression is chosen to signify ; that God will 
shine upon them with most benign aspects of pro- 
vidence. What can go amiss with a people, upon 
whom he doth so ? 

And if we consider the reference of these words 
unto what goes before, and the place which they 
have in that series of discourse, with which they 
stand connected, and wherein they make a part ; it 
will be very evident upon review, that they have 
reference to a very happy state of things foretold. 
If you consider the whole book of these prophecies, 
you will find, that any thing consolatory unto this 
people, directly and properly said to them, except 
what is occasionally here and there let fall, doth but 
begin with chap, xxxvi. The former chapters 
of this book are either full of reprehensions or 
comminations of the people ; the first twenty-four 
chapters are generally taken up so, or else in predic- 
tions of judgment and vengeance upon their enemies ; 



34 SECOND SEX.MON 

(which doth collaterally and by the by import 
favour to them ;) the Edomites, and the Egyptians, 
and the Amorites, the Moabites, the Philistines, 
the Tyrians, and the Sidonians. Sundry of the 
following chapters after the first twenty-four are 
taken up so. But these four lying here all con- 
nected together, from chap, xxxvi. to xxxix. are 
wholly taken up in comfortable predictions unto 
this people, speaking of their happy state in them- 
selves ; though also the destruction of such enemies, 
as did most stand in the way of that promised feli- 
city, is here and there interserted. And then all the 
following chapters, from xl. to the end of the book, 
are a continued prophetical and emblematical de- 
scription of the settled happy state, wherein they 
should be, after they were restored ; as in the 
description of the meaning and building of the city 
and temple you see at large. 

And if we should go to point out particulars to 
you, you will find, that such as these do properly 
and fully lie up and down in these chapters that i 
have mentioned, and which seem to be all of a piece, 
and of the same unto one another. 1. Their reduc- 
tion from their captivity; that they shall all be 
brought back and gathered out of the several hea- 
then nations of the world, where they were scattered 
and dispersed to and fro. 2. The reparation of all 
desolation, the great building of their wasted 
cities. 3. The great fruitfulness of their land. I 
will not direct you to the particular passages, where 
these things are mentioned ; but you may at your 
leisure view over these chapters, and you will find 
tfiem all. 4. The great multiplication and nume- 
rousness of their inhabitants. 5. Their most entire 
victory and conquest over their most potent and 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 35 

troublesome enemies. 6. Their entire union among 
themselves, under one king ; as you may see in 
chap, xxx vii. The making of that scattered people 
entirely one, that so divided people, so broken 
from themselves, Israel and Judah, one stick in 
God's own hand. And, 7. God's owning them 
visibly as his people, and taking them anew into 
covenant with himself, having pardoned their ini- 
quities, and cleansed them from all their filthiness 
and their idols, and so restored the relation between 
himself and them. Certainly the concurrence of all 
these things cannot but make a very happy state. 

II. That such a state of things is yet future, re- 
quires to be somewhat more at large insisted on. 
And for the evincing of it, it is manifest that such 
predictions must have a signification in reference 
unto the people of Israel, according to one under- 
standing or another of that term or name, " The 
house of Israel." And we can have but these two 
senses to reflect upon ; either that it must mean 
Jacob's natural seed ; or else the ehurch of God in 
the world in common, his universal church, includ- 
ing and comprehending such of Israel, as have been 
or at any time shall be called, and brought within 
the compass of the Christian church. Now take 
either of these senses of that style of address, and I 
suppose it capable of being plainly enough evinced, 
that such a happy state of things hath not been as 
yet, and therefore is to be looked upon as still 
future. 

1. If you take Israel in the former sense, it is 
very plain that these prophecies have not been ac- 
complished to the natural seed of Israel. Particularly, 

(1.) That people have never been entirely restored 
to their own land. The prophecy concerning the 



36' SECOND SERMON 

dry bones that should be made to live, in chapter 
xxxvii. is expressly said to concern the whole house 
of Israel, verse 11. But it is plain that the whole 
house of Israel, in the literal sense, hath not been 
restored. What became of the ten tribes we do 
not know. This is a thing about which there is 
much dissension ; but none that I can tell are able 
to determine, where or in what part of the world 
they are. It is true indeed that we find the apostle 
speaking of the piety of the twelve tribes ; " Our 
twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, 
hope to come unto the promise of the resurrection," 
Acts xxvi. 7. But that can only be understood to 
mean, either that Shalmanezer, when he carried away 
the ten tribes, left some ; and yet it is plain that he 
left very few, insomuch that the new inhabitants 
wanted some to instruct them in the manner of the 
worship of the God of the land ; or that some few 
might return of the several tribes, here and there 
one. But that they returned in a body, we have no 
reason at all to think ; and so this prophecy hath 
not been fulfilled in reference to the main body of 
the ten tribes, concerning their restitution, and that 
resurrection that is imported by the enlivening into 
living men those dry bones. 

(2.) That people have never been reunited into 
one people, the two tribes and the ten. But that is 
expressly predicted in the prophecy of the two sticks 
made one, Ephraim or Joseph, and Judah. The 
prophet is directed to take two sticks, chap, xxxvii. 
emblematically to signify that twofold people, of 
the ten tribes, and the two tribes, and these sticks 
are represented to him as made one. And the Lord. 
tells him the signification of the prophecy is this, 
that he would make these two entirely one people. 



ON EZEK1EL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 37 

[t is plain, whatever there were of the ten tribes 
;hat did return from their captivity, they never 
jame into a union with the two ; but they were so 
nuch divided from one another, even in the matter 
jf religion, that we see by what is recorded in John 
v. that a Samaritan woman made a scruple to give 
i little water unto one whom she took for a Jew, 
;hat is, our Saviour himself. And they were so 
nuch divided upon other accounts, consequently 
jpon that division in reference to matters of reli- 
rion, that, as one of the heathen poets says, they 
yould not so much as show the way to one that was 
lot of their religion. 

(3.) There hath been no such signal destruction 
jf their enemies, as is here foretold, in the chapter 
where the text lies, and the foregoing : those ene- 
mies that are spoken of under the name of Gog and 
Magog. I shall not trouble you with the variety of 
Dpinions concerning the proper signification of 
those names, and the people designed by them ; but 
whosoever can be understood by them, there hath 
boon no such thing accomplished in reference to the 
bouse of Israel literally taken, as the prophecy of so 
great a destruction doth import. Some have thought 
the successors of Seleuctis, expressly and chiefly An 
tiochus Epiphanes, to be meant ; against whom the 
people of Israel were successful in their wars at 
some times : but no such destruction, as comes any 
whit near the terms of this prophecy, can ever be 
understood to have befallen those enemies. There 
is not the least shadow nor footstep of such a way 
of destruction, as is mentioned in chap, xxxviii. 
That they should be destroyed miraculously, by 
hailstones, by fire ana brimstone, ver. 22, That 
there should be such vast multitudes destroyed, as 



35 SECOND SERMON 

that the very weapons should serve this people for 
fuel seven years together, chap, xxxix, 9, 10. Cer- 
tainly take Israel in the literal sense, and understand 
the prediction in a proportionable sense, there hath 
been no such thing ever yet done and past. 

(4.) There hath been no such city built, and no 
such temple raised, as will answer the descriptions 
in these prophecies ; as is most apparent, if you 
look from chapter xl. onward to the end. Es- 
pecially, that there should be such waters issuing 
from the temple, rising from the sanctuary, and 
carried in a great river, till at last it comes, after so 
vast a course and tract of running, to fall into the 
Dead Sea, and to heal those waters. Take this in 
the literal sense, and no such thing hath ever been, 
or, for ought I know, is ever like to be ; it is very 
improbable it should. So little reason there is, 
either to think there hath been any literal accom- 
plishment of these things, or that the literal sense 
is that whereunto we are to adhere. 

(5.) It is expressly said, that they should all have 
David to be their king, chap, xxxvii. 24, 25. This 
cannot be meant literally. It was impossible he 
should be their king, who was dead so many hun- 
dred years before. Nor can we understand the 
prophecy to have been accomplished in reference to 
Israel literally taken ; for suppose you take David 
to mean Christ, as it must be taken, surely all Israel 
are not yet become Christians, they are not yet 
united under Christ. And therefore it is more than 
evident, that according to the literal sense of Israel, 
though we should take the things prophesied not 
strictly in the literal sense, yet they cannot be un- 
derstood to have had their accomplishment yet. 

2. If we go the other wav, and take Israel to 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 39 

signify the Christian church, and so not to exclude, 
but to comprehend Israel in the proper, natural, 
literal sense, being become Christians, so many of 
them as have been so, or shall be so ; so these pro- 
phecies have not yet been fulfilled. That is, in 
reference to the universal church, it will appear, that 
it hath had no such happy state as these prophecies 
do amount unto ; neither in point of degree, nor in 
point of duration and permanency. 

(1.) They have not had a happy state unto that 
degree, that is imported in these prophecies, and 
which even the text itself doth summarily import. 
There are especially these three things to concur. 
1. The destruction of their external enemies. 2. A 
very peaceful, composed, united state of things 
among themselves. And, 3. A very lively, vigorous 
state of religion. Now a state composed and made 
up of the concurrence of these three, hath not be- 
fallen unto the church of God as yet. There hath 
been no such destruction of their external enemies, 
as can be understood to amount to the meaning of 
what is here predicted concerning that: no such 
victory obtained, as this destruction of Gog and 
Magog doth import : no such, as the success and 
issue of that famous battle of Armageddon, which 
some would have to be past ; though there is after 
that, a later destruction of Gog and Magog mani- 
festly spoken of in the Revelation, chap. xx. But 
for such, as would have that famous battle to be 
already past ; that which they pitch upon as most 
probable, was the great battle between Constantine 
and Maxentms ; the victory of the former over the 
latter by less than 100,000 men, against the other 
opposing him with almost double that number. 
And it must be acknowledged, that that was a very 

D2 



40 SECOND SERMON 

great victory, and of very great concernment unto 
the Christian church : but no way at all correspond- 
ent, either unto what is foretold concerning the 
thing itself in these prophecies of Ezekiel ; or unto 
the consequent events upon what is said of the battle 
of Armageddon, in Rev. xvi. 16. There was no. 
such continued peaceful slate, that did ensue to the 
church after that victory. There was indeed a calm 
and serenity in Constantino's time, mixed with a 
great deal of internal trouble within the church it- 
self, and which increased upon it more afterwards, 
and so still unto greater degrees for several centu- 
ries of years ;. as we shall have occasion to take 
notice more upon another head. There was no 
s&ch flourishing state of religion that did ensue 
answerable to the expression of the text, " I have 
poured out my Spirit upon them, saith the Lord 
God." And so there was not a happy state, made 
up by the conjunction and concurrence of the things 
which must concur. There was in Constantine's 
time, and after, much of tranquillity, by the cessa- 
tion of persecution from without ; but there was less 
of the life and vigour and power of religion. That 
appeared a great deal more eminently in the suffer- 
ing state and condition of the church ; and prospe- 
rity was too hard for religion, much more than 
adversity had been ; as all that know anything of 
the history of those times know. There hath been 
no such eminent destruction of the church's ene- 
mies ; no such internal tranquillity and peace within 
the church itself; no such lively, vigorous, flourishing 
state of religion by the pouring forth of the Spirit ; 
there hath been no such concurrence of these, as to 
make up that measure and degree of happiness to 
the church, that is here plainly foretold 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 41 

(2.) For the permanency and duration of such a 
happy state of things, it is apparent that they fall 
unspeakably short of making anything out to that 
wrpose, who would have the things to be past which 
are here spoken of. It is a duration of a thousand 
years, that seems referred unto as the measure of 
that happy state which is here foretold ; if you com- 
pare these prophecies of Ezekiel with those that 
seem so very much akin to them in the book of 
the Revelation, especially chapter xx. Even those 
who would have these things to be past, do acknow- 
ledge these prophecies to refer unto one time and 
one state, unto one sort of enemies, and unto 
the church of God considered under one and the 
same notion, that is, the Christian church. But 
the difficulty is very great to assign the beginning, 
and consequently the period, of such a thousand years. 

For my own part, I will not assert any of these 
following things. Either, 1. That that thousand 
years doth precisely and punctually mean such a 
limited interval of time ; however more probable it 
may seem that it doth so, and though it be con- 
fessed to do so by them that would have these things 
to be past. Nor, 2. That Christ shall personally 
appear, as some are bold to assert, at the battle of 
Armageddon ; and that he shall personally reign 
afterwards upon the earth for a thousand years. 
Nor, 3. That there will be any resurrection, before 
that time do commence, of the bodies of departed 
saints. Nor, 4. That the happiness of that time 
shall consist in sensual enjoyments: which was 
the conceit of Cerinthus and his followers ; and 
which caused the millenaries to pass under the name 
of so odious a sect of old, by those who had taken 
notice of them, Epiphanius, and Austin after him, 

D 3 



42 SECOND SERMON 

and others : for they reckoned the felicity of those 
times should very much consist in a voluptuous life, 
that persons should have every thing to the full that 
should be grateful to their sense, all opportunity to 
indulge appetite, and the like. And least of all, 5. 
That in this state of things the saints* as such, shall jj 
have any power or right given them in the proper- j 
ties of other men ; or that there shall be a disturbing 
and overturning of ranks and orders in civil socie- 
ties. I do not think that any of these things are 
confidently to be asserted ; and for the two last, they 
carry no other face than of things to be abhorred 
and detested. 

But I conceive that thousand years to intend a 
very long and considerable interval or tract of time, 
wherein the state and condition of the church shall 
be peaceful, and serene, and happy ; but especially 
(as we shall have occasion more to show hereafter) 
by a large communication of the Holy Ghost, that 
shall make men have very little mind to this world, 
and very little seek such a thing as serving secular 
interests, and pleasing and gratifying their senses 
and sensual inclinations. 

I also conceive that this state of things is not yet 
]>ast. So much, I think, we may with some confidence 
assert : that is, there is not such a state of things, of 
such a constitution as that whereof you have heard, 
which hath been in any such permanency as that 
thousand years, though not strictly taken, yet must 
rationally be understood to signify. They that 
would have such a thousand years to be already 
past, are in very great difficulties about the com- 
mencement of it. Some would have it to begin 
with the beginning of Constantino's reign, and so 
to end proportionably from that day to a thousand 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 43 

years strictly, for just so much time. And others 
would place the beginning of that time a consider- 
able while after ; a hundred, or a hundred and forty, 
or a hundred and fifty years after ; that is, from the 
time of the taking and sacking of Rome by Alaricus 
and his Goths ; or by Gensericus and his Vandals ; 
until which destructions, the latter especially, Rome 
did continue pagan, though the empire was in Chris- 
tian hands ; and that therefore this thousand years, 
wherein Satan is said to be bound, began after that 
paganism was quite extirpated and banished from 
jRome. And yet those who go that way still more 
incline to the former account. If so, certainly such 
things must be acknowledged to have fallen within 
the compass of the thousand years, as the limits of 
them are set among themselves, as we would think 
very ill to agree with a state of things wherein Satan 
should be bound. According to the former account, 
that persecution by Julian must come within it: it 
is true, indeed, that was not of long continuance, 
nor very bloody ; but a little cloud (as Athanasius 
said of it) that would soon pass over ; yet it wa& a 
very manifest prejudice that he did to the Christian 
interest, by those cunning arts he used in his 
time ; far more prejudice than had been done it by 
the bloody persecutions of former times ; as may 
sufficiently appear by a view of the state of things 
in those days, when it was not so much as permitted 
the children of Christians to be taught any of the 
learned languages. They were particularly forbid- 
den to be taught the Greek : upon which occasion 
I remember Gregory Nazianzen hath this expres- 
sion, " But I hope though we may not speak Greek, 
we may be allowed to speak truth ; and while we 
may be allowed to do so, as long as we have tongues 



44 SECOND SERMOff 

we will never forbear speaking." But it was a 
great check that was put upon the interest of Chris- 
tianity by that means ; and very unlikely to be so 
soon after the commencement of the thousand years. 
And besides that, all the dreadful persecution of the 
orthodox by the Arians immediately falls in : "Who 
persecuted the orthodox," as one speaks writing of 
those times, " a great deal more harshly, more 
severely, more horridly, than ever the pagans had 
dpne before them ; when even all the world was 
against Athanasius. and he alone was forced to sus- 

CJ ' 

tain the brunt of the whole world." Very unlike to 
a time wherein the devil was bound ! And then 
falls in with the same time that strange and porten- 
tous growth of the mohammedan religion : and was 
that, too, while Satan was bound? And in the 
Christian church, the greatest tyranny among the 
church-governors, the greatest stupidity for several 
centuries of years among the priests and clergy, 
the greatest viciousness and debauchery among the 
generality of people, that we can possibly tell how 
to frame an imagination of. Besides that, within 
the same compass of time must fall out the bloody 
massacres of the poor Waldenses, about the 
eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries. Cer- 
tainly, if all this while Satan was bound, we can 
never think of a time when he was loose. And 
therefore, in point of permanency, there hath been 
no such continuing happy state to the church, as 
yet past and over, which these predictions do most 
plainly refer unto. And therefore we have the tiling 
first proposed, I conceive, in good measure cleared, 
that there is a state yet to come of very great tran- 
quillity and prosperity to the church of God for 
some considerable tract of time. 



ON EZEKIEL AXXIX. VERSE 29. 45 

I cannot now stay to apply this according to what 
it challenges ; these two things I shall only for the 
present hint to you. 

[1.] This being a matter revealed in the word of 
God, our faith ought to have an exercise upon it. 
We should believe that there is such a state of 
things yet to come, and have affections raised in our 
hearts proportionable unto such a revelation. It 
would be unreasonable to say, that we are to be 
affected with nothing but what is present, and comes 
under our notice by way of experience, our own 
experience : contrary to the temper which Abraham 
discovered, who rejoiced in the foresight of Christ's 
day, then so very far off. " Abraham rejoiced to 
see my day ; and he saw it, and was glad," John 
viii. 56. We should foresee such a state of things 
with gladness ; our hearts should be comforted upon 
the apprehension of it. If we can have no enjoy- 
ment of future mercies that are designed unto the 
church of God, how should there have been any 
enjoyment of past mercies unto them that have lived 
long after ? We find that to have been the temper 
of the people of God of old, that they have much 
enjoyed and lived upon ancient mercies, mercies 
long ago past; as you may see in such memorials 
as you have in Psalms cv. and cvi. and in other 
places of scripture. " I will remember the years 
of the right hand of the Most High," Psalm 
Ixxvii. 10. What triumphs and exultations do you 
oftentimes meet with in the book of Psalms, upon 
account of the destruction of Pharaoh and his 
Egyptians, in the Red Sea, and the conduct of the 
people of Israel through the wilderness ? Why, if 
memory will serve to fetch former mercies into our 
present enjoyment, certainly faith should serve to 



46 SECOND JSfc .*10 i 

fetch future mercies into our present enjoyment too, 
and give us the taste and relish of them. 

[2.] We should take encouragement hence 
against the present horrid atheism and wickedness 
that doth so affront the interest of religion at this 
day. We are too much apt to pass our judgment 
upon things by very undue measures ; to judge by 
the present sight of our own eye that that is well 
which we apprehend, or which carries a sensible 
appearance with it of being well for the present ; 
but to forget that it is always somewhat future that 
must give a determination unto that which is simply 
best or otherwise ; that a judgment is not to pass 
till we come to the end of things, till, we see what 
will become of matters in their final issue. There 
will be a day of distinguishing, even in this world, 
in point of the external favours of Providence, be- 
tween them that fear the Lord and them that fear 
trim not. And though now the spirit of atheism be 
insolent, so as it never was in any age, no, not so 
much in any pagan nation; and that where the 
Christian name is professed, even amongst ourselves, 
do we think therefore that atheists and their religion 
shall carry the cause ? No ; if we will but frame 
to ourselves the prospect which the word of God 
gives us an advantage and warrant to do, it would 
guide our judgments much another way ; to think 
that that must need be the better side and the better 
part which shall be successful and prevailing at last. 
It is most eligible to be on that side which shall 
finally prosper, when God comes to lay claim to us, 
to challenge our help in bearing a witness to his 
name and truth and holy ways ; " Come, who will 
take part with me against an ungodly rate of men ? 
Who will be religious in their irreligious age ? Who 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 47 

will fear God when it is counted matter of reproach, 
and an argument of a weak and crazy spirit, for men 
to fear and dread an invisible being T It would 
help your resolution much, would you think in this 
case, that there will be a time when God shall be 
visibly owned in the world, and when it shall cease 
to be a reproachful thing to be a religious man, a 
fearer of the Lord, 



SERMON III. 



PREACHED MAY 22, 1678. 



WE have spoken already of this proposition That 
there is a state of very great prosperity and tran- 
quillity, for a considerable tract of time, appointed 
for the church of God on earth. We have offered 
several things to assert the truth of it : and made 
some use of it, to recommend it as a fit object to be 
entertained by our faith ; and that we would take en- 
couragement from it against the prevailing atheism 
and wickedness of this apostate world, which hath 
borne so much sway in it through many ages, upon 
that prospect which this truth gives us, of a time 
and state of things, wherein it shall cease to be so, 
wherein religion shall lift up the head, and outface 
the wickedness of a corrupt and depraved race of 
men ; when this very earth itself, that hath been the 



48 THIRD SERMON 

stage of God's dishonour through so long a tract of 
time, shall be the stage of his glory. 

But here some may be apt to say ; " To what 
purpose is all this, when no hope is given us of 
seeing any such good state of things in our days ? 
If we are not encouraged to expect with our own 
eyes to see such a happy state of things, had not 
we as good take all our comforts and encourage, 
ments from the expectation of a judgment-day to 
come, and an eternal state ? What doth it signify 
to have any representation made to us of a good 
state of things on earth, which we are told it is 
likely we shall fare never the better for 1" 

This is a thing that requires to be distinctly 
discussed ; and therefore I shall spend some time 
upon it. 

1. The exception, would lie as much against the 
putting of any of these things into the bible, till at 
least immediately before the time when they should 
be accomplished and fulfilled. And so it is an in- 
sufferable reflection upon the divine wisdom, that 
hath thought fit that such an account of things 
should be given for so long time previous unto their 
accomplishment or actual taking place. And, 

2. It is no prejudice at all, against our receiving 
encouragement and having our spirits fortified 
against the atheism of a wicked world by this pros- 
pect, that we may receive such encouragement also 
by the consideration of a judgment to come and an 
eternal state. For do not we know that sundry 

c 

uses may be made of many doctrines, as one and 
$je same truth may be proved by sundry mediums ? 
What prejudice doth it do an honest cause if one 
can produce twenty arguments to prove the same 
truth, and so all result into one conclusion ? We 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 49 

reckon the truth is fortified and confirmed by it so 
much the more. And if there are sundry truths, i'i 
ever so great a variety of truths, that all meet, as 
it, were, in one point, and produce the same good 
frame and temper in our hearts ; is that a prejudice 
to us ? I hope it is so much the more an advantage. 
But that which I shall mostly insist upon is, 

3. That same question or inquiry, To what purpose 
is it that we should hear of such things when there 
is no hope given us to see them, or that they should 
be brought about in our time ? this question, I say, 
there is no serious, considering, well-tempered Chris- 
tian, but is best capable of answering it out of his 
own heart. He cloth but need to consult with his 
own heart, when he is himself and in his right mind, 
and he will see enough even out of his own spirit 
from whence to answer the inquiry, and to say all 
that needs to be said in reference to it. 

To make that out : it is obvious to our notice, 
that there are two extremes, (and therefore both of 
them bad enough, as all extremes naturally are,; 
from whence any such inquiry can be supposed to 
proceed. A man may say, To what purpose is it ? 
either from stupidity and unconcernedness, as think- 
ing they need not concern themselves about any 
thing that is not likely to fall within the compass of 
their own time : or from fretfulness, a vexatious, 
discontented temper of spirit, upon having a pro- 
spect of such things set before them, as they have no 
encouragement, it may be, to think they shall see 
'Now a sound and good temper and complexion of 
soul hath that in itself which would obviate and 
avoid both these extremes, and let us see sufficient 
reason for these two things in opposition to them, 
namely, 1. The entertainment of such a truth with 

E 



50 THIRD SERMON 

due complacency, notwithstanding we have no ex- 
pectation to see the accomplishment of it in our 
time ; supposing we have no such expectation. And, 
2. To admit the delay of that accomplishment with 
composedness and quietude of mind, so as not to be 
disturbed in our own spirits with that delay, though 
such things may not receive a speedy and sudden 
accomplishment according to our desire, The former 
of these would enable us to make a due use of such 
a truth as this ; and the latter would keep us from 
abusing it. By the former, we should be enabled to 
savour and relish it with complacency, and so as to 
get good out of it ; and by the latter, to avoid the 
getting of hurt, have our hearts fenced and fortified 
against any prejudicial impressions thereby. Where- 
fore these two things I shall labour to make out to 
you, that there are certain principles in every gra- 
cious and v\ell-complexioned soul, that will, 

I. Enable it to take complacency in such a truth 
as this, for the substance of it ; and that will, 

II. Compose, so as not to admit of disturbance 
by the delay of its accomplishment ; even notwith- 
standing it be supposed that we are never to see it 
in this world ourselves, and with our own eyes. $ 

I. There are such principles as these, that have a 
tendency to make such a truth savoury to us ; not- 
withstanding it be supposed that we shall not see it 
fulfilled in this world ourselves. 

1. A principle of self-denial. That will signify a 
great deal to this purpose. And you well know 
there is nothing more deeply radical in the whole 
frame of practical religion and godliness than that is. 
But certainly, if a man be of a self-denying spirit, 
he will be able to take complacency in somewhat 
else, than what doth respect his own personal con- 



ON EZEKIEL XAAiA. VERSE 29. 



cermnents. And is it not a most unsufferable thing 
if a man should not? What! would I fancy this 
great world made for me ? and that all the mighty 
wheels of providence that roll and are kept in mo- 
tion, from time to time, are all moved with refer- 
ence to me ? to give me a gratification and content 
according to the wish of my heart? What an 
insolent thing is so private and selfish a spirit as 
that ! 

2. A just concern for posterity would make such 
a truth savoury. And certainly there is no well- 
tempered soul destitute of that principle. Grace 
doth in this, as well as it doth in many other things, 
graft upon the stock of nature. You know it is 
natural with men, upon a consciousness of morta- 
lity and a desire of immortality, when they find they 
can live no longer in their persons, to desire to live 
in their posterity, those that shall come after them : 
and it is a great solace that they naturally take in 
the hope of doing so. Now when grace comes to 
graft upon this natural stock, would not the spirit 
of a man be disposed to take a great solace in the 
hope and expectation, that those who shall come 
after him shall live in a better state upon religious 
accounts than we have done in our days, or may 
be likely to do ? If such a principle as this be not 
to obtain and take place and have an influence, what 
would you make of all the promises that were given 
to Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob concerning their 
seed, so long before the accomplishment of many of 
them? What can all these promises signify, but 
upon the supposition of, and in a way of accommo- 
dation to, such a principle ? You see how savoury 
and tasteful what God had told David concerning 
his house and posterity in aftertimes was to him : he 

E2 



52 THIRD SERMON 

was not so stupid as not to be moved with anything 
of that kind ; but he is as a person in an ecstasy, a 
rapture upon it. " Thou hast spoken concerning 
thy servant's house for a great while to come ; and 
is this the manner of man, Lord God ? And what 
can David say more unto thee?" 2 Sam vii. 19, 20. 
It was a great solace to good Jacob, old Israel, 
when he was now even next to death, to think of 
what should ensue in reference to his posterity and 
seed when he was gone. " I die," saith he, " but 
God shall be with you," Gen. xlviii. 21. And do 
not we think it were a good spirit in ourselves if we 
could be of the same mind? Why, though we all 
die, God shall be with them that succeed ! If they 
shall come into that land, which our eyes shall not 
behold, what ! can we so put off man and Christian 
both together as to take no complacency in the fore- 
thoughts of what good those who may come after 
may behold and enjoy, though we enjoy it not. It 
was a high pleasure that seems to be expressed in 
the contemplation of the future good of following 
generations, by the psalmist, in Psa. cii. 18. "A 
people, which shall be created, shall praise the Lord." 
He was very well pleased to think of that, though it 
were then a time of very great affliction ; as you see 
the title of that psalm doth import; whether the 
time present, or the time prophesied and foretold of : 
for the psalm is, " A prayer of the afflicted, when he 
pours out his soul to God," as there you have it. 
While they are languishing in all that affliction and 
trouble, which they are supposed then to be under, 
yet they are pleased to think of a generation to 
come, a people yet to be born, yet to be created, 
that shall praise God and rejoice in his great good- 
ness^ 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 53 

3. A loyal an.d dutiful love unto the blessed God 
himself, and concern for his interest, tends to make 
such a truth savoury, though we may perhaps never 
see the accomplishment of it in this world. Was 
that heart ever touched with a dutiful sense of his 
interest, that would not be pleased to think of his 
being glorified highly, upon the same stage where 
he has been so insolently affronted and provoked 
for so long a time ? It was an inexpressible pleasure 
that seems to have gone with such expressions as 
these that we sometimes meet with : " Be thou ex- 
alted, God, above the heavens, and thy glory 
above all the earth ;" as we find in Psalm cviii. 5, 
and in many expressions scattered up and down 
the scriptures, of like import. A truly pious soul 
would be mightily concerned that God should, at 
one time or other, have the just attribution and re- 
venue of glory paid him, which is to arise out of 
this part of his creation, this lower, lapsed part. 
Considering now how mean and low and wretched a 
place soever this world is, yet it is a part of the 
creation of God, and there is a revenue of glory due 
io him out of it ; who would not take complacency 
in the thoughts of a time, when it shall be gathered 
up and brought in, when the name of God shall be 
glorious on the earth, every knee bowing to him, 
and every tongue confessing to him ; that at least it 
should more generally be so, than it hath hitherto 
been ? 

4. A compassionate regard to the souls of men 
hath still the same tendency to make us relish, with 
a great deal of pleasure, the forethoughts of such a 
state, wherein religion, that hath been so much 
under reproach for so long a tract of time, shall be a 
creditable thing, shall lift up the hsad with honour, 

E 3 



54 THIRD SERMON 

and outface insolent atheism and wickedness. If 
we consider this, as that wherein the souls of men 
are concerned, it cannot but be highly grateful to 
us to contemplate such better days to come. For 
by how manifest experience doth it appear that 
such a state of things, wherein religion is a reproach, 
endangers and ruins multitudes of souls every 
where ! How many are jeered and flouted out of their 
religion, where there have been only some lighter 
tinctures of it upon their spirits, or only some half 
inclinations towards it, while it is reckoned matter 
of reproach to be a fearer of the great God, when, 
to be a professed devotee unto the Sovereign Ma- 
jesty of heaven and earth, to avow an awe and 
dread of invisible powers, is looked upon as an ar- 
gument of a weak and effeminate mind ; and when 
it goes for pure fanaticism for any to pretend to 
stand in awe of an invisible Ruler ! It is manifest 
what multitudes of souls are ensnared unto perdition, 
even by the shame and reproach and fear of men, that 
religion hath been assaulted with in many ages, but 
never more than in our own. And is it not grate- 
ful and pleasant to forethink of such a time and 
state of things, after that the prince of the darkness 
of this world hath been by such variety of arts and 
methods imposing upon souls to their ruin ; to 
think, I say, of any time wherein he shall be bound, 
and the word of God at liberty and run and be 
glorified without any kind of let or restraint, where- 
in effectual endeavours shall everywhere be set 
afoot for the rescuing of souls from the common 
ruin ? Surely a just and generous love of mankind, 
refined and spiritualized as it ought to be in all our 
hearts, would, even upon that account and by its 
own natural tendency, make the forethoughts of 

< O 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 55 

sucli a state of things very grateful, and very much 
commend such a truth to our acceptance and enter- 
tainment, notwithstanding the supposition that we 
see the accomplishment of no such thing in our time. 

But we are to show farther, that, 

II. There are principles also in every gracious 
person that tend to compose his spirit, so as that it 
shall not be disquieted by the delay of its accom- 
plishment, and so will, by this means, prevent such 
a truth from being abused, or procure that there 
shall be no evil and hurtful impressions made upon 
our spirits by it ; for of that there is real danger, 
that, having the prospect of such a state of things 
before our eyes, and yet no hope that we shall see 
the accomplishment of it in our own time, vexation, 
and discontent, and secret frettings should be pro- 
voked thereby. Therefore we will show also that 
there are principles contained in a right temper and 
constitution of soul, that will avoid that great ex- 
treme, as well as that of a stupid unconcernedness, 
and compose us unto a due comporting with the 
delay of the accomplishment of such things, whereof 
we have the prospect in such predictive scriptures. 
As, 

1. A right and well-complexioned faith con- 
cerning these things hath a tendency to make us 
brook the delay of the accomplishment, without any 
hurtful resentments of it, so as to be discomposed 
in our spirits thereby. For it is the nature of such 
a faith to feed upon the substance of things, and not 
to exercise itself so much about the minuter mat- 
ters and those that are of mere circumstance. That 
is rather belonging to the mean principle of sense, 
which can tell how to converse with nothing but 
what is present, and appears clothed with all the 



56 THIRD SERMON 

circumstances of a present event. But faith is not 
so narrow or confined a principle. It can tell how 
to converse with objects that are in themselves 
valuable so as to unclothe them of present circum- 
stances, and to consider them more abstractly as 
lying in themselves, and to enjoy the real gain that 
is in them, without limiting or determining them unto 
this or that time, or such or such other circumstances 
that do accompany them in their existence. Faith 
can tell how, while we are here upon earth, to fly 
to heaven for us, and to walk to and fro in the invisible 
regions, and to fetch us down comforts and consola- 
tions from thence. And if it can forage into all 
eternity, much more may it into a little future time, 
so as to fetch us what is relieving and comfortable 
from thence, according to what such futurity doth 
contain in it for that purpose. Upon this account 
we have that property of faith, that character of a 
believer, " He that believeth shall not make haste," 
Isa. xxviii. 16. He that is a serious believer indeed, 
of the right stamp and kind, will not prematurely 
catch at things. That faith is not apt to discompose 
the soul, and put it into a violent and impetuous 
hurry; but it is its natural effect to compose, to 
quiet and calm it, to keep it peaceable and sedate, 
till the events shall be duly seasoned and timed by 
Him who hath all times in his own hand and power. 
It is very observable, if you consider the substance 
of that prophecy, which these words of the prophet 
have a relation to, "I lay in Zion for a foundation 
a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a 
sure foundation ; he that believeth shall not make 
haste." One would think, that upon its being un- 
derstood what that corner-stone meant, the very 
hint and intimation of such' a thing, should put all 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX, VERJE 29. 57 

the powers of a soul, that hath the prospect of it, 
into a present hasty quick working ; and that the 
matter should not admit of a moment's delay, but 
be presently done ; so great a thing as the laying of 
that corner-stone ! but this is said several hundred 
years beforehand ; and yet " he that believeth shall 
not make haste :" he shall enjoy it now by faith, taste 
the consolation of it, and have his spirit composed 
unto a willing and peaceful deference, or referring 
of the matter how this business should be timed, or 
when it should be brought about, unto him who is 
the great Lord, and Author, and Orderer of all things. 
As apt a thing as Christ's coming in the flesh was 
to raise desire, and heighten and stir up mighty 
affection among them that looked for the consolation 
of Israel ; yet, " he that believeth shall not make 
haste," 

2. A truly Christian patience. It is the proper 
business of this to compose a man's soul. " In 
your patience possess ye your own souls," Luke 
xxi. 19. The work of patience is to make a man 
master of his own soul ; that it shall be in his power, 
and he shall enjoy himself: for an impatient man 
is outed, dispossessed of himself, he hath no com- 
mand of himself. Now patience hath its exercise 
for keeping us in the possession of ourselves, not 
only in bearing the afflictions that lie upon us, but 
in expecting the good things that lie before us, and 
which we have in prospect and view. " Hope that 
is seen, is not hope : but if we hope for that we see 
not, then do we with patience wait for it," Rom. 
viii. 24, 25. " Ye have need of patience, that after 
ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the 
promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall 
come, will come, and will not tarry," Heb. x. 3f>, 37. 



58 THIRtf SfiftMUN 

You have need of patience, that you may brook ami 
comport with the delay of his coming, and not count 
it long. So the apostle James, chap, v, 7, 8. is 
pressing to patience in reference to the relief that 
was to be expected at the coming of our Lord ; and 
he tells those to whom he writes, " The husband- 
man hath long patience, until he receive the early 
and latter rain. Be ye also patient, stablish your 
hearts ; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." 
It is still drawing nearer and nearer. What coming 
that is, we shall not now dispute ; or how near or 
how far off : but he gives them to understand, that 
while he was not as yet come, they had need of 
patience to compose their hearts, and to keep them 
composed and quiet during the time of their ex- 
pectation. 

3. Weariness of sin will do much to this purpose. 
If once the body of death be really burdensome to 
us, and we would fain by any means in the world 
have the power of sin abated; this will tend to 
compose us unto a willingness, that God should take 
any course with us, that according to his estimate 
and account may most aptly serve that end, to break 
the power of sin. Well, suppose he thinks this a 
fitter course for us, instead of letting the sun shine 
upon us, to make the fire burn round about us ; sup- 
pose he judges it fitter for us to be under strikings 
and hammerings in order to the working off our 
dross, and beating us into a better form and figure ; 
then a true and real weariness and impatiency of 
sin would make us contented to be brought to this 
temper through any course, so it do but weaken and 
wear sin, and break the power of it more and more. 
It would make us contented to endure harsher 
methods for our time, so it will serve that happy 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 59 

end, and beget in us better frames of spirit. For 
he that is a far more competent judge than we are, 
(we have reason to conclude by the event,) doth 
judge, that such rougher means and courses are 
more suitable to our state, to help us to that better 
pitch and temper of spirit, than a prosperous state 
of things externally would be ; such as is meant 
here by God's " not hiding his face." It may be 
he doth foresee, that we should not know how to 
comport with such a state of things, that we should 
grow vain and foolish, earthly and forgetful of him, 
and never mind the great concerns of religion, when 
once trouble and calamity left us. If once we be 
brought heartily to hate sin, and to reckon that the 
greatest of all imaginable evils ; we should be very, 
well contented, that God should use us with what- 
soever severity, so that the power of sin may be 
abated, and a better temper of spirit promoted. 

4. A sense of the demerit of sin, would certainly 
persuade to much composure of mind in such an 
expectation. He that considers with himself, " I 
am less than the least of all mercies," and 1 have 
deserved not only to be under the continual ha- 
rassings of severe providence all my days in this 
world, but I have deserved hell; may keep his 
spirit quiet by that means, though he doth not see 
a prosperous state of things in this world ; espe- 
cially if he have the apprehension withal of par- 
doning mercy, and the sweet savour and relish of 
that. He that would be contented to have under- 
gone any the greatest agonies and distresses what- 
soever, so he might but have had the light of God's 
countenance shining upon him, so he might but see 
that those agonies and distresses of spirit did open 
a way unto a more halcyon season for his spirit, 



60 THIRD SERMON 

certainly he would well be content to undergo any 
severities of dispensations in outward respects, and 
think all well if God have pardoned his sin, and 
let fall all controversy with him. And that belongs 
to a good temper of spirit too, to apprehend sin 
either actually pardoned, or at least pardonable; 
that God is reconcilable, if he comply with his 
terms. And if I can once savour and relish such 
a thing as that, I may very well forbear indenting* 
and capitulating with him for such a state of things 
in this world, that would be pleasing and grateful 
to me. 

5. A subject, governable spirit would contribute 
very much to keep us composed and quiet under 
such an expectation and delay : a spirit instructed 
unto obedience, and that knows how to bo under 
government, and to yield a consent that God should 
rule. If we can but allow him to bear rule in all 
the kingdoms of the world, and do what he pleases 
on earth in his own way and time ; if we have our 
hearts formed unto this, it will certainly make us 
composed in the expectation of whatever were most 
grateful to us in this world, or during the delay of 
bringing such things about for us. We find our 
Saviour doth with some severity reflect upon his 
disciples, immediately before his ascension, when 
they put that curious question to him, " Lord, wilt 
thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel ?" 
It was an odd notion, too, that they had of that 
kingdom, as appears from other passages. Why 
says he, " It is not for you to know the times and 
the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own 
power," Acts i. 6, 7. What ! are you for wresting 
the sceptre out of his hands, and will not you allow 
* Contracting, making a compact. 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 61 

him the government of the world ? Are you not 
contented he should bear rule? Certainly it is a 
very ill-tempered spirit, that will quarrel at this, that 
God is above us, that he hath the ordering and 
timing of all things in his own hand and power. 
Therefore a subject, governable spirit must needs 
be in this case a calm, composed, quiet spirit, unapt 
to storm and tumultuate, and to admit of any vex- 
atious and unquiet thought, because such things are 
not done now, or possibly may not be clone within 
our time, that we could wish to see done. You 
find that it was indeed a very fervent desire that 
Moses had of seeing the land of Canaan. It is 
worth while to take notice how he pleads with God 
upon that account, as he recollects the story himself, 
Deut. iii. 24, &c. He is relating to the people how 
he besought the Lord at that time, when the con- 
troversy was about that business. " I besought the 
Lord," says he, " at that time, saying, Lord God, 
tliou hast begun to show 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 mountain and Lebanon." But how is 
he answered ? " But the Lord was wroth with me 
for your sakes, and would not hear me ; and the 
Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee, speak no more 
to me of this matter ;" I will not be spoken to any 
more about the matter. And you see afterwards 
how contentedly he goes up and dies on this side 
Jordan. " Go up and die ;" and he goes up and dies ; 
there was no more disputing about the business, he 
was contented to die, and not see that goodly moun 
tain and Lebanon. Certainly that is a very good 

F 



62 THIRD SERMON 

contentment in such cases, for the Lord to order 
what he sees meet unto our lot and portion. 

6. A serious diligence in present duty. Whoever 
have not a disposition of heart to mind the duty of 
their own time, the business that lies in their hand 
to do ; certainly their temper is not good. But 
every serious Christian can find himself so much to 
do, as to have little leisure to entertain himself 
unto his prejudice with disquieting thoughts con- 
cerning what is yet future, whether of good or evil, 
within the compass of time and of this present lower 
world. And if it be observed, I doubt not but com- 
mon experience will give suffrage to it, that they 
are most apt to let out their spirits extravagantly to 
mind the concernments of future time unto anxiety 
and so as to busy themselves most about them, who 
have the least mind to be busy about present duties. 
You know the looser and more careless and licen- 
tious Christians, who cannot endure to have their 
spirits bound and tied down to their work, the work of 
their present stations, are they that love to be making 
complaints. Oh ! how I could serve God, if I were 
but in such a time \ So liberal are they to him of 
that which is not in their own power, which is not 
theirs. It is only the present time is theirs : but 
they will not serve him with that which they have, 
the present day, He that understands his work 
and business as a Christian, that is, to give up him- 
self to prayer, and to a serious watching over his 
own heart, to the endeavour of preserving a good 
temper of spirit, or preventing a bad ; he that knows 
what it is to be intent upon the mortifying of cor- 
ruption, and the quickening and exercising of one 
and another grace seasonably, and as occasions do 
invite and call it forth into exercise ; such a one we 



ON EZEKIEL XXXlX.r-VERSE 29. 63 

may truly reckon to be very well composed in his 
own spirit, in reference to what God does or is 
doing in his time 

7. Familiarity with death is another thing in the 
temper of a good soul, that will very much compose 
to a quiet, peaceful frame, during the delay of such 
things as we wish to see in this world, in reference 
to the prosperous state of the church of God and 
the interest of religion. Certainly a man is to be 
reckoned so much the better Christian, by how 
much the more he is acquainted with the thoughts 
of dying, and hath made death familiar to himself. 
Now he that lives conversant about the very brink 
of the grave, that reckons upon living but a little 
while here, but is continually expecting his dismis- 
sion and call into eternity ; cannot surely be con- 
cerned to any great anxiety of mind, about what 
shall or shall not come in this world within his 
time. For such a one would reckon with himself; 
Suppose I had ever so great assurance, that such 
and such desirable things shall fall out next year, 
yet I. may die this. No serious person will put 
death far from him, look upon it as a very distant 
thing ; and therefore such will not be very apt to 
disquiet themselves with the solicitous expectation 
of good things on this side, because they will still 
reckon, Death may come between me and that ex- 
pectation, if it were ever so near. 

8. A heavenly frame of spirit will do more than 
all in this matter. To have the heart much taken 
up with the thoughts of heaven, and the rest which 
remains for the people of God, will deliver one from 
the danger of hurtful impressions by having the 
prospect of such good things before us in this world, 
which it may be we shall not live to see. You read 

F'2 



64 THIRD 

of those worthies in Heb. 11. several of whom had 
been named in the verses before this which I am 
about to mention, verse 13. It is said of them, 
"They all died in. faith, not having received the 
promises; but they saw them afar off, and were 
persuaded of them, and embraced them, and con- 
fessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the 
earth." And doing so, " they that say such things, 
declare plainly that they seek a country," verse 14. 
that it is the affairs of some other country which their 
hearts and minds are more upon, and therefore that 
they are not so greatly concerned about the good 
and evil that they may enjoy or suffer in this coun- 
try. No, they are seeking a country, knowing that 
their great concerns did not lie much here. And 
therefore they confidently died in faith, not having 
received the promise of such and such things that 
they had the prospect of; merely through the im- 
pression and power that a heavenly spirit had with 
them, to carry them to follow and mind heaven and 
the great concernments of the eternal world, that 
everlasting state of things. And, as was hinted be- 
fore, it is certainly a most intolerable distemper of 
spirit, and wherein we are by no means to suffer or 
indulge ourselves, that there should be a disposition 
in us to be more pleased and take more complacency 
in the forethoughts of the best state of things ima- 
ginable in this world, than in the forethoughts of 
heaven, that every way perfect state, unexceptiona* 
bly perfect. He that can be contented to sin on 
still, that he may have his imagination gratified here 
in this world, is certainly under a great distemper, 
to speak the most gently of it. And how unreason- 
ably preposterous is it, that any should prefer that 
which is but intermediate, before that which is most 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 65 

ultimately final ! Still always that which is best is 
at last ; that state of things is the only unexception- 
able state, which is unalterable ; that state, which 
is never to give place to another, is the only state 
that is entirely and completely good ; it is fit, that 
that only should be so. There is no pretence for 
a desire of change, in reference to a state perfectly 
good ; and whatsoever state is not perfectly good, it 
is still always reasonable to expect and desire a better. 
Now all these things, I doubt not, you must 
confess at the very first view do belong to a well- 
tempered spirit : and if so, it must argue a very ill 
frame, if there should be any such sickly hankerings 
after the best things that we can imagine in this 
world, as that we cannot satisfy ourselves, while we 
have no hope, or no great reason to hope, that we 
shall see them to fall out within the compass of our 
time. 



SERMON IV. 



PREACHED MAY 29, 1678. 



I SMALL add one or two more principles of a chris- 
tian spirit to those already mentioned, which cannot 
but keep our spirits composed in the prospect of a 
oetter state of things on earth, though we have little 
prospect that we shall liv/e to see it. 

9. A sincere duvotedness to God and to his 

F 3 



66 FOURTH SERMON 

interest. This will compose, and upon the matter 
make us indifferent, in wliat time or state of things 
we live, so it may serve his interest. We have that 
notion most clear in our minds, that we were not 
made for ourselves, nor sent into this world upon 
our own errand ; and it can never be well with us, 
till the temper of our spirits doth correspond and 
answer to the true light that shines in us, to our 
light in this particular thing ; so as that we here- 
upon become sincerely devoted and given up to God, 
as knowing, that this is our errand in this world, to 
be to him, and to be used by him for his own pur- 
poses and services as he pleases. We well know, 
it is very reasonable and fit he should have some 
or other that should own him even in the worst of 
times, and why not we ? What reason can we 
assign, why we should be the exempted persons ? 
Why we, rather than others, should not serve him 
in difficulties and exercises, and endure hard things 
for him, if he will have it so? Unto a frame and 
state of sincere devotedness to God, such a thought 
will be very familiar, "I am not my own ;" and 
how strange a power would such a thought, sea- 
sonably admitted and well placed, have upon our 
souls, to have them contempered to this apprehen- 
sion, 4< I am none of my own ?" Sincere devoted- 
ness to God is, 1. Absolute and entire, so as to leave 
us no right in ourselves apart from him. 2. Upon 
conviction, that it is the highest excellency created 
nature is capable of, to be in pure subserviency to 
him. 3. Upon a thorough apprehension, that he is 
the most competent judge how every one of us may 
serve him to the best purpose, and to the most 
advantage to his interest. And thereupon, 4. It 
cannot but be accompanied with the highest com- 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 67 

placeney and pleasure that we are serving him 
though we are wasting ourselves in serving him. 
It cannot but be a matter of high complacency, to 
be sacrifices consuming in the very flames, on pur- 
pose for his glory and pleasure. While we appre- 
hend he is pleased, it is most agreeable to such a 
temper of spirit to be ourselves highly pleased too. 
For what ! should his pleasure and ours be diverse ? 
And must there be two wills and interests between 
him and us ? 

10. A religious, prudent fear of misapplying pro- 
phecies, or astricting and determining them to this 
or that point of time, which may not be intended 
by the Spirit of God, It is certain there ought to 
be a religious fear of this, because they are sacred 
things, and therefore not to be trifled with, or made 
use of to other purposes than they were meant for ; 
much less to serve mean purposes, to gratify our 
own curiosity, to please our fancy and imagination. 
And there ought to be a prudent fear of this, and 
will be in a well-tempered soul, because of the great 
hurt and danger that may attend such misapplica- 
tions. 

There are two extremes that persons are apt to 
run into in this matter ; either to set such foretold 
events too far off, or to make them too near. And 
we are prone to run into one or the other of them, 
according as the cases vary and are opposite. For 
suppose it to be either a bad state of things that is 
foretold, or suppose it a time for doing some duty 
unto which we are disinclined, then we make the 
time very remote, put far off the evil day, think 
the time is not come yet of building the house of 
God, of being intent upon the duty that is incum> 
bent upon us. But if they be halcyon days, and it 



68 FOURTH SERMON 

be a grateful prospect of things that we have before 
us ; then we are as apt to set it too near, and to 
catch at these good things prematurely, before they 
be ripe and ready for us, or we for them. And here 
lies our danger. 

I cannot but recommend to you that remarkable 
scripture in 2 Thess. ii. 1, 2. " Now we beseech 
you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that 
ye be not soon shaken in mind or be troubled, 
neither by spirit (or by pretended inspirations) nor 
by word, nor by letter, as from us, as that the day 
of Christ is at hand." You shall hardly meet with 
a more solemn, earnest obtestation* in all the bible 
than this is : that is the thing I reckon it so very 
remarkable for. " I beseech you, brethren, by the 
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ;" by what he 
knew was most dear to them, and the mention 
whereof would be most taking to their hearts ; if 
you have any kindness for the thoughts of that day, 
any love for the appearance and coming of our 
Lord ; if ever any such thoughts have been grateful 
to your hearts, we beseech you by that coming of 
his, and by your gathering together unto him, that 
ye be not soon shaken in mind, that ye do not 
suffer yourselves to be discomposed by an apprehen- 
sion, as if the day of Christ were at hand. It may 
perhaps be thought very strange why the apostle 
should lay so mighty a stress upon this matter, to 
obtest in it so very earnestly : and really I could 
not but think it exceeding strange, if I could be of 
the mind that the coming of Christ here spoken of 
were only the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, 
and that " the man of sin" afterward spoke** of 
* Supplication, entreaty. 



ON EZfcKlfcL XX.SIX. VEkSE 29. 69 

vvere only meant of Simon Magus and his impos- 
tures, the feats that he was at that time supposed 
and believed to do ; which certainly could be 
things of no such extraordinary concernment unto 
them that lived so far off as Thessalonica at that 
time, and much less to the whole Christian church. 
But if we consider the thing itself, according to the 
ordinary notion that is wont to obtain concerning 
this day of our Lord, and the gathering together of 
all his saints unto him, certainly it was a matter of 
most extraordinary importance that it should not be 
apprehended as at hand. For do but think what 
dismal consequences would have ensued, if it should 
have been so apprehended, as if that blessed state 
of things were presently to take place, were even at 
the door. We know what a dreadful apostacy hath 
come since, hath intervened, and of how long con- 
tinuance : if this had obtained as a part of the religion 
of christians, that the day of the Lord was then at 
hand, why, then, 

(1.) How strangely had the christians of that 
time been diverted from the proper work arid busi- 
ness of their present day ! all held at a gaze, and in an 
amused expectation of the present coming of our Lord ! 

(2.) What a strange surprise had the afflictions 
been to them that did ensue ! When they were in 
a present expectation of nothing but the glorious 
appearance of their Lord, to have had things come 
upon them that were of so directly contrary a nature 
and import ! Instead of that, to be presently thrown 
into a sea of trouble, or into the flames of suffering, 
how strange a surprise had it been ! 

(3.) What a despondency of spirit had followed 
upon their disappointment ! How had the Christian 
hopes every where languished, and their hearts even 



TO FOURTH SERMOtf 

failed thorn and died within them ! As it was With 
them not being yet instructed in the constitution 
and design of Christ's kingdom, whose very hopes 
did expire when he expired. " We trusted that it 
ivas he that should have redeemed Israel." 

(4.) How had it caused the infidel world to 
triumph over Christianity ! How had it opened their 
mouths wide ! " This was a part of the religion oi 
christians, that their Christ was to come again in 
that very age ; and now, even from their own prin- 
ciples, their religion is proved a cheat, a mere 
imposture !" 

There is certainly very great danger, and there 
ought therefore to be a religious and a prudent fear, 
lest we should misapply prophecies, and determine 
them unto unintended points of time. It is very 
agreeable unto a good temper of spirit so to do 
And if we do so, that very awe will keep us com- 
posed and within the bounds of modesty and gooil 
temper. 

1 therefore shut up what I have to say on the 
first proposition offered from the text with this 
caution ; that we take heed, lest we fail of giving a 
due preference unto the Spirit of holiness, or the 
Spirit of God, as he is the Spirit of holiness, above 
what we give to the spirit of prophecy, as such. In 
so plain a case I need not industriously represent 
to you the inequality of the comparison ; and how 
much the Sphit of holiness, as such, is to be prefer- 
red before the spirit of prophecy, as such. That id 
peculiar unto the children of the Most High, the 
sons of God, those who are designed for an eternal 
inheritance : the other, strangers, even a paganish 
Balaam, may share and partake in as well as others. 
And what good would it do us if wjj, had the 



ON EZEIUEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. , 71 

foreknowledge of all events through all succeeding 
time? Most apparent it is that infinite knowledge 
doth only agree with infinite power ; and, therefore, 
that it is fit that knowledge should be proportionally 
hounded as power is, kept within as narrow limits. 
It would not only do us no good, but it would he 
a most unspeakable prejudice to us to have the 
foreknowledge of all events; that that should be 
the measure and compass of our understanding 
faculty, to have the knowledge of things future as 
well as of those which are present. For plain it is, 
that the good things which we should foreknow, if we 
see them certain not to fall out in our own time, and 
especially if we did foreknow that they would nearly 
border upon our time, how should we languish in 
the very sight of them, that we should come so near 
and not reach ? And for all the evils that we should 
foresee, we should thereby multiply them, and suffer 
every affliction a thousand times over, whereas God 
intends we should suffer it but once. We should 
bring the trouble of all our days into every day. 
It was therefore ceitainly a merciful law, if we 
would understand it; "Take no thought for to- 
morrow; sufficient for the day is the evil of it." 
And I reckon it admirable wisdom, which we are all 
concerned to adore, that when it was as easy to God 
to have given us a catalogue of all considerable 
events unto the end of the world, determined unto 
certain times when they should fall out, as to give 
us the ten commandments, he hath done this, and 
not that. It was admirable wisdom, which we 
ought highly to reverence him for, that he hath 
stated our case so, and doth keep times and seasons 
so hid in his own hand and power, as he is pleased 
to do. And for whatsoever satisfaction we are 



FOURTH SERMON 

capable of taking, in apprehending the substantial 
truth of such a thing without bringing it to circum- 
stances, that there is such a good state of things fov 
the church of God in this world, and at one time or 
other will obtain ; whatever just satisfaction we can 
take in the apprehension of it ; I reckon that if we 
had that due respect that we should have unto a 
right temperature of our own minds and hearts, in 
such particulars as I have mentioned, we should 
thereby highly enhance that pleasure ; as much as 
the pleasure that a temperate man takes in eating 
and drinking is greater than that which a furious 
and libidinous appetite is capable of taking, in a 
person to whom his very hunger is a disease. 

And therefore now I shall leave this proposition, 
and go on to that other truth that we observed, 

THAT SUCH A GOOD STATE OF THINGS CAN NEVER 
BE BROUGHT ABOUT BUT BY A GREAT EFFUSION OF 
THE SPIRIT OF GOD. 

In speaking to this, I shall, 

I, Briefly show what kind of communication oi 
the Spirit this must be. 

II. Show the apt and appropriate usefulness oi 
that means unto this end, the bringing about of s 
good state of things. 

I. What kind of communication it must be. 

If we speak of it objectively, that is, in respect o 
the thing communicated, so the communication o 
the Spirit must intend the influences and operation: 
of the Spirit, and the consequent effects and fruits o 
it; its CHARISMATA; those principally and chiefl] 
that do accompany salvation, which proceed from i 
as the Spirit of holiness. Though yet we are not t< 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 73 

exclude those ordinary gifts of the Spirit that are 
statedly in the church, and subservient to those 
other. Whether ever any extraordinary gifts shall 
be renewed, that, because I know nothing of it, I 
shall affirm nothing in. 

If you speak of this communication formally, as 
to the nature or kind of it in itself considered, so 
we may understand it to be a very great and plen- 
tiful communication that is here meant. So the 
very expression in the text of " pouring forth" doth 
import; the same word being used sometimes to 
signify the larger and more remarkable issues of 
God's wrath, when as a deluge and inundation it 
breaks forth upon a people and overflows. It sig- 
nifies, as some critical writers do observe, both 
celerity and abundance in the effusion. And the 
expression having that use, to denote the breakings 
forth of the wrath and fury of God, and being now 
applied here to this purpose, it carries such an im- 
port with it, as if it had been said, " My wrath was 
never poured forth so copiously, so abundantly, but 
that there shall be as large and copious an effusion 
of my Spirit." I take it, that these two properties 
must be understood to belong unto this communica- 
tion ; the fulness of it, in reference to each particular 
soul, or intensively considered ; and the univer- 
sality of it, so as that it shall extend unto vastly 
many, in comparison of what it hath done ; but 
neither of them to be understood in an absolute sense. 
And so much being supposed (as there will be occa- 
sion in future inferences from scripture to let you 
see) that the communication will be of this kind, 
.and qualified by such properties, we have a sufficient, 
ground upon which to go on unto the next head, that 
is s to show, 

a 



74 POURTH SERMON 

II. The apt and appropriate usefulness of this- 
effusion of the Spirit unto this purpose, to bring 
about a good state of things for the Christian church. 
And in doing that, we shall have two things to 
evince. 

1. The efficacy of such an effusion of the Spirit 
unto this purpose. 

2, The necessity of it. 

That this means will certainly do the business, 
and that nothing else can ; that there is no other 
way to bring such a state of things about. Which 
things need to be insisted on particularly and seve- 
rally, to obviate two great evils, to which we are ' 
very liable ; that is, 1. To distrust such a spiritual 
means of our good, and of the common good, as 
this is. 2. To let our minds and hearts hanker 
after some other means and methods, that certainly 
will never do the business. 

(1.) There is a very great aptness to distrust 
such a means as this, to entertain very cold thoughts 
about it. The Spirit ! How should the Spirit do 
such a thing as this ; bring about a universal tran- 
quillity and peace, and in all respects a more pros- 
perous and flourishing state for the church of God 
in the world ? That same expression of the prophet, 
and the form of it, being considered, that it is ex- 
postulatory ? " Js the Spirit of the Lord straitened T 
Mic. ii. 7. (So the house of Jacob is expostulated 
with !) it imports a very great aptitude even in a 
professing people, to have a great deal of distrust 
about the Spirit, and the effects to be accomplished 
and brought about by it. It is a keen and pungent 
way of speaking to speak expostulatorily, as here. , 
" What ! have you learned no better, you house of 
Jacob, than to think, that the Spirit of the Lord can 



ON EZEK1EL AXXIX. VERSE 29. 75 

be straitened? that there can be any limits and 
bounds set unto its power and influence ?" 

(2.) There is as great an aptness to trust in other 
means, and let out our hearts to them. An arm of 
flesh signifies a great deal, when the power of an 
almighty Spirit is reckoned as nothing. And per- 
sons are apt to be very contriving, and prone to 
forecast, how such and such external forms would 
do our business, and make the church and the Chris- 
tian interest hugely prosperous. As great an extra- 
vagancy as if we would suppose that fine sights 
would fill a hungry stomach, or that gay clothes 
would cure an ulcerous body ; (as I remember that 
is Plutarch's similitude ;) or a diadem cure an aching 
head, or a fine shoe a gouty foot. It is a very vain 
thing to think that anything that is merely external 
can reach this end, or do this business. For it can- 
not be done by any other way, by any might or 
power, but by the Spirit of the living God. 

And therefore we shall speak distinctly to these 
two things, the efficacy, and necessity, of such an 
effusion of the Spirit unto this purpose. 

1 . The efficacy of it, to bring about a very happy 
state of things to the Christian church. Do but a 
little recollect yourselves what hath been said con- 
cerning such a state of things as we might call 
happy and prosperous. All is capable of being re- 
duced to these two things, 1. The more vigorous 
and lively verdure of religion, that that itself do live 
and prosper more. And then, 2. That there go 
therewith external tranquillity and peace. Now it 
may easily be apprehended how an effusion of the 
Spirit doth directly do the former ; and we shall 
afterwards come to show how by that it doth the 
latter too 

G 2 



76 FOURTH SEftMON 

There is nothing that is so genuine and natural 
a product of the effusion of the Spirit as the life of 
religion in the world. And it may be shown how 
the Spirit may have an influence to this purpose, 
both mediately and immediately. 

(1.) Mediately ; it may have an influence to the 
promoting of the life, and vigour, and power of re- 
ligion, by the intervention of some other things : as, 

[1.] By means of the kings and potentates of the 
earth. We have had experience how, in all times 
and ages, our own nation hath felt the different in- 
fluences of the princes under which we have been. 
But we are not now to be confined within such nar- 
row bounds ; for we are speaking of the state of the 
church of God in the general. And think how it 
will be if such scriptures ever come to have a fuller 
accomplishment than they have yet had ; when in 
all the parts of the Christian world kings shall be 
nursing fathers, queens nursing mothers, when the 
church shall suck the breasts of kings, when the 
glory of the Gentiles shall, by them, be brought into 
it ! How much will it make for the prosperity of 
religion every where in the world when these shall 
become, in all places, the proper characters of 
princes, (as they are the characters of what should 
be,) that they scatter the wicked with their eyes, 
that they are just, ruling in the fear of the Lord, 
and are upon the people, as showers upon the mown 
grass, and as clear shinings after rain ; are men of 
courage, men fearing God and hating covetousness I 
Think whether this will not do much to the making 
of a happy state as to the interest of religion in the 
world, when they shall universally concur, or very 
generally, in the practical acknowledgment, that 
Christ is King of kings, and Lord of lords, willingly 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 77 

resign, as it were, their sceptres, or hold them only 
in a direct and designed subordination and subser- 
viency to him and his sceptre. 

[2.] By and through them, upon whom the 
work of the gospel is incumbent in the church, the 
ministers of it. In such a time, when the Spirit 
shall be poured forth plentifully, sure they shall 
have their proportionable share, And when such a 
time as that shall once come, I believe you will 
hear much other kind of sermons, or they will who 
shall live to such a time, than you are wont to do 
now-a-days. Souls will surely be dealt withal at 
another kind of rate. It is plain, too sadly plain, 
there is a great retraction of the Spirit of God even 
from us. We know not how to speiik living sense 
unto souls, how to get within you : our words die 
in our mouths, or drop and die between you and us, 
We even faint, when we speak ; long experienced 
unsuccessfulness makes us despond. We speak not 
as persons that hope to prevail, that expect to make 
you serious, heavenly, mindful of God, and to walk 
more like Christians. The methods of alluring and 
convincing souls, even that some of us have known, 
are lost from amongst us in a great part. There 
have been other ways taken, than we can tell how 
now to fall upon, for the mollifying of the obdurate, 
and the awakening of the secure, and the convincing 
and the persuading of the obstinate, and the win- 
ning of the disaffected. Sure there will be a larger 
share, that will come even to the part of ministers, 
when such an effusion of the Spirit shall be as is 
here signified : that they shall know how to speak 
to better purpose, with more compassion and sense, 
with more seriousness, with more authority and 
allurement, than we now find we can. 

o 3 



78 FOURTH SERMON 

Other ways also we may suppose the Spirit to 
have mediate influence by others for this purpose. 
I shall only close this discourse with saying some- 
what to an objection that some may be apt to make. 

But to what great purpose is it, may some say, 
to speak of what the Spirit will do, when it shall 
be so largely and plentifully poured forth? This 
we do not doubt, but when the Spirit comes it will 
do very great matters ; (as the Jews' expectation was, 
" When Elias cometh he will restore all things ;") 
but what shall we do in the mean time ; and what 
good will the foreknowledge of this do us now ? 

Certainly it will import us not a little even now, 
to know which way we are to look, what it is 
that will do our business and must do it ; to be at 
least delivered from that impertinent trouble of 
making vain attempts, and of expecting that to be 
done any other way, which can never be. Our 
experience shows us, alas ! it is not this nor that 
.external frame of things, that can mend our case. 
Should we not be as bad as any other men can be 
to us, if there be not another spirit ? Hath not ex- 
perience shown it ? and to have a disposition to be 
continually making attempts, wherein we are sure 
to be disappointed, and can bring about nothing, so 
that we shall but traffic for the wind ; it is but to 
add mockery to the torment of our disease. It is 
indeed a part of the disease itself, to have a kind of 
pruriency and eager desire to trying things, that 
would make our case so much the worse. A pro- 
sperous state of things externally, some are ready to 
imagine, would itself do all. Alas! what an im- 
pertinency were that, and how little to the purpose ! 
In all likelihood it would make us ten thousand 
times worse than the sharpest sufferings could ever 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE %9. 79 

make us, or let us be, according to God's ordinary 
methods. And to know that we are to look one 
way is certainly a great advantage ; that we may 
hence at least learn not to look a contrary way ; 
that when we hear it is the effusion of this Spirit 
must do our business, we should not let our spirits 
yun into union with another kind of spirit: as it j 
j's with all such that, when a state of things dis- ; 
pleases them, are ready to cry out, " Let fire come 
down from heaven," and make a present destruction 
of all. v " You know not what spirit you are of," 
saith our Lord in this case. Is this like the gentle 
workings of that benign and sweet Spirit that we 
are told must do our business ? and it would be a 
great advantage to us, if the apprehension of this 
did so constantly and habitually possess our souls, 
and sink into our hearts, as to frame all our deport- 
ments accordingly ; and that this might be under- 
stood to be our only avowed expectation and hope, 
it would deliver the rest of men from fear about us ; 
for certainly no man hath any reason to be afraid of 
the Spirit of God, that never did any one any hurt: 
It can surely never do men any hurt to be made 
better by its operations in so easy a way, and to be 
brought into so easy a state as that will be sure to 
issue in. Hereupon we shall deliver ourselves and 
the world about us from a great deal of inconve- 
nience, if once this be but understood, and avowed, 
and seconded by all suitable deportments, that we 
only expect the Spirit of the blessed God to change 
the state of things in the world, and to make it 
better and more favourable unto the religion of 
eerious Christians. 



SERMON V. 



PREACHED JUNE 5, 1678. 



WE liave been treating of the mediate influence of 
the Spirit in order to the more prosperous and 
flourishing state of religion in the world : and have 
shown what influence it may have unto this purpose, 
by the magistracy, and by the ministry, being ex- 
ercised immediately upon them, and so working 
mediately by them for the promoting of religion 
amongst others, by those who stand invested with 
the glory of these great offices. 

We shall go on to show what influence, it may 
have, 

[3.] By means of family order. And it is too 
obvious unto common observation, how religion 
hath decayed, and the interest of it declined by the 
disuse and deficiency of this means ; since families 
have become so much the nurseries of vice and 
wickedness, that were much more generally the 
seedplots of religion. 

I doubt not but many of you can remember the 
time, when in this city family discipline was much 
another thing than now it is ; and the sobriety and 
diligence and regularity of youth much more than 
now ; and fewer known to miscarry than at this 
time. And it is too plain a case, that the miscar- 
riage of so many doth owe itself much to this, the 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 81 

neglect and letting down of family government, and 
the banishing of religion out of families, at least in 
a very great degree. That there is so little calling 
upon the name of God, so little of family worship, 
family instruction, family discipline ; that there are 
so few governors of families, of whom it may be said, 
as concerning Abraham, " I know Abraham ;" what 
will he do? "He will command his household," 
Gen xviii. 19. How few will the state of the case 
admit that character to be given of in our days ! 
How little care is taken to ground them that are 
under the charge and inspection of masters of fami- 
lies in the principles of religion ! Do we observe 
from sabbath to sabbath, that they profit by ordi- 
nances ? whether they are going forward or back- 
ward in the business of religion ? And where the 
fathers of families have, or pretend to have less 
time, how much might be done by the mothers 
among the younger children, and the servants of 
their own sex ! And whereas by the superior heads 
of families want of time is very much pretended, 
pray, whose is your time, do you reckon? And 
whose business is it, that you have to do in the 
world, God's or your own ? And if you will say, 
that the duties of your calling are part of the busi- 
ness that God will have you do ; it is but too possible 
to do God's business as our own ; and therefore it 
is to be considered, whether you do that business as 
God's or as your own. And suppose it ever so 
much God's, and intended for him ; doth the doing 
of part excuse the neglect of the rest ? And the 
lesser and much inferior part, the neglect of the 
more noble and principal parts of your business 1 
Or would you think, that that servant did discharge 
himself faithfully, to the office or obligations under 



52 FIFTH SERMON 

which he is, who, when you commit to him in a 
stated course many sorts of business to he done, 
spends all his time ahout one, and neglects all the 
rest, and the main and most important parts of the 
business you have put into his hands ? And I think 
it might be considered too to good purpose, whether 
(since there hath been so great a neglect of keeping 
up order, and government, and worship in families, 
and the thing that is at the first challenge replied 
by every one is lack of time,) the city is grown 
much richer than it was in those former days, when 
men could spare more time for such purposes than 
they do now ! 

Whatsoever there is of digression in this, I submit 
it to your own judgment, how needful and seasona- 
ble it is, and whether it be pertinent and proper. 
But I make no doubt, that, whensoever God shall 
restore religion in the world, and make it again to 
prosper, and more to prosper, as we hope he will ; 
it will be by this means in very great part. Much 
will be done towards it, when it shall please God to 
stir up the hearts of those who are governors of fa- 
milies, parents, and masters, and to set them with 
effect on their duty in these things ; when they shall 
be brought more to tender the precious immortal 
souls under their care, and be filled with a more just 
zeal against the licentiousness and growing de- 
bauchery of the world. I make no doubt, but when 
it shall be so, this will be found to do a great deal 
towards the reviving and restoring religion amongst 
men. There will be a time, when it shall be said 
severally, and singly concerning the families of Is- 
rael, that God is the God of all their families, (as it 
is in Jer. xxxi. 1.) and they shall be his people ; so 
as that the relation shall not be only with the bulk 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE '29. 83 

and bodj' of the people in gross, but even with par- 
ticular families. And this, it is said, should be in 
the latter days, if you look back to the close of the 
foregoing chapter, "In the latter clays, ye shall 
consider it," Jer. xxx. 24. And, " at the same time, 
saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families 
of Israel, and they shall be my people." And it is 
said, it should be at such a time, as wherein there 
should be planting of vines upon the mountains ol 
Samaria, Jer. xxxi. 5., and when " the watchmen 
upon the mount Ephraim should cry, Arise ye, 
and let us go up to Zion, unto the Lord our God," 
ver. 6. When the people of Ephraim, that is, of 
the other ten tribes that use to go under that name, 
and those that did belong to Samaria, should go to 
Sion, as heretofore ; a thing which certainly hath 
not yet been, 

[4.] By means of the more common and general 
example of serious and exemplary religion in the 
professors of it. That is one great means, by which 
we may suppose the Spirit of God will work much, 
when it hath made religion to revive and live in 
some, to make their exemplary walking the means 
of diffusing religion unto others. Religion is now, 
as it is exemplified in the walking and practice of 
the most, a very little alluring thing, very little 
amiable; it carries little of invitation in it, little by 
which we may suppose it capable of proselyting the 
world, and captivating men generally to the love 
of it. The mean, low, abject spirit that is discovered 
by some, and the contentious, jangling, and quarrel- 
some spirit that is discovered by others, carry little 
of allurement in them to strangers, and signify 
little to the making of proselytes, and the winning 
of persons to the love of religion. We have reason 



84 FIFTH SERMON 

to expect that God will work mightily to make reli- 
gion spread, by a certain aptitude that there shall 
be in it, when grown more lively and more vigor- 
ous, and a brighter shining and more glorious 
thing in the world, to attract hearts into the good 
liking of it. 

We go on to speak, 

(2.) Of its more immediate and direct influence 
upon the souls themselves to be wrought upon ; 
which was the second head propounded to be spoken 
to. And so we are to reckon, that its greater in- 
fluence (when there shall be such an effusion of 
the Spirit as we have been speaking of) will show 
itself in these two great and noble effects. 1. In 
numerous conversions ; and, 2. In the high im- 
provement and growth of those who sincerely em- 
brace religion, their eminent holiness : which, when 
we consider, will make the matter we were last 
speaking of more apprehensible to us, what example 
may do to the spreading of it yet further and further' 
as things once growing grow apace, especi*uiy 
such things as are themselves of a very growing 
and diffusive nature. The scripture speaks very 
much in many places to both these purposes. 

[1.] There are many passages of scripture that 
respect the matter of the church's increase by nu- 
merous conversions ; which is an increase as to its 
extent, as the other will be as to its glory. To in- 
stance in some few of the passages, that speak of the 
enlargement of the church by numerous conver- 
sions. We are told in Isa. ii. 2. &c. what shall 
come to pass in the last days. You have these two 
forms of expression, " The latter clays," and, " The 
last days." The expression of the latter days doth 
more generally, according to the language of the 



ON EZEKIEL XXXlX.-^-VERSE 29. 85 

Jews, intend the times of the Messiah. They 
divided time into these three great parts, the time or 
age before the law, the age under the law, and the 
age (as they called it) of the Messiah. The expres- 
sion is here, " The last days," which seems rather to 
import the latter part of the latter time, as there is 
still later and later, till it come to the very last. 
Now " in the last days, the mountain of the Lord's 
house," which is spoken by way of allusion to Sion, 
and the temple that stood upon that mountain, 
" shall be established in the top of the mountains, 
and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations 
shall flow unto it. And many people shall, go and 
say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of 
the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and he 
will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his 
paths ; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and 
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he 
shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke 
many people, and they shall beat their swords into 
ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks : 
nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither 
shall they learn war any more," Isa. ii. 24. 
Such a time as that the world hath not yet known, 
so as that it should be said generally concerning it, 
that this great effusion of the Spirit, and such a ces- 
sation from hostilities and wars in the world, should 
be concomitant and conjunct with one another : we 
have not had hitherto opportunity to observe a coin- 
cidency of these two things To the same purpose 
is that in the prophecy of Micah, which I mention 
as being of so near affinity with the very letter of 
this text. "In the last days it shall come to pass, 
that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be 
established in the top of the mountains, and it shall 

H 



86 Fimi SERMON 

be exalted above the hills, and people shall flow 
unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, 
Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, 
to the house of the God of Jacob," &c. Mic. iv. 1, 2. 
The same words as before, with very little variation. 
And that passage of a great prince's dream, of 
the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, 
which became a great mountain, and filled the earth, 
Dan. ii. 34, 35. I can, for my part, neither under- 
stand it in so carnal a sense as some do, nor in so 
limited a sense as others. Certainly it must signify 
some greater thing than we have yet seen. And 
such numerous accessions to the church by the 
power of the Holy Ghost in converting work, seem 
plainly intended and pointed out, Isa. liv. I . " Sing, 
barren, thou that didst not bear ; break forth into 
singing and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail 
with child : for more are the children of the desolate 
(of her that was so) than the children of the married 
wife, saith the Lord." There should be a far 
greater fruitfulness than in the time of their more 
formed, stable church state, when they appeared a 
people in covenant-relation, married to God. This, 
though spoken directly and immediately of the 
Jewish church, means in and by them the universal 
gospel church, whom that church did in some sort 
typically represent. " Enlarge the place of thy 
tent, (so it follows, ver. 2, 3.) and let them stretch 
forth the curtains of thy habitations ; spare not, 
lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes : for 
thou shalt break forth on the right hand, and on the 
left, and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and 
make the desolate cities to be inhabited." The like. 
is in Isa. Ixvi. 6. &c. " A voice of noise from the 
city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord 



ON EZERIEL XXXIX. VERSE '29, 87 

that renclereth recompense to his enemies. Before 
she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain 
came, she was delivered of a manchild. Who hath 
heard such a thing ? who hath seen such things ? 
shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day T 
or shall a nation be born at once ?" What can 
this intend, but some such mighty effusion of the 
Spirit, by which there shall be great collections and 
gatherings in of souls as it were on a sudden ? To 
the same purpose in Isa. Ix. 5. " Thou shalt see 
and flow together, and thine heart shall fear and be 
enlarged, because the abundance of the sea shall be 
converted unto thee, (the islanders, or those that 
inhabit the more maritime places,) and the forces of 
the Gentiles shall come unto thee." This is intro- 
duced in ver. 4. " Lift up thine eyes round about 
and see : all they gather themselves together, they 
come to thee, thy sons shall come from far, and thy 
daughters shall be nursed at thy side." And ver. 8. 
" Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the 
doves to their windows V Gathering in like great 
flocks of doves, that, like a dense, opaquous cloud, 
darken the air as they fly ! Which numerous in- 
crease is most emphatically signified by the apt and 
elegant metaphor used, Psa. ex. 3. where it is said 
the subjects of Christ's kingdom should be multi- 
plied as dew from the "womb of the morning." That 
is a vast and spacious womb ; imagine how innu- 
merable drops of dew distil out from thence ; such 
shall the multitude of the converts be in the Chris- 
tian church. That such scriptures have been fulfil- 
ling ever since the first dawnings of Christianity, 
there is no doubt ; but the magnificence of the ex- 
pressions of many of these prophecies seems yet to 
be very far from being answered by correspondent 

n 2 



88 FIFTH SERMON 

effects. That passage in Joel ii. 28. where it is 
said that the Spirit shall be poured forth upon all 
flesh, we are told, it is true, in Acts ii. 16. that it 
had its accomplishment: "This is that which was 
spoken by the prophet,'' saith Peter, when the 
people began to wonder at what they saw, upon that 
strange pouring forth of the Spirit on the day of 
Pentecost. But it is plain that he did not intend 
that the completion of that prophecy was confined to 
that point of time : for afterwards, in ver. 38, 39. he 
tells them that were now awakened, and cried, " Men 
and brethren, what shall we do ? " that they must 
" repent and be baptized, and they should receive 
the gift of the Holy Ghost. For," saith he, " the 
promise (that promise, most apparently, that he 
had reference to before) is unto you, and to your 
children, and to all that are afar off, even as many 
as the Lord our God shall call." So that all that 
was intended in that prophecy is not fulfilled, till 
God hath done calling. And many other scriptures 
seem to intimate that there shall be a time of far 
more general calling than hath been hitherto ; when 
the receiving and gathering in of the Jews shall be 
as life from the dead, as a resurrection from the 
dead, Rom. xi. 15. And when " the fulness of the 
Gentiles shall come in," ver. 25. The way of speak- 
ing implies that that fulness or plenitude was yet 
behind, to succeed after the apostle's time ; and no 
such time hath succeeded yet. 

[2.] There are many scriptures also that speak of 
the great improvement and growth of christians by 
the immediate work of the Spirit of God. When I 
say immediate, I do not mean as if it did work 
without means ; but that by the means it doth itself 
immediately reach its subject ; and therefore that 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 89 

all the operations of the Spirit, whether in convert- 
ing or in building up of souls, lie not in the instru- 
ments, but strike through all, so as to reach their 
subject. But that only by the by. Many scriptures 
speak of the great improvement of the church in 
point of holiness ; so that it shall increase not only 
in extent, but in glory, and in respect of the lustre, 
loveliness, and splendour of religion in it ; that it 
shall become a much more beautiful and attractive 
thing, according to the representation which it shall 
have in the profession and conversation of them 
that sincerely embrace it. Which I suppose to be 
more especially pointed at in such passages as these ; 
" Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory 
of the Lord is risen upon thee. For behold, the 
darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness 
the people ; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and 
his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles 
shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness 
of thy rising," Isa. Ix. 1 3. This speaks that 
religion should be so glorious a thing in its own 
subject, as by that means to be inviting and attract- 
ive to those who were without the church ; and so 
doth directly and immediately speak of such an 
effect as should be wrought by the Spirit of God 
upon persons seriously religious themselves, to 
make them far to excel and outshine the glory of 
former time and ages. This also is the more pecu- 
liar aspect and reference of that prophecy in Mai. 
iv. 2. " But unto you that fear my name, shall 
the Sun of righteousness arise with healing under 
his wings." That is, in that day of the Lord spoken 
of in ver. 1. " Behold, the day cometh that shall 
burn as an oven ; and all the proud, yea, and all 
that do wickedly shall be stubble, and the day that 

H 3 



90 FIFTH SERMON 

cometli shall "burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, 
that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." 
Here is a prediction of such an operation of the 
Spirit, as hath the actual fearers of God already for 
the subject of it ; upon them the Sun of righteous- 
ness shall arise with reviving, cherishing beams, and 
make them spring, and prosper, and flourish, even 
as calves of the stall, as it is there expressed. Reli- 
gion will not then be such a faint, languid, impotent 
thing, as now it is, that makes men differ very little 
from other men ; makes them but to look, and walk, 
and converse as others do. 

[3.] Other scriptures speak of both these effects 
together ; and so of the increase of the church both 
ways at once, both in extent and glory. As I 
reckon all those may be understood to have that 
import that speak of the new heavens and the new 
earth that should be in the latter times : which are 
only metaphorical expressions ; the heaven and the 
earth being the universe, making up the frame and 
compages* of nature. These expressions are only 
borrowed, and denote how universal and glorious a 
change should be in the world ; for these new 
heavens and that new earth are specified by the 
same adjunct, " wherein dwelleth righteousness," 
in one of those texts. We have it mentioned twice 
in the prophecy of Isaiah, that he would " create 
new heavens, and anew earth," chap. Ixv. 17. Ixvi. 
22. and in 2 Pet. iii. 13. that in these there 
should dwell righteousness. The renovation should 
consist in this ; and both the universality and the 
intensive perfection of it are signified. The heavens 
and the earth, that is, the whole frame of things, 
should be the subject of the alteration ; and this 
* A system of many parts united. 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 91 

alteration should be a renovation, tlie making of 
them new, that is, better ; as the newness of things 
is an ordinary scripture expression of the excellency 
of them. Now the creation of these must refer to 
this time of the great restitution : as John speaks, 
" I saw a new heaven and a new earth ; for the 
first heaven and the first earth are passed away," 
Rev. xxi. 1. The former frame of things was all 
vanished and gone ; nothing was like its former self, 
but " all things were made new," as is added, ver. 5. 
A day wherein there should be, as it were, a new 
making of the world. The following texts also 
speak of that double increase of the church jointly, 
Isa. xxxii. 14, 15. A time and state of great deso- 
lation is spoken of as preceding, and to be con- 
tinued. Till when ? " Until the Spirit be poured 
upon us from on high ;" and what then ? " The 
wilderness shall be a fruitful field." There is the 
taking in of more from the world, extending the 
territories of the church further, the inclosing of 
much more of the wilderness than hath hitherto 
been. "And the fruitful field be counted for a 
forest :" that which was before reckoned a fruitful 
field, be counted to have been but as a forest, in 
comparison of what it shall be improved to : there 
is the increase of the church in respect of the 
liveliness and power of religion among converts. 
So in chap. xxxv. 1, 2. " The wilderness and the 
solitary place shall be glad for them, and the desert 
shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall 
blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and 
singing ; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto 
it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon ; they shall 
see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our 
God." 



92 FIFTH SERMON 

And both these effects, numerous conversions 
and the high improvements of converts, are so con- 
natural, so of the same kind, do so very well agree 
with one another, that we may very well suppose 
them to go together, that the former will be accom- 
panied with the latter. For this great effusion of the 
Spirit we must understand to be sanative, intended 
for the healing of a diseased world, and to repair 
the corrupted forlorn state of things ; and therefore 
must be proportionable to the state of the case, in 
reference whereto it is to be a means of cure. It is 
very apparent, that wickedness as it is the more 
diffusive is always the more malignant. The dif- 
fusion and the malignity are wont to accompany 
one another ; just as it is with diseases the plague 
and other distempers that are noisome and dan- 
gerous, they are always more mortal as they are 
more contagious and spreading; and so are ex- 
tensively and intensively worse at the same time. 
And it must be proportionably so in the means of 
cure ; there must be such a pouring forth of the 
Spirit, that will answer the exigency of the case in 
both respects, that there be very numerous conver- 
sions, ancl a great improvement of converts unto 
higher and more excellent pitches of religion, than 
have been usually known in former times. 

Obj. But here it may be said, that it is very dif- 
ficult to conceive, how all this should be, considering 
what the present state and posture of the world is. 
As if we cast our eyes about us, and consider how it 
is in vast parts of it yet overrun with paganism, in 
others with mohammedanism, in others with an- 
tichristian pollutions and abominations. When we 
consider how it is generally sunk in atheism and 
oblivion of God, drenched in wickedness ; and even 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29 93 

that part of it that is called Christian, how little it is 
better than the rest. The great doctrines of the 
Christian religion, the incarnation, the death, the 
resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the future 
judgment, and the eternal states of men, all become 
even as antiquated things ! professedly believed for 
fashion's sake, because it is not convenient to pre- 
tend to be of no religion. But yet all these things 
lie with the most as ineffectual, insipid, unoperative 
notions in their minds that do nothing; and not- 
withstanding which they are and practise, just as 
they would do, if they believed no such things. 
When we consider this to be the present state and 
posture of the world, it is hard to conceive how such 
a change as this is should come. And many may 
be apt to say in reference to this renovation or 
regeneration of the church, the restitution of re- 
ligion, as Nicodemus said concerning the regenera- 
tion of a particular person, " How can these 
things be ?" 

Am. Indeed the long-continued restraints of the 
acts of absolute omnipotency make it even to seem 
but equal to impotency ; and men expect as little 
from the one as from the other. When great and 
extraordinary things have not been done through a 
long tract of time, they are no more expected or 
looked for from the most potent cause, than they 
are from a most impotent. And therefore, when 
any great thing is done for the church and interest 
of God in the world, it comes under this character, 
" things that we looked not for," Isa. Ixiv. 3. Things 
that do even surprise and transcend expectation, 
and which no man would have thought of.' Men 
are very unapt to entertain the belief and expectation 
of things, that are so much above the verge . 



94 FIFTH SERMON 

sphere of ordinary observation. We expect to see 
what we have been wont to see ; and men are apt 
to measure their faith by their eyes for the most 
part in reference to such things, that that can be 
done which they have seen clone ; but are hardly 
brought to raise their faith and expectation to higher 
pitches than so. 

To make things therefore as conceivable as we 
can, we shall point out briefly in what way and by 
what methods and steps we may suppose so great a 
change to be brought about by such an effusion of 
the Spirit. For, as was said, it will not do the 
business with most, that the Spirit of God can do 
all this, which will be granted at the very first hear- 
ing : but a lively apprehension of these events to be 
brought about is not ordinarily begotten, but by 
seeing a way traced out, from point to point, and 
from step to step, how and by what degrees such a 
work may be carried on ; and then the representa- 
tion in that way being somewhat more lively, the 
impression that is made by it on the spirits of men 
is accordingly more lively. But of this more par- 
ticularly hereafter. 

I shall shut up the present discourse with desiring 
you to remind and reflect upon the tendency of all 
this ; that our souls may be possessed with a serious 
apprehension, and thence have a lively hope be- 
gotten in them, of such a time and state of things 
to come, wherein religion shall prosper and flourish 
in the world, though now it be at so low an ebb, 
I may say to you as Paul did to Agrippa, " Why 
should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that 
God should raise the dead ?" Acts xxvi.8. Why should 
it be thought an incredible thing, that there should 
be a resurrection of religion ? " Thy dead men shall 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 95 

live, and together with my dead body shall they 
arise." He hath said it, who knows how to make 
it good ; who is the resurrection and the life, Isa. 
xx vi. 19. 

Aid really it would signify much to us, to have 
our hearts filled with present hope ; though we have 
no hope (as was formerly supposed, admitting that 
supposition) of seeing it with our own eyes in our 
own days. Such a hope would however not be un- 
accompanied with a vital joy. " Abraham rejoiced 
to see my day, and he saw it, and was glad;" 
though it was above two thousand years before. 
Plain it is, there is not a more stupifying, benumb- 
ing thing in all the world than mere despair. To 
look upon such a sad face and aspect of things 
through the world as we have before our eyes ; to 
look upon it despairingly, and with the apprehension 
that it never will, never can be better ; nothing can 
more stupify and bind up the powers of our souls, 
and sink us into a desponding meanness of spirit. 
But hope is a kind of anticipated enjoyment, and 
gives a present participation in the expected plea- 
santness of those days, how long soever they may 
yet be off from us. By such a lively hope we have 
a presentation, a feeling in our own spirits of what 
is to come, that should even make our hearts rejoice, 
and our bones to flourish as a herb. Religion 
shall not be an inglorious thing in the world always : 
it will not always be ignominious to be serious, to 
be a fearer of the Lord, to be a designer for heaven 
and for a blessed eternity. When these things which 
common and prevailing custom hath made ridiculous, 
with their own high reasonableness, shall have 
custom itself and a common reputation concurring , 
how will religion at that time lift up its head, when 



96 *itTH SERMON 

there is such a blessed conjunction ! It is strange to 
think, that such very absurd things as the neglecting 
of God, the forgetting of eternity, the disregarding 
of men's souls and everlasting concernments, should 
even be justified by custom, so that nobody is 
ashamed of them, because they do but as other men 
do in these things. To be immersed all their lifetime 
in the world, to mind nothing else but earthly business, 
as if they were- made all of earth, and only for earth; 
such most absurd things even seem to be justified 
by common practice ; men are not ashamed of them 
because they are but like their neighbours. But 
when persons shall agree with one another in being 
serious, heavenly, avowing the fear of God, in ex- 
press devotedness and subjection to him ; when the 
concurrence of common practice shall be taken in 
with the high reasonableness of the things them- ; 
selves ; how magnificently will religion look in that 
day ! and if we would but labour so to represent the 
matter to ourselves beforehand ; by a lively hope 
of sucli a state of things we should have the antici- 
pated enjoyment of the felicity of those times ; and 
have a great deal of reason, though it may be we 
are to suffer hard and grievous things in the mean 
while, to compose ourselves, and to enter upon that 
state of suffering very cheerfully ; to wait patiently 
and pray earnestly, that of so great a harvest of 
spiritual blessings to come upon the world in future 
time, we may have some first-fruits in the mean 
time : as it is not unusual, when some very great 
and general shower is ready to fall, that some pre- 
vious scattering drops light here and there as fore- 
runners. 

And we should encourage ourselves in the ex- 
pectation of a present portion,, sufficient for our 



ON EZE&/EL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 97 

present turn and the exigency of our own case : 
for we have this comfortable consideration before 
us, that there is always so much of the Spirit to be 
had, that will serve the necessities of every Christian 
who seriously seeks it He will give his Spirit to 
his children who ask him, as readily surely as they 
that are evil will give good gifts to theirs. At all 
times there is so much of the Spirit to be had, as 
though it will not mend the world, will mend us ; if 
it will not better the external state of things, it will 
better our spirits ; and so if not keep off suffering, 
yet will prepare and qualify us for it ; and that 
surely is a greater thing than to have suffering 
kept off; for that is but an external and natural 
evil, this internal and spiritual. It would be a great 
thing if persons would admit the conviction of this, 
(and there is not a plainer thing in all the world,) 
that patience is better than immunity from suffer- 
ing : that great and noble effect of the Spirit of 
God upon the, soul, whereby it is brought into an 
entire possession of itself! Is that to be compared 
with a little advantage that only my flesh and out- 
ward man is capable of? Good things are to be 
estimated by the greatness and nobleness of their 
subjects. Surely a good of the mind, of the soul, 
must needs be far better than that which is only a 
good of the body, of this perishing, external frame. 
And therefore for us, it is as great a thing as we 
can reasonably wish, that we may have such a 
portion of the Spirit imparted to us, that will qualify 
us to pass well and comfortably through any time. 
And have not we reason to expect this, even upon 
what is foretold us concerning what shall be done 
in the world hereafter ? May not I look up with a 
great deal of hope and encouragement, and say, 

i 



98 SIXTH SERMON 

" Lord, that Spirit of thine that shall one day so 
flow down upon the world, may not I have some 
portion of it to answer my present necessities ? 
And that Spirit, that can new make the world, that 
can create new heavens and a new earth, cannot 
that new make one poor soul ? cannot it better one 
poor heart?" To have a new heart and a right 
spirit created and renewed in us, is better to us than 
all the world. And we have no reason to look up 
diffidently and with despondency, but with hearts 
full of expectation. He will give his Spirit to them 
that ask him. 



SERMON VI. 



PREACHED JUNE 12, 1678. 



WE have told you wherein a good state for the 
church would consist, namely, in these two things 
concurring, the flourishing of religion and outward 
peace. I have said concurring ; for if they should 
be so severed, as that external prosperity should go 
unaccompanied with much of the power and life 
of religion, the case would be much worse with the 
church of God rather than better. So true the. ob- 
servation is, that religion brought forth riches, and 
then the daughter destroyed the mother. We must 
say in this case somewhat 'ike what they have been 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29 99 

wont to say, who would give a favourable represen- 
tation of Epicurus and his doctrine concerning the 
matter of felicity, that would make his notion of it 
to consist of satisfaction of mind and indolency of the 
body. There must be a like concurrence of two 
such things to make up an entire and completely 
happy state to the church ; principally, a prosperous 
state of religion, and then (that which would be 
very much helpful and accessory) a peaceful and 
sedate external state of things. 

This being supposed, and having told you what 
sort of communication the Spirit is to be expected, 
we came to show the apt and appropriate usefulness 
of the means to the end. For the clearing of this 
we proposed to speak, 1. Of the efficacy; and, 2. 
Of the necessity of this mean or cause to bring 
about the end. 

We are yet upon the former of these heads, the 
efficacy of this effusion of the Spirit to work a very 
happy state of, things in the church of God. We 
have shown what it is easily supposable the Spirit 
may do towards this purpose, both by way of me- 
diate and of immediate influence, both in producing 
numerous conversions, and then high improvements 
of converts ; and in reference to both have men- 
tioned many scriptures, and might many more, to 
let you see what we are taught and encouraged to 
expect. 

We would now use some endeavour for the facili- 
tating of our belief concerning this matter, and to 
render it more easily apprehensible and familiar to 
our own thoughts, that it might not be looked upon 
as an impossible thing, or as altogether unlikely 
and improbable to be brought to pass. To this 
purpose let us consider, 

i 2 



100 SIXTH SERMON 

I. What hath been done in like kind heretofore. 

II. In what way such a thing may be supposed to 
be brought about, by what steps, and in what 
method, and by the conspiracy and consent of what 
subordinate causes such a thing may be effected. 

III. How suitable and congruous every way it is 
to the blessed God to do such a thing. 

I. We may a little help ourselves in this matter 
by taking an estimate from, what hath been unto 
what may be. Much hath been done in the like 
kind heretofore. You know how it was with the 
Christian church in its beginnings, in its very pri- 
mordia, when the light of the gospel was but 
dawning upon the world ; how great and unexpected 
were the changes that were brought about then all on 
a sudden, partly in our Lord's time, and more espe- 
cially when the Spirit was more eminently poured 
forth afterwards in the apostles' days, insomuch that 
you find the matter represented by such expressions 
as these, concerning Christ himself in his own time, 
" Behold, the whole world is gone after him," John 
xii. 19. So the anxious and vexed minds of the 
rulers amongst that people did suggest to them, 
" We have lost all, the whole world will be his 
proselytes at this rate." But especially, when the 
Spirit came to be poured forth after his resurrection 
and ascension, by that same means, " not by might 
or by power, but by Spirit," what strange things 
were done ! And who that lived at that time, 
would then have expected such things to have been 
done, if it should have been foretold that twelve 
men should convert so great a part of the world ? 
And with what musing, diffident spirits did they 
receive their own commissions and instructions 
when that strange thing was said to them, "Go 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX.- VERSE 29. 101 

ye, and teach all nations." Suppose twelve persons 
should be picked out from among us, and such a 
charge given them, Go and proselyte the world unto 
serious religion ! Yet we know what was done. It 
was said in one place, " This Paul hath turned away 
much people," Acts xix. 26. this one man ; and in 
another, " Those that have turned the world upside 
down are come hither also," Acts xvii. 6. Thou- 
sands were converted at a sermon, the sound of the 
gospel flying to the utmost ends of the earth. And 
this was but in pursuance of what Christ foretold 
should be done by his Spirit. These men did not 
levy armies to carry religion abroad into the world ; 
when their hearts seemed to fail and sink within 
them, as despairing from the greatness of the enter- 
prise, and the meanness of such agents as them- 
selves were, they were only directed to stay and 
" wait" awhile, till they should " receive power" 
from on high, Acts i. 4. 8. And when at last it 
came, with what wonders did these men fill the 
world ! Christ told them, therefore, " It is expe- 
dient for you that I go away, for if I go not away 
the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I 
depart, I will send him unto you, and when he is 
come, he will convince the world," John xvi. 7, 8. 
We read it the Comforter: the word signifies (and it 
would be more fitly unto that purpose read) the 
Advocate, or the Pleader ; so the original word more 
properly imports. " When that mighty Pleader 
comes, my Agent, that I intend shall negotiate my 
affairs for me (when I am gone) against an infidel 
world, then let him alone, he shall deal with the 
world, as infidel and wicked as it is. * He shall 
convince of sin, and righteousness, and judgment.' 
Whereas I have been reproached as a blasphemer, and 

i3 



102 SIXTH SERMON 

a deceiver of the people, and one that have designed 
only to set up for myself, and to acquire a name 
and reputation among men, he shall urge on my 
behalf the sin of the world in not believing in me, 
and my righteousness, both personal and imputable, 
capable of being applied unto others ; and he shall 
urge efficaciously the business of judgment upon 
the usurping prince of this world, and dethrone him, 
and cast him down." And so it did succeed in 
very great part. 

And how lively and vigorous was the religion of 
the primitive Christians at that time, those first 
owners and professors of the Christian faith ! how 
did heavenliness, spirituality, and the life and power 
that was from above, sparkle in their profession and 
conversation, that one might see them walking like 
so, many pieces of immortality dropped down from 
heaven, and tending thitherward ; all full of God, 
and full of Christ, and full of heaven, and full of 
glory ; and this world was nothing to them, trampled 
upon as a despicable, contemptible thing. 

Now we may say with ourselves, that which could 
have been done, and we see was done, may still be 
done. " Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? Is 
his arm shortened ?" 

II. It would very much facilitate the belief of 
such a thing, at least the apprehension of it as 
very possible, to consider in what easy and apt ways, 
and by how fit and suitable a method such a work 
as this may be carried on ; and it will be, I reckon, 
to good purpose to insist a little here ; for when 
the workings of any extraordinary divine power have 
been long withheld and restrained, (as was said,) 
the thoughts and apprehensions of such a thing 
very much vanish out of the minds of men ; and 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 103 

they expect generally as little from absolute omni- 
potency as from, mere impotency, because their eye- 
sight is usually the measure of their expectation. 
Therefore the more easy steps we may suppose to 
be taken in such a work, so much tiie more appre- 
hensible the thing will be, and so much the more 
vivid the apprehension, and the deeper the impres- 
sion upon our hearts ; which is the great thing we 
should aim at in the hearing of any gospel truth or 
doctrine whatsoever. 

Now it must be acknowledged, that a very great 
and extraordinary exertion of divine power, the 
power of the blessed Spirit, is necessary in this case. 
Such an extraordinary effort of absolute omnipotency 
there was at first to create the world : but when 
once it was created, there was a settlement of a cer- 
tain law or course of nature, and a fixing of all 
second causes in their proper stations and subordi- 
nations, in which the affairs of the world have ever 
since been carried on in an equal and very little 
varied course ;' which hath given atheists occasion 
to cavil, " All things are as they were from the be- 
ginning, even unto this day," This may assist us to 
apprehend, how, things being once by so wonderful 
a hand put well onwards towards a good state, the 
course may be continued, and the great interest of 
religion improved more and more. Suppose it be 
somewhat proportionably in this new creation, the 
making new heavens and a new earth, as it was in 
the making of the world at first. There must once 
be an extraordinary effort of omnipotency or an 
almighty power. But that being once supposed, it 
is easily apprehensible, how many things may concur 
and fall in, what a conspiracy of inferior and sub- 
servient causes there may be, to promote and help 



104 SIXTH SERMON 

on the reviving of religion in the world. That ex- 
traordinary effusion of the Spirit therefore once 
supposed, we will go on to particulars that will be 
easily supposable to succeed, and to be subservient 
and ministering causes in this work. 

1. There will be a great observation, no doubt, 
of whatsoever shall be at first done in this kind, 
for the recovery of religion in the world. It is a 
matter that will naturally draw observation. The 
course, wherein the interest and kingdom of God is 
ordinarily promoted in the world, is rather governed 
by that maxim, " The kingdom of God cometh not 
with observation," Luke xvii. 20. The affairs of it 
are carried on in a more still, and calm, and silent 
way. But when God does (as we must suppose 
him to do) step out of his course in this case ; no 
doubt that first effect, or the Spirit of God, when it 
comes to shake the spirits of men somewhat gene- 
rally, and makes them bestir themselves ; this can- 
not but be a very noted thing. If any considerable 
number in one such city as this should all on a 
sudden be struck, and a remarkable change be made 
upon them ; if several notoriously debauched and 
dissolute persons should become very serious, sober, 
praying men ; some noted to be very great world- 
lings, that one could never hear any thing from but 
what savoured of earth or an earthly design, now 
become eminently godly, spiritual, heavenly in all 
their conversation : this would be very much ob- 
served and taken notice of, as somewhat a strange 
and new thing. And, 

2. Upon such observation, the minds of men 
will be filled with wonder, and much musing. 
" What a strange thing is this, that such a great 
number of people will not be as they have been, 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 105 

and do as they have done ! Such as could drink, 
and swear, and rant with the rest of their dissolute 
neighbours, are now taken up all of a sudden, and. 
do no such thing! We can hear them speaking 
of God and heaven and eternity, unto whom 
all thoughts of any such thing seemed perfect 
strangers ! " Men will be very apt to be mused, 
when such a thing as this shall be. 

3. That musing and wonder will beget discourse 
about it from person to person. It will grow, as we 
may easily apprehend, into matter of talk, what 
changes appear in such and such, 

4. Such discourse, it is very supposable, may 
put many persons upon search and inquiry ; first 
into the truth of the matter of fact, and then into 
the tendency of such a thing, whither it drives, 
what kind of change it is. Is it true, yea or no, 
that such things really are? And when once it 
comes to he found really true, that there are great 
numbers of persons upon whom there is a very emi- 
nent and remarkable turn and change, either to 
make debauched persons become religious, or such 
as were before religious to become more visibly 
serious, and lively, and active in the business of reli- 
gion ; when it is found, I say, to be so, the matter 
itself, which such persons come to be changed to, 
naturally comes under inquiry Whither do these 
persons tend ? What do these impressions, that are 
now upon their minds, put them upon ? And it is 
found, that they are urged by such impressions to 
mind God and the Redeemer of souls more, the 
concernments of eternity and another world ; and 
to help all others to do so too, as much as in 
them lies. These things do very aptly succeed 
to one another. And so far the case was like this, 



106 SIXTH SERJuON 

in Acts ii. upon that first 'eminent effusion of the 
Spirit. The matter came to be " noised abroad/' 
ver. 6. and " the multitude came together." And, 
"they were all amazed, and marvelled," ver. 7. 
Very great amazement was upon the minds of men. 
Though it is true there was somewhat miraculous in 
the case, that is the power of speaking variety of 
languages all of a sudden ; and we suspend any 
judgment for the present, about what we are to ex- 
pect hereafter in the church of God of the same 
thing or of anything of like kind. But to have so 
much, as is of ordinary and common concern- 
ment to souls wrought and done, as hath been men- 
tioned somewhat generally ; this cannot but infer 
much observation, much wonder and amazement of 
mind with others, much discourse and talk upon the 
subject, and thereupon inquiry both into the truth 
and tendency of the matter of fact. 

5. Upon such inquiry, we may suppose there will 
ensue approbation ; that is, at least a judicious ap- 
probation, that shall go as far as the judgment and 
conscience, though it may not suddenly descend 
upon the heart and affections. We may promise 
ourselves that, such being the nature of religious 
concernments, and their high reasonableness so very 
apparent. What is it that these men drive at ? 
whither do these new impressions on their minds 
carry them ? Why, only to mind the great Lord, 
and Original, and Author of all things ! to give over 
living, as the most of men have heretofore done, in 
a total oblivion and neglect of their own original ! 
How strange is it for men lately come into being, 
to live in this world and never think, How came 
we into being? How came there to be such a 
thing as man on earth ? such a world as this ? such 



C'.y EZEK1EL XXXIX. 'VERSE 29. 107 

various orders of creatures in it ? All that religion 
tends to, when it comes to revive in the spirits of 
men, is but to engage them to look back to their 
own original, to consider whence they sprang ; and 
what duty they owe there, what reverence, and fear, 
and love; and what expectations they may have 
from that great and eternal and all-comprehending 
Being, from whom they and all things did proceed : 
and whereas they find themselves in a lapse and 
apostacy with the rest of mankind, and have the 
discovery of a Redeemer, and of God restoring and 
recovering souls by him ; to consider, what trust, 
what love, what subjection, what entire devotedness 
is justly claimed as most due and fit to be paid to 
him. When religion aims at no other things than 
these ; we may promise ourselves, that the inquiry 
will end in approbation. All this is equal, and 
righteous, and good ; men can have nothing to say 
against it. The concernments of religion are of 
that sort and kind, that they will admit of search 
and bear an inquiry ; and men are only therefore 
not approvers of religion at least, because they in- 
quire not, and so can understand no reason imagin- 
able why men should pretend to any religion at 
all. But the same reasons will urge a thousand 
times more for the greatest and deepest seriousness 
in religion. For the mere formality of religion, 
without the substance and soul, is the most absurd 
and ridiculous thing in all the world, and for which 
least is to be said. The profession of downright 
atheism were a great deal more rational than to 
pretend to the belief of such a Deity that can be 
pleased with trifles and shadows ; than to worship 
such a thing for a God, that cannot tell whether 
I love him or not, and fear him or not, and have a 



108 SiXTH SERMON 

neart really prepense and devoted to him or not. 
The inquiry and discussion of the case must be sup- 
posed to infer great appobation. 

6. That is likely to infer an apprehension of 
somewhat divine in it. When it shall be seen that 
men are strangely wrought upon, and very great 
changes made upon them ; and when being dis- 
coursed with, and the things unto which their spirits 
tend being examined and searched into, they are 
found to speak words of truth and soberness, and 
not like mad and distracted men that are beside 
themselves ; as the apostles were fain to apologize 
once and again, when so strange things began to be 
wrought by their ministry at the first, in Acts ii. 
15, 16. and chap. xxvi. 25. This must be sup- 
posed also very apt and likely to succeed, that there 
will be an apprehension in the case, that there is 
something divine in all this ; some misgiving or 
suspicion of it ; " Surely it is of God, that there is 
this change and turn upon the spirits of so many 
men ! Surely there is some divine hand in it !" We 
find that there were such apprehensions of somewhat 
divine in the matter, when such great things were 
wrought at first by the ministry of the apostles. 
The most malicious enemies were full of foubt, 
" whereunto this would grow," Acts v. 24. And 
one of their wisest men saith, in verse 39, " If it 
[this thing] be of God. 1 ' That " if" imports a 
suspicion, some doubt and apprehension of the thing 
as not improbable : " Perhaps this is of God, that 
there are begun such alterations in many men ; thaj 
those -who lived before as if they were altogethef 
made of earth, now are come to mind nothing but 
heaven, and eternity, and the concernments of an 
other world. It is very likely that there is a divine 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 109 

hand in this matter ; for the more we inquire and 
search, the less we have to say against what these 
men do ; we cannot see but it is highly reasonable 
that men should live, as they say we should, in more 
serious observance of, and devotedness and love 
to, the great Lord of heaven and earth, and the 
Redeemer of sinners." And, 

7. Hereupon succeeds naturally a favourable in- 
clination towards religion in those who have hitherto 
been strangers, at least, to the power and life of it. 
When they see it sparkle in the conversations of 
others ; when they see persons that were become 
like other men, for that is the present state of the 
world, and it is too much to be feared that.it will 
grow more and more so, that those who have been 
very forward professors of religion fall to decays, 
and their profession, like an old garment, grows 
threadbare, and is worn off from them by piece- 
meal, and they cease to be what they were : family 
orders are thrown off, no worship, no calling upon 
God ; they let themselves be ingulfed of the world, 
as if they were here in the world for nothing else 
than to drive designs for a few days ; eternity and 
everlasting concernments being quite forgot : 
when it shall be said, that men, whatever they were 
before, are awakening out of this drowsy, .dead sleep, 
and returning from that dreadful apostacy ; and a 
spirit of seriousness, and life, and vigour, begins to 
show itself; and religion and holiness (as I was 
saying) shall sparkle in the lives of them ; in whose 
conversation there was hardly the least glimmering 
of it appearing before : then so amiable and lovely 
a thing, as well as highly reasonable, religion is, that 
it will draw favourable inclination ; especially when 
that apprehension goes along, that there is certainly 



110 SIXTH SERMON 

some divine impression upon men's minds, that 
makes them bestir themselves and alter their course 
from what it was, and that induces so many to do 
thus as it were at once. For there is a natural 
reverence of what is apprehended to be divine ; this 
naturally draws a kind of veneration. It was in- 
deed strange how the world could be imposed upon 
to believe such figments and fables as they did ; but 
being made to believe them, we see what was the 
natural operation of that veneration, which resides 
in the spirits of men, of things apprehended divine. 
For the image that dropped down from Jupiter, 
mentioned in Acts xix. 35. it is strange how the 
people could be made to believe that such an image 
fell down out of heaven : but being made to believe 
it. nature followed its own course ; that is, most 
highly to reverence what they apprehended to be of 
a divine descent, and what came from above. All 
the city, all that city of Ephesus, was a worshipper 
6f the image that they were told came down from 
Jupiter. A favourable propension there will be to- 
wards religion when once men come generally to 
take notice of it as a divine thing ; of divine 
descent, as it is of a divine tendency. And so it 
was in that first great work of this kind, which we 
read of in Acts ii. That numerous multitude of 
converts, three thousand at one sermon, continued 
in " breaking of bread from house to house, and 
did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of 
heart," verse 46. " praising God, and having 
favour with all the people," verse 47. Religion, 
when it comes to be itself and to look like itself, 
will very much attract favour from all who be- 
hold the genuine natural workings and tendencies 
of it. 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. Ill 

8. Hereupon cloth unavoidably ensue a general 
esteem for serious religion, which will signify a 
great deal to this. When serious religion shall, 
by these means, be brought into credit, then the 
work will drive on apace, and the chariot-wheels 
move easily. Let us but bethink ourselves, what 
the reputation even of so despicable a thing as 
wickedness itself doth in the world ; how it spreads, 
when common practice hath once given it a repu- 
tation. Things which, at other times, persons would 
have been ashamed of, or even that they should be 
suspected concerning them, afterwards they come to 
glory in. And when once the restraint of shame is 
gone off from the spirits of men, it is a strange 
liberty they mid to do wickedly ; now they can easily 
go from one wickedness to another, from bad to 
worse, and still to worse ; for the restraint is gone 
that bound up their spirits before. When the shame 
then of being seriously religious shall cease, and it 
shall become a reputation in the world ; think, what 
that will signify in the case of so highly reasonable 
and beautiful a thing as religion in itself is. Com- 
mon reputation gives a patronage to so horrid, so 
ignominious a thing as wickedness. What will not 
so lovely and praiseworthy a thing, as religion is 
in the very heart and conscience of men that allow 
themselves to consider it, gain of reputation and by 
it in such a case ; when every man shall be the 
more esteemed of, by how much the more he ap- 
pears a sincerely religious man ; when no man shall 
be afraid to avow himself a fearer of the great Lord 
of heaven and earth, but this shall be reckoned in 
every one's account a high glory ; when every one 
shall be ready to give suffrage to it, and to say, It is 
reasonable we should all be so? Then may we 



K P 

ft fj 



112 . SIXTH SERMON 

suppose religion to be riding on prosperously, con- 
quering and to conquer ; then may we expect the 
arrows of the great Author of it to be sharp in the 
hearts of men ; the way of access will be easy into 
the inwards of men's souls, the great truths and doc- 
trines of religion will come under no prejudice ; men 
will not be shy and ashamed to entertain them, or 
afraid what the tendency of entertaining them will 
be, or what course they shall be thereby engaged in 
that may possibly prove injurious to them in point 
of reputation or worldly interest one way or an- 
other. 

These things being all taken together, it seems 
we have a pretty apt method, and a representa- 
tion of fair and easy steps, in which we may sup- 
pose such a work to be carried on ; when once 
there is that great effort of the almighty power of 
the Spirit, to cause somewhat general rou sings and 
awakenings in the spirits of men, to make them a 
little bestir themselves and look about them, with 
respect to the concernments of the Maker of this 
world, and their relation and tendency to another 
world. And when we see how such a thing may be 
carried on from step to step, the apprehension of it 
should not be thrown aside as very remote and alien, 
and as if it were altogether unlikely that any such 
thing should ever be done in the world. You know 
that great inundations, as they gradually spread in 
circuit, so they increase and grow more copious by 
a continual accession of new rivulets and springs to 
them, wherever they spread : so it is in such a work 
as this of the Spirit of God. That almighty Spirit* 
the further it goes, the more it engages and takes in 
the concurrence of the spirits of men, as so many 
rivulets into the great and common inundation. For 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 113 

the expression of " pouring forth" the Spirit seems 
to favour that metaphor, and to look towards it ; as 
the communications of the Spirit are frequently in 
scripture spoken of under the same metaphor of 
" streams of water, rivers of water." So it is also 
in a common conflagration ; (the workings of the 
Spirit are represented by both these elements ;) the 
further the fire spreads still the more matter it 
meets with, the more combustible matter ; and that 
way still more and more increases itself, even in- 
tensively, according as it spreads more extensively : 
because it still meets with more fuel to feed upon. 
We might thus render this business very easy and 
familiar to our own thoughts, by considering how 
such a communication of the Spirit once begun and 
set on foot doth spread and propagate itself, even in 
an ordinary and easy way and method, further and 
further. 

I shall only close at present with one hint, which 
may point out to us one thing more, as a way to 
make this apprehension most familiar to us. It 
would certainly be most clearly apprehensible how 
such a work may be wrought by getting as much of 
it as is possible exemplified in ourselves upon our 
own souls. If once we come to find and feel the 
Spirit of the living God seizing our spirits, coming 
with an almighty and irresistible power upon us ; if 
we can but feel the fire burn within, and find it 
refining us, consuming our dross, melfcing and mol- 
lifying us, new moulding us, quickening and en- 
larging us, it will be very easy to apprehend then 
how such a work may be carried on in the world. 
For if I have but the notion of a unit in my mind, 
I can soon apprehend a larger number; it is but 
adding one unit to that, and another to that, and 10 

K3 



114 SIXTH SERMON 

on, till I come to a greater number. If I can but 
find and experience such a mighty operation of that 
blessed Spirit upon my own soul, it is easy then to 
conceive thus : if it be so with another, and another, 
and another, religion will, in this way, become a 
very lively, prosperous thing in the world. It is but 
the multiplying of instances, and the thing is done : 
and he that can do so by me, can do the same by 
another, and another, and so onwards. And me- 
thinks we should not rest ourselves satisfied till we 
find somewhat, till we find more of this within our- 
selves. Oh what a miserable thing is a Christian 
when he is dead! We look with a great deal of 
compassion upon the death of anything ; but the 
case claims so much the more, by how much the 
life is more noble that is extinct or seems extinct ; 
or when the life once supposed to have been, now 
appears as if.it were quite extinct. Is the expi- 
ration of this natural life a thing to ,be beheld 
with pity? What is it to lose, or to appear at 
least deprived of the life of a child of God ? To 
be destitute of such a life, which I have at least pre- 
tended to, and carried some appearance and sem- 
blance of. The death of a peasant is a consi- 
derable thing, and it were barbarous not to take 
notice of it with feeling : but when it comes to be 
talked, a great man is dead, a nobleman, a prince ; 
this makes a great noise and ring in the world ; and 
such a person having been of any use and account 
m his age, his exit is not without a great lamenta- 
tion. If I had but a finger dead, it would be an 
affliction : but if I look into myself, lo, there I be- 
hold the death of a soul, a reasonable, intelligent 
spirit ; that ought to live the life of God, devoted to 
God, in commerce with God : I look into it, and it 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 115 

is dead ! Oh how intolerable a thing should this be 
to me ! till I find some revivings, some stirrings, 
some indications of life ; that is, till I find religion 
live ; that I have somewhat more than an empty, 
naked, spiritless form of religion ; that I can now 
go and pray, and have life in my prayer; go and 
hear the word and find life in my hearing. Of 
all deaths there is none so dreadful and so to be 
lamented as that of religion, and certainly most of 
all in ourselves, that my religion is a dead thing. 
How impatient should I be to find it revived ! And 
if I will but be restless in this, and make it my daily 
business importunately to supplicate the Father of 
Spirits, " Take pity of thine own offspring, let me 
not lie languishing still in death ;" and I at last 
obtain a merciful audience, (as it is plainly said, that 
" the heart shall live that seeks God,") then I have 
such an exemplification in my own soul of the mat- 
ter we have been discoursing of, as that I can easily 
represent to myself: " When such a work is done 
in others as is done in my own soul, and comes to 
be made common amongst others ; then will religion 
be a very lively, prosperous, flourishing thing in the 
world." And that certainly is the best way of all 
others to make this thing apprehensible to ourselves, 
to get the thoughts of it familiarized to us, in how 
easy a way religion should grow and spread among 
men. 



SERMON VII. 



PREACHED JUNE 19, 1678. 



IT was thought requisite to lay before you some 
considerations that might facilitate the apprehension 
and belief of the revival and prosperous state of 
religion in the world. Three were mentioned to 
that purpose. 

I. The consideration of what hath been done in 
this kind heretofore when the Spirit was so emi- 
nently poured forth at first. 

II. The consideration by how easy steps and in 
how apt a method it is supposable that such a work 
may be done. 

These have been spoken of. 

If once it please God to say he will do such and 
such things, we need not be told how. " Is any 
thing too hard for me? saith the Lord.'* That 
should be enough for us ; but we find that commonly 
it is not enough, experience cloth too commonly 
show that ; and, therefore, the supposition of such a 
gradual progress as hath been mentioned, doth 
much facilitate the apprehension of such a thing. 
Though we do not imply or suppose in all this that 
anything the less power is exerted, but only that it 
is put forth in a way more familiar to our thoughts. 
As in the creation of the world there was an exer- 
tion even of absolute power, the almiglitiness (as I 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 1 17 

may speak) of power ; but that absolute power soon 
became ordinate, and that order and chain of causes, 
and the method of their operations and peculiar 
virtues, which we are wont to call by the name of 
nature, universal and particular nature, soon came 
to be fixed and settled, according whereto God hath 
since continued the world, and propagated the indi- 
viduals of every sort and kind of creatures, or pro- 
pagated the kind in those individuals. This is not 
to suppose more and less power, but is only a 
various exertion of the same power. But when 
power is exerted in this latter way, it is more ap- 
prehensible by us, how it goes forth to do such and 
such things. It is said, " Through faith we under- 
stand that the worlds were framed by the word of 
God," Heb. xi. 3. By faith, how is that? Why 
faith is said in the clause a little before to be " the 
evidence of things not seen." We were none of us 
at the making of the world, we saw not how things 
were done then, but we have the matter imparted to 
us by God himself, we have a divine testimony in 
the case the history committed into sacred records, 
by which we are informed, not only that the world 
was made, but how it was made, by what steps, and 
by how gradual a progression the great God went 
on in the doing of that stupendous work. And 
hereupon it is said, " By faith we understand," that 
is, as the original word signifies, by faith we come 
to have the formed, explicit notion in our minds, to 
have distinct thoughts and apprehensions how such 
a work was done. Thus we learn how much was 
done such a day, and how much such a day ; light 
created the first day, the second the firmament, the 
third the earth, dry land, and the seas or the 
gathering together of the waters into one place, and 



118 SEVENTH SERMON 

then herbs, and trees, and beasts, and so forth, ac- 
cording to their several kinds. Now this begets a 
clearer and more distinct apprehension in our minds 
of the way of making the world, than if it had been 
only said that the world was at first made by God. 
We understand it by faith, have a notion begot in 
our minds clear and distinct by faith, inasmuch as, 
or so far as, the testimony is distinct and clear which 
we have concerning this matter. Though it is true, 
reason would go far to demonstrate that this world 
had a beginning, yet reasoning could never have 
helped us distinctly to understand in what steps or 
in how easy and fit a method that great work was 
carried on. So now in making the world anew, 
erecting the new heavens and the new earth wherein 
dwelleth righteousness, wherein it shall dwell ; we 
certainly can more distinctly apprehend how that 
work is done, if it be represented as done by such a 
kind of gradation as you have heard of, than if we 
were put to it to conceive it done all at once. There 
is no less power required to the continuing of this 
world as it is, than was to the making of it what it 
is, for it is the continual exertion of the same power 
that doth it. But our thoughts are not so liable to 
be surprised, (they are not at all surprised,) to see a 
continual succession of things in the natural way of 
production. It gives us no difficulty or trouble to 
see how children are born, how the kinds of other 
creatures are propagated ; whereas it would greatly 
surprise us to think of men, and beasts, and trees, 
and herbs, all starting up of a sudden out of nothing. 
Though we cannot, upon a reasonable consideration 
of the case, but acknowledge that it were as easy a 
thing for God to have created man as he did Adam, 
by an immediate hand, as it is to continue the racs 



ON EZEK1EL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 119 

of mankind in that way wherein he doth it ; the 
operation would not be harder to him ; yet it was, 
it seems, in the judgment of his infinite wisdom, 
less apt, and it would he harder and more unappre- 
hensible unto us. So, we must acknowledge too, 
that it were no harder a thing for God " of stones 
to raise up children unto Abraham," to make 
christians proselytes to religion that way than to 
convert men by the gospel ; but this, which he hath 
chosen to be his ordinary way, we have reason and 
obligation to account the fittest way, and it is a way 
more familiar and easily conceivable to our thoughts. 
And therefore it doth much towards the facilitating 
the apprehension and belief of this great change to 
consider by how easy steps, and in how apt a method 
such a work as this may be done ; and this will be 
very considerable unto persons that take notice 
(which any observing man would) how little apt the 
wise and holy God is to step out of his usual course, - 
further than the plain necessity of the case, in refer- 
ence to such or such great ends of his, doth require. 

But then add we hereto 

III. The consideration, how highly suitable it is 
to the blessed God to do this work. Doth it not 
look like a Godlike work ? Doth it not carry the 
aspect of a Godlike undertaking and performance, a 
thing worthy of God, to restore religion and im- 
prove it much further in the world ? We shall 
show in what particular respects it is suitable 'to him. 

1. It is very suitable to his most mysterious 
wisdom, the glory whereof it is to do things that 
none could contrive to do besides ; and especially 
to rescue and recover what seemed lost and hope- 
less, when the sentence of death was, as it were, 
actually thereupon, that is, religion. This is. the 



120 SEVENTH SERMON 

attribute of divine wisdom, to recover things out of 
so dreadful a degeneracy, to retrieve matters when 
the case was so desperate unto all men's apprehen- 
sions. It is the choice of divine wisdom to do so., 
ta find an expedient even in the last necessity; 
according to that monumental name which Abraham 
put upon the mount, where he was to have sacrificed 
his son, " Jehovah-jireh, the Lord will see," or 
" The Lord will provide and take care ;" an instance 
thought fit to be upon record unto all succeeding 
time, as a discovery what the choice of the divine 
wisdom is, that is, to take things even when they 
are desperate, and to find out an expedient to salve 
all. An instance like to that I remember Plutarch* 
takes notice of, that one Metella, in a certain great 
exigence, was to have been sacrificed, but was pre- 
vented by the miraculous substitution of a heifer 
in the room of the intended victim ; so possibly 
pagans might have fabulously imitated what some 
way or other they came to have heard from the 
sacred records. But so the case seems to be with 
religion, when God shall so wonderfully retrieve it, 
as it was with the heir of the promise, the knife just 
at the very throat : there was a contrivance suitable 
to the wisdom of God, to hit upon this critical 
juncture of time, to rescue him from so near a death 
when he seemed even upon expiring. And as he 
was fetched from death even in a figure, (his father 
" received him from thence in a figure," Heb. xi. 
19.) so it must be with religion too. The son of 
the freewoman, Isaac, was the emblem of it ; it is, 
as it were, in a like figure to be fetched from death 
by a kind of resurrection from the dead, " life from 

* Plutarchi Parallel, inter Op. Moral. Edit, H. Steph. 
[Grac.j Vol. i. p. 550. 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 121 

the dead," as the apostle speaks, when the time 
shall be of bringing in the fulness of the Gentiles, 
and the saving of all Israel. How glorious the 
display of divine wisdom to let such gross darkness 
cover the world, so black and gloomy a day be upon 
it that shall issue at last in so much brightness and 
such glorious light, even in the evening, as it is in 
Zech. xiv. 7.9. wherein the Lord shall be king over 
all the earth, and " there shall be one Lord and his 
name one," ver. 9. Then comes that bright and 
glorious evening after a black and gloomy day ; not 
perfect darkness, there is not such in the spiritual 
world when things are at the worst, as they use to 
say there is not in the natural world. So it is there 
said, that " the light shall not be clear nor dark," 
ver. 6. It sha'll be as if it were " neither day nor 
night," ver. 7. In that day, (and it shall be one 
day known to the Lord, neither day nor night,) at 
evening time it shall be light. You know how 
great a change the diurnal return of the sun makes, 
and were it not that the thing is usual and we are 
accustomed to it, that would be thought a strange 
matter. How vast is the change, that when dark- 
ness is upon the spacious hemisphere, all of a sud 
den the return of the sun should clothe all with so 
much light, and lustre, and glory, as we see it doth ! 
Such vicissitudes the wisdom of God hath thought 
fit, but especially it hath been reckoned more 
suitable to his wisdom, to carry things on from 
obscurer and less considerable beginnings unto per- 
fect and more glorious issues, so that in the 
evening it shall be light ; all the foregoing day did 
look more like night than day. That we reckon a 
great work of wisdom to be able to find out a way 
of doing the most unexpected things, that no one 



122 SEVENTH SERMON 

would have thought of, further than as it may please 
him to give any previous intimations of his purpose 
what he will do. 

2. It is most suitable to that supreme interest 
which he hath in this lower world, that propriety 
and dominion which he claims in it to himself by a 
most rightful claim, to procure himself a more uni- 
versal, actual acknowledgment and subjection than 
hitherto, whether we speak of his natural interest as 
he is the God and the Creator of the world, (this 
lower part, this inferior region is a part of his 
creation too,) or of his acquired interest by the 
Redeemer, and I more especially intend the latter. 
When I consider the magnificent things that the 
scripture speaks concerning the interest of the 
Redeemer in this world, this lapsed apostate world, 
such as this, " All power is given unto me in 
heaven and in earth ; go ye, therefore, and teach 
all nations," Matt, xxviii. 18, 19. Make men know 
that they belong to me, and are all my right; 
lay my claim to them, proclaim my right, chal- 
lenge my interest for me, proselyte them to me, 
baptize them into my name with the Father's and 
the Holy Ghost's this doth import as if some time 
or other he meant to have a more actual acknow- 
ledgment and subjection in this world than hitherto. 
If we look upon such a text as that, " He died, and 
revived, and rose again, that he might be Lord 
both of the living and the dead," Rom. xiv. 9. The 
living and the dead comprehend all that we can 
think of, and it signifies as much as that he might 
be the universal Lord of all. Having paid so dear 
a price, do we not think that he will make more of 
the purchase than hitherto he hath ? As you have it 
pursued in that fourteenth chapter to the Romans, in 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX.- VERSE 29. 1 23 

several expressions, " None of us livetli to himself, 
and no man dieth to himself. For to this end 
Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might 
be Lord both of the dead and living," ver. 7. 9. That 
invitation to all the ends of the earth is of as strong 
import this way, " Look unto me and be ye saved, 
all the ends of the earth," Isa. xlv. 22. Observe 
the solemnity and majesty of the following words, 
" I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of 
my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, 
that unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue 
shall swear," ver. 23. Which saying is expressly 
applied to the Lord Christ by the apostle in Phil, 
ii. 11. Consider to the same purpose the solemnity 
of his inauguration, and the largeness of the grant 
made to him thereupon : " I have set my king upon 
my holy hill of Zion; I will declare the decree. 
Thou art my Son, this day have 1 begotten thee," 
Psalm ii. 6, 7. This day, that is, the resurrection 
day, that is the eminently intended sense, as the 
apostle's quoting of it, in Acts xiii. 33. plainly sig- 
nifies ; " This day have I begotten thee ;" thou art 
now to me the firstborn to the dead, the first-be- 
gotten of them that slept ; and, being my firstborn, 
art a great heir, and this is thy inheritance: " I 
will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and 
the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession/' 
ver. 8. Surely that signifies more than mere right 
and title. And think how pursuantly to that it is 
foretold, Eev. xi. 15. that upon the sounding of 
the seventh trumpet, the voice should be, the pro- 
clamation should go forth, " The kingdoms of this 
world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and 
of his Christ." They are " become" so ; that must 
needs be in some other way than they could be 

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124 SEVENTH SERMON 

understood to be so before ; they were always so in 
right and title. It is very suitable to that supreme 
and sovereign interest that he hath at one time or 
other to assert his right ; especially considering it 
as a disputed right : for how long hath this interest 
been contested about by the usurping god of this 
world, " the prince of the darkness of this world [" 
He who hath tyrannized in the dark, and made it 
so much his business to keep all men from knowing 
any other Lord ! 

3. It is most suitable unto the immense almighty 
** power, by which he is able to subdue all things to 
himself." It will be upon that account a Godlike 
work, worthy of such an agent. To make " all 
mountains vanish before Zerubbabel," Zech. iv. 7. 
to bring about what seemed so very difficult, and 
even unexpected to all men ; this is a thing be- 
coming God, to do what no one else could do. It 
is the acknowledgment therefore that is given him 
as God, a glorifying him as God, which we find 
done by Jehoshaphat, " We know not what to do, 
but our eyes are upon thee," 2 Chron. xx. 12. 
That is as much as to confess that when all created 
power is at a nonplus, and can do no more, (we can 
do no more,) yet thou hast still somewhat to do, 
when there is nothing remaining to be done by any 
hand else. And it is very subsidiary in this case, 
and helpful to our apprehension and faith, to con- 
sider the immensity and omniscience of that Spirit, 
whereby this great work is to be done ; to think 
that that Spirit is already every where ; as in Psa. 
cxxxix. 7. " Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? 
and whither shall I flee from thy presence?" 
Whether I think of heaven or earth, or of any the 
remotest parts beyond the seas, there thy Spirit is. 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 125 

He cloth not need to go far in order to the doing of 
these great things ; but only to exert a present in- 
fluence where he is already, having all things sub- 
sisting in him, " living, moving, and having their 
being in him." And when we consider how great 
the efficacy is of that great apostate impure spirit, 
that in scripture uses to go under the name of Satan 
or the devil, to keep the world in darkness and 
ignorance, to hold them off from God ; the course 
of the world is said to be " after the power of the 
prince of air, the spirit that worketh in the hearts 
of the children of disobedience," Eph. ii. 2. When 
we think that his influence should be so diffused and 
extensive as that it is thought fit to be said, that 
the whole world lies EN TO PONERO, which is capable 
of being read, " in the evil one, in the wicked one," 
1 John v. 19. How should faith triumph in the 
apprehension of the absolute immensity and omni- 
presence of that blessed Spirit, by which this great 
work is to be wrought, and done in the world ? 
When, as we know, Satan cannot be every where, 
he makes use of many hands, many instruments ; 
but . this Spirit that works all in all immediately it- 
self, how agreeable is it to it to be the author of 
such a work as this, the reviving of religion out of 
that dismal death that is so generally upon it in the 
world ! 

4. We cannot but apprehend it most suitable to 
the divine goodness, that boundless, flowing good- 
ness ; that, after the prince of darkness, the Apollyon, 
the destroyer of souls, hath been leading still his 
multitudes down to perdition from age to age, with 
so little check or restraint, a time should come, when 
in so visible a way the spoil should be rescued out 
of the hand of the terrible and the strong ; and the 

L 3 



126 SEVENTH SERMON 

Son of God come in for his portion and share, thai- 
it was said should be divided to him, Isa. liii. 12. 
How like will such a dispensation as this be unto 
that first joyful sound of the gospel by the ministry 
of angels, " Glory to God in the highest, peace on. 
earth, and good will toward men T How agreeable 
to this will that be which we find in Rev. xxi. 3. 
When that voice shall be heard, concerning a thing 
then actually done and taking place, " Behold the 
tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell 
with them ; and they shall be his people, and God 
himself shall be with them, and be their God : and 
all tears shall be wiped away ;" as it follows, ver. 4, 
Certainly it is very Godlike upon this account, that 
such a thing should be To reflect upon such pas- 
sages of scripture ; " God so loved the world, that 
he gave his only begotten Son," &c. " After that 
the kindness and love of God to man appeared ;" 
that philanthropy, and the large goodness which such 
expressions signify, methinks should prevent its 
being thought strange, that more large correspondent 
effects of such goodness are expected, before the 
end of all things shall come. 

I must add here by way of caution, that it ig 
true, it is not safe to conclude from what we conceive 
suitable to God to do, that such a thing shall cer- 
tainly be done : a stress were not to be laid upon 
that kind of arguing, if we would suppose that argu- 
ment to be the original and principal. But having 
other' grounds to rely upon, which you have heard, 
it is very aptly subsidiary ; and signifies very con- 
siderably as an addition, to have the apprehension 
of such a work as every way most suitable to God, 
and worthy of him. And when we find upon other 
grounds, that is, from what God hath expressly said 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 127 

and foretold, that we have cause to receive and 
entertain such a truth ; we have reason to entertain 
it with a great deal more complacency, and to 
solace and satisfy ourselves in it the more, by how 
much the more we apprehend of suitableness and 
congruity and fitness in it, and how every way it 
becomes that great God who is to be the Author of 
this blessed work. We may venture after him to 
speak of what is suitable ; that is, when he hath 
told us what he will do, or when we have seen what 
he doth, then it is fit for us to say, This was very 
worthy of God, fit for him to do ; or it will be so, 
whenever he shall please to do it, if it be what we 
are yet expecting him from his word to do. 

But if it be objected here If in these several 
respects it be a thing suitable to God to do such a 
work as this, why was it not done long ago ? inas- 
much as this was as good a reason at any Other time 
as it can be in any time yet to come ; since God's 
wisdom, his sovereign dominion, his power and 
might, his grace and goodness, were always the 
same? 

To that I shall shortly say, 

(1.) That if it be a thing very suitable to God 
to do, as we have represented, certainly it seems a 
great deal more likely, and a far more probable way 
of reasoning, from its not being done to expect 
that at some time or other it shall, than that it never 
shall. But we have told you we rely upon other 
grounds, and take in that consideration only as sub- 
sidiary and auxiliary, to facilitate our apprehension 
and belief of what God hath foretold in his word. 
But I add, 

(2.) That there are but these two things that we 
can have to consider in this matter and to give aw 



128 SEVENTH SERMON 

account of ; the delaying of such a work so long, 
and the doing it at last : and I doubt not but a very 
unexceptionable account may be given of both. 

[1.] For the delaying of it so long. Truly we 
have reason enough to resolve that into that justice 
against which no one that ever considers can open 
his mouth in this case. Is it to be thought strange 
that God should so long withhold his light and in- 
fluence from a world in so wilful an apostacy, and 
degeneracy, and rebellion through so many ages ? 
that hath always taken care to propagate the enmity, 
and to keep on foot the rebellion, so as that always 
when he comes to look down upon the world, this 
is the prospect that he hath of it, this the account 
of things ; looking down from heaven upon the 
children of men, he seeth that there is none that 
doeth good, none that understand and seek God, 
Psa. liii. 1, 2. Men affect distance from him, they 
please themselves to be without him in the world. 
Is it to be thought strange ? is it not highly just 
that he should make that their long-continued 
doom, which had been their horrid choice? You 
affect to be without God ! be so, in your own loved 
darkness and death ! Men might see that things are 
not well with them, that they are in an unhappy 
state ; it is visible. " Ira Dei est vita mortalis," is 
an ancient saying This mortal life is the very wrath 
of God. Men might apprehend that God is angry, 
that they are not such creatures as man was made 
at first : heathens have apprehended and spoken of 
the apostacy. But when they are miserable, and 
feel themselves so, yet they do not return to him 
and seek after him : they cannot help themselves 
to mend the temper of their own spirits, which they 
might easily discern is far out of course, yet they 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 129 

do not cry for help. It is highly glorious triumph- 
ant justice to withhold so despised and neglected 
a presence and influence from so vile and wicked a 
generation. But then, 

[2.] For doing such a thing at last notwithstand- 
ing, good account may be given also. Inasmuch 
as this cannot be said to be a thing to which justice 
most strictly and indispensably and perpetually 
obliges, but a thing which it doth highly approve ; 
wisdom and sovereignty may most fitly interpose 
at pleasure, and when it shall be thought fit. God 
may let his action against the world fall when he 
will, though he have a most righteous one : and as 
the apostle speaks, Rom. xi. 22. concerning this 
case, the restitution of the Jews, which shall be unto 
the Gentiles also life from the dead, when all shall 
be gathered in at once ; we are to expect instances 
in the mixed course of God's dispensation, both of 
his severity and goodness. And finally, when that 
time comes, when all Israel shall be saved, and the 
fulness of the Gentiles be brought in, the matter is 
to be resolved into such an exclamation as that 
which the apostle makes, " Oh the depth of the 
riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God," 
ver. 33. It is to be referred unto his wisdom and 
sovereignty, to time things as seems good to him. 
" The times and seasons are hid in his own power," 
Actsi. 7. Hidden from us, but in his power to state, 
and settle, and determine when and as he pleases. 
What is more agreeable unto so absolute a sove- 
reign and so wise a one, than such an arbitrary 
timing of the dispensation of grace, whenever it 
shall have its course ? 

And for our own part ; as we have that reason to 
adore sovereign wisdom and goodness whenever 



130 SEVENTH SERMON 

they shall have their exercise in this kind ; so in 
the mean time we have reason to be silent and our 
mouths to be stopped, while God doth as yet defer 
and delay the time of that pouring forth of his 
Spirit We have reason to be silent, if it be our lot 
in our age to be under the restraints of that blessed 
Spirit. When was there ever any age in the world 
that might more fitly be pitched upon for the object, 
upon which justice should have its exercise in this 
kind? Was there ever an age wherein the Spirit 
was more grieved, more striven against ? wherein 
God should have more cause and reason to say, 
" My Spirit shall not strive with you ?" With whom- 
soever of all mortals it strives, it shall not strive 
with you ! To cast our eyes abroad, and consider 
the state of the world ; and to look on the state of 
things at home. For the nations about us we have 
heard how they have been for years together ; what 
reformations do we hear of? what dispositions to 
return to God ? men cry because of the oppressions 
of the mighty ; but " none says, Where is God our 
Maker ?" Every where there is that disposition to 
groan and languish and die under their pressure; 
but no inquiries after God: and whereas they 
cannot turn to him without him, (and we acknow- 
ledge that for a principle,) help in order thereto is 
not implored. We can feel what is externally 
afflictive ; the divine absence we feel not. When 
his soul is departed from us, we are not concerned 
to be without the Spirit : as, " Lest my soul depart 
from thee," Jer. vi. 8. He speaks of that presence 
of his as a soul to that people ; as it truly and really 
is to a people professing the name of God: his 
special presence is the soul of such a people, as 
they are such a people ; holds things together, keeps 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 131 

up and maintains life and order. " Be instructed 
lest my soul be gone." When his presence and 
Spirit retires and is withdrawn, it is as discernible 
in the state of things among a people, as a man can 
distinguish a carcase from a living man. God is 
gone, his soul is departed, the soul which he had 
put into such a people, which was active and at 
work amongst them. Well ! but we are men still 
for all that ; we are reasonable creatures, and have an 
apprehensive understanding of the word and facul- 
ties remaining to us ; so that we might know that 
such a presence is gone, and we are miserable 
thereby ; and there might, one would think, be some 
lamentings after the Lord : but where almost are 
they to be found? If we could have the world at 
will, enjoy what would gratify sensual inclination, 
God might be gone and keep away from us, and 
few would concern themselves with the matter. 
Have we anything then to say, that the season is 
deferred of pouring forth this Spirit ? No. If we 
consider the resistance, and grievance, and vexation, 
that it hath met withal in our age and amongst us ; 
it is not strange if God should determine, " My 
Spirit shall not strive with you ;" whatever good 
thoughts I may have towards those who shall suc- 
ceed and come up hereafter. But yet, notwithstand- 
ing, it is most suitable and congruous, that at one 
time or another so great a work as this, the recovery 
of religion from under so dismal a darkness and so 
great a death, should be done. And all these things 
together serve to evince that this means hath an 
efficacy, which we have reason to believe both can 
and will do this work, so as to make religion to 
prosper and flourish in the world sooner or later. 



SERMON VIII. 



PREACHED JUNE 26, 1678. 



WE have shown at large the efficacy of the means 
assigned in the text, a plentiful effusion of the Spirit, 
for bringing about a happy state of things to the 
Christian church ; in one of those two things, that 
must be supposed to concur in making up such a 
happy state ; namely, 

First. For the revival of the power of religion. 
Without which the other branch, which we are fur- 
ther to consider, would signify very little to the 
good state of the church. But this being presup- 
posed, we now proceed to show how efficacious a 
means the revival of religion and the prosperous 
flourishing state of that, by the Spirit poured forth, 
would be, 

Second. For bringing about an externally happy 
state of things in the church of God. And it would 
be so, 

I. By removing the causes of public calamities. 

II. By working whatsoever doth positively tend 
unto public good. 

I. By removing the causes of public calamities : 
both the deserving and the working causes. 

1. What does deserve public calamities? Wha 
so far provokes divine displeasure, as to in flic* 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 133 

them, or to let them befall a people ? Nothing doth 
this but sin ; that only troubles a people, and causes 
an unhappy and unprosperous state of things, the 
hiding of God's face, as the text expresses it. It 
doth, as it were, cause an ireful aspect in the 
countenance of Providence ; makes that otherwise 
shining, smiling face to be hidden and obscure, and 
clothes it with terror, that it is not to be beheld. 
" The Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot 
save, nor his ear heavy that it cannot hear ; but 
your iniquities have separated between you and your 
God, and your sins have hid his face from you ;" in 
the language of the text, Isa. lix. 1, 2. So it hath 
been threatened that it should be, and so in event 
it hath been, upon any of the more notable apos- 
tacies of the church of God. This hath con- 
stantly ensued, his hiding his face; that is, his 
altering the course of providence, so as that its 
aspect hath become ireful and terrible. It is fore- 
told that so it should be upon such delinquencies. 
God says to Moses, " Behold, thou shalt sleep with 
thy fathers, and this people will rise up, and go a 
whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, 
whither they go to be amongst them, and will for- 
sake me, and break my covenant which I have made 
with them," Deut. xxxi. 16. And what will come 
of that ? " Then my anger shall be kindled against 
ihem in that day, and I will forsake them, and I 
will hide my face from them, and they shall be 
devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall 
them ; so that they will say in that day, Are not 
these evils come upon us, because our God is not 
amongst us?" ver. 17. And the like you have, 
chap, xxxii. 18, &c. " Of the Rock that begat thee 
thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that 

M 



134 EIGHTH SERMON 

formed thee. And when the Lord saw it he ab- 
horred them, because of the provoking of his sons 
. and of his daughters. And he said, I will hide my 
face from them, I will see what their end shall be ; 
for they are a very froward generation," &c. Such 
threatenings you find unto the Christian churches 
too, in chap. ii. and iii. of the Revelation. There 
it is threatened to the churches of Ephesus, and 
Pergamos, and Sardis, and Laodicea; that inas- 
much as there were such and such things, wherein 
they were notoriously delinquent ; " If you do not 
repent, ' I will remove your candlestick,' Rev. ii. 5. 
If you do not repent, ' I will fight against you with 
the- sword of my mouth,' ver. 16." That means 
no doubt the threatenings of the word made opera- 
tive, and brought to execution : as in Hos. vi. 5. 
" I have hewed them by the prophets ; I have slain 
them by the words of my mouth." " Except thou 
repent, ' I will come against thee as a thief,' Rev. 
iii. 3. And, ' Because thou art lukewarm, and 
neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my 
mouth. Be zealous therefore and repent,' ver. 
16. 19," And thus it hath also in event been ac- 
cording to the tenour of these threats. If you look 
over those psalms, which are the records of the 
carriage and deportment of God's own peculiar 
people towards him, and of his dealing with them 
thereupon ; Psalms Ixxviii. cv. and cvi. all hath but 
verified that one thing mentioned in Lev. xxvi. 23, 
24. that when they should walk contrary unto him 
then would he also walk contrary unto them ; that 
is, he hid his face, as you have heard the import of 
that expression. And it is with the same cloud that 
he doth as it were cover his face and them too. 
!< He covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 135 

his anger," Lam. ii. 1. So he often did that people 
of the Jews. And so he hath the Christian churches 
too in great displeasure : those seven in Asia, those 
in Greece, and in many other parts of the world that 
have been famous. 

What is it now that must counterwork that wick- 
edness, which provokes God thus to hide his face ? 
we know his Spirit must do it : when he pours out 
his Spirit, he ceases to hide his face. That is, a 
quick refining fire purges the dross ; without the 
purging cf which the whole lump is called reprobate 
silver, rejected of the Lord. When the matter was 
consulted of, the blessed God is represented as it were 
disputing with himself, whether or not to abandon 
and disinherit his Israel. And when at length the 
contrary resolution is taken up, what do you find 
to be the concurrent resolution with that of not 
casting them off, and laying them aside ? " I said, 
how shall I put thee among the children and give 
thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts 
of nations ?" Jer. iii. 19. Thus the matter is re- 
solved, as in a subserviency to the resolution not to 
cast them off ; " Thou shalt call me, My Father, and 
shalt not turn away from me." I will put a son- 
like disposition into thee, and so the relation shall 
be continued, and I will not disinherit thee. Thus 
the thoughts of that severity, of disinheriting and 
abandoning, came to be laid aside. But the Spirit 
poured forth removes also. 

2. The working causes, as well as the provok- 
ing causes of such calamities to the church of God ; 
both without and within itself. 

(1.) Causes without the church itself ; the inju- 
rious violence of open avowed enemies, the athe- 
istical, infidel, idolatrous world ; and all reducible 



136 EIGHTH SERMON 

to that head, by which the church of God may be 
endangered. The effusion of the Spirit will remove 
this cause of public calamities, either, 

[1 .] By subduing such enemies, and breaking their 
power. And while God is among his people and ha'.h 
not hid his face, they may venture to defy all the 
world. " Gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken 
in pieces : gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken 
in pieces. Take counsel together, and it shall come 
to nought ; speak the word, and it shall not stand : 
for God is with us," Isa. viii. 9, 10. Our matters 
are in a good state ; for we are not deserted and 
forsaken of the divine presence, our defence and our 
glory. How is all the enemies' power gloried over 
upon this account in Psa. xlvi. and in many like 
places of scripture I in that time, when they shall 
generally " fear the Lord from the west, and his glory 
from the rising of the sun ;" then it is said, " When 
the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of 
the Lord shall lift up a standard against him," Isa. 
lix. 19. that is, animate and fill up every part ; so 
as that all that oppose, shall even melt away before 
him. Or, 

[2.] They shall be overawed, so as thereby to be 
made to surcease and desist from attempts of hos- 
tility against the church. For the church when 
religion lives in it, (as you know that is -to be the 
first effect of the Spirit to this purpose,) becomes 
" terrible as an army with banners ;" as the expres- 
sion is, Cant. vi. 4. Upon life, order will be sure to 
ensue, and with that goes majesty, and with that 
terror. There is an awful majesty, you know, sits 
in the face of a man, while he lives ; but if he once 
become a carcase, the fowls of the air and the beasts 
of the field, and even the very worms of the earth 



0^ EZEK1EL XXXIX. VERSE "29. 137 

dare prey upon him. So it is with the church; 
when it is dead, when religion is become a mere 
piece of empty, spiritless formality, this makes it 
look but just like other parts of the world ; they 
will say of it, " What are they better than we ?" The 
religion of Christians, if you look only to the ex- 
ternal formalities of it, hath not so much of a supe- 
riority or higher excellency, but that it will be a 
disregarded thing with those who can easily distin- 
guish between vital religion and dead. But when 
the Spirit of the living God puts forth itself in dis- 
cernible effects, and such as carry an awful aspect 
with them unto the common reason of men, religion 
then grows a venerable thing, arid the very purpose 
of opposition and hostility is checked and counter- 
manded, and even quite laid aside. Or else, 

[3.] They become kindly affected by this means 
unto the church ; to those who are seriously reli- 
gious in the world, which we suppose to be, upon so 
general a pouring forth of the Spirit, a very com- 
mon thing. Their hearts incline to favour, as we 
have noted upon another occasion before, that it is 
apt to be. When there are manifest appearances 
of God in the restoring of religion, it appears that 
the thing is of the Lord, the hand of Heaven is seen 
in it. When it was very remarkably so among the 
first converts, it is said, " They had favour with all 
the people," Acts ii, 47. Upon those manifest ap- 
pearances of God on behalf of the Israelites under 
the Egyptian oppression, the Egyptians at length 
came to favour them. " The Lord gave the people 
favour in the sight of the Egyptians," Exod. xi. 3. 
for they manifestly saw that God was for them. So 
natural a respect, from somewhat of a remaining 
fellow-feeling, the manifest appearance of anything 

M 3 



138 EIGHTH SERMON 

divine did of old draw from the reasonable nature 
of man! Yea, 

[4.] They become sincerely proselyted very 
generally: that is to be supposed from the many 
scriptures formerly opened. And so the causes of 
offence and disturbance to the church from without 
very much cease, from the vast extension and spread- 
ing of its territories : they that were enemies to true 
christians on every side become even of themselves. 
That transforming power and influence, which reli- 
gion and. the Spirit of God poured forth will have 
upon the generality of the spirits of men, is the thing 
designedly held forth by such expressions as these : 
" The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leo- 
pard shall lie down with the kid ; and the calf, and 
the young lion, and the fatling together ; and a little 
child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear 
shall feed, their young ones shall lie down together ; 
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the 
sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and 
the weaned child shall put his hand on the cocka- 
trice' den," Isa. xi. 6, &c. It is subjoined to all this, 
" They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy 
mountain ; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge 
of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea," verse 9. 
Religion shall so diffuse itself, and the Spirit of God 
go forth with that transforming power, as to turn 
leopards, and lions, and beasts of prey into lambs ; 
to make men of ravenous dispositions to become 
sincere christians. According to the influence and 
power of the Spirit of Christ, the knowledge of the 
Lord shall cover the earth as the waters do the sea, 
and so there shall be no hurting or destroying in all 
the holy mountain of the Lord. My design, as hath 
6een often intimated, is more to show the con- 



ON EZEK1EL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 

nexion of these things with one another, than to define 
the circumstances of the state itself, and when it shall 
be. In the same manner I conceive the expression 
is to be understood in Psalm xlv. 5. where, speaking 
of the prosperous state and progress of the kingdom 
of Christ, its great improvements, when he shall go 
on prosperously, conquering and to conquer, he 
saith ; " Thine arrows are sharp in the hearts of the 
king's enemies,. whereby the people fall raider thee." 
Thine arrows shall be directed even into their very 
hearts, and so they shall become subject unto thy rule 
by means of the impressions made upon their hearts. 

(2.) Causes of trouble and calamity, within the 
church itself, will, by the same means, be made to 
cease too. 

We are told what those causes are by the apostle 
James, chap. iv. 1. " From whence come wars and 
fightings among you? come they not hence, even of 
your lusts ?" Indeed this is the same cause that was 
before mentioned, but considered as disquieting and 
troubling the'church of God in the world in another 
way of operation. The wickedness of the world may 
be considered, either with reference to the object of it, 
the great and blessed God, against whom all sin of 
whatsoever kind is ultimately directed ; or with re- 
ference to the general subject of it, the world itself 
which lies in wickedness. According to the former 
notion of it, as it works in direct reference to God, 
it is the moral cause of calamities ; it provokes God 
to inflict them, as hath been shown. But beside 
that, it is to be considered in the other notion, in 
reference to the subject : and so it hath an imme- 
diate malignant efficiency of its own to work public 
calamities. 

Plain it is, that the covetousness, the pride, the 



140 EIGHTH SERMON 

wrathfulness, the envy, the malice, that every where 
so much abound in the Christian church, are the 
source of its wars, the things that disquiet it, and 
will not let it rest : and, which involves them all, 
self-love ; a radical evil, from whence spring all the 
other, and consequently all the miseries, that do, or 
at any time have, infested the church of God in this 
world. It is the observation of a pagan, that a 
people's self-love is, as he calls it, the cause of all 
sins ; that too earnest love that every one unduly 
bears to himself. And the apostle Paul, speaking 
of the perilous times that should be in the latter age 
of the world or the last times, (meaning by that 
phrase the later part of the age from the Messiah to 
the end of the world, according to the known divi- 
sion of time into three ages by the Jews,) signifies 
that the perilousness of those times should then 
principally appear, when there should be a more 
notorious discovery of that great principle of self- 
love every where in the world. Indeed that hath 
been a principle ruling the world, ever since the 
breaking off of man from God : yet we know there 
are some times of more prevailing wickedness in the 
world than others are : and this is the character of 
those perilous times of the last age, that " men 
should be lovers of their own selves, PHILAUTOI," 
2 Tim. Hi. 1, 2. Or, as the apostle Peter, speaking 
of the same latter times, expresses it, 2 Pet. ii. 10. 
men shall be AUTHADEIS, self-pleasers. 

It is very obvious how all the other particular 
evils spring from this one root. What is pride but 
an overweening conceit of a man's self? too much 
complacency in, and admiration of one's self? 
What is covetousness but a labouring to grasp 
all to one's self ? Envy rises because I see others 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VEilSE 29. 141 

have the good things which I would fain have my- 
self. When it fares better with a man than it cloth 
with others, then he is proud ; when it fares better 
with others than it does with him, then he is envi 
ous. When he is proud upon the former account, 
that subdues him to the dominion of such other 
evils as have most affinity with that ; it makes him 
wrathful, malicious, revengeful, and the like. A^ 
these miseries, in respect whereof the last days are 
said to be perilous, are, by the apostles in the fore- 
mentioned places, referred unto self-love, self-pleas- 
ing, as the proper diagnostics* and characters of 
such a state of the world, But what kind of self- 
love is it ? or what kind of self is it the love of ? 
It is our most ignoble, meanest self, the basest part 
of ourselves ; the body, the sensitive life, and the 
good things that are suitable and subservient to 
that. This self is the great idol set up all the world 
over, and the undue love of it is the idolatry by 
which that idol is served : terrene and earthly good, 
in the several kinds and sorts of it, are the several 
sorts of sacrifices by which that idol is, from time to 
time, provided for. This being the true state of the 
case, as wickedness doth more prevail and abound, 
there is still the higher contestation between idol 
and idol; so many men, so many idols; and so 
many altars set up for each several idol. And this 
makes all the hurry and commotion in each part 
and corner, every man labouring to grasp as much 
as he can to the service of his own idol, his own pri- 
vate and particular interest. This hath drawn that 
inundation of miseries upon the church of God ; the 
wickedness of men hath thus broke out like a flood. 

* A symptom by which one disease is distinguished from 
another 



14xt EIGHTH SERMON 

The floods of ungodly men, actuated by such prin- 
ciples, and by that one principle as radical to all the 
rest, have overwhelmed the world and the church 
with miseries. 

And where is the cure ? Only the Spirit of the 
Lord lifting up a standard against these floods ; and 
that by turning men from transgression in Zion, 
Isa. lix. 19, 20. by counterworking that wickedness 
which hath prevailed so far and to so high a degree. 
The Spirit of the living God only can purge and 
compose at once the troubled state of things. 
Wickedness can never admit any such thing as quiet. 
" The wicked are like the troubled sea when it 
cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 
There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked," 
Isa. Ivii. 20, 21. They can neither admit it them- 
selves, nor permit it to others. Now here the great 
purifier must be the Spirit poured forth ; spoken of 
under the metaphorical expressions of a refiner's 
fire, and a fuller's soap, Mai. iii. 2. That is a quick 
and fervent fire, and will certainly make away with 
the dross and wickedness, when once it comes to 
pour forth its mighty and fervent influences to that 
blessed purpose; even though there should be a 
state of things, as is foretold in Zech. xiii. 8, 9. 
when two [third] parts of the land should be cut 
off and die, and only a third be left : that shall be 
refined as silver is refined, and tried as gold is tried. 
It is but one and the same labour, that gives purity 
and peace. The same thing that defiles, disturbs : 
and the same thing that purges, pacifies, and brings 
all to a quiet state and happy composure. So the 
Spirit poured forth will be a most efficacious means 
to bring about a good state, by removing the causes 
of public miseries. And also, 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 143 

II. By working whatsoever hath a positive tend, 
ency to the good and happiness of the church. 
To evidence this I shall speak, 1. Of the principles 
which it doth implant ; and, 2. Of the effects which 
it works by those implanted principles, tending to 
the common prosperity of the whole church. 

1. The principles which it doth implant. We 
may comprehend them all summarily under the 
name of the divine image, which it is the great 
business of the Spirit to restore among men. And 
I shall particularize no lower than to these two 
heads, divine light, and love ; which the Spirit of 
God poured forth settles and plants in the minds of 
men. These are the two great things wherein men 
are capable of imitating God. By one of the pen- 
men of holy writ, the apostle St. John, in one and 
the same epistle, God is said to be both light and 
love. " God is light," 1 John i. 5. God is love," 
chap. iv. 16. These made somewhat generally to 
obtain amongst men, cannot but infer a most happy 
state. 

(1.) Light. When this is diffused, when the know- 
ledge of God conies to cover the earth, (as was said,) 
as the waters do the sea, it cannot but make a 
happy, peaceful state. There is nothing terrible in 
light. " A sphere of light (as I remember a hea- 
then speaks) hath nothing in it that can be dis- 
quietive ; and therefore therein can be nothing 
but perfect tranquillity." Wherever men are 
quarrelling with one another they are quarrelling 
in the dark, scuffling and fighting with one another 
in the dark ; though every man thinks he sees, 
which makes the matter so much the worse. It is 
a real but an unimagined, unapprehended darkness, 
that overspreads the world ; and in that darkness 



144 EIGHT SERMON 

men are working all the mischiefs and miseries to 
themselves that can be thought of. There will be 
an end to that when the divine light comes and 
spreads itself, as it were, in men's lives. 

(2.) Love. When God implants his love in the 
minds of men, there needs no more. Even that one 
thing is enough to make a happy world, the love of 
God dwelling in all breasts, transforming them into 
love. "He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, 
and God in him," 1 John iv. 16. A most certain 
assurance that all will be well. And I would speak 
of these three branches of divine love, (for it is all 
divine in respect of the root and principle,) as con- 
ducing to make the world happy : Supreme love 
to God ; a due and well regulated love of every man 
to himself, and love to every other man as to him- 
self. But of these hereafter. 

I shall now close with a short word of use. By 
the drift and tenour of what hath been hitherto dis- 
coursed, you may see ; that the good and felicity of 
every person, and so of the church in common, 
though it come at last in the issue to be an internal 
thing, yet in the root and principle is an external 
thing. Every man's happiness or misery grows 
within himself; and so the common happiness and 
misery of the church of God grows principally and 
chiefly within itself. It is the saying of a heathen, 
Epictetus I mean, " The character or note of an 
idiot or plebeian is this, that he places the expecta- 
tion of all his good or of all his evil from without ; 
whereas the note, the certain character of a philo- 
sopher, (of a wise or virtuous man, so he means 
by that term,) is to place all his expectation of good 
or evil in things that are within himself." It were 
well if we could but learn this document from a 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 145 

heathen, and learn it well, so as to have the sense 
of it deeply infixed in our minds and hearts. That 
hearing of these .several causes that work the cala- 
mities and troubles of the church of God, we would 
consider, that according to our participation in any 
such calamities, these evils in ourselves do contri- 
bute a great deal more to them than the evils in any 
other men. Let us be convinced of this. Do but 
apprehend, that if the ambition, or pride, or covet- 
ousness, or malice of another man may hurt me, 
these things within myself do hurt me much more ; 
and there is some spice or other of them in each of 
our natures. Why should not we be convinced of 
so plain a thing ? Is not a dart in my own breast 
worse than in an enemy's hand ? If I think myself 
concerned to know what the pride and covetousness, 
and malice and ambition of such and such a man 
may do against me ; if I have any tincture of these 
evils (as who dares say he hath not?) within my 
own soul ; have not I a nearer thing to regret, than 
the evil that only lies in another man ? To expect 
or fear all our hurt from without, and not to fear 
the next and nearest evil, is the greatest stupidity 
imaginable, 

And then for the causes of common good, and 
so of our own, as that is involved. We hear, it may 
be, with a great deal of complacency of such prin- 
ciples generally implanted in the minds of men. 
What glorious times would they be, if all other men 
were such lovers of God, such orderly lovers of 
themselves, and such lovers of their neighbours, as 
they should be ! but is it not of a great deal more 
concernment to our own felicity, that we fee so 
ourselves ? Can the goodness, the piety, the righ- 
teousness, the benignity of other men do me good, 

N 



146 NINTH SERMON 

in comparison of what these things lodged and 
deeply rooted in my own soul would do ? It is true, 
it were a most desirable thing to have all the world 
religious ; but if all the rest of the world were so, 
and my own soul vacant of it, what should I be 
the better for that ? If all other men were lovers of 
their own souls, it would be happy for them ; but 
nothing to me, if I despised my own. Therefore 
let us learn what our own present business must 
be ; to labour to have the causes of common cala- 
mity wrought out from ourselves, and the causes of 
common felicity and prosperity inwrought into our- 
selves. We cannot tell how to mend the state and 
condition of the world ; and our duty reaches not 
so far : but we have each of us a work to do at 
home, in our own bosoms. And if ever we expect 
to see good days, it must be in this way, by being 
good and doing good, Psa, xxxiv. 12. 14. 



SERMON IX. 



PREACHED AUGUST 28, 1678. 



WE are considering the principles, which the Spirit 
poured forth doth implant, conducive to the general 
prosperity and felicity of the people of God. And, 
as was said before, of the evil and mischievous 
principles, that naturally work their calamity and 
misery, that they may be all reduced to an inor- 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VEU.SE 29. 147 

clinate self-love ; so the good principles which have 
a tendency to their welfare, may all be referred 
unto one common head, that of a due and well- 
tempered, well-proportioned love. When the Spirit 
of God comes to make a good and happy state of 
things to obtain and take place in the church ; the 
work of that Spirit poured forth for this purpose, is 
to write the laws of God in the hearts of his people. 
So you may find, where there is a manifest reference 
to that future happy state promised, and which we 
are yet expecting and waiting for ; he speaks in that 
and in parallel scriptures of giving his Spirit, and of 
its immediate workings and operations. And this 
is its general work, to write his law in the hearts 
of his people, Jer. xxxi. 33. Now the law, we are 
told, all the law is fulfilled in that one word, 
Love, Gal. v. 14. That is the sum and epitome 
of the whole law. And if we descend a little more 
to particulars, these three branches of a holy, gra- 
cious love will do the whole business : that is, 

I. That love to God which he requires and claims. 

II. That love of particular persons, each of them 
to themselves, which is due and regular. 

III. Their love to other men, as to themselves ; 
or measured by that love which they duly bear to 
themselves. 

I. Consider what the love of God is according as 
the law requires ; and that we must therefore believe 
will be when God pours forth his Spirit generally, 
and by it writes his law upon the hearts of men. 
Here is the first and great thing in the law, as our 
Lord Jesus Christ himself gives us the system of 
it, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy 
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," 
Matt, xxil 37, 38. " What doth the Lord thy God 



148 NINTH SERMON 

require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God," " and 
to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with 
all thy heart and with all thy soul ?" Dent. x. 12. 
Do but consider what this would do to make a 
happy world or a happy church, to have the love of 
God exalted into its just dominion and supremacy 
Ki the minds and souls of men ; that is, suppose a 
universal agreement among men to love God with 
one consent, with all their minds, and with all their 
souls, and with all their strength, as far as the 
bounds of the church may be set. There must be 
considerable, in this love to God, 1. Zeal for his 
interest and honour ; and, 2. Desire of happiness in 
him. One is love to him, as our supreme and 
sovereign Lord ; the other love to him, as our su- 
preme and sovereign good, our portion, and felicity. 
Now, . 

1. Dp but suppose a general agreement amongst 
us in the former of these, that entire devotedness 
unto the interest of God, which his love doth most 
certainly include and must possess the hearts of 
men with ; what an influence must this have ! 
When there shall be no other contention amongst 
men than who can do most for God, who can most 
greaten him in the world ; when men shall generally 
agree in an entire devotedness unto the sovereign 
supreme interest of the Lord of heaven and earth ; 
do not you think that would do much of this happy 
business ? for what cause of contention can there be 
amongst men then ? there are no quarrels in heaven, 
where that is the entire business of all, the thing 
wherein all consent and agree to praise and honour, 
to adore and glorify their common Ruler and Lord. 
And so far as the happy state we are speaking of 
shall obtain in the church of God on earth, so far 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 140 

that will be the very image of the church of God in 
heaven. Where there is an agreement among per- 
sons upon an evil principle, do but consider how it 
compacts such people amongst themselves. See 
how united the people of Ephesus were in a false 
religion ! As is noted by that orator, who bespoke 
them on occasion of the commotion amongst them 
upon the apostle Paul's coming thither, in Acts xix. 
35. " What man is there that knoweih not how 
that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the 
great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell 
down from Jupiter ?" It was, it seems, a most ob- 
servable unanimity that was amongst this people in 
this one thing unto that degree, that the whole city 
is said to be but one worshipper. Now when the 
church shall come to be but one worshipper of the 
great God, all devoted to him to serve his interest, 
when there shall be but one altar, the many altars 
mentioned before being all overturned by that inun- 
dation of the Spirit poured forth, and now but one 
great interest to be served ; must not this make a 
happy state of things so far as it obtains ? It is the 
multiplicity and privateness of men's designs and 
ends, that sets all the world together by the ears, 
and makes men every where ready to tear one 
another in pieces. Whether they go under the 
Christian name or not, that makes no difference in 
the case, as certainly a wolf is never a whit the less 
a wolf for being clothed with a sheep's skin. But 
when persons shall become one, consenting and 
agreeing by the influence of that great principle of 
divine love in the main design and business of re- 
ligion, this must produce a happy harmony. It is 
a very plain case, that if you draw a circumferential 
line, and place one centre within that circumference, 



N 3 



150 NINTH SERMON 

you may draw as many straight, direct lines as you 
will from any part of the circumference to that 
centre, and it is impossible you should ever make 
them to intersect or interfere with one another ; 
but let there be several centres, and then you cannot 
draw lines from any part, but they must necessa- 
rily intersect and cross one another ever and anon. 
Here is the case before us, It is the making of 
many centres that causes men to. interfere, while 
every man makes his ownself his end; no two men's 
interests can throughout and always agree, but that 
which this or that man does to please and serve 
himself, disserves or displeases somebody else, and 
hereupon comes a quarrel. It is manifest that .sin- 
cere religion would cure all this ; when there is but 
one end, and every man's business is to serve and 
glorify their common Maker and Lord ; when all 
thus agree in the love of God, there would be no in- 
terfering, and how would that contribute to external 
prosperity ! 

2. Do but consider the other thing which true 
love to God includes, that is, the desire of him as 
our portion, our best and supreme good ; if that shall 
once come to be universal, (as it shall be whenever 
the happy time comes, when the Spirit shall gene- 
rally write the law of God in the hearts of men,) it 
must needs make stirs, and contentions, and trou- 
bles to cease from amongst men so far as it doth 
obtain. For, as was intimated before, where self- 
love is the ruling principle, self the great idol, and 
something or other of terrene good the sacrifice 
wherewith this idol is to be served ; so the business 
of every man is to grasp in all that he can of the 
good things of this earth for himself. Now terrene 
good is (as our bodily part itself is, unto which it is 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 151 

most adapted and suited) of such a nature that it 
cannot be severed and divided into parts without 
being diminished and lessened in the several parts ; 
it is not partible without diminution, so that the 
more one enjoys of it, the less every one else enjoys. 
But now, when the blessed God himself is the best 
good to every one, every one enjoys his share 
without the diminution of other's share. It is from 
the limitedness and unpartibleness of terrene good, 
without the lessening of the several parts, that it 
comes to be the object or occasion, about which, or 
upon account whereof, there is so much exercise of 
concupiscence, inordinate desire, envy, malice, every 
one labouring to catch from another, as thinking 
another's portion to be more than comes to his 
share, and his ovvn less than should come to his. 
There is the occasion, and the corrupt nature of 
man is apt to take occasion from anything, for 
stirring the lusts and passions I am speaking of 
in reference to earthly good. But there is no oc- 
casion at all for the exercise of any such disquieting 
passions here, when there is a common agreement 
to make God their portion, to esteem him so with 
the Psalmist, " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire besides 
thee.'* When this comes to be the common sense 
with men, no man's share is diminished by the 
greater and larger enjoyments of another. And 
therefore you do not find that there is wont to be 
any exercise of disquieting passions in this case. 
Did you ever know any man that entertained malice 
against another because he himself desired to have 
very much of God, and he thought the other enjoyed 
more ? There is no place or pretence at all for 
any such thing, because, let another have ever so 



152 NINTH SERMON 

much, there is enough in the same Fountain for him 
and for me too. 

II. Consider what love towards a man's self is 
in the due kind and degree of it, and how that, when 
it shall come to obtain generally amongst men, 
must make towards the good and happy state of the 
church. That due and just love of a man's self will 
have its exercise in these two things ; 1. A strict 
care of his mind and inner man ; and, 2. A clue 
care also of the body or outward man. 

1. A very strict care of the mind and inner man. 
I remember a heathen, speaking of self-love, saith, 
" It is true, indeed, that every man ought to have a 
love to himself ; there is a self-love that is divine, 
which God makes him to bear to himself." And 
by how much the more a man is a lover of himself 
with that kind of love, so much the less is he apt 
to disquiet other men, or to contribute anything to 
common miseries. Now he that loves himself duly 
and aright, will principally, and in the first place, 
love his own soul ; he will labour to cultivate that 
to fit it for God, for his service and enjoyment ; and 
about soul concernments men's interests do not 
differ. Will you but suppose men thus employed 
and busied, intently taken up about their own 
eternal felicity and the present forming of their 
spirits in order thereto ; such will not have leisure 
to give trouble to other men. They that are all 
busy about this great affair, to take care of their 
own spirits, to keep their hearts with all diligence, 
.to depress whatsoever may be troublesome to them- 
selves or offensive to God within them, to improve 
and adorn their souls, to fit them for, and render 
them capable of a blessed eternity, you may be sure 
will find very little leisure to concern themselves 



ON EZEK1EL XXXIX. ~-VEPSE 29. 153 

with the affairs of the world to the trouble and 
disquiet of that ; though, if they can be any way 
serviceable, they will be most earnest and ready to 
do that, from the same temper and disposition of 
spirit. They are the most troublesome people 
every where, that do least mind their own souls, 
and have least business to do at home. 

2. A due care of the body also is included in 
regular self-love. And that would signify not a 
little to a happy time ; that is, if there were that 
care commonly taken of the outward man, and of 
what doth more immediately influence that, the 
appetites and affections and passions of the lower 
soul, wherein the true notion of temperance consists, 
which is one of the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. v. 23. 
If men could generally keep the flesh and its inordi- 
nate cravings under a government, so that it shall not 
be gratified in every thing that it would, nor sensual 
inclinations be suffered to grow into exorbitances ; 
if all those things that need to be corrected and re- 
duced to order by sumptuary laws were so reduced 
by a living law in every man's own self, if men 
were generally become, by inward inclination, chaste, 
sober, willing to content themselves with what is 
useful for the ends and purposes of nature, without 
making provision for the flesh and its lusts, to satisfy 
and content them, not addicting themselves to eat 
or drink more than is necessary, or to idleness, and 
sloth, and other pieces of indulgence to the flesh ; 
there would be connected with such things as these 
contentedness in every man's mind, (for lust is more 
costly than nature, covets more, and must have 
more,) and hereupon necessarily a great deal of 
tranquillity and peace. For while men's minds are 
contented within themselves, they are very little apt 



154 NINTH SERMON 

to give discontent to others. But persons discon- 
tented themselves, restless, and full of trouble, 
(which they are only by their lusts,) are fit instru- 
ments then to give all the world trouble so far as 
their power can go. Nor would it be a small ingre- 
dient in the common external happiness of such a 
time, that by this means there would be a more 
general healthiness of body among people. If that 
great fruit of the Spirit, temperance, did commonly 
obtain, by which we are able each one to " possess 
his vessel," his own body, " in sanctification and 
honour," 1 Thess. iv. 4. to attend his own body 
even as the temple of the Holy Ghost, then there 
would not be that general cause of complaint con- 
cerning consuming and loathsome sicknesses that 
are ( the great calamity of the age, and owing so 
manifestly in a high degree to unbridled lust. In 
that happy state of the church of God, wherein it is 
said, that the inhabitants of Zion shall not say 
they are sick, shall have no more cause to complain 
of sickness, because they " shall be forgiven their 
iniquity," Isa. xxxiii. 24. I reckon that forgive- 
ness of sin hath a reference to that happy state of 
things, not only as it puts a stop to the inundations 
of divine judgments in other kinds, but also as it 
hath a direct tendency to keep off the evil men- 
tioned ; that is, when sin is forgiven, the power of 
it is broken at the same time ; God doth never for- 
give sin and leave it reigning, but he forgives and 
breaks the power of it at once. Now, as when sin 
is not forgiven, men are left to the swing and impe- 
tus of their own lusts, and so are the executioners 
of God's vengeance upon themselves ; so when sin 
is forgiven, it languishes and dies ; such a people 
grow more pure, holy, temperate, chaste, sober in 



ON E2EKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 155 

all their conversation ; and so there comes to be less 
appearance of sickness and ails, and those calamities 
with which men naturally afflict their own flesh by 
the indulgence of their lusts. So that by the Spirit 
poured forth, and so a principle of due love to a 
man's self being once implanted, and excited, and 
kept in due exercise, it must infer generally both 
more contented minds and more healthful bodies ; 
and these things cannot but signify a great deal to 
make a very good time. 

There is a third branch of love, that must obtain, 
when God comes to write his law in the hearts of 
men by his Spirit love as it respects other men. 
But of this hereafter. 

By what hath been said, it seems a plain case that 
the Spirit of God poured forth would make a very 
happy external state of things. And since it is so 
proper and direct a means, and would be so effica- 
cious were it poured forth, truly it cannot but be 
matter of very sad reflection that the thing should not 
be done ; that there should be so great, so dreadful a 
restraint of this blessed Spirit in our time and age, 
as we have cause to observe and complain of. It i& 
matter of sad reflection, if you consider what, as an 
effect, it carries the signification of ; and also what 
further mournful effects it carries a presignification 
of, as a cause. 

(1.) Consider what an evil it carries in it the 
signification of, as an effect. The principle of such 
a restraint must needs be a very great degree of 
divine displeasure. It is the highest expression of 
uch displeasure that we can think of, and the most 
dreadful piece of vengeance, when God saith ; " Now 
because men have offended me at so high a rate, I 
will take away my Spirit from them." This was the 



156 NINTH SERMON 

act of vengeance wherewith he punished the pro- 
vocations of the old world,, when " the wickedness 
of man was great in the earth," and the imagination 
of his heart was all evil, and that continually : 
Well ! saith he, " my Spirit shall no more strive 
with man," Gen. vi. 3. 5. I have done, my Spirit shalj 
strive no more. It signifies the displeasure to be so 
much the greater, by how much the easier such a 
happy work as this might be wrought and brought 
about amongst us. It is no more but to let his 
Spirit breathe; and all our troubles, and all the 
causes of them must vanish at once. No, but saith 
God, my Spirit shall not breathe, shall not strive. 
The event speaks the determination and purpose : 
it doth not breathe or strive : are we so stupid as 
not to observe that ? is there that spirit of love, of 
prayer, and supplication stirring, as hath been wont ? 
It is very terrible to think that there should be such 
a restraint of that blessed Spirit, upon account of 
the signification made by it of divine displeasure. 
. (2.) Consider the presignification it also carries 
with it of most dreadful effects to ensue, when in 
displeasure his Spirit retires and is gone. The not 
pouring forth of the Spirit signifies, that wrath must 
be poured forth. When the Spirit is restrained, 
wrath shall not be restrained long. The pouring 
forth of the Spirit and of wrath do, as it were, keep 
turns ; there is an alternation between them. When 
the Spirit is not poured forth, then there is blindness, 
hardness, an eye that cannot see, an ear that cannot 
hear, and a heart that cannot understand ; as you 
have them joined in Isaiah vi. 10. And how long 
must this continue ? " Lord, how long ?" saith the 
prophet there, verse 11. It follows, "Until the 
cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 157 

without man." That is the answer given. And 
therefore methinks we should be all in a kind of 
trembling expectation, while the matter is so mani- 
fest that this blessed Spirit is under restraint. What 
doth it signify but a purpose and determination of 
the offended majesty of the blessed God ? Let the 
lusts of men have their swing, let them rend and 
tear one another by the violent agitations and hur- 
ries of their own furious lusts. He hides his face 
all the while. " I will hide my face," saith he, " I 
will see what their end shall be," Deut. xxxii. 20. 
It is not difficult to apprehend what will come of 
them when once I give them up and leave them ttt 
themselves : then there need no other hands to be 
armed against them but their own ; they will soon 
be self-destroyers . each man would be so to him- 
self, if given up to the furious hurry and impetus of 
indwelling lust. Certainly we have reason to con- 
clude, that this age hath highly displeased the Lord, 
that his Spirit is so much withdrawn, that could so 
easily work a cure : but yet he will not, he thinks 
fit to express resentment by holding under restraint 
that Spirit that could rectify and set all right, and 
make us a very happy people in a moment. 



SERMON X 



PREACHED SEPTEMBER 4, 1678. 



WE are yet speaking of the tendency 6f that radical 
principle of love to make an external happy slate ot 
things, which we are to expect the Spirit when 
poured forth to implant. We have spoken of love 
to God, and of regular self-love ; and of the influ- 
ence which these severally must have towards a 
prosperous state. 

III. Consider what love to other men, as to them- 
selves, would do in this matter. This supposes that 
second branch we have been insisting on, a due love 
to ourselves, as not only allowed but enjoined us ; 
when it is made the measure of the love we are to 
bear and exercise toward other men. And there- 
fore, as being a deeper and more fundamental law 
of nature, that must be supposed to be more excel- 
lent and noble in its own kind. That which is 
most perfect in its own species is the measure of the 
rest. But the Spirit, whose work and business it is 
to write the laws of God in the hearts of men, when 
he shall be poured forth, will write this also, that 
they love other men as they ought to love them- 
selves : especially in the latter days, the times which 
our discourse refers to. Because so great a part of 
that law is wrapped up in this love; therefore it 
cannot but be that in those latter days, when God 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. -VERSE 29. 159 

doth design to reform and new-mould things, the 
felicity and happy state of things shall be brought 
about very much by the mediation and interveniency 
of this love and the influence thereof. And because 
this love hath a most direct influence this way, I 
have designed the more to enlarge upon it ; and 
shall speak of it according to that double reference 
which our subject obliges us to consider ; that is, 
its reference to God and his Spirit as the author of 
it ; and its reference unto a happy state of things, as 
that which is to be brought about by it : its reier- 
ence upwards to God, and downwards to the world. 
Which two considered together will amount to thus 
much; that by God's working of this love more 
generally amongst men, that happy and blessed 
issue that we are speaking of is to be accomplished. 

1. Consider we its reference to God and to his 
Spirit, which we are necessarily to consider ; other- 
wise the pouring forth of the Spirit would not in- 
clude it. And it is requisite we should insist upon 
this, inasmuch as such love is too commonly meanly 
thought of. It were well, if there were not cause 
to say, that too generally professors of religion at a 
higher and stricter rate had not too low an opinion 
of this love in the scripture-regulation of it, the 
loving of others as ourselves, the measure unto 
which it is to be adjusted. And true it is indeed, 
that they who know no more of this matter than 
only the mere sound of the words, they into whose 
heart the thing never entered, and with whom it 
never yet became a vital, living law, will think it 
but a mean thing. It looks in such persons' eyes, 
while it is only clothed with a verbal representation 
and no more, as a meanly habited person at their 
doors, whom they guess at only by his garb : and if 

o 2 



160 TENTH SERMON 

such a one should have meanness objected to him 
only from thence, and the case will admit it, it is 
but a doing himself right to speak of his parentage, 
and tell how nobly he is descended. And so much 
are we to do on the behalf of this love, to let you 
know it is a heaven-born thing, descended of God, 
that owes itself to heaven : it is of no lower and 
meaner extraction than so. Do not think I mean 
by it that common carnal love which wicked men 
as such may bear one to another ; which is a more 
mean and less innocent love, than that which birds 
and beasts have to those of their own kind : but I 
mean that love, whereby any are enabled to love 
men as men, and holy men as holy men in God, 
and for God's sake, and upon his account. This is 
a heavenly, divine thing, the product of the blessed 
eternal Spirit of God alone. For evincing of that, 
weigh these several considerations, which the scrip- 
tures do plainly and plentifully afford us. 

(1.) That even this love is called the love of 
God. So it is most plainly in 1 John iii. 17. 
" Whoso hath this world's goods, and seeth his 
brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of 
compassion from him ; how dwelleth the love of 
God in him ?" So noble and sublime a thing is not 
to be more meanly spoken of, it is to be called the 
love of God: no title inferior to that is suitable 
to it. 

(2.) That God is called the God of this love ; 
" Live in peace, and the God of love and peace shall 
be with you," 2 Cor. xiii. 11. 

(3.) It is expressly said to be of God, and men 
upon the account of this love to be born of God. 
So in 1 John iv 7, 8. " Beloved, let us love one 
another; for love (this love plainly) is of God; 



ON EZEK1EL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 161 

and every one that loveth, is born of God, and 
knoweth God ;" is acquainted with God, intimate 
and inward with God ; as a man's own children 
would be with him, that are born of him, in whom 
his own nature is. Whereupon, on the other hand, 
they " are spoken of as mere strangers to God. 
such as have nothing to do with him nor he with 
them, that are destitute of this love ; " He that 
loveth not, knoweth not God ; for God is love." 
And again, 

(4.) That it is plainly made a character of the 
elect of God, distinguishing and severing of them 
from the refuse world ; " Put on, as the elect of 
God, bowels of mercies, kindness," &c. Col. iii. ] 2. 
intimating plainly to us, that wheresoever God doth 
place his own love, there he doth impress and beget 
this love. 

(5.) It is placed amongst the fruits of the Spirit, 
and even in the front of them ; " The fruit of the 
Spirit is love," Gal. v. 22. in opposition to the 
hatred, wrath, strife, &c. mentioned in the foregoing 
verses as the " works of the flesh." And we are told 
in Eph. v. 9. that " the fruit of the Spirit is in all 
goodness, and righteousness, and truth." " In all 
goodness." It is the proper work of the Spirit upon 
the spirits of men to fill them with goodness, pro- 
pensions and inclinations to do good ; and so to 
beget in them that love, which must be the spring 
of all such doing of good. 

(6.) Walking in the Spirit is directed with a 
special eye and reference unto the exercise of this 
love ; as you may see in Gal. v. the 14th, 15th, and 
16th verses compared together; " All the law is 
fulfilled in one word/' he means the whole law of 
the second table, " even in this, Thou shalt love 

o 3 



162 TENTH SERMON 

thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour 
one another," the opposite to this love, or that which 
follows upon the want of it, or from the opposite 
principle, " take heed that ye be not consumed one 
of another. This I say then, (observe the infer- 
ence,) Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the 
lusts of the flesh." To walk in the Spirit is to walk 
in the exercise of this love. 

(7.) It is spoken of as a peculiar, inseparable con- 
comitant of that light which is from God and the 
Spirit of God, and made and transmitted by the 
gospel. Observe to this purpose, 1 John ii. 7, &c. 
" Brethren, I write no new commandment unto 
you, but an old commandment which ye had from 
the beginning : the old commandment is the word, 
which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, 
a new commandment I write unto you, which thing 
is true in him and in you ; because the darkness is 
past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith 
lie is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in dark 
ness even until now. He that loveth his brother 
abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of 
stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother 
is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knovv- 
eth not whither he goeth, because that darkness 
hath blinded his eyes." A new commandment this 
is, and not new : not new, in respect of the sub- 
stance of it ; for so it is one of the ancient, sub- 
stantial, fundamental, great laws of nature ; and 
wheresoever the revelation of God's mind and will 
is to be found, that is and was ever to be found ; 
but new, in respect to that more glorious way of 
recommendation which it now hath in and bv the 

' / 

gospel and the Spirit of Christ ; which wheresoever 
it comes to obtain, in what soul soever, transforms 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX, VERSE 29. 163 

that soul into a heavenly region, a region of calm, 
and mild, and benign, and holy light. In that light 
dwells this love, amidst that light ; as the contrary, 
hatred, is a fiend that lives and lurks in darkness, 
and can dwell nowhere else. They that are destitute 
of this principle have darkness for their region ; 
they can dwell nowhere but in malignant, discon- 
solate darkness ; there they wander as forlorn, 
bewildered creatures. The apostle Peter having 
spoken of this love under several names, brotherly- 
kindness, charity, and other expressions that are con- 
generous,* tells us in 2 Pet. i. 9. that "he that lacketh 
these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and 
hath forgotten that he was purged from' his old sins." 
(8.) It closely adheres unto that principle of life, 
which is begotten in all the children of God, when 
they become his children. The begetting of souls 
unto God, is certainly the implanting in them 
and deriving to them a principle of divine life. 
With that principle this love is complicated, or it is 
a part of that very principle ; so as that by it the 
children of God and the children of the devil are 
distinguished from one another. He that hath this 
principle, hath passed from death to life, is in a state 
of life: as you may find by comparing together 
several verses of 1 John iii. " In this the chil- 
dren of God are manifest and the children of the 
devil : Whosoever doeth not righteousness, is not of 
God, (therefore he is of the devil,) neither he that 
loveth not his brother. For this is the message 
that ye heard from the beginning, that we should 
love one another. Not as Cain who was of that 
wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore 
slew he him ? Because his own works were evil, 
* Of the same kind. 



164 TENTH SERMON 

and his brother's righteous," ver. 10 !. And, 
" We know that we have passed from death unto life, 
because we love the brethren : he that loveth not 
his brother, abideth in death," ver. 14. hath no 
participation of that vital principle. He " is a 
murderer, and ye know that no murderer hath eter- 
nal life abiding in him," ver. 15. None that is 
apt to destroy the life of another, can be supposed 
to have a principle of divine life in himself, the 
beginning of eternal life. So that, divide the world 
into two seeds, and they are God's and the devil's. 
Those who are God's live the life of God ; have a 
life derived and communicated to them from God, 
wherein this same love is a part : and they that are 
destitute of it are all to be reckoned to the other 
seed ; they belong to the devil's kingdom ; for to 
be destitute of this implies a being possessed with 
the contrary principle ; no man's soul can be neutral 
in this case. But as to all such good principles, as 
are due unto the original rectitude of man and his 
nature as originally right ; if these be wanting they 
are privatively wanting, and are excluded by the op- 
posite principles obtaining and having place in their 
room and stead. The soul of man had that and 
such principles as are duly belonging to him ; it 
cannot be rasa tabula ;* but if the true and proper 
impression be not there, there is another impression 
and not none. 

And therefore it is consequent in the next place, 
that this love must needs be a great part of the 
divine image and nature, which is to be found in all 
that appertain to God. 

All these things taken together do sufficiently 

* A blank tablet ; or, as the samo meaning is familiarly ex- 
pressed, a sheet of white paper. 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 165 

entitle the Spirit of God to it, as the great author 
and parent of it. And that being once plain and 
clear, 

2. We may consider the other reference of this 
love, its reference downwards towards the world. 
And it cannot but be consequent that wheresoever 
the Spirit poured forth doth work, it must needs 
work a very happy state of things, and would make 
this world a very pleasant region. For what! 
would it not make, think you, very happy days 
indeed to have men generally made like God, trans- 
formed into the divine image? God is love; and 
he that loves bears his image : he whose soul is 
under the dominion of such a love, is a true living 
representation of all the goodness, and benignity, and 
sweetness of God's own blessed nature : and would 
it not make a happy state, if men were generally 
made such ? so to bear themselves to one another, 
so to converse and walk together, as holding forth 
the image of God, according to the dictates of a 
nature received from God, a divine nature put into 
them ? But for the particular proof of this, it will 
appear by considering the proper, natural, genuine 
workings of such love, being itself once inwrought. 
Consider to that purpose, what it would exclude, 
and what it would beget. 

(1.) What it would exclude. 

[L] It would exclude all hard thoughts amongst 
men concerning one another. " Love thinketh no 
evil ;" as one of the characters of it is in 1 Cor. 
xiii. 5, Further than necessity and irrefragable 
evidence doth impose, it would not take up so much 
as an ill thought of any one It is full of candour and 
ingenuousness, and apt to make the best construc- 
tion of every word and action, and takes every thing 



166 TENTH SERMON 

in the best sense that is capable of being put upon 
it. And what a spring of mischief and misery in 
the world would be shut up, dried up, if that prone- 
ness to hard, harsh, and frequently unjust thoughts, 
were by the workings of such a Spirit of love, erased 
out of the minds and hearts of men ! 

[2.] It would exclude every thing of pride and 
insolence towards others, vying with them, envying 
them, which proceeds from pride; "Love vaunteth 
not itself, is not puffed up," 1 Cor. xiii. 4. 

[3.] It would exclude selfish designs. And with 
what tragedies and desolations do they fill the 
world ! " Love seeketh not her own things," 1 Cor. 
xiii. 5. The exhortation is, " Look not every man 
on his own things, but every man also on the things 
of others," Phil. ii. 4. Indeed it comes from that 
pride mentioned before, that men think all belongs 
to them, and if they can grasp ever so much, it is no 
more than their due. And therefore we have these 
things so conjoined in the place just mentioned ; 
" Each esteeming other better than themselves, and, 
not seeking his own things, but also the things of 
others," ver. 3, 4. 

Men are so much intent upon seeking their own 
things, are all for themselves ; because every man 
is apt to esteem himself before all other men. But 
when we come to esteem others better than our- 
selves, I am worthy of nothing, any mean thing is 
good enough for me ; then pride and selfishness are 
both excluded together by love. 

[4.] It excludes all aptness to injure another ; 
" Love worketh no ill to his neighbour," Rom. xiii. 
10. Love so measured, whereby I love my neigh- 
bour even as myself, and whence therefore it comes 
to pass that I would no more hurt him than I would 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 167 

myself, and would no more cheat him than I would 
myself, no more oppress and crush him than I 
would myself ; would not this make a happy world, 
do we think 1 " The fruit of the Spirit is in all 
righteousness," Eph. v. 9. 

[5.] As it would by these means exclude all apt- 
ness to offend others ; so it would exclude a prone- 
ness to receive offence ; and so make greatly to the 
quiet of the world. A good man, one himself full 
of love and goodness, is very little prone to take 
offence. As a heathen philosopher said concerning 
such a one ; " A good man neither doth injure, nor 
is apt to resent an injury." So another discourses 
largely to show that injury doth not fall, doth not 
enter and sink (he means) into the mind and soul 
of a good, a wise, and virtuous man. This love 
excludes a captious disposition, apt to take offence 
at every thing, and to pick quarrels upon any or 
upon no occasion. What happy families would 
there be, what happy neighbours, when such a dis- 
position should be excluded and banished by the 
over-ruling power of a spirit of love ! There would 
be no fractions in families, no parties, no maligning 
of one another ; which commonly have their rise 
from an aptness to snarl at any thing that goes 
cross. 

(2.) What it would beget. 

[1.] It would beget mutual trust and confidence 
among j;men and Christians in one another, which 
makes not a little unto the common welfare. How 
sad is the case, when a man still continually con- 
verses with them whom he cannot trust, and they 

' / 

cannot trust him! A mutual confidence and trust 
in one another is fundamental to all society, to the 
good and prosperity of it. The apostle desires U> 



168 TENTH SERMON 

be " delivered from unreasonable and wicked men 
that have no faith," 2 Thess. iii. 2. It is probable 
lie means that have not trustiness, faith in the passive 
sense ; that are unconversable men, such in whom 
we can place no faith. It is a dreadful thing to 
live in such a world or age, when a man must per- 
petually stand upon his guard, be so very cautious 
in all his converses, and words, and actions ; I 
don't know whom to trust, whom to deal with. 
When this Spirit of love shall have to do more in the 
world, as men are generally made more sincere and 
good, so they shall generally be more trusted. Jea- 
lousy, and suspicion, and mistrust, and misgiving 
thoughts concerning one another are gone, and 
they are secure concerning one another, as no 
more suspecting that such a man hath an ill design 
upon me than I have upon myself. 

[2.] It would produce mutual pity. That would 
be a good world when every man feels for another's 
condition even as his own, and " weeps with them 
that weep" as well as " rejoices with them that do 
rejoice," Rom. xii, 15. 

[3.] It would produce a promptitude to do one 
another good upon all occasions. Such a love by 
the Spirit poured forth coming commonly to obtain, 
will make men disposed to do good as opportunity 
occurs ; " As we have opportunity let us do good 
unto all men, especially unto them who are of the 
household of faith," Gal. vi. 10. 

[4.] It will beget a delight in one another's wel- 
fare, a well-pleasedness in the prosperity of others 
that all things go well with them. 

[5.] It will introduce mutual converse, solace, 
and delight in one another's society. When a man 
shall see the face of his friend or neighbour as the 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 169 

face of an angel of God, he full of love and the 
other full of love, nothing but goodness flowing and 
reflowing ; this will surely make a good time, when 
the Spirit of God poured forth shall generally influ- 
ence the spirits of men unto such a temper. 

This must needs make a very happy state of 
things, make the church on earth the very emblem 
of the church in heaven, as the truth and sincerity 
of religion and godliness is not another thing from 
the felicity and blessedness of heaven in the nature 
and kind. It is the same church that hath the pri- 
mordials * of blessedness here, and the perfection 
of it hereafter. This is one great part of that great 
blessedness, when all are inclined by the operation 
of that Spirit, whose fruit is in all goodness, to seek, 
and desire, and rejoice in the good of one another, 
as they would do for their own. 

We can now easily frame to ourselves the idea 
of a very happy time, and we ought to believe that 
the Spirit of God can work all that we can think, 
and a great deal more, when his own time and plea- 
sure is. What hath been suggested must produce 
tranquillity in every man's own spirit, which will 
infer common tranquillity. They that have them- 
selves unquiet, disturbed spirits are the great trou- 
blers of the world. Therefore the devil works all 
that mischief to mankind, because he is himself a 
restless creature, going up and down seeking a rest 
but finding none. Men will be at rest in their own 
spirits when they come to be under the possession 
and dominion of such a Spirit as we have spoken of. 

* The originals, existing from the beginning. 



SERMON XL 



PREACHED SEPTEMBER 18, 1678. 



WE have been evincing the efficacy and sufficiency 
of an effusion of the blessed Spirit, such as we h<?w 
for in the latter times, to produce not only a pro- 
sperous state of religion, but also an external peaceful 
state of the church in consequence of the other ; 
and this last, not only by removing the causes of 
general calamities, but by working likewise what- 
ever hath a positive tendency to public good. Upon 
this head it was proposed to consider, 1. The prin- 
ciples which the Spirit poured forth is supposed to 
implant. These have been distinctly considered. 
And we now proceed to consider, 2. The effects, 
which the Spirit works by those implanted principles 
tending to the common prosperity of the whole 
church. They may be reduced to these two, union 
and order ; which will both of them promote very 
happy times for the church of God. 

I. Union amongst Christians is one of those great 
effects which are to be wrought by the Spirit poured 
forth, as a thing wherein such a good state of things 
doth very much consist. Here I shall show, 

1. That such a union amongst Christians will 
contribute very much to a happy sta&e in the 
church of God whenever it is brought about. If 



* 



ON EZEKIEL XX,XIX. VERSE 29. 



would, 1. Secure it very much from external vio- 
lence. Hereby it would be " terrible as an army with 
banners," would dismay enemies, and such as might 
design to trouble it. Such union would make way 
for undisturbed communion. And, 2. Within 
the church itself there would be free and pleasant 
commerce. Christians would not be at a loss and 
difficulty what way they were to take in order to 
the stated discharge of incumbent Christian duties. 
And what, in both these respects, such a union will 
contribute unto the common felicity of the Christian 
church, we are too well taught to apprehend by our 
experience and observation of what we have felt or 
heard of the mischiefs and miseries of the church in 
both these kinds, flow miserably hath Christendom 
been worried by the Turkish power upon account 
of its own divisions ! And within the Christian 
church itself never hath it suffered more turmoils, 
and trouble, and vexation than from intestine 
divisions. It hath been a common observation in 
the former days, that the Arian persecution was as 
cruel and wasting to the sincere Christians as ever 
the pagan persecutions were, and some have 
reckoned a great deal more. And we do not need 
to tell you what the popish persecutions have been 
ispon the protestants, and what persecutions have 
been even among protestants of one another. The 
church hath first been broken into parties, then these 
several divided parties have fallen to contending, 
and those contentions have grown to that height 
that nothing less than the ruin of each several 
party hath been designed by another. And you 
cannot but observe or have known that differences 
upon the slightest and most trivial matters have 
been managed with that heat and animosity that 



172 ELEVENTH SERMON 

nothing less could content and satisfy than even to 
crush unto utter ruin those who have dissented. 
But where were all that contention if the contending 
parties were become all one ? And where were all 
that hatred, and enmity, and malice that hath ma- 
naged these contentions ? For what ! doth any 
united thing, entire within itself, hate itself, and seek 
to ruin itself ? I proceed, therefore, to show, 

2. That it is the work of God's own Spirit to 
effect such a union, and consequently, that when 
it shall be generally poured forth, such a union must 
needs generally obtain. And the matter will be very 
clear from sundry scripture considerations, as, 

(1 .) We find in scripture this matter mystically and 
allegorically represented, that is, that by the anoint- 
ing of this Spirit, that precious ointment plentifully 
poured forth upon the head of our great High-priest, 
and diffusing itself unto all that appertain and belong 
to his body, that good and pleasant thing should be 
brought about of brethren dwelling together in 
unity. This is typically represented by the oint 
ment shed upon Aaron, diffused unto the skirts of 
his garments, Psalm cxxxiii. 1, 2. It can have no 
other meaning, but that the anointing of the Holy 
Ghost, eminently and in the first place upon our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and thence diffused to all that 
relate to his body, brings this blessed thing about. 

(2.) We find this anointing of the Holy Ghost 
upon Christians mentioned in scripture as the great 
preservative against divisions. So you may see by 
perusing the greater part of 1 John, chap. ii. There 
is a discourse, as it is much the subject of the 
epistle, about the vital love that ought to be amongst 
the brethren, and thence he comes to take notice of 
a danger that would threaten Christians from the 



if KZEKIEL XXXIX, VERSE 29. 171 

aiany antichrists that would arise, and that had in 
part risen ; " As ye have heard that antichrist 
shall come, even now are there many antichrists, 
whereby we know that it is the last time," ver. 18. 
For so it was said that it should be in the latter 
times, or in the last part of time, even that from 
Christ unto the end of the world. Now whereso- 
ever there are such antichrists starting up, pro- 
christs, mock Christs, those concerning whom it 
should be said, " here is Christ, and there is Christ ;" 
every one of these makes it his business to draw 
away a part, and so all their design is division, to 
snatch from themselves and draw off from Christ : 
' He that gathers not with him scattereth." Their 
endeavour and aim is to divide. But, as a great 
preservative against the malignity of this design, 
the apostle tells them, that " they had an unction 
from the holy One," ver. 20. This was their secu- 
rity. And at ver, 26, 27. " These things have I 
written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 
But the anointing which ye have received of him 
abideth in you ;" the anointing of this Spirit whereof 
we speak. A plain signification that the genuine 
work of this Spirit is to unite and to hold the parts 
of the body of Christ united, tight, and firm unto 
one another. As much as if he should have said, 
You were lost, the body of Christ were dissolved, 
were it not for such an anointing ; there are many 
that make it their business to draw away here a limb 
and there a limb, to pluck and dissect it part from 
part ; but ye have an anointing, there is all your 
security. 

(3.) The divisions which fall out m the church of 
Christ, we find in scripture attributed unto the 
want, and absence, and destitution of the Spirit. A 



174 EI EVENTH SERMON 

plain argument that union is its work where it is, 
and according to the degree in which it is amongst 
the people of God. " These be they who separate 
themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit," Jude 19. 
And as a like note and expression of sensuality, 
you have the apostle Paul speaking, in Rom. xvi. 
17, 18. " Mark them which cause divisions -and 
offences, and avoid them ; for they that are such 
serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly." 
A sensual sort of men, amongst whom there is 
little appearance of the Spirit, of being governed by 
the pure and holy Spirit of God. And whom can 
we think him to reflect upon in such expressions, 
those who separate themselves and cause divisions, 
but such as do make new terms of communion in 
the church of Christ, which Christ himself hath 
never made, and insist upon them ; you shall not 
have communion with us, unless you will come to 
these terms ? As the gnostics of old did, patching 
up a religion partly out of Judaism, and partly out 
of heathenism, and partly out of Christianity, and so 
making themselves a distinct body upon new 
terms from the rest of Christians. And so the 
papists have since done, and being associated and 
compacted together upon these terms, now assume 
to themselves the name and title of the church ; 
they only are the church ! cutting off themselves by 
such measures as these from all the rest of Christians 
as if they were none of the church, because they 
do not consent with them in things that are besid^ 
Christianity, and against it. And by how much tl 
less and more minute the things are, by which pel 
sons make such difference and distinction, upoi, 
which they sort and sever themselves from the rest 
of Christians so as to exclude all others, so much 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 175 

the more groundless and ridiculous is the division. 
A like case, as if a company of men should agree 
amongst themselves to be distinguished from other 
men by such or such a habit, such or such a colour 
of their garments, and call themselves mankind, and 
deny all others to be mankind. Or as if a party in 
the city should distinguish themselves by some little 
trivial distinction, and call themselves the city, and 
deny all the rest to be citizens. This is from not 
having the Spirit. That Spirit, wheresoever it is, 
and works in power, works like itself, suitably unto 
the greatness and excellency of such a Spirit, and 
suitably to the grand designs of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, whose Spirit it is. It possesses and takes 
up the minds of men with things that are great, an$ 
does not teach them to insist upon themselves, or 
to impose and urge upon others niceties and small 
trivial matters, Is this like the Spirit of the great 
and holy God ? like the wisdom and holiness of that 
Spirit ? or suitable to the greatness of those designs 
which it is to manage amongst men ? So they that 
divide upon such accounts as these are, are sensual, 
not having the Spirit, and serve not the Lord Jesus 
Christ, but their own bellies. And, therefore, 
according to the degree in which such divisions have 
taken place amongst Christians, they have been 
spoken of not as spiritual but as carnal. " I could 
not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto 
carnal," saith the apostle to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 
iii. .1. I could not tell how to look upon you, or 
converse with you, or apply myself to you, as spU 
ritually-minded men, but as men miserably carnal, 
even lost in carnality. " For whereas there is 
among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are 
ye not carnal, and walk as men?" ver. 3. It is 



176 ELEVENTH SERMON 

not like a Christian spirit, like the Christian design, 
but like other men. And therefore we also find 
that where the works of the flesh are enumerated, 

-, * 

Gal. v. 19. &c., among them come seditions, 
heresies, by which there are sidings, part-takings, 
part set against part, one party against another, and 
severings, divulsions, and rendings in the church, 
plucking it, as it were, piecemeal this way and that. 
In opposition whereto divers things that have the con- 
trary tendency, as love, meekness, peace, &c., are 
made the fruits of the Spirit in the following verses. 
(4.) The unity that doth obtain in the Christian 
church in what degree soever it doth obtain, is 
called the unity of the Spirit ; as in Eph. iv. 3, 
" Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in 
the bond of peace." A unity, therefore, no doubt it 
is, whereof the Spirit is the author and the preserver, 
according as it doth keep the bond of peace un- 
broken . amongst Christians, keeps them in a peace- 
able, temper and deportment towards one another. 
The Spirit of God is the warrantee of the church's 
peace, and it is his part to preserve it entire ; but 
yet, so as that every one hath a part of his own in 
a way of duty, and in subordination to the Spirit of 
God, to act too ; and must contribute to it, each one 
in his place and station. And, therefore, as though 
there be ever so potent a warrantee of peace 
amongst nations, it is possible that these nations 
may, by their own default, fall foul upon one ano- 
ther ; so it may be, proportionably, in this case. 
Christians by indulging the first risings of another 
spirit, a contentious, malignant spirit, may grieve 
that Spirit who is to be their preserver, causing him 
to retire and withdraw, and so he may leave them to 
look on, and see what their end will be, and what 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 177 

they will bring matters to themselves. As, when he 
hides his face, and withdraws his Spirit, the great 
God saith, " I will hide my face, and see what the 
end will be," Deut. xxxii. 20. But what unity there 
is, that is true and of the right kind, is the unity of 
the Spirit : and that shows it is his proper work, 
where it doth obtain, and according to the measure 
wherein it is poured forth, to cause and preserve 
such unity, 

(5.) The subject of such a union is also the seat, 
and receptacle, and habitation of the communicated 
Spirit. That which is the subject of such a union is 
also the subject and dwelling-place, as I may speak, 
of the indwelling Spirit: it conies to. dwell there, 
where the proper subject of this union is. That is 
a signification to us, that it hath a great influence 
upon this union ; that where it dwells, there cannot 
but be some union, a union even in the main and 
principal things amongst all living Christians. They 
are all " come as lively stones unto .the living cor- 
ner-stone," 1 Pet. ii. 4, 5. and compacted into " an 
habitation of God through the Spirit," Eph. ii. 22. 
Where the union is, there the Spirit is, in contra- 
distinction to all the rest of the world. That part 
where the Spirit of God inhabits is his church. 
And, therefore, to be added to the church, or to 
become Christian, if a man become so indeed, is, at 
the same time, to receive the Spirit. " Received ye 
the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing 
of faith? Are ye so foolish, having begun in the 
Spirit?" Gal. iii. 2, 3. They were supposed to have 
received the Spirit, and to have begun in the Spirit, 
inasmuch as they were Christians. And, therefore, 
one of the last things that the apostle Peter spoke 
to his hearers in that sermon by which so many 



178 ELEVENTH SERMON 

thousands were converted was, " Repent, and 
ye shall receive the Holy Ghost," Acts ii. 38. If 
ye be converts in truth, the Holy Ghost immediately 
comes upon you. Indeed, in their becoming con- 
verts it seizes them : and when it hath made them 
converts, and formed them into a habitation, then 
it conies and dwells, and they receive it as an inha- 
bitant ; as a house must be built before it be inha- 
bited : and he that was the builder is the inhabiter. 
Hereupon it is said, that " they that have not the 
Spirit of Christ are none of his," Rom. viii. 9. They 
that are related to him, and they that are unrelated, 
are discerned by this, the having or not having his 
Spirit : Christ's Spirit enters and possesses all his. 
The true Christian church, the mystical body of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, as that is the seat and subject of 
the union whereof we are speaking, so it is also the 
residence of the Spirit: and, therefore, certainly 
the Spirit hath much to do in the business of this 
anion. 

(6.) The very cause of this union amongst chris- 
tians, so far as it doth obtain, is the oneness of this 
Spirit. It is because that Spirit is one, who dwells 
every where in them all, that they are one. And so 
it doth appear that the Spirit is not only there seated, 
and dwells in the same subject where the union is ; 
but it is the very cause why there is such a union 
in the body, because it dwells in every part of it. 
" There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are 
called in one hope of your calling," Eph. iv. 4. And 
the reason why the members of the body, though 
they are many, are yet said to make but one body, is 
because " by one Spirit they are all baptized into 
one body, and have been made to drink into one 
Spirit," 1 Cor. xii. 13. as if it should have been 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 179 

said, You are so little one upon any other ac* 
count, or under any other notion, than only as one 
Spirit hath diffused itself among you, and cements 
you together, and refers and disposes you towards 
one another ; that the body of Christ would be no 
more one than a rope of sand, there would be no 
more cohesion of the parts, but if there were oppor- 
tunity, part would be severed from part. The body, 
though it consist of many members, yet is all one 
body, because ye have been all baptized into one 
Spirit, and made to drink into one Spirit. Refer- 
ring to the two sacraments, baptism, and the supper 
of our Lord ; as both of them significative of the 
union which persons do then enter into with the 
rest of the body ; and as they are confirmed in it 
with the rest of the body, according as they make 
use of, or are subjected to one or the other t of these 
rites. And so you know it is in the natural body. 
What other reason can we render why so many 
parts should all but constitute one man ? He hath 
one bond, one internal living bond, one soul. If 
there were one soul in one part, and another soul in 
another part ; one soul in a leg, and another in an 
arm, another in an eye, and another in an ear ; then 
it would not be one man, but many. The union is 
to be reduced into this, that there is but one soul as 
a consistent standing principle. For the parts of a 
man's body, as the parts of a church, are in a 
continual flux, continually passing ; they wear and 
waste, and there is a constant succession of new 
parts to make up for those that are past away and 
gone : and yet there is but one man still, notwith- 
standing that great change of parts in the several 
successions of time in his life, because he hath still 
but one soul. And so the church is still but one 



180 ELEVENTH SERMON 

and the same thing, because it hath one Spirit, that 
in all times hath acted uniformly and equally. 

(7.) It appears to be proper to the Spirit to work 
And maintain such a union as this ; inasmuch as the 
principal operation, which it doth exert and put forth 
as the chief and main work which it doth, doth al- 
ways necessarily imply this, of uniting and keeping 
the parts of the body united, as a secondary and 
consequential work. It cannot do its principal work, 
but it must do this. What is its principal and main 
work ? It is, (as hath been intimated,) unto the 
church of Christ, even as a soul unto the body. 
And what is the office and business of the soul to 
the body ? It is to animate the body, to enliven it 
in the several parts of it : but that it could never 
do, but by uniting the parts and keeping them 
united. You know that if a finger, or a toe, or a 
leg, or an arm be cut off from the body, the soul 
enlivens that no longer : therefore it animates it, 
as it keeps it united with the body. The case is 
manifestly thus here ; the Spirit of God keeps the 
body alive, and all the several parts of the body 
which it animates by holding them together. As 
all the members of this body partake of other pri- 
vileges in a community, as they belong to the body ; 
as for instance, that of peace, and that communion 
which it includes and carries in it. " Ye are called 
to it," saith the apostle, " in one body," Col. iii. 14. 
Ye are to share and partake in such a privilege, as 
being all of a piece, all of one body ; called in one 
body to this great commerce of Christian peace and 
communion. You know that full peace between 
people and people, nation and nation, doth include 
commerce. So we may say of life too ; persons are 
called to the participation of life all in one body, as 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 181 

being parts of that body, they come to share in life. 
The Spirit doth not animate, but as it unites, and 
keeps united the several parts which it animates ; no 
more than our soul will animate any part of our 
body that is once separate from it. Now this 
plainly argues it to be the work of the Spirit to effect 
and maintain this union. 

(8.) All the terms of this union, wherein chris- 
tians do meet, are such whereunto they are disposed 
and inclined by this Spirit. You have these terms 
in Eph. iv. 4, &c. The apostle had said, that there 
was one body and one Spirit. Now wherein doth 
this Spirit make this body one ? Why, " even as ye 
are called in one hope of your calling ;" inasmuch 
as they have all one hope, and all one Lord, and 
one faith, and one baptism, and one God and Father 
of them all. Now it is manifest, that it is the work 
of the Spirit to draw and dispose the hearts of 
Christians to meet in these common terms. As, to 
meet in this as a common term, in one hope, one 
blessedness and state of life. You know how the 
rest of the world are divided about blessedness ; one 
places his confidence in this sort of good, and ano- 
ther in that sort : there are numbered up no less 
than two hundred and eighty-eight opinions among 
the heathens heretofore about blessedness, wherein 
it should consist. Now how come all sincere chris- 
tians to agree in this, to hope for blessedness all in 
one thing, in that state of life and glory that is 
hereafter to be enjoyed ? and that all, in all times 
of the world, should have met in the same hope ? 
All this must be owing to one cause, and proceed 
from one principle. The rest of men are divided ; 
why are they united in this hope ? And so, as to 
to the rest, if we should run over them. They have 

Q 



182 ELEVENTH SERMON 

all one Lord, sincerely agree to be subject to that 
one head ; he shall rule over us, we will all trust 
him, and all obey him. They have all one faith ; 
are all of one religion as to the essentials and main 
of it, believe all the same substantial truths, and all 
by one and the same sort and kind of faith ; have 
the same object of faith in the main, and the same 
subject too in the nature and kind of it. They have 
all one baptism ; which is not to be understood so 
much of the sign, as of the thing that is signified by 
it ; that is, the covenant and agreement that passes 
between God and them that are baptized with his 
Spirit ; unto whom the external baptism comes to 
obtain the thing which is intended to be signified 
corresponding in them. They all agree in one bap- 
tism, all come under one title, all give up and devote 
themselves under the bond of God's covenant alike, 
and in one and the same covenant. For God doth 
not make one covenant with one person, and another 
covenant with another; but they all meet in the 
same covenant. " And one God and Father of all." 
How come they all to have this one God and 
Father ? It is one Spirit that disposes and forms 
them hereunto. And in short, holiness, real sub- 
stantial goodness, which doth some way or other in- 
clude all these, as meeting in every one of them, and 
so uniting them. All sincere Christians meet in 
that. And how come they to meet in it ? by chance ? 
No, certainly; but by one designing Cause, that 
works them all the same way. That so great a com- 
munity, so vast a body as the Christians of all times, 
and ages, the people of God, in all the parts of the 
world and in all times of it, should all meet and 
unite in so many things, and in this one thing, 
namely, substantial goodness and holiness, must 



ON E2EKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 183 

needs be all from one cause. They being things, 
too, wherein they cannot be supposed to agree na- 
turally ; for naturally men are most disagreeing and 
repugnant as to such things as these. And there- 
fore we may see, (that which it is very remarkable 
that a heathen should say, speaking of concord in a 
city,) " That there can be no concord at all in any 
thing, if there be not some common notices, wherein 
persons shall meet and agree. So (speaking in re- 
ference to common and ordinary affairs) it were 
impossible that persons should agree about the num- 
bers of things, if there were not amongst them some 
common knowledge about the difference of num- 
bers. If one person should understand one to be 
the number five, and another should understand it by 
another thing ; or if persons could not generally" 
understand so much of the matter of number, as to 
distinguish five from seven, (one number from ano- 
ther,) they could have no agreement in any common 
matter, wherein number was concerned. And so," 
saith he, " if there be any accord about things that 
come under measure, it is to be supposed, that there 
must be a common notice amongst all such persons, 
so far as to understand the difference between a 
palm and a cubit. And so there will be no agree- 
ment in things, that are of greater concernment to 
the good of a city, but by agreeing in this, that all 
agree to be good men : they cannot be good citizens, 
without being good men." But how should men 
come to be so ? How should there come to be such 
a number of men, all agreeing in one thing and de- 
sign, to be all for God in a world that is revolted 
and apostatized from him ? It must be all from one 
cause and principle. It is one and the same Spirit, 
that in all times and ages works and disposes the 



184 ELEVENTH SERMON 

spirits of such one way ; so as that you may observe, 
that in all times there have been amongst Christians 
the same complaints, the same desires, the same de- 
signs; they have had the same sense of things. 
Such a uniformity, as doth appear even in the se- 
veral successions of time, signifies, that there is one 
common, unitive principle, that hath obtained 
amongst them all in all times ; and so accordingly, 
that such a union must needs b& the proper work of 
this blessed Spirit. 

(9.) When a people do fall off, and break them- 
selves off from God, (which they never do, but as 
this Spirit departs and leaves them,) according to 
that degree wherein they do so, they are broken off 
from one another, broken asunder amongst them- 
selves. This we have emblematically represented in 
Zech. xi. by the two staves of Beauty and Bands. 
When one of them, the staff of Beauty, was broken, 
(that was the representation of the union that was 
between God and them,) next the staff of Bands is 
presently broken, which was the representation of 
the union between Judah and Israel, of the people 
amongst themselves, verses 10, 11. 14. When God 
saith, Loammi, ye shall be my people no more ; then 
the consequence is this, they cease to be a people ; 
they are no more one people, when they cease to be 
his. The case is not so with those who have pro- 
fessed visible relation to God, as with the rest of the 
world in this thing. Others make shift to subsist 
and live without God, that is, they gain flourishing 
kingdoms, and commonwealths, and cities ; and it 
may be a people professing the name of God may 
expect to have it so with them too, if God should 
depart from them : but his presence is as a soul 
amongst such a people ; " Be instructed, lest 



ON EZEKIliL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 185 

soul depart from you.'-' And if a man's soul go 
from him, he doth not then become a creature of the 
next inferior rank, a beast, but a carcase. If this 
soul depart from a people professing relation to 
God, (as there is a divine presence that is larger 
than the most special presence, and yet more re- 
strained than the general presence that he affords to 
men as men,) they do not then become like another 
people, but they become no people. " Be instructed, 
Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee ; lest 
thou become desolate, a land not inhabited," Jer. 
vi. 8. They may think, it may be, that it will be 
with them as with other nations, when God is gone. 
But see what a rebuke any such hope meets with, in 
Hbs. ix. 1. " Rejoice not, Israel, for joy, as other 
people ; for thou hast gone a whoring from thy 
God," &c. The case will not be with you as with 
other people; you have forsaken your God, torn 
yourselves off from him. When the staff of Beauty 
is broken, the staff of Bands is broken too ; and such 
a people as fall off from God, fall asunder : that it 
comes to at last ; as the body of a man, when the 
soul is gone, dissolves and turns to dust. 

(10.) In the time of the revival of the church 
from under the state of death they have been in ; 
when God so revives it, he unites it part to part. 
How clearly have you this represented in vision after 
vision, in the whole thirty-seventh chapter of Efce- 
kiel 1 When the spirit of life entered into those dry 
and dead bones, when he breathed upon them and 
made them live, he made them one, he made them a 
great army, ver. 10. And the next thing that you 
hear of is, this people's being made one stick in 
God's hand ; Judah and Israel one stick, united with 

Q 3 



186 ELEVENTH SERMON 

one another ; and in God's hand, to signify him to 
bo the centre of that union, ver. 19. When there is 
a recovery of the church out of a lapsed, apostatized 
state, out of that death that hath been upon it ; then 
also part comes to part, as there the bones came to- 
gether, and flesh, and sinews ; and so every thing 
tails into its own place and order in each particular 
body ; and all these bodies into such an order, as to 
make one collective and well-formed bodv. And 
so it is very plain too, that when Gou doth design 
to bring that state of things about in his church, as 
that he will now have his covenant with them to ob- 
tain everlastingly, so as never more to turn away from 
doing them good ; then he hath promised that he will 
give them one heart and one way. Even at the 
same time, when he comes to be more visibly and 
eminently in the view of the world engaged to such 
a people as their God, and to have taken them 
exemptly from all other people to be his people ; 
when this comes to be more explicit and notorious, 
so that all the world may take notice of it, and so 
that he will dwell with them, and be visibly present 
amongst them, have his glory amidst them, and not 
cease to do them good; so these things are ex- 
pressed, Jer. xxxii. 37 41. at the same time he 
gives them one heart and one way, so as that they 
are no more a rent and torn and shattered people, 
but all one, all agreeing about the very way of their 
walking with God .according to that relation wherein 
they stand to him. 

All these things do evidence, that such a union is 
the proper work of the Spirit ; and that when it shall 
be poured forth generally and copiously, then this 
union shall obtain in a very great and visible glory. 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29, 187 

. I. should after all this speak a little more particularly 
to a twofold inquiry concerning this union : but of 
that hereafter. 

From what .hath thus far been said, we may take 
notice, that our own divisions are a very sad argu- 
ment to us, that the Spirit is in a great measure re- 
tired and withdrawn ; that little of the Spirit is work- 
ing amongst Christians in our times, in comparison of 
what hath been, and in comparison of what we may 
hope will yet be. But it is grievous, whatsoever 
hath been, whatsoever shall be, that it is our lot to 
be in such a time, when there should be such a 
gloomy overcast upon the glory of the Christian 
church in this respect. What we see and what we 
hear of that distance and disunion amongst chris- 
tians, is a sad argument, that the church is in a 
dismal lapse, the Spirit of God is in a great measure 
gone from amongst us, life retired and gone. If He 
were amongst us to enliven, He would be amongst 
us to unite. 



SERMON Xtl. 



PREACHED SEPTEMBER 25, 1678 



THAT which we have heen upon in the last discourse 
was That union amongst them that own and bear 
the ehristian name, we may reckon, will be one great 
effect of the Spirit poured forth ; upon which the 
happiness of the church will greatly depend. Two 
things have already been spoken to upon this head. 
1. That such a union is of great concernment to the 
happiness and prosperity of the church ; and, 2. 
That it is the proper work of the Spirit of God to 
effect it; and consequently, that when that Spirit 
shall be generally poured forth, such a union cannot 
but generally obtain. 

There are two further inquiries, which it will be 
requisite we somewhat insist upon relating to this 
matter. 

I. What kind of union this shall be, which we 
may expect the Spirit poured forth to accomplish. 

II. In what way we may expect the Spirit to ac- 
complish it. 

I. What kind of union we may expect it to be. 
And we may expect it shall be such in the general, 
as wherein the duty and happiness of the Christian 
church shall in very great measure consist ; such as 
is required as matter of duty, and promised as matter 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 189 

of gift; and which will contribute much to the 
church's felicity. But inasmuch as we neither ex- 
pect the church of God on earth to be perfectly sin- 
less, nor perfectly happy ; therefore we cannot ex- 
pect this union to be perfect. Nor, therefore, can 
we suppose any such things requisite to it, as must 
be thought requisite unto a perfect union. We can- 
not think it necessary that this Spirit poured forth 
should be, as poured forth or communicated, an infal- 
lible Spirit in order thereto, when it comes to be 
amongst men or in them: which you know some 
have thought very necessary in order to any union in 
the church of God ; but have pretended highly to it, 
without being able to agree where to fix the seat of 
the spirit of infallibility they pretend to have amongst 
them. And since a union and agreement in holi- 
ness is as necessary for the church of God, as in 
truth, one would think there should have been as 
much pretence to an impeccable spirit as to an infal- 
lible, and every whit for as valuable reason. But 
they have been ashamed to pretend to the former, 
whilst the pretenders have been so notoriously 
vicious and vile in the view of all the world. And cer- 
tainly, if there were an infallible spirit amongst such 
men, we may justly say it was ill lodged and unfitly 
in the midst of such horrid impurities ; and did no 
more become them, than a jewel of gold a swine's 
snout. But that we may be a little more particular 
here, we shall briefly show, 1. What a union we are 
not to expect; 2. What union there already is 
amongst all living Christians ; and, 3. What union 
we are farther to look and hope for. 

1. What union we are not to expect. 

(1.) Not such, as that all shall agree in the same 



190 TWELFTH SERMON 

measure of knowledge ; and consequently, that there 
will not be an identity and sameness of apprehension 
throughout in all things ; for then there must be the 
same measure of knowledge. There is no man, that 
thinks differently from another man, but he thinks 
so differently either truly or falsely ; and wherever 
the falsity lies, on the one hand or the other, there 
lies so much ignorance : but it is never to be thought 
that all will have just the same measure of know- 
ledge. 

(2.) Nor can we reasonably expect an agreement 
with all in the same pitch of holiness ; that all will 
be holy alike ; no one more holy, more spiritual, 
more heavenly than another. 

(3.) Nor are we to expect that all should agree in 
the same measure of joy or consolation ; that there 
should be the same sensations of divine pleasure in 
all, the same pleasant motions of holy and spiritual 
affections ; which, be they as holy and spiritual as 
they will, yet must also be complexional in a degree, 
and depend much even upon the bodily temper, 
wherein no man can think that all shall ever agree. 

(4.) Nor can there be such a union as shall infer 
that all must be of the same rank and order, the 
same station and use in the church of God ; which 
indeed would not belong to the perfection of union, 
but imperfection ; it would be confusion, instead of 
regular and perfect union. 

Such kind of union we are not to expect. And 
it is to be considered farther in reference to this 
matter, 

2. What kind of union there already is. 

And certainly some union there is among all 
those who are sincere and living Christians : such I 



ON E2EK.IEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 191 

chief}) intend as the subject of the union whereof 
I am discoursing. And there is, and cannot but be 
amongst all such, a union in those great and sub- 
stantial things, which we have already had occasion 
to take notice of, in Eph, iv. 3, 4. They are all 
one body, one living animated body by one and the 
same Spirit. They have all one hope of their call- 
ing, one happiness and end ; one Lord, one faith ; 
they are all substantially of one religion ; one bap- 
tism, meaning by that, (as hath been noted,) not so 
much the sign as the thing signified ; they are all 
comprehended within the bond of the same covenant 
of life and peace. They have all " one God the 
Father of all, who is of all, and in all, and through 
all." 

And which sums up all this, one way or another, 
they are all united in one common Head. The 
apostle, speaking of Christ, says, " He is the head 
of the body, the church," Col. i. 18. And to the 
same purpose in Eph. i. 22, 23. And by virtue of 
that union they have with Christ the Mediator, the 
head of the church, it comes to pass, that they do 
unite and agree besides in all the other things that 
were mentioned. They are all of his body. It is 
from him they all partake of that one and the same 
Spirit. It is he who hath opened heaven to them, 
given them a prospect of an eternal blessed state, 
brought life and immortality to light before their 
eyes. They are called by him in that one hope of 
their calling. It is a revelation from God by him, 
that is the matter of their common faith. He is 
the Mediator of that covenant, which comprehends 
them all. It is he that reduces, and restores, and 
reunites them to God, and sets all things right 



192 TWELFTH SERMON 

between him and them. Therefore herein is the sum 
of their union, that they have all one Head, wherein 
they are united. 

And this their common head is not only a poli- 
tical, but a vital head ; as is apparently enough 
represented, in those most emphatical expressions, 
Eph. iv. 15, 16. where the metaphor is distinctly 
pursued of a union between the head and the body : 
That, " speaking the truth in love, we may grow up 
into him in all things, which is the Head, even 
Christ : from whom the whole body fitly joined to- 
gether and compacted, by that which every joint 
supplieth, according to the effectual working in the 
measure of every part, maketh increase of the body 
unto the edifying of itself in love." With which 
agrees that in Col. i. 18. " He is the head of the 
body, the church, who is the beginning, the first- 
born from the dead," &c. And that in chap. ii. 19. 
" Not holding the head, from which all the body 
by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, 
and knit together, increaseth with the increase of 
God." All these expressions speak a vital union, 
such as every member in the body hath with the 
head, being by proper ligaments jointed into its 
own place, and so connected with those that finally 
and ultimately have more immediate connexion with 
the head ; from whence there are those several ducts, 
those conveyances of spirits, by which the head doth 
become a fountain of directive and motive influence 
unto the whole body. And so is our Lord Jesus 
Christ unto the church a Fountain both of directiv 
and motive influence, of light and life. 

He is a Fountain of light to all true Christians 
For every beam of true light is a ray from that " Sun 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 193 

of righteousness," shines from and through the Lord 
Jesus Christ. We are under a dispensation, wherein 
" the Father speaks to us by his Son, who is the 
brightness of his glory, and the express image of 
his person," Heb. i. 2, 3. This world were univer- 
sally a region of nothing else but pure mere dark- 
ness, were it not for him, "the light that lighteneth 
every one that cometh into the world," according to 
the several variations, and degrees, and kinds of 
light that shine here and there. And, 

He is also a Fountain of life and vital influence. 
That very light is vital light, the light of life. "The 
life was the light of men," John i. 4. And for all 
that have real union with him, it is because he lives, 
that they live also. 

Herein therefore they have union with this Head. 
They all participate together in the light of divine 
truth, whereof he hath been the Teacher ; of all that 
saving wisdom and knowledge that is treasured up 
in him. " In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom 
and knowledge," Col. ii. 3. And all that are really 
of his body, unite and meet in a participation of 
necessary light and knowledge from him ; they par- 
take according to their measure of necessary truth 
from that fountain, so much as is essential unto the 
Christian religion, and necessarily concurs unto the 
constituting of that. And they all agree in the par- 
ticipation of motive and active influence from him, 
for the performance of all the essentially necessary 
duties and exercises that do belong to the Christian 
life. Such a union there is amongst all sincere 
Christians. This is implied in the expression of hold- 
ing the head before mentioned. They truly hold 
the head, who are so united to it, as that by virtue 

R 



194 TWELFTH SERMON 

of that union they receive and derive thence the 
knowledge and perception of all essentially requisite 
truth, and that life and power that is also requisite 
to the duty which lies upon Christians as such. 

There hath been a great deal of controversy, 
between the reformed and those of the Roman 
church, about that distinction of the essentials and 
extra-essentials of Christianity. But let men cavil 
as long as they will, it would manifestly be the 
most absurd thing in all the world to deny the dis- 
tinction : for if any would deny it, I would inquire 
of them, Which part of the distinction is it, that 
you would deny ? Would you deny, that there are 
essential parts of Christianity ? or else, that there 
are extra-essential parts ? If the distinction be not 
good, one of these parts must be denied. But if any 
would say, there are no essential parts, that would 
be to say, that the Christian religion hath no being ; 
for certainly that is nothing, unto which nothing is 
essential. And to say, that there are no extra- 
essential parts, is to say, that a man cannot be a 
Christian unless he know every thing of truth, and 
unless he punctually do every thing of duty, whether 
he know it or not. Then a man could not be a 
Christian unless he did certainly know the meaning of 
the number six hundred and sixty-six, and a thousand 
difficult passages besides up and down the scripture. 
So that in effect, to deny the distinction of essential 
and extra-essential parts in Christianity, or of it, 
must either be to deny that there is any such thing 
as Christianity, or that there is any such thing as a 
Christian. If there be no essential parts, Christianity 
is nothing ; for that is nothing, to which nothing is 
essential And if there be none extra-essential, 



ON EZEK.IEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 195 

then there are no chnstians ; for certainly there is 
no man that knows and does every thing that be- 
longs to the Christian religion. But that there are 
essential parts, and therefore extra-essential too, is 
most evident. And which the essential parts be, in 
contradistinction to all others, is not obscurely inti- 
mated to us in the scripture itself, in such sum- 
maries of Christian doctrine and practice, as we have 
pointed to us here and there in some remarkable 
texts. As, when we are told, "To us there is but 
one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and 
we in him ; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom 
are all things, and we by him." 1 Cor. viii. 6. 
Where we have the great objects, upon which reli- 
gion terminates ; God considered as God, the end ; 
and Christ the Mediator, the way to that end. And 
then we are not without what is summary too of 
the acts to be done in reference to those objects. 
The apostle, speaking of the course he had taken in 
unfolding the mysteries of the gospel, resolves all 
into this sum ; he had been " testifying both to Jews 
and Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward 
our Lord Jesus Christ," Acts xx. 21. Which are 
such acts or parts of Christian practice, as belong to 
the indication* of the Christian course at first, and 
then to be continued afterwards through it ; but so 
as to comprehend many particulars of practice be- 
sides ; whereof our Lord Jesus Christ gives us ano- 
ther summary ; " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with 
all thy mind." And, " Thou shalt love thy neigh- 
bour as thyself. On these two commandments," 
saith he, " hang all the law and the prophets," 

_ * Beginning. 
R 2 



l96 TWELFTH SERMON 

Matt. xxii. 37, &c. And indeed you have objects and 
acts implicitly comprehended together in that great 
summary, whicli is expressive of the faith, into which 
Christ directed his apostles to proselyte all nations, 
into which they were to baptize them ; that is, " into 
the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghost," Matt, xxviii. 19. Where the Father 
is to be considered as the end, the Son as the way, 
and the Spirit as the great principle to move souls 
towards that end through that way. Now there are 
none, that are sincere and living Christians, but do 
and must unite in such things as these, these great 
essentials and substantiate of the Christian religion. 
But it may now be said ; if there be so much 
union amongst all christians already in these so great 
and substantial things ; what further union must we 
look for ? which was the third thing we proposed to 
speak to upon this head ; 

3. What further union we are yet to expect and 
hope for. 

And it must be acknowledged, and ought to be 
lamented, that there is all this union with very much 
disunion ; such disunion that is in a high degree 
dishonourable to God, scandalous to the world, and 
uncomfortable to the Christian community within 
itself. You well know, that there may be one house 
standing upon one foundation ; and yet miserably 
shattered, ill supported, ill covered. There may be 
one large family, all under one family-governor; 
and yet many sidings and contentions in it, many 
parties and part- takings, this way and that. The 
like may be said of a city, a kingdom, an army, or 
any such aggregate body. The like may be said 
even of a man himself, that hath, while he is a man, 



ON EZEKJEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 197 

several parts united in him ; but yet this living man 
may be sick, very sick, and even nigh to death, in 
a most languishing state. Soul and body are still 
united, and several parts in the body still united 
with one another ; but it may be some dying, some 
dead, all languishing at least ; and, as the case is in 
some diseases, one member falling foul upon ano- 
ther, the man beating, hurting, wounding himself. 
The parts are still in union ; but this is a union very 
remote from what belongs to a sound, sober, healthy 
man, in good plight every way. And so the matter 
is with the Christian church too. We do acknow- 
ledge such a union in all the fore-mentioned things, 
in all things of that nature : but it is with a most 
scandalous and pernicious disunion. We do not 
think that the Spirit of God hath totally forsaken 
the christian church ; but it is plain, it is miserably 
languishing and next to death ; according to the im- 
port of that expression to the Sardian church, 
" Strengthen the things that remain, that are ready 
to die," Rev. iii. 2. There is truth, but wrapt up 
in obscurity, and held in unrighteousness ; as- Is too 
obvious to common observation. And therefore it 
is another sort of union than this is, in respect of 
the degree and perfection of it, that we are yet to 
look for ; and which certainly the Spirit, when 
poured forth copiously and generally, (as we are 
encouraged to hope it will be,) will effect and bring 
about. This union, which we are to expect, (as 
indeed the union, which already we have in nature 
and kind,) is to be both intellectual and cordial. 
We are to expect an improvement of it unto a much 
higher degree in both these kinds, a higher union 
both of judgment and love. 

11 3 



198 TWELFTH SERMON 

(1.) A much higher intellectual union, than we 
hitherto find ; a nearer union and agreement in 
mind and judgment amongst Christians. And it is 
very unreasonable not to expect it, when we con- 
sider how plain and express the charge is concerning 
that kind of union ; it is very unreasonable to think 
that the people of God, the community of Christians, 
shall be always in so notorious a discrepancy from 
their rule, even in this particular case. See the 
solemnity of that charge, in 1 Cor. i. 10. " Now I 
beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and 
that there be no divisions among you ; but that ye 
be perfectly joined together in the same mind and 
in the same judgment." Do we think the Christian 
community shall be never nearer the rule in this 
case than it is ? We have reason to expect it shall ; 
and especially since we find it is so expressly fore- 
told, that in the latter days (which this discourse we 
have in hand hath reference to) " one heart shall 
be given, and one way," Jer. xxxii. 39. Certainly 
there shall be so much agreement in minds and 
judgments, as shall lead the people of God all into 
one way ; for such a word cannot fall to the ground, 
and is not put into the bible to stand for a cipher 
there. And we have it expressly promised, that of 
them that are all intent to press forward towards 
the same mark, and wherein they have attained, to 
do all to their .uttermost to " walk by the same rule ; 
if in any thing they be otherwise minded, God shall 
reveal this to them," Phil. iii. 15, 16. It is also 
expressly promised oy our Lord Christ himself, that 
' they that will do his will shall know the doctrine 
whether it be of God," John vii. 17. yea r no. 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 199 

Certainly, when the Spirit comes to be so copiously 
and generally poured forth, men will be attempered 
more to the will of God ; there will be more earnest 
minding and endeavouring to do his will ; self-will 
will not be the common rule and law amongst those 
who bear the name of Christians, as now it is ; and 
upon this is that great promise grounded ; all that 
is required is, " If any man will do his will, he 
shall know his doctrine." There is no such neces- 
sary and certain qualification for the knowledge of 
divine truth, as sincerity ; when men do inquire for 
truth, not to gratify curiosity, not to serve an in- 
terest, not to keep up a party, not to promote a base 
design ; but with sincere hearts, that they may 
understand what the good and acceptable will of the 
Lord is. They that are intent upon this, our Lord 
Christ will not fail them, nor break his promise, 
that such who will do his will, shall know the doc- 
trine. There is a peculiar gust and relish, which 
the truth that is after godliness always carries in it 
to persons that are alive and well, and that have 
their senses exercised to discern between good and 
evil. " Cannot my taste discern perverse things ?" 
saith Job, chap. vi. 30. Has not a lively Christian 
a taste to discern some things that are obstructive 
and destructive to the Christian religion and the 
Christian interest in the world ? A person alive and 
with senses exercised, will taste it out : even as the 
new-born babe desires sincere milk, while it would 
refuse that which is corrupt and mixed with any 
thing ungrateful. Herein we are to expect much 
more of an intellectual union, or union in judgmen* 
concerning the great truths of God. 
(2.) A much nearer and more inward cordial 



300 TWELFTH SERMON 

union, a union of love. When the Spirit was more 
eminently poured forth upon Christ's ascension, see 
how it was with Christians in that respect ; " They 
continued daily with one accord in the temple," 
Acts ii. 46. Our translation renders it too faintly ; 
they met together "all with one mind ;" so the ex- 
pression literally signifies. And chap. iv. 32. it is 
said, that believers were all of one heart and one 
soul. Of the multitude that believed there was 
but one heart and soul ; as if they were a com- 
munity, all acted and animated by one soul. How- 
ever unlike itself the church of God is grown in a 
long tract of time, the Spirit of God is not grown 
unlike itself ; and therefore when it comes to be 
poured forth as it hath been, it will still act as it 
hath done, uniformly and 'agreeably to itself ; and 
make them that now are many parties, divided and 
shattered, broken this way and that, all one entire 
piece. How passionately longing do the apostle's 
expressions import him to be, in reference to this 
one thing, that is, the union composed of the two 
things I ha>ve mentioned, of a union in mind and 
judgment, and of a closure in heart and love, in 
Col. ii. 1, 2. ".I would, that ye knew what great 
conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, 
and for as many as have not seen my face in the 
flesh : that their hearts might be comforted, being 
knit together in love, and unto all the riches of the 
full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledg- 
ment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and 
of Christ," This is the union that he covets, and 
we must know that that Spirit, who is to be the 
author of this union, was no doubt the author of 
these very desires and longings of the apostic's soul 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX, VERSE 29. 201 

about it ; it acts agreeably to itself. He desired 
arid longed so earnestly for this, that they might be 
knit together both in love and understanding, to the 
acknowledgment of the mystery of God, both the 
Father and the Son. And what have there been, 
even from the dictate and direction of the Spirit, so 
earnest longings for ? why, though so long before, 
we are to account these very longings to be the 
earnests of the thing desired, and so to expect that 
whereof they are the earnest. 

We thus far see what union we are not to 
expect, what already is, and what we are to expect 
and look for further than yet there is, or than yet 
we see. 

Upon all this, while as yet we behold so little of 
so desirable a thing, we have reason to account that 
it is with the church of God a time of his hiding his 
face, and of the restraint of the Spirit. " I will no 
more hide my face, I will pour out my Spirit." 
While the Spirit is not poured forth, even with re- 
ference to this blessed end and work ; this is the 
notion which we ought to have concerning the 
present state of the Christian church ; it is a time 
of God's hiding his face from them ; the bright and 
glorious face that hath shone upon it sometimes, 
and that we are to expect should shine, is yet ob- 
scured and hid. And what should our posture be 
upon that account? while we must reckon this the 
common state and case of the Christian church at 
this day ; in what posture should our souls be ? And 
surely 

[!.] It ought to be a very mournful posture. 
How hath he covered with a cloud in his anger 
the daughter of his people ! How is her glory 



802 TWELFTH SERMON 

confounded ! when he did decline to go with the peo- 
ple of Israel further on in their way towards Canaan, 
saying, " I will send an angel before thee, and I 
will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite," &c. He 
shall destroy them for you ; but I will not go up in 
the midst of thee, I will not go with you any fur- 
ther ; " The people," it is said, " when they heard 
these evil tidings, mourned, and no man did put on 
him his ornaments," Exod. xxxiii. 2 4. It is a 
mourning time when the bridegroom is withdrawn : 
and there is no sadder token that he is withdrawn, 
than to behold the eonfusions which have ensued in 
his absence. 

[2.] It ought to be an expecting, a waiting pos- 
ture. Surely this dark and gloomy night will be 
succeeded by a morning. It will not be a perpetual 
eternal night ; there will be a time when the hid 
face will again appear, and the cloud remove. " I 
will wait upon the Lord that hideth his face from 
the house of Jacob, and I will look for him," Isa. 
viii. 17. And it should be an earnest, desirous, 
longing expectation. There can be no more dismal 
token upon us, than to be indifferent. He is gone, 
his face is hid, he is not to be seen ; and whether 
he come towards us again, whether we shall see him 
again any more, we regard it not ; this would be 
the most dismal token. 



SERMON XIII. 



PREACHED OCTOBER 2, 1678. 



BESIDE the principles which the Spirit of God, when 
copiously and generally poured forth, will work in 
each individual person, tending to create a happy 
state of things in the church, we proposed to speak 
of two general effects, that must have the Christian 
community as such for the subject of them, and 
not individual persons only ; namely, union and 
order. 

Much hath been said upon the former, the de- 
sirable effect of union. It hath been shown that 
the happiness of the church doth much depend upon 
this, and that it is the proper work of the Spirit 
of God to effect it : and then the last time we came 
to speak to a twofold inquiry, 

1. What kind of union this is to be. This we 
have gone through, and now proceed to a second, 
namely, 

2. In what way the Spirit of God poured forth 
may be expected to effect this union. 

And there is no doubt but it will effect it by the 
same means by which it shall revive and recover 
religion, of which we have so largely spoken. At 
the same time when it makes the Christian church 



204 THIRTEENTH SERMON 

a living church, it will make it one, that is, in that 
higher and more eminent degree whereof we have 
been speaking. It is but one and the same thing, 
or is done by the same operation, the making the 
church more holy, and the making it one. What 
brings Christians nearer to God and Christ, will cer- 
tainly and infallibly at once bring them nearer to 
one another. For it is manifest that the greatest 
differences which are to be found in the Christian 
world, lie between the godly and the ungodly, the 
converted and the unconverted, the sincere and the 
insincere. Whatever differences there are amongst 
the people of God themselves, those are still the 
greatest differences which lie between them and 
those who are not of them; for there the disagree- 
ment is about having the Lord for our God. Every 
ungodly man is his own idol ; he hath yet this first 
step to take in religion, the choosing of God alone 
to be his God. Now the difference must needs be 
vast, between those who take the Lord for their God, 
and those who take him not, but serve a base and 
despicable idol, self, and make all to their very utter- 
most subservient unto that. The sincere and in- 
sincere differ about their last end ; which is the 
greatest difference that can be imagined. All men's 
courses are shaped and directed by the ends which 
they propose to themselves : and to have the Lord 
for our God, and to have him for our supreme and 
ultimate end, is all one. Now how vastly must 
those ways needs differ, that lead to two directly 
contrary ends ! Therefore still the greatest difference 
cannot but be between the godly and the earthly 
carnal-minded man, who hath himself for his gocl, 
and all the world if he could compass it, for a sacri- 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 205 

fice to his own idol, himself. Men of that temper 
and complexion of soul are the men that stand most 
off from union, and that are the greatest schismatics 
in all the world : it cannot but be so. Therefore, 
whensoever the Spirit of God poured forth shall 
make men agree in having the Lord for their God, 
"This God shall be our God ;" when men shall be- 
come more generally sincere and thorough Christians; 
then it cannot but be, that they shall be united with 
one another, and agree in far greater things than it 
is possible they can differ from one another in. And 
therefore in the fore-mentioned Jer. xxxii. 38, 39. 
at the same time when it is said, " They shall be 
my people, and I will be their God ;" it is imme- 
diately added, " And I will give them one heart and 
one way." This union cannot but be the result of 
more lively, serious religion, and of deeper impres- 
sions of godliness and of the divine image upon the 
souls of men. Not only as that union between the 
blessed persons in the Godhead is the pattern of 
union amongst the people of God ; " that they all 
may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in 
thee," John xvii. 21. but also as such a union is the 
certain and necessary result of other excellences, 
wherein the divine image doth consist, and wherein 
holy ones do and cannot but resemble God. One 
apostle giving an account of God, how we are to 
conceive of him, gives it us under these two notions 
that " he is light" and that " he is love," 1 John 1 5. 
iv.8. 16. Theimage of Godin these two things, more 
generally and vividly impressed upon men, doth this 
whole business, makes them all one. How blessed 
a union would there be when Christians shall gene- 
rally appear the representations of the blessed God 

s 



206 THIRTEENTH SERMON 

himself in these two things, a composition as it 
were of light and love. 

Therefore, to give you more distinctly the ac- 
count, how or in what way the Spirit poured forth 
should bring about this union, it will be, 

I. By increasing of light and knowledge amongst 
them that bear the Christian name every where in 
the world. 

II. By giving greater measures of grace. By 
the former men shall generally come to be more 
knowing in things necessary to the union, and by 
the latter they shall be more patient of dissent from 
one another in things less necessary to be known. 

I. By an increase of light and knowledge in 
things more necessary to be known. I do not 
mean here merely notional knowledge, as the 
apostle doth not mean that of God, when he saith 
that God is light ; but I mean that knowledge re- 
ceived in the minds of Christians that lies in the 
next immediate tendency to holiness ; the knowledge 
of the truth that is after godliness, as such in that 
designed and direct tendency, as it doth attemper 
and dispose the minds of men unto the reception 
of truth as sanctifying. " Sanctify them by thy 
truth, thy word is truth," John xvii. 17. " We are 
bound to give thanks alway to God for you, that he 
hath chosen you unto salvation, through sanctifica- 
tion of the Spirit, and belief of the truth," 2 Thess, 
ii, 13. The truth, as it lies in an immediate tend- 
ency to godliness, and is transformative of the 
soul into a holy and godly frame, so we must con- 
ceive it to be impressed in order to this blessed 
work. Otherwise there wants the cement, and 
that which should hold hearts together as intent and 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 207 

directed all towards one common design and end. 
And unto this purpose we must suppose the Spirit 
poured forth shall heal the disaffection of men's 
minds unto such truth, or unto truth considered 
under that notion and upon that account. It hath 
a great work to do for this end upon the minds of 
men, the union that is to be brought about (as was 
observed upon the former head) being necessarily 
intellectual first and then cordial. It is in the mind 
that the first concoction of truth must be wrought, 
in order to a further and more perfect concoction in 
the heart afterwards. And whereas there is a mani- 
fold distemperature and malady even in the minds of 
men that renders them incapable of useful, practical 
gospel knowledge, the great work of the Spirit of 
God must be to remove and heal those infirmities 
and maladies of the mind, and to do it generally 
amongst Christians, that so they may be brought 
to " increase in the knowledge of God," in divine 
knowledge, as the expression is, Col. i. 1 0. I might 
make a copious enumeration here of many such 
maladies and distempers in the mind, by which it 
becomes disaffected to truth ; and which appear now 
to be epidemical evils, and need therefore a univer- 
sal effusion of the Spirit to cure them, and so to 
bring about the intellectual union of which we speak. 
These maladies, though some of them be in the 
mind itself, yet most of them are originally in the 
heart, and thence come to affect and distemper the 
mind, and render it less susceptive of useful and sa- 
voury knowledge. As 

There is an unapprehensiveness too generally ob- 
servable in the minds of men, a dulness towards the 
apprehension of truth. The Spirit of God, when it 

B 2 



208 THIRTEENTH SERMON 

Comes to be generally poured forth, (as it was said 
to be upon the Messiah himself, on whom it was 
poured forth without measure, and thence to be 
transfused, as from a common fountain, unto all that 
have vital union with him,) " will make men of 
quick understanding in the fear of the Lord," as it 
is expressed, Isa. xi. 3. 

There is a slothful carelessness in the minds of 
most, a regardlessness and unconcernedness to know 
the great and deep things of God, and that causes a 
great disagreement and disunion in the Christian 
world. There are many that stint themselves ; they 
think they know enough, and desire to know no 
more, and cannot endure to be outgone by others, 
or that any should exceed their measure. As these 
latter times, with reference to which we speak, will 
certainly be times of very much knowledge, so they 
will be of very much inquiry ; " Many shall run to 
and fro, and knowledge shall be increased," Dan. 
xii. 4. There will not be a slothful, careless sitting 
down with a present measure and attainment, but 
there will be a " following on to know the Lord," 
as you have it, Hos. vi. 3. And then the " promise 
of his going forth shall be prepared as the morning," 
as it immediately follows. There will be always 
new and fresh breakings forth of divine light, ready 
to reward the endeavour of them that seriously set 
themselves to inquire and seek after it. 

There is very generally observable with many 
much credulity, aptness to take up reports. " The 
simple," says Solomon, " believeth every woEd," 
Prov. xiv. 15. And hence it comes to pass that 
every one that can tell a plausible story, and a little 
set oif any fancy and novel invention of his own, 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 209 

makes it presently to obtain and pass for a revela- 
tion; and hence comes, as is obvious to common 
observation, much of that division that hath been 
observable in our days. 

There is also, on the contrary hand, an excessive 
incredulity, or unaptness to believe things, because 
they are very great and glorious, and exceed the 
measures of our preconceptions or preconceived 
thoughts. The evil of which our Saviour upbraids 
his disciples with, that they were " slow of heart to 
believe all that the prophets had spoken," the things 
contained in the divine revelation that had been made 
before by the prophets concerning him, Lukexxiv. 25. 

There is inconsideration, an inability to consider 
and weigh things, to ponder and balance them as 
the case may require. Men are apt rashly, and 
without using their understandings, to take up things 
upon their very first appearance. It is spoken 
concerning these latter davs in Isa. xxxii. 4. that 

o 

even " the heart of the rash shall understand know- 
ledge ;" of those that were so before they shall be 
cured of that malady. There is also an unaptness 
to consider, as well as an inability and indisposition 
to do it ; many times from a kind of superstitious fear 
that men think they must not use their understand- 
ings to examine and search into things, that it is 
not yet permitted to them to do so ; as if God had 
given men faculties which they were not to use. 
They might as well be afraid to look upon an object 
with their eyes, and to pry into it, and to labour that 
way to distinguish between one thing and another. 

There is, opposite to that, a certain petulancy of 
mind ; when men will make it their business to tear 
and unravel all principles, and they must have their 

s3 



210 THIRTEENTH SERMON 

reason satisfied in every thing, or they will be satis- 
fied in nothing. 

There is an injudickmsness, an inability to con- 
clude ; with some, after considering ever so much, ever 
so long, the balance will never be cast. So many are 
" ever learning, and never come to the knowledge 
of the truth," 2 Tim. iii. 7. never conclude, never 
determine, but are always as children tossed to 
and fro. 

There is, again, a certain scepticism of mind with 
a great many, that when others have stated and 
settled, even by common agreement and consent in 
the Christian church, such conclusions, yet declaim 
against every thing as uncertain, not only from a 
peculiar inability to make a judgment, but from a 
principle that there is no judgment to be made, and 
that there is nothing certain at all, or ought to be 
looked upon as such ; which hath starved the chris- 
tian church, and made it languish for a long time 
us to the matter of sound knowledge. 

There is instability of judgment, that when men 
have concluded and determined upon good evidence, 
this is true, and ought to be adhered to accordingly, 
yet they are presently off again ; and, therefore, are 
so remote from agreeing with the generality of 
other Christians, that they are never found long to 
agree with themselves. 

There is, as what is more directly opposite to the 
former, a certain kind of obstinacy of mind, preju- 
dice, a fixed prepossession with corrupt and false 
principles, that once imbibed shall never be quitted, 
and which doth very frequently proceed from an 
enslavedness unto human dictates. That is, thai 
they have taken some one or other to be a leader tc 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE '29. 211 

them and an orator, and so give away that faith 
which is due only unto a divine revelation, and 
ought to pitch and centre there, unto the fallible 
Judgment of a man, in direct contradiction to that rule 
of our Lord Christ, Call no man Rabbi, call no 
man Master upon earth, Matt, xxiii. 8. 10. Do not 
enslave your minds and judgments to any man. 

It must be supposed that whenever the Spirit of 
God doth that blessed work in the world to revive 
and recover religion and Christianity, it will unite 
christians even by this means, the curing of these 
great maladies and distempers that are in the minds 
of men so generally, and by which they are rendered 
indisposed and averse to the entertainment and re- 
tention of sound gospel knowledge, For this spirit 
where it is given, is " the spirit of a sound mind," 
2 Tim. i. 7. The word that is rendered soundness 
of mind there, signifies sobriety, a spirit of sobriety. 
Indeed, that word doth commonly misguide men, 
and they apply it unto a thing far inferior in nature 
and dignity unto that which it truly signifies, as if 
it were to be opposed only to gross, sensual wick- 
edness ; but sobriety, as the very notation of the 
word doth import, hath its seat and subject in the 
1 mind, and doth firstly and chiefly affect that. A 
sound mind and a sober mind is all one. Till the 
Spirit of God do m these several respects cure men's 
minds, it is impossible there should be union or 
agreement, unless men do agree only in being dis- 
eased, (which would not do the business neither) 
unless they could agree all to be in one disease, 
which would be a very unhappy union also. When, 
therefore, the Spirit of the living God shall uni- 
versally come forth upon men, and create the 



212 THIRTEENTH SERMON 

Christians, and create the Christian world a region 
of light ; when He shall generally make men appre- 
hensive, inquiring, serious, considerate, judicious, 
lovers of ..the truth even for itself, sincere, so as to 
entertain truth with no other design than only that 
the life of godliness may be promoted and served 
by it ; there cannot but then be, in a very great 
degree, the happy union obtaining amongst chris- 
tians, whereof we have spoken. 

But yet, when all this is done, we cannot suppose 
by it that men should be brought to know all 
things ; but still, there will be many things wherein 
they cannot but remain ignorant, and consequently 
dissent and differ in many things from one another. 
Therefore the Spirit of God poured forth must be 
supposed also to effect this union, 

II. By making Christians more generally patient 
of dissent from one another in less necessary things, 
which they may not still so generally know. And, 
if we consider what the genuine operations of the 
blessed Spirit of God are, and what kind of Spirit 
that is wherever it comes to obtain ; this cannot but 
be the general temper of Christians, when that Spirit 
shall be eminently poured forth, that they shall be^ 
very patient of dissent from one another in things^ 
wherein they continue to dissent. For, 

1. We must suppose that the Spirit being gene- 
rally so poured forth, there will be a greater ability 
to distinguish between truths that are of scripture 
revelation, and those that are not, and, consequently, 
which it is matter of duty to believe, and which not. 
For, undoubtedly, there is to be such a distinction 
made between truth and truth as any one may 
easily ee at the first view. For we must know 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 213 

that a thing is not therefore the necessary object of 
my assent because it is true, but because it is evi- 
dent, or because it is credible, either evident in 
itself, or recommended as credible to me by the 
authority of him who doth reveal it. I am not 
nound therefore to believe a thing immediately be- 
cause it is in itself true, for that it may be, and yet 
I have no means to know it to be so. But then is 
the obligation binding upon me to believe such a 
thing, when it is clothed with sufficient evidence to 
recommend itself unto my understanding. And 
whereas there are some things which God hath re- 
vealed, even all things that are any ways necessary 
either to the being or the well- being of religion, I 
must consider those things that lie not within the com- 
pass of that revelation, as what God hath left unde- 
cided unto men ; he has left them undetermined, and 
so they may be matter of very innocent disagreement, 
of discourse and discussion, without any concerned- 
ness on the one part or the other. 

2. Amongst revealed truths we may suppose 
men will be enabled to distinguish between the 
greater and the less, between those which are more 
necessary and less necessary. 

3. We must suppose Christians, then, to be gene- 
rally more spiritual, and apt to be taken up more 
with the great things of religion, and less apt to be 
greatly and deeply concerned about matters of less 
consequence, so as to disturb and break the order 
and peace of the church upon the account of them. 

4. We must suppose them to be more holy, less 
opinionative, less conceited and humoursome ; which 
is that kind of knowledge that the apostle doth op- 
pose to love, as not only un edify ing, but destructive 



214 THIRTEENTH SERMON 

of edification. " Knowledge puffeth up, but charity 
edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth 
any thing," if he knows with a conceited reflection 
upon his own knowledge, admiring himself upon 
account of it ; " he knoweth nothing yet as he 
ought to know," 1 Cor. viii. 1. &c, Ignorance is 
hetter than his knowledge. Men will think more 
meanly of themselves and their own judgments, and 
either more highly or more charitably of other men ; 
either think that possibly they may see that which 
themselves see not ; or if they cannot apprehend so, 
yet at least that the men are sincere and upright- 
hearted towards God; as it is meet for them to 
judge, and not to be insolently censorious of such 
as do in such or such little matters differ from them ; 
not to attribute to perverseness of mind every man's 
dissension of opinion from their own, 

5. They must needs be supposed to be more com- 
passionate unto those whom they suppose to know 
less than themselves; as knowing that there are 
many things which they themselves are ignorant of, 
and they shall never attain to know all things as 
long as they live. There are still all the genuine 
workings of the Spirit of God, so far as it obtains 
and prevails over the spirits of men ; and so this 
among the rest. 

6. Christians will undoubtedly then be formed 
unto a more awful and reverential subjection to 
God's own prescribed rules, concerning the bounda- 
ries and terms of Christian communion. Men will 
not then dare to make terms of their own to limit 
the communion of Christians as such ; to devise new 
terms which Christ was never the author of, and 
will never own. But the authority of such a law 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX, VERSE 29. 215 

will obtain in the hearts of Christians, that are be- 
come so serious and subject to the authority of God, 
as they must then be supposed to be, so as that they 
will extend their communion as far as it can be 
judged that God will extend his, and Christ will ex- 
tend his. For that is the measure which is given us 
in these two passages. In one place it is said, 
Receive such a one, for God hath received him, 
Rom. xiv. 1. 3. Receive him for all his doubting, for 
all his difference from you : and why ? because the 
Lord hath received him. In another place it is 
thus expressed, " Receive ye one another, as Christ 
hath received us, to the glory of God," Rom. xv. 7. 
God receives such a one into his communion ; and 
shall not I receive him into mine ? Christ receives 
such a one, even unto the glory of the Father ; and 
shall not I receive him into my fellowship ? When 
once the spirits of men come to be awed into a sub- 
jection unto the divine authority in this thing, so as 
to reckon it profane to prescribe bounds and terms 
unto Christian communion, other than God and 
Christ have prescribed themselves ; then no doubt 
will this blessed effect obtain and take place in the 
Christian church, then will it become an entire united 
thing, one thing within itself, and never till then. 
As long as we must have terms of Christian commu- 
nion of men's own devising, according to the dif- 
ferent humours of men, they will still vary, and so 
we shall never know where to be. 

Thus we have considered that first effect to be 
expected from the Spirit generally poured forth, in 
order to promote the peaceful state of the church, 
namely, the union of Christians amongst themselves. 
I would add something concerning another particular 



216 THIRTEENTH SERMON 

mentioned, as conducive also to the same peacefu. 
state. 

Second. Order is another blessed effect to be 
looked for from the pouring out of the Spirit, and 
that belongs unto the Christian community as a com- 
munity, and is most necessary unto the making up of 
that happy time and state of things, whereof we have 
been speaking. It is very plain that this superadds 
somewhat unto union. It is a bad union where there 
is not order. Union speaks the compactiveness of 
parts ; order the due situation of them, that every 
one be in that place which duty belongs to it. Sup- 
pose there were ever so much union in the parts of 
the natural body, but the eyes were placed where the 
ears should be, and the hands where the feet should 
be ; notwithstanding all the union of parts, the lack 
of order would make this thing uncomfortable to 
itself, and deformed and monstrous in the view of 
others. There are many members in one and the 
same body ; and these members have all their dis- 
tinct place, and use, and purpose that they serve for, 
as the apostle at large discourses, 1 Cor. xii. Now 
the Spirit of God cannot be poured forth, but it will 
infer a comely order in the Christian church ; by the 
same 'operation by which it gives it life, it will give 
it shape and comeliness, and a due figure and dis- 
position of parts within itself. It was well said 
concerning this matter by a worthy person ; " God 
will certainly not be wanting in point of shape and 
comely order to a church that hath a principle of 
life within itself." He that clothes lilies, and gives 
life unto the sensitive creatures, and gives them their 
own proper shape also, will no doubt do so unto 
the lively body of his own Son. He will never be 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX, VERSE 29. "217 

wanting to it in point of shape and comely order 
when it comes to be a lively, vigorous thing. By 
how much the fuller of life, so much certainly the 
order will be the more comely and pleasant, by its 
own choice, and much more as- directed by his rules. 
To evince this, consider these several things. 

1 . The Spirit poured forth comes to be, in them 
that receive it, as a certain kind of nature ; it is 
called the divine nature. Nature, you know, acts 
uniformly and orderly in all its operations. How 
regular are the courses of nature ! How constant 
the returns of days and nights, of summer and win- 
ter ! How strictly do all the species and kinds of 
things keep all their own kind, retain their proper- 
ties, colours, virtues, ways, and methods of opera- 
tion ! The Spirit of God, working (as it is received 
in the hearts of Christians) even as a certain kind of 
nature, must needs work uniformly ; and so have a 
steady tendency to the begetting and keeping up of 
order in the whole community, that shall be aggre- 
gated by it. 

2. It cannot be, but that, by how much the Spirit 
dotli more obtain and shall be generally poured forth 
amongst men, each one will be more peculiarly 
adapted and fitted to the business of his own station, 
so as that he will thereupon choose that as fittest 
for him. 

3. It cannot be, but that all men will be more 
debased and humbled, and equal estimators of them- 
selves ; and therefore apprehend not themselves fit 
for a station unto which they are not called. 

4. The Spirit poured forth will no doubt make 
men more generally apprehensive of, and reveren- 
tially subject to the authority of God himself, in all 

T 



218 THIRTEENTH SERMON 

his own ordinances and appointments. And there 
fore where one is to teach, and others to be taught; 
some to govern, others to be governed ; the autho. 
rity that cloth design men unto more public stations 
and capacities, will be considered as divine. We 
notionally know so much already; but it will be 
another thing when that impression is made upon 
the hearts of Christians; " He that despiseth, de- 
spiseth not man, but God." 

5. The Spirit poured forth cannot be without 
making men generally very tender of the commu- 
nity, unto which they belong: and of the whole 
Christian community in general. As every one can 
easily apprehend how this would be prejudiced, if 
order be broken, and men commonly allow them- 
selves the liberty to step out of their own ranks and 
stations to be and do what they are not called to be 
or do. 

The concurrence of these things cannot but infer, 
that whenever the Spirit of God shall be generally 
poured forth, the Christian church will fall into or- 
der : there will need no great hammering in referr 
ence to that, the business will even do of itself. 
All will know, and all will mind their own stations 
and the business of them ; and apprehend their own 
unfitness for any station unto which God doth not 
call ; and apprehend their privilege in not being so 
called, in being exempt from the cumber and burden 
of more public stations. As certainly exemption, 
if it were understood, is a very great privilege ; when 
God doth not lay any further charge upon me than 
only to intend the business of a narrower station 
and a lesser sphere ; when I can be vacant unto 
God, and for his commerce, and there walk with 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 219 

him undisturbedly within my own line ; while others 
are eaten up with cares and solicitudes concerning 
the common affairs that they are concerned in, and 
intrusted with the management of. No doubt the 
Spirit of God will help every man to make a true 
judgment of things when He comes to be generally 
poured forth : and this, that hath been just spoken 
of, cannot but be judged ; because it is a very great 
privilege to have freedom and vacancy for the pro- 
per business of a Christian as such, within his own 
calling arid verge ; when God shall, as it were pro- 
videntially, say unto a man, " I lay no other charge 
upon thee but to walk with me in thine own station 
and within the bounds of thine own calling, to make 
me the entire object of thy love and delight, and at 
all times to solace thyself with me ; I exempt thee 
from things that would disturb, and disquiet, and 
divert from the business and delights of such a con- 
tinued course of walking with me." When this 
comes to be generally understood, there will be 
little disposition in the minds of men to break order 
by usurping upon what belongs not to them. 

Thus far you see that little else can be thought 
needful to the bringing about of a very happy time 
and state of things, besides the pouring forth of the 
Spirit. 



r t 



SERMON XIV. 



PREACHED OCTOBER 9, 1678. 



WE have been showing in many discourses What 
a good state of things or happy times are to be 
brought about by tjie ? Spirit of God poured forth. 
And hitherto we Have been endeavouring at large 
to evince the efficacy 'and sufficiency of this means 
to the end mentioned ; which was the first thing 
undertaken to be made evident. We are now to 
proceed to show, 

Second. The necessity of this means to reach 
such an end : that as it is a sufficient means, you 
may also understand it to be the only means, of 
bringing such a work about. And for evincing this, 
two things, clear enough in themselves, seem abun- 
dantly sufficient. 1. That nothing can mend the 
world, but what mends the spirits of men ; and, 2. 
That nothing can^effectually do that, but the Spirit 
of the Lord poured forth. These are things that 
shine into our minds and understandings with their 
own light. 

1. As to the former ; what else, do we think, 
can mend the times, but what mends men's spirits ? 
Doth not every thing necessarily act and work just 
as it is ? How can the posture of the world come 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 221 

to be other than at present, if the active principles 
d men's spirits continue the same ? 

2. And as to the latter ; what besides the Spirit of 
God can effectually mend the spirits of men, so as 
to make the state of things thoroughly aad generally 
better ? 

What other cause can be universal enough, and 
spread its influence far and wide, to make a better 
world ? There wants a cause in this case, that can 
diffuse an influence a vast way. That a " nation 
should be born in a day," that " the earth should be 
filled with the knowledge of God," that there should 
be "new heavens and a new earth;" this needs a 
cause that can work every where : and what else can 
do this but the Spirit of the lord? And again, 

What other cause is potent enough, of sufficient 
energy, of virtue piercing and penetrative enough, 
to do such a work as must be done upon the spirits 
of men, before the state of things will come to be 
better ? What else can shiver rocks, and melt down 
mountains, and make rough places plain ? What 
else, do you think, can dissolve adamantine hearts, 
subdue insolent passions, assuage and mortify furious 
lusts ? What else can change men's natures, trans- 
form the very habit of their minds, and make them 
generally quite other men, other creatures, than 
they have been ? Unto what agent inferior to this 
can we attribute the ability to create 1 New heavens 
and a new earth are to be created, Isa. Ixv. 17. 
You know how they were created at first : " By 
faith we understand, that the worlds were created by 
the word of God." The heavens and the earth were 
the products of the breath of his mouth, with all that 
is contained in them ; so must the spiritual creation 

T3 



FOURTEENTH SERMON 

be, as much as the natural. What, do we think,, can 
make all the violences and mischiefs to cease out of 
the earth, that fill it with continual tragedies every 
where, and more or less at all times ? Nothing is 
more evident, than that the Spirit of the Lord alone 
is a cause proportionable to such an expected effect, 
And the matter will be yet more evident, if 
you do but consider these two things together. 

1. That the spirits of men are most horribly de- 
praved, and wickedly bent in themselves to such 
things as tend to nothing but destruction and cala- 
mity. It is said of men universally, that "destruc- 
tion and misery are in their ways, 53 Rom. iii. 16. 

2. That all these wicked inclinations of men's 
spirits are continually fostered and fomented by an- 
other spirit distinct from their's, and over and beside 
theirs. " The spirit that worketh in" the hearts of 
u the children of disobedience," Eph. ii. 2. makes 
the world and the church miserable, so far as it 
prevails. Now what can we oppose to that spirit, 
but the Spirit of the living God? While that spirit 
is the great tormenter and disturber of the world, 
that disquiets all things, that sets the spirits of men 
on work against God and against one another every 
where, that hath deluged the world with an inunda- 
tion of wickedness ; what but the Spirit of the Lord 
can lift up a standard against it ? 

But that the apprehension of this matter may yet 
settle and fix more deeply with us ; (for it is of great 
concernment that it should do so, that we may know 
whither to direct our eye ;) let us but enumerate a 
little all the probable means besides that we can 
think of, which might make the times good ; and 
think, how inefficacious and altogether to no purpose 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 223 

they would be, without the Spirit of the Lord poured 
forth and working with mighty efficacy every where 
upon the spirits of men. 

1. Think, what the preaching of the gospel would 
do. That, it must be supposed, will be very general, 
far more general than it is, to bring about such a 
state of things as we expect and hope for, before 
time end. But, alas ! what would preaching do, if 
we could suppose it ever so general, while the Spirit 
of the living God restrains and withholds his in- 
fluences? Indeed it is not to be supposed, that 
there could be a general preaching of the gospel 
amongst men, without the mighty work of the Spirit 
of God to prepare the way. But if there were, to 
how little purpose is our preaching, where that Spirit 
works not? We may as well attempt to batter strong 
walls with the breath of our mouths, as to do good 
upon men's souls without the Spirit of God. If there 
were preachers every where, that could speak with 
the tongues of men and of angels, what would it 
signify ? " Do I persuade men T saith the apostle. 
Alas ! it is above us to persuade men ; it is a matter 
of very great difficulty in things that are but of 
common concernment. How hard to alter the mind 
and will of a man, once set and bent already upon 
this or that thing of a secular nature, that hath re- 
ference only to earthly affairs ! The heathens them- 
selves have been taught by that light that hath 
shone amongst them, to attribute unto a deity the 
business of persuading men, to acknowledge it a 
numen* that ever conies to have a persuasive power 
over men's minds. When the Son of God himself 
was the preacher, how little was effected, till the 
* A divinity ? deity, or divine power. 



224 FOURTEENTH SERMON 

time came of the Spirit's being so copiously poured 
forth ! He that spake, his enemies being judges, 
so as never man spake ! iuto whose lips grace was 
poured forth ! his hearers wondering at the gracious 
words that proceeded from his mouth! astonished 
sometimes at his doctrine ! for they could distinguish, 
and see, that "he taught with authority, and not as 
the scribes." Yet how little was done ! All ended 
in the martyrdom of the preacher, and not long 
after in the destruction of the people for the great- 
est part. When that Spirit was poured forth, then 
thousands at a sermon were subdued and brought 
under by the power of the gospel : but it was not 
yet given in that plentiful measure, while as yet 
Jesus was not glorified. And if it had not been 
given upon Jesus's glorification, what could have 
enough fortified the hearts of these poor disciples ; 
to undertake the converting of the world, the going 
to teach all nations, to proselyte mankind ? How 
much, how unspeakably too big had such an attempt 
appeared for their undertaking, if a mighty Spiril 
had not come forth to raise them above themselves 
to make them somewhat beyond men? How couk 
they ever have thought of going about such a tiling 
as that, wherein they were to be and actually were 
the successful instruments ? Without it, what success 
could have been hoped for, howsoever attempted ; 
Possibly it may be thought, that human endeavour! 
might have done much at least towards the proselyt- 
ing of mankind to the Christian profession : so mucl 
might have been discovered of the reasonableness 
of that religion, as that it might have been though 
fit, somewhat generally, so far as men could be 
dealt with, to entertain and embrace the christiar 



ON EZEKiEL XXXIX.- VERSE 29. 225 

name. Truly even that was very unlikely ; that it 
should have been ordinarily in the power of any 
rhetoric or of any reason, generally to persuade men 
to forsake a religion, wherein they had been bred 
and born, and which was delivered down to them 
from their forefathers, whether Jews or pagans. It 
was very unlikely, that mere argument should pre- 
vail so far on the world. 

But suppose it did, 

2. Consider what mere nominal Christianity would 
do to the bettering of the world. What doth it now 
to the bettering of the state of things, where it ob- 
tains ? Wherein are the nominal Christians better 
than other men ? Wherein are they better towards 
God and Christ? The case is apparent, 'that though 
atheism and infidelity be conquered in men's minds 
and understandings by the strength of reason or of 
education ; yet, still the stronger fort in the heart 
remains inexpugnable, till the Spirit of the living- 
God comes to deal effectually with the hearts of 
men : so that, consequently, there is as great 
enmity against God and Christ, even in the Christian 
world as out of it. And wherein are men better in 
Christendom towards one another, than the pagans 
and mohainmedans are ? Wherein better ? Where 
is there more deceit and fraud, more enmity and 
malice, more oppression and cruelty, than amongst 
the nominal Christians ? If we take true measures 
of the Christian religion, and apprehend it to be 
what indeed it is ; if we will say, that it is faith in 
God through Christ", or devotedness to God through 
Christ ; or if we will say, that it doth consist, as no 
doubt in verv "Teat pan it doth, in an imitation of 

/ O JL 

Christ, in being like minded to Christ in purity, 



226 FOURTEENTH SERMON 

heavenliness, spirituality, in self-denial, meekness, 
patience, peaceableness, aptitude to do good all that 
ever we can. If this be the Christian religion, we 
may confidently say, that Christianity hath not more 
bitter enemies in all the world than professed chris- 
tians: I wish we could not say so. And where 
throughout this world have there ever been more 
bloody wars, fierce commotions, dreadful ruins and 
devastations, than amongst Christians? Therefore 
think how little towards the bettering of the world 
and mending of the times nominal Christianity doth 
or can do without the Spirit of God. The world is 
filled with plagues notwithstanding, and whatsoever 
tends to make it miserable, in those very parts where 
that obtains. But then, 

3. It may be supposed, that these very judgments 
themselves might effect somewhat to the purpose, to 
calm and subdue men's spirits, and so bring about 
a more sedate and composed state of things at last, 
And most true indeed it is, that they are very apt 
means to that purpose. But means, you must still 
remember, are but means, and suppose an agent 
that is to use them ; as a sword will not cut without 
a hand to manage it, and a proportionable hand, 
The inhabitants of the world should learn righ- 
teousness, when God's judgments are abroad in 
the earth, Isa. xxvL 9. But do they ? Do not we 
all know that nations, countries, towns, cities, may 
more easily be ruined than reformed, more easily be 
harassed and crushed all to pieces than purged? 
Do we need instances ? We cannot find a more 
bright one than the nearest to ourselves, to our own 
view. If we do but cast an eye upon this very city,* 

* London. 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 227 

it hath been wasted by judgment upon judgment : 
think what the plague hath done, what the fire hath 
done, what poverty invading, as an armed man, here 
and there hath done. Is the city more reformed ? 
grown more pious and serious ? doth the life of re- 
ligion appear more in it ? Is it become more sober 
and just? Let this be seriously considered, and 
then think, what even judgments themselves, as 
severe as can be thought, are like to effect in the 
world without the Spirit poured forth. You have 
heard enough of the commotions and hurries of the 
world in other parts ; but do you hear of its having 
grown much better, even in those parts ? And admit 
that such judgments should sober men's spirits ge- 
nerally, and reduce them to more calmness, that 
men should by very weariness be at length brought 
to be at rest, and so a peaceable and prosperous state 
of things ensue ; yet what would that alone do to 
make the times good ? 

4. What, I say, would a prosperous state of things 
do (meaning it only of external prosperity) to bet- 
ter the condition of the church of God ? Such a 
good state of things for the church, must, as hath 
been said, first, and in the principal place, consist in 
the flourishing of religion, and then but secondarily 
in external tranquillity. What would the latter of 
these do without the former ? And what would be- 
come of the former without the Spirit poured forth ? 
If we have had ever such happy times in external 
respects, what would be the issue in reference to the 
state and condition of the church of God ? We 
should then have, as was noted of old, golden 
chalices and wooden priests ; the church would be 
a glorious sepulchre, splendid without, but full of 



2'2S FOURTEENTH SERMON 

rottenness and corruption within. Would this 
better our case ? It is very plain that there could 
be nothing more beside the purpose of mending the 
state of the church than prosperity, without a great 
measure of the Spirit. It would be good in subser- 
viency, nothing in substitution ; it might serve the 
Spirit, but cannot supply its place. Much might 
be done under the management of the Spirit by 
such a state of things towards the promoting and 
furthering of religion ; but without that Spirit all 
would go to ruin. Religion would soon languish 
away and come to nothing, the sun of external 
prosperity would exhale the life, and spirit, and 
vigour of it, as experience has often shown that it 
lias done heretofore. And what external prosperity can 
there be while the minds of men are so very various, 
divided into varieties of parties this way arid that ? 
There cannot be a prosperous state, while only one 
party is uppermost, and all the rest under oppression. 
When the church of God hath been in so divided a 
condition, have you ever known, or read, or heard 
of any such state of things, that hath been so 
favourable as to deserve to be called a prosperous 
state '( If it hath been favourable to some, yet it 
hath, it may be, been equally or more unfavourable 
unto very many that perhaps were better men than 
those whom the times smiled upon. And so it can- 
not but still be, where there are many parties. 
Every party cannot be uppermost, and unless the 
Spirit of God new mould men's spirits, whatever 
party were uppermost, they would make it their 
business to crush, and vex, and disquiet all the rest. 
And can that be a state fit to be called prosperous ? 
.But, 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 229 

5. That which the minds of many may be apt to run 
upon, is, that some very exact form of government 
in the church would be the specific, or rather the 
panphannacon,* to cure all diseases in the church, 
of God, and make a very happy time. A frame of 
things exactly squared according to their apprehen- 
sion, they think, would soon do the business. The 
minds of many are apt to run much upon this 
project. But most forms that can be thought on 
have been tried ; and what have they done, while 
the Spirit of God hath not animated the external 
form ? Or what hope remains, that any thing could 
be done by an external, lifeless form, if ever so ex- 
cellent and unexceptionable, ever so agreeable to 
rule? The expectation, that that would do the 
business is, as if a person were dangerously and ex- 
tremely sick, even next to death, and any should go 
about to trim him up arid dress him neatly, put on 
him a well-made suit, and expect that this should 
effect his cure. Alas ! what needs there amongst 
us such curiosity for a dead thing ? We are dead, 
the Spirit of God is retiring, retired in a very great 
degree. To what purpose would it be to shape and 
figure a dead thing this way or that ? Just to as 
much purpose as the endeavour of him that we read 
of in Plutarch, who would fain erect a newly dead 
body in the posture of a living man ; but alas ! the 
legs yielded, the hands fell, the head dropped on 
one side, so that the poor defeated person was 
forced to cry out at last, " I find there is something 
wanting within ; there wants a living soul to support 
and animate the frame." So it must be in our case 
too if there were ever so exact order. You may 



* A universal medicine. 
U 



230 FOURTEENTH SERMON 

suppose from what was formerly said that order is 
a most excellent and desirable thing, and necessary 
to the prosperity of the church of God. But what 
is the order and frame of a thing that is dead ? If a 
plot of ground should be laid out for a garden, square 
it ever so accurately, let it have ever so exact a figure, 
bestow upon it every thing of ornament that art can 
invent, yet if nature also do not do its part, if the 
sun never shine upon it, if no showers or dews 
ever descend, would it be, think you, a pleasant, 
flourishing garden ? We have all of us reason to 
have done expecting much from lifeless, outward 
forms, even the best constitution imaginable ; while 
a Spirit of life from above breathes not, despair that 
that will ever work miracles, or do any great things 
amongst us. 

Besides, the best form of things that can be sup- 
posed, that is, such as would be more serviceable 
than others unto the ends and purposes which 
should be aimed at, to depress wickedness and keep 
things composed and in order, could never last long, 
if a Spirit from Cod do not animate it. Lust and 
wickedness, which it goes about to curb, and which 
might be less in some external fruits of it, so long 
as it should continue curbed, yet would grow too 
strong and break the bonds. As you know, that, 
let the body of a man be ever so comely and beau- 
tiful, and well proportioned, yet all that excellent 
structure and fabric will soon dissolve after death ; 
beauty is gone all of a sudden, ghastliness succeeds 
in the room of it, and in time it will corrupt and 
putrefy within : and that corruption will break forth, 
so as to break the external frame, and cause part 
to drop from part. Therefore never expect a mere 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 231 

external frame of things to better our case much or 
long, to do any miracles in that kind. And I may 
add, as that leads me, 

6. That indeed the very power of working miracles 
itself, which is but an external means, would not 
better the world and men's spirits without the Spirit 
of God accompanying. It is true, indeed, they 
could not be wrought without that Spirit in the 
agent, but that would not do without the Spirit as a 
diffused soul. Many may be ready to imagine 
that if God would but do some very strange things 
amongst men, work many astonishing wonders, 
fill the world and the time with prodigies; then, 
whereas his memorial is in so great part extinct, 
these things would effectually convince men of 
their atheism and infidelity, and so all would be set 
right. But what did miracles do with the Jews of 
old ? who were brought out of Egypt by a succession 
of miracles, by plague upon plague inflicted on the 
land of Egypt, till they were constrained to let 
Israel go ! who were brought through the Red Sea 
by a most astonishing miracle, the sea dividing on the 
one hand and on the other, and their enemies pur- 
suing destroyed, only by withdrawing that miraculous 
power, and letting the sea unite again ! who were 
led through the wilderness by a continual miracle, 
the pillar of cloud and fire ; and fed by another, 
manna, bread from heaven ! who had the great 
God himself appearing with so stupendous a glory 
upon mount Sinai, speaking with the voice of words 
that six hundred thousand might hear at once the 
law, the ten words ! Yet the body of that people 
lapse into idolatry, while the divine glory was in 
view before their eyes, and after it had been by so 



232 FOURTEENTH SERMON 

dreadful a voice immediately before forbidden with 
the utmost severity, And their after ingratitude, 
infidelity, mutinies, rebellions, murmurings, testify 
how little miracles did amongst them. How little 
did they do in Christ's time, those whom he himself 
wrought ; restoring hearing to the deaf, and sight 
to the blind, and speech to the dumb, and life to 
the dead ? How little was effected, save only to 
heighten and aggravate the wickedness which 
showed itself so invincible ? 

All these are external things, 

But if we should think of what is internal too , 
the common notions of religion ; the practical dic- 
tates of natural conscience, that do more or less 
obtain every where amongst men ; the light and 
knowledge, that comes by the gospel discovery, 
where that obtains ; common prudence and respect 
to self-interest ; how little do these things do 
towards the composing of the world, and the better- 
ing of the times ! It is plain that light is more 
easilv extinguished than lust. When it comes to a 

*/ O 

contest, when there is a competition between cor- 
ruption and conscience ; alas ! how much more 
intent are men to mortify their consciences, than to 
mortify their corruptions ! How feeble and impotent 
a thing is their light ! all the light that shines doth 
but testify against them, rather than direct or reform 
them ; and will do no more till the almighty Spirit 
go forth. And for that of prudence and respect to 
interest, which is the very thing that undoes men ; 
that is, that every man will be prudent for himself, 
and mind a particular interest of his own ; this 
fills the world with tumults and blood, with mischiefs 
and miseries every where; so that, that which 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 233 

should be men's preserver, is their destroyer even 
self-love. 

The sum of all is this. This ought to make us 
despair, that ever we shall see a better world and 
state of things, till this blessed Spirit be poured 
down upon our heads. Without that, things will be 
growing worse and worse ; it cannot be but they 
will do so : do not we see that they have done so ? 
The Spirit is in a great measure gone, retired even 
from Christian assemblies. When do we hear of the 
conversion of a soul, of any stricken and pierced to 
the heart by the word of God 1 And what is that 
like to come to, think we ? what would it come to 
in this city, if always in a continued course the 
burials should exceed the births ? Must it not be the 
very desolation of all at last? If we should speak 
of burials in a moral sense ; alas ! doth the number 
of converts equal the number of apostates? But 
take it in a natural sense, as all are dying ; do we 
think that there are Christians brought in, serious 
Christians effectually become so, in any proportion- 
able number to the deaths of good people amongst 
us ? What doth this tend to, but the extinction of 
religion ? And, not to speak of the rampant wickedness 
of those who have cast off all sense and fear of God 
and godliness, but only how those who profess re- 
ligion degenerate and grow worse and worse, it is 
very dismal to think, how coldly affected they are 
towards religion, towards the ordinances of it, to- 
wards the divine presence ; how eagerly they fly at 
the world, when the clouds gather so thick and 
black, and all things seem to conspire to a storm. 
Their ordinary business, all their business must go 
on just as it did, except that of souls, except that for 

u 3 



234 FOURTEENTH SERMON. 

eternity and another world ; which must be neg- 
lected as it was wont to be. Is not this the case ? 
if there be opportunities of solemn prayer, of mourn- 
ing and fasting, of putting in for a part and share of 
the expected mercy ; how do many, if we may not 
say the most of them, that profess religion amongst 
us, as it were disclaim their part ! for they will bear 
no part amongst them that cry for mercy. Think 
what this will come to, if the Spirit of the living 
God be still withheld, and do not awaken men and 
reduce their spirits to a better state. Despised 
ordinances, contemned worship, neglected seasons 
and opportunities of grace, how dreadful a testimony 
will they bear in the consciences of many, if once 
light should come to be extinguished amongst us, 
and all the frame of things, wherein they seem to 
take comfort, should be dissolved and shattered in 
pieces I 



SERMON XV. 



PREACHED OCTOBER 16, 1678, 



IT remains now to make some improvement of so 
great and important a subject, as we have been 
upon ; the dependence of the happy state of the 
church of God upon the pouring forth of his Spirit ; 
which shall be in certain practical notes or corol- 
laries, that are deducible from the whole of what 
hath been opened to you. And we shall begin 
where we ended at the close of the last discourse. 

1. Since the happiness of the church doth so im- 
mediately and necessarily depend upon a pouring 
forth of the Spirit, it must needs be of very dread- 
ful import, when that Spirit retires ; when there is 
a manifest suspension of its light and influence. 
Every gradual retraction of that Spirit speaks a 
vergency to death, to a total dissolution ; as if the 
whole frame of the church were ready to drop 
asunder. It is a dismal thing when that which is 
the only light and life of it retires, visibly with- 
draws ; when that Spirit breathes not as it hath done 
through the world, souls are not born by it unto 
God in a proportion to what hath been ; consider- 
ing that this is the only way of entering into God's 
kingdom, either in the initial or consummate state 



236 FIFTEENTH SERMON 

of it, the kingdom of grace or the kingdom of glory. 
It is a dismal thing when conversions are grown 
rare, and inferior in number to apostacies. When 
Christians are not born so fast as they die, whether 
in the moral sense or in the natural ; for all die 
alike. This ought to be considered as a thing of 
dreadful import, when the Spirit works not as he 
hath been wont, for the rescuing of souls out of a 
precedent death. And further, when those who live 
languish; and much more wnen death insensibly 
creeps on them that have but a name to live : as 
you know it cloth with many languishing persons, 
seizing one limb first and then another, so that the 
man is dead while he is alive. With how many 
is it so, who have lost themselves either in the cares 
or pleasures of this world, and are dead while they 
live ! This it becomes us to consider as a most me- 
lancholy case. If all the happiness and weal of the 
church depends upon the pouring out of the Spirit, 
how dreadful is it, when there is a discernible re- 
traction ! 

2. All our hope of good lying in the pouring 
forth of the Spirit, it is very strange that the re- 
traction of it should not be considered with more 
sense; that we are not more apprehensive of so 
dismal a case as that is. It is a case exceedingly 
gloomy in itself, as hath been said ; but how strange 
is it, that we should so little understand and con- 
sider it as such ! that this should be our danger, lest 
God should be quite gone from amongst us before 
we know it ! that life is retiring, but we perceive it 
not! Alas! with too many there is scarce life 
enough left to feel themselves die, or light enough 
to perceive that darkness is gathering upon them , 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 237 

Strange that men should be dying, and say they are 
alive ! Light is diminishing and blindness increasing 
and growing upon them, yet they say they see well 
and cany it as if nothing ailed them! This is a 
strange infatuation upon the minds of men, even of 
the professors of religion in our time. We keep 
up our wonted course while we can, our wonted 
forms and ways of worship ; we assemble as we 
have been accustomed to do, we have praying and 
preaching and other ordinances of the gospel ; but 
there is not the wonted Spirit, such appearances and 
demonstrations of the power and presence of the 
Spirit as formerly, and yet we seem not aware of it. 
We do as we have been wont at other times ; but 
we find it not with our souls in what we do, as 
christians were used to find it. As it is said of that 
mighty man Samson ; " He said, I will go out as 
at other times before, and shake myself, but he wist 
not that the Lord was departed from him, 5 ' Judg. 
xvi. 20. So we seem not to know that the Lord is 
departing, but say, We will do as at other times. 
Indeed we reach not him ; he said he would go 
forth and shake himself as at other times ; we do 
not that, but -as the complaint is in Isa. Ixiv. 7. so is 
our case ; there is none, scarce any, that stir up 
themselves to take hold of God ; for. as it there 
follows, He hath hid his face from us, and consumed 
us ; we are consuming, because of our iniquities. 
We are pining away, but not aware of it : grey hairs 
are here and there upon us, but we seem not to 
know it. We read concerning men in general in 
the dying hour, " No man hath power over the 
spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in 
the duv of death," Eccl. viii, 8. When the soul 



238 FIFTEENTH SERMON 

must dislodge and be gone, no man can hold it ; 
but they would if they could ; men are loth to die ; 
they would retain the spirit longer, if it were any 
way in their power. What strivings and stragglings 
for breath are there in dying men ! but there seems 
with us hardly to be so much as that ; that we 
could retain the Spirit of life and grace ! It is not 
indeed in our power, any more than to retain the 
departing, dislodging soul, when the hour is come 
that it must be gone. But it is strange that we 
should not be filled with complaint, that we should 
cross what is so common as to be a proverb, " Every 
thing would live," but it seems so would not we. 
When God, as it were, says to us by what he cloth, 
(the most emphatical way of speaking,) " My Spirit 
shall not always strive," it shall no longer strive ; 
for it is actually withheld from striving ; yet we 
dread not this greatest of all threats, and when the 
threatening is enforced by a gradual execution, an 
execution already in a dreadful degree, not to be 
afraid what this will come to, is very strange ! 

3. We further collect, that such a dismal state 
of things is likely immediately to forego the more 
eminent effusion of the Spirit, and the shining of 
the light of God's face, here spoken of. When the 
time approaches concerning which the text speaks, 
then a most dismal gloominess and darkness must 
be expected to precede. That is plainly implied, 
when it is said, " I will no more hide my face :" I 
have done it hitherto, but will not do it any more. 
It bespeaks that till the time of this eminent effusion, 
there was a very displeased hiding of God's face, 
and a great retraction and holding back of the 
Spirit Other scriptures, that relate as I conceive 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. -VERSE 29. 239 

to the same eminent season, intimate also a dreadful 
foregoing desolation. The prophet Isaiah, chap, 
xxxii. describes the desolation of the Christian church, 
(for I doubt not his prediction is ultimately meant 
of that) by the emblem of the land of Israel's lying 
waste, and the great city, the metropolis, being all 
ruined, the very houses of joy in the joyous city 
covered over with briers and thorns, ver. 13, 14. 
And thus it is said it should be, ver. 15. " Until 
the Spirit be poured upon us from on high ;" then. 
" the wilderness shall be a fruitful field, and the fruit- 
ful field be counted for a forest ;" that which was 
before reckoned a fruitful field, shall now seem to 
have been but a wild forest, in comparison of the 
fruitfulness it shall now arrive at by the effusion of 
the Spirit. So that great pouring of it forth, in 
Ezek. xxxvii. meant no doubt of the same time with 
this in the text, is preceded by such a forlorn and 
desolate state of the church, that it is represented 
by the emblem of a slaughtered army covering all 
the ground about with dead carcases, till the Spirit 
of life enter into them, bring bone to bone, cover 
them with flesh, and form them all into a regular 
army of living men again, ver. 114. It imports 
that almost a universal death, next to total, will be 
upon the church before this happy day. And do 
not we seem in a tendency thither ? we seem to be 
descending gradually into the dark shady vale, the 
region of darkness and of death. Nor must we 
expect it to be silent darkness ; no doubt it will 
rather imitate that of hell, a region turbid as well as 
dark. A night seems approaching that will be equally 
stormy and gloomy ; for it is the season of God's 
anger It is never to bethought that he will be 



340 FIFTEENTH SERMON 

neutral towards us ; if he be not a friend, he will be 
an enemy ; when lie ceases to be our light and life, 
and hope and joy, it cannot be but he must become 
an astonishing terror. " Be not a terror unto me, 
thou art my hope ;" says the prophet, Jer. xvii. 17. 
When he is not the one, he must be the other. Are 
we prepared to meet him in such a way and in such 
a time ? It cannot but be a dreadful time, the time 
of managing his controversy. When he hideth his 
face in displeasure, that is not all ; it is not a bare 
hiding. Observe that passage in Deut. xxxi. 17. 
" Then my anger shall be kindled against them in 
that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide 
my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and 
many evils and troubles shall befall them :" and what 
then? It follows, " So that they will say in that 
day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our 
God is not amongst us ? And I will surely hide 
my face in that day ;" as it follows again in ver. 18. 
This is to make a way for wrath ; and when you 
can see him no longer, you shall hear from him in 
a most terrible way. 

The case of the Christian church seems to be as 
Israel was represented, in Psalm cvi. 35, &c. 
" They were mingled among the heathen, and 
learned their works : and they served their idols, 
which were a snare unto them." And ver. 39. 
" Thus they were defiled with their own works," 
(now they are called their own, since they had 
adopted them, and so made them their own,) " and 
went a whoring with their own inventions." What 
follows there, and what may we expect to follow in 
the like case ? For this the Lord " abhorred his 
own inheritance," ver. 40. Now take them who 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 241 

will, they are an abomination io the Lord, he seems 
to care no more for them. As to the former part, 
is not this manifestly our ease ? The Christian re- 
ligion is in great part become paganish. We lately 
showed how little good nominal Christianity cloth to 
the world, where that only doth obtain. How plain 
is it that Christianity hath let in paganism unto a 
dreadful degree ! And now when the time of con- 
troversy comes, the day of recompense and year of 
vengeance, which is in God's heart, how terrible a 
day will that be ! When that day comes which shall 
burn as an oven, and all the hemisphere, as it were, 
of the church be as a fiery vault ! When " the Lord 
shall bathe his sword in heaven," as the expression 
is in Isa. xxxiv. 5. as it were drench it with vivid 
celestial fire, that it may pierce like lightning! 
When he shall whet his glittering sword, lift up 
his hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever, I will 
render vengeance to mine enemies, Deut. xxxii. 
40, 41. When he shall set himself to contest with 
the antichristian spirit, that hath lurked under 
the assumed and injurious pretence and profession 
of the Christian name ; the apostate, the worldly 
spirit, that hath entered into the church and wrought 
in it with such malignity ; that spirit of envy, malice, 
hatred, bitterness ; that profane, atheistical spirit , 
that spirit of hypocrisy and formality! When he 
shall come to a direct contest, and grapple with all 
among whom that spirit dwells and rules ; how can 
we think but that will be a very dreadful day ? and 
do we know how near it is ? May it not, for aught 
we know, be even at hand ? May we not be upon 
the very borders of that turbid darkness, in which 
all the rage of hell shall play its part, the spirits of 

x 



242 FIFTEENTH SERMON 

men be let loose, the devils not yet bound and ready 
to do their uttermost, when they know their time is 
short ; the very hour and power of darkness, when 
all things shall conspire to make the church a chaos 
and place of confusion, when the elements shall be, 
as it were, commissioned to fight one another, and 
the powers of heaven shall shake ? How are we 
prepared, in what posture, to enter into such a state 
as that is ? It is a dismal thing to live a winter, a 
continual night, in such a place as you have heard 
to be toward the north pole : one would not do it, 
unless unavoidable necessity drove ; and if one must, 
he would make provision for such a winter-night 
all that he could. How then are we provided for 
such a time ? 

4. We may note again hence, how adorable the 
power and greatness of that Spirit is, who can turn 
such a chaos, such a state of darkness, and horror, 
and confusion, into light and peace, into life and 
beauty, into harmony and glory. How adorable is 
that Spirit ! How great and glorious should it be 
in our eyes upon that account! Let us use our 
thoughts as much as we will, we cannot make a too 
gloomy representation of the time just spoken of, 
wherein the Lord's face shall be hid, and the Spirit 
withheld. But when we have dwelt in the contem- 
plation of the sadness and dismalness of that time 
a while, then what cause have we, and what advan- 
tage thence to take our rise to greaten and heighten 
our thoughts concerning this blessed almighty 
Spirit, who can make so happy a change as soon as, 
it comes forth, as soon as the divine light shines 
again ! What a change will it be ! Amidst all those 
calamities that the church complains of, Psa. Ixxx. 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 243 

See where they apprehend the redress to be. " Turn 
us again, God, and cause thy face to shine, and 
we shall be saved :" which is repeated no less than 
three times in the psalm, ver. 3. 7. 19. We are cured 
all of a sudden, all things are redressed, if thou do 
but turn us, and cause thy face to shine. How soon 
doth the appearance, the first visit of the sun of the 
horizon wherein we are, transform a region of dark- 
ness into pleasant light ! Look upon that wretched 
state of things wherein the Christian church is, and 
wherein we may well expect it farther to be, and in 
a deeper degree ; if we think, that however when 
the Spirit is poured out, all is well, how adorable 
ought that Spirit to be to us ! That mighty Spirit, 
who can even of a sudden new create the world, 
make new heavens and a new earth, diffuse its light 
and influence every Where, clothe all with lustre and 
glory ! And truly I believe we must be brought to 
have higher thoughts of the Spirit than we have, 
before we see such good days as we would wish we 
might, Alas I how diminishmgly is it conceived 
and spoken of amongst us ! We have the name of 
the Spirit or of the Holy Ghost many times in our 
mouths, when our hearts ascribe not honour to him. 
We glorify him not as God in our conceptions : no, 
the notions of our minds and dispositions of our 
hearts are with too many, as if we had not heard 
whether there be any Holy Ghost ; or as if it signi- 
fied a mere nothing with us. But it concerns us to 
greaten our thoughts concerning the Spirit of the 
living God. When it works as the Spirit of nature, 
it renews the face of the earth, replenishes all the 
region with life. What would this creation be, if 
all divine influence were retracted and withheld, bv 

x 2 



244 FIFTEENTH SERMON 

which every thing lives, and which is attributed to 
the Spirit of God, as the active principle that works 
every where, in the creation of the world, moving 
upon the abyss in the renewing of it from time to 
time ! By him and from him there is such a thing 
as life in all the creation ; he works all in all. But 
consider it also as a Spirit of holiness, of divine life 
and power in the spirits of men ; what a mighty 
agent is that, who can spread such an influence 
every where, unto the remotest corners of this world! 
and can reach every heart of those that belong to 
God, and all at once ; and pierce into them with 
such mighty power, that though all the art in the 
world cannot persuade and change the mind of a 
man, even in a matter of common concernment, if 
he be resolved, yet this Spirit can transform where 
it touches, and overcome, if it will, even in the first 
attempt ! Oh ! what homage should our souls 
within us pay to this almighty Spirit ! In how pro- 
strate a posture should we be ! How should we 
adore that Spirit, who can, when he will, fill all, every 
where, with light and life ! 

5. We collect further, that the grace of the 
Spirit is most admirably condescending, that it will 
ever vouchsafe to come down into such a world as 
this is : that there should be a time, in which such a 
favour is designed, as this, " I will pour out my 
Spirit." Well may it be called the Spirit of grace, 
the Spirit of all goodness, and benignity, and sweet- 
ness, that it will ever vouchsafe to visit our world, a 
world so drenched in impurity, and so environed 
with malignant darkness. How well does the name 
agree, the Spirit of grace ! So hellish is .the ma- 
lignity, that would despise such a Spirit. He is 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX,, VERSE 29. 245 

called so on purpose, we may suppose, by the author 
to the Hebrews, to aggravate that malignity ; " And 
hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace," Heb. x. 
29. But how magnificently glorious is that grace, 
which will finally overcome this malignity ! That this 
Spirit will come down, and spread its light and in- 
fluences through so much deformity, and pollution, 
and darkness, as is every where in this world ; that 
it should become a soul unto such a world ! What 
if an angel of God would humble himself to become 
a soul to a .worm, to animate a worm ! But a 
stranger humiliation far it is, that the Spirit of God 
should become, as it were, a soul to such a world as 
this! God says, '* I have poured out my Spirit upon 
it," and now, " will no more hide my face :" it 
should gut our hearts into raptures. How should 
we fall down and adore the Spirit of life and grace ! 
Wilt thou do this ? Wilt thou come down into such 
a world as this ? 

6. We may note further, that the face of God 
shall never shine, but where he doth pour out his 
Spirit. His face will always remain hid toward the 
church, till the time comes that he pours out his 
Spirit. It will be of good service to consider this. 
Many vainly promise themselves halcyon days with- 
out the consideration of any influence of the Spirit 
connected with it ; as if the aspects of providence 
could be favourable to them, and they could do well 
enough without the Spirit. If we can but enjoy 
peace and tranquillity, free trade and liberty to walk 
without check or control in the ways that we like 
best, though without the other ; yet we are apt to 
think, that our happiness would be sufficiently pro- 
vided for. But we are not to expect that the aspects 

x 3 



24ti FIFTEENTH SERMON 

of providence will be favourable, without a concur- 
ring effusion of the divine Spirit. It is neither 
likely to be ; nor would be, to any good purpose, if 
it should. 

It is not likely to be ; for why should we suppose 
it should ? What is the church of God, when the 
Spirit is withdrawn and gone ? What are they that 
call themselves of it, more than other men ? If the 
Spirit be gone, what is it but an Aceldama? a Gol- 
gotha ? a place of skulls, a place of carcases ? 
Do we think, that the divine glory shall only serve 
to adorn sepulchres ? That the more glorious and 
pleasing aspects of providence shall only serve for 
that ? You cannot long sever and keep off from 
death internal rottenness and corruption. And surely 
it is very unlikely, that God should take pleasure to 
discover himself and to display his glory among such, 
B the more remarkable works of his favourable pro- 
vidence. And to what purpose would it be, if he 
should ? What should we be the better for a state of 
external tranquillity and peace, if the Spirit be with- 
held ? Surely you will think religion to be necessary 
at least to the church ; otherwise what distinguishes 
that from another community of men ? But what 
a sad frame of religion must there be, if the Spirit 
of God be not in it ! We cannot call that state 
prosperous to the church wherein the Spirit breathes 
not, unless sensuality will be the felicity of the 
church ; unless we think ourselves warranted to 
abandon all care of the soul, and the belief of im- 
mortality and of a world to come, as if these were 
only mistakes and delusions. For great external 
prosperity to the church without the Spirit accom- 
panying it, commonly issues in irreligion. That 



ON EZEKIEL XXXIX. VERSE 29. 247 

alone deserves to be esteemed a good state of things 
for the church of God, wherein the people of God 
every where are working and framing for a blessed 
eternity : and that they will never be without much 
of the divine Spirit. 



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The ourpmiring of the 



Holy Spirit* 



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UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO