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EASTER. 1906 







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

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

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

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

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

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

General Editor. 











Sermon I. " But what things were gain to me, those I counted 

loss for Christ," ... 3 

II. " Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss 
for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ 
Jesus my Lord ; for whom I have suffered 
the loss of all things, and do count them but 
dung, that I may win Christ," . . 12 

III. " Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss," 

&c., 21 

IV. " That I may win Christ," ... 31 
V. "And be found in him, not having mine own 

righteousness, which is of the law, but that 
which is through the faith of Christ, the 
righteousness which is of God by faith," . 41 

VI. "That I may know him, and the power of his 
resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffer 
ings, being made conformable to his death," . 50 
VII. " If by any means I might attain unto the resurrec 
tion of the dead," .... 62 
VIII. "Not as though I had already attained, either 
were already perfect ; but I follow after, if that 
I may apprehend that for which also I am 
apprehended of Christ Jesus," . . 74 

IX. "Not as though I had already attained," &c., . 81 

X. "Brethren, I count not myself to have appre 
hended ; but this one thing I do, forgetting 
those things which are behind, and reaching 
forth toward those things which are before, 
I press toward the mark, for the prize of 
the high calling of God in Jesus Christ," . 88 

XI. " I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high 

calling of God in Jesus Christ," . . 98 



Sermon XII. " Brethren, be followers together of me, and 
mark them which walk so, as ye have us 
for an example," . . . .109 

XIII. " For many walk, of whom I have told you 

often, and now tell you even weeping, that 

they are enemies of the cross of Christ," . 120 

XIV. " Whose end is destruction, whose god is their 

belly, and whose glory is in their shame, 
who mind earthly things," . . 131 

XV. " For our conversation is in heaven," . 147 

XVI. " From whence also we look for our Saviour 

and Kedeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ," . 157 
XVII. " Who shall change our vile body, that it may 
be fashioned like unto his glorious body, 
according to the working whereby he is able 
even to subdue all things unto himself," . 167 

Sermon I. " For to me to live is Christ, and to die is 

gain," . . . . .179 

II. " To die is gain," . . . .187 


Sermon I. "So that we ourselves glory in you in the 
churches of God, for your patience and 
faith in all the persecutions and tribula 
tions which ye endure," . . .198 
II. " Which is a manifest token of the righteous 
judgment of God, that ye may be counted 
worthy of the kingdom of God, for which 
ye also suffer," .... 207 

III. " Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to 

recompense tribulation to them that trouble 
you ; and to you that are troubled rest 
with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be 
revealed from heaven with his mighty 
angels," . . . . .216 

IV. " Seeing it is a righteous thing with God," &c., 225 
V. " When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from 

heaven with his mighty angels," . . 234 

VI. " In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them 
that know not God, and that obey not the 
gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ," . 244 

VII. " Who shall be punished with everlasting 
destruction from the presence of the Lord, 
and from the glory of his power," . 254 



Sermon VIII. " When he shall come to be glorified in his 
saints, and admired in all them that believe 
(because our testimony among you was 
believed) in that day," . . . 264 

IX. " When he shall come to be glorified," &c., . 274 
X. " Wherefore also we pray always for you, that 
our God would count you worthy of this 
calling, and fulfil all the pleasure of his 
goodness, and the work of faith with 
power," ..... 284 
XL " Wherefore also we pray always," &c., . 293 

XII. " Wherefore also we pray always," &c., . 302 

XIII. " Wherefore also we pray always," &c., . 313 

XIV. " That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may 

be glorified in you, and you in him, accord 
ing to the grace of our God and the Lord 
Jesus Christ," .... 322 
XV. " That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," 

&c., ..... 332 
XVI. " That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ," 

&c., 342 

SERMON UPON MATTHEW xxii. 14, . . . . 353 

MARK vii. 37, ..... 364 
2 CORINTHIANS iv. 17, . . . 371 

SERMONS UPON 1 JOHN ii. 12-14 

Sermon I. " I write unto you, little children, because 
your sins are forgiven for his name's 
sake," . . . . .380 

II. " I write unto you, fathers, because ye have 
known him that is from the beginning. I 
write unto you, young men, because ye 
have overcome the wicked one. I write 
unto you, little children, because ye 
have known the Father. I have written 
unto you, fathers, because ye have known 
him that is from the beginning. I have 
written unto you, young men, because ye 
are strong, and the word of God abideth 
in you, and ye have overcome the wicked 
one," . . . .390 

III. "I write unto you, fathers, because ye have 

known him that was from the begin 
ning," ..... 399 

IV. " I write unto you, fathers," &c., . . 407 



SERMONS UPON 1 JOHN ii. 12-14 continued. 

Sermon V. " I write unto you, young men, because ye 

have overcome the wicked one," &c., . 416 
VI. " I write unto you, little children, because ye 

have known the Father," &c., . . 427 


Sermon I. " Behold what manner of love the Father hath 
bestowed upon us, that we should be 
called the sons of God! therefore the 
world knoweth us not, because it knew 
him not," ..... 438 
IL " Therefore the world knoweth us not, because 
it knew him not. Beloved, now are we 
the sons of God ; and it doth not yet 
appear what we shall be ; but we know 
that, when he shall appear, we shall be 
like him, for we shall see him as he is," . 449 

III. " But we know that, when he shall appear, we 

shall be like him, for we shall see him 

as he is," . ... 459 

IV. " And every man that hath this hope in him 

purifieth himself, even as he is pure," . 470 
V. " And every man that hath this hope in him," 

&c., 479 

VI. " Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth 
also the law ; for sin is a transgression of 
the law," ..... 488 
VII. " Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth 

also the law," . . . .498 



VOL. xr. 



But what tMngs were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 

PHIL. iii. 7. 

THE apostle having shown that he had greater cause of confidence and 
glorying in the flesh than any of the pretenders among the Judaising 
brethren, at least was not any whit inferior to them in outward privi 
leges ; here he showeth that since he had attained to the knowledge of 
Christ, he accounted these things not only unprofitable, but hurtful, 
* But what things were gain to me, those I accounted loss for Christ' 

In the words we have a comparison of his judgment before his know 
ledge of Christ and after his knowledge of Christ. 

1. Before his knowledge of Christ, gains, /cepSi], expressed plurally. 

2. Loss afterwards. 

Doct. That when the Spirit of God changeth a man's judgment, 
those things which before conversion seemed to be gain to him will 
then be accounted loss. 

So it was with Paul, and so it will be with all that are like Paul, 
yea, with all that are brought to the knowledge of Christ. 

1. I shall explicate the point. 

2. Confirm it. 

[1.] In explicating the point, I shall show what those things were. 
[2.] His esteem before and after conversion. 
[3.] How it holdeth good in other cases in the conversion of others. 
First, What are the things spoken of ? He enumerateth six causes 
of carnal boasting 

1. ' Circumcised the eighth day ; ' admitted into the number of God's 
people by circumcision, which was done precisely according to the law, 
not as a proselyte, but as a born Jew rightfully circumcised. Let that 
be the first privilege. 

2. By nation an Israelite, born of a noble tribe of the Israelites, the 
tribe of Benjamin, ' An Hebrew of the Hebrews.' His stock was of 
Israel, God's dear servant, and one of the best tribes, of Jacob's beloved 
wife ; not of the children of the bondwoman, of which tribe Saul was 
elected king, from whence probably our apostle had his name; of that 
tribe which with the tribe of Judah came to the house of David and 
the true worship of God at Jerusalem after the revolt of the ten tribes, 
and in whose territory the temple was situated. 


3. ' Hebrew of the Hebrews ; ' of a family that was never mixed in 
blood by marriage with those of foreign nations. 

4. 'By sect a pharisee;' of the strictest among the Jews, Acts 
xxvi. 5. 

5. Zealous above the ordinary sort of the pharisees, instructed with 
a commission to persecute the Christians, which gave him a reputation 
in the eyes of those who were zealous for the law. 

6. External righteousness before men for legal observances ; he never 
neglected any as long as he lived in that course. Well, then, here were 
church privileges, circumcision, and here was strictness, and zeal in that 
profession ; and for him to renounce all the institutes of the religion in 
which he was born and bred, and to have a life free from scandal, this 
was much, if we consider the state of these things. 

Secondly, His esteem of these things before and after conversion. 

1. Before conversion, they were gain to him, partly as they might 
procure his esteem with men, and recommend him to the Judaising 
brethren. If they had cause to boast in these things, he had much 
more. And partly as to the favour of God, falsely esteeming them as 
much conducing to salvation. 

2. After conversion, whatever he accounted them before, he is now 
taught better by the Holy Ghost (1.) What he accounteth them ; 
(2.) For what he accounteth them so. 

[1.] What he accounteth them ; %npia, a loss, that is to say, un 
profitable and dangerous. 

(1.) Worthless and unprofitable, because they could not effectuate 
what he depended upon them for ; they could not give him any accep 
tation with God. 

(2.) Dangerous and prejudicial to better things, as they might with 
draw him from the faith of Christ, or put him upon more labour and 
difficulty to renounce them. It is a matter of great difficulty for a man 
that hath great carnal privileges not to prize them and value them above 
the conscience of his duty to God. To excel in parts and privileges, 
and esteem in the world for a blameless conversation, and yet to prize 
the grace of Christ so as to leave all things for it, is very hard and 
difficult, and more hard than for those who have not like impediments. 

[2.] For what. For Christ, for his sake, his laws and doctrines. 
Christ is to be sought and bought at any hand and rate : Mat. xiii. 
45, 46, ' The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant-man seek 
ing goodly pearls; and when he hath found one pearl of great price, he 
went and sold all that he had, and bought it/ Therefore whatever would 
keep him from embracing Christian doctrine would be loss rather than 
advantage, however they commended him to men, and might procure 
him gain and honour, or in the judgment of an ill-guided conscience 
they might seem to commend him to God. 

Thirdly, How it holdeth good in other cases, so as it may be of 
catholic use and profit to us now to imitate this example. 

1. The examples of men of worth, who have incurred loss and diffi 
culties in embracing the Christian religion, are a great encouragement 
to godliness. Men that have not so much to lose or to deny for Christ 
may be sincere, but certainly it is a greater commendation to religion 
when those who can well enough make up their interests elsewhere are 


willing to sacrifice all their interests for Christ. Now these have this 
happiness above others, that they have something of value to esteem as 
nothing for Christ, and to commend religion to the world. 

2. It commendeth the worth of Christianity to us. There are such 
huge advantages of being a Christian, that those who have most to 
"lose, and have best wisdom to judge, are content to be stript of all 
rather than miss Christ or lose Christ. "Ariva fy poi jcep&r), ' what 
things were gain ;' some by his Hebrew stock, his laudable sect, his 
great fame with his countrymen ; ' these made him an instance worthy 
to be produced to confirm the truth of the religion which he pro 

3. Such things will come to be denied by every one that will be a 
thorough serious Christian. In any age there are the rabble of nominal 
Christians, who stand only upon the legs of others, and have a Christi 
anity commended to them by the testimony of others and the sufferings 
of others who have lived before them ; and as they are concerned in these 
things, have nothing but the name and the profession, but have not 
that constitution of heart or manner of conversation which will become 
Christians. Briefly, then, there is a twofold conversion one without 
the church, the other in the church. 

[l.J Without the church, from paganism or a false religion to the 
true : 1 Thes. i. 9, ' And how ye turned to God from idols, to serve 
the living and true God.' Now in this conversion those who are so 
turned must deny their honour and credit with their party, and all 
the advantages they enjoyed thereby, as Paul did. So Vergerius, 
who was bishop of Justinople and nuncio to the pope, whilst he opposed 
the protestants, was conscious to the truth of their doctrine, and turned 
a reformed preacher among the Grisons. 

[2.] Within the church, or in the bosom of Christianity. So men 
are turned from profaneness to holiness, from formality to serious 
godliness. The one is spoken of Isa. i. 16, 17, ' Wash you, make you 
clean, put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; cease 
to do evil, learn to do well ; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, 
judge the fatherless, plead for the widow/ And in many other places : 
' Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways ; why will ye die, house of 
Israel ? ' Ezek. xxxiii. 11 ; and Hosea vi. 1, ' Come, let us return unto 
the Lord.' And we are warned of the other : 2 Tim. iii. 5, ' Having a 
form of godliness, but denying the power.' They had a map and 
model of truth, yet deny the power thereof ; suffer not this religion to 
prevail to subdue their hearts unto God. Briefly, then, these latter 
may either take pleasure in unrighteousness, or repose too much con 
fidence in their supposed righteousness. 

(1.) For the first, the words are applicable to them, that when the 
Spirit of God changeth their hearts, those things which were accounted 
gain will prove an apparent loss. Sin was formerly to them their 
delight, or the support of their credit and estate ; they thought they 
could not live without it ; but after grace received, they are convinced 
this was their bane, and shame, and trouble : Horn. vi. 21, ' What fruit 
had you then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed ? for the 
end of those things is death.' Now grace teacheth us to abandon the 
delights of the flesh, and to renounce the most pleasing and profitable 
sins, as judging them indeed to be loss to us. 


(2.) When we trust in a supposed righteousness, and for outward 
things neglect inward grace. As when, because of baptism or profes 
sion, or having high notions of an empty though a strict form, or mere 
civility and blameless conversation, we neglect faith, hope, and love, and 
that internal change which is necessary for those which are in Christ : 
2 Cor. v. 17, ' If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things 
are passed away; behold, all things are become new.' Those things 
which men thought gain are nothing to the soul in regard of the new 
creature : Gal. vi. 15, ' For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth 
anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature ; ' Gal. v. 16, ' Walk 
in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh;' 1 Cor. vii. 
19, ' Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision nothing, but the 
keeping of the commandments of God.' We may undergo the wrath 
of God notwithstanding all these things. But before the soul was 
touched with the sense of sin and deserved wrath, and a change 
wrought in the soul, God, and Christ, and heaven, and holiness were 
contemned and little set by ; but when we have a sensible and awakening 
knowledge of our great necessity, then we see that there is no full and 
solid satisfaction in order to righteousness and salvation but only in, 
and by Christ ; so that all things are as dung and dross, as trouble 
and loss, in comparison of the knowledge of him and the gain by him. 

The reasons of the point. 

1. From the state of those who are to be converted. There is in all 
Borne false and imaginary happiness, and some counterfeit righteous 
ness, wherein they please themselves. The false happiness is as their 
god, and the counterfeit is as their Christ and mediator, and so they 
are secure and senseless ; and till God open their eyes, they neither 
seek after another happiness, nor trouble themselves about the way 
whereby they may attain it. That men set up a false happiness in 
their natural estate needs not much proof ; for ever since man fell from 
God he ran to the creature : Jer. ii. 13, ' My people have committed 
two evils ; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and 
have hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.' 
We left the fountain, and betook ourselves to the cistern ; and if we 
can make a shift to patch up a sorry happiness here in the world apart 
from God, we care not for him, will not come at him : Jer. ii. 31, 
' Wherefore say my people, We are lords ; we will come no more unto 
thee ? ' Our pleasure, profit, and honour, that is our god ; and while 
we enjoy these things without control, we look no further, but count 
ourselves well paid. Certainly we cannot seek our happiness in an 
invisible God, nor cannot wait for it to be enjoyed in an invisible 
world. The flesh must be pleased, and the more it is pleased we think 
it gain to us, and that so far we have profited. But for the second, 
that there is something which is instead of Christ to us, to keep the 
conscience quiet when our affections take up with present things. Our 
happiness is to satisfy our desires ; our righteousness to allay our fears. 
Now here we run to a superficial religion, as if it would make us per 
fect as appertaining to the conscience. Here we fly to something 
external, which is diversified according to men's education. If pagans, 
to the epyov vopov, the work of the law : Rom. ii. 15, law of nature ; 
if Jews, to the observances of the law ; if Christians, to their baptism, 


or to the outward profession of some strict form without the power. 
And till God breaketh in upon us, and convinceth us of our mistakes, 
and those follies by which we delude ourselves, we think we have 
gained a great point if we have come under the form, though we have 
denied the power ; for natural men, being ignorant of the righteous 
ness of God, go about to establish their own righteousness, and will 
not submit to God's humbling way, Kom. x. 3, ov% vTrera^tjativ. As 
long as he can make a shift without Chrisi,, he is disregarded. There 
fore now since this is the natural temper of man, the creature must be 
dethroned that God may be exalted ; superficial righteousness must 
be lost, that Christ may be gained, that we may cordially accept God 
for our God, and Christ for our redeemer and saviour. Therefore we 
are dead to the law, that we might live unto God, Gal. ii. 19, with 
Kom. vii. 14. 

2. From the nature and parts of conversion. It is a turning from 
the creature to God, from self to Christ, from sin to holiness. Now in 
all these respects, many things which were formerly gain to us are found 
to be loss, impediments, and hindrances to our full conversion. Certain 
it is conversion consists in a turning from the creature to God ; for 
when God is laid aside the creature hath our hearts, and intercepts 
our love; and till we have another last end and chief good, we are carnal. 
If we love pleasures more than God, we are of the number of those that 
love themselves, 2 Tim. iii. 4. If we love the praise of men more than 
the praise of God, John xii. 43, how are we faithful to Christ ? There 
fore till we are inclined to God, turned to God more than to other things, 
there is no conversion. So for the second part ; till turned from self 
to Christ, till we receive Christ by faith, we cannot come to God as the 
last end or chief good. So we come to Christ as the way to the Father, 
John xiv. 6. Christ alone is our way, by his merit taking off the legal 
exclusion, by his Spirit giving us a heart to come to God. Turning 
from the creature to God, and not by Christ, is no true turning. So 
believing in Christ, while the creature hath our hearts, is no true believ 
ing. Then there is a turning from sin to holiness. This followeth ; 
for an inordinate love of the creature is sin, and love to God and delight 
to do the things that please him is holiness. We turn to God, not only 
as our happiness, but as our sovereign and lord. Therefore if we are 
fitted to obey him by the change of our natures, and do actually obey 
him by the change of our lives, then we are converts. Now supposing 
all those things (as they are evident and clear), it must needs follow 
that those things we formerly counted gain, when we are converted we 
count loss. Why ? Because if we still idolise the creature we lessen 
God. If we exalt self, we despise or neglect the reconciling and renew 
ing grace of the Kedeemer. If we retain our love to sin, we abate of 
our care of holiness. If the creature be still our idol, how is God our 
God ? If self -righteousness or superficial righteousness be still esteemed, 
how will Christ be precious to us ? If sin be still our delight, holiness 
will be still our burden. Therefore if God be our God, and Christ our 
saviour and redeemer, prosperity, riches, credit, pleasure and honour, 
will be a sorry happiness, and counterfeit and superficial righteousness 
yield no solid peace to the conscience. 

3. From the nature of the Spirit's enlightening. 


[1.] That the Holy Ghost, in converting men to God and Christ, 
doth enlighten them, as well as turn their hearts and change their 
practice, is evident : Luke xxiv. 45, ' Then opened he their under 
standings.' Though a man hath an understanding, yet it needeth the 
Spirit's illumination : Acts xxvi. 18, ' To open their eyes, and to turn 
them from darkness to light.' The eyes must be opened, that we may 
discern spiritual and heavenly things : Rev. iii. 18, ' And anoint thine 
eyes with eye-salve that thou mayest see.' He proffereth eye-salve to 
the spiritually blind, that they may see and be directed in the ways of 
holiness. And David beggeth that his eyes may be opened : Ps. cxix. 
18, ' Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of 
thy law.' And the apostle telleth us that when the Jews shall turn ix> 
the Lord, the veil shall be taken from their hearts, 2 Cor. iii. 16, the 
veil of ignorance and prejudice. Surely it is a great advantage to see 
things in the lively light of the Spirit. So that in the general there 
must needs be a great change in men's judgments, as if they were 
opposite to themselves. What they counted happiness before they 
find a misery ; what was gain, to be loss ; what peace and life, to be 
death and torment to them. 

[2.] That we have great benefit by this enlightening. 

(1.) We know things more clearly, and have a spiritual discerning, 
without which, being blinded by the delusions of the flesh, we put 
darkness for light, and light for darkness. We think our misery to be 
our happiness, and our true and solid happiness to be our misery and 
bondage. The curse of our corrupt estate is an injudicious mind, and 
the blessing of our spiritual estate is a spiritual discerning, 1 Cor. ii. 
14. A judicious discerning of the worth of things is the work of 
grace: 2 Cor. v. 16, 17, ' We know no man after the flesh; for who 
soever is in Christ, is a new creature.' Knowing things after the flesh 
is one thing, and after the spirit is another. A new creature hath a 
new sight of things, looketh upon all things with a new eye ; seeth 
more odiousness in sin, more excellency in Christ, more beauty in holi 
ness, more vanity in the world, than ever before. When a man is 
changed, all things about him are changed. Heaven is another thing, 
earth is another thing. He looketh upon body and soul with another 
eye, and therefore hath another value and esteem of all things. His 
thoughts are changed about God, about self, about Christ, about sin, 
and misery by sin, and that superficial righteousness wherewith he 
contented himself before, and that true holiness which Christ requireth 
of him. He was wont to marvel why men did keep such a stir about 
sin ; what harm was in it for a man a little to enlarge himself, and 
gratify his flesh with some forbidden pleasure ? Misery out of Christ 
was another thing while he pleased himself in his counterfeit right 
eousness : Rom. vii. 9, ' For I was alive without the law once ; but 
when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.' His estate 
seemed not so out of measure sinful, nor so intolerably dangerous ; nor 
did he see why men made such a talk about Christ, and such ado 
to go to heaven. But when he is enlightened by the Spirit, his judg 
ment is marvellously changed : 2 Peter i. 9, ' But he that lacketh these 
things is blind, and cannot see afar off.' He can now look into eternity, 
and see that other things are to be minded more than back and belly 


concerns. In short, he seeth his misery with other eyes, being anointed 
with spiritual eye-salve, Kev. iii. 17, 18 ; Mat. xiii. 9, ' For I ana not 
come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.' There is a sen 
sible and awakening knowledge of our own great necessity. While we 
are heart-whole we care not for Christ. A true value and esteem of 
Christ as our remedy and ransom, not a cold and dead opinion : 1 
Peter ii. 7, ' Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.' A 
true sight of the happiness and blessedness offered to us : Eph. i. 17, 
18, ' That the God of our Lord Jesus, the Father of glory, may give 
unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him ; 
the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know 
what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his 
inheritance in the saints.' 

(2.) We know things with more certainty and firm belief. With 
more certainty : Acts ii. 36, ' Let the house of Israel know assuredly,' 
dcr<aXo>9, safely ; John xvii. 8, a\r]Qfa, surely ; ' And have known 
surely that I came from thee ; ' John vi. 69, ' And we believe and are 
sure that thou art Christ the Son of the living God.' Things work not 
till they be received with a firm assent : 1 Thes. ii. 13, ' For this cause 
also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word 
of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, 
but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh in them 
that believe.' God's authority breaketh in upon the heart with a con 
vincing power. 

(3.) We know things more seriously as we are awakened to a more 
attentive consideration. It is a great part of the Spirit's work, not 
only to enlighten the mind, but to awaken it: Acts xvi. 14, 'And a certain 
woman named Lydia, whose heart the Lord opened that she attended 
unto the things spoken by Paul.' Many truths lie by, and are lost for 
want of consideration. Non-attendancy to spiritual and heavenly things 
is the ruin of the far greatest part of the world : Mat. xxii. 5, ' And they 
made light of it.' Men will not suffer their minds so long to dwell 
upon these things as to see what is true misery and happiness, what is 
gain, and what is loss ; and then in seeing they see not, and in hearing 
they hear not ; as when you tell a man of a business whose mind is 
taken up with other things. Many men have a sudden thought of their 
misery and happiness, but a glance cannot work a steady contemplation. 
When our sin is ever before us, when we have serious thoughts of Christ 
and his salvation, they work most powerfully with us. But most men, 
are never their own selves ; have no time to think of God, and Christ, 
and heavenly things ; and discontinuing the use, they lose in time the 
desire. Too many acquaintance in the world make them strangers to 
God. If they never sit alone to consider the necessity and worth of 
these things, how can they affect their hearts ? 

(4.) We know things with more efficacy and power ; not only are mis 
takes discovered, but lusts subdued. Sin, grace, Christ, and eternity 
are of weight to move a rock, yet shake not the heart of the carnal 
professors, because they received the word of God in word only, and 
not in power. But when the gospel cometh in the Holy Ghost, it 
cometh in power, 1 Thes. i. 5. Where the apprehension is clear, the 
assent strong, consideration serious, application close, it must needs- 


be so. Men are pierced to the quick, deeply affected with what they know. 
A man may give twenty reasons against vices and vanities, and yet 
follow them ; but when he is thus enlightened, his heart yieldeth. 
This powerful conviction maketh him see the wretchedness of his car 
nal and blessedness of his spiritual estate ; and then losses are gains, 
and gains are losses. 

Use. Is it thus with you ? Can you say as Paul did, ' What things 
were gain to me, those I accounted loss for Christ ? ' Are your hearts 
alienated from whatever may keep you from God and Christ ? 

1. There is something that may keep us from God. Naturally we 
are governed by the wisdom of the flesh. Now what the wisdom of the 
flesh is the apostle will tell us : James iii. 15, ' This wisdom descendeth 
not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.' Our understanding, as 
influenced by the flesh, doth only prompt us to pleasure, profit, and 
honour. The heart pitcheth upon vain delights, and valueth its happiness 
by them, which while we indulge and cherish, it careth not for God ; 
other things take up his place in the heart. Their belly is their god, 
Phil. iii. 19 ; mammon is their god, Mat. vi. 24 ; and honour and 
greatness : John xii. 42, ' Nevertheless among the chief rulers also 
many believed on him ; but because of the pharisees they did not con 
fess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.' Self-love 
forsaketh idols, and sets up gods instead of the true God, who should 
be our chief good and last end. But when the mind and heart is 
changed by grace, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are restored to their 
due honour. The love of God and heavenly things overcomes that 
natural delectation which we take in worldly things ; and the force of 
celestial love doth sweetly prevail in the soul, so that you value your 
happiness by the favour of God, not by the enjoyment of worldly things: 
Ps. iv. 6, 7, ' There be many that say, Who will show us any good ? 
Lord, lift up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put 
gladness into my heart, more than in the time when their corn and 
their wine increased.' Partly because the heavenly light shining upon 
the soul obscureth all worldly things; and partly because love in- 
clineth us to God and the things which tend to the enjoyment of 
him ; our minds are altered by spiritual eye-salve, and our hearts by 
the victorious force of celestial love ; and then you will judge that the 
enjoyment of the creature, if it alienate your hearts from God, is a 
loss rather than a gain to you. You lose by your honour if it make 
you less zealous for God ; by your pleasure if it unfits the heart for 
God and weakeneth your delight in him ; by your profits and wealth, 
if they cause you to abate of your diligence in seeking after God. Well, 
then, are you changed ? Do you count the world an enemy as it would 
draw you away from God, however it gratifieth your fleshly mind and 
fancy ? Surely the sanctifying and enlightening Spirit hath been at 
work in your hearts. 

2. That which keepeth you from Christ is a superficial righteousness, 
which maketh your conviction and conversion more difficult; as it 
maketh us senseless and ignorant of our danger, and careless of the 
means of our recovery. Therefore Christ saith, ' Publicans and harlots 
should enter into the kingdom of God' before pharisees and self-justi 
ciaries, Mat. xxi. 31. No condition is more dangerous than to be poor 


and proud, corrupt and rotten, and yet conceited and confident. The 
most vicious are sooner wrought upon than those that please themselves 
in external observances, without any real inward holiness or change of 
heart. They neither understand law nor gospel ; not the law in its 
purity, and strictness, and spiritual exactness ; not the gospel, which 
offereth a remedy only to the penitent, and those which are deeply 
affected with the pollution of their natures and lives, and the misery 
consequent, but are puffed up with a vain conceit and opinion of their 
good estate without any brokenness of heart. They are injurious to 
the law, as they curtail it, and reduce it to the external work, that the 
ell may be no longer than the cloth. They make a short exposition of 
the law, that they may cherish a large opinion of their own righteous 
ness. They are injurious against the gospel, as they continue in their 
impenitency and unbelief ; were never brought home in a broken-hearted 
manner to accept of Christ. The law well understood would humble 
them : ' The law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin,' Kom. vii. 
14. The gospel is not for them ; for Christ came to call sinners, not 
those that are righteous in their own eyes, Mat. ix. 13. The whole 
tenor of the gospel is against them, which is a remedy for lost and 
broken-hearted sinners : ' He came to seek and to save that which is 
lost ; ' Luke xv. 7, ' Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repent- 
eth, more than over ninety and nine just persons that need no repent 
ance.' Nothing is more opposite to the frame of the gospel than an 
impenitent and unbroken-hearted disposition of the spirit, satisfying 
itself in a partial, external obedience. So the woman that was a sinner 
was preferred before Simon a pharisee, Luke vii. 44 ; and the self-con 
demning publican in the parable before the self-justifying pharisee, 
Luke xviii. 13; and the penitent adulteress before her conceited accusers, 
John viii. 7. And in the general, the most odious and despised sinners, 
repenting and believing in Christ, find more grace and place with him, 
than those that satisfy themselves with exterior righteousness. Well, 
then, are you of this temper, to count this external, partial righteous 
ness loss rather than gain ? 

[1.] If so, then you are humbled and awakened with a sense of your 
lost condition ; for God doth not offer grace to sinners, as sinners simply, 
but to lost sinners, such as are weary and heavy laden, Mat. xi. 28 ; 
to such as are broken in heart, and grieved, and troubled : Isa. Ixi. 
1, 2, ' The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath 
anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek ; he hath sent me to 
bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and 
the opening the prison to them that are bound, to proclaim the accept 
able year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God, to com 
fort all that mourn.' To such as confess and forsake their sins. 

[2.] Art thou kept vile in thine own eyes, and in a humble admira 
tion of grace after you are partaker of it ? Luke vii. 47, ' Her sins, 
which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much ; but to whom little 
is forgiven, the same loveth little.' When God is pacified towards 
them, they loathe themselves for what they have done : Ezek. xvi. 63, 
' That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy 
mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards 
thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord.' 


[3.] Then a partial outside obedience will not satisfy you. Pharisees 
tithed mint and cummin, but neglected the weightier things, Mat. xxiii. 
23. No ; you must have your natures changed, every day grow more 
complete in the will of God. 

[4.] Thankfulness for grace will set you a-work for God rather than 
a legal conscience. You will do what you do for God for love to him 
rather than fear. Duties are a thank-offering rather than a sin-offer 
ing, and will not look upon God's rewards as a debt, but as a further 
act of his grace ; blessing God for Jesus Christ, rather than ascribing 
anything to yourselves ; in short, imploring pardon for our best duties, 
rather than boast of them. This is the true gospel spirit, and which 
only declareth that you find a loss rather than a gain in all those 
empty formal services and that external partial obedience that keep 
you from Christ. Christ is precious to you that believe. 


Tea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the 
knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord ; for whom I have suffered 
the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win 
Christ. PHIL. iii. 8. 

THESE words are added to the former by way of amplification, for three 

1. To show his perseverance in the contempt and disesteem of all 
outward and worldly privileges ; he had counted them loss for Christ's 
sake, and did still count them loss : ' I have counted,' and ' do count.' 
He repeats it over and over ; he repented not of his choice in the review ; 
he seeth no cause to recede from it. He had undervalued and quitted 
everything that might keep him from Christ ; and this not only when 
first converted, but he still continued in the same opinion. We 
affect novelties, and are transported when we first change our profes 
sion, but repent at leisure. No ; if he had done it, he would do it 

2. To comprehend all other things besides the Jewish privileges, 
wherein he excelled the greatest pretenders among them. He had said 
before, ' Those things which were gain to me.' Now he extends this 
rejection to all things imaginable without Christ honours, wealth, 
pleasures, all outward and worldly accommodations. A Christian can 
deny anything for Christ's sake, his own honour, his own ease, profit, 
name, estate, everything but his own God and Christ. 

3. In this new proposal he shows the reality of this assertion : ' Yea, 
doubtless.' It was not a pretended business, nor a bare naked appro 
bation of Christ as more excellent than other things ; not a speculative, 
but a practical esteem : ' Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss 
for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.' 

In the words observe (1.) His great contempt of all worldly and 


external privileges ; (2.) The causes of this contempt, out of his 
esteem and value of Christ. 

1. His contempt is set forth by two things 

[1.] The vehemency and greatness of it : 'I account them loss,' yea, 
I account them c dung.' So excellent is Christ, and so precious to them 
that believe in him, that all things compared with him have so much 
baseness, that a word bad enough cannot be found to express them 
GKvpaXa , the word signifieth the inwards of beasts, or refuse things 
thrown to dogs. 

[2.] The reality and sincerity of it ; here was a real demonstration 
of it. Many approve the things that are excellent, Horn. ii. 18, yet 
have no mind to embrace them, because they cannot deny temptations. 
But the apostle saith not only rjyovjjiai, ra irdvra, ' I count all things 
but loss and dung,' but e%r)jj,ua0r}v TO, Trdvra, ' I have suffered the 
loss of all things.' He proveth the sincerity of his purpose by his actual 
self-denial ; he had suffered the loss of friends and country, and all 
things dear to him in the flesh, that so he might become a Christian. 
He did not only count them nothing worth, and despise them all, but 
was content to be stripped of all. These were not brags ; for he really 
suffered the loss of all, was hungry and naked, went in danger of his 
life often. We must either lose all, or be prepared to lose all for Christ 
when called thereto. Paul could value his natural interests as well as 
another, but in case of necessity, lose friends or lose Christ, then all is 
counted loss and dung. Men in a shipwreck throw overboard their 
most precious wares to save their lives. 

2. The causes of this contempt were great, and such as did every way 
justify it. As he contemned great things, so he contemned them for 
weighty causes. Two are mentioned 

[1.] ' The excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord ; ' 
that is, that he might obtain the knowledge of Christ, which is so 
excellent that it made all other things seem vile in his eyes. Those 
things could only yield a carnal, light, and temporary profit ; this a 
spiritual, solid, and eternal felicity. To keep them and lose this would 
be a loss not to be recompensed. 

[2.] ' That I may gain Christ ; ' that is, have the favour of Christ, 
which is the highest of all privileges. 

I shall now insist upon the greatness and vehemency of his contempt 
of all worldly and carnal things in comparison of Christ. 

Doct. That he that is or would be a good Christian should have such 
an esteem of Christ as to count all things but loss and dung, yea, 
should readily quit and forsake all things rather than miss of Christ. 

1. Let us consider Paul's self-denial as it is here represented. 

2. Give you the reasons why it bindeth all Christians, and becometh 
them to have such a frame of spirit. 

I. This instance of self-denial ; and there 

1. The universality of its extent, ' All things,' whatever would detain 
us from Christ, be they honours, pleasures, profits, yea, life itself, what 
ever we are and have. This is to be observed 

[1.] Partly because some can deny a few things for Christ, but not 
all ; their resignation is not entire and unbounded ; but if we keep 
back any one thing, the price is too short. Any one lust reserved 


keeps afoot the devil's interest in the soul ; therefore if we esteem but 
one thing, though we prefer 1 never so many, before Christ, though we 
renounce many profits and pleasures, yet that one darling contentment 
to which we have a special liking will prove a snare to the soul. 
Herod did many things, but was loath to part with his Herodias. 
The young man lacked one thing, Mark x. 21. If a woman love but 
one man in the world more than her husband, though she love him 
better than millions of others, yet it is a breach of the marriage cove 
nant. Any one thing reserved may bring us to forsake and neglect him 
as much as if we had preferred a hundred things before him. That one 
thing will quickly prevail over us for the entertainment of more ; there 
fore David prayeth, Ps. cxix. 133, ' Order my steps in thy word, and let 
not any one iniquity have dominion over me.' If a man be dead to 
pleasure, yet if he be alive to credit ; if he have a slight esteem of 
honour and glory, yet the riches of the world have a great interest in 
him ; if he can bridle passion and anger, and easily become meek, yet 
his fear may betray him ; if he can withstand boisterous temptations, 
which by violence would withdraw him from Christ, yet if he be over 
come by vain appetites, and cannot tame his own flesh, he may finally 
miscarry. When men come to take possession of a house, all persons 
must be outed, or else the possession is not valid and good ; you must 
deliver up all to Christ, or he will accept of none. 

[2.] And partly to show that not only things apparently unlawful 
must be denied for Christ, but things lawful must be disesteemed, dis 
countenanced, and rejected for his sake. 

(1.) That our sins must be renounced is out of question. If I cannot 
deny adultery, gluttony, covetousness, pride, drunkenness, oppression for 
his sake, surely I am unworthy of him. Therefore there can be no ques 
tion made of this, that I must put off the old man with his lusts, Eph. iv. 
22. These were never worth keeping ; these stick to us as our clothes 
or the skin on our backs, yet they must be put off, whatever interest they 
have in our affections. It is no strange motion of the physician if he 
should require the patient to part with his disease ; or he that minds 
to bestow new apparel upon us, should require us to cast away our old 
rags. If we would try it once, it is more pleasant to be rid of sin than 
to keep it ; and the pleasures of sin would be found more troublesome 
than the most painful course of obedience. Surely they can leave little 
for Christ that cannot leave one delightful or profitable sin, or are so 
far from preferring a saviour before the glorious pomp and vanities of 
this world, that they cannot leave the abominable crimes of it. 

(2.) That lawful things which are not absolutely to be despised, but 
only comparatively, when they come into competition with Christ, may 
be comprehended also ; such as are the comfort of our relations, esteem 
and honour in the world, the natural supports of the present life, yea, life 
itself. Such things are reckoned up by Christ : Luke xiv. 26, ' If any 
man come to me, and hate not father, mother, wife, children, brethren, 
sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple ; ' where you 
see that not our lusts only are to be forsaken, but our natural interests, 
those things which otherwise lawfully we may and ought most dearly 
to affect ; these must be forsaken, hated, trampled upon in comparison 
of our love to Christ ; that is, we must resolve to gain Christ, and 

1 Qu. 'postfer,' or some such word ? ED. 


please and follow him, though with the loss of all things. Nothing 
must be preferred before the conscience of our duty to him. What 
ever is a help to Christ, be it honour, wealth, or pleasure, it must be 
cherished ; and what is a hindrance, it must be cut off and renounced. 

2. The degree of forsaking, with loathing and indignation ; for the 
apostle here counteth them loss and dung, as if he could not sufficiently 
express his abhorrence of them. Whilst we stand peddling, and hanker 
after these things, the temptation is not fully off; but we are like crows 
and ravens, though driven from the carrion, yet we keep within scent 
of it. Pleasures, profits, and honours must be . esteemed as dross and 
dung when they come in competition with Christ. We must not only 
undervalue these transitory earthly things if they hinder us from Christ, 
but hate and detest them : ' If any man hate not father and mother,' &c, 
Luke xiv. 26. The reason is, because none can deny themselves but 
those that have a low esteem of all worldly things, and a high esteem 
of Jesus Christ and his favour. Now the more either of these are 
greatened,the more we will express our holy indignation at the temp 
tation. What ! part with my Christ for paltry vanities and a little 
unsatisfying pleasure ? hazard my eternal hopes for so slight a tempta 
tion, sell the birthright for a mess of pottage ? 

3. Here is the consent of his mind and resolution actually verified ; 
he did not only count them dung and dross, but he had ' suffered the 
loss of all things.' Paul ran the hazard, and actually quitted his honour 
and credit, who before had a high esteem of them ; and so must we if 
called thereunto. At first, before the way to heaven was a little smoothed 
by the holy martyrs and primitive confessors of the Christian faith, it 
was a great deal more rough than now it is ; yet there is no man can 
be true to his duty but he will meet with trouble in the flesh ; some of 
his interests must be sacrificed for Christ's sake, either his reputation, 
ease, and peace with the world, the opposition and scorn of dear friends 
and relations, or some expense and cost which his religion will put him 
upon. There are still duties lying upon us unpleasing to the flesh, or 
some uncompliance with the fashions of the world which will expose us 
to their contempt or hatred. A dull approbation of that which is good 
will serve no man in the most prosperous time of religion ; but more or 
less he must manifest his esteem of Christ and contempt of the world 
by some act of self-denial, and therein be conformed to the Son of God 
and the rest of his brethren, that have trodden the way to heaven before 
him. And Moses, being assaulted with all kind of temptations at once, 
Heb. xi. 24, 25, honour, pleasure, and profit ; the honour of the world, 
which so many greedily catch at, he refused ; the profits of the world, 
which are wont to blind the hearts of men, he despised ; the pleasures 
of the earth, which men so much affect, were no better to him than 
trash and dung compared with the reproach of Christ. And still the 
same spirit must be in us. All those things which are pleasing to 
the flesh, and will draw us off from our duty, must be actually denied, 
trampled upon, and contemned. 

II. The reasons why it binds all Christians, and becomes them to 
have such a frame of spirit. 

1. Because this is plainly inferred out of the faith, love, hope, and 
obedience of the gospel. 


[1.] Out of the faith of the gospel. Faith looks on the great things 
God hath provided for us in Christ as true and good : 1 Tim. i. 15, 
' This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus 
Christ came into the world to save sinners.' As true, they call for a 
firm and strong assent; as good, so for our consent and choice, or 
hearty embracing these things above all others. Now take either 
notion, and it enforces what we have in hand. 

(1.) For assent or a sound belief of eternal blessedness as offered by 
Christ, which, because it is future, the assent is fiducial, and implieth 
a dependence upon the veracity and truth of God, that he will make 
good his promise to us in the appointed way. Now certainly we do 
not know these things with any firm persuasion, unless we dare ven 
ture ourselves in the bottom of the promises, and are resolved to crucify 
the flesh and sacrifice our interests, and perform duties unpleasing to 
nature on the hopes they offer to us, and with confidence and joyful- 
ness wait upon God in the midst of all pressures and afflictions. 

(2.) As it is a consent, choice, or acceptance, because Christ and 
his benefits, which are the object propounded to faith, are good, and 
better than life and all its contentments. Now good is accepted ; and 
because there is a competition, inferior and transitory good things offer 
and obtrude themselves upon us, and divert us from him. Therefore 
it is election and choice, which is a preference of Christ above other 
things, or such an esteem of his incomparable worth as lessens all 
other things in our opinion of and affection to them. But if our 
affections continue in strength to worldly things, we have neither this 
assent nor acceptance ; we have not chosen them for our felicity and 
portion. So that the strength of faith is not to be measured by our 
overgrown confidence or persuasion of our interest in God's mercy, 
but by mortifying our affections to present things, so as to be ready to 
do and suffer anything for Christ's sake : 1 John v. 4, ' This is the 
victory we have over the world, even our faith.' In short, faith is an 
assent to the promises as true and good in themselves, and as offered 
to our choice, as far better than all the honours, profits and pleasures 
in the world.; and therefore we should part with all that is pleasant 
and profitable to obtain the benefit of them. 

[2.] It is inferred out of the love of the gospel; we are to love 
Christ with a transcendent and superlative love : ' For all men must 
honour the Son as they honour the Father,' John v. 23. Therefore, 
as we love God, so we must love Christ above all. We love God 
above all : Ps. Ixxiii. 25, ' Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and 
there is none upon earth I desire besides thee.' If we love him less 
than other things, or equal with other things, we do not love him at 
all ; as you degrade a prince if you give him no more honour than you 
give a constable. Love anything above or equal with God, and in 
time it will tempt you to desert him or neglect his service : Mat. vi. 
24, ' No man can serve two masters ; for either he will hate the one 
and love the other, or hold to the one and despise the other ; ye can 
not serve God and mammon.' Now, as you love God, you must love 
Christ above all, in whom the divine nature is made more amiable to 
us ; therefore our Lord saith, Mat. x. 37, ' He that loveth father or 
mother more than me, is not worthy of me.' Therefore certainly 


Christ is to be loved above all ; and other things relating to him, as 
his doctrine, benefits, laws, ordinances, these must be prized above 
any inferior good whatsoever, and all things counted dung and dross 
rather than despise these things. This love is of the more value, 
because it is the heart of the new creature, as self-love is of original 

[3.] This ma} 7 be inferred out of the hope of the gospel, which is 
everlasting life. If there be a certain and desirous expectation of such 
a blessedness, the will should be so far divorced from all transitory 
good things, and fixed on the supreme good, that we shall not be 
diverted either by the comfortable or troublesome things that we meet 
with here. Surely it is better to suffer a little misery for an eternal 
reward than to enjoy momentary pleasure and after that endure 
eternal torment. Eternal pleasures do far excel temporal, as holiness 
doth sin. Alas ! what do we lose if this be our gain ? Bom. viii. 18, 
4 For I reckon the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be 
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us ; ' 2 Cor. iv. 17, 
' For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far 
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory ; ' Mark x. 29, 30, ' Jesus 
answered, There is no man that has left house, or brethren, or father, 
or mother, &c., for my sake and the gospel's, but he shall receive a 
hundred-fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and mothers, &c., 
"with persecutions, and in the world to come eternal life.' Time will 
be when we shall neither have miseries to fear nor blessings to desire 
beyond what we enjoy. 

[4.] It may be inferred out of the obedience of the gospel. If we 
mean not to break with Christ, we must be of this disposition. Cer 
tainly Christ stands upon obedience if we would obtain his promises : 
John xiv. 21, 23, ' He that hath my commandments, and keepeth 
them, he it is that loveth me, &c. If any man love me, he will keep 
my words, and my Father will love him/ &c. ; John xv. 10, ' If ye keep 
my commandments, ye shall abide in my love,' &c. Now as long as 
we are addicted to the world, and its baits and snares, which gratify 
this earthly life, we can make no work of Christianity. The first lesson 
of Christ's school is self-denial : Mat. xvi. 24, ' Then said Jesus, If 
any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his 
cross and follow me.' Till we prefer Christ before the world and the 
ease of the flesh, we can never have solid comfort in ourselves. In 
one kind or other we shall be tried. We may cull out the easy, cheap, 
and safe part of religion, but that is a Christianity of our own, which 
brings God no glory, and will yield us no comfort. If we will submit 
to the Christianity established by Christ, there are in it many duties 
displeasing to the flesh, some that lay us open to the disgrace and 
reproach of the world. We must obey him when his service is most 
painful and cross to our humours ; therefore he bids us sit down and 
-count the charges : Luke xiv. 28, 29, ' For which of you intending 
to build a tower, sits not down first and counteth the cost, whether he 
have sufficient to finish it ? lest haply after he hath laid the founda 
tion, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him.' 
It is good to consider whether we can go on with this warfare or raise 
up this building, whether we are able to obey his strict laws, to renounce 

VOL. xx. B 


our accustomed delights and dearest interests, whether we shall en 
deavour to please God in all things, though never so much against our 
bent and humour ; whether we will entertain afflictions and persecu 
tions with all joy, if they come upon us for Christ's sake. If we flow 
in wealth, can we live as having nothing, and rejoice that God hath 
made us low ? If indeed we have nothing, can we be satisfied with 
the favour of Christ and our preferment by grace, use all things not as 
our own but God's, and be guided by Christ in our whole course, and 
be contented to be anything or nothing so we may promote his glory ? 

2. Because Christ hath deserved this esteem (1.) By what he is to 
us ; (2.) By what he hath done for us. 

[l.J By what he is to us, more excellent, more necessary, more bene 
ficial than all things else. 

(1.) He is more excellent ; the rarest contentments of the world are 
but base things to his grace, all as dung and dross to one drachm of 
grace or comfortable experience of the love of God. This world's good 
things are not only uncertain, but vain and empty as to any solid and 
real good, such as is hope toward God and peace of conscience : Job 
xxvii. 8, ' For what is the hope of the hypocrite when God taketh away 
his soul ? ' On the other side, Christ is incomparably more excellent : 
' If thou knewest the gift,' John iv. 10 ; 'If thou hast tasted that the 
Lord is gracious/ 1 Peter ii. 3. All the world could not keep you 
from him. 

(2.) Christ is more necessary, for the soul cometh to him under a 
deep want and broken-hearted sense of misery. If we want and lose 
the world, God can easily supply it to us, or give us more than this ; 
and he will save us at last without these things. To want clothing or 
food is not so bad as to want grace ; and to be exposed to temporal 
ruin is not so great a danger as to be obnoxious to eternal flames. 

(3.) More beneficial to a poor guilty sinner ; in him alone true peace 
and happiness is to be found : 1 Cor. i. 30, ' But of him are ye in 
Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, 
and sanctification, and redemption.' Therefore trample upon all things 
rather than offend God and lose a saviour, and come short of his 

[2.] Consider what he hath done for us. Christ requireth not so 
much at our hands as he himself hath voluntarily performed, and that 
for our sakes ; he pleased not himself that he might promote the glory 
of God and our salvation : ' He became poor, that we through his 
poverty might be made rich,' 2 Cor. viii. 9 ; * He was obedient to 
death, even the death of the cross,' Phil. ii. 7 ; ' Made sin for us, that 
we might be made the righteousness of God in him,' 2 Cor. v. 21 ; 
' Made a curse for us, that we might have the blessing/ Gal. iii. 13. 
Doth he require so much of us ? Surely those who would have benefit 
by Christ must imitate him : 1 Peter iv. 1, ' Forasmuch as Christ hath 
suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind.' 
It is grievous to the flesh to be crossed, but he hath suffered great 
sorrows. How can we manifest our thankfulness to him who by these 
bitter sufferings hath procured pardon of sins and eternal life for us ? 

Use. Is to press us to reflect upon ourselves. Have we such an 
esteem of Christ as to count all things but loss and dung, and to be 


ready to forsake all for his sake ? It is a temper essential to Chris 
tianity. A man's heart is not sincere to Christ unless he doth prefer 
him before all the world. Now this esteem will show itself by these 

1. In labouring to get Christ above all, and with the hazard of all ; 
this must be the prime care : Mat. vi. 33, ' First seek the kingdom of 
God and his righteousness ; ' Ps. xxvii. 4, ' One thing have I desired 
of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the 
Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord/ And 
it must be carried on whatever it cost us ; the bargain will abundantly 
recompense the charges we are at : Mat. xiii. 45, 46, ' The kingdom of 
heaven is like a merchant-man seeking goodly pearls ; and when he hath 
found one pearl of great price, he sold all he had and bought it ; 9 
Prov. iv. 7, ' Wisdom is the principal thing, therefore get wisdom > 
and with all thy gettings get understanding.' Every man is in the 
pursuit of happiness ; it lieth only in communion with God by Christ. 
This must be minded whatever is neglected. Now how few have this 
care to get Christ above all ! Their time and labour is laid out upon 
unsatisfying vanities ; if they may be rich, if they may live a life of 
pomp and ease, this taketh up their minds. But if indeed this be the 
business you look after, to be acquainted with God, to have an interest 
in Christ, and you are still attending upon this work as the great busi 
ness of your lives, you may take comfort you have got that disposition 
which is essential to Christianity. 

2. A care in keeping Christ above all ; superlative love shows itself 
in this, in a chariness and tenderness of your interest in Christ above 
all things which are dearest to you. He is your life, Gal. ii. 20, your 
strength, 1 John iv. 4, your blessedness, Col. i. 27. Now, then, if you 
keep your beloved as a bundle of myrrh, or, in plainer terms, if he 
constantly dwell in your hearts by faith, Eph. iii. 17, and you keep up 
an habitual dependence upon him, and a constant love to him as to 
your life, peace, and joy, and are loath to put your comforts to hazard 
for a little carnal satisfaction, surely then Christ is all in all to you. 
But when you are careless, and mind not how the spiritual life is 
obstructed, are not so chary of your respects to your Kedeemer, who is 
so necessary for you, it is time to look about you, and say, Have I the 
spirit of the gospel ? is Christ so dear and precious to me as he ought 
to be? 

3. Grief for losing Christ above all. Love is seen in delighting in 
his presence and mourning for his absence : Mat. ix. 15, ' When the 
bridegroom is taken away, then shall they mourn.' Many times by 
our sin and folly we lose the comforts of his presence, the quickening 
influences of his grace. Now if you take occasion by every sin to renew 
the sense of the want of Christ, and keep his room warm for him till he 
return again, by your longings and lamentings after him, this discovers 
this temper and frame of heart. Certainly it is a great part of a 
Christian's work to observe the accesses and recesses of the Spirit ; for 
the retiring of the Spirit is a great punishment of sin, as its continu 
ance is a benefit to be prized above all the world. David was deeply 
afflicted with the one : Ps. li. 10-12, ' Create in me a clean heart, 
God ; renew a right spirit within me : cast me not away from thy 


presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me,' &c. No judgment to 
be dreaded and lamented as the grieving of the Holy Spirit, Eph. iv. 30. 
But when men are stupid, and never mind whether the Spirit of Christ 
go or come, surely these have not the heart of Christians. Now this 
holdeth good in cases without us, when Christ's interest riseth or falls, 
to be affected with joy or grief : 1 Sam. iv. 20-22, ' The women that 
stood by her said, Fear not, for thou hast borne a- son. But she 
answered not, neither did she regard it. And she named the child 
Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel,' &c. Though a 
son was born, she regarded it not ; though she had lost a father and a 
husband, yet the ark of God is taken, and the glory departed from 
Israel. The ark was a type of Christ, and one of the highest mysteries 
of their religion. Are we thus affected with the dishonour done to 
Christ's name ? do you rejoice when his gospel flourisheth and pre- 
vaileth ? All this floweth from the same spirit. 

4. By delighting in him and the testimonies of his love above all 
things: Cant. i. 4, 'We will be glad and rejoice in thee ; we will 
remember thy loves more than wine.' The choicest contentments of 
the flesh are not so comfortable and satisfying as Christ's love, the joy 
which results from thence is unspeakable and glorious, 1 Peter i. 8, 
better felt than uttered. The strength of it is seen in that it can keep 
itself alive when all outward fuel and matter of comfort faileth. 

5. By loving other things for Christ's sake, everything that hath the 
stamp of Christ is honourable and precious. His ordinances, because 
Christ is to be found there : Ps. xxvi. 8, ' I love the place where thine 
honour dwelleth.' His ministers, as they have authority from him to 
treat with sinners about the greatest matters on earth: Phil. ii. 29, 

* Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such in 
reputation.' They bring the Lord's message to the soul : 1 John v. 1, 

* Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God ; and 
every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten.' 
So in order to Christ, valuing all things more or less as they bring us 
nearer to Christ. 

6. By seeking his honour, glory, and praise more than our own 
interests. They do not live to themselves ; having fixed their end, 
they take their way as they find it : Phil. i. 20, 21, ' Christ shall be 
magnified in my body, whether it be by life or death ; for to me to live 
is Christ, and to die is gain.' The scope, end, and business of their 
living is to honour Christ. They are contented to decrease, so Christ 
may increase. 

7. Things dishonourable are made honourable: Heb. xi. 26, ' Esteem 
ing the reproaches of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt;' 
Acts v. 41, ' Eejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame 
and reproach for his name.' The more the world despiseth him, the 
more they prize and worship him. The wise men worshipped him 
when in a stable. Joseph of Arimathea owned him at the lowest, 
when he had suffered an ignominious death. It is no great matter to 
own that which is of public esteem ; and now Christ is everywhere 
received, it is easy to make a general profession of his name. 



Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the 
knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. PHIL. iii. 8. 

THIS is the first end or reason why he contemned all things. There 
are three propositions in the words 

1. That the knowledge of Christ is so excellent, that a gracious heart 
counteth all things dung and loss rather than miss it. 

2. That Christ Jesus must be known as the Lord. 

3. That there should be some application when we consider Christ 
or address ourselves to him. 

I. For the first point, that the knowledge of Christ is so excellent 
that a gracious heart counteth all things dung and loss rather than miss 
it (1.) What knowledge he speaketh of ; (2.) Why it is so prized. 

First, What knowledge he speaketh of. Knowledge is twofold (1.) 
A bare speculative knowledge ; (2.) Affective and saving. 

1. For the first, this is a privilege, to know Christ. It is a mystery 
hidden from ages, and it is hidden from a great part of the world unto 
this day. Therefore the bare naked knowledge and contemplation o 
Christ is a great mystery, is a great privilege. Angels desire to pry 
into it : 1 Peter i. 12, ' Which things the angels desire to look into.' 
Have higher apprehensions of God by the revelation of this mystery to 
the church : Eph. iii. 10, ' To the intent that now unto the principalities 
and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the 
manifold wisdom of God.' But yet if we content ourselves with this 
general speculative knowledge of Christ, we may perish eternally. As 
the old world saw an ark built before them, with vast expense and charge, 
but whilst they entered not into it themselves, they were drowned in 
the flood. The light of the gospel shineth in the world, but if the 
darkness comprehendeth it not, but men love darkness more than light, 
their condemnation is the greater, John iii. 19. Certainly this specu 
lative knowledge is not here meant, but an applicative knowledge : ' My 
Lord,' an operative and effectual knowledge ; for he presently addeth, 
' That I may gain Christ,' an experimental knowledge ; for ver. 10, he 
explaineth himself, ' That I may know him, and the power of his resur 

2. A saving knowledge, such as is accompanied with faith, love, 
and obedience. There is memorative knowledge, such as children 
have, whereby the field of memory is planted with the seeds of know 
ledge, so as they are able to speak of God and Christ by rote ; and 
opinionative knowledge, by which men are orthodox in judgment, and 
can dispute for the truth ; but wisdom entereth not upon the heart, 
as it is Prov. ii. 10. They have a form of godliness, but not the power, 
a naked model of gospel truth : 2 Tim. iii. 5, ' Having a form of godli 
ness, but denying the power thereof.' But there is, besides this, a 
saving knowledge, such as is accompanied with faith, love, and 

[1.] With faith, which is a certain knowledge and persuasion of 
the truth of our redemption by Christ upon sufficient evidence, so as 


we may venture our souls and all our interests in his hands : John vi. 
69, ' And we believe, and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of 
the living God ; ' Acts ii. 36, ' Therefore let all the house of Israel 
know assuredly that God hath made the same Jesus whom ye have 
crucified both Lord and Christ ; ' John xvii. 8, ' And have known 
surely that I came out from thee.' So in many other places faith is 
expressed by knowledge ; as concerning the future recompenses : Rom. 
viii. 28, ' And we know that all things work together for good to them, 
that love God ; ' 1 John iii. 2, ' But we know that when he shall 
appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is ;' 2 Cor. v. 
1, ' For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dis 
solved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens.' Faith goeth not upon hearsay or the tradition 
of man ; it consists not in some light credulity or some loose and 
wavering conjectures, but is a certain knowledge of the truth concern 
ing Christ's person and offices, and the glorious things purchased 
thereby, called the 'Assurance of understanding,' Col. il 2. Faith 
addeth certainty and efficacy. 

[2.] It is a knowledge accompanied with esteem and love. We 
never know God in Christ as we ought to know him unless we love 
him as well as know him : 1 Cor. viii. 2, ' And if any man think he 
knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.' A 
gracious heart seeth more beauty and excellency in Christ than in all 
the world. This is the true knowledge of Christ, to know him, and 
prize him, and embrace him as our Lord and Saviour, and prefer him 
above all things ; to prize him more than all my goods, more than all 
my friends, yea, more than myself. This appreciative knowledge is 
that which is here spoken of, and is the fruit of certain persuasion : 
Heb. xi. 13, ' And being persuaded of them, they embraced them.' 

[3.] When we know him so as to obey him. In this sense we know 
no more than we practise : 1 John ii. 4, ' He that saith, I know him, 
and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in 
him.' He prattleth of God, but doth not know God. It is a false 
hood, cum intentions fallendi. A lie is a falsehood with an intention 
to deceive ; he goeth about to deceive himself and others : Jer. xxii. 

16, 'He judged the cause of the poor and needy ; was not this to know 
me, saith the Lord?' Our actions give us a better image of our 
opinions and thoughts than our words, as being more deliberate, and 
proceeding from the principles we have laid up in our hearts, and 
chosen to live by ; which is to be observed against those that seem to 
know Christ, but yet have but dead and cold opinions about him and 
the mystery of his redemption. 

Secondly, Why is this knowledge so prized ? The reasons are taken 
from the object and the subject, what is prized, and who prizeth. The 
knowledge of Christ is to be valued in itself, but the temper of a 
gracious spirit is such that they must needs prize it. 

1. The knowledge of Christ is valuable in itself ; it is better than 
all other knowledge. 

[1.] From the author, which is the Spirit of God: Mat. xvi. 16, 

17, ' And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art Christ, the Son 
of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed 


art thou, Simon Barjona ; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto 
thee, but my Fiither which is in heaven.' All that truly own Christ 
are taught of God : John vi. 45, ' They shall all be taught of God ; 
every man therefore that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh 
to me ; ' and again, ' The unction teacheth you all things/ 1 John ii. 
20. Now to have the enlightening and sanctifying Spirit is a great 
privilege and mark of favour which God puts upon us. It is a greater 
argument of God's friendship than to give you wealth and honour : 
Prov. iii. 31-33, ' Envy not the oppressor, and choose none of. his ways. 
The froward is abomination to the Lord, but his secret is with the 
righteous. The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked, but 
he blesseth the habitation of the just/ Many are kept low and bare 
under the frowns and power of insulting adversaries. You cannot 
therefore say that God hateth you and loveth them. If God hath 
given you the saving knowledge of himself and his Christ, this is 
certainly a greater token of his love, and you should prize this above 
all other things. He dignified you above those that want it, though 
they excel in power and pomp of living, and are able to oppress you 
by it. Again, it is an argument of his favour to you above the rabble 
of nominal Christians : John xv. 15, ' But I have called you friends ; 
for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto 
you.' We may have a form of knowledge, or a model of truth put 
into our heads by men, but to know Christ so as to believe in him, 
love him, and obey him, is the special favour which God reserve th for 
his peculiar people. 

[2.] The matter to be known, Christ the Saviour of the world and 
the repairer of the lapsed estate of mankind. We know him under 
that notion. There is in him a matchless excellency and sufficiency 
to do us good. This is enough to take up all our thoughts : 1 Cor. 
ii. 2, 'I have determined to know nothing amongst you, but Jesus 
Christ, and him crucified.' This is the most comfortable knowledge 
in the world if we consider (1.) Our deep necessity ; (2.) His all- 

(1.) Our deep and absolute necessity of a saviour to reconcile us to 
God, being ' Enemies to him in our minds by evil works,' Col. i. 21. 
To renew our natures, being carnal, and sinful, and unable to help 
ourselves : Job xiv. 4, ' Who can bring a clean thing out of an un 
clean ? not one.' The work would cease for ever if a saviour were not 
revealed to restore lapsed mankind, to vanquish and conquer our 
enemies, being so weak and impotent, and ' taken captive by Satan at 
his will and pleasure,' 2 Tim. ii. 26. To free us from hell, which we 
had deserved, and to bring us to happiness, which we had not deserved ; 
which only the Son of God could do, who died, the just for the unjust, 
' to deliver us from wrath to come,' 1 Thes. i. 10, and bring us to God. 
Surely to those that are sensible of their necessity what can be more 
sweet and precious ? Hungry consciences will prize the bread of life. 
To those who lie in tears and anguish of soul through the feelings of 
sin and the fears of the wrath of God, nothing can be sweeter than to 
hear of their acceptance in the Beloved, and reconciliation with God by 
Christ. What have we else to answer against all the terrors of the 
law and the accusations of conscience, or to comfort us against the 


remembrance of our approaching misery, than redemption by Christ ? 
yea, what to allay our present sorrows and trouble about a naughty 
heart, an opposite world, and a tempting devil, but the remembrance 
of the captain of our salvation, who hath undertaken to bring us to 
God, and make us perfect through suffering ? Heb. ii. 10, ' For it 
became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in 
bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation 
perfect through suffering/ 

(2.) His sufficiency to do us good. There is the blood of God to be a 
ransom for our souls : Acts xx. 28, ' Take heed unto yourselves, and 
to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, 
to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood/ 
And so to make our peace with God : Col. i. 20, ' Having made peace; 
through the blood of his cross, to reconcile all things to himself, whether 
they be things on earth, or things in heaven/ The Spirit of God to 
renew and heal our natures, ' Shed upon us abundantly through Jesus 
Christ our Lord,' Titus iii. 5, 6. ' The captain of our salvation,' to 
conquer our enemies : Heb. ii. 10, ' Christ in us ' the pledge of our hopes 
and joys, and the root of everlasting blessedness : Col. i. 27, ' Christ in 
you the hope of glory/ Surely if we have the eternal Son of God from 
whom to fetch our daily supplies and our daily delight, we must needs 
be well provided for, so that the heart of trouble is broken. This is a 
sufficient remedy against all our fears and sorrows. 

[3.] The effect of this knowledge. It is a renewing and trans 
forming knowledge. It impresseth the image of God upon our hearts : 
Col. iii. 10, 'And have put on the new man, which is renewed in 
knowledge after the image of him that created him ; ' 2 Cor. iii. 18, ' But 
we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, 
are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the 
Spirit of the Lord/ Others can talk of God and Christ, but you 
resemble him, and are changed into his likeness. When sight is per 
fect, your conformity will be greater : 1 John iii. 2, ' But we know that 
when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him 
as he is/ But now it leaveth some impress of God upon the soul, it 
maketh you more like him, and amiable in his sight. 

2. The subjects who thus esteem the knowledge of Christ, their 
minds and hearts are changed. 

[1.] Their minds. It is a special privilege promised in the new 
covenant : Jer. xxxi. 34, ' For they shall all know me, from the least 
of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord ; ' Jer. xxiv. 7, ' I will 
give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord/ Now by this 
new covenant knowledge they have a spirit of discerning. In discern 
ing there is comparing, differencing, esteeming, choosing. Their minds 
are awakened ; they do compare what they lose and what they gain ; 
on the one side, worldly things are short and uncertain, and which 
cannot satisfy the heart of man, or if they could satisfy his desires, they 
cannot give rest to the conscience. That is the trial, rest for souls : 
Jer. vi. 16, ' Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways and see, and 
ask for the old paths, where is the good way ? and walk therein, and 
ye shall find rest for your souls/ That is not to be found in the world: 
Isa. Iv. 2, ' Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, 


and your labour for that which satisfieth not ? ' Let conscience be once 
awakened with the sense of sin and fear of wrath, it can find nothing 
in the world to pacify it ; but in Christ it may : Mat. xi. 28, 29, ' Come 
unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you 
rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me ; for I am meek and 
lowly in heart : and you shall find rest for your souls.' They prefer 
good or discern bad things : Rom. viii. 18, ' For I reckon that the 
sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the 
glory that shall be revealed in us.' Good things : 2 Cor. iv. 17, ' For 
our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far 
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' They esteem and choose r 
Heb. xi. 25, 26, ' Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of 
God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the- 
reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.' 

[2.] Their hearts are turned as well as their minds convinced. 
These things do not suit with their scope and end, which is to please 
and enjoy God : 2 Cor. v. 9, 10, ' Wherefore we labour, that, whether 
present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all 
appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive 
the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether 
it be good or bad.' 

Use 1. Of reproof 

1. To those who study to know all things else but Jesus Christ. 
There is no sap or savour to them in this knowledge. They would 
know the course of nature by philosophy, the affairs of the world by 
history. We condemn not this knowledge simply, but if it be with the 
neglect of the knowledge of Christ, alas ! it is folly rather than wisdom. 
To know the creature without the creator, the history of providence 
but not the way of redemption, the courses of the heavens and not to- 
know how to live and dwell in heaven, is not to seek a salve for the 
great malady we contracted by the fall ; for ignorance in eternal things- 
is the first part of the harm we caught by the fall. This is to heal a 
cut finger and neglect a deadly wound. No secular wisdom can 
deliver us from the wrath of God, nor make us everlastingly happy. 
The angels, who are the spectators, desire to pry into these things ; 
but we, that are the parties interested, should be much more concerned 
to know our misery and our remedy, our disease and our cure. If 
God hath laid out the riches of his grace and wisdom to do us good, 
surely it deserveth our best thoughts. 

2. To reprove those that content themselves with a form of knowledge : 
Rom. ii. 20, ' Thou hast the form of knowledge, and of the truth in 
the law.' No ; it must be a practical and experimental knowledge : 
' That we may know him, and the power of his resurrection.' Most of 
Christianity is not only to be believed, but felt. It is set forth not only 
by sight, but taste : 1 Peter ii. 3, ' If so be ye have tasted that the 
Lord is gracious;' Phil. i. 9, 'And this I pray, that your love may- 
abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment,' alcr&ij<rei t . 
in all sense. Otherwise you know Christ, and are never the better for 
him ; like the nobleman at Samaria, that saw the plenty, but could not 
taste of it. They hear of a mighty Christ, but feel nothing. ^ Experi 
ence is the best seal and confirmation : John xvii. 17, ' Sanctify them. 


by the truth ; thy word is truth ; ' and chap. i. 32, ' John bare record, 
saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it 
abode upon him.' The testimony of Christ confirmed in us : 1 John 
v. 10, ' He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.' 
This is knowing ' the grace of God in truth,' as it is Col. i. 6, when 
we have tasted of the sweetness of the promise, pardon of sin, peace 
with God, and hopes of glory. Optima demonslratio est a sensibus, the 
best proof is from the senses. Others know it by hearsay, conceits, and 
imagination. Again, practical knowledge is for use and practice, not 
for idle speculation. The apostle speaketh of some that are ' barren 
and unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ,' 2 Peter i. 8. Their Christi 
anity serveth them to talk well, and stuffeth their minds with high 
notions, but they are not thereby made ready to obedience, and prone 
and forward to please God : 1 Chron. xxviii. 9, ' And thou Solomon, 
my son, know thou the God of thy fathers, and serve him with a perfect 
heart and a willing mind, all the days of thy life.' 

Usk 2. Let this be our main study, to know Christ, and to know 
him as we ought to know him, by the light of the Spirit, in a way of 
faith, love, and obedience. How hard do many carnal persons study 
to know the mysteries of nature ! and should not we use the means of 
praying, reading, hearing, that we may know Christ, begging for the 
Spirit of wisdom and revelation ? Here consider 

1. The necessity. You must know Christ before you can believe in 
him : 2 Tim. i. 12, ' I know whom I have believed.' You must know 
him before you can love him : John iv. 10, ' If thou knewest the gift 
of God.' We must know him before we can obey him : Prov. xix. 2, 
' Also that the soul be without knowledge is not good ; ' John xiv. 21, 
* He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that 
loveth me.' 

2. It is pleasant : Ps. xix. 8, 'The statutes of the Lord are right, 
rejoicing the heart ; the commandments of the Lord are pure, enlighten 
ing the eyes.' Light is pleasant to the eye, so it is to the eye of the 
mind : Prov. xxiv. 13, 14, ' My son, eat thou honey, because it is sweet, 
and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste ; so shall the knowledge 
of wisdom be unto thy soul when thou hast found it.' Every faculty 
hath its oblectation ; as the will, in adhering to God ; conscience, in 
feeling God's love ; so the understanding in the view of truth. Oh, 
what is the knowledge of Christ, so suitable to our necessities, so ready 
to relieve them, to have a taste that the Lord is gracious ! 

3. It is profitable. Its use commendeth it. Curiosities and need 
less speculations we can well spare ; that is a knowledge occasioneth 
more pain than pleasure. To have the mind stuffed with needless 
notions is but a burden, not a perfection ; but this maketh us wise to 
salvation, and therefore doth most concern us. For what is more 
comfortable than salvation ? John xvii. 3, ' This is life eternal, that 
they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou 
hast sent.' We begin our everlasting happiness, which consists in the 
vision of God, when we begin to know him and his Christ. Now if 
we would have this knowledge, and esteem this knowledge, think often, 
and by serious awakening thoughts, of the necessity thou hast of 
Christ : Mat. xi. 28, ' Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy 


laden, and I will give you rest.' His all-sufficiency to do tliee good by 
virtue of his double office : Heb. iii. 1, ' Consider the apostle and high 
priest of our profession, the Lord Jesus Christ.' 

Use 3. Bless God that he hath given thee this knowledge, this 
excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ, and do not murmur though he 
hath denied you other things. 

1. Kemember how it excelleth all other gifts. All your wants and 
losses are nothing to that free grace which he hath showed you and 
bestowed upon you : ' Eyes to see your teachers,' Isa. xxx. 20. As it 
is sinful security to be sensible of bodily wants and senseless of 
spiritual, so it is sinful unthankfulness to take notice of bodily wants, 
and not to acknowledge this great benefit. The Lord hath dealt 
bountifully with thee if he hath given thee the knowledge of his 
Christ, whatever he denieth thee. 

2. Kemember how a true value and esteem of Christ lesseneth'all 
other things. As the light of the sun obscureth the stars, so all 
worldly things grow unsavoury and lose their relish where this true 
light prevaileth. The taste of carnal pleasures is marred, the love of 
the world decreaseth, and the pleasures of sin become bitter to the 
soul, which is the true sign of our having received the saving know 
ledge of Christ. He is so great that he lesseneth all other things to 
us. The soul seeth so much worth and suitableness in him to all our 
necessities, and doth so love and esteem him, that it accounteth all 
things most vile and base in comparison of him, and is willing for his 
sake to want or lose the rarest contents the world can give, and suffer 
the greatest evils the devil or man can inflict upon us. 

II. Second point. That Jesus Christ must be known as the Lord. 
So must we preach him, and so must you receive him : 2 Cor. iv. 5, 
' We preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ the Lord ; ' Col. ii. 8, ' If 
you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.' Let us 

1. What this lordship of Christ is ; it is that novumjus dominii, et 
novumjus imperil, that new right of propriety and government over 
all men which Christ now hath, as being the sovereign of the world. 

Concerning it observe three things 

[1.] It is superadded to the former sovereignty and dominion which 
the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost had as creator. This new dominion 
and sovereignty is not destructive of the former, but accumulative ; 
it did not abolish the power acquired by the creation, for that con- 
tinueth still, and will continue whilst man receiveth his being from 
God by creation, and the continuance of his being by preservation ; 
this therefore is superadded to the former by the new title of redeemer ; 
for he is lord, not as creator, but as redeemer : Kev. v. 12, ' Worthy 
is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, 
and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.' 

[2.] This office of lord is derivative, and cannot be supreme, but 
subordinate. Though this office be the greatest and highest that ever 
was, above all angels and creatures, next unto God, therefore Christ's 
place upon his investiture and solemn inauguration was at the right 
hand of the eternal throne of God, yet it is derived from God, and 
referred to him. Derived from God ; for he is, as mediator, made 


Lord, and this power was given to him: Mat. xxviii. 18, 'All power- 
is given to me in heaven and earth ; ' John xvii. 2, ' Thou hast given 
him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many 
as thou hast given him.' God hath made God-man the supreme prince 
and head of the church, that he might dispense salvation upon his own 
terms, and his doctrine and faith be embraced by all nations in the 
world. Here is a new power, new government, and new laws, which 
shall be the rule of man's duty and God's judgment. It is referred 
and subordinated to God : Phil. ii. 11, 'And that every tongue should 
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' 
The supreme right of governing is still in God, and subjection to him 
is not vacated, but established and reserved. 

[3.] This lordship and dominion which the Kedeemer is possessed 
of is comfortable and beneficial to us ; and the end of it is to effect 
man's cure and recovery. God had a full right to govern us, which 
could not be vacated by our sin ; and it was so great that it cannot be 
greater ; yet it was not comfortable to us. It was but such a right as 
a prince hath over rebels to punish them. We renounced God's ser 
vice, and that interest which we had in his gracious protection as our 
Lord ; therefore was this new interest set afoot to save and recover 
fallen man, that God might have such an interest in us as might 
be comfortable to us. So lordship and government is spoken of in- 
scripture as medicinal and restorative, to reduce man to the obedience 
of God that made him : Acts x. 36, ' Preaching peace by Jesus Christ, 
who is Lord of all.' It is such a lordship as conduceth to make peace 
between God and man, that we may enjoy his favour and live in his 
obedience : Acts v. 31, ' He hath exalted him to be a prince and 
saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins.' This new lord 
hath made a new law of grace, which is lex remedians, a remedying 
law, which is propounded as a remedy for the recovering and restoring 
of the lapsed world of mankind to the grace and favour of God, grant 
ing thereby free pardon, and a right to blessedness to all that sincerely 
repent and believe in him ; but sentencing them anew to death who- 
will not embrace him, John iii. 16-18 ; all which considerations da 
mightily enforce obedience. It is a beneficial law ; it is a remedying 
law. They are peremptorily concluded under everlasting death who> 
will not submit to it ; namely, as the old sentence is bound more upon 
us, and ratified by a new curse. 

2. How this right of lordship and empire accrueth to him ? I 
answer Partly by his purchase. This was that Christ aimed at in 
his death : Bom. xiv. 9, ' For to this end Christ both died, and rose 
again, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.' 
It was the fruit and consequent of the humiliation of the Son of God. 
And partly by the grant of God : Acts ii. 36, ' God hath made this 
Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.' ' Made,' that 
is, appointed or ordained. 

3. How we come to be concerned in this lordship, or are related to 
him ? I answer By our voluntary consent, acknowledging him to be 
Lord, and submitting ourselves to him as the Son of God and our 
sovereign : ' He is thy Lord ; worship thou him,' Ps. xlv. 11. There 
is a passive subjection and voluntary submission. 


[1.] A passive subjection ; so all creatures at all times are under 
the power of the Son of God and our redeemer ; and amongst the rest, 
the devils themselves, though revolters and rebels, are not exempted 
from this dominion ; and he hath a ministry and service for them to 
do as well as for the good angels. So ' at the name of Jesus every 
knee shall bow, whether of things in heaven, or things on earth, or 
things under the earth,' Phil. ii. 10. 

[2.] We are under his dominion by voluntary submission. Those 
only are subjects, and admitted into this kingdom, who willingly give 
up themselves to God the Kedeemer, that they may be saved upon his 
terms, and in the way he hath appointed : 2 Cor. viii. 5, ' They first 
gave their ownselves to the Lord.' So that the devils and wicked 
men are his against their wills ; but all Christ's people are his by their 
own consent, to be guided and ordered by him. Well, then, all that 
have not subjected themselves to God as redeemer are strangers at 
least, if not enemies. 

4. The next thing I shall speak of is both the privileges and 
immunities on the one hand ; secondly, the duties on the other, of 
those who are subjects to this Lord. 

[1.] Their privileges and immunities are great. Their immunities 
are freedom from the curse and rigour of the law : Gal. v. 18, ' Ye are 
not under the law.' From the guilt of sin : Col. i. 13, 14, ' Who hath 
delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the 
kingdom of his dear Son ; in whom we have redemption through his 
blood, the forgiveness of sin.' We do not actually partake of the 
privileges of Christ's kingdom till we are first his subjects. Christ 
and his people are an opposite state to the devil and his instruments. 
While we are under the opposite power, we belong not to Christ ; the 
privileges of his kingdom belong not to us. But as soon as translated, 
and put into another state, then presently we partake of the privilege 
of remission of sins ; so from the flames of hell : 1 Thes. i. 10, ' Even 
Jesus, who hath delivered us from wrath to come.' Privileges positive ; 
grace and glory. We enter as subjects into this kingdom, that we 
may be reconciled to God, and renewed and fitted to serve and enjoy 
him. This Christ doth by degrees. He fits us to serve him now by 
* putting his laws into our hearts and minds,' Heb. viii. 10, or giving 
us repentance ; and doth prepare us for the full enjoyment of God 
more and more. Christ doth not immediately effect our deliverance, 
but bringeth us into the kingdom of grace first, that he may perfect 
our cure there, that after we have for a while resisted the devil, and 
approved our fidelity to him, we may have an inheritance among the 
sanctified, Acts xxvi. 18 ; and so he may deliver us into the kingdom 
of glory, when the devil and his instruments shall be cast into hell. 

[2.] The duties. The notion of the Lord doth call for duty and 
obedience, and it is our part to obey : Heb. v. 9, ' He became the author 
of salvation to them that obey him.' Our obedience is the best testi 
mony of our subjection to him. This is to be pressed, because the 
carnal world is usually guilty of a double injury to Christ ; one is, that 
they seem to like him as a saviour, but refuse him as a lord, whereas 
Christ is not only a saviour to bless, but a lord to rule and command. 
These two things must not be divided. But some catch at comforts but 


neglect duty. Certainly a libertine, yokeless spirit is very natural to 
us : Ps. xii. 4, ' Who is lord over us ? ' The world sticketh at Christ's 
authority : Luke xix. 14, ' We will not have this man to rule over us.' 
His laws, and restraints of repentance, faith, and- obedience are their 
great burden : Ps. ii. 3, ' Let us break their bands asunder, and cast 
away their cords from us.' If he will come as a saviour, he shall be 
welcome ; but we cannot endure he should be chief. The greatest part 
of the world is libertine, if not in opinion, yet in practice. They would 
not be under command. He might have customers more than enough 
for his benefits, but they look upon self-denial, mortification, and strict 
walking as harsh and severe. If we love privileges we must not decline 
duties : Hosea x. 11, 'Ephraim is a heifer not taught, that loveth to 
tread out the corn,' but will not break the clods. The mouth of the 
ox was not to be muzzled that trod out the corn. In short, Christ is 
the ' head of the church,' as well as ' the saviour of the body,' Eph. 
v. 23. You must give him obedience as well as apply his benefits. 
Where he is a saviour, he will be prince and lord too. Many carry 
it so as if they would have Christ to redeem them, but Satan to rule 
and govern them. Christ must heal their consciences, but the world 
hath their affections. No ; if thou hast no care to obey him as a lord, 
thy esteem of him is but imaginary, thy knowledge is but partial, thy 
application of him unsound. The other injury is, that if he will accept 
of an empty title, and some superficial compliments and observances, 
he shall have enough of that, and be called Lord oft enough ; but there 
must be a thorough subjection, to do his strict and spiritual duties : 
Luke vi. 46, ' Why call ye me Lord, and do not the things which I 
say ? ' It is a mockage to call him Lord and not do the things which 
he hath commanded. This is disclaimed : Mat. vii. 21, ' Not every one 
that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into heaven, but he that 
doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.' By ' the will of my 
Father ' is meant the whole duty we owe to God ; for this is not made 
void by Christ, but established upon better terms. 

Use. To persuade us to own Christ as a lord. All is in his hands ; 
he hath potestatem vitce et necis, power of life and death : James iv. 
12, ' There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.' He 
hath absolute power to dispose and state the terms of salvation and 
damnation : John xvii. 2, ' Thou hast given him power over all flesh, 
to give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.' 

1. Let us enter into the state of subjects, servants, and vassals to him, 
by renouncing the devil, the world, and the flesh, who were once our 
old lords, but were indeed our enemies. As the people said, Isa. xxvi. 
13, ' Other lords besides thee have had dominion over us/ These must 
be dispossessed before Christ can take the throne. With godly sorrow 
and detestation let us throw off these things, resolving no more to hearken 
to Satan's temptations ; to grow more dead to the vanities and plea 
sures of the world, and to tame and subdue our own flesh. Engage 
yourselves to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as your God, as 
your Lord and happiness, returning by Christ through the Spirit to the 
love and obedience of your creator, and depending upon him for the 
effects of his love to you. You see his readiness to help poor wretches 
liable to eternal wrath, and to make them eternally blessed with this 


glory. We enter ourselves subjects to this sovereign Lord, that we 
may enjoy the rights and privileges of his kingdom. 

2. Be not subjects only by mime and profession, as many are, and 
by their ignorance, unbelief, and disobedience are little better than 
heathens and aliens. We must not be partial subjects, to obey in some 
measure. No ; you must ' walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,' 
Col. i. 10. ' Of the Lord,' that is, the Lord Christ. We must love 
him, and serve him, and study to please him in all things, not in a few 
only, which are not cross to our interests and wills, but we must give- 
him an entire universal obedience to all his laws. 

That I may win Christ. PHIL. iii. 8. 

THIRD point. That there should be some application when we consider 
Christ and address ourselves to know him. (1.) What is this applica 
tion ; (2.) Why. 

I. What is this application. 

I shall give you (1.) Some distinctions ; (2.) Some observations. 

1. Distinctions. There is a twofold application ; one that more im 
mediately respects comfort, the other duty. The application of comfort 
is when I respect Christ under such a term as implies some privilege 
to me ; that he is my saviour, stood in my room before God, bearing 
my sins, and suffered the wrath of God for me : Gal. ii. 20, ' Who loved 
me, and gave himself for me.' The application that more immediately 
respects duty is, when I apprehend Christ under such a term as infer- 
reth my obligation to duty and obedience ; as here he speaketh of the 
knowledge of Christ not only as Ihe Lord, but my Lord : John xx. 28, 
' My Lord and my God/ Now this application is always necessary, 
and yet questionable. My laying claim to privileges may be dis 
allowed, but my obligation to duty is clear and certain. 

2. Another distinction. There is the application of faith and the 
application of assurance. 

[1.] The application of faith is a particular application of Christ and 
the promise to ourselves, so as to excite us to look after the benefits 
and ends for which Christ is appointed. This certainly is necessary 
for all. That which God revealeth I should know for my good : Job 
v. 27, ' Hear it, and know it for thy good ; ' Rom. viii. 31, ' What shall 
we then say to these things ? ' In this business it is the more necessary, 
because we are concerned both in the merit of the Redeemer and the 
offer of grace in the promise : Acts xiii. 26, ' To you is the word of 
this salvation sent.' It is a message from God ; sent to excite me to 
accept of the remedy offered. It is my duty to make general grace 
particular ; as to obey commands moral, so also evangelical. And the 
true nature of faith is an accepting of Christ, to be to me what God 
appointed him to be, and to do for me what God hath appointed him 


to do for poor sinners; suppose, to 'be prince and saviour, to give 
repentance and remission of sins," Acts v. 31 ; for certainly I for 
my particular am to accept of the offered remedy ; and since the grace 
of God hath not excepted me, I am not to except myself. 

[2.] The application of assurance is, when I actually determine that 
my own sins are pardoned, that I am adopted into God's family, or 
that I am appointed to eternal glory by Jesus Christ. This cannot be 
made without some sense of our sincerity, because the promises of God 
^require a qualification, and performance of duty in the person to whom 
the promises are made. Therefore we cannot be certain of our own 
interest till we have performed the duty and have the qualification. 
'We must certainly know that we have performed the duty and are duly 
qualified. On this application the apostle speaketh, 1 John iii. 19, 
' Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts 
before him.' 

[3.] The application, which concerneth our own interest in privi 
leges by Christ, may be either implicit or explicit, dark and re 
served, or clear and open. 

(1.) Implicit, dark and reserved, when we have not so full a persua 
sion of our good estate, but comfortable encouragements to wait upon 
God in the way of our duty. This is expressed, 1 Tim. i. 15, ' This is a 
faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came 
into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.' Believers make 
a shift sometimes to creep into the backdoor of the promise. The 
general proposal of grace on God's part, and serious diligence on ours 
in seeking after it, giveth some hope, though as yet our sincerity be not 
fully witnessed to us, and we have not that sure and firm claim which 
we may have afterwards. 

(2.) More explicit, clear and open. This is expressed in those 
forms : Eph. i. 6, ' To the praise of his glorious grace, wherein he hath 
made us accepted in the Beloved ; ' 2 Cor. v. 1, ' We know that if our 
earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of 
God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.' A Chris 
tian knoweth not only where he is, but where he shall be : 2 Tim. v, 
8, ' Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day ; and 
not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing.' 

Secondly, I shall give you some observations. 

1. That the application of faith may be without the application of 
assurance; sometimes they go both together. The application of faith 
we have, and must have, because the promise of pardon to the peni 
tent believer is universal, that it includeth you as well as others. God 
offereth pardon and life to you, and you must consent to accept it upon 
his terms ; and that Christ may be yours, and you his, to the ends pro 
pounded in the gospel, you must choose him, and depend upon him as 
the only mediator, resolving to venture your souls and all your hopes 
upon him. You are not Christians without it. But it may be all this 
while you do not know that he doth or will own you, because the sin 
cerity of faith and love is doubtful to you. Sometimes they go together, 
as when your interest in him and his interest in you is clear : Cant. ii. 
16, ' My beloved is mine, and I am his.' Kesignation and full appro 
priation here is clear. 


2. The one is necessary, the other is comfortable. 

[1.] The one is necessary. A sound convert, who esteemeth highly 
of this knowledge of Christ, hath no rest in his soul till he doth apply 
Christ ; which application is expressed diversely in scripture ; some 
times by receiving Christ : John i. 12, ' To as many as received him, 
he gave power to become the sons of God, to as many as believed on 
his name.' We receive what God offereth ; he offereth him to be 
prince and saviour, and we receive him to be a lord to us, a saviour 
to us, to guide us, and bring us in particular to God in the way he 
hath appointed. So it is expressed also by apprehending Christ : Phil, 
iii. 12, ' That I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended 
of Christ Jesus.' The words of the spouse do explain this : Cant. iii. 
4, ' I held him, and would not let him go until I had brought him 
into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived 
me.' When we are resolved not to give over the pursuit till we find 
Christ, and get him into our hearts, that he may dwell there by faith ; 
choose him, cleave constantly to him. Again, this application is 
expressed by ' putting on the Lord Jesus,' Horn. xiii. 14 ; Gal. iii. 
27, ' For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put 
on Christ.' By faith we make application of Christ to ourselves ; and 
Christ so applied is as close and near to us as our garments. So John 
vi. 56, it is expressed by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, ' He 
that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me, and I in 
him.' He sticketh not so close to us as our garments only, but as a 
part of our substance. The seeing of meat, though never so wholesome, 
doth not nourish, but the eating of it ; so general grace doth not profit 
till it be applied. He that resigneth up himself to be ruled by Christ 
is made a member of his mystical body, and so there is a mutual in 
habitation ; the same life which enlivened Christ enliveneth us. 

[2.] It is comfortable to have a particular interest confirmed to us : 
Job xix. 25, ' I know that my Eedeemer liveth.' A sight of our par 
ticular interest is attainable, and should be looked after : Gal. ii. 20, 
' He loved me, and gave himself for me.' There is a double ground 
f rejoicing the certainty of God's promise, and the evidence of our 
own sincerity. 

3. That it is a support to us to have the darker way of applying 
Christ and his benefits, when we have not the full certainty that they 
belong to us. This is an encouragement to an humble soul that is 
willing to obey and wait upon God. They are sensible they have as 
much need of Christ as others, for they seek after him as lost and 
undone without him. They have an equal proposal of his grace : 
' The righteousness of God is unto all and upon all that believe, and 
that without difference,' Horn. iii. 22. They have an equal obligation 
to seek after it, for it is the ' common salvation ; ' 1 John iii. 23, ' And 
this is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his 
Son Jesus Christ ; ' John vi. 29, ' This is the work of God, that ye 
believe on him whom he hath sent.' They are anxious, serious, dili 
gent, and have been kept alive and carried on against the oppositions 
of the flesh and the world, in the pursuit of this salvation thus long. 
If they had been asleep, and the good seed had been choked by 
sensuality, it had been more questionable ; still the general grace 

VOL. xx. c 


upholdeth you in waiting upon God ; you dare not give over following 
hard after God, though you have not met with full satisfaction. You 
are of ' the generation of them that seek him/ Ps. xxiv. 6. Now it is 
better to be a seeker than a wanderer : Heb. vi. 10-12, ' For God is not 
unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love which ye have 
showed towards his name, in that you have ministered, and do minister, 
unto the saints : and we desire that every one of you do show the 
same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end ; that ye be 
not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience 
inherit the promises.' 

II. I come to show why there should be such an application of 

1. Because things that nearly concern us do most affect us. The 
love of God to sinners in general doth not so affect me as when I 
know that ' he loved me, and gave himself for me, ' Gal. ii. 20. That 
is the quickening motive to stir us up to the spiritual life ; especially 
when this 'love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost 
given unto us,' Kom. v. 5 ; Eph. i. 13, ' After ye believed the word of 
truth, the gospel of your salvation.' It is not sufficient to know the 
gospel to be a doctrine of salvation to others, but we must find it to be 
a doctrine of salvation to ourselves in particular, and apply the promises 
to our own hearts, that they may quicken and enliven us to obedience. 
That doth most stir up joy and thankfulness and praise ; for still we 
are affected with things as we are concerned in them ourselves. 

2. Without some application there can be no interest or benefit to 
ns ; for general grace must some way be made particular, or else it 
cannot profit us ; else why are not all justified, all adopted, all saved ? 
There is the same merciful God, and the same sufficient Saviour, the 
same gracious covenant. Some apply this grace, others do not. Blood 
shed will not avail, unless it be blood sprinkled : Heb. xii. 24, ' And to 
the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than the blood of 
Abel.' The making atonement is not effectual to salvation unless the 
atonement be received, owned and applied : Kom. v. 11, ' We joy in 
God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received 
the atonement.' Christ doth not save at a distance, but as received 
into our hearts ; as a plaster doth not heal at a distance till it be ap 
plied to the sore. It is our souls that were wounded, and our souls 
must have the cure. The light that illuminateth must shine into the 
understanding; the life that quickeneth must be in the substance 
which is quickened by it. If the bare discovery of grace, without the 
applying of grace, were enough, the gospel would save all alike, the 
haters and despisers of it as well as those that submit to it. Therefore 
we ourselves must be informed, convinced, and converted by it. 

3. The scripture insisteth much upon a personal entering into cove 
nant with God ; that every one of us should choose God for our sove 
reign Lord and portion, and Christ Jesus for our Redeemer and Saviour, 
and the Holy Ghost for our guide, sanctifier, and comforter. Every 
one must personally engage for himself. As, for instance, it is not 
enough that Christ engage for us as the common surety of all the elect : 
Heb. vii. 22, ' By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testa 
ment.' Something he did for us and in our name ; but every one must 
take a bond upon himself before he can have the benefit of it. You 


must ' yield up yourselves to the Lord,' 2 Chron. xxx. 8. It is not 
enough that the church engage for us as a visible political body, or a 
community and society of men that are in visible covenant with God 
and Christ : Ezek. xvi. 8, ' Thou enteredst into covenant with me, 
and becamest mine.' They profess in common Christ to be their Lord, 
and so are a people who are subjects of his kingdom, and have his 
protection and blessing : but every man must covenant for himself : 
Ezek. xx. 37, ' I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring 
you into the bond of the covenant.' It is an allusion to the sheep 
passing out of the fold when they were tithed for God : Lev. xxvii. 
32, ' Whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy to the 
Lord/ God will not covenant with us in the lump and body, but every 
one must particularly be minded of his duty. It is not enough that 
our parents did engage for us in baptism : Deut. xxix. 9-12, 'Keep there 
fore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in 
all that ye do. Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God ; 
your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers with all the 
men of Israel : your little ones, your wives, and the stranger that is 
in the camp, from the hewer of thy wood, unto the drawer of thy water : 
that thou shouldst enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and 
into his oath which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day.' 
They did in the name of their little ones avouch God to be their God, 
as we devote, dedicate, and engage our children to God in baptism. 
No man savingly transacts this work for another. We must ratify the 
covenant in our own persons, and make our own ' professed subjection 
to the gospel of Christ,' 2 Cor. ix. 13. This is a work cannot be done 
by proxy and assignees. Our parents' dedication will not profit us 
without it. Once more, this must not only be done in words, or some 
visible external rites that may signify so much ; as, for instance, when 
we publicly make profession in the church of Christ's being our Lord ; 
it is not enough, but a man must engage his heart to God : Jer. xxx. 
21, 'Who is this that engage th his heart to approach unto me, saith 
the Lord ? ' Yea, this is a business that must be done between God 
and our own souls, where no outward witnesses are conscious to it. 
God speaketh to the soul in this transaction : Ps. xxxv. 3, ' Say 
unto my soul, I am thy salvation.' And the soul speaketh to God : 
Lam. iii. 24, ' The Lord is my portion, saith my soul ; therefore 
I will hope in him.' This covenant is carried on in soul-language : 
Ps. xvi. 2, ' my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord, Thou art my 
Lord ! ' Upon this personal inward covenanting all the privileges of the 
covenant do depend. 

4. Because our interest in him is the ground of our comfort and 
confidence. It is not comfortable to us, or not so comfortable, that 
there is a God, and there is a Christ. Devils believe so far ; but the 
thoughts of God and Christ are a part of their torment : James ii. 19, 
4 Thou believest that there is one God ; thou doest well : the devils 
believe, and tremble;' Mat. viii. 29, 'And they cried out, saying, What 
have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God ? Art thou come to 
torment us before the time ? ' The remembrance of God and Christ 
will be troublesome to us if he be not our God and our Lord. You 
shall see the saints express their particular interest to be the great 
cause of their comfort: I Sara. xxx. 6, 'David encouraged himself in 


the Lord his God ; ' Hab. iii. 18, ' Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will 
joy in the God of ray salvation ; ' Luke i. 47, ' My spirit hath rejoiced 
in God my Saviour.' To see a good thing, and you as much need of 
it as others ; to see a Christ ready to save sinners, and we have no 
comfort and benefit by him, is a matter of grief rather than of rejoicing. 
Use. To press us to this application. A title to his benefits needs 
good evidence. But we have no reason to scruple our obligation to 
duty and obedience. If God hath made him Lord and Christ, let him 
be your Lord and Christ. 

1. Kesolve to give up yourselves to him, to serve him and obey him, 
though you know not whether he will give himself to you, to pardon 
you, and bless you everlastingly. A believer cannot always say, God 
is mine, or Christ is mine ; yet a believer is always resolved to be his : 
' I am thine, save me/ Ps. cxix. 94. 

2. In applying Christ to yourselves, seek necessary grace rather than 
comfort. Go to him to renew and change your natures, rather than 
to give you peace ; not to have the grief by reason of sin assuaged only 
or chiefly, but to have the distemper removed. It is a mountebank's 
care to stop the pain and let alone the cause ; and such a cure do they 
seek who are more earnest for ease and comfort than for grace. A good 
Christian is troubled with the power of sin as well as the guilt of it, and 
mindeth the rectitude of all his faculties as well as ease and peace of 
conscience, that he may be enabled to walk with God thereafter in the 
ways of obedience, as well as enjoy the pardon of his sins. Christ 
purchased this double benefit for us : Isa. liii. 5, ' The chastisement of 
our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.' Peace 
and healing. He would be an unwise man who, having broken his leg, 
should only mind to be eased of his pain, but not take care to have it 
set right again ; so foolish is that Christian who is earnest for comfort, but 
taketh no care how to be directed and enabled to please God. Sin in some 
sense is worse than damnation. The taking away of guilt frees us a 
malo naturali, from a natural evil ; but the other, a malo morali, from 
a moral evil. Christ delights to be obeyed in his work ; for it suiteth 
with his design, which is to restore us to God, and fit us for his service : 
Kev. v. 9, ' Thou hast redeemed us to God/ 

3. When God presseth upon you.;more than ordinarily, do not receive 
this grace in vain, and refuse your own mercies. When he draweth, you 
should run, Cant. i. 4 ; when he knocketh, you should open, Kev. iii. 20. 
When the wind bloweth, let loose the sails, John iii. 9 ; when the 
waters are stirred, put in for cure, John v. 4. At such times God 
doth more particularly apply his grace to you ; therefore you should 
often apply and entertain the motions before they cool and slacken. 

I come now to discourse concerning the end, ' That I may gain 
Christ/ The apostle would not only know Christ, but gain Christ. 

1. Christ is gained when we get an interest in him and his benefits, 
when God hath called us to the fellowship of his Son, 1 Cor. i. 9, or, 
in another place, /ieVo%ot Xpia-Tov, Heb. iii. 14, ' We are made partakers 
of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the 
end/ The ungodly have no part in him, but believers have. The 
apostle had already won Christ, but he would more and more win, 
and be more nearly conjoined to him. That I may win Christ, is 


that I may get a larger portion in him, or more full enjoyment of 

2. This word fcepSrjcrm is put in opposition to the loss that he had 
incurred that he might be made a partaker of Christ. There was gain 
enough to recompense all his losses in having Christ. If God and 
Christ seem not better things to us than the world, we judge ourselves 
to have no part in him. 

Doct. To be made partakers of Christ is the greatest gain. 

To evidence this I shall show you (1.) What gain we have in 
having Christ ; (2.) How much this gain excelleth all other gain. 

I. What gain we have in having Christ. 

1. He is our ransom from the wrath of God, and so you have some 
what whereby to appease your guilty fears : Col. i. 14, ' In whom we 
have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.' Oh, 
what a mercy is this to have sin forgiven, to be free from the curse of 
the law, and the wrath of the eternal God ! Ask a tender conscience 
that groaneth under the weight of sin whether it be not a great benefit 
to have sin forgiven ? Ps. xxxix. 4, ' Mine iniquities are gone over my 
head as a heavy burden ; they are too heavy for me.' If you think 
them too scrupulous, go to a stormy wounded conscience : Prov. xviii. 
14, ' A wounded conscience who can bear ? ' Ask Judas, or any of 
those whose souls are ready to choose strangling rather than life. The 
damned in hell, who bear their own iniquity, and are past forgiveness, 
and feel sin to be sin indeed, they would give ten thousand worlds if 
they had them for the pardon of their sins. Surely then it is great gain 
to have sin pardoned, to be justified by faith in Christ, and be at 
peace with God : ' Blessed is he whose sins are forgiven.' The heart 
of trouble is broken when that is done. 

2. It is Christ Jesus hath purchased the favour of God, that we may 
have comfortable access to him and fellowship with him, he having 
opened the door by the merit of his passion, and keeping it still open, 
by his constant intercession. By his death he removed the legal ex- ' 
elusion, and remaineth as our intercessor at God's right hand. All 
the riches in the world could not purchase such a favour for us. Gold 
and silver are poor corruptible things to the precious blood of the Son 
of God, by which blood ' we have entrance into the holiest,' Heb. x. 19. 
Therefore this gain we have by Christ, that we may once more have 
access to God. 

3. Our natures are renewed, and not only the favour and fellowship 
of God is restored, but his image also. The Spirit is given, whereby 
we are renewed : Titus iii. 5, 6, ' By the renewing of the Holy Ghost, 
which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour ; ' 
and we are made ' partakers of the divine nature/ 2 Peter i. 4 ; that 
is, made like God, and amiable in his sight : ' Partakers of his holiness ; ' 
Eteb. xii. 10, ' But he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his 
holiness.' This is profit, not the pelf of this world. All the comforts 
of the world, that please and feed our sensuality, are nothing to it. If 
a beast were made a man, he would not complain for want of provender ; 
so if we are made partakers of a divine nature, we have no cause to 
complain if straitened in the world. Thou hast that which is better, 
a nature to incline thee to live to God, and with God in a state of holy 
communion with him. 


4. Christ is our treasury and storehouse, from whence we fetch all 
our supplies : ' But of his fulness we receive grace for grace ; ' 1 Cor. 
i. 30, ' He is made of God to us wisdom, and righteousness, and sancti- 
fication, and redemption.' This is the riches of the saints ; they love 
the true riches. God would not trust the stock in our hands, but 
Christ keepeth it for us. Therefore in gaining him you gain all things 
which a gracious heart prizeth, all that is needful to maintain our 
expenses to heaven. 

5. By him we are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life : 
Horn. viii. 17, ' If sons, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with 
Christ.' Surely everlasting glory is a greater treasure than all the 
wealth in the world. Now for a title to this, we have the promise and 
grant of God, the merit of the Kedeemer, and the earnest of the Spirit to 
build upon ; therefore their gain is exceeding great if they have Christ. 

II. How much this gain excelleth all other gain. 

1. It is the most comfortable gain, for here is comfort at all times 
and in all cases. When nothing else can ease the troubled mind, in 
the day of wrath, in the day of death, this will be a support to you : 
Phil. i. 21, ' To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' You get 
infinitely much more than you can lose upon death. Death maketh 
all other gain useless to us ; openeth a door for us to enter into our 
greatest felicity. We leave worldly wealth for the riches of the 
glory of the inheritance of the saints ; a shed for a palace, an ' earthly 
tabernacle for a building of God not made with hands, eternal in the 
heavens ; ' which is TroXXeu paXkov, ' much more better.' We leave 
friends for the spirits of just men made perfect; ordinances for the 
vision of God. The glory, and riches, and honours of the world are 
nothing worth when we come to die. If you have not gained Christ, in 
what a miserable plight will you be then, when you must go into an 
unknown world, to an unknown God, and have no intercessor at his 
right hand to plead for you ! When the happiness of God's children 
beginneth, your worldly happiness endeth. Death parts you and your 
wealth, but the believer then goeth to take possession of his blessed 

2. It is the most universal gain : 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23, * All things are 
yours,' because 'ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.' Ordinances, 
providences, graces, comforts, this world, and the next, death between 
both. Yea, with Christ we receive temporal blessings : 1 Tim. iv. 8, 
' Godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of this life, 
and that which is to come.' So far forth as our wise God seeth them 
expedient for us, for his own glory, and the good of our souls : Rom. 
viii. 32, ' He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us 
all ; how shall he not with him give us all things ? ' Protection, 
maintenance; if we want these comforts, it is that we may want a 
snare ; not out of any defect of love in God, but his abundant care 
and jealousy over us. A father may give his child the inheritance of 
an orchard, and yet deny him a green. apple. God giveth us an ample 
portion with Christ, but he will dispense the enjoyment of these as he 
seeth good for us. 

3. It is an everlasting gain, that will never fail us, but yield us a 
blessedness when the world shall be no more : Luke x. 42, ' One thing 
is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall never be 


taken from her.' The better part shall never be taken from us, worldly 
riches may fail us, but never spiritual gain. If Christ be gain now, 
he will be gain to you to all eternity. The world now seemeth to 
gratify our senses, but when you are going out of the world, you will 
cry out, Oh, how hath the world deceived you ! What is a little mo 
mentary delight or temporalprofit to this eternal treasure that will never 
fail you ? Luke xii. 20, 21, ' And God said unto him, Thou fool, this 
night thy soul shall be required of thee ; and then whose shall these 
things be which thou hast provided ? So is he that layeth up treasure 
for himself, and is not rich towards God ; ' Job xxvii. 8, ' What is the 
hope of the hypocrite, if he hath gained, when God taketh away his 
soul ? ' You are living on earth, and stepping into eternity ; look after 
that gain that will stand by you, and do you good to all eternity. 

4. This gain sanctifieth us, all other corrupts us: 1 Tim. vi. 10, 
* The love of money is the root of all evil.' It is called ' filthy lucre ; ' 
it doth debase the soul to something that is inferior to it ; but this 
gain maketh you of an excellent and divine spirit. 

Use 1. For reproof of two sorts of men 

1. Those that take but little or no pains to gain Christ : 'What will 
it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul ? ' Mat 
xvi. 26. What pleasure or comfort can you have in all things that 
you have gained, if you have not gained Christ ? How will it be found 
at last, when it shall be said to thee, Luke xvi. 25, ' Son, remember 
that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things ; ' when your wealth 
is of no use to you, but your immortal souls must return to God, beggarly 
and naked as they are. 

2. Those that lose Christ, and part with him for a little temporal 
profit or carnal satisfaction. As many forget God, and Christ, and 
heaven, and all, so they may have the pleasures of the present life ; 
' As Esau sold his birthright for one morsel of meat,' Heb. xii. 16. 
These part with their bargain for trifles. So much of Christ as they 
have, they part with; profession, ordinances, common graces, some 
taste of his love, some hopes of his glory he offereth, some sense of 
religion which formerly held them to their duty. They may go a little 
way with Christ, and after fall off. 

Use 2. Is instruction. 

1. If Christ be such gain, then you may make some losses for 
his sake, and part with other things for Christ's sake, if you cannot 
have them and Christ too. If you should part with all the world, 
what is this to Christ ? If you should be scorned and derided, it is 
more than to have worldly wealth at your dispose : Heb. xi. 26, 
' Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in 
Egypt.' If you part with never so much for him, you can be no losers : 
Mark x. 29, 30, ' And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, 
There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, 
or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the gospel ; 
but he shall receive a hundred-fold now in this time, houses, and 
brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with per 
secutions; and in the world to come life everlasting.' Those who 
suffer loss for Christ are gainers in the end ; and in him, and with 
him, all things that can make them happy. In this life the peace of 
a good conscience hath a hundred-fold better than all the sufferings of 


this world, and in the world to come as happy as heart can wish. See 
it set forth, Rev. vii. 14, 15, ' These are they which came out of 
great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white 
in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of 
God, and serve him day and night in his temple ; and he that sitteth 
on the throne shall dwell among them.' That is happiness indeed, 
to be for ever before God's throne ; they are out of gunshot, free from 
all temptations and dangers which they are now exposed to. 

2. That we should not murmur at our estate, when others go away 
with other things, if we have Christ. Our heart should rejoice in Christ 
above all things. 'What if they have a more plentiful portion in the 
world ? You have that which is better worth, and should be all gain 
to you : Ps. xvii. 14, 15, ' From men which are thy hand, Lord, 
from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose 
belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure ; they are full of children, and 
leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me, I will 
behold thy face in righteousness ; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, 
with thy likeness.' David allayeth his envy and repinings by this 

Use 3. To exhort you and persuade you to get Christ. You hear 
them gladly who would instruct you in the ways of worldly gain ; why 
should you not be as desirous to gain Christ ? 

1. He is the best gain, if God be to be preferred before the creature, 
and eternal glory before fading riches, and the soul before the body. 
In gaining him you gain the image and favour and fellowship of God, 
and the hopes of eternal life. 

2. This gain may be gotten, and gotten at a cheap rate : Isa. Iv. 1, 
' Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath 
no money : come ye, buy and eat ; come, buy wine and milk, without 
money, and without price ;' Eev. iii. 18, ' I counsel thee to buy of me 
gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich ; and white raiment, 
that thou mayest be clothed, and that thy nakedness do not appear ; 
and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see.' Means 
are appointed, word and sacraments. 

3. Seek it and have it ; choose it and have it. In worldly things 
you are not sure to speed after all your toil and pains : Job xxvii. 8, 
' What is the hope of the hypocrite though he hath gained ? ' A 
worldling doth not always make a thriving bargain : Luke v. 5, ' We 
have toiled all night, and have caught nothing.' 

Quest. What must we? do that we may gain Christ ? 

Ans. That cannot be told you in a breath ; but if you will gain 
Christ, you must 

(1.) Use the means ; the word, which convinceth you of your lost 
estate ; and the gospel offereth Christ as your gain and suitable 
remedy ; the sacraments : 1 Cor. x. 16, ' The cup of blessing which 
we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? the bread 
which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ ? ' 

(2.) You must submit to his terms ; sell all for the pearl of great 
price, Mat. xiii. 46 ; renounce your lusts ; devote yourselves and your 
interests to be disposed by him at his will and pleasure. 

(3.) Trust in him that is true ; depend on his merits and promises : 
Gal. v. 5, ' We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness 


by faith ; ' Acts x. 43, ' To him give all the prophets witness, that; 
through his name whosoever believeth on him shall receive remis 
sion of sins.' And when troubles and difficulties arise, continue with 
patience in well-doing, Eom. ii. 7. 


And l>e found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of 
the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the right 
eousness which is of God by faith. PHIL. iii. 9. 

IN these words the apostle amplifieth the gain we have by Christ. He 
had spoken of gaining Christ, meaning thereby an interest in his per 
son and benefits. Among the prime benefits he mentioneth his right 
eousness made ours by faith : ' And be found in him,' &c. 
In the words we have 

1. A distinction between two sorts of righteousness ; his ' own right 
eousness,' and the ' righteousness of God.' 

2. A description of either ; his own righteousness, ' which is of the 
law ; ' and the righteousness of God, which is by or ' through the faith 
of Christ.' 

3. His different respect to either ; the one is disclaimed, not ' having 
mine own righteousness ; ' the other affected ; he would ' be found 
having the righteousness of faith.' 

For explication 

First, The distinction. What is meant by ' his own righteousness ? ' 
Either the false, superficial righteousness which he had as a pharisee, 
mentioned ver. 6, ' Touching the righteousness which is in the law 
blameless ; ' exact in legal observances ; or else any other righteous 
ness that might be thought of, that standeth in opposition to Christ pi 
rn competition with him. It is not meant of the graces of the Spirit, 
nor of things that stand in a necessary subordination to him. Well, 
then, any righteousness of our own, opposed to Christ, is excluded. 
But for the other part of the distinction, what is meant by the righteous 
ness of God ? His gracious method or evangelical course of pardoning 
sin to penitent believers in the gospel, and accepting them to life in 
Christ. And it is called ' the righteousness of God,' because it is found 
out by God, and accepted by him, and given us by God. It is found 
out by God : ' Deliver him from going down to the pit ; for I have 
found a ransom/ Job xxxiii. 24. The way of satisfying God's justice 
by a ransom was not devised or found out by men or angels, but by 
God himself. And it is given us by God : ' For he is of God made 
unto us righteousness,' 1 Cor. i. 30 ; and 2 Cor. v. 21, 'We are made 
the righteousness of God in him.' And partly because it is accepted 
by God. It is a righteousness wherein God acquiesceth, and which he 
accepteth for our absolution : Mat. iii. 17, ' This is my beloved Son, in 
whom I am well pleased.' God is satisfied with Christ's obedience to the 


death, as a perfect ransom for us, and is well pleased with those who 
make use ot it, and apply it in the appointed way ; namely, the faith 
and obedience of Christ; that is, being 'justified by faith.' We con 
tinue to live by faith, and being married to Christ, do bring forth fruit 
unto God. Certainly with the righteousness of God we may appear 
with all manner of confidence before the throne of God, and look for 
all manner of blessings from him. The law which condemneth us is 
the law of God, the wrath which we fear is the wrath of God, and the 
glory which we expect is the glory of God, and the presence into which 
we come is the presence of God, and the righteousness by which we 
stand is the righteousness of God. 

Secondly, The description of these different and opposite righteous 
nesses. His own righteousness he describeth to be that which is by 
' the law ; ' the other, the righteousness which is by ' the faith of Christ.' 
The meaning is, it is appointed by God, merited by Christ, and re 
ceived by faith. Now these two are often opposed ; as Horn. iii. 21, 22, 
4 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifest, being 
witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God 
which is by the faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that 
believe ; for there is no difference.' So again, Rom. x. 3, ' For they 
being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish 
their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the right 
eousness of God.' Where you see there is a perfect opposition between 
our own righteousness and the righteousness of God, the righteousness 
of the law and the righteousness of faith. The law may be taken two 
ways either for the law of works or the law of Moses. 

1. For the law of works, which required a man to be justified by a 
perfect sinless obedience of his own ; this is that which is often opposed 
to the righteousness of God by faith in Christ ; and against this doth 
the apostle reason when he reasoneth against justification by works or 
our own righteousness, as will be evident by two places : Rom. i. 17, 
18, ' I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ ; for therein is the 
righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith ; for the wrath of God 
is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of 
men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.' That is, the wrath and 
vengeance of God is denounced against those who are under the law- 
covenant, which they have broken in every point and tittle, in every 
table, in every commandment. There clearly the two revelations 
are opposed, the law-covenant in which the wrath of God is revealed, 
and the gospel-covenant in which the righteousness of God is revealed. 
The other place is Rom. iii. 20, ' Therefore by the deeds of the law no 
flesh shall be justified in his sight ; for by the law is the knowledge of 
sin.' Take the illative particle, therefore, as it is a conclusion or 
inference drawn out of his former argument ; did he prove them guilty 
of the breach of ceremonies? No; but of moral duties. Take the 
xeason subjoined, ' for by the law is the knowledge of sin ; ' question 
less he meaneth the moral law as it was a covenant of works ; by that 
is the knowledge of sin, quoad natur am peccati, et inhcerentiam in 
subjecto, in respect of the nature of sin, and its inherence in us. To 
fallen man it doth not discover his righteousness but his sin. Now it 
is impossible for us to be justified by this legal righteousness. None 


of us have such a personal legal righteousness ; for then there were no 
sin, no place for confession, nor for Christ. No ; we have all broken 
with God ; yea, there is no one work perfectly justifiable by the law: 
' all are corrupt and abominable, there is none that doeth good, no 
not one,' Kom. iii. 12. 

2. The apostle disputeth also against the works of the Mosaical 
or ceremonial law, and proves that by that law no man could be 
justified ; and therefore the Jews did seek righteousness where it 
was not to be found, whilst they stuck so close to that law, being 
guilty therein of a threefold error First, that they thought pardon 
of sin and acceptance with God were to be obtained by the bare works 
of that law ; secondly, that they overlooked, and rejected Christ, who 
is the end of the law for righteousness to every believer; thirdly 
that they would keep up this law when it was to cease and be abro 
gated. These are the errors of theirs which Paul everywhere disputeth 

Thirdly, His different respect to either of those ; he renounced the 
one and affected the other. 

1. That which he renounced was partly the superficial righteousness 
which consisteth in the external observances of the law, a mere specu 
lative righteousness, and partly the righteousness of the law-covenant, 
which some did falsely imagine they did or might fulfil ; whilst 
arrogantly holding up the dignity of their own works, they refused to 
embrace the gospel. 

2. That which he affected was, to 'be found in Christ, having the 
righteousness of God through faith in Christ.' And there 

[1.] The state of his person, or the way how this is applied or con 
veyed to us ; by being found in Christ.' The \vovd. found is emphatical, 
arid often used with respect to the day of judgment : 2 Cor. v. 3, ' If 
so be we shall not be found naked ; ' and 2 Peter iii. 14, ' See that ye 
be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless ; ' Mat. xxiv. 46, 
' Blessed is that servant whom his lord when he cometh shall find so 
doing.' It implieth two things 

(1.) That the last day is a day of exact search and trial. Wrath 
maketh inquisition for sinners ; we shall be found out to be what we 

(2.) That the last day cometh upon the greatest part of the world 
by way of surprisal. They do not look for it, nor prepare for it. It 
oometh upon them unawares, like ' a thief in the night/ 2 Peter iii. 10, 
urithought of, unexpected by the most, who will not be awakened out 
of their sins, and do not look for it, but are found of it. 

[2.] ' In Christ,' that is, incorporated into his mystical body, or united 
to him by the Spirit ; as a branch ingrafted into the true vine: John 
xv. 2, ' Every branch in me that beareth fruit ; ' or found in the ark 
when the flood cometh. Paul was lost before, then found in Christ : 
' There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ,' Rom. viii. 1. 
Being united to him by faith, love, and holiness, we are made partakers 
of his righteousness. 

Again, The righteousness wherewith he would appear before God, 
the righteousness of God by faith in Christ. The righteousness of the 
new covenant is twofold (1.) Supreme, prime, and chief, and that is 


the righteousness of Christ ; (2.) Secondary and subordinate, and that 
is the righteousness of faith and obedience. As to our first right, faith ; 
as to our continued right, new obedience. These things must be a 
little cleared, that we may not mistake. 

1. For the supreme principal righteousness, by virtue of which we 
are reconciled to God. It is Christ's obedience unto the death. So it is 
said, Bom. v. 18, 19, ' As by the offence of one judgment came upon all 
men to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one, the free 
gift came upon all men unto justification of life. As by one man's dis 
obedience many were made sinners ; so by the obedience of one, many 
shall be made righteous ; ' that is, our great righteousness before God, 
by which his justice is satisfied, and by the merit of which all the 
blessings of the new covenant are procured for us. 

2. The subordinate righteousness, or the way, and means, and con 
dition by which we get an interest in and right to this supreme right 
eousness, is faith and new obedience. But for a distinct use 

[1.] As to our first entrance into the covenant of God, faith is 
required : Horn. iv. 3, ' Abraham believed God, and it was counted to 
him for righteousness.' 

[2.] As to our continuance in this blessed privilege, new obedience is 
required ; with respect to which it is said, 1 John iii. 7, ' Little children, 
let no man deceive you : he that doeth righteousness is righteous, as he 
is righteous.' And thereby his interest in Christ is confirmed : 1 John 
ii. 29, ' If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that 
doeth righteousness is born of God.' These scriptures are plain and 
express ; and new obedience has respect to that which is the result of 
the final judgment : Mat. xxv. 46, ' And these shall go away into ever 
lasting punishment,, but the righteous into life eternal.' And the 
righteous there are such as are fruitful in good works. Now from this 
exposition we may learn how we are justified by faith only, without 
works, which Paul asserteth ; and by works, and not by faith only, which 
is the assertion of the apostle James. Justification hath respect to some 
accusation. Now as there is a twofold law, so there is a twofold accusa 
tion and justification the law of works and the law of grace. Now 
when we are accused as breakers of the law of works, that is, as sinners, 
obnoxious to the wrath of God, we plead Christ's satisfaction as our 
righteousness, no works of our own. But when we are accused as 
non-performers of the conditions of the covenant of grace, as being 
rejecters or neglecters of Christ the mediator, we are justified by 
producing our faith or sincere obedience. So that our righteousness 
by the new covenant is subordinate to our universal righteousness with 
respect to the great love of God, and that we have only by Christ. If 
we are charged that we have broken the first covenant, the covenant 
of works, we allege Christ's satisfaction and merit ; if charged not to 
have performed the conditions of the law of grace, we answer it by 
producing our faith, repentance, and new obedience, and so show it to 
be a false charge. Our first and supreme righteousness consisteth in 
the pardon of our sins, and in our acceptance in the Beloved, and our 
right to impunity and glory. Our second and subordinate righteous 
ness, in having the true condition of pardon and life. In the first sense 
Christ's righteousness is only our justification and righteousness. 


Faith and repentance, or new obedience, is not the least part of it. 
But in the second, believing, repenting, and obeying is our righteous 
ness in their several respective ways ; namely, that the righteousness 
of Christ may be ours, and continue ours. 

Doct. It shall go well with those, and those only, who in the day of 
exact search and trial shall be found in Christ, not having the right 
eousness which is by the law, but the righteousness of God which is by 
faith in Christ Jesus. 

I shall endeavour to make it good by these considerations 

1. That the day of judgment will be a day of exact search and trial. 
No man can lie hid in the throng and multitude of mankind, but the 
state of his person and all his works will be made manifest, whether 
they be wrought in God. God will not deal with us in the lump, by 
nations, or by any societies and communities of mankind with which 
we are bundled up, but by head and poll : Kom. xiv. 12, ' Every one 
of us shall give an account of himself to God.' Every tub must stand 
upon its own bottom ; and every man must come before his supreme 
judge, and give an account of his own actions. The particular inquiry 
that shall be made is expressed by ' opening the books ; ' Kev. xx. 12, ' I 
saw the dead, small and great, stand before God ; and the books were 
opened : and another book was opened, which is the book of life ; and 
the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the 
books, according to their works.' You see there none shall escape this 
judicature ; kings nor subjects, rich nor poor, powerful nor weak, old 
nor young ; all that have breathed and have life. And the judgment 
shall be accurate and particular, for all is upon record ; for nothing 
is missed and mistaken in its circumstances. The books that contain as 
it were a diary of our lives shall be opened ; they are sealed now, it is 
not known what is in them ; but then all actions and events, returns 
and receipts, mercies, rods, ordinances, providences, sins, graces shall 
then be produced. God's register is exact, and every man's doom and 
sentence shall be pronounced accordingly. According to your repent 
ance and faith, or impenitence and disobedience, will Christ deal with 
you. One place more : Ps. 1. 21, ' I will reprove thee, and set thy sins 
in order before thine eyes.' Alas ! most men's reckonings are in great 
confusion now, bufc then they shall be brought to remembrance with 
time and place. The sinner may then see the whole story of his life 
orderly repeated out of God's book of remembrance and the sinner's 
conscience, to his fearful astonishment and confusion. But to the 
comfort of the elect, the book of life shall be opened ; the graces vouch 
safed to them, the services done, and sufferings undergone by them, 
remembered to their joy and honour. 

2. That in this day of exact trial there is no appearing before God 
with safety and comfort without some righteousness of one sort or 
another. Why ? Because it is a holy and just God before whom we 
appear : ' Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? ' Gen. xviii. 
25 ; and 1 Sam. vi. 20, ' Who is able to stand before the holy God ? ' 
If not now in the time of patience, how then in the time of his recom 
pense ? His holiness inclineth him to hate sin, and his justice to punish 
it. The holiness of God is at the bottom of the creatures' fears. We 
fear his wrath, because it is armed with power, but awakened by his 


justice, but rooted in his holiness ; that is the fundamental reason of 
our dread. Again, it is a holy law according to which the process of 
that day shall be guided, a law that is clean and pure, and alloweth 
not the least evil. When David looked upon the brightness of the 
sun, he admired God ; but when upon the purity of the law, he abaseth 
himself :' Ps. xix. 12, ' Lord, who can understand his errors ? cleanse 
thou me from secret sins/ Well, then, there must be one righteous 
ness or another, if we would speed well in that day. 

3. The righteousness of the first sort by the law of works we cannot 
have ; for the covenant of works requireth of us perfect obedience upon 
pain of eternal death if we perform it not ; for the tenor of it is, ' Do 
and live ; sin and die/ The least sin, according to that covenant, 
merits eternal death : Gal. iii. 10, ' Cursed is every one that continueth 
not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them/ 
By this covenant none can stand ; for we have all sinned, and are liable 
to that death : Horn. iii. 23, ' All have sinned, and come short of the 
glory of God/ Rom. v. 12, ' By sin death entered into the world ; and 
death came upon all, for that all have sinned/ By sin we are all under 
guilt and the curse, and so are become children of wrath, Eph. ii. 3, which 
is the wretched condition of all mankind. Therefore, if we stick to 
the old covenant, how shall we appear in the judgment, and what right 
eousness have we to plead before God ? and that is the reason why the 
saints, who have awakening thoughts of this sin and misery, deprecate 
the rigour of the first covenant : Ps. cxxx. 3, 4, ' If thou, Lord, shouldst 
mark iniquities, Lord, who shall stand ? But there is forgiveness 
with thee, that thou mayest be feared ; ' Ps. cxliii. 3, ' Enter not into 
judgment with thy servant, Lord, for in thy sight shall no man 
living be justified/ Woe unto us if God should deal with us according 
to his strict justice, and we had nothing to bring forth but our own 
personal righteousness and obedience. We were undone for ever if 
sentence should pass according to this law. 

4. Man having broken the law of nature or works, is lost or disabled 
to his own recovery, or to do anything whereby to satisfy God. We 
cannot make any satisfaction to God for the pardon of sin, or escaping 
the curse of the law ; or change our natures to return to the obedience 
of it ; or if we could, the paying of new debts will not quit old scores. 
What can we do to satisfy justice, and reconcile such rebellious crea 
tures to God ? ' The redemption of the soul is precious ; ' that work 
would cease for ever if it lay upon man's hands, Ps. xlix. 7, 8. And 
as little can we renew the soul as reconcile it. Who can bring a clean 
thing out of an unclean ? Surely not one. Will a nature that is 
carnal resist and overcome the flesh, and abhor the sin which it dearly 
loveth ? Therefore man is shut up under misery, without strength, 
unable to recover himself and return to God : Rom. v. 6, ' For when 
we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly/ 

5. Because man was under such an impotency, Jesus Christ became 
the mediator, stepped between us and the full execution of the curse ; 
redeemed us from this lost condition, by taking the penalty upon him 
self, and. thereby satisfied the lawgiver, and attained the ends of the 
law. He became the sacrifice to offended justice : Eph. v. 2, ' And 
hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for 


a sweet-smelling savour ; ' and a ransom for sinners, 1 Tim. ii. 6 ; which 
are the two solemn notions by which the death of Christ is set forth. 
His sufferings were satisfactory to his Father's justice, and expiatory of 
our sins. This sacrifice and ransom was paid with respect to the curse 
of the law ; that is, to free us from the penalty of the old broken cove 
nant, there being nothing in us to recommend us to God, or to secure 
us from the dint of God's anger and justice. 

6. Upon his death, Christ acquired a new right of dominion and 
empire over the world, to be their Lord and Saviour, to rule them, and 
save them upon his own terms : Kom. xiv. 9, 'For to this end Christ 
both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead 
and living ; ' Acts ii. 36, ' Therefore let all the house of Israel know 
assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye crucified 
both Lord and Christ ; ' Phil. ii. 7-11, ' But made himself of no repu 
tation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the- 
likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, humbled 
himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. 
Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above 
every name : that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things 
in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth : and that 
every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of 
God the Father/ God hath made this God-man supreme prince of his 
church, and hath given him all power in heaven and in earth, that all 
rational creatures should pay him all duty, and subjection, and acknow 
ledgment ; and his doctrine and faith should be embraced by all nations 
in the world, as the means of their recovery to God. 

7. Our Redeemer being possessed of this lordship and dominion, hath 
made a new law of grace, which is propounded as a remedy for the 
recovering and restoring the lapsed world of mankind to the grace and 
favour of God, by offering and granting free pardon, justification, and 
adoption, and a right to glory, to those that, coming off from the law, 
will submit to his terms ; but peremptorily concluding and sentencing 
them anew to eternal death who will not embrace these terms and 
this way of salvation which he hath set up. This is the sum of the 
gospel in many places : Mark xvi. 16, ' He that believeth, and is 
baptized, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not shall be damned ; ' 
John iii. 16-18, ' God so loved the world, that he gave his only be 
gotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but 
have everlasting life : for God sent not his Son into the world to con 
demn the world, but that the world might be saved. He that believ 
eth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned 
already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten 
Son of God.' 

Here mark that in this proposition I assert three things 
[1.] That Christ, as Lord of the new creation, hath set down the terms 
of life and death. I say, that Christ, as king, doth enact the law, the 
law of grace and promise by which we are justified. He merited it 
by his death and bloody sufferings, but the grant we have from 
him as lord and king. He, as having all power, sent abroad his 
apostles as ambassadors to acquaint the world with his new law ; and 
he doth still execute it as lord and judge, and as a judge he doth justify 


and condemn, and execute his sentence accordingly, partly in this life, 
ind partly in the life to come, as the scriptures abundantly witness : 
Acts xvii. 31, ' Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will 
judge the world in righteousness, by the man whom he hath ordained ; 
whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath raised him 
from the dead.' 

[2.] The privileges of this new grant are exceeding great ; pardon, 
peace with God, justification from all things from which we could not 
be justified by the law of Moses ; adoption into God's family ; the gift 
of his Spirit to renew us, and maintain his interest in our souls ; and 
a right to everlasting glory as our inheritance. Now surely these are 
things not to be despised. It will go well with those who have sub 
mitted to Christ when they are to appear before their Lord and judge, 
having such a grant and charter to produce. Certainly to be interested 
in Christ's satisfaction and merit, so far as to become acceptable and 
pleasing to God, is no small privilege. To be accepted in the Beloved 
for the present, and to stand in the judgment hereafter, these are great 
things indeed. To be adopted into God's family in the kingdom of 
grace, and to be received into God's presence in the king^pm of glory , 
to be freed from condemnation to hell, and to have a right and title to 
heaven, should not this move us ? 

[3.] The danger of final impenitency and refusing these things, and 
not submitting to this righteousness, is very grievous, if there were 
nothing but a forfeiting the hopes and possibility of our recovery ; but 
the scripture calleth it a ' sorer punishment,' Heb. x. 39. The law of 
grace threateneth the greatest punishment. Conscience in hell will 
have a special kind of accusations and self-tormentings in reflecting on 
the refusal of the remedy. Besides, the threatening of the gospel is 
peremptory, excluding all remedy to all eternity ; but the threatening 
of the law of nature is not peremptory and remediless ; there is a remedy 
at hand to dissolve the obligation of suffering that penalty ; namely, 
Christ's satisfaction (who fulfilled the law, and became a curse for us) 
is pleadable by all those who sincerely repent and believe. 

8. The terms of this new law or covenant are repentance, faith, and 
new obedience. Or take one mentioned in the text, faith ; it is a right 
eousness which is by faith. Faith is the grand and primary condition of 
the gospel. If you ask why faith is appointed, we might look no further 
than the will of the free donor ; but faith hath a special aptitude and fit 
ness for this work. 

[1.] In respect of God, he having determined to glorify his free mercy, 
he requireth nothing but our belief and acceptance . ' It is of faith, that 
it might be of grace/ Eom. iv. 16. 

[2.] With respect to Christ Jesus, who is the fountain of our life 
and righteousness, and our head and husband. Faith is the closing 
act : John i. 12, ' To as many as received him.' The tie and nuptial 
knot between us and our Lord. 

[3.] God had respect also to our necessitous estate, and therefore 
principally required that they should know Christ and own him, if 
they will have benefit by him, that such privileges should not be 
settled upon us without our knowledge, or besides and against our 


[4.] With respect to the promise, which offers it to us. This happi 
ness and blessedness is spiritual, and for the most part future, and 
cannot be seen. Now such things are only apprehended by faith: 
Heb. xi. 1, ' Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence 
of things not seen.' 

[5.] With respect to God's end, which is the willing subjection of 
the creature to God. By it we come to Christ as king, priest, and 
prophet ; take his yoke, as well as receive his benefits : Mat. xi. 28, 
29, ' Come unto me all you that are weary and heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am 
meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls/ 

9. This faith is such a hearty assent to the truths of the gospel as 
causeth us broken-heartedly, thankfully, and fiducially to accept the 
Lord Jesus as he is offered to us, and to give up ourselves to God 
by him. 

[1.] An assent to the truths of the gospel there must be, for the 
general faith goeth before the particular, a belief of the gospel before 
our communion with Christ. This assent must produce acceptance, 
because the gospel is an offer of blessedness suitable to our necessities 
and desires, and receiving is one solemn notion by which faith is 
expressed. And this acceptance must be broken-hearted, because 
Christ and his benefits are a free gift to us ; and we come to accept 
this grace as condemned sinners, with a confession of our undeservings 
and ill-deservings : 1 John i. 9, ' If we confess our sins, he is just and 
faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteous 
ness.' And that eternal wrath may justly become our portion, God lets 
none come out of the prison of the first covenant till they have felt 
somewhat of the smart of it in the sense of our guilt and misery, that 
we may fly to the ransom of Christ's blood, and the merit of his obed 
ience. Therefore this must be distinctly considered as the procuring 
cause, which cannot be done seriously without a broken heart. 

[2.] A thankful acceptance ; for so great a benefit as pardon and 
life should not be entertained but with a grateful consent, and deep 
sense of his love, who so freely loved us, and forgave us so great a 
debt, and doth so freely save us : Luke vii. 47, ' Her sins, which are 
many, are forgiven, for she loved much ; but to whom little is 
forgiven, the same loveth little.' Surely Christ should not, cannot 
be received into the heart without a hearty welcome and cordial 

[3.] It is a fiducial consent, or such as is joined with some confi 
dence and affiance ; for there is a confidence and trust to be included 
in the nature of faith, and cannot be separated from it, and without 
it we cannot be satisfied with the truth of the offer, and cannot depend 
upon God's word : Eph. i. 13, ' In whom ye also trusted after that ye 
heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.' Now this trust 
will make us venture all in his hands, and renounce our dearest lusts 
and interests. 

[4.] It is obediential. We give up ourselves to obey God through 
Jesus Christ, that we may enjoy, please, and glorify him ; which you 
do when you receive Christ with a hearty consent of subjection, to be 
guided, ruled, and ordered by him ; for he is our Lord as well as our 



Saviour: Col. ii. 6, 'As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk 
in him ; ' 2 Peter iii. 2, ' Of the commandment of us the apostles of our 
Lord and Saviour.' We must obey his strictest laws ; and as he is the 
physician of our souls, we must rest upon his skill, and suffer him to 
apply his sharpest plasters, take the bitterest medicines, most ungrateful 
to flesh and blood. 

Use. Oh, let us think of these things. The hour of death and judg 
ment will come. How sweet will it be then to be found in Christ, not 
having our own righteousness ? None will be found in Christ but those 
who believe the gospel, and so accept of Christ as to depend upon him 
and obey him. We depend upon the merit of his satisfaction for pardon 
and life, and we keep hia commandments and abide in his love, seeking 
his glory, and yielding ourselves to his obedience, as our Lord and 
sovereign, that he may conduct us to everlasting glory in his own way. 
Do this, and you have an interest in his merits and righteousness. We 
shall one day come to be judged and tried whether we have done so, 
yea or no ; whether we are unbelievers and rebels against the Lord 
Christ, or whether sound believers. 


TJiat I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the 
fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death. 
PHIL. iii. 10. 

PAUL goeth on enumerating his advantages by Christ. The first was 
his interest in Christ's righteousness ; now he mentioneth two other 
necessary to be added to the former ; for whoever boasts of his justi 
fication must show it by his sanctification : ' That I may be found 
in him, not having my own righteousness ; and that I may know him, 
and the power of his resurrection.' 

Here the double benefit is, a conformity to Christ in his life and in 
his death. 

1. To his life, ' That I may know him, and the power of his resurrec 

2. To his death, ' And the fellowship of his sufferings, being made 
conformable unto his death.' 

There is a spiritual inward conformity to the death of Christ, when 
we die unto sin ; and outward, in bearing the cross. This is spoken 
here ; and in this latter there is a double benefit which we have in our 
sufferings for Christ (1.) Fellowship with Christ ; (2.) Conformity 
to Christ. 

[1.] Our conformity to his life, or ' knowing the power of his resurrec 
tion,' is mentioned first, before our conformity to his death, which in 
order of nature should have preceded, because we should first know 
what we should propound as our hope and scope before we resolve 
upon the way of dying to sin and dying to the world. Till we live 


the new life and are excited to the hopes of glory, we cannot encounter 
sufferings. The new life is the principle, and the hope of glory the 
end, and the patient continuance in well-doing the way. 

Again, it is observable how the apostle increaseth the description 
of his self-denial, what he accounteth gain, and such gain that he 
esteemeth all things but loss and dung in comparison of it ; not only 
to know Christ and privileges, but Christ and the sacred influence of 
his grace. To desire to be found in Christ, not having our own 
righteousness, will be assented unto by most. We all desire happi 
ness and immunity, to be freed from the penalties of the law and the 
flames of hell ; this point of submission will not be much scrupled at ; 
few value the life of holiness, but the apostle ' counted all things loss 
and dung, to know him and the power of his resurrection/ 

[2.] Again, he reckoneth affliction for Christ's sake among the advan 
tages of Christ. Surely the afflictions of the gospel, when they are holily 
and patiently endured, are an advantage ; not affliction as affliction, but 
partly from the cause : Phil. i. 29, ' For unto you it is given in the 
behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his 
sake.' Bare suffering is not more than believing, nor valuable with 
out believing ; but suffering and believing too is more than single 
believing. A gift and an honour vouchsafed to a few of Christ's choice 
servants ; it is given to all to believe, but to some not only to believe, 
but to suffer. Partly from the manner, such as argues fellowship 
and conformity to Christ. To find what exceeding joy and comfort 
it is to suffer for Christ and with Christ is more worth than all 
the world. Partly from the end and fruit in this life, as these 
afflictions promote our dying to sin and the world ; therein we feel the 
virtue of Christ's death, and may glory in the cross of Christ : Gal. vi. 
14, ' But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I 
unto the world.' In the world to come, ' if thereby we may attain the 
resurrection of the dead/ ver. 11. 

[3.] Once more ; no affliction, though never so great, was excepted 
out of Paul's resignation to Christ ; for such a fellowship in his suffer 
ings as maketh us conformable to his death doth also include the 
dying a violent and infamous death for Christ's sake. Now if God 
call us to this, we must count it an honour, and all things but loss 
and dung for Christ's honour's sake. An infamous death for Christ is 
better than all the glory of the world ; and we rejoice in the very 
disgraceful circumstances of our sufferings, and that we are put to 
shame for Christ's sake : Acts v. 41, ' And they departed from the 
presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to 
suffer shame for his name.' Now all these circumstances do mightily 
heighten his self-denial ; and yet this is the true spirit of Christianity, 
to count all things but loss and dung for Christ and his righteous 
ness, for Christ and his grace, for Christ and his sufferings, even those 
which are most painful and disgraceful to us. 

I begin with the first benefit, a conformity to the life of Christ, 
' That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection.' Knowing 
is here put for sense and experience ; and for the word ' resurrection,' 
there is a first resurrection and a second, with respect to the life of 
grace and glory. The Spirit first raiseth us up from the death of sin 


to the life of grace, and then from the death of nature to the life of 
glory. Christ raised from the dead, giveth us the Spirit, which 
beginneth that life of grace here which shall be perfected in heaven. 
We shall know him and the power of his resurrection fully hereafter, 
when we are raised by him to eternal life and glory. But we know 
him and the power of his resurrection here when we experience his 
virtue, and the sacred influence of his grace in renewing the heart. As 
we know the power of his death when sin is mortified, and the old man 
crucified, so we know the power of his resurrection when we feel the 
operation and virtue of his Spirit in quickening us to newness of life : 
Bom. vi. 4, 5, ' Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into 
death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of 
the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we 
have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be 
also in the likeness of his resurrection.' 

Two points from this clause are to be observed. The first is, that 
an experimental knowledge of Christ is so great a blessing that we 
should count all things but loss and dung to get it. 

I take it for a granted truth that, besides the knowledge of faith, 
there is an experimental knowledge of Christ, whereby believers, from 
this effectual working in them, find that to be true which the word 
amrmeth of him. It is sometimes expressed by taste which is more 
than sight. Sight doth fitly express the knowledge of faith, and taste 
the knowledge of experience : 1 Peter ii. 3, ' If so be that ye have 
tasted that the Lord is gracious.' So Ps,. xxxiv. 8, ' Oh, come, taste 
and see how good the Lord is.' When we either taste his goodness or 
feel his power, then we have an experimental knowledge of Christ. 
Many know Christ so as to be able to talk of him, his birth, life, and 
doctrine, of his death, passion, and resurrection ; but feel nothing, 
have no real proof within themselves of what they speak, no lively, 
experimental knowledge of Christ. Many speak of his salvation from 
day to day, but have not the effects of it. When we find within our 
selves the fruits of his sufferings, the comfort of his promises, the like 
ness of his death, the power of his resurrection, then we know Christ 
experimentally. Now the benefits which we have by this experimental 
knowledge do show the value of it. 

1. Experience giveth us a more intimate knowledge of things. While 
we know things by hearsay, we know them only by guess and imagina 
tion ; but when we know them by experience, we know them in truth ; 
as he that readeth of the sweetness of honey may guess at it, but he 
that hath tasted of honey better knoweth what it is : Col. i. 6, ' Since 
the day that ye knew the grace of God in truth ; ' that is, kuew it 
indeed, and by sensible experience. Our understandings are much 
advanced by knowing the same truths more experimentally than we 
did before; it is a more satisfactory manner of knowledge. A man 
that has travelled through a country knows it better than he that 
knoweth it only by a map. When we have tasted of the sweetness of 
the promise, and pardon of sin, and peace with God, and hopes of 
glory ; when we have lived awhile in communion with Christ, or the 
love of his people, or walked with God in a heavenly conversation, it 
is another thing than it was before. 

2. Experience giveth a greater confirmation of the truth. Optima 


demonstratio est a sensibus Sense giveth us the most sure and in 
fallible knowledge of things. A man needeth no reason to convince 
him that fire is hot who hath been scorched, or that weather is cold who 
feeleth it in his fingers ; so when the promises of God are made good 
to us, and verified in our experience, we see that there is more than 
letters and syllables : Ps. xviii. 30, ' The word of the Lord is a tried 
word ; he is a buckler to all those that 'trust in him.' So when the 
fruits and effects of the gospel are accomplished in us, and we have 
the impression and stamp of it upon our own hearts, it is past contra 
diction but that this is true : 1 Cor. i. 6, ' Even as the testimony of 
Christ was confirmed in you.' It was confirmed among them by 
miracles, but within them by the gifts and graces of the Spirit : John 
viii. 32, ' Then shall ye know the truth, and the truth shall make you 
free ; ' John xvii. 17, ' Sanctify them through thy truth ; thy word is 
truth.' When God hath blessed his word to free us from the bondage 
of sin and to cleanse and sanctify our hearts, that we may live in love 
to God, and all purity and holiness to his glory, you find it to be a 
powerful word, a word which God hath owned, by accompanying it by 
his Spirit. So 1 Thes. i. 5, ' For our gospel came not to you in word 
only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.' 
That doctrine is certainly owned by God, and blessed to the conviction, 
conversion, and salvation of many souls, and therefore our assent is 
stronger. You cannot persuade men against their own sense. They 
that have felt the power of the Spirit inclining them to God and 
heavenly things have found the admirable effects which bare specula 
tion could not discover do them in order to faith, certainty, and close 
adherence ; their hearts are confirmed. 

3. Experience giveth us greater excitement to the love of Christ and 
his ways ; for though love be built upon the proper reasons of love, 
yet it is increased by experience. The proper reasons of love are 
necessity, excellency, and propriety ; yet experience addeth a force to 
all these. And therefore it is said, Phil. i. 9, ' This I pray, that your 
love may abound yet more and more in all knowledge and judgment.' 
The word, eV alo-Qrjaei, signifieth spiritual sense or experimental know 
ledge. This doth increase the love of Christ in us : the more we feel 
the necessity of Christ, and know his usefulness and excellency in 
binding up our broken hearts, and subduing our carnal affections, the 
more shall we love him, as being appointed a saviour for us, to relieve 
our necessities, and procure blessings for us. When Christ doth heal 
our diseases, remove our anguish, sanctify our natures, give us the 
promised help in temptations, relieve us in our distresses, and bridle 
our corruptions, then we know that he is ours ; and so far as propriety 
conduceth to increase love, we have the more reason to love him. Now 
that is a notable enforcement : Gal. ii. 20, ' I live by the faith of the 
Son of God, who hath loved me, and gave himself for me ; ' 1 John 
iv. 19, ' We love him, because he loved us first/ We may know the 
truth of the gospel by other means, but we cannot know that it be- 
longeth to us by any other means. The grace of the gospel remaineth 
where it was, in the hands of Christ, and the conditional offers of the 
gospel, till it be applied and brought into our hearts, and we are in 
part put in possession of it by the Spirit of sanctification ; and when 
this is done, we know our interest, and so our sanctifier becometh our 


comforter, and we carry about in us the matter of our continual joy, 
confidence, and comfort ; and therefore we have greater obligations to 
love God and Christ : Rom. v. 4, 5, ' And patience, experience ; and 
experience, hope ; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of 
God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given to 
us.' Our particular interest is assured by experience, whether in ordi 
nances or afflictions, either by the tastes of his love or the effects of 
his sanctifying grace. 

4. The experimental knowledge of Christ doth more engage us to 
zeal and diligence in the heavenly life. Certainly reports and exhor 
tations cannot do so much as experience. Partly 

[1.] Because when we have experience of the power of Christ's 
resurrection, it begetteth a new life within us, which inclineth us to 
God and heavenly things ; there is a principle to work upon. Indeed, 
in the tenders of the gospel there is a principle of reason to work upon, 
which, with a little common help of the Spirit, may convince us of the 
duty which we owe to God ; but when this life is begun, there is a 
principle of grace to work upon, an inward mover striving with you, 
and inclining you to perform this duty. And there is a great deal of 
difference between blowing to a dead coal and a live coal : ' If you live 
in the Spirit,' you will more easily be persuaded to ' walk in the Spirit,' 
Gal. v. 25. Where there is life, it is soon excited to action. 

[2.] When this life is gratified with the rewards of obedience, such 
as are peace of conscience, the comforts of the Spirit, and some tastes 
of God's acceptance of us unto life by Christ, this is an argument of 
itself above all arguments to engage us to press on for more. As the 
Gauls, when once they tasted the Italian grape, could no longer be 
kept beyond the mountains, but they must get into that country where 
this plant did grow, or the liquor of it might be had. Or rather, let 
it be represented to you by a scriptural instance : There were some 
sent into the land of promise, to bring them the clusters of Canaan 
into the wilderness, to animate and encourage them to put in for the 
good land. So here ; God giveth us the Spirit, and sweet foretastes 
of life eternal, not only as an earnest, 1 Cor. i. 22, to show us how sure, 
but as the first-fruits, to show us how good, Bom. viii. 23. Now surely 
this experience is more than all motives without the soul, to engage it 
in this heavenly pursuit. 

[3.] When this life is obstructed by our folly and sin, you find more 
of the displeasure of your Eedeemer in your inward man than can 
possibly be represented to you in your outward condition, by the sus 
pension of his comforts, by a wounded spirit, by the troubles of the 
sensible soul upon the neglects of his grace ; that it is worse to them 
than the loss of all temporal comforts when the grieved Spirit with- 
draweth. You know the anger of your Eedeemer for the abuse of his 
grace : Eph. iv. 30, ' And grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby ye are 
sealed unto the day of redemption.' The soul is more awakened by 
the interruptions of the acts of love, and his wonted quickenings and 
comforts; yea, by a sore sense of God's wrath and displeasure; it is more 
than want of health, or loss of estate, or a breach upon our relations. 
Therefore experience of Christ's dealing with us is a notable part of 
Christ's spiritual government, and so a notable excitement to the 
heavenly life. 


Use 1. To exhort us to get this experimental knowledge of Christ. 
An exhortation is discharged by motives and means. 

Motives. Sometimes from the danger if you have it not, and the 
benefit you have had already. 

1. If you have it not, you are in danger of atheism. To hear of 
such a mighty Christ, and feel nothing of the virtue of his death, or 
of the power of his resurrection, after so long a profession of his name, 
what is this but a temptation to us that Christianity is but an empty 
pretence ? We are told, 1 Cor. iv. 20, that ' the kingdom of God is not 
in word, but in power.' It standeth not in notions, and proud boasts 
of knowledge, or empty discourses, but in the effectual force it hath 
upon the heart of man. There is a power, and an admirable virtue, 
which goeth along with the gospel for the changing of the heart. Now 
what a dangerous temptation is it when it cometh to you in word only! 
You hear of great things, but they have not their effect upon your 
hearts You meet with nothing but words and notions; nothing of 
this purifying and sanctifying virtue of the word by the Spirit of Christ. 
This must follow, either you settle in a cold form, which is practical 
atheism, and certainly produceth nothing of a divine spirit, or real 
inclination towards God and another world : 2 Tim. iii. 5, ' Having a 
form of godliness, but denying the power thereof ; ' or settle into an 
open denying of Christ and the excellency of his religion. The cold 
form may consist with the grossest sins, which is a practical denying 
of God ; or else you live in doubt and irresolution, and know not what 
to make of religion, which is a more secret denying of him. 

2. If you have not the practical experimental knowledge of Christ, 
how will you be able to carry on the spiritual life with any delight, 
seriousness, and success ? This appeareth by a serious view of that 
context which you have, 1 John v. 3-10. In the 3d verse he saith, 
' This is love, to keep his commandments, and his commandments 
are not grievous.' In the 10th verse, ' He that believeth on the Son 
hath the witness in himself.' How do we bring these together ? I 
answer By these propositions, all which are clear when you come to 
view that scripture. That the readiness of our obedience dependeth 
upon the fervency of our love, and the fervency of our love dependeth 
on the strength of our faith, which overcometh the world, the great 
impediment of obedience. The strength of our faith dependeth on the 
evidence of the object of our faith, which is, that Jesus is the Son of 
God, the Saviour of the world, the true Messiah and head of the church. 
The evidence of this dependeth on a double testimony without us, 
from heaven, and by somewhat within us, which is the testimony of 
water, blood, and Spirit ; and this testimony every sound and true 
believer hath in himself, and so loveth God and keepeth his command 
ments. Now judge you whether it doth not concern you to get an 
experimental knowledge of Christ, and whether you can carry on the 
spiritual life against the world, the devil, and the flesh, without it. 
Either you must suppose to meet with no temptations, or else that 
temptations will be vanquished by the evidence without us, without 
any experience of Christ in our own souls. The former is not likely; 
why else are we warned of enemies and assaults ? Not the latter, 
because our temptations to unbelief are many and strong ; for a guilty 


conscience is not easily settled, nor a man soon brought to trust one 
whom he hath wronged : sinning Adam is shy of God. Besides, the 
way of our deliverance is so strange and supernatural, that God should 
not spare his own Son, but give him up to die for us. Again, the main 
of our blessings lie in another world, and nature cannot easily look 
afar off ; and for the present we are afflicted, and seemingly forsaken ; 
and the duties of Christianity are so opposite to a carnal heart, which 
would fain be pleased with what is grateful to present sense ; besides, 
we have an opposition to that future and invisible felicity till grace doth 
overcome it. These and many more things which may be alleged 
would weaken our hands in duty, if we have not, besides the principles 
of faith and external confirmations, some experience in our own souls, 
to assure us that Christ is the Son of God, by his changing us into the 
divine nature. Surely that doctrine is of God which maketh poor 
creatures like unto God. This is more sensible and more affecting, as 
being more at hand. A soul that hath felt this power, findeth the 
wisdom, power, and goodness of God in it, whilst his conscience is 
quieted, heart changed, affections raised to heavenly things : you have 
a confirmation and testimony within you. 

3. Without this experimental knowledge of Christ you can have no 
assurance of your own interest. Though Christ died for sinners, yet 
many perish for ever. Our certainty and assurance ariseth from a 
work of the Spirit upon our own hearts, if we have felt the power of his 
resurrection, if we be risen with Christ. Our sincerity is a far more 
questionable thing than the truths of the gospel. The stamp of God 
upon the gospel is more plainly to be seen, whatever thoughts we have 
of it ; but our own case is more hard to be understood. But if Christ 
hath left his mark and impression upon us, if we be planted into the 
likeness of his death and life : Horn. vi. 4, 5, ' Therefore we are buried 
with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from 
the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in 
newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness 
of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.' If we 
be such in the world as he was in the world, we may have boldness : 1 
John iv. 17, ' Herein our love is made perfect, that we may have bold 
ness in the day of judgment ; because as he is, so are we in the world;' 
1 John ii. 6, ' He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also to 
walk even as he walked.' In short, if Christ hath taken us into the 
communion of his life and Spirit, there is no scruple to be made of our 
condition. The more you feel the power of his resurrection, you will 
have not only some doubtful and slight conjectures, but may assure 
your hearts before him that he hath loved you, and will be and is your 
Lord and Saviour. 

4. You will not honour Christianity, and cannot propagate it to others 
with such effect, as when you yourselves have had an experimental 
knowledge of Christ, of his graces and comforts. You cannot propa 
gate it either by word or deed. 

[1.] By word. You cannot recommend the heavenly life, nor the 
comforts of entertaining communion with God, as when you have had 
experience of them in your own souls. David speaketh affectionately, 
and like a man of experience : Ps. xxxiv. 8, ' Oh, taste and see that the 


Lord is good ; blessed is the man that trusteth in him.' You may the 
better invite them to Christ when you yourselves have found benefit by 
him. A report of a report at second or third hand is no valid testi 
mony ; none can speak with such warmth and confidence as those that 
have felt what they speak : 2 Cor. i. 4, ' Who comforteth us in all our 
tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any 
trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God/ 
They that speak feelingly and with a sense speak most effectually for 

[2.] In deed and work. You do most honour Christ when you know 
him, and the power of his resurrection, and by him are converted to 
God ; for though this power be within us, and be principally ordained 
for our comfort and satisfaction, yet the effects and fruits of it appear 
to others ; for the new life cannot be altogether hidden, if it be in us in 
any power, and so maketh up an inducement and invitation to others 
to hearken after the ways of God, when they see that God is in you 
of a truth, and the work of his Spirit showeth itself by a holy and 
heavenly life. This discovereth the power and virtue of Christ to 
them : 2 Thes. i. 11, 12, ' Wherefore also we pray for you, that God 
would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure 
of his goodness, and the work of faith with power : that the name o 
our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according 
to the grace of our God, and the Lord Jesus Christ ; ' 1 Thes. i. 4-7, 
' Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God : for our gospel 
came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy 
Ghost, and in much assurance ; as ye know what manner of men we 
were among you for your sakes. And ye became followers of us, and 
of the Lord, having received the word in much afHiction with joy in 
the Holy Ghost : so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in 
Macedonia and Achaia.' You sanctify God in their eyes, and glorify 
our Kedeerner. 

Means. It is the Spirit worketh all, as the fruit of electing grace : 
1 Thes. i. 4, 5, ' Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God : for 
our gospel came not to you in word only, but also in power, and in the 
Holy Ghost/ And also of redeeming grace, for it is the power o 
Christ's resurrection ; and the apostle telleth us that ' the exceeding 
greatness of his power to usward who believe was according to the 
working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he 
raised him from the dead,' Eph. i. 19, 20. We have it by the medi 
ator, yet we must use the means. Now the great means are three 
(1.) Sound belief; (2.) Serious meditation and consideration; (3.) 
Close application. If we would get this experimental knowledge, there 
must be 

[1.] A sound belief of the doctrine of the gospel ; for we are told, 1 
John v. 10, ' He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in 
himself ; ' which is the witness of the Spirit, and water, and blood : 1 
Thes. ii. 13, ' Ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, 
the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe/ 
We cannot feel the power of the truth till we receive the truth. It is 
the impression of God on the word which begets faith, but his impres 
sion upon our hearts serveth to confirm faith. We discern it in the 


scriptures before we feel it in our hearts, for this experimental know 
ledge of Christ is not to begin faith, but to strengthen it and confirm 
it. We first have a rational proof of the truth of the gospel before we 
have a sensible proof of it in our own souls. The word must be let 
into the heart by some means or other before it can discover its effects. 
There is enough in the truth to discover itself, if the mind be not 
strangely perverted : 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4, ' If our gospel be hid, it is hid to 
them that are lost ; in whom the god of this world hath blinded the 
minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel 
of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them.' Upon 
these grounds we believe, and afterwards feel what we do believe. 

2. Serious meditation and consideration is necessary. If there be 
not a sober and impartial consideration of the things believed as neces 
sary, they cannot work such a change on the heart and life, but will 
slide away and be ineffectual. Deep thoughts make truth operative ; 
musing maketh the fire burn : ' My heart is inditing a good matter ; 
my tongue is the pen of a ready writer/ Ps. xlv. 1. Men are biassed 
by contrary affections, and their hearts are hardened by carnal lusts ; 
therefore till grace softens them we shall be as a stone, or wax that is 
not softened ; they make no impression upon us. It is the great work 
of eternal grace to give us attentive and awakening thoughts : Acts xvi 
14, * Whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things 
that were spoken by Paul.' Many truths lie by, and are of no use for 
want of consideration. Serious thoughts of Christ and his salvation 
work most powerfully with us ; but most men are not at leisure, and 
have not time to think of God, and Christ, and heavenly things, and 
never sit alone to bethink themselves, and then how can these things 
work upon them ? They hear of Christ, his death, and resurrection ; 
but because things pass lightly away, they feel nothing. 

3. Close application. Things work not upon us at a distance, with 
out being applied ; as the plaster doth not cure till laid close to the 
wound. We ourselves must take home the truth if we would feel the 
virtue of it. The comfort and the mercy must be brought near to us 
that was before afar off and at a distance. While it remaineth in the 
conditional offer, it is as fair for others as for us, and for us as for others. 
But take it home : Rom. viii. 31, ' What shall we say to these things ? ' 
Job v. 27, ' Hear it, and know it for thy good.' Every particular 
person must look upon himself as concerned in the offer of Christ, ex 
cite his own heart to it, live in him, and receive his benefits. 

Use 2. Have we any experimental knowledge of Christ ? Do we 
know him, and the likeness of his death, and the power of his resurrec 
tion ? Search, but yet take these two cautions 

1. Look for experience in a way of sanctification and holiness rather 
than in a way of comfort and ravishing delight, for the one is not so 
necessary as the other. The Spirit may lay by his comforting office to 
promote his sanctifying work. God's interest is above your own, and 
the new nature is the greatest evidence. Consolation is not the highest 
and most necessary part of Christ's work. It is sin is the true cause 
of our trouble ; get that mortified, and you have an experience of Christ 
working in you. Your cure may be working, though you have not 
present ease. 


2. Look to the thing, not to the measure and degree. If the Spirit 
of God possesseth you, and ruleth you for God, and giveth you his 
nature and image, and inclineth you to God, there is a change, though 
not carried to such a degree. 

Doct. 2. One great point or part of the experimental knowledge of 
Christ is knowing the power of his resurrection. 

We have showed you before that the knowledge of Christ is not a 
slight and superficial knowledge, but such whereby we are made 
sensible of his power, to what ends he died and rose again. It is not a 
naked speculative knowledge. We know Christ aright when we feel 
his power, and have experience within ourselves of the things which we 

Now I must show you more particularly what is the power of his 

1. This power is the Lord's work in regeneration, whereby he bestow- 
eth upon us a new life, a spiritual life of grace ; for so it is explained : 
1 Peter i. 3, ' Hath begotten us to a lively hope, by the resurrection of 
Jesus Christ from the dead.' 

2. This new life is not only an obligation to live in all purity and 
holiness to the glory of God, but an inclination or a power to do so, 
because it is from the Spirit of Jesus ; for we live to God in the Spirit : 
* But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in 
you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall quicken your mortal 
bodies, by the Spirit that dwelleth in you,' Rom. viii. 11. The profes 
sion of the name of Christ, into which we are baptized, inferreth an 
obligation, but the actual indwelling of the Spirit in us implieth an 
inclination, power, or ability to walk with God in all newness of con 

3. This Spirit or renewing grace we receive from Christ : Titus iii. 
5, 6, ' By the renewing of the Holy Ghost, shed upon us abundantly 
through Jesus Christ our Lord.' We have it from Christ as the second 
Adam, or head of the new creation. Look, as the first Adam was by 
his sin the fountain cause of spiritual death, for ' in him all sinned,' 
Bom. v. 12, and through the merit of his sin we were deprived of original 
righteousness : Rom. v. 19, ' For as by one man's disobedience many 
were made sinners ; ' in place whereof an universal inclination to all evil 
succeeded : Gen. vi. 5, ' That every imagination of the thoughts of his 
heart was only evil continually ; ' and our own particular actual sins do lay 
uslower under the state of death, and make our deliverance more difficult : 
Jer. xiii. 23, ' Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his 
spots ? then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil ; ' so 
Jesus Christ is the beginning, root, and fountain cause of all the grace 
that we have ; he is the second Adam. 

4. This gift of the Spirit is procured for us by the intervention of 
Christ's merit and mediation, whereby he satisfied divine justice, and 
acquired those things which divine love and mercy had prepared for 
us. They were lost in Adam, but purchased by Christ, who was made 
a curse for us, ' that the blessing of Abraham might come on the 
gentiles through Jesus Christ, that we might receive the promise of the 
Spirit through faith,' Gal. iii. 13, 14. 

5. Though this Spirit and renewing grace were purchased by Christ's 
death, it is conveyed and applied to us with respect to his resurrection, 


and BO spoken of everywhere in scripture ; as here it is called, ' the 
power of his resurrection ; ' so it is said, Eph. ii. 5, ' He hath quickened 
us together with Christ.' Not at the same time in our own persons, for 
so we are quickened a long time after Christ's resurrection in our 
effectual calling ; but by the same power by which Christ was 
quickened and raised we are quickened and we are raised also, every 
one of us in his own time. Our head and lord was dead, but is now 
alive and liveth for ever, for that end and purpose. By his resurrec 
tion it appeareth that God is satisfied and appeased, death subdued and 
overcome, and Christ in a capacity, and exalted, to give us this new 
life, Acts v. 31. Christ rose ' as the first-fruits of the regenerate,' 1 
Cor. xv. 20 ; as ' the first-born from the dead,' Col. i. 18 ; ' The first- 
begotten of the dead,' Rev. i. 5. He rose by his own power to immor 
tality and life. So by the same power and virtue will he raise and 
quicken his members as the first-born among many brethren, and give 
the rest a share of the Father's goods. 

But more particularly, I shall show you how, by virtue of Christ's 
resurrection, Christians obtain the grace of a new life. [For this see 
sermon on 2 Corinthians v. 15.] 

Secondly, The fellowship of his sufferings, ' that I may be conform 
able to his death.' Here is the second privilege, conformity to the 
death of Christ ; so the apostle accounts it in this place. Here take 

1. Those that would be partakers of Christ must not fancy to them 
selves an easy life free from all sufferings, but such a condition as they 
may be conformable to the death of Christ : Horn. viii. 17, ' If so be 
that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.' We 
must be partakers of his sufferings if we would be partakers of his 
kingdom. If we be dead with him, and suffer with him, ' we shall also 
reign with him,' 2 Tim. ii. 12. The way to eternal salvation is to tread 
in Christ's steps, by the cross to come to the crown. 

2. These sufferings for Christ should not seem grievous to God's 
children, and they should be so far from shunning sufferings when God 
calleth them to it, or from any repining or heartless discouragement, 
that they ought rather to think it their glory, and their great honour and 
happiness ; for Paul reckoneth it among his advantages. And else 
where in scripture we are bidden to rejoice in it, if we suffer anything 
for Christ and his truth ; for indeed there is great comfort and joy to 
be had in suffering for him and with him in his mystical body. They 
that have tasted this sweetness count all things but loss and dung in 
comparison of it ; and so might we rejoice and be exceeding glad if we 
consult with the privileges of the Spirit rather than the interest of the 
flesh : James i. 2, ' Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations ; ' 
Mat. v. 11, 12, ' Blessed are you when men shall revile you, and persecute 
you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name's 
sake : rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven.' 

3. The two grand things which lighten all our afflictions and suf 
ferings for Christ are those mentioned in the text fellowship with him, 
and conformity to him. 

[1.] Fellowship with him, ' That I may know the fellowship of his 
sufferings ; ' 1 Peter iv. 13, ' But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers 
of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be 


glad also with exceeding joy.' How partakers of his sufferings ? He 
suffereth with them, and communicateth his Spirit, and that in a larger 
measure of comfort than to the rest of his people. As a special 
measure of wisdom and strength, so a more liberal allowance of sup 
ports and comforts : Col. i. 24, ' Who now rejoice in my sufferings for 
you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my 
flesh ; ' v<TT6pr)fj,aTa Xpia-rov, the leavings. The sufferings of Christians 
are the sufferings of Christ, and the filling up of his sufferings. Not as 
if his personal sufferings for the redemption of sinners were imperfect, 
and to be supplied by our sufferings ; that cannot be, for ' by one offering 
he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified ; ' but partly because 
such is the sympathy between Christ and believers, that their sufferings 
are his sufferings : Acts ix. 4, ' Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ? ' 
How persecute me ? Christ was far enough out of his reach, but he 
persecuted him in his members. When the toe is trod upon the tongue 
will cry out, You hurt me. And partly because so strict is the union 
which is between them and Christ, that he and they make up but one 
mystical Christ : 1 Cor. xii. 12, ' For as the body is one, and hath 
many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, 
are one body ; so also is Christ.' That is not Christ personal, but 
Christ mystical ; they are one ; he partaketh of their sufferings, and 
they of his Spirit. 

[2.] Conformity to Christ. We must be like him whom we have 
chosen for our head and chief. What do we with Christianity, if we 
refuse to be like Christ ? Horn. viii. 29, ' Whom he did foreknow he 
also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son ; ' to be 
holy as he was holy, and to be afflicted as he was afflicted : 2 Cor. iv. 
10, ' Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.' 
When name dieth, and interests die and languish, when we are scorned, 
reproached, despitefully used, we carry up and down the sufferings of 
Christ. Patient undergoing crosses for Christ is an evident resemblance 
of the cross of Christ ; this maketh us like Christians, yea, like Christ 
himself. And however this seem troublesome and disgraceful to those 
that are blinded with the delusions of the flesh, yet to a holy man and 
a believer this should make a bitter cross lovely, that thereby he may 
be more like his lord and master ; as the apostle, ' That I may be 
conformable to the death of Christ.' 

Use 1. Look for sufferings. Every member of Christ's body hath 
his allotted portion and share. The great wave of affliction did first 
beat upon Christ, and some drops will light upon us. The bitter cup 
goeth by course and round. Christ began and drank of it first, the 
apostles then standing by : John xviii. 8, ' If ye seek me, let these go.' 
But their course came next : 1 Cor. iv. 9, ' For I think that God hath 
set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death.' And thus 
it hath gone from hand to hand ever since. All are not made to drink 
it at once, that some still may be in capacity to pity, help, and sympa 
thise with others ; but we have all our course and turn. 

2. Propound to yourselves the pattern of Christ. It is a blessed 
thing to know by experience the sweetness and comfort which cometh 
by communion with Christ, and conformity to Christ in these sufferings. 
As Christ suffered, we must suffer ; as he died patiently, meekly, so 


must we bear whatever God will lay upon us ; as he had his consolation, 
so have we sweet comfort and support too ; as he had his glory, we 
must carry it so that we may be partakers of eternal glory by Christ,. 

and our sufferings have the same issue. 


If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 

PHIL. iii. 11. 

THE apostle in the context is reckoning up his gain by Christ. We 
have insisted on two grand privileges and benefits already justification 
and sanctification. This latter consisteth of two parts conformity to 
his life and death. The first ennobleth the creature to be admitted 
unto the life of God ; the other part seemingly depresseth the creature, 
the fellowship of his sufferings, and conformity to his death ; yet that 
is an honour too, and so should be valued and reckoned among other 
privileges ; partly because of its present use, as it helpeth to mortify 
sin, and deaden our affections to the world ; and partly because it is 
the way and means to our future advancement, and its respect to the 
third benefit, which is glorification. Our gain by Christ reacheth 
further than to anything within time. It accompanieth a man, and 
preserveth his dust in the grave until the last day, and maketh him a 
partaker of the glorious resurrection of the just. This last benefit, as 
the fruit of our closing with Christ, the apostle here represented, ' If 
by any means we may attain to the resurrection of the dead.' 
In the words observe 

1. The benefit to be obtained by Christ, ' The resurrection of the 

2. The submission of a self-denying believer, ' If by any means I 
might attain to it.' 

1. The benefit. How is this a great privilege, since there is a resur 
rection of the wicked? Acts xxiv. 15, * That there shall be a resur 
rection, both of the just and unjust.' But their resurrection shall be 
to condemnation : John v. 29, ' But they that have done evil, to the 
resurrection of damnation ; ' and so a fall rather than a resurrection. 
Therefore the faithful and the righteous are only called ' Children of 
the resurrection ; ' Luke xx. 36, Neither shall they die any more, for 
they are equal unto the angels, and are the children of God, being 
the children of the resurrection.' Not as if the other should not rise, 
but they shall not rise to glory. And Grotius observeth the word in the 
text is not avda-raa-is, but ^avacrraa^, to express that full and blessed 
resurrection which no death, no evil shall ever follow. Therefore by 
the ' resurrection of the dead' he understandeth that eternal life and 
blessedness which is consequent thereupon : Luke xiv. 14, ' And thou 
shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee ; for thou shalt be 
recompensed at the resurrection of the just.' 


2. The submission of a self-denying believer to use any means to 
obtain it : 'If by any means I may attain to the resurrection of the dead.' 
The words seem to express a doubtfulness, but indeed they do not. 
Paul was not doubtful of his particular interest : 2 Cor. v. 1, ' For we 
know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we 
have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the 
heavens/ Paul could not be doubtful whether by these means he 
might obtain a blessed resurrection, for there is no uncertainty or 
fallibility in God's promise ; why doth he then thus express himself? 

[1.] To intimate the difficulty, thereby to quicken his desire and 
diligence ; as if he had said, I know it is hard to come by this happy 
estate, but I resolve to pursue it by any means. It is a matter of great 
difficulty to attain to the glorious resurrection of the just, and have our 
portion in it ; but though it be a difficult thing, yet where the reality 
is believed, difficulties do but kindle desire and excite our diligence. 

[2.] To express the variety of the means, or the way by which God 
bringeth his people into glory. There is doing good, and suffering evil 
for his sake. Now whether it be by living to God or suffering for God, 
Paul submitted to both or either way ; and therefore this, ' If by any 
means,' must be referred to his exercising himself to godliness, implied 
in that expression, ' Knowing the power of his resurrection ; or his 
patient suffering for Christ, implied in this expression, ' The fellowship 
of his sufferings, and conformity to his death.' Holiness of life is not 
the only means, nor are the afflictions of the gospel the only means ; 
sometimes God will use both. Some may get through and escape to 
heaven without any remarkable afflictions, if they be of eminent holiness ; 
or if they have afflictions, yet they may get to heaven without perse 
cution, as in quiet times when the churches have rest : Luke ii. 29, 
' Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word/ 
Others with persecution, but not to effusion of blood : Heb. xii. 4, ' Ye 
have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin/ Some only suffer 
spoiling of goods : Heb. x. 34, ' And took joyfully the spoiling of your 
goods, knowing in yourselves that you have in heaven a better and 
enduring substance/ And others by plain and direct martyrdom : 
Rev. xii. 11, 'They loved not their lives unto the death/ Some have 
store of inward troubles, as Heman ; others not, but are exercised with 
outward crosses. 

[3.] To set forth his full submission. We must neither except one 
means nor another in bringing us to glory. We know not which way 
he will take, but we must submit to all, even to death itself : Luke 
xiv. 26, ' If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, 
and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life 
also, he cannot be my disciple/ 

[4.] His unwearied diligence and earnest endeavour to obtain this 
happiness whatever it cost him ; and therefore he resolveth to be any 
thing and do anything, if he might be happy at length. Though in 
the meantime we meet with many troubles and crosses, and are put 
upon duties displeasing to the flesh, yet we must not stick at any means 
to obtain so excellent an end. 

[5.] The value of this benefit, and his ardent and vehement desire 
to attain it. Paul did all things for the resurrection's sake, or that 


happiness to which the resurrection of the body is an introduction. 
He did rest satisfied with the hopes of eternal life, and that perfect 
holiness and felicity he should then enjoy, as a sufficient recompense 
for all his losses and labours, disgraces and troubles. The word is ' 
emphatical, el TTO? KaravTrjaa). The word avrqv, which we trans 
late ' attain,' signifieth to come to the place which is directly opposite 
to that we are now in. So is the state of glory to the present life ; 
here is misery, there is happiness ; here is sin, there is holiness ; here 
shame, there glory ; here labour, there rest ; here the cross, there the 
crown ; here the conflict, there the full and absolute conquest ; here 
the work, there the reward ; here absence from God, there for ever 
present with him ; here weakness, there perfection ; then all good is 
perfected, and all evil shall cease ; here we are capable of a dissolution, 
the body and soul may be severed, but there eternally united never 
to part more ; here God's children are scattered up and down, living 
in several places and ages of the world, there all God's family shall 
meet together in one great congregation. So that the resurrection of 
the dead is the mark we should aim at in the whole course of our lives, 
and we should say, ' If by any means ; ' as if he should say, I shall 
account it well with me, and that I am recompensed enough, if at length 
I shall attain the perfection and happiness of that blessed estate. 

Doct. That the blessedness of the saints at the general resurrection 
is so great, that we should be content to use any means, to run any 
hazards, so we might attain it. I shall show you 

1. What is the happiness of the saints in that day. 

2. Give you a short account of the means by which God bringeth 
us thither. 

3. Why we must submit to be guided by him in his own way to this 
glorious and blessed estate, or use any means that we may attain the 
resurrection of the dead. 

I. What is the happiness of the saints in that day. The blessedness 
is either subjective and inherent, or relative and adherent. 

1. Our personal inherent blessedness is glory revealed in us, Horn, 
viii. 18. Now this glory in us is a complete felicity in body and soul. 

[1.] The body hath its felicity, for several reasons ; partly 

(1.) Because the man cannot be happy till the body be raised again. 
The soul alone doth not constitute human nature, or that kind of 
creature which we call man ; the body is one essential part, which doth 
concur to the constitution of man, as well as the- soul ; therefore the 
eoul, though it be a spirit, and can live apart from the body, yet it was 
not to live apart for ever, but to live in the body ; and so remaineth a 
widow as it were, till the body be raised up and united to it ; for with 
out its mate and companion, it remaineth destitute of half itself, which 
though it may be born for a while, yet not for ever. The soul is wait 
ing to be sent again into the body ; and when the hour is come, what 
shall hinder ? There is a relative union, and a deep rooted love and 
inclination of .the soul to its body; so that it is mindful of it, and 
waiteth with longing when the command of God shall send it to 
receive the body. 

(2.) It is agreeable to the wisdom, justice, and goodness of God, that 
the body, which had its share in the work, should have its share in tlie 


reward. It is the body which is most gratified by sin, and the body 
which is most pained in obedience. What was it which was wearied 
arid tired, and endured all the labours and troubles of Christianity, but 
the body ? Therefore the body, which is the soul's sister and coheir, 
is to share with it in its eternal estate, whatever it be. Before the 
general resurrection, the wicked are but in part punished, and the godly 
in part rewarded : there is a time when God will deal with the whole 

(3.) The estate of those that die will not be worse than the state of 
those that are only changed at Christ's coming. Now their bodies are 
not destroyed, but perfected ; the substance is preserved, only it is 
renewed with new qualities. Now there would be a disparity among 
the glorified if some should have their bodies, others not. 

(4.) In the heavenly estate there are many objects which can only 
be discerned by our bodily senses ; as the human nature of Christ, the 
beams of the heavenly mansion wherein the blessed have their residence, 
with other the works of God, which certainly are offered to our con 
templation. Now if God find objects, he will find faculties. How 
shall we see else those things which are to be seen, or hear those things 
which are to be heard, unless we have bodies and bodily senses ? 

(5.) As Christ was taken into heaven, so shall we ; for we shall bear 
the image of the heavenly one. He carried no other flesh into heaven 
but what he assumed from the virgin. The very body which was 
carried in her womb, offered up as a sacrifice for sin, that very body 
was carried into heaven. Now this o-wyu-a T/}? Tfnreivdxrea)?, 'this 
vile body/ shall be likened unto Christ's glorious body, Phil. iii. 21. 
That body that is now subject to so many infirmities, which is harassed 
and worn out with labours, obnoxious to such pains and sufferings, 
even this body shall be likened unto his glorious body. This body 
shall be then immortal, free from all diseases, imperfections, and defects. 
It shall not be decayed with age, nor wasted with sickness, nor need 
the supplies of meat and drink to repair it, nor be subject to pains and 
aches, but remain for ever in an eternal spring of youth. And for 
clarity and brightness, it shall shine as the sun: 1 Cor. xv. 42-44, 
'So also is the resurrection of the dead ; it is sown in corruption, it is 
raised in incorruption : it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory : 
it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power : it is sown a natural body, 
it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a 
spiritual body.' In short, it is endowed with all the perfections a 
body is capable of ; but the greatest perfection is this, that it shall 
be united to a soul fully sanctified, that shall never use it as an instru 
ment of sin more. 

[2.] For the happiness of the soul, we shall be satisfied with the vision 
of God, and transformed into the likeness of God: 1 Cor. xiii. 12, 'For 
now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now I know 
in part, but then I shall know, even as also I am known ; ' 1 John iii. 2, 
' Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not appear what we 
shall be : but we know, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, 
for we shall see him as he is.' Our souls shall be naturally and graci 
ously perfected both in our faculties and qualities, and so firmly estab 
lished in a state of holiness as never to sin more, or to be in danger of 

VOL. xx. E 


sinning 1 again. We shall fully enjoy the vision of God, and by seeing 
be made like him. If specular vision transformeth us (2 Cor. iii. 18, 
' But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the 
Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as 
hy the Spirit of the Lord), much more the light of glory. We shall 
be filled with eternal joy and delight, and securely possess our eternal 
blessedness. The light of God's eternal favour shall shine upon us in 
its full strength, without cloud or night. 

2. Adherent privileges, justification, adoption, and redemption, they 
are all perfect. 

[1.] Justification. We are justified now as soon as we believe. We 
have a right by covenant to justification, but the solemn sentence is not 
passed. Then we have our absolution from our judge's mouth sitting 
upon the throne: Acts iii. 19,' That your sins may be blotted out, when 
the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord ; ' that 
is, our full and final justification, when sin shall never rise up in judg 
ment against us any more. 

[2.] Adoption. We have a right now : John i. 12, ' To as many as 
received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.' But 
the full fruition is hereafter : ' Now we are the sons of God ; but it 
doth not appear what we shall be ; ; Kom. viii. 23, ' Even we ourselves 
groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption 
of our body ; ' when God shall not only take us into his family, but 
his presence and palace ; not only give us a right, but the possession ;. 
not only some remote service and ministration, but everlastingly em 
ployed in loving, delighting, and praising God ; and the tokens of his 
fatherly affection to us are not only privately exhibited, but manifested 
before all the world. Then adoption is adoption indeed. 

[3.] Redemption. Therefore that day is called ' the day of redemp 
tion/ Eph. iv. 30, because then we are completely redeemed out of all 
misery, both of soul and body: Luke xxi. 28, 'Your redemption draweth 
nigh ; ' Eph. i. 14, ' Which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the 
redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory ; for 
then we are completely redeemed from all sin and misery, both in soul 
and body at once, when all tears shall be wiped from our eyes, sin and sor 
row no more. Christ is a saviour now, a redeemer now ; he hath saved 
us, and redeemed us from all evil as to the fulness of his merit ; yea, 
he is a redeemer now, a saviour now, as to partial application, when 
guilt is pardoned, and the power and reign of sin broken; but at 
death he is a more perfect saviour and redeemer, when we receive the 
salvation of our souls. Now the evils introduced by sin yet remain 
upon the body, but at death the last enemy is destroyed, and the 
effects of sin cease. 

II. The means by which God bringeth us thither. They may be 
referred to two heads : there is a way of holiness, and patient enduring 
the cross. In the general, it will cost us something to obtain it, for all 
excellent things are hard to come by ; in particular, that is by self- 
denial, both in the active and passive part of our obedience. Therefore 
the apostle, when he showeth what use we should make of the doc 
trine of the resurrection, he referreth all to these two heads : 1 Cor. xv. 
58, ' Wherefore, my beloved, be ye steadfast and immovable, always 


abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know your labour 
is not in vain in the Lord/ We ought to be steadfast and unshaken 
in afflictions, and we ought also to abound in the work of the Lord. 
Of the two, holiness is the most necessary and indispensable. God may 
bate some men suffering, but he never bated any man holiness ; for 
' no unclean thing shall enter there,' Rev. xxi. 27 ; and ' without holi 
ness no man shall see God,' Heb. xii. 14. There must be mortifica 
tion of sin, and there must be living to God. Besides, sufferings for 
religion without holiness are but a scabby sacrifice, and swine's blood 
offered to him, which are an abomination to the Lord. 

1. For the way of holiness, arid the active part of our obedience, 
that consists in two things dying to sin and living to God. 

[1.] Dying to sin. Certainly we must die unto sin ; we must ' crucify 
the flesh with the affections and lusts ; ' for if pride, worldliness, and 
sensuality live, we die ; for every one of these turneth us to another 
happiness, and we have our heaven elsewhere than in the habitation of 
the blessed : Luke xvi. 25, 'Son, in thy lifetime thou receivedst thy 
good things.' The pleasures, honours, and profits of the world, whilst 
we make these things our felicity and scope, we discharge God from 
giving us any other reward. The covetous have their portion in this 
world, and the voluptuous sell their birthright for one morsel of meat, 
and the ambitious and vainglorious are not contented with the honour 
which cometh from God only. We shall have pleasures enough, and 
riches enough, and honours enough, if we can be contented to tarry 
God's leisure, and will continue with patience in well-doing. But 
when we will be our own carvers, and set up sense instead of faith, and 
an imaginary and corrupting felicity instead of the real and sanctify 
ing felicity which is offered to us in the promises of the gospel, we can 
blame nothing but our perverse choice ; and no wonder if God deny 
to us the happiness we contemn. Flatter not yourselves ; there is no 
leaping from Delilah's lap into Abraham's bosom ; no hope to get to 
heaven at last, when all our care hath been to heap up treasure to our 
selves here in the world ; no such connection between vainglory and 
eternal glory, that after we have served the one, we should obtain the 
other. No ; the scripture is peremptory with us : Eom. viii. 13, 'If 
ye live after the flesh, ye shall die ; but if through the Spirit ye 
mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live ; ' Gal. vi. 8, ' He that soweth 
to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption ; but he that soweth to 
the spirit, shall of the spirit reap life everlasting.' If the world present 
to the flesh the bait, faith should show it the hook, and set our loss 
against our gain. God will not give us two heavens, here in our pas 
sage, and hereafter at the end of the journey. 

[2.] Living to God. None shall live with God but those that first 
live to God in a state of holy communion with him, and glorify him 
upon earth. The spiritual life is heaven begun : if it be begun, it will 
be perfected ; if not, we eternally miss of it. If we look for the resur 
rection of the dead, we must prepare for it by giving all diligence ' to 
be found of him in peace,' 2 Peter iii. 14, by watching and praying, 
that we may be ' counted worthy to stand before the Son of man,' Luke 
xxi. .36, that we may meet him with cheerfulness and confidence, not 
fear any evil from him : Acts xxiv. 15, 16, ' And have hope towards 


God, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just 
and the unjust. And herein do I exercise myself, to keep always a 
conscience void of offence toward God and toward men.' Surely it is 
no easy thing to attain to this blessedness, and therefore we must set 
ourselves if by any means to seek after it. 

2. As to passive obedience, this must be minded too, that so dying 
with him, and after his example, we may consequently obtain to rise 
with him to everlasting life. So great a good as eternal blessedness is 
to be sought, though with the communion of the sufferings of Christ. 

Now here I shall observe two things. 

[1.] That no suffering must be excepted out of our resignation. 
Though all that shall be happy do not suffer death for Christ (for all 
are not called to so great an honour), yet all must be ready to die for 
Christ ; for he is a Christian, and none but he, that can deny life itself 
for Christ's sake. I prove it, because when Christ would teach his 
disciples self-denial, he doth instance in this point, to put our self-denial 
to the trial : Mat. xvi. 25, ' He that saveth his life, shall lose it ; and 
he that loseth his life, shall save it.' Whether you love an immortal 
holy life with God, or else your fleshly and earthly life better. This is 
the great question to be resolved, whether you are heirs of heaven or 
hell ? The unsanctified may have some love to God, but not a love to 
him above their lives. But if you can, for the love of God, and the 
hopes of glory, submit even to death itself, this is the proof of your 
sincerity. Again, Luke xiv. 26, ' If any man come unto me, and hate 
not father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, 
yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.' You will think 
it is a note of excellency, and a commendable qualification of some few 
extraordinary saints. No ; it is that measure of saving grace which 
constituteth sincerity. Some may more willingly and readily lay down 
their life for Christ, but all must be contented to do so. If you think 
this is a hard saying, and who can bear it ? I answer 

(1.) There is no room for objections against so plain a word of Christ 
It is the wisdom of God, and not our reason, which disposeth the crown 
of life, and which way we shall obtain it ; and when Christ hath stated 
his terms, it is too late for the vote of man to think to bring down 
Christianity to a lower rate. 

(2.) This self-denial must be acted. When there is no way to escape 
such sufferings but by sinning, you must cheerfully lay down, not only 
all your interests, but your lives for Christ's sake. As those martyrs, 
Heb. xi. 35, ' They were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they 
might obtain a better resurrection.' When they might have been upon 
certain conditions freed from these cruel pains, they chose rather to 
suffer and die than accept of these conditions, being contrary to the 
laws of God. Why ? Because they looked for a resurrection to eternal 
life, that God would give them a glorious, immortal, blessed life, for 
a little miserable, short, and mortal breath, and would recompense 
their cruel pains with eternal pleasures. This will explain the apostle's 
expression, ' If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the 

III. The reasons why, rather than fail and miss of eternal. life, 
we must submit to any means which God hath appointed in this 


world, or for our trial doth put us upon in the course of his provi 

1. From the absolute dominion and prerogative of God, both to 
make laws and to put us upon what trials he pleaseth to appoint. He 
is our lord and sovereign, and therefore it is his wisdom, and not our 
reason, must determine by what we shall attain to that blessedness for 
which we were created. In his word he hath prescribed the duties, 
and hath reserved to himself a liberty in his providence to appoint our 
trials. To repine against his laws is to question his sovereignty : Ps. 
xii. 4, ' Who have said, With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are 
our own ; who is lord over us ? ' If we think to speak and do what 
we please, and as our affections and interests shall move us, we go 
about to disannul his authority, and question his right to govern. So 
also to murmur against his providence. He may do with his own as 
he listeth, Mat. xx. 15. Therefore we must submit to his sharpest 
dispensations, and be in perfect subjection to the Father of spirits, Heb. 
xii. 9. Our comforts, our lives, are not our own ; God, that doth 
require them, is absolute lord of them. If he cannot dispose of us 
and our comforts at his own pleasure, he is not, at least he is not owned 
as our lord and governor. 

2. From the temper of his goverment, or the mitigation of his 
sovereignty, which he observeth in all his dealings with his people. 
God is an absolute sovereign, and giveth no account of his matters ; 
therefore we must acquiesce in his laws and providences, though we 
know not the reasons of them. Yet his sovereignty in the exercise of it 
is always mitigated, and made sweet to us by his wisdom, power, and 
goodness, as to the case in hand. For his laws, they are holy, just, 
and good ; there is no modelling and bringing them down to our humours 
and fancies, but they must stand as they are, being built on eternal 
equity, and commending themselves by their own evidence to our con 

But for his providential dispensations 

[1.] There is much wisdom in them : for he doth not call us to any 
eminent act of self-denial till we are prepared for it, sufficiently enlight 
ened and confirmed, before we are called tosuffer for the truth, or upon the 
hopes of glory. As Jacob drove as the little ones were able to bear, 
so doth God lay upon his people no more than they are able to bear, 
1 Cor. x. 13. His castles are well victualled before they are besieged ; 
first enlightened, then afflicted : Heb. x. 32, ' After ye were illuminated, 
ye endured a great fight of affliction ; ' Gen. xxii. 1, ' After these things 
God did tempt Abraham.' After solemn assurances of his love, then 
he put him upon offering up Isaac. So he deals proportionably with 
all his children. Their afflictions are according to their strength, and 
the degree and measure of grace received. 

[2.] From the power of God. We have no reason to be discouraged in 
his service. God can deliver you from hard trials by forbearing to call 
you to them, and restraining the rage of enemies by delivering out of 
their hands by his almighty power ; only it is your duty to resolve to 
be obedient to him, whether he will deliver you or no, and make a way 
for your escape. This was the resolution of the three children : Dan. 
iii. 17, 18, ' We are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be 


so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery 
furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, king : but if not, 
\>e it known unto thee, king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor 
worship thy golden image which thou hast set up.' So Paul : Acts 
xx. 22, 24, ' And now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not 
knowing the things that shall befall me there : but none of these 
things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so I may 
finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the 
Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.' We must be posi- 
tive|in our duty, but refer it to God to determine of our lot. If the worst 
come to the worst, he is able to support us : 2 Tim. iv. 17, 18, ' I was 
delivered out of the mouth of the lion ; and the Lord shall deliver me 
from every evil work, and preserve me to his heavenly kingdom.' It 
becometh not the servants of Go*d to be tender of the interests of the 
flesh, if they will be kept blameless to his heavenly kingdom. 

[3.] There is relief in his goodness too, who doth extraordinarily 
support, assist, and comfort his suffering servants in all their conflicts 
and trials : 1 Peter iv. 14, ' If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, 
happy are ye ; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.' 
Cordials are for a fainting time ; and his people in sufferings have a 
more liberal allowance of his supporting presence, a sweeter taste of 
his love : Rom. v. 5, ' The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts.' 
Clearer hopes of glory than others have. All the saints of God are in 
a way to glory, but his suffering saints are in the nearest way ; yea, they 
have a reward above the common reward, for those that come out of 
tribulation wash their garments white in the blood of the Lamb, and are 
admitted to stand before the throne, Kev. vii. 13, 14. Now since these 
things are so, we may be contented by any means to attain unto the 
resurrection of the dead. 

3. The great difficulty lieth, not in a respect to the end, but the 
means ; and so the trial of our sincerity must be rather looked for 
there. There is some difficulty about the end, to convince men of an 
unseen felicity, but the greatest difficulty is to convert them from 
worldly vanities, and to draw them to seek after it. We have a 
quick ear for offers of happiness, but we snuff at the troublesome 
conditions of duty, and obedience, and entire subjection to God. All 
would attain to the blessed resurrection, but they do not come to this, 
'If by any means/ Balaam could say, 'Let me die the death of 
the righteous, and let my latter end be like his,' Num. xxiii. 10 ; but 
he loved the wages of unrighteousness. If th6 wicked are said to 
despise eternal happiness, it is not simply as happiness, nor eternal ; 
they like happiness well enough, for they love themselves, and would 
be happy ; nor as eternal, for man, that lost the right object of his 
desires, hath not lost the vastness of them ; he would be happy for ever, 
but it is not in conjunction with the means. Thus the Israelites 
despised the pleasant land, and 'murmured in their tents,' Ps. cxvi. 
24, 25. What ailed them ? The land was a good land, a most fruit 
ful possession ; but when the spies brought back word, as of the great 
fertility of the land, so of the giantly strength and stature of the 
people and their fortifications, they thought God had deluded them, 
and resolved to give over the pursuit of Canaan. Canaan was not 


thought worthy of the pains and difficulties to be sustained in going 
towards it. So it is in the case of heaven. Heaven is a good place, but 
out of indulgence to the ease of the flesh, and because of the strictness 
of holy walking, and the difficulties of obedience, we give over the pur 
suit after heaven. Therefore if we would be sincere, we must submit 
to any means prescribed or required. 

4. The hope propounded will bear this submission, and so the 
reason of the thing showeth it. Immortal happiness is most desirable, 
and endless misery is most terrible. This world is vanity, and hath 
nothing in it worthy to be compared with the hopes which Christ hath 
given us of a better life ; therefore upon due deliberation we must 
resolve to let go all that is inconsistent with these hopes. I say, this 
hope will bear all the costs we lay out upon it. 

Keason will teach us two things (1.) To submit to lesser evils to 
avoid a greater ; (2.) To undergo a lesser evil to obtain a greater 
good ; and both are in the present case. 

[1.] To submit to a lesser evil to avoid a greater. You escape at a 
dear rate when you must sin to escape any trouble in the world. You 
run into eternal sufferings that you may avoid temporal. No fire like 
the fire of hell. Christ says, Luke xii. 4, 5, ' Be not afraid of them 
that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do : but 
I will forewarn you whom you shall fear, Fear him, which after he hath 
killed, hath power to cast into hell ; I say unto you, Fear him.' Farce 
imperator, tu carcerem, ille Gehennam Excuse me, sir ; you threaten 
me only with a prison, but he with hell. It is better for a man to 
suffer the most cruel punishments, and the worst of torments which 
man can inflict, than to lie under extreme everlasting pains and the 
loss of heaven. This is the case here. 

[2.] To undergo a lesser evil to obtain a greater good than that evil 
depriveth us of. This is another head of reasoning the scripture uses 
in this case : Kom. viii. 18, ' For I reckon that the sufferings of this 
present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall 
be revealed in us ; ' 2 Cor. iv. 17, ' For our light affliction, which is but 
for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight 
of glory.' The pain and suffering will be short ; within a little time 
you will feel it no more than if it had never been ; and if pain be 
remembered, it will be only to increase our joy. 

Use 1. Let us not sit down contented with a worldly portion and 
happiness. There is another state to be enjoyed after the resurrection. 
This you must seek after, and propound to yourselves as your great 
nd and scope. This life was not intended to be the place of our per 
fection, but a preparation to it. God led his people out of Egypt, not 
to keep them in the wilderness, but to carry them through the wilder 
ness into Canaan. The world was intended for our passage, but 
heaven for our home ; carry yourselves then as strangers and pilgrims, 
Heb. xi. 13, seeking for the city of God, where you may dwell for ever. 
You come to renew this profession in the Lord's supper. The Israel 
ites in their first passover stood in the posture of pilgrims, with their 
loins girt, and their shoes on their feet, and their staff in their hands, 
Exod. xii. 11 ; so must we be, in the course and frame of our souls, 
pilgrims seeking a heavenly country. The ordinances are our songs in 
the house of our pilgrimage. 


Use 2. Let us seek after this happiness without sticking at any 
difficulties either in active or passive obedience. 

1. In active obedience. We must renounce all the pleasures of 
sense, how near and dear to us soever they be : Mat. v. 29, 30, ' If thy 
right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee ; for it is profit 
able for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy 
whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend 
thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee ; for it is profitable for thee that 
one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should 
be cast into hell.' Certainly the damage of sin is more considerable 
than the delight ; the honey will not countervail the sting. If you be 
men and women of pleasure, how do you keep down the body ? 1 Cor. 
ix. 27. Oh, what kind of hearts have they who prefer every vain 
delight and wanton pleasure before the honour of Christ and the glory 
of the world to come ! cannot leave a vain speech, a new-fangled 
fashion, deny themselves in anything ! Is this submitting to any means ? 
So also for any strict duty. Heaven is at the back of it, and that 
should sweeten it to us. If it cost you labour, it is for the meat that 
endureth for ever. Work out your salvation. 

2. In our passive obedience. We are uncertain what changes we 
may see; it is past our skill to understand the methods of providence. 
We know not what God will do with us ; but whatsoever he doth, you 
must say, ' If by any means I might attain the resurrection of the dead.' 
If we never suffer, we must be sure to have a heart to suffer if God call 
us to it. You may be saved without suffering, yet not without a heart 
that is willing to suffer, if God put you upon it : Acts xxi. 13, ' I am 
ready, not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name 
of the Lord Jesus.' We must be ready. Some cannot suffer a scoff, 
a frown, or a scorn. This part also doth much concern us in the Lord's 
supper ; because 

[I.] Here we renew our belief of the promise of eternal life : John 
vi. 39, 40, ' And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of 
all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it 
up at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every 
one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting 
life ; and I will raise him up at the last day.' Christ hath engaged his 
fidelity to take charge of our very dust, and to gather it up again, and 
to give a good account of it at the last day, and raise it up in glory. 
Our death and rotting in the grave doth not make void his interest, 
nor cause his affection to cease. Though we die, Christ is still living, 
and under this obligation to God, and engaged to us by his promise to 
us, and inclined by his love to receive our dead bodies. 

[2.] Here we come to make application of Christ : John vi. 54, 
' Whosoever eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life, 
and I will raise him up at the last day.' A sincere application of Christ 
begins that life which shall be perfected by the vision and fruition of 
God, and he will raise us up that we may enjoy the perfection of it. 

[3.] Here we come to bind ourselves by any means to seek after this 
life, to make a full resignation to give up ourselves to be what God 
would have us to be, and to do what God would have us to do. 

[4.] Here we come to get that peace which may enable us to en- 


counter all troubles which may befall us in our way to heaven : Eph. 
vi. 15, ' Having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of 
peace.' No going to heaven without this shoe. When the quarrel is 
taken up between God and us, we can the better bear the frowns of the 
world. He calleth it the ' gospel of peace,' because it mainly dependeth 
on the terms of grace revealed to us in the gospel or new covenant. 
The law discovereth the enmity and breach, but the gospel discovereth 
that peace and friendship may be had. He calleth it the ' preparation,' 
because this peace breedeth a firmness and resolution to go through all 
difficulties, and hardships, and crosses : Acts xxi. 13, ' I am ready, 
not only to be bound, but to die at Jerusalem ; ' 1 Peter iii. 15, ' And 
be ready to give an answer to every man of the hope that is in thee/ 
The peace renewed between God and sinners breedeth a resolution to 
hold on our way to heaven, not broken with crosses and continual 

Use 3. When we are actually tried we must do four things 

1. Be sure you do not ask counsel of the flesh ; that will prompt us 
to present ease. The voice of it is, Favour thyself, love the present 
world. Ease is pleasing to flesh and blood. We are all by nature 
addicted to sensuality, or the gratifying of the senses ; to say with 
Issachar, Gen. xlix. 15, ' That rest is good.' 

2. Get a right esteem of this world : 1 Cor. vii. 29, ' The fashion of 
the world passeth away.' It is momentary and fading, and can never 
give us full content. 

3. Look not to the state in which we are, but to that to which we 
are a-going. God is preparing us for this felicity. And set faith, 
hope and love a- work. 

[1.] Faith, to see it as present. We have it in the promise, though 
not in possession : Heb. xi. 1, ' Faith is the substance of things hoped 
for, the evidence of things not seen.' You see not the world to come 
that you are passing to, but faith believeth the reality of it. 

[2.] Hope, which is an earnest expectation, a looking joined with 
waiting : 1 Peter i. 13, ' Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and 
hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the 
revelation of Jesus Christ ; ' Titus ii. 13, ' Looking for the blessed 
hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour 
Jesus Christ/ Think often what you must be and do and possess for 

[3.] Love. All your looking to the reward must be mixed with a 
love to God, that there may be longing as well as looking. Our 
spiritual joys consist in a holy love and fruition of God. This is that 
we desire and value : Phil. i. 23, ' Having a desire to depart, and to be 
with Christ, which is far better.' To be with Christ is best of all : 2 
Cor. v. 6, ' Knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are 
absent from the Lord.' It is love must incline us heavenward, to long 
after the fruition of him whom we love, that we may see him, and 
enjoy him, and be ever present with him. 

4. By all means labour to get and maintain the assurance of your 
title : 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at 
that day ; and not to me only, but unto them also that love his- 


appearing.' Now this is gotten by doing rather than searching. It 
is sin that wonndeth conscience, and wasteth comfort, and grieveth the 
spirit of adoption, by which we ' are sealed to the day of redemption/ 
Eph. iv. 30. But it is holiness, and faithful obedience, and diligence 
in the heavenly life, that you may keep up your assurance in vigour : 
Heb. vi. 11, 'And we desire that every one of you do show the same 
diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end/ When we grow 
slothful and remiss, desertions follow to our great discomfort, but our 
certainty is maintained by watchfulness and diligence : Acts xx. 24, 
* But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto 
myself, so that I might finish my course with joy.' He went bound 
in the spirit to Jerusalem. He had a call, but knew not fully what the 
issue would be, whether to die at Jerusalem or no ; that bonds and 
afflictions abide me, but I make no reckoning of any such thing : 1 
Thes. iii. 3, ' That no man should be moved by these afflictions; for 
yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.' A Christian should 
be of such a temper, that out of the hope of eternity he should not be 
greatly moved with any temporal things. 


as though I had already attained, either were already perfect ; 
but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for ivhich also I 
am apprehended of Christ Jesus. PHIL. iii. 12. 

PAUL having spoken much of his self-denial for Christ, would not be 
misinterpreted, as if there remained no more to be done by him. No ; his 
race was not yet finished, nor yet had he taken hold of the crown, which 
conquerors in those races were wont to do, from some high place 
where it was hung and fixed : ' Not as though I had already attained.' 
In the words we have 

1. A disclaiming of present perfection. 

2. An earnest endeavour to attain it for the future. 

3. The reason of his diligence and earnestness ; he was ' apprehended 
of Jesus Christ ' for this end. 

1. A disclaiming or denial of present perfection, in two expressions, 
proper to agonistical matters. They had their Olympian, Nemean, 
Isthmian, and Pythian games, which were the same for nature, only 
the place differed. Their usual exercises were wrestling, running and 
the like. 

[1.] ' Not as though I had already attained.' It is an agonistical 
word put for receiving the reward due to the conqueror. In the races 
there was a crown of leaves generally set over the goal, that he that 
came thither foremost might catch it and carry it away with him : 1 
-Cor. ix 24, ' One receiveth the prize.' So 1 Tim. vi. 12, ' Take hold 
of eternal life.' So here, oi>x on ijSr) eXafiov, I have not yet catched 
the crown from the top of the goal. 


[2.] ' Or were already perfect.' This also is an agonistical word, 
its Faber proveth at large. Though the runner was to catch at the 
urown, and seize upon it as his right, yet the eX\avoSiKat, the judges, 
did first interpose their judgment before he could put it on his head, 
and when he received the crown from them, he was judged as a perfect 
wrestler and racer. The word ' perfect,' as applied to racing, was 
sometimes used of their strength, and sometimes of their reward. Of 
their strength and agility, having passed the agonistical exercises, 2 Cor. 
xiii. 9, ' For we are glad when we are weak, and ye are strong ; and 
this also we wish, even your perfection ; ' that is, it would be matter 
of joy to him to see them strong and able to run the spiritual race. 
Sometimes of their reward, that when the crown was adjudged to them, 
or that they had done worthily, the more excellent of the racers had the 
more excellent rewards : ra Te\eia rot? reXetot? SiSopeva, saith Philo, 
which were called perfect rewards or crowns. Well, then, Paul had 
not yet gotten his crown, but was as the racer in the pursuit, in the 
way running as hard as he could, that at length he might possibly 
catch and receive that prize, the crown of eternal life. That he was 
not yet in heaven was evident, and needed not be so earnestly asserted ; 
therefore the meaning is, that though he were in the way to glory, yet 
further difficulties remained ; and though his estate were so far secured 
as to exclude diffidence and doubting, yet not so as to exclude caution 
and diligence ; he had not ended his race so as to catch the crown, or 
receive it from the hand of the judges. Though he were now in prison 
at Rome, yet some time of living remained, and some further diffi 
culties to be undergone. He speaketh at another rate, 2 Tim. iv. 
7, 8, ' I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have 
kept the faith ; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of right 
eousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day, 
and not to me only, but unto them also that love his appearing.' 

2. An earnest endeavour for the future : ' But I follow after it that 
I may apprehend,' StavoB. I run as hard as I can, pursuing and 
striving to overtake, with as great desire and diligence in that exercise, 
when he was behind another; so though he had not attained his 
crown, yet he would not slacken his diligence till he did attain : ' If I 
may apprehend,' el teat /caraXa/ScD, that at length he might take hold 
of it. ' If I may apprehend,' to exclude security, and to keep on his 
earnest pursuit by any means. 

3. The reason of his diligence : ' That for which also I am appre 
hended of Christ Jesus.' Christ's apprehending may be also inter 
preted in the agonistical sense. Instead of the crown, he apprehendeth 
us ; for we are his joy, his rejoicing, his crown, if we hold out unto the 
-end. Now we are apprehended by him 

[1.] In effectual calling, as he puts us upon this race, or inclineth 
us to this course of life. Paul was apprehended by Christ whet 
persecuting the church, and running into destruction ; then he con 
verted him, possessed him by his Spirit, thinking of no such matter, 
posting quite another way. When an enemy, he took hold of him, 
converted him, inclined him, fitted him for this race, that he might ob 
tain everlasting glory. 

[2.] By constant support ; for having apprehended us, he still 


upholdeth us. We are on his hands, and he doth influence, animate, 
draw, and strengthen us in this race, as concerned in it, that he may 
not lose the fruit of his own agonies. By his constant influence we 
are strengthened and quickened till we come to the goal. 

Doct. 1. That God's best children, however assured of their good 
estate, yet till their race be ended, cannot look upon themselves as 
quite out of danger. 

Doct. 2. Whatever degrees are already attained, we must press to 
wards perfection. 

Doct. 3. That Christ's apprehending us for the obtaining the end of 
the spiritual race is a great encouragement to us to go on still. 

For the first point, that none of God's children, however assured, can 
look upon themselves as past all danger till their race be ended. 

.1 will prove to you two things 

1. That God's eminent servants may have assurance. 

2. That they are not to look upon themselves as quite out of all danger 
till their race be ended. 

I. That God's eminent servants may have assurance of their sincerity 
and good estate before God. So had Paul ; he asserteth it all along, 
as we have seen. They may have assurance of their present grace, for 
Paul looketh upon himself as in the race ; and of their final persever 
ance, for he was apprehended of Christ, that he might at length touch 
the goal and obtain the reward, to excite his desire and diligence : they 
may, I say, have assurance in these cases. 

1. When grace is not small and indiscernible, but in some degree- 
of eminency, it may be discerned. When grace is weak and small, and 
doth not discover itself in any eminent and self-denying acts, it is not 
noted and observed, but where it is in some degree of eminency, it may 
be discerned. As in Phineas, because he was zealous for God, Ps. 
cvi. 31, ' That was accounted to him for righteousness ; ' it was accepted 
by God as a testimony of his holiness. Surely great things are more 
liable to sense and feeling than little ; a staff is sooner found than a 
needle. Some stars are so small that they are scarce seen. A strong 
faith, a fervent love, and a lively hope will soon discover themselves. 
It is hard to think that the soul should be a stranger to its own opera 
tions ; though some lesser inconsiderable action may escape us for want 
of advertency, yet we know, and others about us know our ' work of 
faith and labour of love.' 

2. It is eminent when this grace is not in their hearts, as a sleepy 
habit or buried seed, but in continual act : 1 Thes. i. 3, ' I remem 
bering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and 
patience of hope ; ' Gal. v. 6, ' For in Christ Jesus neither circum 
cision nor uncircumcision availeth anything, but faith that worketh by 
love.' They that keep grace in lively exercise seldom doubt of the truth 
of it. The sap is not seen, but apples will appear upon the tree. 

3. When they blot not their evidences by frequent interruptions of 
the spiritual life, and so many sins as others do, which make their sin 
cerity questionable. Though it be hard to state what sins are, and what 
are not consistent with grace, yet though conscience be not observant 
of our particular actions, or be confounded by them, yet the course, 
drift, and tenor of our lives cannot be hidden from it. A man in a 


journey doth not count his steps, yet ohserveth his way. When a man 
mindeth the business of going to heaven in good earnest : Phil. iii. 20, 
* But our conversation is in heaven ; ' and of approving himself to God 
in his whole course : 2 Cor. i. 12, ' But our rejoicing is this, the testi 
mony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with 
fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation 
in the world ; ' 2 Cor. v. 9, ' Wherefore we labour, that whether present 
or absent, we may be accepted of him.' Surely a man may know his 
drift and scope. 

4. They have assurance, because they have the spirit of adoption in 
a more eminent degree. All God's children have it : Gal. iv. 6, ' And 
because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his son into your 
hearts, crying, Abba, Father ; ' Eph. i. 13, 14, ' In whom ye also trusted, 
after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation ; in whom 
also, after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, 
which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the pur 
chased possession, unto the praise of his glory.' But much more they 
that do more eminently live in the Spirit, and walk in the Spirit. In 
some the Spirit discovereth himself only in childlike groans ; they feel 
little of childlike joy and confidence. Surely they find the Spirit a 
comforter who least grieve him. 

5. They have a more abundant sense of the love of God and his rich 
mercies in Christ. 

[1.] By long acquaintance with him : Job xxii. 21, 'Acquaint thyself 
with God, and be at peace, and thereby good shall come unto thee.' 

[2.] By frequent converse with him in the word and prayer : 1 Peter 
ii. 3, ' If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious ; ' Eph. iii. 12, ' In 
whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of 

[3.] By the experiences of their afflictions : Horn. v. 3-5, ' And not 
only so, but we glory in tribulation, as knowing that tribulation work- 
th patience ; and patience, experience ; and experience, hope : and 
hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in 
our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us ; ' Heb. xii. 11, 
' Now no chastening for the present seemeth joyous but grievous : 
Nevertheless afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness 
unto them that are exercised thereby.' 

[4.] By those rewards of obedience which belong to God's internal 
government, God's hiding or manifesting his favour to his people. 
Now a close walker hath many of these experiences : John xiv. 21, 23, 
'He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that 
loveth me and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and 
I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. If any man love me, 
he will keep my words ; and my Father will love him, and we will come 
unto him, and make our abode with him.' They have more of sensible 
consolation. Now all these tastes of the love of God conduce to 
establish the soul in holy security and peace. 

6. The change wrought in them by grace is most sensible, and 
plainly to be discovered. They may see a manifest difference between 
them and themselves. Their minds are changed : Eph. v. 8, ' Ye were 
sometimes darkness, but are now light in the Lord.' They have 


another sight of things, of sin, God, Christ, and heaven. So Paul 
here : Phil. iii. 7, ' What things were gain to me, I counted loss for 
Christ.' Their hearts are changed; they love what they formerly 
hated, and, on the contrary, they esteem and choose what they formerly 
slighted : Phil. iii. 8, ' Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss for 
the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord ; for whom 
I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, 
that I may win Christ' Their lives are changed : .2 Cor. v. 17, ' If 
any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things are passed away, 
behold, all things are become new.' And there is a difference between 
them and others : 1 John v. 19, ' And we know that we are of God, 
and the whole world lieth in wickedness.' There is somewhat of this 
in all, but in them the change is more notorious and sensible; whereaa 
others cannot so easily interpret their sincerity. 

[1.] This is not spoken to infringe the doctrine of the saints' persever 
ance. No ; far be it from me or you to think so ; for ' none can pluck 
them out of Christ's hands/ John x. 28. They are safe in the love and 
care of Christ, and have his power engaged for their preservation. 
None can unclasp those mutual embraces of love by which Christ 
holdeth them, and they hold Christ: Rom. viii. 39, 'Nor height nor 
depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love 
of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.' Yet we must not thence 
conclude that we have no more care to take, nor danger to be afraid of, 
or no more to do as necessary to salvation. We have still more work 
to do, and we have still to encounter new difficulties and dangers till 
we are in heaven, and much care and diligence is required at our hands 
in the use of all appointed means, much exercise of faith, and love, and 
hope ; for by these means doth Christ preserve us in a state of holiness 
and obedience : 1 Peter i. 5, ' Who are kept by the power of God 
through faith unto salvation ; ' 2 Peter i. 10, ' Give diligence to make 
your calling and election sure : for if you do these things, you shall 
never fall.' 

[2.] Neither is this spoken to hinder the comfort and encouragement 
which ariseth from the application of this doctrine. The belief of per 
severance in the general is one thing, and the belief of my perseverance 
is another. That is not so evident and certain every way as the doc 
trine itself ; for my own sincerity is more questionable than the truth of 
God's promise : conclusio sequitur debiliorem partem the conclusion 
follows the weaker part. It is certain that ' he that believeth in Christ 
hath eternal life and shall not come into condemnation/ John v. 24 ; 
because it is a truth revealed in the word of God. Amen, the faithful 
witness, hath assured us of it. But I am a true believer ; this may be 
certain and evidenced to me by such real arguments and grounds of 
confidence as I have no reason to doubt of it ; yet it depending upon 
spiritual sense and experience, it is not so unquestionably certain as the 
word of God is. Therefore this being the limiting proposition, the con 
clusion can bear no more weight than this proposition hath truth in it. 
Therefore while I am but making out my claim, as I am doing through 
out the whole course of my life; though there be no uncertainty in the 
case, yet since there is no difficulty in the case, I may, and must say 
with the apostle, ' I press on if I may apprehend ; ' yet while I am 


labouring, and striving, and persevering in my faith, love, and obedi 
ence, I may encourage myself in the love, faithfulness, and power of 
God to keep me as he hath kept me hitherto, and that he will preserve 
me in all difficulties and temptations : 1 Cor. i. 9, ' God is faithful, by 
whom ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;' 
1 Thes. v. 23, 24, ' And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly : 
and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body may be preserved 
blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he- 
that hath called you, who also will do it.' 

II. Yet they cannot look upon themselves as quite out of all danger, 
and past all care and holy solicitude. We are not yet out of gun 
shot till we come to the end of our race, and are conquerors over all 


1. Because there is no period put to our duty but life ; and it is not 
enough to begin with God, but we must go on in his way till we come 
home to him. We must not give over working till we obtain our 
reward : Heb. iii. 6, 14, ' But Christ as a son over his own house, 
whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of our 
hope firm unto the end. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we 
hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end ; ' Heb. vi. 
11, ' And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence, 
to the full assurance of hope unto the end.' These places show we 
have not done our work till we have done our lives. We must not 
give over running in the race till we obtain the prize. Though we are 
translated from death to life, we are not translated from earth to- 
heaven ; and therefore you must work, and ' work out your salvation "* 
with fear and trembling,' Phil. ii. 12. 

2. During our lives upon earth there is somewhat yet more to do, 
and something yet more to suffer ; some lust to conquer, some grace to 
strengthen. Paul was not perfect. 

[1.] Sin is slowly weakened, and never perfectly subdued. There is 
a continual conflict between the flesh and the spirit : Gal. v. 17, ' For 
the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh ; and 
these are contrary one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things 
that ye would.' The leading and commanding faculties of the soul do 
but imperfectly lead and command ; and the faculties that should be 
commanded and led do but imperfectly obey, yea, often rebel, being 
put into a distemper by the senses. Now there is danger in a kingdom, 
where there is a feeble empire, and rebellious subjects. 

[2.] There are continual oppositions from the devil and the world, 
whereby the weak measure of grace present is often interrupted. As 
sin within disturbeth it, so Satan and the world incessantly assault it. 
Therefore* we must not give over watching till Satan give over tempting, 
nor striving till the world give over opposing. Well, many a storm 
and tempest you must expect, and possibly you may be put upon 
stranger trials than any yet you have undergone. Therefore, if hitherto 
you have forsaken all and followed Christ, you must follow him to the 
end. Temptations will haunt you to the last hour of your lives ; there 
fore you must watch and pray that you fall not by these temptations, 
Mat. xxvi. 41. The danger is not over whilst you are in the way. 


3. Some have ' left their first love/ Kev. ii. 4, have fainted in the 
race before they came to the goal : Gal. v. 7, ' Ye did run well ; who 
hindered you ? ' Men that have made long profession of the name of 
Christ may find a great abatement of their integrity in their latter days: 
2 Chron. xvii. 3, ' Jehoshaphat walked in the first ways of his father 
David.' In his latter time he fell into scandalous sins, partly through 
the suggestions of Satan. An importunate suitor may at length pre 
vail by his perseverance in his suit. Long conversing with the world, 
and objects to which we are accustomed, taint the mind. Worldliness 
formerly hated may creep in. A deformed object is most odious at 
first sight, afterward it is more reconciled to our thoughts. Indwelling 
in, long restrained, may break out again ; as roses snipt in summer 
bud in winter. A man, upon the supposition that he hath grace, and 
is possessed of the love of God, may grow negligent, and thinketh there 
needeth not such diligence as when he was doubtful. 

4. The nature of the assurance is to exclude fear, which hath 
torment ; but not the fear of caution and diligence ; for so, ' Blessed is 
he that feareth always/ Prov. xxviii. 14 ; and 'we must pass the whole 
time of our sojourning here in fear/ 1 Peter i. 17. We need not retain 
the same doubting perplexities and fears of God's displeasure, but we 
must retain a fear of sinning, and be much more in the love of God 
and his service than ever we were before. So that this assurance, if it 
foe right, doth increase our diligence and watchfulness, and make us 
more obedient, holy, and fruitful towards God. We are never so 
thankful, humble, and heavenly as when we do most certainly look for 

Use 1. To show us the difference between carnal security and solid 
assurance of our good estate before God. There are many differences, 
but it will not suit with my purpose to pursue all. 

1. There is a difference in the grounds ; the one is a slight presump 
tion of the end without the means, the other goeth upon solid evidences: 
1 John iii. 19, ' Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall 
assure our hearts before him.' The one buildeth upon a sandy foun 
dation, the other upon a rock. 

2. They differ in the effects: the one benumbeth the conscience 
into a stupid, quiet, and lazy peace ; the other reviveth the conscience, 
and filleth it with joy and peace in believing : Rom. xv. 13, ' Now the 
God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may 
abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.' With joy and 
peace in obeying : 2 Cor. i. 12, ' For our rejoicing is this, the testimony 
of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not in fleshly 
wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the 
world/ With joy and peace in suffering : 1 Peter i. 8, ' Though now 
in tribulation, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.' 

3. They differ in the way, how either is gotten, or how maintained. 
Foolish presumption costs a man nothing ; like a mushroom, it grow- 
eth up in a night, or like Jonah's gourd. We did not labour for it ; 
it came upon men they know not how nor why. The less such men 
xercise themselves unto godliness, the more confident. A serious 
exercising of grace would discover their unsounduess. A peace that 
groweth upon us we know not how, and is better kept by negligence 


than diligence, is not right. We may say to them, How earnest thou. 
by it so soon, my son ? Men leap into it upon slight grounds ; hut a 
true assurance is gotten with diligence, and kept with watchfulness. 

[1.] It is gotten with diligence. The scripture everywhere calls for 
it, when it persuades us to look after so great a benefit. And surely 
the counsel of the Holy Ghost is not to be despised : 2 Peter i. 10, 
' Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure ; ' Heb. vi. 
11, ' That ye show forth the same diligence to the full assurance of 
hope to the end,' 2 Peter iii. 14, ' Be diligent, that you may be found 
of him in peace, without spot and blameless/ Now see after all this 
warning if the comforts of the Spirit will drop into the rnouth of the 
lazy soul. If you neglect your duty, your sense of your interest will 
abate. God withdraweth his comforts to awaken his children and 
quicken them to their duty. 

[2.] It is kept with watchfulness. The scripture is plentiful ic 
warnings of that nature. See some places: Heb. iv. 1, ' Let us there 
fore fear lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of 
you should seem to come short of it.' The more confident we are of 
the promise, the more should our caution increase : Heb. xii. 28, 29, 
* Wherefore, we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have 
grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly 
fear : for our God is a consuming fire ;' 1 Cor. x. 12, ' Wherefore let 
him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.' The fear of 
caution doth not weaken assurance, but guard it. And therefore if 
men be confident of salvation, and gather some ill consequence of it, that 
tendeth to security and remitting of their watchfulness and care, surely 
their assurance is not right ; that is, if they be bolder with sin, if they 
stretch conscience, omit some of the more painful and costly duties, 
take more fleshly liberty and ease, and say, Now I am a child of 
God, out of danger, and therefore need not be so strict and diligent ; 
these think themselves something when they are nothing. 


Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect ; but I 
follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am 
apprehended of Christ Jesus. PHIL. iii. 12. 

USE 2. Is to teach us three duties which are to be observed to the very 
last diligence, watchfulness, and self-denial. 

1. Diligence. The race is not ended as soon as begun ; it is a race 
from earth to heaven by the way of holiness. New converts are carried 
on with a great deal of affection and zeal, and make a swift progress at 
first, but flag and faint afterwards. Therefore you must renew your 
resolutions for God and heaven. There is many a corruption yet to 
resist and conquer, many a temptation to overcome, and much necessary 
work to do, and you received life from Christ to do it. How much is 

VOL. xx. F 


all that you have done already beneath your duty, beneath the majesty 
of God whom you serve in the spirit, beneath the precious love of Christ, 
which should both incline and oblige you to live more to him ; beneath 
the promises and advantages you have by grace for your growth and 
increase ; beneath the weight and worth of endless glory into which yon 
are entering ! And therefore you should be best at last, from good 
grow better, and the nearer to enjoyment, be the more earnest in your 
motions, and the more confidence of obtaining, the more abounding in 
the work of the Lord. 

2. Be not secure, but use all caution and watchfulness that you 
miscarry not. Man is a very changeable creature, therefore we should 
always stand upon our guard ; considering 

[1.] The course of temptations may be altered ; the devil doth not 
always play the same game ; as it is said of Joab, 1 Kings ii. 28, he 
' turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom.' A man 
may withstand one kind of brunt, yet fail in another. Every new 
condition brings new snares : Hosea vii. 8, ' Ephraim is a cake not 
turned ; ' that is, baked but of one side. The children of God prosper 
ous differ from the children of God afflicted : Phil. iv. 12, ' I know 
both how to be abased, and I know how to abound ; everywhere and 
in all things I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to 
abound and to suffer need.' Age hath its weaknesses and frailties as 
well as youth. 

[2.] Corruptions are sometimes strangely disguised. A man may 
withstand open enemies, yet fail by the insinuations of those who have 
a show of godliness : 1 Kings xiii. 4, 19, the man of God withstood 
the king, but was overcome by the old prophet. We read in history 
of some that lost their limbs in defence of the truth under pagan per 
secutions, but after made shipwreck of the faith by errors. Many with 
stand violence, bear it out well in a storm, yet are soon deluded and 
turned out of the way. 

[3.] There is danger after suffering. Many suffer many things for 
the truth who after make foul defection from God ; they may suffer a 
while upon the example of others ; their particular interest is wrapt up 
in the public applause which sufferers for the truth receive from the 
lovers of truth, and that will make even hypocrites suffer much. Yea, 
continued sufferings may make the soul faint for the present time ; the 
best, being left to themselves in the hour of temptation, may shrink, 
and without continual aid from heaven will dishonour God and them 
selves. No experience from heaven, no experience of former joy and 
sweetness which they have found in the way of truth, nor their former 
sufferings, will make them adhere to it. 

[4.] Where there seemeth to be least danger there is many times 
most cause of fear. Lot, that was chaste in Sodom, miscarried by 
incest in the mountains, where was none but his own family. 

[5.] When conscience is cast asleep, a child of God may fall into 
grievous sins. David's heart smote him when he cut off the lap of 
Saul's garment, yet fell into uncleanness and blood, and lieth asleep in 
it for a long time, till Nathan the prophet roused him up. Who would 
have thought that such a tender conscience could ever have been so 
charmed ? But the conscience of a child of God may be strangely 


deadened and laid by for a time, even after he hath passed over the 
terrors of the law, and gotten some peace and confidence. 

3. Continual self-denial ; if you have suffered for Christ, you must 
suffer still, that you may not lose your cost: Gal. iii. 4, 'Have you 
suffered so many things in vain ? ' They are lost as to anything you 
can expect from God. If you have ministered to the saints, you must 
minister: Heb. vi. 10, 11, ' For God is not unrighteous to forget your 
work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in 
that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire 
that every one of you do show the same diligence, to the full assurance 
of hope to the end.' If you have mortified and subdued the flesh, you 
must mortify and subdue it more and more, that you may not be cast 
aways : 1 Cor. ix. 27, ' But I keep under my body, and bring it into 
subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I 
myself should be a castaway ; ' as those are who begin in the Spirit and 
end in the flesh : 2 Thes. iii. 6, 7, ' Now we command you, brethren, 
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves 
from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition 
received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us ; for 
we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you.' If you have endured 
afflictions, you must endure still : Col. i. 11, ' Strengthened with all 
might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and long- 
suffering with joyfulness.' The danger is not over whilst you are yet 
in the way. Take heed of miscarrying in the haven, and falling at 

Doct. 2. That whatsoever degrees we have already attained, we 
must press forward to perfection. 

As Paul laboured hard after it, so should we all in the sense of our 
defects, and endeavour a constant progress. 


1. By this our title is assured. All that will be saved must eithef 
be perfect or labour after perfection. Perfect none can be, but all 
must labour after perfection, or else they are not sincere, and so far 
labour as to be ashamed of defects in holiness, and mourn over them, 
Horn. vii. Certainly we must not allow ourselves in them ; still striv 
ing after more, and making further progress every day : Mat. v. 48, 
' Be ye therefore perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.' 
Christians are called to perfection, though they cannot fully attain to 
it in this life. Many after they have gotten such a measure of grace 
whereby they think they may be assured they are in a state of grace, 
never look further, but set up their rest ; think that hereafter God will 
make them perfect when they die. Oh, consider, here is the time of 
growth. Corn doth not grow in the barn, but in the field. Besides, 
they hazard their claim of sincerity who do not aim at perfection ; for 
where there is true grace there will be a desire of the greatest perfec 
tion. As a small seed will seek to grow up into a tree, and there will 
be trouble about the relics of sin and grief, that they can serve God no 
more perfectly. 

2. By this our hearts are more prepared in this life for our happiness. 
The more holy and heavenly we grow, the more meet : Col. i. 12, 
4 Who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints 


in light.' We are remotely fitted by regeneration : 2 Cor. v. 5, ' Now 
he that hath wrought us to this self-same thing is God, who also hath 
given us the earnest of the Spirit.' But next and immediately by growth 
and increase of grace : 1 John iii. 3, ' He that hath this hope in him 
purifieth himself as Christ is pure.' He purifieth himself more and more: 
Kom. ix. 23, 24, ' And that he might make known the riches of his glory 
on the vessels of mercy, which he hath afore prepared unto glory, 
even us whom he called : not of the Jews only, but of the gentiles.' 

3. By this our glory and blessedness are increased. The best graces 
have a more honourable crown ; for according to the degrees of grace, 
so will our glory be. Every vessel is filled according to its capacity ; 
they that are growing here have more in heaven. Glory and blessed 
ness standeth in communion with God and conformity to him, or the 
vision and full fruition of God : Ps. xvii. 15, ' As for me, I will behold 
thy face in righteousness : I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy 
likeness ; ' 1 John iii. 2, ' But we know that when he shall appear we 
shall be like him ; for we shall see him as he is.' Now the more holy 
we are, the more suited to this happiness, and therefore have larger 
measures of it ; if purity of heart be necessary to see God, to enjoy 
communion with God now, as unquestionably it is : Mat. v. 8, ' Blessed 
are the pure in heart, for they shall see God ;' 1 John i. 7, 'If we walk 
in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.' 
It is unreasonable to imagine that clarified souls have no more fruition 
of God than those who have only grace enough to make a hard shift 
to go to heaven. Sicut se habet simpliciter ad simpliciter, ita magis 
ad magis. If holiness fits to see God, and without it we cannot see 
him, so a little holiness fits to take in a little of God ; and the more of 
holiness the more of God ; and there is the same reason for aiming 
at the degree as at the thing, heaven being the perfection of holiness. 
If you do not desire more degrees, you do not desire heaven itself. 

Use. Is to persuade us to get ground in our race, which we do as our 
title is more assured by self-denying obedience. 

1. Our end will bear it, to see God and enjoy God : 1 Thes. ii. 12, 
' That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you to his king 
dom and glory.' How much is this better than all those worldly things 
upon which we lay out our labour and diligence ? 

2. The glory of God requireth it. Less grace may serve for our 
safety than our comfort ; for our comfort than the glory of God : 
John xv. 8, ' Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit ; 
so shall ye be my disciples.' Your hearts will never serve you to do 
any excellent things for God in the world, but you will betray his 
honour upon all occasions by your weaknesses and infirmities. God 
hath most honour from the strong and fruitful Christian, who produces 
the genuine fruits of godliness, and produces them in such plenty that 
God is mightily honoured by them : Mat. v. 16, ' Let your light so 
shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your 
Father which is in heaven.' By your zeal, constancy, and fidelity 
in your relations. Meekness, patience, strictness, and heavenly- 
mindedness. But if our lives be filled with sensuality, pride, envy, 
malice, wherein do you differ from the ungodly world but only in the 
name, and some little grace buried under a heap of sin ? 


3. The notion of grace implieth it. You must not only begin it, but 
continue it till you come to the goal. Besides your entrance into 
Christianity, there must be a progress. There is a gate, and a way, 
Mat. vii. 14. Will you always keep at the door and entrance ? It is 
not enough to begin, but we must finish in the way of mortification, 
heavenly-mindedness, self-denial : Prov. iv. 18, ' The path of the just is 
as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day ; ' Ps. 
Ixxxiv. 7, 'They go from strength to strength ; ' 2 Cor. iv. 16, ' But though 
our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.' 

Now there is requisite to this 

[1.] A strong faith, or a deep sense of the world to come : Heb. x. 
39, ' But we are not of them who draw back to perdition, but of them 
that believe to the saving of the soul.' 

[2.] A fervent love, levelling and directing all our actions to God's 
glory : 2 Cor. v. 14, 15, ' For the love of Christ constraineth us ; 
because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead : 
and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth 
live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose 

[3.] A lively hope, quickening and strengthening our resolutions for 
God and the world to come : 1 Peter i. 13, 'Wherefore gird up the 
loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is 
to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.' In short, a 
faith that we may believe the gospel with an assent so strong as con 
stantly to adhere to the duties prescribed, and to venture all upon the 
hopes offered therein ; a hope so strong that the heart be so set upon 
glory to come, that present things do not greatly move us, whether the 
delights or terrors of sense ; such a love arising out of the sense of our 
obligations to God, and a value and esteem of his grace, that we do 
with all readiness of mind and delight, with frequency and constancy, 
continue in the obedience of his will, seeking his glory. 

Doct. 3. That it is a great encouragement in the spiritual race that 
Christ apprehended us for this end and scope, that we may apprehend 
the crown of eternal life. 

Christ's apprehending of us implieth 

1. That any motion towards that which is spiritually good proceedeth 
first and wholly from Christ. He apprehendeth us before we can 
apprehend him ; his person, ways, benefits, but especially our eternal 
rewards. We have from him beginning and progress ; he is the 
author and finisher ; he first layeth hold upon us, when we were dead 
in trespasses and sins, by his grace, and still upholdeth us by his grace. 
He puts us into the heavenly race ; for till Christ changeth us we 
take up with things next at hand. A blinded unbelieving sinner can 
not see afar off, till the spirit of wisdom and revelation open his eyes : 
Eph. i. 17, 18, ' That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father ot 
glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the 
knowledge of him : the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, 
that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches 
of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.' Nor will he regard 
heavenly things, nor set his heart on another world, nor lay up his hopes 
in heaven, and forsake all the things he seeth for that God and glory 


which he never saw. He slighteth the offer ; his heart is shut up 
against it till God open it : Acts xvi. 14, ' Whose heart the Lord 
opened, so that she attended to the things spoken by Paul.' Christ's 
apprehending us in effectual calling is by a work on the will and 
understanding ; till Christ open our eyes and turn our hearts, and 
instead of sensual and worldly, make them spiritual and heavenly : 
Acts xxvi. 18, ' To open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to 
light, and from the power of Satan unto God.' We disregard these 
things till our understandings be cleared ; have neither sight nor sense 
of the world to come, will not let go present advantages for heavenly 
hopes : 1 Cor. ii. 14, ' But the natural man receiveth not the things of the 
Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him ; neither can he know 
them, because they are spiritually discerned ; ' Prov. xxiii. 4, ' Labour 
not to be rich ; cease from thine own understanding.' Till the heart be 
turned our affections are prepossessed, till Christ puts us in the race. 

2. Christ's apprehending us implieth a motion on our part, a sub 
ordinate operation ; for he infuseth a new life, which we receive from 
Christ, to use it and live by it.' There is a vital power, whereby we are 
made to stir ourselves in a way of holiness, for thereby we are fitted for 
operations becoming the new creature enabled and inclined ; and so the 
power of God and the liberty of man do sweetly consist together. 
Where God is said to create in us a new heart, he is also said to give 
us a free spirit, Ps. li. 10, 13. Where we are said to be ' God's work 
manship in Christ Jesus ; ' we are said ' To walk in them,' Eph. ii. 10. 
Where he is said to ' take away the heart of stone, and to give us an 
heart of flesh,' there it is said, ' I will cause you to walk in my statutes,' 
Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27 ; 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18, ' Where the Spirit of the Lord 
is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass 
the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to 
glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.' God first worketh on us, and 
then by us. God's work is first, ours subordinate : Cant. i. 4, ' Draw 
me, we will run after thee ; ' Ps. cxix. 32, 'I will walk at liberty, when 
thou shalt enlarge my heart.' We are ' transformed by the renewing 
of our minds, but so as to prove what is that good, that acceptable 
and perfect will of the Lord," Rom. xii. 2. Well, then, having such 
a spirit, and power, and principle of life, with which the rest of the 
world are not acquainted, let us press forward. 

3. The tendency of this life infused is to be considered by us, which 
is to God and heaven. Converting grace draweth and bendeth the 
soul to its end and rest, that we may grow more divine and heavenly ; 
for you are so far sanctified as you are divine and heavenly. 

[1.] Divine : 2 Peter i. 4, ' Whereby are given unto us exceeding 
great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of 
the divine nature.' So that we are or should be still growing, breath 
ing, and reaching forth after God, seeking after him, longing to be with 
him, to be rid of sin, to see his blessed face, and to live in his perfect 
love, praising him to all eternity. As the seed is working through the 
dry clods, so doth this principle of grace ; it tendeth toward God, that 
it may have more enjoyment of God in conformity to him, and be more 
perfectly subject to him, and never grieve him nor dishonour him more. 
In the world there is not sufficient to answer the desires and expecta- 


tions of the new creature. Two things the heart looketh for as soon 
as it is changed by grace perfect enjoyment of God, and perfect con 
formity and subjection to him, that he may be with God, and free from 
sin. For this Paul groans : Horn. viii. 23, ' Even we ourselves groan 
within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of 
our bodies.' 

[2.] Heavenly ; that we may live in heaven above the earth, and our 
hearts may be above with God as our happiness. The heart is suited 
to that exceeding glory promised us in the gospel, that we may affect 
it, care for it, fix it as our scope and home, travel toward it with all 
zeal and diligence. Well, then, if the first grace do in some measure 
incline us to seek this happiness with God above as our treasure, hope, 
.and home, as the chief matter of our desires and joys, then we are appre 
hended by Christ ; for none but illuminated souls can discern this glory, 
none but the sanctified soul is inclined to it: Col. iii. 1-3, 'If ye then 
be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ 
sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, 
not on things of the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with 
Christ in God ; ' 2 Cor. i. 12, ' For our rejoicing is this, the testimony 
of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly 
wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the 

4. Christ having apprehended us, still keepeth us in his own hands, 
and will not fail us, but stand by us in the race in which he hath set 
us ; for that we have from him beginning and progress. He is the 
author and finisher of our faith ; having laid hold upon us by convert 
ing grace, he still upholdeth us by his confirming grace ; and having 
begun life, maintaineth it by a constant influence. His divine manu- 
tenency is often spoken of in scripture ; so that besides our care, and 
watchfulness, and incessant labour, we receive a new life, vigour, and 
assistance from Christ. 

Use. Is to press us to answer Christ's apprehension of us by an exact, 
resolved, diligent pursuit of eternal life, that only will declare that we 
are apprehended by Christ, that we may be guided by him to the 
land of promise. 

I shall give you two motives 

1. Think often of our great obligation to Christ for the great love 
he hath showed us in our calling and conversion ; that he apprehended 
you in your sins, called you with a holy calling, gave you some taste 
of his graciousness in the pardoning of your sins, acquainted you with 
his great and distinguishing love. And is this to be answered with a 
cold obedience ? Christ snatched you from the furnace of hell as brands 
plucked out of the burning ; you have just cause to bless God to all 
eternity for making you new creatures, living members of Christ. But 
wherefore did he make you new creatures, but that at length he might 
perfect the work begun ? 

2. Consider how Christ is interested in your preservation. He had 
his race and his agonies : Heb. xii. 1,2,' Let us run with patience the 
race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of 
our faith ; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, 
despised the shame, and is now at the right hand of the throne of God.' 


The 'joy before him ' was principally eternal glory, for which end he 
apprehended us. That is not all ; we are his crown, his joy, a church 
of holy believers: Isa. liii. 10, 11, 'When thou shalt make his soul an 
offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and 
the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of 
the travail of his soul, and be satisfied : by his knowledge shall my 
righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities.' A 
numerous seed, these are called his ' purchased possession,' Eph. i. 14. 
He had this in his eye as his crown and the reward of his sufferings : 
Ps. ii. 3, ' Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheri 
tance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession ; ' given 
him as a recompense of his humiliation. 

This consideration giveth you a double advantage 
[1.] It assureth you of his willingness and readiness to assist and 
help you to the end of the race; for Christ will not lose his own crown, 
if believers be his crown and rejoicing. 

[2.] Our Saviour Christ hath given an example of enduring the 
highest afflictions in this world. Of faith ; he hath led us as a cap 
tain. Let us lay aside our worldly love, and fear and obey him, for he 
will be sure to crown all those that follow him. 


Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing 

I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth 

toward those things which are before, I press toward the mark, 

for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ. PHIL. 

iii. 13, 14. 

IN the words observe two things 

1. The imperfection acknowledged, 'Brethren, I count not myself 
to have apprehended.' 

2. His eager desire and endeavour after perfection asserted, 'But 
this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reach 
ing forth toward those things that are before.' 

I begin with the first general branch, an humble acknowledgment 
of his imperfection renewed. He had said in the former verse ' Not 
as though I had already attained, or were already perfect ; ' now he 
repeateth it again, 'Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended.' 

This he saith for his own sake, and for the sake of the Philippians. 

[1.] For his own sake ; to keep himself humble, and solicitous about 
so much of his duty as was yet behind. The meaning is not, I am 
not yet in heaven. Who knoweth not that, or doubted of that ? Surely 
that needeth not to be disclaimed by this double denial. Nor doth he 
mean thereby as if he had not a present right to eternal life. We have 
a right at conversion, but yet this right to salvation is not full till all 
be ended. It is continued and confirmed by our perseverance in well- 


doing. Paul's meaning is, that though he had done and suffered many 
things for Christ, yet there were more labours and difficulties to be 
undergone. He had not done all which was necessary. 

[2.] This he speaketh for the sake of the Philippians, to expel out of 
them that conceit of perfection which they might foster and cherish in 
themselves, as if, as soon as they were converted to the gospel, all 
danger were over, either of deceit by error, or defection in point of 
practice. No ; he telleth them he had not that which they boasted 
of ; he was not yet come to the goal ; he needed to do and suffer more 
things before he could obtain the prize. 

Doct. They that have made the furthest progress in Christianity are* 
usually most sensible of their own imperfections. 

The reasons of the point. 

1. In respect of grace. 

[1.] Because as grace increaseth, light increaseth, and so they are 
more sensible of defects. Novices, who know little, are most apt to 
be puffed up : 1 Tim. iii. 6, ' Not a novice, lest being lifted up with 
pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil.' A man newly 
acquainted with religion looketh but to few things, and his knowledge 
is very indistinct and imperfect ; and therefore, looking not into the 
breadth of religion, they are conceited of those few obvious truths 
which they understand, as if they knew all that is necessary to be 
known ; as smatterers in learning are most conceited of their learning, 
because they have not knowledge enough to discover their ignorance. 
Plutarch recorded the saying of one Manedemus, that young men* 
when they came to study at Athens they were ao$oi ; after they had 
studied a little more, only <t\6<ro<o4 ; but the more they studied, 
prjTopes, had some notions, could prattle of things, but not understand 
them ; but afterwards found themselves yueo/jot, fools ; as they studied 
deeper in learning, they knew this only, that they knew nothing. So 
it is in spiritual things. Who more confident than young professors ? 
But as their knowledge increaseth, they see every day more need of 
the apostle's direction, ' Be not wise in thine own conceit.' In a clear 
glass the least mote is soon espied. They discern many remainders 
of pride, hypocrisy, worldliness, 'besides their latent corruptions, which 
they knew not before ; and their hasty confidence is soon routed, and 
they see a need of establishing themselves in the hope of the gospel 
upon surer terms. 

[2.] As grace increaseth, their love to God is increased, and so they 
hate sin more. Love begets a tenderness ; as the spiritual life in- 
cveaseth, so doth spiritual sense. The least sin goeth to their very 
souls, which maketh them to think viler of themselves than ever 
before. We have but a gross sense of sin at first, because we know 
but a few things, prize ourselves by some sensitive expressions of lova 
to God, or external conformity to his laws ; but as we look into the 
breadth of the commandment, make conscience of a thorough con 
formity to the will of God, we are more sensible how much we come 
short of that purity, and holiness, and exactness which the law of God 
requireth, and do more sorely and bitterly complain of the relics of 
sin dwelling in us : Eom. vii. 18, ' I know that in me, that is, in my 
flesh, dwelleth no good thing ; for to will is present with me, but how 


to perform that which is good, I find not ; ' and ver. 24, ' wretched 
man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? ' 
The increase of light showeth sin to be more than we thought it to be, 
and the increase of love maketh it to be more a burden to us. Look, 
as in the body, the better the constitution, the more sensible of pain ; 
eo in the soul, the more thoroughly the heart is set to please God, the 
more grievous is sin to them. 

[3.] The longer they live, the more experience they have, and that 
maketh them wise and provident, that they are not so confident and 
venturous as others ; they have more experience of the craft and 
subtlety of Satan, who easily surpriseth unwary souls : 2 Cor. ii. 11, 
' Lest Satan should get an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of 
his devices.' They know the rocks upon which they are apt to split 
themselves ; what advantage he maketh of their passions and affec 
tions, and not only of their natural and carnal affections, but some 
times of their religious affections. If they will be sorry for sin, he 
will tempt them to an over-grief, that they may be swallowed up of 
sorrow. He would turn their zeal to a furious zeal, that it shall 
exceed the measure of the cause, or offend in its object. How is a 
child of God or a disciple of Christ sometimes made Satan's instru 
ment ? Mat. xvi. 23, ' Get thee behind me, Satan.' Therefore these 
things make them more wary and watchful than younger Christians, 
who fall as a ready prey into the mouth of the tempter. 

2. Because of the world. This flattering tempting world, whose 
delights often tempt them from God, holiness, and heaven, they have 
proved it, and tried it to be ' vanity and vexation of spirit' at the last 
When the apostle had differenced Christians by their several ages and 
degrees of growth, he adviseth all, 1 John ii. 15, 16, ' Love not the 
world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the 
world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the 
world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, 
is not of the Father, but is of the world.' All Christians must take 
heed of the world, but none are so likely to do so as those that have 
smarted for their carnal complacency. They find that the world is 
more an enemy when it smileth than when it frowneth ; that the 
profits of it are a greater snare than the losses, the pleasure than the 
pains, and the honours than the disgraces ; that the pomp and vanities 
of the world do easily tempt them to forget God and their souls, 
death and judgment, heaven and hell. The seasoned Christian will 
be more humble and watchful than the inexperienced. 

3. Because of themselves ; the longer they live, the more they are 
acquainted with themselves. You would think it strange that two 
men should intimately converse together for twenty, or thirty, or forty 
years, and all this while should not know one another. But it is 
much more strange that a man should live so long and not know him 
self, not know his own heart. Too frequently is this so, because most 
men fly themselves, shun themselves, run away from themselves, never 
commune with their own hearts. But you cannot imagine a man to 
be godly and serious, but he will use frequent observation, and ' ponder 
the path of his feet,' Prov. iv. 26 ; and as one that hath eyes in his 
head will consider what he doth, and that upon every weighty matter 


he will use self-communings, and self-reflections : Ps. iv. 4, ' Stand in 
awe, and sin not ; commune with your own hearts upon your beds, 
and be still.' His duties will often call upon him to examine himself, 
if he goeth about them conscientiously : 1 Cor. xi. 28, ' Let a man 
examine himself, and so let him eat of this bread, and drink of this 
cup.' If he omitteth it, God will remember hirn by many a sharp 
providence, and put him necessarily upon an inquiry into his state and 
ways : Lam. iii. 4, ' Let us search and try our ways, and turn to the 
Lord.' Surely this is a duty necessary, and upon solemn occasions 
indispensable. Now can a man be observant of his course, and 
seriously examine and consider what he has been before conversion, 
what he is after grace received, how much he cometh short of his 
obligations to God, of his advantages by Christ ; how much he liveth 
beneath the provisions appointed for his growth and increase, and 
beneath the worth and weight of endless glory which he hopeth for ; 
but he must be base in his own eyes, and have a higher sense of his 
sinfulness than others have, and so bemoan and bewail himself for his 
defects, and see that he hath not attained to the height of perfection 
which Christians should aim at ? 

4. By frequent commerce with God they know more of God, and so 
more of themselves. A godly man hath much to do with that majesty 
and perfection which continually aweth him, and keepeth him humble : 
Job xlii. 5, 6, ' I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear ; but 
now my eye seeth thee : wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust 
and ashes.' When he had an apparition of God, it affected him more 
than all the hearsay knowledge which he had of God before. We see 
our wants in God's fulness ; the ocean maketh us ashamed of our 
-drop. We see our vileness in God's majesty ; what is the balance- 
dust to the great mountain, our impurity and sinfulness to God's 
holiness, our nothingness to his all-sufficiency ? All the creatures are 
nothing but what God maketh them, and continueth them to be every 
moment. In his supremacy and dominion we see the right that he 
hath in us to command us as he pleaseth, and so may condemn ourselves 
for our non-subjection to him. In his beneficence and goodness, we 
understand more of our obligation to him : the more we think of his 
majesty and greatness, every service we perform seemeth low and 
mean ; we cannot satisfy ourselves in it, as being much beneath the 
greatness of God. Certainly sin is more grievous to every one that 
hath seen God, 3 John 11. Elijah wrapped his face in a mantle when 
God's glory passed before him, 1 Kings xix. 13 , and Isaiah crieth out, 
' Woe is me, for I am undone ; I am a man of polluted lips, and I 
dwell among a people of polluted lips,' Isa. vi. 5. The more large and 
comprehensive thoughts we have of God, the more shall we humble 
ourselves for our own imperfection. 

5. Their estate being changed, their work is now to look to the 
degree. You know, besides the gate in Christianity, there is the way. 
If you have entered the gate, you must see that you walk in the way. 
Besides making covenant with God, there is keeping covenant with 
God: Ps. xxv. 10, ' All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, unto 
finch as keep his covenant and his testimonies ; ' Ps. ciii. 18, ' To such 
as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments 


to do them/ Well, then, though we may be comforted that we have 
entered into covenant with God, yet in keeping covenant we are con 
scious to many failings, and the covenant is not fully kept till life be 
ended. All is not done when men have begun a religious life. Many 
fall off who seemed to have good beginnings. It is one thing to be 
planted into Christ, another to bring forth fruit with patience. If 
there were more close walking, the holy life would be a feast and pleasure 
to us, but by our weaknesses and infirmities we often interrupt the 
comfort of it. Now good men are troubled that they walk with no 
more.accurateness and resolvedness in the narrow way ; that though 
they have consented to the covenant, yet they do so weakly fulfil their 
covenant vow ; that though married to Christ, they bring forth no 
more glory to God ; that their course doth no more suit with their 
choice ; at least while their pilgrimage is continued, they see a need of 
constant caution and solicitude. 

Use 1. To teach us that growth in grace, and an increase of humility, 
or a low esteem of ourselves do usually go together. The laden boughs 
do most hang their heads, and the sun at the highest casts the least 
shadow. The conceited seem to have more grace than the real Christian, 
but have indeed less ; as swollen flesh is to appearance bigger and 
stronger, but it is not sound ; it is their humour, not their growth. 
Most men are too great and too good in their own eyes. Self-love 
representeth ourselves to ourselves in a false shape and feigned likeness, 
much more wise, and holy, and righteous than we are. Whereas the 
most serious, and they that most mind their business, humble themselves 
even to the dust ; as Agur did : Prov. -xxx. 2, ' Surely I am more 
brutish than any man, I have not the understanding of a man.' And 
Paul calleth himself ' the least of the apostles/ 1 Cor. xv. 9 ; the least 
of saints, Eph. iii. 8, ' Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints.' 
The chiefest of sinners, 1 Tim. i. 15, ' Of whom I am the chief.' Oh 
what a difference is there between them and the carnal professor ! They 
loathe other men's sins rather than their own, extenuate other men's 
gifts and graces, and extol and cry up their own ; but true humility 
sits in the dust as in its own proper place. Only here is a doubt : How 
can God's children say so in truth ? For we must not lie for humility's 
sake ; that is to personate and act a part. There is a threefold judg 
ment, of verity, charity, and sense. First, the judgment of verity is 
exact. So we are to search and try ourselves to the uttermost, to pry 
into all the aggravating circumstances : 2 Cor. xiii. 5, ' Examine your 
selves whether you be in the faith ; prove your own selves : know ye not 
your own selves, how that Christ is in you, except you be reprobates ? ' 
Out of a sense of their obligation to God, and deep displeasure against 
sin ; none can charge others as the 'godly will charge themselves. 
Secondly, there is a judgment of charity, which ' hopeth all things,' 
as long as possibly it can, 1 Cor. xiii. 7. Charity teacheth us to hope 
the best of others, for it is a favourable judgment. They may be better 
than we know, or they may have more to excuse them than we know 
of, as being more violently tempted, or have not such means to prevent 
sin. Certainly, charity forbiddeth us to pry into or aggravate their 
failings ' For love covereth a multitude of sins,' Prov. x. 12. And, 
thirdly, there is the judgment of sense and experience. We are con- 


scions to onr own infirmities more than we can be to others. We have 
a sense of our own sins, which being compared with that remote view 
which we have of the sins of others, will make us more condemn our 
selves than them. We know our own hearts ; we know not another's. 
We know our own infirmities by experience, others only by speculation. 
A man that hath the toothache feeleth his own pain, not that of another 
man's, therefore judgeth his own greater; or they that are troubled with 
a sharp disease think no grief or pain like theirs. 

Use 2. Let us be sensible of our imperfection, and take notice of our 
defects for caution and humiliation. 

1. In point of knowledge : Prov. xxvi. 12, ' Seest thou a man wise 
in his own conceit ? there is more hope of a fool than of him.' As he 
said of learning, Many had come to learning, if they had not conceited 
themselves learned already ; so many had attained more perfect know 
ledge of the ways of God, if they were not blinded by their own prejudices 
and self-conceit, and their preconceptions. If we had a true sense of 
our own imperfection, we would not refuse to yield anything we had 
taken a liking to, if afterwards it were disproved by apparent and 
clear light ; but dogmatising, especially in doubtful points, hath much 
divided the Christian world. 

2. In point of daily practice. 

[1.] As to the humble and broken-hearted, suing out the pardon of 
in : John xiii. 10, ' Jesus saith unto him, He that is washed needeth 
not save to wash his feet ; ' that is. to cleanse himself from his daily 
-defilements ; as a man under the law, if he had touched any unclean 
thing, was to wash his clothes before even. We are not to sleep and 
lie down in our sins, upon any pretence of our former justification, as 
if errors would be pardoned of course, without such running to our 
advocate, as there was to be a morning and evening sacrifice. 

[2.] As to caution and watchfulness, as if quite out of harm's way, 
and we might play with temptations to sin, and no harm come of it. 
No ; this playing at the cockatrice-hole will cost us dear : Mark iii. 
37, ' And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.' 

3. In point of perseverance, as if we might rest in former doing and 
suffering for Christ : Ezek. xxxiii. 13, 'If he trust in his righteousness, 
and commit iniquity, all his righteousness shall not be remembered ; ' 
that is, if he presume upon his good estate so as voluntarily and 
deliberately to fall into sin ; if we think our profession shall excuse us 
in our covetousness, or our countenancing the ways of God in our 
oppressions, or our praying atone for our sensuality. Man is very apt 
to make one part of his life a recompense for another, and to excuse 
his defect in some duties by exceeding in others. The indulgence is 
sometimes antedated, and we sin upon a presumption we will afterwards 
repent of it Sometimes it is postdated ; because we have done thus 
and thus for God, we think God will not be severe to us, but spare us 
for such a good service or property we think to be in us. Oh, no ! you 
must persevere in a constant, uniform, and self-denying obedience : 
or 1 think, I am a child of God ; as if that would bear us out in 

Secondly, He asserts his endeavour after perfection. 
Wherein observe 

1 Qu. ' not ' ? ED. 


1. The thing pursued after, ' The prize of the high calling of God 
in Jesus Christ/ 

2. The manner of his pursuit 

tl.l By fixing his end ; for he calleth it O-KOTTOV, his mark or scope, 
2.] By seriousness, making it his business, ' This one thing I do ; *" 
I wholly mind this. 

[3.] The earnestness of his pursuit, showed in his diligence and 

(1.) His diligence, ' I press toward it.' 

(2.) His perseverance, ' Forgetting the things that are behind, and 
reaching forth to the things that are before.' 

1. The thing pursued after, TO (3pa(3eiov T?}<? avm /tXr/o-eftx?, ' the prize 
of the high calling/ The thing pursued after was salvation by Christ,. 
or heavenly glory, which is set forth by the worth of it ; it is (3pa/3elov t 
1 a prize,' such as will countervail our endeavours in the race. 

2. The hopes of obtaining it, 'The high calling of God in Jesus 
Christ/ We are invited to these hopes by the effectual call of God : 
1 Thes. ii. 12, ' Walk worthy of God, who hath called us to his king 
dom and glory/ And this call is given us upon the account of Christ,, 
who hath purchased this favour for us, and opened this hope to us in 
the promises of the gospel ; therefore also called ' his calling/ Eph. i. 
18, ' That you may know what is the hope of his calling, and the 
riches of the glory of the inheritance of the saints/ By ' his calling ' 
he openeth a large door of hope to us, and inviteth us to partake of 
this rich and glorious reward, Yea, by this calling, as it ends in con 
version, he qualifieth and fitteth us for the participation of it. Calling, 
as it respects the offer of the word, so it inviteth us ; as it respects the 
powerful and sanctifying operation of the Spirit, so it prepareth and 
fitteth us for it. 

Doct. That the prize of eternal glory is set before those whom God 
hath effectually called in Christ. 

1. There is a twofold calling, outward and inward. 

[1.] Outward and external, when a man is by the word invited to 
the communion of Christ and all his benefits : so ' Many are called 
but few are chosen,' Mat. xxii. 14. 

[2.] Inwardly, when a man is by the effectual operation of the Holy 
Ghost actually translated and brought into this fellowship and com 
munion : 1 Cor. i. 9, ' God is faithful, by whom ye were called into 
the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord/ These two are so 
distinct, that a man may have the one without the other, the external 
without the internal ; but the inward call is by the outward, and he 
that slighteth the outward cannot well expect the inward. Some 
have only heard the invitation of the gospel, but obeyed it not : Mat. 
xxii. 3, ' He sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to 
the wedding, but they would not come/ To these God offereth heaven, 
but to these he will not give heaven, for he will save none against 
their will, nor without their consent. Some seem to comply with the 
external invitation, but yet are not effectually called, as the man that 
came to the marriage-feast without a wedding-garment, Mat. xxii. 11. 
But those have not the prize, for God is not deceived with shows ; but 
those that mind the message, choose the happiness offered for their 


portion, pursue after it with all diligence and perseverance, in short, 
turn to God with all their hearts and souls, these are the called, that 
' receive the promise of the eternal inheritance/ Heb. ix. 15. 

2. In this calling God in Christ hath the greatest hand ; it is termed 
in the text 77 avw /cXrjcrc?, ' the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.' 
This calling is from above, that is, from heaven. The grace cometh 
from above ; it hath its rise from the Lord's goodness and compassion, 
and is conveyed to us by the merits of Christ through the power of the 
Spirit ; certainly it hath not its rise from man. Yea, the external call 
may be said to be from above. In Paul's instance especially ; Christ 
called to him from heaven : Acts ix. 4, ' He heard a voice from heaven, 
saying, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ? ' Yea, the ordinary call 
of every Christian is in a sense from above ; with respect to the original 
authority, the voice is from heaven : Heb. xii. 25, ' See that ye refuse 
not him that speaketh from heaven.' He speaketh to you by his word 
in the mouth of his messengers ; but he in whose name and authority 
this message is brought, and by whose power it is made effectual, is 
in heaven. 

3. The nature of this calling. Three things are considerable in it 
(1.) The work of God ; (2.) The duty of man ; (3.) The benefits 
following on both. 

[1.] The work of God (for he beginneth) is his giving grace by his 
divine power, whereby the heart of man is changed and sanctified, and 
turned to himself. God by his call giveth a real being to things which 
were not before : Horn. iv. 17, ' He calleth the things that are not as 
though they were.' Verba Dei sunt opera God's words are works. 
As in the first creation he called for those things to appear which lay 
in the dark womb of nothing, and they presently came forth : ' Let 
there be light, and there was light ; ' so of graceless he maketh us 
holy and gracious, of enemies to become friends, of self-lovers to be 
lovers of God. He bringeth light out of darkness : 2 Cor. iv. 6, ' For 
God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined 
in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God 
in the face of Jesus Christ.' This is the act of God's great power and 
grace whereby he freely prevents man ; and if he did not prevent him, 
he would be for ever miserable ; for we have neither ears to hear God's 
call, nor a heart to turn to him. Yet his call to the deaf is not in vain ; 
for he giveth ears to hear, and quickens our dead hearts. It is past 
man's skill to change himself, but not above the great power and 
mercy of God. 

[2.] The duty of man is to be obedient to the heavenly call : for 
besides God's invitation, there is man's acceptation. God calleth us 
to Christ as the only remedy for our lost souls, and we receive him by 
faith : John i. 12, ' To as many as received him.' God calleth to 
repentance : Mat. ix. 13, ' I am not come to call the righteous, but 
sinners to repentance.' And we consent to return to God : Jer. iii. 
22, ' Behold, we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God.' God 
calleth to obedience, and we say, Ps. xl. 8, ' Lo, I come to do thy will, 
O God.' It is fulfilled in Christians as well as in Christ. God calls 
to communion with himself in holy worship : Ps. xxvii. 8, ' When thou 
saidst, Seek ye my face ; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lordj 


will I seek.' God no sooner calleth but they hear ; and what God 
biddeth them do they do, and forsake they forsake. To many God 
stretcheth out his hands in vain ; God calleth them to purity, but oh, 
the uncleanness of heart and life ! God looketh for grapes, but behold 
wild grapes. But where God inclineth the heart, they obey his call, 
though it be to mortify their dearest lusts, to cast away their beloved 
transgressions, to part with anything rather than part with their God 
-and their Christ. When God called Paul, he made an absolute resig 
nation of himself : Acts ix. 6, ' Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ? ' 
ready to go where God will lead him, to do what God will have him. 

[3.] The benefit flowing upon both. There followeth a great change, 
both in the disposition and condition of the man called. As to his 
disposition, he is made of unholy, holy. As to his condition, of miser 
able, he is made happy. Two attributes are given to effectual calling ; 
it is a holy calling and a heavenly calling : 2 Tim. i. 9, ' Who hath 
saved us, and called us with a holy calling ; ' Heb. iii. 1, 'Wherefore, 
brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.' 

(1.) As to his disposition, the man is powerfully changed, and there 
is a plain alteration to be found in him ; before sinful, now made holy, 
'called to be saints,' 1 Cor. i. 2 ; 1 Peter i. 15, 16, 'As he that hath 
called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation : because 
it is written, Be ye holy as I am holy/ We are called out of a state 
of sin into a state of holiness. God who hath called us is holy, and 
he calleth us into communion with himself in holiness ; and the calling 
itself is the setting us apart from a common to a holy use ; and the 
grace and favour showed in our calling, obligeth us to holiness. 
When we consider in what a sinful estate God found us, how freely 
he loved us, with how great mercy he called us, passing by others 
worthier than ourselves, we cannot be so unthankful as to deny obedi 
ence to his holy will : Eph. iv. 1, 'Walk worthy of the vocation 
wherewith ye are called.' Especially the honour of him that calleth 
us being concerned : 1 Peter ii. 9, ' That we should be to the praise of 
him who hath called us.' In short, your calling giveth you great ad- 
Tantages of being holy, a principle or nature in part healed : 2 Peter 
i. 4, ' Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious pro 
mises, that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature.' A 
holy and perfect rule: Gal. vi. 16, 'As many as walk according to 
this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the whole Israel of 
God.' A pure reward : 1 John iii. 3, ' He that hath this hope in 
him ; purifieth himself as Christ is pure.' The assistance of the Holy 
Spirit : Heb. xiii. 21, ' Make you perfect in every good work, working 
in you what is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' 
Ordinances : John xvii. 17, ' Sanctify them by the truth ; thy word is 
truth.' Providences : Heb. xii. 10, ' They verily for a few days chas 
tened us after their own pleasure ; but he for our profit, that we might 
be partakers of his holiness.' Now all these things considered, it is a 
holy calling. 

(2.) Their condition is altered; of miserable he is made happy. 
The great end of our calling is eternal glory : 2 Thes. ii. 14, ' Where- 
unto he hath called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of 
our Lord Jesus Christ.' That is the end and ultimate effect of it : 


1 Peter v. 10, 'The God of all grace, who hath called you to his 
eternal glory by Jesus Christ.' The miserable estate out of which, 
the blessed estate into which we are called, should deeply affect us. 
For the present he is an heir of glory, and in due time he shall be 
translated into the heavenly kingdom. We receive some part of this 
happiness here, in our justification and adoption, but the great and 
chief part is not given us in present possession, but reserved in heaven 
for us, 2 Peter i. 4. 

Use. If there be such a prize set before us in effectual calling, then 
all good Christians should look upon themselves as deeply engaged to 
pursue after it 

1. In respect of the invitation of the external call, that we may not 
disobey God's call, and neglect this preventing grace, whereby God 
would draw us to himself. Your sin will be more heinous than the 
gin of others who were never called. God beggeth for entrance, he 
standeth at your doors, but you deny entrance to him : Kev. iii. 20, 
' Behold, I stand at the door, and knock ; if any man open to me, I will 
come in and sup with him.' Christ will bring his entertainment with 
him, and he knocketh that you may give entrance ; he knocketh by the 
word ; he knocketh by his providence, mercies, and afflictions ; he 
knocketh by the motions of his Spirit. Men are a little roused, begin 
to hearken ; conscience stirs a little, yet lie down to sleep again. But 
God knocketh again, and they are more awakened, and have some 
affections and desires after heavenly things ; but these are choked by 
the cares of the world, and voluptuous living. Therefore God cometh 
a third, yea, many a time, and giveth them further calling, that maketh 
them startle, and awaken a little more ; but if they return to their old 
Justs, and negligent way of living, he may justly give them over to a 
spirit of deep sleep, to that blindness and wilfulness, that they may 
be sealed up to eternal condemnation, because they love darkness more 
than light, a base dirty world before the glory and blessedness promised 
by Christ. There are thousands, yea, millions in the world, who have 
not had such an outward powerful call, nor an offer of heaven so im 
portunately urged upon them. Oh, how great is their ingratitude who 
have offer upon offer, and motions and convictions, but outgrow all 
feelings of conscience ! You judge it disobedience and rebellion in a 
servant, if called again and again, and yet he will not come ; how shall 
God judge it otherwise if you harden your hearts and will not hear 
his voice ? Certainly your punishment will be more grievous than that 
of others : Prov. i. 24-26, ' Because I have called, and ye refused ; 
I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded ; but ye have set 
at nought all my counsel, and would not turn at my reproof : I will 
also laugh at your calamity ; I will mock when your fear cometh ; 
when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as 
a whirlwind ; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.' When 
death cometh, you will only serve for a warning to others not to make 
bold with God. In the anguish of your souls God will not hear you. 

2. To show whether the calling hath had its effect upon you. Doth 
it make you more heavenly ? They that obey this call, their hearts 
are more heavenly. It is heaven they seek : Col. iii. 1, 2, ' If ye be 
risen with Christ, seek those things which ars above, where Christ 

VOL. xx. G 


sitteth at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, 
and not on things of the earth/ It is heaven they hope for : 1 Peter 
i. 3, ' Blessed be God, who hath begotten us to a lively hope.' Heavenly 
things they savour : Horn. viii. 5, ' They that are after the Spirit mind 
the things of the Spirit' This is their treasure and portion : Mat. xx. 
21, ' Where the treasure is, there will the heart be also.' Their home 
and happiness : Heb. xi. 13, ' They declare plainly they seek a country.' 
It is their scope : 2 Cor. iv. 18, ' We look not to the things that are 
seen, but to the things that are not seen/ And therefore are heavenly : 
Phil. iii. 20, ' Our conversation is in heaven/ Their course is becoming 
their choice : 1 Thes. ii. 12, ' That you walk worthy of God, who hath 
called us to his kingdom and glory.' They live as heirs of glory. 
Heaven they seek in the first place : Mat. vi. 33, ' First seek the king 
dom of God/ Their conversation, hope, and happiness is in heaven. 
But when you are of the earth, and savour of the earth, you are not yet 
called off from the world. Certainly when grace gets the mastery, when 
it is the governing principle in oiir hearts, it sets up some scope and 
end which was not before, for which it employeth our time and strength, 
life and love, minds and hearts, cares and endeavours. A carnal mind 
is carried out with greater estimation, resolution, and delight after 
earthly things than after heavenly ; but these are the proper good suited 
to the divine nature in us. In heaven is the most perfect enjoyment 
of God and conformity to him. Being born of God, they cannot live 
without him, nor be satisfied with that partial enjoyment which the 
present world will only afford. There is the consummation .of the new 

3. The calling of God gives us hopes of a right to the blessing : ' No 
man taketh this honour, but he that is called of God ; ' and of the con 
tinuance of that right : 1 Peter v. 10, ' But the God of all grace, who 
hath called us to this eternal glory by Jesus Christ.' If you have con 
sented to his holy calling, he will not leave till he hath brought you to 
the full possession of what he hath called you unto. 


I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in 
Jesus Christ PHIL. iii. 14. 

HAVING spoken of the thing pursued after, we come now to the second 
branch, the manner of prosecution. Where, the first thing observable 
is his fixing his scope. He propounded this ' prize of the high calling 
of God in Jesus Christ ' as his mark and scope which he aimed at, ' I 
press toward the mark.' 

Doct. 1. That those that would be Christians indeed must make 
heavenly things their scope. 

First, Let me show you how many ways this is done (1.) Habi 
tually ; (2.) Actually. 


1. Habitually, when you have first fixed your end, and renounced the 
devil, the world, and the flesh, and did set upon hopes and resolutions 
for heaven, and did take the world to come for your portion and happi 
ness, choosing the better part : 2 Cor. iv. 18, ' While we look not to 
the things which are seen, but to the things that are not seen ; for the 
things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen 
are eternal.' You have fixed this as the end of your faith : 1 Peter i. 
9, ' Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls/ 
The end of your diligence, and the drift and purpose of all your serving 
and waiting upon God : Acts xxvi. 7, ' Unto which promise our twelve 
tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.' This is the 
end of all our labours : 2 Cor. v. 9, ' Wherefore we labour, that, whether 
present or absent, we may be accepted of him.' Your great ambition, 
that you may be accepted unto eternal life. 

2. Actually ; it is not enough to choose the better part, but we must 
often actually think of it to renew lively affections. Having pitched 
upon a right end, you must renew your estimation and intention of it, 
that you may keep it strong and fixed : Prov. iv. 25, ' Let thine eyes 
look right on, and let thy eyelids look straight before thee ; ' that is, 
to the end of your journey ; that you may still make it your business 
to go to heaven. 

Secondly, We must distinguish again, that the intention of the end 
and scope is either explicit or implicit, formal or virtual. 

1. The formal and explicit intention is by express thoughts of the 
world to come, when the mind and heart is in heaven. Now these 
thoughts should be frequent ; for ' where the treasure is, the heart will 
be also,' Mat. vi. 21. Can you travel one whole day to such an end, 
and never think of the place you are going unto ? Certainly the end 
must be intended in every holy action, and therefore often thought of. 

2. The implicit and virtual intention is by the ready unobserved act 
of a potent habit. As a man in a journey doth not always think of the 
p^ce to which he is going, yet his motion is influenced by it, he is still 
drawing toward that place ; so by the impression of a powerful habit, 
a Christian liveth for God, and heaven, and glory, though he doth not 
always think of it : ' But our conversation is in heaven,' Phil. iii. 20. 

But here ariseth a question, When doth the virtual intention suffice 
without formal noted thoughts ? 

Ans. (1.) In momentous actions we must notedly, formally, and 
expressly mind our great end, as when we are to do any notable thing 
for God. As Moses in his eminent self-denial had an eye to the recom 
pense of reward, Heb. xi. 26. In lesser things the heavenly frame and 
bent of heart sufficeth. 

(2.) Weak habits and inclinations need more express, formal, noted 
thoughts than the strong, for without them they cannot do their work ; 
and the habits of grace in most men are weak, temptations many, and 
the difficulties of obedience great. They cannot easily keep up their 
lively zeal and earnest diligence if they seldom think of heaven. They 
are called upon to raise their minds and affections : Col. iii. 1, 2, 'If 
ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where 
Christ sitteth at the right hand of God : set your affections on things 
above, and not upon things of the earth.' But now powerful and strong 


habits, when men have accustomed themselves, and in a manner 
naturalised themselves to a heavenly mind, the strength of the general 
inclination sufficeth, and need not so often raise their thoughts as the 
weaker Christians ; it is their constant frame : Phil. iii. 20, ' But our 
conversation is in heaven.' 

(3.) When spiritual necessity calleth for it through some present dis 
temper or temptation, drawn either from the delights of sense : 1 Peter 
i. 13, ' Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind ; be sober and hope 
to the end, for the grace that is brought unto you at the revelation of 
Jesus Christ ; ' or from the terrors of sense : Bom. viii. 18, ' For I 
reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be 
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.' In the general, 
there must be a frequent reviving. 

But why must we keep up this fixed intention, and make heavenly 
things our scope ? 

[1.] That we may be sincere. One main difference between the 
sound Christian and the hypocrite is in the end and scope ; the one 
looks to men, the other to God ; the one is ' fleshly wisdom/ the other 
is ' godly simplicity,' 2 Cor. i. 12. The one acts to be seen of men, 
respected and applauded of men ; the other maketh God his paymaster, 
for he expecteth his reward in heaven, and so can go on with his duty 
when man seeth not, 'because his Father seeth in secret/ Mat. vi. 8. 
When man liketh not what he doeth : Mat. v. 11, 12, ' Blessed are ye 
when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner 
of evil against you falsely for my name's sake. Eejoice, and be exceed 
ing glad ; for great is your reward in heaven.' Nobody will commend 
him but God. When man persecuteth him for what he doeth, he 
looketh upon God that he will recompense his loss, and repay all his 
cost : Mark x. 29, 30, ' And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto 
you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or 
father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the 
gospel's, but he shall receive a hundred-fold now in this time, houses, 
and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with 
persecution \ and in the world to come eternal life.' As he taketh the 
other world for his whole treasure and happiness, so he can take God's 
word for his whole security, which is a notable point of sincerity. 

[2.] To direct our way. When the heart and eye is upon the mark, 
you may the better steer your course in order to it. Finis est mensura 
mediorum Men take their measures from the end, and by it can the 
better judge of the aptitude and seasonableness of the means. As the 
mark guideth the archer how to direct his arrow, so doth the intention 
guide and direct the soul in all its actions. Certainly if a right mark 
be in our eye, we are more like to level at it than if we mistake our 
mark. Therefore fix your end, and you will the better understand 
your way, and address yourselves to such means as are suited to that 
end ; for our Lord tells us that if our ' eye be single, the whole body is 
full of light/ Mat. vi. 22. Our end shineth to us all the way along, and 
helpeth us to cut off both those impertinences and inconsistences with 
which men fill up their lives. What is the reason that men who hope 
to go to heaven yet spend their time in vanities which have no respect 
to such a purpose, yea, sometimes seem plainly to take the direct way 


to hell ? The reason is, because they have not resolvedly fixed and 
determined their choice, or do not regard their end. It would cut off 
and prevent impertinences if you be true to your end and great scope. 
As when you are melting away your precious time in ease, and idleness, 
or carnal vanities, either in trifling, or gaming, or impertinent chatting, 
or censuring : ' What doeth it ? ' Eccles. ii. 2. Is this striving to go 
to heaven ? So for inconsistencies : Gen. xxxix. 9, ' How can I do this 
wickedness, and sin against God ? ' By sin men do not only forget 
their end and happiness, but run quite away from it. 

[3.] To quicken our endeavours ; for the end is the motive as well 
as the measure. The thought of it makes us vigorous and lively : 1 
Cor. xv. 58, ' Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of 
the Lord, forasmuch as ye know your labour is not in vain in the 
Lord ; ' 1 Cor. ix. 24, ' So run that you may obtain/ The prize and 
worth of the reward addeth spirits to the runner, maketh him run. 
more swiftly. There is labour and difficulty, but we run for a crown. 
If now labour and difficulty, hereafter it will be comfortable : John vi. 
27, ' Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which 
endureth to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give you ; ' 
Phil. ii. 12, ' Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.' 

[4.] For our joy and solace. A man's end is his solace and support 
during labours and difficulties, and that afflicted estate wherein God 
seeth fit to keep us here in the world: Horn. v. 2, 3, ' We rejoice in 
hope of the glory of God : and not only so, but ire glory in tribulation, 
knowing that tribulation worketh patience.' A man's temper is much 
known by this, from whence he fetcheth his comforts and supports. 

[5.] To defeat the delightful temptations of sense : Heb. xi. 24-26, 
' By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the 
son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the 
people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season : esteem 
ing the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt ; 
for he had respect unto the recompense of reward.' Most men look to 
present pleasures rather than future joys. 

[6.] To make us constant : Heb. x. 39, ' But we are not of them that 
draw back to perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of our 
souls ; ' that we may neither fail nor faint, because of difficulties in 
the way. In the spiritual race there are stumbling-blocks in the way, 
difficulties and discouragements which we cannot easily get over ; now 
the remembering the end puts courage into us. 

[7.] To engage us in a uniform course of holiness. No one part of 
our lives will agree with another if they be not firmly fixed by the 
power of our last end, which runneth through all the parts, and so puts 
a harmony into them. Our actions are as a mere lottery ; the various 
fancies men are governed by are jumbled together by chance ; and so we 
either walk at random, or having different ends, are ' double-minded 
and unstable in all our ways/ James i. 8. The last end fixeth the 
mind, which otherwise would be tossed up and down in a perpetual uncer 
tainty, and distracted by a multiplicity of ends and objects. 

Use 1. To persuade us to make heavenly things our scope. 

1. For this we were created and sent into the world. It is good to 
consider the cause for which we were born, and the end for which we 


were sent into the world : John xviii. 37, ' To this end was I born, and 
for this cause came I into the world.' If our Lord Christ did thus, 
surely man was made for some end, for the wise God rnaketh nothing 
in vain. Now what is man's end? Not to fill up the number of 
things, as stones ; not to wax bulky, and increase in growth and stature, 
as plants and trees ; not to eat and drink, and gratify a present 
appetite, as the beasts. That is a mortal happiness, which will not 
suit with that immortal spirit which God hath put into us. If we had 
souls that would perish, it would be more justifiable to look after things 
that perish. No ; they will survive these present things : Eccles. xii. 
7, ' Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit 
shall return unto God that gave it.' We act here a while ; are put 
upon the stage of the world, and then gone into the other world. Now 
since we live longest there, this should be our end and scope. 

2. For this end we are redeemed. The saints are purchased to 
eternal glory : Rev. i. 5, 6, ' Unto him that loved us, and washed us 
in his blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his 
Father.' As our dominion and kingship is perfect in the other world, 
so is our priesthood, when we minister in the heavenly temple immedi 
ately before the throne. So it is said that ' Christ hath obtained 
eternal redemption for us.' The virtue is everlasting: Heb. ix. 12, 
' But by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having 
obtained eternal redemption for us.' 

3. For this end we are sanctified or effectually called. Christ's 
blessings are not bounded in time, but he hath ' blessed us with spi 
ritual blessings in heavenly places,' Eph. i. 3. They are of a heavenly 
rise and nature, and of a heavenly tendency ; there they began, and 
there they are consummated. 

Use 2. To persuade us often to think of this end and scope, or 
steadily to fix your eye on this blessedness which is reserved for the 
people of God, that you may have the mark still in view. 

1. It is a certain and sure reward, so as we may expect it from him. 
You have his promise for your security : 1 John ii. 25, ' And this ia 
the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.' Now a 
promise of God should be as sure as if we had seen it with our eyes, 
or as those things which we see with our eyes, a greater satisfaction and 
encouragement to us than all the visible things upon earth. We should 
do more and go further upon such a promise than we will for all that 
man can give unto us. Though we be exposed to danger and suffer 
ings and unwearied labours, despised by great and small, yet our end, 
secured by the Lord's promise, should bear us out. 

2. It is a great and full reward. We should labour to get a due 
sense of the worth of the prize of our high calling. Heaven and 
eternal glory are no light things : Gen. xv. 1, ' I will be thy exceeding 
great reward.' To have God for our portion and felicity, and in the 
highest way of fruition we are capable of ; what can be added more 
to our happiness ? 

3. It is a pure reward; not only complete happiness, but exact 
holiness ; to see God, and be like him. Surely one that is so sanctified 
and purified in part, should level all his actions and endeavours to 
this mark : 1 John iii. 3, ' He that hath this hope in him, purifieth 


himself as Christ is pure.' And be working toward his final per 

Use 3. Measure and value all things with respect to your end. 
Man is made wise by his end. Now above all things eternity must 
needs make us wise, because it is the last end which we can propound 
to ourselves, and so thereby we may understand the true measure and 
value of all things. 

We understand what is evil and what is good. 

1. Evil things ; as 

[1.] The weight and grievousness of sin. Present punishment doth 
somewhat discover it : Jer. ii. 19, ' Thine own wickedness shall correct 
thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee : know therefore and see 
that it is an evil thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken the Lord 
thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord of hosts.' 
Briars and thorns and sensible smart will teach us that which bare 
contemplation doth not, but our end will most show it to us ; because 
for temporal pleasures men lose eternal joys ; for the ease, and inirth, 
and pleasure of a moment they have lost all that happiness to which 
they are called by Christ. 

[2.] Afflictions are to be valued with respect to their end. It showeth 
their lightness ; they are not so bad as the world taketh them to be. 
Tedious for the present, but it is but for a season : 1 Peter i. 6, 'Wherein 
ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heavi 
ness through manifold temptations.' All things are lessened by having 
eternity in our eye. It is grievous, but not eternal : 2 Cor. iv. 17, 
' For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a 
far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.' A man in the deep 
waters, as long as he can see banks, is not out of all hope. 

[3.] Sufferings for Christ. If we may win eternity with the loss of 
all the world, we are no losers : Heb. x. 34, ' And took joyfully the 
spoiling of your goods, as knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven 
a better and a more enduring substance.' On the contrary, it is a sorry 
bargain to lose eternity for the enjoyment of all the world : Mat. xvi. 
2& ' What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose 
his own soul ? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? ' 

[4.] Death, the king of terrors. It is not feared by a Christian, 
because it is the entrance into eternal life ; when he dieth he shall live : 
John xi. 25, ' Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection and the life ; 
he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.' It 
separateth us from our worldly comforts, but bringeth us to God, with 
whom we shall abide for ever. 

2. Good things are also to be valued with respect to their end. 

[1.] There are many things which the vain deceived world dotes upon, 
but they suit not with our scope, help us not to the crown, but divert 
us rather. ' What doeth it ? ' is the question we should ask : ' The 
pleasures of sin are but for a season,' Heb. xi. 25. 

[2.] The enjoyments of this world. They are valuable upon a natural 
account, but we must consider them with respect to our end. Are they 
helps or hindrances to heaven? If hindrances, it is the greatest 
misery that can befall us. It is a great part of God's curse to con 
demn some men to worldly felicity: Jer. xvii. 13, 'All that forsake 


thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written 
on the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of 
living waters ; ' Luke xvi. 25, ' Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime 
receivedst thy good things.' A little as a help to heaven is a great 
mercy, and an estate is more valuable by the use than the possession : 
Luke xii. 21, 'So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not 
rich toward God. 

[3.] Duties. Time spent with God in order to our great end is the 
best part of our lives : Ps. Ixxxiv. 10, ' For a day in thy courts is better 
than a thousand : I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God 
than to dwell in the tents of wickedness ; ' because there is trading for 
heaven. When you are employed in the world, you make provision for 
a few months or days, it may be hours. 

[4.] Graces are glorious things, because they are the seed and earnest 
of eternal glory. It is called an ' immortal seed,' 1 Peter i. 23. By 
these we are more prepared for, and assured of, our great end. 

[5.] Christ is valued as the only way to the Father a John xiv. 6, 
1 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life ; no man 
cometh to the Father but by me.' And therefore all things are 
lessened in our estimation in comparison of him : Phil. iii. 8-10, ' Yea, 
doubtless, I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the know 
ledge of Christ Jesus my Lord ; for whom I have suffered the loss of 
all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ, and be 
found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, 
but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which 
is of God by faith : that I may know him, and the power of his resur 
rection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to 
his death.' 

[6.] The favour of God. It is heaven begun ; the first taste we have 
of our everlasting comfort, which, if we get, we need not envy the best 
estate of worldlings : Ps. xvii. 15, 'As for me, I will behold thy face in 
righteousness ; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.' 

Use 4. Do we make heavenly things our scope ? Whither are we 
going ? What is the thing we intend ? Riches, pleasures, and honours 
in this world, or eternal blessedness ? Our scope will be known by our 
work. What do we most resolvedly carry on ? None so wicked but 
they will be religious, till religion crosseth that one thing which they 
do desire. If we design heavenly things for our scope and happiness, 
all things will be subordinated to them, and we will hold on our way, 
though disappointed in other things ; for then you will only mind 
temporal things in order to eternal. 

I come now to the next thing to be noted, which is his seriousness. 
He maketh it his business : ' This one thing I do.' Our scope is 
known by our work, the main thing we attend upon as our great care 
and business. That which is our first care and chiefest business is 
usually called in scripture our 'one thing," Ps. xxvii. 4, 'One thing 
have I desired of the Lord ; that will I seek after ; ' as if all other 
things should be forgotten for this one thing's sake : Luke x. 42, ' But 
one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen the better part.' In short, 
that is our one thing which is most minded, which taketh up our life 


and love, heart and mind. It is our work, our one thing which must 
be more esteemed by you than all things in the world besides ; other 
things must stoop to this one thing, and serve this one thing. This is 
the business which you have to do, and the end for which you live in 
the world. 

Doct. 2. Those that make heavenly things their scope must also 
make them their business. 

There is a double notion which is of great use to us in the spiritual 
life making religion our recreation, and making religion our business. 

1. It must be our recreation, in opposition to tediousness and weari- 
someness ; so we must delight or recreate ourselves in God's statutes: 
Ps. cxix. 16, 'I will delight myself in thy statutes;' ver. 47, 'I will 
delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.' 

2. It must be our business in opposition to slightness. 
Why must religion be made our business ? 

[1.] Because otherwise it is not our scope; for an end is not 
thoroughly intended unless we use the means to obtain it. True wisdom 
lieth in the intention of a right end, the choice of apt means, and 
a dexterous and ready prosecution; the whole fabric falleth if one be- 
wanting. If we have good aims, and do not choose right means, that 
is superstition. Men have direct aims, but they mistake their way ; or 
if good means, and they refuse to use them, that is sluggishness and 
spiritual idleness. But when all three concur, a good end, fit means, 
and a diligent pursuit, that is true wisdom. Some are out in the end; 
as they that ' labour for the meat that perisheth,' John vi. 27, or lay 
out their strength upon that ' which satisfieth not,' Isa. Iv. 2 ; they lay 
out all their industrious cares about paltry vanities. Others err in the 
means, while they seek for happiness in a false religion, and the way 
they take for their cure is a great part of their disease ; as Judaism, 
Turcism, and Popery. But the most common error among us is a 
defect in the pursuit. Men are convinced of better ; they see the right 
way, but are loath to walk in it. Some decline it wholly, and whilst 
they talk of heaven, take the way which directly leadeth to hell. Others 
superficially look after it, and by the by only ; they trouble themselves 
about many things, but they are but trifles and childish toys in com 
parison of what they should be most taken up withal. Heavenly things- 
have some underling respects, but they bring nothing to perfection, but 
are carried away with the cares of the world and voluptuous living : 
Luke viii. 14, ' And that which fell among thorns are they who, when 
they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches, and 
pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.' 

[2.] Because this is a matter of unspeakable importance, which must 
not be forgotten and left undone for three reasons 

(1.) It is not a business arbitrary, but necessary. One thing is neces 
sary. It is not a business that may be done or left undone. No ; it 
must be done or you are undone for ever. If you lose the crown of 
glory, you lose yourselves everlastingly ; nothing concerneth you so- 
much. Within a while it will not be a pin to choose what part you 
have acted in the world, high or low, rich or poor ; as in a choir of 
voices, it is no matter what part we take, bass, or mean, or treble,, 
but whether we sing well. 


(2.) It is a business that must principally be regarded : Mat. vi. 33, 
* But first seek the kingdom of God, and his righteousness/ ' First seek ; ' 
all other things must give way to it. The apostle saith here, ' This one 
thing I do ; ' nothing wholly alien or contrary to this must be regarded ; 
nothing but what keeps a due subordination to this. This is the one 
thing you have to mind, that is, the one great thing, to make sure of 
everlasting life. Therefore progress and growth in holiness must be 
minded seriously, and above other things. 

(3.) This is a business that you must be continually a-doing. Our 
whole life is but a constant progress in the way to heaven. Every day 
we take is a step nearer ; yea, every action, morally considered, is a step to 
heaven or hell. We must always be treasuring up a good foundation : 
1 Tim. vi. 19, ' Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation for 
the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.' 

[3.] If it be not made our business, some other baser pursuit will be 
our business. There are two masters, God and mammon, and they go 
contrary ways, and require our whole strength: Mat. vi. 24, 'No man 
can serve two masters ; for either he will hate the one, and love the 
other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye can 
not serve God and mammon.' To serve God is to give up a man's 
mind, and heart, and whole man, to do what he requireth, and to do 
nothing in matter of profit, pleasure, and preferment, but what God 
alloweth him, or in any other thing. To serve mammon is to follow 
the world as hard as we can, whatever cometh of it. You cannot serve 
God and your lusts too ; you must make a business of the one or the 
other. In short, our strength is too small, it will not suffice for every 
thing ; and our time is too short to be divided, therefore the most neces 
sary things must be regarded. 

Use. Is self -reflection. What is the prize you run for? what is the life 
of your affections employed about? There are a sort of men whose hearts 
^.re upon God and the life to come, and make it their first and chiefest 
business to seek him and serve him, and whose whole life is but a prepara 
tion for the world to come. And there are others who are gaping 
after worldly greatness, and gratifying the desires of the flesh. The world 
morally considered is divided into two societies ; the one of the devil, 
the other of God. Some seek their happiness upon earth, others an 
ternal abode in heaven ; some are pleasing the flesh, others are pleasing 
God. By nature we are all of the earthly society, but by grace we are 
of a heavenly extraction, and tend thither. Of which sort are you? 
What have you been doing in the world, and what is the end and busi 
ness for which, and in which, you have laboured until now ? What thing 
or prize have you had in your view and chase ? Have you lived for the 
world or for God ? have you spent so many years, and you know not 
why nor about what you have spent your time ? You have been strangely 
careless and inconsiderate. Certain it is you have not been most for 
God and most for heaven, -for that would more sensibly appear ; and 
religion cannot be your business unless you seriously mind it. 

The third thing in the text is his earnest pursuit, showed in his dili 
gence and perseverance. 

1. His diligence. It was earnestly sought after, as well as intended; 


implied in the words eVeT6ti;6/Aei/o9 and SuaKQ), reaching forth and 
pressing towards ; which imply vehement desire and earnest endeavour, 
using all means, bending all the powers of body and soul ; I press as 
hard as I can. 

2. His perseverance is expressed 

[1.1 With respect to what was past, 'Forgetting the things behind.' 

[2.] With respect to things before, which are to come, ' Keaching 
unto the things before.' 

[1.] What are the TO, OTTIO-O) ? 

(1.) It may be understood of the things forsaken and renounced, 
such as pharisaical righteousness, the world, and credit, and honour ; 
that and whatsoever was contrary to Christ's kingdom. The world 
and the flesh are things behind. We turned our backs upon them in 
conversion when we turned to God. It is these things that would now 
call back our thoughts and corrupt our affections when we should run 
on and reach forward in the heavenly prize. 

(2.) Some understand it of the degrees of grace already attained, or 
services already performed. The apostle did forget, or not consider 
(which is called ' forgetting' in scripture) how much of the race he had 
overcome or got through. He overlooked all that was past, how much 
of the way already spent ; he did forget it, so as not to rest in what was 
already done, or to be puffed up with a vain conceit, as if there were 
enough done, so as to slacken his pace, or retard himself in his heavenly 

[2.] What are the ra einrpoadev, the things before us ? They are 
God, and heaven, and the remaining duties of the holy life ; what sins 
are yet umnortified, what duties are yet almost untouched, what trials 
you may yet be called to undergo. We must still take pains to advance 
forward, and do that which is yet unfinished ; there is much of the 
way yet before us. From the whole we see the expressions are agon- 
istical, both the forgetting or reaching forth, and pressing forward, and 
do give us this third note 

Doct. 3. Those that would make a business of Christianity must look 
upon it or deal in it as a race or passage from earth to heaven. 

All things agree. 

1. In a race there was a beginning and ending, a place whence we set 
out, and the goal to which we run. The race should begin at baptism, 
but it doth at conversion or effectual calling, and endeth not till death ; 
that is the goal, and then we receive the prize : 2 Tim. iv. 18, ' The 
Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me to 
his heavenly kingdom.' We should start forth or engage in this race 
betimes. Some defer it till they die ; but a stride cannot be called a 
race : we have already lost the morning of our lives, and a great deal 
of precious time, of our freshest and flowery time. Surely 'the time past 
should suffice us,' 1 Peter iv. 3. We have been long enough dishonour 
ing God and destroying our own souls. Now let us be obedient to the 
heavenly call, and begin to set forward, though it be late. But then we 
must double our diligence ; life is uncertain, and our work is long. We 
were long since called, now let us rouse up ourselves. Death is a time 
of ending the race, not to begin it. It is not called a jump or a leap, 
but a race. 


2. Between the two terms, that is, from the starting-place to the 
goal, there was a way marked out, but called Kava>v, tlie rule, which 
was a white line, marked out the path within which they were to run ; 
if they transgressed, or went over it or beside it, they did not i><tyu/i&>? 
a&\eii> : 2 Tim. ii. 5, ' And if a man strive also for masteries, yet is he 
not crowned except he strive lawfully/ ' Strive lawfully,' or run regu 
larly, or else he lost the prize ; so that there was a place where he set out, 
the goal whither he went, and the way by which he passed to his mark. 
There are frequent allusions to this : ' As many as be perfect, walk by 
the same rule,' Phil. iii. 16. And we have a rule, a straight line ta 
direct our course: Gal. vi. 16, 'As many as walk according to this rule/ 
We all aspire to the crown, but few take the way. We must make 
straight steps to our feet, run in the way prescribed, within certain 
bounds and limits : Ps. cxix. 32, ' I will ran the way of thy command 
ments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart/ 

3. In this race there is a prize, a crown of endless glory which we 
are running and striving for : 1 Peter v. 4, ' Ye shall receive a crown 
that fadeth not away/ Their crowns were made of flowers and oaken 
leaves. We have somewhat in hand that is worth all our pains, but 
much more when we come home and meet our Lord. 

4. There was an agonotlietes. This prize is given by a judge: 2 Tim. 
iv. 8, ' Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, 
which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day/ Our 
claim must be justified before his tribunal. 

5. No obtaining the crown without running: Heb. xii. 1, 'Let us 
run with patience the race that is set before us ; M Cor. ix. 24, ' Know 
ye not that they which run in a race, run all, but one receiveth the 
prize ? So run that you may obtain/ And that is no lazy posture. 
Here is reaching forth, pressing forward ; we must bend all the 
faculties and powers of our souls and bodies to obtain it by faithful 
and constant diligence. We must do things as for heaven indeed, and 
make as much speed as we can to get the crown which is offered to us 
by Jesus Christ. 

6. In a race we must hold on without any discontinuance. We are 
not to stand still and give over, but with a constant earnestness to press 
toward the mark. So here, there is no standing still, by omitting 
good duties ; by slight occasions we come to leave them off. The fire 
of the altar was never to go out. 

7. There must be no looking back ; we must still take pains to- 
press forward. As the true racers do not use to stand still, or look be 
hind them to see how much of the way is already past, or to see how 
much the rest come short of him, but sets to his business to get through 
the remainder of the race ; so they that set themselves to the heavenly 
race must not look back in a double sense ; first, not to think of what 
he hath forsaken for Christ : Luke ix. 62, ' No man having put his 
hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God/ 
We must not mind or look at anything behind us ; that will turn us 
back, and stop us in our course. Secondly, not contenting ourselves 
with that we have got, possibly, heretofore, with what we might have 
done, but must hold till we apprehend the prize or mark, and still 
make forward with all our might. The saints in a sense forget 


what they have done for Christ: 'Lord, when saw we thee an 
hungry ? ' 

Use. To persuade us to continue in our Christian course till we come 
to the end of the race. Some races are longer, some shorter ; but the 
nd of every man's race is the end of his life. 

1. We that have gone so far in the way must hold out, though never so 
many difficulties and assaults : ' You did run well, who hindered you ? ' 
When you have gone so far in the way to heaven, do you begin to look 
behind you, as if you were about to change your mind ? Have you 
fixed upon these hopes with so great reason and deliberation, and will 
you draw back and be slight in the pursuit ? 

2. Is the world and the flesh grown better, or God grown worse ? 
Jer. ii. 5, ' Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found 
in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, 
and are become vain ? ' 

3. All former watching, striving, and praying is lost. The 
Nazarite was to begin again the days of his purification if he had 
defiled himself, Num. vi. 12 ; 2 John 8, ' Look to yourselves, that we 
lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full 
reward ; ' Gal. iii. 4, ' Have ye suffered so many things in vain ? if it 
be yet in vain.' 

[The doctor's sermon on the 15th verse being printed already among 
the discourses on peace and holiness, 1 the reader is referred thither. 
The sermon on the 16th verse never came to the publisher's hands.] 


Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which ivalk 
so, as ye have us for an ensample. PHIL. iii. 17. 

IN this verse the apostle persuadeth the Philippians to agree in the 
imitation of his practice of forsaking all for Christ. There were dif 
ferences among them ; some were thus minded, and some otherwise 
minded. He would have them agree in one common rule, one common 
hope, and one common example, that they might avoid deceitful 
workers, whose walking was not so regular as to become a pattern to 
others, as in ver. 18. Therefore since all were not to be promiscuously 
imitated, they should follow the best, viz., himself who had taught them 
Christianity, and those other servants of the Lord who hold on the 
same course and way of salvation as he did, and breathed out nothing 
but faith in Christ and holiness, ' Brethren, be ye followers together of 
me,' &c. 

In which words the apostle propoundeth his own example, both at 
first and second hand. 

1. At the first hand, in his own immediate practice, ' Be followers 
together of me.' 

1 See vol. ii. p. 56 of this edition. ED. 


2. At the second-hand, and in the rebound, as it was transmitted 
to them by the practice of others, ' And mark them that walk so, as ye 
have us for an ensample.' 

1. For the first consideration, as his own practice was a pattern to 
them of sincere love to Christ. SvfjL^i^rjTai fiov rylvecrde. The words 
may bear a double sense 

[1.] Thus do together with me ; be followers of Christ as I am. Or 
[2.] Let not a few, but all of you together imitate me ; which sense 
I prefer. 

2. For the second consideration, ' Mark them which walk so as ye 
have us for an ensample.' Where we have 

[1.] A description of the better sort amongst them, in opposition to 
the deceitful workers who did walk disorderly. If a man would imitate 
others, he should conform himself to the best, and not the worst of 
Christians. Man is sequacious, inclined to do as others do. Now they 
should imitate them who were willing to suffer for Christ, rather than 
enemies to his cross. 

[2.] The charge is ovcoTreire, ' Mark them.' In another epistle, 
Rom. xvi. 17, it is, ' Mark them which cause divisions and offences, 
and avoid them.' Here, mark these and imitate them. 

Well, then, here is a double example propounded, Paul's and their 

Doct. That it is the duty of Christians to imitate those good examples 
which God hath set before them. 

See this elsewhere : 1 Cor. iv. 16, ' Wherefore, I beseech you, be ye 
followers of me ; ' 1 Thes. i. 6, ' And ye became followers of us and of 
the Lord ; ' 1 Thes. ii. 14, ' For ye, brethren, became followers of the 
churches of God, which in Judea are in Christ Jesus : for ye also have 
Buffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the 
Jews.' So 2 Thes. iii. 7, 'For yourselves know how ye ought to follow 
us ; for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you ; ' and ver. 9, 
'Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an example 
unto you to follow us ; ' Heb. xiii. 7, ' Eemember them that have the 
rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God, whose faith 
follow, considering the end of their conversation.' These and many 
other places show (1.) That there are some to whom God hath given 
graces to make them holy and fit for our imitation ; (2.) That he hath 
commanded us to consider them seriously, that we may imitate them,, 
and follow them in holiness and patience, that our latter end may be 
like theirs. For the clearing this point, let me show you 

1. The several sorts of examples. 

2. What is this imitation. 

3. How far we are bound to imitate them. 

4. Why we must imitate and follow them. 
I. The several sorts of examples. 

First distinction. There are the examples of the saints living in 
former ages, and the saints living in our times. 

1. The saints living in former ages, whose faith and zeal and holiness 
is recommended to us in the faithful records of time, especially in the 
scriptures. We are often commanded to imitate them ; as Heb. vi. 12, 
* That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and 


patience inherit the promises.' None went to heaven but they first 
met with occasions to try and express both their faith and patience. 
We must look for the like ; they had faith, so must we ; they had 
patience, we must be patient also if we would attain the happiness 
offered in the promises : Heb. xii. 1, ' Wherefore seeing we are also com 
passed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every 
weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and run with patience 
the race that is set before us.' The apostle had given us a spiritual 
chronicle in the former chapter, or a little book of martyrs, and then 
frameth his inference or practical deduction from that series of instances. 
Having such ' a cloud of witnesses ; ' he calleth them ' a cloud,' to show 
the number and multitude of these witnesses ; for as a cloud is made 
up of a multitude of vapours gathered together and condensed into one 
body, so here there are many witnesses that concur in one testimony. So 
the expression is often used : Isa. Ix. 8, ' Who are those that fly as a 
cloud, and as doves to the windows ? ' noting the multitude of converts. 
So Ezek. xxxviii. 7, 'They shall be as a cloud to cover the land/ 
Well, then, we are not solitary, nor is our condition singular. So 
James v. 10, ' Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the 
name of the Lord, for an example of suffering afflictions and patience/ 
They are examples of hard sufferings and great patience. We are not 
better than our fathers, and should not look for more privilege than 
the prophets. They have been cast into prisons and dungeons, and 
burnt and butchered, and sawn asunder, and shall we stick at a little 
Bufferings? Surely, having such forerunners, we may go the more 
cheerfully. Now these examples should be regarded by us 

[1.] Because they are so many and various, and suited to persons of 
all degrees and ranks of men, and for all Christian ends. In the word 
of God we have many examples on record fit for all persons to imitate. 
The prince in Josiah and Hezekiah ; the counsellor in Hushai ; the 
rich man in Abraham ; the poor in the Shunamite ; officers in court, 
in the eunuch of Candace ; the captive in Daniel and the three chil 
dren ; the afflicted in Job ; the banished in Joseph ; the soldier in 
Cornelius ; women in Sarah, 1 Peter iii. 6 ; the magistrate in Moses 
and Joshua or Nehemiah ; ministers in the apostles of Jesus Christ, a 
zealous, self-denying company, who left their all to promote the gospel. 
And then of all graces, Abraham for faith, David for devotion, Job for 
patience, Timothy for temperance, Paul for diligence and activity in 
the Lord's work. 

[2.] Because these show that there is nothing impossible in our duty, 
and nothing so difficult but hath been overcome, and may be overcome 
through Christ strengthening and enabling us. That which is done 
and hath been done may be done. Our duty is reconcilable with our 
frailty. The saints departed had the same nature with us, and we the 
same assistances and encouragements with them. They the same 
nature with us ; flesh and blood as we are : James v. 17, ' Elias was 
a man subject to like passions as we are/ They had the same interests, 
relations, concernments, wants, weaknesses, doubts, fears ; and we the 
same encouragements with them, the same cause, the same recom 
pense of reward, the same God, the same Saviour ; and did he not 
surfer as much for us as for them? and therefore we should follow 
them, and walk in their steps. 


[3.] Their examples are a standing testimony to confirm by experi 
ence the truth and reality of our blessed hopes, therefore called ' a cloud 
of witnesses,' Heb. xii. 1. They all spake to future generations to 
fcelieve constantly in God as they did, that we may receive the like 
reward. The scripture telleth us that every one that belie veth ' hath 
put to his seal that God is true,' John iii. 33. Much more these 
eminent ones ; they are an instance of God's fidelity to those that faith 
fully adhere to him and self-denyingly believe in him, and so they con 
firm our faith, and excite and quicken our hope and love. 

(1.) It doth confirm our faith. Are the wisest and soberest that 
ever the world knew deceived ? or were the comforts wherewith they 
were sustained in the most grievous sufferings fantastical impressions ? 
They continually professed the certain knowledge of and comfort in 
the hopes of an unseen glory, and died in the Lord, Heb. xi. 13, com 
mending their souls into the hands of Christ. And is not this to our 
satisfaction, that surely there is such an estate ? And should not we 
believe to the saving of our soulsPHeb. x. 30. That bringeth in the 

(2.) It doth excite and quicken our love and hope, or that desirous 
expectation of the promised glory which maketh us delightfully and 
patiently to continue in the love, service, and honour of God, that we 
may be where they are : Ps. Iv. 6, ' Oh, that I had the wings of a dove ! 
for then would I flee away and be at rest.' And may come to the 
spirits of just men made perfect, Heb. xii. 23. We are entered into 
that society now, and are companions with them in the faith and 
patience of the gospel, that at length we may be companions with them 
in heavenly glory. 

2. The example of the saints now living ; for God hath left us a 
continual succession of good examples. Every age hath its stars, or 
some that shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse gener 
ation: Phil. ii. 15, 16, ' Holding forth the word of life/ We still have 
our examples of faith, and patience, and sobriety, and watchfulness, 
and self-denial, and heavenly-miudedness. And present examples are 
of great use ; for though the ways of God be lovely in themselves, and 
worthy to be chosen, though few or none walk in them : Josh. xxiv. 15, 
* Choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your 
fathers served, that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of 
the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell : but as for me and my house, we 
will serve the Lord ;' Ps. cxix. 126, 127, ' It is time for thee, Lord, to 
work, for they have made void thy law. Therefore I love thy com 
mandments above gold, yea, above fine gold.' In the most degenerate 
times we should not slacken our zeal. Yet it is no small comfort and 
encouragement to have companions in the way to heaven. Woe to 
him that is left alone. The coals by lying together enkindle one 
another ; and not we alone, but divers others, make the ways of God 
their choice and practice. Present examples add this above those that 
are past. 

[1.] That they are in our eye. It is a saying of Seneca, that men live 
non ad rationem sed ad similitudtnem, not by reason so much as custom 
and conformity to the practice of others ; as beasts follow the drove, 
and consider not qua eundum est, sed quaitur not how all should walk, 


but how others do walk. Certainly example hath a great force in evil, 
because it is before our eyes. There are two senses of learning sight 
and hearing; and proportionally it is an encouragement in good to see 
others mortify those fleshly lusts which the greatest part of the world 
make it their business and work to please, and to rule their senses, 
appetites, and passions. Certainly it is a greater engagement and en 
couragement to us than barely to read of it and hear of it. We see 
infoece Romuli, in the very dregs of Christianity, some can be self-deny 
ing, mortified, and heavenly. God expects we should profit by what 
we see, and go and do likewise ; for these holy ones were raised up for 
this very purpose, to instruct the present age and reprove the present 
age. They are ' the light of the world and the salt of the earth ; ' 
Mat. v. 13, 14, to season and direct the world, if it grow unsavoury and 

[2.] There is a greater provocation in the examples of the living ; 
there is direction and confirmation in the examples of the saints de 
parted, but more of excitement and provocation in the examples of the 
saints living: 2 Cor. ix. 2, 'Your zeal hath provoked many;' andHeb. 
x 24, 'Let us consider one another, to provoke to love and good works.' 
There is ayadrj e/ot?, a holy contention or emulation who shall most 
excel in godliness. When others are forgetful, negligent, cold, back 
ward, we provoke them by the light of a heavenly conversation, which 
shineth into their consciences, and we stir them up to the love of the 
best things. 

[3.] These are yet in the way, and not yet past the pikes, and so 
partly can the better help and pity us, as being within the reach of our 
commerce ; ' Remember them that are in adversity, as being yourselves 
also in the body,' Heb. xiii. 3. We have the examples of the saints 
departed, but not their counsel. And partly, besides, they are yet 
filling up the measure of their hardships and conflicts : 1 Peter v. 9, 
' Knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren 
that are in the world.' They are under like trials ; we are not dealt 
with more hardly than they ; and so engage us to more patience. 

Second distinction. There are the examples of the guides and 
pastors, and of ordinary and private Christians. 

1. Ministers are more bound to be examples to the flock 1 Peter 
v. 3, ' Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples 
to the flock.' To have such a conversation as may be worthy their imi 
tation ; and their example is more recommended to us : 'I have be 
gotten you to God, therefore be ye followers of me ; ' 1 Cor. iv. 15, 16 ; 
Heb. xiii. 7, ' Who have spoken unto you the word of the Lord, whose 
faith follow/ 

2. Private Christians. Not only public eminent persons, such as 
apostles or pastors, and public teachers, but those in a private sphere. 
They might have been discouraged if only the example of an apostle 
or the more eminent Christians had been propounded ; therefore those 
of a weaker sort are propounded also, who followed his example, who 
walked so as they had him for an example. The apostle giveth them 
his example at second-hand, to show that people of their rank and 
degree might attain this self-denial. 

II. What is this imitation or following ? It implieth three things 
VOL. xx. H 


(1.) Factum ; (2.) Alienifacti expressio ; (3.) Stttdium et pro- 
posiium imilandi. 

1. There must be factum, an action. To imitate is not to com 
memorate, but to walk in the steps of those whom we pretend to imi 
tate ; not to admire and commend, but to do likewise. The Jews com 
mended Abraham, and stood much upon the honour of Abraham. 
Christ tells them, ' If ye were Abraham's seed, ye would do the works 
of Abraham,' John viii. 39 ; as the pharisees, that honoured the dead 
prophets but persecuted the living, did not imitate the prophets, but 
their ancestors that persecuted them. 

2. Alienifacti expressio. There must be not only an action, or some 
thing done, but a correspondent action, or a conformity to the example, 
both for matter and manner. We must walk as they walk, do such 
actions with a like mind. As John Baptist is said to ' go before Christ 
in the spirit and power of Elijah/ Luke i. 17, with the same affections 
of zeal and courage against sin. 

3. Studium et proposition imitandi, a purpose and endeavour of imi 
tating. Casually a man may fall on some things which another doeth, 
but then we propound them as a pattern when we fit and frame ourselves 
to be like him or them whom we imitate. Christ must be imitated 
principally ; secondarily, his choice servants, which is done when we 
study to express their graces to the life ; ovcoTretre, in the text, ' Mark 
them,' and so resemble them for zeal, faith, patience, and meek 
ness. Well, then, here is doing, and doing that which others do, with 
an endeavour to resemble them. Thus should we look to any one that 
hath any good thing in him worthy of imitation ; as those that delight 
in a garden, if they hear others have any choice flowers, they will be 
sure to get a slip or a root, that they may also have somewhat of the 
kind ; the rather because the Spirit worketh uniformly in all the saints. 

III. How far we must imitate them. 

1. Not in evil things ; for the best have their blemishes, and the 
saints are not mensura mensurans, the rule measuring, but mensura 
mensurata, the copy, the instance, not the standard. Therefore the 
apostle saith, 1 Cor. xi. 1, ' Be ye followers of me, as also I am of Christ.' 
No farther than they agree with the original pattern. You may observe 
in the sain Is departed, whose memory is continued to us in scripture, 
that some of their practices were sinful, whevein they bewray human 
infirmity; as we read of Noah's drunkenness by the power and strength 
of wine; Lot's incest by surprise ; Abraham's dissembling about Sarah, 
as not being his wife; Jacob's deceit in getting the blessing ; Joseph's 
swearing by the life of Pharaoh ; David's sin in the matter of Uriah ; 
Peter's denial of Christ; Paul apt to be exalted, 2 Cor. xii. 7. In 
these things the saints are represented as spectacles of natural frailty, 
written for our caution, riot imitation, set up as rocks that we may 
avoid them. 

2. There are exempted cases, or some things done by special dis 
pensation; as Abraham's offering Isaac at God's particular command, 
Gen. xxii. 10; the Israelites spoiling the Egyptians, Exod. xii. 35; 
Phineas's slaying tffe adulterer, Num. xxv. 27 ; Elias's calling for 
fire from heaven, 2 Kings i. 10. So infallible gifts and the universal 
charge of all the churches were peculiar to the apostles. When the 


disciples would imitate Elias, Luke ix. 54, 55, Christ sailh to them, 
'Ye know not what spiritye are of.' This proposal of yours is an abuse 
of that extraordinary power which Elijah had, and contrary to the spirit 
of the gospel, and that meekness which should be expressed by Christians. 
So that in things peculiar to their persons and dispensation we should 
not imitate them, for so we have in t like warrant. 

IV. Why we must imitate the good examples God hath set be 
fore us. 

1. Because it is a great part of the communion of saints to profit by 
one another's graces, or to drive on a joint trade for heaven, wherein 
they may be mutually helpful to one another: Rom. i. 12, 'That I 
may be comforted together with 3011 by the mutual faith both of you. 
and me.' We ourselves should provoke and encourage by our example 
and experience, and should be excited and encouraged by their experi 
ence and example, to be more obedient, to God, and patiently and comfort 
ably to wait for his salvation. Good is diffusive, and seeketh to pro 
pagate itself, as fire turneth all about it into fire. Christian society 
was appointed for this end and purpose. Temporal society tendeth 
much to the good of persons civilly associated ; but spiritual society, 
or the communion of saints, is far more excellent and beneficial, that 
the good and holy may live together, to strengthen and quicken each 
other by their soundness in the faith, diligence in holy practice, which 
is a great advantage to poor souls seeking salvation. We are neither 
born, nor born again for ourselves, but that in several communities and 
societies we may edify one another in love. 

2. It is one end of these graces ; for God hath bestowed them, not 
only for the benefit of those that have them, but also for the sake of 
others, that by their example they might be gained, and quickened, and 
awakened: Phil. i. 11, 'Filled with the fruits of righteousness, which 
are by Christ Jesus to the glory and praise of God.' We have not 
grace only that we may be saved, but grace that God may be glorified. 
Many make a hard shift to get to heaven, and may have grace enough 
for their own salvation, yet have not grace enough for the honour and 
glory of God in the world. But when it is so, and God hath raised up 
some rare choice spirits, surely this should be regarded, or an advantage 
to gain upon the world is neglected. Noah was raised up in his age 
to condemn the world, Heb. xi. 7, that is, of their sensuality, and lazi 
ness, and contempt of God's warnings; and in every age God raiseth 
up some to quicken the rest. Now this is lost unless we are alarmed 
and awakened thereby: Mat. v. 16, 'Let your light so shine before 
men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which 
is in heaven.' The graces of the saints serve not only to please God, 
but to honour God thereby. They are as light that shineth to 
others, that God may be glorified in their conversion and edification : 
1 Peter ii. 12, ' Having your conversation honest among the gentiles, 
that whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your 
good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visita 
tion ; ' that is, when it shall please him to visit them with his saving 
grace. Now if this end be neglected, one means of saving grace is re 
ceived in vain : 1 Thes. i. 7, ' So that ye were eusamples to all that 
believe in Macedonia and Acliaia.' 


3. Because they show us the way to heaven more clearly and com 
pendiously. Longum iter per prcecepta, breve per exempla The way 
is long by precepts, but short by examples. Men can sooner under 
stand an example than they can understand a rule. We see liow religion 
is to be acted and carried on. The ignorant understand it by practice 
rather than description ; and therefore Christ would not only srive us a 
rule, but an example how we should walk in his steps. There are 
many disputes about the rule and doctrine, but Christ's example ia 
obvious to every considering eye. So by proportion the example of 
the saints; it is not so exact as the example of Christ, but for the 
main they are such in the world as he was in the world ; and therefore 
their example is instruction, so far as the rule is exemplified thereby. 
The apostle saith that many that are not won by the word may be 
moved by the example of those that profess it, 1 Peter iii. 1. In 
practice, they see the beauty and usefulness of religion ; in the rule it 
is but in notion and idea. The best discourses will not reclaim them 
when example may reclaim them. Religion put into act is a less 
disputable thing than religion in the theory. The beauty, use, 
and excellency of it is seen in practice. Many suspect a rule when 
strangely surprised by practice. It affects their senses, and by their 
senses, their minds and hearts. 

4. In the example of others we have encouragement as well as 
instruction. Indeed, this is the great use of examples ; they do not 
bind so absolutely, as encourage, because men are not infallible or im 
peccable. We may be mistaken if we take them as a rule, but yet 
when the rule is clear they are a great encouragement. Though they 
do not prove a duty so surely, or that all is commanded which is prac 
tised by them, yet they are an encouragement, as proving that those 
duties required are not only possible but comfortable. We have no 
thing to do but what many thousands have done before us : Jer. vi. 16, 
' Stand upon the ways and see, and ask for the good old paths, where 
is the good way ? and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your 
souls/ And there is nothing to suffer but what they have suffered : 
1 Peter v. 9, 'Knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in 
your brethren that are in the world;' 1 Cor. x. 13, 'There hath no 
temptation taken you but such as is common to man.' We want no 
grace, help, or comfort which they had ; we seek and hope for the 
same glory which they possess : Heb. vi. 12, ' That ye be not slothful, 
but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the pro 
mises.' If we were now to begin before the way were smoothed, it 
were more discouraging ; but the ice is broken, the briars and thorns 
are cut down, the way to heaven is not untrodden. Others have ven 
tured on the promise of the Mediator, why not we ? 

Use 1. To show us that good examples must be given and taken. 

1. Given, and how exemplary we should be to others. To this 

[1.] Consider what reverence we owe to weak Christians, that w 
may not set them an ill copy. The poet could say, Maxima debefur 
puero reverenfia We owe more reverence to a child than a man. His 
meaning is, it is dangerous to let them be privy and conscious to any 
lightness of ours, lest they adopt it into their manners. Young be- 


ginners in religion are apt to take offence, and it is a dangerous thing 
to lay stumbling-blocks in the way of young converts. Gehazi's crime 
is mainly aggravated upon this account : 2 Kings v. 26, * Is this a time 
to receive money and garments?' A Syrian nobleman had newly 
experience of the goodness of the God of Israel, which was a means 
to gain him ; the master had refused a reward, and should the servant 
with a lie receive it, and prejudice Naaman against the true religion 
which he had newly begun to like ? 

[2.] We are to account for those sins we cause or draw others to fall 
into. It is often repeated that Jeroboam the son of Nebat caused 
Israel to sin by his command and example ; his idolatry outlived him. 
When Jehu destroyed the idolatry of the house of Ahab, or the 
worship of Baal, yet he kept up the idolatry of the house of Jeroboam, 
or the calves of Dan and Bethel. And so a man may sin after he is 
dead. His example surviveth him ; therefore, that none of us may be 
involved in more sins than his own, we had need be cautious. Ab 
alienis parce servo tuo, Ps. xix. 13. It is a mistake; they read zarim 
for zedim ; but it bears a good sense. It is worthy the care of every 
good man not to ' be partaker of other men's sins,' 1 Tim. v. 22. 
What is done by our example will redound to our account. We were 
first in the transgression ; and then what is done by others is but a 
copy and transcript of our practice. 

[3.] How severe God is upon his scandalous children. Though he 
may pardon their faults as to eternal punishment, yet they smart for 
it in the world : 1 Sam. xii. 14, ' Howbeit, because by this deed thou 
hast given occasion to the enemies of God to blaspheme.' That sin 
cost David dear, because he had made others judge ill of the ways of 
God. His child died, his daughter was ravished, his son Amnon slain 
in his drunkenness ; Absalom driveth him from his palace royal ; his 
subjects deserted him ; his wives and concubines were ravished ; he 
forced to go weeping up and down, and forced to shift for his life. 
He was foretold these should be the effects of his sin, 2 Sam. xii. 
10-12. There is no dallying with God ; though our eternal estate 
should be secured, our pilgrimage may be made very uncomfortable. 

[4.] The office God hath imposed upon his people ; they are to show 
forth his praises, or his virtues, to the world, 1 Peter ii. 9, chosen out 
from the rest of mankind for that purpose, to be a mirror of divine 
virtues, or to be his image and representation to the world, that he 
is good, wise, and powerful ; and therefore we are to take heed what 
representations we make of God. By our sin fulness we blaspheme his 
goodness ; by our folly, his wisdom ; by our weakness, his power. So 
again, we are called his 'witnesses;' Isa. xliii. 30, 'Ye are my wit 
nesses, saith the Lord.' They are to witness for God to the world, as 
having experience of his providence and of fulfilling of promises. We 
are to give a testimony for God to the prejudiced world of the reality 
of our hopes, and the excellency of our religion, and that purity and 
strictness which is necessary to everlasting happiness. If we discredit 
Christ and his profession, we are not witnesses for him, but against 
him : Isa. xliv. 8, ' Ye are my witnesses ; is there any god besides 
me?' Now, how do you convince, reprove, and convert the world? 
The best testimony given for God is by deeds rather than words ; by 


holy example, and keeping his commandments, than by a loose pro 
fession, and empty complimented respect. 

[5.] It is a greater honour for us to be examples and precedents 
unto others, than to take example from others and be followers of 
them : 1 Thes. i. 7, ' Ye became examples to all that believed in Mace 
donia and Achaia.' To be a ringleader in evil is more damnable and 
evil than to be a follower; so to be the first beginner of any good is 
most commendable and beneficial : Eph. i. 12, ' That we should be to 
the praise of his glory who first trusted in Christ/ Difference of 
heavenly rewards are propounded for the same purpose. The disciple 
hath a disciple's reward, and a prophet a prophet's reward. The least 
measure of sound grace is saving ; but he that is allowedly content 
with a little grace hath none at all. 

2. If you would prove a motive and encouragement to others, let us 
take good example. 

[1.] It is a shame to come short of those who are upon the same 
level with us, have the same rule that we have, the same hopes, the 
same spirit of Christ with we, to heal, and cure, and strengthen them. 
4 1 profited,' saith the apostle, 'above many of my equals in the Jewish 
religion,' Gal. i. 14. And should we riot do so in the Christian ? Surely 
what we do in religion we should not do negligently and lazily, but 
should advance and grow in religion, both as to knowledge and prac 
tice, and labour to be so far from coming short of our equals for time, 
age, and means, that we should rather outstrip them. Still our busi 
ness is to excel. 

[2.] There is none but may learn somewhat from others ; for every 
child of God hath his distinct excellency, either as to knowledge', or 
judgment, or government of passions, or affections, or holy conference, 
for they have their peculiar gift to the use of edifying. Now their 
graces are ours, and ours are theirs, and thereby excite and quicken 
one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God, 1 Peter iv. 
12. All gifts or graces we have not as absolute owners, but as dis 
pensers and stewards, that these various graces may make us helpful 
one to another, and we may learn from one another. 

[3.] You lose the benefit of God's dispensation, who hath given us 
good examples, and set them before our eyes for this very end, that wo 
may do as they do ; and we are accountable for examples, as well as 
for other helps and means of grace. For examples of evil ami punish 
ment: Dan. v. 22, 'And thou, Belshazzar, hast not lininldetl thy 
heart, though thou knowest all this,' viz., Gods punishment on his 
father for his pride. So examples of good : Mat. xii. 42, ' The queen 
of the south shall rise in judgment against this general ion, and shall 
condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear 
the wisdom of Solomon ; and behold a greater than Solomon is here.' 
The examples of such as have taken pains to get knowledge shall he 
made use of to aggravate their sins to deeper judgment, who do not 
make use of it to increase their faith and diligence. !So also Dimiysins 
and Damaris aggravated the unbelief of the Athenians, Acts xvii. 34. 
There want not self-denying Christians in every aj;e to condemn ihe 
laziness of the rest: Heb. xi. 7, ' By faith Noah, being warned of God 
of things not seen, prepared au ark, by which he condemned the world.' 


Use 2. To show us how cautious we should be that we be not in 
fected by bad examples. Example is of great force either way. 

Here I shall show you wbat examples are most forcible to draw us 
from God and goodness. 

1. The examples of those who are near to us in kindred ; as Ruth, 
chap. i. 15, ' And she said, Behold, thy sister is gone back unto her 
people, and unto her gods ; return thou after thy sister-in-law.' She 
spake this to try her, it being a great temptation to do as kindred. 
Leah gave Zilpah her maid to Jacob to wife, as Rachel had done, and 
Biihah before, Gen. xxx. 9. So Lot's younger daughter committed 

.incest with her father by the example of her elder sister, Gen. xix. 
31, 32. 

2. Who are gracious with us in friendship ; as the disciples murmured 
against the woman that brought the box of spikenard, by the example 
of Judas : Mat. xxvi. 8, ' When the disciples saw it, they had indigna 
tion, saying, To what purpose is this waste? ' Compare John xii. 4, 
5, ' Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot,' &c. One murmurer 
may infect a whole company, as Judas doth involve the other disciples 
in his fault: Num. xi. 4, 'And the mixed multitude that was among 
them fell a lusting; and the children of Israel also wept again, and 
said, Who shall give us flesh to eat ? ' They begun, and the other 

3. Who are great over us in power ; we tread after their track : as 
the princes and nobles imitated David's liberality: 1 Chron. xxix. 6-8, 
' Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and 
the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers over the 
king's work, offered willingly, and gave, for the service of the house of 
God, of gold, five thousand talents, and ten thousand talents of silver, 
and eighteen thousand talents of brass, and one hundred thousand talents 
of iron. And they with whom precious stones were found, gave them to 
the treasure of the house of the Lord.' And Hezekiali's piety : 2 
Chron. xxx. 24, 'For Hezekiah king of Judah did give to the congre 
gation a thousand bullocks, and seven thousand sheep ; and the princes 
gave to the congregation a thousand bullocks, and ten thousand sheep.' 
And the king of Nineveh's devotion : Jonah iii. 5, 6, 10, ' And the 
people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put 
on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least : for word came 
unto the king of Nineveh, and he rose from his throne, and he laid his 
robe from him and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.' 

4. The examples of men eminent, learned, and gracious, are very 
powerful: Gal. ii. 13, 'And the other Jews dissembled likewise, inso 
much that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.' 
This is of great force, and prevaileth not only over the weak, but over 
the strong also. Such as are endowed with grace and parts will be 
corrupted by it. We do not so narrowly examine their actions; all 
is taken for current that they do. A plausible error of theirs is not 
like a duel, but a war. 

5. When examples are general and universal, an evil thing is as it 
v^ere authorised. Public example is like an inundation, it carries all 
before it: Exod. xxiii. 2, 'Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil.' 
Therefore we should follow Micaiah's resolution ; when the messengers 


entreated him to comply with the rest of the prophets in his advice 
to the king, he replied, ' As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto 
me, that will I speak,' 1 Kings xxii. 13, 14. 

Helps to make us exemplary. 

[1.] Love to God, or zeal for his glory: Ps. cxix. 165, 'Great peace 
have they that love thy law ; and nothing shall offend them.' 

[2.] Love to the brethren's souls : 1 John ii. 10, ' He that loveth his 
brother abideth in the light, and there is no occasion of stumbling in 

[3.] A sincere seriousness in our profession : Phil. i. 10, ' That ye 
may approve the things that are excellent, that ye may be sincere and 
without offence till the day of Christ.' 

[4.] Watchfulness : 2 Cor. vi. 3, ' Giving no offence in anything ; ' 
1 Cor. x. 32, ' Give no offence to Jew, nor gentile, nor to the church 
of God ; ' Luke xvii. 3, ' Take heed to yourselves ; if thy brother trespass, 
against thee, rebuke him ; and if he repent, forgive him.' 

[5.] Mortify your dearest lusts, deny and resist the pleasures of sense*. 
Mat. v. 9 ; as Mahomet cut off the head of beautiful Irene, who was 
an occasion to draw him from public affairs, to the offence of his bassas. 
Carry a severe hand over all those affections which carry you to earthly 

[6.] A heart in heaven, and a way with the wise above. The end 
shineth to us in all our actions. 


For many walk, ofioliom I have told you often, and now tell you even 
weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ. PHIL. iii. 18. 

HERE is the reason given why they should be cautious whose example 
they followed, because there were crept into the church a licentious sort 
of Christians, who framed and accommodated their principles and prac 
tices to the ease and indulgence of the flesh. 

In the words there is (1.) An introduction ; (2.) The character and 
brand which he puts on these false teachers. 

I. In the introduction three things are asserted 

1. The multitude of these deceitful workers, ' Many walk.' 

2. His frequent giving warning of this pest formerly, ' Of whom I 
have told you often.' 

3. His compassionate way of mentioning them for the present, ' And 
now tell you even weeping.' 

1. The multitude of them. Error fretteth like a gangrene ; and 
God suffereth seducers to multiply in a church, partly to punish the 
small respect that hath been given to his truth : 2 Thes. ii. 10, 11, 
' With all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish ;. 
because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be 
saved : and for this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that 


they should believe a lie.' Partly that the 'approved mny be made 
manifest,' 1 Cor. xi. 19, and the light "ihaff distinguished from the solid 
grain. The use of this is, we must not follow the drove, nor be carried 
away with the current and inundation of evil examples. Many walk; 
yet, ' Be ye followers of me.' We should keep with the sounder part. 
The errors of those that are counted godly draw away many. Vice is 
a duel, error a war, in which many are killed. 

2. His frequent warning. God's faithful ministers must give frequent 
warning of hazard from errors. Never any epistle was written by the 
apostles but you will find in them cautions and warnings of this kind. 
It, is our duty not only to fodder the sheep, but hunt out the wolf. 
Error is touchy, and loath to be meddled with ; yet we must warn, 
and warn oi'ten. 

3. The compassionate manner wherein he speaketh of them. Thi 
is mentioned partly to show what a burden this was to his spirit, and a 
superaddition of sorrow to his sorrow. When Paul was at liberty he 
told them of these things ; now in prison he writeth about them ; for 
they were the same men of whom he spake before, ' that they added 
affliction to his bonds,' Phil. i. 16. Partly that his warning might be 
the better received. The apostle did not inveigh against them out of 
envy and ill-will, but speaketh with sorrow and tears, out of pure zeal 
for the glory of God and love to souls. 

Doct. There should be more of compassion than of passion showed 
in reproving persons that err and go astray from their duty. 

Because the -apostle's example is of great use to us in like cases, let 
us a little inquire into the causes of Paul's grief. 

1. Negatively. It was not hatred and ill-will to their person?, nor 
emulation of their credit, nor a desire of venting reproaches. Some 
men's zeal against error is as much to be feared as others lapsing into 
it; they encounter sin with sin, and speak against those who dissent 
from them, and it may be from the truth, out of little affection ; as- 
Ithacius had nothing good in him but his hatred of the Priscillianists, 
who were better men than himself, only fallen into separation from the 
church, and this so far transported him, that every zealous man was 
to him a Priscillianist. When wicked men, who have no love of God 
in their hearts, will be inveighing bitterly against errors, they do not 
reclaim the wandering, but fuither alienate and harden them. 

2. Positively. The causes were these four 

[1.] Pure zeal for the glory of God, which is more dear to God's 
servants than all their own interests. Compare Ps. Ixix. 9, with Rom. 
xv. 3, 'The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me/ 
Carnal men are hot in their own cause, cold in God's; but the con 
trary is true of gracious spirits; as Moses, who was meek in his own ; 
cause, but zealous in God's. The dishonour done to God goeth near 
their hearts. 

[2.] The church's welfare, which is highly prized by them : Ps. cxxii. 
9, ' Because of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek thy good;* 
Isa. Ixii. 1, ' For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace ; ' Ps. cxxxvii. 6, 
' If 1 do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my 
mouth ; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy/ Now to 
persons thus affected, when others do by their false doctrine and dis- 


orderly life seduce and disturb the church, it is a real grief to 

[3.] Pity to souls, both of the seducers and the seduced, the ring 
leaders and llieir proselytes, because they brought destruction upon 
their own heads. It is a grief to a serious Christian to see people go to 
hell by droves. True Christians are led by the Spirit of Christ, who 
was nil made up of bowels of compassion. We find him weeping for 
friends and enemies. Friends, as Lazarus: John xi. 35, 'Jesus wept/ 
Enemies, as the Jews : Luke xix. 41, ' When he came near, he beheld 
the cily, and wept over it.' Now his people have the bowels of Christ : 
.Phil. i. 8, ' God is my record how greatly I long after you in the 
bowels of Jesus Christ.' When others incur God's displeasure and 
endanger their own salvation, it is grievous to them. 

[4 J They have a clearer apprehension of the mischievous effects of 
sin, see more danger in it than the deluded world do: Jer. xiii. 17, 
' If ye will not hear, my soul shall weep in secret places.' Faith hath 
a great sagacity and foresight in it. As to things hoped, it is a substance ; 
so it is the evidence of things not seen, which compriseth the threat- 
enings : Hc-b. xi. 1, 7, ' Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the 
evidence of things not seen. By faith Noah, being warned of God of 
things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving 
of his house, by the which he condemned the world, and became the 
heir of righteousness which is by faith.' When the merry world, blinded 
with the delusions of the flesh, never thought of a flood, Noah uiaketh 
preparation. Paul is in tears whilst those besotted worldlings glory 
in their shame. God's children know that his threatening!* are not a 
vain scarecrow ; they see a storm coming when the clouds are a-gather- 
ing, a judgment in the causes, and execution in the sentence ; and 
however men slight the word now, it will one day be found true. These 
things being realised and set before their eyes by a clear faith, they 
are affected even to weeping. 

I have the more dilated upon these things, because they are so useful 
to us in times of general apostasy and detection from God. 

II. The brand and character he puts upon them, ' They are enemies 
to the cross of Christ.' 

This may be understood either of their doctrine or practice. 

1. By their doctrine ; and so again two ways 

[1.] As they did detract from the merits of his death by urging the 
observation of the law of Moses as necessary to justification. They 
taught sins might be expiated and men saved some other way than by 
the cross of Christ. The pure gospel is the preaching of the cross ; by 
the adding of the rituals of Moses, they made the cross of Christ of 
none effect : ' For if righteousness come by the law, Christ is dead in 
vain,' Gal. ii. 21. By the blood of his cross Christ made our peace 
with God, Col. i. 20, and that was enough ; but they cried up the 
ceremonies as necessary, and so frustrated the grace of God in Christ. 

[2.] Another particular doctrine of theirs was, that they might con 
fidently abjure the faith in time of persecution, as Eusebius informeth 
us. Basil ides and the Gnostics had crept into the church in Paul's 
'time; and in scripture we may trace the footsteps of this opinion, by 
which they persuade a compliance with Jews and gentiles, to avoid the 


danger of the cross or persecution. Jews : Gal. vi. 12, ' As many as 
make a fair show in the flesh, constrain yon to be circumcised, lest 
they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ ;' and Gal. v. 11, 
' If I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution ? then is 
the offence of the cross ceased.' Gentiles: that it was an indifferent 
thing to be present at idols' feasts, and to eat things offered to idols, 
1 Cor. x. This was their doctrine to shun persecution. 

2. Their practice, which was suitable to their doctrine. They were 
of an unchristian spirit and temper, savouring nothing but the world 
and the commodities and pleasures of the flesh, loath to suffer anything 
for Christ, or venture on anything that might bring affliction upon 
them, but wholly gave up themselves to gratify the present life ; there 
fore they are said to be enemies to the cross of Christ. 

This interpretation I prefer for these reasons 

[1.] Because in the nextveree, where Ihe apostle explaineth this clause, 
he doth not instance in their opinions, but their practice : ver. 19, 
' Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, whose glory is in 
their shame, who mind earthly things ; ' where they are set forth as 
sensual and earthly-minded men, and upon that account enemies to 
the cross of Christ. 

[2.] By the antithesis or description of the opposite state of the true 
Christians, 'But our conversation is in heaven.' True Christians are 
not described by their opinions, but their conversations ; and the kind 
of their conversation was heavenly, and carried on with respect to their 
happy state in another world. These then are worldly, and so enemies. 

3. Their temper had an influence upon their opinions, as well as 
their opinions had an influence upon their practice. Their religion 
was according to their frame of heart, fitted for the conveniency of the 
flesh, or their ease and quiet in the world. 

Doct. That men of an earthly, carnal spirit are enemies to the cross 
of Christ. 

To clear this, observe 

1. That those that profess friendship to Christ may yet be enemies 
to him. These Gnosiics were a sort of Christians. There are open 
enemies, and secret. The open enemies are such as bid defiance to 
Christ, and live in professed infidelity; the secret are such as seem to 
own Christ crucified, yet do really oppose the power and virtue of his 
passion, not mortifying their fleshly and worldly lusts. So that there 
are enemies of Christ, not only out of the church, but in the midst, 
where his kingdom is set up ; for he ruleth in the midst of his enemies, 
Ps ex. 1. Now these secret enemies are of two sorts such as are 
enemies to his laws, and enemies to his cross. To his laws, or kingly 
power : Luke xix. 27, ' These mine enemies, which would not that I 
should reign over them,' &c. ; Ps. Ixviii. 21, ' He will wound the head 
of hisenenres, and the hairy scalp of such as go on still in their tres 
passes.' He is a God of salvation. To his cross : so those who professed 
the name of Christians, but by their sensual walking and worldly- 
nii tided ness declared themselves enemies of the cross of Christ. 

2. That friendship and enmity to Christ is not interpreted so much 
by external profession as by the constitution of our hearts, and the 
course of our conversations. Christ never respected pure profession, 


where men have the hearts of infidels and pagans or the lives of infidels : 
Luke vi. 46, ' Why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that 
I say ?' Mat. vii. 21, ' Not every one,' &c. ; and 1 Peter i. 17, ' With 
out respect of persons, he judgeth according to every man's work' 
God is not Trpoo-cDTroXeTr-n?'?. God will not accept of men according to 
their appearance ; as it is a perversion in man's judgment when persons 
are accepted for things extrinsical and foreign, and such as have no 
respect to the merits of the cause. Though you may suy, I am a 
Christian, no Jew nor infidel, I am a minister ; yet, if carnal, if an enemy 
to the cross which you preach up, if the constitution of heart he quite 
opposite to the spirit of religion which you profess, you are reckoned 
not among the friends, but enemies ; Christ will not own you. 

3. That the worldly spirit is that constitution of heart which is quite 
blank opposite to the cross of Christ. This is that which I am to prove ;. 
but before I go about it, let me drop a consideration or two. 

The first is, that the cross of Christ is twofold what he hath 
endured for our sake, what we must endure for his sake. The worldly 
spirit is opposite to both, loath to suffer, though Christ hath com 
manded us to take up the cross daily, Luke ix. 23. In a resolution 
and preparation of mind we must do so ; but then the cross which he 
endured for our sakes, we are enemies to it whilst we resist the power 
of it, and are not by it crucified to the world ; then this great end o 
the cross is not fulfilled in us. 

The second consideration is, that worldliness is not only opposite to 
the cross of Christ, but also to the glory of Christ, in several respects. 
There are two considerations set before us in scripture to wean us from 
the world Christ crucified and Christ glorified. Of the former 
by and by ; the latter, Col. iii. 1, ' Being risen with Christ, seek those 
things that are above.' It doth not become the members of a crucified 
Christ to be earthly-minded, nor the members of a glorified Christ to 
set their hearts on things so low. A Christian should live in a perfect 
correspondence to all the acts of Christ's mediation. The two solemn 
acts are his dying and rising again. As he died and was crucified, we 
must not mind earthly things ; as he rose again, our conversation must 
be in heaven. The one enforceth mortification, the other vivification, 
or seeking things above. If we feel not the virtue of the one, or the 
other, or both, we have lost the benefit of our Christianity, and shall 
not be reckoned among the friends and disciples, but enemies of Jesus 

Now I prove that the worldly spirit is most opposite to the cross of 

1. The scripture clearly asserts it: James iv. 4, 'The friendship of 
the world is enmity with God:' Mat. vi. 24, 'Ye cannot serve God 
and mammon ; ' 1 John ii. 15, ' Love not the world, neither the things 
that are in the world , if any man love the world, the love of the Father 
is not in him.' It is apparent in our baptismal vow we are to renounce 
the world, as one of the enemies of onr salvation, as well as the devil 
and the flesh, when we first enter upon Christianity, and seek after the 
benefits of the cross. 

2. Experience confirmeth it. What is it that most opposeth, and 
ever hath opposed, the gospel, nnd lieth point-blank opposite to the 
spirit of it, but the worldly spirit ? 


[1.] It was the worldly spirit which caused the Jews to be such 
obstinate unbelievers, and to persecute Christ and his servants : James 
ii. 5, 6, 'Hath not God chosen the poor to be rich in faith, heirs of the 
kingdom which God hath promised to them that love him ? Do not 
the rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment-seats?' 
The poor Christ and the poor Christians they hated. And Luke xvi. 14, 
* And the pharisees, which were covetous, heard all these things, and 
derided him/ And this is that which continueth them in their unbe 
lief unto this very day ; they would have a temporal pompous Messiah, 
"which should come in worldly glory and power, and free them from 
captivity, and make the rest of the nations stoop to them. This humble 
crucified Jesus is not for their turn. 

[2.] This maketh the Turks adore their Mahomet, because he pro- 
miseth success in their worldly enterprises in this world, and a sensual 
happiness in the world to come. 

[3.] This maketh the nominal bastard Christian to be such an opposer 
of Christ's spiritual kingdom, and only to content himself with the 
name of Christianity. When the church ran into the world and the 
world into the church, religion began to be corrupted. The rabble of 
nominal Christians, they are worldlings, and measure all by outward 
pomp, pride, and fleshly glory. There is a contest between the evan 
gelical church of Christ and the carnal worldly church of antichrist, 
who are most esteemers of the cross of Christ. Now of this controversy 
you shall be judges where the right lieth. The carnal church pleadeth. 
she is all for the cross ; you have crucifixes everywhere painted, carved, 
gilded ; yea, they are ready to worship the cross of Christ with holy 
woi>hip ; they set it in their temples, altars, yea, their highways, 
.market-places ; and in every place where they meet with it, bow down 
to it ; they adorn it with gold, and silver, and all costly precious stones ; 
their popes and prelates have it carried before them, their laity wear it 
in their bosoms ; yea, at all times, when they come out of their houses, 
when they come into churches, when they address themselves to almost 
anything, sign themselves with the sign of the cross. And are not 
these better friends of the cross than these new upstart heretics, that 
.are frightened, displeased at the sight of it ? But alas ! these outward 
semblances and May-games do but deceive the world, whilst in their 
doctrine they detract from the merits of Christ crucified, and in their 
worship turn the simplicity of the gospel into a theatrical pomp, and 
the discipline of the church into a temporal domination ; so that their 
Christianity looketh like another thing than Christ hath established, like 
a design and frame of religion calculated for the present world rather 
than a serious preparation for the world to come. Here the evangelical 
church, they profess to know nothing but Jesus Christ and him cruci 
fied ; on him is bottomed all their comfort and hope, 1 Cor. ii. 2, and 
give him the whole honour of our redemption, justification, and salva 
tion, and desire to rejoice in Christ Jesus, arid worship him in the 
spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh, without such pompous and 
ridiculous ceremonies, or any worship and adoration of the material 
cross, or the sign of it; but to be crucified to the world, and quit all 
things, that they may have pardon, and peace, and life by the cross of 
Christ. Now judge you who are friends or enemies to the cross of 


Christ, those who seek to check their worldly lusts, or they who, since 
Christ's religion came in fashion, do rest in an outward pageantry and 
seeming devotion to the cross? 

[4.] It is the worldly spirit that distinguished the hypocrites from 
the sincere in the true church, and where the doctrine of the cross is 
purely preached. Hypocrites are of two sorts either such as have the 
grace of the stony or thorny ground, more gross and open, or more 
secret and refined. 

(1.) Such as have the grace of the stony ground. They are described, 
Luke viii. 13, 'That which fell on the rock are they who, when they 
hear, receive the word with joy ; and these have no root, which for a 
while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.' These are such 
as are impatient of adversity, and therefore change their minds as 
their carnal interest doth change, and set their sails to that wind 
which will most bring them to their worldly ends. They have a 
liking to religion, and are loath to quit the profession of it, but yet 
loath to endanger their worldly interests ; therefore fit their principles 
to the humours of men, and fashion themselves for all times. This is 
libertinism, carnal policy, not religion. Of this sort were those spoken 
of in the text, who would be accounted Christians, yet suffer nothing 
for Christ. To eschew sufferings by lawful means is not culpable : 
Mat. x. 23, ' When they persecute you in one city, flee into another/ 
Yea, commendable : Prov. xxii. 3, ' A prudent man foresee th the evil; 
and hidetli himself.' But to disguise religion, and to writhe ourselves 
into all postures and shapes, that we may secure our temporal interest 
or worldly portion, is the fault of the third ground, or the property of 
those hypocrites who are represented thereby. And so we see the 
world was their bane, because, to shun the cross, or avoid hazard and 
trouble, they were willing to comply with the persecutors, and tamper 
with them to abate their edge. And therefore till you are so far 
divorced from the world as to take up with a naked Christ and the 
hopes of a heavenly felicity which he hath promised, you cannot escape 
this snare. 

(2.) There are another sort of hypocrites, who are represented by 
the thorny ground. They are described, Luke viii. 14, ' And that 
which fell among thorns are they who, when they have heard, go forth 
and are choked with cares, and riches, and the pleasures of this life^ 
and bring no fruit to perfection.' These either are not assailed with 
persecutions, or, it they are, endure the brunt, but do not tame their 
own flesh ; though they conquer outward opposition, and keep the 
profession and form of godliness, deny the power ; have not so far felt 
the power of Christ crucified, as to overcome their worldly affections 
and sensual inclinations ; and so religion is still kept as an underling, 
and they are not brought into that state of the divine nature or 
heavenly life that God may have most interest in their hearts, and 
the main drift and bent of their lives may be for God and the life to 
come. They do not make heaven their end, so as to part with all to 
obtain it ; therefore they are dwarfs and cripples in religion all their 
days, never make any sound work of it, so as to honour God, and 
awaken the careless world to mind better things. Now these are 
enemies to the cross of Christ, because God hath least of the heart, 


and the world most, and the strongest interest is that which is opposite 
to God ; the cross hath not had its effect in them. 

[5.] It is the worldly spirit that is the great let and hindrance to 
the sincere, that they cannot do for God as they would. The sincere,, 
and Christians indeed, are such as do in affection and resolution forsake 
all that they have in the world, and look for a portion in the world tc* 
come. They by experience find the world to be an enemy to the cross 
of Christ. I say, they are a people who seek more diligently after 
heaven than earth, and can let go the world when Christ calleth them 
to it; yet these find the world and the worldly spirit a mighty impedi 
ment both in doing and suffering for Christ. Till we put off the flesh, 
the world will never lay by its enmity. 

(1.) For doing. The world is always hindering you in the way to- 
life. It is continually a snare in all that you do, clogging and retarding 
you in your heavenly flights and motions : Heb. xii. 1, ' Let us lay 
aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,' &c. 
Though you do believe a life after this, and are convinced that it is- 
your happiness, and have your estimation and love most set upon it, 
and do for the main contemn the riches, and honours, and pleasures of 
the world, yet you find a difficulty to comply with the precepts of 
Christianity, those of mortification, self-denial, charity, meekness, tem 
perance, heavenly-mindedness ; cannot do as yon would, because of 
your inclination to present things, nor so thoroughly comply with that 
manner of living which Christ hath appointed. Therefore a great 
part of our religion and constant duty is to keep ourselves unspotted 
from the world, James i. 27. Many Christians can hardly escape the 
blemish of being worldly, and not attending upon communion with God, 
and the duties of justice and charity, which we owe to men, so entirely 
as the law of Christianity doth enforce. And that is the reason why 
the doctrine of overcoming the world is subjoined to the warning of 
keeping the commandments without grievousness : 1 John v. 3, 4, ' For 
this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments ; and his com 
mandments are not grievous. For whosoever is born of God overcometh 
the world ; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our 
faith.' He knoweth not his own heart that findeth not this. 

(2.) Suffering for Christ. What is it that maketh men so tender of 
suffering but love of the world ? If men were crucified to the world, 
it would be more easy ; for we can readily part with things that we do 
not much value and esteem. These are but small matters in com 
parison of what Christ hath promised you and purchased for you. If 
you must endure disgrace for Christ, e\a^Lcnov, it is a small thing 
with you, 1 Cor. iv. 3 ; if bonds, and afflictions, and hard trials, these 
things will not much move you, Acts xx. 23, 24; Horn. viii. 13, ' If ye 
live after the flesh, ye shall die : but if ye through the Spirit do 
mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.' But alas ! every one hath 
not this constancy of mind, and deep sense of the world to come, this 
weanedness from the present world, and therefore maintain their 
resolwtion for God and heaven with great difficulty ; the heavenly life 
is obstructed and weakened by worldly affections. 

(3.) Reason will plainly evidence it to you (1.) From the intent 
of the cross ; (2.) From the nature of the religion that is founded on 


the cross of Christ, and the graces wherein the life of that religion 

First, From the end and intent of the cross. Why the Lord did 
appoint this way to save the world. 

1. It was to be an all-sufficient expiatory sacrifice for sin : Eph. v. 
2, ' He hath given himself for us, to be an offering and a sacrifice to 
God of a sweet-smelling savour.' By it satisfaction is made to God for 
the sin which the world enticed man to commit. Our first sin was a 
turning from God to the world. Man would be at his own finding, 
and left the happiness which he had in God for somewhat in the 
creature. Now by ' his stripes we are healed,' Isa. liii. 5. Therefore 
they cross this end, and so are enemies, who would tear open Christ's 
wounds, and make them bleed afresh. These refuse God's remedy. 

2. By this cross Christ purchased for us that Spirit of power, and 
all those ordinances and helps of grace, by which we may overcome the 
world: Gal. i. 4, 'He gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver 
us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our 
Father.' Both the internal operation of his Holy Spirit, and the out 
ward ordinances of God, or means of graoe, were given us to this end, 
that our estimation and love which is set upon the creature might be 
recovered to God, that we might be called off from the creature, and 
brought back again to God. Now those who mind earthly things are direct 
enemies to the cross of Christ, because they go about to defeat the end 
of it, and this Spirit, which would take them off from the world. 

3. By his cross he hath purchased to us that glorious kingdom which 
is propounded as our happiness ; and being formerly shut to all man 
kind by sin, it is opened by the death of Christ, that believers may enter 
into it : 1 Thes. v. 9, 10, ' God hath not appointed us to wrath ; but 
to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, that whether we sleep or 
wake, we should live together with him.' This was his end ; and how 
do they contradict this end who only aim at a worldly happiness, and 
live as if they desired no better satisfactions than those of the belly and 
bodily life. Surely these hate the cross, and lightly esteem the glory 
purchased thereby. 

4. That it might be a pattern and example to us of three things 
(1.) Of suffering ; (2.) Contentment and patience under suffering ; 
(3.) A glorious issue. Now those that are of a worldly spirit can have 
no liking to the cross of Christ, but hate, and are enemies to it. 

[1.] Of suffering. He endured the cross for our sakes, that we might 
endure the cross for his sake; take up our cross and follow him, Mat. 
xvi. 24. We must have our cross, Col. i. 24, vo-Tepn/jLara Xpiarov. We 
have the remnant of those sufferings which Christ began on the cross, 
that thereby he may convince us of the vanity and emptiness of the 
world, which is more than doctrine and hearsay. When we are de 
spised and contemned, and become as the filth and off-scouring of the 
world, it turneth us more against the world than a lecture or specula 
tive contemplation of these things do, and being sanctified by Christ, 
doth produce in us a low esteem of the world, and a desire of a 
better portion. 

[2.] Of contentment and patience under sufferings: 'For Christ 
died, kaving us an example that we should follow his steps,' 1 Peter 


ii. 21. And truly to eye our pattern, Christ, hanging and dying on the 
cross, will pierce the world to the very heart. He was contented to be 
the most despicable object upon earth in the eyes of men. If Christians be 
not ashamed of their head and glorious chief, this spectacle should kill all 
our worldly affections, and make us despise all the honour, and riches, 
and pomp, and pleasure of the world, the favour or frowns, the love or 
wrath, the praise or dispraise of men, so far as it is opposite to the 
kingdom of Christ. When it is crucified to us, we should be crucified 
to it : Gal. vi. 14, ' God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of 
Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.' 
The applause of the world should be contemptible unto, and actually 
abhorred by, a sincere believer ; yea, the power, beauty, allurements, 
as they would interpose to weaken our esteem of Christ, or pursuit of 
that happiness which he hath offered to us, it should all be trampled 
upon and rejected by us for Christ's sake. 

[3.] Of a glorious issue ; for Christ escaped out of death, and entered 
into glory, which he promised us, and so still by his example calleth 
us off from the world to heaven : Heb. xii. 1, 2, ' Let us run with pa 
tience the race which is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and 
finisher of our faith ; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured 
the cross, and despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand 
of the throne of God.' His cross was the ready way to the crown. 
Now, as it was to him, it will be so to us ; for ' if we suffer with him, 
we shall also reign with him,' Eom. viii. 17. The way is rough, but 
the prize is excellent. He endured cruel pains of body, bitter agonies 
of soul ; but there was a glorious estate at the back of it in the close 
and issue ; not only to recompense his sufferings, but to be a pledge of 
our hopes. This now is the cross interpreted, and judge you what a 
perfect contradiction here is all along to a sensual and worldly spirit. 

Secondly, Consider the religion founded on the cross ; which may 
be considered (1.) On God's and Christ's part, as to its precepts and 
promises ; (2.) On our part, as to the graces wherein it is exercised. 

I shall only now touch at the latter, and show you that all grace is 
at mortal enmity with the world : faith, hope, and love, these all en 
gage us to another world, and do subordinate this unto it. 

1. Faith, which is a dependence upon God for something which lieth 
out of sight. The nature of it is to carry us off from things present 
to things to come ; therefore this being a main grace in the gospel- 
covenant, surely requireth we should be dead and crucified to the world. 
The spirit of faith spoken of 2 Cor. iv. 13, is a temper of mind pre 
pared for all dangers and hazards, or a ready confession of Christ, with 
courage, without pusillanimity, or love to our own ease. This is the 
true spirit of faith, opposite to that spirit of the world which maketh 
men afraid to venture for Christ. 

2. Love. They that love not Christ in sincerity, they are enemies to 
his cross and kingdom. It argueth such an high esteem of God, and 
Christ, and his precious benefits, that our souls are drawn off from Other 
things, and all things are made to give way to them : Ps. Ixxiii. 25, 
' Whom have I in heaven but thee? ' &c. The love of the world re 
maining, the love of the Father is not in us. 

3. For hope. This wholly carrieth us to a future happiness ; for 
VOL. xx. I 


hope that is seen is not hope. To long for a better estate : Horn. viii. 
.23, ' We groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption.' To look 
for it and prepare for it : 1 John iii. 2, 3, ' Now we are the sons of 
God, but it doth not yet appear what we shall be,' &c. So that the 
spirit which is in religion is not the spirit of the world, 1 Cor. ii. 12 ; 
and they that are under the power of a worldly spirit have neither true 
faith, nor love, nor hope. 

Use 1. To show how much they are mistaken who think they shall 
ever be counted friends of Christ, who would indulge the flesh, and re 
concile the love of the world with a profession of godliness. No ; be 
you professors, be you preachers, you are enemies of the cross of Christ, 
especially they who serve themselves of Christ, and make religion a 
design and cover to some worldly end. The first sort are confuted by 
the instance of the young man. He had a mind to be a Christian ; but 
when Christ telleth him of selling all, and looking for a reward in 
another world, he goeth away sorrowful, for he was very rich, Luke 
xviii. 23. There you see plainly that minding earthly things is enmity 
to the cross of Christ. For the second, none worse enemies than they 
that think to serve themselves and their worldly ends upon religion ; 
better keep in the world among worldlings, than creep into the church 
of Christ, and dishonour religion by greediness of filthy lucre, 1 Peter 
v. 2 ; Kom. xvi. 18, ' They serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their 
own belly.' To make that your inducement to be religious, to bring 
your base earthly minds among Christ's servants to infect them, it is 
worse than if you never professed. No ; both one and the other must 
sit down and count the cost. Never dream of being Christ's unless you 
can forsake all and follow him under the cross, upon the assurance of 
a promised treasure in heaven. 

Use 2. To press those who would be accounted sincere Christians to 
mortify their affections to earthly things. 

1. Else you are not friends to Christ, but enemies. He counteth none 
friends but those that are prepared to take him and his yoke, take him 
and his cross ; therefore we should examine the strength of our resolu 
tion. Can we follow a naked Christ, and be content to obey his coun 
sel for another worjd, whatever be our lot here ? Never dream of build 
ing a tower before you sit down and count the cost, whether you have 
sufficient to finish it, Luke xiv. 28. 

2. Else you feel not the true virtue of Christ's cross. And how will 
you glory in it when you hear of such a mighty Christ, and feel nothing ? 
Gal. vi. 14, ' God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of Christ' 
Therefore consider, What benefit have I found by Christ ? I profess 
to believe the doctrine of the cross, but what good hath it done me ? 
If I pretend it giveth me ease in my conscience, and doth not mortify 
my lusts, this is the fashion of hypocrites, who would have Christ pacify 
their conscience, and the world gratify their hearts beside. You will 
never find rest without taking on Christ's yoke and taking up his 
burden, Mat. xi. 29. 

3. You are never dead to the world till the flesh be crucified ; for 
they whose god is their belly will mind earthly things ; and flesh must 
be crucified if the world be crucified, Gal v. 24, for the world is the 
provision of the flesh. 


4. Till you tame the flesh and grow dead to the world yon are 
under the power of Satan : 1 Peter v. 8, ' Be sober, be vigilant ; because 
your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom 
he may devour.' The worldly and carnal are ' led captive by him at 
his will and pleasure,' 2 Tim. ii. 26, 2 Cor. iv. 10. 

5. Your faith in Christ, love to God, and hope of heaven will still be 
questionable till you be more mortified to the world. What ! do you be 
lieve in a mortified Christ ? What similitude is there between you and 
him ? a Christian, and yet worldly ! a Christian, and yet sensual ! a Chris 
tian, and yet proud ! It is as great a contradiction as to say, a believer, 
and yet an infidel. You that are given to pleasures, do you believe in 
Christ, a man of sorrows ? You that are carried after the pomps and 
vanities of the world, do you believe in Christ, whose kingdom is not 
of this world ? You that are proud and lofty, do you believe in him 
who said, ' Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly ? ' 

So your love to God is questionable. What ! love an invisible God, 
and yet dote so inordinately on visible things! A mind that is 
enchanted with the delusions of the flesh, can it be lifted up to God 
who dwelleth in another world ? Can you love God, and do so little 
for him? Love him, and the world hath so much of your time, and 
strength, and care, and delight, and God so little? They are a very 
corrupt sort of men who are described to ' be lovers of pleasures more 
than lovers of God/ 2 Tim. iii. 4. So far as we set our hearts upon 
these things, so far are they deadened and estranged from God. Can 
you love God when his favour, if not parted with or quite lost, is put to 
hazard for the world's sake ? 

Your hope of heaven is questionable. What are you ? whither are 
you a-going ? Are you passing to heaven, and are so greedy of this 
world ? Do you look and long for a better estate, that are so satisfied 
with your portion here, that seek so earnestly after present things, and 
so slightly and coldly after those blessed things which are to come ? 
Who is the carnal fool but he that heapeth up treasure to himself, and 
is not rich towards God ? Luke xii. 21. Doth he long for heaven that 
is so loath to depart, and maketh so little preparation for it, or giveth so 
little diligence to clear up his title or interest in it ? To profess the 
hope of another life, and yet to be digging like a mole in the earth, is 


Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is 
in their shame, ivho mind earthly things. PHIL. iii. 19. 

HERE is a further description of evil- workers, to show why they should 
have no fellowship in their sin, either by giving them countenance or 
following their example, that they might not be involved in their ruin 
and destruction, ' Whose end is destruction,' <&c. 

In these words three things are observable (1.) Their sin ; (2.) The 
aggravations of their sin ; (3.) The punishment. 


1. Their sin is ' Minding earthly things.' 

2. The aggravations are two, further discovering the nature of it 
(1.) ' Whose god is their belly ; ' (2.) ' Whose glory is in their shame.' 

3. The punishment, ' Whose end is destruction.' 

1. Their sin, * They mind earthly things,' which must be interpreted 
of their doctrine and practice ; for they are considered as a carnal sort 
of Christians, and as seducers of others by their carnal opinions. 

[1.] By their doctrine. They corrupted the gospel, and obstructed 
the progress and power of it, by suiting it to their carnal ends. Such 
false teachers are elsewhere described by their earthly mindedness, 
where we are bidden to try the spirits : 1 John iv. 5, ' They are of the 
world, therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.' 
Their doctrine is a doctrine of licentiousness, calculated for secular in 
terest, or a worldly design, to save themselves from persecution ; and 
worldly-minded men follow them. 

[2.] As to their practice, they principally respected their profit and 
ease, and the commodities of the flesh ; so that if their doctrine had 
been true, their hearts were naught ; as if a man should intrude into 
the ministry, and preach truth, but for worldly ends, not to work in the 
Lord's vineyard, but to feed on the portion of the Levites ; or if they 
pretend to love God and souls, it is but a net to catch riches, honours, 
and pleasures. 

2. The aggravations of their sin. 

The first is, * Whose god is their belly.' They did in effect set up 
another god, preferring the things which belong to the belly and bodily 
life before the honour of God. You have a like description elsewhere: 
Rom. xvi. 18, ' They that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but 
their own belly.' Under the pretence of being servants of God and 
Christ, they opposed God and Christ. They pretend to serve Christ, 
and love Christ, but indeed were acted only by their own fleshly ap 
petite ; temporal ease and pleasure was all they sought after, not the 
honour of God and salvation of souls, but the satisfying their own sin 
ful inclination. 

The second is, ' Whose glory is in their shame ; ' that is, that they 
can avoid trouble, and live a life of pomp and ease, when others are 

Here observe two things 

[1.] How much human nature is distorted and depraved. Man 
fallen is but the anagram of man in innocency. As in an anagram, 
the letters are the same, but the order is inverted, so we have the same 
affections that innocent Adam had, but they are misplaced ; our hatred 
is where our love should be, and our love where our hatred should be ; 
and (that I may not carry the observation too far) our glory is there 
where our shame should be, -and our shame where our glory should be ; 
we are bold in sinning, but ashamed of Christ and strictness. You 
shall have some men glory in their oaths, and a graceless grace of rash 
swearing. Some glory in their new-fangled apparel, which is but ;ui 
ensign hung out to show the vanity of their minds. Some will glory 
in painting or spotting their faces, which really is their shame. Others 
will boast of their base and brutish lusts, which certainly are things 
they ought to be deeply ashamed of. 


[2.] Observe how worldliness showeth itself in all the properties of 
it. We read, 1 John ii. 16, 'For all that is in the world, the lust of 
the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, 
but is of the world.' By the lust of the flesh is meant sensual pleasures ; 
by the lust of the eyes, inordinate desire of riches ; by pride of life, 
ambition, or affectation of honour and glory. Again we read, James 
iii. 15, ' This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, 
devilish.' The wisdom which descendeth not from God is the wisdom of 
the flesh ; that is, earthly, such as carrieth us to the profits of the world ; 
sensual, to the delights of the flesh ; devilish, aspiring after greatness 
and esteem in the world ; for pride is ' the condemnation of the devil,' 
1 Tim. iii. 6 ; that is, the sin for which the devil was condemned. So 
here is covetousness expressed by ' minding earthly things ; ' sensuality, 
' their god is their belly ; ' pride, ' whose glory is in their shame. 1 
The fruit whereby the devil tempted our first parents, Gen. iii. 6, was 
' good for food ; ' by that he tempted the lusts of the flesh ; ' pleasant 
to the eyes/ and so came in the lust of the eyes ; and ' to be desired to 
make one wise,' and that was the pride of life, affecting a higher con 
dition than that wherein God had placed them. And with these kind 
of weapons he sets upon the second Adam, our Lord Christ, in the 
wilderness, Mat. iv., tempting him to the lusts of the flesh, when he 
would have him ' turn stones into bread;' to the lusts of the eyes, when, 
he ' showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them ; ' 
to pride of life, when he persuaded him ' to cast himself down,' out of 
vainglory, and tempting God, to show some extraordinary miracle in 
his preservation. Well, then, there are more sorts of earthly-minded- 
ness than one. A man may love the world that is sensual, as well as 
a covetous muckworm, because the profits of this life are but one branch 
of the enticing world. Many a sense-pleaser will think that he de- 
spiseth wealth, because he lavisheth it out freely upon his lusts ; yet he 
may be earthly-minded for all that. Voluptuous living breedeth a 
senselessness of heavenly things, and choketh the good seed, as well as 
the cares of this world : Luke viii. 14, ' They go forth, and are choked 
with cares, and riches, and pleasures of this life.' Yea, a man may 
love the world though he should contemn both riches and pleasures, 
because there is a third evil as dangerous to the spiritual life, and that 
is pride of life, or glorying in the flesh, or affecting credit, esteem, and 
reputation with men : John v. 44, ' How can ye believe, who receive 
honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God 
only ? ' It is destructive to faith. 

3. The last thing is their punishment, ' Whose end is destruction.' 
Sinners gain little by their sin at last. We swallow the bait, but do 
not mind the hook : ' Whose end is destruction.' This is the end, 
not intended by them, but appointed by God as the wages of the carnal 
life. Finis operis, the end of the work ; though not operantis, of the 
doer. Their punishment is the reward of their sin. By ' destruction ' 
he meaneth they shall be punished by God with eternal damnation, 
called elsewhere ' destruction and perdition ;' 1 Tim. vi. 9, 'They that 
will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many hurtful 
and foolish lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.' So 
Gal. vi. 8, ' For he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap cor- 


ruption ; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life 
everlasting .' Corruption is there opposed to eternal life. Though 
the substance of body and soul is not annihilated, yet that glory, 
pleasure, and gain wherein they placed their happiness shall then be 
consumed ; and when all their comforts are gone, they shall for ever 
remain under the wrath of a highly provoked and then irreconcilable 

Doct. Earthly-mindedness is the temper and disposition of such men 
who are for the present in a state of damnation. 

Christians, I am upon a profitable point, though it be a terrible one ; 
we cannot be cautious enough of earthly-mindedness, whether we con 
sider the heinousness of the sin or the greatness of the danger. For 
your help I shall 

1. Show you what is earthly-mindedness. 

2. The aggravations of this sin as they lie in the text. 

3. The sore punishment appointed to it. 

I. What is earthly-mindedness ? for this is the crime charged upon 
these evil- workers, that ' they mind earthly things.' Now it seemeth 
hard to say that we should not at all mind earthly things. These 
are necessary to sweeten our pilgrimage, and to support us during our 
service. We carry about earthly bodies, that need daily sustentation. 
We have 'an earthly house/ that must be maintained, 2 Cor. v. 1 ; and 
the people of God are subject to the common necessities of an earthly life. 
Therefore surely God, that doth give us these earthly bodies, doth allow 
us in some sort to mind earthly things, and seek earthly things in some 
proportion, and with a due subordination to religion and godliness. In 
our passage to heaven we may mind them, for every wise man must 
mind his business ; but yet they must not be minded only or chiefly. 

1. Not only. So some mind them, scarce have any tincture of 
religion, or regard to life everlasting, but are of the earth, and speak 
of the earth, and savour only earthly things ; aim at nothing but the 
good things of this world, that they may live in honour, and credit, and 
pleasure, and estimation with men ; savour and love nothing but this ; 
care for and breathe after nothing but this : ' God is not in all their 
thoughts,' Ps. x. 4. He speaketh of the worldly atheist, or earthly- 
minded, as the former verse showeth : 'The wicked boasteth of his 
heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth,' 
They regard not whether God be honoured or dishonoured, pleased or 
displeased. So heaven is not in all their thoughts: Rom. viii. 5, 
' They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh ; but they 
that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit ; ' ra eirlyeia, 
' earthly things,' and ra crapKos, ' the things of the flesh,' are the 
same : Col. iii. 2, (frpoveire, ' Set your affections on things above, not on 
things on the earth.' In the margin it is * mind.' So John vi. 27, 
'Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which 
endureth to everlasting life.' These are propounded as incompatible ; 
but their affections bend to the wrong side, and so the one thing neces 
sary is neglected : Luke x. 42, ' One thing is needful, and Mary hath 
chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.' Their 
life is in a perfect opposition to these counsels and directions ; they set 
their affections on things on earth, mind the things of the flesh, are 


cumbered about many things, neglect the one thing necessary, labour 
for the meat that perisheth, slight that which endureth for ever, are 
dead to God and alive to the world, heap up treasure to themselves, 
and are not rich toward God, Luke xii. 21. All is done to please the 
carnal mind, nothing done to please God. 

2. They must not be chiefly minded. The gross worldling is dis 
covered by the only minding, the secret worldling by the chiefly 
minding, earthly things ; the gross worldling is a practical atheist, the 
secret worldling is a carnal hypocrite. The rule is, that spiritual and 
heavenly things must be sought in the first place : Mat. vi. 33, ' Seek 
ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness ; ' and we must 
trust God for other things, in the way of honest and diligent endeavours 
in the calling wherein God hath placed us. Well, then, the minding 
of earthly things must be determined by this, when religion is subor 
dinate to the world, and not the world to religion ; when the lean kine 
devour the fat. And though there be some minding both of earth and 
heaven, yet earth is more minded than heaven ; and the honours, and 
pleasures, and profits of the world, jostle out better things, and choke 
the good seed ; that though we do not cast off the profession of religion, 
yet we feel little of the power of it. Religion is an underling, it is so 
obstructed that it cannot bring forth its fruit with any perfection : Luke 
viii. 14, ' They are choked with cares, and riches, and pleasures of this 
life, and bring no fruit to perfection.' But because this is a secret 
evil, and men easily distinguish themselves out of their convictions, 
we must a little more closely pursue this discovery, that we may find 
what is the first or chief thing that we mind and regard. That will 
be known by these things 

[1.] What is your chief end and scope ? The chief end and scope 
must be God and heaven : 2 Cor. iv. 18, ovcoTroiWe?, ' While we 
look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not 
seen : for the things which are seen are temporal ; but the things 
which are not seen are eternal ; ' and Phil. iii. 14, SAW/CO) Kara 
O-KOTTOV, ' I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of 
God in Christ Jesus.' What is the design of your lives, the main 
bent and drift of your conversations ? Is it to please God, and enjoy 
God, or to heap up riches to yourselves ? If God and the life to come 
only come in by the by, and be not your designed fixed end, which 
puts life into your endeavours, you mind earthly things. The end is 
that which cuts out your work, which formeth your thoughts, chooseth 
your employments, and by which they are constantly directed and 
influenced. A present worldly passion may prevail on godly men, but 
the world is not their great design and interest. 

[2.] What is your chief work and business? Next to our scope, 
our work is to be regarded ; first what you aim at, next what you 
labour for. If the great business of your hearts, and the endeavours 
of your lives, be about earthly things, you are earthly-minded. Surely 
our great business is to obtain salvation by Christ : Phil. ii. 12, 
* Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.' It is a dangerous 
thing to miscarry in so weighty a work. All the solicitude and care 
that we can possibly use is little enough : Acts xxvi. 7, ' Unto which 
promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope 


to come.' This is the top care, to which all others give place. But 
now, if the world engross our time, and strength, and care, and thoughts, 
and divert us from that necessary diligence and heedfulness with 
which soul-affairs t should be pursued and attended upon ; this we 
talk of, this we think of, and pursue with all our might, and seek most 
after, this constantly sets us a-work ; surely this is most regarded by 


[3.] What is the chief joy and trouble of your hearts ? Is it to- 
have and want the world ? If to have it : Luke xii. 19, ' I will say to 
my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years ; take thy 
rest, eat, drink, and be merry.' If the world can keep you quiet in the 
midst of all the dangers of your soul, and you forget eternity, and can 
live a quiet merry life apart from God, yea, in the neglect of him, so 
it may be well with you here, and the peace and pleasure you live upon 
is more fetched from the world than God and heaven, this is a sure 
and undeceiving note that you mind earthly things more than heavenly,, 
and prefer the honours, pleasures, and profits of the world before God 
and your salvation, than which there cannot be a worse temper of 
heart. The saints fetch their joy and solace from spiritual things : 
Ps. iv. 6, 7, ' Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. 
Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their 
corn and their wine increased ; ' and Ps. cxix. 14, ' I have rejoiced in 
the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.' We must often 
ask ourselves what is the bottom and bosom cause of our comfort, 
quietness, and peace ? Is it because you are well provided for, and live 
at ease in the world ? or because God is reconciled to you in Christ,, 
and because you hope to live for ever with him in glory, and have good 
grounds for this hope and confidence ? Then it is well. A Christian 
may know what he most mindeth, and, which is all one, what he most 
esteemeth and prizeth, by the grounds and reasons of his joy and 
trouble : Ps. xciv. 19, 'Thy comforts delight my soul ; ' ' Thou didst 
hide thy face, and I was troubled,' Ps. xxx. 7. If disappointment in 
the world be the cause of our trouble, and happiness in the world feedethi 
our solace and joy, surely we mind these things most. But more of 
this anon. 

Having considered earthly-mindedness singly, we must now consider 
it in act or habit. 

In act. Alas I a child of God is too worldly ; he may have too 
great an esteem of earthly things, but doth not ordinarily mind them 
before God. The habitual bent and inclination of his will is to God 
and heaven. In particular acts he may carry himself too much like an 
earthly-minded man, but his heart is not turned to another happiness, 
for that is contrary to a state of salvation. No prevalent covetousness 
or voluptuousness or ambition possesseth his heart instead of God. 
There is a remainder of worldliness in the godly, as well as other sins ; 
he may too much use the world, for the pleasure of the flesh more 
than for the glory of God ; but yet this is not the scope and tenor of 
his life. He may sometimes desire a greater measure of riches, or 
honour, or pleasure, than is agreeable with his spiritual happiness ; his 
desires of earthly things may be too eager, his cares about them too 
solicitous, his trouble too grievous ; but he is still growing out of 


these distempers, and settling his soul to his constant bent, work, and 
joy. It is not a frame of heart that he can rest in ; it is his trouble, 
and in time he gets above the distemper. 

II. The aggravations of this sin ; and 

1. The first is, ' Whose god is their belly.' Earthly-mindedness is 
a renouncing of the true God, and setting up of base idols in his stead. 


[1.] Here mark what is prized by the earthly-minded, the belly. 
Provision for the flesh is the sum of worldly happiness. Men that 
have the world at will get no more by it than bodily food and bodily 
clothing, which the poorest may attain to without so much ado. It is 
no great happiness whether our dung or excrements be of a finer or 
coarser matter, whether we have fewer or more dishes to our table, nor 
what a gay show we make with our apparel. Some have troubled 
themselves and the world to make themselves great ; and what a sorry 
happiness have they at last ! Hab. i. 16, ' Their portion is fat, and their 
meat plenteous ; a little good cheer and a merry life. They that want 
it live as well as they, and have more contentment. Are they the nearer 
to true comfort, or the further from the grave ? So Ps. xvii. 14, ' From 
men of the world, who have their portion in this life, and whose belly 
thou fillest with thy hidden treasures ; they are full of children, and 
leave the rest of their substance to their babes.' They have a belly 
well filled and a back well clothed, which is but a sorry addition to* 
their happiness. They use it not well, dispense it not to the glory of 
God, and so have not the true use of riches. 

Object. You will say, There are men of great estates who will not 
part with anything for the necessary uses of nature, who will not afford 
themselves conveniences, but fare hard, go meanly, and are in debt to 
back and belly. 

Am. (1.) Covetousness is usually the purveyor for the flesh, and 
those that mind earthly things, their god is their belly : Kom. viii. 5, 
' They .that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh ; ' those 
that seem to deal hardly with the flesh, yet please it in the hoarding of 
wealth, though not in the spending of it. 

(2.) If they fail in giving nature its due, yet they much more fail in 
giving grace its due ; and so are twice fools, while they transgress both 
the laws of nature and of grace. They transgress the laws of grace 
while they do not lay up treasure in heaven, but treasure up wrath 
against the day of wrath ; and they transgress the laws of nature while 
they bereave their souls of good, and do not rejoice in their labour, and 
that portion of earthly things which God hath given them : Eccles. v. 
18, 19, ' Behold that which I have seen ; it is good and comely for one 
to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh 
under the sun, all the days of his life, which God giveth him ; for it is 
his portion. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and 
wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion,, 
and rejoice in his labour ; this is the gift of God/ These deny that 
real benefit which is in a worldly portion, which is the supply of the 
bodily life, or a free and comfortable use of the creature, denying the 
lawful use of those comforts to himself which God hath given him. 

(3.) They lay it up for them that spend it on the belly ; for usually 


God sendeth an heir that wasteth an estate profusely that was greedily 
and sparingly gotten ; and as one goeth to hell in getting, so doth the 
other in spending it, till all this wealth revolve into other hands that 
will use it better: Eccles. ii. 26, 'To the sinner he giveth travail to 
gather and to heap up, that he may give it to him that is good before 
God.' God by his overruling providence disposeth it besides and 
against the purpose of the gatherer, even to those that fear him, mak 
ing wicked men but drudges and purveyors for others. Wicked men 
built the ark, but Noah made use of it. One maketh a garment, and 
another weareth it: Prov. xiii. 22, ' The wealth of the sinner is laid 
up for the just ; ' Job xxvii. 17, ' He may prepare it, but the just shall 
put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver ; ' Prov. xxviii. 8, 
'He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall 
gather it for him that will pity the poor." The world will not believe 
it, but it is a certain truth that estates are ruined by sins of omission 
as well as commission ; though they are not unjustly gotten, yet if they 
are not well improved for the glory of God and the good of others. 
Strange are the providential dispensations of God in disposing money, 
lands, and heritages, till they come into clean and bountiful hands. 
They are tenacious, sparing to make use of it ; but God will put it into 
their hands who will divide and distribute for his glory. 

[2.] This belly is made a god ; that is, interpretatively, a man's 
god, which is his chief good and the last end of all his actions, and 
upon which all his care, thoughts, and endeavours run most. Thus 
do the earthly-minded upon the world and the belly, therefore here it 
is said, ' Their belly is their god ; ' and elsewhere that ' covetousness 
is idolatry,' Col. iii. 5, and the ' covetous man is an idolater,' Eph. v. 
5. That is our god which is most valued by us, and for whose sake we 
do all things. Now, if we will do more for the world than for God, 
aad more for the belly than for God, and can dispense with God's 
honour and glory for an easy and delicate life, and day after day, from 
morning to evening, do only take care for the flesh, and give earthly 
things those affections which are only due and proper to God, we 
make mammon our god, and the belly our god ; here is our scope, 
work, and delight. 

[3] How justly those are deprived of eternal salvation who do thus. 

(1.) Partly as they put a vile scorn on God and Christ, who prefer 
the belly and bodily interest before him. These prefer the body before 
the soul, which yet is the immortal substance, and will survive the 
body, and may be rent from it sooner than they imagine : Luke xii. 
20, ' Thou fool ! this night thy soul shall be required of thee ; ' or 
rent from the embraces of the unwilling body. They prefer time 
before eternity, since they make it their great business to have their 
will and pleasure for a while. If you will have your own will now, 
you shall not have it long : 1 John ii. 17, ' The world passeth away 
and the lusts thereof.' You love to please your appetite in meats and 
drinks, to spend your time in vain sports and pleasures, to be honoured 
and humoured now, to flow in wealth and live in pomp, and would 
want nothing for the contentment of the flesh. But how long shall 
you have your will in these things? When death comes, will you 
Lave it then ? When you lie in pain on your death-beds, expecting 


every hour to appear in another world, will you have it then ? They 
prefer earth before heaven. They only mind the way, but never 
think of home. They are not strangers and pilgrims in the world, but 
inhabitants, and say, as Peter on the mount, Mat. xvii. 4, ' It is good 
to be here ; ' 2 Tim. iv. 10. ' Demas hath forsaken us, having loved 
this present world.' And should God save them against their wills, 
and bring them to a place they desire not ? They prefer the world 
before Christ, and should they have benefit by him who do so lightly 
esteem the rock of their salvation ? His servants prize him : Phil. iii. 
S, ' Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency 
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord ; ' Mat. xiii. 45, 46, ' The 
kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman seeking goodly 
pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, he went and 
sold all that he had, and bought it.' His enemies despise him ; to 
them he is ' a stone of stumbling,' 1 Peter ii. 8. Lastly, they prefer 
the belly before God, a little temporal interest before his favour, love 
pleasures more than God : 2 Tim. iii. 4, ' Lovers of pleasures more 
than lovers of God.' Honours more than God : John xii. 42, 43, 
'Among the chief rulers many believed on him, but because of the 
Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the 
synagogue ; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of 
God.' Profits more than God : 1 John ii. 15, ' Love not the world, 
neither the things that are in the world : if any man love the world, 
the love of the Father is not in him.' Surely then there is a just 
cause of men's damnation when they love the world more than God, 
Christ, and heaven. 

(2.) They that serve a base god cannot but be of a base spirit, and 
eo can do nothing worthily and generously. Every man's temper is as 
his god is : Ps. cxv. 8, ' They that make them are like unto them ; 
so is every one that trusteth in them.' They have a dead heart, 
estranged from the life of God. The carnal life is a spiritual death": 
1 Tim. v. 6, ' She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.' 
Therefore God punisheth them with eternal death. 

(3.) They are not only unfit for God, but opposite to him : Kom. 
viii. 7, ' The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject 
to the law of God, neither indeed can be ; ' and James iv. 4, ' Ye 
adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the 
world is enmity with God ? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of 
the world is the enemy of God.' 

2. The second aggravation, ' They glory in their shame,' that is, in 
their riches and worldly conveniences. 

[1.] That which a man prizeth most he will glory in. Now for 
Christians to glory in a life of pomp and ease is to glory in their shame. 
What a man prizeth most, he will glory in it, boast of it, be it wealth 
or honour, or wit and parts, or else the Lord : Jer. ix. 23, 24, ' Let 
not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man 
glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches : but let 
him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, 
that I arn the Lord.' Man will be glorying in something or another, 
in that which he esteemeth his excellency. Glorying signifieth the 
apprehension of the good of the thing we glory in, and our benefit by 


it ; it is the content and joy which we take in any benefit, expressed 
to others, for the glory of God and their good. So Gal. vi. 14, ' But 
God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus- 
Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I unto the world.' 
True Christians will renounce all carnal glorying ; if they glory in any 
thing, it will be in God and Christ. It is lawful, if it be a true 
excellency, to glory in the good things of God bestowed on them, as 
evidences of his love and approbation of them : 2 Cor. i. 12, ' For our 
rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and 
godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we 
have .had our conversation in this world, and more abundantly to you- 
wards.' If it be for the glory of God and good of others ; for it is the 
design of the carnal world to vilify the works of grace in the hearts of 
the sanctified. If it be for the glory of God : 1 Cor. xv. 10, ' But by 
the grace of God I am what I am ; and his grace which was bestowed 
upon me was not in vain ; for I laboured more abundantly than they 
all ; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with. me.' Or if it be 
for the good of others, to incite them to like experiences : Ps. xxxiv. 
8, ' Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good ; blessed is the man that 
trusteth in him.' 

[2.] The true object of glorying is God and Christ : Jer. ix. 23, 24, 
'Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom^ 
neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man 
glory in his riches : but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he 
understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exercise 
loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth ; for in these 
things I delight, saith the Lord ; ' Jer. iv. 2, ' Thou shalt swear, the 
Lord liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the 
nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory ; ' 
1 Cor. i. 30, 31, * But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is 
made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and 
redemption ; that according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him 
glory in the Lord.' To have all this in Christ is matter of glory. 

[3.] Not only benefits, but disgraceful sufferings for Christ should 
be more to us than all the world : Heb. xi. 26, ' Esteeming the 
reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt ; ' Acts 
v. 41, 'And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing 
that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name ; ' 2 Cor. 
xii. 9, 10, ' Most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that 
the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in 
infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses 
for Christ's sake ; for when I am weak, then am I strong.' 

[4.] A mortified estate is a greater cause of glory than an exalted, 
because it is a far greater mercy : Gal. vi. 14, ' God forbid that I 
should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom 
the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.' Paul, if he 
were lord of all the wealth and honours in the world, he would not 
glory in them ; if he had all the pleasures which the flesh can desire, 
he would not glory in them ; if he had all the applause man can 
give him, he would not glory in that ; but he would glory in the cross 
of Christ, by whom the world is crucified to him, and he unto the 


world. And James i. 9, 10, ' Let the brother of low degree rejoice in 
that he is exalted, but the rich in that he is made low.' The word is 
xav^aada), glory, that is, let him express his satisfaction and content 
ment that he is preferred by grace or humbled by grace. To have a 
weaned heart, whether our condition be high or low, is a greater mercy 
than we have in all the world, because of its tendency to everlasting 

[5.] The carnal and unsanctified rejoice in earthly things, as pleasing 
their flesh ; and so do the godly also, as far as flesh remaineth in them. 
But this is our weakness, and so really our disgrace. High thoughts of 
worldly pomp and greatness show how little we have of a Christian spirit. 
A Christian should affect a mortified heavenly life, and value himself 
and others by better enjoyments. A minister, if he glory in his great 
ness and honour, is not a preacher of the cross, but an enemy to it. 
It is a greater glory to him to be much in the spirit, much in labours, 
much in afflictions, than to live in pomp, and flow in ease and 
wealth, and enjoy great revenues. In hoc successisti non Petro, sed 
Constantino, saith Bernard to Eugenius In this you succeed not Peter, 
but Constantine. Christ had not where to lay his head ; his witnesses 
prophesied in sackcloth. Their true glory is to be mortified, holy, 
heavenly ; not to affect grandeur and precedency ; that is a disgrace 
to the preachers of trie cross. So for private Christians ; they should 
value themselves and others by their grace rather than pomp. 

(1.) Themselves. A Christian should not glory in this, that he is 
wealthy, that he thriveth when others are in misery, and so God loveth 
him better than others. If a stalled ox had reason, would he be so 
senseless to think his master loveth him better than his fellows because 
his food is more liberally provided for him, when he is but fatted for 
the slaughter ? As Haman was deceived in misconstruing the queen's 
invitation of him to a banquet, as a matter of special grace to him, 
when she did it to have better opportunity to accuse him ; so are these 
deceived in judging God's intention, or the happiness of their condi 
tion. Have you dignities, honours, and high places in the world ? 
Do you flow in wealth ? Glory not in this as any part of your felicity ; 
all may be blasted in an instant ; it may be given you for a snare. 
Christ gave his Spirit to the rest of the disciples, but the purse to 
Judas, who was a robber and a thief. Miserable wretches, that shall 
perish to all eternity, may have more than you have. Are you 
applauded by men ? Will this endear you to God, or abate the least 
part of your pain in hell ? The greatest cause of rejoicing is that 
you have enough, without all this, in God. If you are advanced on 
the pinnacle, they that are below are on the safer ground ; your wealth 
will not take away your guilt nor open heaven's gates to you. Are you 
clothed with gorgeous attire ? Glory not in this ; the true ornament 
is grace : 1 Peter iii. 3, 4, ' Whose adorning, let it not be the outward 
adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on 
of apparel ; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is 
not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which 
is in the sight of God of great value.' Pride is a greater shame than 
poverty. The emptiest person may have the best attire. It is not 
jour outside showeth your worth, no more than a rich saddle and 


trappings show a good horse. All this is not matter of glorying or 
blessing yourselves. 

(2.) Nor value others. Those that have high thoughts of worldly 
pomp and wealth do not only bless themselves, but admire others for 
these things : Ps. x. 3, ' The wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and 
blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.' They slight the 
true Christian, and have respect to him that weareth the gold ring and 
gay clothing : James ii. 1-3, ' My brethren, have not the faith of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if 
there come unto your assembly a man with agold ring, in goodly apparel, 
and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment, ye have respect to 
him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in 
a good place ; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under 
my footstool.' They think it a fine thing to be high. And on the con 
trary, grace teacheth us to value the godly poor : Ps. xvi. 3, ' But to 
the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my 
delight;' Ps. xv. 4, 'In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but 
he honoureth them that fear the Lord.' They value a poor man that 
is godly above a rich man that is wicked, and have a hearty honour 
and respect for them above the greatest men in the world. When you 
think too meanly of the estate of poor believers, and admire the rich, 
you glory in that which should be no glory to a Christian. 

[6.] This is to bid defiance to your religion which you profess, and 
to glory in your shame, when you bless yourselves more for having an 
estate in this world than an interest in the promises. This is as if one 
that would be accounted a prudent grave man should glory that he 
hath found a pin. Alas ! the world is too low to be a believer's glory ; 
his higher hopes do cloud and disgrace all these things. Who is your 
Saviour ? A crucified Christ. What is the glory of your religion, 
but mortification, as the blessed effect of his cross ? To glory in any 
creature, as opposite to Christ and divided from Christ, is to glory in 
your shame. Carnal glory will shortly make those ashamed that use 
it. So also when you account a sinful retreat or escape from the cross 
to be better than disgraceful suffering, this is contrary to the temper of 
true Christians. See Heb. xi. 26, Acts v. 41. Let others be ashamed 
of their master, their religion, their God, yet be not you. 

III. The punishment. The carnal life endeth in everlasting de 
struction : ' Their end is destruction.' 

1. It is good to look to the end of things. It maketh one wise : 
Deut. xxxii. 29, ' Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this, 
that they would consider their latter end ! ' Lam. i. 9, ' She remembereth 
not her last end, therefore she came down wonderfully ; ' Jer. xvii. 11, 
' As a partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not ; so he that 
getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his 
days, and at his end shall be a fool.' On the other side, Heb. xiii. 7, 
' Whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversations.' Oh, 
that we had the same thoughts now which we shall have when the end 
is come, when the mask is taken off, and all shows and fallacies cease, 
and things appear in their own colours. 

2. Worldly pleasures will end in everlasting destruction : 1 Tim. 
vi. 9, 10, ' They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and- 


into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruc 
tion and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil, which 
while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced 
themselves through with many sorrows ; ' Rom. vi. 21, ' What fruit 
had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed ? For the 
end of these things is death ; ' ver. 23, ' For the wages of sin is death ; ' 
Gal. vi. 8, ' He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corrup 
tion;' Rom. viii. 13, ' If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.' There 
fore do not look what the carnal earthly life is now, but what it will be 
hereafter : 2 Cor. xi. 15, ' Whose end shall be according to their 
works.' We little think there is so much hurt, but, Rom. viii. 6, ' To 
be carnally-minded is death.' Now as you would avoid everlasting 
destruction, cherish these things. 

3. The punishment is the more dreadful, to give us the more help, 
and the more powerful argument against these pleasing lusts. It IB 
sweet to please the flesh, but it will cost dear. We may counterbal 
ance momentary pleasures with eternal pains ; the pleasures are but 
for a season, but the pain is evermore. If the fearful end of this 
worldly course were more soundly believed or seriously considered, men 
would not so eagerly pursue present things. God would order it so 
that the joy and pain of the other world, which is matter of faith, 
should be greater than the comfort and pain of this world, which is 
matter of sense ; for things at hand would prevail with us, if things to- 
come were not considerably greater. 

Use 1. Do we mind earthly things or heavenly ? A man may 
speak slightly of earthly things, yet these possess our hearts and govern 
all our choices ; for we speak from our convictions, but live by our in 
clinations ; and it is more easy to tip our tongues than change our 
hearts. A man may be earthly-minded yet profess the belief, hope, and 
desire of another world ; as the Israelites gladly would have Canaan, yet 
were loath to part with the garlic and onions of Egypt, or run the hazard 
of the wilderness. A man may be earthly-minded though he have some' 
good affections to religion, but he hath greater and stronger to other 
things. The business is, which hath the mastery, and can check and 
control the other ? A man may love the world who doth not use ill 
means to get it ; but if his heart be set upon it as his portion, he is 
earthly-minded. You do not use unlawful means to be rich ; but are 
you not discontented because riches flow not in upon you ? You covet 
not what is unjust, but do, not you crave what is superfluous ? You do 
not snatch at what is another's, but do you well improve your own ? 
Men sin in not giving what they should, as well as in getting what 
they should not. You are not ravenous, yet is not the gain of wealth 
more sweet to you than that of grace, and your desires after earthly 
things far greater than after God, Christ, and heaven ? You say you 
are only good husbands ; but while you are good husbands, are you not 
bad Christians, neglecting religion to follow the world, scraping all you 
can, but doing little or nothing for God ? In short, if you would not 
mind earthly things 

1. Do not fix them as your scope : 1 Tim. vi. 9, ' They that ' will be 
rich fall into temptation and a snare,' so as to be wholly intent upon get 
ting wealth. Not he that is, but he that ' will be rich.' The devil hath 


you upon the hip when you resolve to make that your scope, care, and 
work. Be sure the world be not your scope, but the pleasing, and glori 
fying, and enjoying of God : Ps. xxvii. 4, ' One thing have I desired of 
the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the 
Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to 
inquire in his temple ; ' Ps. Ixxiii. 25, ' Whom have I in heaven but 
thee ? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.' 

2. Let not this be your great work and business : Mat. vi. 24, ' No 
man can serve two masters : for either he will hate the one, and love 
the other, or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye 
cannot serve God and mammon ; ' Prov. xxiii. 4, ' Labour not to be 
rich ; ' that is, so as to jostle out other business which is more neces 
sary. It is worldly things that thrust out heavenly meditations, and 
worldly business that straitens God's interest in your hearts and families, 
in praying and instructing your families, so that family prayers are 
none or cursorily slubbered over, they having other things to mind. 
The business of the world is not your principal business ; it may take 
up more time, but should not take up more of your hearts. They 
must have the world, come what will come of their immortal souls. 
Think often of your great necessities, to get a sinful condemned soul 
acquitted, a guilty conscience eased, a naughty heart changed, 'a dis 
ordered life reformed, a title to heaven assured : 2 Peter iii. 14, ' Seeing 
that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him 
in peace, without spot, and blameless.' 

3. Let not earthly things be your great delight ; that in the want of 
them you be not overtroubled, or in the enjoyment of them overpleased : 
1 Cor. vii. 29, 30, ' But this I say, brethren, the time is short : it 
remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had 
none, and they that weep as though they wept not, and they that 
rejoice as though they rejoiced not; 1 Phil. iv. 12, 'I know both 
how to be abased, and I know how to abouncl ; everywhere and in all 
things I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound 
and to suffer need ; ' Ps. Ixii. 10, ' Trust not in oppression, and become 
not vain in robbery ; if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.' 

4. When your estate is yet to be made or gotten, let your desires be 
modest. When men have enough already, they would have more. 
As a river, the greater it groweth by receiving in little brooks, the wider 
and deeper it weareth the channel ; so outward things, the more they 
are increased, the more men enlarge their desires ; they would be a 
little higher in the world, a little better accommodated ; and when 
they have that, then they must have a little more, and so seize upon 
all things within their grasp : Isa. v. 8, ' Woe unto them that join 
house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they 
may be placed alone in the midst of the earth ; ' and so the lust groweth 
with the possession. Earthly-mindedness is a fire that increaseth, 
the more wood you put thereon : Eccles. v. 10, ' He that loveth silver 
shall not be satisfied with silver ; nor he that loveth abundance, with 
increase.' Therefore we must be content with such things as we have : 
Heb. xiii. 5, ' Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be 
content with such things as ye have.' We must bring our minds to 
our estate, rather than our estate to our minds, or else we shall never 


be content hereafter. Estate will not do it, if grace do not do it. 
The way is not to increase our substance, but moderate our desires. 

5. Moderate your cares about these things : Mat. vi. 25, ' Take no 
thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink ; nor 
yet for your bodies, what ye shall put on.' Trust yourselves with God ; 
consider his general providence to all creatures : ver. 26, ' Behold 
the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather 
into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them.' And consider his 
particular providence as a father : ver. 32, ' Your heavenly Father 
knoweth that ye have need of all these things.' So Phil. iv. 5, 6, ' Let 
your moderation be known unto all men : the Lord is at hand. Be 
careful for nothing ; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with 
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God ; ' 1 Peter 
v. 7, ' Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.' Be care 
ful of your duty, how to manage your affairs most innocently, both in 
your general and particular calling ; but be not careful about events, 
be not anxious about the issue, which is God's part to determine. 
When you have done your duty, you should not be further careful about 
it. God knoweth what is best for you, and how much of worldly pros 
perity you are fit to enjoy, and to Lim must the whole business be com 

6. Look to yourselves. In using an estate we bewray our earthly- 
mindedness when the world is used more for the service and pleasure 
of the flesh than the honour of God. It is used for the service of the 
flesh when all our end is to live in pomp and pleasure, or that we and 
ours may be great in the world. It is used for God when they are 
instruments of piety and charity, to serve the Lord, and benefit others, 
and to do good, and further our own salvation. The scripture speaketh 
much of the use: Luke xii. 21, ' So is he that layeth up treasure for 
himself, and is not rich towards God ; ' Luke xvi. 9, ' Make to your 
selves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, 
they may receive you into everlasting habitations ; ' Eph. iv. 28, ' Let 
him that stole, steal no more ; but rather let him labour, working with 
his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him 
that needeth.' 

7. Be willing to resign them up to Christ, when the enjoyment of 
them is inconsistent with your fidelity to him. Be not unwilling to 
let go all your earthly conveniences, at least to hazard them for Christ : 
Luke xiv. 33, 'Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, 
he cannot be my disciple.' We esteem them too much when we prefer 
them before Christ and our salvation, or strain conscience for the 
world's sake, or betray our peace, or wound our souls, rather than 
endure anything when God calleth us thereunto. If we will lose 
nothing for Christ, and upon the hopes of the other world, we can 
expect nothing from him. 

Use 2. To dissuade us from earthly-mindedness. 

To this end consider 

1. You must shortly die and come to your account, and according 
to the account you give, and the preparation you have made, you must 
live in endless joy or misery. When we come to die, it is not the 
possession, but the use, will comfort us. We can carry nothing with 

VOL. xx. K 


us into the other world but the cemfort of a good conscience : Eccles. 
v. 15, ' As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return 
to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may 
carry away in his hand.' A worldly, wealthy man, when he has made 
his will, and left all his estate, to such a son such an inheritance, to 
such a daughter such a portion, to such a friend such a legacy, what 
hath the poor man left for himself ? If he hath not grace, what hath 
he left to carry with him but the anguish and misery of a guilty con 
science, and the expectation of worse to come ? Oh, poor miserable 
creature ! when he must bid good-night to all the world, and all things 
take their leave of him, what a sorry comfort will that be that he hath, 
once gotten great things, and possessed great things here in the world ! 
But if he hath used it well, his works follow him. 

2. Consider the danger of abundance. An estate may be too great 
for us to manage, as Saul's armour for David, 1 Sam. xvii. 39. It is 
harder to go to heaven : Mat. xix. 24, ' It is easier for a camel to go 
through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the king 
dom of God.' A moderate condition of life is freest from ensnaring 
temptations. Abundance of all things without any want disposeth to a 
forgetful ness of God. Greater estates expose men to greater troubles 
and cares: Eccles. v. 11, 12, ' When goods increase, they are increased 
that eat them : and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving 
the beholding of them with their eyes ? The sleep of a labouring man 
is sweet, whether he eat little or much ; but the abundance of the rich 
will not suffer him to sleep." But chiefly our account is greater : Luke 
xvi. 2, ' Give an account of thy stewardship, for thou mayest be no 
longer steward.' Compared with Luke xii. 48, ' Unto whomsoever 
much is given, of him shall much be required.' They must give an 
account for more opportunities of doing good; they have a greater 
reckoning to make. 

3. See by faith those sure, great, and glorious things which are 
infinitely more worthy your love and labour. The soul is never cured 
but by diversion. Nothing doth so powerfully quench our carnal plea 
sures, or inclination to earthly things, as a desire of, or a delight in, 
higher and better things : Col. iii. 2, ' Set your affections on things 
above, not on things on the earth.' These things are in two contrary 
balances ; the mote the heart is given to the one, the other gets the less. 
Moses, Heb. xi. 25, ' chose rather to suffer affliction with the people 
of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.' 

4. Think often of your great necessities : Luke x. 42, ' One thing is 
needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken 
away from her.' 

5. Keep a daily jealousy of yourselves. It is a great part of your 
religion to be ' unspotted from the world,' James i. 27. This will never 
be without watchfulness, these things do so soon taint us ; therefore see 
how you improve all for God and to eternal ends. Take account often 
whither the course of your life tendeth, whether to the world or to God 
and heaven. Because we are not watchful over ourselves, the holy anpl 
jealous God watcheth over us, and preventeth our doting on the world 
by sharp afflictions. 

6. Pray often that God would sanctify the labours of your calling, 


and the enjoyments of the world : 1 Tim. iv. 4, 5, ' Every creature of 
God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanks 
giving ; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.' Prayer 
blesseth all our enjoyments to us. 

For our conversation is in heaven. PHIL. iii. 20. 

HERE is the opposite carriage of sound believers, and the reason of it. 
The false Christians minded earthly things, and the true Christians had 
their conversation in heaven. The people of God and the people of 
the world are of divers, dispositions ; the one are under the power and 
influence of the wisdom of the flesh, and the other are under the 
government of a heavenly mind. The natural life in them is overruled 
by grace. Now our way should be with the wise above ; not with the 
worldly wise who mind earthly things, but with the godly wise whose 
conversation is in heaven. 

The word iroX-Lrev^a, which we translate ' conversation,' noteth our 
manner of living as burghers and citizens, not of earth, but of heaven ; 
that is the city where we are free, and have the right of citizens, though 
we dwell on earth. Many that dwelt out of the city of Kome had the 
jus civitatis Romance, the privileges of the city of Borne belonging to 
them ; as the privilege of being a free man of Borne belonged to one 
that lived in Judea : Acts xxii. 28, ' And the chief captain answered, 
With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, I was free 
born.' So we, though we are not in heaven, yet carry ourselves as 
belonging to heaven. 

Doct. That a good Christian should behave himself as a denizen of 
the heavenly city. I shall show you (1.) What it is ; (2.) Why. 

I. What. I will open that in these considerations 

1. That heaven is a city. A city is taken for three things 

tl.l A place fit for a comfortable and safe habitation. 
2 ] For a political society and community living in that place, or 
at least belonging to it. 

[3.] For the condition and estate belonging to that place and com 
munity. All these respects are proper here. 

[1.] A city is put for a place or habitation, consisting of many houses ; 
for multitudes and vicinity of buildings make a city in this sense. So 
is heaven a city, a place fitted and furnished from the creation of the 
world to be the habitation of the blessed ; and so it is called ' a city 
which hath foundations,' Heb. xii. 10, because itstandeth on the eternal 
love of God, Mat. xxv. 34, the everlasting merit of Christ, Heb. ix. 12, 
and his unchangeable covenant : 1 Peter i. 15, ' The word of God 
endureth for ever, and this is the word which by the gospel is preached 
unto you.' The best things in the world stand upon an earthly founda 
tion, which soon mouldereth away and faileth. We and all things 


about us are subject to great uncertainties. If a man be but two or 
three years absent from an earthly city, he will see a new face of things 
when he cometh again, all things are altered and changed from what 
he left them ; but in heaven there is the same face of things to all 
eternity. Here we have no pevovcrav TTO\/, ' no abiding city,' Heb. xii. 
14. Again, this city is said to be ' prepared for us,' Heb. xi. 16. It 
is fitted by the goodness and love of God. He had not done enough 
to answer his love in the covenant if he had not prepared a better place 
than the world to be the mansion and residence of his people. To be 
a God to any is to be an infinite and eternal benefactor. Our Saviour 
proveth the resurrection from thege words, ' I am the God of Abraham, 
and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of 
the dead, but of the living,' Mat. xxii. 32. 

[2.] Sometimes it is taken for a political society and community, or 
a corporation under one magistracy or governing power, and ruled by 
the same laws, and enjoying the same common privileges and immunities. 
So it is said, Eph. ii. 19, 'Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, 
but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God ; ' Heb. 
xii. 22, 23, ' Ye are come to Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living 
God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of 
angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are 
written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just 
men made perfect.' This is a part of our happiness, that we and the 
holy angels and blessed saints make up but one community that shall 
for ever serve and praise the Lord. 

[3.] It is taken for the condition and estate of those societies which 
all the members enjoy there, and the same common privileges ; the 
estate is glorious and everlasting. In the city of God there are eternal 
honours, riches, and pleasures, peace, safety, full and enduring joy ; 
nothing is wanting which the heart of man can desire ; the estate is 
answerable to the place and company, full and perfect happiness. Well, 
then, here are all things which may be comprised in the name of a city ; 
here is habitation, society, and estate. The habitation is heaven ; the 
society, saints and angels ; the estate, perfect peace and eternal happi 
ness, none of which can be found in the world. It is true they that 
are in their pilgrimage are not admitted to the full of these privileges 
till they come home to their own city and country. We are not yet 
capable of reigning with God, and being admitted into his immediate 
presence. But though the possession of our full privileges be deferred, 
with patience we must wait for it ; partly because we have a title by 
God's grant ; the new covenant is the charter of this corporation, and 
it will in time bring us to heaven, as it hath done others before us ; 
partly because if the time of our pilgrimage seem long and tedious, it 
will shortly expire, and then beginneth our everlasting rest; partly 
because, besides actual right to eternal life, we have here some first- 
fruits of this blessed estate. That part above have the full possession 
of it, but we have the first-fruits ; we have justification, and immunity 
from God's wrath and curse: Kom. viii. 33, 'Who shall lay anything 
to the charge of God's elect ? It is God that justifieth.' We 
have adoption : Eph. i. 5, ' Having predestinated us to the adoption of 
children by Jesus Christ.' Sanctification : Eph. v. 25, 26, ' Christ 


hath loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify 
it.' Peace of conscience : Rom. v. 1, ' Being justified by faith, we have 
peace with God.' The use of ordinances, which may put us in mind, 
and quicken us to seek after the country to which we do belong. So 
that this is the city of God. 

2. That believers have a right to the heavenly city. By nature we 
are of another corporation, of the earthly society, not belonging to the 
holy city of God, but to the kingdom of Satan, strangers to the com 
monwealth of Israel and the city of God : Col. i. 12, 13, ' Who hath 
made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light ; 
who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us 
into the kingdom of his dear Son.' It was the mercy of God to trans 
late us into another state and society of men. He found us unmeet, 
as being under the curse and power of Satan, dead in trespasses and 
sins ; hut he drew us out of this corrupt estate, changing our hearts, 
and pardoning our sins, and by a strong hand rescuing us from the 
power of the devil, that he might put us under the blessed government 
of Christ ; and then ' we are no more strangers and foreigners, but 
fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God,' Eph. ii. 
19 ; and Heb. xii. 22, ' We are now come to the city of the living God.' 
While we are in the way, as soon as converted, upon our sincere faith 
in Christ we are admitted and incorporated into this blessed city. Not 
only at last in the close of our days, but now when our hearts are turned 
to the Lord : Eph. ii. 6, ' He hath made us sit together with him in 
heavenly places in Christ Jesus.' We have a right, though not full 
possession. Christ is entered, and sat down as head of all the faithful. 

3. Being made burgesses of heaven, our manner of living must be 
suitable ; partly because it is the wisdom of God to place all things in 
their proper places. As in nature, so in a way of grace ; light bodies 
are uppermost and heavy bodies below ; so also in a way of grace. 
Sometimes we read that heaven and glory is prepared for us, Mat. 
xxv. 34 ; and sometimes that we are prepared for heaven and glory ; 
Bom. ix. 23, 'Vessels of mercy which he hath afore prepared unto 
glory.' There must be a suitableness between the receiver and the 
thing received, and therefore we must be made meet for this blessed 
estate. From heaven we received our first spiritual being, and there 
is the final consummation of it, and there we must converse, and thither 
we must tend. And partly out of gratitude on our part. Our lives 
must suit and agree with our heavenly calling : 1 Thes. ii. 12, ' Walk 
worthy of God, who hath called you to his kingdom and glory.' We 
must live as those that have a present right, and one day shall have 
full possession. Shall God advance us to such an estate, and shall we 
lie grovelling in the dirt, as if we had not such high and blessed hopes, 
and slight all this mercy and goodness ? 

4. This suitable manner of living consists partly (1.) In the exercise 
of those graces which belong to this blessed estate ; (2.) In the constant 
use of the means, whereby we may attain it ; (3.) In such a course of 
living as suiteth with the properties of it. 

[1.] There are certain graces which belong to it, which are given to 
us for that end and purpose. It is an unseen felicity, and therefore 
requireth faith to believe it. It is a future felicity, and therefore re- 


quires hope to expect it. It is our chief felicity, and therefore requires 
love to desire it. 

(1.) We must certainly believe this blessed estate in the world to 
come. Faith is at the bottom of all, and therefore deal seriously with 
your hearts : John xi. 26, ' Believest thou this ? ' Most men here 
talk of it ; take it up from the common report by a human credulity, 
but are not settled in the firm belief of it by the illumination of the 
Holy Spirit : Eph. i. 17, 18, ' That the Father of glory may give unto 
you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of him ; the eyes 
of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the 
riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.' This faith goeth 
before affection, and affection to heavenly things before mortification 
to earthly things : Heb. xi. 13, ' These all died in faith, not having 
received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were per 
suaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed they were strangers 
and pilgrims on the earth/ Are you verily persuaded that there is 
eternity at the back of time ? that God intends such great things for 
penitent believers ? Surely men's boldness in sinning and coldness in. 
holy duties showeth their faith is not firm and sound. Sense telleth 
you that here is no abiding city, for we have seen the ruin of so many 
castles, palaces, cities, states, and kingdoms, which formerly flourished 
in great splendour, power, and strength, that now lie in the dust and do 
not appear. We need not tell you, you must die ; graves and skulls 
show you that ; but faith only can tell us there is an abiding city to 
come, and we must believe it before we can seek after it. Therefore 
can you depend upon Christ's fidelity and the truth of his promises for 
the happiness of the world to come ? Why, then, if you believe as 
Christians, do not live as infidels. If heaven be not a dream, let not 
your godliness be but a vain show. We have Christ's word for the 
reality of it ; and for his fidelity, we may be assured that he would not 
delude us with vain hopes : John xiv. 2, ' In my Father's house are 
many mansions ; if it were not so, I would have told you ; I go to pre 
pare a place for you/ Wherefore should God flatter a worm, or what 
need he to court creatures into an imaginary happiness ? Surely there 
is a quiet resting-place prepared for saints in the heavens. God never 
told us of anything but it came to pass. He told the old world of a flood 
which should drown the ungodly, and that was a thing as much unseen 
as heaven and hell is by us : Heb. xi. 7, ' By faith, Noah, being warned 
of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to 
the saving of his house/ Those that accepted his warning fared well, 
and others were drowned in the flood. He told the old patriarchs of 
Christ's coming in the flesh ; and rather than go back from his word, 
the Son of God must come and die. God, that hath kept touch with 
the world hitherto, will not fail at last. Thus should you rouse up a 
languid and drowsy faith. 

(2.) We must look for this blessed estate by hope, which is acted by 
serious and heart-warming thoughts. A believer is not already in 
heaven, but his better part is there ; his heart and mind are there, and he 
expects one day to be there glorified : Titus ii. 13, ' Looking for the blessed 
hope ; ' Jude 21, ' Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto 
eternal life ; ' and here in the text, ' From whence we look for a saviour/ 


Surely they whose minds and thoughts are strangers to heaven do not 
live in the world as if they were in heaven. Can a man look for any 
great benefit, and not think of it ? It is against the common experi 
ence of mankind. If you were adopted to a rich inheritance, would you 
not think of it ? And do they expect such a glorious estate that never 
look up all the week long, or have such slight thoughts as rather damp 
and put out this holy fire than kindle it and keep it alive in you ; rather 
shun all sober and lively thoughts of the life to come, lest they should 
awaken them out of their security, and that dull form of religiousness 
wherein they please themselves ? Oh, therefore think often and much 
of that glorious estate, when you shall enjoy the endless sight and love 
of God, and live with all his blessed ones, and praise and serve him to 
all eternity. Can you travel one whole day toward such a city, and 
never think of the place you are going to ? Is it your drift to get home, 
and shall home be never seriously thought of ? Have we thoughts 
enough and to spare for other things, and none for Christ and heaven ? 
If the carnal are delighted in minding earthly things, the souls of the 
godly should much more be heavenly. Surely if your conversations 
be in heaven, you would oftener think of it. The great instrument of 
the soul, next to sound belief, is serious consideration, not cursory and 
heartless thoughts, but such as are pressing, deep, and ponderous. 

(3.) Love bends our desires that way, as well as hope sendeth our 
thoughts thither. And besides looking, there must be longing ; and 
where the treasure is, there will the heart be also. If you have laid 
up treasure in heaven, you will be there in heart and mind, in affection 
and thoughts : Col. iii. 2, ' Set your affections on things above, and not 
on things that are on earth.' That place is your home where you desire 
to be. If heaven be your home, you still groan and long to be there. 
But it is the world that is your home, and heaven a strange place, 
when you are loath to go out of the one, or get into the other. Yea, 
believers, such as love the world, they do not prize it, they do not love 
it ; but they that believe it long after the enjoyment of this city move 
than for anything in the world. Have you the heart of Christians, and 
love the world more than heaven ? Is any happiness like the enjoyment 
of God ? or do you meet with any such company upon earth as you shall 
have in heaven ? Here we live mixed with hypocrites and unbelievers, 
as the wheat with the chaff, obnoxious to the calamities of the earthly 
life ; and shall not all this wean us from a vain and vexatious world, 
that we may long to be at home ? What is it tempts you, maketh 
your desires so cold ? Is it the enjoyment of a plentiful portion in the 
world? It is a curse to be 'written in the earth,' Jer. xvii. 13, as it 
is our felicity and joy to have our ' names written in heaven,' Luke x. 
20. Which city is best in your account, and where lieth your portion, 
in the fruition of the world or the vision of God ? Ps. xvii. 14, 15, 
* From men which are thy hand, Lord ; from men of the world, 
which have their portion in this life, and whose bellies thou fillest 
with thy hid treasure : they are full of children, and leave the rest of 
their substance to their babes. As for me, I will behold thy face in 
righteousness ; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.' 
Surely it is not the partial fruition of God maketh you so loath to depart, 
for those kind of enjoyments do not divert you from God, but draw you 


to him ; having a taste, you will long for more. Earth is not heaven 
when it is at best, nor can you find Mount Siori or the city of the 
living God in the wilderness. Oh, therefore, if you have any love to 
God, long for heaven, where you have most of God. Here you have his 
presence with you, but you are absent from him : 2 Cor. v. 8, ' We are 
willing rather to be absent from the body, that we may be present with 
the Lord.' 

[2.] In the constant use of the means whereby we may attain it. There 
is no coming to the end of the journey but by the way, nor obtaining 
the happiness but by the means. The great difficulty of a Christian 
lieth not so much in a respect to the end as to the means. There is 
some difficulty about the end, to convince men of an unseen felicity, 
that they may believe it and accept it as their happiness, look and 
long for it as such a happiness doth require. But we have a quick 
ear for offers of happiness, whilst usually we snuff at the conditions of 
duty and obedience as troublesome. Paul had a great desire of the 
happiness, yet he doth not stick at the means : ' If by any means I 
might attain to the resurrection of the dead,' Phil. iii. 11. All would 
be blessed, but they do not come to this resolution, ' If by any means.' 
Balaam could say, Num. xxiii. 10, ' Let me die the death of the right 
eous, and let my last end be like his ; ' but he loved the wages of un 
righteousness. If wicked men are said to despise eternal happiness, 
it is not as happiness, nor eternal ; they like happiness well enough, for 
all that love themselves would be happy ; nor as eternal, for man, that 
hath lost the right object of his desires, hath not lost the vastness of 
them ; he would be happy for ever ; but it is in conjunction with the 
means that they dislike it. Thus the ' Israelites despised the pleasant 
land, and murmured in their tents/ Ps. cvi. 24, 25. What ailed them ? 
The land was a good land, flowing with milk and honey. Ay ! but 
the spies had told them of the giantly strength and stature of the men. 
Heaven is a good place, but the strictness of holy walking is disliked. 
We must submit to use all holy means to obtain it. What are they ? 
We do not now speak of the title, but the conversation : Bom. ii. 7, 
' To them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, seek for glory, 
and honour, and immortality, eternal life.' When we walk in God's 
way, when our actions plainly tend to heaven. The believers of the 
old testament ' declared plainly that they sought a country,' Heb. xi. 
14. How ? By resolving to seek till they find ; by being content to 
be pilgrims in the world, and not giving over till they saw some place 
of eternal rest. This is the fault of most Christians, their actions do 
not declare plainly that they are for God and heaven, nor doth the 
course of their lives show it. If they are tending thither, then two 
things will show it continuance, and patient continuance, in well 

(1.) Continuance. When we walk in all holy conversation and 
godliness. Men's end is seen in their constant course, when in all 
their actions they study to please God. They believe there is such an 
estate, and they know the excellency and glory thereof, and therefore 
would not for all the world weaken their hopes, or darken and cloud 
their interest, nor offend that God from whom they expect it : 1 Cor. 
xv. 58, ' Always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you 


know that yonr labour is not in vain in the Lord.' A Christian aimeth 
at heaven in all his business, civil and sacred : Acts xxiv. 15, 16, ' And 
have hope towards God, which they themselves also allow, that there 
shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. And 
herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence 
toward God, and toward men.' He goeth about his earthly business 
with a heavenly mind ; in his attendance upon God in the ordinances : 
Acts xxvi. 6, 7, ' And now I stand and am judged for the hope of 
the promise made of God unto our fathers : unto which promise our 
twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.' It 
is to get more of God and heaven into his heart ; more of the first- 
fruits, more of his title and interest, more preparation of heart, new 
excitement of affections to God and heaven. He heareth that his soul 
may live ; he prayeth that he may live ; receiveth that he may take 
these pledges of heaven out of God's hand. He heareth the word, be 
cause there are the promises of eternal life, or directions in the way 
that leadeth thither. He prayeth, that he may come as near as he 
can to his Father, and have as much familiarity with him as a soul 
dwelling in flesh possibly can have. He cometh into the assemblies 
of God's people, because they are the favourites of heaven. 

(2.) Patient continuance, whatever temptations he meeteth with to- 
the contrary : Rom. viii. 18, ' But I reckon that the sufferings of the 
present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall 
be revealed in us ; ' 2 Cor. iv. 17, ' For our light afflictions, which are 
but for a moment, work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight 
of glory.' These things do not greatly move him. It is for heaven, so 
that a Christian is still travelling to God, improving all business and 
all conditions to this end, comforting himself with these hopes ; so that 
he is either living for heaven in seeking it, or upon heaven by the joy 
and hope he deriveth from thence ; he is still acting for this blessed 
ness, or encouraging himself by this blessedness, because he expecteth, 
one day to be glorified with God ; thence he fetches his solaces and 
supports. This carriage is not by fits, but it is their constant course : 
* Their conversation is in heaven.' 

[3.] The course of our living must suit with the properties of thi 
happy estate. (1.) It is a great happiness ; (2.) It is a pure happi 
ness ; (3.) A happiness that lieth in heaven. 

(1.) It is a great happiness, and therefore must not be slightly 
sought after. No slight thing will become God and heaven ; all zeal 
and diligence is necessary to be exercised. There must be seeking: 
Col. iii. 1, ' Seek things above ; ' Heb. xi. 14, ' They seek a country/ 
Working: Phil. ii. 12, ' Workout your salvation.' Labouring; there 
must be diligence to get what we seek : John vi. 27, ' Labour for the 
meat that endures.' Watching, Luke xxi. 36. Striving : Luke xiii. 
24, ' Strive to enter in at the strait gate.' Pressing hard : Phil, iii.. 
14, ' I press toward the mark.' We seek it because we want it ; here 
we have it not. We work and labour for it, because heaven will not 
come with a cold wish, or a few faint and feeble or heartless endeavours. 
Is this becoming everlasting glory ? Is this all we do for God and 
heaven ? We watch, that we may keep up our heavenly affections,, 
and be found in a constant preparation at Christ's coming: 2 Peter iii. 


14 ' Give all diligence, that you may be found of him in peace, without 
spot, and blameless.' We strive because we meet with difficulties 
within and without ; without are temptations, and within are corrup 
tions. And we press forward that every day we may be a step nearer. 
The life of a Christian is a continual motion and nearer approach to 
the heavenly city. If we do thus, this is to have our conversation in 
heaven, when the thoughts and hopes put life and vigour into our 
graces and duties. 

2. It is a pure happiness, not a Turkish paradise, but an immacu 
late and sinless estate ; to see God and be like him. Therefore then 
our conversation is in heaven, when we purify ourselves yet more and 
more : 1 John iii. 2, 3, ' Behold, now we are the sons of God, and it 
doth not yet appear what we shall be ; but when he shall appear, we 
shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every man that 
hath this hope in him purifieth himself as he is pure.' We expect to 
be presented faultless before the presence of his glory, Jude 24. There 
fore now we strive every day more to be without blame before him in 
love. Christians have a carnal notion of heaven if they look only 
upon it as a state of personal contentment. No ; it is not that alone, 
but a state of exact conformity to God ; and the more pure and holy 
you are, the more heaven-like are your conversations ; as heaven is 
the perfecting of that life which is begun here by the Spirit. 

3. It is a heavenly happiness ; and therefore true believers should 
be drawing off their hearts from earthly things, that they may wholly 
breathe and aspire after heavenly things. Worldly and sensual inclina 
tions turn us to another happiness, and make the heart dead and sense 
less. We seek our heaven and happiness here in the world, rather 
than in the salvation of the blessed : Luke xvi. 25, ' Son, remember 
that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things.' Because he 
lived a life of pomp and ease ; he was clothed in purple and fine linen, 
and fared sumptuously every day. If we enlarge ourselves in this kind 
of life, we discharge God from giving us any other happiness. You 
shall have riches, you shall have honours, because you do so greedily 
seek after them, but you shall have no more. Sure it is the mortified, 
-self-denying conversation that becometh the citizens of heaven; for 
they do not seek for their happiness here, but elsewhere : 1 Peter ii. 
11, 'I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly 
lusts, which war against the soul/ The citizens of this world must 
make a fair show in the flesh, to be somebody here, have such provision 
for their sensuality, or they are comfortless ; but the citizens of the 
other world seek to excel in grace, to be filled with the wisdom that is 
from above, to entertain communion with God, to get more assurance 
of his love ; for this manner of living suiteth with their hopes. They 
mortify their members which are upon earth, but seek to cherish and 
increase the graces of the Spirit which come from God, and lead them 
to God. 

Reasons why. 

1. They are made for eternity, and God has given them an immortal 
pirit that will never perish ; and therefore they cannot be satisfied with 
things that perish in the using. An immortal soul cannot be contented 
with a mortal happiness : Eccles. xii. 7, ' Then shall the dust return 


to the earth as it was, and the spirit unto God that gave it.' The 
make and constitution of man showeth the estate he was made for. 
Some things were made for heaven and not for earth, as the angels, 
who are pure spirits ; and some things for earth and not for heaven, 
as the beasts, who have bodies, but a material spirit. Some things 
were made both for earth and heaven, as man, who hath a mortal body 
and an immortal spirit. He was made for earth, the place of bodies, 
in his passage ; for heaven as his home, which is the region of spirits. 
Now the children of God observe the cause for which they were made, 
and for which they were sent into the world ; and therefore regard 
present things only in their passage, and prepare themselves for the 
upper place of their abode. The whole drift of their conversation 
tends that way ; that is the estate most in the eye of their faith, hope, 
and love ; they believe it, look and long for it, and prepare for it. 

2. They are new made or born again, and the tendency of the life 
of grace is to God and heaven : 2 Peter i. 4, ' Whereby are given unto 
us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might be 
partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruptions that are 
in the world through lust.' It is the divine Spirit which is the true 
Spirit, which carrieth them so far above the world to things to come. 
The sanctifying Spirit formeth us for this very thing : 2 Cor. v. 5, 
' Now he that hath wrought us to this self-same thing is God, who also 
hath given us the earnest of the Spirit.' He frameth and fitteth men 
in this life for a state of glory. The heart of a Christian is more and 
more suited to the happiness promised in the gospel ; and as they are 
fitted for it, so they are inclined to it. A Christian is born from above, 
and seeks to get thither. As all things tend to the place of their ori 
ginal, or have a propensity to the place whence they came, as fire and 
air work upward you cannot keep them down so the new nature has 
a new tendency. Fishes desire to be in the water, and fowls in the 
air ; they have a peculiar nature to carry them to those places. They 
that have an earthly and worldly nature are all for the world, and relish 
nothing but the pleasures of the world. Our souls naturally are inclined 
to earthly things, but being renewed, have a tendency to heavenly 
things. Love, which is the heart of the new creature, inclines us to be 
with God and Christ : Phil. i. 23, ' Having a desire to depart, and to 
be with Christ ; ' 1 Thes. iv. 17, ' And so shall we ever be with the 
Lord ; ' Col. iii. 1, ' If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which 
are above,' &c. So it inclines us to perfect grace, and freedom from 
sin, and full likeness to God, never to dishonour God more; as little 
seeds by degrees work through the thick clods of earth, and grow up 
to stalk and flower. In short, the illuminate soul can only discern these 
things ; the sanctified soul is inclined to them. 

3. There is no condition of rest and tranquillity here in the world ; 
so that a Christian is in effect driven hence by the relics of sin, multi 
tude of temptations, manifold afflictions. Though the new nature be 
strongly inclined to God and heavenly things, the old corrupt nature, 
having the advantage of things present, would sorely tempt us from 
him. Therefore God ordereth our condition so that we find little else 
but occasions of groaning in the world. Within we find the relics of 
sin, and that maketh us long and wait. If any had cause to complain. 


of afflictions, Paul much more ; yet he complains not of that, but of in 
dwelling sin : Rom. vii. 24, ' wretched man that I am ! who shall 
deliver me from the body of this death ? ' A very beast driven to a 
place where there is neither ease nor rest will groan under it ; but 
yet temptations on every side molest us and trouble us, and afflictions 
also. How soon and how often is our worldly happiness interrupted, 
even then when we think ourselves past all hazards and fears of 
change ! Ps. xxx. 6, 7, ' In my prosperity I said, I shall never be 
moved. Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand 
strong ; thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.' No man ever 
slept upon a carnal pillow but had his rest disturbed before his nap 
was over. It is tedious for us to think of such a mutable condition ; 
but let us look upon God's design in it. God ordereth it that we may 
always think of our remove, and prepare ourselves to rest in our 
proper place. 

Use 1. To press us to this constant and earnest pursuit after heavenly 
things. Let thoughts, conferences, discourses, actions still show that 
you are for God and heaven. When you are alone, oh, think of heaven, 
where your God and Christ is, and where you in a little time hope to 
be. When you are in company, comfort one another, warm one another 
with discourses of heaven : 'With these words,' saith the apostle. When 
you are doing anything for God, let heaven put life into your endea 
vours ; doing anything in the world, let heaven regulate and measure 
your actions ; do it so as you may be true to your great end. When 
you are suffering anything, loss of estate, credit, and esteem in the 
world, if it be for heaven, it may be the better borne : I have a better 
and a more enduring substance. Look not to the state in which you 
are, but that into which you are a-going. In short, be sure you do not 
want this evidence that your conversation is in heaven. 

Motives to enforce it. 

1. You are bound to it by oath in baptism : Col. iii. 1, ' If ye be 
risen with Christ, seek those things which are above.' You are bound 
to such a heavenly life ; you are planted into the likeness of Christ's 
death and resurrection. The sacramental resurrection enforceth the 
obligation ; the real resurrection enforceth the effect. 

2. The more heavenly you are in your lives, your right is the more 
evident, and you are more ready for possession. You are in the next 
meetness : Col. i. 12, ' Who hath made us meet to be partakers of the 
inheritance of the saints in light.' A man reconciled to God and sanctified 
is in a remote meetness; but the heavenly-minded, the heavenly walkers, 
are in the next preparation. The first meetness gives us a right, the 
next meetness a ripeness, like a shock of corn that comes in in its 

3. This heavenly conversation doth more honour God in the world ; 
when we carry ourselves as men of another world, we do the better con 
vince them of the reality of our profession and hopes. By your serious 
diligence you condemn the world : Heb. xi. 7, ' Noah condemned the 
world.' Make the world wonder : 1 Peter iv. 4, ' They think it strange 
you run not with them into the same excess of riot.' Awaken the 
world to think of God : 2 Thes. i. 11, 12, ' Wherefore we pray always 
for you, that God would count you worthy of his calling, and fulfil all 


the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power : 
that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you.' 
Christ is glorified and you rewarded. 

But what is this heavenly conversation ? When we so believe as to 
prize it, so prize it as to seek after it in the first place. 

[1.] Do we believe it ? Surely they that are clrowned in the cares 
of the world and voluptuous living have no sense of the world to come. 
That is known by mortification rather than confident presumption : 1 
John v. 4, 5, ' And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even 
our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth 
that Jesus is the Son of God ? ' 

[2.] Do we prize and esteem it ? for nothing is sought and laboured 
for but what is prized. Do we prize it, not with a speculative, but 
practical esteem ? Bom. ii. 18, ' Thou approvest the things that are 
excellent.' The practical esteem is that which draweth our hearts. Is 
it our treasure ? Mat. vi. 19, ' Lay up treasure in heaven.' Do you 
esteem it comparatively above all other things? Mat. xiii. 45, 46, 
' Sell all to buy the pearl of great price.' All is nothing in comparison 
of this blessed estate. Do you esteem it copulatively, cross and crown, 
means and end ? Ps. cvi. 24, ' They despised the pleasant land, and 
believed not his word ; ' Phil. iii. 11, 'If by any means I may attain 
unto the resurrection of the dead.' 

[3.] Do you seek it ? What do you do for it ? Our great business 
in this life is seeking after heaven. Many would be glad their souls 
might be saved at last, but we cannot believe they are in earnest. 
Where is that seeking, watching, striving, working, that serious diligence, 
those lively endeavours, that conscionable care for obtaining so great a 
benefit ? What ! seek it, and have no heart to pray for it, hear and 
meditate of it ? Alas ! for seeking, watching, working, striving, men 
are as far from these as they are like to be from heaven itself. 

[4.] Do you seek it in the first place, so that all other works and 
labours are but by the by and subordinate to this ? Alas ! how can 
you say so, when religion is looked upon by the by, and you are out 
of your element when you are employed in the duties of it ? You 
cannot endure to be long held to prayer, or hearing the word ; your 
hearts are not suited to these things. 


From whence also we look for our Saviour and Redeemer, the Lord 
Jesus Christ. PHIL. iii. 20. 

HERE is the reason and encouragement of the heavenly conversation. 
Why do believers behave themselves as belonging to that city? Because 
from thence we look for a Saviour. 

Doct. That the earnest expectation of Christ's second coming doth 
both bind and encourage the saints to have their conversations in 


I shall handle the point in this method 

1. Touch upon the truths contained in the words of the text. 

2. How all these do draw up the thoughts and affections of believers 
to God and heavenly things. 

I. The truths contained and implied in the text are these 
First point. That Christ is corporeally and locally in heaven, and 
not upon earth. Here is his spiritual presence : Mat. xxviii. 20, ' And 
lo, I am with you to the end of the world ; ' but there is his bodily 
presence: Acts iii. 21, 'Whom the heavens must receive until the 
restitution of all things.' He is there, because he hath business to 
do there (1.) To intercede with God ; (2.) Powerfully to administer 
the mediatorial kingdom for the comfort of the elect, and destruction of 
his adversaries. 

1. To intercede with God : Heb. ix. 24, ' He is gone into the holy 
place not made with hands, there to appear before God for us ; ' that is, 
before the throne of the supreme judge, that, by representing his blood 
shed, he may procure remission of sins for penitent believers. As the 
high priest under the law, when the sacrifice of atonement for the 
whole congregation was slain and burnt without the camp ; the high 
priest was to present himself before the mercy-seat with blood and a 
sweet perfume ; so the Lord Jesus having offered up himself a sacrifice 
of atonement, is gone into the holy place : ' Not by the blood of goats 
and calves, but by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption 
for us,' Heb. ix. 12. There is some little difference among interpreters 
about the time of his entrance, whether at his solemn ascension, forty 
days after his resurrection, when he was taken up into heaven, or else 
immediately upon his death, when he had given up the ghost, and the 
veil of the temple was rent in the midst from the top to the bottom, 
and his soul, separated from the body, and commended into his Father's 
hands, entered into paradise ; then it seemeth our great high priest did 
enter into heaven, for it may more properly be said that he entered 
into heaven with his blood, when his soul was separated, than when 
his body was risen and made immortal, and both body and soul jointly 
ascended. The sacrifice of atonement was not complete till the blood 
was presented before the throne of God in the inner sacrary ; so then 
Christ did present himself as slain in heaven before the supreme judge, 
as having suffered death, and satisfied justice for the sin of man. Now 
whether the first or second way of entrance, certain it is he is now in 
heaven interceding for us. 

2. Powerfully to administer the mediatorial kingdom. 

[1.] For the comfort of the elect, and to gee the fruits of his purchase 
accomplished to them : Eph. iv. 10, ' The same also that ascended far 
above all heavens, that he might fill all things ; ' that is, supply his 
people with a large and plentiful measure of the gifts and graces of his 
Spirit. His presence there is far more beneficial to us than if he were here 
upon earth ; yea, not only beneficial, but necessary, as being the means 
to apply his merits, and confer the mercies purchased by his sacrifice. 

[2.] For the destruction of his enemies: Ps. ex. 1, ' The Lord said 
unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies 
thy footstool ; ' Heb. x. 12, 13, ' But this man, after he had offered one 
sacrifice for sin, for ever sat down at the right hand of God ; from hence- 


forth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.' His person is 
in heaven above molestation and abuse ; his reign and government is 
opposed in the world, but by degrees it gets ground upon opposition. 

Second point. That at the end of time Christ will come from heaven 
and judge the world. Reason saith he may come ; faith, that he shall 
come. Reason saith he may come ; these principles are evident, that 
man is God's creature, and therefore his subject ; that man hath failed in 
his subjection to his creator and lord ; that, having failed, the holy 
God may justly call him to an account. Of this man is sorely afraid : 
Rom. i. 32, ' Who knowing the judgment of God, that they that do 
such things are worthy of death,' &c. ; for reason telleth us that God, 
who is our creator, is also our governor ; and if our governor, then he 
is our judge ; and as such man feareth him. Now this judgment is 
put into the hands of Christ, who is our lawgiver, who gave us this 
healing law for the reparation of mankind, and to set them in joint 
again that they may live unto God. And the lawgiver is the judge ; 
and that he hath a right to be lawgiver and judge. God hath justified 
his call, in that he raised him from the dead : Acts xvii. 31, ' Because 
he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteous 
ness, by the man whom he hath ordained ; whereof he hath given 
assurance to all men, in that he raised him from the dead.' Faith saith 
that he will come. What shall I say ? Angels foretold it : Acts f. 
10, 11, ' And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven, as he went 
up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, 
Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven ? this same 
Jesus that is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like 
manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.' The devils tremble at 
it : Mat. viii. 29, ' And behold, they cried out, saying, What have we 
to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God ? art thou come hither to tor 
ment us before the time ? ' The saints departed long for it : ' How long, 
Lord, holy and true ? ' Rev. vi. 10. The prophets proclaimed it ; from 
Enoch downward it hath ever been kept up in the church : Jude 14, 
15, ' And Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, 
Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute 
judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them, 
of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodlily committed, and 
all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.' 
And the apostles inculcated it everywhere ; yea, above all, our Lord 
hath assured us of it : John xiv. 2, 3, ' In my Father's house are many 
mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a 
place for you : and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, 
and receive you unto myself ; that where I am, there ye may be also.' 
And he hath instituted the Lord's supper to keep up the remembrance 
and expectation of it : 1 Cor. xi. 26, ' For as often as ye eat this bread 
and drink this cup, ye do show forth the Lord's death till he come.' 

But doth the apostle refer to so long a while, and not rather speak 
of our coming up to him, which is nearer at hand, than his coming 
down to us, which is so far off? 

1. Not to infringe the doctrine of the saints' happiness as soon as 
they die, for we presently receive the salvation of the soul, but lest any 
should doubt of it, on this occasion let us clear that. The soul return- 


-eth to God : Eccles. xii. 7, ' The spirit shall return to God that gave 
it.' It is with Christ : Phil. i. 23, ' I am in a strait between two, 
having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better ; ' 
' To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise/ Luke xxiii. 43 ; as the 
wicked are in hell : 1 Peter iii. 19, ' The spirits in prison/ So the 
' spirits of just men are made perfect,' Heb. xii. 24. As soon as ' we are 
absent from the body, we are present with the Lord,' 2 Cor. v. 8. The 
' beggar died, and was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom/ Luke 
xvi. 22 ; Luke xx. 37, 38, ' Now, that the dead are raised, Moses showed 
at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of 
Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of 
the living ; for all live unto God.' All things, both in heaven and in 
earth, are said to be reconciled to God by Christ, Col. i. 20, the uni 
versality of the elect, whether already glorified or yet upon earth. It 
cannot be meant of angels ; they were never reconciled, because never 
any breach between God and them. 

2. The apostle mentioneth this time, because till then our own salvation 
is not perfect nor complete for body and soul. The whole church is 
not perfected and brought together. Then we shall have many privi 
leges that we had not before. 

[1.] It is a day of manifestation : Horn. viii. 19, ' For the earnest 
expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of 
God.' All is now hid ; Christ is hid, and the saints are hid. 
Their life is hid : Col. iii. 2, ' Our life is hid with Christ in God.' 
Their glory is hid : 1 John iii. 2, ' Now we are the sons of God, but it 
cloth not appear what we shall be.' But then all shall appear, the per 
sons, their relation to Christ, the glory he will put upon them: 'We 
shall appear with him in glory ; ' as Moses told the rebels, Num. vi. 16, 
' To-morrow the Lord will show who are his.' Jesus Christ will appear 
in all his royalty and glory, as the great God and Saviour of the world : 
we shall put on our best robes. In winter the tree appeareth not what 
it is ; the sap and life is hidden in the root ; but when summer cometh, 
all is discovered. 

[2.] It is a day of perfection. Everything tendeth to its perfect state, 
so do the saints. They cannot be contented to be still as they are ; 
therefore this day is the great motive to them. Then they shall have 
perfect holiness, perfect freedom from sin, and all the fruits and effects 
of it. Christ is then a perfect Saviour. He saveth us now in part, but 
then he saveth us to the utmost. Body and soul are then united and 
perfectly glorified, and fitted to praise God in heaven. Our Saviour 
cometh to make an end of what he hath begun. Our souls are made 
perfect before, but then our bodies are freed from corruption. All 
-Christian privileges are then perfect : Eph. iv. 30, ' Ye are sealed to the 
day of redemption ; ' Eph. i. 14 ' Which is the earnest of our inheritance, 
until the redemption of the purchased possession ; ' Luke xxi. 28, 
' Then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth 
near.' Regeneration is then perfect : Mat. xix. 28, ' Verily I say unto 
you, that ye who have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of 
man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve 
thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.' Adoption : Horn. viii. 23, 
4 We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the 


redemption of our body.' Justification : Acts iii. 19, ' Repent, that your 
sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshment shall come from 
the presence of the Lord.' Our judge on his tribunal shall absolve us as 
with his own mouth, and as it were crown us with his own hands. 

[3.] It is a day of congregation or gathering together. The saints 
are now scattered ; they live in diverse ages, countries, towns, and houses, 
and have little comfort and knowledge one of another. Then all meet 
in one assembly or congregation : Ps. i. 5, ' The congregation of the 
righteous.' There is the great rendezvous. Now God's children are 
scattered up and down where they may be most useful ; as stars do not 
shine in a cluster, but are dispersed up and down the heavens. Then 
all the four winds shall give up their dead ; then the wicked shall 
be herded together, as straws and sticks are bound in a bundle to set 
one another a-fire ; adulterers together, drunkards together, bound in 
bundles : Mat. xiii. 41, 42, ' The Son of man shall send forth his angels, 
and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and 
them that do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire ; there 
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' So the godly shall meet in a 
congregation, and never separate more. We cannot enjoy one another's 
fellowship in this life, because God hath service for us in diverse 
countries ; therefore the saints are groaning for that happy day. In a 
wreck, those that are got ashore are longing and looking for their com 
panions. In short, here the tares are mingled with the wheat. Jacob's 
cattle and Laban's cattle are together ; but then they shall be separated, 
and for ever live apart. 

[4.] It is a day of glorification : Mat. xxiv. 30, ' They shall see the Son 
of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory ; ' 
when Christ shall get himself a glorious name in the final destruction of 
all his enemies. He got himself a glorious name when he drowned 
Pharaoh in the sea ; what will he do when he casteth all the wicked 
into hell? Christ showeth his majesty every day, but we have not 
eyes to see it ; our eyes are dazzled with worldly splendour, but then 
all mists shall vanish. The time shall come when God shall be dishon 
oured no more, and sin shall have an end. Here God hath not his per 
fect glory from us nor in us, as passive objects or active instruments. 
Objectively : Eph. i. 12, 'That we should be to the praise of his glory.' 
If man say nothing or do nothing, the work will speak for itself. As 
active instruments : Mat. v. 16, ' Let your light shine before men, that 
they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.' 
Now both ways will God be more glorified by us actively, as we shall 
laud him and praise him for evermore without weariness or distraction. 
Objectively: 2 Thes. i. 10, 'When he shall be glorified in his saints, 
and be admired in all them that do believe.' Passively, as more of God 
is seen in them at that day than ever could be thought of. 

Third point. That to true Christians he will come in the quality of 
a saviour ; not as a rigorous judge to condemn us, but as a saviour to free 
us from all misery. 

1. It showeth the way of our getting to heaven. It is in a way of 
salvation, which is the recovery of a thing or person lost ; so Christ came 
to seek and to save that which is lost ; as a physician saveth another 
that cureth him of a disease which otherwise would be mortal. The 

VOL. xx. L 


shepherd saveth the sheep that snateheth it out of the lion's mouth. 
A prince that rescueth the captive subjects saveth them out of the 
enemy's hands. There are none brought to heaven but by a saviour who 
recovereth us out of our lost estate, saves us from sin, and all the con 
sequences of sin, that maketh us everlastingly blessed. Thus he saveth 
us satisfactione, merito, et efficacia by satisfaction, merit, and power. 

[1.] By satisfaction he saveth us from the guilt of sin, the curse of 
the law, and the wrath of God, which is our great encouragement to 
wait for his coming : 1 Thes. i. 10, ' To wait for his Son from heaven, 
whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, who hath delivered us from 
wrath to come.' We could never have heart no^ hope to think of his 
coming beneficial to us without this. 

[2.] By his merit he procureth the favour of God, and all those bless 
ings which are bestowed upon the people of God. Having expiated sin, 
he obtained the grant of pardon and life in the new covenant. He 
hath purchased for us the image and favour of God and eternal happi 
ness : 1 Thes. iv. 9, 10, ' For God hath not appointed us to wrath, 
but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that 
whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.' 

[3.] By way of efficacy and power, inasmuch as by his Spirit he doth 
effect and work in us all those things which belong to salvation ; so it 
is said, Titus iii. 5, ' He hath saved us by the washing of regeneration, 
and the renewing of the Holy Ghost ; ' 2 Tim. i. 9, ' He hath saved us, 
and called us with a holy calling ; ' Heb. v. 9, ' He is the author of salva 
tion.' There are many adjunct causes, but he is the principal: 'We 
are saved by his life,' Rom. v. 10. The merit of his humiliation, the 
power of his exaltation. 

2. I shall show what is the work of his second coming. It is to 
perfect our salvation. Then he shows himself a saviour indeed when 
he giveth us eternal life and our full happiness. The high priest, 
afler he had been within the veil, was to come out again and bless the 
people ; so Christ shall appear the second time : Heb. ix. 28, ' To them 
that look for him shall he appear the second time, without sin, unto 
salvation.' If we continue waiting and looking, and do rest upon his 
undertaking, and in the meantime be performing the duties required 
of us, he will come as a saviour. 

3. This coming is certainly and earnestly looked for by the godly. 
It is good to observe how differently this coming of Christ is enter 
tained. It is questioned by the atheists; it is dreaded by the wicked 
and impenitent ; but it is lovingly expected by the godly. For the 
first, see 2 Peter iii. 3, 4, ' There shall come in the last days scoffers, 
walking after their own lusts, saying, Where is the promise of his 
coming?' They would eternally enjoy the pleasures of the present 
world, and therefore labour to banish out of their hearts all thoughts 
of this great day, and take up all obvious prejudices, to smother the 
belief of it. They would be glad in their hearts to hear such news^ 
that Christ would never come. Now their wishes easily commence 
into their opinions. Christ's second coming is their horror and torment, 
which they would willingly get rid of. For the second, it is dreaded 
by the wicked and impenitent : Acts xxiv. 25, ' Felix trembled ' when 
Paul 'reasoned of judgment to come.' There is reason for it; for 


Christ cometh to them as a terrible judge: 2 Thes. i. 8, 'In flaming 
fire, Inking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the 
gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.' That coming is described as light 
and as fire. To the third, to the godly, it is not matter of terror, but 
joy and delight; not like the handwriting on the wall to Belshazzar, 
but like comfortable tidings to the waiting soul. They look for it, 
Titus ii. 13, they long for it, 2 Tim. iv. 8. He cometh to them as a 
saviour, to put an end to all their miseries. 

But more particularly let us explain this looking. It implieth faith, 
hope, and patience. Faith addeth certainty to hope, hope earnestness 
to faith, and holy love strength to patience. For because we believe 
and hope, we patiently wait for the coming of Christ ; or rather take in 
love also, and make patience an act of hope. 

[1.] Faith is the ground of this looking ; because we believe the pro 
mise, therefore we determine that ' he that shall come will come, and 
will not tarry,' Heb. x. 37. Faith seeth the certainty of Christ's day 
afar off, for it is ' the evidence of things not seen; ' as Rebecca espied 
Isaac at a great distance. It looketh upon Christ as if he were on his 
way, and maketh the believer stand ready to meet him and welcome 
him. In the eye of faith it is sure and near, and as so apprehended 
worketh on the soul. 

[2.] Love. The saints love Christ though they never saw him. 
They have heard much of him, felt much of him, tasted much of him, 
and therefore love his appearing, long for his coming : Cant. viii. 14, 
' Make haste, my beloved, and be like the young hart or roe upon the 
mountains of spices.' Christ is not slack, but the church's affections 
are strong. They have a love to Christ himself, who at his appearing 
is to be glorified. They have a love to the church in general, which 
is that day to be adorned as a bride for her husband, and fully to be 
freed from all sins and troubles; love to themselves and their own 
happiness, which is that day fully to be perfected: Kev. xxii. 20, 
Christ saith, ' I come ; ' and the church, like a quick echo, saith, ' Even 
so, corne, Lord Jesus, come quickly.' It taketh the word out of Christ's* 
mouth. Christ's voice and the church's voice are unisons. Christ 
speaketh in a way proper to him, in a way of promise; and the church 
speaketh. in a way proper to her, in a way of prayer. This is her last 
suit, 'Even so, come.' You will say, This is the desire of the church in 
general ; but doth every believer so desire it ? 

Ans. The part followeth the reason of the whole, and the same 
spirit is in all the faithful. ' The Spirit and the bride say, Come.' The 
Holy Ghost breedeth this desire. The meanest and weakest, that 
tremble at their unpreparedness, have some inclination that way. Can 
a man desire that Christ should come into his heart, and not come to 
judgment? There may be a drowsiness and indisposition, but no 
total extinction of the desire of meeting with Christ. 

[3.] Hope. Because we believe it and we desire it, therefore we 
expect it. Only in the looking of hope you may discern contrary 
affections ; as first, there is both rejoicing and groaning. Rejoicing : 
Rom. v. 3, 'We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.' Groaning: 2 
Cor. v. 2, ' In this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with 
our house which is from heaven ; ' ver. 4, ' We that are in this taber- 


nacle groan, being burdened.' They rejoice, being 1 under hope, groan 
because they have not yet attained. We rejoice because the estate to 
come is so excellent, and we groan because the estate present is so miser 
able. We rejoice because certain ; we groan because we are yet con 
flicting with difficulties, and are but making out of our claim and 
title. Once more, there is a desiring and yet a waiting, and hope is 
described by both. By desiring, which showeth our esteem of the 
benefit, and earnestness to enjoy it ; by waiting or tarrying the Lord's 
leisure : both are consistent : ' Waiting for and hasting to the com 
ing of the Lord,' 2 Peter iii. 12 ; TrpocrSo/cwiTe? ical a-Trevbovres, 
^ontrary words, but coming from the same grace. We render it, 
' hastening unto the coming,' but it is only o-TrevSovras rrjv -jrapov- 
criav, ' hastening the coming.' Hope would fain enjoy, yet there 
is a time for labours,, difficulties, and troubles. The hope exciteth 
both the longing expectation and the patient waiting: 1 Thes. i. 
3, ' Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of 
love, and patience of hope ; ' Eom. viii. 25, ' If we hope for what we 
see not, then do we with patience wait for it.' The time seemeth long, 
but the reward is sure, therefore we must wait God's leisure. In short, 
there are desires which quicken us to use all means to attain it ; there 
is patience to wait God's leisure while we are exercised with difficulties ; 
therefore the saints are described to be such ' as wait for the coming 
of the Lord Jesus,' 1 Cor. i. 7 ; 1 Thes. i. 10. It is made the end of 
our conversation ; we desire, yet wait our time to enjoy the glorious 
blessings which God hath promised. 

II. Why this should draw up the believer's thoughts to heaven and 
heavenly things. 

1. Because Christ is in heaven, and therefore we must be heavenly. 
He is our adamant or loadstone : Col. iii. 12, ' If ye be risen with 
Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at 
the right hand of God.' Members must not be severed from their 
head. The love which Christians bear to Christ should be such, that 

"their affections should be set on the place where he is, and the things 
which are in it, and flow from it and tend to it All this should be 
dear to a Christian ; and so it enforceth a heavenly conversation. Love 
is an affection of union : it desireth to be with the party loved ; there 
fore love to Christ is not satisfied with the present estate, it would be 
with Christ, and in that state and place where it may have most union 
with him. 

2. Because he cometh from thence to bring us thither. His business 
at his second coming is to translate us into that heavenly city : John 
xiv. 3, ' I will come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am, 
there ye may be also.' Therefore now we should behave ourselves as 
candidates of eternity. His whole design is to bring us to that place 
where he is. Mortification is thence interred : Col. iii. 1, 5, ' If ye be 
risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ 
sitteth at the right hand of God. Mortify your members which are 
upon earth.' All holiness and godliness of conversation : 2 Peter iii. 
11, 12, ' Seeing all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of 
persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness ? looking 
for and hasting to the coming of the day of God ; ' Titus ii. 12, 13, 


' Teaching us, . that, denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, we 
should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, look 
ing for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, 
and our Saviour Jesus Christ/ 

3. That he cometh as a saviour ; as one 

[1 .] That hath done enough to save us from sin and misery, and the 
flames of hell. Despair crippleth our endeavours. If we could not 
comfortably hope for heaven, we should never labour for it. But now, 
' Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord 
Jesus Christ unto everlasting life,' Jude 21. Though we be sinners 
that need a great deal of mercy, we may expect it, and so be encouraged 
to labour for it. We are engaged by our relation to him. 

[2.] He cometh then as a saviour to us ; we are his people. There 
are two relations with respect to the day of judgment master and 

(1.) Master. Good servants wait for their master's coming : Mat. 
xxiv. 46, ' Blessed is that servant whom, when his lord cometh, he 
shall find so doing.' Here we have our vales, but then our wages : 
' Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me.' Christ doth not 
come empty-handed to his faithful servants. Well, then, the servant 
that doth expect his master's coming, will ply his work : 2 Tim. iv. 1, 
'I charge thee before God, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge 
the quick and the dead at his coming and kingdom.' 

(2.) As our husband ; that is a sweeter relation : ' The bride saith, 
Come,' Rev. xxii. 17. We are contracted to Christ now, but then is 
the day of espousals. A wife that looketh for her husband's coming 
puts all things in readiness. 

4. The looking inferreth a heavenly conversation. 

[1.] There is faith in it. Faith, resting upon the promises of God, 
is assured and fully persuaded of the fruition of glory in God's time. 
If it be so, whither should our thoughts, words, and actions tend, but 
to this blessed estate ? otherwise our practice will be a manifest contra 
diction to our faith. You believe there is a God and a life to come, 
and thereupon promise to renounce the devil, world, and the flesh ; 
but you live as if you were in league with the devil, world, and the 
flesh, and at defiance with God and heaven ; and so have ' a form of 
godliness/ 2 Tim. iii. 5? Do ye believe in Christ to bring you to 
God and everlasting glory, when your heart is another way, and you 
live as strangers to the heavenly mind, and have truly an unheavenly 
conversation. Either you must renounce the faith or your carnal con 
versation. If you take on the profession of the one to countenance the 
other, you wrong God and your own souls, and double your sin. 

[2.] As there is love in it. If you love Christ, and do not desire to 
be with him, you go about to reconcile contradictions. As she said to 
Sampson, Judges xvi. 15, ' How canst thou say, I love thee, when thy 
heart is not with me ? ' That is a strange love to be content to be still 
away from the party loved, and to sit down satisfied with the present 

[3.] Hope. We do place our blessedness in heaven, and yet fly from 
it as a misery ; long and look for that which we have no mind to 
enjoy. Surely hope withdraweth our minds from, and moderateth our 


fears and cares about them. Looking, as it noteth a desire or a patient 
expectation, deadeneth our hearts to the world. 

(1.) As a desirous expectation. These vehement desires and groans 
after an estate of happiness breed sincerity, and endeavours to make it 
our main scope that we may be approved and accepted of Christ at his 

(2.) Patient expectation. This engageth to perseverance, or bringeth 
forth ' fruit with patience/ Luke viii. 15. The reward is yet to come, 
in the meantime we are pressed with a multitude of temptations, per 
secutions, remainders of sin. There will a time come when we shall 
be freed from sin and sorrow for ever. We have God's word to assure 
us of it ; therefore we must content ourselves in God's will. It is his will 
and pleasure we shall stay a little while longer and suffer more. He 
might require a far longer time of trial to give us so great a reward, 
but it is but a short time between our regeneration and full possession. 

Use 1. To press you to look for Christ from heaven as a saviour. 

To this end 

1. Seek reconciliation, and be at peace with God : 2 Peter iii. 14, 
' Wherefore, seeing we look for such things, be diligent that you may be 
found of him in peace.' Others tremble at the mention of his coming; 
the guilt of sin maketh this day terrible to us. When you have gotten, 
an interest in Christ, and some sure and comfortable hope of absolution, 
you will cheerfully expect his coming; then he cometh as a saviour: 
Job xix. 25, ' I know that my Kedeemer liveth, and that he shall stand 
at the latter day upon the earth.' He cometh as a saviour, not as a 
severe judge. If you have made your peace with him, there will be a 
happy meeting at the last day. 

2. Be not only reconciled, but renewed and sanctified, as well as justi 
fied ; for ' The Spirit and the bride saith, Come,' Rev. xxii. 17. The Holy 
Ghost, by residing in the hearts of the faithful, breedeth this desire. 
Nature saith not, Come ; this is a disposition above nature. Carnal 
nature saith, Stay away still. If it might go by voices, whether Christ 
should come or no, would carnal men give their voice this way ? ' Even 
so, come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.' The voice of corrupt nature is, 
' Depart,' Job xxii. 14. They are of the mind of the devil : ' Jesus, 
thou Son of God, art thou come to torment us before the time ? ' If 
thieves and malefactors might have the liberty to choose whether there 
should be an assizes, do you think they would look for, and long for the 
time of its approach ? Till we are renewed we have no inclination 
to or dewire of these things. 

3. Labour for some measure of consolation as well as sanctification : 
Bom. viii. 23, 'Ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, 
even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to 
wit, the redemption of our body.' The first-fruits are the beginnings 
of heaven. These being but a little, bear a like proportion with 
eternal glory, as the first-fruits with the harvest, and do assure us as an 
earnest of full possession. Well, then, as Daniel looked towards 
Jerusalem in his prayers, Dan. vi. 10, so let us often look to heaven, 
and remember we have a saviour there, who will one day come from 

Use 2. Prepare for it, make all things ready. There must be strict 


and heavenly walking, that we may ' have boldness in that day, and 
may not be ashamed at his coming,' 1 John ii. 28. Causes of shame 
are either nakedness : 2 Cor. v. 3, ' That we may not be found naked/ 
that is, destitute of all grace. Folly, or perverse or unadvised choice, 
when we are blinded by the delusions of the flesh ; or when we make 
a worldly choice, this will appear to be folly and shame : Luke xii. 20, 
' Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee ; and then 
whose shall these things be which thou hast provided ? ' Or hypocrisy, 
when our cheating and fair pretences shall be discovered : Mat. xxii. 
12, ' Friend, how earnest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? 
and the man was speechless.' Or unfaithfulness, when we have not 
discharged our trust : Luke xix. 22, ' Out of thy own mouth will I 
judge thee, thou wicked servant.' Or unthankfulness for great benefits, 
such as we have received by Christ : Rom. ii. 4, ' Or despisest thou the 
riches of his goodness and long-suffering ? ' Despising not only the 
mercies of common providence, but the blessings of the covenant : Heb. 
ii. 3, ' How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ? ' 

But who will have boldness at that day ? Such as are united to 
Christ : Horn. viii. 1, ' There is no condemnation to them that are in 
Christ.' Such as are by that union assimilated and made like Christ: 
1 John iv. 17, ' That we may have boldness in the day of judgment ; 
because as he is, so are we in the world.' If we continue in that 
blessed and gracious estate faithfully, without defection and apostasy : 
1 John ii. 28, ' And now, little children, abide in him, that when he shall 
appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his 
coming.' That are not ashamed of Christ's despised ways, but while we 
are in the world do faithfully promote his kingdom : Luke ix. 26, with xxi. 
16, ' Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and my words, of him shall the 
Son of man be ashamed when he shall come in his glory.' Who per 
severe in the conflict : 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, ' I have fought a good fight, I 
have finished my course : henceforth there is laid up for me a crown 
of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at 
that day; and not to me only, but unto all them that love his 


Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his 
glorious body, according to the working whereby lie is able even 
to subdue all things unto himself. PHIL. iii. 21. 

IN the context the apostle showeth the different course of living observed 
by the true and false Christians, ' They mind earthly things,' but ' Our 
conversation is in heaven.' 

Now he giveth two reasons of the heavenly life 

1. One is taken from their expectation of Christ's coming. 

2. What he will do at his coming to translate us into the heavenly 
city and to fit us for it, ' He shall change our vile bodies.' 


In which words observe two things 

[1.] The glory which Christ will put upon his saints at his coming, 
' Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto 
his glorious body.' 

[2.] The ground of hope, which may facilitate the belief of this 
blessed condition, ' According to the working whereby he is able even to 
subdue all things unto himself.' 

In the first branch observe 

1. The body is spoken of. 

2. The body is represented under its double estate and condition. 
[1.1 What it is now, ' A vile body.' 

[2.] What it will be then ; it shall be ' fashioned like unto his glo 
rious body.' 

3. The nature of this change ; it is not substantial, but accidental, 
imported in the word ' transform,' or fashion ; it shall be altered, not in 
substance, but in fashion and qualities ; we shall have a body still, an 
organised body with different members ; not only a glorious body, 
but the same body. 

1. The body is spoken of 

[1.] Because the soul is made happy and perfect before : Heb. xii. 
23, ' To the spirits of just men made perfect.' 

[2.] Because the great temptation to draw us off from the heavenly 
life is the love of the body and the interests of the bodily life ; either 
indulgence to things pleasing to the body, or fear of troubles and per 
secutions. Indulgence to things pleasing ; thence we have that caveat, 
Bom. xiii. 14, ' Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.' 
Nothing doth more extinguish all hopes and apprehensions of the life 
to come than carnal and sensual pleasures. Therefore, that we might 
not indulge ourselves in a liberty of enjoying every tempting pleasure 
of this mortal life, he showeth us what care Christ will take of the 
body, what glory he will put upon the body. Fear of troubles and 
persecutions, that may infringe the happiness and interest of the bodily 
life : Luke xii. 4, 5, * Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and 
after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you 
whom ye shall fear ; Fear him, who after he hath killed, hath power 
to cast into hell ; yea, I say, Fear him.' 

[3.] He speaks rather of the happiness of the body, because this 
hindereth our glory ; for there is no place for our earthly and corrup 
tible bodies in the heavenly city: 1 Cor. xv. 50, 'Flesh and blood 
cannot inherit the kingdom of God ; neither doth corruption inherit 
incorruption.' Flesh and blood, corruptible and earthly as now it is, 
cannot enter into heaven ; therefore, to remove this doubt or fear, he 
showeth that Christ shall change this vile body. 

2. The body is represented under its double estate, what it is now, 
and what it will be then. Now its present condition, it is a ' vile body/ 
This is mentioned to show the greatness of the change. However it is 
now for the present, it shall be in a blessed and glorious estate hereafter ; 
as to its future estate, it shall be a glorious body. Mark the two 
opposite terms ; now it is a body of vileness, then of glory ; these are 
the two opposite states of the body. 

3. The nature of the change ; it is not a change of the substance, it 


is a body still ; but in quality, it is now made like the body of his 
glory, the body which Christ had after the resurrection, and now hath 
in heaven, the body of his glory. 

Secondly, The ground of hope from the power of Christ, ' According 
to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.' 
This is added lest any should think this change impossible ; it is a 
thing incredible to flesh and blood. They mocked when he preached 
to them Jesus and the resurrection, Acts xvii. 32. Of all articles of 
the Christian faith, durius creditur, saith Tertullian, it is most difficultly 
believed. Therefore the apostle referreth us to the power of God. The 
power of God is that which faith pitcheth on in the general : Horn. iv. 
21, ' Being fully persuaded, that what he had promised he was also 
able to perform.' And in particular, faith is helped and relieved by 
the consideration of God's power in the doctrine of the resurrection : 
Mat. xxii. 29, ' Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power 
of God.' And the power exercised herein also is produced to warrant 
and encourage faith in other difficulties. He believed even God who 
quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though 
they were. Well, then, in this God will show his almighty power, by 
which he is able to do what he pleaseth ; and creatures must not by 
their vain disputes set limits and bounds to the creator's power. 

Doct. That Jesus Christ at his coming will so change these vile 
bodies of ours that they shall become glorious bodies, and fit to be 
placed in the heavenly city. 

In discussing this point 

1. I shall consider the state of the body as it is now. 

2. What our bodies shall be at Christ's coming. 

3. I shall prove that these same vile bodies which we now carry 
about do then become glorious bodies. 

4. What grounds there are to facilitate our hopes and expectations. 
I. What the body is now ; he calleth it a ' vile body ; ' this must be 

a little explained. 

1. It is vile in respect of its original ; it was made out of the dust of 
the ground : Gen. iii. 19, ' Dust thou art and to dust thou shalt return.' 
That curious frame which we see and admire so much, it is but dust 
well coloured and moulded up into a comely shape. The matter of 
which it was made was the dust of the earth. All elements meet in 
mixed bodies, yet in gross and heavy bodies, such as man's is, earth is 
predominant. This showeth the wisdom and power of God at first, 
that he could make such a curious frame of dust. We read in the 
plagues of Egypt, that the magicians could not bring forth lice out 
of the dust of the ground, Exod. viii. 17-19; yet God raised from 
thence such a noble creature as man is. But it doth much more set 
forth the wisdom, and goodness, and power of God, that this vile body 
shall at length become a glorious body, and these corruptible and 
earthly bodies shall be made spiritual and heavenly, and a clod of earth 
shall shine like the sun for brightness. 

2. As to its constitution, when it is at the best it is but a frail taber 
nacle, and liable to death and corruption. Our ' foundation is in the 
dust, and we are crushed before the moth,' Job iv. 19. The matter 
that we are made of is not brass, or iron, or stone, or stiff clay, but 


dust, which hath no coherence or consistence, but is easily dissipated 
and scattered with every puff of wind ; so is our dusty tabernacle with 
every blast of God's displeasure : Isa. xl. 24, ' He shall blow upon them, 
and they shall wither.' We are poor, weak, and mutable creatures, 
that easily fail and disappear. 

3. It is a vile body in regard of sustentation and support. He 
'bringeth food for them out of the earth : Ps. civ. 14, ' He bringeth forth 
grass for the cattle, and green herbs for the service of man.' Things 
bred there and nourished there feed us. As the body is framed out of 
the dust of the earth, so from the earth it is supported. Meat and 
drink, and such kind of accommodations, continue and repair this house 
from day to day ; we are forced to shoar up a ruinous tabernacle, which 
is ready continually to drop down upon our heads. 

4. It is a vile body in regard of the many miseries to which it is 
obnoxious : Job xiv. 1, ' Man, that is born of a woman, is of few days, 
.and full of trouble.' Life is but short, but long enough to lay us open 
to many calamities. There are some common miseries which are 
incident to all mankind during the bodily estate, but the godly are 
often exposed to a vilified, persecuted, and calamitous estate : John xv. 
19, ' Because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world 
hateth you.' 

5. It is a vile body, because it is subject to many diseases, aches, and 
pains. Job and Lazarus had their sores; all have their infirmities to 
keep them humble. Paul's thorn in the flesh : 2 Cor. xii. 7, 9, ' And 
lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the 
revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger 
of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. There 
fore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may 
rest upon me/ 

6. It is a vile body, because it is not only the soul 1 of diseases, but 
often made the instrument of sin. We are bidden to keep our ' vessel 
in sanctification and honour,' 1 Thes. iv. 4, meaning our body ; but 
how many use it only for a channel for lusts to run in, or a strainer 
for meats and drinks to pass through, oppress nature, and make the 
body more vile by their brutish lusts and affections ? 

7. It is vile in death. The body that was dust in its composition 
will shortly be dust in its dissolution : Eccles. xii. 7, ' Then shall the 
xlust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit return to God that 
gave it ; ' that is, be resolved into the matter of which it was once made. 
It is said of a prince, Ps. cxlvi. 4, ' His breath goeth forth, he return- 
eth to his earth, in that very day his thoughts perish.' The greatest 
potentates in the world are of kin to the dust of the ground, and at 
tengtb are gathered to the earth from whence they had their beginning. 

8. More vile after death. When the soul, the inhabitant, is gone, 
when it becometh a breathless trunk, it must be removed out of sight ; 
it must be buried in some little pit and hole of the earth, where it 
may be hidden, to keep others from being offended or infected with its 
rottenness, stench, and putrefaction : ' That I may bury my dead out 
of my sight,' saith Abraham concerning his beloved Sarah, Gen. xxiii. 
4. The presence of our bodies then is noisome to our dearest friends 

.that most loved us. 

1 Qu. 'seat'? ED. 


This should be often thought of by us 

[1.] To humble us who are but dust and ashes as to our composition, 
constitution, and dissolution: Gen. xviii. 27, 'Who am I, that am but 
dust and ashes, that I should speak unto the Lord ? ' ' All the nations 
are but as the dust of the balance unto God,' Isa. xl. 15. What 
should we be proud of ? should we glory in the nobility of our birth ? 
We are made out of the dust of the earth as the worms are ; yea, the 
worms are of the elder house, for every creeping thing was made before 
man. Of our beauty and strength ? Prov. xxxi. 30, ' Favour is deceit 
ful, and beauty is vain.' That part we glory in is but dust, and will 
be dust. Or in pomp of living ? ' High and low shall lie down in 
the dust alike, and the worms shall cover them/ Job xxi. 26. All of 
us have bodies subject to the necessities of nature, to the infirmities of 
nature, to the decays of nature, to the diseases of nature, which will at 
length totally prevail over us. 

[2.] If our bodies are vile bodies, let us not seek the present good of 
the body as our chief happiness. If anything keep us from heaven, 
it is the love of the body, which should rather invite us thither, for 
hereafter our bodies shall be in their best estate. But alas ! most men 
spend their time in caring for the body, to gratify it with daintiness 
in feeding, costliness in clothing ; all the business of their life is to 
cherish, deck, and adorn proud rottenness. Now in a body over-cared 
for usually there dwelleth a neglected soul. This is to adorn the house 
and slight the inhabitant, to embroider the sheath and let the sword 
rust, to pamper the mortal body and quite neglect the immortal spirit. 

[3.] To comfort those that are decaying more and more as to the 
bodily life, who are subject to continual pains and diseases, or, as Gaius, 
have a healthy soul in a sick and crazy body, 3 John 2. Why, here it 
will be a vile body ; it cannot be helped. Beauty will be wrinkled 
with age, and strength fail and be invaded by diseases. The eternal 
spring and vigour of youth we look for in the other world. 

II. The future condition of our bodies : ' We shall have glorious 
bodies, like unto his glorious body.' Here let us a little consider what 

flory Christ will put upon the body, and how Christ will qualify it and 
t it for eternal life. 

1. It shall be immortal and incorruptible : 1 Cor. xv. 42, 'It is sown 
in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.' Christ will adorn them with 
immortality and impassibility, that we never may decay, nor be liable 
to sickness, weakness, and troubles, nor any defects, but endowed with 
all the perfections a body is capable of. 

2. For clarity and brightness it shall be like Christ's glorious body. 
Therefore it is said, 1 Cor. xv. 43, ' It is sown in dishonour, it is raised 
in glory/ Christ's body shines with light and brightness, a glimpse 
whereof we had in the transfiguration : Mat. xvii. 3, ' And he was 
transfigured before them, and his face did shine as the sun, and his 
raiment was white as the light ; ' and Christ in Rev. i. is represented 
as the sun in its full strength. His body is wondrous, glorious, now 
in heaven. When he appeared to Paul, he could not endure the light 
that shined to him, Acts ix. Oh, what a glorious time will it be when 
the body of Christ shall appear, and all the saints with him in glory ! 

3. It shall be a spiritual body : 1 Cor. xv. 44, ' It is sown a 


natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.' Now how is it a spiritual 
body ? 

[1.] The least in it is that it shall be subject to the spirit. As the 
soul while it is subject to the flesh is called carnal, so the body while 
subject to the spirit is termed spiritual ; it is the full consummation of 
the new birth : John iii. 6, ' That which is born of the Spirit is spirit ! 
All is spirit then without any mixture of the rebelling flesh. Cer 
tainly the infusion of the life of grace is called ' the first resurrection,' as 
it carrieth a conformity to this estate. 

[2.] It standeth in no need of natural supports ; there is no food, 
raiment, marrying, or giving in marriage : Mat. xxii. 30, ' But they 
are as the angels of God in heaven.' There they live not as husbands 
and wives, but as the pure spiritual angels ; we shall not stand in need 
of meat, drink, and sleep, as now we do. Now what a blessed thing is 
it to have either privilege, to have bodies wholly obedient to the spirit, 
and bodies that are not subjected to present necessities ! 

III. That these same vile bodies shall be changed into glorious 

1. I prove it from the nature of the resurrection. It will not be a 
resurrection unless that which fell rise again, and that which was dead 
be revived. Therefore the same bodies which were buried in the 
grave shall be raised up. If the same body were joined to another 
soul, or the same soul united to another body, it would not be the resur 
rection of the same man. Neither at the latter day do we expect a 
new creation, but a restitution ; not a production of a new body, but 
the raising of that which we had before. These houses of clay, these 
habitations of flesh, must again receive their old inhabitant. Nothing 
dieth but the body, and when we died we died in no other body but 
our own, and therefore we cannot be said to revive and rise again, but 
in our own flesh, and in our own body. 

2. I prove it from the testimony of scripture, which is full and preg 
nant to the purpose : John v. 28, 29, ' Marvel not at this, for the hour 
is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and 
shall come forth ; they that have done good to the resurrection of life, 
and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation.' 
Who shall come forth ? They who are in the graves ; that is, men 
with respect to their bodies, the same bodies wherein they lived on 
earth, and which were laid in the grave. So again, Job xix. 26. 27 r 
' And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh 
shall I see God : whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall 
behold, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me/ 
' In flesh ' showeth the reality, ' my flesh ' showeth the identity and 
propriety ; it is not a stranger's eye, another eye, but ' these eyes ' shall 
see him : Rom. viii. 11, ' He that raised up Christ from the dead shall 
quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.' So 
that it is this mortal body which is quickened, and which at the resur 
rection becometh spiritual and incorruptible. Once more, 1 Cor. xv. 
53, ' For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal 
must put on immortality.' Not that another body shall succeed in 
place of this, but this very body shall be changed ; not in substance, 
but qualities. So here in the text, ' Who shall change our vile bodies '/ 


not a body which was never ours, nor never vile, but the same body 
that was once ours, and was once vile. Again, Kev. xx. 13, ' And the 
sea gave up the dead which were in it : and death and hell delivered 
up the dead which were in them.' But if the same bodies did not rise, 
neither the sea nor the grave would give up their dead. That shall 
rise again which the grave giveth up, which the sea giveth up ; there 
fore the same body which was buried shall be revived. Thus the 
scripture is full in the proof of it, as of the resurrection, so of the 
resurrection of the same numerical body. 

3. From the final cause of the resurrection, which is that every one 
may be judged, and receive according to the things done in the body : 
2 Cor. v. 10, 'For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of 
Christ, that every one may receive the things done in the body, accord 
ing to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.' The things were 
done in the body, and therefore not only the soul but the body must 
be punished and rewarded. As Tertullian pleadeth, Should Marcion 
be raised up for Valentinus, and the peccancy of one body be punished 
in another that never offended ? 

4. From the pattern of Christ ; such a body as Christ had in the 
resurrection and ascension, such bodies shall we have : ' For our vile 
body shall be made like his glorious body ; ' and he rose as ' the first- 
fruits of them that slept,' as the representative head, 1 Cor. xv. 20 ; 
' And he that raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise us up also by Jesus,' 
2 Cor. iv. 14. Now the body in which Christ rose was the same body 
which was assumed of the virgin, which was nailed to the cross, laid in 
the grave ; and with the same body he entered into heaven, and there 
remaineth the same according to substance and lineaments that it was 
here upon earth, only changed in qualities. So our bodies remain the 
same in substance, only freed from the quality of its abasements, and 
endowed with glorious qualities fit for the heavenly estate ; and look, 
as the decays and reparations of our bodies do not make them cease to 
be the same bodies we bring with us into the world, so neither the 
change they undergo by death, nor the glorious qualities wherewith 
they are endowed when raised again, do make them other bodies for 
substance than now they are. 

IV. What grounds there are to facilitate our belief and hope of the 

1. It is a work of omnipotency. We are apt to say, How can it be 
that when our bodies are turned into dust, and that dust mingled with 
other dust, and hath undergone many transmutations, that every one 
should have his own body and flesh again ? Why, consider the infinite 
and absolute power of God, and this will make it more reconcilable to 
your thoughts, and this hard point will be of easier digestion to your 
faith. To an infinite power there is no difficulty at all. The text 
saith, ' According to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all 
things to himself.' How much can God's power outwork our thoughts ? 
For he were not infinite if he might be comprehended. We are no 
fit judges of the extent of his power. Many things are marvellous in 
our eyes which are not so to God, Zech. viii. 6. Therefore we must 
not confine God to the limits of created beings, or our finite under 
standings. Alas ! our cockleshell cannot empty an ocean ; we do no 


more know what God can do than a worm knoweth a man. He that 
made the world out of nothing, cannot he raise the dead ? He that 
made such multitudes of creatures out of the dark chaos, hath he for 
gotten what is become of our dust ? That Almighty, he that gave life 
and being to that which before was not, cannot he raise the dead ? He 
that turned Moses's rod into a serpent, and from a serpent into a rod 
again, cannot he raise us out of the dust into men, and turn us from 
men into dust, and from the same dust raise us up into the same men 
and women again ? 

2. We have relief from the justice of God. All nations will grant 
that God is, and that he is a rewarder of good and bad. Now in this 
life he doth not dispense these rewards. Many instruments of public- 
good are made a sacrifice to public hatred, and wicked men have the 
world at will ; therefore there is a judgment when this life is ended; 
and if there be a judgment, men must be capable to receive rewards 
and punishments. You will say, So they are, by having an immortal 
soul. Ay ! bui the soul is not all of man ; the body is a part, it hath 
had its share in the work, and therefore it is most equal to conceive it 
shall have its share in the reward and punishment It is the body 
which is gratified by the pleasures of sin for a season, the body which 
hath endured the pain and trouble of faithful obedience to Christ ; and 
therefore there shall be a resurrection of the just and unjust, that men 
may receive according to what they have done in the body. God made 
the whole man, and therefore glorifieth and punisheth the whole man. 
The apostle urgeth this to the godly : 1 Cor. xv. 29, ' Else what shall 
they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead rise not at all, 
why then are they baptized for the dead ? ' 

3. God's unchangeable covenant-love, which inclineth him to seek 
after their dust after it hath been so long buried in oblivion. God 
hath taken a believer into covenant with himself, body and soul ; there 
fore Christ proveth the resurrection from God's covenant-title : Mat. 
xxii. 31, 32, 'But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not 
read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of 
Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob ? God is not the 
God of the dead, but of the living.' To be a God to any is to be a 
benefactor : Gen. ix. 26, ' And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of 
Shem.' Not blessed be Shem, but blessed be ' the Lord God of Shem/ 
To be a benefactor belongs to an infinite eternal power ; if he had not 
eternal glory to bestow upon us, he would not justify his covenant-title : 
Heb. xi. 16, ' Wherefore he is not ashamed to be called their God, for 
he hath prepared for them a city.' Now God is a benefactor not to one 
part only, but to their whole persons. Their bodies had the mark of 
his covenant upon them, their dust is in covenant with him ; and where- 
ever it is disposed, he will look after it ; their death and rotting in the 
grave doth not make void his interest, nor cause his care and affection 
towards them to cease. 

4. The redemption of Christ, which extendeth to the bodies of saints, 
as often interpreted in scripture, as where Christ speaketh of his Father's 
charge ; this was a special article in the eternal covenant : John vi. 39, 
' And this is the Father's will that hath sent me, that of all which he 
hath given me, I should lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last 


day ; ' not so much as a leg, nor a piece of an ear. Christ hath engaged 
himself to this ; he is the guardian of the grave ; as Rizpah kept the 
bodies of Saul's sons, 2 Sain, xxi. 10. Christ hath the keys of death 
and hell ; Christ hath the charge of the elect to the very day of the 
resurrection, that he may give a good account of them when all perils 
and hazards are over, and may not lose so much as their dust, but 
gather it up again. Where the intention of his death is spoken of : 
1 Thes. v. 10, ' Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we 
should live together with him ; ' that is, whether dead or alive, for they 
that are said to be dead in the Lord, are said to be fallen asleep. 
Whether we live here or die, we should live a spiritual life here and an 
eternal life in glory hereafter. So where the obligation is urged: 1 Cor. 
vi. 20, 'For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your 
body, and in your spirit, which are God's.' There would be no conse 
quence if Christ had not purchased the body as well as the soul ; and 
Christ will not lose the least of his purchase. If he exact duty from 
the body, you may expect glory for the body. So redemption is parti 
cularly applied to the body : Rom. viii. 23, ' Waiting for the adoption, 
to wit, the redemption of the body.' The body is bought with the blood 
of Christ. 

5. The honour which is put upon the bodies of the saints. 

[1.] They are members of Christ: 1 Cor. vi. 15, ' Know ye not that 
your bodies are the members of Christ ? shall I then take the members 
of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot ? God forbid.' The 
members of Christ shall not remain in death, but certainly be raised up 
again. When a godly man dieth, the union between soul and body is 
dissolved, but not the union between him and Christ. As Christ's own 
natural body in the grave was not separated from his person, and the 
hypostatical union was not dissolved. It was the Lord of glory that 
was crucified, and the Lord of glory who was laid in the grave ; so the 
mystical union is not dissolved between Christ and his people, who are 
his mystical body, when they are dead ; as some read the place, Isa. 
xxvi. 19, ' Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall 
they arise.' They are Christ's body though dead in the grave. 

[2.] They are temples of the Holy Ghost ; therefore if thy body be 
destroyed, it shall be built up again : 1 Cor. vi. 19, ' Know ye not that 
your bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost ? ' As Christ redeemed not 
the soul only, but the whole man, so the Spirit in Christ's name taketh 
possession both of body and soul. The body is cleansed and sanctified 
by the Spirit, as well as the soul, and therefore it is quickened by the 
Spirit: Kom. viii. 11, ' But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus 
from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead 
shall quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.' 
The Holy Ghost will not leave his mansion or dwelling-place. The 
dust of believers belongeth to him, who were once his temple ; so it is 
a pledge of the resurrection. 

Use 1. Is exhortation to all holy conversation and godliness ; and 
that you may not carry it beyond the matter in hand 

1. Do not debase the body by making it an instrument of sin. It 
is sacrilege to profane and prostitute that which is holy to a common 
use. As Belshazzar bid defiance to the God of heaven by quaffing 


and carousing in the cups of the temple, so do you pollute that which is 
holy if you defile your bodies by uncleanness and intemperance, which 
are members of Christ, temples of the Holy Ghost, in covenant with God, 
and in time to be glorified for ever. When you make your members 
weapons of unrighteousness, Horn. vi. 13, it is contrary to your covenant 
dedication, to the honour God putteth, and meaneth further to put 
upon the body. Do but consider, when lust hath spent our strength, 
and carnal projects and practices have wasted our spirits, how can we 
look for the recompense of a glorious reward, a blessed resurrection ? 
Do these believe such an estate that put the body to so vile an use ? 
What ! with these eyes to see the Redeemer, which are windows and 
inlets to sin ? Think you that God will put honour upon that body 
which they dishonour so much ? Sure they think their bodies 
shall never rise again, that care not to what uncleanness they do abuse 

2. Do not offend God to gratify the body or preserve any bodily 
interest. Love to the body and the bodily estate proves often an 
occasion of sinning. Men first mistake self, and then misplace it; 
they mistake self, thinking themselves more concerned as a body than 
a soul ; yea, farther, prefer the conveniencies of the body before the 
body itself ; and they misplace self when they value these things above 
the conscience of their duty to God. To please the body they forfeit 
the comfort and happiness of the soul, as when to gratify a pleasing 
lust they run the hazard of eternal torments, Mat. v. 29, 30. Or to 
save the body, when as we should suffer the loss of life, or limb, or an 
estate for a good conscience. Oh, consider, whatever your loss be in 
this kind, it will be repaired. He that healed Malchus's ear, he can 
restore yourselves to yourselves again, though for his sake you suffer 
bodily tortures. Surely a man that believes the resurrection of the 
body should not fear though exposed to fight with beasts at Ephesus, 
1 Cor. xv. 32, though ready to be torn in pieces by an enraged multitude : 
Heb. xi. 35, 'And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, 
that they might obtain a better resurrection.' To escape upon God's 
terms, they rejected the deliverance offered by the enemies, and believed 
the resurrection offered by God ; they might have come off body- whole, 
but not heart-whole. In the intermission of their tortures, being 
advised to yield, they did believe there was a resurrection to an immortal 
glorious blessed life, which would recompense their pains with eternal 
pleasures. Nay, if the trial should not be so high ; if for a more 
plentiful life, and to live at large, men should dispense with a principle 
of conscience. This should not be ; if you love your bodies, your bodies 
shall be well enough ; if you can trust the fidelity of Christ, never leave 
his service, nor abate anything of your strictness, to please the flesh.' 

3. Do not spare the body to do God service. A believer, if he look 
backward or forward, upward or downward, seeth no reason to spare 
the body. Backward, what pains did Christ endure in his body ? his 
face spit upon, his hands and feet nailed to the cross, his head crowned 
"with thorns ; in his lifetime neglected : ' he bore our sins in his body 
on the tree ;' and shall we be so tender and delicate of our bodies as 
not to endure a little pains for God's sake ? Forward : 2 Cor. v. 1, 
* For we know if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, 


we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in. 
the heavens.' A poor house of clay, though- that be crumbled into 
dust, it is better to be worn out with labour than eaten out with rust : 
Acts xxvi. 7, ' Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving 
God day and night, hope to come.' At the day of judgment it will 
be no grief of heart that we have lived faithfully, painfully, in the 
exercise of godliness, in fasting and praying, and labouring for God ; 
though it have deprived your bodies of some pleasures which others 
take, that live a life of pomp and ease, and in carnal delights; when 
they are full of horror and amazement, you will have your reward. 
These eyes which are often lifted up in prayer shall see your Kedeemer ; 
those knees which are made hard like a camel's hoof by your daily 
addresses to God shall be softened ; those spirits which are wasted in 
godly exercises shall amply be repaired. Upward, I hope one day my 
body shall be in heaven, and there is the place of my rest : Rev. xiv. 13, 
* Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, that they may rest from 
their labours/ The soul will remember the body, as Pharaoh's butler 
did Joseph: I had strength, and was willing to spend it for God. 
Downward : ' Fear him that is able to cast both body and soul into 
hell,' Mat. x. 28. There are pains inflicted immediately on the body ; 
how much better is it to take a little pains now ! 

Use 2. Is to put us upon self-reflection. How shall we know that 
this will be our condition, that our bodies shall be raised up to the 
fellowship of this glory ? 

1. If we be partakers of the first resurrection. There is the resurrec 
tion of the soul from the power of sin, and the resurrection of the body 
from the power of death. They that have part in the first resurrec 
tion, over those ' the second death hath no power,' Rev. xx. 6. The 
resurrection to the life of holiness and the resurrection to the life of 
glory have an intimate connection the one with the other ; and the life 
of grace is put as the remedy against our death by sin : Rom. iii. 10, 
4 The body is dead because of sin, but the spirit is life because of right 
eousness.' The sting and hurt of death is taken away when, upon 
account of Christ's righteousness, we are made partakers of his Spirit. 
Our conversation is one sort of quickening and resurrection, and maketh 
way for the other, the quickening and raising of our bodies. Therefore, 
is the life of grace begun ? is the body and soul made a temple of the 
Holy Ghost, the place where he manifesteth his power and presence ? 
Rom. viii. 11, ' If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead 
dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken 
your mortal bodies by the Spirit that dwelleth in you.' He that hath 
once honoured the body by his presence will not suffer corruption 
always to remain upon it. 

2. How doth this life discover itself? Are you like Christ? 1 John 
iv. 17. If you are such in the world as he was in the world. The 
change of a Christian beginneth in his soul, first changed there into the 
image and likeness of Christ, and then his body is made like unto his 
glorious body. Christ beginneth with the soul, but he endeth with the 
body. Therefore that a Christian should look after, to be like Christ 
in holiness, and then he will be like him in glory, to be such as he was, 
and to walk as he walked, to be humble, useful, and fruitful, and then 

VOL. xx. M 


God will take care for other things which belong to our happiness. Is 
our soul ennobled with his image ? do we resemble Christ here more 
and more ? 

3. You may know that your bodies shall be raised to the fellowship 
of this glory by the use you put your bodies unto. If we pamper the 
body, altogether provide for the satisfying its lust, you choose your 
heaven here, and slight the happiness which God hath intended for it 
in another world. Some proclaim their atheism, ' Let us eat and drink, 
and be merry, for to-morrow we shall die.' But you secretly cherish 
it while you serve your lusts in a more cleanly manner, withhold your 
hearts from nothing that can satisfy and please your lusts. Will you 
know whither you shall go, to heaven or hell ? Rom. viii. 13, ' If ye 
live after the flesh, ye shall die ; but if ye through the Spirit do mor 
tify the deeds of the body, ye shall live ; ' and Gal. vi. 8, ' He that 
soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption ; but he that 
soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.' Do yon 
gratify or crucify the flesh ? Flesh-pleasers are flesh-destroyers. For 
the present you dishonour the body, which should be the temple of 
the Holy Ghost, and which one day he will make so glorious ; and for 
the future you destroy the happiness of the body. Well, then, if for 
love to your body you follow only its present lusts, and care only for 
the things of the body, you act the greatest enmity and hostility against 
your own bodies that is imaginable ; for fleshly lusts do not only war 
against the soul, but the body also, and destroy that part which they 
seem to gratify. 

4. If you look, and long, and prepare for a better estate : 2 Cor. v. 
1, 2, ' For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were 
dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens: for in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be 
clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.' There will be an 
earnest waiting for this glory. Certainly God will never bestow it 
upon us against our wills, nor without our consent ; there must be an 
earnest desire and a serious preparation. Those that cannot endure 
to hear of a remove would be always here ; they are satisfied with what 
is now, and cannot part with it for what is to come. We groan chiefly 
for the intimate presence of our souls with Christ, and some unwilling- 
Bess ariseth because we are loath to part with the body ; but if we are 
sure that in due time we shall have the society of the body in glory, 
why should we hang back ? These beloved friends, which part with 
so much pain and grief, shall meet together again with pleasure and 
joy ; therefore we should overcome our natural inclinations to the 
present life. 


For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. PHIL. i. 21. 

PAUL had professed his indifferency to life or death, so Christ might 
be glorified by either ; either by his ministry or martyrdom ; his aim 
and scope was Christ's glory. Now how God would use him to such a 
purpose he was altogether unconcerned, and professeth, if he might 
have his option and choice, he would give the case back again to God 
to determine it as it might be most for his service and glory. Now 
here he beginneth to debate the case, and showeth in what respects 
life and death were valuable. If you put life in one scale and side of 
the balance, there is his service in the gospel ; if death in the other 
side, there is eternal profit : ' To me to live is Christ, and to die is 

Here I shall show 

1. Why he desired life, ' To me to live is Christ.' 

2. Why he submitted to death, ' To die is gain.' 

[1.] The purpose and business of the present life is Christ's service. 

[2.] The gain and profit of his death is the perfect enjoyment of 
Christ ; if he did live, he should preach Christ ; if he did die, he should 
go to Christ, and remain with him for ever. 

I must not dissemble it that some read the text thus, ' Christ is gain 
to me both in life and death, whatsoever falleth out.' This interpreta 
tion, though not unsuitable to the context, yet it doth not run so 
smoothly, and cannot be so easily wrought out of the Greek tongue 
as our translation. 

I shall treat of the purpose and business of life ; e/zol TO ffiv XpiaTos. 
The infinitive of the verb is put for the substantive, TO tfi v for 
0)77, my life is Christ. Now Christ may be said to be the life two 
ways as the principle or as the end. As the principle : Gal. ii. 20, 
' Christ liveth in me.' Secondly, as the end and scope ; so here he is 
both author and end. As we live in him and by him, so we live for 
him and to him. The latter supposeth the former. Our tendency is 
according to the principle by which we are acted. That life which we 
have from Christ is used for Christ ; his meaning is, that the service 
and honour of Christ was the scope and business of his life. 

Doct. That the great end and business of a Christian's life should 
be to honour and glorify Christ. 


I argue it thus 

First, We have life from him, and therefore it will be to him. I 
speak it not of life natural, but spiritual. The tendency of it is to 
Christ, from whose influence we receive it ; the end is according to 
the principle. We live in Christ, to Christ. A supernatural influence 
causeth a supernatural tendency. Carnal men, that act by their own 
life, live upon their own root, bring forth fruit to themselves, make it 
their business to please the flesh. Water riseth no higher than its 
fountain, and the fruit is always according to the influence of the root; 
but they that are ingrafted into Christ, they live out of themselves, 
and therefore do not live for themselves, but that their heavenly Father 
may be glorified, John xv. 8. It is the application of the parable of 
the vine ; as rivers run into the sea from whence their channels are 
filled, so doth grace cause all the issues and outgoings of the spiritual 
life to return to Christ from whence they came. 

Secondly, I argue from the right Christ hath to our service. We 
are his by every kind of right and title. If we were at our own 
dispose, we might live as we list ; but no creature is sui juris, its own, 
to use as it will, much less the saints : Rom. xiv. 7-9, ' For no man, 
of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself ; for whether we 
live, we live unto the Lord ; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord ; 
whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end 
Christ both died, and rose again, and revived, that he might be Lord 
both of the dead and living.' The apostle is there pressing to unity, 
notwithstanding lesser differences. The saints do not always agree in 
the means, by reason of the difference of light. They all agree in the 
scope ; they do all things to the Lord, that is, the Lord Christ ; for he 
speaketh of his dying and rising again. Now this he argueth from 
Christ's right, because we are the Lord's, which is acknowledged and 
improved to this end by the saints. Christ hath a right over all ; 
weak and strong Christians all agree in this, and wholly surrender 
themselves to Christ's use, living and dying. A whole Christian is 
Christ's ; take him in his person, his relations, conditions of life, and 
all his concernments, he is Christ's, and therefore to him to live is 

To make this more clear, let us examine the several titles Christ 
hath to a believer. 

1. By creation. So Christ hath a right to us, together with the 
Father and Spirit. He made the world : Heb. i. 2, ' Hath in these last 
days spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all 
things, by whom also he made the worlds.' Men and angels were the 
work of his hands. 

In creation three things are considerable 

(1.) The absolute right it gave him; (2.) The intention of the 
Creator ; (3.) The obligation left upon the creature. 

[1.] The absolute right that accrueth to him from hence. The 
creature is wholly and solely of him and from him, and of nothing else 
in the world, and therefore is wholly and solely his to dispose of. There 
is nothing ours, but his. What joint or member of the body, or faculty of 
the mind, was by thyself bestowed upon thyself, or made by thy direction 
and request ? It was all made by God out of nothing, therefore it is all 


his. Thy tongue is not thine own to speak what thou pleasest, nor 
thy heart thine to think what thou pleasest, or covet what thou pleasest, 
nor thy hand to do what thou pleasest, nor thy feet to go whither thou 
pleasest. We neither made nor can keep any of these things longer 
than God willeth, and therefore they must be employed for him. Self- 
love is God's prerogative. He alone can love himself and seek him 
self, because he alone is without obligation and dependence ; but no 
creature was made terminatively for itself, to live to itself, for he that made 
it hath a right to all that we are and have ; and to use ourselves other 
wise than for his glory, ultimately and terminatively, it is to rob God 
of his property, and defeat the great owner of his right in us. But that 
is not all I would speak under this head, that God has a right, but he 
has an absolute right, such as no other can have. They distinguish in 
the civil law of a twofold dominion. There is dominium jurisdictionis 
et proprietatis, the dominion of jurisdiction over men, or reasonable 
creatures, who are only capable of passive jurisdiction or government. 
The dominion of propriety respects other things, as beasts and things 
inanimate. This is more absolute than the former ; for a man may 
dispose of his own goods more absolutely than of those things over 
which- he hath only a jurisdiction ; as, for instance, a potter hath more 
power .over his clay than a man over his beast, more power over his 
beast than his slave, over his slave than his free servant, and a man 
hath more power over his servants than a prince over his subjects. Now 
both these kinds of dominion hath God over us, not only that of juris 
diction, but propriety ; and hath a more absolute power over us than 
the most absolute monarch, not only over his subjects and slaves, but 
over his goods and lands ; for they did not make these things, but 
acquire a right, being made. A civil right cannot be so great as a 
natural, and no such natural right that any man hath. A man hath 
not such a power over the vineyard which he hath planted as God 
hath over the creatures which he hath made. The husbandman can 
not make a vine, but he may set it and dress it ; but God made us 
out of nothing. Nor is the power of the potter such over his clay, for 
he only giveth shape by art, but God gives our whole being ; therefore 
he hath an absolute power to use us as he pleaseth. I may do with 
my own as it pleaseth me. 

[2.] The next thing in creation is the intention of the Creator. God 
would not let fall his right. There is nothing made by any one but 
he expects some use and service for it. It is irrational to do a thing be 
cause we will do it, without any purpose. God being a rational agent, 
must have an end, and he could have no end but himself, his service, 
the declaring of his own glory : Prov. xvi. 4, ' He hath made all things 
for himself.' No creature was made for itself, but all for God. They 
are from him and for him : Kom. xi. 36, ' For of him, and through him, 
and to him are all things.' Some things God made immediately for 
himself, as men and angels ; other things for himself ultimately and 
terminatively, but immediately for man's good. And indeed the whole 
creation, except the angels, are subjected to our dominion or created for 
our use. The heavens, though not under our dominion as the beasts, 
yet were created for our use ; the lower heaven to give us breath, 
the middle heaven to give us light and heat, the highest heaven for 


our dwelling-place. The sun shineth for us, the winds blow for us, 
the water runneth for us, so the earth is settled for us. God is the 
ultimate result and issue of them, but they were made for us imme 
diately. But man's obedience and service he hath reserved by a special 
command unto himself. He that by creation gave a being to all 
things, imposed an end upon them. Now this is the end imposed upon 
men, that they should more immediately dispose of themselves to his 
service and glory. Our end was not to eat, drink, trade, sleep, enjoy 
pleasures and honours, but to serve and honour God. That is our end 
ultimately and terminatively, and therefore that should be our main 
business. All other things keep their end for which they were created ; 
the sun to enlighten the world by day, and for that end he still serveth ; 
the moon and stars to rule the night ; therefore if we were made for 
this purpose, to know, love, fear, obey, and serve God, this should be 
our business and scope ; to do otherwise is as unnatural to us as it is 
for the sun not to shine or the stars not to convey their light and in 

[3.] Besides the right and intention of the Creator there is an obli 
gation left upon the creature to love and serve him that created us, 
namely, as he showed more love to us than he did to any other creatures 
except the angels. He gave being to other things, to man his image. 
Now the whole use of an image and picture lieth in the resemblance. 
We do not answer the dignity put upon us in our creation if we do not 
resemble the wisdom, purity, goodness, and mercy of God, which we 
can only do by living to him. We deface that which God intended 
for a glory to man, and cast it away as a thing nothing worth. He made 
man lord of all things, Gen. i. 26 ; and the psalmist noteth it, Ps. viii. 
6, ' Thou hast put all things under him.' Subject to our dominion, or 
created for our use ; and shall we not serve him that hath made the 
whole course of nature to serve us ? All the creatures are at work 
for us night and day, for a poor worm of six feet long ; and shall not 
God be honoured and served for this ? We are troubled if the creatures 
do not serve us, if the course of nature be varied, if the sun do not shine 
in its season, and showers of rain in their season ; and why are we not 
troubled if we do not serve God ? There is no debt from the creatures 
to us; they serve us only by the bounty and appointment of God. 
We are not only appointed to serve him, but indebted to him. In our 
constitution every member of the body is an obliging mercy ; if we 
want any one sense, and could meet with a person that can restore it, 
as the loss of an eye or an arm, how would we love and honour him I 
And will not you remember your Creator, who gave them to us at first ? 

2. Preservation, by which the title of creation is daily renewed and 
reinforced. Now Christ is interested in all this, as all things in heaven 
and earth are gathered together in him : Eph. i. 10, ' That in the dis 
pensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all 
things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, 
even in him.' ^AvaKe^dXauaaaaOai, is the apostle's word, as the words of 
a speech are recapitulated and summed up that they may not be lost. 
And if we consider the creature's mutability, and how every moment we 
are in danger to be lost, preservation is as beneficial as creation. We 
are continued by his providential influence every moment in our being 


and operation, as the beams are by the sun : Acts xvii. 28, ' For in him 
we live, and move, and have our being; ' Heb. i. 3, ' And upholdeth all 
things by the word of his power.' Things were not made that they 
should act and subsist of themselves, as the house abideth when the archi 
tect is gone ; therefore we are bound to serve him every moment : Neh. 
ix. 6, ' Thou, even thou, art Lord alone ; thou hast made heaven, the 
heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all things that are 
therein, the seas and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all/ 
And he doth not this out of necessity, but of his own free will. If God 
should turn you off for preservation to yourselves, what would you do to 
keep yourselves from falling into nothing? If you live, and act as your 
own men, is not God disengaged from providing for you ? As he that 
leaveth his master's work is no longer reckoned as a branch of the family, 
but left to live upon his own calling. 

3. Redemption. This giveth a proper right to the second person : 
1 Cor. vi. 20, ' For ye are bought with a price ; therefore glorify God 
in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.' They are not yours, 
but God's. To make this consideration the more effectual, let us con 
sider (1.) The right ; (2.) The price. 

[1.] Let us consider how there accmeth to Christ a right by redemp 
tion. -God had a right in us by creation, a fair and full right, which 
we could not make away by sin. We had indeed sold ourselves unto 
God's adversary for enjoying the pleasures of the flesh : Isa. lii. 3, ' Ye 
have sold yourselves for nought.' Though we could not alienate our 
selves by any covenant, implicit or express, from God's dominion of 
jurisdiction over us, yet we did renounce his service ; so that God was 
no otherwise our lord than a king over rebels and traitors, who may 
withdraw their allegiance, yet cannot abrogate and make void his 
jurisdiction. This right that God had in us did only move him to take 
vengeance of us, as the right of a prince to chastise the rebels, and re 
duce them by strong hand to their obedience. We had interest in his 
gracious protection ; so that now to restore us, not only to his service, 
but favour, Jesus Christ came and made satisfaction, and therefore is said 
to purchase us to God, Eev. v. 9 ; and therefore this should highly 
oblige us to serve him. God lost no right by the fall, but we lost 
privilege ; it was a right that was comfortable and beneficial to us, and 
therefore we are not our own, but his, by all the laws of equity. 

[2.] Consider the price that was paid for us. The apostle Peter 
gives us an account of that : 1 Peter i. 18, 19, 'We were not redeemed 
with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood 
of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.' The great 
ness of the price doth argue his full propriety in us. That which was 
bought with silver and gold gave the buyer an interest in the thing or 
person so bought, not only in lands, but servants ; as if a man had 
bought another out of captivity, or he had sold himself, all his time, 
strength, and service belonged to the buyer. Yea, the dominion was so 
absolute, that the servant had no plea against his master if he had 
died by his stripes after a while, ' He is his money,' saith the law, 
Exod. xxi. 21. But now we are bought with the blood of the Son 
of God, and therefore what degree of service can be answerable to so 
great a price ? Judas sold our Saviour at a cheap rate, for thirty pieces 


of silver ; but before God's tribunal it was blood of a higher price ; 
and as to us, the indignity and cheap price that was put upon him 
rnaketh the obligation the greater ; therefore we should wholly bend 
ourselves to promote his glory. 

4. By conquest. Prisoners of war were theirs that took them till 
they paid their ransom. The apostle alludeth to it : 2 Peter ii. 19, 
' For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bon 
dage ; ' Kom. vii. 14, ' Sold under sin.' We are Christ's by conquest: 
Col. i. 13, ' Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness.' By 
strong hand : Luke xi. 21, 22, ' When a strong man armed keepeth 
his palace, his goods are in peace : but when a stronger than he shall 
come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour 
wherein he trusted, and divideth his spoil.' Indeed this conquest is 
sweet, for it is not a captivity, but a rescue ; as Abraham pursued after 
the kings that took Lot prisoner, Gen. xiv., and rescued him, and would 
have nothing for his pains but the liberty of the persons. So that it is 
a blessed conquest, but yet such as giveth Christ an interest in us, as 
David got an interest in Michal, Saul's daughter, by slaying Goliath. 

5. Actual possession. When we are united to him by the Spirit, 
our property in ourselves is quite destroyed by our union with Christ ; 
so that our bodies and souls are not our own to dispose of, but his. 
Thence the apostle : 1 Cor. vi. 15, ' Shall I take the members of Christ, 
and make them the members of a harlot ? God forbid.' Christ hath 
a right in everything that is a Christian's ; it is actually seized upon by 
the Spirit. 

6. By resignation and voluntary consent. When Christ taketh hold 
of us by his Spirit, we take hold of him. Christ maketh over himself 
to us, and we give up ourselves to him, every interest and concernment 
to him : ' My beloved is mine, and I am his,' Cant. ii. 16. We are so. 
It is the time of spiritual marriage between Christ and the soul. We 
give up all to him, every interest, relation, concernment ; and this must 
not be retracted in word or deed. Therefore unless we mean to retract 
our vows, and deal treacherously in the covenant, we should live as those 
that are Christ's : 2 Cor. viii. 5, ' But first gave their ownselves to the 
Lord ; ' 2 Chron. xxx. 8, ' Yield yourselves to the Lord/ 

Thirdly, The third reason is taken from the value of his service. 
Life is only then worth the having when we may honour Christ by it, 
otherwise not. For a man that hath an interest in better things to 
desire life merely for itself, is foolish ; for it is better to be with God, 
Phil. i. 23, -TroXXw fjiak\ov Kpelrrov, ' by much more the better.' For 
a saint to live here with so much trouble and molestation is no eligible 
thing ; but yet if Christ hath any use for us, we must be content. 
David prayeth for life, but still in order to service : Ps. cxix. 17, ' Deal 
bountifully with thy servant, that I may live and keep thy word.' 
Paul loved his work rather than his life, and preferred obedience before 
safety : Acts xx. 24, ' Neither count I my life dear unto me, so I may 
finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of 
the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.' So that 
was David's hope in the prolongation of life : Ps. cxviii. 17, ' I shall 
not die but live, and declare the works of the Lord.' Further oppor 
tunities to honour God. This is that which maketh life to be lifo 


indeed, communion with God in Christ. It is not he who lives longest 
and most plentifully, but most serviceable to God's glory, that make& 
life to be life indeed. 

Use 1. To persuade us to make it our business to honour Christ, 
to advance him. It doth not only concern public persons, such as Paul 
was, but every private Christian. 

To this purpose I shall (1.) Give you directions ; (2.) Motives. 

1. You must close with him by faith, and use him to the end for 
which God hath appointed him: 2 Thes. i. 11, 12, 'That our God 
would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure 
of his goodness, and the work of faith with power : that the name of 
Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him.' Now when did you 
close with him by faith ? Faith has a double office it accepts Christ 
from God, and presents Christ to God. It makes use of him in all 
our converse with him ; it accepts Christ in the word, and maketh use- 
of him in prayer. In the word God offereth him to you as Lord and 
Saviour, to give you repentance and remission of sins. Now when you 
consent to God's terms, this is to believe in him. Take heed you do not 
make light of Christ, as those did, Mat. xxii. 5, 61 Be d/ieX^o-ai/re? ; 
they slighted, disregarded, neglected him ; they had other business to 
mind. ' No ; this is your work, your hearts should be set on it. After 
long traverses you must say, as Laban, Gen. xxiv. 50, ' The thing is of 
the Lord.' I can say nothing against it. I will see what Christ will 
do for my soul ; oh, that I may be found in him ! It presents Christ to 
God : Eph. iii. 12, ' In whom we have boldness and access with con 
fidence by the faith of him.' You gather heart and confidence by 
dealing with God in his name. All religion lieth in a coming to God 
by him, Heb. vii. 25, but that coming is not meant of one duty, but 
the principal aim and purpose of the soul in all, rejoicing in God. 

2. Consecrate and dedicate yourselves to Christ's use : Bom. xii. 1, 
' I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you 
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which 
is your reasonable service.' There is the foundation of our obedience : 
2 Cor. v. 8, ' But first gave their own selves to the Lord.' You owe 
yourselves to him, and therefore you give up yourselves to him ; as 
Paul said to Philemon, ver. 19, ' Thou owest unto me even thine own 
self/ Lord, I am thine. Your business is first to take Christ, but 
then to surrender yourselves to his use. 

3. Use yourselves as those that are Christ's, that is, improving your 
time, and estates, and strength, and relations, and talents, and interests 
for his glory. A good Christian would have nothing, but he would make 
some advantage of it for Christ's use, and this will be seen by checking 
temptations upon this account : 1 Cor. vi. 15, ' Shall I take the mem 
bers of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot ? ' This body is 
Christ's, this time which I misspend is Christ's, this money is Christ's ; 
hereby you own God's impress upon you. 'Holiness to the Lord' 
should be written upon all things, Zech. xiv. 20. And it is known by 
contrivances, how you shall honour Christ by your place, your rela 
tions : Neh. i. 11, ' Grant him mercy in the sight of this man ; for I 
was the king's cupbearer.' He had improved his place for God. Gocl 
hath advanced me, made me a minister, a magistrate, a master of a 


family, given me a great estate. What are the workings of your 
hearts ? 2 Sam. vii. 2, ' I dwell in a house of cedar ; but the ark of 
God dwelleth within curtains.' 

4. Honour him by the holiness of your conversations, when you walk 
so as remembering that Christ's honour lieth at stake, at another rate 
than others do : 1 Cor. iii. 3, ' They walk as men.' We have higher 
advantages, and hopes, and obligations upon ourselves than others have. 
Wherein do you differ ? Mat. v. 46, ' What do ye more than others ? ' 
Both for matter and aim, your business should be so as to bring Christ 
into request with others : 1 Peter ii. 12, ' Having your conversation 
honest among the gentiles ; that whereas they speak against you as evil 
doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify 
God in the day of visitation/ 

5. By all your enjoyments, temporal and spiritual, let Christ be 
endeared to you : 1 Cor. iii. 21, ' All things are yours, because you are 
Christ's, and Christ is God's.' All mercies swim to you in his blood. 
Get actual possession of an evangelical right, sanctified by Jesus Christ 
As to quickening enlargements, it is a sign you have them from Christ 
when you honour him and esteem him the more for them : John xvi. 
14, ' He shall take of mine, and glorify me.' It is a sign the Spirit 
of Christ dwelleth and worketh in us when all that enlightening, 
quickening comfort and refreshing which we have is used to the 
glory of Christ. 

6. When you are willing to undergo any trouble, and count it an 
honour to suffer for Christ's sake. To die for Christ, saith Ignatius, 
is greater than to be monarch of all the world : Acts v. 41, 'And they 
departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were 
counted worthy to suffer shame for his sake,' on Kar^uadrjaav drifj,a- 
<r6r)vat; that they were so far dignified as to be disgraced for Christ. 
Cur non me quoque torque donas ? Why don't you honour me with a 
chain also ? said one. Suffering is a privilege : ' To you it is given to 
suffer for Christ,' Phil. i. 29. 


1. Consider you are not your own, but under another lord. All 
disorder cometh from looking upon ourselves as our own men : Jer. ii. 
31, ' We are lords, and will not come at thee ; ' Ps. xii. 4, ' Our tongues 
are our own ; who is lord over us ? ' Prodigals will say, I spend 
nothing but my own. The covetous will say, ' Shall I take my bread 
and my wine,' &c. 

2. We have owned Christ's right in baptism. There the hands of 
consecration passed upon us : 1 Peter iii. 21, ' Baptism doth also now 
save us ; not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of 
a good conscience, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.' You that have 
professed the Christian religion, you rescind your baptismal vow by a 
loose life. Your parents consecrated you to Christ, and you will not 
stand to it. 

3. There will a day of accounts come, when the great God of recom 
penses will reckon with you : Jer. Ii. 6, ' For this is the time of the 
Lord's vengeance ; he will render unto thee a recompense ; ' Luke xix. 
23, ' At my coming I will require mine own with usury.' If there 
were no day of account, we are so much obliged ; but there is a day 


of inquiry what portion you had ; thus much time, thus much estate. 
What a poor account will most be able to make ! 

4. The utility and profit of it as to present comfort and final 

[1.] For the present an interest in Christ's intercession : John xvii. 
9, 10, 'I pray for them ; I pray not for the wqrld, but for them which 
thou hast given me ; for they are thine : and all mine are thine, and 
thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.' Those who glorify Christ 
on earth, he is pleading their cause in heaven. You are his factors, 
he is your advocate. It is a sweet thing to have our Kedeemer speak 
well of us behind our back ; when we are praying, tojiave him pleading, 
Father, this is one that glorified me. He makes a good report of you 
in heaven. 

[2.] Hereafter it will turn to a good account, whatever it cost you 
for the present. David's companions in the wilderness had hard ser 
vice in the wilderness, and little wages ; but when David was crowned 
in Hebron, they were all advanced to offices and places of power and 
trust. We may meet with many a frown, and hard entertainment in 
. the world, but we shall not repent it in the day of Christ's royalty. 
There is a notable passage, Mat. xix. 27, 28, ' Then answered Peter, and 
said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee ; what 
shall we have therefore ? And Jesus said unto them, Verily, I say unto 
you, That ye who have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of 
man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve 
thrones.' What had Peter to forsake ? A net, a cottage, a fisher-boat ; 
a great all] But we are apt to think much of what we part with for 
Christ's sake; a little scorn, a disgraceful word, some paring of our 
maintenance ; presently we say, What shall we have therefore ? We 
need not seek anotlier paymaster ; Christ will not be behindhand with 
us ev Tra\i'yyevecria, 'in the regeneration.' Surely we do not think 
often enough of the general renovation of all things ; if we did, we 
would glorify God more. If you live to Christ, you shall live with 
Christ, enjoy his company in heaven. 

To die is gain. PHIL. i. 21. 

I COME to the benefit of death, ' To die is gain.' Some refer it to 
martyrdom, as if the gain would be to Christ. In his life he would 
glorify him by preaching, in his death by martyrdom. It is true, in 
this sense, ' to die is gam,' no loss to the church, but an advantage, and 
making for her increase. Sanguis martyrum est semen ecclesice The 
blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. And God's honour is 
thereby promoted : John xxi. 19, ' Signifying by what death he should 
glorify God.' It is so said concerning Peter's martyrdom. It is for the 
glory of the truth, when they are ready to seal it with their blood, and 
to stand to the defence even to the death. It is an evidence of the 


truth of God's promise, when they can hazard all in hope of the 
accomplishment of them ; and it commendeth God's service when we 
are willing to please him, though with the loss of all. But this cannot 
be meant, for it is not usual to call anything we do or suffer for God 
gain to him ; and it suiteth not with the context, where his service in 
the gospel and his eternal interests are put in competition ; not the 
glory that Christ had by his life, and the glory Christ might have by 
his death, those are not the things that come in competition, but his 
service and glorious estate in heaven ; his own unspeakable joy and 
comfort, that is the gain he ineaneth. 

Doct. Whosoever dedicate their lives to Christ will find death itself 
to be great gain and advantage to them. 

Death is theirs, because they are Christ's, devoted to his use and 
service, 1 Cor. iii. 22. It is theirs, that is, it conduceth to their use and 
benefit; their gain, and not their terror; an enemy to nature, but a 
friend to grace. In this sense it is said, Eccles. vii. 1, 'The day of one's 
death is better than the day of one's birth.' It is meant of those that 
leave a good name and a good savour behind them ; for so the whole 
verse runs, ' A good name is better than precious ointment, and the , 
day of one's death better than the day of one's birth.' The name of 
the wicked rotteth, but the name of the godly is a sweet perfume ; when 
the matter of the perfume is burnt, the scent remaineth behind them ; 
80 when the person is gone, the savour of a good name liveth and 
remaineth behind them. Now to these is the day of their death better 
than the day of their birth, not only in that respect of name and re 
putation which increaseth after death, when their failings are ' buried 
with them,' and removed out of sight ; but generally it is better with 
them, in regard both of sin and misery. In regard of sin, they are 
born in sin : Ps. li. 5, ' Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did 
my mother conceive me ; ' but die in the Lord ; are laid to sleep in the 
bosom of Jesus : 1 Thes. iv. 13, 14, ' I would not have you ignorant 
concerning them that are asleep ; but if you believe that Jesus died, 
and rose again, so also they that sleep in Jesus,' &c. Born unclean, 
but die perfect. In regard of misery, birth lets us into troubles : ' Man 
is born to troubles, as the sparks fly upward,' Job v. 7. It is natural 
to us, as the ascending of light bodies and the descending of weighty 
and heavy bodies ; but death delivereth us out of them. In the grave 
there is rest : Job iii. 13, ' I shall lie still and be quiet ; I shall sleep 
and be at rest.' Not only a privative rest, or a cessation of troubles, but 
a positive rest, a blessed enjoyment of God : Rev. xiv. 13, ' Blessed are 
the dead who die in the Lord, that they may rest from their labours, 
and their works do follow them.' These scriptures confirm the point. 

In the illustration of it I shall perform three things 

1. Show that presently upon dying, man is capable of this gain, 
or of a blessed estate. 

2. I shall show you what this gain is. 

3. That it is proper and peculiar only to those that dedicate their 
lives to Christ. 

I. This is strongly implied, if not expressly asserted in this place, 
that as soon as he dieth man is capable of great gain, for otherwise 
the whole reasoning would fall to the ground, which is mainly built 


upon supposition of his gain. There are a sort of men in the world 
so drowned in sense that they cannot believe things to come, either 
questioning the immortality of the soul, or else, which is a step to it, 
asserting the sleep of it, and all because they so fancy it to be tied to 
the body as that it cannot exercise its functions and operations with 
out it. Those that deny the being of the soul, or abiding of it after 
the body is dissolved, I shall deal with them in another place. I shall 
only speak now to those that grant the abiding of the soul, but in a 
deep sleep, without any sense or feeling of good or evil. I must show 
the falsehood of this opinion, or else all I shall speak will be to no 

First, That the soul is distinct from the body, and is not merely the 
vigour of the blood, appeareth by scripture, reason, and experience. 

1. In scripture we read that when man's body was organised and 
framed, God 'breathed into him the spirit of life,' Gen. ii. 7. The 
life of man is a distinct thing from this mass of flesh that is propor 
tioned into hands and feet, head and belly, arms and legs, bones and 
sinews ; and this life of man, whatever it be, it is such a life as im- 
.plieth reason, and a faculty of understanding, and willing or choosing : 
' In him was life, and this life was the light of men/ John i. 5. It 
doth riot only enliven this flesh, but discourse and choose things at its 
own pleasure ; a life that hath light in it. It is distinct from the body 
in its nature, being a substance immaterial, and not capable of being 
divided into parts, as the body is ; for it is a spirit, not created of 
matter, as the body was. The body was framed out of the dust of the 
ground, and therefore can be resolved into it again, but the spirit was 
immediately created by God himself out of nothing ; therefore the 
scripture saith, Eccles. xi. 7, ' Then shall the dust return to the earth 
as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it ; ' where 
the body, that was dust in its composition, shall be dust in its dis 
solution. There is described the first and last condition of the body 
in regard of its material cause, and the soul is described in the kind 
of its being ; it is a spirit, or an immaterial substance ; its author, 
God, gave it. He framed the body too, but not so immediately. In 
ordinary generation, our natural fathers are distinguished from the 
Father of our spirits, Heb. xii. 9. And by its disposal; when the 
body returneth to dust, the soul returneth to God. The saints 
resign it : Acts vii. 59, ' They stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and 
saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' 

2. It is distinct in its supports. The body is supported by outward 
means and the help of the creature, but the soul is supported without 
means, by the immediate hand and power of God himself. The body 
is patched up with daily supplies from without ; as it was made out 
of the earth, so is its food brought out of the earth : Ps. civ. 14, ' He 
causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of 
man, that he may bring forth fruit out of the earth.' And its clothing; 
but the soul needeth none of these things. 

3. It is distinct in its operations. There are certain operations of 
the soul wholly independent upon the matter ; as understanding and 
willing, for they agree to God and angels, who have no bodies : and 
there is no proper instrument in the body by which they should be 


exercised, as sight by the eye, hearing by the ear. Nay, it understands 
not only corporeal things, which are received by the ministry of the 
senses, but spiritual things, as God and angels, who have no bodies ; 
and it can reflect upon itself ; therefore it hath operations proper and 
peculiar to itself, so that it doth not depend upon the body. 

4. It is distinct from the body. 

[1.] As to weakness and perfection. The soul perisheth and decayeth 
not with the body. When the body droopeth and languisheth, the soul 
is well, yea, best, and better than it was before. There are distinct 
periods of time beyond which it is impossible to add a cubit or hair's- 
breadth to one's stature ; but the soul is ever growing forward to its 
perfection ; and multitude of years, though they bring on much weak 
ness, yet increase wisdom, Job xxxii. 7. Yea, the soul is strongest 
when the body is weakest. Dying Christians have manifested the 
highest excellency under bodily infirmities ; and when least of the life 
of nature, most glorious expressions of the life of grace : 2 Cor. iv. 16, 
' For which cause we faint not ; but though our outward man perish, 
yet the inward man is renewed day by day.' 

[2.] As to pleasure and pain, joy and comfort. When all the joy 
of the body is gone, the joys of the soul are enlarged ; as when the 
bodies of the martyrs on the rack were under torturings, their souls 
have been filled with inward triumphings, and their consolations: 
2 Cor. i. 5, ' For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our con 
solation aboundeth by Christ.' When the flesh is scorched, their souls 
are refreshed. 

5. They are distinct in the commands God hath given about it 
Christ hath commanded us to 'take no thought for the body,' Mat. 
vi. 25, but he never commanded us to take no thought for the soul, 
rather the contrary : Deut. iv. 9, ' Only take heed to thyself, and keep 
thy soul diligently.' The great miscarriage of men is, because they 
pamper their bodies and neglect their souls. All their care is to keep 
up their bodies in due plight, but never regard their souls, which were 
more immediately given them by God, and carry the most lively 
character of his image, and are capable of his happiness. 

Secondly, The soul is not only distinct from the body, but can live 
and exercise its operations apart from the body. There are many 
arguments from reason to prove the immortality of the soul ; but let 
us consider scripture, which should be reason enough to Christians. 
That it can do so appeareth by that expression of Paul, 2 Cor. xii. 2, 
'I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the 
body, I cannot tell, or whether out of the body, I cannot tell, God 
knoweth), such an one caught up to the third heaven.' If Paul had 
been of this opinion, that the soul separated from the body is void of 
all sense, he must then have known that certainly his soul remained 
in his body during this' rapture, because, according to this supposition, 
in that state alone could he see and hear those things which he saw and 
heard. And that argument is not contemptible to prove the possi 
bility, where among other things it is said, ' Death cannot separate us 
from the love of God in Christ.' Therefore the soul liveth in a state 
to enjoy him, and in a sense of God's love to us, and our love to him. 

Thirdly, That the souls of the saints not only can live apart from 


the body, but actually do so, appeareth from scripture. First take a 
. passage next the text : Phil. i. 23, ' For I am in a strait between two, 
having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better/ 
'AvaXva-ai is to be dissolved ; it giveth us the right notion of death ; 
it is not a destruction of the godly, but the separation of the soul from 
the body, dissolving of things before conjoined, when the soul is set at 
liberty from the fetters and captivity wherein it remained in the body. 
That was it he desired, to set sail for heaven. But how can it be 
TroXXtw paXkov tcpeiaa-ov, by ' much more the better,' if the soul were 
deprived of all sense and feeling, and did remain in a dead sleepy 
estate ? Is it not better for a gracious man to wake than to sleep, to 
work than to be idle and sit still, to use the faculties granted us by 
God than to lie in a senseless condition ? What profit is it to be with. 
the Lord, and not to enjoy his company? or not to know where we are? 
Oh, it is better to have our present knowledge of Christ and service to 
him, and those sips and tastes of spiritual comfort which the present 
state will admit, than to lie in such a stupid lethargy, without all 
understanding or spiritual sense. It would be a loss of happiness for 
Paul to be dissolved, when his body should lie rotting in the grave, 
and his- soul without all fruition of God. What can be imagined to 
be a happiness, but to be eased of present labours ? God's people are 
wont to reckon much of their present service and enjoyment of God, 
though accompanied with afflictions. Surely Paul would never be in 
a strait, if to be only reduced into a condition of stupid sleep, without 
the enjoyment of God, wherein we do nothing, feel nothing. God's 
people, I say, are wont to prefer the most afflicted condition with God's 
presence above the greatest contentment in his absence : ' If thou go 
not up with us, carry us not up hence,' Exod. xxxiii. 15. Better be 
with God in the wilderness than in Canaan without him. So that this 
drowsy doctrine, which puts the soul in such an inactive estate, cannot 
be endured, wherein souls departed enjoy no more happiness than stocks 
and stones, or inanimate creatures, till the resurrection. So 2 Cor. v. 
1,2,' For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were 
dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens : for in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be 
clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.' Surely if the 
soul slept till the resurrection, they should not say, when this house 
is dissolved, but when this body is raised, and this tabernacle is 
restored. When they desire to part with the body, it is not for want 
of love to their bodies, but out of love to their souls. Paul could have 
wished mortality to be swallowed up of life, that the mortal body might 
have gone to life with the immortal soul. It were absurd to long for 
the dissolution of that state in which we feel the love of God and 
Christ to us with joy unspeakable and glorious, only for an estate 
where there is no sense of God, or Christ, or itself, or celestial and 
heavenly things. It followeth afterwards, ver. 6, ' Therefore we are 
always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body, we 
are absent from the Lord/ We should rather be absent from him 
when out of the body, and have no understanding, no love, no com 
munion with him. The next place is Luke xxiii. 43, ' This day shalt 
thou be with me in paradise,' saith Christ to the good thief. By 
paradise is meant heaven. See 2 Cor. xii. 4. What he calls the 


third heaven, ver. 2, he calls paradise, ver. 4 ; an allusion, not to 
ordinary gardens, as Eden, or that garden which Adam dressed in 
innocency. Christ saith he was in paradise in regard of his soul, for 
his body was to be laid in the sepulchre. His divine nature is not 
intended, for so he was always in heaven : John iii. 13, ' No man hath 
ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even 
the Son of man who is in heaven.' Now this soul of Christ, when 
separated from the body, was it destitute of all sense, yea or no ? 
Can any Christian think so of their blessed Lord and Saviour ? 
Surely then it is not contrary to nature that the soul act or feel 
out of the body. He promiseth the penitent thief he shall be 
with him. Surely he speaketh it to comfort him, and this com 
fort was not to commence till sixteen or seventeen hundred years 
afterwards, if the soul slept till the resurrection. To evade the place, 
they refer <rr}fj,epov, 'to-day/ to Xeyeo, 'I say, I say to-day ; ' but the point 
ing in the Greek copies showeth otherwise. The sense is otherwise, 
for it is Christ's answer to his desire, ' Remember me when thou comest 
into thy kingdom." But now Christ, to encourage him, promiseth 
more than was asked, as God usually doth abundantly above what we 
can ask or think : I will not defer thy desire so long. None can 
imagine the words to be a denial, or that Christ would put him off to 
some hundred years after. Christ's hodie, ' to-day ' answereth his quando, 
' when,' in that parable, which must be supposed to speak according to 
the current of those times : Luke xvi. 22, ' The beggar died, and was 
carried by angels into Abraham's bosom ; ' in the twinkling of an eye, 
or the turning of a thought. A great comfort when you come to die ; 
in a moment angels will carry you to Christ, and Christ to God. 
Agonies of death are terrible, but there are joys just ready ; as soon as 
you are loose from the prison of the body, you enter into your eternal 
rest ; the soul flieth hence to Christ to be where he is. In short, meu 
are in their final estate as soon as they die ; they go to their own place : 
wicked men to the prison of hell, 1 Peter iii. 19 ; good men to ' the 
spirits of just men made perfect,' Heb. xii. 23. Would those things be 
said of them if they did lie only in a dull sleep without any life, light, 
joy, or act of love to God ? Now present sleep is a burden to the saints, 
as it is an interruption to their service. 

II. I shall show what that gain is which blessed spirits departed do 
enjoy. I confess we should rather labour to obtain it than scrupulously 
to define it. When we get up thither, we shall understand it better. 

Here I shall show you (1.) What this blessed state is ; (2.) The 
comfortable adjuncts of it; (3.) That we lose nothing but what is 
made up. 

1. What it is. 

[1.1 Privatively. 

(1.) A freedom from all misery. Death is a haven of rest after storms 
and tempests : Rev. xiv. 13, ' Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord ; 
they rest from their labour.' Here the church's name is ' thou afflic 
ted and tossed with tempests!' but there is our haven. Here, alas! 
are tossings and shakings : Job xiv. 1, ' Man, that is born of a woman, 
is of few days, and full of trouble.' It is well they are few, because so 
full of trouble. A tired man would fain go to rest. Nay, it is for our 


profit that there are troubles (it heing so natural to us to be led by sense), 
to imbitter our present estate ; but there are no more then : here there 
are not only outward afflictions, molestations, death of friends and dear 
relations, sorrow, crying, sighing, pains ; but then ' God will wipe away 
all tears from our eyes/ Kev. xxi. 21. But also there are inward troubles 
by reason of doubts, temptations, corruptions, defects, and weaknesses. 
How many cloudy days doth a Christian pass over in the world ! What 
damps of heart, conflicts with Satan ! But there we enter into our 
master's joy, Mat. xxv. 21. There is no serpent in the upper paradise. 

(2.) Freedom from sin : then sin shall be wholly subdued when they 
die, for death is the last enemy, 1 Cor. xv. 26. If sin continued after 
death, death would not be the last enemy. There we are brought to 
God as a proof of Christ's death : Eph. v. 27, ' That he might present 
it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such, 
thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish ; ' Jude 24, ' And 
to present you faultless before the presence of his glory ; ' Col. i. 22, 
' To present you holy, and unblamable, and unreprovable, in his sight.' 
Alas ! what a trouble have we with sin ! Horn. vii. 24, ' wretched man 
that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? ' If 
any man- had cause to complain of afflictions, Paul had ; in perils often, 
whipped, scourged, imprisoned, stoned. Oh, but this body of death ! 
His lusts troubled him more than scourges, and this captivity to the law 
of sin more than prisons. We are sinning here while others glorify 
God. Here we are born in sin, and after the new birth much corrup 
tion still remains in us. Dejectum, non ejectum ; sin is cast down, not 
cast out. But death works a perfect cure ; it puts off all our sins at 

[2.] Positively. 

(1.) The vision of God : 1 Cor. xiii. 12, ' But now we see through a 
glass darkly, but then face to face : now I know in part, but then I 
shall know even as also I am known ; ' 1 John iii. 2, ' But we know 
when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he 
is.' Here we know little of him, only his track, shadow, picture ; but 
there face to face. In the church there is only hearing of him by the 
ear, but in heaven there will be seeing. Now we know God only by 
hearsay, but see him not ; still TO delov is aKard\r)7TTov, the divine 
nature is incomprehensible ; angels clap their wings, and cover their 
faces. Finite cannot comprehend infinite, no more than a cockle-shell 
can the ocean. 

(2.) The full fruition of God. Here, 2 Cor. iii. 18, ' But we all with 
open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed 
into the same image, from glory to glory ; ' but there much more : 
1 John iii. 2, 'We shall be. like him, for we shall see him as he is;' 
by it we become like him. In a stamp impressed, the wax receiveth 
only the form and figure, without any real quality, as a golden seal 
leaveth no tincture of gold, nor a brazen seal the property of brass. 
In a glass, besides figure and proportion, there is a representation of 
motion, but no other real qualities. But here, as iron in the fire seem- 
eth to be fire, we are like him in holiness and happiness. There is in 
God TO /jbatcdpiov KOI TO ayadov, happiness and holiness ; these are 
communicated to us. 

VOL. xx. H 


(1st.} In holiness; we love him everlastingly, as God loveth himself. 
Moses, by conversing with God, his face shone. We love little 
because we know little. To love God out of a participation of the 
same nature, the lowest is to love him out of interest, the highest out 
of a principle of holiness ; not because good and bountiful, but because 
holy. While sight is weak, holiness is weak ; and while holiness is 
weak, love is imperfect ; for holiness is nothing in effect but love. 
We wander after other things, but this love is expressed by receiving, 
delighting, lauding, praising him for evermore. 

(2d) In happiness ; for there is as much fruition of God as we are 
capable of : Rom. viii. 18, ' Glory revealed in us.' There God is all, 
here there is no room to receive him, no faculties to behold his glory, no- 
means to convey it. 

2. The comfortable adjuncts of it. 

[1.] The place, which is very glorious. The pavement and nether 
part, we cannot look upon it without wonder ; but the seat of the 
blessed is much more glorious, as the holiest of all exceeded the out 
ward court. Here we are in the place of our service ; how pleasant 
soever our seat be, there is inconvenience, a mixture of winter and 
summer, sickness and health, life and death ; it is a middle place 
between heaven and hell, and hath a mixture of both. The best con 
tentments are mixed with dregs, but there is pure contentment without 
any sorrow at all. 

[2.] The company : Heb. xii. 22, 23, ' But ye are come to mount 
Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an 
innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church 
of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of 
all, and to the spirits of just mn made perfect/ Besides God, and 
Christ's human nature, there are an innumerable company of angels, 
and the spirits of just men made perfect. Heaven is no solitude ; there 
is company enough, good and blessed company. What a joy will it be to 
behold Christ's glory, angels and archangels ministering to him ; to see the 
first parents of mankind, Adam and Eve, and the blessed patriarchs ! Mat. 
viii. 11, ' They shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' Enoch 
and Elias, the two persons that were translated into heaven in an 
extraordinary way. See Paul with his crown of righteousness upon 
his head ; our friends with whom we mingle souls. Between this 
blessed company there is great love ; every one is loving, and every one 
is lovely. The apostle telleth us that when faith and hope cease, love 
remaineth ; not only as terminated on God, but as terminated on the 
saints. They shall not only love God above all, but love one another 
with a most pure and perfect love. They shall love God more than 
themselves, and others as themselves. As the loops of the tabernacle 
did couple the curtains one to another, so dear love unites the glorified 
saints. No more strife between Luther and Zuinglius, Hooper and 
Ridley, Calvinists and Lutherans; not to come nearer home, and 
mention those invidious names which are set up as flags of defiance to 
divide us into several herds and factions. And as mutual love, so 
there will be mutual honouring one another, and rejoicing in one an 
other without envy, according to the honour God puts on them. Their 
will is perfectly conformable to God's, rejoicing in each other as their 


own. Those two querulous words, mine and thine, will no more set 
us at variance ; for one hath not the less comfort because another hath 
more ; as a great multitude hear a speech, one hears not the less 
because another hears it with him ; or the sun shines on a multitude, 
every one hath all ; or as in a chorus of voices, every one is partaker 
of another's voice as well as his own: Neither are they set together as 
mute spectators and mere strangers. There is a communion between 
the blessed spirits. Paul when he was rapt into the third heaven, 
heard appyra p^ara, unutterable words, words not fit to be uttered, 
2 Cor. xii. 4, which is not lawful or possible. He doth not speak so 
much of what he saw, but heard. God revealed himself to Moses by 
sight, Exod. xxiii., to Paul by hearing. We cannot intrude into those 
secrets, to know what and how this communion is maintained ; but 
somewhat we may guess at ; holy and gracious conferences concerning 
the wisdom of God, his decrees, the works of his power, the riches of 
his grace, the fruits of Christ's death ; as in Christ's transfiguration, 
Luke ix. 31, ' They appeared in glory, and spake of his decease, which 
he should accomplish at Jerusalem.' To meet with holy prophets, 
and tell them now all is come to pass, now all hazards and dangers are 
over, certainly a sweet communion it will be ; as travellers when they 
come into their inn talk of the dirtiness of the way. Only here now I 
shall inquire whether the saints know one another in heaven, fathers 
their children, and children their fathers, husbands their wives, friends 
their acquaintance ; yea, those that never saw one another's faces ? 

Ans. Yes, but not after the flesh, in a carnal natural way: Mat. 
xxii. 30, ' They neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the 
angels of God in heaven.' But they rejoice in one another in a spiritual 
way, as they are related to Christ. Though it be a double contentment to 
see that our relations do increase the number of blessed spirits, it is not 
to be imagined there will be a perfect oblivion of all things. Memory is 
not abolished, but perfected ; for those that never knew one another in 
the flesh shall then know one another. Adam knew Eve in the state 
of integrity, though he never saw her before : Gen. ii. 23, ' And Adam 
said, This is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh.' So when restored 
to a perfect state ; the disciples knew Moses and Elias, though they had 
never seen them, Mat. xvii. 3. We shall be suddenly enlightened to 
know them in that great council of souls; being of the same company, 
we shall know our fellows. In that parable of Dives and Lazarus, 
Luke xvi., there is a representation of the everlasting estate. Abraham 
knew Lazarus, and the rich glutton knew him in Abraham's bosom. 
Ministers shall have knowledge of souls they have gained to Christ : 
1 Thes. ii. 19, ' For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing ? 
are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ? ' , 
Such as were converted, edified by him. Such believers are welcomed; 
to heaven by the poor whom they have relieved : Luke xvi. 9, ' Make 
to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye 
fail they may receive you into everlasting habitations.' Angels do not 
only know themselves, but all the elect whom they are to gather from 
the four winds, Mat. xiii. 41. It is more probable they shall know one 

III. That we shall lose nothing but what shall be made up. 


1. Do we lose friends ? There are better in heaven ; our best friends 
love us not so dearly as every one doth there. This is the true com 
munion of saints ; we have communion not only with one or two, but 
all ; now two or three berries on the top of the uppermost bough. It 
is well if two or three mortified humble Christians can meet together, 
and breathe out their souls in supplications : ' Where two or three are 
gathered together in my name.' There is an innumerable company ; 
there is none but such. Here saints and hypocrites are mixed and 
blended together in promiscuous herds, there none but the wheat is 
gathered into the barn. There will need no fears and suspicions, no 
unclean enters there. Christ, that giveth entrance into heaven, cannot 
be deceived ; there they are perfect. Our communion is often inter 
rupted by our infirmities ; here full of contention or clashing, there 
all agree in the same aim and the same work ; and this union and 
communion is constant without end ; now often diverted by present 
weaknesses and intervenient occasions ; we must break off company 
and societies, if not affections ; there we shall never part, but always be 
praising God. 

2. Is it ordinances we lose ? There the Lamb shall be the light of 
the new temple. We shall study divinity in Christ's face ; that will be 
our bible, there we shall drink of the fruit of the vine new with Christ, 
Mat. xxvi. 29. 

3. Communion with God. Then ' we shall ever be with the Lord,' 
1 Thes. iv. 17. There will be no cloud on that day. 

4. Service and opportunities of glorifying God. We shall be more 
active to his praise. The instrument will be perfectly in tune. Here 
we often jar, there will be no spot or blemish, Eph. v. 27. 

5. Comforts of this world, they are of use in our passage > and we 
must possess as if we possessed not, 1 Cor. vii. 31 ; but there we are 
free from all needs. No man complains, when he is recovered out of a 
disease, that he has no more need of physic. 

Use 1. To commend Christ's service to you. If you have dedicated 
your life to the flesh, then death will be bitter : Gal. vi. 8, ' For he 
that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.' A man 
should consider all things with respect to his latter, end, that he may 
have the same notion of things living and dying. But Christ's servant, 
what comfort shall he have when he goeth hence to his master ? John 
xii. 16, ' If any man serve me, let him follow me ; and where I am, 
there shall my servant be.' Oh, follow him ; you will not repent of it 
at last. Believe this that is spoken ; if you did believe, surely you 
could not be so slack in his service : John xi. 26, ' Whosoever liveth 
and believeth in me, though he die yet shall he live. Belie vest thou 
this?' Did we strongly consider and soundly believe these truths, 
Christ would have more servants than he hath. Oh, then, there is a 
great deal of profit in Christ's service as to present comfort and final 

Use 2. A meditation for the dying. We should hear for the time 
to come, and not only hear, to learn to live by the word, but learn to 
die. To make you willing to die, consider, death is not a loss, but 
a gain. You leave earth for heaven, misery for complete happiness, a 
temporal life for an eternal; a shed is taken down that a palace 

VER. 21.] 



may be raised up in its stead ; you exchange a lease for an inheritance, 
and hard service for perfect freedom. Death is terrible upon a natural 
and legal account, as it puts an end to our present comforts ; and upon 
a legal account, as it is attended with sin : 1 Cor. xv. 56, ' The sting 
of death is sin.' 

Use 3. To confute their fondness that would divide these two. 
Many would have death to be gain, but do not take care to live to 
Christ. Alas ! that is a foolish thought. You would have comfort, 
but you deny duty ; you would live to the flesh, yet die in the Lord. 
God might have customers more than enough for heaven upon these 
terms. To die to you will be loss : ' Son, remember that thou in thy 
lifetime receivedst thy good things.' You cannot expect to go from 
Delilah's lap to Abraham's bosom. No ; you go from pleasure to pain, 
from your friends to devils, from opportunities of grace to torments 
and inflicting of punishments, from your house to the prison of hell. 

Use 4. Comfort concerning departed friends. Will you envy at 
their preferment, whine and murmur at their gain ? If you loved them 
indeed, you would be glad when it is well with them ; and where can 
it be better for them than in heaven, in the bosom of Jesus Christ ? 
The soul is there. You leave the body in the grave, but Christ will 
not leave it there : ' Thou fool ! that which thou sowest lives not except 
't die.' Oh, then comfort you one another with these words. 



So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God, for your 
patience and faith in all the persecutions and tribulations which 
ye endure. 2 THES. i. 4. 

WE still stick in the preface and introduction into this epistle, where 
in the apostle signifieth his singular love to the Thessalonians, mani 
fested in two effects first, that he had given thanks to God for them, 
ver. 3 ; secondly, gloried of them among other Christians, in the text 
So that in the words observe (1.) The form and manner of the com 
mendation ; (2.) The matter of it. 
First, In the manner 

1. The person commending, ' We ourselves.' In the former epistle 
he speaketh of their faith as praised by others : 1 Thes. i. 8, ' In 
every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad, so that we 
need not to speak anything.' Now he justifieth the common fame by 
his own testimony ; he himself approved their constancy. (1.) Laudavi 
a laudato. It is easy to deceive the credulous multitude, but to deserve 
esteem of those who are best able to judge is a comfort to us. (2.) 
The fame of their receiving the faith was spread by others, but when 
they were in a confirmed estate of grace, Paul himself ventureth to 
give them his word and testimony, ' We ourselves/ &c. Where grace 
is eminent and notorious, it may be praised without suspicion of 
flattery. (3.) To keep up the value of our testimony, that it may add 
weight and credit to those that receive it. There was much in this, 
* We ourselves.' 

2. The act of praising, 'We glory in you,' Kav^w^ev. Glorying 
imports (1.) Exultation or rejoicing of mind ; (2.) The outward ex 
pression of it, by word of mouth or speech. The one cometh from the 
apprehension of some excellency, good, or benefit ; the other from a 
desire that others may know how we are affected with it. But did 
this glorying become apostolical gravity? Yes; for (1.) It was 
for the honour of God ; for before he speaketh of the praising of them, 
he speaketh of his giving thanks to God, from whom they received 

1 The doctor began this chapter at the third verse, on which he preached five sermons, 
that are printed in volume [xvii. of this edition], containing the growth and increase of 
faith, from the nature, properties, examples, and instances of it in scripture. 


these gifts and graces. He doth not challenge the glory as due to 
himself and his labours, but ascribeth all to God. (2.) For the 
encouragement of the Thessalonians. We ought to give a testimony to 
others that deserve it, not to curry favour with them, but to encourage 
them to perseverance in the way of God. (3.) For the example 
of others and the edification of the church ; for he propounded 
them as a pattern of imitation. (4.) For his own comfort ; he gloried 
in them as the seal and fruit of his ministry : 1 Thes. ii. 20, ' For our 
joy and glory are ye in the Lord.' For these reasons, when the work 
did first speak for itself, did Paul add his testimony. 

3. The persons before whom, ' In the churches of God.' Not in 
profane assemblies or common meetings, but where the people of God 
were met together to worship God and receive spiritual benefit. They 
are called 'churches of God' (1.) Because God instituted and'founded 
them : Acts xx. 28, ' Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased 
with his own blood.' (2.) There God is worshipped and acknowledged : 
Ps. xxii. 3, ' He inhabiteth the praises of Israel.' (3.) There he mani 
fests his power and presence : Eph. ii. 22, ' Built up to be an habita 
tion of God through the Spirit.' 

Secondly, The matter of his praise : their eminent graces (1.) Men 
tioned and specified ; (2.) Heightened by their grievous temptations. 

1. The graces wherein they excelled, faith and patience. Before 
it was faith and love, now it is faith and patience. These two are 
often joined ; as Heb. vi. 12, 'Be ye followers of them who through 
faith and patience have inherited the promises.' So Phil. i. 29, ' To 
you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but 
also to suffer for his sake.' Faith goeth before suffering, for the suf 
ferer must first be a believer ; but when God calleth to it, both must 
go together. So Heb. x. 35, 36, ' Cast not away your confidence, which 
hath great recompense of reward ; for ye have need of patience.' As 
if confidence and patience were but one and the same thing, at least 
very much of kin. 

2. The grievousness of the temptations wherewith these graces 
were exercised : ' In all the persecutions and tribulations which ye 
endure.' (1.) In the term ' all ' there is a multiplicity implied. (2.) 
And in the words, ' persecutions and tribulations/ the grievousness of 
their temptations. They were not only persecuted or brought into 
trouble, but the persecution took effect. ' Persecution ' noteth the 
attempt of their adversaries, and ' tribulation ' the success ; their trouble 
was not only endeavoured but effected. Therefore it is said, Kom. viii. 
35, ' Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution ?' (3.) In the word 
* endured ' is intimated that with great patience they bore these 
troubles, and yet continued firm and constant in the faith. 

This latter branch I shall insist upon ; and observe 

[1.] That tribulations and persecutions do often befall God's dearest 
and choicest servants. 

[2.] That a constant unconquered patience under persecutions and 
tribulations is a sign and fruit of a strong faith ; and so it suiteth with 
what ^ lately handled concerning God's goodness and growth of 

Doct. 1. That tribulations and persecutions do often befall God's 


dearest and choicest servants : 2 Tim. iii. 12, ' All that will live godly 
in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution ; ' Acts xiv. 22, he ' exhorted 
them to continue in the faith, saying, That through many tribulations 
we must enter into the kingdom of God.' We must enter into the 
kingdom, and ordinarily it is through many tribulations. 

1. That we may be conformed to our Lord, and pledge him in his 
bitter cup. Christ was a man of sorrows, and there would be a strange 
disproportion between him and us if we should altogether live in deli 
cacy, ease, and pleasures : Col. i. 24, vo-Tep^/nara Xpta-Tov, ' That I may 
fill up what is behind of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh.' There 
are Christ's personal and Christ's mystical sufferings. The sufferings 
of Christ personal are complete and meritorious ; they need not to be 
filled up ; but Christ mystical, 1 Cor. xii. 12, the sufferings of Christ 
mystical are not complete until every member of his mystical body 
have their own allotted portion and share. Some drops of the storm 
light upon us ; the whole tempest did beat upon him. The apostle, 
to animate Christians to suffer constantly and patiently, telleth us 
tliat the captain of our salvation was made perfect through sufferings, 
Heb. ii. 10. Those that will partake with Christ in his kingdom must 
partake with him in his sorrows, at least resolve to do so, and fare as 
he fared. If you have a high esteem of Christ and low esteem of your 
selves, you will easily consent to submit to the will of God herein, even 
to carry the cross after Christ. Paul counted all things but dung and 
dross that he might know Christ and the fellowship of his sufferings, 
Phil. iii. 10. There is a great deal of sweetness and spiritual comfort 
in suffering after, for, and with Christ ; and we should count all things 
dung and dross to gain this experience. It is comfort enough to a 
gracious heart that he is made thereby more like his lord and 

2. It is for our trial. Faith is most tried in afflictions. We have not 
ordinarily so clear a proof of the strength and growth of grace in us as 
then : 1 Peter i. 7, ' That the trial of your faith, being much more 
precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might 
be found unto praise, honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus 
Christ.' We have spiritual advantage by our trials. Faith is dis 
covered to be sound and saving : this is, and should be, of more worth 
to a gracious heart than the best gold on earth. A man may be de 
ceived at other times, and think that faith strong which a trial dis- 
covereth to be weak ; as Peter : Mat. xxvi. 35, ' Though I should die 
with thee, yet I will not deny thee.' We can hardly believe ourselves 
to be so weak as we afterward find ourselves to be. A man may doubt, 
and think his faith weak, which a trial discovereth to be strong, Heb. 
x. 32 ; and Heb. xi. 34, ' Out of weakness were made strong ; ' pusillani 
mous at first, sinking under their fears, yet wonderfully strengthened 
by God. To those that have faith, to know they have it, and to be 
assured of it by a sensible trial, it is a greater benefit than much 
worldly treasure. 

3. That the excellency of our spiritual estate may appear, which can 
afford us joy under the saddest temporal condition : John xvi. 33, ' In 
the world ye shall have tribulation, but in me you shall have peace.' A 
little will keep us comfortable and quiet. When all things succeed 


well with us in the world, we live partly on the creature, partly on 
God ; as it is easy to go down the stream when we have wind and tide, 
but to row against the stream, to bear up when we have waves and 
winds against us, that requireth much strength : 2 Cor. i. 5, ' As the 
sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation aboundeth by 
Christ.' This will sweeten the bitter waters, like the wood in Marah, 
or the meal in the pot of Coloquintida. Without these sufferings we 
should not know so much. A drop of this honey will sweeten the 
bitterest cup we can drink of. In Christ we find all matter of joy, peace, 
and comfort. 

4. We need these sufferings : 1 Peter i. 6, ' Ye are in heaviness for 
a season, if need be.' We need these things to mortify our pride, to 
reduce us to more close walking, Ps. cxix. 57, to tame our flesh, which 
is apt to wax wanton. Even those sufferings which are principally for 
Christ tend to the weakening of sin also, and are as vinegar and sour 
sauce to that luscious estate which we are apt to surfeit of. The 
honour, worldly wealth, and power of God's children do so strangely 
corrupt them, that when they get uppermost they make lamentable 
work in the world, and disgrace themselves and their profession. So 
that these persecutions and tribulations become a necessary part o 
God's discipline. Great and long prosperity doth pervert the best ; 
castigations are therefore probatory. 

Use 1. Information. 

1. With what thoughts we should take up the stricter profession of 
Christianity, namely, with expectations of the cross. Many think they 
may be good Christians, yet all their days live a life of ease and peace, 
without any trouble or molestation. This is all one as if one should 
list himself a soldier and never expect battle, or as if a mariner should 
go to sea and always expect a calm ; so unreasonable it is for a Christian 
to expect no occasions of self-denial. No ; all that will go to heaven 
had need be prepared and resolved. We must be shod with the pre 
paration of the gospel of peace, or else we shall be soon foundered and 
halt, Eph. vi. 15. You must allow for sufferings, and resolve upon 
the voyage whatever storms we meet with. 

2. What fools they are that take up religion upon a carnal design 
of honour, ease, and plenty in the world. You may do so for a time, 
but the trials will come. There are inconveniences attend a true 
uniform zeal in the most peaceable times ; but now and then Christ 
cometh with his fan throughly to purge his floor ; therefore unless we 
can follow a naked Christ upon unseen encouragements, either we call 
that religion which is not religion, or else make way for a shameful 
retreat and change. The summer friends of the gospel, or those 
painted butterflies that flutter about it in the sunshine of prosperity, 
must expect a winter will come. Christ doth not invite his followers 
with promises of honour and riches, but rather telleth us of the cross, 
and persecution, and tribulation, of the worst at first, to discourage 
hypocrites, who cheapen and taste, but will not buy ; to forearm his 
people that they may not be offended, that they may be willing to suffer 
these things when the Lord sees fit. Now whether they come or no, 
we must be prepared. God never intended Isaac should be sacrificed, yet 
he will have Abraham lay the knife to his throat, and make all ready. 


3. How much they mistake that cannot endure to have their ears 
scratched with the remembrance of the cross, as if it were a lesson out 
of season, now when the profession of Christianity is generally received 
in the Christian world. 

[1.] The warnings are frequent in scripture. And do we think the 
whole burden was laid upon the primitive Christians, that we might 
profess Christianity at ease ? John xvi. 1, ' These things have I told 
you, that you might not be offended.' As Augustine, Ep. ad Victori- 
anum We pretend to believe the scriptures when we read them, and 
yet complain when they are fulfilled. 

[2.] Though it be a pure calm for the present, and you see little 
need or use of this doctrine ; they that have no sore care not for the 
salve : but there are strange revolutions in the world. The Shunamite, 
that stood in no need of the prophet, 2 Kings iv. 13, was fain to be 
beholden to the prophet's man, 2 Kings viii. 5. Such vicissitudes 
there are in human affairs. 

[3.] It was never so well with the world but somewhat of Christ is 
made matter of dispute ; and disputes beget interests, and those interests 
create animosities and hatreds, and hatreds troubles. Many, where 
they could not bring the world to the gospel, would bring the gospel 
to the world ; and when they had contrived this discreet and middle 
course (as they thought), that should serve the turn for heaven and 
earth too, this begot the greatest contests in the Christian world, 
and hath been the occasion of massacres, blood, and mischiefs in popery, 
which is Christianity disguised into a worldly thing. 

[4.] Forearming and preparing for troubles helpeth the other parts 
of Christianity ; for it is the means to cause us sit loose from the 
creature, and to introduce that weanedness and mortification which is 
so serviceable to the practice and power of godliness. We can hardly 
discharge duties unless we prepare for troubles. Unless we get a habit 
of patience, we are not oXo/cXypoi, James i. 4 ; and that which is lame 
is soon turned out of the way, Heb. xi. Christ can hardly be master 
of our persons unless he be master of our interests. We have them 
from his bounty, and therefore for his service do forego them when he 
calleth us thereunto. Martyrs are required in the time of the church's 
peace, as well as persecutions, to mortify our pride and worldliness, to 
tame our flesh ; that if the occasion be wanting, the will to suffer any 
thing for Christ may not be wanting. Our salvation and heaven can 
not be purchased at too dear a rate, Acts x. 39. You can be no losers 
by Christ, Heb. xi. 35. 

4. It infonneth us that if this be not our lot and portion, we ought 
the more to bless God, and to be the more careful in the duties which 
belong to the season, and in years of plenty lay up (as Joseph did) for 
a time of famine and scarcity. 

[1.] Be the more strict and holy : Acts ix. 31, ' When the churches 
had rest, they were edified, walking in the fear of God.' When we are 
not called to passive obedience, our active obedience should be more 
cheerfully performed. But is it indeed so ? Our fathers suffered more 
cheerfully for Christ than we speak of him, and went more readily to 
the stake than we go to a sermon or the throne of grace. But yet it 
must be so, for our peace and comfort will cost us more in getting ; 


therefore unless we abound in the love and work of the Lord, we are 
like to be in the dark as to our eternal interests. 

[2.] We must be more mortified to the world ; for he that liveth a 
flesh-pleasing, a sense-pleasing life, is but ripening himself for apostasy, 
James iv. 4. He that will be a friend to the world will be an enemy 
to Christ. How can they that prize worldly prosperity and sensual 
satisfaction so much ever induce their hearts to part with these things ? 
None are corrupted with prosperity but they are as much dejected with 
adversity : 2 Peter i. 6, ' To temperance patience.' These befriend one 
another. A man that shutteth up himself much with God can the 
better bear a prison ; and he that is contented with a little can trust 
God in the loss of all. 

[3.] He that aboundeth in charity, and is willing to communicate 
this world's goods to him that needeth, will the sooner venture all in 
Christ's hands : Gal. vi. 10, ' Do good while you have opportunity.' 
He that neglecteth or slighteth a command will murmur against pro 
vidence when that is taken from him by force which he would not will 
ingly give. 

[4.] Diligence in holiness ; for the martyr must have all the preceding 
graces, poor in spirit, meek, merciful, hungering after righteousness, pure 
in heart, &c., Mat. v. 1-12. You begrudge a little pains for God, how 
will you expose the body to all kind of sufferings ? Melior est impa- 
tientia boni Tertul. 

[5.] If you cannot digest lighter afflictions, how will you bear 
greater? If you cannot bear with a scoff, a frown, or scorn, or resist 
the counsel of carnal friends, how will you bear the loss of life itself ? 
There are private persecutions as well as public ; therefore father and 
mother are put into the catalogue, and brother and sister, Luke xiv. 26. 
If you cannot endure a disgrace, a loss of preferment, how will you 
endure rapine, torture, and the fiery trial, &c. ? ' If thou hast run with 
the footmen, and they have wearied thee, how canst thou contend with 
horses ? ' Jer. xii. 5. 

Doct. 2. That a constant and unconquered patience under many per 
secutions and tribulations is a sign of a strong faith ; for this is the 
evidence that the apostle produceth, that their faith grew exceedingly. 

1. I shall show what is patience. 

2. What of faith is manifested by it. 

3. The reason's why this is the fruit and evidence. 

I. What is patience ? A contented endurance of painful evils. It 
is either moral or spiritual. The moral virtue is when, by such argu 
ments as human prudence furnisheth us with, we harden ourselves to 
bear the evils that befall us in that honest course wherein we are engaged. 
The spiritual grace is the fruit of the Spirit, and we bear these evils 
from divine principles to divine ends. It concerneth a Christian to see 
whether it be nature or grace that beareth him up under his troubles. 
The grace of patience, as it is wrought in us by God, who is therefore 
called 'the God of patience/ Horn. xv. 5, so it fetcheth its strength 
from the word of God : Kom. xv. 4, ' That we through the patience and 
comfort of the scriptures might have hope.' Now scriptural arguments 
are fetched either from the will of God, who appointeth us to this con 
flict, 1 Thes. iii. 3, or from the glory of God, which is promoted there- 


by, Phil. i. 20, or else our final happiness, James i. 12, or from the 
example of our Lord Jesus Christ; who ' suffered for us, leaving us an 
example that we should follow his steps/ 1 Peter ii. 21. Now these 
arguments will hold us more closely to our duty, and beget another 
kind of patience than mere nature can attain unto. 

This patience, which is the grace, may be considered (1.) Barely 
as tried ; (2.) As tried with many and long afflictions. 

1. Barely as tried. Some give up at the first assault. Impatiency 
of adversity is the character of the stony ground ; and it is said, Mat. 
xiii. 21, ' When tribulation or persecution ariseth for the word, by and 
by he is offended/ They do not stand long when God cometh to try 
their sincerity ; this argueth no faith. Others hold up against the first 
brunt, but begin to be tired and wax weary in their minds, Heb. xii. 3. 
This argueth weak faith, which must be strengthened ; it hath not 
epyov reXetov, James i. 4. We must tarry till the perfection of patience 
be more thoroughly discovered. 

2. As tried with many and long afflictions. Many : Heb. x. 32, 
iroX\,r)v ddXfjmv ; and divers trials, James i. 2 ; this is great patience. 
Long evils : Col. i. 4, ' Strengthened with all might, unto all patience, 
aiid long-suffering, and joyf ulness.' Long-suffering is patience extended. 
The perfection of grace is not discovered till put on many and great 
trials. Many cannot bear any evil ; they have no faith. Some hold 
out in slighter temptations for a while ; they have weak faith. But 
the constant and uuconquered patience is the fruit of strong faith. 
Thus I have shown what patience is. 

II. What of faith is manifested by it ? All kinds of faith (1.) 
Assent ; (2.) Consent ; or (3.) Confidence. 

1. Assent ; for we must believe the truth with a divine faith before 
we can suffer for it ; a probable human faith will not be sufficient. 
How can we endure all those afflictions and trials for supernatural 
things, which merely depend upon divine revelation, unless we be firmly 
persuaded of the truth of them ? The cause for which we suffer is the 
gospel ; the comfort and support which we have in suffering is the hope 
of eternal life. Now both adherence to the cause and the hope of the 
reward are built upon assent, and receive their strength from the 
strength of assent : Acts xiv. 22, ' He exhorteth them to continue in 
the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the 
kingdom of God.' 

2. Consent, or fidelity to Christ in our covenanted duty, Mat. xvi. 24. 
In great afflictions we are tried whether we love anything above Christ : 
Mat. x. 37, ' He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy 
of me.' The resolution of this consent is the thing tried, whether pre 
pared to endure anything for Christ's sake, Acts xxi. 13. It is easier 
to discourse of patience than to exercise it in time of trial ; as it is 
easier to build a castle in time of peace than to defend it in time of 
war. Unless we overcome the devil, world, and flesh, as well as 
renounce them, we cannot be faithful to Christ ; unless we more and 
more get this deadness to the world, weaken this softness, delicacy, and 
impatiency of the flesh, &c. 

3. Confidence, or relying upon God's promises, which are our great 
support in all troubles and tribulations. Two sort of promises (1.) 


That God will enable you to bear them ; (2.) That he will graciously 
reward them. First, enable you to bear them, 2 Tim. i. 12, 2 Tim. iv. 
18, 1 Cor. x. 13. Thus faith supporteth us. Secondly, that he will 
graciously reward them. Christianity is nothing else but a life of faith 
and hope, quickened by future promises ; especially in our afflicted 
estate. Faith receiveth all its strength from a sense of the world to 
come, Kom. viii. 18, 2 Cor. iv. 17. A heart in heaven is fortified 
against all evils below. When we are suffering with the church 
militant, if we can but look up to the church triumphant, we shall see 
all made up to us that we can lose or suffer here. 
III. The reasons. 

1. Faith is the grace that is most struck at in our tribulations; 
therefore they are called ' the trial of our faith,' James i. 3, SOKI/J,IOV 
TTio-Teco?. And when Christ telleth Peter that Satan had desired to 
winnow him as wheat, he saith, ' I have prayed that thy faith fail not,' 
Luke xxii. 32 ; that is, be not conquered by his terrors, so as utterly to 
forsake the faith. Satan's spite is at faith, and God permitteth it for 
the trial of our faith ; and therefore if a man know the strength and 
vigour -of it in time of tribulation, then ordinarily he hath a clearer 
proof of the truth and strength of that grace than at other times. 

2. It is the grace that is of most use to us in such times. Nothing 
can bear us up but faith : 1 Peter v. 9, ' Whom resist, steadfast in the 
faith ; ' adhering to the truths of the gospel, and depending upon the 
promises thereof, that we neither quit our duty nor our confidence: 
Eph. vi. 16, 'Above all, taking the shield of faith/ &c. As long as our 
belief is firm, we are guarded as with a shield. The shield defendeth 
the body and all other pieces of the armour, and beateth back those 
violent and piercing temptations whereby Satan would shake our con 
stancy. It engageth the almighty power of God and Christ for us, 
and is the life and vigour of all other graces. Three benefits we have 

[1.] It keepeth us, that we do not for these things question the love 
of God : Isa. xlix. 14, ' But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and 
my God hath forgotten me.' Thus did the people lament themselves 
in the time of their long and tedious captivity, as if God had no regard 
to them. So Ps. Ixxvii. 9, ' Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? ' We 
think God hath no love, no fatherly care over us, or question our adop 
tion, Heb. xii. 5. 

[2.] Take no sinful course for our escape: Ps. cxxv. 3, 'Ifet not 
them put forth their hand to iniquity ; ' ver. 5, ' As for them who turn 
aside to crooked paths, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers 
of iniquity.' It should not shake our constancy, and persuade us to do 
as wicked men do : Isa. xxviii. 16, 'He that believeth shall not make 
haste ; ' Heb. xi. 35, ' Not accepting deliverance/ with the displeasure 
of God and hazard of conscience. 

[3.] That we may not faint and grow weary of duties, even of life 
itself, as Jonah iv. 8. Faith keepeth us from fainting, Ps. xxvii. 13, 
Ps. xlii. 5. 

3. In such times faith is manifested. The true and sensible dis 
covery of faith is patience under manifold tribulations. 

1.] Because then we have nothing to stick unto but the comforts 


and supports of faith. While we have anything to live upon on this 
side God, either for maintenance, or protection, or safety, God hath 
but the name; as those, Isa. iv. 11, 'We will eat our own bread, we 
will wear our own apparel, only call us by thy name.' Though the 
flesh liveth upon its own proper supply, yet we have so much religious 
manners as to give God the name. But now, when these are removed 
from us, then it is more plainly seen what we live upon, and how we 
live, either by faith or sense. Besides, in daily and light trials reason 
will minister some comfort ; as philosophy knew little better than non 
si male nunc, et olim sic erit ; that their present troubles will shortly 
cease, and they shall shortly partake of their delights here, and so force 
themselves into a kind of quietness in their troubles when they cannot 
help it, and hope shortly it will be better with them as to their worldly 
estate. Thus in daily and light trials a man of understanding may 
hold up the head ; but when one deep calleth to another, then nature 
yieldeth. Many persecutions and tribulations spend all our probabilities ; 
these troubles and dangers leave us wholly to faith : Rev. xiii. 10, ' Here 
is the faith and patience of the saints.' The fit time to exercise these 
graces ; that is, in the trials of antichrist ; they will have work enough 
for faith and patience. Sense findeth nothing to live upon ; reason, or 
confidence, or hope findeth nothing to live upon ; only God's promises- 
keep faith and patience alive. 

[2.] Its proper genuine effect is then produced to the view of con 
science, and of the world also. It sensibly appeareth what boldness 
and courage our belief of God's promises hath produced in us, by 
enduring the greatest extremities rather than forsake the way of the 
Lord. Certainly the strength of faith, as of all other graces, is most 
seen in the effects. Now there is a twofold effect of faith to obey 
with cheerfulness, and to endure with patience. This is called the 
* Work of faith/ 2 Thes. i. 11, the imperate acts. Now, when the work 
of faith is fulfilled with power, there is no longer a veil upon it ; the 
sincerity of it is unquestionable. The latter we are upon, enduring with 
patience : 2 Cor. iv. 13, ' We having the same spirit of faith, believe, 
and therefore speak.' Boldly own the truths of the gospel, whatever 
troubles we endure for it. This showeth a mighty spirit of faith is 
come upon a man, when death worketh in him, ver. 12. In afflictions, 
by patience and constancy we confess Christ and his truth, and sensibly 
express faith in him. But you will say, Is this such a manifest token 
of our sincerity ? Doth not the apostle say, 1 Cor. xiii. 3, ' Though I 
give my body to be burnt, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing? ' 
I answer We must distinguish between judging of others and judging 
ourselves. Of others, by the bare outward acts or effects: Mat. vii. 20, 
' By their fruits shall ye know them.' Of ourselves, by habits and effects 
together. If the ground or inward cause of our suffering be the love 
of Christ, the belief of the reward, the humble neglect of the flesh, con 
tempt of the world, and all this verified in forsaking all for Christ, the 
case is evident and clear. 

Use 1. Let us determine with ourselves that suffering with Christ is 
the way to reign with him. We would fain have continual prosperity, 
because it is easy and pleasing to the flesh, but the scripture showeth 
us another way. God's gold must be tried ; they that would overcome 


must fight. If we like not of these terms, let the way of Christ alone ; 
but if we desire his glory hereafter, let us be contented with this lot 

2. Deliberately sit down, and count what it may cost you to follow 
Christ and save your souls, Luke xiv. 28, that so your thoughts of ifc 
may fortify your resolutions, and you may not count it strange when ifc 
cometh, 1 Peter, iv. 12. Suffering doth not surprise Christians indeed 
as a thing unlooked for, for they have been long preparing for it 
Many read of suffering in the gospel, but see no probability of it, there 
fore dream of a smooth and easy way to heaven. 

3. Consent to do so. In resolution forsake all, Luke xiv. 26 ; which 
resolution must still be renewed and strengthened ; for if we be care 
less, faith will fail. 

4. When it cometh, endure it with patience. It should be some 
pleasure and satisfaction to your souls to find yourselves in the common 
way to heaven, 1 Peter iv. 13. Nothing is too dear and hard for 
securing heaven. 


Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye 
may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also 
suffer. 2 THES. i. 5. 

THE apostle speaketh from the commendation to the consolation; 

wherein the apostle declareth the use and fruit of these sufferings 

(1.) Generally ; (2.) Particularly. A notable means of evidencing the 

general judgment and their own particular glory. 

From the general use, evSety/jia TT}? St/eata? /epio-eoj? rov 6eov 
Doct. That the persecutions which the godly suffer from the wicked 

are a plain demonstration that God shall one day judge the world, and 

will give to every one according to his works. 

I shall first state the point, and then show how it is a demonstration, 


1. It concerneth us to be fully persuaded of the truth of a future 
judgment, wherein punishments and rewards shall be dispensed, for 
two reasons (1.) It establisheth our true and proper comfort, for then 
our wrongs shall be righted, Phil. i. 28, and our labour of love recom 
pensed, Heb. vi. 10. (2.) Our duty is bound upon us by the strictest 
tie, for this is the great awe-band upon us, Eccles. xii. 14. 

2. This judgment is a righteous judgment : Acts xvii. 31, ' He 
hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world in righteous 
ness.' Now he trieth the world in patience, conniveth at many faults ; 
though none are punished now besides or beyond their deservings, yet 
all are not punished according to their deservings. 

3. This judgment needeth to be evidenced to us, not only by the light 
of scripture, but reason. Though light of scripture be more strong and 


clear, yet the light of nature hath its use. Nature saith, It may be, 
Faith, It shall be ; yet the former testimony must not be rejected. 

[1.] Because things seen by a double light work the more strongly 
upon us ; as upon our love and obedience : ' How much more to thee, 
both in the flesh and in the Lord ? ' Philem. 16. So upon our faith ; 
when even nature teacheth us that it is reasonable to expect such a 
retribution, all vain cavils are refuted. 

[2.] Because all have not received the light of scripture, at least not 
with such reverence and respect as they ought to do. To such the light 
of nature is a preparative inducement either to believe, or to believe 
more firmly. 

[3.] Because in time of temptation (as the time of bitter and grie 
vous persecution is) we need all the succour and relief which the nature 
of the thing will afford. Evil is present and pressing, and our great 
hopes are to come. Then besides the grounds of faith we must study 
the helps of faith. The grounds of faith are the promises of the gospel ; 
the helps of faith are such demonstrations and evidences as the light 
of nature will afford in the case. Reason is allowed to be a handmaid 
to faith. 

[4.] Among other arguments to evidence a future day of recompense, 
the persecutions of the godly by the wicked are evSeifypa, a plain 
document or demonstration that such a righteous judgment there will 
be. That is asserted in the text. 

The argument may be conceived two ways 

(1.) If God so severely chastised the relics of sin in his children, 
how much sorer vengeance attendeth the wicked that live in all manner 
of profaneness ? If leviora delicta, the lighter offences of his children 
be thus chastised, what severity may the wicked expect for their enor 
mous crimes ? The scripture is not a stranger to such an argument ; 
as 1 Peter iv. 17, ' For the time is come that judgment must begin at 
the house of God ; and if it first begin at us, what shall be the end of 
them that obey not the gospel of God ? ' If God will manifest his just 
displeasure against them of his own family, for their correction and 
trial, surely the end of the wicked will be unspeakably terrible. If 
they sip at the cup of trembling, the wicked must expect to drink up 
the dregs thereof. Their trials are certain forerunners of a wof ul end, 
abiding the instruments thereof, when the Lord has done his work by 
them ; for if those who are justified by Christ, and walk holily, get to 
heaven through so many fiery trials, those that cast off all religion and 
give up themselves to all wickedness, in the day of God's reckoning 
with them they cannot expect to be sheltered from his everlasting 
wrath, when their judge shall force them into his presence. The like 
arguing is in Luke xxiii. 31, ' If these things be done in a green tree, 
what shall be done in a dry ? ' Green wood is unapt to burn, but dry 
sere wood will easily take fire. So Prov. xi. 31, ' Behold the right 
eous shall be recompensed upon earth, how much more the wicked and 
the sinner ? ' ' Recompensed/ that is, punished or chastised for their 
transgressions. The certainty of the punishment of the wicked is con 
firmed from the chastisements of the godly ; for if God be so severe 
upon his children, what will become of enemies ? So Jer. xxv. 29, ' If 
I bring evil on the city that is called by my name, should ye be utterly 


unpunished ? ye shall riot be unpunished.' If God had begun so 
roughly with his own people, they must look as surely and sorely to 
suffer at last. Thus it will hold good. 

(2.) This argument may be formed thus : If good men suffer here, 
and the ungodly have the upper hand, and have liberty and power to 
vex them with all manner of grievances, it showeth that there is a 
righteous judgment to come, wherein the godly shall obtain the reward, 
and the ungodly cannot avoid punishment ; for no righteous governor 
will suffer his disobedient subjects to persecute those that most care 
fully obey him, if he hath power to remedy it ; and therefore, though 
he permit it for a time, yet he will call them to an account, and then 
amends and satisfaction shall be made them that have suffered wrong 
fully. So their enduring many persecutions and tribulations was an 
evSeijfjia, a perfect document and demonstration of a judgment to 
come. This I take to be the argument here, for the apostle's intent is 
not to humble but comfort these Thessalonians ; and our great conso 
lation is taken from the day of judgment, when our final redemption 
draweth nigh and is accomplished. The former consideration tendeth 
more to humiliation and caution, and tendeth more to the establish 
ment of the punishment of enemies, but this to the reward of friends, 
when God's faithful servants shall be restored to their due honour and 

Secondly, How it is a demonstration of a future judgment. That it 
may the more sink into your minds, I shall deduce it at large. 

1. There is a God. This is the supreme primitive truth, which 
lieth at the bottom of all religion : Heb. xi. 6, ' He that cometh to God 
must believe that he is.' And it is evident to reason ; for if there be 
not a first and fountain-being, how did we come to be ? for nothing 
can make itself ; or how did the world fall into this order wherein now 
we see it ? Indeed we cannot open our eyes but some object or other 
is presented to our view, which loudly proclaimeth that there is an 
infinite eternal power which made us and all things else. It were to 
light a candle to the sun to prove this. 

2. That this God is just; for all perfections are in the first being. 
To deny him to be just is to deny him to be God and the governor of 
the world. The perfection of his nature includeth his justice, for he is 
infinitely righteous, both in himself and all his dealings with the crea 
tures : Jer. xii. 1, ' Righteous art thou, Lord.' So doth the emineucy 
of his office : Rom. iii. 5, 6, ' If God were unrighteous, how then shall 
he judge the world ? ' that is, he were then incapable of governing 

3. That this holy just God is the governor of the world ; for man 
being his creature, doth thereby become his subject, obliged to obey 
him. He is a rational free agent, placed among occasions of good arid 
evil ; and though he be bound to obey, yet might continue in his 
obedience or disobey God, as the woful event showed. God is called 
the judge of the earth, to whom reward or vengeance belongeth, 
Ps. xciv. 1, 2. 

4. It is agreeable to the justice of his government that it should be 
well with them that do well, and ill with them that do evil ; or that 
he should make a difference by rewards and punishments between 

VOL. xx, o 


the obedient and the wicked. Conscience and natural reason owneth 
this truth : Eom. i. 32, ' They know the judgment of God, that they 
that do such things are worthy of death.' It seemeth uncomely when 
it is otherwise : ' As snow in summer and rain in harvest, so honour is 
not seemly for a fool,' Prov. xxvi. 1. When the wicked are exalted, 
men look on it as an uncouth thing, as a blemish whenever it is done. 
Well, then, God is a rewarder of good, a punisher of evil. 

5. This reward and punishment is not fully administered in this world, 
even in the judgment of them who have no great knowledge of the 
nature of sin, and the punishment which is competent thereto ; yea, 
rather the best go to the wall, and are exercised with poverty, disgrace, 
scorn, and all manner of troubles, when the wicked live a life of pomp 
and ease, and often have their will upon the godly, and oppress them 
at their pleasure. Hence come the complaints and expostulations of the 
saints, when they have stumbled at this stumbling-stone, Ps. Ixxiii., Jer. 
xii., Hab. i. And indeed how shall we reconcile these things with the 
notions we have of God ? Surely there is a God, and it is as sure that 
he takes notice of human affairs, and will judge accordingly. What is 
the reason then of this disproportion in his dealings between the good 
and the bad? No satisfactory account can be given, but that the 
wicked are reserved to future punishment, and the godly to future 

6. Since God's justice doth not make a sufficient difference here, 
there is another life where he will do it ; for otherwise all these 
absurdities would follow 

[1.] God would seem indifferent to good and evil, yea, more partial 
to the evil ; and would seem to approve and favour the rebellious more 
than the righteous ; but this were a blasphemy, and a diminution of 
God's goodness and holiness, Ps. Ixxiii. 1 ; so Ps. xi. 6, 7. Therefore 
there is a time to come when God will manifest his respects to the one 
above the other. 

[2.] Man would seem to be left at liberty to break or keep God's 
laws at his pleasure, and no harm would come of it ; yea, present good 
and profit. But this would destroy all obedience, and God is parti 
cularly engaged to punish such as would flatter themselves with these 
hopes, Deut, xxx. 19, 20, Zeph i. 12. 

[3.] Obedience would be man's loss and ruin, and so God would be 
the worst master: 1 Cor. xv. 19, 'If in this life only we have hope, we 
are of all men most miserable.' The worst would be the most happy 
and the best the most miserable ; for the children of God do not only 
forsake the grateful pleasures of the world, but hazard all their natural 
interests, and actually suffer the loss of all things by the cruelty of 
their persecutors. Now Christ would never proselyte us to a religion 
that should be our undoing, nor shall any of his people be posers by 
him. This is contrary to all natural light and sense of religion that 
is in men's hearts, that they that venture the most for Christ should 
be in the worst condition. Therefore there must be another life, when 
God will fulfil the good he hath promised, and execute the evil threat 

[4.] That the most eminent virtue should lie under perpetual infamy; 
for the people of God do not only suffer hard things, but their names 


are cast forth as evil, and their way condemned as factious singularity ; 
and though they be instruments of public good, yet they are traduced 
as the troublers of Israel, and so made sacrifices to public hatred. But 
this is a great absurdity, therefore things must be reviewed, and that 
which is good restored to its public honour : 1 Peter iv. 13, 14, ' If ye 
be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye.' When his glory 
shall be revealed, so shall yours ; which is a great satisfaction to the 
godly, who prize a good name above other earthly interests. 

[5.] The children of wisdom would seem sons of folly, in checking 
their lusts, venturing their interests, and renouncing all for their 
fidelity to Christ ; as if they did foolishly for running into such incon- 
veniencies, when they might spare themselves and sleep in a whole 
skin. Now it is a great absurdity that God's wisest and most faithful 
servants should be accounted fools ; that would quench and destroy all 
zeal for God. No ; there will a time come when the wisdom of the 
world shall be seen to be the greatest folly, and that there are no such 
fools as those that employ their greatest abilities in attaining present 
pleasure, profit, and preferment, with the neglect of their precious souls, 
and those the wisest adventurers who have sold all to promote the honour 
of God and gain Christ, who look not upon things as they appear now 
to the sensual arid deluded world, but as they will be found at the 
last day, when all things shall appear in their own colours. 

[6.] That all the comfort of the saints in looking and longing for 
this day is but a fantastical impression or fanatical illusion, when yet 
these desires and affections are raised and quickened in them by God ; 
not only as he doth warrant them by his word, but as wrought in them 
by his Spirit, Horn. viii. 23, and 2 Cor. v. 5. Now it is not for the 
honour of God that the hopes of the saints should be disappointed, and 
their great expectations frustrated. No ; there will a time come when 
their affections shall be satisfied, their desires granted, and their hopes 
fulfilled to the utmost. 

[7.] In the other life he doth it not till the general resurrection, or 
Christ's coming to judgment. There is a distinction between the good 
and evil at death, when the spirits of just men are made perfect, Heb. 
xii. 23, and the spirits of the wicked are sent to prison, 1 Peter iii. 19. 
But that is not sufficient, for two reasons because that is private, and 
does not openly vindicate the justice of God ; and that it is but upon 
a part, the soul only. 

(1.) As it is private, and executed upon the wicked, man by man. 
Certainly it is more for the honour of God to bring his judgment to 
light, as the prophet saith, Zeph. iii. 5. Here the love of God towards 
the good and the justice of God towards the wicked is not manifest 
enough, not brought out into the clearest light. Not in death neither, 
for the honour of the just is not opened visibly, nor the glory of heaven 
exposed to view until the general judgment. But then this different 
respect is more conspicuous when the justice of God hath a public and 
solemn triumph, and his enemies are branded with shame, and the 
faith of his elect found to praise and honour, and the one publicly con 
demned, and the other justified by the judge upon the throne, Acts iii. 19. 

(2.) As it is upon a part, the soul only. The bodies of the holy and 
the wicked both are now senseless, and moulder into dust in the grave ; 


and till they be raised up and joined to their souls, they can neither 
partake of woe or weal, pleasure or pain. The soul, though it be a 
principal part, is but a part ; the body essentially concurreth to the 
constitution of the man ; and it is the body that is most gratified by 
sin, and the body that is most pained by obedience ; and therefore the 
kndy, which is the soul's sister and co-heir, is to share with her in its 
eternal state, whatever it be. Therefore, that we may not be in part 
punished and in part rewarded, there is a time coming when God will 
deal with the whole man, and that in a solemn court and audience ; 
which is a comfort to a Christian when he is brought before the tri 
bunals of men, and his body endures torture for Christ's sake. 

Use 1. To show us how differently men will reason from the same 
principles ; for the wicked draw another conclusion hence, Cum rapiant 
mala fata bonos, ignoscite /also, sollicitor nullos esse pufare Deos\ 
either that there is no God,, or that he hath no respect to human 
affairs, and that all things are governed by chance. So elsewhere you 
may see what contrary and distinct conclusions the carnal and spiritual 
make from the same premises ; as David from the immutable certainty 
of God's promises, Ps. cxix. 89-91. But the scoffers said, 2 Peter 
in. 4, ' Where is the promise of his coming ? for since the fathers fell 
asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the crea 
tion.' Because the frame of nature had kept one constant tenor and 
course, they plead for the eternity of the world and the falsehood of his 
promises ; but David was hereby confirmed in the belief of God's con 
stancy and faithfulness. So 1 Cor. vii. 29, with 1 Cor. xiii. 32 ; 
Jude 5, with Horn. vi. 2 ; 2 Sam. vii. 2, with Hag. v. 2 ; 1 Sam. iii. 18, 
with 2 Kings vi. 33. So Prov. xxvi. 9. All is as the heart is. 

Use 2. To keep us from murmuring, or taking scandal at the suf 
ferings that befall us for righteousness' sake. Not only the promises of 
God, but our very persecution is an argument of our final deliverance. 
There will be a review of these judgments ; therefore let us comfort 
ourselves with these hopes. A Christian must not look to present things, 
but future ; not what is done now, but how things will appear in the 
last judgment. Now things may appear with all pomp and glory on 
the world's side, and terror to the saints ; but this scene is soon with 
drawn, and present time is quickly past like a piece of fantastry ; 
but then there is an inversion of things, shame is on the wicked, and 
honour put upon the saints, and the shame and glory are both eternal. 
Here we see the godly in their adversity and patience, but hereafter 
entering into their master's joy. Here the children of God are derided 
and vilified, but there they stand at Christ's right hand, and are 
approved and justified by him, and the wicked are rejected and turned 
into hell. This is a false and perverse judgment, but there it is a 
righteous judgment, as the wicked themselves shall be forced to confess, 
and shall wish when it is too late that they had chosen the faith, and 
holiness, and patience of the saints. Well, then, look not to the begin 
ning but ending of all things. If you look to the beginning only, you 
are like to miscarry ; but it would prevent your trouble if you did 
consider how these things will appear in the review. 

Use 3. Of direction. When things promised in the other world 
seem too uncertain and far-off, and you are but coldly affected towards 


them, then consider what a change there will be, and the face of all 
things altered when Christ taketh the throne, and entereth into the 
judgment. The perverse carriage of things now is a confirmation to 
your faith, at least an help to your meditation. Improve the argument 
as it was set forth before. Few Christians are so strong and firm in 
believing but they may find this a prop to their faith. Certainly all 
are so barren of thoughts, that they will find it an help to their medita 
tions of the certainty of this judgment. Would God make laws with 
a sanction of penalty and reward, and never look after them more ? 
Doth he delight in the prosperity of his servants or their afflictions ? 
Would he raise hopes and desires which he never meant to satisfy ? 
Would he give the wicked power to afflict and vex his people, and 
never call them to an account ? 

II. I come now to speak specially of the comfortable part of the 
judgment to the suffering Thessalonians, ' That ye may be accounted 
worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer.' 

DocL They shall be accounted worthy to enter into the kingdom of 
God who diligently and steadily pursue after it. 
By way of explication 

First, What is meant by the kingdom of God ? There is a twofold 
kingdom of God the kingdom of grace and the kingdom of glory. 
The kingdom of grace is the gospel estate now set afoot in the world. 
Now for this kingdom they might be said to suffer ; that is, to promote 
it in the world, or because they had entered into it ; but rather it is 
taken for the kingdom of glory, spoken of Mat. xxv. 34, ' Come, ye 
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you,' &c. And 
they are said to suffer for it, that is, that they may enter into it. 

Secondly, How counted worthy ? There is a threefold worthiness 
1. Dignitas equalitatis, a condignity or worthiness of exact propor 
tion : Luke x. 7, ' The labourer is worthy of his hire.' This exact 
worthiness is justice-proof, not only from the paction and covenant, 
but from the intrinsic worth of the action itself. There is ceqiialitas 
rei et pacti. What I bargain for is my due. But when there is 
besides the bargain a proportion between the labour and the hire, we 
claim and challenge - it not only by virtue of the bargain, but as a 
reward due to the work for its own sake. Now there is such a distance 
between God and the creature, his reward and anything that we can 
do and suffer, that no creature can make God his debtor : Rom. viii. 
18, ' For I reckon that the sufferings of this present life are not 
worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.' 
And when we have done all and suffered never so much, eternal life is 
a gift, and the mere fruit of his grace : Eev. ii. 10, ' I will give 
thee,' &c. 

2. There is dignitas convenientice, aptitudinis aut decentice, a 
worthiness of decency or becomingness. This consists not in a perfect 
exact proportion, but some congruity or fitness. This is also twofold 
a fitness in point of order and a fitness in point of preparation. 

[1.] A fitness in point of order. So they are worthy who are con 
veniently qualified according to God's order : Rom. viii. 17, ' If sons, 
then heirs, joint-heirs with Christ ; if so be that we suffer with him, 
that we also may be glorified together. So 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12, ' If we 


be dead with him, we shall also live with him : if we suffer, we shall 
also reign with him : if we deny him, he will deny us.' It is meet and 
convenient, or agreeable to Christ's wisdom and love, that he should own 
his faithful servants, and since they are willing to take his cross, that 
they should share with him in his crown ; as David, when crowned at 
Hebron, made his followers captains of thousands, hundreds, and fifties. 
So also Rev. iii. 4, ' They that have not defiled their garments shall 
walk with me in white, for they are worthy.' They observe God's 
order, who maketh fidelity to Christ, in doing and suffering his will, 
to be the way to their glory and blessedness. 

[2.] In point of preparation.' We read, that as heaven is prepared 
for us, so we are prepared for heaven : Rom. ix. 23, ' Vessels of mercy, 
which he had afore prepared unto glory ; ' and Col. i. 12, ' He hath 
made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.' 
It is the wisdom of God to put all things in their proper places, both 
in the order of nature and grace ; as fishes in the sea, beasts on earth ; 
so holy and heavenly creatures, whose hearts are weaned from the 
world, and whose hopes and desires are wholly carried to another and 
better world, and are willing to endure all things to obtain it, that 
they should be placed in heaven, for which he hath prepared them. And 
persecutions are one means which serve to fit and prepare the godly 
for heaven. As the hewing or squaring of stones fitted them to be set 
in the temple at Jerusalem, so are we squared, fitted, and made meet 
to be set in the heavenly temple. Things that suit are in the lan 
guage of scripture called worthy : ' Worthy of repentance/ Mat. iii. 
8, Acts xxvi. 20, Phil. i. 27, Eph. iv. 1, &c. 

3. There is dignitas dignationis, the worthiness of acceptance, when 
God for Christ's sake is pleased to count us worthy, and to take our 
carriage in good part though there be many failings. So Luke xxi. 
36, ' Watch ye, therefore, and pray, that ye may be counted worthy to 
stand before the Son of man.' And so here, ' counted worthy ; ' that 
is, pronounced worthy by divine dignation to enjoy the kingdom of 
God. None deserve this, though some are admitted out of God's 
benignity and faithful promises and gracious acceptance. 

Thirdly, What is diligent and self-denying pursuit ? I put in both 
terms, because we must not only do what is good, but suffer what is 

1. There must be diligence in doing good : Mat. vi. 33, ' First seek 
the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof.' This must be our 
top care, our first and chiefest business. It is not enough to seek after 
the kingdom of God, but we must seek after it in the first place ; all 
must give way to this : Heb. iv. 11, 'Let us labour to enter into that 

2. There must be suffering evil: Heb. x. 36, 'Ye have need of 
patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye may receive the 
promise/ Before the promise be fulfilled, not only our diligence but 
our patience must be exercised ; for God will try what we can venture 
upon these hopes. So James i. 12, ' Blessed is the man that endureth 
temptation ; for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life, 
which God hath promised to them that love him ; 1 Peter v. 10, 
'After ye have suffered a while/ The crown is promised to those 


that love him, but before it is bestowed there is trial and endurance 
necessary ; so that besides obedience for subduing our lusts there must 
be patience to hazard our interests. In mortification we willingly part 
with our ill-being for Christ, but in self-denial with our well-being in 
the world. 

1. These things are required as conditions of entering into life: 
Mark x. 38, ' If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, 
and take up his cross, and follow me.' There is the law of Christianity 
fixed, and after such an express rule and constitution it is too late for 
us to interpose our vote, and hope to bring down the law of Christ to 
milder terms. No ; the people of God must accept of this condition, 
and be prepared for it. 

2. When this condition is yielded unto and fulfilled, then we have 
an evidence that God will count us worthy to enter into his kingdom : 
Phil. i. 28, ' In nothing terrified by your adversaries, which is to them 
an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.' 
Mark, he saith it is not only a hopeful intimation, but an evident 
token ; it clearly evidenceth your right to salvation. Crosses and 
sufferings in their visible appearance look like displeasure and wrath 
from God, but in their inward nature and destination of God they are 
a promising evidence that you are appointed unto glory : Mat. v. 10, 
' Blessed are they that suffer persecution for righteousness' sake ; for 
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' They may challenge it, be assured 
of it. 

Use. Let us seriously consider of these things. 

1. The felicity here offered ; it is a kingdom, and the kingdom of 
God. What bustling is there in the world for a little greatness and 
advancement ! Alas ! all other crowns are but petty things in compari 
son of the crown of life, righteousness, and glory which God hath 
prepared for them that love him. This is enough to counterbalance 
all the ignominy, contempt, and disgraceful suffering which God's 
children meet with here in the world. 

2. The certainty of conveyance. God will count them worthy of his 
kingdom : 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown 
of righteousness.' He will not frustrate the desires and hopes of his 
suffering people. As the worldling goeth on by temporal glory to 
eternal shame, you are sure to go by temporal trouble to eternal glory. 

3. You must submit to any terms : Phil. iii. 11, 'If by any means,' 
&c. The trial of our sincerity must not be looked for in our respect to 
the end only, but the means. There is some difficulty about the end, 
to convince men of an unseen felicity, and to bring them to choose it 
for their treasure and happiness ; but for the means of diligent obed 
ience, patient suffering, there we stick most. We have a quick ear for 
offers of happiness, but we snuff at the troublesome conditions of duty 
and obedience and entire subjection to God. Balaam could say, 
Num. xxiii. 10, ' Let me die the death of the righteous ; ' but he loved 
the wages of unrighteousness. When the wicked are said to despise 
eternal happiness, it is not simply as happiness or as eternal, but the 
means, the way thither, as the Israelites, Ps. cvi. 24, 25. 

4. Sufferings are the most distasteful part of the means : 'For which 


ye also suffer.' All would reign with Christ, but not suffer with him ; 
like Zebedee's children, sit on his right hand and his left, but not 
drink of his cup, nor be baptized with his baptism, Mat. xxii. 22, 23. 
God might have customers enough for the crown, but men like not the 
yoke and the cross that attend it. 


Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to 
them that trouble you ; and to you that are troubled rest with 
us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his 
mighty angels. 2 THES. i. 6, 7. 

HERE is an amplification of the former argument, wherein he doth 
more fully declare how their enduring tribulations was ev^eir/pa, &c., a 
manifestation of God's righteous judgment. 
In the words note 

1. The impulsive cause, God's justice, ' Seeing it is a righteous thing 
with God.' 

2. The two effects, or the different retributions, ' To recompense,' &c. 

3. The time when this is accomplished, ' When the Lord Jesus shall 
be revealed from heaven,' &c. 

I begin with the first. This is mentioned that they may be certain 
of the effects. Just is taken in two senses (1.) Pro eo quod jure fieri 
potest ; (2.) Pro eo quod jure fieri debet. That which may be done 
without any injustice, that which ought to be done. The first, when a 
man doth exact his debts ; the second, for a man to pay his debts. 
The first may be done or not done, required or omitted, without any 
blemish or charge of injustice ; but the second must be done, or I am 
unjust if I do it not. The latter is intended here, for it is brought as a 
proof of the just judgment of God, in counting them worthy of his 
kingdom for which they suffered. God would do no injury, or were 
not unrighteous if he should trouble them that trouble you ; that would 
make but a cold sense. No ; his justice and equity requireth it ; it 
cannot without some injustice be omitted to punish them, and give you 
a relaxation from all evil. 

Doct. That in the retributions of the last day God showeth his 

1. I shall open the justice of God. 

2. Apply it to the different recompenses. 

I. For the justice of God, let me set it forth in these consider 

1. Justice is an attribute that belongeth to God as a governor. It 
is twofold general and particular. 

[1.] His general justice importeth the perfection of the divine 
nature, and is the same with his holiness. As the perfection of the 
divine understanding includeth all intellectual virtues, so the perfec- 


tion of his will all moral virtues ; and so God doth necessarily love 
righteousness and hate iniquity, and acteth becoming such a pure, holy, 
and infinite being. He can do nothing against the perfection of his 
nature ; that is, cannot deny himself, 2 Tim. ii. 13, will not give his 
glory to another, Isa. xlii. 8, cannot be indifferent to good and evil : 
Ps. v. 4, ' Thou art not a God that hast pleasure in wickedness, nor 
shall evil dwell with thee.' Hateth whatever is contrary to his holy 
nature : Zech. iii. 5, ' The just Lord is in the midst of thee ; he will 
do no iniquity ; every morning he bringeth his judgment to light.' 
Will not damn nor punish an innocent creature or a soul that loveth 
him, but still acteth with a condecency to his own being. 

[2.] His particular justice, which respecteth not his nature, but his 
office, and belongeth to him as the governor and judge of the world. 
So he hath given a law to his creatures, and his governing justice con 
sists in giving all their due according to his law : Deut. xxxii. 4, ' He 
is the rock, his work is perfect ; for all his ways are judgment : a God 
of truth, and without iniquity ; just and right is he.' 

2. Of -his government there are two acts or parts legislation and 
execution. Accordingly you may conceive two branches of the justice 
of God legislative, or judiciary and distributive. 

[1.] His legislative justice determineth man's duty, and bindeth him 
to the performance thereof, and also defineth the rewards and punish 
ments which shall be due upon man's obedience or disobedience. God 
made man a rational voluntary agent, capable of good and evil, with 
desires of the good and fears of the evil ; therefore, that God as uni 
versal king might rule him according to his nature, he hath made for 
him a law that determineth good and evil, with promises to move him 
by desires and hopes, and threatenings to drive him by a necessary 
fear : Deut. xxx. 15, ' See I have set before thee this day life and good, 
death and evil.' In the precept there is the rule of man's duty, in the 
sanction the rule of God's judgment or judiciary proceedings with him. 
And wherever this law is set up, there God is said to 'judge the people 
righteously, and govern the nations upon earth,' Ps. Ixvii. 4 ; that is, 
to set up holy and righteous decrees, fitted for the benefit of mankind. 

[2.] His judiciary justice, called also distributive; that sort of 
justice whereby he renderetli unto men according to their works, 
whether good or evil, Kom. ii. 6, and that without respect of persons, 
1 Peter i. 17, without regard to any external thing which hath no 
affinity with the cause that is to be judged, as profession or non- 

This justice is twofold remunerative and vindictive, rewarding and 

(1.) Rewarding. It is just with God to reward our obedience, or to 
give men what his promise hath made due to them : Heb. vi. 10, ' God 
is not unrighteous, to forget your labour of love.' If they should never 
be rewarded or forgotten, God should be unrighteous or unfaithful, 
which to imagine is abominable : 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' Henceforth is laid up 
for me a crown of righteousness, which God, the righteous judge, will 
give me in that day.' It is from God's righteousness and promise, 
with respect had to Christ's merit, and the qualification of the parties ; 
as I shall more fully show by and by. 


(2.) Vindictive, or punishing justice. God punisheth none but 
sinners, and only for sin, and that according to the measure of the sin : 
Horn. ii. 7,-9, ' To them who, by patient continuance in well-doing, 
seek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life. But unto 
them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey un 
righteousness, indignation and wrath ; tribulation and anguish upon 
every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first and also of the gentile.' 
Despisers of the grace of the gospel, John iii. 19 ; Heb. x. 29, ' Of how 
much sorer punishment shall he be thought worthy ? ' There is a 
special guilt in such a sin, which will be most tormenting and vexing to 
us. They have no cause to impute their damnation to anything but 
their own wilful neglect. 

3. This distributive justice is exercised either more darkly or plainly. 

[1.] More darkly. The world is not governed by chance, but admin 
istered by an all-wise and most just providence. Here in this world now 
there is a punishment of the wicked, and a reward of the righteous. For 
punishment God keepeth a petty sessions before the day of general 
assizes : wickedness is now punished : Rom. i. 18, ' The wrath of God 
is revealed from heaven,' &c. Now and then God doth so sensibly and 
visibly reward the righteous, that men are forced to acknowledge that 
godliness is matter of benefit in this world, abstracted from the rewards 
of another life : Ps. Iviii. 11, ' Verily there is a God that judgeth in the 
earth, verily there is a reward for the righteous/ 

[2.] More plainly hereafter, when God will openly and beyond all 
doubt and question make good his word to his people, and declare his 
vengeance against the wicked. The great end of the day of judgment is 
the demonstration of God's remunerative and vindictive justice; therefore 
called ' the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God/ Rom. 
ii. 5. He will not only glorify his love and mercy in the salvation of the 
elect, but his justice also in rewarding the performers of the condition, 
and what his promise hath made their due. The business then is to 
remove the veil, Acts xvii. 31. The difference between the last time 
and now is this 

(1.) That the righteous and the wicked have but the beginnings of 
their reward and punishment. The wicked are not altogether without 
punishment, but they are but the beginnings of sorrow, if you respect 
God's external or internal government. As to his internal government, 
the carnal world mindeth it not much, but yet others may perceive it, 
as by troubles and gripes of conscience, Heb. ii. 15, or impenitence, or 
hardness of heart : Eph. iv. 19, ' Past feeling ; ' Ps. Ixxxi. 12, conscience 
terrified or stupified. But the external government of God is exercised, 
so far as the world is not left without a sufficient witness of the justice 
of God, to give them warning what they may expect in the other world, 
and to keep up the belief of a providence ; that is to say, that the gover 
nor of the world mindeth the affairs of the world, and so that he may 
be known to be a holy and just God : Ps. clxv. 17, ' He is holy in all his 
ways, and righteous in all his works.' This is so far discovered in all the 
acts of God's providence, that the contrary is never discerned. Now 
we may say, Rev. xvi. 5, ' Thou art righteous, Lord, which art, and 
wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.' There is some fore 
going punishment, which we may take notice of for the people of God 


in this life. His servants have much of his mercy, and the beginnings 
of their reward in the beginnings of their salvation, but the fulness is 
reserved for the world to come. As to his internal government, his 
people have much of his love, in peace of conscience, increase of grace, 
tastes of God's acceptance, assistance of the Spirit, answers of prayer, 
and sweet foretastes of eternal life. As to his external government, 
men here may sometimes ' discern between the righteous and the wicked, 
between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not,' Mai. iii. 
17, 18, but at the general judgment this is fully manifested in eternal 
reward and punishment. 

(2.) The justice of God now appeareth more negatively than positively; 
that is to say, God doth nothing contrary to justice. As to his rewards 
of his servants, none can justly charge him for a neglect of them, they 
having deserved nothing which they enjoy, Gen. xxxii. 19, and having 
deserved much more than they suffer, Ezra ix. 13. All benefits are 
more, all corrections less than they deserve. And therefore it is not 
necessary that the justice of God should be always positively conspicu 
ous ; it is enough that it should be negatively conspicuous, that God do 
nothing contrary to his governing justice ; as a man is always risible, 
yet he doth not always laugh ; we cannot deny the faculty because of 
the cessation of the act. God is always just, but he doth not always 
exercise his remunerative justice. So for the effects of his vindictive 
justice ; it is not always necessary they should be exercised in the day 
of his patience, in cutting off sinners presently as soon as they sin, and 
putting them into their final state ; because men are now upon their 
trial, and the present government of the world is not that of sense, but 
of faith ; therefore God waiteth to see if men will break off their sins, 
and make themselves capable of his mercy : 2 Peter iii. 9, ' God is not 
slack concerning his promise.' But hasty men would have all things 
done within time, without expectation of eternity. But God, that 
knoweth what long-suffering is necessary to the most obstinate creatures, 
doth not presently cast them off from all expectation of mercy. Chris 
tianity would have lost a Paul and many a useful instrument if the final 
judgment of God had gone according to our fancies and hasty censures. 
There is room still for repentance, God being always willing that the 
apostate state of mankind should have time, and day, and means to 
repent, and turn unto the Lord. 

(3.) How God will exercise his fatherly justice upon his people, and 
his patience toward the wicked. 

(1st.) His corrective justice toward his people, by many penal evils 
inflicted up them : 1 Sam. vii. 14, ' If he commit iniquity, I will chasten 
him with the rod of men, and the stripes of the children of men/ The 
faults of the godly procure to them sharp correction : 1 Cor. xi. 32, 
'We are judged when we are chastened of the Lord,' &c. There is 
fatherly love, though also corrective justice, and the saints acknowledge 
it: Neh. ix. 33, ' Thou art just in all that is brought upon us, for thou 
hast done righteously, but we have done wickedly.' So David : Ps. 
cxix. 137, ' Righteous art thou, Lord, and upright are thy judgments.' 
Sharp corrections are but just ; all is good to the godly. 

(2c.) Patience towards the wicked: Bom. ix. 22, 7ro\\fj fj,aicpo- 
ia, ' endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath.' They 


shall want no arguments to convince them of their folly and impeni- 
tency when they are in hell. 

(4.) Now it is clouded, then conspicuous. There is a veil upon God's 
proceedings, they are sometimes secret, always just : Ps. xcii. 2, ' To 
show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness 
every night.' 

II. Let us apply it to the different recompenses here mentioned; 
and so 

1. To the punishment of the wicked : c To recompense tribulation 
to them that trouble you.' There is no great difficulty to suit this part 
of the judgment to God's righteousness ; for sinners deserve the punish 
ment which is inflicted upon them, who lived in ease and pomp, and 
neglected God's laws, and oppressed his servants, that were more faithful 
than themselves. 

There is a double reason of their punishment 

[1.] Their own disobedience to the laws of their creator, which is- 
enough to involve them in eternal ruin : Horn. ii. 8, ' But to them that 
are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, 
tribulation and wrath.' Men that dispute away their duty to God, and 
live in the world as if they had no superior but such as their interests 
engage them to own, and as if there were no God, no judgment, there 
can be nothing pleaded for them. 

[2.] Their opposing them that would obey God, and so they make 
themselves an opposite party to God, and consent with the devil in his 
apostasy. There are two kingdoms in the world, the kingdom of God 
and the kingdom of Satan; these are opposite. It is enough to our 
ruin to remain in the one and not accept of the other, when God 
cometh to reckon, Col. i. 18, Acts xxvi. 18. But it is a double condem 
nation if we be factors and agents for the one against the other. These 
carry on not only a defensive but offensive war against God ; for these 
set themselves point-blank against the kingdom of God in the world, 
not only refusing it themselves, but seeking to discourage others : Mat. 
xxiii. 13, 'Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites, for ye shut 
up the kingdom of God against men ; for ye neither go in yourselves, 
nor suffer them that are entering to go in.' They divert others to their 
power, not only by example, but persecution and opposition to them. 
And if they have come under some visible engagement to Christ, their 
crime is the greater. If they smite their fellow-servants, and eat and 
drink with the drunken, Mat. xxiv, 49, malign, envy, traduce, and injure 
them who are faithful to the law of Christ, and strengthen the hands 
of the wicked, no wonder they are punished. Surely that is just which 
right and equity requireth, either from the nature of the thing or the 
threatenings of God. It only admitteth this condition, if they repent 
as Paul did, who did it ignorantly. 

2. If we refer it to the other effect, ' To give you that are troubled 

How is this just with God ? 

I answer Things may be said to be righteous with God three 

(1.) In respect of strict justice, when what we do deserveth the reward 
by the intrinsic value, worth, and condignity of our obedience. So no 


obedience, whether of man or angel, though never so perfect, can bind 
God to reward it. There is this difference between sin and obedience, 
that the heinousness of sin is always aggravated and heightened by 
the proportion of its object, but the merit and value of obedience is 
still lessened. The sin or offence is aggravated, as to strike an officer 
is more than to strike a private man, a king more than an ordinary 
officer. Thence it cometh to pass that a sin committed against God 
doth deserve an infinite punishment, because the majesty of God is 
infinite ; and so eternal death is the wages of sin. But on the other 
side, the value and merit of obedience is lessened. The greater God 
is, and the more glorious his being, the greater obligation lieth upon 
us to love and serve him ; and the good which we do for his sake being 
wholly due to him, God is not bound by any right or justice from the 
merit of the action itself to reward it ; for here the greatness of the 
object lesseneth the action, or respect thereby performed to it, Luke 
xvii. 10 ; for the creature oweth itself to God, who made it, and enabled 
it to do all that it can do ; so that he is not bound to reward it out of 
his natural justice, but inclined to do it out of his own goodness, and 
bound to do it by his free promise and gracious covenant. 

(2.) There is his justice of bounty and free beneficence. God is just 
by way of bounty when he rewards man capable of reward and accounted 
worthy, though not in respect of perfect righteousness in himself, yet 
because he is some way righteous. This capacity of the reward respects 
either the righteousness of Christ, and that satisfaction he hath paid 
for us, Eom. iii. 25, 26, or the difference between the person recom 
pensed and others ; that he loveth God, is willing to suffer for him, and 
worketh righteousness. General justice doth require that he should 
reward the righteous, and put a difference between the godly and the 
wicked. That governor that useth all alike is not just. Therefore it 
is said, Ps. xi. 7, that ' the righteous God loveth righteousness.' It is 
agreeable to justice in general, ratione justifies, that wicked persecutors 
should not go unpunished, but that God should deal with them as they 
have done with others, and that they who have unjustly suffered in this 
world should be righted in another world, since they suffer out of love 
to God, and for his ake, and merely out of the hopes of that other and 
better world. 

(3.) God is just in respect of his promise. The condition being 
performed, his justice obligeth him ; he hath bound himself by his 
oovenant, and his righteousness implieth his veracity and faithful 
ness, 1 John i. 9. Not as if our patience merited it, as the oppressors 
deserve and are worthy of punishment, but God's promise assureth us 
of it ; for though his promise be free, yet, if it be once made, justice 
doth require it, and God is not free, but bound to perform it. 

Use 1. Terror to the wicked, especially those that are enemies of 
Christ's kingdom in the world, and haters of those that are good, 2 Tim. 
iii. 3. God is just, and will at length call you to an account. Con 
sider, he is just in his legislation ; as he would not make unrighteous 
laws for the pleasure of men, so he is just in execution, he will not 
pass unrighteous judgment. Your carnal minds are enemies to his 
laws, Kom. viii. 7, and your unbelieving hearts question his threaten- 
ings. But his laws are his laws, however you dislike them, and his 


threatenings are his threatenings, however you question the truth of 
them. His threatenings to be accomplished within time show always 
the merit of your actions, often the event ; but his eternal threatenings 
will be made good. Hell is not a painted fire. As he will not repeal 
his established laws because you dislike them, so he will not revoke 
his threatenings for fear of hurting such wilful and impenitent sinners 
as you are. They that will not fear his judgments shall feel them. 
The wicked put it to trial whose word shall stand, God's or theirs : 
Jer. xliv. 28, ' They say, Peace, peace ; ' God saith, Woe, wrath, tribu 
lation, anguish ; and it shall be fulfilled or made good. But it is a sad 
thing to stand to that adventure ; you may set a good face on it, but 
conscience owneth the justice, Horn. i. 32. Thence guilty fears arise, 
which are so natural to man, that we can neither deny nor put off. 
Nature is afraid of a just judge, and the consent of all people doth 
evidence it. Therefore we should think of it, and prepare ourselves to 
be judged by him. 

2. For the consolation of the faithful. God is righteous. You 
experiment his mercy here by the way, in pardoning your sins and 
sanctifying your afflictions, comforting you under them, and giving a 
gracious issue out of them ; but then you shall find him just (1.) In 
punishing your unreasonable enemies, 2 Peter ii. 9. (2.) Your reward 
is sure : Prov. xi. 18, ' To him that soweth righteousness shall be a 
sure reward/ Therefore we should the more resolutely forsake the 
pleasures of sin, and endure the afflictions of the gospel, and continue 
with patience in well-doing, that we may not lose what we have wrought. 
You have a pledge of this in the new nature given to you. As any are 
made partakers of a divine nature, they are more just and righteous, 
hate sin and sinners, love the godly. It is said of Lot, 2 Peter ii. 7, 8, 
that 'just Lot was vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked ; 
for that righteous man, dwelling among them, vexed his soul from day 
to day in seeing and hearing their unlawful deeds.' God, that created 
such a principle of grace in us, is much more righteous. Retributive 
justice is a ray of God's righteousness. God is said to be with him in 
the judgment, 2 Chron. xix. 6. 

I come now more particularly to discuss the two> effects. 

First, To recompense tribulation to them that trouble you. Tribu 
lation in the issue is the portion of the wicked : Rom. ii. 9, ' Tribula 
tion and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil.' But here 
the apostle would draw us to consider the harmony and agreeableness 
between the punishment and the offence. And thence we note 

That God usually retaliateth with men. 

First, As here, ' It is just with God to recompense tribulation to them 
that trouble you ; ' that the troublers should be troubled. You will 
say, How can this tribulation which is recompensed imply the ruin of 
the soul, when they afflicted only the bodies of the saints ? 

I answer Two ways 

1. Because they can go no further : Luke xii. 4, ' Fear not them that 
only can kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.' 
Implying they would do more if it were in their power, so great is their 
malice against the saints. 

2. This trouble they occasion to the saints is their soul's sin ; not 


only the fruit of the violence of their hands, but of the enmity of their 
souls against the power of godliness, 1 John iii. 12. With their souls 
they sinned, and they are punished in their souls as well as their bodies. 
So that argueth this judgment of counter-passion, that as they do to 
others it shall be done unto themselves. God threateneth it in his 
word : Exod. xxii. 22, 24, ' Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless 
child.' But what would come of it if they did ? God threateneth that 
he ' will kill you by the sword, and your wives shall be widows, and 
your children shall be fatherless.' It should be returned and paid home 
in the same coin. So Kev. xvi. 5, 6, ' Kighteous art thou, Lord, for 
they have shed the blood of the saints, and thou hast given them blood 
to drink, for they are worthy.' There the angel of the waters 
applauds the suitableness of the judgment ; they had made God's saints 
a prey by their rigorous laws, and God would make them a prey to the 
destroyer. There is a proportionableness between the sin and the 
judgment ; bloody men shall drink their fill of blood. Now this pro 
phetical scheme and draught is a threatening. So James ii. 13, ' He 
shall have judgment without mercy that showed no mercy/ God will 
meet men in their own way of sinning, that his judgment may be the 
more conspicuous. 

Secondly, God observeth this course in his providence : Judges i. 7, 
' Threescore and ten kings having their thumbs and great toes cut off 
gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath 
requited me.' Affliction, which is the most trusty counsellor to princes 
of all their retinue, for it knoweth not how to flatter, taught him to 
see his cruelty, and the justice of God in his punishment. The like 
justice God used to Pharaoh, who appointed the children of Israel to 
be drowned in the waters, and at length he and all his host were 
drowned in a branch of the Ked Sea. So God showed himself the 
patron of oppressed infants. Indeed, what more usual than that male 
factors are dealt with according to their own wicked ways ? As God 
threateneth Edom, Obad. 5, ' As thou hast dealt, so shall it be done to 
thee ; thy reward shall return upon thine own head.' Ahab's blood was 
lapped up by dogs in the place where they had shed the blood of 
Naboth. Jezebel was more guilty than he : Ahab permitted, Jezebel 
contrived. Ahab humbled himself, therefore Ahab was buried with 
honour, but Jezebel was entombed in the bellies of the dogs. Haman 
was executed on the gallows set up for Mordecai, Esther vii. 10. Henry 
the Third of France was killed in the chamber where the massacre was 
contrived, and Charles the Ninth died flowing in his blood in his bed. 
In the parable, desideravit guttam, qui non dedit micam He wanted 
a drop who gave not a crumb. But is it so with good men also ? Yes ; 
Jacob, that got the blessing by a wile, and came to Isaac, the younger 
for the elder, after seven years' hard service was put off with Leah, the 
blear-eyed elder sister, instead of Rachel, the beautiful younger sister. 
Asa, that put the prophet in the stocks, was diseased in his feet. 
Joseph was not flexible to his brethren's requests, as they were inexor 
able to him in his extremity : Gen. xlii. 21, 22, ' We are verily guilty 
concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he 
besought us, and we would not hear ; therefore is this distress come 
upon us.' This was many years after the fact committed ; they knew 


not Joseph. David, Absalom, 2 Sam. xii. 10-12. Paul consented to 
the stoning of Stephen ; yea, assisted at his execution, for they laid down 
their garments at Paul's feet ; and therefore Paul was afterward stoned 
and left for dead, Acts xiv. 19, 20. Stephen prayed for him among 
the rest, ' Lay it not to their charge ; ' yet God gave him some remem 
brance of this sin. Barnabas was not stoned, who was assistant to Paul, 
but Paul was stoned ; both had been alike offensive for preaching the 
gospel at Iconium. Paul was sensible of this crying sin, Acts xxii. 20. 
Well, then, if men will do to others what they should not, God will 
do to them what they would not. But here eternal vengeance is 

Use 1. Let us take heed how we oppress any, especially that our 
hearts boil not with rancour and malice against God's children. 
Injuriousness and cruelty to the faithful will not go unrevenged. It 
may be you think you do God good service, John xvi. 2. But that 
doth not excuse you from punishment, for God will not be served with 
furious and blind zeal. The rule is general, ' It is just with God to 
recompense tribulation,' &c. 

2. Let not the godly be envious and repine at the temporal prosperity 
of wicked men. Their ruin is certain ; God will remember them that 
show no mercy, but heavily lay on the yoke, Isa. xlvii. 6. God will 
put the cup of affliction into other hands, if you can but tarry his 
leisure, Isa. li. 22. 

Secondly, 'And to you that are troubled rest with us.' There is his 
recompense to the faithful, and that which is appointed to them is rest ; 
and not barely so, but ' rest with us.' Paul and the other apostles of 
the Lord were engaged in the same cause, and looked for a like issue. 
The apostles had a particular promise, Mat. xix. 28 ; but they were 
all fellow-soldiers in the same warfare, and as to the substance of it, 
expected the same crown. 

Here note two things 

1. That the reward of the faithful is represented under the notion 
of rest. Here the word is cw/eo-t?, which signifies a cessation or relax 
ation from all their troubles ; but it implieth more than at first appear- 
eth; not only a release from their troubles, but eternal glory and 
happiness in proportion to their troubles, 2 Cor. iv. 7. But a rest it is 
called (1.) Sometimes in allusion to the rest of Canaan, where the 
people of God fixed their abode after their wearisome pilgrimage. So 
it is taken Heb. iv. 1, 'We having a promise of entering into his rest 
left us, let us fear lest any of us should seem to come short of it.' And 
so it noteth that heaven is the place of our eternal abode, after our 
pilgrimage in the world ; there is our home and resting-place. (2.) 
Sometimes it is spoken of with allusion to the sabbatic rest : Heb. iv. 
9, ' There remaineth therefore a rest for the children of God.' The 
word there is cra/3/3emcr/i05. It is a celebration of an eternal sabbath 
to God. Our abode there and business there is perpetual worship, and 
we go there not only to enjoy God, but to adore God. Heaven is a 
temple, and Christians are all priests, Rev. i. 6. We are not fully made 
kings till we reign with him, nor priests till we come to minister im 
mediately before the throne. If the priesthood we have by Christ doth 
chiefly concern our ministration in the heavenly temple, the case is 


clear; here we are consecrated, fitted by justifying and sanctifying 
grace. (3.) It is called a rest in opposition to those tedious conflicts 
that we have about our spiritual estate and condition before God ; but 
then all is at an end, when the pardon is pronounced by the judge's 
own mouth, Acts iii. 19. So it is &vatyv1;k : then is everlasting joy 
and refreshing, no more conflicts and agonies of conscience ; our doubts 
and fears are quite gone, and we are at rest in Christ. (4.) It is some 
times called rest in opposition to whatever was grievous and burden 
some in our duties : Kev. xiv. 13, ' They rest from their labours.' They 
cease not from duty, but from whatsoever was burdensome and trouble 
some in their duty, either through the weakness of their flesh, or their 
want of satisfaction in God. (1st.) The weakness of the flesh maketh 
duty wearisome to us. But there we are all spirit ; even this body shall 
become a spiritual body, and it shall be no labour to us to serve God. 
(2d.) Want of satisfaction in God. Adepto fine, cessat motus. When 
the soul hath what it would have, it is at rest. Fulness of joy, satisfied 
with thy likeness. (5.) It is called rest in opposition to the calamities 
and troubles of the present life. So in the text, and Isa. Ivii, 2, ' Rest 
in their beds.' Their souls at rest with God, and their bodies in their 

Use. We say rest in God, but we forget our true resting-place. 
Arise ! here is not your rest, Micah ii. 10 ; as right passengers with 
their staves in their hands, enter into heaven. 


Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to 
them that trouble you; and to you that are troubled rest with 
us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his 
mighty angels. 2 THES. i. 6, 7. 

DOCT. That the reward of the faithful is represented under the notion 
of a rest. 

1. We shall inquire what a rest this is. 

2. Why it is represented under this notion. 
I. What is this rest ? 

1. It is a felicitating rest ; not a bare cessation from troubles (as 
the word dvea-is would seem to import), or a freedom from evil, but the 
enjoyment of all good. 

[1.] In this rest there is a freedom from all troublesome evils. In 
this estate there is neither sin 'nor misery. Sin grieveth the saints 
most, Rom. vii. 24. If any had cause to complain of afflictions, Paul 
much more ; he was whipped, imprisoned, stoned ; but lusts troubled 
him more than scourges, and his captivity to the law of sin was the 
worst bondage. To be sinning here whilst others are glorifying God 
is grievous to the saints. A beast will forsake the place where he 
findeth neither meat nor rest. The saints do live with manifold fail- 

VOL. xx. p 


ings, but in heaven there is no sin, Eph. v. 27 ; no spot nor wrinkle 
upon the face of the glorified saints. Their faces were once as black 
as ours, but now they are fully cleansed, made fair as the sun, bright as 
the moon. Christ will present them as such to God, as rejoicing in the 
fruits of his purchase. Alas ! what a trouble is it now to mortify one 
lust, or to prevent it from breaking out into some scandalous practice ! 
We cannot do anything but sin will mingle with it, or enjoy anything 
but we grow proud and sensual. A worm may breed in manna, 2 Cor. 
xii. 7. But then we are most high and most humble and holy. 
What is it we struggled under and groaned under all our lives but sin ? 
But now there is no sin, and no temptations to sin. In paradise there 
was a tempter, but not in heaven. Satan was long since cast out 
thence, and the saints come to fill up the vacant rooms of the apostate 
angels. The world is a place of snares, a valley of temptations, the 
devil's circuit wherein he walketh to and fro ; but no serpent can creep 
into the upper paradise. Here we cry, ' Lord, lead us not into tempta 
tion, but deliver us from evil.' There our cries are heard to the full ; 
we are neither tempted, nor shall we displease God any more ; sin is 
not only mortified but nullified. 

[2.] There is no more misery nor affliction. Whatever is -painful 
and burdensome is a fruit of the fall, a brand and mark of our rebel 
lion against God ; but there affliction is done away as well as sin. 
Both recompenses are without mixture. In hell there is an evil and 
only evil, without any temperament of good ; and in heaven there is 
happiness and only happiness, without any allay of evil : ' God will 
wipe all tears from our eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor 
sorrow, nor crying, nor any pain,' Rev. xxii. 4. No more doubts of 
God's love, no sense of his displeasure. Here, when the wounds are 
healed the scars remain ; we have many suspicious thoughts still ; we 
need to be dieted ; the honey of God's love would grow too luscious if 
we did not taste something of the vinegar and the gall ; but there is 
full and uninterrupted joy. Here the candle of the Lord doth not 
always shine upon us alike brightly, but there our sun remaineth in 
an eternal high noon, without clouds or overcasting. If our souls be at 
ease, yet the body hath its afflictions. We make it too often the instru 
ment of sin, therefore God justly maketh it the subject of diseases. 
But there are no gouts, and agues and fevers, nor stone, nor cholic, 
but the body for ever remaineth in an eternal spring of youth. And 
for violence from without and oppressions, there is no cry of destruc 
tion upon destruction, no tumult to discompose that blessed region 
wherein God will place his faithful ones ; no company of the wicked 
to vex these righteous souls, much less have they any power to molest 
them, but they are bound hand and foot, and cast into utter darkness, 
as unruly men that trouble the faithful subjects are put into prison. 
Again, then we are freed from the inconveniencies of hunger, and 
nakedness, and want ; for these are bodily necessities incident to the 
present state ; but there wholly freed from the necessities of nature, 1 
Cor. vi. 12. There is no need of meat, drink, or apparel. The body 
now is a kind of prison to the soul, but then it is a temple. 

[3.] An enjoyment of all good; for God is all in all, whom we 
know and love. We love what we see, and enjoy what we love. The 


blessedness of the soul is the heaven of heavens. It is called the inheri 
tance of the saints in light, Col. i. 12. It is not for their turn that know 
no other happiness but to eat, drink, and sleep, and wallow in brutish 
pleasures. It is an inheritance in light, that consists in the vision and 
fruition of God ; and it is for saints, that are clarified from the dregs 
of sense, and know how to value and prize these things. To our feli 
city three things are necessary (1.) A prepared faculty ; (2.) A suit 
able object ; (3.) The conjunction of both these. In the state of glory 
all these things concur ; the faculty is more capacious, the object is 
more fully represented, and the fruition is more intimate than possibly 
it can be here. The faculty is more prepared, as we are purged from 
sin, and freed from the delusions of the flesh. The object is more 
manifested, for there we see God ' face to face,' 1 Cor. xiii. 12. The 
conjunction is more intimate; for here it is by faith, and that is an 
imperfect sight, there by vision ; here by an imperfect love, there by 
perfect love. Now he that is joined to the Lord is made one spirit, 1 
Cor. vi. 17- But oh, what a conjunction will it be when we shall be 
joined to the Lord by sight and perfect love ! Vision shall succeed to 
faith, and possession to hope, and the soul adhereth to him without 
possibility of diversion. It is hard to speak of heaven till the great 
voice of his providence call upon us to come up and see what God hath 
provided for us. But, in short, vision maketh way for assimilation, 
and assimilation for full satisfaction. See 1 John iii. 2, ' We shall see 
him as he is, and be like him ; ' as iron by lying in the fire seemeth all 
fire. This for full satisfaction : ' I shall be satisfied with thy likeness,' 
Ps. xvii. 15. The soul is then at rest ; it hath enough in God, in seeing 
God, and loving God, and being made like God. 

2. It is an holy and religious rest, a perpetual sabbatising, Heb. iv. 
9, o-a/?/5aTioY4o<? ; a celebrating of an eternal sabbath to God. A sab 
bath is an holy rest, not a time of idleness, but to be religiously spent 
and employed; so this rest and sabbatism, which is promised to believers, 
is not passed over in ease and sloth, but in acts of worship and adora 
tion. It is a rest from toil and labour, but not from work and service. 
On the sabbath-day the sacrifices were doubled, Num. xxviii. 1. In 
our everlasting sabbatism we serve God after a more perfect manner, 
especially delighting and rejoicing in God, and praising his name. The 
place agreeth with this notion as well as the time. Heaven is repre 
sented under the notion of a temple, as the state of glory by a sabbatism. 
There were three partitions in the temple the outward court, the holy 
place, and the holy of holies ; as there is an airy heaven, and the starry 
heaven, and the heaven of heavens, Acts iii. 21 ; and sometimes the 
third heaven, 2 Cor. xii. 2. This heaven of heavens is the seat of God 
and the blessed saints, often called the holiest, with respect to the type 
of the temple or sanctuary, Heb. ix. 24. The apostle tells you that the 
earthly or worldly sanctuary was a type of the true holy place, heaven 
itself, the throne and palace of God, where his people are admitted into 
a nearer attendance upon God. Well, then, if the state of glory be a 
sabbath and heaven a temple, we have but one thing to do more, that 
is, to find out a priest. So Christians are ; that is their quality and 
function ; for it is said, Rev. i. 6, ' He hath made us kings and priests 
unto God and his Father.' Now all the difficulty is whether this 


priesthood relateth to our spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, which 
we offer upon earth, or to our worship in heaven when we are admitted 
into the immediate presence of God, and praise him for evermore; 
whether it concerneth our ministration before the throne of grace, or 
before the throne of glory. I do not exclude the former ; but because 
the latter is a truth commonly overlooked, I will prove that the priest 
hood which we have by Christ concerneth our ministration in the 
heavenly temple. I prove it 

[1.] From our conformity to Christ. If Christ were not consecrated 
to his everlasting priesthood till he died, the like is to be presumed of 
a Christian. But so it is that this is clear of Christ : Heb. v. 9, 
TeXetwflei?, ' Being made perfect through sufferings/ &c. At his death 
the rites of his consecration were over ; therefore a Christian, who 
runneth parallel with Christ in all his offices, is fully consecrated and 
fitted to officiate before God. 

[2.] This suiteth with the other privilege ; we are made kings as 
well as priests. Now our kingly office is imperfect till we come to 
heaven. A poor Christian is but a king in a riddle; as he vanquisheth 
the devil, the world, and the flesh, in some weak manner, he hath a 
princely spirit. The kingdom of which we partake by Christ is 
mainly hereafter, Luke xii. 32 ; 2 Tim. ii. 12, ' If we suffer with him, 
we shall also reign with him.' So proportionably the other privilege 
of being made priests must be expounded also. We have our sacrifices 
now, but this office is not completed till we enter into the holiest, Heb. 
x. 19 ; not in spirit only, but in person. 

[3.] If our consecration be not consummated till death, our office 
is not perfect till then. Our consecration to the spiritual priesthood 
consists in our justification and sanctification, both which are now 
imperfect : Heb. x. 22, we are bidden to ' draw nigh to God ' (which 
is a priestly notion), ' having our hearts sprinkled from an evil con 
science, and our bodies washed as with pure water.' Now we are not 
perfect as appertaining to the conscience, and can hardly get above 
our legal fears, nor are we fully cleansed and sanctified ; but when our 
consecration is perfected, then are we fitted to serve God in his heavenly 

[4.] Nearness of access to God, and ministration before him, is the 
privilege of priests. Now we are kept at a distance ; all that we can 
have in this life is to draw nigh to the throne of grace ; but we are 
not admitted to God's immediate sight and presence. But when we 
minister before the throne of glory, then we have full communion with 
our God, and a clear vision of his blessed face; and then we are priests 
indeed when we come into the heavenly sanctuary. 

Well, then, our service is not ended with our lives. As we still 
stand in the relation of creatures to God, so we must still glorify him 
and serve him : Kev. vii. 14, 15, ' And he said unto me, These are 
they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, 
and have made them white with the blood of the Lamb. Therefore 
they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his 
temple ; and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them ; 
and they shall hunger no more, and thirst no more,' &c. Then we 
shall not serve him by fits and starts, but constantly. We shall not 


be at a distance from God, nor God at a distance from us ; but we 
shall still enjoy his company, lauding and praising his name. Here 
we are learners, there practisers. We shall then have a clearer sight 
of his excellencies, and a fuller sense of his benefits, and accordingly 
offer up to him the continual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. 

3. It is a rest for the whole person, soul and body both, but in their 
order. This I note, lest you should interpret this rest of their quiet 
abode in the grave, as it is sometimes understood ; Isa. Ivii. 2, ' They 
shall rest in their beds ; ' when the righteous are taken from the 
tumults of the world, and the evils that ensue after their death. Death 
is a sleep and quiet repose. But this is not meant of death, but of 
glory ; the rest of the body in the grave is common to the wicked. 
Now, as their bodies are laid down to rest in the grave as in a bed, 
there to sleep quietly until the general resurrection, so their souls pass 
into a place of rest and bliss. The soul first entereth into rest. When 
men come first into the world, the body is first framed, and the soul 
cometh after ; for this lower region is properly the place of bodies ; 
therefore reason requireth that the body, which is a citizen of the 
world, should first be framed, that it may be a fit receptacle for the 
soul, which is a stranger, and cometh from the region of spirits, which. 
is above. But when we must remove into those heavenly habitations, 
then it is quite otherwise ; for then the soul, as a native of that place, 
is presently admitted, but the body, as a stranger, is forced to reside in. 
the grave till the day of judgment, and then our bodies also are 
admitted into heaven ; this is the law of all private persons. Indeed 
Christ, who is the head of the church, is not subject to it ; his body as 
well as his human spirit was made a denizen of heaven as soon as ho 
ascended. He entered not there as a private citizen, but as king and 
lord of the heavenly Jerusalem, and therefore carried both body and 
soul along with him. But as to us, the soul goeth first there as to its 
proper seat, and after the final judgment both soul and body. There 
fore the apostle saith, ' To give you that are troubled rest, when the 
Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.' 
Then shall our reward be full. Bat that you may not think that this 
rest only implieth the sleep of death, and our quiet abode in the grave 
till we be awakened at the last day, I shall prove to you (1.) That 
the souls of the faithful enter into a blissful estate as soon as they depart 
out of the body ; (2.) What will be the condition of the body in the 

[1.] That souls as soon as they flit out of the body are at rest with 
the Lord. There are a sort of men so drowned in sense that they 
cannot believe things to come. Some question the immortality of the 
soul ; others assert the sleep of it, because they imagine it to be so tied 
to the body as that it cannot exercise its functions and operations with 
out it ; but that is a groundless error. 

(1.) If death cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ, 
surely the soul, notwithstanding death, is capable of showing love to 
God, and enjoying the fruits of his love to us : Rom. viii. 38, 39, ' I 
am persuaded that neither death nor life, &c., shall be able to separate 
us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.' Take it 
for our love to God, or God's love to us ; it is our happiness to love 


God, and be beloved of him. If death cannot vacate this or make it 
to cease, separate souls may love God, and enjoy the fruits of his love 
to them. 

(2.) If the souls of the saints, as soon as they are loosed from the 
body, be with God and Christ, then they are in a state of bliss : Phil, 
i. 23, ' I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, which is far 
better.' How could that be TroXXco /j,a\\ov Kpelara-ov, by much far the 
better, if the soul were deprived of all sense and feeling, and did remain 
in a dead sleepy state ? Is it not better for a gracious man to wake 
than to sleep? to be hard at work for God than to be idle and sit still? 
to use our powers and faculties than to lie in a senseless condition ? 
What profit is it to be with the Lord and not enjoy his company ? 
It is better to have our present love, knowledge, service, tastes, and 
experiences, than to lie in a stupid lethargy without all understanding 
and spiritual sense. It would be a loss to Paul if his body should lie 
rotting in the grave, and his soul without all fruition of God. What 
can be imagined to be that preponderating happiness which should 
sway his choice ? Is it to be eased of present labours and sufferings ? 
But God's people, who have resigned themselves to God, are wont to 
value their present service and enjoyment of God, though accompanied 
with great labours and afflictions. Surely Paul would never be in a 
strait if he were to be reduced upon his dissolution into a condition of 
stupid sleep, without any capacity of glorifying or enjoying God. God's 
people are wont to prefer the most afflicted condition with God's pre 
sence before the greatest contentments with his absence : ' If thou go 
not up with us, carry us not hence/ Better be with God in the wil 
derness than in Canaan without him. But so they are : 2 Cor. v. i. 
' We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, 
we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in 
the heavens.' Surely if the soul sleep till the resurrection, they should 
not say, When this house is dissolved ; but, When this house is raised, 
and this tabernacle is restored. When the saints desire to part with 
the body, it is not for want of love to the body, but out of love to their 
souls ; they would wish mortality were swallowed up of life, that the 
body might go along with the soul into glory. So ver. 8, ' We are 
willing to be absent from the body, that we may be present with 
the Lord ; ' implying that as soon as the one is effected and brought 
about, the other taketh place ; otherwise more absent when out of the 

(3.) If when they are with the Lord they are in a better state than 
now, surely then they are not only in manu Dei, in the hand of God ; 
but admitted in conspectum Dei, into the presence of God. It were 
also absurd to long for a dissolution of that estate wherein we feel the 
love of God and Christ, sometimes with us, unspeakable and glorious, 
for an estate wherein there is no sight and sense of God and Christ, 
and celestial and heavenly things. But so it is that they account this 
more eligible, Phil. i. 23. 

(4.) If the wicked and the righteous be in their final estate as soon 
as they die, surely then the rest of the saints beginneth presently upon 
their dissolution ; for as the trouble of the wicked is, so is the rest of 
the saints. But this we find in the scriptures, that the spirits of the 


disobedient are now in hell as in a prison, 1 Peter iii. 19. The souls 
of men and women do not vanish into nothing, are not extinguished in 
their bodies, nor are detained by the way in some third place ; but 
as soon as they depart out of the body, go to the place and state of 
torment. On the other side, the spirits of just men are said to be 
made perfect, Heb. xii. 23. When they are clothed and divested of 
their bodies, they are perfected in heaven ; which cannot be said if 
they did lie in a dull sleep, without any life, light, joy, or act of love 
to God. 

(5.) What is said to one convert belongeth to all in the same cir 
cumstances, and to them in like cases : Luke xxiii. 45, ' This day 
shaltthou be with me in paradise.' By ' paradise ' is meant heaven, as 
Paul calleth the third heaven paradise, 2 Cor. xii. 4, in allusion to 
Eden, or the garden out of which Adam was driven ; not in regard of 
his body (for that was disposed of as men pleased), but his soul. But 
when the soul was in paradise, was it deprived of all sense, yea or no ? 
Certainly no, for it was with Christ. And ' this day ; ' this comfort was 
not adjourned to commence some fifteen hundred or two thousand years 
afterward ; as this is a great comfort to those that are hard at work for 
God ; the time of your ease and refreshing is at hand ; if suffering, it 
will be soon over, and then your joys begin ; to the sick, it is but a 
little longer pain ; to the dying, in a moment, in the twinkling of an 
eye you will be with God. 

(6.) If those already departed be living with God in heaven, those 
that follow after may upon the same terms expect it. Now it is so ; 
the patriarchs are already with God, they all live to God : Luke xx. 
37, 38, ' For God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.' Then 
all the elect that are already departed are glorified : Col. i. 20, ' By 
the blood of his cross he hath reconciled all things to God, both in 
heaven and in earth.' He meaneth the universality of the elect, whether 
triumphant or militant. It cannot be meant of the angels ; there was 
never a breach between God and them, and therefore they cannot be 
said to be reconciled to him. If things in heaven be reconciled, it is 
meant of the glorified saints. 

Two reasons why our reward is represented under the notion of rest. 

(1st.) Because it suiteth with the aim of the saints. It is the end of 
motion. None have it but those that seek after it. We are all travel 
ling into the other world. Some are posting to eternal torment ; they 
choose a broad way and have much company, and go on pleasantly for 
the time, but this course endeth sadly ; this is the path that leadeth 
down to the chambers of death. But others are going to life and rest ; 
they enter into it by a strait gate, walk in a narrow way, the strait 
gate of repentance, the narrow way of new obedience ; but the end is 
blessed and glorious, Mat. vii. 13, 14. This life is a walk and a 
journey ; we are now in motion and in passage. Adepto fine, cessat 
motus. When we come to the place we intend, there we take our rest. 
Every day a Christian cometh nearer the shore : Rom. xiii. 11, ' Your 
salvation is nearer than it was when you first believed.' Only it 
standeth us upon to consider whether we go right. Every journey 
hath a period, and every motion its end and rest. 

(2d) This term suiteth best with the goodness of God, who delighteth 


to recompense his people for all their pain and weariness ; he hath a 
care of his weary servants now. Many times the pangs of the new 
birth are sharp and tedious, therefore he giveth some the tongue of 
the learned, that they may refresh the weary soul, Isa. 1. 4. And 
Christ saith, Mat. xi. 28, ' Come unto me, all ye that are weary and 
heavy laden, I will give you rest/ It is our rest by the way ; so at the 
end of the journey. A constant course of holiness puts upon many 
labours, and sorrows, and conflicts. (1.) Labours, The Lord taketh 
notice of them, Heb. vi. 10, 1 Cor. xv. 28 ; therefore the Lord telleth 
the laborious soul of a rest. (2.) Sorrows, through our manifold cala 
mities and afflictions : John xvi. 20, ' The world shall rejoice, and ye 
shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.' They 
shall have much comfort and refreshing for their sad hours. The world 
rejoiceth when Christ is removed, and gone out of the world ; but the 
saints rejoice when Christ cometh ; then is their complete rest. (3.) 
Conflicts with the devil, the 'world, and the flesh. Through many 
wrestlings we get to heaven, we make our way thither every step by 
conflict and contest. Now those that fight the good fight of faith, 
God will crown them, 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. 

Use 1. To fortify our choice. It is left to us whether we will have 
our rest and ease here or hereafter. Both we cannot have, for rest is 
for the weary soul. We cannot reasonably hope to leap from Delilah's 
lap into Abraham's bosom, if we have never laboured in duties public 
or secret, withheld not ourselves from any joy. Some have their good 
things here, Luke xvi. 25, Ps. xvii. 14, their whole portion in this 
world ; others choose a life of labour, patience, and self-denial. To 
whom think you doth God promise rest ? If we will not endure the 
pains and be at the cost, we shall not have the rest. The flesh is 
importunate to be pleased, but it is better to please God and save the 

Two questions we should often put to ourselves 

1. Is there a motion after something better than the world can afford 
us ? A motion after God ; you dare not rest on anything below God. 
The spiritual life is nothing else but a seeking after God : Ps. xxiv.. 
6, ' This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, 
God.' We seek on earth, we find in heaven. But are we seekers 
or wanderers ? 

2. Is this motion carried on with that industry, patience, and self- 
denial that such a matter of importance requireth ? 

[1.] Industry : Ps. Ixiii. 8, ' My soul followeth hard after thee/ 
God is not to be sought carelessly and by the by ; the greatest business 
of our lives must be for him : ' First seek the kingdom of God,' &c. 
Mat. vi. 33. The soul must press after him, and labour to enjoy him ; 
this is our primary mark. 

[2.] Patience under many disappointments and sorrows. The spouse 
that sought after her beloved was smitten and wounded by the watch 
men, Cant. v. 7. But your hearts are so set upon God and the life to 
come, that still you make it your chiefest care and business to seek 
him, and will not be put out of your way : Ps. xliv. 17, ' All this 
is come upon us, yet have we not departed from thee ; our heart is not 
turned back.' 


[3.] Self-denial of our own ease, pleasure, credit, honour in the world, 
still conflicting with your own lusts, that at length you may attain the 
blessed God : Phil. iii. 11, ' If by any means,' &c., Mat. xi. 12. 

Use 2. To shame the people of God, that they are so delicate and 
tender of the flesh when such a rest is provided for them ; that duties 
are so wearisome ; that we begrudge a few sufferings ; that we so 
much give way to coldness and lukewarmness, and that God is over 
looked and neglected in the general course and drift of our lives ; that 
we are so loath to be at the trouble of contradicting our lusts, and do no 
more oppose the interest of the flesh. Christians ! can we expect the 
rest if we will not labour and strive against sin, even to weariness ? 

Secondly, ' Best with us ; ' that is, with us apostles, and other holy 
ones of God. 

Note 1. All Christians have the same felicity for substance, though- 
the degrees be different. 

Common Christians have their rest as well as the apostles. Those 
that have been together in the labour, in the duty, and the danger, 
shall be together in the rest and recompense. All the servants entered 
into the joy of the Lord, though some had an increase of ten talents, 
some five, Mat. xxv. 1. The grounds of essential happiness are the 
same to all. 

1. The same redeemer and mediator, Exod. xxx. 15. If they had 
a better Christ, or another mediator to ransom their souls, they might 
expect another happiness ; but all is brought about by the same 
redeemer, Jesus Christ, theirs and ours, 1 Cor. i. 2 ; by his mediation, 
sacrifice, and meritorious righteousness, Kom. iii. 22. 

2. The same covenant, which is the common charter of the saints, 
Acts ii. 39. It is a covenant which offereth the same benefits and 
requireth the same duties. The same benefits, pardon, life. Pardon : 
Rom. iv. 23, 24, ' Neither was it written for his sake alone, but for us 
also, if we believe/ Eternal life is the common portion of all the; 
saints : 2 Tim. iv. 8, ' Not for me only, but for all those/ &c. It 
requireth the same duties, for all the saints have the same rule to 
walk by, Gal. vi. 16. The same gospel is the power of God to salva 
tion to every one that believeth, Rom. i. 16. Well, then, if all have no 
other charter from God to show for pardon and life, and all are bound 
to the same duties, all shall have the same happiness. 

Note 2. Though the essential happiness of the saints be the same^ 
yet there are degrees in glory. (1.) From scripture. (2.) The nature of 
that glory and blessedness which we expect. Sicut se habet simpliciter 
ad simpliciter, ita magis ad magis. If I am to love a holy man as a 
holy man, I am to love those most who excel in holiness. So look 
what relation holiness hath to heaven, so more holiness hath more 
relation to heaven. (3.) From the remunerative justice of God. 

Note 3. ' Rest with us.' It is a comfortable adjunct to our felicity 
in heaven that we shall have such company there. Surely the apostle 
mentions it for their comfort here. So elsewhere it is propounded : 
Mat. viii. 11, ' Ye shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in 
the kingdom of heaven.' These were mentioned because they were 
the prime believers, and chief in esteem among the Jews, before whom 
Christ then spake. So everywhere in scripture it is made a happiness 


to be of this society, Heb. xii. 22, 23 ; Bph. ii. 19, ' Fellow-citizens 
with all the saints ; ' Eph. iii. 15, ' Of whom the whole family is named, 
whether in heaven or earth.' If to be of this society now be a privilege, 
though severed in distinct habitations, then what a comfort is it to be 
admitted to a greater nearness of converse with the patriarchs and 
prophets, apostles and martyrs, and all the worthies of God. We love 
their company now ; it is sweet to be in the assemblies of the saints 
on earth, to pray, hear, fast, and communicate together in the Lord's 
supper ; much more in heaven ; the saints are more lovely, other 
manner of saints than ever we knew them before. 

Use. Well, then, let us love the saints of God now, for these are to 
be our everlasting companions: Ps. cxxxiii. 1, 'It is comely and 
pleasant to live together in unity.' We that look for one home, should 
we fall out by the way ? All agree there ; why should we not glorify 
God with one mind and mouth now ? There are different degrees of 
light, which cause differences of opinion ; but there are substantial and 
common truths enough, wherein we all agree, to bring us to a closer 
union. Certainly those beautefeus and coal-blowers should be hateful 
to all Christians; the truest zeal and martyrdom will be enough in 
uniting Christians. 


When the Lard Jesus shall be revealed from heaven ivith his mighty 
. angels. 2 THES. i. 7. 

WE now come to the third thing, the time when our reward shall be 
fully accomplished, 'When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from 

In the words observe (1.) The person coming, 'The Lord;' (2.) 
His train and retinue, ' With his mighty angels.' 

From thence observe two points 

1. There is a time coming when Christ shall be fully revealed from 
heaven, and appear in all his glory. 

2. That when Christ cometh he shall bring his mighty angels with 

For the first point. 

1. What is this revelation ? The coming of Christ is sometimes set 
forth by the word a7roK(i\v^t<f, revelation ; sometimes by the word 
m<f>dveia, appearing. The former is in the text, and in 1 Peter i. 
13, ' Hope to the end for the grace which shall be brought unto you at 
the revelation of Jesus Christ.' So 1 Cor. i. 7, ' Waiting for the coming 
of our Lord Jesus Christ,' a7ro/caXui/r/, the revelation. Elsewhere the 
other word is used ; as 2 Tim. iv. 8, Titus ii. 13, ' Looking for the 
blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our 
Saviour Jesus Christ.' Both are to the same effect. 

The former we are now upon. It is used for these reasons 


[1.] There are many who never had a sight of his glorious person, 
his bodily presence is withdrawn from us ; for Christ departed into the 
heavens long before we were born, not to deny the world any necessary 
satisfaction, but upon wise reasons. It was expedient he should go from 
us : John xvi. 7, ' It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go 
not away the Comforter will not come unto you.' And he is contained 
in the heaven of heavens, Acts iii. 21, 'Until the time of the restitu 
tion of all things.' There is a great distance between us and heaven, 
which though it doth not hinder his spiritual virtue and influence, yet 
it doth the enjoyment and sight of his bodily presence ; we cannot see 
him nor hear him, though we feel his gracious operations in our souls : 
1 Peter i. 8, ' Whom having not seen, ye love ; in whom, though now 
ye see him not, yet believing ye rejoice with joy,' &c. But at the last 
day he shall be revealed, or visibly manifested to be the head of the 
church, and the judge and avenger of his people. We shall find that 
our faith was not misplaced, that he is what we believed him to be, and 
that he was worthy to be loved and obeyed. 

[2.] When he was upon earth he lived in a state of obscurity, his 
godhead peeping out sometimes through the veil in a miracle or so, but 
mostly obscuring and hiding itself ; for his kingdom was not of this 
world. And this way of coming was necessary to try his people : John 
i. 11, 'He came unto his own, and his own received him not.' The 
Jews will not believe that Christ was the true Messiah, because he came 
not in such a manner as to satisfy his own countrymen ; but God's 
thoughts are not as man's thoughts. We walk here, ' not by sight, but 
by faith,' 2 Cor. v. 7. A dispensation of faith must neither be too 
bright nor too obscure. 

[3.] Now his spiritual glory is seen but in a glass darkly, 1 Cor. 
xiii. 12. We apprehend him by faith, but see him not face to face ; 
though he be revealed to the soul, yet not so revealed as he will be at 
his second coming. Vision or beholding of his glory is reserved for 
heaven : John xvii. 24, ' Father, I will that they also whom thou hast 
given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory.' 

[4.] His kingdom is not always clear and visible in the world, 
though he ruleth in the midst of his enemies, Ps. ex. 2. His interest 
to all appearance is many times suppressed in the world, though at 
other times it breaketh out again, and is owned in the world : Luke 
xvii. 20, ' The kingdom of God cometh not with observation,' //-era 
TrapaTijpya-eo)?. It is not set up as other kingdoms are, with warlike 
preparation or visible pomp and glory. 

[5.] His people and subjects are under a veil ; their life is hid with 
Ohrist in God, Col. iii. 3 ; ' The world knoweth us not, as it knew him 
not,' 1 John iii. 2. It doth not now appear to the world, nor alto 
gether to the saints themselves, what a blessed portion is made sure to 
them. The day of the manifestation of the sons of God is not yet 
come, Kom. viii. 19, either of the eldest and first-born, or of all the 
rest of the brethren ; which is a comfort to us in our reproaches ; if 
we be not revealed and manifested to be what we are, neither is the 
Son of God revealed to the full of his glory. In short, though Christ 
be revealed to us in the doctrine of the gospel, yet his excellency doth 
in part lie hid from his own children. We see him but darkly, and no 


wonder if the world see him not, and know him not. And for believers, 
their glory is hidden under the veil of afflictions, infirmities, and 

2. That this time is coming is evident . 

[1.] From the promise of his coming. This was the great promise 
ever kept afoot in the church. The scoffers took notice of it : 2 Peter 
iii. 4, ' Where is the promise of his coming ? ' There was an ancient 
promise long ago : Jude 14, 15, ' Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, 
prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand 
of his saints, to execute judgment upon all,' &c. It hath been re 
vived in all ages by the Lord's messengers, Moses, David, Samuel, Joel, 
Zechariah, Malachi, and more clearly by Christ himself and his apostles 
everywhere : John xiv. 3, ' I will come again ; if it were not so, I 
would have told you.' God, that hath been faithful in all things, will 
not fail us at last. He hath ever stood to his word, how unlikely so 
ever the things promised were. The believers of the old world were 
not deceived in the promise of his first coming in the flesh. Surely 
Christ would not deceive us with a vain hope, nor flatter us into a 
fools' paradise ; we may rest upon his infallible word for his second 

[2.] From the types whereby Christ was prefigured. I shall instance 
in one, which the apostle explaineth from ver. 24 to the latter end ; 
see it. 

[3.] There are ordinances appointed in the church, to keep afoot 
the remembrance of this promise; the word preached, the Lord's supper: 
1 Cor. xi. 26, ' As oft as ye eat of this bread and drink this cup, ye show 
forth the Lord's death till he come.' He hath left it as a monument 
of his faithfulness to revive our hopes and expectations. Would Christ 
institute a solemn ordinance for the remembrance of his appearing if 
he meant to come no more at us ? The word declareth it : 2 Tim. iv. 
1, ' I charge thee before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall 
judge the quick and the dead at his appearing,' &c. 

[4.] We have an inward pledge of it, the coming of the Holy Ghost 
into our hearts. At parting there is a taking and giving of tokens. 
Christ is not gone in anger, but about business, to set all things at 
rights for the great day of espousals. To prevent suspicion, he left the 
Spirit to stir up in us a certain and earnest expectation of that day : 
Eom. viii. 23, ' We ourselves also, which have the first-fruits of the 
Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the 
adoption, even the redemption of our body ; ' and Eev. xxii. 17, ' The 
Spirit and the bride say, Come.' The time is determined, the marriage- 
day fixed, though unknown to us ; but the Spirit dwelling in us sets 
us a-looking and a-longing for it. 

[5.] Our constant experience of his love and care over us. There 
are frequent messages of love which pass between us and Christ, which 
show that he doth not forget us, and is not strange to us now. There 
is a constant intercourse kept up between every believing soul and his 
Kedeemer ; though he be absent from us in the body, yet we hear from 
him, and he is present with us in the spirit. We hear from him in the 
word, in prayer, and in the sacraments ; and will he not come again, who 
is so mindful of us at every turn ? If he forgat us in his exaltation, as 


the butler forgat Joseph when he was at court, it were another matter. 
No; though our high priest be passed into the heavens, yet he ia 
touched with a feeling of our infirmities, Heb. iv. 15. He will not 
always leave us liable to sinning and suffering. He is our life now, 
and therefore shall appear, and we with him in glory, Col. iii. 4. 

[6.] Consider how much Christ's interest is concerned in it. 

(1.) Partly that the glory of his person may be seen and fully 
discovered. His first coming was obscure, and without observation, for 
then he came in the form of a servant ; but now he cometh as the 
lord and heir of all things, in power and great glory. Then he had 
for his forerunner John the Baptist, the voice of one crying in the 
wilderness, Mat. iii. ; but now he hath for his forerunner an archangel, 
by whose voice, as the trump of God, the dead shall rise out of their 
graves. Then he came with twelve disciples, a few poor fishermen, 
men of small condition in the world ; now with legions of angels, <rvv 
jivpidcriv adieus, Jude 14. At the first coming, he acted the part of a 
minister of the circumcision, preaching the gospel to the people of Israel 
only ; now he cometh as the judge of all the world. Then he invited 
men to repentance, and offered remission of sins to all those who would 
own him as their Kedeemer ; now he cuts off all hope of pardon for 
ever from them who refused or despised his grace. Then he offered 
himself as a mediator between God and man, to God as an high priest, 
to us as an apostle, Heb. iii. 1 ; but now he cometh as a judge and 
avenger. Then he veiled his divine nature under the infirmities of 
his flesh, and did but sparingly emit the rays of his majesty ; now he 
shall appear in the glory of his Father. Then he wrought some mir 
acles, which his enemies imputed to diabolical arts and magical impos 
tures ; now there will be no need of miracles to assert the divinity of 
his person, for all things are obvious and liable to sense. Heretofore 
he raised a few to life, now all the dead. Then he prepared himself to 
suffef death, now he shall tread death under his feet. Then he stood 
before the tribunals of men, that he might be condemned to the igno 
minious death of the cross ; now he shall sit upon a glorious throne, all 
kings and potentates expecting their final doom and sentence from his 
mouth. Then he came not to judge, but to save ; now to render to 
every one according to his works. Then he was scorned, buffeted, 
spit upon ; now crowned with glory and honour. Then he came to 
bear the sins of many, now he appeareth without sin unto the salvation 
of those that look for him, Heb. ix. 28. Not bearing our burden, but 
bringing our discharge ; not as a surety, but a paymaster ; not as a 
sufferer, but as a conqueror, triumphing over death, hell, and the devil. 
Finally, he cometh, no more to go from us, but to take us from all 
misery to himself, and that for ever. 

(2.) That he may possess what he hath purchased. He bought us 
at a dear rate, even with the price of his blood, 1 Peter i. 18, 19. 
And would he be at all this cost and preparation for nothing ? Surely 
he that came to suffer will come to triumph ; and he that hath bought 
will possess. He loved his people unto death, and they loved him 
above their lives. For his people's sake he sanctified himself to his 
office ; for their sakes he came at first, and for their sakes he will 
return : John xiv. 3, ' I go to prepare a place for you ; and I will 


come again and receive you to myself.' When lie hath gotten them 
together into one body and great congregation, he will solemnly pre 
sent them to God, as a prey snatched out of the teeth of lions : Heb. 
ii. 13, ' Behold, I and the children which thou hast given me.' And 
then will introduce them into those everlasting habitations, where they 
may be for ever with himself. 

(3.) With respect to the wicked, it is a part of his office to triumph 
over them in their final overthrow. God bringeth them down now by 
pieces, but then altogether. He got himself a glorious name when he 
triumphed over Pharaoh and his host, but that was but one enemy, 
and that only in the sight of Israel. Now all his enemies are put 
under his feet, in the sight of all the world : Isa. xlv. 23, ' Unto me 
every knee shall bow, every tongue shall confess ; ' Rom. xiv. 10, 11, 
' We shall all stand at the judgment-seat of Christ ; for it is written, 
As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,' &c. ; with Phil, 
ii. 10, ' At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow/ &c. He will make 
all those that have set light by him to see all his glory. The carnal 
now slight the merit and value of his sacrifice : Heb. x. 29, ' Of how 
much sorer punishment shall he be thought worthy who hath trodden 
under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the cove 
nant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing ? ' KOIVOV. They 
neglect his grace : John iii. 19, ' This is the condemnation, that light 
is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light/ 
Refuse his counsels and invitations, Prov. i. 23, and Mat. xxi. 15. 
Cast off his government, Luke xix. 14 ; but then they shall see him 
in all his royalty. 

(4.) That he may require an account of things during his absence ; 
what his servants have done with their talents, Mat. xxv. ; what his 
church hath done with his ordinances, and how things have been 
carried in his house : 1 Tim. vi. 14, ' Keep this commandment without 
rebuke unto the appearing of Jesus Christ/ Whether his officers have 
been diligent : 2 Tim. iv. 1, ' I charge thee before God, and the Lord 
Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, 
and his kingdom/ How they have dispensed the censures, whether 
they have eaten and drunk with the drunken, and beaten their fellow- 
servants, Mat. xxiv. 49 ; that is, encouraged the wicked and strengthened 
their hands with the suppression of the godly, and discouraged the 
most serious. Finally, who have violated the light of nature, or dis 
obeyed the gospel, ver. 8. 

Use 1. Believe it. Nature cannot easily contradict this truth, and 
scripture doth plainly assert it. If it were a vain conceit and fancy, 
you might with scorn, but it is an evident truth, constantly 
delivered in the word of God. And the whole frame of religion would 
fall to the ground if this were not granted. God would lose the glorious 
demonstration of his goodness and justice, Christ the honour of all his 
sufferings, and Christians all their comfort and hope raised in them by 
the Spirit of God, the wicked all that awe which doth in part suppress 
their licentiousness, and the whole government of the world be dissolved. 
It is a great, it is a sure, and now it is a near day. God and all his 
creatures would never be brought together if there were not such a 
time. The law of nature would be in vain, and the gospel would be 


false, if there were not such a time. Now, must man be unmanned, and 
the gospel, which is the wisest institution that ever the world was 
acquainted with, be condemned as a falsity, to justify your unbelief, 
and the cause and effect of it, your licentious living ? Acts xvii. 31, 
'God hath appointed a day, wherein he will judge the world in right 
eousness,' iricrTLv Trapavywv Trdaiv. He made sufficient demonstration 
of the truth of this doctrine in Christ's resurrection: Zech. xiv. 3, 
' The Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.' Bouse 
up your faith, adhere steadfastly to this truth, as a thing certain - r 
Christ shall come, attended with all his glorious saints and angels, and 
the believer shall find the fruit of his interests in him. 

2. Carry yourselves so that this day may be a comfort to you, and 
not a terror. It will be a terror to all guilty souls that have not 
entered into God's peace, 2 Peter iii. 14, a terror to all those that have 
not loved the Lord Jesus Christ above their own lives and interests in 
the world : 1 Cor. xvi. 22, ' If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, 
let him be anathema maranatha.' A terror it will be to all that have 
opposed Christ's kingdom in the world, and discouraged serious godli 
ness, and turned religion into a ceremony and dead form. A terror it 
will be to all those that love the present world, and the credit, plea 
sures, and profits thereof, and could not tarry till Christ came to 
distribute crowns, and pleasures, and honours at his right hand, but 
took up their happiness aforehand : Luke xvi. 25, ' Son, remember that 
thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus 
evil things ; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.' A 
terror it will be to the scorners of godliness and the world to come, 2 
Peter iii. 3, 4, but a comfort to the believers, that not only looked for, 
but loved this day, 2 Tim. iv. 8, thought it the greatest encouragement 
and happiness that could be offered to them to prepare for this day, 
2 Peter iii. 11, that lived in a constant fidelity to Christ, and not only 
made conscience to do his will, but suffered all manner of inconveni 
ences, 1 Peter iv. 13, rather than dispense with their duty to him : 
' As ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, so, when his glory shall be 
revealed, ye shall be glad with an exceeding joy.' All that have been 
sober and mortified, loath to take up with a temporal happiness : 1 Peter 
i. 13, ' Gird up the loins of your minds, be sober, and hope to the end, 
for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus 
Christ ; ' 1 Thes. v. 8, ' Let us who are of the day be sober/ &c. We 
cannot keep up the lively expectations of better things unless we keep 
our hearts from vain delights. 

3. Wait and hope earnestly for this time, because of the abundant 
grace and glory which shall be brought to us. 

[1.] Grace : 1 Peter i. 13, ' Be sober, and hope to the end, for the 
grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.' 
Then we shall have the fullest and largest manifestation of God's love 
and favour to us. There is grace brought to us now by the revelation 
of Christ in the gospel, but hereafter more fully and perfectly. We 
see his grace in the pardon of sins, and that measure of sanctification 
which we now attain unto, that he is pleased to pass by our offences, 
and take us into his family, and give us to taste of his love, and to 
have a right to his heavenly kingdom, and employ us in his service ; 


but it is another manner of grace then, when our pardon and approba 
tion shall be ratified by our judge's own mouth, Acts iii. 19, when he 
shall not only take us into his family, but into his presence and palace, 
John xii. 16, not only give us right, but possession ; when we shall not 
only know Christ by faith, but by sight ; when we shall see our nature 
united to the godhead, and not only have some remote service and 
ministration, but be everlastingly employed in loving, delighting in, and 
praising God, with all those heavenly creatures who are our eternal 
companions in this work. This is grace seen in all its graciousness ; 
urely then our only cry will be, Grace, grace. 

[2.] Glory. What a glory is it that we must immediately possess 
in body and soul ! It is said, ' We look for glory, honour, and 
immortality,' Kom. ii. 4 ; 2 Cor. iv, 17, ' Our bodies raised glorious 
bodies ; ' Phil. iii. 21, ' Our souls.' Then is the glory begun perfected : 
"2 Cor. iii. 18, ' We all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory 
of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory.' 
The weakness ceaseth ; we then shall know God perfectly, and love 
him perfectly ; we shall not be disquieted any more with jarrings and 
divisions ; no more resemble the devil, but wholly be transformed into 
the image of God ; bodies glorious, souls glorious, place glorious, com 
pany glorious, work glorious, pleasing a glorious God. 

Second point. That when Christ cometh, he shall bring his mighty 
angels with him. 

This is often asserted in scripture : Mat. xxvi. 27, ' The Son of man 
hall come in the glory of his Father with his angels ; ' Mat. xxv. 31, 
'When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels 
with him.' 

There are two truths contained in this one proposition (1.) That 
his angels are mighty angels, or angels of might ; (2.) That he shall 
bring them along with him. 

1. That they are mighty angels. They are said to excel in strength, 
Ps. ciii. 20. One angel in one night slaughtered many thousands of 
the Assyrians in Senacherib's camp. This is offered to our thoughts 
to show that the most potent creatures are infinitely inferior to our 
Redeemer, which is comfortable to the godly, and maketh his vengeance 
terrible to the wicked ; this strength they have from God their creator, 
who giveth strength to all his creatures as it pleaseth him. . 

2. Why he bringeth them with him. 

[1.] To show his glory and majesty, that they are at his beck and 
command. The most excellent of all creatures are his ministers and 
subjects, and all the heavenly hosts at his command : 1 Peter iii. 22, 
' He is sat down at the right hand of God, angels, authorities, and 
powers being made subject to him.' And it is said, Eph. i. 22, ' That 
God hath set him far above all principalities and powers, and might, 
and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, 
but in that which is to come.' And the apostle, when he would set 
forth the majesty of our Redeemer, telleth us that he was made far 
more excellent than the angels, whose ministers they are, and whom 
they are commanded to worship, Heb. i. 4, 6, 7, and who employeth his 
authority for the defence and comfort of the meanest of his people, ver. 
14. They are subject not only to God, but to Christ as our mediator. 


Look, as it is the glory of earthly kings to command mighty and 
powerful subjects : ' Are not my princes altogether kings ? ' Isa. x. 8, 
that so many princes owned him as their sovereign, and served under 
him as their commander ; and when God speaketh of the Assyrian, he 
calleth him a king of princes, Neh. viii. 10, namely, as he had many 
kings subject and tributary to him; so this is the majesty of our 
Redeemer, that he hath those powerful creatures, the mighty angels, in 
his train and retinue. 

[2.] Because he hath a ministry and service for them. 

(1.) To gather the elect : Mat. xxiv. 31, ' He shall send his angels 
to gather together the elect from the four winds ; ' that is, from all 
parts and quarters of the world. There is no envy in holy and blessed 
creatures, we find the angels kindly affectioned to the salvation of lost 
man. When their Lord was incarnate, and so, in respect of his human 
nature, made a little lower than themselves, they disdain him not, 
but praised God at the birth of Christ : Luke ii. 13, 14, ' A multitude 
of the heavenly host praised God, saying, Glory to God in the highest,' 
&G. They attend upon the dispensation of the gospel, and are present 
in our assemblies : 1 Cor. xi. 10, ' For this cause ought the woman 
to have power on her head, because of the angels ; ' 1 Tim. v. 21, ' I 
charge thee before God, and the elect angels, that thou neglect not 
these things.' They are conscious to administrations in the church. 
When any sinner is recovered out of the apostasy, we read of joy in 
heaven, Luke xv. 7, 10. The people of God are now their charge, 
and hereafter their companions ; and therefore they are contented to 
be employed by Christ about them. Now for their defence : Heb. i. 
14, ' Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them 
who shall be heirs of salvation ? ' Ps. xxxiv. 7, ' The angel of the 
Lord encampeth about them that fear him/ Hereafter they convey 
the souls of the departing righteous unto Christ : Luke xvi. 22, ' The 
beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom.' 
To their rest in heaven. So at the last day they shall accompany 
them in their joyful retinue to their old beloved habitations. By 
their ministry he will gather the bodies of his redeemed ones from all 
parts of the world, after they have been resolved into dust, and that 
dust mingled with other dust, that every saint may have his own body 

(2.) To execute his sentence on the wicked : Mat. xiii. 41, 42, ' The 
Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of 
his kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity, and 
shall cast them into a furnace of fire, there shall be wailing and gnash 
ing of teeth/ So ver. 49. ' The angels shall come forth, and sever the 
wicked from the just/ It is their work, and they are employed about 
it, to consummate Christ's kingdom against God's enemies and the 
enemies of his children. 

[3.] To show they are a part of that army which is commanded by 
the captain of our salvation, the blessed Son of God. Now they are a 
part of the army which is employed for the destruction of the kingdom 
of sin and Satan : Ps. Ixviii. 17, ' The chariots of the Lord are twenty 
thousand, even many thousands of angels ; the Lord is among them 
in his holy place/ The psalmist speaketh of Christ as mediator and 

VOL. xx. Q 


king of the church. No kingdom hath such defence, and such potent 
and numerous armies to fight their battles, as the church hath. The 
angels join with the saints in overturning the kingdom of sin, Satan 
and antichrist. They join with us ; their influence doth not always 
visibly appear ; and therefore when the whole army are drawn forth 
in their glory, they come as a principal part. In the head of this 
army there will Christ appear at the end of the world. When he hath 
won the field, he will come in triumph to confound his conquered 
enemies, and to be glorified in his redeemed ones. And therefore his 
holy angels, who are concerned in the conflict, are not left out in the 

Use. To quicken us to get our minds more deeply possessed with 
the majesty of our Redeemer. The scripture often representeth this 
argument to our thoughts, that he is head of all principalities and 
powers. Surely the representing Christ in his glory is a point of great 
concernment, or else the word of God would not so often insist upon it. 

1. That we may admire the Mediator, and may not have mean 
thoughts of his being and office ; but represent him to ourselves as a 
dreadful lord and king, who holdeth the most powerful creatures in 
subjection to himself. And shall poor worms make bold with his 
laws, when the angels are so ready to attend him at his beck and com 
mand, and that in the meanest services and ministries ? If Christians 
did know and considered how much of true religion consists in admir 
ing the person of their Redeemer, they would more busy their minds in 
this work. Your obedience to the gospel in general dependeth upon 
it, that we may not slight his doctrine and benefits, Heb. ii. 1-3. 
After he had showed that Christ had obtained a more excellent name 
than the angels, he presently inferreth, ' If the word spoken by angels 
was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just 
recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great 
salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was 
confirmed unto us by them that heard him ? ' So Heb. xii. 25, ' See 
that ye refuse not him that speaketh from heaven, whose voice then 
shook the earth,' when he gave the law by the ministry of angels. 

2. To quicken us to thankfulness. That we may bless God for the 
honour done to our nature in the person of Christ ; for it is God in 
carnate that is made head of angels, and principalities, and powers. God 
in our nature, whom all the angels of God are called upon to adore 
and worship. This was the great counterwork to Satan's designs, for 
the devil's design was partly to dishonour God by a false representa 
tion of his nature, as if he were envious of man's happiness : Gen. iii. 
5, ' God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, ye shall be as 
gods ; ' to depress the nature of man, which in innocency stood so 
near to God. Now that this human nature should be so elevated and 
advanced, and be set far above the angelical nature in the person of 
Christ, admitted to dwell with God in a personal union ; oh, let us 
admire the wisdom and goodness of God. 

3. To strengthen our trust, and fortify us against all fears and dis 
couragements in our service. Though the powers and authorities on 
earth and their messengers and hosts be employed against the saints, 
yet the captain of our salvation is in heaven, and all the mighty angels 


are subject to him and at his disposal. By this means the prophet 
Elisha confirmed himself and his servant when the king of Syria sent 
chariots and horses and a great host to attack the prophet in Dothan : 2 
Kings vi. 14, 15, ' And his servant saw it early in the morning, and said, 
Alas, master ! what shall we do ? ' The prophet answered, ver. 1 6, ' They 
that are with us are more than they that be with them.' And then he 
prayed, ver. 17, ' Lord, open his eyes that he may see ; ' and the Lord 
opened his eyes, and ' behold the mountain was full of chariots and 
horses round about Elisha.' The Syrian king looketb to his outward 
force, but considereth not the power of God. God can make pre 
paration for his people's defence when all the powers of the world are 
against them. Those fiery horses and chariots were no other but the 
angels of God ; here is force against force, chariots and horses against 
chariots and horses ; thus doth the prophet seek to put fear out of the 
heart of his servant. He desireth God would but let him see the out 
ward force and strength in which the heavenly hosts did appear, there 
by to confirm his mind ; thus did the three children strengthen them 
selves : Dan. iii. 17, 18, ' Our God is able to deliver us from the 
burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, king. 
But if not, be it known unto thee, king, that we will not serve thy 
gods/ &c. ; ver 28, ' And God sent his angel for their deliverance ; ' 
ver. 25, ' The fourth was like the Son of God.' So Stephen, Acts vii. 
55, 56, saw Jesus at the right hand of God in the midst of his angels. 
Nothing doth lessen created glory, and fortify us against the terribleness 
of the creature so much as this meditation. 

4. To draw our hearts after Christ, and towards him ; for the angels 
of God that worship him do know what he is : 'I will worship thee 
among the gods,' Ps. xcvii. 7 ; and Heb. i. 6, ' Let all the angels of God 
worship him.' It is argument enough that the angels are witnesses, 
and take part with the saints : Ps. cxxxviii. 1, ' Before the gods will I 
sing praise unto thee.' 

5. To make us more reverent in our approaches to him. For he 
sits in the assembly of the gods ; the holy angels are round about him, 
and observe undecencies: 1 Cor. xi. 10, 'For this cause ought the 
woman to have power on her head, because of the angels ; ' and Eccles. 
v. 6, ' Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin, nor say before the 
angel, it was an error.' The angels in heaven observe our behaviour 
in God's worship : Luke xii. 8, ' Him shall the Son of man confess 
before the angels of God.' They speak well of us in heaven. 

6. To quicken us to do what we can to promote the kingdom of God, 
even the increase of light, life, and love ; for therein standeth the king 
dom of God. In knowledge, as the devils are rulers of the darkness of 
this world, so the kingdom of God is begun in light ; in life, not in 
formality and hypocrisy. 



In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that 
obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 THES. i. 8. 

THE apostle had spoken of the different retributions, conjunctly and 
together ; now he cometh to speak of them severally and apart. 

He beginneth with the wicked ; and speaketh, first, of their judg 
ment, in the text ; secondly, their punishment : ver. 9, ' Who shall be 
punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.' 

In his coming to judge them, there is 

1. The manner. The terribleness of his coming to them, / vrvpl 
0x6709, ' in a flame of fire.' His coming to the righteous is described 
by light, to the wicked by fire. To them he cometh shining as the 
sun, to these as lightning or burning fire. 

2. The end, to take vengeance on them, or doom them to destruc 

3. They are described by a double character, ' Those that know not 
God, and that obey not the gospel,' &c. 

Which may be understood copulatively or disjunctively. 

[1.] Copulatively, of the same men diversely described, that they 
neither know God, nor obey Christ ; for those are the two great points 
that are discussed in the judgment, God and Christ. And look, as it 
is life eternal, John xvii. 3, to know God and Jesus Christ, &c., that God 
is to be known, loved, obeyed, worshipped and enjoyed, and the Lord 
Jesus as our redeemer and saviour to bring us home to God, and to pro 
cure for us the gifts of pardon and life, which life is to be begun here, 
and perfected in heaven ; this is the sum of what is necessary to life 
eternal ; so on the contrary, not to know God nor to obey the gospel is 
the way to eternal death and destruction. 

[2.] Distributively and disjunctively, of two sorts of persons of 
heathens or pseudo-christians. 

(1.) The heathen are fitly described to be those that know not God ; 
as 1 Thes. iv. 5, ' Not in the lust of concupiscence, as the Gentiles which 
know not God.' By the light of nature an infinite eternal power was 
discovered to them, but they knew him not so as to worship him and 
serve him : Kom. i. 20, 21, ' But became foolish in their imaginations.' 
So they shall be condemned by the light of nature, which they approved 
not. Though there be no saving knowledge of God out of Christ, yet 
they had so much knowledge as left them without excuse. 

[2.] The false Christians are fitly described in the other expression : 
' That obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ/ For they that 
have heard of the gospel shall be judged by the gospel, according to 
the dispensation they have lived under. Now the true Christians 
are always described by their obedience ; they do so believe the 
gospel as to live accordingly : Heb. v. 9, ' He became the author of 
eternal salvation to them that obey him ; ' and Acts v. 32, ' And so is 
the Holy Ghost, which he hath given to them that obey him.' But 
the wicked and carnal are described by their disobedience : 1 Peter ii. 
7, 8, ' Unto you that obey, he is precious ; but to the disobedient, the 


stone which the builders disallowed.' And again, ' They stumbled at 
the word, being disobedient, whereunto they were also appointed.' 
Some will not be persuaded to believe and obey the gospel ; those are 
included in the last expression. 

Doct. That Christ will in a terrible manner come to render ven 
geance on all those who regarded not to know God and obey the gospel. 

1. I shall speak of the terrible manner of his coming. 

2. I shall speak of the twofold rule of proceeding in the judgment, 
upon the light of nature and the gospel, and who shall be judged by 
the one, and who by the other. 

3. Examine the force of these expressions, ' know not God,' and 
' obey not the gospel.' 

I. For the terrible manner of his coming, implied in the words ' in 
flaming fire.' A terrible day it will be certainly to those who do not 
expect it and prepare for it. This fire serveth 

1. To set forth the majesty of the judge. When the Lord Jesus 
appeared to Moses, he appeared to him in a burning fire : Acts vii. 30, 
' The angel of the Lord appeared in a flame of fire in a bush/ So when 
he gave the law, he gave it out of the midst of the fire : Deut. v. 22, 23, 
' And the mountain round about him did burn with fire.' Then the 
people cried out, ' This great fire will consume us ; we shall die if we 
hear the voice of God any more.' So when Christ is now revealed, he 
shall be encompassed about with a flaming fire: Ps. 1. 3, ' Our God 
shall come, a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tem 
pestuous round about him.' As fearful and terrible as he showed 
himself in giving the law, so terrible shall he be in the execution of it, 
judging the impenitent ; so that this flame of fire becometh the glory 
of his divine presence. 

2. This flame of fire is mentioned as the instrument of punishment 
on the wicked, who are said to be cast into a furnace of fire, Mat. xiii. 
42, and Mat. xxv. 41, 'Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire;' 
setting forth thereby the extremity of their pain and torment. 

3. By this flame of fire is all the world burnt up. God having 
provided a more glorious mansion for his people to dwell in, will by a 
general conflagration destroy, or at least purge the world from the 
dross it hath contracted : 2 Peter iii. 10, ' The heavens shall pass away 
with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat ; the 
earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burnt up.' A 
dreadful sight it will be for men to see the dissolution of the whole 
frame of nature, and the delight of their souls burnt up before their 
eyes ; the Lord thereby testifying his displeasure against wicked men's 
placing their happiness in these things, and not in himself. 

Therefore since the coming of Christ shall be with such majesty and 
terror, we should prepare ourselves accordingly ; for that is the use the 
apostle makes of it : 2 Peter iii. 11, ' Seeing then that all these things shall 
be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conver 
sation and godliness ? ' Surely we should live much to the glory of 
Christ in the world, and get more holiness of heart and life, that this 
day may not be terrible to us, but comfortable. 

II. The persons brought into the judgment, and the distinct rule of 
proceeding, the light of nature and the gospel ; for Christ will render 
vengeance to them that know not God, and obey not the gospel. 


1. Some had no other discovery of God but what they could make 
out from the course of nature and some instincts of conscience, as mere 
pagans ; these shall not be judged for not believing in Christ, but for 
not knowing God. The apostle telleth us, 'As 'many as have sinned 
without the law, shall perish without -the law ; as many as sinned in 
the law, shall be judged by the law,' Horn. iL 12. The gentile world 
is judged by one rule, and the Jewish by another, so the Christian by 
another. Those to whose notice no fame of Christ and the law of Moses 
could possibly arrive, they shall perish without the law, be condemned 
to perdition in the judgment ; for in that context he speaketh of the 
righteous judgment of God. But by what rule ? The light of nature 
written in their hearts, ver. 14, 15. Nature in some measure told them 
what was well or ill done, pleasing or displeasing to God. The law of 
nature taught them their duty, and the course of God's providence, that 
God was placable, and so invited them to repentance, Kom. ii. 4. 
Therefore among the gentiles (1.) All atheists that denied God's 
being or bounty, his essence or providence, as if he cared not for human 
affairs, they are obnoxious to the judgment. (2.) All idolaters who 
corrupted the worship of God, prefer their own idols before the true 
and living God. (3.) All wicked men among the heathen, who, when 
they knew God, glorified him not as God, Kom. i. 21, but gave up 
themselves to abominable impurities, as well as idolatries against the 
light of nature, are obnoxious to Christ's vengeance ; they knew not 
God, his nature and being. (4.) All those that despise God, resist his 
authority: Exod. v. 2, 'Who is the Lord that I should obey his 
voice ? ' 

But you will say, What is this to us ? 

I answer Our doom is indeed to be debated according to another rule, 
which is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. But yet that which is 
perfect doth not destroy that which is imperfect, but imply it rather, 
as the reasonable soul doth the sensitive and vegetative. And that 
which we are to learn from hence is 

(1.) That the ignorance of God doth excuse no man from judgment ; 
for the cause of the condemnation of the wicked is that they know not 
God ; and therefore it is a more bloody sin than we usually think it : 
Isa. xxvii. 4, ' It is a people of no understanding ; therefore he that 
made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will 
show them no favour/ Whether foreign nations or God's own people, 
he will severely punish them for their ignorance in necessary things. 

(2.) That it is not enough to know God, unless we know him as we 
ought to know him ; as the heathen knew God, but glorified him not 
as God, did not worship him, and serve him, and trust in him. So 
Christians: Titus i. 16, 'Professing to know God, in their deeds they 
deny him.' They live as if they knew not God ; what could they 
do more or worse if there were no God ? 

(3.) That the more means there is to know God the greater is the 
crime if they do not his will ; for sin is more aggravated by the clear 
ness of the revelation made to us : Luke xii. 47, ' He that knew his 
Lord's will, and prepared not himself, and did not according to his will, 
shall be beaten with many stripes.' According to the degree of know 
ledge or means of knowledge, so is both our sin and punishment 


greater ; for here God considers not de facto, what knowledge we have 
but de jure, what knowledge we might have or should have. So that 
though the first character doth more directly concern the heathens, 
yet we Christians are concerned in it also. 

2. Some having a discovery of Christ, and salvation by him, are 
judged by the gospel. 

To evidence this to you, I shall show (1.) Who may be said not to 
obey the gospel ; (2.) Who shall be judged by the tenor of the gospel 

[1.] All such may be said not to obey the gospel 

(1.) Who obstinately refuse to entertain the doctrine of Christ, and 
salvation by him, but oppose it rather. So it is taken, 1 Peter iv. 17, 
* If judgment begin at the house of God, what shall be the end of them 
who obey not the gospel of Christ ? ' will not come under the faith and 
profession, but are enemies and persecutors of it. 

(2.) Such as acknowledge and profess the belief of the doctrine of 
Ohrist, but are remiss and careless in Christian practice, do not heartily 
give up themselves to Christ's obedience, but live in their sensual lusts : 
Eph. ii. 2, ' Walk according to the course of this world, according to 
the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the 
children of disobedience ; ' Eph. iii. 6, ' Children of disobedience.' 

(3.) Such as apostatise and revolt from it after they have known the 
way of righteousness, fall off from the Christian profession and practice, 
and depart from the living God : Heb. x. 39, ' We are not of them 
who draw back.' All these may be said not to obey the gospel. 

[2.] Who shall be judged by the tenor of the gospel dispensation ? 

(1.) Certainly those who have lived in the clear sunshine of the 
gospel, and have heard of Christ, and the grace of God dispensed by 
him : Mark xvi. 16, ' Go, preach the gospel to every creature ; he that 
believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall 
be damned.' There is the rule of God's process ; they are condemned 
upon a double account because of their sins against God, and their re 
fusal of the remedy : John iii. 18, 19, ' He that believeth on him is not 
condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already,' &c. In 
their natural estate they are under the wrath of God, and after they 
have heard of the offers of pardon and life, will not embrace the offered 
remedy, and give up themselves to the obedience of Christ, or suffer 
themselves to be drawn off from worldly vanities or fleshly lusts, that 
they may live unto God. If the end of all wicked men, even of those 
that have not so much as heard the gospel, shall be everlasting destruc 
tion, because they made not use of that natural knowledge they had of 
God, and those impressions of their duty which were left upon their 
hearts, Ps. ix. 17. If all that forget God shall be turned into hell, 
surely the danger will be greater of those who have the gospel clearly 
preached to them, and will not give obedience thereunto ; for to their 
other sins they add impenitency and unbelief, and so are liable to the 
vengeance of the gospel, as well as the curse of the law. 

(2.) Those to whom the object of faith was but more obscurely pro 
pounded ; who are of several sorts. 

(1st.) Those that lived before the flood and after the flood ; as Abel, 
Enoch, and Noah, are mentioned in the chronicle and history of faith, 


as well as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And believers of a later stamp 
and edition, Heb. xi. And among unbelievers are reckoned all those 
who, through their obstinate incredulity, rejected the divine revelation 
made to them ; as the world of the ungodly in Noah's time, who were 
disobedient when the Spirit of the Lord in him preached righteousness 
to them, or to God opening the way to life and salvation ; as it is said, 
1 Peter iii. 19, 20, ' By his Spirit Christ preached to the spirits now in 
prison, who were sometime disobedient in the days of Noah, when the 
long-suffering of God waited for them.' Now these, though they had 
but an obscure presignification of the seed of the woman, who should 
break the serpent's head, or that in Abraham's seed all the nations of 
the earth should be blessed, shall be condemned for not improving the 
gospel delivered to them, in such notions as God saw fit to convey it to 
them, not for want of explicit knowledge in all mysteries. 

(2d) Some lived under the legal administration of the covenant of 
grace. To whom two things were propounded, the duties of the law 
and some strictures and obscure rudiments, or the first beginnings of 
the gospel. Now they shall be judged according to the administration 
they were under ; for the apostle telleth us, Rom. ii. 12, 'As many as 
have sinned under the law shall be judged by the law ; ' for the 
violating of the law of Moses, or neglecting the first dawnings of grace, 
which God offered to their view, search, and contemplation. Indeed 
the law was more manifest ; but the gospel was not so obscure but they 
might have understood God's willingness to be propitiated and recon 
ciled ; and therefore God will call them to account about not keeping 
his law, or not flying by faith and repentance to the mercy of God, 
which by divers ways and types of the Messiah was then revealed to 
them. The holy psalmist did so : Ps. cxxx. 3, 4, ' If thou, Lord, 
shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who shall stand ? but there is for 
giveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared ; ' Ps. cxliii. 2, ' Enter 
not into judgment with thy servant, for in thy sight shall no man living 
be justified. 1 And the neglect of grace in others is inexcusable ; and 
therefore they are condemned for not keeping the law, and for their 
unbelief and impenitency, which, though it be not so grievous a sin as 
theirs who lived under a clearer revelation, yet it sufficiently vindicateth 
the righteous judgment which is exercised upon them. 

(3d) Some lived in Christ's time, when John the Baptist invited 
them to a gospel covenant, and our Lord himself set afoot the great 
salvation, and offered grace to believing penitents, confirming the dig 
nity of his person and office by divers miracles, and that he had suffi 
cient power to repeal the law of Moses, and erect the gospel kingdom 
foretold by the prophets. It was more dangerous then not to believe 
in the Son of God ; for Christ telleth the Jews to slight him, appearing 
in so clear a light of miracles, was damnable : John viii. 24, ' If ye 
believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.' But yet because 
the Spirit was not yet poured out, and Christ's person was veiled under 
much obscurity and abasure, their condition was not altogether so bad 
as it was afterward when the gospel kingdom was now solemnly pub 
lished, and the Spirit did abundantly convince the world that it was 
a sin not to believe in Christ, John xvi. 9, and Christ was so plainly 
proved by his resurrection to be the Son of God, and the great prophet 


and Messiah, and judge of the world. Therefore God gave them the 
morning market of the gospel : Acts iii. 26, ' Unto you first, God, 
having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning every 
one of you from his iniquity ; ' and did not cut off their estate till they 
rejected the gospel, as well as crucified the Lord of glory : 1 Thes. ii. 
15, 16, 'Therefore wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.' It 
was a great sin before, a damnable sin not to receive them ; but God 
considered their prejudices, and the judgment will be more or less 
grievous upon them according to the advantages and opportunities 
they had of knowing Christ to be the Saviour and Redeemer of the 

(4th.) Since the pouring out of the Spirit, and the setting up of the 
gospel kingdom in the world, some know Christ by clear doctrine, 
others by hearsay and obscure fame. Take, for instance, the Turks 
and modern Jews. The Turks acknowledge one merciful and true 
God ; they deny not Christ to be a great prophet, but they deny him 
to be the Son of God, the Saviour of the world and Redeemer of man 
kind, and wickedly prefer their false prophet Mahomet before him, and 
his fond superstition before the law of Christ. Now according as 
Christ is more or less perspicuously revealed to them, they shall have 
a more tolerable or heavy judgment, for the clearer is the revelation of 
the truth, the more culpable is the rejection or contempt of it ; for 
there is no man that heareth of Christ suffering for sinners, and rising 
again from the dead, and ascending into heaven, but is bound more 
diligently to inquire into it, and to receive and embrace this truth so 
suitable to our desires and necessities. The Jews inherit the obstin 
acy of their ancestors, confess there was such a person as Jesus the son 
of Mary, who gave out himself in the country of Judea to be the 
Messiah, and gathered disciples, who from him are called Christians ; 
but they call him an impostor, question the miracles done by him as 
done by the power of the devil. Surely these shall be judged by the 
gospel, which is so proudly and obstinately contemned by them after 
so many disappointments, and . so long an expectation of another 

(5th.) Among Christians, the gospel is not alike clearly made known. 
To some Christ is more plainly and purely preached, without any 
mixture of errors that have any considerable influence upon the main 
of religion. Others are in that communion in which those doctrines 
are yet taught, which are indeed absolutely and indispensably necessary 
to salvation, but many things are added which are very pernicious and 
dangerous in their own nature ; so that if a man could possibly be 
saved in that religion, he is saved as by fire, 1 Cor. iii. 13, and in a 
strange way of escape. As if one had poison mingled with his meat, 
it may be the vigour of his youth and the goodness of his digestion 
might work it out, but yet the man runneth a great hazard. As for 
instance, the papists acknowledge Christ for the Redeemer and Mediator 
between God and man, his two natures and satisfaction, but they 
intermingle doctrines that sorely weaken these foundations, and other 
practices that dishonour the nature of God, and the merit and inter 
cession of our Saviour. Now the doom of the corrupters of the 
Christian religion will be exceeding great, because they have poisoned 


the waters of the sanctuary, and mangled Christ's ordinances, and 
perverted his truths to serve their avarice, ambition, and other human 
passions and interests. The apostle said, 2 Thes. ii. 10-12, ' Because 
they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved, God 
shall send them strong delusions to believe a lie,' &c. However God 
may deal with the vulgar, who err in the simplicity of their hearts, we 
know not ; but the condition of their leaders into this apostasy from 
the purity and simplicity of the gospel is exceeding dangerous. 

III. To examine the force of these expressions, ' Know not God,' 
and ' Believe not the gospel.' 

1. 'Know not God.' There is a twofold knowledge of God 
speculative and practical. 

[1.] The speculative knowledge. The bare sight of the truth, or 
some empty and cold opinions about God and religion ; such may the 
heathen have, who, when they knew God, glorified him not as God, 
Rom i. 21. Such may the Jew have : Eom. ii. 19, 20, ' And art 
confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them 
that walk in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, 
which hast the form of knowledge, and of the truth in the law,' popfywcTiv 
T?)9 yvobaews ev rw vo/iw. Such may the formal Christian have : 2 
Tim. iii. 5, ' Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.' 
A map or model of gospel truth. There are different degrees of this 
speculative knowledge. Memorative, such as children have, who are 
taught to speak of divine mysteries by rote, as of God, Christ, heaven, 
hell, sin, righteousness ; their memories are planted with notions about 
such things, but they are not affected with them ; they do not under 
stand the meaning, nor believe the certainty of those things wherein 
they are instructed. Another degree above this is an opinionative 
knowledge ; when they do not only charge their memories with these 
notions, but have a kind of conscience and judgment about these things, 
and so bustle and contend about that way of religion in which they 
have been educated ; yet wisdom entereth not upon the heart, Prov. ii. 

10. This maketh men disputers, but not serious practisers of godliness: 
' They receive not the love of the truth that they may be saved/ 2 Thes. 

11. 10. There is beyond these a higher degree of speculative knowledge, 
when men have some kind of touch upon their hearts, but it is too 
slender and insufficient to stand out against temptations when they 
rise up in any considerable strength, or to master and subdue their 
lusts ; they may escape the pollutions of the world through the know 
ledge of Christ, 2 Peter, ii. 20. Surely it is hard to conceive how so 
grand a truth as the nature of God or salvation by Christ should be 
understood or considered without some impression or touch upon the 
heart. It doth affect men in part, and produce some partial reforma 
tion, but sin prevaileth against it. 

[2.] Practical and saving. We must know God so as to trust in 
him, Ps. ix. 10, know God so as to love him, 1 Cor. viii. 3, know God 
so as to obey him: 1 John ii. 4, 'He that saith, I know him, and 
keepeth not his commandments, the truth is not in him.' So Jer. xxii. 
16, ' He judgeth the cause of the poor and needy ; was not this to know 
me, saith the Lord ? ' Our practices must speak out our knowledge, 
and what principles are rooted in our hearts ; our actions give the world 


a better knowledge of our thoughts and opinions than our words can. 
Well, then, all that know not God, so as to fear him for his majesty and 
power, to love him for his goodness, to trust in him for his wisdom, to 
imitate him for his holiness, to obey him for his authority, so as to 
seek to enjoy him and delight in him, they are obnoxious to Christ's 
judgment. Certainly that man hath no religion that hath no God, 
and he hath no God that preferreth his base lusts before obedience to 
his precepts. 

2. 'That obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.' It is 
not enough to profess the gospel, but we must obey the gospel if we 
would be exempted from the terror of the judgment. 

Now what is it to obey the gospel ? To yield up ourselves to do the 
will of Christ revealed in the gospel. This obedience is necessary if we 
consider the gospel, or faith, or Christ. 

[1.] The gospel, which is the sum of things to be believed and done. 
It hath its commands as well as the law, it is not all made up of pro 
mises. The three great commands of the gospel are repentance, and 
faith, and new obedience. 

(1.) Repentance ; that we should bewail our former failings, and be 
ready and willing to return to God. Now when men harden them 
selves in their sins, and reject all admonitions to the contrary, they 
do not obey the gospel : Isa. i. 19, 20, ' If ye be willing and obedient, 
ye shall eat the good of the land ; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall 
be devoured by the sword.' Unbelief of divine promises and threaten- 
ings, and obstinate impenitency go together. Wilful disobedience to 
this great command of the gospel is the damning sin. Some are so 
obstinate in evil, that they cannot be persuaded by any means to 
relinquish it. When they will not be persuaded to accept of God's 
offers of mercy and grace in Christ, but love darkness more than light, 
John iii. 19, they are left to his vengeance. 

(2.) Faith in Christ. Not to mind this is against God's peremptory 
command : 1 John iii. 23, ' This is his commandment, that we should 
believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ.' It is not a slighting of 
grace only, but a high point of rebellion and disobedience to God. 
And so disobedience to this command maketh way for our disobedience 
to other commands: 'How shall we escape if we neglect so great 
salvation ? ' Heb. ii. 3. 

(3.) New obedience. The whole moral law is adopted into the new 
covenant ; for Christ redeemed us to God, and the kingdom of the 
Mediator is subordinate to the kingdom of the Father : Titus ii. 12, 
'We should live soberly, righteously, and godly.' To neglect our 
duty is to disobey the gospel ; though we own it in profession, we 
contradict it by practice ; though we are not ashamed of the gospel, 
yet the gospel is ashamed of us, if we go on in our sinful ways. 

[2.] Faith implieth obedience ; for it is a hearty consent to take the 
blessedness offered for our happiness, the duty required for our work, 
and so hath an influence on our whole obedience : Eom. x. 16, ' But 
they have not all obeyed the gospel ; for Isaiah saith, Who hath 
believed our report ? ' Rom. i. 5, ' We have received apostleship for 
the obedience of faith among all nations ; ' Rom. xvi. 26, ' The mys 
teries of the gospel are made manifest for the obedience of faith ; ' that 


is, that we may subject ourselves to God : Acts vi. 7, ' Many of the 
priests were obedient unto the faith.' Not only believed, but performed 
the duties which faith calleth for. 

[3.] Christ ; his example, his authority. 

(1.) His example. He came from heaven to teach us how to obey 
God, most willingly, readily, and at the dearest rates : Heb. v. 8, 9, 
' Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which 
he suffered : and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal 
salvation unto all that obey him ; ' as the a'jro^pa^La-^a, the best 
impression can be left upon us. He submitted to his Father's will in the 
hardest duties : Phil. ii. 8, ' Obedient to the death of the cross.' He took 
upon him the yoke of obedience, and that even to a shameful, painful, 
accursed death. What impression should this stamp and seal leave 
upon us ? 

(2.) His authority and sovereignty. He is the Saviour of the body, 
and the head of the church. We receive him not only as a priest, 
but as our Lord and king : Acts v. 31, ' Him hath God exalted with 
his right hand, to be a prince and a Saviour.' Therefore we must not 
only look to be feasted with privileges, but mind our duty and obedi 
ence to him. 

Use 1. Well, then, if you would have the comfort and not the 
terror of this day, you must obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ; 
that is the trial which Christians must undergo. If you cry, Lord, 
Lord, and be workers of iniquity, he will not know you and own you. 
If you profess a religion which you abhor, all your worship is a lie, and 
all the confidence you build upon it is but a vain deceit : Horn. vi. 16 r 
' Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his 
servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of 
obedience unto righteousness ? ' Alas ! many Christians live as if they 
were baptized in the devil's name, and sworn to be his bondmen ; they 
give up themselves to worldly and fleshly lusts, as if their baptism 
were a protestation against Christ, and all respect to his laws. But let 
it not be so with you, beloved Christians ; your glory and safety will be 
obedience to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray consider 

1. Whom you are to obey ; Jesus Christ, the Lord and sovereign 
of all. Here in his flesh they said, Mat. viii. 27, ' What manner of 
man is this, that even the winds and seas obey him ? ' And will not 
you obey him ? It is Christ whom you call your Saviour, and shall 
he not be your Lord ? He made a plaster of his blood to cure your 
souls, and endured the curse, that by his obedience many might be 
made righteous, Bom. v. 19. Christ first obeyed himself, and hath 
set us so perfect a copy, whose life was religion exemplified, a visible 
commentary on God's law. He kept his Father's commandments, and 
abode in his love, John xv. 10, who did ever please God, therefore 
God was always with him. 

2. Wherein you are to obey him. In a thankful acceptance of his 
benefits, which is faith ; and a hearty return to your obedience and 
happiness, which is repentance ; and all this verified in a godly, sober, 
righteous life, which is ordinarily called new obedience. 

3. He is your judge. At the last day he will come and see what 
you have done with his precepts ; he will not be so terrible, but as 


comfortable to the godly. Euge, lone serve ' Well done, good and 
faithful servant.' 

Use 2. What have we then to do but 

1. To study to know the Lord, that we may choose him for our por 
tion, and love him, and be loved by him, serve him, and be happy with 
him, please him, and enjoy him : ' Let us follow on to know the Lord/ 
Hosea vi. 3. Here is the root and beginning of all godliness ; if God 
were better known in his power, wisdom, and goodness, it would draw 
our hearts more to him, and produce more confidence, obedience, and 
love. The Lord is for the most part an unknown and a mistaken God 
in the world ; the more you apply yourself to this, the more you will 
find. We know God for the most part as a man born blind does fire ; 
he feels there is something that warmeth him, but knows not how to 
conceive of it. To press you to this, consider 

[1.] It is your glory and excellency : Jer. ix. 23, 24, ' Let not the 
wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his 
might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that 
glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me.' To 
conceive aright of God, his nature, attributes, and works, is the per 
fection of man ; to know things of so high a nature, the infinite and 
eternal God ; to behold his wisdom, goodness, and power ; to be led to 
him by all the creatures, and every act of his providence ; to read his 
blessed name in every leaf of his sacred word. The dimmest knowledge 
of God is better than the clearest knowledge of all the secrets of 

[2.] This will be our happiness : John xvii. 3, ' This is life eternal, 
that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom 
thou hast sent.' It is begun by saving knowledge, and is completed by 
the vision of God ; it is the same God we know and love here and 
there, and with a knowledge and love of the same nature, but as to 
degrees it is more perfect ; here we know him and see him as in a glass 
darkly, hereafter as in his glory, face to face. 

[3.] What a shame it is not to know God, who hath so manifested 
himself to us in his works and word, and is so ready to manifest himself 
by his Spirit. 

(1.) In his works within us or without us ; for the apostle telleth 
us, Acts xvii. 27, 28, ' He is not far from every one of us, for in him 
we live, move, and have our being ; ' whose creatures we are, from 
whom we have all that we have ; and shall we not often think of the 
God that made us ? Look upon this body or this soul, whose image 
and superscription doth it bear ? The work will show the workman. 
God is before thee, behind thee, round about thee, yea, within thee; 
and shalt thou not take some time to season thy heart with the 
thoughts of God ? Everything that passeth before thine eyes pro- 
claimeth an invisible God, an eternal power that made thee and all 
things else, Ps. xix. 1, 2. Shall the heavens above, and the earth 
beneath thee say, Kemember God ; nay, every creature and pile of 
grass thou treadest upon, Kemember God ; and shall we be so stupid 
that God shall not be in all our thoughts ? 

(2.) In his word and covenant. There God has provided and pro 
mised such plenty of knowledge, that he hath told us, Heb. viii. 11, 


' They shall not teach every man his brother, and every man his neigh 
bour, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me from the least 
to the greatest.' This grace shall be diffused among all sorts of 
people : Isa. xi. 9, ' The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the 
Lord, as the waters cover the sea.' As plentiful as water in the sea ; 
and will you only be strangers in Israel, lose the benefit of the dis 
pensation you are under ? 

(3.) How willing God is to manifest himself to us by his Spirit : 
In thy light we shall see light ; ' and God hath promised, Jer. xxiv. 
7, ' I will give them an heart to know me that I am the Lord, and 
they shall be my people, and I will be their God ; for they shall return 
unto me with their whole hearts.' You must take your lot and por 
tion. God will not fail the waiting soul. 


Wlio shall be punished witli everlasting destruction from the presence 
of the Lord and from the glory of his power. 2 THES. i. 9. 

IN the former verse the judgment is spoken of ; here the punishment 
of the wicked. Which is set forth 

1. Generally, they shall be punished with everlasting destruction. 

2. Particularly. Two branches of it are mentioned (1.) The 
pcena damni, 'From the presence of the Lord.' (2.) The pcena 
sensus, ' From the glory of his power.' Some make them to be the 
two principal causes of their punishment, the face of the Lord, and 
his glorious power ; the wrathful countenance of Christ shall bring 
this punishment upon them, and his power shall execute it ; or the 
sentence shall come out of Christ's mouth, and be put in execution by 
his power ; as David, Ps. xvii. 2, ' Let thy sentence come forth from 
thy presence ; ' when he desired God to appear in the trial of his 
innocency. So the wicked shall then be condemned by Christ him 
self, who shall then appear in glory and sovereign power. But I 
rather stick to the former exposition, as noting the parts of their punish 

[1.] 'From the presence of the Lord.' I interpret it, as Beza doth, 
they shall be cast out from the presence of Christ, expulsi a facie Dom 
ini ; as also, Mat. xxv. 41, ' Depart, ye cursed.' 

[2.] And ' from the glory of his power.' That noteth the punishment 
of pain, expressed by fire, which signifieth the wrath of God. The 
wicked shall be punished by the immediate power of God. 

Doct. That the punishment of the wicked at the last day shall be 
exceeding terrible and dreadful. 

I will amplify it by going over the words of the text. 

First, It is generally described ; they * shall be punished with ever 
lasting destruction.' Where we have (1.) The estate : (2.) The 
duration of it. 


1. The estate itself. It is called 'destruction,' o\e9pov rlcrova-iv. 
So 1 Thes. v. 3, 'Sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail 
upon a woman with child/ In Mat. vii. 13, the broad way leadeth to 
destruction ; and Rom. ix. 22, ' The vessels of wrath fitted to destruc 
tion.' In both places, a7rca\etav ; and so Phil. iii. 19, ' Whose end is 
destruction.' In all these places, by ' destruction ' is meant eternal dam 
nation, called sometimes perdition or destruction, 1 Tim. vi. 9 ; some 
times corruption, Gal. vi. 8 ; meaning thereby, not an abolition of their 
being, but their well-being. Annihilation would be a favour to the 
wicked ; then they wish they never had a being, or might presently 
cease to be. No ; the substance neither of their souls or bodies is not 
annihilated, but shall be upheld to all eternity by the mighty power 
of God ; but it is a destruction and loss of all their felicity and happi 

[1.] Of all their carnal happiness, their glory, pleasure, and gain, 
wherein they placed their whole contentment and satisfaction, that shall 
cease, and the world, which is the fuel of it, shall be burnt up before 
their eyes. 

[2.] Their loss of the true happiness, which lieth in the favour of 
God, and all the joys and blessedness which are bestowed upon the 
godly ; this they are deprived of. They have a being, but a being under 
punishment, under torment. God doth not take away the being of 
a sinner, but he taketh away the comfort of his being, his well-being ; 
he doth totally bereave him of all comfort, and body and soul is cast 
into hell-fire, Luke xii. 5, where they languish and pine away under 
the wrath of a highly provoked and then irreconcilable God. 

2. It is eternal destruction, not fully accomplished in a moment, but 
continueth for ever. What is here called ' everlasting destruction,' is 
elsewhere called ' everlasting fire,' Mat. xxv. 41, and ' everlasting pun 
ishment,' ver. 46. The loss is everlasting ; the wicked are everlastingly 
deprived of the favour of God, and of the light of his countenance. 
When Absalom was not admitted to see his father's face, ' Kill me,' 
saith he, ' rather than let it be always thus,' 2 Sam. xiv. 32. But the 
wicked are never more suffered to come into the presence of God, who is 
the fountain of all peace and joy ; therefore how miserable will their 
condition be ! Besides, the pain will be eternal as well as the loss. 
Their misery is represented in scripture by everything that is terrible ; 
sometimes by death, which is so much feared, and it is everlasting death, 
for they never return to life and happiness again ; sometimes by fire, 
and it is everlasting fire ; the fire never goeth out, and the flame never 
ceaseth ; sometimes by chains and prisons, and it is everlasting chains 
of darkness ; and sometimes by weeping and wailing and gnashing of 
teeth, and this wailing is for evermore. There is no time when this 
fire shall go out, or these chains be loosed, or these wailings cease, or 
heaven or hell have any period. 

But here foolish reason will interpose, and ask how it can stand with 
the justice of God for a momentary action to cast men into ever 
lasting torment ? I answer 

1. God will govern the world by his own reason, and not by our 
fancies. He hath made a holy law, and that law hath a sanction ; it 
is established by penalties and rewards. Now if God will make good 


his threatenings, and bring upon the creature the misery which he 
hath foretold, wherein lieth the injustice ? What part of the punish 
ment would you have to be relaxed, the loss or the pain ? The loss is 
double of God's favour and our natural comforts. Would you have 
God to admit those to the sight and fruition of himself who never 
cared for him? or return to their natural comforts, that they may 
again run riot with them, and use them as an occasion to the flesh, 
and to beguile and quiet their consciences with these enjoyments, or 
feeding their carnal mind with these pleasures while they want better 
things ? or to lessen the pain when the sin and impenitent obstinacy 
doth still continue ? Should the pain cease ? If there were no pain, 
yet the loss would be a torment. 

2. It is meet for the government of the world that the penalties 
should be thus stated, to give us the more powerful argument against 
fleshly lusts, which, being pleasing and suitable to corrupt nature, need 
to be checked by a terrible cominination. Man is a very slave to 
sensual pleasure, which being born and bred with him, and riveted in 
his nature, is not easily renounced. Therefore God hath told us that 
the pleasing of the flesh will cost us dear : ' If ye live after the flesh 
ye shall die/ &c., Kom. viii. 13. The sinner's paradise is guarded with 
a flaming sword, and our delight is balanced with our fear, that by 
setting eternal pains against momentary pleasures, we may the better 
escape the temptation, Heb. xi. 25. Shall we for a momentary 
pleasure run the hazard of eternal sorrow ? The pleasures are but for 
a season, the torments are everlasting ; the fearful end of this flesh- 
pleasing course may deter us from it. It is agreeable to the wisdom 
of our lawgiver that things to come should have some advantage above 
things present ; that the joy and pain of the other world, which is 
a matter of faith, should be considerably greater than the pleasures 
and pains of this world, which is a matter of sense ; else things at 
hand will certainly more prevail with us than things to come, if they 
be not considerably greater. Therefore here the pain is short, so is 
the pleasure, but there both are eternal. 

3. No law observeth this, that the mora pwnce, the continuance of the 
punishment, should be no longer than the mora culpce, or the time of 
acting the offence. For a fact clone in a day or in an hour men suffer 
loss, shame, exile, imprisonment all their lives. Public right and order 
is not so easily repaired by the punishment as it is perverted by the 
offence ; and therefore when in all human procedure the punishment 
doth continue longer ordinarily than the time wherein the crime is 
committed, it is unreasonable to tax God's justice upon this account. 

4. There are many reasons which justify this appointment ; as 
[1.] From the majesty of God, against whom the sin is committed, 

which is depreciated and contemned by the creature's offence. What 
base things are preferred before God, and the felicity we might have in 
the enjoyment of him ! At how vile a price is his favour sold, and 
how is his authority despised ! Now those that break the laws of the 
eternal God are justly punished with eternal punishment. 

[2.] From the nature of sin, which is a preferment of a short 
sensitive good before that which is spiritual and eternal. If men refuse 
an everlasting kingdom offered to them for a little carnal satisfaction, 


Heb. xii. 16, eternal life and eternal death is cast upon their choice ; if 
they be eternally miserable, they have but their own choice. 

[3.] From the will of the sinner. He would continue his sins ever 
lastingly if he could. They are never weary of sinning, nor ever would 
have been if they had lived eternally upon earth ; they desire always to 
enjoy the pleasures of this life, and are rather left by their sins than 
leave them ; in hell they never heartily repent. If God should take 
them out of that estate, they would, like metal taken out of the fur 
nace, harden again ; and as their impenitency is endless, so is their 

[4.] There is no change of state in the other world. Now we are 
upon our trial, and God alloweth a remedy whereby we may pass from 
death to life ; then the door is shut and past opening, Luke xiii. 25 ; 
the gulf is fixed, Luke xvi. 26, and every man is in termino, in his 
everlasting estate of misery or happiness. 

Well, then, since they break the laws of the eternal God, and the 
very nature of the sin is a despising eternal blessedness for some tem 
poral pleasure and profit, and this they would do everlastingly if they 
could subsist here so long, and during all the time of God's patience, 
and their trial, they would never pass from death to life, or change 
masters and covenants, they are justly punished with everlasting 

Secondly, This particular is amplified by the parts of it, pcena damni 
and pcena sensus, the punishment of loss, and the punishment of sense. 

1. The loss, intimated in that clause, ' From the presence of the 
Lord.' They shall be banished out of his sight, and presence, and 
company for evermore : ' Depart, ye cursed.' Concerning this part of 
the punishment observe 

[1.] That herein all are equal. There are degrees in the pain, for 
some have Trepio-aorepov Kplpa, a heavier and more intolerable judgment; 
some have few, some have many stripes ; but all are equally excluded 
from the fruition of God and Christ, all are under the sentence of 
' Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity,' Mat. vii. 23. 

[2.] What is the saints' blessedness is the wicked's torment ; they 
are punished from the presence of the Lord, and thence our refreshings 
come: Acts iii. 19, ' That your sins may be blotted out, when the time 
of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.' That which 
is our happiness is their misery. 

[3.] How fitly this is inflicted on them. Forsaking God and departing 
from God is now their sin, and then their misery ; they cast God out 
of their thoughts : Horn. i. 28, OVK eSoKijuaa-av, ' They liked not to 
retain God in their knowledge.' They would raze out of their minds 
everything that doth put them in remembrance of God ; the very 
thoughts of him are a burden to them. They rejected God, and now 
God rejecteth them ; they bid him to depart, Job xxi. 14, so now Christ 
will bid them depart. They cannot endure his presence, and then he 
will not endure theirs. The impressions of God upon their hearts are 
a trouble and vexation to them, therefore is their presence loathsome 
to Christ. So that this is plainly a loss of their own procuring ; they 
first excommunicated God, as not enduring his presence and company, 
and they are paid home by a just recompense, excommunicated from 
the glorious church of the blessed. 

VOL. xx. R 


[4.] This is the hell of hell, the greatest part of the punishment. 

(1.) It is a great punishment in itself. To be expelled from the 
presence of the Lord is to be deprived of an infinite good ; they lose 
the favourable presence of God, the sight of Christ, the company of the 
blessed, and their abode in those happy mansions which are in Christ's 
Father's house. Hell is a deep dungeon, where the sunshine of God's 
presence never cometh : Ps. xvi. 11, ' In thy presence is fulness of joy.' 
This they are deprived of. How grievous was Paul's departure to the 
disciples ! When he told them, ' Ye shall see my face no more ; ' they 
wept : Acts xix. 38, ' Sorrowing most of all for the words he spake, that 
they should see his face no more.' Surely when Christ shall tell the 
wicked so, what a torment will it be to their minds ! Better lose all 
things than lose the presence of God : Exod. xxxiii. 15, ' If thy presence 
go not up with us, carry us not hence.' They would live in the wilder 
ness with God rather than enter into Canaan without him ; they shall 
see what God's presence is by Christ's appearance in the brightness of 
his glory, a sight that will stick in their minds to all eternity ; and 
when they see with what grace and honour he receiveth his servants, 
and themselves shut out, Luke xiii. 38, it shall make them more ap 
prehensive of their loss ; as Dives was the more affected when he saw 
Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, Luke xvi. 27. Others of the same 
nature and interests do enjoy what they have forfeited. 

(2.) They shall have a full sense of the greatness of the loss. A 
wicked man now careth not for the light of God's countenance ; he is 
blinded by the delusions of the flesh, and looking altogether to visible 
things, he hath no sound belief of the things which are invisible ; but 
now he comes to understand the reality of what he hath lost, and 
what was mere matter of faith before becometh an object of sense. 
Punishment openeth their eyes, which sin hath shut. Besides they 
have no natural comforts to divert their minds, no plays, or sports and 
pleasures, no pleasant meats, nor drink, nor company, which now draw 
off the heart from better things, and solace them in the want of them ; 
but now there is nothing of this left. Supposing a rational creature to 
exist, and hath nothing to divert his mind, his understanding, reflect 
ing upon his loss, would be torment enough to him. In short, sensible 
experience teacheth them how to value their loss, and they have nothing 
to bridle the affections, nor carnal mirth to allay the bitterness of 
their condition. And once more, all their hope, false peace and con 
fidence is gone, they hope now to fare as well as the best, but then 
their hope leaveth them ashamed ; they see it is quite otherwise. 

(3.) The loss is irreparable. They are banished out of God's sight for 
evermore. Despair is one ingredient in the sorrow of the damned ; all 
hopes are cut off of being any more admitted into God's favourable 
presence. There are many ups and downs in a Christian's experience, 
God hideth his face that he may afterward show it the more gloriously; 
but this curse is never reversed against the wicked. It was the church's 
prayer, Ps. Ixxxi. 19, ' Keturn again, and cause the light of thy coun 
tenance to shine upon us, and we shall be saved.' The saints find sun 
shine after clouds, but to these the mist of darkness is reserved for ever, 
2 Peter ii. 17. Hell is a region upon which the sun shall never 
shine ; the wall of partition between God and them shall never be 


broken down ; his fiery indignation they may look for, but not his com 
fortable and gracious presence ; that is reserved for the saints. 

2. We now come to the pcena sensus, the punishment of sense, in 
timated in that clause, ' And from the glory of his power.' This 
clause further showeth the grievousness of their punishment. The 
face of the Lamb sitting upon his throne is terrible to the wicked, 
therefore they shall call upon the mountains to cover them, and hide 
them from the face of the Lamb, Eev. vi. 15, 16. But if they cannot 
abide his presence pronouncing the sentence of banishment upon them, 
how heavy will his hand be when he cometh to execute that sentence ! 

That this may sink into your minds, I will prove two things (1.) 
That God doth immediately punish the sinner with his own hands ; (2.) 
That if Christ interpose his own hand, this maketh their case more 
terrible and dreadful. 

[1.] That Christ or God will take the punishment into his own 
hands. He is the principal author of those pains which the wicked 
endure. That God hath an immediate hand in the punishing of ob 
stinate and impenitent sinners is evident by these reasons 

(1.) The quarrel with sinners is God's own : Lev. xxvi. 25, ' I will 
avenge against them the quarrel of my covenant.' So Hosea xii. 2, ' The 
Lord hath a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according 
to his ways.' It is his laws that are broken, his grace despised, the 
blood of his Son slighted, his Holy Spirit vexed and grieved, and his 
glory trampled under foot ; and therefore no wonder if he take the 
punishment into his own hands, and inflict it upon them by his own 
immediate power. 

(2.) Vengeance is God's royal prerogative : Heb. x. 30, 31, ' Ven 
geance is mine, I will recompense, saith the Lord.' And thence he 
concludeth that 'it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the 
living God.' Because vengeance is his, therefore the sinner falleth 
into his hands ; he hath reserved this work unto himself. 

(3.) Terrors of conscience, that now light upon any, good or bad, 
they are the arrows of the Almighty : Job vi. 4, ' The arrows of the 
Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit ; the 
terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.' This was his 
great trouble, that it was the Almighty God with whom he had to do ; 
the sense of God's wrath was like an envenomed dart flung into his soul. 
Now if the troubles occasioned by sin now cause men to know and dread 
his almighty power, much more when sin is fully recompensed into 
the bosoms of wicked men. An arrow shot by a strong hand maketh 
a deep and piercing wound, what will one of God's empoisoned darts 

(4.) After this life, God is all in all, 1 Cor. xv. 28, both in mercy 
and wrath. All cometh immediately from God, without the interven 
tion of means. 

He is all in all in a way of mercy. Here he supplieth the necessities of 
the bodily life by the creatures, and sometimes at the second and third 
hand ; and therefore we know little of God in comparison by that kind 
of dispensation : ' I will hear the heavens, and the heavens shall hear 
the earth.' He supplies our soul necessities by ordinances. Now though 
the fountain be full and flowing, yet if the pipe be narrow, the water can 


pass only as the pipe can transmit it : the pipe is narrow here, and the 
vessel is not very capacious. So in a way of wrath ; now it is exe 
cuted by creatures, and God showeth how much strength he can put 
into a creature to execute his displeasure ; but a creature is not a vessel 
capacious enough to convey all his wrath to us, as a bucket cannot con 
tain an ocean. A giant striking with a straw, the straw cannot convey 
the strength of his blow, for it is a light thing though in the hands of a 
mighty man ; so no creature is able to bring all God's wrath to another, 
no vessel is able to hold all God's displeasure ; but then we shall fall 
immediately into his hands. 

(5.) The pains and torments of the wicked angels come immediately 
from God. He holdeth them in chains of darkness, 2 Peter ii. 4. 
These chains of darkness are God's irresistible power and terrible 
justice, overtaking, tormenting, and restraining them. It will be worse 
with them at the last day, their torments will be increased, and that 
from the hand of Christ himself. They seem to acknowledge so much 
when they say, Mat. viii. 29, ' Art thou come to torment us before the 
time ? ' They know there is a time coming when they shall be tor 
mented more than they are yet, and tormented by Christ. Now this 
showeth whence wicked men also shall be punished ; for they are cast 
forth with the devil and his angels, to endure the same torments they 
do, from the same hand, the glorious power of Christ. 

(6.) The agonies of Christ, whence came they but from the wrath of 
God ? The devil might stir up outward trouble against him by his in 
struments, but whence came his agonies in the garden, where there was 
no enemy to molest him ? yet his soul was heavy unto death, and he 
did sweat drops of blood. The scripture telleth you, Isa. liii. 10, ' It 
pleased the Father to bruise him, to put him to grief.' Now this 
giveth light to the case in hand, for he carried our sorrows and bore our 
griefs, Isa. liii. 4, that is, the curse due to our sin. And what was done 
to the green tree, to such an innocent person as Christ was, showeth 
what will be done to the dry, what will be the portion of the impeni 
tent, God will bruise them and break them by the power of his own 

[2.] Now that it is fofiepbv, a very dreadful thing to be punished by 
the glory of his power, will easily appear if we consider 

(1.) The party punished, the impenitent and obstinate sinner in his 
whole man, both in body and soul. Both are fellows in the sin, and 
both partake in the punishment : Mat. x. 28, ' Fear him that can cast 
both body and soul into hell.' The body is not only the instrument 
but the occasion of many sins ; we obey many brutish motions to please 
and gratify the body, therefore the body hath its share in these 
pains. Christ telleth us the whole body of the wicked is cast into hell- 
fire, Mat. viii. 29. Then for the soul too, woe, wrath, tribulation, and 
anguish is the portion of every soul that doeth evil, Kom. ii. 9, 10. 
And this arising not only from the reflections of our conscience, but 
the power of God ; the soul is scorched by the wrath of God ; and by 
remembering what is past, feeling what is present, and expecting what 
is future, their anguish and horror is increased. 

(2.) The party punishing, God or Christ, by his own immediate 
power. Now God's power is invincible and infinite, far beyond our 


conceiving : ' Who knoweth the power of thine anger ? ' Ps. xc. 11. 
As the glory of the Lord is great and infinite, so the effect must be. 
As that Midian king said to Gideon, when he was afraid to be hacked 
and mangled by his young son, ' Fall thou upon me thyself, for as the 
man is so is his strength,' Judges viii. 21. So as the agent is, so must 
the act be. Man's anger is like himself, weak and finite ; so God's 
anger is like himself, infinite and powerful : Nahum i. 6, ' Who can 
stand before his indignation, and who can abide in the fierceness of his 
anger ? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down 
by him.' 

(3.) The end of his punishing, which is to manifest the glory of his 
own strength in the just confusion of wicked men. Sometimes God 
showeth his power, but now he will show the glory of his power ; as it 
is in the text, 'Punished from the glory of his power.' So Kom. 
ix. 22, ' What if God, willing to show his wrath, and make his power 
known?' The world shall see what he is able to do in punishing 
sinners, what he can inflict and make the creature bear, rrjv Sogav T?}? 
iV^yo? U.VTOV. He will now stir up all his wrath, Ps. Ixxviii. 39. Now 
when God shall fall upon a sinner with all his might, how woful will 
his condition be ! 

(4.) The pledges of this punishment. I shall name some. 

(ls.) When God's anger is but kindled a little, when a spark of his 
wrath falls upon the conscience of his own children, their souls are 
troubled so that they choose strangling rather than life. In his fatherly 
corrective discipline, how are poor creatures at their wit's end ! This 
is but a drop of that horrible tempest which shall be the portion of 
their cup. 

(2d) The Lord Christ's soul was troubled. Though he were the 
Son of God, perfect in faith and patience, wanted no courage or forti 
tude, yet when he felt the wrath of God, his soul was heavy unto death ; 
he was afraid, he was amazed, the human nature of Christ was never 
so much put to it as then. What then will the power of God 's wrath 
accomplish in the wicked? 

(3d) The outward instances of God's wrath on particular men, when 
they fall into any painful disease, stone, colic, strangury, acute fevers, 
these come more immediately from God. You cannot think of two or 
three days' pain in this kind without horror, and how will you dwell 
with devouring burnings ? That which God puts into a judgment 
maketh it the more terrible ; a small thing deeply afflicts when it is 
set a- work by God. 

(4th.~) Public judgments. When God lets loose an enraged enemy 
upon a people, what burning of houses, ravishing of virgins, killing of 
infants, spoiling of all our precious things, exquisite tortures which 
cursed miscreants will find out to vex them who are fallen into their 
power. Head of the sacking of Jerusalem in Josephus, of Constan 
tinople in Nicholas Comates, or the predictions of Moses, Deut. xxviii. 
66, 67, rather a chronicle or history than a calendar or prognostica 
tion, &c. 

I shall now come to vindicate the point, and show that this dis 
course is useful 

1. To those that are carnal. 


[1.] To rouse them out of their security. If men did believe and 
consider the torments of hell and the dreadfulness of God's wrath, they 
would not sin as they do. Sermons of hell may keep many out of 
hell, and a due consideration of wrath to come may rouse men up to 
flee from it. We do not urge the terror of the Lord, as desiring you 
may experiment it, but shun it. The wrath of God is no vain scarecrow ; 
surely men could not be so careless as usually they are, if they did 
heartily believe it, seriously consider of it, or closely apply it. 

(1.) Many believe it not. Secure sinners think to-morrow shall be 
as yesterday, and the next day as the former, that when they die there 
is an end of them ; and so have a mind to go to hell, to prove whether 
God be a liar, yea or no; they will not believe it till they feel it 
There are no atheists in hell, though there be some in the visible 
church. If one came from the dead, they will believe, Luke xvi. 30. 
Men would have other assurance of things to come than God meaneth 
to give them ; when they will not hearken to faith and reason, God 
leaveth them to sense and experience. Or 

(2.) Do not seriously consider of these things, put far away the 
evil day, Amos vi. 3. As to the day itself, they can neither put it on 
nor off, but put off the thought of it, being besotted by the pleasures 
of carnal sense. As Saul cured the evil spirit by music, so do they 
by the delights of the flesh banish and exclude all thoughts of eternity, 
and charm and lull conscience asleep. Now it is good to bring these 
men to consider the end of things. 

(3.) Do not closely apply these things. They do not examine 
whither they are going, whether their way tendeth to heaven or to 
hell. Most will seem to grant the truth and terribleness of hell tor 
ments, but what have they done to get out of this condition ? Do they 
fly from wrath to come ? An humble and hearty subjection to Christ 
will procure your escape from these torments, therefore deal with your 
selves : ' How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ? ' Heb. 
ii. 3. Escape what ? Mat. xxiii. 33, ' How can ye escape the damna 
tion of hell ? ' If you would not fall into the hands of a living God, 
cast yourselves into the arms of a dying Saviour : Ps. ii. 12, ' If his 
wrath be kindled but a little, blessed are all they that put their trust 
in him.' Therefore let us apply this truth. Do we enter into God's 
peace, or continue in the high way to hell? Are not we sensual, 
senseless, secure ? If we abuse mercies, slight offers of grace, defeat the 
healing methods of God, refuse the motions and discipline of his Spirit, 
what will become of us ? Those that reject his mercy will not be able 
to reject his justice, or withstand the power of his wrath. You have 
to do with God now in the word of his power, Heb. iv. 13. He work- 
eth by it immediately ; but if you neglect this, you will have to do 
with him immediately again in the way of his judgment ; and then his 
wrath hath a full power over the wicked, because the motions of his 
word and Spirit had no power over them. 

[2.] To check their boldness in sinning against light and conscience. 
It is a standing it out against God and Christ ; now can your hearts 
endure, or your hands be made strong against his fierce wrath ? So 
1 Cor. x. 22, ' Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy ? are we stronger 
than he ? ' If you dare not to meet God at the last day, never dare to 


break a commandment. Many times obstinate sinners will say, You 
threaten us with wrath, we will bear it as well as we can. Bear ! what 
will you bear ? The wrath of the eternal and ever-living God ? Thou 
that canst not endure for a day or two to be scorched in feverish flames, 
the pains of the stone or gout, the pain of a broken arm or leg, the 
scalding of a little gunpowder casually blown up, how wilt thou endure 
the wrath of God himself, when he shall fall upon thee with all his 
might ? Thou that art so daunted at the sight of any great carnage 
by war or pestilence, or a sudden surprise of enemies, that roarest at 
the toothache, that canst not endure to try the burning of thy finger in 
a candle, that canst not hear of Lawrence's being roasted on a grid 
iron without horror, thou canst seriously hear this doctrine without 
trembling ; surely all this bravery and hardness of heart is the fruit of 
unbelief and seared impenitency. 

[3.] To cause them to shake off all delays in the business of salvation, 
to flee from the wrath to come, Mat. iii. 7, to flee for refuge to the 
hope set before them, Heb. vi. 18. No motion will serve here but 
flight ; we cannot get soon enough out of this condition ; while a great 
way off, meet thy enemy and make thy peace with him, Luke xiv. 32. 
You know not how soon God may take the advantage, and cut us off 
from all possibility of grace ; if Christ be an adversary, agree with him 
quickly. He is pleased to compare his coming to that of a thief ; 
by way of surprise he may steal upon you unawares. How many 
thousands are there in the other world, who did as little think of that 
doleful estate whilst they were pleasing the flesh, as you now do ? 
Therefore we should give ourselves no rest till our peace be made with 

2. To the godly it is of use many ways. 

[1.] You may bless God for your deliverance by Christ. It is said, 

1 Thes. i. 13, ' Jesus hath delivered us from wrath to come.' And 
again, Kom. v. 9, ' Being justified by his blood, we are saved from 
wrath by him.' The more we consider the misery of the wicked, the 
more we may know what we have escaped, and what we have to bless 
God for. We were all once involved in this condemnation ; and if we 
be as brands plucked out of the burning, Zach. iii. 2, it is wholly to be 
ascribed to the Lord's grace. It is one part of the Christian's heaven to 
think of hell ; the miseries of this life commend heaven to us, much 
more the torments of the world to come. The Israelites, when they 
looked back and saw the Egyptians drowned in the waters, it 
heightened the deliverance, and made them more thankful for their 
own escape. 

[2.] To quicken us to a greater love and likeness to Christ. Fear 
serveth well to guard our love, and then the torment and slavish ness 
of it is lessened : 1 John iv. 17, ' Herein is our love made perfect, 
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment.' Where love is 
sincere, there is a study to imitate Christ ; and the more we imitate 
him, the more boldness. Boldness is opposite to shame, 1 John ii. 21 ; 
to fear, 1 John iv. 18, 'There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast- 
eth out fear.' The cause of shame is nakedness and folly. Nakedness : 

2 Cor. v. 3, ' If so be that, being clothed, we shall not be found naked.' 
If destitute of all grace, we are naked. Folly, if we have made a per- 


verse choice : Luke xii. 20, ' Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be 
required of thee/ Fear mainly respects the wrath of God and eternal 
punishment ; we need not fear it, if we love him and be like him, for 
surely Christ will own his own image. 

[3.] To try the strength of our faith. They that cannot endure such 
discourses discover much of the secret guilt and security of their own 
hearts, they cannot endure to hear the worst. It was a bad man that 
said, ' He prophesieth nothing but evil to me.' I cannot abide this 
preaching of hell and damnation. Presumption is a coward and a 
runaway, but faith encountereth its enemy in the open field : Ps. xxiii. 
4, ' Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will 
fear no evil.' It supposeth the worst ; but a presumer's conscience is 
not soundly established, they cannot endure to hear of evil. 

[4.] To counterbalance the fear of man, which causeth apostasy ; 
as here it is produced for the consolation of the faithful, and to abate 
the present terror of adversaries. What are the terrors of man to the 
terrors of Christ in the judgment ? Luke xii. 4, 5, ' Be not afraid of 
man, but of him that can destroy both body and soul ; ' Heb. iii. 12, 
* The living God/ mortal man. Men may handle you cruelly, but they 
cannot reach the soul ; their anger is mortal, and we are mortal : ' Not 
accepting deliverance, that they might have a better resurrection/ Heb. 
xi. 35. Better endure this than expose ourselves to the wrath of God. 

[5.] To warn their friends and relations, brothers, sisters, children, 
&c. Tell them what a dreadful thing the punishment of the wicked 
is ; as Dives in the parable : Luke xvi., ' Send to my father's house, for 
I have five brethren.' Shall we be less charitable than a man in hell 
is represented to be ? If we have a friend or child falling into sin, let 
us warn them of the danger thereof. 


When Tie shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all 
them that believe (because our testimony among you ivas believed) 
in iliat day. 2 THES. i. 10. 

THE apostle now proceedeth to the other part of the righteous judgment 
of Christ, which concerneth the saints, for whose sake Christ princi 
pally and chiefly cometh. His coming is not so terrible to the adver 
saries as it shall be glorious and comfortable to the saints. In the 
same day in which he shall punish his adversaries, he will reward the 
faithful, ' When he shall come to be glorified in his saints,' &c. 

The comfortable effect of Christ's coming is (1.) Asserted ; (2.) 
Applied to the Thessalonians. 

If we consider it as asserted, there we have 

1. The state itself. 

2. The measure and degree of it, that Christ shall be glorified and 
admired upon that account. 

3. The author, Christ. 


4. The subjects participant (1.) Saints ; (2.) Believers ; a double 

5. The time, ' In that day.' 

Doct. That there is an estate of admirable glory reserved to be 
bestowed by Christ on the saints at the day of judgment. 

This point will be discussed by going over the circumstances of the 

First, The state itself is a state of glory. There is a twofold glory 
put upon the saints (1.) Kelative and adherent ; (2.) Intrinsic and 

1. The relative glory of the saints standeth in three things 

[1.] In the free and full forgiveness of all our sins, and our absolution 
pronounced by the judge on the throne, Acts iii. 19. As pardon is 
of three sorts (1.) Constitutive, by God's new covenant : Acts x. 43> 
' To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whoso 
ever believeth on him shall receive remission of sins.' (2.) Declarative 
and sentential, when God as a judge doth determine our right. This 
is done here in part, when God doth speak peace to our souls, either 
in his word or by his Spirit : Isa. Ivii. 19, ' I create the fruit of the 
lips, Peace, peace/ But more fully at the last day, and solemnly, when 
the judge pro tribunali, sitting upon the throne, shall pronounce and 
declare us pardoned and absolved, and accepted unto life before all the 
world. (3.) Executively, when he doth not inflict the deserved penalty, 
but give us glory and happiness ; this is in part done here, as God 
taketh off the penalties and fruits of sin in his internal government, 
giving us the Holy Spirit ; for this he giveth as the God of peace, as 
pacified to us in Christ, Heb. xiii. 20, 21, by his external government 
taking off the punishment which lieth upon us for sin, therefore acquitted 
and pardoned. But more fully at the last day, when we are endued 
with glorious qualities both in soul and body, and all the fruits of sin, 
even those that lie upon the body, cease. Then is the sentence of 
absolution solemnly pronounced, then is the full execution, as we are 
perfectly freed from all misery, and brought into the possession of all 

[2.] A participation of judicial power. The saints are not only 
judged, but judges : 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3, ' Do not ye know that the saints 
shall judge the world ? ' And again, 'Know ye not that we shall judge 
angels ? ' Per modum suffragii, as assessors on the bench with Christ. 
Though some of the wicked long ago had their punishment, and all the 
evil spirits were cast out of God's presence ; but then they shall have 
their solemn doom, the saints consenting in the judgment, and visibly 
associated with Christ in the judgment : Luke xxii. 30, ' Ye shall sit 
upon thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.' And therefore it is 
said, Ps. xlix. 14, ' The upright shall have dominion over them in the 
morning ; ' that is, in the morning of the resurrection, when we awake 
out of the sleep of death ; and they have dominion as they are appointed 
to assist Christ in judicature; they shall have power over them who 
slighted, reviled, persecuted them. Here some of the saints judge the 
world by doctrine, all by conversation : Heb. xi. 7, ' By faith Noah, being 
warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared 
an ark to the saving of his house, by which he condemned the world.' 


There by vote and suffrage, the more to convince wicked and ungodly 

[3.] Christ's public owning them before God and his angels, by head 
and poll, man by man : Luke xii. 8, ' Him shall the Son of man confess 
before the angels of God,' that is, own them in the judgment. This is 
one for whom I died, who hath been faithful to me, and glorified me 
upon earth ; this presentation of the elect to God was a thing much 
upon the heart of Christ : Col. i. 22, ' To present you holy and 
unblamable,' &c. ; Jude 24, ' To him that is able to keep you from 
falling, and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory ; ' 
and Eph. v. 27, ' That he might present it to himself a glorious church.' 
There is a threefold presentation spoken of in scripture. One made 
by believers themselves : Kom. i. 12, ' I beseech you therefore, by the 
mercies of God, that ye present yourselves a living sacrifice ; ' Kom. 
vi. 13, ' Yield yourselves unto God/ Trapaarija-aTe eavrovs rtp Getp. 
When we solemnly give up ourselves to God's use and service. The 
second by Christ's messengers : 2 Cor. xi. 3, ' That I may present you 
as a chaste virgin to Christ.' When we can set such before the Lord, 
as the fruit of our labours, and pledges of our faithfulness in his work ; 
Lord, these and these have I gained to thee, or at least built them up 
in the knowledge of Christ. The last is by Christ himself, as an 
account of his charge : Heb. ii. 13, ' Behold I and the children which 
thou hast given me.' That he hath justified, sanctified, and now 
brought them home to God. When all the elect are gathered into 
one company and society, he will thus present them to God, and go 
before them as the great shepherd of the sheep, to lead them into their 
everlasting fold, rejoicing in his own success, and settle them in their 
eternal and glorious estate. This is done privately at the time of 
death, but publicly and solemnly at the day of his coming, when he 
shall give up the kingdom to his Father, 1 Cor. xv. 24, tanquam 
prcedam hostibus ereptam, as a prey snatched from the enemy, as 
having made good his undertaking ; which is a great engagement 
on believers to holiness, that Christ may own us, and present us to God 
with honour. 

2. The glory inherent and internal : Kom. viii. 18, ' The glory 
which shall be revealed in us.' Now it is revealed to us, our ear hath 
heard a little thereof, but then it shall be revealed in us, fully accom 
plished in our persons ; as here there is a revealing of Christ to us, 
which implieth the offer, and a revealing of Christ in us, which implieth 
the participation : Gal. i. 16, ' It pleased God to reveal his Son in me.' 

But let us see a little how this glory is revealed in us. (1.) In our 
bodies ; (2.) In our souls. 

[1.] In our bodies. There is a great deal of glory put upon the 
bodies of the saints ; and this is of principal regard in that day, because 
our souls are made perfect before, and the apostle speaketh of what is 
visible and conspicuous. There is no place for our earthly and cor 
ruptible bodies in the heavenly city : ' For flesh and blood cannot 
inherit the kingdom of God,' 1 Cor. xv. 51 ; that is, corruptible and 
earthly, as now it is, it cannot enter into heaven ; therefore Christ's 
great work is to change the body, we shall have glorious bodies like 
unto his glorious body. 


(1.) It shall be immortal and incorruptible : 1 Cor. xv. 42, ' It is 
gown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.' Christ will endue 
them with immortality and impassibility, that they shall never decay 
nor be liable to sickness, weakness, or any defects, but have all the 
perfections which a body is capable of. 

(2.) For clarity and brightness, it shall be like Christ's glorious 
body. Therefore it is said, 1 Cor. xv. 43, ' It is sown in dishonour, it 
is raised in glory.' Christ's body shineth with light and brightness, a 
glimpse whereof was given in Christ's transfiguration : Mat. xvii. 2, 
' His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was bright as the light.' 
When he appeared to Paul from heaven, his body was wonderfully 
glorious ; he could not endure the light which shined to him, Acts ix. 
So when the saints shall appear with him in glory, the righteous shall 
shine as the sun in the firmament, Mat. xiii. 43. 

(3.) It shall be a spiritual body : 1 Cor. xv. 44, ' It is sown a natural 
body, it is raised a spiritual body.' But how is it a spiritual body ? 
The least in it is, that it shall be subject to the spirit ; as the soul 
while it is subject to the. flesh is called carnal, so the body when it is 
subject to the spirit is termed spiritual : John iii. 6, ' That which is 
born of the Spirit is spirit' Then the new birth produceth its consum 
mate effect, it is all spirit, without any mixture of the rebelling flesh. 
Certainly as regeneration is called the first resurrection, it helpeth ns 
to conceive of this estate ; but there is more in it ; the body is spiritual 
not only because it is ad nutum spiritus, at the command of the spirit, 
but ad modum spiritus, after the manner of the spirit ; it standeth in 
no need of natural supports. There is no food nor repast, no marrying 
nor giving in marriage, Mat. xxii. 30, but they are as the angels of God 
in heaven ; they live not as husbands and wives, but as the pure and 
spiritual angels ; we shall not stand in need of meat and drink and 
sleep, as now we do. Now what a blessed thing is it to have either 
privilege, to have bodies wholly subject to the spirit, and bodies not 
liable to present necessities ; once more, not clogged with a mass of flesh, 
but possibly may ascend or descend, pass from place to place in a 
moment ! As the angels move up and down in the twinkling of an 
eye, or as the helm turneth the ship, so is the body turned instantly 
at every motion of the soul. 

[2.] The soul is fully satisfied, and filled up with God. We have 
a more complete knowledge of him, and exact conformity to him : 1 
John iii. 2, ' We shall see him as he is, and be like him.' But this is 
riot of this place, and was spoken of in another verse. 

Secondly, The measure of that glory which he shall impart. It 
shall be so great, that it is said (1.) ' Christ shall be glorified in his 
saints ; ' (2.) ' Admired in them that believe.' Both expressions show 
the greatness of this glory. 

For the first, ' He shall come to be glorified in the saints.' The 
apostle doth not say that the saints shall be glorified, which yet is said 
in other scriptures, Kom. viii. 17 ; that were less though it be'much ; 
but he saith Christ shall be glorified in that day. Again, he doth not 
say Christ shall be glorified in himself, which is also said elsewhere ; 
as 1 Peter iv. 13, ' That when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be 
glad with exceeding joy.' But Christ is glorified in the saints, in the 


glory which he communicates to his people ; he is glorified in the glory 
which resulteth to him from their glory. And this expression showeth 
both (1.) The certainty of this effect of his coming ; for it is more than 
if he had said they shall be glorified. Surely Christ will not be want 
ing to his own glory, and therefore he cannot be wanting to the salvation 
of his people ; he will not forget those things which make for his own 
honour, and the honour of his Father. If his glory be concerned in our 
glorification, we may be the more confident of it. (2.) The greatness 
is seen also in this expression ; for how is Christ glorified in the saints ? 
Christ may be glorified two ways (1.) Passively and objectively ; (2.) 
Actively, as he is lauded and praised in the saints ; or in other terms, 
he is glorified in them and by them. The first is most proper here ; 
for it is said, ' He shall come to be glorified in his saints.' 

[1.] Objectively. God is glorified by impression. So all his 
creatures glorify him ; that is, offer matter to set forth his glory : Ps. 
cxlv. 10, ' All thy works praise thee, all thy saints bless thee.' In this 
lower world, man is the mouth of the creation, they ascribe and give 
God the glory of his excellencies ; but all creatures yield the matter of 
God's praise, they are the harp well stringed and tuned, though man 
maketh the music ; and above all, new creatures : Eph. i. 12, ' That 
we should be to the praise of his glory ; ' not speak, but be. There is 
more of God seen in the new creature than there is in anything on 
this side heaven. The very work of the new creation sets forth his 
goodness, wisdom, and power, to all attentive beholders; though 
the believer should be silent, the work would speak for itself ; but 
especially now, when his work is perfect and brought to an issue, and 
Christ hath put to his last hand, and done all to and for believers 
which he means to do. 

[2.] Actively, by expression or ascription of praise. So it is said, 
Ps. 1. 23, ' Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me ; ' that is, it is an emi 
nent means of glorifying God when we take notice of his excellencies, 
have a due apprehension of them, and delight ourselves in the com 
memoration of his benefits. Believers are now bound to it, for therefore 
they were called out of darkness into his marvellous light, that they 
might show forth his praises, 1 Peter ii. 9, ra<? aperas, objectively and 
actively. His goodness, power, and wisdom in their conversion ; much 
more then Christ's great power in raising them from the dead, Eph. i. 
19. His wisdom in conducting and guiding his people to this happi 
ness, notwithstanding their own weakness, and the opposition of their 
adversaries, and the cross events by the way : Eph. i. 7, ' In whom we 
have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according 
to the riches of his grace ; ' 'Then shall I know as also I am known/ 
1 Cor. xiii. 12. His goodness in pardoning all their sins, and giving 
them the glorious effect of his promises, and in rewarding his people, 
otherwise unworthy of so great a reward : 1 Peter i. 13, ' Gird up the 
loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end, for the grace that 
is brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ,' Then is grace 
seen in all its graciousness. 

Second expression, that ' Christ will be admired in those that 
believe.' We admire at those things which exceed knowledge and 
expectation, at great things never seen before, nor could the heart of 


man conceive they should ever be brought to pass. Now that glory 
shall exceed all our hope and expectation. 

But who are the parties that shall wonder ? 

They are either (1.) The good angels ; or, (2.) The wicked ; (3.) 
The saints themselves. The good angels shall praise God for this 
wonderful discovery of his grace. The wicked shall stand wondering 
at this great change, the saints themselves shall be ravished at the sense 
^md thought of it. 

1. The good angels. Though they are but the spectators, not the 
parties interested, yet they are marvellously affected with the excellency 
of this grace and salvation which is brought to sinners by Jesus Christ : 
1 Peter i. 12, ' Which things the angels desire to pry into.' They 
wonder at these things now, and know more of the manifold wisdom of 
God in his dispensations to the church than otherwise they could have 
known, Eph. iii. 10. They see more of God in this than in any of his 
other works. In the state of the church upon earth, God discovers 
much of his wisdom, power, and goodness to the angels, much more in 
the final glorious estate of the saints ; therefore Christ speaketh of con 
fessing and owning his people before the angels, for they look after these 
things : Kev. iii. 5, ' I will confess his name before my Father and his 
angels.' Now when Christ employeth their ministry in gathering his 
saints together, they shall stand wondering at the glory which he 
putteth upon them, they shall stand wondering what he means to do 
with creatures that are but newly crept out of dust and rottenness. 

2. The wicked are amazed and astonished when they see those so 
much loved and advanced by Christ, whose lives they counted mad 
ness and folly. They shall be spectators of the blessedness of the godly, 
as the godly shall be of their destruction and punishment ; they shall 
see them whom they accounted the off-scouring of all things, shining as 
the stars in the firmament. The church complaineth, Lam. iii. 45, 
' Thou hast made us as the off-scouring and refuse in the midst of the 
people.' You will say, They were a sinful nation that had revolted from 
God ; but you shall see Christ's choicest servants fared alike : 2 Cor. 
iv. 13, ' We are counted as the scurf and off-scouring of all things,' as 
the sweepings of the city. Now God's people, that are so odious in this 
world, are highly esteemed there ; Christ receiveth them as the dearly 
beloved of his soul, and that in the sight of the wicked ; for the 
sentence of absolution goeth before the judgment of condemnation, 
the sentence beginneth with the godly, but the execution with the 
wicked : Mat. xxv. 41, ' Then shall he say to them on the left hand, 
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.' 

3. The saints themselves are filled with wonder, they finding their 
expectation so much exceeded ; for admiration is the overplus of expec 
tation. The saints know most of God and his grace, yet they shall 
then admire him, for prophecy is but in part, 1 Cor. xiii. 9. There is 
no tongue now to speak of these things, nor ear to hear them ; even in 
what is revealed, the saints find many astonishing instances of God's 
love ; all is wonderful in the Kedeemer's grace : 1 Peter ii. 9, ' That 
we should show forth the praise of him that hath called us out of dark 
ness ^ into his marvellous light.' Whether we consider the woful 
condition we were in before, the rich grace that hath recovered us, the 


blessed privileges we are called unto, it is all matter of wonder, and 
passeth the power of created understandings to apprehend, or our 
tongues to express. They wonder at their own happiness now, but 
then they shall admire Christ more than ever they have done ; our 
wonder now is but slender to our wonder then. 

Thirdly, The author, Christ. How he is concerned in this ; for it is 
not said, the saints shall be glorified, but he shall be glorified and 
admired. Our glory, as it cometh from Christ, redoundeth to him : 
' For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be 
glory for ever, amen,' Horn. xi. 36. 

1. He is the procurer of this glorious estate for us by his death and 
sufferings. It is not, that I remember, expressly said that Christ hath 
purchased glory for us, but it is in effect said, for he purchased us unto 
glory ; therefore the church is called the purchased possession ; Eph. 
i. 14, ' Until the redemption of the purchased possession ; ' that is, 
until the church come to its final deliverance. So that we have the full 
effect of his death at the day of judgment, at which time those who 
are purchased by the blood of Christ, and are his possession and peculiar 
people, shall obtain full deliverance from sin and misery. He hath 
bought us with a price, and purchased us to this end, that he might 
possess us. And we have our full redemption, when our bodies are 
raised up and glorified, Rom. viii. 13. What though the death of 
Christ had a nearer end, our reconciliation with God, and the expiation 
of our sins, yet this glorified estate is also thence inferred : Rom. v. 
10, ' For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the 
death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his 
life.' No wise agent would lay so broad a foundation unless he intended 
an answerable superstructure. Would the Son of God die for a sinful 
world, if he did not mean to make them everlastingly happy ? Besides 
it is said, he gave himself for us, to cleanse us, yea, and to present us 
to himself, &c., Eph. v. 27. That is the second end of Christ's giving 
himself for his church, that he might present it to himself a glorious 
church. He gave himself, not only to sanctify his people, but to glorify 
them. Heaven is not merited by our holiness, but purchased by Christ ; 
it is the fruit of the blood and love of the Son of God. 

2. He has promised it in his gracious covenant : 1 John ii. 25, ' This 
is the promise that he hath promised us, eternal lifa' Other things 
are promised, but this is the chief promise ; he hath promised to justify 
his people, that he may take away that which hindereth their access to 
God, to sanctify his people, that he may fit them for communion with 
God, and begin the life which is perfected in heaven, and to glorify 
them as the consummation of all. Other promises are but steps to this, 
other promises are now accomplished within time, this is the promise 
most doubted of, and less liable to sense ; therefore now Christ will be 
glorified and admired in his faithfulness to his people. The promise 
longest delayed will come ; we must shoot the gulf of death ; stay till 
the end of all things, till we have the full of it. 

3. He dispenseth it, and communicateth his glory to the saints. He 
is our husband, we are his spouse. Uxorfulget radiis mariti; as the 
husband riseth in honour, so doth the wife. He is the head, we are the 
members ; when the head is crowned, all the members are clothed with 


honour and garments of state. There must be a proportion ; his mysti 
cal body shareth with him in his glory ; he is the captain, we are his 
soldiers : Heb. ii. 10, ' The captain of our salvation was made perfect 
through sufferings, to bring many sons unto glory.' When David was 
crowned at Hebron, he made his followers captains of thousands, and 
captains of hundreds, and captains of fifties. Servants : John xii. 26, 
' My servants shall be where I am.' He will put marks of honour and 
favour upon all his servants ; they often meet with disgrace here ; here 
they suffered, sighed with him, now they shall be glorified with him. 

4. He is the pattern and sampler of it. In all things Christ must 
TrpwTeveiv, he must have the pre-eminence, Kom. viii. 29. We have 
all our blessings at second-hand. First Christ is manifested to the 
world, and then the saints : Col. iii. 4, ' When Christ, who is our life, 
shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory/ His glorious 
body is the pattern to which ours is likened: Phil. iii. 21, 'Who shall 
change our vile bodies, that they may be fashioned like unto his glorious 
body/ and to a conformity to him in all things : 1 John iii. 2, ' When 
he shall appear, we shall be like him/ Now in all these respects Christ 
is concerned in our glory ; we have it from him, by him, and according 
to his pattern. 

Fourthly, The subjects, ' In his saints/ and ' in all that believe/ 
Where mark 

1. The connection between these two characters, saints and believers ; 
and it implieth that those that by the belief of the gospel do separate 
themselves from the world, and consecrate themselves to God, or that 
do believe so as to become saints, shall be thus glorified. The true 
faith is of a sanctifying nature : Acts xv. 9, ' Purifying their hearts by 
faith ; ' and Acts xxvi. 18, ' Sanctified by the faith which is in Christ 
Jesus/ In the gospel there is represented to us a holy God, whom we 
should imitate : 1 Peter i. 15, ' As he that hath called you is holy, so 
be ye holy/ A holy Saviour, whose main work and blessing is to 
turn us from sin, Acts iii. 26, and Mat. i. 21. A Holy Spirit, who 
sanctifieth us unto God, that we may become a peculiar people to him, 
1 Cor. vi. 11, Titus ii. 14, Eph. i. 13 ; a holy rule to walk by, Phil. ii. 
14, 15 ; a holy hope to aim at, 1 John iii. 3 ; and a blessedness to 
be possessed by the holy, Heb. xii. 14, and Mat. v. 8. Now if there 
be a sound belief of these things, it will not be a naked belief, but 
operate unto holiness. Certainly all true believers will be saints, and 
live holily. 

2. This glory and blessedness is limited to saints and believers, as 
their peculiar and proper portion. For believers, John iii. 15, ' That 
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting 
life/ For saints, many places, Col. iii. 12. Heaven is the inheritance 
of those only who are saints : Acts xx. 32, ' I commend you to God, 
who is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance among all 
those which are sanctified ; ' Acts xxvi. 18, ' That they may receive 
forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them which are sancti 
fied/ It concerneth us to see that we be believers and saints. The 
apostle showeth this was the reason of applying this consolation to 
them ; namely, as they had believed, and improved the gospel unto 


Who are sound believers, I shall show hereafter, now only what it is 
to be saints. Holiness is sometimes in scripture relatively considered, 
sometimes positively. Kelatively, that thing or person is holy which 
is separated and set apart from a common to a holy use. Positively, 
it implieth the renovation of our natures. As holiness is considered 
with respect to our relation to God, there are four things in it 

[1.] An inclination towards God ; for grace puts a new bias upon 
the soul, by which it bendeth and tendeth towards God, whereas before 
it bended and tended towards carnal vanities ; therefore it is expressed 
by conversion, or a turning from the creature to God, Isa. xxvi. 18, 19. 

[2.] From this tendency ariseth a dedication of ourselves, and all 
that we have, to the Lord's use and service : 2 Cor. viii. 5, ' But first 
gave their own selves to the Lord ; ' Kom. vi. 13, ' Yield yourselves unto 
God, as those that are alive from the dead ; ' Kom. xii. 1, ' Present 
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.' They are 
ashamed God hath been so long kept out of his right. 

[3.] From this dedication there results a relation to God. So that 
from that time forth they are not their own, but the Lord's : Ezek. 
xvi. 8, ' I entered into covenant with thee, and thou becamest mine ; ' 
Rom. xiv. 7, 8, ' None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to 
himself : for whether we live, we live unto the Lord ; or whether we 
die, we die unto the Lord : whether we live therefore or die, we are the 
Lord's.' In the text, ' glorified in his saints,' because of his right in 
them ; and they devote themselves to him. 

[4.] An actual using ourselves for God ; for we are vessels set apart 
for the master's use, 2 Tim. ii. 21 ; and accordingly we must live, not 
to ourselves, but unto God. If we love God, and have any sense of his 
kindness to us in Christ, we will do so, and shall need no other bond 
to bind this upon us but our own love : 2 Cor. v. 15, ' That we who 
live should not live to ourselves, but to him that died for us/ ' Besides, 
a sincere Christian maketh conscience of his dedication: 1 Cor. vi. 15, 
'Your bodies are the members of Christ ; shall I then take the members 
of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid.' 
Many give up themselves to God, but in the use of themselves there 
sippeareth no such matter. Besides, from the relation and interest 
God hath in us : ' Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God 
the things that are God's.' So 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, ' Ye are bought with a 
price, therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are 
his.' We must make conscience of alienating what is God's. Lastly, 
it is bound upon us by the certainty of the future account, Luke xix. 23 ; 
therefore we should keep a constant and faithful reckoning how we lay 
out ourselves for God. 

2. Positively. Holiness is the renewing of our hearts by the Spirit, 
or an inward principle of sanctification wrought m us. Other things, 
when dedicated to God, are changed only in their use, but man is 
changed in his nature ; there is a difference between him and 
others, as he is set apart for God and dedicated to an holy use : Ps. 
iv. 3, ' The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself.' But 
there is a difference between them and themselves, as they are cleansed, 
purified, and renewed by the Holy Ghost : 1 Cor. vi. 11, ' Such were 
some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justi- 


fied, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.' A 
man must be holy before his actions can be holy ; they are the saints in 
whom Christ will be glorified. 

3. Though it be limited to saints (all of that number are comprised), 
yet there is a great deal of difference between the saints of God. Some 
are more eminent in grace, others weak and dark ; and there is a dif 
ference between them at the last day ; some are raised, others that are 
alive are changed ; but they all agree in this, that Christ will be glori 
fied in all ; there is not one single believer in whom Christ will not be 
admired ; even in the glory that he puts upon the meanest and weakest, 
it shall be enough to raise the wonder of angels ; whether it be a prophet's 
reward, or a righteous man's reward, or an ordinary disciple's reward, 
whether bond or free, all is one, Christ will crown his grace in him ; 
for the apostle saith, ' He shall be admired in all that believe.' 

Fifthly, The season, 'In that day.' For this public honour and 
glory we must tarry till the time fixed ; we shall have most of his 
favour when Christ and we meet ; and it is not fit the adopted children 
should have their glory till the Son of God by nature be publicly 
manifested to the world. His personal honour lieth hid, and is much 
under a veil ; all things come to their perfection by degrees ; there is 
no congruity between the present state and this blessedness (1.) The 
place is not fit ; (2.) The persons are not fit ; (3.) The time is not fit. 

1. The place is not fit for a perpetual state of blessedness, because it 
is full of changes. Here time and chance happeneth unto all things, 
and there is a continual vicissitude of summer and winter, night and 
day, calm and tempest. The world to come is either all evil or all 
good, here is neither all evil nor all good ; this is a fit place for our 
exercise and trial, not for our enjoyment. Here is the patience of the 
saints, but hereafter is the reward of the saints ; it is a fit place wherein 
to get a right and interest, but not to get possession ; it is God's foot 
stool, but not his throne, Isa. Ixvi. 1. He will not immediately show 
himself to us till we come before the throne of his glory. He filleth 
the upper part of the world with his glorious presence, the lower with 
his powerful presence. This is a place where he will show his bounty 
to all his creatures, a common inn and receptacle for sons and bastards, 
a place given to the children of men, Ps. cxv. 16 ; but the heaven of 
heavens is reserved for himself and his people. 

2. The persons are not fit. Our souls are not yet purified enough 
to see God : Mat. v. 8, ' Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see 
God ; ' 1 John iii. 3, ' Every man that hath this hope, purifieth himself 
as he is pure/ Till sin be wholly done away, which will not be till 
death, we are not meet for his presence. When Christ will present us 
to God, he will present us faultless, Jude 25. Our bodies also are not 
fit till we have passed the gulf of death, and all of Adam be left 
buried in the grave. Old bottles cannot bear this new wine. A 
natural creature is not capable of the glorious presence of God, and 
cannot endure the splendour of it : Mat. xvii. 16, ' They fell on their 
faces, and were sore afraid.' Upon any manifestation of God the saints 
hid themselves, as Elijah wrapt his face in a mantle. Moses trembled 
exceedingly when God gave the law. 

3. The time is not fit. We must be some time upon our trial before 
VOL. xx. s 


we enter upon our final estate. God governeth now not in a way of 
sense, but faith ; we are justified by faith, live by faith, walk by 
faith, not by sight. Now the state of faith requireth that God's manner 
of dispensation should neither be too sensible and clear, nor too obscure 
and dark. It is fit Christ should be admired now in the graces, but then 
only in the glory of his people : 1 Peter* iv. 4, ' Wherein they think it 
strange that you run not with them to the same excess of riot, speak 
ing evil of you.' Koom must be left for trial : James i 12, ' Blessed 
is the man that endureth temptation ; for when he is tried, he shall 
receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that 
love him.' Koom for faith and patience : Heb. vi. 12, ' That ye be 
not slothful, but followers of them who, through faith and patience, 
inherit the promises.' 

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, &c. 2 THES. i. 10. 

USE 1. To wean us from the vain glory of the world. Surely if there 
be such great glory provided for us, we should patiently suffer present 
ignominy and contempt. God's people here are usually a despised 
people, partly because they make such conscience of obeying an unseen 
God, and seem altogether to depend upon an unseen happiness, which, 
because it is future, and lieth in another world, we must shoot the 
gulf of death before we attain it. Now this seemeth folly to the 
carnal and sensual world : 1 Cor. ii. 14, ' The natural man receiveth 
not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him ; 
neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned ; ' 
and 1 Peter iv. 4, * They think it strange that you run not with them 
to the same excess of riot.' Partly because many times they are 
chastened and afflicted. Now an afflicted people are usually a despised 
people : Ps. cxxiii. 4, ' Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning 
of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud.' They 
that are proud, and live a life of pomp and ease, and have all 
things flowing in upon them according to their own will, contemn 
and slight others, and take no notice of their burdens, unless it be 
to increase them ; they pour vinegar on the wounds which they 
should heal : Job xii. 5, ' He that is ready to slip with his foot is 
as a lamp despised in the thoughts of him that is at ease.' While 
we are burning lamps, shining in riches, and greatness, and power, 
and friendships, and interests in the world, we shall have enough 
to look after us ; but when a snuff is ready to go out, every one holds 
their nose at it. So it is with those that fall under the displeasure of 
the times. Partly because of the many reproaches whereby they are 
misrepresented to the world : Luke vi. 22, ' Their name is cast forth as 
evil.' Elijah was thought the troubler of Israel, and Christ an impostor, 
and Stephen a blasphemer. Now though this be grievous (for nature 


hath a very tender sense and feeling of contempt), yet this should not 
discourage us in the ways of God, because it is a privilege to be worthy 
of the world's hatred. Gratias ago Deo meo, quod dignus sum quern 
mundus oderit Jerome. I thank God that I am worthy of the world's 
hatred. If they slight you that slight God and Christ and their own 
salvation, why should you be troubled ? Besides, our self-love is too 
great, when we are so tender of suffering a little disgrace and contempt 
for Christ's sake, who suffered so many and great indignities for us : 
Isa, liii. 3, ' He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and 
acquainted with grief ; ' Heb. xii. 2, ' Looking to Jesus, the author and 
finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before him, endured 
the cross, despising the shame.' No ; resolve to be yet more vile, 2 
Sam. vi. 22, and base in your own eyes, and the eyes of the world. 
And again, till we are contented with the glory that cometh from God 
only, we are unfit for Christianity : John v. 44, ' How can ye believe, 
that seek honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh 
from God only ? ' John xii. 42, 43, ' Many believed on him, but because 
of the pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out 
of the synagogue : for they loved the praise of men more than the praise 
of God.' It is not enough to deny pleasures and riches, but we must 
be dead to honour, credit, and reputation, which is the hardest point 
of self-denial. But the great reason is that of the text, the honour 
Christ will put upon us at the last day is so great, that all other things 
should be lessened in our opinion and estimation of them : eXa^o-roz/, 
1 Cor. iv. 3, ' With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged 
of you,' or of man's judgment, avOpwirLv^ ^/ze/ja?. Man's day should 
be as nothing to us when we consider Christ's day. Well, then, since 
there is such a glorious estate reserved for us, let us not seek the vain 
glory of this world ; we need not look asquint, or seek out for another 
paymaster than Christ. They are approved whom the Lord com- 
mendeth, 2 Cor. x. 18. The more despised in the world for righteous 
ness' sake, the more honourable with God. If they could hinder your 
esteem with him, it were another matter. No ; they will ever be of 
great account in heaven that keep their garments unspotted from the 
world. Let us but wait the time, and they that are contemptible in 
the world shall be glorified even to admiration. 

Use 2. To encourage us to seek after this glorious estate, by contin 
uance in well-doing with all diligence and patience. The heirs of 
promise are described, Kom. ii. 7, to be them ' who by patient continu 
ance in well-doing do seek for honour, glory, and immortality ; ' where 
mark (1.) The end; (2.) The way; (3.) The manner of pursuit. 

1. The end or aim is 'glory, honour, and immortality.' In all 
business and affairs the end must be first thought of. Now the persons 
who are here described propound to themselves the noblest and highest 
end which the heart of man can pitch upon, even glory, honour, and 
immortality. Among men the ambitious who aspire to crowns and 
kingdoms, or aim at perpetual fame by their virtues and rare exploits, 
are judged persons of greater gallantry than covetous muckworms or 
brutish epicures ; yet their highest thoughts and designs are very base 
and low in comparison of sincere Christians, who look for glory, honour, 
and immortality at the last day, and whom nothing less will content 


and satisfy than the enjoyment of God in his heavenly kingdom, and 
all that happiness which he hath promised to his faithful servants. 
The threshold would not content them, but the throne ; their end is 
far more noble than the designs of all the rest of the world. Others 
are unworthy of an immortal soul, but these carry themselves as pos 
sessed with a divine spirit. All the business and bustle of others is to 
have their wills and pleasures for a while, as if they had neither hopes 
nor fears of any greater thing hereafter ; but their business is to get 
true glory and excellency. The apostle calleth it, 2 Cor. iv. 17, ' A 
far more exceeding weight of glory.' By which they vanquish all the 
temptations of disgrace and scorn which they meet with here in the 
world. The difference between the godly and the wicked is not that 
the one seek honour and glory, and the other not. No ; they both 
seek honour and glory, but the one seek it in the present world, and 
the other in the world to come ; the one seek it in vain things, the 
other in solid and substantial blessedness ; the one seek it in corruptible 
things, outward pomp, and a fair show in the flesh, and renown in the 
world ; if our fame survive us, what good will it do us when we are 
dead ? Alas ! it is but a poor shadow of that eternal glory and honour 
which Christ will put upon the saints. The glory of the other world 
is immortal and never withering, the glory and honour of this world is 
uncertain ; their Hosanna is soon turned into a Grucifige, Crucify him : 
2 Sam. xix. 43, with 2 Sam. xx., ' We have ten parts in the king, and 
more right in David than ye ; ' but in the next verse, ' We have no 
part in David, nor inheritance in the son of Jesse ; every man to his 
tents, Israel/ They who but now claimed ten parts in David presently 
disclaimed and disowned all interest in him, as having no part in him 
at all ; so suddenly are men's affections and esteem of us altered. But 
the saints look higher ; they seek glory, honour, and immortality, or a 
glory which will abide with them, and they with it, to all eternity. 
Their design is, that 'Their faith may be found to praise, and honour, 
and glory, at the appearing of Christ,' 1 Peter i. 7. Then the saints 
shall be much commended and gloriously rewarded, which doth abun 
dantly recompense and make up all the shame and disgrace of their 

2. The way they take or means they use to attain it, ' By continu 
ance in well-doing.' A good design without a good way will come to 
no effect ; therefore, next to the fixing of a right end, we must choose 
a right way ; and if we desire glory, honour, and immortality, we must 
follow the course that leadeth to it. The apostle saith it is by well 
doing and continuance therein. 

[1.] For well-doing ; that must be stated. The world is filled with 
ill notions ; every man applaudeth himself in his course, be it never so 
vain. The covetous, the ambitious, the dissolute, when they think 
they thrive in their several ways, they think they are well : Ps. xlix. 
18, ' Though whilst he lived he blessed his soul, and men will praise 
thee when thou doest well for thyself.' A man's own self-deceiving heart 
measureth good and evil by his present affections and condition in the 
world. The brutish worldling applaudeth himself in his way when 
it succeedeth, he doth well because he thriveth in the world. The 
glutton thinketh he doeth well when he maketh much of and pam- 


pereth his flesh, and hath wherewithal to do it; the ambitious ap- 
plaudeth himself in his fortune, that he gets the honour that he sought 
after ; the prodigal when he spendeth, thinketh he doeth well ; and the 
covetous when he spareth, thinketh he doeth well. Thus men set up 
their own fancies as their rule. No ; that is well-doing when we dis 
charge our duties to God, and that really turneth to our eternal good. 
We do well when we walk according to the rule, which is the will of 
God, revealed by the light of nature and scripture ; then only we do 
well when we act agreeably to those obligations which lie upon us by 
virtue of the law of God, or the rule which he hath given us in his 
word. Some duties concern our entrance into the Christian state, 
others our progress in it. 

(1.) For our entrance into the Christian estate, or recovery out of the 
apostasy of mankind, faith and repentance : Acts xx. 21, ' Testifying 
to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith 
toward our Lord Jesus Christ.' When we are willing to return to 
God, as our lord and happiness, by the Mediator Christ Jesus, by his 
renewing renovating grace, condemning our former ways, and humbly 
imploring the grace of our Kedeemer, and waiting for it in all the insti 
tuted means. These are the remedial duties which concern our relief 
and deliverance from that sin and misery wherein all mankind are 
involved, and this is our beginning to do well. 

(2.) Our progress in the new state. Those duties are set down, 
Titus ii. 12, ' Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, 
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world/ 
There are but three beings in a moral consideration God, our neigh 
bour, ourselves. The three adverbs are suited to them. (1.) Soberly, 
that implieth self-government, or the right ordering of our passions 
and appetites ; for sobriety is a holy moderation in the use of all worldly 
things. (2.) Righteously, that implieth a carrying ourselves to all 
men with mercy, and all good fidelity in our relations as parents, 
children, husbands, wives, rulers, subjects. (3.) Godly, that implieth 
a holy subjection to God's commanding and disposing will, and also an 
entire dependence upon him, and constant communion with him. 
Well, then, to do well is to humble ourselves for our sinful and miser 
able estate by nature, to implore God's grace in Christ, and resolvedly 
to betake ourselves to a holy course, bridling our passions and affections, 
and taking more care for the soul than the body, that is sobriety. As 
to men, we must not only mind the negative, to prevent wrong, Alteri 
ne feceris quod tibi fieri non vis, not to do to others what we would 
not have them do to us ; but the positive, as set down, Mat. vii. 12, 
'What ye would men should do unto you, do even the same unto them,' 
that ye may do good to the uttermost of your power. As to God, that 
we love our Creator, and live to him, not breaking his laws for all the 
world. Therefore all those that prefer the body before the soul do not 
subordinate all things they affect to eternal happiness ; that gratify 
the flesh to the wrong of the soul, they do not do good ; all that are 
self-lovers and self-pleasers to such a degree that others are wronged, 
yea, so far as they are not helpful to others to the uttermost of their power, 
do riot do good ; all that live in the neglect of God do not carry them 
selves with that reverence, delight, and trust which is due to so wise, 
good, and powerful a being as God is ; they are not well-doers. 


[2.] Continuance in well-doing. We must continue this care of 
pleasing God in all the duties he hath required of us to the end : Luke 
i. 75, ' In holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our 
lives.' In a journey it is not sufficient to go a mile or two, but we 
must hold on our course to the journey's end ; so we must never give 
over well-doing while we are in the world. Some are good for a pang 
or fit ; but, ' Oh, that they had a heart to fear me, and keep my com 
mandments always ! ' Deut. v. 20. The law bindeth continually, and 
grace planted in the heart should influence all our actions. God's eye 
is always upon us, and we are every hour and moment anew obliged to 
him for his benefits ; therefore our duty should last till we attain our 
end, lest we lose our crown, and the benefit of all we have done already. 
There are always the same reasons for going on that there were for 
beginning at first ; the same bond of duty lieth upon you, the same 
hopes are laid before you, the same helps and encouragements, and 
there can be no temptation great enough to recompense this loss of 
glory, and honour, and immortality. 

3. The manner of pursuit, with diligence and patience. 

[1.] Diligence, ' They seek it,' which implieth not only a hearty 
desire, but an earnest endeavour : ' First seek the kingdom of God,' 
Mat. vi. 33, that is, with such an affection as is not controlled by other 
affections ; this must be their chief business, all must give way to this. 
Many desire this glory, but they are soon put out of the humour, and 
take up with the pleasures, honours, vain delights, and profits of the 
world. Surely if we heartily desire it, something must be done in order 
thereunto, and done with all our might : John vi. 27, ' Labour not for 
the meat that perisheth, but for the meat which endureth to everlast 
ing life ; ' Phil. ii. 12, ' Work out your salvation with fear and trem 
bling;' Phil. iii. 14, 'Press towards the mark.' You will never come 
to .the enjoyment of this happiness with idleness and cold wishes; we 
must desire it so as to labour after it in the first place. Many do 
something, but it is little or nothing to the purpose ; the strength of 
their endeavours runs in another channel. It may be they pray for it, 
but do not live, accordingly. 

[2.] With patience, enduring all the hardships and difficulties that 
we meet with by the way. The good ground is described to be the good 
and honest heart, ' That bringeth forth fruit with patience,' Luke viii. 
15. The other grounds brought forth fruit, but they did not bring forth 
fruit with patience ; the stony ground was impatient of afflictions, the 
thorny ground impatient of the delay of the reward. They that have 
a deep sense of the other world can tarry God's leisure : Heb. vi. 12, 
' Be ye followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit the 
promises.' Many troubles and dangers will attend a holy course, loss 
of estate, slanders of the wicked, hazards of life ; but all these things 
we must endure, and submit to our trial, else our faith will never be 
found to praise and honour. 

Secondly, It is applied to the Thessalonians, ' Because our testimony 
among you was believed.' As if he had said, Among which number I 
assuredly place you; that which is said of all believers belongeth to you ; 
for you are of that number, for you have believed our testimony. 

Doct. That those that truly and sincerely believe the apostle's testi- 


mony concerning God's good-will to sinners in Christ, are sure to have 
the honour and glory which he will bestow upon his servants at the 
last day. 

To explain this point to you. 

1. I suppose, and take for granted, that general promises may and 
ought to be applied to particular persons, rightly qualified, for other 
wise the promises were in vain ; they must be applied to some or none ; 
if not to these, to none. I distinguish between an inviting offer and an 
assuring promise. The inviting offer is universal to all, and puts in no 
exception against any to exclude them from the grace offered, if they 
will fulfil the condition ; and they must not exclude themselves ; as 
Johniii. 16, ' Whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have 
everlasting life.' If you will repent and believe, the benefit may be 
yours as well as others'. Now this must be applied and taken as sent 
to us : Acts xiii. 26, ' To you is this word of salvation sent.' You 
must take it home to yourselves, for God promiseth and offereth you 
pardon and life if you will believe in Christ ; this is to excite you, not to 
assure you. But then there is an assuring promise, which doth put all 
those that are qualified into the number of those that have obtained par 
don and life by Christ, and give them confidence of their good estate, as 
all those places which do describe the heirs of salvation ; as John i. 12, 
' As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons 
of God, even to them that believe on his name;' John v. 24, ' He that 
heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting 
life ; ' and the like. Those promises suppose a qualification and per 
formance of duty by the person to whom the promise is made ; before 
we can be certain of our own interest and future enjoyment, we must 
not only perform the duty and have the qualification, but must certainly 
know that we have done that which the promise requireth, and are duly 
qualified. If it be so, then we not only apply the promise by way of 
excitement, but by way of assurance, and conclude with the apostle, 2 
Tim. iv. 8, ' Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteous 
ness.' Of this sort is the present application to the Thessalonians. 
The apostle supposeth the sincerity of their faith: if Christ will be 
glorified in his saints, and admired in all that believe, he will be glori 
fied in you, admired in you, because our testimony among you was be 

2. That the great test of Christians is believing ; for the promises 
run everywhere in this strain : Mark xvi. 16, ' He that believeth and 
is baptized, shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned ; ' 
and John iii. 36, ' He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life ; 
and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of 
God abideth on him.' Why? Because the gospel, which is God's 
powerful means to recover us out of the apostasy, is firstly and mainly 
received by faith. Before we can give up ourselves to the Son of God, 
and submit to his healing methods, we must believe him ; and there 
all things are so supernatural, both as to the person of the Redeemer, 
and his offices and benefits, that we cannot own him in that quality, 
nor receive his doctrine, nor obey his laws, nor depend with any assur 
ance on his promises, without faith. Therefore when a lost sinner, 
that lieth under the wrath of God due to him for his former sins, 


would enter his plea and claim, and put in for a share in everlasting 
happiness and salvation, he must undergo this trial, whether he do 
believe in Christ, yea or no ; for this is his entrance into Christianity, 
and to believe is to become a Christian. 

3. It is not enough to consider whether we believe in any sort, but 
whether we do truly and sincerely believe ; for many profess Christ that 
do not believe in him. Christ hath disciples in name and disciples in 
deed : John viii. 31, 'If you continue in my word, then are ye my dis 
ciples indeed.' Again, there are some to whom the gospel cometh in 
word only, and not in power, 1 Thes. i. 5. They have a literal know 
ledge and apprehension of things, but it worketh no change in them, 
they are not renewed and changed. 

Quest. How shall we distinguish the one from the other ? 

Ans. When the truths believed have an effectual power upon us, to 
change our hearts and reform our lives. So the apostle : 1 Thes. ii. 
13, ' When ye received the word, ye received it not as the word of men, 
but (as it is in truth) the word of God, which effectually worketh in 
you that believe.' Look, as we judge of men's knowledge of God by 
their carriage towards him : Titus i. 16, ' Many profess to know God, 
but in their works they deny him.' The Lord refuteth the claim of those 
that said, ' My God, we know thee ; ' Hosea viii. 2, ' Ye have not 
followed the thing that good is.' We profess God knoweth the heart, 
yet we never take care to purge it from corrupt lusts ; we profess God hath 
a particular providence and care for his people, yet we shift for ourselves ; 
we profess God is true, yet we believe him no further than we see him ; 
so our believing in Christ may be judged of. It is not the speculative 
assent which cloth denominate us believers, but answerable walking. 
Many will honour Christ with their lips, give him all the titles which 
belong to the Eedeemer and Saviour of the world, but they disregard 
his office and saving grace ; they own the truth of eternal salvation by 
Christ, but they neglect this great salvation, Heb. ii. 3, never look after 
any interest in the happiness of the other world, nor make any serious 
preparation for the life to come, but wholly spend their time in pam 
pering the flesh, or worldly cares and ambitious projects. These are 
not sincere believers. 

4. The matter which we are to believe is the apostle's testimony 
concerning God's good-will to sinners in Christ. Here I will prove 
two things 

[1.] That Christianity, or the doctrine of salvation by Christ, is a 
testimony. A testimony is a sort of proof necessary in matters that 
cannot otherwise be decided and found out by rational deduction or 
discourse ; as in two cases in things that depend upon the arbitrary will 
of another, and in matters of fact. In both respects is the gospel brought 
to us as a testimony. In the first respect by Christ, who came out of 
the bosom of God, and knew his secrets ; as it is a report of matter of 
fact by eye and ear-witnesses, by the apostles. 

(1.) A testimony is necessary in matters that depend upon the 
arbitrary will of another. If I be concerned to know how he standeth 
affected towards me, I must know it by his testimony. So God's good 
will of saving sinners by Christ is not a thing that can be found out 
by the light of nature, therefore it is made known to us by testimony. 


None can know God's mind but God himself, and he to whom he will 
reveal it. So our Lord telleth us, Mat. xi. 27, ' No man knoweth the 
Father save the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.' To 
save sinners, or restore the lapsed world by a redeemer, is not proprietor 
divince naturae, a necessary act of the divine nature, but opus liberi 
consilii, an act of his mere grace, love, and compassion: John iii. 16, 
' God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,' &c. 
This wonderful work proceeded from the free motion of God's will, and 
therefore was impossible to be found out by discourse of natural reason ; 
for how could any man divine what God purposed in his heart before he 
wrought it, unless he himself revealed it to him ? That Deus placabilis, 
God was appeasable, man might find out by the continuance of the 
course of nature, and the blessings of providence, notwithstanding our 
sin, and the need of an expiation and a propitiatory sacrifice ; but for 
the way of appeasing God, how a man shall be pardoned and recon 
ciled to God, and obtain eternal life, of this nature knew nothing. The 
angels, who are the highest sort of reasonable creatures, wonder at it 
when it is revealed, Eph. iii. 10, 1 Peter i. 12. Therefore they could 
never find it out before it was revealed. Upon the whole, the knowledge- 
of the gospel merely dependeth on the testimony of God brought to us 
by Christ, who was sent to reveal his Father's will. 

(2.) A testimony is necessary in matters of fact. Matters of law 
are argued and debated by reason, but matters of fact are only proved 
by credible witnesses ; and in this respect the gospel to us is a testi 
mony that Christ came into the world, taught the way of salvation in 
that manner wherein it is now set down in the scriptures, wrought 
miracles, died for our sins at Jerusalem, rose again to confirm all, and 
cause faith in the world that he was the true Messiah ; these things 
were to be once done in one place of the world, but yet the knowledge 
of them concerned all the rest of the world. All the world could not 
see Christ in the flesh, nor hear his gracious speeches, nor be present 
where he wrought miracles, died, rose again, ascended into heaven ; 
and it was not necessary that he should always live here, and act over 
his sufferings in every age and every place ; yea, the contrary was 
necessary, that he should but die once and rise again, and go to heaven ; 
and those that live in other ages and places have only a valuable testi 
mony of it. 

[2.] That this testimony is given to the world by Christ and his 
apostles, as the messengers of God. 

(1.) For Christ's testimony ; I will not speak of that now ; he was 
the chief revealed by these mysteries, Amen, the faithful witness, Kev. 
iii. 14. And John iii. 33, ' He that hath received his testimony hath 
set to his seal that God is true.' 

(2.) The testimony of the apostles falleth under our cognizance. 
These were chiefly intrusted by Christ to reveal these things to the 
world, and had this office put upon them to be chosen witnesses of the 
death and resurrection of Christ : Acts i. 8, ' Ye shall be witnesses to 
me both in Jerusalem and Judea, and the uttermost parts of the earth ; ' 
Acts ii. 32, ' This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we are witnesses ; ' 
Acts x. 39-41, ' And we are witnesses of all things he did,' &c. ; and other 
places. This witness is very valuable to produce a saving belief of 


Christianity ; for they had the testimony of sense, and were certain of 
those things they reported : 2 Peter i. 16, 17, 'We have not followed 
cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and 
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty,' 
&c. They were men of great holiness and integrity, free from all sus 
picion of imposture and deceit : 1 Cor. xv. 15, ' Yea, and we are found 
false witnesses of God, because we testified that he raised up Christ, 
whom he raised not up again, if the dead rise not.' They that were 
acquainted with them could not so much as suppose that such persons 
would teach an untruth ; they were authorised by miracles : Heb. ii. 
3, 4, ' How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at 
the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by 
them that heard him : God also bearing them witness both with signs 
and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost ? ' 
Now their testimony they gave by word and writing. (1.) By word, 
when they were alive, and went up and down preaching the gospel : 
Acts iv. 33, ' With great power gave the apostles witness to the resur 
rection of Jesus Christ ; ' that is, doing things beyond the power and 
reach of nature. (2.) By writing, 1 John i. 12. Christ prayeth for 
all that shall believe through their word, John xvii. 20, meaning all 
believers in all ages. 
Use 1. Information. 

1. Of the nature of faith. It is the believing of a testimony. We 
cannot properly be said to believe a thing but by report and testimony. 
I may know a thing by sense and reason, but I cannot properly be said 
to believe it, but as I hear it affirmed, and as it is brought to me by 
gome witness. We see those things which we perceive by the eye or 
sense of seeing ; we know those things which we receive by a sure 
demonstration ; but we believe those things which are brought to us 
by credible testimony. For instance, if any ask you, Do you believe 
the sun shineth at noon-day ? you will answer, I do not believe it, 
but see it. If any one ask you, Do you believe that twice two make four, 
or twice three make six ? you will say, I do not believe it, but know 
it ; for certain reason teacheth me that each whole consists of two halves 
or moieties. But -if he ask you, Do you certainly believe the sun is 
bigger than the earth ? then you will answer, I do believe it, be 
cause you have good authority and testimony for it. Your eyes de not 
discover it, for then you would see it ; neither doth any man, who is 
no scholar, know any certain demonstration of it ; but philosophers 
and astronomers, who are competent judges in the case, do with one 
consent affirm it. [See Sermon on Acts v. 32.] 

2. The ground of faith. It is Christ's and his apostles' testimony, 
or their word ; and though we hear them not in person speaking to us, 
yet the evangelical doctrine which they delivered should find belief and 
entertainment with us. We have their word in writing, delivered 
<lown to us by a succession of believers unto this very day. Christianity 
hath held up its head against all encounters of time ; the persecutions 
of adverse powers have not suppressed, nor the disputes of enemies 
silenced the profession of it. This testimony of Christ and his apostles 
hath been transmitted to us, partly by faithful men employed in the 
ministry of the gospel : 2 Tim. ii. 2, ' The things thou hast heard of 


me, commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others 
also.' Partly by the ordinances of the church : Mat. xxviii. 19, 20, 
4 Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of 
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy G-host, teaching them to 
observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you ; ' 1 Cor. xi. 26, 
' As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's 
death till he come.' Partly by the profession of Christians, Isa. xliii. 
10 ; ye are witnesses, trustees. Partly by the sufferings of many : Rev. 
xii. 21, ' They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word 
of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death/ 
Partly by family instruction : Exod. x. 2, ' That thou mayest tell it in 
the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought,' 
&c. ; Exod. xii. 26, 27, 'It shall come to pass when your children shall 
say unto you, What mean you by this service ? that ye shall say, It is 
the sacrifice of the Lord's passover/ &c. These being credible means, 
give us as good grounds of faith, as if we lived in the apostles' time ; 
and we may expect God's blessing upon the means blessed by the Holy 
Ghost heretofore. 

Use 2. To exhort you sincerely to believe this testimony, that you 
may make out your title to eternal life. It is now a testimony to us : 
Mat. xxiv. 14, ' This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all 
the world for a witness unto all nations.' If we receive it not, hereafter 
it will be a testimony against us : Mark xiii. 9, ' They shall deliver you 
up to the councils, and in the synagogues ye shall be beaten ; and ye 
shall be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony 
against them.' You are told of the punishment of the wicked and of 
the reward of the sanctified. Now you must assent to these things with 
your minds, that you may embrace the happiness offered with your 
affections, and practise the duties required with all diligence and 
seriousness. Dead opinions will never be taken for true faith ; such 
dead opinions as are begotten in us by education, and the tradition of 
the country where we live, and possibly by some common illumination 
of the spirit, but have no life and seriousness in them: James ii. 14, 
' What will it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith ? can 
faith save him ? ' men may stand to it with great instance that they do 
believe, but it is but a dead opinion, therefore not saving. 

Two sorts will never be allowed for true believers (1.) The care 
less ; (2.) The unsanctified. 

1. The careless. They do not contradict the testimony of Christ, 
rather than positively believe it ; talk by rote after others, but never 
seriously consider either the truth or weight and importance of the 
things which are to be believed : Mat. xiii. 19, ' When any one heareth 
the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the 
wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart,' ov 
crvviet, do not consider the necessity, end, and use of this doctrine. 
Faith is God's work : Acts xvi. 14, ' Lydia, who worshipped God, 
heard us, whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended to the things 
spoken of Paul.' If you would be counted believers, you must rouse 
up yourselves : Heb. ii. 3, ' How shall we escape if we neglect so great 
salvation ? ' &c. 

2. The unsanctified. Both the characters in the text. The contrary 


practice is a denying of the faith, 1 Tim. v. 8, that cannot endure this 
strict life, love a sinful, sensual life, coldness in duty. The strength of 
your faith must appear by the fervour of your duties and seriousness of 
your endeavours, 2 Thes. i. 11, 12. If there be cold prayers and carnal 
conferences, slightness in religion, it shows you do not believe the gospel. 
You may know a believer by his affection, diligence, self-denial, and 
his faith and fear ; as Noah : Heb. xi. 7, ' By faith Noah, being warned 
of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark/ 


Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you 
worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the pleasure of his goodness t 
and the work of faith ivith power. 2 THES. i. 11. 

THE apostle had given thanks for them, ver. 3 ; now he prayeth for 
them. He gave thanks for the work begun and carried on hitherto ; 
he prayeth now that God would perfect the work of salvation begun 
in them of his mere mercy. Love and power began this work, and 
love and power still carry it on. In his thanksgiving he saith, ' We 
thank God always for you, brethren ; ' and in his prayer, ' We pray 
always for you.' That is said to be done always which is often done, 
upon all meet occasions. If you have any success, we always give 
thanks for you ; if any fear or danger of receding from the faith, we 
always pray for you. The apostle durst not trust the event or force of 
his own ministry, nor the experiment of their sincerity, but ascribeth 
all to God, commendeth all to God ; the beginning, progress, and end 
of our salvation cometh from him alone. They had begun well, there 
fore he blesseth God ; that they might end well, he prayeth to God, 
' Wherefore also we pray always for you,' <fec. 

The matter of his prayer is delivered in three expressions, ' That 
our God,' &c. All which intimate (1.) A double cause ; (2.) A 
double effect. 

1. The double cause (1.) God's free goodness ; (2.) Infinite power. 
God's goodness appointed this happiness for us ; his power bringeth us 
to the enjoyment of it. 

2. The double effect (1.) Perseverance in their duty ; (2.) Attain 
ment of everlasting happiness. All the expressions concern both end 
and means. 

Now, that I may give you the full meaning of the text, I shall first 
lay down a general observation ; secondly, open the three expressions, 
which contain the matter of the apostle's prayer. 

For the general observation, take it thus 

Doct. That the whole business of our salvation floweth from the plea 
sure of God's goodness, and is effectually accomplished by his divine 

First, I must prove to you that it floweth from the pleasure of 
his goodness. The apostle's word in the text is evSotcta 


signifieth his most free will ; dyaOajcrvvr], his benignity. 
In the whole course of our salvation, the pleasure of his goodness is to 
be observed. The coming of Christ : Luke ii. 14, ' Glory to God in 
the highest, on earth peace, good will towards men.' The covenant of 
grace : Col. i. 19, 20, ' It pleased the Father that in him all fulness 
should dwell : and (having made peace through the blood of his cross) 
by him to reconcile all things to himself ; by him, I say, whether they 
be things in earth or things in heaven.' The ministry : 1 Cor. i. 21, 
'It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that 
believe.' The grace to embrace the covenant offered : Mat. xi. 26, 
'Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.' It is God's good 
pleasure to reveal it to some and not to others. The grace to keep the 
covenant ; so in the text, and Phil. ii. 13, 'He worketh in us both to 
will and to do of his good pleasure.' So that God's will is the rise and 
root of all. So for the blessings of the covenant, they all come from 
his good pleasure. The blessing by the way : Deut. xxxiii. 16, ' For 
the good will of him that dwelt in the bush, let the blessing come upon 
the head of Joseph, because of his gracious favour.' So for the blessing 
of the end of the journey, for eternal life : Luke xii. 32, ' Fear not, 
little flock ; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom ; ' 
evBoKijae, out of his own accord, and the inclinations of his singular 
mercy. Our Father's pleasure doth not only concern our final happi 
ness, but all the ways and means which conduce thereunto, to give it 
in such a way as best pleaseth him. 

To make this more evident to you, take these considerations 

1. That God hath absolute power and sovereign right to dispose as 
he will of all his creatures, not only as to their temporal but eternal 
concernments: Mat. xx. 15, 'I may do with mine own as it pleaseth 
me.' As the master over his goods, as the potter over his clay. No 
thing before it had a being had a right to dispose of itself ; neither 
did God make it what it was by necessity of nature, nor by the command, 
counsel, or will of any superior, nor the direction of any coadjutor ; 
neither is there any to whom he should render any account of his work ; 
but merely produced all things by the act of his own will, as an abso 
lute agent and sovereign lord of all his actions : Rev. iv. 11, ' Thou 
hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were 
created.' None can call him to an account, and say, c What makest 
thou? ' and why doest thou thus ? Isa. xlv. 9. Why dost thou dispose 
of me in this or that manner ? If the question be, Why God made me 
a man, and not a beast, not a plant, &c. ? 

2. The sovereign will is the supreme cause why he did pass by some 
and elect others : Rom. ix. 18, ' Therefore he will have mercy on 
whom he will have mercy.' God is not bound to render any reason 
beyond his bare will : ' It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that 
runneth, but of God that showeth mercy/ ver. 16. God is to be con 
sidered as the governor of the world, or as a free lord. God will not 
show mercy so as to cross his government, nor so bind himself to his 
government as shall cross his liberty as an absolute lord and free agent. 
Compare 1 Cor. ix. 24, ' So run that ye may obtain.' It is not in him 
that runneth, yet, ' So run/ The first place belongeth to God's dispensa 
tion of grace as a free lord, the second as a righteous governor. God is 


arbitrary in his gifts, but not in his judgments ; his judgments are dis 
pensed according to law and rule, but his gifts of grace according to 
his own pleasure. So God will have mercy on whom he will have 
mercy ; it is his prerogative to convert whom he will ; that is not an act 
of right and wrong, but of favour and grace ; therefore the cause that 
moved God to elect any, or one more than another, is his absolute sove 
reign pleasure, or favour and good-will towards those whom he did elect. 

3. This absolute dominion and sovereign will is sweetly tempered 
with his goodness, or rich favour and gracious condescension toward 
his elect ones. His will to them was good pleasure, or the pleasure of 
his goodness. God hath a gracious good-will towards his people. The 
propension or self-inclination that is in God to do good to his people 
is called his benignity or goodness ; but as it is free, it is called the 
pleasure of his goodness ; as it is to persons in misery, it is called his 
pity and mercy. We are to consider it here as free and independent 
in regard of the creature. What could he foresee in us to move and 
incline him but what was the fruit of his own grace ? The first grace 
is the mere fruit of his mercy and pity to us, giving us a new heart, 
whereby we repent and turn to him. More expressly to the case is 
James i. 18, ' Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that 
we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures ; ' Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 
' A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within 
you.' In all the subsequent grace, though we are qualified according 
to the rules of his government, yet we merit nothing there ; the con 
tinuance of what is received is a part of the pleasure of his goodness ; 
for as he begat us of his own good-will, so by the same good-will he 
continueth us in the state of grace to which he hath called us : Gal. vi. 
16, ' As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and 
mercy ; ' Phil. i. 6, ' He that hath begun a good work in you will per 
form it until the day of Jesus Christ.' They that walk most accu 
rately stand in need of mercy ; all our comforts and supplies are the 
fruit of undeserved grace. For our final consummation, the same 
pleasure of his goodness which laid the first stone in the building doth 
also finish the work : Jude 21, ' Looking for the mercy of our Lord 
Jesus Christ unto eternal life.' We take glory out of the hands of 
mercy, and it is mercy that puts the crown upon our heads. It is 
mercy that pardoneth our failings, accepteth our persons, rewardeth 
our faithfulness, pitieth our miseries, relieveth our wants ; it is mercy 
that maketh us worthy of the glory of the blessed. In short, it is 
mercy doth all for us. The whole progress of this work from first to 
last is all from God ; not from any worth of ours, nor by any power 
of ours, but merely from the pleasure of his goodness. 

Secondly, As it is from the pleasure of his goodness, so it is accom 
plished by his almighty power. The scriptures speak of the power of 
God, which is necessary (1.) To bring us into a state of grace ; (2.) 
To settle and maintain us in a state of grace. 

1. To bring us into a state of grace. Nothing but the almighty 
power of God can overcome man's obstinacy, and change our hearts, 
and subdue us to God. Man is so corrupt that he cannot change him 
self, for there is no sound part left in us to mend the rest : Job xiv. 4, 
'Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ? ' Therefore Christ 


died to purchase the Spirit, to renew and sanctify us ; and his work 
must not be lessened and disparaged as if it were needless, or not so 
great as some would have it to be. The scripture always heighteneth. 
it, and we must not lessen it. It is called a new creation : 2 Cor. v. 
17, ' If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature ; ' Eph. ii. 10, ' We 
are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works/ So Eph. 
iv. 24, ' That ye put on the new man, which after God is created in 
righteousness and true holiness.' Now creation is a work of omnipo- 
tency, and proper to God. There is a twofold creation which we read 
of : in the beginning God made something out of nothing, and some 
things ex inhabili materia, out of foregoing matter, but such as was 
wholly unfit and indisposed for those things which were made of it ; as 
when God made Adam out of the dust of the ground, and Eve out of 
the rib of man. Now take the notion either in the former or in the 
latter sense, and you will see that God only can create. If in the for 
mer sense, something and nothing have an infinite distance between 
them ; and he only that calleth things that are not as though they were 
can raise the one out of the other. To this sanctification is compared : 
2 Cor. iv. 6, ' For God, who commanded the light to shine out of dark 
ness, hath shined into our hearts,' &c. o eiirwv. It alludeth to that, 
' Let there be light, and there was light/ Or if you will take the latter 
notion, creation out of unfit matter, he maketh those that are wholly 
indisposed to good, averse from it, perverse resisters of what would 
bring them to it, to be lovers and followers of holiness and godliness : 
2 Peter i. 3, ' By the divine power all things are given us which are 
necessary to life and godliness/ God challengeth this work as his 
own, as belonging to his infinite power. By life is meant not life natu 
ral, nor life eternal, but life spiritual ; and by holiness, the fruits of it, 
or holy conversation. All is accomplished by the exercise of his con 
trolling omnipotent power ; so that this work must not be looked upon 
as a low, natural, and common thing, nor the benefit of the new creation 
be lessened and disparaged, lest we lessen our obligation to God. 

2. To keep us and maintain us in a state of grace. Here consider 
(1.) The necessity of the power of God ; (2.) The sufficiency of it 
to keep us. 

[1.] The necessity of God's power : 1 Peter i. 5, ' Ye are kept by 
the power of God, through faith unto salvation/ None but this 
almighty guardian can keep us and preserve us by the way, that we 
may come safe to our journey's end. This will appear to you 

(1.) Partly because habitual grace, which we have received, is a 
creature, and therefore in itself mutable ; for all creatures depend in 
being and working on him that made them : Acts xvii. 28, ' For in 
him we live, and move, and have our being/ Now as God assisteth 
all creatures in their operations, so doth he also the new creature : 
Heb. xiii. 21, ' The Lord make you perfect in every good work to do 
his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight/ Not only 
is conversion wrought in us by God, but when we are converted, grace 
is no less necessary to finish than to begin. Our new estate dependeth 
absolutely upon his influence from first to last ; he worketh all our 
works for us and in us, not only giveth us habitual grace, which con- 
stituteth our spiritual being, but actual grace, which quickeneth us in 


our operations. By this dependence on him God doth engage us to a 
constant communion with him. If we did keep the stock ourselves, 
God and we would soon grow strange ; as the prodigal, when he had 
his portion in his own hands, goeth away from his father. The throne 
of grace would lie neglected and unfrequented, and God would seldom 
hear from us ; therefore doth he keep grace in his own hands, to oblige 
us to a continual intercourse with him. 

(2.) Because it is much opposed by the devil, the world, and the flesh. 
Within there is corruption, and without there are temptations ; within 
there is the flesh always warring against the better part ; our cure is 
not fully wrought : Gal. v. 17, ' The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, 
nd the Spirit against the flesh.' The flesh is importunate to be 
pleased, and it will urge us to retrench and cut off a great part of that 
necessary duty which belongeth to our heavenly calling ; yea, if we 
hearken to it, it will crave very unlawful and unreasonable things at 
our hands. Andas there is opposition within, so it is exposed to temp 
tations from without ; from Satan, who watcheth all advantages against 
us : 1 Peter v. 8, ' Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks 
about seeking whom he may devour.' Now when his temptations 
assault us with considerable strength, without seasonable relief or grace 
to help in time of need, how shall we be able to stand ? Adam had 
habitual grace, but he gave out at the first assault. So for the world, 
either its terrors or its delights will shake and weaken our resolutions 
for God and heaven. Its terrors, which was the case in the text, and 
the power of God can only relieve us against them : 2 Tim. i. 8, 'Be 
thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of 
God.' So delights corrupt us while the soul dwelleth in flesh, looketh out 
by the senses ; these things are grateful to us, to wean our hearts from 
them, and that we do escape the corruption that is in the world through 
lust, is the fruit of God's grace : Mat. xix. 26, ' With God all things are 
possible.' That our affection to riches, and the pleasures and honours 
of this life, may not corrupt us, and hinder us in our duty to God, and 
pursuit after the happiness of the world to come. 

[2.] The sufficiency of this power. It is the power of God, and 
surely that is sufficient for all things : ver. 24, ' To him that is able to 
keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence 
of his glory.' God is able and ready to help the diligent and waiting 

(1.) His power is enough to enable for all our duties : Phil. iv. 13, 
' I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me ; ' Eph. iii. 
16, ' That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to 
be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.' 

(2.) To support us under all our trials : Deut. xxxiii. 22, ' The 
eternal God is our refuge, and underneath are his everlasting arms.' 
God telleth Paul, ' My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is 
made perfect in weakness.' It was Austin's observation, Job in stercore, 
Job is more happy in his misery than Adam in innocency ; he was 
victorious on the dunghill when the other was defeated on the throne ; 
he gave no ear to the evil counsel of his wife, when the woman 
seduced Adam ; he despised the assaults of Satan, when the other 
suffered himself to be worsted at the first temptation ; he preserved his 

VER 11.] 



righteousness in the midst of his sorrows, when the other lost his in- 
nocency in the midst of the delights of paradise. 

(3.) To resist temptations. The devil hath great strength, but the 
Spirit of God hath greater : 1 John iv. 4, ' Greater is he that is in you, 
than he that is in the world.' Satan is in the bait, but God supporteth: 
Eph. vi. 10, ' Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.' 
When the spiritual armour is spoken of, we have the all-sufficient and 
omnipotent power of God engaged for us ; and therefore he is able to 
sustain us against the opposition of men or devils. It is a lamentable 
thing to see what a poor spirit is in most Christians, how soon they are 
captivated or discouraged with every slender assault or petty temptation, 
and their resolutions are shaken with the appearance of every difficulty 
they meet with in the heavenly life. This is affected weakness, not so 
much want of strength as sluggishness and cowardice, or want of care. 
Men will not set about their duty, then cry out they are impotent ; like 
lazy beggars, that personate and act diseases because they would 
not work. They are not able to stand up before the slightest motions 
of sin, because they do not improve the strength God vouchsafeth 
to them by his Holy Spirit. There are two extremes pride and 
sloth. Pride and self-confidence is when we think we do not need 
God's power ; sloth, when we do not improve it, neglect what is given, 
and complain rather than encourage ourselves to make use of his 

Use 1. If the whole business of our salvation floweth from the 
pleasure of God's goodness, and is accomplished by his divine power, 
then God must have all the praise; for no consequence can be so 
naturally deduced as that which the apostle inferreth from this 
principle : Rom. xi. 36, ' Of him, and through him, and to him are 
all things, to whom be glory for ever and ever, amen.' Under the 
law the first-fruits and the tenths were the Lord's portion ; the first, 
which is the beginning, and the tenth, which is the perfection of 
numbers. All things are upheld by him as their continual preserver, 
therefore all things must tend to him as the ultimate end ; especially 
the whole dispensation of grace in the calling and converting of 
sinners is to be imputed to the pleasure of his goodness and almighty 
power. God is not to be robbed, neither in whole nor in part, of this 

1. If you consider the pleasure of his goodness, you will see abun 
dant cause to praise God. First let us state the difference between 
man and man, which can come from God only. That there is a heaven 
and a hell is not only evident by the light of scripture, but in a great 
measure by the light of nature. That heaven is for the good and just, 
and hell for the naught and wicked, is as evident as the former ; for 
men's different course of life causeth the apprehension of these different 
recompenses. It cannot easily go down with any man, that hath but 
a spark of reason and conscience left, that good and bad should fare 
alike. Well, but now let us inquire into the causes of this difference, 
why some are good, others bad. Nothing can be assigned but their 
different choice ; some choose the better part, others abandon them 
selves to their lusts and brutish satisfactions ; for this is indeed the 
next cause, their own choice and inclination. But we will carry the 

VOL. xx. T 


inquiry higher. Whence cometh this different choice and inclination ? 
And there is reason for this question, for both scripture and experience 
will tell us that man from his infancy and childhood is very corrupt, 
and more inclinable to evil than to good : and you may as well expect 
to gather grapes from thorns, and figs from thistles, as that man of his 
own accord should be good and holy. Whence is it ? Either it is from 
temper and education, or, which is akin to it, the advantages.of means and 
outward instruction that some have above others. Is it from temper and 
constitution of body ? The truth is, this is a benefit and a gift of God 
to have a good temper and constitution, the dispositions of the mind 
following very much the temperament of the body. But this cannot be 
all ; if it be any cause, it is but a partial cause ; it cannot be the 
whole, for then the blemish of a man's actions would light upon the 
Creator who formed him in the womb with a diseased temper ; and 
when the foolishness of his heart perverteth his way, he would be in a 
great measure justified in his fretting against the Lord, who gave him 
no better temper of body. Besides, experience contradicteth it ; how 
many are there who be of brave wits, and spoil an excellent constitution 
of body by their intemperance and incontinency, and so do not make 
this good choice by which they might be everlastingly happy ? And 
on the other side, we see many of crabbed and depraved tempers, that 
master their ill dispositions by grace ; and God doth often choose beams 
and rafters for the sanctuary of the most crooked timber, and doth 
wonderfully change them by his grace, and of a sour and rugged 
temper maketh them to become meek and holy. Surely temper is not 
all, the wise men among the heathen themselves being judges. 

Come we then to the next cause, good education, and setting their 
inclinations right from their infancy. I cannot wholly reject this ; it 
is an advantage, and parents are justly culpable before God for not 
bringing up their children in the nurture and information of the Lord, 
and setting them straight betimes in a course of virtue and religion. 
Hearken to Solomon : Prov. xxii. 6, ' Train up a child in the way 
that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.' There 
is very much in the education of children ; the first infusions in our 
instruction stick by us, and conduce much, if not to conversion, yet at 
least to conviction, and reproach men all their days for warping from 
that good way wherein they are educated. But allowing this a 
means, it doth not exclude the first cause and author of grace ; and 
besides, we see many not only quench brave wits and spirits in filthy 
excess, but also wrest themselves out of the arms of the best education ; 
and though they have been brought up in the most religious families, 
where they are little acquainted with vice and sin, and have been 
choicely educated in the grounds and principles of Christian religion, 
yet have spit in the face of their education, and turned the back upon 
those holy instructions and counsels that have been instilled into 

Well, then, let us go to the third cause, since education, though it 
does much to fashion men, yet it cannot change their hearts. The 
third is the means of grace, or the institutions of Christ, which certainly 
in a way of means have great authority and power ; for Christ is so 
good and wise, that he would never set us about fruitless labours ; he 


knoweth what keys will fit the wards of the lock, and what is most 
likely to do the deed, and prevail upon the heart of man : Ps. cxix. 9 , 
' Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way ? by taking heed 
thereto according to thy word ; ' Acts xv. 9, ' Purifying their hearts 
by faith.' The doctrine of the gospel well understood and applied will 
do it, or nothing will do it ; but many hear the gospel who are not one 
jot the better : Eom. x. 16, ' They have not all believed the gospel ; for 
Isaiah saith, Who hath believed our report ? ' We see the same sun 
that softeneth wax hardeneth clay ; the same seed that thriveth in the 
good and honest heart is lost on the highway, the stony, thorny 
ground; the difference is not in the seed but in the soil; therefore 
whatever helps or means you can imagine, good temper, good education, 
powerful ministry, all will do nothing, till God puts a new heart and 
life into us, to incline us to seek after him, and other things as they lie 
in subordination to him. 

Let us gather up this discourse now. Surely man doth not determine 
himself to good, is not the supreme cause and author of his own 
happiness. Man is evilly inclined, and no culture, no education, no 
institution, can subdue and alter it : Job xiv. 4, ' Who can bring a 
clean thing out of an unclean ? ' Man's heart will not be changed, 
and so no foundation laid for a different course. Suppose, for disputa 
tion's sake, the means could do it without God, yet the question return- 
eth, how is it that some have better tempers, better education, better 
institution than others ? There is a kind of election and reprobation 
within the sphere of nature : Ps. cxlvii. 20, ' He hath not dealt so 
with every nation.' Some have fairer advantages, and more favour in 
the use of outward means ; that is only to be ascribed to God's provi 
dence : but besides external providence, the scriptures teach us there is 
a necessity of internal grace, that all saving faith is the gift of God, 
Eph. ii. 8 ; it must come from him. 

Why doth God work faith in some, not in others? Inquire as 
long as you will, you must come to this at last : ' Even so, Father, 
because it pleased thee,' or, as it is in .the text, it is merely the pleasure 
of his goodness. God acts freely, and giveth grace when and to whom 
he pleaseth. The free gift of God dependeth on some eternal decree 
and purpose ; for God doth nothing rashly and by chance, but all by 
counsel and predestination. There was some eternal choice and dis 
tinction made between man and man. Why we, not others ? It was 
merely the good will of God and his free choice that made the differ 
ence. Election implieth a choice ; for where all are taken, there is 
no choice : ' One of a city, and two of a tribe,' Jer. iii. 14 ; or, as it 
is, Mat. xxiv. 41, 'One taken, and the other left.' Jacob, not 
Esau ; Abel, not Cain. Why will he reveal himself to us, and not to 
the world ? Others were as eligible as we, our merits no more than 
theirs, we were as bad as they. All souls are God's, Ezek. xviii. 4. 
He created them as well as you, saw as much original sin in you as 
them. ' Was not Esau Jacob's brother ? ' Mai. i. 2. They had as 
much means as you, your prejudices and obstinacy as strong as theirs, 
as blind in mind, as perverse in heart : ' Who made you differ ? ' 1 
Cor. iv. 7. Why you, not they ? You were as ignorant of God, as 
averse from him, as corrupt in manners ; so that when God had all 


Adam's posterity in his prospect and view, it was mere grace dis 
tinguished you. 

2. His almighty power. It is very great sacrilege to rob God of his 

g^ry. Surely every thankful Christian should say, ' By the grace of 
od I am what I am.' It is by his all-conquering Spirit that any 
are brought in to him : Acts xi. 21, ' The hand of the Lord was with 
him, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.' So Isa. 
liii. 1, ' Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the 
Lord revealed ? ' How diversely are people affected with the same 
things ? One is convinced of his misery, the other not at all moved ; 
one is drawn to Christ, the other goeth away dead and still averse to 
him. Some are pricked at heart, Acts ii. 37, others cut at heart, and 
gnash with their teeth at the delivery of the same doctrine, Acts vii. 
50. Consider 

[1.] God doth not only invite and solicit us to good, but doth incline 
and dispose the heart to it. They are taught of God, and drawn of 
God : John vi. 44, 45, ' No man can come to me, except the Father 
who hath sent me draw him. Every man therefore that hath heard, 
and learned of the Father, cometh unto me.' 

[2.] God doth not only help the will, but give the will itself ; not 
by curing the weakness, but by sanctifying it, and taking away the sin- 
fulness of it. If the will were only in a swoon and languishment, a 
little excitation would serve the turn ; it is not dead, but sleepeth ; 
but it is stark dead to spiritual things. And God's grace is not only 
necessary for facilitation, as a horse for a journey, that a man might 
not go on foot, but absolutely necessary. God giveth us not only a 
power to will if we please, or a power to do if we please, but the will 
itself : Jer. xxiv. 7, ' I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the 
Lord ; ' Ezek. xxxvi. 27, ' I will put my Spirit within you, and cause 
you to walk in my statutes/ 

[3.] Not only at first, but still all our work is done by his power. As 
he giveth us the habits which constitute the new creature, so he fur- 
nisheth us with those daily supplies by which the spiritual life is 
maintained in us ; therefore we must still put the crown on grace's 
head, in whatever we have done and suffered for him : Luke x. 16, 
* Thy pound hath gained/ &c. ; Gal. ii. 20, ' I am crucified with Christ, 
nevertheless I' live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me ; and the life 
which I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God ; ' 1 
Cor. xv. 10, 'By the grace of God I am what I am.' Of his own we 
still give him, therefore let us ascribe all to him. 

Use 2. To encourage prayer for grace ; God is able and willing. 

1. For his willingness, here is the pleasure of his goodness. We are 
conscious to ourselves of undeservings and ill-deservings ; but when we 
can see no reason for his showing mercy to us, his goodness should keep 
up our addresses to him. We are unworthy, but these blessings come 
not from our deserts, but the pleasure of his goodness ; he is not moved 
by any foreseen worthiness in us. You will say, His goodness I could 
depend upon, but I doubt of his pleasure, whether to me. I answer 
We must not dispute away the help offered to us. A man in danger 
of drowning with others will catch at the rope that is cast forth to 
him, not dispute what is the mind of him who casts out the cords and 


lines by which he is brought to shore. If a rich man cast money 
among the poor, would they stand scrupling whether the giver intend- 
eth it to them ? No ; every one would take his share. These scruples 
are affected, and must be chidden, not cherished. 

2. For his power. He that can turn water into wine can change 
the heart of a graceless sinner, and make it gracious, a bad man to 
become good. Wait for this power in the use of means : Jer. xvii. 14, 
' Heal me