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Full text of "The description, reasons and reward of the believer's walking with God : on Genesis v. 24"

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On Genesis v. 24. 











Chap. I. 
The text explained : what it is to walk with God : 
what it containeth both for matter and manner 1 

Chap. II. 

The first use : a lamentation of the practical 
atheism of the world. Motives to change your 
inordinate creature-converse into converse with 
God: how much sinners have to do with God: 
more than with all the world besides : shewed 
in fourteen instances • . 42 

Chap. III. 

An answer to them that think God doth us good 
by necessity of nature, as the sun doth illumi- 
nate and warm us; and therefore though he 
have much to do for us, yet much is not 
required from us towards him. And to them 
that think he is above our converse, and 
unsuitable to us. Ten queries to evince the 
necessity of our own holy diligence in godli- 
ness : especially of exercising our thoughts 



upon God. Ten mischiefs that befal them 
who have not God in all their thoughts ...... 76 

Chap. IV. 

Practical atheism further detected. An answer 
to them that think it unfit for ignorant men, or 
poor men, to think so much of God; and that 
it will make men melancholy and mad. Ten 
propositions shewing how far it is our duty to 
think of God ; by way of explication ...... 100 

Chap. V. 

An answer to. them that say, God regardeth not 
thoughts but deeds. Twelve evidences of the 
regardableness of our thoughts •• 116 

Chap. VI. 

The application to the godly. The benefits of 
walking with God. I. It is suitable to human 
nature. How it is natural. No middle life 
between the sensual and the holy. Of them 
that delight in knowledge and moral virtue. 
Nature in its first constitution was not only 
innocent but holy ; proved. II. To walk 
with God is the highest and noblest life. 

III. It is the only course to prove and make 
men truly wise. Proved by ten evidences. 

IV. It maketh men good as well as wise, and 
advanceth to the greatest holiness and recti- 



tude. Proved by five evidences. V. It is 
the best preparation for sutferings and death ; 
shew^ed by seven advantages, to that end • • • . 125 

Chap. VII. 

Five special obligations on true believers to vv^alk 
vpith God, and to avoid inordinate creature- 
converse • • 192 


Gen. v. 24. 

And Enoch xualked with God: and he was not; 
for God took him. 


Being to speak of our converse with God iu 
solitude, I think it will not be unsuitaUIe, nor 
unserviceable to the ends of that discourse, if I 
here premise a short description of the general 
duty of practical godliness, as it is called in 
scripture a walking with God. It is here com- 
mend,?d to us in the example of holy Enoch, 
whose excellency is recorded in this signal 
character, that " he walked with God :" and his 
special reward expressed in the words following 
" and he was not; for God took him." I shall 
speak most of his character, and then somewhat 
of his reward. 

The Samaritan and vulgar Latin versions, do 
strictly translate the Hebrew as we read it: but 
the interpretation of the Septuagint, the Syriac, 
the Chaldee and the Arabic, are rather good 

VOL. 11. B 

2 Walking ivUh God. 

expositions (all set together) of the meaning of 
the word, than strict translations. The Sep- 
tuagint and Syriac read it " Enoch pleased 
God." The Chaldee hath " Enoch walked in 
the fear of God :" and the Arabic " he walked 
in obedience to God." And indeed to walk in 
the fear and obedience of God, and thereby 
to please him, is the principal thing in our 
" walking with God." The same character is 
given of Noah in Gen. vi. 19. and the extraordi- 
nary reward annexed ; he and his family were 
saved in the deluge. And the holy life which 
God commanded Abraham is called " a walking 
before God." Gen. xvii. 1. '* Walk before me» 
and be thou perfect." And in the New Testa- 
ment the christian conversation is ordinarily 
called by the name of " walking." Sometime a 
walking in Christ : as Col. ii. 6. Sometime a 
walking in the Spirit, in which we live. Gal. 
V. 25. And a walking after the Spirit. Rom. 
viii. 1. Sometime a walking in the light, as 
God is in the light. 1 John i. 7. Those that 
abide in Christ must so Avalk even as he hath 
walked. 1 John ii. 6. These phrases set toge- 
ther tell us, what it is to walk with God. But 
I think it not unprofitable somewhat more 
particularly to shew you what this walking with 
God doth contain. 

As atheism is the sum of wickedness, so all 
true religiousness is called by the name of god- 
liness or holiness, which is nothing else but our 

Walking toith God. 3 

devotedness to God, and living to him, and our 
relation to him as thus devoted in heart and life. 
Practical atheism is a livino; as without God 
in the world. Ephes. ii. 12. Godliness is con- 
trary to practical atheism, and is a living as 
with and to God in the world and in the church, 
and is here called a walking with God. And it 
containeth in it these particulars. 

1 . To walk with God includeth the practical 
acknowledgment (that is made by the will as 
well as the understanding) of the grand attri- 
butes of God, and his relations to man ; that 
he is infinite in his being, that is, immense and 
eternal ; as also in his power, wisdom and 
goodness : that he is the creator, redeemer and 
sanctifier: that he is our absolute lord (or 
owner ;) our most righteous governor, and most 
bountiful benefactor (or father :) that of him, 
and through him, and to him are all things ; 
that in him we live, and move, and have our 
being : that he is the fountain, or first cause 
from which all (proper) being, truth and good- 
ness in the creature is but a derived stream. 
To have the soul unfeignedly resign itself to 
him, as his own; and subject itself to him as 
our sovernor, walkino; in the awe of his sove- 
reign power ; sensible of the strong obligation 
of his laws, which reason, justice and necessity 
da all command us to obey. To live as in full 
dependance on him ; to have the first and 
greatest respect unto him : a more observant 
B 2 

4 Walking wilh God. 

respect to him than to our rulers: a more obe- 
dient respect to him than to our masters : a 
more dependant tender and honorable respect 
to him than to parents, or our nearest friends. 
Thus he that cometh to God (as God, and so as 
to be accepted of him) must believe that he is, 
(his essential attributes) and (what he is in his 
relations to man ; especially that as our governor 
and benefactor) he is the revvarder of them that 
diligently seek him. Heb. xi. 6. The impress of 
a deity in his essential and relative attributes 
must be upon the heart of him that walks with 
God : yea, the being of God must be much more 
remarkable to him, than the being of all crea- 
tures ; and his presence more regarded, than 
the presence of the creature ; and all things 
must be to us in comparison of God, as a 
candle is in comparison of the sun : his great- 
ness and transcendant excellencies must so over- 
power them all, as to make them less observed 
and regarded, by his taking up our chief obser- 
vation and regard. 

2. Our walking with God includeth our 
reconciliation to him, and that we are not in 
our natural state of enmity, but made his 
children and friends in Ghrist. Can two walk 
together unless they be agreed? Amos iii. o 
Enmity is against unity ; disaffection causeth 
aversion, and flying from each other : yea, the 
fears of a guilty child may make him fly from 
his father's presence, till there be a particular 

Walking with God. 5 

reconciliation besides the general state of 
reconciliation. A provoking faulty child doth 
dwell with God his Father, though under the 
continual terror of his frowns : but to walk with 
him (in the full sense) is more than to be related 
to him, and to dwell with him : in a large sense 
indeed all God's children may be said to walk 
with him, as it signifieth only a conversation 
ordered in godliness, sincerity and simplicity: 
but in this sublimer sense, as it signifieth a 
lively exercise of faith and love, and heavenly - 
mindedness, and a course of complacential con- 
templation, and holy converse with God, so it 
is proper only to some of the sounder and more 
vigilant industrious believers. And hereto it is 
necessary, not only that we be justified and 
reconciled to God from our state of enmity, but 
also that we be pardoned, justified and reconciled 
from our particular wounding falls, which are 
more than the ordinary infirmities of believers. 
And also it is necessary that we have grateful 
friendly thoughts of God: that we have so 
much sense of his excellency, goodness and 
kindness to ourselves, as may give us a com- 
placency in conversing with him, and may make 
the thoughts and mention of him to be desirable 
and pleasing to us. Walking with God doth 
import, though not the full assurance of his 
special love and grace to us, yet such an appre- 
hension of his love and goodness, as may draw 
the heart to think of him with desire, if not 

6 Walking with God. 

with delight. A lothness to draw near him, to 
think of him, or to mention him, a weariness of 
his special service, are contrary to this special 
walking with God. 

3. Our walking with God, doth include our 
esteeming and intending hirn as the ultimate 
end and felicity of our souls. He is not to be 
sought, or loved, or conversed with, as a means 
to any greater good (for there -is no greater) nor 
as inferior, or merely equal unto any : his 
goodness must be the most powerful attractive 
of our love ; his favor must be valued as our 
happiness ; and the pleasing of him must be our 
most indiLstrious employment. To walk with 
him, is to live in the warming reviving sunshine 
of his goodness, and to feel a delighting satis- 
fying virtue in his love and gracious presence : 
to live as those that are not their own, and that 
have their lives, and facuKies, and provisions, 
and helps for their master's service : as a horse 
or dog is of so much worth, as he is of use to 
him that owneth him ; and that is the best tljat 
is the most serviceable to his master: yet with 
this very great difference, that man being a 
more noble and capacious creature, is admitted 
not only into a state of service, but of sonship, 
and friendship, and communion with God ; and 
is allowed and appointed to share more in the 
pleasure and fruits of his services, and to put 
in his own felicity and delight into his end ; not 
only because self-love is natural and necessary 

Walking with God. 7 

to the creature, but also because he is under 
the promise of a reward ; and (more than either) 
because he is a lover, and not only a servant, 
and his work is principally a work of love, and 
therefore his end isjiuis amantis, the end of a 
iover, which is mutual complacency in the 
exercises of love. 

He that seeketh not first the kingdom and 
righteousness of God, and referreth not other 
things to him, but seeks first the creature, and 
God only for it, doth but deny God in his heart, 
and basely subject him to the works of his ov.'n 
hands, and doth not walk with God, but vilify 
and reject him. If yQu live not to God, even 
to obey, and please, and honor him, you do not 
walk with him ; but walk contrary to him (by 
Jiving to his enemies, the flesh, the world, and 
the devil) and therefore God will walk contrary 
to you. Levit. xxvi. 21, 23, 24, 27, 28. You 
were both created and redeemed, though for 
your own felicity, yet principally for the glory 
and pleasure of your creator and redeemer; and 
for no felicity of your own, but what consisteth 
in pleasing him, glorifying him, and enjoying 
him : whether therefore we eat or drink, or 
whatever we do, it should all be done to the 
glory of God. 1 Cor. x. 31. He that regardeth 
a day, or regardeth it not ; he that eateth, or 
that eateth not, must do it to the Lord : (and 
though a good intention will not sanctify a 
forbidden action, yet sins of ignorance and mere 

8 Walking with God. 

frailty are forborne and pardoned of God, when 
it is his glory and service that is sincerely 
intended, though there be a mistake in the 
choice of means.) " None of us liveth to himself, 
and no man dieth to himself: for whether we 
live, we live unto the Lord ; and Avhether we die, 
we die unto the Lord : whether we live there- 
fore or die, we are the Lord's : for to this end 
Christ both died, rose and revived, that he might 
be Lord both of the dead and living;." Rom. 
xiv. 7 — 9. Our walking with God, is a seri- 
ous laboring, that whether present or absent, 
we may be accepted of him. 2 Cor. v. 9. To 
this the love of our Redeemer must constrain 
us: " For he died for all, that they which live, 
should not henceforth live unto themselves, but 
unto him that died for them, and rose again." 
ver. 15. Religion therefore is called the seek- 
ing of God, because the soul doth press after 
him, and labor to enjoy him, as the runner 
seeks to reach the prize ; or as a suitor seeketh 
the love and fruition of the person beloved. 
And all the particular acts of religion are oft 
denominated from this intention of the end, and 
following after it; and are all called a seeking 
the Lord. Conversion is called a seeking the 
Lord. Isa. Iv. 6. " Seek ye the Lord while he 
may be found." Hos. iii. 5. " The children of 
Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God." 
Hos. vii. 10. " They do not return to the Lord 
their God, nor seek him :" Men that are called 

Walking: with God. 9 

to conversion, are called to seek God. Hos. 
X. 12. *' Break up your fallow ground, for it is 
time to seek the Lord till he come and rain 
righteousness upon you." The converted chil- 
dren of Israel and Judah shall go weeping 
together to seek the Lord their God. Jer. 1. 4. 
The wicked are described to be men that do not 
seek the Lord. Isa. ix. 13. xxxi. 1. The holy 
covenant, 2 Chron. xv. 12, 13. was to seek the 
Lord. If therefore you would walk with God, 
let him be the mark, the prize, the treasure, the 
happiness, the heaven itself which you aim at, 
aad sincerely seek. 1 Chron. xxii. 19. " Now 
set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord 
your God." Ps. cv. 3, 4. " Glory ye in his holy 
name : let the heart of them rejoice that seek 
the Lord : seek the Lord and his strength, seek 
his face for evermore." As the life of a covetous 
man is a seeking of riches, and the life of an 
ambitious man is a seeking of worldly honor 
and applause ; so the life of a man that liveth to 
God, is a seeking him, to please him, honor 
him, and enjoy him : and so much of this as he 
attaineth, so much doth he attain of satisfaction 
and content. If you live to God, and seek him 
as your end and all, the want of any thing will 
be tolerable to you, which is but consistent with 
the fruition of his love. If he be pleased, 
man's displeasure may be borne : the loss of all 
things if Christ be won, will not undo us. 
Man's condemnation of us signifieth but little. 


10 Walking with God. 

if God the absolute judge do justify us. He 
wdlketh not with God, that liveth not to him as 
his only happiness and end. 

4. Moreover, our walking with God includeth 
our subjection to his authority, and our taking 
his wisdom and will to be our guide, and his 
laws in nature and scripture for our rule : you 
must not walk with him as his equals, but as his 
subjects ; nor give him the honor of an ordinary 
superior, but of the universal King : in our 
doubts he must resolve us; and in our straits 
we must ask counsel of the Lord. '• Lord, 
what wouldst thou have me to do?" is one 
of the first words of a penitent soul ; Acts ix. 6, 
when sensual worldlings do first ask the flesh, 
or those that can do it hurt or good, what they 
would have them be or do. None of Christ's 
true subjects, do call any man father or master 
on earth, but in subordination to their highest 
Lord. Matt, xxiii. The authority of God doth 
awe them and govern them more than the fear of 
the greatest upon earth. Indeed they know no 
power but God's, and that which he committeth 
unto man ; and therefore they can obey no 
man against God, whatever it cost them : but 
under God they are most readily and faithfully 
subject to their governors, not merely as to men 
that have power to hurt them if they disobey, 
but as to the officers of the Lord, whose autho- 
rity they discern and reverence in them: but 
when they have to do with the enemies of 

Walking loith God. 11 

Christ, who usurp a power which he never gave 
them, against his kingdom and the souls of 
men, they think it easy to resolve the question, 
whether it be better to obey God or men. As 
the commands of a rebellious constable or other 
fellow-subject are of no authority against the 
king's commands ; so the commands of all the 
men on earth, are of so small authority with 
them against the laws of God, that they fully 
approve of the ready and resolute answer of 
those witnesses, Dan. iii. 16 — 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, 8tc. but if not, be it known unto thee, 
O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor 
worship the golden image which thou hast set 
up." Worldlings are ruled by their fleshly inte- 
rest, and wisdom, and self will, and by the will 
of man so far as it doth comport with these : 
by these you may handle them and lead them 
up and down the world: by these doth Satan 
hold them in captivity. But believers feel them- 
selves in subjection to a higher Lord and better 
law, which they faithfully though imperfectly 
observe: therefore our walking with God is 
called a walking in his law. Exod. xvi. 4. A 
walking in his statutes, and keeping and doing 
his commands. Lev. xxvi. 3. A walking in his 
paths. Mic. iv, 2. It is our following the Lamb, 
which way soever he goeth : to be given up to 
our own hearts' lusts, and to walk in our coun- 

12 Walking with God. 

sels, is contrary to this holy walk with God, 
Ps. Ixxxi. 12, and is the course of those that 
are departed from him : and they that are far 
from him shall perish : he destroyeth those that 
go a whoring from him : but it is good for us to 
draw near to God. Ps. Ixxiii. 27, 28. 

5. Our walking with God doth imply that as 
we are ruled by his will, so we fear no punish- 
ment like his threatened displeasure : and that 
the threats of death from mortal men, will not 
prevail with us so much as his threats of hell. 
Luke xii. 4. If God say, * I will condemn thee 
to everlasting punishment if thou wilt not keep 
my laws,' and if men say, ' We will condemn 
thee to imprisonment or death if thou keep 
them/ the believer more feareth God than man. 
The law of the king doth condemn Daniel to 
the lions' den, if he forbear not to pray for a 
certain time ; but he more feareth God that will 
deny those that deny him, and forsake those 
that forsake him. Therefore the forementioned 
witnesses ventured on the fiery furnace, because 
God threatened a more dreadful fire. Therefore 
a true believer dare not live, when an unbeliever 
dare not die : he dare not save his life from God 
lest he lose it; but loseth it that he may save it. 
But unbelievers that walk not with God, but 
after the flesh, do most fear them that they 
observe most powerful in the world, and will 
more be moved with the penalty of some worldly 
loss or suffering, than with God's most dreadful 

Walking with God. 13 

threats of hell: for that which they see not, is to 
them as nothing, while they want that faith by 
which it is foreknown, and must be escaped. 

6. Moreover he that walks with God, doth 
from God expect his full reward. He ceaseth 
not his holy course, though no man observe 
him, or none commend him or approve him ; 
though all about him hate him and condemn 
him ; though he be so far from gaining by it 
with men, that it cost him all that he hath or 
hoped for in the world : for he knoweth that 
godliness is of itself great gain, and that it hath 
the promise of this life and that to come, and 
none can make God's promise void : he knoweth 
that his Father which seeth in secret will 
reward him openly. Matt. vi. and that he shall 
have a treasure in heaven that parteth w^ith all 
on earth for Christ. Luke xviii. 22. And he 
hath such respect to this promised recompense 
of reward, that for it he can suffer with the 
people of God. and account the very reproach 
of Christ a greater treasure than court or coun- 
try can afford him in a way of sin. Heb. xi. 26. 
He accounteth them blessed that are persecuted 
for righteousness' sake, because the kingdom of 
heaven is their's. He judgeth it a cause of 
exceeding joy, to be reviled and persecuted, 
and to have all manner of evil falsely spoken of 
us for the sake of Christ, because our reward 
in heaven is great. Matt. v. 10 — 12. For he 
verily believeth that as sure as these transitory 

14 Walking with God. 

pleasures will have an end, and everlastingly 
forsake those miserable souls that were deluded 
" by them, so certainly is there a life of endless 
joys, to be possessed in heaven with God and 
all the holy ones ; and this he will trust to as 
that which will fully repair his losses and repay 
his cost, and not deceive him : let others trust 
to what they will, it is this that he is resolved 
to trust to, and venture all to make it sure 
(when he is sure that all is nothing- which he 
ventureth, and that by the adventure he can 
never be a loser, nor never save by choosing 
that which itself must perish.) Thus he that 
truly walks with God expecteth his reward from 
God, and with God, and thence is encouraged 
in all his duty, and thence is emboldened in all 
his conflicts, and thence is upheld and com- 
forted in all his sufferings ; when man is the 
rewarder (as well as the chief ruler) of the hypo- 
crite, and earthly things are the poise and 
motives to his earthly mind. 

7. Our walking with God importeth that as 
we expect our reward from him, so also that we 
take his promise for our security for that 
reward. Believing his word and trusting his 
fidelity to the quieting and emboldening of the 
soul, is part of our holy walking with him. A 
promise of God is greater satisfaction and 
encouragement to a true believer, than all the 
visible things on earth: a promise of God can 
do more and prevail further with an upright 

Walking with God. 15 

soul, than all the sensible objects in the world. 
He will do more and go further upon such a 
promise, than he will for all that man can give 
him. Peruse the life of Christ's apostles and 
see what a promise of Christ can do ; how it 
made them forsake all earthly pleasures, posses- 
sions, and hopes, and part with friends, and 
houses, and country, and travel up and down 
the world, in dangers and sufferings and un- 
wearied labors, despised and abused by great 
and small : and all this to preach the gospel 
of the kingdom which they had never seen, and 
to attain that everlasting happiness, and help 
others to attain it, for which they had nothing 
but the promise of their Lord. See what a 
promise well believed will make a christian do 
and suffer. Believers did those noble acts, 
and the martyrs underwent those torments, 
which are mentioned Heb. xi. because they 
judged him faithful that had promised. Heb. 
xi. 11. They considered not difticulties and 
defect of means and improbabilities as to 
second causes, nor staggered at the promise of 
God through unbehef; but being strong in 
faith gave glory to God, being fully persuaded 
that vv'hat he had promised he was also able 
to perform, as it is said of Abraham, Rom. 
iv. ly— 21. 

8. To walk with God, is to live as in his 
presence, and that with desire and delight. 
When we believe and apprehend that wherever 

16 Walking with God. 

we are, we are before the Lord, who seeth our 
hearts and all our ways ; who knoweth every 
thought we think, and every word we speak, 
and every secret thing which we do : as verily 
to believe that God is here present and observ- 
eth all, as we do that we ourselves are here : to 
compose our minds, our thoughts, our affections 
to that holy reverence and seriousness as beseem- 
eth man before his maker : to order our words 
with that care and gravity as beseems those 
that speak in the hearing of the Lord. That no 
man's presence do seem more considerable to 
us than his presence : as we are not moved at 
the presence of a fly, or worm, or dog, when 
persons of honor and reverence are present, 
so should we not comparatively be moved at the 
presence of man, how great, or rich, or terrible 
soever, when we know that God himself is 
present, to whom the greatest of the sons of 
men is more inconsiderable than a fly or worm 
is unto them. As the presence of the king 
makes ordinary slanders by to be unobserved, 
and the discourses of the learned make us 
disregard the babblings of children, so the pre- 
sence of God should make the greatest to be 
scarce observed or regarded in comparison of 
him : God who is still with us should so much 
take up our regard, that all others in his pre- 
sence should be but as a candle in the presence 
of the sun. Therefore it is that a believer 
composeth himself to that behaviour which he 

Walkincr with God. 17 

knoweth God doth most expect, and beseemeth 
those that stand before him : when others 
accommodate themselves to the persons that 
are present, observing them, pleasing them, and 
shewing- them respect, while they take no notice 
of God at all, as if they believed not that he is 
there. Hence it is that the men of God were 
wont to speak (though reverently yet) familiarly 
of God, as children of their father with whom 
they dwell, as being indeed fellow-citizens with 
the saints, who are his household. Abraham 
calleth him, Gen. xxiv. 40. " The Lord before 
whom I walk." And Jacob, Gen. xlviii. 15. 
*' God before whom my fathers Abraham and 
Isaac walked." And David resolveth, Ps. 
cxvi. 9. " I will walk before the Lord in the 
land of the living." Yea, God himself is pleased 
to use the terms of gracious condescending- 
familiarity with them. Christ dwelleth in them 
by faith. Eph. iii. 17. His Spirit dwelleth in 
them as his house and temple. Rom. viii. 9. 
Yea the Father himself is said to dwell in them, 
and they in him. 1 John iii. 24. " He that 
keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and 
he in him :" and iv. 12. " If we love one another, 
God dwelleth in us." 13. " Hereby we know 
that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he 
hath given us of his Spirit." 15. " Whoever 
shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, 
God dwelleth in him and he in God." 16. " God 
is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dvv'elleth 
VOL, II. c 

J 8 Walking with God, 

in God, and God in him." Yea, God is said to- 
walk in them, as they are said to walk with 
him; 2 Cor. vi. 16. " For ye are the temple 
of the living God; as God hath said I will 
dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be 
their God and they shall be my people." 

Our walking with God then is not only a 
sense of that common presence which he must 
needs afford to all; but it is also a believing 
apprehension of his gracious presence, as our 
God and reconciled Fatlier, with whom we dwell, 
being brought near unto him by Christ; and- 
who dwelleth in us by his Spirit. 

9. To walk with God (as here we are in flesh) 
includeth not only our believing his presence, 
but also that we see him (as the chief cause in 
the effects) in his creatures and his daily provi- 
dence ; that we look not on creatures as inde- 
pendent or separated from God, but see them as 
the glass, and God as the represented face ; and 
see them as the letters and words, and God as 
the sense of all the creatures that are the first 
book v.'hich he appointed man to read. We 
must behold his glory declared by the heavens, 
Ps. xix. 1 . and see him shining in the sun ; and 
see his power in the fabric of the world, and his 
w isdoni in the admirable order of the whole : we 
must taste the sweetness of his love in the 
sweetness of our food, and in the comforts of 
our friends, and all our accommodations : we 
must see and love his image in his holy ones 'y. 

Walking with God. 19 

and we must hear his voice in the ministry 
of his messengers. Thus every creature must 
become a preacher to us, and we must see the 
name of God upon it : and thus all things will 
be sanctified to us, while holiness to the Lord is 
written upon all. Though we must not there- 
fore make idols of the creatures, because God 
appeareth to us in them, yet must we hear the 
message which they bring us, and reverence in 
them the name of the Creator, which they bear. 
By this way of conversing with them they will 
not ensnare us, or deceive or poison us, as they 
do the carnal unbelieving world : but as the fish 
brought money to Peter, to pay his tribute, so 
every Civn^iture would bring us a greater, even a 
spiritual gain. When we behold it, we should 
say, with pleasant admiration, " This is the 
work of God, and it is wonderful in our eyes." 
This is the true divine philosophy, which seek- 
eth, and findeth, and contemplateth, and admi- 
reth the great Creator in his works ; when that 
which sticketh in the creature itself (whatever 
discovery it seem to make) is but a childish 
unprofitable trifling ; like learning to shape all 
the letters aright, without learning to know 
their signification and sense. It is God appear- 
ing in the creatures, that is the life, and beauty, 
and use, and excellency of all the creatures : 
without him they ar€ but carcases, deformed, 
useless, vain, insignificant and very nothings. 
10- Our walking with God doth contain our 
c 2 

20 Walking with God. 


willing and sincere attendance on him, in the 
use of those holy duties in which he hath 
appointed us to expect his grace. He is every 
where in his essential presence, but he is not 
every where alike to be found in the communi- 
cations of his grace. The assemblies of his 
saints that worship him in holy communion, are 
places where he is likelier to be found, than iu 
an alehouse or a playhouse. You are likelier to 
have holy converse with him among the holy, 
that will speak of holy things to your edifica- 
tion, than among the senseless ignorant sensu- 
filists, and the scornful enemies of holiness, that 
are the servants of the devil,, whom he useth in 
his daily work for the deceiving and peftr^^^ion of 
the world. Therefore the conversation of the 
wicked doth grieve and vex a righteous soul (as 
it is said the Sodomites' did by Lot, 2 Pet. ii. 7, 
8.) because all their conversation is ungodly, far 
from God, not savouring of any true knowledge 
of him or love to him, but is against him by 
enmity and provocation. If God himself do 
dwell and walk in all his holy ones, then they 
that dwell and walk with them, have the best 
opportunity to dwell and walk with God. To 
converse with those in whom God dwelleth, is 
to converse with him in his image, and to attend 
him at his dwelling : and wilfully to run among 
the wicked, is to run far away from God. In . 
his temple doth every man speak of his glory, 
Ps. xxix. 9, when among his brutish enemies 

Walkhig with God, 21 

'fevery man speaketh to the dishonor of him in 
liis word and ways. He is otherwise present 
Tvith those that are congregated in his name and 
for his worship, than he is with those that are 
assembled for wickedness or vanity, or liA^e as 
brutes without God in the world. And we must 
draw as near him as we can, if we would be 
such as walk with God. 

We must not be strange to him in our 
thoughts, but make him the object of our most 
serious meditations. It is said of the wicked 
that they are far from God ; and that God is 
not in ail their thoughts. Ps. Ixxiii. 27. x. 4. 
The thoughts are the mind's employment. It 
dwells on that which it frequently thinks of. It 
is a walk of the mind, and not of the body, 
which we are treating of. To mind the world, 
and flesMy things, is contrary to this walk witli 
God : we are far from him, when onr thoughts 
are (ordinarily) ftir from him. I know that it is 
lawful and meet to think of the business of our 
callings, so far as is necessary to the prudent 
successful management of them; and that it is 
not requisite that our thoughts be always actu- 
ally upon God : but he that doth manage his 
calling in holiness, doth all in obedience to 
<jod's commands, and sees that his work be the 
work of God, and he intendeth all to the glory 
of God, or the pleasing of his blessed will : and 
he oft reneweth these actual intentions ; and oft 
interposeth thoughts of the presence, or power. 

22 Walkim with God. 


or love, or interest of him whom he is serving; 
he often lifteth up his soul in some holy desire 
or ejaculatory request to God: he oft taketh 
occasion from what he seeth, or heareth, or is 
doing, for some more spiritual meditation or 
discourse : so that still it is God that his mind 
is principally employed on or for, even in his 
ordinary work, (while he liveth as a christian.) 

And it is not enough to think of God ; but 
we must think of him as God, with such respect, 
and reverence, and love, and trust, and sub- 
mission, (in our measure) as is due from the 
creature to his Creator. For as some kind of 
speaking of him is but a taking liis name in 
vain ; so some kind of thinking of him is but a 
dishonoring of him, by contemptuous or false 
unworthy thoughts. Most of our walking with 
God consisteth in such affectionate apprehen- 
sions of him as are suitable to his blessed 
attributes and relations. All the day long our 
thouo;hts should be workina; either on God, or 
for God: either upon some work of obedience 
which he hath imposed on us, and in which we 
desire to please and honor him, or else directly 
upon himself. Our hearts must be taken up in 
contem. plating and admiring him, in magnifying 
his name, his word and works; and in pleasant 
contentful thoughts of his benignity, and of his 
glory, and the glory which he conferreth on his 
saints. He that is unskilful or unable to manage 
his own thoughts with some activity, seriousness 

Walking with God, 23 

•snd order, will be a strang-er to much of the 
holy converse which believers have with God. 
They that have given up the government of 
their thoughts, and turned them loose to go 
which way fantasy pleaseth, and present sen'sitive 
objects do invite them, and to run up and down 
the world as masterless unruly vagrants, can 
hardly expect to keep them in any constant 
attendance upon God, or readiness for any 
sacred work. And the sudden thoughts which 
they have of God, will be rude, and stupid, 
savouring more of profane contempt, than of 
holiness, when they should be reverent, serious, 
affectionate, and practical, and such as conduce 
to a holy composure of their hearts and lives. 

And as we must walk with God. 1. In our 
communion with his servants; 2. and in our 
affectionate meditations; so also, 3. in all the 
ordinances which he hath appointed for our 
edification and his worship. 

1. The reading of the word of God, and the 
explication and application of it in good books, 
is a means to possess the mind with sound, and 
orderly, and working apprehensions of God, and 
of his holy truths: so that in such reading our 
understandings are oft illustrated with a heavenly 
light, and our hearts are touched with a special 
delightful relish of that truth, and they are 
secretly attracted and engaged unto God, and 
all the powers of our souls are excited and 
animated to a holy obedient life. 

24 Walking with Gad. 

2. The same -word preached with a lively 
voice, with clearness and affection, hath a 
greater advantage for the same illumination and 
excitation of the soul. When a minister of" 
Christ that is truly a divine, being filled with 
the knowledge and love of God, shall copiously 
and affectionately open to his hearers the excel- 
lencies which he hath seen, and the happiness 
which he hath foreseen and tasted of himself, 
it frequently (through the co-operation of the 
Spirit of Christ) doth wrap up the hearers' 
hearts to God, and bring them into a more lively 
knowledge of him, actuating their graces, and 
inflaming their hearts with a heavenly love, and 
such desires as God hath promised to satisfy. 
Christ doth not only send his ministers furnished 
with authority from him, but also furnished with 
his Spirit, to speak of spiritual things in a spiri- 
tual manner ; so that in both respects he might 
say, " He that heareth you heareth me:" and 
also by the same Spirit doth open and excite the 
hearts of the hearers: so that it is God himself 
that a serious christian is principally fcmployed 
;with, in the hearing of his heavenly transforming 
word : and therefore he is affected with reve- 
rence and holy fear, with some taste of heavenly 
delight, with obediential subjection and resigna- 
tion of himself to God. The word of God is 
powerful, not only in pulling down all high 
exalting thoughts, that rise up against God, but 
also in lifting up depressed souls, that are unable 

Walldng with God, 25 

to rise unto heavenly knowledge, or communion 
with God. If some christians could but always 
find as much of God upon their hearts at other 
times, as they find sometimes under a spiritual 
powerful ministry, they would not so complain 
that they seem forsaken, and strangers to all 
communion with God, as many of them do. 
While God (by his messengers and Spirit) is 
speaking, and man is hearing him; while God 
is treating with man about his reconciliation 
and everlasting happiness, and man is seriously 
attending to the treaty and motions of his Lord, 
surely this is a very considerable part of or.r 
walking and converse with God. 

3. Also in the sacrament of the body and 
blood of Christ, we are called to a familiar con- 
verse with God. He there appeareth to us by 
a wonderful condescension, in the representing 
communicating signs of the flesh and blood of 
his Son, in which he hath most conspicuously 
revealed his love and goodness to believers. 
There Christ himself with his covenant gifts are 
all delivered to us by these investing signs of 
his own institution; even as knighthood is given 
by a sword, and as a house is delivered by a 
key, or land by a twig and turf. Nowhere is 
God so near to man as in Jesus Christ: and 
nowhere is Christ so familiarly represented to 
usj as in this holy sacrament. Here we are 
called to sit with him at his table, as his invited 
Welcome guests; to commemorate his sacrifice j 

26 Walking with God, 

to feed upon his very flesh and blood ; that is, 
with our mouths upon his representative flesh 
and blood, and with our applying faith upon 
his real flesh and blood, by such a feeding 
as belongs to faith. The marriage-covenant 
betwixt God incarnate, and his espoused ones, is 
there pubhcly sealed, celebrated and solemnized. 
There we are entertained by Grod as friends, and 
not as servants only, and that at the most pre- 
cious costly feast. If ever a believer may on 
earth expect his kindest entertainment, and near 
access, and a humble intimacy with his Lord, 
it is in the participation of this sacrifice-feast, 
which is called " the communion" because it 
is appointed as well for our special communion 
with Christ as with one another. It is here 
thai we have tlie fullest intimation, expression 
and communication of the wondrous love of 
God ; and therefore it is here that we have the 
loudest call, and best assistance to make a large 
return of love : and where there is the most of 
this love between God and man, there is most 
communion, and most of heaven, that can be 
had on earth. 

But it much concerneth the members of 
Christ, that they deprive not themselves of this 
communion with God, in this holy sacrament, 
through their miscarriage ; which is too fre- 
quently done by one of these extremes. — Either 
by rushing upon holy things v/ith a presump- 
tuous' careless common frame of heart, as if 

Walking with God. fll 

they knew not that they go to feast with 
Christ, and discerned not his body : or else by 
an excess of fear, drawing back, and question- 
ing the good will of God, and thinking diminu- 
tively of his love and mercy. By this means 
Satan depriveth many of the comfortable part 
of their communion with God, both in this 
sacrament, and in other ways of grace ; and 
maketh them avoid hira as an enemy, and be 
Joth to come into his special presence; and even 
to be afraid to think of him, to pray to him, 
or to have any holy converse with him : when 
the just belief and obervation of his love would 
stablish them, and revive their souls with joy, 
and give them experience of the sweet delights 
which are opened tP them in the gospel, and 
which believers find in the love of God, and the 
iforetaste of the everlasting pleasures. 

4. In holy, faithful, fervent prayer, a christian 
ihath very much of his converse with God. For 
prayer is our approach to God, and calling to 
mind his presence and his attributes, and exer- 
cising all his graces in a holy motion towards 
him, and an exciting all the powers of our soul-s 
to seek him, attend him, and reverently to 
worship him : it is our treating with him about 
the most important businesses in all the world : 
a begging of the greatest mercies, and a depre- 
cating his most grievous judgments; and all 
^this with the nearest familiarity that man in 
Hesh can have with God. In prayer the Spirit 

28 WalkmiT with God. 


of God is working up our hearts unto hiiii, with 
desires expressed in sighs and groans : it is a 
work of God as well as of man : he bloweth the 
fire, though it be our hearts that burn and 
boil. In prayer we lay hold on Jesus Christ, 
and plead his merits and intercession with the 
Father : he taketh us as it were by the hand, 
and leadeth us unto God, and hideth our sins, 
and procureth our acceptance, and presenteth 
us amiable to his Father, having justified and 
sanctified us, and cleansed us from those pollu- 
tions, which rendered us loathsome and abomi- 
nable. To speak to God in serious prayer, is a 
work so high, and of so great moment, that it 
calleth off our minds from all things else, and 
giveth no creature room or leave to look into 
tiie soul, or once to be observed: the mind is so 
taken up with God, and employed with him, 
that creatures are forgotten, and we take no 
notice of them (unless when through the diver- 
sions of the flesh, our prayers are interrupted 
and corrupted, and so far degenerate, and are 
no prayer; so far I say as we thus turn away 
from God.) So that the soul that is most and 
best at prayer, is most and best at walking with 
God, and hath most communion with him in the 
Spirit : and to withdraw from prayer, is to 
withdraw from God : and to be unwilling to 
pray, is to be unwilling to draw near to God. 
Meditation or contemplation is a duty in which 
God is much enjoyed : but prayer hath medit^'. 

Walkuig with God. 29 

tion' in it, and niuch more. All that is upon 
the mind in meditation, is upon the mind in 
prayer, and that with great advantage, as being 
presented before God, and pleaded with him, 
and so animated by the apprehensions of his 
observing presence, and actuated by the desires 
and pleadings of the soul. When we are com-' 
manded to pray, it includeth a command to 
repent and believe, and fear the Lord, and 
desire his grace : for faith and repentance, and 
fear and desire, are altogether in action in a 
serious prayer ; and, as it were, naturally each 
one takes his place, and there is a holy order 
in the acting of these graces in a christian's 
prayers, and a harmony which he doth seldom 
himself observe. He that in meditation knoweth 
not how to be regular and methodical, when he 
is studiously contriving and endeavouring it, 
yet in prayer before he is aware, hath repen- 
tance, and faith, and fear, and desire, and every 
grace fall in its proper place and order, and 
contribute its part to the performance of the 
work. The new nature of a christian is more 
immediately and vigorously operative in prayer, 
than in many other duties : and therefore every 
infant in the family of God can pray (with 
groaning desires, and ordered graces, if not 
with well-ordered words.) When Paul began 
to live to Christ, he began (aright) to pray : 
Behold he prayeth, saith God to Ananias, Acts 
ix. U. And because they are sons, God sends 

30 TValkins with God. 


the Spirit of his Son into the hearts of his elect, 
even the Spirit of adoption, by which they cry 
Abba Father, GaL iv. 6. as children naturally 
cry to their parents for relief. And nature is 
more regular in its works than art or human 
contrivance is. Necessity teacheth many a 
beggar to pray better for relief to men, than 
many learned men (that feel not their necessi- 
ties) can pray to God. The Spirit of God is a 
better methodist than we are : and though I 
know that we are bound to use our utmost care 
and skill for the orderly actuating of each holy 
affection in our prayers, and not pretend the 
sufficiency of the Spirit for the patronage of our 
negligence or sloth (for the Spirit makes use of 
our understandings for the actuating of our 
wills and affections ; ) yet withal it cannot be 
denied, but that it was upon a special reason 
that the Spirit that is promised to believers is 
called a Spirit of grace and supplication ; Zech. 
xii, 10. and that it is given us to help our infir- 
mities, even the infirmities of our understanding, 
when we know not what to pray for as we 
ought ; Rom. viii. 26. and that the Spirit itself 
is said to make intercession for us, with groan- 
iftgs which cannot be uttered. It is not the 
Spirit without that is here meant: such inter- 
cession is nowhere ascribed to that. How then 
is the prayer of the Spirit within us distinguished 
from our prayer? Not as different effects of 
different <jauses — as different prayers by these 

Walking with God. 31 

different parties : but as the same prayer pro- 
ceeding from different causes, having a special 
force (for quahty and degree) as from one cause 
(the Spirit) which it hath not from the other 
cause (from ourselves) except as received from 
the Spirit. The Spirit is as a new nature, or 
fixed inclination in the saints : for their very 
self-love and will to good is sanctified in them, 
which works so readily (though voluntarily) as 
that it is in a sort by the way of nature, though 
not excluding reason and will ; and not as the 
motion of the brutish appetite. And that God 
is their felicity, and the only help and comfort 
of their souls, and so the principal good to be 
desired by them, is become to them a truth so 
certain, and beyond all doubt, that their under- 
standings are convinced that velle bomim, and 
velle Deiim, to love good, and to love God, are 
words that have almost the same signification; 
and therefore here is no room for deliberation 
and choice, where there is omnimoda ratio boni, 
nothing but unquestionable good. A christian 
(so far as he is such) cannot choose but desire 
the favor and fruition of God in immortality, 
even as he cannot choose (because he is a man) 
but desire his own felicity in general: and as 
he cannot (as a man) but be unwilling of destruc- 
tion, and canixot but fear apparent misery, and 
that which bringeth it ; so as a christian he 
cannot choose but be unwilling of damnation, 
and of the wrath of God, and of sin as sin, and 

32 Walkhig with God, 

fear the apparent dangers of his soul, so that his 
new nature will presently cast his fear, and 
repentance, and desires into their proper course 
and order, and set them on work on their several 
objects, (about the main unquestionable things, 
however they may err, or need more deliberation 
about things doubtful.) The new creature is not 
as a lifeless engine (as a clock, or watch, or 
ship) where every part must be set in order by 
the art and hand of man, and so kept and used ; 
but it is liker to the frame of our own nature, 
even like man, who is a living engine, when 
every part is set in its place and order by the 
creator, and hath in itself a living and harmonical 
principle, which disposeth it to action, and to 
regular action, and is so to be kept in order and 
daily exercise by ourselves, as yet to be princi- 
pally ordered and actuated by the Spirit which 
is the principal cause. 

By all vv'hich you may understand how the 
Holy Ghost is in us a spirit of supplication, and 
helpeth our infirmities, and teacheth us to pray, 
and intercedeth in us ; and also that prayer is 
to the new man, so natural a motion of the soul 
towards God, that much of our walking with 
God is exercised in this holy duty: and that it 
is to the new life, as breathing to our natural 
life ; and therefore no wonder that we are com- 
manded to pray continually, 1 Thes. v. 17. as 
we must breathe continually; or as nature which 
n€edeth a daily supply of food for nourishment, 

Walking with God. 33 

hath a daily appetite to the food which it need- 
eth, so hath the spiritual nature to its necessary 
food, and nothing but sickness doth take it off. 

And thus I have shewed you how our walking 
with God containeth a holy use of his appointed 

II. To walk with God includeth our depen- 
dance on him for our receivings, and taking our 
mercies as from his hand. To live as upon his 
love and bounty; as children with their father, 
that can look for nothing but from him. As the 
eye of a servant, yea, of a craving dog, is upon 
his master's face and hand, so must our eye be 
on the Lord, for the gracious supply of all our 
wants. If men give us any thing, we take them 
but as the messengers of God, by whom he 
sendeth it us : we will not be unthankful unto 
men ; but we thank them but for bringing us 
our Father's gifts: indeed man is so much more 
than a mere messenger, as that his own charity 
also is exercised in the gift. A mere messenger 
is to do no more but obediently to deliver what 
is sent us, and he need not exercise any charity 
of his own; and we owe him thanks only for his 
fidelity and labor, but only to his master for the 
gift : but God will so far honor man, as that he 
shall be called also to use his charity, and dis- 
tribute his master's gifts with some self-denial ; 
and we owe him thanks, as, under God, he 
partaketh in the charity of the gift ; and as one 
child oweth thanks to another, who both in 

3i Walkiifs: with God. 

obedience to the father, and love to his brother, 
tloth give some part of that which his father had 
given him before. But still it is from our 
Father's bounty, as the principal cause, that all 
proceeds. Thus Jacob speaketh of God, Gen. 
xlviii. 15. " God before whom my fathers 
Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which 
fed me all my life long unto this day, the angel 
which redeemed me from all evil, bless the 
lads, &c." When he had mentioned his father 
Abraham and Isaac's walking with God, he de- 
scribeth his own by his dependance upon God, 
and receiving from him, acknowledging him the 
God that had fed him, and delivered him all his 
life. Carnal men, that live by sense, do depend 
iipon inferior sensible causes ; and though they 
are taught to pray to God, and thank him with 
their tongues, it is indeed their own contrivances 
and industry, or their visible benefactors, which 
their hearts depend upon and thank. It were a 
shame to them to be so plain as Pharaoh, and 
to say. Who is the Lord ? or to speak as openly 
as Nebuchadnezzar, and say. Is not this great 
Babylon that I have built, by the might of my 
power? &,c. Dan. iv. 30. yet the same atheism 
and self-idolizing is in their hearts, though it 
be more modestly and cunningly expressed. 
Hence it is that they that walk with God, have 
all their receivings sanctified to them, and have 
in all a divine and spiritual sweetness, which 
those that take them but as from creatures, do 
never feel or understand. 

Walking with God. 8^5 

12. Lastly, it is contained in our walking with 
God, that the greatest business of our lives be 
with him, and for him. It is not a walk for 
compliment or recreation only that is here 
meant; but it is a life of nearness, converse and 
employment, as a servant or child that dwelleth 
with his master or father in the house. God 
should be always so regarded, that man should 
stand by as nothing, and be scarce observed 
in comparison of him. We should begin the 
day with God, and entertain him in the first 
and sweetest of our thoughts : we should walk 
abroad and do our work as in his sight: we 
must resolve to do no work but his, no not in 
our trades and ordinary callings : we must be 
able to say. It is the work which my master set 
me to do, and I do it to obey and please his will. 
At night we must take an account of ourselves, 
and spread open that account before him, 
desiring his acceptance of what was well, and 
his pardon for what we did amiss, that we may 
thus be ready for our last account. In a word, 
though men be our fellow-laborers and com- 
panions, yet the principal business of our care 
and diligence, must be our master's service 
in the world. And therefore we must look 
about us, and discern the opportunities of 
serving him, and of the best improvement of his 
talents ; and must make it our daily study and 
business, to do him the greatest service we are 
able, whatever it may cost us through the 

36 Walking with God. 

malice of the enemies, being sure our labor 
shall not be in vain, and that we cannot serve 
him at tco dear a rate. It is not as idle 
companions, but as servants, as soldiers, as 
those that put forth all their strength, to do 
his work and reach the crown, that we are called 
to walk with God. And all this is done, tliough 
not in the same degree by all, yet according to 
the measure of their holiness by every one that 
lives by faith. 

Having told you what it is to walk with God, 
as to the matter of it, I shall more briefly tell 
you as to the manner : the nature of God^ of 
man, and of the work, will tell it you. 

1. That our walk with God must be with the 
greatest reverence : were we never so much 
assured of his special love to us, and never so 
full of faith and joy, our reverence must be 
never the less for this. Though love cast out 
that guilty fear which discourageth the sinner 
■from hoping and seeking for the mercy which 
would save him, and which disposeth him to 
hate and fly from God, yet doth it not cast out 
that reverence of God, which we owe him as his 
creatures so infinitely below him as we are. 
It cannot be that God should be known and 
remembered as God, without some admiring and 
awful apprehensions of him. Infinitfeness, omni- 
potency and inaccessible majesty and glory, 
must needs affect the soul that knoweth them, 
with reverence and self-abasement. Though we 

Walking zoith God. 37 

receive a kingdom that cannot be moved, yet if 
we will serve God acceptably, we must serve 
him with reverence and godly fear, as knowing 
that as he is our God, so he is also a consuming 
fire. Heb. xii. 28, 29. We must so worship him 
as those that remember that we are worms 
and guilty sinners, and that he is most high and 
holy, and will be sanctified in them that come 
nigh him, and before all the people he will be 
glorified. Lev. x. 3. Unreverence sheweth a 
kind of atheistical contempt of God, or else a 
sleepiness and inconsiderateness of the soul. 
The sense of the goodness and lave of God, 
must consist with the sense of his holiness and 
omnipotency. It is presumption, pride or block- 
ish stupidity, which excludeth reverence ; which 
faith doth cause, and not oppose. 

2. Our walking with God must be a work 
of humble boldness and familiarity, The reve- 
rence of his holiness and greatness, must not 
overcome or exclude the sense of his goodness 
and compassion, nor the full assurance of faith 
and hope. Though by sin we are enemies and 
strange to God, and stand afar off, yet in Christ 
we are reconciled to him and brought near. 
Eph. ii. 13. For he is our peace, who halh 
taken down the partition, and abolished the 
enmity, and reconciled jew and gentile unto 

God. ver. 14 16. And through him we 

have all an access to the Father by one Spirit : 
we are now no more strangers and foreigners. 

38' fVaUdn^ with God. 

but fellow-citizens of the skints and of the 
household of God: ver. 18, 19. In him we 
have boldness and access with confidence by 
the belief of him. Eph. iii. 12. Though of our- 
selves we are unworthy to be called his children, 
and may well stand afar off with the publican, 
and not dare to lift up our faces towards heaven, 
but smite our breasts and say, " O Lord be 
merciful to me a sinner." *' Yet have we bold- 
ness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of 
Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath 
consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to 
say, his flesh: and having an high priest over 
the house of God, we may draw near with^ a 
true heart in full assurance of faith." Heb. x. 
19 — 22. Therefore whensoever we are afraid at 
the sight of sin and justice, let us remember 
that ** we have a great high priest that is passed 
into the heavens, even Jesus the Son of God : 
and therefore let us come boldly to the throne 
of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find 
crace to help in time of need." Heb. iv. 14, 16. 
He that alloweth us to walk with him, doth 
allow us such humble familiarity as beseemeth 
those that walk together with him. 

3. Our v/alking with God must be a work of 
some holy pleasure and delight. We may un- 
willingly be dragged into the presence of an 
enemy, and serve as drudges upon mere necessity 
or fear : but walking together is the loving and 
delightful converse of friends. When we take 

Walking with God. 39^ 

sweet counsel of the Lord, and set him always 
as at our right hand, and are glad to hear from 
him, and glad to speak to him, and glad to with- 
draw our thoughts from all the things and per- 
sons in the world, that we may solace ourselves 
in the contemplations of his excellency, and the 
admirations of his love and glory — this is indeed 
to walk with God. You converse with him as 
with a stranger, an enemy, or your destroyer, 
and not as with God, while you had rather be 
far from him, and only tremble in his presence, 
and are glad when you have done and are got 
away, but have no delight or pleasure in him. 
If we can take delight in our walking with a 
friend, a friend that is truly loving and constant, 
a friend that is learned, wise, and holy 5 if their 
wise and heavenly discourse be better to us than 
our recreations, meat, or drink, or clothes, what 
delight then should we find in our secret con- 
verse with the most high, most wise and graci- 
ous God ! How glad should we be to find him 
willing and ready to entertain us! How glad 
should we be that we may employ our thoughts 
on so high and excellent an object! What cause 
have we to say, " My meditation of him shall be 
sweet, and I will be glad in the Lord!" Ps. civ. 
34. " In the multitude of my thoughts within 
me (my sorrowful, troublesome, weary thoughts) 
thy comforts do delight ray soul." Ps. xciv. 19. 
Let others take pleasure in childish vanity, or 
sensualitv, but say thou as David, Ps. cxix. 

40 Walkim rvith God. 

14 — 16, " I have rejoiced in the ways of thy 
commandments, as much as in all riches : I will 
meditate in thy precepts and have respect unto 
thy ways: I will delight myself in thy statutes, 
and will not forget thy word." Ver. 47. *^ I will 
delight myself in thy commandments which I 
have loved." Let " scorners delight in scorning, 
and fools hate knowledge," Prov. i. 22. but 
'* ijtiake me to go in the path of thy command- 
ments, for therein do I delight." Ps. cxix. 35. 
If thou wouldest experimentally know the safety 
and glory of a holy life, delight thyself in the 
Lord, and he shall give thee the desire of thy 
heart. Ps. xxxvii. 4. Especially when we draw 
near him in his solemn worship, and when we 
separate ourselves on his holy days from all our 
common worldly thoughts to be conversant as in 
heaven with the blessed God, then may we with 
the holy apostle be " in the Spirit on the Lord's 
day;" Uev. i. 10. and if we turn away our foot 
from the sabbath, from doing our pleasure on 
that holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, 
the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor 
him, not doing our own ways, nor finding our 
own pleasure, nor speaking our own words : 
then shall we delight ourselves in the Loid, Isa. 
Iviii. 13, 14. and understand how great a privi- 
lege it is to have the liberty of those holy days 
and duties for our sweet and heavenly converse 
with God. 

4. Our walkino' with God must be a matter 

Walking; with God. 41 


of industry and diligence. It is not an occa- 
sional idle converse, but a life of observance, 
obedience and employment, that this phrase 
iniporteth. The sluggish idle wishes of the 
hypocrite, whose hands refuse to labor, are not 
this walking with God: nor the sacrifice of 
fools, who are hasty to utter the overflowings of 
their fantasy before the Lord, while they keep 
not their foot, nor hearken to the law, nor consi- 
der that they do evil. Eccles. v. 1 — 3. He that 
Cometh to God (and will walk with him) must 
believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of 
them that diligently seek him. God is with you 
while you are with him; but if you forsake him 
he will forsake you. 2 Chron. xv. 2. Up and be 
doing, and the Lord will be with you. 1 Chron. 
xxii. 16. If you would meet with God in the way 
of mercy, " Take diligent heed to the command 
ment and law, to love the Lord your God, and 
to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him, 
and to serve him with all your heart, and with 
all your soul." Josh. xxii. 5. 

5. Our walking witli God is a matter of some 
constancy : it signifieth our course and trade of 
life; and not some accidental action on the by. 
A man may walk with a stranger, for a visit, or 
in compliment, or upon some unusual occasion; 
but this walk with God, is the act of those that 
dweJl with him in his family, and do his work. 
It is not only to step and speak with him, or cry 
to hail for mercy in some great extremity, or to 


42 Walking with God. 

go to church for company or custom^ or think or 
talk of him sometime heartlessly on the by, as a 
man will talk of news, or matters that are done 
in a foreign land, or of persons that we think we 
have little to do with ; but it is to be always 
with him. Luke xv. 31. To seek first his king- 
dom and righteousness. Matt, vi^ 33. Not to 
labor (comparatively) for the food that perishethy 
but for that which endureth to everlasting life, 
John vi. 27. To delight in the law of the Lord, 
and meditate in it day and night. Ps. i. 2. That 
his words be in our hearts, and that we teach 
them diligently to our children, and talk of them 
sitting in the house, and walking by the way, 
lying down, and rising up, &e. Deut. vi. 6 — 8, 
That we pray continually, 1 Thes. v. 17. and in 
all things give thanks. But will the hypocrite 
delight himself in the Almighty, or will he 
always call upon God ? Job xxvii. 10. His good- 
ness is as the morning cloud, and as the early 
dew it goeth away. Hos. vi. 4. So much of the 
description of this walking with God. 


Use. We are next to consider how far this 
doctrine doth concern ourselves, and what use 
we have to make of it upon our hearts and lives. 

And first it acquainteth us with the abun- 
dance of atheism that is in the world, eveu 

Walking with God. 43 

^tnong those that profess the knowledge of God. 
it is atheism not only to say, there is no 
God : but to say so in the heart. Ps. xiv. 1 . 
While the heart is no more affected towards 
him, observant of him, or confident in him, or 
submissive to him, than if indeed there were no 
God : when there is notliing of God upon the 
heart, no love, no fear, no trust, no subjection, 
then is heart atheism. When men that have 
some kind of knowledge of God, yet glorify hira 
not as God, nor are thankful to him, but become 
vain in their imaginations, and their foolish 
hearts are darkened ; these men are heart- 
atheists, and professing themselves wise, they 
become fools, and are given up to vile affections: 
and as they do not like to retain God in their 
knowledge (however they may discourse of 
him, so) God oft giveth them over to a reprobate 
mind, to do those things that are not conve- 
nient, being filled with all unrighteousness, 
fornication, wickedness, covetousness, malici- 
ousness, envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity, 
&c. Rom. i. 21, 22, 26, 28, 29, 30. Swarms of 
such atheists go up and down under tlie self- 
deceiving name of christians : being indeed 
unbelieving and defiled, so void of purity, that 
they deride it, and nothing is pure to them ; but 
even their mind and conscience is defiled : they 
profess that they know^ God, but they deny him 
in their works, being abominable and disobe-^ 
dient, and to every good work reprobate, Tit. i. 

44 Walking with God. 

15, 16. What is lie but an atheist, when God 
is not in all his thoughts, Ps. x. 4. unless he 
be in their impious or blaspheming thoughts, 
or in their slight contemptuous thoughts ! To 
take God for God indeed, and for our God, 
essentially includeth the taking him to be the 
most powerful, wise and good, the most just 
and holy, the creator, preserver and governor of 
the world, whom we and all men are obliged 
absolutely to obey and fear, to love and desire^ 
whose will is our beginning, rule and end : he 
that taketh not God for such as here described, 
taketli him not for God, and therefore is indeed 
an atheist : what name soever he assumeth to 
himself, this is the name that God will call him 
by ; even a fool that hath said in his heart 
there is no God : while they are corrupt and 
do abominably, they understand not, and seek 
not after God ; they are all gone aside, and are 
altogether become filthy, there is none of them 
that doth good ; they are workers of iniquity 
that have no knowledge, and eat up the people 
of God as bread, and call not upo-n the Lord. 
Ps. xiv. 1 — 4. " Ungodliness" is but the 
English for " atheism." The atheist or ungodly 
in opinion, is he that thinks that there is no 
God, or that he is one that we need not love 
and serve (and that he is but the same, viz. to 
be no God.) The. atheist or ungodly in heart or 
will, is he that consenteth not that God shall he 
his God, to beloved, feared and obeyed before 

Walking with God. 45 

all. The atheist in life or outward practice, is 
he that liveth as without God in the world ; that 
seeketh him not as his chiefest good, and obey- 
eth him not as his highest absolute lord ; so 
that indeed atheism is the sum of all iniquity, 
as godliness is the sum of all religion and moral 
good. If you see by the description which I 
have given you, what it is to be godly, and to 
walk with God, and what it is to be an atheist 
or ungodly, you may easily see that godliness is 
more rare, and atheism more common, than 
many that themselves are atheists will believe. 
It is not that which a man calls his God, that 
is taken by him for his God indeed. It is not 
the tongue, but the heart that is the man. 
Pilate called Christ the King of the Jews, when 
he crucified him. The Jews called God their 
Father, when Christ telleth them, they were of 
their father the devil, and proveth it because 
(whatever they said) they would do his lusts. 
John viii. 44. The same Jews pretended to honor 
the name of the Messiah, and expect him, while 
they killed him. The question is not what men 
call themselves, but what they are : not whether 
you say you take God for your God, but 
whether you do so indeed : not whether you 
profess yourselves to be atheists, but whether 
you are atheists indeed or not. If you are not, 
look over what I have here said, and tell your 
consciences, Do you walk with God ? Who is 
it that you submit yourselves willingly to be 

46 Walkins with God. 


disposed of by? To whom are you most sub- 
ject; and whose commands have the most 
effectual authority with you ? Who is the chief 
j^overnor of your hearts and lives ? Whom is 
it that you principally desire to please; whom 
do you most fear; and whose displeasure do 
you principally avoid? From whom is it that 
you expect your greatest reward ; and in whom, 
and with whom, do you place and expect your 
happiness? Whose work is it that you do, as 
the greatest business of your lives ? Is it the 
goodness of God in himself and unto you, that 
draweth up your hearts to him in love? Is he 
the ultimate end of the main intentions, design, 
and industry of your lives ? Do you trust 
upon his word as your security for your ever- 
lasting hopes and happiness ? Do you study 
and observe him in his works? Do you really 
live as in his presence? Do you delight in his 
word, and meditate on it? Do you love the 
communion of saints ; and to be most frequent 
and famiUar with them that are most frequent 
and familiar with Christ? Do you favour more 
the practical affectionate discourse about his 
nature, will, and kingdom, than the frothy talk 
of empty wits, or the common discourse of 
carnal worldlings? Do you love to be employed 
in thanking him for his mercies, and in praising 
him, and declaring the glory of his attributes 
and works ? Is your dependence on liim as 
your great benefactor, and do you receive your 

Walking: luith God. 47 


mercies as his gifts? If thus your principal 
observation be of God, and your chief desire 
after God, and your chiefest confidence in God, 
and your chiefest business in the world be with 
God, and for God, and your chiefest joy be in 
the favor of God, (when you can apprehend it) 
and in the prosperity of his church, and your 
hopes of glory ; and your chiefest grief and 
trouble be your sinful distance from him, and 
your backwardness and disability in his love and 
service, and the fear of his displeasure, and the 
injuries done to his gospel and honor in the 
world ; then I mu<3t needs say, you are savingly 
delivered fi'om your atheism and ungodliness; 
you do not only talk of God, but walk with 
God ; you are then acquainted with that spiri- 
tual life and work, which the sensual world is 
unacquainted with, and with those invisible ever- 
lasting excellencies, which if worldlings knew, 
they would change their minds, and choice, and 
pleasures : you are then acquainted with that 
rational, manly, saintly life, which ungodly men 
are strangers to; and you are in the way of 
that well-grounded hope' and peace to which all 
the pleasures and crowns on earth, if compared, 
are but cheats and misery. But if you were 
never yet brought to walk with God, do not 
think that you have a sound belief in God, nor 
that you acknowledge him sincerely, nor that 
you are saved from heart atheism : nor is it 
piety in the opinion and the tongue, that will 

48 Walking with God. 

save him that is an atheist or ungodly in heart 
and life. Divinity is an affective-practical 
science: knowing is not the ultimate or per- 
fective act of man ; but a means to holy love, 
and joy, and service. Nor is it clear and solid 
knowledge, if it do not somewhat affect the 
heart, and engage and actuate the life, according 
to the nature and use of the thing known. The 
soundness of knowledge and belief is not best 
discerned in the intellectual acts themselves, but 
in their powerful, free, and pleasant efficacy 
upon our choice and practice. By these there- 
fore you must judge, whether you are godly or 
atheistical. The question is not what your 
tongues say of God, nor what complimental 
ceremonious observances you allow him, but 
what your hearts and your endeavours say of 
him, and whether you glorify him as God when 
you say you know him : otherwise you will find 
that the wrath cf God is revealed from heaven, 
ao-ainst all unpodliness and unrighteousness of 
men, who held the truth in unrighteousness. 
Rom. i. 18,21. 

And now, alas! what matter of lamentation 
is here before us ! To see how seriously men 
converse with one another; and how God is 
overlooked or neglected by the most ! how men 
live together, as if there were more that is 
considerable and regardable in these particles of 
animated dust, than in the Lord Almighty, and 
in all his graces, service and rewards ! To s,ee 

Walking with God. A9 

how God is cast aside, and his interest made to 
give place to the interest of the flesh ; and his 
services must stay till men have done their 
service to their lusts, or to worldly men, that 
can do them hurt or shew them favor ! and his 
will must not be done when it crosseth the will 
of sinful man ! How little do all the commands, 
and promises, and threatenings of God signify 
with these atheistical men, in comparison of 
their lusts, or the laws of men, or any thing that 
concerneth their temporal prosperity ! O how is 
the world revolted from their Maker ! how have 
they lost the knowledge of themselves, and for- 
gotten their natures, capacities and obligations, 
and what it is to be indeed a man ! O hearken 
sinners to the call of your Redeemer! Return, O 
seduced wandering souls, and know at last your 
resting place ! Why is not God in all your 
thoughts? — Or why is he thought on with so 
much remissness, unwillingness, and contempt ; 
and with so little pleasure, seriousness, or regard? 
Do you understand yourselves in this? Do you 
deal worthily with God ; or wisely for your- 
selves? Do you take more pleasure, with the 
prodigal, to feed swine, and to feed with swine, 
than to dwell at home with your heavenly 
Father ; and to walk before him, and serve him 
in the world? Did you but know how dangerous 
a way you have been in, and how unreasonably 
you have dealt, to forsake God in your hearts, 
and follow that which cannot profit you ; what 

50 Walking toith God. 

haste would you make to leave the crowd, and 
come home to God, and try a more noble and 
gainful conversation ! If reasons may have room 
and leave to work upon you, I will set a few 
before you more distinctly, to call you off from 
your barren inordinate creature converse, to a 
believing serious converse with God. 

1. The higher and more excellent the object 
is (especially when it is also of most concern- 
ment to ourselves) the more excellent is the 
converse. Therefore as nothing dare compare 
itself with God, so no employment may be com- 
pared with this of holy walking with him. How 
vile a contempt is it of the Almighty, and of our 
celestial joys, for the heart to neglect them, and 
turn away and dwell upon vanity and trouble, 
and let these highest pleasures go! Is not God 
and glory worthy of thy thoughts and all thy 

2. What are those things that take thee up ? 
Are they better than God ; or fitter to supply 
thy wants ? If thou think and trust in them 
accordingly, ere long thou shalt know better 
what they are, and have enough of thy cursed 
choice and confidence. Tell those that stand 
by thee at the parting hour, whether thou didst 
choose aright, and make a gaining or a saving 
match. O poor sinners! have you not yet 
warning enough to satisfy you that all things 
below are vanity and vexation, and that all your 
hope of happiness is above ? Will not the 

Walking with God. 61 

testimony of God satisfy you? Will not the 
experience of the world for so many thousand 
years together satisfy you ? Will not the ill 
success of all the damned satisfy you ? Will 
nothing but your own experience convince you? 
If so, consider well the experience you have 
already made, and seasonably retire, and try no 
further, and trust not so dangerous a deceiver to 
the last, lest you buy your knowledge at a dearer 
rate than you will now believe. 

3. You have daily more to do with God, than 
with all the world, whether you will or no : and 
therefore seeing you cannot avoid him if you 
would, prefer that voluntary obediential converse 
which hath a reward, before that necessitated 
converse which hath none. You are always in 
his hands : he made you for his service ; and 
he will dispose of you and all that you have 
according to his will. It shall not go with 
you as yourselves would have it, nor as your 
friends would have it, nor as princes and great 
ones of the world would have it; (unless as 
their wills comply with God's;) but as God 
would have it, who will infallibly accomplish all 
his will. If a sparrow fall not to the ground 
without him, and all the hairs of our heads are 
numbered, then certainly he overruleth all your 
interests and affairs, and they are absolutely at 
his dispose. To whom then in reason should 
you so much apply yourselves as inito him ? If 
you will not take notice of him, he will take 

52 Walking with God. 

notice of you : he will remember you whether 
you remember him or not : but it may be with 
so strict and severe a remembrance, as may 
make you wish he did quite forget you. You 
are always in his presence ; and can you then 
forget him, and hold no voluntary converse with 
him, when you stand before him? If it be but 
mean inferior persons that we dwell with and 
are still in company with, yet we mind them 
more, and speak more to them, than we do to 
greater persons that we seldom see. But in 
God there is both greatness and nearness to 
invite you. Should not all the worms on earth 
stand by, while the glorious God doth call you 
to him, and offer you the honor and happiness of 
his converse? Shall the Lord of heaven and 
earth stand by, and be shut out, while you are 
chatting or trifling with his creatures? Nay, 
shall he be neglected that is always with you? 
You cannot remove yourselves a moment from 
his sight ; and therefore you should not shut 
your eyes, and turn away your face, and refuse 
to observe him who is still observing you. 

Moreover, your dependance both for soul and 
body is all on him : you can have nothing 
desirable but by his gift. He feeds you, he 
clotheth you, he maintaineth you, he gives you 
life and breath, and all things ; and yet can you 
overlook him or forget him ? Do not all his 
mercies require your acknowledgment? A dog 
will follow him that feedeth him : his eye will 

Walking with God. 53 

be upon his master : and shall we live upon 
Cod, and yet forget and disregard him? We are 
taught a better use of his mercies by the holy 
prophet, Ps. Ixvi. 8, 9. " O bless our God, ye 
people, and make the voice of his praise to be 
heard : which holdeth our soul in life, and 
suiTereth not our feet to be moved 1" 

Nay it is not yourselves alone, but all the 
world that depends on God. It is his power 
that supporteth them, and his will that disposeth 
of them, and his bounty that provideth for 
them ; and therefore he must be the observation 
and admiration of the world : it is less unreason- 
able to take no notice of the earth that beareth 
us and yieldeth us fruit, and of the sun that 
yields us heat and light, than to disregard the 
Lord that is more to us than sun and earth, and 
all things. The eyes of all things wait on him ; 
and he givetli them their meat in season : he 
openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of 
every living thing. Ps. cxlv. 15, 16. The Lord 
is good to all, and his tender mercies are over 
all his works : all his works therefore shall 
praise him, and his saints shall bless him : they 
shall speak of the glory of his kingdom, and 
talk of his power. Ver. 10, 11. 

Moreover, God is so abundantly and wonder- 
fully represented to us in all his works, as will 
leave us under the guilt of most unexcusable con- 
tempt, if we overlook him, and live as without 
him in the world. " The heavens declare the 


54 '• Walking with God. 

glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his 
handy work : day unto day uttereth speech ; 
and night unto night sheweth knowledge." Ps, 
xix. 1, 2. Thus that which may be known of 
God is manifest; for the invisible things of him 
from the creation of the world are clearly seen, 
being understood by the things that are mad-3, 
even his eternal power and godhead; so that 
the ungodly are without excuse. Rom. i. 19, 20. 
Cannot yoa see that which all the world reveal- 
eth ? nor hear that which all the world pro- 
claimeth ? O sing ye forth the honor of his 
name : make his praise glorious ! Say to the 
Lord, How terrible art thou in thy works 1 
through the greatness of thy power shall thine 
enemies submit themselves unto thee : all the 
earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto 
thee : they shall sing unto thy name : come 
and see the works of God : he is terrible in his 
doings towards the children of men. Ps. Ixvi. 
2 — 5. Can we pass him by that is every where 
present, and by every creature represented to 
us? Can we forget him, when all the world are' 
our remembrancers ? Can we stop our ears 
against the voice of heaven and earth ? Can we 
be ignorant of him, when the whole creation is 
our teacher? Can we overlook that holy glorious 
name, which is written so legibly upon all things 
that ever our eyes beheld that nothing but 
blindness, sleepiness or distraction, could pos- 
sibly keep us from discerning it? I have many a 

Walking with God. 55 

time wondered, that (as the eye is dazzled so 
with the beholding of the greatest light, that 
it can scarce perceive the shining of a lesser so) 
the glorious transcendent majesty of the Lord, 
doth not even overwhelm our understandings, 
and so transport and take us up, as that we can 
scarce observe or remember any thing else. For 
naturally the greatest objects of our sense, are 
apt to make us at that time insensible of the 
smaller : and our exceeding great business, is 
apt to make us utterly neglect and forget those 
that are exceeding small : and O what nothings 
are the best and greatest of the creatures, in 
comparison of God! And what toys and trifles 
are all our other businesses in the world, in 
comparison of the business which we have with 
him ! But I have been stopped in these admi- 
rations by considering that the wise creator 
hath fitted and ordered all his creatures accord- 
ing to the use which he designeth them to : 
and therefore as the eye must be receptive only 
of so much light as is proportioned to its use 
. and pleasure, and must be so distant from the 
sun, that its light may rather guide than blind 
us, and its heat may rather quicken than con- 
sume us; so God hath made our understandings 
capable of no other knowledge of him here, 
than what is suited to the work of holiness : 
and while we have flesh, and fleshly works to 
do, and lawful necessary business in the world, 
in which God's own commands employ us, our 

56 Walking loilh God. 

souls in this lantern of the body, must see him 
through so thick a glass, as shall so far allay 
Gur apprehension, as not to distract us and take 
us off the works which he enjoineth us. And 
God and our souls shall be at such a distance, 
as that the proportionable light of his counte- 
nance may conduct us, and not overwhelm us ; 
and his love may be so revealed, as to quicken 
our desires, and draw us on to a better state, 
but not so as to make us utterly impatient of 
this world, and utterly weary of our lives, or to 
swallow us up, or possess us of our most desired 
happiness, before we arrive at the state of 
happiness. While the soul is in the body, it 
niaketh so much use of the body (the brain and 
spirits) in all its operations, that our wise and 
merciful creator and governor, doth respect the 
body as well as the soul, in his ordering, dispo- 
sing, and representing of the objects of those 
operations : so that when I consider that cer- 
tainly all men would be distracted, if their 
apprehensions of God were any whit answerable 
to the greatness of his majesty and glory (the 
brain being not able to bear such high operations 
of the soul, nor the greatness of the passions 
which would necessarily follow) it much recon- 
cileth my wondering mind, to the wise and 
gracious providence of God, even in setting 
innocent nature itself at such a distance from 
his glory, (allowing us the presence of such 
grace, as is necessary to bring us up to glory).; 

tValking with God. 57 

?:h5ugh it reconcile me not to that doleful dis- 
tance which is introduced by sin, and which is 
furthered by Satan, the world, and the flesh, and 
which our Redeemer by his Spirit and interces- 
sion must heal. 

And it fttrther reconcileth me to this disposure 
and will of the blessed God, and this necessary 
natural distance and darkness of our minds, 
■when T consider, that if God, and heaven, and 
hell, were as near and open to our apprehen- 
sions, as the things are which we see and feel, 
this life would not be what God intended it to 
foe — a life of trial and preparation to another, a 
work, a race, a pilgrimage, a warfare; what 
trial would there be of any man's faith, or love, 
or obedience, or constancy, or self-denial? If we 
«aw God stand by, or apprehended him as if we 
saw him (in degree) it would be no more praise- 
worthy or rewardable for a man to abhor all 
temptations to worldliness, ambition, gluttony, 
<3runkenness, lust, cruelty, &c. than it is for a 
man to be kept from sleeping that is pierced 
with thorns, or for a man to forbear to drink a 
cup of melted gold which he knoweth will burn 
out his bowels, or to forbear to burn his flesh 
in the fire. It were no great commendation to 
his chastity, that would forbear his filthiness, 
if he saw or had the fullest apprehensions of 
God ; when he will forbear it in the presence of 
a mortal man. It were no great commendations 
to the intemperate and voluptuous, to have no 

58 Walking ivith God. 

mind of sensual delights, if they had but such 
a knowledge of God as were equal to sight. 
It were no thanks to the persecutor to forbear 
his cruelty against the servants of the Lord, if 
he saw Christ coming with his glorious angels^ 
to take vengance on them that know not God, 
and obey not the gospel, and to be admired in 
his saints, and glorified in them that now 
believe. 2 Thes. i. 7 — 10. I deny not but this 
happily necessitated holiness is best in itself, 
and therefore will be our state in heaven ; but 
what is there of trial in it ? or how can it be 
suitable to the state of man, that must have 
good and evil set before him, and life and death 
left to his choice ; and that must conquer if he 
will be crowned, and approve his fidelity to his 
creator against competitors, and must live a 
rev.ardable life before he have the reward ? 

But though in this life we may neither hope 
for, nor desire, such overwhelming sensible ap- 
prehensions of God, as the rest of our faculties 
►cannot answer, nor our bodies bear; yet that 
our apprehensions of him should be so base, 
and small, and dull, and inconstant, as to be 
borne down by the noise of worldly business, 
or by the presence of any creature, or by the 
tempting baits of sensuality, — this is the more 
odious, by how much God is more great and 
glorious than the creature, and even because the 
use of the creature itself is but to reveal the 
glory of the Lord. To have such slight and 

V/alking with God. ■ 59 

stupid thoughts of him, as will not carr y us ou 
in uprightness of obedience, nor keep us in his 
fear, nor draw out our hearts in sincere desires 
to please him, and enjoy him, and as will not 
raise us to a contempt of the pleasures, and 
profits, and honors of this world, — this is to be 
despisers of the Lord, and to live as in a sleep, 
and to be dead to God, and alive only to the 
world and flesh. It is no unjust dishonor or 
injury to the creature, to be accounted as 
nothing in comparison of God, that it may be 
able to do nothing against him and his interest : 
but to make such a nothing of the most glorious 
God, by our contemptuous forgetfulness or 
neglect, as that our apprehensions of him cannot 
prevail against the sordid pleasures of the flesh, 
and against the richest baits of sin, and against 
all the wrath or allurements of man, — this is but 
to make a God of dust, and dung, and nothing, 
and (in heart and practice) to make God worse 
than dust and dung. And it is a wonder that 
man's understanding can become so sottish, as 
thus to wink the sun itself into a constant 
darkness, and to take God as nothing, or as no 
God, who is so abundantly revealed to them in 
astonishing transcendent greatness and excel- 
lency, by all the creatures in the world, and 
with whom we have continually so much to do. 
O sinful man ! into how great a depth of igno- 
rance, stupidity and misery art thou fallen ! 
But because we may see by the lives of the 

60 Walking wiih God. 

ungodly, that they little think that they have %(j 
much to do with God, though I have spoke 
of this to the godly in the other part of this 
treatise, I shall somewhat more particularly 
acquaint those that have most need to be in- 
formed of it — what business it is that they have 
with God. 

J . It is not a business that may be do^ne, or 
left undone, like your business with men : but 
it is such as must be done, or you are undone for 
ever. Nothing is absolutely necessary but this : 
nothing in all the world doth so much concern 
you. You may at far cheaper rates forbear to 
eat, or drink, or clothe yourselves, or live, than 
forbear the dispatch of this necessary woik. 

2. Your business with God, and for God in the 
world, is that which you have all your powers 
and endowments for: it is that which you were 
born into the world for; and that which you 
have understanding and free will for; and that 
which you have your thoughts, and memories, 
and affections for; and that which you have 
eyes, and ears, and tongues, and all your cor- 
poreal parts and abilities for : it is that which 
you. have your food and raiment for; and that 
which you have your time for; and your pre- 
servation, protection and provisions : it is that 
which you have all your teaching for; which 
Christ himself came for into the world ; Vv'hich 
the scriptures are written for; which ministers 
are sent for; which all order and government 

Walking with God. 61 

in church and state is principally appointed for : 
in a word, it is that for which you have your 
lives, and all things, and without which all were 
as nothing, and will be to you worse than 
nothing, if they do not further your work with 
God : you will wish you had never seen them 
if they befriend you not in this. 

3. Your business with God, and for him, 
is such as you must be continually doing : as 
is incumbent on you every hour, for you have 
every hour given you for this end. You may 
dispatch this man to-day, and another to-mor- 
row, and have no more to do with them again 
of a long time ; but you have always incessantly 
important works to do with God : for your 
common work should be all his work ; and ail 
should be done with principal respect to him. 

But I shall yet more particularly tell the 
ungodly what business it is that they have 
with God, which it seems by their careless 
negligent lives they are not aware of. 

1. You must be either saved or damned by 
him ; either glorified with him, or punished by 
him to everlasting : and it is now that the 
matter must be determined, which of the two 
conditions you must be in : you must now 
obtain your title to heaven, if ever you v.ill 
come thither: you must now procure your de- 
liverance from hell fire, if ever you will escape 
it. Now it is that all that must be done, upon 
which the scales must turn for your salvation 

62 Walking with God* 

or damnation : and you know this work is prin- 
cipally to be done between you and God, who 
alone can save you or destroy you ; and yet do 
you forget him, and live as if you had no 
business with him, when you have your salva- 
tion to obtain from him, and your damnation to 
prevent] Have you such business as this with 
any other? 

2. You have a strict and righteous judgment 
to undergo, in order to this salvation or damna- 
tion. You must stand before the holy majesty, 
and be judged by the governor of the world : 
you must be there accused, and found guilty 
or not guilty; and judged as fulfillers or as 
breakers of the holy covenant of grace : you 
must be set on the right hand or on the left: 
you must answer for all the time that you here 
spent, and for all the means and mercies which 
you here i*eceived, and for that you have done, 
whether it were good or evil : and it is Jiiow in 
this life that all your preparation must be made, 
and all that must be done, upon which your jus- 
tification or condemnation will then depend. 
And it is between God and you that all this 
business must be done : and yet can you live 
as negligently towards him, as if you had no 
business with him ? 

3. You have a death to die, a change to 
make which must be made but once ; which will 
be the entrance upon endless joy or pain: and 
do you think this needeth not your most 

Walking with God. 63 

timely and diligent preparation ? You must 
struggle with pains, and faint with weakness, 
and feel death taking down your earthen taber- 
nacle : you must then have a life that is ending 
to review, and all that you have done laid open 
to your more impartial judgment; you must 
then see time as at an end, and the last sand 
running, and your candle ready to go out, and 
leave the snuff; you must then look back upon 
all that you have had from the world, as ending .; 
and upon all that you have done as that which 
cannot be undone again, that you may do it 
better; and you must have a more serious look 
into eternity, when you are stepping, thither, than 
you can now conceive of; and doth all this 
need no preparation? It is with God that all 
business must be now transacted, that must 
make your death to be comfortable, or safe. If 
now you will only converse with men, and know 
no business that you have with God, you shall 
find at last to your exceeding terror, that you 
are in his hands, and passing to his bar, and 
that it is God that then you have to do with, 
when your business with all the world is at an 
end : he will then have something to do with 
you, if you will now find nothing to do with 

4. In order to all this, you have now your 
peace to be made with God, and the pardon of 
all your sins to be obtained. For woe to you 
if then you are found under the guilt of any siu ! 

64 Walking with God. 

Look back upon your lives, and remember how 
you have hved in the world, and what you 
have been doing: how you have spent your 
time, in youth and in your riper age ; and how 
many sinful thoughts, and words, and deeds you 
have been guilty of; how oft you have sinfully 
pleased your appetites, and gratified your flesh, 
and yielded to temptations, and abused mercy, 
and lost your time : how oft you have neglected 
your duty, and betrayed your souls : how long 
you have lived in forgetfulness of God and your 
salvation, minding only the things of the flesh 
and of the world: how oft you have sinned 
ignorantly and against knowledge, through 
carelessness and through rashness, through 
negligence and through presumption^ in passion, 
and upon deliberation ; against convictions, 
purposes and promises : how oft, you have 
sinned against the precepts of piety to God, and 
of justice and charity to men. Think how your 
sins are multiplied and aggravated, more in 
number than the hours of your lives : aggrava- 
ted by a world of mercies : by the clearest 
■ teachings, and the -loudest calls, and sharpest 
reproofs, and seasonable warnings, and by the 
long and urgent importunities of grace. Think 
of all these, and then consider whether you have 
nothing now to do with God; whether it be not 
a business to be followed with all possible speed 
and diligence to procure the pardon of all these 
sins : you have no such businesses as these, to 

Walking with God. QS 

transact with men : you may have business 
with them which your estates depend upon, or 
which touch your credit, commodity or lives; 
but you have no business with men (unless in 
subordination to God) which your salvation 
doth depend upon : your eternal happiness is 
not in their hands : they may kill your bodies, 
(if God permit them) but not your souls. You 
need not solicit them to pardon your sins 
against God : it is a small matter how you are 
judged of by man: you have one that judgeth 
you, even the Lord. 1 Cor. iv. 3, 4. No man 
can forgive sin, but God only. O then how 
early, how earnestly should you cry to him for 
mercy ! Pardon must be obtained now or never : 
there is no justification for that man at the day 
of judgment, that is not forgiven and justified 
now. Blessed then is the man whose iniquity 
is forgiven, whose sin is covered, and to whom 
it is not imputed by the Lord. Rom. iv. 7, 8. 
And woe to that man that ever he was born, 
that is then found without the pardon of his 
sins ! Think of this as the case deserves, and 
then think if you can, that your daily business 
with God is small. 

5. Moreover, you have peace of conscience 
to obtain ; and that dependeth upon your peace 
with God. Conscience will be your accuser, 
condemner and tormenter, if you make it not 
your friend, by making God your friend. Con- 
sider what conscience hath to say against you,, 

66 Walking with God. 

and how certainly it will speak home, when you 
would be loth to hear it : and bethink you how 
to answer all its accusations, and what will be 
necessary to make it a messenger of peace ; and 
then think your business with God to be but 
small, if you are able. It is no easy matter to 
get assurance that God is reconciled to you, and 
that he hath forgiven all your sins. 

6. In order to all this, you must be united 
to Jesus Christ, and be made his members, that 
you may have part in him, and that he may 
wash you by hi& blood, and that he may answer 
for you to his Father ! Woe to you if he be not 
your righteousness, and if you have not him to 
plead your cause, and take upon him your final 
justification! None else can save you from the 
wrath of God : and he is the Saviour only of 
his body. Eph. v. 23. He hath died for you 
without your own consent, and he hath made 
an universal conditional grant of pardon and 
salvation, before you consented to it: but he 
will not be united to you, nor actually forgive 
and justify and save you without your own 
consent : and therefore that the Father may 
draw you to the Son, and may give you Christ 
and life in him (1 John v. 9 — 11.) when all 
your hope dependeth on it, you may see that 
you have m.ore to do with God, than your 
senseless hearts have hitherto understood. 

7. And that you may have a saving interest 
in JeSus Christ, you must have sound repen- 

Walking with God. 67 

tance for all your former life of wickedness, and 
a lively effectual faith in Christ : neither sin nor 
Christ must be made light of. Repentance must 
tell you to the very heart, that you have done 
foolishly in sinning, and that it is an evil and a 
bitter thing that you forsook the Lord, and that 
his fear was not in you : and thus your wicked- 
ness shall correct you and reprove you. Jer. ii. 
19. And faith must tell you that Christ is more 
necessary to you than food or life, and that 
there is no other name given under heaven by 
which you can be saved. Acts iv. 12. And it 
is not so easy, nor so common a thing to repent 
and believe as ignorant presumptuous sinners 
do imagine. It is a greater matter to have a 
truly humbled contrite heart, and to loath your- 
selves for all your sins, and to loath those sins, 
and resolvedly give up yourselves to Christ and 
to his Spirit for a holy life, than heartlessly and 
hypocritically to say, I am sorry, or I repent, 
without any true contrition or renovation. And 
it is a greater matter to betake yourselves to 
Jesus Christ as your only hope to save you both 
from sin and from damnation, than barely 
through custom and the benefit of education to 
say, I do believe in Christ. I tell you it is so 
great a work to bring you to sound repentance 
and faith, that it must be done by the power of 
God himself. Acts v. 31. 2 Tim. ii. 25. They 
are the gift of God. Eph. ii. 8. You must have 
his Spirit to illuminate you, Eph. i. 18. and 

68 Walking with God. 

shew you the odiousness of sin, the intolerable- 
ness of the wrath of God, the necessity and 
sufficiency, the power and willingness of Christ; 
and to overcome all your prejudice, and save 
you from your false opinions and deceits ; and 
to repulse the temptations of Satan, the world 
and the flesh which will all rise up against you. 
All this must be done to bring you home to 
Jesus Christ, or else you will have no part in 
him, his righteousness and grace: and can you 
think that you have not most important business 
with God, who must do all this upon you, or 
else you are undone for ever ? 

8. Moreover, you must have all the corrup- 
tions of your natures healed, and your sins 
subdued, and your hearts made new by sanctify- 
ing grace, and the image of God implanted in 
you, and your lives made holy and sincerely 
conformable to the will of God. All this must 
be done, or you cannot be acceptable to God, 
nor ever will be saved : though your carnal 
interest rise against it ; though your old cor- 
rupted natures be against it; though your custom, 
and pleasure, and worldly gain and honor be 
against it ; though all your carnal friends and 
superiors be against it ; though llie devil will 
do all that he can against it; yet all this must 
be done, or you are lost for ever : and all this 
must be done by the Spirit of God ; for it is his 
work to make you new and holy : and can you 
think then that the business is not great which 

Walking with God. C9 

you have with God ? When you have tried how 
hard every part of this work is, to be begun and 
carried on, you wall find you have more to do 
with God, than with all the world. 

9. Moreover, in order to this, it is necessary 
that you read, and hear, and understand the 
gospel, which must be the means of bringing 
you to God by Christ : this must be the instru- 
ment of God, by which he w'ill brin<»: you to 
repent and believe, and by which he will renew 
your natures, and imprint his image on you, 
and bring you to love him, and obey his will. 
The word of God must be your counsellor, and 
your delight, and you must set your heart to it, 
and meditate in it day and night. Knowledge 
must be the means to reclaim your perverse 
misguided wills, and to reform your careless 
crooked lives, and to bring you out of the 
kinsrdom of darkness into the state of lisht and 
life. And such knowledge cannot be expected 
without a diligent attending unto Christ, the 
teacher of your souls, and a due consideration 
of the tr-jth. By that time you have learnt what 
is needful to be learnt for a true conversion, a 
sound repentance, a saving faith, and a holy life, 
you will find that you have far greater business 
with God than with all the world. 

10. Moreover, for the attaining of all this 
mercy, you have many a prayer to put up to 
God: you must daily pray for the forgiveness 
of your sins, and deliverance from temptations,. 

70 . Walkino; with God. 

and even for your daily bread, or necessary pro- 
visions for the work which you have to do : you 
must daily pray for all the supplies of grace 
which you want, and for the gradual mortifica- 
tion of the flesh, and for help in all the duties 
which you must perform ; and for strength 
against all the spiritual enemies which will 
assault you ; and preservation from the manifest 
evils which attend you : and these prayers must 
be put up with unwearied constancy, fervency 
and faith. Keep up this course of fervent 
prayer, and beg for Christ, and grace, and 
pardon, and salvation in any measure as they 
deserve, and according to thy own necessity; 
and then tell me whether thy business with God 
be small, and to be put off as lightly as it is by 
the ungodly. 

1 1 . Moreover, you are made for the glory of 
your Creator, and must apply yourselves wholly 
to glorify him in the world : you must make his 
service the trade and business of your lives, and 
not put him off with something on the by : you 
are good for nothing else but to serve him ; as a 
knife is made to cut, arid as your clothes are 
made to cover you, and j^our meat to feed you, 
and your horse to labor for you, so you are 
made and redeemed, and maintained for this— to 
love and please your great Creator : and can 
you think that it is but little business that you 
have with him, when he is the end and master 
of your lives, and all you are or have is for him? 

Walking with God. 71 

12. And for the due performance of his ser- 
vice, you have all his talents to employ. To 
this end it is that he hath entrusted you with 
reason, and health, and strength, with time, and 
parts, and interest, and wealth, and all his mer- 
cies, and all his ordinances and means of grace; 
and to this end must you use them, or you lose 
them: and you must give him an account of 
all at last, whether you have improved them all 
to your master's use. And can you look within 
you, without you, about you, and see how much 
you are trusted with, and must be accountable 
to him for, and yet not see how great your 
business is with God ? 

13. Moreover, you have all the graces which 
you shall receive to exercise ; and every grace 
doth carry you to God, and is exercised upon 
him, or for him : it is God that you must study, 
and know, and love, and desire, and trust, and 
hope in, and obey: it is God that you must 
seek after, and delight in so far as you enjoy 
him : it is his absence or displeasure that must 
be your fear and sorrow : therefore the soul is 
said to be sanctified when it is renewed, because 
it is both disposed and devoted unto God. And 
therefore grace is called holiness, because it all 
disposeth, and carrieth the soul to God, and 
useth it upon and for him. And can you think 
your business with God is small, when you 
must live upon him, and all the powers of your 
soul must be addicted to him, and be in serious 

72 Walking with God. 

motion towards him ; and when he must be 
much more to you than the air which you 
breathe in, or the earth you live upon, or than 
the sun that gives you light and heat ; yea, than 
the soul is to yovu- bodies ? 

14. Lastly, you have abundance of tempta- 
tions and impediments to watch and strive 
against, which would hinder you in the doing 
of all this work, and a corrupt and treacherous 
heart to watch and keep in order, which will be 
looking back, and shrinking from the service. 
Lay all this together^ and then consider whether 
you have not more and greater business with 
God, than with all the creatures in the world. 

And if this be so (as undeniably it is so) is 
there any cloak for that man's sin, who is all 
day taken up with creatures, and thinks of God 
as seldom and as carelessly as if he had no 
business with him? And yet, alas, if you take 
a survey of high and low, of court, and city, and 
country, you shall find that this is the case of 
no small number, yea, of many that observe it 
not to be their case ; it is the case of the pro- 
fane that pray in jest, and swear, and curse, 
and rail in earnest. It is the case of the malig- 
nant enemies of holiness, that hate them at the 
heart that are most acquainted with this con- 
verse with God, and count it but hopocrisy, 
pride or fancy, and would not suffer them to 
live upon the earth, who are most sincerely 
conversant in heaven. It is the case of phari- 

Walk'ws. Tcilli God. 73 

sees and hypocrites, who take up with ceremo- 
nious observances, as touch not, taste not, 
handle not, and such Hke traditions of their 
forefathers, instead of a spiritual rational ser- 
vice, and a holy serious walking with the Lord. 
It is the case of all ambitious men, and covet- 
ous worldling-s, who make more ado to climb 
up a little higher than their brethren, and to 
hold the reins, and have their wills, and be 
admired and adored in the world, or to get a 
large estate for themselves and their posterity, 
than to please their maker, or to save their 
souls : it is the case of every sensual epicure, 
whose belly is his god, and serveth his fancy, 
lust and appetite, before the Lord. It is the 
case of every unsanctified man, that seeketh 
first the prosperity of his flesh, before the king- 
dom and righteousness of God, and is most 
careful and laborious to lay up a treasure on 
earth, and laboreth more (with the greater esti- 
mation, resolution and delight) for the meat 
that perisheth, than for that which endureth to 
everlasting life. All these (who are too great a 
part of the world, and too great a part of pro- 
fessed christians) are taken up with creature 
converse ; and yet think to scape the deluge of 
God's displeasure, because the Enochs and 
Noahs are so few who walk with God ; and they 
think God will not destroy so many : and thus 
they think to be saved by their multitude, and to 
bide themselves in the crowd from God- they 

74 Walki?ig with God. 

will go the wide and common path, and be of 
the mind that most are of: they will not be 
convinced till most men are convinced ; that is, 
till their wisdom come too late, and cost them 
dearer than its worth. When all men are con- 
vinced that God should have been preferred 
before the world, and served before their fleshly, 
lusts (as they will certainly and sadly be) then 
they will be convinced with the rest. When all 
men understand that life was given them to have 
done the work which eternal life dependeth on, 
then they will understand it with the rest. When 
all men shall discern between the righteous and 
the wicked ; between those that serve God, and 
that serve him not, then they will discern it with 
the rest : they will know what their business 
was in the world, and how much they had to do 
with God, when all men know it. But O how 
much better for them had it been to have known 
it in time, while knowledge might have done 
them better service, than to make them feel the 
greatness of their sin and folly, and the hopes 
which once they had of happiness, and to help 
the sting of desperation continually to prick 
them at the heart. They would not be of so 
little a flock as that to which it was the good 
pleasure of God to give the kingdom. Luke xii. 
32. If you demand a reason of all this, their 
reason was in their throats and bellies : they 
had fleshly appetites and lusts, and thereby 
could relish fleshly pleasures ; but spiritual life 

Walkhi" teith God. 75 

and appetite they had none, and therefore 
relished not spiritual things : had Christ, and 
holiness, and heaven, been as suitable to their 
appetites, as the sweetness of their meat, and 
drink, and lusts, and as suitable to their fanta- 
sies as their worldly dignities and greatness 
were, they would then have made a better 
choice. They would have walked with God, 
if drunkenness, and gluttony, and pride, and 
wantonness, and covetousness, and idleness, had 
been the way in which they might have walked 
with him. If these had been godliness, how 
godly would they have been ! How certainly 
would they have come to heaven, if this had 
been the way ! To be idle, and proud, and 
fleshly, and worldly, is it that they love ; and 
to be humble, and holy, and heavenly, and 
mortified, is that which they hate, and cannot 
away with : and their love and hatred proceed 
from their corrupted natures ; and these are 
instead of reason to them. Their strong appre- 
hensions of a present suitableness in fleshly 
pleasures to their appetites, and of a present 
unsuitabieness of a holy life, do keep out all 
effectual apprehensions of the excellencies of 
God, and of spiritual heavenly delights, which 
cross them in the pleasures which they most 

But yet (their appetites corrupting their 
understandings as well as their wills) they will 
not be mad without some reason, nor reject their 

76 Walking with God. 

maker and tbeir happiness without some reason, 
nor neglect that holy work which they were 
made for without some reason : let us hear 
then what it is. 


Object. 1. They say " It is true that God 
hath much to do with us, and for us : but it 
followeth not that we have so much to do with 
him, or for him, as you would have us to 
believe : for he is necessarily good, and neces- 
sarily doth good ; and therefore will do so, 
whether we think of him or not : the sun will 
not give over shining on me, though I never" 
think on it, or never pray to it, or give it thanks. 
Nor doth God need any service that we can do 
him, no more than the sun doth : nor is he 
pleased any more in the praise of men, or in 
their works." 

Ansiv. I. It is most certain that God is good 
as necessarily as he is God : but it is not true 
that he must necessarily do good to you, or 
other individual persons ; nor that he neces- 
sarily doth the good he doth to them. As he 
is not necessitated to make toads and serpents 
as happy as men, or men as angels ; so he is 
not necessitated to save the devils or damned 

Walking with God. 77 

souls (for he will not save them.) And he was 
under no greater a necessity to save you, than 
them. He was not necessitated to give you a 
being : he could have passed you by, and 
caused others to have possessed your room. As 
it was God's free will and not any necessity that 
millions more are never born, that were in pos- 
sibility of it ; (for all that is possible doth not 
come to pass) so that you and millions more 
were born, was not of necessity but of the same 
free will. And as God did not make you of 
necessity but of free will ; so he doth not neces- 
sarily but freely justify, or sanctify, or save. If 
he did it by necessity of nature, he would do it 
to all as well as some ; seeing all have a natural 
capacity of grace as well as those that receive 
it. God is able to sanctify and save more, yea 
all, if it were his will ; and it is not for want of 
power or goodness that he doth not. Millions 
of beings are possible which are not future. 
God doth not all the good which he is able, but 
communicateth so much to his several creatures 
as to his wisdom seemeth meet. If the damned 
would be so presumptuous as to argue, that 
because God is able yet to sanctify and save 
them, therefore he must do it of necessity of 
nature, it would not be long before they should 
thus dispute themselves out of their torments. 
God will not ask leave of sinners to be God : 
their denying him to be good (that is, to be 
God) because he complieth not with their cou- 


78 Walking with God. 

ceits and wills, doth but prove them to be fool*, 
and bad themselves. 

Indeed se-me sciolists, pretending to learning', 
while they are ignorant of most obvious princi- 
ples of natural knowledge, have taught poor 
sinners to cheat their souls with such dreamsf 
as these. They have made themselves believe 
that goodness in God is nothing else but his 
benignity, or disposition to do good ; as if the 
creature were the ultimate end, and all GodV 
goodness but a means thereto ; and so God were 
the Alpha or first efficient, and yet the creature 
the Omega orjiiiis ultimus; and all the goodness 
in God were to be estimated and denoiuinated 
by its respect to the felicity of man : and so the 
creature hath the best part of the deity. Such 
notions evidently shew us, that lapsed man ia 
predominantly selfish, and is become his own 
idol, and is lost in himself, while he hath lost! 
himself by his loss of God, when we see how 
powerful his self-interest is, both with his intel- 
lect and will. Even men of great ingenuity, till 
sanctification hath restored them to God, and 
taught them better to know him and themselves, 
are ready to measure all good or evil by their 
own interest ; when yet common reason would 
have told them, if they had not perverted it by 
pride and partial studies, that short of God, 
even among the creatures, there are many 
things to. be preferred before themselves and. 
their own felicity. He is irrationally enslaved by 

Walkincr with God. 79 

self-love, that cannot see that the happiness of 
the world, or of his country, or of multitudes, 
is more to be desired than his happiness alone ; 
and that he ought rather to choose to be anni- 
hilated or to be miserable (if it were made a 
matter of his deliberation and choice) than to 
have the sun taken out of the firmament, or the 
world, or his country to be annihilated or mise- 
rable. And God is infinitely above the creature. 

Object. But they say, he needeth nothing to 
make him happy, having no defect of happiness. 

A}isw. And what of that ? Must it needs 
therefore follow that he made not all things for 
himself, but for the creature finally ? He is per- 
fectly happy in himself, and his will is himself: 
this will was fulfilled when the world was not 
made (for it was his will that it should not be 
made till it was made) and it is fulfilled when 
it is made, and fulfilled by all that comes to 
pass : and as the absolute simple goodness and 
perfection of God's essence is the greatest good, 
the eternal immutable good ; so the fulfilling 
of his will is the ultimate end of all obedience. 
He hath expressed himself to take pleasure in 
his works, and in the holiness, obedience and 
happiness of his chosen ; and, though pleasure 
be not the same thing in God as it is in man (no 
more than will or understanding is) yet it is 
not nothing which God expresseth by such 
terms, but something which we have no fitter 
expression for. This pleasing of the will of God 

80 Walking with God. 

being the end of all, even of our felicity, is 
better than our felicity itself. 

They that will maintain that God, who is 
naturally and necessarily good, hath no other 
goodness but his benignity or aptness to do 
good to his creatures, must needs also maintain 
that (God being for the creature, and not the 
creature for God) the creature is better than 
God, as being the ultimate end of God himself; 
and the highest use of all his goodness being 
but for the felicity of the creature : as. also that 
God doth do all the good that he is able (for 
natural necessary agents work ad ultimum posse) : 
and that all men shall be saved, and all devilS;, 
and every worm and toad be equal to the high-, 
est angel ; or else that God isnot able to do it : 
and that he did thus make happy all his crea- 
tures from eternity (for natural necessary agents 
work always, if they be not forcibly hindered ;) 
and that there never was such a thing as pain 
or misery, in man or brute ; or else that God was 
not able to prevent it. But abundance of such 
odious consequences must needs follow from 
the denying of the highest good, which is God 
himself, and confessing none but his eflficient 
cfoodness. But some will be offended with me 
for being so serious in confuting such an irra^ 
tional atheistical conceit, who know not how 
far it prevaileth with an atheistical generation. 

Be it known to you, careless sinners, that 
though the sun will shine on you whether yon 

Walking, with God. 81 

xhivik on it or not, or love it, or thank it or not ; 
and the fire will warm you whether you think 
on it and love it or not; yet God will not jus- 
tify or save you whether you love him or think 
on him or not. God doth not operate brutishly. 
in your salvation, but governeth you wisely, 
as rational creatures are to be governed ; and 
therefore will give you happiness as a reward : 
and therefore will not deal alike with those that 
love him and that love him not, that seek hini 
and that seek him not, with the laborers and 
the loiterers, the faithful and the slothful ser- 
vant. Would you have us believe that you 
know better than God himself what pleasetli 
him, or on what terms he will give his benefits, 
and save men's souls? or do you know his nature 
better than he knoweth it, that you dare pre- 
sume to say — Because he needeth not our love 
or duty, therefore they are not pleasing to him ? 
Then what hath God to do in governing the 
world, if he be pleased and displeased with 
nothing that men do, or with good and evil 
actions equally ? Though you cannot hurt him, 
you shall find that he will hurt you if you 
disobey him : and though you cannot make 
him happy by your holiness, you shall find that 
he will not make you happy without it. 

And if he did woVk as necessarily as the sun 
doth shine, according to your similitude ; yet, 
1. Even the shining of the sun doth not illu- 
minate the blind, nor doth it make the seeds of 

82 Walldiig with God. 

thorns and nettles to bring forth vines or roses, 
nor the gendering of frogs to bring forth men ; 
but it actuateth all things according to the 
several natures of their powers : and therefore 
how can you expect that an ignorant unbelieving 
and unholy soul, should enjoy felicity in God, 
■when in that state they are uncapable of it ? 
2. And if the sun do necessarily illuminate 
any one, he must necessarily be illuminated ; 
and if it necessarily warm or quicken any thing, 
it must be necessarily warmed and quickened ; 
else you would assert contradictions. — So if 
God did necessarily save you and make you 
happy, you would necessarily be saved and 
made happy : and that containeth essentially 
your holiness, your loving, desiring and seeking 
after God. To be saved or happy without enjoy- 
ing God by love, or to love him and not desire 
him, seek him, or obey him, are as great con- 
tradictions as to be illuminated without light, or 
quickened without life. What way soever it 
be that God conveyeth his sanctifying Spirit, 
. I am sure that if a,ny man have not the Spirit of 
, Christ, the same is none of his, Rom. viii. 9. 
and that without holiness none shall see God, 
Heb. xii. 14. and that if you will have the king- 
dom of God, you must seek it first, preferring it 
before all earthly things. Matt. vi. 33. John vi. 
27. Col. iv. 1 — 3. And then if all the question 
that remaineth undecided be, whether God do 
you wrong or not in damning you, or whether 

Walking with God* 83 

fjod be good because he will not save you when 
he can, I shall leave you to him to receive satis- 
faction, who will easily silence and confound 
your impudence, and justify his works and laws. 
Prepare your accusations against him, if you 
will needs insist upon them, and try whether he 
or you shall prevail : but remember that thou art 
a worm and he is God, and that he will be the 
only judge when all is done^ and ignorance and 
impiety that prate against him, to their own 
confusion, in the day of his patience, shall not 
then usurp the throne. 

Object, 2. But how can God be fit for mortals 
to converse with, when they see him aoi, and 
stre infinitely below him ? 

Answ. I hope you will not say that you have 
nothing to do at home, with your own souls: 
and yet you never saw your souls. And it is 
the souls, the reason and the will of men that 
you daily converse witli here in the world, more 
than their bodies, and yet you never saw their 
souls, their reason or their wills. If you have 
no higher light to discern by than your eye- 
sight, you are not men but beasts. If you are 
men, you have reason, and if you are christians 
you have faith, by which you know things that 
you never saw. You have more dependance on 
the things that are unseen, than on those which 
you see, and have much more to do with them. 

And though God be infinitely above us, yet he 
condescendeth to communicate to us according 

84 Walking with God. 


to our capacities : as the sun is far from us, 
and yet doth not disdain to enlighten, and 
warm, and quicken a worm or fly here below. 
If any be yet so much an atheist as to think 
that religious converse with God is but a fancy, 
let him well answer me these few questions. 

Quest. 1 . Doth not the continued being and 
well-being of the creatures, tell us that there is 
a God on whom (for being and well-being) they 
depend, and from whom they are and have 
whatsoever they are and whatsoever they have ; 
and therefore that passively all the creatures 
have more respect to him by far than to one 

Quest. 2. Seeing God communicateth to 
every creature according to their several capa- 
cities, is it not meet then that he deal with man 
as man, even as a creature rational, capable to 
know and love and obey his great Creator, and 
to be happy in the knowledge, love and fruition 
of him ? That man hath such natural faculties 
and capacities, is not to be denied by a man 
that knoweth what it is to be a man : and that 
God hath not given him these in vain, will be 
easily believed by any that indeed believe that 
he is God. 

Quest. 3. Is there any thing else that is finally 
worthy of the highest actions of our souls ; or 
that is fully adequate to them, and fit to be our 
happiness? If not, then we are left either to 
certain infelicity, contrary to the tendency of 

Walking with God. 85 

our natures, or else we must seek our felicity in 

Quest. 4. Is there any thing more certain than 
that by the title of creation, our maker hath a 
full and absolute right to all that he hath made ; 
and consequently to all our love and obedience, 
our time and powers ? For whom should they 
all be used but for him from whom we have 
them ? 

Quest. 5. Can any thing be more sure, than 
that God is the righteous governor of the world? 
and that he governeth man as a rational crea- 
ture, by laws and judgment? And can we live 
under his absolute sovereignty, and under his 
many righteous laws, and under his promises of 
salvation to the justified, and under his threaten- 
ings of damnation to the unjustified, and yet 
not have more to do with God than with all 
the world ? If indeed you think that God doth 
not love and reward the holy and obedient, and 
punish the ungodly and disobedient, then either 
you take him not to be the governor of the 
world, or (which is worse) you take him to be 
an unrighteous governor: and then you must 
by the same reason say, that magistrates and 
parents should do so too, and love and reward 
the obedient and disobedient alike : .but if any 
man's disobedience were exercised to your hurt, 
by slandering, or beating, or robbing you, I dare 
say you would not then commend so indifferejit 
and unjust a governor. 

F 3 

86 Walking zcith God. 

Quest. 6. If it be not needless for man to 
labor for food and raiment, and necessary pro- 
vision for his body, how can it be needless for 
him to labor for the happiness of his soul? If 
God will not give us our daily bread while we 
never think of it, or seek it, why should we 
expect that he will give us heaven though we 
never think on it, value it, or seek it? 

Quest. 7. Is it not a contradiction to be happy 
an the fruition of God, and yet not to mind him, 
desire him, or seek him? How is it that the 
soul can reach its object, but by estimation, 
desire and seeking after it : and how should it 
enjoy it but by loving it, and taking pleasure 
in it ? 

Quest. 8. While you seem but to wrangle 
against the duty of believers, do you not plead 
against the comfort and happiness of believers ? 
For surely the employment of the soul on God 
(and for him) is the health and pleasure of the 
soul ; and to call away the soul from such em- 
ployment, is to imprison it in the dungeon of 
this world, and to forbid us to smell to the 
sweetest flowers, and confine us to a sink or 
dunghill; and to forbid us to taste of the food 
of angels, or of men, and to offer ois vinegar 
and gall, or turn us over to feed with swine. 
Jie that pleadelh that there is no such thing 
as real holiness and communion with God, doth 
plead in effect that there is no true felicity or 
delight for any of the sons of men ; and how wel- 

Walking with God. 87 

•come should ungodly atheists be unto mankind, 
that would for ever exclude them all from hap- 
piness, and make them believe they are all made 
to be remedilessly miserable ? 

And here take notice of the madness of the 
unthankful v^^orld, that hateth and persecuteth 
the preachers of the gospel, that bring them the 
glad tidings of pardon, and hope, and life eter- 
nal, of solid happiness, and durable delight ; 
and yet they are not offended at these atheists 
and ungodly cavillers, that would take them off 
from all that is truly good and pleasant, and 
make them believe that nature hath made them 
capable of no higher things than beasts, and 
hath inthralled them in remediless infelicity. 

Quest. 9. Do you not see by experience that 
there are a people in the world whose hearts ?.re 
upon God, and the life to come, and that make 
it their chiefest care and business to seek him 
?ind to serve him ? How then can you say that 
there is no such thing, or that we are not capa-- 
ble of it, when it is the case of so many before 
your eyes ? If you say that it is but their fancy 
or self-deceit; I answer, that really their hearts 
are set upon God, and the everlasting world, 
and that it is their chiefest care and business to 
attain it ; this is a thing that they fee], and you 
may see in the bent and labor of their lives ; 
and therefore you cannot call that a fancy, of 
which you have so full experience : but whether 
the motives that have invited them, and engaoed 

88 Walking with God. 

them to such a choice and course, be fancies 
and deceits or not, let God be judge, and let the 
awakened consciences of worldlings themselves 
be judge, when they have seen the end, and 
tried whether it be earth or heaven that is the 
shadow, and whether it be God or their unbe- 
lieving hearts that was deceived. 

Quest. 10. Have you any hopes of living with 
God for ever, or not ? If you have not, no 
wonder if you live as beasts, when you have no 
higher expectations than beasts. When we are 
so blind as to give up all our hopes, we will 
also give up all our care and holy diligence, and 
think we have nothing to do with heaven : but 
if you have any such hopes, can you think that 
any thing is fitter for the chiefest of your 
thoughts and cares^ than the God and kingdom, 
which you hope for ever to enjoy ? Or is there 
any thing that can be more suitable, or should 
be more delightful to your thoughts, than to 
employ them about your highest hopes, upon 
your endless happiness and joy? And should 
not that be now the most noble and pleasant 
employment for your minds, which is nearest to 
that which you hope to be exercised in for ever? 
Undoubtedly he that hath true and serious 
thoughts of heaven, will highliest value that life 
on earth which is likest to the life in heaven : 
and he that hateth, or is most averse to that 
which is nearest to the work of heaven, doth 
boast in vain of his hopes of heaven. 

Walking with God. 89 

By this time you may see (if you love not to 
be blind) that man's chiefest business in the 
world is with his God, and that our thoughts 
and all our powers are made to be employed 
upon him, or for him ; and that this is no such 
needless work as atheists make themselves 
believe. • 

Remember that it is the description of the 
desperately wicked, Ps. x. 4. that God is not in 
all. his thoughts. And if yet you understand it 
not, I will a little further shew you the evil of 
such atheistical unhallowed thoughts. 

1. There is nothing but darkness in all thy 
thoughts, if God be not in them. Thou knowest 
nothing, if thou knowest not him ; and thou 
usest not thy knowledge, if thou use it not on 
him. To know the creature as without God, is 
to know nothing : no more than to know all the 
letters in the book, and not to know their sig- 
nification or sense. All things in the world are 
but insignificant ciphers, and of no other sense 
or use, if you separate them from God, who is 
their sense and end. If you leave out God in 
all your studies, you do but dream and dote, 
and not understand what you. seem to under- 
stand. Though you were taken for the learnedst 
men in the world, and were able to discourse of 
all the sciences, and your thoughts had no lower 
•employment daily than the most sublime spe- 
culations which the nature of all the creatures 

90 Walking with God. 

doth afford, it is all but folly and impertinent 
dotage, if it reach not unto God. 

2. Yea, your thoughts are erroneous and 
false, which is more than barely ignorant, if 
God be not in them. You have false thoughts 
of the world, of your houses and lands, and 
friends and pleasures, and whatsoever is the 
daily employment of your minds. You take 
them to be something, when they are nothing: 
you are covetous of the empty purse, and know 
not that you cast away the treasure : you are 
thirsty after the empty cup, when you wilfully 
cast away the drink : you hungrily seek to feed 
upon a painted feast: you murder the creature 
by separating it from God who is its life, and 
tlien you are enamoured on the carcass, and 
spend your days and thoughts in its cold em- 
bracements. Your thoughts are but vagabonds, 
straggling abroad the world, and following 
impertinences, if God be not in them. You are 
like men that walk up and down in their sleep, 
or like those that have lost themselves in the 
dark, who weary themselves in going they know 
not whither, and have no end, nor certain way. 

3. If God be not in all your thoughts, they 
are all in vain. They are like the drone that 
gathereth no honey: they fly abroad and return 
home empty : they bring home no matter of 
honour to God, of profit or comfort to your- 
selves: they are employed to no more purpose 
than in your dreams; only they are more capably 

Walking with God. #i 

of sin: like the distracted thoughts of one that 
doteth in a fever, they are all but nonsense, 
whatever you employ them on, while you leave 
out God, who is the sense of all. 

4. If God be not in all your thoughts, they 
are nothing but confusion : there can be no just 
unity in them, because they forsake him who is 
the only centre, and are scattered abroad upon 
incoherent creatures. There can be no true 
unity but in God : the further we go from him, 
the further we run into divisions and confusions. 
There can be no just method in them, because 
he is left out that is the beginning and the end. 
They are not hke a well ordered army, where 
every one is moved by the will of one com- 
mander, and all know their colors and their 
ranks, and unanimously agree to do their work : 
but like a swarm of flies, that buzz about they 
know not whither, nor why, nor for what. There 
is no true government in your thoughts, if God 
be not in them ; they are masterless and va- 
grants, and have no true order, if they be not 
ordered by him and to him: if he be not their 
first and last. 

5. If God be not in all your thoughts, there 
is no life in them : they are but like the motion 
of a bubble, or a feather in the air: they are 
impotent as to the resisting of any evil, and as 
to the doing of any saving good : they have no 
strength in them, because they are laid out 
upon objects that have no strength ; they havQ 

^2 Walking with God. 

no quickening, renewing, reforming, encouraging, 
resolving, confirming power in them, because 
there is no such power in the things on which 
they are employed : whereas the thoughts of 
God and everlasting life, can do wonders upon 
the soul : they can raise up men above this 
world, and teach them to despise the worldling's 
idol, and look upon all the pleasures of the flesh 
as npon a swine's delight in wallowing in the 
•mire. They can renew the soul, and cast out 
the most powerful beloved sin, and bring all our 
powers into the obedience of God, and that with 
pleasure and delight : they can employ us with 
the angels, in a heavenly conversation, and shew 
\is the glory of the world above, and advance 
us above the life of the greatest princes upon 
iearth : but the thoughts of earthly fleshly things 
have power indeed to delude men, and mislead 
them, and hurry them about in a vertiginous 
motion ; but no power to support us, or subdue 
concupiscence, or heal our folly, or save us from 
temptations, or reduce us from our errors, or 
help us to be useful in the world, or to attain 
felicity at last. There is no life, nor power, nor 
efficacy in our thoughts, if God be not in them. 

6. There is no stability or fixedness in your 
thoughts, if God be not in them. They are like 
a boat upon the ocean, tossed up and down with 
winds and waves: the mutable uncertain crea- 
tures can yield no rest or settlement to your 
minds. You are troubled about many things j 

Walking tvith God. 93 

and the more you think on them, and have to do 
with them, the more are you troubled : but you 
forget the one thing necessary, and fly from the 
eternal rock, on which you must build if ever 
you will be established. While the creature is 
in your thought instead of God, you will be one 
day deluded with its unwholesome pleasure, and 
the next day feel it gripe you at the heart : one 
day it will seem your happiness, and the next 
you wtII wish you had never known it: that 
which seemeth the only comfort of your lives 
this year, may the next year make you weary of 
your lives. One day you are impatiently desiring 
and seeking it, as if you could not live without 
it ; and the next day, or ere long, you are impa- 
tiently desiring to be rid of it. You are now 
taking in your pleasant morsels, and drinking 
down your delicious draughts, and jovially 
sporting it with your inconsiderate companions: 
"but how quickly will you be repenting of all 
this, and complaining of your folly, and vexing 
■yourselves, that you took not warning, and 
made not a wiser choice in time! The creature 
was never made to be your end, or rest, or hap- 
piness: and therefore you are but like a manin 
a wilderness or a maze, that may go and go but 
knoweth not whither, and findeth no end, till 
you come home to God, who only is your proper 
end, and make him the lord, and life, and plea- 
sure of your thoughts. 

7. As there is no present fixedness in your 

94 Walking with God. 

thoughts, so the business and pleasure of them 
will be of very short continuance, if God be not 
the chief in all. And who would choose to 
employ his thoughts on such things as he is sure 
they must soon forget, and never more have any 
business with to all eternity! You shall think 
of those houses, and lands, and friends, and 
pleasures but a little while, unless it be with 
repenting tormenting thoughts, in the place of 
misery : you will have no delight to think of 
any thing, which is now most precious to your 
flesh, when once the flesh itself decays, and is 
no more capable of delight. Ps. cxlvi. 4. " His 
breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in 
that very day his thoughts perish." 

Call in your thoughts then from these transi- 
tory things, that have no consistency or continu- 
ance, and turn them unto him with whom they 
may find everlasting employment and delight : 
remember not the enticing baits of sensuality 
and pride, but " Remember now thy Creator in 
the days of thy youth, while the evil days come 
not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt 
say, I have no pleasure in them." 

8. Thy thoughts are but sordid, dishonorable, 
and low, if God be not the chiefest in them. 
They reach no higher than the habitation of 
beasts; nor do they attain to any sweeter 
employment than to meditate on the felicity of 
a brute : thou choosest with the fly to feed on 
dung and filthy ulcers, and as maggots to live on 

Walking with God. Q5 

stinking carrion, when thou mightest have free 
access to God himself, and mightest be enter- 
tained in the court of heaven, and welcomed 
thither by the holy angels : thou wallowest in 
the mire with the swine, or diggest thyself a 
house in the earth, as worms and moles do, 
when thy thoughts might be soaring up to God, 
and might be taken up with high and holy and 
everlasting things. What if your thoughts were 
employed for preferment, wealth, and honor in 
the world? Alas! wliat silly things are these, 
in comparison of what your souls are capable 
of! You will say so yourselves, when you see ' 
how they will end, and fail your expectations. 
Imprison not your minds in this infernal cell, 
when the superior regions are open to their 
access : confine them not to this narrow vessel 
of the body, whose tossings and dangers on 
the&e boisterous seas will make them restless, 
and disquiet them with tumultuous passions, 
when they may safely land in paradise, and 
tliere converse with Christ. God made you 
men, and if you reject not his grace will make 
you saints : make not yourselves like beasts or 
vermin. God gave you souls that can step in a 
moment from earth to heaven, and there fore- 
taste the endless joys : do not you stick then 
fast in clay, and fetter them with worldly cares, 
or intoxicate them with fleshly pleasures, nor 
employ them in the worse than childish toys of 
ambitious, sensual, worldly men : your thoughts 

96 Walking with God. 

have manna, angt^ls' food, provided them by 
God: if you will loathe this and refuse it, and 
choose with the serpent to feed on the dust, or 
upon the filth of sin, God shall be judge, and 
your consciences one day shall be more faithful 
witnesses, whether you have dealt like wise men 
or like fools ; like friends or enemies to your- 
selves ; and whether you have not chosen base- 
ness, and denied yourselves the advancement 
which was offered you. 

9. If God be not the chiefest in your 
thoughts, they are no better than dishonest 
and unjust: you are guilty of denying him his 
own. He made not your minds for lust and 
pleasure, but for himself: you expect that your 
cattle, your goods, your servants, be employed 
for yourselves, because they are your own : but 
God may call your minds his own by a much 
fuller title: for you hold all but derivatively 
4ind dependently from him. What will you call 
it but injustice and dishonesty, if your wife, or 
•children, or servants, or goods, be more at the 
use and service of others, than of you ? If any 
can shew a better title to your thoughts than 
God doth, let him have them ; but if not, deny 
him not his own. O straggle not so much from 
home, for you will be nowhere else so well as 
there: desire not to follow strangers, you know 
not whither, nor for what: you have a master 
of your own, that will be better to you than all 
the strangers in the world. Bow not down to 

Walking with God. 9t 

creatures, that are but images of the true and 
sohd good : commit not idolatry or adultery 
with them in your thoughts : remember still that 
God stands by : bethink you how he will take it 
at your hands; and hov/ it will be judged of at 
last, when he pleads his right, his kindness, and 
solicitations of you; and you have so little to 
say for any pretence of right or merit in the 
creature. Why are not men ashamed of the 
greatest dishonesty against God, when all that 
have any humanity left them, do take adultery,, 
theft, and other dishonesty against creatures for 
a shame? The time will come when God and. 
his interest shall be better understood; that this 
dishonesty against him, will be the matter of 
the most confounding shame, that ever did or 
could befal men. Prevent this by the juster, 
exercise of your thoughts, and keeping them 
pure and chaste to God. 

10. If God be not in your thoughts (and the 
chiefest in them) there will be no matter in them 
of solid comfort or content. Trouble and deceit 
will be all their work : when they have fled 
about the earth, and taken a taste of every 
flower, they will come loaded home with nothing 
better than vanity and vexation. Such thoughts 
may excite the laughter of a fool, and cause that 
mirth that is called madness, Eccles. vii. 4, 6, 
and ii. 2. but they will never conduce to 
settled peace, and durable content; and there- 
fore they are always repented of themselves, and 

98 Walldnz with God. 

are troublesome to our review, as being the 
shame of the sinner, which he would fain be 
cleared of or disown. Though you may ap- 
proach the creature with passionate fondness, 
and the most delightful promises and hopes, be 
sure of it, you will come off at last with grief 
and disappointment, if not with the loathing of 
that which you chose for your delight. Your 
thoughts are in a wilderness among thorns and 
briars, when God is not in them as their guide 
and end : they are lost and torn among the 
creatures ; but rest and satisfaction they will 
find none. It may be at the present it is 
pleasanter to you to think of recreation, or 
business, or worldly wealth, than to think of 
God : but the pleasure of these thoughts is as 
delusory, and short-lived, as are the things 
themselves on which you think. How long will 
you think with pleasure on such fading transitory 
things? And the pleasure cannot be great at 
the present, which reacheth but the flesh and 
fantasy, and which the possessor knoweth will 
be but short: nay, you will shortly find by 
sad experience, that of all the creatures under 
heaven, there will none be so bitter to your 
thoughts, as those which you now find greatest 
carnal sweetness in. O how bitter will the 
thought of idolized honour, and abused wealth 
and greatness be to a dying or a damned Dives ! 
The thoughts of that alehouse or playhouse 
where thou hadst thy greatest pleasure, will 

Walking with God. ■ 99 

trouble thee more than the thoushts of all the 
houses in the town besides: the thoughts of 
that one woman with whom thou didst commit 
thy pleasant sin, will wound and vex thee more 
than the thoug-hts of all the women in the town 
besides. The thoughts of that beloved sport 
which thou couldst not be weaned from, will be 
more troublesome to thee than the thoughts of 
a thousand other thino-s in which thou hadst no 
inordinate delight. For the end of sinful mirth 
is sorrow. When Solomon had tried to please 
himself to the full, in mirth, in buildings, vine- 
yards, woods, waters, in servants, and posses- 
sions, silver, and gold, and cattle, and singers, 
and instruments of music of all sorts, in great- 
ness, and all that the eye, or appetite, or heart 
desired, he findeth when he awaked from this 
pleasant dream, that he had all this while been 
taken up with vanity and vexation, in so much 
that he saith on the review, " Therefore I hated 
life, because the work that is wrought under the 
sun is grievous to me, for all is vanity and vexa- 
tion of spirit : yea I hated all my labour which 
I had taken under the sun." Eccles. ii. 1, 2, Sec. 
17, 18. You may toil out and tire yourselves 
among these briars, in this barren wilderness; 
but if ever you would feel any solid ground of 
quietness and rest, it must be by coming off 
from vanity, and seeking your felicity in God, 
and living sincerely for him and upon him, as 
the worldling doth upon the world. His par- 

100 Walking with God. 

doning mercy must begin your peace, forgiving 
you your former thoughts, and his healing quick- 
ening mercy must increase it, by teaching you 
better to employ your thoughts, and drawing 
up your hearts unto himself: and his glorifying 
mercy must perfect it, by giving you the full 
intuition and fruition of himself in -heaven, and 
employing you in his perfect love and praise, not 
leaving any room for creatures, nor suffering a 
thought to be employed on vanity for ever. 


By this time I hope you may see reason to 
call yourselves to a strict account, what converse 
you have been taken up with in the world, and 
upon what you have exercised your thoughts. 
Surely you must needs be conscious, that the 
thoughts which have been denied God, have 
brought you home but little satisfaction, and 
have not answered the ends of your creation, 
redemption, or preservation ! and that they are 
now much fitter matter for your penitential 
tears, than for your comfort, in the review ! I 
do not think you dare own, and stand to, those 
thoughts which have been spent for fleshly plea- 
sures, or in unnecessary worldly cares, or that 
w'ere wasted in impertinent vagaries upon any 
thing, or nothing, when you should have been 

Walking with God. 101 

seeking God ! I do not think you have now any- 
great pleasure in the review of those thoughts, 
which once were taken up with pleasure, when 
your most pleasant thoughts should have been 
of God. Dare you approve of your rejecting 
your creator and the great concernments of your 
soul out of your thoughts, and wasting them 
upon things unprofitable and vainf Did not 
God and heaven deserve more of your serious 
thoughts than any thing else that ever they 
were employed on ? Have you laid them out on 
any thing that more concerned you; or on any 
thing more excellent, more honorable, more 
durable, or that could claim precedency upon 
any just account? Did you not shut heaven 
itself out of your thoughts, when you shut out 
God ; and is it not just that God and heaven 
slioiild shut out you? If heaven be not the 
principal matter of your thoughts, it is plain 
that you do not principally love it : and if so, 
judge you whether those that love it not are fit 
to be made possessors of it. 

O poor distracted senseless world ! Is not 
God great enough to command and take up 
your chiefest cogitations ? Is not heaven enough 
to find them work, and afford them satisfaction 
and delight ? And yet is the dung and dotage of 
the world enough? Is your honor and wealth, 
and fleshly delights and sports enough ? God 
will shortly make you know, whether this were 
wise and equal dealing ! Is God so low, so 


102 . Walking with God. 

little, so undeserving,, to be so oft and easilj? 
forgotten, and so hardly and so slightly remem- 
bered ? I tell you, ere long be will make yoii 
think of him to your sorrow, whether you will 
or no, if grace do not now set open your hearts,, 
and proeure h4m better entertainment. 

But perhaps you will think that you walk 
with God, because you think of him sometime&> 
ineffectually, and as on the by. But is he 
esteemed as your God, if he have n©t the com- 
mand, and if he have not the precedency of his 
creatures ? Can you dream that indeed you walk 
with God, when your hearts were never grieved 
for offending him, nor never much solicitous 
how to be reconciled to him ; nor much inqui- 
sitive whether your state or way be pleasing or 
displeasing to him ? when all the business of al^ 
unspeakable importance, which you have to do 
with God, before you pass to judgment, is for- 
gotten and undone, as if you knew not of any 
such work that you had to do? when you make 
no serious preparation for death ; when you call- 
not upon God in secret, or in your families, 
unless with a little heartless lip labour ; and 
when you love not the spirituality of his wor- 
ship, but only delude your souls with the 
mockage of hypocritical outside compliment? 
Do you walk with God while you are plotting 
for preferment, and gaping after worldly great- 
ness ; while you are gratifying all the desires of 
you*: flesh, and making provision for the future 

Walking with God. 103 

satisfying of its lusts ? Rom. xiii. 13. Are you 
walking with God when you are hating him in 
his holiness, his justice, his word and ways, and 
hating all that seriously love and seek him.' 
when you are doing your worst to dispatch the 
work of your damnation, and put your salvation 
past all hope, and draw as many to hell witli 
you as you can? If this be a walking with God, 
you may take further comfort that you shall 
also dwell with God according to the sense of 
such a walk : you shall dwell with him as a 
devouring fire, and as just, whom you thus 
walked with in the contempt of his mercies, 
and the provocation of his justice ! 

I tell you, if you walked with God indeed, his 
authority would rule you, his greatness would 
much take up your minds, and leave less room 
for little things : you would trust his promises, 
and fear his threatenings, and be awed by his 
presence, and the idols of your hearts v/ould 
fall before him ; he would overpower your lusts, 
and call you off from your ambitious and 
covetous designs, and obscure all the creature's 
glory. Believing serious effectual thoughts of 
God, are very much different from the common, 
doubtful, dreaming, ineffectual cogitations of 
the ungodly world. 

Object. But (perhaps some wiil say) — This 
seemeth to be the work of preachers, and not of 
every christian, to be always meditating of God : 
poor people must think of other matters : they 

f. o 

104 Walk'iNg with God. 

have their business to do, and their families^ to 
provide for : and ignorant people are weak- 
headed, and are not able either to manage or 
endure a contemplative life : so much thinkino 
of God will make them melancholy and mad, 
as experience tells us it hath done by many . 
and therefore this is no exercise for them. 

To this I answer, 1 . Every christian hath a 
God to serve, and a so«l to save, and a Christ 
to believe in and obey, and an endless happiness 
to secure and enjoy, as well as preachers : pas- 
tors must study to instruct their flock, and to 
save themselves, and those that hear them : the 
people must study to understand and receive 
the mercy offered them, and to make their own 
calling and election sure. It is not said of pas- 
tors only, but of every blessed man, that his 
delight is in the law of the Lord, and therein 
doth he meditate day and night. Ps. i. 2. 2. And 
the due meditation of the soul upon God, is so 
far from taking you off from your necessary 
business in the world, that it is the only way to 
your orderly and successful management of it. 
3. And it is not a distractino- thoughtfulness 
that I persuade you to, or which is included in 
a christian's walk with God: but it is a direc- 
ting, quickening, exalting, comforting course 
of meditation. Many a hundred have grown 
melancholy and mad with careful discontentful 
thoughts of the world ; it doth not follow there- 
fore that no man must think of the world at alL 

Welking with God. 105 

for fear of being mad or melancholy ; but only 
that they should think of it more regularly, and 
correct the error of their thoughts and passions-: 
—so is it about God and heavenly things: our 
thoughts are to be well ordered, and the error 
of them cured, and not the use of them forborne. 
Atheism and impiety, and forgetting God, are 
unhappy means to prevent melancholy. There 
are wiser means for avoiding madness, than by 
renouncing all our reason, and living by sense 
like the beasts that perish, and forgetting that 
we have an everlasting life to live. 

But yet because 1 am sensible that some do 
here mistake on the other hand, and I would not 
lead you into any extreme, I shall fully remov-e 
the scruple contained in this objection, by shew- 
ing you in those following propositions, in what 
sense, and how far your thoughts must be take-a 
yp with God (supposing what was said in the 
beginning, where I described to you the duty 
of walking with God.) 

Pro. 1. When we tell you that your thoughts 
must be on God, it is not a course of idle 
musing, or mere thinking that we call you to, 
but it is a necessary practical thinking of that 
which you have to do, and of him that you 
must love, obey and enjoy. You will not forget 
your parents, or husband, or wife, or friend; and 
yet you will not spend your time in sitting stiil 
and thinking of them, with a musing unprofitable 
thoughtfulness; you will have such thoughts 

106 Walking zeith God. 

of them, and so many as are necessary to the 
ends, even to the love and service which you 
owe them, and to the delight that your hearts 
should have in the fruition of them. You can- 
not love, or obey, or take pleasure in those that 
you will not think of: you will follow your 
trades, or your master's service but unhappily, 
if you will not think on them. Thinking is not 
the work that we must take up with : it is but a 
subservient instrumental duty, to promote some 
greater higher duty : therefore we must think of 
God, that we may love him, and do his service, 
and trust him, and fear him, and hope in him, 
and make him our delight. And all this is it 
that we call you to, when we are persuading you 
10 think on God. 

2. An hypocrite, or a wicked enemy of God, 
may think of him speculatively, and perhaps be 
more frequent in such thoughts than many prac- 
tical believers. A learned man may study about 
God, as he doth about other matters, and names, 
and notions ; and propositions and decision? 
'concerning God, may be a principal part of his 
learning. A preacher may study about God 
and the matters of God, as a physician or a 
lawyer do about the matters of their own pro- 
fession, either for the pleasure which knowledge 
as knowledge brings to human nature, or for the 
credit of beins esteemed wise and learned, or 
because their gain and maintenance comes in 
this way. They that fill many volumes with 

Wal/wig with God. 107 

controversies concernhio; God, and fill the church 
with contentions and troubles by them, and their 
own hearts with malice and uncharitableness 
against those that are not of their opinions, 
have many and many a thought of God, which 
yet will do nothing to the saving of their souls, 
no more than they do to the sanctifying of them. 
And such learned men may think more ortho- 
doxly and methodically concerning God, than 
many an honest serious christian, who yet thinks 
of him more effectually and savingly ; even as 
they can discourse more orderly and copiously 
of God, when yet they have no saving know- 
ledge of him. 

3. All men must not bestow so much time 
in meditation as some must do. It is the calling 
of ministers to study so as to furnish their 
minds with all those truths concerning God, 
which are needful to the edification of the 
church ; and so to meditate on these things as 
to give themselves wholly to them, I Tim. iv. 
15, 16: it is both the work of their common 
and their special calling. The study necessary 
to christians as such, belongeth as well to others 
as to them : but other men have another special 
or particular calling, which also they must think 
of, so far as the nature and ends of their daily 
labors do require. It is a hurtful error to 
imagine that men must either lay by their 
callings to -meditate on God, or that they must 
do them negligently, or to be taken up in the 

108 JValking ivith God, 

midst of their employments with such studies 
of God as ministers are that are separated to 
that work. 

4. No man is bound to be continually taken 
up with actual, distinct cogitations about God : 
for in duty we have many other things to think 
on, which must have their time : and as we 
have callings to follow, and must eat our bread 
in the sweat of our brows, so we must manage 
them with prudence: a good man will guide 
his affairs with discretion. Ps. cxii. 5. It is both 
necessary as duty, and necessary as a means to 
ihe preservation of our very faculties, that both 
body and mind have their times of employ- 
ment about oar lawful business in the world : 
the understandings of many cannot bear it to 
be always employed on the greatest and most 
serious things : like lute strings they will break, 
if they be raised too high, and be not let down 
and relaxed when the lesson is played. To think 
of nothing else but God, is to break the law of 
God, and to confound the mind, and to disable 
it to think aright of God, or any thing. As he 
that bid us pray continually, did not mean that 
we should do nothing else, or that actual prayer 
should have no interruptions, but that habitual 
desires should on all meet occasion be actuated 
and expressed ; so he that would be chief in all 
our thouohts, did never mean that we should 
have no thoughts of any thing else, or that our 
serious meditation on him should be continual 

Walking loith God. 109 

without interruption : but that the final intend- 
ing of God, and our dependance on him, should 
be so constant as to be the spring or mover of 
the rest of the thoughts and actions of our lives. 
5. An habitual intending God as our end, 
and depending on his support, and subjection 
to his government, will carry on the soul in a 
sincere and constant course of godliness, though 
the actual most observed thoughts of the soul, 
be fewer in number about God, than about the 
means that lead unto him, and the occurrences 
in- our way. The soul of man is very active and 
comprehensive, and can think of several things 
at once ; and when it is once clear and resolved 
in any case, it can act according to that know- 
ledge and resolution, without any present sen- 
sible cogitation ; nay, while its actual mcft 
observed thoughts are upon something else. A 
musician that hath an habitual skill, can keep 
time and tune while he is thinking of some other 
matter : a weaver can cast his shuttle right, and 
work truly, while he is thinking or talking nf 
other things : a man can eat and drink with 
discretion while he talks of other things: some 
men can dictate to two or three scribes at once,, 
upon divers subjects : a traveller can keep on 
his way, though he seldom think distinctly cf 
his journeys end, but be thinking or discoursing 
most of the way upon other matters ; for before 
he undertook his journey he thought both of the 
«nd and way, and resolved then which way to 

110 Walking with God. 

go, and that he would go through all both fail' 
and foul, and not turn back, till he saw the 
place : and this habitual understanding and re- 
solution, may be secretly and unobservedly 
active, so as to keep a man from erring, and 
from turning back, though at the same time the 
traveller's most sensible thoughts and his dis- 
course may be upon something else. When a 
man is once resolved of his end, and hath laid 
his design, he is past deliberating of that, and 
therefore hath less use of his cogitations there- 
about ; but is readier to lay them out upon tjie 
means, which may be still uncertain, or may 
require his frequent deliberation. We have 
usually more thoughts and speeches by the way, 
about our company, or our horses, or inns, or 
other accommodations, or the fairness or foulness 
of the way, and other such occurrences, than we 
have about the place that we are going to : and 
yet this secret intention of our end, will bring 
us thither. So when a soul hath cast up his 
accounts, and hath renounced a worldly and 
sensual felicity, and hath fixed his hopes and 
resolutions upon heaven, and is resolved to cast 
himself upon Christ, and take God for his only 
portion, this secret habitual resolution will do 
much to keep him constant in the way, though 
his thoughts and talk be frequently on other 
things : yea, when we are thinking of the crea- 
ture, and feel no actual thoughts of God, it is 
yet God more than the creature that we think 

Walking with God. Ill 

of: for we did before hand look on the creature 
as God's work, representing him unto the woikl, 
and as his talents which we must employ for 
him, and as every creature is related to him : 
and this estimation of the creature is still habi- 
tually (and in some secret less-perceived acts) 
most prevalent in the soul. Though I am not 
always sensibly thinking of the king, when I use 
his coin, or obey his law, &c. yet it is only as 
his coin still that I use it, and as his laws that 
I obey them. Weak habits cannot do their 
work without great carefulness of thoughts : 
but perfect habits will act a man with little 
thoughtfulness, as coming near the natural way 
of operation. And indeed the imperfection of 
our habitual godliness doth make our sei'ious 
tlioughts, and vigilance, and industry to be the 
more necessary to us, 

6. There are some thoughts of God that are 
necessary to the very being of a holy state; as 
that God be so much in our thoughts, as to be 
preferred before all things else, and principally 
beloved and obeyed ; and to be the end of our 
lives, and the bias of our wills : and there are 
some thoughts of God that are necessary only 
to acting and increase of grace. 

7. So great is the weakness of our habits, «o 
many and great are the temptations to be over- 
come, so many difficulties are in our way, and 
the occasions so various for the exercise of each 
^race, that it behoveth a christian to exercise i)ig 

112 Walking with God. 

much thoughtfulness about his end and work, as 
hath any tendency to promote his work and to 
attain his end : but such a thoughtfulness as 
hindereth us in our work, by stopping, or 
distracting, or diverting us, is no way pleasing 
unto God. So excellent is our end, that we can 
never encourage and delight the mind too much 
in the forethoughts of it. So sluggish are our 
liearts, and so loose and inconstant are our 
apprehensions and resolutions, that we have 
need to be most requently quickening them, 
and lifting at them, and renewing our desires, 
and suppressing the contrary desires, by the 
serious thoughts of God and immortality. Our 
thouohts are the bellows that must kindle the 
fiames of love, desire, hope, and zeal : our 
thoughts are the spur that must put on a 
slufffish tired heart — and so far as they con- 
duce to any such works and ends as these, they 
are desirable and good. 15ut what master loveth 
to see his servant sit down and think, when he 
should be at work ? or to use his thoughts only 
-to gfieve and vex himself for his faults, but not 
to mend them? to sit down lamenting that he 
is so bad and unprofitable a servant, when he 
should be up and doing his master's business as 
"well as he is able ? Such thoughts are sins as 
hinder us from duty, or discourage or unfit us 
-for it, however they may go under a better name. 
■ 8'. The godly themselves are very much want- 
ing in the holiness of their thoughts, and the 

Walking with God. 113 

liveliness of their affections. Sense leadeth 
away the thoughts too easily after these present 
sensible things, while faith being infirm, the 
thoughts of God and heaven are much disad- 
vantaged by their invisibility. Many a gracious 
soul crieth out, O that I could think as easily, 
and as affectionately, and as unweariedly about 
the Lord and the life to come, as I can do about 
my friends, my health, my habitation, my busi- 
ness, and other concernments of this life ! But 
alas ! such thoughts of God and heaven have far 
more enemies and resistance, than the thoughts 
of earthly matters have. 

9. It is not distracting, vexatious thoughts of 
Go(^, that the holy scriptures call us to; but it 
is to such thoughts as tend to the healing, and 
peace, and felicity of the soul; and therefore it 
is not to a melancholy, but a joyful life. If 
God be better than the world, it must needs be 
better to think of him. If he be more beloved 
than any friend, the thoughts of him should be 
sweeter to us. If he be the everlasting hope 
and happiness of the soul, it should be a fore- 
taste of happiness to find him nearest to our 
hearts. The nature and use of holy thoughts, 
and of all religion, is but to exalt, and sanctify, 
and delight the soul, and bring it up to ever- 
lasting rest: and is this the way to melancholy 
or madness? Or is it not liker to make men 
melancholy, to think of nothing but a vain, 
deceitful, and vexatious world, that hath much 

114 WaUcing with God, 

to disquiet us, but nothing to satisfy us, and 
can give the soul no hopes of any durable 
delight ? 

10. Yet as God is not equally related unto 
all, so is he not the same to all men's thoughts. 
If a wicked enemy of God and godliness be 
forced and frightened into some thoughts of 
God, you cannot expect that they should be as 
sweet and comfortable thoughts as those of his 
most obedient children are. While a man is 
under the guilt and power of his reigning sin, 
and under the wrath and curse of God, unpar- 
doned, unjustified, a child of the devil, it is not 
this man's duty to think of God, as if he were 
fully reconciled to him, and too'R pleasure in him 
as in his ovtU. Nor is it any wonder if such a 
man think of God with fear, and think of his 
sin with grief and shame. Nor is it any wonder 
if the justified themselves do think of God with 
fear and grief, when they have provoked him by 
some sinful and unkind behaviour, or are cast 
into doubts of their sincerity and interest in 
Christ, and when he hides his face, or assaulteth 
them with his terrors. To doubt whether a man 
shall live for ever in heaven or hell, may ratio- 
nally trouble the thoughts of the wisest man in 
the world ; and it were but sottishness not to be 
troubled at it: David himself could say, " In 
the day of my trouble I sought the Lord : my 
sore ran in the night and ceased not: my soul 
Infused tjo be comforted. I remeuibered God and 

Walking raitk God. 115 


was troubled : I complained and my spirit was 
overwhelmed. Thou holdest mine eyes waking : 

I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Will 

the Lord cast off for ever?" Ps. Ixxvii. 2 — 5, 7. 

Yet all the sorrowful thoughts of God, which 
are the duty of either the godly or the wicked, 
are but the necessary preparatives of their joy. 
It is not to melancholy, distraction, or despair, 
that God calleth any, even the worst : but it is 
that the wicked would " Seek the Lord while 
he may be found, and call upon him while he is 
near : that he would forsake his way, and the 
unrighteous man his thoughts; and return unto 
the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him ; and 
to our God, and he will abundantly pardon." 
Isa. Iv. 6, 7. Despair is sin; and the thoughts 
that tend to it are sinful thoughts, even in the 
wicked. If worldly crosses, or the sense of 
danger to the soul had cast any into melancholy, 
or overwhelmed them with fears, you can name 
nothing in the world that in reason should be so 
powerful a remedy to recover them, as the 
thoughts of God, his goodness and mercy and 
readiness to receive and pardon those that turn 
unto him, his covenant and promises and grace 
through Christ, and the everlasting happiness 
which all may have that will accept and seek it 
in the time of grace, and prefer it before the 
deceitful transitory pleasures of the world. If 
the thoughts of God and of the heavenly ever- 
lasting joys, will not comfort the soul, and cure 

116 Walking with God. 

a sad despairing mind, I know not what can 
rationally do it. Though yet it is true that an 
awakened sinner must needs be in a trembhng 
state, till he find himself at peace with God; 
and mistaken christians that are cast into cause- 
less doubts and fears, by the malice of Satan, 
are unlikely to walk comfortably with God, till 
they are resolved and recovered from their mis- 
takes and fears. 


Object. But it may be the objector will be 
ready to think, that — If it be indeed our duty to 
walk with God, yet thoughts are no considerable 
part of it : what more uncertain or mutable than 
our thoughts ? It is deeds and not thoughts that 
God regardeth : to do no harm to any, but to do 
good to all, this is indeed to walk with God! 
You set a man upon a troublesome and impossi- 
ble work, while you set liim upon so strict a 
guard and so much exercise of his thoughts! 
What cares the Almighty for my thoughts? 

Anmv. 1. If God know better than you, and 
be to be believed, then thoughts are not so 
inconsiderable as you suppose. Doth he not 
say, that " the thoughts of the wicked are an 
abomination to the Lord ? " Prov. xv. 26. It is 
tlie work of the gospel by its power to pull down 

Walking with God. 117 

strong holds, casting down imaginations, and 
every high thing that exalteth itself against the 
knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity 
every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor. 
X. 4, 5. The unrighteous man's forsaking his 
thoughts, is part of his necessary conversion. 
Isa. Iv. 7. It was the description of the deplo- 
rate state of the old world. Gen. vi. 6, 6, " God 
saw that the wickedness of man was great in 
the earth, and that every imagination of the 
thoughts of his heart was only evil continually ; 
and it repented the Lord that he had made man 
on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." 
Judge by this whether thoughts be so little 
regarded by God as you imagine. David saith 
of himself '*' 1 hate vain thoughts." Vs. cxix. 
113. Solomon saith, " The thoughts of the 
righteous are right." Prov. xii. 5. Paul saith 
that charity thinketh not evil. 1 Cor. xiii. 5. 

2. Thouo-hts are the issue of a rational soul. 
And if its operations be contemptible, its essence 
is contemptible : if its essence be noble, its ope- 
rations are considerable. If the soul be more 
excellent than the body, its operations must be 
more excellent. To neglect our thoughts, and 
not employ them upon God, and for God, is to 
vilify our noblest faculties, and deny God, who 
is a Spirit, that spiritual service which he re- 

3. Our thoughts are commonly our most cor- 
dial voluntary acts, and shew the temper and 

118 Walking luith God. 

inclination of the heart : and therefore are re- 
gardable to God that searcheth the heart, and 
calleth fiFst for the service of the heart. 

4. Our thoughts are radical and instrumental 
acts : such as they are, such are the actions of 
our lives. Christ telleth us that out of the heart 
proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, for- 
nications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, 
which defile the man. Matt. xv. 19. 

5. Our thoughts are under a law, as well as 
words and deeds. Prov. xxiv. 9. " The thought 
of foolishness is sin." And Matt. v. 28, &c. 
Christ extendeth the law even to the thoughts 
and desires of the heart. And under the law it 
is said, Deut. xv. 9. " Beware that there be 
not a thought in thy wicked heart," &c. viz. of 
unmercifulness towards thy brother, 

6. Thoughts can reach higher much than 
sense, and may be employed upon the most 
excellent and invisible objects, and therefore are 
lit instruments to elevate the soul that would 
converse with God. Though God be infinitely 
above us, our thoughts may be exercised on 
him : our persons never were in heaven, and yet 
our conversation must be in heaven, Phil. iii. 20. 
And how is that but by your thoughts ? Though 
we see not Christ, yet by the exercise of be- 
lieving thoughts on him, we love him and rejoice 
with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Though 
God be invisible, yet our meditation of him may 
be sweet, and we may delight in the Lord. Pb. 

Walking with God. 119 

civ. 34. Say not that all this is but fantastical 
and delusory, as long as thoughts of things 
unseen are meeter to actuate and elevate the 
love, desires and delights of the soul, and to 
move and guide us in a regular and holy life, 
than the sense of lesser present good. The 
thoughts are not vain or delusory, unless the 
object of them be false and vain and delusory. 
Where the object is great, and sure and excel- 
lent, the thoughts of such things are excellent 
operations of the soul. If thoughts of vain glory, 
wealth and pleasure, can delight the ambitious, 
covetous and sensual ; no wonder if the thoughts 
•of God and life eternal afford us solid high 

7. The thoughts are not so liable to be coun- 
terfeit and hypocritical as are the words and 
outward deeds : and therefore they shew more 
what the man is, and what is in his heart. For 
as Solomon saith, Prov. xxiii. 7. '* As he thinketh 
in his heart, so is he." 

8. Our thoughts may exercise the highest 
graces of God in man ; and also shew those 
graces, as being their effects. How is our faith, 
and love, and desire, and trust, and joy, and 
hope to be exercised but by our cogitations? 
If grace were not necessary and excellent, it 
would not be wrought by the Spirit of God, and 
called the divine nature, and the image of God : 
and if grace be excellent, the use and exercise 
of it is excellent : and therefore our thoughts 

120 Walking xoith God. 

by which it is exei'cised must needs have their 
excellency too. 

9. Our thoughts must be the instruments of 
our improving all holy truth in scripture, and 
all the mercies which we receive, and all the 
afSictions which we undergo. What good will 
reading a chapter in the Bible do to any one 
that never thinketh on it? Our delight in the 
law of God must engage us to meditate in it day 
and night. Ps. i. 2. What good shall he get by 
hearing a sermon that exerciseth not his thoughts 
for the receiving and. digesting it. Our consi- 
dering what is said, is the way in which we may 
expect that God should give us understanding 
in all thinos. 2 Tim. ii. 7. What the better will 
he be for any of the merciful providences of 
God, who never bethinks him whence they 
come, or what is the use and end that they are 
given for? what good will he get by any afflic- 
tion, that never bethinks him who it is that 
chastiseth him, and for what, and how he must 
get them removed and sanctified to his good ? 
A man is but like one of the pillars in the 
church, or like the corpse which he treadeth on, 
or at best but like the dog that folio weth him 
thither for company, if he use not his thoughts 
about the work which he hath in hand, and 
cannot say, as Ps. xlviii. 9, " We have thought 
of thy loving kindness O God in the midst of 
thy temple." He that biddeth you hear, dotJi 
also bid you take heed how you hear, Luke 

Walking with God. 121 

vlii. 18. And you are commanded to lay up the 
Avord in your heart and soul. Deut. xi. 18, 19. 
" And to set your hearts to all the words which 
are testified among you: for it is not a vain 
thing for you, because it is your life." 

10. Our thoughts are so considerable a part 
of God's service, that they are oft put for the 
whole. Mai. iii. 16. "A book of remembrance 
was written for them that feared the Lord and 
that thought upon his name." Our believing 
and loving God, and trusting in him, and desir- 
ing him and his grace, are the principal parts of 
his service, which are exercised immediately by 
our thoughts: and in praise and prayer it is this 
inward part that is the soul and life of all. He 
is a foolish hypocrite that thinks to be heard for 
his much babbling. Matt. vi. 7. 

And on the contrary the thoughts are named 
as the sum of all iniquity: Isa. lix. 7. " Their 
thoughts are thoughts of iniquity." Isa. Ixv. 2- 
" I have spread out my hands all the day long 
unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way 
that was not good, after their own thoughts." 
Jar. iv. 14. " O Jerusalem, wash thy heart from 
wickedness that thou mayest be saved : how 
long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee! " 
Ps. xiv. 1. "The fool hatii said in his heart, 
there is no God." 

11. A man's thoughts are the appointed 
orderly way for the conversion of a sinner, and 
the preventing of his sin and misery. David 

122 Walking with God. 

saith, Ps. cxix. 59, " I thought on my ways, and 
turned my feet unto thy testimonies." The pro- 
digal (Luke XV. 17, 18) came to himself and 
returned to his father, by the success of his own 
consideration. " Thus saith the Lord of hosts, 
Consider your ways," Hag. i. 5, is a voice that 
every sinner should hear. Ezek. xviii. 14. It is 
he that considereth and doth not according to 
his father's sins, that shall not die. Therefore it 
is God's desire, — O that they were wise and 
understood this, and that they would consider 
their latter end. Deut. xxxii. 29. It is either 
men's inconsiderateness, or the error of their 
thoughts that is the cause of all their wicked- 
ness. Isa. i. 3. " My people doth not consider." 
Paul verily thought that he ought to do many 
things against the name of Jesus. Acts xxvi. 9. 
Many deceive themselves by thinking themselves 
something when they are nothing. Gal. vi. 3. 
They think it strange that we run not with them 
to excess of riot; and therefore they speak evil 
of us. 1 Pet. iv. 4. Disobedient formalists con- 
sider not that they do evil, when they think they 
are offering acceptable sacrifices to God. Eccles. 
V. 1, 2. The very murder of God's holy ones 
hath proceeded from these erroneous thoughts : 
they that kill you shall think they do God 
service. John xvi. 2. All the ambition, and 
covetousness, and injustice, and cruelty foUow- 
ino; thereupon, which troubleth the world, and 
ruineth men's souls, is, from their erroneous 

IValkhfg with God. 123 

thoughts, overvaluing these deceitful things. Ps. 
xiix. 11. "Their inward thought is that their 
houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling 
places to all generations." The presumptuous 
and impenitent are surprised by destruction, for 
want of thinking of it to prevent it: " In such an 
hour as you think not, the Son of Man cometh." 

12. Lastly, the thoughts are the most con- 
stant actions of a man, and therefore most of 
the man is in them. We are not always reading, 
or hearing, or praying, or working; but we are 
always thinking: and therefore it doth especially 
concern us to see that this constant breath of 
the soul be sweet, and that this constant stream 
be pure and run in the right channel. Well, 
therefore, did David make this his request, Ps. 
cxxxix. 23, 24. " Search me O God and know 
my heart : try me and know my thoughts ; and 
see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead 
me in the way everlasting." I say, therefore, to 
those that insist on this irrational objection, that 
these very thoughts of tbeir's, concerning the 
inconsiderabieness of thoughts, are so foolish 
and ungodly, that when they understand the evil 
even of these, they will know that thoughts were 
more to be regarded. " If therefore thou hast 
done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou 
hast thought evil, lay thy hand upon thy 

And though, after all this, I still confess that it 
is so exceeding hard a matter to keep the thoughts 

124 Walking with God. 

in holy exercise and order, that even the best 
do daily and hourly sin, in the omissions, the 
disorder, or the vanity of their thoughts ; yet for 
all that we must heeds conclude that the incli- 
nation and design of our thoughts must be 
principally for God, and that the thoughts are 
principal instruments of the soul, in acting it in 
his service, and mo vino; it towards him, and in 
all this holy woik of our walking with God : 
and therefore to imagine that thoughts are incon- 
siderable and of little use, is to unman us and 
unchristen us. The labour of the mind is neces- 
sary for the attaining the felicity of the mind, 
as the labour of the body is necessary for the 
things that belong vinto the body. As bodily 
idleness bringeth unto beggary, when the dili- 
gent hand makes rich ; so the idleness of the 
soul doth impoverish the soul, when the labo- 
rious christian liveth plentifully and comfortably 
through the blessing of God upon his industry 
and labour. You cannot expect that God 
appear to you in a bodily shape, that you may 
have immediate converse with him in the body : 
the corporal eating of him in transubstantiate 
bread, supposed common to men and mice or 
dogs, we leave to papists, who have made them- 
selves a singular new religion, in despite of the 
common sense and reason of mankind, as well 
as of the scriptures and the judgment of the 
church. It is in the spirit that you must con- 
verse with God who is a Spirit. The mind seeth 

Walking with God. 1'25 

him by faith, who is invisible to the bodily eyes. 
Nay, if you will have a true and saving know- 
ledge of God, you must not liken him to any 
thing that is visible, nor have any corporal con- 
ceivings of him : earthly things may be the 
glass in which we may behold him, while we are 
here in the flesh, but our conceivings of him 
must be spiritual ; and minds that are immersed 
in flesh and earth, are unmeet to hold commu- 
nion with him: the natural man knoweth him 
not, and the carnal mind is enmity to him, and 
they that are in the flesh cannot please him. 
Rom. viii. It is the pure, abstracted, elevated 
soul, that understandeth by experience what it 
is to walk with God. 


§ 1 . Having in the foregoing uses reproved 
the atheism and contempt of God, which ungodly 
men are continually guilty of, and endeavoured 
to convince them of the necessity and desirable- 
ness of walking with God, and in particular of 
improving our thoughts for holy converse with 
him, and answered the objections of the impious 
and atheists; 1 shall next endeavour to cure the 
remnants of this disease, in those that are sin- 
cerely holy, who live too strangely to God their 
father in the world. In the performance of this, 


126 Walking with God. 

I shall first shew you what are the benefits of 
this holy life which should make it appear desi- 
rable and delightful. 2. I shall shew you why 
believers should addict themselves to it as 
doubly obliged, and how it appeareth that their 
neglect of it is a sin of special aggravations. 
This is the remainder of my task. 

§ 2. I. To walk with God in a holy and 
heavenly conversation, is the employment most 
suitable to human nature: not to its corrupt dis- 
position, nor to the carnal interest and appetite ; 
but to nature as nature, to man as man. It is 
the very work that he was made for : the facul- 
ties and frame of soul and body were composed 
for it by the wise Creator : they are restored 
for it by the gracious Redeemer. Though in 
corrupted nature where sensuality is predomi- 
nant, there is an estrangedness from God, and 
an enmity and hatred of him, so that the wicked 
are more averse to all serious holy converse with 
him (in prayer, contemplation, and a heavenly 
life) than they are to a worldly sinful life; yet 
all this is but the disease of nature, corrupting 
its appetite, and turning it against that proper 
food, which is most suitable to its sound desires, 
and necessary to its health and happiness. 
Though sinful habits are become as it were a 
second nature to the ungodly, so depraving 
their judgments and desires, that they verily 
think the business and pleasures of the flesh 
are most suitable to them; yet these are as 

Walking with God. 127 

contrary to nature as nature, (that is, to the 
primitive tendencies of all our faculties, and the 
proper use to which they were fitted by our 
Creator, and to that true felicity which is the 
end of all our parts and powers) even as madness 
is contrary to the rational nature, though it were 

1. What can be more agreeable to the nature 
of man, than to be rational and wise, and to live 
in the purest exercise of reason? And certainly 
there is nothing more rational than that we 
should live to God, and gladly accept of all 
that communion with him which our natures on 
earth are capable of. Nothing can be more 
reasonable than for the reasonable soul to be 
entirely addicted to him that did create it, that 
doth preserve it, and by whom it doth subsist 
and act. Nothing is more reasonable than that 
the absolute Lord of nature be honored and 
served wholly by his own. Nothing is more 
reasonable than that the reasonable creature do 
live in the truest dependence upon, and subor- 
dination to the highest reason; and that derived, 
imperfect, defectible wisdom be subservient to 
and guided by the primitive, perfect, indefectible 
wisdom.. It is most reasonable that the children 
depend upon the father, and the foolish be ruled 
by the most wise, and that the subjects be 
governed by the universal king, and that tliey 
honor him and obey him ; and that the indigent 
apply themselves to him that is all-sufficient, 
H 2 

128 Walking with God. 

and is most able and ready to supply their 
wants; and that the impotent rest upon him 
that is omnipotent. 

2. Nothing can be more reasonable, than that 
the reasonable nature should intend its end, and 
seek after its true and chief felicity : and that 
it should love good as good, and therefore 
prefer the chiefest good before that which is 
transitory and insufficient. Reason comraandeth 
the reasonable creature to avoid its own delusion 
and destruction, and to rest upon him that can 
everlastingly support us, and not upon the crea- 
ture that will deceive us and undo us : and to 
prefer the highest and noblest converse before 
that which is inferior, unprofitable and base; 
and that we rejoice more in the highest, purest, 
and most durable delights, than in those that 
are sordid, and of short continuance. And who 
knoweth not that God is the chiefest good, and 
true felicity of man, the everlasting rock, the 
durable delight, and to be preferred before his 
creatures? And who might not find, that would 
use his reason, that all things below are vanity 
and vexation ? 

3. Nothing can be more rational and agree- 
able to man's nature, than that the superior 
faculties should govern the inferior; that the 
brutish part be subject to the rational ; and that 
the ends and objects of this higher faculty be 
preferred before the objects of the lower, that 
the objects of sense be made subservient to the 

Walkh^ ivith God. J 29 

o\)jects of reason. If this be not natural and 
rational, then it is natural to man to be no man, 
but a beast, and reasonable to be unreasonable. 
Now it is evident that a holy living unto God, is 
but the improvement of true reason, and its 
employment for and upon its noblest object, 
and its ultimate end ; and that a sensual life is 
the exercise of the inferior brutish faculties, in 
predominancy above and before the rational : 
and therefore to question whether God or the 
creature should be first sought, and loved, and 
principally desired, and delighted in, and served, 
is but to question whether we should live like 
men or like beasts, and whether dogs or wise 
men be fitter companions for us; and whether 
the rider or the horse should have the rule : 
whether the rational or sensitive powers be 
superior and proper to the nature of a man. 

Object. But there is a middle state of life, 
betwixt the sensual and the divine or holy life 
which sober philosophers did live, and tliis is 
the most natural life, and most properly so 

Amtv. I deny this: there is no middle state 
of life, if you denominate the several states of 
life from the several ends, or the several powers. 
I grant that the very sensitive powers in man, 
especially the imagination, is much advanced by 
the conjunction of reason, above that of a 
brute: and I grant that the delights of the 
fantasy may be preferred before the immediate 

130 Walking with God. 

pleasure of the senses : and I grant that some 
little distant knowledge of God, and things 
divine, and hopes of attaining them, may affect 
an unsanctified man with an answerable plea- 
sure. But all this is nothing to prove that there 
is a third sort of end, or of powers, and so a 
third or middle state of life, specifically distinct 
from the sensitive and the holy life. Besides, 
the vegetative man hath no other life or facul- 
ties, than the sensitive and the rational; and 
therefore one of these must be in predominancy 
or rule: and therefore he can have no middle 
sort or end, and therefore no middle state of 
life, that can be said to be agreeable to his 
nature. Those that seek and take up their chief 
felicity in riches and plenty, and provisions for 
the flesh, though not in present pleasing of the 
sense, do live but the life of sensuality. A fox 
or dog takes pleasure when he hath eaten his 
belly full, to hide and lay up the rest; and so 
doth the bee to fill the hive, and make provision 
for the winter. The proud that delight in honour 
and applcLuse, and making others subject to their 
iusts, do live but the life of sensuality : a dog, 
a horse, and other brutes, have something of the 
same. They that are grave through melancholy, 
or because they can reach no great matter in the 
world, and because their old or duller spirits are 
not much pleased with juvenile delights, and so 
live retiredly, and seek no higher pleasure or 
fehcity, but only sit down with the weeping or 

Walking with God. 131 

the laughing philosopher, lamenting or deriding 
the vanity of the world, do yet live no other 
than a sensual life : as an old dog that hath no 
pleasure in hunting or playfulness, as he had 
when he was a whelp ; only he is less deluded 
and less vain, than other sensualists that find 
more pleasure in their course. 

All the doubt is concerning those that place 
their felicity in knowledge, and those that de- 
light in moral virtues, or that delight in studying 
of God, though they are no christians. 

The point is weighty, and hath oft unhappily 
fallen into injudicious hands. I shall endeavour 
to resolve it as truly, clearly and impartially 
as I can. 1. It is a great error against the 
nature of man, to say, that knowledge, as such, 
is fit to be any man's chief and ultimate end : 
it may be that act which is next the enjoying 
act of the will, which is it that indeed is next 
the end, objectively considered ; but it is not 
that act which we call ultimate ultimm. And 
this is plain 1. Because the object of the under- 
standing, which is truth, is not formally the 
nearest object or matter of full felicity or 
delight : it is goodness that is the nearest object. 
2. And therefore the office of the intellect is but 
introductive and subservient to the office of the 
will, to apprehend the verity of good, and pre- 
sent it to the will to be prosecuted or embraced, 
or delighted in. There are many truths that are 
ungrateful and vexatious, and which men would 

132 Walking with God. 

wish to be no truths ; and there is a knowledge 
which is troublesome, useless, undesirable and 
tormenting, which even a wise man would fain 
avoid if he knew how. Morality is but prepara- 
tively in the intellect ; and therefore intellectual 
acts, as such, are not morally good, or evil, but 
only participatively, as subject to the will. .And 
therefore knowledge, as such, being not a moral 
good, can be no other than such a natural good 
as is bonum alicui, only so far as it tendeth to 
some welfare or happiness, or pleasure of the 
possessor or some other : and this welfare or 
pleasure is either that which is suited to the 
sensitive powers, or to the rational (which is to 
be found in the love of God alone.) 

2. I add therefore that even those men that 
seem to take up their felicity in common know- 
ledge, indeed do but make their knowledge 
subservient to something else which they take 
for, their felicity ; for knowledge of evil may 
torment them : it is only to know something 
which they take to be good, that is their delight ; 
and it is the complacency or love of that good 
at the heart, which sets them on work, and 
causeth the delight of knowing. If you will 
say that common knowledge as knowledge doth 
immediately delight, yet will it be found but 
such a pleasing of the fantasy, as an ape hath 
in spying marvels, which if it have no end that 
is higher, is still but a sensitive delight; but if it 
be referred to a higher delight (in God) it doth 

Walking with God. 133 

participate of the nature of it. Delight in gene- 
ral is the common end of men and brutes : but 
in specie they are distinguished as sensual cr 

3. If you suppose a philosopher to be 
delighted in studying mathematics, or any of 
the works of God, either he hath herein an end, 
or no end beyond the knowledge of the crea- 
ture : either he terminateth his desires and 
delights in the creature, or else useth it as a 
means to raise him to the Creator. If he study 
and delight in the creature ultimately, this is 
indeed the act of a rational creature, and an act 
of reason, as to the faculty it proceeds from (and 
so is a rational contrivance for sensual ends and 
pleasures :) but it is but the error of reason, and 
is no more agreeable to the rational nature, than 
the deceit of the senses is to the sensitive : nor 
is it finally to be numbered with the operations 
felicitating human nature, any more tlian an 
erroneous dream of pleasure, or than that man 
is to be numbered with the lovers of learning, 
who taketh pleasure in the binding, leaves or 
letters of the book, while he understandeth 
nothing of the sense. But if this philosopher 
seek to know the Creator in and by the creatures, 
and take delight in the maker's power, wisdom 
and goodness, which appeareth in them, then 
this is truly a rational delight, in itself consi- 
dered, and beseeming a man. And if he reach 
go far in itp as to make God his highest desire 

134 Walking with God. 

and delight, overpowering the desires and 
delights of sensuality, he shall be happy, as 
being led by the Son unto the Father : but if he 
make but some little approaches towards it, and 
drown all such desires in the sensual desires 
and delights, he is then but an unhappy sen- 
sualist, and liveth brutishly in the tenor of his 
life, though in some acts in part he operate 
rationally as a man. 

The like I may say of them that are said to 
place their delight in moral virtues. Indeed 
nothing is properly a moral good (or virtue) but 
that which is exercised upon God as our end, or 
upon the creature as a means to this end. To 
study and know mere notions of God, or what 
IS to be held and said of him in discourse, is not 
to study or to know God, no more than to love 
the language and phrase of holy writing is to 
love God. To study God as one that is less 
regardable and desirable than our sensual de- 
lights, is but to blaspheme him. To study, seek, 
and serve him as one that can promote or hinder 
our sensual felicity, is but to abuse him as a 
means to your sensuality. And for the virtues 
of temperance, justice, or charity, they are but 
analogically and secundum quid to be found in 
any ungodly person : materially they may have 
them in an eminent degree ; but not as they are 
informed by the end which moralizeth them. 
Jezabel's fast was not formally a virtue, but an 
odious way of hypocrisy to oppress the innocent. 

Walking %oith God. 135 

He that doth works of justice or mercy, to evil 
ends only, (as for applause, or to deceive, &c.) 
and not from the true principles of justice and 
mercy, doth not thereby exercise moral virtue, 
but hypocrisy, and other vice. He that doth 
works of justice and mercy, out of mere natural 
compassion to others, and desire of their good, 
without respect to God, as obhging, or rewarding, 
or desiring it, doth perform such a natural good 
work, as a lamb or a gentle beast doth to his 
fellows, which hath not the true form of moral 
virtue, but the matter only. He that in such 
works hath some little by-respect to God, but 
more to his carnal interest among men, doth that 
which on the by participateth of moral good, 
or is such secundum quid, but not simplidter, 
•being to be denominated from the part predomi- 
nant. He that doth works of justice or charity 
principally to please God, and in true obedience 
to his will, and a desire to be conformed thereto, 
doth' that which is formally a moral good, and 
holy, though there may be abhorred mixtures 
of worse respects. 

So that there are but two states of life here : 
one of those that walk after the flesh, and the 
other of those that walk after the spirit. How- 
ever the flesh hath several materials and wavs 
of pleasure : and even the rational actings that 
have a carnal end, are carnal finally and morally^ 
though they are acts of reason; for they are 
but the errors of reason, and defectiveness of 

136 Walking with God. 

true rationality ; and being but the acts of 
erroneous reason as captivated by the flesh, and 
subservient to the carnal interest, they are them- 
selves to be denominated carnal : and so even 
the reasonable soul, as biased by sensuality, and 
captivated thereto, is included in the name of 
" flesh" in scripture. 

How much moral good is in that course of 
piety or obedience to God, which proceedeth 
only from the fear of God's judgments, without 
any love to him, I shall not now discuss, because 
I have too far digressed already. 

All that I have la*t said, is to shew you the 
reasonableness of living unto God, as being 
indeed the proper and just employment of the 
superior faculties of the soul, and their govern- 
ment of the lower faculties. For if any other 
called moralists do seem to subject the sensual 
life to the rational, either they do but seem to 
do so, (the sensual interest being indeed pre- 
dominant, and their rational operations subjected 
thereto); or at the best, it is but some poor and 
erroneous employment of the rational faculties 
which they exercise, or some weak approaches 
towards that high and holy life, which is indeed 
the life which the rational nature was created 
for, and which is the right improvement of it. 

4. Moreover, nothing is more beseeming the 
nature of man, than to aspire after the highest 
and noblest improvement of itself; and to live 
the Tiiost excellent life that it is capable of. Fof 

Walking tcith God. 137 

every nature tendeth to its own perfection. But 
it is most evident that to walk with God in 
holiness, is a thing that human nature is capable 
of, and that is the highest life that we are 
capable of on earth; and therefore it is the 
life most suitable to our natures. 

5. And what can be more rational and 
beseeming a created nature, than to live to 
those ends, which our Creator intended in the 
fabrication of our natures? It is his ends that 
are principally to be served. But the very 
composure of our faculties plainly prove, that 
his end was that we should be fitted for his 
service : he gave us no powers or capacity in 
vain ; and therefore to serve him and walk with 
him, is most suitable to our natures. 

Object. That is natural which is first, and 
born with us: but our enmity to holiness is first, 
and not our holiness. 

Answ. It may be called natural indeed, 
because it is first, and born with us ; and in 
that respect we confess that sin and not holiness 
is natural to us. But holiness is called natural 
to us, in a higher respect, because it was the 
primitive natural constitution of man, and was 
before sin, and is the perfection or health of 
nature, and the right employment and improve- 
ment of it, and tends to its happiness. An 
hereditary leprosy may be called natural, as it 
js first, and before health in that person: but 
Jiealth and soundness is natural, as being the 

138 Walkins: with God. 


well-being of nature, when the leprosy is un- 
natural, as being but its disease, and tending 
to its destruction. 

Object. But nature in its first constitution 
was not holy, but innocent only, and it was by 
a superadded gift of grace that it became holy 
as some schoolmen think; and as others think, 
Adam had no holiness till his restoration. 

Answ. These are popish unproved fancies, 
and contrary to nature and the word of God. 
1. They are nowhere written, nor have no evi- 
dence in nature, and therefore are the groundless 
dreams of men. 

2. The work of our recovery to God is called 
in scripture a redemption, renovation, restora- 
tion, which imply that nature was once in that 
holy estate before the fall. And it is expressly 
said, that the new man which we put on is 
renewed in knowledge after the image of him 
that created him. Col. iii. 10. And after God's 
imag-e Adam was created. 

3. If it belong to the soundness and integrity 
of nature to be holy (that is, disposed and 
addicted to live to God) then it is an abusive 
temerity, for men out of their own imagination, 
to feign, that God first made nature defective, 
and then mended it by superadded grace. But 
if it belong not to the soundness and integrity 
of human nature to be holy, then why did God 
pive him grace to make him so ? Nay, then it 
would follow that when God sanctified Adam, 

Walking with God. 139 

or any since, he made him specifically another 
thing, another creature, of another nature, and 
did not only cure the diseases of his nature. 

4. It is yet apparent in the very nature of 
man's faculties, that their very usefulness and 
tendency, is to live to God, and to enjoy him : 
and that God should make a nature apt for such 
a use, and give it no disposedness to its proper 
use, is an unnatural conceit. We see to this 
day that it is but an unreasonable abuse of 
reason, when it is not used holily for God ; and 
it is a very disease of nature to be otherwise 
disposed. Therefore primitive nature had such 
a holy inclination. 

5. The contrary opinion tendeth to infidelity, 
and to brutify human nature. For if no man 
can believe that he must be holy and live to 
God, and enjoy him hereafter in heaven, but he 
that also believeth that primitive nature was 
never disposed or qualified for such a life; and 
that God must first make a man another creature 
in specie, of another nature (and consequently 
not a man), this is not only so improbable, but 
so contrary to scripture and reason, that few 
considerate persons would believe it: as if we 
.must believe that God would turn brutes into 

men. God healeth, elevateth, and perfecteth 
nature, but doth not specifically change it, at 
least in this life. 

Object. But let it be granted that he giveth 
not man specifically another nature, yet he may 

140 Walking with God. 

give him such higher gifts, as may be like 
another nature to him so far. 

jinsio. No doubt he may and doth give him 
such gifts as actuate and perfect nature: but 
some disposition to our ultimate end is essential 
to our nature ; and therefore to assign man 
another ultimate end, and to give a disposition 
to it, of which he had no seed, or part, or 
principle before, is to make him another crea- 
ture. I confess that in lapsed man, the holy 
disposition is so far dead, as that the change 
maketh a man a new creature in a moral sense 
(as he is a new man that changeth his mind and 
manners) : but still nature hath its aptitude as 
rational to be employed for its maker; so that 
he is not a new creature in a natural sense. 

An actual or habitual willingness to this holy 
employment, a promptitude to it, and a due 
understanding of it, is the new creature morally 
so called which is given in our sanctification: 
but the natural aptitude that is in our faculties 
as rational, to this holy life, is essential to us 
as men, or as rational; even to have the poteti' 
tiam naturalem which must yet have further help 
or moral life to actuate it. - And Adam had both 
these: the one he retained, or else he had not ' 
continued a man; the other he lost, or else he 
^ad not had need of renovation. 

6. If Adam's nature had not been disposed 
to God as to his end and sovereign, then the 
law of nature (to adhere to God, and obey and 

Walking with God. 141 

serve him) was not written in his heart : and 
then it would not have been his duty to adhere 
to God, and to obey and serve him ; which is so 
false, that even in lapsed unrenewed nature, 
there is left so much aptitude hereto, as will 
prove him to be still under the obligations of 
this law of nature, even actually to adhere to 
God, and to obey him, which a dead man, a 
mad man, or an infant is not (immediately.) 

By all this you see, that though the blindness 
and disease of reason is contrary to faith and 
holiness, yet reason itself is so much for it, as 
that faith itself is but the act of elevated well 
informed reason ; and supernatural revelation is 
but the means to inform our reason, about things 
which have not a natural evidence, discernible 
by us. And sanctification (actively taken) is 
but the healing of our reason and rational appe- 
tite : and holiness is but the health or soundness 
of them. The error of reason must be renounced 
by believers ; but not the use of reason : the 
sufficiency of reason and natural light without 
supernatural light and help, we must all deny : 
but to set reason as reason in opposition to faith 
or holiness, or divine revelation, is as gross a 
piece of foolery, as to set the visive faculty iii 
opposition to the light of the sun, or to its 
objects. It is the unreasonableness of sinners 
that is to be cured by illuminating grace. They 
are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no 
knowledge. Their reason is wounded, depraved 

142 Walking with God, 

and corrupted about the matters of God : they 
have reason to serve the flesh, but not to master 
it. God doth renew men by giving them wis- 
dom, and bringing them to a sound mind. As 
logic helpeth reason in discourse and arguing, 
so theology informeth reason about the matters 
of God and our salvation ; and the Spirit of God 
doth make his doctrine and revelation effectual. 
Make nature sound, and reason clear, and then 
we will consent that all men be persuaded to 
live according to their nature and their reason. 
But if a bedlam will rave and tear himself and 
others, and say, this is according to my nature 
or my reason ; it is fitter that chains and whips 
do cure that nature and reason, than that he be 
allowed to live according to his madness. If a 
drunkard or whoremonger will say, my nature 
and reason incline me to please my appetite and 
lust, it is fit that the swinish nature be cor- 
rected, and the beast which rideth and ruleth the 
man, be taken down; and when indeed his 
nature is the nature of a man, and fitted to the 
use and ends that it was made for, then let him 
live according to it and spare not. If a malicious 
man will abuse or kill his neighbours, and say, 
this is according to my nature, let that nature 
be used as the nature of wolves and foxes, and 
other noxious creatures are. But let human 
nature be cured of its blindness, carnality and 
corruption, and then it will need no external 
testimony to convince it, that no employment is 

Walking with God. 143 

so natural and suitable to man, as to walk with 
God, in love and confidence, and reverent wor- 
ship, and cheerful obedience to his will. A 
worldly fleshly sensual life, Avill then appear to 
be below the rational nature of a man, as it is 
below us to go to grass with horses, or to live 
as mere companions of brutes. It will then 
appear to be as natural for us to love and live 
to our Creator and Redeemer, and to walk with 
God, as for a child to love his parents, and to 
live with them and serve them. When I say 
that this is natural, I mean not that it is neces- 
sary by natural necessity, or that grace doth 
operate per modum natures, as the irrational 
motion is so called. There is a brutish or 
manimate nature, and there is a rational volun- 
tary nature : grace worketh not according to the 
way of inanimate or brutish nature, but accord- 
ing to the way of rational nature, in free agents. 
I may well say that whatever is rational, is 
natural to a rational creature as such, so far as 
he discerneth it. Yea, and habits, though they 
effect not necessarily, but freely in a rational 
nature, yet they incline necessarily, and per 
modum naturae. They contain in their being a 
natural aptitude and propensity to action. 

Object. But thus you confound nature and 
grace, natural and supernatural operations, while 
you make grace natural. 

Amiv. No such matter : though walking with 
God be called natural, as it is most agreeable 

144 Walking with God. 

to nature so far as it is sound, and is the felicity 
and meetest employment of the rational nature 
as such; yet 1. Diseased nature doth abhor it, 
as a diseased stomach the pleasantest and most 
wholesome food, (as I said before.) 2. And 
this disease of nature cannot be cured without 
divine supernatural grace : so that as to the 
efficient cause, our holiness is supernatural. 
But it is unsound doctrine of those that affirm 
that Adam in his pure natural state of inno- 
cency, had no natural holiness, or aptitude and 
promptitude to walk with God in order to ever- 
lasting happiness, but say that all this was 
either wanting to him, and was a state speci- 
fically distinct, which he fell short of by his 
sin, or that it was given him by superadded 
grace, and was not in his entire nature. 

And yet we deny not but as to degrees, 
Adam's nature was to grow up to more per- 
fection ; and that his natural holiness contained 
not a sufficient immediate aptitude and prompti- 
tude to every duty which might afterward be 
required of him; but this was to be obtained 
in the exercise of that holiness which he had. 
Even as a vine or other fruit tree, though it be 
natural to it to bear its proper fruit, yet hath 
it not an immediate sufficient aptitude hereto, 
whilst it is but appearing out of the seed, before 
it be grown up to just maturity: or as it is 
natural to a man to discourse and reason ; but 
yet his nature in infancy, or untaught and 

Walking wilh God. 145 

unexercised, hath not a sufficient immediate 
aptitude and promptitude hereunto : or as grace 
inclineth a renewed soul to every holy truth 
and duty ; and yet such a soul in its infancy 
of grace, hath not a sufficient immediate apti- 
tude or promptitude to the receiving of every 
holy truth, or the doing of every holy duty, 
but must grow up to it by degrees. But the 
addition of these degrees, is no specifical altera- 
tion of the nature of man, or of that grace 
which was before received. 

Having been so long upon this first con- 
sideration (that walking with God is most agree- 
able to human nature), I shall be briefer in the 
rest that follow. 

II. To walk with God and live to him, is 
incomparably the highest and noblest life. To 
converse with men only, is to converse with 
worms; whether they be princes or poor men, 
they differ but as the bigger vermin from the 
lesser : if they be wise and good, their converse 
may be profitable and delightful, because they 
have a beam of excellency from the face of 
God; (and O how unspeakable is the distance 
between his wisdom and goodness, and theirs !) 
but if they be foolish, ungodly and dishonest, 
how loathsome is their conversation ! What 
stinking breath is in their profane and filthy 
language ! in their lies and slanders of the just ! 
in their sottish jeers and scorns of those that 
walk with God ! which expose at once their 


146 Walking with God. 

folly and misery to the pity of all that are 
truly understanding. When they are gravely 
speaking evil of the things which they under- 
stand not, or with a fleering confidence deriding 
merrily the holy commands and ways of God, 
they are much more lamentably expressing their 
infatuation, than any that are kept in chains 
in bedlam: though indeed with the most they 
scape the reputation which they deserve, because 
they are attended with persons of their own 
proportion of wisdom, that always reverence a 
silken coat, and judge them wise that wear gold 
lace and have the greatest satisfaction of their 
wills and lusts, and are able to do most mischief 
in the world : and because good men have learnt 
to honor the worst of their superiors, and not 
to call them as they are. But God is bold to 
call them as they are, and give them in his word 
such names and characters by which they might 
come to know themselves. And is it not a 
higher, nobler life to walk with God, than to 
converse in bedlam, or with intoxicated sen- 
sualists, that live in a constant deliration ? 

Yea, worse than so. Ungodly men are chil- 
dren of the devil, so called by Jesus Christ 
himself, John viii. 44, because they have much 
of the nature of the devil, and the lusts of 
their father they will do ; yea they are taken 
captive by him at his will. 2 Tim. ii. 26. They 
are the servants of sin, and do the drudgery 
that so vile a master sets them on. John viii. 34. 

Walking with God. ' 147 

Certainly as the spirits of the just are so like 
to angels, that Christ saith, we shall be as they 
and equal to them ; so the wicked are nearer kin 
to devils than they themselves will easily believe. 
They are as like him as children to their father. 
He is a liar, and so are they. He is a hater of 
God, and godliness, and godly men ; and so are 
they. He is a murderer, and would fain devour 
the holy seed ; and such are they. He envieth 
the progress of the gospel, and the prosperity 
of the church, and the increase of holiness; and 
so do they. He hath a special malice against 
the most powerful and successful preachers of 
the word of God, and against the most zealous 
and eminent saints ; and so have they. He cares 
not by what lies and fictions he disgraceth them, 
nor how cruelly he useth them; no more do 
they (or some of them at least). He cherisheth 
licentiousness, sensuality, and impiety; and so 
do they. If they do seem better in their adver- 
sity and restraint, yet try them but with pros- 
perity, and power, and you shall see quickly how 
like they are to devils. And shall we delight 
more to converse with brutes and incarnate 
devils, than with God ? Is it not a more high 
and excellent conversation to walk with God, 
and live to him, than to be companions of such 
degenerate men, that have almost forfeited the 
reputation of humanity? Alas! they are com- 
panions so deluded and ignorant, and yet so 
wilful ; so miserable, and yet so confident and 

148 Walking with God. 

secure, that they are, to a believing eye, the 
most lamentable sight that the whole world can 
shew us out of hell. And how sad a life must 
it then needs be, to converse with such, were it 
not for the hope that we have of furthering their 
* recovery and salvation! 

But to walk with God is a word so high, that 
I should have feared the guilt of arrogance in 
using it, if I had not found it in the holy scrip- 
tures. It is a word that importeth so high and 
holy a frame of soul, and expresseth such high 
and holy actions, that the naming of it striketh 
my heart with reverences, as if I had heard the 
voice to Moses, " Put off thy shoes from off 
tiiy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is 
holy ground." Exod. iii. 5. Methinks he that 
shall say to me, Come see a man that walks 
with God, doth call me to see one that is next 
unto an angel, or glorified soul! It is a far 
more reverend object in mine eye, than ten 
thousand lords or princes, considered only in 
their fleshly glory. It is a wiser action for 
people to run and crowd together to see a man 
that walks with God, than to see the pompous 
train of princes, their entertainments, or their 
triumphs. O happy man, that walks with God, 
though neglected and contemned by all about 
him ! What blessed sights doth he daily see I 
What ravishing tidings, what pleasing melody 
doth he daily hear, imless it be in his swoons 
or sickness ! What delectable food doth he 

Walking with God. 149 

daily taste! He seeth by faith the God, the 
glory, which the blessed spirits see at hand by 
nearest intuition: he seeth that in a glass and 
darkly, which they behold with open face : he 
seeth the glorious majesty of his Creator, the 
eternal king, the cause of causes, the com- 
poser, upholder, preserver, and governor of all 
the worlds: he beholdeth the wonderful methods 
of his providence: and what he cannot reach to 
see, he admireth, and waiteth for the time when 
that also shall be open to his view ! He seeth 
by faith the world of spirits, the hosts that 
attend the throne of God; their perfect righte- 
ousness, their full devotedness to God, their 
ardent love, their flaming zeal, their ready and 
cheerful obedience, their dignity and shining- 
glory, in which the lowest of them exceedeth 
that which the disciples saw on Moses and Elias 
when they appeared on the holy mount, and 
talked with Christ. They hear by faith the 
heavenly concert, the high and harmonious songs 
of praise, the joyful triumphs of crowned saints, 
the sweet commemorations of the thing's that 
were done and suffered on earth, with the praises 
of him that redeemed them by his blood, and 
made them kings and priests to God. Herein 
he hath sometime a sweet foretaste of the ever- 
lasting pleasures, which though it be but little, 
as Jonathan's honey on the end of his rod, or as 
the clusters of grapes which were brought from 
Canaan into the wilderness, yet are they more 


150 Walking with God. 

excellent than all the delights of sinners. And 
in the beholding of this celestial glory, some 
beams do penetrate his breast, and so irradiate 
his longing soul, that he is changed thereby into 
the same image from glory to glory ; the spirit 
of glory and of God doth rest upon him; and 
O what an excellent holy frame doth this con- 
verse with God possess his soul of I How 
reverently doth he think of him! What life is 
there in every name and attribute of God which 
he heareth or thinketh on ! The mention of his^ 
power, his wisdom, his goodness, his love, his 
holiness, his truth — how powerful and how plea- 
sant are they to him .* when to those that know 
him but by the hearing of the ear, all these are 
but like common names and notions : and even 
to the weaker sort of christians, whose walking 
with God is more uneven and low, interrupted 
by their sins, and doubts, and fears, this life and 
glory of a christian course is less perceived. 

And the sweet appropriating and applying 
works of faith, by which the soul can own 
his God, and finds itself owned by him, are 
exercised most easily and happily in these 
near approaches unto God. Our doubts are 
cherished by our darkness, and that is much 
caused by our distance :^ the nearer the soul 
doth approach to God, the more distinctly it 
heareth the voice of mercy, the sweet recon- 
ciling invitations of love; and the more clearly 
it discerneth that ooodness and amiableness ixk 

Walking with God. 151 

Ood wliich maketh it easier to us to believe that 
he loveth us, or is ready to embrace us ; and 
banisheth all those false and horrid apprehen- 
sions of him, which before were our discourage- 
ment, and made him seem to us more terrible 
than amiable. As the ministers and faithful 
servants of Christ are ordinarily so misrepre- 
sented by the malignant devil, to those that 
know them not, that they are ready to think 
them some silly fools, or falsehearted hypocrites, 
and to shun them as strange undesirable per- 
sons; but when they come to a thorough 
acquaintance with them by a nearer and familiar 
converse, they see how much they were mis- 
taken, and wronged by their prejudice and 
belief of slanderers' misreports: even so a weak 
believer that is under troubles, in the apprehen- 
sion of his sin and danger, is apt to hearken to 
the enemy of God, that would shew him nothing 
but his wrath, and represent God as an enemy to 
him : and in this case it is exceeding hard for a 
poor sinner to believe that God is reconciled to 
bim, or loveth him, or intends him good ; but he 
5s ready to dread and shun him as an enemy, or 
as he would fly from a wild beast or murderer, or 
from fire or water that would destroy him : and 
all these injurious thoughts of God are cherished 
by strangeness and disacquaintance. But as the 
soul doth fall into an understanding and serious 
converse with God, and having been often with 
him doth find him more merciful than he was 

152 Walkins, with Geyd, 


by Satan represented to him, his experience 
reconcileth his mind to God, and maketh it 
much easier to him to believe that God is recon- 
ciled unto him, when he hath found much better 
entertainment with God than he expected, and 
hath observed his benignity, and the treasures 
of his bounty laid up in Christ, and by him dis- 
tributed to believers, and hath foimd him ready 
to hear and help, and found him the only full 
and suitable felicitating good, this banisheth his 
former horrid thoughts, and maketh him ashamed 
that ever he should think so suspiciously, inju- 
riously, and dishonorably of his dearest God 
and Father. 

Yet I must confess that there are many upright 
troubled souls, that are much in reading, prayer, 
and meditation, that still find it hard to be per- 
suaded of the love of God, and that have much 
more disquietment and fear since they set them- 
selves to think of God than they had before: 
but yet, for all this, we may well conclude- 
that to walk with God is the way to consolation,, 
and tendeth to acquaint us with his love. As 
for those troubled souls whose experience is 
objected against this, some of them are such as 
are yet but in their return to God, from a life of 
former sin and misery, and are yet but like the 
needle in the compass that is shaken, in a trem- 
bling motion towards their rest, and not in any 
settled apprehensions of it. Some of them by 
the straining of their imagination too high, and 

Wulkive. with God. 153 


putting themselves upon more than their heads 
can bear, and by the violence of fears or other 
passions, do make themselves incapable of those 
sweet consolations which else they might find in 
their converse with God; as a lute when the 
strings are broken with straining, is incapable of 
making any melody: all of them have false 
apprehensions of God, and therefore trouble 
thejRselves by their own mistakes. And if some 
perplex themselves by their error, doth it follow 
that therefore the truth is not comfortable? Is 
not a father's presence consolatory because 
some children are afraid of their fathers, that 
l^now them not because of some disguise? And 
some of God's children walk so unevenly and 
carelessly before him, that their sins provoke 
him to hide his face, and to seem to reject them 
and disown them, and so to trouble them that 
he may bring them home : but shall the com- 
forts of our father's love and family be judged 
of by the fears or smart of those whom he i-s 
scourging for their disobedience, or their trial? 
Seek God with understanding, as knowing his 
essential properties, and what he will be to thern 
that sincerely and diligently seek him, and then 
you will quickly have experieiice that nothing 
so much tendeth to quiet and settle a doubting 
troubled unstable soul, as faithfully to walk witli 

But the soul that estrangeth itself from God, 
piiay indeed for a time have the quietness ©f 

154 Walking with God. 

security; but (so far) it will be strange to tli-e 
assurance of his love, and to true consolation. 
Expect not that God should follow with his 
comforts in your sinfulness and negligence, and 
cast them into your hearts whilst you neither 
seek nor mind them, or that he give you the 
fruit of his ways in your own ways. Will he be 
your joy when you forget him ? will he delight 
your souls with his goodness and amiableness, 
while you are taken up with other matters, and 
think not of him ? can you expect to find the 
comforts of his family, among his enemies, out 
of doors? The experience of all the world can 
tell you, that prodigals while they are straggling 
from their Father's house, do never taste the 
comfort of his embraces; the strangers meddle 
not with his children's joys: they grow not in 
the way of ambition, covetousness, vainglory, or 
sensuality ; but in the way of holy obedience, 
and of believing contemplations of the divine 
everlasting objects of delight. For, lo, they that 
are far from him shall perish : he destroyeth 
them that go a whoring fro^ii him: but it is 
good for us to draw nigh to God. Ps. Ixxiii, 
27, 28. 

III. Walking with God, is the only course 
that can prove and make men truly wise. It 
proves them wise that make so wise and good 
a choice, and are disposed and skilled in any 
measure for so high a work. Practical wisdom 
.is the solid/ useful, profitable vvisdom : and 

Walking with God. 155 

practical wisdom is seen in our choice of good, 
and refusal of evil, as its most immediate and 
excellent effect. And no choosing or refusing 
doth shew the wisdom or folly of man so much 
as that which is about the greatest matters, and 
which everlasting life or death depends on. He 
is not thought so wise among men that can 
write a volume about the orthography or ety- 
mology of a word, or that can guess what wood 
the Trojan horse was made of, or that can make 
a chain to tie a flea in, as he that can bring 
home gold and pearls, or he that can obtain and 
manage governments, or he that can cure mor- 
tal maladies : for as in lading we difference bulk 
and value, and take not that for the best com- 
modity which is of greatest quantity or weight, 
but that which is most precious and of greatest 
use : so there is a bulky knowledge, extended 
far, to a multitude of words and things, which 
are all of no great use or value ; and therefore 
the knowledge of them is such as they : and 
there is a precious sort of knowledge, which 
fixeth upon the most precious things ; which 
being of greatest use and value, do accordingly 
prove the knowledge such. Nothing will prove 
a man simply and properly wise, but that which 
will prove or make him happy. He is wise in- 
deed, that is wise to his own and others' good : 
and that is indeed his good, which saveth his 
soul, and maketh him for ever blessed. Though 
^e yiay admire the cunning of those that can 

156 Walkins: with God. ' 

make the most curious engines, or by deceiving 
others advance themselves, or that can subtly 
dispute the most curious niceties, or criticise 
upon the words of several languages ; yet I will 
never call them wise, that are all that while the 
devil's slaves, the enemies of God, the refusers 
of grace, and are making haste to endless 
misery : and I think there is not one of those in 
hell who were once the subtle men on earth, 
that now take themselves to have been truly 
wise, or glory much in the remembrance of such 

And as this choice doth prove men wise, so 
the practice of this holy walking with God doth 
make them much wiser than they were. As 
there must be some work of the Spirit to draw 
men to believe in Christ, and yet the Spirit is 
promised and given (in a special sort or mea- 
sure) to them that do believe; so must there 
be some special wisdom to make men choose to 
walk with God ; but much more is given to 
them in this holy course. As Solomon was 
wiser than most of the world, before he asked, 
wisdom of God, or else he would not have made 
so wise a choice, and preferred wisdom before 
the riches and honors of the world ; and yet it 
was a more notable degree of wisdom that v^ as 
afterwards given h"im in answer to his prayer : 
so it is in this case. 

There are many undeniable evidences to prove, 
that walking with God doth do more to make 

tValkins: with God. 157 

men truly wise, than all other learning or policy 
in the world. 

1. He that walketh with God, doth begin 
aright, and settle upon a sure foundation ; (and 
we use to say, that a work is half finished that 
is well begun.) He hath engaged himself to 
the best and wisest teacher; he is a disciple to 
him that knoweth all things ; he hath taken in 
infallible principles, and taken them in their 
proper place and order; he hath learnt those 
truths which will eveiy one become a teacher 
to him, and help him to that which is yet 
unlearnt : whereas many that thought they were 
doctors in Israel, if ever they will be wise and 
happy, must become fools, (that is, such as they 
have esteemed fools) if ever they will be wise, 
1 Cor. iii. 18, and must be called back with 
Nicodemus to learn Christ's cross, and to be 
taught that that which is born of the flesh is 
but flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit 
is spirit; and that therefore they must be born . 
again (not only of water, but also of the Spirit), 
if ever they will enter into the kingdom of hea- 
ven. John iii. 3,5, 6. O miserable beginning! 
and miserable progress ! when men that never 
soundly learnt the mysteries of regeneration, 
and faith, and love, and self-denial^ and mor- 
tification, do proceed to study names and words, 
and to turn over a multitude of books, to fill 
their brains with airy notions, and their common- 
places with such sayings as may be provision 

158 Walkino; with God. 

and furniture for their pride and ostentatio'-l, 
and ornament to their style and language ; and 
know not yet what they must do to be saved, 
and indeed know nothing as they ought to 
know! 1 Cor. viii. 2. As every science hath 
its principles, which are supposed in all the 
consequential varieties ; so hath religion as 
doctrinal and practical, those truths which 
must be first received before any other can be 
received as it ought; and those things which 
must be first done, before any other can be 
done so as to attain their ends. And these 
truths and duties are principally about God 
himself, and are known and done effectually 
by those, and only those, that walk with God, 
or are devoted to him. It is a lamentable thing 
to see men immersed in serious studies, even till 
they grow aged, and to hear them seriously 
disputing and discoursing about the contro- 
versies or difficulties in theology, or inferior 
sciences, before ever they had any saving know- 
ledge of God, or of the work of the Holy Ghost 
in the converting and sanctifying of the soul, or 
how to escape everlasting misery ! 

2. He that walketh with God, hath fixed upon 
a right end, and is renewing his estimation and 
intention of it, and daily prosecuting it : and 
this is the first and greatest part of practical 
wisdom. When a man once knoweth his end 
aright, he may the better judge of the aptitude 
and seasonableness of all the means. When 

Walking with God. 1^9 

we know once that heaven containeth the only 
felicity of man, it will direct us to heavenly 
cogitations, and to such spiritual means as are 
fitted to that end : if we have the rioht mark in 
our eye, we are liker to level at it than if we 
mistake our mark. He is the wise man, and 
only he, that hath steadily fixed his eye upon 
that blessedness which he was created and 
redeemed for, and maketh straight towards it, 
and bends the powers of soul and body, by 
faithful constant diligence to obtain it. He that 
hath rightly and resolvedly determined of his 
end, hath virtually resolved a thousand contro- 
versies that others are unsatisfied and erroneous 
in. He that is resolved, that his end is to 
please and glorify God, and to enjoy him for 
ever, is easily resolved whether a holy life, or a 
sensual and worldly, be the way : whether the 
way be to be godly, or to make a mock at godli- 
ness : whether covetousness and riches, ambition 
and preferment, voluptuousness and fleshly plea- 
sures, be the means to attain his end: whether 
it will be attained rather by the studying of the 
word of God, and meditating on it day and 
night, and by holy conference, and fervent 
prayer, and an obedient life ; or by negligence, 
or worldliness, or drunkenness, or gluttony, or 
cards and dice, or beastly filthiness, or injustice 
and deceit. Know once but whither it is that 
we are going, and it is easy to know whether the 
saint, or the swine, or the swaggerer be in the 

160 > Walking luith God. 

way. But a man that doth mistake his end, is 
out of his way at the first step ; and the further 
he goes, the further he is from true felicity; and 
the more he erreth, and the further he hath to 
go back again, if ever he return. Every thing 
that a man doth in the world, which is not for 
the right end, (the heavenly felicity) is an act of 
foolishness and error, how splendid soever the 
matter or the name may make it appear to 
ignorant men. Every word that an ungodly 
person speaketh being not for a right end, is in 
him but sin and folly, however materially it may 
be an excellent and useful truth. While a mise- 
rable soul hath his back upon God, and his face 
upon the world, every step he goeth is an act of 
folly, as tending unto his further misery. It 
can be no act of wisdom, which tendeth to a 
man's damnation. When such a wretch begins 
to enquire and bethink him where he is, and 
whither he is going, and ^whither he should go, 
and to think of turning back to God, then and 
never till then he is beginning to come to him- 
self, and to be wise. Luke xv. 17. Till God and 
glory be the end that he aimeth at, and seriously 
bends his study, heart and hfe to seek, though a 
man were searching into the mysteries of nature, 
though he were studying or discussing the notions 
of theology, though he were admired for his 
learning and wisdom by the world, and cried up 
as the oracle of the earth, he is all the while but 
playing the fool, and going a cleanlier way to 

Walking with God. 161 

hell than the grosser sinners of the world ! For 
is he wise, that knoweth not whether heaven or 
earth be better? whether God or his flesh should 
be obeyed? whether everlasting joys, or the 
transitory pleasures of sin, should be preferred ? 
or that seemeth to be convinced of the truth in 
these and such like cases, and yet hath not the 
wit to make his choice, and bend his life accord- 
ing to his conviction ? He cannot be wise that 
practically mistakes his end. 

3. He that walketh with God, doth know those 
things, with a deep, effectual, heart-changing 
knowledge, which other men know but super- 
ficially, by the halves, and as in a dream. And 
true wisdom consisteth in the intensiveness of 
the knowledge subjectively, as much as in the 
extensiveness of it objectively. To see a few 
things in a narrow room perspicuously and 
clearly, doth shew a better eye-sight, than in 
the open air to see many things obscurely so as 
scarce to discern any of them aright; (like him 
that saw men walk like trees). The clearness 
and depth of knowledge, which makes it effec- 
tual to its proper use, is the greatness and 
excellency of it: therefore it is that unlearned 
men that love and fear the Lord, may well be 
said to be incomparably more wise and knowing 
men, than the most learned that are ungodly. 
As he hath more riches that hath a little gojd or 
jeviels, than he that hath many load of stones : 
so he that hath a deep effectual knowledge of 

VOL. n. K 

162 Walkinrr with God. 


God the Father, and the Redeemer, and of the 
life to come, is wiser and more knowing than he 
that hath only a notional knowledge of the same 
things, and of a thousand more. A wicked 
man hath so much knowledge as teacheth him 
to speak the same words of God, and Christ, 
and heaven, which a true believer speaks; but 
not so much as to work in him the same affec- 
tions and choice, nor so much as to cause him 
to do the same work. As it is a far more excel- 
lent kind of knowledge which a man hath of 
any country by travel and habitation there, tliau 
that which cometh but by reading or report; or 
which a man hath of meat, of fruits, of wine, by 
eating and drinking, than that which another 
hath by hearsay ; so is the inward heart-affect- 
ing knowledge of a true believer more excellent 
than the flashy notions of the ungodly. Truth, 
simply as truth, is not the highest and most 
excellent object of the mind : but good, as good, 
must be apprehended by the understanding, and 
commended to the will, which entertaineth it 
with complacency, adhereth to it with choice 
and resolution, prosecuteth it with desire and 
endeavour, and enjoyeth it with delight: and 
though it be the understanding which appre- 
hendeth it, yet it is the heart or will that 
relisheth it, and tasteth the greatest sweetness in 
it, working upon it with some mixture of internal 
sense (which hath made some ascribe a know- 
ledge of good as such unto the will) ; and it is. 

Walking with God. 163 

tlie will's intention that causeth the understand- 
ing to be denominated practical : and therefore 
1 may well say that it is wisdom indeed when it 
reacheth to the heart. No man.knoweth the 
truth of God so well as he that most firmly 
believeth him; and no man knoweth the good- 
ness of God so well as he that loveth him most : 
no man knoweth his power and mercy so well 
as he that doth most confidently trust him; and 
no man knoweth his justice and dreadfulness so 
well as he that feareth him: no man knoweth or 
belie veth the glory of heaven so well as he that 
most esteemeth, desireth, and seeketh it, and 
hath the most heavenly heart and conversation : 
no man believeth in Jesus Christ so well as he 
that giveth up himself unto him, with the greatest 
love and thankfulness, and trust and obedience. 
As James saith, — Shew me thy faith by thy 
works, so say I, Let me know the measure and 
value of my knowledge by my heart and life. 
That is wisdom indeed which conformeth a man 
to God, and saveth his soul: this only will l)e 
owned as wisdom to eternity, when dreaming 
notions will prove but folly. 

4. He that walketh with God hath an infal- 
lible rule, and taketh the right course to have 
the best acquaintance with it, and skill to use 
it. The doctrine that informeth him is divine : 
it is from heaven, and not of men : and therefore 
if God be wiser than man, he is able to make 
his disciples wisest; and his teaching will 

164 V/alkuig with God. 

more certainly and powerfully illuminate. Many 
among men have pretended to infallibility, that 
never could justify their pretensions, but have 
confuted them by their own mistakes and 
crimes : but none can deny the infallibility of 
God. He never yet was deceived, or did de- 
ceive : he erreth not, nor teacheth error. Nico- 
demus knew Christ was to be believed, when he 
knew that he was a teacher come from God. 
John iii. 2. Christ knew that the Jews them- 
s Dives durst not deny the truths of John's doc- 
trine, if he could but convince them that it was 
" from heaven, and not of men." It is impossible 
for God to lie: it is the devil that was a liar 
from the beginning, and is yet the father of lies : 
no wonder if they believe lies that follow such 
a teacher. And those that follow the flesh and 
the world, do follow the devil : they that will 
believe what their fleshly interest and lusts per- 
suade them to believe, do believe what the devil 
persuadeth them to believe ; for he persuadeth 
them by these, and for these. What marvel 
then if there be found men in the world, that 
can believe that holiness is hypocrisy, or a 
needless thing ; that those are the worst men 
that are most careful to please God; that the 
world is more worthy of their care and labor, 
than their salvation is ; that the pleasures of sin 
for a season are more desirable, than the ever- 
lasting happiness of the saints; that cards and 
dice, and mirth and lust, and wealth and honor^ 

Walkhw with God. 165 


are matters more delectable, than prayer, aiid 
meditating on the word of God, and loving him, 
and obeying him, and waiting in the hopes of 
life eternal ; that gluttons and drunkards, and 
whoremongers, and covetous persons, may enter 
into the kingdom of God, &c. What wonder if 
a thousand such damnable lies, are believed by 
the disciples of the father of lies! what wonder 
if there are so many saint-haters, and God- 
haters in the world, as to fill the earth with per- 
secutions and cruelties, or make a scorn of that 
which God most highly valueth ; and all this 
under pretences of order, or unity, or justice, or 
something that is good, and therefore fit to pal- 
liate their sin! Is there any thing so false, or 
foul, or wicked, that Satan will not teach his 
followers? Is he grown modest, or moderate, or 
holy, or just ? Is he reconciled to Christ, to 
scripture, to godliness, or to the godly? Or is 
liis kingdom of darkness at an end ? and hath 
he lost the earth ? Or are men therefore none of 
the servants of the devil, because they were 
baptised (as Simon Magus was) and call and 
think themselves the servants of Christ ? As if 
still it were not the art by which he gets and 
keeps disciples, to suffer them to wear the livery 
of Christ, and to use his name, that he may 
thus keep possession of them in peace, who else 
would be frighted from him, and fly to Christ I 
He will give them leave to study arts and sci- 
ences, and to understand things excellent of 

166 Walking tvith God. 

inferior use, so be it they will be deceived by 
hira in the matters of God and their salvation: 
he can allow them to be learned lawyers, excel- 
lent physicians, philosophers, politicians, to be 
skilful artists, so be it they will follow him in 
sin to their damnation, and will overlook the 
truth that should set them free: John viii. 32. 
yea, he will permit them (when there is no 
remedy) to study the holy scriptures, if he may 
but be the expounder and applier of it; yea, he 
will permit them notionally to understand it, if 
they will not learn by it to be converted, to be 
lioly, and to be saved : he can suffer them to 
be eminent divines, so they will not be serious 
christians. Thus is the world by the grand 
deceiver hurried in darkness to perdition, being 
taken captive by him at his will. 2 Tim. ii. 26. 
But the sanctified are all illuminated by the Holy 
Ghost, by whom their eyes are so effectually 
opened, that they are turned from darkness unto 
light, and from the power of Satan unto God. 
Acts xxvi. 18. The Father of glory hath given 
them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the 
knowledge of Christ, that the eyes of their 
understanding being enlightened, they may know 
what is the hope of his calling, and what the 
riches of the glory of his inheritance in the 
saints. Eph. i. 17, 18. Certainly that illumi- 
nation of the Holy Ghost which is so often 
mentioned in scripture as given to all true 
believers, is not a fancy, nor an insignificant 

Walkincr with God. 167 

«ame : and if it signify any thing, it signifieth 
somewhat that is much above the teaching of 
man. All that walk with God are taught of 
God ! And can man teach like God ? God hath 
access unto the heart, and there he doth tran- 
scribe his laws, and put them into our inward 
parts : and they that v/alk with him have not 
only his word to read, but his Spirit to help 
them to understand it; and being with him in 
his family (yea, he dwelleth in them and they in 
him) he is ready at hand to resolve their doubts ! 
When he gave them his fear, he gave them the 
beofinnino- of wisdom, Ps. cxi. 10. He causeth 
them to incline their ear to wisdom, Prov. ii. 2j 
and to apply their hearts unto it, Ps. xc. 12, 
and maketh them to know it in the hidden parts. 
Ps. li. 6. 

It is his law that they have determined to 
make their rule: they live as under his autho- 
rity : they are more observant of his will and 
government, than of any laws or government 
of man: and as they obey man in and for the 
Lord, so they do it in subordination to him, and 
therefore not against him and his laws, which 
being the standard of justice, and the rule of 
rulers, and of subjects both, they are in the 
safest way of unerring wisdom, who walk with 
God according to that rule, and refuse to turn 
aside, though commanded by man, or enticed by 
Satan, the world, or flesh. 

5. He that walketh with God is the most 

168 TValking with God. 

considerate person, and therefore hath great 
advantage to be wise : the frequent and serious 
thoughts of God, do awaken all the powers of 
the soul, so that drowsiness doth not hinder 
the understanding, and so occasion its deceit. 
There is scarce a more common and powerful 
cause of men's folly and delusion and perdition, 
in all the world, than that sleepiness and stu- 
pfdity which hindereth reason from the vigorous 
performance of its office. In this senseless case, 
though a man both know and consider of the 
same truths, which in their nature are most 
powerful to cleanse and govern and save bis 
soul, yet sluggishness doth enervate them ; he 
knoweth them as if he knew them not, and 
considereth them as if he never thought of 
them ; they work little more upon him, than if 
he believed them not, or had never heard of 
them ; even as a dream of the greatest matters, 
moveth not the sleeper from his pillow. In this 
senseless state, the devil can do almost any 
thing with a sinner; he can make him sin 
against his knowledge ; and when conscience 
hath frighted him into some kind of penitence, 
and made him cry out, I have sinned and done 
foolishly, and caused him to promise to do so 
no more; yet doth the devil prevail with him 
to go on, and to break his promises, as if he 
had' never been convinced of his sins, or con 
fessed them, or seen any reason or necessity 
to amend; he doth but imprison the truth in 

[Walking with God, 169 

unrighteousness, and bury it in a senseless 
heart : whereas if you could but awaken all 
the powers of his soul, to give this same truth 
its due entertainment, and take it deeper into 
his heart, it would make him even scorn the 
baits of sin, and see that the ungodly are beside 
themselves, and make him presently resolve and, 
set upon a holy life. And hence it is that sick- 
ness which causeth men to receive the sentence 
of death, doth usually make men bewail their 
former sinful lives, and marvel that they could 
be before so sottish as to resist such known and 
weighty truths : and it makes them purpose and 
prornise reformation, and wish themselves in the 
case of those that they were wont before to 
deride and scorn ; because now the truth is 
deeplier received and digested by their awakened 
souls, and appeareth in its proper evidence and 
strength. There is no man but must acknow- 
ledge, that the same truth doth at one time 
command his soul, which at another time seems 
of little force : it is a wonder to observe how 
differently the same consideration worketh with 
a man when he is awakened, and when he is in 
a secure stupid case ! 

Now this is his advantage that walks with 
God. — He is much more frequently than others 
awakened to a serious apprehension of the 
things which he understandeth : the thoughts 
of the presence of the most holy God, will not 
puffer him to be as secure and senseless as others 

170 Walking with God. 

are, or as he is himself when he turneth aside 
from this heavenly conversation. He hath in 
God such exceeding transcendent excellencies, 
such greatness, such goodness continually to 
behold, that it keepeth his soul in a much more 
serious lively state, than any other means could 
keep it in : so that whenever any truth or duty 
is presented to him, all his faculties are awake 
and ready to observe it and improve it. A ser- 
mon, or a good book, or godly conference, or 
a merey, when a man hath been with God in 
prayer or contemplation, will relish better with 
him, and sink much deeper, than at another 
time. Nay, one serious thought of God himself 
will do more to make a man truly and solidly 
wise' than all the reading and learning in the 
world, which shuts him out. 

6. Walking with God doth fix the mind, and' 
keep it from diversions and vagaries, and con- 
sequently much helpeth to make men wise. A 
strao-gling mind is empty and unfurnished. He 
that hath no dwelling, for the most part hath no 
wealth. Wandering is the beggar's life. Men 
do but bewilder and lose themselves, and not 
grow wise, whose thoughts are ranging in the- 
corners of the earth, and are like masterless 
dogs, that run up and down according to their 
fancy, and may go any whither, but have busi- 
ness nowhere. The creature will not fix the 
soul; but God is the centre of all our cogita- 
tions : in him only they may unite, and fix, and 

Walking zcith God. 171 

rest. He is the only loadstone that can effectu- 
ally attract and hold it steadfast to himself: 
therefore he that walks with God is the most 
constant and unmoveable of men. Let pros-- 
perity or adversity come; let the world be 
turned upside down^ and the mountains be 
hurled into the sea, yet he changeth not. Let 
inen allure or threat, let them scorn or rage, let 
laws, and customs, and governments, and inte- 
rest change, he is still the same : for he knoweth 
that God is still the same, and that his word 
changeth not. Let that be death one year which 
was the w^ay to reputation another, and let the 
giddy world turn about as the seasons of the 
year, this changeth not his mind and life (though' 
in things lawful he is of a yielding temper) : for 
he knoweth that the interest of his soul doth 
not change with the humors or interests of 
men. He still feareth sinning, for he knoweth 
that judgment is still drawing on, in all changes 
and seasons whatsoever. He is still set upon 
the pleasing of the most holy God, whoever be' 
uppermost among men ; as knowing that the 
God whom he serveth is able to deliver him 
from man, but man is not able to deliver hini 
from God. He still goeth on in the holy path, 
as knowing that heaven is as sure and as desira- 
ble as ever it was. Ps. cxii. 6 — 8. " Surelv he 
shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall 
be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not 
be afraid of evil tidings : his heart is fixed 

172 Walking with God. 

trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, 
he shall not be afraid." 

7. He that walketh with God hath the great 
master-truths upon his heart, which are the 
standard of the rest, and the stock, as it were, 
out of which they spring. The great truths 
about God, and grace, and glory, have a greater 
power than many hundred truths of an inferior 
nature. And moreover, such a one is sure that 
lie shall be wise in the greatest and most neces- 
sary points. He is guilty of no ignorance or 
error that shall keep him out of heaven, or hin- 
der his acceptance with his God. And if he be 
wise enough to please God and to be saved, he 
is wise indeed : (as before was hinted.) 

8. Walking with God doth take off the visor 
of deluding things, and keepeth us out of the 
reach and power of those objects and arguments 
which are the instruments of deceit. When a 
man hath been believingly and seriously with 
God, how easily can he see through the sophis- 
try of the tempting world! How easily can he 
practically confute the reasonings of the flesh ; 
and discern the dotage of the seeming subtleties 
of wicked men, that will needs think they have 
reason for that which is displeasing to their 
maker, and tends to the damning of their souls ! 
So far as a man is conversant with God, so far 
he is sensible, that all things are nothing, which 
can be offered as a price to hire him to sin : and 
that the name of preferment, and honor an4 

Walking with God. 173 

wealth, or of disgrace and imprisonment and 
death, are words almost of no signification, as to 
the tempter's ends, to draw the soul from God 
and duty. It is men that know not God, and 
know not what it is to walk with him, that think 
these words so big and powerful, to whom 
wealth and honor signify more than God and 
heeven ; and poverty, disgrace and death, do 
signify more than God's displeasure and ever- 
lasting punishment in hell. As it is easy to 
cheat a man that is far I'rom the light, so is it 
easy to . deceive tKe learnedst man that is far 
from God. 

9. Walking with God, doth greatly help us 
against the deceitfulness and erroneous dispo- 
sition of our own hearts. The will hath a very 
great power upon the understanding : and there- 
fore ungodly fleshly men will very hardly receive 
any truth which crosseth the carnal interest or 
disposition ; and will hardly let go any error that 
feedeth them, because their corrupted wills are 
a bias to their understandings, and make them 
desperately partial in all their reading and 
hearing, and hypocritical in their prayers and 
enquiries after truth : interest and corruption 
locketh up their hearts from their own obser- 
vation. Whereas a man that walketh with God, 
that is jealous, and holy, and just, and a searcher 
of the heart, is driven from hypocrisy, and forced 
to behave himself as in the open light, and to do 
&J.1 jis in the sight of all the world, as knowing 

174 Walking with God. 

that the sight of God is of far greater concern-' 
ment and regard. The partiality, corruption and 
bias of the heart, is detected and shamed by the 
presence of God : therefore to walk with God 
is to walk in the light, and as children of the 
light, and not in darkness. And he that doth 
truth cometh to the light, that his deeds might 
be manifest, that they are wrought in God :' 
when every one that doth evil hateth the light, 
neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should 
be reproved : and this is their condemnation, 
that light is come into the world, and m5n love 
the darkness rather than the light, because their 
deeds are evil. John iii. 19 — 21. It tendeth 
therefore exceedingly to make men wise, to 
walk with God, because it is a walking in the 
light, and in such a presence as most powerfully 
prevaileth against that hypocrisy, deceitfulness, 
and partiality of the heart, which is the common 
cause of damning error. 

10. Lastly, they that walk with God are 
entitled by many promises, to tlie guidance and 
direction of his Spirit. And blessed are those 
that have such a guide : at once a light in the 
world without them, and a light immediately 
from God within them : for so far as he is 
received and worketh in them, he will lead them 
into truth, and save them from deceit and folly; 
and having guided them by his counsel, wilj 
afterward take them unto glory. Ps. Ixxiii. 24. 
Whereas the ungodly are led by the fleshy and 

Walking with God. 175 

often given up to their own hearts' kists, to walk 
in their own counsels, Rom. viii. 1 — 13. Ps. 
Ixxxi. 12, till at last the fools do say in their 
hearts, there is no God, Ps. xiv. 1. and they 
become corrupt and abominable, eating up the 
people of the Lord as bread, and call not on his 
name, ver. 2. &c. deceiving and being deceived: 
sensual, having not the Spirit, Jude 19. who 
shall receive the rev.ard of their unrighteous- 
ness, as accounting it pleasure to riot in the day 
time. 2 Pet. ii. 13. 

IV. Another benefit of walking with God, is, 
that it maketh men good, as well as wise : it is 
the most excellent means for the advancement 
of man's soul to the highest degree of holiness 
attainable in this life. If conversing with good 
men doth powerfully tend to make men good ; 
conversing with God must needs be more effec- 
tual ; which may appear in these particulars. 

1. The apprehensions of the presence and 
attributes of God, do most effectually check the 
stirrings of corruption, and rebuke all the vicious 
inclinations and motions of the soul : even the 
most secret sin of the heart, is rebuked by his 
presence, as well as the most open transgression 
of the life : for the thoughts of the heart are 
open to his view. All that is done before God, 
is done as in the open light : nothing of it can 
be hid : no sin can have the encouragement of 
secrecy to embolden it : it is all committed in 
the presence of the universal king and lawgiver 

176 Walking with God. 

of the world, who hath forbidden it : it is done 
before him that most abhorreth it, and will never 
be reconciled to it: it is done before him that is 
the judge of the world, and will shortly pass the 
sentence on us according to what we have done 
in the body : it standeth up in his presence who 
is of infinite majesty and perfection, and there- 
fore most to be reverenced and honored ; and 
therefore if the presence of a wise and grave 
and venerable person will restrain men from sin, 
the presence of God apprehended seriously, will 
do it much more: it is comrnitted before him 
that is our dearest friend, and tender father, 
and chiefest benefactor; and therefore ingenuity, 
gratitude ?ind love, will all rise up against it in 
those that walk with God. There is that in 
God, before the eyes of those that walk with 
him, which is most contrary to sin, and most 
powerful against it, of any thing jn tjie world. 
Every one will confess that if men's eyes were 
opened to see the Lord in glory standing over 
them, it would be the most powerful meaps to 
restrain them from transgressing : the drunkard 
would not then venture upon his cups ; the for- 
nicator would have a cooling for his lusts; the 
swearer would be afraid to take his maker's 
name in vain; the profane would scarce presume 
to scorn or persecute a holy life. And he that 
walketh with God, though he see him not cor- 
poreally, yet seeth him by faith, and liveth as 
ijSi his presence ; and therefore must needs \)§ 

Walking with God. 177 

restrained from sin, as having the means which is 
next to the sight of God. If pride should begin 
to stir in one that walks with God, O what a 
powerful remedy is at hand ! how effectually 
would the presence of the great and holy God 
rebuke it, and constrain us to say, as Job, xlii. 
5, 6. " I have heard of thee by the hearing of 
the ear ; but now mine eye seeth thee : where- 
fore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and 
ashes." If worldly love or carnal lust should 
stir in such a one, how powerfully would the 
terrors of the Lord repress it, and his majesty 
rebuke it, and his love and goodness overcome 
it! If worldly carca or murmuring discontents 
begin to trouble such a one, how effectually will 
tiie goodness, the all-sufficiency, and the faith- 
fulness of God allay them, and quiet and satisfy 
the soul, and cause it to be offended at its own 
offence, and to chide itself for its ripenings and 
distrust! If passion arise and begin to dis- 
compose us, how powerfully will the presence 
of God rebuke it! and the reverence of his 
majesty, and the sense of his authority and 
pardoning grace will assuage it, and shame us 
into silent quietness. Who dare let out his 
passions upon man in the presence of his maker, 
that apprehendeth his presence? The same I 
might say of all other sins. 

2. The presence and attributes of God appre- 
hended by those that walk with him, is the 
potent remedy against temptations. Who will 

178 Walking with God. 


once turn an eye to the gold and glory of the 
world that is offered him to allure him to sin, if 
he see God stand by ? Who would be tempted 
to lust, or any sinful pleasure, if he observe the 
presence of the Lord? Satan can never come 
in so ill a time with his temptations, and have 
so little hope to speed, as when the soul is 
contemplating the attributes of God, or taken 
up "in prayer with him, or any way apprehen- 
sive of his presence. The soul that faithfully 
walks with God, hath enough at harfd in him 
to answer all temptations : and the further any 
man is from God, and the less he knoweth him, 
the more tempUilioas can do upon him. 

3. The presence of God, afFordeth the most 
powerful motives unto good, to those that walk 
with him. There is no grace in man, but what 
is from God, and may find in God its proper 
object or incentive. As God is God, above 
the creature transcendently and infinitely in all 
perfections, so all the motives to goodness 
which are fetched from him, are transcendently 
above all that may be fetched from any creature. 
He that liveth always by the fire or in the sun- 
shine, is likest to be warm : he that is most 
with God, will be most like to God in holiness: 
frequent and serious converse with him, doth 
most deeply imprint his communicable attributes 
on the heart, and make there the clearest im- 
pression of his image. Believers have learned 
by their own experience, that one hour's serious 

Walking with God. 179 

prayer or meditation, in which they can get 
nigh to God in the Spirit, doth more advance 
their grace, than any help that the creature can 
afford them. 

4. Moreover, those that walk with God, have 
not only a powerful, but an universal incentive 
for the actuating and increasing of every grace. 
Knowledge, and faith, and fear, and love, and 
trust, and hope, and obedience, and zeal, and all 
have in God their proper o])jects and incentives: 
one creature may be useful to us in one thing, 
and another in another thing ; but God is the 
most effectual mover of all his graces; and that 
in a holy harmony and order. Indeed he hath 
no greater motive to draw us to love him, and 
fear him, and trust him, and obey him, than 
himself. It is life eternal to know him in his 
Son, John xvii. 3 ; and that is, not only because 
it entitleth us to life eternal, but also because 
it is the beg-innino; and incentive of that life of 
holiness which will be eternal. 

5. Moreover, those that walk with God, have 
a constant as well as a powerful and universal 
incentive to exercise and increase their graces. 
Other helps may be out of the way ; their 
preachers may be silenced or removed ; their 
friends may be scattered or taken from them ; 
their books may be forbidden, or not at hand ; 
but God is always ready and willing: they have 
leave at all times to come to him, and be wel- 
come. Whenever they are willing they may go 

180 Walking ivith God. 

to him by prayer or contemplation, and find all 
in him which they can desire. If they want not 
hearts, they shall find no want of any thing in 
God. At what time soever fear would torment 
them, they may draw near and put their trust in 
him. Ps. Ivi. 2—4. xi. 1 . xviii. 2, 30. xxxi. 1, 6. 
He will be a sure and speedy refuge for them, 
a very present help in trouble. Ps. xlvi. 1. Ixii. 7, 
8. xci. 2, 9. xciv. 22. Whenever coldness or 
lukewarmness would extinguish the work of 
grace, they may go to him, and find those 
streams of flaming love flow from him, those 
strong attractives, those wonderful mercies, 
those terrible judgments, of which while they 
are musing, the fire may again wax hot -within 
them. Ps. xxxix. iii. 

6. Lastly, by way of encouraging reward, 
God useth to give abundantly of his grace, to 
those that walk most faithfully with him : he 
will shew most love to those that most love 
him ; he will be nearest to them that most de- 
sirously draw nigh to him ; while he forsaketh 
those that forsake him, and turneth away from 
those that turn away from him. 2 Chron. xv. 
2. Prov. i. 32. Ezra viii. 22. " The hand of our 
God is for good upon all them that seek him : 
but his power and his wrath is against all them 
that forsake him." 

Thus it is apparent in all those evidences, that 
walking with God, is not only a discovery of the 
goodness that men have, but the only way to 

Walking with God. 151 

increase their grace, and make them better. O 
what a sweet huraiUty and seriousness, and spi- 
rituality appeareth in the conference, or conver- 
sation, or both, of those that newly come from a 
believing close converse with God ; when they 
that come from men and books, may have but- 
a common mind or life : and those that come 
from the business and pleasure of the world and 
flesh, and from the company of foolish riotous 
gallants, may come defiled, as the swine out of 
the mire ! 

V. Lastly, to walk with God, is the best pre- 
paration for times of suffering, and for the day 
of death. As we must be judged according to 
what we have done in the body ; so the nearer 
we find ourselves to judgment, the more we 
shall be constrained to judge ourselves accord- 
ing to what we have done, and shall the more 
perceive the effects upon our souls. 

That this is so excellent a preparative for 
sufferings and death, will appear by the conside- 
ration of these particulars. 

1. They that walk with God are safest from 
all destructive sufferings ; and shall have none 
but what are sanctified to their good. Rom. viii. 
28. They are near to God, where destruction 
cometh not ; as the chicken under the wings of 
the hen. They walk with him that will not lead 
them to perdition : that will not neglect them, 
nor sell them for nought, nor expose them to the 
will of men and devils, though he may suffer 

182 Walking with God. 

them to be tried for their good. No one can 
take them out of his hands. Be near to him, 
and you are safe : the destroyer cannot fetch 
you thence. He can fetch you (when the time 
is come) from the side of your merriest compa- 
nions, and dearest friends ; from the presence of 
the greatest princes ; from the strongest tower, 
or most sumptuous palace, or from your heaps 
of riches, in your securest health : but he cannot 
take you from the arms of Christ, nor from 
under the wings of your Creator's love. For 
there is no God like him, in heaven above, or on 
the earth beneath, who keepeth covenant and 
mercy with his servants, that walk before him 
with all their heart. 1 Kings viii. 23. xi. 38. 
However we are used in our Father's presence, 
we are sure it shall be for good in the latter 
end : for he wanteth neither power nor love to 
deliver usj if he saw deliverance to be best. 

2. Walking with God is the surest way to 
obtain a certainty of his special love, and of 
our salvation : and what an excellent preparative 
for sufferings or death such assurance is, I need 
not tell any considerate believer. How easy 
may it be to us to suffer poverty, disgrace, or 
wrongs, or the pains of sickness or death, when 
once we are certain that we shall not suffer the 
pains of hell? How cheerfully may we go out 
of this troublesome world, and leave the greatest 
prosperity behind us, when we are sure to live 
in heaven for ever ! Even an infidel will say. 

Walking with God. 183 

that he could suffer or die, if he could but be 
certain to be glorified in heaven when he is dead. 
3. Walking with God doth mortify the flesh, 
and allay the affections and lusts thereof. The 
soul that is taken up with higher matters, and 
daily seeth things more excellent, becometh as 
dead to the things below : and thus it weaneth 
us from all that is in the world which seemeth 
most desirable to carnal men. And when the 
flesh is mortified, and the world is nothing to us, 
or but as a dead and loathsome carcase, what is 
, there left to be very troublesome in any suffering 
from the world ; or to make us loath by death to 
leave it? Tt is men that know not God, that 
overvalue the profits and honors of the world ; 
and men that never felt the comforts of commu- 
nion with God, that set too much by the plea- 
sures of the flesh : and it is men that set too 
much by these, that make so great a matter of 
suffering. It is he that basely overvalueth 
wealth, that whineth and repineth when he 
comes to poverty : it is he-that set too much 
by his honor, and being befooled by his pride, 
doth greatly esteem the thoughts or applauding 
words of men, that swelleth against those that 
disesteem him, and breaketh his heart when he 
falieth into disgrace. He that is cheated out of 
his wits by the pomps and splendour of a high 
and prosperous estate, doth think he is undone 
when he is brought low. But it is not so with 
him that walks with God : for being taken up 

184 Walking with God. 

with far higher things, he knoweth the vanity of 
these: as he seeth not in them any thing that is 
worthy of his strong desires, so neither any 
thing that is worthy of much lamentation when 
they are gone. He never thought that a shadow 
or feather, or a blast of wind could make him 
happy : and he cannot think that the loss of 
these can make him miserable. He that is taken 
up with God hath a liigher interest and business, 
and findeth not himself so much concerned in 
the storms or calms that are here below.,, as 
others are, who know no better, and never 
minded higher things. 

4. Walking; with God doth much overcome 
the fear of man. The fear of him that can 
destroy both soul and body in hell fire, will 
extinguish the fear of them that can but kill 
the body. Luke xii. 4. The threats or frowns of 
a worm are inconsiderable to him that daily 
walketh with the great and dreadful God, and 
hath his power and word for his security. As 
Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater 
riches than the treasures of Egypt, because he 
had respect to the recompense of reward; so he 
feared not the wrath of the king, for he endured 
as seeing him that is invisible. Heb. xi. 27. 

5. Walking with God doth much prepare for 
sufferings and death, in that it breedeth quiet- 
ness in the conscience : so that when all is at 
peace within, it will be easy to suffer any thing 
from without. Though there is no proper merit 

Walking with God. 185 

in our works to comfort us, yet it is an unspeak- 
able consolation to a slandered persecuted mun 
to be able to say, These evil sayings are spoken 
falsely of me, for the sake of Christ; and I 
suffer not as an evil doer, but as a christian: 
and it is matter of very great peace to -a man 
that is hasting unto death, to be able to say as 
Hezekiah, 2 Kings xx. 3, " Remember now, O 
Lord, how I have walked before thee .in truth, 
and with a perfect heart, and have done that 
which is good in thy sight:" and as Paul, 
2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, " T 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 
righteousness," &c. and as 2 Cor. i. 12, " For 
our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our con- 
science, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, 
not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of 
God, we have had our conversation in the 
world:" such a testimony of conscience is a 
precious coi-dial to a suffering or a dying man. 
The time that we have spent in a holy and 
heavenly conversation, will be exceeding sweet 
in the last review, when time spent in sinful 
vanity, and idleness, and in worldly and fleshly 
designs, will be grievous and tormenting. The 
day is coming, and is even at hand, when those 
that are now the most hardened infidels, cr 
obstinate presumptuous sinners, or scornful 
malicious enemies of holiness, would wish and 
wish a thousand times, that they had spent that 

VOL, 11. L 

186 WalJwig with God. 

life in a serious obedient walking with Go J, 
wliich they spent in seeking worldly wealth, and 
laying up a treasure on earth, and feeding the 
inordinate desires of their flesh. I tell you it is 
walking with God, that is the only way to have 
a sound and quiet conscience: and he that is 
healing and settling his conscience upon the 
love of God and the grace of Christ, in the 
time of his prosperity, is making the wisest 
preparation for adversity: and the preparation 
thus made so long before (perhaps twenty, or 
forty, or threescore years or more) is as truly 
useful and comfortable at a dying hour, as that 
part which is made immediately before. I know 
that besides this general preparation, there 
should be also a particular special preparation, 
for sufferings and death : but yet this general 
part is the chiefest and most necessary part. A 
man that hath walked in his lifetime with God, 
shall certainly be saved, though death surprize 
him unexpectedly, without any more particular 
preparation: but a particular preparation, with- 
out either such a life or such a heart as would 
cause it if he had recovered, is no sufficient 
preparation at all, and will not serve to any 
man's salvation. Alas I what a pitiful provision 
doth that man make for death and for salvation, 
who neglecteth his soul, despiseth the commands 
of God, and disregardeth the promises of eternal 
life, till he is ready to die, and then crieth out 
' I repeat, I am sorry for my sin, I would I 

Walking zoith God. 187 

had lived better,' and this only from the con- 
straint of fear, without any such love to God 
and holiness which would make him walk with 
God if he should recover! What if the priest 
absolve this man from all bis sins ? Doth God 
therefore absolve him? or shall he thus be saved? 
No, it is certain that all the sacraments and 
absolution in the world, will never serve to save 
such a soul, without that grace which must 
make it new and truly holy. The absolution of 
a minister of Christ, which is pronounced in his 
name, is a very great comfort to the truly peni- 
tent: for such God hath first pardoned by his 
general act of oblivion in the gospel, and it is 
God that sendeth his messenger to them (in 
sacraments and ministerial absolution) with that 
pardon particularized and applied to themselves. 
But where the heart is not truly penitent and 
converted, that person is not pardoned by the 
gospel, as being not in the covenant, or a child 
of promise ; and therefore the pardon of a 
minister, being upon mistake, or to an unquali- 
fied person, can reach no further than to admit 
him into the esteem of men, and to the commu- 
nion and outward privileges of the church (which 
is a poor comfort to a soul that must lie in hell) ; 
but it can never admit him into the kingdom of 
heaven. God indeed may approve the act of 
his ministers, if they go according to his rule, 
and deal in church administrations with those 
that make a credible profession of faith 
h 2 

188 Walhifig with God. 

AND HOLINESS, as if tliey had true faith and 
holiness : but yet he will not therefore make 
such ministerial acts effectual to the saving of 
unbelieving or unholy souls. Nay (because I 
have found many sensual ungodly people in- 
clining to turn papists, because vs^ith them they 
can have a quick and easy pardon of their sins^ 
by the pope, or by the absolution of the priest) 
let me tell such, that if they understand what 
they do, even this cheat is too thin to quiet 
their defiled consciences : for even the papist's 
school-doctors do conclude, that when the priest 
absolveth an impenitent sinner, or one that is 
nat qualified for pardon, such a one is not loosed 
or pardoned in heaven — Leg. Martin, de llipalda 
exposit. Liber. Magist. li. 4. dist. 18. /?. €54, 655, 
cS' p. 663, 664. dist. 20. Aquin. Dist. 20. q. 1. a. 
5. Suar. Tom. 4. in 3. p. disp. 52. Greg. Valent. 
Tom. 4. disp. 7. q. 20. p. 5. Tolet. lib. 6. cap. 27. 
Navar. Notab. 17. ^ 18. Cordub. de indulg. li. 5. 
q. 23. they deny not the truth of those words of 
Origen, Horn. 14. ad cap. 24. Levit. " Exit quis 
a Jide, perexit de castris ecclesicE etiamsi episcopi 
voce lion abjiciatur: sicut contru inlerdum Jit, tit 
aliquis non recto judicio eorum qui prasurt ecclesicc, 
for as mittatur: sed si non egit ut mcreretur exire, 
nihil laditur: interdum enint quod for as mittitur, 
intus est; Sf qui for is est, intus videtur retineri:" 
and what he saith of excommunication, is true 
of absolution : an erring key doth neither lock 
oyt of heaven, nor let into heaven. A godly 

Walking ivlth God 189 

believer shall be saved though the priest con- 
demn him : and an unbeliever or ungodly person 
shall be condemned by God, though be be 
absolved by the priest. 

Nay, if you have not walked with God in the 
spirit, but walked after the flesh, though your 
repentance should be sound and true at the last, 
it will yet very hardly serve to comfort you, 
though it may serve to your salvation : because 
you will very hardly get any assurance that it is 
sincere. It is dangerous lest it should prove 
but the effect of fear (which will not save) v.heu 
it Cometh not till death do flight you to it. As 
Augustine saith, Niillus expectct, quaitdo peccare 
non potest : arbitrii eiiim lUierlateni qiKvrit Deas, 
lit deleri possint commissa ; non necessltatem, sect 
charitaiem, non tantuni tinwrem : quia non in solo 
timore vivit homo. Therefore the same Augustine 
saith, Siquis positiis in ultima necessitate voluerit 
occipere panitentiam, and accipit ; fateor vohis, 
lion illi negamus quod petit ; sed non prasumimus 
quod bene hinc exit: si securns hinc exierit, ego 
nescio : poenitentiam dare possumus, securitatem 
non possumus. You see then how much it is 
needful to the peace of conscience at the hour 
of death, that you walk with God in the time 
of life. 

6. Moreover, to walk with God is an excellent 
preparation for sufferings and death, because it 
tendeth to acquaint the soul with God, and to 
embolden it both to go to him in prayer, and to 

190 Waikmg with God. 

trust on him, and expect salvation from him. He 
that walketh with God is so much used to holy- 
prayer, that he is a man of prayer, and is skilled 
in it, and hath tried what prayer can do with 
God : so that in the hour of his extremity, he is 
not to seek either for a God to pray to, or a 
Mediator to intercede for him, or a spirit of 
adoption to enable him as a child to fly for help 
to his reconciled Father. And having- not only 
been frequently with God, but frequently enter- 
tained and accepted by him, and had his prayers 
lieard and sfranted, it is a great encouragement 
to an afflicted soul in the hour of distress, to go 
to such a God for help. And it is a dreadful 
thing when a soul is ready to go ont of the 
world, to have no comfortable knowledge of 
God, or skill to pray to him, or encouragement 
to expect acceptance with him : to think that he 
must presently appear before a God, whom he 
never knew, nor heartily loved, being never ac- 
quainted with that communion with him in the 
way of grace, which is the way to communion 
in glory, O what a terrible thought is this ! But 
how comfortable is it when the soul can say — I 
know v.'hora I have believed ! The God that 
afflicteth me is he that loveth me, and hath 
manifested his love to me by his daily attrac- 
tive, assisting and accepting grace ! I am going 
by death to see him intuitively, whom I have 
often seen by the eye of faith, and to live with 
him in heaven, with whom I lived here on earth ; 

WalJdng ivith God. 191 

from whom, and through whom, and to whom 
was my life ! I go not to an enemy, nor an utter 
stranger, but to that God who was the spring, 
the ruler, the guide, the strength and the com- 
fort of my life. He hath heard me so oft, that 
I cannot think he will now reject me: he hatli 
so often comforted my soul, that I will not 
believe he will now thrust me into hell : he halh 
mercifully received me so oft, that I cannot be- 
lieve he will now refuse me : those that come to 
him in the way of grace, I have found he will iu 
no wise cast out. As strangeness to God doth 
fill the soul with distrustful fears, so walking 
with him doth breed that humble confidence, 
which is a wonderful comfort in the hour of 
distress, and a happy preparation to sufferings 
and death. 

7. Lastly, to walk with God, doth increase 
that love of God in the soul, which is the hea- 
venly tincture, and inclineth it to look upward, 
and being weary of a sinful flesh and world, to 
desire to be perfected with God. How happy a 
preparation for death is this, when it is but the 
passage to that God with whom \ye desire to be, 
and to that place where we fain v.'ould dwell for 
ever! To love the state and place that we are 
going to, being made connatural and suitable 
thereto, will much overcome the fears of death. 
But for a soul that is acquainted with nothing 
but this life, and savoreth nothing but earth and 
flesh, and hath no connaturality with the things 

192 Walkhis with God. 


above, for such a soul to be surprised with the 
tidings of death, alas, how dreadful must it be ! 

And thus 1 have shewed you the benefits that 
come by walking with God, which if you love 
yourselves with a rational love, methinks should 
resolve every impartial considerate reader, to 
give up himself without delay, to so desirable a 
course of life ! or, if he have begun it, to follow 
it more cheerfully and faithfully than he had 


I am next to shew you that believers have 
special obligations to this holy course of life, 
and therefore are doubly faulty if they neglect 
it ; though indeed, to neglect it totally, or in 
the main drift of their lives, is a thing incon- 
sistent with a living faith. 

Consider, I. If you are true christians, your 
relations engage you to walk with God. Is he 
net your reconciled Father, and you his children 
in a special sense? and whom should children 
dwell with, but with their father? You Avere 
glad when he received you into his covenant 
that he would enter into so near a relation to 
you, as he expresseth, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18, " I will 
receive you, and will be a Father to you, and 
ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the 

Walking icith God. 193 

Lord Almighty." And do you draw back, as 
if you repented of your covenant, and were not 
only weary of the duty, but of the privileges 
and benefits of your relation ? You may have 
access to God, \\\\e\\ others are shut out; your 
prayers may be heard, when the prayers of the 
wicked are abominable ; you may be welcome, 
when the worldhng, and ambitious, and carnal 
are despised. He that dwelleth in the highest 
heave^i, is willing to look to you with respect, 
and dwell with you, when he beholdeth the 
proud afar off; Isa. Ixvi. 1, 2, and Ivii. 15, 16. 
and yet will you not come that may be welcome ? 
Doth he put such a difference between you and 
others, as to feed you as his children at his 
table, while others are called dogs and are with- 
out the doors, and have but your crumbs and 
leavings; and yet will you be so foolish and 
unthankful as to run out of your father's pre- 
sence, and choose to be without, among the 
dogs? How came your father's presence to be 
so grievous to you, and the privileges of his 
family to seem so vile ? Is it not some unchild- 
like carriage ; the guilt of some disobedience or 
contempt that hath first caused this? or have 
you fallen again in love with fleshly pleasures, 
and some vanity of the world ? or have you had 
enough of God and godliness, till you begin to 
grow weary of him? if so, you never tr\dy 
knew him. However it be, if you grow indif- 
ferent as to God, do not wonder if shortly you 

194 Walking with God. 

find him set as light by you : and believe it, the 
day is not far off, in which the fatherly relation 
of God, and the privileges of children, will be 
more esteemed by you : when all things else 
forsake you in your last distress, you will be 
loath that God should then forsake you, or seem 
as a stranger to hide his face : then you will cry 
out, as the afflicted church, Isa. Ixiii. 15, 16. 
" Look down from heaven, and behold from the 
habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory : 
where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding 
of thy bowels and of thy mercies towards me? 
are they restrained? Doubtless thou art our 
father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and 
Israel acknowledge us not: thou O Lord art our 
father, our redeemer; thy name is from ever-« 
lasting." Nothing but God, and his fatherly 
relation, will then support you : attend him 
therefore, and with reverent, obedient cheerful- 
ness and delight, converse with him as with 
your dearest father. For since the beginning 
of the world, men have not known by sensible 
evidence, either the ear or the eye, besides God 
himself, what he hath prepared for him that 
waiteth for him. Isa. Ixiv. 4. Though he be 
wroth with us because we have sinned, yet doth 
he meet him that rejoice th and worketh righte- 
ousness, that remembereth him in his ways, 
ver. 5, Say not, I have played abroad so long- 
that I dare not now go home ; I have sinned so 
greatly, that I dare not speak to him, or look 

Walkins. with God. 195 

him in the face: come yet but with a penitent 
returning heart, and thou mayest be accepted 
through the Prince of Peace : prodigals find 
better entertainment than they did expect, when 
once they do but resolve for home. If he allow 
us to begin with " Our Father which art in 
heaven" we may boldly proceed to ask forgive- 
ness of our trespasses, and whatever else is 
truly good for us. But alas, as our iniquities 
seduce us away from God, so the guilt of them 
aftVighteth some from returning to him, and the 
love of them corrupteth the hearts of others, 
and makes them too indifferent as to their com- 
munion with him ; so that too many of his 
children live as if they did not knov*' their 
father, or had forgotten him. We may say as 
Isa. Ixiv. 6 — 9, " But we are all as an unclean 
thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy 
ras:s; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our 
iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 
And there is none that calleth upon thy name, 
that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee : 
for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast 
consumed us because of our iniquities. But 
now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the 
clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the 
work of thy hand. Be not wroth, very sore, 
O Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever : 
behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy 
people." O do not provoke your father to 
disown you, or to withdraw his help, or hi^le 

196 Walking to'ith God. 

his face, or to send the rod to call you home ! 
for if you do, you will wish you had known the 
privileges of his presence, and had kept nearer 
to him! Be not so unnatural, so unthankful, 
so unkind, as to be weary of your father's pre- 
sence (and such a father's too) and to take more 
delight in any others. 

Moreover, you are related to God in Christ, 
as a wife unto a husband, as to covenant union, 
and nearness and dearness of affection, and as 
to his tender care of you for your good: and is 
it seemly, is it wisely or gratefully done of you, 
to desire rather the company of others, and 
delight in creatures more than him? Isa. liv. 5, 
6. How affectionately doth thy maker call him- 
self the husband of his people! And can thy 
heart commit adultery, and forsake him ? " My 
covenant they brake, though I was an husband 
to thee, saith the Lord." Jer. xxxi. 32. O put 
not God to exercise his jealousy. It is one of 
liis terrible attributes, to be " a jealous God." 
And can he be otherwise to thee, when thou 
lovest not his converse or company, and carest 
not how long thou art from him in the world ? 
Woe to thee if he once say, as Hos. ii. 2. " She 
is nut my wife, neither am I her husband." 

Nay, more than this, if you are christians, you 
are members of the body of Christ: and there- 
fore how can you withdraw yourselves from him 
and not feel the pain and torment of so sore a 
wound or dislocation? You cannot live witliout 

Walking with God, 197 

a constant dependance on him, and communica- 
tion from him. John xv. 1, 4, 5, 7. " I am the 
true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 
Abide in me, and I in you. 1 am tlie vine, ye 
are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I 
in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit : for 
without me ye can do nothing. If ye abide in 
me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask 
what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." 

So near are you to Christ, that he delighteth 
to acquaint you with his secrets. O how many 
mysteries doth he reveal to those that walk with 
him, which carnal strangers never know! mys- 
teries of wisdom! mysteries of love and saving 
grace ! mysteries of scripture, and mysteries of 
providence ! mysteries felt by inward experience, 
and mysteries revealed, foreseen by faith ! Not 
only the strangers that pass by the doors, but 
even the common servants of the family are 
unacquainted with the secret operations of the 
Spirit, and entertainments of grace, and joy in 
believing, which those that walk with God either 
do or may possess. Therefore Christ calleth 
you friends as being more than servants. John 
XV. 14, 15. " Ye are my friends if ye do what- 
soever I command you : henceforth I call you 
not servants ; for the servant knoweth not what 
the Lord doth: but I have called you friends- 
for all things that I have heard of my Father I 
have made known unto you." It is true, for all 
this, that every true christian hath reason (and 

198 Walldrw with God. 

is apt) to complain of his darkness and distance 
from God. Alas, they know so little of him, and 
of the mysteries of his love and kingdom, that 
sometimes they are apt to think that they are 
indeed but utter strangers to him: but this is 
because there is infinitely more still unknown to 
them than they know! What! can the silly shal- 
low cveatui-e comprehend his infinite Creator ? 
or shall we know all that is to be known in 
heaven, before we enjoy all that is to be enjoyed 
in heaven? It is no more wonder to hear a 
believer pant and mourn after a fuller knowledge 
of God, and nearer access to him, than to seek 
after heaven, where this will be his happiness. 
But yet, though his knowledge of God be 
small, compared with his ignorance, that little 
knowledge of God which he hath attained, is 
more mysterious, sublime, and excellent, than 
all the learning of the greatest unsanctified, 
scholars in the world. Walk with him according 
to the nearness of your relations to him, and 
you shall have this excellent knowledge of his 
inysteries, which no books or teachers alone can 
give. You shall be effectually touched at the 
heart with the truths which others do ineffec- 
tually hear. You shall be powerfully moved, 
when they are but ineffectually exhorted. When 
they only hear the voice without them, you shall 
hear the voice within you, and as it were behind 
you, saying, This is the way, walk in it. O that 
you could duly value such a friend, to watch 

Walking with God. 199 

over you, and for you, and dwell in you, and tell 
you faithfully of every danger, and of every 
duty, and teach you to know good and evil, 
and what to choose, and what to refuse ! How 
closely and delightfully would you converse wit|i 
such a blessed friend, if you rightly valued him! 
II. Moreover, you that are the servants of 
God, have by your covenant and profession, re- 
nounced and forsaken all things else (as they 
stand in any opposition to him, or competition 
with him) and have resigned yourselves wholly 
unto him alone : and therefore with him must 
you converse, and be employed, unless you will 
forsake your covenant. You knew first that it 
was your interest to forsake the world and turn 
to God : you knew the world would not serve 
your turn, nor be instead of God to you either 
in life, or at death : and upon this knowledge 
it was that you changed your master, and 
changed your minds, and changed your way, 
your work, your hopes : and do you dream now 
that you were mistaken ? do you begin to think 
that the world is fitter to be your God or hap- 
piness ? if not, you must still confess that both 
your interest and your covenant do oblige you 
to turn your hearts and minds from the things 
which you have renounced, and to walk with 
him that you have taken for your God, and to 
obey him whom you have taken for your king 
and judge, and to keep close to him with purest 
love, whom you have taken for your everlasting 

200 Walking with God. 

portion. Mark what you are minding all the 
dayj while you are neglecting God. — Is it not 
something that you have renounced ? And did 
you not renounce it upon sufficient cause? Was 
it not a work of your most serious deliberation? 
and of as great wisdom, as any that ever you 
performed? if it were, turn not back in your 
hearts ao-ain from God unto the renounced 
creature. You have had many a lightning from 
heaven into your understandings, to bring you 
to see the difference betv,'een them : you have 
had many a teaching, and many a warning, and 
many a striving of the spirit, before you were 
prevailed with to renounce the world, the flesh 
and the devil, and to give up yourself entirely 
and absolutely to God. Nay, did it not cost 
you the smart of some afflictions, before you 
would be made so wise ? And did it not cost 
you many a gripe of conscience, and many a 
terrible thought of hell, and of the wrath of 
God, before you would be heartily engaged to 
hinr, in his covenant? And will you now live as 
strangely and neglectfully towards him, as if 
those days were quite forgotten ? and as if you 
Ijad never felt such things ? and as if you had 
never been so convinced, or resolved ? O chris- 
tians, take heed of forgetting your former case i 
your former thoughts ! your former convictions 
and complaints and covenants ! God did not 
work all that upon your hearts to be forgotten : 
he intended not only your present change, but 

Walking with God. 201 

your after remembrance of it, for your close 
adhering to him while you live, and for your 
quickening and constant perseverance to the 
end. The forgetting of their former miseries, 
and the workings of God upon their hearts in 
their conversion, is a great cause of mutability 
and revolting, and of unspeakable hurt to many 
a soul. 

Nay, may you not remember also what sorrow 
you had in the day of your repentance, for your 
forsakino- and neo;lectin<r God so Ions; ? And 
'will you grow again neglective of him ? Was it 
then so heinous a sin in your eyes ; and is it 
now grown less? Could you then aggravate it 
so many ways (and justly) and now do you jus- 
tify or extenuate it ? Were you then ready to 
sink under the burden of it, and were so hardly 
persuaded that it would be forgiven you ; and 
now do you make so small a matter of it ? Did 
you theo so much wonder at your folly, that 
could so long let out your thoughts and affec- 
tions upon the creature, while you neglected 
God and heaven ! and do you begin to look that 
v/ay again ? Do you now grow familiar with a 
life so like to that which was once your state of 
death ; and bear that easily that once was the 
breaking of your heart ? O christians, turn not 
away from that God again, who once fetched 
you home, with so much smart and so much 
grace ! with such a twist of love and fatherly 
severity ! Methinks when you remember how 

202 Walking roith God. 

you were once awakened, you should not easily 
fall asleep again. And when you remember the 
thoughts which then were in your hearts, and 
the tears that were in your eyes, and the earnest 
prayers which you then put up, that God would 
receive you, and take you for his own, you 
should not now forget him, and live as if yoii 
could live withovit him. Remember, that so far 
as you v/ithdraw your hearts from God, and let 
them follow inferior things, so far you contra- 
dict his works upon your hearts; so far you 
violate your covenant with him, or sin against 
it ; so far you are revolters, and go against the 
principal part of your professed religion; yea, so 
far you are ungodly, as you thus withdraw your 
hearts from God. Cleave to him, and prosecute 
your covenant, if you will have the saving bene- 
fits of his love and covenant. 

III. Moreover, the servants of God are doubly 
obliged to walk with him, because they have had 
that experience of the goodness, the safety, and 
the sweetness of it, which strangers have not. 
Do you not remember how glad you were, when 
you first believed that he pardoned and accepted 
you? and how much you rejoiced in his love 
and entertainment? and how much better you 
found your father's house, than ever you had 
found your sinful state? and how much sweeter 
his service was than you did before believe? 
It is like you can remember something like that 
which is described in Luke xv. 20—24, " And 

Walking with God. 203 

lie arose and came to his father. But when he 
was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and 
had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, 
and kissed him. And the son said unto him. 
Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy 
sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy 
son. But the father said to his servants, Bring- 
forth the best robe, and put it on him ; and put a 
ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And 
bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it: and let us 
eat and be merry : for this my son was dead, and 
is alive again; he was lost, and is found." What 
would you have thought or said of this prodigal, 
if after all this he should have been weary of 
his father's house and company, and have taken 
more pleasure in his former company? Would 
you not have said, he was a forgetful and 
unthankful wretch, and worthy never more to 
be received ? I do not speak to you now as 
to apostates, that are turned ungodly, and have 
quite forsaken God and hoHness: but I beseech 
you consider what it is, after such experiences 
and obligations as these, so much as to abate 
your love, and grow remiss, and mindless, and 
indifferent, as if you were weary of God, and 
were inclined to neglect him, and look again to 
the world for your hope, and satisfaction, and 
delight. As you love your soids, and as you 
would avoid the sorrows which are greater than 
any that ever you felt, take heed of slighting 
the love that hath done such wonders for you, 

204 Walking loith God. 

and of dealing so unthankfully with the ever- 
living God, and of turning thus away from hira 
that hath received you ! Remember whilst you 
live, the love of your espousals : Was God so 
good to you at the first, and holiness so desira- 
ble? and is it not so still ? 

And I am sure that your own experience will 
bear witness, that since that time, in all your 
lives, it never was so well with you as when yo« 
walked most faithfully with God. If you have 
received any falls and hurts, it hath been when 
you have straggled from him : if ever you had 
safety, peace, or joy, it hath been when you 
have been nearest to him: your wounds, and 
grief, and death, hath been the fruit of your 
own ways, and of your forsaking him : your 
recovery, and health, and life, have been the 
fruit of his ways, and of your adhering to him: 
many and many a time you have confessed this, 
and have said. It is good for me to draw near to 
•God. He hath helped you when none else could 
help you; and comforted you when none else 
could comfort you. How far are you above the 
worldling's happiness, when you are nigh to 
God! One lively thought of his greatness, and 
excellency, and of his love to you in Jesus 
Christ, will make the name of wealth, and honor, 
and favor, and preferment, and sensual plea- 
sures, to seem to you as words of no significa- 
tion: how indiflTerent will you be, as to your 
prosperity in the world, when you feel what it is 

Walking with God. ' 205 

to walk with God ! If you are lively experi- 
mental christians, you have found this to be 
true: have you not found that it is the very 
health and ease, and proper employment of your 
souls to walk with God, and keep close to him? 
and that all goes well with you while you can 
do thus, however the world doth esteem or use 
you? and that when you grow strange or dis- 
obedient to God, and mindless of his goodness, 
his presence, and his authority, you are like the 
stomach that is sick, and like a bone that is out 
of joint, that can have no ease till it be healed, 
and restored to its proper place? No meats or 
drinks, no company nor recreation, no wealth or 
greatness will serve to make a sick man well, or 
ease the dislocated bones. Nothing will serve 
a faithful holy soul but God : this is the cause 
of the dolor of his heart, and of the secret 
groans and complainings of his life, because in 
this life of distance and imperfection, he finds 
himself so far from God ; and when he hath 
done all that he can, he is still so dark, and 
strange, and cold in his affections! When per- 
secution driveth him from the ordinances and 
public worship, or when sin hath set him at a 
greater distance from his God, he bemoaneth his 
soul as David in his banishment from the taber- 
nacle, Ps. xlii. 1 — 3. " As the hai't panteth 
after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after 
thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for 
the living God : when shall I come and appear 

206 Walking, with God. 

before God ? My tears have been my meat day 
and night, while they continually say unto me. 
Where is thy God?" And it is no wonder, if 
with his greatest joy he be yet clouded with 
these sorrows; because he yet wanteth more of 
God than he enjoyeth: and his enjoying graces 
(love and joy) are yet imperfect. But when he 
hath attained his nearest approach to God, he 
will have fulness of delig-ht in fulness of fruition. 
O christians ! do I need to tell you, that after 
all the trials you have made in the world, you 
have never found any state of life that was 
worthy your desires, nor that gave you any 
true content, but only this living upon God? 
If you have not found such comfort here as 
others have done, yet at least you have seen it 
afar off, within your reach ; as men that in the 
Indies, in the discovery of plantations, expect 
gold mines, when they find those golden sands 
that promise it. You have found a life which 
is certainly desirable, and leadeth to joy in the 
midst of sorrow; and it is no small joy to have 
a certain promise and prospect of everlasting 
joy: it is therefore more excusable in those 
that never tasted any better than the pleasures 
of the flesh, to neglect this sweeter heavenly 
life, than it is in you that have been convinced 
by your own experience, that there is no life 
to be compared with it. 

IV. Your walking with God is the necessary 
prosecution of your choice and hopes of life 

TValking with God. 207 

eternal : it is j-our necessary preparation to your 
enjoying him in heaven. And have you fixed 
on those hopes with so great reason and deli- 
beration, and will you now draw back and be 
slack in the prosecution of them? Have you 
gone so far in the way to heaven, and do you 
now begin to look behind you, as if you were 
about to change your mind? Paul setteth you 
a better example, Phil. iii. 8 — 14. "Yea doubt- 
less I account all things but loss for the excel- 
lency 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 

wdn Christ, and be found in him ■ If by 

any means I might attain to the resurrection 
of the dead : not as though I had already 
attained, either were already perfect : but I fol- 
low after, if that 1 may apprehend that for 
which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 
Brethren, I count not myself to have appre- 
hended: but this one thino- I do, forgettino; those 
things which are behind, and reaching forth 
unto those things which are before, I press 
toward the mark, for the prize of the high 
calling of God in Christ Jesus." He compareth 
himself to a runner in a race, that till he appre- 
hend the prize or mark, doth still make forward 
with all his might, and will not so much as mind 
or look at any thing behind him, that would 
turn him back, or stop him in his course. The 
world and the flesh are the things behind us; 

208 Walking with God. 

we turned our backs upon them at our con- 
version, when we turned to God : it is these 
that would now call back our thou2;hts, and 
corrupt our afFections, when we should run on, 
and reach forward to the heavenly prize. It is 
God and heaven and the remaining duties of 
a holy life, that are the things before us ! And 
shall we now look back? what! we that are 
running and striving for a crown of endless 
glory ! we, that if we lose it, do lose our souls 
and hopes for ever! we, that have loitered in 
the morning of our lives, and lost so much 
precious time as we have done! we, that have 
gone so far in our way, and held out through 
so many difficulties and assaults! — shall we 
now grow weary of walking with God, and 
begin to look to the things behind us ? Did 
he not tell us at the first, that father and 
mother, and house and land, and life, and all 
things must be forsaken for Christ, if we will be 
his disciples ? These are the things behind us, 
which we turned our back on when we consented 
to the covenant; and are they now grown 
better i* or is God grown worse, that we turn 
our hearts from him to them ? When we first 
begun our christian race, it was upon suppo- 
sition that it was for that immortal crown, which 
all the world is not to be compared to : and 
have we not still the same consideration before 
us, to move us to hold on till we attain it?. 
Hold on christiauSj it is for heaven ! Is there 

Walking ivith God. 20^ 

not enough in that word to drive back all the 
cares and pleasures that importune your minds 
to forget your God ? Is there not enough in that 
word to quicken you up in your greatest dul- 
ness ; and to call you home when you are wan- 
dering from God; and to make you again fall 
out with all that would reduce you or divert 
you, and call it vanity and vexation of spirit? 
Methinks the forethought of that life and work 
which you hope to have with God for ever, 
should make you earnestly desire to have as 
much of the like on earth, as is here to be 
attained ! If it will be your heaven and happi- 
ness then, it must needs be desirable now. It is 
not beseeming a man that saith he is seeking for 
perfect communion with God in heaven, and that 
above all things (as every christian doth,) to live 
in a daily neglect or forgetfulness of God on 
earth. Delightfidly to draw near him, and exer- 
cise all our faculties upon him, or for him, 
sometime in prayer and contemplation on him- 
self, and always in works of obedience to him — 
this is the life that beseemeth those that profess 
to seek eternal life. O therefore let us make it 
our daily work, to keep our God and glory in 
our eye, and to spur on our dull affections ; and 
in the diligent attendance and following the 
captain of our salvation, to prosecute our ex- 
pected end. 

V. Lastly, consider that God doth purposely 
provide you hard entertainment in the world^ 

210 Walkins with God. 


and cause every creature to deny you the plea- 
sure and satisfaction which you desire, that so 
you may have none to walk with but himself, 
with any heart-settling comfort and content. If 
you see not enough in him to allure you to him- 
self, you shall feel enough in the world to drive 
you to him : if his love and goodness will not 
serve alone to make him your pleasure, and hold 
you to him in the best and most excellent way 
(of love,) at least the storms and troubles that 
are abroad shall shew you a necessity of keeping 
close to God ; and the love of yourselves shall 
help you to do that, which was not done by the 
attraction of his love alone. If you will put 
him to it, to send out his command to every 
creature, to cross and vex you, and disappoint 
all your expectations from it, that so he may 
force you to remember your Father and your 
home, deny not then but it is long of your- 
selves that you were not saved in an easier way. 
Would you wish God to make that condition 
pleasant to you, which he seeth you take too 
much pleasure in already (or seek and desire it, 
at least) when as it is the pleasantness of the 
creature that is your danger, and which detaineth 
your thoughts and affections from himself? If 
vou could but learn to walk with him, and take 
up your pleasure in his love appearing to you 
in his creatures, and to make their sweetness a 
means to your apprehension of the sweetness of 
his favor, and of the everlasting joys, then you 

Walking with God. 211 

might say the creature doth you good ; and 
then it is Uke you might be permitted to possess 
and use it for such pleasure. The jealous God 
will watch your hearts, though you watch them 
not ; and he will make you know that he seeth 
which way they run out from him, and what 
creature it is that is minded and delighted in 
while he is neglected, as if he were unsuitable, 
and scarce desirable. And you must never 
look that he should long permit you those 
prohibited delights, or let you alone in those 
idolatrous inclinations : if he love you, he will 
cure that carnal love, and recover your love to 
himself that hath deserved it. If he intend not 
your salvation, he may let you go, and try again 
whether the creature will prove better to you 
than himself: but you cannot think that he will 
thus let go his children that nmst live with him 
for ever. Have you not perceived that this is 
the design and meaning of his afflicting and dis- 
appointing providences — even to leave you no 
comfortable entertainment or converse but with 
himself, and with his servants, and with those 
means that lead you to himself? If you begin to 
desire to lodge abroad in strange habitations, 
he will uncover those houses, and will not leave 
you a room that is dry to put your head in; or 
he will throw open the doors, and leave all open 
to the lust of ravenous beasts and robbers: he 
will have thy heart, and he will have thy com- 
pany, because thou art his child, and because he 

212 Walking with God. 

loveth thee : he will allow thee neither thy carnal 
delights or hopes. If he perceive thee eithe? 
taking that pleasure in thy prosperity which 
thou shouldest take in him alone, or hoping at 
least that the world may hereafter prove more 
amiable and delightful to thee; the more he 
loveth thee the more his providence shall con- 
spire with his grace to change thy mind, by 
depriving thee of thy unwholesome dangerous 
delights, and of all thy hopes of such hereafter. 
Use the world as a traveller, for the ends ta 
which it was ordained, to the service of God,, 
and the furtherance of thy salvation, and then 
thou shalt find that God will furnish thee with 
all that is necessary to these necessary ends : 
but if the world must have your love and care, 
•and must be your chiefest business and delight, 
and your excuse for not attending upon God, 
murmur not, nor marvel not if he dispose of it 
and you accordingly. If you are yet too health- 
ful to think with seriousness on your eternal 
state,— if you are too rich to part with all for 
Christ, or openly to own his cause, — if you are 
too much esteemed in the world to own a scorned 
slandered religion, — if you are so busy for earth 
that you cannot have time to think of heaven,— 
if you have so much delight in house or land, or 
in your employments, or recreations, or friends, 
that God and godliness can have little or none 
of yonr delight; marvel not then if God do 
teUake your health, or waste your riches, or turn 

Walking; with God. 213 


your honor into contempt, and suffer men to 
slander and reproach you, and spit in your face, 
and make you of no reputation:— marvel not if 
he turn you out of all, or turn all to your grief 
and trouble, and make the world a desert to you, 
and the inhabitants as wolves and bears. The 
great lesson that Christ hath undertaken to teach 
you, is the difference betwixt the Creator and 
the creature, and the difference betwixt heaven 
and earth : — the great work that Christ hath 
undertaken to do upon you, is to recover your 
hearts from the world to God : and this lesson 
he will teach you, and this work he will do upon 
you, whatever it cost you ; for it must be done. 
Yet is not the world unjust enough, or cruel or 
vexatious enough to you, to teach you to come 
home and take up your content and rest in God ? 
It may then prove more cruel, and more vex- 
atious to you, till you have better learned this 
necessary lesson. Yet is not your condition 
empty enough of carnal delusory pleasures, to 
wean you from the world, and make you look 
to surer things ? Yet are you keeping up your 
worldly hopes that the world will again prove 
better to you, and that you shall have happy 
days hereafter ? It seems you are not yet brought 
low enough : you must yet take another puro-e, 
and perhaps a sharper than you took before : 
you must have more blood-letting, till your 
deliration cease, and your feverish thirst after 
creature-comforts do abate. It is sad that we 

214 Walking with God. 

should be so foolish and unkind, as to stay from 
God, as long as any preferments, or pleasures, 
or profits in the world will entertain us : but 
seeing it is so, let us be thankful both to that 
grace and that providence which cureth us. If 
you perceive it not better to dwell with God, 
than with a flattering prospering world, he will 
try whether you can think it better to dwell with 
God, than with a malicious, cruel, persecuting 
world; and whether it be better to have your 
hearts in heaven, than in poverty, prison, banish- 
i»ent, or reproach. If you find it not better to 
converse with God, than with those that honor 
yoo, please you or prefer you, he will try whe-- 
ther you can think it better to converse with 
him, than with those that hate, revile, belie, and 
persecute you. And are these the wise and 
wholesome methods of our Great Physician ] 
And shall we not rather be ruled by him, than 
by our brutish appetites ? and think better of 
his counsels, than of the blind concupiscence of 
the flesh ? Let this be the issue of all our suf-^ 
ferings, and all the cruelties and injuries of the 
world, to drive us home to converse with God, 
and to turn our desires, and labors, and expec- 
tations, to the true felicity that never will forsake 
us ; and then, the will of the Lord be done ! Let 
him choose his means, if this may be the end, — 
let us kiss the rod, and not revile it, if this may 
be the fruit of his corrections. Who will not 
pray that God would deny us those contents 

Walking with God. 215 

which keep us from seeking our content in him ? 
and that he would deny us all those hurtful 
pleasures which hinder us from pleasing him, or 
from making him and his ways our chiefest 
pleasure? and that he would permit us no such 
creature converse as hindereth our converse with 
him ? It is best living there (be it in prison or 
at liberty) where we may live best to God. 
Come home, O suffering christian, to thy God! 
take up thy content and rest in him; be satisfied 
with him as thy portion; and remember where it 
is that he is to be fully and perpetually enjoyed : 
and then it is good for thee that thou wast 
afflicted; for all thy sufferings have their end. 

This last consideration will be further prose- 
cuted in the following part : and the directions 
for walking with God, which I should here give 
you, I have reserved for a peculiar treatise, 
intitled A Christian Directory. 




On Genesis v. 24, 











The context opened »........••..•••#. 221 

Why Christ was forsaken by his disciples • • . • • 225 

Use 1. Expect by the forsaking of your friends 
to be conformed unto Christ: reasons for your 
expectation 229 

The aggravations of their forsaking you • 247 

Some quieting considerations • 250 

The order of forms in the school of Christ • • • • 261 

The disciples scattered every man to his own- • • 265 

Selfishness contrary to friendly fidelity 266 

Considerations to quiet us in the death of faith- 
ful friends t . . 267 

Whether we shall know them in heaven 276 

Whether creatures be any matter of our comfort 
in heaven 278 

Quest. Shall I have any more comfort in present 
friends than in others ? • 281 



Doct. 3. When all forsake us, and leave us (as 
to them) alone, we are far from being simply 
alone, because God is with us 284 

The advantages of having God with us ib. 

Quest. How is he with us ? 286 

Use 1. Imitate Christ: live upon God alone, 
though men forsake you ; yet thrust not your- 
selves into solitude uncalled 293 

In what cases solitude is lawful and good 294 

Reasons against unnecessary solitude 295 

The comfort of converse with God in necessary 
solitude. The benefits of solitude. The rea- 
sons from God. Improved largely in some 
meditations • 302 

Directions for conversing with God in solitude- • 339 

Concluded in further meditation . . • • » 347 

A caution • • • • , 352 


John xvi. 32. 

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that 
ye shall be scattered every man to his own, and 
shall leave me alone ; and yet I am not alone, 
because the Father is ivith me. 

HAVING treated of our conformity to Christ 
in sufferings, in general, I since came distinctly 
to treat of his particular sufferings in which we 
must be conformed to him ; and having gone 
over many of those particulars, I am this day 
to handle the instance of Christ's being for- 
saken by his friends and followers. 

He thought meet to foretel them how they 
should manifest their infirmity and untrustiness 
in this temporary forsaking of him, that so he 
might fullier convince them, that he knew what 
wus in man, and that he knew future con- 
tingencies, (or things to come which seem most 
dependent on the will of man) and that he 
voluntarily submitted to his deserted state, and 
expected no support from creatures, but that 


222 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

man should then do least for Christ, when Christ 
was doing most for man; that man by an un- 
thankful forsaking Christ, should then manifest 
his forsaken deplorate state, when Christ was 
to make atonement for his reconciliation to God, 
and was preparing the most costly remedy for 
his recovery. He foretold them of the fruit which 
their infirmity would produce, to humble them that 
were apt to think too highly of themselves for 
the late free confession they had made of Christ, 
when they had newly said, " Now we are sure 
that thou knowest all things : by this we are sure 
that thou comest forth from God." ver. 30. 

He answereth them, *' Do ye now believe? 
Behold the hour cometh, &.c." Not that Christ 
would not have his servants know his graces in 
them, but he would also have them know the 
corruption that is latent, and the infirmity con- 
sistent with their grace. We are very apt to 
iudo;e of all that is in us, and of all that we 
shall do hereafter, by what we feel at the present 
upon our hearts: as when we feel the stirring 
of some corruption, we are apt to think that 
there is nothing else, and hardly perceive the 
contrary grace, and are apt to think it will never 
be better with us ; so when we feel the exercise 
of fajth, desire, or love, we are apt to overlook 
the contrary corruptions, and to think that we 
shall never feel them more. But Christ would 
keep us both humble and vigilant, by acquaint- 
ing us with the mutability and unconstancy of 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 223 

our minds. When it goes well with us, we 
forget that the time is coming when it may go 
worse. As Christ said to his disciples here in 
the case of believing, we may say to ourselves 
in that and other cases — Do we now believe? 
It is well ; but the time may be coming in which 
we may be brought to shake with the stirrings 
of our remaining unbelief, and shrewdly tempted 
to question the truth of Christianity itself, and 
of the holy scriptures, and of the life to come. 
Do we now rejoice in the persuasions of the 
love of God? The time may be coming when 
we may think ourselves forsaken and undone, 
and think he will esteem and use us as his 
enemies. Do we now pray with fervor, and 
pour out our souls enlargedly to God? It is 
well ; but the time may be coming when we 
shall seem to be as dumb and prayerless, and 
say, we cannot pray, or else we find no audience 
and acceptance of our prayers. Christ knowetli 
that in us which we little know by ourselves ; 
and therefore may foreknow that we will commit 
such sins, or fall into such dangers as we little 

What Christ here prophesieth to them did 
afterwards all come to pass. As soon as ever 
danger and trouble did appear, they begail to 
flag, and to shew how ill they could adhere unto 
him or suffer with him, without his special cor- 
roborating grace. In the garden when he was 
sweating blood in prayer they were sleeping; 
o 2 

224 Of Convening with God in Solitude, 

though the spirit was willing, the flesh was 
weak ; they could not watch with him one hour. 
Matt. xxvi. 40, 41. When he was apprehended^ 
they shifted each man for himself, Matt. xxvi. 
.56. " Then all the disciples forsook him and 
fled." And as this is said to be that the scrip- 
tures might be fulfilled, Matt. xxvi. 54, 56, so 
it might be said to be, that this prediction 
of Christ himself might be fulfilled : not that 
scripture prophesies did cause the sin by which 
they were fulfilled, nor that God caused the 
sin to fulfil his own predictions ; but that God 
cannot be deceived who foretold in scriptures 
long before, that thus it would come to pass. 
When it is said, that * thus i,t must be that the 
scripture may be fulfilled,' the meaning is not, 
that * thus God will make it be' or ' thus he 
causeth men to do' that he may fulfil the scrips 
lures : it is not nexessitas conseque)iti& vel caiisala 
that is inferred from predictions; but only neces- 
■<iias consequent ice-, a logical necessity in orditie 
i-ognoscendi et dicendi ; not a natural necessity in 
ordine essendi-^ not a necessity of the thing itself 
as caused by the prediction or decree; but a, 
necessity of the truth of this conclusion in 
arguing; * such a thing will be, because God 
hath decreed, foreknown or foretold it;' or 
• whatever God foretelleth, must necessarily 
come to pass ; (that is, will certainly come to 
pass:) but this God hath foretold; therefore this, 
will come to pass.' 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 225 

Here are three observable points in the text, 
that are worthy our distinct consideration, 
though for brevity sake I shall handle them 

1. That Christ was forsaken by his own 
disciples and left alone. 

2. When the disciples left Christ, they were 
scattered every one to his own. They returned 
to their old habitations, and old acquaintance, 
and old employment, as if their hopes and 
hearts had been almost broken, and they had 
lost all their labor in following Christ so long : 
yet the root of faith and love that still remained, 
caused them to incpire further of the end, and 
to come together in secret to confer about these 

3. When Christ was forsaken of his disciples 
and left alone, yet was he not forsaken of his 
Father, nor left so alone as to be separated from 
him or his love. 

We are now to consider of this not only as a 
part of Christ's humiliation, but also as a point 
in which we must expect to be conformed to 
him. It may possibly seem strange to us that 
Christ would suffer all his disciples to forsake 
him in his extremity; and I doubt it will seem 
strange to us, when in our extremity, and our 
suffering for Christ (and perhaps for them) we 
shall find ourselves forsaken by those that we 
most highly valued, and had the greatest fami- 
liarity with. But there are many reasons of 

226 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

this permissive providence open to our obser- 

1. No wonckr if when Christ was suffering 
for sin, he would even then permit the power 
and odiousness of sin to break forth, that it 
inio'ht be known he suffered not in vain. Na 
wonder if he permitted his followers to desert 
him, and to shew the latent unbelief, and self- 
ishness, and unthankfulness that remained in 
them, that so they might know that the death 
of Christ was as necessary for them as for 
others; and the universality of the disease 
might shew the need that the remedy should be 
universal. And it is none of Christ's intent to 
make his servants to seem better than they are, 
to themselves or others, or to honor himself by 
the hiding of their faults, but to magnify his 
pardoning and healing grace, by the means or 
occasion of the sins which he pardoneth and ' 

2. Hereby he will bring his followers to the 
fuller knowledge of themselves, and shew them 
that which all their days should keep them 
humble, and watchful, and save them from pre- 
sumption and trusting in themselves : when we 
have made any full confession of Christ, or done 
him any considerable service, we are apt to say 
with the disciples. Matt. xix. 27. " Behold we 
. have forsaken all and followed thee ; what shall 
we have?" As if they had rather been givers 
to Christ, than receivers from him ; and had 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 227 

Mghly merited at his hands : but when Peter 
forsweareth him, and the rest shift for them- 
selves, and when they come to themselves, after 
such cowardly and ungrateful dealings, then 
they will better understand their weakness, and 
know on whom they must depend. 

3. Hereby also they shall better understand 
what they would have been, if God had left them 
to themselves, that so they may be thankful for 
grace received, and may not boast themselves 
against the miserable world, as if they had made 
themselves to differ, and had not received all 
that grace by which they excel the common 
sort : when our falls have hurt us and shamed 
us, we shall know to whom we must be beholden 
to support us. 

4. Christ would permit his disciples thus far 
to forsake him, because he would have no sup- 
port from man, in his sufferings for man : this 
was part of his voluntary humiliation, to be 
deprived of all earthly comforts, and to bear 
affliction even from those few, that but lately 
were his faithful servants : that men dealing 
like men, and sinners, while he was doing like 
God, and as a Saviour, no man might challenge 
to himself the honor of contributing to the 
redemption of the world, so much as by encou- 
raging the Redeemer. 

5. Christ did permit the faith and courage of 
his disciples thus far to fail, that their witness 
to him might be of the greater credit and 

228 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

authority, when his actual resurrection and the 
communication of the Spirit should compel them 
to behere : when all their doubts were dissipated, 
they that had doubted themselves, and yet were 
constrained to believe, would be received as the 
most impartial witnesses by the doubting world. 

6. Lastly, by the desertion and dissipation of 
his disciples, Christ would teach us whenev€r 
we are called to follow him in suffering, what to 
expect from the best of men ; even to know that 
of themselves they are untrusty, and may fail 
us: and therefore not to look for too much 
assistance or encouragement from them. Paul 
lived in a time when christians were more self- 
denying and stedfast than they are now : and 
Paul was one that might better expect to be 
faithfully accompanied in his sufferings for 
Christ, than any of us : and yet he saith, 2 Tim. 
iv. 16. " At my first answer no man stood with 
me, but all men forsook me:" and prayeth, that 
it be not laid to their charge : thus you have 
seen some reasons why Christ consented to be 
left of all, and permitted his disciples to desert 
him in his sufferings. 

Yet note here, that it is but a partial tempo- 
rary forsaking that Christ permitteth ; and not 
a total or final forsaking or apostacy. Though 
he will let them see that they are yet men, yet 
will he not leave them to be but as other men : 
nor will he quite cast them off, or suffer them 
to perish. 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 229 

Nor is it all alike that thus forsake him ; 
Peter doth not do as Judas : the sincere may 
manifest their infirmity ; but the hypocrites will 
manifest their hypocrisy. 

And accordingly in our suffertngs olir fami- 
liars that were false-hearted (as being World- 
lings and carnal at the heart) may perhaps 
betray us, and set against us, or forsake the 
cause of Christ, and follow the way of gain and 
honor; when our tempted shrinking friends 
that yet may have some sincerity, may perhaps 
look strange at us, and seem not to know us, 
and may hide their heads, and shew their fears ; 

and pcrhapo aloo begin to atudy some eelf- 
deceiving arguments and distinctions, and to 
stretch their consciences, and venture on some 
sin, because they are afraid to venture on afflic- 
tion ; till Christ shall cast a gracious rebuking 
quickening aspect on them, and shame them for 
their sinful shame, and fear them from their 
sinful fears, and inflame their love to him by 
the motions of his love to them, and destroy the 
love that turned them from him: and then the 
same men that dishonorably failed Christ and 
us, and began to shrink, will turn back and 
reassume their arms, and by patient suffering 
overcome, and win the crown as we have done 
before them. 

Use, Christians, expect to be conformed to 
your Lord in this part of his humiliation also. 
Are your friends yet fast and friendly to you? 

230 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

for all that expect that many of them at least 
should prove less friendly; and promise not 
yourselves an unchanged constancy in them. 
Are they yet useful to you ? expect the time 
when they cannot help you. Are they your 
comforters and delight, and is their company 
much of your solace upon earth? be ready for.^ 
the time when they may become your sharpest 
scourges, and most heart-piercing griefs, or at 
least when you shall say. We have no pleasure 
in them. IJave any of them, or all, already 
failed you? What wonder? Are they not men, 
and sinners? To whom were they ever so con- 

-etant as not to fail thom? Rcbulic youraclves 

for your unwarrantable expectations from them: 
and learn hereafter to know what man is, and 
expect that friends should use you as followeth : 
1. Some of them that you thought sincere, 
shall prove perhaps unfaithful and dissemblers, 
and upon fallings out, or matters of self-interest, 
may seek your ruin. Are you better than David 
that had an Abithophel? or than Paul that had 
a Demas ? or than Christ that had a Judas ? 
Some will forsake God : what wonder then if 
they forsake you? " Because iniquity shall 
abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Matt, 
xxiv. 12. Where pride, and vainglory, and sen- 
suality, and worldliness are unmortified at the 
heart, there is no trustiness in such persons. — 
For their wealth, or honor, or fleshly interest, 
they will part with God and their salvation; 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 231 

much more with their best deserving friends. 

Why may not you as well as Job have occasion 

to complain — " He hath put my brethren far 

from me, and mine acquaintance are verily 

estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed, 

and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They 

that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count 

me for a stranger : I am an alien in their sight. 

I called my servant, and he gave me no answer : 

I intreated him with my mouth. My breath is 

strange to my wife, though I intreated for the 

children's sake of mine own body. Yea, young 

children despised me ; I arose and they spake 

against ine. All my inward friends abhujied 

me : and they whom I loved are turned against 

me." Job xix. 13—19. Why may not you as 

well as David be put to say, " Yea, mine own 

familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did 

eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against 

me." Ps. xli. 9. Those that have been most 

acquainted with the secrets of your soul, and 

pi'ivy to your very thoughts, may be the persons 

that shall betray you, or grow strange to you. 

Those that you have most obliged by benefits, 

may prove your greatest enemies. You may 

find some of your friends like birds of prey, 

that hover about you for what they can get, and 

when they have catched it, fly away. If you 

have given them all that you have, they will 

forsake you, and perhaps reproach you, because 

you have no more to give them. They are your 

232 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

friends more for what they yet expect from you, 
than for what they have already received. If 
you cannot still be helpful to them, or feed their 
covetous desires, or supply their wants, you are 
to them but as one that they had never known. 
Many a faithful minister of Christ hath studied, 
and preached, and prayed, and wept for their 
people's souls, and after all have been taken for 
their enemies, and used as such; yea, even 
because they have done so much for them : like 
the patient, that being cured of a mortal sick- 
ness, sued his physician at law for making him 
sick with the physic (but it is indeed our uncured 
patients only tliat are oftlended with us). Paul 
was accounted an enemy to the Galatians, 
because he told them the truth. Ungrateful 
truth maketh the faithfullest preachers most 
ungrateful. It must seem no wonder to a 
preacher of the gospel, when he hath entreated, 
prayed, and wept night and day for miserable 
souls, and laid his hands as it were under their 
feet in hopes of their conversion and salvation, 
to find them after all his bitter enemies, and 
seeking his destruction, that could have laid 
down his life for their salvation. Jeremy seemed 
too impatient under this affliction, when he said, 
" Give heed to me, O Lord, and hearken to the 
voice of them that contend with me. Shall evil 
be recompensed for good? Remember that I 
stood before thee to speak good for them, and 
to turn away thy wrath from them: therefore 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 233 

deliver up their children to the famine, and pour 
out their blood by the force of the sword," &.c. 
Jer. xviii. 19—21. 

Thus may ingratitude afflict you, and kind- 
ness be requited with unkindness, and the 
greatest benefits be forgotten, and requited with 
the greatest wrongs : your old familiars may 
be your foes : and you may be put to say as 
Jeremy, " For I heard the defaming of many: 
fear on every side. Report, say they, and we 
will report it. All my familiars watched for my 
halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, 
and we shall prevail against him, and we shall 
take our revenge on him." Jer. xx. 10. Thus 
must the servants of Christ be used, in con- 
formity to their suffering Head. 

2. And some that are sincere, and vv'hose 
hearts are with you, may yet be drawn by 
temptation to disown you: when malice is slan- 
dering you, timorous friendship may perhaps be 
silent, and afraid to justify you, or take your 
part : when a Peter in such imbecility and fear 
can disown and deny his suffering Lord, v^hat 
wonder if faint-hearted friends disown you, or 
me, that may give them too much occasion or 
pretence ? why may not you and I be put to say 
as David did, Ps. xxxviii. II, 12. "My lovers 
and my friends stand aloof from my sore, and 
my kinsmen stand afar off. They that seek 
after my life, lay snares for me: and they that 
seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and 

234 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

imagine deceits all the day long ! " They that 
in fearfulness will fail their maker and redeemer, 
and hazard their salvation, may by a smaller 
temptation he drawn to fail such friends as we. 

3. Moreover, a hundred things may occasion 
fallings out, even amongst unfeigned friends: 
passions may cause inconvenient actions or 
expressions, and these may cause passions in 
their friends; and these may grow so high till 
friends do seem to one another to be like ene- 
mies : Paul and Barnabas may grow so hot, 
as to fall out to a parture. How easily can 
Satan set fire on the tinder which he findeth 
in the best and gentlest natures, if God permit 
him! No friends so near and dear, that pas- 
sionate weaknesses may not either alienate or 
make a grief to one another. How apt are we 
to take unkindnesses at one another, and to be 
suspicious of our friends, or offended with them! 
and how apt to give occasion of such offence ! 
How apt are we to censure one another, and 
to misinterpret the words and actions of our 
friends! and how apt to give occasion of such 
mistakes and cutting censures ! — And the more 
kindness we have found in, or expected from 
our friends, the more their real or supposed 
injuries will affect us. We are apt to say, 
' Had it been a stranger, I could have borne it: 
but to be used thus by my bosom or familiar 
friend, goes near my heart.' And indeed the 
unkindnesses of friends is no small affliction ; the 

Of Convening with God in Solitude. 235 

suffering going usually as near the heart, as the 
person that caused it was near it: especially 
when our own weakness causeth us to forget the 
frailty and infirmities of man, and Avith what 
allowances and expectations we must choose 
and use our friends ; and when we forget the 
love that remaineth in the midst of passions. 

4. Also cross-interests and unsuitableness 
may exceedingly interrupt the fastest friendship. 
Friendship is very much founded in suitable- 
ness, and maintained by it: and among mortals, 
there is no perfect suitableness to be found ; 
but much unsuitableness still remaineth. That 
which pleaseth one, is displeasing to another : 
one liketh this place, and the other that: one 
liketh this habit, and the other that : one is 
for mirth, and the other for sadness: one for 
talk, and the other for silence : one for a public, 
and the other for a private life. And their 
])ersonality or individuation having self-love as 
inseparable, will unavoidably cause a contrariety 
of interests. The creature is insufficient for us : 
if one have it, perhaps the other must want it: 
like a covering too narrow for the bed. Some- 
times our reputations seem to stand cross, so 
that one man's is diminished by another's : and 
then how apt is envy to create a grudge and 
distaste, and raise unfriendly jealousies and 
distastes! Sometimes the commodity of one is 
the discommodity of the other: and then ' mine 
and thine,' (which are contrary to the community 

236 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

of friendship) may divide, and alienate, and 
make two of those that seemed one. The 
instances of Abraham and Lot, (upon the dif- 
ference among their servants) and of Isaac and 
J^hmael, and of Jacob and Esau, and of Laban 
and Jacob, and of Leah and Rachel, and of 
Joseph and his brethren, and of Saul and David, 
and of Ziba, Mephibosheth and David, with 
many others, tell us this. It is rare to meet 
with a Jonathan, that will endearedly love that 
man., to the death, who is appointed to deprive 
him of a kingdom. If one can but say ' I 
suffer by him, or I am a loser by him,' it seem- 
eth enough to excuse unfriendly thoughts and 
actions. When you can gratify the desires of 
all the covetous, ambitious, self-seeking persons 
in the world, or else cure their diseases, and 
possess their minds with perfect charity, then all 
the world will be your friends, 

5. Cross opinions also are like to alienate many 
of your friends. This age hath over and over 
again given the world as full and sad demonstra- 
tions of the power of cross opinions to alienate 
friends and make divisions, as most ages of the 
world have ever had. If your friend be proud, 
it is wonderful how he will slight you, and with- 
draw his love, if you be not of his mind. If he 
be zealous, he is easily tempted to think it a part 
of his duty to God, to disown you if you differ 
from him, as taking you for one that disowneth 
tiie truth of God, and therefore one that God 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 237 

himself disowneth; or at least to grow cold in 
his affection toward you, and to decline from you 
as he thinks you do from God. As agreement in 
opinions doth strangely reconcile affections, so 
disagreement doth secretly and strangely alienate 
them ; even before you are well aware, your friend 
hath lost possession of your hearts, because of an 
unavoidable diversity of apprehensions. When 
all your friends have the same intellectual com- 
plexion and temperature, and measure of under- 
standing with yourselves, then you may have 
hope to escape the ruptures which unlikeliness 
and differences of apprehensions might else cause. 
6. Moreover, some of your friends may so far 
overgrow you in wisdom, or wealth, or honor, 
or worth, in their own conceits, that they may 
begin to take you to be unsuitable for them, and 
unmeet for their further special friendship. 
Alas, poor man ! they will pity thee that thou 
art no wiser, and that thou hast no greater light 
to change thy mind as fast as they, or that thou 
art so weak and ignorant as not to see what 
seems to them so clear a truth ; or that thou art 
so simple to cast away thyself by crossing them 
that might prefer thee, or to fall under the dis- 
pleasure of those that have power to raise or 
ruin thee : but if thou be so simple, thou mayest 
be the object of their lamentation, but art no 
familiar friend for them. They think it fittest 
to close and converse with those of their own 
jank and stature, and not with sqch shrubs 

VOL. 11, P 

238 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

and children, that may prove their trouble and 

7. And some of your friends will think that 
by a more thorough acquaintance with you, they 
liave found out more of your infirmities ot: 
faults ; and therefore have found that you are 
less amiable and valuable than at first they 
judged you: they will think that by distance, 
unacquaintedness, and an over hasty love and 
judgment, they were mistaken in you; and that 
now they see reason to repent of the love which 
they think was guilty of some errors and excess : 
when they come nearer you, and have had more 
trial of you, they will think they are fitter to 
judge of you than before. And indeed our 
defects are so many, and all our infirmities so 
great, that the more men know us, the more 
they may see in us that deserveth pity or reproof; 
and as pictures, we appear less beautifid at the 
nearest view : though this will not warrant the 
withdrawing of that love which is due to friends, 
and to virtue, even in the imperfect; nor will 
excuse that alienation and decay of friendship 
that is caused by the pride of such as overlook 
perhaps much greater failings and weaknesses 
in themselves, which need forgiveness. 

8. And perhaps some of your friends will 
grow weary of their friendship, having that 
infirmity of human nature, not to be much 
pleased with one thing long. Their love is a 
flower that quickly withereth : it is a short-lived 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 239 

thing that soon groweth old. — It must be novelty 
that must feed their love and their delight. 

9. And perhaps they may have got soma 
better friends, in their apprehensions, that may 
have so much interest as to take them up, and 
leave no room for ancient friends. It may be 
they have met with those that are more suitable, 
or can be more useful to them; that have more 
learning, or wit, or wealth, or power, than you 
have, and therefore seem more worthy of their 

10. And some of them may think when you 
are in a low and sufFerino^ state, and in danger 
of worse, that it is part of their duty of self- 
preservation to be strange to you (though m 
heart they wish you well). They will think they 
are not bound to hazard themselves upon the 
displeasure of superiors, to own or befriend you 
or any other. Though they must not desert 
Christ, they think they may desert a man for 
their own preservation. 

To avoid both extremes, in such a case men 
must both study to understand which way is 
niost serviceable to Christ, and to his church, 
and withal to be able to deny themselves; and 
also must study to understand what Christ 
meaneth in his final sentence, " In as much as 
you did it (or did it not) to one of the least 
of these my brethren, you did it (or did it not) 
to rae." As if it were to visit the contagious, 
V. e must neither cast away our lives to do no 

240 Of Convening with God in Solitude. 

p:ood, or for that which in value holdeth no 
proportion with them, nor yet must we deny 
to run any hazard when it is indeed our duty : 
so is it in our visiting those that suffer for the 
cause of Christ; (but that here the owning 
them being the confessing of him, we need 
more seldom to fear being too forward). 

11. And some of your friends may cover 
their unfaithfulness with the pretence of some 
fault that you have been guilty of, some error 
that you hold, or some unhandsome or culpable 
act that you have done, or some duty that you 
liave left undone or failed in : for they think 
there is not a better shelter for their unfaithful- 
ness, than to pretend for it the name and cause 
of God, and so to make a duty of their sin. 
Who would not justity them, if they can but 
prove that God requireth them, and religion 
obligeth them, to forsake you for your faults r 
There are few crimes in the world that by some 
are not fathered on God (that most hateth them) 
as thinking no name can so much honor them. 
False friends therefore use this means as well as 
other hypocrites: and though God is love, and 
condemneth nothing more than uncharitableness 
and malice; yet these are commonly by false- 
hearted hypocrites, called by some pious vir- 
tuous names, and God himself is entitled to 
them : so that few worldlings, ambitious persons 
or timeservers, but will confidently pretend 
religion for all their falsehood to their friends. 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 241 

©r bloody cruelty to the servants of Christ, 
that comply not with their carnal interest. 

12. Perhaps some of your friends may really 
mistake your case, and think that you suffer as 
evil doers, and instead of comforting you may 
be your sharpest censurers : this is one of the 
most notable things set out to our observation 
in the book of Job. It was not the smallest 
part of his affliction, that when the hand of 
God was heavy upon him, and then if ever 
was the time for his friends to have been hs 
comforters and friends indeed, on the contrary 
they became his "scourge, and by unjust accu- 
sations and misinterpretations of the providence 
of God, did greatly add to his affliction ! When 
God had taken away his children, wealth and 
health, his friends would take away the repu- 
tation and comfort of his integrity ; and under 
pretence of bringing him to repentance, did 
charge him with that which he was never guilty 
of; they wounded his good name, and would 
have wounded his conscience, and deprived him 
of his inward peace. Censorious false accusing- 
friends do cut deeper than malicious slandering 
enemies : it is no wonder if strangers or enemies 
do misjudge and misreport our actions; but 
when your bosom friends, that should most 
intimately know you, and be the chief witness 
of your innocency against all others, shall in 
their jealousy, or envy, or peevishness, or falling- 
out, be your chief reproachers and unjust 

242 Of Conversing zcith God in Solitudeo 

accusers, as it makes it seem more credible to 
others, so it will come nearest to yourselves. 
And yet this is a thing that must be expected ; 
yea, even your most self-denying acts of obe- 
dience to God, may be so misunderstood by 
godly men, and real friends, as by them to be 
taken for your great miscan'iage, and turned to 
your rebuke; as David's dancing before the ark 
was by his wife; which yet did but make him 
resolve to be yet more vile. If you be cast into 
poverty, or disgrace, or prison, or banishment, 
for your necessary obedience to Christ, perhaps 
your friend or wife may become your accuser 
for this your greatest service, and say. This is 
your own doing; your rashness, or indiscretion, 
or self-conceitedness, or wilfulness hath brougiit 
it upon you : what need had you to say such 
words, or to do this or that? why could not you 
have yielded in so small a matter? Perhaps 
y )ur costliest and most excellent obedience shall, 
l)y your nearest friends, be called the fruits of 
pride, or humour, or passion, or some corrupt 
affection, or at least of folly and inconsiderate- 
ness. When flesh and blood hath long been 
striving in you against your duty, and saying, 
• Do not cast away thyself: O serve not God 
at so dear a rate : God doth not require thee to 
undo thyself: why shouldest thou not avoid so 
great inconveniences? — when with much ado 
you have conquered all your carnal reasonings, 
and denied yourselves and your carnal interest. 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 243 

you must expect, even from some religious 
friends, to be accused for these very actions; 
and perhaps their accusations may fasten such 
a blot upon your names, as shall never be 
washed out till the day of judgment. By dif- 
ference of interests or apprehensions, and by 
unacquaintedness with your hearts and actions, 
the righteousness of the righteous may be thus 
taken from him, and friends may do the work of 
enemies, yea, of Satan himself the accuser of 
the brethren : and may prove as thorns in your 
bed, and gravel in your shoes, yea in your eyes, 
and wrong you much more than open adversaries 
could have done. How it is like to go witli 
that man's reputation you may easily judge, 
whose friends are like Job's, and his enemies 
like David's, that lay snares before him, and 
<3iligently watch for matter of reproach : yet this 
may befal the best of men. 

13. You may be permitted by God to fall 
into some real crime; and then your friends 
may possibly think it is their duty to disown 
you, so far as you have wronged God : when you 
provoke God to frown upon you, he may cause 
your friends to frown upon you : if you will fall 
out with him, and grow strange to him, no mar- 
vel if your truest friends fall out with you and 
grow strange to you : they love you for your 
godliness, and for the sake of Christ ; and there- 
fore must abate their love if you abate your 
godliness, and must for the sake of Christ be 

244 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

displeased with you for your sins : and if in snck 
a case of real guilt, you should be displeased at 
their displeasure, and should expect that yoivr 
friend should befriend your sin, or carry himself 
towards you in your guilt as if you were inno- 
cent, you will but shew that you understand not 
the nature of true friendship, nor the use of a 
true friend, and are yet yourselves too friendly 
to your sins^. 

14. Moreover, thos€ few friends that ape 
truest to you, may be utterly unable to relieve 
you in your distress, of to give you ease, or do 
you any good. The case may be such that they 
can but pity you, and lament your sorrows, and 
weep over youi you may see in them that man 
is not as^ God., whose frjendship can accamplisli 
ail the good that he desireth to his friends. The 
wisest, and greatest, and best of men are silly 
comforters, and ineffectual helps; you may be 
sick, and pained, and grieved, and distressed, 
notwithstanding any thing that they can do for 
you : nay, perhaps in their ignorance they may 
increase your misery, while they desire your 
relief; and by striving indirectly to help and 
ease you, may tie the knot faster and make you 
worse : they may provoke those more against 
you that oppress you, while they think they 
speak that which should tend to set you free: 
they may think to ease your troubled minds by 
such words as shall increase the trouble ; or to 
deliver you as Peter would have delivered Chribt* 

Of Com^ersing with God in Solitude, 245 

and saved his Saviour, first by carnal counsel. 
Matt. xvi. 22, " Be it far from thee. Lord : this 
shall not be unto thee," and then by carnal 
unjust force (by drawing his sword against the 
officers.) Love and good meaning will not pre- 
vent the mischiefs of ignorance and mistake. 
If your friend cut your throat while he thought 
to cut but a vein to cure your disease, it is not 
his friendly meaning that will save your lives. 
Many a thousand sick people are killed by their 
friends, that attend them with an earnest desire 
of their life, while they ignorantly give them 
that which is contrary to their disease, and will 
not be the less pernicious for tlie good meaning 
of the giver. Who have more tendgr affections 
than mothers to their children? and yet a great 
part of the calamity of the world of sickness, and 
the misery of man's life, proceedeth from the 
ignorant and erroneous indulgence of mothers 
to their children, who to please them let them 
eat and drink what they will, and use them to 
excess and gluttony in their childhood, till 
nature be abused and mastered and clogged 
with those superfluities and crudities, which are 
the dunohill matter of most of the following; 
diseases of their lives. 

I might here also remember you, how your 
friends may themselves be overcome with a 
temptation, and then become the more danger- 
ous tempters of you, by how much the greater 
their interest is in your affections. If they be 
p 3 

246 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

infected with error, they are the likest persons 
to ensnare you : if they be tainted with covet- 
ousness or pride, there is none so likely to draw 
you to the same sin: — and so your friends may 
be in effect your most deadly enemies, deceivers 
and destroyers. 

15. And if you have friends that are never so 
firm and constant, they may prove, not only 
unable to relieve you, but very additions to your 
grief. If they are afflicted in the participation 
of your sufferings, as your troubles are become 
theirs (without your ease) so their trouble for 
you will become yours, and so your stock of 
sorrow will be increased. And they are mortals, 
and liable to distress as well as you; and there- 
fore they are like to bear their share in several 
sorts of sufferings : and so friendship will make 
their sufferings to be yours ; their sicknesses and 
pains, their fears and griefs, their wants and dan- 
pers will all be yours ; and the more they are your 
hearty friends the more they will be yours: and 
so you will have as many additions to the proper 
burden of your griefs as you have suffering 
friends. When you do but hear that they are 
dead, you say, as Thomas, John xi. 16. " Let 
us also go that we may die with him;" and 
having many such friends, you will almost always 
have one or other of them in distress, and so be 
seldom free from sorrow ; besides all that which 
i-: properly your own. 

16. Lastly, if you have a friend that is both 

Of Cotivcrsing with God in Solitude. 247 

true and useful, yet you may be sure he must 
stay with you but a httle while. The godly men 
will cease, and the faithful fail from among the 
children of men; while men of lying flattering 
lips, and double hearts survive, and the wicked 
walk on every side, while the vilest men are 
exalted. Ps. xii, 1, 2, 8. While swarms of false 
malicious men, are left round about you, perhaps 
God will take away your dearest friends. If 
among a multitude of unfaithful ones, you have 
but one that is your friend indeed, perhaps God 
will take away that one. He may be separated 
from you into another country; or taken away 
to God by death. Not that God doth grudge 
you the mercy of a faithful friend ; but that he 
would be your all, and would not have you hurt 
yourselves with too much affection to any crea- 
ture, and for other reasons to be named anon. 

And to be forsaken of your friends, is not all 
your affliction : but to be so forsaken is a great 
aggravation of it. 1. For they use to forsake 
us in our greatest sufferings and straits, when 
we have the greatest need of them. 

2. They fail us most at a dying hour, when 
all other worldly comfort faileth. As we must, 
leave our houses, lands and wealth, so must we 
for the present leave our friends : and as all the 
rest are silly comforters, when we have once re- 
ceived our citation to appear before the Lord, 
so also are our friends but silly comforters : 
they can weep over us, but they cannot, with all. 

248 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

their care, delay the separating stroke of death,- 
one day or hour. 

Only by their prayers, and holy advice, re- 
membering us of everlasting things, and pro- 
voking us in the v^ork of preparation, they may 
prove to us friends indeed. And therefore vi'e 
must value a holy, heavenly, faithful friend, as 
one of the greatest treasures upon earth : and 
while we take notice how as men they may for- 
sake us, we must not deny but that as saints 
they are precious, and of singular use to us. 
And Christ useth by them to communicate his 
mercies; and if any creatures in the world may 
be blessings to us, it is holy persons, that have 
most of God in their hearts and lives. 

3. And it is an aggravation of the cross, that 
they often fail us, when we are most faithful in 
our duty, and stumble most upon the most ex- 
cellent acts of our obedience. 

4. And those are the persons that ofttimes 
fail us, of whom we have deserved best, and 
from whom we might have expected most. 

Review the experiences of the choicest ser- 
vants that Christ hath had in the world, and you 
shall find enough to confirm you of the vanity 
of man, and the instability of the dearest friends. 
How highly was Athanasius esteemed ; and yet 
at last deserted and banished even by the famous 
Constantine himself! How excellent a man was' 
Gregory Nazianzene, and highly valued in the 
church ; and yet by reproach and discourage- 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 249 

merits driven away from his church at Constan- 
tinople, whither he was chosen ; and envied by 
the bishops round about him. How worthy a 
man was the eloquent Chrysostome, and highly 
valued in the church ; and yet how bitterly was 
he prosecuted by Hierome and Epiphanius ; and 
banished, and died in a second banishment, by 
the provocation of factious contentious bishops, 
and an empress impatient of his plain reproofs ! 
What person 'more generally esteemed and ho- 
nored for learning, piety and peaceableness than 
Melancthon ; and yet by the contentions of 
Illyricus and his party, he was made weary of 
his life. As highly as Calvin was (deservedly) 
valued at Geneva, yet once in a popular lunacy 
and displeasure, they drove him out of their city, 
and in contempt of him some called their dogs 
by the name of Calvin ; (though after they were 
glad to intreat him to return.) How much our 
Grindal and Abbot were esteemed, it appeareth 
by their advancement to the archbishopric of 
Canterbury ; and yet who knoweth not that 
their eminent piety sufficed not to keep them 
from dejecting frowns? And if you say, that it 
is no wonder if with princes through interest, 
and with people through levity, it be thus ; I 
might heap up instances of the like untrustiness 
of particular friends : but all history and the 
experiences of the most, do so much abound 
with them, that I think it needless. Which of 
us must not say with David, that '* All men are 

250 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

liars," Ps. cxvi. that is, deceitful and untrusty, 
either through unfaithfulness, weakness, or insuf- 
ficiency ; that either will forsake us, or cannot 
help us in the time of need ? 

Was Christ forsaken in his extremity by his 
own disciples, to teach us what to expect or 
bear ? Think it not strange then to be con- 
formed to your Lord, in this, as well as in other 
parts of his humiliation. Expect that men 
should prove deceitful: not that you should 
entertain censorious suspicions of your particu- 
lar friends ; but remember in general that man is 
frail, and the best too selfish and uncertain; and 
that it is no wonder if those should prove your 
greatest grief, from whom you had the highest 
expectations. Are you better than Job, or 
David, or Christ; and are your friends more 
firm and unchangeable than their's ? 

Consider, I. That creatures must be set at a 
sufficient distance from their creator. All-suffi- 
ciency, immutability, and indefectible fidelity, 
are proper to Jehovah. As it is no wonder for 
the sun to set or be eclipsed, as glorious a 
body as it is; so it is no wonder for a friend, a 
pious friend, to fail us, for a time, in the hour 
of our distress. There are some that will not : 
but there is none but may, if God should 
leave them to their weakness. Man is not 
your rock: he hath no stability but what is 
derived, dependant, and uncertain, and defec- 
tible. Learn therefore to rest on God alone. 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 25 1 

and lean not too hard or confidently upon any; 
mortal wight. 

2. And God will have the common infirmity 
of man to be known, that so the weakest may 
not be utterly discouraged, nor take their weak- 
ness to be gracelessness, whilst they see that 
the strongest also have their infirmities, though 
not so great as theirs. If any of God's servants 
live in constant holiness and fidelity, without 
any shakings or stumbling in their way, it would 
tempt some self-accusing troubled souls to think 
that they were altogether graceless, because they 
are so far short of others : but when we read of 
a Peter's denying his master in so horrid a 
manner, with swearing and cursing that he knew 
not the man. Matt. xxvi. 74, and of his disimu- 
lation and not walking uprightly. Gal. ii. and of 
a David's unfriendly and unrighteous dealing 
with Mephibosheth, the seed of Jonathan, and 
of his most vile and treacherous dealing; with 
Uriah, a faithful and deserving subject, it may 
both abate our wonder and offence at the 
unfaithiulness of our friends, and teach us to 
compassionate their frailty, when they desert 
us; and also somewhat abate our immoderate 
dejectedness and trouble, when we have failed 
God or man ourselves. 

3. Moreover, consider how the odiousness of 
that sin, which is the root and cause of such 
unfaithfulness, is greatly manifested by the 
failins: of our friends. God will have the ocUou&f 

252 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

ness of the remnants of our self-love and carnal- 
mindedness, and cowardice appear: we should 
not discern it in the seed and root, if we did not 
see and taste it in the fruits. Seeing without 
tasting will not sufficiently convince us : a crab 
looks as beautiful as an apple ; but when you 
taste it, you better know the difference. When 
you must yourselves be unkindly used by your 
friends, and forsaken by them in your distress, 
and you have tasted the fruits of the remnants 
of their worldliness, selfishness, and carnal fears, 
you will better know the odiousness of these 
vices, which thus break forth against all obliga- 
tions to God and you, and notwithstanding the 
light, the conscience, and perhaps the grace, 
that doth resist them. 

4. Are you not prone to overvalue and over^ 
love your friends? If so, is not this the meetest 
remedy for your disease? In the loving of God, 
we are in no danger of excess, and therefore 
have no need of any thing to quench it; and in 
the loving of the godly purely upon the account 
of Christ, and in loving saints as saints, we are 
not apt to go too far : but yet our understandings 
may mistake, and we may think that saints have 
more of sanctity than indeed they have; and we 
are exceeding apt to mix a selfish common love 
with that which is spiritual and holy ; and at 
the same time, when we love a christian as a 
christian, we are apt not only to love him (as we 
ought) but to overlove him because he is our 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 2-53 

friend, and loveth us. Those christians that 
have no special love to us, we are apt to under- 
value and neglect, and love them below their 
holiness and worth : but those that \^e think 
entirely love us, we love above their proper 
worth, as they stand in the esteem of God : not 
but that we may love those that love us, and 
add this love to that which is purely for the 
sake of Christ; but we should not let our 
own interest prevail and overtop the interest 
of Christ, nor love any so much for loving 
us, as for loving Christ: and if we do so, no 
wonder if God shall use such remedies as he 
seeth meet, to abate our excuse of selfish love. 
O how highly are we apt to think of all that 
good which is found in those who are the 
highest esteemers of us, and most dearly love 
us; when perhaps in itself it is but some ordi- 
nary good, or ordinary degree of goodness 
which is in them ! Their love to us irresistibly 
procureth our love to them ; and when we love 
them, it is wonderful to observe, how easily we 
are brought to think well of almost all they 
do, and highly to value their judgments, graces. 
parts and works ; when greater excellencies in 
another perhaps are scarce observed, or regarded 
but as a common thing : and therefore the 
destruction or want of love, is apparent in 
the vilifying thoughts and speeches, that most 
men have of one another; and in the low 
esteem of the judgments, and performances 

254 Of Conversing tvith God in Solitude. 

and lives of other men: (much more in their 
-contempt, reproaches and cruel persecutions.) 
Now though God will have us increase in our 
love of Christ in his members, and in our 
pure love of christians as such, and in our 
common charity to all, yea, and in our just 
fidelity to our friend ; yet would he have us 
suspect and moderate our selfish and exces- 
sive love, and inordinate partial esteem of one 
above another, when it is but for ourselves, 
and on our own account. And therefore as he 
will make us know, that we ourselves are no 
such excellent persons, as that it should make 
another so laudable, or advance his worth, 
because he loveth us ; so he will make us 
know, that our friends whom we overvalue, 
are but like other men: if we exalt them too 
highly in our esteem, it is a sign that God 
must cast them down. And as their love to 
us was it that made us so exalt them ; so their 
unkindness or unfaithfulness to us, is the fittest 
means to bring; them lower in our estimation 
and affection. God is very jealous of our 
hearts, as to our overvaluing and overloving 
any of his creatures : what we give inordinately 
and excessively to them, is some way or other 
taken from him, and given them to his injury, 
and therefore to his offence. Though I know 
that to be void of natural, friendly or social 
affections, is an odious extreme on the other 
side; yet God will rebuke us if we are guilty 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 255 

of excess. And it is the greater and more 
inexcusable fault to overlove the creature, 
because our love to God is so cold, and hardly 
kindled and kept alive. He cannot take it v/ell 
to see us dote upon dust and frailty like our- 
Selves, at the same time when all his wondrous 
kindness, and attractive goodness, do cause but 
such a faint and languid love to him, which we 
ourselves can scarcely feel. If therefore he 
cure us by permitting our friends to shew us 
truly what they are, and how little they deserve 
such excessive love (when God hath so little) it 
is no more wonder, than it is that he is tender 
of his glory, and merciful to his servant's souls* 
5. By the failing and unfaithfulness of our 
friends, the wonderful patience of God will be 
observed and honored, as it is shewed both to 
them and us. When they forsake us in our 
dist'-ess (especially when we suffer for the cause 
of Christ) it is God that they injure more than 
us : and therefore if he bear with them, and 
forgive their weakness upon repentance, why 
should not we do so that are much less injured ? 
The Vi/orld's perfidiousness should make us think 
how great and wonderful is the patience of God, 
that beareth with, and beareth up, so vile, un- 
grateful, treacherous men, that abuse him to 
whom they are infinitely obliged ! And it should 
make us consider, when men deal treacherously 
with us, how great is that mercy that hath 
borne with, and pardoned greater wrongs which 

256 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

r myself have done to God, than these can 
be which men have done to me! It was the 
remembrance of David's sin, that had provoked 
God to raise up his own son against him (of 
whom he had been too fond) which made 
him so easily bear the curses and reproach 
of Shimei. It will make us bear abuse from 
others, to remember how ill we have dealt with 
God, and how ill we have deserved at his hands 

6. And I have observed another of the rea- 
sons of God's permitting the failing of our 
friends, in the season and success. It is, that 
the love of our friends may not hinder us when 
we are called to suffer or die. When we over- 
iove them, it teareth our very hearts to leave 
them ; and therefore it is a strong temptation 
to draw us from our duty, and to be unfaithful 
to the cause of Christ, lest we should be taken 
from our too dear friends, or lest our suffering 
cause their too much grief. It is so hard a 
thing to die with willingness and peace, that 
it must needs be a mercy to be saved from 
the impediments which make us backward : and 
tixe excessive love of friends and relations, is 
aot the least of these impediments. O how 
loth is many a one to die, when they think 
of parting with wife, or husband, or children, 
or dear and faithful friends ! Now I have oft 
observed, that a little before their death or 
sjpkness, it is ordinary with God to permit 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 257 

some unkindness between such too dear friends 
to arise, by which he moderated and abated 
their affections, and made them a s;*reat deal 
the willinger to die. Then we are ready to say, 
It is time for me to leave the world, when not 
only the rest of the world, but my dearest 
friends have first forsaken me! This helpeth 
us to remember our dearest everlasting friend, 
and to be grieved at the heart that we have been 
no truer ourselves to him, who would not have 
forsaken us in our extremity. And sometime 
it maketh us even weary of the world, and 
to say as Elias, Lord take away my life, &c. 
1 Kings xix. 4, 10, 14. when we must say, I 
thought I had one friend left, and behold even 
he forsaketh me in my distress. As the love 
of friends entangleth our affections to this world, 
so to be weaned by their unkindnesses from our 
friends, is a great help to loosen us from the 
world, and proveth oft a very great mercy to 
a soul that is ready to depart. 

And as the friends that love us most, and 
have most interest in our esteem and love, may 
do more than others, in tempting us to be un- 
faithful to our Lord, to entertain any error, to 
commit any sin, or to flinch in suffering ; so 
when God hath permitted them to forsake us, 
and to lose their too great interest in us, we 
are fortified against all such temptations from 
them. I have known where a former intimate 
friend hath grown strange, and broken former 

258 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

friendship, and quickly after turned to such 
dangerous ways and errors, as convinced the 
other of the mercifulness of God, in weakening 
his temptation by his friend's desertion ; who 
might else have drawn him along with him into 
sin. And I have often observed, that when the 
husbands have turned from religion to infidelity, 
familism, or some dangerous heresy, that God 
hath permitted them to hate and abuse their 
wives so inhumanly, as that it preserved the 
poor women from the temptation of following 
them in their apostacy or sin : when as some 
other women with whom their husbands have 
dealt more kindly, have been drawn away with 
them into pernicious paths. 

Therefore still I must say, we were undone if 
we had the disposing of our own conditions. It 
would be long before we should have been wil- 
ling ourselves to be thus unkindly dealt with by 
our friends : and yet God hath made it to many 
a soul, a notable means of preserving them from 
being undone for ever. Yea, the unfaithfulness 
of all our friends, and the malice and cruelty of 
all our enemies, doth us not usually so much 
harm, as the love and temptation of some one 
deluded erring friend, whom we are ready to 
follow into the gulf. 

7. Lastly, consider that it is not desirable 
or suitable to our state, to have too much of our 
comfort by any creature : not only because it is 
most pure and sweet which is most immediately 

Of Convening with God in Solitude. 259 

from God ; but also because we are very prone 
to overlove the creature ; and if it should but 
seem to be very commodious to us, by serving 
our necessities or desires, it would seem the 
more amiable, and therefore be the stronger 
snare ; the work of mortification doth much con- 
sist in the annihilation or deadness of all the 
creatures as to any power to draw away our 
hearts from God, or to entangle us and detain 
us from our duty. And the more excellent and 
lovely the creature appeareth to us, the less it 
is dead to us, or we to it ; and the more will it 
be able to hinder or ensnare us. 

When you have well considered all these 
things, I suppose you will admire the wisdom 
of God in leaving you under this kind of trial, 
and weaning you from every creature, and teach- 
ing you by his providence as well as by his 
word, to " Cease from man, whose breath is in 
his nostrils ; for wherein is he to be accounted 
of?" And you will see that it is no great won- 
der that corrupted souls, that live in other sins, 
should be guilty of this unfaithfulness to their 
friends : and that he that dare unthankfully 
trample upon the unspeakable kindness of the 
Lord, should deal unkindly with the best of 
men. You make no great wonder at other kind 
of sins, when you see the world continually 
commit them; why then should you make a 
greater or a stranger matter of this than of the 
rest ? Are you better than God ? Must unfaith- 

260 Of Conversing with God in SJitude. 

fulness to you be made more heinous, than that 
unfaithfulness to him, which yet you daily see 
and slight? The least wrong to God is a thou- 
sandfold more than the greatest that can be 
done to you, as such. Have you done that for 
your nearest friend, which God hath done for 
him and you, and all men ? Their obligations 
to you are nothing in comparison of their great 
and manifold obligations to God. 

And you know that you have more wronged 
God yourselves, than any man ever wronged 
you: and if yet for all that he bear with you, 
have you not great reason to bear with dthers? 
Yea, you have not been innocent towards men 
yourselves. — Did you never wrong or fail ano- 
ther? or rather, are you not apter to see and 
aggravate the wrong that others do to you, than 
that which you have done to others? May you 
not call to mind your own neglects, and say, as 
Adoni-bezeck, Judg. i. 7, " Threescore and ten 
kijigs having their thumbs and their great toes 
cut off, gathered their meat under ray table : as 
1 have done, so God hath requited me." Many 
a one have I failed or wronged; and no wonder 
if others fail and wrong me. 

Nay, you have been much more unfaithful and 
injurious to yourselves than ever any other hath 
been to you. No friend was so near you as 
yourselves : none had such a charge of you : 
none had such helps and advantages to do you 
good or hurt : and yet all the enemies you have 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 261 

ift the world, even in earth or hell, have not 
wronged and hurt you half so much as you have 
done yourselves. Oh! methinks, the man or 
woman that knoweth themselves, and knoweth 
what it is to repent; that ever saw the greatness 
of their own sin and folly, should have no great 
mind or leisure to agoravate the failings of their 
friends, or the injuries of their enemies, consi- 
dexing what they have proved to themselves! 
Have 1 forfeited my own salvation, and deserved 
everlasting wrath, and sold my Saviour and my 
soul for so base a thing as sinful pleasure, and 
shall I ever make a wonder of it that another man 
doth me some temporal hurt ? Was any friend 
so near to me as myself; or more obliged to me? 
O sinful soul, let thy own rather than thy friend's 
deceit, and treachery, and neglects, be the mat- 
ter of thy displeasure, wonder and complaints ! 

And let thy conformity herein to Jesus Christ, 
be thy holy ambition and delight : not as it is 
thy suffering, nor as it is caused by men's sin ; 
but as it is thy conformity and fellowship in the 
sufferings of thy Lord, and caused by his love. 

I have already shewed you that sufferers for 
Christ, are in the highest form among his dis- 
ciples. The order of his followers usually is 
this; 1, At our entrance, and in the lowest 
form, we are exercised with the fears of hell, 
and God's displeasure, and in the works of re- 
pentance for the sin that we have done. 2. In 
the second form, we come to think more seri- 


262 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

ously of the remedy, and to inquire what we shall 
do to be saved, and to understand better what 
C^hrist hath done and suffered, and what he in 
and will be to us ^ and to value him and his 
love and grace : and here we are much inquiring 
how we may know our own sincerity, and our 
interest in Christ; and are laboring for some- 
assurance, and looking after signs of grace, 
3. In the next form or order we are searching 
after further knowledge, and laboring better to 
understand the mysteries of religion, and to get 
above the rudiments and first principles : and 
here if we scape turning bare opinionists or 
heretics by the snare of controversy or curiosity, 
it is well. 4. In the next form we set ourselves 
to the fuller improvement of all our further 
degrees of knowledg'e ; and to digest it all, and 
turn it into stronger faith, and love, and hope, 
and greater humility, patience, self-denial, mor- 
tification, and contempt of earthly vanities, and 
hatred of sin ; and to walk more watchfully and 
holily, and to be more in holy duty. 5. In the 
next form we grow to be more public-spirited : 
to set our hearts on the church's welfare, and 
long more for the progress of the gospel, and 
for the good of others ; and to do all the good 
in the world that we are able, for men's souls or 
bodies, but especially to long and lay out our- 
selves for the conversion and salvation of igno- 
rant, secure, unconverted souls. The counterfeit 
of this, is, an eager desire to proselyte others ta 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 263 

our opinions, or that religion which we have 
chosen, by the direction of flesh and blood, or 
which is not of God, nor according unto god- 
liness, but doth subserve our carnal ends. 6. In 
the next form we grow to study more the pure 
and wonderful love of God in Christ, and to 
relish and admire that love, and to be taken Up 
with the goodness and tender mercies of the 
Lord, and to be kindling the flames of holy love 
to him that hath thus loved us, and to keep our 
souls in the exercise of that love ; and withal to 
live in joy, and thanks, and praise to him that 
hath redeemed us and loved us : and also by 
faith to converse in heaven, and to live in holy 
contemplation, beholding the glory of the Father 
and the Redeemer in the glass which is fitted to 
-our present use, till we come to see him face to 
face. Those that are the highest in this form, 
do so walk with God, and bum in love, and 
are so much above inferior vanities, and are 
so conversant by faith in heaven, that their 
hearts even dwell there, and there they long to 
be for ever. 7. And in the highest form in the 
school of Christ, we are exercising this confirmed 
faith and love, in suflerings, especially for Christ; 
in following him with our cross, and being con- 
formed to him, and glorifying God in the fullest 
exercise and discovery of his graces in us; and 
in an actual trampling upon all that standeth up 
against him, for our hearts ; and in bearing the 
failest witness to his truth and cause, by con- 

264 Of Conversing with God iti Solitude t 

stant enduring, though to the death. Not but 
that the weakest that are sincere, must suffer foj' 
Christ if he call them to it : martyrdom itself is 
not proper to the strong believers : whoever for-* 
saketh not all that he hath for Christ, cannot be 
his disciple. Luke xiv. 33. But to suffer with 
that faith and love forementioned, and in that 
manner, is proper to the strong : and usually 
God doth not try and exercise his young and 
weak ones with the trials of the strong ; nor set 
his infants on so hard a service, nor put them in 
the front or hottest of the battle, as he doth the 
ripe confirmed christians, "the sufferings of 
their inward doubts and fears doth take up 
such : it is the strong that ordinarily are called 
to sufferings for Christ, at least in any high 
deg^ree. I have digressed thus far to make it 
plain to you, that our conformity to Christ, and 
fellowship with him in his sufferings, in any 
notable degree, is the lot of his ftest confirmed 
servants, and the highest form in his school 
among his disciples : and therefore not to be 
inordinately feared or abhorred, nor to be the 
matter of impatiency, but of holy joy: and in 
such infirmities we may glory. And if it be so 
of sufferings in the general, (for Christ) then is 
it so of this particular sort of suffering, even to 
be forsaken of all our best and nearest, dearest 
friends, when we come to be most abused by 
the enemies. 

For my own part, I must confess that as I am 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 265 

nuich \\ anting in other parts of my conformity 
to Christ, so I take myself to be yet much short, 
of what I expect he should advance me to, as 
long as my friends no more forsake me. It is 
not long since I found myself in a low (if not 
a doubting) case, because I had so few enemies 
and so little sufferings for the cause of Christ 
(though I had much of other sorts : ) and now 
that doubt is removed by the multitude of furies 
v.hich God hath let loose against me. But yet, 
uiethinks, while my friends themselves are so 
friendly to me, I am much short of what I think 
I must at last attain to. 

But let us look further into the text/and see 
what is the cause of the failino; and forsakino- 
Christ iu the disciples ; and what it is that they 
betake themselves to, when tliey leave him. 
" Ye shall be scattered every man to his own." 
Self-denial was not perfect in them, selfishness 
therefore in this hour of temptation did prevail. 
They had before forsaken all to follow Christ ; 
they had left their parents, their families, their 
estates, their trades, to be his disciples : but 
thouo'h they believed him to be the Christ, yet 
they dreamed of a visible kingdom, and did all 
this with too carnal expectations of being great 
men on earth, when Christ should begin his 
reign. And therefore when they saw his appre- 
hension and ignominious suffering, and thought 
xiow they were frustrate of their hopes, they 
seem to repent that they had followed him 

266 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

(though not by apostacy and an habitual or 
plenary change of mind, yet) by a sudden pas- 
sionate frightful apprehension, which vanished 
when grace performed its part. They now 
began to think that they had lives of their own 
to save, and families of their own to mind, and 
business of their own to do : they had before 
forsaken their private interests and affairs, and 
gathered themselves to Jesus Christ, and lived 
in communion with him, and one another : but 
now they return to their trades and callings, and 
are scattered every man to his own. 

Selfishness is the great enemy of all societies, 
of all fidelity and friendship : there is no trusting 
that person in whom it is predominant. And the 
remnants of it where it doth not reign, do make 
men walk unevenly and unstedfastly towards 
God and men. They will certainly deny both 
God and their friends, in a time of trial who are 
not able to deny themselves : or rather be never 
was a real friend to any, that is predominantly 
selfish. They have always some interest of their 
own, which their friend must needs contradict, 
or is insufficient to satisfy. Their houses, their 
lands, their monies, their children, their honor 
or something which they call their own, will be 
frequently the matter of contention ; and are so 
near them, that they can for the sake of these 
cast off the nearest friend. Contract no special 
friendship with a selfish man ; nor put no con- 
fidence in him, whatever friendship he may 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 267 

profess. He is so confined to himself, that he 
hath no true love to spare for others : if he seem 
to love a friend, it is not as a friend, but as a 
servant, or at best as a benefactor : he loveth 
you for himself, as he loveth his money, or 
horse, or house, because you may be serviceable 
to him : or as a horse or dog doth love his 
keeper, for feeding him : and therefore when 
your provender is gone, his love is gone : when 
you have done feeding him, he hath done loving 
you. When you have no more for him, he hath 
no more for you. 

Object. But (some will say) it is not the 
falseness of my friend that I lament, but the 
separation, or the loss of one that was most 
faithful : I have found the deceitfulness of ordi- 
nary friends ; and therefore the more highly 
prize those few that are sincere. I had but one 
true friend among abundance of self-seekers ; 
and that one is dead, or taken from me, and I 
am left as in a wilderness, having no mortal man 
that I can trust or take much comfort in. 

Ansio. Is this your case ? I pray you answer 
these few questions, and suffer the truth to have 
its proper work upon your mind. 

Quest. I. Who was it that deprived you of 
your friend ? Was it not God ? Did not he that 
gave him you take him from you ? Was it not 
his Lord and owner that called him home ? And 
can God do any thing injuriously or amiss ? 
Will you not give him leave to do as he list with 

-68 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

his own? Dare you think that there was wanting 
either wisdom or goodness, justice or mercy in 
God's disposal of your friend ? Or will you ever 
have rest, if you cannot have rest in the will of 

2. How know you what sin your friend might 
have fallen into, if he had lived as long as you 
would have him? You will say, that God (;ouid 
have preserved him from sin: it is true: but 
God preserveth sapientialiy, by means, as well 
a3 omnipotentially : and sometime he s^eth that 
the temptations to that person are like to be so 
strong, and his corruption like to get such 
advantage, and that no means is so fit as death 
itself, for his jneservation. And if God had 
permitted your friend by temptation to have 
fallen into some scandalous sin, or course of 
evil, or into errors or false ways, would it not 
have been much worse than death to him and 
you? God might have suffered your friend that 
was so faithful, to have been sifted and shaken 
as Peter was, and to have denied his Lord, and 
to have seemed in your own eyes, as odious as 
he before seemed amiable. 

3. How know you what unkindness to yourself, 
your dearest friend might have been guilty of ? 
Alas I there is greater frailty and inconstancy in 
man than you are aware of. And there are 
sadder roots of corruption unmortified, that may 
spring up into bitter fruits, than most of us ever 
discover in ourselves. Many a mother hath her 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 2SS ' 

heart broken by the unnaturalness of such a 
<;hild, or the unkindness of such a husband, as 
if they had died before, would have been lament- 
ed by her, with great impatience and excess. 
How confident soever you may be of the future 
fidelity of your friend, you little know what trial 
might have discovered. Many a one hath failed 
God and man that once were as confident of 
themselves, as ever you were of your friend- 
And which of us see not reason to be distrustful 
of ourselves? And can we know another better 
than ourselves ; or promise more concerning 
him ? 

4. How know you what great calamity might 
have befallen your friend, if he had lived as long 
as you desired ? When the righteous seem to 
men to perish, and merciful men are taken 
away, it is from the evil to come that they ai'e 
taken. Isa. Ivii. 1. How many of my friends 
have I lamented as if they had died unseason- 
ably, concerning whom some following provi- 
dence quickly shewed me, that it would have 
been a grievous misery to them to have lived 
longer ! Little know you what calamities were 
imminent on his person, his family, kindred, 
neighbours, country, that would have broke his 
heart. What if a friend of yours had died imme- 
diately before some calamitous subversion of a 
kingdom, some ruins of the church, &c. and if 
ignorantly he had done that which brought these 
things to pass, can you imagine how lamentably 

270 Of Conversing with Gud in Solitude. 

sad his life would have been to him, to have 
seen the church, the gospel, and his country in 
«o sad a case ; especially if it had been long of 
him ? Many that have unawares done that which 
hath ruined but a particular friend, have lived in 
so much grief and trouble, as made them consent 
that death should both revenge the injured on 
tliem, and conclude their misery. What then 
would it have been to have seen the public good 
subverted, and the faithful overwhelmed in 
misery, and the gospel hindered, and holy wor- 
ship changed for deceit and vanity; and for 
conscience to have been daily saying, * I had a 
hand in all this misery : I kindled the fire that 
hath burned up all ?' 

What comfort can you think such friends if 
they had survived, would have found on earth : 
unless it were a comfort to hear the complaints 
of the afflicted, to see and hear such odious sins 
as sometimes vexed righteous Lot to see and 
hear ; or to hear of the scandals of one friend, 
and the apostacy of another, and the sinful com- 
pliances and declinings of a third ; and to hn 
under temptations, reproaches and afflictions 
tliemselves ? Is it a matter to be so much la- 
mented that God hath prevented their greater 
miseries and woe ? 

5. What was the world to your friends while 
they did enjoy it ? Or what is it now, or like to 
be hereafter to yourselves ? Was it so good and 
kind to them, as that you should lament their 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 271 

separation from it ? Was it not to them a place 
of toil and trouble, of envy and vexation, of 
enmity and poison ; of successive cares, and 
fears, and griefs; and worst of all, a place of 
sin ? Did they groan under the burden of a 
sinful nature, a distempered, tempted, troubled 
heart of languishings and weakness of every 
grace; of the rebukes of God, the wounds of 
conscience, and the malice of a Avicked world ? 
And would you have them under these again? 
Or is their deliverance become your grief? Did 
you not often join in prayer with them, for 
deliverance from malice, calamities, doubles, 
imperfections, temptations, and sin ? and now 
those prayers are answered in their deliverance: 
and do you now grieve at that which then you 
prayed for? 

Doth the world use yourselves so well and 
kindly, as that you should be sorry that your 
friends partake not of the feast? Are you not 
groaning from day to day yourselves ; and are 
you grieved that your friends are taken from 
your griefs? You are not well pleased with 
your own condition: when you look into your 
hearts you are displeased and complain : when 
you look into your lives, you are displeased and 
complain : when you look into your families, 
into your neighbourhoods, unto your friends, 
uuto. the church, unto the kingdom, unto the 
world, you are displeased and complain. — And 
are you also displeased that your friends are not 

272 Of Conversing icith God in Solitude. 

under the same displeasedness and complaints 
as you ? Is the world a place of rest or trouble 
to you r And would you have your friends to be 
as far from rest as you r 

And if vou have some ease and peace at pre- 
sent, you little know what storms are near! 
You may see the days, you may hear the 
tidings, you may feel the griping griefs and 
pains, which may make you call for death your- 
selves, and make you say that a life on earth is 
no felicity, and make you confess that they are 
blessed that are dead in the Lord, as resting 
from their labors, and being past these trou- 
bles, griefs, and fears. Many a poor troubled 
soul is in so great distress, as that they take 
their own lives to have some taste of hell: and 
vet at the same time are grieving because their 
friends are taken from them, who would have 
been grieved for their griefs, and for aught they 
know might have fallen into as sad a state as 
they themselves are now lamenting. 

6. Do you think it is for the hurt or the 
good of your friend, that he is removed hence ? 
It cannot be for his hurt unless he be in hell. 
(At least, it is uncertain whether to live would 
have been for his good, by an increase of grace, 
and so for greater glory.) And if he be in hell, 
he was no fit person for you to take much plea- 
sure in upon earth ; he might be indeed a fit 
object for your compassion, but not for your 
complacency. Sure you are not undone for 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 273 

want of such company as God will not endure 
in his sight, and you must be separated from 
for ever. But if they be in heaven, you are 
scarce their friends if you would wish them 
thence. Friendship hath as great respect to the 
good of our friends as of ourselves. And do 
you pretend to friendship, and yet lament the 
removal of your friend to his greatest happiness? 
Do you set more by your own enjoying his 
company, than by his enjoying God in perfect 
blessedness ? This sheweth a very culpable 
defect either in faith or friendship; and there- 
fore beseemeth not christians and friends. If 
love teacheth us to mourn with them that 
mourn, and to rejoice with them that rejoice; 
can it be an act of rational love to mourn for 
them that are possessed of the highest ever- 
lasting joys? 

7. God will not honor himself by one only, 
but by many ; he knoweth best when his work 
is done : when our friends have finished all that 
God intended them for when he put them into 
the world, is it not time for them to be gone, and 
for others to take their places, and finish their 
work also in their time ? God will have a suc- 
cession of his servants in the world. Would 
you not come down, and give place to him that 
is to follow you, when your part is played, and 
his is to begin? If David had not died, there 
had been no Solomon, no Jehoshaphat, no Heze- 
kiah, no Josiah, to succeed him and honor God 


274 Of Conversing vAth God in Solitude. 

in the same throne. You may as wisely gi'udge 
that one day only takes not up all the week, and 
that the clock striketh not the same hour still, 
but proceedeth from one to two, from two to 
three, &c. as to murmur that one man only 
continueth not, to do the work of his plaee^, 
excluding his successors. 

8. You must not have all your mercies by one 
messenger or hand : God will not have you con- 
fine your love to one only of his servants; and 
therefore he will not make one only useful to 
you : but when one hath delivered his message 
and done his part, perhaps God will send you 
other mercies by another hand ; and it belongeth 
to him to choose the messenger who gives the 
gift. And if you will childishly dote upon the 
first messenger, and say you will have all the 
rest of your mercies by his hand, or you wilS 
have no more, your frowai-dness more deserveth 
correction than compassion ; and if you be kept 
fasting till you can thankfully take your food, 
from any hand that your Father sends it by, it is 
a correction very suitable to your sin. 

9. Do you so highly value your friends for 
God, or for them, or for yourselves, in the final 
consideration? If it was for God, what reason 
of trouble have you, that God hath disposed of 
them according to his wisdom and unerring vvillr 
Should you not then be more pleased that God 
hath them, and employeth them in his highest 
service, than displeased that you want them ? 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 275 

But if you value them and love them for 
themselves, they are now more lovely when they 
are more perfect ; and they are now fitter for 
your content and joy, when they have them- 
selves unchangeable content and joy, than they 
could be m their sin and sorrows. 

But if you valued and loved them but for 
yourselves only, it is just with God to take 
them from you, to teach you to value men to 
higher ends, and upon better considerations; 
and both to prefer God before yourselves, and 
better to understand the nature of true friend- 
ship, and better to know that your own felicity 
IS not in the hands of any creature, but of God 

10. Did you improve your friends while you 
had them ; or did you only love them, while 
you made but little use of them for your souls? 
If you used them not, it was just with God for 
all your love to take them from you. They 
were given you as your candle, not only to love 
it, but to work by the light of it; and as your 
garments, not only to love them, but to wear 
them; and as your meat, not only to love it, 
but to feed upon it. Did you receive their 
counsel, and hearken to their reproofs, and pray 
with them, and confer with them upon those 
holy truths that tended to elevate your minds 
to God, and to inflame your breasts with sacred 
love? If not, be it now known to you, that 
God gave you not such helps and mercies only 

276 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

to talk of, or look upon and love, but also to 
improve for the benefit of your souls. 

11. Do you not seem to forget both where 
you are yourselves, and where you must shortly 
and for ever live ? Where would you have your 
friends, but where you must be yourselves? Do 
you mourn that they are taken hence ? Why, if 
they had staid here a thousand years, how little 
of that time should you have had their com- 
pany ? When you are almost leaving the world 
yourselves, would you not send your treasure 
before you to the place where you must abide? 
How quickly will you pass from hence to God, 
where you shall find your friends that you 
lamented as if they had been lost, and there shall 
dwell with them for ever ! O foolish mourners ! 
would you not have your friends at home! at 
their home and your home, with their Father 
and your Father; their God and your God! 
Shall you not there enjoy them long enough? 
Can you so much miss them for one day, that 
must live with them to all eternity ? And is not 
eternity long enough for you to enjoy your 
friends in ? 

Obj. But I do not know whether ever I shall 
there have any distinct knowledge of them, or 
love to them, and whether God shall not there 
be so far all in all, as that we shall need or fetch 
no comfort from the creature. 

Ansiv. There is no reason for either of these 
doubts. For, 1. You cannot justly think that 

Of Conversing with God in SoUtnde. 277 

the knowledge of the glorified shall be more 
confused or imperfect than the knowledge of 
natural men on earth. We shall know much 
more, but not so much less. Heaven exceedeth 
earth in knowledge, as much as it doth in joy. 

2. The ano-els in heaven have now a distinct 
particular knowledge of the least believers ; 
rejoicing particularly in their conversion, and 
being called by Christ himself " their angels." 
Therefore when we shall be equal to the angels, 
we shall certainly know our nearest friends that 
there dwell with us, and are employed in the 
same attendance. 

3. Abraham knew the rich man in hell, and 
the ta&xi knew Abraham and Lazarus : therefore 
we shall have as distinct a knowledge. 

4. The two disciples knew Moses and Elias 
in the mount, whom they had never seen before: 
though it is possible Christ told them who they 
were, yet there is no such thing expressed : and 
therefore it is as probable that they knew them 
by the communication of their irradiating glory. 
Much more shall we be then illuminated to a 
clearer knowledge. 

5. It is said expressly, 1 Cor. xiii. 10 — 12. 
that our present knowledge shall be done away 
only in regard of its imperfection ; and not of 
itself, which shall be perfected : ** When that 
which is perfect is come, then that which is in 
part shall be done away,;" as we put away 
childish thoughts and speeches, when we become 

278 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

men : the change will be from " seeing in 
a glass" to " seeing face to face ;" and from 
" knowing in part" to " knowing even as we 
are known." 

II. And that we shall both know, and love 
and rejoice in creatures even in heaven, not- 
withstanding that God is all in all, appeareth 
farther thus. — 

1 . Christ in his glorified humanity is a crea- 
ture: and yet there is no doubt but all his 
members will there know and love him in his 
glorified humanity, without any derogation from 
the glory of the Deity. 

2. The body of Christ will continue its unity, 
and every member will be so nearly related, 
even in heaven, that they cannot choose but 
know and love each other. Shall we be igno- 
rant of the members of our body; and not be 
concerned in their felicity with whom we are so 
nearly one ? 

3. The state and fehcity of the church here- 
after, is frequently described in scripture as con- 
sistent in society. It is a kingdom, the city of 
God, the heavenly Jerusalem : and it is men- 
tioned as part of our happiness to be of that 
society. Heb. xii. 22 — 24, &c. 

4. The saints are called kings themselves: 
and it is said that they shall judge the world, 
and the angels (and judging in scripture is 
frequently put for governing : therefore, whether 
there will be another world of mortals which 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 279 

they shall govern as angels now govern men ; 
or whether the misery of damned men and angels 
will partly consist in as base a subjection to the 
glorified saints, as dogs now have to men, or 
wicked reprobates on earth to angels ; or whe- 
ther in respect of both these together the saints 
shall then be kings, and rule and judge ; or 
whether it be only the participation of the glory 
of Christ, that is called a kingdom, I will not 
here determine ; but it is most clear that they 
will have a distinct particular knowledge of the 
world, which they themselves must judge ; and 
some concernment in that work. 

5. It is put into the description of the happi- 
ness of the saints, that they shall come from the 
east, and from the west, and shall sit down 
with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom 
of God. Therefore they shall know them, and 
take some comfort in their presence. 

6. Love (even to the saints as well as unto 
God) is one of the graces that shall endure for 
ever. I Cor. xiii. It is exercised upon an im- 
mortal object (the image and children of the 
Most High) and therefore must be one of the 
immortal graces. For grace in the nature of it 
dietli jaot: and therefore if the object cease not, 
how should the grace cease, unless you will call 
its perfecting a ceasing? 

It is a state too high for such as we, and I 
think for any mere creature, to live so immedi- 
ately and only upon God, as to have no use for 

280 Of Conversing with God in Solilude. 

any fellow creature, nor no comfort in them. 
God can make use of glorified creatures, in such 
subserviency and subordination to himself, as 
shall be no diminution to his all-sufficiency or 
honor, nor to our glory and felicity. We must 
take heed of fancying even such a heaven itself, 
as is above the capacity of a creature ; as some 
very wise divines think they have done, that 
tell us we shall immediately see God*s essence 
(his glory being that which is provided for our 
intuition and felicity, and is distinct from his 
essence ; being not every where as his essence 
is ;) and as those do that that tell us because 
that God will be all in all, therefore we shall 
there have none of our comfort by any creature. 
Though flesh and blood shall not enter into that 
kingdom, but your bodies will then be spiritual 
bodies, yet will they be really the same as now, 
and distinct from our souls ; and therefore must 
have a felicity suitable to a body glorified : and 
if the soul did immediately see God's essence, 
yet as no reason can conclude that it can see 
nothing else, or that it can see even created 
good, and not love it, so the body however must 
have objects and felicity fit for a body. 

i)l>j. But it is said. If we knew Christ after 
the flesh, henceforth know we him no more. 

A)isiu. No doubt but all the carnality in 
principles, matter, manner and ends of our 
knowledge \n\\ then cease, as it is imperfectiork; 
but that a carnal knowledge be turned into a 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 28 1 

spiritual, is no more a diminution to it, than it 
is to the glory of our bodies, to be made like 
the stars in the firmament of our Father. 

Ohj. But then I shall have no more comfort 
in my present friends than in any other. 

Anbzo. 1. If you had none in them, it is no 
diminution to our happiness, if indeed we should 
have all in God immediately and alone. 2. But 
if you have as much in others that you never 
knew before, that will not diminish any of your 
comfort in your ancient friends. 3. But it is 
most probable to us, that as there is a two-fold 
object for ouv love in the glorified saints ; one 
is their holiness, and the uther is the relation 
which they stood in between God and us, being 
made his instruments for our conversion and 
salvation, so that we shall love saints in heaven 
in both respects : and in the first respect (which 
is the chiefest) we shall love those most that 
have most of God, and the greatest glory 
(though such as we never knew on earth ;) and 
in the second respect we shall love those most 
that were employed by God for our greatest 

And that we shall not there lay by so much 
respect to ourselves, as to forget or disregard 
our benefactors, is manifest, 1. In that we shall 
for ever remember Christ, and love him, and 
praise him, as one that formerly redeemed us, 
and washed us in his blood, and hath made us 
kings and priests. to God: and therefore we mny 

282 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

also in just subordination to Christ, remember 
them, with love and thankfulness, that were his 
instruments for the collation of these benefits. 

2. And this kind of self-love (to be sensible 
of good and evil to ourselves) is none of the 
sinful or imperfect selfishness to be renounced 
or laid by, but part of our very natures, and as 
inseparable from us as we are from ourselves. 

Much more, were it not digressive, might be 
said on this subject; but I shall only add, that 
as God doth draw us to every holy duty by shew- 
ing us the excellency of that duty ; and as per- 
petuity is not the smallest excellency ; so he hath 
purposely mentioned that love endureth for ever 
(when he had described the love of one another) 
as a principal motive to kindle and increase this 
love. And therefore those that think they shall 
have no personal knowledge of one another, nor 
personal love to one another (for we cannot love 
personally, if we know not personally) do take a 
most effectual course to destroy in their souls 
all holy special love to saints, by casting away 
that principal or very great motive given them 
by the Holy Ghost. I am not able to love much 
where I foreknow that I shall not love long. I 
cannot love a comely inn, so well as a nearer 
dwelling of my own, because I must be gone 
to-morrow. Therefore must I love my Bible 
better than my law books, or physic books. Sec. 
because it leadeth to eternity. And therefore I 
must love holiness in myself and others, better 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 2S3 

than meat and drink, and wealth and honor, and 
beauty and pleasure ; because it must be loved 
for ever, when the love of these must needs be 
transitory, as they are transitory. I must pro- 
fess, from the very experience of my soul, that 
it is the belief that I shall love my friends in 
heaven, that principally kindleth my love to 
them on earth : and if I thought I should never 
love them after death, and consequently never 
love them more, when this life is ended, I should 
in reason number them with temporal things, 
and love them comparatively but a little; even 
as I love other transitory things (allowing for 
the excellency in the nature of grace,) But 
now I converse with some delight with my godly 
friends, as belieYing I shall converse with them 
for ever, and take comfort in the very dead and 
absent, as believing we shall shortly meet in 
heaven : and I love them, I hope, with a love 
that is of a heavenly nature, while I love them 
as the heirs of heaven, with a love which 1 
expect shall there be perfected, and more fully 
and for ever exercised. 

12. The last reason that I give you, to move 
you to bear the loss or absence of your friends, 
is, that it gives you the loudest call to retire 
from all the world, and to converse with God 
himself, and to long for heaven, where you shall 
be separated from your friends no more. And 
your forsaken state will somewhat assist you to 
that solitary converse with God, which it calls 

284 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

you to. — But this brings us up to the third part 
of the text. 

" And yet I am not alone, because the Father 
is with me." Doct. When all forsake us, and 
leave us (as to them) alone, we are far from 
being simply alone; because God is with us. 

He is not without company, that is with the 
kin^, though twenty others have turned him oft'. 
He is not without light that hath the shining 
sun, though all his candles be put out. If God 
be our God, he is our all, and is enough for us : 
and if he be our all, we shall not much find the 
want of creatures while he is with us. 

For 1. He is with us, who is every where, and 
therefore is never from us ; and kuoweth all the 
ways and projects of our enemies; being with 
them in wrath, as he is with us in mercy. 

2. He is with us who is almighty, sufficient 
to preserve us, conquerable by none ; and there- 
fore while he is with us, we need not fear what 
man can do unto us : for they can do nothing 
but what he will: no danger, no sickness, no 
trouble or want can be so great as to make it 
any difficulty to God to deliver us when and 
how he please. 

3. He is with us who is infinitely wise, and 
therefore we need not fear the subtilty of ene- 
mies ; nor shall any of his undertaken works for 
his church or Us miscarry for want of foresight, 
or through any oversight. We shall be preserved 
even from our own tolly, as well as from our 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 285 

enemies' subtilty : for it is not our own wisdom 
that our greatest concernments do principally 
rest upon, nor that our safety and peace are 
chiefly secured by ; but it is the wisdom of our 
Great Preserver. He knoweth what to do with 
us, and what paths to lead us in, and what is 
best for us in all conditions. And he hath pro- 
mised to teach us, and will be our sure infallible 

4. He is with us who is infinitely good, and 
therefore is only fit to be a continual delight 
and satisfaction to our souls: that hath nothing 
in him to disaflfect us, or discourage us : whom 
we may love without fear of overloving ; and 
need not set any bounds to our love, the object 
of it being infinite. 

5. He is with us, who is most nearly related 
to us, and most dearly loveth us; and therefore 
will never be wanting to us in any thing that is 
fit for us to have. This is he that is with us, 
when all have left us, and as to man we are 
alone ; and therefore we may well say that we 
are not alone. Of this I shall say more anon in 
the application. 

Quest. But how is he with us ? Ansto. 1. He is 
with us not only in his essential presence, as he 
is every where, but as by his gracious fatherly 
presence. We are in his family, attendino- on 
him, even as the eye of a servant is to the hand 
of his master ; we are always with him, and (as 
he phraseth it himself in the parable, Luke xv.) 

286 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

all that he hath is ours, that is, all that is fit to 
be communicated to us, and all the provisions ot" 
his bounty for his children. When we awake, 
we should be still with him ; when we go abroad 
we should be always as before him : our life and 
works should be a walkino- with God. 

2. He is always with us efficiently to do us 
good ; though we have none else that careth for 
us, yet will he never cast us out of his care, but 
biddeth us cast our care on him, as promising 
that he will care for us. Though we have none 
else to provide for us, he is always with us, and 
our Father knoweth what we want, and will 
make the best provision for us. Matt. vi. 32, 33. 
Though Vt'e have none else to defend us against 
the power of our enemies, he is always with us 
to be our sure defence : he is the rock to which 
we fly, and upon which we are surely built. He 
gathereth us to himself as the hen gathereth her 
chickens under her wings. Matt, xxiii. 37. And 
sure while love is thus protecting us, we may 
well say that the Father himself is with us. 
Though in all our wants we have no other to 
supply us, yet he is still with us to perform his 
promise, that no good thing shall be wanting to 
them that fear him. Though we may have none 
else to strengthen and help us, and support us in 
our weakness, yet he is always with us, whose 
grace is sufficient for us, to manifest his strength 
in weakness. Though we have no other to teach 
us, and to resolve our doubts, yet he is with us 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 287 

that is our chiefest master, and hath taken us to 
be his disciples, and will be our light and guide, 
and will lead us into the truth. Though we have 
none else to be our comforters, in our agony, 
darkness or distress ; but all forsake us, or are 
taken from us, and we are exposed as Hagar 
with Ishmael in a wilderness ; yet still the Father 
of all consolations is with us, his Spirit who is 
the comforter is in us : and he that so often 
speaketh the words of comfort to us in his gos- 
pel, and saith " Be of good cheer ; let not your 
hearts be troubled, neither be afraid," 5cc. will 
speak them (in the season and measure which 
is fittest for them) unto our hearts. Though 
all friends turn enemies, and would destroy us, 
or turn false accusers, as Job's friends, in 
their ignorance or passion ; though all of them 
should add affliction to our affliction, yet is our 
redeemer and justifier still with us, and will lay 
his restraining hand upon our [enemies, and say 
to their proudest fury " Hitherto and no further 
shalt thou go." He is angry with Job's accusing 
friends, notwithstanding their friendship and 
good meaning, and though they seemed to plead 
for God and godliness against Job's sin : and 
who shall be against us while God is for us? or 
who shall condemn us when it is he that justi- 
fieth us ? Though we be put to say as David, 
Ps. cxlii. 4. " I looked on my right hand, and 
beheld, but there was no man that would know 
me : refuge failed me ; no man cared for my 

288 0/ Conversing with God in Solitude. 

soul :" yet we may say with him, ver. 5 and 7, 
"I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, thou art 
my refuge, and my portion in the land of the 
living. Bring my soul out of prison, that I 
may praise thy name ; the righteous shall com- 
pass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully 
with me," 2, 3. *' I poured out my complaint 
before him ; I shewed before him my trouble : 
when my spirit was overwhelmed within me, 
then thou knewest my path: in the way wherein 
I walked, have they privily laid a snare for me." 
Thus " God is our refuge and strength, a very 
present help in trouble." Ps. xlvi. 1. " Therefore 
should we not fear, though the earth were 
removed, and though the mountains were car- 
ried into the midst of the sea : though the 
waters thereof roar, and be troubled," &c. ver. 
2, 3. Though as David saitli, Ps. xH. 5—9. 
** Mine enemies speak evil of me ; when shall 
he die, and his name perish? And if he come 
to see me, he speaketh vanity : his heart gather- 
eth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad he 
telleth it: all that hate me whisper together 
against me : against me do they devise my hurt. 
An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto 
him: and now that he lieth, he shall rise up no 
more: yea, my own famihar friend, in whom I 
trusted, that did eat of my bread, hath lift up 
his heel against me." Yet we may add as he, 
ver. 12. '■ And as for me, thou upholdest me in 
mine integrity, and settest me before thy face 

Of Conversing zcith God in Solitude. 289 

for ever." Though as Ps. xxxv. 7, &c. " With- 
out cause they have hid for me their net in a 
pit, which without cause they have digged for 
my soul." 11. " And false witnesses did rise up : 
they laid to my charge things that I knew not: 
they rewarded me evil for good." 15, 16. " In my 
adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves 
together: the abjects gathered themselves toge- 
ther against me, and I knew it not; they did 
tear, and ceased not : with hypocritical mockers 
in feasts : they gnashed upon me with their 
teeth." 20. " For they speak not peace; but they 
devise deceitful matters against them that are 
quiet in the land." Yet ver. 9. " My soul shall 
be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in his 
salvation." 10. " All my bones shall say, Lord, 
who is like unto thee, who deliverest the poo?' 
from him that is too strong for him; yea, th© 
poor and the needy from him that spoileth 
him?" Though friends be far off, "• the Lord 
is nigh to them that are of a brojien heart ^ and 
saveth suoh as be of a contrite spirit. Many 
ure the afflictions of the righteous ; but the Lord 
dolivereth him out of them all." Ps. xxxiv. 18, 
^9. " The Lord redeemeth the soul of his 
servants ; and none of them that trust in him 
shall be desolate." ver. 22. Therefore " I will 
be glad and rejoice in his mercy; for he hath 
considered my trouble, and hath known (and 
owned) my soul in adversity; and hath not 
§but me in the hand of the enemy. When my 

290 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

life was spent with grief, and my years with 
sighing: my strength failed because of mine 
iniquity, and my bones were consumed : I was a 
reproach among all mine enemies, but especially 
among my neighbours, and a fear to mine ac- 
quaintance : they that did see me without fled 
from me. I was forgotten, and as a dead man 
out of mind : I was like a broken vessel. I 
heard the slander of many : fear was on every 
side : while they took counsel together against 
me, they devised to take away my life. But I 
trusted in thee, O Lord: I said, thou art my 
God: my times are in thy hand: deliver me 
from the hand of mine enemies, and from them 
that persecute me. Make thy face to shine 
upon thy servant : save me for thy mercies 
sake. O how great is thy goodness, which thou 
hast laid up for them that fear thee ; which thou 
hast wrought for them that trust in thee before 
the sons of men ! Thou shalt hide them in the 
secret of thy presence from the pride of man; 
thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from 
the strife of tongues." Ps. xxxi. Thus God is with 
us when men are far from us, or against us : his 
people find by happy experience that they are 
not alone. Because he is nigh them, evil shall 
not come nigh them, unless as it worketh for 
their good. He is their hiding place to preserve 
them from trouble : the great water-floods shall 
not come nigh them: he will compass them 
about with songs of deliverance. Ps. xxxii. 6, 7. 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 291 

3. And as God is with us thus relatively and 
efficiently, so also objectively for our holy con- 
verse. Wherever our friends are, God is still 
at hand to be the most profitable, honorable 
and delightful object of our thoughts. There is 
enough in him to take up all the faculties of 
my soul. He that is but in a well furnished 
library may find great and excellent employment 
for his thoughts many years together; and so 
may he that liveth in the open world, and hath 
all the visible works of God to meditate upon : 
but all this were nothing, if God were not the 
sense of books and creatures, and the matter of 
all these noble studies. He that is alone, and 
hath only God himself to study, hath the matter 
and sense of all the books and creatures in the 
world, to employ his thoughts upon. He never 
need to want matter for his meditation, that 
hath God to meditate on : he need not want 
matter of discourse (whether mental or vocal) 
that hath God to talk of, though he have not 
the name of any other friend to mention. All 
our affections may have in him the highest and 
most pleasant work. The soul of man cannot 
have a more sweet and excellent work than to 
love him: he wanteth neither work nor pleasure, 
that in his solitude is taken up in the believing 
contemplations of eternal love, and of all his 
blessed attributes and works. O then what 
happy and delightful converse may a believer 
have with God alone! He is always Dresent, 

29^ Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

and always at leisure to be spoken with ; and 
always willing of our access and audience : he 
hath no interest cross to our felicity, which 
should move him to reject us (as worldly great 
ones often have). He never misunderstandeth 
us, nor chargeth that upon us which we were 
never guilty of. If we converse with men, their 
mistakes, and interests, and passions, and insuf- 
ficiencies, do make the trouble so great, and the 
benefit so small, that many have become thereby 
weary of the world, or of human society, and 
Jiave spent the rest of their days alone in desert 
places. Indeed so much of God as appears in 
pien, so i}iuch is their converse excellent and 
delightful: and their's is the best that have most 
of God. But there is so much of vanity, and 
^elf, and flesh, and sin, \n the most or all 
of us, ^s very much darkeneth our light, and 
dampetl; the pleasure, and blasteth the fruit of 
our societies ai)d converge. O how oft have I 
been solaced in God, w]ie}i I four^d nothing but 
deceit and darkness ii^ the world ! How oft hath 
|ie comforted me, when it was past the power of 
man! Mow oft hath he relieved and delivered 
me, when all the help of man was vain ! It hath 
been my stay and rest, to look to him, when the 
creature hath been a broken staff, and deceitful 
friends have been but as a broken tooth, or a 
foot that is out of joint, (as Solomon speaketh 
of confidence in an unfaithful man in time of 
trouble. Prov. x^v. 29.) Verily as the world 

Of Conveislng with God in Solitude. 293 

were but an horrid dungeon without the sun, 
so it were a howling wilderness, a place of no 
considerable employment or delight, were it not 
that in it we may live to God and do him ser- 
vice, and sometime be refreshed with the light 
of his countenance, and the communications of 
his love. But of this more anon. 

Use 1. We see our example, and our encou- 
ragements. Let us now as followers of Christ, 
endeavour to imitate him in this, and to live 
upon God, when men forsake us, and to know 
that while God is with us, we are not alone, nor 
indeed forsaken while he forsakes us not. 

I shall, 1. Shew you here negatively, what 
you must not do. 2. Affirmatively, what you 
must do; for the performance of your duty in 
this imitation of Christ. 

1. You must not make this any preteuce for 
the undervaluing of your useful friends ; nor for 
your unthankfulness for so great a benefit as a 
godly friend : nor for the neglect of your duty 
in improving the company and help of friends : 
two is better than one : the communion of saints, 
and help of those that are wise and faithful, is a 
mercy highly to be esteemed. And the under- 
valuing; of it, is at least a sign of a declinins; soul. 

2. You must not hence fetch any pretence to 
slight your friends, and disoblige them, or neg- 
lect any duty that you owe them, or any means 
therein necessary to the continuation of their 

294 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

3. You must not causelessly withdraw from 
human society into solitude. A weariness of 
converse with men, is oft conjunct with a wea- 
riness of our duty : and a retiring voluntarily 
into solitude, when God doth not call or drive 
us thither, is oft but a retiring from the place 
and work which God hath appointed us : and 
consequently a retiring rather from God, than 
to God. Like some idle servants, that think 
they should not work so hard, because it is but 
worldly business, and think their masters deal 
not religiously by them, unless they let them 
neglect their labor, that they may spend more 
time in serving God : as if it were no serving 
God to be faithful in their master's service. 

1 deny not but very holy persons have lived in 
a state of retirement from human converse : in 
such cases as these it may become a duty, 1. In 
case of such persecution as at present leaveth us 
no opportunity of serving or honoring God so 
much in any other place or state. 

2. In case that natural infirmity or disability 
or any other accident shall make one less service- 
able to God and his church in society than he 
is in solitude. 

3. In case he hath committed a sin so heinous 
and of indelible scandal and reproach, as that it 
is not fit for the servants of Christ any more to 
receive him into their local communion, though 
he repent: (for as to local communion, I think, 
such a case may be.) 

Of Conversing with God in Solilude. 295 

4. In case a man through custom and ill 
company be so captivated to some fleshly lust, 
as that he is not able to bear the temptations 
that are found in human converse ; but falleth 
by them into frequent heinous sinning: in this 
case the right hand or eye is rather to be parted 
with, than their salvation. And though a mere 
restraint by distance of temptations and oppor- 
tunities of sinning, will not prove a man sanc- 
tified, nor save the soul that loveth the sin and 
fain would live in it; yet, 1. Grace may some- 
time appear in the strength and self-denial which 
is exercised in the very avoiding of temptations, 
when yet perhaps the person hath not strength 
enough to have stood against the temptation if 
it had not been avoided. And, 2. The distance 
of temptations, and opportunity of serious and 
frequent consideration, may be a means to help 
them to sincerity that want it. 

5. In case a man by age or sickness find him- 
self so near to death, as that he hath now a more 
special call to look after his present actual pre- 
paration, than to endeavour any more the good 
of others ; and find withal, that solitude will 
help him in his preparations, his society being 
such as would but hinder him. In these five 
cases I suppose it lawfid to retire from human 
converse into solitude. 

But when there is no such necessity or call, 
it usually proceedeth from one of these vicious 
distempers : 1. From cowardice and fear of 

296 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

suffering, when the soldiers of Christ do hide their 
heads, instead of confessing him before men, 

2. From a laziness of mind and weariness of 
duty : when slothful unprofitable servants hide 
their talents, pretending their fear of the auste- 
rity of their Lord. It is easier to run away from 
our work, than do it : and to go out of the reach 
of ignorance, malice, contradiction and ungodli- 
ness, than to encounter them, and conquer them 
by truth and holy lives. So many persons as 
we converse with, so many are there to whom 
we owe some duty : and this is not so easy as 
it is to over-run our work, and to hide ourselves 
in some u-ilderness or cell, whilst others are fioht- 
ing the battles of the Lord. 3. Or it may pro- 
ceed from mere impatience : when men cannot 
bear the frown, and scorns, and violence of the 
ungodly, they fly from sufferings, which by 
patience they should overcome. 4. Or it may 
come from humour and mutability of mind, and 
discontent with one's condition : many retire 
from human converse to please a discontented 
passionate mind ; or expecting to find that in 
privacy, which in public they could not find, nor 
is any where to be found on earth. 5. And some 
do it in melancholy, merely to please a sick ima- 
gination, which is vexed in company, and a little 
easeth itself in living as the possessed man among 
the tombs. 6. And sometimes it proceedeth 
from self-ignorance, and an unhumbled state of 
a soul : when men think much better of them- 

Of Conversing mth God in Solitude. 297 

selves than others, they thhik they can more 
comfortably converse with themselves than with 
others ; whereas if they well understood that 
they are the worst or greatest enemies, or trou- 
bles to themselves, they would more fear their 
own company than other men's : they would then 
. consider what proud, and fleshly, and worldly, 
and selfish, and disordered hearts they are like 
to carry with them into their solitude, and there 
to be annoyed with from day to day : and that 
the nearest enemy is the worst, and the nearest 
trouble is the greatest. 

These vices or infirmities carry many into 
solitude; and if they live where popish vanity 
may seduce them, they will perhaps imagine, 
that they are serving God, and entering into 
perfection, when they are but sinfully obeying 
their corruptions : and that they are advanced 
above others in degrees of grace, while they are 
pleasing a diseased fancy, and entering into a 
dangerous course of sin. No doubt but the 
duties of a public life are more ih number, and 
greater in weight, and of more excellent conse- 
quence and tendency (even to the most public 
good, and greatest honor of God) than the duties 
of privacy or retirement. T'ir bonus est connnune 
honum. — A good man is a common good. And 
(saith Seneca) " Nulla essent communia nisi pars 
il/orum pertineret ad singulos." If every one have 
not some share or interest in them, how are they 
common? Let me add these few considerations, 

VOL. II. s 

298 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

to shew you the evil of voluntary unnecessary 

1. You less contribute to the honor of your 
Redeemer, and less promote his kingdom in the 
world, and less subserve his death and office, 
while you do good but to few, and live but almost 
to yourselves. 

2. You live in the poorest exercise of the grace 
of charity ; and therefore in a low undesirable 

3. You will want the communion of saints, 
and benefit of public ordinances (for I account 
not a college life a solitary life :) and you will 
want the help of the charity, graces, and gifts of 
others, by which you might be benefitted. 

4. It will be a life of smaller comfort, as it is- 
a life of smaller benefit to others. They that do- 
but little good (according to their ability) mus^t 
expect but little comfort. They have usually 
most peace and comfort to themselves, that are 
the most profitable to others. " Aow potest 
guisquam bene degere qui se tantum intiietu? : 
alteri vivas oportet, si tibi vis vivere" Sen, — " !No 
man can live well, that looketh but to himself: 
thou must live to another, if thou wilt live to 

O the delight that there is in doing good to 
many ! None knoweth it that hath not tried 
it: not upon any account of merit; but as it 
pleaseth God, and as goodness itself is amiable 
and sweet; and as we receive by communi- 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 299 

eating; and as we are under promise; and as 
charity makes all the good that is done to 
another to be to us as our own! 

5. We are dark, and partial, and heedless 
of ourselves, and hardly brought or kept in 
acquaintance with our hearts ; and therefore 
have the more need of the eye of others : and 
even an enemy's eye may be useful, though 
malicious ; and may do us good while he intends 
us evil: saith Bernard " Malum quod nemo videt 
nemo arguii: ubi autem non timet ur reprehensor, 
securus accedit tentator ; licentius perpetratur 
iniquitas" — " The evil that none seetli, none 
rep^oveth: and where the reprover is not feared, 
the tempter cometh more boldly, and the sin is 
committed the more licentiously." It is hard to 
know the spots in our own faces, when we have 
no glass or beholder to acquaint us with them, 
Saith Chrysostome, " Solitude is velamen om- 
nium vitiorum — the cover of all vices." In 
company this cover is laid aside, and vice 
being more naked, is more ashamed. It is 
beholders that cause shame; which solitude is 
not acquainted with : and it is a piece of impe- 
nitency not to be ashamed of sin. 

6. And we are for the most part so weak and 
sickly, that we are unable to subsist without the 
help of others. Sen. " Nemo est ex imprudentibu? 
qui relinqui sibi debet" — " unwise men (or in- 
fants, or sick-like men) must not be left to 
themselves." And God hath let some impo- 


300 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

tency, insufficiency, and necessity upon all, that 
should keep men sociable, and make them 
acknowledge their need of others, and be thank- 
ful for assistance from them, and be ready to 
cfo good to others, as we would have others 
do to us. He that feeleth not the need of others, 
is so unhumbled as to have the greater need 
of them. 

7. Pride will have great advantage in private, 
and repentance great disadvantage, while our 
sins seem to be all dead, because there is not a 
temptation to draw them out, or an observer to 
reprove them. " Tarn diu paiiens quisquam sibi 
ridetur &)' hnmilis, donee 7mllius hominum comortio 
commiscetur; ad naturam pristinam reversiinn 
(jiium interpellaverit cnjuslibet occ&sionis commotio,'* 
inquit Cnssianus — ** Many a man seems- to him- 
self patient and humble, while he keeps out of 
company ; who would return to his own nature 
if the commotion of any occasion did but pro- 
voke him." It is hard to know what sin or 
grace is in us, if we have not such trials as are 
not to be found in solitude^ 

8. Flying from the observation and judgment of 
others, is a kind of self-accusation ; as if we con- 
fessed ourselves so bad as that we cannot stand 
the trial of the light. " 3ana conscientia turbatii 
advocat : mala in solitudine anxia est 8^ solUcita : 
si honest a sunt qua facis, omnes sciant: si turpia^ 
quid refert neminem scire: cum tu scias! O te 
miserum si contemnis hunc testem:" inquit Senecct;^ 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 30 i 

That is, '* A good conscience will call in the 
orowd" (or witnesses, not caring who seeth): 
*' a bad conscience is anxious and solicitous 
even in solitude: if they be things honest 
which thou dost, let all men know: if they 
be dishonest, what good doth it thee that 
no man else knoweth it, when thou knowest 
it thyself! O miserable man, if thou despise 
this witness !" Something is suspected to be 
amiss with those that are always in their chaai- 
bers, and are never seen. Tell not men that 
you cannot bear the light : it is he that doth 
evil that hateth the light, lest his deeds should 
be reproved. 

9. Solitude is too like to death, to be desira- 
ble: he liveth that doth good; and he is dead 
that is useless. " Fivit is qui multis usui est: 
vivit is qui sentitur: qui vera latitant S)' torpetit, 
mortem suam antecesseritd ," inquit Sen. — " He 
liveth that is profitable to many : he liveth that 
is observed or perceived; but they that lie hid 
and drowsy do anticipate their death." And it 
is the most culpable death, and therefore the 
worst, to have life and not to use it. 

10. A life of holy communion is likest unto 
heaven, where none shall be solitary, but all as 
members of the heavenly Jerusalem, shall in har- 
mony love and praise their maker. 

These reasons seem to me sufficient to satisfy 
you that no man should choose a solitude with- 
out a special necessity or call : nor yet should it 

302 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

be taken for a life of greater perfection, than a 
faithful serving of God in public, and doing good 
to more. 

I shall now come to the affirmative, and tell 
you for all this, that If God call us into soli- 
tude, or men forsake us, v^e may rejoice in this, 
that we are not alone, but the Father is with us. 
Fear not such solitude, but be ready to improve 
it, if you be cast upon it. If God be your God, 
reconciled to you in Christ, and his Spirit be in 
you, you are provided for solitude, and need not 
fear if all the world should cast you off. If you 
be banished, imprisoned, or left alone, it is but 
a relaxation from your greatest labors; which 
though you may not cast off yourselves, you may 
lawfully be sensible of your ease, if God take oS 
your burden. It is but a cessation from your 
sharpest conflicts, and removal from a multitude 
of great temptations. And though you may not 
cowardly retreat or shift yourselves from the 
fight and danger, yet if God will dispense with 
you, and let you live in greater peace and safety, 
you have no cause to murmur at his dealing. A 
fruit tree that groweth by the high-way side, 
doth seldom keep its fruit to ripeness, while so 
many passengers have each his stone or cudgel 
to cast at it : Seneca could say " Nunqiiam a 
turha mores quos extuli refero : aliqnid ex eo quod 
composui turhatur ; aliqnid ex his qua fugavi redit : 
inimica est midtorum coiiversatio." " I never bring 
bring home well from a crowd the manners which 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 303 

I took out with me : something is disordered 
of that which I had set in order : something 
of that which I had banished doth return : the 
conversation of many I find an enemy to me." 
O how many vain and foolish words corrupt the 
minds of those that converse with an ungodly 
world, when your ears and minds who live in 
solitude, are free from such temptations! You 
live not in so corrupt an air as they ; you 
hear not the filthy ribald speeches, which fight 
against modesty and chastity, and are the bellows 
of lust : you hear not the discontented complain- 
ing words of the impatient; nor the passionate 
provoking words of the offended; nor the 
wrangling quarrelsome words of the contentious ; 
nor the censorious, or slanderous, or reproachful 
words of the malicious, who think it their inte- 
rest to have their brethren taken to be bad, and 
to have others hate them, because they them- 
selves hate them; and who are as zealous to 
quench the charity of others, when it is destroyed 
in themselves, as holy persons are zealous to 
provoke others to love, which dwelleth and ruleth 
in themselves. In your solitude with God, you 
shall not hear the lies and malicious revilings of 
the ungodly against the generation of the just: 
nor the subtle cheating words of heretics, who 
being themselves deceived, would deceive others 
of their faith, and corrupt their lives. You shall 
jiot there be distracted with the noise and cla- 
mours of contending uncharitable professors of 

304 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

religion, endeavouring to make odious first the 
opinions, and then the persons of one another : 
one saying, here is the church, and another^ 
there is the church : one saying, this is the true 
church government, and another saying, nay, 
but that is it : one saying, God will be worship- 
ped thus, and another, not so, but thus or thus : 
you shall not there be drawn to side with one 
ri gainst another, nor to join with any faction, or 
be guilty of divisions : you shall not be troubled 
with the oaths and blasphemies of the wicked^ 
nor with the imprudent miscarriages of the 
weak ; with the persecutions of enemies, or the 
falling out of friends : you shall not see the 
cruelty of proud oppressors, that set up lies by 
armed violence, and care not what they say or do, 
nor how much other men are injured or suffer, 
so that themselves may tyrannise, and their 
wills and words may rule the world, when they 
do so unhappily rule themselves. In your soli- 
tude with God, you shall not see the prosperity 
of the wicked to move you to envy, nor the 
adversity of the just to be your grief: you shall 
see no worldly pomp and splendour to befool 
you, nor adorned beauty to entice you, nor 
wasting calamities to afflict you : you shall not 
hear the laughter of fools, nor the sick man's 
groans, nor the wronged man's complaints, nor 
the poor man's murmurings, nor the proud man's 
boastings, nor the angry man's abusive ragings., 
xVs you lose the help of your gracious friends, sq 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 305 

you are freed from the fruits of their peevishness 
and passions ; of their differing opinions and 
ways and tempers ; of their inequality, unsuit- 
ableness, and contrariety of minds or interests; 
of their levity and inconstancy, and the powerful 
temptations of their friendship, to draw you to 
the errors or other sins which they are tainted 
with themselves. In a word, you are there half 
delivered from the vanity and vexation of 
the world; and were it not that you are yet un- 
delivered from yourselves, and that you take 
distempered corrupted hearts with you, O what 
a felicity vvould your solitude be ! But, alas, we 
cannot overrun our own diseases, we must carry 
with us the remnants of our corrupted nature ; 
our deadness, and dulness, our selfishness and 
earthly minds, our impatience and discontents ; 
and worst of all, our lamentable weakness of 
faith and love and heavenly-mindedness, and 
our strangeness to God, and backwardness to 
the matters of eternal life. O that I coald 
escape these, though I were in the hands of the 
cruellest enemies ! O that such a heart could be 
left behind ! How gladly would I overrun both 
house, and land, and honor, and all sensual de- 
lights, that I might but overrun it ! O where is 
the place where there is none of thjs darkness, 
nor disaffection, nor distance, nor estrangedness 
from God! O that I knew it ! O that I could 
find it ! O that I mi^rht there dwell ! thoucrh I 
should never more see the fa,ce of mortals- ; nor 
s 3 

306 Of Conversing ivith God in Solitude. 

ever hear a human voice, nor ever taste of the 
delights of flesh I Alas, foolish soul ! such a 
place there is, that hath all this and more than 
this : but it is not in a wilderness, but in para- 
dise, not here on earth, but above with Christ ! 
And yet am I so loth to die ? yet am I no more 
desirous of the blessed day, when 1 shall be 
unclothed of flesh and sin ? O death, what an 
enemy art thou even to my soul ! By affrighting 
me from the presence of my Lord, and hindering 
my desires and willingness to be gone, thou 
wrongest me much more, than by laying my 
flesh to rot in darkness. Fain I would know 
God, and fain I would more love him and enjoy 
him : but O this hurtful love of life ! O this 
imreasonable fear of dying, detaineth my desires 
from pressing on to the happy place where all 
this may be had ! O wretched man that I am, 
who shall deliver me from this body of death ! 
this carnal unbelieving heart, that sometime can 
think more delightfully of a wilderness than of 
heaven ; that can go seek after God in desert 
solitude, among the birds and beasts and trees, 
and yet is so backward to be loosed from flesh 
that I may find him and enjoy him in the world 
of glory I Can I expect that heaven come down 
to earth ! and that the Lord of glory should 
remove his court, and either leave the retinue of 
his celestial courtiers, or bring them all down 
into this drossy world of flesh and sin, and this 
to satisfy my fleshly foolish mind ! Or cau f 

Of Conversing zoith God in Solitude. 307 

expect the translation of Enoch or the chariot 
of Elias ? Is it not enough that my Lord hath ' 
conquered death, and sanctified the passage, 
and prepared the place of my perpetual abode ! 

Well! for all this, though a wilderness is not 
heaven, it shall be sweet and welcome for the 
sake of heaven, if thence I may but have a 
clearer prospect of it: and if by retiring from 
the crowd and noise of folly I may but be 
more composed and better disposed to con- 
verse above, and to use my faith (alas ! my too 
weak languid faith) until the beatifical vision 
and fruition come. If there may be but more of 
God, or readier access to him, or more heart* 
quickening flames of love, or more heart-com- 
forting intimations of his favour, in a wilderness 
than in a city, in a prison than in a palace, let. ' 
that wilderness be my city, and let that prison 
be my palace, while I must abide on earth. If 
in solitude I may have Enoch's walk with God, 
I shall in due season have such a translation as 
shall bring me to the same felicity which he 
enjoyeth; and in the mean time as well as after, 
it is no incommodity, if by mortal eyes I be 
seen no more. If the chariot of contemplation 
will in solitude raise me to more believing affec- 
tionate converse with heaven, than I could 
expect in tumults and temptations, it shall 
reconcile me unto solitude, and make it my 
paradise on earth, till angels instead of the 
chariot of Elias, shall convey me to the pre- 

308 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

sence of my glorified Head, in the celestial 

Object. But it is grievous to one that hath 
been used to much company, to be alone. 

Anstv. Company may so use you, that it may 
be more grievous to you not to be alone. The 
society of wasps and serpents may be spared ; 
and bees themselves have such stings as make 
some that have felt them think they bought the 
honey dear. 

But can you say you are alone while you are 
with God ? Is his presence nothing to you ? 
Doth it not signify more than the company of 
all men in the world? saith Hierome, ** Sapiens 
nunquam solus esse potest: habet enim seeum ormies 
(jui sunt, 8f qui fuerunt boni — ^ si hominum sit 
inopia, loquitur cum Deo^* viz. ** A wise man 
cannot be alone: for he hath with him the good 
men that are or have been— and if there be a 
want of men, he speaks with God." He should 
rather have said. There can be no want of man, 
when we may speak with God : and were it not 
that God is here revealed to us as in a glass, and 
that we do converse with God in man, we should 
think human converse little worth. 

Object. O but solitude is disconsolate to a 
sociable mind. 

A71S10. But the most desirable society is no 
solitude: saith Hierome, " Jnjinita eremi vastitas 
te terret? sed tu paradihim mente deambula :, 
quotiescun^ue cogitatione ac mente illuc conscm^ 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 309 

deris, toties in ererno non eris ;" that is, " Doth 
the infinite vastness of the wilderness terrify 
thee ? But do thou (ascend) in mind and walk 
in paradise : as oft as thou ascendest thither in 
thouoht and mind, so oft thou shalt not be in 
the wilderness." If God be nothing to thee, 
thou art not a christian but an atheist. If God 
be God to thee, he is all in all to thee ; and then 
should not his presence be instead of all? O 
that I might get one step nearer unto God, 
though I receded many from all the world ! 

that I could find that place on earth where a 
soul may have nearest access unto him, and 
fullest knowledge and enjoyment of him, though 

1 never more saw the face of friends ! I should 
cheerfully say, with my blessed Saviour, " I am 
not alone, for the Father is with me." And I 
should say so for these reasons following. 

1. If God be with me, the maker, and ruler, 
and disposer of all is with me : so that all things 
are virtually with me in him. I have that in 
gold and jewels which I seem to want in silver, 
lead and dross. I can want no friend if God 
vouchsafe to be my friend ; and I can enjoy no 
benefit by all my friends, if God be my enemy : 
I need not fear the greatest enemies, if God be 
reconciled to me. I shall not miss the light of 
the candle, if I have this blessed sun. The 
creature is nothing but what it is from God, and 
in God : and it is worth nothing, or good for 
nothing, but what it is worth in order unto Godj 

310 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

as it declareth him, and helps the soul to know 
him, serve him, or draw nearer to him. As it is 
idolatry in the unhappy worldling, to thirst alter 
the creature with the neglect of God, and so to 
make the world his God ; so doth it savour of 
the same heinous sin to lament our loss of crea- 
tures more than the displeasure of God. If 
God be my enemy, or I am fallen under his 
indignation, I have then so much greater matters 
to lament than the loss, or absence, or frowns of 
man, as should almost make me forget that there 
is such a thing as man to be regarded : but if 
God be my Father, and my fi'iend in Christ, I 
have then so much to think of with delight, and 
to recreate and content my soul, as will proclaim 
it most incongruous and absurd to lament inor- 
dinately the absence of a worm, while I have his 
love and presence who is all in all. If God can^ 
not content me, and be not enough for me, how 
is he then my God ; or how shall he be my 
heaven and everlasting happiness? 

2. If God be with me, he is with me to whom 
I am absolutely devoted. I am wholly his, and 
have acknowledged his interest in me, and long 
ago disclaimed all usurpers, and repented of 
alienations, and unreservedly resigned myself to 
him : and where should I dwell but with him 
that is my owner, and with whom I have made 
the solemnest covenant that ever I made ? I 
never gave myself to any other, but in subordi- 
pation to him, and with a salvo for his highest 

Of Conversing xvith God in Solitude. 311 

inviolable right. Where should my goods be 
but in my own house ? With whom should a 
servant dwell but with his master; and a wife 
but with her husband ; and children but with 
their father ? I am nearlier related to my God 
and to my Saviour, than I am to any of my rela- 
tions in this world, I owe more to him than to 
all the world : 1 have renounced all the world, as 
they stand in any competition or comparison 
with him : and can I want their company then 
while I am with him ? How shall I hate father 
and mother, and wife and children, and brother 
and sister for his sake, if I cannot spare them, 
or be Vv'ithout them to enjoy him? To hate them 
is but to use them as men do hated things, that 
is, to cast them away with contempt as they 
would alienate me from Christ, and to cleave to 
him, and be satisfied in him alone. I am now 
married to Christ, and therefore must cheerfully 
leave father and mother, and my native place, 
and ail to cleave to him : and with whom should 
1 now delight to dwell, but with him who hath 
taken me into so near relation, to be, as it were, 
one flesh with him ! O my dear Lord, hide not 
thou thy face from an unkind an unworthy sinner! 
Let me but dwell with thee and see thy face, 
and feel the gracious embracements of thy love, 
and then let me be cast off by all the world, if 
thou see it meetest for me ; or let all other 
friends be where they will, so that ray soul may 
lie \vith thee. I have agreed for thy sake tQ 

312 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

forsake all, even the dearest that shall stand 
against thee ; and I resolve by thy grace to stand 
to this agreement. 

3. If God be with me I am not alone, for he 
is with me that loveth me best. The love of all 
the friends on earth is nothing to his love. O 
Jiow plainly hath he declared that he loveth me, 
in the strange condescension, the sufferings, 
death, and intercession of his Son ! What love 
hath he declared in the communications of his 
Spirit, and the operations of his grace, and the 
near relations into which he brought me ! What 
love hath he declared in the course of his pro- 
vidences ; in many and wonderful preservations, 
and deliverances ; in the conduct of his wisdom, 
and in a life of mercies ! What love appearelh 
in his precious promises, and the glorious pro- 
visions he hath made for me with himself ta 
all eternity ! O my Lord, I am ashamed that 
thy love is sa much lost ; that it hath no better 
return from an unkind unthankful heart; that 
I am not more delighted in thoe, and swallowed 
up in the contemplation of thy love ! I can 
contentedly let go the society and converse of 
all others, for the converse of some one bosom 
friend, that is dearer to me than they all, as 
Jonathan to David ; and can I not much more be 
satisfied in thee alone, and let go all if I may 
continue with thee ? My very dog will glssdly 
forsake all the town, and all persons, iji. the 
world, to follow me alone ; and have I laot yet 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 3L3 

found so much love and goodness in thee my 
dear and blessed God, as to be willing to con- 
verse alone with thee ? All men delight most in 
the company of those that love them best : they 
choose not to converse with the multitude when 
they look for solace and content, but with their 
dearest friends : and should any be so dear to 
me as God? O were not thy love unworthily 
neglected by an unthankful heart, I should never \ 
be so unsatisfied in thee, but should take up, or 
seek my comforts in thee : I should then say, 
whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is 
none on earth that I desire besides thee ! Though 
not only my friends, but my flesh and heart 
themselves should fail me, it is thou tliat wiJl 
still be the strength of my heart, and my portion 
for ever: it is good therefore for me to draw 
near to thee, how far soever I am from man : 
O let me there dwell where thou wilt not be 
strange, for thy loving kindness is better than 
life : instead of the multitude of my turmoiling 
thoughts, let me be taken up in the believing 
views of thy reconciled face, and in the glad 
attendance upon thy grace : or at least in the 
multitude of my thoughts within me, let thy 
celestial comforts delight my soul. Let me 
dv-/e\\ as in thy family ; and when I awake, let 
me be still with thee ! Let me go no whither but 
where I am still following thee : let me do 
nothing but thy work, nor serve any other but 
when I may truly cull it a serving thee : let nSQ 

1^4 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

hear nothing but thy voice, and let me know thy 
voice by whatever instrument thou shalt speak; 
let me never see any thing but thyself and the 
glass that representeth thee, and the books in 
which I may read thy name : and let me never 
play with the outside, and gaze on words and 
letters as insignificant, and not observe thy name 
which is the sense. Whether it be in company 
or in solitude, let me be continually with thee : 
and do thou vouchsafe to hold me by my right 
hand : and guide me with thy counsel, and after- 
wards receive me unto thy glory. Ps. Ixxiii. 
23,-28. Ps. Ixiii. 3. 

4. If God be with me I am not alone ; for 1 
shall be with him whose love is of greater use 
and benefit to me, than the love of all my friends 
in the world. Their love may perhaps be some 
little comfort, as it floweth from his : but it is 
iiis love by which and upon which I live. It is 
his love that gives me life and time, and health 
and food, and preservation ; that gives me books 
and giveth me understanding ; that giveth me 
provision, and saveth me from turning it to per- 
nicious fleshliness and excess ; that giveth me 
even my friends themselves, and saveth me from 
that abuse which might make them to me worse 
than enemies. The sun, the earth, the air is not 
so useful or needful to me as his love. The love 
of all my friends cannot make me well when I 
am sick : it cannot forgive the smallest of my 
sins ; nor yet assure me of God's forgiveness : 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 315 

it cannot heal the maladies of my soul, nor give 
a sohd lasting peace to the conscience which is 
troubled : if all my friends stand about me when 
I am dying, they cannot take away the fears of 
death, nor secure my passage to everlasting life : 
death will be death still, and danger will be dan- 
ger, when all my friends have done their best. 
But my Almighty friend is all-sufficient: he can 
prevent my sickness, or rebuke and cure it, or 
make it so good to me, that I shall thank him 
for it : he can blot out my transgressions, and 
forgive all my sin ; and justify me when the 
world and ray conscience do condemn me : he 
can teach me to believe, to repent, to pray, to 
hope, to suffer, and to overcome : he can quiet 
my soul in the midst of trouble, and give me a 
well-grounded everlasting peace, and a joy which 
no man can take from me : he can deliver me 
from all the corruptions and distempers of my 
froward heart ; and ease me and secure me in 
the troublesome war which is daily managed in 
my breast : he can make it as easy a thing to 
die, as to lie down and take my rest when I am 
weary, or to undress me at night and go to bed : 
he can teach death to lay by its; terrible aspect, 
and to speak with a mild and comfortable voice, 
and to bring me the joyfullest tidings that ever 
came into my ears ; and to preach to me the last 
and sweetest sermon, even the same that our 
Saviour preached on the cross, Luke xxiii. 43, 

316 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

" Verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be 
with Christ in paradise." 

And is this the difference between the love 
of man and of God ? And yet do I lament 
the loss of man ! and yet am I so backward to 
converse with God, and to be satisfied in his 
love alone! Ah! my God, how justly mayest 
thou withhold that love which I thus under- 
value, and refuse that converse which I have 
first refused, and turn me over to man, to silly 
man, to sinful man, whose converse I so much 
desire, till I have learnt by dear experience the 
difference between man and God, and between 
an earthly and an heavenly friend ! Alas, have 
I not tried it oft enough, to have known it better 
before this day ! Have I not oft enough found 
what man is in a time of trial ! Have I not been 
told it over and over, and told it to the quick, 
by deceitful friends; by self-seeking friends; by 
mutable, erroneous, deceived, scandalous, back- 
sliding friends; by proud and self-conceited 
friends; by passionate, quarrelsome, vexatious 
friends; by self-grieving troubled friends, that 
have but brought me all their calamities and 
griefs to be additions to my own; by tempting 
friends, that have drawn me to sin more effectu- 
ally than enemies ; by tender, faithful, but 
unable friends, that have but fetched fire from 
my calamities and sorrows to kindle their own, 
not equally sharing, but each one taking all 

Of Conversing with God in Solilude. 317 

my trouble entirely to himself; that have been 
willing, but insufficient to relieve me, and there- 
fore the ejreater was their love, the greater was 
their own and consequently mine affliction; that 
v.'ould have been with me, but could not; that 
would fain have eased my pain and strengthened 
my languishing body, but could not; that would 
fain have removed all my troubles and comforted 
my cast down mind, but could not. O how 
often have I found that human friendship is a 
sweet desired addition to our woe; a beloved 
calamity, and an affliction which nature will 
not be without ; not because it loveth evil, nor 
because it is wholly deceived in its choice, (for 
there is good in friendship, and delight in holy 
love) but because the good which is here accom- 
panied with so much evil, is the beginning of a 
more high and durable friendship, and pointeth 
us up to the blessed delightful society and con- 
verse which in the heavenly Jerusalem we shall 
have with Christ ! 

But O how much better have I found the 
friendship of the all-sufficient God ! His love 
hath not only pitied me, but relieved me : he 
hath not only been as it were afflicted with me 
in my afflictions, but he hath delivered me sea- 
sonably, and powerfully, and sweetly hath he 
delivered me: and when he had once told me 
that my afflictions were his own, I had no 
reason to doubt of a deliverance. My burdened 
mind hath been eased by his love, which was 

318 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

but more burdened by the fruitless love of all my 
friends. Oft have I come to man for help, and 
ease, and comfort, and gone away as from au 
empty cistern, that had no water to cool my 
thirst; but God hath been a present help : could 
I but get near him, I was sure of light, how 
great soever was my former darkness : could 
I but get near him, I was sure of warming 
quickening life, how dead soever I had beea 
before : but all my misery was that I could 
not get near him ! My darkened, estranged, 
guilty soul, could not get quieting and satisfying 
acquaintance: my lumpish heart lay dead on 
earth, and would not stir, or quickly fell down 
again, if by any celestial force it began to be 
drawn up, and move a little towards him : my 
carnal mind was entangled in diverting vanities: 
and thus 1 have been kept from communion 
with my God. Kept, not by force or human 
tyranny, not by bars or bolts, or distance of 
place, or by the lowness of my condition ; nor 
by any misrepresentations or reproach of man; 
but, alas ! by myself, by the darkness, and 
deadness, and sluggishness, and earthliness, 
and fleshliness, and passions of a naughty 
heart. These have been my bars, and bolts, 
and jailers : these are they that have kept me 
from my God. Had it not been for these I 
might have got nearer to him; I might have 
walked with him, and dwelt with him ; yea, 
dwelt in him, and he in me : apd then I should 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 319 

not have missed any friends, nor felt mine ene- 
mies. And is it my sinful distance from my God 
that hath been my h ss, my wilderness, my woe! 
And is it a nearer admittance to the presence 
of his love that must be my recovery and my 
joy, if ever I attain to joy! O then, my soul, 
lay hold on Christ the reconciler, and in him 
and by him draw near to God; and cease from 
man whose breath is in his nostrils ! Love God 
in his saints, and delightfully converse with 
Christ in them, while thou hast opportunity ; 
but remember thou livest not upon them, or on 
their love, but upon God : and therefore desire 
their company but for his: and if thou have his, 
be content if thou have not their's. He wants 
not man that enjoyeth God. Gather up all the 
love, and thoughts, and desires, which have 
been scattered and lost upon the creatures, and 
set them all on God himself, and press into his 
presence, and converse with him, and thou shalt 
find the mistake of thy present discontents, and 
sweet experience shall tell thee thou hast made 
a happy change. 

5. If God be with me, I am not alone, because 
he is with me with whom my greatest business 
lieth: and what company should I desire, but 
their's with whom I have ray daily necessary 
work to do? I have more to do with God, than 
with all the world : yea, more and greater busi- 
ness with him in one day, than with all the 
world in all my life. I have business with man 

320 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

about house, or lands, or food, or raiment, or 
labor, or journeying, or recreations ; about society 
and public peace; but what are these to my 
business with God ! Indeed, with holy men I 
have holy business; but that is but as they are 
messengers from God, and come to me on his 
business, and so they must be dearly welcome : 
but even then my business is much more with 
God than with them ; with him that sent them, 
than with the messenger. Indeed, my business 
with God is so great, that if I had not a 
mediator to encourage and assist me to do my 
work, and procure me acceptance, the thoughts 
of it would overwhelm my soul. 

O therefore, my soul, let man stand by : it is 
the eternal God that I have to do with ; and 
with wbom I am to transact in this little time 
the business of my endless life. I have to deal 
with God through Christ, for the pardon of my 
sins, of all my great and grievous sins ; and woe 
to me, if I speed not, that ever I was born : I 
have some hopes of pardon, but intermixed with 
many perplexing fears : I have evidences much 
blotted, and not easily understood : I want 
assurance that he is indeed my Father, and 
reconciled to me, and will receive me to himself 
when the world forsaketh me: I have many 
languishing graces to be strengthened; and alas, 
what radicated, obstinate, vexatious corruptions 
to be cured! Can I look into my heart, into 
such an unbelieving, dead, and earthly heart. 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 32 1 

into such a proud, and peevish, and disordered 
heart, into such a trembhng, perplexed, self- 
accusing heart, and yet not understand how 
great my business is with God ? Can I peruse 
my sins, or feel my wants, and sink under my 
weaknesses, and yet not discern how great my 
business is with God? Can I look back upon 
all the time that I have lost, and all the grace 
that I unthankfully resisted, and all the mercies 
that I trod under foot, or fooled away, and can I 
look before me and see how near my time is to 
an end, and yet not understand how great my 
business is with God ? Can I think of the malice 
and diligence of Satan, the number, power and 
subtlety of mine enemies, the many snares and 
dangers that are still before me, the strensth 
and number of temptations, and my ignorance, 
unwatchfulness and weakness to resist, and yet 
not know that my greatest business is with God ? 
Can I feel my afflictions and lament them, and 
think my burden greater than I can bear, and 
find that man cannot relieve me ; can I go 
mourning in the heaviness of my soul, and water 
my bed with tears, and fill the air with my 
groans and lamentations, or feel my soul over- 
whelmed within me, so that my words are inter- 
cepted, and I am readier to break than speak, 
and yet not perceive that my greatest business 
is with God? Can I think of dying; can I 
draw near to judgment; can I think of ever- 
lasting joys in heaven, and of everlasting pains in 


322 Of Conversing zoith God in Solitude. 

hell, and yet not feel that my greatest business 
is with God? O then, my soul, the case is easily 
resolved, with whom it is that thou must most 
desirously and seriously converse. Where shouldst 
thou be but where thy business is, and so great 
business ! Alas, what have I to do with man 1 
What can it do but make my head ache, to hear 
a deal of senseless chat, about preferments, lands 
and dionities ; about the words and thoughts of 
men, and a thousand toys that are utterly imper- 
tinent to my great employments, and signify 
nothing but that the dreaming v/orld is not 
awake ! What pleasure is it to see the bustles of 
a bedlam world ? What a stir they make to prove 
or make themselves unhappy ! How low and of 
how little weight, are the learned discourses 
about syllables and words, and names and 
notions, and mood and figure, yea or about the 
highest planets, when all are not referred unto 
God ! Were it not that some converse with men, 
doth further my converse with God ; and that 
God did transact much of his business by his 
messengers and servants, it were no matter whe- 
ther ever I more saw the face of man : were it 
not that my Master hath placed me in society, 
and appointed me much of my work for others, 
and with others, and much of his mercy is con- 
veyed by others, man might stand by, and soli- 
tude were better than the best society, and God 
alone should take me up. O nothing is so much 
my misery and shame, as that I am no more 

Of Convening with God in Solitude. 323 

willing, nor better skilled in the management of 
my great important business \ that my work is 
with God, and my heart is no more with him! 

what might I do in holy meditation, or prayer 
one hour, if I were as ready for prayer, and as 
good at prayer, as one that hath so long oppor- 
tunity and so great necessity to converse with 
God, should be ! A prayerless heart, a heart that 
flieth away from God, is most inexcusable in 
such a one as I, that hath so much important 
business with him: it is work that must be done; 
and if well done, will never be repented of. I 
use not to return from the presence of God (when 
indeed I have drawn near him) as I do from the 
company of empty men, repenting that I have 
lost my time, and trembled that my mind is dis- 
composed or depressed by the vanity and earthly 
savour of their discourse : I oft repent that I 
have prayed to him so coldly, and conversed 
with him so negligently, and served him so 
remissly; but I never repent of the time, the care, 
the affections or the diligence employed in his 
holy work. Many a time I have repented that 
ever I spent so much time with man; and wished 

1 had never seen the faces of some that are 
eminent in the world, whose favor and converse 
others are ambitious of: but it is my grief and 
shame that so small a part of all my life, hath 
been spent with God ; and that fervent prayer 
and heavenly contemplations, have been so sel- 
dom and so short. O that I had lived more with 


324 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

Cod, though I had been less with the dearest of 
my friends ! How much more sweet then would 
my life have been ! How much more blameless, 
regular and pure ! How much more fruitful, and 
answerable to my obligations and professions !■ 
How much more comfortable to my review ! 
How many falls, and hurts, and wounds, and 
l^riefs, and groans might I have escaped ! O how 
much more pleasing is it now to nty remem- 
brance, to think of the hours in which I have 
lain at the feet of God, though it were in tears 
and groans, than to think of the time which I 
have spent in any common converse with the 
greatest, or the learnedst, or the dearest of my 
acquaintance ! 

And as my greatest business is with God, so 
my daily business is also with him : he purposely 
leaveth me under wants, and suffers necessities 
daily to return, and enemies to assault me, and 
affliction to surprise me, that I may be daily 
driven to him : he loveth to hear from me : he 
would have me be no stranger with him : I have 
business with him every hour: I need not want 
employment for all the faculties of my soul, if 
I know what it is to converse in heaven. Even 
]n-ayer, and every holy thought of God, hath an 
object so great and excellent, as should wholly 
take me up. Nothing must be thought or spoken 
lightly about the Lord : his name must not be 
taken in vain: nothing that is common beseem- 
ctli his worshippers. He will be sanctified of 

Of Convening with God in Solitude. 325 

ail that shall draw near hmi: he must be loved 
with all the heart and might : his servants need 
not be wearied for want of employment, nor 
through the lightness or unprofitableness of then- 
employment. If I had cities to build, or king- 
doms to govern, I might better complain for 
want of employment for the faculties of my soul, 
than I can when I am to converse in heaven. 
In other studies the delight abateth when I have 
reached my desire, and know all that I can 
know; but in God there is infinitely more to 
be known when I know the most. I am never 
satiated with the easiness of knowing, nor are 
my desires abated by any unusefulness or unwor- 
thiness in the object ; but I am drawn to it by 
its highest excellencies, and drawn on to desire 
more and more by the infiniteness of the light 
which I have not yet beheld, and the infiniteness 
of the good which yet I have not enjoyed. If 
I be idle, or seem to want employment when I 
am to contemplate all the attributes, relations, 
mercies, works, and revealed perfections of the 
Lord, it is sure for want of eyes to see, or a 
heart inclined to my business. If God be not 
enouo-h to employ my soul, then all the persons 
and things on earth are not enough. 

And when I have infinite goodness to delight 
in, where my soul may freely let out itself, and 
never need to fear excess of love, how sweet 
should this employment be ! As knowledge, so 
love is never stinted here, by the narrowness of 

326 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

the object : we can never love him in any pvO" 
portion either to his goodness and amiablenesi* 
in himself, or to his love to us. What need have 
I then of any other company or business, when 
I have infinite o-oodness to deli<?-ht in, and to 
love (further than they subserve this greatest 

Come home then, O my soul, to God : con- 
verse in heaven : turn away thine eyes from 
beholding vanity : let not thy affections kindle 
upon straw or briars, that go out when they have 
made a flash or noise, and leave thee to thy cold 
and darkness: but come and dwell upon celes- 
tial beauties, and make it thy daily and most 
diligent work, to kindle thy affections on the 
infinite everlasting Good ; and then they will 
never be extinguished or decay for want of fuel ; 
but the further they go, and the longer they 
burn^ the greater will be the flame. Though 
thou find it hard while love is but a spark to 
make it burn, and complain that thy cold and 
backward heart is hardly warmed with the love 
of God, yet when the whole pile hath taken fire, 
and the flame ascendeth, fire will breed fire, love 
will cause love; and all the malice of hell itself 
shall never be able to suppress or quench it 
unto all eternity. 

6. And it is a great encouragement to my 
converse with God, that no misunderstanding, 
no malice of enemies, no former sin or present 
frailty, no nor the infinite distance of the most 

Of Conversing icith God in Solitude, 327 

holy glorious God, can hinder my access to him, 
or turn away his ear or love, or interrupt uiy 
leave and liberty of converse. If I converse 
■with the poor, their wants aiflict me, being greater 
than I can supply : their complaints and expec- 
tations which I cannot satisfy, are my trouble. 
If I would converse with great ones, it is not 
easy to get access ; and less easy to have their 
favor, unless I would purchase it at too dear a 
rate : how strangely and contemptuously do 
they look at their inferiors ! Great friends must 
be made for a word or smile ; and if you be not 
quickly gone, they are weary of you : and if you 
seek any thing of them, or would put thezn to 
any cost or trouble, you are as welcome to them 
:as so many vermin or noisome creatures. They 
please them best that drive you away. With 
how much labor and difficulty must you climb, 
if you will see the top of one of these mountains I 
And when you are there, you are but in a place 
of barrenness ; and have nothing to satisfy you 
for your pains, but a larger prospect and verti- 
ginous despect of the lower grounds which are 
not your own : it is seldom that these great ones 
are to be spoken with : and perhaps their speech 
is but a denial of your requests, if not some 
snappish and contemptuous rejection, that makes 
you glad when you are got far enough from them, 
and makes you the better like and love the 
accessible, calm and fruitful plains. 

But how much greater encouragements 

328 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

hath my soul to converse with God ! Company 
never hindereth him from hearkening to my suit: 
he is infinite and onuiipotent, and as sufficient 
for every individual soul, as if he had no other 
to look after in the world : when he is taken up 
with the attendance and praises of his heavenly 
host, he is as free and ready to attend and 
answer the groans and prayers of a contrite soul, 
as if he had no nobler creatures, nor no higher 
service to regard. I am oft unready, but God 
is never unready : I am unready to pray, but he 
is not unready to hear : I am unready to come 
to God, to walk with him, and to solace my soul 
with him; but he is never unready to entertain 
me. Many a time my conscience would have 
driven me away, when he hath called me to him, 
and rebuked my accusing fearful conscience: 
many a time I have called myself a prodigal, a 
companion of swine, a miserable hard-hearted 
sinner, unworthy to be called his son, when he 
hath called me child, and chid me for my ques- 
tioning his love. He hath readily forgiven the 
sins which I thought would have made my soul 
the fuel of hell : he hath entertained me with joy, 
with music and a feast, when I better deserved 
to have been among the dogs without his 
tloors. He hath embraced me in his sustaining- 
consolatory arms, when he might have spurned 
my guilty soul to hell, and said, Depart from me 
thou worker of iniquity, I know thee not. O little 
did I think that he could ever have forsctten 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 3:29 

the vanity and villany of my youth ; yea «o 
easily have forgotten my most aggravated sins. 
When I had sinned against light ; when I had 
resisted conscience ; when I had frequently and 
wilfully injured love, I thought he would never 
have forgotten it : but the greatness of his love 
and mercy, and the blood and intercession of 
his Son, hath cancelled all. O how many mer- 
cies have I tasted since I thought I had sinned 
away all mercies ! How patiently hath he bora 
with me, since I thought he would never have 
put up more ! And yet besides my sins and the 
withdrawings of my own heart, there hath been 
nothing to interrupt our converse. Though he 
be God, and I a worm, yet that would not have 
kept me out : though he be in heaven, yet he is 
near to succour me on earth, in all that I call 
upon him for: though he have the praise of 
angels, he disdaineth not my tears and groans : 
though he have the perfect love of perfect souls, 
he knoweth the little spark in my breast, and 
despiseth not my weak and languid love: thougli 
I injure and dishonor him by loving him no 
more ; though I oft forget him, and have been 
out of the way when he hath come or called me ; 
though I have disobediently turned away mine 
ears, and unkindly refused the entertainments of 
his love, and unfaithfully played with those 
whose company he forbad me, he hath not 
divorced me, nor turned rne out of doors. O 
wonderful ! that heaven will be familiar with 

330 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

earth ; and God with man ! the Highest with a 
worm; and the most Holy with an unconstant 
sinner ! Man refuseth me, when God will enter- 
tain me : man, that is no wiser or better than 
myself. Those that I never wronged or deserved 
ill of, reject me with reproach: and God whom 
I have unspeakably injured doth invite me, and 
intreat me, and condescendeth to me as if he 
were beholden to me to be saved : men that I 
have deserved well of, do abhor me ; and God 
that I have deserved hell of, doth accept me. 
The best of them are briars, and as a thorny 
hedge; and he is love, and rest, and joy : and 
yet I can be more welcome to him, though I 
have offended him, than I can to them whom I 
have obliged : I have freer leave to cast myself 
into my Father's arms, than to tumble in those 
briars, or wallow in the dirt. I upbraid myself 
with my sins, but he doth not upbraid me with 
them: I condemn myself for them, but he con- 
demns me not : he forgiveth me sooner than I 
can forgive myself: I have peace vv'ith him, 
before I can have peace of conscience. 

O therefore my soul, draw near to him that is 
so willing of thy company ! that frowneth thee 
not away, unless it be when thou hast fallen into 
the dirt, that thou mayest wash thee from thy 
iilthiness, and be fitter for his converse. Draw 
near to him that will not wrong thee, by 
believing misreports of enemies, or laying to thy 
charge the things thou knewest not; but will 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 33 1 

forgive the wrongs thou hast done to him, and 
justify thee from the sins that conscience layeth 
to thy charge. Come to him that by his word 
and Spirit, his ministers and mercies calleth thee 
to come ; and hath promised that those that 
come to him he will in no wise shut out. O 
walk with him that will bear thee up, and lead 
thee as by the right hand, Ps. Jxxiii. 23. and 
carry his infants when they cannot go ! O speak 
to him that teacheth thee to speak, and under- 
standeth and accepts thy stammering ; and 
helpeth thine infirmities when thou knowest not 
what to pray for as thou oughtest ; and giveth 
thee groans when thou hast not words, andknow- 
eth the meaning of his Spirit in thy groans : 
that cannot be contained in the heaven of hea- 
vens, and yet hath respect to the contrite soul ; 
that trembleth at his word, and feareth his dis- 
pleasure: that pitieth the tears, and despiseth 
not the sighing of a broken heart, nor the desires 
of the sorrowful. O walk with him that is never 
weary of the converse of an upright soul ; that 
is never angry with thee but for flying from hini, 
or for drawing back, or being too strange, and 
refusing the kindness and felicity of his presence. 
The day is coming when the proudest of the sons 
of men would be glad of a good look from him 
that thou hast leave to walk with : even they 
that would not look on thee, and they that 
injured and abused thee, and they that inferiors 
could have no access to, how glad would they 

332 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

be then of a smile, or a word of hope and mercy 
from thy Father ! Draw near then to him, on 
whom the whole creation doth depend ; whose 
favour at last the proudest and the worst would 
purchase with the loudest cries, when all their 
pomp and pleasure is gone, and can purchase 
nothing. O walk with him that is love itself, 
and think him not unwilling or unlovely ; and let 
not the deceiver by hideous misrepresentations 
drive thee from him : when thou hast felt awhile 
the storms abroad, methinks thou shouldest say, 
how good, how safe, how sweet is it to draw near 
to God ! 

7. With whom should I so desirously con- 
verse, as with him whom I must live with for 
ever? If I take pleasure in my house, or land, 
or country, my walks, my books, or friends 
themselves as clothed with tlesh, I must possess 
this pleasure but a little while ; henceforth know 
v/e no man after the flesh : had we known Christ 
himself after the flesh, Ave must know him so no 
more for ever (though his glorified spiritual 
body we shall know.) Do you converse with 
father or mother ; with wives or children ; with 
pastors aud teachers ? Though you may converse 
with these as glorified saints, when you come to 
Christ, yet in these relations that they stand in 
to you now, you shall converse with them but a 
littiC while : for 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 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 333 

wept not ; and they that rejoice, as though they 
rejoiced not ; and they that buy, as though they 
possessed not ; and they that use this world, as 
not abusing it (or as though they used it not :) 
for the fashion of this world doth pass away. 
1 Cor. vii.29— 31. 

Why then should I so much regard a converse 
of so short continuance ? Why should I be so 
familiar in my inn, and so in love with that 
familiarity, as to grieve when I must but think of 
leaving it, or talk of going home, and look for- 
ward to the place where I must dwell for ever ? 
Shall I be fond of the company of a passenger 
that I travel with (yea perhaps one that doth 
but meet me in the way, and goeth to a contrary 
place) and shall I not take more pleasure to 
remember home? I will not be so uncivil as 
to deny those I meet a short salute, or to be 
friendly with my fellow travellers : but remember 
O my soul, that thou dost not dwell but travel 
here, and that it is thy Father's house where 
thou must abide for ever: yea and he is nearer 
thee than man (though invisible) even in thy 
way. O see him then that is invisible : hearken 
to him when he speaketh : obey his voice : 
observe his way : speak to him boldly, though 
humbly and reverently, as his child, about the 
great concernments of thy state : tell him what 
it is that aileth thee : and seeing all thy smart 
is the fruit of thy own sin, confess thy folly and 
unkindness, crave his forgiveness, and remember 

334 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

him what his Son hath suffered, and for what: 
treat with him about thy future course : desire 
his grace, and give up thyself to his conduct 
and his cure : weep over in his ears the history 
of thy misdoings and unthankful course : tell it 
him witii penitential tears and groans : but tell 
him also the advantage that he hath for the 
honoring of his grace, if it may now abound 
where sin aboundeth : tell him that thou art 
most offended with thyself, for that which he is 
most offended with : that thou art angry with 
thy disobedient unthankful heart: that thou art 
even weary of that heart that loveth him no 
more : and that it shall never please thee, till it 
love him better and be more desirous to please 
him : tell him of thy enemies, and crave the 
protection of his love : tell him of thy frailties, 
infirmities and passions, and crave not only his 
tender forbearance, but his help : tell him that 
without him thou canst do nothing; and crave 
the grace that is sufficient for thee, that through 
him that strengtheneth thee thou mayest do all 
things : when thou fallest, despair not, but crave 
his helping hand to raise thee. Speak to him 
especially of the everlasting things, and thank 
him for his promises, and for thy hopes : for 
what thou shalt be and have and do among his 
holy ones for ever. Express thy joys in the 
promise of those joys; that ihou must see liis 
glory, and love him and praise him better than 
thou canst now desire ! Begin those praises, and 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 335 

as thou walkest with him, take pleasure in the 
mention of his perfections ; be thankful to him 
and speak good of his name : solace thyself in 
remembering what a God, what a defence and 
portion all believers have ; and in considering 
whither he is now conducting thee, and what he 
will do with thee, and what use he will make of 
thee for ever : speak with rejoicing of the glory 
of his works, and the righteousness of his judg- 
ments, and the holiness and evenness of his ways : 
sing forth his praises with a joyful heart, and 
pleasant and triumphing voice ; and frown away 
all slavish fears, all importane malicious sugges- 
tions or doubts, all peevish hurtful nipping griefs, 
that would mar or interrupt the melody ; and 
would untune or unstring a raised well composed 
soul. Thy Father loveth thy very moans and 
tears : but how much more doth he love thy 
thanks and praise ? Or if indeed it be a winter 
time, a stormy day with thee, and he seem to 
chide or hide his face because thou hast offended 
him, let the cloud that is gathered by thy folly 
come down in tears, and tell him, thou hast sin- 
ned against heaven and before him, and art no 
more worthy to be called his son , but yet fly 
not from him, but beg his pardon and the pri- 
vileges of a servant ; and thou wilt find embrace- 
meats, when thou fearest condemnation ; and 
find that he is merciful and ready to forgive : 
only return, and keep closer to him for the time 
to come. If the breach through thy neglect be 

336 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

gone so far, as that thou seemest to have lost 
thy God, and to be cast off, and left forsaken ; 
despair not yet; for he doth but hide his face 
till thou repent : he doth not forsake thee, but 
only tell thee what it is to walk so carelessly as 
if thou would st forsake him : thou art faster and 
surer in his love and covenant than thou canst 
believe or apprehend. Thy Lord was as dear as 
ever to his Father, when he cried out. My God, 
why hast thou forsaken me. But yet neglect 
him not, and be not regardless of his withdraw- 
ings and of thy loss : lift up thy voice and cry 
but " Father ;" in despite of unbelief, cry out 
" My Father, ray Saviour, my God" and thou 
shalt hear him answer thee at last " My child :" 
cry out " O why dost thou hide thy face ; and 
why hast thou forsaken me ? O what shall I do 
here without thee ! O leave me not, lose me 
not in this howling wilderness ! Let me not be a 
prey to any ravening beast! to my sin, to Satan, 
to my foes and thine !" Lift up thy voice and 
weep, and tell him they are the tears and lamen- 
tations of his child : O beg of him, that thy wan- 
derings and childish folly, may not be taken as 
acts of enmity, or at least that they may be par- 
doned; and though he correct thee, that he will 
return and not forsake thee, but still take thee 
and use thee as his child. Or if thou hast not 
words to pour out before him, at least smite upon 
thy breast, and though thou be ashamed or 
afraid to look up toward heaven, look down and 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 337 

say " O Lord be merciful to me a sinner," and 
he will take it for an acceptable suit, that tendeth 
to thy pardon and justification, and will number 
such a sentence with the prayers which he can- 
not deny. Or if thou cry and canst not bear of 
him, and hast long called out upon thy Father''s 
name, and hearest not his voice and hast no 
return, inquire after him of those thou meetest : 
ask for him of them that know him and are 
acquainted with his way ! Make thy moan 
unto the watchmen; and ask them, where thou 
mayest find thy Lord : and at last he will appear 
to thee, and find thee first that thou mayest find 
him, and shew thee whei'e it was that thou didst 
lose him, by losing thyself and turning from 
him ! Seek him and thou shalt find him : wait 
and he will appear in kindness : for he never 
faileth or forsaketh those that wait upon him. 

This kind of converse, O my soul, thou hast 
to prosecute with thy God. Thou hast also the 
concernments of all his servants ; his afllicted 
ones, his broken hearted ones, his diseased ones, 
his persecuted ones, to tell him of: tell him also 
of the concernments of his kingdom, the fury of 
his enemies, the dishonor they cast upon his 
name, the matters of his gospel, cause and inte- 
rest in the world : but still let his righteous 
judgment be remembered, and all be terminated 
in the glorious everlasting kingdom. 

Is it not much better thus to converse with 
him that I must be with for ever, about the 

338 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

place, and the company, and work, and concern- 
ments of my perpetual abode, than to be taken 
up with strangers in my way, and detained by 
their impertinences ? 

I have found myself so long in these medita- 
tions, that I will but name the rest and tell you 
what I had further to have treated on, and leave 
the enlargement to your own meditations. 

8. I have no reason to be weary of converse 
with God, seeing it is that for which all human 
converse is regardable. Converse with man is 
only so far desirable as it tendeth to our converse 
with God : and therefore the end must be pre- 
ferred before the means. 

9. It is the office of Christ, and the work of 
the Holy Ghost, and the use of all the means of 
grace, and of all creatures, mercies and afflictions, 
to reduce our straying souls to God, that we may 
converse with him and enjoy him. 

10. Converse with God is most suitable to 
those that are so near to death ; it best prepareth 
for it : it is likest to the work that we are next 
to do. We had rather when death comes, be 
found conversing with God than with man : it is 
God that a dying man hath principally to do 
with : it is his judgment that he is going to ; and 
his mercy that he hath to trust upon : and there- 
fore it concerneth us to draw near him now, and 
be no strangers to him, lest strangeness then 
should be our terror. 

11. How wonderful a condescension is it that 

Of Conversing loith God in Solitude. 339 

God should be willing to converse with me; with 
such a worm and sinful wretch : and therefore 
how inexcusable is my crime, if I refuse his 
company, and so great a mercy ! 

12. Lastly, heaven itself is but our converse 
with God and his glorified ones, (though in a 
more perfect manner than we can here conceive.) 
And therefore our holy converse with him here 
is the state that is likest heaven, and that pre- 
pareth for it, and all the heaven that is on earth. 
It remaineth now that I briefly tell you, what 
you should do to attain and manage this con- 
verse with God, in the improvement of your 
solitude. (For directions in general for walking 
with God, I reserve for another place.) At pre- 
sent let these few suffice. 

Direct. 1. If you would comfortably converse 
with God, make sure that you are reconciled to 
him in Christ, and that he is indeed your friend 
and Father. Can two walk together except they 
be agreed ? Can you take pleasure in dwelling 
with the consuming fire ; or conversing with the 
most dreadful enemy ? Yet this I must add, that 
every doubting or self-accusing soul may not 
find a pretence to fly from God. 1. That God 
ceaseth not to be a Father whenever a fearful 
soul is drawn to question it or deny it. 2. That 
in the universal love and grace of God to mise- 
rable sinners, and in the universal act of condi- 
tional pardon and oblivion, and in the offers of 
grace, and the readiness of God to receive the 

340 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

penitent, there is glad tidings that should exceed- 
ingly rejoice a sinner; and there is sufficient 
encouragement to draw the most guilty miserable 
sinner to seek to God, and sue for mercy. But 
yet the sweetest converse is for children, and 
for those that have some assurance that they are 

But perhaps you will say, that this is not 
easily attained : how shall we know that he is 
our friend ? 

In brief, I answer, if you are unfeignedly 
friends to God, it is because he first loved you. 
Prefer him before all other friends, and all the 
wealth and vanity of the world ; provoke him 
not by wilfulness or neglect; use him as your 
best friend, and abuse him not by disobedience 
or ingratitude ; own him before all, at the dearest 
rates, whenever you are called to it ; desire his 
presence; lament his absence; love him from 
the bottom of your hearts ; think not hardly of 
him ; suspect him not ; misunderstand him not ; 
hearken not to his enemies ; receive not any 
false reports against him ; take him to be really 
better for you than all the world : do these, and 
doubt not but you are friends with God, and 
God with you : in a word, be but heartily wil- 
ling to be friends to God, and that God should 
be your chiefest friend, and you may be sure 
that it is so indeed, and that you are and have 
what you desire. And then how delightfully 
may you converse with God ! 

Of Cvnvermg with God in Solitude. 341 

Direct. 2. Wholly depend on the mediation 
of Christ, the great reconciler : without him there 
is no coming near to God : but in his beloved 
you shall be accepted. Whatever fear of his 
displeasure shall surprise you, fly presently for 
safety unto Christ : whatever guilt shall look 
you in the face, commit yourself and cause to 
Christ, and desire him to answer for you : when 
the doors of mercy seem to be shut up against 
you, fly to him that bears the keys, and can at 
any time open to you and let you in : desire him 
to answer for you to God, to your consciences, 
and against all accusers : by him alone you mav 
boldly and comfortably converse with God ; but 
God will not know you out of him. 

Direct. 3. Take heed of bringing particular 
guilt into the presence of God, if you would 
have sweet communion with him : Christ himself 
never reconciled God to sin: and the sinner and 
sin are so nearly related, that for all the death of 
Christ, you shall feel that iniquity dwelleth not 
with God, but he hateth the workers of it, and 
the foolish shall not stand in his sight ; and that 
if you will presume to sin because you are his 
children, be sure your sin will find you out, O 
what fears, what shame, what self-abhorrenc« 
and self-revenge will guilt raise in a penitent 
soul, when it comes into the light of the pre- 
sence of the Lord ! it will unavoidably abate 
your boldness and your comforts : when you 
should be sweetly delighting in his pleased face. 

342 Of Convening loith God in Solitude. 

and promised glory, you will be befooling your- 
selves for your former sin, and ready even to tear 
your flesh, to think that ever you should do as 
you have done, and use him as you would not 
have used a common friend, and cast yourselves 
upon his wrath. But an innocent soul, or paci- 
fied conscience, doth walk, with God in quietness 
and delight, without those frowns and fears 
which are a taste of hell to others. 

Direct. 4. If you would comfortably converse 
with God, be sure that you bring not idols in 
your hearts : take heed of inordinate affection 
to any creature. Let all things else be nothing 
to you, that you may have none to take up your 
thoughts but God. Let your minds be further 
separate from them than your bodies : bring not 
into solitude or to contemplation, a proud, or 
lustful, or covetous mind : it much more con- 
cerneth thee, what heart thou bringest, than 
what place thou art in, or what work thou art 
upon. A mind that is drowned in ambition, 
sensuality or passion, will scarce find God any 
sooner in a wilderness than in a crowd (unless 
he be there returning from those sins to God) 
wherever he seeth him, God will not own and be 
familiar with so foul a soul. Seneca could say 
" Quid prodest totius regionis si/entium, si affect us 
Jremunt?" — " What good doth the silence of all 
the country do thee, if thou have the noise of 
raging affections within ?" And Gregory saith 
" Qui corpore remotus vivit" 8cc. — " He that in 

Of Conversing loith God in Solitude. 343 

body is far enough from the tumult of human 
conversation, is not in sohtude, if he busy him- 
self with earthly cogitations and desires : and 
he is not in the city that is not troubled with 
the tumult of worldly cares or fears, though he 
be pressed with the popular crowds." Bring 
not thy house, or land, or credit, or carnal friend 
along with thee in thy heart, if thou desire and 
expect to walk in heaven, and to converse with 
God, I 

Direct. 5. Live still by faith : let faith lay 
heaven and earth as it were together. Look not 
'at God as if he were far oft": set him always 
as before you, even as at your right hand. 
Ps. xvi. 8. Be still with him when you awake. 
Ps. cxxxix. 18. In the morning thank him for 
your rest; and deliver up yours-elf to his con- 
duct and service for that day. Go forth as 
with him, and to do his work. Do every action 
with the command of God, and the promise 
of heaven before your eyes, and upon your 
hearts. Live as those that have incomparably 
more to do with God and heaven, than with all 
this world ; that you may say with David, Ps. 
xxxvii. 25, 26, (as aforecited) " Whom have I 
in heaven but thee : and there is none on earth 
that I desire besides thee!" and with Paul, Phil, 
i. 21, ** To me to live is Christ, and to die is 
gain." You must shut up the eye of sense, 
(.save as subordinate to faith) and live by faitli 
upon a God, a Christ, and a world that is 

344 Of Convershig with God in Solitude. 

unseen, if you would know by experience what 
it is to be above the brutish life of sensualists, 
and to converse with God. O christian, if thou 
hadst rightly learned this blessed life, what a 
high and noble soul-conversation wouldst thou 
have ! How easily wouldst thou spare, and how 
little wouldst thou miss the favour of the great- 
est, the presence of any worldly comfort ! City 
or solitude would be much alike to thee, saving 
that the place and state would be best to thee, 
where thou hadst the greatest help and freedom 
to converse with God. Thou wouldst say of 
human society, as Seneca, " Umis pro populo 
mihi est, &> populus pro inio : mihi satis est umts, 
satis est nullus." — " One is instead of all the 
people to me, and the people as one: one is 
enough for me, and none is enough." Thus 
being taken up with God, thou mightest live in 
prison as at liberty, and in a wilderness as in a 
city, and in a place of banishment as in thy 
native land : for the earth is the Lord's, and the 
fulness thereof: and everywhere thou mayest 
find him, and converse with him, and lift up 
pure hands unto him. In every place thou art 
within the sight of home ; and heaven is in 
thine eye, and thou art conversing with that 
God, in whose converse the highest angels do 
place their highest felicity and delight. 

How little cause then have all the church's 
enemies to triumph, that can never shut up a 
true believer from the presence of his God, nov 

Of Convening with God in Solitude. 345 

banish him into such a place where he cannot 
have his conversation in heaven ! The stones 
that were cast at holy Stephen, could not 
hinder him from seeing the heavens opened, 
and Christ sitting at the right hand of God. 
A Patmos allowed holy John communion with 
Christ, being there in the spirit on the Lord's 
day. Rev. i. 9. 10. Christ never so speedily 
and comfortably owneth his servants, as when 
the world disowneth them, and abuseth them 
for his sake, and hurls them up and down as 
the scorn and off-scouring of all. He quickly 
found the blind man that he had cured, when 
once the jews had cast him out. John ix. 35. 
Persecutors do but promote the blessedness 
and exceeding joy of sufferers for Christ. Matt. 
V. 11, 12. 

And how little reason then have christians, to 
shun such sufferings, by unlawful means, which 
turn to their so great advantage ; and to give so 
dear as the hazard of their souls by wilful sin, 
to escape the honor, and safety, and commodity 
of martyrdom ! 

And indeed we judge not, we love not, we 
live not as sanctified ones must do, if we judge 
not that the truest liberty, and love it not as the 
best condition, in which we may best converse 
with God. And O how much harder is it to 
walk with God, in a court, in the midst of sen- 
sual delights, than in a prison or wilderness 
where we have none to interrupt us, and nothing 

VOL. II. u 

346 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

else to take us up ! It is our prepossessed minds, 
our earthly hearts, our carnal affections and 
concupiscence, and the pleasures of a prosperous 
state that are the prison and the jailors of our 
souls. Were it not for these, how free should 
we be, though our bodies were confined to the 
straightest room ! He is at liberty that can walk 
in heaven, and have access to God, and make 
use of all the creatures in the world, to the pro- 
moting of this his heavenly conversation : and 
he is the prisoner whose soul is chained to flesh 
and earth, and confined to his lands and houses, 
and feedeth on the dust of worldly riches, or 
walloweth in the dung and filth of gluttony, 
drunkenness and lust : that are far from God 
and desire not to be near him ; but say to him, 
depart from us, we would not have the know- 
ledge of thy ways : that love their prison and 
chains so well, that they would not be set free, 
but hate those with the cruellest hatred that 
endeavour their deliverance. Those are the 
poor prisoners of Satan, that have not liberty to 
believe, nor to love God, nor converse in heaven, 
nor seriously to mind or seek the things that 
are high and honorable : that have not liberty 
to meditate or pray, or seriously to speak of 
holy things, nor to love and converse with those 
that do so : that are tied so hard to the drudgery 
of sin, that they have not liberty one month, or 
week, or day, to leave it, and walk with God so 
much as for a recreation ! But he that liveth in 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 347 

the family of God, and is employed in attending 
him, and doth converse with Christ, and the host 
of holy ones above, in reason should not much 
complain of his want of friends, or company or 
accommodations, nor yet be too impatient of 
any corporal confinement. 

Lastly, be sure then most narrowly to watch 
your hearts, that nothing have entertainment 
there, which is against your liberty of converse 
with God. Fill not those hearts with worldly 
trash, which are made and new-made to be the 
dwelling-place of God. Desire not the company 
which would diminish your heavenly acquaint- 
ance and correspondency. Be not unfriendly, 
nor conceited of a self-sufficiency ; but yet 
"beware lest under the honest ingenuous title of 
a friend, a special, faithful, prudent friend, you 
should entertain an idol, or an enemy to your 
love of God, or a corrival and competitor with 
your highest friend : for if you do, it is not the 
specious title of a friend that will save you from 
the thorns and briars of disquietment, and from 
greater troubles than ever you found from open 

O blessed be that high and everlasting friend, 
who is every way suited to the upright souls ! 
To their minds, their memories, their delight, 
their love, &c. by surest truth, by fullest good- 
ness, by clearest light, by dearest love, by 
firmest constancy, &c. O why hath my 

drowsy and dark-sighted soul been so seldom 
u 2 

348 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

with him ! Why hath it so often, so strangely, 
and so unthankfully passed by, and not observed 
liim, nor hearkened to his kindest calls ! O what 
is all this trash and trouble that hath filled my 
memory, and employed my mind, and cheated 
and corrupted my affections, while my dearest 
Lord hath been days and nights so unworthily 
forgotten, so contemptuously neglected and 
disregarded, and loved as if I loved him not ! 
O that these drowsy and those waking nights, 
those loitered, lost, and empty hours had been 
spent in the humblest converse with him, which 

have been dreamed and doted away upon 

BOW I know not what ! O my God, how much 
wiser and happier had I been, had I rather 
chosen to mourn with thee, than to rejoice and 
sport with any other ! O that I had rather wept 
with thee, than laughed with the creature ! For 
the time to come let that be my friend, that most 
befriendeth my dark, and dull, and backward 
soul, in its undertaken progress, and heavenly 
conversation ! Or if there be none such upon 
earth, let me here take no one for my friend ! 

blot out every name from my corrupted heart, 
which hindereth the deeper engraving of thy 
name ! Ah ! Lord, what a stone, what a blind 
ungrateful thing, is a heart not touched with 
celestial love ! Yet shall I not run to thee, when 

1 have none else that will know me ! Shall I not 
draw near thee, when all fly from me ! When 
daily experience crieth out so loud " none 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 349 


heart, that hast thought oft.— Where is that 
place, that cave or desert, where I might soonest 
find thee, and fullest enjoy thee ? Is it in the 
wilderness that thou walkest, or in the crowd : 
in the closet, or in the church ? Where is it that 
I might soonest meet with God? But alas, I 
now perceive, that I have a heart to fmd, before 
I am like to find my Lord ! O loveless, lifeless, 
stony heart ; that is dead to him that gave it 
life, and to none but him ! Could I not love, 
or think, or feel at all, raethinks I were less dead 
than now ! Less dead, if dead, than now I aui 
alive ! I had almost said— Loni, let me iiever 
love more till I can love thee ; nor think more 
on any thing till I can more willingly think of 
thee ! But I must suppress that wish ; for life 
will act : and the mercies and motions of nature 
are necessary to those of grace. And therefore 
in the hfe of nature, and in the glimmerings of 
thy light, I will wait for more of the celestial 
life. My God, thou hast my consenti It is here 
attested under my hand : separate me from whst 
and whom thou wilt so I may but be nearer 
thee ! Let me love thee more, and feel more of 
thy love, and then let me love or be beloved of 
the world, as little as thou wilt. 

I thought self-love had been a more predomi- 
nant thing : but now I find that repentance hat!i 
its anger, its hatred, and its revenge ! I am truly 
ano-ry with that heart that hath so oft ancl 
V 3 

350 Of Conversing with God in Solitude'. 

foolishly offended tliee ! Methinlcs I hate that 
heart that is so cold and backward in thy love, 
and almost grudge it a dwelling in my breast ! 
Alas, when love should be the life of prayer, the 
life of holy meditation, the life of sermons anci 
of holy conference, and my soul in these should 
long to meet thee, and delight to mention thee, 
I straggle Lord, I know not whither; or I sit 
still and wish, but do not rise and run and follow 
thee; yea, I do not what I seem to do ! Ail is 
dead, all is dead, for want of love ! 1 often cry, 
O where is that place, where the quickening 
beams of heaven are warmest, that my frozen 
soul might seek it out! 13ut whither ever I go, to 
city or to solitude, alas, I find it is not place 
that makes the difference. I know that Christ 
is perfectly replenished with life and light and 
love divine; and I hear him as our head and 
treasure proclaimed and offered to us in the 
gospel ! This is thy record. That he that hath the 
Son hath life! O vvhy then is ray barren soul 
so empty ! I thought I had long ago consented 
to thy offer; and then according to thy cove- 
nant, both he and life in him are mine ! And 
yet must I still be dark and dead ! 

Ah ! dearest Lord, I say not that I have too 
long waited ; but if I continue thus to wait, wilt 
thou never find the time of love ; and come and 
own thy gasping worm? Wilt thou never dissi- 
' pate these clouds, and shine upon this dead and 
darkened soul? Hath my night no day ? Thrust 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 351 

me not from thee O my God : for that is a liell, 
to be thrust from God ! But sure the cause is 
ail at home, could I find it out, or rather could 
I cure it ! It is sure my face that is turned from 
God, when I say, his face is turned from me. 
But if my life must here be out of sight, and 
hidden in the root (with Christ in God,) and if 
all the rest be reserved for that better world, 
and I must here have but these small beginnings, 
O make me more to love and long for the blessed 
day of thine appearing, and not to fear the time 
of my deliverance, nor unbelievingly to linger 
in this Sodom, as one that had rather stay with 
sin, than come to thee ! Though sin hath made 
me backward to the fight, let it not make me 
backward to receive the crown : though it hath 
made me a loiterer in thy work, let it not make 
me backward to receive that wages, which thy 
love will give to our pardoned, poor, accepted 
Bervices. Though I have too oft drawn back, 
when I should have come unto thee, and walked 
with thee in thy ways of grace, yet heal that 
unbelief, and disaffection, which would make 
me to draw back, when thou callest me to 
possess thy glory. Though the sickness and 
lameness of my soul have hindered me in my 
iourney, yet let their painfulness help me to 
desire to be delivered from them and to be 
at home, where (without the interposing nights 
of thy displeasure) I shall fully feel thy fullest 
love, and walk with thy glorified ones in the 

352 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

light of thy glory, triumphing in thy praise for 
evermore. Amen. 

But now I have given you these few directions 
for the improvement of your solitude for con- 
verse with God ; — lest I should occasion the hurt 
of those that are unfit for the lesson I have 
given, I must conclude with this caution (which 
I have formerly also published,) that it is not 
melancholy or weak-headed persons, who are 
not able to bear such exercises, for whom I have 
written these directions. Those that are not 
able to be much in serious solitary thoughtful- 
ness, without confusions and distracting sugges- 
tions, and hurrying vexatious thoughts, must 
set themselves for the most part to those duties 
which are to be done in company by the help 
of others; and must be very little in solitary 
duties : for to them whose natural faculties are 
so diseased or weak, it is no duty, as being no 
means to do them the desired good ; but while 
they strive to do that which they are naturally 
unable to endure, they will but confound and 
distract themselves, and make themselves unable 
for those other duties which yet they are not 
utterly unfit for. To such persons therefore 
instead of ordered, well digested meditations, 
and much time spent in secret thoughtfulness, 
it must suffice tliat they be brief in secret prayer. 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 353 

and take up with such occasional abrupter medi- 
tations as they are capable of, and that they be 
the more in reading, hearing, conference, and 
praying and praising God with others : until 
their melancholy distempers are so far over- 
come, as that (by the direction of their spiritual 
guides) they may judge themselves fit for this 
improvement of their solitude. 


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