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Full text of "Discourses on various subjects, by the late Reverend John Leland, D.D. : with a preface, giving some account of the life, character, and writings of the Author"

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nvii,u " ^Qnp) 

•ection G?r^& • /CJ 








O N 


By the late Reverend 




Printed for W.Johnston, in Ludgate- Street ; 


J. Dodsley, in Pall- Mall, 



O F T H E 



On the Delight a good Man has in the 
Contemplation of God and his glorious 

Psalm xxxvii. 4. 

Delight thy f elf in the Lord, and he Jhall give 
thee the Defires of thine Heart. Pages 1, 19 


On Delighting in God's Works of Crea- 

Psalm cxi. 2. 

The Works of the Lord are great, fought of 
all them that have Pleafure therein. P. 45. 

a 2 DIS, 



On Delighting in God's Works of Pro- 

Psalm cxL 2. 

< The Works of the Lord are greats fought out of 
all them that have Pleafure therein, P. 69 


On Delighting in the gracious Methods of 
our Redemption by Jefus Chrijl, 

Romans v. 1 1 . 

*— We joy in God through our Lord Jefus 
ChnfL— - P. 91 


On Delighting in the gracious Methods of 
our Redemption by Jefus ChriJI. 

Romans v. ii. 

We joy in God through our Lord J efus Chrift, 
by whom <we have received the Atone- 
ment. P. 107 




On Delighting in the gracious Methods of 
our Redemption by Jefus Chri/i. 

Romans v. ii. 

— We joy in God through our Lord Jefus 
Chrift. — P« 131 


On Delighting in the Laws of God. 
Psalm cxix. 47. 

/ will delight myfelf in thy Commandments, 
which I have loved. P. 151, jji, inj y 

209, 227, 255, 277 


On Rejoicing in Hope of the Glory of 

Romans v. 2. 

— And rejoice in Hope of the Glory of 
God. p. ^o^ o 2 j 




Prejudices againft Religion removed, and 
the Practice of Piety and Virtue recom- 
mended, as the higheil Pieafure and De- 

Proverbs iii. 17. 

Her Ways are Ways of Pleajantnefs, and all 
her Paths are Peace. P. 345, 363 


On the Credibility and Proofs of the Gofpel- 

John xx. 30, 31. 

And many other ^Things truly did Jefus in the 
Prefence of his Difciples, which are not 
written in this Book. But thefe are writ- 
ten, that ye might believe that Jefus is the 
Chriit, the Son of God -, and that, be- 
lieving, ye might have Life through his 
Name. P. 379, 401, 427 


On the Delight a good Man has in the 
Contemplation of God and his glorious 


Psalm xxxvii. 4, 

Delight thy f elf in the Lord, and he Jhall give 
thee the Defres of thine Heart, 

F all the Prejudices that are apt to 
render Men averfe to Religion, 
there is none more common, or 
which hath a more pernicious Influence 
than this, that they look upon it as an 
Enemy to the Pleafure and Satisfaction of 
human Life. They reprefeni: it to them- 
felves a gioomy and melancholy Thing, 
Vol, III. -B four 


four and unfociable, in which no Pleafure 
or Enjoyment is to be found, nothing that 
can yield an agreeable Entertainment in 
this prefent State. Whilft Perfons are under 
the Power of Inch Prejudices, the Argu- 
ments and Motives of Religion are in a 
great Meafure loft upon them. When they 
form fuch a difagreeable and unamiable Idea 
of a religious and virtuous Life, as if it were 
inconfftent with their prefent Happinefs, 
fcarce will the Promife of Heaven itfelf al- 
lure them to it ; efpecially when it is re- 
garded as a State of confummate Holinefs 
and Purity. 

It is therefore of great Importance to 
endeavour to get our Minds diverted of 
thefe Prejudices againfl Religion, and 
brought to a high- Eftimation of it, and 
Delight in it j and to this Purpofe we mould 
endeavour to fix our Views upon its Excel- 
lency artd Lovelinefs, to reprefent it to our 
Minds in an agreeable and amiable which 
is its true and proper Light, and to behold 
it in its own lovely Form, and in the beau- 
tiful Harmony of all its Parts, ^\\ conipiring 
to entertain the nob-left Affections of the 
human Mind. We fliould purine thefe Re- 
flections till we come to this, as our deliberate 
fixed Perfuanon, that Religion duly known 
and pracliled hath a Tendency to promote 

3 the 


the true Happinefs of our Nature - y that it is 
not inconfiftent with any Pleafures which 
are not reafonable and innocent, and is a 
Source of the purefr. and melt Ming Joys. 

I t am fenfible indeed that, let Religion be 
fuppofed never fo excellent and amiable in 
itfelf, it cannot make a Perfon happy, ex- 
cept there be a Suitablenefs to it in the Tem- 
per of his Mind. They who are under the 
Power of vicious Affections and Lulls, and 
whofe moral Tafte is corrupted and depra- 
ved, can take no Pleafure in the Ways of 
Religion, nor have a jufr. Relifh for its pure 
and refined Joys till the Difpofitions of their 
Hearts be changed. But we mull: not ima- 
gine, that therefore it is to no Purpofe to fet 
before them the Reafonablenefs, the Beauty 
and Excellency of true Religion and Virtue. 
Still they are to be treated and applied to as 
reafonable thinking Beings, who have a 
Power, if they will exercife it, to turn their 
Thoughts and Views to the mod excellent 
Objects. Jt cannot be denied, that atten- 
tive Confideration and Reflection, and the 
reprefenting Things in a proper Light, may 
have a Tendency to remove Prejudices, to 
rectify and improve the moral Tafte, and 
by Degrees to work upon the Heart and the 
Affections. And, particularly in the Cafe be- 
fore us, the belt Way we can take to give 
B 2 a right 


a right Biafs to the Affections and Difpofi- 
tions of the Soul is to endeavour to get our 
Minds enlightened to a juft Difcernment of 
the moral Differences of Things, the Evil 
and Deformity and the pernicious Confe- 
quences of Vice and Sin, and the great 
Worth, the Beauty and Excellency of re- 
ligious Virtue and real Holinefs, the glori- 
ous Rewards which mall attend it, and 
the Divine Jovs it hath a Tendency to pro- 
duce. By fuch Views frequently repeated 
it may be hoped that the Reafon will be 
convinced, a right practical Judgment for- 
med, and the Will and Affections drawn to 
make a proper Choice : For the Views of an 
amiable Object have an affimilating tranf- 
forming Virtue, and Beauty frequently be- 
held tends to excite Love and engage the 

This is the Method which Reafon pre- 
fcribes, and the Holy Scripture directs to, 
in order to bring us to a right Temper of 
Mind, to purify our Hearts and raife Our 
Affections to the nobleft Objects. But fuch 
is our prefent Weaknefs and Depravity, 
fuch the Power of cur corrupt Appetites 
and Paffions, and the manifold Tempta- 
tions to which we are expofed, that we 
ffand in Need of Divine Influences and Aids 
for accomplishing this great Work. And 



therefore it highly concerneth us to offer up 
our earneft Prayers to God through Jefus 
Chrijl, that he who hath the Hearts of all 
Men in his Hands, and can touch the mod fe- 
cret Springs of our Souls, would communicate 
to us the Aids of his Holy Spirit, that the 
great Truths and Duties of Religion may 
come with a Divine Light and Power on 
our Minds, and that our Hearts may be 
brought to a jufl fpiritual Tafte and Relifh 
of thole pure Pleafures which the right 
Knowledge and Practice of Religion is fitted 
to afford. The giving us new Hearts and 
new Spirits is reprefented as his Work. 
Remarkable to this Purpofe is the Promife 
he makes to his People, Ezek. xxxvi. 26. 
A new Heart will I give you y and a new 
Spirit will I put within you, and I will take 
away the Jlony Heart out of your Flejh. And 
he afterwards declares, Ver. 37. that for 
this he would be inquired of to do it for them. 
Bat this is not deiigned to preclude the Ufe 
of their own Endeavours. For he, who 
promifes to give them new Hearts and new 
Spirits, elfe where exhorts them to make to 
themfelves new Hearts and new Spirits : Cafl 
away from you all your Tranfgrefjions, and 
make you a new Heart and a new Spirit. 
Ezek. xviii. 31. This is defigned to inti- 
mate to us that we muff ufe all proper Means 
3 3 00 


on our Parts, and apply our utmofl Efforts to 
rectify what is amifs in the Temper of our 
Minds, as ever we would hope for his gra- 
cious Amflances and Divine Communica- 
tions. And certainly, as has been already 
hinted, one of the properefr. Means for this 
Purpofe is the ftirring up the Powers of our 
Souls to an attentive Confideration of thofe 
Things which have a Tendency to remove 
and overcome our Prejudices againft Reli- 
gion, and recommend it to our Affection 
and Eileem. 

As an Introduction to what I intend pret- 
ty largely to infill: upon in Profecution of 
this important Subject, I have chofen thefe 
remarkable Words of the pious Pfalmift : 
Delight thyfelf in the Lord, and he Jhall give 
thee the Defres of thine Heart. He begins 
this Pialm with cautioning Men not to give 
Way to the Frettings of Envy and Difcon- 
tent, becaufe of the feeming Profperity of 
the Wicked, who often flourifh in an Abun- 
dance of Riches, Honours, and Pleafures of 
this prefent World, whilft good Men, the 
excellent of the Earth, are in a poor mean 
Condition, afflicted and defpifed. Fret ?iot 
thyfelf be can fe of Evil-Doers, neither be en- 
vious againjl the Workers of Iniquity. He 
obfei ves that their Profperity is a vain Shew, 
and at bell very tranfitory in its Duration ; 

7 key 


y'bey fiall foon be cut down as the Grafs, 
and 'wither as the green Herb. Men of 
real Piety and Virtue, who place their 
Truft in their God, and go on in a Courfe 
of Well-doing, may not have a large Af- 
fluence of this World's Goods, but they 
/hall have what is neceffary for their Sup- 
port, and the Favour and Bleffing of God 
with it, which fweetens every thing, and 
is a better Security for their Subfiftence, 
"than any worldly Wealth or Power can fur- 
nifh : Trufi in the Lord, and do Good ; Jo 
jhalt thou dwell in the Land, and verily thou 
jhalt be fed. And then the Pfalmift adds, 
Delight thy f elf alfo in the Lord, and he fiall 
give thee the Dtfires of thine Heart. Whilit 
others feek for Pleafure in the Vanities of 
this tranfitory World, do thou place thy 
higheft Happinefs in God alone, make him 
the chief Object of thy Joy, and fo malt 
thou never be difappointed. He mall give 
thee what is really beft for thee, and 
through his Grace and Goodnefs thou fhalt 
attain to that true Happinefs which is able 
to fatisfy the mod enlarged Defires and Ca- 
pacities of thy Soul. 

This Precept of delighting in the Lord is 

not to be understood in fo ftrict a Senfe, as 

if he were to be the only Object of our Joy, 

and we were not allowed to delight or take 

B 4 Pleafure 


Pleafure in any Thing elfe. It is evident 
to any one that confiders the human Frame, 
that Man is capable of taking in a Variety 
of Joys, fuited to the various Powers and 
Affections of his Nature ; Pleafures flow in 
upon us at our Eyes, our Ears, our Tafte, 
and all the Senfes ; and the Author of our 
Beings has ftored the World about with a 
Variety of Things admirably fitted to excite 
in us the moft agreeable Senfations. The 
Pleafures of the Imagination are ftill of 
a larger Extent, and of a more exquifite 
Kind. And fuperior to thefe are the Plea- 
fures ariiing from the Purfuits and Acquili- 
tions of Knowledge, and the Improvement 
of our rational intellectual Powers, and from 
the Exercife of the kind and focial Affecti- 
ons, fo natural to the human Heart, when 
it is not greatly perverted and depraved. 
Religion is not intended to deprive us of any 
of thefe Pleafures. On the contrary it tends 
in many Inflances to heighten and improve 
them. It teaches us to confider them all 
in a Subordination to the Delight we mould 
have in God the chief Good. This mud 
be the fupreme ruling Affection in our 
Souls, and all other Joys and Pleafures muft 
be governed and regulated by it, and mull 
be kept in their proper Place and Order, 
and this will give them their noblefi Relifh, 



The inferior Animals of the brutal Order 
#re manifestly deiigned for no higher Enjoy- 
ments than thole of the feniitive Life. 
When they attain to thefe, they attain to 
the true Happinefs of their Nature, an 
Happinefs adequate to the feveral Powers, 
Inftincts, and Capacities with which they 
are endued. Religion and a Regard to the 
Deity does not enter into their Gratifications 
and Joys. They receive many Benefits from 
the bountiful Hand of Divine Providence, 
but without beinnr fenfible of their Obli^a- 
tions to tne Sovereign Benefactor, to whom 
they owe their Exigence, and from whom 
all their Bleffings and Enjoyments How. 
This is not to be charged upon them as a 
Fault : They have not Faculties capable of 
riiing above the Objects of Senfe to the 
Fountain of all Perfection and Excellence. 
Put Man is a Creature of an higher Order, 
and defigned for nobler Joys. He is capa- 
ble of knowing and contemplating God 
himfelf, of loving, adoring, obeying and 
enjoying him, of thankfully acknowledging 
him as the glorious Author of all the Buf- 
fings he enjoys, and of railing his Affecti- 
ons and Views above them to him the fu- 
preme, the infinite Good. This therefore is 
juftly required of him as his Duty. He is 
pot to place his chief Felicity in any inferior 

Good ; 


Good ; the Deiires of his Soul mult be fu- 
premely fixed upon God, and in him mult 
ultimately center and terminate. Then it 
is that he acteth up to the proper End of his 
Being, and in a Manner worthy of the ex- 
cellent and fublime Faculties which God 
hath given him. 

Man was at firft created in an innocent 
and happy State, and this lower World was 
really prepared for his Entertainment. As 
it was then in its original Beauty, and was 
come fair and lovely out of the Creator's 
Hand, it could not but produce the mod: 
pleaiing Senfations. And it was no Doubt 
agreeable to the Will of God, that Man 
fhould take Pleafure in that Variety of de- 
lightful Objects, which the Divine Goodnefs 
hath provided. Efpecially lince Paradife 
was in a particular Manner affigned him 
for his blifsful Seat, where he was placed 
amidfl a Profufion of Joys. But certainly 
God never defigned that he mould take up 
with thefe Things as his proper Portion and 
Felicity, but that he mould lift up his 
Soul above them to the fupreme original 
Goodnefs and Beauty, and in him place his 
chief Delight and Happinefs. And there- 
fore, though he had an ample Liberty gw 
ven him to entertain himielf with the de- 
licious Fruits of Paradife ', } et it leemed fit 



to the Divine Wifdom to lay a Restraint 
upon him with Reipect to one, to make him 
fenfible that he was under the Dominion of 
a higher Lord, on whom he had a conftant 
Dependence, and to whom he owed his 
all -, that he was not to feek or place his 
Happinefs in an unlimited Indulgence to 
his own Inclinations and Appetites, but in 
an unreferved Obedience to God, and Con- 
formity to his Will, and in a Senfe of his 
Love and Favour, and that the Pleaiure he 
took in other Things was to be all in Subor- 
dination to him the chief Good. 

If Man had perfifted in his Obedience 
and Innocence, he would have enjoyed all 
the Happinefs for which his Nature was 
originally formed and defigned. He would 
have rejoiced in God and in his glorious 
Perfections, and in him would have found an 
Object capable of filling and fatisfying the 
vail: Defires of his Soul. This would have 
both purified and heightened the Pleafure 
he took in inferior Objects and Enjoyments, 
and all the delegable Things in the Crea- 
tares around him would have been as lb 
many Steps by which to afcend, in Love, 
Gratitude, and Admiration, to the fupreme' 
and abfolutelv perfect Being. But, ieduced 
by the deceitful Insinuations of the Tempter, 
he broke from his regular Subordination to 



his Sovereign Lord and Benefactor, and, 
fetting up his own Will and Appetites to 
be his Rule, and indulging too great a Love 
to inferior fenfible Good, he fell from 
God and Happinefs. And ever fince have 
the Sons of Men been prone to feek for 
Happinefs in the Goods of this prefent 
World, and in the Gratification of their 
own irregular Appetites and PafTions, in a 
Preference to the Will and Law of God. 
And the main Defign ©f all the Difcoveries 
and Revelations he hath made to Mankind 
hath been to recover them to a right Senfe 
and Purfuit of true Happinefs, to draw off 
their Hearts and Affections from a too clofe 
Attachment to inferior Good, and from 
thofe mean and vicious Pleafures which are 
unworthy of the rational Nature, and to en- 
gage them to feek for Happinefs in an Imi- 
tation of his moil: amiable moral Perfec- 
tions, in Obedience to his Laws, and in the 
Enjoyment of his Love and Favour. This 
efpecially is the great End of the Gofpel Re- 
velation. For this Purpofe God fent his 
Son into the World, the unfpotted Image 
of his own Goodnefs and Purity, by whom 
he hath made the moft attractive Difcove- 
ries and Difplays of his own Glory and 
Lovelinefs, and the exceeding Riches of his 
Grace to allure and draw us to his Service, 



J 3 

and eagage us to come to him for Happi- 
nefs. And for our greater Encouragement 
he hath been graciouily pleafed to fet be- 
fore us a State of everlafting Felicity in the 
heavenly World, conlifting in the immediate 
Villon and Fruition of himfelf, and in a 
complete Conformity to him. And it is his 
Will that by our delighting our/elves in him 
here on Earth we mould endeavour to get 
our Minds prepared for the Joys of his bea- 
tific Prefence. 

This Duty of delighting in God is of a 
noble Extent, and comprehends a great 
Deal in it. 

To delight in God is to delight ourfelves 
in the Fulnefs of his infinite Perfection, and 
in all thofe glorious and amiable Attributes 
and Excellencies which render him the 
worthy Object of the higheft Admiration 
and Efteem of reafonable Beings. 

It is to delight in his Works of Creation 
and Providence, as exhibiting the Diiplays 
of his Glory; and in the admirable Methods 
of our Redemption and Salvation by Jefus 

It is to delight in his holy and moft ex- 
cellent Laws, and in the Practice of the va- 
rious Duties which he requireth of us, and 
which are really conducive to the true Per- 
fection and Felicity of gur Natures. 



And,- finally, it is to rejoice in the Hope 
which lie hath fet before us, the Hope of 
that eternal Life which is the Gift of God 
in Jefus Chrift our Lord, to all thofe that 
love and ferve him with Sincerity. 

Now it is evident that thefe Things take 
in the Whole of Religion and of a holy and 
virtuous Life. From this View of them it 
appears that all the Pleafures of Religion 
may be comprehended in delighting in 
God. This is the central Point to which 
they all tend, and in which they all unite. 
And 1 mall endeavour to mew that in each of 
thefe Refpects, the Knowledge and Practice 
of Religion is a Source of true and folid Sa- 
tisfaction and Joy to a well-diipofed Mind -, 
and that therefore there is no juft Ground 
for the Prejudices many are apt to entertain 
againfc a Life of real Piety and Virtue. 

The firft Thing to be confidered, and 
which moil directly and properly cometh 
under the Notion of delighting in God } is 
thnt we ihould delight in the Fulnefs of his 
infinite Perfection, and in all thofe amiable 
and glorious Attributes and Excellencies 
which render him the worthy Object: of the 
forghe'ft Love, Admiration, and Eileem of 
re a ion a hie B ei n gs . 

Th at God is abiblutely perfect is the 
Voice of Reafon and Nature as well as Scrip- 


ture. All other Beings owe their Exigence, 
and whatever Powers or Excellencies they 
are pofTeffed of, to an higher Caufe, and 
therefore mud be dependent and limited. 
But God deriveth not his Being or Perfec- 
tions from anv other, hut hath the Source of 
his Perfection and Bleffednefs eternally and 
independently in himfelf, and therefore hath 
nothing to limit him from without or from 
within. To him alone belongs that adora- 
ble Character, / am that I am. Of all 
other Beings it muft be faid, that fome 
have one Perfection and fome another, and 
that they differ in their Degrees of Excel- 
lence ; but God alone hath all Perfections 
in the highefl pofTible Degree of Eminency, 
and in the mod amiable and perfect Harmo- 
ny. If therefore we are pleafed and delight- 
ed with the fcattered Rays of Goodnefs and 
Beauty which we behold in Creatures like 
ourfelves, what a fublime Pleafure mud: it 
yield to contemplate the fupreme, origi- 
nal unbounded Excellence, in whom there 
is a Fulnefs of Perfection never to be exhau- 
fted? and then to confider him as ready 
to communicate of his All-fufRciency to us 
to make us happy 1 Such is the Pleafure that 
Religion opens to us ! To this glorious Ob- 
ject it teacheth us to raife our Views. Ad- 
miration, when fixed on an excellent Ob- 


jed:, naturally elevateth and tranfportetn 
us, and is the moft delightful of all our 
Paifions. And it heightened! this Delight* 
when it is an Object in which we ourfelves 
have a particular Interelr. and Concern. 
And what is there fo worthy of our Adrnn* 
ration, as the felf-exiftent, the all-perfect 
yebovab, who is from Everlafting to Ever- 
lafting infinitely happy in himfelf, and who 
of his free Grace and Goodnefs offers him- 
felf to us to be our eternal Felicity ! Here 
all our Faculties are fwallowed up in a de- 
vout Aftonifhment. Let other Things be 
never fo great and glorious, ftill they are 
but finite. It is poffible at length to come 
to an End of their Perfection, to find out 
all that is in them of Goodnefs and Excel- 
lence. But in God there is enough to 
entertain and fatisfy the Soul to Eternity, 
new Beauties and Excellencies ftill riling to 
it's View, and furnifhing it with perpetual 
Matter for Wonder, Love, and Joy. After 
we have railed our Conceptions to the high- 
eft, fiill there is infinitely more that we do 
not know. Though our Faculties mail be 
for ever enlarging, we fhall never be able 
fully to comprehend his Glory. Here there- 
fore we may fafely indulge our Joys, and 
give full Scope to our noblefl Affections. 



But befide this general View of God, as 
the abfolutely perfect Being, it may be ufe- 
ful more diftinctly to conlider fome of the 
principal of the Divine Attributes and Per- 
fections known to us, whereby it will ap- 
pear what a proper Objedt he is not only of 
our profoundeft Reverence, but of our high- 
eft Love, Admiration, and Delight, 

Vol. III. 


On the Delight a good Man has in the 
Contemplation of God and his glorious 


Psalm xxxvii. 4. 

Delight thy f elf in the Lord, and he Jloall give 
thee the Defres of thine Heart, 

IF ever any Duty might be faid to be it's 
own Reward, it is that to which we 
are here exhorted, Delight tbyfelf in the 
Lord. To command us to do fo is to com- 
mand us to confult our own trueft Happi- 
nefs, and to direct us. in the propereft Way 
of obtaining it. 

C z In, 

20 D I S C O U R S E II. 

In our former Difcourfe on this Subject 
we confidered the Delight which arifeth to 
a good and religious Mind from the Be- 
lief and Contemplation of God as the abfo- 
lutely perfect Being, who hath an unlimited 
Fulnefs of Perfection in himfelf : And it 
was (hewn, that this general View of the 
Deity tendeth to fill the Heart of a, good 
Man with a divine Joy. Let us now pro- 
ceed to a more diftinct Conlideration of 
thofe Attributes and Excellencies which 
render him the worthy Object of the 
highefr. Love, Admiration, and Delight of 
reafonable Beings. 

And one of the firft Divine Attributes 
which obvioufly prefenteth itfelf to the 
Mind is almighty Power. This vail: and 
ftupendous Fabric of the Univerfe, which 
he at firfl created, and which he continu- 
ally fuftaineth and upholdeth, is the glo- 
rious Monument of his Omnipotency : 
For the inviftble Things of him from the 
Creation of the World are clearly feen, being 
underjiood by the Things which are made, 
even his eternal Power and Godhead. Rom. i. 
20. Hence that noble Addrefs of the 
Prophet, j/er. xxxii. 17. BehJd, thou haft 
niade the Heaven and the Earth by thy great 
Power and outftretched Ann, and there is 
nothing too hard for thee. What can be too 



hard for him who created the World ? 
Once hath God Jpoken (faith the PfaJmifl) 
twice have I heard this, that Power bclongeih 
unto God. Pf. Ixii. 11. To him it be- 
longeth originally, eifentially, and inde- 
pendently In the moil excellent and 
powerful of created Beings there is fiill 
fome Mixture of Weaknefs. There are 
fome Things which tranfcend the utmoft 
Exertion of their Force. But in God and 
in him alone it is truly and abfolutely 
infinite, and which extends to whatfbever 
is the proper Object of Power, without any 
Bounds or Limits. If all the Power and 
Strength of Angels and Men were collected 
into one, what a mighty Power would this 
be ! and yet as it is all derived from God, 
and dependent upon him ; fo, if fet in Op- 
pofition to him, or compared with the 
Fulnefs of Power which is in him, it would 
deferve no other Name than that of Weak- 
nefs and Impotency. And this almighty 
Power of God, as it naturally tendeth to 
flrike the Mind with a religious Fear and 
Reverence, fo it filleth the Heart of a 
good Man with ineffable Satisfaction and 
Joy. How delightful is it to confider un- 
limited Power ever employed for the mofl 
excellent Purpofes in maintaining and pre- 
ferving the good Order of the Univerfe, and 
C 3 particularly 


particularly in protecting and defending 
thofe that fincerely love him and put their 
Truft in him, and in promoting their real 
Happinefs ? The Eves of the Lord run to 
and fro throughout ike whole Earth, tofiew 
himfetf lirong in Behalf of theje whoje Heart 
is perjecl (or upright) towards Urn. 2 Chron. 
xvi. 9. The Righteous aie often expofed 
to the Rage of great and powerful Adver- 
faries, hut in this they rejoice that their 
Help is in the Name of the omnipotent 
God who made Heaven and Earth. Hence 
the devout Pfalmift cannot forbear ex- 
ulting and teftifyihg the Joy and Confi- 
dence of his Soul in the Power of God, 
even amidd the greateft Dangers : The 
Lord is my Eight and my Salvation, whom 
fall I fear f The Lord is the Strength of 
my Life, of whom jhall I be afraid f Though 
an Eloft Jkoidd incamp againft ??:e, my Heart 
Jl:a!l not be afraid; though War JJjould arife 
againjl me, in this wilt I be confident. Pf 
xxvii. 1, 3. We are told, that the Lord 
give 1 h Power unto the Feeble, and to them 
that have no Might he increafeth Stretigth. 
Ifa. xl. 29. Zion, i. e. the Church, jball 
rejoice, btcauje the Lord God in the Midfl of 
her is ?n ; ghty. Zeph. iii. 17. Hence that 
noble Exhortation, Tnift ye in the Lord for 
ever ; for ip. the Lord Jehovah is everlajiing 


Strength. Ifa. xxvi. 4. His Power exceed- 
eth all that the moll unbounded Imagina- 
tion is capable of. conceiving. He is able 
to do exceeding abundantly for us, above all 
that we ask or think, according to the Power 
that worketh in us : therefore Jhall Glory be 
efcribed to him in the Church by Chnfl: jefus 
throughout all Ages, World without End. 
Eph. iii. 2o, 21. 

Secondly, God is a Being, not only of al- 
mighty Power, but of infinite Wifdom. 
And indeed Power without Wifdom is a 
blind unguided Force, more proper to in~ 
fpire Terror than Eileem. * But with God 
is Wijd'jn and Strengh, he hath Counfel and 
TJnderjlanding. Job. xii. 13. He is de- 
scribed in Scripture as the only wife God, as 
if none could be properly called wife but 
God only. 7o be wife as an Angel of God, is 
fometimes ufed as a proverbial Expreffion 
to fignify an eminent Degree of Wifdom. 
But all this Wifdom is wholly derived from 
God, and, however great in itfelf, is fo 
fmall and inconfiderable, compared with his, 
that he is fa id to charge his Angels with 
Folly. Job. iv. 18. Of him alone it can be 
faid, that his Under/landing is infinite. Pf. 
cxlvii. 5. He taketh in the whole Com- 
.pafs of Things, pair, prefent, and to come, 
<at one intire all-comprehending View, and 

C 4 hath 


hath a moft perfect Difcernment of all their 
poffible Connections and Relations, and 
therefore muft needs know in every Cir- 
cumftance what is beft and fitteft to be 
done. Juftly therefore is he reprefented 
as wonderful in Counfel, and excellent in 
Working. Jf. xxviii. 29. Knowledge and 
Wifdom, efpecially where it is in the 
higheft poffible Degree, naturally com- 
mandetb our Admiration and Efteem ; and, 
when we conlider it as ordering all Things 
for the univerfal Good, and even for our 
Happinefs, it muft needs produce in us a 
divine Joy and Gladnefs of Heart. We 
are ignorant lhort-fighted Creatures, liable 
to Errors and Miftakes, and often at a Lofs 
what Courfe to take amidft the Difficulties 
and Perplexities which furround us. What 
a Comfort therefore muft it be to raife our 
Views to the moft wife Governor of the 
World, and Difpofer of all Events ! Bad 
Men may lay their Defigns with great Sub- 
tlety as well as Malice, but there is no 
Wifdom nor JJnderJlanding, nor Counfel againfi 
the Lord. Prov. xxi. 30. He dijappointeth 
the Devices of the Crafty, fo that their Hands 
cannot pe?jorm their Enterprife. He taketh 
the Wife in their own Crafinefs, and the 
Counfel of the Frcward is carried headlong. 
Job v. 1 2, 1 3. It is a ravifhing Thought to 

a gcod 


a good Mind, that, even when Things have 
the moll difiilrous Afpecl, flill infinite 
Wifdom is at the Helm, and prefideth over 
all Events, even thofe that feem to be mofl 
contingent ; and that God knoweth how to 
caufe Good to arife out of Evil, and Order 
out of Confufion, and to bring about his 
own excellent Defigns by Methods far 
tranfcending all human Comprehenfion. 
Safely therefore, and with a divine Compla- 
cency, may the Righteous caji their Cares 
and Burdens upon the Lord, both with 
Regard to Concernments of a public and 
of a private Nature ; and can look up to 
him to direel their Paths, even in the moil 
perplexing Circumflances, from a Perfua- 
fion that he will order all Things for them 
in the wifefl and fitted Manner. 

Thirdly, It is the Goodnefs of God which 
efpecially tendeth to fill the Heart of a Man 
of true Piety and Virtue with a fincere and 
folid Joy. What can poffibly be more de- 
lightful than to contemplate infinite Wif- 
dom and almighty Power as in a perfect 
Conjunction with the mofl dirTufive Good- 
nefs and Benignity ! To behold the fupreme 
Lord and Father of all ever promoting the 
Good of the Whole, and the Happinefs of 
each Individual as far as is confident with 
it, fending forth his beneficial Influences, 



as the Sun doth it's invigorating refrefhing 
Rays, and a Fountain it's Streams; but not 
merely by a natural Necefiity, but from a 
moil: wife, free, and generous Benevo- 
lence ! 

The glorious Angels, as they are endued 
with the moil enlarged Capacities, do mofl 
abundantly partake of thofe Communica- 
tions of the Divine Goodnefs, which fill 
thofe blifrful Realms above with inex- 
prefiible Light and Joy. But God's Good- 
nefs is not confined to them. Every Part 
of the Univerfe which comes within our 
Notice exhibiteth the amiable Difplays of 
the Divine Benignity : The Lord is good to 
all, and his tender Mercies are over all his 
Works. Pf. cxlv. 9. He provideth even. 
for the brute Creation, who are therefore 
beautifully reprefented by the Ffalmift as 
looking with waiting Eyes towards him 
the common Parent of the Univerfe, and 
receiving their Food from his liberal Hand, 
Pf. civ. 27, 28, 29. But it is efpeciaijy 
delightful to contemplate his Goodnefs as 
manifesting itfelf towards the Children of 
Men. He hath made us a noble Order of 
Beings, endued with noble Faculties, and 
capable of various Joys, fenfitive, moral, 
and intellectual. He placed Man at his 
iirft Creation amidu the pure Delights of 



Paradifc, and gave him many Tokens of 
his Favour, while he continued in his 
State of Innocence. And though it may 
juftly be fuppofed, that, in the prefent 
finful State of Mankind, many Things are 
ordered for our Correction and Punifhment, 
and as Tokens of the Divine Difpleafure 
againft us for our Sins ; yet ilill there are 
numberlefs Bleffings poured forth by his 
benign Providence upon the degenerate 
human Race, notwithstanding their mani- 
fold Offences and Provocations : He giveth 
us Rain from Heaven and fruitful Seafons 9 
andfilkth our Hearts with Food and Gladnefs. 
Acts xiv. 1 7. The Earth is full of the Good- 
nefs of the Lord. Pf. xxxiii. 5. It is re- 
plenished with a great Abundance of 
Things for the Ufe and Delight of Man- 
kind. Out of it's Bofom are produced 
various Kinds of Herbage and Grain, 
Trees, Fruits, and Flowers of manifold Ufe 
and exquifite Beauty. It's Bowels are flored 
with hidden Treafures, and it's Surface is 
diverfified in fuch a Manner, as to yield the 
molt agreeable and entertaining Profpects. 
The Animals upon it in their feveral beau- 
tiful Forms, and wonderful Powers and 
Inftincls, are riot only furnifhed with what- 
ever is neceffary ior their own fenfitive Life, 
but are defigned to minifler in various 



Ways toour Necefiities and to our Pleafure. 
The Mercies we daily receive from God, 
and the Provifion that is made for the 
Suflenance and Accommodation of this pre- 
ient Life, mould excite 2;rateful Affections 
in our Hearts towards our fovereign Bene- 
factor : But above all what Joy muft it 
yield to take a View of the infinite Grace 
and Goodnefs of God in the marvellous 
Methods made Ufe of for recovering us 
from our ruinous and lapfed State to Ho- 
linefs and Kappinefs ? Nothing can pom- 
bly exhibit a more affecting Proof of the 
wonderful Love of God to Mankind than 
his fending his only begotten Son into the 
World, to inftruc! us by his heavenly 
Doctrine, to lead us by his moft perfect: 
and lovely Example, and by his Sufferings 
and Sacrifice to obtain eternal Redemption for 
its. How delightful, how tranfporting, is 
it to confider God as a God in Chrift re- 
conciling the World unto himfelj f To 
behold that moft glorious Being, accord- 
ing to the cimiable Reprefentation that is 
made of him in the facred Writings, in- 
viting Sinners to forfake the Paths of Vice 
and Deftrudtion, and to return to him their 
rightful Lord and fupreme Good ; offering 
to enter into a gracious Covenant with them 
through Jcfus Chrift* and to pardon all. 



their Iniquities upon their fincere Re- 
pentance ; urging and engaging them by 
all the Charms of Love, by a Regard to 
their own trueft Intereft, by every Con- 
fideration that is proper to work upon 
their Hopes and Fears, and thus, as far as 
is confident with the Freedom of rati- 
noal Beings, even compelling them to be 
happy ! How plealing to behold him 
as on a throne of Grace, encouraging 
their Addreffes, accepting their fincere 
though imperfect Services, pitying them 
as a Father pitieth his Children, and, 
when he feeth it neceffary to correct and 
chaften them, doing it with great Ten- 
dernefs, fupporting and comforting them 
in their Tribulations, and caufing all 
Things to work together for their Good I 
To confider him as fending his Angels to 
minifter unto them, but efpecially as 
communicating his Holy Spirit to en- 
lighten, fan&ify, and comfort them, and 
to guide them fafe through all the 
intricate Paths, the Snares and Diffi- 
culties of this Pilgrimage State ! And, 
finally, which completeth all, to con- 
iider him as having prepared, for all 
thofe that fincerely believe and obey him, 
everlafting Glory and Felicity in the 
highefl Heavens ! To have enlarged 



Views of the Divine Goodnefs, as dis- 
playing and exercifing itfelf in fo many 
different Ways, and in fuch a Variety of 
beneficial Effects and Inftances, mull needs 
fill the Heart of a truly religious and 
good Man with a fublime Satisfaction 
and Joy, efpecially when he is inabled 
to make a particular Application of all 
this to his own Cafe; when, being con- 
fcious of his own Sincerity, and feeling 
his Heart powerfully drawn to the God 
of Love, he locks forward with a lively 
Faith to that bleffed State, where he 
hopes to bo perfectly happy in the En- 
joyment of him to all Eternity. Then it 
is that he may with inexpreffible Delight 
break forth into thofe noble Strains of 
Devotion : Oh give Thanks unto the Lord, 
for he is good-, for his Mercy endureth for 
ever. Becaufe thy Loving- kindnefs is better 
than Life, my Lips fall praife thee. Thus 
will I blefs thee, while I live ; I will lift up 
my Hands in thy Name. Whom have I in 
Heaven but thee f And there is none upon 
Earth that I defire befides thee. How ex- 
cellent is thy Loving- kindnefs, O God ! 
therefore the Children of Men put their 
Trujl under the Shadow of thy Wings. 
They fiall be abundantly fatisfied with the 
Fatnefs of thy Houfe -, and thou fialt make 


them drink of the River of thy Pleafures. 
For ninth thee is the Fountain of Life, and 
in thy Light fiall we jee Light. In thy 
Frejence is Fulnefs of Joy, and at thy right 
Hand there are Fie a fur es for evermore. 

Fourthly, We mould delight ourfelves 
God as a Being of fpotlefs Purity and 
Holinefs, of impartial Righteoufnefs and 
Equity. " Rejoice in the Lord, O ye 
Righteous, and give Thanks at the Remem- 
brance of his Holinefs. Pf. xcvii. 12. God 
is called in Scripture, by Way of Emi- 
xiency, the Holy One, and is faid to be 
glorious in Holinefs. Righteous is God in all 
bis Ways, and holy in all his Works. Pf. 
cxlv. 17. He is the Rock, his Work is 
■perfecl, and all his Ways are Judgment ; a 
God of 'Truth and without Iniquity, jiifl and 
right is he. Deut. xxxii. 4. This is the 
Voice of Scripture, and is perfectly agree- 
able to the foundeft Reafon. As his Un- 
derstanding is infinite, he mufl have a 
clear and perfect Difcernment of whatfo- 
ever is juft and pure, and virtuous and 
lovely ; and can never poffibly, through 
Error and Miflake, in any tingle Inftance, 
put Wrong for Right, or Right for 
Wrong. And agreeable to the pure 
Light of his infinite Mind is the perfect 
Rectitude of his Will, - whereby he is in- 

32 D I S C O U R S E IT. 

variably and eternally determined to will 
and to do that which his unerring Un- 
derflanding fees to be juft and good, to 
delight in Righteoufnefs and Purity, in 
moral Beauty and Order, and to abhor 
whatfover is contrary thereunto. That 
Qbfervation of St. 'James carries its own 
Evidence with it : God cannot be tempted 
with Evil, neither tempteth he any Man, 
Jam. i. 13. He can have nothing to 
turn him ande from an inviolable Regard 
to the facred Rules of Juftice, Righte- 
oufnefs, and Equity ; no falfe Judgment 
to miflead him, no private Intereft to 
biafs him, no irregular Appetites and 
Paffions to corrupt or pervert him. It 
naturally gives us Pleafure to behold, 
even in an imperfect human Character, 
a fteady Love and Practice of Righteouf- 
nefs and Virtue, and a generous Abhor- 
rence of Vice and Wickednefs, though 
mixed with Weaknefs and Defects : And 
fhall we not then admire and adore the 
great Original of Righteoufnefs and moral 
Excellency in whom it is to be found in 
the highefr. pomble Degree of Perfection, 
from whom that of all other Beings is 
derived, and to whom as their glorious 
Exemplar they mould be all conformed ! 
We read in Scripture of the Beauty of 
Holinefs, As Sin is the fouleft Blemifh 



and Deform' ty of a reafonable Nature, fo 
Holinefs and Rkmteoufnefs is it's true 
Beauty and Glory, and perfect Righte- 
oufnefs is perfect Beauty in an intellectual 
and moral Senfe. With what Admira- 
tion and Delight then mould we raife 
bur Views to the pure unblemimed Glories 
of the fupreme Being, whole unpolluted 
E ("fence can never admit the lealt Stain 
of moral Defilement : On this Account 
the bleffed Angels celebrate and adore 
him, faying Holy, holy, holy is the Lord 
of Hojls ! If. vi. 3. and the Church joins 
in that noble Hymn of Pralfe s Jufl and 
true are thy Ways, O thou King of Saints. 
Who fiall not fear thee, and glorify thy 
Na?ne? For thou only art holy. Rev. xv. 
3, 4. It cannot but yield the higheft 
Satisfaction to a well-difpofed Mind to 
be aflured that infinite Righteoufnefs go- 
verns the World, and preiideth over the 
univerfal Adminifcration of Things ! to 
obferve the Holinefs and Righteoufnefs of 
God mining forth in the Precepts of his 
Law, and admirably exemplified in the 
Life and Practice of his well-beloved Son 
VJefus Chrijl our Lord ! And then to con- 
sider that infinitely holy and righteous 
Being as encouraging the imperfect Be- 
ginnings of Holinefs and Virtue here on 
D Earth, 


Earth, and fending his Holy Spirit to a£» 
lift our hncere Endeavours ! The righte- 
gus Lord loveth Right eoi<jnefs y his Counte~ 
fiance doth behold the Upright. Pf- xi. 7, 
The great End of his Difpenfations to- 
wards us is that iae may be made Par- 
takers of his KoHneJs Heb. x-iL 10. This- 
therefore is that to which a good Man 
ardently afpires, to make a cojiftant Pro- 
grefs in real Holinefs of Heart and Life j 
and he looketh forwajd with Joy to the 
heavenly World, where he hopes to be 
free from all moral Defilement, and to 
be holy as God is holy, as far as the li- 
mited Capacity of his Nature will permit. 
Fifthly, It is delightful to contemplate 
God as a Being of {ready Faithfulnefs and 
Truth. This indeed may be juftly re- 
garded as a Branch of his Rjghteoufnefs, 
but it well deierves to be diitin&ly con- 
lidered, and is frequently celebrated in? 
the facred Writings. God is there faid 
to be abundant in Goodnefs and Truth. 
ExocL xxxiv. 6. and is called by Way of 
Eminency the. God of 1 'ruth. If. Ixv. 16. 
It is a melancholy Reflection, that there 
is ib little Trafch to be found among 
Mankind, fo that we are fometimes ready 
to fay in our Hafte with the Pfalmift, Alt 
Men are Liars. Pf. cxvi. 1 1 , Their 


Discourse ii. 35 

Words, their Promifes, their profefTed 
Friendships are little to be depended 
upon. But it is God's glorious Character, 
that he cannot lid Tit. ii 2. It is as 
impoffble for him to lie, as it is for him 
to deny himfelf. On him therefore we 
may lately rely^ believing the Revelations 
he hath given us* trufting in his Word, 
and rejoicing in his Promifes : He will 
ever be mindful of his Covenant. Juftly 
therefore may we cry out with Joy and 
Tranfport : For Cver, O Lord, thy Word is 
fettled in Heaven ; thy Faithfulnefs is unto 
all Generations. Pf. cxix. 89, 90. O praife 
the Lord, all ye Nations ; praife him, all ye 
People : For his merciful Kindnefs is great 
towards us ; the 'Truth of the Lord en- 
dureth for ever 4 Praife ye the Lord. Pf. 

This leads me to obfefve, That it 
mightily heighteneth the Pleafure which 
a good Man taketh in the divine Per- 
fections to confider that this infinitely 
perfect: and glorious Being is from ever- 
lajling to everlafing the fame. All finite 
created Beings are liable to Change : The 
mod: perfect of them all may poiiibly, if 
left to themfelves, fall from their Excel- 
lencyi their Righteoufnefs and Goodnefs, 
in a greater or leffer Degree, But God is 
D z abfolutelv 


abfolutely immutable in his Exiftence and 
in his Perfections, and can never poflibly 
become lefs perfect, lefs powerful, wife, 
good, and righteous than he is : With him 
is no Variablenejs, nor Shadow of 'Turning. 
Jam. i. i j. 'The Counfel of' the Lord 
jhind.ih for ever y the Thoughts of his Heart 
unto all Generations. Pf. xxxiii. 11. His 
molt gracious Purpofes of Love towards 
us are liable and fure : His Gifts and 
Calling are without Repentance. Rom. xi. 
29. What a folid Foundation doth this 
lay for a noble Confidence in God, and 
in Con.fequence of this for a divine Joy \ 
In him alone may the Mind, wearied with 
the Uncertainty and Inilability of all 
earthly Things, fafely and delightfully 
acquiefce, and enjoy a fure and everlafling 

| add, that the Confideration of the 
Divine Omniprefence, which is fo apt to 

ike the Wicked with Terror, is full of 
'Confolatidn and Joy to good and upright 
Souls. .How comforting is it to think 
that this unchangeably glorious and all- 
' perfect yehnvab' 9i this mod wife, power- 
ful ho[y,, and beneficent Being, filleth 
%4 'Earth, and every Part cf this 
■ 'vau Univerie, with -his Pretence! He is 
/" ■ /pft far from., every. .one. -of us, feimg it is in 
"•''*'. *■■ - him 


kmn that we live, and move, and have our 
Being. Acts xvii. 27, 28. A good Man 
may be banifhed from his Houfe, from 
his Friends, and from his Country; but 
he cannot be banifhed from his God. 
The Power and Malice of his crreateft 

' ^ o 

Enemies cannot deprive him, or inter- 
cept his gracious Communications. His 
Joy may be faid to be ever near to him, 
lince God is always near to him, who is 
the chief Object as well as Author of his 
Joy. What a pleafing Thought is it, 
that, wherever he is, be it in a Wilder- 
nefs or in a Dungeon, his heavenly Father, 
and a/mighty Friend, is with him there, 
who feeth all his Difficulties and Diftrefles, 
and is able to grant him all needful Af- 
firmances and Supports, and will in the 
End caufe all Things to work for his real 
Benefit I The Man who firmly believes 
this, and fincerely endeavours to approve 
himfelf to God in a Courfe of dutiful 
Obedience, may upon jure Grounds re- 
joice even in Tribulation, faying, when 
Things have the moil uncomfortable Af- 
pecl:, i" have Jet the Ford always before 'me ; 
becaufe he is at my right Hand, I Jljall not 
be Jiiov ed-, therefore my Fie art is glad, and 
my Glory rejoiceth, &c. Pf. xvi. 8. 

D 3 Fronv 


From the feveral Conliderations which 
have been mentioned, jt appears that a 
ileady Faith in God, which lies at the 
Foundation of all Religion, and the Con- 
templation of his incomparable Perfec- 
tions, is a Fund of inward Satisfaction 
and Joy to a religious Mind. And God's 
requiring us to delight ourfelves in him % 
and propofing himfelf to us to be our 
chief Joy, is a manifeft Proof of his 
great Goodnefs towards us, and of his 
earner! Defire of our Happinefs. The 
immediate Virion and Fruition of the 
Deity mail be an everlafting Source of 
pure and refined Pleasures to Angels and 
Saints in the heavenly World, and, ir* 
Proportion to our acquainting ourfelves 
with him in this prefent State, we fhal} 
feel a divine Joy fpringing up in our 
hearts, and fhall have Heaven brought 
down to us in fome happy Beginnings 
here on Earth. How delightful is it to 
fix the Eye of the Mind 'upon the fu- 
preme priginal Beauty and Excellence, 
and to lay ourfelves open to it's infinite 
and facred Charms, compared with which 
the moil lovely Objects in the whole 
Creation are Vanity and Emptinefs ! 

What Enemies are they therefore to 
their own Joy and Happinefs, who ieldom 



or never raife their Views to that moft 

glorioys and amiable Being! Strange that 

reasonable Creatures ftaoukl have fiich a 

Difinclination to think of him, to whom 

they -owe it that they are able to think at 

all, and in whom alone they can be happy! 

What a perverted Frame of* Mind doth this 

argue! Many there are to whom that 

Character may be juftly applied, which 

the Pfalmift gives of the ungodly Man, 

that God is not in all his Thoughts. Pf. x. 4. 

They live as without God in the World ; 

as little do they for the mod: Part think 

of him, as if there were no fuch Being : 

Or, if a Thought of God darteth into 

their Minds, it meets with no welcome 

Entertainment there : 'They fay unto God, 

as Job reprefents them, Depart from us, 

we defire not the Knowledge of thy Ways. 

Job xxi. 14. Few there are indeed who 

would openly avow this in Words ; but 

it is their real Language. And what is 

this but, as far as in them lies, to banifli 

themfelves from the Fountain of Joys! 

juftly doth the Pfalmift brand that Man 

with the Character of a Fool, who faith 

in his Heart, There is no God, or whofe 

fecret Wifli it is that there were none ; 

a Wifh infinitely more monftrous, than 

to wjft} the Sun out of the Firmament! 

D 4. It 


It is in Effect to wi(h all Joy and Map* 
pineis cut of the World, and that univerr 
ial DcivkiiLis and Confufion Ihoiild cover 
the Face of Things. 

Kovv different from this is the Temper 
and Character of the Man who delighteth 
bimfeif in God! What are all the lew and 
evanid Pleafurcs of the voluptuous Sent- 
fualift, or of thole who go on ill a per- 
petual Round of Diverfions and Amufer 
ments, compared with the folid and noble 
Satisfaction which this Man feels in his 
own Bx r eaft ! That we may be fitted for 
reliiliing this divine Joy, let us labour to 
set our Hearts clcanfed from bafe Lufts, 
and from corrupt and fenfual Affections. 
Let us endeavour frequently to realife an 
inviiible Deity to cur Minds in the Me- 
ditations of Faith, at the fame Time 
humbly and earneitiy applying to him, 
the Father of Lights, that he would be 
gracioufly pic afed to fiine in upon our 
Souls, and caiife us to behold more of his 
Glory. The more we habituate ourfclves 
this Way, the greater Satisfaction we mall 
find in it, and the more freely and de- 
lightfully will cur Thoughts go forth 
towards that glorious Being, fo as to be 
able to join in that rapturous Strain of the 
devout Plalrniit : / wiiljing unto the Lord 



<?s Jong as I live ; I npifyjing. Praijc unto my 
nle I have any Being. My Medi- 
an of him fia.ll be fweet, I will he glad 
in the Lord. PL civ. 33, 34. Here it is 
ohfcrvable, that he not only calls God 
the Lord, Jehovah, but he calls him his 
God: I will Jing Prai/'e unto my God. He 
claims a fpeoial Intereft. in him. And this 
is what raifeth the Joy of a Man of real 
Piety to the greateft Height. He doth 
not contemplate God and his Perfections, 
as we may admire a beautiful Object in 
which we have no Intereft or Concern ; 
but as it were appropriates him by a lively' 
Faith, and can fay, with humble Affiance, 
upon contemplating that glorious Being 
and his incomparable Perfections, 'This is 
my God, my rightful Lord, my fatisfying 
Portion, and chief Good : He is mine and 
I am his. Oh tran {porting Thought ! 
The Joy that arifeth from a Senfe of this 
is what no Words can fully exprefs, but 
many excellent Perfons have had Experi- 
ence of it in their own Breads. This 
Joy, where it is of the right Kind, 
ennobles and purifies the Soul, and will 
produce correfpondent Effects in the TeniT 
per and Practice. And indeed what we 
are to have principally in View, in out- 
Meditations of the Deity, is not merely 



to furniih a fpeculative Entertainment to 
our Minds, but that we may be thereby- 
formed into a divine and godlike Temper, 
and may have his amiable moral Excel- 
lencies copied out in our own Souls from 
that fair and glorious Original. When 
the Soul endeavoureth to lay itfelf open to 
his gracious Influences and Communica- 
tions ; when it is fo captivated and ina- 
moured with the View of the fupreme 
Goodnefs, Righteoufnefs, and Purity, that 
it receiveth it within itfelf, and is tranf 
formed into it's Nature and Likenefs ; it is 
then that it may moil properly be faid to 
delight in God, This it is to have Com- 
inunion with the Father ', and with his Son 
Jefus Chriil : Qod is L$ve, and he that 
pwel/eth in Love dwelleth in God, and God 
in him. i Joh. iv. 16.. This is true Re- 
ligion, this is the Divine Life, The Soul 
hath then an inward Fund of Happinefs, 
a Source of pure and refined Joys, as 
being united to the fupreme Good, and 
taking in the lively and delightful Im- 
preflions of his mod excellent Virtues, 
his Glory and Beauty : Beholding as in a 
Glafs the Glory of the Lord, as the Apoille 
fpeaks, we are changed into the fame 
Image from Glory to Glory. 2 Cor. iii. 
j 8. Thus it is in fome Meafqre here 


«on Earth, and fhall be perfectly fo in 
the heavenly State, that World of ever- 
kiting Light and Love, where we Jhall 
fee him as he is, and Jhall behold his Face 
in Right eoufnefs, and be for ever fatisfed 
qvith his Likenefs. 


On Delighting in God's Works of Creation] 


Psalm cxi. z: 

The Works of the Lord are great, fought 
, of all them that have Pleafure therein* 

T is the great Advantage of Religion, 
and which mould mightily recommead 
it to our Efteem and Choice, that what it 
injoins upon us as our Duty is really condu- 
cive to our higheft Happinefs. Of this Kind 
is the Precept we have been confidering, 
which requireth us to delight ourfehes in 
God.. This is a Duty of great Extent. It 


46 Discourse iff. - 

includes in the firit Place our Delighting in 
4he Fulnefs of his infinite Perfection^ and in 
thole incomparable Attributes and Excel- 
lencies which fender him the worthy Ob- 
ject of the higheft Love, Efteem, and Ad- 
miration of all reaibnable Beings. Several 
of thefe Perfections and Attributes were' 
diilinctly confidered, and it was fhewrt 
that the Contemplation and Belief of thofe 
glorious Perfections of the Deity, and a 
Senfe of the fpecial Intereit which good 
Men have in them, muft needs furnifh a 
pure and noble Satisfaction and Joy to well- 
dilpofed Minds. 

I now proceed to obierve, that Our de- 
lighting in God does alio include our taking 
Pleafure in his wonderful Works, as ex- 
hibiting the Difplays of his Glory. And 
indeed this is nearly connected with the 
former : For to delight in God's Works, 
in the Senfe which we are now to confi- 
der it, is really to delight in his Perfections 
as fhining forth in his marvellous Works, 
But it may be of ufe to treat of this Matter 
diftinctly, and thefe Words of the Pfalmift 
are very appofite to this Purpofe : The Works 
of the Lord are great, fought out of all 
them that have Pleafure therein. It is here 
given as the Character of truly good and 
religious Perfons, that thev have Pleafure iri 



the Works of God : They feek them out, 
they make them the ehofen Subject of their 
Contemplations and diligent Kefearches, 
not merely to gratify a fpeculative Cu- 
riotity, but that they may be thereby led to 
love, to reverence, to admire and celebrate 
the glorious Author. 

The Works of the Lord may for the 
greater Diftinctnefs be diflributed under 
three Heads, each of which, duly coniidered 
and improved, will minifler juft Ground of 
delighting in him -, the Works of Creation, 
of Providence, and of Redemption, 

Firfr, We mould delight in God's Works 
of Creation, i. e. we mould delight in con- 
templating the Difcoveries of Glory as mi- 
ning forth in the Creation of the World, 
and the various Orders of Beings in it. 
The Glory of the Lord, faith the Pfalmift, 
pall endure for ever : The LordJJjall rejoice 
in his Works. He is reprefented as taking a 
Divine Satisfaction and Complacency in the 
Works which he hath made, the Contri- 
vances of his own Wifdom, and the Produc- 
tion of his Power and Goodnefs ; and, if 
we could take a comprehenfive View of the 
great Syftem of Nature, and behold all the 
Parts ef it in their mutual Connections and 
Dependencies, in their various Relations to 
one another and to the Whole, what a ra- 



viming and aftonifhing Scene would open id 
us ! It is at beft but a little Portion we now 
know of the Works of God ; and yet everi 
the partial and imperfect Views which we 
have of thefe Things furnifh a noble En- 
tertainment to a pious Mind. How de-^ 
Ifghtful is it to furvey, as far as we are able 
the feveral Parts of the Creation, and then 
to afcend above them all to the fupreme 
tiniverlal Caufe, crying out with a devout 
A dini ration, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to 
receive Glory, and Honour, and Power ; for 
ttcu haft created all Things, and for thy 
Pleafure they are, and were created. Rev* 

IV. I T . 

Let us look back in our Thoughts to 
that Point of the immenfe Duration wheri 
this material World was formed, and here 
let us reprefent to our Minds a vaft univer- 
sal Void, and then behold the grand and 
flupendous Fabric riling at the all-power- 
ful Word of God out Non-exiftence into 
Being, and into the beautiful Order in 
which we now fee it; the more we confidef 
this, the more we mall be fwallowed up irl 
A (ton ifh merit : For, though it doth not im- 
ply a. Contradiction to caufe Things to 
cxiil which had no Exigence before, yet 
this is what we can form no Idea of, who 
are only accuftomed to behold Things made 



mit of pre-exiftent Materials. And therefore 
We iliould, when we reflect on this, turn 
all our Thoughts into Reverence and Ad- 
miration of that incomprehensible Being, 
who only fpake •, audit was done, Pf. xxxiii. 9. 
He commanded^ and- they were created. Pf. 
cxlviii. 5. 

The more to affect our Minds let us take 
a general View of the Greatnefs and vaft 
Extent, of the Number and Variety, of the 
admirable Order and wife Contrivance of 
the Works of Creation. 

Firfb, Let us take a View of the Great-* 
nefs and van: Extent of God's Works of 
Creation. To them may be juftly applied 
thofe Words of the Pfalmift, The Works of 
the Lord are great. Many of the Works 
of Nature, which are really the Works 
of God, even in this lower World, have 
a Grandeur in them which ftrikes us 
with Aflonifhment. Such are the lofty 
Mountains that feem to fcale the Sky, tholb 
ftupendous Heaps of Stone which in many 
Parts of the Earth rife and fpread to an 
amazing Height and Bulk, and are ftretch- 
ed out in Length through many Regions ; 
and yet how fmall and inconsiderable are 
thefe compared with the whole Earth, this 
huge and ponderous Globe, which con- 
tains fuch a prodigious Mafs and Quantity 
of Matter ! But* if we purfue our Inquiries 

Vtf£, III. E farther, 


farther, and compare this terraqueous 
Globe with the other Parts of this wide-ex- 
tended Syftem, it may not unfitly be liken- 
ed to a final! round Ball hanging fcarce dis- 
cernible amidil the unmeafurable Spaces 
that furround it. To thofe Beings which 
are placed in very diftant Parts of the Uni- 
verfe it appeareth at heft no bigger than 
the Planets do to us ; and probably there 
are many fo far removed from our Earth, 
as not to be capable of difcerning it at all; 
fo that they cannot know by their own 
Obfe; vation, that there is fuch a Spot in 
the Creation. The fixed Stars that twin- 
kle in our View, and which appear to us 
like fo many minute glittering Spangles in 
the Firmament, are, by the Confent of the 
ableft Aftronomers, Bodies of wonderous 
Bulk, much exceeding this earthly Globe 
in Magnitude. And how great the Num- 
ber of them is none can tell : For the 
Stars that come within our View are but a 
Part, and perhaps a fmall Part, of thofe: 
that are difperfed throughout the vaft Ex- 
panfe. Many of the heavenly Orbs, 
which cannot be difcerned by the naked 
Eye, have in thefe latter Times been dif- 
covered by the Help of Telefcopes ; and 
there are probably many more which are 
removed at fo immenfe a Diftance, that 
no human Eye on Earthv though aided 



with all the Helps of Art, mall ever be 
able to get aGlimpfe of them. Thus there 
are as it were innumerable Worlds, ex- 
tending one beyond another ; and, when 
we endeavour to turn our Thoughts this 
Way* we foon lofe ourfelves in the Im- 
menfity of Space.; which exceedeth the 
utmoft Flight of human Imagination. 
And mould not this general View of the 
Greatnefs and wide Extent of the Creation? 
of God nil our Minds with a delightful 
Aftonimmeht ? It mould naturally lead us 
to reafon after this Manner : How im- 
menfe^ how irtcomprehenfibly great, is 
that glorious Being* by whofe Word the 
Heavens "were made* and all the Hojl of 
them by the Breath of his Month ; who is 
reprefented in the noble Language of the 
Prophet j as meting out the Heavens with a 
Span* and whom Heaven, the Heaven of 
Heavens* cannot contain ! 

Secondly* Let us confider not only the 
Greatnefs but the Number and Variety of 
the Works of God in the Creation. And, 
confidered in this View, they mufr, needs 
give Pleafufe to a religious Mind. They 
are fo many and various, that they are 
only to be fully known and comprehended 
by the great Author of Nature. If we 
take a Survey even of this Earth, which is 
that Part of the Creation we are beft ac~ 
E % quainted 


quainted with, we are aflonifhed at the 
Multiplicity of Things which offer ihem- 
felves to our Obfervation. No human 
Mind can purfue inanimate Matter through 
all it's various furpriiing Transformations. 
It putteth on numberlefs different Appear- 
ances, and by it's manifold Combinations, 
and the Motions impreffed upon it, is di- 
versified beyond what the moft active and 
enlarged Imagination is able to conceive. 
Who can undertake to enumerate the 
Fomls of various Kinds, Stones, Metals, 
Minerals, that are treafured up in the 
Bowels of the Earth ; or the Vegetables 
which fpring up out of it's Bofom in 
inconceivable Quantities, and adorn it's Sur- 
face 3 the Trees in their feveral Species 
from the lowly Shrub to the flatelieit Oak 
or Cedar ) the Herbs and Plants of fucb 
different Forms and Virtue ; the feveral 
Sorts of Grafs and Grain, and the Flowers 
fo inexprembly various, and exquiiitely 
beautiful and pleafmg ! 

If we next turn our Views to the ani- 
mal Part of the Creation, the whole Earth 
feemeth to be replenished with living Crea- 
tures, and every Clod is 1 warming with 
Life; no Mortal is able to compute the 
Infects of various Tribes, many of them 
jfo minute, as not to be difcerned by the 
naked live ; And perhaps there are yet 
:.. . . .., more 


more in Number which the fmefl Glaffes 
have not been able to difcover. And if from 
thence we proceed to the larger Kind of 
feniitive Beings, their Number and Va- 
riety is amazing ; the Fifhes which inha- 
bit the watery Element ; the Birds that 
wing the airy Region ; the Beafts that 
walk and tread upon the Earth in all their 
different Forms, Powers, and Inftinets ; 
to all which may be added thofe of the 
human Species, the higheft Order of Beings 
in this lower World, in their feveral 
Tongues, and Families, and Nations. 

Such is the inconceivable Variety of 
Creatures upon this Earth, which is Co 
fmall a Part of the Creation. What then 
muff it appear to be, if we could carry 
our Views throughout the vaft Univerfe ! 
How many other Orders of feniitive and 
and rational Beings there are in the feveral 
Regions of this wide extended Syftem, we 
are at prefent unable to explore : But the 
Scriptures inform us of an innumerable 
Company of Angels who are reprefented 
as having their Dwellings in Heaven, and 
the Names by which they are defcribed 
lead us to judge that they are of different 
Orders and Degrees ; and there is Rea- 
fon to believe that the leafi of them is 
ttiuch fuperior to Man. 

E 3 Thirdly, 


Thirdly, Let us confider the admirable 
Order and Beauty, the Exactnefs and wife 
Contrivance of God's Works of Creation. 
Wide beyond Imagination as the Extent 
of this World is, Order and a moil wife 
Difpofition prevaileth throughout the 
whole. Thus it. manifeftly is in thofe 
Parts of the Univerfe which come under 
our own particular Notice j and we may 
be fure that it equally holdeth concerning 
all the reft. The more accurate Inquiry 
we make into the Works of God, the 
more we obferye of Order and Exactnefs 
in them. Many of the Objections, 
which were urged by atheiftical Philofo- 
phers of old againft the Frame of the 
World, appear by later Difcoveries to 
have proceeded from Ignorance or Mis- 
take : And thofe Things which were 
fcenfured as confufed and irregular are 
found to be moft wifely and fitly ordered. 
This whole vaft Mafs of Matter is fubjec- 
%td to fteady Laws, wifely appointed by 
the Creator in the Beginning : And this 
is what is commonly called the Courfe of 
Nature, whereby there is an eftablifhed 
Connection and mutual Dependence of 
Caufes and Effects, proceeding according 
to ftated Rules in a regular Order. If it 
were not for this, no Man could tell how 


to act or what to expect; no regular Know- 
ledge of Nature could be obtained ; nor 
could any Ufe be made of Experience* fince 
the fame Things in the fame Circumftances 
might produce one Effect this Day, and 
the next Day a quite contrary one. 

The Scripture often taketh Notice of 
the regular ftated Courfe and Order of Na- 
ture, eftablifhed by the Wifdom and Pow- 
er of the Creator. Hence we read of 
the Ordinances of Heaven, and the Cove- 
nant of Day a?id Night. God caufeth the 
Day- Spring to know his Place. Job xxxviii. 
12. He appointed the Moon for Seafons, and 
the Sun knoweth his Going down. Pf. civ. 19. 
The Stars, thofe huge and ftupendous 
Orbs, may fee.m to a fuperficiai Eye to 
be carelefly fcattered through the wide Ex- 
panfe, but they are really difpofedwith the 
moit. wife Contrivance, each of them 
placed in that Station, and in that Part of 
the Univerfe, which is nttefl for them : 
Lift up your Eyes on high, and behold who 
hath created thefe 'Things, that bringcth 
forth their Hoji by Number: He calleth them 
all by Names, by the Qreatnefs of his 
Power, not one faileth. If. xl. 26. That 
particular Solar Syflem, to which we more 
efpecially belong, is found according to 
the Obfervations of the molt fagacious In- 
E 4 cjuirers 


quirers into Nature, to be wonderfully 
beautiful, and ordered with great Wif- 
dom. The feveral Planets are very regu- 
larly difpofed ; their Courfes are determi- 
ned ; their Bulk and the Quantity of Mat- 
ter which is in them is exactly adjufted to 
their refpective Motions and Diftances 
from the Sun. And particularly this 
Earth of ours is placed in that Situation 
which is mod proper for it : It's Bulk and 
Form is fuch as is excellently adapted to 
that Situation -, and it could neither be 
much bigger nor fmaller than it is; neither 
brought much nearer the Sun, nor remo- 
ved at a further Pittance from it, without 
great Inconvenience. God is reprefented 
in the beautiful Language of the Prophet, 
as having, when he made the World, 
comprehended the Dufi of the Earth in a 
Meafure, and weighed the Mountains in 
Scales, and the Hills in a Balance. If. xl. 
12. The Manner of Expreffion mews 
that in forming this earthly Globe he ad- 
justed all the Parts of it in the moft wife 
and exact Proportions. The fame Thing 
is figniiied, when it is faid that he laid 
the Meafures of the Earth, and jlretched the 
Line upon it. Job xxxvii. 5. A Meta- 
phor drawn from fkilful Architects, who, 
building an Edifice, proceed by Rule, 



and according to the jufteft Proportions. 
To the fame Purpofe Divine Wifdom is 
reprefented as making a Weight for the 
Winds, and weighing the Waters by Mea- 
fnre , as having made a Decree for the 
Rain, and a Way for the Lightning of the 
thunder. Job xxviii. 25, 26. 

Thus Order every-where mines forth in 
the inanimate Creation. But there are 
ftill greater Evidences of Wifdom and De- 
fign in the Formation of living Creatures; 
even thole of them which feem to be the 
meaneil:, the moil inconiiderable, fuch as 
the minutefl Infects, are fo admirably for- 
med, and in the nice and exact Acquit- 
ment of their little Parts and Members 
fuch exquiiite Skill is difplayed, that they 
who have made the moil diligent Refear- 
ches into thefe Things have been at a 
Lofs how fumciently to exprefs their Ad- 
miration and Ailoniihment. As far as 
we are able diilinctly to trace the different 
Species of Animals through their various 
Forms and Inftincts, they are ileadily 
directed to what is neceffary for their Pre- 
fervation, their Food, and the Continu^- 
ance of their Species, and are provided 
with Gratifications and Enjoyments fuited 
to their feveral Natures. They have Or- 
gans excellently fitted for Motion and 



Senfation, and peculiarly adapted to that 
particular Kind of Life for which they are 
defigned. In all thofe Things we may ob- 
ferve fuch manifeft Indications of orderly 
Contrivance, that we have Reafon to cry 
out with the devout Pfalmift, O Lord, how 
manifold are thy Works I in Wifdom haji thou, 
made them alL 

Who can undertake to defcribe the in- 
numerably various Ranks in the Scale 
of Beings, rifing in an orderly Progres- 
sion, one above another, the higheil of 
an inferior Species coming near to the 
loweft of an higher Order, fo that there 
is no difagreeable Chafm in the Creation, 
but a beautiful Harmony is fpread through 
the Whole ? How delightful mufl it be 
to purfue them through all their various 
Degrees of Life and Capacities for Enjoy- 
ment, till we arrive to the great Fountain 
of Life, the glorious felf-exiffcent Jeho- 
vah, from whom they and all their Powers 
are derived ! 

But it is in the rational and moral Prat 
of the Creation that the Glory of God is 
mcit illufrrioufly difplayed. The nobleft 
of them, of which we have any Account, 
are the blciTed Angels. And undoubtedly, 
if we had a clear and diitinct View of their 
yafl and iublime Capacities, their mighty 



Power and Activity, the Extent of their 
Understanding and Knowledge, and the 
Height of moral Excellency to which 
they are capable of attaining, it would, 
raife in us the higheft Conceptions of Wif- 
dom Goodnefs, as well as Power, of the 
Creator ; but we know lktle of them at 
prefent. The only Creature of the ratio- 
nal and moral Kind that we are well ac- 
quainted with is Man. And a confiderate 
Survey of our own Nature could not fail 
to fill us with Wonder and Delight. 
How admirable is the Frame of the hu- 
man Body ! comprehending in fo fmall a 
Compafs a furpnfing Variety of Parts, 
many of them exquifitely minute and fine, 
all of them contrived with the moft ama- 
zing Skill, and not one of them without 
it's proper Ufe. If we conlider the Dig- 
nity of it's Form, the curious Structure of 
it's feveral Veflels and Organs fo excellent- 
ly adapted for all the Functions of the 
Animal Life, and with Regard to which, af- 
ter the Inquiries of fo many Ages, there 
are ftill new Difcoveries made, and new 
Wonders opening to our View ; mould 
not this caufe us to break forth into that 
rapturous Act of Devotion : / will praife 
thee ,j or I am fearfully and wonderfully made; 
marvellous are thy Works, and that my Soul 



knoweth right well. Pf. cxxxix. 14. 
But above all it mould fill us with a de- 
vout Admiration of the Deity to conlider 
the nobler Part of our Nature, in which 
we more nearly refemble the pure intellec- 
tual Effence of the iupreme Being. How 
excellent are the Faculties of the human 
Soul ! The Understanding, whereby it is 
capable of knowing and contemplating 
not only fenlible and material Objecls, 
but Things fpiritual and inviiible, and 
the moft perfect and glorious of all Beings, 
Godhimfelfj the Imagination, whereby 
it can form innumerable fprightly Images 
of Things which ftrike the Mind with 
great Force ; the Memory, in which, as in 
an ample and faithful Repository, is trea- 
sured up a prodigious Variety of Ideas rela- 
ting to numberlefs Subjects of various 
Kinds. But efpecially let us confjder the 
moral Powers with which Man is en- 
dued ; the Principle of Reafori, which is 
defigned to prefide over and to govern the 
fenfitive Appetites and Paflions ; the felf- 
determining Power of the Will, which 
makes him Mailer of his own Actions, 
and accountable for them ; the inward 
Senfe he hath, when not depraved by cor- 
rupt Habits and Prejudices, of Good and 
Evil, Right and "Wrong, of trie Beauty 



and Excellency of Virtue and moral 
Goodnefs, and the Turpitude and Defor- 
mity of Vice and Sin j the Power he hath, 
of reflecting upon himfelf and his own Ac- 
tions, with the unfpeakable Satisfaction 
which arifeth from a Confcioufnefs of 
Well-doing, and the Horror and Remorfc 
which he is fubject to from a Senfe of a, 
contrary Conduct; the kind and focial 
Affections implanted in the human Heart, 
which iliew that Man was defigned not 
merely to confult his own private Intereft, 
but to promote the public Good and the 
Happinefs of others as well as his own ; 
and, finally, the Power he hath of look- 
ing forwards to Futurity, and . carrying 
his Views beyond the utmoft Limits of 
this prefent Life : All thefe Things de- 
monftrate him to be a noble Creature, 
a moral Agent, originally formed and de- 
figned for high Degrees of Virtue and 

To all which may be added the admira- 
ble Laws of the vital Union between Sou! 
and Body, whereby Subftances of fuch dif- 
ferent Natures are moil clofely and inti- 
mately joined. By virtue of this Union 
Man is rendered capable of taking in and 
relifhing Beauties and Pleafures both of 'a 
. material and fenlible, and of an intellec- 

62 discourse hi. 

tual Kind ; and there is a clofe Connco* 
tion eftabliilied between certain Motions 
and Impreiiions on the bodily Organs and 
certain Affections and Senfations in the 
Soul; and all the Senfes are adjufted in 
fuch a Manner as is mofl proper for the 
Ufe and Convenience of human Life. 
Man confidered in this View is one of the- 
inoft wonderful Compositions in all Na- 
ture, nearly allied to the fpiritual and ma- 
terial World, and uniting both in him-* 

Thus have we taken a brief arid gene* 
fal Survey of the Works of Creation. 
And with Regard to them we may juftly 
fay that the Works of the Lord are great, 
fought out of all them that have Pkajure 
therein. One End for which fuch noble 
Faculties were given us was certainly 
this, that we fhould fearch into and 
contemplate God's wonderful Works. 
Nor rhuft we imagine that none can do 
this but Perfons of Learning and who 
have made a Progrefs in philofophical 
Studies. Common Reafon and Attention* 
with fuch Helps as any Man may obtain 
who is heartily defirous to be informed, 
will lead us into fuch a Knowledge of 
thefe Things as is fufficient to fill our 
Souls with Wonder and Delight, and to 



excite and enlarge holy and devout Affec- 
tions in our Hearts. There is none of 
us but muft be fenfible, that we might 
turn our Thoughts this Way more fre- 
quently than we do ; and a Mind duly 
difpofed to this facred Excercife would 
find many Opportunities for making de- 
lightful Excuriions into the Works of 
God in the World about us, and admi- 
ring: his plorious Perfections as manifested 
in them. One particular Defign of fet- 
ting a Part one Day in feven to the Pur- 
pofes of Religion is declared to be this, 
that we fhould commemorate the Creation 
of the World. We do not therefore anfwer 
the Intention of that wife Inftitution, if we 
do not frequently contemplate the invifible 
Things of God, which are clearly fe en from 
the Creation of the World, being underflood by 
the Things which are made, even his eternal 
Power a?id Godhead. This would have a 
manifeit Tendency to form us to a devout 
and truly religions Temper of Mind, and 
to produce in us a pure and fublime De- 
light to which no flefhly Gratifications are 
worthy to be compared. 

When we behold that glorious Body 
the Sun, and feel its cheanng Influences 
and Beams, which difFufe Light and 
Warmth to numberlefs Beings : When we 



view the ample Sky fpread out as a fair 
and magnificent Canopy over our Heads, 
and obferve the Balancings of the Clouds, 
with all their beautiful and grateful Varie- 
ty of Shades and Colourings : When we 
hear the Winds blow, and the Thunder 
roar, and fee the Rains defcend with Wa- 
ter and refrefh the Earth; and feel the 
Air breathing upon us its balmy and revi- 
ving Influence: When we obferve the or- 
derly Returns of the Seafons, the Beau- 
ties of the blooming Spring, the Summer 
and Autumn with their delicious Fruits 
and joyful Harveft, and even the Rigours 
of Winter, and the pleafing Varieties of a 
frofty Scene and a fnowy Landfcape, all 
ufeful and beautiful in their Seafon : When 
we furvey the vaft Ocean, that aftonifh- 
ing Collection of Waters in which there y 
are innumerable living Creatures, fome of 
them huge in Bulk, and all of them pecu- 
liarly fitted for inhabiting the watery Ele- 
ment : When we behold the high afpiring 
Mountains, and lowly Vales, and wide-ex- 
tended Plains ; the verdant Fields, and 
winding Brooks and Rivers ; the Woods 
and Groves, with their ftately Trees and 
humble Shrubs and Plants; the Flowers 
in all their exquifite Beauties ; with the 
feveral Kinds of Herbage and Grain, 



which furnifli Food for Man and Beaft : 
When we turn our Eyes to the number- 
less Animals that live and move around 
us, the Fowls of the Air and Beafts of the 
Field; forrie of them remarkable for their 
Beauty, others for their. Strength -, fome 
to be admired for their Swiftnefs, others 
for their Courage, or for their Sagacity 
and the Acutenefs of their Senfes ; and 
contributing in various Ways to the Con- 
venience or Entertainment of human 
Life : When we farther confider that in 
the Night Seafons, whilft Darknefs feems 
to hide the Beauties of the Creation, and 
to fpread a Vail over this lower World, a! 
new and glorious Profpect openeth to usy 
than which nothing can be better fitted 
to ftrike the Mind with a plealing Afto- 
nifhment : When we behold the Moon 
mining in it's Brightnefs/ the Firmament 
all glowing with innumerable Stars which 
fparkle in our Sight,- and which, in the 
Judgment of thofe who have moft care* 
fully examined thefe Things, are Bodies 
of amazing Magnitude as well as Splen- 
dor, removed at a vaft Difta'nce from cur 
Earth and from one another. But, above 
all, when we attentively confider the 
wonderful Structure of our own Bodies, 
and the noble and excellent Faculties of 
Vol. III. F our 


our Souls, by which we are fo far raifed 
above the brute Animals, and are made 
after the Divine Image, capable of a fub» 
lime and everlafting Felicity : Surely iir 
all thefe Things a religious Mind may 
trace the illuftrious Footfteps of the De- 
ity, and find Matter of delightful Admi- 
ration ! A good Man can never want 
Entertainment, when he hath the Works 
of God continually before his Eyes. He 
hath a far nobler Pleafure in them than 
other Men, for they not only gratify 
his Curioiity, but raife his Devotion.. He 
afcendeth above thefe outward fenfible 
Things to the great invifible Author, and : 
whilil he contemplateth the Works of 
Nature in the World above him, he con- 
fide re th himfeif as furrounded by the 
bright Beams of the Divinity, the glori- 
ous Evidences of infinite Wifdom, Power r 
and Goodnefs. Pie fees the great Name 
of God infcribed in legible Characters 
upon every Part of this vafl univerfal 
Frame, and can fay concerning all Things- 
a round him, Thefe are the Works of God. 
The whole World is to him an auguft 
Temple of the Divinity, replenished with; 
his Pidence and Glory -, a magnificent 
Palace, o-loriouflv decorated and adorned- 
by a Divine Hand. Others may amufe 



themfelves with the Beauties of the Crea- 
tion, without looking farther j but he be- 
holdeth, loveth, adoreth God in them. 
Thus did the pious Pfalmift : An excel- 
lent Specimen of which, we have in the 
civth. Pfalm, that admirable Hymn of 
Praife in which he ftirreth up his Soul, 
and all his inward Powers, to blefs and 
praife the Lord for his Works of Creation 
and Providence ; and concludes with this 
Divine Refolution, / will fing unto the 
Lord as long as I live ; I will Jing Praifes 
unto my God whiljl I have any Being : My 
Meditation of him Jhall be Jweet ; I will be 
glad in the Lord. Pf. civ. 33, 34. In 
like Manner, in the cxlviiith Pfalm, he 
calleth upon all the Orders of Creatures, 
from the higher! to the meaneft, to form 
one univerfal Concert for celebrating the 
Praifes of the great Creator and Parent of 
the Univerfe. To the fame Purpofe in the 
ciii Pfalm, after having addreffed him- 
felf to the holy Angels, the nobleft Order 
of created Beings, to blefs the Lord, he 
adds* Blefs the Lord, all his Works, in all 
Places of his Dominion : Blefs the Lord, 
O my Soul. Pf.- ciiid. 20, 21, 22. 

What happy Lives do thoie lead who 

thus takeOccafion from the Objects which 

daily prefent themfelves to their View, 

F 2 t© 

63 DISCOURSE lit. 

to adore the great Former of all Things f 
who regard all the Creatures as the Mo- 
numents of his Praife, and, when they 
tafle their Sweetneis or admire their 
Beauty, are thereby led to the fupreme 
original GoodneCs and Excellence ! How 
mean and how low, compared wkh this, arc 
the Pleafures of thofe who are abfolutely 
immeried in fenfual Enjoyments, or who 
fpend their whole Time in trifling Di- 
versions and Amuiements, whilft they 
in a great Meafure neglect the chief 
End o + * their Being ! But let us act 
a nobler Part, as becometh reafonable 
Creatures and Christians. It is true 
Religion alone that teacheth us to 
make a right Ufe of the Creatures, to 
fpiritualife material Objects, and to dif- 
cern the Impreflions of the Divine 
Glory upon them. What a juft Foun- 
dation doth this lay for the nobleft 
Joys, which tend not only to delight 
but to exalt and purify our Souls, and 
to prepare us for that State where we 
hope- to fee God, not merely in the Gla& 
of the Creation, but to behold him Face 
to Face\ and to join with an innumerable 
Company of Angels and glorified Saints in 
admiring, adoring, obeying, and enjoy- 
ing him. to all Eternity.. 


On Delighting in God's Works of Provi- 


Psalm cxi. 2. 

\fhe Works of the Lord are greats fought out 
of all them that have Pleajhre therein, 

IN the foregoing Difcourfe it was 
fhewn, that God's Works of Creation, 
duly considered and improved, have a Ten- 
dency both to fill the Heart with the mofl 
adoring Thoughts of his Divine Majefty, 
and with holy Affections and Difpofitions 
towards him, and alfo to produce a pure 
and noble Pleafure, which will greatly 
contribute to the Satisfaction of a good 
Man's Life. 

Let us now turn our Views to God's 
¥ 3 Works 

jo D I S C O U R S E IV. 

Works of Providence. And here alfo a glQr 
rious Subject prefents itfelf to our Minds ? 
which openeth a large and ample Field in 
which we may delightfully expatiate. The 
Works of Providence are what the Pfalmift 
feems here to haine efpecially in View, and 
which it is the principal Delign of this 
Fi,.)m to celebrate. And thefe Works of 
the Lord may he juftly faid to be great, 
filight out of all them that have Pleafure 
therein. A good Man fearcheth into them, 
not from a vain and prefumptuous Curio- 
fity, but with a pious and upright Intention 
to reverence and adore the mofl wife and 
righteous Lord and Governor of the World, 
and to ftrengthen his Faith and Confidence 
in him, which will naturally produce a 
divine Satisfaction and Delight. 

The Works of Providence may be com- 
prehended under two main Heads : God's 
Prefervation of the World and his Govern- 
ment of it. And both furnifh a mofl 
ufeful and delightful Subject for our Me- 

Firft, The Providence of God is exer- 
eifed in preferving and fuftaining this 
World which he hath created, and all the 
Orders of Beings in it. Hence in that no- 
ble Addrefs to God made in the Name of 
*he Jcwijlj Church, Nehem. ix. 6, after 


D I S C O U R S E IV. 7 i 

having faid, Thou, even thou, art Lord 
alone : Thou haft made Heaven, the Heaven 
of Heavens with all their Hofts ; the Earth 
and all Things that are therein ; the Seas and 
all that is therein ; it is added, and thou pre- 
ferveft them all. We muft not imagine that, 
when the Creatures are once brought into 
Being, they are able to continue themfelves 
in Existence, without any farther Care 
of the Almighty j No. They depend 
on the Hand which firfl formed them for 
their continual Confervation. He upholdetb 
ell Things by the Werd of his Power, and 
it is by or in him that all Things co?ifift % It 
is by his conftant wife and powerful In- 
fluence, acling on every Part of this vail 
univerfal Syflem, that what we ufually call 
the Courfe of Nature is maintained, and that 
all Things in the inanimate Creation 
ftill proceed according to a fettled Rule and 
Order. To this it is owing, that the Sun, 
Moon, and Stars preferve their feveral 
Courfes or Stations, from which they have 
not deviated through fo long a Succeffion of 
Ages -, that the feveral Viciffitudes of Sea- 
fons conftantly return, fo that Seed-time 
and Harveft, and Cold and Heat, and 
Summer a?zd Winter, and Day and Night do 
not ceafe. Gen. viii. 22. and that the 
Earth continueth to bring forth abundantly in 
F 4 an 

72 D I S C O U R S E IV. 

an orderly Series fuch an amazing Variety 
of Productions. The Minerals are ft ill ge- 
nerated and ripened in it ? s Bowels ; and the 
Herbs, Trees, Flowers, and various Kinds 
of Grain, preferve their feveral Virtues, and 
their diilinct Forms and Appearances. To 
this alfo it is owing, that the different Spe- 
cies of Animals are preferved, and conti- 
nue to be furnifhed in all Ages with ihe 
fame Organs and Appetites for exerciiiug 
the various Functions of the fenfitive Life; 
The fame Obfcrvation holds with Regard to 
the higher Orders of rational intellectual 
Beings, none of them have an independent 
Exiftence. By the fuftaining Influence of 
the Almighty the glorious Angels are main- 
.tained in their noble immortal Life, and in 
the Ufe and Exercife of their admirable and 
fublime Powers. And, as to the human 
Race, it is in him that we live, and move, 
and have cur Being, as St. Paid obferves, 
AEts xvii. 26. To his providential Care 
and Concourfe it is to be afcribed, that the 
human Body frill retaineth it's curious Form 
and all it's exquifite Organs 5 that the ani- 
mal and vital Functions are carried on j 
and that the human Soul is upheld in it's 
noble Faculties, and inabled to put them 
forth to Action. Who can attentively con- 
sider this univerfal Dependence of the 


D I S C O U R S E IV. 73 

whole Creation upon God, and not be fil- 
led with the mod adoring Thoughts of that 
incomprehenfible Jehovah, whofe everlaft- 
ing Exiilence is the fiable Support of the 
Exiftence of all other Beings whatfoever ! 
And what Satisfaction mull it yield to a 
truly good and religious Mind to reflect, that 
the Order of Nature is maintained by that in- 
finitely wife and almighty Being who firil 
formed and eflablimed it, and without 
which it would foon be difTolved and fall 
into Confufion. 

Secondly, The Providence of God is to 
be considered as governing the World as 
well as preserving it : The Lord hath efla- 
blijhed his Throne in the Heavens, and his 
Kingdom ruleth over all. Pf. ciii. 19. This 
vafr. Univerfe is his Empire, the Extent of 
which tranfcendeth all human Imagination. 
How many different Orders of Beings there 
are which inhabit the feveral Parts of this 
vail ftupendous Frame, we cannot tell. 
But, whatever they be, they are all of 
them, from the higheft to the meaneft, un- 
der the Government of God. If we could 
but carry our Views to the heavenly World, 
how would our Hearts be ravifhed with tha 
Beauty and Harmony of the Divine Admi- 
nistrations, as exercifed there towards the 
Angelic Orders, thofe pure and glorious 


Spirits which inhabit the boundlefs Realms 
of Light and Joy ! and even the Devils 
themfelves are under his fovereign Con- 
troul. By a Wifdom which exceedeth our 
Comprehenfion, he fetteth Bounds to their 
Rage, and over-ruleth their moft pernicious 
Counfels and Attempts to the further Ma- 
nifestation of his Glory, and often ordereth 
it fo, that, whilft they only think of grati- 
fying their own Malice and evil Inclina- 
tions, they are really carrying on the De- 
iign of his Providence. But thefe are 
Things we know little of zt prefent. There 
is enough, in that Part of the Syflem which 
cometh within our own particular Notice, 
to fill us with admiring Thoughts of God's 
providential Government. Even the ina- 
nimate Creation, though incapable of being 
ruled by Laws in the ftrict Senfe of 
the Word, yet may be fiid to be under his 
Government, and are applied by him to 
anfwer the wife Purpofes of his Admini- 
ftration. Thus, in the noble Language of 
Scripture, Hail and Ran?, and Jlormy Va- 
pour fulfil his Word. Pf. cxlviii. 8. The 
Lightnings fay unto him, Here we are. Job 
xxxviii. 2S- %$ e Clouds are turned about by 
his Counjehy that they may do whatfbever he 
commandeth them upon the Face of the Earth. 
lob xxxvii. 12. Even when Things go 



(On in their ufual Way, and nothing hap- 
peneth but what is agreeable to the ordina- 
ry Powers and Properties of Things, God 
in his wife Providence fo ordereth and go- 
verneth the Courfe of material Caufes as to 
.correfpond with and fulfil the Intentions of 
his moral Adminiflration towards Man- 
kind. But fometimes it pleafeth him to in- 
terpofe in a more extraordinary and mi-r 
raculous Way, the more effectually to awa- 
ken in Men a Senfe of his fupreme Domi- 
nion, as he is the abfolute Lord of Nature, 
who can over-rule the Courfe of Things 
in the material World, as feemeth fit to his. 
infinite Wifdom, for excellent and valuable 

God's providential Government may be 
alfo confidered as exercifed towards the Ani- 
mal Creation. As he hath furniiTied the 
feveral Sorts of Animals with their various 
Organs, Appetites, and fenfitive Powers; 
fo he governeth them in fuch a Manner 
as is fuited to the Natures he hath given 
them, and to the Ends and Ufes for which 
they are defigned. The wonderful In- 
ftin&s, which ferve as a Guide to them in 
many Cafes, are not properly owing to any 
Reafon or Wifdom of their own, but to 
the fuperior Wifdom and Power of him 
who firfl: formed them, and flill exercifeth 

a Su- 

& Supefin tendency over them. The Car.c 
of the Divine Providence towards the brutal 
Kinds is frequently reprefented in the facred 
Writings.— Remarkable to this Purpofe is 
that beautiful PaiTage of the Pfalmift : 
3 hefe all wait upon thee, that thou may eft 
give them their Meat in due Seafon. That 
thou givefi /hem they gather ; thou openeft thy 
Hand, they are filled with Good. Thou hi- 
de jl thy Face, they are troubled ; thou takejl 
away their Breathy they die and return to 
their Dnfi. Thou fendeft forth thy Spirit, 
they are created, and thou reneweft the Face 
if the Earth. Pf, civ. 27, 28, 29, 30. 
Agreeable to this is the Doctrine of our 
blefied Saviour. Behold, iaith he, the 
Fowls of the Air j for they fw not, neither 
do they reap> nor gather into Barns, yet your 
heavenly Father fee deth them. Matt. vi. 26. 
And he afTlireth us, that m* one of them is for- 
gotten before God. Lul>e xij. 6. If we had 
a diflincl View of all the various Kinds of 
living Creatures, and the Provilion that is 
continually made for them, what a high 
Idea would it give us of the immenle Pow- 
er, Wifdom, and Benignity of the univer- 
fal Lord, who (o governeth the animal 
World, that all the Orders of fenfitive 
Beings, even the lowed: and meaneft, have 
each of tjiem their proper Exercifcs and 



Gratifications filled and accommodated to 
their feveral Natures and Capacities, and 
are alfo made to contribute to the Uie and 
Service of thofe of an higher Rank in the 
Scale of Beings. And particularly it is 
evident that the feveral Species of Animals 
on this our Globe are kept in a Subordina- 
tion and Subferviency to Man j and that 
God in his over- ruling Providence maketh. 
ufe of them as Inftruments for executing his 
Purpofes, whether of Mercy or Judgment, 
towards the human Race. When we conli- 
der thefe Things, how mould we call upon 
all the Creatures that live and move around 
us to blefs the great Lord of the Univerie I 
And, fince the brute Animals are unable 
to do it of themfelves, let us offer up a 
Tribute of Praife to God on their Account 
as well as on our own, and lend them 
our Voice and Songs ; a noble Specimen 
of which we have in the rapturous Strains 
of the devout Pfalmift in the cxlviiith 
Pfalm, w T here he calleth upon Beafh 
and all Cattle, creeping Things, and flying 
Fowl to praife the Lord. 

But this leadeth me to obferve, that, 
if the Care and Government of Divine Pro- 
vidence extended to the inferior brute Ani- 
mals, much more to the rational and nobler 
Part of the Creation. God's Government 


?8 D I S C O U R S E IV. 

of moral Agents is the moft admirable Part 
of the Divine Adminiftrations, and in which 
his glorious Perfections are made moft illuf- 
trioufly manifeft. To govern Numbers 
which no Man can number of reafonable Be- 
ings, fo very various in their Thoughts, 
Inclinations, and Counfels,- each of whom 
have a Will of their own, and a Power of ■ 
determining their own Actions j to infpecT? 
their very Hearts and Thoughts, as well 
as their outward Actions, and accordingly 
to difpenfe to them proper Retributions, 
and to order Events fo as not to infringe' 
that Liberty of chufing and acting which?, 
belongeth to them, as intelligent and ac- 
countable Beings ; I fay, thus to govern 
them muft needs argue a Wifdom, as well 
as a Power, which exceedeth our Compre- 
heniion, and can only be found in the infi- 
nite Mind j and, as Man is the only Crea- 
ture in this lower World that can properly 
be regarded as a moral Agent, God's pro- 
vidential Government towards the human' 
Race is what it moft nearly concernetrr us 
to confider. And a conftant Regard to this 
is what eminently diftinguiflieth the truly 
good and religious Man ; it neceiTarily en- 
tereth into his Character, and is indeed the 
great Support and Comfort of his Life. 
For, Firft, He holdeth it as a certain 


D I S C O U Rf S E IV. 79 

Principle, that, as God's Government over 
us is founded on the jufteft and mod un- 
queftionable Right, fo it is always adminis- 
tered in the beft Manner. For this the im- 
mutable Perfection of his Nature gives us 
the highefr. pomble Security. As his Un- 
derftanding and Wifdom is infinite, he 
muft needs know in every poffible Inftance 
what is fitter! to be done. As his Power is 
almighty, he muft be always able to exe- 
cute his mofl wife Purpofes. As he is pre- 
fent to the whole Creation, he hath every 
Thing under his own Eye. As he is of 
perfect Righteoufnefs and Equity, he caa 
never be biaffed to do a wrong Thing. 
And, as he is of boundlefs Goodnefs and Be- 
nignity, the End he hath in View, in his 
Government of reafonable Beings, is to pro- 
mote their Happinefs, in fuch a Way as is 
worthy of himfelf, and fuited to their rea- 
fonable Natures, and confident with their 
moral Agency. His Government is indeed 
in the ftricteft Senfe independent, fupreme, 
and abfolute, and accountable to none. 
Nor is there any Thing in this, if rightly 
confidered, which fhould be Matter of Ter- 
ror and Difcouragement to a good Mind. 
On the contrary, abfolute Power and So- 
vereignty,, when it is in Conjunction with 
the moft perfect Wifdom, Righteoufnefs, 



andGoodnefs, is the moil comfortable Thing 
in the World. The more abfolute it is in 
this Cafe the better, ana die greater is our 
Security. For this muft needs raife him 
above all Pofiibility of being tempted to 
Evil, and he muft needs be pofTeifed of an 
infinite Generofity of Mind,- which will 
carry him to do the greateft Good, this be- 
ing the nobleft Exercife of abfolute Power 
and Dominion. A Perfuafion of this natu- 
rally tends to fill the Heart of a good Man 
with a Divine. Confidence and Joy. 

Secondly, He firmly believes that all 
the Events which befall us, whether pro A' 
perous or adverfe, are under the Direction 
and Superintendency of Divine Providence. 
This is the conftant Doctrine of the Holy 
Scriptures. Hence God is introduced as de- 
claring, I form the Light , and create Dark* 
nefs . / make Peace, and create Evil : I the 
Lord do all fhefe Things. If. xlv. 7. where 
by Light and Peace we are to underftand 
Prcfperity and Comfort, and by Darhiefl 
and Evilv/t are to underftand Trouble and 
Adverfity ; and it is fignified that both the 
one and the other are under his fupreme 
Direction. This is eipecially true of all 
thcie Events in which the Public is con- 
cerned. The Revolutions of Kingdoms and 
States, to whatlcever Caufes they are im- 

mediately owing, are difpofed and over-ru- 
led by his wife and fovereign Providence i 
He changsth the Times and Seafons ; be remo- 
ve tb Kiiigs, and Jettetb up Kings. Dan. ii. 
2 1 . Promotion comeib neither from the Eafl 
nor from the South ; but Gdd is the Judge > 
he putteth down one, and fetteth up another. 
Pf. lxxv. 6, 7. He leadeth Princes away 
fpoiled, arid overthroweth the Mighty. He 
increafeth the Nations, and deftroyeth them ; 
he enlargetb the Nations, and f rai tenet h them 
again. Job xii. 19, 23. A truly religi- 
ous Man regardeth thefe various Changes, 
not as the Effects of blind Chance, or as 
the Sports of Fortune, which is only an- 
other Word for Chance j but as all con- 
ducted with the moil wife Defign. And, 
though he is far from excluding fecond 
Caufes and Instruments, he looketh above 
them to the fupreme Lord and Governor 
of the World, and can with great Satisfac- 
tion coniider him as preiidirig over thole 
Events, and over-ruling them all to valua- 
ble Purpofes. And not only doth God fii- 
J3erintend Events of a public Nature, but 
thofe which relate to particular Perfons. 
He ordereth Men's outward Condition and 
Circurnftances in the World, as feemeth fit 
to his infinite Wifdom : The Lord makeih 
Poor, and maketh Rich ; he bringeth low, and 
lifteth up. He raifcih up the Poor out of the 
Vol. III. G Duft % 


Dijl, and lifteth up the Beggar from the 
hill, i Sam. ii. 7, 8. Even thofe Things 
which we commonly call Accidents, and 
which appear to us to be cafual and fortui- 
tous do not happen to us without the Divine 
Direction or Permiffion. What a comforta- 
ble Confideration is this,, and what a ftable 
Foundation doth it lay for a peaceable Con- 
fidence, and a calm Acquiefcence in every 
Condition and Circumftance of Life > 
Whatfoever Succefs a pious Man meets with 
in his lawful Endeavours, whatfoever good 
Things he enjbys, he receives them with 
Thankfulnefs as the Effects of the Divine 
Goodnefs ; and this greatly heighteneth 
the Pleafure he finds in them. And, on 
the other Hand, if he be exercifed with 
Troubles of various Kinds, he confiders them 
as wifely ordered or permitted by an over- 
ruling Providence. And there cannot be a 
more effectual Remedy than this againft 
thofe Cares and Anxieties, thofe Fears and 
Sorrows, which imbitter human Life, and 
deflroy the Peace and Comfort of it, 

From what hath been obferved it 

Thirdly, That it muff needs be a noble 
and pleaiing Employment to a religious 
Mind to endeavour to trace God's illuftri- 
pus Footfteps in his Providential Difpenfa- 
tlons, and to admire the Characters of the 



Divine Wifdom, Righteoufnefs, and Good- 
nefs in them : Whofo is wife, and will ob- 
Jerve thefe Things, faith the Pfalmift, even they 
Jhall underfiandthe Loving-kindnefs cf the L ord. 
Pf. cvii. 43. How delightful is it, in re- 
viewing God's prefent or paft Dealings to- 
wards the Church and World, to confider 
the admirable Conduct and Beauty of Pro- 
vidence as appearing in many remarkable 
Inftances ! To obferve how thofe Things, 
which at firft had the moil difcouraging 
Afpect, have afterwards appeared to have 
been moft wifely and kindly ordered ! 
Good has been brought out of Evil, and 
Order out of Confufion j and even the Ma- 
lice and Wickednefs of Men, and their 
Devices and Attempts againft God's faithful 
Servants and the Interelts cf Religion, have 
by a wonderful Agency been over-ruled to 
the Advantage of both. How often have 
great Events been brought about by the 
moft inconnderable and unlikely Means, 
and thofe Projects, which were formed 
"With the deeped Contrivance, have by an 
unexpected Turn been furprifingly difap- 
pointed, and the Wife taken in their own 
Craftinefs ! It hath frequently happened, 
that the Wicked have been remarkably Draf- 
ted in the Midft of their Profperity ; and on 
the other Hand oppreffed Virtue hath been 
G 2 won- 

2-4 DISCO U R S E IV. 

Wonderfully fupported and rendered more' 
illustrious by its Trials, and hath come 
forth brighter out of the Furnace. A good 
Man, who carefully' remaiketh the Hand of 
God in the Events which befall Mankind, 
hath a Satisfaction in them that others are 
Strangers to, and often fees the mafterly 
Strokes of Providence in Things which fu- 
perficial Beholders pafs over with a flight 
Regard. And, even in reviewing the Oc- 
currences of his own Life, he obferves. 
many Things which lead him to acknow- 
ledge and adore the Divine Providence, both 
In the profperous and afflictive Events which 
he has met with ; and can trace a wife, a. 
kind, and righteous Deiagn in them. 

I add, Fourthly, That, where he is not 
able to account for the Reafons of the Di- 
vine Difpenfations, yet he is ftill perfuaded 
that they are all ordered for worthy and ex- 
cellent Ends, though he hath not at prefent 
a diftincl: Diicernment of them. Accor- 
ding to the ftaid Conftitution of Things, 
which is the Appointment of Divine Pro- 
vidence, Righteoufnefs and Virtue ordina- 
rily tends to the Satisfaction and Advantage 
of human Life; and a DirTolutenefs of 
Manners fabjects thofe who abandon them- 
felves to it to many Evils, even in this 
pi-efent State. Yet it cannot be denied, 



that it frequently happens that Vice and 
Wickednefs makes a very flourishing Ap- 
pearance : The viieft Men are exalted, and 
feem to be favoured with a continual Courfe 
of Profperity and Succefs ; whiift thofe that 
are the Excellent of the Earth are expofed 
to Perfecution and Reproach, dejlitute, af- 
fiiBed, tormented. Many are the disorderly 
and difmal Scenes which the profperous 
Fraud or Violence of the Ungodly, the Cries 
of the Injured and Oppreffed,, and the Sighs 
of the Miierable, preient to our View. But, 
under all thefe melancholy Appearances, a 
truly religious Man comforteth himfelf 
with this, that ail Things are under the 
Direction and Government of the abfo- 
lutely perfect Being, who is carried by the 
unchangeable Rectitude of his Nature, and 
the Reafon of his all- comprehending Mind, 
always to take thofe Meafures which are 
beft and fitteft upon the Whole. He there- 
fore attributes every feeming Irregularity in 
God's Providential Difpenfations to our own 
Short-fightednefs and the Narrownefs of 
our Views, fince at prefent we can only 
take in a fmall Part of his Ways, and do 
not behold them in their juft Connection and 
Harmony ; and he is perfuaded that in the 
final IfTue it will appear that all Things were 
ordered in the wifeil and properefl Manner, 
G 3 Amidfl 

86 D I S C O U R S E IV. 

Amidft all the Confufions of this lower 
World, he placeth his Confidence in him 
who fiilleth the Noi/e of the Seas, the Noife 
of their Waves, and the tumult of the Peo- 
ple. Pf. lxv. 7. When Trouble and Peiv 
plexity feem to be on every Side, he can 
fay, with the devout Pfalmift, In the Mul- 
titude of my Thoughts within me, thy Com- 
forts delight my Soul. Pf. xciv. 19. It is 
given as the Character of the Man whofear- 
eth the Lord, and delighteth greatly in his 
Commandments, that he Jhall not be afraid 
of evil Tidings ; his Heart is fixed, 
tr ujiing in the Lord. Pf. cxii. 1, 7. 
Though he finds himfelf fometimes obliged 
to cry out, O the Depth both of the Wifdom 
and Knowledge of God I How unfearchable 
ere his Judgments, and his Ways pajl finding 
out I Rom. xi. 33. Yet flill he is perfua- 
ded that the Lord is righteous in all his 
Ways, and holy in all Works. Pf. cxlv. 17. 
And that, even when Clouds and Darknefs 
are about him, yet Right eoufnefs and Judg- 
ment, are the Habitation, or Eftabliftjment 
of his Throne. Pf. xcvii. 2. And therefore 
he refteth in the Lord, and waiteth patiently 
for him, and, inftead of arraigning the 
Divine Procedure, he is fatisfied that all 
God's Providential Adminiftrations, howe- 
ver they may appear at prefent, are ordered 



and conducted with admirable Wifdom, 
Righteoufnefs, and Equity. 

It is manifeft from thefe feveral Confede- 
rations which have been offered, that reli- 
gious Meditations on God's Works of Pro- 
vidence cannot but be a Fountain of Confo- 
lation and Joy to good Men. In what a noble 
Strain doth the Pfalmift exprefs himfelf, 
fpeaking of thefe Things in the xciid Pfalm, 
which is called a Pfalm or So?ig for the Sab- 
bath-day ! Wholly Lord, haft made me glad 
through thy Works-, I will triumph in the 
Works of thine Hands. O Lord, how great 
are thy Works I and thy Thoughts are very 
deep. A brutijh Man knoweth not, neither 
doth a Fool under ft and this. When the Wicked 
fpring up as Grafs, and when all the Workers of 
Iniquity doflourifi, it is that they /hall be de- 
flroyed for ever: But thou, Lord, art mofi 
High for evermore. Pf. xcii. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8i 
What a joyful Consideration is it, that the 
World is conftantly under the Direction and 
Government of the fame wife, good, and al- 
mighty Being which created it! The Lord 
reigneth, let the Earth rejoice, let the Mul- 
titude of the IJles be glad thereof Pf. xcvii. 
1. Say among the Heathen, that the Lord 
reigneth-, the World alfo fiall be ejlablijhed, 
that it Jhall not be moved-, he Jhall judge 
the People righteoufy. Pf. xcvi. 1 o. 

G 4 How 


How unworthy therefore were they of 
the Name of Philofophers and wife Men, 
vyho denied Providence under Pretence of 
cpnfulting the Tranquillity and Happinefs 
of Mankind ! Such were Epicurus and his 
Followers. If all Things were left to a 
blind Chance, without a fupreme Director; 
or to what the Heathens called Fortune^ a 
giddy capricious Thing, without Reafon or 
any certain Rules of proceeding j what 
could be expected but wild Confufion and 
Diforder, endlefs Uncertainty, and law- 
lefs Anarchy ! He that looketh upon 
Things in this View hath nothing ceriair} 
to depend upon, and muil: live in a perpetual 
Fluctuation and Perplexity of Mind : 
Whereas to confider that all Things are 
under the Superintendency of an infinitely 
wife and benign prefixing Mind lays the 
bed Foundation for a folid Tranquillity and 
a noble Confidence. He that lives from 
Day to Day under the Influence of this Per- 
fuafion hath Joys which others are unac- 
puainted with. And as, with Regard to 
the univerfal Administration of Things, he 
rejoiceth in the Belief that they are excel- 
lently ordered upon the Whole ; fo, with 
Regard to his own particular Cafe, he is 
fitisfied that nothing befalls him but under 
God's" wife and kind Direction, and that 



all Things flail be made to work together for 
his real Benefit. And, finally, he carrieth 
his Views beyond this prefent tranfitory 
Scene to a future State of Retributions. 
He confiders that this Life is not the 
Whole of Man's Exiftence, but is only the 
firft Part of it ; that it is defigned to be 
a State of Trial and Difcipline, and not of 
final Recompence ; and therefore it is not to 
be wondered at, if there be feveral Things 
in the prefent Difpenfations of Providence 
which we find it hard to account for. 
And therefore he looks forward with un- 
speakable Satisfaction to that great Day, 
when all the amazing Difficulties, the 
feeming Irregularities and Inconfiftencies, in 
the prefent Methods of the Divine Difpen- 
fations, lhall be fully cleared, and the ad- 
mirable Scheme of Providence lhall be 
placed in a fair and beautiful Light, and 
God's moft wife Defigns towards Man^ 
kind brought to their everlafting glorious If? 


njM I'M 

On Delighting in the gracious Methods of 
our Redemption by Jefus Chrift. 


Romans v. ii. 

i—We joy in God through our Lord Jefus. 

TO confider the Works of God, as 
exhibiting the Difplays of his Glory 
and Perfection, is not only a very ufeful but 
a delightful Employment. This hath been 
already fhewn with Regard to the Works 
of Creation and Providence, the Contem- 
plation of which yields a pure and noble 
Delight to a rational and well-difpofed Mind. 
Let us now take a View of the wonderful 
Work of our Redemption and Salvation by 
Jefus Chrift) in which the Glory of God is 



illuftrioufly manifefted, and which, if duly 
confidered, hath a Tendency to fill the 
Heart with holy Admiration, Love, and 
Joy. This is what the Apoftle here figni- 
iks, when he faith, We joy in God through 
our Lord Jefus Chrifr, by whom we have re- 
ceived the Atonement. And ^elfewhere he 
gives it, as the Character of real Chrifians, 
•that they worfiip God in the Spirit ', and re- 
joice in Chrift Jefus. Phil. iii. 3. And St. 
Peter ) writing to thofe who made an open 
P{ofeffion of jheir Faith in Je/us Chrift in 
the Face of many Difficulties and Dangers, 
expreneth himfelf thus : tVhom having not 
feen ye love, and in whom, though now ye 
fee him not, yet, believing, ye rejoice with 
jfsy unfpeakable and full of Glory. 1 Pet. i. 
8. Good Men under the Old Teftament 
rejoiced in the Profped they had of the 
Saviour which was to come. Thus did that 
great Patriarch Abraham, concerning whom 
our Lord declares to the Jews, Tour Father 
Abraham rejoiced to fee my Day ; and hefaw 
is, and was glad. John viii. 56. But we, 
who live after Chrift 1 s actual Manifejlation 
in the Fkfi, have in this Refpect a vaft 
Advantage above thofe that lived under any 
former Difpeniation. The original Word 
evayyeAiov, which we render Go/pel, properly 
fignifi.eihgoqd Tidings; and it is fitly fo called, 


OlSCOt/RS'E V. 93 

2s it bringetti the beft, the happieft Tidings 
that were ever publifhed to the World : 
Thefe Things write we unto you, faith the 
Apoftle John, that your Joy may be full. 
i John i. 4. Hither therefore let us turn 
our Meditations for a While, and fee what 
there is in Jefus Chrijl, and in the admi- 
rable Methods of our Redemption through. 
him, which may lay a juft Foundation for 
the fpiritual Joy, and tend to heighten the 
Pleafures of a religious Life. 

The amiable and glorious Character, un- 
der which Chrifl is generally reprefented 
in the New Teftament, is that of the Sa- 
viour, our Lord and Saviour Jefus Chrift. 
And juftly is he fo called, inafmuch as, 
according to the Reprefentation made to 
11s in the Gofpel, it is through him that 
the mod ineftimable Benefits are commu- 
nicated to Sinners of the human Race ; 
through him they are pardoned, juftified, 
and faved : And he is e.xprefsly faid to be 
the Author of eternal Salvation to all them 
tjbat obey him. Heb. v. 9. He is alfo de~ 
fcribed to us under the Character of the 
Mediator. We are exprefsly afllired, that, 
as there is one God, fo there is one Mediator 
between God and Man y and that Jefus Chrift 
is he. 1 Tim. ii. 5. And he is elfewhere 
called the Mediator of the New Covenant. 



Heb. xii. 24, What is included in the Idea 
of the Mediator is only to be known by the 
Light which the Scripture affordeth us, this 
being a Doctrine of pure Revelation. And, 
according to the Account there givea us, it 
is by Means of the Mediator that the holy 
Maiefty cf Heaven feeth fit to carry on the 
Deiigns- of his Mercy towards linful Crea- 
tures of the human Race, for reconciling 
them to himfelf > and recovering them from 
the Miferies and Ruins they had brought 
upon themfclves by their Apoitacy and Dif- 
obediencej fo that in this View the Cha- 
racter of the Saviour, and of the Mediator* 
between God and Man, comes in Effect to 
the fame Thing. This Conftitution of the 
Mediator is not to be underftood, as if God 
was not, of himfelf, mercifully difpofed to- 
wards us, or willing to be reconciled to his 
offending Creatures. On the Contrary, it 
was, becaufe he had the kindeft Intentions 
towards us, and was determined to mew us 
Favour in a Way worthy of himfelf, that 
he hath appointed a Mediator, through 
whom he would deal with us upon the 
Terms of a gracious Covenant, and com- 
municate to us the Blemngs of his Grace.. 
It is an Expedient devifed by his infinite 
Wifdom and Love for tranfactinp- with his 


guilty Creatures, and difpenfmg his Favour 



and Benefits to them in fuch a Way as is 
moft for his own Glory, and for their Ad- 
vantage and Comfort. By this Method 
God hath provided for maintaining and fe- 
curing the Honour of his fovereign Ma- 
jefty, and the Dignity and Authority of his 
Government and Laws. This Constitution 
tendeth to imprefs upon our Mindsajuft 
and awful Senfe of his glorious Greatneis 
and fpotlefs Purity, and a mod: humbling 
Conviction of our own Guilt and Unwor- 
thinefs, in that he would not receive fuch 
finful Creatures to his Grace and Favour, 
but through the Intervention of a Mediator 
of the higheft Worth and Dignity, and in 
Confi deration of his moft perfect meritorious 
Obedience and Sufferings on our Behalf. 
And, on the other Hand, by this Method 
God hath almoft effectually provided for the 
Benefit and Comfort of the Sinners them- 
felves, and for difpelling their guilty Jea- 
loufies and Fears. It is no eafy Matter to 
allure the Hearts of Creatures, that have a 
juft Senfe of the great Evil and Malignity 
of Sin, and are confcious of manifold T ran f- 
greffions of the Divine Law, that a God of 
unchangeable Righteoufnefs and Purity, the 
wife and holy Governor of the World, will 
not only pardon all their Iniquities, though 
they have been attended with heinous Ag- 
gravations ; 

gravations ; but will receive them to his 
fpecial Grace and Favour, and reward everi 
their imperfect Obedience, mixed with 
many Failures and Defects, with eternal 
Glory and Felicity. — But, when it is con- 
lidered that for this Purpofe God hath him- 
felf been pleafed to fend his own Son into 
the World, and hath appointed him to make 
.Atonement for our Sins, and to fulfil the Office 
of a Mediator for us, this hath a happy Ten- 
dency to remove our Doubts, and to infpire 
an ingenuous Hope and Confidence, and 
giveth us the bigneft. poffible AfTurance of 
his wonderful Love and Grace towards 

But, that we may the better judge of the 
Wifdom and Propriety of this Conftitution, 
It will be proper to confider the Reprefen- 
tatioii the Scripture makes to us of the 
State of the human Race, and on the Ac- 
count of which they flood in great Need of 
a Mediator and Saviour. It is there de- 
clared, that all had finned and come Jhort of 
the Glory of God. They were all chargeable 
with manifold Tranfgreffions of his holy and 
righteous Law, fo that, if GodjJmdd entef 
into Judgment with them, no Flefh could he 
jufiified in his Sight. The whole World 'was 
become guilty before God, vtoSikos tw ©e<£V 
obnoxious to the Judgment of God, and to 



the Sentence of his violated Law. Rom. iii« 
19, 20, 23. They were all in a State of 
Condemnation, and under the Curfe. Their 
State is fitly reprefented by our Lord in one 
Word: They were lojt. Matt, xyiii. 11. 
Luke xix. 10. loft to the principal noble 
End of their Being, and to the Happinefs 
and Perfection for which they were origi- 
nally defigned. And St. Paul fi?nifieth the 
fame Thing by that emphatical Expreffion, 
that they were all dead : If cue died for all^ 
faith he, then were all dead. 2 Cor. v. 14. 
And he elfewhere obferves, that they were 
without Strength, Rom. v. 6. utterly unable 
to fave or deliver themfelves out of that 
wretched and finful State into which they 
had fallen. Thus Man, the chief Inhabi- 
tant of this Part of the Syftem, inftead of 
(hewing forth the Praifes and Virtues of his 
Creator, had dimonoured and diiobeyed 
him : So that a Cloud feemed to be call: 
over the Glory of God's moral Government 
and Excellencies here below. The Work of 
our Redemption is to be underftood of the 
Method fixed upon by the Divine Wifdorn. 
and Goodnefs for recoverino; Men from their 


finful perifhing State to Holineis and Hap- 
pinefs, and railing them to eternal Glory 
and Felicity. 

This mo(r, wife, and benevolent Defign 
the Scripture nobly reprefents as having 

Vol. III.- H been 


Been originally Formed in-- the Diviite Counfefs- 
before the Foundation of the World. He to 
whok omnifcicxfa Eye all Things are pre- 
fent from the Beginnings and who perfe&ly 
fore law the corrupt and miferable State into 
which Mankind would fall by their Sin? 
arid Difob-ediencc, did in the Counfels of 
his eternal Wifdom and Grace lay the glo- 
rious Plan of our P.edempiion and Salva- 
tion, and appointed his own Son, the Ob- 
ject of li is infinite Delight, for undertaking 
and accompli (Ling it. This is flgnified by 
St. Peter, when, ipeaking of our being re- 
deemed by the precious Blood of'Ghritt:, as of a' 
Lamb without Blemijh and without Spot, he 
faith, that he verily was fore -ordained, i. e. 
fore-appointed to this great Woik, before 
the Foundation of the World, i Pet. i. 20, 2 1 . 
And St. Paul obferves, that God hath chofen 
us in Chrift, bf'ore the Foundation of the' 
World. Eph. 1. 4. And that he hath /avert 
us end called us with an holy Calling, accord- 
ing to lis own Purpcfe and Grace, which was 
given us in Chrift Jeius before the World be- 
gan. 2 Tim. i. 9. 

Accordingly this feems to have been the 
great Tfrirra: which the Divine Wifdom had- 
ail aldng in View. And though the glorious? 
Perfon, who was defigried in God's everlail- 
ing Counfels to the Work of Saving and 



Redeeming Mankind, did not actually take 
upon him human Flefh, till the Pulnefs of the 
Tifne <was come appointed for that Purpofe j 
yet it is reafonable to believe, that the mod 
benevolent Lord and Father of all had a Re- 
gard to ChriJFs future Undertaking, and to 
what he was to do and fuffer in Purfuance 
bf it, in his gracious Dealings towards Man- 
kind from the Beginning. No fooner had 
bur unhappy firft Parents by their Tranf- 
greffion and Difobedience brought Sin and 
Death into the World, but it pleafed God 
in his great Goodnefs to give them Intima- 
tions of his Grace and Mercy, and of the 
great Redeemer that was to come. And from 
that Time the gracious Covenant, of which 
he Was the Mediator, was virtually in Forces 
and good Men were pardoned and accepted 
according to the merciful Terms of it. Af- 
terwards, in the fucceffive Ages of the 
Church, the Saviour, who had been pro- 
mifed from the Beginning, was variously 
prefigured and foretold at fwidry limes mid 
in divers Manners- He was defcribed by 
many remarkable Characters, that, when he 
actually came, he might be more eafily and 
certainly known and .diftinguiihed. The 
Nation, yea the Tribe and Family from 
which he was to fpring according to the 
Fkjh, the Town where he was to be born, 
H a and 


and the Time of his appearing to th eWorld*, 
were diilinccly marked cut by the antient 
Prophets, thcfe holy Men of God, who /pake 
as they were moved by the Holy Ghojl. They 
tefUfied before-hand the falutary End and 
Delign of his Coming, and the important 
Offices he was to fullain j they fpoke of his 
Dignity and Glory in the mod exalted 
Terms, and yet reprefented him as defend- 
ing to the loweir. Depths of Humiliation 
and Suffering. He was foretold and point- 
ed out to the Faith and Hope of the People 
cf God, under the Character of a great Pro- 
phet and heavenly Teacher, to whom they 
were to hearken; under that of a Priefl, 
who fiould make his Soul an Offering for Sin, 
and who Jhould make Reconciliation for Ini- 
quity, and JJjould make hitercefjion for the 
K Tranfgrefjbn ; and of a glorious King in- 
verted with a Divine Authority and univerfal 
Dominion. Finally, It was fignified that 
his Coming mould be Matter of great Joy-, 
that he mould be a Blefiing to Mankind, a 
Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Salva- 
tion rf God unto the Ends of the Earth. Thus 
it pleafed God in his great Wifdom to pre- 
pare the Way for the Redeemer's Coming 
by a Series of illurtrious Prophecies, which 
had been delivered through a long Succe£- 
lion of Ages, and at a great Difhnce of 


D I S C O U R S E V. 105 

Time from one another. The Writings, in 
which thefe Predictions are contained, were 
undeniably published feveral Ages before 
CbriJFo Appearing and Taking upon him hu- 
man Flefh. And it is a noble Contempla- 
tion, and which cannot but fill the Heart 
of a iincere Chriftian with Admiration and 
Joy, to obferve how wonderfully they were 
fulfilled and accomplifTied. In him, and in 
no other, the feveral Characters by which 
the Saviour that was to come had been de- 
fcribed, fome of which feemed at firftView 
to be inconfiftent with others, concurred with 
a furprifmg Harmony ; which yielded him a 
peculiar Kind of Atteftation, that was never 
equalled in any other Cafe. At the Time 
which had been pointed out in the antient 
Prophecies, and which was in itfelf the fit- 
ted', he made his actual Appearance in the 
World. It has been thought ltrange, that 
the Saviour, whofe Coming was of fuch vail 
importance to Mankind, was not manifested 
many Ages fooner ; and this has been urged 
as a mighty Objection. But, if the Matter 
be rightly confidered, it will be found that 
no Age was more proper for his Appearing 
than that in which he actually came. If he 
had appeared in the earlier Ages of the 
World, befides that he would have wanted 
the Atteftation ariling from the remarkable 
H 3 Series 

102 D I S C O U R S E V. 

Series of Prophecies which I have men- 
tioned, it would have been pretended that 
he came in the fabulous and barbarous Ao;es, 
when the Nations were rude and illiterate, 
and had not been as yet cultivated by Learn- 
ing and Philofophy, and might therefore 
have been eafily impofed upon : Nor could 
any Strefs be laid upon Fac\s of fo extraor- 
dinary a Nature, faid to have been done in 
the Obfcurity of thofe diftant Ages. But 
now there is no juft Ground for fuch Ob- 
jections : The Time when our Saviour ap- 
peared was not an illiterate and barbarous 
Age, but of great Knowledge and Refine- 
ment j the liberal Arts and Sciences had 
made a mighty Progrefs among the Na- 
tions ; Philofophy had been tried in all it's 
Forms ; and the Arts of Reafoning encou- 
raged and cultivated to a great Degree ; and 
at the fame Time the State of the World 
was fuch as rendered the Coming of the 
great prornifed Redeemer particularly need- 
ful and feafonable. 

The Gentiles were univerfally fallen from 
the right Knowledge and Worihip of the 
true God, and adored a Multiplicity of 
Idol-deities : They changed the Glory of the 
incorruptible God into an Image made like to 
corruptible Man, and to Birds, and four- 
footed Beajls, and creeping Things - y and imr>- 





/hipped andferved the Creature more than the 
Creator ', who is blefjedfor ever. Rom. i. 23, 
25. What palled for Religion among 
them, and which was eftabliihed by their 
Laws, and interwoven into all their Syftems 
of Policy, was an abfurd Polytheiim and 
Idolatry. And even their wife Men and 
Philofophers, inilead of reclaiming them 
from their idolatrous Superftition, counte- 
nanced it by their Maxims, and fell in with 
it in their Practice. They were at the fame 
Time funk into the mod: monftrous Depra- 
vity and Corruption of Manners; of which 
St. Paid gives a moil: ftriking Description, 
Rom. i. 26 — 32. And, as to the Jews, the 
only People among whom the Knowledge 
and Worfhip of the true God free from Ido- 
latry were preferved, fome of them, as the 
SadduceeS) denied a future State ; others, as 
the Pharifees, the mod: applauded Sect 
among them, turned Religion into a mere 
outward Form and Shew, to the Neglect of 
real fubftantial Piety and Virtue ; and by 
their corrupt GlofTes perverted the true De- 
sign of the moral Law, and made it of no 
EffeB by their Traditions. They had alfo, 
for the mod: Part, loft and perverted the 
true Senfe and Meaning of the antient Pro- 
phecies relating to that great Saviour whom 
they profelfed to expect:. Inilead of fpiri- 
H 4 tnal 

tual Bleffin'gs, and a fpiritual Salvation, they 
had their Hearts wholly fixed upon worldly 
Enjoyments and Advantages, which they 
trufted he would procure for them in the 
higheft Degree ; and that he would bring 
all other Nations into Subjection to them. 
And it appears from their own Hiftorian 
'Jofephus, that the People in general were 
become exceedingly corrupt in their Prac- 
tice. It might therefore be faid, as St. John 
reprefents it, that the -whole World lay in 
JVickedncfs. i John v 19. The true Senfe 
of Rel!<; ; on ieemed to be in Effect loft 
among Men : And the State of Things was 
Continually growing worfe and worfe, nor 
was there any Prcfpecl of recovering from 
jt without an extraordinary lnterpofition 
qf Heaven. 

At this Time and in thefe Circumftances 
it was, that the wonderful Perfon, who had 
been fo long promifed and foretold, made 
bis actual Appearance in the World. And 
the Defign of his Coming is thus reprefent- 
ed by himfelf, and by thole that publifhed 
the Gofpel in his Name, and under the Di- 
rection of his Spirit : That he was the Light 
of the World, and came to give Light to them 
that fat in Darknefe, and in the Shadow of 
Death ; and hath brought Life and Immorta- 
lity to Light : That he came to feck and to 



five that which was loft : That whofoever 
bclieveth in him Jboiild not perijh, but JhouM 
have ever laf ling Life : That he was ferit to 
blfs us in turning us away from cur Iniqui- 
ties, and to proclaim Deliverance to the Cap- 
tives ; that, being freed from their miferable 
Bondage to Sin and Satan, they might be 
made Partakers of the glorious Liberty of the 
Children of God : That he came to give his 
Life a Ranfomfor many, and to fl:ed his Blood 
Jor the Remijfion of Sins, and to bring us 
out of a State of Condemnation and Wrath 
into a State of Re ace and Reconciliation with 
God : Finally, For this Purpofe t'je Son cf 
God was manife/led that he might dejlroy the 
Works of the Devil, and be the Author of a 
glorious Refurredlion and eternal Salvation to 
all them that obey him. 

This is a general Account of the falutary 
Defign of Chri/fs Coming into the World ; 
which mult therefore fill the Heart of a 
good Man with a fincere and folid Joy, 
Juftly did the Angel declare, when he pub- 
limed the Redeemer's Birth, Behold, I bring 
you good hidings of great Joy, which fid all be 
to all People -, for unto you is born a Saviour, 
which is Chrift the Lord ; and with the 
Angel there was a Multitude of the heavenly 
Hojt, praijing God, and faying, Glory ta 
Qod in the htghef, on Earth Peace, Good- 


•will towards Men, Luke ii. 10, 11, 13, 14. 
Surely then it becomes us of the human 
Race to rejoice, who are more nearly con~ 
cerned ; and this is what I propofe diftinct- 
\y to fhew in the farther Profecution of this 


On Delighting in the gracious Methods of 
our Redemption by Jefus Chrift, 


Romans v. ii. 

We joy in God through our Lordjefm Chrifr* 
by whom -we have received the Atonement, 

THE Redemption of Mankind by 
'Jefus Chriji is a glorious SubjecT: 
for our Thoughts, and exhibiteth fuch 
marvellous Difplays of the Divine Wif- 
dom, Grace, and Love, as tend to excite 
in the believing Soul the highefr Emotions 
of Joy and Admiration. It was obferved 
in the preceding Difcourfe, that, accord- 
ing to the Reprefentation made to us in 
Scripture, the wife and benevolent Scheme 



was laid in God's everlajiing GoUnfel, be- 
fore the Foundation of the Wor4d, and the 
glorious Perfon fixed upon who was to 
accomplifh it : That he was promifed 
from the Beginning, and was all along 
varioufly prefigured and foretold in the 
iucceffive Ages of the Church, //// the 
Fulnefs of the Time came which was ap- 
pointed by the Divine Wifdom for his 
actual Appearance among Men ; and that, 
at the Time of his Coming, the State of 
the World, both with Regard to Jews 
and Gentiles, was remarkably fuch as 
Shewed the great Need they flood in of a 

Let us now proceed more diftinctly to 
con^der the feveral Steps that were taken, 
in order to the carrying on and accom- 
plishing the great Work of our Redemp- 
tion and Salvation. 

And here the firfl Thing to be consi- 
dered is Chrijls wonderful Incarnation, or 
Taking upon him human Flejh. He who 
was the only begotten Son of God, the Son 
of God not merely in that Senfe in which 
Angels and Men are fometimes fo called, 
but in a moit peculiar and tranfeendent 
Senfe, in which, as the facred Writer to 
the Hebrews obferves, that Character 
could not be attributed to the higheft 


D I S C O U R S E VI. xo? 

Angels. Heb. i. 4, 5. that Divine Logos 
or IVord, which was in the Beginning with 
God, and was God, by whom all Things 
were made, and without whom was not any 
"Thing made that was made : He it was that 
at the appointed Time was made Flefh, 
and dwelt among us . J oh. i. 1, 3, 14. He 
was made Flejk, not by a real Converfion, 
or Tranfmutation of his Divine Nature 
into human Flelh, which it were very 
abfurd to fuppofe j but by an Amimption 
of the human Nature into a near Union 
with his Divine, which is very wonder- 
ful indeed, but can never be proved to be 
impoffible or to imply a Contradiction. 
The Words F/eJb and Man are often ufed 
in Scripture as equivalent Terms : And 
the Manner of Expreflion feems here 
defigned to fignify, that Chrijl became 
truly and properly Man ; that he afTumed 
the human Nature in Reality, and not in 
Appearance only ; and that he took it in 
it's prefent frail and mortal State, with 
the Weaknefies and Infirmities to which 
it is now fubjecl, though without Sin : 
Forafmuch as the Children are Partakers 
of Flejlj and Blood, he himfelf likewife took 
Part of the fame. Heb. ii. 14. And in 
Confequence of this he dwelt or tabernacled 
among us, He lived and converfed fe- 


vera! Years together here on Earth, not 
in the Pomp and Splendor of worldly 
Glory and Magnificence, but in a mean 
and low Condition : He took upon him the 
i^orm of a Servant, as St. Paul exprefFeth 
it ; though at the fame Time on many 
Occafions the Rays of a Divine Majefty 
fhone forth through the Vail of his Flefi ; 
fo that they, who attentively obferved 
him, beheld his Glory, the Glory as of the 
only begotten of the Father, full of Grace 
ana 1 Truth. Joh. i. 14. This Incarnation 
of the Son of God, taken in all it's Cir- 
cumftances, was the mod extraordinary 
Event that ever the World faw, the molt 
amazing: in itfelf, and the moll beneficial 
m its Confequences. The more we con- 
iider it, the greater Matter we {hall find 
for delightful Aftonimment. In this 
Coriftitution, the Wifdom of God, as 
Well as his Goodnefs and Love to Man- 
kind, is eminently confpicuous : For by 
this it appeareth, that the great appointed 
Saviour is every Way qualified tor ac- 
complishing the important Work upon 
which he was fent, admirably fitted td 
fuitain the Office and Character of Medi- 
ator between the offended Maiefty of 
Heaven and guilty Creatures of the hu- 
man Race. On the one Pland, he is a 



Perfon of infinite Dignity, the only begotten 
of the Father, in whom he is always well 
pleafed ', On the other Hand, he is in- 
timately united to us, and of great Ten- 
dernefs towards us, as being Partaker of 
our FleJJj and Blood. His being really 
Man fitted him fop teaching and inftrucl- 
ing us in a Way fuited to our Capacities, 
and for being a proper Example and 
Pattern for us to imitate. It qualified 
him for the Obedience he yielded, and 
for the Sufferings he endured on outf Be- 
half, and rendered him both capable of 
dying for us, and of being raifed from 
the Dead, and thereby exhibiting a vi- 
fible Proof and Pledge of our own Re- 
surrection to immortal Blifs. It fitted 
him for being a proper High Priefifor us? 
touched with a Feeling of our Infirmities '& 
and for appearing as an Advocate and In- 
tercefTor on our Behalf in the heavenly 
Sunctuary. And, finally, this renderetfr 
his Exaltation a Source of Confolatiorr 
and Joy : For what a Comfort rnufl it be 
to rerlecl:, that he who affumed our Na- 
ture, and is therefore fo nearly related to 
us, is now exalted at the right Hand of the' 
Majefly on high, and is made Head over all 
things to his Church; that he hath air 
univerfal Kingdom and Sovereignty com- 



mitted to him, and fhall at length be oiif 
final Judge ! Juftly therefore doth the 
Apoftle lay a fpecial Emphafis upon this,- 
that, as there is one God, fo there is one 
Mediator between God and Man, the Man 
Chrift Jefus. i Tim. ii. 5. becaufe, if he 
were not truly and properly Man, he 
could not be fueh a Mediator as our Cafe 
required. But, on the other Hand, his 
being not a mere dignified Man, but the 
eternal Son of God, the Brightness of the 
Father s Glory, and the exprefs Image of 
his Perfon, in whom dwelleth all the Fidnefs 
of the Godhead bodily, gives us the highefl 
AfTurance of his being able to accomplim 
the great Work of our Redemption and 
Salvation. It is this that deriveth a mighty 
Weight and Authority to the Inftructions 
he hath given, and the Laws he hath 
prefcribed, and adds a wonderful Force 
and Beauty to the Example he hath fet 
before us. This gives an unparalleled 
Merit and Dignity to his Obedience, and 
the Sacrifice he has offered on our Behalf, 
and renders his Mediation and Intercemon 
of the higheft Efficacy and Prevalency. 
It is this that qualifies him for his univer- 
ial Headfhip, and for exercifing a glorious 
Sovereignty over Angels and Men, for 
vailing the Dead and judging the World:. 



In Sum, it is this which rendereth him 
a proper Object of our Confidence and 
Trail, a complete and all-fufficient Sa- 
viour, able to fulfil his own glorious Pro- 
mifes, and to be the Author of eternal 
Salvation to all them that obey him. What 
a ftable Foundation for Rejoicing is this, 
that we have fuch a Mediator provided 
for us, who hath the Power and Suffici- 
ency of God in Conjunction with the 
Tendernefs and CompaiTions of the hu- 
man Nature ! 

From this general Confideration of the 
Incarnation of the Son of God, let us 
proceed more particularly to conlider what 
he hath done in Confequence of it, for 
carrying on the glorious Work of our 
Redemption, and for difcharging the Of- 
fice of Mediator and Saviour. 

And, Firft, One important Part of the 
Office committed to him was to be the 
great Interpreter of the Will of God to 
Mankind, and to bring a clear Pvevelation 
from Heaven in the Father's Name, for 
inftructing Men in thofe Things which it 
moft nearly concerneth them to know, 
and which are of the utmofl Moment to 
their Duty and Happinefs. It may rea- 
fonably be fuppofed, that to this great 
Mediator were principally owing the Dif- 
I coveries 


coveries which were made of the Divine 
Will to Mankind from the Beginning. St. 
Peter intimates, that it was by the Spirit of 
Chrift that the Prophets and holy Men of 
God of old were mipired. 1 Pet. i. 2. 
And it was a Notion which generally ob- 
tained in the ancient Chrifiian Church, and 
which probably was derived from the 
Apoftolical Age, that, in the Divine Ap- 
pearances under the Old Teftament, the 
Logos, who was in the Fulnefs of Time 
to aflame human FJefh, had a fpecial 
Concernment. But it was after his actual 
Incarnation, that he moil: fully executed 
his Office as the great heavenly Teacher* 
He then brought the mod perfect Revela- 
tion that was ever given to Mankind : 
And accordingly he declared concerning 
himfe] r , I am the Light of the World-, he 
the l jolloweth me fiall not walk in Darknefs,, 
but fall have the Light of Life. Joh. viii. 
12. He went about \ in the Days of his Flejh> 
teaching and preaching the Things of the 
Kingdom of God. He inftructed Men in 
the Nature of true Religion, and taught 
them to form the moftjuft and worthy No- 
tions of God, and of his incomparable Per- 
fections, efpecially of his moral Attributes, 
his Righteoufnefs, and Goodnefs, and 
Purity -, and to worjhip him who is an in- 


finite Spirit in Spirit and in Truth. He fct 
their Duty before them in it's juft Extent, 
and in the faireft Light, and gave them 
the moft holy and excellent Laws and Pre- 
cepts, exhibiting the moft perfect Scheme 
of pure and refined Morality, yet without 
running into Extremes, that was ever pub- 
lifhed to the World. Lfe and Immortality 
was by him brought into the moft clear and 
open Light ; and, what efpecially calleth 
for our higheft Thankfulnefs, he opened 
the glorious Counfeh of God for our Sal* 
vation, and, in the Name of his heavenly 
Father, the fovereign Lord of the Univerfe, 
made a Publication of his free Grace and par- 
doning Mercy towards periiliing Sinners of 
the human Race, and of the gracious 
Terms upon which he is willing to receive 
them to his Favour, and beftovv upon 
them the moft ineftimable Benefits. The 
great Deiign of his perfonal Miniftry was, 
as he himfelf reprefented it, to call Sinners 
lo Repentance, to engage them to forfake 
their evil Ways, to be reconciled unto 
God) and to lay hold of his offered Mercy 
and Salvation. This was what he urged 
upon them in the tendereft and moft affec- 
tionate Manner, and by Motives the moft 
proper to work upon reafonable Beings. 
Thus did the incarnate Son of God admi- 
I z rably 


rably fulfil the Part of a Mediator between 
God and Man, not only by bringing the 
kindeft Meffacres from God to liniul Men, 
and offering Grace and Mercy to them from 
him upon their penitent Return; but by 
doing all that was proper for him to do to 
engage them to a hearty Compliance with 
the gracious Propoials made to them, in the 
Father s Name. He endeavoured by all the 
Charms of Love and Goodnefs to overcome 
their Obflmaey. With this View he fet his 
own Divine Character before them, and in- 
vited them to come to him as the ap- 
pointed Saviour, and through him to re- 
turn to the Father of Mercies, by an humble 
Faith, a fincere Repentance, and new Obe- 
dience. He gave the moft fatisfying AfTu- 
rances, and made the moil engaging Repre- 
fentations of the ever] ailing Glory and Fe- 
licity, which Cod hath prepared for them 
that obey him, and accept his offered Sal- 
vation. And on the other Hand, he let 
them know the juft Punifhment which 
fhould be in Mi died upon thoie who mould 
obftinately reject the Divine Mercy, and 
perfiit in a Courfe of prefumptuous Sin 
and Difobedience. ' And furely nothing 
could be of greater Advantage to Mankind, 
or hays a more manifetl Tendency to re- 
cover them from the corrupt and wretched 



Siate into which they were fallen, than to 
have thefe important Diicoveries made to 
them by a Peribn of inch infinite Dignity : 
For who fo proper, fo well qualified to in- 
{trucl us in the Things concerning God and 
our eternal Salvation, and to give us the 
fulleit AiTurances of his kind Intentions, 
and the exceeding Riches of his Grace to- 
wards us, as he who is defcribed to us 
as the Word and Wifdom of the Father ', his 
only begotten Son, Jull of Grace and 'Truth ! 
The Revelations and MefTages he brings, 
in the Name of God, mull come with a pe- 
culiar Weight and Authority, when made 
known to us by one who mull be fuppofed 
to be perfectly acquainted with the Divine 
Will. We are told, that no Man hath fen 
God at any Time ; the only begotten Son, 
which is in the Bojbm of the Father , he hath 
declared him. Joh. i. 18. And, to render 
his Inductions more familiar, he appeared 
in human Flejh> whereby he was fitted for 
converiing with Men and accommodating 
himfelf to the Weaknefs and Infirmity of 
our Nature. This was one valuable End 
of his Incarnation, as the Apoftle ligni- 
fieth, when he faith, that God who at fun- 
dry Times and in divers Manners fpake 
unto the Fathers by the Prophets, hath i?i 
thefe loft Daysfpoken unto us by his Son. Heb. 

I 3 h 


i. I, 2. And not only did he inftmft 
Men during his own perfbnal Miniitry 
hen* on Earth, but, after he was rifen 
from the Deed, and was no longer to dwell 
and converfe with them as before with 
Regard to his bodily Prefence, he cemmif- 
fioned his Apoftles, and amited them by his 
Spirit, to go into all the World, and to preach 
the Go/pel to every Creature, i. e. to pub- 
lifli among the Nations the glad "Tidings 
of Pardon and Salvation in his Name, and 
to reclaim them from their Idolatries, Vice, 
and. Wickednefs, to the Love and Obedi-= 
ence, the pure Worfhip and Service of 
God, and the Practice of true Holinefs, 
This Commiffion the Apoftles faithfully ex- 
ecuted, teaching than to obferve all Things 
whatjbever he commanded them. And both 
our Saviour's own admirable Difcourfes in 
the Days of his FleJJj, and the Gofpel prea- 
ched by his Apoftles in his Name, and under 
the Direction of his Spiiit, were commit- 
ted to Writing ; by which Chrijl, the great 
Teacher of his Church, and Mediator of 
the new Covenant, Jlill fpeakcth to us from 
Heaven. Heb. xii. 25. 

But, Secondly, in farther Purfuanceof the 
great Defign of our Salvation, the glorious 
Perfon, who was appointed to the Office and 
Character of a Saviour, exhibited the moft 




perfect and lovely, Example for our Imita- 
tion. In order to the recovering Men from 
their Corruption and Depravity, and refto- 
rins: them to the Divine Favour and Image, 
it was proper not only to fet before them a 
perfect Rule of Duty in the mod pure and 
excellent Precepts, but alfo an Example of 
the moft confummate Holinefs and Virtue. 
This is what our Lord Jcjiis Chriji hath 
fully done. The admirable Precepts he 
gave are beautifully exemplified in his own 
holy and unfpotted Life and Practice. 
Examples have actually a greater Force 
than bare Precepts, how excellent foever. 
And what Example can be more engaging 
than that of the incarnate Son of God, the 
brightejl Image of the invisible Deity ? God, 
ccniidered in his own infinite and incom- 
preheniible EfTence, is inacceffible to us 
frail Mortals, furrounded with dazzling 
Glory, which might be apt to overwhelm 
and aftonifh our feeble Natures : But in 
Chriji ye/us y his well beloved Son, become 
incarnate, his amiable Excellencies ara 
brought nearer to our View, and within the 
Reach of our Imitation. This Example 
muft needs, when duly attended to, have a 
mighty Influence upon us, as it is the Ex- 
ample of a Peribn of ihch Divine Dignity, 
the great Saviour and Lover of our Natures, 
I 4 who 


who hath done and fuffered fo much for us, 
and to whom we are under fuch iniinite 
Obligations. In him we may behold the 
moil perfect Pattern of universal Righteouf- 
nefs and Ipotlefs Purity, of the moft ardent 
Love to God and Zeal for the Divine Glory, 
of the mod: active and diiinterefted Benevo- 
lence towards Mankind, of the moft ad- 
mirable Self-denial, Meeknefs, Patience, 
and Refign uion, and in a Word of what-* 
Jbever is ji-jl and pure ', 'venerable and lovefy, 
virtuous and praijfavorthy* And it is cer- 
tainly a wonderful Inftance of the Divine 
Goodnefs, that God hath fent his own Son 
to dwell amopgft Men, that he might 
fhev/ us, in his own facred Life and Prac- 
tice, what Kind of Temper and Conduct it 
it is that is moft acceptable to the Deity, 
and by whatCourfe of Action we {hall beft 
approve ourfelves in his Sight, and be 
raited to the neareft Conformity to him. 
Who can exprefs the fweet and powerful 
Attractions there muft be in fuch an Ex- 
ample as this, whereby Virtue and Holi- 
nefs is made vifible to our Eyes irv it's moft 
lovely Form, and it's nobleft Degree of Ex- 
cellence ? 

Thirdly, The true Chrijiian rejoiceth in 
Chrift Jefus, on the Account of the illuf- 
trious Miracles he performed, which were 


fo many in Number, fo glorious in their 
Nature, fo beneficial in their Tendency, 
that in them the Glory of God was moil 
eminently displayed. It cannot reafonably 
be fuppofed that God would fend his Son 
into the World upon fo important an Er- 
rand as the Redeeming and Saving Sinners 
the human Race, without fufficient Cre- 
dentials, which, if duly attended to, 
might have led Men to believe in him as 
in Reality the glorious and Divine Perfon 
which he declared himfelf to be. He ap- 
peared on Earth in mean outward Circum- 
fiances,, without the Riches, Grandeur, or 
Glory of this World. But he had a Glory 
of an higher Nature attending him, even 
the wonderful Works which he performed ; 
many of which are particularly mentioned 
by the Evangelifts, though they themfelvcs 
intimate, that it is only a fmall Part of them 
which is recorded. The Blind received their 
Sight, withered and perifhing Limbs were 
reflored at once, the. Lame were made to 
walk, and the Dumb and Deaf to hear and 
Jpeak; the Lepers were cleanfed-y great Numr 
bers that were brought to him from all 
Parts, and who laboured under the moil 
incurable and defperate Difeafes, were heal- 
ed, without failing in any one Inftance ; 
2nd the Dead were raifed to Life : And all 



this by a fovereign Word or Touch. 
With Authority he commanded even the 
unclean Spirits, and they obeyed him. 
Many of his Miracles were performed 
with an Air of Divine Sovereignty and 
Grandeur, becoming the Lord of Nature. 
He only faid to the lformy Wind and 
Temper!, and to the raging Sea, Peace, be 

Jit// ; and the boiflerous Elements obeyed. 
He gave the powerful Word, Lazarus, 
come forth ; and the dead Man, who had 
been fuur Days in the Grave, immediately 
arofe. Twice did he feed feveral Thou- 
fands, at once, with a jew Loaves and 

fma/l Fifhes. His Miracles were not merely 
Acts or fupernatural Power, but of God- 
like Goodnefs and Companion to the Bo- 
dies and Souls of Men > and they were 
done for the moil Part in open View, in 
the Prefence of Multitudes, and even of 
his moll obftinate Enemies, thofe who 
were moft ftrongly prejudiced againft him. 
Juilly therefore did he himlelf appeal to 
his wonderf id Works as manifeft Proofs that 
he was in the Father, and the Father in 
him. John xiv. i r . They were fuch as 
became the Divinity in human Flefh, and 
ihewed that he really was what the Voice 

from the magnificent Glory declared him, 
the beloved Son of God, in ivhom he was 


D I S C O U R S E VI. 123 

well plcafed. And, what eminently diftin~ 
guiihed him from all other Prophets and 
Workers of Miracles, he not only wrought 
the moil marvellous Works in his own 
Perfon, but commiffioned and inabled his 
Difciples to perform Works of the fame 
Kind in his Name, and by Power derived 
from him. Taking all thefe Things to- 
gether, what an aftonifhing and delightful 
Scene openeth to our View ! It ihewed 
that fomething was now carrying on of 
the higher!: Importance, far exceeding 
what the World had ever feen or known 
before. And the true Chrijiian cannot re- 
view all this without Wonder and Joy. 

But, Fourthly, It is farther to be con- 
fidered, that this mofr. excellent Perfon, 
the Son of God in human Flejh, fubmitted, 
for our Sakes and in Obedience to his 
heavenly Father's Will, to the deeper!: Hu- 
miliations, the moft. dolorous Agonies and 
PafTions, and even to Death itjelf, the cruel 
and ignominious Death of the Crofs. This, 
at firll View, inftead of furnifhing Matter 
of Rejoicing, may feem to be only fitted to 
produce Sorrow and Amazement. No- 
thing can pofiibiy be more affecting than 
the Accounts given us by the Evangelifls 
of our Saviour's laft Sufferings, which 
were attended with whatfoever is molt 



grievous and mocking to Nature. Behold 
him in his direful Agony and bloody Sweat, 
bis Soul exceeding for rowf id even unto Death , 
condemned as an Impoflor and Blafphemer, 
his Head crowned with piercing Thorns, 
his Body torn with bloody Stripes, hang- 
ing on the Crofs between two Thieves, 
treated with the greated: Ignominy and 
Cruelty by Men, affaulted by the Powers 
of Darknefs, and at length put to a moll 
painful and accurfed Death : And then 
confider who it was that fuffered all this, 
the Son of God incarnate, the Divine Im- 
tnanuel, who had gone about doing Good to 
the Bodies and to the Souls of Men ; and 
that he was delivered up to thefe Sufferings 
by the determinate Counfel and Fore-know- 
ledge of God. A£ts ii. 23. 2/ p leafed the 
Lord to bruife him, and to put him to Grief, 
as the Prophet expreffeth it, If liii. 10. 
When we confider this, it is natural to 
inquire, what was the Caufe and Delign 
of fo amazing a Tranfaction ? Far be it 
from us to think that God, who delight- 
eth not in the Pains and Sufferings of 
his Creatures, took Pleafure in the grievous 
Sufferings of his perfectly innocent and 
well-beloved Son, in themfelves consider- 
ed ! But, as it feemed fit to the Divine 
Wifdom, that, in order to our being par* 



doned, and raifed from our perifhing guilty- 
State to the Favour of God and eternal 
Happinefs, there mould be a Mediator of 
infinite Dignity to interpofe on our Behalf; 
fo alfo that this Mediator mould in our 
Nature and Stead fubmit to the moft grie- 
vous Sufferings, to make us deeply fenfible 
what our Iniquities had deferved, and to 
manifeft God's juft Difpleafure againft Sin, 
and vindicate the Authority of his Govern- 
ment and Laws, even in the very Methods 
of our Reconciliation. Accordingly it is 
obferved concerning Chrifi the Mediator, 
that he was wounded for our rfranfgrefjions, 
and brut fed for i our Iniquities ; the Chajiife- 
ment of our Peace was upon him, atid by 
his Stripes we are healed. If. liii. 5. That 
he fuffered for Sins, the Juft for the Un- 
juji, that he might bring us unto God. 1 Pet. 
iii. 18. and that God made him to be Sin 
for us, who knew no Sin, that we might be 
made the Right eoufnefs of God in him. 2 Cor. 
v. 2 1 . And God's not f paring his own Son, 
but thus delivering him up for us all, is de- 
fervedly infilled upon, in the New Tefta- 
ment, as exhibiting the moil admirable 
Difplay of the tranfcendent Greatnefs of 
his Love towards us. And at the fame 
Time the Love of Ghriif in freely giving 
bimflf for us an Offering and a Sacrijice, 



is jtiftly celebrated as a Love that pajfeth 
Knowledge, and which hath a Height and 
Depth, a Length and Breadth in it, which 
we cannot fully comprehend* 

And not only is Chri/l's Suffering for us 
reprefented as a marvellous Inftance and 
Proof of his Love to Mankind, but alfo 
of his Obedience to his heavenly Father* 
This is what St. Paul fignifies when he 
faith, that Chrift. became obedient unto 
Death, even the Death of the Crofs. Phil. ii. 
8. And our Saviour himfelf, fpeaking of 
his laying down his Life for us, declares, that 
this Commandment he had received from his 
Father. John x. 13. And furely, when 
We confider the Sufferings he endured in 
each amazing Circumilance, compared 
with the Dignity of his Perfon ; and that 
he voluntarily fubmitted to all this, be- 
caufe it was the Father s Will that he 
fhould do lb for the Redemption and Sal- 
vation of finful Men ; we muft acknow* 
ledge that never was there fo aflonfhmg a 
Self-denial, fo profound a Refignation, 
ftich an abfolute unreferved Submimon 
and Obedience to the "Will of God, as well 
as men a marvellous Inftance of Goodnefs 
and Benevolence towards Mankind. By 
this Obedience of the Son of God in our 
Nature, as manifested in his lail laft Suf- 

ferings and Death, joined with the perfect 
Obedience of his whole holy and unfpot- 
ted Life, God and his Law were moft fig— 
nally honoured, which had been greatly 
difhonoured by Man's Difobedience. This 
rendered the Sacrifice he offered of a 
Jweet-f melling Savour, i. e. infinitely plea- 
fing to his heavenly Father. On the Ac- 
count of this his moft meritorious Obe- 
dience and Sufferings on our Behalf, he is 
laid to be the Propitiation for our Sins ; and 
Pardon, Peace, and Salvation are repre- 
fented as flowing to us through his Blood. 
To this the Apoftle refers, when he faith, 
We joy in God through our Lord JefusChrin;, 
bv whom we have received the Atonement. 
His Blood is called by himfelf the Blood of 
the New ¥ eft anient, or Cove?iant, Jhed for 
the Pemifjion of Sins. Matt. xxvi. 28. and, 
by St. Paul, the Blood of the ever lofting Co- 
venant. Hebr. xiii. 20. It was a Confi- 
deration of what he hath done and fuf- 
fered for us, purfuant to the glorious 
Scheme laid in the Counfels of the Divine 
Wifdom and Love for our Redemption, 
that the Covenant of Grace, in it's merci- 
ful Terms and exceeding great and precious 
Promifes, is confirmed and eitablifhed, and 
the glorious Bleflings of it have been com- 

* 2 8 D I S G O U R S E VI. 

municated from the Beginning, and mall 
be to the End of the World. 

Other valuable Ends might be mention-* 
ed, which the Sufferings and Death of 
Chrijl, the Mediator and Saviour, were 
intended to anfwer : He thereby teftified 
the Truth of the Dodtrine he had taught, 
and Jealed it with his Blood > and efpecially 
the Profeilion he has made of his being 
the Chrijl, the Son of the living God. He 
alfo thereby mewed what fevere Trials and 
Sufferings the moft excellent Perfons may 
be expofed to for the Caufe of God, of 
Truth and Righteoufnefs j and gave an 
admirable Example of Conitancy under 
fuch Sufferings, and of the moft perfect 
Patience and Meeknefs under the greater!: 
Injuries, as well as of an amiable for- 
giving Difpofition and Love even to his 
Enemies, for whom he prayed and inter- 
ceded with his dying Breath. Finally, He 
died for us, that by Death he might dejiroy 
him that had the Power oj 'Death , that is, 
the Devil, and might deliver tkoje who, 
through Fear of Death, were all their Life- 
time jubject to Bondage. Heb. ii. 14. By 
fubmitting to the Stroke of Death he dis- 
armed it of it's Sting, and opened a Way 
for triumphing over it in his glorious Re- 
furrection. Thus, in whatfcever View 



we confider the Death of Chrijl, there is a 
Divine Glory in it. We may behold him 
making Peace by the Blood of his Crofs, and 
Light and Joy fpringing up out of the 
Depths of his Agonies and Sorrows. Such 
are the many falutary Effects of his Paf- 
fion, and the excellent Ends for which it 
was defigned, that we muft acknowledge 
it to be one of the mofl folemn and awful, 
yet one of the moll pleafing Scenes, which 
can be prefented to our Minds. A cruel- 
jied J efus, which was to the Jews aStumbling- 
Blacky and to the Greeks Foolifmefs, is the 
worthy Object of the Chri/lian's Glorying 
and Rejoicing. And we may ju/tly fay, 
With the Apoftle, upon obferving the ad- 
mirable Diiplay of the Divine Wifdom and 
Goodnefs in this Part of the Gofpel 
Scheme, that it beca?ne him, for whom are 
all Things, and by whom are all Things, in 
bringing many Sons unto Glory, to make the 
Captain of their Salvation perfect through 
Sufferings, Heb. ii. .10, 

Vol. III. K On 

■1^ 3 U . ' J j _! ■ i". " "f- ' f ' T "™ ■ T»W — * ' ■«»» ■ ■■«. WW WJ. T ^ Wt, I "1'WlWw if— n^ » —^.« . . , ■ _ , _y ■ 

0« Delighting in the gracious Methods of 
our Redemption by Jefus Chrift. 


Romans v. ii. 

£ — We joy in God through our Lord Jefus 
Chrift.— ■ 

IN our former Difcourfes on this Subject 
it was fhewn, that our Lord Jefus 
Chriji, the only begotten Son of God, at the 
Time appointed by the Divine Wifdom 
and Goodnefs, actually affumed human 
Flefti : That he brought the cleareft and 
fuileft Revelation of the Divine Will 
which was ever given to Mankind : That 
he alfo exhibited the moil perfect Exam- 
ple of univerfal Holinefs, Goodnefs, and 
Purity for our Imitation : That he per- 
K 2 formed 


formed the moll illuftrious Miracles, Acls 
of Godlike Power and beneficent Good- 
nefs ; and that he at length fubmitted, 
for our Sakes and in Obedience to his 
heavenly Father's Will, to the moft grie- 
vous Sufferings and to Death itfelf, that he 
might make Atonement for our Sins, and 
might obtain eternal Redemption Jor us. 
All thefe Things lay a juft Foundation for 
our Rejoicing in God through our Lord Jefus 

The next Thing to be confidered 
openeth to us a frill more glorious and 
delightful Scene, viz. Chrijt's Refurrec- 
tion from the Dead, and Afcenfion into 
Heaven, and the Glories of his exalted 
State. It was neceilary for wife and va- 
luable Purpofes that he mould fuffer and 
die ; but he did not continue under the 
Power of Death : God hath raifed hint icp, 
faith St. Peter, having locfed the Bonds of 
Death, becaufe it was not pofjible that he 
jlotdd be holden of it. Acls. ii. 24. The 
Refurrection of our Lord J ejus Chri/l is an 
Article of great Importance in the Chrifiian. 
Scheme. It was what he himfelf had 
foretold, and appealed to as a moft illuf- 
trious Confirmation of his Divine Miffion, 
and of the Truth of that GrnracteF under 
which lie appeared as the Sjh oJ'God, ike 




Saviour of the JVorld: He was declared, or 
demortfirated, as St. Paul fpeaks, to be the 
Son of God with Power by his Refurreclion 

from the Dead. Rom. i. 4. It was alio an 
open Declaration of God's Acceptance of his 
Oblation and Sacrifice, and that he was 
infinitely well pleafed with what Chrift 
had done and faltered for the Redemption 
of the human Race. And, finally, it 
was a fenhble Proof and Pledge of our 
Refurreclion to immortal Life. Chriji 
had promifed concerning thofe that be- 
lieve and obey him, that he would raife 
them up at the laji Day. Joh. vi. 39, 40. 
And his Rifing himfelf from the Dead, ac- 
cording to his own Prediction, fhewed 
that he is able to accomplilh this glo- 
rious Promife, and that it may be fafely 
depended upon : Now is Chrift. rifen from 
the Dead, faith the Apoflle, and become 
the Fir ft fruits of them that ftept. 1 Cor. 
xv. 20. Kis Refurrection is the Pledge 
of theirs, as the Firft-fruits were of the 
following Harveft. And ag;ain, if we be- 
lieve that Jefus died, and rofe again, even 

Jo them alfo which jleep in Jefus will God 
bring with him, viz. at his fecond 
Coming. 1 Thef. iv. 14. 

Chrift, having fhewed himfelf alive after 

feis PaiHon by many infallible Proofs, 

K. 3 afcended 


afcended into Heaven, and was received up, 
into Glory ; he was taken up in his hu- 
man Nature, in which he had defcende'd 
to fuch amazing Depths of Suffering and 
Abafement, to Joy and Glory inexpref- 
iible. This is a raviming Contemplation ! 
How mould it gladden our Hearts to con- 
sider the Glories which Chri/l's exalted 
Humanity is now inverted with, as the 
Reward of his Obedience and Sufferings ? 
For we are told, that, becaufe he became 
obedient unto Death, even the Death of the 
Crofs ; therefore God hath highly exalted him, 
and given him a Name which is above every 
Name. Phil. ii. 8, 9. Thus, in this ad- 
mirable Saviour, we have both the moit 
mining Example of holy unreferved Obe- 
dience, and alio the moft eminent Proof 
and Specimen of the glorious Reward 
which mall attend it. 

But we are not to regard Chri/l's Ex- 
altation and Glory merely as a Reward 
of his Obedience and Sufferings, but as 
neceffary to his farther Difcharge of his 
mediatorial Office. We muff not imagine, 
that, upon his Entrance into Heaven, he 
left off interefting himfelf for us of the hu- 
man Race. He frill purfueth his glorious 
Deiien which he had undertaken for our 
Salvation 5 and there are two Things to 



hz obferved concerning the Exercife of 
his mediatorial Office in Heaven. The 
one is his Appearing in our Behalf as our 
great High Priejl, and making perpetual 
Intercejjionfar us : The other is his being 
inverted with an universal Authority and 
Dominion as the great King and Head over 
all Things to his Church. 

With Regard to the former it is obfer- 
ved by the facred Writer to the Hebrews, 
that we have a great High Priejl that is 
faffed into the Heavens, Jefus the Son of 
God. Heb. iv. 14. It was neceffary to 
the Fulfilling of his Prieftly Office, that, 
as he had offered himfelf a Sacrifice for us 
upon the Crofs, fo he mould make Inter- 
ceffion for us in the heavenly Sanctuary. 
And this Interceffion is founded on his 
Atonement, and on the Merit of his Obe- 
dience and Sufferings. To this Purpofe 
it is declared, that Chrift, being an High 
Priejl of good Things to come, not by the 
Blood of Goats and Calves, but by his own 
Blood, entered in once into the holy Place, 
having obtained eternal Redemption for us. 
{ He is entered, not into the holy Places ftiade 
with Hands, which are the Figures of the 
true, but into Heaven itfelf, now to appear 
inthePrefenceofGodforus. Heb. ix. 11, 
12 3 24. And we are alfjared, that he is 
K 4 able 


able to five them to the uttermofi thofe that 
come unto God by him, feeing he ever liveth 
to ??iake Intercefjion for us. Heb. vii. 25. 
The Manner of this his Interceflion we 
are not able diftindtly to explain, but it 
feems to be underflood of a mofl preva- 
lent and efficacious Interpofition on our 
Behalf, whereby he procureth for us from 
his heavenly Father the moil valuable Be- 
nefits, and commendeth our fincere though 
imperfect Services to his gracious Accep-r 
tance. Accordingly we are exprefsly re- 
quired to offer up our Prayers for the 
Bleffmgs we Hand in Need of in the Name 
of Chriji the Mediator: Our fpir -it nal Sa- 
crifices are faid to be acceptable to God by 
Jefus Chrifl. 1 Pet. ii. 5. And it is 
through him that we have Accefs by Gne 
Spirit unto the Father. Eph. ii. 18. And 
God's having appointed this Method of 
transacting with us through his Son hath 
a happy Tendency to difpel our guilty 
Jealouiies and Fears, and gives us an en- 
couraging AiTurance that he will deal gra- 
ciouily and favourably with us ? What 
a mighty Conlblation is it to Creatures 
confcious of fo many Sins and Defects, 
that the Son of God, who by the Divine 
Appointment took upon him human Flem, 
I did and fullered fo much for us here 



on Earth, continueth, now that he is in 
the Height of his Exaltation and Glory, 
to mediate and intercede for us as our 
great High Prieji and Advocate with the 
Father, and that we are allowed and com^ 
manded to come in his prevailing Name ! 
The Apoftle to the Hebrews juftly draws 
this Conclufion from it: Let us therefore 
come boldly unto the Throne of Grace y that we 
may obtain Mercy, and find Grace to help in 
Time of Need. Heb. iv. 14,15, 16. Thus 
it appears, that Chriffs Priefthood in Hea- 
ven, and his Interceffion for us there, is 
a juft Ground of rejoicing in God through 
our Lord Jefus Chrifl:. 

But this Joy will be ftill heightened, 
if we confider that this great Mediator 
and Saviour is inverted with an univerfal 
Authority and Dominion, the more effec- 
tually to fulfil the Ends of his mediatorial 
Undertaking, and accomplim the glorious 
Work of our Salvation. To this Purpofe 
St. Paul declares, that God, having raifed 
him from the Dead, hath jet him at his own 
Right Hand in the heavenly Places, Jar 
above all Principality and Power, and Might, 
and Dominion, and every Name that is na- 
tned, not only in this World, but alfo in that 
which is to come ; and hath put all Things 
under his Feet, and gave him to be the Head 


over all 'Things to the Church. Eph. i. 20., 
21, 22. His Dominion is of univerfal 
Extent, Angels, Authorities, and Powers 
being made jubjeB unto him. 1 Pet. iii. 22. 
Thofe gloripus Beings are employed in 
ferving the Interefts of his Kingdom^ 
and are fent forth by him as minijtering 
Spirits, to minijler fir them who jhall be 
Heirs of Salvation. Heb. i. 14. Thus 
it pleafed God to order .it, that, as the 
ApofUe exprerles it, in the Difpenfation 
cj the Fulnefs jsf the 'Time might be gathered 
together in one all Things in Chrilt, both 
which are in Heaven, and which are on 
'Earth, even hi him. Eph. i. 10. But 
Chriji is in an efpecial Manner -the Head 
of his Body the Church. Col. i. .18. As 
iuch, he hath prefcribed Laws, and infti- 
tuted Ordinances to be obierved in his 
Church throughout all Ages. Soon after 
his Afceufion into Heaven, he gave an 
illuflrious Proof of his Exaltation and 
iGlory, by pouring forth the Holy Spirit 
from on high in a plentiful Effufion of his 
extraordinary Gifts and miraculous Powers 
upon the Apoftles and firft Publifhers of 
the Gofpel, who were thereby admirably 
qualified for the important Work upon 
which they were fent; and not only upon 
them, but upon great Numbers of thofe 



who by their Miniftry were converted to 
the Faith of Chriji. Accompanied with 
fuch glorious Evidences of a Divine Light 
and Power, the Religion of Jcjits foon 
made an amazing Progrefs, though it was 
defb'tute of all worldly Advantages, and 
had the mofl unfurmountable Difficulties 
to encounter with. The Pagan Superfli- 
tion and Idolatry fell before it. Thou- 
fands were every- where turned from Idols 
to fcrve the living and true God ; and vaft 
Numbers, both of Jews and Gentiles, in 
Opposition to their ftrongeft Prejudices, 
were brought over, in that very Age, to 
the Belief and Acknowledgment of J ejus 
who hath been crucified, as their Saviour 
and Lord. 

And not only did an exalted Saviour 
pour forth the extraordinary Gifts of the 
Holy Ghoft in the firft Ages of the 
Chrijlian Church, but he ftill continneth 
to be the great Difpenfer of fpiritual 
Bleflings and Benefits, and to communi- 
cate the ordinary gracious Influences of 
the Spirit. St. Paul's ufual Salutation at 
the Beginning of his Epiftles is this : 
Grace, Mercy, and Peace from God our 
Father, and from the Lord Jems Chriil ; 
intimating that all Manner of fpiritual 
Benefits are communicated to us from God 



the Father, as the fupreme original Au- 
thor ; and from Jefus Chrifl, as the im- 
mediate Difpenfer of them. And he elfc- 
where faith, that it hath pleafed the Fa~ 
ther that in him fiould all Fidnefs dwell. 
Col. i. 19. i. e. a Fulnefs of Grace and 
of the Spirit : And accordingly St. John 
obferveth, that of his Fidnefs have all we 
received, and Grace for Grace. John i. 16. 
And what a Comfort is it to be allured, 
that in Chrift, the great Head of his 
Church and Mediator of the New Cove- 
nant, the Power of communicating all 
neceffary Supplies of Grace is verted by 
the fovereign Appointment of the Father, 
for ourUfe and Benefit,, for purifying and 
healing our diitempered Souls, for arliil- 
ing our fincere Endeavours in the Per- 
formance of our Duty, and forming us 
into a Meetneis for the heavenly Glory \ 
And to him it alfo belongeth to put us 
into the actual PorTeilion of that Glory, 
as he himfelf fignifies in his lair, folemn 
Addrefs to his heavenly Father here on 
Earth, faying, Thou hajl given him (i. e. 
to thy Son) Power over all Flcfi, that he 
fkozdd give eternal Fife to as many as thou 
hajl given him. John xvii. 2. He will, 
upon their Departure out of this World, 
receive their feparated Spirits, and, finally, 


to complete their Salvation, will raife their 
dead Bodies from the Grave at his fecond 
glorious Appearing. And Nothing can be 
more aftoniihing and delightful than the 
Idea the Scripture gives us of it : He him- 
ie\f affures us, that he Jhall then come hi 
his own Glory , and i?i the Glory of his hea- 
venly Father, and in the Glory of his holy 
Angels. Luke ix. 26. Myriads of thofe 
bleifed Spirits (hall then form his illuf- 
trious Train, attended with a Pomp and 
Splendor exceeding the utmoft Flight of 
human Imagination : Then all that are in 
their Graves Jhall hear his Voice, and Jhall 
come forth ; they that have done Good unto 
the KefurreBion oj Life, and they that have 
done Evil unto the Rejurreclion of Damna- 
tion. John v. 28, 29. The Lord himfelf 
fail defend from Heaven with a Shout, 
with the Voice of the Archangel, and with 
the Trump of 'God ; and the Dead in Chritf. 
jhall rife Jirji. 1 TherT. iv. 16. They mail 
be raijed in Incorruption, Power, and Glory. 
And how tranfporting i9 it to look for- 
wards in the Views of Faith to that happy 
Tune, when this Corruptible flail put on 
Incorruption, and this Mortal jhall put on 
Immortality, and Death Jhall be fwallowed 
up in Victory I 1 Cor. xv. 53, 54. when 
Chrift Jhall change our vile Body, that it 



may be fajhioned like unto his own glorious Body '■; 
according to the Working whereby he is able 
even tofubdiie all 'Things unto himfelf. Phil, 
iii. 2i. Then fhall this great Mediatory 
who at his iirft Coming took upon him the 
Form of a Servant, and defcended to the 
loweft Humiliations and Abafements, have 
the higheft Honour put upon him before 
Heaven and Earth : For he JJoall judge the 
World in the Father s Name, and {hall 
difpenfe eternal Retributions. This com- 
pletes the glorious Scheme, and is ordered 
with great Wifdom, Righteoufnefs, and 
Goodnefs : For it mult needs give a 
mighty Force to his Laws, that to him 
.we muft be accountable for our Obedience 
or Difobedience to thofe Laws, and that 
he will himfelf have it in his Power to 
fulfil his own glorious Promifes, and to 
execute his awful Threatenings. This 
tendeth to fa-ike a juft Terror into the 
obftinate Oppofers of his Authority and 
Grace, and at the fame Time is full of 
Ccnfoiation and Encouragement to the 
Upright and Sincere : For what can af- 
ford a more manifeil Proof that we fhall 
be dealt with, in that great Day, not ac- 
cordino- to the utmoft Rigour of ftridl- 
Juftice, but with great Tendernefs and 
Equity, and that all proper Allowances* 


mall be made to our Infirmities, as far as 
they are confident with Sincerity, than 
that we are to be tried and judged by the 
moil benevolent Saviour and Lover of our 
Natures r" Come, ye blcjjed of my Father, 
will he then fay to thofe that loved and 
ferved him in Truth and with an upright 
Heart, inherit the Kingdom prepared for 
you from the Foundation of the World. 
Then mall he prefent the whole Church of 
the Firjl-bom, confifring of all the good 
Men that ever lived, from the Beginning 
of the World to the Confummation of all 
Things ; he Jball prefent them faultlefs to 
his heavenly Father with exceeding foy r 
and mall inflate them in the unchangeable 
Poffeffion of a complete everlafting Feli- 
city. There mall they be aflbciated to 
an innumerable Company of Angels ; with 
whom and with one another they mall 
enjoy the Pleafures of the mod perfect ce- 
leclial Love and Harmony, and mail be 
for ever bleffed with the immediate trans- 
forming Vifion of the Deity. Then mall 
Chrifl deliver up his mediatorial Kingdom 
to the Father, the great Ends of it being 
obtained, and God Jhall be all in all. All 
after that fhall be one uninterrupted Scene 
of Blifs and Glory, beyond what the Heart 
of Man can now conceive. Our Souls 


are loft in the boundlefs Profpect, {wal- 
lowed up in facred Extafy and Joy ! 

Thus we have endeavoured, though in 
a very imperfect Manner, to trace the 
great Work of our Redemption by Jefus 
Cbrift, from it's glorious Original in God's 
eternal Counfels, through the feveral in- 
termediate Steps of it's Accomplishment, 
to the Confummation of it at C/jrrJt's fe- 
cond Coming. And in every View it ap- 
peareth to be wonderful and glorious, 
wifely adj uftsd in all it's Parts, admirably 
directed and adapted to promote the moil 
excellent Ends, the Glory of God, and 
the Happinefs of Mankind. There can- 
not be a more fublime and fmiihed Idea 
cf the Mediator than is here fet before us. 
Every Thing is to be found on him that 
could be fuppofed to enter into the Cha- 
racter of a complete and all-fufficient Sa- 
viour. What an admirable Harmony is 
there in all his facred Offices ! What a 
wonderful Fitnefs and Congruity in every 
Part of his Undertaking ! So that one 
Vv-ould be apt to think, that every real 
Friend and Lover of Mankind mould at 
lea'ft wifh that this Scheme were true, and 
that there were fueh a Mediator and Sa- 
viour provided for us, as the Gofpel rc- 
prefenteth Jefus Qhriji to be. This Me- 


diator is but one. The fame wonderful 
Perfon is both our divine Teacher, and 
bur moft perfect Example ; our great 
Hiph Prieft, who offered himfelf a Sacri- 
fice for us, and our Advocate and Inter- 
ceflbr with the Father. He is Head over 
all Things to bis Church, inverted with an 
univerfal Authority and Dominion for our 
Benefit; and is the Difpenfer of all fpiri- 
tual and faving Bleffings ; and, to com- 
plete all, he fhall be our final Judge, and 
mall then appear to be, in the fulleft and 
mofi: glorious Senfe, the Author of eternal 
Salvation to all them^ that obey him. Thus 
fhall the great Work be accomplished by 
the fame Hand by which it was all along 
Carried on in the Father s Name. If there 
were many Mediators, we might be at a 
Lofsy and diflracted in our Thoughts 
which to apply to. Sufpicions might 
arife in our Minds, that none of them were 
fufficient. Beiides, it would tend to in- 
troduce Confufion in our Wormip, and. 
open a Way to Polytheifm and Idolatry. 
The Heathens had a Multiplicity of Idol- 
Gods and Mediators, to whom they ad- 
drefled their Worfhip, whilft the only living 
and trite God was in a great Meafure neo-- 

o fc> 

lecled. But the Gofp el- Scheme is fimple 

and uniform : As there is but one God, fo 

Vol. III. h there 


there is but one Mediator between God and Man .- 
And this Mediator is of infinite Dignity, 
every Way fufficient to anfwer all the Exi- 
gencies of our Cafe, able to five to the utter- 
mo ft all them that come unto God by him. 
The flated Order of the Gofpel-Worfhip is 
this, that, through Chri/l y the great appoint- 
ed Mediator, we haveAccefs by one Spirit unto 
the Father. In loving, obeying, and ho- 
nouring the Mediator, we love, obey, and 
honour the Father which fent him y and 
whofe fovereignWifdom, Grace, and Love 
are reprefented as the glorious Source of 
the whole Defign. Far therefore from 
drawing off our Regards from God our 
heavenly Father, or intercepting thatLove,- 
Truft, Adoration, and Obedience that is 
mod: juftly due to him, (which is an Ob- 
jection that hath been often urged againft 
the Goipel- Scheme of the Mediator) it 
rather heighteneth our Obligations to him,, 
our Confidence in his Grace, and our Ad- 
miration of his Goodnefs, in that he fa- 
loved the World as to fend his Son to five 
and to redeem us. As in the Mediatorial; 
Scheme all is admirably contrived for our 
Benefit and Comfort , fo all is ultimately 
referred to the Glory of God the Father*. 
whofe incomparable Perfections, his Wif- 
dom> his Righteouihefs, and Holinefs, and ; 

ei pec rally 


efpecially his incomprehenfible Grace and 
Love, here fhine forth with a moft at- 
tractive Harmony and Beauty. What an 
admirable Method is this of dealing with 
finful Creatures ! How becoming the 
Glory of his infinite Majefty ! 

It is proper to obferve, on this Occa- 
sion, that the Methods of our Salvation 
through Jefus Chriji are Things which the 
Angels dejire to look into, as St. Peter aflu- 
reth us, 1 Pet. i. 12. St. Paul, having 
faid, that great is the Myfiery of Godlinefs, 
God ivas manifefi in the Flejh, adds, that 
he was feen of Angels. 1 Tim. iii. 16. The 
Redeemer's Birth was celebrated with 
Hymns of Joy by a whole Multitude of the 
heavenly Hoft, This exhibited a wonder- 
ful Spectacle to thofe blerTed Spirits, which 
could not but engage their Attention. 
With what Aftonifhment did they behold 
the Son of God dwelling in human Flejh, 
doing and fufFering fo much on Earth for 
the Salvation of finful Men, offering him- 
felf to be the Propitiation for the Sins of 
the World, and afterwards afcending with 
his rifen Body into Heaven, and there ap- 
pealing for us, as our great High Prieft, 
in the heavenly SanBuary, and exercifing an 
univerfal Sovereignty for carrying on the 
gracious Purpofes of his Mediatorial King- 
X 2 dom ! 


dom. The Apollle intimates, that ?ioi& 
unto the Principalities and Powers in heavenly 
Places is made known, by or in the Churchy 
the manifold TV if dom of God, viz. as mining 
forth in the admirable Work of our Re- 
demption. Eph.iii. 10. This is a Theme 
lit to employ feraphic Minds. The Glory 
of it is not confined to the narrow Bounds 
of our Earth, but fpreads through t-hofe 
boundlefs Realms of Light andBlifs. And 
ihould not we take a Pleafure in exerci- 
ling our Thoughts on that glorious Sub- 
ject, which filleth the holy Angels with 
Wonder and Delight, and in which we 
are more nearly concerned than they ! 

lluw much therefore are thole in- the 
Wrong, who reprefeft the Gofpel as a- 
mean and gloomy Scheme !■ It fpeaketh 
Terror indeed to the obitinately Impenittnt 
and Di (obedient, who prefumptuoufly per- 
ii it in their vicious Courfes ; and, if it 
(pake Peace to fuch Perfons, it would- be a 
fir one Proof of it's Falihood and evil Ten-' 
dene v. But to penitent Sinners, who are 
heartily willing to forfake their evil Ways,: 
and apply themfelves in good Earnefi to.- 
the Practice of Righteoufnefs and true- 
Hoiinefs, it gives the bigheft poilible Com- 
fort and Encouragement. It furniiheth- 
the iho. M-eii Aillirance of God's Readinefs- 



to pardon all their Tranfgreffions, and to 
receive them into his Grace and Favour. 
•it fets their Duty before them in the moil 
amiable and engaging Light, and pro- 
mi feth them the gracious Aids of the Holy 
Spirit to amft. their Endeavours in the Per- 
formance of it, and that God will give 
sternal Life as the Reward of their iincere 
though imperfect Obedience. In a Word, 
to good and upright Souls it opens all the 
Springs of Confolation and Joy; it dis- 
plays all the Charms of infinite Love, and 
prelents the moft glorious and tranfport- 
ing Subjects to our Thoughts which can 
enter into the human Mind. It may 
therefore be juftly laid, that Nothing can 
poiTibly reprefent God under a more ami- 
able Idea than the Gofpel of Jefus, or be 
better fitted to engage us to delight our- 
fives in kim. With what Thankfulnefs 
and Joy mould we then entertain the 
happy Difcoveries ! and purfue our Medi- 
tations till, with Hearts full of grateful 
Devotion, we join in that celeftial Hymn 
of Praife, Blefing, and Honour, and Glory, 
mid Power, be unto him that fit teth upon the 
Throne, and unto the La?nb for ever and 

h 3 On 

On Delighting in the Laws of Gcd. 


Psalm cxix. 47. 

I will delight my f elf in thy Commandments, 
which I have loved. 

IT is the great Advantage of Religion, 
that it propofeth the nobleft Objects 
to our Contemplation which can poffibly 
be prefented to the human Mind 9 the 
eternal and felf-exiftent God, his glorious 
Attributes and Perfections, his wonder- 
ful Works of Creation and Providence, 
and the admirable Methods of our Re- 
demption and Salvation by our Lord Je- 
fus Chrifl. Thefe Things not only tend 
to improve and elevate the Soul, but fur- 
Li 4 nifli 

nifh a divine Satisfaction and Delight. 
This appears from, what hath been al- 
ready offered upon this Subject. But 
Religion doth not confifr. merely in the 
Knowledge and Contemplation pf facred 
Truth, but in the Practice of thofe Du- 
ties which are required of us in the Di- 
vine Law, And that this alio is a Source 
of pure and rational Delight I (hall now 
endeavour to fliew. It mull be acknow- 
ledged indeed that Perfons of a vicious 
Talre, and who are under the Power of 
corrupt Lufts and Appetites, are apt to 
look upon the Laws of God, and the 
Duties there required, as very rigorous 
and fevere. Apainft thefe their ftrono-eft 
Prejudices lie. But to Minds rightly 
difpofed, and which can form a true 
Judgment of Things, the Commandments 
cf God appear not only to be juft and 
reafonable, but, when faithfully obeyed 
and practifed, to be delightful too. The 
beil of Men in all Ages have found them 
fo by their own Experience. It is given 
as the Character of the Man who is pro- 
nounced hlejed, that bis Delight is in the 
La\i } of the Lord. Pf. i. 2. and that he 
de/ighteth great h in Gods Commandments. 
Pf. cxii. 1. How often doth the Pialm- 



ift exprefs, in the ftrongeft Terms, the 
high Affection and Efteem he had for 
the Laws of God, and the great Pleafure 
he found in them ! More to be defired are 
they than Gold, yea, than much fine Gold ; 
fweeter alfo than Honey or the Honey-comb. 
Pf. xix. 10. Thy Tefi /'monies have I taken 
(is an Heritage for ever ; for they are the 
Rejoicing of my Heart. Pf. cxix. in. 
What Warmth of Divine Affection glovv- 
eth in thofe ExprerTions, Oh how I love 
thy Law ! — / opened my Mouth and pa?itcd ; 
for I longed for thy Commandments.- — My 
Soul hath kept thy c Ycftimonies, and I love 
them exceedingly. lb. Ver. 97, 131, 167. 
And, in the Words I have chofen for the 
Subject of this Difcourfe, he declares it, 
as his deliberate Purpofe, / will delight 
myfelf in thy Commandments, which I have 
loved. It ought greatly to recommend 
them to our Efleem that they are God's 
Commandments. How pleafing muft it be 
to a good Man, when engaged in any 
Courfe of Action, to be able to reflect — 
" When I am doing this, I am doing 
* s what God reqnireth of me : I am ferv- 
<c ing and obeying the greateft and befl 
fl of Beings, my Creator and fovereign 
f f Lord, my moil generous and bountiful 
ff Benefactor, to whom I am under the 

" highefl 


•* highefr. poffible Obligations, and in 
" whom alone I can be happy." If we 
were wholly unacquainted with the parti- 
cular Reafons of the Divine Commands, 
yet we might be fure that they mult be 
founded on the wifeft and jufteft Reafons, 
fince Nothing can proceed from a Being 
of infinite Wifdom, Goodnefs, and Purity, 
but what is wife, and good, and pure. 
But it is a mighty Advantage, when we 
ourfelves, upon an impartial Confideration 
of God's Commandments, can plainly fee 
that they are in themfelves mofl reafonable 
and excellent, and that the Practice of 
them is conducive to the true Happinefs 
and Perfection of our Nature, and is fitted 
to afford a folid Pieafure and Satisfaction 
to the Mind. 

To fet this in a proper Light, let us 
take a View of the Divine Commandments, 
as they are ufually diftributed under three 
Heads : Some of them relate to the 
Duties we more immediately owe to 
God ; others to thofe we owe to our 
Fellow-creatures ; others relate more im- 
mediately to ourfelves, and to the right 
Government of our own Appetites and 
Pafiions. Thefe feveral Branches of our 
Duty are plainly referred to in that noble 
and comprehenfive PafTage, Tit. ii. u, 
12. The Grace of God, which bringeth Sal- 


vation, hath appeared unto all Men, teach- 
ing us that, denying Ungodlinefs and worldly 
Lufis, wejhould Iivefoberly, right eoujly, and 
godly in this prefent World. 

I (hall begin with confidering that Part 
of the Duty required of us which more 
immediately relates to God, and which 
the ApofUe in the Paftage now cited 
exprefles by Living godly in this pre- 
fent World. In Scripture Language the 
the Whole of practical Religion is fome- 
times called Godlinefs, to fignify the ne- 
ceflary Relation it hath to the Deity ; that 
a religious Regard to the fupreme Being is 
effential to a holy and virtuous Life ; and 
that the Duty we immediately owe to 
God is an eminent Part of the Duty re- 
quired of us in the Divine Law. And it 
is with a peculiar Reference to this that I 
{hall now conlider it. 

Our Living godly, taken in this View, in- 
cludeth the following Things : 

That we muft have a firm Belief of the 
Exiftence and Providence of God, and 
muft have our Souls pofTefled with juft and 
worthy Conceptions of his glorious and 
incomparable Perfections, and, in Conie- 
quence of this, our Hearts muft be brought 
under the Influence of fuitable holy Af- 
fections and Difpofitions towards him. 


s 5 6 D I S C O U R S E VllL 

That we mud: render him that religious 
Worfhip and Adoration that is juftly due 
to him, and mull he diligent in the Ob- 
servance of tho-fe facred Rites and Ordi- 
nances which he hath appoint ed in his 

That -we lnnfc afpire after a Conformity 
to him in his amiable moral Excellencies, 
us far as he is imitable by fuch Creatures 
as we are. 

And, finally, that we mult be careful 
to maintain a conllant Rerard to him in 
our general Courfe, having an Eye to his 
Providence in the Events which befall us, 
and doing what we do as in his Sight, in 
Obedience to his Authority, and in a Sub- 
ordination to his Glory as our fupreme go- 

ne: End, 

Thele are the Thinp-s in which true 
Godlinefs, or the Practice of the Duty re- 
quired of us m the Divine Law towards 
God, doth eminently confift. And it will 
not be difficult to mew, that the Exer- 
cifing ourfelves this Way tendeth to pro- 
mote our Happinefs, and to produce a 
Pleafure and Satisfaction of the noblefl 

Let us connder thefe Things diiTineTLy. 

Firft, True Godiinrfs neceffarily inclu- 
deth a firm Belief of the Existence and 



Providence of God,. j-uft and worthy Con- 
ceptions of his glorious and incomparable 
Perfections, and, in Confequence of this,, 
that our Hearts mull be brought under 
the Influence of fuitable holy Affections 
and DifpoJitions towards him. It is ob- 
served by the infpired Writer of the Epiftl© 
to the Hebrews, that be- that comet b unit 
God, i. e. he that would ferve him in aw 
acceptable Manner, mufi. believe that he 
is, and that he is a Rewarder of them that 
diligently feck him. Heb. xi. 6. A livelv 
Faith in an invifible Deity lies at th£t 
Foundation of all Religion and Godlinef?; 
And indeed; this is a Principle which Co- 
meth to u^ coniirmed by fuch clear and 
ftrong Evidence, that one would think no 
reafonable and confiderate Mind could fe- 
rioufly and in good Earneft doubt of it. 
This vaft Fabric of the Univerfe > which 
we continually behold, and particularly 
the wonderful Frame of our own Bodies, 
and the noble Faculties of our Souls, lead 
us by a juft and natural Confequence to 
one fupreme original Caufe, who was from 
everlafling, who gave Being to all other 
Things, but derived his own Being from 
none ; who created Heaven and Earth-, and 
all Things that are therein ; and difpofed 
them in that beautiful Order in which they 



now appear ; and who continually up- 
holdeth and preferveth this univerial 
Frame, and governeth the Creatures he 
hath made by his conftant fuperintending 

And, as we mud have a firm Perfuafion 
of the Being and Providence of God, fo 
our Minds mull be poflefTed with juft and 
worthy Conceptions of his glorious and 
incomparable Attributes and Perfections ; 
that he is a Being of almighty and irre- 
fiftible Power, who can do whatfoever he 
pleafeth ; of immenfe Greatnefs, who fillet h 
Heaven and Earthy and is intimately pre- 
ient to every Part of this vaft Creation ; 
that his Wijdom and Under/landing is infi- 
nite, and he knoweth, in every poflible 
Inftance, what is bed: and fitted: to be 
done ; that he is of the moft difFufive 
Goodnefs and Benignity, a?id his tender 
Mercies are over all his Works ; that he is 
a Being of fpotlefs Purity and Holinefs, 
of impartial Righteoufnefs and Equity, of 
invariable Faithfulnefs and Truth; that 
he is the fupreme univerial Lord, who 
givcth Laws to his reafonable Creatures, 
and to whom they mult be accountable 
for their Conduct ; and that he will pu- 
niih the obftinate Tranigreiibrs of his Laws, 
and will reward thofe that love and ferve 



him in Sincerity ; and, finally, that he is 
the chief Good, the Fountain of all Joy 
and Glory and Felicity, in whom alone 
we can be completely happy. A Senfe of 
thefe Things, when duly received and en- 
tertained in the Heart, hath a natural Ten- 
dency to produce correfpondent holy Af- 
fections and Difpofitions there : A fuperla- 
tive Love to God, a profound Reverence 
of his Divine Majefty, an abfolute unre- 
ferved Submiffion to his Authority and 
Reiignation to his Will, and a fleady in- 
genuous Truft and Confidence in him ; 
all which are neceflarily concluded in true 
Godlinefs, and are required of us in his. 
holy and perfect Law. 

There is no Difpofition towards God 
which is more efTential to true Religion, 
and on which a greater Strefs is laid in 
the Sacred Writings, than Divine Love„ 
Hence our Saviour, in Anfwer to the 
Queftion that was propofed to him, Which 
is the great Commandment in the Law ? 
makes this remarkable Declaration, 'Thou 
Jhalt love the Lord thy God with all thy 
Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with ail 
thy Mind. This is the Jirji and great Com- 
mandment. Matt. xxii. 37, 38. This 
Love to God is not to be underftood of a 
mere tranfient Pang and pamonate Warmth 


l6o DISCOURSE Vilf/ 

df Affection, but of the habitual abiding 
Difpofition of the Heart, founded in ari 
inward Senfe and Perception of God's in- 
finite Excellency and Amiablenefs in him- 
felf, and of his infinite Goodnefs, Grace,' 
•and Mercy towards his Creatures, parti- 
cularly towards us of the human Race. 
Where this Love to God is of the rieht 
Kind, it hath a mighty attractive Force, 
whereby we are powerfully drawn to ferve 
and to obey him ; and it rendereth the 
Obedience free and ingenuous. And hence 
it is declared, that this is the Love of God 
that zee keep his Commandments ; and his 
Commandments are not grievous, i John v. 
3 . They are not grievous to a Soul ani- 
mated with this Divine Principle. It 
Idndleth in the Heart an earner!: Defire to 
pleafe him, and to glorify him in the' 
World - y and caufeth us to value his Favour 
and Approbation above all Things. Where 
this is the reigning Difpofition, it will 
over-rule and controul the corrupt and 
fenfual Affections, and will engage us, for 
his Sake, to mortify our moft beloved Lults,- 
and to make ail the Interefts of the Flefh 
and of the World give W T ay to the fiipe- 
rior Interefts of his Kingdom; fo that we 
mall not decline any Services or Sufferings 
to which we ihali be called for the Came 



<jf Truth and Righteoufhefs, which is the 
Caufe of Gcd. It will tend to form us 
into his Divine Likenefs, and will excite 
in us earneft Afpirations after that State 
where we hope to be admitted to the im- 
mediate transforming Vifions of his Glory, 
and to the full eternal Enjoyment of his 
Love. And now how happy muft it be 
to act under the Influence of this glorious 
Principle ! Love, when vigorouily exer- 
cifed on the beft and nobleft Object, in 
which there is an abfolute Confluence of 
all poflible Perfections, is certainly the 
moft. delightful Thing in the World, a 
Source of the pureft and moft refined Joy. 
Here our Affections may rife higher and 
higher to Eternity, and never equal the 
real Excellency and Amiablenefs of the 
Object. The Perfection of Divine Love 
is Heaven itfelf, and the Beginning of it 
here on Earth is the Beginning: of Heaven 
and Glory. To command us therefore to 
love God with all our Hearts is in Effe ot- 
to command us to promote our own higheft 
Felicity, and to cultivate that Difpofition, 
which is the moft delightful Temper of 
our Souls. We fhould therefore, as we 
value our own Happinefs, do all we can 
to get our Hearts brought more and more 
under the Power and Influence of this 
Vol. III. M Divine 


Divine Affection. In order to this, let os- 
frequently reprefent to our Minds the Rea- 
fons and Motives we have to love God 
above all. We mould rife in our Thoughts 
to him as the fovereign original Goodnefs 
and Beauty, the Source and Center of all 
Perfection, who is everlaftingly and inva- 
riably poiTeiied of all that is great and 
good, excellent and lovely. This wide 
Univerie all around us mines with the 
Radiations of his Goodnefs and Glory. 
With what Delight mould we behold him 
diffufing the Streams of his Benignity 
through the whole Creation, communi- 
eating Happinefs in various Degrees to 
numberlefs Orders of Beings, and parti- 
cularly pouring forth the Bleiflngs of his 
Providence in a rich Abundance to the 
human Race ! But, above all, we mould 
frequently dwell in our Meditations on 
the exceeding Riches of his Grace as mani- 
fested towards us in his well-beloved Son 
jejus Chrijt our Lord, and in the wonder- 
iul Methods of' our Redemption and Sal- 
vation through him : For it is here efpe- 
clally that he appeareth in all the Glory 
of that amiable Character,, that God is- 



And, as it is required of us that we mould 
love God with a fuperlative Affection, fo 
alfo that we mould fear him with the pro- 
founded Reverence. It is a Command fre- 
quently repeated in the Divine Law, 'Thou 
Jhalt fear the Lord thy God. Deut. vi. 13* 
x. 12, 20. Agreeable to this is that Ex- 
hortation of the Prophet, Sanctify the Lord 
of Hojls himfelf and let him be your Fear, 
and let him be your Dread. If. viii. 13. Let 
us have Grace, faith the Apoftle, whereby 
ive may ferve God acceptably with Reverence 
and godly Fear. Heb. xii. 28. This is {0 
neceifary and of fuch Importance, that the 
Fear of God is in Scripture-Language fre- 
quently put for the Whole of true Religion* 
This may feem to make an unamiable Re- 
prefentation of it. But it muft be connV 
dered, that the Fear of God, which true 
Religion tendeth to in-fpirei is a quite differ- 
ent Thing from that fervile Horror, the 
Effect of Superltition, which arifeth from 
wrong and unworthy Apprehenfions of the 
Deity, and is a perpetual Source cf Uneall- 
neis and Anxiety. The Fear that God re- 
quireth is a filial Awe, fuch a Veneration, 
mixed with Love, as floweth from the 
higheft Efteem of the fopreme Being, and 
c iuft Senfe of his fovereipri Dominion and 
incomparable Perfections. Accordingly it 
M 2 is 


is reprefented as the genuine Temper of the 
People of God, that they fear the Lord and 
his Goodncfs. Hof. iii. 5. It is fuch a Fear 
of God as c-aufeth us to dread his Difplea- 
fure above all Things, and maketh us care- 
ful not to offend him, and delirous to fhun 
every Thing which is contrary to his holy 
Will and Law. And hence to fear the 
Lord, and to depart from Evil, are repre- 
fented as infeparably connected, and as in 
Effect the fame Thing, y^xxviii. 28. The 
Fear of the Lord, that is Wifdom ; and to de- 
fart from Evil is U?iderftanding This holy 
Fear of God hath a natural Tendency to 
check the Vanity and Levity of the Mind, 
to reprefs the tumultuous Motions of the 
diforderly Appetites and Paffions, and to 
keep every Thing quiet and in good Order 
within ; and confequent-ly it tendeth to pro- 
duce an inward happy Compofure and peace- 
ful Tranquillity. And the great Benefit and 
Satisfaction ariiing from this is very evident, 
eipecially when it is considered, that, in 
Proportion as the Soul is under the Influ- 
ence of a well-regulated Fear of God, it 
will be raifed above the D-ifturbance of all 
other Fears. An habitual awful Senfe of 
the Divine Majeliy, deeply impreffed upon 
the Heart, will caufe a Man to think little 
comparatively of the Power or Terror of 



■Creatures like himfelf; fo that this Part 
•of the Divine Law is alfo manifeflly condu- 
cive to our Happinefs, and we cannot do a 
better Thing for ourfelves, than to endea- 
vour to get our Souls thoroughly pofTeffed 
with a reverential Regard to the Lord Je- 
hovah. In order to this we Should fre- 
quently realife him to our Minds in his uni- 
verfal Sovereignty* his immenfe GreatneSs 
his almighty Power, his boundlefs Good- 
nels, his impartial Righteoufnefs, and Spot- 
Jefs Purity. This glorious ASfemblage of 
Excellencies and Perfections naturally tend- 
•eth to -Strike the Mind with a facred Awe of 
God, and represents him as infinitely ve- 
nerable as well as amiable. 

Another Difpofition towards God, which 
is alfo of great Importance in Religion, is 
an abfolute Submimon to his Authority and 
Refignation to his Will. And this indeed 
naturally follows from fuch a fuperlative 
Love to God, and reverential Awe of his 
Divine Majefty, and Fear of offending him, 
■as have been mentioned. That is a very 
•important and comprehensive Precept, Sub- 
mit yourfe'hes to God. Jam. iv. 7. This is 
to be understood of a willing complacential 
Submimon, not as of Neceffity and Com- 
pulsion, but from Inclination and Choice ; 
t and it rauft be abfolute and intire, without 
M 3 Exception 


Exception^ Limitation, or Referve : For ab^ 
folute Dominion, in Conjunction with infi- 
nite Goodnefs and unlimited Perfection, is 
moft juflly intitled to ablblute unreferved 
Submiffion and Obedience. It ought to be 
the Language, not merely of our Lips, but 
of our Hearts, Lord, what wilt thou have 
me to do ? Acts ix. 6. Here am I, let the 
Ji,ord do to me as feemeth good unto him. 2 Sam. 
xv. 26. The Will of the Lord be done. Acts 
xxi. 14. It ihould be the Matter of our daily 
Prayer, that his Will may be done on Earth, 
as it is done in Heaven. We muit do what 
we can that our obftinate Self-will may be 
iubdued, and that our Wills may be wholly 
regulated and determined by the good and 
holy Will of God, relblving to make it our 
fincere and conftant Endeavour to walk in 
Obedience fed all his Commands, and to ac- 
quiefce in all his Appointments. This is a 
Temper of Mind highly reasonable, and 
iuited to the Relations between him and us, 
as he is our Maker and abfolute Proprietor, 
and we are his Creatures, his conftant De- 
pendents and Beneficiaries, and the Subjects 
of his moral Government. And how happy 
is it to have our Souls thus wrought into a 
fubmiiiive obediential Frame, and our Wills 
rcfolved into the Divine ! To reiign ouf- 
ielves to the Conduct of the infinitely per- 
fect Being, and embrace what the fupreme 



Wifdom and Gcodnefs feeth to be really 
bed and fittefr. for us ! 

This leadeth me to add, that we are 
required in the Divine Law to cxercife a 
firm Truft. in God, and a fiducial Depen- 
dence upon him. To engage us to this is 
the Dengn of thofe excellent Precepts, 
Wait upon the Lord, and he Jkall ftrengthm 
thine Heart ; wait, I fay, on the Lord. Pf. 
xxvii. 14. Commit thy Way unto the Lord-, 
truft alfo in him 3 and he fia 11 bring it to pafs. 
Pf. xxxvii. 5. Cajl thy Burden upon the 
Lord, and he jhall fuflain thee -, he Jhall never 
Juffer the Righteous to be moved. Pf. Iv. 22. 
!/ rujl in the Lord with all thine Heart, and 
lean not unto thine own Under/landing ; in all 
thy Ways acknowledge him, and he Jkall dire 51 
thy Paths. Prov. iii. 5, 6. We are re- 
quired not to trull in uncertain Riches, but 
in the living God, who giveth us richly all 
'Things to enjoy. 1 Tim. vi. 17. And to 
commit the Keeping of our Souls to him, in 
Well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator. 1 Pet. 
iv. 19. And furely the very Mention of 
thefe Duties of Religion is fufficient to mew 
their Reafonablenefs and Excellency, and 
the great Advantage and Satisfaction which 
will arife from the Obfervation of them. 
If we were to contrive Laws for our own 
Benefit, they could not poffibly be better 
M 4 fitted 


fitted to promote our Happincfs. What a 
Privilege is it to be allowed, and even com- 
manded, to put our Truft in God, and to cafl 
cur Cares upon him, and, amidft all the 
Changes and Viciffitudes of this mortal 
Life, to make the Lord "Jehovah our Stay 
and our Refuge ! This is the befr, the moil 
effectual Remedy againft anxious Cares, 
defponding Fears, and fretting Difcoiir 
tints! Happy thofe, above the reft of 
Mankind, who, firmly relying on God's 
all-fufficient Goodnefs, and on his moft 
gracious Promifes, commit their Bodies and 
Souls, their Concernmentsy^r the Life that 
now is, and for that which is to come, into 
his Hands, being perfuaded that he will 
order all Things really for the heft, and 
that all his Difpenfations are conducted by 
the fteady Rules of infinite Wifdom, 
Righteoufnefs, and Equity ! What inward 
Peace and Pleafure do fuch Perfons enjoy, 
what a folid Contentment and Satisfaction 
of Mind, to which they are Strangers who 
live in the Neglect of thefe excellent Pre- 
cepts ! *£he Lord God is a Sun and Shield ; 
he will give Grace and Glory ; no good Taking 
will he wiih-hold from than thai walk up- 
rightly. O Lord, of Ho/Is, hi fed is the Man 
thai infeth in thee. Pi", lxxxiv. u, 12. 



Thus I have confidered thofe Affections 
; and Difpofitions towards God, which are 
jieceiTarily included in true Godlinefs, and in 
which the Religion of the Heart doth emi- 
nently coniift. And it plainly appears, that 
this Part of our Duty is not only perfectly 
agreeable to right Reafon, but is manifeflly 
conducive to our own Happinefs, and lays a 
iblid Foundation for an inward Satisfaction 
and Delight. What further remaineth to 
be confidered, with Refpect to cur living 
godly in thisprefent World, mujd be referved 
for another Difcourfe. 


On Delighting in the Laws of God. 


Psalm cxix. 47. 

J will delight my/elf in thy Commandments, 
which I have loved. 

E are now confidering that Part of 
the Duty required of us in the Di- 
vine Law which immediately relateth to 
God, and which may in the propereft Senfe 
be called Gcdlinefs. This includeth, as hath 
been already {hewn, our Endeavouring to 
get our Minds porlefled with a flrong and 
lively Perfuafion of the Exiflence, the Per- 
fections, and Providence of God, and with 
thole holy Affections and Difpofitions which 
become reaionahle Creatures towards the 


fupremc Being - y fuch as a fuperlative Love* 
t& profound and filial Reverence, an abfolute 
Submiffiori to his Authority and Resigna- 
tion to his Will, and an ingenuous fteady 
TruO: >s.nd Affiance in Irim.. 

I now proceed to obferve farther, that it 
is a neceffary Part of true Godlinefs, or of 
the Duty we owe to God, to render him 
that religious Wordfhip which is his Due, 
and to obferve thofe facred Rites and Ordi- 
nances which he hath appointed in his 
Word. It is an important Part of the 
Divine Law, Then jhalt wcrjhip the Lord 
thy God, and him only Jhalt thou ferue. 
Matt. iv. jo. This Worshipping of God 
includeth, as the principal Part of it, an 
inward Adoration and Devotion : God is 
a Spirit, faith our Saviour, and they that 
worjixp him muji worjhip him in Spirit and 
in Truth. Our Hearts and Affections, and 
all the Powers of our Souls, miaft be engaged, 
when we pay our religious Homage to that 
moll pure and perfect Mind, the Sovereign 
Lord of the Univerfe ; and? that we may 
do this in a proper Manner, we muil endea- 
vour to withdraw our Thoughts for a While 
from our worldly Occupations, Diversions, 
and Cares, and fix them upon God, realifmg 
him to our Minds in his incomparable Ma- 
J€fty, his Grcatnds, Goodnele, and Purity. 



And this mull: be ordinarily accompanied 
with fome outward Signs and Expreffions of 
the inward Devotion of our Hearts ; The 
very Frame of the human Body feems to 
be peculiarly fitted for this. Man is made 
with a Countenance eredt towards Heaven, 
and not, like that of other Animals, prone 
towards the Earth : He hath the Power of 
bending his Knees, and of railing his Hands 
in an adoring Poiture, and of lifting up his 
Eyes in a Manner wonderfully expreffive of 
awful Veneration j and by the admirable 
Faculty of Speech he is capable of uttering, 
in diftinct articulate Sounds, the inward 
Sentiments and Affedions of his Mind. It 
is proper therefore that, at the fame Time 
that we worf/jip God in our Spirit Sy there 
mould be fomething correfpondent to it in 
our bodily Gefture and Deportment : O come 
let us worjkip and boiv down> faith the 
Pfalmift, let us kneel before the Lord our 
Maker. Pf. xcv. 6. But eipecially we mould, 
on fuch Occasions, exprefs in Words the 
devout Sentiments of our Hearts. This 
is very proper and ufeful even in our private 
Devotions, but is abfolutely neceffary in 
public and focial Ads of Wormip. And, 
as thefe Ads of Religion have an immediate 
Relation to the Deity, Co we are faid, in the 
Language of Scripture, to draw near to God 



in thofe holy Exerciies. We then maintain 
a facred Intercourfe with him, we let our- 
felves as in his immediate Prefence, and, as 
far as in us lies, lay our Souls ooen to his 
Divine Communications. God doth not 
require this of us, as it he were to he a 
Gainer by our Worhhipping him : For what 
Profit or Advantage can the all-futhcient 
"Jehovah reap from the religious Services we 
are capable of offering ? But he requireth 
us to worth ip him, becaufe it is in the Na- 
ture of Things mod lit and proper that rea* 
fonable Creatures mould render this facred 
Homage to the fupreme Lord of the Uni- 
verfe, and becauie it is a worthy Employ- 
ment of the noble Faculties and Powers he 
hath given us, and tends to the Heighten* 
ing &nd Improving pious and excellent Dii~ 
pciitions in our Souls, and confequenily to 
the Promoting the true Haopinefs and Per- 
rection of our Natures. Surely then every 
iincere and well-difpofed Mind may upon 
juii Grounds fay, with the devout Pialmiir, 
M is good for me to draw near to Gcd. Ff, 
lxxiii. 28. 

One eminent Part of religious Worfhip 
is Prayer, whereby we apply to God for the 
BlerTngs we ftarld in need of, whether fpi- 
ritual or temporal, relating to our Codies or 
to our Sauls : And this, hi iuch ilnful Crea- 
ture j- 


tares as we are, mould be accompanied 
with humble penitent Confeffions of our 
Iniquities, which render us utterly unwor- 
thy of his Favour -, and with earneil Sup- 
plications for his pardoning Grace and Mer- 
cy. By Prayer we acknowledge him as : 
the fupreme Difpofer, the Author and 
Fountain of all Good, from whom every 
good and perfecl Gift doth defcend. This is 
a Duty frequently and expreily required in 
the Divine Law : It is to be our daily Exer- 
cife. Nothing lefs than this can be under-^ 
flood by that Precept, Pray without Ceajlng. 
1 ThelL v. 17. And, for our Encou- 
ragement in this Duty, God is defcribed 
under this Character, that he is the Hearer 
of Prayer. Pf. lxv. 2. And it is a marvel- 
lous Inltance of his Grace and condefcend- 
ing Goodnefs towards us, and of his earned 
Delire of our Happinefs, that he is pleafed 
not only to allow, but to invite and even 
to command us to apply to him by Prayer 
for whatfoever Things are really good and 
needful for us. What a gracious Com- 
mand is that, in Phil. iv. 6, Be careful, 
or anxicujly foHicitom, for Nothing, but in 
.-.-• :ry Thing by Prayer and Supplication, with 
'i htinfg hi 'ng y let your Requejis be made known 
ttnto God! Not as if he did not know what 
We itand in need of without our Prayerr,. 



but it is his Will that we fhould ouffclve3 
feprefent our Wants and Defires before 
him, and humbly apply to him for Affift- 
ance and Relief, in order to the keeping up 
in our Minds a conftant Senfe of our De- 
pendence upon God, and to the flrengtH- 
ening of holy and good Affections towards 
him in our Hearts : And this, when rightly 
performed, is highly advantageous and de- 
lightful. Whilft we folemnly invocate his 
Divine Majefty, and addrefs ourfelves to 
him by earneft Prayer and Supplication, we 
feel his facred and powerful Attractions,- 
we are brought into a nearer Acquaintance 
with him, and to a more intimate Senfa- 
tion of his Glory and Excellency, and all- 
fufficient Goodnefs. What a mighty Ad- 
vantage and Comfort is it that, under all our 
Grievances and DiflrefTes, we have a Liber- 
ty of Accefs to God through J ejus Chriftj 
and can come boldly unto the Throne of Grace ,- 
to obtain Mercy, and to find Grace to help us 
in the Time of Need? Heb. iv. 16. 
We can at all Times pour forth our 
Wants into the Bofbni of our mod com- 
panionate heavenly Father, and almighty 
Friend, who is mere ready to give good 
Things, and especially his Holy Spifit, to 
them that Jince rely ajk him, than earthly Pa- 
rents are to give good Gifts unto their Chil- 
dren. Matt. vii. 11. Luke xi. 13. In this 



feefpecl it may be judly faid, that God 
hath required that of us which we ourfelves 
ought above all Things to have defired ; and 
that what is injoined in his Law, as our Duty, 
is really our greateft Privilege. What 
unhappy Creatures mud: we have been, if, 
inftead of commanding us to apply to 
him by Prayer, God had forbidden us to 
prefume to offer up a Petition or Requeft 
to him, or to take his facred Name into our 
Lips ! And yet many there are who, by re- 
jlraining Prayer before God, do in Effect cut 
themfelves off from this ineftimable Privi- 

As to the noble Work of Thankfcivino* 
and Praife, which is another excellent Part 
of religious Worfhip, it evidently carries 
Delight in it's very Nature and Exercife : 
For it is, when rightly performed, the Ex- 
ercife of Love, Admiration, and Gratitude, 
that is, of our nobleft and mofi delightful 
Affections, towards the mod: excellent of all 
Objects. What a'Divine Joy ipringeth up 
in a good Man's Heart, when he calleth 
upon his Sotd and all that is within him to 
adore and blefs God's glorious Name, to 
publifli his moll worthy Praife, and to ce- 
lebrate his peerlefs Perfections and many 
marvellous Benefits ! Whilfl he is thus en- 
gaged, giving Vent to his belt Affections, and 

Vol. III. N offering 


offering up the grateful Tribute of a devout 
Mind, he mingleth as it were with the blef- 
fed Seraphims, and entereth upon their 
Employments and their Joys, and can look 
down with a generous Contempt upon all 
the low muddy Delights of Senfe and this 
vain World. Juftly therefore doth the 
Pfalmifl declare,, that it is good to fng 
Praifes unto our God ; for it is pleafmt, and 
Praife is comely. Pf. cxlvii. i. And again 
Pf. exxxv. 3 . Praife ye the Lord, for the 
Lord is good ; Jing Praifes unto his Name, 
J or it is p leaf ant. 

I add, that the religious Worfhip, which 
the Divine Law requireth, doth alfo include 
a diligent Attendance on thofe facred Ordi- 
nances which God hath appointed in his 
Word. It is certainly a great Advantage 
that we have religious Rites prefer! bed to 
us by God himfelf to be ufed in his Wor- 
fhip, and a due Obfervance of them, inflead 
of being an uneafy Burden upon us, doth 
really contribute to our Satisfaction and Joy. 
This is particularly true of the Sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper, the principal ftand- 
ing Ordinance of the New Tef anient, and 
which Chri/fs faithful Difciples are obliged 
frequently to celebrate. What can have a 
happier Influence to nil the Heart of a fin- 
cere Chrijiian with Confolation and Joy*. 


D i S C O U R S E IX. i 79 

than frequently to commemorate our Lord 
Jefus Chrifty and the great Things he hath 
done and fuffered for our Salvation ! To be 
allowed and invited to celebrate a holy Feajl 
over the affecting Memorials of the Re- 
deemer's Sacrifice, and to folemnife a facred 
Covenant with God through his well- be- 
loved Son, who loved us, and gave hipifelffor 
us ! Among the primitive Chrijlia?is, this 
Sacrament was wont to be called the Eu- 
charift, i. e. c Tha?ikfgivi?ig, for fo the Word 
fignifies ; becaufe joyful Thankfgiving and 
Praife is there our proper Work. How 
great then are our Obligations to the Good- 
nefs of God, that he hath been graciouily 
pleafed to inftitute fuch an Ordinance as 
this for ftrengthening our Faith, and con- 
firming our pious Refolutions, and heighten- 
ing our Joys in this Pilgrimage-ftate ! And 
what Enemies are they to their own Com- 
fort who live in the habitual Neglect of 
it? r 

Upon this brief View of the principal 
Parts of Divine Worlhip, I think it may be 
juftly affirmed, that the religious Service of 
the Lord's-Day is to a well-diipofed Mind a 
delightful Employment. It is far from be- 
ing a Hardfhip to be obliged to fet apart 
one Day in Seven for God's more immediate 
Worfhip and Service : And thofe certainly 
N 2 betray 


betray a depraved Temper of Mind wfrry 
find Fault with Religion and the Divine 
Love on this Account. If the ftated Re- 
turns of this facred Day were more fre- 
quent, there might be fome Pretence for 
complaining, that it prejudiced our worldly 
Affairs, and that we were abridged of the 
Time necefiary for our Bufinefs, or for our 
Recreations ; if the Returns were more rare, 
we mould run a great Hazard of lofing the 
Relim of fpiritual Things, and of being ab- 
folutely immerfed in the Pleafures and Cares 
of this prefent World : But, by requiring 
us to' lay aiide our worldly Employments, 
and apply ourfelves to the immediate Ex- 
ercifes of Religion, one Day in a Week, 
God hath wifely and mercifully provided for 
the Eafe and Refreshment of our Bodies, 
and for the Improvement of our Minds. 
And, if we make a right Ufe of our Oppor- 
tunities, we mall find that they are the mod 
delightful Sealbns we enjoy here on Earth, 
and which tend greatly to Strengthen and 
enlarge good Affections and Difpofitions in 
our bouls, and to form us into a Meetnefs 
for the Work and for the Joys of Heaven. 
J-uftly therefore is the Sabbath called a De- 
light, the Holy of the Lord, and honourable. 
li: Iviii. 13. The bell; of Men in all Ages 
have let a high Value upon the Ordinances 


of Religion, and the Exercifes of Divine 
Woifhip ; and have expreifed great Satis- 
faction in them. This is what the devout 
Plalmift frequently fignifies in the moil: 
emphatical Exprefiions : One Thing have I 
de fired of the Lord, that 'will Ifeek after ; 
that I may dwell in the Hoafe of the Lord for 
ever, to behold the Beauty of the Lord, and to 
inquire in his 'Temple. Pf. xxvii, 4. Send 
forth thy Light and thy Truth ; let them lead 
me, let them bring me near to thy holy Hill, 
and to thy Tabernacles ; then will I approach 
to the Altar of God, to God my exceeding foy. 
Pf. xliii. 3, 4. The xliid and Ixiiid Pfalms 
are particularly remarkable to this Purpofe ; 
and it is the intire Subject of the lxxxivth : 
How amiable are thy Tabernacles, O Lord of 
Hofts ! — My Soid longeth, yea, even faint eth 
for the Courts of the Lord-, my Heart and my 
Flejh crieth out for the living God. — One Day 
in thy Courts is better than a Thou fa nd ; I had 
rather be a Door-keeper in the Houfe of my 
God, than to dwell in the Tents of fVickednefs. 
Pf. lxxxiv. 1, 2, 10. And, if good Men 
under the Old Teftament found fuch Delight 
in drawing near to God in the Ordinances of 
his Houfe, and in the Solemnity of his 
Worfhip, how much more mould we do lb 
pnder the moft perfect Difpenfation of the 
£?oipel, in which we have moft glorious 
N 3 Manifestations 


Manifeftations of the Divine Grace and 
Goodnefs, and the Ordinances of which are 
more free and fpiritual, and more fitted to 
produce a facred Joy ! Some will be ready 
to brand all this with the contemptuous 
Name of Entb'ufiafm ; for which I can fee 
no Reafon, except they be refolved to call 
the nobleft Elevations of the Heart and Af- 
fections towards the moil excellent Objects 
by that Name. But they, who have had 
Experience of thole Divine Joys, will not 
fuffer themfelves to be bantered out of their 
own Feelings by thofe who /peak Evil of the 
^things they imderjland not ; nor would they 
exchange the pure Delights of Communion 
with God in the Ordinances of his Worlhip 
for all the boa'ted Pleafures of the volup- 
tuous Senfualift. And, if the Generality of 
profeffed Chrifliam do not find fo much De- 
light in religious Duties, and in attending 
on Divine Ordinances, as might be expect- 
ed, it is becaufe they are apt to take up 
with a mere fpirklefs Form ofGod!inefs> and 
with the mere outward Performance of fa- 
cred Exercifes j and do not take Pains to 
ilir up good Affections in their Hearts, and 
to maintain that Divine Temper of Soul 
>vhich mould animate all our Devotions. 

But it is proper to obferve farther, Thirdly, 
That true Godlinefs, or the Practice of the 



Duty we owe to God, not only includes our 

rendering him that Worfhip which is due, 
o . . ..... 

but our endeavouring to imitate him in his 

amiable moral Excellencies, as far as we are 
capable of doing fo. God hath been pleafed, 
in his marvellous Goodnefs and Condefcen, 
fion, to honour us fo far as to propofe him- 
felf to us in his holy Word, as the great 
Exemplar and Pattern to which we mult, 
labour to be conformed : It is his exprefs 
Command, Be ye holy, for I am holy. Levit. 
xix. 2. 1 Pet. i. 16. To the fame Pur- 
pofe is that Injunction in Eph. v. 1. N Be ye 
Followers (or, as it might be more properly 
rendered, Imitators) of God, as dear Children. 
Our Saviour fignirieth the fame Thing in a 
very flrong and emphatical Manner of Ex- 
premon, when he faith, Be ye per/eft^ as 
your Father which is in Heaven is perfect. 
Matt.v. 48. This cannot be understood as 
if we were capable of attaining to an equal 
Degree of Perfection with God himfelf, 
which it were abfurd and impious to ima- 
gine ; but the Meaning is, that we mould 
make it our earned: Defire and continual 
Endeavour to refemble him more and more 
in his imitable moral Perfections ; for it is 
evident, that it is to God's moral Perfec- 
tions that our Saviour there refers, and efpe- 
cmlly to his beneficent Love and Goodnefs. 
N 4 We 


We muft do what we can, as reafonable and 
moral Agents, to get his amiable Perfec- 
tions copied out upon our own Souls. Man, 
in his primitive State of Rectitude, is repre- 
fented as having been made after the Image of 
God, which is not faid of any of the inferior 
Creatures : And it is the great Defign of 
Chrijlianity to engage us to put on the new 
Man, 'which after God is created in Righteouf- 
tiefs and true Hdinefs. Eph. iv. 24. True 
Chrijiians are faid to be made Partakers of 
the Divine Nature. 2 Pet. i. 4. And furely 
this fets our Duty in a noble and engaging 
Light. What a happy, as well as honour- 
able, Thing mud it be to afpire to be like 
God, the great Original of all Perfection 
and Excellence ; and like his well-beloved 
Son, in Purity and Holinefs, in Goodnefs 
and univerfal Benevolence, in Righteoufnefs 
and Equity, in Faithfulnefs and Truth ! Like 
him in an invariable Love of what is morally 
good and excellent, and in a ffeady Abhor- 
rence of all Injuftice and Impurity, Falfe- 
hood and Deceit ! He requireth us thus to 
endeavour after a Conformity to him here 
on Earth, that we may be fitted for a Par- 
cipaticn of his Felicity and Glory in the 
heavenly State, where wejhall behold his Face 
in Righteoufnefs, and fall be perfecllyjatisfed 
with his Liken* I's. 



The laft Thing I mall mention, with 
Refpect to the Duty we owe to God, is, 
that we mould be careful to maintain a 
conftant habitual Regard to him in our 
whole Courfe, having an Eye to his Pro- 
vidence in the Events which befall us, and 
doing what we do as in his Sight, and 
in a Subordination to his Glory. The 
Command which was given by God to 
Abraham, the Father of the Faithful, is real- 
ly of univerfal Obligation : i" am the Al- 
mighty God j walk before me, and be thou per- 
fect. Gen. xvii. 1. Where it is intimated, 
that to walk as before God, and under a con- 
ftant Senfe of his Prefence, is the fureft Way 
to Perfection, as far as we are capable of 
attaining to it here on Earth. It is an ex- 
prefs and compreheniive Injunction, Whe- 
ther ye eat, or drink, or whatfoever ye do, do 
all to the Glory of God. 1. Cor. x. 31. 
The governing End we muft have in View 
in every Part of our Conduct mould be, 
not the Gratifying our own flefhly Appetites, 
or the Promoting our worldly Interefls, or 
the Procuring to ourfelves the Applaufe of 
Men j but the Pleafing and Honouring 
God, and Finijhing the Work which he, our 
fupreme and rightful Lord, hath given us 
to do. This will render our Practice con- 
fident and uniform, and will fpread a 



Beauty and Harmony through the Wholej 
Thus to live as unto God and for God ; to 
act daily as in his Prefence, and with a 
Regard to his Approbation ; is certainly the 
moft excellent and comfortable Life in the 
World. Happy thofe who, having their 
Hearts habitually impreffed with a Senfe of 
a prefent Deity, of his fovereign Authority 
and incomparable Perfections, walk as be?- 
fore the Lord in the hand of the Living! 
They carry about with them the moft ef- 
fectual Prefervative againft every Tempta- 
tion, and the moft powerful Engagement 
to every Duty. This hath a Tendency to 
keep them fteady amidft the many Fluctu- 
ations of this uncertain World : They fet 
the Word of God before them as their 
Rule, and in their Deflgns and Underta- 
kings have a Senfe of their continual De- 
pendence upon his Providence. In their 
Profperity they confider him as the glorious 
Author of all the Advantages they enjoy, 
and to his Bleffing afcribe the Succeis of 
their honeft Endeavours : In the Adverfities 
and Afflictions they meet with, they reve- 
rence his Hand, being fatisfied that they are 
all ordered and permitted by him for wife 
and righteous Ends. Thus a Regard to 
God eoverneth them in their general 
Courfe : And in this View true Godlinefs 



pay be faid to comprehend the Whole of 
a virtuous Practice, and fpreadeth it's In- 
fluence through every Part of our Duty ? 
even that which more immediately relateth 
to our Fellow-creatures, or to ourfelves. 
With what Satisfaction many good Men 
en^asre in the Bufinefs of their feveral Cal- 
lings, Stations, and Employments, and in 
the Performance of the Duties incumbent 
upon them in their civil and focial Capaci- 
ties, when they do them as in Obedience 
to the Will of God, and with a Reference 
to his Glory as the fupreme End, fenfible 
that this is a Part of the Work which he 
require th of them in this State of Trial ! 
Thus even their worldly Employments are 
fanclified, and become a Part of Religion ; 
their Life may be faid to be a Serving God 1 
and they find an inward Satisfaction refult- 
ing from a Confcioufnefs of the Divine Ap- 
probation, which thofe who live as without 
God in the World are Strangers to. 

I would conclude this Difcourfe with ob- 
ferving, that, in our religious Tranfaclions 
with the Deity, we muff have aconftant Re- 
gard to our Lord Jefus Chrijl, the Mediator. 
it is an important Doctrine of the Gofpel, 
that, as there is one God y fo there is one Medi- 
ator between God and Man> the Man Chriil 
Jefus, as St. Paul expreffeth h, 1 Tim. ii. 



£. And this is not a mere Point of Spec*v 
iation, but muff, have a fuitable Influence 
on the Practice- Through this great and 
only Mediator we are required to offer up 
our fpiritual Sacrifices of Prayer and Praiie. 
Through him we are to apply for the Par- 
don of our Sins, and for the Influences 
and Aids of the Holy Spirit. In him we 
are to hope for the Acceptance of our Per- 
i'ons and Services, exercifing a.conilant Re- 
liance on his Mediation, and Interceffion, 
and faving Power. We muft live the Life 
we live in the Flejh by the Faith of the Son of 
God, who loved us , and gave himfelf for us; 
and are exprefly commanded, whatfoever we 
do in Word or Deed, to do all in the Name of 
Jefus Chrifl, giving Thanh unto God and 
the FatJjer .by him. Col. iii. 17. And this 
is ib far from being an Hardihip upon us, 
that it is our greateft Privilege. God, by 
obliging us to have a continual Regard to 
the Mediator, hath manifeftly confulted 
our Satisfaction and Advantage. He hath 
not only provided for difpenfng his Benefits in 
fuch a Manner as is bell fluted to the Ho- 
nour of his Government and illuftrious 
moral Excellencies, but hath taken the moll 
effectual Method to remove the Fears and 
Jeajouiies of our guilty Minds, and to 
jmpire us with an ingenuous Affiance 



m his Grace and Mercy. How happy is' 
it to maintain Communion with the God 
end Father of all through the Son of bis Love, 
in whom he is always well pleafed ! To be 
daily looking unto "J ejus who is able tofave un- 
to the uttermojl all them that come unto God 
by him, to have his bright Example ever in 
View as our great Pattern, to feel the facred 
Conftraints of his wonderous Love, and to 
apply to him for Grace and Strength in 
whom it hath pleafed the Father that all Ful- 
n'efs Jhould dwell ! And, finally, to put our- 
felves under his gracious Conduct and Go- 
vernment, who is conftituted the Head over 
all Things to his Church ; and to look for- 
wards by Faith and Hope to his glorious 
Appearing, when he fhall come to be glorified 
in his Saints, and admired in all them that 
believe, and ihali put the finishing Hand to 
the great Work of our Salvation ! What a 
comfortable Life is this ! And how preat 


is the Goodnefs of God in requiring thefe 
Things of us ! 

Thus have I endeavoured to explain the 
true Nature and Extent of our Duty in the 
Relation it bears to God, and on the Ac- 
count of which it may in the propereft 
Senfe be called Piety or Godlinefs. And I 
have infilled the more largely upon this, 
becaufe it is what many Perfons feem to 


have a flrong Prejudice againft. But, from' 
the Account which hath been given of it; 
the Duty required of us in the Divine Law; 
confidered in this View, appears to be moffc 
reafonable and excellent, and is a Source 
of Divine Joy and Comfort. No Perfons 
have fo much real Satisfaction and Enjoy- 
ment as they who, not in outward Appear- 
ance only, but, in Sincerity and "Truths live 
godly in this prefent World : And they that 
neglect to do fo are not only deficient in : 
the nobleft Part of their Duty, and act in" 
a Manner unbecoming reafonable Creatures, 
the Subjects of God's moral Government, 
but are in Effect Enemies to their own true 
Peace and Happinefs. 



On Delighting in the Laws of God. 


Psalm cxix. 47.' 

If will delight my/elf in thy Commandments? 
which I have loved. 

HAVING confidered the Duty we 
more immediately owe to God, and 
which cometh properly under the Notion 
of Piety or Godlinefs j and fhewn, that it is 
really conducive to our own Satisfaction and 
Happinefs ; let us, next, proceed to the 
Duties required of us in the Divine Law 
towards our Fellow-creatures, which, as 
well as the former, are efTential to true Reli- 
gion, and neceflarily included in a holy and 
virtuous Practice, 



If we attend to the Frame of our Nature*/ 
we mall eafily be convinced, that the Au- 
thor of our Beings defigned us for mutual 
Affiftance and Benevolence. We are, in 
the original Principles of our Conftitution, 
fociable Creatures, i. e. fitted for the Offices,' 
the Duties, the Enjoyments of Society. The 
Happinefs of our Fellow- creatures, when 
our Minds are not distorted by Envy, or un- 
der the Influence of diforderlv Paffions, ex- 
hilarates and gives us Pleafure. And our 
own Joys are enlarged and heightened by 
Communicating, and would in a great Mea- 
fure lofe their Relifh in Solitude : And, ojt 
the other Hand, the Miieries of others,- 
their Tears, their Groans, their Sorrows* na- 
turally affect and move' us, and tend to pro-* 
duce correfpondent Feelings in our own 
Breafts. To which it may be added, that 
Men alone, of all the Creatures in this lower- 
World, ar^ endued with the Faculty of 
Speech, whereby they are capable of focial 
Intercourfe ; of communicating to one an- 
other their Counfels and Deligns, their 
Knowledge and Experience; of contributing 
towards each other's Improvement, and of 
promoting each other's lnterefts. It ftrength- 
eneth this, when it is considered, that God 
in his wife Providence hath placed us in 
iuch Circumftances here on Earth, that we- 
really fland in Need one of another. We 



are caft upon the Care of others, when we 
firfl come into the World ; and ever after- 
wards need the Affiftances, the kind Offices, 
and friendly Affections of our Fellow-crea- 
tures, for obtaining and enjoying the Ne- 
ceffaries and Conveniences of human Life, 
This is true of all without Exception, from 
the King to the Peafant, from the highefl 
to the meaner!: of the human Race. The 
Rich and Great need the Labours and Ser- 
vices of the Poor, as the Poor need to be 
affifted by the Wealth and Bounty of the 
Rich. We are under a Neceffity therefore 
of entering into Society, to which alfo we 
are carried by a natural Inclination ; and in 
luch a Temper and Behaviour as tendeth to 
mutual Satisfaction and Advantage, and to 
promote the general Good, all focial Virtue 
doth confift. As far as we are deficient in 
this, we are wanting to the original Inten- 
tion and Conftitution of our Being, and to 
the Delign of Providence in placing uc here 
on Earth. And accordingly no fmal! Part 
of the Divine Law relateth to focial Duties, 
and the Offices incumbent upon us towards 
our Fellow-creatures. Thefe are of great 
Extent : But they may be reduced to two 
principal Heads, Jujlice and Charity ; 
both which are fignmed in that remarkable 
PafTage of the Prophet Micab, which fets 
Vol. III. O before 

before us an excellent Summary of our 
Duty : He hath Jhewed thee, O Man, what is 
"goodi and what doth the Lord require of thee ', 
hut to do jujlly, to love Mercy, and to walk 
humbly with thy God f Micah vi. 8. The 
laft Part of the Words particularly relates to 
the Duty we more immediately owe to God, 
which hath been already confidered. Our 
Duty towards Man is here diftibuted into 
two main Branches, the Doing jujlly, and the 
Loving Mercy. 

It is the firft of thefe that I (hall now 
confider : I'he Lord requireth of us to do jujlly , 
1. e. that we mould do no Man any Wrong, 
but mould, as far as in us lies, do that 
which is juft and right to all Men. This is 
the Defign of that comprehenfive Precept 
in Rom. xiii. y. Render to all their Dues, 
We mull: endeavour to preferve to every 
Man his juft Rights, and not allow ourfelves 
to do any Thing which tends to deprive him 
of thofe Rights, or to injure him in them; 
for, as far as we do fo, we act unjujlly by 
him. That admirable Maxim of our Sa- 
viour placeth this in a fair and obvious 
Light : All Things whatjbever ye would that 

. Men Jhould do to you, do ye evenfo to them ; 

for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matt.vii. 
12. We are generally quick-fighted enough 
in difcerning our own Rights. We readily 


Discourse x. i 9 5 

fee what is due to us from others, or what 
it is reafonable and fit that they fhould do 
Unto us. It will therefore help to fet us 
right in our Conduct towards them to put 
ourfelves in their Place, and make their 
Cafe our own ; and, whatfoever we are 
upon cool Reflection fatisfied, that it would 
bcju/i and ?-ight for others to do to us, we 
muft look upon it to be equally juji and 
right that we mould do fo to them in the 
like Circumftances. This is what Reafon 
plainly requires : And an excellent Rule it 
is, which, if duly attended to, would be 
of great Ufe to direct us to zjujl and eqtti* 
fable Behaviour towards all with whom wei 
have to do. 

But it will be proper to cdnlider this 
Matter more diftinttly. Rights there are of 
various Kinds ; natural and civil Rights, 
and Rights refulting from particular Sta- 
tions and Relations, Conditions and Cir- 
cumftances. And Jujlice requireth, that 
we mould be careful, in our Dealings with 
others, not to infringe any of their Rights, 
nor to with-hbld from them what on any 
of thefe Accounts \sjufily due to them. 

Firft, There are what may be called na- 
tural Rights, Rights belonging to Men as 
Men, and which do not merely arife from 
arbitrary civil Conftitutions, or particular 
O 2 Compacts. 

jg6 D I S C O U R S E X. 

Compacts. Of this Kind is the Right of 
private Judgment in Matters of Religion 
and Confcience : For, as the Salvation of 
the Soul and eternal Happinefs is of far 
greater Confequence to every Man than any 
temporal Interefts whatfoever, fo the greateft 
and mod valuable of all his Rights is that 
of taking Care of his Soul, and doing what 
is neceffary for his Salvation ; and to abridge 
him of this Right is to do him the greateft 
Injury. As every Man muft give an Ac- 
count of himfelf to God, and not merely 
another for him j fo every Man muft judge 
for himfelf in Matters of Religion, accord- 
ing to the Reafon which God hath given 
him, and in a careful Improvement of thofe 
Helps that are afforded him,, and which he 
is obliged not to neglect : For a Man's 
Judging far himfelf is not to be underftood 
of a confident Prefumption, and. Self- fuffi- 
ciency, as if he were to be left to his own 
Guidance, and flood in no Need of Inftruc- 
tion or Afliftance. It is his Wifdom and 
Duty to make Ufe of the beft Inftructions : 
and Informations he can procure, otherwise 
his Ignorance, or Error, will be highly cul- 
pable. But, when he hath taken the pro- 
pereft Methods in his Power to get his 
Confcience well informed, he hath a Right 
to fcrve and worfhip God in that Way 



which appears to him to be mofl agreeable 
to the Divine Will, and to the Light of his 
holy Word ; and confequently he hath a 
Right not to be compelled to profefs that to 
be true which he believes to be falfe, or 
to practife that which his own Mind and 
Confcience difapproves and condemns as 
finful. We are required to prove or try all 
Things y and to hold f aft that which is good r 
i. e. that which appears to us, upon a care- 
ful and impartial Examination, to be good 
and true. 1 Theffi v. 2 1 . It is a {landing 
Rule in religious Matters, Let every Man be 
fully perfuaded in his own Mind. Rom. xiv. 5. 
And therefore he ought not to be conftrain- 
ed by Force to act contrary to that Perfla- 
tion. The greateft Infringement of that 
Right is open Perfecution, when, on the 
Account of Opinions and Practices which 
do not diflurb the civil Peace and Order of 
the Community, violent compulfory Me- 
thods are made Ufe of by bodily Pains or 
Imprifonment, or by threatening Men with 
the Deprivation of worldly Subftance, or 
even of Life itfelf, to hinder them from 
acting according to the Dictates cf their 
Confciences, or to force them to act con- 
trary to thole Dictates, /. e. to force them to 
fin ; for he that acteth againft his Con- 
fcience linneth : And, where it is not car- 
O 3 ried 


ried fo far, yet, if we revile and calumniate 
others for their religious Sentiments, we a£fc 
an unjuji Part towards them. We may in- 
deed, upon the moft mature and impartial 
Inquiry, think them to be in an Error, and 
in an Error which appears to us to he of a 
dangerous Tendency ; and in that Cafe it is 
both lawful and a Duty to endeavour to re- 
claim them in a Spirit of Meeknefs, and by 
Reafon and Scripture to convince them of 
it, and to guard others againft it. But we 
muft not, merely on Account of their Opi- 
nions, however miftaken, when they appear 
otherwise to be Perfons truly confcientious 
and of real Piety and Virtue, take upon us 
peremptorily to judge of their State with 
regard to the Favour of God and eternal 
Salvation. Such ram Judgments are ex- 
prefsly forbidden in the Divine Law : 72)ere 
is one Lawgiver ; who is able to fave and to 
defiroy. V/ho art thou that judgejl another f 
Jam. iv. 12. Why dofi thou judge thy Bro- 
ther f Or why dofl thou Jet at nought thy 
Brother ? For we pall all Jland before the 
judgment -feat of ChrifL Rom. xiv. 4, 10. 
fudge not, faith our Saviour, that ye be not 
judged : For, with what Judgment ye judge, 
ye Jhall be judged , and, with what Meafure 
ye mete, it Jhall be meafured to you again. 
Matf..yii. 1, 2. Every Man is fenfible of 


D I S C O U R S E X. i 99 

the Right of Conference in his own Cafe> 
and of the Injufiice of Perfecuticn, Re- 
proach, and ram Judgments, when it comes 
to his own Turn to fuffer on the Account 
of Religion : And certainly it is but juft and 
equal that we mould allow to others the 
fame Claims and Liberty of Confcience 
which we think ought to be allowed to our- 

Another of our natural Rights relates to 
our Lives and the Safety of our Perfons. 
Every Man hath a natural Right to his 
own Life, except he hath done fomethiug 
to forfeit it, or except the public Good and 
the Interefl of the Community require him 
to hazard or give it up j and confequently 
he hath a Right, and is obliged, to main- 
tain and preferve his own Life by all fit and 
proper Means in his Power. And one of 
the greater!: Acts of Injuftice that can be 
done by one Man to another is to deprive 
him, without a lawful Caufe, of his Life; 
and in Proportion to do any Thing which 
tendeth thereunto, to aiTault his Perfon, to 
wound or hurt Ivrm, or to put him upon 
any Thing that hath a Tendency to deftroy 
or impair his Health, or to deprive him of 
his Livelihood, and the Means of his Sub- 
fiftence. It is an exprefs Command of the 
Decalogue, Tkcti Jhalt not kill. And this is 
O 4 defig tied 

deligned to forbid not only the grofs ACt 
of Murder, but all unlawful Ads of Vio- 
lence offered to the Perfons of others. And 
our Saviour, the authentic Interpreter of 
the Divine Law, extends it fo far as to for- 
bid and condemn the being angry with our 
Brother without a Caufe. Matt. v. 21, 22. 
V/e are exprefly commanded to put away 
from us all Bittemefs, and Wrath, and 
Anger and all Malice. Eph. iv. 31. On 
the contrary, we are obliged to do what we 
can to preierve the Lives of others, as we 
would have others be ready to affiit in pre- 
ferving ours ; to protect their Perfons, as 
far as is in our Power 1 and to contribute to 
their Health and Safety. 

Another natural Right relateth to our 
Properties and PofTeffions. Every Man 
hath njuji Right to the Fruit of his own 
Labour and Induftry, and to be undifturbed 
in the PolTeiTion and Ufe of thofe Goods 
and Enjoyments which are become his by 
honefl and lawful Means : And all At- 
tempts to deprive him of them by Fraud or 
Force, and without the Command of law- 
ful Authority, are unjttft. To this the 
eighth Commandment of the Decalogue re- 
fers, Thau /halt not Ileal ; which is not only 
intended to forbid Robbery and Theft, but 
all Defrauding and Over-reaching of our 


Neighbour in Bargains or Matters of Com- 
merce, and all Extortion and Oppreflion of 
him by taking Advantage of his Ignorance 
or Neceffities. Many are the Precepts to 
this Purpofe in the holy Scriptures : Ye Jhall 
not opprefi one another ; but thou Jhalt fear 
thy God. Levit. xxv. 17. Thou Jhalt not 
defraud thy Neighbour ; neither rob him ; the 
Wages of him that is hired jhall not abide with 
thee all Night until the Morning. Lev. xix. 
11, 13. Te Jhall do no Unrig hteoujnefs in 
Judgment) in Mete-yard, in Weighty or in 
Meajure. Ibid. Ver. 35. Let him that Jlole 
jleal no more, but rather let him labour, work- 
ing with his Hands the 'Thing which is good, 
that he may have to give to him that needeth, 
Eph. iv. 28. The Divine Law forbiddeth 
even all inordinate Defires after any Thing 
which belongeth to others. Remarkable 
to this Purpofe is the tenth Commandment, 
Thou Jhalt not covet thy Neighbour's Houfe, 
thou Jhalt not covet thy Neighbours Wife, nor 
his Man-J'ervant, nor his Maid-Jervant, nor 
his Ox, nor his Afs, nor any Thing that is 
thy Neighbour s. We mud be fo far from 
aclually injuring others in wrongfully de- 
priving them of any of their PoiTeffions and 
Enjoyments, that we mud not indulge any 
Thought or Inclination in our Hearts tend- 
ing that Way, On the Contrary, we 


jfhould be ready, as we have Opportunity, 
to affifl them in Preferving their Properties 
and valuable Interefts, and mould, inftead 
of Grudging and Hindering, be forward 
to promote their lawful Gain, allowing 
them all reafonable Advantages, as we 
would have others in the like Cafe to allow 
to us. 

Our natural Rights alfo extend to the 
Preferving of our Reputation or good 
Name. This js a moft valuable Bleffing 
which greatly contributes to inable a Man 
to go through Life with Comfort to him- 
felf, and Ufefulnefs to others. The wife 
Man declares, that a good Name is rather 
to be chofen than great Riches. Prov. xxii. i . 
And therefore the Injuring a Man in this 
is at leaft as great an Injujiice as the 
Wronging him in his Property. Every 
Man hath a Right to have his Reputation 
unblemifhed, till he has done fomething to 
bring a Stain upon it j and therefore to 
defame him, to fay or do any Thing which 
tends to detract from his Reputation with- 
out juft Grounds, or needlerlly to expofe 
him by open Calumny, or fecret Whifper- 
ings or Backbitings, or to endeavour to lei- 
fen his Eilimation by Ridicule, is doing him 
great Wrong, and is wounding him in a 
very fenfible Part. This we all eafily per- 

ceive in our own Cafe : And furely it is fit, 
that we Ihould be efpecially careful of the 
Reputation of others, as we would have 
others be of ours ; and that we mould not 
do any Thing caufeleflly to hurt or impair 
it. This feems to be one Thing intended 
in the ninth Commandment, Thoujhalt not 
bear falfe Witnefi againft thy Neighbour. 
And again it is faid, Thoujhalt not go up and 
down as a Tale- bearer among thy People » 
Lev. xix. 16. Speak not Evil one of another ; 
Brethren. He that fpeaketh Evil of his Bro- 
ther* andjudgeth his Brother, fpeaketh Evil 
of the Law, andjudgeth the Law. Jam. iv- 
li. And it is given as the Character of 
the Man who jhall Abide in the Tabernacle of 
God, and dwell in his holy Hill, that he back- 
biteth not with his Tongue, nor doeth Evil to 
his Neighbour, nor taketh up a Reproach againji 
his Neighbour. Pf. xv. 3. 

This leads me to add, That, among 
thofe Right9 which are naturally due from 
others to us, and from us to others, may be 
alfo reckoned Truth which Men owe to one 
another, both in their Words and in their 
Actions. Every Man thinks he has a Right 
to expect from another that he mould fpeak 
Truth to him, this being the proper End 
and Ufe of Speech j and a Lye has gene- 

io4 D I S C O U R S E X. 

rally, in all Ages and Nations, been account- 
ed a bafe Thing. For a Man to promife 
that which he intends not to perform, or, 
if he then intends it, to break it afterwards, 
when it is in his Power to perform it, is 
looked upon to be a Breach of the Rules of 
Jujlice ; and a Man that is thus treated by 
another thinks he has a Right to complain 
that he is not fairly or juftly dealt with. And 
it is certainly equally fit that he mould him- 
felf fpeak Truth, and fulfil his Promifes 
and Engagements to another Man, as that 
another mould do fo to him. Truth mould 
{hew itfelf, not only in our Words to each 
other, but in our Actions and whole De- 
portment. This lies at the Foundation of 
all Fidelity, and of that mutual Credit and 
Confidence, which is one of the ftrongefr. 
Cements of Society. And accordingly it is 
frequently infifted upon in the Word and 
Law of God : Whatfiever Things are true> 
wbatfoever Things are honejl or venerable, 
whatfoever Things are juji — think on thefe 
Thi?igs, i. e. fo as to pra&ife them. PhiLiv, 
8. Ye jhall not dealfalfcly, neither lye one to 
another. Lev. xix. 1 1 . Putting away Lying, 
fpeak every Man Truth with his Neighbour - y 
for we are Members one of another. Eph. iv. 
25. And in the Defcription before referred 


to, It is mentioned as a necefTary Part of a 
righteous Man's Character, that he fpeaketb 
the Truth in his Heart, and that he Jweareth 
to his own Hurt, and changeth not. Pf. xv. 
2, 4. He is true and faithful to his Engage- 
ments, even where the Keeping of them 
may feem to turn to his own Lofs and Da- 


Finally, all Men have a natural Right to 
be treated with Humanity, Kmdnefs, and 
Decency, as being Partakers of the fame 
common human Nature. This may be 
regarded as that which is juftly due from 
all to all, and which hath it's Foundation 
in the natural Equality that is among all 
Men, confidered as Men, all of the fame 
Species, and originally of the fame Stock 
and Family. Whatfoever Difference there 
may be between fome of the human Race 
and others in their outward Stations and 
Circumftances, for preferving that Subor- 
dination which is fo ufeful and necefTary 
in Society, they mould never forget this. 
Men mould be treated by us as of one Blood 
with ourfelves, having Bodies alike framed 
and conftituted, and Souls endued with the 
fame natural Faculties and Powers; and 
therefore not with haughty Contempt and 
Difdain, with Harfhnefs and Rigour, ex- 


cept where their Conduct makes fucfi 
Ufage of them neeeffary. Accordingly the 
Scripture teacheth us to honour all Men. i 
Pet. ii. 1 7. And to be gentle, /hewing all 
Meeknefs unto all Men. Tit. iii. 2. And 
Gentlenefs is reckoned among the Fruits of 
the Spirit. Gal. v. 22. There is fuch a 
Refpect due to all Men as Men, that we 
muft not wilfully and caufeleflly affront or 
offend any Man* To this Purpofe are thofe 
Precepts : Give none Offence, neither to the 
Jews nor to the Gentiles. 1 Cor. x. 32. Pro- 
vide Things honejl in the Sight of all Men, 
And, Jfit be pojjible, and as much as in you 
lieth, live peaceably with all Men. Rom. xii. 
17, 18. 

The Rights that have been mentioned 
may be faid to be natural and fundamental 
Rights, in the Prefervation of which Jufice 
doth eminently confifl: : And it appears that 
great Care has been taken in the Divine 
Law, as delivered in the holy Scriptures, to 
oblige Men, in their Conduct towards one 
another, to fhew an uniform Regard to all 

There are alfo civil Rights arifing from 
the Laws and Conftitutions of the Com- 
munity to which we belong, and Rights 
that refult from particular Stations and Re- 


lations. Conditions and Circumftances ; to 
which we are obliged to have a due Regard 
if we would maintain the Character of jujl 
and righteous Perfons : And thefe I propofc 
to coniider in my next Difcourfe, 


On Delighting in the Laws of God* 


Psalm cxix. 47. 

/ will delight tnyfelf in thy Co?n?nandments f . 
which I have loved. 

OD, who is the wife and righteous 
Governor of the World, hath takeri 
great Care, in his holy Law, to oblige Men 
to deal jiiftly towards one another, i. e. that 
they ihould endeavour to re?ider imto all 
their Dues, and not do any Thing that 
tends to deprive any Man of his Rights, 
or to injure him in them. 

Thefe Rights are of various Kinds* 

There are what may be called natural and 

fundamental Rights, or Rights belonging 

P - to 


to Men as Men, and which do not depend 
merely on civil Confutations and Com- 
pacts : Some Account of thefe was given 
in my laft Difcourfe. 

I now proceed to obferve, Secondly, 
That there are civil Rights arifing from 
the Laws and Confutations of the Com- 
munity or civil Government to which they 
are fubjecl:, or from particular Covenants, 
Stipulations, and Agreements : And thefe, 
as far as they are juji, have a near Con- 
nection with the natural and fundamental 
Rights which have been mentioned. The 
proper Defign of civil Government is to 
fecure to Men their juji Rights, to protect 
their Perfons, their Properties, and Repu- 
tations, from the Attempts of Fraud, Ma- 
lice, and Violence ; and to hinder them, 
as far as poffible, from wronging and in- 
juring one another. For this Purpofe, 
there are in all civilifed Countries Laws 
and Confutations eftablifhed, in order to 
the Afcertaining and Determining parti- 
cular Rights conformably to the general 
Rules of Jujiice. The Forms and Regu- 
lations fixed upon may vary in different 
Communities, but the general Intention 
of them is the fame. And it is fit and 
proper that thofe Laws and Confutations, 
thofe Rules and Forms* mould be obferved 



and fubmitted to by the Members of fuch 
Communities : For, by Subjecting them- 
felves to civil Government, and enjoying 
it's Protection, they come under an Obli- 
gation, and in Effect enter into a Compact, 
to obferve the Laws and Orders, which 
the Wifdom and Authority of the State 
hath thought fit to appoint, for adjufting 
and regulating Men's refpective Rights, 
Claims, and Privileges. And, as it is the 
Will and Appointment of God that there 
mould be Government and Magistracy for 
the Prefervation of public Order, it may 
be juftly faid, that the Divine Law, in- 
ftead of weakening and vacating, ftrength- 
eneth and coniirmeth the Obligation of 
fuch lawful civil Constitutions ; and there- 
fore it would be unjiifl to endeavour to 
deprive any Man of thofe Rights, Privi- 
leges, or Emoluments, which, by virtue 
of fuch civil Constitutions, are fairly due 
to him. But then it muft be considered, 
that civil Laws are not adequate Rules of 
Right, nor muft we flatter ourfelves that 
we always do juftly > when we act up to the 
Letter of thofe Laws. A Man may, in 
fome Cafes, by rigoroufly exacting what, 
by virtue of the civil Laws and Constitu- 
tions, he may be faid to have a legal Title 
to, act a very harm and cruel Part, con- 
P 2 trary 


trary to the general Rules, not only of 
Charity and Mercy, but even of jujike 
too. And it cannot be denied, that there 
have been many Inftances of Perfons who 
have taken Advantage of the Letter of 
eivil Laws, in Oppoiition to the true In- 
tention of them, to harrafs and opprefs 
their honeft Neighbours. We muft there- 
fore fo regard civil Laws and Rights, as 
ftill to have in View that fuperior Rule of 
Duty, which obligeth us to deal kindly 
and equitably with all Men, to love our 
Neighbours as our/elves, and to do unto others 
as we would that they fl:ould do unto us. 

But, Thirdly, There are Rights refult- 
ing from particular Stations and Relations, 
Conditions and Circumflances. It is evi- 
dent that there is a great Variety in Men's 
outward Conditions in the World, and in 
the Relations they fuftain, and the Stations 
and Offices they fill in the Society, each 
of which have their refpective Rights and 
Dues belonging to them. And in the re- 
gular Difcharge of thefe relative Duties no 
imall Part of zjuft and righteous Conduct 
doth confilr. : I (hall therefore diftinctly 
mention fome of thofe Relations, and the 
Duties and Rights appertaining to them. 

The principal and mofl eminent is that 
between Magiftrates, or the governing 



Powers of a Community, and their Sub- 
jects. Rulers and Magistrates, fupreme 
and fubordinate, in their feveral Stations, 
are jujlly intitled to our Submiflion and 
dutiful Refpect : They have a Right to 
have their lawful Commands obeyed, and 
their Dignity and Authority fupported ; 
And accordingly this is provided for in the 
Divine Law. Remarkable to this Pur- 
pofe is that PafTage of the Apoftle Paul : 
Let every Soul be fubjeB to the higher Pow- 
ers , for the Powers that be are ordained of 
God. Whofoever therefore reftjfeth the 
Power, refijielh the Ordinance of God: — Te 
mitj} needs be fubjeff, not only for JVrath, 
but for Confcience-fake. Rom. xiii. 1, 2, 
5. Submit yourfelves faith St. Peter, to 
every Ordinance of Man for the Lord's Sake ; 
whether it be the King as fupreme, or unto 
Governors as unto them that are fent by him 
for the Punijloment of Evil-doers, a?id for 
the Praife of them that do well. 1 Pet. ii, 
13, 14. To preferve the Refpect due to 
Magistracy and the civil Authority is the 
Defign of that Precept, "Thou fialt not 
fpeak Evil of the Ruler of thy People. Exod. 
xxii. 28. Act. xxiii. 5. As we are com- 
manded in general to render unto all their 
Dues, fo, particularly, 'Tribute to whom 
ffcribufe is due, Cujlom to whom Cu/lom, 
P 3 Rom, 


Rom. xiii. 7. And our Saviour requires us 
to render unto Caefar the 'Things which are 
Ccefar's, and wito God the Things that are 
God's. Matt. xxii. 21. On the other 
Hand the Subjects have a Right to be go- 
verned with Equity, and to be protected 
and fecured by the ruling Powers in their 
valuable Privileges, PofTefiions, and En- 
joyments, againft unjuji OpprefTion, Vio- 
lence and Fraud 3 fince this is the very 
End for which civil Government was ap- 
pointed. It is declared, that the higher 
Powers are ordained of God for this Pur- 
pofe, that they mould be a Terror* not to 
good Works, but to the Evil -, and that they 
are the Minijiers of God for Good to him that 
doeth Good, and Revengers to execute Wrath 
upon him that doeth Evil. Rom. xiii. 3, 
4. He that ruleth over Men mujl be juji, 
ruling in the pear of God. 2 Sam. xxiii. 
3. It is the Command of God in the 
Divine Law to Rulers and Magistrates, 
Te Jhall do no Unrighteoufnefs in Judgment. 
Thou JJjalt not refpect the P erf on of the 
Poor, or honour the Perfcn of the Mighty \ 
but in Right equfnefs Jhalt thou judge thy 
Neighbour. Lev. xix. 15. or, as it is ex- 
prelfed in Dent. i. 17, Te Jhall not refpecl 
Perfons in judgment, but you Jhall hear the 
Small as well as the Great ; you jhall not be 



afraid of the Fear of Man ; for the Judgment 
is God's. And it is given as the Character 
of a good Prince, that he fiall judge the 
Poor of the People, he Jhallfave the Chil- 
dren of the Needy, and Jh ail break in Pieces 
the Opprejfor. Pf. lxxii. 4. 

There are alfo Rights refulting from 
the Relations between Hufbands and 
Wives, Parents and Children, Matters 
and Servants ; and God hath obliged us in 
his Word and Law to act fuitably to thofe 
Rights, and to render what is refpectively 
due in thefe feveral Relations. 

They that are entered into the conjugal 
Relation are under fpecial Obligations to 
treat one another with a mutual Tender- 
nefs and Complacency, to endeavour to 
promote their common Intereft and Hap- 
pinefs, and to fhun whatfoever hath a Ten- 
dency to break the Union and Harmony 
which mould fubfifl between them ; and, 
as far as they acl; contrary to this, they acl: 
unjujlly, and in a Manner not fuitable to 
the Obligations of the Marriage- Covenant. 
Particularly it is required of Hufbands 
that they fiould love their Wives, and not be 
bitter again/I them. Col. iii. 19. That 
PafTage of the Apoftle Paul fets this Duty 
of Hujbands in a very ftrong and affecting 
Light : Hujbands, love your Wives, even 
P 4 as 

216 D I S C O U R S E XL 

as Chrift loved the Church, and gave him J elf 
for it. — So ought Men to love their Wives, 
as their own Bodies ; he that loveth his IV fe 
loveth bimfeJj : For no Man ever yet hated 
his own Flefh, but nourifoeth and cherijheth 
it, even as the Lord the Church. Eph. v.. 
25, 28, 29. The Hufband is declared to 
be the Head of the Wife. Eph. v. 23. 
And, as fuch, is repreiented as having 
Authority ; but then he mould exercife it 
with great Gentlenefs and the tendereft Af- 
fection ; which is admirably expreifed by 
St. Peter, 1 Pet. iii. 7. Ye Hufhands, dwell 
with them ft. e. with your Wives) according 
to Knowledge, giving Honour to the Wife, as 
to the weaker Veffel, and as being Heirs toge- 
ther of the Grace of Life, that your Prayers 
be not hindered. On the other Hand it is 
required of Wives, that they Jhouldfubimt 
themfelves unto their own Hufhands, as it is 
fit in the Lord. Col. iii. 18. Eph. v. 22. 
And that they fhould not ufurp Authority over. 
them. 1 Tim. ii. 12. That they jhoidd love 
their Flufbands, and be difcreet, chafe, 
keepers at Home, good, obedient to their own 
Hufhands., that the Word of God be not 
blafphemed. Tit. ii. 4, 5. And it is de- 
clared, that the Wife bath not Power of her 
cwn Body, but the Hufband', and likewdfe 



alfo the Husband hath not Power of his own 
Body, but the Wife. 1 Cor .vii. 4. 

With regard to the parental and filial 
Relation, Parents are obliged to treat their 
Children in a tender and affectionate Man- 
ner, and to exercile a proper Difcipline 
over them, but not too harm and rigorous; 
and to take due Care of their Education 
and Instruction. This is the Intention of 
thofe Precepts : Train up a Child in the 
V/ay he jhould go ; and, when he is old, he 
will not depart from it. Prov. xxii. 6. Te 
Fathers, provoke not your Children to Wrath, 
viz. by hard Ufage and immoderate Se- 
verity; but bring them up in the Nurture 
and Admonition of the Lord. Eph. vi. 4. 
It is reprefented as the Part of Parents to 
chafien their Children, and to pity them, i. e, 
to have Companion on their WeaknelTes 
and Infirmities. Deut. viii. 5. Pfc'iii. 13. 
and to lay up, or make fuitable Provifion, 
as far as they are able, for their Children. 
1 Cor. xii. 14. And Children are obliged, 
on their Parts, to honour and reverence 
their Parents, to receive their good In- 
fh-uctions, to fubmit to their Difcipline, 
and not to be refractory and difobedient : 
A wife Son heareth the Ififtru&idn of his 
Father. Prov. xiii. 1. Children, obey your 
parents in the Lordy for this is right. Ho- 

jiour thy Father and Mother, (which is the 
firft Commandment with Promife) that it 
may be well with thee, and thou mayeft live 
long on the Earth. Eph. vi. i, 2, 3. Let 
Children learn jirjl to fie w Piety at Home, 
and requite their Parents, viz. by making 
the befl Returns they are capable of, for 
their Tendernefs and Care, and by affix- 
ing and fupporting them, to the utmoft of 
their Power, if they mould ftand in need 
of it ; for this is good and acceptable before 
God. 1 Tim. v. 4. 

The Divine Law hath alfo provided for 
fecuring the Rights of Mafiers and Ser- 
vants by obliging them to a proper Con- 
duct towards one another : Thoufialt not 
cpprefs an hired Servant that is poor and 
needy — At his Day thou Jhalt give him his 
Hire. Deut. xxiv. 14,15. Mafters, give 
■unto your Servants that which is jujl and 
equal, knowing that ye alfo have a Mafter in 
Heaven, Col. iv. 1. Or, as it is expreffed 
in Eph. vi. 9, Te Mafters, do the fd?ne 
Things unto them, i.e. do what is juft and 
right to your Servants, as you would have 
them deal juftly towards you ; forbearing 
Threatening ; knowing that your Mafter alfo 
is in Heaven, neither is there any Refpeffi of 
Perfons with him. On the other Hand, 
the Duty of Servants is thus excellently 



fet forth : Servants, be obedient to them that 
are your Majlers according to the Flejh, with 
Fear and Trembling, in Singlenefs of Heart, 
as unto Chrift ; not with Eye-fervice as Men- 
pleafers, but as the Servants of Chrift, do- 
ing the Will of God from the Heart ; with 
Good- will doing Service, as to the Lord, 
and not to Men ; knowing that whatfoever 
good Thing any Man doeth, the fame Jhall he 
receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or 
free.Eph. vi. 5, 6, 7, 8. And, again, Ser- 
vants are required and exhorted to be obe- 
dient unto their own Majlers, and to pleafe 
them well in all Things ; not anfwering again, 
nor purloining, but /hewing all good Fidelity, 
that they may adorn the Doflrine of God our 
Saviour in all Things. Tit. ii. 9, 10. 

There are aifo mutual Rights and Obli- 
gations arifing from the Relation between 
Paftors and their Flocks. Paftors are re- 
quired to feed the Flock of God which is 
among them, taking the Overfght thereof, 
not by Confiraint, but willingly ; not for 
filthy Lucre, but of a ready Mind \ neither 
as being Lords over God's Heritage, but be- 
ing Examples of the Flock. 1 Pet. v. 2, 3. 
And to watch for their Souls, as they that 
mufi give an Account. Heb. xiii. 17. To 
preach the Word-, to be infant in Seafon, 
out of Seafon ; to reprove, rebuke, exhort, 



with ail Long-fuffe ring and Doclrine. 2 Tim. 
iv, 2. And the People, on their Parts, 
are required to know them which labour 
among them, and are over them in the Lord., 
and admonijh them ; and to ejleem them very 
highly in hove for their Works Sake. 1 ThefT. 
v. 12, 13. 'To count them worthy of double 
Honour. 1 Tim. v. 17. To obey and Jub- 
mit themfelves to them, i. e. to pay a due 
Regard to their paftoral Inftru<ftions and 
Admonitions, that they may give a?i Ac- 
count with foy, and not with Grief. Heb. 
xiii. 17. And to make a proper Provifion 
for their Maintenance : Let him that is 
taught in the Word communicate unto him 
that teacheth in all good Things. Gal. vi. 6. 
And it is exprefsly declared, that the Lord 
hath ordained, that they which preach the 
Gofpel, fiould live of the Go/pel. 1 Cor, 
ix. 14. 

It may be added, that a proper Regard 
fhould alfo be had to that great Variety of 
Conditions and Circumilances which is 
obfervable araon? Mankind. Some there 
are who are diftinguiihed from others by 
the Splendor of their Condition, by their 
Intereft and Influence, and the honourable 
Rank they bear in the Community ; and 
fuch Perfons are intitled to a proportion- 
ate Degree of Honour and Refpect. And 



accordingly, as we are commanded in the 
Divine Law to render to all their Dues, (6 
particularly to give Honour to thofe to whom 
Honour is due. Rom. xiii. 7. A juft Re- 
gard mould be alfo paid to them that are 
eminent for their Abilities, for their Wif- 
dom and Virtue, their Age and Experi- 
ence. 'The Younger are required to fuhmit 
themfelves unto the Elder. 1 Pet. v. 5. And 
this holdeth proportionably for our carry- 
ing it refpectfully towards all that are our 
Superiors, according to the Nature and 
Degree of their Superiority. And, on the 
other Hand, an affable, obliging, conde- 
fcending Temper and Deportment, remote 
from contemptuous Pride and Arrogance, 
is as jujlly due from Superiors to thofe who 
are in any Degree their Inferiors, as a pro- 
per Honour and RefpecT: is due from In- 
feriors to them : It is required of thofe 
who are rich in this World, that they be not 
high-minded. 1 Tim. vi. 17. And this is 
equally applicable to thofe who are pof- 
fefied of any other Advantages or Diftinc- 
tions. It is alio juftly expected from them, 
that they mould ufe their Talents, and Ad- 
vantages for the Good of others. This 
is not merely left to their own Choice ; 
it is what f'iftice and the Law of God de- 
mandeth. The Obligation Men are lot- 



der to do this is ftrongly and fignificantly 
reprefented by our Lord in the Parables of 
the Talents and of the Pounds. Matt. xxv. 
14 — 30. Luke xix. 13 — 26. And it is 
exprefsly declared, that unto whomfoever 
much is given, of him Jhall be much required: 
Lukexii. 48. 

Thus it appears, that our Doing jujlly in- 
cludes in it a diligent and faithful Dis- 
charge of the Duties and Offices incum- 
bent upon us in the feveral Stations and 
Relations in which the Divine Providence 
hath placed us. And even Gratitude may 
come under the general Notion of Jujlicei 
fince Benefits received lay thofe that re- 
ceive them under Obligations to their Be- 
nefactors, which they are bound in Jujlice 
to difcharge, as far as lieth in their Powers 
at leaft by their Prayers for them, and by 
thankful Acknowledgments, when they 
have not an Opportunity of making any 
other Returns. This is fo evidently jufti 
that our Lord obferves, that even Sinners^ 
thofe who do not pretend to any extraor- 
dinary Degree of Goodnefs or Righteouf- 
nefs, yet think themfelves obliged to love 
thofe thdt love them, and to do Good to 
them that do Good to them. Luke vi. 32,' 



It is manifeft, from the Account which 
hath been given, that that Part of our 
Duty towards our Neighbour which is 
comprehended in our doing jufily is of very- 
great Extent. It alfo appears that it is 
the excellent Defign of the Divine Law 
to preferve to all Men their jtiji Rights, 
and to oblige them in all Refpects to 
maintain an equal and righteous Conduct 
towards their Fellow-creatures, and to 
behave properly to one another in all the 
Variety of Conditions and Circumftances : 
And this is evidently conducive both to 
the Welfare and good Order of Society, 
and to the Satisfaction and Happinefs of 
purticular Perfons who exercife themfelves 
this Way. With what Pleafure therefore 
mould we fet ourfelves to obey this Part 
of the Divine Law ? God hath fo confi- 
dered our Nature, that no Man, except he 
be perverted and hardened to a great De- 
gree, can knowingly do an unjuji Thing 
to others without condemning himfelf, 
and being fubjedled to an inward Shams 
and Remorfe, and to the Reproaches of 
his own Mind. And on the Contrary, as 
far as he is confcious of having obferved a 
jufl and equitable Conducl; towards all Men 
as he had Opportunity, and of having 
faithfully difcharged the Duties of his 



Station and Relations, he hath the Appro- 
bation of his own Heart, which produ- 
ceth an inward Pleafure and Satisfaction, 
and inableth him to lift up his Face 
without Shame, and with an ingenuous 
noble Confidence. How happy would it 
be for Mankind, if the Practice of Juftice 
and Righteonfnefs univerfally prevailed ! 
If Men were generally as careful of the 
Rights of others, as they would have 
others be of theirs ! And were as unwil- 
ling to injure others in their Perfons, 
in their Characters and Properties, or 
•whatsoever Enjoyments are dear and valu- 
able to them, as they would be to have 
themfelves injured in any of thefe Re- 
flects ! If Rulers and Subjects, Hufbands 
and Wives, Parents and Children, Ma- 
ilers and Servants, Paftors and their 
Flocks, and in general Superiors, Infe- 
riors, and Equals, in their feveral Sta- 
tions, Conditions, and Degrees, were care- 
ful to fulfil the Offices incumbent upon 
them in the civil and focial Life, and 
which the Divine Law injoins \ If this 
were the general State of Things, what a 
beautiful Order would be maintained in 
the World I Society would be a pleafant 
harmonious Thing. The Confufions, 
Contentions* and Mifchiefs, which infeft 



Mankind, are owing to the Breach of 
thefe excellent Rules -, and all good hu- 
man Laws are deligned, as far as their 
Influence reacheth, to engage Men to the 
Obfervance of them. But the beft Laws 
which human Wifdqm can contrive are in 
many Refpecls deficient, and at the utmofi 
extend only to the outward Actions. A 
Man may fo far keep from the open 
Breach of civil Laws, as not to be charg- 
able with tnjufiice before any earthly Tri- 
bunal, or liable to be punimed by human 
Governments, and yet not be a juji and 
righteous Man in the Sight of God. It is 
the Divine Law alone which taketh in all 
Cafes, and regulateth even the moil fecret 
Difpofitions and Inclinations of the 

I would conclude with Obferving, that 
the beft and readieft Way we can take to 
btjuji to all is to get our Hearts formed to 
a benevolent. Difpoiitiori towards all Men : 
Owe no Man any Thing, faith St. Pan/, 
but to love one another -, for he that loveth 
another hath fulfilled the Law : ' For this, 
Thou JJjalt not commit Adultery, Thou JhalE 
not kill, 'Thou (halt not /leal, Thou Jld alt not 
bear falfe Witnefs, Thou Jlialt not covet % 
mid, if there be any other Com?nandment f 
i. e. any other Commandment relating to 

Vol. Ill, Q "the 


the Duties we owe one another, it is-' 
briefly comprehended in this Saying, namely^- 
Thou fialt /ove thy Neighbour as thyfelj\ 
Love worketh no III to his Neighbour y 
therefore Love' is the Fulfilling of the Law.< 
Rom. xiii. 8, 9, 10. If our Hearts be 
pofieffed with Love to Mankind, it will 
effectually keep us from injuring them, 
and will caufe us to take a Pleafure in re?z- 
dcriKg them their jujl Dues, and confe- 
tjuently will engage us to the Exercife of 
'~JuJiiiC j and not only fo, but of Charity 
and Mercy too. And what is included in 
this I mail endeavour to mew in- my next 


On Delighting in the Laws of Go do 


Psalm cxix. 47. 

I will delight ntyfelf in thy Commandment s$ 
which I have loved. 

UCH is the Goodnefs of God to- 
wards us, and his Concern for our 
Happinefs, that one eminent Part of the 
Divine Law is defigned to oblige us to the 
Exercife of focial Affections, and thofe 
Offices by which we may be mutually 
helpful to one another. Thefe, as hath 
been obferved, may be ranked under two 
comprehenlive Heads, Jujlice and Charity, 
between which, when rightly underftood* 
there is a very clofe Connexion; There 
Q_ 2 «an 


can be no true Exercife of Charity without 
Jujlice j nor can Ji/Jlice, taken in it's fulj 
Extent, be really feparated from Charity 
and Benevolence : For Love may be re- 
garded as a Debt which is due from us 
to our Neighbour, as the Apoftle fignifies 
in that remarkable Manner of Exprerlion, 
Owe no Man any Thing, but to love one 
another. Rom. xiii. 8. The Shewing 
Mercy to our Fellow-creatures, as well as 
A cling juilly towards them, cometh under 
that comprehensive Rule which our Lord 
hath preicribed : All Things whatsoever ye 
would that Men fiould do unto you, do ye 
even fo to them. Matt. vii. 12. 

But yet thefe are of diftindt Confidera- 
tion. juftice, ftriclily fpeaking, keepeth 
us from Wronging or Offering any Injury 
to our Neighbour, or Invading any of his 
juil Rights : But Charity carrieth it far- 
ther, and engageth us not only to abflain 
from Injuring our Neighbour, but to do 
him all the Good that is in our Power. 
This is no lefs exprefsly required of ut 
than the former, and is in a particular 
Pvlanner infilled on by our Saviour, the 
great authentic Interpreter of the Divine 
Will and Law, who came to explain and 
in force it in it's true Perfection and Ex- 
tent. He calls the Commandment of 



Love, or Charity, his own Commandment' 
John xv. 12. This is my Commandment* 
that ye love one another, as I have loved 
you. And, elfewhere, he fpeaks of it as 
a Jiew Commandment , which he gave to his 
Difciples. John xiii. 34. Not as if it 
were abfolutely unknown before : For it 
was an important Part of the Law of God 
from the Beginning, Thou foalt love thy 
Neighbour as thyfelf. Lev. xix. 18. Bat 
our Lord Jefus Chrijl hath placed it in a 
more affecting Light, and hath inforced it 
by new and more powerful Arguments 
and Motives than was ever done before. 
Indeed it is fo frequently recommended 
and inculcated in the Evangelical Difpen- 
fition, that the Gofpel-Law may be pro- 
perly called the Law of Love: We are 
commanded to follow after Charity, i. e, 
to purfue it, and endeavour to make a 
conitant Progrefs in it. 1 Cor. xiv. 1. 
It is reprefented as the moil excellent of 
Chri/iian Virtues, greater than Faith and 
Hope, and as that without which all other 
Gifts and Attainments, and the moil; fpe- 
cious Pretences to Religion, are vain and 
of no Avail. 1 Cor. xiii. 1, 2, 13. The 
Apoftle, after having mentioned feveral 
virtuous Affections and Difpofitions, adds, 
Above all Things put on Charity } which is 
' Q^3 tbt 


the Bond of Perfec~lnefs. It is the facred 
Bond which unites them together, and 
whereby they attain to their proper Per- 
fection. Col. iii. 14. And it is declared, 
that the End of the Commandment is Cha- 
rity, out of a pure Heart, and of a good 
Qonjcience, and of Faith unfeigned. 1 Tim. 

As to the Nature of this Charity, on 
which fo great a Strefs is laid in the Word 
and Law of God, it hath it's proper Foun- 
dation in fuch a hearty Love and Good- 
will towards our Fellow-creatures and 
Pellow-Chri/lians, as caufeth us earneftly 
to delire their Happinefs. St. Paul fitly 
expreffeth it by our being kindly affeStioned 
one to another . Rom. xii. 10. But, though 
it is originally founded in the good Affec- 
tion and Difpofition of the Heart, it doth 
not reft there : It is not merely an in- 
active Benevolence, reaching no farther 
than kind Wifhes and Inclinations, but 
pToduceth fuitable Effects both in the 
Words and in the Actions. 

It fhews itfclf in the Words by kind 
and gentle Language, and by abftaining 
from harm and reproachful, from arro- 
gant and contemptuous Expremons, which 
only tend to irritate and provoke. The 
Pfalmiit fpeaks of Perfons who bend their 

To?igues ; 


Tongues like a Bow to fioot their Arrows, 
.even bitter Words. Pf. lxiv. 3. But very 
different from this is the Character of 
thofe in whom Charity is the reigning 
Principle .: It will caufe them to put the 
bell Conftruction upon the Actions and 
Intentions of others which the Cafe will 
bear; and, if it be necefTary to reprove 
them, the Rebukes of Charity will be 
like excellent Oil, to ufe the Pfalmift's Ex- 
pressions, which fall not break the Head. 
Pf. cxli. 5. Soft and mild Words, when 
they are not the Cover of Deceit and 
Guile, but proceed from a fincere and be- 
nevolent Heart, have a natural Tendency 
to turn away Wrath, to allay the Pailions 
of the Headftrong, and to foothe afflicted 
Minds. Accordingly it is required of us, 
that we be courteous, not rendering Railing 
for Railing, but contrariwife Blefing. 1 Pet. 
iii. 8,9. Let your Speech be feafoned with 
Grace, faith St. Paul, Col. iv. 6. What 
is faid of the virtuous Woman mould be 
the Character of every good and religious 
Perfon, In her Tongue is the Law of Kind- 
■nefs. Prov. xxxi. 26. 

But, though good and kind Words are 
jiuftly required from us as proper and ge- 
nuine Expreffions of our Charity, yet thefe 
^alone are not fufficient : My little Children, 
Q^ 4. faith 


faith St. 'John, let us not love in Word % 
neither in 'Tongue, i.e. not in thefe only, 
but in Deed and in Truth, i John iii. 18. 
For, as the Apoftle 'James properly ob- 
ferves, If a Brother or Sifter be naked and 
dejlitute of daily Food', and o?ie of you fay 
unto them, Depart in Peace, be ye warmed 
and filed ; noiwithjlanding ye give them not 
thofe Things which are needful to the Body ; 
■what doth it profit? James ii. 15, 16. 
Our Charity towards others muft mew it- 
felf by a Readinefs to do them real Ser- 
vices, when we have an Opportunity for 
it, in that Way in which we can be moft 
pfeful to them, and which beft anfwers to 
our Abilities, and to the Neceffities of 
their Cafe. 

The Aclions, by which we are to exer- 
cife our Charity and Good-will towards our. 
Fellow-creatures and Fellow -Chriftians, are 
principally of two Kinds ; the doing Good 
to their Bodies and to their Souls. 

The nobleil Exercife of Charity is that 
which is employed in doing Good to the 
Souls of Men, and Promoting their fpiri- 
tual and eternal Welfare. We fhould, as 
we have Opportunity, ufe our belt. En- 
deavours to convert Sinners from the Evil 
of their Ways, to recover them from Error 
and Ignorance, Vice and Wickednefs ; 



and help forward their Advances in Wif- 
dom and Holinefs by feafonable Induc- 
tions and Admonitions, by giving thern 
good Examples, and furnishing them, as 
far as our Influence reacheth, with the 
Means of fpiritual and moral Improve- 
ment. The Mini(lers and Paftors of the 
Church are under fpecial Obligations by 
their Office to watch over Souls; and the 
proper End of their Miniftrations is to 
fave themfelves and thofe that hear them. 
1 Tim. iv. 16. But we mufi not imagine 
that the Care of Promoting the Salvation 
of Souls is intirely confined to them : 
It is a Duty incumbent upon all Chrifiians 
to contribute, as far as in them lies, to- 
wards Spreading the Interefts of Religioa 
in the World, and to affift each other in 
the Knowledge and Practice of Chrijlianity. 
This is the Defign of thofe excellent Pre- 
cepts, Comfort yourf elves together, and edify 
one another. 1 ThefT. v. 11. Exhort one. 
another daily, while it is called To-day, kjl 
any of yon be hardened through the Deceit- 
fulnefs of Sin. Heb. iii. 13. Let us con- 
fder one another, to provoke unto Love a?id 
"to good Works, not j'orfak'mg the Ajfetnbling 
of our/elves together, as the Manner of Tome 
is ; but exhorting one another. Heb, x. 24, 
25, Let your Light Jo Jhine before Men* 



that they may fee your good Works, and glo- 
rify your Father which is in Heaven. Matt. 
•v. 1 6. 

Not only rnnft our Charity extend it's 
Care to the Souls of Men, but to their Bo- 
dies too, and to their temporal Concern- 
ments. We muft not, as Men of perfecuting 
Spirits have often done, under the Pretence 
of" Zeal for Religion, and for the Salvation 
of Men's Souls, exercife Cruelty upon 
their Bodies, and injure them in their 
worldly Affairs and Interefts. When the 
Difciples would have called for Fire from 
Heaven to confume the Samaritans, whom 
they regarded as Heretics and Schifma- 
tics, our Lord gave them that remarkable 
Rebuke, Te know not what Manner of 
Spirit ye are of: For the Son of God is not 
come to defer oy Mens Lives, but to five 
them. Luke ix. 55, 56. That moil: be- 
nevolent Saviour and Lover of Mankind 
went about, in the Days of his Flejh, doing 
Good to the Bodies as well as Souls of 
Men. That Charity, which obligeth us 
to love our Neighbours as on rj elves, will put 
us upon doing kind Offices with refpeel: 
to the Neceflaries and Accommodations of 
this prcfent Life, and will make us ready, 
according to our Ability, to fupply their 
Wants, and relieve their piflrefles. Many 



are the PafTages to this Purpofe which 
occur in the Sacred Writings : It may 
fuffice to mention one, If lviii. 6, 7, 
where God declares by his Prophet, Is 
not this the Fajl which I have chofen f To 
loofe the Bands of Wickednefs, to undo the 
heavy Burdens, and to let the Oppreff'ed go 
free, and that ye break every Yoke $ Is it 
Hot to deal thy Bread to the Hungry, and 
that thou bring the Boor that are caft out 
to thy Houfe f When thou feefi the Naked, 
that thou cover him ; and that thou hide not 
fhyj elf from thine own Flcjh f 

But, that we may have a clearer Notion 
of that Charity which is fo indifpenfably 
required of us in the Divine Law, it will 
be proper more diftinctly to confider the 
Objects about which it is converfant, and 
the various Ways in which it muft be ex- 
ercifed towards thofe Objects. 

The Objeds to which our Charity muft 
extend are all Men in general, as far as 
Opportunity offereth. This is admirably 
illuftrated by our Saviour in the Parable 
of the good Samaritan, who performed 
the moft friendly Offices to a Jew in Di- 
ftrefs, notwithstanding the religious Dif- 
ferences, and bitter Animolities, which 
}iad long fublifted between the Jews and 
Samaritans. This Parable was defigned 

' by 


by our Lord in Anfwer to the Queftion 
propofed to him by a Jewijh Doctor of 
Law, whom we are to underftand by our 
Neighbour in that Precept, Thou fi alt love 
thy Neighbour as thyfelf ? And, as that 
Doctor could not deny that the Samaritan 
jhad acted the Part of a kind Neighbour to- 
wards the diftreffed Jew, and that the Af- 
iiftance he gave him was a laudable Action, 
and mewed great Goodnefs of Heart, it 
followed, that it muft alfo be a good and 
worthy Action in a Jew to behave in the 
fame Manner towards a Samaritan in the 
like Circumftances. Luke x. 29 — 37. 
Agreeable to this Doctrine of our Lor4 
are the Precepts given by his Apoftles un- 
der the Direction of his Spirit : It is ex- 
prefsly required of us, that we jhould be 
ready, as we have Opportunity, to do good 
unto all Men. Gal. vi. 10. And that we 
fiould follow that which is good, both among 
ourfelves and unto all Men. 1 TherT. v, 
15. Our Benevolence mult be uniyerfal, 
not limited to any particular Sect or Party, 
but muft flow abroad, as far as we are able, 
to all that are Partakers of the fame human 
Nature with ourfelves, fo as to be ready 
to ferve them in the kind Offices of Hu- 
manity, and to promote their real Wel- 
fare, temporal and fpiritual, as far as is in 



our Power; and, when we can do no more 
for them, we mould at leaf! give them an 
Interefl in our kind Wifhes and in our 
Prayers. And accordingly it is appointed, 
that Prayers, Supplications, InterceJJions, and 
Giving of Thanks, be made for all Men ; and 
this in Conformity to the Will of God, 
who would have all Men to befaved, and to 
come to the Knowledge of the Truth. 1 Tim. 

ii. 3, 4- 

But, although our Charity mufl extend 
to all Men in general, as far as we have 
an Opportunity for it, yet it doth not ex- 
ert itfelf towards all with equal Force, 
but mufl be exercifed towards them in va- 
rious Proportions and Degrees. And in- 
deed, however general and dirTufive our 
benevolent Difpoiition may be, our Power 
of actually doing Good is confined com- 
paratively to a few, and, for the moil Part,, 
to thofe that come under our own parti- 
cular Notice and Cognifance. With refpect 
to the far greater Part of Mankind, our 
Benevolence for Want of Opportunity is 
inactive, and is little more than a fair Idea 
or kind Inclination. Some there are with 
whom we have more particular Connec- 
tions ; to whom we are nearly united by 
Ties of Confanguinity or Affinity, or by 
an intimate Acquaintance or Friendfhip : 


238 Discourse xil 

Such Perfons, if other Circumfiances be 
equal, and if there be no particular Rea- 
ibn to the Contrary, are to be preferred to 
thofe who are more remote, fo as to have 
a larger Share in the Effects of our Bene- 
volence. This is what Nature and Pro- 
vidence feem to direct to, and hence the 
Apoftle determineth, that, If any provide 
not for his own* akd efpecially for thofe of his 
own Hoife, he hath denied the Faith, and 
is worfe than an Infidel. 1 Tim. v. 8. And, 
if we confider the Matter aright> we mall 
find that it is neceflary for the general 
Good, that every Man mould look upon 
himfelf to be, ordinarily, and in the firft 
Place, obliged to fhew Kindnefs to thofe 
to whom he is moil nearly related, or 
with whom he hath a particular Con- 
nexion and Intimacy, though not to them 
only : For, if every Man thus endeavoured 
to do Good within his own narrower Cir- 
cle, and at the fame Time was ready, as 
Occafion offered, for Acts of more exten- 
five Benevolence, the Good of the Whole 
would be effectually promoted : Whereas 
a mere general Good-will exercifed to- 
wards all in an equal Degree, and incli- 
ning to do no more for one than another, 
would irt Reality and Effect be of little 
Advantage to any. 



It mufl farther be obferved, in order 
to our having a right View of Charity m 
it's Operations and Effects, that it is vari- 
oufly exercifed towards Men, according 
to their different Conditions and Circum- 
flances ; according to their different Cha- 
racters, whether good or bad ; and accor- 
ding to their different Difpolitions and 
Actings towards us, whether as Friends 
and Benefactors, or as Enemies and Inju- 

Let us confider it in each of thefes 

Charity is diverfined m it's Workings 
and Effects, according to the different 
Conditions and Circumflances of thofe 
with whom we have to do. Towards 
thofe who are in profperous Circumflances 
it will exprefs itfelf by rejoicing in their 
Welfare, and being ready by all proper 
Means to promote it. Nothing can be 
more incontinent with Charity, than to 
grudge and repine at the Advantages and 
Profperity of our Neighbour : Charity en- 
vteth not, 1 Cor. xiii. 4. On the Con- 
trary, it will caufe us to take real Satisfac- 
tion in the Abilities, Reputation, or Ufe- 
fulnefs of others, and in any happy Event 
which hath befallen them : Accordingly 
we are required to rejoice with them that do 



rejoice. Rom. xii. 15. And, as to thofe 
that are under Adverfity and Affliction; 
many are the Ways in which Charity ex- 
erciieth itfelf towards them : If they are 
in Grief, it will engage us to fympathife 
with them, and to do what we can to al- 
leviate their Sorrows : If they be in very 
indigent Circumftances, it will make us 
willing to contribute, as far as we are 
able, for fupplying their Wants : If they 
be perplexed, it will incline us to give 
them our belt Counfel and Advice : If 
they be dejected, to raife and encourage 
them : If oppreiTed, to affifl and relieve 
them. There are many Precepts to this 
Purpofe in the holy Scriptures : We are 
commanded to bear one another s Burdens^ 
and fo fulfil the Law of Chrijl. Gal. vi. 2. 
to weep with them that weep. Rom. xii. 
15. to comfort the Feeble-minded. 1 ThefL 
v. 14. to remember thofe tbat are in Bonds v 
as bound with them -, and them that fuffer 
Adverjity, as being ourfehes alfo m the 
.Body. bleb. xiii. 2. It is declared that 
pure Religion and undefiled before God and 
the Father is this, 'To vifit the Widows and 
Father lefs in their Ajfliclion, and to keep 
himfelf unfpot ted from the World. Jam. i. 
?,*■/. An eminent Inftance of active Charity 
':, Succouring the DiurerTed we have in 



that excellent Perfon Jnfa who* from 
the Tefiimony of a good Confcience, could 
give that noble Account of his own Con- 
duct : / delivered the Poor that c?~ied> the 
Fatherlefsy and him that had none to help him. 
The BleJ/tng of him that was ready to perijh 
came upon me, and I caujed the Widow's 
Heart to fingfor foy. — / was Eyes to the 
Blind, and Feet was I to the Lame. I was 
a Father to the Poor. Job. xxix. 12, 13, 
15, 16. 

And, as Charity fuiteth itfelf to their 
various Conditions and Circumftances, 
fo it is differently exercifed towards them 
according to their different Charac- 
ters, whether good or bad. With regard 
to good Men, it will caufe us to embrace 
them with a cordial Affection and Efteem, 
and to love them moft in whom we difcern 
mod of the amiable Image of God and 
our Lord Jefus Chrift. We are required, 
as we have Opportunity, to do Good unto all 
Men, but efpecially unto them who are of the 
Houjhold of Faith. Gal. vi. 10. Our 
Goodnefs mould extend, in a particular 
Manner, to the Saints that are in the Earth, 
and to the Excellent, in whom our Deli /Jot 
fiould be, as the Pfalmift tells us his was. 
Pf. xvi. 2, 3. This fpecial Affection 
towards good Men is expreffed in the New 
Teftament by brotherly Love, or brotherly 

Vol. III. R Kind- 


nefs. To this thofe Precepts refer, Let 
brotherly Love continue. Heb. xiii. I. 
Having your Souls purified unto unfeigned 
Love of the Brethren, Jee that ye love one 
another with a pure Heart fervently, i Pet. 
i. 22. The Mifcakes and Defects we ob- 
ferve in them mould not interrupt this 
facred brotherly Communion. We muft 
be ready to bear with their Weakneffes and 
Infirmities, and, when we fee it neceffary 
to reprove them, we mould do it in fuch 
a Manner as may mew that it proceeds 
from Love and a real Concern for their 
Welfare, and not from a Spirit of Pride 
or Bitternefs. Such well- tempered Re- 
proofs are true Acts of Charity. Remark- 
able to this Purpoie is that Precept, Lev. 
xix. ij. Thou fialt not hate thy Brother 
in thy Heart ; thou Jh alt in any wife rebuke 
thy Neighbour, and not fujfer Sin upon him. 
Brethren, faith. St. Paul, if a Man be 
overtaken in a Fault, ye which are fpiritual, 
rejiorefuch an one in the Spirit of Meeknefs, 
confidering thyfef, lejl thou alfo be tempted. 
Gal. vi. i. If our Fellow-Chrifiians 
difTer from us in Opinion, with Relation 
to fome Points of Doctrine, or Rites and 
Modes of Worfhip, this ought not to 
hinder our Regarding and Treating them 
as Brethren, when we have Reafon to 


DISC O U R S E XII. 243 

think they ferve God in Simplicity and godly. 
Sincerity, and have their Fruit unto. Hoh- 
nefs. Charity in fuch a Cafe teacheth us to 
make all proper Allowances for the Biafs 
of Education, and for Men's different 
Capacities, Opportunities, and Means of 
Improvement ; and not be too rigid in 
our Cenfures for real or fuppoied Errors : 
Him that is weak in the Faith receive ye, 
but not to doubtful Difputations.. Let us 
not judge one another any more, but judge 
this rather, that no Man put a Stum- 
bling-Block, or an Occajion to fall in his 
Brother s Way. Let us follow after the 
'Things which make for Peace, and Things 
wherewith we may edify one another. Rom. . 
xiv. 1, 13, 19. Walk worthy of the Vo- 
cation wherewith ye are called, with all 
Lowlinefs and Meeknefs, with. Long-fuf- 
fering, forbearing one another in Love* en- 
deavouring to keep the Unity of the Spirit in 
the Bond of Peace. Eph. iv. 1, 2, 3. 

With regard to bad or wicked Men 
continuing fuch, Charity doth not oblige 
us to cultivate a fpecial Intimacy with 
them, or to make them our chofen Com- 
panions ; which might indanger our own 
Purity and Virtue : But it ihould fhew it- 
felf by Pitying their Perfons, at the fame 
Time that we abhor their Vices ; by "a 
R 2 Readinefs 


Readinefs toaffift them in their Diftreffes* 
and perform to them the kind Offices of 
Humanity -, by praying for them, by ad- 
moniming them; as far as we have Op- 
portunity ; and by doing what we can to 
convince them of their Guilt and Danger,, 
and to turn them from their evil Courfes. 
To encourage us to do this, it is declared, 
that he which converteth the Sinner from the 
Error of his Way, flail five a Soul from 
Death, and flail hide a Multitude of Sins. 
James v. 19, 20. We are required to 
warn them that are unruly. 1 ThefT. v. 14. 
And, on the other Hand, though they 
have been among the greatest of Sinners, 
yet, if we obferve in them any Difpofi- 
tions to repent, and forfake their evil 
Ways, Charity mould put us upon doing 
all in our Power for Aiiifling and Encou- 
raging them to do fo : For we are arTured,. 
that ths Lord is long-fuffering to us-ward, 
7iot willing that any flould perifl, but that 
all flould come to Repentance. 2 Pet. iii. 9. 
which is admirably exemplified in the Pa~ 
rable of the returning Prodigal. 

Finally, Charity may be confidered, as 
exercifed both towards our Friends and 
Benefactors, and towards our Enemies and 
them that have injured us. With regard 
to our Benefactors, thofe who have ffeewn, 



ns great Kindnefs, and from whom we 
have received Favours and Benefits, it will 
exert itfelf in the generous Emotions of 
a grateful Temper, Gratitude may, as 
was obferved in a former Difcourfe, come 
under the Notion of Jujizce, as it includes 
a Making thofe Returns which are juftly 
due for Benefits received. But, in a Soul 
that is under the Influence of an enlarged 
Benevolence, it is carried beyond mere 
Juftice, and is heightened into a noble 
Generofity of Mind, which will be de- 
firous, if poiTible, of rendering more than 
an Equivalent, and will caufe the Heart 
to overflow in grateful, in friendly Affec- 

As to our Enemies, and thofe that have 
ufed us ill, Charity doth not oblige us to 
treat them with the fame Endearments of 
Affection as we do our Friends and Bene- 
factors : But it mould exert itfelf towards 
them by a Readinefs to forgive and be 
reconciled to them, in Opposition to a bit- 
ter implacable Refentment and Retaliation 
of Injuries, We mufr. not repay them in 
their own Way by returning one injurious 
Word and Action for another, nor mould 
we rejoice in their Mifery. Inftead of 
Curfing we mould offer up our Prayers to 
God for them j not indeed for Succefs in 
R 3 their 


their evil Courfes, but for their Conver- 
iion and Amendment, rather than their 
Ruin; and we mould do what we can to 
br'ng them to a better Temper of Mind, 
an 1 to overcome their Enmity by returning 
Gccd for Evil, which is the nobleft Con- 
queft. This is the Defign of thofe ad^ 
mirable Precepts, Love your Enemies, blefs 
ibem that curfe you, do Good to them that 
hate you, and pray for them that defpitefully 
uje you, and persecute you. Matt. v. 44. 
'Thou Jh alt not avenge, nor bear any Grudge 
againji the Children of thy People. Lev. xix. 
18. Recompense to no Man Evil for Evih 
Dearly Beloved, avenge not yourfelves, but 
rather give Place unto Wrath -, for it is 
written, Vengeance is mine', I will repay, 
faith the Lord. Therefore, if thiite Enemy 
' hunger, feed him -, if he thirji, give him 
Drink -, for in fo doing thou fo alt heap Coals 
of Fire on his Head. Be not overcome of 
Evil, but overcome Evil with Good. Rom. 
xii. ij, 19, 20, 21. There is fcarce any 
Thing that our Saviour more exprefsly in- 
iifteth upon than Forgivenefs of Injuries, 
which he reprefents as the indifpenfable 
Condition of our Obtaining the Forgive- 
7iefs of our own Sins from God. Matt. vi. 14* 
1 £. And of this he himfelf hath given the 
tnoft perfect Example : With his expiring 



Breath he offered up his Prayers to his. 
heavenly Father for thoie who were then 
embruing their Hands in his facred Blood : 
Father, forgive them ; for they know not 
what they do. Luke xxiii. 34. 

What has been hitherto offered relates- 
principally to the Conduct which Charity 
requireth of us towards particular Perfons ; 
and the fame excellent Principle will en- 
gage us to endeavour, to promote, as far 
as we are able, the Welfare and Prosperity- 
oflargeCommunities, in which that of many 
particular Perfons is involved : It will pro- 
duce in us a noble Public -fpiritcdneis, a" 
generous Concern for the extenfive Inte- 
refbs of the Chriflian Church., and for the 
Good of all Mankind in general, and of. 
our Country in particular ; not that partial 
Love to our Country, which caufeth us to 
defpife all others, and to be willing to 
opprefs and infiave them for exalting our 
own ; but fuch a Love to our Country as 
will put us upon Doing what we can to 
promote the common Welfare, and will 
caufe us to contribute towards it by all 
proper Means in our Power. 

Charity appears, upon the View that 

has been taken of it, to be of a very 

comprehenfive Extent; audit is directly op- 

pofed to that inordinate Selfifhnefs, that 

R 4 narrow 


narrow contracted Difpofition of Soul, 
wi ich is for Confining it's Regards and 
Views to it's own private Intereft and Ad- 
vantage : It argues a true Goodnefs and 
n ble Enlargednefs of Heart, and well 
deierves the Encomiums beftowed upon it 
by St. Paul, in his admirable Defcription 
of it in the xiiith Chapter of his nrft 
Epiftle to the Corinthians. 

I mail conclude with two Obfervations, 
which naturally arife from what has been 
pffered upon this Subject. 

The one js, that the Charity, required 
in the Divine Law, in Proportion as it 
prevails, tends to render Perfons ufeful to 
Society, and Bleffings to all around them, 
as far as their Influence reacheth. Princes, 
if they were animated with this Divine 
Principle, would become Fathers of their 
Country ; Men of great Power and Inte- 
reft would be active in employing it for 
the public Welfare : Thofe that are rich hi 
this World would be rich in good Works, 
ready to difiribute, willing to communicate ; 
and even they who are comparatively in 
poor and mean Circumftances would learn 
to be contented, and fhew their Good- 
will to others in Word and Deed, as far as 
lies in their Power. To which it may be 
added, tha^ Charity hath a natural Ten- 


dency to cherifh and promote that Peace 
and Concord, which is of great Moment 
to the common Happinefs ; and to root 
out of Men's Tempers that Pride, and 
Envy, and Bitternefs of Spirit, which 
renders them intractable and contentious, 
and Nuifances to Society. It will engage 
us to put the moffc favourable Conftruction 
upon the Words and Actions of others, 
and he will make us careful not to do any 
Thing needlefily to provoke, or give them 
Offence. Thus fhall we anfwer the In- 
tention of thofe Evangelical Precepts : 
Be ye of one Mind, 1. e. be ye united in 
the fame friendly Affection one towards 
another j live in Peace; and the God of 
Love and Peace fhall be -with you, 2 Cor. 
xiii. 10. Follow Peace with all Men, and 
Holinefs, without which no Man fiall fee the 
Lord. Heb. xii. 14. 

The other Obfervation is, that Charity 
tends not only to render Perfons ufeful to 
others, but happy in themfelves. All 
the Duties which have been mentioned, 
as comprehended under the general Name 
and Notion of Charity, are only the various 
Effects and Flowings forth of Love and 
Benevolence : And Love carrieth Delight 
in it's Nature and Exercife. That Soul 
hath certainly an inward Source of Plea- 



fure, in which this noble Difpofition 
dwells. The Pleafure of doing Good, 
which is the Subftance of the Duties re- 
quired of us towards our Neigbour, is 
among the greateit our Natures are ca- 
pable of. We are fo conftituted that, in 
in pitying and relieving the Necefiities of 
others, we refrefh our own Bowels ; and 
we cannot promote their Happinefs, but 
at the fame Time, by the Satisfaction ari- 
ling from it, we really promote our own. 
May I not appeal to thofe who have ex- 
ercifed themfelves this Way? Have you 
not found an inward confcious Pleafure, 
when you have drawn out your Soul to the 
Hungry, and fatisjied the ajf'licled Soul? 
When you have been inftrumental in giving 
Eafe to the Miferable, and your, Fellow- 
Creatures have rejoiced through your 
Means, have not you felt a fecret Com- 
placency within, their Joys transfufed into 
your own Breads ? And, the more difFufed 
the Benevolence is, the more enlarged is 
the Joy, refembling in fome Meafure that 
which the fupreme Being taketh in the 
free Communications of his own Good- 
nefs. Let Reafon, impartial Reafon, 
judge, which leads the happier Life, and 
enjoys moll of a true Satisfaction, the 
Man whofe generous Heart is filled with 



Benevolence towards Mankind, or that is 
under the Influence of a mean Selfifhnefs 
and narrow fordid Affections ? He who 
hath the Bkjjiiig 0/ him that was ready to 
perijh conu/ig upon him, and who caufeth the 
'Widow's Heart tojhig jor Joy ; or he that 
opprefied the Needy, and hath the Cries of 
the Poor, the Widow, and the Fatherlefs. 
againft him ? He that rejoiceth in his 
Ni. Labour's Welfare, or he that envieth 
his Profperity ? He that from a noble 
Difpofition is ready to- forgive Injuries and 
to overcome Evil with Good, or he that 
burnetii with an ea°;er Thirff. of Revenue 
for every imagined Injury, and by keen 
Retaliations perpetuates Feuds and Ani- 
mosities ? Whether is it more pie of ant for 
Brethren to dwell together in Unity, or to 
be diffracted and torn in Pieces by Enmity 
and Difcord ? Will it bear a Debate which 
yields the noblefl Satisfaction, that JVif- 
dom which is from above, which is fir ft pnre, 
and then peaceable , gentle, and cajy to be m- 
treated, full of Mercy and of good Fruits, 
without Partiality and without Hvpocrify ', 
or that bitter Envying and Strife which 
produceth Confufion and every evil Work ? 
It may indeed feem to be a hard Lelibn 
to be obliged to fubdue the ftrong PaiTions 
of Wrath, Hatred, and Revenge : But it 



is abfolutely neceffary for our own Happi- 
nefs, that we mould do fo, whatever Pains 
or Difficulties it may coft us ; fince theie 
Difpofitions carry Torment in their Na- 
ture, and, where they prevail, tend to 
fill the Soul with Rage and Bitternefs, 
and, when gratified, yield only an ill- 
natured and malignant Pleafure. To for- 
bid us to entertain and indulge fuch ma- 
levolent Affections towards others is in 
Effect to forbid us to vex and torment our- 

And now, upon the Whole, it is mani- 
fest that the Obfervance of thofe of God's 
Commandments, which prefcribe a bene- 
volent Temper and Conduct towards Man- 
kind, is really conducive to our own Hap- 
pinefs : They evidently bear upon them the 
Impremons of the Divine Goodnefs, and 
lead us to refemble the beft of Beings in 
his moft amiable Perfections. It is de- 
clared, that God is Love, and he that 
dwelleth in Love dzveJleth in God, and God 
in him. i John iv. 16. The Soul that is 
poffefled with a fincere and extenfive Be- 
nevolence is in a particular Manner fitted 
for receiving his gracious Communications. 
The Holy Spirit of Love and Peace will 
delight to dwell in fuch a Heart, and to 
fhed his facred Confolations there. And 


it mould mightily heighten our Joys to 
confider, that the all-fufficient Jehovah, 
who is fo infinitely exalted above our Ser- 
vices, yet hath been pleafed for our En- 
couragement to iignify to us, that what 
Good we do to our Fellow-Creatures, in 
Conformity to his Will, and in Obedience 
to his Commands, he will accept and re- 
ward as if done to himfelf. Finally, The 
Exercife of Love and Charity hath a mani- 
fefl Tendency to prepare us for that State 
of perfect eternal Love and Peace in God's 
immediate Prefence and Kingdom above. 
The Soul that is filled with Love is form- 
ed into the Temper of Heaven, and may 
in Proportion be faid to have Heaven 
brought down in fome happy Beginnings 
here on Earth : For Charity never faileth. 
1 Cor, xiii. 8. It is and mall be the ever- 
lafting Temper of the blelfed Angels and 
glorified Saints. Their eternal Life {hall 
be eternal Love. And as they mail be 
perpetually receiving the blifsful Emana- 
tions of Divine Life and Light, of Love 
and Joy, from God the indeficient Foun- 
tain of all Good -, fo they mall be perpe- 
tually communicating their Joys to one 
another. There {hall therefore be an 
endle{s Circulation of Joys 5 the Satif- 



faction and Happinefs of every one of them 
mall be the Satisfaction and Happinefs of 
all the reft ; whilfl the God of Love (hall 
delight in them as the living Images of his 
own Goodnefs to all Eternity. 

..«.co«...5|{-C£"cc 00 ..}^ 



On Delighting in the Laws of God. 


Psalm cxix. 47. 

I will delight my/elf in thy Commandments, 
which I have loved. 

TH E Law of God, which we are 
under indifpenfable Obligations to 
obey, is of great and noble Extent. The 
Commandment is, as the Pfalmift expreffeth 
it, exceeding broad, and taketh in the 
whole Compafs of our Duty. It hath 
been fhewn that it extends both to the 
Duties we more immediately owe to God, 
and to thofe we owe to our Fellow-Crea- 
tures, as comprehending the Exercife of 
'Jujiice and Charity in all their various 



Branches. And it appears, from the View 
that has been taken of them, that the Per- 
formance of thofe Duties has a Tendency 
to produce a true rational Satisfaction and 
Delight. There is another Part of our 
Duty more immediately relating to our- 
felves, which is alfo required in the Divine 
Law, and the Practice of which, as well as 
the former, is eiTential to a truly religious 
and virtuous Character. This is what St. 
Paul, in the PaiTage before referred to, Tit. 
ii. 12, expreffes by our living Joberfy; which 
is not merely to be understood of Sobriety 
in the common Acceptation of the Word, 
as oppofed to Rioting and Drunkennefs, 
though this alfo is neceffarily included j 
but it takes in the Whole of Self-Govern- 
ment, or that regular Temper and Conduct 
in the Management of ourfelves, which 
becomes us, as reafonable and moral Agents. 
And this is certainly of great Importance 
to the true Happinefs and Perfection of 
our Natures, and without which we cannot 
be well qualified for the right Performance 
of our Duty either towards God or 

And here the firft Thing I would obferve, 
as necefTary to the right Government of 
ourfelves, is that we mould endeavour to 
get our Minds well furnifhed with ufeful 
Knowledge, and feafoned with good religi- 


ous Principles and moral Sentiments; and that 
we mould exercifeourfelves in ferious Confide- 
ration and Reflection. God is reprefented 
as highly diipleafed with thofe who continue 
in a contented Ignorance, and take no Care 
to make a ri^ht Ufe of their thinking Pow- 
ers : // 'is a People offio Under/landing, there- 
fore he that made them will not have Mercy on 
them, and he that formed them will fiew them 
no Favour. If. xxvii. 11. Their Want of 
Knowledge is reprefented as the Caufe of 
their Definition : My People are dejlrcyed 
for Lack of Knowledge. Hof. iv. 6. Accor- 
dingly we are frequently exhorted and re^ 
quired to apply ourfelves to the Attainment 
Qi true Wifdom and Knowledge : Wifdom 
is the principal < Thi??g, therefore get Wifdom ; 
and t with all thy Getting, get Under/landing, 
—Takefajl hold oflnftruBion, let her not go > 
keep her t for Jhe is thy Life. Prov. iv*. 7, 13. 
Be ye not nnwife, faith the Apoftle, but 
under /landing what the Will of the Lord is, 
Eph. v. 17. And the new Man, which we 
Chri/lians are required to put on, is faid to 
renewed in Knowledge- after the Image of 
him that created him. Col. iii. 10. That 
Knowledge which is of the greater!; Impor- 
tance to us is the Knowledge of God, of his 
glorious Perfections and governing Provi- 
dence, and of our Lord Jefus Chrift, the 
Vol. III. S greal 


great Mediator beiiveen God and Man ; the 
Knowledge of the Terms of our Acceptance 
with God, and of the Duties which are: 
required of us in this State of Trial, and of 
a future State of Retribution. And there 
are few but, if they will make Ule of In- 
fraction provided for them, and give that 
Attention which the Importance of the 
Cafe deferves, may attain to fuch a Know- 
ledge of thefe Things as will be of great 
Ufe for regulating their Temper and Prac- 
tice. This is evident from Fact and Ex- 
perience : Many Instances of this Kind are 
to be met with, even^ among thofe of low 
Condition and Capacities. And for any 
wilfully to neglect the Improvement of their 
Minds with religious Knowledge, and to 
indulge themfelyes in a wretched Ignorance 
of thofe Things which it is molt, neceffary 
for them to know, is a moil inexcufable- 
Conduct, and unworthy reafonable Beings. 
But it is not fufficient for us to endeavour 
to get our -Minds furnifhed with jujft No- 
tions of thefe Things : We muft alfo endea- 
vour bv ferious Confederation and Rejection 
to imprefs them deeply upon our Hearts, 
and to get them wrought into the Temper 
of our Minds, that they may become living. 
Principles in us, and may have a proper Ef- 
fect and Influence upon our whole Deport- 


ment. We muft be particularly careful to 
prefefve upon our Spirits a flrong and lively 
Senfe of the moral Differences of Things, 
and to eet our mental Tafle and Difcern- 


ment more exercifed and improved, that 
we may have an intimate and exquifite 
Senfation of the Beauty and Excellency of 
true Ptolinefs, Goodnefs, and Virtue, and 
may have our Hearts brought to a fixed 
generous Abhorrence of what is bafe and 
falfe, unjuft and impure. It highly con- 
cerneth us to get our Confciences duly infor- 
med and enlightened, and frequently to ex- 
amine the State of our own Minds, that we 
may obferve and rectify what we find to be 
amifs there. The Power of Self-Reflection, 
is one of the nobleft our Natures are fur- 
nished with : And the right Uie and Exer- 
cife of this Power is abfolutely necefTary to 
the Keeping of the Heart with all Diligence, 
and to the Exercifing a proper Difcipline 
over it, which is a moll: important Part of 
Self-Government. This is what Religioa- 
prefcribes; and in this, as well as other 
Refpects, it is, when rightly underftood, 
the greateft Friend to the real Culture and 
Improvement of the rational and moral 
Powers. As far as we follow it's Dictates, 
we live a Life of Reafon ; we are made 
acquainted with Things of the greateft 
§ z Worth 


Worth and Importance -, we propofe ta 
ourfelves the moil excellent Ends, and pur- 
fue them by the propereft Means ; in which 
true V/ifdom doth eminently confift. And 
for this the holy Scriptures afford the belt 
Helps : They are able, as the Apoflle fpeaks, 
to make us wife unto Salvation, 2 Tim. iii. 
15. The Entrance of thy Word, faith the 
Pfalmift, giveth Light ; it giveth Under '/land- 
ing unto the Simple, Pf. cxix. 130. No- 
thing therefore can be more reafonable than 
the Injunction which is laid upon us tofearch 
the Scriptures , John v. 39. How thank- 
ful mould we be to God for the glorious 
Difcoveries which are there made to us ? 
And to fuffer thefe Divine Oracles to lie 
neglected by us would argue the greateft 
Ingratitude towards God, and the moft 
unaccountable Inattention to the Means of 
our own Happinefs and fpiritual Improve- 
ment. It highly concerneth us therefore to 
guard againft that Diihpation of Thought 
which is fo unbecoming to intelligent Be- 
ings, and which rendereth us averfe to ex- 
ercife our thinking Powers even upon 
Things of the higheft Confequence. And, 
though to apply ourfelves to ferious Confide- 
ration may at firft appear difficult and dif- 
agreeable, it mall be amply compenfated by 
the happy Advantages which fhall attend it : 



When Wifdom entereth into thine Heart, and 
Knowledge is pie af ant unto thy Soul, Difcre- 
tion foall preferoe thee, Vnderjlanding fiall 
keep thee. Prov. ii. io, n. 

Secondly, Another Part of the Duty re- 
quired of us, with regard to ourfelves, is 
that we mould labour to keep the Body in 
a due Subjection to the Mind, and to go- 
vern the flefhly Appetites, and, reftrain them 
in their proper Bounds. Man confifteth of 
Body and Mind, of a fenlitive and rational 
Part ; and the Spirit or Mind is undoubted- 
ly the nobleft Part of our Nature, and was 
formed to be the governing Principle. When 
the fenfitive flefhly Appetites are kept in a 
regular Subordination to the higher Powers 
of Reafon and Confcience, then it is that 
the human Nature preferveth it's proper 
Order, and it is fitted for attaining to that Per- 
fection and Happinefs, for which it was 
originally defigned. The Body indeed is not 
to be neglected ; it's Health and Safety, and 
in many Cafes it's Pleafure too, is to be 
confulted. God hath implanted bodily In- 
ftindts and Appetites for wife Purpofes, and 
hath fb ordered it, that there are pleafing 
Senfations annexed to the Gratification of 
them. Pleafures flow in upon us at the 
Eye, the Ear, the Tafte, and all the bodily 
Senfes ; which contribute not a little to the 
S 3 Entertainment 

Entertainment of human Life. And the 
Author of our Being certainly never intended 
to forbid and condemn all Gratification of 
thofe Appetites which, by his own Appoint- 
ment, were interwoven into the animal 
Constitution, and into the very Frame of 
our Natures, whilft we are in the Body. But 
then the Danger lies here, that Men are 
apt to fuffer themfelves to be fo far carried 
away by thofe animal bodily Pleafures, 
as, for the Sake of them, to neglect and 
difregard the nobler Exercifes and Enjoy- 
ments of Reafon and Virtue. Bewitched 
with fenfual Gratifications, they let loofe the 
Jleins to the flefhly Appetite j and, when 
this, which is a blind Principle, not deligned 
or fitted to govern, ufurpeth the Sovereignty, 
nothing but Confufion muft enfue. A wretch 
ed and unnatural State this ! It often hap- 
pens, that the Elejh obtains fuch Power as 
to fway the Determinations of the Will 
contrary to the Dictates of Reafon, or even 
fo far inflaves Reafon itfelf, as to caufe it to 
pronounce on the Side of Appetite, and to 
employ it's noble Powers only to make Pro^ 
vifionfir the F/eJh, to fulfil the Ldifls thereof. 
When, this is the Cafe, the Nature of Man 
is degraded from it's original Dignity ; it is 
dcbajed and brutified, and rendered inca- 
pable of enjoying it's proper Happinefs. 



Now therefore the great and noble Delign 
of Religion and the Law of God is to re- 
cover the human Nature from this it's dege- 
nerate State, to rellore Reafon to the Throne, 
and affert it's Dominion over the inferior 
Appetites and Pafiions ; not indeed to ex- 
tinguish thofe Appetites, but to guard againft 
Excefs, and keep them within juft Bounds. 
It is no fmall Part of Wifdom and Self- 
Manao;ement to govern our Inclinations even 
towards lawful bodily Pleafures, fo as ftill 
to maintain the Superiority of the Mind, 
and not naffer thofe Pleafures to captivate 
our Reafon, or to indifpofe us for fpiritual 
and Divine Enjoyments. Hence the Chri- 
Jiian Life is expreiTed by walking not after 
the Fleflj, but after the Spirit : There is no 
Couthmnattmiy faith St. Paul, to them that 
jarc/rtChriftJefas, who walk not after the Fiefh, 
but after the Spirit. Rom. viii. 1. There 
k indeed, and always will be, whilh: we 
are in the Body, a Struggle, in a greater or 
lefs Degree, between the Flefi and the Spirit. 
But the proper Office of Religion is to affift 
and render us victorious in that ConftiSl : 
And, when, through the gracious Aids of 
God's Holy Spirit, and by exercifing a con- 
ftant Care and Difcipline over ourfelves, the 
F/e/h is fo far fubjected to the Spirit, that 
it's Oppoiition is in a great Meafure fubdued, 

S 4 the 


the inward Peace and Tranquillity, the Sar 
tufaction and SeJf-Enjoyrnent which arifea 
from it, is not to be exprefted. To engage 
is to this is the Deiign of thofe excellent 
Precepts and Reprefentations, Walk after 
the Spirit [ , and ye fiall not fulfil the Lu/ls of 
the Flefi. Gal. v. 16. To be carnally minded 
is Death, but to be fpiritually minded is Life 
and Peace. — We are Debtors, not to the Flefi, 
to live after ihe Flefi : For, if ye live after 
the Flefio, ye fiall die ; but, if ye through the 
Spirit do mortify the Deeds of the Body, ye 
fhall live. Rom. viii. 6, 12, 13. It is not 
indeed bound upon us, as our Duty, to ex- 
ercife ourfelves in thofe rigid Aufterities 
which tend to hurt and dimonour the Body, 
to mar the Comfort of Life, and render it 
gloomy and diiagreeable. Thefe Things may 
have a Skew of Wifikm in Will-worfhip and 
Humility^ and ntgk&ing, or as it is rendered 
in the Margin, npfparing the Body, but they 
are not injoined in the Divine Law. Col ii. 
23. Yet it is our Duty to keep the Body 
under, as the Apoftle tells us he did, 1 Cor a 
ix. 27. We muft take Care that we do 
not, by too much Pampering and Indulging 
the Fhfii add Force to it's Appetites, and 
increafe the Difficulty of fubduing them. 
We muft do what we can to keep our Bodies 
pure and facred, and in a proper Difpoiition, 


to ferve the Mind, coniidering that we- are 
not our own, but are bought with a Price ; 
and therefore are obliged to glorify God in 
our Bodies and Spirits, which are his. 1 Cor. 
vi. 20. This feems to be particularly in- 
tended in thit excellent Exhortation, Rom. 
xii. 1. I befeech you, Brethren, by the Mer- 
cies of God, that ye prefent your Bodies a li- 
ving Sacrifice, holy, acceptable in his Sight, 
which is your reafonable Service. 

There are two natural bodily Appetites 
which deferve to be taken particular Notice 
of, on this Occaiion, as what we are efpe- 
cially concerned, and obliged by the Divine 
Law, to keep within proper Bounds, viz. 
the Appetite of Meat and Drink, and the 
flefhly Concupifcence. The Virtue by which 
the former is governed is called Temperance ; 
that which regulateth the latter is Conti- 
nence or Chajliiy. 

Firfr, V/ith regard to the firft of thefe it 
muit be obferved, that, as Food is netefTary 
to the Suftenance of the Body and Prefef- 
vation of the human Life here on Earth, the 
Author of our Beings hath wifely implant- 
ed in us a flrong Appetite towards it, which, 
when gratified, excites a pleafurable Senfa- 
tion : And, if it were not for this, we migh| 
be apt too often to neglect the neceliry 
Means of our Nourifhment and Support. It 



is allowed us therefore to eat and drink, and 
to take Pleafure in doing fo within the 
Bounds of a jufi: Moderation, and with a 
thankful Senfe of the Divine Goodnefs. The 
wife Man pronounceth, that it is good and 
comely for a Man to eat and drink, and to 
enjoy the Good of all bis Labour that he taketh 
under the Sun, all the Days of his Life which 
God givcih him. And he adds, that this is 
the Gift of God. Ecclef. v. 18, 19. See alfo 
Chap.ii. 24. iii. 12, 13. AndintheNew 
Teilament it is declared, that every Creature 
of God is goody and nothing to be refufed, if it 
be received with Thankf giving. And a fe-» 
vere Cenfure is palled upon thofe as falfe 
Teachers and Deceivers, who commanded to 
abjlain from divers Kinds of Meats, which God 
hath created to be received with Thankfgiving, 
of them which believe and know the Truth. 
1 Tim. iv. 1,3,4. Thus we fee how ad- 
mirably Chrijlianity, in this as well as other 
Jnftances, keeps clear of all Extremes ; and 
fuitable to this was the Example of our Lord 
Jefus Chrijl, the moil perfedt Pattern of all 
moral Excellence : He came eating and 
drinking, i. e, he allowed himfelf in the 
moderate Ufe of Meats and Drinks ; and, 
though he never tranfgreffed the Rules of 
Temperance, the Thar fees took Occafion to 
reproach him, becauie he did not himfelf 



praclife, nor bind upon his Difciples the 
Obfervance of thofe frequent rigorous Fad- 
ings upon which they valued themfelves. 
That the Gofpel is far from countenancing 
fuch a fevere Abdinence as tends to hurt: 
the Body appears from that Injunction of 
St. Paul to Timothy , Drink no longer Water, 
but ufe a little Wine for thy Stomach's Sake, 
and thine often Infirmities. 1 Tim. v. 23. 

But then, on the other Hand, Intempe- 
rance, and an excemve Indulgence of the 
Appetite of Meat and Drink, is mod ex- 
prefsly forbidden in the Holy Scriptures ; 
When thou fttteft to eat with a Ruler, confder 
diligent})' what is before thee ; and put a Knife 
to thy Throaty if thou be a Man given to Ap- 
ptiite. Be not defirous of his Dainties ; for 
they are deceitful Meat. Frov. xxiii. 1,2,3. 
And again, Verfes 20, 21. Be not amongfl 
Wine-bibbers, among jl riotous Eaters ofFlejh : 
For the Drunkard and the Glutton come to 
Poverty ', and Drow fine fs fiall clothe a Man 
with Rags. And the fad Effects of Drun- 
kennefs are there moil elegantly and pathe- 
tically defcribed, Verfe 29^—35. The bed 
and wifed Men in all A^es have concurred 
in reprefenting Intemperance in Eating and 
Drinking as a mod fhameful and unmanly 
Vice, which tends not only to difhonour the 
Body, but to debafe the Soul, and to abufe 



and flupify the rational Powers ; and opens 
a Way to the mod: fcandalous Enormities, 
But, beiides this, we are particularly warn- 
ed againft it in the Gofpel-Law, as altoge- 
ther unbecoming our Character and Privi- 
leges as Chrijlians : The Night is far fpe?:t, 
the Day is at Hand : Let us therefore caft off 
the Works of Darknefs, and let us put on the 
Armour of Light. Let us walk honeftly, or 
decently and orderly ', eva^Yifj-ovcat, as in the 
Day, not in Rioting and Drunkennefs. Rom. 
xiii. 12, 13. St. Paul oppofes the being 
drunk with Wine to the being filled with the 
Spirit. Eph. v. 1 8. And our Saviour fe- 
prefents the Indulging to Riot and Intem- 
perance as inconfiflent with making a due 
Preparation for the future Judgment : Take 
Heed to ycurfelves, faith he, left at any Time 
your Hearts be overcharged with Surfeiting 
and Drunkennefs ', and Cares of 'this Life ', and 
Jo that Day come upon you unawares. Luke 
xxi. 34. And, finally, Drunkennefs, Revel- 
lings, and fuch-like, are reckoned among the 
Works of the Flfj, concerning which it is 
declared, that they which do fuch Things JJmII 
not inherit the Kingdom of God. Gal. v. 21, 
Thefe Reprefentations are very wifely de- 
iigned to prevent our giving Way to intem- 
perate Excufes, or, if we have been fo un- 
happy as to fuffer ourfelves to be intangled 


in Habits of this Kind, mould hinder our 
perfifting in them, and mould put us upon 
vigorous Endeavours to make them off. 
This indeed may be a Work of great Dif- 
ficulty, but .it is far from being impoilible : 
And by forfaking the bafe Pleafures of In- 
temperance we mall be prepared for Satif- 
factions of a nobler Kind. Temperance 
tends both to keep the Mind and Powers of 
Reafon found and clear, and the bodily 
Senfes clean and vigorous. It may there- 
fore be juflly faid, that the temperate Man 
hath a far jufter Relifli even of fenfible En- 
joyments than the diflblute Debauchee, be- 
fides the Satisfaction which ariieth from the 
Reflections of his own Mind on his having 
acted in a Manner agreeable to the Will and 
Law of God, and becoming his rational 
Nature : And even Failing and Abflinence 
on proper Occafions, when it is made Ufe 
of as an Help to Devotion, and not carried 
to a fuperflitious Excefs, yieldeth more of a 
iincere Satisfaction than all the riotous Joys 
of the voluptuous Senfualift. 

Secondly, Another Part of our Duty, 
with regard to the Regulation of our bodily 
Appetites, is Continence or Chajiity, which 
confifteth in the due Government of that 
natural Propenfion which is defigned for 
the Continuance of the Species. This is 



implanted by the Author of our Beings, and 
hath a Pleafure annexed to it for wife Pur- 
poles j and, when properly conducted and 
regulated, it may anfwer valuable Ends. 
In the inferior brute Creatures this animal 
Inftinct or Appetite cannot be properly 
brought under Laws j but among Men, who 
are rational Agents, it is neceffary that it 
Ihould be fo. It muft be governed in fuch 
a Manner as to fhun Diforder and Lieenti-* 
oufnefs, and to lay a proper Foundation 
for Forming Families, and the Relations 
refulting from thence, and for the orderly 
Education of Children. For this Purpofe 
Marriage was inftituted by Divine Appoint- 
ment, which is well fitted to be a Source of 
human Happinefs, and was originally intent 
ded both to gratify and regulate this Incli- 
nation, to direct it in it's proper Channel, 
and keep it within jufl Bounds. Indeed 
Superftition and falfe Devotion hath carried 
this much farther. Under Pretence of an 
extraordinary Degree of Purity, it hath 
put Men upon binding themfelves by fo- 
lemn Vows to fupprefs this natural Incli- 
nation, and not allow the regular Gratifi- 
cation of it in Marriage, as if this was a 
Kind of Impurity and Uncleannefs : But 
the Language of the holy Scriptures is very 
different. To avoid Fornication, faith St. 


discourse xirr. zyr 

Paul, let every Man have his own Wife, and 
every Woman her own Husband, i Cor. viL 
2. Thofe are condemned as giving Heed 
to /educing Spirits, and fpeaking Lyes in Hy- 
pocrify, who forbid to marry, i Tim. iv. 3. 
And it is declared that Marriage is honottra-' 
ble in all, and the Bed undejiled. Heb. xiii. 4. 
But, though the Law of God allows the 
orderly Gratification of this Appetite, yet 
it ftrongly forbids and condemns all irregu- 
lar Indulgences of it. Not only is Adulte- 
ry prohibited, which is a Breach of the 
Marriage-Covenant, and hath been gene- 
rally condemned by the Laws of civilifed 
Nations, but Fornication too. We are 
told, that, Whoremongers and Adulterers God 
will judge. Heb. xiii. 4. Fornication, as 
well as Adidtery, is reckoned among thofe 
Works of the Flejh, which,- if impenitently 
perfifted in, will exclude Perfbns from the 
Kingdom of God. Gal. v. 21. 'This is the 
Will of God faith St. Paul, even your SanBi- 
f cation, that ye fiould abjlain from Forni- 
cation: that every one of you Jlmild know how 
to pojfefs his Vejjel in San&tfication and Ho- 
nour ; not in the Luft of Concupifcence, even 
as the Gentiles which know not God : For 
God hath not called us unto Uncle annefs, but 
unto FLolincfs. 1 ThefT. iv. 3, 4, 5, 6. Our 
bleffed Saviour, the great Interpreter of the 

Divine Law, hath extended it fo far a$ 
to forbid the Indulging impure Inclina- 
tions in the Heart : Ye have beard, faith 
he, That it 'was /aid by them of old Time, ThoU 
Jhalt not commit Adultery : But I fay unto you, 
That whofoever looketh on a Woman to lujl 
after her, hath committed Adultery with her 
already in his Heart. Matt. v. 27, 28. 
.And the wife Man, fpeaking of the Jlra?igc 
Woman, faith, Lujl not after her Beauty in 
thine Heart. Prov. vi. 25* And indeed 
the Watching over and Suppreffing lafcivi— 
ous Inclinations, before they gather too 
great Strength* is the moft effectual Way 
to prevent their Breaking forth into outward 
A6ts of Uncleannefs. We mould avoid 
every Thing in our Converfation and De- 
portment, which bordereth on Impurity : 
Fornication and all TJncleannef—-let it not 
be once named among you, as becometh Saints 3 
neither Filthinefs, nor foolijh Talking, nor 
fefling, which are not convenient. Eph. v. 
3, 4. The more effectually to engage us 
to Chaftity and Purity of Behaviour, Chri- 
fianity teacheth us to regard even our Bodies 
as the Members of Chrifl, and the Temples 
of the Holy Gboji : Know ye not, that your 
Bodies are the Members of Chrijl ? Shall I 
then take the Members of Chrijl and make 
them the Members of an Harlot f God forbid. 



*-—Flee Fornication : Every Sin, i. e. every 
other Sin that a Man doeth, is without the 
Body ; but he that commit t-eth Fornication jin- 
neth againft his own Body. What, know ye 
not that yotir Body is the 'Temple of the Holy 
Ghoft, which is in you* which ye have of God, 
and ye arenot your own ? For ye are bought with 
a Price. 1 Cor. vi. 15, 18, 19. This 
Part of the Divine Law is what many are 
ready to exclaim againft, as unreafonably 
harm and fevere : But fuch Complaints and 
Objections proceed not from cool impartial 
Reafon, but from licentious Appetite. The 
Law of God hath provided for the Gratifi- 
cation of our natural Inclinations within 
juft Bounds, and, if it gave an unreftrained 
Indulgence to them, it might juflly be 
found Fault with, as it would open a wide 
Door to all Manner of Diforders. The 
Mifchiefs which fuch unclean Lulls bring 
upon thofe that indulge .them are reprefented 
in a very flriking Manner by Solomon in the 
Book of Proverbs : Speaking of the ftrange 
Woman, fo he calls the Plarlot and the 
Adulterefs, he faith, Her End is bitter as 
Wormwood, Jharp as a two-edged Sword. Her 
Feet go down to Death ; her Steps take Hold of 
Hell. Remove thy Way from her, come not nigh 
the Door of her Houfe : Left thou give thine 
fjonour unto others, and thy Tears unto the 
Vol, III. T Cruel; 


Cruel : Left Strangers be filled with thy 
Wealth, and thy Labours be in the Houfe of a 
Stranger, and thou mourn at lajl, when thy 
Flejh and thy Body are confamed. Prov. v. 4, 
5, 8, 9, 10. See alfo Chap. vi. 6 — 35. 
vii. 22 — 27. St. Peter likens thofe who 
walk after the Flejh in the Lu/is of Unclean- 
nefs to natural brute Beajis made to be taken 
and deftroyed. 2 Pet. ii. 10, 12. And St. 
Paul obferves concerning the diifolute Gen- 
tiles, that, being pajl Feeling, they had given 
themfehes over unto Lafcivioufnefs. Eph. iv. 
18. In Proportion as thefe Lufts prevail, 
they tend to extinguifh the moral Feelings : 
They defile the Soul, and caft it down from 
it's Excellency : They render it incapable of 
relifhing the pure and fublime Delights of 
Religion and Virtue, and confequently dis- 
qualify it for thofe Enjoyments in which 
the Happinefs of the rational Nature doth 
principally confift. When Perfons are once 
brought under the Dominion of impure 
Lufts, they gradually lofe that Senfe of 
Shame and Modefty which is implanted ia 
our Natures as a Prefervative to our Inno- 
cence and Virtue ; they are ready to break 
over all the Bounds of Honour and Confci- 
ence, and flick at no Means by which they 
can gratify the headftrong Appetite. And 
not only do thefe Lufts, when indulged, 



produce great Mifchiefs to particular Perfons 
and Families, but tolarge Communities. The 
Experience and Obfervation of all Ages 
Shew that, when fuch Vices become gene- 
ral among a People, they open a Way to 
all Manner of DhTolutenefs and Corruption, 
and deftroy all national Virtue and Probity, 
and true public Spirit. It is therefore an 
Initance of great Goodnefs, as well as Wif- 
dom, in the fupreme Lawgiver to lay Re- 
straints by his Laws upon thofe diforderly 
Lufts which war againft the Soul, as St. Peter 
fpeaks, 1 Pet. ii. 11. And though the 
Retraining and Governing them may be 
very difficult and coil: no fmall Pains and 
Uneafinefs 5 yet, through the Power of the 
Considerations and Motives which the Gos- 
pel fetteth before us, and the Affiflance of 
Divine Grace, which will never be wanting 
to our Sincere and earnefr. Endeavours, it is 
far from being impracticable ; and the noble 
and Divine Satisfaction, which will arife 
from having fubdued thofe irregular and vi- 
cious Inclinations, will vaftly outweigh all 
the Pleafures which could be propofed 
in gratifying them. 

Thus I have confidered that Part of our 

Duty towards ourfelves, which relateth to 

the Keeping the Body in a due Subjection 

to the Mind, and to the Governing the 

T 2 flefhly 


fleflily Appetites, and Retraining them 
within proper Bounds : And I have the 
more largely infifted upon this, becaufc 
many of the principal Prejudices againft Re- 
ligion and the Law of God are owing to it's 
Obliging us to regulate thofe Appetites, and 
keep them, under a proper Difcipline : And 
yet, in the Judgment of right Reafon, this 
ought greatly to recommend it to our Efteem. 
The mofl of Mankind are wholly taken 
up in Pampering, Indulging, Adorning the 
Body, and Giatifying it's Appetites, as if 
they looked upon this to be the very End of 
their Living, and that their Body is their 
All, or at leaft the chief Part of their Na- 
ture : But it is the Glory and Advantage of 
Rehgion, that, by making us fenfible of the 
great Worth and Excellency of our Souls, 
it teacheth us to maintain the juft Order and 
Dignity of pur Nature, and delivereth the 
Mind from it's bafe Subjection and Servitude 
to |J^e Jjufts of tb$ Fle/h, and thus layeth a 
Foundation for it's Enjoying a noble Li^ 
berty and folid Tranquillity, without whicfy 
$ is incapable of true Happinefs, 


On Delighting in the Laws of God. 


Psalm cxix. 47; 

2" will delight myfelf in thy Commandment si 
which I have loved* 

THAT Part of the Divine Law 
which we are now confidering relates 
to the Duties incumbent upon us with 
Regard to the right Management of our- 
felves, as diftinguifhed from the Duties we 
more immediately owe to God, and to our 
Neighbour* This is what the Apoflle ex- 
preffeth by our Living fiber ly in the World: 
For Explaining which it was obferved, that 
it includeth, in the firft Place, our Endea- 
vouring to improve our Minds, and to get 
T 3 them 


them furnifhed with ufeful Knowledge, and 
well feafoned with good religious Principles 
and moral Sentiments. It alfo includeth 
our Labouring to keep the Body in a due Sub- 
jeBion to the Soul, and to govern the flefhly 
Appetites, and reftrain them within proper 
Bounds : And it was fhewn that there is 
nothing in this but what is highly reafona- 
ole and conducive to our own Satisfaction 
and Happinefs. 

I now proceed to obferve farther, Thirdly, 
That another important Part of the Duty 
which is injoined in the Divine Law, with 
regard to the right Ordering ourfelves, is, 
that we mould maintain an univerfal Mode- 
ration in our Affections and Defires towards 
what are accounted the good Things of this 
prefent World. St. John distributes the 
things that are in the World under three 
Heads, the Lujl of the FleJJj, the Lujl of the 
Eye, and the Pride of Life, 1 John ii. 16* 
tfhe Lift of the Flefi relates to thofe fenfual 
Pleafures which arife from the Gratification 
of the flefhly Appetite ; and thefe were con- 
iidered in our laft Difcourfe. By the Lujl of 
the Eye we are probably to underftand inor- 
dinate Defires after worldly Riches, and 
thofe outward Advantages that attend them, 
which generally attract the Eyes of Men, 
and contribute to our living with Elegance 



and Affluence. By the Pride of Life is fig- 
nified Power and Dominion, and the Pomp 
of worldly Honours and Dignities. Daily 
Obfervation and Experience may convince 
us, that we are in great Danger of exceeding 
in our Defires and AfTedions towards thefe 
Things. Our Fancies drefs them up in a 
gaudy and agreeable Garb, fo that we are 
apt to look upon them as the principal Ingre- 
dients in human Happinefs. Hence it is 
that Men are fo prone to envy each other 
on the Account of them, and ftick at no 
Methods for obtaining them, though often 
at the Expence of Juftice, Truth, Friend- 
fhip, and generous Honefty : And even they 
who do not make Ufe of unjuft Means to 
obtain them yet are apt to purfue them with 
too great Ardour, and to place too much 
of their Happinefs in them, to the Neglect 
of Things of the greateft Worth and eveilaft- 
ing Importance. The wifeft Men in all Ages 
have been feniible that an exceffive Valuation 
of thefe outward worldly Advantages, and 
an inordinate Affection towards them, is the 
Source of numberlefs Mifchiefs and Difor- 
ders in human Life; and have therefore 
looked upon it as one of the worthier): Of- 
fices of Philofophy to provide Remedies and 
Antidotes againfl it : But all their Endea- 
vours this Wav have fallen greatly fhort 
T a o£ 


of the Helps which Religion and the Word 
of God furnifh to this Purpofe. And there 
are two Ways which are principally made 
Ufe of in Scripture for moderating our De- 
fires and Affections towards worldly Things: 
One is by reprefenting to us the vain and 
tranfitory Nature of all worldly Enjoyments, 
and their utter Infufficiency to make us 
happy : The other is by raifing our Affec- 
tions and Views to Things of an incompa- 
rably nobler Nature, the great Things of 
an eternal World.. 

Many are the Reprefentations made to us 
m Scripture of the vain and unfatisfying 
Nature, the uncertain and tranfitory Dura- 
tion of all Things here below. To this Pur- 
poieit is obferved that the Time isjhort, a?id 
that the Fajhion of this World paffetb away. 
I Cor. vii. 29, 30, 31. Wilt thou Jet thine 
Eye, faith the wile Man, upon that which is 
not ? For certainly Riches make to themfehes 
Wings and fly away as an Eagle towards Hea- 
ven. Prov. xxiii. 5. They are therefore 
called uncertain Riches, 1 Tim. vi. 17. For 
this Realbn, among others, our bleffed Sa- 
viour hath taken particular Care to warn us 
againil ancxeeiTive Love of worldly Riches, 
or putting our Truft in them : Lay not up 
for xourfehes, faith he, Treafures upon Earth-, 
*wjbere Moth and Ruft doth corrupt, and where 
Vbicves break through and fit al 3 i. e. do not 



fix your Hearts upon them as your proper 
Portion and Happinefs. Matt. vi. 1 9. And 
again, Take Heed and beware of Covetoufnejs y 
for a Man's Life, i. e. the Happinefs of 
Life, cofifjleih not in the Abundance which he 
fofejfeth. And he illustrates this by a beau- 
tiful Parable concerning the profperous 
Worldling, whofaid in his Heart, Soul, thou 
haft much good Things laid up for many Tears ; 
take thine Eafe, eat, drink, and be merry. 
But how foon was his boafted Happinefs at 
an End ! God f aid unto him, Thou Fool, this. 
Night thy Soulfialt be required of thee : Then 
whofe Jha/l thofe Things be, which thou hajl 
provided? Luke xii. 15, &c. Nor are 
worldly Honours more flable than Riches : 
— Man, being in Honour, abideth not : — When 
he dieth, he j hall carry nothing away, his Glory 
pall not defend after him. Pf. xlix. 12, 17. 
All Flefo is Grafs, and all the Glory of Man as 
the Flower of Grafs -, the Grafs wither eth, and 
the Flower thereof falleth away. 1 Pet. i. 24. 

But it would be to little Purpofe to repre- 
fent to us the Uncertainty and unfatisfying 
Nature of worldly Objects and Enjoyments, 
if we had no better or higher Things to ex- 
pect. We are taught therefore in the 
Word of God to raife our Thoughts and 
Affections to Things of a more durable 
and excellent Nature, to afpire after a fub- 



lime and permanentFelicityprovided for us in 
the highefl Heavens. To this Purpofe are 
thofe Evangelical Precepts, Lay up for your- 
fehes Treafures in Heaven ; feek ye frjl the 
Kingdom of God and his Right eoufnefs. Matt. 
vi. 20, 33. If ye be rifen with Chrift, feek 
thofe Things which are above, where Chriji now 
fitteth on the right Hand of God. Set your Af- 
fections on Things above, not on Things on the 
Earth. Col. iii. 1, 2. And it is given as 
the Character of real Chriflians, that their 
Converfation is hi Heaven. Phil. iii. 20. 
And that they look not at the Things which are 
feen, but at the Thi??gs which are notfeen ; for 
the Things which are feen are temporal, but 
the Things which are not feen are eternal. 2 
Cor. iv. 18. The Intention is not as if we 
we were abfolutely forbidden to defire or 
endeavour to obtain thefe worldly Goods at 
all, or to take any Pleafure in them, when 
by a prudent and honeir. Induftry we have 
obtained them ; but that we muft not make 
them the principal Objects of our Affections 
and Purfuits. It is Religion, rightly under- 
stood, which inftructeth to form a juft Ef- 
timate of worldly Enjoyments, and to re- 
gard them as at bell no more than temporary 
Conveniences and Accommodations in our 
Journey through this World to a better, 
where alone we can attain to the true Hap- 



pinefs and Perfection of our Natures. And 
the good Man who regardeth them in this 
View will both maintain a due Moderation 
in his Affections and Defires towards thefe 
prefent Things, and will have a more genu- 
ine Relifh of them, and ufe them to better 
Purpofes, than other Men. If he has a 
large Affluence of worldly Riches, by En- 
joying them with Temperance and Thank- 
fulnefs as the Gifts of the Divine Bounty, he 
extracts all the Good out of them which they 
are capable of yielding, and at the fame 
Time endeavours to do Good with his Abun- 
dance ; and thus he has the noble Pleafure 
of Employing his Wealth and Power for 
the Divine Glory, and for Promoting the 
Happinefs of his Fellow-creatures : Or, if 
he hath a fcanty Portion of this World's 
Goods, the PfalmiuYs Obfervation holds cer- 
tainly, that a little that a righteous Man hath 
is better than the Riches of many Wicked. Pf 
xxxvii. 16. For he hath the true Enjoy- 
ment of that Little, and the Blejjing of God 
with it. Religion teacheth him to be con- 
tent with his Share, as what Divine Provi- 
dence feeth to be fitteft for him, and not to 
envy thofe that have more : For his Views 
are principally fixed upon Things of an 
higher Nature which (hall never be taken 



away from him, and in which he is fure ne-» 
ver to meet with a Difappointment. 

Fourthly, The right Ordering and Ma- 
nagement of ourfelves, to which we are ob- 
liged by the Divine Law, includes not only 
our Maintaining a due Moderation in our 
Affections and Defires towards the good 
Things of this prefent World, but our En-* 
deavouring to get our Minds properly forti- 
fied againft the outward Evils to which we 
are now expofed. Thefe are of various 
Kinds, Pains, and Difeafes of Body, Croffes 
in our Affairs, the Lofs of valuable earthly 
Comforts, Poverty, Contempt, the Injuries 
that are done in our Perfons, Properties of 
Reputations ; in a Word, all Manner of 
Afflictions and Sufferings, and Death itfelfc 
Thefe Things may be properly called Evils* 
as they are troublefome to our Natures, and 
caufe very uneafy Senfations. There are 
feveral of our Paffions and Affections which 
are converfant about thefe Evils : And it is 
one excellent Delign of Religion to mode- 
rate thofe Paffions,- and fo to eftablifh our 
Minds, that thefe worldly Evils may not 
make too deep and powerful ImprefTions 
upon us. 

The Apprehendon of approaching Evils 
naturally creates Fear j and, when this is 
kept within the Bounds of a prudent Cau- 


tion, fo as to put us upon proper Meafures 
for averting the Evils which threaten us, 
it is both allowable and ufeful. Our Lord 
direfteth his Difciples to be wife as Serpents,, 
as well as harmlefs as Doves ; and, when per* 
fecuted in one City, to fee unto another. Matt. 
x. 1 6 j 23. But it highly concern eth us to 
guard againft an exceffive overwhelming 
Fear, which cafteth the Soul into a mean De- 
jection, and tendeth to put us upon bafe and 
unworthy Means for avoiding the Evils we 
are afraid of. It is the great Advantage of 
Religion, that, though it doth not encourage 
us to expofe ourfelves ramly and needleflly 
to Evils and Dangers, yet it prepareth us to 
meet them with a Divine Fortitude. The 
noble Language of the facred Writings is 
this : Fear not, for I am with thee; be 
not difmayed, for I am thy God : I will 
firengthen thee j yea, I will help thee ; yea, I 
will uphold thee with the right Hand of my 
Righteoufnefs. If. xli. 10. Hearken unto me, 
ye that hear Righteoufnefs, the People in wbofe 
Hearts is my Law. Fear ye not the Re- 
proach of Men, neither be afraid of their Rc- 
vilings : For the Moth pall eat them up like a 
Garment, &c. If. li. 7. Be not afraid of 
them that kill the Body, and after that have no 
more that they can do. Luke xii. 4. df ye 
fiifer fir Righteoufnefs , happy are ye -, be mt 



afraid of their Terror, neither be troubled, i 
Pet. iii. 14. It is declared concerning the 
Man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth 
greatly in his Commandments, that he Jhall 
not be afraid of evil Tidings ; his Heart is 
fixed, trufling in the Lord. Pf. cxii. 1, 7. 
He regards all the Power and Rage of wic- 
ked Men and Devils as under the fovereign 
Controul of the moil powerful, benign, and 
righteous Lord and Governor of the World, 
and is perfuaded they can do no more than 
he fees fit for wife Ends to permit. 

And, as Religion furnifheth the beft Re* 
medy againft an exceffive Fear of Men or 
worldly Evils, fo alfo it requirerh and amfleth 
us to moderate our angry Pamons which are 
ufually excited by the Apprehenfions of 
Evils or Injuries done or attempted againfr. 
us. To this Purpofe are thofe Precepts, 
Ceafe from Anger, and forfake Wrath ; fret 
not thy f elf in any wife to do Evil. Pf. xxxvii. $. 
Be not hafty in thy Spirit to be angry-, for An- 
ger rejleth in the Bofom of Fools. Ecclef. vii. 
9. Be ye angry, faith the Apoftle, and fin 
not. i. e. fo govern your Anger, as not to 
fin y lei not the Sun go down upon your Wrath. 
Eph. iv. 26. To fignify that we mud: take 
Care, that our Anger do not tranfport us 
into Excefs, or fettle in deliberate Malice 
and Revenue. This is an eminent Inftance 



of Self-government, and argues a true Noble- 
nefs of Mind: For, as the wife Man obferves, 
He that is Jlow to Anger is better than the 
Mighty ; and he that rideth his Spirit than he 
that taketh a City. Prov. xvi. 32. 

Another Paffion which is apt greatly to 
affect us, when we are deprived of worldly- 
good Things, or are under the Prefiure of 
worldly Evils, is Grief and Sorrow. And 
here alfo Religion comes to our Aid. It 
doth not abfolutely condemn all the Emoti- 
ons of Sorrow, but forbiddeth the Carrying 
it to an Excefs, and directeth us to guard 
againft that Sorrow of the World which work- 
cth Death. What it requireth of us is this, 
that viz for row not as thofe that have no Hope, 
1 ThelT. iv. 1 3. And that we weep as though 
we wept' not. 1 Cor. vii. 30. We muft 
learn to bear the Evils which come upon us 
with Patience, which is an excellent Virtue, 
of great Ufe, and very necefTary in this pre- 
fent State : In Patience, faith our Saviour, 
po/fefs ye your Souls. Lukexxi. 19. Let Pa- 
tience have her perfeB Work, that ye may be 
perfect and intire , wanting nothing. Jam. i. 4. 
That we may be the better inabled to govern 
our Affections and Paffions with regard to 
worldly Evils, we are inflructed in the holy 
Scriptures to form juft Apprehenfions con- 
cerning them j for our Paffions are generally 



very much heightened and exafperated by 
magnifying thole Evils in our Imagination 
beyond the Reality, We are taught there- 
fore to regard them as comparatively ihort 
and tranfitory in their Duration : That they 
can only hurt the Body, but cannot prejudice 
us in our nobler Interefts : That they are all 
under the Direction of Divine Providence, 
and are ordered and appointed by infinite 
Wifdom, Righteoufnefs, and Goodnefs for 
valuable and excellent Purpofes : And, fi- 
nally, that they are Part of the Diicipline 
which our heavenly Father feeth to be ne- 
cerTary for his Children here on Earth, for 
Correcting their Mifcarriages ; for Weaning 
their Affections from this preient World ; 
for Exercifmg and Strengthening their Faith, 
Patience, Resignation, and other Virtues 5 
and for Forming them into a Meetnefs for 
Heaven. And to him that confidereth, 
them in this View they bear a quite diffe- 
rent Afpecl from what they do to the Reft 
of Mankind: I reckon, faith St. Paul, that 
the Sufferings of this prefent 'Time are not 
'worthy to be compared unto the Glory thatfoall 
be revealed in us. Rom viii. 1 8. And again, 
Our light Affliction which is but for a Moment, 
worketh for us afar more exceeding and eter- 
nal Weight of Glory. 2 Cor. iv. 17. The 
good Man, and he alone, can upon folid 



Grounds glory, or rejoice, in Tribulation, 
■knowing that Tribulation worketh Patience, 
and Patience Experience, and Experience 
Hope ; and Hope maketh not ajhamed, be- 
caufe the Love of God is Jhed abroad in our 
Hearts by the Holy Ghojl, which is given 
unto us. Rom. v. 3, 4, 5* And certainly 
no outward Evils or Accidents can render 
him unhappy, who hath divine Comforts 
flowing in upon his Soul from the fupreme 
Fountain of Good. 

Thus it appears, that Religion and the 
Law of God, by directing and affifting us 
to vanquish our Fears, to govern our an- 
gry Paffions, to moderate our Sorrows, and 
to maintain a fteady Fortitude and Con- 
ftancy of Soul under all worldly Evils, 
doth really confult and promote our own 
Eafe and Happinefs, and difarmeth thofe 
jEvils of that which is really moft hurtful 
in them ; for, when we are inabled to 
to bear them properly, they can do us but 
little Harm ; whereas, when we fuffer 
them immoderately to affect us, the Tran- 
quillity of our Minds is liable to be bro- 
ken by every crofs Accident which be- 
falleth us. We either fink into an ex- 
ceffive Dejection of Mind, or we give 
Way to fretting Impatience and querulous 
Difcontent ; or we fly out into furious 

Vol, III. U ' Tranfports 


Tranfports of rafli Anger, or our Spirits 
are invenomed and imbittered with Malice, 
Hatred, and Revenge ; all which are 
greatly difquieting and vexatious. It ought 
therefore to recommend Religion to our 
Efteem and Choice, that it tends to re- 
move thefe Impediments to our Happinefs, 
and to render us fuperior to all the Evils 
of this prefent Life and World. 

Several other Things might be men- 
tioned, as included in that Part of the 
Duty required of us, which relateth to the 
right Management and Government of 
ourfelves : We mud particularly guard 
againft that inordinate SelfKhnefs, which, 
where it prevaileth, hath a Tendency to 
harden and contract the Heart, and to ex- 
tinguifh every noble and generous Senti- 
ment; and muft be ready, when a proper 
Oecafion calls for it, to facrifice our flemly 
Eafe and Pleafure, and our worldly In- 
terefts, for promoting the Honour of God 
and the Good of Mankind. This in one 
Word is expreffed by Self-denial, which, 
far from being an Enemy to our true Hap- 
pinefs, doth really and moft effectually fe- 
cure and promote it, by engaging us to 
renounce whatfoever Interefts and Grati- 
fications are reallv incontinent with it. 
This argues an excellent Temper of Mind, 



pleafing in the Sight of God, and which 
lays a proper Foundation for an inward Sa- 
tisfaction and Complacency. 

Humility is another Inflance of Self- 
regulation, much infifted upon in the holy 
Scriptures. This is defigned to moderate 
and regulate that that Self-valuation and 
Love of Efleem, which, when carried to 
an Excefs, is Pride and Vain-glory, where- 
by we afTume to ourfelves more Honour 
and Efleem than really belongs to us, over- 
valuing ourfelves and defpiiing others. It 
is required of us, that we put on Humble- 
nefs of Mind. Col. iii. 12. or, as it is elfe- 
where expreffed, that we be clothed with 
Humility ; that we do not think highly of 
ourfelves above what we ought to think> but 
that we jloould think foberly or modeflly. Rom, 
xii. 3. Pride is difpleafing to God and 
Man ; it produces Contention, and fub- 
jects thole in whom it prevails to many 
Vexations and Difquietudes : Whereas 
Humility crowns and adorns our other 
Virtues, and fpreads a kindly Influence 
through our whole Deportment. It 
caufeth us to yield a due Submiflion and 
Refpect to thofe who are our Superiors ; 
renders us affable and condefcending to 
Inferiors ; gentle and obliging, peaceful 
and inoffenfive towards all ; ready to bear 
U 2 with 


with the Weakneffes and Defects of others 
from a Confcioufnefs of our own. Such 
a Temper and Conduct manifeftly contri- 
butes to our own Eafe and Tranquillity, 
and tends to conciliate to us the Good-will 
and Efteem of thofe with whom we have 
to do : But, what is chiefly to be confi- 
dered, it recommends us to the Favour 
and Approbation of God himfelf, who re- 
fifieth the Proud, and giveth Grace unto the 
Humble, i Pet. v. 5. 

Finally, We muft endeavour to preferve 
a true Uprightnefs, a Candour and Sim- 
plicity of Spirit, in Oppofition to all De- 
ceit and Guile, and to what the Scripture 
expreffeth by a double Heart, and a double 
Tongue. Sincerity of Heart hath defer- 
vedly a great Strefs laid upon it in the 
Divine Law : It derives a Value to all 
other Endowments, and without it the 
moft fplendid Gifts and Endowments are 
reprefented as of no Avail to our Acceptance 
with God. It is that which renders our 
Conduct and Deportment confident and 
uniform ; and a Confcioufnefs of it hath 
a manifeft Tendency to produce an inward 
Peace and Self-enjoyment, and an inge- 
nuous Confidence towards God and Man : 
Whereas the Hypocrite is put to many 
troublefome Shifts agd Difguifes to con- 


ceal his real Character from the View of 
the World, and finds it hard with all his 
Art to efcape the Reproaches of his own 
Mind. Happy they, who can upon good 
Grounds fay, with the Apoftle Paul, Our 
Rejoicing is this, the Tejlimony of our Con- 
ference, that in Simplicity and godly Sincerity, 
not with jlefoly Wlfdom, but by the Grace of 
"God, we have had our Converfation in the 
World I 2 Cor. i. 12. 

And now, from the Account that has 
been given of thofe of the Divine Com- 
mandments, which relate more immedi- 
ately to the right Management of our- 
felves, and the. Government of our own 
Appetites and Pamons, it is manifeft that 
they are deiigned to promote our real 
Happinefs. There are many indeed who 
imagine, that Happinefs is only to be 
found in an unreftrained Indulgence to 
their flemly Appetites and Paffions : But 
the Contrary is evident from Reafon and 
Experience. The Men ofPleafure, as they 
are called, are apt to value themfelves as 
if they only knew how to enjoy Life, and 
defpife thofe, as dull and heavy Souls, who 
,do not give into the fame Irregularities 
and ExcerTes. But let Reafon judge, 
•which hath the trueft Pleafure : He 
w,hofe Life is almoft one continued Round 
U 3 of 


of Revelling and Riot, who feldom leaver 
the Table and Company till Nature be 
clogged and overcharged, and who by 
fuch a Courfe both vitiates his Appetites, 
and lays up Fuel for tormenting Pains and 
Difeafes : Or the Man that fits chearful at 
his temperate Meals, taking in Modera- 
tion what furficeth to refrem Nature, and 
not opprefs it ; and who with a peaceful 
Mind can offer up his Thanks to Heaven 
for his innocent Repaft, without any of 
thofe Crudities and Surfeits which are the 
naufeous Fruits of a Debauch ? Can the 
brutifh Pleafures of the Incontinent, and 
which, when the guilty Tranfport is over, 
are fucceeded by Confuiion and Remorfe, 
be compared to the refined Satisfaction of 
a pure and chafte Soul, or to the innocent 
Delights and Charms of virtuous Love ? 
What an inward Peace and Serenity doth 
that Man enjoy who pojfejfeth his Soul in 
Meeknefs and Patience, and who maintain- 
ed a due Moderation in his Affections and 
Defires towards the Things of this prefent 
World, in Comparifon of him who is 
hurried on in the reftlefs Purfuits of Am- 
bition or Avarice, or whofe Heart is fwollen 
with Pride, or inflamed with the angry 
Paffions, or fretted with Envy and Dis- 
content ! It is a juft Obfervation, that fen* 


fual Lufts and Appetites, the more they 
are gratified, the more uneafy and impor- 
tunate they grow : The exceffive Indul- 
ging: them doth but make them more 
troublefome and head-ftrong. The Man 
therefore, who retrains them within due 
Bounds, according to the Preemptions of 
the Divine Law, fecures his own inward 
Peace and Repofe, and enjoys the Sweets 
of a true and noble Liberty : Whereas he 
that indulges them only nourifheth Lufts 
to be his own Tormentors ; he harboureth 
domeftic Tyrants, which will not furfer 
him to enjoy a real and folid Tranquillity : 
They carry on a continual Conflict within, 
and are often as contrary to one another, 
as they are all to Reafon, hurrying him 
on to do what his Confcience difapproves, 
and thereby fubjecling him to the Self- 
condemning Reflections of his ov/n Mind ; 
which is as miferable a Condition as a 
reafonable Creature can be in. Upon the 
Whole, may we not juftly pronounce thofe 
the happieft of the human Race, what- 
foever their outward Circumftances may 
be, who, being freed from the Dominion 
of irregular Lufts and Paflions, enjoy the 
peaceful Satisfaction which arifeth from 
Moderation and Temperance, from Pu- 
rity, Humility, Meeknefs, and confcious 
U 4 Sincerity, 

Sincerity, and from a folid Fortitude and 
true Greatnefs of Soul, which are the 
Difpofitions which Religion prefcriheth, 
and which it hath a manifeft Tendency to 
flrengthen and improve ? 

We have now taken a dictinct View of 
the Precepts of the Divine Law, as rela- 
ting to the Duties required of us towards 
God, our Neighbours, and ourfelves ; in 
the Practice of which a truly religious and 
virtuous Life doth properly confiffc. And 
it appears, that in all thefe Refpects the 
Law of God is conformable to right Rea^ 
fon and to the Nature of Things, and that 
all it's Injunctions are really conducive 
to the true Perfection and Felicity of our 
Nature. Carnal Appetite may remon- 
flrate againffc it, but it is what Reafon and 
Confcience, where it is not depraved by 
evil Habits and vicious Prejudices, upon 
the moft impartial Confideration, cannot 
but approve. And furely what Reafon ap- 
proves muft, to a reafonable Being, be a 
Source of the trueft Satisfaction and De^ 

If the Contrary to thofe Duties which 
God requireth were bound upon us by a 
Law ; or if there were no Law at all, but 
every Man was left to gratify his own 
JLufts and Paffions without Controul ; how 



wretched would the State of Mankind be I 
There would be no Order, and confe- 
quently no Safety, nothing but endlefs 
Confufion and Mifery. Inftead therefore 
of Complaining againft God for the Pre^ 
fcriptions of his Law, we ought to adore 
his Goodnefs in Giving us fuch a Law. 
He is not a fevere and rigid Tafk-mafter, 
who delighteth in Impofing hard and un- 
reafonable Burdens upon his Creatures ; 
nor doth he in his Dealings with us act in 
a Way of mere abfolute Authority, but ac- 
cording to the fteady Rules of the mod 
perfect Wifdom, Righteoufnefs, and Equi- 
ty. As his infinite Goodnefs inclines him 
to delight in the Peace, the Order, and 
the Happinefs of his reafonable Creatures j 
fo the facred Requirements of his Law 
are plainly calculated to promote that de- 
niable End. Superflition indeed has fre- 
quently put Men upon doing Things which 
are very grievous and (hocking to Nature : 
The idolatrous Priefts of Baal cut and 
flamed themfelves, and many fuch cruel 
Rites were made Ufe of among the Gentile 
Nations ; and, almoft in every Part of the 
World, human Sacrifices have been, at 
one Time or other, offered to their Deities. 
The Accounts which are given us by cre- 
dible Authors of the rigid Penances that the 



Heathen Devotees in the Eq/i- Indies un- 
dergo, are aftoniihing. Some of them, 
for a long Time together, powder their 
Hair with Allies, and lay themfelves naked 
on the Ground without Bed or Covering : 
Some voluntarily diftort and diflocate their 
Bones, or bind themielves by ilrict Vows to 
remain continually in one Pofbure : Others 
load themfelves with heavy Chains which 
they drag after them, as long as they live , 
or lie down in the Way by which the 
Chariots that carry their Idols are to pafs 
in their facred Proceffions, that they may 
run over them, and crufri and mangle 
their Bodies. And, even among profeffed 
Chrifiians themielves, Superftition has of- 
ten laid heavy Yokes upon the Difciples, 
of which it were eafy to produce many In- 
ilances. But thefe are the Inventions of 
Men, which God hath no where com- 
manded in his Word and Law : All that 
is there injoined comes in Erred: to 
this, that we mould lhun whatsoever is 
unbecoming us as reafonable Creatures, 
moral Agents ; and mould endeavour to 
begin to be holy and happy here, that we 
may be fitted for a State of complete eter- 
nal Felicity and Glory hereafter. What 
a kind Mailer, what a gracious Sovereign, 
do we ierve, whofe very Service is the truejf 



Freedom, whofe Work carries Delight in 
it's Nature and Exercife, and whom to 
obey is to be happy ? 

And now the natural Conclufion from 
all that hath been offered concerning the 
Divine Commandments is this, that we 
mould apply ourfelves with Zeal and Di- 
ligence to yield an uniform Obedience to 
them, through the whole Courfe of our 
Lives ; and that we mould do it with 
Chearfulnefs and Delight. The very Ex- 
cellency of the Commands themfelves 
mould be a powerful Motive and Induce- 
ment to engage us to the Obfervance of 
them. As far as we are confcious of 
doing this, we have the approving Tefti- 
mony of our own Minds, as having acted 
a right and worthy Part, agreeable to the 
befl Principles of our Frame, and becom- 
ing the Dignity of the rational Nature. 
And this is a Source of inward Satisfaction 
and Joy, which the World cannot give 
nor take away. To which it may be ad- 
ded, that it hath a Tendency to procure 
the Efteem and Good-will of our Fellow- 
creatures, and that Good Name which, the 
the wife Man tells us, is rather to be chofen 
than great Riches. Prov. xxii. 1. A Courfe 
of uniform unaffected Piety and Virtue has 
fuch genuine Charms, fuch a Beauty as 



well as Dignity in it, that there are few- 
hut arc willing to have it thought that 
they efceem and approve it. Hence Vir- 
tue and Vraifc are joined together Phil. iv. 
8. But that which ought to have the 
greatefl Weight with us, and which ren- 
ders the Practice of the Duties required of 
us properly an Act of Religion, is, that we 
are obliged to it by the exprefs Authority 
of God himfelf, our great Creator, and 
our fupreme and rightful Lord ; and not 
only by his Authority, but by his Good- 
.nefs, as he is our moll: gracious and boun- 
tiful Benefactor. We are bound to it, as 
Men, by the Law of our Creation -, and 
we are under peculiar additional Engage- 
ments to it, as we are Chrijiians. The 
very End of Chri/t's Coming into the 
World, and of what he did and fuffered 
for us,, was that we might ferve God in 
Holinefs and Righteoufnefs before him, all the 
Days of our Lives. Luke i. 74, y$. All 
the Riches of the Divine Grace, all the 
Wonders of redeeming Love, which are 
fet before us in the Gofpel, are defigned 
to engage us to Obedience, and draw us to 
it as with the Bands of Love, For this 
Purpofe alio we have the excellent Exam- 
ple of our Lord Jefus Chrift propofed to 
ins as our Pattern, who yielded a moft 


fed: Obedience to all the Divine Com- 
mands, and whofe Delight is was to do the 
Will of God, even in the moft difficult In- 
ftances. And furely the Example of fo 
glorious a Perfon mould have a mighty 
Influence upon us ! How engaging is it to 
confider, that, whilft we go on in a du- 
tiful Obedience to the Divine Commands, 
we follow Ghrijly and live as the Son of God 
lived, when he appeared in human Flem ? 
And for our farther Encouragement there 
are the Aids of the Holy Spirit provided for 
us, which God hath promifed to us, and is 
ever ready to beftow for helping our Infirmi- 
ties y and affifting our iincere Endeavours in 
the Performance of our Duty, amidir. the 
many Difficulties and Temptations to which 
we are here expofed. Finally, the more ef- 
fectually to animate us to Obedience, the 
moft glorious Hopes are fet before -us, and 
the moft exprefs Promifes are given us of 
an Immortality of Joy and Glory in a bet- 
ter World, as the Reward of our fincere 
Obedience in this : And this bleffed Hope 
opens to us a new Scene of Divine Plea- 
fures, which tend to fpread Satisfaction 
and Joy through the Chrijlian Life. This 
is what I propofe to confider in my next 


On Rejoicing in Hope of the Glory of God. 


Romans v. 2. 

— A?id rejoice in Hope of the Glory 
of God. 

HOSOEVER impartially confU 
ders the Duties required of us in 
the Divine Law muft be fenfible that they 
are in themfelves moil reafonable and ex- 
cellent, and that, when duly obferved, 
they have a Tendency, in the Nature of 
Things, to promote our true Satisfaction 
and Happinels, even in this prefent State : 
But yet it cannot be denied, that there are 
many Difficulties and Difcouragements 
which attend the Practice of true Religion 



and Godlinefs here on Earth. Such is the 
Weaknefs of our Nature in it's prefent 
Degeneracy, that we often find a great 
Backwardnefs and Indifpofition in our 
Hearts to the Performance of our Duty ; 
the Work of Holinefs is imperfect, even 
in the befl of Men -, we carry about with 
us irregular Appetites and Paffions, which 
it requireth no fmall Pains to mortify and 
fubdue ; and we are in continual Danger 
from the Snares and Temptations of a fin- 
ful World, and the Influence of it's cor- 
rupt Cuftoms and evil Examples : To which 
may be added the bitter Cenfures and Per- 
fections to which good Men are fre- 
quently expofed. — It has often happened, 
that a fteady Adherence to the Caufe of 
'Truth and Rigbteoufnefs hath fubjected 
them to great temporal Evils : They have 
been obliged to abandon their deareft 
worldly Comforts and Enjoyments, and to 
fubmit to the moft grievous Sufferings, 
to Pain, Reproach, Ignominy, and even 
Death itfelf, for the Sake of Religion and 
a good Confcience. This is what every true 
Chrijiian mufl be prepared for in Heart 
and Refolution, though he may never be 
put to the actual Trial of it. If therefore 
this prefent Life were all we were to ex- 
pect, and if there were not a better World 


Discourse xv. 305 

in ProfpecT:, where we may hope to be 
freed from the Evils to which we are now 
expofed, and to arrive to the true Per- 
fection and Happinefs of our Nature, we 
fhould be in great Danger of finking un- 
der the Difcouragements that lie upon us* 
It hath pleafed God therefore, in his in- 
finite Wifdom and Goodnefs, to fet before 
us the moft glorious Profpects in the Pro- 
mifes of his Word, which lay a folid Foun- 
dation for the moft fublime and joyful 
Hope-. And this added to the Excellency 
of the Divine Precepts, in themfelves con- 
fidered, gives a good Man a vaft Superio- 
rity, in Point of real Satisfaction and Hap- 
pinefs, to the moft profperous wicked Man 
upon Earth, and renders a holy and vir- 
tuous Life beyond Comparifon more eli- 
gible and delightful than a Life of Vice 
and Sim 

St* Paul, fpeakihg in his own Name, 
and in that of true Believers, declares, that, 
being juftified by Faith, we have Peace with 
God through our Lord Jefus Chrift, by whom 
we have Accefs by Faith into this Grace 
wherein we ft and. And he adds, that we 
rejoice in Hope of the Glory of God. 
Where it is plainly intimated, that it is 
the Privilege and Happinefs of fincere 
Chriftians, who live and walk by Faith, that 

Vol. IIL X they 


they have a Hope of the heavenly Glory $ 
and that this Hope, in Proportion as it pre- 
vaileth is a Source of pure and facred 

Hope in general is the Expectation of 
fome Good which we defire, but which 
we are not at prefent in the actual Pof- 
feffion and Enjoyment of. When there 
appears to be but a fmall Probability of 
obtaining it, our Hope is weak and lan- 
guid ; when the Probability is, or appears 
to us to be, ftrong, our Hope is lively and 
vigorous -, and, when it arriveth to fuch a 
high Degree, that it may be called a moral 
Certainty y this- produceth a confident Ex- 
pectation or Affurance.- Mighty is the In- 
fluence of Hope upon the human Mind : 
It is this that is the great Spring of Action. 
That which chiefly animates and invi- 
gorates Men's Endeavours and Pursuits,- 
even with regard to their temporal Affairs,. 
is the Hope of Something to be obtained 
and enjoyed,, which hath to them the Ap- 
pearance of Good : But the Hope we are' 
now considering doth not terminate in the 
Things of this prefent tranfitory Life and 
World. The proper Object of the Cbri- 
Jlians Hope is that everlafiing Felicity, which' 
is revealed and promifed in the Gofpel^ 
and which <*ood Men mall be made Par- 



takers of in a future State. Hence it 19 
called by the Apoftle the Hope of eternal 
Life. Tit. iii. 7. And, in the ParTage be- 
fore us, the Hope of the Glory of God -, even 
that Glory which jloall be revealed, and to 
which the Sufferings of this prefent 'Time are 
not worthy to be compared. Rom. viii. 18*. 
It is elfewhere called eternal Glory .' God 
is faid to have called us to his eteriial Glory 
by Chrift Jefus. 1 Pet. v. 10. 2 77//z. ii* 
10. And furely the Hope of this, where 
it is ftrong and vigorous, muft needs fill 
the Soul with a fincere and folid Joy, 

But, that this may appear in a more 
convincing Light, let us diftinctly consi- 
der, Firft, The Greatnefs and Excellency 
of that future Glory, which is the Objed: 
of the Chrijlian s Hope. Secondly, The 
folid Foundation of this Hope, or the juft 
Grounds that a good Man and iincere 
Chrijlian hath for his Hope of that future 
Glory : And this will naturally lead us to 
coniider the Joy which arifeth from this 
Hope, and the happy Influence it hath upon 
the Chrijlian Life. 

Firft, Let us confider the Greatnefs and. 
Excellency of that future Glory and Felicity 
which is the Object of the Chrijlians 
Hope. It is to convey to us an exalted 
Notion of the future heavenly Happinefs 
X 2 that 


that it is called Glory : And, when 
it is here called the Glory of God, this 
tendeth ftill more to heighten the 
Idea. It is a Glory worthy of God, and 
of which he is very eminently the Au- 
thor : For the Gift of God is eternal 
Life, which is only another Word 
for that future Glory. Rom. vi. 23. It is 
a Glory and Felicity in fome Meafure re- 
fembling that of God himfelf, as far as 
the Capacity of our limited Natures will 
admit. The facred Writers feem to be as 
it were at a Lofs for proper Words to de- 
fcribe it : They call it a Crown of Glory 9 
Riches of Glory, an exceeding and eternal Weight 
of Glory. They intimate to us that itfartran- 
fcends the higheft Conceptions we are at pre- 
fent able to form concerning it : It doth not 
yet appear what we Jhall be. Yet feveral 
Things are told us, with Relation to it, 
which may affift us in forming fuch a 
Notion of that future Bleffednefs as is fuf- 
ficient to raife our Defires, and quicken 
our Afpirations after it. 

It is reprefented as a State where we 
mail be abfolutely freed from all the 
Evils to which we are now expofed : It is 
therefore called a Reft : There remaineth a 
Reft for the People of God. Heb. iv. 9. 
And it is declared, that bleJJ'ed are the Dead 



"which die in the Lord, that they may reft 
from their Labours, and their Works do fol- 
low them. Rev. xiv. 13. They {hall reft 
from all their prefent Toils and Troubles, 
out of the Reach of the Pride of Men, and 
the Strife of Tongues. There mall be no- 
thing to annoy them, or to difturb their 
peaceful Tranquillity: For God jhall wipe a- 
way allTearsfrom their Eyes, and there Jhall be 
7to more Death, nor Sorrow, nor Crying, nei- 
ther Jhall there be any more Pain ; for the 
former Things, i. e. all the former Evils, 
are paj/ed away. Rev. xxi. 4. 

As to the pofitive Notion of that hea- 
venly Felicity, it includes the full Perfec- 
tion of our intire Nature, Body and Soul, 
in the Enjoyment of all that Good which is 
neceffary to complete our Satisfaction and 
Happinefs. The Spirits of juft Men Jhall 
then be made perfeB. Heb. xii. 23. They 
mall be free from all the Remains of Cor- 
ruption and moral Defilement which clea- 
ved to them here on Earth, and their 
Faculties and Powers mail be opened and 
enlarged to a wonderful Degree : Their 
Underilandings mail be irradiated with 
the Light of Divine Knowledge ; their 
Wills wholly conformed to the Will of 
God ; their Affections regular, h amoni- 
pus, and pure ; in a Word, they mall be 
X 3 holy 


holy as God is holy - y fo that they fhall have 
an inward never-failing Source of Divine 
Satisfaction and Joy, And even their Bo- 
dies themfelves (hall be raifed in Lncorrup- 
tion, in Power, and in Glory, i Cor. xv, 
42, 43 . So wonderfully fhall they be re- 
fined, that the Apoltle calls them Jptrtfuaf 
Bodies. They fhall no longer be Clogs 
and Incumbrances to their Souls, but the 
ready Inftruments of their nobleft Opera-? 
tions, and arrayed in celeftial Splendor like 
the glorious Body of Chrift himfelf. Phil, iii, 

And, as their Natures fhall then be rai- 
fed to a high Degree of Perfection and Exr 
cellence, lb they fhall be converfant with 
the nobleft Objects, and their Exercifes 
and Enjoyments fhall be fuch as are fuited 
to their perfected Natures and enlarged 
Capacities. Nothing can poiiibly give us 
an higher Idea of theHappinefs of the Saints 
in Heaven, than that they fhall there be 
admitted to the beatifck Vifion and Fruition 
of the Deity : Bkfj'ed are the Pure in Heart 
faith our Saviour, for they Jlmll fee God. 
Matt. v. 8. And Oh how delightful 
will it be to behold the adorable Jehovah 
m all that harmonious Variety of Perfecti- 
ons and Attributes which belong to his in- 
finite Nature ! To behold almighty Power, 



unerring Wifdom, boundlefs Goodnefs and 
Love, fpotlefs Purity and Righteoufnefs, 
in their beautiful and glorious Original I 
Now as the Apoftle fpeaks, we fee through 
a Glafs darkly, but then Face to Face. Now 
I know but in Part, but then floall I know 
€ven /is lam known. 1 Cor. xiii. 12. And 
this Vijion -of the Deity fhall have a trans- 
forming Influence : Ifiall behold thy Face in 
Righteoufnefs, faith the Pfalmifl ^ Ifiall be 
fatisfed when I awake with thy Likeitefs. 
Pf. xvii. 15.. The Bleffed above fhall have 
fuch clear intuitive Views of God's infinite 
Glory and Lovelinefs as fhall both riirTufe 
unutterable Blifs and Joy through all their 
Powers, and fhall imprefs them more and 
•more with his mofl amiable Image and 
Refemblance : God fhall then be, in the 
mofl: eminent Senfe, their Portion, and 
they fhall receive from him the mofl 
abundant Communications of his Good- 
nefs 5 fo that, if all the Fulnefs of the De- 
ity can make them happy, they mall be 
ever fo. 

And, as they mail thtnfee God, fo they 
fhall be with Chrift, admitted to the glo- 
rious Prefence of the Redeemer : / dejire 
to depart, and to be with Chriit faith St. 
Paul, Phil. i. 23. And our Lord himfclf, 
in his folemn Addrefs to his heavenly Fa- 
X 4 ther, 


ther, expreffeth himfelf thus : Father, t 
will that they alfo whom thou haji given me 
be with me where I am, that they may be- 
hold my Glory which thou haft given me. 
John xvii. 24. The matchlefs Glory of 
the Divine Immanuel, the Wonders of his 
Love, and his great Atchievements for our 
Salvation, mall be the conftant Subject of 
their Praifes, and fill their Souls with in- 
effable Raptures of devout Admiration, 
Love, and Joy. Each renewed Reflection 
upon their own Felicity fhall heighten 
their Gratitude to the Saviour, and keep 
a Senfe of their Obligations to him ever 
frefh upon their Minds. And not only 
fhall they with ravifhed Hearts behold his 
Glory, but fhall be Sharers in it, according 
to the Meafure of their Capacities : He 
fhall take them into his nearer!: Embraces, 
and (hall rejoice in them, and they in him, 
without Interruption or Allay, for ever. 

Another Ingredient in that heavenly Fe- 
licity, which fhould greatly recommend it 
to our Efteem and Choice, is, that there 
we fhall be affociated to an innumerable 
Company of Angels, to the general Ajjembly 
and Church of the Firjl-born, and to the 
Spirits of the Jujl made perfect. Heb. xii. 
22, 23. What a noble Satisfaction muft 
it yield to look around through thofe 
boundlefs Realms, of Light and Glory, 



and behold numberlefs Orders of holy and 
happy Beings, all chearfully obeying and 
adoring the Lord their Maker, and employ^ 
ing their excellent Faculties and Powers in 
in doing his Pleafure, and all rejoicing in 
each other's Happinefs ! What are the 
Pleafures of mortal Friendship, compared 
with the refined Delights which mail 
arife from the blifsful Society and perfect 
Friendfhip of Angels and Saints, all ani- 
mated with the moft lovely Difpofitions, 
united in inviolable Harmony and Con- 
cord, and all joining and affifting one ano- 
ther in thofe Exercifes and Enjoyments 
which are bell fuited to the Nature and 
Oeconomy of that heavenly World ! 

From the brief Account that has been 
given of that future Glory and Felicity* 
which is reprefented as the great Object 
of our Hope, it appears to be the higheft 
and nobleft our Natures are capable of. 
And it mightily heightens all this to con- 
fider, that, as was before hinted, it fhall 
be eternal in it's Duration : It is frequently 
defcribed to us under the Character of Life 
everla/lwg, eternal Glory. If that promifed 
Glory were to be but of a temporary Con- 
tinuance, it would greatly diminifh the 
Satisfaction arifing from it : For, the 
greater the Happinefs is, the more uneafy 


would the Apprehenfion of lofing it be. 
But it is a moil transporting Thought that 
this Happinefs fhall never have an End ! 
After Millions of Ages paft, beyond the 
Power of human Arithmetic to compute, 
it fhall be no nearer a Period than it was, 
when they firft entered upon it. And in 
this it eminently differs from the Riches, 
Glory, and Pleafures of this prefent World, 
which at be-ft can laft no longer than du- 
ring the fhort Term of this frail and tranfi- 
tory Life. How mean, how low, how 
fleeting are the moft admired earthly En- 
joyments, compared with that fublime, 
fubftantial, everlafting Blifs and Glory, 
prepared in Heaven for us ! 

Having fhewn the Greatnefs and Excel- 
lency of that future Glory and Felicity 
which is the noble Object of the Chrijiiaris 
Faith and Hope, let us now confider the 
folid Foundation of this Hope, or the fure 
Grounds upon which the good Man and 
ilncere Chrijlian hopes for that heavenly 

And here it muft be laid down as a 
Principle, that the proper Foundation of 
the Chriftians Hope is the gracious Promije 
and Covenant of God in J ejus Chrijl : That 
future eternal Glory is what we could not 
have pretended to claim as ftri&ly due to the 


Merit of our Services, even though we had 
yielded a perfect Obedience to the Divine 
Law. But this is far from being the 
Cafe: In many Things we offend all. Jam. 
iii. 2. Hhere is not ajujl Man upon Earth 
that doeth Good andfnneth not, Ecclef. vii. 
20. IFe are all of us guilty before God, 
and muft acknowledge, that, if hefiould 
enter into frier Judgment with us, we could 
not fland before him, nor be juftifed in his 
Sight. . And though from the great Good- 
nefs of God we might have expected that 
he would mew Mercy to the truly Peni- 
tent, and not deal with them according 
to the utmoft Rigour of Juftice; yet upon 
ho certain Grounds of Reafon could we 
have concluded, that he would, upon fuch 
ian imperfect Obedience as our's, attended 
with many Failures and Defects, will fo 
tranfcendent a Felicity as that which is 
fet before us in the Gofpel, and which in^ 
eludes a bleffed Refurretlion and an Eternity 
of Joy and Glory in the heavenly World. 
This dependeth abfolutely upon the free 
Grace and gracious Favour of God, and 
upon what it feems fit to him in his infi- 
nite Wifdom to determine, and of which 
we could not pretend to have any Know- 
ledge or AiTurance, except he mould de^ 
clare his Will concerning it : And this, to 


our unfpeakable Comfort, he has been gra» 
ciouily pleafed to do in the Gofpel. There 
is indeed great Reafon to think that good 
Men in all Ages have had lome Hope, 
though often but a feeble one, of Happinefs 
in a future State. The facred Writer to 
the Hebrews obferves, concerning Abra* 
ham, and other antient Patriarchs, that 
they confidered themfelves as Strangers and 
Pilgrims on the Earth, and dejired a better 
Country, that is, an heavenly, and that 
they looked for a City which hath Foundations, 
whofe Builder and Maker is God. Heb. xi, 
jo, 13, 16. And it is reafonable to be- 
lieve, that this their Hope was originally 
founded on a Divine Revelation and Pro-, 
mife ; and that it was a Part of the primi- 
tive Religion imparted to the firft Parents 0$ 
the human Race. And to this St. Paul feems 
to refer, when he fpeaks of the Hope of 
eternal Life, which God that cannot lye pro- 
ofed, before the World began. So our 
Tranflators render it, but it had better 
be rendered from the Beginning of Ages, 
or, as fome antient Commentators inter- 
pret it, of old Time, from the Beginning -f. 
And then he adds, that God hath manifef- 


t See Dr. Whitby on 72?. i. 2, 3. See alfo Dr. Bm* 
fen's Paraphrafe and Notes upon the Place. 


ted his Word through Preaching, which 
(faith he) is committed unto me according to 
the Commandment of God our Saviour. Tit. 
i. 2, 3. Where he intimates, that it was 
through the Preaching of the Gofpel, that 
the Promife of eternal Life, which was 
was more obfcurely fignified, from the 
moft antient Times, was fully manifefed to 
the World. This alfo feems to be the 
Defign of that remarkable Paflage, 2 Tim. 
i. 10. Where the Apoftle, after having 
obferved, that God hath faved us, and cal- 
led us with an holy Calling, not according to 
our Works, but according to his own Purpofe 
and Grace which was given us in Chrift Je- 
fus, before the World began, or from the 
Beginning of Ages (for the Phrafe is the 
fame here as in the Paffage before men- 
tioned) adds, that it is now made manifejl by 
the Appearing of our Saviour Jefus Chrift, 
who hath abolijhed Death, and hath brought 
Life and Immortality to Light through the 
Gofpel. 2 Tim. i. 10. 'This is the Pro~ 
mife, faith St. "John, that he hath promifed 
us, even eternal Life. 1 John ii. 25. /. e. 
This is the Promife by Way of Eminency, 
which is now moft clearly and exprefly 
declared and published to Mankind in the 
Gofpel Revelation. 

It gives a peculiar Force to this Promije 


that it is brought to us by the Son of Goc/, 
the mod illuflrious MeiTenger that could 
be lent to allure us of it, and whofe Divine 
Million is confirmed by the mod extraor- 
dinary and convincing Attestations : This 
is the Record* that God hath given to us 
eternal Life, and this Life is in his Son. i 
John v. ii. The only begotten of the Fa-* 
ther, who had Glory with him before the 
World was , and was perfectly acquainted 
with his moll wife and benevolent Coun- 
sels and Purpofes towards Mankind, has 
made a fuller Declaration of the Will of 
God for our Salvation, than had been ever 
given before : And he is certainly the pro-* 
pereif. Perfbn to bring us the cleareft and 
moil: authentic Difcoveries of that hea~ 
venly Felicity in all it's Excellency and 
Glory. He hath himfelf allured us that 
God Jo loved the World, that he gave his only 
begotten Son, that whofoever believeth in hhn, 
viz. with a true, and living, and opera- 
tive Faith, jhouldnot periJJj, but have ever- 
lajling Life. John iii. 16. And, through 
the whole Courle of his Preaching, he fre- 
quently directed Men's Hopes and Views 
to that everlafing Glory and Felicity. How 
encouraging is the Declaration he made 
to his Difciples, a little before he left our 
World! Te believe in God 3 believe alfo in 



vne. In my Father s Houfe are many Man- 
fioris ; if it were not fo, I would have told 
you : I go to prepare a Place for you ; I will 
come again, afid receive you unto myfelf, 
that, where I am, there ye may be alfo. 
John xiv. 1, 2, 3. And what gave the 
moft illuftrious Confirmation of it was 
this, that, after having fubmitted to 
Death for our Sakes, he rofe again from 
the Dead, and entered into the heavenly 
SancJuary; by which he hath given a 
vifible Proof and Aflurance of that blejfed 
RefurrecJion and immmortal Life, which he 
promifed, in the Father s Name, to all them 
that believe and obey him. Hence that noble 
Doxology of the Apoftle Peter, Blefjed be 
the God and Father ofourLord}e{\is Chrift, 
who, according to his abwidant Mercy, hath 
begotten us again unto a lively Hope, by the 
Refurreclion of Jefus Chrift from the Dead* 
to an Inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, 
and that fade th not away, referved in Hea- 
ven for us. 1 Pet. L 3, 4. 

It mould farther itxengtherc our Faith 
and Hope, with Refpecl: to that future- 
Glory, that God hath been pleafed, in his 
great Condefceniion, to bring himfelf un- 
der the moft folemn Engagements, in a 
Way of Covenant, to confer that Glory upon* 
us. The Promife of eternal Life is not to be 



regarded fimply as a Promife, which .gives 
a mighty Weight to it ; a Promife 
erTentially included in that everlafting Co* 
venant, of which God himfelf is the pri- 
mary glorious Author, and his Son Je/us 
Chriji is the Mediator and Surety, by whofe 
Blood this Covenant is ratified. Hence he 
himfelf calls his Blood the Blood of the New 
Tejlament or Covenant. Matt. xxvi. 28. 
And the Author of the Epiftle to the He- 
brews calls it the Blood of the everlajling Co* 
venant. Heb. xiii. 20* And he declares 
that for this Caufe Chrift is the Mediator of 
the New Tejlament, or Covenant, that by 
Means of Death — they which are called 
might receive the Promife of eternal Inheri- 
tance. Heb. ix. 15. This Covenant was 
originally founded in the eternal Councils 
of the Divine Wifdom and Love, where- 
by the Son of God was deligned to the fa- 
cred Office of Mediator and Saviour. In 
Confideration of his Undertaking and Ac- 
complifhing the great Work committed to 
him, and of his Doing and Suffering what 
was required of him in order to our Re* 
demption, it was agreed that perijhing Sin- 
ners of the human Race fhould, through his 
moft meritorious Obedience and Sacrifice, 
obtain the Pardon of their Sins and everlaf- 
ting Salvation, upon their hearty Compli- 
ance with the gracious Terms which it 


D I S C O U R S E XV. 321 

pleafed the Divine Wifdom to appoint. 
Hence God is faid to have chofen its in 
Chrift, before the Foundation of the World. 
Eph. i. 4. and to have given his Son 
Power over all Flejh, that he foould give 
eternal Life to as many as the Father had 
given him. John xvii. i, 2. Accordingly 
our Lord feems to claim this Glory and 
Happinefs for them, in Confequence of his 
having fulfilled the important Work 
which was committed to him : 2" have 
glorified thee on the Earth, faith he to his 
heavenly Father : I have finijhed the Work 
which thou haft given me to do. — Father, I 
will that they alfo whom thou hajl given me 
be with me where I am, that they may be- 
hold my Glory which thou hajl given me ; for 
thou lovedft me, from before the Foundation 
of the World. John xvii. 4 — 24. This 
lays a proper Foundation for his Inter- 
ceffion on our Behalf, and gives it a 
wonderful Force. We have therefore 
not only the Promife of God made to us in 
the Gofpel Covenant, bat the Prcmife made 
to his Son in the Covenant of Pcdemptio?:, 
for our Security % fo that, as fureiy as 
Chrijl obeyed, fufFered, and died, and rofe 
again for our Salvation, fo fureiy fhall 
they who fmcerely believe and obey him 
be raifed from the Dead, and mall ob- 
Voi.III. Y tain 


tain everiajling Life : For what can be 
a more folid Security than this, that 
the Promife of eternal Life is an erTen- 
tial Article of that Covenant which was 
founded in God's everlafting Councils, and 
was in the Fulncfs of Time confirmed 
by the Blood of Jefus Chrift, the great 
appointed Mediator ; and which is as- 
certained to us not only by the Word, 
but by the Oath of God ! So the fa- 
cred Writer to the Hebrews reprefents it : 
God, willing more abundantly to Jhew unto 
the Heirs of Promife the Immutability of his 
Counfel, confirmed it by an Oath : That by 
two immutable Things, in which it was im- 
pojjible for God to lye, we might have flrong 
Conflation, who have fed for Refuge to lay 
Hold upon the Hope that is fet before us -, 
which Hope we have as an Anchor of the 
Soul both fire and ftedfafl, and which en- 
tereth into that within the Vail, whither 
the Forerunner is for us entered, even Je- 
fus. Heb. vi. 17 — 20. 

Thus it appears that the Chrifians 
Hope of that future Glory is originally 
eftablifhed upon a folid and immove- 
able Foundation, even upon the Pro- 
mife and Covenant of God in Jefus 
Chrift, which can never fail : But 


ftill it remains to be inquired, what 
the Terms are upon our Compliance 
with which we may apply that Protnife to 
our own Cafe, and take to ourfelves the 
Comfort of it : And the Confideration 
of this mud be referved for another 

Y 2 


On Rejoicing in Hope of the Glory of God. 


Romans v. 2. 

-—And rejoice in Hope of the Glory 
cf God. 

HAVING confidered the Greatnefs 
and Excellency of that future Glory 
which is the great Object of the Chrifiians 
Hope, as alfo the folid Foundation of that 
Hope, as eftabli fried upon the Promife and 
Covenant of God through Jefus Chrift, it 
now remaineth that we conlider upon what 
Grounds a good Man and fincere Chrijlian 
may claim an Intereft in that promifed Fe- 
licity, and apply it to his own particular 
Cafe : For it is neceffary that he mould 
Y 3 be 


be able in fome Degree to do this, in or- 
der to his Rejoicing in Hope of the Glory of 

And here it muft be obferved, that, as 
the Promife of that future heavenly Glory is 
made to us in the Way of Covenant? fo 
there are Terms ftipuiated and required of 
us, in order to our being admitted to a 
Participation of the promifed Felicity. Not 
indeed any Thing in a Way of proper 
Merit and Equivalent, which might tend 
to diminifh the Freedom of the Grant ; 
yet fomething in a Way of neceffary Qua- 
lification, on the Part of thofe on whom 
it mail be conferred : For though this 
eternal Life be the Gift of God through Je- 
fus Chrift our Lord. Rom. vi. 23. and 
wholly the EfYecT: of fovereign Grace ; yet 
the Wifdom and Righteoufnefs of God, "as 
the moral Governor of the World, require 
that it mould be conferred in fuch a Man- 
ner as is moil becoming his own glorious 
Perfections, and agreeable to the facred 
Rules of eternal Order; and therefore 
that it mould not be conferred on all Men 
promifcuoufly, but on thofe only who 
mould be properly qualified for obtaining 
and enjoying it. Accordingly it is evi- 
dent from the whole New Teftament that 
there are Terms and Qualifications infilled 



upon, without which we cannot, accord- 
ing to the Gofpel Covenant, lay Claim to 
the heavenly Glory : It therefore highly 
concerneth us to know what thofe Terms 
and Qualifications are. They are fome- 
times all fummecl up in one Word, Faith 
or Believing : Thus our Saviour declares, 
that Godfo loved the World that he gave his 
only begotten Sg?i, that whofoever believeth 
in him Jhould not perifi, but have everlaft- 
ing Life. John iii. 16. To the fame Pur- 
pole we are told, that he that believeth on 
the Son hath everlajling Life. John iii. 36. 
We are often laid to be jujlified by Faith, 
and to be faved by Faith. But then, to 
prevent a wrong Underftanding of thefe 
PafTages, there are others which infill upon 
the Neceffity of reed Holinefs and Obedience 
in order to Salvation. Thus it is declared, 
that unto them that, by a patient Continu- 
ance in Well-doing, feekfor Glory, Honour, 
and Immortality , God will give eternal Life, 
Rom. ii. 7. And that bleffed are they that 
do his Commandments, that they may have 
Right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in 
through the Gates into the City. Rev. xxii. 
14. Where it is intimated, that none 
have a Right to the heavenly Glory, but 
they that yield a dutiful Obedience 10 God's 
Commandments, The fame Thing is in- 
Y 4 tended 


tended by that Declaration, Heb. v. 9* 
that Chrift is the Author of eternal Salva- 
tion unto all them that obey him. And who 
thofe are that may be faid to obey him the 
Apoftle plainly fignifies, when he tells us, 
that the Grace of God, which bringeth Sal- 
vation, teachsth us, that, denying Ungodli- 
nefs and worldly Lujls, we jhould live fiber - 
ly, righteoufly, and godly in this prefe?it 
World. Tit. ii. 11, 12. It is farther to 
be obferved, that in many PaiTages of the 
facred Writings a great Strefs is laid upon 
Repentance, as absolutely neceiTary to our 
Obtaining the Pardon of our Sins, and ha- 
ving an Intereft in the prom fed Salvation : 
And this Repentance includes not only a 
Confefhon of our Sins and godly Sorrow 
for them, but a real Converjion, or Turn- 
ing from the Love and Practice of them 
to Righteoufnefs and true Holinefs. It is 
called Repentance unto Salvation. 2 Cor. vii. 
10. and Repentance unto Life. Acts xi. 18. 
And it is joined by St. Paul with Faith in 
our Lord Jefus Chrift, as being of equal 
Importance, and equally the Subject of 
his Preaching. Acts xx. 21. where he de- 
clareth, that he tejlified both to the Jews, 
and alfi to the Greeks, Repentance, towards 
God, 'and Faith towards our Lord Jefus 
Chrift. Upon comparing thefe feveral 



Paffagcs together, to which many others 
might be added, it is manifeft that, when 
Faith or Believing is reprefented as the 
Summary of what is required of us in or- 
der to Salvation, it is not to be understood 
of a mere fpeculative notional Aflent to 
the Truth of the Gofpel, or of a mere 
Reliance on Chrijl for Salvation, though 
both thefe are included in it; but it far- 
ther iignifies a hearty and practical Com- 
pliance with the whole Method of Salva- 
tion held forth to us through Jefus Chrijl. 
It hath a Refpect not only to the Doctrines 
and Promifes, but to the Laws of the Gof- 
pel j and mud be taken as in an infepa- 
rable Connection with Repentance and holy 
Obedience. Accordingly the ApoMe James 
declares, that Faith without Works is dead, 
being alone. James ii. 20. And St. Paul, 
who lays fuch a Strefs on Divine Faith, 
plainly mews what he intends by it, when 
he faith, that in Chrift Jefus neither Cir- 
cumcijion availeth any 'Thing, nor Uncircum- 
cifion, but Faith which ivorketh by Love. 
Gal. v. 6. Or, as he elfewhere exprelfeth 
it, Circumcijion is nothing, and Uncircumci- 
Jion is nothing, but the Keeping the Com- 
mandments of God. 1 Cor. vii. 19. 

It appears then, with great Evidence, 
that afncere and dutiful Obedience, or real 



Holinefs of Heart and Life, is neceflary to 
our attaining to a well-grounded Hope of 
the future Glory. It is neceflary by the 
Appointment of God, and the Conftitu- 
tion of the Gofpel Covenant, and it is ne- 
ceflary in the Nature of the Thing ; be- 
caufe, without this, we cannot be pro- 
perly qualified for the Enjoyment of that 
heavenly Felicity, which by the Account 
given of it is a State of perfect Holinefs, 
Goodnefs, and Purity. 

For any Perfons therefore to pretend to 
hope for the promifed eternal Salvation, 
whilfl they indulge themfelves in known 
prefumptuous Sin and Difobedience, and 
take no Care to order their Converfation 
aright, according to the Laws of the Gof- 
pel, is not a true Chriftian Hope, but a 
vain and unwarrantable Prefumption : It 
is the Hope of the Hypocrite, which, we are 
told, Jhall perijh, and which is likened to 
a Spider s Web, that {hall be foon fwept 
away and deftroyed. jfe&viii. 13,14. And, 
on the other Hand, the Man that heartily 
repenteth him of his paft Sins, and herein 
exercifeth himfelf to keep a Confcience void of 
Offence both towards God and towards Man, 
and to live foberly, right eoufly, and godly in 
this prefe?tt World -, and who, at the fame 
Time, from a humbling Senfe of his own 



manifold Failures and Defects, placeth 
his whole Confidence, not in his own Me- 
rits or Righteonfnefs, but in the free and 
fovereign Grace of cf God through Jefus 
Cbrifty the great appointed Mediator and 
Saviour; fuch a Perfon may upon good 
Grounds apply the Gofpel Promfes of that 
future Glory to his own Cafe, and may 
lay Hold on the Hope that is Jet before him. 
And, the more he abounds in the Fruits 
of the Spirit^ and in the Exercife of the 
Chrijlian Graces and Virtues, in Purity, 
Humility, Temperance, Patience, and 
efpecially in Love to God and Jefus Chrifl, 
and Charity towards Mankind, the more 
lively and vigorous may his Hope juftly be. 
Thus, as he groweth in Grace, his Hope 
will alfo grow and gather Strength ; and 
this, inflead of rendering him negligent 
and remifs, will greatly animate him in 
his Duty : For every Man that hath this 
Hope in him purifieth himfelf even as Chrift 
is pure, i John iii. 3. And, when this 
Divine Hope is thus enlarged, and every 
Virtue along with it, the Chrijlian is made 
more and more meet for the Inheritance of 
the Saints in Light. He hath in fome 
Meafure that eternal Life begun in him 
here on Earth, the Earneft and Firfl-Fruits 
of that future Glory : And they that have 



thefe Firji- Fruits may, with a joyful Ex- 
pectation, wait for the Adoption, to wit, the 
Redemption of the Body, when their Hap- 
pinefs mail be completed. Rom. viii. 23. 
This is the regular Way in which we 
may reasonably expect to have our Hope 
increafed and eftablifhed, 'viz. by a dili- 
gent and patient Continuance in Well-doing, 
and endeavouring to make a conusant 
Progrefs in Holinefs and Virtue, and to 
get our Souls more and more formed 
into a godlike and heavenly Temper : It 
is in this Way that the beft of Men in 
all Ages have attained to a comfortable 
Mope of eternal Salvation, and fome of 
them to what is called a full Afjurance of 
Hope. Heb. vi. 11. St. Paul declares 
concerning himfelf, / have fought a good 
Fight, I have fnijloed my Courfe, I have 
kept the Faith. Henceforth is laid up for me 
a Crown of Right 'eoujhefs, which the Lord, 
the righteous fudge, will give me at that 
Day. 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. And again, Our 
Re/oicing is this, the Tejlimony of our Con- 
Jcience, that in Simplicity and godly Sincerity, 
not with flejhly Wifdom, but by the Grace 
of God, we have had our Converfation in 
the World. 2 Cor. i. 12. His Rejoicing 
arofe from a confcious Sincerity, and the in- 
ward Witnefs in his own Breaft, concer- 



ning his having acted up to the Chrijlian 
Chara&er in the Courfe of a holy and ufe- 
ful Life. 

And, when to this inward Teftimony 
of a good Confcience are added the facred 
Conflations of God's holy Spirit, this tends 
mightily to heighten the good Man's Hope 
and render it complete. Remarkable to 
this Purpofe is that PaiTage of the Apoftle, 
Rom. viii. 16, 17. The Spirit itfelf bear- 
eth Witnefs with our Spirits, that we are the 
Children of God -, and, if Children, then 
Heirs -, Heirs of God, and 'Joint-heirs with 
Chrift. ; Heirs, as he elfewhere exprefTeth 
it, according to the Hope of eternal Ltfe. 
Tit. iii. 7. The good Spirit of God, by 
his Divine Influence, gives a farther Light 
and Force to the Teflimony of our own 
felf-approving Minds : To his gracious 
Afiiftances we muft afcribe it, that thofe 
holy Affections and godlike Difpofitions 
are ftrengthened and enlarged in us, and 
carried forth into a vigorous Exercife ; 
which are the Characters and Evidences 
of our Son/hip. It is by the Holy Ghoil 
that the Love of God is jhed abroad in our 
Hearts, in the delightful Senfe of it. Rom. 
v. 5. And this tends to difpel thofe Jea- 
loufies and Fears which might othervvifc 
be apt to arife in the Minds of fincere 


Chriftians themfelves. Accordingly St. 
Paul prays for the Believers to whom he 
writes, that the God of Hope would Jiill 
them with Joy and Peace in believing, that 
they might abound in Hope through the 
Power of the Holy Ghojl. Rom. xv. 13. 
It is becaufe God by his Spirit is the glo- 
rious Author of this Hope, that the Apof- 
tle there calls him the God of Hope ; and 
he elfewhere obferves that God even our 
Father hath given us everlafling Conflation 
and good Hope through Grace. 2 ThefT. ii. 
16. And it is agreeable to the beft No- 
tions we can form of the Divine Wifdom 
and Goodnefs to believe that God is ready 
to grant needful AJnftances and Conflations 
to good and upright Souls, for carrying 
them on with Conflancy and Alacrity 
in his Service, amidft the many Difficul- 
ties and Temptations of this prefent State; 
efpecially confidering, that thefe Affiflances 
are communicated in fuch a Way as is per- 
fectly confident with free Agency and the 
juft Order of our Faculties, and fo as 
not to hinder or fuperfede, but rather to 
befriend and help forward, the Operations 
of our own Minds. 

And now our Way is clear to what I 
propofed, in the laft Place, to confider, 
viz. the Joy arifing from this Hope. We 



rejoice, faith the Apoftle here, in Hope 
of the Glory of God ; and in feveral other 
Paflages of Scripture it is plainly fignified, 
that there is a very clofe Connection be- 
tween this Divine Hope and Joy. Chrifti- 
ans are reprefented as rejoicing in Hope, pa- 
ttent in 'Tribulation. Rom. xii. 12. And 
it is mentioned as their Duty, as well as 
Privilege, to hold f aft the Confidence, and re- 
joicing in the Hope firm unto the End. Heb. 
iii. 6. And indeed it is evident, that the 
Hope here referred to mud, in the Nature 
of Things, tend to produce and promote 
a facred Joy. Hope in general is a delight- 
ful Affection, and in fome Meafure antici- 
pates the Polieflion and Enjoyment of the 
Good hoped for ; and, the greater and more 
excellent the Thing hoped for is, the joy, 
arifing from the Hope of obtaining it, will 
be proportionably of a higher and nobler 
Kind. Since therefore that future eternal 
Glory and Felicity infinitely tranfeendeth 
whatfoever Enjoyments this Earth can af- 
ford, the Joy which the Hope of it crea- 
teth in the Soul muft be far fuperior to 
that which refulteth from any worldly 
Hopes or Expectations. St. Peter emphati- 
cally flyles it a Joy unfpeakable and full of 
Glory, or, as the Words might literally 
be rendered, a Joy unfpeakable and glorified; 

a Joy 


a Joy by which we are in fome Meafure 
made Partakers of the heavenly Glory, j. 
Pet. i. 8. It is true that the Joy which 
is caufed by worldly Objects and Enjoy- 
ments may ilrike more forcibly upon the 
Imagination, and make more lively Im- 
preflions for a While, as it arifeth from 
Things prefent and fenfible ; but it is a 
tumultuous joy y evanid and traniitory, 
and is juftly compared by the wife Man 
to the Crackling of thorns under a Pot. 
Ecclef. vii. 6. The Things which are 
the Objects of worldly Hope and Joy are 
fading and unfatisfying in their Nature, 
greater in Expectation than in PofTemon ; 
fo that the very Enjoyment difappoints : 
But the Joy we are now fpeaking of is of 
a more ftable and permanent, as well as 
of a more fpiritual and refined Nature. 
It is not a mere fudden Tranfport, which, 
like a tranfient Blaze, is foon over; nor 
is it feated merely in the Paffions, or the 
Product of a warm Imagination; but it is a 
folid fubitantial Thing, deeply fixed in the 
Heart. It hath been already obferved, 
that the Chriftians Hope ordinarily pro- 
ceedeth by gradual Advances, according 
to the Progrefs we make in the Ghrijlian 
Virtues and in the Divine Life : In like 
Manner the Joy which arifeth from this 



Hope mud ordinarily be expe&ed to be 
gradually progreffive, not complete at once, 
but enlarging and heightening by Degrees, 
till it becomes in fome Meafure the habitu- 
al fettled Temper of the Soul, and produ- 
ceth an abiding Peace there. Hence, in the 
ParTage mentioned before, Joy a?id Peace 
are joined together : The God of Hope Jill 
you with Joy and Peace in Believing. Rom. 
xv. 1 3. 

From the Account which hath been gi- 
ven of this Evangelical Hope, the folid 
Foundation upon which it is eftablifhed, 
and the fpiritual Joy which refulteth from 
it, it is manifeft that it mull needs have a 
great Tendency to promote our Happinefs, 
even in this prefent State : It is in fome 
Meafure the Beginning, the Earnejl, oj Hea- 
ven, and a Foretafte of thofe pure and fatis- 
fying Pleasures which are at God's right Hand 
J'or evermore. When the Chrijlian hath this 
Hope in him, who can defcribe the bleffed 
Temper of his Soul ! That Peace oj God 
which pajj'eth all Under Jlanding keeps his Heart 
and Mind in Chrift Jefus. He enjoys a 
Divine Satisfaction and Complacency which 
no Affluence of worldly Riches, no Splen- 
dor of Titles and Dignities, no fenfual Plea- 
fures and Gratifications can furniih : If 
weighed in the Balance againft all the Kin?- 

Vol, III. Z 


doms of this World and the Glory of them, 
they would be found light and vain in the 

And, as this Divine Hope and Joy is 
happy and delightful in itielf, fo it is very 
beneficial in it's Confequences, and produ- 
ceth the mod excellent Effects : It purifeth 
the Heart, and engageth us to cleanfe eur- 
fehes from all Filthinefs of FleJ/j and Spirit. 
It is the moil effectual Prefervative againft 
the Influence of vicious Affections, and 
corrupt Lulls, and the fatal Allurements of 
thofe fenfual Pleafures which captivate the 
Soul, and fubject Reafon to flefhly Appe- 
tites : It animates our Obedience, and cau- 
feth us to run the Way of God's Command- 
ments with Vigour and Delight, and lays a 
proper Foundation for a true Greatnefs and 
Noblenefs of Spirit. As far as any Man is 
under the Influence of it, he is infpired 
with a generous Difdain of every Thing 
that is bafe and falfe, fordid and impure. 
None of thofe Pleafures of Sin which are 
but for a Seafon will be able to entice him, 
who hath his Hopes and Views fixed on that 
Fulnefs of Joy which is in God's immediate 
Prefence above. No Profpect of worldly 
Riches will bribe that Man from his Duty 
who looketh forward with a Jledfafl Hope 
to the durable Riches and Righteoufnefs y the 



Incorruptible heavenly Ireafires which God 
hath prepared for them that love and obey 
him : Nor will all the Glories which flatter 
the Ambition of vain Men have much In- 
fluence upon him who feeketh for a fuperior 
Glory, Honour ', and Immortality in the high- 
eft Heavens. Far from envying the Men 
of this World who have their Portion in 
this Life, he difdains to take up with fb 
mean an Happinefs : He hath a Soul above 
thefe worldly Advantages : For he extends 
his Profpects to Eternity, reaching forth 
with noble and vigorous Afpirations after a 
nearer Conformity to God, the fupreme 
original Excellence j and after the eternal 
Enjoyment of his beatific Prefence and 
Love. Such are the natural and happy 
Effects of this Hope of the Glory of God, 
and the Joy refulting from it, when it pof- 
fefleth the Heart and reigneth there. 

To this it may be added, that this Divine 
Hope and Joy will be more effectual, than 
any Thing elfe can be, to fupport us under 
all the 'Tribulations of this prefent State : 
Accordingly the Apoftle here, after havinp- 
faid, We rejoice in Hope of the Glory of God, 
immediately adds, And not only jo, but we 
glory in Tribulation alfo. The Word in the 
Original, here rendered glory, is the fame 
that wasjuft before rendered rejoice-, and it 
Z 2 properly 


properly fignifies an exulting and triumphant 
Joy. Others may in fome Meafure bear up 
under Afflictions, but the true Chriftia?i 
alone, who is animated with this blefjed 
Hope, hath juft Grounds of Rejoicing in 
them : For he is allured that this light Afflic- 
tion, which is but j or a Moment, worketh for 
us a far more exceeding atid eternal Weight of 
Glory. 2 Cor. iv. 17. Hence St. Peter, 
fpeaking of that eternal Salvation which is 
propofed to us in the Gofpel as the great 
Object of our Hope, expreffeth himfelf 
thus : Wherein, i. e. in Hope or Expectation. 
of which Salvation ye greatly rejoice, though 
now, for a Seafon, if need be, ye are in 
Heavinefs through manifold temptations, 1 
Pet. i. 6. It is obferved concerning the 
Hebrews that, when they endured a great 
Fight of Afflictions, and were made a Gazing- 
Stock both by Afflictions and Reproaches, they 
took joyfully the Spoiling of their Goods, know- 
ing in themfdjes, that in Heaven they had a 
better and more enduring Sub/lance. Heb. 
x. 32, 33, 34. Animated by this Divine 
Hope, the Apoftles rejoiced that they were 
courted worthy to fuffer Shame for the Name 
of Chriii Acls. v. 41. And when Raid 
and Silas had many Stripes laid upon them 
by the'. of the Magiitrates of 
Phuippi, and were thruft into the inner 



Prifon, and their Feet made fa{l in th e 
Stocks; their Hearts werefo rilled with 3. Di- 
vine Joy, that they made the Dungeon re- 
found with Songs of Praife. Acts xvi. 24, 


But that which efpecially fhews the great 

Advantage of this Divine Hope, and the Joy 
which fpringeth from it, is, that it is capa- 
ble of yielding ftrong Confolations and Sup- 
ports againfl the Fears of Death itfelf: 
For the Righteous hath FIcpe in his Death* 
Prov. xiv. 32. In that awful Moment, 
when Nature is finking in all it's Powers, 
this Hope fcattereth the Clouds and Dark- 
nefs which feem then to cover the Face of 
Things, and opens a bright and glorious 
Scene. Death then appears not merely as 
putting a Period to this prefent Life, but 
as an Introduction to a happy Immortality. 
Bad Men may, by the Force of natural 
Courage, or what is called a Principle of 
Honour, or under the Influence of lonie 
ftrcng Paffion, or perhaps in Confequence 
of their having wrought themfelves up to a 
great Degree of Kardnefs and obftinate Infideli- 
ty, outbrave Death, and feem to meet it with- 
out Terror ; but they' cannot be faid to 
have Hope in their Death : And, ifConfci- 
ence be awakened on a Dymg-bed, the 
Apprehenfion of future Punifiments for a 
Z 3 paft 


pad. wicked Life, which fometimes comes 
with great Force even upon the mod har- 
dened Sinners, whether they will or no, 
caufeth fuch Pangs and Agonies of Soul as 
no bodily Pains or Tortures can equal, and 
which a wife Man would not undergo for 
all the Pleafures of a vicious Life. It is Re- 
ligion alone that can in able a Man both to 
live well, and to die fafely and comforta- 
bly. Many Inflances there have been of 
Perfons who through the Hopes of the 
Gofpel have rejoiced in Death, and triumph- 
ed over it : Under the Languifhings of a 
weak and dying Body, when Flejh and 
Heart were ready to fail them, they have had 
fomzjovful Prelibations of the Glory prepared 
for them, or at leaf! have been inabled, 
with a firm Confidence, and in peaceful 
Tranquillity, to commit their departing Spi- 
rits to their molt merciful heavenly Father, 
and to the Saviour who died for them, and 
rofe again. Happy thofe who, when they 
fee their Dijjoiution approaching, can upon 
upon good Grounds fay with a Divine 
Faith and Hope, O Death, where is thy Sting ? 

Grave, where is thy Victory ? The Sting of 
Death is Sin, and the Strength of Sin is the 
Law : But Thanks be to God, which giveth 
us the Viclory through our Lord Jefus Chrift. 

1 Cor. xv. 56, 57, 58. 

I would 


I would conclude with exhorting you to 
labour to get this Hope of the Glory of God, 
which is the proper Foundation of fpiritual 
Jov, more confirmed and eftablimed. This 
Hope and Joy is far from being equal in 
all Chri/lians : It admits of various Degrees, 
and in fome good Minds is comparatively 
weak and low. This, when it is not owing 
to the Prevalency of a melancholy Temper 
and Conftitution, is to be charged either 
upon their not having right Notions of the 
Nature and gracious Terms of the Gofpel- 
Cove?iant, or upon their not taking due 
Care by a diligent Ufe of all proper Means 
to keep their Hope ftrong and vigorous : 
And this is certainly a very culpable Neg- 
lect. It is the Duty of every true Chrijlian 
to do what he can to get his Doubts and 
Fears difpelled, and to entertain large and 
worthy Apprehenfions of the free and fove- 
reign Grace and Goodnefs of God in Jefus 
Chriji. It is an uncomfortable and unnatu- 
ral State to live in an anxious Sufpenfe of 
Mind, with regard to a Matter of fuch vaft 
Confequence as our Title to eternal Salva- 
tion : We mould labour therefore to get out 
of this Perplexity, and not reft contented 
till, by a lively Faith, by fervent Prayer, 
by the frequent Exercife of the Chrijlian 
Virtues, by abounding in the Fruits of the 
Spirit, and endeavouring to get our Souls 
Z 4 formed 


formed into a greater Meetnefs for Heaven % 
we have our Hope more and more ftrength- 
ened and enlarged, fo as to lay a folid Foun- 
dation for an inward Peace and Satisfaction 
of Mind. And we rauft take particular 
Care to guard againft every Thing that is 
incontinent with this Divine Hope, and es- 
pecially againft Indulging ourfelves in the 
Practice of wilful prefumptuous Sin ; For 
every fuch Sin will make an unhappy Breach 
upon our Hope and Joy, which cannot be 
repaired till we are effectually recovered 
from it by zfncere Repentance and new Obe~ 
dience. Let us therefore lay afide every 
Weight, and the Sin that doth Jo eajily befet us -, 
and let us rim with Patience the Race that is 
Jet before as, looking unto Jefus, the Author 
and Finijloer of our Faith : Forgetting thofe 
'Things which are behind, and reaching forth 
unto thofe Things which are before, let us 
prefs towards the Mark for the Prize of the 
high Calling of God in Jefus Chrifl: : And 
?nay the God of all Grace, who hath called 
us unto his eternal Glory by Chrifl: Jefus, 
make you perfect, jlablijh, Jlrengthen, fettle you. 
To him be Glory and Dominion for ever* 


Prejudices againfi Religion removed, and the 
PraBice of Piety a?zd Virtue recommended,, 
as the higheji Pleafure and Delight, 


Proverbs iii. 17. 

}ier Ways are Ways of Pleafantnefs, and all 
her Paths are Peace. 

STRONG and powerful are the Charms 
of Pleafure : It draweth us with a 
mighty Force, which we are fcarce able to 
reiift : Nor is this to be wondered at> fince 
Pleafure, or Delight, taken in it's juft Ex- 
tent, is only another Word for Happitiefs. 
But it generally happens, that Men are very 
wrong in their Notions and Purfuits of 
Pleafure, and in the Method they take to 
obtain it : They place it in improper Ob- 


jects, and feek it where it is not to be found, 
or they take up with low mean Pleafures, 
which are beneath the Dignity of the ra- 
tional Nature. To fay that Pleafure is to be 
found in a Life of Piety and Virtue is, in the 
Opinion of the World, a ftrange Paradox ; 
and yet, if the Matter be impartially con- 
fidered, it is what right Reafon muft ap- 
prove as a certain and important Truth. 
To fet this in a proper Light is the Defign 
I have been carrying on in a Series of Dif- 
courfes, in which I have taken a large Com- 
pafs : And the juft Conclufion to be drawn 
from the Whole may be very fitly expreffed 
in thefe Words of Solomon, when, fpeaking 
of Wifdom, by which he understands true 
Religion and Virtue, he declareth, that her 
Ways are Ways of Pieafantnefs, and all her 
Paths are Peace. 

It may not be amif?, on this Occafion, to 
recollect the principal Things which have 
been infifted upon in the Profecution of this 

It hath been fhewn, that the Objects 
which Religion propofes to our Contempla- 
tion are the moft fublime and excellent, ca- 
pable of filling the Soul with a pure and 
exalted Pleofure-, Knowledge, efpecially, when 
exercifed on Things of a great and glorious 
Nature, affords a noble and rational Enter- 


tainment, far fuperior to the Pleafures of 
Senfe. And, of all Knowledge, that which 
true Religion furnifheth us with is both of 
the greateft Dignity in itfelf, and of the 
greateft Ufe and Importance to us. We 
are thereby brought to an Acquaintance 
with the nobleft Objects which can pof- 
fibly be prefented to the human Mind. It 
leadeth us to the Knowledge and Contempla- 
tion of God himfelf, and his incomparable 
Attributes and Perfections : It directs us to 
obferve and admire the Characters of his 
Glory in his wonderful Works of Creation, 
and in the Methods of his moit wife, be- 
nign, and righteous Providence : To which 
it mud be added, that it difclofeth to us a 
mo/l glorious and ravijhing Scene in the Re- 
demption of Mankind by Jefus Chrift, in 
which the Wifdom and Holinefs, as well as 
Grace and Goodnefs of God, is moil: illu- 
ftrioufly difplayed. Thefe Things, when 
duly realifed to the Mind, have a manifeft 
Tendency to fill it with a devout Admira- 
tion, Love, and- Joy. What a Source of 
divine Satisfaction is here opened to the 
Soul, if duly improved ! And wh it Enemies 
are they to their own yoy, who feldom turn 
their Thoughts to thole glorious and moji 
interefiing Subjects, whilfl they luffer their 
Minds to be taken up with mere Trifles and 



Vanities, or at lead with Things which are- 
comparatively of fmall Worth and Im- 
portance ! 

And as Religion leads us to the Knowledge 
of the moil excellent Things, the Con- 
templation of which is delightful to a well- 
difpofed Mind ; fo the Courfe of Action 
which it prefcribes, and to engage us to 
which is the great Defign of religions Faith 
and Knowledge, hath a Tendency, in the 
Nature of Things, to promote our true 
Perfection and Happinefs. This is what I 
have endeavoured to (hew by a diftindt Con- 
sideration of the Duties required of us in 
the Divine Law, relating to God, our Neigh- 
bour, and ourfehes. What a noble Sat if* 
faction mud it yield to live in the habitual 
Exercife of a fincere vital Piety, and to 
maintain a facred Intercourfe and Commu- 
nication with God our heavenly Father 
through Jefus Chrift by a pure Adoration 
and Devotion, by holy Love, a profound 
and filial Reverence, meek Relignation, and 
Heady Dependence ! To be juft and gene- 
ronjly honejl in our Dealings towards our 
Fellow-creatures, to endeavour to render 
unto all their Dues, and to lay ourfelves out 
in doing Good to Mankind, and promoting 
their Happinefs by all the kind Offices in 
our Power ! And, with Regard to the Go- 
vernment of cvrfehes, to keep our Appetites 



and Paffions within the Bounds of a jufl 
Moderation, to be fober and chafte, patient 
and contented, raifed above every Thing 
fordid and low, vicious and impure, and 
formed to a Divine and heavenly Temper 1 
And, finally, to abound in the uniform har- 
monious Exercife of thofe Chrifiian Virtues 
which are reprefented by the Apoftle as the 
Fruits of the Spirit, fuch as Love, Joy> 
Peace, Long-fnffering, Ge?2tle?iefs, Good?iefs y 
Faith, Meeknefs, temperance ! What is there 
in thefe Difpofitions, and the Acts that flow 
from them, but what is excellent and amiable, 
improving and delightful to the realbnable 
Nature ? They tend to procure a Man a 
fair and lovely Reputation and Character, 
which cannot but be grateful to a generous 
Spirit : And, which is of greater Confe- 
quence, a holy and virtuous Temper and 
Conduct is attended with the Approbation 
of a Man's own Mind, and naturally pro- 
duceth an inward Complacency and Satisfac- 
tion, which none can be fully fenlible of, 
but the Perfon that feeleth it. It is the 
Obfervation of the wife Man, that the good 
Man foall be fatisfedfrom himfelf Prov. xiv. 
14. His Satisfaction and foy is not princi- 
pally derived from Things without him, 
from worldly Advantages and the Applaufe 
of Men : He has an inward Fund of Hap- 



pinefs in his own Breaft. The pious and 
virtuous Affections and Difpofitions of his 
Soul, and the good Actions he performs, are 
attended, in the very Exercife of them, with 
a confcious Satisfaction which gladdens the 
Heart -, and they alio adminifter folid Com- 
fort to him upon the Reflection, as having 
acted in a Manner worthy of the rational 
Nature, and becoming the Obligations he is 
under. But that which is the chief Source 
of the inward Satisfaction which a good 
Man enjoys is the Senfe he hath of the Di- 
vine Approbation : That he is engaged in a 
Courfe of Action which is plealing to the 
Bed of Beings, the trueft Judge of Excel- 
lency, whofe Favour and Approbation is of 
infinitely greater Confequence to us than the 
Applaufe of a whole World : Thou, Lord, 
wilt blejs the Righteous (faith the Pfalmift) 
with Favour wilt thou compafs him as with a 
Shield. PL v. 12. 

To thefe Confiderations it may be added, 
that true Religion fweetens Profperity. It 
both helpeth us to the proper Relifh and 
Enjoyment of temporal Bleflings, by in- 
abling us to receive and enjoy them as the 
Gifts of God with Chearfulnefs and Inno- 
cence, and with a thankful Senfe of the 
Divine Goodnefs ; and it directeth and af- 
iitleth us to make a right Ufe and Improve- 

ment of them. And, on the other Hand, 
it furntfh'eth the moft effectual Confolations 
and Supports under the Troubles and Ad- 
verfities to which we are now expofed, and 
thus lays a Foundation for Happinefs, as far 
as it is attainable here on Earth, in every 
Condition and Circumftance of Life. 

The laft Thing, which was obferved, 
was, that Religion raifeth us to the moft 
fublime and glorious Hopes : It opens the 
mofl raviihing and blifsful Profpects, which 
tend to fpread a facred "Joy and Satisfaction 
through all our Powers. And in this the 
Condition of a truly pious and virtuous Per- 
fon is vaftly preferable to that of the moft 
profperous wicked Man upon Earth : His 
Views are not confined within the narrow 
Limits of this prefent State, but extend 
even to Eternity : He can upon folid Grounds 
rejoice in Hope of the Glory of God. In Pro- 
portion as this Hope prevaileth, he hath 
Hea r cen brought down to him in fome hap- 
py Beginnings here on Earth : And, when 
he is called to relign this mortal Life, his 
Hope is full of Immortality, and he can carry 
his Views beyond the dark Valley of the Sha- 
dow of Death to a World of everlajiing Light 
and "Joy. 

The feveral Things, which have been 
mentioned, taken together, may be fufricient 



to fatisfy every impartial thinking Mind* 
that it is not without great Reafon that it 
is pronounced concerning Divine Wifdom, 
or true practical Religion, that her Ways are 
Ways of Pleafantnefs, and all her Paths are 

But to all this it may be objected, that 
the Practice of Piety and Virtue, however 
plcafing and beautiful in Idea, is in Fact un~ 
pleajant and difagreeable to the greater! Part 
of Mankind : That many of the Duties re- 
quired in the Divine Law, fuch as Self-denial, 
and the Mortification of our Appetites and 
PaJJions, are inconiiftent with Pleafure and 
deftructive of it. That Repentance, which 
is the firft necefTary Step to a religious Life, 
often caufeth bitter Pangs and Sorrow. And 
not only is the Chri/lian Life difficult in the 
firft Entrance upon it, but it is all along 
uneafy and troublefome : It requireth a con- 
front Watchfulnefs, and a ftrict Difcipline 
to be exercifed over the Heart and the Af- 
fections. It is reprefented in Scripture un- 
der the Notion of a Race, which is a very 
laborious Exercife ; and of a Warfare, in 
which we are to carry on a continual Con- 
flict againft our ipiritual Enemies, and againit 
the Temptations of the Flefh and of the 
World. Add to all this, that many Per- 
fons, whom it were the Height of Uncha- 



ritablenefs not to think fincerely religious* 
have fpent their Days in Sorrow and Sadnefs> 
filled with difconfolate Jealoufies and Fears* 
which have marred all the Pkafures of 

Such as thefe are the Prejudices which 
frequently create in Men's Minds an Aver- 
fion to Religion, and difcourage them from 
embracing it. But it is no hard Matter to 
mew, that, notwithstanding all this, the 
Obfervation (till holdeth good, that the Ways 
of true Religion are Ways of Pleafantnefs, and 
that a virtuous and godly Life, even in this 
prefent State, and with all the Inconveniencies 
and Troubles that may attend it, is vaftly fu- 
perior to a Life of Sin and Vice, in the 
real Satisfaction and Pleafure which it 

More particularly to take off the Force of 
thefe Objections, I would offer the follow- 
ing Things to be confidered 

Firft, "The Difficulty and 'Trouble ', which 
attendeth the Practice -of Religion, doth not 
arife from Religion itfelf, or any Thing in it's 
own Nature that is harjh and difagreeable ; 
but it is wholly owing to the lndifpofednefs 
and Corruption of Men's own Hearts. It 
is no juft Objection againft R ligi: and Vir- 
tue, that thofe who arc undci the Power of 
vicious Habits and irregular Appetites nnd 

VoLc III. A a no 


no Pleafure in the Practice of it : For in this 
Cafe the Fault is not to be charged upon 
Religion, but upon the Depravednefs of their 
pwn Tafte and Inclinations. The mod 
beautiful Colours cannot charm the Eye, 
when it is covered with Film, or obftructed 
with Rheum. Food may be very pleafant 
to the Tafte, though a vitiated Palate can- 
riot reli{h it : Nor is Religion the lefs divine 
and excellent in itfelf, becaufe it gives no 
Pleafure to an impure and unholy Soul. 
The juft Conclufion to be drawn from this 
is, not that a Life of true Piety and Virtue 
is not, in itfelf, pleafant and delightful, but 
that, in order to our having a juft Relifh of 
it's Divine Pleafures and Satisfactions, we 
muft labour to get our Hearts purifed, and 
a happy Change wrought in the Temper of 
pur Minds. And we Jiave great Encourage- 
ment to attempt it : For Virtue and Holi- 
nefs is fuited to the original Difpofition and 
Conflitution of the human Mind, when it 
is not perverted and depraved by fenfual and 
vicious Affections and evil Habits. It was 
obferved, in entering upon this Subject, that, 
as we are reafonable Creatures, moral Agents, 
there are Means to be ufeo 1 for rectifying and 
improving our moral Senfe and Tafte of 
Things : In order to which, we mould 
often cpnfider the Beauty and Excellency of 



real Holinefs and Virtue, the Goodnefs 
and Reafonablenefs of the Divine Com- 
mands, and the Tendency they have to 
promote the true Happinefs and Perfection 
of our Nature : And what hath been large- 
ly offered in the foregoing Difcourfes may 
furnifh ufeful Reflections to this Purpofe. 
Frequently to turn our Thoughts and Views 
this Way hath a natural Tendency to re^- 
move our Prejudices, and bring us to an 
inward Conviclion and Senfation of the 
Pleafantnefs of the Ways of Religion, as be- 
ing agreeable to the beft and nobleft Prin- 
ciples of the human Frame. And as we 
muft exert our utmoft Endeavours in the 
Exercife of our own rational and moral 
Powers, and in the Ufe of all proper Means 
of Self-improvement , fo we muft, from 
a Senfe of our Weaknefs and Infufficiency 
in ourfelves, apply to God by humble and 
fervent Prayer for the Influences of his Holy 
Spirit -, that he would be gracioufly pleafed 

to create in us clean Hearts,, and renew right 

..... <-■ 

Spirits within us \ that he would inable us 

to difcern the "Things which are excellent, and 

heal the DifafTection of the carnal Mind in 

us ; and that he would form us to fuch a 

Divine Temper and Difpofition of Soul, 

that we may be fitted for Delighting in Ho-? 

Imefs and Virtue, and may feel the Power 

A a 2 of 


of it's facred Charms. And there is great 
Reafon to hope, that God will have a gra- 
cious Regard to thefe our humble Requefts, 
when attended with diligent Endeavours 
on our Parts : Nothing can be more en- 
couraging to this Purpofe, than that re- 
markable Declaration of our bleffed Sa- 
viour : If ye j being evil, know how to give 
good Gifts unto your Children, how much 
more will your heavenly Father give the 
Holy Spirit to them that ajk him f Luke xi. 

But, Secondly, Let it be farther obfer- 
ved, that even thofe Duties, which feem 
mojl difficult in Religion, and to which we 
are apt to have the greateft Averfion, are, 
if rightly understood, not only highly ra- 
tional, but lay a Foundation for the truefi 
Pleafure and Satisfaction of Mind. Such 
particularly is the Mortif cation of our cor- 
rupt Appetites andPafjions, the Reafonable- 
nefs and Neceffity of which, to our own 
Happinefs, I had Occasion to take Notice 
of before. It muft indeed be acknow- 
ledged to be a difficult Work : But we often 
reprefent the Difficulty to ourfelves much 
greater than it really is, as if it were in 
vain to Struggle againft inveterate evil Ha- 
bits. When we heartily fct about it, we 
fa .*] find that the Difficulty is far from be- 


ing infuperable, efpecially confidering that 
there are gracious Affirmances provided, 
which God hath been pleafed to promife 
for our Encouragement, and which he is 
ever ready to communicate for helping our 
lincere Endeavours, and carrying us on in 
the Performance of our Duty amidn: the 
many Difficulties and Temptations which 
now lie in our Way. 

Whatever Pains it may con: us to cor- 
rect and fubdue evil Habits, it may be 
truly faid, that the Man who fetteth him- 
felf to mortify his vicious Lufls hath more 
of a real and rational Self-enjoyment, than 
he that indulgeth and gratifieth them : 
For he only controuleth the Flejh, his 
more bafe and brutjfh Part, in order to 
exalt the nobler Part of his Nature ; by 
denying his own corrupt Self-will, he throws 
himfelf into the Bofom of the fupreme 
Good, in whom he may fecurely and de- 
lightfully acquiefce. How uneafy and dif- 
agreeable foever the Work of Repentance, 
and the Sorrow which accompanies it, may 
appear to be (though that Sorrow is not 
properly chargeable on Religion, but upon 
our own evil Ways, the natural Effect of 
which, when duly reflected upon, is Sor- 
row and Remorfe) yet certain it is that the 
Repenting of and Fo? faking our Sins afford- 
Aa 3 eth 


eth more of a folid and noble Satisfaction, 
than a prefiimptnous Perfifting in them. An 
ingenuous Contrition has a Kind of pleafing 
Senfation attending it, whereby the Heart 
is made better, and which is far preferable 
to the ExcefTes of carnal Jollitry. The 
Soul by Repentance difburthens itfelf of it's 
Load of Guilt, and is reftored to a right 
Temper : It returneth from the Ways of 
Sin and Folly to the Father of Mercies and 
God of Love, and endeavoureth to unite 
itfelf to the infinite Good, which muft 
needs lay the Foundation for an inward 
Tranquillity and ferene Temper of Mind. 

Add to this, Thirdly, That the chief 
Difficulty in breaking off from our evil 
Courfes, and applying ourfelves in good 
Earnefl to the Practice of Piety and Vir- 
tue, is at the Beginning; and, in Propor- 
tion to the Advances we make in it, the 
eafier and pleafanter it will grow. It is an 
old and good Rule verified by Obfervation 
and Experience, Chufe that which is beji, 
and life will make it pleafant. When true 
Religion and Virtue is become habitual, 
which it will be by frequent Exercife ; and 
holy good Affections and Difpofitions are 
ilrengthened and improved ; we fhall be 
fitted for relifliing more of the Pleafures 
of a holy and virtuous Life. And though 



there will be a conftant Care and Vigi- 
lance riecefTary* whilft we are in the Body j 
and a Conflict muft be carried on againfl 
the Remainders of Corruption within us, 
and againfl the Temptations and AfTaults 
of our fpiritual Enemies ; yet a fteady 
Perfeverance and Proficiency in the Ways 
of Holinefs will ordinarily be attended 
with a growing Satisfaction. And, if we 1 
be called to undergo extraordinary Trials, 
as in Time of Perfeciitibn, when we 
may be obliged to abandon our worldly 
PofTeflions and Enjoyments, and even td 
lay down our Lives for the Sake of fautb 
and a good Confcience, we may upon jufl 
Grounds expert extraordinary Afliftances 
and Supports. Such outward Evils and 
Sufferings for the Caufe of Religion and 
Right eoufnefs, which is the Caufe of God, 
mail be abundantly compenfated by the 
peaceful Reflections of our own Minds, by 
the Joys of the Holy Gho/l, and by the Hope 
of that eminent Degree of Glory and Feli- 
city in the heavenly World, which is pre- 
pared for all thofe who give this remark- 
able Proof of the Sincerity and Prevalency 
of their Faith, their Love, and Obedi- 

As to the Objection drawn from thefad 

and uncomfortable Lives of many feemingly 

A a 4 pious 


pious Perfons, it is certain, that this is 
not properly owing to Religion it/elf, but 
generally to Faults or Miftakes in thofe 
that profefs it : Either it is owing to their 
not confidering with a due Attention of 
Mind the glorious and delightful Objects 
which are fet before us in the Gofpel -, or 
to their being too much under the Power 
of a worldly Frame and Spirit, which both 
indifpofeth them for relifhing the Joys of 
Religion , and fubjecteth them to many- 
Anxieties and Vexations ; or it is to 
be afcribed to their Negligence in the Du- 
ties required of them, and to their not 
having -been fo uniform and circumfpect in 
their Chrijlian Courfe, as they might and 
ought to have been ; which may provoke 
God, in juil Difpleafure, to with- hold from 
them the Light of his Countenance, and the 
Conflations of his Spirit -, and in all thefe 
Cafes, if they do not experience much of 
the Comforts of Religion, it is to be charged 
upon their not walking according to it's 
facred Rules : Or, perhaps, they are of a 
melancholy Difpoiition, which cafteth a 
black and difmal Hue upon every Thing : 
And mall Religion be blamed for that 
which is the Effect of bodily Conftitution, 
or the Power of Difeafe ? Or their Fears 
and Jealouiies may be owing to miftaken 



Notions of Religion, and to Mifapprehen- 
fions of the Nature and gracious Terms 
of the Go/pel Covenant : And the proper 
Remedy is, not to caft off Religion and 
the Practice of it^ which would make the 
Cafe infinitely worfe ; but to get our Con- 
fciences rightly informed as to the Terms 
of our Acceptance with God, and the ex- 
ceeding Riches of his Grace towards us 
through Jefus Chrifi -, and at the fame 
Time to be diligent and circumfpect in a 
Life of holy Obedience. Nothing truly 
valuable can be obtained without Applica- 
tion and Diligence. A glorious Prize is 
fet before us, confummate Virtue and 
Happinefs ; the Proipect of which, though 
attended with Difficulty, hath a Tendency 
to carry us on with Chearfulnefs in the 
Way of our Duty, and to fweeten all our 
Labours and Services -, and, when this 
State of Trial and Temptation is over, and 
we are freed from all the Troubles and 
Infirmities of this mortal Life, perfect Ho- 
linefs will be perfect eternal Joy and Glory. 

Thus we have endeavoured to obviate 
and remove the Prejudices which many are 
apt to entertain againft a godly and virtu- 
ous Life, as if it were inconfiftent with 
true Pleafure and 'Enjoyment. It appears 
that there is no juft Foundation for thofe 

Prejudices ; 


Prejudices -, and that it highly concerneth 
us to apply ourfelves in good Earneft to 
the Practice of Righteoufnefs and true 
Holinefs, if we would mew that we have 
a proper and conliftent Regard to the Se- 
curing and Promoting our real Happinefs 
here and hereafter. 


Prejudices againfi Religion removed, and the 
Practice of Piety and Virtue recommended, 
as the highefi Pleafure and Delight. 


Proverbs iii. 17. 

Her Ways are Ways of Pleafantnefs and all 
her Paths are Pafice, 

OU R Lord Jefus Chrift, who hath 
inftrucled us to form the jufteft No- 
tions of Religion, hath obferved \S\2XJlrait 
is the Gate and narrow is the Way that lead" 
eth unto Life, and few there be that find it. 
Matt. vii. 14. This may, at rirft View, 
feem not to be very coniiftent with what 
the wife Man here declares, that the Ways 
of Wifdom, by which he underftands true 
Religion and Virtue, are Ways of Pleafant- 
nefs : But if the Matter be rightly con- 



confidered, it will appear that there is a 
perfect Harmony between them. When 
the wife Man fpeaks of the Pleafantnefs of 
the Ways of Religion, or of a Life of Virtue 
and Holinefs, he doth not intend to lignify 
that it hath no Trouble or Difficulty attending 
it, but that, notwithstanding this, it hath 
a Tendency to make us happy, as far as 
Happinefs is attainable here on Earth, and 
brings the truejl Pleafure and Satifacliori 
along with it. And, on the other Hand, 
when our Saviour fpeaks of the Way of 
Piety and Virtue as Jlrait and narrow, 
his Defign is only to reprefent the Diffi- 
culties and Difcouragements attending it 
in the prefent corrupt State of Mankind, 
and the vicious Prejudices in the Hearts of 
Sinners which are apt to render them averfe 
to the Practice of it : But it is by no 
Means his Intention to deny the real Satif- 
facJion and Comfort which is to be found 
in a holy and virtuous Courfe, and which 
is vaftly preferable to the vain and unfatif- 
fying Pleafures of Vice and Sin. He be- 
gins his admirable Sermon on the Mount, in 
which he hath given the moll: excellent 
Precepts and Directions for a holy Life, 
and hath carried pure Religion and Virtue 
to the nobleft Height, with pronouncing 
thofe to be blejfed or happy Perfons who 



conduct themfelves by it's facred Rules : 
He particularly mentions the Poor in Spi- 
rit, i. e. the Humble, and thofe who have 
their Hearts weaned from the Love 
of worldly Riches; them that mourn viz. 
after a godly Sort -, the Meek, the Merciful, 
the Peace-makers, thofe that hunger and 
thirfl after Righteoufnefs, the Pure in Heart , 
and them that are perfecutedfor Righteouf- 
nefs Sake. The World may look upon 
fuch Perfons to be unhappy, but he exhorts 
them to rejoice and be exceeding glad, even 
when expofed to the rnoft. grievous Suffe- 
rings and Reproaches for his Name's Sake : 
And, if Religion can furnim Matter of "Joy 
even under fuch fevere Trials, we may juftly 
conclude, that a Life fpent under it's In- 
fluence is really productive of the trueft 
Satisfaction and Delight. 

It appears, then, that, notwithstanding 
all the Difficulties good Men may meet 
with in a religious and virtuous Courfe, 
and on the Account of which our Saviour 
reprefents the Way to Life asflrait and nar- 
row, yet to thofe whofe Tafte is not vitia- 
ted, and who are capable of difcerning 
the Things that are excellent, the Practice 
of Religion and Righteoufnefs is fitted to 
yield the rnoft fincere and folid Satisfaction 
and rational Delight, 



If we fhould purfue the Inquiry after 
Pleafure as Job doth after Wifdom, Where 
J?:all Pleafure be found, and where is the 
Place of J#y and Happinefs ? Is it to be 
found in a large Affluence of wordly 
Riches, or in the Splendor of Titles and 
Dignities, and the noify Pomp of the 
Ambitious ? Or {half we look for it in rio- 
tous ExcefTes, in th Gratifications of the 
voluptuous Senfualif, or in the impious 
Jefts and Mirth of the Profane ? Reafon 
and the Experience of all Ages (hew that 
thefe Things are incapable of yielding a 
true and la/ling Satisfaction, and that no 
Per ions are ufually farther from Happinefs and 
real Self-enjoyment than they who look for 
Pleafure in fuch Things as thefe. As it is 
laid concerning Wifdom -, 'The Fear of the 
Lord, that is Wifdom ; and to depart from 
Evil is Underjlanding. Job xxviii. 28. So 
it may, with equal Juftice and Propriety, 
be faid, that to love and ferve God is 
Pleafure, and to depart from Vice, and to 
go on in the Paths of Religion a.nd Virtue, is 
true Happinefs. God is the proper Source 
of Happinefs to reafonable Beings. From 
him it originally flows, and on him it 
intirely depends : And therefore the nobleft 
Pleafure is to be found in Religion, which 
is the Knowledge, the Love, and Obedi- 


cnce of God, and leads to the Enjoyment 
of him. The molt powerful Allurement 
to Vice, that by which it charips and cap- 
tivates the Children of Men, i$ the Plea~ 
fare which it promifes : But in this true 
Piety and Virtue is infinitely fuperior. 
The Pleafures of Vice and Sin are little more 
than imaginary, or at leaft are mightily 
heightened by vain Opinion and this. 
Warmth of Fancy : Thofe of Religion are 
real and fincere, folid and fubftantial ; they 
approve themfelves to cool Reafon, and 
improve upon the Reflection. 'The Plea- 
fures of Sin are low and fenfual, fuited 
only to the inferior Part of our Nature : 
Thofe of Religion are rational and fublime, 
approaching to the Joys of Angels, aad to 
the Happinefs of God himfelf. T/je Plea- 
fures of Sin are fleeting and tranfitoryj 
they are but for a Seafon* Heb. xi. 25. 
Thofe of Piety and Virtue are liable and 
permanent. The former are only derived 
from without, and are therefore uncertain 
and precarious -, the other have their Seat 
in the Heart and Confcience, and do 
not depend on the Smiles or Frowns 
of a flattering or malignant World. Fi- 
nally, the Pleafures of Vice, and Sin are 
fucceeded by Difappointment , and end in 
Bittem.fs, often in this World, and mofl 



certainly in the next. Unhappy Pleafures 
thefe which lead to eternal Mifery and An- 
guiflj ! But the Pleafures of a religious Life 
on Earth are the Forerunners of immortal 
Joy, the happy Pledges and Earnefts of 
thofe pure and fatisfying Pleafures which 
are at God's right Hand for evermore. 
And now the proper Ufe and Improve- 
ment which mould be made of all that 
hath been offered on this Subject is, that, 
as we defire true Happinefs and Delight, we 
ihould come to God for it, and feek it in the 
Way which he hath prefcribed. Let us 
feek it in the Meditations of his Glory, in 
a Senfe of his Love and Favour, in Obe- 
dience to his Laws, and in an Imitation 
of his amiable moral Perfections -, or, in 
other Words, let us feek it in the Ways of 
Holinefs and Virtue. For the moft Part, 
Men need not many Arguments to induce 
them to feek after Pleafure : And why 
mould they be fo hard to be perfuaded, 
when called to the noblejl Joys $ Here the 
moji pure and lafiing Pleafures are fet before 
us, to which God himfelf, the merciful 
Father of our Beings, condefcendeth to 
invite us. He feeth and pitieth his iml-p- 
fy Creatures that are wearying themiei' es 
in Purfuing after lying Vanities and Jelfe 
deceitful Pleafures, and, in Companion to 



their Souls, warneth them not to feek for 
Satisfaction where it is not to be found, and 
fheweth them the only Way to true Hap- 
pinefs. It is his Language, Wherefore do 
ye fpend your Money for that which is not 
Bread, and your Labour for that which fa- 
tisfieth not f Hearken unto me, and eat ye 
that which is good, and let your Soul delight 
itfelf in Fatnefs. Incline your Ear and come 
unto me-, hear, and your Soul /hall live; 
and I will make an ever lofting Covenant with 
you. If. lv. 2, 3. He doth not forbid us 
to feek after Pleafure, but is for turning 
our Views and Purfuits, from the brutifli 
deftrudtive Pleafures of Vice and Sin, to 
the noble and fatisfying Delights of Reli- 
gion and Holinefs. 

If therefore there be any of us that have 
hitherto been alienated from God, and from 
his Love and Service, and have fought for 
Pleafure and Happinefs in the Vanities of 
this infnaring World, and in the Gratifi- 
cations of vicious Appetite, let us imme- 
diately fet ourfelves to abandon thofe evil 
Courfes in which we have been engaged. 
Let us humble ourfelves deeply before' 
God, for having acted a Part fo contrary 
to our Reafon, fo inconfiftent wkh our 
Duty and our true Happinefs, and fo un- 
becoming our Chrijiian Profeffion, and 
- Vol. IIL Bb the 


the glorious Hopes we are raifed unto by 
the Gofpel. Afhamed and grieved for 
our pafl Sins and Follies, let us earneftly 
implore his pardoning Mercy, and return 
to him by ajincere Repentance and a true 
and living Faith From a Senfe of the Ex- 
cellency of the Divine Laws, and a hear- 
ty Approbation of the moft reafonable and 
gracious Terms of the Gofpel-Covenant, 
let us yield up ourfelves wholly to God, 
our heavenly Father, our fupreme Lord 
and chief Good, through fefus Chrijl, the 
great appointed Mediator and Saviour, re- 
iblving to endeavour to walk before him un- 
to all Well-pie afmg, and in him to place 
our chief Happinefs and Delight. That is 
excellent Advice which Eliphaz gives to 
fob : Acquaint now thyfelf with him, and 
be at Peace ; thereby Good Jhall come unto 
thee. Receive, I pray thee, the Law from 
his Mouth, and lay up his Words in thine 
Heart. If thou return to the Almighty, 
thou jhalt be built up, thou jlo alt put away 
iniquity far. from thy 'Tabernacles. — Then 
Jhalt thou have thy Deligbt in the Almighty, 
and Jhalt lift up thy Face unto God. Job 
xxii. 21, 22, 23, 26. Let it therefore 
be the iincere Language of our Hearts, 
t( Adieu, ye deceitful Pleafures of Sin, the 
" Lujl of the F left, theLuJl of the Eye, and 

(< the 


*' the Pride of Life I I will no longer feek 
" for Happinefs in you, nor prize your low 
u evanid Joys. Let Religion take me un- 
*« der it's bleffed Conduct : Here will I 
te feek for Pleafure> and the confcious Sa- 
<c tis faBions of a well-difpofed Mind. 
" 'To whom, gracious God, Jhould I go but 
" unto thee, in whom alone I can be hap- 
<( py ? I have long fought to hew out unto 
" my f elf Cijiertis, broken Ctfterns, that can 
" hold 7io Water ; but it is now the De- 
" fire of my Soul to return unto thee, 
" the only Fountain of living Water, the 
" eternal indeficient Source of Felicity and 
" y°y > anc ^ to ^ ee ^- f° r Happinefs in thy 
" Favour and Love, and in the Ways of 
" Right eoufnefs which thou haft prefcri- 
" bed." 

I would particularly addrefs myfelf, on 
this Occafion, to young Perfons, who, 
through the Warmth of their Pafiions, 
their Want of Experience, and the Infi- 
nuations of evil Company, are apt to be 
decoyed, under the Notion of Fleafure, 
into vicious Gratifications, or at leaft into 
a continual Succemon of vain Amufe- 
ments, to the Neglect of every Thing 
that is ferious ; as if the Applying them- 
felves to the Work of Religion were too fe- 
vere and dull a Thing for their Age. Con- 
B b 2 fider 


iider, I befeech you, the Account which 
has been given of the Nature and Excel- 
lency of the Divine Commands -, and then 
judge what there is in the Obfervance of 
them that is inconfiflent with true T*lea- 
fure. Is there any Thing that really de- 
ferves that Name which Religion depriveth 
us of ? It abridgeth us of no Enjoyments 
which are within the Bounds of Tempe- 
rance and Innocence : Aiid (hall nothing 
be called Pleafure, but what is Irre- 
gularity and Excefs ? The Man of Religi- 
on and Virtue hath the truejl Enjoyment of 
himfelf and of his Friend, as well as of 
his God -, and therefore hath the mofl 
juft Foundation for Chearfulnefs and Com- 
placency of Mind. But thofe have parti- 
cular Advantages this Way who apply 
themfelves to the Practice of Virtue and 
Kolinefs in the Days of their Youth : This 
is comparatively much eajier to them, than 
it is to Perfons who have been much har- 
dened by a long Courfe of Sinning, and 
who are under the Power of inveterate evil 
Habits, which it requireth great Pains 
and Trouble to mortify and fubdue. 
They that devote their early Bloom, the 
Pride of their Years and Strength, to 
God and his Service, feem to be particu- 
larly qualified for Reliming the Divine 



Joys of Religion, and have juft Grounds to 
hope that God will lift up the Light of his 
Countenance upon them. Till we apply our- 
felves in good Earnefr. to real Piety and 
Virtue, we cannot properly be faid to an- 
fwer the End of our Being, or to begin to 
be happy; and furely we cannot begin to 
be happy too foon. This will be the bell 
Preparative for all the Events which may 
befall us in this State of Trial and Difci- 
pline : It will lay the fureft Foundation 
for a comfortable and ufeful Life, a peaceful 
* Death, and chappy Eternity. 

To conclude, let thofe who have given 
themfelves up to God in Sincerity, and 
who endeavour to approve themfelves to 
him in a Life of holy Obedience, fhew that 
they take Pleajure in the Ways of Religion, 
by performing the Duties of it with a 
willing and chearful Mind, Such Perfons 
have a' Right to rejoice, and it is their Du- 
ty to do fo : God, who delighteih in the 
Happinefs of his Creatures, is then bed 
pleafed, when they frve him with Joy and 
Gladnefs of Heart. It was his Command 
under the Old Teflament, "Thoufialt rejoice 
before the Lord thy God, in all that thou 
puttejl thine Hand unto. Deut. xii. 18. 
And again, Thou fait rejoice in every good 
Thing which the Lord thy God giveth 
unto thee. Deut. xxvi. 1 1 . And furely 
B b 3 then 

then this is juftly expected of us under the 
New Teftament Difpenfation, which is 
fuller of Conflation, and hath lefs of Rigour 
in it, than the Old. It is exprefly urged 
upon Chrijlians that they JJjould rejoice ever- 
more, i ThefT. v. 1 6. Rejoice in the Lord 
alway, and again I fay. Rejoice. Phil. iv. 
4. The Kingdom of God, which it is the 
Deiign of the Gofpel to erect in the Souls 
of Men, is defcribed by this Character, 
that it is Right eoufnefs, and Peace, and Joy 
in the Holy Ghoji. Rom. xiv. 17, 

We fbould therefore regard it, not only 
as our Privilege, but as an important Part 
of our Duty to rejoice : And great would 
be the Advantages that would refult from 
it. This would put Life and Vigour in- 
to all our Services, and would engage us to 
perfevere in a religious and virtuous Prac- 
tice with an unfai?iting Conftancy and Di- 
ligence. It is hard to continue in a Courfe 
which we find no Pleafure in, efpecially if 
ftrong Temptations or Perfecutions arife : 
But, when we know and feel what a de- 
lightful Thing true Godlinefs is ; what Joys 
are to be found in God, in Loving, Ser- 
ving, and Obeying him; this will contrir. 
bute to keep us fleady and uniform, and 
will prevent our Backjliding and Growing 
%yeary in Well-doing : The Relifh we have 



for thofe higher and purer Delights will, 
raife us above the low and deceitful P lea- 
fur es of Sin and this vainWorld. 

But then it highly concerneth us to 
guard againft every Thing which hath a 
Tendency to damp or interrupt thofe fa- 
cred Joys : Efpecially we mull be careful 
not to indulge any darling Lull in our Bo- 
foms, nor allow ourfelves in the Practice 
of any one known prefumptuous Sin. We 
mull endeavour to abound in the Fruits of 
Righteoufnefs and to make a continual Pro- 
grefs in the Virtues of the Chrijiian Life, 
and mull frequently turn our Thoughts and 
Attention to thofe glorious and delightful 
Objects which Religion fetteth before us ; 
and this we inould do, not only for our 
own Sakes but for that of others too. 
The fprightly vigorous Chrijiian, who, by 
the Delight he findeth in God, and in the 
Ways of Righteoufnefs, is rendered chear- 
ful and agreeable in his whole Deportment, 
is an Ornament to his Profeflion, and ma- 
keth a lovely Reprefentation of Religion to 
all that behold him : And, on the other 
Hand, for a Chrijiian to wear a dull and 
gloomy Afpect, always lighing and com- 
plaining, would be a Kind of Contradic- 
tion to his Hopes and Profeflion s. Some 
that have been truly religious, and others 
B b 4 who 


who had a Mind to appear fo, whilft they 
fhunned an indecent Levity, have, by their 
fad Aipects and imprudent Severities, 
brought a Reproach upon the Ways of 
Gadhne/s : But certaiply there is nothing 
in Religion itfelf, duly confidered, which 
can give Countenance to fuch a Conduct. 
A good Man hath undoubtedly the moffc 
juft Foundation for an inward Joy and Sa- 
tisfaction of Mind: And why mould not 
this brighten up his Afpedt, and difFufe 
an innocent Chearfulnefs through his whole 
Converfation ? 

Finally, let us often look forwards to 
that Fulnefs of Joy, which God hath in 
his rich Grace and Mercy prepared for 
gdod Men in the heavenly World, and to 
which a Life of true Religion here on Earth 
is dcfigned to be preparatory. What com- 
fortable Lives mould we lead, if we fre- 
quently raifed our Views in the Medita- 
tions of Faith to that Mount Sion which is 
above, the City of the living God ; and to an 
innumerable Company of Angels, to the gene- 
ral Afcmbly and Church of the Firfi-born> 
which are written in Heaven -, to God the 
Judge of all, and the Spirits of ' juft Men 
made perfccf, and to Jefus the Mediator of 
the New Covenant. Heb. xii. 22, 23, 24. 
To confider that the Life of holy Obedience % 



to which we are obliged in this State of 
Trial, willdeliverup to us a Life of immortal 
Glory in the highejl Heavens ! Oh tranfpor- 
ting Thought ! What Joy, what Triumph, 
muft this needs diffufe through the believ- 
ing Soul ! And, if the Mope of Heaven be 
fo delightful, what mall the actual Enjoy - 
Went be ! Now our Knowledge and Love 
of God, and our Conformity to him, is 
imperfect, and therefore our Delight in 
him is imperfect too : But Heaven, which 
js a State of perfect Holinefs, is alio a State 
of confummate Happinefs and Enjoyment. 
As there we mall be admitted to the im- 
mediate beatific Virion of the Deity, and 
fhall have the fulled Exhibitions and Com- 
munications of his Love ; fo we mall de-_ 
light in him in a far fuller and nobler 
Senfe than now we are capable of doing. 
Our Joy in God mall then be complete, and 
we mall be perfectly fatisfied with his Like- 
nefs, and fo fhall continue to Eternity. 
Let the Profpe&s of this refrefh and ani- 
mate us: Let us rejoice in Hope of the Glory 
of God. And do thou, Lord, fo aflift us 
by thy Grace and Spirit, that we may 
be made meet for that glorious World, 
where we fhall be for ever with thee, and 
fhall be happy in thy blifsful Prefence and 
Love to all Eternity. 


On the Credibility and Proofs of the Gofpel- 


John xx. 30, 31. 

And many other ^Things truly did Jefus in the 
Prefence of his Difciples, which are not 
'written in this Book. But thefe are writ- 
ten, that ye might believe that Jefus is the 
Chrift, the Son of God-, and that, believing^ 
ye might have Life through his Name. 

WHOSOEVER ferioufly confidereth 
the Excellency of our Saviour's 
Doctrines and Difcourfes, the admirable 
Purity of the Morals which he taught, and 
the Laws which he delivered, and the Ten- 
dency of the Whole to promote the Glory 
of God, and the Good of Mankind j and 
at the fame Time confidereth the Beauty 



and Perfection of his Example and the Vir- 
tues that lb eminently mine forth in his 
holy and fpotlefs Life and Character, toge- 
ther with the many extraordinary Atteftations 
given him from Heaven ; the flupendcus Mi- 
racles wrought by himfelf in Perfon, and 
by thofe whom he commiffioned and im- 
powered to work them in his Name ; but, 
above all, his RtfurreBion from the Dead, 
and Afcenfion into Heaven : I fay, any one, 
that alloweth himfelf feriouily to confider 
all this, will be apt to acknowledge that, 
fuppofing thefe Things to be certainly true, 
and that the Accounts which are given us 
of them may be depended upon, they form 
ib ftrong a Proof of the Truth and Divinity 
of cur Saviour's Mifjion as is fufficient to 
fatisfy any unprejudiced and well-difpofed 
Mind. But what Reafon have we to believe 
that thefe Things are true ? We were not 
Eye or Ear Witnefes of them ; and how is 
it poihble we mould, who live at the Di- 
flance of many Ages from the Time in 
which thofe Difcourfes were delivered, and 
thofe extraordinary Fads were done ? But 
mud we for that Reafon think they are 
Things in which we have no Concern, and 
that we can have no AiTurance of the Truth 
and Certainty of thofe Things fufficient to 
fatisfy our Minds ? This would be a very 



wrong Concluded, except it were laid down 
as a Principle, that we are not to believe 
any Thing, but what wt our/elves fee with 
our own Eyes : A Principle ib abfurd that 
no Man of oeri£ .1 feriouily maintain it, 
and from which numberlefs Abfurdities 
would follow. If this were once generally 
admitted, no Societies could Fub'fift, a Stop 
would be put to all judicial Proceedings, no 
WitnefTes could be depended upon in any 
Cafe, there would be an End of all Credit 
and mutual Intercourfe among Men, and al- 
moft of all our Knowledge and Means of 
Improvement j we could have no Advantage 
from the Obfervations of others, or from the 
Hiftory and Experience of former Ages and 
other Countries, or of our own A<*e or 
Country, in any Cafe where we onrfehes 
were ?iot actually prefent : In a Word, it would, 
in it's Confequences, introduce an univerfal 
Confufion, Ignorance, and Barbarifm. No- 
thing can be more evident, than that the 
Author of our Beings hath fo formed our 
Natures, and hath placed us in fuch Cir- 
cumstances in the World, that we are under 
a Neceffity of admitting the c Tefilmony of 
others in numberlefs Inflances : And it would 
not have been fo ordered, if this were not 
an Evidence that is in many Cafes futlicient, 
and lafely to be relied upon. And indeed it 



cannot be denied, that there are man^ 
Things, that we receive only by the Tefiimony 
of others, which yet we may be as fure of 
as if they came to us confirmed by the im- 
mediate Evidence of our own Senfes. Will 
any Man fay, that he cannot be certain 
there is fuch a City as Paris, or fuch a Coun- 
try as America, becaufe he was never there ? 
He that mould ferioufly affirm this would 
be thought to have an Head fo oddly turned, 
that few of them would look upon him to 
be right in his Senfes, or fit to be argued 
with. The fame may be faid, as to many 
Fads done in diftant Places, which may 
come to us fo well attefted, and confirmed 
with fuch Circumrtances, that we can no 
more reafbnably doubt that fuch Actions 
were done, than if we ourfehes had been pre- 
fent : And, if any Man mould affect not to 
believe them, and give no other Reafon for 
it, but that he himfelf did not fee them done, 
inftead of being admired as a Perfon of ex- 
act; Judgment, and who was careful not to 
be impofed upon, he would only expofe 
himfelf to juft Contempt, as unreafonably 
Handing out againft clear Evidence. The 
like Obfervation holdeth, with Refpect to 
Things that were done in paft Ages. A 
Man could not more effectually expofe him- 
felf than by pretending to lay it down as a 



Rule, that he will believe nothing that hap- 
pened in any Age or Time before that in 
which he himfelf liveth : For it is manifeft, 
that in many Cafes we have as convincing 
an AfTurance of Facts that were done before 
we were born, as of any Facts whatfoever 
that were done in our own Time ; and can 
no more reafonably doubt of them, than if 
we Jaw them with our own Eyes ; of which 
many Inftances might eafily be given, if it 
were necefTary. And this holdeth not only 
with Regard to Things that were done in 
the Age immediately preceding, but alfo 
with Regard to Facts done at a greater Di- 
flance of Time from us, and even feveral 
ago. We mult, not imagine that the Evi- 
dence we have of the Certainty of paft Facts 
always diminimeth, in Proportion to the 
Diftance of Time from us in which they 
were done. This dependeth upon other 
Circumftances ; for Things done feveral 
Ages ago may be tranfmitted to us in fuch 
a Manner, and with fuch a Degree of Evi- 
dence, as to leave no Room for reafonable 
Doubt concerning them ; and, on the other 
Hand, we may be very uncertain as to 
Things faid to be done in the former, or in 
the prefent Age, for Want of having them 
confirmed to us by proper Evidence. 



Upon the Whole," it is manifeft that out 
not having lived in the Age or Country in 
which Things were done is no juft Argu- 
ment to prove, that therefore we cannot be 
fure they were done, or to make it reafon- 
able for us to doubt whether they were done. 
Muft we then lightly give Credit to every 
Thing that is reported to have been done 
in former Ages, or other Countries ? This 
would argue a foolifh Credulity, and would 
be equally abfurd and void of Reafon, as to 
believe nothing at all of what was done in 
former Times. What remaineth therefore 
is, that we muft carefully confider and ex- 
amine the Nature of the Evidence, and the 
Conveyance by which Things are tranfmit- 
ted to us, that we mav be able to form a 
proper Judgment concerning them. 

There are two Ways by which the Know- 
ledge of paft Facts, Doctrines, or Laws, 
may be tranfmitted to fucceeding Ages : The 
one is by oral Tradition, or verbal Relations 
and Reports, conveyed from Age to Age ; 
the other is bv written Accounts or Records : 
And each of thefe may be attended with 
collateral Circumftances, that may heighten 
or diminiiTi the Evidence arifing from them* 
As to the former of thefe, viz. oral Tradi- 
tion, it muft be acknowledged not to be fo 
certain a Way of Conveyance. Indeed fome 



main Fads may be thus conveyed with a 
confiderable Degree of Certainty; but the 
Circumftances of Facts, and efpecially Doc- 
trines and Laws, can fcarce be conveyed this 
Way in fuch a Manner as may be depended 
upon. This was the only Way of convey- 
ing them, in the earlieft Ages before the 
Flood ; and, when the Life of Man was 
generally very much longer than now it is, 
Things might be thus conveyed with fome 
Degree of Probability ; but now, by the 
Experience of all Mankind, it is fubject to 
many Uncertainties. When the Preserving 
the Remembrance of Things, and efpecially 
of Doctrines and Difcourfes, is left merely 
to oral Tradition, there is great Danger of 
their being in Procefs of Time quite loft, or 
at leaft very much varied from what they 
originally were, 

The fafeft Way of tranfmitting paft Facts, 
but efpecially Doctrines and Laws, and the 
Circumftances of Facts, is by Writing, It is 
thus that authentic Hiftories of paft Events 
are preferved, and that the public Records 
are tranfmitted to us. It is by this that we 
come to know the Laws that have been for- 
merly enacted, the Conftitutions of States, 
the various Revolutions of Kingdoms and 
Empires, the Lives and Actions of great 
Men, the Sayings, the Doctrines, and the 

Vol. III. C c Sentiments 


Sentiments of the Wife and Learned ; and 
by this we have the Accounts of many ex- 
traordinary Events, uncommon Facts, that 
have happened from Time to Time, and 
which are received by the mod knowing and 
judicious Perfbns, without Scruple, on the 
Credit of thofe Accounts, when there is 
good Reafon to believe them genuine. And 
it is then that there is the greater!: Reafon to 
believe and depend upon written Accounts 
of Fads, of Doctrines, and Laws, when 
the Accounts were committed to Writing, 
in the very Age in which the Doctrines were 
delivered, or the Facts were done ; and by 
Perfons that were Witnejjes to thofe Facts, 
or perfectly well acquainted with them ; and 
, who at the fame Time appear to have been 
Perfons of great Fidelity and Sincerity > who, 
we have all the Reafon in the World to 
think, had no Intention to impofe upon 
others, nor Intereft in doing fo -, efpecially 
if the Writings themf elves have all the Cha- 
racters of Truth, Simplicity, and Integrity 
that can be dented, and have nothing in 
them that can give any re,afonable Sufpicion 
of Fraud. 

Now to apply all this to the Cafe before 
ns. It is highly reafonable to think that, 
fuppoling God to havefent his Son tofaroe and 
to redeem Mankind, and to bring a Revelation 



from Heaven, exhibiting the beft and mofl 
perfect Scheme of Religion that ever was 
published to the World, he defigned it, not 
merely for the Ufe and Benefit of that Age 
in which thefe Things actually came to pafs* 
but alfo of fucceeding Ages. We may there- 
fore juftly conclude from his Wifdom and 
Goodnefs, that he would take Care that the 
Revelation it/elf, with it's Doctrines and 
Laws, and an Account of the extraordinary 
Facts by which it was attefled and confirm- 
ed, mould be tranfmitted to fucceeding 
Ages, in a Manner that might be fafely de- 
pended upon ; and confequently, that he 
would take Care that it mould be tranfmit- 
ted in written authentic Records, this being, 
as was before obferved, the fafeft Way of 
conveying the Knowledge of Doctrines or 
Facts that were taught or done in pafl AgeSj 
and every Way fufficient to lay a Foundation 
for a reafbnable Belief. Now this is the 
Method that hath been actually taken, with 
Regard to the Gofpel Revelation, The origin 
nal Revelation itfelf, the Doctrines and Dif- 
courfes of our Lord Jefus Chrijl, and the 
wonderful Facts that attefled his Divine 
Mijjicn, are tranfmitted to us in Records that 
have all the Marks of Credibility and Au- 
thenticity that can be reafbnably delired : 
For they were ^written, in the very Age in 
C c 2 which 


which thofe Doctrines and Laws were deli- 
vered, and thole Facts were done ; and by 
Perfons who were themfches Witnejfes to thofe 
Fads, and perfectly acquainted with thofe 
Doctrines and Laws -, and who appear at the 
fame Time to have been Perfons of great In- 
tegrity and undeligning Simplicity, and who 
could have no Interests of their own to ferve in 
Promoting a Religion that had nothing in 
it to flatter their Hopes and Views, and 
that was contrary to their mofl favourite 
Paffions and Prejudices. Add to this that 
the Writings tbemfehes have remarkable in- 
ternal Characters of Purity and Simplicity 
and of an impartial Regard to Truth, and 
not one Mark of the Contrary -, which it is 
fcarce poffible intirely to avoid in Writings 
artfully contrived to ferve a Purpofe : And it 
carrieth the Evidence as far as it can go, 
when we confider that, befides all this, we 
have good Reafon to believe that the Per- 
fons that wrote thofe Accounts were under a 
Divine Guidance, to preferve them from 
Miftake and Error, and to arTift them in 
giving a juft and true Account of thofe 
Facts, Doctrines and Laws. If this be a 
true State of the Cafe with regard to the 
evangelical Records, then it appeareth that 
they may be fafely depended upon -, and 
that it is with great Juiinefs and Propriety 



that it is here declared by the Apojlle ana 
Evangelijl St. John (and it holdeth equally, 
with regard to the Accounts given us by 
the other Evangelijls) thefe Things are writ- 
ten y that ye might believe that Jefus is the 
Chriit, the Son of God; and that, believing, 
ye might have Life through his Name. Where 
it is plainly fignified that the original Deiign, 
for which thefe Accounts of our Saviour's 
Life, Difcourfes, Miracles, and Refurrection 
were committed to Writing, was, that Men 
might be thereby engaged to receive and be- 
lieve in Jefus Chrift, in order to their Ob- 
taining eternal Life and Salvation through 
him j and it is alfo intimated that thefe Ac- 
counts are of fuch a Nature as to be every 
Way fufficient to produce this Effect in thofe 
that impartially read and confider them. 

To fet all this in a proper Light I propofe 
diftinctly to mew, 

Firft, That the evangelical Records were 
written in the apoftolical Age, that is, in 
the Age in which the Facts were done, and 
the Doctrines and Laws taught and delive- 
red, which are there recorded. 

Secondly, That they were written by Per- 
fons who were themfelves perfectly ac- 
quainted with the Things they relate, and 
fully affured of the Truth of them. 

Thirdly, That thefe Writings have all the 
C c 3 inter* 


internal Characters of Fairnefs and Impar-* 
tially, of Purenefs and Simplicity, that any 
Writings can poflibly have, and which 
clearly {hew that the Writer* of them were 
Perfons of the greateft Sincerity, and had 
nothing but Truth in View. 

Fourthly, That the Character and Dif- 
courfes of our blerTed Lord, as reprefented 
in the evangelical Writings, carry the plain 
Evidences of their own Genuinenefs and 
Divinity, and are of fuch a Nature, that 
, there is great Reafon to think that the Wri- 
ters of thofe Accounts were not capable of 
feigning them, even if they had been dif- 
pofed to do fo. 

Fifthly, That which giveth a mighty 
Weight to all this is, that we have good 
Reafon to believe, that thofe Writers were 
under a Divine Guidance ', fo as to be be kept 
from Erring in the Accounts they give. 

Sixthly, It is no fmall Confirmation of 
the Truth of the evangelical Records, that it 
was upon the Credit of the Fads, that 
are there related concerning our Lord fcfus 
Cbrijl, that great Numbers, both of Jews 
and Gentiles^ were brought to embrace the 
, Religion of Jefus, even in the firft Age, 
when there was the beft Opportunity of 
knowing the Truth of thofe Facts ; and 
that in Oppofition, to their molt, inveterate 



Prejudices, and when by Embracing it they 
cxpofed themfelves to the mod grievous Per- 
fections and Sufferings. 

To all this it may be added that we have 
all the Evidence that can be reafonably de- 
fired to fatisfy us, that thefe facred Writings 
are tranfmitted fafe and uncorrupted to us. 

Firft, The evangelical Records were written 
in the apoftolical Age, that is, in the Age 
in which the Facts were done, and the 
Laws and Doctrines taught and delivered, 
which are there recorded. 

The belt Evidence that can be reafonably 
dented to mew that any Books were written 
at the Time in which they have been kid to be 
written is, when they can be clearly traced up 
by unqueftionable Evidence to the very Age 
in which they are faid to have been written, 
and can be proved to have been flill in Be- 
ing, and when the Books themfelves do alfo 
carry plain Marks and Characters of being 
written in that Age, and not the lead: Mark 
of the Contrary. And this is certainly the 
Cafe, with regard to the evangelical Records . J 
Thofe Books, which are now univerfally re- 
ceived by all Chriflians as the Writings of the 
Evaj2geli/is, may be clearly traced, through 
every Age from that in which we live, up 
to the Times of the Apajlks. In every Age 
from that Time to this, we have unqueftio- 
C c 4 nable 


nable Proofs of their having been ftill extant, 
and that their Authority was acknowledged 
among Chrijliam. There are 4 ftill remain- 
ing Numbers of Books and Writings of va- 
rious Sorts written by Perfons of different 
Nations and Parties, who lived in the feve- 
ral Ages between this and the apoftolical 
Times, in which there are frequent Refe- 
rences to the Gojpels and other I acred Books of 
the New Tejlametit ; they have been con- 
ftantly appealed to for deciding Controver- 
sies among Chriftians ; many PafTages have 
been quoted out of them, in every Age, the 
fame that are now to be found in them ; 
Difcourfes have been made and Commenta- 
ries written upon them by many different 
Authors who have preferved large Portions 
of them in their Writings, and innumerable 
Copies of them have been fpread abroad, 
and tranflated into different Languages. 
Thefe are Matters of Fact which no Man 
can be fo hardy as to deny : And by this 
Kind of Evidence, the ftrongeft and moft 
convincing that the Nature of the Cafe can 
poffibly admit of, they can be proved to 
have been ftill in Being, till we come to the 
Age immediately fucceeding that of the 
Apofiles. As to the apoftolical Age itfelf, 
there are but few of the Writings of that 
Age tranfmitted to our Time, and in thofe 



few there are plain References to the facred 
Writings of the New Teftament, and to the 
Doctrines and Facts recorded there, particu- 
larly in the Go/pels, But there are many 
Books frill in our Hands, which were writ- 
ten by Authors who unquestionably lived in 
the fecond Century after our Saviour, in 
which thefe Writings are frequently referred 
and appealed to as of Divine Authority -, and 
many Quotations are drawn out of them, by 
which it is manifeft, that they were then 
received with great Veneration by the Chri- 
jlian Churches, which, even in that Age, 
were become very numerous ; and it appear- 
eth by an Apology ftill extant, which was 
addrerTed, in that Age, to the Roman Em- 
peror Antoninus Pius on the Behalf of the 
Chriflia?2s, that it was then the ordinary 
Practice to read the Gofpels, together with 
the Writings of the Prophets, in their religi- 
ous AfTemblies. This Apology was writ- 
ten about an hundred Years after the Death 
of our Saviour by Juflin Martyr, who, of 
an Heathen Philofopher, became a Chriftian. 
And, fince thefe facred Writings were fo ge- 
nerally fpread, which muft necefTarily have 
taken up fome Time, and were had in fuch 
great Efteem and Veneration among Cbrijli- 
ans, even in the Age next following that of 
the Apo/Iks, this plainly fheweth that they 



muft have been written in the apoitolical Age 
itfelf, and that they were regarded as authen- 
tic, and as containing a juft Account of the 
Words and Actions of our Saviour. Ac- 
cordingly Eufebius, fpeaking of fome emi- 
nent Perfons that held the nrfr. Rank in the 
Succefiion of the Apoftles, who fcattered 
abroad the falutary Seeds of the Kingdom of 
Heaven all over the World, and, travelling 
abroad, performed the Work of Evangelifs, 
informs us that, wherever they went preach- 
ing among the Nations, they delivered the 
Scripture cf the Divine Gofpel, i. e. they car- 
ried thofe jacred Writings along with them, 
and put them into the Hands of the Chri/iian 
Converts. And indeed the Writings themfelves 
bear the evident Characters of the apoftolical 
Age, and not one Mark of a later Date. If 
the Writings of the New Teftameftt had been 
written in any fucceeding Age, there is great 
Reafon to think that, in feveral Things, they 
would have been different from what they 
now are. It could fcarce have been avoid- 
ed, but that, in fome Parts of thofe Writings y 
there would have been fome Reference or 
Allufion to Cufloms, Rites, Queflions, or 
Controverfies, which had not their Rife 
till after the Times of the Apoftles -, where- 
as there is now nothing that in the lean: look- 
eth that Way. All Things breathe the Pu- 


rity and Simplicity of the firft Age ; and 
the Idea, that is given of the Chriflian 
Church in the Books of the New Tefiamenf, 
hath the peculiar Characters of that Age, 
from which there were fome Variations, 
even in the Age which immediately follow- 

With regard to the Go/pel of St. John, 
it appeareth from the Book itfelf, that it was 
written by the Difciple whom Jefus loved, and 
who himfelfy2zw and heard what he relateth. 
And it is univerfally agreed, that the other 
Gofpeh were written earlier than that of St.- 
John-, and that the principal Defign of it was 
to record feveral Things which were not dis- 
tinctly taken Notice of by the other Evan- 
gelijls. And this may be fairly concluded 
from the Matter of that Book, in which, 
though the Facts are plainly fuppofed that 
are related by the other Evangeli/ls, yet thofe 
Miracles and Difcourfes of our Saviour are 
principally infifted upon which either were 
omitted by the others, or but flightly men- 
tioned. If we compare the Beginning of 
St Lukes Gofpel, Chap. i. 3, 4, with the 
Beginning of the ABs of the Apojlles Chap. 
i. 1 , 2, as it is manifest that both were written 
by the fame Author, fo alfo that he had wrote 
his Gofpel, before he wrote the Acts : And 
yet it plainly appeareth, that the Book of 



the ABs of the Apoftles was written in the 
apoftolical Age, and fome Time before the 
Death of St. Paid : For it is evident from 
the Accounts given in that Book that the 
Writer of it was a Companion of St. Paul in 
his Labours and Travels, and particularly 
that he was with him in his Voyage to 
Rome, after his having been feized andaccufed 
by the Jews, with an Account of which, 
and of St. Paul's Preaching there two Tears 
in his own hired Houfe, the Book ends. It 
taketh no Notice of his after Travels, or of 
his fecond Imprifonment at Rome, and his 
Martyrdom there, which it would undoubt- 
edly have done, as well as it doth of the 
Martyrdom of St. James, if it had been 
written, after thefe Events had happened. 
And it is a great Proof of the high Venera- 
ration the fir ft Chrijiians had for thefe Wri- 
tings that none of them ever pretended 
to make Additions to this Book, either with 
regard to St. Paul, or to any other of the 
Apoftles. We may juftly conclude then 
that St. Luke's Gofpel, which, was written 
before the A5ls, mujl have been written early 
in the apoftolical Age. And that of St. 
Matthew hath been generally acknowledged 
to have been written before his $ and, ac- 
cording to the mofl probable Accounts, 



about the eighth Year after the Death of our 

It is no inconfiderable Argument to fhew» 
that the evangelical Records were written in 
the apoftolical Age, that, though Matthew* 
Mark, and Luke, all give a diftinct Account 
of our Lord's Predictions concerning th© 
Deftruction of Jeritfalem; and the Defla- 
tion of the yewijh Nation, yet not one of 
them, or of any of the other J acred Writers 
of the New Hejtament, ever give the leaft 
Hint of the Accomplishment of thofe Pre- 
dictions, or of the exemplary Vengeance 
that was inflicted upon the unbelieving Jews, 
though it was a Thing fa much to the Ho- 
nour of Christianity, and which mightily 
tended to the Confirmation of it, and was 
particularly of great Importance in that early 
Controversy concerning the Obligation of 
the Mofaical Law and Ceremonies upon the 
Di/ciples qfjefus. This Iheweth that they 
were written before that great Event, which 
yet came to pafs within forty Years after our 
Lord's Crucifixion. It is true St. John ta- 
keth no Notice of it in his Go/pel, thpugh 
it is generally believed to have been written 
after that Event ; but this may be eafily ac- 
counted for, becaufe he taketh no Notice of 
the Prediction itfelf, which had been fully 
recorded by all the other Evangelijls, and was 



therefore omitted hy him, and confequently 
he had no Occafion to take Notice of it's 

Thefe feveral Confederations plainly lead 
us to conclude, with all the Evidence that 
can be deiired in fuch a Cafe, that the Books 
of the Kvangelijis were written in the apofto- 
lical Age : Nor do I find that the bittereft 
Enemies of Chriftianity, in the earlieft Ages, 
ever denied this. Celfus, a Man of great 
Acutenefs, and a virulent Oppofer of the 
Chrijiian Religion, who lived in the fecond 
Century, at the fame Time that he endea- 
vours to expofe thofe Accounts, yet all along 
fuppofeth them to have been written by 
ChriJFs own Difciples and Attendants : And 
Jidian the Apoilate, whofe Wit and Learn- 
ing, as well as Enmity to Chrifianity, is 
well known, when he chargeth the Chri^ 
fiians with not continuing in the Things de- 
livered to them by the ApofUes, makes par* 
ticular Mention, not only of the Apoille 
Paul, but of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 
John -, which mews, that he did not deny 
them to be the Writers of the Books afcribed 
to them, and that he looked upon thofe 
Books to have been written in the apoflolical 
Times ; and, if they were written in thofe 
Times, they were written in the Age in 
which the Fads there recorded were faid to 



have been done. And the Facts themfelves 
were of fuch a Nature, reported to have 
been done publicly, and attended with fuch 
Circumftances, that, if the Accounts given 
of them by the Evangelijls had been falfe, 
they mud have been immediately detected, 
efpecially coniidering the Number and Power 
of their Enemies, who would have eagerly 
laid hold of any Advantages of expofing and 
confounding them : But thefe Things I may 
have Occafion to confider more fully after- 

At prefent I would conclude with obfer- 
ving, that it is a very iignal Advantage that, 
though we did not live in the Time of our 
Saviour and his Apoflles, yet we have an 
authentic Account of the Religion which they 
taught, and of the Evidences whereby it 
was confirmed, plainly fet before us in Books 
that were written in that Age ; which Books 
are now in our Hands, and bear the illuf- 
trious Characters of uncorrupted Truth, 
Righteoufnefs, and Purity. And, if we fo 
believe the Accounts given us in thofe facred 
Writings as to receive Chrift'j heavenly Doc- 
trifles into our Hearts , and to govern our- 
felves by his holy and excellent Laws, they 
will be as available to our eternal Salvation, 
as if we had actually lived in that Age; and we 
fhall be intitled to the Blejjednefs which our 



Saviour fpeaks of in thofe remarkable Words 
of his to Thomas, of which we have an Ac- 
count in the Verfes preceding the Text : 
Thomas, becaufe thou haft feen me, thou haft 
believed : BleJJed are they that have not Jeen % 
and yet have believed. 


On the Credibility and Proofs of the Gofpel- 
Re cords. 


John xx. 30, 31. 

And many other ^Things truly did Jefus in the 
Prefence of his Dijciples, which are not 
written in this Book. But thefe are writ- 
ten, that ye might believe that Jefus is the 
Chrift, the Son of God ; and that^ believing^ 
ye might have Life through his Name. 

THESE remarkable Words of the 
Apofile John are intended to mew 
the excellent Defign for which the evan- 
gelical Records were written, and the happy 
and falutary Effects they have a Tendency 
to produce, where they are fincerely be- 
lieved and embraced. It is therefore un- 
deniably of great Importance to us to get 
Vol. III. D d our 


our Minds eftabliihed in a well-grounded 
Perfuafion of the Truth and Certainty of 
the Accounts that are there given us con- 
cerning our Lord J ejus Chrijl, efpecially 
fince we live in an Age in which the Cre- 
dit of our holy Religion, and the original 
Records of it, is fo boldly ftruck at. Ac- 
cordingly, in my former Difcourfe on thefe 
Words, after offering fome general Con- 
fiderations to prepare our Way, it was 
mewn, That we have all the Evidence that 
can reafonably be defired to fatisfy us, 
that the Books of the Evange 'lifts were writ- 
ten in the apoftolical Age, /. e. in the Age 
in which the Facts were done, and the 
Laws and Doctrines taught and delivered, 
which are there recorded. 

I now proceed to the Second Thing I 
propofed to mew, which was, That thefe 
Books were written by Perfons who were 
themfelves perfectly acquainted with the 
Things they relate, and fully afTured of the 
Truth of them. Two of the Evangelifts, 
Matthew and John, were drifts Apoftles, 
who were his fpecial Intimates, and con- 
flantly attended him in his perfonal Mini- 
ftry, and faw and converfd with him, after 
his Refurreclion. The other two, Mark and 
Luke, are probably fuppofed to have been 
of the Number of the Seventy Difciples, 
as fome Ecclefiaftical Writers inform us ; 


D I S C O U R S E XX. 403 

in which Cafe they alfo were among thofe 
that attended our Lord Jefus Chrifl -, but, 
whether they were of the Seventy Dfciples, 
or not, they were certainly Companions of 
the Apojlles, and had a perfect JJnderjland- 
ing of all Things from the very frjl, as St. 
Luke fpeaks. The Apoflles might jufily de- 
clare, as St. John exprefTeth it, That which 
was from the Beginning, which we have 
heard, which we have feen with our Eyes± 
which we have looked upon, which our Hands 
have handled of the Word of Life — - that 
which we have feen and heard declare we 
unto you. 1 John i. 1,3. The Inductions 
and Difcourfes of our blefTed Lord, of 
which they give an Account, were what 
they heard him deliver ; and the wonder- 
ful Works they relate, as done by him, 
were what they themfelves faw. And 
thefe Works were not merely a few extra- 
ordinary Facts done now and then, but a 
Series of Facts done for a confiderableTime 
together, all tending to the fame End, and 
giving Weight and Force to one another : 
They were Facts obvious to all their 
Senfes, and which they had a full Oppor- 
tunity of knowing and examining in all 
their Circumstances. And they had the 
fame Reafon to be allured, that Chrifl: rofi 
again from the Dead, as that he had lived 
Dd 2 and 


and taught among them, and had done 
many wonderful Works, and that he was at 
length crucified and fain, viz. the concur- 
ring Teftimony of all their Senfes -, their 
Seeing, Hearing, Feeling, Converfng, Eat- 
ing, and Drinking with him, after his Re- 
furreclion. And therefore St. Lukes Man- 
ner of expreffing himfelf on this Occafion 
is very juft and well founded, viz. that he, 
Jefus, jliewed himfelf to them alive, after his 
Pafjion, by many infallible Proofs, being feen 
of them forty Days, and fpeaking of the 
things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. 
Acts i. 3. And it was an additional 
mighty Confirmation of the Truth of his 
Refurreclion and Afcenfon into Heaven, of 
which they were alfo JVitnefes, that they 
themfelves, in a few Days after his Afcen- 
fon, received the extraordinary Gifts of the 
Holy Ghoft, as he had promifed them. It 
is manifeft, therefore, that the Things re- 
lated by the Apofles concerning fefus, and 
which are recorded in the Gofpels, were 
Things which they themfelves were 
fully acquainted with, and of which they 
had a perfect Knowledge and ArTurance : 
They were Things in which they could 
not be deceived, and which they were as 
fure of as any Man can be of what he hears 
and fees. 



And accordingly that they themfelves 
were abfolutely perfuaded of the Truth of 
what they relate admits of the cleared 
Evidence : No Man can impartially con- 
fider the Accounts they give, without be- 
ing fenfible of this. They relate thefe 
Things plainly and circumftantially, with 
an Opennefs and Simplicity, and Confi- 
dence of Truth : They all along repre- 
fent Chrijt's whole perfonal Miniftry as a 
public Thing well known throughout all 
Judea ; that his admirable Difcourfes and 
Inftructions were, for the molt Part, de- 
livered in the Hearing of his own Difciples, 
and of Multitudes of People ; and, in like 
Manner, his wonderful Works were done, 
not in a private and fecret Way, but in the 
Prefence of great Numbers of Peribns, 
and even of his Enemies, thofe that were 
moil ftrongly prejudiced againft him. They 
inform us, that he went about through the 
Cities and Villages, teaching and preaching 
the G of pel of the Kingdom, and healing all 
Manner of SickneJ'es and Difeafes among the 
People , that Multitudes followed him from 
Galilee, and from Judea, and from Jeru- 
falem, and from Idumea, and from beyond 
Jordan, and they about Tyre and Sidon ; 
and even that his Fame went through all 
Syria, and they brought to him, from all 
D d 3 Parts f 

4 g6 D I S C O U R S E XX. 

Parts, fck Perfons thai were taken 'with 
4ivers Difeafes and torments, and he healed 
them all. See Matt. iv. 23, 24, 25. Mark, 
iii. 7, 8. vi. 5 6. They tell of his mi- 
raculous Feeding Jive thoufand Men at one 
Time, and four thoufand at another, be- 
fdes Women and Children -, and they repre- 
fent many of his Miracles as done at Je- 
rufalem, at the Times of their public Fes- 
tivals, when there was a vaft Concourfe 
of People from all Parts of the World. 
To relate Facts of this Kind, and as done 
in fo public a Manner, that the whole 
Country muft have known whether thefe 
Things were fo, or not, was in Effect to, 
appeal to c fhoufands ofWitneffes, and plain- 
ly mews, that they perfectly knew the 
Facts were as they reprefented them, and 
that they were Things fo well known, 
that their bittereft Enemies, of whom 
there were many, could not deny them. 

To this may be added, as a farther Proof 
that the Apofiles were themf elves perfectly 
afj'ured of the Truth of the Things they 
relate concerning fefus, that nothing lefs 
than a firm Perfuaiion of this can poffibly 
account for their Adhering with fuch in- 
violable Zeal and Ccsftancy to him as the 
Mejjiah, after his Cruc'ifixion and Death. 
They were without all Doubt prodigiouily 


D I S C O U R S E XX. 407 

(hocked and fcandalifed, when they faw 
him, whom they looked upon as the Chrift, 
treated as the vileft of Malefactors with 
the utmofl Ignominy and Contempt, 
crowned with 'Thorns, fcourged, and at 
length expiring upon the Crofs. If the 
Matter had refted here, and he had not 
rifen again, all their pleating Hopes of his 
Mefjiahjhip, and of his Kingdom, had been 
Mailed at once : Nor can it be conceived, 
that in that Cafe they would have concer- 
ned themfelves farther about him, any 
more than the Jews did about others of 
their pretended Mejjiahs, after they had 
been put to Death. How could it have 
entered into their Heads to think of Per- 
fuading the "Jews to acknowledge and re- 
ceive one for the Mefjiah who had been 
publicly condemned as a Deceiver and 
Blafphemer by the chief PrieJJs and the great 
Council, for whofe Deciiions the whole 
Nation had fo great a Veneration ? Much 
lefs could they ever have hoped to perfuade 
the Gentiles to receive a crucified Jew for the 
Son of God, the Saviour of the World; and 
to place their Truft in him as the Author 
and Giver of eternal Life, who had him- 
feif been put to an ignominious Death. 
This, at rirft View, would feem fo ilrange- 
ly abfurd that, if they had not been them- 
D d a. felves 


ielves perfuaded, both that what they related 
concerning Chri/i's Miracles and Refurreclion 
was true, and that they could produce Evi- 
dences fuflicient to convince Mankind of 
the Truth of thefe Things, they muft 
have been abfolutely out of their Senfes, 
(a Character which any one that reads their 
excellent Writings muft be convinced doth 
by no Means belong to them) to fuppofe 
that fuch a Scheme could poffibly take 
either with "Jews or Gentiles. What Hope 
could they poffibly have had from Jefus 
Chrijl, when he was dead, if he had not 
rifen again, as he foretold ? It is evident 
that on that Suppofition all their Expecta- 
tions from- him, as to worldly Advantages 
to be obtained in his Kingdom, were perill- 
ed. If it was the Hope of obtaining 
eternal Life through him that was the pre- 
vailing Inducement, this very Hope is the 
ftrongeft Proof of the firm Perfuafion they 
had of the Divinity of his Mifjion, and 
of the Truth of the Facts by which it is 
fupported, efpecially his 'Refurreclion from 
the Dead: For what Hope could they 
have of eternal Life from one who, they 
muft, in that Cafe, have been fenfible 
had deceived them ? Or what Happinefs 
or Reward could they expect from God, 
even according to their own Notions, for 



their publifhing what they themfelves 
knew to be falfe, and deliberately carrying 
on a folemn Impofture in his Name ? And 
that with this Aggravation that they made 
it their Bnfinefs to perfuade great Numbers 
of Perfons to expofe themfelves to the moil 
grievous Sufferings, and even to lay down, 
their Lives for what they who put them upon 
it knew to be an Impofture ; which muft 
have been fo tranfcendent a Wickednefs,' 
that Perfons of fuch excellent Characters and 
Difpofitions, as they appear from their 
whole Conduct to have been, cannot be 
fuppofed to have been capable of it. Upon 
the Whole, no Reafon can poffibly be alig- 
ned for their manifeffing fuch an unpa- 
ralelld Affection and Efteem for Je/iu 
Chrifi, after his Crucifixion and Death, for 
their devoting themfelves and all their 
Labours with an unwearied Ardor to ferve 
the Interests of his Kingdom, for their 
trufting fo confidently in him for Salvation, 
and fo joyfully enduring the moft grievous 
Sufferings and Perfecutionsjfar his Sake; for 
and their publifhing a Religion in his Name, 
contrary to the moft favourite Notions, as 
well to as the darling Paffions and rooted 
Prejudices both of Jews and Gentiles; but 
their being fully perfuaded of the Truth 


410 D I S C U R S E XX. 

of what they themfelves declared con- 
cerning the Miracles he performed, and 
the Doctrines he taught ; and concerning 
his Refurreclion from the Dead, and Exal- 
tation at the right Hand of the Majejly on 
high. This fully accounteth for their Con- 
duct, and nothing elfe can do it : It was 
this that was the proper Source of their 
admirable Self-denial, Patience, and Con- 
itancy. And indeed whofoever impartial- 
ly coniidereth the Whole of their Practice 
and Character, their eminent Piety, Hu- 
mility, Simplicity, their ardent Deiire of 
promoting the Glory of God and the Hap- 
pinefs and Salvation of Mankind, and the 
Caule and Interefls of Virtue and Righte- 
oufnefs in the World, will find the greater!: 
Reafon to he convinced of their Sincerity : 
And, taking the feveral Confiderations that 
have been mentioned together, it feems to 
be upon the Matter as plain, that the'Apof- 
tles themfelves believed thofe Things which 
they published concerning Jefus Cbrifl, and 
which are recorded in the evangelical Wri- 
tings, as it is that they endeavoured to 
perfuade others to believe them. And of 
this we have as good Reafon to be allured 
as that there were fuch Perfons as the 
Apofiles, or that there was fuch a Perfon as 
"jefus, whofe Difciples and Attendants 



they were : And he that fhould pretend to 
doubt of this would only render himfelf 
ridiculous : He might as reafonably pre- 
tend to doubt that the Religion of Jefus 
was publifhed at all, and that there are 
Chrijlians now in the World. And, if 
the Apoftles were themfclves convinced and 
perfuaded that thefe Things were true, 
this mews that they were really true, be- 
caufe they could not but know whether 
thefe Things, were true, or not, fince, 
as hath been obferved, they were Rye and 
Ear Witnejfes, the conftant Attendants of 
jfejiis-y and, if they could be deceived in 
Things of fuch a Nature, which they had 
fo many Ways of knowing and being allu- 
red of, and which came to them confirmed 
by the Teftimony of all their Senfes, no 
Man living can be certain of any Thing 
that he bears or fees. 

Thirdly, The next Thing I propofed to 
mew was, that the evangelical Writings 
have all the internal Characters of Fairnefs 
and Impartiality, of Candor and Simpli- 
city, that any Writings can poffibly have, 
and which clearly mew that the Writers of 
them were Perfons of great Integrity, and 
had nothing but Truth in View, and that 
the Accounts which are there given may 
be fafely depended upon. Whofoever im- 


partially confidereth the Books of the Evan* 
gelijis will find that they every-where 
breathe a genuine unaffected Simplicity 
and Love of Truth, as well as an eminent 
Piety. There are not any Traces to be 
found of the Spirit of this World, of car- 
nal Policy, Ambition, Avarice, or Senfu- 
ality ; nothing that can give the leaft 
Ground of Sufpicion, that the Writers of 
them had a Defign to impofe upon Man- 
kind. No Arts are made Ufe of for pre- 
porTefling and captivating the Reader. 
There are no Attempts to move and en- 
gage the Patfions, no deceitful Colourings 
or plaufible Digreffions ; but a plain, na- 
ked, fimple Narration of Facts and Dif- 
courfes, without any Ornaments, Ampli- 
fication, or Difguife, And, as there are no 
Marks of Impofture to be found in thefe 
Writings, fo neither is there any Thing 
that difcovereth a hot wild Enthutiafm. 
The Evajigelijis, relate with a calm Simpli- 
city, Chrifi's wonderful Actions and ex- 
cellent Difcourfes, without interpoling 
any Reflections to beipeak the Admiration 
of the Readers, or to exprefs their own : 
And, with the fame Coolnefs, they take 
Notice of the bafe and impious Reflecti- 
ons cart upon him, without lignifying 
their Indignation, as was natural on fuch 



Occafions. And, even when they relate 
his grievous Sufferings, and the cruel In- 
dignities put upon him, there are no tra- 
gical Exclamations, no Expreffions of 
Wrath and Bitternefs againfl his Enemies 
and Perfecutors : They write as if they 
were diverted of human Paffions and Pre- 
judices, and in a Way that fhews they were 
under the Conduct of a Divine Spirit, that 
Wifdom which is from above, which is firjl 
•pure, then peaceable. 

As many of Cbri/i's excellent Difcourfes 
and Inftructions were occaiional, fo they 
are related by the Evange/i/Is with the Cir- 
cumftances and Occurrences that gave Oc- 
cafion to them ; which is no fmall Evi- 
dence of their Genuinenefs ; whereas, had 
his Doctrines and Inftruclions been worked 
up into a formal Syflem, there would have 
been greater Reafon to fufpedt Art and 
Contrivance. They content themfelves 
with relating his Difcourfes and divine 
LeiTons, as he delivered them : And, if theie 
were any Thing in them at any Time that 
might feem hard to be underfiood, and apt 
to prejudice Perfons againfb him, they take 
no Pains to conceal it, nor add any Thing 
of their own by Way of Softening or 
Apology. Several Things are reprefented 
by them as fpoken by our Lord, which 



they would not have mentioned, if they 
had been artful Writers, that ftudied only 
to relate thofe Things which might have 
a fpecious Appearance. Thus St. "John 
gives an Account of that myfiical and fi- 
gurative Difcourfe of our Lord concerning 
Eating his Flejh and Drinking bis Bloody at 
which, as he informs us, many of thofe 
that had profefTed to be his Difciples, ta- 
king it in a grofs literal Senfe, were fo 
offended that they went back, and walked 
no more with him: St. Matthew reprefents 
Chrifi as declaring to his Apftles, Thini 
not that I am come to fend Peace on Earth : 
I came not to fend Peace, but a Sword: For 
I am come to fet a Man at Variance againft 
his Father, and the Daughter againft her 
Mother, and the D aught er-in- Law againft 
her Mother-in-Law , and a Mans Foesftjall 
be they of his own Houfiold. Matt. x. .34, 
35, 36. And though this, if rightly con- 
sidered, furnifheth a Proof of his fore- 
feeing Mind, and that he well knew the 
great Progrefs that his Religion, though 
propagated by the molt, unlikely Inftru* 
ments, would make in the World, as well 
as the violent Oppofition that would be 
raifed againft -it, notwithftanding it's bene- 
volent Nature, and Tendency ; yet, at firft 
View, the Manner of Expreftion appears 



to be fo harm, and to make fo difadvan- 
tageous a Reprefentation of the Effects of 
his Coming, that it can fcarce be fuppofed 
his Di/ciples would have reprefented him 
as faying fuch Things, if they had not 
fixed it as a Rule to themfelves to adhere 
with the greateft Exadtnefs to Truth in 
the Accounts they give of his Difcourfes. 
In the fame Difcourfe he tells his Difciples, 
that they jhoald be hated of all Men for his 
Name's Sake, Ver. 22. And elfewhere we 
find him declaring, JVhofoever will co??ie 
after me, let him deny himfelf, a?id take up 
his Crofs, and follow me. Mark viii. 34. 
And on another Occafion we are told, that 
there went great Multitudes with him, and 
he turned' and faid unto them, If any Man 
come to me, and hate not his Father, and Mo- 
ther, and Wife, and Children, and Brethren, 
and Sifters, yea, and his own Life alfo, (i. e. if 
he be not ready to forfake and abandon 
them, when called to it) for my Sake, be can- 
not be my Difciple. Luke xiv. 25, 26. And 
immediately after he declares, Whofoever 
there be of you that forfaketh not all that he 
hath, he cannot be my Difciple. Ver. 33. 
It can neither be fuppofed, that our Lord 
Jefus Chrift, if he had been an artful Im- 
pofior, would have expreffed himfelf at 
this Rate ; nor that the Apoftles and Evan- 



gelijis, if they had not been Perfons of 
great Honefty and Integrity, would have 
reprefented him as fpeaking in fuch a Man- 
ner ; which, in all Likelihood, inftead of 
engaging Perfons to embrace his Religion, 
would effectually difcourage and deter 
them from it. And their Adhering to him, 
after his making fuch Declarations, could 
be only owing to their being fully con- 
vinced that he was the Divine Perfon he 
profeffed himfelf to be, and to their Hopes 
of obtaining a glorious Reward in a better 
World for what they mould fuffer for his 
Sake in this : And this Hope and Convic- 
tion was founded on the Afjiirance they had 
of the Truth and Certainty of thofe Facts 
by which his Divine Mifjion was attefled and 

If the Evangeli/ls had not been fair and 
faithful IVriters, that had an inviolable Re- 
gard to Truth, they would n^t have been 
fo filent as to what Jefus did in the firft 
thirty Years of his Life before his En- 
trance on his public Miniftry. If they 
had given themfelves a Liberty to indulge 
Fiction, it would have been much eafier 
to have forged Miracles as done by him, 
when he was in a more private Way, than 
afterwards when he made his public Ap- 
pearance, and had Thoufands to be Wit- 



neffes of his A&ions : But, though in fome 
fpurioits Writings of After-ages we find Re- 
lations of wonderful Things pretended to 
have been done by Jefus, while he was yet 
a Child, nothing of this appeareth in the 
Evangelijls, who never allowed themfelves 
to relate any Thing, however it might 
feem to be for his Honour, but what they 
were aflured was ftrictly true. 

If they had not been determined to re- 
late Things with the utmoft Impartiality, 
they would not have mentioned the flrange 
Treatment he met with from his own 
Countrymen of Nazareth, and their con- 
temptuous Manner of fpeaking of him : 
Is not this the Carpenter f And the Car- 
penter s Son ? They would not have intro- 
duced him as faying to one that declared 
his Refolution to follow him, Foxes have 
Holes, and the Birds of the Air have Nefs -, 
but the So?: of Man hath not where to lay 
his Head. Much lefs would they have 
mentioned the malicious Scoffs, the blaf- 
phemous Reproaches and Calumnies that 
were carl upon him, as that he was a Wine- 
bibber and Glutton, a Friend to Publicans and 
Sinners, a Samaritan, a Deceiver, one that 
had a Devil, and was mad, and that he 
wrought his Miracles by the Help of Beelze- 
bub, the Prince of the Devils. Their Re- 

Vol. III. Ee eordirig 

ai8 D I S C O U R S E XX. 


cording thefe Cenfures, which, confidering 
the Affection and Veneration they had for 
J.efus, muft have filled them with Horror, 
is a great Proof that they were fair Wri- 
ters, and that they were not for concealing 
what his bittereft Enemies faid againft 
him : And, at the fame Time, fome of 
thefe Cenfures plainly mew, that his great- 
er!; Enemies could not deny that he wrought 
many fignal Miracles, which were above 
the Power of Man to perform, and which 
therefore, to hinder the Impreffion they 
might make upon the People, they afcribed 
to a diabolical Power. 

But no-where does the Sincerity and 
Impartiality of the evangelical Writers more 
iignally appear than in the Accounts they 
give of our Saviour's /aft Sufferings and 
Death. None of the Circumftances at- 
tending it are concealed : not even thofe 
that might feeni moil ignominious and 
reproachful. With Regard to his Beha- 
viour on that Occaiion, they reprefent him, 
even in his Entering upon his lafi Suffer- 
ings, 2.% fore amazed a?id very heavy ; as de- 
claring; that his Soul was exceeding forrow- 
Jul even unto Death ; as in a direful Agony * % 
and as offering up a Prayer, which, at firft 
View, might have the Appearance of his 
Declining thofe Sufferings. What ren- 



dereth this more remarkable is, that the New 
Tejlament Writers reprefent Chrifts ApolHes 
and the primitive Chrjftians, after his De- 
parture . out of the World, as rejoicing to 
Juffer Shame for his Name ; as chearfully 
enduring the greateft Sufferings ; yea, and 
as more thci7i Conquerors, as one of them 
nobly exprefTeth it, over Tribulation, P< ■■■■•- 
f ecution, and Death itfelf. Why then did 
they not reprefent their great Lord and 
Mailer, who himfclf exhorted his Dif- 
ciples to rejoice and be exceeding glad, when 
perj edited for Right eoufnefs Sake, as exult- 
ing in the Midft of Sufferings and Tor- 
ments, and as uttering fome glorious Ex- 
preffions that mewed his abiblute Con- 
tempt of Death, and that he triumphed 
over all the Rage and Malice of his Ene^ 
mies ? This certainly is the Reprefentation 
they would have made, if they had allow- 
ed themfelves to have feigned any Thing 
for their Mailer's Honour -, or at ieaft they 
would have carefully concealed everyThing 
that might feem to have a contrary Ap- 
pearance. - But they had nothing but 
Truth in View, and relate Things nakedly 
as they were, without endeavouring to 
palliate or difguife them. It is obfervable, 
indeed, that, taking the whole Account 
together, there never was any Thing more 
E e 2 iolemn 


folemn and affecting -, and that, if duly 
coniidered, it tendeth to raife in us a high 
Idea of our Saviour's Character ; but this 
is not owing to any Art or Difguife in the 
Relators, but is merely what arifeth from 
the plain fimple Narration, and from the 
Facts themfelves laid together, and com- 
pared with what the Scriptures teach us 
concerning the Reafons and Ends ofCbriffs 
Sufferings. I add, that this their Simpli- 
city and Impartiality, in relating thofe 
Things which his Enemies might be apt 
to turn to his Difadvantage, deriveth a 
Credit to the Accounts they give of other 
extraordinary Circumstances attending his 
CruciJixion> fuch as the 'Earthquake, the 
univerfal Darknefs that covered the whole 
Land for three Hours, the Splitting of the 
Rock, and the Rending of the Vail of the 
Temple in Twain from the Top to the Bot- 
tom. And indeed thefe were Things of fo 
public a Nature, efpecially confidering the 
vaft Concourfe of People from all Parts, 
who were then at ferufalem at the Feafl 
of the Pajfover, that Thoufands muft have 
eahly detected them, in that Age, if they 
had been falfe -, nor could they poffibly 
have impofed fuch Facts upon the People, 
if they had not been known to be incon- 
teftably true. 


D I S C O U R S E XX. 421 

It is a farther Proof of that impartial 
Regard to Truth fo obfervable in the Evan- 
gelical Writers, that they relate without 
Difguife Things which feem to bear hard 
upon the Character of the Apojlles ; though 
fome of thefe Writers were Apojlles thern- 
felves, and others their great Friends and 
Intimates. They do not conceal it, that 
one of them was a Publican, a Character 
infamous among the Jews ; that others of 
them were Fijhermen, Perfons of a mean 
Condition, and of no Figure or Reputa- 
tion in the World. They freely reprefent 
their Weaknefs of Faith, their Dulnefs of 
Apprehenfion, and the Power of their 
Prejudices, which fometimes hindered 
them from understanding the Things that 
were moft plainly told them ; as alfo their 
Ambition and Contentions about Pre-emi- 
nence, for which they were frequently re- 
proved by our Lord. Even with Regard 
to thofe that were of the greater! Name 
among them, they relate feveral Things 
very little to their Advantage, and which, 
if they had been guided by a partial Re- 
gard to their Reputation, they would have 
concealed ; fuch as the uncharitable Zeal 
of James and John, who were for calling 
for Fire from Heaven, to cojifwne the Sa- 
maritans 5 for which our Saviour rebuked 
E e 3 them* 


them, and told them they knew not what- 
Spirit they were of-, and the ambitious Re- 
quefl made in their Name, that they might 
fit, the one at his right Hand, and the other 
at his Left, in his Kingdom. After men- 
tioning Peter 's noble Confeffion, and the 
Commendation given him on that Ac- 
count, they reprefent him as foon after 
taking upon him to rebuke our Lord for 
fpeaking of his own approaching Suffer- 
ings and Death, faying, Far be it from 
thee, Lord-, this fh all not be unto thee : For 
which he received the fevereft Reproof 
from our Saviour, that he ever gave to 
any of his Difciples. They alfo take No- 
tice of the ftrange Speech he uttered at 
Chrifts transfiguration, and obferve, that 
he knew not what he faid. But, what is 
mod: remarkable, they give a particular 
Account of his fhameful Fall, and Denial 
of his Lord and Matter, notwithstanding 
the great Confidence he had expreffed. 
And they reprefent all the Apofiles in gene- 
ral as contending among themfelves who 
fhould be greatefr, even the very Night in 
which Jefus was betrayed, and when, one 
would think, their Minds mould have been 
taken up with the Thoughts of his Suffer- 
ings, which he had affured them were at 
Knnd. They do not conceal their Sleep- 


D I S C O U R S E XX. 423 

hig in the Garden, when he had command- 
ed them to watch ; and the ihameful Pu- 
fillanimity they mewed, when they all for- 
fook him and fed -, and their Backwardness 
to believe that he was rifen again from the 
Dead, though he himfelf had fo exprefsly 
foretold it. The Evangelifs were under no 
Neceffity of relating thefe Things that 
tended fo much to the Difadvantage of 
Chri/l's moll eminent Difciples, the m-ft 
authorifed Publifhers of Chrifianity ; or of 
recording their Faults and Infirmities to 
fucceeding Ages, and which they might 
have omitted, without lofing any of the 
main Facts or Difcourfes : And fo un- 
doubtedly they would have done, if they 
had been governed by felfifh Views and 
human Paflions ; but they were under 
the Guidance of a higher Spirit, which 
led them to declare the Truth without 
Difguife. And, indeed, as mofr, of thefe 
Things were tranfacted between Chrif and 
his Apcfles, and could only be known to 
them, or to thofe that had their Accounts 
from them ; fo none of the Chriftians of 
the fucceeding Age, who all had the 
higherl: Veneration for the Apofiles, would 
have recorded thefe Things, if they them- 
felves had not done it ; which furnimeth 
an additional Proof, that thefe Accounts 
' E e 4 were 


were written in the nrft Age. It is alfo a 
Proof of the Sincerity of the J acred Wri- 
ters, and their ftridl Regard to Truth, that 
whereas there was a Controverfy, which 
was zealoufly agitated in the apoftolical 
Times between the jfewi//j and Ge n tile 
Chrijlians, concerning the Obligation of 
the Mofaical Law and Ceremonies upon 
Chrijiians, for Deciding of which an ex- 
prefs Teflimony from our Lord Jefus would 
undoubtedly have been of great Weight ; 
yet there is nothing inferted in any of his 
Difcourfes clearly and exprefsly determin- 
ing this Controverfy. The Reafon is, that 
the Writers do not deliver their own Sen- 
timents, but keep clofe with the utmoft 
Fidelity to his Difcourfes, juffc as he deli- 
vered them, without Addition or Altera- 
tion. It was not proper or feafonable for 
our blefTed Lord, during his perfonal Mi- 
ni dry, to explain and declare thefe Things 
fo fully and openly as his Apojiks after- 
wards did, in his Name, and under the 
Direction of his Spirit. He contented 
himfelf v/ith laying down Principles with 
admirable Wifdom, which virtually con- 
tained thefe Things, and from which they 
flowed : This was all that it was proper 
for him then to do, and this is all that the 

EjVangelijis relate him to have done. 


D I S C O U R S E XX. 425 

Several other Things might be offered 
to mew the fignal Characters of Truth 
and Impartiality, that are to be found in 
the evangelical Records ; but thefe may fuf- 
fice to make us fenfible that they jufhly 
deferve the higher!: Credit, and that the 
Writers of them were Perfons of great 
Sincerity, and far from intending to im- 
pofe upon Mankind. And it will carry 
this ftill farther, if it can be fhewn, that 
the Character andDifcourfes of our bleffed 
Lord, as recorded in thofe Writings, carry 
plain Evidences of their own Genuineness 
and Divinity, and are of fuch a Nature, 
that there is great Reafon to think that the 
Writers of thefe Accounts were not ca- 
pable of feigning them, even if they had 
been difpofed to do fo : And this is what 
we mail endeavour to evince in our next 


Oil the Credibility and Proofs of the Gofpel- 


John xx. 30, 31. 

And many other Things truly did Jefus in the 
Prefence of his Dijciples, which are not 
written in this Book, But thefe are writ- 
ten, that ye might believe that Jefus is the 
Chrift, the Son of God ; and that, believing^ 
ye might have Life through his Name. 

S my Defign In Chuiing to innft upon 
"\ thefe Words was to evince the Cre- 
dibility and Certainty of the Gofpel Records^ 
and that the Accounts there given concern- 
ing our Lord Jefus Chrijl may be fafely de- 
pended upon; fo in the two former Difcour- 
jes it was (hewn, 

Firft, That we have all the Evidence 



that can reafonably be defired to fatisfy us, 
that the Books of the Evangelijls were writ- 
ten in the apoftolical Age, i. e. in the Age 
the Facts were done, and the Laws and 
Doctrines taught and delivered which arc 
there recorded. 

Secondly, That they were written by 
Perfons who were themfelves perfectly ac- 
quainted with the Things they relate, and 
fully allured of the Truth of them. 

Thirdly, That the Writings themfelves 
have all the internal Characters of Fairnefs 
and Impartiality, and of Purenefs and Simpli- 
city, that any Writings can poffibly have, and 
which clearly fhew that the Writers of them 
were Perfons of great Integrity, and had 
nothing but Truth in View. 

I now proceed to obferve, Fourthly, That 
the Character and Difcourfes of our blefTed 
Lord, as recorded in thofe Writings, carry 
plain Evidences of their own Genuinenefs 
and Divinity, and are of fuch a Nature, that 
there is great Reafon to think, that the Wri- 
ters of thefe Accounts were not capable of 
feigning them, even if they had been dif- 
pofed to do fo. 

In his Character and Difcourfes, as re- 
prefented by the Evangeiijls, are united a 
wonderful Divine Dignity and Simplicity ; 



the moft fervent Zeal for God and Religion, 
and the moft unexampled Love and Charity 
towards Mankind j an impartial Freedom 
and Boldnefs joined with a calm Wifdom 
and Prudence ; Greatnefs without Pride ; 
Condefcenfion without Meannefs. Who 
can help admiring the juft and fublime No- 
tions of Religion which he teacheth, the 
Purity of his moral Precepts, the Beauty of 
his Maxims, the Solidity of his Reflections ! 
The Inductions he gives are fuch as could 
hardly proceed but from aMindabfolutely de- 
voted to Cod, and ardently defirous of pro- 
moting the Caufe of Truth, Piety, and 
Righteoufnefs in the World. And there is 
an admirable Harmony between his Difcour* 
fes and his Actions, which tend mutually to 
illuftrate each other, and both taken together, 
concur to form a finifhed Character, raifed 
far above what the moft learned and elo- 
quent Perfons have been able to form of their 
moft eminent great and good Men , fuch a 
Character as is every Way worthy of what 
Chrift profeiTed himielf to be, the Son of 
God in human Fiefi, fent to inftruct and to 
fave Mankind : And how could poor Fijher- 
men, if left to themfelves, have been able to 
draw fo perfect a Model ! 

It deferves to be remarked, that even 
thofe Things in Chrift'% Actions and Difcour- 

fes 3 


Qs, which, at fir ft View, have a difadvan* 
tageous Appearance, and which none would 
have mentioned that had fet themfelves to 
feign Things for his Honour, yet, when 
maturely weighed and confidered, are quite 
confident with the Excellency of his Cha- 
racter, and even tend to heighten it. Thus 
it particularly, with regard to the Account 
given us of his laft Sufferings, and of his 
Behaviour on that Occafion, if we take the 
Whole together, it exhibiteth the moft con- 
fummate Pattern of Patience and Fortitude, 
Love to God and Charity towards Mankind. 
There is indeed nothing in it of Fiercenefs 
of Temper, not a haughty and vainglorious 
Contempt of Death, not an Affectation of 
Fearlefihefs and Infenfibility under Suffer- 
ings. It is very far from what the Stoics 
would have drawn for their wife Men in a 
fuffering State j and yet, if clofely examined, 
difcovereth a far more excellent Temper : 
For here may be obferved a wonderful Con- 
junction of Things, which to the moft of 
Mankind might appear inconfiftent, but 
which in Reality form the moft perfect Cha- 
racter -, a quick Senfibility of Sufferings, and 
the moft fteady Patience and Conftancy un- 
der them ; a true Greatnefs of Soul, mixed 
with a remarkable Tendernefs of Heart. 
Cbrijl's Behaviour under his Sufferings hath 



not a flamy fhawy Appearance j but there is 
a real folid Greatnefs and Solemnity in it, 
fuch as became a Perfon of his Dignity, 
when undergoing the mofl grievous Suffer- 
ings, for the Sins of Mankind. None of the 
ableft Orators or Philofophers ever drew 
fuch an affecting Scene, with fo much Dig- 
nity and Tendernefs. This could not be 
owing to any fuperior Art in the Evangeli/ls, 
for they are plainly deftitute of all Art ; but 
to the extraordinary Nature of the Things 
they relate, and to their keeping clofe to 
Truth, and reprefenting the Facts as they 
really were. 

What particular Characters may be obfer- 
ved in Chriji's Farewel Difcourfes to his Dif- 
cipks! Johnxiv. 15, 16. And in his Prayer 
to his heavenly Father I John xvii. 1 7. What 
an inimitable Grandeur and Simplicity, what 
Love to his heavenly Father, what an intire 
Devotednefs to his Will, what Purity and 
Sanctity of Mind, what an amiable Concern 
and Tendernefs of Affection towards his 
Difciples, impoffible to be counterfeited ! 
The like Obfervations may be made upon 
many other of his Difcourfes, as recorded in 
the Go/pels, which in a narrow Compafs 
contain a vail Variety of the moit admirable 
initxuctions, and in which there every-where 
breathe the moil perfect Purity, Piety, and 



Charity ; a Divine and heavenly Temper ; 
and the mod earned and affectionate Con- 
cern for the Salvation of Mankind. They 
have ferved as a Foundation for numberlefs 
excellent Books that have been fince publifh- 
ed among Chriftiam, and which, though 
many of them written by Perfons of great 
Parts and Learning, yet fall greatly mort of 
the noble Simplicity, the Gravity, the Di- 
vine Force and Dignity, that are to be ob- 
ierved in our Saviour's Difcourfes, as related 
in the Evangelical Writings. 

It hath been not unreafonably fuipecled, 
that Plato and Xenophon, who were Per- 
fons of great Ability and Eloquence, have 
frequently put their own Words and Senti- 
ments into the Mouth of their Matter So- 
crates, whilfr. they have profeffed to give an 
Account of his Difcourfes: But, in the Cafe 
of the Evangelijts, there is no Room for a 
Sufpicion of this Kind. Matthew, one of 
them, had been a Publican ; and the others 
were, for the moft. Part, Fifiermen, Perfons 
of mean Education, and who had fmall Ad- 
vantages of Improvement. We may there- 
fore fafely fay, that it was a Thing 
they were not capable of, to have feigned 
fuch excellent Difcourfes, in which there is 
fo much profound Wifdom, and fuch juft 
and fuhlime Sentiments of Religion, deli- 

. vered 

Kvered with To much Gravity and Authority, 
and yet in a plain familiar Way 3 Morals lb 
pure and refined, and of fo noble an Extent, 
far tranfeending any Thing that the moil 
celebrated Doctors among the Jews then 
taught. If we could fuppofe fuch Perfons as 
the Apojlles capable of forming a Scheme o 
Religion, it would certainly not have b^e 
fuch as the Chrifiian is ; in which there are 
noneof thofe favourite Notions and Prejudi- 
ces which then univerially porTerfed th£ 
Minds of the Jews, both of the Learned 
and of the Vulgar; no Regard to the Tradi- 
tions of the Elders -, no Allowance for thofe 
frequent Divorces which had been fo cuf- 
tomary among them ; no pleafing Expectati- 
ons of a Mejjiah that mould raife their Noti- 
ons to great fecular Glory and univerfal Do- 
minion. They could certainly never have 
thought of the Gentiles being incorporated 
into one Church and Body with the Jews, and 
admitted to equal Privileges with the ancient 
People of God: They could never have con- 
trived fuch a wife and admirable Scheme of 
Religion, which, at the fame Time that it 
fet alide the JcwiJ/j Difpenfation, really bore 
a wonderful Harmony and Correspondence to 
it, and fulfilled the true Intention of the 
Law and the Prophets^ in the nobleft Senfe ; 
a Religion pure and holy to the highcil De- 
Vol. Ill, F f gree, 


gree, yet free from Extremes, and from the 
affected Superstitions and Strictneffes of the 
Pharifees and Effenes. All this is fo diffe- 
rent from what might have been expected 
from fuch Perfons as the Apoftles, if left to 
themfelves, that it is but reasonable to be- 
lieve, what they conftantly declare, that 
they received their Instructions from Jefus y 
a Divine teacher. They never take the 
Glory of this Scheme of Religion to them- 
felves, or pretend to an higher Character than 
that of hi s Difciples, and to teach thofe Things 
which he commanded them : Nor would they 
have received thefe Things from him, fo 
contrary to all their Expectations, Views, 
and Prejudices, if they had not been fully 
perfuaded that he was the extraordinary Per- 
fon he declared himfelf to be, and that what 
they relate of him was really true. St. Paul, 
who was the moft learned and knowing of 
all the ApojlleSy was fo far from having inven- 
ted the Chrijiian Scheme, that he could 
never have been brought to embrace it, if 
he had not been overcome by an almoft irrelif- 
table Evidence, inOppofition to alibis former 
Notions and Prejudices : And he conftantly 
ipeaketh in the moft diminishing Terms of 
himfelf, and declareth, that he had the Doc- 
trine ', which he taught and publifhed to the 



World, not of Man, or by Man, but by the 
Revelation of Jefus Chrift. 

Fifthly, That which giveth a mighty 
Weight to all that hath been faid, and 
which raifeth the Credit of the evangelical 
Writings as high as it can go, is, that the 
Writers of them were under a Divine uner- 
ring Guidance. As there is great Reafon to 
believe that, fuppoling God to have fent his 
Son into the World for fuch important Purpo- 
fes, and to have confirmed his Divine Mif- 
fion by fuch illuftrious Atteftations, he would 
take Care that the Accounts both of the In- 
ftructions he delivered, and of the extraor- 
dinary Atteftations given him, mould be 
tranfmitted in Writing to fucceeding Ages -, 
fo it is but juft to conclude, that he would 
order it fo that thofe Writings might be in- 
tirely depended upon for an exact and uner- 
ring Account both of Doctrines and Facts. 
This may be fairly concluded from the 
the Uniformity of the Divine Proceedings, 
iince otherwife he would leave his own glo- 
rious Work imperfect. The Apojlks, the 
firft authorifed Publifhers of Chriftianity^ 
were affifted in an extraordinary Manner in 
Delivering the Things which they received 
from the Lord, God bearing them Witnfs with 
Signs and Wonders, and divers Miracles and 
Gifts of the Holy Ghofl j fo that thofe to 
F f 2 bom 


whom they preached were obliged to receive 
the Word they delivered, not as the Word of 
Men, but as in Truth the Word of God, I 
ThefT. ii. 13. And, if they were thus aflift- 
ed in pub! idling the Go/pel by Word of Mouth, 
the Reafcn holdeth ftill more ftrongly for 
their being fo affifted as to be kept from Error 
and Miftake in committing thofe Doctrines 
and Fads to Writing for the Inflruction and 
Direction of all fucceeding Ages. It was 
the exprefs Promife of our Lord to his Dif- 
ciples, John xiv. 26, The Comforter which 
is the Holy Ghojl, whom the Father will 
fend in my Name, he Jhall teach you all Things, 
and bring all Things toy our Remembrance, what- 
foever I have f aid unto you. Where it is plain- 
ly impiel, that they Jhoidd be divinely affil- 
ed, in remembering and relating Chrif's 
Actions and Difcourfes. Two of the Evan- 
gelijls were Apojlles, to whom this Promife 
was immediately made; and the two others 
were conftant Attendants and Companions 
of the Apoflles, who wrote what they received 
from thm, and were themfelves endued with 
the extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit, and, as 
St. Luke exprefly declareth, had perfeft Un- 
derjlanding of thofe Things which they relate. 
Itconnrmeth this, when we conlider the won- 
derful Harmony which muy be obferved in 



the four Gofpels, though written by difFeren t 
Perfons, and at different Times. The 
irnall Variations that fometimes appear in 
the Accounts they give, all which ad- 
mit of a fair Reconcilement, only to ferve to 
make their Concord the more remarkable, 
and let it in a ftronger Light : They all ad- 
mirably agree in the Facts and Sentiments, 
and all have the fame remarkable Characters 
of Dignity and Simplicity ; of Purity, Sin- 
cerity, and an impartial Regard to Truth ; 
which (hews that they were all written under 
the Conduct: of the fame Spirit. It was be- 
caufe this was well known, that the Wri~ 
tings of the Evangeli/is were, immediately 
from their fifil Publication, received with- 
out Contradiction by the whole Chrijlian 
Church ; whereas, though there were other 
Accounts that were then publifrjgd of thefe 
Things, as is manifeft. from Luke i. i, they 
were not generally acknowledged among 
Chri/lians, as not being fo authentic, and 
probably having a Mixture of Things that 
were not to be depended upon. And, what- 
ever Clamour hath been raifed about fome 
fpurious Gofpels which afterwards appeared, 
there is nothing capable of a clearer Proof 
than that thefe four Gofpels, and thefe only, 
were univerfally received as of Divine Autho- 
rity in the Chrijlian Church, in the Ages 
F f 3 nearefc 


neareft the Apofiles ; and have continued 
to be fo ever fince, and have been all 
along regarded with the greater! Venera- 

To this it may be added, that there is a 
perfect Agreement between the evangelical 
Writings and the other facred Books of the 
New Tl eft anient, all which were written, 
though by different Perfons, in the apoftoli- 
cal Age. The lame important Fads are 
every-where fuppofed, the fame Scheme of 
Religion is uniformly carried on, the fame 
Doctrines taught, and Precepts injoined. 
The Miracles there referred to as done by 
the Apofiles in the Name of Chrijl after his 
Afcenfion, and the extraordinary Gifts of the 
Holy Ghofiy that were poured forth upon 
them, were all in Purfuance of, and give a 
farther Confirmation of, the Facts related in 
the Books of the Evangelifis, and were indeed 
a remarkable Completion of the Promifes 
and Predictions of our bleffed Lord as there 
recorded. See to this Purpofe John vii. 38, 39, 
xiv. 12, 26. xvi. 13, 14. Mark xvi. 17, 
18. Luke xxiv. 49. 

Befides all that hath been offered, it may 
be farther obferved, 

Sixthly > That it is no fmall Confirmation of 
theTruthoftheevangelical Records, that it was 



upon the Credit of the Fads which are there 
related concerning Jefus Chrifi that great 
Numbers both oi Jews and Gentiles were 
brought to embrace the Religion of Jefus, 
even in the very firit Age, when there was 
the belt. Opportunity of knowing the Truth 
of thofe Facts; and that in Oppofition to their 
mod: inveterate Prejudices, and when by em- 
bracing it they expofed themfelves to the bit- 
tereir. Perfecutions and Sufferings. As it is a 
Matter of Fact, which the molt, obftinate 
Infidel will not deny, that there was fuch a 
Perfon as Jefus Chrifi who appeared in J ti- 
de a in the Reign of Tiberius, as a teacher 
fent from God, and who was at length put 
to a cruel and ignominious Death by the 
Jews, or by the Romans at their Inftigation ; 
fo it is no lefs certain, that, notwithftanding 
he was crucified, and therefore the moit 
unlikely Perfon in the World to be regarded 
as the Mefiiah, the Son of God, and the Sa- 
viour of Mankind^ yet there were great 
Numbers both of Jews and Gentiles who, 
in that very Age, believed in him as fuch, 
and adhered with an inviolable Conflancy 
to the P^eligion publifhed in his Name. It 
is alfo undeniable, that this Religion had 
nothing in it to flatter the Vices and Pamons 
of Men, and was quite contrary to the pre- 
vailing Notions and Prejudices both of Jews 
F f 4 and 


and Heathens : That it tended intirely to 
Subvert the whole Frame of the Pagan Su- 
perftition and Idolatry, which was eflabliihed 
by the Laws of the Roman Empire, and 
wrought into their civil Conftitution, and 
upon which they believed the Fortunes and 
Profperity of their Empire depended : 
That it alfo tended to fubvert the pleafing 
Schemes the Jews had formed, and with 
which they were infinitely delighted, con- 
cerning the temporal Grandeur and Glory 
of the Meffiatis Kingdom, and to deprive 
them, as they thought, of their moft dif- 
tinguifhing and boailed Privileges : And 
accordingly it is) certain that both Jews and 
Gentiles, however differing in other Things, 
joined in endeavouring to crufh this Religion, 
and in persecuting the Profefibrs of it. It 
is alfo a Facl that will not be contefted, that 
the firft Propagators of this Religion were 
Perfons feemingly mean and defpicable, 
that made no Oftentation of Learning or 
Eloquence, and had no Wealth, Power, or 
Intereft, nor any worldly Advantages to re- 
commend them, or to engage the Attention 
of Mankind. If therefore they had offered 
no other Proof but their bare Word in Con- 
firmation of the Divine Authority of a cruci- 
Jied Jefus, and of the Truth of a Religion fo 
pppqfite to the prevailing Inclinations and 



Prejudices both fews and Heathens, they 
could have had no Expectation of being able 
to impofe fuch a Scheme as this upon Man- 
kind. But, the Truth is, they produced the 
molt convincing Proofs of Cbri/fs Divine 
Mijfion : They publifhed to the World the 
holy and excellent Doctrines and Laws which 
they had received from him, and which were 
every Way worthy of God : At the fame 
Time they appealed to the many illuftrious 
Miracles he had wrought during his perfo- 
nal Miniflry, Works far tranfcending all 
human Power, and which were done fo 
publicly in the View of Multitudes, that they 
could challenge their bittereft Enemies to 
contradict them. They alfo declared, that, 
though he was crucified, he rofe again from 
the Dead } as he himfelf had foretold, and 
Jhewed himfelf alive, after his Pa/Jion, by 
many infallible Proofs, of which they them- 
fives were Witnejfes ; and that not only his 
twelve Apofiles frequently faw him after his 
Pveiurrection, but that he wzsfeen of above 
five hundred Perfons at once, who all concur- 
red in giving Teftimony to it, and were 
ready to fa I the 7 ruth of it with their Blood. 
And, as a farther Proof of his RrfurrecJion 
and Exaltation, they teftifled that, in a few 
Days after his Jlfcenfion into Heaven, of 
which they were alio Eye-Witnefes, he had, 



according to his own Promife, poured forth 
the Holy Spirit in his extraordinary Gifts upon 
his Difciples; and that this was done, in 
the moft public Manner poffible, on the 
"DzyoiPentecoJi, when Thoufands ofPerfons 
were gathered together at yerufalem from all 
Parts of the then known World ; who with 
Aftonimment heard them fpeaking in 
their federal ^Tongues the wonderful Thi?2gs of 
God. And of thefe extraordinary Gifts and 
Powers they continued to give undeniable 
Proofs, wherever they went preaching the 
Word, by fpeaking divers Kinds of Tongues, 
which they had never learned, and performing 
the mofl ftupendoiis Miracles, in the Name of a 
crucified and rifen Jew, and by Power deri- 
ved from him. And, what gave a mighty 
Confirmation to all this, there was a great 
Variety of the like extraordinary Gifts and 
Powers conferred, in the Name of Jefus, upon 
many of thofe that by their Miniftry embra- 
ced the Chriftian Faith. The Evidence 
arifmg from all thefe Things was fo flrong, 
and their Adverfaries w r ere fo little able to 
confute thofe Fads, that there were - great 
Numbers both of Jews and Heathens who, 
in that very Age, forfaking the Religion of 
their Ancefiors, and their darling Prejudices 
and Vices, embraced the Religion of Jefus, 
to which they could have no poflible Induce- 


merit, but a thorough Conviction of it's 
Truth and Divine Original, of which they 
were fo perfuaded as to perfevere in the Pro- 
fcffion of it, even to the Death, in the Face 
of the greateit Difficulties, Perfections, and 

The Sum of this Part of the Argument is 
this, That it is utterly inconceivable that 
either Jews or Gentiles could have been 
brought to believe in one that had been ig-, 
nominioiifly crucified, as the Lord and Chrijl y 
the Son of God, and Saviour of the World, if 
they had not had a fall Afurance of the 
Truth of the Things which are related con- 
cerning Jefus in the Gofpels ; his illuftrious 
Miracles, his admirable Difcourfes, his ho- 
ly and excellent Character, the Atteftations 
given him from Heaven and efpecially his 
RefurreSlion from the Dead and confequent 
Exaltation. It was only owing to the 
ftrong and convincing Evidence given of 
thefe Things, in the very Age in which 
they were done, God himfelf bearing 
Witnefs to the firft Publifhers of Chrifianity 
in the moft extraordinary Manner, that a 
Religion, propagated by fuch mean Inftru- 
ments, deftitute of all worldly Advantages, 
and which had the inveterate Prejudices and 
vicious Appetites of Men engaged againfr. it, 
made fo aftonifhing a Progrefs, in a few 



Years, though a great Part of the vaft Ro- 
man Empire, then the mofh knowing and 
civilifed Part of the Earth ; and that in 
Oppofition to all that the Powers of this 
World could do for fuppreffing it ; tho' it ex- 
pofed it's Votaries to all Manner of Sufferings, 
Reproaches, and Perfecutions, which they 
endured with an unparallel'd Conftancy, 3nd 
even with 'Joy. 

The feveral Confiderations that have been 
infifted upon, in order to evince the Credi- 
bility and Certainty of the evangelical Records^ 
when taken together, form as ftrong an 
Evidence as could reafonably be defiled in 
fuch a Cafe : And, after what hath been 
faid, there needs not much be added, with 
regard to what I propofed, in the lafl Place 
viz. to (hew, that, as thefe Writings were 
originally pure and divine, fo they are tranf- 
mitted fafe and uncorrupted to us. Several 
of the Arguments that were brought to 
prove that thefe facred Writings may be fairly 
traced up, through every Age, from our 
own Time to that of the Apojlles, and can 
be fhewn to have been ftill extant, do alfo 
prove, that they have been preferved with- 
out any material Corruption or Alteration : 
They have been, all along, from the Time 
of their being firfl published, received by 
Chrijlians with great Veneration -, they 



were read in their facred religious Affem- 
blies as of "Divine Authority ; they were 
fbon translated into various Languages, and 
difperfed into many Hands in different Nati- 
ons ; numberlefs Quotations have been 
drawn from them, and they have been con- 
ftantly appealed to, in every Age, in the 
Controversies that have arifen among all the 
different Sects and Parties of Chriftians j fb 
that it is manifeft that a general Corruption 
of all the Copies, if any had attempted it, 
would have been an impofiible Thing. And, 
though it cannot be denied, that there have 
been great Corruptions among profeffed 
ChriJiianS) yet it is evident, in Fact, that 
they have not altered thofe Jacred Writings, 
in Favour of thofe Corruptions. They 
have not corrupted or interpolated them, in 
thofe Inftances in which it was mod their 
Intereft to have corrupted them ;, and there- 
fore it may be fairly concluded that they 
have not corrupted them at all. And in- 
deed they ftill retain all the Characters of 
original Purity, Truth, and Integrity, that 
any Writings can pofftbly have, as has been 
already obferved ; and not one Mark of the 
contrary : And the Religion of jfefits 'ftill ap- 
peareth there in it's primitive genuine Sim- 
plicity, without any of the corrupt Addition s 
of after Ages, which may be ftill more ef- 


fectually detected ana" confuted from thofe 
Writings. And, as to the various Readings 
which fome have made a mighty Objection, 
and which, without a perpetual Miracle, 
are unavoidable in a great Number of Co- 
pies tranfcribed by different Perfons in dif- 
ferent Ages, they are fo far from inferring 
a general Corruption of thofe Writings, that 
they furnifh a full Proof of the Contrary, 
and a mod effectual Remedy againft it, as 
is known to all thofe that are acquainted 
with thefe Matters. We have therefore the 
greateft Reafon to conclude, that thefe holy 
Books, which we have now in our Hands, 
are the fame that they were, when they 
came out of the Hands of the Apojlles and 
Evange/ifs, without any Alterations of 
Confequence either in the Facts or Doc- 
trines : And therefore, by Virtue of thefe, 
we have an Account that may juftly be de- 
pended upon of the Difcourfes and Actions 
of our bleffed Lord, and the admirable 
Scheme of Religion which he taught. Nor 
can we delire a more fatisfying Evidence, 
except we mould iniift upon our feeing and 
hearing thofe Things in our own Perfons, 
in order to our believing them, which would 
be to infift upon a manifeft Impoffibility, 
viz. that we mould be Eye-Witnef/es of' 
Facts that were done feveral Ages before we 



were born ; or at leaft it is to demand that 
all the extraordinary Things that are related 
in the Go/pels concerning Jefus mould be 
done over again for our Conviction. And 
at this Rate all thofe wonderful Fac7s mufl be 
repeated in every Age, in every Country, 
and in the View of every lingle Perfon ; 
for one hath as much Right to demand this 
as another. And how extremely abfurd 
would this be, and unworthy of the Divine 
Wifdom, I need not take any Pains to fhew ; 
And it were to be wimed, that Perfons 
would ferioufly conrlder, how they will 
be able to juflify themfelves to the great Go- 
vernor of the World, for refujing and reject- 
ing the Revelation God hath given us by his 
Son, under Pretence of not having fufficient 
Evidence, when it comes to us with all the 
Evidence that can reafonably be defired in 
fuch a Cafe, or that the Nature of the 
Thing will admit of, and which they them- 
felves would account fufficient in any other 
Cafe. I fhall conclude this Subject with 
two Reflections : 

Firft, How thankful mould we be to 
God that he hath, in his wife and good 
Providence, ordered it fo that Things of 
fuch mighty Importance are tranfmitted to 
us in authentic Records, fo that by them we 
flill have a fure Account of the Religion of 



ye/us in it's genuine uncorrupted Purity and 
Simplicity ! Let us prize thefe facred Wri- 
tings as our moft valuable Treafure, and 
make them the Subject of our frequent Me- 
ditations. Let us often conlider the glorious 
Characters of Divi?tity that fhine forth in 
them, the excellent Ideas there given us of 
God and Religion, the Purity and Holinefs 
of the Precepts, the exceeding great and pre- 
cious Promifes which are fet before us, and 
the Power of the Motives which are there 
urged to engage us to the Practice of uni- 
verfal Righteoufnefs ; that they have not 
the lead: Traces of a worldly Spirit and De- 
fign, nor is there any Thing in them to hu- 
mour and gratify the corrupt Lufts and Ap- 
petites of Men ; that the manifeft Tenden- 
cy of the Whole is to promote the Glory of 
God, and the Caufe of Piety and Virtue in 
the World ; to infpire Men with an Abhor- 
rence of Vice and Sin, and with the Love of 
God and Goodnefs ; to raife them to the 
moft glorious Hopes, and to a Divine and 
heavenly Temper of Mind. The more we 
confider thefe Things, the more (hall we be 
convinced that they had not their Original 
from Fraud and Impofture ; that they came 
from God, and lead to God. Efpecially if 
we ourfelves feel their happy Influence upon 
our own Souls, in purifying our Hearts, ani- 


mating us to the Practice of every Virtue, 
comforting us in all our tribulation, and 
forming us to a godlike Difpofition : Then 
(hall we have the Teftimony within us of the 
Truth and Divinity of the Gofpel ; our 
Faith mall be efiablifhed as upon a Rock -, 
we mall not be to/fed to and fro with every 
Wind of DocJrine, nor be allured by the 
fpecious Pretences of thofe who promife 
Men Liberty, whiljl they themfehes are the 
Servants of Corruption. 

This leads me to a fecond Reflection upon 
this Subject, viz. That the proper Ufe we 
mould make of thefe facred V/ritings mould 
be to engage us to believe that Jefus is the 
Chrift, the Son of God, that, believing, we may 
have Life in his Name : For the Fvangeliji 
John here aflureth us, that this is the End 
tor which they were written : And indeed 
the Things there related concerning the ad- 
mirable Character and Difcourfes of our 
blefTed Lord, the Inductions he gave, and 
the illuftrious Atteftations which confirmed 
his Divine MiJ/ion, taken together, form an 
Evidence fufficient to fatisfy an attentive and 
well-difpofed Mind. But let us not content 
ourfelves with a mere Ipeculative ArTenr, 
which will be of fmall Avail to our Salvation 
and Happinefs: Our Faith muft be a prac- 
tical vital Perfuafion, a Faith working by 
Vol. III. G g Love, 


Love, andiffuingin a dutiful and fmcere Obe- 
dience : For it is when we thus believe that 
we have flail Life in his Name, that is, {hall 
obtain that eternal Life, which is the Gift of 
God through Jefus Chrift to allthofe that really 
believe and obey him. And how mightily 
fhould it recommend the Gofpel to our Affec- 
tion and Efteem, that Life and Immortality 
is there brought into a clear and open Light, 
and that we are fo plainly directed in the Way 
that leadeth to it ! To that eternal Life let 
us continually afpire by Faith, and Love, 
and holy Obedience ; and then we may 
upon good Grounds hope that, when we de- 
part hence, we ji hall be with Chrift, and Ji hall 
be made Far takers of his heavenly Glory. 

The End of the Third Volume,