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Theological Seminary, 


BV 4501 .B379 1824 
Baxter, Richard, 1615-1691. 
^ The divine life 

^. i 



. "\ 











VOL. I. 







Printed bj T. Davis, 106, Minories. 







Upon John xvii. 3. 







. 1824. 





IN hope of the fuller pardon of my 
delay, I now present you with two other 
Treatises besides the Sermon (enlarged), 
which at your desire I preached at your 
departure hence. I knew of many and 
great afflictions which you had under- 
gone in the removal of your dearest 
friends, which made this subject seem 
so suitable and seasonable to you at 
that time: but I knew not that God 
was about to make so great an addition 
to your trials in the same kind, by 
taking to himself* the principal branch 

* €harles, Earl of Balcarres, who died of a stone 
ill "his heart of a very strange magnitude. 


of your noble family, (by a rare disease; 
the emblem of the mortal malady now 
reigning.) I hope this loss also shall 
promote your gain, by keeping you 
nearer to your heavenly Lord, who is so 
jealous of your affections, and resolved 
to have them entirely to himself: and 
then you will still find, that you are not 
alone, nor deprived of your dearest or 
most necessary friend, while the Father, 
the Son, the sanctifying and comforting 
Spirit is with you. And it should not 
be hard to reconcile us to the disposals 
of so sure a friend. Nothing but good 
can come from God; however the blind 
may miscal it, who know no good or 
evil, but what is measured by the private 
standard of their selfish interest, and 
that as judged of by sense. Eternal 
love, engaged by covenant to make us 
happy, will do nothing but what we shall 
find at last, will terminate in that blessed 
end. He envied you not your son, as 
too good for you, or too great a mercy, 
who hath given you his own Son, and 
with him the mercy of eternal life. Cor- 
poral sufferings with spiritual blessings, 


^re the ordinary lot of believers here 
on earth: as corporal prosperity ^vith 
spiritual calamity is the lot of the un- 
godly. And I beseech you consider, 
that God knoweth better than you or I, 
what an ocean your son was ready to 
launch out into, and how tempestuous 
and terrible it might have proved ; and 
whether the world that he is saved from, 
would have afforded him more of safety 
or seduction, of comfort or calamity! 
whether the protraction of the life of 
your noble husband, to have seen our 
sins and their effects and consequents, 
would have afforded him greater joy or 
sorrow ! Undoubtedly as God had a 
better title to your husband, and chil- 
dren, and friends than you had, so it 
is much better to be with him, than to 
be with you, or with the best or greatest 
upon earth. The heavenly inhabitants 
fear not our fears, and feel not our 
afflictions. They are past our dangers, 
and out of the reach of all our enemies, 
and delivered from our pains and cares, 
and have the full possession of all those 
mercies which we pray and labor for. 


Can you think your children and friends 
that are with Christ, are not safer and 
better than those that yet remain with 
you ? Do you think that earth is better 
than heaven for you yourself? I take it 
for granted you cannot think so, and 
will not say so ; and if it be worse for 
you, it is worse for them. The provi- 
dence which by hastening their glorifi- 
cation, doth promote your sanctification ; 
which helpeth tliem to the end, and 
helpeth you in the way, must needs be 
good to them and you, however it appear 
to flesh and unbelief. O madam, when 
our Lord hath shewed us (as he will 
shortly do) what a state it is to which 
he bringeth the spirits of the just, and 
how he doth there entertain and use 
them, we shall then be more competent 
judges of all those acts of providence, 
to which we are now so hardly recon- 
ciled ! Then we shall censure our cen- 
surings of these works of God, and be 
offended with our offences at them, and 
call ourselves blind unthankful sinners, 
for calling them so bad as we did in 
our misjudging unbelief and passion. 


We shall not wish ourselves or friends 
again on earth, among temptations and 
pains, and among uncharitable men, 
malicious enemies, deceitful flatterers, 
and imtrusty friends ! When we see 
that face which we now long to see, 
and know the things which we long to 
know, and feel the love which we long 
to feel, and are full of the joys which 
now we can scarce attain a taste of, 
and have reached the end which now 
we seek, and for which we suffer, we 
shall no more take it for a judgment 
to be taken from ungodly men, and 
from a world of sin, and fear, and 
sorrow; nor shall we envy the wicked, 
nor ever desire to be partakers of their 
pleasures. Till then, let us congratulate 
our departed friends the felicity which 
they have attained, and which we desire; 
and let us rejoice with them that rejoice 
with Christ, and let us prefer the least 
believing thought of the everlasting joys, 
before all the defiled transitory pleasures 
of the deluded, dreaming, miserable 
world. And let us prefer such converse 
as we can here attain with God iu 
A 3 


Christ, and with the heavenly society, 
before all the pomp and friendship of 
the world. We have no friend that is 
so able to supply all our wants^ so 
sufficient to content us, so ready to 
relieve us, so willing to entertain us, 
so unwearied in hearing us, and con- 
versing with us, as our blessed Lord. 
This is a friend that will never prove 
un trusty ; nor be changed by any change 
of interest, opinion or fortune; nor give 
us cause to suspect his love : a friend 
that we are sure will not forsake us, 
nor turn our enemj^, nor abuse us for 
his own advantage, nor will ever die or 
be separated from us, but we shall be 
always with him, and see his glory, 
and be filled and transported with his 
love, and sing his praise to all eternity. 
With whom then should we so delight- 
fully converse on earth? And till we 
can reach that sweet delightful converse, 
whom should we seek with more ambi- 
tion, or observe with greater devotedness 
and respect? O that we were less 
carnal, and more spiritual, and lived 
less by sense, and more by faith; that 


We knew better the difference between 
God and man, between visible tempo- 
rals and invisible eternals! we should 
then have other thoughts, and desires, 
arid resolutions, and converse, and em- 
ployments, and pleasures, than too many 
have ! 

Madam, it displeaseth me that it is 
no more elaborate a treatise, to which the 
present opportunity inviteth me to prefix 
your name; but your own desire of the 
third must be my excuse for all: but 
pardon the manner, and I dare commend 
the matter to you, as more worthy your 
serious contemplation, and your daily 
most delightful practice, than any other 
that was ever proposed unto mortal man. 
This is the man-like noble life: the life 
which the rational soul was made for: 
to which if our faculties be not by sanc- 
tifying grace restored, they fall below 
their proper dignity and use, and are 
worse than lost; like a prince or learned 
man that is employed only in sweeping 
dog-kennels, or tending swine. To walk 
in holiness with the most holy God, is 
the improvement and advancement of 


the nature of man, towards its designed 
equality with angels. When earthliness 
and sensuality degrade humanity into (a 
voluntary, and therefore sinful) brutish- 
ness — this is the life which affordeth the 
soul a solid and durable pleasure and 
content. When carnal minds evaporate 
into air, and bubble into froth and vanity, 
wasted in a dream, and the violent busy 
pursuit of a shadow; deceiving them- 
selves with a mixture of some counter- 
feit religion; playing with God, and 
working for the world; living in jest, 
and dying, and desparing, and suffering 
in earnest; with unwearied labor build- 
ing on the sand, and sinking, at death 
for want of a foundation ; hating the 
serious practice of their own professed 
religion, because it is not the profession, 
but the serious practice which hath the 
greatest enmity to their sensual delights; 
yet wishing to be numbered with those 
hereafter, whom they hated here — this 
holy walking with the most holy God, 
is the only life which is best at last, 
and sweet in the review ; which the 
godly live in, and most of the ungodly 


could wish to die in; like him that 
wished to be Caesar in life, and Socrates 
at death : yea, this is the life which hath 
no end ; which we are here but learning, 
and beginning to practise, and which we 
must hereafter live (in another manner 
and degree) with God for ever. O won- 
drous mercy! which thus ennobleth even 
the state of mortality, and honoreth 
earth with so much participation of, and 
communion with heaven^ that by God, 
and with God, we may walk in holy 
peace and safety unto God, and there 
be blessed in his perfect sight and love 
for ever! Madam, the greatest service 
I can do you for all your favors is, to 
pray that God will more acquaint you 
v/ith himself, and lead you by this 
blessed way to that more blessed end ; 
that when you see all worldly glory in 
the dust, you may bless him for ever, 
who taught you to make a wiser choice : 
which are the prayers of 

Your very much obliged Servant, 

Richard Baxter 

Dec. 24, 1G63. 



THE embryo of this book vv^as but one ser- 
mon, preached a little before the ending of my 
public ministry, upon the text of the third trea- 
tise, (upon the occasion intimated in the epistle 
to that truly honorable lady.) Being obliged 
to communicate the notes, and unavoidably 
guilty of some delays, I made a compensation 
by enlargement; and (having reasons for the 
publication of them, with which I shall not 
trouble you) to make them more suitable to the 
designed end, I prefixed the two former trea- 
tises : the first I had preached to my ancient 
flock; of the second I had preached but one 
sermon. If many of the materials in the second 
be the same as in the first, you must understand 
that my design required that it should be so, — 
they being the same attributes of God which 


the first part endeavoreth to imprint upon the 
mind ; and which the second and third endeavor 
to improve into a constant course of holy affec- 
tion and conversation. As it is the same food 
which the first concoction chylifieth which the 
perfecting concoctions do work over again, and 
turn into blood, and spirits, and fles^; so far 
am I in such points from gratifying thy sickly 
desire of variety, and avoiding the displeasing 
of thee by the rehearsals of the same, that it 
is my very business with thee, to persuade thee 
to live continually upon these same attributes 
and relations of God, as upon thy daily air 
and bread ; and to forsake that lean consuming 
company, who feed on the shells of hard and 
barren controversies, or on the froth of com- 
pliments and affected shews, and run after 
novelty, instead of substantial solid nutria 
ment : and to tell thee, that the primitive, 
pure, simple Christianity, consisted in the daily 
serious use of the great materials of the creed. 
Lord's prayer, and ten commandments, con- 
tracted in the words of our baptismal covenant. 
Do thus, and thou wilt be like those exam- 
ples of the succeeding church, in uprightness. 


purity, simplicity, charity, peaceableness and 
holy communion with God ; when the pretended 
subtilties and sublimities of wanton, unchari- 
table, contentious wits, will serve but to strangle 
or delude their souls. I have purposely been 
very brief on the several attributes and relations 
of God, in the first treatise, because the copious 
handling of them would have made a very great 
volume of itself, and because it is my great 
design in that first part, to give you a sight of 
all God's attributes and relations conjunct, and 
in their order, that looking on them, not one by 
one, but all together in their proper places, the 
whole image of God may by them be rightly 
imprinted on your minds ; the method being the 
first thing, and the necessary impressions on the 
soul the second, which I there desire you to 
observe and employ your minds about, if you 
desire to profit, and receive what I intend you, 

December 24, 1663. 



Chap. I. 
The text explained: the doctrine. The know- 
ledge of the only true God, and of Jesus Christ 
the Mediator, is the life of grace, and the neces- 
sary way to the life of glory. What is con- 
tained in the knowledge of God, as to the act : 
what as to the object. A short scheme of the 
divine properties and attributes to be known 1 

Chap. II. 
Of the Knowledge of God's Being, and the 
necessary effects of it on the heart 22 

Chap. III. 
Of the Knowledge of God's Unity and Indivisi- 
bility, and its necessary effects • 27 

Chap. IV. 
Of the Knowledge of God's Immensity, and so 
of his Incomprehensibleness, Omnipresence, 
and the effects • • • 33 

Chap, V. 
Of the Knowledge of God's Eternity, and its 
due effects. A believer, referring all things to 



eternity, honoreth his very horse, or dog, or 
smallest mercy, more than unbelievers honor 
their king, their lives, their souls, regarding 
them but for transitory ends. Unbelievers 
denying the end, destroy morally all souls, all 
mercies, all divine revelations, all God's ordi- 
nances, all graces, and duties, and the vs^hole 
creation • • • 44 

Chap. VI. 
The Knowledge of God as he is a Spirit, and 
incorporeal : and consequently, 1. As he is 
simple or uncompounded, 2, Invisible, &c. 
3. Immortal, incorruptible, immutable: the 
uses of God's simplicity: the uses of his 
invisibility: the uses of his immortality, and 
immutability • 70 

Chap. VII. 
Of the Knowledge of God's Almightiness, and 
of its due effects 80 

Chap. VIII. 
Of the Knowledge of God's Omniscience, or 
Infinite Wisdom; with the due effects 91 

Chap. IX. 
Of the Knowledge of God's Infinite Goodness, 
and Love ; and of the due impression of it on 
the soul • • • • • • • • , 104 



Chap. X. 

Of the Knowledge of God as the first Cause, 
Creator and Preserver of all things. All 
things are for God, as the ultimate end ; mani- 
fested. How his will is still fulfilled. Whe- 
ther he will de eventu that all obey him. God 
willeth not sin. Differences ended about it. 
Whether he decree not or will not ut evenit 
peccatum. Whether he will de eventu that 
sin shall not come to pass, when it doth. All 
God's works good : none to be dishonored : 
no not ourselves, our reason and free will, as 
natural and of God ; though as vitiated by us 
and ill disposed, we must accuse it 122 

Chap. XI. 

Of the Knowledge of God as our Redeemer. 
Infants not in a state of innocency, but of ori- 
ginal sin: fully proved: the great ends of 
redemption enumerated: the effects it must 
have upon the soul # . . . 138 

Chap. XII. 

The Knowledge of God the Holy Ghost as our 
Sanctifier and Comforter: a further proof of 
original sin. Twenty considerations by way 
of queries to convince them that deny or 
extenuate the sanctifying works of the Holy 
Ghost, ascribing them to nature and them- 
»elves »..•..... (•••..•••# 162 



Chap. XIII. 
Of the Knowledge of God as the Absolute 
Owner, Proprietary, or Lord of all : of his Jus 
Dominii grounded on his creation and redemp- 
tion; and the uses ••• 177 

Chap. XIV. 
Of the Knowledge of God as our Sovereign 
Governor or King: his Jus Imperii: the 
grounds : the exercise : the uses and effects 188 

Chap. XV. 
Of the Knowledge of God as our most bountiful 
Benefactor, or most loving Father. The 
benefits founding this relation: 1. common: 
2. special to his chosen ones. The necessary 
effects •• 202 

Chap. XVX. 
Of the Freedom of God 213 

Chap. XVII. 
Of the Justice of God: what it is : the effects* • 214 

Chap. XVIII. 
Of the Knowledge of God's Holiness. What 
it is. The necessary effects 217 

Chap. XIX. 
Of God's Veracity, or Truth and Faithfulness. , 
The uses : the Dominicans' doctrine of physical 

CONTENTS. xxiii. 


efficient immediate predetermination, at once 
obliterateth all divine faith, by denying the 
veracity of God, which is its formal object : 
lying and perjury abominable 225 

Chap. XX. 
Of the Knowledge 6f God's Mercifulness (in- 
cluding his patience and long-suff&ring) and 
the necessary uses and effects 235 

Chap. XXI. 
Of the Knowledge of God's Dreadfulness or 
Terribleness : and the necessary uses and 
effects • •••••••• I «« • ..,,,,, 241 



John xvii. 3. 
And this is life eternal, that they might knozc thee 
the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou 
hust sent, 


GOD is the principal efficient, the supreme 
directive, and the ultimate final cause of man : 
for of him, and through him, and to him, are all 
things, and to him shall be the glory for ever. 
Horn, xi. 36. The new life, or nature in the saints 
is his image. Col. iii. 10. The principle of it is 
called the divine nature, 2Pet. i.4. The exercise 
of that principle (including the principle itself) 
is called the life of God, Eph. iv. 18, from which 
the Gentiles are said to be alienated by their 
ignorance. Therefore it is called holiness, which 
is a separation to God from common use : and 
[God's dwelling in us,] and [ours in him] 1 John 
iv. 12, 13, of whom we are said to be [born and 
regenerate] 1 John iv. 7, John iii. 5. And our 
perfection in glory is our living with God, and 


2 Of the Knowledge of God, 

enjoying him for ever. Godliness then i& the 
comprehensive name of all true rehgion. Jesus 
Christ himself came but to restore corrupted 
man to the love, and obedience, and fruition of 
his Creator, and at last will give up the kingdom 
to the Father, that God may be all, and in all : 
and the Son himself shall be subject to this end. 
1 Cor. XV. 24, 28. The end of Christ's sacrifice 
and intercession is to reconcile God and man : 
the end of his doctrine is to teach us to know 
God : the end of his government is to reduce us 
to the perfect obedience of our Maker. It is 
therefore the greatest duty of a Christian to 
know God as revealed by his Son; and it is 
such a duty about our ultimate end as is also our 
greatest mercy and felicity. Therefore doth the 
Lord Jesus here in the text describe that life 
eternal which he was to give to those whom the 
Father had given him, to consist in knowing the 
only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he had 
sent. My purpose is in this treatise to speak 
only of the first part of the text — The knowledge 
of God. And first I shall very briefly explain 
the text. 

THIS— That is, this which I am describing. 

LIFE — Life is taken sometime for the soul's 
abode in the body, which is the natural life of 
man : or the soul's continuation in its separated 
state, which is the natural life of the soul : and 
sometimes for the perfections of natural life : and 
that either its natural perfection, that is, its 

Of the Knoicledge of God, 3 

health and vivacity ; or its moral perfection or 
rectitude; and that is either in the cause, and so 
God is our life; Christ is our life; the Holy- 
Spirit is our life : or in itself: and so holiness is 
our life in the principle, seed, or habit. Some- 
time life is taken for the work, employment, and 
exercise of life ; and so a holy conversation is 
our moral, spiritual, or holy Hfe. And sometime 
it is taken for the feUcity of the living : and so 
it containeth all the former in their highest per- 
fection, that is, both natural life, and moral-spi- 
ritual life, and the holy exercise thereof, together 
with the full attainment and fruition of God in 
glory, the end of all. 

ETERNAL— That is, simply eternal, objec- 
tively, as to God the principal object: and 
eternal, ex parte post, subjectively; that is, 

life in itself considered, as the devils and wicked 
men shall have it. But I. It is the same moral- 
spiritual life which shall have no end, but endure 
to eternity : it is a living to God in love ; but 
only initial, and very imperfect here, in compa- 
rison of what it will be in heaven. II. It is the 
eternal felicity, 1. seminally; for grace is as it 
were a seed of glory ; 2. as it is the necessary 
way or means of attaining it ; and that prepara- 
tion which infallibly procureth it. The perfect 
holiness of the saints in heaven will be one part 
of their perfect happiness: and this holiness 
B 2 

4 Of the Knowledge of God, 

vimperfect they have here in this life : it is the 
same God that we know and love here and 
there, and with a knowledge and love that is of 
the same nature seminally : as the egg is of the 
nature of the bird : (whether it may be properly 
said to be formally and specifically the &ame 
quoad actum J as well as quoad object um; yea 
wliether the ohjectum dare visum, and the ohjec- 
turn in speculo vel ceriigmate visum make not the 
act specifically differ, I shall not trouble you to 
dispute.) And this imperfect holiness hath the 
promise of perfect holiness and happiness in the 
full fruition of God hereafter. So it is the seed, 
and prognostic of life eternal. 

TO KNOW — Non semper <%• uhiq; eodem 
inodo vel gradu: not to know God here and 
hereafter in the same manner or degree. But to 
know him here as in a glass, and hereafter in his 
glory, as face to face. To know him by an 
affective practical knowledge : There is no text 
of scripture of which the rule is more clearly 
true and necessary than of this, that words of 
knowledge do imply affection. It is the closure 
of the whole soul with God, which is here called 
the knowing of God : and because it is not meet 
to name every particular 'act of the soul, when- 
ever this duty is mentioned, it is all denominated 
from knowledge, as the first act, which inferreth 
all the rest. 1. Knowledge of God in the habit 
ivs Sipiritual life as a principle. 2. Knowledge of 
God in the exercise, is spiritual life, as an 

Of the Knowledge o/* God. 5 

einployment. 3. The knowledge of God in per- 
fection with its effects, is life eternal, as it signi- 
fieth full felicity. What it containeth I shall 
further shew anon. 

THEE— That is, the Father, called by some 
divines tons vei fimdamentum Trinitatis: the 
fountain, or foundation of the Trinity : and oft 
used in the same sense as the word God, to 
signify the pure Deity. 

THE ONLY— He that believeth that there 
is more Gods than one, believeth not in any. 
For though he may give many the name, yet the 
description of the true God can agree to none 
of them. He is not God indeed, if he be not 
One tondy, 

Tliis doth not at all exclude Jesus Christ, as 
the second person in Trinity; but only distin- 
guisheth the pure Deity, or the only true God as 
such, from Jesus Christ as Mediator between 
Ood and man, 

TRUE — There are many that falsely and 
metaphorically are called gods: if we think of 
Ood but as one of these, it is not to know him, 

but deny him. 

GOD— The word God doth not only signify 
.the divine perfections in himself, but also his 
relation to the creatures. To be a God to us, is 
to be one to whom we must ascribe all that we 
are o.r have; and one whom we must love and 
obey, and honor with all the powers of soul and 
body : and one on whom we totally depend, and 

(f Of the Knowledge of God* 

from whom we expect our judgment and reward, 
in whom alone we can be perfectly blessed. 

AND JESUS CHRIST— That is, as Medi- 
ator, in his natures, (God and man) and in his 
office and grace. 

whom thy love and wisdom designed and com- 
missioned to this undertaking and performance. 

The knowledge of the Holy Ghost seemeth 
here left out, as if it were no part of life eternal ; 
but, 1. At that time the Holy Ghost in that 
eminent sort, as sent by the Father and Son on 
the apostles after the resurrection and ascension 
of Christ, was not yet so manifested as after- 
wards, and therefore not so necessarily to be 
distinctly known and believed in as after: the 
having of the Spirit being of more necessity than 
the distinct knowledge of him. Certain it is 
that the disciples were at first very dark in this 
article of faith : and scripture more fully reveal- 
eth the necessity, to salvation, of believing in 
the Father and Son, than in the Holy Ghost 
distinctly ; yet telling us, that if any man have 
not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his. 
Rom. viii. 9. 2. But presently after, when the 
Sj irit was to be sent, the necessity of believing 
in him is expressed ; especially in the apostles' 
commission to baptize all nations (that were 
made disciples) in the name of the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost. 

Of the Knowledge of God» 7 

Boct. The knowledge of the only true Gody 
mnd of Jesus Christ the Mediator, is the life of 
grace, and the necess€.ry way to the life of glory. 

As James distinffuisheth between such a dead 
faith as devils and wicked men had, and such a 
living and working faith as was proper to the 
justified; so must we here of the knowledge of 
God. Many profess that they know God, but 
in works they deny him, being abominable and 
disobedient, and to every good work reprobate. 
Tit. i. 16. There is a form of knowledge which 
the unbelievers had, Rom. ii. 22, and a know- 
ledge which pufieth up, and is void of love, 
which hypocrites have, 1 Cor. viii. 1, and 13. 
biit no man (spiritually) knoweth the things of 
'God, but by the Spirit. And they that rightly 
know his name, will put their trust in him, Psal. 
ix. 10. Thus he giveth the regenerate a heart to 
know him, Jer. xxiv. 7, and the new creature is 
renewed in knowledge. Col. iii. 10. And ven- 
geance shall be poured out on them that know 
not god. 2 Thes. i. 8. 

This saving knowledge of God which is eter- 
nal life, containeth and implieth in it all these 
acts: 1. The understanding's apprehension of 
God according to the necessary articles of faith. 

2. A belief of the truth of these articles: that 
God is, and is such as he is therein described. 

3. An high estimation of God accordingly. 4. 
A volition, complacency, or love to him as God, 

B Of the Knowledge of God. 

the chiefest good. 5, A desiring after him. 6". 
A choosing him, with the rejection of all com- 
petitors. 7. A consent that he be our God, and 
a giving up ourselves to him as his people. 8. 
An intending him as our ultimate end in the u«e 
of means, in the course of our conversations. 
9. A seeking him in the choice and use of 
means. 10. An obeying hira as our sovereigrt 
governor. 11. An honoring, and praising him 
as God. 12. And an enjoying him and delight- 
ing in him (in some small foretastes here, as he 
is seen by faith ; but perfectly hereafter, as beheld 
in glory.) The affective practical knowing of 
God, which is life eternal, containeth or impheth 
all these parts. 

And every Christian that hath any of this 
knowledge desireth more : it is his great desire 
to know more of God, and to know him with a 
more affecting powerful knowledge. He that- 
groweth in grace, doth accordingly grow in this' 
knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. The 
vigour and alacrity of aur souls lieth in it: the 
rectitude of our actions, and the holiness of 
them, floweth from it : God is the excellency of 
our hearts and lives: our advancement and our 
joy is here only to be found. All other know- 
led2;e is so far desirable, as it conduceth to the- 
knowledge of God, or to the several duties, 
which that knowledge doth require. All know- 
ledge of words or things, of causes and effects,, 
of any creatures, actions, customs, laws, or 

Of the Knowledge x)f God. 9 

whatsoever may be known, is so far valuable as 
it is useful ; and so far useful as it is holy, sub- 
serving the knowledge of God, in Christ. What 
the sun is to all men's eyes, that God is to their 
souls, and more ; it is to know him that we have 
imderstandings given us ; and our understandings 
enjoy him but so far as they know him; as the 
eye enjoyeth the light of the sun, by seeing it. 
The ignorance of God, is the bUndness and part 
of the atheism of the soul, and inferreth the 
rest. They that know him not, desire not heartily 
to know him ; nor can they love him, trust him, 
fear him, serve him, or call upon him, whom they 
do not know. How shall they call upon him, 
in whom they have not believed, Rom. x. 14. 
The heart of the ungodly saith to God, Depart 
from us : for we desire not the knowledge of thy 
ways; what is the Almighty that we should 
serve him ? and what profit shall we have if we 
pray unto him? Job xxi. 14, 15, and xxii. 17. 
All wickedness hath admission into that heart or 
land, where the knowledge of God is not the 
watch to keep it out: Abraham inferred that the 
men of Gerar would kill him for his wife, when 
he saw that the fear of God was not in that 
place: Gen. xx. 11. It was God's controversy 
with Israel, because there was no truth, nor 
mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land ; but 
by swearing, and lying, and killing, and steahng, 
they brake out, and blood touched blood. Hos. 
iv. 1, 2. They are called by Gad^ a foohvsh 

10 Of the Knowledge of God. 

people, sottish children, of no understanding, 
that knew not God; though they were wise to 
do evil. Jer. iv. 22. He will pour out his fury 
upon the heathen that know him not, and the 
families that call not on his name. Jer. x. 25. 
As the day differeth from the night by the light 
of the sun, so the church differeth from the 
world by the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ. 
Ps. Ixxvi. 1, 2. In Judah is God known; his 
name is great in Israel : in Salem also is his 
tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Sion. The 
love, and unity, and peace which shall succeed 
persecution and malice in the blessed times, 
shall be because the earth shall be full of the 
knowiedcre of the Lord, as the waters cover the 
sea. Isa. xi. 6 — 9. Hypocrites shall know him 
superficially and ineffectually: and his holy ones 
shall know him so as to love him, fear him, trust 
him, and obey him ; with a knowledge effectual 
upon heart and life : and he will continue his 
loving kindness to them that know him. Ps. 
xxxvi. 10. 

He is the best christian that hath the fullest 
impression made upon his soul, by the knowledge 
of God in all his attributes. Thus it is our life 
eternal to know God in Christ. It is to reveal 
the Father that the Son was sent; and it is to 
reveal the Father and the Son, that the Holy 
Spirit is sent; God is the light and the Hfe, and 
feUcity of the soul. The work of its salvation 
is but the restoring it to him, and putting it in 

Of the Knozckdge of God 1 1 

possession of him. The beginning of this is 
regeneration and reconciliation: the perfection 
of it is glorification, beatifical vision, and 
fruition. The mind that hath least of God is 
the darkest and most deluded mind ; and the 
mind that hath most of him, is the most lucid, 
pure, and serene. And how is God in the mind, 
but as the light and other visible objects are in 
the eye ; and as pleasant melody is in the ear ; 
and as defiohtful meats and drinks are in the 
taste? But that God maketh a more deep and 
durable impress on the soul, and such as is suit- 
able to its spiritual immaterial nature. 

As your seal is to make a full impression on 
the wax, of the whole figure that is upon itself, 
so hath God been pleased in divers seals to 
engrave his image, and these must make their 
impress upon us. 1. There is the seal of the 
creation ; for the world hath much of the image 
of God : it is engraven also on the seal of provi- 
dential disposals (though there we are incapable 
of reading it yet, so fully as in the rest.) 2. It 
is engraven on the seal of the holy scriptures. 
3. And on the person of Jesus Christ, who is 
the purest clearest image of the Father, as also 
on the holy example of his life. 4. And by the 
means of all these applied to the soul, in our 
sober consideration, by the working of the Holy 
Ghost, the image of God is made upon us. 

Here note, 1. That all the revealed imao:e of 
God must be made on the soul, and not a part 

12 Of the Knowledge of God, 

only : and all is wrought where any is truly 
wrought. 2. That to the completeness of his 
image on us, it is necessary that each part of 
God's description be orderly made, and orderly 
make the impress on us, and that each part keep 
its proper place : for it is a monster that hath 
feet where the head should be, or the backside 
forward, or where there is any gross misplacing 
of the parts. 3. Note also, that all the three 
forementioned seals contain all God's imao;e on 
them ; but yet not all alike ; but the first part is 
more clearly engraven upon the first of them, 
and the second part upon the second of them, 
and the third part most clearly on the third and 

To open this more plainly to you ; unity in 
trinity, and trinity in unity, is the sum of our 
holy faith. In the Deity there is revealed to us, 
one God in three persons, the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost: the essence is but one ; the sub- 
stances are three. And as we must conceive and 
speak of the divine nature according to its 
image, while we see it but in a glass; so we 
must say, that in this blessed Deity in the unity 
of essence, there is a trinity of essential proper- 
ties and attributes, that is, power, wisdom, and 
goodness, life, light, and love ; the measure of 
which is to have no measure, but to be infinite. 
And therefore this Being is eternal, and not mea- 
sured by time, being without beginning or end. 
He is immense, as being not measured by place> 

Of the Knowledge of God. 13 

but containeth all places, and is contained in 
none. He is perfect, as not measured by parts 
or by degrees, but quite above degrees and 
parts. This infiniteness of his being doth com- 
municate itself, or also consist in the infiniteness 
of his essential properties. His power is omni- 
potency, that is, infinite power; his knowledge 
or wisdom is omniscience, that is, infinite wis- 
dom; his goodness is felicity itself, or infinite 

The first seal (to our cognisance) on which he 
engraved this his image, was the creation ; that 
is, 1. The whole world in general. 2. The intel- 
lectual nature, or man in special. 

In the being of the creation and every parti- 
cular creature, his infinite being is revealed : so 
wretched a fool is the atheist, that by denying 
God he denieth all things ! Could he prove that 
there is no God, I would quickly prove that there 
is no world, no man, no creature. If he know 
that he is himself, or that the world or any crea- 
ture is, he may know that God is : for God is 
the Original Being; and all being that is not 
eternal, must have some original: and that which 
hath no original is God, being eternal, infinite, 
and without cause. 

The power of God is revealed in the being and 
powers of the creation. His wisdom is revealed 
in their nature, order, offices, effects, Sec. His 
goodness is revealed in the creature's goodness, 
its beauty, usefulness, and accomplishments. 

14 Of the Knowledge of God, 

But though all his image thus appear upon the 
creation, yet it is his omnipotency that princi- 
pally there appears. The beholding and consi- 
deration of the wonderful greatness, activity and 
excellency of the sun, the moon, the stars, the 
fire, and other creatures, doth first and chiefly 
possess us with apprehensions of the infinite 
greatness or power of the Creator. 

In the holy word or laws of God, which is the 
second glass or seal (more clear and legible to 
us than the former) there appeareth also all his 
image ; his power in the narratives, predictions, 
&c. his wisdom in the prophesies, precepts, and 
in all; his goodness in the promises, and institu- 
tions in a special manner. But yet it is his 
second property, his wisdom, that most emi- 
nently appeareth on this second seal, and is seen 
in the glass of the holy law. The discovery of 
such mysteries; the revelation of so many truths; 
the suitableness of all the instituted means; and 
the admirable fitness of all the holy contrivances 
of God, and all his precepts, promises and 
threatnings, for the government of mankind, 
and carrying him on for the attainment of his 
end, in a way agreeable to his nature; these 
shew that wisdom that is most eminently here 
revealed, though power and goodness be reveal- 
ed with it ; so in the face of Jesus Christ, who 
is the third and most perfect seal and glass, 
there is the image of the power, and wisdom and 
goodness of the Godhead : but yet it is the love 

Of the Knoicledge of GocL 15 

or goodness of the Father that is most eminently 
revealed in the Son : his power appeared in the 
incarnation, the conquests over Satan and the 
world, the miracles, the resurrection and the 
ascension of Christ. His wisdom appeareth in 
the admirable mystery of redemption, and in all 
the parts of the office, works, and laws of Christ, 
and in the means appointed in subordination to 
him ; but love and goodness shineth most 
clearly and amiably through the whole ; it beino- 
the very end of Christ in this blessed work, to 
reveal God to man in the riches of his love, as 
giving us the greatest mercies, by the most pre- 
cious means, in the meetest season and manner 
for our good ; reconciling us to himself, and 
treating us children, with fatherly compassions, 
and bringing us nearer him, and opening to us 
the everlasting treasure, having brought life and 
immortality to light in the gospel. 

God being thus revealed to man from without, 
in the three glasses or seals of the creation, law, 
and son himself, he is also revealed to us in 
ourselves, man being, as it were, a little world. 

In the nature of man is revealed, as in a seal 
or glass, the nature of the blessed God in some 
measure. In unity of essence, we have a trinity 
of faculties of soul, even the vegetative, sensitive 
and rational, as our bodies have both parts and 
spirits, natural, vital, and animal; the rational 
power in unity, hath also its trinity of faculties, 
even power for execution, understanding for 

16 Of the Knowledge of God, 

direction, and will for command : the measure 
of power is naturally sufficient to its use and 
end; the understanding is a faculty to reason, 
discern, and discourse ; the will hath that free- 
dom which beseemeth an undetermined, self- 
determining creature here in the way. 

Besides this physical image of God that is 
inseparable from our nature, we have also his 
law written in our hearts, and are ourselves 
objectively part of the law of nature, that is, 
the signifiers of the will of God. Had we not 
by sin obliterated somewhat of this image, it 
would have shewed itself more clearly, and we 
should have been more capable of understand- 
ino' it. 

And then when we are regenerate and renewed 
by the grace and spirit of Christ, and planted 
into him, as living members of his body, we 
have then the third impression upon our souls, 
and are made like our head in wisdom, holiness, 
and in effectual strength. 

Considered as creatures endued with power, 
understanding, and will, we have the impress of 
all the foresaid attributes of God ; but eminently 
of his power. 

Considered as we were at first possessed with 
the light and law of works or nature, (of which 
we yet retain some part) so we have the impress 
of all these attributes of God ; but most eminently 
of his wisdom. 

Considered as regenerate by the Spirit, and 

Of the Knowledge of God. 17 

planted into Christ, so we have the imptess of 
all his said attributes; but most eminently of 
his love and goodness, shining in the moral 
accomplishments or graces of the souL 

Man being thus made at first the natural and 
sapiential image of God, (with much of the 
image of his love) the Lord did presently by 
necessary resultancy and voluntary consent^ 
stand related to us in such variety of relations^ 
as answer the foresaid properties and attributes. 
And these relations of God to us, are next to 
be known, as flowing from his attributes and 

As we have our derived being from God who 
is the primitive eternal Being; so from ouf 
being given by creation, God is related to us 
as our maker; from this relation of a creator 
in unity, there ariseth a trinity of relations : this 
trinity is in that unity, and that unity in thi^ 
trinity. First, God having made ua of nothings 
is necessarily related to us as our Lord : by a 
Lord we mean strictly, a proprietary or owner, 
as you are the owner of your goods or any 
thing that is your own. 

Secondly, He is related to us as our ruler, owv 
governor, or king. This riseth from our nature, 
made to be ruled in order to our end; being 
rational voluntary agents; and also from the 
dominion and blessed nature of God, who only 
hath right to the government of the world, an4 
only is fit and capable of ruling it, 

18 Of the Knowledge of God. 

Thirdly, He is related also to us as our bene- 
factor or father : freely and of his bounty giving 
us all the good that we do receive. 

His first relation in this trinity, answereth his 
first property in the trinity : he is our Almighty 
Creator, and therefore is our owner or our Lord. 

The second of these relations answereth the 
second property of God. He is most wise, and 
made an impress of his wisdom on the rational 
creature, and therefore is our governor. 

The third relation answereth the third pro- 
perty of God. As he is most good, so he is our 
benefactor; Psal. cxix. 68. Thou art good, and 
dost good. Man's nature and disposition is 
known by his works, though he be a free agent; 
for the tree is known by its fruit. Matt. vii. 17. 
And so God's nature is known by his works, 
(as far as is fit for us here to know) though he 
be a free agent. 

In each of these relations, God hath other 
special attributes, which are denominated from 
his relations, or his following works. 

As he is our Lord or owner, his proper attri- 
bute is to be absolute, having so full a title to 
us, that he may do with us vi^hat he list. Matt. 
XX. 15. Rom. ix. 21, 

As he is our ruler, his proper attribute is to 
be our sovereign or supreme ; there being none 
above him, nor co-ordinate w^ith him, nor any 
power of Government but what is derived from 

Of the Knowledge of God. 19 

As he is our benefactor, it is his prerogative 
to be our chief, or all: the alpha and omega; 
the fountain, or first efficient cause of all that 
we receive or hope for ; and the end or ultimate 
final cause that can make us happy by fruition, 
and that we must still intend. 

As these are the attributes of God in these 
his great relations, so in respect to the works 
of these relations, he hath other subordinate 
attributes. As he is our owner, it is his work 
to dispose of us ; and his proper attribute to be 
most free. As he is our ruler, it is his work to 
govern us; whit^h is first, by making laws for 
Tis, and then by teaching and persuading us to 
keep them, and lastly by executing them ; which 
is by judging, rewarding, and punishing. In 
respect to all these, his principal attribute is, to 
be just or righteous ; in which is comprehended 
his truth or faithfulness, his holiness, his mercy, 
and his terrible dreadfulness. As his attributes 
appear in the assertions of his word, he is true 
(his veracity being nothing but his power, wis- 
dom, and goodness, expressing themselves in 
his word or revelations.) For he that is able 
to do what he will, and so wise as to know all 
things, and so good as to will nothing but what 
is good, cannot possibly lie; for every lie is 
either for want of power, or knowledge, or good- 
ness; he that is most able and knowing, need 
not deceive by lying ; and he that is most good, 
will not do it without need. As his first 

20 Of the Knotdedge of God. 

properties appear in the word of promise, he is 
called faithful, which is his truth in making 
good a word of grace. As he commandeth holy 
duties, and condemneth sin as the most detest* 
able thing, by a pure, righteous law, so he is 
called holy; and also as the fountain of this 
law, and the gtace that sanctifieth his people. 
As he fulfilleth his promi-ses, and rewardeth, 
and defendeth men according to his word, so he 
is called merciful and gracious as a govornor> 
(where his mercy is considered as limited or 
ordinate by his laws.) As he fulfilleth his threat- 
nings, he is called — angry, wrathful, terrible, 
dreadful, holy, jealous, &c. but he is just in all. 

And as these are his attributes as our sovereign 
ruler; so, as our benefactor, his special attri-^- 
bute is to be gracious, or bountiful or benign ; 
or to be loving, and inclined to do good. These 
are the attributes of God resulting from hi« 
nature as appearing in his image in the creation, 
laws, and the person of his Son ; and resulting 
from his relations and the works of those rela^ 
tions ; even as he is our Creator, in unity ; and 
our Lord or owner, our ruler, and benefactor, 
in trinity. 

Were it not my purpose to confine myself to 
this short discovery of the nature, attributes, 
and works of God ; but to run deeper into the 
rest of the body of divinity, I should come down 
to the fall, and work of redemption, and shew 
you in the gospel and all the ordinances, &:c. the 

Of the Knowledge of God. 21 

footsteps of this method of trinity in unity, which 
I have here begun ; but that were to digress. 

Besides what is said, we might name you 
many attributes of God that are commonly 
called negative, and do but distinguish him from 
the imperfect creature, by setting him above us 
infinitely in his perfections. Man hath a body ; 
but God is not a body, but a Spirit; man is 
mutable, but God immutable; man is mortal, 
but God immortal, &c. And now as I have 
shewed you these properties, relations, and attri- 
butes of God, so I must next tell you that we 
also stand in answerable counter-relations unto 
him; and must have the qualities, and do the 
works that answer those relations. 

I. As God is our Almighty Creator, so we are 
his creatures, impotent and insufficient for our- 
selves. We owe him therefore all that a creature 
can owe his maker, that hath but our receivings. 
II. In this relation is contained a trinity of rela- 
tions. 1. We are his own, as he is our Lord. 
2. We are his subjects as he is our ruler. 3. 
We are his children as he is our Father ; or his 
obliged beneficiaries as he is our benefactor. 
And now having opened to your observation the 
image of God, and the extrinsic seals, I have 
ripened the discourse so far, that I may fitlyer 
shew you, how the impression of this image of 
Ood is to be made upon the soul of the believer. 

22 Of the Knowledge of God, 


Of the Knowledge of God's Being, 

] . He that cometh to God, must believe that 
God is, and that he is a rewarder of them that 
diligently seek him. Heb. xi. 6. The first thing 
to be imprinted on the soul is, that there is a 
God : that he is a real most transcendent being. 
As sure as the sun that shineth hath a being, and 
the earth that beareth us hath a being, so sure 
hath God that made them a being infinitely more 
excellent than theirs. As sure as the streams 
come from the fountain, and as sure as earth, 
and stones, and beasts, and men did never make 
themselves, nor do uphold themselves, or con- 
tinue the course of nature in themselves and 
others, nor govern the world, so sure is there an 
infinite eternal Being that doth this. Every 
atheist that is not mad must confess that there is 
an eternal Being, that had no beginning or 
cause; the question is only, which this is? 
Whichever it is, it is this that is the true God. 
What now would the atheist have it to be? 
Certainly it is that Being that hath being itself 
from none, that is the first cause of all other 
beings : and if it caused them, it must necessa- 
rily be every way more excellent than they, and 
contain all the good that it hath caused ; for 
none can give that which it hath not to give ; 

Of the Knowledge of God, 23 

nor make that which is better than itself; that 
Being that hath made so glorious a creature as 
the sun, must needs itself be much more glori- 
ous. It could not have put strength and power 
into the creatures, if it had not itself more 
strength and power. It could not have put 
wisdom and goodness into the creature, if it had 
not more wisdom and goodness than all they. 
Whatever it is therefore that hath more power, 
wisdom, and goodness than all the world beside, 
that is it which we call God. That Cause that 
hath communicated to all things else the being, 
power, and all perfections which they have, is 
the God whom we acknowledge and adore; if 
Democritists will ascribe all this to atoms, and 
think that the motes did make the sun ; or if 
others will think that the sun is God because it 
participateth of so much of his excellency, let 
them be mad a while till judgment shall con- 
vince them. So clear beyond all question to 
my soul is the being of the Godhead, that the 
devil hath much lost the rest of his more subtle 
temptations, when he hath foolishly and mali- 
ciously adjoyned this, to draw me to question 
the being of my God ; which is more than to 
question whether there be a sun in the firma- 

But what is the impress that the Being of 
God must make upon the soul? 

I answer, from hence the holy soul discerneth 
that the beginning and the end of his religion, the 

24 Of the Knowledge of God, 

substance of his hope, is the Being of Beings, 
and not a shadow ; and that his faith is not a 
fancy. The object is as it were the matter of 
the act. If our faith and hope, and love and 
fear, be exercised about the most real Being, it 
shews that there is a reaUty in our faith, and 
that we be not exercised in a delusory work ; 
God is to the atheist but an empty name; he 
feels no life or being in him ; and accordingly he 
ofFereth him a shadow of devotion, and a nomi- 
nal service. But to the holy soul there is nothing 
that hath life and being but God, and that which 
doth receive a being; from him, and leadeth to 
him. This real object putteth a reality into all 
the devotions of a holy soul. They look upon 
the vanities of the world as nothing: and there- 
fore they look on worldly men as on idle dream- 
ers that are doing nothing. This puts a serious- 
ness and life into the faith and holy affections 
of the believer. He knows whom he trusteth, 
2 Tim. i. 12, he knows whom he loveth, and in 
whom he hopeth. Atheists and all ungodly men 
do practically judge of God, as the true believer 
judgeth of the world. The atheist takes the 
pleasures of the world to be the only substance; 
and God to be but as a shadow, a notion, or a 
dream. The godly take the world to be as 
nothing, and know it is but a fancy and dream, 
and shadow of pleasures, and honour, and profit, 
and felicity, that men talk of and seek so eagerly 
below; but that God is the substantial object 

Of the Knowledge of God, 25 

and portion of the soul. If you put into the 
mouth of a hungry man, a little froth, or 
breath, or air, and bid him eat it, and feed upon 
it, he will tell you, he finds no substance in it; 
so judgeth the graceless soul of God, and so 
judgeth the gracious soul of the creature as 
separate from God. 

Let this be the impression on thy soul, from 
the consideration of God's transcendent Being! 
O look upon thyself and all things as nothing 
without him! and as nothing in comparison of 
him ! And therefore let thy love to them be as 
nothing, and thy desires after them and care for 
them as nothing ! But let the being of thy love, 
desire, and endeavours, be let out upon the 
transcendent Being. The creature hath its kind 
of being : but if it would be to us instead of 
God, it will be as nothing. The air hath its 
being, but we cannot dwell in it, nor rest upon 
it to support us as the earth doth. The water 
hath its being, but it will not bear us, if we 
would walk uoon it. The name of the o-reat 

L O 

Jehovah is — I am. Exod. iii. 14. Try any crea- 
ture in thy need, and it will say, as Jacob to 
Rachel, Gen. xxx, 2, Am I in God's stead that 
hath withheld thy desire from thee? Send to it, 
and it will say, as John Baptist, that confessed — 
I am not the Christ, John i. 20. Let none of all 
the affections of thy soul have so much life and 
being in them, as those that are exercised upon 
God. Worms and motes are not regarded in 

26 Of the Knowledge of God, 

comparison of mountains: a drop is not re- 
garded in comparison of the ocean. Let the 
being of God take up thy soul and draw off thy 
observation from deluding vanities, as if there 
were no such thinos before thee. When thou 


rememberest that there is a God, kings and 
nobles, riches and honours, and all the world, 
should be forgotten in comparison of him; and 
thou shouldst live as if there were no such 
things, if God appear not to thee in them. See 
them as if thou didst not see them, as thou 
seest a candle before the sun ; or a pile of grass 
or single dust in comparison with the earth. 
Hear them as if thou didst not hear them ; as 
thou hearest the leaves of the shaken tree, at 
the same time with a clap of thunder. As 
greatest things obscure the least, so let the 
being of the Infinite God so take up all the 
powers of thy soul, as if there were nothing 
else but he, when any thing would draw thee 
from him. O if the being of this God were 
seen by thee, thy seducing friend would scarce 
be seen, thy tempting baits would scarce be 
seen, thy riches and honours would be forgotten; 
all things would be as nothing to thee in com- 
parison of him. 

Of the Knowledge of God, 27 


2. As the being of God should make this 
impression on thee, so the attributes that speak 
the perfection of that being, must each one 
have their work; as his unity or indivisibility, 
his immensity, and eternity. 

And first, the thought of God's unity should 
contract and unite thy straggling affections, and 
call them home from multifarious vanity. It 
should possess thy mind with deep apprehensions 
of the excellency of holy unity in the soul, and 
in the church ; and of the evil of division, and 
misery of distracting multiplicity. The Lord 
our God is one God, 1 Cor. viii. 6. Perfection 
hath unity and simplicity. We fell into divisions 
and miserable distraction when we departed 
from God unto the creature; for the creatures 
are many and of contrary qualities, dispositions, 
and affections ; and the heart that is set on such 
an object, must needs be a divided heart; and 
the heart that is divided among so many and 
contrary or discordant objects, must needs be a 
distracted heart. The confusions of the v/orld 
confound the heart that is set upon the world. 
He that maketh the world his god, hath so 
many gods, and so discordant, that he will never 
please them all, and all of them together will 
never fully content and please him. And who 
would have a god that can neither please us, 

28 Of the Knowledge, of God. 

nor be pleased? He that maketh himself hi^ 
god, hath a compounded god (and now corrupted'/ 
of multifarious, and now of contrary desires, as 
hard to please as any with-out us. There is no 
rest or happiness but in unity. And therefore 
none in ourselves or any other creature, but in 
God the only centre of the soul. The farther 
from the centre, the further from unity. It i»- 
only in God that differing minds can be well 
united. Therefore is the world so divided,, 
because it is departed so far from God, There- 
fore have we so many minds and ways, and such 
diversity of opinions, and contrariety of affec- 
tions, because men forsake the centre of unity.- 
There is no uniting in any worldly, carnal, self- 
devised principles, or practices. When holiness- 
brings these distracted, scattered souls to God, 
in him they will be one. While they bark at 
holiness, and cry up unity, they shew themselves 
distracted men. For holiness is the only way 
to unity, because it is the closure of the soul 
with God. All countries, and persons cannot 
meet in any one interest or creature, but each 
hath a several interest of his own; but they 
might all meet in God. If the Pope were God 
and had his perfections, he would be fit for all 
the church to centre in ; but being, and yet 
pretending to this prerogative of God, he is the 
grand divider and distracter of the church. The 
proverb is too true, — so many men, so many 
minds ; because that every man will be a god 

Of the Knowledge of God, 29 

to himself, having a self mind, and self will, 
and all men will not yield to be one in God. 
God is the common interest of the saints ; and 
therefore all that are truly saints, are truly 
nnited in him. And if all the visible church, 
and all the Avorld, would heartily make him their 
common interest, we should quickly have a 
commsDn unity and peace, and the temple ot 
double-faced Janus would be shut up. They 
that sincerely have one God, have also one Lord 
(and Saviour), one spirit, one faith, one baptism, 
(or holy covenant with God), even because they 
have one God and Father of all, who is above 
all, and through all, and in them all. And 
therefore they must keep the unity of the spirit 
in the bond of peace. Eph. iv. 3—6. Though 
yet they have different degrees of gifts, (ver. 7) 
and therefore differences in opinion about abun- 
dance of inferior things. The further we go 
from the trunk or stock, the more numerous and 
small we shall find the branches. They are one 
in God, that are divided in many doubtful con- 
troversies. The weakest therefore in the faith, 
must be received into this union aivd communion 
of the church ; but not to doubtful disputations. 
Kom. xiv. 1. As the ancient baptism contained 
no more but our engagement to God the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, so the ancient profession 
of saving faith, was of the same extent. God 
is sufficient for the church to unite in. An 
union in other articles of faith, is so far necessary 

30 Of the Knoivledge of God. 

to the unity of the church, as it is necessary 
to prove our faith and unity in God, and the 
sincerity of this ancient simple belief in God 
the Father, Son, and Spirit. 

The unity of God is the attribute to be first 
handled and imprinted on the mind, even next 
unto his essence ; Deut. vi. 4, The Lord our 
God is one Lord. And the unity of the church 
is its excellency and attribute, that is first and 
most to be esteemed and preserved next unto 
its essence. If it be not a church, it cannot 
be one church; and if we be not saints, we 
cannot be united saints. If we be not members, 
we cannot make one body. But when once we 
have the essence of saints and of a church, we 
must next be solicitous for its unity ; nothing 
below an essential point of faith will allow us 
to depart from the catholic unity, love, and 
peace that is due to saints ; and because such 
essentials are never wanting in the catholic 
church, or any true member of it, therefore we 
are never allowed to divide from the catholic 
church, or any true and visible member. It is 
iirst necessary that the church be a church, that 
is, a people separated from the world to Christ ; 
i'.nd that the christian be a christian in covenant 
with the Lord. But the next point of necessity 
is, that the church be one, and christians be one. 
And he that for the sake of lower points, how 
true soever, will break this holy bond of unity, 
shall find at last to his shame and sorrow, that 

0/ the Knowledge of God. 31 

he understood not the excellency or necessity 
of unity. The prayer of Christ for the perfec- 
tion of his saints, is that they all may be one, as 
thou Father art in rae, and I in thee, that they 
also may be one in us; that the world may 
believe that thou hast sent me: and the glory 
which thou gavest me I have given them, that 
they may be one, even as we are one : I in them, 
and thou in me, that they may be made perfect 
in one, that the w^orld may know that thou hast 
sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved 
me. Here it appeareth that the unity of the 
church or saints is necessary, to convince the 
world of the truth of Christianity, and of the 
love of God to his people, and necessary to the 
glory ^nd perfection of the saints. The nearer 
any churches, or members are to the divine 
perfections, and the more strictly conformable 
to the mind of God, the more they are one, and 
replenished with catholic love to all saints, and 
desirous of unity and communion with them. 
It is a most lamentable delusion of some chris- 
tians that think their ascendins; to hisfher desjrees 

o o o 

of holiness, doth partly consist in their with- 
drawing from the catholic church, or from the 
communion of most of the saints on earth, upon 
the account of some smaller differing opinions ; 
and they think that they should become more 
loose, and leave their strictness, if they should 
hold a catholic communion, and leave their state 
of separation, and division ! Is there any strict- 

32 Of the Knowledge of God, 

ness amiable or desirable, except a strict coil-» 
formity to God? Surely a strict way of sin and 
wickedness is not desirable to a saint. And is 
not God one, and his church one, and hath he 
not commanded all his servants to be one, and 
is not love the new and great commandment, by 
which they must be known to all men to be his 
disciples ? Which then is the stricter servant of 
the Lord? he that loveth much, or he that loveth 
little? he that loveth all christians, or he that 
Joveth but a few, with the special love? He 
that loveth a christian as a christian ; or he that 
loveth him but as one of his party or opinion? 
He that is one in the catholic body; or he that 
disowneth communion with the far greater part 
of the body? Will you say that Christ was 
loose, and pharisees strict^ because Christ ate 
and drank with publicans and sinners, and the 
pharisees condemned him for it? It was Christ 
that was stricter in holiness than they; for he 
abounded more in love and good works ; but 
they were stricter than he in a proud, self-con'- 
ceited morosity and separation. Certainly he 
that is highest in love, is highest in grace, and 
not he that confineth his love to few. Was it 
not the weak christian that was the stricter, in 
point of meats and drinks and days ? Rom. xiv» 
and XV. But the stronger that were censured 
by them, did more strictly keep the command- 
ment of God, 

Christian reader, let the unity of God have 

Of the Knowledge of God. 33 

this effect upon thy soul. 1. To draw thee from 
the distracting multitude of creatures, and make 
thee long to be all in God. That thy soul 
may be still working toward him, till thou find 
nothing but God alone within thee. In the 
multitude of thy thoughts within thee, let his 
comforts delight thy soul. Psalm xciv. 19. The 
multitude distracteth thee ; retire into unity 
that thy soul may be composed, quieted, and 

2. And let it make thee long for the unity of 
the saints, and endeavour it to the utmost of 
thy power, that the church in unity may be 
more like the head. 

3. And let it cause thee to admire the hap- 
piness of the saints, that are freed from the 
bondage of the distracting creature, and have 
but one to love, and fear, and trust, and serve, 
and seek, and know ; one thing is needful, which 
-should be chosen, but it is many that we are 
troubled about, Luke xi. 42. 


3. The immensity of God (which is the next 
attribute to be considered) must have this effect 
upon thy soul : 1. The infinite God that is every 
where comprehending all places and things, and 
comprehended by none, must raise admiring 

34 Of the Kuoiuledge of God, 

reverent thoughts in the soul of the believer. 
We wonder at the magnitude of the sun and the 
heavens, and of the whole creation ; but when 
we begin to think what is beyond the heavens, 
and all created being, we are at a kind of loss. 
Why it is God that is in all, and above all, and 
beyond all, and beneath all : and where there is 
no place because no creature, there is God ; and 
if thy thoughts should imagine millions of mil- 
lions of miles beyond all place and measure, all 
is but God, and go as far as thou canst in thy 
thoughts and thou canst not go beyond him. 
Keverently admire the immensity of God. The 
Vvorld and all the creatures in it, are not to God 
so much as a sand or atom is to all the world. 
The point of a needle is more to all the world 
than the world to God. For between that which 
is finite, and that which is infinite, there is no 
comparison. Isa. xl. 12, 15, 17. — Who hath 
measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, 
and meted out heaven with the span, and com- 
prehended the dust of the earth in a measure, 
and weighed the mountains in scales and the 
hills in a balance? — Behold the nations are as a 
drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small 
dust of the balance : behold he taketh up the 
isles as a very little thing. — All nations before 
him are as nothing : and they are counted to 
him Jess than nothing and vanity. 

2. From this greatness and immensity of God 
also thy soul must reverently stay all its busy. 

Of the Knoivledge of God, 35 

bold enquiries, and know that God is to us and 
to every creature incomprehensible. If thou 
couldst fathom or measure him, and know his 
greatness by a comprehensive knowledge, he 
were not God^ A creature can comprehend 
nothing but a creature. You may know God, 
but not comprehend him; as your foot treadetli 
on the earth, but doth not cover all the earth. 
The sea is not the sea if you can hold it in a 
spoon. Thou canst not comprehend the sun 
which thou seest, and by which thou seest all 
things else, nor the sea, or earth, no nor a worm 
or pile of grass : thy understanding knoweth not 
all that God hath put into any the least of 
these; thou art a stranger to thyself, and to 
somewhat in every part of thyself, both body 
and soul. And thinkest thou to comprehend 
God, that perfectly comprehendeth nothing ? 
Stop then thy over bold enquiries, and remember 
that thou art a shallow finite worm, and God is 
infinite. First reach to comprehend the heaven 
and earth and whole creation, before thou think 
of comprehending him, to whom the world is 
nothing, or vanity, or so small a dust, or drop, 
or point. Job xxxvii. 1, 5, saith Elihu, At this 
my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his 
place : hear attentively the noise of his voice.— 
God thundereth marvellously with his voice ; 
great things doth he which we cannot compre- 
hend. How then should we comprehend himself? 
When God pleadeth his cause with Job himself, 

36 Of the Knowledge of God. 

what doth he but convince him of his infinite- 
ness and absoluteness, even from the greatnes^s 
of his works, which are beyond our reach, and 
yet are as nothing to himself! Should he take 
the busy enquirer in hand, but as he did begin 
with Job, xxxviii. 1, 2, Sec— Who is this that 
darkeneth counsel bywords without knowledge? 
Gird up thy loins like a man, for I will demand 
of thee, and answer thou me, &:c. alas, how soon 
would he non-plus and confound us, and make 
us say as Job, xl. 4, Behold I am vile; what 
shall I answer thee ? I will lay my hand upon 
my mouth : once have I spoken, but I will not 
answer; yea twice, but I will proceed no further. 
Indeed there is mentioned, Eph. iii. 11, the 
saints comprehending the dimensions of the love 
of Christ, but as the next verse saith, it passeth 
knowledge ; so conprehending, there, signifieth 
no more but a knowing according to our mea- 
sure ; an attainment of what we are capable to 
attain ; nay nor all that neither, but such a pre- 
valent knowledge of the love of Christ as is 
common to all the saints : as there is nothing 
more visible than the sun, and yet no visible 
being less comprehended by the sight; so is 
there nothing more intelligible than God, (for 
he is all in all things) and yet nothing so incom- 
prehensible to the mind that knoweth him. It 
satisfieth me not to be ignorant of God, nor to 
know so little as I know, nor to be short of the 
measure that I am capable of; but it satistieth 

Of the Kiiotvledge of God. 37 

me to be incapable of comprehending him ; or 
else I must be unsatisfied because 1 am not God. 

the presumptuous arrogance of those men, if 

1 may call them men, that dare prate about the 
infinite God such things as never were revealed 
to them, in his w^orks or word ; and dare pretend 
to measure him by their shallow understandings, 
and question, if not deny and censure, that of 
God which they cannot reach ; and sooner sus- 
pect the word that doth reveal him, than their 
muddy brains that should better conceive of 
him ! Saith Elihu, Job xxxvi. 26, — Behold God 
is great, and we know him not, neither can the 
number of his years be searched out. Though 
the knowledge of him be our life eternal, yet we 
know him not by any full and adequate concep- 
tion. We know an infinite God, and therefore 
with an excellent knowledge objectively consi- 
dered ; but with a poor degree and kind af 
knowledge next to none, as to the act; and it is 
a thousand thousandfold more that we know not 
of him, than that we know : for indeed there is 
no comparison to be here made. 

3. The immensity of God as it proveth him 
incomprehensible, so it containeth his omnipre- 
sence; and therefore should continually affect 
us as men that believe that God stands by them. 
As we would compose our thoughts, and minds, 
and passions, if we saw (were it possible) the 
Lord stand over us, so should we now labor to 
compose them. As we would restrain and use 

38 Of the Knowledge of God, 

our tongues, and order our behaviour if we saw 
his majesty, so should we do now when we l<.now 
that he is with us. An eye servant will work 
hard in his niasfter's presence, whatever he doth 
behind his back. Bestir thee then christian, for 
God stands by ; in him we live and move and 
have our being. Acts xvii. 28. Loiter not till 
thou canst truly say that God is gone or absent 
from, thee; sin not by wilfulness or negligence 
till thou canst say, thou art behind his back. 
Alas! that w^e should have no more awakened 
serious souls, and no more fervent lively prayers, 
and no more serious holy speech, and no more 
careful heavenly lives, when we stand before the 
living God, and do all in his sight, and speak 
all in his hearing ! O why should sense so much 
affect us, and faith and knowledge work no 
more ! We can be awed with the presence of a 
man, and would not do before a prince, what 
most men do before the Lord. Yea other things 
affect us when we see them not; and shall not 
God? but of this more anon. 

4. The immensity of God assureth us much of 
his all-sufficiency. He that is every where, is 
easily able to hear all prayers, to help us in all 
straits, to supply all wants, to punish all sins. 
A blasphemous conceit of God as finite, and as 
absent from us, is one of the causes of our dis- 
trust. He that doth distrust an absent friend, as 
thinking he may forget him, or neglect him, will 
trust him when he is with him ; cannot he hear 

Of the Knoivkdge of God. 39 

thee, and pity thee, and help thee that is still 
with thee ? O what an awe is this to the careless ! 
what a support to faith! what a quickener to 
duty I what a comfort to the afSicted troubled 
soul ! God is in thy poor cottage christian, and 
well acquainted with thy wants. God is at thy 
bedside when thou art sick, and nearer thee than 
the nearest of thy friends. What wouldst thou 
do in want or pain if God stood by ? Wouldst 
thou not pray and trust him if thou sawest him? 
so do though thou see him not, for he is surely 

5. The immensity and infinite greatness of 
God assureth us of his particular providence. 
Some blasphemous infidels imagine that he hath 
only a general providence, and hath left all to 
some inferior powers, and meddleth not with 
particular things himself: they think that as he 
hath left it to the sun to illuminate the world, 
so hath he left all other inferior things and events 
to nature or inferior causes; and that he doth 
not himself regard, observe, reward or punish 
the thoughts, and words, and ways of men. 
And all this is because they consider not the 
immensity or infinite greatness of the Lord. 
It is true, that God hath framed the nature of all 
things, and delighteth to maintain and use the 
frame of second causes which he hath made ; 
and will not easily and ordinarily work against 
or without this order of causes. But it is as 
true and certain both that sometimes he maketh 

40 Of the Knowledge of God, 

use of miracles, and that in the very course of 
natural causes he is able to exercise a particular 
providence, as well as without them by himself 
alone. The creature doth nothing but by him. 
All things move as he first moveth them, in their 
natural agency. His wisdom guideth, his will 
intendeth, and commandeth ; his power raoveth 
and disposeth all. The sun would not shine, if 
he were not the light of it: and he is no less 
himself the light of the world, than if he did 
illuminate it without a sun. God is never the 
further off, because the creatures are near us ; 
nor never the less in the effect, because he useth 
a second cause, than if there were no second 
cause at all. What influence second causes 
have upon the souls of men, he hath for the 
most part kept unknown to us ; but that himself 
disposeth of us and all things after the counsel 
of his own will, is beyond all question. Can he 
that is most nearly present with thy thoughts, 
be regardless of them? Can he be regardless 
of thy words and ways that is with thee and 
seeth and heareth all ? If thou believe not that 
he is as verily with thee as thou art there thyself, 
thou art then an atheist. If thou believe him 
not to be infinite, thou belie vest him not to be 
God. It is not God that can be absent, limited, 
or finite. And if thou be not such a senseless 
atheist, but knowest that God is every where, 
how is it possible thou shouldst doubt of his 
care, or observance, or particular providence 

Of the Knoiuiedge of God. 41 

?ibout every thing? No child is scarce so fool- 
ish that will think his father cares not what he 
saith or doth, when he stands before him. 
Wouldst thou doubt of God's particular provi- 
dence, whether he regard thy heart, and talk, 
and practice, if thou didst see him with thee ? 
sure it is scarce possible. Why then dost thou 
question it when thou knowest that he is with 
thee? If thou be an atheist and knowest not, 
look about thee on the world, and bethink thee 
whether stones, and trees, and earth, whether 
beasts, or birds, or men, do make themselves ; 
if they do, thou were best uphold thyself, and 
be not sick, and do not die. If thou madest 
thyself, thou canst sure preserve thyself; but if 
anything else made thee and all these lower 
things, either it was somewhat greater or less 
than they, either something better or w^orse 
than they. If less, or worse, how could it make 
them greater or better than itself? Can any 
thing give that which it hath not? If it must 
needs be greater and better than the creatures, 
then as it must be wiser than they, and more 
holy, gracious, and just than they, so must it be 
more comprehensive than all they. Whoever 
made this earth, is certainly greater than the 
earth, or else he should give it more than he had 
to give. And if he be greater, he must be 
present: if thou shouldst be so vain as to 
account any other higher thing the maker of 
this world, that is not God, thou must ascrihQ 

42 Of the linozdedge of God, 

also a sufficiency to that maker, to exercise a 
particular providence, and moreover be put to 
consider vv^ho did make that maker. Nothing 
therefore is more certain, even to reason itself, 
than that the maker of the world must be 
greater than the world, and therefore pre- 
sent with all the world; and therefore must 
observe and regard all the world. When thou 
canst find out a thought, or word, or deed that 
was not done in the presence of God, or any 
creature that is not in his presence, then believe 
and spare not that he seeth it not, or regardeth 
it not ; yea, and that it hath no being. O blind 
atheists ! you see the sun before your eyes, which 
enlighteneth all the upper part of the earth at 
once; even millions of millions see all by its 
light; and yet do you doubt whether God 
beholds, and regards, and provides for all at 
once? Tell me, if God had never a creature to 
look to in all the world but thee, wouldst thou 
believe that he would regard thy heart, and 
words, and ways, or not? If he would, why not 
now, as well as then? Is he not as sufficient for 
thee, and as really present with thee, as if he 
had no other creature else ? If all men in the 
world M^ere dead save one, would the sun any 
more illuminate that one than now it doth? 
Mayest thou not see as well by the light of it 
now, as if it had never another to enlighten? 
And dost thou see a creature do so much, and 
wilt thou not believe as much of the creator? 

Of the Knowledge of God, 43 

If thou thiak us worms too low for God so 
exactly to observe, thou mayest as well think 
that we are too low for him to create, or pre- 
serve ; and then v/ho made us and preserveth us ? 
Doth not the sun enlighten the smallest bird, 
and crawling vermin, as well as the greatest 
prince on earth? Doth it withhold its light from 
any creature that can see, and say, I will not 
shine on things so base ? And wilt thou more 
restrain the infinite God that is the maker, light, 
and life of all? It is he that fiUeth all in all. 
Eph. i. 23. The heaven of heavens cann9t con- 
tain him, 1 Kings viii. 27, and is he absent from 
thee ? He doth beset thee before and behind, 
and layeth his hand upon thee; Whither wilt 
thou go from his spirit, or whither wilt thou fly 
from his presence? If thou ascend up into 
heaven, he is there ; if thou make thy bed in 
hell, thou v/ilt feel him there ; if thou take the 
wings of the morning, and dwell in the utter- 
most parts of the sea, even there shalt thou find 
him to be to thee as thou art. Psa. cxxxix. 
5, 7 — 10. Thou mayest think with sinful Adam 
and Eve, Gen. iii. 8, to hide thyself from the 
presence of the Lord : but thou wilt quickly find 
that he observeth thee ; and be sure thy sin will 
find thee out. Numb, xxxii. 23. Thou mayest 
with Cain be turned out of the gracious presence 
of God, Gen. iv. 16, and cast out of his church 
and mercy; and with the damned thou mayest 
be turned out of the presence of his blessedness 

44 Of the Knowledge of God. 

and glory : but thou shalt never be out of his 
essential presence, nor so escape the presence of 
his justice. Job i. 12, and ii. 7. It is the pre- 
sence of his grace where the upright are pro- 
mised here to dwell, Psa. cxl. 13, and out of 
which they fear lest they be cast, Psa. li. 11. 
[Cast me not away from thy presence, and take 
not thy holy spirit from me.] And it is the pre- 
sence where is fulness of joy, which they aspire 
after. Psa. xvi. 11. Bat there is also a presence 
that the earth shall tremble at, Psa. cxiv. 7, and 
that the wicked shall perish at, Psa. Ixviii. 2, so 
that a particular providence must be remem- 
bered by them that believe and remember the 
immensity of God, 


4. The eternity of God is the next attribute 
to be known, which also must have its work 
upon the soul. And 1. This also sheweth us 
that God is incomprehensible; for man cannot 
comprehend eternity. When we go about to 
think of that which hath no beo-innins; nor end, 
it is to our mind, as a place a thousand miles 
off is to our eye ; even beyond our reach ; we 
cannot say there is no such place, yea we know 
there is; but we cannot see it: so we know 
there is an eternal Beino-; but our knowledge 

Of the Knowledge of God. 45 

of his eternity is not intuitive, or comprehensive. 
Eternity therefore is the object of our faith, 
and reverence, and admiration, but forbids our 
busy bold enquiries. O the arrogance of those 
ignorantly-learned, and foolishly-wise disputing 
men, that have so long perplexed, if not torn 
in pieces the church, about the priority and 
posteriority, of the knowledge and decrees of 
God, when they confess them all to be eternal ! 
As if they knew not that terms of priority, 
presentiality, and posteriority, have not that 
significancy in or about eternity as they have 
with us! 

2. The eternity of God must draw the soul 
from transitory, to eternal things. It is an ever- 
lasting blessedness, even the eternal God, that 
our souls are made for; the brutes are made for 
a mortal happiness; the immortal soul cannot 
be fully content with any thing that will have 
an end. As a capacity of this endless blessed- 
ness doth difference man from the beasts that 
perish; so the disposition to it doth difference 
saints from the ungodly ; and the fruition of it 
doth difference the g-lorified from the damned. 
Alas ! what a silly thing were man if he were 
capable of nothing but these transitory things ! 
What were our lives v/orth, and what were our 
time worth, and whatw^ere all our mercies worth, 
0.1' what were all the world worth to us, or what 
were we worth ourselves ! I would not under- 
vtilue the works of God ; but truly if man had 

46 Of the linoidedge of God, 

no other life to live but this, I should esteem 
him a very contemptible creature. If you say 
that there is some excellency in the brutes, I 
answer, true ; but their usefulness is their 
chiefest excellency ; and what is their use but 
to be a glass in which we may see the Lord, 
and to be serviceable to man in his passage to 
eternity? They are not capable of knowing, or 
loving, or enjoying God themselves: but they 
are useful to man that is capable of this; and 
so they have an everlasting end, and this is 
their excellency. And therefore the atheist that 
denieth an everlasting life to man, doth bring 
himself into a far baser state than the brutes 
are in. For the brutes have an everlasting end, 
in promoting the happiness of man : but if man 
have no everlasting end himself, there is no other 
whose everlasting happiness he can promote. 
The unbeliever therefore doth debase his own 
soul, and the whole creation: and faith and 
holiness advance the soul and all things with it, 
that are useful to our advancement. The true 
believer honoreth his horse, his dog, his food 
and raiment, and the earth he treadeth on, and 
every creature, incomparably more than the 
infidel doth honor his own or any other's soul, 
or than he honoreth the greatest prince on earth. 
For the believer useth all things, even the vilest, 
in reference to eternity; but the infidel useth 
his life and soul but to a transitory end ; and 
takes the greatest prince on earth to be but for 

Of the Knowledge of God, 47 

a transitory use. And as eternity is invaluable 
in comparison of time, so the use and excellency 
that a believer doth ascribe to a bit of bread or 
the basest creature, in the sanctified improvement 
of it, is ten thousand times, even unspeakably, 
above the use and excellency that an unbeliever 
ascribeth to his soul or to his prince. He that 
stampeth the image of a dog or a toad upon 
gold instead of the image of the prince, and 
would have ten thousand pounds worth go but 
for a farthing, doth not by a thousand degrees 
so much debase the gold, as the infidel doth 
debase his soul and all things. InfideHty is 
guilty of the destruction of all souls, and the 
destruction of all mercies, and the destruction 
of all divine revelations, of all graces, of all 
ordinances, and means, and of the destruction 
of the whole creation that was made for man: 
for he that destroyeth the end, destroyeth all the 
means : but the infidel destroyeth and denieth 
the end of every one of these, and hohness only 
doth give them up and use them to their ends. 

1. He is guilty of the destruction of all souls; 
for as much as in him lies they are destroyed, 
while they are all made useless to the end for 
which they were created. If there be no other 
life and happiness everlasting, what are souls 
good for? What is the reasonable creature good 
for? Is it to be happy here ? In what? Here 
is no happiness. Is it in eating and drinking 
and sleeping? Why these are to strengthen us 

48 Of the Knowledge of God. 

for our service which tendeth to our end, and 
therefore cannot be themselves our end. Is it 
not better to be without either meat, or drink, or 
sleep, in point of happiness, so be it we also 
were without the need of them, than to need 
them and have them for our need, especially 
with the care and trouble which they cost us ? 
I had an hundred times rather, for my part, if it 
were lawful to desire it, never have meat, or 
drink, or sleep, and be without the need of them, 
as I had rather be without a sere, than to have a 
plaster that will ease it, and be every day at the 
pains to dress it. Brutes have some advantage 
in these above men, in that they have not the 
care, and fear, and sorrow of mind as we have, 
in the getting or keeping what they have or 
need. If you go downward, and say that men 
are made to govern brutes, then what are brutes 
made for, unless to dung the earth? and so the 
basest shall be the end of the noblest, and God 
may be as wisely said to be for man, because he 
is to govern him. Truly if there were no ever- 
lasting life, but man were a mere terrestrial 
animal, I had rather never have been born, or 
should wish I had never been a man : I knew 
not what to do with myself, nor how to employ 
the faculties of my soul or body, but they would 
all seem to me as useless things. What should 
I do with my reason, if I had no higher an end 
than beasts? What should I do with a mind 
that knoweth that there is a God, and another 

Of the Knowledge of God, 49 

World, and that is capable of desiring him, 
seeking and enjoying him, if it must be frus- 
trated of all? What should I do with a heart 
that is capable of the love of God and delighting 
in his love, if I have no God to love and delight 
in when this life is ended ? Why have I a heart 
that so desireth him, in fuller vision and fruition, 
if I be capable of no such thing? What, then, 
should I do with my time and life? Verily I 
know not, if I were fully of this sad opinion, 
whether I should turn brute in my life agreeably 
to my judgment, or whether I should make an 
end of my life to be eased of a useless burden; 
but confident I am I should not know what to 
do with myself; I should be like a poor cashiered 
soldier, or hke one turned out of his service, that 
knew not where to have work and wages : and if 
you found me standing all day idle, I must give, 
you the reason, because no man hath hired me. 
What do those wretches do with their lives, that 
think they have no God to serve and seek, or 
future happiness to attain? As men use to say 
of naughty ministers, so may I say of all man- 
kind according to the doctrine of the infidels: a- 
sorry tailor may make a botcher, or a bad shoe- 
maker may make a cobbler, and a broken mercer, 
may be a pedlar ; but a naughty priest is good 
fornothing, (and it is true of him as such) and as 
Christ himself saith. Matt. v. 13, 14, '' Ye are the 
salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his 
savour, wherewith shall it be salted?" It is 


50 Of the Knowledge of God, 

thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast 
out, and to be trodden under foot of men: ye 
are the light of the world : men do not light a 
candle to put it under a bushel. So I say of 
the reasonable creature : the grass is useful for 
the beasts : the beasts are serviceable unto man : 
a swine that cannot serve you living, is useful 
beino; dead. But if there were no God to seek 
und serve, and no life but this for us to hope for, 
for aught I know man were good for nothing : 
What were light good for if there were no eyes? 
or eyes if there were no light to see by ? What 
is a watch good for but to tell the hour of the 
day? All the curious parts and workmanship 
of it, is worth no more than the metal is worth, 
if it be not useful to its proper end. And what 
reason, and will, and affections in man are good 
for, I know not, if not to seek, to please, and to 
enjoy the Lord! Take off this poise, and all 
the wheels of my soul must stand still, or else 
do worse. 

2. The infidel and ungodly man that looks not 
after an eternal end, destroyeth all the mercies^ 
of God, and makes them as no mercies at all. 
Creation and our being is a mercy : but it is in 
order to our eternal end. Hedemption by Christ 
is an unspeakable mercy ; but it is denied by 
t\\G infidel, and rejected by the ungodly : what is 
Christ worth, and all his mediation, if there be 
no life for man but this? Peace and liberty, 
l^ealth and life, friends and neighbours, food and 

Of the Knowledge of God, 5 1 

raiment, are all mercies to usj as a ship and sails 
are to the mariner, or a fair way, or horse, or 
inn to a traveller: but if by denying our eternal 
-end, you make our voyage or our journey vain, 
these mercies then are little worth: no more 
than a ship on the land, or a plough in the sea; 
or a horse to him that hath no use for him* 
And O what an ungrateful wretch is that who 
will deny all the mercies of God to himself, and 
to all others! For once deny the use and the 
eternal end, and you deny the mercy. 

3. He that beheveth not, or seeks not after an 
eternal end, destroyeth all the doctrine, law, and 
government of God : for all is but to lead us to 
this end. All the holy scriptures, the precepts 
of Christ and his holy example, the covenant of 
grace, the gifts and miracles of the Holy Ghost, 
the light and law of nature itself, are all to bring 
us to our eternal end : and therefore he that 
denieth that end, doth cancel them all, and cast 
them by as useless things. 

4. And he denieth all the graces of the Spirit: 
for what use is there for faith, if the object of it 
be a falsehood? What use for hope, if there be 
no life to be hoped for? What use for holy 
desires and love, if God be not to be enjoyed ? 
Grace is but the delusion and deformity of the 
soul, if the infidel and ungodly be in the right. 

o. They destroy also all the means of our sal- 
vation, if they deny salvation which is the end. 
To what purpose should men study, or read, or 
D 2 

52 Of the Knowledge of GoS^ 

hear, or pray, or use either sacraments or any 
other means, for an end that is not to be had I 
To what end should men obey ov suffer, for any 
such end that is not attainable? 

6. Yea they do let loose the soul to sin, and 
take off all effectual restraint. If there be no 
eternal end, and no reward or punishment but 
here, what can effectually hinder the men of this 
opinion from stealing, whoredom, or any villany 
when it may be done with secrecy? what should 
hinder the revengeful man from poisoning or secret 
murdering his enemy, or setting his hoLSse on fire 
in the night? If I know a man or woman thafe 
believes no life to come, I take it for granted they 
are revengeful, thieves, deceivers, fornicators, or 
any thing that is bad, if they have but temptation 
and secret opportunity. For what hath he to seek 
but the pleasing of his flesh, that thinks he hath 
no God to seek or please, or no future reward or 
punishment to expect ? He that confesseth him- 
self an infidel, to me, doth confess himself to be 
m all things else as bad as ever he can or dare. 
Honesty is renounced by that man or woman that 
profess themselves to be atheists or infidels: 
methinks in congruency with their profession 
tliey should take it for a wrong to be called or 
reputed honest ! if you tell me that heathens had 
a kind of honesty ; I must tell you again that most 
heathens believed the immortality of the soul, 
and that kind of seeming honesty which they had 
was only in those of them that thus expected a 

Of the Knowledge of God. 53 

Jife to come. But those that beheve not another 
life, where man is to have his punishment and 
-reward, have nothing like to honesty in them, but 
live like greedy ravenous beasts, where they are 
from under the laws and government of them that 
look for another life. The cannibals that eat 
men's flesh, and some such savages as they, are 
the nations that expect no life but this. It i« 
believed so commonly by all the civil infidels and 
Turks, as shews it to be a principle that nature 
doth reveal. 

7. Yea the whole creation that is within the 
sight of man is destroyed opinionatively by the 
infidels that look for no immortal life : for all 
things were made to further our salvation: the 
heavens to declare the glory of God, and the 
firmament to shew his handy work, and all crea- 
tures to be our glass in which we must behold the 
iLord, and our book in which we must read and 
learn his nature and his will. The sun is to light 
lUs, and maintain our hfe, and the hfe of other 
'lower xcreatures, while we prepare for immortality : 
the earth as to bear us, and to bear fruit for us; 
-and the trees and plants and every creature to 
■accommodate and serve us, while we serve the 
Lord and pass on to eternity. And therefore the 
atheist that denieth us our eternity, denieth the 
usefulness of all the world ; what were all the 
creatures here good for, if there were no men ? 
the earth would be a wilderness, and the beasts 
would for the most part perish for want of 

54 Of the Knoivledge of God. 

sustenance, and all would be like a forsakett 
cottage that no man dwelleth in, and doth no 
good ; and if man be not the heir of immortality> 
they can do him no good. All creatures are 
but our provision in the way to this eternity : 
and therefore if there were no eternity, what 
should we do with them ? what should we do with 
ways and pavements, or with inns for travellers^ 
or with horses or other provision for our journey,, 
if there were no travelling that way ? And who 
will travel to a place that is not, or a- city that i» 
nowhere but in his brains, besides a mad man ? 
It is evident therefore that as all the tools in a. 
workman's shop, are made useless to him if he be 
forbidden to use his trade, and all the books in 
my library are useless, if I may not read them ta 
get knowliedge ; so all' creatures under heaven 
are made useless and destroyed doctrinally by the 
atheist, that thinks there is no eternal life for 
which they should be used. I must seriously 
profess if I believed this (being in other things 
of the mind I am) I knew not what to do with 
any thing. What should I do with my books, 
but to learn the way to this eternity ? what 
should I do with my money, if there be no trea- 
sure to be laid up in heaven, nor friends to be 
made with the mammon abused commonly to 
unrighteousness? what should I do with my 
tongue, my hands, my time, my life, myself, or 
any thing, if there were no eternity? I think I 
should dig my grave, and lay me down in it an(i 

Of the Knotdedge of God, bo 

^le and perish, to escape the sorrows of a longer 
life that must he my companions. 

Remember then, christians^ and still remember 
it, that eternity is the matter of your faith and 
liope ! Eternity is your portion and felicity ! 
Eternity is th-e end of all your desires, and labors^ 
and distresses I Eternity is your religion, and 
the life of all your holy motions; and as without 
the capacity of it, you would be but beasts, so 
without the love and desire of it, and title to it, 
you would be but wicked miserable men. Set 
^not your hearts on transitory things, while you 
stand near unto eternity. How can you have 
I'OGTn for so many thoughts on fading things, 
when you have an eternity to think on ? What 
light can you see in the candles or glow-worms 
«of this world, in the sunshine of eternity ? Oh 
remember when you are tempted to please your 
^yes, your taste, and sensual desires, that these 
.are not eternal pleasures 1 Remember when you 
are tempted for wealth or honor to wrong your 
«ouls, that these are not the eternal riches! 
Houses and lands are not eternal! Meats and 
drinks are not eternal! Sports and pastimes, 
and jo<:und sinful company are not eternal! 
Alas, how short! how soon do they vanish into 
nothing ! But it is God, and our dear Redeemer 
that are eternal! The flower of beauty wither- 
€th with age, or by the nipping blast of a short 
disease: the honors of the world are but a 
dream J your graves will bury all its glory. 

56 Of the Knowledge of Godi 

Down comes the prince, the lord, the galknfe, 
and suddenly takes his lodgings in the dust, 
The corpse that was pampered and adorned yes- 
terday, is a clod to-day. The body that was 
bowed to, attended and applauded but the other 
day, is now interred in ^he vault of darkness, 
with worms and moles. To day it is corruption 
and a most loathsome thing, that lately wa* 
dreaming of an earthly happiness. One day he 
is striving for riches and pre-eminences, or 
glorying and rejoicing in them, that the next 
day may be snatched away to hell. O fix not 
your minds on fading things, that perish in the 
using, and, by their vanishing, mock you that 
set your hearts upon them. You will not fix 
your eye and mind upon every bird that flyetft 
by you, as you will on the houses that you must 
dwell in: nor will you mind every passenger, as. 
you will do your friends that still live with you. 
And shall transitory vanity be minded by you 
above eternity? 

3. It is eternity that must direct you in your 
estimate of all things. It is this that sheweth 
you the excellency of man above the beasts: it 
is this that tells you the worth of grace, and 
the weight of sin, the preciousness of holy 
ordinances and helps, and the evil of hinderances 
and temptations; the wisdom of the choice and 
diligence of the saints, and the folly of the; 
choice, and negHgent sinful lives of the ungodly; 
the worth of God's favor, and the vanity of 

Of the Knoivledge of God, 57 

lean's ; and the difference between the godly and 
the unsanctified world, in point of happiness. 

Were not grace the egg, the seed, the earnest 
of an eternal glory, it were not so glorious a 
thing. But O how precious are all those 
thoughts, desires, delights, and breathings of 
the soul, that bring us on to sweet eternity! 
Even those sorrows, and groans, and tears are 
precious, that lead to an eternal joy! Who 
would not willingly obey the holy motions of 
the Holy Spirit, that is but hatching and pre- 
paring us for eternity ! This is it that makes a 
bible, a sermon, a holy book, to be of greater 
value than lands and lordships. It is eternity 
that makes the illuminated soul so fearful of 
sinning, so diligent in holy duties, so cheerful 
and resolved in suffering, because he believetli 
it is all for an eternity. A christian in the holy 
assemblies, and in his reading, learning, prayer, 
conference, is laying up for everlasting, when 
the worldling in the market, in the field or shop, 
is making provision for a iew days or hours: 
Thou gloriest in thy riches and pre-eminence 
now, but how long wilt thou do so? To day 
that house, that land is thine; but canst thou 
say it shall be thine to-morrow? Thou canst 
not: but the believer can truly say, my God, 
my Christ, is mine to day, and will be mine to 
all eternity! O Death! thou canst take my 
friends from me, and my worldly riches from me, 
and my time, and strength, and life from me 1 

5-8 Of the Knorcledge of God, 

but take my God, my Christ, my heaven, my 
portion from me, if thou canst! My sin is aQ 
thy sting and strength ! But where is thy stinj^ 
when sin is gone ? and where is thy strength 
when Christ hath conquered thee ? It is a great 
matter that thou deprivest me of my sinful^ 
weak, and troublous friends, when against thy 
will thou bringest me to my perfect blessed 
friends, with whom I must abide for ever! Thoa 
dost indeed bereave me of these riches ; but it 
is that I may possess' the invaluable eternal 
riches ! Thou endest my time, that I may have 
eternity! Thou castest me down, that I may 
be exalted! Thou takest away my strength of 
life, that I may enter into life eternal! And is 
this the worst that death can do ? And shall I 
be afraid of this? I willingly lay by my clothes 
at night, that I may take my rest, and I am not 
loth to put off the old when I must put- on new. 
The bird that is hatched is not grieved because 
he must leave the broken shell. Nor is it tlie 
grief of man or beast that he hath left the 
womb! Death doth but open the womb of time, 
and let us into eternity, and is the second birth-< 
day of the soul. Regeneration brings us into 
the kingdom of grace ; and death into the king- 
dom of glory. Blessed are they that have their 
part in the new birth of grace, and the first 
resurrection from the death of sin; for to such 
the natural death will be gain; and they shall 
have their part in the second resurrection, and 

Of the Knowledge of God, 59 

on them the everlastino^ death shall have no 
power. O sirs, it is eternity that telleth you 
what you should mind, and be, and do ! and that 
turneth the scales in all things where it is con- 
cerned. Can you sleep in sin so near eternity? 
Can you play and laugh before you are prepared 
for eternity ? Can you think him wise that 
selleth his eternal joy for the ease, the mirth, 
the pleasure of a moment, and trifleth away the 
time in which he must win or lose eternity ? If 
these men be wise, there are no fools! nor any 
but wise men in bedlam! Dare thy tongue 
report, or thy heart imagine, that any holy work 
is needless, or a heavenly life too much ado, or 
any suffering too dear, that is for an eternity? 
O happy souls that win eternity with the loss of 
all the world! O bless that Christ, that Spirit, 
that light, that word, that messenger of God, 
that drew thy heart to choose eternity before all 
transitory things ! That was the day when thou 
beganst to be wise, and indeed to shew thyself 
a man! Thy wealth, thy honor, thy pleasure 
will be thine, when the sensual vvorld hath 
nothing to shew but sin and hell, of all they 
labored for. Their pleasures, honors, and all, 
die when they die; but thine will then begin 
their perfection ! The hopes of the ungodly are 
like an addle egg, that when it is broken sends 
forth nothing but an odious stink, when another 
sends forth the living bird ; O all you worldlings,, 
rich and poor, you dream, you play, you trifle>, 

60 Of the Knozcledge of God. 

because you labor not for eternity ! Even worldly 
princes, and nobles of the earth, your glory is 
but a squib, a flash, a nothing, in comparison of 
the eternal glory which you lose ; you are doing 
nothing when you are striving for the world ; 
you are trifling and befooling your immortal 
souls, while you are grasping a shadow, the 
uncertain riches : it fs the believer whom you 
despise, that seeks for something, that loseth 
not his labor, that shews himself a man of rea- 
son, who is caring, and studying, and laboring, 
and praying, and watching, and suffering, for 
eternity ; why is a day in the courts of God, so 
much better than a thousand in the tents or 
palaces of wickedness, but because it is the 
exchange, where we have news of heaven, and 
trade for an eternity ? And why is it better to 
be a door keeper in the house of God, than to 
flourish in the prosperity of sinners, but because 
God's house is the porch or entrance of an 
eternity of delights, and the lowest room among 
the saints aff'ords us a better prospect into hea- 
ven, than the highest state of worldly dignity? 
The ungodly are near to cutting down when 
they flourish in their greatest glory. Ps. xxxvii. 
2, 20. Stay but a little, and he that flourisheth 
^vill be withered and cast into the fire, and the 
righteous shall see it when he is cut off, and 
shall seek him, but he is not to be found, verses 
34 — 38. For the enemies of God, and all that 
me far from him shall perish. Ps. xcii, 9, and 

Of the Knozdedge of God. 61 

Ixxiii 27; their desire shall perish. Ps. cxii. 10; 
their hope shall perish. Prov. xi. 7. Job viii. 13; 
their way shall perish. Ps. i. 6; and himself and 
all that they sought, and loved, and delighted in, 
shall perish. Job xx. 7. 2 Pet. ii. 12. Rom. ii. 12. 
Heb. i. 1 1 . Even the visible heavens and earth, 
which they abused, shall be consumed with fire. 
Seeing then that all these things shall be dis- 
solved, what manner of persons ought we to be 
in all holy conversation and godliness, looking 
towards and waiting for the coming and appear- 
ance of our Lord I 2 Pet. iii. 11. Shall any man 
be accounted wise, that is not wise for eternal 
happiness ? Shall any man be counted happy 
that must be most miserable to eternity? In 
the name of God, christian, I charge thee to 
hold on, and look to thy soul, thy words, thy 
ways, for it is for eternity. O play not, loiter 
not, do nothing by the halves in the way to 
eternity! Let the careless world do what they 
will ; they despise, and know not what they do 
despise ; they neglect, and know not what they 
do neglect; but thou that seekest, and laborest, 
and waitest, knowest what thou seekest, and 
Laborest, and waitest for. They sin and know 
not what they do. They know not what they 
are treasuring up for an eternity. But thou 
knowest why thou hatest, and avoidest sin. 

Sinners, be awakened by the call of God ; 
Do you know where you are, and what you do? 
You are every man of you stepping into eternity. 

62 Of the Knowledge of God, 

Will you sin away, will you loiter away, will yott 
sell for nothing, an eternal glory? Is thy sinful 
lust, and gain, and mirth, and gluttony, and 
excess of drink, a price to set upon eternity ? 
If heaven be no more worth to thee, art thou not 
as bad as Judas, that for thirty pieces of silver 
would sell his Lord ? O eternity, eternity, 
what hearts have they that can so forget thee, 
neglect thee, and disesteem thee, when they 
stand so near thee! O sleepy souls! do you 
never use to rub your eyes, and look before you 
towards eternity? And doth it not amaze you 
to see whither it is that you are going? Merrily 
you run down the hill ; but where is the bottom ! 
If you look but down from the top of a steeple, 
it may occasion an amazing fear; what then 
should it cause in you to look down into hell, 
which is your eternity ? No good can possibly 
be small that is eternal; and no hurt or pain 
can be called little that is eternal : an eternal 
tooth-ache, or an eternal gout, or stone, or fever, 
were a misery unspeakable ; but O what are 
these to an eternal loss of heaven, and to an 
eternal sense of the burning wrath of God 
Almighty! To be out of heaven a day, and in 
hell that day, is a misery now unknown to sin- 
ners; but if it were as many thousand years as 
the earth hath sands, it were a greater misery ; 
but to be there for ever, doth make the misery 
past all hope, and all conceiving. O methinks 
the very name of eternity should frighten the 

Of the Knoivkdge of God. 63 

drunkard out of the alehouse, and the sleepy 
sinner out of his security, and the lustful,, sport- 
ful, voluptuous sinner out of his sensual delights! 
Methinks the very name of eternity should call 
off the worldling to seek betime a more enduring 
treasure, and should take down the gallant's 
pride, and bring men to look after other matters 
than the most do look after. Methinks to hear 
the name of eternity should with men of any 
faith and reason, even blast all the beauty, and 
blur the glory, and sadden the delights, and 
weaken the temptations of the world, and maka 
all its pleasure, pomp, and splendour, to be to 
our apprehensions as a smoke, a shadow, as the 
dirt that we tread upon. Methinks to hear the 
name of eternity, should lay so odious a reproach 
on sin, and so nakedly open the folly, and shame 
and misery of the ungodly, and so lively shew 
the need, and worth of faith and holiness, that 
men should be soon resolved in their choice, and 
soon be at the end of an ungodly course, and 
need no more words to make them the resolved 
servants of the Lord, before to-morrow. O me- 
thinks, that a thought of eternity should with a 
believer answer all temptations, and put life into 
all his prayers and endeavours! If we were 
never so cold, or dull, or sleepy, one w^ould 
think a serious thought of eternity should warm 
us, quicken us, and awake us ! christians, 
shall we hear carelessly or speak carelessly of 
eternity ! Shall we pray coldly, or labor negli- 

64 Of the Knowledge of God, 

gently for eternity ! O what an ocean of joy 
will eternity be unto the sanctified! It hath 
neither banks nor bottom. O what a gulph of 
misery, and woe, will eternity be to the ungodly ! 
Wonderful ! that on their dying beds they quake 
not with the horror, and that they cry not out 
with greatest lamentation, to think what a bot- 
tomless gulf of misery their departing souls' 
must be cast into I To be for ever, ever, ever, 
under the most heavy wrath of God ! This is 
the appointed wages of ungodliness; this is the 
end of wicked ways ; this is it that sinners 
chose, because they would not live to God ! This 
they preferred, or ventured on, before a holy, 
heavenly life! And this is it that believers are 
laboring to escape in ail their holy care and 
diligence ! It is an infinite value that is put 
upon the blood of Christ, the promises of God, 
the ordinances and means of grace, and grace 
itself, and the poorest duties of the poorest 
saints, because they are for an infinite, eternal 
glory. No mercy is small that tastes of heaven 
(as all doth or should do to the behever). No 
action is low that aims at heaven. And O how 
lively should the resolutions and courage of 
those men be, that are travelling, fighting, and 
watching for eternity ! How full should be 
their comforts, that are fetched from the fore- 
sight of infinite eternal comforts ! As all things 
will presently be swallowed up in eternity, so 
methinks the present apprehension of eternity 

Of the Knowledge of God. 65 

ishould now swallow up all things else in the 

Object. But (saith the unbeliever) if God have 
made man for eternity, it is a wonder that there 
are no more lively impressions of so infinite a 
thing upon the souls of all! Our sense of it 
is so small, that it makes me doubt whether we 
-are made for it* 

: Amw. Consider, I. That benumbedness, and 
sleep, and death, is the very state of an unholy 
soul ! Hast thou cast thyself into a sleepy 
senseless disease, and wilt thou argue thence 
against eternity ? This is as if the blind should 
conclude that there is no sun, or that the eye of 
man was not made to see it, because he hath no 
sight himself! Or as if you should think that 
mj^n hath not any Ufe or feeling, because your 
palsie limbs do not feel! Or that the stomach 
was not made for meat, because the stomachs of 
the sick abhor it ! 

II. And for believers, 1. You may see by 
their lives that they have some apprehensions of 
eternity; why else do they differ from you, and 
deny themselves, and displease the world and 
the flesh itself? Why do they set their hearts 
above, if they have not lively thoughts of an 
.eternity ? 

2. But if you ask me. Why their apprehen- 
sions are not a thousand times more lively about 
so infinite a thing? I answer, 1. Their appre- 
hensions must be suitable to their state. Our 

66 Of the Knowledge of God. 

state here is a state of imperfection ; and so will 
our apprehensions be ; but a perfect state will 
have perfect apprehensions. It is no proof that 
the infant in the womb is not made to come into 
this world, and see the sun, and converse with 
men, because he hath no apprehensions of it* 
Our state here is a conjunction of the soul to a 
frail distempered body; and so near a conjunc- 
tion, that the actions of the soul must have 
great dependance on the body; and therefore 
our apprehensionis are limited by its frailty; and 
the soul can go no higher than the capacity of 
the body will allow ; 2. And our apprehensions 
how are fitted to our use and benefit; we are 
now believers, and must live by faith : and 
therefore must not be beholders, and live by 
sense. If eternity were open to men*s natural 
sight, or we had here as clear and lively appre- 
hensions of it, as those have that are there, then 
it were no thanks, no praise to us to be believers, 
or to obey, and live as saints ! And then God 
should not govern man as man here in the way 
by a law, but as a beast by sense, or as the glo- 
rified that have possession. Where there are 
perfect apprehensions of God and glory, there 
will be also perfect love, and joy, and praise, 
and consequently perfect happiness; and this 
were to make earth and heaven, the way and the 
end to be all one. Perfect apprehensions are 
kept for a perfect state of happiness. But here 
it is wpU if we have such apprehensions as are 

Of the Knowledge of God. 61 

fitted to the use of travellers and soldiers as will 
carry us on, and prevail against the difficulties 
of our course. If you had never been at 
London, you could not have any such clear 
apprehensions of the place as those that see it 
have; and yet your imperfect apprehensions 
might be sufficient to make you take a journey 
thither, and you may come as safely and cer- 
tainly to it, as if you had seen it. Moreover, 
the body, the brain, which the soul in appre- 
hendins: now makes use of, cannot bear such 
apprehensions as are suitable to the thousandth 
part of the greatness of the object, without 
distraction. The smallest eye may see the sun, 
but the greatest cannot endure to gaze upon its 
glory ; much less if it were at the nearest 
approach. It is a mercy of mercies to give us 
such apprehensions of eternity, as are meet for 
passengers to bring us thither ; and it is part of 
our mercy that those apprehensions are not so 
great as to distract and overwhelm us. 

4. Lastly, The eternity of God must teach 
the soul contentedness and patience under all 
labors, changes, sufferings, and dangers that are 
here below. Believing soul, draw near; look 
seriously on eternity, and try whether it will not 
make such impressions as these upon thee. Art 
thou weary of labors, either of the mind or 
body? Is not eternity long enough for thy rest? 
Canst thou not affi^rd to work out the day light 
gf this Ufe^ when thou must rest with Christ ta 

"68 ty the Knoivledge of God. 

all eternity ? Canst thou not run with patience 
.>so short a race, when thou lookest to so long a 
rest? Canst thou not watch one hour with 
Christ, that must reign with him to all eternity? 
Dost thou begin to shrink at sufferings for 
Christ, when thou must be in glory with him for 
€ver? How short is the suffering ! how long is 
. the reward ! Dast thou begin to think hardly of 
the dealing of the Lord, because his people are 
here afflicted, and made the scorn and by-word 
of the world ? Why is not eternity long enough 
;for God to shew his love and bounty to his people 
in ? Is not the day at hand, when Lazarus and 
the rich worldling both must hear '* But now he 
is comforted, ^nd thou art tormented." Luke 
xvi. 25. Did not that " now" come time enough 
which was the entrance of eternity ? Even Jesus 
the author and perfecter of our faith, for the 
joy that was set before him, endured the cross, 
despising the shame, and is set down at the 
right hand of the throne of God ! Consider him 
that endured such contradiction of sinners against 
himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your 
minds. Heb. xii. 2, 3. Dost thou grudge at the 
prosperity of the wicked, and prevalence of the 
church's enemies? Look then unto eternity, 
and bethink thee whether that be not long 
enough for the saints to reign, and the wicked 
to be tormented. Wouldst thou have them in 
hell before their time? Dost thou begin to 
jdoubt of the coming of Christ, or the truth of 

Of the Knowledge of Godl 6Sf 

his promises, because he doth so long delay? 
O what is a thousand years to eternity! Is 
there not yet time enough before thee, for Christ 
to make goad all his promises in ? Were not 
those disciples sharply but justly rebuked as 
fools, and slow of heart to believe, that when 
their Lord had been but two days dead, were 
unbeUevingly saying, we hoped this had been 
he that should have redeemed Israel? O remem- 
ber, christian, in all thy darkness and ignorance 
of the difficult passages of scripture, or of 
providence, that the things that are chained to 
eternity, cannot be perfectly understood by him 
that standeth in an inch of time; but when 
eternity comes, thou shalt understand them. 
Remember when thino-s seem crooked in this 
world, and the best are lowest, and the worst 
are highest, that eternity is long enough to set 
all straight. Remember when sinners crow and 
triumph, that eternity is long enough for their 
complaints ! In thy poverty, and pain, and 
longest afflictions, remember that eternity is 
long enough for thy relief. If thy sorrow be 
long, and thy comforts short, remember that 
eternity is long enough for thy joys. Cannot 
we be content to take up short in this life, when 
we believe eternity ? Dost thou stagger at the 
length or strength of thy temptations? and art 
thou ready to draw back and venture upon sin ? 
Why what temptation can there be, that should 
not be lighter than a feather, if eternity be put 

70 Of the Knowledge of God. 

against it in the scales? In a word, if there be 
any man that escapeth the foolish seductions of 
this world, and useth it as not abusing it, and 
hath all his worldly accommodations as if he 
had none, it is he that fixeth his eye upon eter- 
nity, and seeth that the fashion of these lower 
things doth pass away, 1 Cor. vii. 29 — 31. No 
man can be ignorant of the necessity and worth 
of a holy life, that discerneth that the Eternal 
God is the end of it. The right apprehensions 
of God's eternity, (supposing him our end, which 
is further to be manifested in its place) is a most 
powerful antidote against all sin, and a most 
powerful composer of a distempered mind, and 
a most powerful means to keep up all the powers 
of the soul in a resolute, vigorous, cheerful 
motion to the Eternal God for whom and by 
whom it was created. 


5. The next attribute of God, that is to make 
its impress on us, is, that he is a Spirit. In this 
one are these three especially comprehended : 
I. That he is simple, and not material or com- 
pounded as bodies are ; II. That he is invisible, 
and not to be seen as bodies are : III. That he is 
immortal and incorruptible, and not subject to 
death or change, as bodies are. 

Of the Knowledge of God. 7 1 

I. As simplicity signifieth unity in opposition 
to multiplicity we have spoken of it before. As 
it is opposite to all materiality, mixture or com- 
position, we are now to speak of it: and the 
believing thoughts of God's immateriality and 
simplicity, should have these three effects upon 
the soul. 1 . It should do much to win the heart 
of God, and cause it to close with him as its 
felicity: because as he hath no matter or mix- 
ture, so he hath nothing but pure and perfect 
goodness, and therefore there is nothing in him 
to discourage the soul. The creatures have evil 
in them with their good, and by contrary qualities 
do hurt us when they help Us, and displease us 
when they please us : but in God there is nothing 
but infinite goodness. And should not the soul 
adhere to him, where it is sure to find nothing 
but simple, pure and unmixed good? the crea- 
tures are all liable to some exceptions : in one 
thing they help us, but in another they hinder 
us ; in one thing they are suitable to us, and in 
another thing unsuitable ! but God is liable to 
no exceptions. This will for ever confound the 
ungodly that gave not up themselves unto him : 
they did even for a thing of nought forsake that 
God that was purely and simply good, and 
against whom they had no exceptions. Had 
there been any thing in God to discourage the 
soul, or which his most malicious enemy could 
blame, the ungodly soul had some excuse. But 
this will stop all the mouths of the condemned. 

72 Of the Knowledge of God. 

that they had nothing to say against the Lord, 
and yet they had no mind to him, no hearts for 
him, in comparisonof the vain vexatious creatures. 
2. The simphcity of God should make us 
know the imperfection and vanity of all the crea- 
tures that are compounded things ; and so should 
help to alienate us from them. Our friends have 
in them perhaps much holiness, but mixed with 
much sin. They may have much knowledge ; but 
mixed with much ignorance. Their humility is 
mixed with pride; their meekness with some 
passions, their love with selfishness, and a small 
matter will cause them to distaste us : they may 
be much for God ; but withal they may do much 
against him. They help the church ; but through 
their weakness they may lamentably detract or 
wrong it : they are able to help us but in part ; and 
willing but in part; and they have usually inte- 
rests of their own, that are inconsistent with ours. 
We have no commodity, but hath its discommo- 
dity: our houses, our families, our neighbours, 
our callings, our cattle, our land, our countries, 
churches, ministers, magistrates, laws and judg- 
ments, yea even health, and plenty, and peace 
itself, all have their mixtures of bitterness or 
danger, and those the most dangerous commonly 
that have least bitterness. But in God there is 
none of all this mixture, but pure uncompounded 
good. He is light, and with him is no darkn-ess. 
1 John. 1. 5. Indeed there is somewhat in God 
that an ungodly man distasteth, and that seeraeth 

Of the Knowledge of God. 73 

in the state that he is in to be against him and 
hurtful to him : as is his justice, holiness, truth, 
8cc. but justice is not evil, because it doth con- 
demn a thief or murderer : meat is not bad 
because the sick distaste it. It is the cross 
position of the sinful soul, or his enmity to the 
Lord, that makes the Lord to use him as an 
enemy. Let him but become a subject fit for 
sweeter dealing from God, and he is sure to find it. 
Leave then the compounded, self-contradicting 
creature, and adhere to the pure simple Deity. 

3. God's simplicity must draw the soul to a 
holy simphcity, that it may be like to God. 
We that serve a pure simple God, must do it 
with simple pure affections, and not with hypo- 
crisy, or a double heart. His interest in us should 
be maintained with a holy jealousy, that no other 
interest mix itself therewith. The soul should 
attain to a holy simphcity by closing with the 
simple infinite God, and suffering nothing to be 
a sharer with him in our superlative affections. 
All creatures must keep their places in our hearts, 
and that is only in a due subordination and 
subserviency to the Lord : but nothing should 
take up the least of that estimation, affections 
or endeavours that are his own peculiar. God 
will not accept of half a heart : a double minded, 
double hearted, double faced, or double tono-ued 
person, is contrary to the holy simplicity of a 
saint. As we would not bow the knee to any 
gods but one, so neither should we bow the 


74 Of the Knowledge of God, 

heart or life to them. We should know what m 
God's prerogative, and that we should keep 
entirely for him. A subordinate esteem, and 
love, and desire the creature may have, as it 
reveal eth God to us, or leadeth to him, or 
helpeth us in his work : but it should not have 
the least of his part in our esteem, or love, or 
desire. This is the chastity, the purity, the 
integrity of the soul. It is the mixture, impu- 
rity, corruption and confusion of our souls, when 
any thing is taken in with God. See therefore 
christian that in thy heart thou have no God but 
One, and that he have all thy heart, and soul, 
and strength, as far as thou canst attain it. And 
because there will be still, in imperfect souls, 
some sinful mixture of the creature's interest 
with God's, let it be the work of thy life to be 
watching against it, and casting it out, and 
cleansing thy heart of it, as thou wouldst do thy 
food if it fall into the dirt. For whatever is 
added to God in thy affections, doth make no 
better an increase there, than the adding of 
earth unto thy gold, or of dung unto thy meat, 
or of corrupted humours and sickness to thy 
body. Mixture will make no better work. 

It may be thy rejoicing if thou have the tes- 
timony of a good conscience, that in simplicity 
and godly sincerity, and not in fleshly wisdom, 
but by the grace of God, thou hast had thy con- 
versation in the world. 2 Cor. i. 12. It is the 
state of hypocrisy, when one God is openly 

Of the Knowledge of God, 75 

professed and worshipped, and yet the creature 
lieth deepest and nearest to the heart. 

II. The invisibility of God also must have its 
due effects upon us. And, 1. It must warn us, 
that we picture not God to our eye sight, or in 
our fancies, in any bodily shape. Saith the pro- 
phet, Isa. xl. 18. To whom will you liken God? 
or what likeness will ye compare unto him ? so 
25. No man hath seen God at any time; the 
only begotten Son which is in the bosom of 
his Father, he hath declared him. John i. 18; 
and therefore we must conceive of him but as 
he is declared. John vi. 46. Not that any man 
hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, 
he hath seen the Father. 

If you ask me, how then you should conceive 
of God, if not in any bodily shape ? I answer, 
get all these attributes and relations of God, to 
make their proper impress upon thy soul, as 
now I am teaching you, and then you will have 
the true conceiving of God : this question there- 
fore is to be answered at the end of this dis- 
course, when you have seen all the attributes 
of God together, and heard what impression 
they must make upon you. 

2. This must teach us, to think most highly 
of the things that are invisible, and raeanlier of 
these visible things. Let it be the property of 
a beast and not of a man, to know nothing but 
what he seeth or hath seen : let it be the mark 
of the brutish infidels, and not of christians, to 

76 Of the Knowledge of God. 

doubt of the invisible things because they are 
invisible; or to think that things visible are 
more excellent or sure, A& the senses are more 
ignoble than the intellect, (a beast having as 
perfect senses as a man, and yet no reasonable 
understanding) so the objects of sense must 
proportionably be below the objects of the 
understanding, as such. The grossest and most 
palpable objects are the basest. It is the subtle 
part that is called the spirits, which being drawn 
out of plants or other vegetables, is most power-^ 
ful and excellent, and valued, when the earthly 
dregs are cast away as httle worth. It is that 
subtle part in our blood that is called the spirits, 
that hath more of the virtue of life, and doth 
more of the works than the feculent, gross, and 
earthly part. The air and wind have as true a 
beins: as the earth, and a more excellent nature^ 
though it be more gross, and they invisible. 
The body is not so excellent as the invisible 
soul. Invisible things are as real as visible,, 
and as suitable to our more noble invisible part, 
as visible things to our fleshly baser part. 

3. The invisibility of God must teach us to 
live a life of faith, and to get above a sensual 
life : and it must teach us to value the faith of 
the saints, as knowing its excellency and neces- 
sity. Invisible objects have the most perfect 
excellent reality; and therefore faith hath the 
pre-eminence above sense. Natural reason can 
live upon things not seen, if they have been 

Of the Kiioioledge of God. 77 

•^SP.en, or can be known by natural evidence : (sub- 
jects obey a prince that they see not; and fear a 
punishment which they see not: and the nature 
of man is afraid of the devils though we see 
them not). But faith liveth upon such invisible 
things, as mortal eye did never see, nor natural 
ordinary evidence demonstrate, but are revealed 
only by the word of God : though, about many 
of its invisible objects, faith hath the consent 
of reason for its encourasiement. Value not 
sio'ht and sense too much. Think not all to be 
mere uncertainties and notions that are not the 
objects of sense. We should not have heard 
that God is a Spirit, if corporal substances had 
not a baser kind of being than spirits.: intellec- 
tion is a more noble operation than sense. If 
there be any thing properly called sense in hea- 
ven, it will be as far below the pure intellective 
intuition of the Lord, as the glorified body will 
be below the glorified soul. But what that dif- 
ference will be, we cannot now understand. Fix 
not your minds on sensible things. Remember 
that your God, your home, your portion, are 
unseen : and therefore live in hearty affections 
to them, and serious prosecution of them, as if 
you saw them. Pray as if you saw God, and 
heaven, and hell. Hear as if you saw him that 
sends his messenger to speak to you. Resist 
all the temptations to lust, and sensuality, and 
-every sin, as you would do if you saw God 
stand by. Love him, and fear him, and trust 

78 Of the Knowledge of God, 

him, and serve him, as you would do if you 
beheld him. Faith is the evidence of things 
not seen. Heb. xi. 1. Believing must be to you 
instead of seeing; and make you as serious 
about things unseen, as sensual men are about 
things sensible. In every thing that you see, 
remember it is he that is unseen that appeareth in 
them. He lighteth you by the sun; he warmeth 
you by the fire ; he beareth you by the earth. 
See him in all these by the eye of faith. 

III. The immortality, incorruptibility, and 
iramutabihty of God, must 1. Teach the soul to 
rise up from these mortal, corruptible, mutable 
things, and to fix upon that God ^N\io is the 
immortal, incorruptible portion of his saints. 

2. It must comfort and encourage all believers 
in the consideration of their felicity ; and sup- 
port them under the failings of all mortal, cor- 
ruptible things. Our parents, and children, and 
friends are mortal ; they are our's to-day, and 
dead to-morrow; they are our delight to-day, 
and our sorrow or horror to-morrow: but our 
God is immortal. Our houses may be burned ; 
our goods may be consumed or stolen; our 
clothes will be worn out; our treasure here may 
le corrupted: but our God is unchangeable, 
the same for ever. Our laws and customs 
may be changed; our governors and privileges 
changed ; our company, and employments, and 
habitation changed : but our God is never 
changed. Oar estates may change from riches 

Of the Knowledge of God. 79 

to poverty, and our names that were honored 
may incur disgrace; our health may quickly 
turn to sickness, and our ease to pain: but still 
our God is unchang-eable for ever. Our friends 
are inconstant and may turn our enemies; our 
peace may be changed into war, and our liberty 
into slavery: but our God doth never change. 
Time will change customs, families, and all 
things here : but it changeth not our God. The 
■creatures are all but earthen metal, and quickly 
dashed in pieces ; our comforts are changeable ; 
ourselves are changeable and mortal : but so is 
not our God. 

3. And it should teach us to draw as near to 
God as we are capable, by unchangeable fixed 
resolutions, and constancy of endeavours; and 
to be still the same as we are at the best. 

4. It should move us also to be more desirous 
of passing into the state of immortality, and to 
long; for our unchan2:eable habitation, and our 
immortal, incorruptible bodies, and to possess 
the kincrdom that cannot be moved. Heb. xii. 28. 
And let not the mutability of things below 
much trouble us, while our rock, our portion, is 
unmoveable. God waxeth not old: heaven doth 
not decay by duration : the glory of the blessed 
shall not wither, nor their sun set upon them, 
nor their day have any night ; nor any mutations 
or commotions disturb their quiet possessions. 
O love and long for immortality and incorruption ! 

80 Of the Knowledge of God. 


6. Having spoken of the effects of tlie attri- 
butes of God's essence as such, we must next 
speak of the effects of his three great attributes 
which some call subsistential, that is, his omni- 
potency, understanding and will; or his infinite 
power, wisdom and goodness : by which it hath 
been the way of the schoolmen and other divines 
to denominate the three persons, not without 
some comitenance from scripture phrase. The 
Father they call the infinite power of the God- 
head; and the Son, the wisdom and word of God, 
and of the Father : and the Holy Ghost, the love 
and goodness of God, of the Father and Son. But 
that these attributes of power, understanding and 
will, or power, wisdom and goodness, are of the 
same importance with the terms of personality, 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, we presume not 
to afl[irm. It sufficeth us, 1. That God hath 
assumed these attributes to himself in Scripture. 
2. And that man, who beareth the natural image 
of God, hath power, understanding and will; 
and as he beareth the holy moral image of God, 
he hath a power to execute that which is good, 
and wisdom to direct, and goodness of will to 
determine for the execution : and so while God 
is seen of us in this glass of man, we must 
conceive of him after the image that in man 

Of the Knowledge of God. 81 

appeareth to us, and speak of him in the language 
of man, as he doth of himself. 

And first, the almig^htiness of God must make 
these impressions on our souls. 1. It must pos- 
sess the soul with very awful reverend thoughts 
of God ; and fill us continually with his holy 
fear. Infinite greatness and power, must have 
no common careless thoughts, lest we blaspheme 
him in our minds, and be guilty of contempt. 
The dread of the heavenly majesty should be still 
upon us ; and we must be in his fear all the day 
long. Prov. xxiii. 17, Not under that slavish fear 
that is void of love, as men fear an enemy, or 
hurtful creature, or that which is evil: for vre 
have not such a spirit from the Lord, nor stand 
in a relation of enmi-ty and bondage to him: bat 
reverence is necessary; and from thence a fear 
of sinning and displeasing so great a God. The 
fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. 
Prov. i. 7. ix. 10. Ps. cxi. 10. By it men depart 
from evil. Prov. xvi. 6. Sin is for want of the 
fear of God. Luke xxiii. 40. Prov. iii. 7. Jer. v. 
24. Lev. XXV. 36. The fear of God is often piit 
for the whole new man, or all the work of grace 
within us, even the principle of new life. Jer. ii. 
1:9. xxxii. 40. And it is often put for the whcle 
work of religion or service of God. Ps. xxxiv. 
11. Prov. i. 29. Ps. cxxx; 4. xxxiv. 9. And 
therefore the godly are usually denominated, 
such as fear God. Ps. xv. 4. xxii. 23. cxv. 
11, 13. cxxxv. 20. xxxiv. 7, 9. &c. The godly 

82 Of the Knoioledge of God, 

are devoted to the fear of God. Ps. cxix. 38. 
It is our sanctifying the Lord in our hearts, 
that he be our fear and dread. Isa. viii. 13. If 
we fear him not, we take him not for our master. 
Mai. i. 6. Evangelical grace excludeth not this 
fear, Luke xii. 5. Though we receive a kingdom 
that cannot be moved, yet must our acceptable 
service of God be with reverence and godly fear. 
Heb. xii. 28. With fear and trembling we must 
work out our salvation. Phil. ii. 12. In fear we 
must pass the time of sojourning here. 1 Pet. 
i. 17. In it we must converse together. Eph. v. 4. 
Yea holiness is to be perfected in the fear of God, 
2 Cor. vii. 1. and that because we have the pro- 
mises. The most prosperous churches walk in 
this fear. Acts ix. 31. It is a necessary means of 
preventing destruction, Heb. xi. 7. and of attain- 
ing salvation, when we have the promises. Heb. 
iv. 1 . God puts this fear in the hearts of those 
that shall not depart from him. Jer. xxxii. 40. 
See therefore, that the greatness of the Almighty 
God possess thy soul continually with his fear. 

2. God's almightiness should also possess us 
with holy admiration of him, and cause us in 
heart and voice to magnify him. Oh what a 
pov/er is that which made the world of nothing ! 
which upholdeth the earth without any founda- 
tion but his will ! which placed and maintaineth 
all things in their order in heaven and earth ! 
which causeth so great and glorious a creature 
as the sun, that is so much bigger than all the 

Of the Knowledge of God. 83 

earth, to move so many thousand miles in a few 
moments, and constantly to keep its time and 
course! that giveth its instinct to every brute, 
and causeth every part of nature to do its office ! 
By his power it is that every motion of the crea- 
ture is performed, and that order is kept in the 
kingdoms of the world. Jer. xxxii. 17, 18, 19. 
" He made the heaven and the earth by his great 
power and stretched out arm, and nothing is too 
hard for him : the great, the mighty God, the 
Lord of Hosts is his name ; great in counsel, and 
mighty in works." Neh. ix. 32. " The great, the 
mighty, the terrible God." Ps. cxxxvi. 4. To 
him therefore that alone doth great wonders we 
must give the greatest praise. " O how great are 
his works, and his thoughts are very deep." 
Ps. xcii. 5. *^ Great is our Lord and of great 
power." Ps. cxlvii. 5. ^* And therefore in Zion 
must he be great." Ps. xcix. 2. And his great 
and terrible name must be praised. 

3. In the church where he is known, must 
his name be great. Ps. Ixxvi. 1. For we know 
that the Lord is great, and our God is above all 
Gods. Ps.cxxxv. 5. His saints delight to praise 
his greatness, Ps. civ. 1 — 4. " Bless the Lord, 
O my soul ! O Lord my God thou art very great : 
thou art clothed with honor and majesty, who 
covereth thyself with light as with a garment, 
who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain, 
who layeth the beams of his chambers in the 
waters, who maketh the clouds his chariot, who 

84 Of the Knozdedge of God. 

walketh upon the wings of the wind, who maketh 
his angels spirits, his ministers a flame of fire, 
&c/' From almightiness all things have their 
being, and therefore must honor the Almighty. 
Rev. i. 8, ** I am Alpha and Omega, the begin- 
ning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, 
and which was, and which is to come, the 
Almighty." Rev. xv. 3, They that magnify the 
Lord with the song of Moses and of the Lamb, 
say ** Great and marvellous are thy works, O 
Lord God Almighty ; j ust and true are thy ways 
thou King of Saints." 

IL The almightiness of God must imprint upon 
our souls a strong and steadfast confidence in 
him, according to the tenor of his covenant and 
promises. Nothing more certain than that impo- 
tency and insufficiency will never cause him to 
fail us or to break his word. O what an encou- 
ragement is it to the saints, that they are built 
on such an impregnable rock, and that omni- 
potency is engaged for them! And O what a 
shame is this to our unbelief, that ever we 
should distrust omnipotency ! 

If God be almighty, L Remember in thy 
greatest wants, that there is no want but he can 
easily and abundantly supply. 

2. Remember in thy greatest sufferings, pains, 
or dangers, that no pain is so great which he 
cannot mitigate and remove, and no danger so 
great from which he is not able to deliver thee. 
The servants of Christ dare venture on the 

Of the Knowledge of God, 85 

flames, because they trust upon the Almighty, 
Dan. iii. 16*— 18. In confidence on onniipotency 
they dare stand against the threatenings of the 
greatest upon earth. " We are not careful," said 
those three believers to the king, " to answer 
thee in this matter : if it be so, our God whom 
we serve is able to deliver us," 8cc. He that is 
afraid to stand upon a slender bow, or upon the 
unstable waters, is not afraid to stand upon the 
earth ; and he that is afraid of robbers when he 
is alone, is bolder in a conquering army. What 
will man trust, if he distrust omnipotency ? 
Where can we be safe, if not in the love, the 
covenant, the hands of the Almighty God? 
When storms and winds had feared the disci- 
ples, lest they should be drowned when Christ 
was in the ship, their sin was aggravated by the 
presence of their powerful Lord, whose mighty 
works they had often seen, " Why fear ye," 
saith he, '' O ye of little faith !" Matt. viii. 26. 
Cannot he rebuke our winds and waves ! and 
will not all obey the rebukes of the Almighty ? 
When thou hast a want that God cannot supply, 
or a sickness that he cannot cure, or a dano-er 
that he cannot prevent, then be thou fearful, and 
distrust him and spare not. 

3. Remember also in thy lowest state, and in 
the church's greatest sufferings or dangers, that 
the Almighty is able to raise up his church or 
thee even in a moment. 

If you say, that it is true God can do it, but 

86 Of the Knowledge of God. 

we know not whether he will ; I answer, I. I shall 
shew you in due place, how far he hath revealed 
his will for such deliverances. In sum, we have 
his promise, that all things shall work together 
for our good. Rom. viii. 28. and what would we 
have more ? Would you have that which is evil 
for you ? 

II. At present, see that omnipotency do esta- 
blish thy confidence so far as it is concerned in 
the cause. As 1. Be sure that no work is too 
hard for the Almighty ; do not so much as in the 
thoughts of thy heart make question of his 
power, and say with those unbelievers, Psalm 
ixxviii. 19, 20, ** Can God furnish a table in the 
wilderness ? Can he give bread also ? Can he 
provide flesh?" If really thou distrust not the 
power of God, believe then the most difficult 
or improbable things, as well as the easiest and 
most probable, if God reveal or promise them. 
The resurrection seemeth improbable to impotent 
man; but God hath promised it; and nothing is 
difficult to omnipotency. The calling of the 
Jews ; the ruin of the Turk ; the downfall of the 
Pope ; the unity of Christians, do all seem to us 
unlikely things; but all things to God are not 
only possible, but easy. He is at no more labor 
to make a world, than to make a straw, or make 
a fly. " Whatsoever pleased the Lord, that did 
he in heaven and earth, in the sea and in the 
depths." Ps. cxxxv. 6. Dost thou think it 
improbable that ever all thy sins should be con- 

Of the Knowledge of God, 87 

quered ? and that ever thy soul should live with 
Christ among the holy saints and angels? and 
that ever thy body that must first be dust, 
should shine as the stars in the firmament of 
God? And why doth it seem to thee improba- 
ble? Is it not as easy to God as to cause the 
earth to stand on nothing, and the sun to run its 
daily course ? If God had promised thee to live 
a day longer, or any small and common things, 
thou couldst then believe him; and is it not as 
easy to him to advance thee to everlasting glory, 
as to cause thee to live another hour, or to keep 
a hair of thy head from perishing ? Sin is too 
strong for thee to overcome; but not for God. 
Death is too strong for thee to conquer; but not 
for Christ. Heaven is too high for thee to reach 
by thy ovv^n strength; but he that is there, and 
prepared it for thee, can take thee thither. 
Trust God, or trust nothing: he that cannot 
trust in him, shall despair for ever ; for all other 
confidence will deceive him. '* They that know 
his name, will put their trust in him; for the 
Lord hath not forsaken them that seek him." Ps. 
ix. 10. " All those that trust in him shall rejoice, 
and ever shout for joy, because he defend eth 
them." Ps. V. 11. " Blessed is the man that 
maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not 
the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies." Ps. 
xl. 4. *' Whoso putteth his trust in the Lord 
shall be safe." Prov- xxix. 25. O what hath 
almio'htiness done in the world ! and what for 

88 Of the Knowledge of God. 

the church ! and what for thee ! and yet wilt 
thou distrust him ? " O how great is the good- 
ness that he hath laid up for them that fear him ; 
which he hath wrought for them that trust in 
him before the sons of men!" Ps. xxxi. 19. 
*' The Lord redeemeth the souls of his servants, 
and none of them that trust in him shall be 
desolate." Ps. xxxiv. 22. Are thy straits too 
great? thy work too hard? " Commit thy way 
unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall 
bring it to pass." Ps. xxxvii. 5. In thy lowest 
state look up to the Almighty, and say, ** What 
time I am afraid I will trust in thee : in God 
have I put my trust ; I will not fear what man 
can do unto me." Ps. Ivi. 3, 4. " The Lord is 
my rock, and my fortress, and my dehverer: my 
God, my strength, in whom I will put my trust : 
my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and 
my high tower," Ps. xviii. 2. He is a buckler 
to all that trust in him. '' Some trust in 
chariots, and some in horses ; but we will 
remember the name of the Lord our God." Ps. 
XX. 7. Trust not in the creature ; that is, in 
vanity and infirmity. There is not almightiness 
in man, or any creature. " It is better therefore 
to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in 
man : it is better to trust in the Lord, than to 
put confidence in princes." Ps. cxviii. 7, 8. 
What a working passage is that, Jer. xvii. 5 — 7, 
" Thus saith the Lord, cursed be man that trust- 
eth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose 

Of the Knowledge of God. 89 

heart departeth from the Lord ! For he shall 
be Hke the heath in the deserts, and shall not 
see when good cometh. Blessed is the man 
that trusteth in the Lord, whose hope the Lord 
is; for he shall be as a tree planted by the 
waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the 
river, and shall not see when heat cometh — " 

2. Trust also in God, as one that is assured 
that no enemy is too strong for the Almighty ; 
Alas! what is an army of dust to omnipotency? 
If the Lord do but arise, his enemies will be 
scattered, and they that hate him will flee before 
him ; as smoke is driven away, and as wax 
melteth before the fire, the wicked shall perish 
at the presence of the Lord. Ps. Ixviii. 1, 2. 
While the Lord of hosts is for us, we need not 
fear if hosts come against us ; at worst they can 
but kill our bodies ; and greater is he that is in us, 
than he that is in the world. 1 John iv. 4. Oh 
what a match have the miserable enemies of the 
church! what a work do they undertake! what 
a desperate attempt do they enterprize, to strive 
against heaven, and overcome omnipotency ! 

3. Trust in the Lord, as one that believeth 
that no means or instruments are too small or 
weak for almightiness successfully to use. No 
matter who the instrument be, how mean, and 
weak, and despicable, if it be but an almighty 
hand that uses it, A few poor fishermen and 
despised people shall pull down satan's kingdom 
in the world, and conquer the greatest, and 

90 Of the Knowledge of God. 

bring in the nations to the faith, if omnipotency 
be with them. 

4. The almightiness of God must fill our 
hearts with courage and resolution in his cause, 
and make us go on with greatest alacrity in his 
work. Though we must be doves and lambs 
for innocency and meekness, yet must we be 
soldiers for valour and stabiUty. Shall we flag 
or shrink that have omnipotency on our side ? 
Whoever scorneth thee, hateth thee, threatneth 
thee, imprisoneth thee, is not the Almighty 
enough to set against them all for thy encou- 
ragement ? 

5. The almightiness of God must be the 
comfort of all that have interest in him. O did 
the blind world but see him that is omnipotent, 
or know the strength that is engaged for the 
weakest saint, they would soon see which is 
the stronger side, and which to cleave to for 
their security. O blessed people that have the 
Almighty on their side, and engaged with them 
against their enemies, and to do their works, 
and answ^er their desires ! How can any of them 
perish, when the Almighty is engaged for their 
salvation? The Father is greater than all, and 
none shall take them out of his hands. John x. 
29. How glad would men be in the beginning 
of a war to know which side will provt the 
stronger, that they may join with that. Can 
the side that God is on be conquered? If you 
are wise, observe what cause is his, and let that 

Of the Knowledge of God. 91 

be yours. It is hard to kick against the pricks; 
woe to those souls that the Almighty is against, 
and that dash themselves on the rock that they 
should build on. 


7. The next attribute that must work upon 
us, is the infinite wisdom, or omniscience of 
God. Psa. cxlvii. 5. " His understanding is 
infinite." And the impressions that this should 
make upon our souls are these. 

1. Delight in wisdom, that you may in your 
places be like to God. The new man is renewed 
in knowledge after the image of him that created 
him. Col. iii. 10. If God be infinitely wise, 
those then are the most excellent that are the 
wisest. Ignorance is the soul's blindness, and 
the privation of the image of God on the under- 
standing. " Wisdom excelleth folly, as far as 
light excelleth darkness." Ecc. ii. 13. To desire 
as Adam did any of that knowledge that God 
hath reserved to himself, or is unnecessary for 
us, is not indeed to be wise in our desires: unne- 
cessary knowledge is but a trouble. But to know 
the Lord and his revealed will, and the way of 
life, is the light and glory of our minds. He that 
hath lost his eye-sight, hath lost his principal 
natural delight, and is as out of the world while 

92 Of the Knowledge of God. 

he is in it. And the ignorant souls that are void 
of the heavenly illumination, must needs be void 
of the delights of grace : and though they live in 
the visible church, where the beauty of holiness 
is the excellency of the saints, yet they do not 
see this beauty, but are like the infidels that are 
out of the church while they are in it. The 
blind are in continual danger; they know not 
where they set their feet; and they know not 
when to be confident, nor when to fear ; some- 
times they are afraid where there is no cause, 
because there may be cause for ought they 
know; and sometime they are fearless at the 
very brink of death, and little think of the evil 
that they are near. Why do our poor deluded 
people so boldly live in an unconverted state, 
but because they know not where they are? 
Why do they so carelessly lie down and rise in 
an unsanctified condition, unpardoned, unready 
for death and judgment, and under the condem- 
nation of the law, but because they know not the 
misery or danger in which they stand ? Why do 
they go on so carelessly and wilfully in sin, and 
despise the counsel of their teachers and of the 
Lord, and take a holy life as needless, but 
because they know not what they do ? Men 
could not go so quietly or merrily to hell, with 
their eyes open, as they do when they are shut 
by ignorance. Whence is it that such multi- 
tudes are still ungodly, under all the teachings 
.and warnings of the Lord, but because " They 

Of the Knowledge of God, 93 

have their understandings darkened, being alien- 
ated from the life of God by the ignorance that 
is in them, because of the blindness of their 
heart: and therefore many being past feeling 
have given themselves over to laciviousness, to 
work all uncleanness with greediness?" Eph. iv. 
18, 19. Sin is the fruit of folly, and the greatest 
folly ; they are fools that make a jest of it. Pro v. 
xiv. 9. And it is for w^t of wisdom that they 
die. Prov. x. 21. and i. 32. The ignorant are 
prisoners to the prince of darkness. Eph. vi. 12. 
and v. 8. Knowledge is despised by none but 
fools. Prov. i. 7, 22. The conquest of so many 
subtle enemies, the performance of so many 
spiritual duties, which we must go through if 
we will be saved, are works too hard for fools 
to do. The saving of a man's soul, is a work 
that requireth the greatest wisdom. And there- 
fore the illumination of the mind, is God's first 
work in the conversion of a sinner. Acts xxvi. 
18. Eph. i. 18. If infinite wisdom communicate 
to you but the smallest beam of heavenly light, 
it will change your minds, and make you other 
men than before, and set you on another course ; 
wisdom wiil be your guide, and keep you in 
safe paths ; it will cause you to refuse the evil, 
and to choose the good ; it will shew you true 
happiness, and the way to obtain it; it will cause 
you to foresee the evil, and escape it, when fools 
go on and are destroyed. Prov. xxii. 3. Wis- 
dom will teach you to know the season, and 

94 Of the Knowledge of God, 

redeem your time, and walk exactly, when folly 
will leave you to too late repentance. Eph. v. 15, 
There is not a soul in hell but was brought 
thither by sinful folly ; nor is there a soul in 
heaven, (of them at age) but by heavenly wis- 
dom was conducted thither. In worldly matters 
the wicked may seem wisest ; and many a saint 
may be very ignorant: but when you see the 
end, you will all confess that those were the 
wise men that had wisdom to repel temptations, 
and to refuse the enticing baits of sin, and to 
make sure of everlasting joys. 

O therefore apply your hearts to wisdom ! Go 
to Christ for it, who is the wisdom of God, 
1 Cor. i. 24. and is appointed by him to be our 
wisdom. 1 Cor. i. 30. He will teach it you, 
who is the best master in the world, so you will 
but keep in his school, that is his church, and 
will humbly learn as little children, and apply 
yourselves submissively to his Spirit, word and 
ministers : ask wisdom of God, that giveth libe- 
rally, and upbraideth not with former ignorance. 
James i. 5. Think not any pains in holy means 
too much to get it. Prov. ii. 1 — 6. " If thou 
wilt receive the words of God, and hide his 
commandments with thee, and incline thy heart 
to wisdom, and apply it to understanding; yea 
if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy 
voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as 
silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures, 
then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, 

Of the Knowledge of God, 95 

m\d find the knowledge of God ; for the Lord 
giveth wisdom ; out of his mouth is knowledge 
and understanding," And fear not being a loser 
by thy cost or labor. For " happy is the man 
that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth 
understanding:: for the merchandise of it is 
better than silver, and the gain thereof than of 
fine gold: she is more precious than rubies, 
and all the things thou canst desire, are not 
to be compared to her; her ways are ways of 
pleasantness, and all her paths are peace — " 
Prov. iii. 13—18. 

2. The infinite wisdom of God, must resolve 
you to take him for your principal teacher, 
counsellor, and director in all your undertakings. 
Who would go seek the advice of a fool, when 
he may have infallible wisdom to direct him? 
In a work of so great difficulty and concernment, 
a work that hell and earth and flesh opposeth ; 
a work that our everlasting state dependeth on, 
I think it behoveth us to take the best advive 
that we can get. And who knoweth the will of 
God like God? or who knoweth the certain 
means of salvation like him that is the author 
and giver of salvation? Would you know 
whether it be best to live a mortified holy life ? 
Who shall be your counsellor? If you advise 
with your flesh, you know that it would be 
pleased. If you advise with the world of wicked 
men, you know that they would be imitated, 
and judge as they are; and are not like to be 

96 Of the Knowledge of God, 

wise for you, that are so foolish for themselves* 
as to part with heaven for a merry dream. If 
you advise with the devil, you know he would 
be obeyed, and have company in his misery. 
You can advise with none but God,, but such 
as are your enemies. And will you ask an 
enemy, a deadly enemy, what course you should 
take to make you happy? Will you ask the 
devil how you may be saved ? or will you ask 
the blind ungodly world, what course you should 
take to please the Lord ? or will you ask the 
flesh, by what means you may subdue it and 
become spiritual? If you take advice of scrip- 
ture, of the spirits of a holy well informed 
minister, or christian, or of a renewed well 
informed conscience, I take this for your advis- 
ing with the Lord; but besides these that are 
his mouth, you can ask advice of none but 
enemies. But if they were never so much your 
friends, and wanted wisdom, they could but 
ignorantly seduce you. And do you think that 
any of them all, is as wise as God? It is the 
constant course of a worldly man to advise with 
the world, and of carnal men to advise with the 
flesh; and therefore it is that they are hurried 
to perdition. The flesh is brutish, and will lead 
you to a brutish life, and if you live after il, 
undoubtedly you shall die. Rom. viii. 13 ; and 
if you sow to it, you shall but reap corruption^ 
Gal. vi. 6. 7. If you are tempted to lust, will 
you ask the flesh that tempteth you whether you 

Of the Knowledge of God, 97 

should yield? If the cup of excess be offered 
to you, or flesh-pleasing feasts prepared for you, 
will you ask the flesh whether you should take 
them or refuse them ? You may easily know 
what counsel it will give you. The counsel of 
God, and of your flesh are contrary, and there- 
fore the lives of the carnal and spiritual man 
are contrary. And will you venture on the 
advice of a brutish appetite, and refuse the 
counsel of the all knowing God? such as is your 
guide and counsellor, such will be your end. 
Never man miscarried by obeying God : and 
never man sped well by obeying the flesh : God 
leadeth no man to perdition, and the flesh leadeth 
no man to his salvation. God's motions are all 
for our eternal good, though they seem to be for 
our temporal hurt : the motions of the flesh are 
for our eternal hurt, though at present they seem 
to be for our corporal benefit. If at any time 
you be at a loss, and your carnal friends, or 
your commodity or pleasure adviseth you one 
way, and the word of God and his faithful 
ministers advise you another way, use but your 
reason well, and consider whether God or those 
that contradict him be the wiser, and accordingly 
suit your practice. Alas! man, thy friend is 
ignorant and knows not what is good for himself. 
Thy flesh is ignorant, and knows not what is 
good for thy soul! but God knaweth all things. 
Your flesh and friends do feel what pleaseth them 
at present, and judge accordingly; but what will 

08 Of the Knowledge of God, 

be hereafter they understand not, or consider not t 
but God knovveth as well what will be as what 
is : he counselleth you a& one that knoweth how 
your actions will appear at last, and what it i& 
that will save you or undo you to all eternity. If 
you be but sick, it is two to one but the counsel 
of your physician and of your appetite will differ* 
And if you will obey your physician before your 
appetite, for your health or life, should you not 
obey God before it for your salvation? Do you. 
think in your consciences that any that persuade 
you to a careless worldly fleshly life, are as wise 
as God that persuadeth you to the contrary? you 
dare not say so much with your tongues \ and 
yet the most dare say so with their lives^. O how 
justly do the ungodly perish, that deliberately 
choose a brutish appetite, a malignant w^orld,. 
and a malicious devil, as a wiser or fitter con- 
ductor than the Lord ! But blessed is the man 
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, 
but his delight is in the law of the Lord. 
Ps. i. 1,2. And woe to the ungodly that reject 
and set at nought the counsel of the Lord, 
Prov. i. 25. 30. Luke vii. 30. and will have none 
of it ! that wait not for his counsel, Ps. cvi. 13. 
that rebel against the words of God, and con- 
temn the counsel of the Most High. Ps. cvii. 11. 
And woe to them that take counsel against the 
Lord and his Christ, that they may break asun- 
der his bonds, and cast away his obligations. 
Ps. ii. 1 — 3. And woe to them that are given 

Of the Kno7Dledge of God. ^9 

^p to the lusts of their own hearts, and to 
^valk in their own counsels, Ps. Ixxxi. 12. for 
by their own counsels shall they fall. Ps. v. 10. 
But had they hearkened to the Lord, and walked 
in his way, with the fulness of his blessings 
would he have satisfied them, Ps. Ixxxi. 13, 16. 
Eesolve, therefore, whatever the flesh or the world 
say, that the testimonies of God shall be your 
^counsellors ; Ps. cxix. 24. and bless the Lord 
that giveth thee counsel, Ps. xvi. 7. for his 
counsel is infallible ; having guided thee by his 
counsel, he will bring thee to his glory, 
Ps. Ixxiii. 24. 

3. The infinite wisdom of God, must resolve 
the soul to rest in his determinations. We are 
most certain that God is not deceived. Though 
•all men seem liars to you, let God be true : for 
it is impossible for him to lie. Heb. vi. 18. If 
our reason be to seek, so is not God. When we 
are saying, with Nicodemus, how can these things 
be ? God knoweth how : and it is enough for us 
to know that they are so. If infinite wisdom say 
the word, believe it, though all the world contra- 
dict it. Though proud unbelievers say, that the 
words of God are improbable, let them know 
that God is not at a loss, whenever men's dark 
understandingfs are at a loss : the sun is not taken 
xDut of the firmament, whenever a man closeth or 
loseth his eyes. What! will tliose cavillers puz- 
zle the Almighty ! Will they pose Omniscience ! 
Doth it follow that the course of the planets, and 

100 Of the Knowledge of God, 

the heavens, and all the creatures are out pf 
order, if these silly moles understand not the 
order of them? No more will it follow that any 
word of God is false, or any rule of God is 
crooked, because they see not its truth and rec- 
titude. Shall dust and ashes judge the Lord? 
who hath been his counsellor? and with whom 
hath he advised for the making, redeeming or 
governing of the world ? There is no rest to an 
inquisitive soul but in the infinite wisdom of the 
Lord. Find once that it is his word, and inquire 
no further. It is madness to demand a further 
proof. As all goodness is comprised in his will 
and love ; so all truth is comprised in his wisdom 
and revelations. There are no arguments but 
what are lower and subordinate to this. And 
therefore if thy reason be at a loss as to the 
cause or manner, yet hast thou the greatest 
reason to believe that all is just and true that 
proceedeth from the wisdom of the Lord. If 
flesh and blood and all the world gainsay it, yet 
rest in the word of God. 

4. And that is the next effect that God's 
omniscience should have upon our minds. Take 
all the sayings of men as folly that are against 
the Lord. Let them be high or low, learned or 
I nlearned, if they contradict the God of infinite 
wisdom, take it but as the words of a distracted 
man. Did you ever meet with any man of them, 
that durst say he was wiser than God himself? 
Herod, that was eaten to death with vermin, was 

Of the Knoivkdge of God, 101 

applauded by the flattering crowd, but with this 
acclamation. It is the voice of a God, and not of 
a man. Acts xii. 22. And will you say of any 
man that he is wiser than God ? If you dare 
not say so, how dare you hear them and believe 
them against the word of God ? How dare you 
be drawn from a holy life, or from a self-denying 
duty, or from the truth of God, by the words of' 
a man, yea perhaps of a very sot, that speaks 
against the word of God ? To the law, and to 
the testimony : if they speak not according to 
these, it is because there is no light in them. 
Isa. viii. 20, 

5. The infinite wisdom of God, should esta- 
blish our confidence concerning the fulfilling of 
all his word. He will not fail for want of 
knowledge : when he spoke that prophesy, that 
promise, or that threatening, he perfectly knew all 
things that would come to pass, to all eternity. 
He knew therefore what he said when he gave 
out his word, and therefore will fulfil it. Heaven 
and earth may pass away, but one iota or tittle 
of his word shall not pass away till all be 
accomplished. Matt. v. 18. 

6. And from the infinite wisdom of God, the 
church must be encouraged in its greatest straits, 
and against all the cunning subtlety of their 
enemies. Are we ever in such straits, that God 
knows not how to bring us out ? when we see no 
way for our deliverance, doth it follow that be 
jsees none? If cunning serpents are too subtle 
F 3 

102 Of the Knowledge of God, • 

for us, do we think that they can overwit the 
Lord? what had become of us long ago, if God 
had not known whatever is plotted at Rome, 
or Spain, or hell against us? If he knoweth not 
of all the consultations of the conclave, and of 
all the contrivances of Jesuits and friars ; and 
of all the jugglings of the masked emissaries; 
if God had not known of Vaux and his powder 
mine, it might have blown up all our hopes. 
■But while we know that God is in their councils, 
•and heareth every word they say, and knoweth 
every secret of their hearts, and every mischief 
which they enterprise, let us do our duty, and 
rest in the wisdom of our great protector, v/ho 
v/ill prove all his adversaries to have played 
the fools : for as sure as his omnipotency shall 
be glorified by overtopping all opposing powers, 
so sure shall his infinite wisdom be glorified, by 
■conquering and befooling the wisdom that is 
against him. 

7. Lastly, if God be infinite in knowledge, 
it must resolve us all to live accordingly. O 
remember, whatever thou thinkest, that God is 
acquainted with all thy thoughts. And wilt 
thou feed on lustful, or covetous, or malicious, 
or unbelieving thoughts, in the eye of God? 
liemember in thy prayers and every duty, that 
he knows the very frame of all thy affections; 
and the manner as well as the matter of thy 
services. And wilt thou be cold and careless in 
the sight of God ? O remember in thy secretest 

Of the Knowledge of God. 103 

sins, and thy works of darkness, that nothing is 
unknown to God ; and that before him thou art 
in the open light. And fearest thou not the face 
of the Almighty ? Wilt thou do that when he 
knoweth it, that thou wouldst not do if man did 
know ? He knows whether thou deceive thy 
neighbour, or deal uprightly ! defraud not there- 
fore ; for the Lord is the avenger. 1 Thes. iv. 6. 
Do nothing that thou wouldst not have God to 
know. For certainly he knoweth all things. 
Shall he not see that made and illuminateth the 
eye ? and shall he not hear that made both tongue 
and ears ? and shall he not know that giveth 
us understanding and by whom we know? 
Ps. xciv.'S— 10. 

And let this be thy comfort in thy secret 
duties. He that knoweth thy heart, will not 
overlook the desires of thy heart, though thou 
hadst not words as thou desirest to express them. 
And he that knoweth thy uprightness, will justify 
thee, if all the world condemn thee. He that 
seeth thee in thy secret alms, or prayers, or t^ars, 
will openly reward thee. Matt. vi. 4. 6. Let this 
also comfort thee under all the slanders of 
malicious or misinformed men. He that must 
be thy judge and theirs, is acquainted with the 
truth : who will certainly bring forth thy righte- 
ousness as the light, and thy judgment as the 
noon day. Ps. xxxvii. 6. O how many souls are 
justified with the omniscient God that are 
condenmed by the malignant world ! and how 

104 Of the Knowledge of God, 

many blots will be wiped off before the world at 
the day of judgment, that here did lie upon the 
names of faithful upright men! O how many 
hypocrites shall be then disclosed ! and what a 
cutting thought should it be to the dissembler, 
that his secret falsehood is known to God ! and 
when he hath the reputation that he sought with 
men, he hath his reward ! Matt. vi. 2. for it is 
a sadder reward that God will give him. 


8. The next of God's attributes that must 
make its impress on the soul, is his infinite 
goodness. The denomination of goodness (as 
all other his attributes) is fetched from, and 
suited to the capacity or affections of the soul of 
man. That which is truly amiable is called good. 
Not as if there were no goodness, but what is a 
means to man's felicity, as some most sottishly 
have affirmed : for our end and felicity itself, 
and God as he is perfect and excellent in him- 
self, is more amiable than all means. 

In three respects therefore it is that God 
is called good, or amiable to man. I. In that 
he is infinitely excellent and perfect in him- 
self. For the love of friendship is a higher love 
than that of desire. And the most perfect sort 
of love, is that which wholly carrieth the lover 

Of the Knowledge of God, 105 

from himself to the perfect object of his love* 
The soul delighteth to contemplate excellency, 
when the excellency itself, and not the delight, 
is the ultimate end of that desire and contem- 

II. God is called good as he is the pattern 
and fountain of all moral s;ood. As he maketh 
us righteous holy laws, commanding moral 
good, and forbidding and condemning evil. 
And thus his goodness is his holiness and 
righteousness, his faithfulness and truth. 

III. God is called good, as he is the fountain 
of all the creature's happiness, and as he is 
bountiful and gracious and ready to do good, 
and as he is the felicitating end and object of 
the soul. 

And this infinite goodness must have these 
effects upon us. 1. It must possess us with a 
superlative love to God. This blessed attribute 
is it that makes us saints indeed, and maketh that 
impression on us, which is as the heart of the 
new creature. It is goodness that produceth love. 
And love is that grace that closeth with God as 
our happiness and end, and is the felicitating 
enjoying grace. Without it we are but as 
sounding brass, or tinkling cymbals, whatever 
our gifts and parts may be. 1 Cor. xiii. Love is 
the very excellency of the soul, as it closeth with 
the infinite excellency of God. It is the very 
felicity of the soul, as it enjoyeth him that is 
our felicity. Most certainly the prevailing love 

106 Of the Knowledge of God, 

of Godi is the surest evidence of true sanctifica- 
tion» He that hath most love, hath most grace ; 
and is the best and strongest christian : and he 
that hath least love, is the worst or weakest. 
Knowledge and faith are but to work our hearts 
to love; and when love is perfect they have 
done their work. 1 Cor. xii. 31. and xiii. 8, 9, 
10, 13. Teaching and distant revelations will 
not be for ever ; and therefore such knowledge 
and faith as we have now, will not be for ever. 
But God will be for ever amiable to us, and 
therefore love will endure for ever. The good- 
ness of God is called love, and as God is love, 
so he that dwelleth in love doth dwell in God^ 
and God in him. 1 John iv. 16. The knowledge 
of divine goodness makes us good, because it 
maketh us love him that is good. It is love that 
acteth most purely for God. Fear is selfish, 
and hath somewhat of aversation. Though 
there be no evil in God for us to fear, yet is 
there such good in him that will bring the evil 
of punishment upon the evil ; and this they fear. 
But love doth resign the soul to God, and 
that in the most congruous acceptable manner. 
Make it therefore your daily work to possess 
your souls with the love of God. Love him 
once, and all that he saith and doth will be 
more acceptable to you : and all that you say or 
do in love, will be more acceptable unto him. 
Love him and you] will be loth to offend him: 
you will be desirous to please him : you will be 

Of the Knowledge of God, 107 

satisfied in his love. Love him and you may 
be sure that he loveth you. Love is the fulfil- 
ling of his law. Rom. xiii. 10. And that you 
may love him, this must be your work to believe 
and contemplate his goodness. Consider daily 
of the infinite goodness or amiableness of his 
nature, and of his excellency appearing in his 
works, and of the perfect holiness of his laws. 
But especially see him in the face of Christ, 
and behold his love in the design of our 
redemption, in the person of the Redeemer, and 
in the promises of grace, and in all the benefits 
of redemption. Yea look by faith to heaven 
itself, and think how you must for ever live in 
the perfect blessed love of infinite enjoyed 
goodness. As it is the knowledge and sight of 
gold, or beauty, or any other earthly vanity 
that kindleth the love of them in the minds of 
men; so is it the knowledge and serious 
contemplation of the goodness of God that 
must make us love him, if ever we will love 

2. The goodness of God must also encourage 
the soul to trust him. For infinite good will 
not deceive us. Nor can we fear any hurt from 
him, but what we wilfully bring upon ourselves. 
If I knew but which were the best and most 
loving man in the world, I could trust him above 
all men : and I should not fear any injury from 
him. How many friends have I that I dare 
trust with my estate and life, because I know 

108 Of the Knowledge of God. 

that they have love and goodness in their low 
degree ! And shall I not trust the blessed God, 
that is love itself and infinitely good? What- 
ever he will be in justice to the ungodly, I am 
sure he delighteth not in the death of sinners, 
but rather that they turn and live ; and that he 
vf'iW not cast off the soul that loveth him, and 
would fain be fully conformed to his will. It 
cannot be that he should spurn at them that are 
humbled at his feet, and long, and pray, and 
seek,- and nrourn after nothing more than his 
grace and iove! Think not of God as if he 
were scanter of love and goodness than the 
creature is: if you have high and confident 
thoughts of the goodness and fidelity of any 
man on earth, and dare quietly trust him with 
your life and all ; see that you have much 
higher thoughts of God, and trust him with 
greater confidence, lest you set him below the 
silly creature in the attributes of his goodness, 
which his glory and your happiness require you 
to know. 

3. The infinite goodness of God must call 
off our hearts from the inordinate love of all 
created good whatever. Who would stoop so 
low as earth, that may converse with God? 
And who would feed on such poor delights 
that hath tasted the graciousness of the Lord ? 
Nothing more sure than that the love of God 
doth not reign in that soul, where the love of 
the world, or of fleshly lust, or pleasure reigneth. 

Of the Knowledge of God. 109 

1 John ii. 15. Had worldlings, or sensual or 
ambitious men, but truly known the goodness 
of the Lord, they could never have so fallen in 
love with those deceitful vanities. If we could 
but open their eyes to see the loveliness of their 
Redeemer, they would soon be weaned from 
other loves. Would you conquer the love of 
riches, or honour, or any thing else that cor- 
rupteth your affections? O try this sure and 
powerful way ! Draw nigh to God, and take 
the fullest view thou canst, in thy most serious 
meditation, of his infinite goodness, and all 
things else will be vile in thy esteem, and thy 
heart will soon contemn them and foro-et them, 
and thou wilt never doat upon them more. 

4. The infinite goodness of God, should 
increase repentance, and win the soul to a more 
resolute cheerful service of the Lord. O what 
a heart is that which can offend, and wiifullv 
offend so good a God • This is the odiousness 
of sin, that it is an abuse of an infinite good. 
This is the most heinous damning aggravation 
of it, that infinite goodness could not prevail 
with wretched souls against the empty flattering 
world! but that they suffered a dream and sha- 
dow to weigh down infinite goodness in their 
esteem. And is it possible for worse than this 
to be found in man? He that had rather the 
sun were out of the firmament, than a hair 
were taken off his head, were unworthy to iste 
the light of the sun : and surely he that will 

110 Of the Knowledge of God. 

turn away from God himself to enjoy the plea- 
sures of his flesh, is unworthy to enjoy the 
Lord. It is bad enough that Augustine in one 
of his epistles saith of sottish worldly men, that 
they had rather there were two stars fewer in 
the firmament, than one cow fewer in their pas- 
tures, or one tree fewer in their woods or 
grounds : but it is ten thousand times a greater 
evil that every wicked man is guilty of, that 
will rather forsake the living God, and lose his 
part in infinite goodness, than he will let go his 
filthy and unprofitable sins. O sinners, as you 
love your souls, despise not the riches of the 
goodness, and forbearance, and long suffering 
of the Lord ; but know that his goodness should 
lead you to repentance. Rom. ii. 4. Would you 
spit at the sun? Would you revile the stars? 
Would you curse the holy angels ? If not, O 
do not ten thousand fold worse, by your wilful 
sinning against the infinite goodness itself. 

But for you, christians, that have seen the 
amiableness of the Lord, and tasted of his 
perfect goodness, let this be enough to melt 
your hearts, that ever you have wilfully sinned 
against him. O what a good did you contemn 
in the days of your unregeneracy, and in the 
hour of your sin! Be not so ungrateful and 
disingenuous as to do so again. Remember, 
whenever a temptation comes, that it would 
entice you from the infinite good; ask the 
tempter, man or devil, whether he hath more 

Of the Knowledge of God, 1 1 1 

than an infinite good to offer you; and whether 
be can outbid the Lord for your affection. 

And now for the time that is before you, 
how cheerfully should you address yourselves 
unto his service; and how delightfully should 
you follow it on from day to day! What 
manner of persons should the servants of this 
God be, that are called to nothing but what is 
good! How good a master! how good a work! 
and how good company, encouragements, and 
helps! and how good an end! All is good, 
because it is the infinite good, that we serve 
and seek. And shall we be loitering unprofit- 
able servants? 

5. Moreover, this infinite goodness should 
be the matter of our daily praises. He that 
cannot cheerfully magnify this attribute of God, 
so suitable to the nature of the will, is surely 
a stranger to the praises of the Lord. The 
goodness of God should be a daily feast to a 
gracious soul, and should continually feed our 
cheerful praises, as the spring or cistern fills 
the pipes. I know no sweeter work on earth, 
nay T am sure there is no sweeter, than for 
faithful sanctified souls, rejoicingly to magnify 
the goodness of the Lord, and join together 
in his cheerful praises. O christians, if you 
would taste the joys of saints, and live like 
the redeemed of the Lord indeed, be much in 
the exercise of this heavenly work, and with 
holy David, make it your employment, and say, 
G 2 

112 Of the Knowledge of God, 

" O how great is thy goodness which thou hast 
laid up for them that fear theel" Ps. xxxi. 19. 
" The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord." 
Ps. xxxiii. 5. What then are the heavens? 
" Thy congregation hath dwelt therein : thou O 
Lord hast prepared thy goodness for the poor. 
,0 that men would praise the Lord for his 
.goodness, and for his wonderful works to the 
children of men! For he satisfieth the longing 
soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness." 
Ps. cvii. 8, 9. '* The goodness of God endureth 
continually." Ps. lii. 1, " Truly God is good 
to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.'* 
Ps. Ixxiii. 1. "O taste and see that the Lord 
is good, blessed is the man that trusteth in 
him." Ps. xxxiv. 8. ** The Lord is good, his 
mercy is everlasting, his truth endureth from 
generation to generation." Ps. c. 5. *' The Lord 
is good to all, and his tender mercies are over 
all his works." Ps. cxlv. 9. *' O praise the 
Lord, for the Lord is good, sing praises to his 
jiame, for it is pleasant." Ps. cxxxv. 3. Call 
him, as David, ** my goodness, and my fortress, 
my high tower, and my deliverer, and my shield, 
and he in whom I trust." Ps. cxliv. 2. " Let men 
therefore speak of the glorious honor of his 
mnjesty and of his wondrous works: let them 
abundantly utter the memory of his great good^ 
ness, and sing of his righteousness." Ps, clxv. 
5, 7. If there be a thought that is truly sweet 
to the soul, it is the thought of the infinite 

Of the Knoivledge of God, 113 

goodness of the Lord. If there be a pleasant 
word for man to speak, it is the mention of the 
infinite goodness of the Lord! And if there 
be a pleasant hour for man on earth to spend, 
and a delightful work for man to do, it is to 
meditate on, and with the saints to praise the 
infinite goodness of the Lord, What was the 
glory that God shewed unto INIoses, and the 
taste of heaven that he gave him upon earth, 
but this, - I will make all my goodness pass 
before thee, and I will proclaim the name of 
the Lord before thee; and I will be gracious 
on whom I will be gracious, and will shew 
mercy on whom T will shew mercy." Exod. 
xxxiii. 19. And his proclaimed name was, " The 
Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, 
long suffering, and abundant in goodness and 
>tr\ith" Exod, xxxiv. 6. These were the holy 
praises that Solomon did consecrate the temple 
with, 2 Chron. vi. 41. '' Arise O Lord God 
into thy resting place, thou and the ark of 
thy strength : let thy priests O Lord God be 
clothed with salvation, and let thy saints 
rejoice in goodness." See Isa. Ixiii. O chris- 
tians, if you would have joy indeed, let this 
be your employment! Draw near to God, 
and have no low undervaluing thoughts of his 
infinite goodness; for " how great is his good- 
ness, and how great is his beauty !" Zach. ix. 17. 
Why is it that divine consolations are so strange 
to us, but because divine goodness is so lightly 

114 Of the Knoxvledge of God. 

thought upon? As those that think little of 
God at all, have little of God upon their hearts j 
so they that think but little of his goodness in 
particular, have little love, or joy, or praise. 

6. Moreover, the goodness of God must 
possess us with desire to be conformed to his 
goodness in our measure. The holy perfection 
of his will, must make us desire to have our 
wills conformed to the will of God j w^e are not 
called to imitate him in his works of power, 
nor so much in the paths of his omnisciencey 
as we are in his goodness, which, as manifested 
in his w^ork and word, is the pattern and stan- 
dard of moral goodness in the sons of men. 
The impress of his goodness within us, is the 
chief part of his image on us; and the fruits of 
it in our lives is their holiness and virtue. As 
he is good and doth good, Ps. cxix. 68, so must 
it be our greatest care to be as good and do aa 
much good as possibly we can. Any thing 
within us that is sinful and contrary to the 
goodness of God, should be to our souls as 
griping poison to our bodies, which nature is 
excited to strive against with all its strength^ 
and can have no safety or rest till it be cast out.. 
And for doing good, it must be the very study 
and trade of our lives. As wordlings study and 
labor for the world, and the pleasing of their 
flesh ; so must the christian study and labor to 
improve his master's talents to his use, and to 
do as much good as he is able, and to please th^ 

0/ the Knowledge of God, 1 1^ 

Lord. Prov. xi. 23, '' The desire of the righ- 
teous (^s such) is only good." To depart from 
«vil and do good, is the care of the just. 
Ps. xxxiv. 14. " We must please our neigh- 
bours for good to their edification." Rom. xv. 2. 
*' While we have time we must do good to all 
men (as we are able) but especially to them of 
the household of faith." Gal. vi. 10. Not only 
to them that do good to us, but to our enemies. 
Luke vi. 32—- 34. Matt. v. 44. This is it that 
we must not forget, Heb. xiii. 16. and which by 
ministers we must be put in mind of, 1 Tim. vu 
18. which all that love life and would inherit the 
blessing must devote themselves to. 1 Pet. in. 
10—12. In this we must be like our heavenly 
Father, and approve ourselves his children. 
Matt. V. 45, 46. 

7. From the perfect infinite goodness of God, 
we must learn to judge of good and evil, and in 
all the creatures. To this must all be reduced 
as the standard, and by this must they be tried. 
It is a most wretched absurdity of sensual men, 
to try the will, or word, or ways of God, by 
themselves, and by their own interests or wills ; 
and to judge all to be evil in God that is against 
them. And yet, alas, how common is this case! 
Every man is naturally loth to be miserable : 
suffering he abhors ; and therefore that which 
causeth his suffering he calleth evil. And so 
when he hath deserved it himself by his sin, he 
thinks that the law is evil for threatening it, and 

116 Of the Knowledge of God, 

that God himself is evil for inflicting it; so that 
infinite goodness must be tried and judged by 
the vicious creature, and the rule and standard 
must be reduced to the crooked line of human 
actions or dispositions: and if God will please 
the worldling, the sensualist, the proud, the 
negligent, who should please him, then he shall 
be good, and he shall be God ; if not, say these 
judges, he shall be evil, and unmerciful, and 
no God. They will not believe that he is good 
that punisheth them. And thus if the thief or 
murderer had the choice of kings and judges, 
you may know what persons he would choose ; 
no one should be a judge, or accounted a good 
man, that would condemn and hang him. 

But I beseech you consider, what is fit to be 
the rule and standard, if not perfection of 
goodness itself. Do you think that the will 
of ignorant, fleshly, sinful man, is fitter to be 
the rule of goodness, than the will of God ? 
V/e are sure that God is not deceived, and sure 
that there is no iniquity with him ; but we 
know that all men are liable to deceit, and have 
private interests, and corrupted minds, and wills 
that have some vicious inclinations. O what 
blasphemy is in the heart of that man, that will 
sooner condemn the holy will and law of God, 
than his own will, or the wills of any men, be 
they never so seemingly wise or great! The 
will of God is revealed in his laws, concerning 
tlie necessity of a holy life j and the will of 

Of the Knowledge of God, tl7 

foolish wicked men is by tlieir scornful speeches 
and sinful lives revealed to be against it. And 
which of these do you follow? which is it that 
prescribeth you the better course? the will of 
God that is infinitely good, or the will of man 
that is miserably evil? If thou know any better 
than God, follow him before God : but if noBe 
be greater and more powerful than he ; if none 
be wiser or of more knowledge, it is as sure that 
none is better : much less are those ignorant 
wicked men, that despise the scripture and a 
holy life, and would persuade you that they can 
tell you of a better way. Let me speak it to the 
terror of the ungodly soul that, by the deceits 
or scorns of any sort of men, is drawn away 
from Christ and holiness ; it shall stand on 
record against thee until judgment, and it 
shall stick everlastingly as a dagger in thy 
heart, that thou didst prefer the reasons and the 
will of man, yea perhaps of a sottish drunkard 
or a worldling, before the word or will of Goo : 
and though thy tongue durst not speak it, ihy 
life did speak it, that thou thoughest the wt)rd 
and will of man to be better than the word and 
will of God t yea more, that thou tookest the 
way of the devil to be better than God's ways, 
who is infinitely good : for surely thou choosest 
that which thou takest to be best for thee. 
And therefore if that man deserve damnation, 
that sets up a man, or a horse, or an image, and 
gaith, " This is greater and wiser than God, ami 

118 Of the Knowledge of God. 

therefore this shall be my God," then dost thou 
deserve the same damnation, that settest up the 
words or will of man, even of wicked men, and 
sayest by thy practice, ** These are better than 
God, and his word, or will, and therefore I will 
choose or follow them," for God is full as 
jealous of the honor of his goodness, as of his 
power or wisdom. 

Well christians, let flesh and blood say what 
it will, and let all the world say what they will, 
judge that best that is most agreeable to the 
will of God; for good and evil must be mea- 
sured by this will. That event is best which 
he determineth of, and that action is best which 
lie commandeth. And all is naught, and will 
prove so in the end, that is against this will of 
God, what policy or good soever may be pre- 
tended for it. 

8. And if the will of God be infinitely good, 
we must all labor both to understand it, and 
perform it. Many say, who will shew us any 
good. Ps. iv. 0. Would you not know what is 
best, that you may choose and seek it ? As the 
inordinate desire of knowing natural good and 
evil did cause our misery, so the holy rectified 
desires of knowing spiritual good, must recover 
us; search the scriptures then, and study and 
inquire ; for it more concerns you to know the 
will of God, than to know the will of your 
princes or benefactors, or to know of any trea- 
sures of the world ; the riches of grace are 

Of the Knowledge of God, 119 

given to us, by God's making known the mys- 
tery of his will, according to his good pleasure 
which he purposed in himself. Eph. i. 7, 9. 
And our desire to know the good will of God, 
must be that we may do it. For this must we 
pray. Col. i. 9, 10. " That we may be filled with 
the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and 
spiritual understanding, that we may walk 
worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing, being 
fruitful in every good work," that we may *' be 
made perfect in every good work to do his will, 
and have that wrought in us which is pleasing 
in his sight," Heb. xiii. 21. that w^e may net 
only know his will and approve the things that 
are excellent, Rom. ii. 18. but may prepare 
ourselves to do according to his will, lest we 
be punished the more. Luke xii. 47. See that 
the will of no man be preferred before Geas 
will; seek not your own wills, nor set them up 
against the Lord^s : if Christ, whose wnll v/as 
pure and holy, profess that he sought not his 
own will, but his Father's, John v. 30. and tli^t 
he came not to do his own will, but his that ser:t 
him, John vi. 38. should it not be our resolutio:i, 
whose wills are so misguided and corrupt? 

9. If God's will be infinitely good, w^e maet 
rest in his will : when his v,7ays are dark, or 
grievous to our flesh ; w^hen his word aeems 
<lifficult ; when we know not what he is doinj.^ 
with us, remember it is the will that is infiniteiy 
good, that is disposing of us. Only let us sec 

1^6 Of the Knowledge of God. 

that we stand not cross to the greater good of 
his church and honor ; and then we may be 
sure that he will not be against our good. We 
that can rest in the will of a dear and faithful 
friend, should much more rest in the will of 
God. Do your duty, and be not unwise, but 
understanding what the will of the Lord is for 
you to do, Eph. v. 17. and then distract not 
your minds with distrustful fears about his will 
that is inBnitely good, but say. The will of the 
Lord be done. Acts xxi. 14. 

10. The infinite goodness of God, should 
draw out our hearts to desire communion with 
him, and to long after the blessed fruition of 
him in the life to come. O how glad should 
we be to tread his courts ! To draw near him 
in his holy worship, to meditate on him, and 
secretly open our hearts before him, and to 
converse with those gracious souls that love to 
be speaking honorably of his name ! What will 
draw the heart of man if goodness and infinite 
goodness will not? When the drunkard saith 
in the alehouse, " It is good to be here;" and 
the covetous man among his gains, and the 
sensual man" among his recreation and merry 
companions, ** It is good to be here;" the chris- 
tian that can get nigh to God, or have any pros- 
pect of his love in his ordinances, concludeth 
that of all places upon earth ** It is good to be 
here," and that a day in his courts is better than 
a thousand. Ps. kxxiy. 10. But O to depart and 

of the Kmwledge of God. 121 

be with Christ, is far better. Phil. i. 23. With 
infinite goodness we shall find no evil, no emp- 
tiness, or defect; when we perfectly enjoy the 
perfect good, what more can be added, but for 
ever to enjoy it ! O therefore think on this, 
christians, when death is dreadful to you, and 
you would fain stay here, as being afraid to 
come before the Lord, or loth to leave the things 
which you here possess. Shall goodness itself 
be distrusted by you, or seem no more desirable 
to you? Are you afraid of goodness? even of 
your father, of your happiness itself? Are you 
better here, than you shall be with God ? Are 
your houses, or lands, or friends, or pleasures, 
or any thing, better than infinite goodness? O 
meditate on this blessed attribute of God, till 
you distaste the world, till you are angry with 
your withdrawing murmuring flesh, till you are 
ashamed of your unwillingness to be with God, 
and till you can calmly look in the face of death, 
and contentedly hear the message that is postino- 
towards you, that _you must presently come 
away to God. Your natural birth-day brought 
you into a better place than the womb ; and 
vour gracious birth-day brought you into a far 
better state than your former sinful miserable 
captivity; and will not your glorious birth- 
day put you into a better habitation than this 
world ? O know, and choose, and seek, and 
live to the infinite good, and then it may be 
your greatest joy when you are called to him. 

122 Of the Knowledge of God. 


9. Having spoken of these three great attri- 
butes of God, I must needs speak of those 
three great relations of God to man, and of 
these three works in which they are founde^i, 
which have flowed from these attributes. 

This one God in three persons, hath created 
man and all things which before were not ; hath 
redeemed man when he was lost by sin; and 
sanctifieth those that shall be saved by redemp- 
tion : though the external works of the Trinity 
are undivided, yet not indistinct as to the 
order of working, and a special interest that 
each person hath in each of these works. The 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost did create the 
world, arid they also did redeem us, and do 
sanctify us : but so as that creation is in a 
special sort ascribed to the Father, redemption 
to the Son, and sanctification to the Holy Spirit; 
not only because of tne order of operation, 
agreeable to the order of subsisting; for then 
the Father would be as properly said to b*e 
incarnate or to die for us, or mediate, as the 
Son to create us ; (which is not to be said) ; for 
he created the world by his Word, or Son and 
Spirit, (John i. 3. Ps. xxxiii. 6.) and he redeemed 
it by his Son, and sanctifieth it by his Spirit : 
but scripture assureth us that the Son alone 
was incarnate for us, and died and rose again. 

Of the Knowledge of God. 123 

and not the Father, or the Spirit; and so that 
the human nature is peculiarly united to the 
second person, in glory; and so that each 
person hath a pecuhar interest in these several 
works, the reason of Avhich is much above our 

The first of these relations of God to man, 
which we are to consider of, is, that he is our 
creator. It is he that giveth being to us and 
all thing's ; and that s^iveth us all our faculties 
or powers. Under this, for brevity, we shall 
speak of him also as he is our preserver; 
because preservation is but a kind of continued 
creation, or a continuance of the beings which 
God hath caused. God then is the first efficient 
cause of all the creatures, from the greatest 
to the least; Gen. i. and easily did he make 
them, for he spake but the word, and they 
were created : they are the products of his 
power, wisdom, and goodness. Ps. xxxiii. 6. 
John i. 3. Ps. cxlviii. 5. " He commanded, and 
they were created." He still produceth all 
things that in the course of nature are brought 
forth. Ps. civ. 30. *' Thou sendest forth thy 
j?pirit, they are created: thou renewest the face 
of the earth." And from hence these followins: 
impressions must be made upon the considering 

I. If all things be from God as the creator and 
preserver, then we must be deeply possessed 
with this truth, that all things are for God as 

124 Of the Knowledge of God, 

their ultimate end. For he that is the beginning 
and first cause of all things, must needs be the 
end of all. His will produced them, and the 
pleasure of his will is the end for which he did 
produce them. Isa. xliii. 7. *' I have created 
him for my glor}^" Prov. xvi. 4. '* The Lord 
hath made all things for himself, yea even the 
wicked for the day of evil." I think the Chaldee 
paraphrase the Syriac and Arabic give us, the 
true meaning of this, who concordantly translate 
it, *' The wicked is kept for the day of evil" as 
Job hath it, xxi. 30. '* The wicked is reserved 
to the day of destruction ; they shall be brought 
forth to the day of wrath.'*' And 2 Pet. ii. 9. 
" To reserve the unjust to the day of judgment 
to be punished." God made not the wicked as 
wicked, or to be wicked ; but he that gave them 
their being and continueth it, will not be a loser 
by his creation or preservation, but will have 
the glory of his justice by them in the day of 
wrath or evil, for which he keeps them, and till 
which he beareth with them, because they 
would not obediently give him the glory of his 
holiness and mercy. So it is said of Christ, 
Col. i. 16, 17. For by him were all things 
created that are in heaven and that are in earth, 
visible and invisible — all things were created by 
him and for him. If they are by him, they must 
needs be for him. So Rev. iv. 11. *' Thou art 
worthy O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and 
power ; for thou hast crealed all things, and 

Of the Knowledge of God, 125 

for thy pleasure they are and were created.** 
This pleasure of God's will is the end of all 
things^ and therefore it is certain that he will 
see that all things shall accompUsh that end, 
and his will shall be pleased. Rom. xi. 36. We 
have all in few words " For of him, and 
through him, and to him are all things, and to 
whom be glory for ever. Amen." Of him as the 
first efficient that giveth them their beings : and 
through him as the preserver, disposer and con- 
ductor of them to their end : and to him as the 
ultimate end. 

If you say, But how is the pleasure of God's 
will attained from the wicked that break his 
laws, and displease his will ? 

I answer; understand but how his will is 
crossed or accomplished, pleased or displeased, 
and you will see, that his will is always done 
and pleased, even by them that displease him in 
violating his will. For God's will hath two 
sorts of objects or products, which must be still 
distinguished: 1. He willeth what shall be due 
from us to him, and from him to us. 2. He 
willeth entities and events, or what shall actually 
be, or come to pass. Strictly, both these acts 
of God's will, perform the things willed, and so 
are not without their proper effect. God, as 
the cause and disposer of all things, attaineth 
his will concerning events : all things shall come 
to pass which he absolutely willeth shall come 
to pass. He is not frustrated of his will herein. 

126 Of the Knowledge of God. 

being neither unwise, nor impotent, nor unhappy, 
" Whatsoever pleased the Lord, that did he in 
heaven and in earth, in the sea and in the 
depths." Ps. cxxxv. 6. " Our God is in hea- 
ven, he hath done whatsoever he pleased.'* Ps. 
cxv. 3. And as God as our governor doth by 
his laws oblige man to his duty, his will hath 
its effect : a command doth but make the thing 
commanded to be our duty; and our duty it is : 
and so this act of the will of God is not in vain. 
Thus far he hath his will. By his promises he 
maketh the reward to be due to all on condi- 
tion they perform the duty, on which he hath 
suspended it, and to be actually due to those 
only that perform the condition : and all this is 
accomplished. Heaven is conditionally given 
to all, and actually to the faithful only. So that 
what God willeth to be due as a lawgiver, is 
accordingly due; and what he actually willeth 
shall come to pass, shall come to pass according 
to his' will. 

But perhaps you will say. Doth he not will 
that all men shall eventually obey his laws, but 
only that it shall be their duty. 

I answer. Our speeches of God being bor- 
rowed from man, (who is one of the glasses in 
which he is here seen by us ; especially the 
manhood of Jesus Christ,) we must accordingly 
conceive and say (acknowledging still the impro- 
prieties and imperfections of our conceptions 
and expressions) that as man doth simply and 

, Of the Knowledge of God. W 

most properly will the event of some things 
which he absolutely desireth should come to 
pass, and doth not simply will some other 
things, but only in tantum; he so far willeth 
them, that he willeth and resolveth to do such 
and such things as have a tendency thereto, and 
to go no farther, and do no more for the attain- 
ing of them, though he could ; so God doth 
simply and properly will some things, that is, 
the things which he decreeth shall come to pass: 
but we must after our manner conceive and say, 
that there are other things which he willeth but 
in tantum, so far as to make it man's duty to 
perform it, and persuade him to the doing of 
that duty, and give him such a measure of help 
as leaveth him without any just excuse, if he do 
it not ; and so far he willeth the salvation of 
such, as to promise or offer it them on such 
terms : and no further doth he will the obedi- 
ence or salvation which never comes to pass, 
but leaveth it here to the will of man. For if 
he simply willed that every duty should be even- 
tually done, it would be done : and if he simply 
willed that all men should be actually saved, 
they would be saved. And that he sim.ply 
willeth their duty or obligation, and in tantum, 
so far, doth will the event of their obedience 
and salvation, as this comes to, as aforesaid, is 
certain, and in this we are all agreed ; and I am 
not so well skilled in dividing as to understand 
where the real difference lieth between the par* 

128 Of the Knowledge of God\ 

ties that here most contend: but about the bare 
name I know they dififer, some thinking that this 
last is not to be named an act of God's will, or 
a willing of man's obedience or salvation ; and 
some thinking that it is so to be named, who 
doubtless are in the right; nor is there room for 
controversies, while we confess the impropriety 
of this and all our speeches of God, as speaking 
after the manner of men, and v/hile scripture, 
that must teach us how to speak of God, doth 
frequently so speak before us, 

IL God being the maker and first cause of 
all things, that is of all substantial beings, com- 
monly called creatures, we must conclude that 
«in is no such being, because it is most certain 
that he is not the creator or the cause of it. 
Scripture assureth us, and all christians are 
agreed that God is not the cause or author of 
sin. How odious then should that be to us, 
that is so bad as not to come from God ? If 
God disclaim it, let us disclaim it. Let us 
abhor that it should come from us, seeing God 
abhorreth that it should come from him. Own 
not that which hath nothing of God upon it. 

If you say, that it is an accident though not 
a substance, and therefore it must needs come 
from God ; because even accidents have their 
being : 

I answer, that among the subtlest disputers 
it is granted, that it hath no created being, or 
iio being that is caused by God ; of this they 

Of the Knoivkdge of God. 129 

are agreed. It is granted by all christians that 
sin hath no other kind of being, but what the 
will of man can cause. And if that be so, the 
philosophical trifling controversy, whether it be 
only a privation, or a relation, or modus etitis, 
which the will thus causetli, must be handled 
as philosophical, and valued but as it deserveth : 
for this is all the controversy that here remains. 
If the form be relative, and the foundation be 
but a mere privation, (the disconformity beino- 
founded in a defect) then the case is soon 
resolved, as to the rest. He that erreth, under- 
standeth amiss: that he understandeth, is of 
God : that he erreth, that is, is defective, and 
so false in his understanding, is of himself: that 
he willeth when he chooseth sin, is of God the 
universal cause : but that he willeth a forbidden 
object rather than the contrary, and faileth in 
his understanding and his will, this is not of 
God, but of himself. If others say, that the 
y^xy fundament um of that disconformity which 
is the form of sin, is sometime an act, they m.ust 
also say that it is not an act as such, but this 
act comparitiveiy considered ; or as circum- 
stantiated, or as exercised on the forbidden 
object rather than another, or a volition instead 
of a nolition, and choosing that which should be 
refused, or a refusing that which should be 
chosen : and whether this comparate specifying 
foundation, be a privation, or a mode, is a 
philosophical controversy; and in philosophy. 

130 Of the Knowledge of God, 

and not in theology, is the difficulty ; divines 
being agreed, as aforesaid, that whatever you 
name it, being, or privation, or mode, it is but 
such as must be resolved ultimately into the 
vf'iW of man as its original, or first cause, sup- 
posing God to be the creator and conserver 
of that free power that is able to choose or to 
refuse, and as an universal cause to concur with 
the agent to the act as such. But philosophers 
indeed are at a loss, and are fain to tell us of 
privations, modes, relations, denominations, entia 
rationis, and I know not what, that they say 
are neither beings nor nothing, but between 
both they know not what ! the nature of things, 
in the utmost extremities of the branches, 
being so capillar, and spun with so fine a 
thread, that the understanding is not subtle 
enough to discern them. And shall this disturb 
us in divinity, or be imputed to it? 

If you say, that the will of God is the cause 
of all things, and therefore of sin : 

I answer, if you call sin nothing, as a shadow, 
darkness, death, 8cc. are nothing (for all that we 
abhor them) then you answer yourselves ; if you 
call it something, we are all agreed, that it is 
but such a something as man can cause without 
God's first causing it ; it sufficeth that God do 
the part of a creator in giving man the free 
power of choosing or refusing; and the part of 
a preserver, in maintaining that power, and as 
an universal cause concurring to all acts in 

Of the Knowledge of God, 131 

genere, as the sun doth shine on the dunghill 
and the flowers : and that he also do the part 
of a just governor in prohibiting, and dissua- 
ding, and threatening sinners. 

Object. But how can sin eventually be, if 
God decree it not, seeing all events are from his 
will ? 

I answer 1. We are agreed that he causeth 
it not. 2. And that he doth not so much as 
will the event of sin as sin. 3. And that he 
willingly permitteth what is by him permitted. 
4. And that sin is such a thing as may evenire, 
be brought forth by a bare permission, if there 
be no positive decree for the event. As a nega- 
tive in the effects requireth not a positive cause, 
so neither a positive will for its production. 
There are millions of millions of worlds, and 
individual creatures, and species possible, that 
shall never be : and it is audaciousness to assert, 
that there must be millions of millions of posi* 
tive decrees, that such worlds or creatures shall 
not be. 5. Nor is it any dishonor to God, if 
he have not a positive decree or will about every 
negation (as that all the men in the world shall 
not be called by a thousand possible names 
rather than their own, &c.) 

These thinos beino; all certain, I add 1. Let 
them dispute that dare, that yet de facto God 
doth positively will the events of all privations, 
or negations of acts. 2. But when men are 
once habitually wicked, and bent to evil, it is 

132 Of the Knowledge of God, 

just with him, if he permit them to follow their 
own lusts, and if he leave before them such mer- 
cies as he foreknoweth they will wilfully make 
occasions of their sin ; and if he resolve to 
make use of the sin which he knoweth they will 
commit, for his church's good, and for his 

Object. But doth not God will that sin 
eventually shall not be? 

Answ. Even as I before said, he willeth that 
obedience eventually shall be. If sin come to 
pass, it is certain that God did not simply will 
that it should not come to pass: for then he 
must be conquered and unhappy by every sin : 
but he willeth simply that it shall be the duty 
of man to avoid it; and he may be said to nill 
tlie event in tanturriy so far as that he will forbid 
it, and threaten and dissuade the sinner, and 
give him the helps that shall leave him inex- 
cusable if he sin, and so leave it to his will. 
Thus far he may be said to will that sin 
eventually shall not be ; but not simply. 

Though these things are not obvious to 
vulgar capacities, yet they are such, as the 
subject in hand, viz. God's first causation and 
creation, together with the w^eight of them, and 
the contentions of the world about them, have 
made needful. 

III. If God be the creator and the cause of 
all, then we must remember that all his works 
are good; and therefore nothing must be hated 

Of the Knowledge of God. 1 3 3 

by us that he hath made, considered in its 
native goodness. God hateth sin, and so must 
we : for that he made it not, Rev. ii. 6. 
Ps, xlv. 7. Isa. i. 14. And he hateth all the 
workers of iniquity, as such, Ps. v. 5. and so 
must we ; but we must love all of God that is 
in them, and love them for it. There is some- 
what good and amiable in every creature, yea 
all of it, that is of God. Though toads and 
serpents are odious to us, because they are 
hurtful and seem deformed in themselves, yet 
are they good in themselves, and not deformed 
as parts of the universe, but good unto the 
common end. The wants in the wheels of your 
watch are as useful to the motion as the nucks 
or solid parts. The night is part of the useful 
order of the creation, as Vv-ell as the day. The 
vacant interspace in your writing, is needful as 
well as the words : every letter should not be a 
vowel, nor every character a capital: every 
member should not be a heart or head or eye ; 
nor should every one in a commonwealth be a 
king, or lord : so in the creation the parts that 
seem base, are useful in their places, and good 
unto their ends. Let us not therefore vihfy or 
detest the works of God, but study the excel- 
lencies of them, and see, and admire, and love 
them as they are of God. It is one of the 
hardest practical points before us, to know how 
to esteem of all the creatures, and to use them 
without running into one extreme. — At the 


334 Of the Knowledge of God, 

same time to love the world, and not to love it $ 
to honor it, and despise it ; to exalt it^ and to 
tread it under our feet ; to mind it, and use it 
with delight, and yet to be weaned from it as 
those that mind it not. And yet a great part of 
our christian duty lieth in the doing of this 
difficult work. As the world is the devil's bait 
and the flesh's idol, set up against God, and 
would tice us from him or hinder us in his 
service, and either be our carnal end and happi- 
ness, or a means thereto, so we must make it 
the care of our hearts to hate it, despise it, 
neglect it, and tread it under foot; and the 
labor of our lives to conquer it. But the same 
creatures must be admired, studied, loved,, 
honored, delighted in, and daily used, as they 
are the excellent work of the Almighty God, 
and reveal to us his attributes or will, being 
the glass in which we must see him while we 
are in the flesh; and as they lead us to God, 
and strengthen, furnish or help us in his service. 
But to love them for God, and not for them- 
selves, O how hard is it! To keep pure affec- 
tions towards them, and a spiritual delight in 
them that shall not degenerate into a carnal 
deiiaht, is a task for the holiest saint on earth 
to labor in, with all his care and power, as long 
as he here liveth. Yet this must be done; and 
the soul that hath obtained true self denial, and 
is dead to the world, and devoted and alive to 
God, is able in some good measure to perform 

Of the Knowledge of God, 135 

it. To love the world for itself, and make the 
creature our chief delight, and live to it as our 
end and idol — this is the common damning 
course ; to cast away our possessions, and 
put our talents into our fellow servants' hands, 
and to withdraw ourselves as it were out of the 
world into solitude, as monks or hermits do— 
this is too like the hiding of our talents, and a 
dangerous course of unfaithfulness and unpro- 
fitableness, unless in some extraordinary case ; 
and is at best the too easy way of weaklings, 
that will be soldiers only out of the army, or 
where there is but little danger of the enemy : 
but to keep our stations, and take honors and 
riches as our master's talents, as a burden that 
we must honor him by bearing, and the instru- 
ments by which we must laboriously do him 
service, and to see and love him in every 
creature, and study him in it, and sanctify it 
to his use ; and to see that our lust get no 
advantage by it, and feed not on it, but that we 
tame our bodies, and have all that we have for 
God, and not for our flesh — this is the hard, but 
the excellent, most acceptable course of living 
in this world. 

And it is not only other creatures, but our- 
selves also that we must thus admire, and love, 
and use for God, while we abase ourselves as to 
ourselves, and deny ourselves, and use not our- 
selves for ourselves, but as we stand in due subor- 
dination to him. Abase yourselves as sinful, 

136 Of the Knowledge of God. 

and abhor that which is your own, and not the 
Lord^s; but vilify not your nature in itself, nor 
any thing in you that is the work of God. 
Pretend not humiHty for the dishonoring of 
your maker. Keason and natural freedom of 
the will, are God's work, and not your's, and 
therefore must be honored, and not scorned and 
reviled; but the blindness and error of your 
reason, and the bad inclinations and actions of 
your free wills — these are your own, and there- 
fore vilify them, and hate them, and spare not. 
And when you lament the smallness of your 
graces, deny them not, and slight not, but 
magnify the preciousness of that little that you 
have, while you mourn for the imperfection. 
And when men offend you, or prove your 
enemies, forget not to value and love that of God 
that yet is in them. — All is good that is of God. 
4. If all things be of God as the creator and 
conserver, we must hence remember on whom it 
is that ourselves and all things else depend. 
In him we live, and move, and have our being. 
Acts xvii. 28. He upholdeth all things by the 
word of his power. Heb. i. 3. The earth stand- 
eth upon his will and word. The nations are in 
his hands, so are the lives of our friends and 
enemies, and so are ourselves. And therefore 
our eye must be upon him; and our care must 
be to please him ; and our trust and quietness 
must be in him ; and blessed is he that maketh 
sure of an interest in his special love. 

0/ the Knowledge of God. 137 

i. Hence, also, we must observe the vanity 
laf all creature confidence, and our hearts must 
be withdrawn from resting in any means or 
instruments. They are nothing to us, and can 
do nothing for us, but what they have or do 
from him that made and preserveth us. 

6. And lastly, hence also, we may see t]>e 
patience and goodness of the Lord, that as 
he refused not to make those men that he 
foreknew would Hve ungodliiy, so he denieth 
not to uphold their being, even while they sin 
against him. All the while that they are 
abusing his creatures, they are sustained by 
him, and have those creatures from him. From 
him the drunkard hath his drink, and the 
glutton his meat, and the voluptuous youth 
their abused health and strength: and all men 
have, from him, the powers or faculties of soul 
and body by which they sin. And shall any 
be so ungrateful as to say, therefore, that God 
doth cause their sin ? It is true, he can easily 
stop thy breath while thou art swearing, and 
lying, and speaking against the service of God 
that made thee: and wouldst thou have him 
do so? 'He can easily take away the meat, 
and drink, and riches, and health, and life 
which thou abusest : and wouldst thou have 
him do it? He can easily keep thee from sin- 
ning any more on earth, by cutting off thy 
life, and sending thee to pay for what thou 
feast done; and art thou content with this? 

138 Of the Knowledge of God, 

Must he be taken to be a partaker in tliy %\n, 
because he doth not strike thee dead, or lame, 
or speechless, or disable thee from sinning? 
Provoke him not by thy blasphemies, lest he 
clear himself in a way that thou desirest not. 
But, O wonder at his patience that holds thee 
in his hand, and keepeth thee from falling into 
the grave and hell, while thou art sinning 
against him. While a curse or oath is in thy 
mouth, he could let thee fall into utter misery. 
How oft hast thou provoked him to take thee 
in thy lust, in thy rage, or in thy neglect of 
God, and give thee thy desert ! Would any of 
you support your enemy, as God doth you? 


10. As we must know God as our Creator, so 
also as our Redeemer ; of which I shall say but 
little now, because I have mentioned it more 
fully in the directions for sound conversion. 
It is life eternal to know the Father, and Jesus 
Christ whom he hath sent. John xvii. 3. The 
Father redeemeth us by the Son, whom he 
sent, and whose sacrifice he accepted, and in 
whom he is well pleased. And this must have 
these effects upon our souls : 

I. We must be hence convinced, that we are 
not now in a state of innocency, nor to be saved 

Vf the Knowledge of God, 139 

?5is innocents, or on the terms of the law of our 
•creation: but salvation is now by a Redeemer; 
-and therefore, consisteth in our recovery and 
restoration. The objects of it are only lapsed 
sinful miserable men. Name the creature, if 
you can, sim^e Adam, that stood before God 
here in the flesh, in a state of personal perfect 
innocency, except the immaculate Lamb of God. 
If God, as creator, should now save any, without 
respect to a redemption, it must be on the terms 
of the law of creation, upon which it is certain 
that no man hath or shall be saved; that is, 
upon perfect personal persevering obedience. 
Yoy cannot exempt infants themselves from sin 
and miser}^ without exempting them from 
Christ the Redeemer, and the remedy. Rom. 
iii. 10, 19, 20, 22, 23. '' There is none righteous 
(in himself without a Redeemer) no not one. — 
They are all gone out of the way. — That every 
mouth may be stopped, and all the world may 
become guilty before God. (And if all the 
world be guilty, none are innocent:) therefore, 
by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh 
be justified in his sight. For all have sinned 
and come short of the glory of God; being 
justified freely by his grace, through the 
redemption that is in Jesus Christ." Isa. liii. 6. 
^' All we like sheep have gone astray, we have 
turned every one to his own way, and the Lord 
hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.'* Rom. 
V. 15- " Through tlie offence of one, many are 

140 Of the Knowhdge of God. 

dead." 16. "And the judgment was by one 
to condemnation/' 17. " By the offence of 
one, death reigned by one." 18. " By the 
offence of one, judgment came on all men to 
condemnation." 19. " By one man's disobe- 
dience many were made sinners." Ps. li. 4. 
** We were shapen in iniquity, and in sin did 
our mothers conceive us." Eph. ii. 1, 3. *' We 
were by nature the children of wrath, and dead 
in trespasses and sin." 1 Cor. xv. 22. " In 
Adam all die." 2 Cor. v. 14. " We thus judge, 
that if^ one died for all, then were all dead." 
Eph. V. 23. *' Christ is the Saviour of the 
body." And verses 25 — 21, ** Christ loved the 
church and gave himself for it, that he might 
sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of 
water, by the word, that he might present it 
to himself a glorious church." If infants have 
no sin and misery, then they are none of the 
body, the church, which Christ loved and gave 
himself for, that he might cleanse it. But what 
need we further proof, when we have the com- 
mon experience of all the world. Would every 
man that is born of a woman, without exception, 
so early manifest sin in the life, if there were 
no corrupt disposition at the heart? And should 
all mankind, without exception, taste of the 
punishment of sin, if they had no participation 
of the guilt? Death is the wages of sin; and 
by sin death entered into the world, and it 
passeth upon all men, for that all have sinned. 

Of the Knozdedge of God. 141 

"Rom. V. 12. Infants have sickness, and tor- 
ments, and death, which are the fruits of sin. 
And were they not presented to Christ as a 
Saviour, when he took them in his arms and 
blessed them, and said. Of such is the kingdom 
of God? Certainly, none that never were guilty 
or miserable, are capable of a place in the king- 
dom of the Mediator. For to what end should 
he mediate for them? or how can he redeem 
them that need not a redemption? or how 
should he reconcile them to God, that never 
were at enmity with him ? or how can he wash 
them that were never unclean? or how can he 
be a physician to them that never were sick, 
when the whole have no need of the physician? 
Matt. ix. 12. He came to seek and to save 
that which was lost; Luke xix. 10. and to save 
his people from their sins. Matt. i. 21. They 
are none of his saved people, therefore, that 
had no sin. He came to redeem those that 
were under the law. Gal. iv. 5. But it is most 
certain that infants were under the law as well 
as the adult: and they were a part of his people 
Israel, whom he visited and redeemed. Luke i. 
68. If ever they be admitted into glory, they 
must praise him that redeemed them by his 
blood. Rev, v. 9. God doth first justify those 
whom he glorifieth. Rom. viii. 30. And they 
must be born again that will enter into his 
kingdom. John iii. 3. 5. And there is no rege- 
neration or renovation but from sin. Col, iii. 10, 

142 Of the Knowledge of God, 

Eph. iv. 22. Nor any justification but from sin, 
and from what we could not be justified from 
by the law of Moses. Acts xiii. 30. Nor any 
justification but what containeth a remission of 
sin. Rom. iii. 25. And where there is no sin^ 
there is none to be remitted. Nor is there any 
justifi-cation, but what is through the redemption 
that is in Christ Jesus, and his propitiation. 
Horn. iii. 24. 25. He is made of God redemp- 
tion to us. 1 Cor. i. 30. And the redemption 
that we have by him, is remission of sins by 
his blood. Col. i. 14. Eph. i. 7. By his own 
blood, entered he once into the holy place, 
having obtained eternal redemption for us : the 
eternal inheritance is received by means of 
death for the redemption of transgressions : 
Heb." ix. 12. 15. so that all scripture speaks 
this truth aloud to us— that there is now no 
salvation promised, but to- the church, the 
justified, the regenerate, the redeemed; and 
that none can be capable of these but sinners, 
and such as are lost and miserable in them- 
selves. And till our necessity be understood, 
redemption cannot be well understood. They 
that beheve that Christ died not only for this 
or that man in particular, but for the world, 
methinks should believe that the world are 
sinners and need his death. He is called the 
Saviour of the world; John iv. 42. and the 
Saviour of all men, especially of believers. 
1 Tim. iv. 10. 1 John iv. 14. ** We have seen 

Of the Knowledge of God, 143 

and do testify that tlie Father sent the Son to 
be the Saviour of the world." And from what 
doth he save them ? From their sins, Matt. i. 21. 
and from the wrath to come. 1 Thes. i. 10. For 
this is a faithful saying and worthy of all accep- 
tation, that Christ Jesus came into the world 
to saive sinners. Infants then are sinners, or 
none of those that he came to save. Christ 
hath made no man righteous by his obedience, 
but such as Adam made sinners by his dis- 
obedience. Rom. V. 19. *' For as by one man's 
disobedience, many were made sinners, so by 
the obedience of one, many shall be made 
righteous." Infants are not made righteous by 
Christ, if they were not sinners: and sinners 
they cannot be, by any but original sin. Rom. 
V. 8 — 10. ^' God commended his love to us, 
in that while we were yet sinners Christ died 
for us: much more being now justified by his 
blood, we shall be saved from wrath through 
him: when we were enemies we were reconciled 
to God, by the death of his Son;" so that it 
is sinners that Christ died for, and sinners that 
are justified by liis blood, and sinners that are 
reconciled to God. Infants, therefore, are sin- 
ners, or they are none of the redeemed, justified, 
or reconciled. And when Jesus Christ, " by 
the pfrace of God did taste death for every 
man," Heb. ii. 9. infants are sure included. 
"• There is one Mediator between God and men, 
the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a 

144 Of the Knozdedge of God, 

ransom for all;" I Tim. ii. 5. 6. therefore, all 
had sin and misery, and needed that ransom. 
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for 
our's only, but also for the sins of the whole 
■world. And is it not plain then, that the >vhole 
world are sinners? 

I speak all this for the evincing of original sin 
only, because that only is denied by such as yet 
pretend to Christianity ; for actual sin is com- 
monly confessed, and shews itself. And truly 
so doth original sin in our proneness to actual ; 
and in the earliness and commonness of such 
evil inclinations; and in the remnants of it 
which the sanctified feel, though they are such 
as were sanctified never so early, before actual 
sin had time to breed those evil habits, which 
therefore certainly were born with us. 

And if the image of God, consisting in true 
holiness, be not natural, or born in every infant 
in thp world, then original sin must needs be 
born with them : for that sin is either only or 
chiefly the privation of that image or holiness. 
He that will say that this image is not requisite 
to infants, and so that the absence of it is a 
mere negation, doth make them brutes, and not 
of the race of man, whom God created after his 
image, and leaves them incapable of heaven or 
hell, or any other life than beasts have. And 
he that thinks so of infants to-day, may think 
so of himself to-morrow. And he that will 
affirm that this image or holiness is born with 

Of the Knowledge of God, 145 

every infant into the world, so wilfully contra- 
dicteth common evidence, which appeareth in 
the contrary effects, that he is not worthy to be 
further talked with. 

One thing more I will propound yet to tl.e 
contrary-minded ; Can they say that any infants 
are saved or not ? If not, either they perish as 
brutes, (which is a brutish opinion) or they live 
in misery ; and then they had sin that did 
deserve it; yea if they think that any of tliem 
perish in the wrath to come, it must be for sin. 
If they think that any of them are saved, it is 
either by covenant or without; there is some 
promise for it, or there is none. If none, then 
no man can say that any of them are saved. 
For who hath known the mind of the Lord 
without his revelation ? It is arrogance to tell 
the world of the saving of any that God did no 
way reveal that he will save. But if they plead 
a revelation or promise, it is either the covenant 
of nature or of grace; a promise contained in 
nature, law, or gospel. The former cannot be 
affirmed, (not only because the dissenters them- 
selves deny any such covenant to have been in 
nature or any way made to Adam, but) because 
there is no such covenant or promise in nature 
to be found, for the salvation of ail infants, (and 
if not for all, then for none :) and because it is 
contrary to abundance of plain passages in the 
scriptures, that assure us there is but one cove- 
nant of salvation now in force: and that all 

146 Of the Knowledge of God, 

the world shall become guilty before God, and 
every mouth be stopped, Rom. iii. 19, and that 
by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justi- 
fied in his sight, v. 20. Gal. ii. 16. And if 
righteousness come by the law, then Christ is 
dead in vain. Gal. ii. 21. For as many as are of 
the works of the law, are under the curse. Gal. 
iii. 10. And that no man is justified by the law 
in the sight of God, is evident; for the just 
shall live by faith ; and the law is not of faith ; 
but, the man that doth them shall live in them. 
And certainly the law of nature requireth not 
less than Moses's law, to a man's justification, if 
not more. And " if there had been a law given 
which could have given life, verily righteousness 
should have been by the law. But the scripture 
hath concluded all under sin, that the promise 
by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them 
that believe." Gal. iii. 21, 22. 

By the fulness of this evidence, it is easy to 
see, that infants and all mankind are sinners, 
and therefore have need of the Redeemer. 

II. To know God as our Redeemer, containeth 
the knowledge of the great ends of our redemp- 
tion, and of the manifestation of God to man 
thereby. Having treated of these in the book 
forecited, I shall now say but this in brief. It 
is beyond dispute, that God could have made 
man capable of glory, and kept him from falling 
by confirming grace, and without a Redeemer 
settled him in felicity, as he did the angels. 

Of the Knowledge of God. ] 47 

He that foresaw man's fall and necessity of a 
Saviour, could easily have prevented that sin 
and necessity: but he would not; he did not: 
but chose rather to permit it, and save man by 
the way of a Redeemer : in which his infinite 
wisdom is exceedingly manifested. And in 
Christ, who is the power and wisdom of God, 
1 Cor. i. 24, among others these excellent effects 
are declared to us, which the way of redemption 
attaineth above what the saving us on the terms 
of nature would have attained. 

1 . God is now wonderfully admired and mag- 
nified in the person of the Redeemer. Angels 
themselves desire to pry into this mystery. 1 Pet. 
r. 12. As the frame of nature is set us to see 
God in, where we daily as in a glass behold him 
and admire him; so the person of the Redeemer, 
and work of incarnation and redemption, is set 
the angels for their contemplation and admira- 
tion, as well as us ; Eph. iii. 10. " To the intent 
that now, unto the principalities and powers in 
heavenly places, might be known by the church 
the manifold wisdom of God." And in the glo- 
rious perfection and dignity of the Redeemer 
will God be everlastingly glorified ; for his 
greatest works do greatliest honor him: and 
as the sun doth now to us more honor him 
than a star, so the glorified person of the 
Redeemer, doth more honor God than man 
or angels. 1 Pet. iii. 23. '* He is gone into 
heaven, and is on the right hand of God ; 

148 Of the Knoivkdge of God. 

angels, and authorities, and powers being made 
subject to him." Eph. i. 20—22. '* Being 
raised from the dead, God hath set him at his 
own right hand in heavenly places, far above all 
principalities, and powers, and might, and domi- 
nion, and every name that is named, not only in 
this world, but also 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, 
which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth 
all in all." Heb. i. 3. " Who beins; the brio-ht- 
ness of his glory, and the express image of his 
person, and upholding all things by the word of 
his power, when he had by himself purged our 
sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty 
on high ; being made so much better than the 
angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a 
more excellent name than they." 

And here a very great truth appeareth, which 
very many overlook, that the exaltation of the 
person of the Redeemer, and the glory that God 
will have in him, is a higher and more principal 
part of God's intent in the sending of him to be 
incarnate and redeem us, than the glorifying of 
man, and of God by us. Christ will be more 
glorious than men or angels, and therefore will 
more glorify God; and God will eternally take 
more complacency in him than in men or angels; 
ar)d therefore (though in several respects) he is 
for us, and the means of our felicity ; and we 
are for him, and the means of his glory (as the 

Of the Knowledge of God, 149 

head is for the body, and the body for the head) 
yet we are more for Christ as a means to his 
glory, than he for us : I mean he is the more 
excellent principal end. " For to this end 
Christ both died, rose and revived, that he 
might be Lord both of the dead and living." 
Rom. xiv. 9. " Who being in the form of God, 
thought it not robbery to be equal with God ; 
but made himself of no reputation, and took 
upon him the form of a servant, and was made 
in the likeness of men: and being found in 
fashion as a man, he humbled himself and 
became obedient unto death, even the death of 
the cross: wherefore God also hath highly 
exalted him, and given him a name which 
is above every name; that at the name of 
Jesus every knee should bow, both of things in 
heaven, and things in earth, and under the 
earth; and that every tongue should confess 
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God 
the Father." Phil. ii. 6—12. Rev.v. 11— 14. 
" And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many 
angels round about the throne, and the beasts, 
and the elders; and the number of them was ten 
thousand times ten thousand, and thousands ol: 
thousands : saying with a loud voice. Worthy is 
the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and 
riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, 
and glory, and blessing. And every creature 
which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the 
earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that 

150 Of the Knon^Mge of God, 

are in them, heard I saying. Blessing, honor, 
glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth on the 
throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever." 
So Rev. XV. 3, 4, xx. 6, xxi. 23, *' The city had 
no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to 
shine in it; for the glory of God did hghten 
it, and the Lamb is the light thereof." Rev. 
xxii. 3, 4. '* The throne of God and of the 
Lamb shall be in it, and his servants shall serve 
him ; and they shall see his face, and his name 
shall be in their foreheads." These and many 
other scriptures shew us, that God will be for 
ever glorified in the person of the Redeemer, 
more than in either men or angels : and conse- 
quently that it was the principal part of his 
intention in the design of man's redemption. 

2. (I will be briefer in the rest) In the way 
of redemption man will be saved with greater 
humiliation and self-denial than he should have 
been in the way of creation. If we had been 
saved in a way of innoceucy, we should have 
had more to ascribe to ourselves. And it is 
meet that all creatures be humbled and abased, 
and nothing in themselves, before the Lord. 

3. By the way of redemption, sin will be 
more dishonored, and holiness more advanced, 
than if sin had never been known in the world. 
Contraries illustrate one another. Health would 
not be so much valued if there were no sick- 
ness : nor life if there were no death : nor day 
if there were no night : nor knowledge if there 

Of the Knowledge of God. 151 

Were no ignorance : nor good if man had not 
known evil. The hohness of God would never 
have appeared in execution of vindictive justice 
against sin, if there had never been any sin: 
and therefore he hath permitted it, and will 
recover us from it, when he could have pre- 
vented our falling into it. 

4. By this way also, holiness and recovering 
grace shall be more triumphant against the devil 
and all its enemies : by the many conquests 
that Christ will make over satan, the world and 
the flesh, and death, there will very much of 
God be seen to us, that innocency would not 
thus have manifested. 

5. Redemption brings God nearer unto man. 
The mystery of incarnation giveth us wonderful 
advantao^es to have more familiar thoughts of 
God, and to see him in a clearer glass, than 
ever we should else have seen him in on earth, 
and to have access with boldness to the throne 
of grace. The pure deity is at so vast a dis- 
tance from us, while we are here in flesh, that 
if it had not appeared in the flesh unto us, we 
should have been at a greater loss. But now 
without controversy great is the mystery of 
godhness : God was manifested in the flesh, 
justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached 
to the gentiles, believed on in the world, and 
received up into glory. 1 Tim. iii. 16. 

6. In the way of redemption, is brought 
to more earnest and frequent addresses unto 

\52 Of the Knowledge of God, 

God, and dependance on him : necessity driveth 
him : and he hath use for more of God, or for 
God in more of the ways of his mercy, than 
else he would have had. 

7. Principally in this way of saving miserable 
man by a Redeemer, there is opportunity for the 
more abundant exercise of God's mercy, and 
consequently for the more glorious discovery of 
his love and goodness to the sons of men, than 
if they had fallen into no such necessities. 
Misery prepareth men for the sense of mercy. 
In the Redeemer there is so wonderful a disco- 
very of love and mercy, as is the astonishment 
of men and angels. 1 John iii. 1. *' Behold 
what manner of love the Father hath bestowed 
upon us, that we should be called the sons of 
God!" Eph. ii. 4— 9. " God who is rich in 
mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 
even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened 
us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) 
and hath raised us up together, and made us sit 
together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus; 
that in the ages to come he might shew the 
exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness 
towards us by Christ Jesus : for by grace ye are 
saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; 
it is the gift of God : not of works, lest any 
man should boast." Tit. iii. 3 — 5. " For we 
ourselves were sometimes foolish, disobedient, 
deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, &c. 
but after that the kindness and love of God 

Of the Knowledge of God, 153 

our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works 
of righteousness which we have done, but 
according to his mercy he saved us, by the 
washing of regeneration and renewing of the 
Holy Ghost." Never was there such a discovery 
of God as he is love, in a way of mercy to man 
on earth, as in the Redeemer, and his benefits. 

8. In the way of redemption the soul of man 
is formed to the most sweet and excellent tem- 
per, and his obedience cast into the happiest 
mould. The glorious demonstration of love, 
doth animate us with love to God ; and the 
shedding abroad of his love in our hearts by 
the spirit of the Redeemer, doth draw out our 
hearts in love to him again: and the sense of 
his wonderful love and mercy filleth us with 
thankfulness : so that love is hereby made the 
nature of the new man ; and thankfulness is the 
life of all our obedience : for all floweth from 
these principles, and expresseth them: so that 
love is the compendium of all holiness in one 
word; and thankfulness of all evangelical obe- 
dience. And it is a more sweet and excellent 
state of life, to be the spouse of Christ, and his 
members, and serve God as friends and children, 
with love and thankfulness, than to serve him 
merely as the most loyal subjects, or with an 
obedience that hath less of love. 

9. In the way of redemption, holiness is more 
admirably exemplified in Christ, than it was, 
or would have been in Adam. Adam would 

154 Of the Knoioledge of God. 

never have declared it in that eminency of 
charity to others, submission to God, contempt 
of the world, self-denial, and conquest of satan, 
as Christ hath done. 

10. And in the way of redemption, there is 
a double obligation laid upon man for every 
duty. To the obligations of creation, all the 
obligations of redemption and the new creation 
are superadded: and this threefold cord should 
not so easily be broken. Here are moral means 
more powerfully to hold the soul to God. 

11. And in this way there is a clearer dis- 
covery of the everlasting state of man, and 
life and immortality are more fully brought to 
light by the gospel, 2 Tim. i. 10. than for ought 
we find in scripture, they were to innocent man 
himself. *' No man hath seen God at any time : 
the only begotten Son that is in the bosom of 
the Father, he hath declared him." John i. 18. 
" For no man hath ascended up into heaven, 
but he that came down from heaven, even the ' 
Son of man, which is in heaven." John iii. 13. 

12. Man will be advanced, to the judging 
of the ungodly and of the conquered angels : 
even by the good will of the Father, and a 
participation in the honor of Christ our head, 
and by a participation in his victories, and by 
our own victories in his strength, by the right 
of conquest, we shall judge with Christ, both 
devils and men, that were enemies to him and 
our salvation : as you may see 1 Cor. vi. 2. 3. 

Of the Knowledge of God, 155 

And there is more in that promise than we yet 
well understand. Rev. ii. 26. 27. *' He that over- 
cometh, and keepeth my words unto the end, 
to him will I give power over the nations : and 
he shall rule them with a rod of iron ; as the 
vessels of a potter shall they be broken to 
shivers ; even as I received of my father." 

13. And that which Augustine so much insis- 
teth on, I think is also plain in scripture, that 
the salvation of the elect is better secured in the 
hands of Christ, than his own or any of his pos- 
terities' was in the hands of Adam. We know 
that Adam lost that which was committed to 
him : but " we know whom we have believed, 
and are persuaded that he is able to keep that 
which we commit to him, against that day." 
1 Tim. i. 12. Force not these scriptures against 
our own consolation, and the glory of our Re- 
deemer, and then judge. John xvii. 2. '' As 
thou hast given him power over all flesh, that 
he should give eternal life to as many as thou 
hast given him." John vi. 37. *' All that the 
Father giveth me, shall come to me ; and him 
that Cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out." 
Ver. 39. " And this is the Father's will which 
hath sent me, that of all which he hath given 
me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up 
again at the last day." John x. 26—29. " But 
ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, 
as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, 
and I know them and they follow me, and I give 

156 Of the Knowledge of God. 

unto them eternal life, and they shall never 
perish, and none shall take them out of my 
hand. My Father which gave them me is greater 
than all, and no man is able to pluck them out 
of my Father's hand." Eph. i. 3—6. " Blessed 
be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings 
in heavenly places in Christ, according as he 
hath chosen us in him before the foundation of 
the world, that we should be holy and without 
blame before him in love : having predestinated 
us to the adoption of his children, by Jesus 
Christ to himself according to the good pleasure 
of his will, to the praise of the glory of his 
grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the 
beloved." " Being predestinated according to 
the purpose of him that worketh all things after 
the counsel of his own will." Ver. 11. 

And if faith, and repentance, and the right 
disposition of the will itself, be his resolved gift 
to his elect, and not things left merely to our 
uncertain wills, then the case is past all question. 
2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. " In meekness instructing 
those that oppose themselves, if God peradven- 
ture will give them repentance to the acknow- 
ledging of the truth, and that they may recover 
themselves out of the snare of the devil." Eph. 
ii. 8. ** By grace ye are saved through faith, and 
that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." 
Gal. V. 22. " The fruit of the Spirit is love, 
faith, " Phil. i. 29. " To you it is given 

Of the Knowledge of God, 157 

©n the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on 
him — —" Acts xiii. 48. '' As many as were 
ordained to eternal life believed." Jer.'xxiv. 7. 
** And I will, give them an heart to know me, 
that I am the Lord^ and they shall be my people, 
and I will be their God ; for they shall return 
unto me with their whole heart." Ezek. xi. 19, 
20, " And I will give them one heart, and I 
will put a new spirit within you : and I will take 
the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give 
them an heart of flesh, that they may walk in 
my statutes, and keep my ordinances and do 
them : and they shall be my people, and I will 
be their God." Ezek. 26, 27. *' A new 
heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will 
I put within you, and I will take away the stony 
heart out of your flesh and give you an heart of 
flesh, and I will put my spirit within you, and 
cause you to walk in my statutes." See also 
Heb. viii. 6 — 10, where this is called the new 
and better covenant. *^ I will put my laws in 
their minds, and write them in their hearts." 
Jer. xxxi. 33; and xxxii. 39, 40. *^ And I will 
give them one heart and one way, that they may 
fear me for ever. And I will make an ever- 
lasting covenant with them, and I will not turn 
away from them to do them good, but I will put 
my fear in their hearts that they shall not depart 
from me." 1 Cor. iv. 7. " Who makes thee to 
differ? and what hast inou tnat thou didst not 
receive?" Much more may be produced, from 

158 Of the Kiioivleige of God, 

which it is evident that Christ is the authar and 
finisher of our faith; and that the certainty of 
the salvation of his elect, doth lie more on his. 
undertaking and resolution infalhljly to accom- 
plish their salvation, than upon our wisdom, or 
the stability of our mutable free-wills : and that 
thus we are better in the hands of the second 
Adam, than we were in the hands of the first. 

14. To conclude. — Vindictive justice will be 
doubly honored upon them that are final rejec- 
ters of this grace. Though conscience would 
have had matter enough to work upon for the 
torment of the sinner, and the justifying of 
God, upon the mere violation of the law of 
nature or works, yet nothing to what it now will 
have on them that are the despisers of this great 
salvation. " For of how much sorer punish- 
ment suppose ye shall he be thought worthy 
that hath trodden under foot the Son of God ? '* 
when it is will'ul impenitency, against most 
excellent means and mercies, that is to be 
charged upon sinners, and when they perish 
because they would not be saved, justice will 
be most fully glorified before all, and in the 
conscience of the sinner himself. All this con- 
sidered, you may see that (besides what reasons 
of the counsel of God are unknown to us) there 
is abundant reason open to our sight, from the 
great advantages of this way, why God would 
rather save us by a Redeemer, than in a way of 
innocency as our mere Creator. 

Of the Knowledge of God. 159 

But, for the answering of all objections 
against this, I must desire you to observe these 
two things following. 1. That we here suppose 
man a terrestrial inhabitant clothed with flesh : 
otherwise it is confessed that if he were perfect 
in heaven, where he had the beatifical vision to 
confirm him, many of these forementioned 
advantages to him would be none. 

2. And it is supposed that God will work on 
man by moral means; and where he never so 
infallibly produceth the good of man, he doth it 
in a way agreeable to his nature and present 
state; and that his work of grace is sapiential, 
m.agnifying the contrivance and conduct of his 
wisdom, as well as his power : otherwise, indeed, 
God might have done all without these or any 
other means. >• 

III. The knowledge of God in Christ as our 
Redeemer, must imprint upon the soul those 
holy affections which the design and nature of 
our redemption do bespeak, and which answer 
these forementioned ends. As, 1. It must keep 
the soul in a sense of the odiousness of sin, 
that must have such a remedy to pardon and 
destroy it. 

2. It must raise us to most high and honor- 
able thoughts of our Redeemer, the Captain of 
our Salvation, that bringeth back lost sinners 
unto God : and we must study to advance the 
glory of our Lord, whom the Father hath 
advanced and set over all. 
I 2 

1 60 Of the Knowledge of God. 

3. It must drive us out of ourselves, and 
bring us to be nothing in our own eyes, and 
cause us to have humble, penitent, self-con- 
demning thoughts, as men that have been our 
own undoers, and deserved so ill of God and 

4. It must drive us to a fall and constant 
dependance on Christ our Redeemer, and on the 
Father by him : as our Hfe is now in the Son as 
its root and fountain, so in him must be our 
faith and confidence, and to him we must daily 
have recourse ; and seek to him, and to the 
Father in his name, for all that we need, for 
daily pardon, strength, protection, provision and 

5. It must cause us the more to admire the 
holiness of God, which is so admirably declared 
in our redemption; and still be sensible how he 
hateth sin and loveth purity. 

^. It must invite and encourage us- to draw 
near to God, who hath condescended to come 
so near to us; and as sons we must cry Abba 
Father, and though with reverence, yet with 
holy confidence must set ourselves continually 
before him. 

7. It must cause us to maUe it our daily 
employment to study the richea of the. love of 
God, and his abundant mercy manifested in 
Christ; so that above all books in the world, 
we should most diligently and delightfully 
peruse the Son of God incarnate, and in him 

0/ ^he Knoiokdg^ of God. 161 

Ijehold the power, and wisdom, and goodness of 
the Father : and with Paul we should desire to 
know nothing but Christ crucified ; and all 
things should be counted but loss and dung for 
the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus 
our Lord. Phil, iii. 8. That we may be able to 
comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, 
and length, and depth, and height, and to know 
the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that 
we may be filled with all the fulness of God, 

8. Above all, if we know God as our redeemer, 
we must live in the power of holy love and 
gratitude. His manifested love must prevail 
with us so far, that unfeigned love to him may 
be the predominant affection of our souls. And 
being free from the spirit of bondage and slavish 
fear, we must make love and thankfulness the 
sum of our religion: and think not any thing 
will prove us christians without prevailing love 
to Christ, nor that any duty is accepted that 
proceedeth not from it. 

9. Redemption must teach us to apply our- 
selves to the holy laws and example of our 
Redeemer, for the forming and ordering of our 
hearts and lives. 

10. And it must quicken us to love the 
Lord with a redoubled vigour, and to obey 
with double resolution and diligence, because 
we are under a double obligation. What should 
a people so redeemed esteem too much or too 
dear for God? 

162 Of the Knoivledge of God, 

11. Redemption must make us a more hea- 
venly people, as being redeemed to the incor- 
ruptible inheritance in heaven: ** The blessed 
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten 
us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection 
of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance 
incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not 
away, reserved in heaven for us, who are kept 
by the power of God through faith unto salva- 
tion." 1 Pet. i. 3. 

12. Lastly, redemption must cause us to 
walk the more carefully, and with a greater 
care to avoid all sin, and to avoid the threatened 
wrath of God, because sin against such unspeak- 
able mercy is unspeakably great, and condemna- 
tion by a Redeemer, for despising his grace, will 
be a double condemnation. John iii. 19. 36. 


11. The third relation in which God is to be 
known by us, is as he is our sanctifier and 
comforter; which is specially ascribed to the 
Holy Ghost. And doubtless as the dispensation 
of the Holy Ghost is the perfecting dispensation, 
without which creation and redemption would 
not attain their ends ; and as the sin against the 
Holy Ghost, is the great and dangerous sin; so 

ty the Knowledge of God, 163 

'^jM't belief in the Holy Ghost, and knowledge of 
<Jod as our sanctifier by the Spirit, is not the 
least or lowest act of our faith or knowledoe. 
And it implieth or containeth these things 

L We must hence take notice of the cer- 
tainty of our common original sin. The neces- 
sity of sanctification proveth the corruption, as 
the necessity of a Redeemer proveth the guilt : it 
is not one but all that are baptised, that must be 
baptised into the name of the Soa and Holy Ghost, 
as well as of the Father : which is an entering 
into covenant with the Son as our Redeemer, 
•and with the Holy Ghost as our sanctifier. So 
that infants themselves must be sanctified or 
be none of the church of Christ, which cou- 
sisteth of baptised sanctified persons. " Except 
^ man be bora again (even of the Spirit, as well 
as water) he cannot enter into the kingdom of 

heaven." For that wdiich is born of the ilesh is 

♦ ... 

ilesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is 

spirit, John iii. 3, 5, 6. and therefore the fleshly 
birth producing not a spiritual creature, will not 
save without the spiritual birth : the words are 
most plain; not only against them that deny 
original sin, but against them that, misunder- 
standing the nature of redemption, do think that 
all infants are merely, by the price paid, put into 
a state of salvation, and have the pardon of 
their original sin in common, attending their 
natural birth. But these men should consider. 

164 Of the Knowledge of Gad, 

1. That this text and constant experience tell xifi 
that the new birth doth not tlius commonly io 
all accompany the natural birth : and yet with- 
out the new birth none can be saved, nor 
without holiness any see Gad. 2. That pardon 
of sin is no man's upon the bare suiFering: of 
Jesus Christ; but must be their's by some 
covenant or promise conveying to them a right 
to the benefits of his sufFerins:. And therefore 
no man can be said to be pardoned or saved 
(without great arrogance in the affirmer) that 
Lclth not from God a promise of such mercy. 
But no man can shew any promise that giveth 
remission of original sin to all infants. Produce 
it, or presume not to affirm it, lest you fall under 
the heavy doom of those that add to his holy 
word. The promise is to the faithful and their 
seed. The rest are not the children of the 
promise, but are under the commination of the 
violated law ; which indeed is dispensable ; and 
therefore we cannot say that God will pardon^ 
none of them ; but, withal, we cannot say that 
he will, unless he had told us so. All the world 
are in a necessity of a sanctifier : and therefore 
most certainly (even since Christ's death) they 
are naturally corrupted. 

II. And as our belief in the Holy Ghost 
as sanctifier, engageth us to acknowledge our 
original sin and misery, so doth it engage us to 
magnify his renewing work of grace, and be 
convinced of the necessity of it, and to confess 

Of the Knowledge of God, 165 

\hQ insufficiency of corrupted nature to its own 
renovation. As no man must dishonor the work 
of our creator, and therefore our faculties of 
reason and natural free will are not to be denied 
or reproached; so must we be as careful that 
we dishonor not the works of our Redeemer or 
sanctifier: and therefore the viciousness and ill 
disposedness of these faculties, and the thral- 
dom of our wills to their own misinclinations, 
and to concupiscence, must be confessed ; and 
the need of grace to work the cure- It is not 
ingenuous for us, when God made it so admirable 
a part of his work in the world, to redeem us, 
and save us from our sin and misery, that we 
should hide or deny our diseases, and make our- 
selves believe that we have but little need of the 
physician, and so that the cure is no great matter, 
and consequently deserveth no great praise. I 
know the church is troubled by men of dark yet 
self-conceited minds, that in these points are 
running all into extremes : one side denying 
' the sapiential method, and the other the omni- 
potential way of God in our recovery: one 
plainly casting our sin and misery principally on 
God, and the other as plainly robbing the 
Redeemer and Holy Spirit of the honor of our 
recovery:— but it is the latter that my subject 
leadeth me now to speak to. I beseech you 
take heed of any conceit that would draw you 
to extenuate the honor of our sanctifier. Dare 
YOU contend against the Holy Ghost for the 
I 3 

166 Of the Knowledge of God. 

integrity of your natures, or the honor of your 
cure ? Surely he that hath felt the power of this 
renewing grace, and found how little of it was 
from himself, nay how much he was an enemy 
to it, will be less inclined to extenuate the 
praise of grace than inexperienced men will be. 
Because the case is very weighty, give me leave 
by way of question to propound these consi- 
derations to you. 

Question 1. Why is it think you that all 
must be baptised into the name of the Son 
and Holy Ghost as well as of the Father? Doth 
it not imply that all have need of a sanctifier, 
and must be engaged to that end in covenant 
with the sanctifier? I suppose you know that 
it is not to a bare profession of our belief of the 
trinity of persons that we are baptised. It is 
our covenant entrance into our happy relation to 
God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that is 
then celebrated. And therefore as infants and 
all must be thus engaged to the sanctifier, so all 
must acknowledge their necessity of this mercy, 
and the excellency of it. It is essential to our 
Christianity, that we value it, desire it, and 
receive it. And therefore an error inconsistent 
with it proveth us indeed no christians. Matt, 
xxviii. 19. 

Question 2. Why is it think you that the 
Holy Ghost and this renewing work, are so 
much magnified in the scripture? Is not the 
glory of it answerable to those high expressions? 

Of the Knowledge of God. 167 

undoubtedly it is. I have already told you else- 
where of the elogies of this work. It is that 
by which Christ dwelleth in them, and they are 
made a habitation of God by the Spirit. Eph. 
iii. 17, and ii. 22. They are made by it the 
temples of the Holy Ghost. 1 Cor. vi. 19. It 
is the divine power (which is no other than 
omnipotency) that giveth us all things pertainino; 
unto life and godliness. 2 Peter i. 3. Think 
not I beseech you any lower of this work than 
is consistent with these expressions. It is the 
opening of the blind eyes of our understanding, 
and turning us from darkness to light, and from 
the power of satan unto God, and bringing us 
into his marvellous light. Acts xxvi. 18. Eph. 
i. 18. 1 Peter ii. 9. It is an inward teaching 
of us by God, John vi. 45. 1 Thes. iv. 9 ; an 
effectual teaching and anointing, 1 John ii. 27 ; 
and a writing the laws in our hearts and putting 
them in our inward parts. Heb. viii. 10, 11. I 
purposely forbear any exposition of these texts, 
lest I seem to distort them; and because I 
would only lay the naked word of God before 
your own impartial considerations. It is God's 
work by the Spirit, and not our own as our's 
that is here so much magnified. And can all 
this signify no more but a common bare proposal 
of truth and good to the intellect and will ; even 
such as ignorant and wicked men have? Doth 
God do as much to illuminate, teach, and sanc- 
tify them that never are illuminated, or taught, 

168 Of the Knowledge of God. 

and sanctified, as them that are ? This work of 
the Holy Ghost is called a quickening, or making^ 
men tliat were dead, alive. Eph. ii. 1, 2. Rom, 
vi. 11, 13. It is called a new begetting or new 
birth, without which none can enter into heaven. 
John iii. 3, 5, 6. A renewing us, and making us 
new men, and new creatures, so far as that old 
things are passed away, and all become new. Eph, 
iv. 23, 24. Col. iii. 10. 2 Cor. v. 17. It is a new 
creating us after the image of God. Eph. iv. 24. 
It maketh us holy as God is holy, 1 Peter i. 15, 
16 ; yea it maketh us partakers of the divine 
nature. 2 Peter i. 4. It giveth us repentance to 
the acknowledging of the truth, that we may 
recover ourselves out of the snare of the devil, 
who were taken captive by him at his will. 
2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. It giveth us that love by 
which God dwelleth in us, and we in God. 
1 John iv. 16. We are redeemed by Christ, 
from all iniquity, and therefore it is that he gave 
himself for us, to purify to himself a peculiar 
people zealous of good works. Tit. ii. 14. It is 
an abundant shedding of the Holy Ghost on us 
for our renovation. Tit. iii. 5, 6; and by it a 
shedding the love of God abroad in our hearts. 
"Rom. v. 5. It is this Holy Spirit given to 
believers by which they pray, and by which 
they mortify the flesh. Jude 20. Rom. viii. 26, 
13. By this Spirit we live, and walk, and 
rejoice. Rom. viii 1. and xiv. 17. Our joy, and 
peace, and hope, is through the power of the 

Of the Knowledge of God, 169 

Holy Ghost. Rom. xv. 13. It giveth us a spi- 
ritual mind, and taketh away the carnal mind 
that is enmity against God, and neither is nor 
can be subject to his law. Rom. viii. 7. By 
this Spirit that is given to us, we must know 
that we are God's children. 1 John iii. 24, and 
iv. 13. For if any man have not the Spirit of 
Christ, the same is none of his. Rom. viii. 9. 
All holy graces are the fruits of the Spirit. Gal. 
v. 22, 23. It would be too long to number the 
several excellent effects of the sanctifying work 
of the Spirit upon the soul, and to recite the 
elogies of it in the scripture. Surely it is no 
low or needless thing which all these expressions 
do intend. 

Question 3. If you think it a most heinous 
sin to vilify the Creator and his w^ork, and the 
Redeemer and his work, why should not you 
think so of the viUfying of the Sanctifier and 
his work, when God hath so magnified it, and 
will be glorified in it ; and when it is the apply- 
ing perfecting work, that maketh the purchased 
benefits of redemption to be ours, and formeth 
our Father's image on us ? 

Question 4. Do we not doctrinally commit 
too much of that sin, (if we undervalue the 
Spirit's sanctifying work, as a common thing) 
which the ungodly world do manifest in practice, 
when they speak and live in a contempt or low 
esteem of grace ? And which is more injurious 
to God ; for a profane person to jest at the 

170 Of the Knowledge of God. 

Spirit's work, or for a christian or minister 
deliberately to extenuate it? especially when 
the preaching of grace is a minister's chief 
work, sure we should much fear partaking in 
so great a sin. 

Question 5. Why is it that the scripture 
speaks so much to take men off from boasting 
or ascribing any thing to themselves ? Rom. iii. 
19. That every mouth may be stopped; and 
why doth not the law of works exclude boastings 
but only the law of faith ? Rom. iii. 27. Surely 
the actions of nature (except so far as it is 
corrupt) are as truly of God, as the acts of 
grace. And yet God will not take it well to 
deny him the glory of redemption, or . sanctifica- 
tion, and tell him that we paid it him in another 
kind, and ascribed all to him as the author of 
our free will by natural production. For as 
nature shall honor the creator, so grace shall 
also honor the redeemer and sanctifier. And 
God designeth the humbling of the sinner, and 
teaching him to deny himself; and to honor 
God in such a way as may stand with self-abase- 
ment, leaving it to God to honor those by way 
of reward, that honor him in way of duty, and 
deny their own honor. 

Question 6. Why is the blaspheming and 
sinning against the Holy Ghost made so heinous 
and dangerous a sin, if the works of the Holy 
Ghost were not most excellent, and such as God 
will be most honored by ? 

Of the Knowledge of God. 171 

Question 7. Is it not exceeding ingratitude 
for the soul that hath been illuminated, con- 
verted, renewed, quickened, and saved by the 
Holy Ghost, to extenuate the mercy, and ascribe 
it most to his natural will? O what a change 
was it that sanctification made 1 What a blessed 
birth-day was that to our souls when we entered 
here upon Ufe eternal! John xvii. 3. And is 
this the thanks we give the Lord for so great a 

mercy ! 

Question 8. What mean those texts, if they 
confute not this unthankful opinion? Phil. ii. 
13. *' It is God that worketh in you to will 
and to do of his good pleasure." Eph. ii. 7—10. 
" God hath raised us up together, and made us 
sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 
that hi the ages to come he might shew the 
exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness 
towards us through Christ Jesus: for by grace 
ye are saved through faith, and that not of 
yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works 
lest any man should boast; for we are his work- 
manship created to good works in Christ Jesus." 
The like is in Tit. iii. 5—7. John xv. 16. " Ye 
have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and 
ordained you that you should go and bring forth 
fruit, and that your fruit should remain." 1 John 
iv. 10. " Herein is love: not that we loved God, 
but that he loved us—" 1 Cor. iv. 7. '^ For 
who maketh thee to ditter? and what hast thou 
that thou didst not receive?" John vi. 44. 

172 Of the Knowledge of God, 

" No man can come unto me, except the Father 
which hath sent me draw him." 1 Cor. ii. 14. 
** The natural man receiveth not the things of 
the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto 
him, neither can he know them, because they 
are spiritually discerned." John iii. 6. " That 
which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that 
which is born of the Spirit is spirit:" that is, 
plainly, the fleshly birth produceth but flesh and 
not spirit ; if any man will have the spirit, (and 
so be saved) it must be by a spiritual begetting 
and birth by the Holy Ghost. Acts xvi. 14. 
" The Lord opened Lydia's heart that she 
attended to the things that were spoken of 
Paul," &c. Was the conversion of Paul, a 
murdering persecuxor, his own work rather than 
the Lord's, when the means and manner were 
such as we read of? Acts xxii. 14. *' The 
God of our Fathers hath chosen thee that thou 
shouldst know his will, and see that just one, 
and hear the voice of his mouth," &c. He was 
chosen to the means and to faith, and not only 
in faith to salvation. When Christ called his 
disciples to come and follow him, was there no 
prevailing inward power that made them leave 
all and follow him ? And was it not the powev 
of the Holy Ghost that converted three thou- 
sand Jews at a sermon, of them that by wicked 
hands had crucified and slain the Lord Jesus ? 
Acts ii. 23, 41. When the preaching and 
miracles of Christ converted so few ; his hrQ- 

of -the Knowledge of God. 173 

tlirien, and they that saw his miracles, believed 
not on him, John xii. 37* v. 38. vi.*36. vii. 5. 
but when the Holy Ghost was given after his 
ascension in that plenty which answered the 
gospel and promise, his words were fulfilled, 
John xii. 32. " And I, if I be lifted up from 
the earth, will draw all men unto me." I pass 
by abundance more such evidence. 

Question 9. Doth it not tend to bring sin 
into credit, which holiness is contrary to, and to 
bring the love of God into discredit, and to 
hinder men's conversion, and keep them from a 
holy life, when holiness is taken for so low and 
natural or common a thing? 

Question 10. And consequently, doth it not 
tend to the vilifying of the attribute of holiness 
in God, when the image and effect of it is so 
extenuated ? 

Question 11. And doth it not tend to the 
contempt of heaven itself, whose state of felicity 
consisteth much in perfect holiness ? And if 
sanctification be but some common motion, 
which Cain and Judas had as well as Paul, sure 
it is less divine and more inconsiderable than we 

Question 12. Doth it not speak very dan- 
gerous suspicion of a soul that never felt the 
special work of grace, that can make light of it, 
and ascribe it most to his own will? And would 
not sound humiliation do more than arguments 
to cure this great mistake ? I never yet came 

174 Of the Knowledge of God, 

near a throughly-humbled soul, but I found 
them too low and vile in their own eyes to have 
such undervaluing thoughts of grace, or to think 
it best for them to leave all the efficacy of grace 
to their own wills ! A broken heart abhors such 

Question 13. Dare any wise and sober man 
desire such a thing of God? or dare you say that 
you will expect no other grace but what shall 
leave it to yourselves to make it effectual or 
frustrate it? I think he is no friend to his soul 
that would take up with this. 

Question 14. Do not the constant prayers of 
all that have but a shew of godliness, contradict 
the doctrine which I am contradicting? Do you 
not beg of God to melt and soften and bow your 
hearts, and to make them more holy, and fill 
them with light, and faith, and love, and hold 
you close to God and duty? In a word, do you 
not daily pray for effectual grace, that shall 
infallibly procure your desired ends ? I scarce 
ever heard a prayer from a sober man but was 
orthodox in such points, though their speeches 
would be heterodox. 

Question 15. Do you not know that there is 
an enmity in every unrenewed heart, against 
sanctification, till God remove it ? Are we not 
greater enemies to ourselves, and greater resis- 
ters of the Holy Ghost, and of our own conver- 
sion and sanctification and salvation, than all 
the world besides is? Woe to him that feeleth 

Of the Knowledge of God. 1 75 

not this by himself. And is it likely that we 
that are enemies to holiness, should do more to 
our own sanctification than the Holy Ghost? 
Woe to us if he conquer not our enmity. 

Question 16. Is it probable that so great a 
work as the destroying of our dearest sins, the 
setting our hearts and all our hopes on an invi- 
sible glory, and delighting in the Lord, and for- 
saking all for him, &c. should come rather from 
the choice of a will that loveth those sins, and 
hateth that holy heavenly life, than from the 
Spirit of Christ? Sure this is much above us. 

Question 17. Whence is it that so often one 
man, that hath been a notorious sinner, is con- 
verted by a sermon, when a civiler man, of better 
nature and life, is never changed, though he 
have that and ten times more persuasions ? 

Question 18. Doth not experience tell impar- 
tial observers, that the high esteemers of the 
sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost, are ordina- 
rily of more holy heavenly lives than they that 
use to ascribe the differencing work to their free 
wills ? In my observation it is so. 

Question 19. Should not every gracious 
humble soul be more inclined to magnify God 
than himself, and to give him the glory, than to 
give it to ourselves ; especially in a case where 
scripture and experience telleth us that we are 
more unlikely than God to deserve the praise ? 
Our destruction is of ourselves, but in him is 
our help. Hos. xiii. 9. When we see an effect 

176 Of the Knowledge of God* 

and know it, and the causes that are in questiofjy 
it is easy to conjecture, from the quality, whidh 
is the true cause. If I see a serpent brought 
forth, I will sooner think that it was generated 
by a serpent than a dove. If I see sin in the 
world, I shall easily believe it is the spawn of 
this corrupted will, that is so prone to it. But 
if I find a divine nature in me, or see a holy hea- 
venly life in any, I must needs think that this is 
liker to be the work of the blessed God, than of 
such a naughty heart as man's, that hath already 
been a self-destroyer. 

Question 20. What motive hath any man to 
exalt himself, and sin against the Holy Ghost, 
by such an extenuation of his saving grace ? It 
is a causeless fruitless sin. The only reason that 
ever I could hear for it was, lest the doctrine of ^ 
differencing grace should make God a respecter 
of persons, or the author of sin ; of which there 
is no reason of a suspicion. We all agree that 
no man perisheth, or is denied grace, but such 
as deserve it : and, when all deserve it, it is no 
more respect of persons in God to sanctify some 
only of those ill deservers, than it is that he 
makes not all men kings, nor every dog or toad 
a man, nor every star a sun, or every man an 
angel. To clear all objections concerning this 
would be but to digress. 

III. Lastly, our knowledge of the Holy Ghost 
must raise us to an high estimation of his 
works, and a ready reception of his graces, and 

Of the Knowledge of God. 177 

cheerful obedience to his motions. He sancti- 
fied our head, that had no sin, by preventing 
sin in his conception, and he anointed him to 
his office, and came upon him at his baptism : 
he sanctified and anointed the prophets and 
apostles to their offices, and by them indited 
the holy scripture. He illuminateth, converteth, 
sanctifieth and guideth all that are to be the 
heirs of life. This is his work. Honor that part 
of it that is done on Christ, on the prophets, 
apostles, and the scriptures ; and value and 
seek after that which belongeth to yourselves. 
Think not to be holy without the sanctifier, nor 
to do any thing well without the Spirit of Jesus 
Christ, who is Christ's internal invisible assent 
here on earth (as TertuUian in the church's 
creed speaks, misit vicariam tim spiritus sancti 
qui credentes agat.) O that men knew how much 
of their welfare dependeth on a faithful obeying 
of the Holy Ghost ! 


12. The next part of our knowledge of God 
is to know him in those great consequent rela- 
tions, to which he is entitled by creation and 
redemption, viz. as he is our absolute lord, or 
owner, our most righteous governor, and our 
most bountiful or gracious father or benefactor. 

178 Of the Knowledge of God. 

God, both as our creator and redeemer, 
hath jus dominii, an absolute dominion of the 
world; that is, he is our owner or proprietar}^ 
and we are his own ; for we take not the term 
** lordship or dominion'^ here in the looser 
sense as it signifieth a ruler, but in the stricter 
sense as it signifieth an owner. Of this relation 
I have already spoken in a sermon of " Christ's 
dominion :" and therefore shall say the less in 
this place. 

The knowledge of God's dominion or pro- 
priety must comprehend, I. The certain truth, 
of this his right. II. The fulness of it. III. 
The effects that it must have on us. 

I. And the truth of it is beyond dispute, 
even among infidels that know there is a God. 
He that made us of his own materials, or of 
nothing, must needs be the owner of us ; and so 
must he that bought us from destruction. Ezek. 
xviii. 4. " Behold all souls are mine :" Rom. 
xiv. 9. ^' To this end Christ both died, rose and 
revived that he might be Lord both of the dead 
and living." John xvi. 15. " All things that 
the Father hath are mine." The Father then 
hath this propriety by creation, and the Son by 
redemption : and the Father also by communica- 
tion with the Son in redemption ; and the Son 
by communication with the Father in creation. 

II. And it must be the most absolute plenary 
dominion, because the very being of all the 
creatures is from God, and therefore no one 

Of the Knowledge of God, 179 

can be co-ordinate with him, or his corrival, nor 
any thing hmit his interest in us. 

III. And the effects that this must have 
upon us, are these following. 

1. Hence we must conclude and reverently 
and willingly confess that further than he 
voluntarily doth oblige himself to us, it is 
impossible that God should be our debtor ; and 
consequently that upon terms of commutative 
justice we should merit any thing of God. For 
what can we render to him but his own? And 
how should he (properly and antecedently) be 
indebted to and for his own? 

2. And we must conclude, that (antecedently 
to his laws and promise) it is impossible that 
God can do us any vvrong, or any thing that he 
can do can be guilty of injustice; for justice 
giveth to all their own ; and therefore it giveth 
nothing to us from God, but what he voluntarily 
giveth us himself, which therefore is first a gift 
of bounty, and but secondarily a due injustice. 

3. And therefore we must hence learn, that 
God may do with his own as he list. And 
therefore we must take heed that we repine not 
at any of his decrees or providences, or any 
passages concerning them in his word. Much 
may be above us, because our blindness cannot 
reach the reasons of his ways ; but nothing is 
unreasonable or evil : for all proceedeth from 
infinite wisdom and goodness, as well as from 
omnipotency; man must feign any thing 

1 80 Qf the Knowledge of God, 

of God, and say, " This is his decree, or worcf^ 
or providence ; and therefore it is good/' when 
there is no such thing revealed to us ; so when 
we find that it is indeed revealed, our reason 
must presently submit, and undoubtedly con- 
clude it reasonable and good. Yet is there no 
cause from hence to fear, lest God should con- 
demn the innocent, or break his promises, and 
deny us the reward ; nor is there any hope to 
wicked men that he should violate his peremp- 
tory threatenings, or (as they call it in their 
selfish language) be better than his word : 
because though God have an absolute propriety, 
and therefore, in regard of his interest or powder, 
may do what he will, yet he is essentially also 
most wise and good, and accordingly hath fitted 
all things to their use, and taken upon him the 
relation of our governor, and as it were obliged 
himself by his laws and covenants, and declared 
himself to be most just; and shewed us hereby 
that he will do nothing contrary to these. As 
there is no contradiction, but most perfect unity 
in God's omnipotency, wisdom, and goodness ; 
his dominion or propriety, his kingdom and 
paternity ; so shall there be no contradiction, 
but a perfect concord of all these in the exercise. 
He therefore that, as our king or governor, hath 
undertaken to advance the godly, and destroy 
th^ wicked, will not by the exer<jise of his abso- 
lute dominion, deny himself, nor be unfaithful 
to his people or to his rules of government. 

Of the Knowledge of God, 181 

If you ask me, in what cases then this domi- 
nion is exercised? I answer, 1. In laying the 
foundations of laws, and right. 2. In the dis- 
posal of the unreasonable creatures. 3. In 
abundance of things about his rational crea- 
tures, wherein as rector he is not engaged^ nor 
hath in his laws declared his will; (as about the 
various constitutions and complexions of men, 
their ranks and dignities in the world, their 
riches or poverty, their health or sickness, their 
gifts and parts both natural and acquired; tha 
first giving of the gospel, and of special grace, 
to such as had forfeited them, and had nc> 
promise of them ; the degrees of outward means 
and mercies ; the degrees of inward grace, more, 
than what is promised, &c.) 

From hence also we must learn, not to repine 
at the providences of God about his church, 
which are strange to us, and past our reach, 
and seem to make against its welfare. Remem- 
ber that as he may do w4th his own as he list, 
so we have no rea.son to think that he will be 
lavish or disregard ful of his ov/n. The church 
is not our's but God's : and therefore he is fitter 
• than we to be trusted with it. 

And so in our own distresses by affliction; 
when flesh repineth, let us remember, that we 
are his own, and he may do with us as he please. 
If we be poor, despised, sick and miserable in 
the world, let us remember that as it is no 
injury to the beasts that they are not men, or to 


182 Of the Knowledge of God. 

the worms that they are not beasts, or to the 
plants that they have not sense, or to the stars 
that they are not suns : so it is no wrong to the 
subjects that they are not princes, or to the poor 
that they are not rich, or to the sick that they 
are not healthful. May not God do with his' 
own as he list? Shall a beggar grudge that 
you give not all that he desireth, when you are 
not bound to give him any thing ? 

4. Yea, hence we must learn to be the 
more thankful for all our mercies, because 
they proceed from the absolute Lord, that was 
not obliged to us. He might have made us 
idiots or madmen; he might have made us beasts 
or toa<is, without any injury to us : and the 
mercies which are consequently from his promise^ 
are antecedently from his propriety and domi- 
nion : for he might have put us into other 
capacities, and have chosen not to have made 
those promises. And his promises bind us not 
to be less thankful but more : as his merciefi 
are not the less mercies but the greater for being 
promised; because we have now the comfort 
and use of them in the promise, before we 
have them. 

5. Hence also we must learn, that there can 
be no simple absolute propriety in any creature. 
No creature gave all the being and well being 
to another that it hath, and this originally as 
of its own. We being not our own but God's, 
cannot have any thing that is absolutely * our 

Of the Knowledge of God. 183 

own. Human propriety is but derived, limited, 
and respective. Our goods, and lands, and lives 
are our's; that is, they are our's to use for God, 
as the instruments of a workman to do his 
work ; but not our's to use as we think meet. 
They are so our's as that men may not take them 
from us, but God may take them from us at 
his pleasure. And therefore think not you may 
mispend a penny if you were never so rich, 
because it is your own; but know that you 
must mispend nothing, because it is not your 
own, but God's. 

6. Principally we must hence learn to deny 
ourselves as being not our own, and having 
nothing in the world that is our own, in respect 
to God, the absolute owner. And therefore 
above all the sins of your souls, still watch 
against this selfishness ; lest you should grow to 
look at your time, your strength, your wealth, 
your interests as your own, and forget that you 
are mere stewards ; and say as the ungodly, 
Ps. xii. 4. '' Our lips are our own : who is Lord 
over us!" O take heed that you use not your 
strength, or interest, or any thing for yourselves : 
no not so much as your food and raiment ; 
1 Cor. X. 31. that is, for yourselves' ultimately, 
or not in subordination to the Lord. For self 
as subject unto God, or as closed wdth him in 
the bond of love, is no longer self in enmity 
and opposition, nor that v>4iich we are forbidden 
to seek or serve. 

K 2 

184 Of tJie Knowledge of GoS. 

7. And this knowledge of the dominion of 
God must prevail with us effectually to resign 
ourselves absolutely to him. Our consent doth 
give him no title to us, but it is necessary to 
our welfare that we confess his title. All men, 
even the wicked, are his own; but that is against 
their wills : but the godly are willingly his own^ 
and disclaim all interest in themselves but what 
is duly subordinate to his: the name of God is 
put upon them, as you put your names on your 
goods or sheep. Ezek. xvi. 8. "I sware unto 
thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, 
saith the Lord, and thou becamest mine." Mai. 
iii. 17. " And they shall be mine saith the 
Lord in that day when I make up my jewels.'^ 
To be entirely his by covenant is proper to a 
saint : for sanctification hath these parts ; one 
is the habitual devotion of the soul to God, 
and the other is the actual dedication, and a 
third is the relation of the person as thus dedi- 
cated, and the fourth is the actual using of 
ourselves for God. These four are the parts 
of sanctification; so that all is but our giving 
up ourselves to God. But to be his in right, 
is common to the devils and most ungodly. 
The hearts of the sanctified do resolvedly and 
delightfully say. Cant. ii. 16. ** My beloved is 
mine, and I am his;" and vi. 3. ^' I am my 
beloved's, and my beloved is mine." See then 
that you keep not any thing back, but resign 
up yourselves entirely to God, as those tkat 
know they are wholly hi.g. 

Of the Knowledge of God. 185 

'S. And with ourselves we must resign up all 
to God that we have. For if we are not our 
-own but his, then our children, our wealth, our 
wits, our time, our abihties, and all that we 
have are his. All is not to be used one way 
for God: not all to the poor, nor all to the 
commonwealth, nor all to the direct promoting 
of his worship; but all must be his, and used 
for him in one way or other, and in those 
ways which he requireth. Possess not any 
thing merely for yourselves. 

9. And especially see to it in the use and 
improvement, that you use yourselves and ail 
that you have for God. Let this be your inten- 
tion, trade and study. See that you be alwa.ys 
at his work; that if a man come in upon you 
any hour of the day, and ask you what you 
are doing, and whose work it is that you are 
upon, you may truly be able to say, the Lord's. 
If you be asked, who you are now speaking 
for, or spending your time for, or for whom 
you do expend your wealth, you may truly say 
of every hour, and every penny, and every 
word, " it is for the Lord." Even that which 
you give your children or friends, and that 
which you receive for your support or comfort, 
may all be principally and ultimately for God : 
*•' ye are not your own; for ye are bought with 
a price: therefore glorify God in your body, 
and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Cor. 
vi. 19, 20. '' Christ died for all, that they 

186 Of the Knowledge of God. 

which live, should not henceforth live unto 
themselves, but to him that died for them, 
and rose again." 2 Cor. v. 15. 

10. Lastly, This must be a stay to the souls 
of true believers, and cause them with comfort 
to trust themselves and all their affairs in the 
hands of God. When we have first made it 
our care to give to God the things that are 
God's, Matt. xxii. 21. and heartily consecrated 
ourselves and all that we have to him as his 
own, we have no reason to doubt of his 
acceptance, nor of his care and protection 
and merciful disposal of us. This is a won- 
derful comfort to poor christians^ to think that 
they have such an owner. Whoever is against 
you, christians, be sure of it God will look to 
you, as his own ! And if you do but promise 
another that you vvill be as careful of his child, 
his horse, his goods, as if they were your own, 
he will think you say as much as can be 
expected. If you be poor, or sick, or desolate, 
you may be sure that yet God will look to you 
as his own. And why should you think he 
will be careless of his own? Ground your 
prayers and confidence on this, as David doth, 
Ps cxix. 94. ^* I am thine, save me." And in 
all our labors and the affairs of our lives, when 
our consciences can say that we live to God, 
and study to do all we do for him, and to 
improve all our time and parts and other talents 
to his use, it may very much quiet us in all 

Of the Knowledge 0/ God, 187 

liis disposals of us. If lie keep us in the lowest 
<:ase, if we be his, we must rest in his wisdom 
that knows best how to use his own. If he 
take our friends from us, he taketh but his 
own. If he deny his saving grace to our 
ungodly children (a heavy judgment of which 
we must be sensible), yet when we have devoted 
Ihem to God, and done our own part, we must 
be silent as Aaron was when his sons were 
destroyed. Lev. x. 3; and confess that the potter 
hath power over his own clay, to make of the 
same lump a vessel to honour, and another to 
dishonor. Rom. ix. 21. All his disposals shall 
work to that end which is the most universal 
perfect good, and most denominateth all the 
means. But those that are his own by consent 
and covenant, may be sure that all shall work 
to their own good. Let us die with Christ, and 
be buried to the world, and know no lord or 
own^r but our great Creator and Redeemer, 
(except in a limited subservient sense) and then 
we may boldly argue with him, to the quiet of 
our souls, from this relation, " I am thine, help 
me." Ps. XXXV. 23. " Stir up thyself and awake 
to my judgment, even to my cause, ni}'^ Lord 
and my God," when faith and love have first 
said, as Thomas, '' my Lord and my God.'' 
John XX. 28. 

188 Of the Knowledge of God, 


13. The next relation to be spoken of, is God% 
'sovereignty : both by creation and redemption^ 
he hath the right of governing^ us as our sove- 
reign king, and we are obhged to be his wilHng 
subjects, and as such to obey his lioly laws. He 
'is the Lord or owner of all the world; even of 
1)rutes as properly as of man: but he is the 
"sovereign king or governor only of the reason- 
able creature ; because no other are capable 
of that proper moral government which now we 
spsak of. Vulgarly indeed his physical motions 
'and dispositions are called his rule or govern- 
ment ; and so God is said to govern brutes and 
inanimate creatures : but that is but a meta- 
phorical expression ; as an artificer metaphori- 
cally governeth his clock or engine, or a 
shepherd his sheep. But we now speak of 
proper moral government. God having made 
man a rational and free agent, having an immor^ 
tal soul, and capable of everlasting happiness ; 
his very nature and the end of his creation 
required that he should be conducted to that 
end and happiness, by means agreeable to his 
nature : that is, by the revelation of the reward 
before he seeth it, that he may seek it and be 
fitted for it; and by prescribed duties that are 
necessary to obtain it, and to his living here 
according to his nature; and by threatened 

Of the Knowledge of God, 189 ' 

penalties to quicken him to his duty : so that 
he is naturally a creature to be governed, both 
as sociable, and as one to .be conducted to his 
end. He therefore that created him, having 
alone both sufficiency and right, doth by this 
very creation become his governor. His govern- 
ment hath two parts (the world being thus 
constituted the kingdom of God) : the first is by 
legislation, or making laws and officers for 
execution ; the second is by the procuring 
the execution of these laws : to which end he 
doth exhort and persuade the subjects to 
obedience, and judge them according to their 
works, and execute his judgment. His first 
law was to Adam, the law of riature, obliging 
him to adhere to his creator, and to love him, 
trust him, fear him, honor him, and obey him 
with all his might, in order to the pleasing of 
his creator, and the attainment of everlasting 
life : to Vv'hich was added a positive law, against 
the eating of the tree of knowledge ; and death 
was the penalty due to the sinner : this law was 
quickly broken by man ; and God delayed not 
his judgment, but sentenced the tempter, the 
woman, and the man ; but not according to their 
merits ; but graciously providing a Redeemer^ 
he presently stopped the execution of the far 
greatest part of the penalty, the Son of God 
undertaking as our surety to become a sacrifice 
and ransom for us. Hereupon the covenant of 
grace was made, and the law of grace enacted 

190 Of the Knowledge of God. 

with mankind : but more obscurely in the begin- 
ning ; being cleared up by degrees in the several 
promises to the fathers, the types of the law, 
and the prophecies of the prophets of several 
ages, the law being interposed because of trans- 
gression. In the fulness of time the Messiah 
was incarnate, and the first promises concerning 
him fulfilled ; and after his holy life, and preach- 
ings, and conquests of the tempter and the 
world, he gave himself a ransom for us ; and 
conquering death he rose again, ascended into 
heaven, being possessed in his manhood of the 
fulness of his power, and all things being 
delivered into his hands : so that he was made 
the general administrator, and Lord of all. And 
thus he, more clearly revealing his covenant of 
grace, and bringing life and immortality to 
light, commissioned his ministers to preach this 
gospel to all the world. And thus the primitive 
sovereign is God, and the sovereign by deriva- 
tion is Jesus the Mediator, in his manhood 
united to the second person in the Godhead 5 
and the laws that we are governed by, are the 
law of nature with the superadded covenant of 
grace; the subordinate officers are angels, 
magistrates, and' pastors of the church (having 
works distinct) the society itself is called the 
church and kingdom of God ; the reward is 
everlasting glory, with the mercies of this life 
in' order to it; and the punishment is ^verlast^ 
ing misery with the preparatory judgments^ 

Of the Knowledge of God. 191 

especially on the soul, which are here inflicted. 
Subjection is due upon our first being ; and is 
consented to or vowed in baptism, and is to be 
manifested in holy obedience to the death. This 
is the sovereignty and government of God. And 
now let us see how God as our sovereign must 
be known. 

1. The princes, and all the rulers of the 
world, must understand their place and duty: 
they are first God's subjects, and then his 
ofHcers, and can have no power but from God, 
Rom. xiii. 3, 4. nor hold any but in dependance 
on him, and subordination to him. Their pov/er 
extendeth no further than the heavenly sove- 
reign hath signified his pleasure, and by com- 
mission to them, or command to us, conferred 
it on them. As they have no strength (cr 
natural power) but from the omnipotent God, 
so can they have no authority (or governing 
power or right) but from the absolute king of 
all the world. They can less pretend to a right 
of governing not derived from God, than a 
justice or constable may to such power npt 
derived from the earthly sovereigns. 

Princes and states also must hence understand 
their end and work. God who is the beginning, 
must be the -end also of their government : their 
laws must be but by laws subservient to his 
laws, to further men's obedience to them, The 
common good, which is their lower nearer end, 
musjt be measured by his interest in the nations, 

192 Of the Knowledge of God, 

and men's relations unto him. The commoK 
possession of his favor, blessing and protection, 
is the greatest common good. His interest in 
us, and our's in him, must therefore be princi- 
pally maintained. 

2. The knowledge of God as our sovereign 
king, must bring the whole man in subjection to 
him. Our understandings must be subject to his 
doctrine ; and resigned to him, as teachable and 
tractable. When we know what is his law and 
will, we must rest in it, though we know not the 
reasons of it. We take not on us to be compe- 
tent judges of all the reasons of the laws of men, 
l)ut must obey them without disputing the 
reasons (with the limitations after to be men- 
tioned,) How much more must we submit to 
the wisdom of the infallible lawgiver, that 
cannot deceive, or be deceived ! Our wills also 
must be fully subject to his will, revealed 
by his precepts. We must desire no more to 
move us, or to stop us, but to know w^hat God 
would have us do. As the first wheel in a 
watch or other engine movetli all the rest, so 
the v/ill of God must move all our wills, and 
rule our hves. We must take heed above all 
things in the world, lest our wills (which are the 
lower wheels) should have any such defects, 
distempers, reserves, any carnal bias, interest, 
or inclination, that makes them unfit to receive 
the law of God, or be ruled by his will. We 
must imitate our Lord (Heb. x. 7.) and learn of 

Of the Knowledge of God, 193 

the prophet, Ps. xl. 8. '' I delight to do thy 
will, O God." With cheerful readiness to obey, 
we must stand waiting for the word of his 
command; and say, as Ps. clxiii. 10. " Teach 
me to do thy will, for thou art my God :" And^ 
as Samuel, (1 Sam. iii.9.) " Speak Lord, for 
thy servant heareth." When a man's selfish 
carnal will is mm-tified, and his will lies fiat 
before the Lord, and wholly applieth itself to 
his will, and it is enough to a to move 
him in the greatest matters, to know that it is 
the will of God— this is a state of true subjec- 
tion. Thus must we be in subjection to the 
Father of Spirits, submitting even to his sharp- 
est dispensations. Heb. xii. 9. And all the 
church is subject unto Christ. Ephes. v. 24. 
And this is essential to our holy covenant and 
Christianity itself. When God is taken to ber 
our God, and we give up ourselves to be his 
people ; when Christ is taken to be our Saviour, 
and we give up ourselves to him as his members, 
and redeemed ones, it essentially containeth 
our taking him for our chief governor, and 
giving up ourselves to him as his subjects. 
Take heed of that wisdom that would overtop 
the wisdom of God, and be your guide itself, 
without depending on his wisdom. — This is the 
foolish damning wisdom of the world. 
heed of that concupiscence of will that w^ould 
be your ruler, and overtop the will of God, -^ 

194 Of the Knowledge of God. 

For this is the grand rebel, and greatest enemy 
of God and iis, 

3. And subjection must produce obedience. 
Subjection is the consent of the will to be sub- 
jects, and to obey : obedience is the actual 
performance of commanded duties. Subjection 
is the root of obedience, and virtually con- 
taineth it: obedience is the fruit of subjection, 
and supposeth it. If God be your master, 
shew it by his fear, or service. Mai. i. 6. It 
is not calling Christ our King, but obeying him 
before all, that will prove us subjects. Matt, 
vii. 21. '^ Not every one that saith unto me, 
Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of 
heaven ; but he that doth the will of my Father 
which is in heaven.*' Rom. xii. 1, 2. **I beseech 
you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, 
that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, 
holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable ser- 
vice : and be not conformed to this world ; but 
be you transformed (or turned into other men) 
by the renewing of your mind, that you may 
prove what is that good, that acceptable and 
perfect will of God." ^' And this is the will of 
God, even your sanctification." 1 Thes. iv. 3. 
1 Peter iv. 1,2. *' Forasmuch then as Christ 
hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves 
likewise with the same mind : for he that hath 
suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin ; that 
he no longer should live the rest of his time in 

Of the Knoivledge of God. 195 

the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will 
of God." Yea we should " stand perfect and 
complete in all the will of God." Col. iv. 12. 
And by the power of the word of God, every 
thoup;ht should be brought in obedience unto 
Christ. 2 Cor. x. 5. Our obedience should be 
publijc and exemplary. Rom. xvi. 19. *' For so 
is the will of God, that with well doing we 
put to silence the ignorance of foolish men." 
1 Peter ii. 15. Obedience is better than sacri- 
fice. 1 Sam. XV. 22. Whatever you do, there- 
fore keep close to the law of God. 

4. To this end we must labor to know 
the law, and be acquainted with God's will. 
The book of nature must be studied : the holy 
scripture must be searched, John v. 39. and 
meditated in both day and night. Ps. i. 2. 
Princes must have this book continually in their 
hands. Deut. xvii. 18-— 20. Josh. i. 8. 9. Rich 
and poor must learn it, that they may obey it. 
Deut. vi. 6, 7. 

5. And our subjection to God obligeth us 
to a subjection to the officers that he sets over 
us. If any man say to judges, justices and 
constables, I will obey the king, but you are 
not kings, therefore I will not obey you, he 
shall suffer as disobeying the king in his officers. 
Contempt of magistrates and ministers, reflects 
on God. ♦ 

6. Yea hence we must practically understand, 
ill what respect to obey our governors, Not 

196 Of the Knowledge of God, 

merely as the officers of men ; not only as; 
chosen by the people; but as the officers of 
God, that from him have their authority. The 
atheistical politicians, that derive authority no 
higher than the sword, or the people's choice, 
or natural strength, do teach men to obey their 
governors, but as a little dog submits imto a ' 
mastiff, or so far as their commodity persuadeth 
them, but not for conscience in obedience to 
God. And they teach men to look to no higher 
end than common preservation and liberties, 
and not to expect protection or reward from 
the absolute sovereign. In a word, they entice 
all princes and people into damnable rebellion 
against the Lord ; as much as if they should 
entice all constables and justices to hold their 
places without dependance on the prince. But 
God teacheth us that '' there is no power but 
of God : the powers that be are ordained of 
God : whosoever therefore resisteth the power, 
resisteth the ordinance of God : and they that . 
resist, shall receive to themselves damnation: 
for he is the minister of God to us for good ; 
even the minister of God, an avenger to execute 
wrath upon him that doth evil." Rom. xiii. 1,, 
2, 4. " Wherefore we must needs be subject 
not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 
For they are God's ministers, continually attend- 
ing upon this very thing; and for this cause we 
must pay them tribute." ver. 5, 6. " Submit 
yourselves to every ordinance of man for the 

Of the Knoivledge of God, 197 

Lord's sake, For so is will of God." 1 Peter 

ii. 13, 15. Dent. i. 16, 17. ''Judge righteously 
between every man and his brother ye shall 
not respect persons in judgment; but shall hear 
the small as well as the great ; you shall not be 
afraid of the face of man : for the judgment is 
God's." 2 Chron. xix. 6, 7. " And he said to 
the judges, take heed what ye do : for you judge 
not for man, but for the Lord, who is with you 
in the judgment : wherefore let the fear of the 
Lord be upon you." But our atheistical politi- 
cians would teach rulers that they are none of 
the ministers of God, and that they judge for 
man only and not for him. The nature of all 
true obedience is such as Paul describeth in 
children and servants, Eph. vi. 1, 5 — 7, that 
fetcheth its rise and motives from the Lord. 
" Children obey your parents in the Lord, for 
this is right. Servants, be obedient to them 
that are you masters according to the flesh, with 
fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, 
as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men- 
pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing 
the will of God from the heart ; with good will 
doing service as to the Lord and not to men." 
So Col. iii. 22, 23. 

7. Hence also you must learn, that God's 
authority is the highest authority, and there is 
indeed no such thing in the world as true autho- 
rity that is against him, or not subordinate 
unto him. And therefore if men command u^ 

198 ^ Of the K?iotvledge of God. 

to disobey God, by neglecting that which is 
hie ef nunc a duty, or by sinning against him, 
their commands are from a disobedient will of 
their own, but from no authority : and it is 
better in such cases, to obey God than man. 
Acts V. 29 ; so many prophets, apostles, and 
other martyrs, would not have been sacrificed 
by the fury of persecutors, if they had thought 
it just to obey them before God. God never 
gave any man authority against him : nor to 
nullify his laws. The acts of a justice or 
constable against the king, or beyond their 
power, are private or rebellious acts, and not 
authoritative. And so are the laws of men that 
are against God. Yet note well, that though 
we must rather disobey men than God, yet we 
may not forcibly resist, when we may not obey 
them. And in some cases, (as if a king would 
ravish a woman, or the like) when it is lawful 
to resist his fact, it is not lawful to resist hig 
iState, and disturb the government of the com- 
monwealth. Obey men cheerfully, when God 
forbids it not : but see that God be your abso- 
lute sovereign, whose laws can be dispensed 
with by none. 

If parents or masters command you to break 
the laws of God, obey them not. Despise them 
not, but humbly deprecate their displeasure, and 
obey them in all other things; but in the unlaw- 
ful thing obey them not : no not if they were the 
greatest princes upon earth; — but say, as the 

Of the Knowledge of God, 199 

three witnesses of God, Dan. iii. 16, \1 ,—" We 
are not careful to answer thee m this matter: if 
it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deli- 
ver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he 
will deUver us out of thy hands O king : but if 
not, be it known unto thee O king, that we will 
not serve thy gods, nor w^orship thy golden 
image which thou hast set up." 

What I have said of magistrates, in the two 
last cases, I mean also of pastors of the church : 
they must be obeyed in and for the Lord, but 
not against the Lord. Saith Paul, of the 
churches of Macedonia, 2 Cor. viii. 5, " They 
p-ave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us 
by the will of God." See Acts xx. 28. 1 Thes. 
V. 12. Luke X. 16. " He that heareth you hear- 
eth me, and he that despiseth you despiseth 
me." And yet the leaven of the pharisees must 
be avoided ; and an angel from heaven be held 
as accursed, if he should preach another gospel. 
Gal. i. 8. And I would not have flatterers to set 
either princes or pastors above the angels of 
heaven: though yet in other respects we may be- 
still obliged, as I said before, to hear and to 

obey them. 

8. And the knowledge of God's sovereignty 
must teach us to fear his righteous threatnings, 
and reverence his justice, and prepare ourselves- 
to be judged by him. He ruleth by his laws, 
and so by threatnings and promises, which he 
will make good. It is not a painted fire that he 

200 Of the Knozdedge of God. 

threateneth. Judgment is a part of government* 
Laws are but shadows if there be no execution. 
** O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness ; 
fear before him all the earth. Say among the 

heathen that the Lord reigneth " Ps. xcvi. 9, 

10. As his promises, so his peremptory threat- 
nings shall be fulfilled. He will not revoke his 
established laws for fear of hurting wilful sinners 
that will not fear his judgments till they feel 
them. Ps. xxxiii. 8. ** Let all the earth fear the 
Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand 
in awe of him : for he spake and it was done ; he 
commanded and it stood fast." Mark also the 
present judgments of the Lord, and rush not on 
his indignation. For *' the Lord is known by 
the judgments which he executeth : the wicked 
is. (oft) snared in the work of his own hands." 
Ps. ix. 16. Though " the wicked contemn God, 
and say in his heart, Thou wilt not require it," 
Ps. X. 13. yet they shall find that '' he beholdeth 
mischief to requite it with his hand; and that he 
is the helper of the fatherless and poor that 
commit themselves unto him." ver. 14. " The 
Lord's throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his 
eyelids try the children of men : the Lord trieth 
the righteous, but the wicked and him that 
loveth violence his soul hateth." Ps. xi. 4, 5. 

9. The sovereignty of God is a comfort to 
his loyal subjects. They may be sure that he 
will protect them, and make good his word.. 
Behold he cometh, and his reward is with him. 

Of the Knowledge of God. 201 

Hev. xxii. 12. The righteous judge at his 
appearing will give the crown of righteousness 
to all them that love his appearing. 2 Tim. iv. 8. 
'•' O let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for 
thou shalt judge the people righteously, and 
govern the nations upon earth." Ps. Ixvii. 4. 
*' Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad 
before the Lord; for he cometh, for he cometh 
to judge the world with righteousness and the 
people with his truth." Ps. xcvi. 11, 13. 

10. Lastly, the knowledge of God as our 
sovereign . king, must cause us to desire and 
pray for and promote the glory of his kingdom ; 
and the obedience of his subjects in the world, 
that his name may be hallowed, by the coming 
of his kingdom, and the doing of his will on 
earth as it is in heaven, must be the matter of 
our daily requests to God. It must be the grief 
of every subject of the Lord, to think of the hea- 
then and infidel parts of the world ; and to see 
the rebellion of the profane among us; and that 
tiie lavrs of God are unknown or despised by the 
most of men. Alas! what abundance are ruled 
by their lusts, and self-conceitedness, and cor- 
rupted wills, and the customs of the world, or 
the Avills of men; but how few are ruled by the 
lav*^s of God ! O how should it grieve an honest 
heart, to see God's kingdom hindered by infi- 
delity, and weakened, divided, and disturbed by 
popery and heresy, and dishonored by scandal 
aad impiety as it is ! and to see the multitude. 

202 Of the Knowledge of God. 

and the violence and industry of corrupters, 
dividers and destroyers; and the fewness, the 
coldness, and remissness of the builders, the 
healers, and restorers! All you that are loyal 
subjects to your Lord, lament these ways of 
rebellion and disobedience, and the diminutions 
and distempers of the subjects of his kingdom, 
and the unfaithfulness and negligence of his 
ministers : and bend your cares, desires and 
prayers, to the promoting of God's kingdom 
in you, and in the world ; and befriend not 
any thing that hindereth its prosperity. 


14. The third of these relations, and the next 
point in the knowledge of God to be spoken 
of, is, that he is " our most loving Father, or 
bountiful Benefactor." As he is good, so he 
doth good. Ps. cxix. 68. And as he is the 
chiefest good, so he bestoweth the greatest 
benefits : and therefore is thence by a necessary 
resultancy, our most bountiful benefactor. The 
term *' Father" comprehendeth in it all his three 
great relations to us. 1. A father gives being 
to his children, and therefore hath some pro- 
priety in them; and God is the first cause of 
our whole being, and therefore we are his own. 
2. A father is the governor of his children: and 

Of the Knowledge of God, 203 

God is our chief governor. 3. A father tenderly 
loveth his children that are childlike, loving, and 
obedient to him ; and seeketh their felicity : and 
so doth God love, and v^ill make happy his 
loving and obedient children, who have not only 
their being from him as their maker, but their 
new being or holy nature from him as their 
sanctifier. And this last being the end and 
perfection of the rest, doth communicate its 
nature to the rest as the means. And so, 1. 
The new nature that God thus giveth us in our 
regeneration, is not from his common love, but 
is an act of special grace, proceeding from his - 
special fatherly love. 2. The government that 
he exerciseth over them as his regenerate chil- 
dren, is not a common government, such as is 
that of the mere law of nature or of works; but 
it is a special government by a law of grace, a 
justifying, remedying, saving law, or covenant ; 
together with an internal illuminating, quicken- 
ing, guiding spirit, with church-state, and officers 
and ordinances all suited to this way of grace ; 
even as his dominion or propriety by redemption, 
and our sanctification and resignation, is not a 
common propriety, but a gracious relation to us 
as our own Father, who have the endeared rela- 
tion to him of being his own children. All is 
from love, and in a way of love, and for the 
exercise and demonstration of love: so that 
v/lien I call God " our Benefactor," I precisely 
distinguish this last part of his relations to us. 

204 Of the Knowledge of God, 

from the rest : but when I call him " a Father," 
I mean the same thing, or relation which a bene- 
factor signifieth ; but with fuller aspect on the 
foregoing relations, and connotation of them as 
they are perfected all in this. 

And here, I. I shall briefly name the benefits 
on which this relation of God is founded. And 
1. Even in creating us, he acted as a bene- 
factor, giving us the fundamental good of being, 
and the excellency of manhood. 2. By setting- 
us in a well furnished world, and putting all 
things under our feet, and giving us the use of 
creatures. 3. By entering into the relation of a 
governor to us, and consequently engaging him- 
self to terms of justice in his dealing with us, 
and to protect us, and reward us, if we did 
obey ; and making us capable of an everlasting 
happiness as our end, and appointing us suffi- 
cient means thereto. These benefits denomi- 
nated God the great Benefactor or Father unto 
man, in the state of his creation. 

But then moreover, he is a common Benefactor 
also. 4. By so loving the world as to give his 
only begotten Son, to be their Redeemer; a 
sufficient sacrifice for sin. 5. By giving out his 
promise or covenant of grace, and making a 
common deed of gift of pardon, reconciliation, 
and eternal life, to all that will accept it in and 
with Christ, to gospel ends. 6. By sending 
forth the messengers of this grace, commanding 
them to preach to every creature the gospel, or 

Of the Knowledge of God. 205 

word of reconciliation committe/i to them, and 
to beseech men in Christ's stead, as his embas- 
sadors, as if God himself did entreat by them, 
to be reconciled to God. Matt, xxviii. 18, 19. 
Mark xvi. 16. 2 Cor. v. 19, 20. 7. By affording 
some common mercies without, and motions of 
his Spirit within, to second these invitations. 
But though by this much God hath a title to 
their dearest love, yet they have no title to his 
highest benefits, nor are in the nearest relation 
of children or beneficiaries to him. 

But, 8. When he begetteth us again to a 
lively hope, by his incorruptible seed, and 
giveth us both to will and to do, and when the 
Father effectually draweth us to the Son, and 
reneweth us according to his image, and taketh 
away our old and stony hearts, and giveth us 
new and tender hearts, and giveth us to know 
him, and love him as a Father ; then is he our 
Father in the dearest and most comfortable 
sense, and we are his children that have interest 
in his dearest love. 9. And therefore we have 
his Spirit, and pardon, justification and recon- 
ciliation with him. 10. And also we have 
special communion with him in prayer, praises, 
sacraments, and all holy ordinances and con- 
versation. 11. And we and our services are 
pleasing to him, and so we are in the hght of 
his countenance, and under a special promise of 
his protection and provision, and that all things- 
shall work together for our good. 12. And we 


206 Of the Knowledge of God, 

have the promise of perfection in everlasting; 

II. And now as you see how God is our 
benefactor, or most gracious and loving Father, 
let us next see what this must work on us. 

And 1. Goodness and bounty should shame 
men from their sin, and lead them to repentance. 
Rom. ii. 4, 5. Love is not to be abused and 
requited with unkindness and provocation. He 
that can turn grace into wantonness, and do evil 
because grace hath abounded, or that if may 
abound, shall be forced to confess that his 
damnation is just. He that will not hate his 
sin, when he seeth such exceeding benefits 
stand by, and heareth mercy, and wonderful 
mercy plead against it and upbraid the sinner 
with ingratitude, is like to die a double death^ 
and shall have no more sacrifice for sin. 

2. The fatherly love and benefits of God,, 
do call for our best returns of love. The bene- 
fits of creation, oblige all to love him with all 
their heart, and soul, and might : much more 
the benefits of redemption ; and especially as 
applied by sanctifying grace to them that shall 
be heirs of life, it obligeth them by multiplied 
strongest obligations : the worst are obliged to 
as much love of God, as the best (for none can 
be obliged to more than to love him with all 
their heart, &c.) but they are not as much obliged 
to that love : v\^e have new and special obliga^ 
lions J and therefore must return a hearty loYe„ 

Of the Knowledge of God. 207 

•or we are doubly guilty. Mercies are love's 
-messengers, sent from heaven, to win up our 
hearts to love again, and entice us thither* All 
mercies therefore should be used to this end^ 
That mercy that doth not increase, or excite 
-and help our love, is abused and lost, as seed 
that is buried when it is sowed, and never more 
appeareth. Earthly mercies point to heaven, 
and tell us whence they come, and for what. 
Like the flowers of the spring, they tell us of 
the reviving approaches of the sun-: but like 
foolish children, because they are near us, we 
love the flowers better than the sun ; forgetting 
that the winter is drawing on. But spiritual 
mercies are as the sunshine that more imme- 
diately dependeth on, and floweth from the sun 
itself. And he that will not see (and value) the 
sun by its light, will never see it ! These beams 
come down to invite our minds and hearts to 
God; and if we shut the windows, or play till 
night, and they return without us, we shall 
he left to utter darkness. 

The mercies of God must imprint upon our 
minds the fullest and deepest conceptions of 
him, as the most perfect, suitable, lovely object 
to the soul of man. When all our good is origi- 
nally in him, and all flows from him, that hath 
the goodness of a means, and finally himself is 
all; not to love God then, is not to love good- 
ness itself; and there is nothing but good that 
is suited to our love. Night and day therefore 

208 Of the Knowledge of God. 

should the believer be drawing and deriving 
from God, by the views and tastes of his 
precious mercies, a sweetness of nattire, and 
increase of holy love to God, as the bee sucks 
honey from the flowers. We should not How 
and then for a recreation light upon a flower, 
and meditate on some mercy of the Lord, but 
make this our work from day to day, and keep 
continually upon our souls, the lively tastes, 
and deep impressions of the infinite goodness 
and amiableness of God. When we love God 
most, we are at the best, most pleasing to God ; 
and our lives are sweetest to ourselves : and 
when we steep our minds in the believing 
thoughts of the abundant fatherly mercies of 
the Lord, we shall most abundantly love him. 
Every mercy is a suitor to us from God ! The 
contents of them all is this *' My son, give me 
thy heart." " Love him that thus loveth thee." 
Love him, or you reject him. O wonderful 
love ! that God will regard the love of man ! 
that he will enter into a covenant of love ! that 
he will be related to us iii a relation of love ! 
and that he will deal with us on terms of love ! 
that he will give us leave to love him, that 
are so base, and have so loved earth and sin ! 
yea, and that he will be so earnest a suitor for 
our love, as if he needed it, when it is only we 
that need ! But the paths of love are mysterious 
and incomprehensible. 

3. As God is in special a benefactor and 

Of the Knowledge of God. 209 

Father to us, we must be the readiest, and most 
diligent in obedience to him. Child-like duty 
is the most willing and unwearied kind of duty. 
Where love is the principle, we shall not be 
eye servants, but delight to do the will of God, 
' and wish, O that I could please him more ! It is 
a singular delight to a gracious soul to be upon 
any acceptable duty; and the more he can do 
good, and please the Lord, the more he is 
pleased.. As fatherly love and benefits are the 
fullest and the surest, so will fiUal duty be. 
The heart is no fit soil for mercies, if they grow 
not up to holy fruits. The more you love, the 
more cheerfully will you obey. 

4. From hence we must well learn, both how 
God is man's end, and what are the chief means 
that lead us to him. 

1. God is not the end of reason, nakedly 
considered, but h-Cs is finis amantis, the end 
which love inclineth us to, and which by love 
is attained, and by love enjoyed: the under- 
standing of which would resolve many great 
perplexing difficulties that a natura finis do step 
into our way in theological studies. I will 
name no more now, but only that it teachetli 
us, how both God and our own fehcity in the 
fruition of him, may be said to he our ultimate 
end, without any contradiction, yet so that it be 
eminently and chiefly God. For it is a union 
(such as our natures are capable of) that is 
desired, in which the soul doth long to be 

210 Of the Knowledge of God. 

swallowed up in God: understand but what a 
filial or friendly love is, and you may under- 
stand what a regular intention is, and how God 
must be the christian's end. 

2. And withal, it shews us, that the most 
direct and excellent means of onr felicity, and to 
our end, are those that are most suited to the 
work of love. Others are means more remotely, 
and necessary in their places ; but these directly. 
And therefore the promises and narratives of the 
love and mercy of the Lord, are the most direct 
and powerful part of the gospel conducing to our 
end; and the threatnings the remoter means. And 
therefore as grace was advanced in the world, the 
promissory part of God's covenant or law grew 
more illustrious, and the gospel consisted so 
much of promises, that it is called glad tidings 
of great joy. And therefore the most full de- 
monstration of God's goodness and loveliness to 
our hearers, is the most excellent part of all our 
preaching, though it is not all. And therefore 
the meditation of redemption, is more powerful 
than the bare meditation of creation, because 
it is redemption that most eminently revealeth 
love. And therefore Christ is the principal 
means of life, because he is the principal mes- 
senger and demonstration of the Father's love, 
and by the wonders of love which he revealeth 
and exhibiteth in his wondrous grace, he wins 
the soul to the love of God. For God will have 
external objective means and internal effective 

Of the Knowledge of God. 211 

means concur, because be will work on man 
agreeably to the nature of man. Though there 
was never given out such prevalent invincible 
measures of the Spirit, as Christ hath given for 
the renewing of those that he will save, yet shall 
not that Spirit do it without as excellent objec- 
tive means. And though Christ, and the riches 
of his grace revealed in the gospel, be the most 
wonderful objective means, yet shall not these 
do it without the internal effectual means. But 
when love doth shine to us so resplendently 
without us, in the face of the glorious Sun of 
love, and is also let into us by the Spirit's illumi- 
naiton, that sheds abroad this love in our hearts, 
then will the holy fire burn, which comes from 
heaven, and leads to heaven, and will never rest 
till it has reached its centre, and brought us to 
the face and arms of God. 

5. And from the fatherly relation and love of 
God, we must learn to trust him, and rest our 
souls in his securins; love. Shall we distrust a 
Father ! an omnipotent Father ! Thei-efore is 
this relation prefixed to the petitions of the 
Lord's prayer, and we begin with ^' Our Father 
which art in heaven," that when w^e remember 
his love, and our interest in him, and his alsuffi- 
ciency, we may be encouraged to trust him, and 
make our addresses to him. If a Father, and 
such a Father smite me, I will submit, and kiss 
the rod; for I know it is the healing fruit of 
love. If a Father, and such a Father afflict me, 

212 Of the Knowledge of God. 

wound me, deal strangely with me, and grieve 
my flesh, let me not murmur or distrust him ; 
for he well understandeth what he doth, and 
nothing that shall hurt me finally can come from 
omnipotent paternal love. If a Father, and 
such a Father kill me, yet let me trust in him, 
and let not my soul repine at his proceedings, 
nor tremble at the separating stroke of death. 
A beast knows not when we strive with him, 
what we intend, whether to cure, or to kill him : 
but a child need not fear a killing blow, nor a 
loving soul a damning death, from such a 
Father. If he be a Father, where is his love 
and trust? 

6. If God be our Father, and so wonderful 
a benefactor to us, then thanks and praise must 
be our most constant work, and must be studied 
above all the rest of duty, and most diligently 
performed. If the tongue of man, which is 
called his glory, be made for any thing, and 
good for any thing, it is to give the Lord his 
glory, in the thankful acknowledgment of his 
love and mercies, and the daily cheerful praises 
of his name. Let this then be the christian's 

7. The children of such a Father, should live 
a contented cheerful life. Diligence becometh 
them, but not contrivances for worldly great- 
ness, nor carking cares for that which their 
Father hath promised them to care for. Humi- 
lity and reverence beseemeth them, but not 

Of the Knowledge of God, 213 

dejection and despondency of mind, and a still 
complaining, fearful, troubled, disconsolate soul. 
If the children of such a Father shall not be 
bold and confident, and cheerful, let joy and 
confidence then be banished from the earth, 
and be renounced by all the sons of men. 


15. There are yet divers subordinate attri- 
putes of God, that being comprised in the 
forementioned, may be passed over vv^ith the 
briefer touch. And the next that I shall speak 
of, is, his freedom. And God is free in more 
senses than one ; but for brevity, I shall speak 
of all together. 

1. And firsf, God hath a natural freedom of 
will, being determined to will by nothing with- 
out him, nor liable to any necessity, but what 
is consistent with perfect blessedness and 
liberty. His own being, and blessedness, and 
perfections, are not the objects of his election; 
and therefore not of that which we call free will : 
but all his works without, as creation, provi- 
dence, redemption, &c. are the effects of his 
free will : not but that his will concerning all 
these, hath a necessity of existence ; for God 
did from eternity will the creation, and all that 
is done in time ; and therefore from eternity 

214 Of the Knowledge of God, 

that will existing, had a necessity of existence : 
bat yet it was free, because it proceedeth not 
necessarily from the very nature of God : God 
was God before he made the world, or redeemed 
it, or did the things that are daily done. And 
therefore one part of the schoolmen maintain, 
not only that there is contingency from God, 
but that there could be no contingency in 
the creature, if it had not its original in 
God : the liberty of God being the fountain of 

2. There is also an eminency both of domi- 
nion and sovereignty in God, according to 
which he may be called free. His absoluteness 
of propriety freeth him from the restraint of 
any obligation, but what floweth from his own 
free will, from disposing of his own as he 
pleases. And his absolute sovereignty freeth 
him from the obligation of his own laws as 
laws, though he will still be true to his promises 
and predictions. Let man therefore take heed 
how he questioneth his maker, or censureth 
Jiis laws, or works, or ways. 


16. Another attribute of God is his justice. 
With submission I conceive that this is not to 
be said to be from eternity, any otherwise than 

Of the Knowledge of God. 215 

all God's relations are (as creator, redeemer, 
&c.) because there is no time with God. For 
though the blessed nature denominated just is 
from eternity, yet not the formality or denomi- 
nation of justice. For justice is an attribute 
of God, as he is governor only : and he was 
not governor, till he had creatures to govern: 
and he could not be a just governor when he 
w-as no governor. The denomination did not 
arise till the creation had laid the foundation. 
Many questions may be resolved hence, which 

1 will not trouble you to recite. 

Justice in God is the perfection of his nature, 
as it giveth every one his due, or governeth the 
world in the most perfect orders for the ends of 
government. Because he is just, he will reward 
the righteous, and difference between the godly 
and the wicked : for that governor that useth 
all alike, is not just. The crown of righteous- 
ness is given by him as a righteous judge, 

2 Tim. iv. 8. 

I. The justice of God is substantially (in 
men we call it an inclination) in his nature, and 
so it is eternal. 

II. It is founded formally in his relation of 
*' governor.'' 

III. It is expressively first in his laws : for 
as a just governor he made them suited to the 
subjects, objects, and ends. 

IV. It is expressively secondarily in his 
judgments and executions; which is when 

216 Of the Knowledge of God* 

they are according to his law ; or in the cases 
of penalty where he may dispense at least 
according to the state of the subject, and fitted 
to the ends of government. 

1. The justice of God is the consolation of 
the just: he will justify them whom his gospel 
justifieth, because he is just. The justice of 
God in many places of scripture, is taken for 
his fidelity in vindicating his people, and his 
judging for them, and procuring them the happy 
fruits of his government, and so is taken in a 
consolatory sense, Ps. Ixxxix. 14. " Justice and 
judgment are the habitations of thy throne; 
mercy and truth shall go before thy face,'* 
2 Thes. i. 5, 6. " It is a righteous thing with 
God to recompense tribulation to them that 
trouble us, and rest to the troubled." 

2. The justice of God is the terror of the 
ungodly. As he would not make unrighteous 
laws, for the pleasure of unrighteous men, so 
neither will he pass unrighteous judgment. 
But look what a man soweth, that shall he also 
reap. All his peremptory threatnings shall be 
made good, and his wrath poured out for ever 
upon impenitent souls, because he is the righ- 
teous God. 

Of the Knowledge of God. 217 


17. Another of God's attributes is his holi- 
ness. He is called holy. 1. As he is tran- 
scendently above and separated from all the 
creatures, in comparison of whom the heavens 
are not clean ; and from whom all things stand 
at an infinite distance. 2. As the perfection of 
his nature is the fountain of all moral good. 
1. In the holiness of his law, the rule of 
holiness. 2. In the holiness of the soul : and, 
3. In his holy judgments. And consequently 
as this perfect nature is contrary to all the 
moral pollution of the creature, loathing iniquity, 
forbidding and condemning it. That perfect 
goodness of the will of God, from whence flow- 
eth holy laws, and motions, and the holiness 
of the soul of man, is it that scripture meaneth 
usually by God's holiness ; rather than the 
foresaid distance from the creatures. And 
therefore his holiness is usually given as the 
reason of his laws and judgments, and of his 
enmity to sin: and our hohness is called his 
image (who imitate not his transcendency) and 
we are commanded to be holy as he is holy, 
1 Pet. i. 16. The nature of the image will best 
tell us what holiness is in God. Holiness in us 
is called the divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 4, and 
therefore is radically a right inclination and 
disposition of the soul; which hath its rise 


218 Of the K?iowkdge of God. 

from a transcendent holiness in God, even as 
our wisdom from his transcendent wisdom, and 
our being from his being. Holiness therefore 
being indeed the same with the transcendently 
moral goodness of God, which I have spoken 
of before, I shall say but little of it now. Thus 
must the holiness of God be know^n. 

I. It must cause us to have a most high and 
honorable esteem of holiness in the creature, 
because it is the image of the holiness of God. 
Three sorts of creatures have a derivative holi- 
ness : the first is the law ; Avhich is the mere 
signification of the wise and holy will of God, 
concerning man's duty, with rewards and penal- 
ties for the holy governing of the world ! This 
is the nearest image of God, engraven upon that 
seal which must be the instrument of imprinting 
it on our souls. Now the holiness of the word 
is not the mere product of the will of God, 
considered as a will; but of the will of God 
considered as holy, that is, as the infinite tran- 
scendent moral goodness in the architype or 
original. For all events that proceed from God, 
are the products of his will which is holy, but 
not as holy (as the creating, preserving, dispo- 
sing of every fly, or fish in the sea, or worm in 
the earth, &c.) There is somewhat therefore 
in the nature of God, which is the perfection of 
his w^ll, and is called holiness, which the holi- 
ness of the law doth flow from and express. 

This holy word is the immortal seed that 

Of the Knowledge of God. 219 

begetteth holiness in the soul, which is the 
second subject of derived holiness; and this our 
holiness is a conformity of the soul to the law, 
as the product of the holy will of God, and not 
a mere conformity to his predictions, and 
decreeing will as such. It is a separation to 
God, but not every separation : Pharaoh was 
set apart to be the passive monument of the 
honor of God's name : and Cyrus was his ser- 
vant to restore his people, and yet not thus 
holy: but it is a separation from common and 
unclean uses ; and a purgation from polluting 
vice, and a renovation by reception of the image 
of God's holiness, whose nature is to incline the 
soul to God, and devote it wholly to him ; both 
in justice, because we are his own, and in love, 
because he is most holy and perfectly good. 

The third subject of hohness is those crea- 
tures that are but separated to holy uses ; and 
these have but a relative holiness, and secundum 
quid: as the temple, the holy utensils, the Bible 
as to the materials, the minister as an officer, 
the people as visible members, &c. 

All these must be reverenced and honored by 
us, according to the proportion of their holiness. 
1. Our principal reverence must be to the holy 
word of God : for holiness is more perfect there 
than in our souls. The holiness of the word, 
which is it that the ungodly hate or quarrel at, 
is the glory of it in the eyes of holy men. We 
may much discern a holy and an unholy soul, by 

220 Of the Knowledge of God. 

their loving or not loving a holy law; especially 
as it is a rule to themselves. A distaste of the 
holiness of scripture, and of the holiness of the 
writings of divines, and of the holiness of theiif 
preaching or conference, discovereth an unholy 
soul. A love to holy doctrine sheweth that 
there is somewhat suitable to it in the soul that 
loveth it. It is the elogy of the scriptures^ 
the promises, the covenant, the prophets and 
apostles, that they are all holy. Kom. i. 2. Luke i. 70, 72. Rev. xviii.20. 2 Tim. 
iii. 15. Rom. vii. 12. The holiness of the 
scripture doth make it as suitable and savory 
to a holy soul, as light is suitable to the eye- 
sight, and sweetness to the taste: and tlierefore 
it is to them as the honey comb; But to the 
unholy it is a mystery, and as foolishness, and 
that which is contrary to their disposition, and 
they have an enmity to it : which makes a won- 
derful difference in their judging of the evidences 
of scripture verity, and much facilitateth the 
work of faith in one sort, and strengtheneth 
unbelief in the other. Holy doctrine is the 
glass that sheweth us the holy face of God 
himself, and therefore must needs be most 
excellent to the saints. 

2. And we must honor and love also the 
holiness of the saints : for they also bear 
the image of the Lord. Their holy affections, 
prayers, discourses, and conversations must be 
beautiful in our eyes : and we must take heed 

O/ the Knowledge of God, 2- 

.f those temptations, that either ^^^^ 
injuries received from any, or from the r Wot. 
J.mperfections, or from the.r — ^ "^^^ 
world or from the contempt and reproacli and 
Tandts of the ungodly, would draw us to thn^ 
dishonorably of their hoUness. He *« ho -re^^ 
the holy God, w.U honor his image m hi. holy 
people I" his eyes a vile person will he con- 
eled, but he JiU honor them that fear he 

T nr^ Ps XV 4. The saints on earth aie 
ellUntm his eyes, and his delight is in them 

Ps. xvi. 2, 3. The breathings of d-- lo^e >, 
the holy pi-ayers, praises and speeches of the 
faL, 11 their reverend and holy n^^ion ot 
his name, are things that a holy soul doA 
sweetly relish, and take pleasure in. as «^ would 
do to hear an angel .peak of the holy thing, ot 
the invisible glory. , 

3 And relative hohness itself, though the 
low'est, must be honored by us. Holy oftices 
Ld persons in them must be reverenced fo 
their relative holiness. Holy days must be 
ho ily observed. Holy ordinances (which also 
pa ticipate of the holiness of the law, as signifi- 
ca ive) must be reverently used. Due reverence 

must be given even to that which is lawfully by 

utensils of worship, and the maintenance dedi- 
^aS to the service of God. That which is 
how must not be devoured, Prov. xx 25. nor 
used as we do things- common and unclean. 

222 Of the Knowledge of God. 

2. God's holiness must make us holy : we 
must fall in love with it, and wholly conform 
ourselves unto it. Every part of sanctifying 
grace must be entertained, and cherished, and 
excited, and used by us. Sin must be loathsome 
to us because it is contrary to the holiness of 
God. No toad or snake should seem to us 
so ugly. A dead carcase is an unpleasant sight, 
because it sheweth us a privation of natural 
life ; but an unholy soul is incomparably a more 
. loathsome ghastly sight, because it sheweth us 
the privation of the life of holiness. No man 
can well know the odiousness of sin, and the 
misery and loathsomeness of the unholy soul, 
that knoweth not the holiness of God. *' Speak 
unto all the congregation of Israel, and say unto 
them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your 
God am holy." Lev. xix. 2. ** Sanctify your- 
selves therefore and be ye holy, for I am the 
Lord your God." Lev. xx. 7, 8. " As he that 
hath called us is holy, so must we be holy in 
all manner of conversation." 1 Pet. i. 25. It is 
*' an holy calling wherewith we are called." 
2 Tim, i. 9. We are sanctified to be a peculiar 
people to Christ. Tit. ii. 14. *' That denying 
ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live 
soberly, righteously and godly in this present 
world." ver. 12. We are made " an holy priest- 
hood to offer up spiritual sacrifice, acceptable 
to God, by Jesus Christ." 1 Pet. ii. 5. Rom. 
xii. 1, 2, ** We must therefore present our 

Of the Knowledge of God. 223 

bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, 
our reasonable service." For we are " chosen 
in Christ before the foundation of the world, 
that we should be holy, and without blame," 
Eph. i. 4', and are redeemed and sanctified by 
Christ, '' that we may be presented glorious, 
holy, and without blemish." Eph. v. 26. 27. See 
therefore th^ you " follow holiness, without 
which no man shall see the Lord." Heb. xii. 14. 
For '' blessed are the pure in heart, for they 
shall see him." Matt. v. 8. 

3. The holiness of God, must be to us a 

standing unanswerable argument to shun all 

temptations that would draw us to be unholy, 

and to confound all the words of wicked men 

that are spoken against holiness. Remember 

but that God is holy, and if thou like that 

which is spoken against God, thou art his 

enemy. Think on the prophesy of Enoch, 

Jude 14, 15. '' Behold the Lord cometh with 

ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment 

upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly 

among them, of all their ungoldy deeds which 

they have ungodly committed, and of all their 

hard speeches which ungodly sinners have 

spoken against him." God will not hold hini 

guiltless that taketh his holy name in vain; 

much less that blasphemeth holiness, which is 

the perfection of his blessed nature. 

4. The holiness of God must possess us witli 
a sense of our uncleanness, and further our 

224 Of the Knowledge, of God. 

humiliation. When Isaiah heard the seraphim^ 
cry, " Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, 
the whole earth is full of his glory," Isa. vi. 3; 
he said, ^' Woe is me, for I am undone; because 
I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the 
midst of a people of unclean lips ; for mine eyes 
have seen the king, the Lord of Hosts/' ver. 5* 

5. The hohness of God must cause us to 
walk continually in his fear, and to take heed 
to all the affections of our souls, and even to 
the manner of our behaviour, when we come 
near to him in his holy worship. What suffered 
the Bethshemites for irreverent looking into 
the Holy Ark, 1 Sam. vi. 19, and Uzzah but 
for touching it? And what a dreadful example 
is that of the two sons of Aaron, that were 
slain by a devouring fire from the Lord, far 
offering strange fire which he commanded not. 
Lev. X. 1,2. And Aaron was awed into silence 
by this account from God : " I will be sanctified 
in them that come nigh me, and before all the 
people I will be glorified." ver. 3. Take heed lest 
irreverence, or deadness, or customary heartless 
wordy services, should be brought before a holy 
God. Take heed of hypocritical carnal worship^ 
The holy God will not be mocked with com- 
pliments and shews. 

Of the Knowledge of God. 225 


18. The next attribute of God to be spoken 
of is, " his veracity, truth, and faithfulness. '^ 
This is the result of his perfect wisdom, good- 
ness, and omnipotency : for because he is most 
wise and powerful, he cannot be necessitated to 
lie : and because he is most good, he will not 
lie. Though God speaketh by none but a 
created voice, and signify his will to us by men, 
that in themselves considered are defectible, yet 
what he maketh his voice shall speak truth ; and 
what he chooseth to signify his will, shall truly 
signify it. He therefore condemneth lying in 
man, because it is contrary to his own veracity. 
For if any should say that God is under no law, 
and therefore is not bound to speak truth, or 
not deceive a prophet or apostle by his inspi- 
rations; I answer, that he hateth lying as con- 
trary to his perfect nature, and is himself against 
it, and connot possibly be guilty of it, because 
of his own perfection ; and not because he is 
under a law. Lying comes from some imperfec- 
tion, either of knowledge, power, or goodness, 
which can none of them befal the Lord. The 
goodness of the creature is a goodness of con- 
formity to an obliging law; and the goodness 
of the law is a goodness of conformity to, and 
expression of the good will of God. But the 
goodness of God is a perfection of essence, the 
ai 3 

226 Of 'the Knowledge of God, 

primitive goodness, which is the fountain, and 
standard, and end of all other good ; and not a 
goodness of conformity to another. 

And this attribute of God is of very great 
use to his servants. 1. From hence we must be 
resolved for duty, and for a holy, heavenly life: 
because the commands of God are serious, and 
his promises and threatenings true. If God 
were not true, that tells us of these great eter- 
nal things, then might we excuse ourselves 
from godliness, and justify the worldling in 
his sensual way : there is nothing of common 
sense and reason that can be said against a 
holy life, by a man that denieth not the truth 
of God, or of his word. And to deny God's 
truth is most unreasonable of all. O sirs! when 
you read and hear of the wonderful weighty 
matters of the scripture, of an endless life, and 
the way thereto ; bethink you, if these things 
be true, what manner of persons you should be 
in all holy conversation and godliness ! 2 Peter 
iii. ]]. If the word be true, that telleth us of 
death and judgment, and heaven and hell, is it 
time for us to sin, to trifle, and live unready ? 

2. The truth of God is the terror of his 
enemies. O happy men, if their unbelief could 
make void the threatenings of God, and doubt- 
ing of them would make them false : and if 
their misery were as easily remedied as denied, 
and ended as easily as now forgotten; or for- 
gotten hereafter as easily as now ! But true and 

Of the Knowledge of God. 227 

rio-hteous is the Lord, and from the beginning 
hil word is true. Ps. cxix. 16. Not a word shall 
fall to the ground, nor a jot or tittle pass 

3. The truth of God is the ground of faith, 
and the stay of our souls, and the rock of all 
our confidence and comfort. A christian did 
not differ from another man (unless in being 
somewhat more deluded) if God were not true. 
But this is the foundation of all our hopes, and 
the life of our religion; and all that we are as 
christians, proceeds from this. Faith is anima- 
ted by God's veracity, and from thence all other 
grace's flow, or are excited in us. O christians, 
what a treasure is before your eyes, when you 
open the blessed book of God ! what hfe should 
i*t put into your confidence and comforts, to 
think that ail these words are true ! All those 
descriptions of the everlasting kingdom, and all 
those exceeding precious promises of this life, 
and that which is to come, and all the expres- 
sions of that exceeding love of God unto his 
servants, all these are the true sayings of God. 
A faithful witness will not lie, Prov. xiv. 5. 
much less will the faithful God. Eternal life 
is promised by God that cannot lie. Tit. i. 2. 
*' Wherein God, willing raore abundantly to shew 
unto the heirs of promise the immutability of 
his counsels, confirmed it by an oath : that by 
two immutable things, in which it was impos- 
sible for God to lie, we might have a strong 

228 Of the Knowledge of God. 

consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay 
hold upon the hope set before us/^ Heb. vi. 17, 
18. Let faith therefore live upon the truth of 
God, and let us be strengthened, and rejoice 

4. Abhor all doctrines which deny the truth 
and faithfulness of God; for they destroy the 
ground of christian faith, of all divine faith, and 
all religion. The veracity of God is the formal 
object of all divine faith. We believe God, 
because he cannot lie : if he can lie, and do lie, 
he is not credible. But you will say, — Is there 
any that hold such odious doctrines ? Answer, 
— I like not the charging of persons with the 
consequences of their opinions which they dis- 
cern not, but disclaim : God will not charge 
them with such consequences, who do their best 
to know the truth; and why should we? All 
men have some errors, whose consequences 
contradict some articles of faith. It is not the 
persons that I persuade you to dislike, but the 
doctrine : and the doctrine is never the less 
to be abhorred, because a wise or good man 
may hold that which doth infer it. 

I shall now instance only in the dominican's 
predetermination. They that hold that it is 
necessary to the being of every circumstantiated 
act, natural and free, that God be the principal 
immediate physical efficient predetermining 
cause of it, do hold that he so causeth all the 
false speeches and writings (as well as other 

Of the Knowledge of God. 229 

sins) that ever were spoken or written in the 
world : not only as they are acts in genere, but 
as these words in particular; as that he so 
predetermined the tongues of Ananias and 
Saphira to say those very words which they 
said, rather than others. Now seeing it is 
apparent 1. That God hath not a voice but, 
speakelh to us by a created voice, even by 
prophets and apostles, and that the Scripture 
was written by men. 2. And that God's 
veracity, which is the formal object of our 
faith, consisteth in his not using lying instru- 
ments, nor sending a lying messenger to us; 
(it is veracitas revelantis per allum.) 3. And 
that no way of inspiration can make God to be 
any more the cause of the words or writings of 
^ an apostle, than his immediate physical efficient 
specifying predetermination doth; (for it can 
do no more than irresistibly as the first cause, 
physically to premove the agent to this thought, 
will, word, or deed, considered with all its 
circumstances) it foUoweth that we have no 
certainty when God premoveth an apostle or 
prophet to speak true, and when to speak 
falsely; and that no words or writings are of 
certain truth, upon any account of God's inspi- 
ration or premotion, because God not only can, 
but doth cause all the untruths that are spoken 
or written in the world: therefore no faith in 
God's revelations hath any sure foundation, nor 
any formal object at all: and so all religion is 

230 Of the Ktiowkdge of God, 

dashed out at a stroke. To say that God 
causeth not the falsity of the word, nor the 
word as false, but the word which is false, 
might well be the justification of them that 
affirm God to be but the universal cause of the 
word or act in genere as a word or act ; and that 
the specification is only from the sinner. But 
in them that say he is the particular cause of 
this word comparatively rather than another, 
it is but a contradiction: 1. For there is no 
other cause of the falsity, which is a mere 
relation, but that which causeth the rule and the 
word or writing which is false, and so lieth the 
foundation. 2. It overthroweth all certainty of 
faith, if God speak to us by his instruments, 
those words that are false: the quod f ahum, as 
well as the qua falsLtrrij leave th us no ground of 
certainty. The dominicans therefore have but 
one task in which their hope is placed, to excuse 
their opinion from plain obliterating all divine 
belief and religion, and that is, to prove that 
there is so great a difference between inspiration 
and their physical predetermination, that God 
cannot by inspiration premove to an untruth, 
though by physical predetermination he may: 
this is their task; which I see not the least 
possibility that ever they should perform: if 
God premove, and predeterminate every will, 
and tongue, and pen, to every lie that is spoken 
or written, more potently and irresistibly than 
I move my pen in writing, it is past my power 

Of the Knowledge of God. 231 

to understand what more he can do by mspha- 
tion, to interest him in the creature's act : or at 
least how the difference can be so great, as that 
one of the ways he can predetermine all men 
to their falsities, and none the other way. But 
of this I have written a large disputation; yet 
think it not needless, even in a practical treatise, 
to say this much here. 

5. . The truth of God must teach us to hate 
every motion to unbehef in ourselves and 
others. It is a heinous sin to give God the lie, 
though he speak to us but by his messengers. 
Every honest man, so far as he is honest, is to 
be believed : and is God less true? A graceless 
gallant will challenge you the field for the 
dishonor, if you give him the lie. If you deny 
God's veracity, you do not only equal him with 
the worst of men, but with the devil, who was 
a liar from the beginning. Yea, you make him 
incapable of being the governor of the world, 
or suppose him to govern it by deceits and lies. 
Abhor therefore the first motions of unbelief. 
It makes men somewhat worse than devils; 
for the devils know that God cannot lie, and- 
therefore they believe and tremble. Unbelief 
of the truth of the word of God, is the curse of 
the soul ; the enemy and bane of all grace and 
religion, so far as it prevaileth : let it be the 
principal care and labor of your souls, to settle 
the foundation of your faith aright, and to 
discern the evidence of divine authority in the 

232 Of the Knowledge of God. 

holy scriptures, and to extirpate the remnants 
of infidehty in your hearts. 

6. Let the truth and faithfulness of God 
engage you to be true and faithful to him, and 
to each other. You have promised him to be 
his servants ; be faithful in your promises : you 
are in covenant with him ; break not your cove- 
nant. Many a particukr promise of reformation 
you have made to God ; prove not false to him 
that is true to you. 

Be as good as your word to all men that you 
have to do with. . Abhor a lie as the offspring 
of the devil, who is the father of it : remember 
you serve a God of truth; and that it is the 
rectitude and glory of his servants to be con- 
formable to him. They say the Turks are 
offended at Christianity, because of the lies and 
falsehood of christians. But sure they were 
but nominal christians, and no true christians 
that ever they found such : and it is pity that 
Christianity should be judged of through the 
world, by the lives of them that never were 
christians but from the teeth outward, and the 
skin that was washed in baptism. They that 
will lie to God, and covenant to be his holy 
servants, when they hate his holy service, will 
lie to man, when their commodity requireth it. 
When they seem to repent, and honor him with 
their tongues, ** They flatter him with their 
mouth, and lie to him with their tongues ; for 
their heart is not right with him, neither are 

Of the Knowledge of God, ^33 

they steadfast in his covenant." Ps. Ixxviii. 
34_.37. God saith. Lev. xix. 11. ''Ye shall 
not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie one to ano- 
ther." A righteous man hateth lying. Prov. 
xiii. 5. The lying tongue is but for a moment. 
Prov. xii. 19. For God hateth it, and it is an 
abomination to him. Prov, xvi. 16, 17. The 
lovers and makers of lias are shut out of the 
kingdom of Christ. Kev. xxii. 15. 

But above all, false teachers that preach and 
prophesy lies, and deceive the rulers and people 
of the earth, are abominable to God. See Jer. 
xxvii. 10, 14 — 16, and xiv. 14, and xxiii. 25, 26, 
32. Ezek. xiii. 9, 12. Isa. liv. 13. When Ahab 
was to be destroyed, a lying spirit in the mouth 
of his prophets deceived him. And if a ruler 
hearken to Ues, all his servants are wicked. 
Prov. xxix. 2. 

7. Above all, false witness and peijury should 
be most odious to the servants of the God of 
truth. Prov. xix. 9. '' A false witness shall not 
be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall 
perish." Eccles. v. 4, 5. " When thou vowest 
a vow to God, defer not to pay it." Saith David, 
*' Thy vows are upon me, O God." Ps. Ivi. 12. 
And unto thee shall the vow be performed. 
Ps. Ixv. 1. Perjury is a sin that seldom scapeih 
vengeance, even in this life. The instances of 
Saul the first, and Zedekiah the last of the 
kings of Judah, before their desolation, are both 
very terrible. Saul's posterity must be hanged, 

234 Of the Knoioledge of God. 

to stay the famine that came upon the people 
for his breaking a vow that was made by Joshua, 
and not by him; though he did it in zeal for 
Israel. 2 Sam. xxi. Zedekiah's case you may 
see, 2 Chron. xxvi. Ezek. xvii. He that swear- 
eth, appealeth to God as the searcher of hearts, 
and avenger of perjury. The perjured person 
chooseth the vengeance of God : he is unfit (till 
he repent) to be a member of any civil society ; 
for he dissolveth the bond of all societies: he 
cannot well be supposed to make conscience of 
any sin or villany in the world, against God, 
his country, his king, his friend or neighbour, 
that makes no conscience of an oath. It is 
not easy to name a greater wickedness out of 
hell, than to approve of perjury by laws or 
doctrine. And whether the church of Rome 
do so or not, I only desire them to consider 
that have read the third canon of the council 
at Lateran, under Pope Innocent the third, where 
an approved general council decreeth, that the 
pope discharge vassals from their allegiance or 
fidelity to those temporal lords that exterminate 
not heretics (as they call them) out of their 
dominions. What shall restrain men from kill- 
ing kings, or any villany, if once the bond of 
oaths be nullified? But scripture saith, "keep 
the king's commandment, and that in regard of 
the oath of God." Eccles. viii. 2. No man 
defendeth perjury by name : but to say that men 
that swear to do that which God commandeth. 

Of the Knowledge of God. 235 

or forbids not, are not bound to keep that oath; 
or that the pope may absolve men, or disoblige 
them that swore fidelity to temporal lords, when 
once the pope hath excommunicated them, doth 
seem to me of the same importance. 


19. The next attribute to be spoken of is, 
his mercifulness, and his long-suffering patience, 
which we may set together. This is implied in 
his goodness, and the relation of a father before 
expressed. Mercy is God's goodness, inclining 
him to prevent or remove his creatures' misery. 
It is not only the miserable that are the objects 
of it, but also those that may be miserable ; it 
being as truly mercy to keep us out of it fore- 
seen, as to deliver us out of it when we are in it. 
Hence it is that he taketh not pleasure in the 
death of the wicked, but rather that he turn 
and live. And hence it is that he afflicts not 
wilhngly, nor grieves the children of men. Lam. 
iii. 33. Not that his mercy engageth him to do 
all that he can do for the salvation of every 
sinner, or absolutely to prevent or heal his 
misery ; but it is his attribute chiefly considered 
as governor of the rational creature ; and so his 
mercy is so great to all, that he will destroy 
none but for their wilful sin, and shut none 

236 Of the Knowledge of God. 

among us out of heaven, but those that were 
guilty of contemning it. God doth not prevent 
the sinner Vv^ith his judgment, but with his grace 
he often doth. He never punisheth before we 
are sinners, nor never decreed so to do, as all 
will grant. He punisheth none, where his fore- 
going commands and warnings have had their 
due effect for the prevention : and therefore 
because the precept is the first part of his law, 
and the threatening is but subservient to that, 
and the first intent of a governor is to procure 
obedience, and punishing is but upon supposi- 
tion that he misseth of the first; therefore is 
God said not to afflict willingly; because he 
doth it not ex voluiitate antecedente, but ex volun- 
tate consequent e, that is (for so the distinction is 
found), not as a lawgiver, and ruler by those 
laws considered before the violation; but only 
as a judge of the law-breakers. But, yet God's 
mercy is no security to the abusers of his mercy: 
but rather will sink them into deeper misery, as 
the aggravation of their sin. As God afflicts 
not willingly, and yet we feel that he afflicteth ; 
so if he do not condemn you willingly, you 
shall find if you are impenitent, that yet he will 
condemn you. 

If you say, God can be forced to do nothing 
against his will : I answer you, that it is not 
simply against his will ; for then it should never 
come to pass : but it is against the principal act 
of his will, which floweth from him as a law- 

Of the Knowledge of God, 237 

giver, or ruler by laws, in which respect it may- 
be said that he had rather that the wicked turn 
and live : but yet if they will not turn, they shall 
not live. A merciful judge had rather the thief 
had saved his hfe by forbearing to steal ; but 
yet he had not rather that thieves go unpunished 
than he should condemn them. 

But you will say. If God had rather men did 
not sin, why doth he not hinder it? I answer. He 
had not absolutely and simply rather ; that is 
so far as to do all that he can to prevent it, nor 
all that without which he foreknoweth it will 
not be prevented; but he doth much against 
sin as a law-giver, and nothing for it; he 
causeth it not, but persuades us from it ; and 
therefore as a ruler he may be said to have 
rather that men did not sin, or rather that they 
would turn and live. 

1 . The mercy of God therefore should lead 
sinners to repentance, and shame them from 
their sin, and lead them up to God in love. 

2. Mercy should encourage sinners to repent, 
as v/ell as engage them to it : . for we have to do 
with a merciful God, that hath not shut up any 
among us in despair, nor forbid them to come 
in, but continueth to invite when v/e have oft 
refused, and will undoubtedly pardon and wel- 
come all that do return. 

3. Mercy being specially the portion of the 
saints, must keep them in thankfulness, love, 
and comfort : and all mercies must be improved 

238 Of the Knoidedge of God, 

for their proper ends : when a merciful God is 
pleased to fill up his servants' lives with such 
great and various mercies as he doth, it should 
breed a continual sweetness upon their hearts, 
and cause them to study the most grateful 
retribution. He should breathe forth nothing 
but thankfulness, obedience, and praise, who 
breathes in nothing but mercies from God. As 
the food that men live upon, will be seen in 
their temperature, health and strength ; so they 
that live continually upon mercies, should be 
wholly turned into love and thankfulness : it 
should become as it were their nature, tempera- 
ture and constitution. O how unspeakable is 
the love of God, that provideth so sweet a life 
for his servants, even in their warfare and pil- 
grimage in this world ! that mercy must be as it 
were the air that they breathe in, the food which 
they must live upon ; and the remembrance, 
improvement and thankful mention of it, must 
be the business and employment of their lives ! 
O with what sweet affections, meditations, and 
expressions should we live, if we lived but 
according to the rate of those mercies upon 
which Ave live! Love, and joy, and thanks, and 
praise, would be our very lives. What sweet 
thoughts would mercy breed and feed in our 
minds when we are alone? What sweet appre- 
hensions of the love of God, and life eternal, 
should we have in prayer, reading, sacraments, 
and other holy ordinances ! Sickness and health. 

Of the Knowledge of God. 239 

poverty and wealth, death as well as life would 
be comfortable to us : for all is full of mercy 
to the vessels of mercy. O christians, what 
a shame is it that God is so much wronged, and 
ourselves so mi:^ch defrauded of our peace and 
joy, by passing over such abundance of great 
invaluable mercies, without tasting their sweet- 
ness, or well considering what we do receive ! 
Had we David's heart, what songs of praise 
would mercy teach us to indite ! How affection- 
ately should we recount the mercies of our 
youth and riper age ! of every place and state 
that we have lived, in to the honor of our 
gracious Lord, and the encouragement of those 
that know not how good and merciful he is ! 

But withal, see that you contemn not, or 
abuse not mercy. Use it well ; for it is mercy 
that you must trust to in the hour of your 
distresses. O do not trample upon mercy now, 
lest you be confounded when you should cry foi 
mercy in your extremity. 

4. The mercifulness of God must cause his 
servants to imitate him in a love of mercy. 
Be merciful, for your heavenly Father is merci- 
ful. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall 
obtain mercy. Matt. v. 7. Be merciful in your 
censures : be merciful in your retributions : you 
are none of God's children, if you love not your 
enemies, and pray not for them that curse you, 
and do not good to them that hate and persecute 
you (according to your power). Matt. v. 44, 45. 

240 Of the Knowledge of God, 

If you forgive not men their trespasses, but take 
your brother by the throat, neither will your 
heavenly Father forgive you your trespasses. 
Matt. vi. 14, 15. Mark, that even while he is 
called '* your heavenly Father," yet he will not 
forgive, if you forgive not. Unmerciful men are 
too unlike to God, to claim any interest in his 
saving mercy, in the hour of their extremest 
misery. Men of cruelty, blood, and violence, 
he abhorreth : and usually they do not live out 
half their days : but they that bite and devour 
one another, are devoured one of another. Gal. 
v. 15. The last judgment will pass much 
according to men's works of mercy to the 
members of Christ. Matt. xxv. He shall have 
judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no 
mercy: and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. 
James ii. 13. Pure religion and undefiled before 
God and the Father is this, to visit the father- 
less and widows in their affliction, and to keep 
himself unspotted in the world. James i. 27. 
He that having this world's goods, seeth his 
brother in need, and shutteth up the bowels of 
his compassion from him, how dwelleth the love 
of God in him? But above all cruelty, there is 
none more devilish than cruelty to souls. And 
in those that undertake the place of pastors, 
cruelty to men's souls is a far greater sin than 
in any others. To starve those that they under- 
take to feed ; and to seduce those whom they 
undertake to guide, and be wolves to those 

Of the Knowledge of God, 241 

^hose shepherds they pretend to be ; and to 
prefer their worldly honors, and commodity, and 
ease, before the souls of many thousands; to 
be so cruel to souls, when Christ hath been so 
merciful to them, as to come down on earth to 
seek and save them, and to give his life a ran- 
som for them — this will one day be so heavy a 
charge, that the man that must stand as guilty 
under it, will a thousand times wish that a mill- 
stone had been hanged about his neck, and he 
had been cast into the bottom of the sea, before 
he had betrayed or murdered souls, or offended 
one of the little ones of Christ. Be merciful to 
men's souls and bodies, as ever you would find 
mercy with a merciful God in the hour of your 
5>ecessity and distress. 


20. The last of God's attributes which 1 shall 
now mention, is his dreadfulness or terribleness, 
to those that are the objects of his wrath. This 
is the result of his other attributes, especially 
pf his holmess, and governing justice, and 
truth in his commi nations. He is a great and 
dreadful God. Dan. ix. 4. A mighty God 
and terrible. Deut. vii. 21. A great and ter- 
Hble God. Nah. i. 5. With God is terrible 


242 Of the Knotvledge of God, 

mkjesty. Job xxxvii. 22. The Lord most high 
is terrible. Ps. xlvii. 22. 

1. His children therefore must be kept in a 
holy awe. God is never to be approached or 
mentioned, but with the greatest reverence. We 
must sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself, and he 
must be our fear and dread. Isa. viii. 13. Even 
they that receive the unmoveable kingdom, must 
have grace in their hearts to serve him accepta- 
bly with reverence and godly fear, because our 
God is a consuming fire. Heb. xii. 28, 29. 
When we come to worship in the holy assem- 
blies, we should think, as Jacob, Gen. xxviii. 17. 
" How dreadful is this place ! This is none 
other but the house of God, and this is the gate 
of heaven.'' Especially when God seemeth to 
frOwn upon the soul, his servants must humble 
themselves before him, and deprecate his wrath, 
as Jeremiah did, Jer. xvii. 17. " Be not a terror 
unto me." It ill becometh the best of men, to 
make light of the frowns and threatenings of 
God. Also when he dealeth with us in judg- 
inetit, and we feel the smart of his chastisements, 
though we must remember that he is a Father, 
yet withal we must consider that he sheweth 
himself an offended Father: and therefore true 
and deep humiliation hath ever been the course 
6f afflicted saints, to turn away the wrath of a 
terrible God. 

2. But above all, what cause have the ungod- 
ly to tremble at the dreadfulness of that God^ 

Of the Knozdedge of God. 243 

who is engaged in justice, (except they be 
converted) to use them everlastingly as his 
unpardoned enemies. As there is no felicity 
like the favor of God; and no joy comparable 
to his children's joys ; so is there no misery 
like the sense of his displeasure, nor any terrors 
to be compared to those, which his wrath inflictr 
eth everlastingly on the ungodly. O wretched 
isinner! what hast thou done to make God thine 
enemy ? what could hire thee to offend him by 
thy wilful sin, and to do that which thou 
knewest he forbad and condemned in his word ? 
What madness caused thee to make a mock at 
sin. and hell, and to play with the vengeance of 
the Almighty ? What gain did hire thee to cast 
thy soul into the danger of damnation? canst 
thou save" by the match, if thou win the wovW 
and lose thy soul ? Didst thou not know who 
it' was thou hadst to do with ? It had beea 
better for thee that all the world had been 
offended with thee, even men and angels, great 
and small, than the niost dreadful God ! Dids,t 
thou not believe him when he told thee how hp 
was resolved to judge and punish the ungodly ? 
Read it 2 Thes. i. 7—10. and ii. 10, 11. Matt. 
XXV. Jude 15. Ps. i. 8cc. What caused thee 
to venture upon the consuming fire ? Didst thou 
not know that as he is merciful, so he is jealous, 
holy, just and terrible? In the name of God, 
I require and entreat thee, fly to his mercy in 
Jesus Christ ; and hearken speedily to lii^ 

244 Of the Knowledge of God, 

grace, and turn at his reproof and warnings. 
To-day while it is called to-day, harden not thy 
heart, but hear his voice, lest he resolve in his 
wrath, that thou shalt never enter into his rest. 
There is no endurino;, there is no overcomino^ 
there is no contending with an angry, dreadful, 
holy God : repent therefore and turn to him, 
and obey the voice of mercy that thy soul may 

3. The dreadfulness of God, doth tell both 
good and bad the great necessity of a Mediator. 
What an unspeakable mercy is it that God hath 
given us his Son ! and that by Jesus Christ we 
may come with boldness and confidence into 
the presence of the dreadful God, that else 
•would have been to us a greater terror than all 

the world, yea than Satan himself. The more 
we are apprehensive of our distance from God, 
and of his terrible majesty, and his more terrible 
justice against such sinners as we have been, 
the more we shall understand the mystery of 
redemption, and highly value the mediation of 

4. Lastly, let the dreadfulness of God, prevail 
with every believing soul, to pity the ungodly 
that pity not themselves. O pray for them, O 
warn them, exhort them, entreat them, as men 
that know the terrors of the Lord. 2 Cor. v. 11. 
If they knew as well as you do what sin is, and 
what it is to be children of wrath, and what it is 
to be unpardoned, unjustified, and unsanctified. 

Of the Knowledge of God. 245 

they would pity themselves, and cry for mercy, 
mercy, mercy, from day to day, till they were 
recovered into a state of life, and turned from 
the power of Satan unto God. Alas! they 
know not what it is to die, and to see the world 
to come, and to appear before a dreadful God ! 
They know not what it is to be in hell fire ; nor 
what it is to be glorified in heaven : they never 
saw or tried these things, and they want the 
faith by which they must be foreseen by those 
that are yet short of nearer knowledge: you, 
therefore, that have faith to foreknow these 
things, and are enlightened by the Spirit of 
God, O pity, and warn, and help the miserable ! 
Tell them how much easier it is to escape hell, 
than to endure it : and how much easier a holy 
life on earth is, than the endless wrath of the 
most dreadful God. Tell them that unbelief, 
presumption, and security, are the certain means 
to bring their misery, but will do nothing to 
keep it off; though they may keep off the 
present knowledge and sense of it, w^hich would 
have droven them to seek a cure. Tell them 
that death and judgment are at hand, and that 
when they laugh, or sport, or scorn, and jest at 
the displeasure of the dreadful God, it is posting 
toward them, and will be upon them before they 
are aware; and when they slumber, their damna- 
tion slumbereth not: but while unbelieving sin- 
ners say, peace, peace, sudden destruction will 
come upon them, as unexpected travail on a 

246 Of the Knowledge of God. 

woman with child, and they shall not escape. 
O tell them how dreadful a thing it is, for a 
soul that is unregenerate and unsanctified, to 
go from that body which it pampered and sold 
its salvation to pleasure, and to appear at the 
tribunal of God; and how dreadful it is for 
such a soul, to fall into the hands of the living 
God. At least save your own souls, by the 
faithful discharge of so great a duty; and if 
they will take no warning, let them at last 
remember, when it is too late, that they were 
told in time, what they should see and feel at 
last, and what the latter end would prove; and 
that God and man did warn them in compassion, 
though they perish because they would have no 
compassion or mercy upon themselves. Thus 
let the terribleness of God provoke you to do 
your duty with speed and zeal, for the converting 
and saving of miserable souls. 

And thus I have briefly set before you the 
glass in which you may see the Lord ; and told 
you how he must be known; and how he must 
be conceived of in our apprehensions ; and how 
the knowledge of God must be improved, and 
what impressions it must make upon the hearty 
and what effect it must have upon our lives.* 
Blessed and for ever blessed are those souls, 
that have the true and lively image of this God, 

Of the Knoivledge of God. 247 

^nd all these his attributes imprinted on them, 
(as to the creature they are communicable). 
And O that the veil were taken from our hearts, 
that we all with open face beholding as in a 
glass the glory of the Lord, may be changed 
into the same image from glory to glory, as by 
the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. iii. 18. and may 
increase and live in the knowledge of the trvie 
and only God, and of Jesus Christ, which, is 
eternal life. Amen. 


i'fWiUd by T, 1>.^VJS, i«ti, Aliutrne*. 

















Printed by T. DAVIS, 106, Minories. 






On Genesis v. 24. 










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

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

Chap. III. 

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



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

Chap. IV. 

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

Chap. V. 

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

Chap. VI. 

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

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

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



tude. Proved by five evidences. V. It is 
the best preparation for sufferings and death ; 
shewed by seven advantages, to that end ... . 125 

Chap. VII. 

Five special obligations on true believers to walk 
with God, and to avoid inordinate creature- 
converse 292 


Gen. v. 24. 

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; 
for God took him, 


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

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


Walkins: with God. 


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

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

Walking ivith God, 3 

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

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

4 Walking with God. 

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

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

Walkinct with God, 

reconciliation besides the general state of 
reconciliation. A provoking faulty child doth 
dwell with God his Father, though under the 
continual terror of his frowns : but to walk with 
him (in the full sense) is more than to be related 
to him, and to dwell with him : in a large sense 
indeed all God's children may be said to walk 
with him, as it signifieth only a conversation 
ordered in godliness, sincerity and simplicity: 
but in this sublimer sense, as it signifieth a 
lively exercise of faith and love, and heavenly- 
mindedness, and a course of complacential con- 
templation, and holy converse with God, so it 
is proper only to some of the sounder and more 
vigilant industrious believers. And hereto it i?5 
necessary, not only that we be justified and 
reconciled to God from our state of enmity, but 
also that w« be pardoned, justified and reconciled 
from our particular wounding falls, which are 
more than the ordinary infirmities of believers. 
And also it is necessary that we have grateful 
friendly thoughts of God : that we have so 
much sense of his excellency, goodness and 
kindness to ourselves, as may give us a com- 
placency in conversing with him, and may make 
the thoughts and mention of him to be desirable 
and pleasing to us. Walking with God doth 
import, though not the full assurance of bis 
special love and grace to us, yet such an appre- 
hension of his love and goodness, as may draw 
the heart to think of him with desire, if not 

6 Walking with God, 

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

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

Walking tcith God. 

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

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

B Walking with God, 

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

Walking with God, 9 

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

10 Walking with God. 

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

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

Walking with God, 11 

Christ, who usurp a power which he never gave 
them, against his kingdom and the souls of 
men, they think it easy to resolve the question, 
whether it be better to obey God or men. As 
the commands of a rebellious constable or other 
fellow-subject are of no authority against the 
king's commands ; so the commands of all the 
men on earth, are of so small authority with 
them against the laws of God, that they fully 
approve of the ready and resolute answer of 
those witnesses, Dan. iii. 16 — 18, *' We are not 
careful to answer thee in this matter : if it be 
so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver 
us, &c. but if not, be it known unto thee, 
O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor 
worship the golden image which thou hast set 
up." Worldlings are ruled by their fleshly inte- 
rest, and wisdom, and self will, and by the will 
of man so far as it doth comport with these : 
by these you may handle them and lead them 
up and down the world: by these doth Satan 
hold them in captivity. But believers feel them- 
selves in subjection to a higher Lord and better 
law, which they faithfully though imperfectly 
observe: therefore our walking with God is 
called a walking in his law. Exod. xvi. 4. A 
walking in his statutes, and keeping and doing 
his commands. Lev. xxvi. 3. A walking in his 
paths. Mic. iv. 2. It is our following the Lamb, 
which way soever he goeth : to be given up to 
our own hearts' lusts, and to walk in our coun- 

12 Walkhii: with God 


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

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

Walking with God, 13 

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

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

14 Walkinpr with God, 


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

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

Walking with God, 15 

soul, than all the sensible objects in the world. 
He will do more and go further upon such a 
promise, than he will for all that man can give 
him. Peruse the life of Christ's apostles and 
see what a promise of Christ can do ; how it 
made them forsake all earthly pleasures, posses- 
sions, and hopes, and part with friends, and 
houses, and country, and travel up and down 
the world, in dangers and sufferings and un- 
wearied labors, despised and abused by great 
and small : and all this to preach the gospel 
of the kingdom which they had never seen, and 
to attain that everlasting happiness, and help 
others to attain it, for which they had nothing 
but the promise of their Lord. See what a 
promise well believed will make a christian do 
and suffer. Believers did those noble acts, 
and the martyrs underwent those torments, 
which are mentioned Heb. xi. because they 
judged him faithful that had promised. Heb. 
xi. 11. They considered not difficulties and 
defect of means and improbabilities as to 
second causes, nor staggered at the promise of 
God through unbelief; but being strong in 
faitli gave glory to God, being fully persuaded 
that what he had promised he was also able 
to perform, as it is said of Abraham, Rom. 
iv. 19-21. 

8. To walk with God, is to live as in his 
presence, and that with desire and delight. 
Vr'hen Vv'e believe and apprehend that wherever 

16 Walking with God, 


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

Walking with God, 17 

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

VOL. II, c 

18 Walking with God, 

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

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

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

Walking with Godl ig 

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

20 Walking with God, 

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

Walking with God. 21 

%yety man speaketh to the dishonor of hhn in 
his word and ways. He is otherwise present 
"with those that are congregated in his name and 
for his worship, than he is with those that are 
assembled for wickedness or vanity, or live as 
brutes without God in the world. And we must 
draw as near him as we can, if we would he 
such as walk with God. 

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

22 Walking with God. 

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

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

Walking with God, 23 

?and order, will be a stranger to much of the 
iioly converse which behevers have with God. 
They th^t have given up the government of 
their thoughts, and turned them loose to go 
which way fantasy pleaseth, and present sensitive 
objects do invite them, and to run up and down 
the world as masterless unruly vagrants, can 
hardly expect to keep them in any constant 
attendance upon God, or readiness for any 
■sacred work* And the sudden thoughts which 
they have of God, will be rude, and stupid, 
savouring more of profane contempt, than of 
holiness, when they should be reverent, serious, 
affectionate, and practical, and such as conduce 
to a holy composure of their hearts and lives. 

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

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

24 Walking: with God, 


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

Walking with Goi. 25 

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

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

26 Walking with God. 

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

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

Walking with God, 27 

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

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

28 Walkincr with God, 


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

Walking zdih God, 29 

tion in it, and much more. All that is upon 
the mind in meditation, is upon the mind in 
prayer, and that with great advantage, as being 
presented before God, and pleaded with him, 
and so animated by the apprehensions of his 
observing presence, and actuated by the desires 
and pleadings of the soul. When we are com- 
manded to pray, it includeth a command to 
repent and believe, and fear the Lord, and 
desire his grace : for faith and repentance, and 
fear and desire, are altogether in action in a 
serious prayer ; and, as it were, naturally each 
one takes his place, and there is a holy order 
in the acting of these graces in a christian's 
prayers, and a harmony which he doth seldom 
himself observe. He that in meditation knoweth 
not how to be regulai* and methodical, when he 
is studiously contriving and endeavouring it, 
yet in prayer before he is aware, hath repen- 
tance, and faith, and fear, and desire, and every 
grace fall in its proper place and order, and 
contribute its part to the performance of the 
w^ork. The new nature of a christian is more 
immediately and vigorously operative in prayer, 
than in many other duties : and thelrefore every 
infant in the family of God can pray (with 
groaning desires, and ordered graces, if not 
with well-ordered words.) When Paul began 
to live to Christ, he began (aright) to pray; 
Behold he prayeth, saith God to Ananias, Acts 
ix. 11. And because they are sons, God sends 

30 Walking with God. 

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

Walking with God. 31 


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

32 Walking with God. 

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

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

Walking with God. 33 

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

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

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

34 Walking with God. 

obedience to the father, and love to his brother, 
doth give some part of that which his father had 
given him before. But still it is from our 
Father's bounty, as the principal cause, that all 
.proceeds. Thus Jacob speaketh of God, Gert. 
xlviii. 15. " God before whom my fathers 
Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which 
fed me all my life long unto this day, the angel 
which redeemed me from all evil, bless the 
lads, &c." When he had mentioned his father 
Abraham and Isaac's walking with God, he de- 
scribeth his own by his dependance upon God, 
and receiving from him, acknowledging him the 
God that had fed him, and delivered him all his 
life. Carnal men, that live by sense, do depend 
upon inferior sensible causes ; and though they 
are taught to pray to God, and thank him with 
their tongues, it is indeed their own contrivances 
and industry, or their visible benefactors, which 
their hearts depend upon and thank. It were a 
shame to them to be so plain as Pharaoh, and 
to say. Who is the Lord ? or to speak as openly 
as Nebuchadnezzar, and say. Is not this great 
Babylon that I have built, by the might of my 
power? 8ic, Dan. iv. 30. yet the same atheism 
and self-idolizing is in their hearts, though it 
be more modestly and cunningly expressed. 
Hence it is that they that walk with God, have 
all their receivings sanctified to them, and have 
in all a divine and spiritual sweetness, which 
those that take them but as from creatures, do 
never feel or understand. 

Walking loith God. 35 

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

36 Walking with God 


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

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

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

Walking with God. 37 

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

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

God. ver. 14 16. And through him we 

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

38 Walkincf with God, 


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

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

Walkins with God. 39 


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

40 Walkins: with God. 


14 — 16, '' I have rejoiced in the ways of thy 
commandments, as much as in all riches : I will 
meditate in thy precepts and have respect unto 
thy ways : I will delight myself in thy statutes, 
and will not forget thy word." Ver. 47. *' I will 
delight myself in thy commandments which I 
have loved.'* Let " scorners delight in scorning, 
and fools hate knowledge," Prov. i. 22. but 
*' make me to go in the path of thy command- 
ments, for therein do I delight." Ps. cxix. 35. 
If thou wouldest experimentally know the safety 
and glory of a holy life, delight thyself in the 
Lord, and he shall give thee the desire of thy 
heart. Ps. xxxvii. 4. Especially when we draw 
near him in his solemn worship, and when we 
separate ourselves on his holy days from all our 
common worldly thoughts to be conversant as in 
heaven with the blessed God, then may we with 
the holy apostle be " in the Spirit on the Lord's 
day;" Rev. i. 10. and if we turn away our foot 
from the sabbath, from doing our pleasure on 
that holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, 
the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor 
him, not doing our own ways, nor finding our 
own pleasure, nor speaking our own words : 
then shall we delight ourselves in the Lord, Isa. 
Iviii. L3, 14. and understand how great a privi- 
lege it is to have the Hberty of those holy days 
and duties for our sweet and heavenly converse 
with God. 

4. Our walking with God must be a matter 

Walking with God. 4l 

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

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


42 Walking with God. 

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


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

And first it acquainteth us with the abun- 
d,ance of atheism that is in the world, even 

Walking with God, 43 

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

44 Walking with God. 

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

Walking with God. 45 

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

46 Walking with God. 

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

Walking with God, 47 


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

48 Walking^ with God. 


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

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

Walking with God. 49 

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

50 Walking with God. 

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

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

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

" Walking with God, 51 

testimony of God satisfy you? Will not the 
experience of the world for so many thousand 
years together satisfy you ? Will not the ill 
success of all the damned satisfy you? Will 
nothing but your own experience convince you ? 
If so, consider well the experience you have 
already made, and seasonably retire, and try na 
further, and trust not so dangerous a deceiver to 
the last, lest you buy your knowledge at a dearer 
rate than you will nov/ believe. 

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

52 Walking with God. 


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

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

Walking with God, 53 

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

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

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

VOL. II. V. 

54 Walking with God. 

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

Walking with God. 55 

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

£»6 Walkinff with God, 


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

WuTldng with God, 57 

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

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

58 Walking with God. 

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

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

Walking with God, 59 

stupid thoughts of him, as will not carry us on 
m uprightness of obedience, nor keep us m liis 
fear, nor draw out our hearts in sincere desires 
to please him, and enjoy him, and as will not 
raise us to a contempt of the pleasures, and 
profits, and honors of this world,-this is to be 
despisers of the Lord, and to live as in a sleep, 
and to be dead to God, and alive only to the 
world and flesh. It is no unjiist dishonor or 
injury to the creature, to be accounted as 
:iiothing in comparison of God, that it may b« 
able to'do nothing against him and his interest : 
but to make such a nothing of the most glorious 
God, by our contemptuous forgetfulness or 
neglect, as that our apprehensions of him cannot 
prevail against the sordid pleasures of the flesh, 
and against the richest baits of sin, and against 
all the wrath or allurements of man,--this is but 
to make a God of dust, and dung, and nothing, 
and (in heart and practice) to make God worse 
than dust and dung. And it is a wonder that 
man's understanding can become so sottish, as 
thus to wink the sun itself into a constant 
darkness, and to take God as nothing, or as no 
God, who is so abundantly revealed to them in 
astonishing transcendent greatness and excel- 
lency, by all the creatures in the world, and 
with whom we have continually so much to do. 
O sinful man 1 into how great a depth of igno- 
rance, stupidity and misery art thou fallen ! 
But because we may see by the lives of the 

60 Walking with God, 

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

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

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

Walking with God. 61 

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

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

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

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

62 Walking with God.^ 

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

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

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

Walking with God. 63 

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

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

64 Walking with God, 

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

Walking with God. 65 

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

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

66 Walkum mth God. 


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

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

7. And that you may have a saving interest 
ill Jesus Christ, you must have sound repen^ 

Walking loith God, 67 

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

68 M^alkins with God, 


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

8. Moreover, you must have all the corrup- 
tions of your natures healed, and your sins 
subdued, and your hearts made new by sanctify- 
ing grace, and the image of ,God implanted in 
you, and your lives made holy and sincerely 
conformable to the will of God. All this must 
be done, or you cannot be acceptable to God, 
nor ever will be saved : though your carnal 

interest rise ao;ainst it ; thousrh vour old cor- 
es ' o ^ 

rupted natures be against it; though your custom, 
and pleasure, and worldly gain and honor be 
against it ; though all your carnal friends and 
superiors be against it; though the devil will 
,do all that he can against it; yet all this must 
be done, or you are lost for ever : and all this 
must be done by the Spirit of God ; for it is his 
wprk to make you new and holy : and can you 
lliink then that the business is not great which 

Walking ivith God. 69 

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

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

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

70 Walking with God, 

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

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

Walkins: with God. 71 

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

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

72 Walking with God. 

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

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

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

Walking with God. 73 


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

74 WaMng with God. 

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

Walkina tvith God. 75 


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

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

76 Walking with God. 

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


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

Armv. 1. It is most certain that God is good 
as necessarily as he is God : but it is not true 
that he must necessarily do good to you, or 
other individual persons ; nor that he neces- 
sarily doth the good he doth to them. As he 
is not necessitated to make toads and serpents 
as happy as men, or men as angels ; so he is 
not necessitated to save the devils or damned 

Walking with God, 77 

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


78 Walking luith God, 

eeits and wills, doth but prove them to be fools, 
and bad themselves. 

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

Walking with God. 79 


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

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

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

80 Walking with God. 

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

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

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

Walking with God, SI 

thinli on it or not, or love it, or thank it or not ; 
and the fire will warm you whether you think 
on it and love it or not^, yet God will not jus- 
tify or save you whether you love him or thmk 
on him or not. Ood doth not operate brutishly 
in your salvation, but governeth you wisely, 
as rational creatures are to be governed ; and 
therefore will give you happiness as a reward : 
and therefore will not deal alike with those that 
love him and that love him not, that seek him 
and that seek him not, with the laborers and 
the loiterers, the faithful and the slothful ser- 
vant. Would you have us beUeve that you 
know better than God himself what pleaseth 
3iim, or on what terms he will give his benefits, 
and save men's souls? or do you know his nature 
better than he knoweth it, that you dare pre- 
sume to say— Because he needeth not our love 
or duty, therefore they are not pleasing to him ? 
Then what hath God to do in governing the 
world, if he be pleased and dispkased with 
nothing that men do, or with good and evil 
actions equally ? Though you cannot hurt him, 
you shall find that he will hurt you if you 
disobey him: and though you. cannot make 
him happy by your holiness, you shall find that 
he will not make you happy without it. 

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

82 Walkina: with God, 


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

Walking with God. 83 

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

ObjecL 2. But how can God be fit for mortals 
to converse with, when they see him not, and 
are infinitely below him ? 

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

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

84 Walking with God. 

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

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

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

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

Walking: with God, 85 


our natures, or else we must seek our felicity in 

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

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


86 Walking with God, 

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

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

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

Walking with God. 87 

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

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

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

88 - Walking with God. 


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

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

Walking ivith God, 89 

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

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

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

90 WalJdnrr with God, 


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

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

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

Walkins: with God, 91 


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

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

5. If God be not in all your thoughts, there 
is no life in them : they are but like the motion 
of a bubble, or a feather in the air : they are 
impotent as to the resisting of any evil, and as 
to the doing of any saving good : they have no 
strength in them, because they are laid out 
upon objects that have no strength : they hay<3^. 

92 Walking with God, 

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

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

Walking with God. 93 

and the more you think on them> and have to do 
with them, the more are you troubled : but you 
forget the one thing necessary, and fly from the 
eternal rock, on which you must build if ever 
you will be established. While the creature is 
in your thought instead of God, you will be one 
day deluded with its unwholesome pleasure, and , 
the next day feel it gripe you at the heart : one 
day it will seem your happiness, and the next 
you will wish you had never known it: that 
which seemeth the only comfort of your lives 
this year, may the next year make you weary of 
your lives. One day you are impatiently desiring 
and seeking it, as if you could not live without 
it ; and the next day, or ere long, you are impa- 
tiently desiring to be rid of it. You are now 
taking in your pleasant morsels, and drinking 
down your delicious draughts, and jovially 
sporting it with your inconsiderate companions: 
but how quickly will you be repenting of all 
this, and complaining of your folly, and vexing 
yourselves, that you took not warning, and 
made not a wiser choice in time 1 The creature 
was never made to be your end, or rest, or hap- 
piness : and therefore you are but like a man in 
a wilderness or a maze, that may go and go but 
knoweth not whither, and findeth no end, till 
you come home to God, who only is your proper 
end, and make him the lord, and life, and plea- 
sure of your thoughts. 
7. As there is no present fixedness in your 

94 Walking ivith God, 


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

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

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

Walking with God. 95 

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

96 Walking with God. 

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

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

Walkin(!( with God, 97 


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

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

98 Walking with God, 


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

Walking with God, 99 

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

100 ' Walking with God. 

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


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

Walking with God, 101 

seeking God ! I do not think you have now any 
great pleasure in the review of those thoughts, 
which once were taken up with pleasure, when 
your most pleasant thoughts should have been 
of God. Dare you approve of your rejecting 
your creator and the great concernments of your 
soul out of your thoughts, and wasting them 
upon things unprofitable and vain? Did not 
God and heaven deserve more of your serious 
thoughts than any thing else that ever they 
were employed on? Have you laid them out on 
any thing that more concerned you; or on any 
thing more excellent, more honorable, more 
durable, or that could claim precedency upon 
any just account? Did you not shut heaven 
itself out of your thoughts, when you shut out 
God ; and is it not just that God and heaven 
should shut out you? If heaven be not the 
principal matter of your thoughts, it is plain 
that you do not principally love it : and if so, 
judge you whether those that love it not are fit 
to be made possessors of it. 
. O poor distracted senseless world ! Is not 
God great enough to command and take up 
your chiefest cogitations ? Is not heaven enoudi 
to find them work, and afford them satisfaction 
and dehght r And yet is the dung and dotage of 
the world enough? Is your honor and wealth, 
and fleshly delights and sports enough ? Ood 
will shortly make you know, \vhetlier this were 
wise and equal dealing ! Is God so low, so 


102 WalJchig with God, 

little, so undeserving, to be so oft and easiljf 
forgotten, and so hardly and sa slightly remem- 
bered ? I teM you, ere long he will make you 
think of him to your sorrow, wheth^er you will 
or no, if grace do not now set open your hearts^ 
and procure him better entertainment. 

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

Walking with God, i03 

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

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

Object, But (perhaps some will say) — This 

seemeth to be the work of preachers, and not of 

every christian, to be always meditating of God : 

poor people must think of other matters : they 

G 2 

104 Walking with God. 


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

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

Walkins: with God, 105 

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

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

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

106 Walkim zmtk God, 


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

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

WalJdfio; with God. 107 

^©litroversies concerning God, and fill the clmrcli 
with contentions and troubles by them, and their 
own hearts with malice and uneharitableness 
against those that are not of their opinions, 
have many and many a thought of God, which 
yet will do nothing to the saving of their souls, 
T»o more than they do to the sanctifying of them. 
And such learned men may think more ortho- 
doxly and methodically concerning God, than 
5iiany an honest serious christian, who yet thinks 
-of him more effectually and savingly; even as 
they can discourse more orderly and copiously 
of God, when yet they have no saving know- 
ledge of him. 

^ 3. All men must not bestow so mucli time 
in meditation as some must do. It is the callinpf 
of ministers to study so as to furnish their 
minds with all those truths -concernincr God, 
which are needful to the edification of the 
<jhurch; and so to meditate on these things as 
to give themselves wholly to them, I Tim. iv. 
15, 16: it is both the work of their common 
and their special cdiling. The study necessary 
to christians as such, belongeth as well to others 
as to them : but other men have another special 
or particular ca;lling, which also they must think 
of, so far as the nature and ends of their daily 
labors do require. It is a hurtful error to 
imagine that men must either lay by their 
caUings to meditate on God, or that they 
4o them negligently, or to be taken up in the 

108 Walking with God. 

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

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

Walking with God. 109 

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

] 10 Walking ^*^^ God> 


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

Walking with God', 111 

of: for we did before hand look on the ereatiase 
as God's work, representing him unto the work^y 
and as his talents which we must employ for 
him, and as every creature is related to him : 
and this estimation of the creature is still habi- 
tually (and in some secret less-perceived acts) 
most prevalent in the soul. Though I am iflot 
always sensibly thinking of the king, when I use 
his coin, or obey his law, &c. yet it is only as 
his coin still that 1 use it, and as his laws that 
I obey them. Weak habits cannot do tlieir 
work without great carefulness of thoughts : 
but perfect habits will act a man with little 
thoughtfulness, as coming near the natural way 
of operation. And indeed the imperfection of 
our habitual godliness doth make our serious 
thoughts, and vigilance, and industry to be th=« 
more necessai'y to us. 

6. There are some thoughts of God that are 
necessary to the very being of a holy state; as 
tliat God be so much in our thoughts, as to be 
preferred before all things else, and principally 
beloved and obeyed ; and to be the end of our 

J[ives, and the bias of our wills: and there ay© 
some thoughts of God that are necessary only 
to acting and increase of grace. 

7. So great is the weakness of our habits, so 
many and great are the temptations to be over- 
come, so many difficulties are in our way, and 
the occasions so various for the exercise of each 
grace, that it behoveth a christian to exercise m 

112 Walking with God. 

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

Walking with God. 1 1 3 

liveliness of their affections. Sense leadeth 
away the thoughts too easily after these present 
sensible things, while faith being infirm, the 
thouo-hts of God and heaven are much disad- 


vantaged by their invisibility. Many a gracious 
soul crieth out, O that I could think as easily, 
and as affectionately, and as unweariedly about 
the Lord and the life to come, as I can do about 
my friends, my health, my habitation, my busi- 
ness, and other concernments of this life I But 
alas ! such thoughts of God and heaven have far 
more enemies and resistance, than the thoughts 
of earthly matters have. 

9. It is not distracting, vexatious thoughts of 
God, that the holy scriptures call us to.; but it 
-is to such thoughts as tend to the healing, and 
peace, and felicity of the soul; and therefore it 
is not to a melancholy, but a joyful life. If 
God be better than the world, it must needs be 
better to think of him. If he be more beloved 
than any friend, the thoughts of him should be 
sweeter to us. If he be the everlasting hope 
and happiness of the soul, it should be a fore- 
taste of happiness to find him nearest to" our 
hearts. The nature and use of holy thoughts, 
and of all religion, is but to exalt, and sanctify, 
and delight the soul, and bring it up to ever- 
lasting rest: and is this the way to melancholy 
or madness? Or is it not liker to make men 
melancholy, to think of nothing but a vain, 
4eceitful, and vexatious world, that hath much" 

114 Walking with God, 

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

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

Walkins with God. 115 


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

I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Will 

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

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

116 Walkincr with God 

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


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

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

Walking loith God, 117 

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

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

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

118 Walking with God, 

inclination of the heart: and therefore are re* 
gardable to God that searcheth the heart, a«d 
calleth first for the service of the heart. 

4. Our thou2:hts are radical and instrumental 
acts : such as they are, such are the actions of 
our lives, Christ telleth us that out of the heart 
proceed e\i\ thoughts, murders, adulteries, for- 
nications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, 
which defile the man. Matt. xv. 19. 

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

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

Walking with God. 119 

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

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

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

120 Walking with God, 

by which it is exercised must needs have their 
excellency too. 

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

Walkincr with God, 121 


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

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

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

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

122 Walkim with God. 


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

Walklns with God, 12:5 


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

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

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

"124 Walking whh God. 

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

Walking with God. 125 

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


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


126 Walkhm zoith God, 


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

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

Walking with God. 127 

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

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

128 . Walking with God, 


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

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

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

Walking loith God, J 29 

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

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

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

130 Walking: with God. 


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

Walking zdih God, 131 

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

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

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

132 WalJdng with God. 

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

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

Walking with God. 133 

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

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

134 Walking with God, 

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

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

Walking with God, 135 

He that doth works of justice or mercy, to evil 
ends only, (as for applause, or to deceive, 8cc.) 
and not from the true principles of justice and 
mercy, doth not thereby exercise moral virtue, 
but hypocrisy, and other vice. He that doth 
works of justice and mercy, out of mere natural 
compassion to others, and desire of their good, 
without respect to God, as obhging, or rewarding, 
or desiring it, doth perform such a natural good 
work, as a lamb or a gentle beast doth to his 
fellows, which hath not the true form of moral 
virtue, but the matter only. He that in such 
works hath some little by-respect to God, but 
more to his carnal interest among men, doth that 
which on the by participateth of moral good, 
or is such secundum quid, but not simpliciterj 
being to be denominated from the part predomi- 
nant. He that doth works of justice or charity 
principally to please;God, and in true obedience 
to his will, and a desire to be conformed thereto, 
doth thafwhich is formally a moral good, and 
holy, though there may be abhorred mixtures 
of worse respects. 

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

136 Walking with God. 

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

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

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

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

Walking zoith God. 137 

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

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

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

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

138 Walking with God. 

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

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

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

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

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

Walkincr with God. 139 


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

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

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

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

140 Walking with God. 

give him such higher gifts, as may be like 

another nature to him so far. 

Answ, No doubt he may and doth give him 

such gifts as actuate and perfect nature: but 

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

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

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

Walking with God. 141 

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

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

142 Walking with God. 

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

Walking with God. 143 

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

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

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

144 Walkii/s: with God 


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

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

Walkins with God, 145 


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

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

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

146 Walking with God. 


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

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

Walking with God. 147 

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

148 Walking with God. 

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

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

Walkim with God, 149 


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


150 Walkino: with God. 


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

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

Walking ivith God, 151 

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

152 Walking with God* 

by Satan represented to him, his experienced 
reconcileth his mind to God, and maketh it 
much easier to him to believe that God is recon- 
ciled unto him, when he hath found much better 
entertainment with God than he expected, and 
hath observed his benignity, and the treasures 
of his bounty laid up in Christ, and by him dis- 
tributed to believers, and hath found him ready 
to hear and help, and found him the anly full 
and suitable felicitating good, this banisheth his. 
former horrid thoughts, and maketh him a&hame^ 
that ever he should think so suspiciously, inju- 
riously, and dishonorably of hi& dearest Go4 
and Father. 

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

Walking with God, 153 

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

But the soul that estrangeth itself from God, 
may indeed for a time have the quietn?s§ of 
I 3 

154 Walking with God, 


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

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

Walking with God, 155 

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

156 Walkim tvith God, 

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

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

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

Walking with God, 15? 

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

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

158 Walking with God, 


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

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

Walkincr with God, 159 

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

160 Walking with God. 

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

Walking with God. 161 

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

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

VOL. n. K 

162 Walking with God. 

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

Walkitig with God. 153 

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

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

164 Walkingr with God 


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

Walkuis with Gad. 165 


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

166 Walking with God, 

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

Walkirio: with GocL 167 


^mme: and if it signify any tiling, it signifieth 
?5omewhat that is much above the teaching of 
man. All that walk with God are taught of 
Cxodi And can man teach like God ? God hath 
access unto the heart, and there he doth tran- 
scribe his laws, and put them into our inward 
parts : and they that v/alk with him have not 
only his word to read, but his Spirit to help 
them to understand it; and being with him in 
his family (yea, he dwelleth in them and they in 
him) he is ready at hand to resolve their doubts ! 
When he gave them his fear, he gave them the 
beo-innino; of wisdom, Ps. cxi. 10. He causeth 
them to incline their ear to wisdom, Prov. ii. 2, 
and to apply their hearts unto it, Ps. xc. 12, 
and maketh them to know it in the hidden parts. 
Ps. li. 6. 

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

5. He that walketh with God is the most 

168 M^alking with God, 

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

[Walking with God. 169 

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

• Now this is his advantage that walks with 
God. — He is much more frequently than others 
awakened to a serious apprehension of the 
things which he understandeth : the thousfhts 
of the presence of the most holy God, will not 
sS^jfFer him to be as secure and senseless as others 
K 3 

170 Walking: loith God. 

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

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

Walking with God, 171 

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



be in everlasting remembran^^e. He shall not 
be afraid of evil tidings : his heart is fixed; 

172 Walking with God 


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

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

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

Walkmcr with God. 173 


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

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

174 Walking with God. 

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

10. Lastly, they that walk with God are 
entitled by many promises, to the guidance and 
direction of his Spirit. And blessed are those 
that have such a guide : at once a light in the 
v/orld without them, and a light immediately 
from God within them : for so far as he is 
received and worketh in them, he will lead them 
into truth, and save them from deceit and folly; 
and having guided them by his counsel, v/ilj 
afterward take them unto glor3^ Ps. Ixxiii. 24. 
Whereas the ungodly are led by the flesh, arifj 

Walking zdth God. 175 

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

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

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

176 Walking with God. 

of the world, who hath forbidden it: it is done 
before him that most abhorreth it, and will never 
be reconciled to it: it is done before him that is 
the judge of the world, and will shortly pass the 
sentence on us according; to what we have done 
in the body : it standeth up in his presence who 
is of infinite majesty and perfection, and there- 
fore most to be reverenced and honored ; and 
therefore if the presence of a wise and grave 
and venerable person will restrain men from sin, 
the presence of God apprehended seriously, will 
do it much more: it is committed before him 
that is our dearest friend, and tender father, 
and chiefest benefactor; and therefore ingenuity, 
gratitude and love, will all rise up against i4 in 
those that walk with God, There is that in 
God, before the eyes of those that walk with 
him, which is most contrary to sin, and most 
powerful against it, of apy thing in the world,. 
Every one will confess that if men's eyes were 
opened to see the Lord in glory standing over 
them, it would be the most powerful means to 
restrain them from transgressing : the drunkard 
would not then venture upon his cups ; the for- 
nicator would baye a cooling for his lusts ; the 
swearer would be afraid to take his maker's 
name in; the profaije would scarce presume 
to scorn or persecute a holy life. And he that 
walketh with God, though he see him not cor- 
poreally, yet seeth him by faith, and liveth as 
m his presence J and therefore must needs b^ 

Walking^ with God. 177 


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

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

178 Walking with God, 

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

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

Walking with God. 179 

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

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

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

180 Walking ivith God. 

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

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

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

Walkinz with God, 181 


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

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

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

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

1.82 Walking with God, 

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

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

Walking zmth God. 183 

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

184 Walking with God, 


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

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

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

Walkim with God. 185 


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


186 Walldnrr with God, 


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

Walking zcith God. 187 

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

188 Walking zcith God. 

AND -HOLINESS, as if they had true faith anxl 
lioliness: but yet he will not therefore make 
such ministerial acts effectual to the saving of 
unbelieving or unholy souls. Nay (because I 
liave found many sensual vmgodly people in- 
clining to turn papists, because with them they 
can have a quick and easy pardon of their sins, 
by the pope, or by the absolution of the priest) 
let me tell such, that if they understand what 
they do, even this cheat is too thin to quiet 
their defiled consciences: for even the papist's 
school-doctors do conclude, that when the priest 
absolveth an impenitent sinner, or one that is 
not qualified for pardon, such a one is not loosed 
or pardoned in heaven — Leg. Martin, de Ripalda 
eiposit. Liber. Magist. U. 4. dist. 18. p. 654, Qbby 
Ss^ p. 663, 664. dist. 20. Aquin. Dist. 20. q. 1. a. 
5. Suar. Tom. 4. in 3. p, disp. 52. Greg. Valent. 
Tom, 4. disp. 7. q. 20. p. 5. Tolet. lib. 6. cap. 27. 
Navar. Notab. 17. S) 18. Cordub. de iiidulg. li. 5. 
q. 23. they deny not the truth of those words of 
Origen, Horn. 14. ad cap, 24. Levit. " Exit quis 
a Jide, pereiit de castris ecclesics etiamsi episcopi 
voce non abjiciatur: sicut contra interdum fit, ut 
aliquis non recto judicio eorum qui pr^sunt ecclesics, 
for as mittatur: sed si non egit ut merer etur exire, 
nihil Iceditur: interdum enim quod for as mittitur, 
intus est; &) qui for is est, intus videtur retineri:'' 
and what he saith of excommunication, is true 
of absolution : an erring key doth neither lock 
out of heaven, nor let into heaven. A godly 

Walking with God. 189 

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

Nay, if you have not walked with God in the 
spirit, but walked after the flesh, though your 
repentance should be sound and true at the last, 
it will yet very hardly serve to com.fort you, 
though it may serve to your salvation : because 
you will very hardly get any assurance that it is 
sincere. It is dangerous lest it should prove 
but the effect of fear (which will not save) when 
it Cometh not till death do fright you to it. As 
Augustine saith. Null us expect et, quando peccare 
non potest : arbitrii enim libertatem qucerit Dens, 
lit de.leri possint commissa ; non necessitatem, sed 
charitaiem, non tantum timorem : quia non in solo 
timore vivit homo. Therefore the same Augustine 
saith, Siquis positus in ultima necessitate volaerlt 
^ccipere panitentiamy and accipit ; fateor vohis, 
non illi negamus quod petit ; sed non prasumimus 
quod bene hinc exit: si securus hinc exierit, ego 
nescio : pcenitentiam dare possumus, securitaceni 
non possumus. You see then how much it is 
needful to the peace of conscience at the hour 
of death, that you walk with God in the time 
of Ufe. 

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

190 Walking with God. 

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

Walldno: with God 191 


from whom, and through whom, and to whom 
was my life ! I go not to an enemy, nor an utter 
stranger, but to that God who was the spring, 
the ruler, the guide, the strength and the com- 
fort of my life. He hath heard me so oft, that 
I cannot think he will now reject me: he hath 
so often comforted my soul, that I will not 
believe he will now thrust me into hell : he hath 
mercifully received me so oft, that I cannot be- 
lieve he will now refuse me : those that come to 
him in the way of grace, I have found he will in 
110 wise cast out. As strangeness to God doth 
fill the soul with distrustful fears, so walking 
with him doth breed that humble confidence, 
which is a wonderful comfort in the hour of 
distress, and a happy preparation to sufferings 
and death. 

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

192 Walking with God. 

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

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


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

Consider, I. If you are true christians, your 
relations engage you to walk with God. Is he 
not your reconciled Father, and you his children 
in a special sense? and whom should children 
dwell with, but with their father? You were 
glad when he received you into his covenant 
that he would enter into so near a relation to 
you, as he expresseth, 2 Cor. vi. 17, 18, "I will 
receive you, and will be a Father to you, and 
ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the 

Wallibig with God 193 

Lord Almighty." And do you draw back, as 
if you repented of your covenant, and were not 
only weary of the duty, but of the privileges 
and benefits of your relation? You may have 
access to God, when others are shut out; your 
prayers may be heard, when the prayers of the 
wicked are abominable ; you may be welcome, 
when the worldling, and ambitious, and carnal 
are despised. He that dwelleth in the highest 
heaven, is willing to look to you with respect, 
and dwell with you, when he beholdeth the 
proud afar off; Isa. Ixyi. 1, 2, and Ivii. 15, 16. 
and yet will you not come that may be welcome ? 
Doth he put such a dilFerence between you and 
others, as to feed you as his children at his 
table, while others are called dogs and are with- 
out the doors, and have but your crumbs and 
leavings ; and yet will you be so foolish and 
unthankful as to run out of your father's pre- 
sence, and choose to be without, among the 
dogs? How came your father's presence to be 
§0 grievous to you, and the privileges of his 
family to seem so vile? Is it not some unchild- 
like carriage ; the o-uilt of some disobedience or 
contempt that hath first caused this? or have 
you fallen again in love with fleshly pleasures, 
and some vanity of the world? or have you had 
enou2:h of God and jrodliness, till vou bepin to 
grow weary of him? if so, you never truly 
knew him. However it be, if you grow indif- 
ferent as to God, do not wonder if shortly you 
L 3 

194 Walking ivith God, 

find him set as light by you: and believe it, the 
day is not far off, in which the fatherly relation 
of God, and the privileges of children, will be 
more esteemed by you : when all thino^s else 
forsake you in your last distress, you will be 
loath that God should then forsake you, or seem 
as a stranger to hide his face : then you will cry 
out, as the afflicted church, Isa. Ixiii. 15, 16. 
** Look down from heaven, and behold from the 
habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory : 
where is thy zeal and thy strength^ the sounding 
of thy bowels and of thy mercies towards me? 
are they restrained? Doubtless thou art our 
father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and 
Israel acknowledge us not: thou O Lord art oui^ 
father, our redeemer; thy name is from eveiv 
lasting." Nothing but God, and his fatherly 
relation, will then support you; attend him 
therefore, and w^th reverent, obedient cheerful- 
ness and delight, converse with him as with 
your dearest father. For since the beginning 
of the world, men have not know^n by sensible 
evidence, either the ear or the eye, besides God 
himself, what he hath prepared for him that 
waiteth for him. Isa. Ixiv. 4. Though he b^ 
v.'roth with us because we have sinned, yet dath 
he meet him that rejoiceth and worketh righte- 
ousness, that remembereth hiru in his wayst. 
ver. 5. Say not, I have played abroad so long 
that I dare not no\Y go home ; I have sinned so, 
greatly, that I dare not speak to him, or lool^i 

Walking ivilh GocL IPS 


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

196 WalkiMo; with God. 


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

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

Nay, more than this, if you are christians, you 
are members of the body of Christ: and there- 
fore how can you withdraw yourselves from him 
^nd not feel the pain and torment of so sore a 
wound or dislocation ? You cannot live without 

Walking with God, 197 

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

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

198 Walking with God, 

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

Walking with God, 199 

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

200 Walking ivith God, 

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

Walking with God, 201 

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

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

202 Walkins: with God. 


you were once awakened, you should not easily 
fall asleep again. And when you remember the 
thoughts which then were in your hearts, and 
the tears that were in your eyes, and the earnest 
prayers which you then put up, that God would 
receive you, and take you for his own, you 
should not now forget him, and live as if you 
could live without him. Remember, that so far 
as you withdraw your hearts from God, and let 
them follow inferior things, so far you contra- 
dict his works upon your hearts; so far you 
violate your covenant with him, or sin against 
it ; so far you are revolters, and go against the 
principal part of your professed rehgion; yea, sO 
far you are ungodly, as you thus withdraw your 
hearts from God. Cleave to him, and prosecute 
your covenant, if you will have the saving bene- 
fits of his love and covenant. 

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

Walking loith God, 203 

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

204 Walking with God, 

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

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

Walking with God, 205 

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

206 Walking with God. 

before God ? My tears have been my meat day 
aPxd night, while they continually say unto me, 
Where is thy God?" And it is no wonder, if 
with his greatest joy he be yet clouded with 
these sorrows; because he yet wanteth more of 
God than he enjoyeth: and his enjoying graces 
(love and joy) are yet im}3erfect. But when he 
hath attained his nearest approach to God, he 
will have fulness of delight in fulness of fruition. 
O christians ! do I need to tell you, that after 
all the trials you have made in the world, you 
have never found any state of life that was 
worthy your desires, nor that gave you any 
true content, but only this living upon God? 
If you have not found such comfort here as 
others have done, yet at least you have seen it 
afar off, within your reach ; as men that in the 
Indies, in the discovery of plantations, expect 
gold mines, when they find those golden sands 
that promise it. You have found a life which 
is certainly desirable, and leadeth to joy in the 
midst of sorrow; and it is no small joy to have 
a certain promise and prospect of everlasting 
joy : it is therefore more excusable in those 
that never tasted any better than the pleasures 
of the flesh, to neglect this sweeter heavenly 
life, than it is in ^^ou that have been convinced 
by your own experience, that there is no life 
to be compared with it. 

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

Walkins: with God, 207 


eternal : it is your necessary preparation to your 
enjoying him in heaven. And have you fixed 
On those hopes with so great reason and deli- 
beration, and will you now draw back and be 
slack in the prosecution of them? Have you 
gone so far in the way to heaven, and do you 
now begin to look behind you, as if you were 
about to change your mind? Paul setteth you 
a better example, Phil. iii. 8 — 14. ** Yea doubt- 
less 1 account all things but loss for the excel- 
lency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my 
Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all 
things, and do count them but dung, that I may 

win Christ, and be found in him If by 

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

208 WalJdns with God. 

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

Walking with God, 209 

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

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

yoj.. II. >j 

210 Walking with God, 

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

Walking with God, 211 

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

212 Walking with God, 

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

Walkhm with God. 213 


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

S14 tValkirig with God. 

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

Walkhicr zi^ith God. 215 

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

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

















The context opened ....••• 221 

Why Christ was forsaken by his disciples 225 

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

The aggravations of their forsaking you 247 

Some quieting considerations • 250 

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

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

Selfishness contrary to friendly fidelity 266 

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

Whether we shall know them in heaven* ...... 276 

Whether creatures be any matter of our comfort 
in heaven 278 

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



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

The advantages of having God with us ib. 

Quest. How is he with us ? 285 

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

In what cases solitude is lawful and good 294 

Reasons against unnecessary solitude • • 295 

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

Directions for conversing with God in solitude • • 339 

Concluded in further meditation 347 

A caution • 352 


John xvi. 32. 

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is 7ww come, that 
ye shall be scattered every man to his own, and 
shall leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, 
because the Father is loith me, 

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

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

VOL. II. o 

222 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

Of Conversing jvith God in Solitude, 223 

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

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

224 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

thoiifrh the soirit was willino;, the flesh was 
w eak ; they could not watch with him one hour. 
Matt. xxvi. 40, 41. When he was apprehended, 
they shifted each man for himself, Matt. xxvi. 
.56. '^ Then all the disciples forsook him and 
fled." And as this is said to be that the scrip- 
tures might be fulfilled, Matt. xxvi. 54, 56, so 
it might be said to be, that this prediction 
of Christ himself might be fulfilled : not that 
►scripture prophesies did cause the sin by which 
thev were fulfilled, nor that God caused the 
sin to fulfil his own predictions ; but that God 
cannot be deceived who foretold in scriptures 
long before, that thus it would come to pass. 
When it is said, that ' thus it must be that the 
scripture may be fulfilled,' the meaning is not, 
that ' thus God will make it be' or * thus he 
causeth men to do' that he may fulfil the scrip- 
tures: it is mot necessitas consequentis vel causala 
that is inferred from predictions ; but only neces- 
sitas consequently; a logical necessity in ordine 
co^^noscendi et dicendi; not a natural necessity in 
ordine essendi; not a necessity of the thing itself 
as caused by the prediction or decree ; but a 
necessity of the truth of this conclusion in 
arguing; ' such a thing will be, because God 
hath decreed, foreknown or foretold it;' or 
* whatever God foretelleth, must necessarily 
come to pass ; (that is, will certainly come to 
pass:) but this God hath foretold; therefore this 
will come to pass.' 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 225 

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

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

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

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

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

226 Of Conversing tuith God in Solitude. 

this permissive providence open to our obser- 

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

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

0/ Conversing loith God in Solitude, 227 

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

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

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

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

228 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

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

Of Conversing tvith God in Solitude, 229 

Kor is it all alike that, thus forsake him ; 
Peter doth not do as Judas : the sincere may 
manifest their infirmity ; but the hypocrites will 
manifest their hypocrisy. 

And accordingly in our sufferings our fami- 
liars that were false-hearted (as being world- 
lings and carnal at the heart) may perhaps 
betray us, and set against us, or forsake the 
cause of Christ, and follow the way of gain and 
honor: when our tempted shrinking friends 
that yet may have some sincerity, may perhaps 
look strange at us, and seem not to know us, 
and may hide their heads, and shew their fears ; 
and perhaps also begin to study some self- 
deceiving arguments and distinctions, and to 
stretch their consciences, and venture on som^ 
sin, because they are afraid to venture on afflic- 
tion; till Christ ;^iall cast a gracious rebuking 
quickening aspect on them, and shame them for 
their sinful shame, and fear them from their 
sinful fears, and inflame their love to him by 
the motions of his love to them, and destroy the 
love that turned them from him: and then the 
same men that dishonorably failed Christ and 
us, and began to shrink, will turn back and 
reassume their arms, and by patient suffering 
overcome, and win the crown as we have done 
before them. 

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

230 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

for all that expect that many of them at least 
should prove less friendly; and promise not 
yourselves an unchanged constancy in them. 
Are they yet useful to you ? expect the time 
when they cannot help you. Are they your 
comforters and delight, and is their company 
much of your solace upon earth? be ready for 
the time when they may become your sharpest 
scourges, and most heart-piercing griefs, or at 
least when you shall say. We have no pleasure 
in them. Have any of them, or all, already 
failed you? What wonder? Are they not men, 
and sinners? To whom were they ever so con- 
stant as not to fail them? Rebuke yourselves 
for your unwarrantable expectations from them : 
and learn hereafter to know what man is, and 
expect that friends should use you as followeth : 
1 . Some of them that yOsU thought sincere, 
shall prove perhaps unfaithful and dissemblers, 
and upon fallings out, or matters of self-interest, 
may seek your ruin. Are you better than David 
that had an Ahithophel? or than Paul that had 
a Demas ? or than Christ that had a Judas ? 
Some will forsake God : what wonder then if 
they forsake you? *' Because iniquity shall 
abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Matt, 
xxiv. 12. Where pride, and vainglory, and sen- 
suality, and worldhness are immortified at the 
heart, there is no trustiness in such persons. — 
For their wealth, or honor, or fleshly interest, 
they will part with God and their salvation; 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 231 

much more with their best deserving friends. 
Why may not you as well as Job have occasion 
to complain — " He hath put my brethren far 
from me, and mine acquaintance are verily 
estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed, 
and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They 
that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count 
me for a stranger : I am an alien in their sight. 
i called my servant^ and he gave me no answer :' 
I intreated him with my mouth. My breath is 
strange to my wafe, though I intreated for the 
children's sake of mine own body. Yea, young 
children despised me ; I arose and they spake 
against me. All my inward friends abhorred 
me : and they whom I loved are turned against 
me." Job xix. 13 — 19. Why may not you as 
well as David be put to say, *' Yea, mine own 
familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did 
eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against 
me." Ps. xli. 9. Those that have been most 
acquainted with the secrets of your soul, and 
privy to your very thoughts, may be the persons 
that shall betray you, or grow strange to you. 
Tho&e that you have most obliged by benefits, 
may prove your greatest enemies. You may 
find some of your friends like birds of prey, 
that hover about you for wdiat they can get, and 
when they have catched it, f!y away. If you 
have given them all that you have, they will 
forsake you, and perhaps reproach you, because 
you have no more to give them. They are your 

232 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

Of Conversing ivUh God in Solitude. 233 

deliver np their children to Ihe famine, and pour 
out their blood by the force of the sword," he. 
Jer. xviii. 19—21. 

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

2. And some that are sincere, and whose 
hearts are v/ith you, may yet be drawn by 
temptation to disown you: when malice is slan- 
dering you, timorous friendship may perhaps be 
silent, and afraid to justify you, or take your 
part : when a Peter in such imbecility and fear 
can disown and deny his suffering Lord, what 
wonder if faint-hearted friends disown you, or 
me, that may give them too much occasion or 
pretence ? why may not you and I be put to say 
ns David did, Ps. xxxviii. 11, 12. ** My lovers 
and my friends stand aloof from my sore, and 
my kinsmen stand afar off. They that seek 
after my life, lay snares for me: and they that 
seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and 

234 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 235 

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

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

236 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 237 

himself disowneth; or at least to grow cold in 
his affection toward you, and to decline from you 
as he thinks you do from God. As agreement in 
opinions doth strangely reconcile affections, so 
disagreement doth secretly and strangely alienate 
them ; even before you are well aware, your friend 
hath lost possession of your hearts, because of an 
unavoidable diversity of apprehensions. When 
all your friends have the same intellectual com- 
plexion and temperature, and measure of under- 
standing with yourselves, then you may have 
hope to escape the ruptures which unlikeliness 
and differences of apprehensions might else cause. 

6. Moreover, some of your friends may so far 
overgrow you in wisdom, or wealth, or honor, 
or worth, in their own conceits, tliat they may 
begin to take you to be unsuitable for them, and 
unmeet for their further special friendship. 
Alas, poor man! they will pity thee that thou 
art no wiser, and that thou hast no greater light 
to change thy mind as fast as they, or that thou 
art so weak and ignorant as not to see what 
seems to them so clear a truth ; or that thou art 
60 simple to cast away thyself by crossing them 
that might prefer thee, or to fall under the dis- 
pleasure of those that have power to raise or 
ruin thee : but if thou be so simple, thou mayest 
be the object of their lamentation, but art no 
familiar friend for them. They think it fittest 
to close and converse with those of their own 
rank and stature, and not with such shrubs 

yoL, II,. V 

238 Of Conversing with God in Solilude. 

•and children, that iriay prove their trouble and 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 239 

thing that soon grow^th old. — It must be novelty 
that must feed their love and their delight. 

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

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

To avoid both extremes, in such a case men 
must both study to understand which way is 
most serviceable to Christ, and to his church, 
and withal to be able to deny themselves; and 
also must study to understand what Christ 
meaneth in his final sentence, " In as much as 
you did it (or did it not) to one of the least 
of these my brethren, you did it (or did it not) 
to me." As if it were to visit the contagious, 
we must neither cast away our lives to do no 
p2 ' 

240 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

good, or for that which in value holdeth r\o 
proportion with them, nor yet must we deny 
to run any hazard when it is indeed our duty : 
so is it in our visiting those that suffer for the 
cause of Christ; (but that here the owning 
them being the confessing of him, we need 
more seldom to fear being too forward). 

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

X)f Conversing with God in Solitude. 241 

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

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

242 Of Conversing zcith God in SoUiitete^ 

accusers, as it makes it seem more credible to 
others, so it will come nearest to yourselves. 
And yet this is a thing that must be expected 5 
yea, even your most self-denying acts of obe- 
dience to God, may be so misunderstood by 
godly men, and real friends, as by them to be 
taken for your great miscarriage, and turned to 
your rebuke ; as David's dancing before the ark 
was by his wife; which yet did but make hiin 
resolve to be yet more vile. If you be cast into 
poverty, or disgrace, or prison, or bani&hm--ent, 
for your necessary obedience to Christ, perhaps 
your friend or wife may become your accuser 
for this your greatest service, and say. This is 
your own doing; your rashness, or indiscretion, 
or self-eonceitedness, or wilfulness hath brought 
it upon you : what need had you to say such 
words, or to do this or that? why could not you 
have yielded in so small a matter? Perhaps 
y 3ur costliest and most excellent obedience shall, 
by your nearest friends, be called the fruits of 
pride, or humour, or passion, or some corrupt 
affection, or at least of folly and inconsiderate- 
ness. When flesh and blood hath long been 
striving in you against your duty, and saying. 
Do not cast away thyself: O serve not God 
at so dear a rate : God doth not require thee to 
undo thyself: why shouldest thou not avoid so 
great inconveniences? — when with much ado 
you have conquered all your carnal reasonings, 
and denied yourselves and your carnal interest. 

Of Conversing with God m Solitude, 243 

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

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

244 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 945 

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

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

246 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

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

Of Conversing, with God in Solitude. 247 

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

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

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

248 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

3. And it is an aggravation of the cross, that 
they often fail us, when we are most faithful in 
our duty, and stumble most upon th6 most ex- 
cellent acts of our obedience. 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 249 

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

250 Of Conversing with God in SoUtude* 

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

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 25 y 

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

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

3. Moreover, consider how the odiousness of 
that sin, which is the root and cause of such 
unfaithfulness, is greatly manifested by the 
failino' of our friends. God will have the odious* 

252 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 2S3 

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

254 Of Conversing tvith God in Solitude^ 

and; lives of other men: (much more in theli* 
contempt, reproaches and cruel persecutions.) 
Now though God will have us increase in out? 
love of Christ in his members, and in our 
pure love of christians as such, and in our 
common charity to all, yea, and in our just 
fidelity to our friend; yet would he have U9 
suspect and moderate our selfish and excev 
sive love, and inordinate partial esteem of on^ 
above another, when it is but for ourselves, 
and on our own account. And therefore as h^ 
will make us know, that we ourselves are no 
such excellent persons, as that it should mak« 
another so laudable, or advance his wortb> 
because he loveth us ; so he will make us 
know, that our friends whom we overvalue, 
are but like other men: if we exalt them too 
highly in our esteem, it is a sign that Go4 
must cast them down. And as their love to 
us was it that made us so exalt them ; so theijr 
unkindness or unfaithfulness to us, is the fittest 
means to bring them lower in our estimation 
and affection. God is very jealous of our 
hearts, as to our overvaluing and overloving 
any of his creatures : what we give inordinately 
and excessively to them, is some way or other 
taken from him, and given them to his injury, 
and therefore to his offence. Though I know 
that to be void of natural, friendly or social 
affections, is an odious extreme on the other 
side ; yet God will rebuke us if we are guilty 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 255 

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

256 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

6. And I have observed another of the rea- 
sons of God's permitting the failing of our 
friends, in the season and success. It is, that 
the love of our friends may not hinder us when 
we are called to suffer or die. When we over- 
love them, it teareth our very hearts to leave 
them; and therefore it is a strong temptation 
to draw us from our duty, and to be unfaithful 
to the cause of Christ, lest we should be taken 
from our too dear friends, or lest our suffering 
cause their too much grief. It is so hard a 
thing to die with willingness and peace, that 
it must needs be a mercy to be saved from 
the impediments which make us backward : and 
the excessive love of friends and relations, is 
not the least of these impediments. O how 
loth is many a one to die, when they think 
of parting with wife, or husband, or children, 
or dear and faithful friends ! Now I have oft 
observed, that a little before their death or 
j5jii;kness, it is ordinary with God to permit 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 257 

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

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

258 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 259 

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

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

260 Of Conversing with God in SJitude, 

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

And you know that you have more wronged 
God yourselves, than any man ever wronged 
you: and if yet for all that he bear v/ith you, 
have you not great reason to bear with Others? 

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

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

Of Convei sing with God in Solitude, 261 

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

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

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


262 Of Conifr&iitg with God in Solitude. 

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude* 263 

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

264 Of Conversing with God in Solitude'. 

fetant enduring, though to the deaths fTot bat 
that the weakest that are sincere, must suCer fo? 
Christ if he call them to it : maFtyrdom itself is 
not proper to the strong believers : whoever for- 
Baketh not all that he hath for Christ, cannot be 
his disbiple. Luke xiv. SS*. But to suffer with 
that faith and love forementioned, and in tliat 
manner, is proper to the stron^g : and usually 
God doth no-t try and exercise his young and 
weak ones with the trials of the strong ; nor set 
his infants on so hard a service, nor put theai in 
the front or hottest of the battle, as he doth the 
ripe confirmed christians. The sufferings of 
th^ir inw^ard doubts and fears doth take up 
such: it is the strong that ordinarily are called 
to sufferings for Christ, at least in any high 
degree. I have digressed thus far to make it 
plain to you, that our conformity to Christy and 
fellowship with him in his sufferings, in any 
notable degree, is the lot of his best confirmed 
servants, and the highest form in his school 
among his disciples : and therefore not to be 
inordinately feared or abhorred, nor to be the 
matter of impatiency, but of holy joy: and ia 
such infirmities we may glory. And if it l>e so 
of sufferings in the general, (for Christ) then is 
it so of this particular sort of suffering, even to 
be forsaken of all our best and nearest, dearest 
friends, when we come to be most abused by 
the enemies. 
' For my own part, I must confess that as I am 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude* 265 

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

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

266 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 2 67 

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

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

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

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

268 Of Conversing with God in Solitude:^ 

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

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 269 

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

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

270 Of Conversing with God in Solitudi. 

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

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 27 1 

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

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

272 Of Contersitig toith God in Solitude, 

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

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

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

Of Convening ivith God in Solitude. 273 

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

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

VOL. n. R 

274 Of Conversing vnth God in Solitude, 

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

8. You must not have all your mercies by one 
messenger or hand ; God will not have you con- 
fine your love to one only of hjs servants ; and 
therefore he will not make one only useful to 
you : but when one hath delivered his message 
and done his part, perhaps God will send you 
other mercies by another hand 5 and it belongeth 
to him to choose the messenger who gives the 
gift. And if you will childishly dote upon the 
first messenger, and say you will have all the 
rest of your mercies by his hand, or you will 
have no more, your frowardness more deserveth 
correction than compassion ; and if you be kept 
fasting till you can thankfully take, your food, 
from any hand that your Father sends it by, it i& 
a correction very suitable to your sin. 

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 275 

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

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

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

276 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 277 

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

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

3. -Abraham knew the rich man in hell, and 
the man knew Abraham and Lazarus : therefore 
-we sMl have as distinct a knov/ledge. 

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

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

278 Of Conversing tvith God in Solitude, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 279 

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

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

6. Love (even to the saints as well as unto 
God) is one of the graces that shall endure for 
ever. 1 Cor. xiii. It is exercised upon an im- 
mortal object (the image and children of the 
Most High) and therefore must be one of the 
immortal graces. For grace in the nature of it 
dieth not : and therefore if the object cease not, 
how should the grace cease, unless you will call 
its perfecting a ceasing? 

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

280 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

Ohj. But it is said. If we knew Christ after 
the flesh, henceforth know we him no more. 

Ansiu. No doubt but all the carnality in 
principles, matter, manner and ends of our 
knowledge will then cease, as it is imperfection ; 
but that a carnal knowledge be turned into a 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 281 

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

OhJ. But then I shall have no more comtort 
in my present friends than in any other. 

Ansrc. 1. If you had none in them, it is no 
diminution to our happiness, if indeed we should 
have all in God immediately and alone. Z. C"t 
if'vouhave as much in others that you never 
kn;w before, that will not diminish any of your 
comfort in your ancient friends. 3. But it is 
most probable to us, that as there is a two-fold 
object for our love in the glorified samts ; one 
is their holiness, and the other is the relation 
^vhich they stood in between God and us, bemg 
made his instruments for our conversion and 
salvation, so that we shall love samts in heaven 
in both respects : and in the first respect (which 
is the chiefest) we shall love those most that 
have most of God, and the greatest glory 
(though such as we never knew on earth;) and 
L the second respect we shall love those m. 

that were employed by God for our greatest 

^°And that we shall not there lay by so much 
,espect to ourselves, as to forget or d.sregarc 
our benefactors, is manifest, 1. In that we shal 
for ever remember Christ, and love him, and 
praise him, as one that formerly redeemed u., 
Ld washed us in his blood, and hath made us 
kino-s and priests to God: and therefore we may 

282 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 283 

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

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

284 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 285 

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

4. He is with us who is infinitely good, and 
therefore is only fit to be a continual delight 
and satisfaction to our souls: that hath nothhio- 
inhirato disaffectus, or discourage us : whom 
we may love without fear of overlovino-; and 
need not set any bounds to our love, the^obiect 
of it being infinite. 

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

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

286 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 287 

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

288 Of Conversing tvlth God in Solitude, 

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

Of Conversing mth God in Solitude. 289 

for ever." Though as Ps. xxxv. 7, &c. *' With- 
out cause they have hid for me their net in a 
pit, which without cause they have digged for 
my soul." 11. *' And false witnesses did rise up : 
they laid to my charge things that I knew not J 
they rewarded me evil for good." 15, 16. " In my 
adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves 
together: the abjects gathered themselves toge- 
ther against me, and I knew it not; they did 
tear, and ceased not : with hypocritical mockers 
in feasts: they gnashed upon me with their 
teeth." 20. " For they speak not peace ; but they 
devise deceitful matters against them that are 
quiet in the land." Yet ver. 9. ^' My soul shall 
fee joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in his 
salvation." 10. *' All my bones shall say, Lord, 
who is like unto thee, who deliverest the pooy 
from him that is too strong for him; yea, the 
poor and the needy from him that spoileth 
him?" Though friends be far off, *^ the Lor4 
is nigh to them that are of a broken heart ; an4 
saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many 
are the afHictions of the righteous ; but the Lord 
delivereth him out of them all." Ps. xxxiv. 18, 
19. ** The Lord redeemeth the soul of his 
servants ; and none of them that trust in him 
shall be desolate." ver. 23. Therefore ^* I will 
be glad and rejoice in his mercy; for he hath 
considered my trouble, and hath known (and 
owned) my soul in adversity; and hath not 
sliut me in the hand of the enemy. When my 

290 Of Cowcersing with God in Solitude. 

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

0/ Conversing with God in Solitude, 291 

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

^9^2 Of Cowcentng with God in Solitude. 

and always at leisure to be spoken with ; and 
always willing of our access and audience : he 
hath no interest cross to our felicity, which 
should move him to reject us (as worldly great 
ones often have). He never misunderstandeth 
us, nor chargeth that upon us which we were 
bevet guilty of. If we converse with men, their 
mistakes, and interests, and passions, and insuf- 
ficiencies, do make the trouble so great, and the 
benefit so small, that many have become thereby 
weary of the world, or of human society, and 
have spent the rest of their days alone in desert 
places. Indeed so much of God as appears in 
nien, so much is their converse excellent and 
jdeli^-i^ful; ape} theijr's is the best that have most 
of God. But there is so much of vanity, and 
self, and flesh, and sin, in the most or all 
of us, as very much darkeneth our light, ancj 
dampeth the pleasure, and blasteth the fruit of 
our societies and converse. O how oft have I 
been solacisd in God, when I found nothing but 
deceit ai^d darkness in the world ! How oft hath 
he comforted rne, when it was past the power of 
man! How oft hath he relieved and delivered 
me, when all the help of man was vain ! It hath 
been my stay and rest, to look to him, when the 
^creature hath been a broken staff, and deceitful 
friends have been but as a broken tooth, or a 
foot that is out of joint, (as Solomon speaketh 
of confidence in an unfaithful man in time of 
Iroiible. Frovr x^v. ?9.) Verily as the world 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 293 

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

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

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

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

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

294 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

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

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

Of Conversing with God in SoUlude. 295 

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

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

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

296 Of Conversing loith God in Solitude. 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 297 

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

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

VOL. II. s 

298 Of Conversmg with God in Solitude, 

to shew you the evil of voluntary unnecessary 

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

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

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

4. It will be a life of smaller comfort, a& it is 
a life of smaller benefit to others. They that do 
but little good (according to their ability) must 
expect but little comfort. They have usually 
most peace and comfort to themselves, that are 
the most profitable to others. " Ao?i potest 
quisquam bene degere qui se tantiAm intuetnr: 
alteri vivas opartet, si tibi vis vivere.*' Sen. — " No 
man can live well, that looketh but to himself: 
thou must live to another, if thou wilt live to 

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

Of Conversing toith God in Solitude. 299 

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

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

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


300 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

7. Pride will have great advantage in private, 
and repentance great disadvantage, w^hile our 
sins seem to be all dead, because there is not a 
temptation to draw them out, or an observer to 
reprove them. " Tam diu patiens quisquam sihi 
videtur <3f humilis, donee nuUius hominum consortia 
eommiscetur; ad naturam pristinam reversurus 
qiium interpellaverit cnjusUbet occasionis commotio," 
inquit Cassiamis — " Many a man seems to him- 
self patient and humble, while he keeps out of 
company ; who would return to his own nature 
if the commotion of any occasion did but pro- 
voke him." It is hard to know what sin or 
grace is in us, if we have not such trials as are 
not to be found in solitude. 

8. Flying from the observation and judgment of 
others, is a kind of self-accusation ; as if we con- 
fessed ourselves so bad as that we cannot stand 
the trial of the light. *' Bona conscientia turbum 
odvocat : mala in soUtudine anxia est Sf sollicita: 
SI honesta sunt qua facis, omties sciant: si turpia, 
quid refert neminem scire: cum iu scias! O te 
mii^erion si contemnis hunc testem:"" inquit Senecu^ 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude* 301 

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

9. Solitude is too like to death, to be desiraf 
ble : he liveth that doth good ; and he is dead 
that is useless. *' Fivit is qui multis usait est: 
vivit is qui sentitur: qui vero latit ant ^ tor pent, 
mortem mam antecesserint /' inquit Sen. — " He 
liveth that is profitable to many : he liveth that 
is observed or perceived: but they that lie hid 
and drowsy do anticipate their death." And it 
is the most culpable death, and therefore the 
worst, to have life and not to use it. 

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

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

302 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

Of Conversing mth God in Solitude. 303 

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

304 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude . 305 

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

306 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 307 

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

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

308 Of Convening with God in Solitude, 

sence of my glorified Head, in the celestial 

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

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

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

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

Answ, But the most desirable society is no 
solitude : saith Hierome, *' Infinita eremi vastitas 
te terret? sed tu paradisum mente deambula : 
quatiescunque cogitatione ac mente illue co??5<:e?v* 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 309 

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

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

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

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

310 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

2. If God be with me, he is with me to whonx 
I am absolutely devoted. I am wholly his, and 
have acknowledged his interest in me, and long 
ago disclaimed all usurpers, and repented of 
alienations, and unreservedly resigned myself to 
him: and where should I dwell but with him 
that is my owner, and with whom I have made 
the solemnest covenant that ever I made? I 
pever gave myself to any other, but in subordi-. 
nation to him, and with a salvo for his highest 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 311 

inviolable right. Where should my goods be 
but in my own house? With whom should a 
servant dwell but with his master ; and a wife 
but with her husband ; and children but with 
their father? I am nearlier related to my God 
and to my Saviour, than I am to any of my rela- 
tions in this world. I owe more to him than to 
all the world : 1 have renovmced all the world, as 
they stand in any competition or comparison 
with him : and can I want their company then 
while I am with him ? How shall I hate father 
and mother, and wife and children, and brother 
and sister for his sake, if I cannot spare them, 
or be without them to enjoy him? To hate them 
is but to use them as men do hated things, that 
is, to cast them away with contempt as they 
would alienate me from Christ, and to cleave to 
him, and be satisfied in him alone. I am now 
married to Christ, and therefore must cheerfully 
leave father ^nd mother, and my native place, 
and all to cleave to him : and with whom shou^ld 
I now delio-ht to dwell, but with him who hath 
taken me into so near relation, to be, as it were, 
one flesh with him ! O my dear Lord, hide not 
thou thy face from an unkind an unworthy sinner! 
Let me but dwell with thee and see thy face, 
and feel the gracious embracements of thy love, 
and then let me be cast off by all the world, if 
thou see it meetest for me ; or let all other 
friends be where they will, so that ray soul may 
be with thee, I have agreed for thy sake to, 

312 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

Of Conversing ivith God in Solitude, 313 

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

314 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

Of Convening with God in Solitude. 315 

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

316 Of Convening with God in Solitude. 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 317 

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

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

318 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 319 

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

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

320 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 321 

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


322 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

Of Conter'slng with God in Solitude. 323 

willing, nor better skilled in the management of 
my great important business ! that my work is 
with God, and my heart is no more with him ! 
O what might I do in holy meditation, or prayer 
one hour, if I were as ready for prayer, and as 
good at prayer, as one that hath so long oppor- 
tunity and so great necessity to converse with 
God, should be ! A prayerless heart, a heart that 
flieth away from God, is most inexcusable in 
such a one as I, that hath so much important 
business with him : it is work that must be done ; 
and if well done, will never be repented of. I 
use not to return from the presence of God (when 
indeed I have drawn near him) as I do from the 
company of empty men, repenting that I have 
lost my time, and trembled that my mind is dis- 
composed or depressed by the vanity and earthly 
savour of their discourse : I oft repent that I 
have prajred to him so coldly, and conversed 
with him so negligently, and served him so 
remissly; but I never repent of the time, the care, 
the affections or the diligence employed in his 
holy work. Many a time I have repented that 
ever I spent so much time with man ; and wished 
I had never seen the faces of some that are 
eminent in the world, whose favor and converse 
others are ambitious of: but it is my grief and 
shame that so small a part of all my life, hath 
been spent with God ; and that fervent prayer 
and heavenly contemplations, have been so sel- 
dom and so short. O that I had lived more with 

324 Of Conversing with God in Solitude* 

God, though I had been less with the dearest of 
ni}' friends ! How much more sweet then wouhl 
my life have been ! How much more blameless, 
regular and pure ! How much more fruitful, and 
answerable to my obligations and professions ! 
How much more comfortable to my review \ 
How many falls, and hurts, and wounds, and 
griefs, and groans might I have escaped ! O how 
much more pleasing is it now to my remem- 
brance, to think of the hours in which 1 have 
lain at the feet of God, though it were in tears 
and groans, than to think of the time wliich I 
have spent in any common converse with the 
greatest, or the learnedst, or the dearest of my 
acquaintance ! 

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 325 

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

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

326 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

the object : we can never love him in any pro^ 
portion either to his goodness and amiabkness 
in himself, or to his love to us. What need have 
I then of any other company or business, when 
I have infinite goodness to delight in, and to 
love (further than they subserve this greatest 
work ?) 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 327 

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

But O how much greater encouragements 

328 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

hath ray soul to converse with God ! Company 
never hind ere th him from hearkening to my suit : 
he is infinite and onmipotent, and as sufficient 
for every individual soul, as if he had no other 
to look after in the world: vi^hen he is taken up 
with the attendance and praises of his heavenly 
host, he is as free and ready to attend and 
answer the groans and prayers of a contrite soul, 
as if he had no nobler creatures, nor no higher 
service to regard. I am oft unready, but God 
is never unready : I am unready to pray, but he 
is not unready to hear : I am unready to come 
to God, to walk with him, and to solace my soul 
with him; but he is never unready to entertain 
me. Many a time my conscience would have 
driven me away, when he hath called me to him, 
and rebuked my accusing fearful conscience : 
many a time 1 have called myself a prodigal, a 
companion of swine, a miserable hard-hearted 
sinner, unworthy to be called his son, when he 
hath called me child, and chid me for my ques- 
tioning his love. He hath readily forgiven the 
sins which I thought would have made my soul 
the fuel of hell : he hath entertained me with joy, 
with music and a feast, when I better deserved 
to have been amono; the dog^s without his 
doors. He hath embraced me in his sustaining 
consolatory arms, when he might have spurned 
my guilty soul to hell, and said, Depart from me 
thou worker of hiiquity, I know thee not. O httle 
did I think that he could ever have forgotten 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 329 

the vanity and villany of my youth; yea so 
easily have forgotten my most aggravated sins. 
When I had sinned against light ; when I had 
resisted conscience ; when I had frequently and 
wilfully injured love, I thought he would never 
have forgotten it : but the greatness of his love 
and mercy, and the blood and intercession of 
his Son, hath cancelled all. O how many mer- 
cies have I tasted since I thought I had sinned 
^away all mercies ! How patiently hath he born 
with me, since I thought he would never have 
put up more ! And yet besides my sins and the 
withdrawings of my own heart, there hath been 
nothing to interrupt our converse. Though he 
be God, and I a worm, yet that would not have 
kept me out : though he be in lieaven, yet he is 
near to succour me on earth, in all that I call 
upon him for: though he have the praise of 
angels, he disdaineth not my tears and groans : 
.though he have the perfect love of perfect souls, 
he knoweth the little spark in my breast, and 
despiseth not my weak and languid love: though 
I injure and dishonor him by loving him no 
more ; though I oft forget him, and have been 
out of the way when he hath come or called me ; 
though T have disobediently turned away mine 
ears,\nd unkindly refused the entertainments of 
his 'love, and unfaithfully played with those 
whose company he forbad me, he hath not 
divorced me, nor turned me out of doors. O 
wonderful 1 that heaven will be familiar with 

330 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 331 

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

332 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

7. With whom should I so desirously con- 
verse, as with him whom I must live with for 
ever ? If I take pleasure in my house, or land, 
or country, my walks, my books, or friends 
themselves as clothed with flesh, I must possess 
this pleasure but a little while ; henceforth know 
v;q no mon after the flesh : had we known Christ 
himself after the flesh, we must know him so no 
more for ever (though his glorified spiritual 
body we shall know.) Do you converse with 
father or mother; with wives or children; with 
pastors aad teachers ? Though you may converse 
Avith these as glorified saints, when you come to 
Christ, yet in these relations that they stand in 
to you now, you shall converse with them but a 
little while : for the time is short : it remaineth 
that both they that have wives, be as though they 
hud none ; and they that weep, as though they 

Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 333 

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

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

334 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

Of Conversing ivlih God in Solitude. 335 

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

336 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

Cy Conversing with Ood in Solitude, 337 

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

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

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

338 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

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

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

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

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

11. How wonderful a condescension is it that 

Of Conversing wiih God in Solitude. 339 

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

12. Lastly, heaven itself is but our converse 
with God and his glorified ones, (though in a 
more perfect manner than we can here conceive.) 
And therefore our holy converse with him here 
is the state that is likest heaven, and that pre- 
pareth for it, and all the heaven that is on earth. 

It remaineth now that I briefly tell you, what 
you should do to attain and manage this con- 
verse with God, in the improvement of your 
solitude. (For directions in general for walking 
with God, I reserve for another place.) At pre- 
sent let these few suffice. 

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

840 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 341 

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

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

342 Of Convening with God in Solitude, 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 343 

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

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

344 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

unseen, if you would know by experience what 
it is to be above the brutish hfe of sensualists, 
and to converse with God. O christian, if thou 
hadst rightly learned this blessed life, what a 
high and noble soul-conversation wouldst thou 
have ! How easily wouldst thou spare, and how 
little wouldst thou miss the favour of the great- 
est, the presence of any worldly comfort ! City 
or solitude would be much alike to thee, saving 
that the place and state would be best to thee, 
where thou hadst the greatest help and freedom 
to converse with God. Thou wouldst say of 
human society, as Seneca, *' Unus pro populo 
mihi est, 8^ populus pro nno : mihi satis est unus, 
satis est nullus'' — " One is instead of all the 
people to me, and the people as one: one is 
enough for me, and none is enough." Thus 
being taken up with God, thou mightest live in 
prison as at liberty, and in a wilderness as in a 
city, and in a place of banishment as in thy 
native land : for the earth is the Lord's, and the 
fulness thereof: and everywhere thou mayest 
find him, and converse with him, and lift up 
pure hands unto him. In every place thou art 
within the sight of home ; and heaven is in 
thine eye, and thou art conversing with that 
God, in whose converse the highest angels do 
place their highest felicity and delight. 

How little cause then have all the church's 
enemies to triumph, that can never shut up a 
true believer from the presence of his God, nor 

Of Convening with God m Solitude. 345 

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

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

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


346 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 347 

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

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

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

firmest constancy, &c. O why hath my 

drowsy and dark-sighted soul been so seldom 

348 Of Conversing with God in Solitude, 

with him ! Why hath it so often, so strangely, 
and so unthankfully passed by, and not observed 
him, nor hearkened to his kindest calls ! O what 
is all this trash and trouble that hath filled my 
memory, and employed my mind, and cheated 
and corrupted my affections, while my dearest 
Lord hath been days and nights so unworthily 
forgotten, so contemptuously neglected and 
disregarded, and loved as if I loved him not I 
O that these drowsy and those waking nights, 
those loitered, lost, and empty hours had been 
spent in the humblest converse with him, which 
have been dreamed and doted away upon 
now I know not what ! O my God, how much 
wiser and happier had I been, had I rather 
chosen to mourn with thee, than to rejoice and 
sport with any other ! O that I had rather wept 
with thee, than laughed with the creature ! For 
the time to come let that be my friend, that most 
befriendeth my dark, and dull, and backward 
soul, in its undertaken progress, and heavenly 
conversation! Or if there be none such upon 
earth, let me here take no one for my friend 1 

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

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

Of Conversing loith God in Solitude, 349 


heart, that hast thought oft. — Where is that 
place, that cave or desert, where I might soonest 
find thee, and fullest enjoy thee? Is it in the 
wilderness that thou walkest, or in the crowd : 
in the closet, or in the church ? Where is it that 
I might soonest meet with God ? But alas, I 
now perceive, that I have a heart to find, before 
I am. like to find my Lord ! O loveless, hfeless, 
stony heart ; that is dead to him that gave it 
life, and to none but him ! Could I not love, 
or think, or feel at all, methinks I were less dead 
than now ! Less dead, if dead, than now I am. 
alive ! I had almost said— Lord, let me never 
love more till I can love thee ; nor think more 
on any thing till I can more willingly think of 
thee ! But I must suppress that wish ; for life 
will act : and the mercies and motions of nature 
are necessary to those of grace. And therefore 
in the life of nature, and in the glimmerings of 
thy light, I will wait for more of the celestial 
life. My God, thou hast my consent I It is here 
attested under my hand : separate me from what 
and whom thou wilt so I may but be nearer 
thee ! Let me love thee more, and feel more of 
thy love, and then let me love or be beloved of 
the w^orld, as little as thou wilt. 

I thought self-love had been a more predomi- 
nant thing : but now I find that repentance hath 
its anger, its hatred, and its revenge ! I am truly 
angry with that heart that hath so oft an4 

350 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 351 

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

352 Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 

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

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

Of Conversing with God in Solitude. 353 

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


Priflied bj T. Davis, 106, Minories. 

Date Due 






mm. ' ^yMMfi