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Full text of "Making light of Christ and salvation, too oft the issue of gospel invitations: A call to the unconverted to turn and live: The last work of a believer ... of the shedding abroad of God's love .."

MAKING LKillT OF rillUST AND SALVATION, 

TOO OFT THE ISSUE OF GOSP'EL I.\ VITATI0K8 : 

A CALL TO THE LIXCOXYERTED 

TO TrRN AND LIVE : 

THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER; 



/ 
X 



HI3 PASSING PRATER, BECOMMEXDIXG HIS DIPARTIXG SPIRIT TO CHRIST, 
TO BE RECEIVED BY HIM : 



OF THE 

SHEDDLXG ABKOAD OF GOD'S LOVE 

OS THE HEART BT THE HOLT GHOST : 



RICHARD ^AXTER. 

WITH AN E SSAY 

ON HIS LIFE. IIJSISTIIT. AND TBEOtOGT, 

By THOMAS W. J_EXKYN, D.D„ F.G.S., 

PRESIDENT OF COWARD COLLEGE, LONDON. 

AUTHOR or " THE UNION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE CHCRCH IN THE CONVERSIOW 

OF THE WORLD," &C. 



V/ILEY & PUTNAM, 161 BPoOADV/AY 






COTsiT'EN'TR 



Essay o:^T ths Life, Ministry, and Theology of 
Baxter, 



rage 



Making Light of Christ and Salvation, . . 1 

A Call to the Unconverted to Turn and Live, . 41 

The Last Work of a Believer, . . 197 

Of the aneaamg Abroad ol Qod'3 Love on the Heart by 

the Holy Ghost. ... , . 265 



M ESSAY 



BAXTER'S LIFE, MINISTRY, AND THEOLOGY. 



It is a remark of Dr Wilkins, Bishop of Chester, that *' it was 
enough for one age to produce such a man as Eichard Baxter." 
The age which had the honour of producing this holy and great 
man, was the age of the Commonweahh, the age of Nonconformity. 
" Never did our England, since she first emerged from the ocean, 
rise so high above surrounding nations. The rivalry of Holland, 
the pride of Spain, the insolence of France, were thrust back by one 
finger each ; yet those countries were more powerful than they had 
ever been. The sword of Cromwell was preceded by the mace of 
Milton, by that man which, when Oliver had rendered his accoimt, 
opened to our contemplation the garden-gate of Paradise. And 
there were some around not unworthy to enter with him. In the 
compass of sixteen centuries, you will not number on the whole 
earth so many -wise and admirable men, as you could have found 
united in that single day, when England shewed her true magni- 
tude, and solved the question, Which 13 most, one or a million ? 
There were giants in those days ; but giants who feared God, and 
not who fought against him." * 

Baxter was one of the numerous giants of the Commonwealth. 
He was to its theology what Cromwell was to its politics, — what 
Milton was to its liberties, — and what Owen was to its non-con- 
formity. 

This distinguished man was remarkable in every form of his cha- 
racter, and in all those combinations of qualities which fitted him 
for extensive usefulness, as an eminent saint, a laborious pastor, 
and a profound divine. The series of works presented to the 
public in the Library of Puritan Divines, are intended to interest 
the private Christian, the faithful Minister, and the theological Stu- 
dent. To meet these cases, this Essay is arranged to embrace 

* W. Savage Landor's Isiaqinakt Conversations, in the conversa- 
tion between Mabvel and Parker. 



BAXTER S LIFE. 



Baxter's Life, Baxter's Ministry, and Baxter's Theology, in the 
hope that it will succeed in making Baxter known to the Million. 



CHAPTER I. 

BAXTER'S LIFE. 

Richard Baxter was bom November 12, 1615, at Rowton, the 
house of his maternal grandfather, in High Ercall, a rural village, 
not far from the foot of the Wrekin, in Shropshire. His parents 
were connected with the gentiy of the county ; but his father had 
squandered much of his estate by the habits of gambling, to which 
he was addicted in his youth. About the time of the birth of Ri- 
chard, a deep religious seriousness pervaded the character of his 
father, which was occasioned by reading the Scriptures in private. 

Baxter spent the first ten years of his life at Rowton, under the 
care of his grandfather ; but the father had frequent interviews with 
his child, and the first religious impressions which his young heart 
received, were produced by the holy character and serious conver- 
sations of his father. Under this influence the boy became so ha- 
bitually devout and serious, that, even at this early age, as Dr 
Bates mentions in his funeral sermon for him, he would reprove 
the improper conduct of other children, " to the astonishment of 
those who heard him." 

The youthful piety of Richard Baxter was unfolded in the midst 
of elements calculated to quench and destroy it. He was born in a 
district where the religion of the Book of Sports was in the highest 
popularity'. The clergy of the district were, almost universally, 
mere readers of prayers, and no preachers. It is on this account 
that they were called reading curates, reading vicars, &c. In ad- 
dition to their total incapacity for preaching, they were, for the 
most part, poor, ignorant, immoral, and even dissolute men. The 
result was, that the villagers and peasants were sunk in vice and 
irreligion, and spent the greater part of the Sabbath in dancing 
round the Maypole, and in other gambols, which the Book of Sports 
recommended and enjoined as proper exercises for the Lord's day. 
Baxter, at so tender an age, was likely to be influenced by the cor- 
rupting scenes around him ; and, in subsequent life, he deeply la- 
ments that, " during his boyhood, he became addicted to the sins 
of disobedience to parents, lying, stealing fruit, &c. — sins which af- 
terwards greatly disturbed his conscience, and which he found great 
difficulty in mastering. 



BAXTER S LIFE. lU 

In such a district, and in such circumstances, the education of 
the future Schoohnan of English Theology was likely to be ne- 
glected. His first ten years were spent among the peasants of 
High Ercall, and all the education which he received, from the 
age of six to ten, Avas under the training of the four successive 
curates of the parish, of whom the two ablest were drunkards, 
even to beggary. At the age of ten, he was removed from RoAvton 
to the house of his father, at Eaton Constantine, a village reposing 
on the left bank of the Severn, about five miles below Shrewsbury. 
Here he was placed under the instruction of the curate, a notorious 
drunkard, who had been a lawyer's clerk, who was now reading 
prayers under forged orders, and who, in Baxter's time, preached 
only once, and was then drunk. From this wretched teacher, in 
pretended holy orders, he was transferred to the care of a man of ac- 
knowledged abilities, " who," says Baxter, " loved me much, and 
who expected to be made a bishop." This tutor grievously neglected 
his charge, for, in the course of two years, he never gave his pupil 
one hour's actual instruction, but " devoted his time to attacks on 
the Puritans." His next tutor was Mr Owen of Wroxeter, the 
head-master of the free school of that place. Here Baxter made 
considerable attainments in the Latin Classics, but not much pro- 
gress in Greek. 

In all these places of education, Baxter had to depend entirely 
upon his own diligence, ambition, and judgment. His proficiency 
at Wroxeter was so satisfastory to Mr Owen, that he was now 
deemed fully prepared for the University of Oxford, for which he 
was intended ; but instead of sending the youth to Oxford, Mr 
Owen recommended him to go to Ludlow, to be under the tuition 
of Mr Wickstead, the chaplain of the council, who was allowed to 
have one pupil. He who has once seen Ludlow Castle, will fondly re- 
member it as the romantic centre of one of the sweetest landscapes 
in England, and as the august seat of many historical recollections. 
Here Baxter entered as a pupil, — here, some three or four years 
afterwards, Milton presented his immortal " Comus" for the first 
time, — and here, some thirty years afterwards, Butler wrote the first 
part of his Hudibras. In Ludlow Castle, however, as well as else- 
where, Baxter's education was neglected by his tutor ; and all the 
benefit which the youth received, he derived himself from the en- 
joAmient of abundance of time, and plenty of books. His own in- 
domitable mind did all the rest, in his " pursuit of knowledge un- 
der difficulties." 

In the history of Baxter's life, Ludlow is celebrated for two events 
which had great influence in the formation of his religious charac- 
ter : and these were his temptations to become a gambler, and the 



IV BAXTER S LIFE. 

religious apostacy of his most intimate friend. The first game he 
ever played in his life, he played -^\'ith the best gamester in the 
Castle, It was soon perceived that, he must inevitably lose the 
game, unless he obtained one particular cast of the dice each time in 
succession. The dice gave that particular cast each time, and he 
won the game. His astonishing success induced him to believe 
that the devil had managed the dice for the purpose of making a 
gamester of him. He therefore returned the money to his antago- 
nist, and determined never to play another game. The apostacy of 
his yoimg friend was more dangerous to him than the temptation 
to gambling. His friend was a religious and a very devotional 
young man. They Avere very much attached to each other, and 
were constantly studying together. He was the first that Bax- 
ter had ever heard pray extempore, and it was from him that Baxter 
himself acquired the gift and habit. This youth became a reviler of 
all religion, and even scoffed at Baxter's devotional habits. From 
the contagion of his influence Baxter was preserved, partly by his 
own deep religious convictions at that time, and partly by his re- 
moval from Ludlow Castle to Eaton Constantine. 

WTien he returned to the house of his father he was fifteen years 
of age. He was one day rummaging among the books of his father, 
and discovered an old tattered book, which a poor cottager in the neigh- 
bourhood had lent him. Young Baxter, fresh from the scenes and 
recollections of Ludlow Castle, read this book very closely, and with 
great " searchings of heart;" and the reading produced in his mind 
decided convictions of the evil ot sin. It will be interesting to 
know what book tliat was which gave the decisive turn to Baxter's 
mind. That tattered old book was Bunxy's " Booke of Christian 
Exercise appertaining to Resolutioru" Its name in commoii use 
was *' Bunny's Resolution." The real author of it was Parsons, 
the famous English Jesuit. The original was written on purely 
popish principles ; but it was corrected and improved by Edmund 
Bunny, a thorough old Puritan, who was Rector of Bolton Percy, 
and who, after a life of apostolic labours, died in 1617. 

" Bunny's Resolution " deals much and vigorously with con- 
science, and rouses every man to the obligation of " resolving our- 
selves to become Christians indeed." It is probable that this work 
gave to Baxter's mind that awakening tone, and that eloquent 
energy, which tell so mightily in his " Call to the Unconverted." 
The Jesuit, in composing this work, never thought that it would 
produce the author of " The Certainty of Christianity without 
Popery." Bunny's Resolution was useful to Baxter, only so far as 
it awakened his mind, and directed him to caution, prayer, and 
firmness: it neither led him to Christ, nor brought him to the 



BAXTER'S LIFE. V 

guidance and aid of the Holy Spirit, and, therefore, it gave him no 
" joy and peace in believing." This was reserved for another, and 
a very different work; this honour was for Dr Sibbs' Bruised Reed. 
This admirable little work brought him and his resolutions to the 
Saviour, and melted his heart into devotion. If Buxxy's Resolu- 
tion strung Baxter's harp, it was Sibbs' Bruised Reed that tuned it 
to the love of Christ. 

These were the circumstances in Avhich Baxter was making 
arrangements for studying theology. In these he was intennipted 
by his being requested to superintend the school at Wroxeter, on 
account of the illness of his old tutor Mr Owen, and then by his 
own bodily infirmities. After superintending the Wroxeter school 
for three months, he placed hiuxself under the care of the Rev. 
Francis Garbett, of the same village, that he might study theology 
as a science. He had scarcely been a month in the study of logic, 
before he was attacked with a harassing cough, spitting of blood, 
and many other symptoms of consumption, which continued to afflict 
him, almost incessantly, for two years. This affliction checked his 
intellectual studies, but it gave a powerful and an onward impulse 
to his religious affections ; it excited him to a closer examination of 
his motives for entering the ministry, and it associated all his future 
plans and present movements with eternity. He already began to 
feel as a dying man among dying men. In this frame of mind, he 
found EzEKiEL Culverwell's " Treatise of Faitk," a great help 
and a delightful solace. It is reported of him that, in the twilight of 
every evening, at that interval in which it was too dark for liim to 
read, and not dark enough to light his lamp, he employed his mind 
regularly in thinking of heaven. This will account for the sweet- 
ness and power with which at a subsequent period he wrote about 
" The Saints' Everlasting Rest ; " the reading of which now is like 
conversing in " the gate of heaven." 

The first month of his studies under Mr Garbett had been given 
to logic ; but after this affliction, he resolved to devote himself 
entirely, and almost exclusively, to theology, and that with a spe- 
cial and direct view to the information and the spiritual furniture of 
his own soul. In his theological curriculum, he studied first prac- 
tical theology as exhibited in the best works of our English divines. 
In learning systematic theology, he was obliged to have recourse to 
the works of foreign divines ; because, unless Perkins's Golden 
Chain be regarded as a systematic work, the English language did 
not at this period possess a Body of Divinity. 

Wroxeter is to be held in remembrance as the place, in which 
Baxter finished his course of education preparatory to his entering 
on his ministerial work. In that important process he greatly needed 



VI BAXTER S LIFE. 

an intelligent guide, who would have directed him to the hest course 
of theological reading, and to the best methods of study : but instead 
of having such guidance, he was left much to himself, and was almost 
entirely his own teacher. Had he had the advantages of a regular cur- 
riculum at a college or university, his knowledge would have been bet- 
ter arranged and more spiimetrical, though, perhaps, not so various 
and discursive. In the absence of such salutary discipline and whole- 
some aid, his predilections and taste led him to plunge himself into 
the thick forests of metaphysical theology. In dialectics he became 
a coasuniHiate Aristotelian. The ecclesiastical fathers came to him 
as if they were brethren ; Aquinas, as a familiar spirit ; Anselm, 
as a fellow student ; and Duns Scotus, as a pleasant companion. 
His success in these kinds of studies was so great and thorough, 
that, for acuteness in definitions, for subtlety in distinctions, and 
for masterly adroitness in disputation and logomachy, he deserved 
to be called the last of the Schoolmen. To all theologians, who 
have made any acquaintance with scholastic divinity, it is a pleasing 
marvel that, amid all its jargon Latin and its dry speculations, 
Baxter's mind and heart were kept in all their lively freshness and 
healthy glow. On one occasion their ponderous tomes seriously 
endangered his life, as they fell from shelves under which he was 
reposing. He recounts his deliverance as a singular interposition 
of Providence. " As I sat in my study, the weight of my greatest 
folio books brake down three or four of the highest shelves, when I 
sat close under them, and they fell down on every side of me, and 
not one of them hit me, save one upon my arm ; whereas the place, 
the Aveight, and the greatness of the books was such, and my head 
just under them, that it is a wonder they had not beaten out my 
brains." It is quite as great a wonder, that their weighty and crab- 
bed lore did not wither and shrivel the energies of his capacious 
lieart. Profound studies in metaphysics tend generally to freeze 
the religious affections of the student, but it is evident that they did 
not damp the ardour of Baxter's devotion. Even while threading 
the labyrinths and " wondrous mazes " of scholastic theology, he 
was " fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." Hear his own account, 
and his own estimate of his studies, as given in a letter to the 
bigotted and partial Anthony Wood, who wished to know whether 
he was an alumnus of Oxford. " As to myself," says Baxter, " my 
faults are no disgrace to any university, for I was of none ; I have 
little but what I had out of books, and inconsiderable helps of 
country tutors. Weakness and pain helped me to' study how to 
die i that set me on studpng how to live ; and that on studying the 
doctrine from Avhich I fetch my motives and comforts. Beginning 
with necessities, I proceeded by degrees ; and now I am going to 
see that for which I have lived and studied."' 



Baxter's life. vii 

When Baxter was giving himself a theological education at 
Wroxetcr, his prospects of usefulness in the ministry were clouded 
hy his diseased constitution. He was now eighteen years of age, 
and his liveliest hopes were hlighted. His former tutor at Ludlow 
Castle advised him to try his fortune at court, " as being the only 
rising way." For, at this period, Charles I. had hut lately ascend- 
ed the throne. Many circumstances seconded this recommenda- 
tion. His parents had never been very cordial in his wishes to 
enter the ministry. They had great confidence in the opinion of 
Mr Wickstead ; and he had great interest with Sir Henry Herbert, 
who was Master of the Revels. Baxter came to London and spent a 
month at court, but it was a month of disgust and revulsion. He says, 
" I had quickly enough of tlie court ; when I saw a stage-play instead 
of a sermon on the Lord's days in the afternoon, and saw what 
course was there in fashion, and heard little preaching but what 
was, as to one part, against the Puritans, I was glad to be gone." 

The illness of his mother supplied him with a good excuse for 
quitting Whitehall and retiring to Shropshire. He left London 
about Christmas 1633, during a severe frost. While travelling on 
horseback through a heavy and memorable snow-storm, he met, in 
a narrow part of the road, a loaded waggon, which he could pass 
only by riding on the side of a bank. In spurring his horse up 
this bank, the animal fell, the girths broke, and Baxter was thrown 
immediately before the wheel. At this critical juncture the horses 
stopped suddenly, unaccountably, but providentially, and his life 
was saved. The preservation of his life, in so remarkable a manner, 
deeply affected him. Under the influence of this fresh interference 
of God in his behalf, he reached his home, where he found his mo- 
ther in such agonies of pain that her groans filled the Avhole house. 
She languished through the spring, and died on May 10, 1634. At 
the grave of his mother, and being rescued so wonderfully from his 
own grave, his mind was awakened to fresh and resolved thoughts 
about the ministry ; and, in three or four years more, he entered the 
church as a Conformist, though no Episcopalian. 

In 1638 he was appointed head master of the Free School which 
had been just established at Dudley, where he would have also op- 
portunities for preaching. In the same year he was ordained at 
Worcester by Bishop Thomborough. After staying one year at 
Dudley, he removed to Bridgenorth, where the Et Csetera Oath 
made him a Nonconformist, and where, he says, he continued about 
a year and three quarters, having " liberty of preaching in troub- 
lous times." 

The days of Baxter's sojourn in Bridgenorth might well be called 
" troublous times." In these times Laud was teaching popery 
to England, and manufacturing bonds of iniquity for Protestants ; 



Vlll BAXTKR S LIFE. 

Sti-aftbrcl was learning and practising servility to Charles, and Sap- 
ping the liherties of his country ; kings trembled on their thrones, 
and bishops -were ill at ease on their benches ; the immortal Hamp- 
den was disputing with his king about ship-money ; Peter ►Smart 
was imprisoned twelve years for preaching against high church 
ceremonies ; Dr Leighton, as much the minister of the freedom of 
truth, as his son was the minister of its love, had his ears cut off, 
and his nose slit, for Avriting his " Zion's Plea against Prelacy;" 
Prynne, the barrister, had similar cruelties inflicted on him for 
writing against plays and masquerades ; the Scots were marching to 
England with their Covenant ; the High Commission Court was 
practising the abominations of the Inquisition ; the English were 
beginning to speak in honest 8axon, and bold tones, to their princes ; 
Charles Avas become the most consummate and shameless hypocrite 
in England ; the House of Commons appointed a committee to re- 
ceive the complaints and petitions of the people against their ignorant 
and dissolute clergy, and the chairman published those complaints 
in his " One Century of Scandalous Ministers." 

Such were the times about IG-iO, when Baxter left Bridgenorth to 
settle in Kidderminster, where he had been invited by the people 
to become their lecturer. This was his first settlement in that 
town, which lasted about two years ; but they were two years of 
laborious preaching on his part, of great political agitations among 
the people, and of imminent danger to his life. The Royalist rabble 
were so malignant against his ministry, that his best friends recom- 
mended him to leave the place. 

From Kidderminster he went to Gloucester, where he tarried one 
month. During his short stay, he witnessed, for the first time, one 
of the public disputations, which were sometimes held between the 
ministers and the Baptists, who were every where agitating the 
churches on the question of immersion, — a question on which, it is 
the humiliation and enervation of the Congregationalists, that they 
have not agreed to differ -without- separating from each other. On 
all other topics they can meet and associate with safety and peace. 
A Baptist and Independent are much like the powders of an acid 
and an alkali ; they can mix together in the same phial, and in the 
same vessel, Avith perfect concord : but just drop a little water among 
them, and they are immediately in effervescence. So did Baxter 
find them at Gloucester, and so did he afterwards find them in his 
controversies with Mr Tombes of Bewdley. 

When he had spent a month at Gloucester, his friends at Kidder- 
minster thought he might return to them in safety ; but, on his re- 
turn, he found the town so much divided on the questions between 
the King and the Parliament, that he was obliged to quit it imme- 



Baxter's life. ix 

diately. Once more he was a wanderer, and he visited his old 
friend Mr Samuel Clark, at Alcester, where he preached on Sun- 
day, October 23, 1642, amid the sounds of the cannon at Edgehill. 
On the next day he went to see the field of battle, and saw the two 
amiies keeping the ground in sight of each other, and the space 
between them covered with the unburied bodies of the slain. From 
Alcester he went to Coventry to spend a month with his friend Mr 
Simon King, who was minister there. He expected that, in a month, 
Charles and the Parliament would have adjusted their differences 
and put an end to the civil war, but instead of ceasing, the war 
raged more and more furiously. The state of the country induced 
him to accept the invitation of the committee and governor of Co- 
ventry to stay with them and to preach to the soldiers. After a 
stay of one year in this city, he went to Shropshire for the pui"pose 
of releasing his father, Avho Avas a prisoner at Lilleshall. It was 
on this occasion that he joined Colonel Mytton, and Mr Hunt of 
Boreatton, at the garrison of Wem. In Shropshire, he was perpe- 
tually in the midst of tumults and skirmishes, and, therefore, at the 
end of two months, he returned to Coventry, and staid there another 
year. It was during this second stay that he signed the Scottish 
Covenant, and declared himself openly on the side of the Parlia- 
ment. The first of these acts he always afterwards lamented ; and 
for the second, he apologises with thirty-two reasons in his " Peni- 
tent Confessions." 

Baxter was at Coventry when Cromwell fought and won the battle 
of Naseby ; and, two days after the victory, he visited the field of 
battle, and passed a night in the Pai'liamentary camp, near Leices- 
ter. This visit opened his eyes to the real state of the army on the 
subject of civil and religious liberty. His new information deepened 
and darkened his prejudices against Cromwell. Yet some of the 
officers persuaded him to join the army, and he consented to become 
chaplain to Colonel AVballey's regiment. 

As a military chaplain, his subsequent movements were regulated 
by the camjjaigns and marches of the regiment to which he was at- 
tached. Immediately on joining the army, he marched to Somer- 
ton, and was present at the battle of Langport, where, standing on 
the brow of a hill, he could survey the operations of both armies. 
As Goring's army began to flee before the Parliamentaiy forces 
under Fairfax, Baxter stood next to Major Harrison, and heard the 
gallant officer " wdth a loud voice break forth into the praise of 
God Avith fluent expressions, as if he had been in a rapture." 

From Langport he accompanied the army to the siege of Bridge- 
water, which he saw taken by storm. He was again at the siege of 
Bristol, where, in about three days, he was taken ill of a fever, occa- 



X BAXTER S LIFE. 

sioned by the plague which prevailed in the neighbourhood. He 
immediately quitted the camp, and rode to Bath, to be under the 
care of his physician, Dr Venner. In fourteen days the fever ended 
in a crisis, but it left him so emaciated and weak that " it was long," 
he says, " before I recovered the little strength which I had before." 
On his recovery, he returned to Bristol, and saw that city taken in 
four days. Major Bethell wounded and slain, and Prince Kupert 
routed Avith the loss of his " ordnance and arms." His next march 
was to Sherborne Castle, which, after a fortnight's siege, was taken 
by storm, " and that on a side which one would think could never 
have been that way taken." Cromwell, after his success at Basing- 
house, near Basingstoke, resolved to pursue Lord Goring's troops 
to the west of England, where they had made themselves infamous 
for their flagrant impieties and barbarous outrages. In consequence 
of this movement of the army, Baxter was present at the siege ot 
Exeter, where he continued about three weeks, and then left because 
his regiment was ordered to march against Oxford to keep that gar- 
rison in check till the army would return from Exeter. Colonel 
AVhalley's regiment quartered in Buckinghamshire for about six 
Aveeks, when it besieged and took Banbury Castle. It was while 
quartering in this neighbourhood that Baxter maintained his famous 
disputation -with Bethell's troopers at Agmondesham. 

At the siege of "Worcester, Baxter was again taken very ill, and 
he was urged by his friends to visit London for medical advice. On 
arriving in the metropolis, his physician sent him to Tunbridge 
Wells, where he received considerable benefit, and then returned 
through London to the army in Worcestershire. His quarters were 
at Rous Lench, the seat of Sir Thomas Rous, where be had never 
been before. Here Providence supplied him with a valuable friend, 
who continued for years to be of great use to him. This friend was 
Lady Lench, " a godly, grave, and understanding woman, who en- 
tertained me," says Baxter, " not as a soldier, but as a friend." 
From Worcestershire he went into Leicestershire, StaflFordshire, 
and Derbyshire. At ]Melbourn, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, his for- 
mer diseases again afflicted him. It was now a cold and snowy sea- 
son, and " the cold," he says, '' together with other things coinci- 
dent, set my nose bleeding. When I had bled a quart or two, I 
opened four veins, but that did no good. I used divers other reme- 
dies, for several days, to little purpose. * * * This so much 
weakened me, and altered my complexion, that my acquaintances 
who came to see me scarcely knew me." 

This affliction was a turning point in the history of Baxter. It 
took him completely from all his schemes of opposing the Ironsides, 
just when he thought himself best prepared and furnished for the 



BAXTER 3 LIFE. XI 

enterprise ; and, bj this means, he -was separated for ever from the 
army. His illness at Melbom-n detained him in his chamber and 
among strangers for three weeks. As soon as he gathered a little 
strength, he went to Kirbj Mallory, and spent three weeks at the 
house of his friend 2vlr Nowell. When the news of his illness reached 
Rous Lench, Lady Rous sent her servant alt the way to Leicester- 
shire to bring him under her roof. " In great weakness," says 
Baxter, " thither I made shift to get, where I was entertained with 
the greatest care and tenderness, while I continued to use the means 
for my recovery ; and when I had been there a quarter of a year, I 
returned to Kidderminster." 

He had now been ill about five months, but they were the most 
memorable months in his history. It was in this season of pains 
and medicines that he wrote his first works. His disputes in the 
army had prepared him to write his " Aphorisms of Justification ; " 
and his sanctified afflictions made him write of " The Saints' Ever- 
lasting Rest." The work which he commenced first was the " Saint's 
Rest ;" and it was while discussing the rewards, which should be 
conferred on the saints for their works of faith, that he was led to 
write his " Aphorisms." In speaking of the " Saint's Rest," he says, 
" Whilst I Avas in health, I had not the least thought of writing 
books, or of serving God in any more public way than preaching. 
But when I was weakened with great bleeding, and left solitary in 
my chamber at Sir John Cook's in Derbyshire, without any ac- 
quaintance but my servant about me, and was sentenced to death 
by the physicians, I began to contemplate more seriously on the 
everlasting rest which I apprehended myself to be just on the bor- 
ders of ; and that my thoughts might not too much scatter in my 
meditation, I began to write something on that subject, intending 
but the quantity of a sermon or two (which is the cause that the 
beginning is, in brevity and style, disproportionable to the rest); 
but being continued long in weakness, where I had no books, nor 
no better emplopnent, I followed it on till it was enlarged to the 
bulk in which it is published. The first three weeks I spent in it 
Avas at Mr Nowell's house at Kirby Mallory, in Leicestershire ; a 
quarter of a year more, at the seasons which so great weakness 
would allow, I bestowed on it at Sir Tho. Rous's house, at Rous 
Lench, in Worcestershire ; and I finished it shortly after at Kidder- 
minster. The first and last parts were first done, being all that I 
intended for my own use ; and the second and third parts came 
afterAvards in besides my first intention." 

Myriads of saints will have to bless God for ever for having 
afflicted Baxter at Melbourn, and for having taught him, in the mi- 
nister's house at Kirby, to write the " Saints' Rest." He wrote it 

/. 



XU BAXTER S i.IFE. 

when he had no books bj him but a Bible and a Concordance. It 
was the transcript of his own heart, and therefore he found that, of 
all his works, " it had the greatest force on the hearts of others." 
It Avas first published in 1649, and since then, it has gone through 
many successive editions — surpassed, in number of editions, by, per- 
haps, no other book but the Pilgrim's Progress, or his own " CaU 
to the Unconverted." All the editions subsequent to 1659 are dis- 
tinguished by one painful peculiarity. In the Commonwealth edi- 
tions, he has introduced the name of Lord Brook, Hampden, and 
Pym, as among the glorified saints whom he should meet in " the 
everlasting rest ; " but in impressions under the Restoration, these 
names are left out. The motive for omitting them was to please 
Dr Jane, and to induce him to license the publication of the volume. 
It is a wonder and a grief to all the friends of Baxter, that he should 
have thus truclded ; for the omission was against his own firm judg- 
ment concerning these illustrious individuals ; and the omission, like 
all other such will-sacrifices, was far from giving satisfaction to the 
prelatical party. According to Baxter's own unchanged opinion, 
Hampden, Pym, and Brook, were still in the everlasting rest, 
though their names were no longer in his book about that rest. 
This omission marred the honour, but it did not injure the useful- 
ness, of the book. Many thousands own their conversion to it ; and 
many more owe to it their growth in grace, and their edification in 
love and heavenly mindedness. 

Baxter's afflictions and meditations on the Saints' Rest had pre- 
pared him for his pastoral work at Kidderminster, whither he has- 
tened from Rous Lench. The account of his ministry in that town, 
made famous by his pastorship, wiU be found in the second chapter 
of this Essay. He spent there fourteen years, which were as event- 
ful in the history of England as they were in the life of the labori- 
ous minister. In these years Cromwell marched his troops against 
the Parliament and subdued it. Charles, after a life of improbity 
and bloodshed, was seized by the army and executed ; the Common- 
wealth was established, and Cromwell proclaimed its Protector ; the 
Scottish Covenanters were intriguing with Charles II. at Breda, 
and sacrificed Montrose to their schemes ; war was devastating Ire- 
land and Scotland ; Charles II. entered England, lost the battle of 
Worcester, and immortalized the royal oak ; the Protector died, and 
his son was deposed ; England ceased to be puritan ; and General 
Monk had matured his plots for duping the army to restore Charles 
to the throne of his father. 

Such was the state of England when Baxter left Kidderminster, 
and reached London, April 13, 1660. On his arrival he conversed 
with Lord Lauderdale on the nation's obligation to the oath which 



Baxter's life. xiii 

they had sworn to Richard Cromwell. This Lauderdale was the 
man who had procured letters to be Avritten by Protestant ministers 
in France, filled with assurances that Charles Avas firmly attached 
to the Protestant religion. A new parliament was immediately 
summoned to cancel the obligation of the oath to Richard Crom- 
well, and to invite Charles 11. to England. To this parliament 
Baxter preached at St Margaret's, Westminster, April 30, on "Re- 
pentance, from Ezek. xxxvi. 31. Immediately after the sermon, 
the House was to meet to vote the return of Charles. On May 10, 
he preached again from Luke x. 30, on " Right Rejoicing," to the 
Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, who were keeping a day of 
solemn thanksgiving for General Monk's success in bringing the 
king back. As Charles passed through the city of London to AVest- 
minster, the London ministers attended him with acclamations, 
and, by the hands of the oldest minister among them, the venerable 
Arthur Jackson, they " presented him with a richly adorned Bible, 
which he received, and told them that it should be the rule of his 
actions," Thus, before he had yet reached his throne, Charles be- 
gan to act the hypocrite, even with the Bible in his hand, and to 
treat with flagitious duplicity the men who had restored him to his 
crown. These ministers were honest men, but they allowed them- 
selves to be duped and entrapped : and, in two years after their 
acclamations, he made them pay dearly for their silly confidence in 
royal promises. Oh ! had wisdom uttered her voice in some street, 
and cried in some place of concourse, or in the opening of the gates 
of London, while Charles was passing, and had told these ministers, 
" Put NOT YOUR TRUST IX Pkixces,"* many wailings and much 
shame would have been saved this country. 

After the Restoration, ten or twelve of the Presbyterian ministers 
were made royal chaplains ; and among these was Baxter, " at his 
Majesty's own desire, as an acceptable furtherance of his service." 
In this office none of them ever preached except Mr Calamy, Dr 
Reynolds, Dr Spurslow, Mr Woodbridge, and Baxter, once each. 
After his appointment, he had an interview with the king on the 
practicableness of effecting an agreement between the Episcopalians 
and Presbyterians, which ended in the royal farce of the meet- 
ing at Sion College. In September 4, 1660, Charles published his 
insulting Declaration, to which Baxter drew up an answer, in such 
terms of firmness and manliness as to alarm Calamy and Reynolds, 

* At Breda, April 4, 1660, Charles II. gave his royal word in these 
terras — " We do declare a liberty to tender consciences, and that no man 
shall be disquieted, or called in question, for differences of opinion which 
do not disturb the peace of the kingdom." This he had the proaigacy to 
declare on, what he called, " the woid of a Clnistiau king." 



XIV BAXTER S LIFE. 

who declared that " it would not be so much as received." When 
Baxter's modified reply was presented, a modified declaration of the 
king was proclaimed, which was as unsatisfactory as its first compo- 
sition. Defective and even insolent as the king's modified declara- 
tion Avas, the very pastors who had enabled Char es to insult them, 
met to thank him for the minimum of liberty which he graciously 
gave them. When they presented their thanks to the king, Baxter 
refused to attend. On hearing this, the king sent for Baxter the 
next day, and flattered him, but did not change his opinion about 
royal fidelity. These discussions concluded with farce the second, 
called the Savoy Conference, at which Sheldon acted with the 
haughtiness and tyranny of a Wolsey. 

Though the Presbyterian Divines were thus treated by the court 
and the hierai-chy, the Nonconformists were known and felt to be 
a powerful body in the country. As a measure of kingcraft, there- 
fore, it Avas proposed that the best way to silence them was to make 
some of their leaders Lord Bishops ; and, accordingly, Hereford Avas 
offered to Baxter, Litchfield and Coventry to Calamy, and NorAvich 
to Reynolds, A\'ho accepted it on the ground that the congS d'elire was 
taken out Avithout his knoAA-ledge by a friend. An emissary of the 
court. Colonel Birch, Avaited upon Baxter again and again to get 
him to intimate his consent ; but he declared, that " if the old dio- 
cesan frame continued, he would not accept it." Even this was not 
enough, the Chancellor, Clarendon, had an interv'icAV with him, and 
asked him about his resolution, Avhen the proposal Avas rejected for 
ever. In saying " Nolo Episcopari," he meant it as " the AA'ords of 
truth and soberness." 

The next step in Baxter's life is one perfectly singular, and is a 
good illustration of his character. Having declined a bishopric, he 
entreated Clarendon to giA'e him the poor curacy of Kidderminster. 
" My people," he says, " Avere so dear to me, and I to them, that 
I would haA'e been AA-ith them on the loAvest terms. Some laughed 
at me for refusing a bishopric, and petitioning to be a reading- vicar's 
curate ; but I had little hopes of so good a condition, at least for any 
considerable time. The Chancellor, and even the King, professed 
to be for his restoration to his people, but they alloAA'ed themselves 
to be baffled by his aa-cII known enemy. Sir Ralph Clare ; and Bi- 
shop Morley also was resoh-ed that he should ncA^er again enter the 
diocese of Worcester." "NMien the people at Kidderminster under- 
stood the disposition of Baxter tOAvards them, " in a day's time they 
gathered the hands of sixteen hundred out of the eighteen hundred 
communicants," Avith the assurance of more, if they had only time 
given them. What Clarendon and the King had professed to fail 
to do, he tried to do for himself, '• I went down," he says, " to 



BAXTER'S LIFE. XV 

Worcestershire, to tr^v^ whether it were possible to have any honest 
terms from the i-eading-vicar there, that I might preach to my 
former flock ; but when I had preached twice or thrice, he denied 
me liberty to preach any more. * * * I oflPered to be his curate, and 
he refused it. 1 then offered to preach for nothing, and he refused it. 
And, lastly, I desired leave but once to administer the sacrament to 
the people, and to preach my farewell sermon to them, but he would 
not consent. At last I understood that he was directed by his su- 
periors to do what he did." From Kiddermanster, Baxter, after 
paj-ing a hasty visit to his afflicted father in Shropshire, waited on 
Bishop Morley. " I reminded the Bishop," he says, " of his pro- 
mise to grant me his license, &c. ; but he refused me liberty to 
preach in his diocese, though I offered to preach only on the Creed, 
the Lord's Prayer, and the Ten Commandments, and that only to 
such as had no preaching." 

Baxter was silenced, — the man who had received his " ministry 
from the Lord Jesus," was rejected. He went to the Bishop's palace 
with " neither purse nor scrip." He said, " peace be to this house," 
but " the son of peace was not there." When the door of Worces™ 
ter's palace closed on *' holy Baxter," the event appeared trifling 
in episcopal judgment ; but all the influence and bearings of that 
little event have not been yet developed. An edict has gone forth 
from the Lord, which says — " Into whatsoever city ye enter, and 
they receive you not, go your Avays out into the streets of the same 
and say. Even the very dust of your city which cleaveth on us, we 
do wipe off against you." That dust, as it falls from the messenger, 
will have its influence on other interests. Natural Philosophy in- 
forms us, that a grain of sand on the point of a needle has its influ- 
ence on the greatest and most remote bodies in the solar system. In 
the same manner. Revelation assures, that the dust from the sandals 
of ejected ministers, will, in the day of retribution, make it more 
tolerable for Sodom than for that city or that house which has re- 
jected them. 

After the prelate of Worcester had refused to license him in that 
diocese, he settled in London, and preached in various vacant pul- 
pits, where his services were requested. After a year of such 
occasional, and always gratuitous ministrations, he resolved to 
become a colleague of the Rev. Dr Bates, at St Dunstan's in the 
West, where he preached once a-week. The subjects of his sermons 
seem to have been regularly reported in high quarters, and he was 
always charged with sedition and rebellion, till he preached the 
series which he afterwards published under the title of " The Formal 
Hypocrite Detected," when the low h^-jjocrites that reported him, 
and the high hj-pocrites which heard their reports, ceased their 
accusauons. 



xvi Baxter's t.ife. 

It was while preaelilng in St Dunstan's that he displayed that 
solemn and calm superiority to alarm and fear which is related by 
J)r Bates. The church of St Dunstan's had " an ill name, as very 
old, rotten, and dangerous ;" when therefore " a little lime and dust, 
and perhaps a piece of brick or two, fell down the steeple " during 
service, the whole congregation was exceedingly alarmed, and every 
one rushed towards the doors. Baxter " sat down in the pulpit, 
seeing and pitying their vain distempers ; and then, as soon as he 
could be heard, he rose and said, " We are in the service of God, to 
prepare ourselves, that we may be fearless at the great noise of the 
dissolving world, when the heavens shall pass away, and the elements 
melt with fervent heat." He then continued and finished his dis- 
course, Avhich was his last at St Dunstan's church, which had to be 
rebuilt. 

Between this time and the passing of the anti-Christian Act of 
Uniformity, he continued to preach for some time at St Bride's in 
Fleet Street, and at St Ann's, Black Friars, and he had also a week- 
day lecture in Milk Street, supported by ]\Ir Ashurst. Thus he- 
continued to labour in his Master's work, till the shadows of Bar- 
tholomew Eve warned him to quit the English Church, which 
incessantly harassed him, and persecuted him even unto death. 

The whole noble band of Nonconformists were about to be ejected 
from the Church of England on August 24, 1662 ; but Baxter re- 
solved to quit that Church before the Act of Uniformity came into 
force, and he accordingly preached his last sermon on the 25th of 
the previous May. This he did, partly because his legal advisers 
informed him, that as he Avas only a Lecturer, the liberty of all 
lecturers terminated on the 25th of May; partly to let authority 
know that he would obey it in all that was lawful ; but chiefly to 
let all the Ministers in England understand in time that he did not 
intend to conform, lest any should conform in the expectation that 
he Avould be a conformist. When the 24th of August came, two 
thousand illustrious, able, and faithful ministers — such two thousand 
as England saw never — were faithful to their consciences, and faithful 
to the God of truth and liberty ; and they all quitted the English 
Church. Popery had its Bartholomew's day in France, and it shed 
the blood of myriads ; and Prelacy has had its Bartholomew's day 
in England, and it covered it with the gall of bitterness and bonds of 
iniquity. 

While Baxter was busy in devising schemes of comprehension for 
Episcopalians and Nonconformists, he was at the same time em- 
ploying his thoughts and his heart on a subject of much delicacy 
and tenderness, and that was his marriage. On September 10, 
1662, just a fortnight after the dark and black Bartholomew's day, 
he was married in Beun.et Fink Church in Cheapside, by Mr Sa- 



BAXTER S LIFE. XVU 

mnel Clark, to Miss Margaret Chai-lton. Baxter was now forty- 
seven years of age, and Miss Charlton was about twenty-three. It 
had always been a part of his creed, that for ministers to marry was 
only barely lawful. All these things made his marriage notorious. 
" The king's marriage," he says, " was scarcely more talked of 
than mine." Two things brought Miss Charlton under the special 
notice of Baxter ; she was born within three miles of his own native 
village, and, on her removal with her mother to Kidderminster, his 
ministry was the means of her conversion. Notwithstanding the 
inequality in their ages, he says that " the many strange occur- 
rences which brought it to pass, would take away the wonder of 
her friends and mine" — but " in her case and mine there was much 
that was extraordinary, what it doth not concern the world to be 
acquainted with." The terms on which Baxter proposed marriage, 
and which Miss Charlton accepted, are these : First, " That I should 
have nothing that before our marriage was hers ; that I, who wanted 
no earthly supplies, might not seem to marry her for covetousness. 
Secondly, That she would so alter her affairs that I might be en- 
tangled in no lawsuits. Thirdly, That she would expect none of 
my time which my ministerial work should require." They were 
"married in the Lord," and he found in her a help-meet for him, 
sometimes his fellow prisoner, and always the helper to his joy. 

On June 1, 1663, Sheldon became Archbishop of Canterbury, a 
man of deep craftiness, of dexterous ability, and of unrelenting ma- 
lignity against the Nonconformists ; and, consequently, their suffer- 
ings were greatly aggravated on his accession to the primacy, espe- 
cially through the severity of his act against private meetings. 
This law put all public service at an end. Baxter resolved to leave 
London ; and he says, " I betook myself to live in the country, at 
Acton, that I might set myself to writing, and do what service I 
could for posterity, and live as much as I possibly could out of the 
■world. Thither I went on the 14th of July 1663, where I followed 
my studies privately in quietness." Here he attended the church iu 
one part of the day, and preached in his own house at another. 
Here also he finished some of his best works, especially his " Chris- 
tian Directory." On March 26, 1665, he was nearly being shot 
dead. While he was preaching and administering the Lord's Sup- 
per, a bullet came in at the window, and passed close by him, but 
did him no hurt. The villain who had attempted to murder him 
was never discovered. 

Towards the close of 1665 the Plague made its appearance in 
London, amidst all the troubles of a war with Holland. Baxter 
seems to have regarded this as a visitation upon England for the 
•wickedness of the Corporation Act which had lately passed. He 



xviu Baxter's life. 

says, — " From London the plague is spread through many counties, 
especially next London, where few places, especially corporations, 
are free ; Avhich makes me oft groan, and wish that London, and all 
the Corporations of England, would review the Corporation Act, 
and their own acts, and speedily repent." While Baxter was pen- 
ning this noble sentiment, he was at Hampden, in Buckinghamshire, 
in the house of his beloved friend, Mr Richard Hampden, " the true 
heir of his famous father's sincerity, piety, and devotednessto God." 
Here he continued while the plague raged about London. 

It is probable that Nonconformity and Religious Liberty in Eng- 
land owe more to the Plague, and to the Fii-e of London, than to 
any other two causes in the providence of God. " When the 
plague grew hot," says Baxter, " most of the conformable minis- 
ters fled, and left their flocks in the time of their extremity ; where- 
upon divers Nonconformists, pitying the dying and distressed people, 
Avhen about ten thousand died in a week, resolved that no obedience 
to the laws of mortal man whatever could justify them in neglecting 
men's souls and bodies in such extremities. They therefore re- 
solved to stay with the people, and to go into the forsaken puljdts, 
though prohibited ; and also to visit the sick and the dying, and to 
get what relief they could for the poor, especially those that were 
shut up." Yet while those noble and generous men Avere thus la- 
bouring in the very domain of death, and at the post which the 
hireling clergy had forsaken, Sheldon and Clarendon were foi-ging 
the chains of the Five Mile Act to stop all their efforts. When tlie 
Plague ceased at Acton in March 1666, Baxter returned home, and 
" found the church-yard like a ploughed field with graves, and many 
of his neighbours dead." 

The next mysterious Providence which promoted religious liberty 
was the great Fire of London. It broke out at midnight, September 
2, 1666. Baxter says, that "it was set on fire," and he beheved 
that the agents in this awful destruction " of one of the fairest cities 
in the world " were the Papists. Whether the suspicion be true or 
not, the report, and the common belief of it, shew in what degree of 
detestation all Papists were held in that age. After the fire, as well 
as during the plague, the religious condition of the Londoners was 
equally wretched and destitute, as far as the conforming clergy were 
concerned. When the churches were burnt, the parish ministers 
all departed, as if they had no ministry for the souls of men, except 
■\\-ithin the walls of churches. At this season, again, the generous 
Nonconformists came forth to the work of the ministry, with a dis- 
interestedness and a diligence, that should have shamed their rivals 
and oppressors. This was the birth-season of dissenting chapels ; 
for the ministers now prepared large rooms, and "plain chapels with 



BAXTER S LIFE. XlX 

pulpits, seats, and galleries, for the reception of as many as would 
come :" and, says Baxter, " many of the citizens went to those 
meetings called private, more than went to the public parish churches." 
These magnanimous labours produced a fresh rumour about a "com- 
prehension," and liberty of conscience ; but the clergy opposed every 
effort for the restitution of the Nonconformists, and continued to 
refuse them all toleration till the fall of the wily Clarendon. 

On the rise of the Duke of Buckingham, the preaching of the 
Nonconformists was connived at, " so that the people went openly to 
hear them without fear" — "and they did the like in most parts of 
England." In the mean time, Baxter was busily engaged at Acton 
with his illustrious friend Judge Hale in arranging the heads of a new 
scheme of Comprehension. While Judge Hale and Baxter were 
thus employed, the inquisitorial Sheldon addressed a circular letter 
to all the Bishops, requesting them to give an account of all the 
conventicles in their diocese. The result was, that many ministers 
*>'ere imprisoned; and one of Sheldon's first victims was Baxter. 
Information was laid against him by his neighbour, one Colonel 
Phillips, for preaching in his own house at Acton, and he had to 
appear before the magistrates at Brentford. These, after treating 
him rudely and insultingly, sent him to Clerkenwell prison, " where," 
says Baxter, " I had an honest jailer, who shewed me all the kind- 
ness he could." Mrs Baxter went to prison with her husband ; 
and he says, " My wife was never so cheerful a companion to me as 
in prison, and was very much against my seeking to be released." 
From this prison he was liberated by a Habeas Corpus, but with an 
obitum dictum of the Judge that it was not on account of his inno- 
cence, but merely because of a flaw in the mittimus. 

On his release, he found that his position was more difficult than 
he had apprehended ; for the Five Mile Act prevented him from 
returning to Acton, where he had a house of large rent ; and that his 
enemies among the magistrates had made a fresh and a more accurate 
mittimus to send him to Newgate " among thieves and murderers ;" 
he felt, therefore, that he must at any cost leave Middlesex. 

His next place of abode was Totteridge, near Barnet, where he 
lived in " a few mean rooms, which were so extremely smoky, and 
the place withal so cold, that he spent the Avinter with great pain." 
It was during his stay at Totteridge that he had his controversy 
with Dr Owen ; that Lauderdale offered to make him a Scottish 
Bishop, or a Scottish Principal of one of the Universities ; that he 
wrote a great part of his " Methoclus Theologice ;" that he lost a great 
part of his property through the bankruptcy of the King's Exchequer ; 
that he aided Lord Orrery in forming the " Healing Measure," Avhich 
failed ; and that he availed himself of the King's " Dispensing De- 



BAXTER S LIFE. 



claration " to recommence preaching. Trusting in the word of a king, 
he I'emoved to London, and preached as one of the lecturers at 
Pinners' Hall. He says: "On the 19th of November (1672), 
my baptism day, was the first day, after ten years' silence, that I 
preached in a tolerated assembly." On January 1673, he began a 
Tuesday lecture at Mr Turner's church in New Street, Fetter Lane, 
but " never took a penny of money for it from any one." He had 
also a lecture at 8t James' ]\Iarket-Housc. In this neighbourhr od. 
his ministry was very extensively useful, though it was now illegal ; 
having been made so by the circumstance that the Parliament had 
annulled the King's Dispensing Declaration, and had passed the 
Test Act. Informations were again laid against him, in which an 
Alderman of London, a Sir Thomas Davies, figures as a beast of 
prey seeking whom he might devour, who distrained his goods for 
fifty pounds for preaching his lecture in New Street. 

In consequence of the dangerous state of his place of preaching at 
St James's, his friends pressed him to obtain another place, and 
Oxenden chapel was built for him by their liberality. " Mr Henry 
Coventry, one of his Majesty's principal secretaries, who had a 
house joining to it, and was a member of parliament, spake twice 
against it in the Parliament, but no one seconded him." Here he was 
incessantly worried by his persecutors. "I was so long Avearied," 
he says, " with keeping my doors shut against them that came to 
distrain my goods for preaching, that I was fain to go from my 
house, and to sell all my goods, and to hide my library first, and 
afterwards to sell it ; so that, if books had been my treasure (and I 
valued little more on earth) , I had now been without a treasure. 
For about twelve years, I was driven a hundred miles from them ; 
and when I had paid dear for the carriage, after tvro or three years 
I was forced to sell them." As an illustration of his dangers at Ox- 
enden Chapel, he gives the following account of Mr Seddon, who was 
to preach for him during liis absence in the country : " I had left 
word that if he would but step into my house through a door, he 
was in no danger ; they not having poAver to break open any but the 
meeting-hoiise. While he was preaching, three justices, supposed of 
Secretary Coventry's sending, came to the door to seize the preacher. 
They thought it had been I, and had prepared a warrant upon the 
Oxford Act to send me for six weeks to the common jail." 

After the silence of a whole year, he opened another place of 
preaching in the parish of St IMartin. In the spring of 1676, 
Charles, utterly heedless of the " word of a Christian king" given 
at Breda, urged all the judges and magistrates to put the laws against 
Nonconformists in strict execution, yet Baxter recommenced preach- 
ing at a chapel in Swallow Street, while his own stood empty, at the 



BAXTER'S LIFE. 



expense to liim of thirty pounds a-year for gi'onnd rent. A fresh 
warrant was issued against liim, and for twenty-four Sabbaths con- 
stables and beadles watched the chapel door to apprehend him. 

On the 14th of June 1681, Baxter sustained the irreparable loss 
of his excellent and heroic wife. She was buried in Oiristchurch, 
and Howe preached her funeral sermon. Her husband praised her 
in the gates, and in the sketch of her character says, " She was the 
meetest helper that I could have had in the world." She was only 
forty when she died. 

On August 24, 1682, he preached his last sermon in New 
Street, " just that day twenty years that I, and near two thousand 
more, had been by law forbidden to preach." " I took that day 
leave of the pulpit and public work in a thankful congregation." 
" AYhen I had ceased preaching, and was nearly risen from ex- 
tremity of pain, I was suddenly surprised by a poor, violent in- 
former, and many constables and officers, who rushed in, appre- 
hended me, and served on me one warrant to seize my person for 
coming within five miles of a corporation, and five more warrants 
to distrain for a hundred and ninety pounds for five sermons." In 
this state he accompanied them to the magistrate to be sent to jail, 
but his physician meeting him, made oath that he could not go to 
prison without danger of death. The magisti-ates represented the 
affair to the King, and Charles consented that he should not be sent 
to prison for the present, that he might die at home. They, how- 
ever, seized his books and goods, and even the bed wliich he lay 
sick on, and sold them all. " I had no remedy but utterly to for- 
sake my house and goods and all, and take secret lodgings at a dis- 
tance, in a stranger's house." 

In 1684 he suffered similar treatment. " While I lay in pain 
and languishing, the justices of the session sent warrants to appre- 
hend me, about a thousand more being in catalogue to be bound to 
their good behaviour. I refused to open my chamber door to them, 
their warrant not being to break it open ; but they set six officers 
at my study door, who watched all night, and kept me from my bed 
and food ; so that the next day I yielded to them, who carried me, 
scarce able to stand, to the sessions, and bound me in four hundred 
pounds." 

Early in 1685 appeared his New Testament with Notes, and on 
February 28 he was committed to prison on a warrant from Judge 
Jefieries, on account of some sentiments in his Paraphrase. On 
the 18th of May, it was moved that, on account of his great bodily 
pains, further time might be given him before his trial. Judge 
Jefferies said, " I will not give him a minute's time more to save 
his life. Yonder stands Oates in the pillory, and he says he suffers 



xxii Baxter's life. 

for the truth, and so says Baxter ; but if Baxter did but stand on 
the other side of the pillory with him, I would say, two of the 
greatest rogues and rascals in the kingdom stood there." The trial 
came on at Guildhall on May 30, before Jefferies. Over every 
seat on which this ermined ruffian eyer sat might be inscribed, " By 
appointment. Butcher to the Royal Family," When Baxter's counsel 
was defending him, Jefferies said, " This is an old rogue, who has 
poisoned the world with his Kidderminster doctrine. An old 
schismatlcal knave, a hypocritical villain. Hang him, this one old 
fellow hath cast more rtproach upon the constitution and discipline 
of our church than will be wiped off this hundred years; but I'll 

handle him for it ; for, by G , he deserves to be whipped through 

the city." When Baxter attempted to explain and vindicate him- 
self, Jefferies said to him, " Richard, Richard, dost thou think 
Ave'll hear thee poison the court? Richard, thou art an old fellow, 
an old knave ; thou has written books enough to load a cart, every 
one is full of sedition, I might say treason, as an egg is full of meat. 
Hadst thou been whipped out of thy writing trade forty years ago, 
it had been happy. Thou hast one foot in the grave ; it is time for 
thee to begin to think what account thou intendest to give. But 
leave thee to thyself, and I see thou'lt go on as thou hast begun ; 
but, by the grace of God, I'll look after thee." After Jefferies 
had charged the jury in a most un-English and outrageous manner, 
Baxter said, " Does your Lordship think that any jury will pre- 
tend to pass a verdict upon me upon such a trial?" The ruffian 
replied, " I'll warrant you, Mr Baxter, don't you trouble your 
head about that." Jefferies was right, for without quitting the box, 
the jury found him " guilty." At this trial Sir Henry Ashurst, 
the son of Baxter's old and faithful friend, acted nobly, led the ve- 
nerable and injured friend of his father through the crowd, and con- 
veyed him home in his own carriage. Baxter applied in vain to the 
Bishop of London to use his influence to obtain a new trial, or a 
milder judgment than was likely to be awarded to him by Jefferies. 
On the 29tli of June his judgment was pronounced. He was to be 
fined five hundred pounds, to lie in prison tiU he paid it, and to be 
bound to his good behaviour for seven years. This award was 
one of the first acts of James II., who had ascended the throne on 
the 6th of February. The prosecution was promoted by the efforts 
of L'Estrange, a name of some rank among the learned men of his 
day. Every thing contributed to render the trial of Baxter 
a burning stigma on the royalty, law, and literature of England. 

Baxter resolved to go to prison, for he could not pay the fine ; 
and even if he paid it, it was likely he would soon be prosecuted 
again. In prison he was visited by some of the clergy, who lamented 



BAXTER S LIFE. XXUl 

his unjust verdict. He continued in his prison nearly two years, 
■when Lord Powis used his influence at Court to procure his release. 
He left the prison on November 24, 1686. As a favour, King 
James allowed him to live in London, notwithstanding the Oxford 
Act ; and having lived for some months within the rules of the King's 
Bench, he removed on February 28 to Charterhouse Yard, and re- 
newed his pulpit labours in company ^vith Mr Sylvester. 

In these stirring times, Baxter's age, sufferings, infirmities, and 
persecutions, prevented him from taking much interest in the agita- 
tions and changes which Avere taking place around him. Neither 
James' downfall, nor the glorious Revolution of 1688, seems to have 
drawn forth any remark from his pen or his pulpit. The last mea- 
sure of legislation in which Baxter acted any part, was the Act of 
Toleration passed by William and Mary, Avhich placed all Noncon- 
formists under the shield of the British constitution. The last re- 
ligious movement in which he interested himself, was the Bond of 
Agreement which was formed between the Presbyterians and Inde- 
pendents of London, memorable as commencing the name of Pres- 
byterians, properly so called, in England. 

In Charterhouse Square he lived near Mr Sylvester's meeting- 
house, where he preached gratuitously on Sunday mornings, and once 
a fortnight on Thursday mornings. After spending four years and a 
half in these engagements, he gave them up, and " opened his doors 
morning and evening every day " to all who would join him in fa- 
mily worship. Eventually his growing infirmities constrained him 
to give up this engagement, and confined him to his own chamber, 
" He continued to preach," says Dr Bates, " so long, notwithstand- 
ing his wasted, languishing body, that the last time he almost died 
in the pulpit. It would doubtless have been his joy to have been 
transfigured in the mount. Not long after, he felt the approaches 
of death, and was confined to his sick-bed. He said to his friends, 
' You come hither to learn to die ; I am not the only person that 
must go this way. I can assure you that your whole life, be it ever 
so long, is little enough to prepare for death.' After a slumber he 
waked and said, ' I shall rest from my labour.' A minister then 
present said, ' and your works shall follow you.' To whom he 
replied, ' No works : 1 wiU leave out works, if God will grant me 
the other.'" 

When a friend reminded him of his past usefulness, he said, " I 
was but a pen in God's hands, and what praise is due to a pen ? " 
In the extremity of his agonies he would sometimes pray earnestly 
to God for a speedy release, and then he would check himself and 
say, " It is not fit for me to prescribe ; when thou wilt, what thou 
wilt, how thou wilt." He was once asked how he felt in his in- 



XXIV BAXTER'S MINISTRY. 

■ward man, and his reply was, " I bless God I have a well-grounded 
assurance of my eternal happiness, and great peace and comfort 
within." On the day before his death, Dr Bates and Mr Mather o* 
New England visited him. To them he expressed his great willing- 
ness to die ; and when the question was asked, " How he did ? " his 
answer was, " Almost well." This was on a Monday, and he had 
fully expected and hoped that he should have died on the preceding 
Sunday, which to Mr Sylvester he called " a high day," in the 
expectation of his joyful change., He languished through Monday, 
and on Tuesday, December 8, 1691, about four o'clock in the morn- 
ing, he had his last conflict with disease, languished into life, and 
the "Reformed Pastor" found himself in the "Saints' Everlasting 
Rest." 

His body was interred in Christ Church, -wdth the body of his 
wife. Men of all ranks, and ministers of Nonconformist and of Con- 
formist orders attended his funeral. Two funeral sermons were 
preached for him ; one by his colleague, Mr Sylvester, and the other 
by his friend Dr Bates, both of which were published. 



CHAPTER II. 

BAXTER'S MINISTRY. 

If "Whitefield is properly called the prince of preachers, Bax- 
ter deserves to be ranked as the prince of pastors. The Holy 
Spirit made him a model pastor, and in the ecclesiastical history of 
England, since the Reformation, no name can be mentioned as be- 
ing his equal in the pastorship. To form an adequate conception 
of his pastoral character, it is necessary first to read his own ideal of 
a Christian minister in his " Gil das Salvianus, or Reformed Pastor," 
and then to see his working out of that ideal in the " Reliquiae Bax- 
terianse," where he recounts his plans and methods of pastoral toil at 
Kidderminster. 

Baxter commenced his ministry as a Conformist. His family, 
though inclined to Puritanism, were all Conformists, and so were 
all his connexions. The whole of his theological reading had been 
against Nonconfonnity. When he was about twenty years of age, 
he became acquainted with several able Nonconformist divines in 
Shropshire, and especially ■\\-ith the Rev. Walter Cradock, the 
apostle of Noncom'ormity in North Vfiiles. In their society he 
found an atmosphere which was refreshing to every thing devout, 



BAXTER 3 MINISTRY. XXV 

unearthly and holy, in his own mind. The fervid piety, the serious 
conversation, and the lofty devotion of these men raised them very 
highly in his esteem, and the prosecutions v/hich they suffered 
kindled his indignation against the hierarchy that oppressed them : 
but neither the holy character of the Shropshire Puritans, nor the 
persecuting disposition of the prelates, produced in him any scruples 
about conforming. To be a minister, he must be episcopally or- 
dained ; to be ordained, he must subscribe the Articles and the 
Liturgy — ^and to subscribe consent and assent to them he had no 
hesitation, because, says he, " I had never once read the Book of 
Ordination." In 1638, he was ordained at AYorcester by Bishop 
Thornborough. The first sermon he ever preached was in the 
Upper Church at Dudley, while he was head master of the grammar 
school there. He laboured in that town as a preacher for about a 
year, but without any pastoral relation to the people. 

The next scene of his ministry was Bridgenorth, a town at that 
time full of public houses. He preached here for nearly two years 
to large congregations of ignorant and besotted people, with very 
few instances of success, and with many discouragements. It is 
still reported in Bridgenorth that when he preached his farewell ser- 
mon to the people, he remarked that their hearts were as hard as 
the sandstone rock on which their church is built. It was at Bridge- 
north that he became a Nonconformist. When, in 1640, regal 
tyranny and prelatical madness imposed upon the clergy the noto- 
rious Et Csetera Oath ; * binding all the ministers of truth and liberty 
never to change their opinions concerning bishops, deans, &c., its 
ridiculous and wicked pretensions were carefully examined by the 
Salopian ConformisTs assembled at Bridgenorth. After this discus- 
sion, Baxter resolved that he would not subscribe the oath, and 
that he would honestly and manfully investigate the claims of Pre- 
lacy. He read vnth. diligence and candour the works of distin- 
guished and learned Nonconformists, as well as those of able Epis- 
copahans, and he came to the conclusion that Diocesan Epis- 
copacy was of unscriptural origin, opposed to the simplicity of 
primitive pastorship, and subversive of scriptural discipliiie and 
order in the church. The Et Cietera Oath produced many results 
favourable to the progress of Nonconformity, and among its et 
caetera consequences one Avas the Presbyterianism of Baxter. 

On April 5, 1641, Baxter was appointed lecturer at Kidder- 
minster. His removal to this town was brought about partly by 
the parHament, and partly by the people. The clergy, in every 

* One part of the oath ran thus — " Nor will I ever give my consent 
to alter the government of this church by archbishops, bishops, deans, 
and archdeacons, &c., as it stands now established, and ought to stand." 



XXXI BAXTER S MINISTRY. 

part of the countrj, were so ignorant and dissolute, that the parlia- 
ment appointed a committee to enquire into the religious state of the 
country, and to hear the complaints and the petitions of the people 
against their ministers. The inhabitants of Kidderminster availed 
themselves of this arrangement, and presented a petition against the 
Eev. Mr Dance, their minister, who was a drunkard, and who 
preached only once a quarter. This petition resulted in the com- 
mittee's invitation to Baxter to take the lectureship, which was 
seconded bv an affectionate letter from the people of the town. 

Kidderminster had many attractions for Baxter : the town Avas 
large, and afforded an adequate sphere for his commanding talents ; 
the people were generally of a profligate character, for which his 
fervid and rousing preaching was well adapted ; and, among the 
inhabitants, there Avere a few Avho were sighing for the abominations 
of the place, and who would cheerfully Avelcome and further the 
efforts of a holy minister to do good. He commenced his ministry 
among them by preaching for one Sunday on probation, and Avas 
then cordially chosen by the people as their lecturer. He spent 
here two years, Avhich proved, in the arrangement of Providence, 
a kind of disciplinary noA-itiate to his remarkable labours there 
at a subsequent period. His first labours at Kidderminster Avere 
interrupted and blasted by the unhappy rupture betAveen diaries I. 
and the Parliament. When the first rumours of a civil Avar Avere 
heard in the moans of an oppressed people, Baxter began to dcA^e- 
lope some of the mental characteristics Avhich marked the subse- 
quent history of his life ; for he sided with neither party, but found 
fault Avith both. This was not from timidity; much less was it 
from compromise ; but it Avas from his sincere desire to secure and 
promote peace on earth and good w\\\ among men. All the Avrit- 
ings of Baxter demonstrate that he Avas a firm and thorough friend 
to the cause of the parliament ; and that though he Avas loyal to 
the monarchy and the throne, he detested the consummate and 
heartless duplicity of Charles. All this the people of Kidderminster 
believed and kneAV ; and, therefore, Avhen the king's declaration was 
one day being proclaimed at the market-place, just while Baxter 
was passing by, the officer Avho read it exclaimed, " there goes a 
traitor." The rabble, Avho already hated him on account of his 
serious and faithful preaching, responded immediately and heartily, 
" DoAvn Avith the roundheads " — and then directed their march in 
pursuit of him, Avith the resolution to take away his life. As the 
town of Kidderminster, and indeed nearly CA'ery tOAvn in AYorcester- 
shire Avere openly for the king, Baxter was advised to quit the place 
and retire from the county altogether. 

In the sketch of his life given in the preceding chapter, his re- 



BAXTER S MINISTRY. XXVU 

tirement to Gloucester — his brief return to Kidderminster — his 
preaching at Alcester on the Sunday that the battle of Edgehill was 
fought — his first year at Coventry — his two months' sojourn at 
Shropshire at the siege of Wem — and his second year at Coventiy, 
have been recorded. In all these wanderings he was ever faithful 
to the work of the ministry, preaching whenever he could and 
wherever he might — sometimes in towns, and sometimes in villages 
and rural hamlets ; now to soldiers in garrison, and anon to pea- 
sants in the highways and hedges. His village labours were car- 
ried on amidst many dangers, and especially at the hazard of appre- 
hension and imprisonment. As an instance of the state of the 
times, and as a memorial of the interposition of Providence in 
his behalf, the following anecdote is introduced on the authority 
of the Congregational Magazine.* 

The report is, that during Baxter's residence at Coventry, seve- 
ral of the Nonconformist ministers of that city united with him in 
preaching a lecture at a private house, on a neighbouring common. 
" The time of worship was generally a very early hour. Mr Bax- 
ter left Coventry in the evening, intending to preach the lecture 
the following morning. The night being dark, he lost his way ; 
and, after wandering about a considerable time, he came to a gentle- 
man's house, where he asked for direction. The servant who came 
to the door informed his master that a person of very respectable 
appearance had lost his way. The gentleman, thinking it would be 
unsafe for such a person to be wandering on the common at so late 
an hour, requested the servant to invite him in. Mr Baxter readily 
accepted the kind proposal, and met with a very hospitable recep- 
tion. His conversation was such as to give his host an exalted idea 
of his good sense, and his extensive information. The gentleman, 
wishing to know the quality of his guest, said, after supper, ' as most 
persons have some employment or profession in life, I have no 
doubt, sir, that you have yours.' Mr Baxter replied, with a smile, 
' Yes, sir, I am a man catcher.' ' A man catcher,' said the gen- 
tleman, ' are you ? I am very glad to hear you say so, for you are 
the very person I want. I am a Justice of the Peace in this district, 
and am commissioned to secure the person of Dick Baxter, who is 
expected to preach at a conventicle in this neighbourhood early to- 
morrow morning ; you shall go with me, and, I doubt not, we shall 
easily apprehend the rogue.' Mr Baxter very prudently consented 
to accompany him. 

" Accordingly, the gentleman, on the following morning, took 
Mr Baxter in his carriage to the place where the meeting was to be 

* Congr. Mag. vol. iii. 



xxviii Baxter's ministry. 

held. TVTien they arrived at the spot, they saw a considerable num- 
ber of people hovering about ; for seeing the carriage of the Justice, 
and suspecting his intentions, they were afraid to enter the house. 
The Justice, observing this, said to Mr Baxter — ' I am afraid that 
they have obtained some information of my design ; Baxter has 
probably been apprised of it, and therefore will not fulfil his en- 
gagement ; for you see the people "n-ill not go into the house. I 
think, if we extend our ride a little farther, our departure may 
encourage them to assemble, and on our return we may fulfil our 
commission.' "N^Tien they returned, they found their efforts useless, 
for the people still appeared unwilling to assemble. 

" The magistrate, thinking he should .be disappointed of the 
object he had in view, observed to his companion, that, as the 
people were very much disaffected to Government, he would be 
much obliged to him to address them on the subject of loyalty and 
good behaviour. Mr Baxter replied, that perhaps this would not 
be deemed sufficient ; for, as a religious service was the object for 
which they were met together, they would not be satisfied with 
advice of that nature : but, if the magistrate would begin with 
prayer, he would then endeavour to say sometliing to them. The 
gentleman replied, putting his hand to his pocket, ' Indeed, sir, I 
have not got my prayer book with me, or I would readily comply 
with your proposal. However, I am persuaded that a person of 
your appearance and respectability would be able to pray with them 
as well as to talk to them. I beg, therefore, that you wUl be so 
good as to begin -with prayer.' This being agreed to, they alighted 
from the carriage and entered the house, and the people, hesitating 
no longer, immediately followed them. 

Mr Baxter then commenced the service, and prayed with that 
seriousness and fervour for which he was so eminent. The magis- 
trate, standing by, was soon melted into tears. The good divine 
then preached in his accustomed lively and zealous manner. When 
he had concluded, he turned to the Justice and said, ' Sir, I am the 
very Dick Baxter of whom you are in pursuit. I am entirely at 
your disposal.' The magistrate, however, had felt so much during the 
service, and saw things in so different a light, that he laid aside all his 
enmity to the Nonconformists, and ever afterwards became their sin- 
cere friend and advocate, and it is believed also a decided Christian." 

Baxter commenced his ministry in Coventry on the condition that 
he should neither be obliged to take a commission in the army nor be 
appointed a chaplain to a regiment. His duties were to preach 
once a-week to the soldiers, and once on the Sabbaths to the town's 
people. For his labours he took no remuneration but his diet. In 
this garrison he followed his studies, he says, " as quietly as in the 



BAXTER S MINISTRY. YTIT 

time of peace." After the battle of Nasebj, fouglit while he was at 
Coventry, his scruples to join the army gave way before what he 
heard and saw on visiting Cromwell's troops near Leicester. He 
found that the church in the army was a different thing from the 
church amid citizens and peasantry. He was astonished and 
grieved to hear civil and religious liberty openly, freely, and man- 
fully discussed by the soldiers. " I heard," he says, " the plotting 
heads hot upon that Avhich intimated their intention to subvert 
Church and State ;" and these were Cromwell's chief favourites, and 
they were the soul of the army, though in number they were only 
as one to twenty. Several officers pressed him to join the army, 
and after consulting his ministerial friends in Coventry, and obtain- 
ing the reluctant consent of the city garrison to release him, he 
joined it as chaplain to Colonel ^Yllalley'3 regiment. Among his 
friends in the garrison, he said expressly that he attached himself to 
the army for the purpose of doing his best against its sectarian 
tendencies. On hearing him, Colonel Purefoy said very magisterially, 
" Let me hear no more of that. If NoL Cromwell should hear 
any soldier but speak such a word, he would cleave his crown." 

On joining the army, he was introduced to Cromwell, who 
received him very coolly, and never afterwards conversed with him, 
nor was he ever allowed an opportunity to attend the meetings of 
the officers at head quarters. It is not unlikely that Colonel Pure- 
foy had communicated Baxter's designs to Cromwell, and this was 
the reason of the coolness ; but another fact might also be in the 
recollection of Cromwell which would induce him to treat the divine 
with some reserve. When Cromwell lay at Cambridge, he collected 
his first troop of Ironsides, which he and his officers tried to form into 
a church ; that is, a troop of church members, a literally militant 
church, or fighting congregation. This troop invited Baxter, while 
at Coventry, to become its pastor. In reply, he not only declined 
their invitation, but rebuked them for their constitution, and for 
their designs. This peevish denial and ill-timed reproof are enough 
to account for the coolness with which he was received by the army. 

His ministry in the army was an utter failure. He was too belli- 
gerent in polemic theology, and too much of a field-marshal in logic, 
to maintain successfully a ministry of peace among soldiers, and espe- 
cially among the independent Ironsides. In his ministerial labours, 
he set himself to discover the ecclesiastical corruptions of the soldiers 
— disputed with the troops upon all points, political as well as religi- 
ous — contended against all varieties of opinions among them, whether 
Antinomianism, Arminianism, or Quakerism and Anabaptism, but 
especially against Voluntaryism. In describing the army, he says, 
" The most fi-equent and vehement disputes were for liberty of 



XXX BAXTER S MINISTRY. 

conscience, as they called it ; that is, that the civil magistrate had 
nothing to do to determine matters of religion hj constraint or 
restraint." With the leaders of these heroes of freedom, Baxter 
would dispute in the hearing of the rest, to try to make them the 
laughing-stock of the troops. The consequence was, that he was 
both bitterly scorned and cautiously avoided. It is due to these 
first and noble disciples of liberty of conscience to record, that the 
failure of his ministry among them was to be traced more to the 
controversial tendencies of his own mind than to the military habits 
of the soldiers. To this fact he gives himself a candid and an honest 
testimony. ^' Many of those honest soldiers who were tainted but 
with some doubts about liberty of conscience or independency, were 
men who would discourse of the points of sanctification and Chris- 
tian experience very seriously." As a proof of the manner in which 
he was treated and avoided in the army, he says — " All the two 
years that I was in the army, even my old bosom friend who had 
lived in my house, and been dearest to me, James Borry, then 
Captain, after Colonel and Major, the Lord of the Upper House, 
who had formerly invited me to Cromwell's old troop, did never 
once invite me to the army at first, nor invite me to his quarters, 
nor ever once come to visit me, or ever saw me, save twice or 
thrice that we met by accident." 

After many marches and counter-marches with the army for two 
years, and after many attacks of disease, through which it is not 
necessary now to follow him, he settled at Kidderminster, much to 
the joy of his people, and much to the honour of his own immortal 
character. 

Baxter's settlement at Kidderminster was the greatest honour that 
God ever conferred on that picturesque town. His pastorship there 
will be had in everlasting remembrance, when the skill and the 
wealth produced by its peculiar manufactory will be forgotten for 
ever. As a model pastor, his character deserves to be known, studied, 
and imitated, yea, if possible, surpassed. To forai a proper estimate 
of his pastoral labours, it is necessary to know the character of the 
inhabitants before he settled among them, the state of his health amid 
his numerous labours, the various plans of usefulness which he 
adopted, the amount of his success, and the peculiar advantages 
which he had for carrpng on his operations. 

The character of the inhabitants of Kidderminster, at the period 
of his settlement, was as degraded and as unpromising as an incom- 
petent and profligate clergy could make it The vicar of the place 
did not understand even the substance of the chatechism or creed. 
His preaching consisted in scraping together, once a quarter, " afew 
words which he so said over as to move pity in liis auditors." At- 



BAXTER S MINISTRY. XXXI 

tached to the parish there was a chapel, which was supplied by an 
old curate as ignorant as his vicar. This curate got his living by 
celebrating unlawful marriages. " I knew not," says Baxter, " how- 
to keep him from reading the prayers, for I judged it a sin to tole- 
rate him in any sacred office." In one of the suburban districts, 
called the Rock, there were two chapels. The curate of one of these 
got his living by cutting faggots ; and the other curate by making 
ropes, " their ability being answerable to their studies and employ- 
ments." It is no wonder that under the ministry of such clergy the 
whole populace of the tOAvn had become a disorderly mass and an 
unruly rabble. The people were hostile to real religion under 
every name and form, whether conformist or nonconformist. They 
compelled Baxter to leave the town and the county to preserve his 
life, and they resolutely opposed two or three attempts which the 
congregation made to restore him. This fact in the history of 
Kidderminster, will supply a salutary lesson to some ministers in 
the present day, who, in contemplating some new sphere of la- 
bour proposed to them, speak of it as abounding with " up-hill 
work." If any pastor on earth had " up-hill work," Baxter had it. 
Baxter's discouragements, and Baxter's devotedness, should cancel 
such phrase from every minister's vocabulary, for in " destropng 
the works of the devil," he must expect difficulty, toil, and suffer- 
ing. 

Such was Kidderminster : and now see the man who is going to 
labour for Christ in it. In bodily health he seems a very Lazarus, 
and his painfid diseases would have been by many a sufficient apo- 
logy for doing nothing in pastoral efforts. He says, " in my la- 
bours at Kidderminster, after my return, I did all under languish- 
ing weakness, being seldom an hour free from pain. Many a time 
have I been brought very low, and received the sentence of death 
in myself, when my poor, honest, praying neighbours have met ; 
and, upon their fasting and earnest prayers, I have been recovered." 
" Another time, I had a tumour rose on one of the tonsils in my 
throat, white and hard like a bone, above the hardness of any schyr- 
rous tumour, I feared a cancer. This proved obstinate against 
all remedies, when, at the end of about a quarter of a year, I was 
checked in conscience that I had never publicly praised God par- 
ticularly for any of the deliverances vouchsafed me." He was now 
writing the second part of the " Saint's Rest," and while he was 
penning the passage of gratitude to God for his mercies, " the tu- 
mour vanished," he says ; " and no sign wherever it had been re- 
mained ; nor did I know what went with it to this day." " Another 
time, being in danger of an oegilops, and (to be brief) at divers 
times, in divers weaknesses, pains, dangers, I have been delivered 



XXXU BAXTER S MIXISTET. 

upon earnest prayers." " After abundance of distempers and lan- 
guishings, I fell at last into a flux hepaticus, and after that into 
manifold dangers necessarily too long to be cited." He had very 
distressing headaches, and a stomach so disordered, that " a spoon- 
ful of wine would disturb him for a whole fortnight." His body 
was indeed a body of death, a vile body, sufficient to clog any soul, 
and to weigh dovra any common pastor. In addition to all the 
pains endured, let it be remembered what debilitating influence such 
a body would have upon the mind and upon the temper, indisposing 
the mind ~to -work, and souring the temper against all pastoral in- 
tercourse with his people. 

Such was the man who regenerated Kidderminster. It is now to 
be seen what he did, and how he did it. It was remarked at the 
commencement of this Essay, that one purpose of its being written 
was to interest young ministers in the pastoral character of Baxter. 
To promote this purpose, it is thought desirable to place the ele- 
ments of his extensive usefulness in an adjusted order, that they 
might be apprehended Avith the greatest possible distinctness. This 
is the reason why they are arranged under separate and distinct 
heads. 



I. BAXTER S PLANS OF USEFULNESS. 

The methods which he adopted for the regeneration of Kidder- 
minster are the following :— 

1. Before the wars he preached twice every Lord's day, and af- 
terwards once a Sabbath. 

2. On Monday and Tuesday in each week, his assistant and him- 
self took fourteen families between them for catechising and confer- 
ence : Baxter taking the to^\^l, and the assistant the parish. In 
these visits he heard them recite the words of the catechism, and 
then examined them in the meaning of it, and finally urged them to 
practise what they knew. He spent about an hour with each family, 
making seven hours a day. 

3. He preached a lecture every Thursday morning ; and after the 
lecture had " the company of several godly ministers, with whom 
he spent the afternoon in the truest recreation." 

4. Every Thursday evening he had his neighbours to meet him 
at his own house. On these occasions one of them repeated the 
leading thoughts of the sermon that had been preached in the morn- 
ing ; and others proposed their difficulties, and cases of conscience. 
These meetings closed by one or more engaging in extempore prayer, 
and sometimes he himself prayed. 



BAXTER .S MINISTRY. XXxiii 

5. Once a-week the young people met a few of the members more 
privately, when they spent three hours in prayer together ; and, 
especially on Saturday night, they met at some of their houses to 
repeat the sermons of the last Lord's day, and to pray, and prepare 
tlienisclves for the morrow. 

6. Once in a few Aveeks, Baxter and his people held, on some oc- 
casion or other, a day of humiliation and prayer. 

7. Every religious woman that was safely delivered in childbirth, 
if able, kept a day of open thanksgiving with some of her neighbours, 
praising God, singing psalms, and soberly feasting together. 

8. On the first Wednesday in every month was held the monthly 
meeting for parish discipline. 

9. Every first Thursday in the month was the Minister's meeting 
for discipline and disputation, and mutual conference, at which he 
was " almost constant moderator ;" and for which he generally pre- 
pared a written determination. 

This was indeed a week well filled up, and well spent. His only 
time for study was Monday, after spending seven hours in pastoral 
visit ; Tuesday the same ; Wednesday entirely, except the first 
Wednesday in the month ; and the whole of Friday and Satur- 
day. When his manifold labours, his intense sufferings, his labo- 
rious preparations, are taken into consideration, his industry must 
appear stupendous, and his economy of time virtuously avaricious. 
In his visitation to any district of the iovm, he expected to see 
every family, and he was resolved to have an interview with them, 
if possible. As an instance of this resolution, the following anecdote 
is current in Shropshire. In some streets, he found some families 
so obdurate that they refused him admission, and the door was con- 
tinued closed as long as he was known to be in the neighbourhood. 
In such cases, his practice was, on another day, to enter some 
friendly house which commanded a view of the door that had been 
closed against him, and thence watch to see if the door were open 
or on the jar ; and whenever he saw the door partly open, he 
seized the opportunity, entered the house, and had religious con- 
versation with the inmates. 



II. BAXTER S SUCCESS. 

Having presented his plans and methods of labour, it is now pro- 
per to notice how they worked, and to record the amoimt of his 
success. In reference to his success, he says — " I have mentioned 
my sweet and acceptable employment, let me, to the praise of my 
gracious Lord, acquaint you wiih some of my success. And I will 



XXXIV BAXTER S MINISTRY. 

not suppress it, though I foreknow that the malignant will impute 
the mention of it to pride and ostentation ; for it is the sacrifice of 
thanksgiving which I owe to my gracious God, which I A\'ill not 
deny him for fear of being censured as proud, lest I prove myself 
proud indeed." 

1. His public preaching met Avith great acceptance. He was 
popular in the town, and even those that were so hostile to him 
before the wars, not only became tractable, but also attended his 
mmistry. 

2. The congregation increased, and became so numerous that five 
galleries were built in succession to accommodate the crowds that 
attended, though the church itself was large and commodious. Even 
at the private meetings the place was well attended. 

3. No disorder was to be seen on the street on the Lord's day. 
He says — " You might hear an hundred families singing psalms, 
and repeating sermons, as you passed through the streets." " When 
I came thither first, there was about one family in a street that 

-■ worshipped God, and called on his name ; and when I came away, 
there Avere some streets where there was not past (?'. e. more than) 
one family in the side of a street that did not so." This was the 
case even Avith the inns and public-houses of the town. 

4. The number of his regular communicants averaged sixteen hun- 
dred ; " of whom," he says, " there was not tAvelve that I had not 
good hopes of as to their sincerity." 

5. AVhcn he began personal conference with each family, and 
catechised them, there were very few families in all the town that 
refused to come ; and they consisted chiefly of beggars and paupers 
who lived in the outskirts of the town. Scarcely a family left his 
presence " without some tears, or seemingly serious promises of a 
serious life." 

6. Some of the poor people became so versed in theological ques- 
tions as " competently to understand the body of divinity," and 
were able to judge in difficult controversies. " Some of them were 
so able in prayer, that very few ministers did match them in order 
and fulness, and apt expressions, and holy oratory, with fervency." 
— " The temper of their minds, and the innocency of their lives, 
was much more laudable than their parts." 

7. The lectures which he preached in his itinerant efforts at Wor- 
cester, Cleobury, Shiftnall, and especially Dudley, gave him great 
encouragement. At Dudley he says, " the poor nailers and la- 
bourers would not only crowd the church as full as ever I had 
seen in London, but would also hang on the windows and leads 
without." 

8. His success among his ministerial brethren was as great as 
among private Christians. Their meetings were " never conten- 



Baxter's ministry. xxxv 

tious, but always comfortable." " We took," he says, " great de- 
light in the company of each other, so that I know that the remem- 
brance of those days is pleasant both to them and rae." — " When I 
attempted to bring them all conjunctly to the work of catechizing 
and instructing every family by itself, I found' a ready consent in 
most, and performance in many." 

9. As Baxter became a model Pastor, the church at Kiddermin- 
ster became a model Church to the surrounding congregations. 
" The zeal and knowledge of this poor people," he sa^-s, " provoked 
many in other parts of the land. And though I have been absent 
from them now six years, and they have been assaulted mth pulpit 
calumnies, and slanders, with threatenings and imprisonments, with 
enticing words and seducing reasonings, they yet stand fast, and 
keep to their integrity. Many of them are gone to God, and some 
are removed, and some are noAv in prison, and most still at home • 
but not one that I hear of are fallen off, or forsake their upi-ight- 
ness." 

It would be -wrong to close this account of Baxter's success with- 
out stating the devout feelings with which he recorded it. "I 
must here, to the praise of my dear Redeemer, set up this pillar of 
remembrance, even to his praise, who hath employed me so many 
years in so comfortable a work, -with such encouraging success ! O 
what am I, a worthless worm, not only wanting academical hon- 
ours, but much of that furniture which is needful to so high a work, 
that God should thus abundantly encourage me, when the reverend 
instructors of my youth did labour fifty years together in one place, 
and could scarcely say that they had converted one or two of their 
parishes ! And the greater -was this mercy, because I was naturally 
of a discouraged spirit ; so that if I had preached one year, and seen 
no fruit of it, I should hardly have forborne running away like Jo- 
nah, but should have thought God had not called me to that place." 



III.— BAXTER S ADVANTAGES. 

In surveying the wonderful success of Baxter, and in wishing to 
adopt his plans of usefulness, many young ministers would be glad 
to know what were the peculiar advantages of his position which 
contributed to the efficiency of his ministry. He himself has 
recorded thirty of these advantages, which will now be presented 
in his OAvn arrangement, and, for distinctness' sake, in his own enu- 
meration. 

1. His going to a people who were not previously hardened by 
the Gospel. — " I came to a people that never had any awakening mi- 



XXXVl BAXTER S MIIflSiRV. 

nistry before, but afew formal cold sermons of the curate. If they had 
been hardened under a powerful ministry, and been sermon proof, 
I should have expected less." This language Avas occasioned by liis 
bitter remembrance of Bridgenorth. 

2. His affectionate and serious style of preaching. — " I was in 
the vigour of my spirits, and had naturally a familiar moving 
voice, which is a great matter with the common hearers ; and doing 
all in bodily weakness as a dying man to dying men." " It must 
be serious preaching which must make men serious in hearing and 
obeying it." 

3. The removal and disappearance of the profane rabble out of 
the town. — " Those who had risen in tumult against me at first, 
and who were the enemies of all godliness in the town, went, from 
the veiy hatred of the Pm-itans, to the wars, and perished in battle." 

4. Freedom of conscience and liberty of prophesying under the 
reign of Cromwell. — Baxter himself bears testimony that the suc- 
cess of the Parliament in the civil wars " removed many and great 
impediments to men's salvation." Somewhere between the niches 
allotted for Charles the First and Charles the Second, in the New 
Houses of Parliament, where, as an insult to the civil and religious 
liberties of England, a statue Avas denied Cromwell, a tablet should 
be placed bearing in letters of gold the following testimony of Bax- 
ter : — " Tholigh Cromwell gave liberty to all sects among us, and 
did not set up any party alone by force, yet this much, gave abun- 
dant advantage to the Gospel [viz.], removing the prejudices and 
the terrors that hindered it ; especially considering that godliness 
had countenance, and reputation also, as well as liberty." " For 
my part, I bless God who gave me, even imder an usurper whom 
I opposed, such liberty and advantage to preach his Gospel with 
success, which I cannot have under a King to whom I have sworn 
and performed subjection and obedience ; yea [liberty and advan- 
tage] wliich no age, since the Gospel came into this land, did before 
possess, as far as I can learn from history." 

5. The esteem and veneration in which he was personally held 
by all. — " It is almost certain that the gratefuhiess of the person 
doth ingratiate the message, and greatly prepares the people to re- 
ceive the truth. Had they taken me to be ignorant, erroneous, 
scandalous, worldly, self-seeking, «Scc., I could have expected small 
success." 

6. The co-operation and zeal of his people. — These " thirsted 
for the salvation of their neighbours, and were, in private, my 
assistants ; and being dispersed through the town, were ready, in 
almost aU companies, to repress seducing words, and to justify god- 
liness, to convince, reprove, and exhort men according to their 
needs ; as also, to teach them how to pray." 



BAXTER'S MINISTRY. XXXVU 

7. The consistent lives of the members of his church. — " The 
malicious people could not say, ' Your professors here are as proud 
and covetous as any.' The blameless lives of godly people did 
shame opposers." 

8. The absence of sectarian bigotry in the town. — " We had no 
private church, though we had private meetings. We had not 
pastor against pastor, nor church against church, nor sect against 
sect, nor Christian against Christian." 

10. The private meetings Avhich he held with religious people. — 
These were meetings for religious conversation, and for the friendly 
discussion of some important point of doctrine. " Here I had an 
opportunity to know their case ; for if any were touched and 
awakened in public, I should presently see him di'op into our pi-i- 
vate meetings." 

11. The diligence and laboriousness of his ministerial assistants. 
These deserve honourable mention ; they were successively Mr 
Richard Sergeant and Mr Humphrey Waldern. In speaking of Mr 
Sergeant, he says, — " No child ever seemed more humble. No 
interest of his own, either of estate or reputation, did ever seem to 
stop him in his duty. No labour did he ever refuse which I could 
put him to. When I put him to travel over the parish, which is 
nearly twenty miles about, from house to house, to catechize and 
instruct each family, he never grudged or seemed once imwilling. 
He preached at a chapel above two miles off one-half the day, and 
in the town the other, and never murmured ;" " Mr Humphrey 
Waldern was very much like him." 

12. The countenance of the magistrates of the place. " A bailif 
and a justice Avere annually chosen in the corporation, who ordi- 
narily were godly men, and always such as would be thought so ; 
and were ready to use their authority to suppress sin and promote 
godliness." This was in perfect keeping with Baxter's views on 
the authority of the magistrate in religion ; though it would be dis- 
puted by most Independents. 

13. His generous liberality to the poor. The living w-as thought 
to be worth L.200 per annum, but only L.90, and sometimes only 
L.80 came to Baxter. His published works brought him in some- 
times L.60, and sometimes L.80 per annum. Some of the cle- 
verest children he sent to the universities, " where, for L.8 a-year, 
or L.IO at most, by the help of my friends there, I maintained 
them." " Some of them are honest ministers, now cast out with 
their brethren." " In giving what little I had, I did not inquire 
whether they were good or bad, if they asked relief : For the bad 
had souls and bodies that needed charity most. And this truth I 
will speak to the encouragement of the charitaljle, that what little 
money I have now by me, I got it almost all, I scarce know how, 



xxxviii Baxter's ministry. 

in that time when I gave most. And smce I have had less oppor- 
tunity of giving, I liave had less increase." 

14. The free distribution and cii'culation of his practical writings 
among the inhabitants. Of all his smaller publications he presented 
a copy to each family among his people, " which came to about 
eight hundred." 

15. The facilities for reading afforded by the particular trade of 
the town. In those days hand-looms allowed the people " time 
enough to read, and to talk of holy things ;" but the wheels and 
spindles of power looms are not so accommodating. " The tOAvn 
liveth upon the weaving of Kidderminster stuffs, and as they stand 
in their loom, they can set a book before them, or ediiie one an- 
other." " And their constant converse and traffic with London doth 
much promote civility and piety among tradesmen." 

16. His single life. " For I could the easilier take my people 
for my children ; and being discharged from the most of family 
cares, keeping but one ser\'ant, had the greater vacancy and liberty 
for the labours of my calling." 

17. His practice of physic. He found that "they that cared 
not for their souls did love their lives, and care for their bodies." 
" Sometimes I could see before me in the church a very consider- 
able part of the congregation, whose lives God had made me a means 
to save, or to recover their health. And doing it for nothing so 
obliged them, that they woidd readily hear me." 

18. The influence of his young converts upon their relations. In 
the tovm there were few irreligious families "but some of their own 
relations were converted. Many children did God work upon at 
fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen years of age ; and this did marvellously 
reconcile the minds of the parents, and elder sort to godliness. They 
that would not hear me would hear their own children." " We 
had some old persons of near eighty years of age who are, I hope, 
in heaven ; and the conversion of their o^vn children was the chief 
means to overcome their prejudice, and old customs and conceits." 

19. Afflictions in families. " Though sick-bed promises are 
usually soon forgotten ; yet was it otherwise with many among us. 
And as soon as they were recovered, they first came to our private 
meetings, and so kept in a learning state, till further fruits of piety 
appeared." 

20. His bearing a public testimony against the iniquity of the 
times. • Here he refers to Cromwell's army marching against the 
Parliament — to the execution of Charles I. — to the invasion of 
Scotland, &c., and says, " Had I owned the guilt of others, it would 
have been my shame, and the hindi-ance of my work, and provoked 
God to have diso^^^led me." In his view, pulpit protests against ini- 
quitous governments were not likely to injure ministerial usefulness. 



BAXTER S MINISTRY. 



21. The character of the ministers around him. " Their preach- 
ing was powerful and sober ; their spirits peaceable and meek ; dis- 
owning the treasons and iniquities of the times, as well as we. They 
were wholly addicted to the winning of souls : adhering to no fac- 
tion, neither episcopal, i)resbyterian, or independent, as to parties, 
but desiring imion, and loving that which is good in all. These, 
meeting weekly at our lecture (in Kidderminster), and monthly at 
our disputation, constrained a reverence in the people to their worth 
and unity, and consequently furthered my work." 

22. The reproach and ridicule Avhich intemperance brought upon 
itself. " There were two drunkards almost at the next doors to me, 
who, one by night, and the other by day, did constantly every week, 
if not twice or thrice a-week, roar and rave in the street like stark 
madmen. These were so beastly and ridiculous that they made 
that sin, of which we were in most danger, the more abhorred." 

23. The character and the fate of apostates and backsliders in 
the neighbourhood. " They that fell off were such as, before, by 
their want of grounded understanding, humility, and mortification, 
gave us the greatest suspicion of their stability." " As they fell 
from the faith, so they fell to drinking, gaming, furious passions, 
horribly abusing their wives, &c. — and so to a vicious life. So 
that they stood up as pillars of God's justice to warn others." 

24. The closeness of his appeals in his pastoral visits. In these 
visits he had " personal conference with every family apart, and 
catechising and instructing them. That which was spoken to them 
personally, awakened more attention, and was easier applied than 
public preaching, and seemed to do much more upon them." 

25. The firm maintenance of Cliurch discipline among the mem- 
bers of his congregation. His system of discipline was somewhat 
doubtful for a parish Presbyterian, but the advantages of it to 
his ministry were the folloAv-ing, as stated by himself. (1.) "We 
performed a plain command of Christ, and Ave took obedience to be 
better than sacrifice. (2.) We kept the church from ii-regular 
separations, &c: (3.) We helped to cure that dangerous disease 
among the people, of imagining that Christianity is but a matter of 
opinion and dead belief; and to convince them how much it con- 
sisteth in holiness, &c. (4.) We greatly suppressed the practice, 
of sin, and caused people to walk more watchfully than else they 
would have done." 

26. The wise adaptation of his ministry to the circumstances of 
his hearers. This he did, he says, " by ordering my doctrine to 
them in a suitableness to the main end, and yet so as might suit 
their dispositions and diseases. The thing which I daily opened 
to them, and, with the greatest importunity, laboured to imprint on 
their minds, was the great fundamental principles of Christianity 



xl Baxter's mixistry. 

contained in their baptismal covenant." — " Yet I did usually put in 
something in my sermon, which was above their own discovery, 
and which they had not known before ; and tliis I did that they 
might be kept humble, and still perceive their ignorance, and be 
willing to be kept in a learning state." 

27. The absence of wealthy men in his church. " My people 
were not rich." — " There were none of the tradesmen very rich, 
seeing their trade was poor, that Avould but find them food and rai- 
ment. The magistrates of the town were, few of them, worth L.40 
per annum, and most not half so much. Three or four of the rich- 
est thriving masters of the trade got about L.500 or L.600 in 
twenty -years, and it may be lose L.lOO of it at once by an iU 
debtor. The generality of the master workmen lived but a little 
better than their journeymen, from hand to mouth." — " It is the 
poor that receive the glad tidings of the gospel, and that are usually 
rich in faith. As Mr George Herbert saith in his Church Mili- 
tant — 

• Gold and the gospel never did agree, 
Religion always sides with poverty.' " 

28. His abstaining from all money agitations with his people. 
He avoided " meddling with tithes and worldly business, whereby 
I had my whole time, except what sickness deprived me of, for 
my duty, and my mind more free from entanglements, than else 
it would have been. And also I escaped the offending of the 
people. And I found also that nature itself being conscious of 
the baseiress of its earthly disposition, doth think basely of those 
whom it discerneth to be earthly." — As an instance of his in- 
diflference to money, he gives the following racy account of his do- 
mestic life, while a bachelor. " In my family, I had the help 
of my father, and mother-in-law, and the benefit of a godly, under- 
standing, faithful servant, an ancient woman, near sixty years old, 
who eased me of all care, and laid out aU my money for house- 
keeping, so that I never had one hour's troulde about it, nor ever 
took one day's account of her for fourteen years together, as being 
certain of her fidelity, providence, and skill." 

29. His continuing his ministiy so long in one place. He was 
at Kidderminster " near two years before the war, and fourteen 
after." — " He that removeth oft from place to place may sow good 
seed in many places, but is not like to see much fruit in any, unless 
some other skilful hand shall follow him to water it. It was a great 
advantage to me to have all the religious people of the place of my 
own instructmg and informing ; and that I stayed to see them grown 
up to some confirmedness and maturity." 

30. His itinerant labours in the surrounding towns and villages. 



Baxter's ministry. xli 

Baxter and his brethren had a regular system of itinerancy for the 
county. In speaking of these country lectures, he says — " To di- 
vers of them I went as oft as I was able, and the neighbour minis- 
ters oftener than I.'' — " This business also we contrived to be uni- 
versally and regularly managed ; for, besides the lectures set up on 
week days fixedly in several places, we studied how to have it ex- 
tended to every }Dlace in the county that had need. This lectiu'e 
did a great deal of good ; and we continued it voluntarily till the 
ministers were turned out, and all these works went down to- 
gether." 

This concise but well-defined outline of Baxter's labours and 
usefulness contains nothing singular in the advantages of his posi- 
tion, — nothing novel or extravagant in the machinery of his means. 
His plans were simple, and his advantages were almost common to 
every faitliful pastor ; but his success is extraordinary, and its in- 
fluence is yet telling throughout England and the Protestant world. 
The eflficiency of his plans is found in his own masculine mind, and 
manly piety, baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. His ma- 
chinery was plain, but every wheel and pin in it was of the best gold ; 
was all worked by a living and indefatigable heart, and that 
heart moved by the Holy Ghost. He mentions thirty advantages 
which contributed to his success : but one more might have been 
added to his enumeration, which perhaps his holy modesty prevented 
him from recording, — and that, the thirty-first, was his preaching 
talents. He was an eff"ective preacher, as well as an efficient pas- 
tor. Under the heads 3 and 26 he makes allusions to his preach- 
ing, such as his " familiar moving voice," his " dealing in fundamen- 
tals," &c. ; but they are mere allusions, which give us no fiiU con- 
ception of Baxter in the pulpit. His works are the best index to 
his preaching, for he delivered from the pulpit the greater part of 
his practical publications ; and he says, that, except when diseased 
or idle, he wrote out all his sermons, and read them as they were 
written. His printed sermons demonstrate that his discourses were 
distinguished for three great principles of effective preachmg — sim- 
plicity of style, directness of purpose, and earnestness of manner. 

Baxter's own immortal lines will explain the simpHcity of his 
style in the pulpit — 

" I preached, as never sure to preach again, 
And as a dying man to dying men." 

His language was sound, chaste, and vigorous Saxon, used with- 
out the Latin idioms of Owe'n, 6r the majestic negligence of Howe. 
He preached Christ crucified in a crucified style, mthout ever di- 

d 



xlii Baxter's ministry. 

verting his hearers by extravagance, or offending them by coarse- 
ness. He never ranged over poetical fields to cull flowers for his 
sermons. All his flowers, and many of them are of the loveliest and 
freshest hues, grew out of his subject ; and there he let them stand, 
because they were either medicinal, or nourishing, to his hearers, 
as well as beautiful to their sight. He preached as feeling that the 
truths of God were too great and too glorious in themselves to be 
covered up with the little ti^appings of human adornments. He 
would as soon have thought of hanging the rainbow with corals, as 
of dressing the cross of Christ with tinsel. His eloquence consisted 
in fit thoughts, and not in rounded sentences. Consummate and ready 
dialectician as he Avas, he very rarely or never introduced metaphy- 
sics into his sermons. Sometimes indeed, as has been recorded, he 
would say something profound or abstruse, just to convince his 
hearers that his plain preaching and his simple style were not to be 
traced either to a feeble intellect, or to superficial knowledge ; still 
he was never a metaphysical essayist in the pulpit. He never 
preached a sermon to display his scholastic learning, or his powers 
of logic ; but his aim was ever to wn souls to Christ. If fine and 
elegant sermons are tolerable at all, it is in the press only, when 
they are to be read as discussions of a subject, and read either as an 
intellectual exercise or as a discipline of conscience. In the pulpit 
splendid sermons are splendid sins. They dazzle, and amuse, and 
astonish, like brilliant fire-works, but they throw daylight on no 
subject. They draw attention to the pi-eacher, instead of to the 
gospel. The splendid preacher, like the PjTOtechnist, calculates on 
a dark night among his attendants ; and amid the corruscations of 
the pulpit, his skill and his art are admii-ed and applauded, but Christ 
is not glorified. If angels weep and devils mock, it is at the pulpit 
door 0'' a splendid preacher. 

His sermons are all distinguished for directness of purpose, and 
singleness of aim. He neither preached about his hearers nor at 
them, but to them. Even when recording his having preached at 
court in the days of the Commonwealth, he says that he " preached 
to Cromwell," and not before him. Neither did he preach above or 
bt'side his audience ; but they, like the hearers of our Lord, " per- 
ceived that he meant them." It was the boast of the Benjamites 
that they could shoot their arrows at an object to the breadth of a 
hair ; but it seems the pride of many pulpit-archers that they can 
shoot many degrees above their targets. In their pulpit parades 
their shafts are polished, but they pierce none. The plaudits of the 
archer are loud and long ; but, after the whole quiver is exhausted, 
no groans of the wounded are heard, crpng for relief and life. In the 
ministry, every honest preacher must aim at success ; and he must 
never misinterpret the scripture narrative of a certain man who drew 



Baxter's ministry. xliii 

au arrow at a venture, to justify desultory sermons or aimless 
preaching. All Baxter's sermons have a given and intelligible aim, 
which stood distinctly and prominently before his eye, and that was 
the heart or the conscience. He aimed at producing impression, 
and producing wliile he Avas yet speaking ; he, therefore, never 
sent his hearers home to decide, but always insisted on " Now or 
never." 

In preaching, Baxter's heart burnt within him ; and wliile he was 
spealdng, a live coal from the altar fired his sermon with seraphic 
fervour. Into his pulpit he brought all the energies and sympathies 
of his entire nature. He had a large mind, an accute intellect, a 
melting heart, a holy soul, a kindling eye, and a " moving voice" — 
and he called on all that was within him to aid him in his preach- 
ing. Being deeply earnest himself, he wished his hearers to be 
deeply earnest. Himself being a burning light, he -wished to flash 
the hallowed fire into the hearts of others. He seems never to have 
studied action or " the start theatric." The only teacher that gave 
him lessons in action and attitude was feeling — real, genuine, holy 
feeling : and this taught him how to look, how to move, and how 
to speak. In preaching, as well as in every thing religious, he be- 
lieved with Paul, that " it is good to be always zealously affected ;" 
and, consequently, that earnest fervid preaching is truly apostolic. 
Would God that there had been in the church of Christ a real unin- 
terrupted succession in the fervour of apostolic preaching, and that 
the mantle of apostolic Elijahs had been taken up by succeeding 
Elishas, and by men like Apollos, " an eloquent man, and mighty 
in the Scripture, who being fervent in spirit, spake and taught dili- 
gently the things of the Lord." The modern mode of preaching is 
more like Joseph's coat of many colours, thanlike Elijah's mantle, 
which raised the dead — it has never descended from a chariot of 
fire, and it is so flimsy, that it gives neither heat nor warmth even 
to the preacher himself. 

Hear Baxter's o-\vti heart-stirring thoughts on the best style of 
preaching.* " How few ministers do preach -with all their might ? 
Or speak about everlasting joy or torment, in such a manner as to 
make men believe that they are in good sadness. It would make a 
man's heart ache to see a company of dead and drowsy sinners sit 
under a minister, and not have a word that is like to quicken or 
awaken them. To think with ourselves, if these sinners mere hut 
convinced and aioakened, they might yet be converted and live. And 
alas ! we speak so drowsily or gently, that sleepy sinners cannot 
hear. The blow falls so light, that hard-hearted persons cannot 
feel it. Most ministers wiU not so much as put out their voice and 

* Reformed Pastor, Chap. iv. Sect. 6. 



xliv Baxter's theology. 

stir up themselves to an earnest utterance. But if they do speak 
out loud and earnestly, how few do answer it with earnestness of 
matter ? and then the voice doth but little good : the people will 
take it hut for mere bawling, when the matter doth not correspond. 
It would grieve me to hear what excellent doctrines some ministers 
have in hand, and let it die in their hands, for want of close and 
lively application. What fit matter they have for convincing sin- 
ners, and how little they make of it ; and what a deal of good it 
might do, if it were sent home ; and yet they cannot or will not do 
it. Oh sirs I how plain, how close, and earnestly should we de- 
liver a message of such a nature as ours is ? When the everlasting 
life or death of men is concerned in it, raethinks we are no where 
so wanting as in this seriousness. There is nothing more unsuit- 
able to such a business than to be slight and dull. What ! speak 
coldly for God ! and for men's salvation ! Can we believe that our 
people must be converted or condemned, and yet can we speak in a 
drowsy tone ! In the name of God, brethren, labour to awaken 
your hearts before you come ; and when you are in the work, that 
you may be fit to awaken the hearts of sinners. Remember that they 
must be awakened or damned ; and a sleepy preacher will hardly 
awake them." 



CHAPTER III. 

Baxter's theology. 

In writing an essay on Baxter, it would be as wrong to omit his 
Theology, as it would be to omit philosophy in an essay on Bacon, 
or epic poetry in one on Milton. It was his theology that brought 
upon him assaults and onslaughts from all sects and divisions of the 
militant church in his own age. It is on account of his theology 
that a deep, strong, and general prejudice is cherished and expressed 
to this day. In fact, it is his theology that constitutes his indivi- 
duality in History. By Baxter, every divine means Baxter's theo- 
logy. xVs by Melancthon, one means the " Communes Loci ;" and by 
Calvin, the " Institutes ;" so by Baxter, the theological reader 
means " the Aphorisms on Justification," and the devotional reader 
means, " the Saint's Rest,"' or " the Reformed Pastor." 

It is not likely that this volume will come into the hands of any 
one reader who has not some lurking and undefined prejudice 
against Baxter, and that solely on account of his theology. To 
render this volume, therefore, useful to such a reader, it is neces- 
sary that some notice should be taken of Baxter's Theology. 



Baxter's theology. xlv 

In theological science Baxter was a Thixker. He did not sa- 
tisfy himself with, reading and collecting the thoiaghts of other di- 
vines, but he thought out their thoughts, and he digested their 
master doctrines, until they gave him strength and stature, and be- 
came part and parcel of his own gigantic mind. Some minds, like the 
bookworm, penetrate through musty volumes and ponderous tomes; 
and in their progress they devour syllables, words, and even whole 
sentences, but they themselves do not grow one cubit in thought. 
A living, thinking mind is not so. Whenever the thoughts of others 
get a lodgement in a healthy mind, as seed in a fertile soil, they 
produce other thoughts, and these thoughts are that mind's ovm 
thoughts, its own produce, and its own seed for a further harvest. 
This was the case with Baxter. He roamed through the varied 
domains of thought, and schoolmen, and divines, and collected the 
thoughts of others more exclusively and successfully, perhaps, than 
any theologian of his age : — but he had also thoughts of his on\ti, 
thoughts which had all the vigour and raciness of the Baxterian 
mind, and these thoughts he worked out with a power, and inde- 
pendency, and a courage, which entitle him to all the distinction of 
an original Theologian. 

In the breadth and the depth of theology as a science, Baxter had 
no divine of his age that surj^assed him : perhaps the truth would 
warrant the assertion, that in breadth and depth, he had none equal 
to him. Usher was probably equal to him in the depth of theolo- 
gical dogmatics, and surpassed him in general knowledge. Jeremy 
Taylor was equal to him in the breadth of scholastic literature, 
and sm-passed him in the brilliancy of amassed thoughts. But in 
both length and breadth, neither of them surpassed him ; for every 
theological reader vn\l allow that Baxter is more profound than 
Taylor, and more comprehensive than Usher. Among the Non- 
conformists, also, there were many who excelled him in some 
things ; as Owen in Greek exegesis, Howe in loftiness of thought, 
Goodwnn in evangelical savour, and Flavel, in gentle sweetness ; 
but none of them equalled him in all. 

His only real rival among the Nonconformists was Dr Owen ; 
and it is a fact that, among religious parties two centuries ago, and 
among the evangelical readers of our own day, Owen was, and has 
been, a far greater favourite than Baxter. One of the most re- 
markable circumstances in this fact is that, even with Arminian 
divines, the Calvinistic Owen is in far greater acceptance than the 
eclectic Baxter. The reason is, that Owen studied the Christology 
of Redemption more than Baxter ; and Baxter studied the Anthro- 
pology of salvation more than Owen. Owen exhibits with much 
richness and amplitude what Christ did for the redemption of man. 
Baxter takes all this for granted, and, taking his position at the 



xlvi Baxter's theology. 

cross of Christ, addresses a " Call to the Unconverted;" and ex- 
plains and enforces the obligations of redeemed man to believe the 
testimony of God concerning his Son. The. -cold reception of Bax- 
ter, and the warm acceptableness of OAven, therefore, with Armi- 
nian divines, are curious phenomena in the philosophy of theologi- 
cal parties. Arminians have forgiven Owen's " limited redemption," 
on account of his " Glory of Christ," and "Communion with God;" 
but they have never forgiven Baxter's " Personal Election," for 
the sake of his " General Redemption," and his " Saint's Everlast- 
ing Rest." 

The violent unkindness with which Baxter's theology was treat- 
ed by the divines of his own age, and of his own communion, is not 
peculiar to his contemporaries : it is the fate of theological enter- 
prise in all ages. He seems to have suffered as much of odium and 
annoyance from his brethren on account of his doctrinal theology, 
as he suffered of reproach and persecution from the Episcopalian 
Royalists, on account of his ecclesiastical politics. Some indeed 
who disliked his theology, opposed it with honesty and plain speak- 
ing, chastened by kindness. Such were Blake, of Tamworth, in a 
postscript attached to his " Covenant Sealed ; " Burgess, of Sutton 
Coldfield, in his " True Doctrine of Justification," and George 
Lawsox, the able author of " Theopolitica," a work whose merit 
has never yet been appreciated by the theological student. Other 
opponents treated him with harshness and insulting severity. Such 
were Kexdall in his work on " Perseverance ; " Eyre, of Salis- 
bury, in his " Treatise on Justification ; " Craxdox, of Fawley, in 
his " Baxter's Aphorisms exorcised and authorized ; " and especially 
by Thomas Edwards, in his " Baxterianism Barefaced." Nor is 
Dr Owen to be left out of this last enumeration, as is evident fi-om 
the close of his tract " On the Death of Christ," &c. attached to his 
" Yindicise Evangelicae." The theological character of all his 
opponents is given by Baxter with one stroke of his pen. " The 
animadverters," he says, " were of several minds; and what one 
approved, the other confuted, being farther from each other than 
any of them were from me." 

To theologians of any class, it is a great dishonour ; but to Pro- 
testant theologians, whose very existence is a standing protest 
against intellectual slavery, it is a flagrant shame, that they should 
cherish in themselves, and promote in each other, a disposition to 
decry any spirit that appears among them claiming the right of think- 
ing with his own mind, seeing with his own eyes, and speaking with 
his own lips. Why should they act thus ? The God of mind, like 
the God of nature, is the God of variety. In variety there must 
necessarily be a series and a collection of individualities ; for where 
there is no distinctive individuality, there can be no variety, but 



Baxter's theology. xlvii 

only uniformity. To every germ of life " God hath given it a 
body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed its own body ; 
and every flesh is not the same flesh." In like manner, to eveiy 
rational being, " God giveth it a mind and mental powers as it hath 
pleased him ; and to every mind its own form, and its own mode 
of producing thought ; and all thought is not the same thought." 
"Why, then, should theologians wish to destroy this beautiful variety 
in the intellectual system ? Who has given them authority to inter- 
fere with this variety ? Who are they themselves who claim this 
right to interfere ? Have they any divine right to diiJer from a man 
like Baxter, which a man like Baxter has not to difi'er from them ? 
Are not they themselves, as well described above, farther from each 
other, than any of them are from him ? 

It is unlovely to see thinking men trying to murder every 
fresh produce of thought. It is unmanly and ungenerous to at- 
tempt to quench a man's reason by wounding his feelings. It is 
the meanness of dastard imbecility to try to check the progress of 
his doctrine by Parthian javelins at his official position or his pro- 
fessional reputation. Yet this is the odium theologicum. If men, 
in the afiairs of every-day life, are to exercise forbearance towards 
each other because they are in the flesh ; the same forbearance is 
incumbent on theologians towards their brethren in intellectual 
struggles, since they themselves see but in a glass darkly. The 
men who are known in ecclesiastical history as heretics, would 
probably have never proceeded to the extreme errors -with which 
their names are associated, had it not been for the intellectual tyranny, 
and the dogmatic despotism, of their contemporary theologians. 
Had a little intellectual liberty been allowed to the inquiring spirit, 
and had the new thinker been treated with gentle concern and afi"ec- 
tionate warning, instead of with reserve, rudeness, and barbarity, 
the powerful mind would have been preserved to the church and to 
the interests of truth. Spontaneous thoughts and doctrines are 
tender and vital matters to a thinking mind. When, therefore, 
any luxuriant thoughts which may sprout from the vigorous roots of 
a healthy mind are wrenched ofi" by the hand of a ruthless ortho- 
doxy, the heart's blood will respond to the barbarity, and as in the 
tree of Yirgil, 

" Quae prima solo ruptis radicibus arbos 

Vellitur, huic atro Jiquiintur sanguine guttse, 
Et terram tabo maculant." 

One is tempted to ask, which is the most unchristian and 
most dangerous to Christianity— the freedom of speculation which 
proves aU things that it may hold the more fast that which is good ; 
or the ungenerous, illiberal, and persecuting spirit with which the 



xlvlli Baxter's theology. 

opponents treat the author of that speculation? Yet, the inquirer 
is suspected, and the "bigot is canonized. Why, in the very temple 
of truth itself, God still spealcs " in divers manners : " yea, in the 
very tones of truth, we are to expect harmony, but not unison. 
The discussion of truth and the agitation of doctrines have always 
resulted in good to the Church, and to the world. Even the waters 
of Bethesda, in the very house of Mercy itself, needed to be agitated 
and disturbed to renew their healing power. It is, therefore, un- 
seemly in theologians, that when some " Doctor Angelicus " descends 
among them, and agitates the settled waters of tlieir dull and stag- 
nant orthodoxy, then always " a great multitude of impotent folk, 
of blind, halt, and withered," creep from the " five points " of their 
" five porches " to brandish their crutches against the intruder, or 
to mutter their anathemas against the innovation, instead of wel- 
coming the benignant visitor, sharing in the healthiness of the 
agitation, and becoming healed of whatsoever disease they had. 
Such an angel was Baxter, and such was the treatment of his whole- 
some and healing agitation of the waters of orthodoxy ; and such 
will always be the treatment of theological agitations until intel- 
lectual liberty become an acknoAvledged law in the republic of 
literature. 

Baxterianism was treated in the eighteenth century much as 
Baxter himself was treated by his contemporaries in the seventeenth. 
In the eighteenth century, ultra-Calvinism was rampant among the 
Baptist and Independent churches ; and even in Episcopal churches, 
where there was Calvinism at all, it was inclined to ultraism, as 
may be instanced in Romaine and Toplady. This retreating from 
Baxterianism to the extreme borders of Calvinism may be accounted 
for by the pernicious influence which professed Baxterianism exerted 
on its avowed adherents. These professed disciples of Baxter gra- 
dually forsook the via media of their master, and travelled to 
Arminianism ; and thence, after some progress through Arianism, 
became at last settlers in Socinianism. From a survey of these pain- 
ful consequences, many sound Calvinists hated Baxterianism, and 
asked, " Can any good thijig come from Kidderminster ? " The 
result was, that a blind and blinding prejudice against Baxter pre- 
vailed every where in England, and especially in Scotland and 
Wales. 

A startling instance of the force and extent of this bigotted preju- 
dice is given in Mr Pliilip of IVIaberly's lively " Essay on the 
Genius, Works, and Times of Baxter," attached to Virtue's beautiful 
edition of " Baxter's Practical Works " in three volumes. A pri- 
vate gentleman, who was an elegant scholar and a good theologian, 
seeing the destructive influence of hyper-Calvinism upon personal 
piety, as well as upon theological science, resolved to try to soften 



Baxter's theology. xlix 

down the asperities of controversy by introducing among the con- 
troversialists the matured thoughts and strong arguments of some 
master-mind in Israel. Agreaahly to this method, he contrived to 
take the public by guile, and he published the opinions of " an 
author of the seventeenth century." 

" It is hardly credible," says Mr Philip, " but it is true, that 
so lately as the close of the last century, specimens of the best of 
Baxter's arguments on the great points at issue between Calvin- 
ists and Arminians, were brought before the public \\4thout his 
name, that they might be read without prejudice, and make their 
own impression, before the author could be discovered. This was 
done by Eli Bates, Esq., in a volume entitled, ' Observations on 
some important Points in Divinity, &c. &c., extracted from an au- 
thor of the seventeenth century.' Even in the second edition of 
this volume, in 1811, Baxter's name is not given in the title-page, 
nor allowed to appear even in the preface. The fact is, Bates 
was too proud of Baxter's theology to peril it at once upon his 
name. He knew his peculiarities, and could not forget the odium 
they once excited." — " The dexterous bait took. Not a few Calvin- 
ists found out that there was an old and powerful writer whom the 
Arminians could not claim, and would not quote, for themselves, 
even although he fought their battle at some of its hottest points ; 
and still more, Arminians discovered that Calvinism did not neces- 
sarily limit the call of the Gospel, nor subvert the free agency of man." 

During the eighteenth century, the dissenting ministry in Britain 
were divided into Calvinists and Baxterians. Through the disre- 
pute into which the Arians and others brought the name of Bax- 
terianism, many divines, who were Baxterians in theological senti- 
ments, renounced the name : and since the commencement of the 
nineteenth century, they have preferred being called " Moderate 
Calvinists." The moderate Calvinists of the present century are in 
fact only the Baxterians of the preceding age. This change in the 
name is owing to the influence of the writings of President Edwards, 
of Andrew FuUer, and of Dr Williams. The " Fullerism" of the 
sage of Kettering, and the " Modern Calvinism" of Dr AVilliams, 
w^ould, in the eighteenth century, have been called Baxterianism. 
When the disciples of Baxter are called Baxterians, it is not meant 
that they ever formed a distinct sect, or separate party, in the 
Christian Church. Instead of being, like the Wesleyans for in- 
stance, foi-med into a distinct body, they were, and are, more like 
the friends of Arminius, scattered among different societies, and 
found among all communities. Though the denomination " Bax- 
terian," as the badge of a theological party, is likely to become ex- 
tinct, the party itself will always exist, as long as Arminianism will 
have any tendency to Pelagianism, and Calvinism have any bias to- 
wards Antinomianism. 



BAXTER S THEOLOGY. 

This account of the treatment of Baxter and his Theology has 
probably excited the reader to wish to know what Baxterianism is. 

Baxterianism is, in theology, what eclecticism is in philosophy. 
It is a method of philosophizing, and, if the word be allowed, of 
theologizing, which seizes upon theological truth, in whatever sys- 
tem that truth may be found ; and which gathers and appropriates 
to itself every truth, simply because it is truth. The theology of 
Baxter is distinguished from others by four peculiarities, — by its 
method of systematizing the doctrines of Revelation ; its adoption of 
universal Redemption in harmony with personal Election ; its theory 
of Jxistification by faith ; and its theoretical and practical assertion of 
the agency of man in conversion. 

The method which Baxter adopted for systematizing the doctrines 
of theclogy may be called Triadism, or what he himself calls " Tri- 
chotomizing." The meaning is, that as all the works and dispensa- 
tions of God are the productions of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, 
some vestigia Trinitatis, some evidences of triplicity, or some marks 
of triadism, may be expected to discover themselves in all the 
phenomena of the divine operations. Those who understand what 
Monadism was to Plato and Leibnitz, and what Tetractysm was to 
the Pythagoreans, will be prepared to comprehend wliat triadism 
was to Baxter, It is his starting point, the principle from which he 
sets out, the tov o-tJ, the where-to-stand of Archimedes, or, what 
the German philosophers call liis stand-puukt, his stand-point. 

The whole of liis Latin Body of Divinity called ''Methodds 
Theologi^," is arranged according to this method. At the close 
of his " Counsels to Young Men," published in 1682, he gives the 
following account of his method of arrangement in the " Methodus." 
" It consists of seventy-tliree tables, or methodical schemes, pre- 
tending to a juster methodizing of Christian verities according to 
the matter and Scripture, than is yet extant ; furnishing men with 
necessary distinctions on every subject ; shewing that trinity in 
unity is imprinted on the whole creation, and [that] trichotomizing 
is the just distribution in naturals and morals." This trinal me- 
thod was a decided favourite, it was almost a passion with him. He 
saw triadism every where. As in the Godhead he saw Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit, so he perceived that in God's relations to the 
world, he was Creator, Ruler, and Benefactor, — in the soul of man 
he saw poAver, will, and intellect, — in the divine dispensations to- 
wards man, he saw nature, grace, and glory, — in salvation he saw 
the Father as Rector or Ruler, the Son as Redeemer, the Holy 
Spirit as Sanctifier,— and in the Grace of the Spirit he saw faith, 
hope, and charity. 

To those who delight to watch some great mind at some import- 
ant work, the practical application of this method to philosophy and 



Baxter's theology. li 

theology, must he as interesting as to see a painter plying his pencil 
and colonrs, or a sculptor his hammer and chisel. The perspica- 
city necessary for detecting the trinal " primalities" as they deve- 
lope themselves in the phenomena of the universe, the skill to ana- 
lyse them and place them in proper arrangement, and the extent of 
knowledge requisite to combine all these triads in one complete 
whole and one grand unity, demand an intellect that is quick, 
adroit, and comprehensive. The great drawback from the glory of 
the whole process is, that the effort is not so useful as it is clever 
and amusing. As an intellectual exercise on the plains of specu- 
lation, it is pleasing not only because it is playful, but because also 
it is a wholesome discipline in the gymnastics of mind. But, as a 
system of methodizing, it is so hypothetical, so conjectural, and some- 
times so phantastic. But it is of no use either to practical relig-ion 
or to theological science. The English reader will find how Bax- 
ter employs this method, in his " Catholick Theologie," printed in 
1675, but presented more succinctly in his " End of Controversies," 
printed in 1691. 

Baxter's doctrine of universal Eedemption in harmony with 
personal Election, can scarcely be called Baxterianism. Yet as far 
as English theology is concerned, it is one of the most distinctive 
characteristics of Baxterianism. This doctrine was, in fact, the 
theology of the French Calvinists, especially of Camero, Amyral- 
DUS, and Dallj^us. Baxter seems to have read the works of the 
French divines thoroughly, and therefore, upon this subject, Eng- 
lish Baxterianism is nothing but what might be called Amyraldism, 
or French Cameronianism. In his theory of Redemption, Baxter 
differed from most, if not from all of the Calvinistic theologians in 
England. 

First, He asserted that the Atonement, or Satisfaction of Christ, 
did not consist in his suffering the identical punishment which was 
due to mankind from an offended law. This he expressed in the 
language of the schools, by saving that Christ did not suffer 
the idem threatened in the penalty, but the tantundem, or the 
equivalent. In plain English, the theory means, that the curses of 
the law were due to men for their sins,— that Christ became a sub- 
stitute for men, — that the law could inflict no curse upon an inno- 
cent Substitute, — and that the Lord did not suffer the curses of the 
law, but answered " the end of the law," by suffering what would 
have the same effect in moral government, as if he had endured the 
identical punishment threatened. 

Secondly, he asserts that Christ rendered this tantundem, or en- 
dured these equivalent sufferings, with the design of furnislwng an 
honourable consideration, or safe ground, for proclaiming pardon 



lii Baxter's theology. 

and offering salvation to every human being. This means that 
Christ died for sins and not for persons. 

Thirdly, he asserts, that while the benefits of this substitutionary 
atonement are accessible and available to all men for their salva- 
tion, they have, in the divine appointment, a special reference to 
the subjects of personal election ; that is, Christ is an atoning Ran- 
som, and is " the i^aviour of all men, but specially of them that 
believe." This third assertion is the head and front of Baxter's 
offending. By admitting universal redemption, he offended the 
Calvinists ; and by admitting personal cle'ction, he offended the 
Arminians. 

Had Baxter satisBed himself Avith admitting these two doctrines 
into his system ^vithout attempting to harmonize them, he would 
have acted the part of a humble believer, and of a philosophic theo- 
logian, and would besides have spared liimself much polemic obloquy 
and persecution. Great faith is believing a great truth. He is 
greatest in faith who believes the greatest truths, and the grejatest 
number of truths ; and he is complete in faith who believes all 
truth. Upon this principle, Baxter believed that he found the two 
truths, general redem.ption and personal election, in the Book of 
truth, and therefore he admitted them into his system of theology. 
And why not ? He was charged with admitting discrepancies and 
contradictions ; and the charge was apparently true. To this 
charge every believer is subject. Ninety-nine men out of a hun- 
dred believe what are called contradictions ; and the hundredth man is 
one who either doubts every thing, or examines nothing. These 
two principles are not contradictions because men call them so : they 
may, in the realities of the case, be verities in the most perfect har- 
mony, though our faculties are not adequate to the task of reconcil- 
ing them. The office of Reason, in reference to all truths presented 
to it, is to examine them and believe them. It is never called upon 
first to reconcile them, or, if it fail in that, then to reject them. In 
no portion of the Scripture does God enjoin upon his servants the 
obligation to harmonize his truths ; for that is his work, and not 
theirs : it is theirs to believe that he has harmonized them before 
they were revealed and announced, 

Baxter attempted to reconcile these two doctrines by a theory 
much in vogue in his time, of Common Grace and Special Grace : 
but that theory was as inconsistent and contradictory as that of 
Universal Redemption and Special Salvation was supposed to be. 
That theory was, that if any man made a proper use of common 
Grace, God would then give him saving Grace. Baxter illustrates 
this with the metaphor of a house with two stories ; and says, that 
if man would use common Grace to come up the first flight of stairs, 
God would give him saving Grace to ascend the second flight, and 



Baxter's theology. Hil 

thus enter the higher department. He does not say what this com- 
mon grace is, why it is called common ; nor does he distinguish it 
from what was afterwards called natural ability, which, as an element 
essential to accountableness, is a matter of Justice, and not of Grace. 
Indeed, the whole hj-pothesis seems to he proposed rather to justify 
the damnation of the sinner than to aid him in his salvation. It 
must therefore be confessed that Baxter, in his efforts at reconcili- 
ation, did not meet the question fairly and fully. His theory is, 
that all the elect are sure to be saved ; and that those who are non- 
elect mat/ be saved, if they believe the Gospel. The question which 
he had to solve was this : Will any of the non-elect believe, and be 
actually saved ? This question he could not meet, because the 
Scriptures record no instance of such a circumstance. 

This difficulty is produced, not by the evidence of the two truths, 
Universal Redemption and Personal Election, as independent doc- 
trines, but by the attempt to reconcile them. The reasoning of 
Baxter, stripped of its scholastic form, would probably be em- 
bodied in the following statement : That the number of the 
finally saved, who will be at the right hand of Christ in the last 
day, is foreknown, and therefore fixed, is indisputable ; and that 
Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man, and for 
the sins, not of the elect only, but also for the sins of the whole 
world, and that the call to accept his salvation is sincerely addressed 
to all men, are equally indisputable : why then not admit both ? 
Theologians who believe in general Providence, believe also in 
special Providence. What is special Providence but the applica- 
tion of the principles and means of general Providence to special 
cases? It is thus that "all things " in general Providence " work 
together for good," specially '■'■ to them that love God." In the 
same manner, a theologian may admit Universal Redemption and 
Special Redemption, since Special Redemption is only the applica- 
tion of the benefits and provisions of general redemption to special 
cases ; it is Christ being generally the Saviour of all men, specially 
of them that believe. 

In fine, Baxter believed that a certain and fixed number of saved 
men was determined in the decree about Redemption, without any 
reference to their faith as the ground of theii* election. Here he 
was a decided Calvinist of the Dordt School. He also believed that 
the divine decrees contemplate no Reprobation of any, but a uni- 
versal redemption for all who will acqept it, since Christ died for 
all. Here he was a decided Arminian. He admitted both doctrines 
to be true, and this gave to his theology the name of Baxterian, 

A third distinctive peculiarity of Baxter's theology was his theory 
of Justification by Faith. His theory was, that in justification of 



liv Baxter's theology. 

a sinner, it is not the righteousness of Christ that is imputed to 
]iim, hut his own actual faith. In explaining his theory, it is ne- 
cessary to state the hypothesis which he had to attack. The ma- 
jority of the Calvinistic divines of his day believed in, what was 
called the imputation of Christ's active righteousness to the be- 
liever. It was presented in this manner. The law said " Do this 
and live." The sinner could not " do this" perfectly; therefore 
he must die. Jesus Christ " did this," or obeyed the law instead 
of the sinner, both as his substitute and as his representative, and 
therefore the law could not again say to the sinner " do this," since 
it had been done for him by his representative. In this theory the 
sinner is accounted as if he had obeyed the law, i. e. Avhat Christ 
had done as his representative is accounted as having been done by 
himself, and therefore the law could not ask him tmce. This opened 
a way direct to all the heights, moors, and bogs of Antinomianism ; 
for the inference was unavoidable that, if Christ rendered to the 
law all the active obedience which was due to it from the believer, 
the law could not ask him for any more obedience ; that is, Christ 
obeyed the law that the believer might not obey it. To hedge off 
this tremendous precipice some divines introduced the hypothesis 
of a distinction between the law as a Covenant of Works and as a 
Rule of Life, which they borrowed from Cocceius. 

To counteract the above opinions, Baxter sought to establish, in 
harmony with many of the Fathers, and of the divines of the Refor- 
mation, that, in justification, the active righteousness of Christ was 
not at all imputed, but only the faith of the believer in the Right- 
eousness of Christ. In this statement he deeisied himself firmly 
sustained by the express language of Scripture, and by the literal 
exegesis of the passages in which " faith" was found in connexion with 
" justification," — e. g. Gen. xv. 6 ; Rom. iv. 3, 5, 9, 23-24. All these 
passages, he argued, shew that the doctrine of Paul was, that it was 
" faith," and not the active righteousness of Christ, that was im- 
puted for justification. In opposition to this interpretation, Dr 
Owen and others argued, that by the word "faith" here, the Apos- 
tle meant the object of faith, viz. the righteousness of Christ. 
Baxter contended that such a gloss was against all honest exegesis of 
the passages, and against the logical argument of the Apostle. " If 
it be not faith indeed," he says, " that the Apostle meaneth, the 
context is so far from relieving our understandings, that it contri- 
buteth to our unavoidable deceit and ignorance. Read over the 
texts, and put but ' Christ's righteousness' every where instead of 
the ' faith,' and see what a scandalous paraphrase you will make." 
This was honest and manly dealing, and vrarranted by the context. 
As an example of this absurdity, read Rom. iv. 9, as Baxter sug- 
gests—" We say that the object of bis faith, the righteousness of 



Baxter's theology. Iv 

Christ, was counted to him for righteousness." This " object of 
his faith could not be his, until it was imputed to him ; but it is evi- 
dent that he exercised his faith before the imputation. Besides, as 
if the Apostle wished to speak more explicitly, he says, in verse 22, 
that by " faith," he did not mean the " object of faith," but the act 
of " believing" in liim, " Avho raised our Lord Jesus from the dead." 
Faith is believing. Justifying faith is believing a justifying 
truth. God informed Abraham that all the nations of the earth 
should be blessed, /. e. pardoned and saved on account of his seed, 
the Messiah. Abraham witnessed this saving and justifying truth, 
and his believing it in the saving cSaracter of his Seed, was count- 
ed to him for righteousness, or a justifying faith. It was a pro- 
per, a just, and a right thing that Abraham should believe 
God's testimony concerning the Messiah, and therefore it was im- 
puted to him as a right thing, or as a righteousness. The Owen- 
ian divines objected that in this shewing, faith was an act, and 
therefore a work, which would imply justilication by works. And 
that such an act or work implied merit, and therefore did not, like 
the gospel justification, exclude boasting. It would be now too te- 
dious to enter fully upon these objections. Let it suffice just to 
state that the objection is a play vipon the word " work "—that be- 
lieving in a substitute is no " work of law "—that faith is only an 
act of compliance with the gospel method of justification, and that 
no human being is ever conscious that there is any merit whatever 
in believing a true statement. 

The fourth, and which Avas regarded by some as the most offensive 
peculiarity of Baxter's theology, was his doctrine that every sinner 
has a distinct agency of his own to 6xert in the process of his con- 
version. Among his Avorks there is no separate treatise on human 
ability or free agency ; but in all his Avorks he either asserts or as- 
sumes that every man has poAver to do his duty. The most length- 
ened investigation of the difficulties of this question is found in his 
" CathoUc Theologie," in the Dialogues on original sin, free will, 
and effectual grace. In " the Sixth day's Conference on natural 
corruption and impotency," he puts to his antagonist the folloAving 
questions, AA-hich are all ansAvered by being conceded. 

1. Have not AA-icked men natural life ? or are they dead ? 

2. Have they not natural poAvers or faculties for natural acts ? 

3. Is it not the same natural faculty of intellection by Avhich Ave 
understand and believe things common and (things) spiritual ? And 
the same natural faculty of ivilling, by Avhich we love or wiU them 
both? 

4. (This is about common grace). 

5. Is there any nation or people in the world that are not obliged 



Ivi Baxter's theology. 

by God to use some means towards their own conversion, and to 
forbear their sin ? 

6. Is there not such a thing in the world as a true poiver to do 
something that never is done, and forbear what is not forborne ? 

This puzzles the antagonist, but Baxter proceeds to demonstrate 
it : and then on " the Eleventh day's Conference " he rallies him and 
asks — " Woiild you not have your wife, children, and servants 
taught that it is their duty to love, honour, and obey you ? and 
j^our neighbours to deal justly with you ? and the rulers to protect 
you, and the judges to do you iustice?" 

The antagonist replies — " I speak only of religious, and not civil 
duties." 

Answer. " You are indifferent, it seemeth, as to the interests of 
God's honour and man's salvation. Let those alone, so be it your 
own interest be secured. Duty to you must be preached, but not 
to God. But would you not have them taught to do you service as 
to the Lord, and as such as from him shall have punishment and 
reward ? Should not all be done to the glory of God ? " 

All intellectual philosophers avow the doctrine that man has 
power to command his own attention ; and no theologian can dis- 
pute it. This power to command his own attention, or " power 
over his own will," in man, is called, in doctrinal theology, " the 
self-determining power of the will." Baxter assumed this in all his 
writings, and iji all his sermons, and especially in the two works 
embodied in this little volume. 

The " Call to the Unconverted" takes for granted, in every 
page, that man " hath power over his own will." Indeed, no work 
has ever been written on conversion, and no work can be written 
on the subject, which does not imply that man acts volun- 
tarily, whether in accepting or in rejecting the calls of the 
Gospel. The leading doctrines in the " Call to the Unconverted" 
are the following: — That the wicked must either turn and be con- 
verted, or perish, — that the wicked, whoever they are, shall be 
saved if they will only turn,— that God is pleased in their conver- 
sion, but displeased in their damnation,— that God is sincere in this 
pleasure, and has confirmed it by oath,— that God importunes men 
to be converted,— that he reasons with the wicked, and asks them 
to account for their non-conversion, — and that the blame of their 
being unconverted is not to be attached to any secret decree in God, 
but entirely to their own obstinacy. 

It is true that his views of free-agency were not very clear or dis- 
tinct ; but the only thing that clouded them was the misty theory 
of common grace and saving grace. This is evident from the man- 
ner in which he meets the following objections to the wicked being 
called to turn :— 



Baxter's theologi^. Ivii 

" Object. — But we cannot convert ourselTes till God convert 
us ; we can do nothing ^^■ithout his grace. It is not in him that 
■vvilleth, nor in him that runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy." 

" Axs. 1. — God hath two degrees of mercy to shew ; the mercy of 
conversion first, and the mercy of salvation last. The latter he wiU 
give to none but those that iciU. and run, and hath promised to them 
only. The former is to make them willing that Avere unwilling ; and 
though your owm willingness and endeavours deserve not his grace, 
yet your wilful refusal deserveth that it should be denied you. Your 
disability is your very unwillingness itself, Avhich excuseth not your 
sin, but maketh it the greater. You could turn, if you were but 
truly willing ; and if your wills themselves were so corrupted that 
nothing but efiectual grace will move them, you have the more 
cause to seek that grace, and yield to it, and do what you can in the 
use of means, and not neglect it, or set against it. Do what you are 
able first, and then complain of God for denying you grace, if you 
have cause." 

" Object. — But you seem to intimate all the while that man hath 
free-will." 

" AiiTS. — The dispute about free-will is beyond your capacity. I 
shall therefore trouble you with no more but this about it. Your 
vnW is naturally a free, that is, a self-determining faculty ; but it is 
viciously inclined, and backward to do good ; but that is the wicked- 
ness of it Avhich deserveth punislmient." 

^Yllatever may be our sentiments concerning Baxter's theory of 
human agency in conversion, it is evident that Dr Owen could not, 
on his principles, write a " Call to the Unconverted." This theory 
gave a character to Baxter's mind and to Baxter's preaching. It 
is probable that it was the very characteristic that arrested the 
attention of Archbishop Usher, who suggested to him his adapta- 
tion to Avrite works of this description. In the preface he gives 
a detailed account of Usher's conversation with him on the import- 
ance of producing such a Avork. The work was not commenced till 
after the death of the venerated Archbishop, and was published on 
December 11, 1657. It is introduced by a very serious address 
" to all unsanctified persons who shall read this book, especially 
my hearers in the parish of Kidderminster." Of its remarkable and 
extensive usefulness, he gives the following account • — 

" God hath blessed it with unexpected success beyond all the 
rest that I have written, except the ' Saint's Rest.' In a little 
more than a year, there were about twenty thousand of them printed 
by my own consent, and about ten thousand since, besides many 
thousands by stolen impressions, which poor men stole for lucre's 
sake. Through God's mercy, I have had information of almost 
whole households converted by this small book, which I set so light 



Iviii Baxter's theology. 

by : and, as if all this in England, Scotland, and Ireland, were not 
mercy enough to me, God since I was silenced, hath sent it over 
on his message to many beyond the seas. For when Mr Elliot 
had printed all the Bible in the Indian's language, he next trans- 
lated this my ' Call to the Unconverted.' * * * Mr Stoop, the 
pastor of the French church in London, being driven hence by the 
displeasure of his superiors, was pleased to translate it into elegant 
French, and print it in a very curious letter : and I hope it will 
not be unprofitable there, nor in Gei'many, where it is printed in 
Dutch." 

Since the death of Baxter it has been translated into almost all 
the European languages, and has gone through very numerous 
and very large editions, both in England and in America. The 
instances of its usefulness, known and unknown, are a number which 
no man can number. 

The other work contained in this volume is written on the same 
theological principles as the " Call to the Unconverted," and is in- 
tituled, " Making light of'Christ." This latter work is the sub- 
stance of a sermon preached at St Lawrence, Jewry, where the Rev. 
Mr Vines was pastor. The brief history of this sermon supplies 
an index to the great popularity of Baxter as a preacher. 
When he had to preach this sermon at St Lawrence, Jewry, he 
sent word to Mr Vines to secure seats or pews for Lord Brog- 
hill and the Earl of Suffolk, " with whom he was to go in the 
coach." "Yet," he says, " when I came, the crowd had so little 
respect to persons, that they (the said Lords) were fain to go home 
again, because they could not come within hearing. The old Earl 
of Warwick, who stood in the lobby, brought me home again. 
And Mr Vines himself was fain to get up into the pulpit, and sit 
behind me, and I stood between his legs : which I mention, that 
the reader may understand that verse in my poem concerning him, 
which is printed, where I say, that ' at once one pulpit held us 
both.'" 

The full title of the sermon is, " The Causes and Danger of 
slighting Christ and his Gospel : or, Eternal Salvation made Light 
by multitudes to whom it is freely offered." It was first preached 
at Kidderminster, and afterwards in London. The whole discourse 
abounds with solemn and stirring passages. To his readers he says 
in the preface — " Should you but seriously read, and well consider 
as you read, till your heart be sensible what a sin it is to make 
light of Christ and his salvation, and till the Lord that bought you 
be advanced in the esteem and aflections of your soul, — this wUl 
fulfil my desires." In these desires the writer of this Essay, and 
the Editor and Publisher of these volumes of " The Puritan Divines," 
sincerely and devoutly jom. 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION, 



THE ISSUE OF GOSPEL INVITATIONS. 



How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation T'—Heb. ii. 34. 



TO THE READER. 



Reader, 

Beikg called on in London to preach, when I had no tune 
to study, I was fain to preach some sermons that I had 
preached in the countr}' a httle before. This was one, 
which I preached at St Laurence, in the chiu-ch where my 
reverend and faithful brother in Christ, INIr Richard Vines, 
is pastor : when i came home I was followed by such im- 
portunities by letters to piint the sermon, that I have peld- 
ed thereunto, though I know not fully the ground of their de- 
sires. Seeing it must abroad, will the Lord but bless it to the 
cure of thy contempt of Christ and grace, how comfortable 
may the occasion prove to thee and me ! It is the sKghtmg of 
Christ and salvation, that imdoes the world. O happy man 
if thou escape but this sin ! Thousands do spHt their souls 
on this rock which they should build them on. Look into 
the world, among rich and poor, high and low, young and 
old, and see whether it appear not by the whole scope of 
their conversations that they set more by something else 
than Christ ? And for all the proclamations of his grace in 
the gospel, and our common professing om-selves to be his 
disciples, and to believe the glorious things that he hath 
promised us in another world, whether it yet appear not by 
the deceitMness of our service, by our heartless endeavom-s 
to obtain his kingdom, asid by our busy and delightful fol- 
lowing of the world, tha«t the most who are called Christians 
do yet in then hearts make light of Christ ; and if so, what 
wonder if they perish by their contempt ? Wilt thou but 
soberly peruse this short discourse, and consider well as 
thou readest of its truth and weight, tfll thy heart be sen- 



4 TO THE READER. 

siHe what a sin it is to make light of Christ and thy own 
salvation, and tUl the Lord that bought thee be advanced 
in the estimation and affections of thy soul, thou shalt here- 
by rejoice, and fulfil the desu-es of 

Thy servant in the faith, 

RICHARD BAXTER 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AM SALTATION, 

TOO OFT 

THE ISSUE OF GOSPEL INVITATIONS. * 
" But they made light of it."— Matt. xxii. 5. 



The blessed Son of God, that thought it not enough to 
die for the world, but would himself also be the preacher of 
grace and salvation, doth comprise in this parable the sum 
of his gospel. By the king that is here said to make the 
marriage, is meant God the Father, that sent his Son into 
the world to cleanse them from their sins, and espouse them 
to himself By his Son, for whom the man-iage is made, is 
meant the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who 
took to his Godhead the nature of man, that he might be 
capable of being their Redeemer when they had lost themselves 
in sin. By the marriage is meant the conjunction of Christ 
to the soul of sinners, when he giveth up himself to them to 
be then' Sa\iour, and they give up themselves to him as his 
redeemed ones, to be saved and ruled by him ; the perfec- 
tion of which marriage will be at the day of judgment, when 
the conjunction between the whole church and Christ shall 
be solemnized. The word here translated marriage^ rather 
signifieth the marriage-feast ; and the meaning is, that the 
world is inrited by the gospel to come in and partake of 
Christ and salvation, which comprehendeth both pardon, 
justification, and right to salvation, and all other pri\ileges 



6 MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 

of the members of Christ. The in^dtation is God's offer of 
Christ aud salvation in the gospel ; the servants that invito 
thera are the preachers of the gospel, who are sent forth by- 
God to that end ; the preparation for the feast there men- 
tioned, is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the enactmg of a 
law of grace, and opening a way for revolting sinners to re- 
turn to God. There is a mention of sending second mes- 
sengers, because God useth not to take the first denial, but 
to exercise his patience tUl sinners are obstinate. The first 
persons invited are the Jews ; upon their obstinate refusal 
they are sentenced to punishment : and the gentiles are in- 
vited, and not only invited, but by powerful preaching, and 
miracles, and effectual grace, compelled ; that is, infallibly 
prevailed with to come ia. The number of them is so gfeat 
that the house is filled with guests : many come sincerely, 
not only looking at the pleasm^e of the feast, that is, at the 
pardon of sin, and dehverance fi'om the wrath of God, but 
also at the honour of the marriage, that is, of the Redeemer, 
and then- profession by giving up themselves to a holy con- 
versation : but some come in only for the feast, that is, jus- 
tification by Christ, having not the wedding-garment of 
soimd resolution for obedience in then* life, and looldug only 
at themselves in behe\ing, and not to the glory of their 
Kedeemer ; and these are sentenced to everlastmg misery, 
and speed as ill as those that came not in at all ; seemg a 
faith that ^vill not work is but like that of the devil ; and 
they that look to be pardoned and saved by it are mistaken, 
as James sheweth, chap. ii. 24. 

The words of my text contaui a narration of the iU enter- 
tainment that the gospel findeth with many to whom it is 
sent, even afi;er a first and second in^itation. They made 
light of it, and are taken up Avith other things. Though it 
be the Jews that were first guilty, they have too many fol- 
lowers among us gentiles to this day. 

The Doctrine of the Passage. — For all the wonderfiil 
love and mercy that God hath manifested in giring his Son 
lo be the Redeemer of the world, and which the Son hath 
manifested in redeeming them by his blood ; for all his full 



MAKIXG LIGHT OF CHRIST AXD SALVATION. 7 

preparation by being a sufficient sacrifice for the sins of all ; 
for all liis personal excellencies, and that flill and glonous 
salvation that he hath procured ; and for all his fi-ee offers 
of these, and frequent and earnest inA^tation of sinners ; yet 
many do make light of all this, and prefer their worldly 
enjo}Tnents before it. The ordinary treatment of all these 
ofiero, invitations, and benefits, is by contempt. 

Not that ail do go, or that all continue to do so, who 
were once guilty of it ; for God hath his chosen whom he 
will compel to come in. But till the Spirit of grace over- 
power the dead and obstinate hearts of men, they hear the 
gospel as a common story, and the great matters contained 
in it go not to the heart. 

The method in which I shall handle this doctrine is this. 

I. I shall shew you what it is that men make light of. 

II. What this sin of making Hght of it is. 

III. The cause of the sin. 
rV. The use of the doctrme. 

I. The thing that carnal hearers make light of is, 

1 . The doctrine of the gospel itself, which they hear re- 
gardlessly. 2. The benefits offered them therein : which 
are, 1. Christ himself. 2. The benefits which he giveth. 

Concerning Christ himself, the gospel, 1. Declareth his 
person and nature, and the gi'cat things that he hath done 
and suffered for man ; his redeeming him fi.-om the -vvi-ath 
of God by his blood, and procm-mg a grant of salvation 
with himself. Furtheniiore, the same gospel maketh an 
offer of Christ to sinners, that if they Avill accept him on 
his easy and reasonable terms, he "\vill be their Saviour, the 
Physician of then* souls, their Husband, and their Head. 

2. The benefits that he offereth them are these. 1. That 
with these blessed relations to him, himself and interest m 
him, they shall have the pardon of all their sins past, and 
be saved fi:"om God's wrath, and be set in a siu'e way of 
obtaining a pardon for all the sins that they shall commit 
hereafter, so they do but obey sincerely, and turn not again 
to the rebelfion of their unregeneracy. 2. They shall have 
the Spu'it to become their Guide and Sanctifier, and to dwell 



8 MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AXD SALVATION. 

in their souls, and help them against their enemies, and con- 
fol-m them more and more to his image, and heal their dis- 
eases, and bring them back to God. 3. They shall have 
right to everlasting glory when this life is ended, and shall 
be raised up thereto at the last ; besides many excellent 
privileges in the way, in means, preservation, and provision, 
and the foretaste of what they shall enjoy hereafter : all 
these benefits the gospel offereth to them that will have 
Christ on his reasonable terms. The sum of all is in 1 John v. 
11, 12, " This is the record, that God hath given us eternal 
life, and this life is in his Son : he that hath the Son hath 
life, and he that hath not the Son hath not life." 

11. "WTiat this sm of the making Hght of the gospel is. 
1. To make hght of the gospel is to take no gi'eat heed to 
what is spoken, as if it were not a certaia truth, or else 
were a matter that Httle concerned them ; or as if God had 
not written these things for them. 2. When the gospel 
doth not affect men, or go to their hearts ; but though they 
seem to attend to what is said, yet men are not awakened 
by it from their security, nor doth it work in any measure 
such holy passion in their souls, as matters of such everlast- 
ing consequence should do : this is making light of the 
gospel of salvation. "When we tell men what Christ hath 
done and suffered for their souls, and it scarce moveth 
them : we tell them of keen and cuttmg truths, but nothing 
■will pierce them : we can make them hear, but we cannot 
make them feel ; our words take up in the porch of their 
ears and fancies, but will not enter into the inward parts ; 
as if we spake to men that had no hearts or feehng : this is 
a maldng light of Christ and salvation. Acts xx\-iii. 26, 
27, " Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; 
seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive. For the heart 
of this people is waxed gi'oss, and tlieir ears are dull of 
hearing, and their eyes have they closed," &c. 

3. When men have no high estimation of Christ and 
salvation, but whatsoever they may say with their tongues, 
or dreamingly and speculatively believe, yet in their serious 
and practical thoughts they have a higher estimation of the 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 9 

matters of this world, than they have of Christ, and the 
salvation that he hath purchased ; this is a making Hght of ' 
him. When men account the doctrine of Christ to be but 
a matter of words and names, as Gallio (Acts x^dii. 4), or 
as Festus (Acts xxv. 19), a superstitious matter about one 
Jesus who was dead, and Paul saith is aKve ; or ask the 
preachers of the gospel, as the Athenians, " What will this 
babbler, say ? " Acts xvii. 18 : this is contempt of Christ. 

4. When men are informed of the truths of the gospel, 
and on what terms Christ and his benefits may be had, and 
how it is the ^vill of God that they should believe and ac- 
cept the offer ; and that he commandeth to do it upon pain 
of damnation ; and yet men will not consent, unless they 
could have Christ on terms of their o^uti : they vnll not part 
-with their worldly contents, nor lay down their pleasures, 
and profits, and honour at his feet, as being content to 
take so much of them only as he will give them back, and as 
is consistent with his will and interest, but think it is a hard 
saving, that they must forsake all in resolution for Christ : 
this is a making hght of liim and then' salvation. 'When 
men might have part in him and all his benefits if they 
would, and they will not, unless they may keep the world 
too ; and are resolved to please their flesh, whatever comes 
of it ; this is a high contempt of Chiist and everlasting life. 
In Matt. xiii. 21 ; Luke x\iii. 23, you may find examples 
of such as I here describe. 

5. When men will promise fiiir, and profess their willing- 
ness to have Christ on his terms, and to forsake all for him, 
but yet do stick to the world and their sinful courses ; and 
when it comes to practice, will not be removed by all that 
Christ hath done and said ; this is making hght of Chiist 
and salvation, Jer. xlii. 5, compared Avith xliii. 2. 

III. The causes of this sin ai-e the next thuig to be ia- 
quu'ed a|t£r. It may seem a wonder that ever men, that 
have the use of then- reason, should be so sottish as to make 
light of matters of such consequence. But the cause is, 

1 . Some men understand not the very sense of the words 
of the gospel when they hear them; and how can they 



10 IMAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 

be taken with that which they understand not ? Though 
we speak to them in plain Enghsh, and study to speak it as 
plain as we can, yet people have so estranged themselves 
jfrom G od, and the matters of their own happiness, that they 
know not what we say ; as if we spoke in another language, 
and as if they were under that judgment, Isa. xxviii. 11, 
" With stammermg lips, and with another tongue, will he 
speak to this people." 

2. Some that do understand the words that we speak, 
yet because they are carnal, understand not the matter. 
" For the natm-al man receiveth not the things of the Spirit 
of God, neither can he know them, because they are spu-i- 
tually discerned," 1 Cor. ii. li. They hi'« eaithjy, and 
these things are heavenly, John in. 12. These things of 
the Sphit are not well kno^vn by bare hearsay, but by spiri- 
tual taste, wliich none have but those that are taught by the 
Holy Ghost (1 Cor. ii. 12), that we may know the things 
that are given us of God. 

3. A carnal man apprehendeth not a suitableness in these 
spiritual and heavenly things to his mind, and therefore he 
se^is light by ihem, ana ham no uiuid of them, ^^'hen vou 
teii Lmi of eveilastlixg glor^, kc iieareuU ^u.* iie n^^Ou. r»ere 
persuading him to go play with the sun ; tney are maiters 
of another world, and out of his element ; and therefore he 
hath no more dehght m them than a fish would have to be 
in the fau-est meadow, or than a swine hath in a jewel, or a 
dog in a piece of gold : they may be good to others, but he 
cannot apprehend them as suitable to him, because he hath 
a natme that is otherwise inclined : he savoureth not the 
tilings of the Sphit, Rom. viii. 5 

4. The main cause of the shghting of Christ and salva- 
tion is, a secret root of unbehef in men's hearts. Whatso- 
ever they may pretend, they do not soundly and thoroughly 
believe the word of God : they are taught m general to say 
the gospel is true ; but they never saw the evidence of its 
truth so far, as thoroughl}' to persuade them of it ; nor have 
they got their souls settled on the infaUibihty of God's tes- 
timony, nor considered of the truth of the particular doc- 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 11 

trines revealed in the Scripture, so far as soundly to believe 
them. Oh did you all but soundly believe the words of this 
gospel, of the evil of sin, of the need of Christ, and what he 
hath done for you, and what you must be and do if ever 
you will be saved by him ; and what will become of you for 
ever if you do it not ; I dare say it would cm^e the con- 
tempt of Christ, and you would not make so hght of the 
matters of yom- salvation. But men do not beHeve while 
they say they do, and would face us down that they do, and 
verily think that they do themselves. There is a root of 
bitterness, and an evil heart of unbehef, that make them 
depart from the li\ing God, Heb. ii. 12 ; iv. 1, 2, 6. Tell 
any man in this congregation that he shall have a gift of 
ten thousand pounds, if he wiU but go to London for it ; if 
lie believe you, he will go ; but if he beHeve not, he will 
not ; and if he will not go, you may fee sure he believeth 
not, supposing that he is able. I know a slight beHef may 
stand with a wicked life ; such as men have of the truth of 
a prognostication, it may be true, and it may be false ; but 
a true and sound belief is not consistent with so great ne- 
glect of the thmgs that are believed. 

5. Christ and salvation are made Hght of by the world, 
because of then' desperate hardness of heart. The heart is 
hard naturaUy, and by custom in smning made more hard, 
especially by long abuse of mercy, and neglect of the means 
of grace, and resisting the Sphit of God. Hence it is that 
men are turned into such stones : and till God cm-e them of 
the stone of the heart, no wonder if they feel not what they 
know, or regard not what we say, but make Hght of all : 
it is hard preachmg a stone into tears, or making a rock to 
tremble. You may stand over a dead body long enough, 
and say to it, O thou carcass, when thou hast lain rotting 
and mouldered to dust till the resiurection, God aviH then 
caU thee to account for thy sin, and cast thee mto everlast- 
ing fire, before you can make it feel what we say, or fear 
the misery that is never so truly threatened : when men's 
hearts are like the highway that is trodden to hardness by 
long custom in sinning, or Hke the clay that is hardened to 



12 MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 

a stone by the heat of those mercies that should have melted 
them into repentance ; when they have consciences seared 
with a hot u'on, as the apostle speaks (1 Tim. iv. 2), no 
wonder then if they be past feehng, and working all miclean- 
ness with gTcediness do make light of Christ and everlasting 
glory. Oh that this were not the case of too many of our 
hearers ! Had we but living souls to speak to, they would 
hear, and feel, and not make Hght of what we say. I know 
they are naturally ahve, but they are spuntually dead, as 
Scripture witnesseth, Eph. ii. 3. Oh if there were but 
one spark of the life of gi-ace in them, the doctrine of 
salvation by Jesus Christ would appear to them to be the 
weightiest business in the world ! Oh how confident should 
I be, methinks, to prevail with men, and to take them off 
this world, and bring them to mind the matters of another 
world, if I spake but to men that had life, and sense, and 
reason ! But when we speak to blocks and dead men, how 
should we be regarded ? Oh how sad a case are these souls 
in, that are fallen under this fearful judgment of spiritual 
madness and deadness ! to have a blind mmd, and a hard 
heart, to be sottish and senseless (Mark iv. 12 ; John xii. 
40), lest they should be converted, and their sin should be 
forgiven them. 

6. Christ and salvation are made light of by the world, 
because they are wholly enslaved to their sense, and taken 
up with lower things : the matters of another world are out 
of sight, and so far from their senses, that they cannot re- 
gard them ; but present things are nearer them, in their 
eyes, and in their hands. There must be a living faith to 
prevail over sense, before men can be so taken with tilings 
that are not seen, though they have the word of God for 
their security, as to neglect and let go things that are stUl 
before their eyes. Sense Avorks -with great advantage, and 
therefore doth much in resisting faith where it is ; no won- 
der then if it carry all before it, where there is no true 
and lively faith to resist, and to lead the soul to higher 
things. This cause of making light of Christ and salvation 
is expressed here in my text : one went to his farm, and 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION 13 

another to his merchandise : men have houses and lands to 
look after ; they have wife and children to mind ; they have 
their body and outward estate to regard ; therefore they 
forget that they have a God, a Redeemer, a soul to mind : 
these matters of the world are still with them. They see 
these, but they see not God, nor Christ, nor then* souls, 
nor everlasting glory. These things are near at hand, and 
therefore work naturally, and so work forcibly; but the 
others are thought on as a great way off, and therefore too 
distant to work on their afiections, or be at the present so 
much regarded by them. Their body hath life and sense, 
therefore if they want meat, or drink, or clothes, will feel 
their want, and tell them of it, and give them no rest till 
their wants be supplied, and therefore they cannot make 
hght of then' bodily necessities ; but their souls in spiritual 
respects are dead, and therefore feel not their wants, but 
will let them alone in their greatest necessities ; and be as 
quiet when they are starved and languishing to destruction, 
as if all were well, and nothing ailed them. And here- 
upon poor people are wholly taken up in providing for the 
body, as if they had nothing else to mind. They have their 
trades and callings to follow, and so much to do from morn- 
ing to night, that they can find no time for matters of salva- 
tion : Christ would teach them, but they have no leisure to 
hear him : the Bible is before them, but they cannot have 
time to read it ; a minister is in the to-\vn with them, but 
they cannot have time to go to enquire of him what they 
should do to be saved : and when they do hear, their hearts 
are so full of the world, and carried away with these lower 
matters, that they cannot mind the thmgs which they hear. 
They are so full of the thoughts, and desires, and cares of 
this world, that there is no room to pour into them the 
water of life. The cares of the Avorld do choke the word, 
and make it become unfruitful, Matt. xiii. 32. Men cannot 
serve two masters, God and mammon ; but they will lean 
to the one, and despise the other. Matt. vi. 24. He that 
loveth the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 1 
John ii. 15, 16. Men cannot choose but set light by Christ 



14 3MAKING LIGHT OF CILRIST AXD SALVATION. 

and salvation, while they set so much by any thing on 
earth. It is that which is highly esteemed among men that 
is abominable in the sight of God, Luke xvi. 15, Oh, this 
is the rmn of many thousand souls ! It would grieye the 
heart of any honest Christian to see how eagerly this vain 
world is followed every where, and how little men set by 
Christ and the world to come ; to compare the care that 
men have for the world, with the care of their souls ; and 
the time that they lay out on the world, with that time they 
lay out for their salvation : to see how the world fills their 
mouths, their hands, their houses, their hearts, and Christ 
hath little more than a bare title : to come into their com- 
pany, and hear no discourse but of the world ; to come iu- 
to their houses, and hear and see nothing but for the world, 
as if this world would last for ever, or would pm-chase them 
another. T\Tien I ask sometimes the ministers of the gospel 
how their labours succeed, they tell me, People continue 
still the same, and give up themselves whoUy to the world ; 
so that they mind not what ministers say to them, nor will 
give any full entertamment to the word, and all because of 
the deluding world : and O that too many ministers them- 
selves did not make Hght of that Christ whom they preach, 
being drawn away A^4th the love of this world ! In a word, 
men of a worldly disposition do judge of things accorduig to 
worldly advantages, therefore Christ is slighted ; " He is 
despised and rejected of men, they hide then- faces from 
him, and esteem him not, as seeing no beauty or comeliness 
in him, that they should desii'e him," Isa. liii. 3. 

7. Christ and salvation are made hght of, because men 
do not soberly consider of the truth and weight of these ne- 
cessary things. They suifer not then- minds so long to 
dwell upon them, till they procm^e a due esteem, and deeply 
affect their heart ; did they beheve them and not consider 
of them, how should they work ! Oh when men have rea- 
son given them to think and consider of the things that most 
concern them, and yet they will not use it, this causeth their 
contempt. 

8. Christ and salvation are made hght of, because men 



JIAKIXG LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 1 5 

were never sensible of their sin and misery, and extreme 
necessity of Christ and liis salvation ; their eyes were never 
opened to see themselves as they are ; nor their hearts 
soundly humbled in the sense of then* condition : if this were 
done, they would soon be brought to value a Saviour : a 
truly broken heart can no more make Hght of Christ and 
salvation, than a hungry man of his food, or a sick man of 
the means that would give him ease ; but till then our words 
cannot have access to their hearts : while sin and misery are 
made light of, Christ and salvation will be made Hght of; 
but when these are perceived an intolerable bm-den, then 
nothing will serve the tmni but Chnst. Till men be truly 
humbled, they can venture Christ and salvation for a lust, 
for a little worldly gain, even for less than nothing : but 
when God hath illuminated them, and broken their hearts, 
then they would give a world for a Christ ; then they must 
have Christ or they die ; all things then are loss and dung 
to them in regard of the excellent knowledge of Christ, 
Phil. iii. 8. ^Yhen they are once pricked iu their hearts 
for sin and misery, then they cry out, " Men and brethren, 
what shall we do?" Acts ii. 37. TVTien they are awakened 
by God's judgments, as the poor jailer, then they cry out, 
" Sirs, what shall I do to be saved?" Acts xri. 30. This 
is the reason why God will biing men so low by humilia- 
tion, before he brings them to salvation. 

9. Men take occasion to make Hght of Christ by the 
commonness of the gospel ; because they do hear of it every 
day, the fi-equency is an occasion to dull their affections ; I 
say, an occasion, for it is no just cause. Were it a rarity 
it might take more with them ; but now, if they hear a mi- 
nister preach nothing but these saving truths, they say. We 
have these every day : they mako not Hght of their bread or 
drink, their health or life, because they possess them every 
day ; they make not Hght of the sun because it shineth 
every day : at least they should not, for the mercy is the 
greater ; but Christ and salvation are made light of because 
they hear of them often ; this is, say they, a good, plain, 
dry sermon. Pearls are trod into the dirt where they are 



16 MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 

common : they loathe this dry manna : " The full soul 
loathes the honey-comb ; but to the hungry every bitter 
thing is sweet," Pro v. xxvii. 7. 

10. Christ and salvation are made light of, because of 
this disjimctive presumption ; either that he is sm-e enough 
theirs ah-eady, and God that is so merciful, and Christ that 
hath suffered so much for them, is surely resolved to save 
them, or else it may easily be obtained at any time, if it be 
not yet so. A conceited facihty to have a part in Chiist 
and salvation at any time doth occasion men to make Hght 
of them. It is true, that grace is free, and the offer is mii- 
versal, according to the extent of the preaching of the 
gospel ; and it is true, that men may have Christ when they 
will ; that is, when they are wilhng to have him on his 
terms ; but he that hath promised thee Christ if thou be 
willing, hath not promised to make thee willing : and if thou 
art not willuig now, how canst thou think thou shalt be 
wilhng hereafter ? If thou canst make tliine own heart will- 
ing, why is it not done now ? Can you do it better when 
sin hath more hardened it, and God may have given thee 
over to thyself? O sinners ! you might do much, though 
you are not able of yourselves to come in, if you would now 
subject yourselves to the workuig of the Spirit, and set in 
while the gales of grace contmue. But did you know what 
a hard and impossible thing it is to be so much as wilhng 
to have Christ and grace, when the heart is given over to 
itself, and the Sphit hath withdrawn its former in\-itations, 
you would not be so confident of your own strength to be- 
heve and repent ; nor would you make hght of Christ upon 
such foohsh confidence. If indeed it be so easy a matter 
as you imagine, for a sinner to beheve and repent at any 
time, how comes it to pass that it is done by so few ; but 
most of the world do perish in their impenitency when they 
have all the helps and means that we can afford them ? It 
is true, the tiling is very reasonable and easy in itself to a 
pure nature ; but while man is blind and dead, these thmgs 
are in a sort impossible to him, which are never so easy to 
others. It is the easiest and sweetest life in the world to a 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 1 7 

gracious soul to live in the love of God, and the delightful 
thoughts of the life to come, where all their hope and hap- 
piness Heth : but to a worldly, carnal heart, it is as easy to 
remove a mountahi as to bring them to this. However, 
these men are their own condemners ; for if they think it so 
easy a matter to repent and beheve, and so to have Christ, 
and right to salvation, then have they no excuse for neglect- 
ing this which they thought so easy. O wi-etched, impeni- 
tent soul ! what mean you to say when God shall ask you. 
Why did you not repent and love your Redeemer above the 
world, when you thought it so easy that you could do it at 
any time ? 

rV. Use 1 . We come now to the application : and hence 
you may be informed of the blindness and foUy of aE carnal 
men. How contemptible are their judgments that think 
Christ and salvation contemptible ! And how httle reason 
there is Avhy any should be moved by them, or discom-aged 
by any of their scorns or contradictions ! 

How shall we sooner know a man to be a fool, than if 
he know no difference between dung and gold? Is there 
such a thing as madness in the world, if that man be not 
mad that sets hght by Christ, and his own salvation, while 
he daily toils for the dung of the earth ? And yet what 
pity is it to see that a company of poor, ignorant souls avlU 
be ashamed of godluiess, if such men as these do but deride 
them ! or will thuik hardly of a holy life, if such as these 
do speak agamst it ! Hearers, if you see any set Hght by 
Chi-ist and salvation, do you set light by that man's Avit, 
and by his words, and hear the reproaches of a holy life as 
you would hear the words of a madman, not with regard, 
but with a compassion of his misery. 

Use 2. What wonder if we and om* preaching be de- 
spised, and the best ministers complain of ill success, when 
the ministrj^ of the apostles themselves did succeed no bet- 
ter? "V\Tiat wonder if, for all that we can say or do, our 
hearers still set light by Christ and their own salvation, 
when the apostles' hearers did the same? They that did 
second then- doctruie by miracles, if any men could have 

B 



18 MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 

shaken and torn in pieces the hearts of. sinners, they could 
have done it ; if any could have laid them at their feet, and 
made them all cry out as some, " "What shall Ave do?" it 
■would have been they. You may see then that it is not 
merely for want of good preachers that men make Hght of 
Christ and salvation. The fii'st news of such a thing as the 
pardon of sin, and the hopes of glory, and the danger of 
everlasting misery, would turn the hearts of men within 
them, if they were as tractable in spiritual matters as in 
temporal : but, alas, it is far otherwise. It must not seem 
any strange thing, nor must it too much discourage the 
preachers of the gospel, if, when they have said all that they 
can devise to say, to \\in the hearts of men to Christ, the 
most do still sHght him ; and while they bow the knee to 
him, and honour him with then- Hps, do yet set so light by 
him in their hearts, as to prefer every fleshly pleasure or 
commodity before him. It yvill be thus with many : let us 
be glad that it is not thus with all. 

Use 3. But for closer appHcation, seemg this is the great 
condemning sin, before we inquu-e after it into the hearts of 
our hearers, it beseems us to begm at home, and see that 
we, who are preachers of the gospel, be not guilty of it om'- 
selves. The Lord forbid that they that have undertaken 
the sacred office of revealhig the excellenciesof Christ to the 
world, should make hght of him themselves, and slight that 
salvation which they do daily preach. The Lord knows we 
are all of us so low in our estimation of Christ, and do this 
great work so neghgently, that we have cause to be ashamed 
of our best sermons ; but should tliis sm prevail in us, we 
were the most miserable of all men. Brethren, I love not 
censoriousness ; yet dare not befriend so \Tle a sin in myself or 
others, under pretence of avoiding it : especially when there 
is so gAiat necessity that it should be healed fii'st m them 
that make it their work to heal it in others. Oh that there 
were no cause to complain that Christ and salvation are 
made hght of by the preachers of it ! But, 1 . Do not the 
neghgent studies of some speak it out? 2. Doth not their 
dead and drowsy preaching declare it ? Do not they miike 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHEIST AXD SALVATION. 19 

light of the doctrine they preach, that do it as if they were 
half asleep, and feel not what they speak themselves ? 

3. Doth not the carelessness of some men's private en- 
deavom's discover it ? "NATiat do they for souls ? How 
shghtly do they reprove sin ! How little do they when 
they are out of the pulpit for the saving of men's souls ! 

4. Doth not the continued neglect of those things wherein 
the interest of Christ consisteth discover it? 1. The 
church's pmity and refonnation. 2. Its unity. 

5. Do not the covetous and worldly Hves of too many 
discover it, losing advantages for men's soids for a httle gain 
to themselves ? And most of this is because men are preach- 
ers before they are Christians, and tell men of that which 
they never felt themselves. Of all men on earth there are 
few that are m so sad a condition as such ministers : and if, 
indeed, they do beheve that Scripture which they preach, 
methinks it should be terrible to them in then' studying 
and preaching it. 

Use 4. Beloved hearers, the office that God hath called 
us to, is by declaiing the gloiy of his grace, to help under 
Christ to the saving of men's souls. I hope you think not 
that I come hither to-day on any other errand. The Lord 
knows I had not set a foot out of doors but in hope to suc- 
ceed in this work for your souls. I have considered, and 
often considered, what is the matter that so many thousands 
shoidd perish when God hath done so much for then" salva- 
tion ; and I find tliis that is mentioned in my text is the 
cause. It is one of the wonders of the world, that when 
God hath so loved the world as to send his Son, and Christ 
hath made a satisfaction by his death sufficient for them all, 
and offereth the benefits of it so fi-eely to them, even mth- 
out money or price, that yet the most of the world should 
perish ; yea, the most of those that are thus called . by his 
word ! ^^Tiy, here is the reason, when Christ hath done 
aU this, men make light of it. God hath shewed that he is 
not unwiffing ; and Christ hath shewed that he is not un- 
willing that men should be restored to God's favour and 
be saved ; but men are actually umvilling themselves. God 



20 MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AXD SALVATION. 

takes not pleasure in tlie death of sinners, but rather that 
they return and live, Ezek. xxxiii. 1 1 . But men take such 
pleasure in siu, that they will die before they will return. 
The Lord Jesus was content to be their Physician, and hath 
provided them a sufficient plaster of his own blood : but if 
men make Hght of it, and wiU not apply it, what wonder if 
they perish after aU? This Scripture giveth us the reason 
of then- perdition. This, sad exi3erience teUs us, the most of 
the world is guilty of. It is a most lamentable thing to see 
how most men do sjDend their care, their time, their pains, 
for known vanities, whUe God and glor\' are cast aside ; 
that he who is aU shoidd seem to them as nothing, and that 
which is nothing should seem to them as good as all ; that 
God shoidd set mankind in such a race where heaven or hell 
is their certain end, and that they should sit down, and 
loiter, or run after the cliildish toys of the world, and so. 
much forget the piize that they should run for. "Were it 
but possible for one of us to see the whole of tliis business 
as the all-seeing God doth ; to see at one ^iew both heaven 
and heU, which men are so near ; and see what most men 
in the world are minding, and what they are doing every 
day, it would be the saddest sight that could be imagined. 
Oh how should we marvel at their madness, and lament 
their self-delusion ! Oh poor distracted world ! what is it 
you run after ? and what is it that you neglect ? If God 
had never told them what they were sent into the world to 
do, or whither they were going, or what was before them 
in another world, then they had been excusable ; but he 
hath told them over and over, till they were weary of it. 
Had he left it doubtfiJ, there had been some excuse ; but 
it is his sealed word, and they profess to believe it, and 
would take it ill of us if we should question whether they 
do believe it or not. 

Beloved, I come not to accuse any of you particularly of 
this crime ; but seeing it is the commonest cause of men's 
destruction, I suppose you a\t11 judge it the fittest matter for 
our mquir}', and deser\ing our greatest care for the cure. 
To which end I shall, 1. Endeavour the conviction of the 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION- 21 

guilty. 2. Shall give them such considerations as may- 
tend to humble and reform them. 3. I shall conclude 
with such direction as may help them that are willing to 
escape the destro}ing power of this sin. And for the fu\st, 
consider, 

1. It is the case of most sinners to thmk themselves 
freest from those sins that they are most enslaved to ; and one 
reason why we cannot reform them, is because we cannot 
convince them of their guilt. It is the natm^e of sin so far 
to blind and befool the sinner, that he knoweth not what 
he doth, but thinketh he is free fi'om it when it reigneth 
in him, or when he is committing it : it bringeth men to be 
so much unacquainted with themselves, that they know not 
what they think, or what they mean and intend, nor what 
they love or hate, much less what they are habituated and 
disposed to. They are alive to sin, and dead to aU the 
reason, consideration, and resolution that should recover 
them, as if it were only by their sinning that we must know 
they are alive. May I hope that you that hear me to-day 
are but willing to know the truth of your case, and then I 
shall be encouraged to proceed to an inquiry. God will 
judge impartially ; why should not we do so ? Let me, 
therefore, by these following questions, try whether none of 
you are sHghters of Christ and your own salvation. And 
follow me, I beseech you, by putting them close to your 
own hearts, and faithfully answering them. 

1. Thmgs that men highly value will be remembered, 
they will be matter of their fi-eest and sweetest thoughts. 
This is a known case. 

Do not those then make light of Christ and salvation that 
think of them so seldom and coldly in comparison of other 
things ? FoUow'thy own heart, man, and observe what it 
daily runneth after ; and then judge whether it make not 
light of Christ. 

AVe cannot persuade men to one hour's sober considera- 
tion what they should do for an interest in Christ, or in 
thankfulness for his love, and yet they will not believe that 
they make light of him. 



22 aiAKING LIGHT OF CHHIST AND SALVATION. 

2. Tilings tliat weliiglily value "will be matter of our dis- 
course ; tlie judgment and heart will command the tongue. 
Freely and delightfiilly will our speech run after them. 
This also is a known case. 

Do not those then make Hght of Christ and salvation, 
that shun the mention of his name, unless it be in a vain or 
sinful use? Those that love not the company where 
Christ and salvation is much talked of, but think it trouble- 
some, precise discom-se : that had rather hear some merry 
jests, or idle tales, or talk of their riches or business in the 
world. When you may follow them fi-om mormng to night, 
and scarce have a savoury word of Christ ; but perhaps 
some sHght and weary mention of him sometimes; judge 
whether these make not light of Clmst and salvation. How 
seriously do they talk of the world (Psal. cxliv. 8, 11) and 
speak vanity ! but how heartlessly do they make mention of 
Christ and salvation ! 

3. The things that we highly value we would secure the 
possession of, and therefore would take any convenient 
com'se to have all doubts and fears about them well resol- 
ved. Do not those men then make Ughtof Christ and sal- 
vation that have lived twenty or thirty years in uncertainty 
whether they have any part m these or not, and yet never 
seek out for the right resolution of their doubts? Ai'e all 
that hear me this day certam they shall be saved ? Oh 
that they were ! Oh, had you not made hght of salvation, 
you could not so easUy bear such doubtings of it ; you could 
not rest tUl you had made it sm-e, or done your best to 
make it sm-e. Have you nobody, to inquh-e of, that might 
help you in such a work ? T\'Tiy, you have nm^iisters that 
are purposely appointed to that office. Have; you gone to 
them, and told them the doubtfulness of your case, and 
asked then- help in the judging of your condition ? Alas, 
ministers may sit m then' studies fi'om one year to another, 
before ten persons among a thousand will come to them 
on such an errand ! Do not these make hght of Christ 
and salvation ? When the gospel pierceth the heart indeed, 
they cry out, " Men and brethren, what shall we do to be 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 23 

saved?" Acts xvi. 30. Trembling and astonished, Paul 
cries out, "Lord, what ■wilt thou have me to do?" Acts 
ix. 6. And so did the comnnced Jews to Peter, Acts ii. 
37. But when hear we such questions? 

4. The things that we value do deeply aiFect us, and some 
motions will be in the heart according to om- estimation of 
them. O sirs, if men made not light of these things, what 
working would there be in the hearts of all our hearers ! 
"WTiat strange affections would it raise in them to hear of 
the matters of the world to come ! How would their hearts 
melt before the power of the gospel ! ^\Tiat sorrow would 
be wrought in the discovery of their sins ! "WTiat astonish- 
ment at the consideration of their miseiy ! "WTiat mispeak- 
able joy at the glad tidings of salvation by the blood of 
Christ ! "\Miat resolution would be raised in them upon the 
discovery of their duty ! Oh what hearers should we have, 
if it were not for this sin ! "WTiereas now we are liker to 
weary them, or preach them asleep with matters of this un- 
speakable moment. AYe talk to them of Christ and salva- 
tion tUl we make their heads ache : little would one think 
by their careless carriage that they heard and regarded what 
we said, or thought we spoke at all to them. 

5. Our estimation of things will be seen in the diligence 
of our endeavours. Tliat which we highliest value, we shall 
think no pains too great to obtain. Do not those men then 
make light of Clmst and salvation, that thmk aU too much 
that they do for them ; that mm^mm' at his service, and 
think it too gi'ievous for them to endure ? that ask of his 
service as Judas of the ointment, A\Tiat need this waste ? 
Cannot men be saved without so much ado ? This is more 
ado than needs. For the woi'ld they will labour all the 
day, and aU their lives ; but for Chi-ist and salvation they 
are afraid of doing too much. Let us preach to them as 
long as we "will, we cannot bring them to relish or resolve 
upon a life of hohness. Follow them to their houses, and 
you shall not hear them read a chapter, nor call upon God 
with their families once a day : nor will they allow him that 
one day in seven wliich he hath separated to his service. 



24 ivIAKIXG LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 

But pleasiu'e, or worldly business, or idleness, must have a 
part. And many of them are so far hardened as to reproach 
them that will not be as mad as themselves. And is not 
Chi-ist worth the seeking ? Is not everlasting salvation 
worth more than all this ? Doth not that soul make light 
of all these, that thinks his ease more worth than they ? 
Let but common sense judge. 

6. That which we most highly value, we tliink we cannot 
buy too dear : Christ and salvation are freely given, and 
yet the most of men go -vs-ithout them, because they cannot 
enjoy the world and them together. They are called but 
to part with that which would hinder them from Christ, and 
they will not do it. They are called but to give God his 
0T\Ti, and to resign all to his will, and let go the profits and 
pleasures of this world, when they must let go either Christ 
or them, and they will not. They think this too dear a 
bargain, and say they cannot spare these things : they 
must hold their credit with men; they must look to their 
estates : how shall they Hve else ? They must have then- 
pleasure, whatsoever becomes of Christ and salvation : as if 
they could hve "srithout Christ better than Avithout these : as 
if they were afi-aid of bemg losers by Christ, or could make 
a sa\Tug match by losing their souls to gain the world. 
Clu'ist hath told us over and over, that if we Arill not for- 
sake all for him we cannot be his disciples, Matt. x. Far 
are these men fi'om forsakmg all, and yet vnU. needs think 
that they are his disciples indeed. 

7. That which men highly esteem, they would help their 
friends to as well as themselves. Do not those men make 
light of Christ and salvation, that can take so much care 
to leave their children portions in the world, and do so little 
to help them to heaven ? that proride outward neces- 
saries so carefiilly for their families, but do so httle to 
the sa\ing of then- souls? Their neglected children and 
friends will witness, that either Christ, or theu' children's 
souls, or both, were made light of. 

8. That which men highly esteem, they will so diligently 
seek afler, that you may see it in the success, if it be a 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 25 

matter witliin their reach. You may see how many make 
light of Christ, by the little knowledge they have of hun, 
and the Kttle communion with him, and communication 
from him ; and the little, yea, none of his special gi-ace in 
them. Alas ! how many ministers can speak it to the sor- 
row of then- hearts, that many of their people know almost 
nothing of Christ, though they hear of him daily ! Nor 
know they what they must do to be saved : if we ask them 
an account of these things, they answer as if they under- 
stood not what we say to them, and tell us they are no 
scholars, and therefore think they are excusable for their 
ignorance. Oh if these men had not made light of Christ 
and theu' salvation, but had bestowed but half as much pains 
to know and enjoy him as they have done to understand 
the matters of their trades and callings in the world, they 
would not have been so ignorant as they are : they make 
light of these things, and therefore will not be at the pains 
to study or learn them. When men that can learn the 
hardest trade in a few years, have not learned a catechism, 
nor how to understand their creed, under twenty or thirty 
years' preaching, nor can abide to be questioned about such 
things ; doth not this shew that they have slighted them in 
their hearts ? Ho\\ ^vill these dcspisers of Christ and sal- 
vation be able one day to look him in the face, and to give 
an account of these neglects ? 

Thus much I have spoken in order to your conviction. 
Do not some of your consciences by this time siuite you, 
and say, I am the man that have made light of my salva- 
tion ? If they do not, it is because you make hght of it 
still, for all that is said to you. But because, if it be the 
will of the Lord, I would fain have this damning distemper 
cured, and am loth to leave you in such a desperate condi- 
tion, if I knew hoAv to remedy it, I wall give you some con- 
siderations, which may move you, if you be men of reason 
and understanding, to look better about you ; and I be- 
seech you to weigh them, and make use of them as we go, 
and lay open your hearts to the work of grace, and sadly 



26 MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AKD SALVATION. 

bethink you what a case you are in, if you prove such as 
make light of Christ. 

Consider, 1. Thou makest light of him that made not 
light of thee who didst deserve it. Thou wast worthy of no- 
thing but contempt. As a man, what art thou but a worm 
to God ? As a sinner, thou art far viler than a toad : yet 
Christ was so far fi-om making light of thee and thy happi- 
ness, that he came down into the flesli, and lived a life of 
suffering, and offered himself a sacrifice to the justice which 
thou liadst provoked, that thy miserable soul might have a 
remedy. It is no less than mh-acles of love and mercy, that 
he hath shewed to us : and yet shall we shght them after all ? 

Angels admire them, whom they less concern (1 Pet. i. 
12), and shall redeemed sinners make light of them? 
What barbarous, yea, demolish, yea, worse than devihsh m- 
gratitude is this ! The devils never had a saviour offered 
them, but thou hast, and dost thou yet make hght of Hun ? 

2. Consider, the work of man's salvation by Jesus 
Christ is the master-piece of all the works of God, wherein 
he would have his love and mercy to be magnified. As the 
creation declareth liis goodness and power, so doth redemp- 
tion his goodness and mercy ; he hath contrived the very 
frame of his worship so, that it shall much consist in the 
magnifying of this work ; and after aU this, will you make 
light of it? " His name is Wonderful," Isa. ix. 6. " He 
did the work that none could do," John xv. 24. " Greater 
love could none shew than his," John xv. 13. How great 
was the evil and misery that he delivered us from ! the good 
procm'ed for us ! All are wonders, fi'om his bu-th to his ascen- 
sion ; fi'om our new birth to our glorification, aU are won- 
ders of matchless mercy — and yet do you make light of 
them? 

3. You make light of matters of gi'eatest excellency and 
moment in the world : you know not what it is that you 
slight : had you well known, you could not have done^ it. 
As Christ said to the woman of Samaria (John iv. 10), 
Hadst thou known who it is that speakest to thee, thou 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 27 

wouldst have asked of him the waters of life: had they 
known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory, 1 
Cor. ii. 8. So had you known what Christ is, you would 
not have made light of him ; had you been one day m 
heaven, and but seen what they possess, and seen also what 
miserable souls must endure that are shut out, you would 
never sure have made so light of Christ again. 

O sirs, it is no trifles or jesting matters that the gospel 
speaks of. I must needs profess to you, that when I have 
the most serious thoughts of these things myself, I am ready 
to marvel that such amazing matters do not overwhelm the 
souls of men ; that the greatness of the subject doth not so 
overmatch om* understanduigs and affections, as even to 
drive men beside themselves, but that God hath always 
somewhat allayed it by the distance : much more that men 
should be so blockish as to make light of them. O Lord, 
that men did but know what everlasting glory and ever- 
lasting tonnents are : would the}' then hear us as they do ? 
would they read and think of these things as they do? 
I profess I have been ready to wonder, when I have heard 
such weighty things delivered, how people can forbear cr}^- 
iug out in the congregation ; much more how they can rest 
till they have gone to then- ministers, and learned what they 
should do to be saved, that this great business might be put 
out of doubt. Oh that heaven and hell should work no 
more on men ! Oh that everlastingness should work no 
more ! Oh how can you forbear when you are alone to 
think Avith yourselves what it is to be everlastingly in joy or 
in torment ! I wonder that such thoughts do not break your 
sleep ; and that they come not in your mind when you are 
about your labour ! I wonder how you can almost do any 
thing else ! how you can have any quietness in your minds ! 
how you can eat, or diink, or rest, till you have got some 
gTound of everlasting consolations ! Is that a man or a corpse 
that is not affected with matters of this moment ? that can 
be readier to sleep than to tremble when he heareth how he 
must stand at the bar of God ? Is that a man or a clod of 
clay that c»v rise and lie down without being deeply 



28 MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 

affected with his everlasting estate? that can follow his 
worldly business, and make nothing of the great business of 
salvation or damnation ; and that when they know it is 
hard at hand ! Truly, su's, when I think of the weight of the 
matter, I wonder at the very best of God's saints upon 
earth that they are no better, and do no more in so weighty 
a case. I wonder at those whom the world accounteth more 
holy than needs, and scorns for making too much ado, that 
they can put off Christ ana then- souls wath so Httle ; that 
they pour not out their souls in every supplication ; that 
they are not more taken up with God ; that their thoughts 
be not more serious in preparation for their account. I 
wonder that they be not a hmidred times more strict in 
then- lives, and more laborious and unwearied m striring for 
the crown, than they are. And for myself, as I am ashamed 
of my dull and careless heart, and of my slow and unpro- 
fitable course of life ; so the Lord knows I am ashamed of 
ever)' sermon that I preach : when I think what I have been 
speaking of, and who sent me, and what men's salvation or 
damnation is so much concerned in it, I am ready to tremble, 
lest God should judge me as a slighter of his truth, and the 
souls of men, and lest in the best sermon I should be guilty 
of their blood. Methinks we should not speak a word to 
men in matters of such consequence "without tears, or the 
gi'eatest earnestness that possibly we can : were not we too 
much guilty of the sin which we reprove, it would be so. 
Whether we are alone, or in company, methinks our end, 
and such an end, should still be m our mind, and as before 
our eyes ; and we should sooner forget any thing, and set 
light by any thing, or by all things, than by this. 

Consider, 4. Who is it that sends tliis weighty message 
to you ? Is it not God himself? Shall the God of heaven 
speak, and men make hght of it ? You would not slight the 
voice of an angel, or a prmce. 

5. "Whose salvation is it that you make hght of? Is it 
not your own ? Are you no more near or dear to your- 
selves than to make light of your own happiness or miserv ? 
Why, sirs, do you not care whether you be saved or damned? 



IMAKIXG LIGHT OF CHRIST AXD SALVATION. 29 

is self-love lost ? are you turned your own enemies ? As he 
that slighteth his meat doth shght his life ; so if you slight 
Christ, "whatsoever you may think, you will find it was your 
o^^^l salvation that you sUghted. Hear what he saith, " All 
they that hate me love death," Prov. viii. 36. 

6. Your sin is greater, in that you profess to beheve the 
gospel which you make so hght of For a professed infidel 
to do it that beheves not that ever Christ died, or rose 
again ; or doth not believe that there is a heaven or hell ; 
this were no such marvel : but for you that make it your 
creed, and your very rehgion, and call yourselves Christians, 
and have been baptized into this faith, and seemed to stand 
to it, this is the wonder, and hath no excuse. A^^lat ! be- 
lieve that you shall Hve in endless joy or torment, and yet 
make no more of it to escape torment, and obtain that joy ! 
What ! believe that God will shortly judge you, and yet 
make no more preparation for it ! Either say plainly, I am 
no Christian, I do not believe these wonderfal things, I will 
believe nothing but what I see ; or else let your hearts be 
affected with your belief, and live as you say you do beheve. 
What do you think when you repeat the creed, and men- 
tion Christ's judgment and everlasting life ? 

7. What are these things you set so much by, as to pre- 
fer them before Christ and the sa\ing of your souls ? Have 
you found a better fi-iend, a greater and surer happiness 
than this ? Good Lord ! what dung is it that men make so 
much of, while they set so light by everlasting glory ! What 
toys are they that they are daily taken up with, while mat- 
ters of life and death are neglected ! Why, sirs, if you had 
every one a kingdom in your hopes, what were it in com- 
parison of the everlasting kingdom ? I cannot but look 
upon all the glory and dignity of this world, lands and lord- 
ships, cro^vns and kingdoms, even as on some brain-sick, 
beggarly fellow, that borroweth fine clothes, and plays the 
part of a king or a lord for an hour on a stage, and then 
comes down, and the sport is ended, and they are beggars 
again. Were it not for God's interest in the authority of 
magistrates, or for the service they might do him, I should 



30 ]MAKIXG LIGHT OF CHRIST AKD SALVATION. 

judge no better of them. For as to their o-wn glory, it fe 
but a smoke : what matter is it whether you Kve poor ot 
rich, unless it were a greater matter to die rich than it is 't 
You know well enough that death levels all. TVhat matter 
is it at judgment, whether you be to answer for the life of a 
rich man or a poor man ? Is Dives then any better than 
Lazarus ? O that men knew what a poor decei\ing shadow 
they grasp at, while they let go the everlasting substance ! 
The strongest, and richest, and most voluptuous sinners, do 
but lay in fuel for their sorrows, while they think they are 
gathering together a treasm'e. Alas ! they are asleep, and 
dream that they are happy ; but when they awake, what a 
change will they find ! Their crown is made of thorns : their 
pleasure hath such a sting as will stick in the heart through 
all eternity, except unfeigned repentance do prevent it. 
O how sadly will these wi'etches be convinced ere long, 
what a fooUsh bargain they made in selling Christ and their 
salvation for these trifles ! Let your farms and merchandise 
then save you if they can ; and do that for you that Christ 
would have done. Cry then to thy Baal to save thee ! Oh 
what thoughts have drimkards and adulterers, &c. of Christ, 
that will not part with the basest lust for him ! " For a 
piece of bread," saith Solomon, " such men do transgi-ess," 
Prov. xxviii. 11. 

8. To set so light by Christ and salvation, is a certain 
mark that thou hast no part in them, and if thou so con- 
tinue, that Christ will set as light by thee : " Those that 
honoiu- him he will honour, and those that despise him shall 
be Hghtly esteemed," 1 Sam. ii. 30. Thou ^vilt feel one 
day that thou canst not live without him ; thou wilt confess 
then thy need of him ; and then thou mayest go look for a 
sa^dour where thou vnlt ; for he vnil be no sa\iour for thee 
hereafter, that wouldst not value him, and submit to him 
here. Then who will prove the loser by thy contempt ? 
O what a thing will it be for a poor miserable soul to cry 
to Christ for help in the day of extremity, and to hear so 
sad an answer as this ! Thou tlidst set light bv me and my 
law in the day of thy prosperity, and I will mjw set as hght 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AXD SALVATION. 31 

by thee in thy adversity. Read Prov. i. 24, to the end. 
Thou that, as Esau, didst sell thy birthright for a mess of 
pottage, shalt then find no place for repentance, though thou 
seek it with tears, Heb. xii. 17. Do you thhik that Christ 
shed his blood to save them that continue to make hght of 
it ? and to save them that value a cup of di'ink or a lust be- 
fore his salvation ? I tell you, sirs, though you set so light 
by Chiist and salvation, God doth not so : he wiU not give 
them on such terms as these : he valueth the blood of his 
Son, and the everlasting glory ; and he will make you value 
them if ever you have them. Nay, this will be thy con- 
demnation, and leaveth no remedy. All the world cannot 
save him that sets Ught by Chi'ist, Heb. ii. 3 ; Luke xiv. 
24. None of them shall taste of his supper. Matt. x. 37. 
Nor can you blame him to deny you what you made light 
of yom-selves. Can you find fault if you miss of the salva- 
tion which you sHghted ? 

9. Th,e time is near when Cluist and salvation will not 
be made Hght of as now they are. "When God hath shaken 
those careless souls out of their bodies, and you must an- 
swer for all your sius in your own name ; oh then what 
would you give for a saviom- ! When a thousand bUls 
shall be brought in against you, and none to reheve you ; 
then you wiU consider, Oh ! Chi'ist would now have stood 
between me and the wrath of God : had I not despised him, 
he would have answered all. When you see the world hath 
left you, and yom- companions in sin have deceived them- 
selves and you, and all yom- merry days are gone; then 
what would you give for that Christ and salvation that now 
you account not worth your labom* ! Do you thmk when 
you see the judgment set, and you are doomed to everlast- 
ing perdition for your wickedness, that you should then 
make as Hght of Christ as now ? Why wUl you not judge 
now as you know you shaU judge then ? WUl he then be 
worth ten thousand worlds ? and is he not now worth your 
highest estimation and dearest affection ? 

10. God will not only deny thee that salvation thou 
madest Hght of, but he wiU take from thee all that which 



32 INIAKEN'G LIGHT OF CHEIST AND SALVATION. 

thou didst value before it : he that most highly esteems 
Christ shall have him, and the creatures so far as they are 
good here, and him without the creatm-e hereafter, because 
the creatm-e is not useful : and he that sets more by the 
creature than by Christy shall have some of the creature 
vdthout Christ here, and neither Christ nor it hereafter. 

So much of these considerations, which may shew the true 
face of this heinous sin. 

"WTiat think you now. Mends, of this busuiess ? Do you 
not see by this time what a case that soul is in that maketh 
light of Christ and salvation ? Vfimt need then is there 
that you should take heed lest this should prove your own 
case ! The Lord knows it is too common a case. Whoever 
is found gtdlty at the last of this sin, it were better for that 
man he had never been bom. It were better for him he 
had been a Turk or Indian, that never had heard the name 
of a Saviour, and that never had salvation offered to him : 
for such men " have no cloak for their sin," John xv. 22. 
Besides all the rest of their sins, they have this killing sin 
to answer for, which -wall undo them. And this will aggra- 
vate their miser}-, that Christ whom they set light by must 
be their Judge, and for this sin will he judge them. Oh 
that such would now consider how they Avill ansAver that 
question that Clmst put to theu' predecessors, "How mil 
ye escape the damnation of hell?" jNIatt. xxiii. 33: t)r, 
" How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? " 
Heb. ii. 3. Can you escape without a Christ? or will a 
despised Christ save you then ? If he be accm-sed that sets 
light by father or mother (Dent. xxAoi. 16), what then is 
he that sets hght by Christ ? It was the heinous sin of 
the Jews, that among them were found such as set hght by 
father and mother, Ezek. xxii. 7. But among us, men 
slight the Father of spirits! In the name of God, brethren, 
I beseech you to consider how you will then bear his anger 
which you now make Hght of! You that cannot make hght 
of a Httle sickness or want, or of natural death, no, not of a 
tooth-ache, but groan as if you were undone ; how will you 
then make light of the fiiry of the Lord, which will burn 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 33 

against the contemners of his grace! Doth it not behove 
you beforehand to think of these things ? 

Hitherto I have been convincing you of the eA-il of the 
sin, and the danger that followeth : I come now to know 
your resohition for the time to come. What say you ? Do 
you mean to set as light by Christ and salvation as hitherto 
you have done ; and to be the same men after all this ? I 
hope not. Oh let not your ministers that would fam save 
you, be brought in as witnesses against you to condemn 
you ; at least, I beseech you, put not this upon me. Why, 
sirs, if the Lord shall say to us at judgment. Did you never 
tell these men what Christ did for their souls, and what 
need they had of him, and how nearly it did concern them 
to look to their salvation, that they made light of it ? We 
must needs say the truth ; Yea, Lord, we told them of it 
as plainly as we could; we would have gone on our knees 
to them if we had thought it would have prevailed ; we 
did entreat them as earnestly as we could to consider 
these things : they heard of these things every day ; but, 
alas, we could never get them to then' hearts : they gave 
us the hearing, but they made hght of all that we could 
say to them. Oh ! sad will it prove on your side, if you 
force us to such an answer as this. 

But if the Lord do move the hearts of any of you, and 
you resolve to make hght of Chi-ist no more ; or if any of 
you say, We do not make hght of him ; let me tell you here 
in the conclusion what you must do, or else you shall be 
judged as slighters of Chi'ist and salvation. 

And first I will tell you what will not serve the turn. 

1. You may have a notional knowledge of Christ, and 
the necessity of his blood, and of the excellency of salvation, 
and yet perish as neglecters of him. This is too common 
among professed Christians. You may say all that other 
men do of him : what gospel passages had Balaam ! Jesus 
I know, and Paul I know, the very de\ils coLild say, who 
believe and tremble, James ii. 19. 

2. You may weep at the history of Christ's passion, when 

c 



34 MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 

you read how he was used by the Jews, and yet make light 
of him, and perish for so doing. 

3. You may come desu'ously to his word and orduiances. 
Herod heard gladly ; so do many that yet must perish as 
neglecters of salvation. 

4. You may in a fit of fear have strong desires after a 
Christ, to ease you, and to save you from God's -vvrath, as 
Saul had of David to play before him ; and yet you may 
perish for making light of Chiist. 

5. You may obey him m many things so far as will not 
ruin you in the world, and escaj:!^ much of the pollutions of 
the world by his knowledge, and yet neglect hun. 

6. You may suifer and lose much for hiin, so far as leave tli 
you an earthly fehcity ; as Ananias ; and the yomig man. 
Matt. xix. 16-22. Some parcels of their pleasures and 
profits many will part with in hope of salvation, that shall 
perish everlastingly for valuing it no more. 

7. You may be esteemed by others a man zealous for 
Christ, and loved and admired upon that account, and yet be 
one that shall perish for making fight of liim. 

8. You may verily think yourselves, that you set more 
by Christ and salvation than any tiling, and yet be mistaken, 
and be judged as contemners of him : Christ justifieth not 
all that justify themselves. 

9. You may be zealous preachers of Chiist and salvation, 
and reprove others for this neglect, and lament the sin of 
the world in the like expression as I have done this day ; 
and yet if you or I have no better eridence to prove our 
hearty esteem of Christ and salvation, we are undone for 
all this. 

You hear, brethren, what will not serve the turn ; will 
you now hear what persons you must be if you would not 
be condemned as slighters of Christ? O search whether it 
be thus with your souls or no ! 

1. Your esteem of Christ and salvation must be greater 
than your esteem of all the honours, profits, or pleasiues of 
this world, or else you slight him : no less Avill be accounted 
sincere, nor accepted to your salvation. Think not this 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 35 

hard, wlien tliere is no comparison in the matters esteemed. 
To esteem the greatest glory on earth before Christ and 
everlasting glory, is a greater folly and A\T'ong to Christ, 
than to esteem a dog before your prmce, would be folly in 
you, and a wi-ong to him. Scripture is plam in this ; " He 
that loveth father or mother, wife, childi^en, house, land, or 
his OAvn life, more than me, is not worthy of me, and cannot 
be my disciple," Matt. x. 37 ; Luke xiv. 26. 

2. You must manifest this esteem of Christ and salvation 
m your daily endeavours and seeking after him, and in part- 
ing wLth any thing that he shall require of you. God is a 
Spu'it, and will not take a hj-pocritical profession instead of 
the heart and spiritual ser\ice which he commandeth. He 
will have the heart or nothing ; and the chief room in the 
heart too : these must be had. 

If you say that you do not make light of Christ, or will 
not hereafter ; let me try you in these few particulars, 
whether indeed you mean as you say, and do not dissemble. 

1 . Will you for the tune to come make Christ and salva- 
tion the chiefest matter of yom* care and study ? Thrust them 
not out of yom- thoughts as a needless or unprofitable sub- 
ject ; nor aUow it only some running, shght thoughts, which 
will not affect you. But will you make it your business 
once a day to bethuik you soberly, when you are alone, 
what Christ hath done for you, and what he wiU do, if you 
do not make Hght of it ; and what it is to be everlastingly 
happy or miserable ? And what all things in this world are 
m comparison of your salvation ; and how they "will shortly 
leave you ; and what mmd you will be then of, and how 
you wiU esteem them ? Will you promise me now and then 
to make it your business to withdraw yourselves fi-om the 
world, and set yourselves to such considerations as these ? K 
you will not, are not you shghters of Christ and salvation, 
that "win not be persuaded soberly to think on them ? This 
is my first question to put you to the trial, whether you "will 
value Christ or not. 

2, Will you for the time to come set more by the word of 
God, which contains the discoveiy of these excellent things, 



36 MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 

and is your cliarter for salyation, and yom- guide thereunto ? 
You cannot set by Christ, but you must set by his word : 
therefore the despisers of it are threatened with destruction, 
Prov. xiii. 13. Will you therefore attend to the public 
preaching of this word ; will you read it daily ; %vill you re- 
solve to obey it whatever it may cost you ? If you wiU not 
do this, but make light of the word of God, you shall be 
judged as such as make light of Christ and salvation, what- 
ever you may fondly promise to yom'selves.^ 

3. Will you for the time to come esteem more of the offi- 
cers of Christ, whom he hath purposely appointed to guide 
you to salvation ; and will you make use of them for that 
end ? Alas, it is not to give the minister a good word, and 
speak well of him, and pay him liis tithes duly, that will 
serve the tm-n : it is for the necessity of your souls that God 
hath set them in his church ; that they may be as physicians 
under Christ, or his apothecaries to apply his remedies to 
your spiritual diseases, not only in pubHc, but also in private : 
that you may have some to go to for the resohing of your 
doubts, and for your instruction where you are ignorant, and 
for the help of their exhortations and prayers. Will you 
use hereafter to go to yom- ministers privately, and solicit 
them for ad^-ice? And if you have not such of your own as 
are fit, get advice fi-om others ; and ask them, ^ATiat you 
shaU do to be saved ? how to prepare for death and judg- 
ment ? And will you obey the word of God in their 
mouths ? If you will not do this much, nor so much as 
inquire of those that should teach you, nor use the means 
which Christ hath established in his church for your help, 
yom- own consciences shall one day witness that you were 
such as made light of Christ and salvation. If any of you 
doubt whether it be yom* duty thus to ask counsel of your 
teachers, as sick men do of their physicians, let your own 
necessities resolve you, let God's express word resolve you ; 
see what is said of the priests of the Lord, even before 
Christ's coming, when much of theu' work did lie in cere- 
monials : " My covenant was with him of life and peace : 
and I gave them to him (to Levi) for the fear wherewith 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST A^O) SALVATION. 37 

Tie feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of 
truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his 
lips ; he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn 
many away from iniquity. For the priest's lips shoidd keep 
knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth : for 
he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts," Mai. ii. 5, 6. 

Nay, you must not only inquire, and submit to their ad- 
vice, but also to their just reprehensions, and chm-ch cen- 
sures ; and without proud repining submit to the discipline 
of Christ in their hands, if it shall be used in the congrega- 
tions whereof you are members. 

4. Will you for the time to come make conscience of 
daily and earnest prayer to God, that you may have a part 
in Christ and salvation ? Do not go out of doors till you 
have breathed out these desires to God ; do not lie down 
to rest till you have breathed out these desires : say not, 
God knoweth my necessity without so often prajing ; for 
though he do, yet he will have you to know them, and feel 
them, and exercise your desires and all the graces of his 
Spfri't in these duties : it is he that hath commanded to pray 
continually, though he know your needs without it, 1 Thess. 
v. 17. Christ himself spent whole nights in prayer, and 
encourageth us to this course, Luke x^dii. 1 . K you will 
not be persuaded to this much, how can you say that you 
make not Hght of Christ and salvation ? 

5. Will you for the time to come resolvedly cast away 
your known sins at the command of Christ ? If you have 
been proud, or contentious, or malicious, and revengeful, be 
so no more. K you have been adulterers, or swearers, or 
cursers, be so no more. You cannot hold these, and yet set 
by Christ and salvation. 

AVhat say you ? Are you resolved to let them go ? K 
not, when you know it is the will of Christ, and he hath 
told you such shall not enter into his kingdom, do not you 
make light of him ? 

6. Will you for the time to come serve God in the dearest 
as well as in the cheapest part of his service ? not only with 
your tongues, but with your piu-ses and your deeds ? Shall 



38 MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST AND SALVATION. 

tlie poor find that you set more by Clirist than this world ? 
Shall it appear in any good uses that God calls you to be 
liberal in, according to yoiu' abilities? " Pure religion and 
undefiled before God is this, To Aisit the fatherless and the 
widows in theii' affliction," James i. 27. Will you resolve 
to stick to Christ, and make sure this work of salvation, 
though it cost you all that you have in the world ? If you 
thmk these terms too dear, you make light of Christ, and 
will be judged accordingly. 

7. Will you for the time to come make much of all things 
that tend to your salvation ; and take every help that God 
offereth you, and gladly make use of all his ordinances? 
Attend upon his strengthening sacraments ; spend the Lord's 
own day m these holy emplopnents ; instruct your children and 
servants in these things, Deut. vi. 6, 7 ; get mto good com- 
pany that set their faces heavenward, and will teach you the 
way, and help you thither ; and take heed of the company 
of wicked scorners, or foolish, voluptuous, fleshly men, or 
any that would hinder you in this work. Will you do these 
things ? Or will you shew that you are slighters of Christ 
by neglecting them ? 

8. WiU you do all this with deHght ; not as your toil, 
but as yoiu* pleasm'e ? And take it for your highest ho- 
nour that you may be Christ's disciples, and may be ad- 
mitted to serve and worship him ; and rejoice with holy 
confidence in the sufficiency of that sacrifice by which you 
may have pardon of all your failuigs, and right to the in- 
heritance of the saints m fight ? If you wiU do these things 
sincerely, you ^vi^ shew that you set by Christ and salva- 
tion ; else not. 

Dearly beloved m the Lord, I have now done that work 
which I came upon ; what effect it hath, or will have, upon 
your hearts, I kno^v not, nor is it any further in my power 
to accomplish that which my soul desu'eth for you. Were 
it the Lord's wfll that I might have my wish herein, the 
words that you have this day heard should so stick by you, 
that the secure should be awakened by them, and none of 
you should perish by the sHghtmg of your salvation. I 



MAKING LIGHT OF CHRIST A2sD SALVATION. 39 

cannot now follow you to your several habitations to apply 
this word to your particular necessities ; but O that I 
could make every mar ^ xii.«*Cier.v'«r a preacher to himself 
that it might do it, which is ever vnth. you ! — That the next, 
tune you go prayerless to bed, or about your business, 
conscience might cry out. Dost thou set no more by Chiist 
and thy salvation ? That the next time you are tempted to 
think hardly of a holy and diligent life (I will not say to de- 
ride it as more ado than needs), conscience might cry out 
to thee, Dost thou set so hght by Chi-ist and thy salvation ? 
That the next time you are ready to rush upon known sin, 
and to please your fleshly desires against the command of 
God, conscience might cry out, Is Christ and salvation no 
more worth, than to cast them away, or venture them for 
thy lusts ? That when you are following the world with 
}-our most eager desii'es, forgetting the world to come, and 
the change that is a Httle before you, conscience might cry 
out to you, Is Christ and salvation no more worth than so ? 
That when you are next spending the Lord's day m idleness 
or vain sports, conscience might tell you what you are 
doing. In a word, that in all your neglects of duty, your 
sticking at the supposed labour or cost of a godly life, yea, 
in all your cold and lazy prayers and performances, con- 
science might tell you how unsuitable such endeavours are 
to the reward ; and that Christ and salvation should not be 
so sHghted. I vnll say no more but this at this time. It is a 
thousand pities that when God hath pro\ided a Sa-vdour for 
the world, and when Christ hath suffered so much for their 
sins, and made so full a satisfaction to justice, and purchased 
so glorious a kingdom for liis saints, and aU this is offered so 
fi-eely to sinners, to lost, unworthy sinners, even for no- 
thing, that yet so many millions should everlastingly perish 
because they make Hght of their Sa^dour and salvation, and 
prefer the vain world and their lusts before them. I have 
dehvered my message, the Lord open your hearts to receive 
it. I have persuaded you with the word of truth and 
soberness; the Lord persuade you more effectually, or else 
all this is lost. Amen. 



A 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED 

TO TURN AND LIVE, 

AND ACCEPT OF MEKCT WHILE MERCY MAT BE HAD, AS EVER THET 
WODLD FIND MERCY IN THE DAY OF THEIR EXTREMITY ; 

FROM THE LIVING GOD: 

To which are added, Forms of Prayer for Morning and Evening for a 
Family, for a penitent Sinner, and for the Lord's Day. 



rSEFACE. 



In that short acquaintance I had with that reverend learned 
servant of Christ, Bishop Usher, he was oft, from first to 
hist, importunmg me to write a directory for the several 
ranks of professed Christians, which might distmctly give each 
one then' portion ; beginning with the imconverted, and 
then proceeding to the babes in Christ, and then to the 
strong ; and mixing some special helps against the several 
sins that they are addicted to. By the suddenness of his 
motion at our first congress, I perceived it was in his mind 
before ; and I told him, both that it was abmidantly done 
by many already, and that his unacquaintedness with my 
weakness, might make him think me fitter for it then I was. 
But this did not satisfy him, but still he made it his request. 
I confess I was not moved by his reasons, nor did I appre- 
hend any great need of doing more than is done in that 
way: nor that I was likely to do more. And, therefore, I 
parted fi:-om him without the least pm^pose to answer his 
desire. But since his death, his words often came mto my 
mind ; and the great reverence I bore to him, did the more 
incHne me to think with some complacency of his motion. 
And haring of late hitended to write a " Family Du-ectory," 
I began to apprehend how congTuously the forementioned 
work should lead the way ; and the several conditions of 
men's souls be spoken of, before we come to the several 
relations. Hereupon I resolved, by God's assistance, to 
proceed in the order followuig. First, to speak to the im- 
penitent, imconverted sinners, who are not yet so much as 
purposing to turn ; or at least are not setting about the 
work. And with these, I thought, a wakening persuasive 
was a more necessary means than mere directions ; for 
directions suppose men ^vilUng to obey them. But the per- 
sons that we have fii'st to deal with, are wilfiil and asleep in 



44 PREFACE. 

sin, and as men that are past feeling, having given them- 
selves over to sin with greediness, Eph. iv. 19. My next 
work must be for those that have some purposes to turn, 
and are about the work, to direct them for a thorough and a 
true conversion, that they miscarry not in the birth. The 
third part must be directions for the younger and weaker 
sort of Christians, that they may be established, built 
up, and persevere. The fourth part, directions for lapsed 
and backshding Christians, for their safe recovery. Besides 
these, there is intended some short persuasions and direc- 
tions against some special eiTors of the times, and against 
some common, kilhng sins. -Is for directions to doubting, 
troubled consciences, that is done already. And the strong 
I shall not write directions for, because they are so much 
taught of God already. And then the last part is intended 
more especially for famihes, as such, directing the several 
relations in their duties. Some of these are already written. 
Whether I shall have life and leisure for the rest, God only 
knoweth : and therefore I shall pubHsh the several parts by 
themselves, as I ^viite them. And the rather because they 
are intended for men of different states, and because I 
would not deter them by the bulk or price, from reading 
what is written for their benefit. The use that this part is 
pubUshed for, is, 1. For masters and parents to read often 
in their families, if they have servants or children that are 
yet unconverted. 2. For all such unconverted persons to 
read and consider of themselves. 3. For the richer sort, 
that have any pity on such miserable souls, to give to the 
unsanctified that need them (if they have not fitter at hand 
to use and give). The Lord awake us to work while it is 
day, for the saring of our own and others' souls, in subser- 
^dency to the blessed God, the Maker, the Redeemer, and 
the Sanctifier of souls. 

RICHARD BAXTER. 



PREFACE. 45 



TO ALL UNSANCTIFIED PERSONS THAT SHALL READ 
THIS BOOK, ESPECIALLY MY HEARERS IN THE 
PARISH OF KIDDERMINSTER; 

Men and Bretheen, 

The eternal God that made you for life ererlastlng, and 
hath redeemed you by his only Son, when you had lost it 
and yourselves, being mindful of you in jour sin and misery, 
hath indited the gospel, and sealed it by his Spirit, and com- 
manded his ministers to preach it to the world, that pardon 
being freely offered you, and heaven being set before you, 
he might call you off fi'om your fleshly pleasures, and from 
following after this deceitful world, and acquaint you with 
the life you were created and redeemed for, before you are 
dead and past remedy. He sendeth you not prophets or 
apostles, that receive then- message by immediate revelation, 
but yet he callethyouby his ordinary ministers, who are com- 
missioned by him to preach the same gospel which Christ and 
his apostles first delivered. The Lord standeth over you, 
and seeth how you forget him and yoiu* latter end, and how 
light you make of everlasting thmgs, as men that under- 
stand not what they have to do or suffer. He seeth how 
bold you are in sin, and how fearless of his threatenings, and 
how careless of your souls, and how the works of infidels 
are in your lives, while the belief of Christians is m yom* 
mouths. He seeth the di-eadflil day at hand, when your 
sorrows will begin, and you must lament all this with fi-uit- 
less cries m torment and desperation ; and then the remem- 
brance of your folly wiU tear your hearts, if true conversion 
now prevent it not. In compassion of your sinful, miser- 
able souls, the Lord, that better knows your case than you 
can know it, hath made it our duty to speak to you in his 
name (2 Cor. v. 19), and to tell you plainly of your sin and 
miser)', and what will be your end, and how sad a change 



46 PREFACE. 

you vn]l shortly see, if yet you go on a little longer. Hav- 
ing bought you at so dear a rate as the blood of his Son 
Jesus Christ, and made you so fi'ee and general a promise of 
pardon and grace, and everlasting glory, he commandeth 
us to tender all this to you, as the gift of God, and to en- 
treat you to consider of the necessity and worth of what he 
offereth. He seeth and pitieth you, wliile you are di'owned 
in worldly cares and pleasures, and eagerly following child- 
ish toys, and wasting that short and precious time for a 
thing of nought, m which you should make ready for an 
everlastmg life ; and therefore he hath commanded us to 
call after you, and to tell you how you lose your labour, 
and are about to lose yom* souls, and to tell you what 
greater and better things you might certamly have, if you 
would hearken to his call, Isa. Iv. 1-3. We believe and 
obey the voice of God ; and come to you daily on his mes- 
sage, who hath charged us to preach and be mstant ^vith 
you in season and out of season, and to lift up our voice 
like a trumpet, and shew you your transgi'essions and your 
sins, Isa. hiii. 1 ; 2 Tim. iv. 1,2. But woe and alas ! to 
the grief of our souls, and your o-\vn undoing, you stop 
your ears, you stiffen yoiu' necks, you harden your hearts, 
and break om- hearts, and send us back to God with groans, 
to tell him that we have done his message, but can do no 
good, nor scarcely get a sober hearing. Oh that om' cacs 
were as a fountain of tears, that we might lament our ignor- 
ant, careless people, that have Christ before them, and par- 
don, and life, and heaven before them, and have not hearts 
to know and value them ! that might have Christ, and 
grace, and glory, as well as others, if it were not for their 
wdlflil neghgence and contempt ! Oh that the Lord would 
fill our hearts with more compassion to these miserable souls, 
that we might cast ourselves even at their feet, and follow 
them to their houses, and speak to them with our bitter 
tears. For long have we preached to many of them, as in 
vain : we study plauiness to make them understand, and 
many of them will not understand us : we study serious, 
piercing words to make thum feel, but they will not ft-el. 



PREFACF- 47 

If the greatest matters would work with them, we should 
awake them. K the sweetest things would work, we should 
entice them, and wui theu' hearts. If the most di-eadful things 
would work, we should at least affinght them from theu- 
wickedness. If truth and smcerity would take with them, 
we should soon conyince them. If the God that made them, 
and the Christ that bought them, might be heard, the case 
would soon be altered with them. If Scriptm-e might be 
heard, we should soon prevail. K reason, even the best 
and strongest reason, might be heard, we should not doubt 
but we should speedily comdnce them. If experience might 
be heard, and even their own experience, and the experi- 
ence of aU the world, the matter might be mended. Yea, 
if the conscience within them might be heard, the case 
would be better with them than it is. But if nothing can 
be heard, what then shall we do for them ? K the di-ead- 
ful God of heaven be sHghted, who then shall be regarded ? 
K the mestiraable love and blood of a Eedeemer be made 
light of, what then shall be valued ? If heaven have no 
desu'able glory with them, and everlasting joys be worth no- 
thing ; if they can jest at hell, and dance about a bottfom- 
less pit, and play with the consuming fire, and that when 
God and man do warn them of it ; what shall we do for 
such souls as these? 

Once more, in the name of the God of heaven, I shall do 
the message to you which he hath commanded us, and leave 
it in these standing lines to convert you or condemn you ; 
to change you, or rise up in judgment agamst you, and to 
Ije a -svitness to your faces, that once you had a serious call 
to tm-n. Hear, all you that are the di'udges of the world, 
and the servants of flesh and Satan ; that spend your days 
in looking after prosperity on earth, and drown your con- 
sciences in drinking, and gluttony, and idleness, and foolish 
sports, and know your sin, and yet will sm, as if you set 
God at defiance, and bid him do his worst, and spare not. 
Hearken, all you that mind not God, and have no heart 
to holy things, and feel no savour m the word or worship 
of the Lord, or in the thoughts or mention of eternal life ; 



48 PREFACE. 

that are careless of your immortal souls, and never bestow- 
ed one hour in inquiring what case they are in, whether 
sanctified or unsanctified, and whether you are ready to ap- 
pear before the Lord ! Hearken, all you that by sinning in 
the hght, have sinned yourselves into atheism and infidehty, 
and do not beheve the word of God. " He that hath an 
ear to hear, let him hear" the gracious and yet dreadful 
call of God ! His eye is all this whUe upon you, yom- sins 
are registered, and you shall surely hear of them again ; 
God keepeth the book now, and he vnW. wi-ite it upon your 
consciences -svdth his terrors ; and then you also shall keep it 
yourselves. O sinners ! that you but knew what you are 
doing ! and whom you are all this while offending ! The sun 
itself is darkness before the glory of that INIajesty which you 
daily abuse and carelessly provoke. The sinning angels 
were not able to stand before him, but were cast down to 
be tormented with de\'ils. And dare such silly worms as 
you so carelessly offend, and set yourselves against your 
Maker ? O that you did but a little know what a case that 
wretched soul is in, that hath engaged the H\'ing God against 
him*! The word of his mouth that made thee can unmake 
thee ; a frown of his face will cut thee off, and cast thee out 
into utter darkness : how eager are the devils to be doing 
with thee that have tempted thee, and do but wait for the 
word from God to take and use thee as their own ! And 
then in a moment thou wilt be in hell. K God be against 
thee, all things arc against thee. This world is but thy 
prison for all that thou so lovest it : thou art but reserved 
in it to the day of wi^ath. Job xxi. 30. The eludgc is 
coming, thy soul is even going : yea, a little while and thy 
friends shall say of thee, He is dead ; and thou shalt see 
the things that thou dost now despise, and feel what now 
thou -sAalt not beUeve. Death will bring such an argument 
as thou canst not answer ; an argument that shall effectually 
conftite thy cavils against the word and ways of God, and 
all thy self-conceited dotages : and then how soon will thy 
mind be changed ! Then be an unbeHever if thou canst ! 
Stand then to aJl thy former words which thou wast wont to 



PREFACE. 49 

utter against the Scriptures, or against a holy and heavenly 
life ! Make good that cause then before the Lord, which 
thou wast wont to plead against thy teachers, and agauist 
the people that feared God. Then stand to thy old opi- 
nions, and contemptuous thoughts of the diligence of the 
saints. Make ready now thy strongest reasons, and stand 
up then before the Judge, and plead like a man, for thy 
fleshly, thy worldly, and ungodly life ; but know that thou 
must have one to plead with thee, that will not be outfaced 
by thee, nor so easily put off as we thy fellow- creatm-es. O 
poor deceived, A\Tetched soul ! there is nothing but a slender 
veil of flesh betwixt thee and that amazing sight, which -^-ill 
quickly silence thee and turn thy tune, and make thee of 
another mind ! As soon as death has drawn this cm-tain, 
thou shalt see that which will quickly leave thee speechless. 
And how quickly wiU that day and horn- come ! "When thou 
hast had but a few more merry hours, and but a few more 
pleasant draughts and morsels, and a httle more of the 
honours and riches of the world, thy portion will be spent, 
and thy pleasures ended, and all is then gone that thou set- 
test thy heart upon ; of all that thou soldest thy vSa^iour 
and salvation for, there is nothing left but the heavy reckon- 
ing. As a thief that sits merrily spending the money m an 
ale-house which he hath stolen, when men are riding in post 
haste to apprehend him ; so it is with }'ou : while you are 
di'owned in cares or fleshly pleasures, and makuig merrj' 
with your own shame, death is coming in post haste to seize 
upon you, and carry your souls to such a place and state, 
as now you Httle know or thmk of. Suppose when you are 
bold and busy in your sin, that a messenger were but com- 
ing post from London to apprehend you, and take -away 
yom- life ; though you saw him not, yet if you knew of his 
coming it would mar your mirth, and you would be thmk- 
ing of the haste he makes, and hearkening when he knock- 
eth at your door. Oh that ye could but see what haste 
death makes, though yet it hath not overtaken you ! ^o 
post so swift ! jSTo messenger more sure ! As sure as the 
sun wUl be with you in the morning, though it hath many 

D 



50 PREFACE. 

thousand and hundred thousand miles to go in the night, so 
sure will death be quickly with you ; and then where is 
your sport and pleasm^e ? Then vnJil you jest and brave it 
out ? Then will you jeer at them that warned you ? Then 
is it better to be a believing saint, or a sensual worldling ? 
And then whose shall all those things be that you have 
gathered? Luke xii. 19-21. Do you not observe that 
days and weeks are quickly gone, and nights and mornings 
come apace, and speedily succeed each other? You sleep, 
but " your damnation slumbereth not;" you linger, "but 
your judgment this long time Hngereth not," ^ Pet. ii. 3-5 ; 
to which you are reserved for pmiishment, 2 Pet. ii. 8, 9. 
" Oh that you were wise to imderstand this, and that you 
did consider yom- latter end I " Dent, xxxii. 20. " He 
that hath an ear to hear, let hun hear " the call of God in 
this day of his salvation. 

O careless sinners, that you did but know the love that 
you mithankfully neglect, and the preciousness of the blood 
of Christ which you despise ! Oh that you did but know 
the riches of the gospel ! Oh that you did but know a httle 
the certainty, and the glory, and blessedness of that ever- 
lasting life, which now you will not set yom' hearts upon, 
nor be persuaded fii-st and dihgently to seek ! Heb. xi. 6 ; 
xii. 28 ; Matt. vi. 13. Did you but know the endless life 
■with God which you now neglect, how quickly would }'0U 
cast away yom* sm ! how quickly would you change yoiu' 
mind and life, your course and company, and turn the 
streams of yom- affections, and lay out your care another 
way ! how resolutely would you scorn to peld to such 
temptations as now deceive you, and cany you away ! how 
zealously would you bestir yourselves for that most blessed 
life ! how earnest would you be -with God in prayer ! how 
dihgent ui hearing, learning, and inquiring ! how serious m 
meditatmg on the laws of God! Psal. i. 2. how fearful of 
sinnuig in thought, word, or deed ! and how carefid to please 
God and grow in hohness ! Oh what a changed people you 
would be ! And why should not the certain word of God 
be believed, and prevail with you, which openeth to you 



PREFACE. 51 

these glorious and eternal things? Yea, let me tell you, 
that even here upon earth, you httle know the difference 
between the life you refuse and the life you choose. The 
sanctified are conversing with God, when you scarce dare 
think of him, and when you are conversing but with earth 
and flesh ; their conversation is in heaven, when you are utter 
strangers to it, and your belly is your god, and you are 
minding earthly things, PhU. iii. 18-20. They are seek- 
ing after the face of God, when you seek for nothuig higher 
than tliis world. They are busily la}ing out for an endless 
life, where they shall be equal with the angels, Luke xx. 36, 
when you are taken up with a shadoAv, and a transitory thing 
of nought. How low and base is your earthly, fleshly, sin- 
ftil life, in comparison of the noble, spii-itual life of true be- 
lievers ! Many a time have I looked on such men mth 
grief and pity, to see them trudge about the world, and 
spend their Ka^cs, care, and labour, for nothing but a Httle 
food and raiment, or a little fading pelf, or fleshly pleasm-es, 
or empty honom's, as if they had no higher tiling to mind. 
A\Tiat difference is there between the Hves of these men, and 
of the beasts that perish, that spend theii' time in working, 
and eating, and h\ing, but that they may Uve ? They taste 
not of the inward heavenly pleasures which believers taste 
and five iipon. I had rather have a little of then- comfort, 
which the forethoughts of their heavenly inheritance doth 
afford them, though I had all then- scorn and suffeiings with 
it, than to have all your pleasures and treacherous prosperi- 
ties ; I would not have one of your secret gi'ipes and pangs 
of conscience, dark and dreadful thoughts of death and the 
life to come, for all that ever the world hath done for you, 
or all that you should reasonably hope that it should do. K 
I were in your unconverted, carnal state, and knew but what 
I know, beheved but what I now believe, methinks my life 
would be a foretaste of hell. How oft should I be thinking 
of the terrors of the Lord, and of the dismal day that is 
hasting on ! Siu-e death and hell would be still before 
me. I should tliink of them by day, and dream of them by 
night ; I should he down in fear, and rise in terror, and live 



62 PREFACE. 

in anguish, lest death should come before I was converted : 
I should have small felicity in any thmg that I possessed, and 
little pleasure in any company, and little joy in any thing in 
the world, as|long as I knew myself to be under the curse and 
wrath of God : I should stiU be afraid of hearing that voice, 
" Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee," 
Luke xii. 20. And that fearful sentence would be written 
upon my conscience, " Verily there is no peace, saith my 
God, to the wicked," Isa. xlviii. 22 ; Ivii. .21. O poor siiniers ! 
it is a more jo^-tiil life than this that you might live, if you 
were but willing, but truly -vxaUing to hearken to Christ, and 
to come home to God. You might then di-aw near to God 
with boldness, and call him your Father, and comfortably 
trust him with your souls and bodies. If you look upon 
promises, you may say. They are aU mine ; if upon the 
ciu'se, you may say. From this I am delivered. ^\Tien you 
read the law, you may see what you are saved from : when 
you read the gospel, you may see him that redeemed you, 
and see the course of his love, and holy life, and sufferings, 
and trace him in his temptations, tears, and blood, in the 
work of your salvation. You may see death conquered, 
and heaven opened, and your resuiTection. and glorification 
pro\-ided for, in the resurrection and glorification of your 
Lord. If you look on the saints, you may say. They are 
my brethren and companions. If on the imsanctified, you 
may rejoice to think that you are saved from that state. If 
you look upon the heavens, the sun, and moon, and stars 
innumerable, you may think and say. My Father's face is 
infuiitely more glorious ; it is higher matters that he hath 
prepared for his saints. Yonder is but the outward court 
of heaven. The blessedness that he hath promised me, is 
so much higher, that flesh and blood cannot behold it. K 
you think of the grave, you may remember that the glori- 
fied Spirit, a liATiig Head, and a loving Father, have all so 
near relation to your dust, that it cannot be forgotten or 
neglected ; but wiU more certainly rerive than the plants 
and flowers in the spring ; because the soul is still alive, 
that is the root of the body, and Christ is alive, that is the 



PREFACE. 53 

root of both. Even death, which is the king of fears, may 
be remembered and entertained with joy, as being the day 
of yom* deHverance from the remnants of sin and sorrow, 
and the day which you beHeved, and hoped, and waited for, 
when you shall see the blessed thmgs which you have heard 
of, and shall find by present jo}-ful experience, what it was 
to choose the better part, and be a sincere believing saint. 
"VMiat say you, sirs ? is not this a more delightful life, to be 
assured of salvation, and ready to die, than to Hve as the 
ungodly, that have their hearts " overcharged with surfeit- 
ing and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that 
day comes upon them unawares ? " Luke xxi. 34, 36. JNlight 
you not Hve a comfortable life, if once you were made the 
heh's of heaven, and sure to be saved when you leave the 
world? O look about you then, and tlunk what you do, 
and cast not away such hopes as these for very nothing. 
The flesh and world can give you no such hopes or comforts. 
And besides all the misery that you bring upon yourselves, 
you are the troublers of others as long as you are uncon- 
verted. You trouble magistrates to rule you by then' laws. 
You trouble muiisters, by resisting the hght and guidance 
which they offer you ; your sin and misery is the greatest 
gi'ief and trouble to them in the world. You trouble the 
commonwealth, and draw the judgments of God upon us : 
it is you that most distm-b the holy peace and order of the 
churches, and hinder our union and reformation, and are 
the shame and trouble of the churches where you intrude, 
and of all the j^laces where you are. Ah, Lord ! how heavy 
and sad a case is this, that even in England, where the gos- 
pel doth abound above any other nation in the v/orld ; 
where teachmg is so plaLu and common, and all the helps we 
can desire are at hand ; when the sword hath been hewing 
us, and judgment hath run as a fu'e through the land ; when 
dehverances have reheved us, and so many admu-able mer- 
cies have engaged us to God, and to the gospel, and to a 
holy life ; that yet after all this our cities, and towns, and 
counties, shall abound with multitudes of imsanctified men, 
and swarm with so much sensuality, as ever}'where to our 



^4 PREFACE. 

grief wc see. One would liave tliouffht, that after all this 
light, and all this experience, and all these judgments and 
mercies of God, the people of this nation should have joined 
together, as one man, to turn to the Lord; and should 
have come to their godly teachers, and lamented all their 
former sins, and desired them to join with them in public 
humiliation to confess their sins openly, and beg pardon of 
them from the Lord, and should have craved instruction for 
the time to come, and be glad to be ruled by the Spirit 
Avithin, and the ministers of Cliiist without, according to the 
word of God. One would think, that after such reason and 
scripture eridence as they hear, and after all these means 
and mercies, there should not be an ungodly person left 
among us, or a worldling, or a drunkard, or a hater of re- 
formation, or an enemy to holiness, be found in all our 
towns or counties. If we be not all agreed about some 
ceremonies or forms of government, one would think that, 
before this, we should have been all agreed to live a holy 
and heavenly life, in obedience to God, his word and minis- 
ters, and in love and peace with one another. But, alas ! 
how far are om* people from this course ! Most of them, in 
most places, do set their hearts on earthh^ things, and seek 
not first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, 
but look at holiness as a needless thing : their families are 
prayerless, or else a few heartless, lifeless words must serve 
instead of hearty, fervent, daily prayer ; their children are 
not taught the knowledge of Christ, and the covenant of 
grace, nor brought up in the nurture of the Lord, though 
they falsely promised this in their baptism. They instruct 
not their servants in the matters of salvation ; but so then- 
work be done they care not. There are more oaths, and 
curses, and ribald and railing speeches in their families, than 
gracious words that tend to edification. How few are the 
families that fear the Lord, and inquire after his word and 
ministers, how they should Hve, and what they should do ; 
and are willing to be taught and ruled, and that heartily 
look after everlastmg life ! And those few that God hath 
made so happy, are commonly the by- word of their neigh- 



PREFACE. 55 

hours ; when we see some live in drunkenness, and some in 
pride and worldliness, and most of them have Httle care of 
their salvation, though the cause be gross, and past aU con- 
troA'ersy, yet will they hardly be convinced of their misery, 
iind more hardly recovered and reformed ; but when we 
have done all that we are able, to save them fi'om their 
sins, we leave them, most of them, as we find them. And 
if, according to the law of God, we cast them out of the 
communion of the church, when they have obstinately re- 
jected all our admonitions, they rage at us as if we were 
their enemies, and then- hearts are filled with malice against 
us, and they will sooner set themselves agamst the Lord, 
and his laws, and church, and ministers, than against their 
deadly sins. This is the doleful case of England ; we have 
magistrates that countenance the ways of godliness, and a 
happy opportunity for unity and reformation is before us ; 
and faithful ministers long to see the right ordering of the 
chm-ch, and of the ordinances of God ; but the power of sin 
in our people doth fi'ustrate almost all. Nowhere almost 
can a faithfiil nunister set up the unquestionable discipHne of 
Christ, or put back the most scandalous, impenitent sinners 
from the commmiion of the chmxh, and participation of the 
sacrament, but the most of the people rail at them, and re- 
vUe them ; as if these ignorant, careless souls were wiser 
than their teachers, or than God himself ; and fitter to rule 
the chm-ch than they. And thus m the day of our visita- 
tion, when God calls upon us to reform his church, though 
magistrates seem -willing, and fiiithfiil mmisters are willing, 
yet are the multitude of the people still unwilKng ; and sin 
hath so blinded them, and hardened their hearts, that even 
in these days of fight and gi'ace, they are the obstinate ene- 
mies of fight and grace, and "vviU not be brought by the calls 
of God to see their folly, and know what is for tlieu* good. 
Oh that the people of England knew, " at least in this their 
day, the things that belong imto then' peace, before they are 
hid fi'om their eyes !" Luke xix. 42. O foofish and miser- 
able souls ! Gal. in. 1, who hath bewtched your minds into 
such madness, and your hearts into such deadness, that you 



56 PREFACE 

should be such mortal enemies to jom-selves, and go on so 
obstinately towards damnation, that neither the word of God 
nor the persuasions of men can change your minds, or hold 
your hands, or stop you till you are past remedy ? Well, 
sinner ! this life "vvill not last always ; this patience will not 
wait upon you stUl. Do not think that you shall abuse your 
Maker and Redeemer, and serve his enemies, and debase 
your souls, and trouble the world, and wrong the chm-ch, 
and reproach the godly, and grieve your teachers, and hin- 
der reformation, and all this upon free cost. You know not 
yet what this must cost you, but you must shortly know, 
when the righteous God shall take you in hand, who will 
handle you in another manner than the sharpest magistrates 
or the plainest dealhig pastors did, unless you prevent the 
everlasting torments by a sound conversion, and a speedy 
obeying the call of God. " He that hath an ear to hear, 
let him hear," while mercy hath a voice to call. 

One desperate objection (which I have touched in the 
sequel, but with too much brevity) I find sticks close to the 
hearts of many ungodly men. They think that God doth 
not so much care what men think, or say, or do, as we per- 
suade them ; and therefore they care so little themselves. 
For the convincing of such atheistical men as these, I shall 
propound the following questions : — 

1. Dost thou think God careth whether thou be a 
man or not ? If not, who made thee, and preserved thee ? 
If he do, then sure he careth whether thou behave thyself 
as a man. No man is so fooHsh as to make any instrument, 
build a house, or a ship, and not care, when he hath done, 
whether it be good for the use he made it. Do not for shame, 
then, impute such folly to the God of Avisdom, as if he made 
so noble a creature as man, and endowed him with such 
noble fliculties, and all for nothing, and careth not what be- 
cometh of him when he hath done. A\1iy should God give 
thee a mind that can know him, and a heart that can love 
liim, when he careth not whether thou know him, and love 
him, or not ? Do not you see, that, in the course of natiu-e, 
every tluiig is fitted to its use ? The beasts know not God, 



PREFACE. 57 

nor are capable of loving him, because they were made for 
no such use ; but thy capacity shews that thou wast made 
for God, and for a life to come. 

2. Dost thou think that God is everpvhere present, and 
infinite, and all-sufficient? If not, thou dost not believe, 
that he is God ; and it is mireasonable to imagine, that 
God hath made a world that is greater, and more extensive 
or comprehensive, than himself! For none can communicate 
more than he hath. But if thou art forced to confess that 
God is everywhere, and as sufficient for every single man, 
as if he had never another creatm^e to regard, thou must 
needs confess then that he is not careless of the hearts and 
ways of the sons of men ; for they are thmgs that are still 
before his eyes. It is base and blasphemous thoughts of 
God, as if he were lunited, absent, or insufficient, that makes 
men thmk him so regardless of theu- hearts and ways. 

3. Dost thou think that God careth Avhat becomes of thy 
body ? whether thou be sick or well ? whether thou live or 
die ? If not, then how camest thou by thy life, and health, 
and mercies ? If they came fi'om any other fountam, tell 
us fi'om whence. Is it not to God that thou prayest for 
thy life and health ? Darest thou say to him, I ^vill not 
depend upon thee ? I will not be beholden to thee for the 
life and mercies of another day ? If so, then thou art a 
blind atheist. But if thou thinkest he cares for thy body, 
canst thou think he cares not more for thy soul ? If he must 
regard to furnish thee with mercies, he aviU surely have a 
regard whether thou love and live to him that gave them. 

4. Dost thou beHeve that God is the Governor of tlie 
world, or not ? If not, then there can be no rightful go- 
vernment. For as no justice of peace can have a power, 
but fi'om the sovereign ; so no sovereign can have power, 
but from God ; nor be a lawful governor, but imder him : 
and then all the world would be turned into confusion. 
But if thou must needs confess that God is the Governor of 
the world, what an unwise, unrighteous governor wouldst 
thou make him, if thou thinkest that he regardeth not the 



58 PREFACE. 

hearts and ways of those whom he doth govern ! This still 
is but to deny him to be God 

5. K God do not care so much what is in our hearts, or 
what we do, why then should he make a law for our hearts, 
and words, and ways? Would he command us that 
which he doth not care for ? Would he so strictly forbid 
sin, if he were indifferent whether we sin or not ? Would 
he promise eternal life to the holy and obedient, if he cared 
not whether we be holy and obedient or no? Would 
he threaten hell to all that^re ungodly, if he cared not 
whether we are godly or not ? Barest thou say, that the 
almighty, holy God is fain to rule the world by a He, and 
to deceive men pto obedience? Yea, the very law of 
nature itself doth contain not only precepts of our duty, 
but the hopes and fears of the life to come, without which 
the world could not be governed ; and certainly they are 
no deceits, by wliich an infinite wisdom, and power, and good- 
ness, doth govern the world. 

6. J£ God did not much regard our hearts and hves, why 
doth he make all the world to be our servants ? Doth he 
give us the sun, and moon, and stai's, the earth, and all 
creatures to attend us, and serv^e us with their hves and 
virtues, and yet doth he not care for om- hearts or service ? 
This is as foolish as to say, that he hath made all the world 
in vain, and careth not for it, now he hath made it. 

7. If he cared not for the fi-ame of om* hearts and Hves, 
he would not have sent his Son to redeem us, and to cleanse 
us from iniquity, and sanctif}' us a peculiar people to hun- 
self, Tit. u. 14. Surely the price that was paid for sinners, 
and the wonderful design of God m our redemption, doth 
shew that he makes not Hght of sin, and that he is wonder- 
fully in love with holiness. 

8. If God did not regard our hearts and lives, he would 
not have made it the office of his ministers to caU us daily 
to repentance and a holy life ; nor commanded them to make 
such a stir with sumers to win them unto God : he would 
not have appointed aU his ordinances, pubHc and private, 



PREFACE. 59 

also to this end. Doth God command all this ado for a 
thing he regards not ? 

9. Nor would* he punish the world with hell hereafter, 
or so many dreadiul judgments here, as thousands feel, if he 
cared not what they think or do. Methinks, men that are 
so often groaning under his rod, should feel that he looks 
after their hearts and ways. 

10. And how can the Holy Ghost be oiu* Sanctifier, if 
God be so indifferent, whether we be clean or unclean ? 
Dare you think that the Holy Ghost doth take upon him a 
needless work? 

11. Methinks you might perceive, even in the mahce of 
the tempter, that God is holy, and hateth iniquity ; and his 
word is true, that telleth us of the eternal punishment of 
sin. The Scripture tells us of the angels' fall, and that 
many of them are become devils by their sin, and are mali- 
cious enemies of man's salvation. And do you not easily 
perceive it to be true ? How came they else to be such 
importunate tempters of men, which we feel, alas ! by too 
much experience? Or if this e%idence be not palpable 
enough to con\Tnce the infidel ; how come they to make so 
many bargains with conjurers and witches, to draw them 
from God and salvation, as they have done? How come 
they to appear in terrible shapes to so many as they have 
done, and still upon designs that declare their own dejected, 
base condition, and their enmity to God and man, and their 
eager desire to engage men in a way of sin ? If any infidel 
will not believe that really there have been witches and ap- 
paritions, and consequently that there are devils, who arfe 
miserable, malicious spirits, who by sin are cast out of the 
favour of God, and would draw men into then' miserable 
case ; let them come and reason the case ^vith me, and I 
shall quickly tell them of so many sure and undeniable in- 
stances, and give them so much proof of the truth of it, as 
shall leave them nothing to say against it, unless they will 
still say, "We will not beheve : yea, so much, as that I will 
not be beholden to the vilest atheist or infidel to believe it, 



60 PREFACE. 

if he will not quite renounce his reason, but give it leave to 
see the light. 

12. Lastly, If yet you tliink that God (the Sovereign 
Ruler of the world, that is ever} where present, and pre- 
serveth all) doth care so little what men are, or what they 
do, whether they are holy or unholy, obedient or disobe- 
dient to his laws ; then methinks that you }'ourselves, and 
all the rest of your fellow-creatures, should Httle care. 

Two questions therefore I must propound to you : 

1. Do not you care what men say of you, or do to you? 
Are you contented that men slander you, and abuse you, or 
set your houses or towns on fire, or destroy your cattle, or 
wives or childi-en, and imprison, wound, or kill yourselves ? 
K you will make a great matter what men say or do against 
you, can you be so mad (for it is no better) as to think that 
the omnipotent, holy God, should Httle regard what is said 
or done against himself, and against his servants, and that 
by such silly worms as men, that are his workmanship ? Did 
not selfishness make you blind and partial, you would know 
that one sin against God deserves more punishment than 
ten thousand thousand times as much against such silly 
tilings as you. Do you make no matter of difierence 
between a bad servant and a good ? an obedient and dis- 
obedient child? a son that Avill lay dov/n his life for you, 
and a son that longs for your death, that he may have your 
land? between a faitliful friend and a deadly enemy? If 
you do not, you are not men, but something else in human 
shape. K you do, then you are somewhat worse than men, 
if yet you would have the blessed God to make no great 
difierence between those that love him above all the world, 
and those that regard him not ; between the holy and un- 
holy soul. 

And, 2. I would ask you whether you would have the 
rulers of the world to take care what men. say or do, or 
would you not ? If not, then you would have all the world 
turned loose, and you would have every man that is poorer 
than you, have leave to rob you ; and eveiy man that hateth 



PREFACE. 61 

you, have leave to beat or kill you ; aud every man that 
liketh your house, or lands, or goods, or cattle, to have leave 
to take them fi'om you ; and every man defile yoiu* \vives or 
daughters, that hath a mind to it ? And so we should see 
whither it is that infidelity leads men. But if you hke not 
this, then you are most unreasonable, if you would have 
magistrates to be regardful of men's actions, and not God •, 
if magistrc\tes must hang men for wrongiag you, and the 
eternal Majesty must not punish them for wronging him, and 
breaking his laws, which is mfinitely a greater matter. As 
if you would have a constable punish men, and the king or 
judge to have no regard of it ; for kings are under God, as 
constables are under kings, and a thousandfold lower. 

The truth is, wicked men are fallen so far fi'om God to 
themselves, that they are as gods to themselves in their own 
esteem, and besides themselves they know no God ; and 
therefore any wrong that is done against them, or any good 
that is done for them, they would have regarded ; but the 
■wrong and disobedience that is against God, they would have 
nothmg made of it. And they have such narrow, blasphe- 
mous thoughts of God, as if he were a finite creature like 
themselves, that can be but in one place at once, that makes 
them so blaspheme his proAidence, and think he minds no 
good or evil, and vriW. not regard the godly, or punish the 
ungodly, but were like the idols of the heathen, that have 
eyes and see not, ears and hear not, and hands without an 
executive power. But when the memorial book of God is 
opened, which is written for them that fear the Lord, and 
think upon his name ; and when the I>ord shall say of them, 
'■' These are mine," as he is making up his jewels, and 
spareth them as a man spareth his son that ser\-eth him ; 
then shall these infidels return to their wits, and the righte- 
ous shall retmn fi-om their fears and sufferings, and shall 
decern between the righteous and the wicked, between those 
that serve God and those that serve him not, Mai. iii. 16-18. 

Another objection I find most common m the mouths of 
the ungodly, especially of late years ; they say. We can do 
nothing without God ; we camiot have grace if God will not 



hZ PREFACE. 

give it us ; and if lie will, we shall quickly turn : if he have 
not predestinated us, and vnW not turn us, how can we turn 
ourselves or be saved? It is not in him that wills, or in 
liini that runs. And thus they think they are excused. 

I have answered this formerly, and in this book ; but 
let me now say tliis much. 1. Though you cannot cure 
yourselves, you can hurt and poison yom-selves : it is God 
that must sanctify your hearts ; but who corrupted them ? 
AVni you wilfiilly take poison, because you cannot cure 
yoin-selves ? Methinks you should the more forbear it : you 
should the more take heed of shining, if you cannot mend 
what sin doth mar. 2. Though you cannot be converted 
■without the special grace of God, yet you must know, that 
God giveth his grace in the use of his holy means wliich he 
hath appomted to that end ; and common grace may enable 
you to forbear your gross sinning, as to the outward act, and 
to use those means. Can you truly say that you do as much 
as you are able to do ? Are you not able to go by an ale- 
house door, or to shut your mouths and keep out the di'ink? 
or to forbear the company that hardeneth you to sin ? Are 
you not able to go hear the word, and think of what you 
heard when you come home? and to consider with yom'- 
selves of yom' own condition, and of everlasting things? Are 
you not able to read good books fi'om day to day, at least 
on the Lord's day, and to converse with those that fear the 
Lord ? You cannot say that you have done what you are 
able. 3. And therefore you must know that you can forfeit 
the grace and help of God by yoin- wilful sinning or negli- 
gence, though you cannot, without grace, tiu-n to God. If 
you win not do what you can, it is just with God to deny 
you that grace by which you might do more. 4. And for 
God's decrees, you must know that they separate not the 
end and means, but tie them together. God never decreed 
to save any but the sanctified, nor to damn any but the 
unsanctified. God doth as truly decree from everlasting 
whether your land this year shall be barren or fruitfiil, and 
just how long you shaU Hve in the world, as he hath decreed 
whether you shall be saved or not. And yet you would think 



PREFACE. 63 

that man but a fool that would forbear ploughmg and sow- 
ing, and say, If God have decreed that my ground shall 
bear corn, it will bear whether I plough and sow or not. 
If God have decreed that I shall hve, I shall Hve whether I 
eat or not ; but if he have not, it is not eating will keep 
me ahve. Do you know how to^answer such a man, or do 
you not ? If you do, then you know how to answer your- 
selves ; for the case is alike : God's decree is as peremptory 
about your bodies as your souls. If you do not, then try 
first these conclusions upon your bodies, before you venture 
to try them on yom* souls ; see first whether God vnll keep 
you ahve without food or ramient, and whether he wiU give 
you com without tillage and labour, and whether he will 
bring you to your jom-ney's end without yom* travel or car- 
riage ; and if you speed well in this, then try whether he 
will bring you to heaven without yom' diligent use of means, 
and sit down and say. We cannot sanctilj' ourselves. 

And for the point of fi-ee-will, which you harp so long 
upon, divines are not so much disagreed about it as you 
imagine. Augustine as well as Pelagius, Calvin as well as 
Arminius, the Domuiicans as well as the Jesuits, all do 
generally maintain, that man hath free-will. The orthodox 
say, that fi'ee-will is corrupted and disposed to e\il. Epi- 
phanius condemned Origen for sajing, that man had lost 
the image of God, and makes it a point of heresy. And 
yet one may truly say, That man hath lost God's image ; 
and another may truly say, That he hath not lost it. For 
there is a twofold image of God in man : the one is natural, 
and that is om* reason and fi'ee-wiU, and this is not lost ; 
the other is quahtative and ethical, and this is om- holiness, 
and this is lost, and by grace restored. JSTo man of brains 
denieth, that a man hath a -will that is natm-ally fi'ee ; it is 
fi-ee fi'om violence, and it is a self- determining principle ; but 
it is not fi'ee fi-om evil dispositions. It is habitually averse 
to God and holiness, and incHned to earthly, fleshly things ; 
it is enslaved by a sinful bias. This, no man, methinks, 
that is a Christian, should deny ; and of the aged, I see 
not how an infidel can deny it. Alas, we easily confess to 



64 PREFACE. 

you, that you have not this spiritual, moral free-will, which 
is but your right inclination, and your habitual willingness 
itself. If you had a will that were freed from wicked in- 
clinations, I had no need to wiite such books as these to 
persuade you to be willing in a case which your own salva- 
tion lieth on. To the grief of our souls, we perceive, after 
all our preachings and persuasions, that the ungodly have 
not this spiritual free-will. But this is nothing but your 
willingness itself, and inclination to be willing ; and there- 
fore the want of it is so far from excusing you, that the 
more you want it (that is, the more }'0U are wilful in sin) 
the worse you are, and the sorer will be your punishment. 
And our preaclung and persuasions, and your hearing and 
considering, are the appointed means to get this moral 
power of freedom, that is, to make you truly willing. 

"Well, sirs, I have but three requests to you, and I have done : 
First, That you -svill seriously read over this small treatise 
(and if you have such that need it in your famihes, that you 
read it over and over to them : and if those that fear God 
would go now and then to their ignorant neighbours, and 
read this or some other book to them of this subject, they 
might be a means of winning of souls.) If we cannot en- 
treat so small a labour of men for their own salvation, as to 
read such short instructions as these, they set little by them- 
selves, and mil most justly perish. Secondly, "\Mien you 
have read over this book, I would entreat you to go alone, 
and ponder a little Avhat you have read, and bethink you, 
as in the sight of God, whether it be not true, and do not 
nearly touch your souls, and whether it be not time for you 
to look about you ; and I also entreat that you -svill fall upon 
your knees and beseech the Lord that he will open your 
eyes to understand the truth, and turn your hearts to the 
love of God, and beg of him all that sa^'ing grace, that you 
have so long neglected, and follow it on fi'om day to day, 
tni your hearts be changed ; and withal, that you will go 
to your pastors (that are set over you, to take care of the 
health and safety of your souls, as physicians do for the health 
of your bodies), and desire them to direct you what course to 



PREFACE. 6 5 

take, and acquaint them with your spiritual estate, that you may 
have the benefit of their advice and ministerial help. Or if 
you have not a faithful pastor at home, make use of some 
other in so great a need. Thirdly, When by reading, con- 
sideration, prayer, and ministerial advice, you are once ac- 
quainted with }'our sin and misery, -with your duty and re- 
medy, delay not, but presently forsake your sinful company 
and courses, and turn unto God, and obey his call, and as 
you love your souls, take heed that you go not on against 
so loud a call of God, and against your own knowledge and 
conscience, lest it go worse with you in the day of judg- 
ment than with Sodom and Gomorrah. Inquire of God, as 
a man that is willing to knoAv the truth, and not be a wil- 
ful cheater of his soul. Search the holy Scripture daily, 
and 'ice whether these things be so or not ; try impartially 
whether it be safer to trust heaven or earth ; and whether 
it be better to follow God or man, the Spirit or the flesh ; 
and better to live in holiness or sin ; and whether an un- 
sanctified estate be safe for you to abide in one day longer ; 
and when you have found out which is best, resolve accord- 
ingly, and make your choice without any more ado. If you 
■will be true to your own souls, and do not love everlasting 
torments, I beseech you, as from the Lord, that you will 
but take this reasonable ad^-ice. O what happy towns and 
countries, and what a happy nation might we have, if we 
could but persuade our neighbours to agree to such a ne- 
cessary motion! "V^Tiat jo\-ful men would all faithful minis- 
ters be, if they could but see their people truly heavenly 
and holy ! This would be the unity, the peace, the safety, 
the glory of our churches, the happiness of our neighbours, 
and the comfort of our souls. Then how comfortable should 
we preach absolution and peace to you, and deHver the 
sacraments, which are the seals of peace, to you. And with 
what love and joy might we live among you; at yom* death- 
bed, how boldly might we comfort and encourage your de- 
parting souls : and at your burial, how comfortably might 
we leaA^e you m the grave, in expectation to meet your 
souls in heaven, and to see your bodies raised to that glory. 

E 



66 PREFACE. 

But if still the most of you will go on iii a careless, ig- 
norant, fleshly, worldly, or unholy life ; and all oui' desh^es 
and labours cannot so far prevail as to keep you from the 
wilful damning of yourselves ; we must then imitate our 
Lord, who delighteth liimself in those few that are his 
jewels, and the little flock that shall receive the kingdom, 
when the most shall reap the misery which they sowed. In 
natm-e excellent things are few. The world hath not many 
suns or moons ; it is but a little of the earth that is gold or 
silver ; princes and nobles are but a small part of the sons 
of men. And it is no great number that are learned, judi- 
cious, or wise, here in this world. And therefore if the gate 
bemg strait, and the way narrow, there be but few that find 
salvation, yet God will have his glor}' and pleasm-e in those 
few. And when Christ " shall come with his mighty angels 
in flaming fiire, taking vengeance on them that know not 
God, and obey not the gospel of om' Lord Jesus Chi-ist, his 
coming Avill be glorified in his saints, and admired in all true 
behevers," 2 Thess. i. 7-10. 

And for the rest, as God the Father vouchsafed to create 
them, and God the Son disdained not to bear the penalty 
of their sins upon the cross ; and did not judge such suffer- 
ings vain, though he knew that by refusing the sanctifica- 
tion of the Holy Ghost, they would finally destroy them- 
selves ; so we that are his ministers, though these be not 
gathered ; judge not our labour wholly lost. See Isa. 
xlix. 5. 

Reader, I have done vnth thee (when thou hast perused 
this book) ; but sin hath not yet done %vith thee (even those 
that thou thoughtest had been forgotten long ago), and 
Satan hath not yet done with thee (though now he be out 
of sight), and God hath not yet done with thee, because 
thou wilt not be persuaded to have done with deadly, reign- 
ing sin. I have written thee this persuasive, as one that is 
going into another world, where the things are seen that I 
here speak of, and as one that knoweth thou must shortly 
be there thyself. As ever thou wouldst meet me mth com- 
fort before the Lord that made us ; as ever thou wilt 



PREFACE. 67 

escape tlie everlasting plagues prepared for the final ne- 
glecters of salvation, and for all that are not sanctified 
by the Holy Ghost, and love not the communion of the 
saints, as members of the holy catholic chiu'ch ; and as ever 
thou hopest to see the face of Christ the Judge, and of the 
majesty of the Father, with peace and comfort, to be re- 
ceived into glory, when thou art turned naked out of tliis 
world ; I beseech thee, I charge thee, to hear and obey the 
call of God, and resolvedly to tm-n, that thou mayst live. 
But if thou wilt not, even when thou hast no true reason for 
it, but because thou wilt not ; I smnmon thee, answer for 
it before the Lord, and require thee there to bear me wit- 
ness I gave thee warning, and that thou wert not condemned 
for want of a call to turn and live, but because thou wouldst 
not believe it, and obey it ; which also must be the testi- 
mony of thy serious monitor. 

EICHARD BAXTER. 



CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED 

TO TURN AND LIVE. 



" Say tmto them, as I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in 
the death of the wicked ; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: 
turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways ; for why will ye die, O house of 
Israel ? " — Ezekiel xxxiii. 11. 

It hath been the astomshing wonder of many a man, as well 
as me, to read in the holy Scripture, how few -will be saved, 
and that the greatest part even of those that are called, will 
be everlastingly shut out of the kingdom of heaven, and 
tormented with the de^ils in etei'nal fire. Infidels believe 
not this when they read it, and therefore must hereafter feel 
it. Those that do believe it, are forced to cry out with Paul, 
" Oh the depth of the riches both of the wasdom and know- 
ledge of God ! How unsearchable are his judgments, and 
his ways past finding out !" Rom. xi. 13. But nature itself 
doth teach us all, to lay the blame of e^'il works upon the 
doers ; and therefore when we see any heinous thing done, a 
principle of justice doth provoke us to inquire after him that 
did it, that the e\al of the work may return the evil of shame 
upon the author. If we saw a man killed and cut in pieces 
by the way, we should presently ask, Oh ! who did this cruel 
deed ? If the town were wilfully set on fire, you would ask, 
What ^^^cked Avretch did this? So when we read that the most 
will be fii'e-brands of hell for ever, we must needs think with 
ourselves, how comes this to parss ? And whom doth it belong 



70 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

to ? who is it that is so cruel as to be the cause of such a 
thing as this ? And we can meet "with few that will own the 
guilt. It is indeed confessed by all, that Satan is the cause, 
but that doth not resolve the doubt, because he is not the 
principal cause. He doth not force men to sm, but tempt 
them to it, and leaves it to their own wills, whether they wiU 
do it or not. He doth not carry men to an ale-house, and 
force open their mouths, and pour in the drink ; nor doth 
he hold them that they cannot go to God's service, nor 
doth he force then- hearts from holy thoughts. It lieth, 
therefore, between God himself, and the sinner: one of them 
must needs be the principal cause of all this misery, which- 
ever it is ; for there is no other to cast it upon. And 
God disclaimeth it ; he wiU not take it upon him. And the 
wicked disclaim it usually, and they will not take it upon 
them ; and this is the controversy that is here managed in 
the text. 

The Lord complaiaeth of the people, and the people think 
it belougeth to God : the same controversy is handled in 
chap. x\Tii. where, ver, 25, they plainly say, " that the way 
of the Lord is not equal." And God saith, " It is their 
ways that are not equal." So here they say, ver. 19, "If our 
transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away 
in them, how shall we then Hve ? " As if they should say, If 
we must die and be miserable, how can we help it ? as if it 
belonged not to them, but God. But God, m my text, 
doth clear himself of it, and telleth them how they may help 
it if they will, and persuadeth them to use the means : and 
if they -will not be persuaded, he lets them know that it be- 
longeth to themselves ; and if this wdll not satisfy them, he 
will not therefore forbear to punish them. It is he that will be 
their Judge, and he will judge them according to then' ways : 
they are no judges of him, or of themselves, as wanting 
authority, wisdom, and impartiahty ; nor is it their ca\alluig 
and quaiTelling with God, that shall serve their turn, or save 
them from the execution of justice which they murmur at. 

The words of this verse contain, 1. God's pm'gation or 
clearing of liimself from the blame of their destruction. This 



A CALL TO THE UNCON\'EETED. 71 

he doth, not by disowning his law, that the " wicked shall 
die ;" nor by disowmng his judgments and execution accord- 
ing to that law, or by giving them any hope that the law shall 
not be executed ; but by professmg that it is not theu* death 
that he takes pleasm-e in, but their returning rather, that 
they may live. And this he confirmeth to them by his oath. 
2. An express exhortation to the wdcked to return ; where- 
in God doth not only command, but persuade and conde- 
scend also to reason the case with them, ^Yhj will they die ? 
The dh'ect end of this exhortation is, that they may turn and 
live. The secondary, or reserved ends, upon supposition 
that this is not attained, are these two : First, To con\iace 
them by the means which he used, that it belongeth not to 
God if they be miserable. Secondly, To comince them 
from their manifest wilfulness, in rejecting all his commands 
and persuasions, that it belongeth to themselves, and they 
die even because they will die. 

The substance of the text doth lie in these observations 
following. 

Doct. I. It is the unchangeable law of God, that wicked 
men must turn or die. 

Doct. II. It is the promise of God, that the wicked shall 
live, if they will but turn. 

Doct. III. God takes pleasure in men's conversion and 
salvation, but not in their death or damnation ; he had 
rather they would retmTi and live, than go on and die. 

Doct. TV. This is a most certain truth, which because 
God would not have men to question, he hath confirmed it 
to them solemnly by his oath. 

Doct. y. The Lord doth redouble his commands and per- 
suasions to the wicked to turn. 

Doct. YI. The Lord condescendeth to reason the case 
with them, and asketh the wicked, why they will die ? 

Doct. YH. If after all this, the wicked will not return, 
it belongeth not to God that they perish, but to themselves : 
their own wilfulness is the cause of their damnation ; they 
therefore die because they will die. 

Having laid the text open before your eyes ui these plain 



72 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

propositions, I shall next speak somewhat of each of them 
in order, though very briefly. 

Doct. I. It is the unchangeable law of God, that wicked 
men must turn or die. 

If you will believe God, believe this. There is but one 
of these two ways for every wicked man, either conversion 
or damnation. I know the wicked will hardly be persuad- 
ed, either of the truth or equity of this. Xo wonder if 
the guilty quarrel with the law. Few men are apt to 
beheve that which they would not have to be true, and 
fewer would have that to be true, which they apprehend 
to be against them. But it is not quarrellmg -svith the 
law, or with the judge, that will save the malefactor : be- 
lieving and regarduig the law might have prevented his 
death ; but denying and accusing it, will but hasten it. K 
it were not so, a hundred would bring their reason against 
the law, for one that would bring his reason to the law ; 
and men would rather choose to give their reasons why they 
should not be punished, than to hear the commands and 
reasons of their governors which require them to obey. The 
law was not made for you to judge, but that you might be 
ruled and judged by it. But if there be any so blind as 
to venture to question either the truth or justice of the law 
of God, I shall briefly give you that e\4dence of both, which, 
methinks, would satisfy a reasonable man. And first, if 
you doubt whether this be the word of God or not, besides 
a hundred other texts, you may be satisfied by these few : 
" Verily, I say unto you. Except ye be converted, and be- 
come as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of 
heaven," Matt. x\'iii. 3. " Verily, verily, I say unto thee, 
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of 
God," John iii. 3. "If any man be in Christ he is a new 
creature : old things are passed away, behold all things are 
become new," 2 Cor. v. 17. "Ye have put off" the old 
man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which 
is renewed in knowledge, after the image of him that 
created him," Col. iii. 9, 10. " Without holiness no 
man shall see God," Ileb. xii. 14. "So then they that 



A CALL TO THE L^'COXVERTED. 73 

are in the flesh cannot please God. Now if any man have 
not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his," Rom. viii. 8, 9. 
" For m Christ Jesus neither cu-cumcision avaHeth any thmg, 
nor uncircumcision, but a new creature," Gal. \'i. 15. " Ac- 
corcUng unto his abundant grace, he hath begotten us agam 
to a lively hope," 1 Pet. i. 3. " Being born again, not of 
con-uptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, 
which Uveth and abideth for ever," ver. 23. " Wherefore 
laj-ing aside all mahce, and all guile, and hj-pocrisies, and 
env}ings, and e-vil-speakmgs, as new-bom babes desire the 
sincere mUk of the Avord, that ye may gi-ow thereby," 1 Pet. 
ii. 1, 2, '^ The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all 
the nations that forget God," Psal. ix. 17. " And the 
Lord loveth the righteous ; but the Avicked his soul hateth," 
Psal. xi. 4. As I need not stay to open these texts which 
are so plain, so I think I need not add any more of that 
multitude which speak the like. K thou be a man that dost 
believe the word of God, here is already enough to satisfy 
thee that the wicked must be converted or condemned. 
You are already brought so far, that you must either confess 
that this is true, or say plainly, you wHl not believe the word 
of God. And if once you be come to that last pass, there 
is but small hopes of you : look to yoiu-selves as well as you 
can ; for it is Hke you will not be long out of hell. You 
would be ready to fly in the face of him that should give 
you the He ; and yet dare you give the He to God ? But if 
you tell God plainly you vnR not beHeve him, blame hun 
not if he never warn you more, or if he forsake you, and 
give you up as hopeless : for to what purpose should he 
warn you, if you would not beHeve him. Should he send 
an angel from heaven to you, it seems you Avould not be- 
Heve, for an angel can speak but the word of God ; and 
if an angel should bring you any other gospel, you are not 
to receive it, but to hold him accursed. Gal. i. 8. And 
surely there is no angel to be believed before the Son of 
God, who came from the Father to bring us this doctrine. 
If he be not to be beHeved, then all the angels in heaven 
are not to be believed. And if you stand on these terms 



74 A CALL TO THE UXCOXVEETED. 

with God, I shall leave you till he deal vnth }0u in a more 
convincing way. God hath a voice that will make you 
hear ! Though he entreat you to hear the voice of his gos- 
pel, he will make you hear the voice of liis condemning 
sentence, Avithout entreaty. We cannot make you believe 
against yom* mils ; but God will make you feel against 
your wills. But let us hear what reason you have, why you 
Avill not believe this word of God, which tells us, that^ the 
wicked must be converted or condemned. I know your 
reason ; it is because that you judge it unlikely that God 
should be so unmerciful ; you think it cruelty to damn 
men everlastingly for so small a thing as a sinful life. And 
this leads us up to the second thing, wliich is to justify the 
equity of God in his laws and judgment. 

And first, I think you wiU not deny but that it is most 
suitable to an immortal soul, to be ruled by laws that pro- 
mise an immortal reward, and threaten an endless punish- 
ment. Otherwise the law should not be suited to the na- 
tiu-e of the subject, who will not be fiilly raled by any 
lower means than the hopes or fears of everlasting things : 
as it is in case of temporal punishment. If a law were now 
made, that the most heinous crimes should be punished 
with a himdred years' captivity, this might be of some effi- 
cacy, as being equal to om* fives. But if there had been 
no other penalties before the flood, when men Hved eight 
or nine hundred years, it would not have been sufficient, 
because men would know that they might have so many 
hundred years' impunity afterward. So it is in our present case. 

2. I suppose you will confess, that the promise of an end- 
less and inconceivable glorv', is not unsuitable to the wis- 
dom of God, or the case of man. And why then should 
you not think so of the threatening of an endless and un- 
speakable miseiy ? 

3. When you find it in the word of God, that so it is, 
and so it vnW. be, do you thmk yourselves fit to contradict 
this word ? WiU you call your Maker to the bar, and ex- 
amine his word upon the accusation of falsehood ? Will 
you sit upon him. and judge him by the law of your conceits ? 



A CALL TO THE LT^CONVERTED. 75 

Are you wiser, and better, and more righteous than he ? Must 
the God of heaven come to school to you to learn wisdom ? 
Must Infinite Wisdom learn of foUy ; and Infinite Goodness 
be corrected by a swinish sinner, that cannot keep himself 
an hour clean ? Must the Almighty stand at the bar of a 
worm ? Oh horrid aiTogancy of senseless dust ! Shall 
every mole, or clod, or dunghill, accuse the sun of darkness, 
and undertake to illuminate the world? Where were you 
when the Almighty made the laws, that he did not call you 
to his counsel? Surely he made them beforeyou were bom, 
without desu-ing yom* ad\ice, and you came into the world 
too late for to reverse them. If you could have done so 
great a work, you should have stepped out of your nothing- 
ness, and have contradicted Christ when he was on earth, 
or Moses before him, or have saved Adam and his sinful 
progeny fi'om the threatening death, that so there might 
have been no need of Christ. And what if God withdraw 
his patience and sustentation, and let you drop into hell 
while }'ou are quarrelling with his words, will you then be- 
Heve that there is a hell '^ 

4. If sin be such an evil that it required the death of 
Christ for its expiation, no wonder if it deserve our ever- 
lasting misery. 

5. And if the sins of the devils deserved an endless tor- 
ment, why not also the sins of men ? 

6. And methinks you should perceive that it is not pos- 
sible for the best of men, much less for the wicked, to be 
competent judges of the desert of sin. Alas ! we are both 
blind and partial. You can ncA^er know fldly the desert of 
sin, till you flilly know the e\i\ of sin ; and you can never 
iully know the evil of sin, till you fully know, 1. The ex- 
cellency of the soul which it deformeth. 2. And the ex- 
cellency of holiness which it doth obliterate. 3. And the 
reason and the excellency of the law which it -violateth. 
And, 4. The excellency of the glory which it doth despise. 
And, 5. The excellency and office of reason wliich ittreadeth 
down. 6. No, nor till you know the infinite excellency, 
almightiness, and holiness of that God, against whom it is 



76 A CALL TO THE L-XCOXYERTED. 

committed. A\Tien you fully know all these, you shall fully 
know the desert of sin Besides, you know that the offender 
is too partial to judge the law, or the proceedings of his 
judge. We judge by feeling, which binds our reason. We 
see in common worldly thmgs, that most men think the 
cause is right which is then' own, and that all is wrong that 
is done against them ; and let the most wise, or just, or im- 
partial friends persuade them to the contrar}', and it is all 
in vain. There are few childi-en but think the father un- 
merciful, or that he dealeth hardly with them, if he whip 
them. There is scarce the vilest, swinish wretch, but thinketh 
the church doth -wrong him, if they excommunicate him ; 
or scarce a thief or mm-derer that is hanged, but would 
accuse the law and judge of cruelty, if that would serve 
his turn. 

7. Can you thuik that an unholy soul is fit for heaven ? 
Alas ! they cannot love God here, nor do hun any service 
which he can accept. They are contrary to God, they 
loathe that which he most loveth, and love that which he 
abhorreth. They are incapable of that imperfect commu- 
nion "vnth him, which his samts here do paitake of. How 
then can they hve in that perfect love of him, and full de- 
Hghts and communion with him, which is the blessedness of 
heaven ? You do not accuse yourselves of umnercifulness, 
if you make not your enemy your bosom counsellor ; or if 
you take not yom- swine to bed and board Avith you ; no, 
nor if you take away their life, though they never sinned. 
And yet will you blame the absolute Lord, the most wise and 
gracious Sovereign of the world, if he condemn the imcon- 
verted man to pei-petual misery. 

Use. I beseech you now, all that love your souls, that 
instead of quan^elling with God, and with his word, you 
will presently stoop to it, and use it for yom' good. All 
you that are yet unconverted in this assembly, take this as 
the undoubted truth of God ; you must ere long be con- 
verted or condemned, there is no other way but turn or die. 
AVhen God, that cannot lie, hath told you this, when you 
hear from the Maker and Jud^e of the world, it is tune for 



A CALL TO THE UXCOX^^ERTED. 77 

him that hath ears to hear ; by this time you may see what 
you have to trust to. You are but dead and damned men, 
except you will be converted. Should I tell you otherwise, 
I should but deceive you with a lie. Should I hide this from 
you, I should undo you, and be guilty of your blood, as the 
verses before my text assure me, ver. 8, " AATien I say to 
the wicked man, O wicked man, thou shalt sm-ely die ; if 
thou dost not speak to warn the "wicked from his way, that 
A^dcked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I 
require at thine hand." You see then, though this be a 
rough, unwelcome doctrine, it is such as we must preach 
and you must hear. It is easier to hear of hell than feel 
it. K your necessities did not require it, we should not 
gall your tender ears vnth truths that seem so harsh and 
ginevous. Hell would not be so full, if people were but 
Mailing to know their case, and to hear and think of it. The 
reason why so few escape it, is, because they stnve not to 
enter in at the strait gate of conversion, and to go the nar- 
row way of hoUness while they have time ; and they strive 
not, because they be not awakened to a hvely feeling of the 
danger they are in ; and they be not awakened, because 
they are loth to hear or think of it ; and that is partly 
through foohsh tenderness, and carnal self-love, and partly 
because they do not well believe the word that threateneth 
it. If you will not thoroughly believe this truth, methinks 
the weight of it should force you to remember it, and it 
should follow you and give you no rest till you are converted. 
If you had but once heard this word, by the voice of an 
angel. Thou must be converted or condemned ; tiun or die ! 
would it not stick in your mind, and haimt you night and 
day? So that in your sinning you woidd remember it, as if 
the voice were still in yom- ears. Turn or die ! Oh happy 
were your souls, if it might thus work -with you, and never 
be forgotten, or let you alone till it hath driven home yoiu' 
hearts to God. But if you Avill cast it out by forgetfulness 
or unbelief, how can it work to your conversion and salva- 
tion ? But take this with you, to your sorroAv, though you 
may put this out of your minds, you cannot put it out of the 



78 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

Bible ; but there it will stand as a sealed truth, which you 
shall experimentally know for ever, that there is no other 
way but turn or die. 

Oh what is the matter then that the hearts of sinners 
be not pierced with such a weighty truth ! A man would 
think now that every unconverted soul that hears these 
words should be pricked to the heart, and think Avith them- 
selves. This is my own case ; and never be quiet till they 
found themselves converted. Beheve it, sirs, this drowsy, 
careless temper will not last long. Conversion and con- 
demnation are both of them awakening things ; and one of 
them will make you feel ere long. I can foretell it as 
truly as if I saw it with my eyes, that either grace or hell 
will shortly bring these matters to the quick, and make you 
say, ^Vhat have I done ? What foolish, wicked courses have 
I taken ? The scornful and stupid state of sinners will last 
but a little while : as soon as they either tm-n or die, the 
presumptuous dream will be at an end, and then their wits 
and feehng ^^dll return. 

But I foresee there are two things that are like to harden 
the unconverted, and make me lose all my labour, except 
they can be taken out of the way : and that is, the misun- 
derstanding of those two words, the wicked, and turn. 
Some will thmk vdih themselves, it is true, the wicked uuist 
turn or die ; but what is that to me ? I am not wicked, 
though I am a sinner, as all men be . Others will think, it 
is true that we must turn fi-om our e^il ways ; but I am 
turned long ago, I hope this is not now to do. And thus, 
while A\'icked men think they are not Avicked, but are al- 
ready converted, we lose all our labour in persuading them 
to tm^n. I shall therefore, before I go any further, teU you 
here who are meant by the wicked, and who they be that 
must turn or die, and also what is meant by turnmg ; and 
who they be that are truly converted ; and this I have pur- 
posely reserved for this place, prefen-ing the method that 
fits my end. 

And here you may observe, thjit in the sense of the text, 
a wicked man and a converted man are contraries. E'o man 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 79 

15 a wicked man that is converted, and no man is a con- 
verted man that is wicked ; so that to be a wicked man, 
and to be an unconverted man, is all one. And therefore 
in opening one, we shaU open both. 

Before I can tell you what either wickedness or conver- 
sion is, I must go to the bottom, and fetch up the matter 
from the beginnmg. 

It pleased the great Creator of the world to make three 
sorts of living creatures. Angels he made pm-e spirits with- 
out flesh, and therefore he made them only for heaven, and 
not to dwell on earth. Beasts were made flesh without im- 
mortal souls ; and therefore they were made only for earth, 
and not for heaven. Man is of a middle nature, between 
both, as partaking of both flesh and spmt ; and therefore 
he was made both for heaven and earth. But as his flesh 
is made to be but a servant to his spmt, so is he made for 
earth, but has his passage or way to heaven, and not that 
this should be his home or happiness. The blessed state 
that man was made for, was to behold the glorious majesty 
of the Lord, and to praise him among his holy angels, and 
to love him, and be filled with his love for ever. And as 
this was the end that man was made for, so God did give 
him means that were fitted to the attaining of it. These 
means were principally two. First, The right inclination 
and disposition of the mind of man. Secondly, The right 
ordering of his life and practice. For the first, God suited 
the disposition of man to his end ; giving him such know- 
ledge of God, as was fit for his present state, and a heart 
disposed and inclined to God in holy love. But yet he did 
not fix or confirm him in tliis condition ; but ha\'ing made 
liim a fi'ee agent, he left him in the hands of his own fi'ee- 
wlU. For the second, Cfod did that which belonged to 
him ; that is, he gave man a perfect law, requiring him to 
continue in the love of God, and perfectly to obey him. 
By the wilfiil breach of this law, man did not only forfeit 
his hopes of everlasting life, but also turned his heart fi-om 
God, and fixed it on these lower, fleshly things, and hereby 
did blot out the spiritual image of God from his soul. So 



80 A CALL TO THE L^CONVERTED. 

that man did both fall short of the glory of God, which was 
his end, and put himself ont of the way by which he 
should have attained it ; and this, both as to the frame of 
his heart and of his life. The holy inclination and love of 
his soul to God, he lost ; and instead of it, he contracted 
an inclination and love to the pleasing of his flesh, or 
carnal self, by earthly things ; gi'owing strange to God, and 
acquainted with the creature : and the course of his life was 
suited to the bent and inclination of his heart ; he lived to 
his carnal self, and not to God ; he sought the creature for 
the pleasing of his flesh, instead of seeking to please the 
Lord. With this nature or corrupt inclmation, we are all 
now bom into the world ; for " who can bring a clean 
thing out of an unclean?" Job xiv. 4. As a lion hath a 
fierce and cruel nature, before he doth devour, and as an 
adder hath a venomous nature before she stings, so in our 
very infancy we have those sinful natures or inclinations, 
before we think, or speak, or do amiss. And hence 
springeth all the sin of our lives. And not only so, but 
when God hath of his mercy pro\4ded us a remedy, even the 
Lord Jesus Christ, to be the SaAdour of our souls, and 
bring us back to God again, we naturally love our present 
state, and are loth to be brought out of it, and therefore 
are set against the means of our recovery ; and though cus- 
tom hath taught us to thank Christ for his good will, yet 
carnal self persuadeth us to refuse his remedies, and to de- 
sire to be excused when we are commanded to take the me- 
dicines which he offereth, and are called to forsake all, and 
follow him to God and glory. 

I pray you read over this leaf again, and mark it ; for in 
these few words you have a true .description of our natural 
state, and consequently of a wicked man. For every man 
that is in this state of corrupted nature, is a wicked man, 
and in a state of death. 

By this also you are prepared to understand what it is 
to be converted ; to which end you must further know, 
that the mercy of God, not wUling that man should perish 
in his sin, pro%ided a remedy, by causing his Son to take 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 81 

our natui-e, and being in one person God and man, to be- 
come a Mediator between God and man ; and by d}-ino- for 
our sins on the cross, to ransom us from the curse of God, 
and the power of the de\al : and having thus redeemed us, 
the Father hath delivered us into his hands as his own. 
Hereupon the Father and the Mediator do make a new law 
and covenant for man. Not like the first, which gave life 
to none but the perfectly obedient, and condemned man for 
ever}' sin ; but Christ hath made a law of grace, or a pro- 
mise of pardon and everlasting life to all that by true repen- 
tance, and by faith in Christ, are converted unto God. 
Like an act of oblivion, which is made by a prince to a 
company of rebels, on condition they will lay down their 
arms, and come in, and be loyal subjects for the time to 
come. 

But because the Lord knoweth that the heart of man is 
grown so wicked, that, for all this, men will not accept of 
the remedy if they be left to themselves ; therefore the Holy 
Ghost hath undertaken it as his office to inspu-e the apostles, 
and seal up the Scripture by mu-acles and wonders, and to 
illuminate and convert the souls of the elect. 

So that by this much you see, that as there are three 
Persons in the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost; so all of these Persons have their several works, 
which are eminently ascribed to them. 

The Father's works were, to create us, to rule us as his 
rational creatures by the law of natm-e, and judge us there- 
by ; and in mercy to provide us a Redeemer when we were 
lost ; and to send his Son, and accept his ransom. 

The works of the Son for us were these : to ransom and 
redeem us by his sufFeidngs and righteousness, to give out 
the promise or law of grace, and rule and judge the world 
as their Redeemer, on terms of grace ; and to make inter- 
cession for us, that the benefits of his death may be com- 
municated ; and to send the Holy Ghost (which the Father 
also doth by the Son.) 

The works of the Holy Ghost for us are these : to indite 
the holy Scriptures, by inspiring and guiding the prophets 

F 



82 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

and apostles ; and sealing the word by his miraculous gifts 
and works ; and the illuminating and exciting the ordinary 
muiisters of the gospel ; and so enabhng them, and helping 
them to pubhsh that word, and by the same word illumi- 
natmg and converting the souls of men. So that as you 
could not have been reasonable creatures if the Father had 
not created you ; nor have had any access to God if the Son 
had not redeemed you ; so neither can you have a part in 
Christ, or be saved, except the Holy Ghost do sanctify 
you. 

So that by this time you may see the several causes of 
this work. The Father sendeth the Son ; the Son redeemeth 
us, and maketh the promise of grace ; the Holy Ghost in- 
diteth and sealeth this gospel ; the apostles are the secre- 
taries of the Spirit, to wi'ite it ; the preachers of the gospel 
are the heralds to proclaim it, and persuade men to obey it ; 
and the Holy Ghost doth make their preaching effectual, by 
openmg the hearts of men to entertain it. And aU this to 
repair the image of God upon the soul, and to set the heart 
upon God again, and take it off the creature and carnal self, 
to which it is revolted, and so turn the current of this hfe 
into a heavenly course, which before was earthly ; and all 
this by the entertainment of Christ by faith, who is the 
Physician of the soul. 

By this which I have said, you may see what it is to be 
wicked, and what it is to be unconverted. Which, I think, 
wHl be yet plainer to you, if I describe them as consisting of 
their several parts : and for the first, A wicked man may be 
kno^vn by these three things : 

First, He is one that placeth his chief content on earth ; 
and loveth the creature more than God ; and his fleshly 
prosperity above the heavenly felicity : he savom'eth the 
things of the flesh, but neither discerneth nor savoureth the 
tlimgs of the Spirit ; though he will say that heaven is better 
than earth, yet doth he not really so esteem it to himself. If 
he might be sure of earth, he would let go heaven, and had 
rather stay here than be removed thither. A life of perfect 
holiness in the sight of God, and in his love, and praises for 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 83 

ever in heaven, doth not find such liking with his heart as 
a life of health, and wealth, and honour here upon earth. 
And though he falsely profess that he loveth God above all, 
yet indeed he never felt the power of divine love within him, 
but his mind is more set on the world, or fleshly pleasures, 
than on God. In a word, whoever loveth earth above 
heaven, and fleshly prosperity more than God, is a wicked, 
unconverted man. 

On the other side, a converted man is illuminated to dis- 
cern the loveliness of God ; and so far believeth the glory 
that is to be had with God, that his heart is taken up to it, 
and set more upon it than on any thing in this world. He 
had rather see the face of God, and live in his everlasting 
love and praises, than have all the wealth or pleasure of the 
world. He seeth that all things else are vanity, and notliing 
but God can fill the soul ; and therefore let the world go 
which way it will, he layeth up his treasures and hopes in 
heaven ; and for that he is resolved to let go all. As the 
fire doth mount upward, and the needle that is touched with 
the loadstone still tm-neth to the north, so the converted soul 
is inchned unto God. Nothing else can satisfy him ; nor 
can he find any content and rest but in his love. In a word, 
all that are converted do esteem and love God better than 
all the world, and the heavenly felicity is dearer to them 
than their fleshly prosperity. The proof of what I have said 
you may find ha these places of Scriptm-e, Phil. iii. 18, 21 ; 
Matt. vi. 19-21 ; Col. iii. 1-4 ; Rom. viii. 3, 6-9, 18, 23 ; 
Psal. Ixxiii. 25, 26. 

Secondly, A wicked man is one that maketh it the prin- 
cipal business of his life to prosper in the world, and attain 
his fleshly ends. And though he may read and hear, and 
do much in the outward duties of rehgion, and forbear dis- 
graceful sins ; yet this is all but upon the bye, and he never 
makes it the trade and principal business of his life to please 
God and attain everlasting glory, but puts off God ■mih the 
leavings of the world, and gives him no more service than the 
flesh can spare ; for he will not part with all for heaven. 

On the contrary, a converted man is one that makes it 



84 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

the principal care and business of Ms life to please God, and 
to be saved ; and takes all the blessings of this life but as 
accommodations in his jom-ney towards another life, and 
useth the creatm-e in subordmation unto God : he loveth a 
holy life, and longeth to be more holy ; he hath no sin but 
Avhat he hateth, and longeth, and prayeth, and striveth to 
be rid of. The di-ift and bent of his life is for God ; and if 
he sin, it is contrary to the very bent of his heart and life, and 
therefore he i-ises again, and lamenteth it, and dare not wil- 
fully live in any known sin. There is nothing in this world 
so dear to him but he can give it up to God, and forsake it 
for him and the hopes of glory. All this you may see in 
Col. iii. 1-5 ; Matt. \i. 20, 33 ; Luke xviii. 22, 23, 29 ; 
xiv. 18, 24, 26, 27 ; Rom. ^iii. 13 ; Gal. v. 24 ; Luke 
xii. 21, &c. 

Thirdly, The soul of a wicked man did never truly dis- 
cern and relish the mystery of redemption, nor thankfully 
entertain an offered Sa\'iour, nor is he taken up A\dth the 
love of the Redeemer, nor willing to be ruled by him, as the 
Physician of his soul, that he may be saved from the guilt 
and power of his sms, and recovered unto God ; but his heart 
is insensible of this unspeakable benefit, and is quite against 
the heahng means by which he should be recovered. Though 
he may be willing to be caraally religious, yet he never re- 
signed up his soul to Christ, and to the motions and conduct 
of his word and Spirit. 

On the contrary, the converted soul havhig felt himself 
undone by sin ; and perceiving that he hath lost his peace 
vnih God, and hopes of heaven, and is in danger of ever- 
lasting misery, doth thankfully entertain the tidings of re- 
demption; and beHe^-ing in the Lord Jesus as his only 
Saviour, resigneth up himself to him for wisdom, righteous- 
ness, sanctification, and redemption. He taketh Christ as 
the life of his soul, and hveth by hun, and useth him as a 
salve for every sore, admirmg the wisdom and love of God 
in his wonderful work of man's redemption. In a word, 
Christ doth even dwell m his heart by faith, and the life that 
he now liveth is by faith in the Son of God, who loved 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 85 

him and gave himself for him. Yea, it is not so much he 
that hveth, as Christ m him. For these, see John i. 11, 
12 ; iii. 19, 20 ; Rom. viii. 9 ; Phil. iii. 7-10; Gal. ii. 
20 ; John xv. 2-4 ; 1 Cor. i. 20 ; ii. 2. 

You see now m plain terms, from the word of God, who 
are the wicked, and who are the converted. Ignorant 
people tlnnk, that if a man be no swearer, nor curser, nor 
railer, nor di'unkard, nor fornicator, nor extortioner, nor 
wrong any body in their dealings, and if they come to 
church, and say their prayers, these cannot be wicked men. 
Or if a man that hath been guilty of drunkenness, swearing, 
gaming, or the like ^ices, do but forbear them for the time 
to come, they think that this is a converted man. Others 
think, if a man that hath been an enemy, and a scorner 
of godliness, do but approve it, and join himself with those 
that are godly, and be hated for it by the wicked, as the 
godly are, that this needs must be a converted man. And 
some are so fooHsh as to think they are converted, by tak- 
ing up some new and false opinion ; and falling into some 
dividing party, as baptists, quakers, papists, or such like. 
And some think, if they have but been affi-ighted by the fears 
of hell, and had convictions, and gripes of conscience, and 
thereupon have purposed and promised amendment, and 
taken up a Hfe of chnl behaviom-, and outward religion, that 
this must needs be true conversion. And these are the poor 
deluded souls that are like to lose the benefit of all our 
persuasions. And when they hear that the Avicked must 
turn or die, they think that this is not spoken of them ; for 
they are not %vicked, but are turned already. And there- 
fore it is, that Christ told some of the rulers of the Jews, 
who were more grave and ci\al than the common people, 
that " Publicans and harlots do go into the kingdom of 
God before them," Matt. xxi. 31. Not that a harlot or 
gross sinner can be saved without conversion, but because 
it was easier to make those gross sinners perceive their sin 
and misery, and the necessity of a change, when the ci viler 
sort do delude themselves by thinking that they are con- 
verted already, when they be not 



Ob A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

O sirs, conversion is another kind of work than most are 
aware of. It is not a small matter to bring an earthly- 
mind to heaven, and to shew man the amiable excellencies 
of God, till he be taken up in such love to him that can 
never be quenched ; to break the heart for sin, and make 
him fly for refuge unto Christ, and thankflilly embrace him 
as the life of his soul ; to have the very diift and bent of 
the heart and life to be changed ; so that a man renounceth 
that which he took for his felicity, and placeth his feHcity 
where he never did before, and liveth not to the same end, 
and driveth not on the same design in the world as former- 
ly he did : m a word, he that is in Christ "is a new 
creature ; old things are passed away, behold all things are 
become new," 2 Cor. v. 17. He hath a new understanding, 
a new will and resolution, new sorrows, and desu-es, and 
love, and deUght ; new thoughts, new speeches, new com- 
pany (if possible), and a new conversation. Sin, that be- 
fore was a jesting matter with him, is now so odious and 
terrible to him that he flies from it as from death. The 
world, that was so lovely in his eyes, doth now appear but 
as vanity and vexation. God, that was before neglected, 
is now the only happiness of his soul : befoi-e he was for- 
gotten, and every lust preferred before him ; but now is 
set next the heart, and all things must give place to him ; 
and the heart is taken up in the attendance and observance 
of him, and is grieved when he hides his face, and never 
thinks itself well without him. Christ himself, that was 
wont to be slightly thought of, is now his only hope and re- 
flige, and he Hves upon hun as on his daily bread ; he can- 
not pray without him, nor rejoice without him, nor think, 
nor speak, nor hve, without him. Heaven itself, that be- 
fore was looked upon but as a tolerable reserve, which he 
hoped might serve tm-n better than hell, when he could not 
stay any longer in the world, is now taken for his home, 
the place of his only hope and rest, where he shall see, and 
love, and praise that God that hath his heart already. HeU, 
that did seem before but as a bugbear to frighten men 
from sin, doth now appear to be a real misery, that is not 



A CALL TO THE UNCOXl^ERTED. 87 

to be ventured on or jested with. The works of holiness, 
which before he was weary of, and seemed to be more ado 
than needs, are now both his recreation, and his business, 
and the trade he Hves upon. The Bible, which was before to 
him but almost as a common book, is now as the law of God, 
as a letter written to him from heaven, and subscribed with 
the name of the Eternal Majesty ; it is the rule of his 
thoughts, and words, and deeds ; the commands are binding, 
the threats are dreadftd, and the promises of it speak life to 
his soul. The godly, that seemed to him but like other 
men, are now the most excellent and happiest on earth. 
And the wicked that were his play-fellows, are now his 
grief; and he that could laugh at their sins, is readier now 
to weep for their sin and misery, Psal. xv. 4 ; xvi. 3 ; Phil, 
iii. 18. In short, he hath a new end in his thoughts, and 
a new way in his endeavours, and therefore his heart and 
life are new. Before, his carnal self was his end ; and his 
pleasure, and worldly profits, and credits were his way. 
And now, God and everlasting gloiy are his end ; and 
Christ, and the Spirit, and the word, and ordinances, holiness 
to God, and righteousness and mercy to men, these are his 
way. Before, self was the chiefest ruler, to which the mat- 
ters of God and conscience must stoop and give place : and 
now God in Chi-ist, by the Spirit, word, and ministry', is the 
chiefest Ruler, to whom both self, and all the matters of 
self, must give place. So that this is not a change in one, 
or two, or twenty points, but in the whole soul ; and the 
very end and bent of the conversation. A man may step 
out of one path into another, and yet have his face still 
the same way, and be still going towards the same place ; 
but it is another matter to turn quite back again, and 
take his journey the clean contrary way, to a contrary place. 
So it is here ; a man may turn from drunkenness to thrifti- 
ness, and forsake his good fellowship, and other gi'oss, dis- 
gi'aceftd sins, and set upon some duties of rehgion, and yet 
be going still to the same end as before, intending his car- 
nal self above all, and gi^ing it still the government of his 
soul. But when he is converted, this self is denied and 



88 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

taken down, and God is set up, and his face is turned th(i 
contrary way : and lie that before was addicted to himself, 
and lived to himself, is now by sanctification devoted to 
God, and liveth unto God. Before he asked himself what 
he should do with his time, his parts, and his estate, and 
for himself he used them ; but now he asketh God what he 
shall do with them, and useth them for him : before he 
would please God so far as might stand with the pleasure 
of his flesh and carnal self, but not to any great displea- 
sure of them; but now he will please God, let flesh and 
self be ever so much displeased. This is the gTeat change 
that God will make upon all that shall be saved. 

You can say that the Holy Ghost is our Sanctifier ; but 
do you know what sanctification is ? T\Tiy, this is it that I 
have now opened to you : and every man or woman in the 
world must have this, or be condemned to everlasting misery. 
They must turn or die. 

Do you believe all this, sirs, or do you not ? Surely you 
dare not say you do not ; for it is past all doubt or denial. 
Tliese are not controversies, where one learned, pious man 
is of one mind, and another of another; where one party 
saith this, and the other saith that : papists and baptists, 
and every sect among us, that deserve to be called Christians, 
are all agreed in this that I have said ; and if you will not 
believe the God of truth, and that in a case where every 
sect and party doth beheve him, you are utterly inexcus- 
able. 

But if you do believe this, how comes it to pass that you 
are so c^uiet in an miconverted state ? Do you think you are 
converted? and can you find this wondeiiul change upon 
your souls ? Have you been thus born again, and made 
anew ? Be not these strange matters to many of you ? and 
such as you never felt upon yourselves ? K you cannot 
tell the day or week of your change, or the very sermon 
that converted you, yet do you find that the work is done, 
and such a change indeed there is ? and that you have such 
hearts as are before described? Alas, the most do follow 
their worldly business, and little trouble their minds with 



A CALL TO THE CNCO>r\^ERTED. 89 

such thoughts. And if they be but restrained fi-om scan- 
dalous sins, and can say, I am no whoremonger, nor thief, 
nor curser, nor swearer, nor tippler, nor extortioner ; I go 
to the church and say my prayers ; they think that this is 
true conversion, and they shall be saved as well as any. 
Alas, this is foolish cheating of yourselves ; this is too much 
contempt of an endless glory, and too gross neglect of your 
unmortal souls. Can you make so hght of heaven and hell ? 
Your corjDse will shortly lie in the dust, and angels or devils 
win presently seize upon your souls ; and every man or 
woman of you all, aatII shortly be among other company, 
and in another case than now you are : you will dwell in 
these houses but a httle longer ; you \viU work in your shops 
and fields but a Httle longer ; you will sit in these seats, and 
dweU on this earth, but a little longer ; you will see with 
those eyes, and hear with those ears, and speak ^vith those 
tongues, but a Uttle longer, till the resurrection day ; and 
can you make shift to forget this ? Oh what a place "^1 
you be shortly in of joy or torment ! Oh what a sight wiU 
you shortly see in heaven or hell ! Oh what thoughts will 
shortly fill your hearts with unspeakable delight or horror ! 
AVhat work will you be employed in ! To praise the Lord 
with saints and angels, or to crj- out in fire unquenchable 
with de\'ils : and should all this be forgotten ? And all this 
will be endless, and sealed up by an unchangeable decree. 
Eternity, eternity will be the measiu-e of your joys or sor- 
rows ; and can this be forgotten ? And all this is true, $irs, 
most certainly true : when you have gone up and down a 
httle longer, and slept and awaked but a few times more, 
you will be dead and gone, and find all true that now I tell 
you ; and yet can you now so much forget it ? You shall 
then remember you heard this sermon, and that this day, in 
t^is place, you were remembered of these things, and per- 
ceive them matters a thousand tunes greater than either you 
or I could here conceive ; and yet shall they be now so 
much forgotten ? 

Beloved fiiends, if the Lord had not awakened me to be- 
lieve and lay to heart these things myself, I should have re- 



90 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

mained in the dark and selfish state, and have perished for 
ever ; but if he have truly made me sensible of them, it wiU 
constrain me to compassionate you, as well as myself. If 
your eyes were so far open as to see hell, and you saw your 
neighbours that were unconverted, dragged thither with 
hideous cries ; though they were such as you accounted 
honest people on earth, and feared no such matter by them- 
selves ; such a sight would make you go home and think of 
it, and think again, and make you warn all about you, as 
that damned worldHng in Luke xvi. 28 would have had 
his brethren warned, lest they come to that place of torment. 
Whjy faith is a kind of sight, it is the eye of the soul, the 
evidence of things not seen : if I beheve God, it is next to 
seeing ; and therefore I beseech you excuse me, if I be half 
as earnest with you about these matters^ as if I had seen 
them. If I must die to-morrow, and it were in my power 
to come again from another world, and tell you what I had 
seen, would you not be willing to hear me ? and would you 
not believe and regard what I shoidd tell you ? If I might 
preach one sermon to you after I am dead, and have seen 
what is done in the world to come, would you not have me 
plamly speak the truth ? and would you not crowd to hear 
me ? and would you not lay it to heart ? but this must not 
be : God hath his appointed way of teachuig you by Scrip- 
ture and ministers ; and he will not humour unbehevers so 
far, as to send men from the dead to them, and alter his 
established way : if any man quarrel mth the sun, God will 
not humour him so far, as to set up a clearer Hght. Friends, 
I beseech you regard me now, as you would do if I should 
come fi-om the dead to you ; for I can give you the frill assu- 
rance of the truth of what I say to you, as if I had been 
there and seen it with my eyes : for it is possible for one 
from the dead to deceive you ; but Jesus Christ can never 
deceive you ; the word of God deUvered in Scripture, and 
sealed up by the miracles and holy w^orkings of the Spirit, 
can never deceive you. Believe this, or believe nothing. 
Beheve and obey this, or you are undone, i^ow, as ever 
you believe the word of God, and as as ever vou care for 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 91 

the salvation of your souls, let me beg of you this reasonable 
request, and I beseech you deny me not, that you would 
Avithout any more dela}-, when you are gone fi-om hence, 
remember what you heard, and enter into an earnest search 
of your hearts, and say unto yourselves. Is it so indeed ? 
Must I tiu-n or die ? Must I be converted or condemned ? 
It is time for me then to look about me, before it be too 
late. Oh why did not I lack after this till now ? Why did I 
venturously put oif or slubber over so great a business ? Was 
I awake, or in my wits? O blessed God, what a mercy is it 
that thou didst not cut off my life aU this while, before I 
had any certain hope of eternal hfe ! Well, God forbid that 
I should neglect this work any longer. ^Vhat state is my 
soul in ? Am I converted, or am I not ? Was ever such a 
change or work done upon rny soul ? Have I been illumi- 
nated by the word and Sph-it of the Lord, to see the odious- 
ness of sin, the need of a Sa\dour, the love of Christ, and 
the excellences of G od and glory ? Is my heart broken, or 
humbled Avithin me, for my former life ? Have I thankfiilly 
entertained my Saviom' and Lord, that offered himself with 
pardon and life to my soul? Do I hate my former smful 
life, and the remnant of every sin that is in me ? Do I fly 
from them as my deadly enemies ? Do I give up myself to 
a hfe of hoHness and obedience to God? Do I love it and 
delight in it ? Can I truly say, that I am dead to the world, 
and carnal self; and that I live for God, and the glory 
which he hath promised ? Hath heaven more of my estima- 
tion and resolution than earth ? And is God the dearest and 
highest in my soul ? Once, I am sure, I lived prmcipally to 
the world and flesh, and God had nothmg but some heart- 
less services which the world could spare, and which were 
the leavings of flesh. Is my heart now turned another way? 
Have I a new design, and a new end, and a new train of 
holy affections ? Have I set my hope and heart in heaven ? 
And is it the scope, and design, and bent of my heart and life, 
to get well to heaven, and see the glorious face of God, and 
live in his everlasting love and praise ? And when I sin, is 
it against the habitual bent and design of my heart ? And 



92 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

do I conquer all gross sins, and am I weary and ■willing to 
be rid of my Infirmities ? This is the state of a converted 
soul. And thus must it be with me, or I must perish. Is 
It thus with me indeed, or is It not ? It is time to get this 
doubt resolved, before the dreadful Judge resolve it. I am 
not such a stranger to my own heart and life, but I may 
somewhat perceive whether I am thus converted or not : if 
I be not, It will do me no good to flatter my soul with false 
conceits and hopes. I am resolved no more to deceive my- 
self, but to endeavour to know truly, off or on, whether I be 
converted, yea or no ; that If I be, I may rejoice in it, and 
glorify my gracious Lord, and comfortably go on tUl I reach 
the crown ; and if I am not, I may set myself to beg and 
seek afler the grace that should convert me, and may turn 
without any more delay : for If I find In time that I am out 
of the way, by the help of Christ I may turn and be re- 
ceived ; but if I stay till either my heart be forsaken of 
God In blindness and hardness, or till I be catched away by 
death, It is then too late. There is no place for repentance 
and conversion then ; I know it must be now or never. 

Sirs, this is my request to you, that you wiU but take 
yom- hearts to task, and thus examine them, till you see, if 
it may be, whether you are converted or not ; and if you 
cannot find it out by your own endeavours, go to your mi- 
nisters, if they be faithful and experienced men, and desire 
their assistance. The matter is great, let not bashfulness 
nor carelessness hmder you. They are set over you to ad- 
vise you for the saving of your souls, as physicians advise 
you for the curing of your bodies. It undoes many thou- 
sands, that they think they are in the way to salvation, 
when they are not ; and think that they are converted, 
when it is no such thing. And then when we call to them 
daily to turn, they go away as they came, and think that 
this concerns not them ; for they are turned already, and 
hope they shall do well enough in the way that they are in, 
at least If they do pick the fairest path, and avoid some of 
the foulest steps ; when alas, all this while, they live but to 
the world and flesh, and ai'e strangers to God and eternal 



A C-AXL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 93 

life, and are quite out of the way to heaven. And all this 
is much because we cannot persuade them to a fcAv serious 
thoughts of their condition, and to spend a few hours 
in the examining of their states : is there not many a 
self-conceited wretch that hears me this day, that never 
bestowed one hour, or a quarter of an hour, in all their 
lives, to examine theu' souls, and try whether they are 
truly converted or not ? O merciM God, that will care for 
such wretches that care no more for themselves, and that 
will do so much to save them fi-om hell, and help them 
to heaven, who -will do so little for it themselves ! If all 
that are in the way to hell, and in a state of damnation, did 
but know it, they durst not continue in it. The greatest 
hope that the devil hath, of bringing you to damnation 
without a rescue, is by keeping you bhndfold and ignorant 
of your state, and making you believe that you may do 
well enough in the way that you are in. If you knew 
that you were out of the way to heaven, and were lost 
for ever, if you should die as you are, durst you sleep an- 
other night in the state that you are in ? Durst you live 
another day in it ? Could you heartily laugh or be merry in 
such a state ? "WTiat ! and not know but you may be snatch- 
ed away to hell in an hour ! Sure it would constrain you to 
forsake your former company and courses, and to Ijetake 
yourselves to the ways of hoHness, and the communion of 
the saints. Sure it would drive you to cry to God for a 
new heart, and to seek help of those that are fit to coimsel 
you. There is none of you, sure, that cares not for being 
damned. Well then, I beseech you, presently make in- 
quiry into your hearts, and give them no rest till you find 
out your condition, that if it be good, you may rejoice in it 
and go on ; and if it be bad, you may presently look about 
you for recovery, as men that beheve they must tm-n or 
die. "What say you, sirs, will you resolve and promise to 
be at thus much labour for your souls ? Will you fall upon 
this self-examination when you come home? Is my request 
unreasonable ? Your consciences know it is not ; resolve on 
it then, before you stir : knowmg how umch it coucerueth 



94 A CALL TO THE UXCONVERTED. 

your souls, I beseecli you for the sake of that God that doth 
command you, at whose bar you will shortly appear, that 
you will not deny me this reasonable request. For the sake 
of those souls that must turn or die, I beseech you deny me 
not ; even but to make it your business to understand your 
own conditions, and build upon sure ground, and know off 
or on, whether you are converted or no, and venture not 
your souls on neghgent secm'ity. 

But perhaps you vnll say, AMiat if we should find our- 
selves yet unconverted, what shall we do then ? This ques- 
tion leadeth me to my second doctrine ; which will do much 
to the answering of it, to which I shall now proceed. 

Doct. II. It is the promise of God, that the "v^ncked shall 
live if they will but tm-n, unfeignedly and thoroughly turn. 

The Lord here professeth, that this is it he takes plea- 
sure in, that the wicked turn and Hve. Heaven is made 
as sure to the converted, as heU is to the unconverted. 
Turn and live, is as certain a truth as tm-n or die. God 
was not bound to provide us a Saviour, nor ©pen to us 
the door of hope, nor caU to us to repent and turn, when 
once we had cast om-selves away by sin. But he hath fi-ee- 
ly done it to magnif)^ his mercy. Sinners, there are none 
of you shall have cause to go home and say, I preach des- 
peration to you. Do we use to shut up the door of mercy 
against you ? Oh that you woidd not shut it up against 
yourselves ! Do we use to tell you that God will have 
no mercy on you, though you turn and be sanctified ? Allien 
did you ever hear a preacher say such a word ? You that 
bark at the preachers of the gospel, for desirmg to keep you 
out of hell, and say that they preach desperation ; tell me 
if you can, when did you ever hear any sober man say, that 
there is no hope for you, though ye repent and be convert- 
ed? No, it is the clean contrary that we daily proclaim 
from the Lord, That whosoever is bom again, and by faith 
and repentance doth become a new creatm-e, shall certainly 
be saved ; and so far we are from persuading you to despair 
of this, that we persuade you not to make any doubt of it. 
It is life, and not death, that is the first part of our mes- 



A CALL TO THE L^'CONVERTED. 95 

sage to you ; our commission is to offer salvation ; certain 
salvation, a speedy, glorious, everlasting salvation, to every 
one of you ; to the poorest beggar, as weU as to the great- 
est lord ; to the worst of you, even to the drunkards, swear- 
ers, worldlings, thieves, yea, to the despisers and reproachers 
of the holy way of salvation. We are commanded by oiu" 
Lord and Master to offer you a pardon for aU that is past, 
if you wiU but now at last return and live ; we are com- 
manded to beseech and entreat you to accept the offer and 
return ; to teU you what preparation is made by Christ, 
what mercy stays for you, what patience waiteth on you, 
what thoughts of kindness God hath towards you ; and how 
happy, how certauily and unspeakably happy, you may be 
if you will. AVe have indeed, also, a message of wrath and 
death ; yea, of a twofold wrath and death ; but neither of them 
is our piincipal message: we must teU you of the wrath that is 
on you already, and the death that you are bom under, for 
the breach of the law of works : but this is only to shew you 
the need of mercy, and provoke you to esteem the grace of 
the Redeemer. And we tell you nothing but the truth, which 
you must know : for who ^^nll seek out for physic, that knows 
not that he is sick ? For telling you of yom- misery-, is not 
it that makes you miserable, but di-iveth you to seek for 
mercy. It is you that have brought this death upon your- 
selves. We tell you also of another death, even remediless, 
and much greater torment which vnH fall on those that will 
not be converted. But as this is true, and must be told 
you ; so it is but the last and saddest part of our message : 
we are fii'st to offer you mercy, if you will turn ; and it is 
only those that will not turn nor hear the voice of mercy, 
that we must foretell damnation to. Will you but cast away 
your transgressions, delay no longer, but come away at the 
caU of Christ and be converted, and become new creatures, 
and we have not a word of damning wrath or death to 
speak against you. I do here m the name of the Lord of 
life proclaim to you all that hear me this day, to the 
worst of you, to the greatest, to the oldest smner, that you 
mav have mercv and salvation if vou wiU but turn. There 



96 A CALL TO THE UNCOX^'ERTED. 

is mercy In God, there is sufficiency in the satisfaction of 
Christ, the promise is free, full, and universal : you may 
have life if you will but turn. But then, as you love your 
souls, remember what turning it is the Scripture speaks of. 
It is not to mend the old house, but to pull down all, and 
buUd anew on Christ the rock and sure foundation. It is 
not to mend somewhat in a carnal course of life, but to 
mortify the flesh, and live after the Spirit. It is not to 
serve the flesh and the world in a more reformed way, 
without any scandalous disgi'aceful sins, and with a certain 
kind of religiousness ; but it is to change your master, and 
your works, and end, and set your face a contrary way, 
and do all for the life that you never saw, and dedicate 
yourselves and all you have to God. This is the change 
that must be made, if you will Hve. 

Yourselves are ^vitness now, that it is salvation, and not 
damnation, that is the great doctrine I preach to you, and 
the first part of my message to you. Accept of this, and 
we shall go no further with you : for we would not so 
much as affi'ight or trouble you with the name of danma- 
tion without necessity. 

But if you wiU not be saved, there is no remedy, but 
damnation must take place ; for there is no middle place 
between the two. You must have either life or death. 

And we are not only to offer you life, but to shew you 
the grounds on which we do it, and call you to believe, that 
God doth mean mdeed as he speaks ; that the promise is 
true, and extendeth conditionally to you as weU as others, 
and that heaven is no fancy, but a true fehcity. 

If you ask, where is our commission for this offer? 
Among a hundred texts of Scriptm-e, I will shew it unto 
you in these few: 

First, you see it here m my text, and the following verses: 
and in Ezek. xviii. as plain as can be spoken. And in 2 
Cor. V. 17-21, you have the very sum of our commission 
(" If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature : old things 
are passed away ; behold, ail things are become new. And 
all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by 



A CAXL to THE UNCONVERTED. 97 

Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconcili- 
ation ; to 'svit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the 
world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them ; 
and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 
Kow then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God 
did beseech you by us ; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye 
reconciled unto God. For he hath made him to be sin for 
us, who knew no sin ; that we might be made the righteous- 
ness of God in him.") So Mark xvi. 15, 16, " Go ye into 
all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He 
that believetli (that is, with such a converting faith as is be- 
fore expressed) and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that 
believeth not shall be damned." And Luke xxiv. 46, 47, 
" Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise fi'omthe dead 
the third day : and that repentance (which includes conver- 
sion) and remission of sins should be preached in his name 
among all nations." And Acts. v. 30, 31, " The God of 
our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a 
tree. Kim hath God exalted with his right hand to be a 
Prince and a Sa%'iour, to give repentance to Israel, and for- 
giveness of sins." And Acts xiii. 38, 39, "Be it known 
unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this 
man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins : and by 
him aU that beUeve are justified from all things, from which 
he could not be justified by the law of Moses." And lest 
you think this offer is restrained to the Jews, see Gal. vi. 
15, " For in Christ Jesus neither cu'cumcision availeth any 
thing, nor uncii'cumcision, but a new creatm-e." And Luke 
xiv. 17, "Come, for all things are now ready;" and ver. 
23, 24. 

You see by this time, that we are commanded to offer 
life to you all, and to tell you from God, that if you 
will turn you may live. 

Here you may safely trust your souls ; for the love of 
God is the fountain of this offer, John iii. 16. And the 
blood of the Son of God hath purchased it ; the faithful- 
ness and truth of God is engaged to make the promise 
good j miracles have sealed up the truth of it ; preach- 

G 



98 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

ers are sent through the world to proclaim it; the sa- 
craments are instituted and used for the solemn sealing 
of the mercy offered, to them that will accept it ; and 
the Spirit doth open the heart to entertain it, and is it- 
self the earnest of the full possession. So that the truth 
of it is past controversy, that the worst of you all, and 
every one of you, if you ^vill but be converted, may be 
saved. 

Indeed, if you will needs believe that you shall be saved 
without conversion, then you beheve a falsehood ; and if I 
should preach that to you, I should preach a lie. This 
were not to beheve God, but the devil and your own de- 
ceitful hearts. God hath his promise of life, and the devil 
hath his promise of life. God's promise is. Return and hve; 
the devil's is, Thou shalt hve whether thou turn or not. 
The words of God are, as I have shewed you, " Except 
ye be converted and become as httle children, ye cannot 
enter into the kmgdom of heaven," Matt, xviii. 3. " Ex- 
cept a man be born again, he cannot enter into the king- 
dom of God," John iii. 3, 5. " Without hoHness no man 
shall see the Lord," Heb. xii. 14. The devil's word is, You 
may be saved without being born again and converted ; 
you may go to heaven well enough without being holy ,' 
God doth but frighten you ; he is more merciful than to do 
as he saith ; he will be better to you than his word. And, 
alas ! the greatest part of the world beheve this word of the 
devil before the Avord of God, just as our first sin and mi- 
sery came mto the world. God saith to our first parents. 
If ye eat ye shall die ; the de^il contracUcts him, and saith, 
Ye shall not die ; and the woman beheved the de^-il before 
God. So now the Lord saith. Turn or die ; and the de-\il 
saith. You shall not die if you do but cry mercy at last, and 
give over the acts of sin, when you can practise them no 
longer. And tliis is the word,, that the world beUeves. O 
heinous wickedness, to beheve the devil before God ! 

And yet that is not the worst, but blasphemously they 
call this a behe^dng and trustmg in God, when they put 
him in the shape of Satan, who was a liar fi-om the begin- 



A C.\LL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 99 

ning ; and Avhen they believe that the word of God is a lie, 
they call this a trusting God, and say they beheve in him, 
and trust on him for salvation. Where did ever God say, 
that the unregenerate, unconverted, unsanctified, shall be 
saved ? Shew such a word in Scripture, I challenge you, if 
you can. Why, this is the devil's word, and to believe it is 
to believe the devil, and is the sin that is commonly called 
presumption. And do you call this a believing and trust- 
ing God ? There is enough in the word of God to comfort 
and strengthen the hearts of the sanctified ; but not a word 
to strengthen the hands of ■wickedness, nor to give men 
the least hope of being saved, though they be never sanc- 
tified. 

But if you will turn, and come into the way of mercy, 
the mercy of the Lord is ready to entertain you. Then 
trust God for salvation boldly and confidently, for he is en- 
gaged by his word to save you. 

He will be a father to none but his children, and he will 
save none but those that forsake the world, the devil, and 
the flesh, and come into his family, to be members of his 
Son, and have communion with the saints. But if they 
win not come in, it is their own fault ; his doors are open ; 
he keeps none back ; he never sent such a message as 
this to any of you, It is now too late, I will not receive 
thee, though thou be converted. He might have done so, 
and done you no wi'ong, but he did not, he doth not to this 
day, he is still ready to receive you, if you were but ready 
unfeignedly, and with all your hearts, to turn. And the ful- 
ness of this truth will yet more appear in the two following 
doctrines, which I shall, therefore, next proceed to, before 
I make a fiirther application of this. 

Doct. ni. God taketh pleasure m men's conversion and 
salvation, but not in their death and damnation. He had 
rather they would return and live, than go on and die. 

I shall first teach you how to understand this ; and then 
clear up the truth of it to you. 

And for the first, you must observe these following 
things : 1 . A simple willingness and complacency is the first 



100 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

act of the -will, following the simple apprehension of the 
understanding, before it proceedeth to compare things 
together. But the choosing act of the -will is a follomng 
act, and supposeth the comparing practical act of the 
understanding ; and these two acts may often be carried to 
contrary objects, without any fault at all in the person. 

2. An unfeigned willingness may have divers degrees. 
Some things I am so far willing of, as that I will do all 
that Keth in my power to accompHsh them. And some 
things I am truly -willing another should do, when yet 
I will not do all that ever I am able to procure them, hav- 
ing many reasons to dissuade me therefrom ; though yet I 
■will do all that belongs to me to do. 

3. The will of a ruler, as such, is manifest in making 
and executing laws ; but the will of a man in his simple na- 
tural capacity, or as absolute lord of his own, is manifested 
in desu'ing or resohing of events. 

4. A ruler's will, as lawgiver, is, first and principally, 
that his law be obeyed, and not at all that the penalty be 
executed on any, but only on supposition that they will not 
obey his laws. But a ruler's Avill, as judge, supposeth the 
law already either kept or broken. And, therefore, he re- 
solveth on reward or punishment accordingl}-. 

Having given you these necessary distinctions, I shall 
next apply them to the case in hand, in these following 
propositions : — 

1. It is in the glass of the word and creatures that in 
this life we must know God. And so, according to the 
nature of man, we ascribe to hun understanding and will, 
remo-vTing all the imperfections that we can, because we are 
capable of no higher positive conceptions of him. 

2. And on the same gi'ounds we do (with the Scriptures) 
distmguish between the acts of God's vn]\, as diversified 
from the respects, or the objects, though as to God's essence 
they are all one. 

3. And the bolder, because that when we speak of 
Christ, we have the more ground for it from his human 
natiu'e. 



A CALL TO THE LTsCOX^T:RTED. 101 

4. And thus we say, that the simple complacenc}-, will, 
or love of God, is to all that is naturally or morally good, 
according to the nature and degi-ee of its goodness. And 
so he hath pleasm*e in the conversion and salvation of all, 
which yet -will never come to pass. 

5. And God, as Euler and Lawgiver of the world, had so 
far a practical will for theii* salvation, as to make them a 
free offer of gift of Christ and life, and an act of oblivion 
for all their sins, so be it they will not unthankiiilly reject it ; 
and to command his messengers to offer this gift to all the 
world, and persuade them to accept it. And so he doth 
aU that, as Lawgiver or PromLser, belongs to him to do for 
their salvation. 

6. But yet he resolveth, as Lawgiver, that they that will 
not turn, shall die. And as Judge, when then' day of grace 
is past, he will execute that decree. 

7. So that he thus unfeignedly willeth the conversion of 
those that never will be converted, but not as absolute Lord, 
with the fuUest efficacious resolution, nor as a thing which he 
resolveth shall undoubtedly come to pass, or would engage 
all his power to accompHsh. It is in the power of a prince 
to set a guard upon a mm^derer, to see that he shall not 
murder and be hanged. But if upon good reason he for- 
bear this, and do but send to his subjects, and warn and 
entreat them not to be murderers, I hope he may well say, 
that he would not have them murder and be hanged ; he 
takes no pleasm-e in it, but rather that they forbear, and 
live. And if he do more for some, upon some special rea- 
son, he is not bound to do so by all. The king may Avell 
say to aU the murderers and felons in the land, I have no 
pleasure in your death, but rather that you would obey my 
laws and live ; but if you will not, I am resolved, for all , 
this, that you shall die. The judge may truly say to the 
thief, or a murderer, Alas ! man, I have no delight in thy 
death, I had rather thou hadst kept the law, and saved thy 
life ; but seeing thou hast not, I must condemn thee, or else 
T should be unjust. So, though God have no pleasm-e in 
your damnation, and therefore calls upon you to return and 



102 A CALL TO THE UNCOX\^ERTED. 

live, yet he hatli pleasure in the demonstration of his own 
justice, and the executing his laws ; and, therefore, he is for 
all this fuUy resolved, that if you AviU not be converted, you 
shall be condemned. If God were so much against the 
death of the wicked, as that he were resolved to do all that 
he can to hinder it, then no man should be condenmed, 
whereas Christ telleth you that few wiU be saved. But so 
far God is against your damnation, as that he will teach you 
and warn you, and set before you life and death, and offer 
you your choice, and command his ministers to entreat you 
not to damn yourselves, but accept this mercy, and so to 
leave you without excuse ; but if this will not do, and if 
still you be unconverted, he professeth to you he is resolved 
of your danmation, and hath commanded us to say to you 
in his name, ver. 18, '' O wicked man, thou shalt surely 
die ! " And Christ hath little less than sworn it over and 
over, with a '' Verily, verily, except ye be converted and 
born again, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven," 
Matt. x\m. 3 ; John iii. 3. Mark that he saith, " You 
cannot." It is in vain to hope for it, and in vain to dream 
that God is wilHng of it ; for it is a thing that cannot be. 

In a word, you see then the meaning of the text, that 
God, the great Lawgiver of the world, doth take no plea- 
sure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn 
and live ; though yet he be resolved that none shall Uve but 
those that tm-n ; and as a judge even dehghteth in justice, 
and manifestetli his hatred of sin, though not m their misery 
which they have brought upon themselves, ia itself con- 
sidered. 

2. And for the proofs of this pomt, I shall be very brief 
in them, because I suppose you easily believe it ah-eady. 

1. The very gi-acious nature of God proclauued, Exod. 
xxxiv. 6 ; XX. 6, and frequently elsewhere, may assm"e you 
of this, that he hath no pleasm-e in your death. 

2. K God had more pleasure in thy death than in thy 
conversion and life, he would not have so frequently com- 
manded thee in his word to turn ; he would not have made 
thee such promises of life, if thou Avilt but tm'n ; he would 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 103 

not have persuaded thee to it by so many reasons. The 
tenor of his gospel proveth the point. 

3. And his commission that he hath given to the minis- 
ters of the gospel doth fully prove it. K God had taken 
more pleasure in thy damnation than in thy conversion and 
salvation, he would never have charged us to offer you 
mercy, and to teach you the way of life, both publicly and 
privately ; and to entreat and beseech you to turn and Hve ; 
to acquaint you of your sins, and foretell you of your danger; 
and to do all that possibly we can for your conversion, and 
to continue patiently so doing, though you should hate or 
abuse us for our pains. Would God have done this and 
appointed his ordinances for your good, if he had taken 
pleasure in your death ? 

4. It is proved also by the course of his pro\idence. If 
God had rather you were damned than converted and saved, 
he would not second his word with liis works, and entice 
you by his daily kindness to himself, and give you all the 
mercies of this life, which are his means to lead you to re- 
pentance, Rom. ii. 4, and bring you so often under his rod, 
to force you to your wits. He would not set so many ex- 
amples before your eyes ; no, nor wait on you so patiently 
as he doth fi'oni day to day, and year to year. These be 
not signs of one that taketh pleasure in your death ; if this 
had been his delight, how easily could he have had thee 
long ago in hell ! How oft, before this, could he have 
catched thee away in the midst of thy sins, -with a ciu*se, or 
oath, or lie in thy mouth, in thy ignorance, and pride, and 
sensuahty ; when thou wert last in thy drunkenness, or last 
deriding the ways of God ! How easily could he have 
stopped thy breath, and tamed thee with his plagues, and 
made thee sober in another world ! Alas ! how small a 
matter is it for the Almighty to rule the tongue of the pro- 
fanest railer, and tie the hands of the most maUcious perse- 
cutor ; or calm the fmy of the bitterest of his enemies, and 
make them know they are but worms ! K he should but 
frown upon thee, thou wouldst di'op into thy grave. If he 
gave commission to one of his angels to go and destroy ten 



104 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

thousand sinners, how quickly would it be done ! How 
easily can he lay thee upon the bed of languishing, and 
make thee lie roaring there in pain, and make thee eat 
the words of reproach which thou hast spoken against his 
servants, his word, his worship, and his holy ways ; and 
make thee send to beg their prayers, whom thou didst de- 
spise in thy presumption ! How easily can he lay that flesh 
under gripes and groans, and make it too weak to hold thy 
soul, and make it more loathsome than the dung of the 
earth ! That flesh which now must have what it loves, and 
must not be displeased, and must be humoured with meat, 
drink, and clothes, whatsoever God says to the contrary, 
how quickly would the froAvns of God consume it ! When 
thou wast passionately defendmg thy sin, and quarrelling 
with them that would have drawn thee from it, and shewing 
thy spleen against the reprovers, and pleading for the works 
of darkness ; how easily could God snatch thee away in a 
moment, and set thee before his dreadful Majesty, where 
thou mayest see ten thousand times ten thousand of glorious 
angels waiting on his throne, and call thee there to plead thy 
cause, and ask thee. What hast thou now to say against thy 
Creator, his truth, his servants, or his holy ways? now plead 
thy cause, and make the best of it thou canst. Now what 
canst thou say in excuse of thy sins ? Xow give account of 
thy worldliness and fleshly life, of thy time, of all thy mer- 
cies thou hast had. Oh how thy stubborn heai't would have 
melted, and thy proud looks be taken down, and thy coun- 
tenance appalled, and thy stout words turned into speech- 
less silence, or dreadful cries ; if God had but set thee thus 
at liis bar, and pleaded his own cause vnth thee, Avhich thou 
hast here so mahciously pleaded against ! How easily can 
he, at any time, say to thy guilty soul. Come away, and hve 
in that flesh no longer, till the resurrection, and it cannot 
resist ! A word of his mouth would take off the noise of 
thy present life, and then all thy parts and powers Avould 
stand still ; and if he say unto thee, Live no longer, or, Live 
in hell, thou couldst not disobey. 

But God hath yet done none of this ; but hath patiently ' 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 106 

forborne thee, and mercifully upheld thee, and given thee 
that breath which thou didst breathe out against him, and 
given those mercies which thou didst sacnfice to the flesh, 
and afforded thee that provision which thou spentest to 
satisfy thy greedy throat : he gave thee every minute of that 
time which thou didst waste in idleness, and drunkenness, or 
worldliness. And doth not all his patience and mercy shew 
that he desired not thy damnation? Can the lamp burn 
without the oil ? Can your houses stand -without the earth 
to bear them ? As well as you can Hve one hour without 
the support of God. And why did he so long support thy 
life, but to see when thou wouldst bethink thee of the folly 
of thy ways, and retm-n and Hve ? Will any man purposely 
put arms into his enemy's hands to resist him? Or hold a 
candle to a murderer that is kilHng his children ? or to an 
idle servant that plays and sleeps the while ? Surely it is 
to see whether thou wilt at last return and Hve, Siat God 
has so long waited on thee. 

5. It is further proved by the sufferings of his Son that 
God taketh no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Would 
he have ransomed them from death at so dear a rate ? Would 
he have astonished angels and men by his condescension ? 
Would God have dwelt in flesh, and have come in the form 
of a servant, and have assumed humanity into one person 
with the Godhead ? And would Christ have lived a life of 
suffermg, and died a cursed death for sinners, if he had 
rather taken pleasure in their death ? Suppose you saw him 
but so busy in preaching and healing of them, as you find 
him in Mark iii. 21 ; or so long in fasting, as in Matt. iv. ; 
or all night in prayer, as in Luke vi. 12 ; or praying with 
drops of blood trickling from him instead of sweat, as Luke 
xxii. 44 ; or suffering a cursed death upon the cross, and 
pouring out his soul as a sacrifice for our sins ; would you 
have thought these the signs of one that deHgliteth in the 
death of the -wicked ? 

And think not to extenuate it by saying, that it was only 
for his elect. For it was thy sin, and the sin of all the 
world, that lay upon our Redeemer ; and his sacrifice and 



106 A CALL TO THE UXCOXVERTED. 

satisfaction is sufficient for all, and the fi'uits of it are offered 
to one as well as another ; but it is true that it was never 
the intent of his mind, to pardon and save any that would 
not by faith and repentance be converted. K you had seen 
and heard him weeping and bemoaning the state of disobe- 
dience in impenitent people, Luke xix. 41, 42, or complain- 
mg of their stubbornness, as ^latt. xxiii. 37, " O Jerusa- 
lem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thy chil- 
dren together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her 
wings, and ye would not ! " Or if you had seen and heard 
him on the cross, prapng for his persecutors, " Father, for- 
give them, for they know not what they do ; " would you 
have suspected that he had delighted in the death of the 
wicked, even of those that perish by their wilful unbehef ? 
When " God hath so loved" (not only loved, but so loved 
" the world as to give his only begotten Son, that whoso- 
ever beheveth in him" (by an effectual faith) " should not 
perish, but have everlasting life," I thiak he hath hereby 
proved, against the malice of men and devils, that he takes 
no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but had rather that 
they would turn and live. 

6. Lastly, K all this ^\^ll not yet satisfy you, take his own 
word, that knoweth best his o-vvn mind ; or at least beheve 
his oath. But this leadeth me up to the fomlh doctrine. 

Doct. IV. The Lord hath confo-med it to us by his oath, 
that he hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but 
rather that he turn and live ; that he may leave man no 
pretence to question the truth of it. 

K you dare question his word, I hope you dare not ques- 
tion his oath. As Christ hath solemnly protested, that the 
unregenerate and imconverted cannot enter into the king- 
dom of heaven, in Matt, xviii. 3 ; John iii. 3 ; so God hath 
sworn, that liis pleasure is not in their death, but in their 
conversion and life. And as the apostle saith, Heb. vi. 13, 
16-18, " Because he can swear by no greater than himself, 
he saith. As I Uve, &c. For men verily swear by the greater, 
and an oath for confii-mation is to them an end of all strife. 
Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 107 

heirs of promise the Jmmutability of his counsel, confirmed 
it by an oath : that by two immutable things, in which it 
was impossible for God to he, we might have a strong con- 
solation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope 
set before us ; which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, 
both sure and steadfast." K there be any man that cannot 
reconcile this truth with the doctiine of predestination, or 
the actual damnation of the wicked, that is his own igno- 
rance ; he hath no pretence left to deny or question there- 
fore the truth of the point in hand ; for this is confirmed by 
the oath of God, and therefore must not be distorted, to re- 
duce it to other points ; but doubtfid points must rather be 
reduced to it, and certain truths must be beheved to agree 
with it, though our shallow brains do hardly discern the 
agreement. 

Use. I do entreat thee, if thou be an imconverted sinner 
that hearest these words, that thou wouldst ponder a little 
upon the forementioned doctrines, and bethink thyself awhile, 
who it is that takes pleasure in thy sin and damnation. 
Certainly it is not God. He hath sworn for his part, that 
he takes no pleasure in it. And I know it is not the pleas- 
ing of him that you intend in it. You dare not say that 
you drink and swear, and neglect holy duties, and quench 
the motions of the Spu-it, to please God. That were as if 
you should reproach the prince, and break his laws, and seek 
his death, and say, you did all this to please him. 

Who is it then that takes pleasure in your sin and death ? 
Not any that bear the image of God, for they must be like- 
minded to him. God knows, it is small pleasure to your 
faithful teachers, to see you serve your deadly enemy, and 
madly ventm-e your eternal state, and wilfully run into the 
flames of hell. It is small pleasure to them, to see upon 
your souls (in the sad effects) such blindness, and hard- 
heartedness, and carelessness, and presumption ; such wil- 
fulness in evil, and such uncharitableness, and stiffiiess against 
the ways of Hfe and peace : they know these are marks of 
death, and of the wi-ath of God, and they know, from the 
word of God, what is Hke to be the end of them ; and there- 



108 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

fore it is no more pleasure to them, than to a tender physi- 
cian to ^ee the plague-marks break out upon his patient. 
Alas ! to foresee your everlasting torments, and knoAv not 
how to prevent them ! To see how near you are to heU, 
and we cannot make you believe it, and consider it ! To see 
how easily, how certainly you might escape, if we knew but 
how to make you Avilling ! How fair you are for everlasting 
salvation, if you wovdd but turn and do your best, and make 
it the care and business of your lives ! But you will not do 
it ; if our lives lay on it, we cannot persuade you to do it. 
We study day and night what to say to you, that may con- 
vince you, and persuade you, and yet it is imdone : we lay 
before you the word of God, and shew you the very chapter 
and verse where it is written, that you cannot be saved ex- 
cept you be converted ; and yet we leave the most of you 
as we find you : we hope you will beheve the word of God, 
though you believe not us, and that you vnW regard it when 
we shew you plain Scripture for it ; but we hope in vain, 
and labour in vain, as to any saving change upon your hearts. 
And do you think that this is a pleasant thing to us ? Many 
a time in secret prayers we are fain to complain to God with 
sad hearts, Alas, Lord, we have spoken it to them, in thy 
name, but they little regard us ; we have told them what 
thou bidst us tell them, concerning the danger of an uncon- 
verted state, but they do not believe us ; we have told them 
that thou hast protested, " That there is no peace to the 
wicked," Isa. xh-iii. 22 ; Ivii. 21 ; but the worst of them 
:ill will scarcely beheve that they are wicked : we have shewed 
them the word, where thou hast said, " That if they hve 
after the flesh they shall die," Rom. viii. 13 ; but they say, 
they will beheve in thee, when they will not beheve thee ; 
and that they vnH trust in thee, when they give no credit to 
thy word ; and when they hope that the threatenings of thy 
word are false, they vnll yet call this a hoping in God ; and 
though we shew them where thou hast said, '-'• That when a 
wdcked man dieth, all his hopes perish," Prov. xi. 7, yet can- 
not we persuade them fi'om then- deceitful hopes. We tell 
theni what a base, unprofitable thing sin is, but they love it. 



A CALL TO THE UNCOITV'^RTED. 109 

and therefore -will not leave it. AVe tell them how dear they 
buy their pleasure, and what they must pay for it in ever- 
lasting torment, and they bless themselves and avlII not beheve 
it, but will do as the most do ; and because God is merciful, 
they will not beheve him, but Avill venture their souls, come on 
it what will. We tell them how ready the Lord is to receive 
them ; and this does but make them delay their repentance, 
and be bolder in their sin. Some of them say, they pui-pose 
to repent, but they are still the same ; and some say, they do 
repent already, while yet they are not converted from their 
sins. We exhort them, we entreat them, we offer them om' 
help, but we cannot prevail with them, but they that were 
drunkards are drunkards still ; and they that were voluptu- 
ous, flesh-pleasiag -svretches, are such stiU ; and they that 
were worldhngs are worldlings still ; and they that were 
ignorant, proud, and self- conceited, are so still. Few of 
them will see and confess then- sin, and fewer will forsake 
it, but comfort themselves that all men are sinners ; as if 
there were no difference between a converted sinner and an 
unconverted. Some of them will not come near us when 
we are willing to instruct them, but think they know enough 
already, and need not our mstruction ; and some of them 
will give us the hearing, and do what they Hst ; and most 
of them are like dead men that cannot feel ; so that when 
we teU them of the matters of everlasting consequence, we 
cannot get a word of it to their hearts. If Ave do not obey 
them, and humour them in baptizing children of the most 
obstinately wicked, and giA'ing them the Lord's supper, and 
doing aU that they would have us, though never so much 
against the word of God, they ynll hate us, and rail at us ; 
but if we beseech them to confess and forsake their sins, and 
save their souls, they will not do it. We tell them, if they 
will but turn, we will deny them none of the ordinances of 
God, neither baptism to then- children, nor the Lord's sup- 
per to themselves ; but they Avill not hear us : they would 
have us to disobey God, damn our souls to please them, and 
yet they will not turn, and save their own souls to please 
God. They are wiser in their own eyes than all their 



110 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

teachers ; they rage, and are confident in their own "way ; 
and if we would never so fain, we cannot change them. 
Lord, this is the case of our miserable neighbours, and we 
cannot help it ; we see them ready to drop into hell, and 
we cannot help it : we know if they would imfeignedly tiu-n, 
they might be saved ; but we cannot persuade them : if we 
would beg it of them on our knees, we cannot persuade them 
to it ; if we would beg it of them with tears, we cannot per- 
suade them : and what more can we do ? 

These are the secret complaints and moans that many a 
poor minister is fain to make ; and do you think that he 
hath any pleasm'e in this ? Is it a pleasure to him to see 
you go on in sin and cannot stop you ? to see you so 
miserable, and cannot so much as make you sensible of it ? 
to see you merry, when you are not sm-e to be an hour out 
of hell ? to think what you must for ever suffer because you 
will not turn ? and to think what an everlasting life of 
glory you ^vilfully despise and cast away ? AVhat sadder 
tlihigs can you bring to their hearts, and how can you devise 
to grieve them more ? 

Wlio is it then that you pleasure by your sin and death ? 
It is none of your miderstanding, godly fiiends. Alas, it is 
the grief of their souls to see your misery, and they lament 
you many a time, when you give them little thanks for it, 
and when you have not hearts to lament yourselves. 

AMio is it then that takes pleasure in }'our sin ? It is 
none but the three great enemies of God, whom you re- 
nounced in your baptism, and now are tm-ned falsely to 
serve. 

1. The devil, indeed, takes pleasure in your sin and 
death ; for this is the very end of all his temptations : for 
this he watches night and day : you cannot devise to please 
him better, than to go on in sin. How glad is he when he 
sees thee gomg to the alehouse, or other sin ; and when he 
heareth thee curse, or swear, or rail ! How glad is he when 
he heareth thee revile the muiister that would draw thee 
fi'om thy sin, and help to save thee ! These are his de- 
light. 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. Ill 

2. The wicked are also deliglited in it, for it is agreeable 
to their nature. 

3. But I know, for all this, that it is not the pleasing of 
the devil that you intend, even when you please him ; 
but it is your own flesh, the greatest and most dangerous 
enemy, that you intend to please. It is the flesh that would 
be pampered, that would be pleased in meat, and drink, and 
clothing, that would be pleased in yom* company, and 
pleased in applause and credit with the world, and pleased 
in sports, and lusts, and idleness ; this is the gulf that de- 
voureth all. This is the very god that you serve ; for the 
Scripture saith of such, " that their bellies are their god," 
Phil. iii. 18. 

But I beseech you stay a Httle and consider the business. 

1. Quest. Should your flesh be pleased before your 
Maker ? Will you displease the Lord, and displease your 
teacher, and your godly friends, and all to please your brut- 
ish appetites, or sensual desires ? Is not God worthy to be 
a ruler of your flesh ? if he shall not rule it, he will not 
save it ; you cannot in reason expect that he should. 

2. Quest. Your flesh is pleased with your sm ; but is 
your conscience pleased ? Doth not it grudge withui you, 
and tell you sometimes that all is not well, and that your 
case is not so safe as you make it to be ? And should not 
your souls and consciences be pleased before that corrup- 
tible flesh ? 

3. Quest. But is not your flesh preparing for its own dis- 
pleasure also ? It loves the bait, but doth it love the hook ? 
It loves the strong drink and sweet morsels ; it loves its 
ease, and sport, and merriment ; it loves to be rich, and well 
spoken of by men, and to be somebody in the world ; but 
doth it love the curse of God ? Doth it love to stand 
trembling before his bar, and to be judged to everlasting 
fire ? Doth it love to be tormented with the devils for 
ever ? Take all together ; for there is no separating sin 
and hell, but only by faith and true conversion ; if you will 
keep one, you must have the other. If death and hell be 
pleasant to thee, no wonder then if thou go on in sin ; but 



112 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

if they be not (as I am sure they be not), then what If sin be 
never so pleasant, is it worth the loss of life eternal ? Is a 
little drink, meat, ease, the good word of sumers, or the 
riches of this world, to be valued above the joys of heaven? 
or are they worth the sufferings of eternal fire? Sirs, 
these questions should be considered, before you go any 
farther, by every man that hath reason to consider, and 
that beheves he hath a soul to save or lose. 

Well, the Lord here sweareth that he hath no pleasure 
in your death, but rather that you would tiu-n and live : if 
yet you will go on and die, rather than turn, remember it 
was not to please God that you did it, it was to please the 
world, and to please yourselves. And if men will damn 
themselves to please themselves, and run into endless tor- 
ments for delight, and have not the wit, the heart, the grace 
to hearken to God or man that would reclaim them, what 
remedy ? But they must take what they get by it, and re- 
pent in another manner, when it is too late. Before I pro- 
ceed any farther m the application, I shall come to the next 
doctrine ; which giveth a fuller ground for it. 

Doct. V. So earnest is God for the conversion of sinners, 
that he doubleth liis commands and exhortations with vehe- 
mency ; " Tm-n ye, tm-n ye, why will ye die?" 

This doctrine is the application of the former, as by a use 
of exhortation, and accordingly I shall handle it. Is there 
ever an unconverted sinner, that heareth these vehement 
words of God ? Is there ever a man or woman in this as- 
sembly, that is yet a stranger to the renewing, sanctifying 
works of the Holy Ghost ? (It is a happy assembly if it be 
not so with the most). Hearken then to the voice of your 
Maker, and turn to him by Christ without delay. Would 
you know the will of God ? Why this is his wiU, that you 
presently turn. Shall the living God send so earnest a mes- 
sage to his creatures, and should they not obey ? Hearken 
then, all you that hve afler the flesh ; the Lord that gave 
thee thy breath and being, hath sent a message to thee from 
heaven, and this is his message, " Turn ye, turn ye, why 
will ye die?" "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear," 



A CALL TO THE UXCOXYERTED. 113 

Shall the voice of the Eternal Majesty be neglected ? K he 
do but terribly thunder, thou art afraid ; O but this voice 
doth more nearly concern thee : if he do but tell thee thou 
shalt die to-morrow, thou wouldst not make hght of it ; O 
but this word concerneth thy life or death everlasting ! It 
is both a command and an exhortation : as if he said to 
thee, I charge thee upon the allegiance thou owest to me thy 
Creator and Redeemer, that thou renounce the flesh, the 
world, and the devil, and tmna to me that thou mayest live. 
I condescend to entreat thee, as thou lovest or fearest him 
that made thee, as thou lovest thine own life, even thine 
everlasting life, turn and Hve ; as ever thou wouldst escape 
eternal misery, turn, tm-n, '' for why wilt thou die?" And 
is there a heart in man, in a reasonable creature, that can 
once refuse such a message, such a command, such an ex- 
hortation as this ? Oh what a thing then is the heart of 
man ! 

Hearken then, all that love yourselves, and all that re- 
gard your own salvation. Here is the most jo}-ful message 
that ever was sent to the ears of man, " Turn ye, turn ye, 
why win ye die ? " You are not yet shut up under despera- 
tion. Here is mercy offered you ; turn and you shall have 
it. O sirs, with what glad and joj^ful hearts should you 
receive these tidings ! I know that this is not the first time 
that you have heard it : but how have you regarded it, or how 
do you regard it now? Hear, all you ignorant, careless sin- 
ners, the word of the Lord ! Hear, all you workUings, you 
sensual flesh-pleasers, you gluttons and drunkards, and 
whoremongers and swearers, you railers and backbiters, 
slanderers and hars ; "" Turn ye, turn ye, why Avill ye 
die?" 

Hear, all you cold and outside professors, and all that 
are strangers to the life of Christ, and never knew the power 
of his cross and resurrection, and never felt yoiu- hearts 
warmed with his love, and live not on him as the strength 
of your souls ; " Turn ye, turn ye, why ^v\\\ ye die ? " 

Hear, all that are void of the love of God, whose hearts 
are not towards him, nor taken up with the hopes of glory, 

H 



114 A CALL TO THE UNCONVEETED. 

but set more by your eartbly prosperity and deliglits, than 
by tlie joys of heaven ; you that are religious but a little on 
the bye, and give God no more than your flesh can spare ; 
that have not denied your carnal selves, and forsaken all 
that you have for Christ, in the estimation and grounded 
resolution of your souls ; but have some one thing in the 
world so dear to you, that you cannot spare it for Christ, if 
he requires it, but will rather even ventm-e on his displea- 
sure, than forsake it ; " Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye 
die?" 

If you never heard it or observed it before, remember 
that ye were told it fi'om the word of God this day, that if 
you will but turn, you may live ; and if you will not turn, 
you shall surely die. 

AATiat now will you do, sii's ? "\ATiat is your resolution ? 
Will you turn, or will you not ? Halt not any longer be- 
tween two opinions : if the Lord be God, follow him ; if your 
flesh be God, then serve it still. K heaven be better than 
earth and fleshly pleasures, come away then and seek a 
better country, and lay up your treasure where rust and 
moths do not corrupt, and thieves cannot break through 
and steal, and be awakened at last with all your might to 
seek the kingdom that cannot be moved, Heb. xii. 28 ; and 
to employ yom- lives on a higher design, and tm-n the stream 
of your cares and labours another way than formerly you 
have done : but if earth be better than heaven, or -will do more 
for you, or last you longer, then keep it and make yom* best 
of it, and follow it still. Sirs, are you resolved what to 
do ? If you be not, I will set a few more moving considera- 
tions before you, to see if reason will make you resolve. 

Consider, first, what preparations mercy hath made for 
your salvation ; and what pity it is that any man should be 
damned after all this. The time was, when the flaming 
sword was in the way, and the cm'se of God's law would 
have kept thee back, if thou hadst been never so willing to 
turn to God : the time was, when thyself, and all the friends 
that thou hadst in the world, could never have procured 
thee the pardon of thy sms past, though thou hadst never 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 115 

SO much lamented, and reformed them. But Chnst hath 
removed this impediment by the ransom of his blood. The 
tune was, that God was wholly unreconciled, as being not 
satisfied for the \'iolation of his law ; but now he is so far 
satisfied and reconciled, as that he hath made thee a fit-ee 
act of obli\aon, and a free deed of the gift of Christ and 
life, and offereth it to thee, and entreateth thee to accept 
it, and it may be thine if thou wilt. For, " He was in Christ 
reconcihng the world mito himself, and hath committed to 
us the word of actual reconciliation," 2 Cor. v. 18, 19. 
Sinners, we are commanded to do this message to you all, 
as fi'om the Lord. " Come, for all things are ready," 
Luke xiv. 17. Are all thmgs ready, and are }-ou unready? 
God is ready to entertain you and pardon all that you have 
done against him, if you will but come. As long as you 
have sinned, as wihully as you have sinned, as heinously as 
you have sinned, he is ready to cast aU behind his back, if 
you mil but come. Though you have been prodigals, and 
run awa}' fi-om God, and have staid so long, he is ready 
even to meet you, and embrace you in his arms, and rejoice 
in your conversion, if you will but turn. Even the earthly 
worldling and s%vinish drunkard may find God ready to bid 
him welcome, if they will but come. Doth not this tm-n 
thy heart within thee ? O sinner, if thou hast a heart of 
flesh, and not of stone in thee, methinks this should melt it. 
Shall the dreadful infinite Majesty of heaven, even wait for 
thy returning, and be ready to receive thee who hast abused 
him, and forgotten him so long ? shall he delight in thy con- 
version, that might at any time glorify his justice in thy 
damnation ? and doth it not yet melt thy heart within thee, 
and art thou not yet ready to come in ? Hast thou not as 
much reason to be ready to come, as God hath to invite 
thee and bid thee welcome ? 

But that is not all ; Christ hath done his part on the 
cross, and made such a way for thee to the Father, that on 
his account thou mayest be welcome, if thou wilt come ; and 
yet art thou not ready ? 



116 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

A pardon is already expressly granted, and offered thee 
in the gospel ; and yet art thou not ready ? 

The ministers of the gospel are ready to assist thee, to in- 
struct thee, and pronounce the absoMng words of peace to 
thy soul ; they are ready to pray for thee, and to seal up 
thy pardon by the administration of the holy sacrament ; 
and }-et art thou not ready ? 

All that fear God about thee, are ready to rejoice in thy 
conversion, and to receive thee into the communion of saints, 
and to give thee the right hand of fellowship, yea, though 
thou hadst been one that had been cast out of their society: 
they dare not but forgive where God forgiveth, when it is 
manifest to them by thy confession and amendment ; they 
dare not so much as hit thee in the teeth with thy former 
sins, because they know that God will not upbraid thee with 
them. If thou hadst been never so scandalous, if thou 
wouldst but heartily be converted and come in, they would 
not reflise thee, let the world say what they would against 
it. And are all these ready to receive thee, and yet art 
thou not ready to come in ? 

Yea, heaven itself is ready ; the Lord v/ill receive thee 
into the glory of the saints, as \'ile a beast as thou hast 
been, if thou wilt but be cleansed thou mayst have a place 
before his throne ; his angels will be ready to guard thy 
soul to the place of joy, if thou do but unft'ignedly come in. 
And is God ready, the sacrifice of Christ ready, the promise 
ready, and pardon ready ; are nmiisters ready, the people 
of God ready, and heaven itself ready, and angels ready, 
and all these, but waiting for thy conversion, and yet art 
thou not ready ? What ! not ready to live, when thou 
hast been dead so long ? not ready to come to thy right 
understanding (as the prodigal is said to come to himself, 
Luke XV. 17), when thou hast been beside thyself so long? 
not ready to be saved, when thou art even ready to be con- 
demned ? Art thou not ready to lay hold on Christ that 
would deliver thee, when thou art even ready to drown, 
and sink into damnation ? Ai't thou not ready to be saved 
fi'oui liell, when thou art even ready to be cast remediless 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 117 

into it ; alas ! man, dost thou know what thou dost ? If thou 
die unconverted, there is no doubt to be made of thy dam- 
nation : and thou art not sujre to hve an hour ; and yet art 
thou not ready to turn, and to come in? O miserable 
wretch ! hast thou not served the flesh and the de\al long 
enough ? Yet hast thou not enough of sin ? Is it so good 
to thee, or so profitable for thee ? Dost thou know what it 
is, that thou wouldst yet have more of it ? Hast thou had 
so many calls, and so many mercies, and so many blows, 
and so many examples, hast thou seen so many laid m the 
grave, and yet art thou not ready to let go thy sins, and come 
to Christ ? What ! after so many comictions, and gripes of 
conscience, after so many purposes and promises, art thou 
not yet ready to turn and live? Oh that thy eyes, thy 
heart were opened, to know how fan' an offer is now made 
to thee ! and what a jo^'ful message it is that we are sent 
on, to bid thee come, for all things are ready ! 

2. Consider, also, what calls thou hast to turn and Hve ; 
how many, how loud, how earnest, how dreadful, and yet 
what encouraging, joA'ful calls. 

For the prmcipal Inviter, it is God himself. He that 
commandeth heaven and earth, commandeth thee to turn ; 
and presently, mthout delay, to turn. He commandeth the 
sun to run its course, and to rise upon thee every morning ; 
and though it be so glorious a creatm-e, and many thnes 
bigger than all the earth, yet it obeyeth him, and faileth not 
one minute of its ajjpointed time. He commandeth all the 
planets and orbs of heaven, and they obey. He com- 
mandeth the sea to ebb and flow, and the whole creation 
to keep its course, and all they obey him. The angels of 
heaven obey his "vvill, when he sends them to minister to 
such silly worms as we on earth, Heb. i. 14. And yet if 
he command but a sinner to turn, he will not obey him : 
he only thuiks himself wiser than God, and he cavils and 
pleads the cause of sin, and will not obey. If the Lord 
Almighty says the word, the heavens and all therein obey 
him ; but if he call a drunkard out of an ale-house he will 
not obey ; or if he call a worldly, fleshly simier to deny 



118 A C.\LL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

himself, and mortify the flesh, and set his heart on a better 
inheritance, he will not obey. 

K thou hadst any love in thee, thou woiddst know the 
voice, and say, O this is my Father's call ! How can T find 
in my heart to disobey ? For the sheep of Christ do " know 
and hear his voice ; and they follow him, and he giveth 
them eternal life," John xii. 4. If thou hast any spiritual 
life and sense in thee, at least thou wouldst say. This call is 
the dreadfid voice of God, and who dare disobey ? For 
saith the prophet, " The Hon hath roared, who will not 
fear?" Amos iii. 8. God is not a man that thou shouldst 
dally and play with him. Remember what he said to Paul 
at his conversion, " It is hard for thee to kick against the 
pricks," Acts ix. 5. Wilt thou yet go on and despise his 
word, and resist his Spirit, and stop thine ears against his 
call ? A\Qio is it that will have the worst of this ? Dost thou 
know whom thou disobeyest and contendest with, and what 
thou art doing ? It were a far wiser and easier task for thee 
to contend with the thorns, and spurn them with thy bare 
feet, and beat them with thy bare hands, or put thy head 
into the burning fire. " Be not deceived, God will not be 
mocked," Gal. \i. 7. Wliosoever else maybe mocked, God 
will not ; you had better play with the fire in your thatch, 
than v/ith the fire of his burning -wrath in your soul. " For 
our God is a consuming fire," Heb. xii. 29. Oh how unmeet 
a match art thou for God ! "It is a fearful thuig to fall 
into his hands," Heb. x. 31 ; and therefore it is a fearful 
thing to contend with him, or resist him. As you love your 
own souls, take heed what you do. ^VhsLt will you say if 
he begin m wrath to plead with you? What will you 
do if he take you once in hand ? Will you then strive 
against his judgment, as now you do against hLs grace? 
Saith the Lord, " Fury is not in me ;" that is, I dehght 
not to destroy, I do it as it were unwillingly : but yet, 
" Who would set the briers and thorns against me in 
battle? I would go through them, I would burn them to- 
gether. Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may 
make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me," 



A CALL TO THE UNCOXVERTED. 119 

Isa. xxvii. 4, 6. It is an unequal combat for the briers 
and stubble to make war with the fire. 

And thus you see who it is that calieth you, that should 
move you to hear this call, and turn : so consider also, by what 
instruments, and how often, and how earnestly he doth it. 

1. Every leaf of the blessed book of God hath, as it were, 
a voice, and calls out unto thee, " Timi and live, turn or 
thou wilt die." How canst thou open it, and read a leaf, 
or hear a chapter, and not perceive God bids thee turn ? 

2. It is the voice of every sermon thou hearest ; for 
what else is the scope and drift of all, but to call, and per- 
suade, and entreat thee to tm-n ? 

3. It is the voice of many a motion of the Spirit, that 
secretly speaks over these words again, and urgeth thee to 
turn. 

4. It is likely sometimes it is the voice of thy own con- 
science. Art thou not sometimes convinced, that all is not 
well with thee ; and doth not thy conscience tell thee, that 
thou must be a new man, and take a new course, and often 
call upon thee to retm-n ? 

5. It is the voice of the gracious examples of the godly. 
When thou seest them Hve a heavenly life, and fly fi-om the 
sin which is thy delight, this really calls upon thee to turn. 

6. It is the voice of all the works of God. For they also 
are God's books that teach thee this lesson, by shelving thee 
his greatness, and wisdom, and goodness, and calHng thee 
to observe them, and admire the Creator. '' The heavens 
declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his 
handy work ; day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto 
night sheweth knowledge," Psal. xix. 1, 2. Every time the 
sun riseth upon thee, it really calieth thee to turn ; as if it 
shoidd say, What do I travel and compass the world for, 
but to declare to men the glory of their Maker, and to light 
them to do his work ? And do I still find thee doing the 
work of sin, and sleeping out thy life in neghgence ? ' ' Awake, 
thou that sleepest, and arise fi-om the dead, and Christ shall 
give thee light," Eph. v. 14. " The night is far spent, the 
day is at hand. It is now high time to awake out of sleep. 



120 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

Let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and let us 
put on the armoui' of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the 
day ; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and 
wantonness, not in strife and envjing ; but put ye on the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and make no pro%ision for the flesh, to 
fulhl the lusts thereof," Eoin. xiii. 11-14. (This text was the 
means of Augusthie's conversion. I pray God it maybe yours.) 
7. It is the voice of every mercy thou dost possess. If 
thou couldst but hear and understand them, they all cry out 
unto thee, Tunu Why doth the earth bear thee, but to 
seek and serve the Lord ? Why doth it afford thee fruit, 
but to serve him ? Why doth the au' afford thee breath, 
but to serve him? "Why do all the creatures serve thee 
with their labom*s, and their Hves, but that thou mightest 
serve the Lord of them and thee ? Why doth he give thee 
time, and health, and strength, but to serve him? Why 
hast thou meat, fh'ink, and clothes, but for his service? 
Hast thou any thing which thou hast not received ? And if 
thou didst receive them, it is reason thou shouldst bethink 
thee from whom, and to what end and use, thou didst re- 
ceive them. Didst thou never cry to him for help in thy 
distress ? And didst thou not then understand that it was 
thy part to turn and serve liim if he would dehver thee ? 
He hath done his part, and spared thee yet longer, and 
tried thee another and another year, and yet thou dost not 
turn. You know the parable of the unfi'uitful fig-tree, 
Luke xiii. 6-9. When the Lord had said, '' Cut it down, 
why cumbereth it the ground?" he' was entreated to try it 
one year longer, and then, if it proved not fruitful, to cut 
it down. Christ himself there makes the application twice 
over, " Except ye repent, ye shall all Hkewise perish," ver. 
8, 5. How many years hath God looked for the fruits of 
love and holiness from thee, and hath found none? and 
yet hath spared thee. How many times, by thy wilfiil igno- 
rance, carelessness, and disobedience, hast thou provoked 
justice to say, " Cut him down, why cumbereth he the 
ground ? " and yet mercy hath prevailed, and patience hath 
forborne the killing, damning blow to this day. If thou 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 121 

hadst the understanding of a man within thee, thou wouldst 
know that all this calleth thee to turn. "• Dost thou think 
thou shalt still escape the judgment of God ? Or despisest 
thou the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and long-sufier- 
ing ; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to 
repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart, 
treasurest up unto thyself wi'ath against the day of wi^ath, 
and revelation of the righteous judgment of God ; who vriR 
render to every one according to his deeds," Rom. ii. 3-6. 

8. Moreover, it is the voice of every affliction, to call 
thee to make haste and tm^n. Sickness and pain cry, Turn. 
Poverty, the loss of Mends, and every twig of the chastising 
rod, ciy, Turn ; and yet wilt thou not hearken to the call ? 
These have come near thee, and made thee feel. They 
have made thee groan, and can they not make thee turn ? 

9. The very frame of thy nature and being itself be- 
speaketh thy return. "V^^ly hast thou reason, but to rule 
thy flesh, and serve thy Lord ? A^Tiy hast thou an under- 
standing soul, but to learn and know his wiU, and do it ? 
Why hast thou a heart within thee that can love, fear, and 
desire, but that thou shouldst fear him, and love him, and 
desire after him ? 

10. Yea, thine own engagements by promise to the Lord 
do call upon thee to turn and serve. him. Thou hast bound 
thyself to him by a baptismal covenant, and renounced the 
world, the flesh, and the de^il ; this thou hast confii'med 
by the profession of Christianity, and renewed it at sacra- 
ments, and in times of aflEhction. And vnlt thou promise, 
and vow, and never p«erform, and turn to God ? 

Lay all these together now, and see Avhat should be the 
issue. The holy Scriptures call upon thee to turn ; the 
ministers of Christ do call upon thee to turn ; the Spirit 
cries. Turn ; thy conscience cries, Turn ; the godl}-, by per- 
suasions and examples, cry. Turn ; the whole world, and all 
the creatures therein that are presented to thy consideration, 
cry, Turn ; the patient forbearance of God cries, Turn ; aU 
the mercies which thou receivest cry, Turn ; the rod of 
God's chastisement cries, Tm-n ; thy reason and the frame 



122 A CALL TO THE UNC0N^T:IITED. 

of thy nature bespeaks thy turning ; and so do all thy pro- 
mises to God : and yet art thou not resolved to tui'n ? 

3. Moreover, poor hard-hearted suiner, didst thou ever 
consider upon what terms thou standest all this while mth 
him that calleth thee to tiuTi ? Thou art his own, and owest 
him thyself, and all thou hast ; and may he not command 
his own ? Thou art his absolute servant, and shouldst serve 
no other master. Thou standest at his mercy, and thy life 
is in his hand ; and he is resolved to save thee upon no other 
terms. Thou hast many malicious spmtual enemies, that 
would be glad if God would but forsake thee, and let them 
alone vnih thee, and leave thee to their will ; how quickly 
would they deal with thee in another manner ! And thou 
canst not be deHvered fi'om them but by turning unto God. 
Thou art fallen under his wrath by thy sin already ; and thou 
knowest not how long his patience will yet wait. Perhaps 
this is the last year ; perhaps the last day. His sword is 
even at thy heart, while the word is in thine ear ; and if thou 
turn not, thou art a dead and undone man. Were thy eyes 
but open to see where thou standest, even upon the brink of 
hell, and to see how many thousands are there already that 
did not turn, thou wouldst see that it is time to look about 
thee. 

Well, sirs, look inwards now, and teU me how are your 
hearts affected with these offers of the Lord. You hear 
what is his mind ; he delighteth not in yom- death. He 
calls to you, Turn, turn ; it is a fearful sign, if all this move 
thee not, or if it do but half move thee ; and much more if 
it make thee more careless in thy misery, because thou 
hearest of the merciflilness of God. The working of the 
medicine will partly tell us, whether there be any hope of 
the cure. Oh what glad tidings would it be to those that are 
now in hell, if they had but such a message fi-om God ! 
What a joyful word would it be to hear this. Turn and live ! 
Yea, what a welcome word would it be to thyself, when 
thou hast felt that wrath of God but an hoiu- ; or, if after 
a thousand, and ten thousand years' torment, thou couldst 
but hear such a word from God, Turn and live ! and yet 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 123 

wilt thou neglect it, and suffer us to return without our er- 
rand ? 

Behold, sinners, we are set here as the messengers of the 
Lord, to set before you life and death ; what say you, which 
of them will you choose ? Christ standeth, as it were, by 
thee, with heaven in one hand, and hell in the other, and 
ofiereth thee thy choice ; which wilt thou choose ? The 
voice of the Lord maketh the rocks to tremble. See Psal. 
xxix. And is it nothing to hear him threaten thee, if thou 
wilt not turn ? Dost thou not understand and feel this 
voice, "Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?" ^^Tiy, it is 
the voice of love, of infinite love, of thy best and kindest 
Friend, as thou mightest easily perceive by the motion, and 
yet canst thou neglect it ? It is the voice of pity and com- 
passion. The Lord seeth whether thou art going better 
than thou dost, which makes him call after thee, Turn, turn. 
He seeth what Avill become of thee, if thou tiu-n not : he 
thinketh with himself, Ah this poor sinner will cast himself 
into endless torment, if he do not turn ; I must in justice 
deal with him according to my righteous law : and therefore 
he calleth after thee, Tm-n, turn. O sinner ! if thou didst 
but know the thousandth part as well as God doth, the dan- 
ger that is near you, and the misery that you are running 
into, we should have no more need to call after you to 
turn. 

Moreover, this voice that calleth to thee, is the same 
that hath prevailed with thousands already, and called all 
to heaven that are now there ; and they would not now for 
a thousand worlds that they had made Hght of it, and not 
turned to God. Now what are they possessing that tm^ned 
at God's call ? Xow they perceive indeed that it was the 
voice of love, that meant them no more harm than their 
salvation. And if thou wilt obey the same call thou shalt 
come to the same happiness. There be millions that must 
for ever lament that they turned not, but there is never a 
soul in heaven that is sorry that they were converted. 

Well, sirs, are you yet resolved, or are you not ? Do I 
need to say any more to you, what wiU you do ? Will you 



124 A CALL TO THE UNCON^'ERTED. 

turn or not? Speak, man, in thy heart to God, though thou 
speak not out to me: speak, lest he take thy silence for a 
denial ; speak quickly, lest he never make thee the like of- 
fer more ; speak resolvedly, and not waveringly, for he 
■will have no indiiferents to be his followers. Say in thy 
heart now, without any more delay, even before you stir 
hence. By the grace of God, I am resolved presently to 
turn. And because I know mine own insufficiency, I am 
resolved to wait on God for his grace, and follow him in his 
ways, and forsake my former courses and companions, and 
give up myself to the guidance of the Lord. 

Su's, you are not shut up in the darkness of heathenism, 
nor in the desperation of the damned. Life is before you, 
and you may have it on reasonable terms if you will ; yea, 
on free-cost if you will accept it. The way of God lieth 
plain before you, the church is open to you, and you may 
have Chi'ist, pardon, and holuiess, if you -will. What say 
you ? Will you or will you not ? K you say nay, or say 
nothing, and still go on, God is witness, and this congrega- 
tion is witness, and your own consciences are witness, how 
fair an offer you had this day. Remember you might have 
Christ, and you would not. Remember, when you have 
lost it, that you might have had eternal hfe, as well as 
others, and would not : and all this because you would not 
turn ! 

But let us come to the next doctrine, and hear your 
reasons. 

Doct. VI. The Lord condescendeth to reason the case 
with miconvei-ted sinners, and to ask them why they will 
die. 

A strange disputation it is, both as to the controversy, and 
as to the disputants. 

1 . The controversy or question propounded to dispute of, 
is, "Why vricked men wUl damn themselves ? or, AMiether 
they will die rather than turn ? A^Tiether they have any 
sufficient reason for so doing ? 

2. The disputants are God and man ; the most holy God, 
and wicked, unconverted siuneis. 



A CALL TO THE UXCOim:ilTED. 125 

Is it not a strange thing wliicli God doth seem here to 
suppose, that any man should be "willing to die, and be 
damned ; yea, that this should be the case of all the wicked ; 
that is, of the greatest part of the world ? But you will 
say, This cannot be ; for nature desireth the preservation 
and felicity of itself, and the wicked are more selfish than 
others, and not less ; and therefore how can any man be 
willing to be damned ? 

To which I answer, 1. It is a certain truth, that no man 
can be willing of any e^'il, as evil, but only as it hath some 
appearance of good ; much less can any man be willing to 
be eternally tormented, jNIisery, as such, is desired by none. 
2. But yet for aU that, it is most true, which God here 
teacheth us, that the cause why the wicked die and are 
damned, is, because they will die and be damned. And this 
is true in seve*'al respects. 

1 . Because they will go the way that leads to hell, though 
they are told by God and man whither it goes and where 
it ends ; and though God hath so often professed in his 
word, that if they hold on in that way they shall be con- 
demned ; and that they shall not be saved unless they turn. 
" There is no peace (saith the Lord) unto the wicked," 
Isa. xlviii. 22 ; l\-ii. 21. " The way of peace they know 
not ; there is no judgment in their going ; they have made 
them crooked paths, whosoever goeth therein shall not know 
peace," Isa. lix. 8. They have the word and the oath of 
the li^dng God for it, that if they will not turn, they shall 
not enter into his rest. And yet wicked they are, and 
wicked they will be, let God and man say what they wiU ; 
fleshly they are, and fleshly they will be, worldlings they 
are, and worldlings they will be, though God hath told 
them, that " the love of the world is enmity to God ; and 
that if any man love the world (in that measure) the love 
of the Father is not in him," James iv. 4 ; 1 John ii. 15. 
So that consequentially these men are willing to be damned, 
though not directly : they are willing of the way to heU, 
and love the certain cause of their torment, though they be 



126 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

not willing of hell itself, and do not love the pain which they 
must endure. 

Is not this the truth of your case, sii's ? You would not 
burn in hell, but you will kindle the fii-e by your sins, and 
cast yourselves into it ; you would not be tormented with 
de\Tls in hell, but you will do that which will certainly pro- 
cure it in despite of all that can be said agamst it. It is 
just as if you would say, I will drink poison, but yet I will 
not die. I will cast myself headlong fi-om the top of a 
steeple, but yet I will not kill myself. I will thi^ust my 
knife mto my heart, but yet I vnR not take away my life. 
I vnR put this fire into the thatch of my house, but yet I 
will not bm-n it. Just so it is with wicked men ; they ^vill 
be wicked, and live after the flesh in the world, and yet 
they would not be damned. But do you not know, that 
the means do lead unto the end ? and that God hath by his 
righteous law concluded, that ye must repent or perish ? He 
that will take poison may as well say, I will kill myself, for 
it vnll prove no better in the end : though perhaps he loved 
it for the sweetness of the sugar that was mixed with it, and 
would not be persuaded it was poison, but that he might 
take it and do well enough ; but it is not his conceit and 
confidence that will save his life. So if you will be drunk- 
ards, or fornicators, or worldlings, or live after the flesh, 
you may as well say plauily, "We will be damned ; for so 
you shall be unless you tm'n. Would you not rebuke the 
folly of a thief or murderer that would say, I wiU steal or 
kill, but I will not be hanged ; when he knows, that if he 
do the one, the judge in justice will see that the other be 
done. If he says, I will steal and mm'der, he may as well 
say plainly, I will be hanged ; so if you will go on in a car- 
nal life, you may as well sa}- plainly, We will go to hell. 

2. Moreover, the wicked will not use those means without 
which there is no hope of their salvation : he that will not 
eat, may as well say plamly he vnH not live, unless he can 
tell how to live without meat. He that will not go his 
jom-ney, may as well say plainly he will not come to the 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 127 

end. He that falls into the water, and will not come out, 
nor suffer another to help him out, may as well say plainly 
he will be drowned. So if you be carnal and ungodly, and 
will not be converted, nor use the means by which you 
should be converted, but think it more ado than needs, you 
may as well say plainly you will be damned. For if you 
have found out a way to be saved without conversion, you 
have done that which was never done before. 

3 . Yea, this is not all, but the wicked are unwilling even 
of salvation itself. Though they may desire somewhat which 
they call by the name of heaven, yet heaven itself, consider- 
ed in the true natm-e of the feUcity, they desire not ; yea, 
their hearts are quite against it. Heaven is a state of per- 
fect holiness, and of continual love and praise to God, and 
the wicked have no heart to this. The imperfect love, praise, 
and holiness which is here to be obtained, they have no 
mind of; much less of that which is so much gi-eater : the 
joys of heaven are of so pure and spiritual a nature, that the 
heart of the wicked cannot truly desire them. 

So that by this time you may see on what ground it is 
that God supposeth that the wicked are willing of their own 
destruction : they will not tm'n, though they must turn or 
die. They vnR rather venture on certain miserj^, than be 
converted; and then to quiet themselves in their sins, they 
will make themselves believe that they shall nevertheless 



2. And as the controversy is matter of wonder (that 
ever men should be such enemies to themselves, as wilMly 
to cast away their souls), so are the disputants too : that 
God should stoop so low, as thus to plead the case with 
man ; and that man should be so strangely blind and ob- 
stinate as to need all this m so plain a case ; yea, and to re- 
sist all this, when their o^vn salvation lieth upon the issue. 

No wonder if they will not hear us that are men, when 
they will not hear the Lord himself: as God saith, when he 
sent the prophet to the Israelites, "The house of Israel will 
not hearken unto thee ; for they wUl not hearken unto me : 
for all the house of Israel are unpudent and hard-hearted," 



128 A CALL TO THE UNCOXVERTED. 

Ezek. iii 7. No wonder if they can plead against a mi- 
nister, or a godly neighbour, when they will plead against 
the Lord himself, even against the plainest passages of his 
word, and thmk they have reason on their side. When 
they weary the Lord with their words, they say, " TMierein 
have we wearied him?" Mai. ii. 7. The priests that de- 
spised his name, durst ask, " Wherein have we despised thy 
name?" And when they " polluted his altar, and made the 
tables of the Lord contemptible," they durst say, " AMierein 
have we polluted them ?" Mai. \'i. 1, 7. But, " Woe mito him 
(saith the Lord) that striveth with his Maker ! Let the pot- 
sherds strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the 
clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou ?" 
Isa. xlv. 9. 

Quest. But why is it that God will reason the case with 
man ? 

Answ. 1. Because that man, being a reasonable creature, 
is accordingly to be dealt with ; and by reason to be per- 
suaded and overcome. God hath therefore endowed them 
with reason, that they might use it for him. One would 
think a reasonable creature should not go against the clearest 
and greatest reason in the world, when it is set before him. 

2. At least men shall see that God did require nothing of 
them that was unreasonable, but that whatever he com- 
mandeth them, and whatever he forbiddeth them, he hath 
all the right reason in the world on his side, and they have 
good reason to obey him, but none to disobey. And thus 
even the damned shall be forced to justify God, and confess 
that it was but reason that they should have turned to him; 
and they shall be forced to condemn themselves, and con- 
fess that they have little reason to cast away themselves by 
the neglecting of his grace in the day of their visitation. 

Use. Look up your best and strongest reasons, sinners, 
if you will make good your way : you se* now with whom 
you have to deal. "\ATiat sayest thou, unconverted, sensual 
wretch ? Barest thou venture upon a dispute with God ? 
Art thou able to confute him ? Art thou ready to enter the 
lists? God asketh thee, Why wilt thou die? Art thou 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 129 

furnished with a sufficient answer? Wilt thou undertake 
to prove that God is mistaken, and that thou art in 
the right ? Oh what an undertaking is that 1 Why either 
he or you is mistaken, when he is for your conversion, 
and you are against it. He calls upon you to tm-n, 
and you will not: he bids you do it presently, even to- 
day, while it is called to-day, and you delay, and think it 
time enough hereafter. He saith, it must be a total change, 
and you must be holy and new creatures, and born again ; 
and you think that less may serve the turn, and that it is 
enough to patch up the old man, without becoming new. 
Who is in the right now, God or you ? God calleth on 
you to turn, and to Uve a holy life, and you will not ; by 
your disobedient lives it appears you will not. If you will, 
why do you not ? VThj have you not done it all this while ? 
And why do you not fall upon it yet ? Your wills have the 
command of yom- lives. We may certainly conclude, that 
you are unwilling to turn, when you do not turn. And why 
will you not? Can you give any reason for it, that is 
worthy to be called a reason ? 

I that am but a worm, your fellow-creature, of a shallow 
capacity, dare challenge the wisest of you aU. to reason the 
case with me, while I plead my Maker's cause ; and I need 
not be discouraged, when I know I plead but the cause 
that God pleadeth, and contend for him that will have 
the best at last. Had I but these two general grounds 
against you, I am sure that you have no good reason on 
your side. 

1. I am sure it can be no good reason, which is against 
the God of truth and reason ; it cannot be hght that is con- 
trary to the sun. There is no knowledge ui any creature, 
but what it had from God ; and therefore none can be vnser 
than God. It were damnable presumption for the highest 
angel to compare with liis Creator ; what is it then for a lump 
of dirt, an ignorant sot, that knoweth not himself, nor his 
own soul ; that knoweth but httle of the things which he 
seeth, yea, that is more ignorant than many of his neigh- 
bours ; to set himself against the -wisdom of the Lord? It 

I 



130 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED^ 

is one of the fullest discoveries of the horrible wickedness of 
carnal men, and the stark madness of such who sin, that so 
silly a mole dare contradict his Maker, and call in question 
the word of God : yea, that those people in our parishes, 
that are so beastly ignorant, that they cannot give us a rea- 
sonable answer concerning the very principles of religion, 
are yet so wise in then' own conceit, that they dare ques- 
tion the plainest truths of God, yea, contradict them, and 
cavil against them, when they can scarce speak sense, and 
will beheve them no farther than agi'eeth with then' foohsh 
wisdom. 

2. And as I know that God must needs be in the right, 
so I know the case is so palpable and gi^oss which he pleadeth 
against, that no man can have reason for it. Is it possible 
that a man can have any good reason to break his master's 
laws, and reason to dishonour the Lord of glory, and reason 
to abuse the Lord that bought him ? Is it possible that a 
man can have any good reason to damn his own immortal 
soul? Mark the Lord's question, " Turn ye, turn ye, why 
will ye die ? " Is eternal death a thing to be desired ? Are 
you in love with hell ? What reason have you wilfully to 
perish ? If you thmk you have some reason to sin, should 
you not remember that " death is the wages of sin?" Rom. 
vi. 23. And think whether you have any reason to undo 
yourselves, body and soul, for ever ? You should not only 
ask whether you love the adder, but whether you love the 
sting. It is such a thing for a man to cast away his ever- 
lasting happiness, and to sin against God, that no good rea- 
son can be given for it ; but the more any one pleads for it, 
the more mad he shcAveth himself to be. Had you a lord- 
ship or a kingdom offered to you for every sin that you 
commit, it were not reason but madness to accept it. Could 
you by every sin obtain the highest thing on earth that flesli 
desireth, it were of no considerable value to persuade you in 
reason to commit it. If it were to please your gi-eatest and 
dearest fi-iends, or obey the greatest piince on earth, or to 
save your lives, or to escape the greatest earthly misery, all 
these are of no consideration to draw a man in reason to 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 131 

the committing of one sin. If it were a right hand or a 
right eye that would hmder yom- salvation, it would be the 
gaiiifullest way to cast it away, rather than go to hell to save it. 
Fur there is no sa-sing a part, when you lose the whole. So 
exceeding great are the matters of eternity, that nothing in 
this world deserveth once to be named in comparison with 
them, nor can any earthly thing, though it were life, or 
crowns and kingdoms, be a reasonable excuse for matters of 
so high and everlasting consequence. A man can have no 
reason to cross his ultimate end. Heaven is such a thing, 
that if you lose it, nothmg can supply the want, or make up 
the loss. And hell is such a thing, that if you suffer it, 
nothing can remove your misery, or give you ease and com- 
fort. And therefore nothing can be a valuable considera- 
tion to excuse you for neglecting your own salvation. For 
saith our Saviour, " ^Yhat shall it profit a man if he shall 
gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" Mark viii. 36. 
O sirs ! did you but know what matters they are we are 
now speaking to you of! The saints in heaven have other 
kind of thoughts of these things. If the devil could come 
to them that live in the sight and love of God, and should 
offer them a cup of ale, or a whore, or merry company, or 
sport, to entice them away fi'om God and glory, I pray you 
tell me, how do you think they would entertain the motion ? 
Nay, if he should offer them to be kuigs on the earth, do 
you think this would entice them down fi'om heaven ? Oh, 
with what hatred and holy scorn would they disdain and re- 
ject the motion ? and why should not you do so that have 
heaven opened to your faith, if you had but faith to see it? 
There is never a soul in hell, but knows by this time, that it 
was a mad exchange to let go heaven for fleshly pleasm-e ; 
and that it is not a little mirth, or pleasure, or worldly 
riches or honour, or the good -will or the word of men, that 
wiU quench hell-fire, or make him a saver that loseth his 
soul. Oh if you had heard what I believe, if you had seen 
what I believe, and that on the credit of the word of God, 
you would say, there can be no reason to waiTant a man to 



132 A CALL TO THE T'vrOXVERTED. 

damn liis soul ; you durst not sleep quietly another night, 
before you had resolved to turn and live. 

K you see a man put his hand into the fire till it bum off, 
you marvel at it ; but this is a thing that a man may have 
reason for, as Bishop Craijmer had when he burnt off his 
hand for subscribing to popery. If you see a man cut off 
a leg, or an arm, it is a sad sight ; but this is a thing a man 
may have good reason for ; as many a man doth to save his 
life. If you see a man give his body to be burned to ashes, 
and to be tormented with strappadoes and racks, and refuse 
deliverance when it is offered ; this is a hard case to flesh 
and blood. But this a man may have good reason for ; as 
you may see in Heb. xi. 33-36 : and as many a hundred 
mart}TS have done. But for a man to forsake the Lord 
that made him, and for a man to run into the fire of heU, 
when he is ,told of it, and entreated to turn, that he may be 
saved ; this is a thing that can have no reason in the world, 
that is reason indeed, to justif}- or excuse is. For heaven 
will pay for the loss of any thing that we can lose to get it, 
or for any labour which we bestow for it. But nothing can 
pay for the loss of heaven. 

I beseech you now, let his word come nearer to your 
hearts. As you are con\inced you have no reason to de- 
stroy yourselves, so tell me what reason you have to refuse 
to turn, and Hve to God ; what reason hath the veriest 
worldling, or drunkard, or ignorant, careless sinner of you 
all, why you should not be as holy as any you know, and 
be as careful for your souls as any other? Will not heU 
be as hot to you as to others? Should not your own souls 
be as dear to you, as theirs to them ? Hath not God as 
much authority over you ? Why then will ye not become 
a sanctified people as well as they ? 

O sirs, when God bringeth do^ai the matter to the ver}' 
principles of nature, and shews you that you have no more 
reason to be ungodly than you have to damn your own 
souls ; if yet you wiU not understand and tm-n, it seems a 
desperate case that you are in. 



A CALL TO THE LTsXON\"ERTED. 133 

And now either you have reasons for what you do, or you 
have not. If not, will you go on against reason itself? 
"\A'iIl you do that which you have no reason for ? But if 
you think you have, produce them, and make the best of 
your matter ; reason the case a httle whUe with your fellow- 
creature, which is far easier than to reason the case with 
God. Tell me, man, here, before the Lord, as if thou wert 
to die this hour, why shouldst thou not resolve to turn this 
day, before thou stir fi-om the place thou standest in? 
What reason hast thou to deny, or to delay? Hast thou 
any reasoils that satisfieth thine own conscience for it ? or 
any that thou darest oa^ti and pl^ad at the bar of God ? K 
thou hast, let us hear them, bring them forth, and make 
them good. But alas ! what poor stuiT, what nonsense, in- 
stead of reasons, do we daily hear from ungodly men ! But 
for their necessity, I should be ashamed to name them. 

1 . One saith, K none shall be saved but such converted 
and sanctified ones as you talk of, heaven would be but 
empty ; then God help a great many. 

Answ. ^\Tiat, rt seems you think God doth not know, or 
else that he is not to be believed : measure not aU by your- 
self; God hath thousands and milUons of his sanctified ones ; 
but yet they are few in comparison of the world, as Clu'ist 
himself hath told us in Matt. \'ii. 13, 14, and Luke xii. 32. 
It better beseems you to make that use of this truth which 
Christ teacheth you : " Strive to enter in at the strait gate ; 
for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth 
unto life, and few there be that find it : but wide is the 
gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and 
many there be that go in thereat," Luke xiii. 22-24. " And 
fear not, little flock (saith Christ to his sanctified ones), for 
it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom," 
Luke xii. 32. 

Object. 2. I am sure if such as I go to hell, we shall 
have store of company. 

Ansiv. And will that be any ease oi comfort to you ? or 
do you think you may not have company enough in 
heaven ? WiU you be undone for company ? or will you not 



134 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

believe that God will execute bis threatenings, because there 
are so many that are guilty? All these are silly, unreason- 
able conceits. 

Ohject. 8. But all men are sinners, even the best of 
you all. 

Answ. But all are not unconverted sinners. The godly 
live not in gross sins ; and then' very infirmities are their 
grief and bm^den, which they daily long, and pray, and 
strive to be rid of. Sin hath not dominion over them. 

Ohject. 4. I do not see that professors are any better than 
other men ; they Avill overreach and oppress, and are as co- 
vetous as any. 

Answ. "V\iiatever hj-pocrites are, it is not so with those 
that are sanctified. God hath thousands and ten thousands 
that are otherAvise, though the malicious world doth ac- 
cuse them of what they can never prove, and of that which 
never entered into their hearts. And commonly they charge 
them with heart sins, which none can see but God ; because 
they can charge them with no such wickedness in their lives 
as they are guilty of themselves. 

Ohject. 5. But I am no whoremonger, nor drunkard, nor 
oppressor ; and therefore why should you call upon me to be 
converted ? 

Answ. As if you were not born after the flesh, and had 
not lived after the flesh, as well as others. Is it not as great 
a sin as any of these, for a man to have an earthly mind, and 
to love the world above God, and to have a faithless, un- 
humbled heart ? Nay, let me tell you more, that many per- 
sons that avoid disgraceful sins, are fast glued to the world, 
and as much slaves to the flesh, and as strange to God, and 
averse to heaven, in their more civil course, as others are in 
their more shamefifl, notorious sins. 

Ohject. 6. But I mean nobody any harm, and do no 
harm ; and why then should God condemn me ? 

Answ. Is it no harm to neglect the Lord that made thee, 
and the work for which thou camest into the world, and 
prefer the creature before the Creator, and neglect grace 
that is daily oflered thee ? It is the depth of thy sinfulness, 



A CALL TO THE UXCOX\'ERTED. 135 

to be insensible of it. The dead feel not that they are 
dead. K once thou wert made ahve, thou wouldst see 
more amiss in thyself, and marvel at thyself for making so 
light of it. 

Object. 7. I think you wjU make men mad mider a pretence 
of converting them : it is enough to rack the brains of simple 
people, to muse so much on matters too high for them. 

Answ, 1. Can you be madder than you are already? 
Or at least, can there be a more dangerous madness, than to 
neglect yom- everlasting welfare, and wilfully undo your- 
selves ? 

2. A man is never well in his wits till he be converted ; 
he neither knows God, nor sin, nor Christ, nor the world, 
nor himself, nor what his business is on the earth, so as to 
set himself about it, till he be converted. The Scripture 
saith that the wicked are unreasonable men, 2 Thess. iii. 2 ; 
and " that the %visdom of the world is foolishness with 
God," 1 Cor. i. 20 ; and Luke xv. 17, it is said of the pro- 
digal, "that when he came to himself," he resolved to return. 
It is a wise world when men will disobey God, and run to 
hell for fear of being out of their wits ! 

3. What is there in the work that Christ caUs you to, 
that should drive a man out of his wits ? Is it the loving 
of God, and calling upon him, and comfortable thinking of 
the glory to come, and the forsaking of our sms, and 
the loving of one another, and dehghting ourselves in 
the service of God ? Are these such things as should make 
men mad ? 

4. And whereas you say, that these matters are too high 
for us, you accuse God himself for making this our work, 
and giving us his word, and commanding all that will be 
blessed, to meditate in it day and night. Are the matters 
which we are made for, and which we live for, too high for 
us to meddle with? This is plainly to unman us, and to 
make beasts of us, as if we were like to them that must 
meddle with no higher matters than what belongeth to flesh 
and earth. If heaven be too high for you to thuik on, and 
to provide for, it will be too high for you ever to possess. 



186 A CALL TO THE UXOONYERTED. 

5. If God should sometimes suffer any weak-headed per- 
son to be distracted by thinking of eternal things, this is be- 
cause they misunderstand them, and run without a guide. 
And of the two, I had rather be in the case of such a one, 
than of the mad, unconverted world, that take their dis- 
traction to be their wisdom. 

Object. 8. I do not think that God doth care so much 
what men think, or speak, or do, as to make so great a 
matter of it. 

Ansiv. It seems then, you take the word of God to be 
false ; and then what will you beHeve ? But your own rea- 
son might teach you better, if you believe not the Scriptures ; 
for you see God doth not set so light by us, but that he 
vouchsafed to make us, and still preserveth us, and daily up- 
holdeth us, and pro\adeth for us : and will any wise man 
make a curious frame for nothing ? Will you make or buy 
a clock, or a watch, and daily look to it, and not care 
whether it go true or false ? Surely if you believe not a par- 
ticular eye of Pro^ddence obser^^.ng your hearts and lives, 
you cannot believe or expect any particular Providence to 
observe your wants and troubles, to relieve you. And if God 
had so little cared for you, as you imagine, you would never 
have Hved till now ; a hundred diseases would have striven 
which should first destroy you. Yea, the devil would have 
haunted you, and fetched you away alive, as the great fishes' 
devour the less ; and as ravenous beasts and birds devour 
others. You cannot think that God made man for no end 
or use ; and if he made him for any, it was sure for himself. 
And can you think he cares not whether his end be accom- 
plished, and whether we do the work that we are made 
for? 

Yea, by this atheistical objection, you make God to have 
made and upheld all the world in vain. For what are all 
other lower creatures for, but for man ? What doth the 
earth but bear us, and nourish us ? And the beasts do serve 
us with their labours and lives ; and so of the rest. And 
hath God made so glorious a habitation, and set man to 
dwell in it, and made all his servants ; and now doth he 



A CALL TO THE L^XOXA^ERTED. 137 

look for nothing at his hands ? nor care how he thinks, or 
speaks, or lives ? This is most unreasonable. 

Object. 9. It was a better world when men did not make 
so much ado in rehgion. 

Answ. It hath ever been the custom to praise the time 
past. That world that you speak of, was wont to say, It 
was a better world in our forefathers' days, and so did they 
of their forefathers. This is but an old custom, because we 
all feel the e^vil of our o^vn times, but we see not that which 
was before us. 

2. Perhaps you speak as you think: worldlings think the 
world is at the best, when it is agreeable to their minds, and 
when they have most mirth and worldly pleasure. And I 
doubt not but the devil, as well as you, would say, that then 
it was a better world : for then he had more ser\ice, and 
less distm-bance ; but the world is best, when God is most 
loved, regarded, and obeyed. And how else will you knoAv 
when the world is good or bad, but by this ? 

Object. 10. There are so many ways and religions, that 
we know not which to be of ; and therefore we will be even 
as we are. 

Answ. Because there are many, will you be of that way 
that you may be sure is wrong ? Xone are farther out of 
the way, than worldly, fleshly, imconverted sinners. For 
they do not eiT in this or that opinion, as many sects do ; 
but in the very scope and diift of their lives, if you were 
going a journey that your life lay on, would you stop or turn 
agam, because you meet some cross-ways, or because you 
saw some travellers go the horse-way and some the foot- 
way, and some perhaps break over the hedge, yea, and some 
miss the way ? Or would you not rather be the more care- 
ful to inquire the way? If you have some servants that 
know not how to do your work right, and some that 
are unfaithful, would you take it well at any of the rest, 
that would therefore be idle and do you no service, because 
they see the rest so bad ? 

Object. 11. I do not see that it goes any better with those 



138 A CALL TO THE UXCONYERTED. 

that are so godly, than with other men. They are as poor, 
and in as much trouble, as others. 

Answ. And perhaps in much more, when God sees it 
meet. They take not an earthly prosperity for their wages. 
They have laid up then treasure and hopes in another world, 
or else they are not Christians indeed. The less they have, 
the more is behind : and they are content to wait till then. 

Object. 12. When you have said all that you can, I am 
resolved to hope well, and trust in God, and do as well as I 
can, and not make so much ado. 

Answ. 1. Is that doing as well as you can, when you will 
not turn to God, but your heart is against his holy and 
diligent service ? It is as well as you will, indeed : but that 
is your misery. 

2. My desire is that you should hope and trust in God. 
But for what is it that you will hope ? Is it to be saved, 
if you tm-n and be sanctified ? For this you have God's 
promise ; and therefore hope for it, and spare not ; but if 
you hope to be saved without conversion and a holy life, this 
is not to hope in God, but in Satan, or yourselves ; for God 
hath given you no such promise, but told you the contrary ; 
but it is Satan and self-love that made you such promises, 
and raLsed you to such hopes. 

Well, if these, and such as these, be all you have to say 
against conversion and a holy life, your all is nothing, and 
worse than nothing ; and if these, and such as these, seem 
reasons sufficient to persuade you to forsake God, and cast 
yourselves into hell, the Lord dehver you from such reasons, 
and from such blind understandings, and from such senseless, 
hardened hearts. Dare you stand to everj' one of these 
reasons at the bar of God ? Do you think it will then serve 
your turn, to say. Lord, I did not turn, because I had so 
much to do ia the world, or because I did not hke the hves 
of some professors, or because I saw men of so many minds? 
Oh how easily will the hght of that day confound and shame 
such reasons as these ! Had you the world to look after ? 
Let the world which you served, now pay you your wages, 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 139 

and save you if it can ! Had you not a better world to 
look after first ? And were ye not commanded to seek first 
God's kingdom and righteousness, and promised, that other 
thmgs shall be added to you ? Matt. \i. 33. And were you 
not told, " that godliness was profitable to all things, having 
the promise of this Hfe, and of that which is to come ? " 
1 Tim. iv. 8. Did the sins of professors hinder you? 
You should rather have been the more heedful, and learned 
by their faUs to beware ; and have been the more carefid, 
and not to be more careless ; it was the Scripture and not 
their fives, that was yoiu- rule. Did the many opinions of 
the world hinder you ? Why, the Scripture that was your 
rule, did teach you but one way, and that was the right 
way ; if you had followed that, even in so much as was plain 
and easy, you woidd never have miscarried. WiU not such 
answers as these confound and silence you? K these will 
not, God hath those that will. When he asketh the man, 
" Friend, how camest thou in hither, not ha\ing on a wed- 
ding garment ?" Matt. xxii. 12 ; that is, what dost thou in 
my church amongst professed Christians, without a holy 
heart and life ? what answer did he make ? Why, the text 
saith, " He was speechless," he had nothing to say. The 
clearness of the case, and the majesty of God, will then 
easily stop the mouths of the most confident of you, though 
you will not be put down by any thing that we can say to 
you now, but will make good your cause, be it never so bad. 
I know already, that never a reason that now you can give 
me, ■will do you any good at last, when yoiu" case must be 
opened before the Lord and all the world. 

IsTay, I scarce think that your own consciences are well 
satisfied with your reasons. For if they are, it seems then 
you have not so much as a piu^ose to repent ; but if you do 
but purpose to repent, it seems you do not put much con- 
fidence in your reasons which you bring against it. 

WTiat say you, unconverted sinners ? Have you any 
good reason to give why you should not turn, and presently 
turn ^vith all your hearts ? or will you go to hell in despite 
of reason itself? Bethink you what you do, in time, for it 



140 A CALL TO THE UXCOX^'ERTED. 

will sliortly be too late to bethink you. Can you find any 
fault mth God, or liis work, or wages? Is he a bad master? 
Is the de\nl whom ye serve a better ? or is the flesh a bet- 
ter ? Is there any harm in a holy hfe ? Is a life of world- 
liness and ungodliness better ? Do you think in your con- 
science that it would do you any harm to be converted, and 
live a holy life ? What harm can it do you ? Is it harm 
to you to have the Spirit of Christ withm you ? and to have 
a cleansed, purified heart? K it be bad to be holy, why 
doth God say, " Be ye holy, for I am holy?" 1 Pet, i. 15, 
] 6 ; Lev. xx, 7. Is it e\il to be like God ? Is it not said, 
that " God made man m his own image?" Why, this holi- 
ness is his image : this Adam lost, and tliis Christ by his 
word and Spirit would restore you, as he doth to all that he 
will save. Why were you baptized into the Holy Ghost, and 
why do you baptize your children into the Holy Ghost, as 
your Sanctifier, if ye ^vill not be sanctified by him, but 
think it a hiu-t to be sanctified ? Tell me truly, as before 
the Lord, though you are loth to live a holy life, had you not 
rather die in the case of those that do so, than of others ? K 
you were to die this day, had you not rather die in the case 
of a converted man than of the unconverted ? of a holy and 
heavenly man, than of a carnal, earthly man ? And Avould 
you not say as Balaam, " Let me die the death of the righte- 
ous, and let my last end be hke his ? " Numb, xxiii. 10. And 
why will you not now be of the mind that you will be of 
then ? First or last you must come to this ; either to be 
converted, or to wish you had been when it is too late. 

But what is it that you are afraid of losing if you turn? 
Is it your fi'iends ? You will but change them : God wiU 
be your fi-iend, and Christ and the Spirit wall be your friend, 
and every Christian will be your friend. You will get one 
Friend that ^vill stand in more stead than all the fi'iends in 
the world could have done. The friends you lose would 
have but enticed you to hell, but could not have deUvered 
you ; but the Friend you get will save you from hell, and 
bring you to his own eternal rest. 

Is it your pleasures that you are afraid of losing ? You 



A CALL TO THE UNCOXVERTED. 141 

think you shall never have a mei-ry day again, if once you be 
converted. Alas ! that you should think it a greater plea- 
sure to live in foolish sports and memments, and plea'se 
yoirr flesh, than live in the belie\ang thoughts of glory, and 
in the love of God, and in righteousness, and peace, and joy 
in the Holy Ghost, in which the state of grace consisteth, 
Rom. xiv. 17. If it be a greater pleasm-e to you to think 
of your lands and inheritance (if you were lord of all the 
country), than it is to a child to play with pins ; why should 
it not be a greater joy to you to think of the kingdom of 
heaven being yours, than all the riches or pleasures of the 
world ? As it is but foolish childishness that makes children 
so deHght in gawds, that they would not leave them for aU 
your lands ; so it is but foolish worldliness, and flgshliness, 
and wickedness, that makes you so much delight in your 
houses, and lands, and meat, and drink, and ease, and 
honour, as that you would not part with them for heavenly 
delights. But what will you do for pleasm-e when these are 
gone ? Do you not think of that ? When your pleasures 
end in hon-or, and go out with a stinking snuff, the plea- 
sures of the saints are then at the best. I have had myself 
but a httle taste of the heavenly pleasures, in the fore- 
thoughts of the blessed approaching day, and in the present 
persuasions of the love of God in Christ ; but I have taken 
too deep a di-aught of earthly pleasm-es (so that you may 
see, if I be partial, it is on your side) ; and yet I must pro- 
fess from that little experience, that there is no comparison. 
There is more joy to be had in a day (if the sun of life shine 
clear upon us) in the state of holiness, than in a whole life 
of sinful pleasure : I had ^' rather be a doorkeeper in the 
bouse of God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. A 
day in his courts is better than a thousand " any where else, 
Psal. Ixxxiv. 10. The mu-th of the wicked is like the 
laughter of a madman, that knows not his own misery : and 
therefore Solomon saith of such laughter, " It is mad ; and 
of mirth, What doth it ? — It is better to go to the house of 
mourning, than to go to the house of feasting ; for that is 
the end of all men, and the living wiU lay it to his heart. 



142 A CALL TO THE HNXONYEKTED. 

Sorrow is better than laiigliter ; for by the sadness of the 
countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the 
■wise is in the house of mourning ; but the heart of fools is 
in the house of mirth. It is better to hear the rebuke of 
the wise, than to hear the song of fools ; for as the crackling 
of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of a fool," Eccl. ii. 
2 ; vii. 2-6. All the pleasure of fleshly tilings is but like 
the scratching of a man that hath the itch ; it is his disease 
that makes him desire it : and a wise man had rather be 
-without his pleasure than be troubled with his itch. Your 
loudest laughter is but like that of a man that is tickled, he 
laughs when he hath no cause of joy. And it is a wiser 
thing" for a man to give all his estate, and his life, to be 
tickled to make him laugh, than for you to part with the 
love of God, and the comforts of holiness, and the hopes of 
heaven, and to cast yourselves into damnation, that you may 
have yom- flesh tickled with the pleasure of sin for a Httle 
while. Judge as you are men whether this be a wise man's 
part. It is your carnal, unsanctified nature that makes a 
holy life seem grievous to you, and a course of sensuality 
seem more deHghtful. If you will but turn, the Holy Ghost 
will give you another nature and inclination, and then it will 
be more pleasant to you to be rid of yom' sin, than now it 
is to keep it ; and you will then say that you knew not what 
a comfortable life was till now, and that it was never well 
with you till God and holiness were your dehght. 

Quest. But how cometh it to pass, that men should be so 
unreasonable in the matters of salvation? They have wit 
enough in other matters ; what makes them so loth to be 
converted, that there should need so many words in so plain 
a case ; and all will not do, but the most will live and die 
uncoverted ? 

Answ. To name them only in few words, the causes are 
these : 

1 . Men are naturally in love with earth and flesh ; they 
are born sinners, and their nature hath an enmity to God 
and godliness, as the natm-e of a serpent hath to a man. 
And when aU that we can say goes against the habi- 



A CALL TO THE UNCOX^^ERTED. 143 

tual inclinations of their natures, no marvel if it little pre- 
vail. 

2. They are in darkness, and know not the veiy things 
that they hear. Like a man that was bom blind, and hears 
a high commendation of the hght : but what will heanng do, 
unless he sees it ? They know not what God is, nor what 
is the power of the cross of Christ, nor what the Spirit of 
holiness is, nor what it is to live in love by faith. They 
know not the certainty, and suitableness, and excellency of 
the heavenly inheritance. They know not what conversion 
and a holy mind and conversation are, even when they hear 
of them. They are in a mist of ignorance, they are lost and 
bewildered in sin ; like a man that hath lost himself in the 
night, and knows not where he is, nor how to come to him- 
self again, till the dayhght do recover him. 

3. They are wilfully confident that they need no conver- 
sion, but some partial amendment ; and that they are m the 
way to heaven already, and are converted, when they are 
not. And if you meet a man that is quite out of his way, 
you may long enough call on him to tm-n back again, if he 
will not beheve you that he is out of the way. 

4. Tliey are become slaves to their flesh, and di'owned in 
the world to make provision for it. Theii' lusts, and pas- 
sions, and appetites have distracted them, and got such a 
hand over them, that they cannot tell how to deny them, or 
how to mind any thing else. So that the drunkard saith, I 
love a cup of good diiiik, and cannot forbear it. The 
glutton saith, I love good cheer, and I cannot forbear. 
The fornicator saith, I love to have my lusts fulfilled, and I 
cannot forbear. And the gamester loveth to have his sports, 
and he cannot forbear. So that they are even become capti- 
vated slaves to their flesh, and then very -vNilfidness is become an 
impotency, and what they would not do they say they can- 
not. And the worldling is so taken up with earthly things, 
that he hath neither heart, nor mind, nor time for heavenly ; 
but as in Pharaoh's dream, Gen. xli. 4, the lean kine did 
eat up the fat ones, so this lean and barren earth do eat up 
all the thoughts of heaven. 



144 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

5. Some are so carried away by the stream of e\dl com- 
pany, that they are possessed wdth hard thoughts of a godly 
life, by heamig them speak against it : or at least they think 
they may venture to do as they see most do ; and so they 
hold on in then' sinful ways. And when one is cut off and 
cast into hell, and another snatched away fi'om among them 
to the same condemnation, it doth not much daunt them, 
because they see not whither they are gone. Poor "svi'etches ! 
they hold on in then- ungodliness for all this ; for they little 
know that their companions are now lamenting it in tor- 
ments. In Luke x\i. the rich man in hell would fain have 
had one to warn his five brethren, lest they should come to 
that place of torment. It is like he knew their minds and 
lives, and knew that they were hasting thither, and little 
di'eamed that he was there ; yea, and little would have be- 
lieved one that should have told them so. I remember a 
passage a gentleman told me he saAv upon a bridge over the 
Severn.* A man was dri^-ing a flock of fat lambs, and 
something meeting them and hindering their passage, one of 
the lambs leaped upon the wall of the bridge, and his legs 
slipping fi'om under him, he fell into the stream ; and the 
rest seeing him, did one after another leap over the bridge 
into the stream, and were all, or almost all, drowned. 
Those that were behind, did Httle know what was become 
of them that were gone before, but thought that they mi^ht 
venture to follow then- companions. But as soon as ever 
they were over the wall and falling headlong, the case was 
altered. Even so it is with unconverted, carnal men. One 
dieth by them, and drops into hell, and another follows the 
same way ; and yet they will go after them, because they 
think not whither they are going. Oh! but when death 
has once opened their eyes, and they see what is on the 
other side of the wall, even in another world, then what 
would they give to be where they were ! 

6. Moreover, they have a subtle, malicious enemy, that 
is unseen of them, and plays his game in the dark ; and it 

* Mr R. Rowley, of Shrewsbury, upon Acham Bridge. 



A CALL TO THE UNCONA^ERTED. 145 

is bis principal business to hinder their conversion ; and 
therefore to keep them where they are, by persuading them 
not to believe the Scriptures, or not to trouble their minds 
^nth these matters ; or by persuading them to think ill of a 
godly life, or to think that it is more ado than needs, and 
that they may be saved -without conversion, and -VN-ithout all 
this stir ; and that God is so merciful, that he Avill not damn 
any such as they, or, at least, that they may stay a Uttle 
longer, and take their pleasure, and follow the world a little 
longer yet, and then let it go, and repent hereafter ; and by 
such juggling, deluding cheats as these, the de^il keeps most 
in his captivity, and leadeth them to his misery. 

These, and such like impediments as these, do keep so 
many thousands unconverted, when God hath done so much, 
and Christ hath suffered so much, and ministers have said 
so much, for theii' conversion ; when theii* reasons are si- 
lenced, and they are not able to answer the Lord that calls 
after them, " Tm*n ye, turn ye, why will ye die?" yet all 
comes to nothing with the greatest part of them ; and they 
leave us no more to do after all, but to sit down and lament 
their wilftil miser}\ 

I have now shewed you the reasonableness of God's com- 
mands, and the unreasonableness of wicked men's disobe- 
dience. If nothing will serve timi, but men will yet reftise 
to turn, we are next to consider whose domg it is if they 
be damned. And this brings me to the last doctrine ; 
Avhich is, 

Doct. MH. That if, after all this, men will not turn, it 
is not of God that they are condemned, but of themselves, 
even their own wilfulness. They die because they will die, 
that is, because they will not turn. 

If you will go to hell, what remedy ? God here acquits 
himself of your blood : it shall not lie on him if you be lost. 
A negligent minister may draw it upon him ; and those that 
encourage you, or hinder you not, in sin, may draw it upon 
them ; but be sure of it, it shall not lie upon God. Saith 
the Lord concerning his unprofitable vineyard, " Judge, I 
pray you, between me and my \'ineyard : what could have 

K 



146 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done to 
it?" When he had " planted it in a fruitful soil, and fenced 
it, and gathered out the stones, and planted it with the 
choicest vines," what should he have done more to it ? Isa. 
V. 1-4. He hath made you men, and endued you ynth. 
reason ; he hath frnnished you with external necessaries, all 
creatures are at your service ; he hath given you a righte- 
ous, perfect law ; when you had broken it, and undone your- 
selves, he had pity on you, and sent his Son by a miracle of 
condescending mercy to die for you, and be a sacrifice for 
your sins, and he " was in Christ reconciling the world to 
himself" The Lord Jesus hath made you a deed of gift of 
himself, and eternal life with hun, on the condition you will 
but accept it, and return. He hath, on this reasonable con- 
dition, offered you the free pardon of all your sms : he hath 
written this in his word, and sealed it by his Spuit, and sent 
it you by his ministers ; they have made the offer to you a 
hundred and a hundred times, and caUed you to accept it, 
and turn to God. They have in his name entreated you, 
and reasoned the case with you, and answered all your fi-i- 
volous objections. He hath long waited on you, and staid 
your leism^e, and suffered you to abuse him to his face. He 
hath mercifully sustamed you in the midst of your sins ; he 
hath compassed you about with all sorts of mercies ; he hath 
also intermixed afflictions, to mind you of your folly, and 
call you to your wits ; and his Sphit hath been often striv- 
ing with your hearts, and saving there, Tm-n sinner, turn 
to him that calleth thee : whither art thou going ? What 
art thou doing ? Dost thou know what will be the end ? 
How long vnlt thou hate thy friends, and love thhie ene- 
mies ? AVhen wQt thou let go all, and turn, and deHver up 
thyself to God, and give thy Redeemer the possession of thy 
soul ? Allien shall it once be ? These pleadings have been 
used mth thee ; and when thou hast delayed, thou hast been 
urged to make haste, and God hath called to thee, " To- 
day, while it is called to-day, harden not yoiu- heart. Why 
not now without any more delay ? " Life hath been set be- 
fore you ; the joys of heaven have been opened to you in 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 147 

the gospel ; the certainty of them have been manifested ; 
the certainty of the everlasting torments of the damned have 
been declared to you, miless you would have had a sight of 
heaven and hell, what could you desu-e more ? Christ hath 
been, as it were, set forth crucified before your eyes. Gal. iii. 
1 . You have been a hundred times told, that you are but 
lost men, till you come unto hmi ; as oft as you have been 
told of the e%Tl of sin, and of the vanity of sin, the world, 
and all the pleasures and wealth it can afford ; of the short- 
ness and uncertainty of your lives, and the endless duration 
of the joy or torment of the life to come. All this, and 
more than this, have you been told, and told again, even 
till you were weary of hearing it, and tUl you could make 
the hghter of it, because you had so often heard it ; like 
the smith's dog, that is brought, by custom, to sleep under 
the noise of the hammers, when the sparks do fly about his 
ears : and though all this have not converted you, yet you 
are alive, and might have mercy, to this day, if you had but 
hearts to entertain it. And now let reason itself be judge, 
whether it be of God or you, if after all this you will be 
unconverted, and be damned? If yon die now it is be- 
cause you will die. What should be said more to you ? or 
what course should be taken, that is hker to prevail ? Are 
you able to say and make it good, We would fain have been 
converted and become new creatures, but we could not ; we 
would have changed our company, and our thoughts, and 
our discourse, but we could not. Why could you not if 
you would? What hindered you, but the wickedness of 
your hearts? "Who forced you to sin? or who did hold 
you back fi-om duty ? Had you not the same teaching, and 
time, and Hberty to be godly as your godly neighbours had ? 
Why then could you not have been godly as well as they ? 
Were the church doors shut against you, or did you not 
keep away yourselves ? or sit and sleep, or hear as if you did 
not hear ? Did God put in any exceptions against you in his 
word, when he invited sinners to return, and when he pro- 
mised mercy to those that do return ? Did he say, I will 
pardon all that repent, except thee ? Did he shut you out 



148 A CALL TO THE UNCON^^ERTED. 

from the liberty of his holy worship ? Did he forhid you to 
pray to him, any more than others ? You know he did not. 
God did not drive you away from him, but you forsook liim, 
and ran away yourselves. And when he called you to him, 
you would not come. K God had excepted you out of the 
general promise and oifer of mercy, or had said to you, 
Stand off, I vrill have nothing to do with such as you ; pray 
not to me, for I Avill not hear you. K you repent never so 
much, and cry for mercy never so much, I wiH not regard 
you. If God had left you nothmg to trust to but desperation, 
then you had had a fau' excuse. You might have said, To 
what end should I repent and turn, when it will do no 
good ? But this was not yoiu- case. You might have had 
Christ to be yom- Lord and Saviour, yom- Head and Hus- 
band, as well as others, and you would not ; because that 
ye felt not yourselves sick enough for the physician ; and 
because you could not spare your disease : in your hearts 
ye said as those rebels, Luke xix. 14, " We Avill not have 
this man to reign over us." Christ would have gathered 
you under the mngs of his salvation, and ye would not, 
Matt, xxiii. 27. "WTiat desii-es of your welfare did the Lord 
express in his holy word ! With what compassion did he 
stand over you and say, " Oh that my people had hearkened 
unto me, and that they had walked in my way ! " Psal. 
Ixxxi. 13. " Oh that there were such a heart in this people, 
that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments 
always, that it might be well with them, and with their 
children for ever!" Deut. v. 29. " Oh that they were 
mse, that they understood this, and that they would con- 
sider their latter end ! " Deut. xxxii. 29. He would have 
been your God, and done all for you that your souls could 
well desire ; but you loved the world and your flesh above 
him, and therefore you would not hearken to him ; though 
you complimented with him, and gave him high titles, yet 
when he came to the closing, you would have none of him. 
No marv^el then, if " he gave you up to your own heart's lusts, 
and you walked in yom- own counsels," Psal. Lxxxi. 11,12. He 
condescends to reason, and pleads the case with you, and asks 



A a\LL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 149 

you, What is there in me, or my service, that you should be 
so much agamst me ? AVliat harm have I done thee, sinner ? 
Have I deserved this unkind dealing at thy hands? Many 
mercies have I shewed thee ; for which of them dost thou 
despise me? Is it I, or is it Satan, that is thy enemy? Is 
it I, or is it thy carnal self, that would undo thee ? Is it a 
holy life, or a life of sin, that thou hast cause to fly from ? 
K thou be undone, thou procurest this to thyself, by forsak- 
ing me the Lord, that would have saved thee, Jer. ii. 17. 
" Doth not thine own wickedness correct thee, and thy sin 
reprove thee : thou mayest see that it is an evil and bitter 
thing, that thou hast forsaken me," Jer, ii. 19. " ^What 
iniquity have ye found in me, that you have followed after 
vanity, and forsaken me?" Jer. ii. 5, 6. He calleth out, 
as it were, to the brutes to hear the controversy he hath 
against you. '■'■ Hear, O ye mountains, the Lord's contro- 
versy, and ye strong foundations of the earth : for the Lord 
hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with 
Israel. O my people, what have I done to thee, and where- 
in have I wearied thee ? testify against me ; for I brought 
thee out of Eg}-pt, and redeemed thee," &c. Mic. ii. 2-5. 
" Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath 
spoken. I have nourished and brought up children, and 
they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, 
and the ass his master's crib, but Israel doth not know, my 
people doth not consider. Ah, sinful nation, a people laden 
with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers !" &c. Isa. i. 2-4. " Do 
you thus requite the Lord, O fooHsh people and unwise ? Is 
not he thy Father that bought thee, made thee, and esta- 
bHshed thee?" Deut. xxxii. 6. When he saw that you 
forsook him even for nothing, and turned away fi'om your 
Lord and life, to hunt after the chaff and feathers of the 
world, he told you of your folly, and called you to a more 
profitable emplojTiient. " Wherefore do you spend your 
money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that 
which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat 
ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fat- 
ness. Incline your ear, and come unto me ; hear, and your 



150 A CALL TO THE IINCONA'ERTED. 

soul sHall live ; and I will make an everlasting covenant 
vsdth you, even the sure mercies of DaA-id. — Seek ye the 
Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is 
near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the uni'ighteous 
man his thoughts, and let him retm-n unto the Lord, and he 
will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will 
abundantly pardon," Isa. Iv. 1-3, 6, 7. And so Isa. i. 
16-18. And when you would not hear, what complaints have 
you put him to, charging it on you as your wilfulness and 
stubbornness ! "Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and 
be horribly afi-aid : for my people have committed two 
evils ; they have forsaken me, the fountain of li^'ing waters, 
and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold 
no water," Jer. ii. 12, 13. Many a time hath Christ pro- 
claimed that fi-ee in-vdtation to you, " Let hun that is 
athirst, come : and whosoever will, let him take the water 
of life freely," Rev. xxii. 17. But you put him to com- 
plain after all his offers, " They will not come to me that 
they may have life," John v. 40. He hath invited you 
to feast with him in the kingdom of his grace ; and you 
have had excuses fi'om your grounds, and your cattle, and 
yom* worldly business ; and when you would not come, you 
have said you could not, and provoked him to resolve that 
you should never taste of his supper, Luke xiv. 15-23. 
And whose act is it now but your own? And what can 
you say is the chief cause of your damnation, but yoiu" own 
wills ? You would be damned. The whole case is laid open 
by Christ hunself, Pro v. i. 20, to the end : " Wisdom 
crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets : she 
crieth in the chief place of concourse : How long, ye simple 
ones, will ye love simpHcity ? and the scorners delight in 
theu" scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my 
reproof: behold I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will 
make known my words unto you. Because I have called, 
and ye refused ; I have stretched out my hand, and no man 
regarded ; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and 
would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your cala- 
mity ; I will mock when your fear cometh ; when your fear 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 161 

Cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a 
-whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 
Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer : they 
shall seek me early but they shall not find me ; for that 
they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the 
Lord : they would none of my counsel : they despised all 
my reproof Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their 
own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the 
turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the pros- 
perity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth 
unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from the fear 
of evil." I thought best to recite the whole text at large 
to you, because it doth so fully shew the cause of the de- 
struction of the wicked. It is not because God would not 
teach them, but because they would not learn. It is not 
because God would not call them, but because they would 
not turn at his reproof Their Avilfulness is their undoing. 

Use. From what hath been said, you may ftirther learn 
these following thmgs : — 

1. From hence you may see, not only what blasphemy 
and impiety it is to lay the blame of men's destruction upon 
God, but also how unfit these wicked wi'etches are to bring 
in such a charge against then- INIaker. They cry out upon 
God, and say, he gives them no grace, and his threat enings 
are severe, and God forbid that all should be damned that 
be not converted aud sanctified, and they think it hard mea- 
sure, that a short sin should have an endless sufiering ; and 
if they be damned, they say, they cannot help it. When 
in the mean time they are busy about their own destruc- 
tion, even cutting the throat of their own souls, and ^vill 
not be persuaded to hold their hand. They think God 
were cruel if he should damn them, and yet they are cruel 
to themselves, and they will run mto the fire of hell, when 
God hath told them it is a httle before them ; and neither 
entreaties nor threatenings, nor any thing that can be said, 
will stop them. We see them almost undone ; their careless, 
worldly, fleshly fives, do tell us, that they are in the power 
of the devil ; we know, if they die before they are con- 



152 A CALL TO THE L^^COXVEETED. 

verted, all the world cannot save them ; and knowing the 
uncertainty of their lives, we are afraid every day lest they 
drop into the fire. And, therefore, we entreat them to pity 
their own souls, and not to undo themselves when mercy is at 
hand ; and they will not hear us. AVe entreat them to cast 
away their sin, and come to Christ -without delay, and to have 
some mercy on themselves ; but they vnW have none. And yet 
they think that God must be cruel if he condemn them. O wil- 
ful, -wTctched sinners ! it is not God that is so cruel to you ; it 
is you that are cruel to yourselves. You are told you must 
turn or burn, and yet you turn not. You are told, that if 
you will needs keep your sins, you shall keep the cm-se of 
God Avith them, and yet you will keep them. You are told, 
that there is no way to happiness but by holiness, and yet 
you will not be holy. What would you have God say more 
to you ? "What would you have him do with his mercy ? He 
offered it to you, and you will not have it. You are in the 
ditch of sin and misery, and he would give you his hand to 
help you out, and you refuse his help ; he would cleanse 
you of your sins, and you had rather keep them. You love 
your lusts, and love your gluttony, and sports, and drunk- 
enness, and will not let them go ; and would you have 
him bring you to heaven whether you will or no ? or would 
you have him to bring you and your sms to heaven to- 
gether ? AVliy, that is an impossibility ; you may as well 
expect he should tm-n the sun into darkness. What ! an un- 
sanctified, fleshly heart be in heaven ? It cannot be ! 
" There entereth nothing that is unclean," Rev. xxi. 17. 
" For what commmiication hath light with darkness, or Christ 
with BeHal?" 2 Cor. ^4. 14, 15. "All the day long hath 
he stretched out his hands to a disobedient and gainsa^inor 
people," Rom. x. 25. "NYhat will ye do now? Will you 
cry to God for mercy ? "WTiy, God calleth upon you to have 
mercy upon yourselves, and you will not ; ministers see the 
poisoned cup in the drunkard's hand, and tell him. There is 
poison in it, and desu-e him to have mercy on his soul, and 
forbear, and he will not hear us ; drink it he must, and wiU ; 
he loves it, and, therefore, though hell comes next, he saith, 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 153 

he cannot help it. TVhat should one say to such men as 
these ? AVe tell the ungodly, careless worldlings, It is not 
such a life that will serve the turn, or ever bring you to 
heaven. If a bear were at your back, you would mend your 
pace ; and when the curse of God is at your back, and 
Satan and hell are at your back, you will not stir, but ask, 
A\Tiat needs all this ado ? Is an immortal soul of no more 
worth ? O have mercy upon yourselves ! But they will 
have no mercy on themselves, nor once regard us. We 
tell them the end aWU be bitter. TVTio can dwell with the 
everlasting fire ? And yet they will have no mercy upon them- 
selves. And yet Avill these shameful wretches say, that God 
is more merciful than to condemn them ? when it is them- 
selves that cruelly and unmercifidly run upon condemnation. 
And if we should go to them with our hats in oiu- hands, 
and entreat them, we cannot stop them ; if we should fall 
down on our knees to them, we cannot stop them ; but to 
hell they will, and yet ^vill not believe that they are going 
thither. If we beg of them, for the sake of God that made 
them, and preseiweth them ; for the sake of Christ that died 
for them ; for the sake of their own poor souls ; to pity 
themselves, and go no farther m the way to hell, but come 
to Christ while his arms are open, and enter into the state 
of life while the door stands open, and now take mercy 
while mercy may be had, they Avill not be persuaded. If 
we should die for it, we cannot get them so much as now 
and then to consider with themselves of the matter, and to 
turn. And yet they can say, I hope God will be merciful. 
Did you never consider what he saith, Isa. xxvii. 11, " It is 
a people of no understanding ; therefore he that made them 
will not have mercy on tliem, and he that formed them will 
shew them no favour." If another man will not clothe you 
when you are naked, and feed you when you are hungry, 
you will say he is unmerciftd. If he should cast you into 
prison, or beat or torment you, you would say he is unmer- 
ciful. And yet you do a thousand times more against 
yourselves, even cast away both soul and body for ever, and 
never complain of your own unraercifulness. Yea, and God 



1 54 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

that waited upon you all the ■wliile vdth his mercy, must be 
taken to be immerciful, if he punish you after all this. Un- 
less the holy God of heaven wlU give these wi'etches leave 
to trample upon his Son's blood, and with the Jews, as it 
were, again to spit in his face, and do despite to the Spirit 
of grace, and make a jest of sin, and a mock at holiness, 
and set more hght by sa^^ng mercy, than by the filth of 
then' fleshly pleasm-e ; and unless, after all this, he will save 
them by the mercy which they cast away and would none 
of, God himself must be called unmerciful by them : but he 
will be justified when he judgeth ; and he will not stand or 
fall at the bar of a sinftil worm, 

I know there are many particular cavils that are brought 
by them against the Lord, but I shall not here stay to an- 
swer them particularly, having done it already in my " Trea- 
tise of Judgment," to which I shall refer them. Had the 
disputing part of the world been as careful to avoid sin and 
destruction, as they have been busy in searching after the 
cause of them, and forward indh-ectly to impute it to God, 
they might have exercised then* Avits more profitably, and 
have less wronged God, and sped better themselves. When 
so ugly a monster as sm is within us, and so heavy a thing 
as punishment is on us, and so dreadfiil a thing as hell is 
before us, one would think it should be an easy question who 
is in the fault, and whether God or man be the principal or 
culpable cause? Some men are such favourable judges of 
themselves, that they are proner to accuse the Infinite Per- 
fection and Goodness itself, than their oAvn hearts ; and 
imitate their first parents that said, " The serpent tempted 
me, and the woman that thou gavest me, gave unto me, and 
I did eat," secretly implying that God was the cause. So 
say they, The understanding that thou gavest me was unable 
to discern ; the will that thou gavest me was unable to 
make a better choice ; the objects which thou didst set be- 
fore me did entice me ; the temptation which thou didst 
permit to assault me prevailed against me. And some are 
so loth to think that God can make a self-determining crea- 
tm-e, that they dare not deny him that wliich thev take to 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 155 

be his prerogative, to be the determiner of the will in every 
sin, as tbe first efficient, immediate, physical cause. And 
many could be content to acquit God fi-om so much causino- 
of evil, if they could but reconcile it with liis being the chief 
cause of good. As if truths would be no longer truths, than 
we are able to see them in their perfect order and cohe- 
rence ; because om- ravelled wits cannot set them right to- 
gether, nor assign each truth its proper place, we presume 
to conclude, that some must be cast away. This is the fi-uit 
of proud self-conceitedness, when men receive not God's 
truth as a child his lesson, in a holy submission to the holy 
omniscience of our Teacher, but as censurers that are too 
wise to learn. 

Object. But we cannot convert ourselves till God convert 
us ; we can do nothing without his grace. It is not in him 
that willeth, nor m him that runneth, but in God that shew- 
eth mercy. 

Answ. 1 . God hath two degrees of mercy to shew : the 
mercy of conversion first, and the mercy of salvation last. 
The latter he -svill give to none but those that wiU and run, 
and hath promised it to them only. The former is to make 
them -willing that were unwilHng ; and though your own 
"wdllingness and endeavours deserve not his grace, yet your 
wihUl refusal deserveth that it should be denied unto you. 
Your disability is yoiu* very unwillingness itself, which ex- 
cuseth not }'our sin, but maketh it the gi'eater. You could 
turn, if you were but truly willing ; and if your wills them- 
selves are so coiTupted, that nothing but effectual gi'ace wiU 
move them, you have the more cause to seek for that grace, 
and yield to it, and do what you can in the use of the 
means, and not neglect it, nor set against it. Do what you 
are able first, and then complain of God for den}Tng you 
gi-ace, if you have cause. 

Object. But you seem to intimate, all this while, that man 
hath firee-wUl. 

Answ. Tlie dispute about fi:-ee-wiU is beyond your capa- 
city ; I shall, therefore, now trouble you with no more but 
this about it. Your will is naturallv a free, that is, a self- 



156 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

determining faculty ; but it is viciously inclined, and back- 
ward to do good ; and therefore, we see by sad experience 
that it hath not a Aoi-tuous, moral freedom. But that is the 
wickedness of it which deserveth the punishment. And I 
pray you let us not befool ourselves with opinions. Let the 
case be your own. K you had an enemy so malicious, 
that he falls upon you and beats you every time he meets 
you, and takes away the Uves of your childi-en, wiU you 
excuse him, because he saith, I have not free-will, it is 
ray nature, I cannot choose, unless God give me grace? 
If you have a servant that robbeth you, will you take 
such an answer from him? IMight not every thief and 
murderer that is hanged at the assize, give such an an- 
swer, I have not free-will, I cannot change my own heart. 
What can I do Avithout God's grace? And shall they, 
therefore, be acquitted? If not, why, then, should you 
think to be acquitted for a course of sin against the 
Lord ? 

2. From hence also you may observe these three things 
together. (1.) "VVliat a subtle tempter Satan is. (2.) 
What a deceitful thing sin is. (3.) What a foolish creature 
corrupted man is. A subtle temjjter, indeed, that can per- 
suade the greatest part of the world to go ■wihully into 
everlasting fire, when they have so many warnings and dis- 
suasives as they have ! A deceitful thing is sin, indeed, that 
can bewitch so many thousands to part with everlasting life, 
for a tiling so base and utterly unworthy ! A fooHsh crea- 
ture is man, indeed, tliat will be so cheated of his salvation 
for nothing ; yea, for a known nothing ! and that by an 
enemy, and a known enemy ! You would think it impos- 
sible that any man in his wits should be persuaded for a 
trifle, to cast himself into the fii-e or water, into a coal-pit, 
to the destruction of his life ; and yet men will be enticed 
to cast themselves into hell. If your natural Hves were in 
your o^vn hands, that you should not die till you would kill 
yourselves, how long would most of you live ! And yet, 
Avhen your everlasting life is so far in your own hands, un- 
der God, that vou cannot be undone till vou undo yom*- 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 157 

selves, how few of you will forbear your ovm undoing ! Ah, 
what a silly thing is man ! and what a bewitching and be- 
fooling thing is sin ! 

3. From hence also you may learn, that it is no gi^eat 
wonder, if wicked men be hinderers of others in the way to 
heaven, and would have as many unconverted as they can, 
and would draw them into sin, and keep them in it. Can 
you expect that they should have mercy on others, that 
have none upon themselves ? and that they should much 
stick at the destruction of others, that stick not to destroy 
themselves ? They do no worse by others, than they do 
by themselves. 

4. Lastly, You may hence learn that the greatest enemy 
to man is himself, and the greatest judgment in this hfe, 
that can befall him, is to be left to himself; and that the 
gi-eat work that grace hath to do, is to save us from our- 
selves, and the greatest accusations and complaints of men 
should be against themselves ; and that the greatest work 
we have to do ourselves, is to resist ourselves ; and the 
greatest enemy we should daily pray, and watch, and strive 
against, is our carnal hearts and ■wills; and the gi'eatest 
part of your work, if you would do good to others, and help 
them to heaven, is to save them from themselves, even from 
their o^vn bhnd miderstandmgs, and corrupted wills, and 
perverse affections, and \iolent passions, and unruly senses. 
I only name all these for bre\dty sake, and leave them to 
your further consideration. 

Well, sirs, now we have found out the great delinquent 
and murderer of souls (even men's selves, their own wills) ; 
what remains, but that you judge according to the evidence, 
and confess this great iniquity before the Lord, and be 
humbled for it, and do so no more ? To these three ends 
distinctly, I shall add a few words more. 1. Further to 
convince you. 2. To humble you. And, 8. To reform 
you, if there be yet any hopes. 

1. We know so much of the exceeding gracious nature 
of God, who is -willing to do good, and dehghteth to shew 
mercv, that we have no reason to suspect him of being the 



158 A CALL TO THE UNCOXl'ERTED. 

culpable cause of our death, or call him cruel. He made 
all good, and he preserveth and maintaineth all, " The 
eyes of all things do wait upon him, and he giveth them 
their meat m due season ; he openeth his hand, and satis- 
fieth the desires of all the livmg," Psal. cxlv. 15, 16. He 
is not only " righteous m all his ways" (and, therefore, 
will deal justly), " and holy in all his works" (and, there- 
fore, not the author of sin), but " he is also good to all, 
and his tender mercies are over all his works," Psalm cxlv. 
17, 9. 

But as for man, we know his mind is dark, his will per- 
verse, his affections carry him so headlong, that he is fitted 
by folly and corruption to such a work as the destrojing of 
himself. K you saw a lamb lie killed in the way, would 
you sooner suspect the sheep, or the dog or wolf to be the 
author of it, if they both stand by ; or if you see a house 
broken, and the people murdered, would you sooner sus- 
pect the prince, or judge, that is wise and just, and had 
no need ; or a known thief, or mm-derer ? I say, there- 
fore, as James i. 13-15, "Let no man say when he is 
tempted that he is tempted of God, for God cannot be 
tempted mth e\Tl, neither tempteth he any man " (to draw 
him to sin) ; " but every man is tempted, when he is drawn 
away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath 
conceived it bringeth forth sin : and sin, when it is finished, 
bringeth forth death." You see here, that sin is the brat 
of your own concupiscence, and not to be fathered on God ; 
and that death is the ofispiing of your own sin, and the 
fruit which it will }ield you as soon as it is ripe. You have 
a treasm-e of evil in yourselves, as a spider hath of poison, 
fi'om whence you are bringing forth hurt to yourselves ; 
and spinning such webs as entangle yom' own souls. Your 
nature shews it is you that are the cause. 

2. It is evident, you are your own destroyers, in that you 
are so ready to entertain any temptation almost that is 
offered you. Satan is scarce readier to move you to any 
evil, than you are ready to hear, and to do as he would 
have you. If he would tempt your understanding to errol* 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 159 

and prejudice, you jield. J£ lie would liinder you from good 
resolutions, it is soon done. If he would cool any good 
desires or affections, it is soon done. K he would kindle 
any lust, or -vile affections and desires, in you, it is soon 
done. If he would put you on to evil thoughts, words, or 
deeds, you are so fi'ee, that he needs no rod or spur. If 
he would keep you fi-om holy thoughts, and words, and 
ways, a little doth it ; you need no cui-b. You examine 
not his , suggestions, nor resist them with any resolution, 
nor cast them out as he casts them in, nor quench the 
sparks which he endeavoureth to kindle. But you set in 
■with him and meet him half-way, and embrace his motions, 
and tempt him to tempt you. And it is easy to catch such 
greedy fish that are ranging for a bait, and will take the 
bare hook. 

3. Your destruction is evidently your ovm doing, in 
that you resist all that would help to save you, and would 
do you good, or hinder you fi'om undoing yourselves. God 
would help and save you by his word, and you resist it, it is 
too strict for you. He would sanctif}' you by his Spirit, and 
you resist and quench it. If any man reprove you for your 
sin, you fly in his face with evil words : and if he would 
draw you to a holy life, and teU you of your present danger, 
you give him little thanks, but either bid him look to him- 
self, he shall not answer for you ; or else at best, you put 
him off with a heartless thanks, and will not turn when you 
are persuaded. K ministers would privately instruct and 
help you, you wiU not come at them, your unhumbled souls 
do feel but little need of then* help. K they would catechise 
you, you are too old to be catechised, though you are not 
too old to be ignorant and unholy. AMiatever they can 
say to you for your good, you are so self-conceited and wise 
in your own eyes (even in the depth of ignorance), that you 
will regard nothing that agreeth not with your present con- 
ceits, but contradict your teachers, as if you were -vviser than 
they ; you resist all that they can say to you, by yom' igno- 
rance and AvilfLilness, and foolish cavils, and shifting eva- 
sions, and unthankful rejections ; so that no good that ia 



160 A CALL TO THE UNCONVEETED. 

offered, can find any welcome acceptance or entertainment 
with you. 

4. Moreover, it is apparent that your are self-destroyers, 
in that you draw the matter of your sin and destruction, 
even fi-om the blessed God himself You like not the con- 
trivance of his wisdom. You hke not his justice, but take 
it for cruelty. You hke not liis hohness, but are ready to 
think he is such a one as yourselves, Psal. 1. 21, and makes 
as light of sm as you. You Hke not his truth, but would 
have his threatenings, even his peremptory threatenings, 
prove false. And his goodness, which you seem most highly 
to approve, you partly abuse to the strengthening of your 
sin, as if you might the fi'eelier sin, because God is merciful, 
and because his gi-ace doth so much abound. 

5. Yea, you fetch destruction fi'om your blessed Re- 
deemer, and death fi-om the Lord of hfe liimself And 
nothing more emboldeneth you in sin, than that Christ hath 
died for you ; as if now the danger of death were over, and 
you might boldly venture. As if Christ were become a 
servant to Satan and your sins, and must wait upon you 
while you are abusing him ; and because he is become the 
Physician of souls, and is able to save to the utmost all 
that come to God by him, you think he must suffer you to 
refuse his help, and throw away his medicines, and must 
save you, whether you Avill come to God by him or no : so 
that a great part of your sins are occasioned by your bold 
presumption upon the death of Christ. 

Xot considering that he came to redeem his people from 
their sin, and to sanctify them a pecuhar people to himself, 
and to conform them in holiness to the image of their hea- 
venly Father, and to then- Head, Matt. i. 21 ; Tit. ii. 14 ; 
1 Pet. i. 15, 16 ; Col. iii. 10, 11 ; Phil. iii. 9, 10. 

6. You also fetch your ovm destruction from all the pro- 
vidences and works of God. AVlien you think of his eter- 
nal foreknowledge and decrees, it is to harden you m your 
sin, or possess your minds with cpiarrelllng thoughts, as il 
his decrees might spare you the labour of repentance and 
a holy life, or else were the cause of your sin and death. If 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 161 

he afflict you, you repine ; if he prosper you, you the more 
forget him, and are the more backward to the thoughts of 
the hfe to come. K the wicked prosper, you forget the end 
that will set all reckonings straight ; and are ready to think, 
it is as good to be wicked as godly. And thus you draw 
yoiu" death from all. 

7. And the like you do from all the creatures, and mer- 
cies of God to you ; he giveth them to you as the tokens 
of his love, and flu-niture for his service, and you turn them 
against him to the pleasing of your flesh. You eat and 
drink to please your appetite, and not for the glory of God, 
and to enable you for his Avork. Yom* clothes you abuse to 
pride. Your riches draw your hearts from heaven, Phil. iii. 
18. Your honours and applause do puff you up ; if you 
have health and strength, it makes you more secure, and 
forget your end. Yea, other men's mercies are abused bv 
you to your hmi;. If you see their honom-s and dignity, you 
are provoked to envy them. If you see their riches, you art^ 
ready to covet them. If you look upon beauty, you are 
stirred up to lust. And it is well if godliness be not an eye- 
sore to you. 

8. The very gifts that God bestoweth on you, and the 
ordinances of grace which he hath instituted for his church, 
you turn unto your sin. If you have better parts than 
others, you grow proud and self-conceited. If you have but 
common gifts, you take them for special grace. You take 
the bare hearing of your duty for so good a work, as if it 
would excuse you for not obepng it. Your prayers arc 
turned into sin, because you " regard iniquity in yom' 
hearts," Psal. IxA-i. 18. And you '• depart not from ini- 
quity when you call on the name of the Lord," 2 Tim. ii. 19. 
Your "prayers are abominable, because you tm'n away your 
ear from hearing the law," Prov. xxviii. 9. And you are 
more ready to " offer the sacrifice of fools," (thinking you do 
God some special service), " than to hear liis word, and obey 
it," Eccl V. 1 . You examiue not yourselves before you receive 
the supper of the Lord, but, not discerning the Lord's body, 
do eat and drink judgment to yourselves, 1 Cor. xi. 28, 29. 

L 



162 A CALL TO THE UNC02s\T:RTED. 

9. Yea, the persons you converse with, and all their ac- 
tions, you make the occasions of your sin and destruction. 
If they live in the fear of God, you hate them. K they live 
ungodly, you imitate them. If the wicked are many, you 
think you may the more boldly follow them. K the godly 
be few, you are the more emboldened to despise them ; if 
they walk exactly, you think they are too precise ; if one of 
them fall mto a particular temptation, you stumble upon 
them, and tm'n away from hoHness, because others are im- 
perfectly holy ; as if you were wan-anted to break your necks 
because some others have, by their heedlessness, sprained a 
sinew or put out a bone. If a h}-pocrite discover himself, 
you say. They are all alike ; and think yom'selves as honest 
as the best. A professor can scarce slip into any miscar- 
riage, but because he cuts his finger you think you may 
boldly cut yom- throats. If ministers deal plainly with you, 
you say they rail ; if they speak gently or coldly, you either 
sleej) under them, or are Httle more affected than the seats 
you sit upon. If any en^ors creep into the chm^ch, some 
greedily entertain them, and others reproach the Christian 
doctrine for them, which is most against them. And if we 
woidd draw you fi'om any ancient, rooted error, which can 
but plead too, or three, or six, or seven hundi-ed years' cus- 
tom, you are as much offended with a motion for reforma- 
tion, as if you were to lose yom- life by it, and hold fast old 
errors while you cry out against new ones. Scarce a differ- 
ence can arise among the ministers of the gospel, but you 
will fetch your own death fi-om it. And you will not hear, 
or at least not obey, the unquestionable doctrine of any of 
those that jump not with yom* conceits : one will not hear a 
minister, because he readeth his sermons ; and another wUl 
not hear him, because he doth not read them. One will not 
hear him because he saith the Lord's prayer ; and another 
^vill not hear him, because he doth not use it. One wUl 
not hear them that are for episcopacy, and another will not 
hear them that are against it. And thus I might shew you 
in many other cases, how you tm-n all that comes near 
you to your own destruction ; so clear is it, that the un- 



A CALL TO THE UNCON^'F.RTED. 1G3 

godly are self- destroyers, and that their perdition is of them- 
selves. 

Methinks, now, upon the consideration of what is said, 
and the review of your own ways, you should befhink you 
what you have done, and be ashamed, and deeply humbled, 
to remember it. If you be not, I pray you consider these 
follomng truths. 

1. To be your own destroyers, is to sin agamst the deep- 
est principle in your natures, even the pmiciple of self-pre- 
servation. Every ihvag natm-ally desu^eth or inclmeth to its 
own felicity, welfare, or perfection. And will you set your- 
selves to your own destruction ? A\Tien you are commanded 
to love your neighbours as yourselves, it is supposed that 
you natm-ally love yourselves ; but if you love your neigh - 
bom-s no better than yoxu-selves, it seems you would have all 
the world to be damned. 

2. How extremely do you cross your own intentions ! I 
know you intend not your own damnation, even when you 
are procuring it ; you think you are but doing good to your- 
selves, by gratifying the deshes of your flesh. But, alas ! it 
is but as a draught of cold water in a burning fever, or as 
the scratchuig of an itching Avildfire, which increaseth the 
disease and pain. If mdeed you would have pleasure, profit, 
or honour, seek them where they are to be foimd, and do 
not hunt after them in the way to hell. 

3. "NMiat pity is it that you should do that against your- 
selves which none else in earth or heU can do ! If all the. 
world were combmed against you, or all the de^-ils in hell 
were combined against you, they could not destroy you with- 
out yourselves, nor make you sin but by your own consent. 
And will you do that against yom'selves which none else can 
do ? Yovx have hateful thoughts of the devil, because he is 
your enemy, and endeavom^eth your destruction. And will 
YOU be worse than devils to yourselves ? "^Miy thus it is 
with you, if you had hearts to understand it ; when you run 
mto sin, and run from godliness, and refuse to turn at the 
call of God, you do more against your own souls than men 
or devils could do besides. And if you should set your- 



1 64 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

selves, and bend your wits to do youi'selves the greatest 
mischief, you could not debase to do a greater. 

4. You are false to the trust that God hath reposed in 
you. He hath much intrusted you vnth yom* o^vn salvation ; 
and will you betray yom* trust ? He hath set you with all 
diligence to keep your hearts ? and is this the keepmg of 
them? Prov. iv. 23. 

5. You do even forbid all others to pity }'0u, when you 
wUl have no pity on yourselves. K you cry to God in the 
day of your calamity, for mercy, mercy ; what can you ex- 
pect but that he should thrust you away, and say, Na}-, 
thou wouldst not have mercy on thyself; who brought this 
upon thee but thine own wilfulness ? And if your brethren 
see you everlastmgly in misery, how should they pity you, 
that were yom* own destroyers, and would not be dis- 
suaded ? 

6. It will everlastingly make you your own tormentoi'is 
in hell, to think on it, that you brought yourselves wilfully 
to that misery. Oh, what a griping thought it will be for 
ever, to thmk with yourselves, that this was your own doing ! 
That you were warned of this day, and warned again, but 
it would not do ; that you wilfuUy sinned, and turned away 
li'om God ; thaf you had time as well as others, but you 
abused it ; you had teachers as well as others, but you re- 
fused then- instruction ; you had holy examples, but you did 
not imitate them ; you were offered Christ, grace, and glory 
as well as others, but you had more mind to fleshly plea- 
sures ; you had a prize in your hands, but had not a heart 
to lay it out, Prov. x^ii. 16. Can it choose but torment 
you, to think of this your present folly ? Oli that your eyes 
were opened to see what }■ ou have done in the -wdlful An'ong- 
mg of your ovm souls ! and that you better understood those 
words of God, Prov. viii. 33-36, " Hear instruction, and 
be -wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth 
me, watching daily at my gates, v/aiting at the posts of my 
doors. For whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain 
favour of the Lord. But he that sinncth against me, wi^ons:- 
eth his own soul : all they that hate me, love death." 



A CALL TO THE UNCOX^^ERTED. 165 

And now I am come to the conclusion of this work. My 
heart is troubled to think, how I shall leave you, lest after 
this the flesh should deceive you, and the world and the 
devil should keep you asleep, and I should leave you as I 
found you, till you awake in hell. Though, in care of your 
poor souls, I am afi-aid of this, as knoAving the obstinacy of 
a carnal heart, yet I can say mth the pi-ophet Jeremiah, 
" I have not desu-ed the woeful day, the Lord knoweth," 
Jer. x\Ti. 16. I have not, with James and John, desired 
that fii'e might come down from heaven, to consume them 
that refused Jesus Christ, But it is the preventing of the 
eternal fii'e that I have been all this while endeavouring : 
and oh that it had been a needless work ! that God and 
conscience might have been as willing to spare me this la- 
bour, as some of you coidd have been ! But, dear friends, 
I am so loth you should he in everlasting fire, and be shut 
out of heaven, if it be possible to prevent it, that I shall 
once more ask you, What do you now resolve ? "Will you 
turn or die ? I look upon you as a physician on his patient, 
in a dangerous disease, that saith unto him, Though you are 
so far gone, take but this medicine, and forbear but these 
few things that are so hurtful to you, and I dare warrant 
your life ; but if you will not do this, you are a dead man. 
AYhat woidd you think of such a man, if the physician and 
all the friends he hath, cannot persuade him to take one 
medicine to save his life, or to forbear one or two poisonous 
things that would kill him ? This is your case. As far as 
you are gone in sin, do but now turn and come to Christ, 
and take his remedies, and your souls shall hve. Cast up 
your deadly sms by repentance, and return not to your 
poisonous vomit any more, and you shall do well. But yet 
if it were your bodies that we had to deal with, we might 
partly know what to do for you. Though you would not 
consent, you might be held or bound, while the medicine 
was poured down your throats, and hurtful things might be 
kept from you. But about your souls it cannot be so ; we 
cannot convert you against your wills. There is no cariy- 
ing madmen to heaven in fetters. Xou may be condemned 



166 A CALL TO THE UNCOXVERTED. 

against your wills, because you sinned vnili your wills ; but 
you cannot be saved against your wills. The msdom of 
God hath thought meet to lay men's salvation or destruction 
exceeding much upon the choice of their own -wills : that 
no man shall come to heaven that choose not the way to 
heaven ; and no man shall come to hell, but shall be forced 
to say, I have the thing I chose, my own wiU did bring 
me hither. Now if I could but get you to be wilhng, 
to be thoroughly and resolvedly, and habitually wiUing, 
the work were more than half done. And alas ! must 
we lose our friends, and must they lose their God, their 
happuiess, their souls, for want of this? O God for- 
bid ! It is a strange thing to me, that men are so inhu- 
man and stupid in the greatest matters, that in lesser things 
are very civil and courteous, and good neighbom-s. For 
aught I know, I have the love of all, or almost all my 
neighbours, so far, that if I should send to every man in 
the town, or parish, or country, and request a reasonable 
com'tesy of them, they will grant it me ; and yet when I 
come to request of them the greatest matter in the world, 
for themselves, and not for me, I can have notliing of many 
of them but a patient heaiing. I knoAV not whether people 
think a man in the pulpit is in good sadness or not, and 
means as he speaks ; for I think I have few neighbours, but 
if I were sitting familiarly with them, and teUing them of 
what I have seen or done, or knoAvn m the world, they 
would believe me, and regard what I say ; but when I tell 
them from the mfaUible word of God, what they themselves 
shall see and know in the world to come, they shew by 
their Hves that they do either not believe it, or not much 
regard it. If I met ever any one of them on the way, and 
told them, yonder is a coal-pit, or there is a quicksand, or 
there are thieves lay m wait for you, I could persuade them 
to tm-n by. But when I tell them that Satan lieth m wait 
for them, and that sin is poison to them, and that hell is 
not a matter to be jested with, they go on as if they did 
not hear me. Truly, neighbours, I am in as good earnest 
with you in the piJpit, as I am in any familiar discourse, 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 167 

and if ever you will regard me, I beseech you let it be here. 
I think there is never a man of you all, but if my own soul 
lay at your wills, you would be willing to save it (though 
I cannot promise that you would leave yom' sins for it.) Tell 
me, thou drunkard, art thou so cruel to me that speaks to 
thee, that thou wouldst not forbear a few cups of drink, if 
thou knewest it w^ould save my soul from hell ? Hadst thou 
rather I did burn there for ever, than thou shouldst live 
soberly as other men do? If so, may I not say, thou art 
an immerchul monster, and not a man ? If I came hungiy 
or naked to one of your doors, would you not part with 
more than a cup of druik to reHeve me ? I am confident 
you would; if it were to save my life, I know you would 
(some of you) hazard your ovm. And yet -\viU you not be 
entreated to part vnth yom- sensual pleasures for your own 
salvation ? Wouldst thou forbear a hundred cups of drink, 
man, to save my life, if it were in thy power, and wilt thou 
not do it to save thy own soul? I profess to you, sh's, I 
am as hearty a beggar with you this day, for the saving of 
your souls, as I would be for my own supply, if I were 
forced to come a begguig to your doors. And, therefore, 
if you would hear me then, hear me now. If you would 
pity me then, be entreated now to pity yom-selves. I do 
agam beseech you, as if it were on my bended knees, that 
you would hearken to your Redeemer, and turn, that you 
may Hve. All you that have lived in ignorance, and careless- 
ness, and presumption, to this day ; and all you that have been 
di-owned in the cares of the world and have no mind of God 
and eternal glory ; all you that are enslaved to your fleshly 
desires of meats and diinks, sports and lust ; and all you 
that know not the necessity of hohness, and never were 
acquainted mth the sanctifving work of the Holy Ghost 
upon your souls ; that never embraced your blessed Re- 
deemer by a Hvely faith, and with admu-ing and thankfrd 
apprehensions of his love, and that never felt a higher esti- 
mation of God and heaven, and a heartier love to them, 
than to your fleshly prosperity, and the things below ; I ear- 
nestly beseech you, not only for my sake, but for the Lord's 



168 A CALL TO THE L^'COX\^ERTED. 

sake, and for your soul's sake, that you go not on one day 
longer in your former condition, but look about you and 
cry to God for converting grace, that you may be made 
new creatures, and may escape the plagues that are a little 
before you. And if ever you will do any thing for me, 
grant me this request, to turn from your evil ways and live : 
deny me any thing that ever I shall ask you for myself, if 
you will but gi'ant me this. And if you deny me this, I 
care not for any tiling else that you would gi^ant me. ^ay, 
as ever you will do any thing at the request of the Lord 
that made you and redeemed you, deny him not this ; for 
if you deny him this, he cares for nothing that you shall 
grant him. As ever you would have him hear your prayers, 
and gi'ant your requests, and do for you at the hour of 
death and day of judgment, or in any of your extremities, 
deny not liis request now in the day of your prosperity. O 
sirs, believe it, death and judgment, and heaven and hell, 
are other matters when you come near them, than they 
seem to carnal eyes afar off. Then you will hear such a 
message as I biing you, with more awakened, regardful 
hearts. 

Well, though I cannot hope so well of all, I will hope 
that some of you are by this time purposing to turn and Hve ; 
and that you are ready to ask me, as the Jews did Peter, Acts 
ii. 37, when they were pricked to their hearts, and said, "Men 
and brethren, what shall we do ? " How might we come 
to be truly converted? We are willing, if we did but 
know our duty. God forbid that we should choose destruc- 
tion by refusing conversion, as hitherto we have done. 

If these be the thoughts and purposes of yom* hearts, I 
say of you, as God did of a promising people, Deut. v. 28, 
29, " They have well said, all that they have spoken : oh 
that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear 
me, and keep all my commandments always ! " Your pur- 
poses are good ; oh that there were but a heart in you to 
perform these purposes ! And in hope thereof, I shall 
gladly give you direction what to do, and that but briefly, 
that you may the easier remember it for your practice. 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 169 

Direct. 1 . If you would be converted and saved, labour 
to understand the necessity and true nature of conversion ; 
for what, and from what, and to what, and by what it is 
that you must turn. 

Consider what a lamentable condition you are in till the 
hour of yoiu- conversion, that you may see it is not a state 
to be rested in. You are under the guilt of all the sins 
that ever you committed, and under the wrath of God, and 
the curse of his law ; you are bond-slaves to the de\al, and 
daily employed in his work against the Lord, yourselves, and 
others. You are spiiitually dead and deformed, as being 
void of the holy hfe, and nature and image of the Lord. You 
are unfit for any holy work, and do nothing that is truly plea- 
sing unto God. You are without any promise or assurance of 
his protection; and live in continual danger of his justice, 
not knowing what horn- you may be snatched away to heU, 
and most certain to be damned if you die in that condition. 
And nothing short of conversion can prevent it. A^Tiatever 
civilities, or amendments, or \drtues, are short of true con- 
version, will never procure the sa\Tng of your souls. Keep 
the true sense of this natural misery, and so of the necessity 
of conversion, on your hearts. 

And then you must understand what it is to be con- 
verted ; it is to have a new heart or disposition, and a new 
conversation. 

Quest. 1. For what must we turn? 

Answ. For these ends following, which you may attain. 
1. You shall immediately be made living members of 
Christ, and have interest in him, and be renewed after the 
image of God, and be adorned with all his graces, and 
quickened with a new and heavenly life, and saved fi'ora the 
t}Tanny of Satan and the dominion of sin, and be justified 
from the curse of the law, and have the pardon of all the 
sins of your whole lives, and be accepted of God, and made 
his sons, and have liberty with boldness to call him Father, 
and go to him by prayer in all your needs, with a promise 
of acceptance ; you shall have the Holy Ghost to dwell m 
you» to sanctity and guide you. You shall have part in the 



170 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

brotlierhood, communion, and prayers of the saints. You 
shall be fitted for God's service, and be freed from the do- 
minion of sin, and be useful and a blessing to the place 
where you live, and shall have the promise of this life and 
that which is to come. You shall want nothing that is truly 
good for you, and your necessary afflictions you will be 
eiiabled to bear. You may have some taste of the com- 
munion of God in the Spu-it ; especially in all holy ordi- 
nances, where God prepareth a feast for your souls. You 
shall be heu's of heaven while you live on earth, and may 
foresee, by faith, the everlasting glory, and so may live and 
die in peace ; and you shall never be so low, but your 
peace and happiness will be incomparably greater than your 
misery. 

How precious is every one of these blessings, which I 
do but briefly name, and which in this life you may re- 
ceive. 

And then, 2. At death your souls shall go to Christ, 
and at the day of judgment both soul and body shall be 
justified and glorified, and enter into yom' ^Master's joy ; 
where your happiness will consist in these particulars. 

(1.) You shall be perfected yourselves : your mortal 
bodies shall be made immortal, and the corruptible shall put 
on incorruption ; you shall no more be hungry, thirsty, 
weary, or sick ; nor shall you need to fear either shame, 
sorrow, death, or hell. Your souls shall be perfectly freed 
from sin, and perfectly fitted for the knowledge, love, and 
praises of the Lord. 

(2.) Your emplo}Tnent shall be to behold your glorified 
Redeemor, Avith aU your holy fellow-citizens of heaven ; 
and to see the glory of the most blessed God, and to love 
him perfectly, and be loved by him, and to praise him ever- 
lastmgly. 

(3.) Your glory will contribute to the glory of the new 
Jerusalem, the city of the li\ing God, which is more than to 
have a private felicity to yourselves. 

(4.) Your glory will contribute to the glorifjing of your 
Redeemer, who -svill everlastingly be magnified and pleased 



A CALL TO THE UNCOXVERTED. 171 

in you, that are tlie travail of his soul. And this is more 
than the glorifying of yourselves. 

(5.) And the Eternal IMajesty, the living God, -will be 
glorified in your glory, both as he is magnified by your 
praises, and as he communieateth of his glory and goodness 
to you, and as he is pleased in you ; and in the accomplish- 
ment of his glorious works, in the glory of the New Jeru- 
salem, and of his Son. 

All this the poorest beggar of you that is converted, shall 
certainly and endlessly enjoy. 

2. You see for what you must tm-n ; next you must un- 
derstand fi-om what you must turn. And that is, in a word, 
fi'om your carnal self, which is the end of all the uncon- 
verted. From the flesh, that would be pleased before God, 
and would stUl be enticing you thereto. From the world, 
that is the bait ; and fi-om the devil, that is the angler for 
souls, and the deceiver. And so from all knowTi and wiHul 
sins. 

3. Xext you must know to what you must turn. And 
that is, to God as your end ; to Christ, as the way to the 
Father ; to holiness, as the way appointed you by Christ ; 
and so, to the use of all the helps and means of grace of- 
fered you by the Lord. 

4. Lastly, you must know by what you must turn. And 
that is, by Christ, as the only Redeemer and Intercessor ; 
and by the Holy Ghost, as the Sanctifier ; and by the word, 
as his instrument or means ; and by faith and repentance 
as the means and duties on yom- part to be performed. All 
this is of necessity. 

Direct. 2. If you would be converted and saved, be much 
in secret, serious consideration. Inconsiderateness undoes 
the world. Withdraw yourselves off into retired secrecy, 
and there bethink you of the end why you were made, of 
the life you have hved, the time you have lost, the sins you 
have committed ; of the love, and sufferings, and fulness of 
Christ ; of the danger you are in ; of the nearness of death 
and judgment ; and of the certainty and excellency of the 
joys of heaven ; and of the certainty and terror of the tor- 



172 A CALL TO THE UNCOX^^ERTED. 

ments of hell, and the eternity of both ; and of the necessity 
of conversion and a holy life : steep your hearts m such con- 
siderations as these. 

Direct. 3. If you will be converted and saved, attend 
upon the word of God, which is the ordinary means. Read 
the Scriptm'c, or hear it read, and other holy writings that 
do apply it ; constantly attend upon the pubhc preaching of 
the word. As God Avill lighten the world by the sun, and 
not by himself alone, without it ; so will he convert and 
save men by his ministers, who are the hghts of the world, 
Acts xxvi. 17, 18 ; Matt. v. 14. When he hath miracu- 
lously humbled Paul, he sendeth him to Ananias, Acts ix. 
10. And when he hath sent an angel to Cornelius, it is 
but to bid him send for Peter, who must tell him what he 
is to believe and do. 

Direct. 4. Betake yourselves to God, in a course of earnest, 
constant prayer. Confess and lament your former Hves, 
and beg his grace to illuminate and convert you. Beseech 
him to pardon what is past, and give you his Spirit, and 
change your hearts and lives, and lead you in his ways, and 
save you from temptation. And ply this work daily, and 
be not weaiy of it. 

Direct. 5. Presently give over your known and wilful 
sins, make a stand, and go that way no further. Be di'unk 
no more, but avoid the places and occasion of it. Cast 
away your lusts and smful pleasures with detestation. Curse, 
and swear, and rail no more ; and if you have wronged any, 
restore as Zaccheus did. K you will commit again yom- 
old sins, what blessmg can you expect on the means of con- 
version ? 

Direct. 6. Presently, if possible, change yom- company, 
if it hath hitherto been bad ; not by forsaking your neces- 
saiy relations, but your unnecessary, sinful companions ; 
and join yourselves with those that fear the Lord, and in- 
quire of them the way to heaven, Acts ix. 19, 26 ; Psal. 
XV. 4. 

Direct. 7. Deliver up yourselves to the Lord Jesus, as 
the Physician of your souls, that he may pardon you by his 



A CALL TO THE UNCOXA'ERTED. 173 

blood, and sanctify you by his Spirit, by his word and mi- 
nisters, the instruments of his Spirit. " He is the way, the 
truth, and the hfe : there is no coming to the Father but by 
him," John xiv. 6 ; '^ nor is there any other name under 
heaven by which you can be saved," Acts iv. 12. Study 
therefore his person, and nature, and what he hath done and 
suffered for you, and Avhat he is to you, and what he -vvill 
be, and how he is fitted to the full supply of all yom- neces- 
sities. 

Direct. 8. If you mean indeed to tm-n and live, do it 
speedily without delay. If you be not willmg to turn to-day, 
you will not be willing to do it at all. Kemember you are 
all this while m your blood ; under the guilt of many thou- 
sand sins, and under God's wrath, and you stand at the 
very brink of lieU ; there is but a step between you and 
death. And this is not a case for a man that is well in his 
wits to be quiet in. Up therefore presently, and fly as for 
yom- lives ; as you would be gone out of yom- house if it 
were all on fire over your heads. Oh if you did but know 
what continual danger you live in, and what daily unspeak- 
able loss you sustain, and what a safer and sweeter life you 
might live, you would not stand tiifling, but. presently turn. 
Midtitudes miscaiTy that wilfully delay when they are con- 
vinced that it must be done. Your hves are short and un- 
certain ; and what a case are you in, if you die before you 
thoroughly turn ! You have staid too long already ; and 
wronged God too long ; sin getteth strength and rooting ; 
while you delay, your conversion will grow more hard and 
doubtful. You have much to do, and therefore put not all 
off to the last, lest God forsake you, and give you up to 
yourselves, and then you are undone for ever. 

Direct. 9. If you M-ill tm-n and live, do it unreservedly, 
absolutely, and universally. Thmk not to capitulate with 
Christ, and divide your heart between him and the world, 
and to part with some sins and keep the rest ; and to let go 
that which your flesh can spare. This is but self-deluding : 
you must in heart and resolution forsake all that you have, 
or else you cannot be his disciples, Luke xiv, 26, 33. If 



174: A CALL TO THE UNCOlsrVTRTED. 

you will not take God and heaven for your portion, and lay 
all below at the feet of Christ, but you must needs also 
have your good things here, and have an earthly portion, 
and God and glory is not enough for you ; it is in vain to 
dream of salvation on these terms ; for it will not be. If 
you seem never so religious, if yet it be but a carnal righte- 
ousness, and the flesh's prosperity, or pleasure, or safety, 
be still excepted in yom* devotedness to God ; this is as 
certain a way to death as open profaneness, though it be 
more plausible. 

Direct. 10, K you will turn and liv«, do it resolvedly, 
and not stand still deUberating, as if it were a doubtful case. 
Stand not wavering, as if you were yet uncertain whether 
God or the flesh be the better master ; whether heaven or 
hell be the better end ; or whether sin or holiness be the 
better way : but away with your former lusts, and presently, 
habitually, and fixedly resolve : be not one day of one mind, 
and the next of another ; but be at a point with all the 
world, and resolvedly give up yourselves, and all you have, 
to God. Now, while you are reading or hearing this, re- 
solve. Before you sleep another night, resolve. Before 
you stir from the place, resolve. Before Satan hath time 
to take you off, resolve. You will never turn indeed tUl 
you do resolve ; and that with a firm, unchangeable resolu- 
tion. So much for the directions. 

And now I have done my part In this work, that you 
may turn at the call of God and live. VThat will become of 
It, I cannot tell. I have cast the seed at God's command ; 
but It is not in my power to give the increase. I can go 
no further with my message, I cannot bring it to your 
hearts, nor make it work : I cannot do your parts for you 
to entertain it, and consider of it ; nor can I do God's part, 
by opening your heart, to cause you to entertain it ; nor can 
I shew you heaven or hell to your eyesight, nor give you 
new and tender hearts. If I knew what more to do for 
your conversion, I hope I should do it. 

But, O thou that art the gracious Father of spirits, that 
hast sworn thou delightest not in the death of the wicked. 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 175 

but rather that they turn and hve ; deny not thy blessing 
to these persuasions and directions, and suffer not thire enn- 
mics to triumph in thy sight ; and the great deceiver of 
souls to prevail over thy Son, thy Spirit, and thy word. O 
pity poor unconverted sinners, that have no hearts to pity or 
help themselves : command the blind to see, and the deaf to 
hear, and the dead to live, and let not sin and death be able 
to resist thee. Awaken the secure ; resolve the unresolved ; 
confii'm the wavering : and let the eyes of sinners, that read 
these lines, be next employed in weeping over their sins ; 
and bring them to themselves, and to thy Son, before their 
sins have brought them to perdition. If thou say but the 
word, these poor endeavours shall prosper, to the winning of 
many a soul to theu" everlasting joy, and thine everlasting 
glory. Amen. 



FORMS OF PRAYER. 



Ftve Prayers : one for Families : one for a Penitent Sinner : 
one for the Lord's Day : one for Children and Servants : 
one in the method of the Lord's Prayer, being an Exposition 
of it : for the use of those only who need such helps. 

Two reasons moved me to annex these prayers : 1 . I ob- 
serve that abundance of people, who have some good desires, 
do forbear, through disabihty, to worship God in their families, 
who I hope would do it, if they had some helps. And 
though there be many such extant, yet few of these poor 
families have the books, and I can give them my own at a 
little cheaper rate than I can buy others to give them. 

2. Some that seem to have been brought to true repen- 
tance and ne^vness of life, by God's blessing, on the reading 
of my books, have earnestly entreated me to ^vrite them a 
form of prayer for their famihes, because long disuse hath 
left them unable to pray before others. 

For the ser^^ce of God, and the good of men, I am con- 
tented to bear the censures of those who account all forms 
of book-prayers to be sin ; for in an age when pride (the 
father) and ignorance (the mother) hath bred superstition 
(the daughter), and taught men to think that God as fondly 
valueth their several modes of speaking to him as they do 
themselves, and thinketh as contemptuously of the contrary 
as they, the question whether form or no form, book or no 
book, hath been resolved unto such tragical and direful 
effects, that I were too tender, if a censure should dis- 
courage me. 



A CALL TO THE XINCOXVERTED. 177 

A Prayer for Families^ Morning and Evening. 

Almighty, all-seeing, and most gracious God, the world 
and all therein is made, maintained, and ordered by thee : 
thou art everj^here present, beuag more than the soul of 
all the world. Though thou art revealed in thy glory to 
those only that are in heaven, thy grace is still at work on 
earth to prepare men for that glory : thou madest us not as 
the beasts that perish, but with reasonable, immortal souls, 
to know, and seek, and serve thee here, and then to hve 
with all the blessed in the everlasting sight of thy heavenly 
glory, and the pleasures of thy perfect love and praise. But 
we are ashamed to think how foohshly and sinfiiUy we have 
forgotten and neglected our God and our souls, and our 
hopes of a blessed immortality, and have overmuch minded 
the things of this visible, transitory world, and the pros- 
perity and pleasure of this corruptible flesh, which we know 
must turn to rottenness and dust. Thou gavest us a law 
which was just and good, to guide us in the only way to 
life ; and when by sin we had undone ourselves, thou gavest 
us a Sa\dour, even thy Eternal Word made man, who by 
his holy life and bitter sufferings reconciled us to thee, and 
both purchased salvation for us, and revealed it to us, better 
than an angel fi'om heaven could have done, if thou hadst 
sent him to us smners on such a message : but alas, how 
light have we set by om' Redeemer, and by all that love 
which thou hast manifested by him ! and how little have we 
studied and understood, and less obeyed, that covenant of 
grace which thou hast made by him to lost mankind ! 

But, O God, be merciful to us vile and miserable sinners ; 
forgive the sins of our natural pra\dty and the folHes of our 
youth, and all the ignorance, neghgence, omissions and 
conmaissions of our lives : and give us true repentance for 
them, or else we know that thou wilt not forgive them^ 
Our life is but as a shadow that passeth away, and it is but 
as a moment tiU we must leave this world, and appear be- 
fore thee to give up our account, and to speed for ever as 



178 A CALL TO THE UNCOX^'ERTED. 

here "we have prepared. Should we die before thou ha^^t 
turned our hearts from this sinfid flesh and world to thee by 
true faith and repentance, we shall be lost for evermore. 
Oh woe to us that ever we were born, if thou forgive not 
our sins, and make us not holy, before this short, uncertam 
life be at an end ! had we all the riches and pleasures of 
this world, they would shortly leave us in the gi-eater sor- 
rows. We know that all om- life is but the time which thy 
mercy allotteth us to prepare for death ; therefore we should 
not put off our repentance and preparation to a sick bed : 
but now, Lord, as if it were our last and d}ing words, we 
earnestly beg thy pardonmg and sanctifving grace, through 
the merits and intercession of our Redeemer. O thou that 
hast pitied and saved so many miUions of miserable sinners, 
pity and save us also, that we may glorify thy grace for ever : 
surely thou dehghtest not in the death of sinners, but rather 
that they return and Hve : hadst thou been unwilling to shew 
mfercy, thou wouldst not have ransomed us by so precious a 
price, and still entreat us to be reconciled mito thee : we 
have no cause to distrust thy truth or goodness, but we are 
afraid lest unbeHef, and pride, and hj-pocrisy, and a worldly, 
fleshly mind, should be our ruin. O save us from Satan, 
and this tempting world, but especially from ourselves : teach 
us to deny all ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live 
soberly, righteously, and godly m this world. Let it be our 
chiefest daily work to please thee, and to lay up a treasure 
in heaven, and to make sure of a blessed life with Christ, 
and quietly to trust thee with soul and body, ]\Iake us 
faitlifrd in our callings, and om- duties to one another, and 
to all men, to our superiors, equals, and inferiors : bless the 
queen, and all m authority, that we may live a quiet and 
peaceable life in all godliness and honesty : give wise, holy, 
and peaceable pastors to all the chm-ches of Christ, and holy 
and peaceable minds to the people : convert the heathen and 
infidel nations of the world ; and cause us, and all thy people, 
to seek first the hallowing of thy name, the commg of thy 
kingdom, the doing of thy will on earth as it is done in 
heaven : give us our daily bread, even all things necessary 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 179 

to life and godliness, and let us be therewith content. For- 
give us our daily sins, and let thy love and mercy constrain 
us to love thee above all : and for thy sake to love our 
neighboiu-s as ourselves ; and in all our dealings to do justly 
and mercifully, as we would have others do by us. Keep 
us fi'om hurtfiil temptations, fi'om sin, and from thy judg- 
ments, and from the malice of our spiritual and corporal 
enemies ; and let all our thoughts, affections, passions, 
words, and actions, be governed by thy word and Spmt to 
thy glory ; make all our rehgion and obedience pleasant to 
us ; and let om- souls be so delighted in the praises of thy 
kingdom, thy power, and thy glory, that it may secure and 
sweeten our labour by day, and om: rest by night, and keep 
us in a longing and joj-fid hope of the heavenly glory : and 
let the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God 
our Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with 
us now and for ever. Amen. 



A Confession and Prayer for a Penitent Sinner. 

O most great, most wise, and gracious God, though thou 
hatest all the workers of iniquity, and canst not be recon- 
ciled unto sin ; yet through the mediation of thy blessed 
Son, with pity behold this miserable sinner who casteth 
himself down at the footstool of thy grace. Had I lived to 
those high and holy ends, for wliich I was created and re- 
deemed, I might now have come to thee in the boldness and 
confidence of a child, in assurance of thy love and favour ; 
but I have played the fool and the rebel against thee ! I 
have wilfully forgotten the God that made me, and the 
Saviour that redeemed me, and the endless glory which 
thou didst set before me : I forgot the busmess which I 
was sent for into the w^orld ; and have lived as if I had been 
made for nothing, but to pass a few days in fleshly pleasure, 
and pamper a carcass for the worms : I Avilfrilly forgot what 
it is to be a man, who had reason given bun to rule his 
flesh, ar.d to know his God, and to foresee his death, and 



180 A CAI.L TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

the state of immortality : and I made my reason a servant 
to my senses, and lived too like the beasts that perish. Oh 
the precious time which I have lost, which all the world 
cannot call back ! Oh the calls of gi'ace, which I have ne- 
glected ! Oh the calling of God, which I have resisted ! the 
wonderful love which I unthankfully rejected ! and the 
manifold mercies which I have abused, and turned into 
wantonness and sin ! How deep is the guilt which I have 
contracted ! and how great are the comforts wliich I have 
lost ! I might have lived all this wliUe in the love of thee 
my gracious God ; and in the delight of thy holy word and 
ways ; in the daily sweet foresight of heaven, and in the joy of 
the Holy Ghost : if I would have been ruled by thy righteous 
laws : but I have heai'kened to the flesh, and to this wicked 
and deceitful world, and have preferred a short and sinful 
life before thy love and endless glory. 

Alas, what have I been doing since I came into the world ? 
Folly and sin have taken up my time, I am ashamed to 
look back upon the years that I have spent ; and to think 
of the temptations that I have jielded to. Alas, what trifles 
have enticed me fi'om my God ! How little have I had for 
the holy pleasures which I have lost ! Like Esau, I have 
profanely sold my birthright for one morsel, to please my 
fancy, my appetite, and my lust ; I have set Hght by all the 
joys of heaven ; I have unkindly despised the goodness of 
my Maker ; I have sHghted the love and grace of my Re- 
deemer ; I have resisted thy Holy Spirit, silenced my own 
conscience, and grieved thy ministers and my own faithfiU 
friends, and have brought myself into this woeful case, 
wherein I am a shame and burden to myself, and God is 
my terror, who should be only my hope and joy. 

Thou knowest ray secret sins, wliich are unkno\vn to men ; 
thou knowest all their aggravations. My sins, O Lord, 
have found me out. Fears and sorrows overwhelm me ! If 
I look behind me, I see my wickedness pursue my soul, and, 
as an army, ready to overtake me, and devour me. If I 
look before me, I see the just and dreadful judgment, and I 
know tlipt thou wilt not acquit the guilty. If I look Avithin 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 181 

me, I see a dark defiled heart. If I look without nie, I see 
a world still offering fi-esh temptations to deceive me. If I 
look above me, I see thine offended dreadful Majesty ; and 
if I look beneath me, I see the place of endless torment, and 
the company which I deserve to suffer with. I am afraid 
to Hve, and more afi^aid to die. 

But yet when I look to thy abundant mercy, and to thy 
Son, and to thy covenant, I have hope. Thy goodness is 
equal to thy greatness ; thou art love itself, and thy mercy 
is over all thy works. So wonderfully hath thy Son conde- 
scended unto sinners, and done and suffered so much for 
their salvation, that if yet I should question thy willingness 
to forgive, I should but add to all my sins, by dishonouring 
that matchless mercy which thou dost design to glorify. 
Yea more, I find upon record in thy word, that through 
Christ thou hast made a covenant of grace, and act of ob- 
livion, in which thou hast already conditionally but fi-eely 
pardoned all ; granting them forgiveness of all their sins, 
without any exception, whenever by unfeigned faith and re- 
pentance they turn to thee by Jesus Christ. And thy pre- 
sent mercy doth increase my hope, in that thou hast not cut 
me off, nor utterly left me to the hardness of my heart, but 
shewest me my sin and danger, before I am past remedy. 

O, therefore, behold this prostrate sinner, Avhich with the 
publican smiteth on his breast, and is ashamed to look up 
towards heaven : " O God, be merciful to me a sinner." 
I confess not only my original sin, but the foUies and fhries 
of my youth, my manifold sins of ignorance and knowledge, 
of negligence and -wdlfulness, of omission and commission ; 
against the law of nature, and against the grace and gospel 
of thy Son ; forgive and save me, O my God, for thy abun- 
dant mercy, and for the sacrifice and merit of thy Son, and 
for the promise of forgiveness which thou hast made through 
him, for in these alone is all my trust. Condemn me not 
who condemn myself. O thou that hast opened so precious 
a fountain for sin and for imcleanness, wash me thoroughly 
from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin. Though 
thy justice might send me presently to hell, let mercy 



182 A CALL TO THE LTNCON^^ERTED. 

triumph in my salvation. Thou hast no pleasure in the 
death of sinners, but rather that they repent and live : if my 
repentance be not such as thou requu-est, O soften this 
hardened, flinty heart, and give me repentance unto life. 
Turn me to thyself, O God of my salvation, and cause thy 
face to shine upon me. " Create in me a clean heart, and 
renew a right spmt -vvithin me." Meet not this poor, re- 
turning prodigal, in thy wi'ath, but with the embracement of 
thy tender mercies. Cast me not from thy presence, and 
sentence me not to depart from thee with the workers of 
iniquity. Thou who didst patiently endure me when I 
despised thee, refuse me not now I seek unto thee, and here 
in the dust implore thy mercy. Thou didst convert and 
pardon a wicked Manasseh, and a persecuting Saul. And 
there are multitudes in heaven, who were once thine ene- 
mies. Glorify also thy superabounding grace, in the for- 
giveness of my abounding sins. 

I ask not for Hberty to sin agam, but for deliverance from 
the sinning nature. O give me the renewing Spirit of thy 
Son, wliich may sanctify all the powers of my soul. Let 
me have the new and heavenly birth and nature, and the 
Spirit of adoption to reform me to thine image, that I may 
be holy as thou art holy. Illuminate me with the saving 
knowledge of thyself, and thy Son Jesus Christ. O fill me 
with thy love, that my heart may be wholly set upon thee, 
and the remembrance of thee be my chief dehght : let the 
freest and sweetest of my thoughts rmi after thee: and the 
freest and sweetest of my discourse be of thee, and of thy 
glory, and of thy kingdom, and of thy word and ways ! O 
let my treasure be laid up in heaven, and there let me daily 
and delightfully converse. Make it the great and daily 
business of my devoted soul, to please thee, and to honour 
thee, to promote thy kingdom, and to do thy will ! Put thy 
fear into my heart, that I may never depart fi'om thee. 
This world hath had too much of my heart afready ; let it 
now be crucified to me, and I to it, by the cross of Christ : 
let me not love it nor the things which are therein ; but 
having food and raiment, cause me therewith to be content. 



A CALL TO THE rrNrcONVERTED. 183 

Destroy in me all fleshly lusts, that I may not live after the 
flesh, but the Spirit. Keep me from the snares of wicked 
company, and from the counsel and ways of the ungodly. 
Bless me A^-ith the helpful communion of the saints, and with 
all the means that thou hast appomted to further our sanc- 
tification and =!alvation. Oh that my ways were so du-ected, 
that I might keep thy statutes ! Let me never return again 
to folly, nor forget the covenant of my God : help me to 
quench the first motion of sin, and to abhor all siniVd de- 
sires and thoughts ; and let thy Spirit strengthen me agamst 
all temptations ; that I may conquer and endure to the end. 
Prepare me for sutTerings, and for death and judgment; 
that when I must leave this sinful world, I may jdeld up 
my departing soul with joy into the faithful hands of my 
dear Redeemer ; that I be not numbered with the ungodly, 
which die in their unpardoned sin, and pass into everlasting 
misery ; but may be found in Christ, having the righteous- 
ness which is of God by faith ; and may attain to the resur- 
rection of the just ; that so the remembrance of the sin and 
miseries from which thou hast delivered me, may further my 
perpetual thanks and praise to thee my Creator, my Re- 
deemer, and my Sanctificr. 

And oh that thou wouldst call and convert the miserable 
nations of idolaters and infidels, and the multitudes of un- 
godly h^-pocrites, who have the name of Christians, and not 
the truth, and power, and life. O send forth labourers in- 
to thy harvest, and let not Satan hinder them. Prosper 
thy gospel, and the kingdom of thy Son, that sinners may 
more abundantly be converted to thee, and this earth may 
be made hke unto heaven ; that when thou hast gathered us 
all mto unity with Christ, we may all, mth perfect love and 
joy, ascribe to thee the kingdom, the power, and the glory, 
for ever and ever. Amen. 



184 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

A Form of Praise and Prayer for the Lord's Day. 

Glorious Jehovah, while angels and perfected spirits are 
praising thee in the presence of thy glory, thou hast allowed 
and comnianded us to take our part in the presence of thy 
grace : we have the same most holy God to praise ; and 
though we see thee not, our Head and Saviom' seeth thee, 
and om- faith discemeth thee in the glass of thy holy works 
and word. Though we are sinners, and unworthy, and 
cannot touch those holy things, without the marks of our 
pollution ; yet we have a great High Priest with thee, who 
was separated from sinners, holy, harmless, and undefiled, 
who appeareth for us, in the merits of his spotless life and 
sacrifice, and by whose hands only we dare presume to pre- 
sent a sacrifice to the most holy God. And thou hast or- 
dained this day of holy rest, as a tj-pe and means of that 
heavenly rest vnt\\ the triumphant church to which we as- 
pire, and for which we hope. Thou didst accept their lower 
praise on earth, before they celebrated thy praise in glorj' : 
accept ours also by the same IMediator. 

Glory be to thee, O God, in the highest : on earth peace, 
good-will towards men. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Al- 
mighty, who wast, and art, and art to come ; eternal, with- 
out beginning or end ; immense, without all bounds or mea- 
sure ; the mfinite Spirit, Father, Word, and Holy Ghost ; 
the infinite Life, Understanding, and Will, infinitely power- 
ful, wise, and good ; of thee, and through thee, and to thee 
are all things ; to thee be glory for evermore. AU thy 
works declare thy glorj- ; for thy glorious perfections appear 
on all, and for thy glory, and the pleasiu'e of thy holy vAW^ 
didst tliou create them. The heavens, and all the hosts 
thereof; the sun, and all the glorious stars; the fire, with 
its motion, light, and heat ; the earth, and all that dwell 
thereon, wdth all its sweet and beauteous ornaments ; the 
air, and all the meteors ; the great deeps, and all that swim 
therein ; all are the preachers of thy praise, and shew forth 
the great Creator's glory. How great is that power which 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 185 

made so great a world of nothing ; whicli with wonderful 
swiftness moved those great and glorious luminaries, which 
in a moment send forth the influences of their motion, light, 
and heat, through all the air, to sea and earth ! Thy power- 
ful life giveth Hfe to all ; and preserveth this frame of nature 
which thou hast made. How glorious is that wisdom which 
ordereth all things, and assigneth to all theii' place and 
office, aad by its perfect law raaintaineth the beauty and 
harmony of all! how glorious is that goodness and love, 
which made all good and very good ! 

AVe praise and glorify thee, our Lord and 0"vvner ; for we 
and all things are thine ovm. "We praise and glorify thee, 
our Iving and Ruler; for we are thy subjects, and our per- 
fect obedience is thy due : just are all thy laws and judgments ; 
true and sm-e is all thy word. We praise and glorily thee, our 
great Benefactor ; in thee we live, and move, and are ; all 
that we are, or have, or can do, is wholly fi*om thee, the 
Cause of all ; and all is for thee, for thou art our End. 
Delightfully to love thee, is our greatest duty, and our only 
felicity ; for thou art love itself, and infinitely amiable. 

AMien man by sin did turn away his heart from thee, be- 
lieved the tempter against thy truth, obeyed his senses against 
thy authority and wisdom, and forsaking thy fatherly love 
and goodness, became an idol to himself, thou didst not use 
him according to his desert: when we forsook thee, thou 
didst not utterly forsake us ; when we had lost ourselves, 
and by sin became thine enemies, condemned by thy law, 
thy mercy pitied us, and gave us the promise of a Redeemer, 
who in the fulness of time did assume our nature, fulfilled 
thy law, and suffered for our sins, and conquering death, did 
rise again, ascended to heaven, and is our glorified Head and 
Intercessor. Him hast thou exalted to be a Prince and Sa- 
viour, to give us repentance and remission of sins. In him 
thou hast given pardon and justification, reconciliation and 
adoption, by a covenant of grace, to every penitent believer. 
Of enemies, and the heirs of death, thou hast made us sons 
and heirs of life. 

We are the brands whom thou hast plucked out of the 



186 A CALL TO THE UNCOXA^ERTED. 

fire ; we are the captives of Satan whom thou hast redeemed ; 
we are the condemned sinners whom thou hast pardoned : 
we praise thee, we glorify thee, om' merciful God, and gra- 
cious Redeemer. Our souls have now reflige from thy re- 
venging wrath. Thy promise is sure : Satan, and the world, 
and death are overcome ; our Lord is risen ; he is risen, 
and we shall rise through him. O death, where is thy sting ! 
O grave, where is thy victory ! Our Sa\'iour is ascended to 
liis Father and our Father, to his God and om* God ; and 
we shall ascend ; to his hands we may commit our departing 
souls : our Head is glorified, and it is his will and promise 
that we shall be with him where he is to see his glory ; he 
hath sealed us thereunto by his Holy Spu-it : we were dead 
in sins, and he hath quickened us ; we were dark in igno- 
rance and unbelief, and he hath enlightened us ; we were 
unholy and carnal, sold under sin, and he hath sanctified our 
wiUs, and killed our concupiscence. AVe praise and glorify 
this Spirit of life, vnth. the Father and the Son, from whom 
he is sent to be life, and light, and love to our dead, and 
dark, and disafiected souls. We are created, and redeemed, 
and sanctified for thy holy love, and praise, and ser\nce : O 
let these be the very nature of our souls, and the employ- 
ment and pleasure of all om- lives ! O, perfect thy weak and 
languid gi-aces in us, that our love and praise may be more 
perfect ! "We thank thee for thy word, and sacred ordi- 
nances, for the comfort of the holy assemblies and commu- 
nion of the saints, and for the mercy of these thy holy days. 
But let not thy praise be here confined ; but be our daily 
life, and bread, and work. 

Fain we would praise thee with more holy and more joy- 
ful souls. But how can we do it with so weak a faith, and 
so gi'eat darkness and strangeness to thee? with so little 
assurance of thy favour and our salvation ? Can we rightly 
thank thee for the gi'ace which we are still in doubt of? Fain 
we would be liker to those blessed souls who praise thee vnth- 
out our fears and dulness. But how can it be, while we 
love thee so little, and have so little taste and feeling of thy 
love ? and whilst this load of sin doth press us doAvn, and 



A CALL TO THE UNCOXVERTED. 1 87 

we are imprisoned in the remnant of our carnal affections ? 
O kill this pride and selfishness, these lusts and passions. 
Destroy this unbelief and darkness, and all our sins, which 
are the enemies of us, and of thy praise. Make us more 
holy and heavenly : and O bring us nearer thee in faith and 
love, that we may be more suitable to the heavenly employ- 
ment of thy praise. 

Vouchsafe more of thy Spirit to all thy churches and ser- 
vants in the world : that as their darkness and selfishness, 
and imperfections have defiled, and diAided, and weakened 
them, and made them a scandal and hardening to infidels ; 
so their knowledge, self-denial, and impartial love, may 
truly reform, unite, and strengthen them : that the glory of 
their holiness may win the unbelie\-iiig world to Christ. O 
let not Satan keep up still so large a kingdom of t}Tanny, 
ignorance, and wickedness in the earth, and make this world 
as the suburbs of hell : but let the earth be more conform- 
able to heaven, in the glorifj-ing of thy holy name, the ad- 
vancing of thy kingdom, and the doing of thy just and holy 
will. Let thy way be known upon earth, and thy sa^ing 
health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O 
God, let all the people praise thee ! Yea, give thy Son the 
heathen for his inheritance, and let his gospel enlighten the 
dark, forsaken nations of the earth. Let every knee bow to 
him, and every tongue confess that he is Christ, to their sal- 
vation and thy glory. Provide and send forth the messen- 
gers of thy grace through all the earth. Deliver all the 
churches fi^om sin, di\ision, and oppression. Let thy holy 
word and worship continue in these kingdoms, whilst this 
world endureth. Bless the queen, and all in authority, with 
all that wisdom, justice, and holiness, which are needful to 
her own and her subjects' safety, peace, and welfare. Let 
every congregation among us have burning and shining 
lights, that the ignorant and ungodly perish not for want of 
teaching and exhortation : and open men's hearts to receive 
thy word, and cause them to know the day of their visita- 
tion. Be merciful to the afflicted, in sickness, dangers, wants, 
or sorrows, according to thy goodness and their necessities. 



188 A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 

Let all the prayers and praises of the faithful throughout 
the world, sent up this day in the name of our common 
Mediator, by him be presented acceptable unto thee ; not- 
Avithstanding the imperfections and blemishes that are on 
them, and the censures, divisions, and injuries, which in their 
frowardness they are guilty of against each other : let them 
enter as one in Christ our Head, who are too sadly and 
stiffly distant among themselves. Prepare us all for that 
world of peace, where the harmony of universal love and 
praise shall never be interrupted by sins, or griefs, or fears, 
or discord ; but shall be everlastingly perfect to our joy and 
to thy glory, through our glorified Mediator, who taught us 
when we pray to say. Our Father, which art in heaven. 
Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be 
done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our 
daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive 
them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temp- 
tation, but deliver us from evil : for thine is the kingdom, 
the power, and the glor}', for ever. Amen. 



A short Prayer for Children and Servants. 

Ever-living and most gracious God, Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost ! infinite is thy power, thy wisdom and thy 
goodness ! Thou art the Maker of all the world, the Re- 
deemer of lost and sinful man, and the Sanctifier of the 
elect ! Thou hast made me a living, reasonable soul, placed 
awhile in this flesh and world to know, and love, and serve 
thee, my Creator, with all my heart, and mind, and strength, 
that I might obtain the rcAvard of the heavenly glory. This 
should have been the greatest care, and business, and pleasure 
of all my life : I was bound to it by thy law ; I was invited 
by thy mercy. And in my baptism I was devoted to this holy 
life, by a solemn covenant and vow. But, alas, I have proved 
too unfaithful to that covenant ; I have forgotten and ne- 
glected the God, the Saviour, and the Sanctifier, to whom I 
was engaged ; and have too much served the devil, the 



A CALL TO Tin: UXCOXVERTED. 189 

world, and flesh, -wlilch I renounced : I was born in sin, 
and sinfully I have lived. I have been too careless of my 
immortal soul, and of the great work for which I was cre- 
ated and redeemed ; I have spent much of my precious 
time in vanity, in minding and pleasing this corruptible 
flesh ; and I have hardened my heart against those mstinic- 
tions, by which thy Spirit, and my teachers, and my own 
conscience, did call upon mc to repent and turn to thee. 

And now, Lord, my convinced soul doth confess, that I 
have deserved to be forsaken by thee, and given over to my 
lust and folly, and to be cast out of thy glorious presence into 
damnation. But seeing thou hast given a Saviour to the 
world, and made a pardoning and gi'acious law, promising 
forgiveness and salvation through his merits, to every true 
penitent behever, I thankflilly accept the mercy of thy cove- 
nant in Christ ; I humbly confess my sin and guiltiness ; I 
cast my miserable soul upon thy grace, and the merits and 
sacrifice, and intercession of my Sariour. O pardon all the 
sins of my corrupted heart and life ; and as a reconciled 
Father, take me to be thy child ; and give me thy renewing 
Spirit, to be in me a principle of holy life, and hght, and love, 
and thy seal and witness that I am thuie. Let him quicken 
my dead and hardened heart ; let him enlighten my dark, 
unbeliering mind by clearer knowledge and firm belief; let 
him turn my will to the ready obedience of thy holy will ; 
let him reveal to my soul the wonders of thy love in Christ, 
and fill it with love to thee and my Redeemer, and to all 
thy holy word and works, till all my sinful, carnal love be 
(juenched in me, and my sinful pleasures turned into a sweet 
delight in God : give me self-denial, humility, and lowHness, 
and save me from the gi'eat and hateftil sins of selfishness, 
worldhness, and pride. O set my heart upon the heavenly 
gloiT, where I hope ere long to live with Christ and all 
his holy ones, in the jo}-ful sight, and love, and praise of 
thee, the God of love, for ever. Deny me not any of those 
helps and mercies, which are needful to my sanctification 
and salvation. And cause me to live in a continual readi- 
ness for a safe and comfortable death. For what would it 



190 A CALL TO THE L^XON VERTED. 

profit me to win all the world, and lose my soul, my Sa- 
viour, and my God ? 



Additions for Children. 

Let thy blessing be upon my parents and governors, 
cause them to mstruct and educate me in thy fear ; and cause 
me with thankfulness to receive then' instructions, and to 
love, honour, and obey them in obedience to thee. Keep 
me fi:om the snares of evil company, temptations, and youth- 
ful pleasm-es, and let me be a companion of them that fear 
thee. Let my daily deHght be to meditate on thvlaw ; and 
let me never have the mark of the ungodly, to be a lover of 
pleasures more than of God. Furnish my youth with those 
treasures of wisdom and holiness, which may be daily in- 
creased and used to thy glory. 



Additions for Servants. 
t 

And as thou hast made me a servant, make me conscion- 
able and faithful in my place and trust, and careful of my 
master's goods and business, as I would be if it were my 
own. Make me submissive and obedient to my governors ; 
keep me fi-om self-^\ill and pride, from murmuring and ir- 
reverent speeches, from falsehood, slothfulness, and all deceit. 
That I might not be an eye-servant, pleasing my lust and 
fleshly appetite ; but may cheerfully and AviUingly do my 
duty, as behe^ing that thou art the revenger of all unfaith- 
fulness ; and may do my service not only as unto man, but 
as to the Lord, expecting fi'om thee my chief reward. 

All this I beg and hope for, on the account of the merits 
and mtercession of Jesus Christ, concluding in the words 
which he hath taught us : Our Father, which art in heaven, 
Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy Avill be 
done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our 
daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive 



A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED. 191 

them that tresspass agamst us. And lead us not into temp- 
tation, but deliver us from evil ; for thine is the kingdom, 
the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 



A Prayer for the Morning^ in the method of the Lordfs 
Prayer^ being hut an Exposition of it. 

Most glorious God, who art power, and wisdom, and 
goodness itself, the Creator of all things ; the Owner, the 
Ruler, and the Benefactor of the world, but especially of 
thy church, and chosen ones. Though by sin original and 
actual we were thy enemies, the slaves of Satan and our 
flesh, and under thy displeasure and the condemnation of 
thy law ; yet thy children, redeemed by Jesus Christ thy 
Son, and regenerated by thy Holy Spmt, have leave to call 
thee their reconciled Father. For by thy covenant of grace, 
thou hast given them thy Son to be their Head, then- 
Teacher, and their SaAaom'. And in him thou hast pardon- 
ed, adopted, and sanctified them ; seaHng and preparing 
them by thy Holy Spirit for thy celestial kingdom, and be- 
ginning in them that holy lile, and hght, and love, which 
shall be perfected with thee in everlasting glory. Oh with 
what wondrous love hast thou loved us, that of rebels we 
should be made the sons of God ! Thou hast advanced us 
to this dignity, that we might be devoted wholly to thee Jis 
thine own, and might delightfLiUy obey thee, and entirely 
love thee with all om' heart ! And so might glorify thee 
here and for ever. 

cause both us, and all thy churches, and all the v.'orld, 
to taUoAv thy gTeat and holy name ! And to live to thee 
as our ultimate end ! that thy shining miage on holy souls 
may glorify thy divine perfection. 

And cause both us and all the earth, to cast off the ty- 
ranny of Satan and the flesh, and to acknowledge thy 
supreme authority, and to become the kingdoms of thee and 
thy Son Jesus, by a A\ilKng and absolute subjection. O 



192 A CALL TO THE L-NCONVERTED. 

perfect thy kingdom of grace in ourselves and in tb« -world, 
and hasten the kingdom of glory. 

And cause us and th}- churches, and all people of the 
eai'th, no more to be ruled by the lusts of the flesh, and 
their erroneous conceits, and by self-will, which is the idol 
of the wicked ; but by thy perfect wisdom and holy will 
revealed in thy laws, make known thy word to all the 
world, and send them the messengers of grace and peace ; 
and cause men to understand, believe, and obey the gospel 
of salvation. And that, vnth such holiness, unity, and love, 
that the earth, which is now too like to hell, may be made 
like unto heaven ; and not only thy scattered, imperfect 
flock, but those also who in their carnal and ungodly minds 
do now refuse a holy life, and think thy words and ways too 
strict, may desire to imitate even the heavenly church ; 
where thou art obeyed, and loved, and praised, with high 
delight, in harmony and perfection. 

And because our being is the subject of our well-being, 
maintam us in the life which thou hast here given us, until 
the work of Ufe be finished ; and give us such health of 
mind and body, and such protection and supply of all our 
wants, as shall best fit us for our duty ; and make us con- 
tented with our daily bread, and patient if we want it. And 
save us fi-om the love of riches, honours, and pleasures of 
tliis world, and the pride, and idleness, and sensuaUty which 
they cherish ; and cause us to serve thy providence by our 
diligent labour, and to serve thee faithfully with all that 
thou givest us ; and let us not make pro^dsion for the flesh, 
to satisfy its desires and lusts. 

And we beseech thee of thy mercy, through the sacrifice 
and propitiation of thy beloved Son, forgive us all our sins, 
original and actual, fi:*om our birth to this hour; our omis- 
sions of duty, and committing of w^hat thou didst forbid ; 
our sins of heart, and word, and deed ; our sinfiil thoughts 
and affections, our sinful passions and discontents ; our 
secret and our open sins ; our sins of negligence, and ignor- 
ance, and rashness ; but especially our sins against know- 



A CALL TO THE U^'COX VERTED. 193 

ledj^e and conscience, which have made the deepest guilt 
and Avounds. Spare ns, O Lord, and let not our sin so 
find us out as to be our rum ; but let us so find it out as 
truly to repent and turn to thee ! Especially punish us not 
with the loss of thy grace ! Take not thy Holy Spirit from 
us, and deny us not his assistance and holy operations. Seal 
to us by that Spirit the pardon of our sins, and hft up the 
light of thy countenance upon us, and give us the joy of thy 
favour and salvation. And let thy love and mercy to us fill 
us not only with thankfulness to thee, but wdth love and 
mercy to our brethren and our enemies, that we may 
heartily forgive them that do us WTong, as through thy grace 
w^e hope to do. 

And for the time to come, sufier us not to cast ourselves 
■wilfully into temptations, but carefiilly to avoid them, and 
resolutely to resist and conquer what we cannot avoid ; 
and O mortify those inward sins and lusts, w^hich are our 
constant aud most dangerous temptations. And let us not 
be tempted by Satan or the world, or tried by thy judg- 
ments, above the strength which thy grace shall give us. 
Save us from a fearless confidf^nce in our own strength ; 
and let us not dally with the snare, nor taste the bait, nor 
play with the fire of \n'ath. But cause us to fear and de- 
part fi-om evil ; lest before we are aware, we be entangled 
and overcome, and wounded with our guilt and with thy 
wrath, and our end should be worse than our beginnmg. 
Especially save us from those radical sins of en^or and un- 
belief, pride, h}^oocrisy, hard-heartedness, sensuahty, sloth- 
fulness, and the love of this present world, and the loss of 
our love to thee, to thy kingdom, and thy ways. 

And save us from the mahee of Satan and of wicked 
men, and from the evils which our sins would bring upon 
us. 

And as we crave all this fi*om thee, we humbly tender 
our praises with our future serA-ice to thee ! Thou art the 
King of all the world, and more than the life of all the 
livino" ! Thy kingdom is everlasting ; wdse, and just, and 
mGi'ciiiil. is th^- government. Blessed are thi-y that are 



194 A CALL TO THE UXCON^'ERTED. 

faithful subjects ; but who hath hardened himself against 
thee, and hath prospered ? The whole creation proclauneth 
thy perfection. But it is heaven where the blessed see thy 
glory, and the glory of our Redeemer ; where the angels 
and saints behold thee, admu'e thee, adore thee, love thee, 
and praise thee with triumphant, joj'ilil songs, the holy, 
holy, holy God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who 
was, and is, and is to ^come ; of thee, and through thee, 
and to thee are all things. To thee be glory for ever. 
Amen. 



The Creed. 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of hea- 
ven and earth : And m Jesus Christ, his only Son, our 
Lord, AMio was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the 
Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was ci-ucified. 
dead, and buried ; He descended into hell ; The third day 
he rose again from the dead ; He ascended into heaven, 
And sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty ; 
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. 
I beheve in the Holy Ghost ; The Holy Catholic Church ; 
The communion of samts ; The forgiveness of sms ; The re- 
surrection of the body ; And the life everlasting. Amen. 



The Ten Commandments. 

L 1 am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out 
of the land of Egj-pt, out of the house of bondage. Thou 
shalt have no other gods before me. 

n. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or 
any Hkeness of any thmg that is in heaven above, or that is 
in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth : 
thou shalt not bow do\^^l thyself to them, nor sen'e them : 
for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, risiting the ini- 
quity of the flithers upon tlic ciiiklrcn unto the third and 



A CALL TO THE UXCOXA^ERTED. 195 

fourth generation of them that hate me ; and shewing mercy 
unto thousands of them that love me and keep my command- 
ments. 

III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God 
in vain ; for the Lord ^vill not hold him guiltless that taketli 
his name in vain. 

rV. Remember the sabbath-day, to keep it holy. Six 
days shalt thou labour and do all thy work : but the seventh 
day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God : in it thou shalt not 
do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man- 
servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger 
that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made 
heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and 
rested the seventh day : wherefore the Lord blessed the 
sabbath- day and hallowed it. 

V. Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days 
may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth 
thee. 

VI. Thou shalt not kiU. 

VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery. 
Vin. Thou shalt not steal. 

IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neigh- 
bour. 

X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou 
shalt not covet thy neighbours wife, nor his man-servant, 
nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thmg 
that is thy neighbour's. 



THE 

LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER; 

HIS PASSING PRAYER, 

UT5C0M11E-VDIXG HIS DEPARTING SPIRIT TO CHRIST, TO BE RECEIVED BT HIM ; 

Prepared for the Funeral of Mary the tcidotc, first of Francis Charltan, Esq., and after of 

IhoMoa Hanmer, Esq. ; and partly preached at St Mary Magdalen's 

C^ur:h, in Milk Street, London, and now, at the desire of her 

Daughter, before her death, reprinted. 



TO THE READfiK. 



Reader, 

The person whose death did occasion this discourse was 
one that about five years ago removed from her ancient 
habitation, at Appley, m Shropshire, to Kiddermuister, 
where she Hved under my pastoral care till I was come up 
to London ; and before she had Uved there a twelvemonth 
(for thither she removed) she died of the fever, then very 
common in the city. She lived among us an example of 
prudence, gra\dty, sobriety, righteousness, piety, charity, 
and self-denial, and was truly what I have described her to 
be, and much more; for I use not to flatter the Hving, 
much less the dead. And though I had personal acquaint- 
ance with her for no longer a time than I have mentioned, 
yet I think it worthy the mentioning, Avhich I understand 
by comparing her last years with what is said of her former 
time, by those that were then nearest to her, and so were 
at her death, that whereas (as I have said) sudden passion 
was the sua that she was wont much to complain of, she had 
not contented herself with mere complainings, but so effec- 
tually resisted them, and applied God's remedies for the 
healing of her nature, that the success was very much ob- 
served by those about her, and the change and cure so great 
herein, as was a comfort to her nearest relations that had 
the benefit of her converse ; which I mention as a thmg 
that shews us, 1. That even the infirmities that are found 
in nature and temperature of body are curable, so far as 
thev fiill under the dominion of a sanctified will. 2. That 



200 TO THE HEADER. 

even in age, when such passions usually get ground, and in- 
firmities of mind increase Avith infirmities of body, yet grace 
<'an effectually do its work. 3. That to attend God in his 
means, for the subduing of any corruption, is not in vain. 
4. That as God hath promised growth of grace, and flourish- 
ing in old age, so a\ hia way we_uiay expect the fulfilling of 
his promise. 5. That as gi-ace increaseth, mfirmities and 
con-uptions of the soul will vanish. 

This makes me call to mind that she was once so much 
taken with a sermon which I preached at the funeral of a 
holy aged woman,* and so sensibly oft recited the text it- 
self as much affecting her — " For which cause we faint not ; 
but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is 
renewed day by day," &c. 2 Cor. iv. 16, 17 ; that I am 
persuaded both the text itself, and the example opened 
(and well known) to her, did her much good. 

Her work is done, her enemies are conquered (except 
the remaining fruits of death upon a corrupting body, which 
the resurrection must conquer), her danger, and temptations, 
and troubles, and fears, are at an end. She shall no more 
be discomfited Avith evil tidings ; nor no more partake with 
a militant church in the sorrows of her diseases or distresses. 
We are left AA-ithin the reach of Satan's assaults and maHce, 
and of the rage and violence which pride, and faction, and 
Cainish envy, and enmity to serious holiness, do ordinarily 
raise against Christ's followers in the world. We are left 
among the lying tongues of slanderous, malicious men, and 
dwell in a -wilderness among scorpions ; where the sons of 
Belial, like Xabal, are such that a man cannot speak to 
them, 1 Sam. xxv. 17. The best of tliem is as a brier, 
the most upright sharper than a thorn hedge, Mic. vii. 4. 
'■' But the sons of Belial shall be aU of them as thorns 



* Good old Mrs Doughty, sometime of Shrewsbury, who had long 
walked with God and longed to be with liim, and was among us an ex- 
cellent example of holiness, blamelessness, contempt of the world, con- 
stancy, patience, humility, and (which makes it strange) a gi-eat and con- 
stant desire to die, though she was still complaining of doubtings, and 
weakness of assurance. 



TO THE READER. 201 

thrust away, because tliey cannot be taken with hands ; but 
the man that shall touch them must be fenced with ii'on, 
and the staff of a spear, and they shall be utterly burned 
with fii'e in the same place," 2 Sam. xxiii, 6, 7. We are 
left among our weak, distempered, sinful, afflicted, lament- 
ing friends ; the sight of whose calamities, and participation 
of their sufferings, maketh us feel the strokes that fall upon 
so great a number, that we are never like to be free fi'om 
pain. But she is entered into the land of peace, where 
pride and fliction are shut out ; where serpentine enmity, 
malice, and fury% never come ; where there is no Cain to 
envy and destroy us ; no Sodomites to rage against us, and 
in their blindness to assault our doors ; no Ahithophels to 
plot our ruin ; no Judas to betray us ; no false witnesses to 
accuse us ; no Tertullus to point us out as pestilent fellows, 
and movers of sedition among the people ; no Rehum, 
Sliimshai, or their society, lo nersuade the rulers that the 
servants ol' the God of heaven are hurtful unto kings, and 
against their interest and honour, Ezra iv. 9, 12-14, 22; 
V. 11; no rabble to cry, " Away with thom, it is not fit 
that they should live ;" no Demas that will forsake us for 
tl^e love of present things ; no such contentious, censorious 
friends as Job's to afflict us, by adding to our affliction ; no 
cursed Ham to dishonour parents ; no ambitious, rebel- 
lious Absalom to molest us, or to lament ; no sinful, scanda- 
lous, or impatient friends to be our grief: and, which is more 
than aU, no earthly, sinful inclinations in om'selves ; no pas- 
sions or infirmities ; no languishings of soul ; no deadness, 
dulness, hard-heartedness, or weaknesses of grace ; no back- 
wardness to God, or estrangedness from him, nor fears or 
doubtings of his love, nor firowns of his displeasure. None 
of these do enter into that serene and holy region, nor ever 
interrupt the joy of saints. 

The great work is yet upon oiu* hands, to fight out the 
good fight, to finish our course, to run with patience the 
remainder of the race that is before us ; and as we must 
look to Jesus, the Author and Fmishet" of our faith, as our 
great Exemplar, so must we look to his saints and martyrs 



202 TO tup: reader. 

as our encouraging examples under him. Put the case you 
were now dying (and oh, how near is it, and how sure) ! 
what would you need most, if the day were come ? That is it 
that you need most now. Look after it speedily while you 
have time. Look after it seriously, if you have the hearts of 
men, and sin have not turned you into idiots or blocks. 
Whsit a disgrace is it to mankind, to hear men commonly 
at death cry out. Oh! for a little more time. And, 
Oh ! for the opportunities of grace again. And, Oh ! 
how shall I enter upon eternity thus unprepared? as 
if they had never heard or known that they must die till 
now. Had you not a life's time to put these questions? 
And should you not long ago have got them satisfactorily 
resolved? And justly doth God give over some to that 
greater shame of human nature, as not to be called to their 
wits, even by the approach of death itself; but as they con- 
temned everlastmg life in their health, God justly leaveth 
them to be so sottish as to venture presumptuously with 
unrenewed souls upon death ; and the conceit that they are 
of the right church, or party, or opinion, or that the priest 
hath absolved them, doth pass with them for the necessary 
preparation ; and well it were for them if these would pass 
them currently into heaven. But, oh, what heart can now 
conceive how terrible it is for a new-departed soul to find 
itself remedilessly disappointed, and to be shut up in flames 
and desperation, before they would believe that they were 
in danger of it ! 

Reader, I beseech thee, as ever thou behevest that thou 
must shortly die, retire from the crowd and noise of worldly 
vanity and vexation. O, bethink thee, how little a while 
thou must be here, and have use for honour, and favour, 
and wealth ; and what it is for a soul to pass into heaven or 
hell, and to dwell among angels or devils for ever ; aftd how 
men should live, and watch, and pray, that are near to such 
a change as this. Should I care what men call me (by 
tongue or pen), should I care whether I live at hberty or In 
prison, when I am roady to die, and have matters of infinite 
moment before me to take me up? Honour or dishonour. 



TO THE READER. 203 

liberty or prison, are words of no sound or signification, 
scarce to be heard or taken notice of, to one of us that are 
just passing to God, and to everlasting Hfe. The Lord have 
mercy upon the cUstracted world! How strangely doth the 
devil befool them in the daylight, and make them needlessly 
trouble themselves about many things, when one thing is 
neediul ; and heaven is talked of (and that but heartlessly and 
seldom), while fleshly pro\'ision only is the prize, the pleasure, 
the business of their Hves. Some are diverted from their 
serious preparation for death by the beastly avocations of 
lust, and gauduiess, and meats, and di-inks, and childish 
sports ; and some by the businesses of ambition and covet- 
ousness, contriving how to feather their nests, and exercise 
their wills over others in the world ! And some that will 
seem to be doing the work, are diverted as dangerously as 
others, by contending about formalities and ceremonies, and 
destroying charity and peace; rendmg the chmxh, and 
strengthening factions, and carrying on interests hj-pocriti- 
cally under the name of religion, till the zeal that St James 
describeth (James iii. 13, 14, &c.), having consumed all 
that was like to the zeal of love and holiness in themselves, 
proceed to consume the servants and interest of Christ about 
them, and to bite and devour, till their Lord come and find 
them in a day that they looked not for him, smiting their 
fellow-servants, and eating and drinking \vith the drunien, 
and cut them asunder, and appoint them their portion with 
the hiy-pocrites, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, 
Matt. xxiv. 49-51. 

O study, and preach, and hear, and pray, and live, and 
use your brethren that differ from you in some opinions, as 
you would do if you were going to receive your doom, and 
as will then be most acceptable to yom- Lord! The guilt 
of sensuality, worldHness, ambition, of uncharitableness, 
cruelty, and injustice, of losing time, and betrajing your 
souls by neghgence, or perfidiousness, and wilful sin, -will 
lie heavier upon a departing soul, than now, in the cfrunken- 
ness of prosperit}-, you can think. Christ will never receive 
such souls in their extremity, unlo.'s upon repentance, by 



204 TO THE READER. 

faith in his blood, they are washed from this pollution. It 
is unspeakably terrible to die, mthout a confidence that 
Chmt will receive us ; and httle knows the graceless world 
what sincerity and simplicity in hoHness is necessary to the 
soundness of such a confidence. 

Let those that know not that they must die, or know of 
no life hereafter, hold on their chase of a feather, till they 
find what they lost their lives, and souls, and labour for. 
But if thou be a Christian, remember what is thy work : 
thou wilt not need the favour of man, nor worldly wealth, 
to prevail with Christ to receive thy spirit. O^ learn thy 
last work before thou art put upon the doing of it ! The 
world of spuits, to which we are passing, doth better know 
than this world of fleshly darkened sinners, the great dif- 
ference between the death of a heavenly believer and of an 
earthly sensuaHst. Believe it, it is a thing possible to get 
that apprehension of the love of Christ, that confidence of 
his recei^'Ulg us, and such familiar, pleasant thoughts of our 
entertainment by him, as shall much overcome the fears of 
death, and make it a welcome day to us when we shall be 
admitted into the celestial society: and the difference be- 
tween one man's death and another's, dependeth on the 
difference between heart and heart, life and life, preparation 
and unpreparedness. 

If you ask me. How may so happy a preparation be made? 
I have told you in this following discourse, and more fully 
elsewhere formerly. I shall add now these directions fol- 
lowing. 

1 . Follow the flattering world no fiirther ; come off from 
all expectation of fehcity beloAv ; enjoy nothing under the 
sua, but only use it in order to your enjojTnent of the real, 
sure delight ; take heed of being too much pleased in the 
creature. Have you houses, and lands, and ofiices, and hon- 
ours, and fi'iends, that are very pleasing to you ? Take heed, 
for that is the kilhng snare ! Shut your eyes, and wink them 
all into nothing ; and cast by your contrivances, and cares, 
and fears, and remember you have another work to do. 

2. Live in Qomrauoiiou ^rith a suffering Christ : study 



TO THE PvEADEK. 205 

Avell the wliole life and nature of his sufferings, and the rea- 
son of them, and think how desirable it is to be conformed to 
him. Thus, look to Jesus, that for the joy that was set 
before him, despised the shame, endured the cross, and the 
contradiction of sinners against himself Dwell upon this 
example, that the image of a humbled, suffering Christ, 
being deeply imprinted on thy mind, may draw thy heart 
into a juster relish of a mortified state. Sure he is no good 
Christian that thinks it not better to live as Christ did (m 
holy poverty and sufferings in the world), than as Croesus, 
or C?esar, or any such worldling and self-pleaser lived. Die 
daily by folloAving Jesus with your cross, and when you 
have a while suffered with him, he will make you perfect, 
and receive your spirits, and you shall reign with him : it 
wonderfully prepareth for a comfortable death to live in the 
fellowship of the sufferings of Christ. He is most likely to 
die quietly, patiently, and joj-fuUy, that can first be poor, 
be neglected, be scorned, be wronged, be slandered, be im- 
prisoned, quietly, patiently, and joj-fiilly. K you were but 
at Jerusalem, you would, with some love and pleasure, go 
up mount Olivet, and think, Christ went this very way. 
You would love to see the place where he was born, the 
way Avhich he went when he carried his cross, the holy grave 
where he was buried (where there is a temple which pil- 
grims use to visit, fi-om whence they use to bring the mark 
as a pleasing badge of honour) : but how more of Christ is 
there in our suffering for his cause and truth, and in follow- 
ing him in a mortified, self-denjing life, than in following 
him in the path that he hath trodden upon earth ! His 
enemies saw his cross, his grave ; his mother, his person. 
This did not heal their sinful souls, and make them happy ; 
but the cross that he calleth us to bear is a life of suffering 
for righteousness' sake ; in which he commandeth us to re- 
joice, and be exceedingly glad, because our reward is great 
in heaven, though all manner of evil be spoken of us falsely 
by men on earth, Matt. v. 11, 12. This is called a being 
partaker of Christ's sufferings, in which we are commanded 
to rejoic«, " that, when his glory shall be revealed, we may 



206 TO THE READER. 

be glad also with exceeding joy," 1 Pet. iv. 13. And as 
" the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation 
aboundeth by Christ," 2 Cor. i. 5. Till we come up to a 
life of -srilhng mortification, and pleased, contented suffering 
with Christ, we are in the lower form of his school, and, as 
children, shall tremble at that which should not cause our 
terror ; and, through misapprehensions of the case of a de- 
parting soul, shall be afraid of that which should be our 
joy. I am not such an enemy to the esteem of relics, but 
if one could shew me the very stocks that Paul and Silas 
sat in when they sung psalms in their imprisonment (Acts 
xvi.), I could be contented to be put (for the like cause) 
into the same stocks, with a special willuigness and plea- 
sure : how much more should we be drilling to be conformed 
to our suffering Lord in a spmt and life of true mortifica- 
tion ! 

3. Hold communion also with his suffering members: 
desire not to dwell in the tents of wickedness, nor to be 
planted among them that flourish for a time, that may be 
pestroyed for ever, Psal. xcii. 6, 7. I had rather have 
Bradford's heart and faggot than Bonner's bishopric. It 
was holy Stephen, and not those that stoned him, that saw 
heaven opened, and the Son of man sitting at the right 
hand of God (Acts vii. 56), and that could joj'fuUy say, 
" Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." He Uveth not by faith 
(though he may be a hanger-on that keepeth up some pro- 
fession for fear of being damned) who chooseth not rather 
to suffer afihction with the people of God, than to enjoy 
the pleasures of sin for a season ; and esteemeth not the 
very reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of 
the world, as having respect to the recompence of reward, 
Heb. xi. 25, 26. 

4. Live as if heaven were open to your sight, and then 
dote upon the delights of worldhngs if you can ; then love 
a life of fleshly ease and honour, better than to be with 
Christ, if you can. But of this I have spoken at large in 
other writings. 

Christian, make it the study and business of thy life to 



TO THE READEK, 207 

learn to do thy last work well, that work which must be 
done but once ; that so death, which transmits unholy souls 
into utter darkness and despair, may deliver thy spirit into 
thy Redeemer's hands, to be received to his glory, accord- 
ing to that blessed promise, John xii. 26. And while I 
am in the flesh beg the same mercy for 

Thy brother and companion in tribulation, and in the 
kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

London^ Jan. 31, 1661. 



209 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 



" Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." — Acts vii. 59. 

The birth of nature, and the new birth of grace, in their 
measure resemble the death of samts, which is the birth of 
glory. It is a bitter-sweet day, a day that is mixed of sor- 
row and joy, when nature must quit its familiar guest, and 
j-ield to any of these changes. Our natural birth is not 
■\vithout the throes, and pain, and groanings of the mother, 
though it transmit the child into a more large, and light- 
some, and desirable habitation. Our spiritual birth is not 
without its humbhng and heart-piercing sorrows ; and when 
we are brought out of darkness into the marv^ellous light, we 
leave our old companions in displeasure, whom we forsake, 
and our flesh repining at the loss of its sensual deHghts. 
And our passage into glorj' is not without those pangs and 
fears which must needs be the attendants of a pained body 
ready to be dissolved, and a soul that is going through so 
strait a door into a strange, though a most blessed place ; 
and it leaveth our lamenting friends behind, that feel their 
loss, and would longer have enjoyed our company, and see 
not (though they believe) the gloiy of the departed soul. 
And this is our case that are brought hither this day, by an 
act of Providence sad to us, though joyous to our departed 
fi'iend ; by a voice that hath called her into glory, and call- 
ed us into this mourning plight : even us that rejoice in the 
thoughts of her felicity, and are not so cruel as to Avish her 
again into this corraptible flesh, and calamitous world, from 

Q 



210 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

the glorious presence of the Lord ; and yet should have kept 
her longer from it, for-our ovm and others' sakes, if our wis- 
dom had been fit to rule, or our wills to be fulfilled, or if 
our prayers must have been answered, according to the 
measure of our failing apprehensions or precipitant desires. 
But folly must submit to the incomprehensible wisdom, and 
the desiie of the creature must stoop to the will of the 
Creator. The interest of Christ must be preferred when he 
calleth for his own, and oiu* temporary interest must give 
place : flesh must be silent and not contend, and dust must 
not dare to question God ; he knoweth best when his finiit 
is ripe, and though he will allow our moderate sorrows, he 
will not so much injure his saints as to detain them with 
us from their jo}-ful rest, till we are content to let them go. 

Thus also did blessed Stephen depart from glory to glory ,• 
from a distant sight of the glory of God, and of Jesus stand- 
ing at his right hand, into the immediate presence iind 
fruition of that glory. But yet he must pass the narrow port ; 
enraged malice must stone him till he die ; and be must 
undergo the pains of martjTdom before he reach to the 
glory which he had seen. And when he was arrived in 
safety, he leaveth his brethren scattered in the storm, and 
devout men make great lamentation at his burial, Acts viii. 
2. Though it is probable by the ordinary acceptation of 
the word avJ^e? tvXalius, that they were not professed 
Christians, but devout proselytes (such as Cornelius and the 
-Ethiopian eunuch were), that bm-ied and thus lamented 
Stephen, as knowing him to be an excellent person, cruelly 
murdered by the raging Jews ; yet their example, ir> a case 
not culpable, but commendable, may be imitated oy be- 
lievers, upon condition that, with our sense of the excellency 
of the persons, and of oiu- loss by their removal, we exceed 
them that had but a darker revelation m our joyful sense of 
the fehcity of the translated souls. 

The occasion of the death of this holy man was partly 
that he surpassed others, as being full of faith, and of the 
Holy Ghost ; and partly that he plainly rebuked the blind 
and furious persecuting zeal of the Jews, and bore a most 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 211 

resolute testimony of Christ. It is an ill time when men 
must suffer because they are good, and deserve not suffer- 
ing, but reward ; and they are an unhappy people that have 
no more grace or wit but to fight against heaven, and set 
themselves under the strokes of God's severest justice, by 
persecuting them that are dear to Christ, and faithfully per- 
form their duty. It is no strange thing for the zeal and 
interest of a faction to make men mad ; so mad as impla- 
cably to rage against the offspring of heaven, and to hate 
men because they are faithftil to their great Master, and 
because they are against their faction ; so mad as to think 
that the interest of their cause requireth them to destroy 
the best with the greatest malice, because they stand most 
in their way, and to forget that Christ, the revenger of his 
elect, doth take all as done to him that is done to them ; so 
mad as to forget all the terrible threatenings of God, and 
terrible instances of his avenguig justice against the enemies 
of his servants, whom he taketh as his own ; and to ruin 
their own reputations by seeking to defame the upright, 
whose names God is engaged to honour, and whose righte- 
ousness shall shine forth as the sun, when foolish malignity 
hath done its worst. "When Christ had pleaded his cause 
effectually with Saul, that was one of the persecutors 
of Stephen, he maketh him confess that he was -n^Krirus 
{//.fiuivofitvas, exceedingly, excessively, or beyond measure mad 
against the Christians. 

But this blessed protomart\T, in despite of malice, doth 
safely and jo^-fuUy pass through all their rage to heaven. 
By killing him they make him more than conqueror, and 
send him to receive his crowm. And he shuts up jill the 
action of his life in imitation of his suffering Lord, mth a 
twofold request to Heaven, the one for huuself, that his 
spirit may be received, the other for his persecutors, that 
this sin may not be laid to their charge. Acts vii. 59, 60 ; 
for so you may find Christ did before him, '' Father, for- 
give them ; for they know not what they do ; " and, " Father, 
into thy hands I commend my spirit," laike xxiii. 34, 46. 
Only Christ dii'ecteth his prayer inmiediately to the Father, 



212 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

and Stephen to Christ, as being one that had a mediator, 
when Christ had none, as needing none ; and being now 
bearing witness, by his suffering, to Christ, and therefore it 
was seasonable to direct his prayer to him ; but especially 
because it was an act of mediation that he petitioneth for, 
and therefore directeth his petition to the Mediator. 

This first request of this dring saint, which I have chosen 
to handle, as suitable and seasonable for our instruction at 
this time, in a few words containeth not a few exceeding 
useful, wholesome truths. 

As I. It is here plainly intimated that Jesus Christ is 
exalted in glory, in that he hath power to receive departed 
souls. 

n. That Christ is to be prayed to, and that it is not our 
duty to du-ect all oiu' prayers only to the Father. Especially 
those things that belong to the office of the Mediator, as in- 
terceding for us in the heavens, must be requested of the 
Mediator. And those things which belong to the Father to 
give for the sake of the Mediator, must be asked of the 
Father for his sake. I cannot now stay to tell you in par- 
ticular what belongeth to the one, and what unto the other. 

III. That man hath a spirit as well as a body ; of which 
more anon. 

rV. That this spirit dieth not -with the body (unless you 
will call a mere separation a dpng.) 

V. That Christ doth receive the spirits of his saints when 
they are separated fi-om the body. 

VI. That a djing Christian may confidently and com- 
fortably commend his spirit to Christ, to be received of 
liim. 

VH. That prayer in general, and this prayer in special, 
That Christ will receive our departing souls, is a most suit- 
able conclusion of all the actions of a Christian's life. 

The first and second of these doctrmes, offered us by this 
text, I shall pass by. 

The third is not questioned by any that kiioweth himself 
to be a man : but that we may understand it, and the rest, 
we must consider what the word " spu-it" doth here sig- 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 213 

nify. By " spirit"" her-e, can be meant nothing but tliGs 
rational soul, wliicli is the principal constitutive part of tlia 
man. For tliougli tlie word do sometimes signify the wind 
or breath, and sometimes the moral and intellectual quali- 
fications, and have divers other senses, I need not stay to 
prove that it is not here so taken. Stephen prayeth not to 
Christ to receive his breath, his graces, or the Holy Ghost, 
but to receive his rational, immortal soul. 

It is not only the soul, but God himself, that is called 
" a Spirit:" and though the name be fetched from lower 
things, that is, because that as we have no adequate posi- 
tive conception of God or spirits, so we can have no ade- 
quate proper names for them, but must take up with bor- 
rowed names, as answerable to our notions. 

Sometimes the word spirit (as Heb. iv. 12, &c) is dis- 
tinguished from the soul ; and then it either signifieth the 
superior faculties in the same soul, or the same soul as ele- 
vated by grace. 

Do you ask, What the soul is ? You may also ask, "What 
a man is ? And it is pity that a man should not know what 
a man is. It is our intellectual nature, containing also the 
sensitive and vegetative *, the principle, or first act, by which 
xvQ live, and feel^ and understand, and fi.'eely A^ill. The acts 
tell you what the faculties or powers are, and so what the 
soul is. if you know what intellection, or reason and free- 
will are, you may know what it is to have a spiritual natui-e, 
essentially containing tlie power of reasoning and wilhng. 
It is thy soul by which thou art thiiikhig and askuig what a 
soul is ; and as he that reasoneth to prove that man hath 
no reason, dotli prove that he hath reason by reasonmg 
agakist it ; so he that reasoneth to prove that he hath no 
soul, doth thereby prove that he hath a reasonable (though 
abused) soul. 

Yet there are some so blind as to question whether they 
have souls, because they see them not ; whereas if they 
could see them ^vitli eyes of flesh they wei'e no souls, for 
spirits arc invisible. They see not the air or wind, and yet 
thov kr.ow that air or wind there is. Thev see not God. or 



214 THE LAST WOKK OF A BELIEVER. 

angels, and yet they are fools indeed if they doubt whether 
there be a God and angels. If they see not their eyes, yet 
they know that they have eyes, because with those eyes they 
see other things. And if they know not directly and in- 
tuitively that they have rational souls, they might know it 
by their knowing other thuigs, which without such souls 
cannot be known. It is just Avith God that those that live 
as carnally, and brutishly, and negligently, as if they had no 
souls to use or care for, should at last be given up to ques- 
tion whether they have souls or no. 

O woeful fall ! depraved nature ! O miserable men, that 
have so far departed from God, as to deny both themselves 
and God ! or to question whether God be God, and man be 
man. Return to God, and thou Avilt come to thyself For- 
get not, man, thy noble nature, thy chiefest part : think not 
that thou art only shell, because thou seest not through the 
shell. It is souls that converse by the bodies while they are 
in flesh. It is thy soul that I am speaking to, and thy soul 
that understandeth me. When thy soul is gone, I will 
speak to thee no more. It is thy soul that is the workman- 
ship of God by an immediate or special way of fabrication. 
" The souls Avhich I have made," Isa. Ivii. 16. " He 
breathed into man the breath of life, and he became a liv- 
ing soul," Gen. ii. 7. It is thy soul that is said to be made 
after God's image ; in that thou art ennobled with a capa- 
cious understanding and free-will ; and it is thy soid that is 
the immediate subject of his moral image, even spiritual 
wisdom, righteousness, and holiness. God hath not hands, 
-and feet, and other members, as thy body hath. Hoav 
noble a nature is that which is capable of laiowing not only 
things in the world (m its measure), but God himself, and 
the things of the world that is to come ; and capable of 
losing and enjo}ing God, and of seeking and servmg him 
in order to that enjo}Tnent ! Christ thought not basely of a 
soul that redeemed souls at such a price, when he made his 
sold an oflering for sin, Isa. liii. 10. Were it not for our 
immortal souls, would God ever honour us Avith such rela- 
tions to him as to be his cliildrcn ? (For he is first the Fa- 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 215 

ther of spirits (Heb. xii 9), and then tlie Father of saints.) 
Shoukl we be called the spouse and the members of Christ ? 
would he be at so much cost upon us ? should angels 
attend us as ministering spirits, if we had not spirits fit to 
minister to God ? "N'S^ould the Spirit of God himself dwell in 
us, and quicken and beautify us with his grace, should a 
world of creatm-es (whose coi'poreal substance seems as ex- 
cellent as ours) attend and serve us, if we were but an inge- 
nious sort of brutes, and had not rational, immortal souls ? 
Should such store of mercies be provided for us, should mi- 
nisters be pro^-ided to preach, and pray, and labom- for us, 
if we had not souls to save or lose? " They watch for your 
souls as they that must give account," Heb. xiii. 17. Why 
should they preach in season and out of season, and suffer 
so much to perform their work, but that they know that 
" he that Avinneth souLs is wise," Prov. xi. 30 ; and that 
" he which converteth the sinner fi'om the error of his way, 
doth save a soul from death, and hide a multitude of sins," 
James v. 20. The devil himself may tell you the worth of 
souls when he compasseth the earth (Job i. 7), and goeth 
about night and day to deceive them, and devour them 
(1 Pet. V. 8), and yet can he make you believe that they 
are so worthless as to be abused to the basest drudgery, to 
be poisoned with sin and sensuahty, to be ventured for a 
thing of nought ? 

O sirs ! have you such immortal souls, and will you sell 
them for a lust, for a beastly pleasure, for liberty to glut 
your flesh, or for the price that Judas sold his Lord for ? Is 
thy soul no more worth than honour, or wealth, or foohsh 
mirth ? Is thy soul so base as not to be worth the care and 
labour of a holy life ? Is the world worth all thy care and 
labour, and shall less be called too much ado, when it is for 
thy precious soid ? Alas ! one would think by the careless, 
fleshly lives of many, that they remember not that they have 
souls. Have they not need, in the depth of then- security, 
in the height of their ambition, and in the heat of fleshly 
lusts, to have a monitor to call to them, Remember that thou 



216 THE LAST AVORK OF A BELIE VEK. 

art a man, and tliat tliou hast a soul to save oi* lose? What 
thinkest thou of thy negligence and carnal life, Tfhen thou 
yeadest that so holy a man as Paul must keep under his 
body, and bring it into subjection, lest he should be a cast- 
away after all his labours? 1 Cor. ix. 25-27. O lire not 
as if the flesh were the man, and its j^leasure your felicity ; 
but live as those that have spirits to take care of. 

Doct. lY. The spirit of man doth sur\"ive the body ; it 
dieth not Avith it. It is not annihilated ; it is not resolved 
into the essence of some common element of souls, where it 
loseth its specific form and name. It was still the spirit of 
Stejohen that was received by Christ. It sleepeth not. To 
confute the dream of those that talk of the sleeping of souls, 
or any lethargic, uninteUigent, or inactive state, of so excel- 
lent, capacious, and active a nature, were but to dispute 
with sleepmg men. When we say it is immortal, we mean 
not that it, or any creature, hath in itself a self-supporting 
or self-preserving sufficiency ; or that they are necessary be- 
ings, and not contingent ; or primitive beings, aiKl not de- 
rived irom another by creation. ^Ve know that all the 
world would turn to nothing m a moment if God did but 
wdthdraAv his preservmg and irjiholding influence, and but 
suspend tlmt will that doth continue them. He need not 
exert any positive will or act for their destruction or annihi- 
lation. Though ejusdem est annihilare^ cujus est creare^ none 
can annihilate but God ; yet it is by a positive, eflicient act 
of will that he createth ; and by a mere cessation of the act 
of his preser^dng will he can annihilate. I mean not by 
any change in him, but by willing the continuance of the 
creature but till such a period ; but yet he that will perpe- 
tuate the spu'it of man, hath given it a nature (as he hath 
done the angels) fit to be perpetuated ; a nature not guilty 
of composition and elementary materiality, Avhich might sub- 
ject it to corruption. So that as there is an aptitude in iron, 
or silver, or gold to continue longer than gi'ass, or flowers, or 
flesh ; and a reason of its dm-ation may be given a natura 
rciy from that aptitude in subordinalion id the will of God ; 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER, 217 

SO there is such an aptitude in the nature of the soul to be 
immortal, which God maketh use of to the accompHshment 
of his will for its actual pei-petuity. 

The heathenish Socinians, that deny the immortality of 
the soul (yea, worse than heathenish, for most heathens 
do maintain it), must deny to Christ himself, as well as to 
his members ; for he used the like recommendation of his 
soul to his Father when he was on the cross, as Stephen 
doth here to him. K "Lord Jesus, receive my spii-it," be 
words that prove not the sur\iving of the spu-it of Stephen ; 
then, " Father, into thy hands I commend my spiiit," wiU 
not prove the surviving of the spirit of Christ. And, then, 
what do these infidels make of Christ, who also deny his 
Deity ; and consequently, make him nothing but a coi-pse, 
when his body was in the grave ? How then did he make 
good his promise to the penitent malefactor ? "This day 
shalt thou be with me in paradise." But he that said, 
" Because I live, ye shall Hve also" (John xiv. 19), did 
live in the spirit, while he was put to death in the flesh, 
1 Ptt. iii. 18 ; and receiveth the spirits of his servants unto 
life eternal, while then- flesh is rotting m the grave. This 
verj' text is so clear for this, if there were no other, it 
might end the controversy with all that beheve the holy 
Scriptures. 

I confess there is a sleep of souls, a metaphorical sleep in 
sin and in security, or else the drowsy opinions of these in- 
fidels had never found entertainment in the world ; a sleep 
so deep that the voice of God, in the threatemngs of his 
word, and the alarm of his judgments, and the thunder of 
his warnings by his most serious ministers, prevail not to 
awaken the most : so dead a sleep possesseth the most of 
the ungodly world, that they can quietly sin in the sight of 
God, at the entrance upon eternity, at the doors of hell, 
and the calls of God do not awaken them : so dead a sleep, 
that Scripture justly calls them dead, Eph. ii. 1, 5 ; and 
ministers may well call them dead, for alas, it is not our 
voi'le that can awake them ; they are as dead to us : we 
draw back the curtains to let in the light, and shew them 



218 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

that judgment is at hand, and use those true but teirible 
arguments from wrath and hell, which we are afraid should 
too much fi-ighten many tender hearers, and yet they sleep 
on ; and om- loudest calls, om- tears, and our entreaties, 
cannot awaken them. We ciy to them in the name of the 
Lord, " Awake, thou that sleepest, arise from the dead, and 
Christ shall give thee hght," Eph. v. 14. This moral sleep 
and death of soids, which is the forerunner of everlasting 
death in misery, we cannot deny. But after death even 
this sleep shall cease ; and God will awaken them with his 
vengeance, that would not be awaked by his gi-ace. Then, 
sinner, sleep imder the thoughts of sin and God's displea- 
sure, if thou canst. There is no sleeping soid in hell ; there 
are none that are past feeling. The mortal stroke that 
layeth thy flesh to sleep in the dust, lets out a guilty soul 
into a world where there is no sleeping ; where there is a 
light irresistible, and a terror and torment, that will keep 
them waking. K God bid thee awake by the flames of 
justice, he vnH have no nay. The first sight and feeling 
which will surpnse thee when thou hast left this flesh, will 
awake thee to eternity, and do more than we could do in 
time, and convince thee that there is no sleepmg state for 
separated souls. 

Doct. V. Christ doth receive the spii'its of the saints when 
they leave the flesh. 

Here we shall fii'st tell you what Christ's receiving of the 
spirit is. The word signifieth, to take it as acceptable to 
himself; and it comprehendeth these particulars. 

1. That Christ will not leave the new-departed soul to 
the will of Satan, its maHcious enemy. How ready is he 
to receive us to perdition, if Christ refuse us, and receive 
us not to salvation ! He that now seeketh as a roaiing lion 
night and day, as our adversary, to devour us by deceit, 
will then seek to devom' us by execution. How glad was 
he when God gave him leave but to touch the goods, and 
children and body of Job ! And how much more would it 
please his enmity to have power to torment our souls ! But 
the soul that fled to the arms of Christ by faith m the day 



THE LAST WORK OF R BELIEYER. 219 

of trial, shall then find itself in the arms of Christ in the 
moment of its entrance upon eternity, O Christian, whether 
thou now feel it to thy comfort or not, thou shalt then feel 
it to the ravishing of thy soul, that thou didst not fly to 
Chi'ist in vain, nor trust him in vain to be thy Saviour, 
Satan shall be for ever disappointed of his desired prey. 
Long wast thou combatmg vnth him ; frequently and strongly 
wast thou tempted by him. Thou oft thoughtest it was a 
doubtful question, who should win the day, and whether 
ever thou shouldst hold out and be saved ; tut when thou 
passest from the flesh, in thy last extremity, in the end of 
thy greatest and most shaking fears, when Satan is ready, 
if he might, to carry thy soul to hell ; then, even then, shalt 
thou find that thou hast won the day. And yet not thou, 
but Christ is he that hath been "sdctorious for thee ; even as 
when thou livedst the life of faith, it was not thou, but 
Christ lived in thee. Gal. ii, 20. Thou mayst fear at thy 
departure, and leave the flesh with terror, and imagine that 
Satan will presently devour thee ; but the experience of a 
moment will end thy fears, and thou shalt triumph against 
thy conquered foe. He that saved thee from the dominion 
of a tempting de^dl, will certainly save thee from him when 
he would torment thee. Here he would have us that he 
may sift us, and get advantage on our weakness ; but Chi-ist 
prayeth for us, and strengtheneth us, that our faith may not 
fail, Luke xxii. 31, And he that saveth us from the sin, 
will save us from the punishment, and from Satan's fury, as 
he did from his fi'aud. 

2. Christ's receiving us doth include his favourable en- 
tertainment and welcoming the departed soul. Poor soul, 
thou wast never so welcome to thy dearest friend, nor into 
the arms of a father, a husband or a wife, as thou shalt be 
then into the presence and embracements of thy Lord. 
Thou hearest, and readest, and partly behevest, now how 
he loveth us, even as his spouse and members, as his flesh 
and bone, Eph. vi. But then thou shalt feel how he loveth 
thee in particular. If the angels of God have joy at thy 
conversion, what joy will there be in heaven at thy entrance 



220 THE LAST WORK OF A BBLIEVER. 

into tliat salvation. And sure those angels will bid tliee 
■welcome, and concur vnih Christ in that triumphant joy. 
If a returning prodigal find himself in the arras of his father's 
love, and welcomed home with his kisses, and his robe and 
feast, what welcome then may a cleansed, conquered soul 
expect when it cometh into the presence of glorious love, 
and is purposely to be received ^vith such demonstrations of 
love as may be fitted to magnifj- the love of God, which 
exceedeth all the love of man, as omnipotency doth exceed 
our impotency, and therefore will exceed it in the efiects ! 
Though thou hast questioned here in the dark, whether 
thou wert welcome to Christ when thou camest to him in 
prayer, or when thou camest to his holy table, yet then 
doubt of thy welcome if thou canst. 

Oh had we but one moment's sense of the delights of the 
embraced soul that is newly received by Christ into his 
kingdom, it would make us think we were in heaven already, 
and transport us more than the disciples that saw the trans- 
figuration of Christ ; and make us say, in comparing this 
with all the glory of the world, " Master, it is good for us 
to be here ; " but in consideration of the full, to say. It is 
better to be there. But it must not be : earth must not be 
so happy as to have a moment's sense of the inconceivable 
pleasures of the received soul ; that is the reward and 
cro^vn, and therefore not fit for us here in our conflict. 

But low things may, by dark resemblance, a Httle help 
us to conceive of something that is like them in a low de- 
gree. How would you receive your son, or husband, the 
next day after some bloody fight, where he had escaped 
with the \dctory? or your child, or fi-iend, that arrived 
safely after a long and a dangerous voyage? AVould you 
not run and meet him, and with joy embrace him, if he had 
been many years absent, and were now come home ? I 
tell thee, poor soul, thy Sa\-iour hath a larger heart, and 
another kind of love than thou ; and other reasons of gi-eater 
force to move him to bid thee welcome into his presence. 

3. Christ's receiving the departed soul includeth the state 
of blessedness into which he doth receive it. If vou ask 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIE\^Il. 221 

what that is, I ansAver, it is unto himself, to be with him 
where he is ; and that m general is full of comfort, if there 
were no more ; for we know that Christ is in no ill place ; 
he is glorified at the " right hand of the Majesty on high," 
Heb. i. 3. And that the souls of the righteous, and at last 
their bodies, are received to liimself, he often telleth us : 
" If any man serve me, let him follow me ; and where I am, 
there shall also my servant be," John xii. 26. " And if I 
go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and re- 
ceive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be 
also," John xiv. 3. And, in the meantime, when we once 
are absent from the body, we ai"e present with the Lord 
(2 Cor. V. 8), and that is in " the building of God, an 
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," verse 1. 
Paul, therefore, desired " to depart, and to be with Christ," 
as being far better, Phil. i. 23 ; and Christ promised the 
converted thief, " This day shalt thou be with me in para- 
dise," Luke xxiii. 43. And our state after the resurrection 
hath the same description, " And so shall we ever be with 
the Lord," 1 Thess. iv. 17. And what it shall be he de- 
clareth himself, " Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast 
given me, be with me where I am ; that they may behold my 
glory, which thou hast given me," John x^di. 24. The soul of 
Lazarus (Luke xvi.) was received into Abraham's bosom, where 
he is said to be comforted. The heavens receive Christ (Acts 
iii, 21), and therefore the heavens receive the spirits that go 
to him, even the spii'its of the just made perfect, Heb. xii. 23 ; 
that is, that are crowned with Christ in glory, and freed from 
the imperfections and e^-ils of this life. And so that is plain, 
though some would pervert it, that " whether we wake or 
sleep, we may live together with him," 1 Thess. v. 10. JSTot 
whether we wake to righteousness, or sleep in sin, for such 
sleepers live not with him ; nor whether we wake by soUci- 
tude, or sleep in security ; nor whether we naturally wake or 
sleep only, but whether we live, or die, and so our bodies 
sleep in death, yet we live together with him. In a word, 
Christ v,-ill receive us into a participation of his joy and glorj- ; 
into a joy as great as our nature shall be capable of, and 



222 THE LAST WOKK OF A BELIEVER. 

more than we can now desire, and that the lai'gest heart on 
earth can justly conceive of or comprehend. And because 
all this tells you but to^he ear, stay yet but a httle whUe, 
and experimental sight and feeling shall tell you what this 
recei\ang is, even when we receive the kingdom that cannot 
be moved (Heb. xii. 28), and when we receive the end ol 
our faith, the salvation of our souls, 1 Pet, i. 9. 

Doct. Yl. A dj-ing Christian may confidently and com- 
fortably recommend his spirit to Christ, to be received by 
him. 

Though he have formerly been a grievous sinner, though 
at the present he be frail and faulty, though he be weak in 
faith, and love, and duty, though his body by sickness be 
become unfit to serve his soul, and as to present sensibihty, 
acti-vity, or joy, he seem to be past the best, or to be no- 
thing, though the tempter would aggravate his sins, and 
weakness, and dulness to his discouragement, yet he may, he 
must, \\ath confidence recommend his spii'it to Christ, to be 
received by him. 

O learn his doctrine. Christians, that you may use it in the 
hour of your last distress. The hour is near ; the distress will 
be the greatest that ever you were in. As well as we seem 
now while we ai'e hearing this, our turn is nigh. Tlie mid- 
wife is not so necessary to the life of the child that receiveth 
it into the world, as Christ's recei%-uig will be then to our 
everlasting life. To say over heartlessly these words, " Lord 
Jesus, receive my spirit," will be no more than a dead-hearted 
hj-pocrite may do. Such formal lip-ser\dce in Hfe or at 
death doth profit nothmg to salvation ; now make such 
necessary preparation, that at death you may have well- 
gi'ounded confidence that Jesus Christ will receive your 
spu-its. 

1. And first, let me bring this to the carnal, unprepared 
sinner. 

Poor sinner, what thoughts hast thou of thy d}dng hour, 
and of thy departing soul? I wonder at thee what thoughts 
thou hast of them, that thou canst sin so boldly, and Kve so 
carelessly, and talk or hear of the life to come so senselessly 



THE L.\ST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 223 

as thou dost ! Thou mightest well thmk I wronged thee, 
if I took thee to be such a brute as not to know that thou 
must die. Thy soul that brought thy body hither, that 
causeth it now to hear and understand, that earrieth it up 
and down the world, must very shortly be required of thee, 
and must seek another habitation. What thoughts hast 
thou of thy departing soul? Will Christ receive it ? Hast 
thou made sure of that ? Or hast thou made it thy princi- 
pal care and business to make sure ? Oh, what doth in- 
toxicate the brains of sensual, worldly men, that they drown 
themselves in the cares of this life, and ride and run for 
transitory riches, and live upon the smoke of honour and 
applause, and never soberly and seriously bethink them 
whether Christ will receive their departed souls ! That they 
can fill then' minds with other thoughts, and fill their mouths 
with other talk, and consume their time in other inconsider- 
able emplopnents, and take no more care, and spend no 
more thoughts, and words, and time about the entertain- 
ment of then* dei)arting souls ! "\\Tien they are even ready 
to be gone, and stand, as it were, on tiptoe; when fevers, 
and consumptions, and many hundred diseases are all abroad 
so busily distributing their summonses ; and when the gates 
of death have so many passengers crowding in, and souls a 
remaking such haste away, will }'0u not consider what shall 
become of yom-s ? Will you say that you hope well, and 
you must venture ? If God had appomted you nothing to 
do to prepare for your safe passage and entertainment with 
Christ, you might then take up with such an answer ; but it 
is a mad adventure to leave all undone that is necessary to 
your salvation, and then to say, you must put it to the ven- 
ture. K you die in an unrenewed and unjustified state, it 
is past all venture ; for it is certain that Christ will not re- 
ceive you. You may talk of hoping, but it is not a matter 
to be hoped for. Hope that God will make good every 
word of his promise, and spare not ; but there is no more 
hope that Christ will receive the souls of any but of his 
members, than there is that he will prove a har. He never 
promised to save any others ; and that is not all, but he hath 



224 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER, 

declared and professed fi^equently that he will not. And you 
are no believers if you will not believe him ; and if you be- 
lieve him, you must beheve that the unbelievers, the unre- 
generate, the unholy, and the workers of iniquity, shall not 
be received into the kingdom of heaven, for he hath professed 
it, John iii. 3, 36 ; Heb. xii. 14; Matt. ^-ii. 23. 

If Christ would receive the souls of all, your venture tlien 
had reason for it ; or if he had left it as a thing that depended 
only on his unrevealed will, and not on any preparations of 
our own, we might then have quit ourselves of the care, and 
cast it all on him, as being his part, and none of ours. But 
it is not so, I hope I need not tell you that it is not so. 
Believe it, the question must be now resolved, and resolved 
by yourselves, whether Christ shall receive your departed 
souls, or cast them off as firebrands for hell. He hath made 
the law, and set do"v^ni the terms already to which he will 
unalterably stand, and which we must trust to. It is now 
that you must labour to be accepted of him, " for we must 
all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ ; that every one 
may receive the things done in his body, according to that 
he hath done, whether it be good or bad,*' 2 Cor. v. 10. 
O sirs ! this is the reason of ovu* importunity with you. 
" Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men," saith 
the apostle in the next words, ver. 1 1 . We know that the 
sentence ■will be just, and that it is noAv in your own hands 
what judgment then shall pass upon you. And if just now 
your souls were passing hence, before you went fi-om the 
place you sit in, would you think any care could be too 
great to make sure that they should go to happiness. Oh 
that you would consider how much it is your own work, and 
how much it resteth on yom'selves what Christ shall then do 
with you ! Then you will cry to him for mercy, O cast not 
away a miserable soul ! Lord, receive me into thy kingdom ! 
But now he must entreat you to be saved, and to be the 
people that he may then receive, and you will not hear him. 
And if you will not hear him when he calleth on you, and 
beseecheth you to repent and to prepare, as sure as Christ 
is Christ, he will not hear you when you cry and call for 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 225 

mercy too late in your extremity. Read Prov. i. and you 
■will see this is true. It is you that are to be entreated that 
Christ may receive you, for the unwillingness and backward- 
ness is on your part. You are now poisoning your souls by 
sin ; and when we cannot entreat you either to forbear, or 
to take the vomit of repentance, yet when you are gasping 
and dying of yoiu" o^vn wilful self-murder, you will then cry 
to Christ, and think he must receive you upon terms incon- 
sistent with his justice, holiness, and truth. But flatter not 
yourselves, it will not be. This is the accepted time ; be- 
hold, now is the day of salvation. Refuse it now, and it is 
lost for ever. O sii's, if this were the hour, and you were 
presently to be received or refused, would you blame me to 
cry and call to you with all the fervour of my soul, if I knew 
that it were in your own choice whether you would go to 
heaven or hell ? Why, now it is in yoiu* choice. Life and 
death are set before you. Christ will receive you if you will 
but come within the capacity of his acceptation. If you wiU 
not, there will then be no remedy. It is a doleful thmg to 
observe how Satan doth bewitch poor sinners. That when 
time is gone, and the door of mercy is shut against them, 
they would think no cries too loud for mercy, and no impor- 
tunity too great. For Christ telleth us, that then they wiU 
cry, " Lord, Lord, open to us," Matt. xxv. 10, 11. And 
yet now, when the door stands open, no arguments, no ear- 
nestness, no tears, can entreat them to enter in. Then there 
is not the most senseless smner of you all but would cry 
more strongly than Esau for the blessing, when his tears 
could find no place for repentance, Heb. xii. 16, 17 ; Lord, 
receive a miserable soul ! O whither shall I go if thou re- 
ceive me not ! I must else be tormented in those scorching 
flames. And yet now you will sell your birthright for one 
morsel ; for a Uttle of Judas's or Gehazi's gain, for the ap- 
plause of worms, for the pleasing of yoiu- flesh that is turn- 
ing to corruption, for the delights of gluttony, di'unkenness, 
sports, or lust. There is not a man of you but would then 
pray more earnestly than those that }0U now deride for 

p 



223 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

earnest prapng, as if they whined, and were ridiculous. And 
yet now you will neither be serious in prayer, nor hear 
Christ, or his messengers, when he maketh it his earnest re- 
quest to you to come in to him that you may have life, John 
V. 40. Then you will knock when the door is shut, and 
cry, Lord, open to a miserable smner ! and yet now you will 
not open unto him, when by his word and Spirit, his mercies 
and afflictions, he standeth at the door of yom- stubborn 
hearts, and calleth on you to repent and tui-n to God ; now 
our entreaties cannot so much as bring you on your knees, 
or bring you to one hour's serious thoughts about the state 
of those souls that are so near their doom. O sirs ! for 
your souls' sake, lay by yom- obstinacy. Pity those souls 
that then you Avill beg of Christ to pity. Do not you damn 
them by your sloth and sin in the day of your \dsitation, and 
then cry in vam to Christ to save them when it is too late. 
Yet the door of grace is open, but how speedily will it be 
shut ! One stroke of an apoplexy, a consumption, a fever, 
can quickly shut it, and then you may tear your hearts with 
crpng, " Lord, open to us," and all in vain. O did you 
but see departed souls, as you see the corpse that is left be- 
hind ; did you see how they are treated at their removal 
from the flesh ; how some are taken and others left ; how 
some are welcomed to Christ, and others are abhorred, and 
turned over to the tormentor, and thrust out ■with implacable 
indignation and disdain, Luke xiii. 28 ; Pro v. i. 24, 26, 27 ; 
sure you would enter into serious consideration this day, 
what it is that makes this difference, and why Christ so useth 
the one and the other, and what must be done now by the 
soul that would be received then. Alas ! men will do any 
thing but that which they should do. Among the supersti- 
tious papists the conceit of a dehverance from purgatory 
makes them bequeath their lands and moneys to priests and 
fi-iars to pray for them when they are dead, and to have 
other men cry to Christ to receive them, and open to them, 
when time is past; and yet now in the accepted time, 
now when it is at your choice, and the door is open, men live 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 227 

as if they were past feeling, and cared not what became of 
them at the last, and would not be beholden to Christ to re- 
ceive them, when the deceitful world hath cast them off. 

And now, beloved hearers all, I would make it my most 
earnest request to you, as one that knoweth we are all pass- 
ing hence, and foreseeth the case of a departed soul, that you 
would now, without any more delay, prepare and make sure 
that you may be received into the everlasting habitations : 
and to this end, I shall more distiactly, though briefly, tell 
you, 1. What souls they are that Christ vdll receive, and 
what he will not ; and, consequently, what you must do to 
be received. 2. What considerations should stir you up to 
this preparation. 

1 . Xothiiig is more sure than that Christ will not receive, 
1. Any unregenerate, unconverted soul, John iii. 3, 5 ; 
]\iatt. xviii. 3 ; that is, not renewed and sanctified by his 
Spirit, Rom. viii. 9; Heb. xii. 14; Acts xxvi. 18. They 
must have the new and heavenly nature that will ever come 
to heaven. Without this you are morally incapable of it. 
Heaven is the proper inheritance of saints, Col. i. 12. This 
heavenly nature and Spirit is your earnest : if you have this 
you are sealed up unto salvation, 2 Cor. i. 22 ; Eph. i. 13 ; 
iv. 30. 

2. Christ will receive none but those that make it now 
their work to lay up a treasiu-e in heaven, rather than upon 
the earth, Matt. \i. 20, 21 ; and that seek it in the first 
place. Matt. ^^. 33 ; and can be content to part with all to 
purchase it. Matt. xiii. 44, 46 ; Luke xiv. 33 ; xviii. 22. 
An earthly-minded worldling is incapable of heaven in that 
condition, Phil. iii. 17, 18; Luke xvi. 13. You must take 
it for your portion, and set your hearts on it, if ever you will 
come thither, Matt. \i. 21; Col. iii. 1-3. 

3. Christ will receive no soul at last, but such as smcerely 
received him as their Lord and Saviour now, and gave up 
themselves to him, and received his word, and jield obe- 
dience to it, and received his Spirit, and were cleansed by 
him from their iniquities, John i. 11, 12; Luke xix. 27. 
" That all thev mioht be damned that beUeved not the truth, 



228 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

but had pleasure in unrighteousness," 2 Thess. ii. 10, 12. 
They are God's own Avords ; be not offended at them, but 
believe and fear. " He hateth all the workers of iniquity," 
and will say to them, " Depart fi'om me, I know you not," 
Psabn V. 5 ; Matt. vu. 23. 

4. He will receive none but those that loved his servants, 
that bore his holy image, and received them according to 
their abilities, Matt. xxv. 40, 41, &c. And if he will say 
to those that did not entertain them, " Depart from me, ye 
cursed, into everlasting fire," what will he say to those that 
hate and persecute them? 1 John iii. 14 ; v. 2. 

5. He will receive none but those that live to him in the 
body, and use his gifts and talents to his service, and make 
it then- chief business to serve, and honour, and please him 
in the world. Matt. xxv. 21, 26; 2 Cor. v. 9, 15; Gal. A-i. 
7,8; and live not to the pleasing of the flesh, but have cru- 
cified it and its lusts, Rom. viii. 1, 13 ; Gal. v. 24. 

Examine all these texts of Scripture (for the matter is 
worthy of your study), and you will see what souls they 
are that Christ will then receive, and what he will reje«t. 
You may see also what you must now be and do, if you will 
be then received. If you are not regenerate by the Spirit of 
God (though you may be sacramentally regenerate in 
baptism) ; if you are not justified by Christ (though you may 
be absolved by a minister) ; if you seek not heaven with 
higher estimation and resolutions than any felicity on earth, 
and take not God for your satisfying portion (though you 
be never so religious in subserviency to a fleshly, worldly 
happiness) ; if you receive not Christ as your only SaAdour, 
and set him not in the throne and goveiTiment of your 
hearts and fives (though you may go with men for current 
Christians) ; if you hate not sin, if you love not the holy 
image and children of God, and use them not accordingly ; 
if you crucify not the flesh, and die not to the world, and 
deny not yourselves, and five not unto God, as making it 
your chief business and happiness to please him ; I say, if 
this be not your case, as sure as you are men, if you died 
this hour in this condition, Christ will not own you, but 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 229 

turn YOU off with a " Depart, ye cursed." You may as 
well think of reeoncihng light and darkness, or persuade a 
man to live on the food of beasts, or the stomach to wel- 
come deadly poison, as to think that Chiist will receive an 
ungodly, earthly, guilty soul. 

Deceive not yourselves, sinners. If God could have en- 
tertained the ungodly, and heaven could hold unholy souls, 
answer me, then, these two or three questions. 

Quest. 1. What need Christ, then, to have shed his 
blood, or become a sacrifice for sin ? K he CQuld have re- 
ceived the ungodly, he might have done it upon cheaper 
rates. This feigned him to have died to no purpose, but 
to bring the unsanctified to heaven, that might have been 
as well entertained there without his sufferings. 

Quest. 2. To what use doth Christ send the Holy Ghost 
to sanctify his elect, or send his word and ministers to pro- 
mote it, if they may come to heaven unsanctified ? 

Quest. 3. If the ungodly go to heaven, what use is hell 
for? There is no hell, if this be true. But you will 
quickly find that to be too good news to the ungodly to be 
true. 

2. In Luke xvi. Christ teacheth us om' duty by the 
parable of the steward, that asketh himself beforehand, what 
he shall do when he must be no longer steward, and con- 
triveth it so that others may receive him when he is cast off; 
and he applieth it to us that must now so provide, that 
when we fail we may be received into the everlasting habi- 
tations. This is the work that we have all to mind. We 
always knew that this world would fail us. Oh how uncer- 
tain is your tenure of the dwellmgs that you now possess ! 
Are you pro\aded, certainly provided, whither to go, and 
who shall receive you when your stewardship is ended, and 
you must needs go hence? O think of these considerations 
that should move you presently to provide. 

1. Your cottages of earth are ready to drop down, and 
it is a stormy time, there are many sicknesses abroad. 
One blast may quicldy lay them in the dust ; and then the 
flesh that had so much care, and was thought worthy to 



230 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

be preferred before tlie soul, must be laid and left to rot 
in darkness, to avoid the annoyance of tlie li%ing : and when 
you may justly look every hour when you are turned out of 
these dwellings that you are in, is it not time to be pro- 
vided of some other ? 

2. Consider, if Christ should not receive thy spirit, how 
unspeakably deplorable thy case will be. I think there is 
no man in all this assembly so mad, that would take all the 
world now to have his soul refused then by Christ, that 
would professedly make and subscribe such a bargain ; and 
yet, alas, how many are they that will be hired for a smaller 
price, even for the pleasure of a sin, to do that which 
Christ himself hath told them will cause him to refuse 
them ! O sirs, for aught you know, before to-morrow, or 
within this week, you may be put to know these things by 
trial, and your souls may be refused or received ; and woe 
to you th;it ever you were men, if Christ receive you not. 

Consider, 1. If Christ receive thee not, thou hast no 
friend left then to receive thee. Thy house, and land, and 
riches, and reputation, are all left behind ; none of them 
■will go with thee ; or, if they did, they could afford thee no 
relief. Thy bosom friends, thy powerftd defenders, are all 
left behind ; or if they go before thee, or with thee, they 
can do nothing there, that could do so much for thee here. 
Xo minister so holy, no friend so kind, no patron so power- 
ful, that can give thee any entertainment, if Christ refuse to 
entertain thee. Look to the right hand or to the left, there 
will be none to help thee, or care for thy forsaken soul. 
Then thou wilt find that one Christ had been a better friend 
than all the great ones upon earth. 

2. If Christ, then, receive not thy departed soul, the 
de\ils Avill receive it. I am loth to speak so terrible a word, 
but that it must be spoken, if you will be awaked to pre- 
vent it. He that deceived thee will then pLead conquest, 
and claim thee as his due, that he may torment thee. And 
if the devil say. This soul is mine, and Christ do not rescue 
and justify thee, but say so too, no heart is able to conceive 
the horror that Avill then overwhelm thee. Doth not the 



THE LAST Vv'ORK OF A BELIEVER. 231 

reading of the sentence make thee tremble, '' Depart from 
me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the de\al 
and his angels?" Matt. xxv. 41. This is that dreadftil 
delivering up to Satan, when the soid is excommunicated 
from the city of God. O, therefore, if thou be yet unre- 
conciled to God, agree with him quickly, while thou art 
here in the way, lest he deliver thee to this terrible jailer 
and executioner, and thou be cast into the prison of the 
bottomless pit : ''Verily, I say unto thee, thou shalt by no 
means come out thence till thou hast paid the uttermost 
farthing," Matt. v. 25, 26. 

3. The greatness of the change will increase the amaze- 
ment and misei*}' of thy spirit, if Christ receive it not. To 
leave a world that thou wast acquainted with ; a world that 
pleased thee, and entertaiaed thee : a world where thou 
hadst long thy business and delight, and where, wretched 
man, thou hadst made the chief pro"\dsion, and laid up thy 
treasure: this will be a sad part of the change. To enter 
into a world where thou art a stranger, and much worse, 
and see the company and the things that before thou never 
sawest, and to find things go there so contrary to thy expec- 
tation ; to be turned, with Dives, from thy sumptuous dwell- 
ing, attendance, and fare, into a place of easeless torment : 
this will be a sadder part of thy change. Here the rich 
would have received thee, the poor would have served and 
flattered thee, thy friends would have comforted thee, thy 
play-fellows would have been merry with thee. But there, 
alas ! how the case is altered ! all these have done ; the table 
is withdrawn, the game is ended, the mu'th is ceased, and 
now succeedeth, " Son, remember that thou in thy life-time 
receivedst thy good things, and Lazarus e\'il things : but 
now he is comforted, and thou art tormented," Luke xvi. 
25. Oh, dreadful change to those that made the world 
their home, and little dreamed, or did but dream, of such a 
day ! !N^ever to see this world again, unless by such re- 
-vdews as wall torment them ; never to have sport or pleasure 
more ; and for these to have such company, such thoughts, 
such work and usage, as God liath told us is in hell. 



232 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

4. If Christ receive thee not, the burden of thy sins will 
overwhelm thee, and conscience will have no relief Sin 
■will not then appear in so harmless a shape as now : it will 
then seem a more odious or frightful thmg. Oh, to re- 
member these days of folly, of careless, sluggish, obstinate 
folly, of sottish neghgence, and contempt of grace, will be 
a more tormenting thing than you -vvill now believe. If 
such sermons and discourses as foretell it are troublesome 
to thee, what then wall that sad experience be ! 

5. The wrath of an offended God will overwhelm thee. 
This will be thy hell. He that was so merciful in the time 
of mercy, will be most terrible and implacable when that 
time is past, and make men know that Christ and mercy 
are not neglected, refused, and abused at so cheap a rate, 
as they would needs imagine in the time of their deli- 
rium. 

6. It will overwhelm the soul if Christ receive it not, to 
see that thou art entering upon eternity, even into an ever- 
lasting state of woe. ^hen thou mlt think, O whither am 
I going? What must I endure ? and how long, how long? 
When shall my miseries have an end? and when shall I 
come back ? and how shall I ever be delivered ? Oh now 
what thoughts wilt thou have of the wonderful design ot 
God in man's redemption ! Now thou wilt better under- 
stand what a Sa\'iour was worth, and how he should have 
been believed in, and how his gospel and his sa\'ing grace 
should have been entertained. 

Oh that the Lord would now open your hearts to enter- 
tain it, that you may not then value it to your vexation, 
that would not value it now to your relief! Poor sinner, 
for the Lord's sake, and for thy soul's sake, I beg now of 
thee, as if it were on my knees, that thou wouldst cast 
away thy sinful cares and pleasures, and open thy heart, 
and now receive thy Saviour and his sa\dng grace, as ever 
thou wouldst liaA'e him then receive thy trembling, departed 
soul ! Turn to him now, that he may not turn thee fi*om 
him then. Forsake him not for a flattering world, a Httle 
transitory, vain delight, as ever thou Avouldst not then have 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 233 

thy departed soul forsaken by him ! O delay not, man, 
but now, even now receive Lira, that thou mayst avoid so 
terrible a danger, and put so gi*eat a question presently out 
of doubt, and be able comfortably to say, I have received 
Christ, and he will receive me ; if I die this night he will 
receive me : then thou mayst sleep quietly, and Hve merrily, 
without any disparagement to thy reason. O yield to this 
request, sinner, of one that desireth thy salvation. Jf thou 
wert now departing, and I would not pray earnestly to 
Chnst to receive thy soul, thou wouldst think I were un- 
charitable. Alas ! it will be one of these days ; and it is 
thee that I must entreat, and thyself must be prevailed with, 
or there is no hope. Christ sendeth me to thyself, and 
saith, that he is willing to receive thee, if now thou wilt re- 
ceive him, and be sanctified and ruled by him. The matter 
stops at thy own regardless, wilful heart. T^Tiat sayest 
thou ? Wilt thou receive Christ now, or not ? Wilt thou 
be a new creature, and live to God, by the principle of his 
Spirit, and the rule of his word, to please him here, that 
thou mayst Hve with him for ever ? "Wilt thou take up this 
resolution, and make this covenant with God this day ? O 
give me a word of comfort, and say, thou art resolved, and 
wilt deliver up thyself to Christ. That which is my com- 
fort, now on thy behalf, will be ten thousand-fold more thy 
comfort then, when thou partakest of the benefit. And if 
thou grieve us now, by denyiag thy soul to Christ, it will 
be at last ten thousand-fold more thy grief. Refuse not 
our requests and Christ's request now, as ever thou wouldst 
not have him refiise thee then, and thy requests. It is 
men's turning away now fi-om Christ that will cause Christ 
then to turn fi'om them. " The turning away of the simple 
slayeth them, and they then eat but the fi:"uit of their own 
way, and are filled with their oAvn devices," Prov. i. 31, 
32. " See then that ye now refuse not him that speaketh ; 
for there is no escaping if you turn away fi-om him that 
speaketh from heaven," Heb. xii. 25. 

What would you say yourselves to the man that woidd 
not be dissuaded from setting his house on fire, and then 



234 THE LAST WOrtK OF A BELIEVER. 

would pray and cry importunately to God that he -.vould 
keep it from being burnt ? Or of the man that ^^•ill not be 
dissuaded from taking poison, and then when it gripeth him 
will cry to God to save his life ? Or of the man that Avill 
go to sea in a leaking, broken vessel, yea, himself A^-ill make 
those breaches in it that shall let the water in, and when it 
is smking vnU. cry to God to save him from being di'OAvned? 
And will you do this about so great a matter as the ever- 
lasting state of your immortal souls? Will you now be 
worldlings, and sensualists, and ungodly, and undo your- 
selves, and then cry, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," at 
the last ? ^Yh?^t ! receive an unholy spirit ? Will you not 
knock till the door is shut? when he telleth you, that " it 
is not every one that will cry Lord, Lord, that shall enter 
into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doth the will of his 
Father which is in heaven," Matt. \u. 21. 

Lastly, consider with what unspeakable joy it will fill thy 
soul to be then received by the Lord. Oh what a joj^ul 
word will it be, when thou shalt hear, " Come, ye blessed 
of my Father, inherit the Idngdom prepared for you." K 
thou wUt not have this to be thy case, thou shalt see those 
received to the increase of thy grief whom thou refusedst 
here to imitate : " There shall be weeping and gnashing of 
teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all 
the prophets in the kingdom of God, and those that from 
east, west, north, and south, shall sit there "v\dth them, and 
thou thrust out," Luke xiii. 27-29. 

I have been long in this part of my application, ha^-ing 
to do mth souls that are ready to depart, and are in so sad 
an unprepared state, as is not to be thought on but with* 
great compassion ; I am next to come to that part of the 
appHcation which I chiefly intended, to those that are the 
heirs of life. 

2. O you that are members of Jesus Christ, receive this 
cordial which may corroborate your hearts against all inordi- 
nate fears of death. Let it come when it -.vill, you may 
boldly recommend your departing souls into the hands of 
Christ. Let it be by a lingering disease or by an acute, by 



THE LAST WOIIK OF A BELIEVER. 235 

a natural or a violent deatli, at the flilness of your age or 
in the flower of your youth, death can but separate the soul 
from flesh, but not from Christ : whether you die poor or 
rich, at liberty or in prison, in your native country or a 
foreign land, Avhether you be buried in the earth or cast intl^ 
the sea, death shall but send your souls to Christ. Though 
you die under the reproach and slanders of the world, and 
your names be cast out among men as evil-doers, yet Christ 
will take your spirits to himself. Though your soids depart 
in fear and trembUng, though they want the sense of the 
love of God, and doubt of pardon and peace with him, yet 
Christ will receive them. 

I know thou v,alt be ready to say, that thou art unworthy, 
Will he receive so unAvorthy a soul as mine ? But if thou 
be a member of Christ thou art worthy in him to be ac- 
cepted. Thou hast a worthiness of aptitude, and Christ 
hath a worthiness of merit. 

The day that cometh upon such at unawares, that have 
theii- hearts overcharged with surfeiting, drunkenness, and the 
cares of this life, and as a snare surpriseth the inhabitants 
of the earth, shall be the day of thy great dehverance ; 
" Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be 
accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come 
to pass, and to stand before the Son of man," Luke xxi. 
34-36. " They that are accounted worthy to obtain that 
world can die no more ; for they are equal unto the angels, 
and are the childi*en of God," Luke xx. 35, 36. 

Object, Oh but my sins are great and many ; and will 
Christ ever receive so ignorant, so earthly and impure a 
soul as mme ? 

Answ. If he have freed thee from the reign of sin, by 
giving thee a ^vill that would fain be fully deUvered fi-om it, 
and given thee a desire to be perfectly holy, he wiU finish 
the work that he hath begun ; and will not bring thee de- 
filed into heaven, but will wash thee in his blood, and sepa- 
rate all the remnant of corruption from thy soul, when 
he separateth thy soul from flesh : there needs no pur- 
gatory, but his blood and Spirit in the instant of death 



236 THE LAST WORK OF A EELIEYER. 

shall deliver thee, that he may present thee spotless to the 
Father. 

O fear not then to trust thy soul with him that will re- 
ceive it ; and fear not death that can do thee no more harm, 
•lind when once thou hast overcome the fears of death, thou 
wilt be the more resolute in thy duty, and faithful to Christ, 
and above the power of most temptations, and wait not fear 
the face of man, when death is the worst that man can bring 
thee to. It is true, death is dreadful ; but it is as true that 
the arms of Christ are joj-ful. It is an unpleasing thing to 
leave the bodies of our friends in the earth ; but it is un- 
speakable pleasure to their souls to be received into the 
heavenly society by Christ. 

And how confidently, quietly, and comfortably you may 
commend your departing spirits to be received by Christ, be 
informed by these considerations following. 

1. Your spirits are Christ's ovm ; and may you not trust 
him with his own ? As they are his by the title of creation, 
" All souls are mine, saith the Lord," Ezek. xriii. 4 ; so 
also by the title of redemption, " We are not our own, we 
are bought with a price," 1 Cor. \i. 19. 

Say therefore to him. Lord, I am thine much more than 
my own ; receive thine own, take care of thine own. Thou 
drewest me to consent to thy gracious covenant, and I re- 
signed myself and all I had to thee. And thou swarest to 
me, and I became thine, Ezek. x\d. 8. And I stand to the 
covenant that I made, though I have oifended thee. I am 
sinful, but I am thine, and would not forsake thee, and 
change my Lord and Master, for a world. O know thine 
o^vn, and o^vn my soul that hath owned thee, though it hath 
sinned against thee. Thy sheep know thy voice, and follow 
not a stranger ; now know thy poor sheep, and leave them 
not to the devourer. Thy lambs have been preserved by 
thee among wolves in the world, preserve me now from the 
enemy of souls. I am thine, O save me (Psal. cxix. 94), 
and lose not that which is thine own ! 

2. Consider that thou art his upon so dear a purchase, 
as that he is the more engaged to receive thee. Hath he 



THE LAST WOIiX OF A EELIEVER. 237 

bought thee by the price of his most precious blood, and 
will he cast thee off? Hath he come down on earth to seek 
and save thee, and will he now forsake thee? Hath he 
lived in flesh a life of poverty, and suffered reproach, and 
scorn, and buffetings, and been nailed to the cross, and put 
to cry out, " My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken 
me ? " and will he now forget his love, and sufferings, and 
himself forsake thee after this ? Did he himself on the cross 
commend his spirit into his Father's hands, and wUl he not 
receive thy spu'it when thou at death commendest it to him? 
He hath known himself what it is to have a human soul 
separated from the body, and the body buried in a grave, 
and there lamented by surviving iriends. And why did he 
this, but that he might be fit to receive and relieve thee in 
the like condition? O, who would not be encouraged to 
encounter death, and lie down in a grave, that believeth 
that Christ did so before him, and considereth why he went 
that way, and what a conquest he had made ! 

I know an argument from the death of Christ will not 
prove his love to the souls of the ungodly so as to infer that 
he will receive them; but it. will prove his reception of be- 
lievers' souls : " He that spared not his own Son, but gave 
him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give 
us all things?" (Rom. \m. 32,) is an infallible argument 
as to behevers, but not as to those that do reject him. 

Say therefore to him, O my Lord ! can it be that thou 
couldst come down in the flesh, and be abused, and spit 
upon, and slandered, and crucified ; that thou couldst bleed, 
and die, and be buried for me, and now be unwillmg to re- 
ceive me ? that thou shouldst pay so dear for souls, and now 
refuse to entertain them ? that thou shouldst die to save 
them from the devil, and now wilt leave them to his cruelty ? 
that thou hast conquered him, and yet wilt suffer him at 
last to have the prey? To whom can a departing soul fly 
for refuge, and for entertainment, if not to thee that diedst 
for souls, and sufferedst thine to be separated fi-om the flesh, 
that we might have all assurance of thy compassion unto 
ours ? Thou didst openly declare upon the cross, that the 



238 THE LAST WORK OF A r>ELIKVEK. 

reason of thy d)"ing was to receive departed souls, when thou 
didst thus encourage the soul of a penitent malefactor, by 
telling him, " This day shalt thou be with me in paradise." 
O give the same encouragement or entertainment to this 
sinfiil soul that fiieth unto thee, that trusteth in thy death 
and merits, and is coming to receive thy doom ! 

3. Consider that Jesus Christ is full of love and tender 
compassion to souls. What his tears over Lazarus com- 
pelled the Jevv's to say, " Behold how he loved him," John 
xi. 36 ; the same his incarnation, life, and death should 
much more stir us up to say, with greater admiration, Be- 
hold how he loved us. The foregoing words, though the 
shortest verse in all the Bible, " Jesus wept" (verse 35), 
are long enough to prove his love to Lazarus : and the Holy 
Ghost would not have the tears of Christ to be miknown to 
us, that his love may be the better knoAvn. But we have a 
far larger demonstration of his love ; '' He loved us and gave 
himself for us," Gal. ii. 20. And by what gift could he bet- 
ter testify his love? " He loved us, and washed us in his 
blood," Rev. i. 5. He loved us, as the Father loveth him, 
John XV. 9. And may we not Comfortably go to him that 
loved us ? Will love refuse us when we fly mito him ? 

Say then to Christ, O thou that hast loved my soul, re- 
ceive it ! I commend it not unto an enemy. Can that love 
reject me, and cast me into hell, that so oft embraced me 
on earth, and hath declared itself by such ample testimo- 
nies ' " 

Oh had we but more love to Christ, we shoidd be more 
sensible of his love to us, and then wo should trust him, and 
love would make us hasten to him, and Avith confidence cast 
ourselves upon him ! 

4. Consider that it is the office of Chi-ist to save souls, 
and to receive them, and therefore we may boldly recom- 
mend them to his l«.mds. The Father sent him to be the 
Saviour of the world, 1 John iv. 14 ; and he is effectually 
the Saviour of his body, Eph. v. 23. And may we not trust 
him in his undertaken office, that would trust a physician or 
any other in his office, if we judge him faithfid ? Yea, he is 



THE LAST AVOKK OF A BELIEVER. 239 

engaged by covenant to receive us : when we gave up our- 
selves to Mm, he also became ours ; and we did it on this 
condition, that he should receive and save us. And it was 
the condition of his own undertaking ; he drew the cove- 
vant himself and tendered it fii'st to us, and assumed his own 
conditions, as he imposed ours. 

Say then to him, My Lord, I expected but the perform- 
ance of thy covenants, and the discharge of thine under- 
taken office : as thou hast caused me to believe m thee, and 
love and serve thee, and perform the conditions which thou 
laidest on me, though with many sinful failings, which thou 
hast pardoned ; so now let my soul, that hath trusted on 
thee, have the full experience of thy fidelity, and take me ta 
thyself according to thy covenant. '' O now remember the 
word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused him 
to hope!" Psal. cxix. 49. How many precious promises 
hast thou left us, that we shall not be forsaken by thee, but 
that we shall be with thee where thou art, that we may be- 
hold thy glory ! For this cause art thou the Mediator of the 
new covenant, that by means of death for the redemption of 
the transgressions that were under the first testament, they 
which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheri- 
tance, Heb. ix. 15. According to thy covenant, " Godli- 
ness hath the promise of the life that now is, and of that 
which is to come," 1 Tim. iv. 8. And when we have done 
thy Avill (notwithstanding our lamentable imperfections) we 
are to receive the promise, Heb. x. 36. O, now receive me 
into the kingdom which thou hast promised to them that 
love thee ! James i. 12. 

5. Consider how able Christ is to answer thine expecta- 
tions. All power is given him in heaven and earth (Matt, 
xxviii. 19), and all things are given by the Father into his 
hands, John xiii. 3. All judgment is committed to him, 
John v. 22. It is fiilly in his power to receive and save 
thee ; and Satan cannot touch thee but by his consent. 
Fear not, then ; he is the first and last, that liveth, and was 
dead ; and behold he liveth for ever more, amen ; and hath 
the kevs of hell and death, Rev. i. 17, 18. 



240 THE LAST WOKK OF A BELIEVER. 

Say, then, If thou wilt, Lord, thou canst save this de- 
parting soul ! O, say but the word, and I shaU hve ! Lay 
but thy rebuke upon the destroyer, and he shall be restrain- 
ed. When my Lord and dearest Saviour hath the keys, 
how can I be kept out of thy kuigdom, or cast into the burn- 
ing lake ? Were it a matter of difficulty unto thee, my soul 
might fear lest heaven would not be opened to it ; but thy 
love hath overcome the hindrances ; and it is as easy to re- 
ceive me as to love me. 

6. Consider how perfectly thy Saviour is acquainted ^-ith 
the place that thou art going to, and the company and em- 
ployment which thou must there have ; and, therefore, as 
there is nothing strange to him, so the ignorance and strange- 
ness in thyself should therefore make thee fly to him, and 
trust him, and recommend thy soul to him, and say. Lord, 
it would be terrible to my departing soul to go into a world 
that I never saw, and into a place so strange, and unto 
company so far above me ; but that I know there is no- 
thing strange to thee, and thou knowest it for me, and I 
may better trust thy knowledge than mine own. When I 
was a child I knew not mine OAvn hiheritance, nor what was 
necessary to the daily provisions for my life ; but my parents 
knew it that cared for me. The eyes must see for all the 
body, and not every member see for itself Oh, cause me 
as quietly and behevingly to commit my soul to thee, to be 
possessed of the glorj' which thou seest and possessest, as if 
I had seen and possessed it myself, and let thy knowledge 
be my trust ! 

7. Consider that Christ hath provided a glorious recep- 
tacle for faithful souls, and it cannot be imagined that he 
will lose his preparations, or be frustrate of his end. All 
that he did and suflered on earth was for this end. He 
therefore became the Captain of our salvation, and was 
made perfect through sufferings, that he might bring many 
sons to glory, Heb. ii. 10. He hath taken possession in 
our nature, and is himself interceding for us in the heavens, 
Ileb. vii. 25. And for whom doth he provide this heavenly 
building, not made with hands, but for believers? If, 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 241 

therefore, any inordinate fear surprise thee, remember what 
he hath said: " Let not your hearts be troubled: ye be- 
lieve in God, beheve also in me. In my Father's house are 
many mansions : if it were not so, I would have told you. 
I go to prepare a place for you ; and if I go and prepare a 
place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto my- 
self; that where I am, there ye maybe also," John xiv. 1-3. 

Say, therefore, Lord, when thou hadst made this lower 
narrow world, thou wouldst not leave it uninhabited ; for 
man thou madest it, and man thou placedst in it. And 
when thou hast prepared that more capacious, glorious world 
for thy redeemed flock, it cannot be that thou wdlt shut 
them out. O, therefore, receive my fearful soul, and help 
me to obey thy own command, Luke xii. 32, " Fear not, 
little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasm-e to give you 
the kingdom." O, let me hear that joj-ful sentence, " Come, 
ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for 
you from the foundation of the world," Matt. xxy. 34. 

8. Consider that Christ hath received thy soul unto 
grace, and therefore he will receive it unto glory. He hath 
quickened us who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein 
in times past we walked, &c. But God, who is rich in 
mercy, for his great love whereAvith he loved us, even when 
we were dead in sins and trespasses, quickened us together 
with Christ, and raised us up together, and made us sit to- 
gether in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Eph. ii. 1-6. 
The state of gi*ace is the kingdom of heaven, as well as the 
state of glory, Matt. iii. 2 ; x. 7 ; xiii. 11, 24, 31, 33, 44, 
45, 47. By grace thou hast the heavenly birth and na- 
ture : we are fii'st-born to trouble and sorrow in the world ; 
but we are new-born to everlastmg joy and pleasure. Grace 
maketh us heirs, and giveth us title, and therefore at death 
we shall have possession. The 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 and unde- 
filed, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us, 
1 Pet. i. 3, 4. The great work was done in the day of thy 

Q 



242 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

renovation ; then thou wast entered into the household of 
God, and made a fellow-citizen with the saints, and re- 
ceivedst the Spirit of adoption, Eph. ii. 19 ; Gal. iv. 6. He 
gave thee life eternal, when he gave thee knowledge of him- 
self, and of his Son, John xvii. 3. And will he now take 
from thee the kingdom which he hath given thee ? Thou 
wast once his enemy, and he hath received thee already into 
his favom', and reconciled thee to himself; and will he not 
then receive thee to liis glory? Rom. v. 8-11, " God com- 
mendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sin- 
ners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now jus- 
tified by his blood, we shall be saved fi'om wrath through 
him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to 
God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, 
we shall be saved by his Hfe. And not only so, but we also 
joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we 
have now received the atonement." And when we have 
peace with God, bemg justified by faith (R,om. v. 1), why 
should we doubt whether he will receive us ? The great 
impediments and cause of fear are now removed : unpardoned 
sin is taken away, our debt is discharged. We have a 
sufficient answer against all that can be alleged to the pre- 
judice of our souls : yea, it is Christ hunself that ansAvereth 
for us ; it is he that justifieth, who then shall condemn us ? 
Will he not justify those at last whom he hath here justi- 
fied? Or will he justify us, and yet not receive us? That 
were both to justify and condemn us. 

Depart, then, in peace, O fearful soul ; thou fallest into 
liis hands that hath justified thee by his blood ; will he deny 
thee the mheritance of which he himself hath made thee 
heir, yea, a joint-heir with liimself? Eom. \'iii. 17. Will he 
deprive thee of thy birthright, who himself begot thee of 
the incorruptible seed ? If he would not have received thee 
to glory, he would not have drawn thee to himself, and 
have blotted out thine iniquities, and received thee by re- 
conciling grace. Many a time he hath received the secret 
petitions, complaints, and groans which thou hast poured 
out before him ; and hath given thee access Avith boldness 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 243 

to his throne of grace, when thou couldst not have access 
to man ; and he hath taken thee up, when man hath cast 
thee off. Surely he that received thee so readily in thy dis- 
tress, -will not now at last repent hun of his love. As Ma- 
noah's wife said, " If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he 
would not have received a burnt-offering and a meat-offering 
at our hands, neither would he have shewed us all these 
things," Judg. xiii. 23. He hath received thee into his 
church, and entertained thee with the dehghts and fatness 
of his house (Psal. xxx-vd. 8), and bid thee welcome to his 
table, and feasted thee with his body and his blood, and 
communicated in these his quickening Spirit ; and will he 
then disown thee, and refuse thee, when thou drawest 
nearer him, and art cast upon him for thy final doom ? 
After so many receptions in the way of gi'ace, dost thou yet 
doubt of his receiving you. 

9. Consider how nearly thou art related to him in this 
state of grace ; thou art his child, and hath he not the 
bowels of a father ? When thou didst ask bread, he was not 
used to give thee a stone ; and wall he give thee hell, when 
thou askest but the entertainment in heaven, which he hath 
promised thee ? Thou art his fi'iend (John xv. 14, 15), and 
will he not receive his friends? Thou art his spouse, be- 
trothed to him the very day when thou consentedst to his 
covenant ; and where then shouldst thou live but with him? 
Thou art a member of his body, of his flesh and bone, Eph. 
V. 30 ; and no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but 
nonrisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church, 
verse 29 : as he came down in flesh to be a suitor to thee, 
so he caused thee to let go all for him ; and will he now 
forsake thee ? Suspect it not, but quietly resign thy soul 
into his hands, and say. Lord, take this soul that pleads re- 
lation to thee ; it is the voice of thy child that crieth to 
thee ; the name of a father, which thou hast assumed to- 
wards me, is my encouragement. "WTien thou didst call us 
out of the world unto thee, thou saidst, I will receive you, 
and I will be a father to you, and ye shall be my sons and 
daughters, 2 Cor. \d. 17, 18. O our Father, which art in 



244 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

heaven, shut not out thy children, the children of thy love 
nnd promise. The compassion that thou hast put into man 
engagcth him to relieve a neighbour, yea, an enemy, much 
more to entertain a child ; our children and our Mends dare 
trust themselves upon our kindness and fidelity, and fear not 
that we MnU. reject them in their distress, or destroy them, 
though they do sometimes offend us : our kindness is cruelty 
in comparison of thine ; our love desei'%'eth not the name 
of love in comparison of thy most precious love. Thine is 
the love of God, who is love itself, 1 John iv. 8, 16 ; and 
who is the God of love, 2 Cor. i. 13, 11 ; and is answerable 
to thine omnipotency, omniscience, and other attributes : 
but ours is the love of fi-ail and finite sinfiil men. As we 
may pray to thee to forgive us our trespasses, for we also 
forgive those that have trespassed against us ; so we may 
pray to thee to receive us, though we have ofiended thee, 
for even we receive those that have ofiended us. Hath thy 
love unto thine o^vn its breadth, and length, and height, 
and depth ; and is it such as passeth knowledge ? Eph. iii. 
17-19. And yet canst thou exclude thine own, and shut 
them out that cry unto thee ? Can that love, which washed 
me and took me home when I lay wallowing in my blood, 
reject me, when it hath so far recovered me,? Can that love 
now thrust me out of heaven, that lately fetched me fi^om 
the gates of hell, and placed me among thy saints ? " "WTiom 
thou lovest, thou lovest to the end," John xiii. 1. "Thou 
art not as man, that thou shouldst repent," Numb, xxiii. 
19. " With thee is no variableness, or shadow of turniifg," 
Jam. i. 17. If yesterday thou so fi'eely lovedst me as to 
adopt me for thy child, thou wilt not to-day refuse me, and 
cast me into hell. Receive, Lord Jesus, a member of thy 
body ; a weak one, indeed, but yet a member, and needeth 
the more thy tenderness and compassion, who hast taught 
us not to cast out our infants, because they are small and 
weak. " We have forsaken all to cleave vmto thee, that 
we might with thee be one flesh and spirit," Eph. v. 31 ; 
1 Cor. ATi. 17. O cut not off", and cast not out, thy mem- 
bers that are ingi'ufted into thee. " Thou hast dwelt in me 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER, 245 

here by faith, and shall I not now dwell Avith thee ? " Eph. 
iii. 17. Thou hast jirayed to the Father, that we may be 
one in thee, and may be with thee to behold thy glory, 
John xvii. 20-24 ; and wilt thou deny to receive me to that 
glory, who pray but for what thou hast prayed to thy Fa- 
ther? Death maketh no separation between thee and thy 
members ; it dissolveth not the union of souls with thee, 
though it separate them from the flesh ; and shall a part 
of thyself be rejected and condemned ? 

10. Consider that Christ hath sealed thee up unto sal- 
vation, and given thee the earnest of his Spirit; and 
therefore will certainly receive thee, 2 Cor. i. 22 ; v. 5 ; 
Eph. i. 13, 14; iv. 30. Say, therefore, to him, Be- 
hold, Lord, thy mark, thy seal, thine earnest : flesh and 
blood did not illuminate and renew me ; thy Spirit which 
thou hast given me is my witness that I am thine, Rom. viii. 
16. And wilt thou disown and refuse the soul that thou 
hast sealed ? 

11. Consider that he that hath given thee a heavenly 
mind, will certainly receive thee into heaven. If thy trea- 
sure were not there, thy heart would never have been there. 
Matt. vi. 21. Thy weak desires do shew what he intends 
thee for ; he kindled not those desires in vain. Thy love to 
him (though too small) is a certain proof that he intends not 
to reject thee ; it cannot be that God can damn, or Christ 
refuse, a soul that doth sincerely love him : he that loveth, 
" dwelleth in God, and God in him," 1 John iv. 15, 16. 
And shall he not then dwell with God for ever ? God fit- 
teth the natm-e of every creature to its use, and agreeably 
to the element in which they dwell ; and, therefore, when 
he gave thee the heavenly nature (though but in weak be- 
ginnings), it shewed his will to make thee an inhabitant of 
heaven. 

Say, therefore, to him, O Lord, I had never loved thee 
if thou hadst not begun and loved me first; I had not 
minded thee, or desu-ed after thee, if thou hadst not kindled 
these desires : it cannot be that thy grace itself should be a 
deceit and misery, and intended but to tantalize us ; and 



246 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

that thou hast set thy servants' souls on longing for that 
wliich thou wilt never give them. Thou wouldst not have 
given me the wedduig-garment, when thou didst invite me, 
if thou hadst meant to keep me out : even the grain of mus- 
tard-seed which thou sowedst in my heart, was a kind of 
promise of the happiness to which it tendeth. Indeed I have 
loved thee so little, that I am ashamed of myself, and con- 
fess my cold indiiferency deserves thy wrath ; but that I love 
thee, and desire thee, is thy gift, which signifieth the higher 
satisfpng gift : though I am cold and dull, my eyes are to- 
wards thee ; it is thee that I mean when I can but groan : it 
is long since I have bid this world away; it shall not be my 
home or portion : O perfect what thou hast begun ; this is 
not the time or place of my perfection ; and though my life 
be now hid with thee in God, when thou appearest, let me 
appear with thee in glory, Col. iii. 4. And, in the mean- 
time, let this soul enjoy its part that appeareth before thee ; 
give me what thou hast caused me to love, and then I shall 
more perfectly love thee, when my thirst is satisfied, and the 
water which thou hast given me shall spring up to everlasting 
life, John iv. 14. 

12. Consider, also, that he that hath engaged thee to 
seek fii'st his kingdom, is engaged to give it them that do 
sincerely seek it. He called thee off the pursuit of vanity 
when thou wast following the pleasures and profits of the 
world ; and he called thee to labour for the food that perisheth 
not, but endure th to everlastmg life, John vi. 27. Since 
then it hath been thy care and business (notwithstanding 
all thine imperfections), to seek and serve him, to please 
and honour him, and so to run that thou mightest obtain. 

Say, then. Though my sins deserve thy wrath, and no- 
thing that I have done deserve thy favour, yet godhness 
hath thy promise of the life to come ; and thou hast said, that 
^' he that seeks shall find," Matt. vii. 7, 8. O now let me 
find the kingdom that I have sought, and sought by thy en- 
couragement and help : it cannot be that any should have 
cause to repent of ser\ing thee, or suffer disappointment that 
trusts upon thee. My labour for the world was lost and 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 247 

vain, but tliou didst engage me to be steadfast and abound 
in thy work, on this account, that my labour should not be 
in vain, 1 Cor. xv. 58. Xow give the full and final an- 
swer unto all my prayers : now that I have done the fight, 
and finished my course, let me find the crown of righteous- 
ness which thy mercy hath laid up, 2 Tim. iv. 8. O crown 
thy graces, and with thy greatest mercies recompense and 
perfect thy preparatory mercies, and let me be received to 
thy glory, who have been guided by thy counsel, Psal. 
Ixxiii. 24. 

13. Consider that Christ hath already received millions 
of souls, and never was unfaithfiil unto any. There are 
now with him the spirits of the just made perfect, that in 
this life were imperfect as well as you. Why, then, should 
you not comfortably trust him with your souls ? and say, 
Lord, thou art the common salvation and refuge of thy 
saints ; both strong and weak, even all that are given thee 
by the Father, shall come to thee, and those that come thou 
wilt in no wise cast out. Thousands have been entertained 
by thee that were unworthy in themselves, as well as I. It 
is few of thy members that are now on earth, in compari- 
son of those that are with thee in heaven. Admit me. Lord, 
into the new Jerusalem : thou wilt have thy house to be 
filled ; O, take my spirit into the number of those blessed 
ones that shall come fi'om east, west, north, and south, and 
sit down -with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom ; 
that we may, together with eternal joys, give thanks and 
praise to thee that hast redeemed us to God by thy blood. 

14. Consider that it is the ^vill of the Father hunself that 
we should be glorified. He therefore gave us to his Son, 
and gave his Son for us, to be our Sa\iour, " That whoso- 
ever beheveth in him should not perish, but have everlast- 
ing life," John iii. 16, 17. All our salvation is the pro- 
duct of his love, Eph. ii. 4; John vi. 37. John xvi. 26, 
27, " I say not that I Avill pray the Father for you, for the 
Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me," &c. 
John xiv. 21, "He that loveth me shall be loved of my 



248 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

Father, and I will love him, and Avill manifest myself to 
him." 

Say, therefore, with our dying Lord, " Father, into thy 
hands I commend my spirit." By thy Son, who is the way, 
the truth, and the life, I come to thee, John xiv. 6. '' Ful- 
ness of joy is in thy presence, and everlasting pleasures at 
thy right hand," Psal. xvi. 11. Thy love redeemed me, 
renewed and preserved me ; O now receive me to the ful- 
ness of thy love. This was thy will in sending thy Son, 
that of all that thou gavest him he should lose nothing, but 
should raise it up at the last day. O let not now this soul 
be lost that is passing to thee through the straits of death. 
I had never come unto thy Son, if thou hadst not drawn me, 
and if I had not heard and learned of thee, John vi. 44, 
45. I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
that thou hast revealed to me, a babe, an idiot, the blessed 
mysteries of thy kingdom, Luke x. 2l ; Acts iv. 13. O 
now as the veil of flesh must be withdrawn, and my soul be 
parted from this body, withdraw the veil of thy displeasure, 
and shew thy servant the glory of thy presence : that he 
that hath seen thee but as in a glass, may see thee now with 
open face ; and when my earthly house of this tabernacle is 
dissolved, let me inhabit thy building not made with hands, 
eternal in the heavens, 2 Cor. v. 1. 

15. Lastly, Consider that God hath designed the ever- 
lasting glory of his name, and the pleasing of his blessed 
will, in our salvation ; and the Son must tiiumph in the per- 
fection of his conquest of sin and Satan, and in the perfect- 
ing of our redemption ; and, doubtless, he will not lose his 
Father's glory and his own. Say, then, with confidence, I 
resign my soul to thee, O Lord, who hast called and chosen 
me, that thou mightest make known the riches of thy glory 
on me, as a vessel of mercy prepared unto glory, Rom. ix. 
23. Thou hast predestinated me to the adoption of thy 
child by Christ unto thyself, to the praise of the glory of 
thy grace, wherein thou hast made me accepted in thy Be- 
loved, Eph. i. 5, 6, 11, 12. Receive me now to the glory 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 249 

•which thqu hast prepared for us, Matt. xxv. 34. Tlie hour 
is at hand ; Lord, glorify thy poor adopted child, that he 
may for ever glorify- thee, John x\'ii. 1. It is thy promise 
to glorify those whom thou dost justify, Rom. viii. 30. As 
" there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ" 
(Rom. viii. 1), so now let him present me faultless before 
the presence of his glory with exceeding joy ; and to thee 
" the only wise God our Sa\dour, be the glory, majesty, 
dominion, and power for evermore. Amen." Jude 24, 25. 

What now remaineth, but that we all set ourselves to 
learn this sweet and necessary task, that we may joyfully 
perform it in the horn' of our extremity ; even to recom- 
mend our departing souls to Christ, with confidence that 
he will receive them. It is a lesson not easy to be learned; 
for faith is weak, and doubts and fears will easily arise, and 
nature will be loth to think of dpng ; and we that have so 
much offended Christ, and lived so strangely to him, and 
been entangled in too much familiarity with the world, shall 
be apt to shrink when we should joj-fully trust him with our 
departing souls. O, therefore, now set yourselves to over- 
come these difficulties in time. You know we are all ready 
to depart ; it is time this last important work were thoroughly 
learned, that our death may be both safe and comfortable. 

There are divers other uses of this doctrine, that I should 
have urged upon you, had there been time. As, 1. If 
Christ will receive your departing souls, then fear not death, 
but long for this heavenly entertainment. 

2. Then do not sin for fear of them that can but kill the 
body, and send the soid to Christ. 

3. Then think not the righteous unhappy because they 
are cast ofi* by the world ; neither be too much troubled at 
it yoiu'selves when it comes to be yom' case ; but remember 
that Christ will not forsake you, and that none can hinder 
him from the receiving of yom' souls. No malice nor 
slanders can follow you so far as by defamation to make 
your justifier condemn you. 

4. Kyou may trust him A^ath your souls, then -trust him 
with your fiiends, your children that you must leave behind, 



250 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

Avith all your concernments and affaii's : and trust him Avitli 
Ills gospel and his church ; for they are all his own, and he 
■wUl prevail to the accomplishment of his blessed pleasure. 

But, 5. I shall only add that use which the sad occasion 
of our meeting doth bespeak. What cause have we now 
to mix our sorrows for our deceased fiiend, with the joys of 
faith for her felicity ! We have left the body to the earth, 
and that is our la^vful sorrow, for it is the fruit of sin ; but 
her spu'it is received by Jesus Christ, and that must be our 
joy, if we will behave ourselves as true beHevers. K we 
can suffer with her, should we not rejoice also with her? 
And if the joy be far greater to the soul with Christ, than 
the ruined state of the body can be lamentable, it is but 
reason that om' joy should be greater for her joy, than our 
sorroAv for the chssolution of the flesh. We that should not 
much lament the passage of a friend beyond the seas, if it 
were to be advanced to a kingdom, should less lament the 
passage of a soul to Christ, if it were not for the remnant 
of our woeful unbelief. 

She is arrived at the everlasting rest, where the -burden 
of corruption, the contradictions of the flesh, the molesta- 
tions of the tempter, the troubles of the world, and the in- 
juries of malicious men, are all kept out, and shall never 
more disturb her peace. She hath left us in these storms, 
who have more cause to weep for ourselves, and for our 
children, that have yet so much to do and suffer, and so 
many dangers to pass through, than for the souls that are 
at rest Avith Christ. AYe are capable of no higher hopes 
than to attain that state of blessedness which her soul pos- 
sesseth ; and shall we make that the matter of our lamenta- 
tion as to her, which we make the matter of om- hopes as 
to ourselves ? Do we labour earnestly to come thither, and 
yet lament that she is there ? You will say, it is not be- 
cause she is clothed upon ^vith the house from heaven, but 
that she is unclothed of the flesh : but is there any other 
passage than death into immortality? Must we not be 
unclothed before the garments of glory can be put on ? 
She bemoaneth not her own dissolved body ; the glorified 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 251 

soul can easily bear the corruption of the flesh ; and if you 
saw but what the soul enjoyeth, you would be lite-minded, 
and be moderate in your gi-iefs. Love not yom-selves so 
as to be unjust and unmerciflil in your desires to your 
friends. Let Satan desire to keep them out of heaven, but 
do not you desire it. You may desu'e your own good, but 
not so as to deprive your friends of theirs ; yea, of a greater 
good, that you may have a lesser by it. And if it be their 
compan}' that you desire, in reason you should be glad that 
they are gone to dwell where you must dwell for ever, and 
therefore may for ever have their company ; had they staid 
on earth you would have had their company but a little 
while, because you must make so short a stay yourselves. 
Let them therefore begin their journey before you ; and 
grudge not that they are first at home, as long as you ex- 
pect to find them there. Li the mean time he that called 
them fi'om you hath not left you comfortless ; he is with 
you himself, who is better than a mother, or than ten thou- 
sand friends : when grief or negligence hindereth you from 
obserring him, yet he is with you, and holdeth you up, and 
tenderly provideth for you : though tiu-bulent passions in- 
juriously question all his love, and cause you to give him 
unmannerly and unthankful words, yet still he beareth with 
you, and forgiveth all, and doth not forsake you for your 
peevishness and weakness, because you are his children ; 
and he knoweth that you mean not to forsake him. Re- 
buke your passions, and calm yom- minds ; reclaim your 
thoughts, and cast away the bitterness of suspicious, quar- 
relsome unbelief; and then you may perceive the presence 
of yom- dearest Friend and Lord, who is enough for you, 
though you had no other friend. Without him aU the 
friends on earth would be but silly comforters, and leave 
you as at the gates of heU ; without him all the angels and 
saints in heaven would never make it a heaven to you. 
Grieve not too much that one of your candles is put out 
while you have the sun ; or if indeed it be not day with any 
of you, or the sun be clouded or eclipsed, let that rather be 
the matter of your grief ; find out the cause, and presently 



252 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

submit and seek reconciliation : or if you are deprived of 
this light, because you are yet asleep in sin, hearken to his 
call, and rub your eyes: "Awake, thou that sleepest, and 
arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light," Eph. 
V. 14. " Knowing that it is now high time to awake out 
of sleep, our salvation being nearer than when we first be- 
lieved : the night is far spent, the day of eternal light is 
even at hand ; cast off therefore the works of darkness, and 
put on all the armour of hght ; walk honestly and decently 
as in the day," Rom. xiii. 11-14. And whatever you do, 
make sure of the Friend that never dieth, and never shall 
be separated from you ; and when you die ■will certainly re- 
ceive the souls which you commend unto him. 

And here, though contrary to my custom, I shall make 
some more particular mention of our deceased friend on 
several accounts. 1. In prosecution of this use that now 
we are upon, that you may see in the evidences of her hap- 
piness how little cause you have to indulge extraordinary 
grief on her account ; and how much cause to moderate your 
sense of our loss, with the sense of her felicity. 2. That 
you may have the benefit of her example for yoiu* imitation, 
especially her children that are bound to observe the holy 
actions as well as the instructions of a mother. 3. For the 
honour of Christ, and his grace, and his servant : for as God 
hath promised to honour those that honour him (1 Sam. ii. 
30), and Christ hath said, " If any man serve me, him will 
my Father honour," John xii. 26 ; so I know Christ will 
not take it ill to be honoured in his members, and to have 
his ministers subserve him in so excellent a work : it is a 
very considerable part of the love or hatred, honour or dis- 
honour, that Christ hath in the world, which he receiveth 
as he appeareth in his followers. He that will not see a 
cup of cold water given to one of them go unrewarded, and 
will tell those at the last day that did or did not visit and 
relieve them, that they did or did it not to him, wiU now 
expect it fi-om me as my duty to give him the honour of his 
graces in his deceased servant ; and I doubt not will ac- 
cordingly accept it, when it is no other indeed than his own 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 253 

honour that is my end, and nothmg but the words of truth 
and soberness shall be the means. 

And here I shall make so great a transition as shall re- 
tain my discourse in the narrow compass of the time in which 
she lived near me, and under my care, and in my familiar 
acquaintance, omittmg all the rest of her life, that none may 
say I speak but by hearsay of things which I am uncertain 
of ; and I will confine it also to those special gifts and graces 
in which she was eminent, that I may not take you up with 
a description of a Christian as such, and tell you only of 
that good which she held but m common with all other 
Christians. And if any thing that I shall say were unknown 
to any reader that knew her, let them know that it is be- 
cause they knew her but distantly, imperfectly, or by re- 
ports ; and that my advantage of near acquaintance did give 
me a just assurance of what I say. 

The graces which I decerned to be eminent in her were 
these. 1. She was eminent in her contempt of the pride, 
and pomp, and pleasure, and vanity of the world ; and in 
her great averseness to all these, she had an honest impa- 
tience of the life which is common among the rich and vain- 
glorious in the world : voluptuousness and sensuality, excess 
of dri nkin g, cards and dice, she could not endure, whatever 
names of good house-keeping or seemly deportment they 
borrowed for a mask. In her apparel she went below the 
garb of others of her rank ; indeed in such plainness as did 
not notify her degree ; but yet in such a grave and decent 
habit as notified her sobriety and humility. She was a 
stranger to pastimes, and no companion for time- wasters ; 
as knowing that persons so near eternity, that have so short 
a hfe, and so great a work, have no time to spare. Accord- 
ingly, in her latter days she did, as those that grow wise by 
experience of the vanity of the world, retire fi'om it, and 
cast it off before it cast off her : she betook herself to the 
society of a people that were low in the world, of humble, 
serious, upright Uves, though such as had been wholly stran- 
gers to her ; and among these poor inferior strangers she 
lived in contentment and quietness ; desiring rather to con- 



254 THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 

verse witli tliose that would help her to redeem the time, 
in prayer and edifying- conference, than with those that woukl 
grieve her by consuming it on then- lusts. 

2. She was very prudent in her converse and affairs (al- 
lowing for the passion of her sex and age), and so escaped 
much of the inconveniences that else in so great and mani- 
fold businesses would have overwhelmed her : as "a good 
man will guide his affliirs with discretion," Psal. cxii. 5 ; so 
" discretion wdll preserve him, and understanding will keep 
him, to deliver him fi^om the way of the evil man, who 
leaveth the paths of uprightness to walk in the way of dark- 
ness," Prov. ii. 11-13. 

3. She was sei'iously rehgious, without partiality, or any 
taint of siding or faction, or holding the faith of our Lord 
Jesus Christ in respect of persons. I never heard her speak 
against men, or for men, as they differed in some small and 
tolerable things : she impartially heard any minister that 
was able, and godly, and sound in the main, and could bear 
with the weaknesses of ministers when they were faithflal. 
Instead of owning the names or opinions of Prelatical, Pres- 
b}i;erian, Independent, or such like, she took up with the 
name and profession of a Christian, and loved a Christian 
as a Christian, Avithout much respect to such different, toler- 
able opinions. Instead of troubluig herself with needless 
scruples, and making up a religion of opinions and singulari- 
ties, she studied faith and godliness ; and lived upon the 
common certain truths, and well-known duties, which have 
been the old and beaten way, by which the universal church 
of Christ hath gone to heaven in former ages. 

4. She was very impartial in her judgment about par- 
ticular cases, being the same in judging of the case of a 
child and a stranger ; and no interest of children, or other 
relations, could make her swerv^e fi-om an equal judgment. 

5. She very much preferred the spiritual welfare of her 
children before theu' temporal ; looking on the former as 
the true felicity, and on the latter without it but as a plea- 
sant, voluntary misery. 

6. Since I was acquainted with her, I always found her 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 255 

very ready to good works, according to her power. And 
when she hath seen a poor man come to me, that she con- 
jectured solicited me for reHef, she hath reprehended me for 
keeping the case to myself, and not inviting her to contri- 
bute ; and I could never discern that she thought any thing 
so well bestowed as that which relieved the necessities of the 
poor that were honest and industrious. 

7. She had the wonderful mercy of a man-like, Christian, 
patient spirit, under all afflictions that did befall her ; and 
under the multitude of troublesome businesses, that would 
have even distracted an impatient mind. Though sudden 
anger Avas the sin that she much confessed herself, and there- 
fore thought she wanted patience, yet I have oft wondered 
to see her bear up with the same alacrity and quietness, 
when Job's messengers have brought her the tidings that 
would have overwhelmed an impatient soul. When law- 
suits and the gi'eat afflictions of her children have assaulted 

. her like successive waves, which I feared would have borne 
her into the deep, if not devoured all her peace, she sus- 
tained all as if no gi^eat considerable change had been made 
against her, having the same God and the same Christ, and 
promises, and hope, fi'om which she fetched such real com- 
fort and support as shewed a real, serious faith. 

8. She was always apt to put a good interpretation upon 
God's providences ; like a right believer, that having the 
spirit of adoption, perceiveth fatherly love in all, she would 
not easily be persuaded that God meant her any harm : she 
was not apt to hearken to the enemy that accuseth God 
and his ways to man, as he accuseth man and his actions 
to God : she was none of those that are suspicious of God, 
and are stUl concluding death and ruin from all that he doth 
to them, and are gathering wrath from misinterpreted ex- 
pressions of his love ; who weep because of the smoke before 
they can be warmed by the fire. Yet God is good to Israel ; 
and it shall go well with them that fear before him (Psal. 
Ixxiii. 1 ; Eccles. riii. 12, 13), were her conclusions from 
the sharpest providences : she expected the morning in the 
darkest night, and judged not of the end by the beginning ; 



256 THE LAST ^VORK OF A BELIEVER. 

but was always confident if she could but entitle God in the 
case that the issue would be good. She was not a mur- 
murer against God, nor one that contended with her Maker ; 
nor one that created calamity to herself by a self-troubling, 
unquiet mind : she patiently bore what God laid upon her, 
and made it not heavier by the additions of uncomfortable 
prognostics, and misgiving or repining thoughts. She had 
a gi-eat confidence m God, that he was doing good to her 
and hers in all ; and where at present she saw any matter 
of grief, she much supported her soul with a belief that G od 
would remove and overcome it in due time. 

9. She was not troubled, that ever I decerned, with 
doubtings about her interest in Christ, and about her own 
justification and salvation ; but whether she reached to as- 
surance or not, she had confident apprehensions of the love 
of God, and quietly reposed her soul upon his grace. Yet 
not secure through presumption or self-esteem, but comfort- 
ing herself in the Lord her God ; by this means she spent 
those hours in a cheerful performance of her duty, which 
many spend in fruitless self- vexation for the failings of their 
duty, or in mere mquiiies whether they have grace or not ; 
and others spend in wrangHng, perplexed controversies 
about the manner or circumstances of duty : and I believe 
that she had more comfort fi'om God by way of reward upon 
her sincere obedience, while she referred her soul to him, 
and rested on him, than many have that more anxiously 
perplexed themselves about the discerning of their holiness, 
when they should be studying to be more holy, that it 
might discover itself And by this means she was fit for 
praises and thanksgi\ing, and spent not her life m lamenta- 
tions and complamts ; and made not reHgion seem terrible 
to the ignorant, that judge of it by the faces and carriage 
of professors. She did not represent it to the world as a 
morose and melancholy temper, but as the rational crea- 
ture's cheerful obedience to his Maker, actuated by the 
sense of the wonderful love that is manifested in the Re- 
deemer, and by the hopes of the purchased and promised 
feUcity in the blessed sight and fruition of God. And I 



THE LAST Wor.K OF A BELIEVER. 25 7 

conjecture that her forementioned disposition to think well 
of God, and of his pro\'idenees, together with her long and 
manifold experience (the great advantage of ancient, tried 
Christians), did much conduce to fi'ee her fi-om doubtings 
and disquieting fears about her own sincerity and salvation ; 
and I confess, if her life had not been ansAverable to her 
peace and confidence, I should not have thought the better, 
but the worse, of her condition ; nothing being more lamen- 
table than to make haste to hell, through a wilful confidence 
that the danger is past, and that they are in the way to 
heaven as well as the most sanctified. 

10. Lastly, I esteemed it the height of her attainment 
that she never discovered any inordinate fears of death, but 
a cheerfiil readiness, willingness, and desire, to be dissolved, 
and be with Christ. This was her constant temper, both in 
health and sickness, as far as I was able to obser^^e. She 
would be fi-equently expressing how Httle reason she had to 
be desirous of longer life, and how much reason to be will- 
ing to depart. Divers times in dangerous sickness I have 
been with her, and never discerned any considerable averse- 
ness, dejectedness, or fear. Many a time I have thought 
how great a mercy I should esteem it if I had attained that 
measure of fearless wilHngness to lay down this flesh, as she 
had attained. Many a one that can make hght of wants, 
or threats, or scorns, or any ordinarj' troubles, cannot sub- 
mit so quietly and willingly to death. Many a one that 
can go through the labours of religion, and contemn oppo- 
sition, and easily give all they have to the poor, and bear 
imprisonments, banishment, or contempt, can never over- 
come the fears of death. So far, even the father of Hes 
spake truth ; " Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will 
he give for his life," Job ii. 4. I took it, therefore, for a 
high attainment and extraordinary mercy to our deceased 
fiiend, that the king of terrors v\'as not terrible to her. 
Though I doubt not but somewhat of averseness and fear is 
so rooted in nature's self-preserving principle, as that it 
is almost inseparable, yet in her I never discerned any 
troublesome appearances of it. When I first came to ber 



258 THE LAST WOEK OF A BELIEVER. 

in the begmning of her last sickness, she suddenly passed 
the sentence of death upon herself, without any shew of fear 
or trouble, when to us the disease appeared not to be great. 
But when the disease increased, her pains were so little, and 
the effect of the fever was so much in her head, that, after 
this, she seemed not to esteem it mortal, being not sensible 
of her case and danger : and so, as she lived Avithout the 
fears of death, she seemed to us to die without them. God^ 
by the natiu'e of her disease, remoAing death as out of her 
sight, when she came to that weakness, in which else the 
encounter was like to have been sharper than ever it was 
before. And thus, in one of the weaker sex, God hath shew- 
ed us that it is possible to live in holy confidence, and peace, 
and quietness of mind, Avithout distressing griefs or fears, 
even in the midst of a troublesome world, and of vexatious 
businesses, and with the afflictions of her dearest relations 
almost continually before her : and that our quiet or dis- 
quiet, our peace or trouble, dependeth more upon our in- 
ward strength and temper than upon our outward state, 
occasions, or provocations ; and that it is more in our hands 
than of any or all our friends and enemies, whether we shall 
have a comfortable or uncomfortable life. 

What remaineth now, but that all we that survive, espe- 
cially you that are her children, do follow her as she follow- 
ed Christ ? Though the word of God be your sufficient rule, 
and the example of Christ be your perfect pattern, yet as 
the instructions, so the example of a parent must be a 
weighty motive to quicken and engage you to your duty ; 
and will else be a great aggravation of your sin. A holy 
child of unholy parents doth no more than his necessary 
duty ; because whatever parents are, he hath a holy God : 
but an unholy child of holy parents is inexcusable in sin, and 
deplorably miserable, as forsaking the doctrine and pattern 
both of their Creator and their progenitors, whom nature 
engageth them to observe ; and it will be an aggravation of 
then- deserved misery to have their parents witness against 
them, that they taught them, and they would not learn ; and 
went before them in a holy life, but they would not follow 



THE LAST WOKK OF A BELIEVEE. 259 

them. " My son, liear the instruction of thy father, and 
forsake not the law of thy mother ; for they shall be an or- 
nament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck," 
Prov. i. 8, 9. Read and consider Prov. xxx. 17 ; xv. 20 ; 
xxiii. 22, 25. Sins against parents have a special cm^se 
affixed to them in tliis life, as the case of Ham sheweth ; and 
the due observance and honouring of parents hath a special 
promise of temporal blessings, as the fifth commandment 
sheweth. " Childi-en, obey your parents in the Lord, for it 
is right : honour thy father and thy mother (which is the first 
commandment with promise), that it maybe well with thee, 
and thou mayst Hve long on the earth," Eph. vi. 1-3. The 
histories of all ages are so full of the instances of God's 
judgments, in this life, upon five sorts of sinners, as may do 
much to convince an atheist of the government and special 
providence of God ; that is, upon persecutors, murderers, 
saciilegious, false witnesses (especially by perjury), and 
abusers and dishonourers of parents. And the great hon- 
our that is due to parents when they are dead, is to give 
just honour to their names, and to obey their precepts, 
and imitate their good examples. It is the high com- 
mendation of the Rechabites, that they strictly kept the 
precepts of their father, even in a thing indifferent, a 
mode of K\nng ; not to drink wine, or build houses, but 
dwell in tents : and God annexeth this notable blessing, 
" Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Because 
ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, 
and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that 
he hath commanded you : therefore thus saith the Lord of 
hosts, the God of Israel ; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall 
not want a man to stand before me for ever," Jer. xxxv. 6, 
7, 18, 19. But, especially in the great duties of religion, 
where parents do but deliver the mind of God, and use their 
authority to procure obedience to divme authority, and 
where the matter itself is necessary to our salvation, the 
obligation to obedience and imitation is most indispensable ; 
and disobedience is an aggi-avated iniquity, and the noto- 
rious brand of infelicity, and prognostic of ensuing woe ; the 



260 THE LAST WOrJv OF A BELIEVEll. 

ungodly children of godly parents being the niost deplorable, 
unhappy, inexcusable persons in the world (if they hold on.) 

There is yet another doctrine that I should speak to. 

Doct. 7. Prayer in general, and this prayer in particular, 
that Christ will receive our departing souls, is a most suit- 
able conclusion of all the actions of a Christian's life. 

Prayer is the breath of a Christian's Hfe : it is his work 
and highest converse, and therefore fittest to be the con- 
cluding action of his life, that it may reach the end at which 
he aimed. We have need of prayer all our lives, because 
we have need of God, and need of his manifold and conti- 
nued grace. But in our last extremity we have a special 
need. Though sloth is apt to seize upon us, while prospe- 
rity hindereth the sense of our necessities, and health per- 
suadeth us that time is not near its jom-ney's end, yet it is 
high time to pray with redoubled fervour and importunity 
when we see that we are near ovu' last. When we find that 
we have no more time to pray, but must now speak our 
last for om' immortal souls, and, must at once say all that we 
have to say, and shall never have a hearing more. Oh, then, 
to be unable to pray, or to be faithless, and heartless, and 
hopeless in our prayers, would be a calamity beyond expres- 
sion. 

Yet I know, for ordinary observation tells it us, that 
many truly gracious persons may accidentally be indisposed 
and disabled to pray when they are near to death. If the 
disease be such as doth disturb the brain, or take them up 
with violence of pain, or overwhelm the mind by perturba- 
tion of the passions, or abuse the imagination, or notably 
waste and debihtate the spirits, it cannot be expected that 
a body thus disabled should serve the soul in this or any 
other duty. But still the prapng habit doth remain, though 
a distempered body do forbid the exercise. The habitual 
desires of the soul are there ; and it is those that are the 
soul of prayer. 

But this should move us to pray while we have time, and 
while our bodies have strength, and our spu-its have vigoiu- 
and alacrity to serve us, seeing we are so uncertain of bodilv 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 261 

disposition and oapricity so near our end. O pray, and pray 
with all your hearts, before any fever or delirium overthrow 
your understandings or your memories ; before your thoughts 
are all commanded to attend your pains, and before your 
decayed spirits fail you, and deny theu' necessary service to 
your suits ; and before the apprehensions of your speedy ap- 
proach to the presence of the most holy God, and your en- 
trance upon an endless state, do amaze, confound, and over- 
whelm your souls with fear and perturbation. O Christians! 
what folly, what sin and shame is it to us, that now while we 
have time to pray, and leave to pray, and helps to pray, 
: nd have no such disturbing hindrances, we should yet want 
hearts, and have no mmd, no life and fervom- for so great 
a work ! O pray now, lest you are unable to pray then ; 
and if you are then hindered but by such bodily indisposed- 
ness, God will understand your habitual desires, and your 
groans, and take it as if you had actually prayed. Pray 
now, that so you may be acquainted with the God that then 
you must fly unto for mercy, and may not be strangers to 
him, or unto prayer ; and that he may not find then that 
your prayers are but the expression of your fears, and not 
of ycur love, and are constrained, and not voluntary mo- 
tions unto God : pray now in preparation to your dj-ing 
prayers. Oh what a terrible thing it is to be to learn to 
pray in that hour of extremity, and to have then no prirT- 
ciple to pray by, but natural self-love, which every thief 
hath at the gallows ! To be then Avithout the spu'it of 
prayer, when without it there cannot an acceptable word 
or groan be uttered ; and when the rejection of our suits 
and person will be the prologue to the final judicial rejec- 
tion, and will be a distress so grievous as presumptuous souls 
will mot believe, till sad experience become theii' tutor. Can 
you imagine that you shall then at last be taught the art of 
acceptable prayer merely by hon-or, and the natural sense 
of pain and danger, as seamen in a storm, or a malefactor 
by the rack, when in your health and leisure you will not be 
persuaded to the daily use of serious prayer, but number 
vourselves with the famihcs that are under the Avrath of the 



262 THE LAST WORK OF A BEIJEVER. 

Almighty, being sucli as call not on liis name, Jer. x. 25 ; 
Psalm Ixxix. 6. 

Indeed, there are many prayers must go before, or else 
this prayer, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," will be in 
vain, when you would be loth to find it so. You must first 
pray for renewing, sanctifpng grace, for the death of sin, 
and the pardon of sin, for a holy life, and a heavenly mind, 
for obedience, patience, and perseverance ; and if you ob- 
tain not these, there is no hope that Jesus Christ should 
receive your spirits, that never received his sanctifying 
Spirit. 

How sad is it to observe that those that have most need 
of prayer, have least mind to pray, as being least sensible of 
their needs ! Yea, that those that are the next step to the 
state of devils, and have as much need of prayer as any 
miserable souls on earth, do yet deride it, and hate those 
that seriously and fervently perform it ; a man of prayer 
being the most common object of their malicious reproach 
and scorn. O miserable Cainites, that hate their brethren 
for offering more acceptable sacrifice than their own ! Little 
do they know how much of the very satanical nature is in 
that malice, and in those reproachful scorns. And Httle do 
they know how near they are to the curse and desperation 
of Cain, and with what horror they shall cry out, " My 
punishment is greater than I can bear," Gen. iv. 11, 13. If 
God and good men condemn you for your lip-service, and 
heartless devotions, and ungodly lives, will you therefore hate 
the holy nature and better hves of those that judge you, when 
you should hate your own ungodliness and hypocrisy ? Hear 
what God said to the leader of your sect, '^ Why art thou 
wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? Kthou doest Avell, 
shalt thou not be accepted ? and if thou doest not well, sin 
lieth at the door," Gen. iv. 6. Have you not as much 
need to pray as those that you hate and reproach for pray- 
ing ? Have you not as much need to be oft and earnest in 
prayer as they ? Must Christ himself spend whole nighft in 
prayer (Luke vi. 12), and shall an ignorant, sensual, har- 
dened sinner think he hath no need of it, though he be un- 



THE LAST WORK OF A BELIEVER. 263 

converted, unjustified, unready to die, and almost past the 
opportunity of pra}'ing? O miserable men, that shortly 
would cry and roar in the anguish of their souls, and yet 
vail not pray while there is time and room for prayer ! Their 
Judge is willing now to hear them, and now they have 
nothing but hj-pocritical, lifeless words to speak ! Praymg is 
now a wearisome, tedious, and unpleasant thmg to them, 
that shortly would be glad if the most heart-tearing lamen- 
tations could prevail for the crumbs and drops of that mercy 
which they thus despise, Luke xvi. 24. Of all men in the 
world it ill becomes one in so deep necessities and dangers 
to be prayerless. 

But for you, Christians, that are daily exercised in this 
holy converse Avith your ]\Iaker, hold on, and grow not 
strange to heaven, and let not your holy desires be extin- 
guished for want of excitation. Prayer is your ascent to 
heaven ; your departure from a vexatious world to treat 
with God for your salvation ; your retirement from a world 
of dangers into the impregnable fortress where you are safe, 
and from vanity unto felicity, and from troubles mito rest, 
which, though you cannot come so near, nor enjoy so fully 
and delightfully, as hereafter }'ou shall do, yet thus do you 
make yom- approaches to it, and thus do you secure your 
futm-e frill fruition of it. And let them all scoff at hearty, 
fervent prayer as long as they will, yet prayer shall do that 
with God for you which health, and wealth, and dignity, and 
honour, and carnal pleasm^es, and all the world shall never 
do ibr one of them. And though they neglect and vilify 
it now, yet the hour is near when they will be fain to scamble 
and bungle at it themselves ; and the face of death will better 
teach them the use of prayer, than om- doctrine and example 
now can do. A departing soul will not easily be prayerless, 
nor easily be content ^nth. sleepy prayers ; but, alas ! it is 
not every prayer that hath some fervency from the power of 
fear that shall succeed. Many a thousand may perish for 
ever that have prayed, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 
But the soul that breatheth after Christ, and is weary of 
sinning, and hath long been pressing toward the mark, may 



264 THE LAST WOEK OF A BELIEVER. 

receive encouragement for his last petitions, from the bent 
and success of all the foregoing prayers of his life. Believe 
it, Christians, you cannot be so ready to beg of Christ to 
receive your souls, as he is ready and willing to receive 
them. As you come prapng, therefore, into the world 
of grace, go praying out of it into the world of glory. It 
is not a work that you were never used to, though 
you have had lamented backwardness, and coldness, and 
omissions. It is not to a God that you were never with 
before ; as you know whom you have beheved, so you may 
know to whom you pray. It is indeed a most important 
suit to beg for the receiving of a departed soul ; but it is 
put up to him to whom it properly doth belong, and to him 
that hath encouraged you by answering many a former 
prayer with that mercy which was the earnest of this, and 
it is to him that loveth souls much better than any soul can 
love itself. O live in prayer, and die in prayer, and do not, 
as the graceless, witless world, despise prayer while they 
live, and then think a Lord, have mercy on me, shall prove 
enough to pass them into heaven. Mark their statues and 
monuments in the churches, whether they be not made 
kneeling and lifting up the hands, to tell you that all will 
be forced to pray, or to approve of prayer, at their death, 
whatever they say against it in their life. O pray, and wait 
but a little longer, and all your danger will be past, and you 
are safe for ever ! Keep up your hands a Httle longer, till 
you shall end your conflict with the last enemy, and shall 
pass from prayer to everlasting praise. 



SHORT MEDITATIONS 

OK 

ROMANS V. 1-5; 

ey TBS SBSSDINO ABROi.9 OOD'S LOYB OK THX HZA,£T BT THl HOLT SEOaT. 



Experience of the want of this efiusion of God's love, 
and some small taste of its sweetness, make me think the 
thoughts of this very suitable to one expecting death. 

The words contain a golden chain of highest blessings 
on all true Christians. 

I. They are supposed to have faith, that is, both a ge- 
neral trust in God's revelations and grace, and a special 
trust in Jesus Christ, as given by the father's love to be the 
Redeemer, to justify, sanctify, and glorify his people. I 
have oft proved this justii}-ing faith to be no less than our 
unfeigned taking Christ for our Saviour, and becoming true 
Christians, according to the tenor of the baptismal cove- 
nant. As to the acts, it is formally trust — one in three ; 
the understanding's assenting trust, the will's consenting 
trust, and the executive power's practical, venturing, obey- 
ing trust. 

n. All true believers are justified ; even all that consent 
to the baptismal covenant, and choose God to be their God, 
and Chi'ist to be theu- Saviour, and the Holy Ghost to be 
their Sanctifier, and give up themselves to him by true re- 
solution, as their only ruler, hope, and happiness ; though 
this be done with so great weakness, as endeth not all doubts, 
nor quieteth the mind. 



26G SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROIVIANS V. 1-5, &C. 

To be justified is not to be accounted such as have no 
sin, but^ 1. To be made such by pardon through Christ's 
merits, and by true faith, as God will take by special love 
and favour unto hfe. 2. To be accounted such by God. 
3. To be virtually sentenced such by the law of grace and 
faith, and to be just in law sense. 4. At last to be judged 
su€h by public sentence. 5. And to be used as such. 

Not justified by the law of mnocency, or of Moses, but 
by Christ's law of grace. 

Xot justified perfectly till the time of perfection. Much 
punishment on soul and body is yet to be taken ofi", and 
and more sins daily to be pardoned, and we, before the 
world, to be sentenced as just to life everlasting. 

III. The justified have peace ynth God. They are re- 
conciled, and in a state of love and friendship. It signifieth 
mutual peace, but with great inequality. God's love and 
favour to us is the stable, constant part. Our consent also, 
and acceptance of his terms of peace, is constant in its 
truth : but our sense of God's love, which is the peace pos- 
sessed by the soul, is weak and inconstant, and too oft quite 
lost or obscured by ignorance, mistake, and fear. But it 
must be known that this is a diseased state, unnatural to 
the believer as such ; as it is unnatm'al for a woman mamed 
to a faithful husband, to lie in terror, tliinking that he will 
kill her, or doth not love her ; or for a child to think the 
same of a lo\ang father. Faith, of its own nature, tendeth 
to the soul's peace and joy, in the sense of God's love. 
And how is Christ offered to us, but as a Sariour, to bring us 
by grace to glory ? And he that accepteth him as such, 
whereby he is justified, doth sure beheve that he is offered 
as such ; for none can accept what he thinks not to be 
offered. And this implieth some hope, at least, that Christ 
will be such to us ; and did faith work strongly and kindly, 
its effect would be a constant, jo^-ful state of soul, as plea- 
sant health and mu-th are to our natures. All our distrustful 
fears and griefs, and disqmetness of soul, are for want of 
more faith, as sickness and pain are for the want of \'ital 
causes of health.. 



SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 267 

IV. This peace with God is only " through our Lord 
Jesus Christ." Though it be a vain dream to think by 
justif>ing faith is meant Christ only and not faith, yet it 
is no other faith but the foresaid believing trust on Christ. 
Therefore, as faith is our part, so it supposeth Christ, and 
all the works of his office, and righteousness, on his part, 
as its object. Christ is the purchasing cause ; but our trust 
and acceptance is that which is pleasing to God, and chosen 
by him to be our part, -without innocency, or keeping the 
Jewish law. 

Since man once sinned, God's justice and man's con- 
science tell us, that we are unfit for God's acceptance or 
communion immediately, but must have a suitable mediator. 
Oh ! blessed be God for this suitable Mediator. Without 
him I dare not pray, I cannot hope, I dare not die ; God 
would else fi'own me away to misery. All the hope of par- 
don and salvation that I have ; all the access to God, and 
the mercies and dehverances that I have received, have 
been by this Author and finisher of om- faith. Into his 
conducting hands I give my soul ; and into his preserving 
hands both soul and body ; and into his receiving hands I 
commend my departing soul. 

Y. Ver. 2. "By whom we have access by faith unto this 
grace wherein we stand ;" that is, into this state of blessed 
Christianity, peace with God, and the following blessings. 
As it is by man-iage that a woman hath right to her hus- 
band's estate and honours, and by inheritance that a child 
comes to his father's maintenance and land. This is no di- 
minution to God's love. To say it is all by Christ, is not 
to take it as ever the less from God the Father. It is more 
to give us Christ, and life in hun, than to have given us 
life without a Christ (John iii. ]6 ; 1 John v. 10 — 12.) ; 
as God is, nevertheless, the giver of light to the earth, for 
gi\'ing it by the smi. Second causes diminish not the ho- 
nour of the first. 

YI. " And rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Here 
is, 1. The beatifical object — " the glory of God." 2. The 



268 SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 

beatifical act — " rejoice." 3. The mediate, causing act — 
" hope." All presupposing faith and justification. 

1. The " glory of God" is that glorious appearance of 
God to man and angels, which maketh happy, 1. The mind 
by beholding it. 2. The will by loving it, and receiving the 
communications of love. 3. The executive powers by joy- 
ful praise, &c. 

2. Though some foretastes are here, it is yet said to be 
hoped for ; and we hope for that which is not seen. "\Yhen 
faith is said to be that which we are justified or saved by, 
it includeth hope, though, more precisely taken, they are 
distinct. '' We are saved by hope." The same word is 
oft translated " trust" and " hope ;" and faith is trust. To 
trust Christ for salvation, includeth hoping that he will save 
us. But hope is denominated from the good hoped for, 
and faith fi'om the cause by which we hope to obtain it. 

Hope doth not necessarily imply either certainty or un- 
certainty. It may stand with both in various degrees. 

3. Rejoicing is made by God the very naturally desired 
state of the soul. It is, when natural, the pleasant efflor- 
escence of the spirits, or their state of health. 

It is pleasure that is the spring or poise of all motion 
sensitive in the world. Trahit sua quemque^ voluptas. Ap- 
petite, or will, is the active principle ; and congruous, good 
or delectable, is the object. The world is undone by the 
seduction of false deceitM pleasure; and though we that 
made not ourselves are not so made for ourselves as that 
our pleasure or felicity in God should be so high in our de- 
sire as God himself, who is the ultimate object of our love : 
yet, seeing such an object he is, and the love of him (and 
received from him) is our felicity, these are never to be se- 
parated. 

What have I to rejoice in, if this hoped-for glory be not 
my joy ? All things else are dpng to me ; and God him- 
self is not my felicity, as he afflicts me, nor as he giveth me 
the transitory gifts of nature, but as he is to be seen in glory. 
If this be not my joy, it is all but vanity. What, then, 



SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 269 

should all my thoughts and labour aim at more, as to my- 
self, than to hope for and foretaste this glory. No sin heth 
heavier on me than my hopes of glory raise me to no higher 
joy ; and that the great weakness of my faith appeareth by 
such didl thoughts of glory, or by withdra^ving fears. Sure 
there is enough in the glory of God, soundly beUeved and 
hoped for, to make a man rejoice in pain and weakness, and 
to make him long to be vnth. Christ. I live not according 
to the nature of Christianity, if I Hve not as in peace with 
God, and in the joj'ful hopes of promised glory. 

Vn. " Not only so, but we glory in tribidation." Glory 
is so transcendent, and tribulation so small and short, that 
an expectant of glory may well rejoice in bodily sufferings. 
It is tribulation for Christ and righteousness' sake that we 
are said to glory in : the rest, for our sins, it is well if we 
can improve and patiently bear. Yet in them we may re- 
joice in hope of glory, though we glory not of them. Oh ! 
if all the painful, languid days, and nights, and years that 
I have had, as the fruit of my sin, had been sufferings for 
that which I am now hated and hunted for, even for preach- 
ing Christ when men forbid me, how joj^illy might I un- 
dergo it : but yet, even here, approaching glory should be 
my joy. Alas ! my groans and moans are too great, and 
my joy too little. 

VIII. " Knowing that tribulation worketh patience." 
That which worketh patience is matter of joy : for patience 
doth us more good than tribulation can do hurt ; why, then, 
do I groan so much under suffering, and so little study 
and exercise patience, and no more rejoice in the exercise 
thereof ? 

IX. " And patience, experience." It is manifold and 
profitable experience which patient suffering brings. It 
giveth us experience, as of nature's weakness, and the great 
need of faith ; so of the truth of God's promises, the love 
and tenderness of Christ, the acceptance of our prayers ; and 
the power of the Spirit's aid and grace. O what abundance 
of experiences of God and ourselves, and the vanity of crea- 



270 SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 

tures, had we wanted, if we had not waited in a suffering 
state : alas ! how many experiences have I forgotten. 

X. " And experience, hope." A bare promise should 
give us hope : but we are still distrustful of ourselves, and 
of all the clearest e\ddences, till experience help us, and set 
all home Oh, what an advantage hath a Christian of great 
and long experience for his hope and joy ! And yet when 
notable experiences of God's pro\adence are past and gone, 
an unbelieving heart is ready to question, whether the things 
came not by mere natural course ; and, like the Israehtes in 
the -wilderness, dangers and fears bear down even long and 
great experiences. This is my sin. 

XL " And hope maketh not ashamed." That is, true 
hope of what God hath promised shall never be disap- 
pointed. They that trust on deceitful creatures are deceived, 
and ashamed of their hope : for all men are liars, that is, 
untrusty ; but God is true, and ever faithful : O what a 
comfort is it that God commandeth me to trust him ! 
Sure such a command is a virtual promise, from him that 
cannot fail that trust which he commandeth. Lord, help 
me to trust thee in gi-eatest dangers, and there to rest. 

XII. " Because the love of God is shed abroad upon our 
hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given to us." It is the 
love of God shed abroad on our hearts by the Holy Ghost 
which must make us rejoice in hope of the glory of God, even 
in tribulation. 

Here I must consider, I. ^Yhat is meant by the love of 
God. II. Why and how it is shed abroad on the heart by 
the Holy Ghost. 

I. By the love of God is meant the effects of his love. 
1. His special grace. 2. The pleasant gust or sense of it. 

n. God's love thus shed on the heart, presupposeth it 
expressed in the gospel and providence, and contains all these 
particulars. 

1. The sanctifying of the soul by renewing grace. This 
is the giving of the Spirit, as he is given to all true Chris- 
tians. 



SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 271 

2. Herein the Holy Ghost makes us perceive the exceed- 
ing desu-ableness of the love of God, and maketh us most 
desire it. 

3. He giveth the soul some easing hope of the love of 
God. 

4. He quieteth the doubts, and fears, and trouble of the 
soul. 

5. He raiseth our hopes, by degrees, to confident assu- 
rance. 

6. Then the thoughts of God's love are pleasant to the 
soul, and give it such delight as we feel m the love and fi:'ui- 
tion of our most valued and beloved friends. 

7. The soul in this state is as unapt to be jealous of God, 
or to question his love, as a good child or wife to question 
the love of a parent or husband, or to hear any that speak 
evil of them. 

8. This, then, becomes the habitual state of the soul, in 
all changes, to live in the delightful sense of the love of God, 
as we do live in pleasure with our dearest friends. 

O blessed state, and first fruits of heaven ! and happy are 
they that do attain it. And though lower degrees have 
their degree of happiness, yet how far short are such, in 
goodness, amiableness, and comfort, of those that are thus 
rich in grace. 

This presupposeth, 1. Knowledge of God and the gospel. 
2. True belief and hope. 3. A sincere and fruitful life. 
4. Mortification as to idol worldly vanities. 5. A conviction 
of our sincerity in all this. 6. A conclusion that God doth 
love. 

But yet it is somewhat above all this. A man may have 
all this in his mind and mouth, and yet want this gust of 
effused love upon his heart. These are the way to it, but 
not itself 

This is the greatest good on this side heaven ; to which 
all wealth and honour, all fleshly pleasure and long life, all 
learning and knowledge, are unworthy to be once compared : 
briefly, 



272 SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 

1. It is the flower and highest part of God's image on 
man. 

2. It is the soul's true communion with God, and fruition 
of him, which carnal men deride : even as our eye hath com- 
munion with the sun, and the flom-ishing earth enjoys its re- 
vi\'ing heats. 

3. It is that which all lower grace doth tend to, as child- 
hood doth to manhood : and what is a world of infants, com- 
paratively, good for? 

4. It is that which most properly answereth the design of 
redemption, and the wonders of God's love therein ; and all 
the tenor of the gospel. 

5. It is that which is most fully called the Spirit of God, or 
Christ in us : he hath lower works, but this is his great 
work, by which he possesseth us, as God's most pleasant 
habitation : " For we have not received the spirit of bond- 
age again to fear, but the spirit of power and love, and a 
sound mind." (2 Tim. i. 7.) 

6. It is only that which all men in general desire, I mean 
the only satisfying content and pleasm'e that man is capable 
of on earth. All men would have quieting and constant 
pleasure, and it is to be fomid in nothing else but the ef- 
fused love of God. 

7. It is that which vnW make every burden light, and all 
affliction easy : when the sense of God's love is still upon 
the sold, all pain and crosses will be but as blood-letting by 
the kindest physician to save the patient's life. God will 
not be suspected or grudged at in sufiering ; his love will 
sweeten aU. 

8. It will overcome abimdance of temptations, which no 
men's wit, or learning, or knowledge of the words of Scrip- 
ture, will overcome. No arguments will draw a loving child, 
or wife, from the parents, or husband, that they know doth 
love them. Love is the most powerful disputant. 

9. It puts a mellow, pleasant sweetness into all our du- 
ties. "V^Tien we hear the word, or receive the sacrament, it 
is to such a soul as pleasant food to the most healthful man ; 
when we pray or praise God it comes from a comforted 



SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 273 

heart, and excites and increasetli the comfort it comes from. 
Oh, who can be backward to draw near to God in prayer 
or meditation, who tasteth the sweetness of his love ! This 
is religion indeed, and tells us Avhat its Kfe, and use, and 
glory is. This is true walking with God in the best degi-ee. 
When the soul liveth in the taste of his love, the heart will 
be still with him, and that will be its pleasure. And God 
most delights in such a soul. 

10. This is it that putteth the sweetest relish on all our 
mercies. Deny God's love, and you deny them all. If you 
taste not his love in them, you taste little more than a beast 
may taste ; poor food and raiment is sweet, with the sense 
of the love of God. Had I more of this, I should he down, 
and rise, and walk in pleasure and content. I could bear 
the loss of other things ; and though natm-e will feel pains, 
I should have pleasm-e and peace in the midst of all my pains 
and groans. This is the white stone, the new name ; no man 
well knoweth it who never felt it in himself. 

1 . There is no dj-ing comfortably without this experienced 
taste of the love of God. This will draw up the desires of 
the soul ; love tasted, casteth out fear : though God be holy 
and just, and judgment terrible, and hell intolerable, and 
the soul hath no distinct idea of its fiitvire state out of the 
body, and though we see not whither it is that we must go, 
the taste of God's love will make it go joj-fully, as trusting 
him ; as a child will go any whither in his father's power 
and hand. 

But all the knowledge in the world without this quiets not 
a departing soul. A man may write as many books, and 
preach as many sermons of heaven, as I have done, and speak 
of it, and think of almost nothing else, and yet till the soul 
be sweetened and comforted with the love of God shed 
abroad on it by the Holy Ghost, death and the next life will 
be rather a man's fear than his desii-e. And the common 
fear of death which we see in the far gi-eater part even of 
godly persons doth tell us, that though they may have sav- 
ing desires and hopes, yet this sense of God's love on the 
heart is rare. 



274 SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 

^Vhat wonder, then, if our language, our converse, our 
prayers, have too little savour of it, and in comparison of 
jo}-ful believers' duties, be but like green apples to the mel- 
low ones. 

My God, I feel what it is that I want, and I perceive 
what it is that is most desirable : Oh, let not guilt be so far 
unpardoned as to deprive my soul of this greatest good, 
which thou hast commended to me, and commanded, and 
which in my languishing and pains I so much need ! Did I 
beg for wealth or honour, I might have it to the loss of 
others. But thy love will make me more useful to all, and 
none will have the less for my enjoyment ; for thou. Lord, 
art enough for all ; even as none hath the less of the sun- 
light for my enjoj-ing it. The least well-grounded hope of 
thy love is better than all the pleasures of the flesh ; but 
without some pleasant sense of it, alas ! what a withered, 
languishing thing is a soul ! Thy lo\'iug-kindness is better 
than life ; but if I taste it not, how shall I here rejoice in 
God, or bear my heavy bm-deus ? 

O let me not be a dishonour to thy family, where all 
have so great cause to honour thy bovmty by then* joy and 
hopes ; nor, by a sad and fearful heart, tempt men to think 
that thy love is not real and satisfactory. I can easily be- 
lieve and admu-e thy greatness and thy knowledge. Let it 
not be so hard to me to believe and taste thy goodness and 
thy love, wliich is as necessary to me. ' 

If there be anything (as surely there is) in which the di- 
vine nature and spiiit of adoption consisteth, as above all 
the art and notions of religion, which are but hke to other 
acquu-ed knowledge, sure it must be this holy appetite and 
habitual inclination of the soul to God, by way of love, which 

is bred by an internal sense of his loveliness, and lovino- in- 
■t. . . . " 

clmation to man ; which differenceth a Christian from other 

men, as a child differs towards his father, from strangers, or 
from common neighbours. Till the love of God be the very 
state and nature of the soul (working here towards his ho- 
nour, interests, word, and servants), no man can say that 
he is God's habitation by the Spirit ; and how the heart 



SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMA^STS V. 1-5, &C. 275 

will ever be thus habited, without beKeving God's love to us, 
it is hard to conceive. 

Experience tells the world how strongly it constraineth 
persons to love one another, if they do but think that they 
are strongly beloved by one another. In the love that 
tends to marriage, if one that is inferior do but know that a 
person of far greater worth doth fervently love them, it al- 
most puts a necessity and constraint on them for returns of 
love : nature can scarce choose but love in such a case. 
Love is the loadstone of love. A real taste of the love of 
God in sarong souls by Christ and grace, is it that constrain- 
eth them to be holy ; that is, to be devoted to that God in 
love. 

in. But this must as necessarily be the work of the Holy 
Ghost, and can be no more done without him than the earth 
can be illuminated, and the vegetables live, without the sun. 
But all the approaches of the Holy Spirit suffice not to pro- 
duce tliis great effect, and give us the divine, holy nature. 

The same sunshine hath three different effects on its ob- 
jects. 

1. On most things, as houses, stones, earth, it causeth 
nothing but accidents of heat, colour, and motion. 

2. On some things it causeth a seminal disposition to 
vegetable life, but not life itself. 

3. In this disposed matter it causeth vegetable life itself. 
So doth the Spirit of God, 1. Operate on millions but 

lifeless accidents, as the sun on a stone wall. 2. On others 
dispose and prepare them to divine life. 3. On others so 
disposed it eflfecteth the divine life itself, when holy love is 
turned into a habit like to nature. 

That none but the Holy Ghost doth make this holy change 
is evident ; for the effect cannot transcend the causes. 1. 
Nature alone is dark, and knoweth not the attractive ami- 
ableness of God till illuminated, nor can give us a satisfac- 
tory notice of God's special love to us. 

2. Nature is guilty, and guilt breedeth fears of justice, 
and fear makes us become wild, and fly from God lest he 
should hurt us. 



276 SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 

3. Xature is under penal sufferings already, and feeleth 
pain, fear, and many hurts, and foreseeth death, and under 
this is undisposed of itself to feel the pleasure of God's love. 

4. Katui'e is corrupted and diverted to creature vanity, 
and its appetite goeth another way, and cannot cure itself, 
and make itself suitable to the amiableness of God. 

5. God hateth wickedness and wicked men, and mere 
nature cannot secure us that we are saved fi'om that enmity. 

Dihgence may do much to get rehgious knowledge, and 
words, and all that which I call the art of religion, and God 
may bless this as a preparation to holy hfe and love ; but 
till the souFs appetite incline with desire to God and holi- 
ness, di\-ine things will not sweetly relish. 

And this is a great comfort to the thoughts of the sanc- 
tified, that certainly their holy appetite, desire, and com- 
placency, is the work of the Holy Ghost. For, 1. This se- 
cureth them of the love of God, of which it is the proper 
token. 2. And it assureth them of their union -with Christ, 
when they live because he Hveth, even by the Spirit, which 
is his seal aud pledge. 8. And it proveth both a future 
life and their title to it : for God maketh not all this pre- 
paration for it by his Spirit in vain. 

But, alas ! if it were not a work that hath great impedi- 
ment, it would not be so rare in the world. What is it In 
us that keepeth the sun of love fi'om so shining on us as to 
revive our souls into holy contentments and delight? 

It must be supposed, 1. That all God's gifts are free, and 
that he giveth not to all alike ; the. wonderful variety of 
creatures proveth this. 2. The reasons of his differencing 
works are his own will, and inferior reasons are mostly un- 
kno"WTi to us, of which he is not bound to give us an account. 

3 But yet we see that God doth his works in a casual 
order, and one work prepareth for another ; and he maketh 
variety of capacities, which occasion variety of receptions 
and of gifts ; and he useth to give every thing that to which 
he hath brought it into the next capacity and disposition. 

And therefore, in general, we may conclude that we feel 
not God's love shed abroad upon the heart, because the 



SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1 5, &C. 277 

heart is undisposed, and is not in the next disposition there- 
to ; and abused free-will hath been the cause of that. That 
we have grace, is to be ascribed to God : that we are with- 
out it, is to be ascribed to ourselves. 

1 . Heinous guilt of former sin may keep a soul much with- 
out the dehghts of divine love ; and the heinousness is not 
only in the greatness of the e\il done materially, but oft m 
our long and wilM committing of smaller sms against know- 
ledge, and conscience, and consideration. The Spirit thus 
grieved by hardened hearts, and wilful repulses, is not 
quickly and easily a Comforter to such a soul ; and when 
the sinner doth repent, it leaveth him more in uncertainty 
of his sincerity when he thinks, " I do but repent, purpose, 
and promise now ; and so I oft did, and yet returned the 
next temptation to my sin : and how can I tell that my 
heart is not the same, and I should sin again if I had the 
same temptations ? " O what doubts and perplexities doth 
oft wilful sinning prepare fbr ! 

2. And sins of omission have here a gi-eat part. The 
sweetness of God's love is a reward which slothful servants 
are unmeet for. It follows a " Well done, good and faith- 
ful servant." There is needful a close attendance upon 
God, and devotedness to him, and improvement of gospel 
grace, and revelation, to make a soul fit for amicable, sweet 
communion with God ; all that will save a soul fi'om hell 
will not do this. 

He that will taste these di\ine love tokens must, 1. Be 
no stranger to holy meditation and prayer, nor unconstant, 
cold, and cursory in them : but must dwell and walk above 
with God. 2, And he must be wholly addicted to improve 
his Master's talents in the world, and make it his design 
and trade on earth to do all the good in the world he can ; 
and to keep his soul clean fi'om the flesh, and worldly va- 
nity. And to such a soul God will make known his love. 

3. And alas ! how ordinarily doth some carnal affection 
corrupt the appetite of the soul ; when we grow too much 
in love with men's esteem, or with earthly riches, or when 
our throats or fancies can master us into obedience, or vain 



278 SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 

desires of meat, drink, recreation, dwelling, &c., the soul 
loseth its appetite to things di\ine ; and nothing relisheth 
where appetite is gone or sick. We cannot serve God and 
Mammon, and we cannot at once taste much pleasure both 
in God and Mammon. The old, austere Christians found 
the mortification of the fleshly lusts a great advantage to 
the soul's delight in God. 

4. And many errors about God's nature and works much 
hinder us from feasting on his love. 

5. And especially the shght and ignorant thoughts of 
Christ, and the wondrous workings of God's love in him. 

6. And especially if our behef itself once shake, or be not 
well and firmly founded. 

7. And our shght thoughts of the oflfice and work of the 
Holy Ghost on souls, and our necessity of it, and om' not 
begging and waiting for the Spirit's special help. 

8. And lastly, our unfaithful forgetfulness of manifold ex- 
periences and testimonies of his love, which should still be 
as fi:esh before us. 

Alas ! my soul, thou feelest thy defect, and knowest the 
hinderance, but what hope is there of remedy? Will God 
ever raise so low, so dull, so guilty a heart, to such a fore- 
taste of glory, as is this eflusion of his love by the Holy 
Ghost ? The lightsome days in spring and summer, when 
the sun reviveth the late naked earth, and clothes it with 
delectable beauties, differs not more fi'om night and winter, 
than a soul thus rexdved with the love of God doth differ 
fi'om an unbeHeving, formal soul. 

Though this gi^eat change be above my power, the Spirit 
of God is not impotent, backward, barren, or inexorable. 
He hath appointed us means for so high a state ; and he 
appointeth no means m vain. Were my own heart obe- 
dient to my commands, all these following I would lay upon 
it ; yea, I will do it, and beg the help of God. 

I. I charge thee, think not of God's goodness and love, 
as unproportionable to his greatness and his knowledge ; nor 
overlook, in the whole fi^ame of heaven and earth, the mani- 
festation of one any more than of the other. 



SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 279 

H. Therefore let not the wickedness and misery of the 
world tempt thee to think basely of all God's mercies to the 
world ; nor the pecuHar pri\ileges of the chm-ches draw thee 
to deny or contemn God's common mercies unto all. 

m. I charge thee to make the study of Christ, and the 
great work of man's redemption by him, thy chiefest learn- 
ing, and most serious and constant work ; and in that won- 
derful glass to see the face of divine love, and to hear what 
is said of it by the Son from heaven ; and to come boldly, 
as reconciled to God by him. 

rV. O see that thy repentance for former sins against 
knowledge and conscience, and the motions of _God's Spii'it, 
be sound, and thoroughly lamented and abhorred, how small 
soever the matter was in itself; that so the doubt of thy 
sincerity keep not up doubts of God's acceptance. 

V. Let thy dependence on the Holy Ghost, as given 
from Christ, be henceforth as serious and constant to thee 
as is the dependence of the eye on the light of the sun, and 
of natural life upon its heat and motion. Beg hard for the 
Holy Spirit, and gladly entertain it. 

YI. Oh, never forget the many and great experiences 
thou hast had, these almost sixty years observed, of mar- 
vellous favour and pro\adence of God, for soul and body, in 
every time, place, condition, relation, company, or change, 
thou hast been in. Lose not all these love tokens of thy 
Father, while thou art begging more. 

yil. Hearken not too much to pained flesh, and look 
not too much into the grave ; but look out at thy prison 
windows to the Jerusalem above, and the heavenly society 
that triumph in glory. 

Vin. Let all thy sure notices of a future hfe, and of the 
communion we have here with those above, draw thee to 
think that the gi^eat number of holy souls that are gone 
before thee, must needs be better than they were here ; and 
that they had the same mind, and heart, and way ; the 
same Saviour, Sanctifier, and promise, that thou hast ; and 
therefore they are as pledges of feUcity to thee. Thou hast 
joyfully lived with many of them here ; and is it not better 



280 SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 

to be with them there ? It is only the state of glory fore- 
seen by faith, wliich most fully sheweth us the greatness of 
God's love. 

IX. Exercise thyself in psalms o praise, and daily mag- 
nify the love of God, that the due mention of it may warm 
and raise thy love to him. 

X. Receive all temptations against divine love with hatred 
and repulse ; especially temptations to unbeHef ; and as thou 
wouldest abhor a temptation to murder, or perjury, or any 
other heinous sin, as much abhor all temptations which would 
hide God's goodness, or represent him to thee as an enemy, 
or unlovel}'. 

Thus God hath set the glass before us, in which we may 
see his amiable face. But alas ! souls in flesh are in great 
obscurity, and, conscious of their own Aveakness, are still 
distrustful of themselves, and doubt of all their apprehen- 
sions, till overpowering objects and influences satisfy and 
fix them. For this my soul with daily longings doth seek 
to thee, my God and Father : O pardon the sin that forfeits 
grace: I am ready to say, " Draw nearer to me ;" but it is 
meeter to say, '' Open thou my eyes and heart, and remove 
all impediments, and undisposedness, that I may believe, 
and feel how near thou art, and hast been to me, while I 
perceived it not." 

XIII. It is God's love shed abroad on the heart by the 
Holy Ghost which must make us " rejoice in hope of the 
glory of God :" this will do it, and -vvithout this it will not 
be done. 

This would turn the fears of death into joyful hopes of 
future life. K my God will thus Avarm my heart with his 
love, it will have these following effects in this matter. 

I. Love longeth for union, or nearness, and fruition; and 
it would make my soul long after God in glorious presence. 

II. This Avould make it much easier to me to believe that 
there is certainly a future blessed life for souls ; while I 
even tasted how God loveth them. It is no hard thing to 
believe that the sun Avill give light and heat, and revive the 
fi'ozen earth : nor that a father will shew kindness to his 



SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 281 

son, or give him an inheritance. Why should it be hard 
to believe that God will glorify the souls whom he loveth, 
and that he will take them near himself; and that thus it 
shall be done to those whom he delights to honour ? 

m. This effusion of di\dne love would answer my doutjts 
of the pardon of sin : I should not find it hard to believe 
that love itself, which hath given us a Saviour, will forgive 
a soul that truly repenteth, and hates his sin, and giveth up 
himself to Clirist for justification. It is hard to believe that 
a tjTant will forgive, but not that a father will pardon a 
returning prodigal son. 

r\^. This effusion of divine love will answer my fears, 
which arise fi'om mere weakness of grace and duty : indeed, 
it will give no other comfort to an unconverted soul, but 
that he may be accepted if he come to God by Christ, with 
true faith and repentance ; and that this is possible. But 
it should be easy to believe, that a tender father will not 
kill or cast out a child for weakness, crjdng, or uncleanness. 
Divine love ^vill accept and cherish even weak faith, weak 
prayer, and weak obedience and patience, which are sincere. 

V. This effused love would confiite temptations that are 
drawn fi-om thy afflictions ; and make thee believe that they 
are not so bad as flesh representeth them : it would under- 
stand that every son that God loveth he chasteneth, that 
he may not be condemned with the world, and that he may 
be partaker of his holiness, and the end may be the quiet 
fi'uit of righteousness ; it would teach us to believe that God 
in very faithfiilness doth afflict us ; and that it is a good 
sign that the God of love intendeth a better Hfe for his be- 
loved, when he trieth them with so many tribulations here : 
and though Lazarus be not saved for his suffering, it signi- 
fied that God, who loved him, had a life of comfort for him, 
when he had his evil things on earth. When pangs are 
greatest, the birth is nearest. 

VI. Were love thus shed on the heart by the Holy 
Ghost, it would give me a hvelier apprehension of the state 
of blessedness which all the faithfiil now enjoy : I should 
delightfiilly think of them as living in the joyful love of God, 



282 SHOUT MEDITATIONS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 

and ever fully replenished therewith. It pleaseth us to see 
the earth flourish in the spring ; and to see how pleasantly 
the lambs, and other young things, will skip and play : 
much more to see societies of holy Christians loving each 
other, and provoking one another to delight in God. O 
then what a pleasant thought should it be, to think how all 
our deceased godly friends, and all that have so died since 
the creation, are now together in a world of divine, perfect 
love ! How they are all continually wrapped up in the 
love of God, and live in the delight of perfect love to one 
another ! 

O my soul, when thou art with them, thou wilt dwell in 
love, and feast on love, and rest in love ; for thou wilt more 
fully dwell in God, and God in thee : and thou wilt dwell 
with none but perfect lovers : they would not sUence thee 
from praising God in their assembly : t}Tants, malignants, 
and persecutors, are more strange there (or far from thence) 
than toads, and snakes, and crocodiles, are from the bed or 
bedchamber of the king. Love is the air, the region, the 
world, they live in : love is their nature, their pulse, their 
breath, their constitution, their complexion and their work: 
it is their Mfe, and even themselves and all. Full loth 
would one of those spirits be to dwell again among blind 
Sodomites, and mad, self-damning mahgnants upon earth. 

VII. Yea this effused love wiU teach us to gather the 
glory of the blessed from the common mercies of this life ; 
doth God give his distracted, malig-nant enemies, health, 
wealth, plenty pleasure, yea, lordships, dominions, crowns, 
and kingdoms ; and hath he not much better for beloved 
holy souls ? 

Yea, doth he give the brutes hfe, sense, dehght, and 
beauty ; and hath he not better things for men — for saints ? 

There are some so blind as to think that man shall have 
no better hereafter, because brutes have not, but perish. 
But they know not how erroneously they think. The sen- 
sible souls of brutes are substance, and therefore are not 
annihilated at death : but God put them under us, and 
made them for us, and us more nearlv for himself. Brutes 



SHORT MEDITATOXS ON ROMANS V. 1-5, &C. 283 

have not faculties to know and love God, to meditate on 
him, or praise him, or by moral agency to obey his pre- 
cepts : they desire not any higher felicity than they have : 
God will have us use their service, yea, their lives and flesh, 
to tell us they were made for us. He tells us not what he 
doth with them after death : but whatever it is, it is not 
annihilation, and it is like they are in a state still of service 
unto man : whether united, or how individuate, we know 
not : nor yet whether those philosophers are in the right, 
that think that this earth is but a small image of the vast 
superior regions, where there are kingdoms answerable to 
these here, where the spirits of brutes are in the like sub- 
ection in aerial bodies, to those low, rational spirits that 
inhabit the aerial regions, as in flesh they Avere to man in 
flesh. But it is enough for us that God hath given us fa- 
"culties to know, love, praise, and obey him, and trust him 
for glory, which he never gave to them, because they were 
not made for things so high. Eveiy creature's faculties are 
suited to their use and ends. 

And love tells me, that the blessed God, who giveth to 
brutes that life, health, and pleasure, which they are made 
and fitted for, wiU give his servants that heavenly delight 
in the fulness of his love and praise, and mutual, joj'ftil love 
to one another, which nature fundamentally, and grace more 
immediately, hath made them fit for. 

Blessed Jehovah ! for what tastes of this effused love thou 
hast given me, my soul doth bless thee, with some degree 
of gratitude and joy : and for those fmther measures which 
I want, and long for, and which my pained, languid state 
much needs, and would raise my joj-ful hopes of glory, I 
•wait, I beg fi^om day to day. O give me now, at the door 
of heaven, some fuller taste of the heavenly fehcity : shed 
more abroad upon my heart, by the Holy Ghost, that love 
of thine which will draw up my longing soul to thee, re- 
joicing in the hope of the glorj- of God. 



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