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Full text of "Select practical writings of Richard Baxter"



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S E L E C T 



PRACTICAL WRITINGS 



LIFE OF THE AUTHOR. 



BY LEONARD BACON, 

PASTOR OF THE FIRST CHURCH IN NEW HAVEN. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 
VOLUME II. 

H 

* 

SECOND EDITION, WITH ADDITIONS. 



NEW HAVEN: 
PUBLISHED BY DURRIE & PECK. 

1835. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1834, 

BY DURRIE &, PECK, 
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut. 






Printed by Hezekiah Howe & Co. 



Stack 
Annex 



CONTENTS OF THE SECOND VOLUME. 



DYING THOUGHTS. Upon Phil. i. 23. 

[The reader of the " Dying Thoughts " may sometimes find himself perplexed, if not lost, 
among the complicated divisions and subdivisions of the subject, divisions and sub- 
divisions not always clearly indicated. Some attempt might have been made to mark 
the progress of meditation and discussion in that work, and to point out the relations 
of one part to another, and of the several parts to the whole, if the editor had deemed 
it proper far him to use such liberty with the text of his author. If, however /the reader, 
in studying that work, for it is a work to be studied, will occasionally advert to the 
full syllabus exhibited in this Table of Contents, made out by Baxter himself, and not 
by the editor,' he will find a clew to guide him easily through all its labyrinths.] 

Page. 
Preface, 12 

Introduction, 13 

DOCTRINE FIRST. 

That the souls of believers, when departed hence, shall be with Christ,. ... 23 

/. The necessity of believing this, proved, 23 

//. Whether it be best believing it, without consideration of the difficulties 

or proofs, 26 

777. The certainty of it manifested, 28 

I. From the immortality of the soul, which is proved, 

1 . The soul is a substance, 28 

2. It is a substance formally differenced from lower substance, by the vir- 

tue of special vital activity, intellect, and free will, 30 

3. It is not annihilated at death, 30 

4. Nor destroyed by dissolution of parts, 31 

5. Nor loseth its formal power or virtue, 31 

6. Nor doth sleep or cease to act, 32 

7. To cease to be individuate by union with any other common spirit, is 

not to be feared, were it true, 35 

But it is not like to be true, 40 

II. The second proof : it is a natural notice, 41 

III. From the duty of all men to seek a future happiness, 42 

IV. From man's capacity of knowing God, etc. as differenced from brutes,. 43 



4 CONTENTS. 

Page. 

V. From God's governing justice, 44 

VI. From revelation supernatural, 45 

VII. From God's answering prayers, 46 

VIII. From our present communion with angels, 47 

IX . From Satan's temptations, etc 48 

X. Specially from the operations of God's Spirit on our souls, preparing them 

for glory. (Faith excited, and objections answered in the application), 48 

The proofs summed up in order, 59 

Why this happiness is described by our " BEING WITH CHRIST," 60 

What is included in our " being with Christ," GO 

I. Presence with Christ's glorified body and soul, and Godhead, 60 

II. United with him in each. Too near union not to be feared as destroying 

individuation, 61 

III. Communion with him in each, opened,. . . . ; G3 

We must " DEPART," that we may be with Christ, 67 

From what, 67 

I. From this body and life ; yet it is far better so to do, 67 

II. From all the fleshly pleasures of this life yet best, 71 

III. From the more manly delights of study, books, friends, etc 73 

Considered, 

1. Of knowledge and books : the vanity, 73 

2. Of sermons, 78 

3. Of friends and converse, 78 

4. Of God's word and worship, 80 

5. Of Theology, 81 

Of my own labors herein, 83 

6. Notice of the affairs of the world, 87 

7. From our service to the living, ; 89 

The application to myself, 91 

DOCTRINE SECOND. 

To depart and be with Christ is far better ; or rather to be chosen, 94 

I. Simply better, and properly, as it is the fulfilling of God's will, 95 

II. Analogically better, as it tendeth to the perfection of the universe and 

the church, 96 

III. Better to myself, as to my own felicity, 96 

Proved, 

/. By general reasons from the efficients and means, 97 

//. The final reasons, 100 



CONTENTS. 5 

Page. 

///. The constitutive reasons from the state of my intellect, as to the intui- 
tive manner of knowledge, and as to the matter, 105 

Both opened, 

1. I shall know God better, 112 

2. And God's works the universe, 113 

3. And Je'sus Christ, 114 

4. And the church triumphant, the heavenly Jerusalem, 115 

5. And all God's word, for matter and method, 117 

6. God's present works of providence, 117 

7. The nature and worth of mercies, 118 

8. And myself body and soul, 118 

9. And my fellow creatures, 120 

10. And what the evil was from which I was delivered, enemies, dangers, 

sins, etc 120 

IV. The constitutive reasons from the state of my will, 120 

i. Negatively, 

1. Freed from temptations of the flesh, world, and devil. 

2. There will be nothing in it that is against God, my neighbor, or 

myself, 121 

ii. Positively, 

1. It will be conformed to God's will. The benefits of this fruition a 

fixed will. The object God ; to love him, and be beloved of him, is " 
one end. He is a suitable, full, near object, 121 

2. The next object God's glorious image in the perfection of the universe, 125 

3. The church triumphant, 126 

The will's reception in glory, 128 

1. What it is to be loved of God, 128 

Excitations, 130 

2. How blessed to be under the love of Christ, 131 

Excitations, desires, 131 

3." Communion with angels and saints by reception, 136 

More of the good of union, and communion, as distinct from singular 

propriety, 137 

V. The constitutive reasons from our heavenly practice, 140 

Better works for us there than here. 

Proved, 
What they are in general : what particularly, 

1 . Concordant praising God, 140 

Excitations and petitions, 141 

2. The blessed probably used for the good of men, and things below, 142 






6 CONTENTS. 

Page. 

Their opinion rejected that assert the cessation of sense ; proof. Objec- 
tions from brutes answered, 143 

The concluding application, 144 

APPENDIX. 

A BREVIATE OF THE HELPS OF FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE FOR A DYING MAN. 

I. The gospel evidence on 1 Tim. iii. 16. A breviate of the proof of super- 

natural revelation, and the truth of Christianity, 181 

II. The difference between the world which I am leaving, and the world 

which I am going to ; with reasons of my comfortable hope, 195 

III. More reasons and helps of my faith and hope 199 

IV. A discourse of the sensible manifestation of the kingdom of Christ, at 
his transfiguration, which is expounded and applied for the help of faith 
and patience, 205 

V. Short meditations on Romans v. 1 5, of the shedding abroad God's love 

in the heart, that we may rejoice in hope of the glory of God, 242 

TRUE CHRISTIANITY ; or Christ's absolute dominion and man's neces- 
sary self-resignation and subjection : in two assize sermons. 
To the Right Honorable Serjeant Glyn, 259 

I. THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION OF GoD-REDEEMER, AND THE NECESSITY OF 

BEING DEVOTED AND LIVING TO HIM. 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, 263 

II. THE ABSOLUTS SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST; AND THE NECESSITY OF MAIt's 

SUBJECTION, DEPENDENCE AND CHIEFEST LOVE TO HIM. Psalm ii. 

1012 297 

A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. Ezekiel xxxvi. 31, 325 

RIGHT REJOICING : A SERMON. Luke x. 20 353 

THE LIFE OF FAITH : A Sermon formerly preached before his Majesty, 
and published by his command ; with another added for the fuller appli- 
cation. Heb. xi. 1. 

I. THE SERMON. 

What Faith is, 389 

The text opened, 390 

The grounds of the certainty of Faith, briefly intimated. 391 

Why God will have us live by Faith and not by sight, 395 

Use 1. To inform us what a Christian or believer is ; described 397 

Use 2. The reason why believers are more serious in matters of religion than 

unbelievers are, 403 



CONTENTS. 7 

Page. 
Use 3. Of examination, 404 

The misery of unbelievers, 405 

Marks of a true Faith, 406 

Use 4. Exhortation to the serious exercise of Faith, 409 

Some assisting suppositions, 410 

How those will live, who thus believe, opened in certain questions,.. 415 

Motives to live by a foreseeing Faith on things not seen, 419 

The conclusion. 1. Exhorting to live by Faith. 2. And to promote this 

life in others, 425 

II. THE AD-DITIONS. 

CHAP. I. The conviction and reproof of hypocrites who live contrary to the 

Faith which they profess, 428 

CHAP. II. A general exhortation to live as believers, ~. 434 

CHAP. III. An exhortation to the particular duties of believers, 440 

WHAT LIGHT MUST SHINE IN OUR WORKS : A SERMON. Matt. 

v. 16, 455 

THE FAREWELL SERMON OF RICHARD BAXTER; prepared to 
have been preached to his hearers at Kidderminster, at his departure, 
but forbidden 495 

HOW TO DO GOOD TO MANY : OR THE PUBLIC GOOD IS THE 
CHRISTIAN'S LIFE. Galatians vi. 10. Directions and motives to 
it : Intended for an auditory of London citizens ; and published for 
them, for want of leave to preach them, 534 

GOD'S GOODNESS VINDICATED, 577 



MR. BAXTER'S 



DYING THOUGHTS 



PHIL1PPIANS I. 23. 



WITH AN APPENDIX. 






WRITTEN FOR HIS OWN USE IN THE LATTER TIMES OF HIS 
CORPORAL PAINS AND WEAKNESS. 



VOL. II. 









THE exercise of three sorts of love, to God, to others, and to 
myself, afford me a threefold satisfaction, conjunct to be willing to 
depart. 

I. I am sure my departure will be the fulfilling of that will which 
is love itself, which I am bound, above all things, to love and 
please, and which is the beginning, rule and end of all. Antonine 
could hence fetch good thoughts of death. 

II. The world dieth not with me when I die ; nor the church, 
nor the praise and glory of God, which he will have in and from 
this world unto the end ; and if I love others as myself, their lives 
and comforts will now be to my thoughts, as if I were to live my- 
self in them. God will be praised and honored by posterity, when 
I am dead and gone. Were I to be annihilated, this would com- 
fort me now, if I lived and died in perfect love. 

III. But a better, glorious world is before me, into which I hope, 
by death, to be translated, whither all these three sorts of love 
should wrap up the desires of my ascending soul ; even the love of 
myself, that I may be fully happy ; the love of the triumphant 
church, Christ, angels, and glorified man, and the glory of all the 
universe, which I shall see ; and above all, the love of the most 
glorious God, infinite life, and light, and love, the ultimate, amiable 
object of man's love ; in whom to be perfectly pleased and delight- 
ed, and to whom to be perfectly pleasing forever, is the chief and 
ultimate end of me, and of the highest, wisest, and best of creatures. 
Amen. 









THE PREFACE TO THE READER. 






READER, 

I HAVE no other use for a preface to this book, but to give 
you a true excuse for its publication. I wrote it for myself, unre- 
solved whether any one should ever see it, but at last inclined to 
leave that to the will of my executors, to publish or suppress it 
when I am dead, as they saw cause. But my person being seiz- 
ed on, and my library, and all my goods distrained on by consta- 
bles, and sold, and I constrained to relinquish my house, (for preach- 
ing and being in London,) I knew not what to do with multitudes of 
manuscripts that had long lain by me ; having no house to go to, 
but a narrow hired lodging with strangers : wherefore I cast away 
whole volumes, which I could not carry away, both controversies 
and letters practical, and cases of conscience ; but having newly 
lain divers weeks, night and day, in waking torments, nephritic 
and colic, after other long pains and languor, I took this book with 
me in my removal, for my own use in my further sickness. Three 
weeks after, falling into another extreme fit, and expecting death, 
where I had no friend with me to commit my papers to, merely 
lest it should be lost, I thought best to give it to the printer. I 
think it is so much of the work of all men's lives to prepare to die 
with safety and comfort, that the same thoughts may be needful 
for others that are so for me. If any mislike the title, as if it im- 
ported that the author is dead, let him know that I die daily, and 
that which quickly will be, almost is : it is suited to my own use : 
they that it is unsuitable to, may pass it by. If those men's lives 
were spent in serious, preparing thoughts of death, who are now 
studying to destroy each other, and tear in pieces a distressed 
land, they would prevent much dolorous repentance. 

RICHARD BAXTER. 






THE INTRODUCTION. 



PHIL. L 23. 

FOR I AM IN A STRAIT BETWIXT TWO, &C. 

1 WRITE for myself, and therefore, supposing the sense of the 
text, shall only observe what is useful to my heart and practice. 

It was a happy state into which grace had brought this apostle, 
who saw so much, not only tolerable, but greatly desirable, both 
in living and dying. To live, to him, was Christ, that is, Christ's 
interest or work. To die, would be gain, that is, his own interest 
and reward. His strait was not whether it would be good to live, 
or good to depart ; both were good ; but which was more desirable 
was the doubt. 

1 . Quest. But was there any doubt to be made between Christ's 
interest and his own? Ans. No, if it had been a full and fixed 
competition ; but oy Christ, or Christ's interest, he meaneth his 
work for his church's interest in this world ; but he knew that 
Christ also had an interest in his saints above, and that he could 
raise up more to serve him here ; yet, because he was to judge by 
what appeared, and he saw a defect of such on earth, this did turn 
the scales in his choice ; and for the work of Christ and his 
church's good, he more inclined to the delay of his reward, by 
self-denial ; yet knowing that the delay would tend to its increase. 
It is useful to me here to note, 

That, even in this world, short of death, there is some good so 
much to be regarded, as may justly prevail with believers to pre- 
fer it before the present hastening of their reward. 

I the rather note this, that no temptation carry me into that ex- 
treme, of taking nothing but heaven to be worthy of our minding 
or regard, and so to cast off the world in a sinful sort, on pretense 
of mortification, and a heavenly mind and life. 

As to the sense, the meaning is not that any thing on earth is 
better than heaven, or simply, and in itself, to be preferred before 
it. The end is better than the means as such, and perfection bet- 
ter than imperfection. 

But the present use of the means may be preferred sometimes 
before the present possession of the end, and the use of means for 

*fc ' 






14 BAXTCH'S DYCIG THIM. <IMTS. 



a higher end may be preferred before the present possession of a 
lower end, and every thing hath its season. Planting, and sowing, 
and building, are not so good as reaping, and fruit-gathering, and 
dwelling, but in their season, they must be first done. 

2. Quest. But what is there so desirable in this life? 

Answ. I. While it continueth, it is the fulfilling of the will of 
God, who will have us here; and that is best which God willeth. 

II. The life to come dependeth upon this, as the life of man in 
the world upon his generation in the womb ; or as the reward upon 
the work ; or the runner's or soldier's prize upon his race or fight- 
ing ; or as the merchant's gain upon his voyage. Heaven is won 
or lost on earth. The possession is there, but the preparation is 
here. Christ will judge all men according to their works on earth. 
"Well done, good and faithful servant," must go before "Enter 
thou into the joy of thy Lord." " I have fought a good fight, I 
have finished my course," goeth before " the crown of righteous- 
ness which God, the righteous Judge, will give." All that ever 
must be done for salvation by us, must here be done. It was on 
earth that Christ himself wrought the work of our redemption, ful- 
filled all righteousness, became our ransom, and paid the price of 
our salvation ; and it is here that our part is to be done. 

And the bestowing of the reward is God's work, who, we are 
sure, will never fail. There is no place for the least suspicion or 
fear of his misdoing, or failing, in any of his -undertaken work. 
But the danger and fear is of our own miscarrying, lest we be not 
found capable of receiving what God will certainly give to all that 
are disposed receivers. To distrust God is heinous sin and folly ; 
but to distrust ourselves we have great cause. So that if we will 
make sure of heaven, it must be by giving all diligence to make 
firm our title, our calling, and our election, here on earth. If we 
fear hell, we must fear being prepared for it. 

And it is great and difficult work that must be here done. It is 
here that we must be cured of all damning sin ; that we must be 
regenerate and new born ; that we must be pardoned and justified 
by faith. It is here that we must be united to Christ, made wise 
to salvation, renewed by his Spirit, and conformed to his likeness. 
It is here that we must overcome all the temptations of the devil, 
the world, and the flesh, and perform all the duties towards God 
and man, that must be rewarded. It is here that Christ must be 
believed in with the heart to righteousness, and with the mouth 
confessed to salvation. It is here that we must suffer with him, 
that we may reign with him, and be faithful to the death, that \\c 
may receive the crown of life. Here we must so run that we may 
obtain. 

III. Yea, we have greater work here to do than mere securing 



INTRODrCTION. 15 

our own salvation. We are members of the world and church, and 
we must labor to do good to man. We. are trusted with our Ma^- 
ter's talents for his service, in our places to do our best to prepay* 
gate his truth, and grace, and church ; and to bring home souls, 
and honor his cause, and edify his flock, and further the salvation 
of as many as we can. All this is to be done on earth, if we will 
secure the end of all in heaven. 

Use 1. It is, then, an error (though it is but few, I think, that 
are guilty of it) to think, that all religion lieth in minding only the 
life to come, and disregarding all things in this present life : all true 
Christians must seriously mind both the end and the means, or way. 
If they mind not, believingly, the end, they will never be faithful 
in the use of means. If they mind not, and use not diligently, the 
means, they will never obtain the end. None can use earth well 
that prefer not heaven, and none come to heaven, at age, that are 
not prepared by well using earth. Heaven must have the deepest 
esteem, and habitual love, and desire, and joy ; but earth must 
have more of our daily thoughts for present practice. A man that 
travelleth to the most desirable home, hath a habit of desire to it 
all the way, but his present business is his travel ; and horse, and 
company, and inns, and ways, and weariness, &,c., may take up 
more of his sensible thoughts, and of his talk, and action, than his 
home. 

Use 2. I have oft marveled to find David, in the Psalms, and 
other saints, before Christ's coming, to have expressed so great a 
sense of the things of this present life, and to have said so little of 
another ; to have made so great a matter of prosperity, dominions, 
and victories, on one hand, and of enemies, success, and persecu- 
tion, on the other. But I consider that it was not for mere per- 
sonal, carnal interest, but for the church of God, and for his honor, 
word, and worship. And they knew that if things go well with 
us on earth, they will be sure to go well in heaven. If the mili- 
tant church prosper in holiness, there is no doubt but it will tri- 
umph in glory. God will be sure to do his part in receiving souls, 
if they be here prepared for his receipt. And Satan doth much of 
his damning work by men : if we escape their temptations, we es- 
cape much of our danger. If idolaters prospered, Israel was tempt- 
ed to idolatry. The Greek church is almost swallowed up by 
Turkish prosperity and dominion. Most follow the powerful and 
prosperous side. And, therefore, for God's cause, and for heaven- 
ly, everlasting interest, our own state, but much more the church's, 
must be greatly regarded here on earth. 

Indeed, if earth be desired only for earth, and prosperity loved 
but for the present welfare of the flesh, it is the certain mark of 
damning carnality, and an earthly mind. But to desire peace, and 



16 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

prosperity, and power, to be in the hands of wise and faithful men, 
for the sake of souls, and the increase of the church, and the honor 
of God, that his name may be hallowed, his kingdom come, and 
his will done on earth, as it is in heaven ; this is to be the chief 
of our prayers to God. 

Use 3. Be not unthankful, then, O my soul, for the mercies of 
this present life, for those to thy body, to thy friends, to the land 
of thy nativity, and especially to the church of God. 

1 . This body is so nearly united to thee, that it must needs be 
a great help or hindrance. Had it been more afflicted, it might 
have been a discouraging clog ; like a tired horse in a journey, or 
an ill tool to a workman, or an untuned instrument in music. A 
sick or bad servant in a house is a great trouble, and a bad wife 
much more ; but thy body is nearer thee than either, and will be 
more of thy concern. 

And yet if it had been more strong and healthful, sense and ap- 
atite would have been strong, and lust would have been strong, 
and therefore danger would have been greater, and victory and 
salvation much more difficult. Even weak senses and temptations 
have too oft prevailed. How knowest thou, then, what stronger 
might have done ? When I see a thirsty man in a fever or drop- 
sy, and especially when I see strong and healthful youths, bred up 
in fullness, and among temptations, how mad they are in sin, and 
how violently they are carried to it, bearing down God's rebukes, 
and conscience, and parents, and friends, and all regard to their 
salvation, it tells me how great a mercy I had even in a body not 
liable to their case. 

And many a bodily deliverance hath been of great use to my 
soul, renewing my time, and opportunity, and strength, for service, 
and bringing frequent and fresh reports of the love of God. 

If bodily mercies were not of great use to the soul, Christ would 
not so much have showed his saving love, by healing all manner 
of diseases, as he did. Nor would God promise us a resurrection 
of the body, if a congruous body did not further the welfare of the 
soul. 

2. And I am obliged to great thankfulness to God for the mer- 
cies of this life which he hath showed to my friends ; that which 
furthers their joy should increase mine. I ought to rejoice with 
them that rejoice. Nature and grace teach us to be glad when our 
friends are well, and prosper, though all in order to better things 
than bodily welfare. 

3. And such mercies of this life to the land of our habitation 
must not be undervalued. The want of them are parts of God's 
threatened curse ; and godliness hath the promise of this life, and 
of that which is to corne, and so is profitable to all things. And 



17 

when God sends on a land the plagues of famine, pestilence, war, 
persecution, especially a famine of the word of God, it is a great 
sin to be insensible of it. If any shall say, ' While heaven is sure, 
we have no cause to accuse God, or to cast away comfort, hope, 
or duty,' they say well ; but if they say, ' Because heaven is all, 
we must make light of all that befalleth us on earth,' they say 
amiss. 

Good princes, magistrates, and public spirited men, that promote 
the safety, peace, and true prosperity of the commonwealth, do 
hereby very much befriend religion, and men's salvation, and are 
greatly to be loved and honored by all. If the civil state, called 
the commonwealth, do miscarry, or fall into ruin and calamity, the 
church will fare the worse for it, as the soul doth by the ruins 
of the body. The Turkish, Muscovite, and such other empires, 
tell us how the church consumed), and dwindles away into con- 
tempt, or withered ceremony and formality, where tyranny brings 
slavery, beggary, or long persecution on the subjects. Doubtless, 
divers passages in the Revelations contain the church's glorifying 
of God, for their power and prosperity on earth, when emperors 
became Christians : what else can be meant well by Rev. v. 10. 
" Hath made us kings and priests to God, and we shall reign on 
the earth ; " but that Christians shall be brought from under hea- 
then persecution, and have rule and sacred honor in the world, 
some of them being princes ; some honored church guides ; and 
all a peculiar, honored people. And had not Satan found out that 
cursed way of getting wicked men, that hate true godliness and 
peace, into the sacred places of princes and pastors, to do his work 
against Christ, as in Christ's name, surely no good Christians 
would have grudged at the power of rulers of state or church. 
Sure I am, that many, called Fifth Monarchy men, seem to make 
this their great hope, that rule shall be .in the hands of righteous 
men ; and I think most religious parties would rejoice if those 
had very great power, whom they take to be the best and trustiest 
men ; which shows that it is not the greatness of power in most 
princes, or sound bishops, that they dislike, but the badness, real or 
supposed, of those whose power they mislike. Who will blame 
power to do good ? 

Sure the three first and great petitions of the Lord's prayer in- 
clude some temporal welfare of the world and church, without 
which the spiritual rarely prospereth extensively, (though inten- 
sively in a few it may,) since miracles ceased. 

4. Be thankful, therefore, for all the church's mercies here on 
earth ; for all the protection of magistracy ; the plenty of preach- 
ers : the preservation from enemies ; the restraint of persecution ; 
he concord of Christians : and increase of godliness ; which, in this 

VOL. II. '{ 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 



land, it hath had in our ages ; notwithstanding all Satan's malig- 
nant rage, and all the bloody wars that have interrupted our tran- 
quillity. How many Psalms of joyful thanksgiving be there for 
Israel's deliverances, and the preservation of Zion, and God's wor- 
ship in his sanctuary ! Pray for the peace of Jerusalem : they 
shall prosper that love it. Especially that the gospel is continued, 
while so many rage against it, is a mercy not to be made light of. 

Use 4. Be especially thankful, O my soul, that God hath made 
any use of thee for the service of his church on earth. My God, 
my soul for this doth magnify thee, and my spirit rejoiceth in the 
review of thy great undeserved mercy ! Oh ! what am I, whom 
thou tookest up from the dunghill or low obscurity, that I should 
live, myself, in the constant relish of thy sweet and sacred truth, 
and with such encouraging success communicate it to others ! 
That I must say, now my public work seems ended, that these 
forty-three or forty-four years, I have no reason to think that ever 
I labored in vain ! O, with what gratitude must I look upon all 
places where I lived and labored ; but, above all, that place that 
had my strength. I bless thee for the great numbers gone to 
heaven, and for the continuance of piety, humility, concord, and 
peace among them. 

And for all that by my writings have received any saving light and 
grace. O my God ! let not my own heart be barren while I labor 
in thy husbandry, to bring others unto holy fruit. Let me not be a 
stranger to the life and power of that saving truth which 1 have 
done so much to communicate to others. O, let not my own words 
and writings condemn me, as void of that divine and heavenly na- 
ture and life which I have said so much for to the world. 

Use 5. Stir up, then, O my soul, thy sincere desires, and all thy 
faculties, to do the remnant of the work of Christ appointed thee 
on earth, and then joyfully wait for the heavenly perfection in God's 
own time. 

Thou canst truly say, " To live, to me, is Christ." It is his 
work for \\hich thou livest: thou hast no other business in the 
world ; but thou dost his work with the mixture of many oversights 
and imperfections, and too much troublest thy thoughts distrust- 
fully about God's part, who never faileth. If thy work be done, be 
thankful for what is past, and that thou art come so near the port 
of rest : if God will add any more to thy days, serve him with 
double alacrity, now thou art so near the end : the prize is almost 
within sight : time is swift and short. Thou hast told others that 
there is no working in the grave, and that it must be now or never. 
Though the conceit of meriting of commutative justice be no bet- 
ter than madness, dream not that God will save the wicked, no, 
nor (>iju;illv reward the slothful and the diligent, because Christ's 



INTRODUCTION^ 

righteousness was perfect. Paternal justice maketh difference 
according to that worthiness which is so denominated by the law 
of grace. And as sin is its own punishment, holiness and obedi- 
ence is much of its own reward. Whatever God appointed! thee 
to do, see that thou do it sincerely, and with all thy might. If sin 
dispose men to be angry because it is detected, disgraced, and re- 
sisted, if God be pleased, their wrath should be patiently borne, 
who will shortly be far more angry with themselves. If slander 
and obloquy survive, so will the better effects on those that are 
converted ; and there is no comparison between these. I shall 
not be hurt, when I am with Christ, by the calumnies of men on 
earth ; but the saving benefit will, by converted sinners, be enjoy- 
ed everlastingly. Words and actions are transient things, and, be- 
ing once past, are nothing ; but the effects of them, on an immor- 
tal soul, may be endless. All the sermons that I have preached are 
nothing now; but the grace of God, on sanctified souls, is the be- 
ginning of eternal life. It is unspeakable mercy to be sincerely 
thus employed with success ; therefore, I had reason, all this while, 
to be in Paul's strait, and make no haste in my desires to depart. 
The crown will come in its due time ; and eternity is long enough 
to enjoy it, how long soever it be delayed: but if I will do that 
which must obtain it for myself and others, it must be quickly done, 
before my declining sun be set. 

O that I had no worse causes of my unwillingness yet to die, 
than my desire to do the work of life for my own and other men's 
salvation, and to finish my course with joy, and the ministry com- 
mitted to me by the Lord. 

Use 6. And as it is on earth that I must do good to others, so it 
must be in a manner suited to their state on earth. Souls are here 
closely united to bodies, by which they must receive much good 
or hurt : do good to men's bodies, if thou wouldest do good to their 
souls : say not, things corporeal are worthless trifles, for which the 
receivers will be never the better ; they are things that nature is 
easily sensible of; and sense is the passage to the mind and will. 
Dost not thou find what a help it is to thyself to have, at any time, 
any ease and alacrity of body ? And what a burden and hin- 
drance pains and cares are ? Labor, then, to free others from such 
burdens and temptations, and be not regardless of them. If thou 
must rejoice with them that rejoice, and mourn with them that 
mourn, further thy own joy in furthering theirs, and avoid thy 
own sorrows in avoiding or curing theirs. 

But, alas ! what power hath selfishness in most ! How easily do 
we bear our brethren's pains, reproaches, wants, and afflictions, in 
comparison of our own ! how few thoughts, and how little cost or 
labor, do we use for their supply, in comparison of what we do for 



-: BAXTER'S UTINC THOUGHT-. 

ourselves '. Nature, indeed, teacbeth us to be most sensible of our 
own case ; but grace tells u?. that we should not make so s:reat a 
difference as we do, but should love our neighbors as ourselves. 

Use 1. And now, O my soul, consider how mercifully God hath 
dealt with thee, that thy strait should be between two conditions 
so desirable. I shall either die speedily, or stay yet lons:er upon 
eartb ; whichever it be. it will be a merciful and comfortable state ; 
that it is desirable to depart and be with Christ, I must not doubt, 
and shall anon more copiously consider. And if my abode on 
eartb yet longer be so great a mercy as to be put in the balance 
against my present possession of heaven, surely it must be a state 
which obligeth me to great thankfulness to God. and comfortable 
acknowledgment ; and surely it is not my pain, or sickness, my 
sufferings from malicious men. that should make this life on earth 
unacceptable, while God will continue it. Paul had his prick or 
tbom in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet him. and suffered 
more from men (though less in his health) than I have done ; and 
yet he gloried in such infirmities, and rejoiced in his tribulations, and 
was in a strait between living and dying ; yea. rather chose to live 
yet longer. 

Alas ! h is another kind of strait that most of the world are in. 
The strait of most is between the desire of life for fleshly interest, 
and the fear of death, as ending their felicity. The strait of many 
is, between a tiring world and body, which maketh them weary of 
living, and the dreadful prospect of future danger, which makes 
them afraid of dying : if they live, it is in misery ; if they must die, 
they are afraid of greater misery. Which way ever they look, be- 
hind or before them, to this world or the next, fear and trouble is 
their lot. Yea, many an upright Christian, through the weakness 
of his trust in God, doth live in this perplexed strait ; wear)- of 
living, and afraid of dying ; between grief and fear, they are press- 
ed continually. But Paul's strait was between two joys ; which 
of them he should desire most; and if that be my case, what 
should much interrupt my peace or pleasure 1 If I live, it is for 
Christ ; for his work, and for his church : for preparation for my 
own and others' everlasting felicity : and should any suffering, 
which maketh me not unserviceable, make me impatient with such 
a work and such a life 1 If I die presently, it is my gain ; God, 
who appointeth me my work, doth limit my time ; and sure his glo- 
rious reward can never be unseasonable, or come too soon, if it be 
the time that he appointeth. When I first engaged myself to 
preach the gospel, I reckoned (as probable) but upon one or two 
years ; and God hath continued me yet above forty-four ; (with 
such interruptions as others in these times have had ;) and what 
reason have I now to be unwilling, either to live or die : God's 



INTRODUCTION. 







service hath been so sweet to me, that it bath overcome the trou- 
ble of constant pains, or weakness of the flesh, and all that men 
have said or done against me. 

But the following crown exceeds this pleasure, more than I am 
here capable to conceive. There is some trouble in all this pleas- 
ant work, from which the soul and flesh would rest ; and blessed 
are the dead, that die m the Lord ; even so saith the Spirit ; for 
they rest from their labcas, and their works follow tbem. 

But. O my soul, what needest thou be troubled in this kind of 
strait ? It is not left to thee to choose whether or when tbou wilt 
live or die. It is God that will determine it, who is infinitely fitter 
to choose than thou. Leave, therefore, his own work to himself, 
and mind that which is thine : whilst thou livest, live to Christ ; 
and when thou diest. thou shall die to Christ ; even into his bless- 
ed hands : so live that thou mayest say. It is Christ liveth in me, 
and the life that I live m the flesh. I live by the faith of the Son of 
God, who loved me, and gave himself for me ; " and then, as tbou 
bast lived in the comfort of hope, thou sbalt die unto the comfort of 
vision and fruition. And when thou canst say. " He is the God 
whose I am, and whom I serve," thou mayest boldly add, and 
whom I trust, and to whom I commend my departing soul ; and 
I know whom I have trusted. 1 



MR. BAXTER'S 
DYING THOUGHTS 



PHIL. i. 23. 

FOR I AM IN A STRAIT BETWIXT TWO, HAVING A DESIRE TO DEPART, 
AND TO BE WITH CHRIST, WHICH IS FAR BETTER. (Or, FOR THIS 
IS MUCH RATHER TO BE PREFERRED, OR BETTER.) 

" MAN that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trou- 
ble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down : he fleeth 
also as a shadow, and continueth not. And dost thou open thine 
eyes upon such a one, and bringest me into judgment with thee ? " 
saith Job, xiv. 1 3. As a watch when it is wound up, or as a 
candle newly lighted, so man, newly conceived or born, beginneth 
a motion, which incessantly hasteth to its appointed period. And 
an action, and its time that is past, is nothing ; so vain a thing 
would man be, and so vain his life, were it not for the hopes of a 
more durable life, which this referreth to. But those hopes, and 
the means, "do not only difference a believer from an infidel, but a 
man from a beast. When Solomon describeth the difference, in 
respect to the time and things of this life only, he truly tells us, 
that one end here befalling both, doth show that both are here 
but vanity, but man's vexation is greater than the beasts'. And 
Paul truly saith of Christians, that if our hope were only in this 
life, (that is, in the time and things of this life and world,) we were, 
of all men, the most miserable. Though even in this life, as re- 
lated to a better, and as we are exercised about things of a higher 
nature than the concerns of temporal life, we are far happier than 
any worldlings. 

Being to speak to myself, I shall pass by all the rest of the mat- 
ter of this text, and suppose its due explication, and spread before 
my soul only the doctrine and uses of these two propositions con- 
tained in it. FIRST, That the souls of believers, when departed 
hence, shall be with Christ. SECONDLY, That so to be with 
Christ is far better for them than to be here in the body. 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 23 



THE SOULS OF BELIEVERS, WHEN DEPARTED HENCE, SHALL BE 
WITH CHRIST. 

Concerning the FIRST, my thoughts shall keep this order. 
/. I shall consider the necessity of believing it. //. Whether it 
be best believing jt, without consideration of the proofs or difficul- 
ties. HI. The certainty of it manifested for the exercise of faith. 

7. Whether the words signify that we shall be in the same place 
with Christ, (which Grotius groundlessly denieth,) or only in his 
hand, and care, and love, I will not stay to dispute. Many other 
texts, concurring, do assure us that "we shall be with him where 
he is;" John xii. 26, and xvii. 24, &c. At least, "with him," 
can mean no less than a state of communion, and a participation 
of felicity. And to believe such a state of happiness for departed 
souls, is of manifold necessity or use. 

1. If this be not soundly believed, a man must live besides, or 
below, the end of life. He must have a false end, or be uncertain 
what should be his end. 

I know it may be objected, that if I make it my end to please 
God, by obeying him, and doing all the good I can, and trust him 
with my soul, and future estate, as one that is utterly uncertain 
what he will do with me, I have an end intended, which will make 
me godly, charitable, and just, and happy, so far as I am made for 
happiness ; for the pleasing of God is the right end of all. 

But, 1. Must I desire to please him no better than I do in this 
imperfect state, in which I have and do so much which is displeas- 
ing to him? He that must desire to please him, must desire to 
please him perfectly ; and our desire of our ultimate end must have 
no bounds, or check. Am I capable of pleasing God no better 
than by such a sinful life as this ? 

2. God hath made the desire of our own felicity so necessary to 
the soul of man, that it cannot be expected that our desire to please 
him should be separated from this. 

3. Therefore, both in respect of God, as the end, and of our feli- 
city, as our second end, we must believe that he is the beatifying 
rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

For, 1. If we make such an ill description of God, as that he 
will turn our pleasing him to our loss, or will not turn it to our 
gain and welfare, or that we know not whether he will do so or 
not, it will hinder our love, and trust, and joy, in him, by w y hich 
we must please him, and, consequently, hinder the alacrity, .and 
soundness, and constancy, of our obedience. 

2. And it will much dismiss that self-love, which must excite us ; 
and it will take off part of our necessary end. And I think the 
objectors "~nu!<l r-onfrsK, tlint if they have no certainty what God 



24 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

will do with them, they must have some probability and hope, be- 
fore they can be sincerely devoted here to please him. 

And, 1. If a man be but uncertain what he should make the 
end of his life, or what he should live for, how can he pitch upon 
an uncertain end ? And if he waver so as to have no end, he can 
use no means ; and if end and means be all laid by, the man liveth 
not as a man but as a brute : and what a torment must it be to a 
considering mind to be uncertain what to intend and do in all the 
tenor and actions of his life ! Like a man going out at his door, 
not knowing whither or what to do, or which way to go ; either he 
will stand still, or move as brutes do, by present sense, or as a wind- 
mill, or weathercock, as he is moved. 

2. But if he pitch upon a wrong end, it may yet be worse than 
none ; for he will but do hurt, or make work for repentance : and 
all the actions of his life must be formally wrong, how good soever 
materially, if the end of them be wrong. 

II. And if I fetch them not from this end, and believe not in 
God as a rewarder of his servants, in a better life, what motives 
shall I have, which, in our present difficulties, will be sufficient to 
cause me to live a holy, yea, or a truly honest life ? All piety and 
honesty, indeed, is good, and goodness is desirable for itself; but 
the goodness of a means is its aptitude for the end ; and we have 
here abundance of impediments, competitors, diversions, and temp- 
tations, and difficulties of many sorts ; and all these must be over- 
come by him that will live in piety or honesty ; and our natures, 
we find, are diseased, and greatly indisposed to unquestionable du- 
ties ; and will they ever discharge them, and conquer all these dif- 
ficulties and temptations, if the necessary motive be not believed ? 
Duty to God and man is accidentally hard and costly to the flesh, 
though amiable in itself. It may cost us our estates, our liberties, 
our lives. The world is not so happy as commonly to know good 
men from bad, or to encourage piety and virtue, or to forbear op- 
posing them. And who will let go his present welfare, without 
some hope of better, as a reward? Men use not to serve God for 
nought ; nor that think it will be their loss to serve him. 

A life of sin will not be avoided upon lower ends and motives : 
nay, those lower ends, when alone, will be a constant sin them- 
selves. A preferring vanity to glory, the creature to God, and a 
setting our heart on that which will never make us happy : and 
when lust and appetite incline men, strongly and constantly, to 
their several objects, what shall sufficiently restrain them, except 
the greater and more durable delights or motives fetched from pre- 
ponderating things ? Lust and appetite distinguish not between 
lawful and unlawful. We may see in the brutish politics of Ben- 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHT-. 25 

edictus Spiuosa, in his Tractat. Theolog. Polit., whither the prin- 
ciples of infidelity tend. If sin so overspread the earth, that the 
whole world is as drowned in wickedness, notwithstanding all the 
hopes and fears of a life to come, what would it do were there no 
such hopes and fears ? 

III. And no mercy can be truly known and estimated, nor 
rightly used and improved, by him that seeth not its tendency to 
the end, and perceiveth not that it leadeth to a better life, and 
useth it not thereunto. God dealeth more bountifully with us than 
worldlings understand. He giveth us all the mercies of this life, as 
helps to an immortal state of glory, and as earnests of it. Sensual- 
ists know not what a soul is, nor what soul mercies are ; and, there- 
fore, not what the soul of all bodily mercies are, but take up only 
with the carcass, shell, or shadow. If the king would give me a 
lordship, and send me a horse or coach to carry me to it, and 1 
should only ride about the fields for my pleasure, and make no 
other use of it, should I not undervalue and lose the principal bene- 
fit of my horse or coach ? No wonder if unbelievers be unthank- 
ful, when they know not at all that part of God's mercies which 
is the life and real excellency of them. 

IV. And, alas ! how should I bear with comfort the sufferings 
of this wretched life, without the hopes of a life with Christ? 
What should support and comfort me under my bodily languishings 
and pains, my weary hours, and my daily experience of the vanity 
and vexation of all things under the sun, had I not a prospect of a 
comfortable end of all ? I, that have lived in the midst of great and 
precious mercies, have all my life had something to do to over- 
come the temptation of wishing that I had never been born, and 
had never overcome it but by the belief of a blessed life hereafter. 
Solomon's sense of vanity and vexation hath long made all the 
business, and wealth, and honor, and pleasure, of this world, as 
such, appear such a dream and shadow to me, that were it not for 
the end, I could not have much differenced men's sleeping and 
their waking thoughts, nor have much more have valued the wak- 
ing than the sleeping part of life, but should have thought it a 
kind of happiness to have slept from the birth unto the death. 
Children cry when they come into the world ; and I am often sorry 
when I am awakened out of a quiet sleep, especially to the busi- 
ness of an unquiet day. We should be strongly tempted, in our 
considering state, to murmur at our Creator, as dealing much hard- 
lier by us than by the brutes, if we must have had all those cares, 
and griefs, and fears, by the knowledge of what we want, and the 
prospect of death, and future evils, which they are exempted from, 
and had not, withal, had the hopes of a future felicity to support 
us. Seneca and his stoics had no better argument to silence such 

VOL. II. 4 






26 BAXTER'S DTING THOUGHTS. 

murmurers who believed not a better life, than to tell them, that if 
this life had more evil than good, and they thought God did them 
wrong, they might remedy themselves by ending it when they 
would. But that would not cure the repinings of a nature which 
found itself necessarily weary of the miseries of life, and yet afraid 
of dying. And it is no great wonder that many thought that pre- 
existent souls were put into these bodies as a punishment of some- 
thing done in a former life, while they foresaw not the hoped end 
of all our fears and sorrows. ' O, how contemptible a thing is man ! ' 
saith the same Seneca; 'unless he lift up himself above human 
things.' Therefore, saith Solomon, when he had glutted himself 
with all temporal pleasures, "I hated life, because the work that 
is wrought under the sun is grievous to rne; for all is vanity and 
vexation of spirit;" Eccles. ii. 17. 

//. I have often thought whether an implicit belief of a future 
happiness, without any search into its nature, and thinking of any 
thing that can be said against it, or the searching, trying way, be 
better. On the one side, 1 have known many godly women that 
never disputed the matter, but served God, comfortably, to a very 
old age, (between eighty and one hundred,) to have lived many 
years in a cheerful readiness and desire of death, and such as few 
learned, studious men do ever attain to in that degree, who, no 
doubt, had this as a divine reward of their long and faithful service 
of God, and trusting in him. On the other side, a studious man 
can hardly keep off all objections, or secure his mind against the 
suggestions of difficulties and doubts ; and if they come in, they 
must be answered, seeing we give them half a victory if we cast 
them off before we can answer them. And a faith that is not up- 
held by such evidence of truth as reason can discern and justify, is 
oft joined with much secret doubting, which men dare not open, 
but do not, therefore, overcome ; and its weakness may have a weak- 
ening deficiency, as to all the graces and duties which should be 
strengthened by it. And who knoweth how soon a temptation 
from Satan, or infidels, or our own dark hearts, may assault us, 
which will not, without such evidence and resolving light, be over- 
come? And yet many that try, and reason, and dispute most, 
have not the strongest or most powerful faith. 

And rny thoughts of this have had this issue. 1. There is a 
great difference between that light which showeth us the thing it- 
self, and that artificial skill by which we have right notions, names, 
definitions, and formed arguments, and answers to objections. 
This artificial, logical, organical kind of knowledge is good and use- 
ful in its kind, if right; like speech itself: but he that hath much 
of this, may have little of the former ; and unlearned persons that 
have little of t hi*, may have more of the former, and may have 



BAXTERS DYING THOL'UHT*. 27 

those inward perceptions of the verity of the promises and rewards 
of God, which they cannot bring forth into artificial reasonings to 
themselves or others ; who are taught of God, by the effective sort 
of teaching which reacheth the heart, or will, as well as the un- 
derstanding, and is a giving of what is taught, and a making us such 
as we are told we must be.* And who findeth not need to pray 
hard for this effective teaching of God, when he hath got all or- 
ganical knowledge, and words and arguments in themselves most 
apt, at his fingers' ends, as we say ? When I can prove the truth 
of the word of God, and the life to come, with the most convin- 
cing, undeniable reasons, I feel need to cry and pray daily to God, 
to increase my faith, and to give me that light which may satisfy 
the soul, and reach the end. 

2. Yet man, being a rational wight, is not taught by mere in- 
stinct and inspiration, and therefore this effective teaching of God 
doth ordinarily suppose a rational, objective, organical teaching 
and knowledge. And the aforesaid unlearned Christians are con- 
vinced, by good evidence, that God's word is true, and his rewards 
are sure, though they have but a confused conception of this evi- 
dence, and cannot word it, nor reduce it to fit notions. And to 
drive these that have fundamental evidence, unseasonably and 
hastily to dispute their faith, and so to puzzle them by words and 
artificial objections, is but to hurt them, by setting the artificial, 
organical, lower part, which is the body of knowledge, against the 
real light and perception of the thing, (which is as the soul,) even 
as carnal men set the creatures against God, that should lead us to 
God, so do they by logical, artificial knowledge. 

But they that are prepared for such disputes, and furnished with 
all artificial helps, may make good use of them for defending and 
clearing up the truth to themselves and others, so be it they use 
them as a means to the due end, and in a right manner, and set 
them not up against, or instead of, the real and effective light. 

But the revealed and necessary part must here be distinguished 
from the unrevealed and unnecessary. To study till we, as clear- 
ly as may be, understand the certainty of a future happiness, and 
wherein it consisteth, (in the sight of God's glory, and in perfect, 
holy, mutual love, in union with Christ, and all the blessed,) this 
is of great use to our holiness and peace. But when w 7 e will know 
more than God would have us, it doth but tend (as gazing on the 
sun) to make us blind, and to doubt of certainties, because we 
cannot be resolved of uncertainties. To trouble our heads too 
much in thinking how souls, out of the body, do subsist and act, 

* This is the true mean between George Keith the Quaker's doctrine of 
continued inspiration and intuition; and that on the other extreme. 



M BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

sensitively or not, by organs or without; how far they are one, and 
how far still individuate ; in what place they shall remain, and where 
is their paradise or heaven ; how shall they be again united to the 
body, whether by their own emission, as the sunbeams touch their 
objects here, and whether the body shall be restored, as the con- 
sumed flesh of restored sick men, aliunde, or only from the old 
materials. A hundred of these questions are better left to the 
knowledge of Christ, lest we do but foolishly make snares for our- 
selves. Had all these been needful to us, they had been revealed. 
In respect to all such curiosities, and needless knowledge, it is a 
believer's wisdom implicitly to trust his soul to Christ, and to be 
satisfied that he knoweth what we know not, and to fear that vain, 
vexatious knowledge, or inquisitiveness into good and evil, which 
is selfish, and savoreth of a distrust of God, and is that sin, and 
fruit of sin, which the learned world too little feareth. 

III. That God is the rewarder of them that diligently seek 
him, and that holy souls shall be in blessedness with Christ, these 
following evidences, conjoined, do evince, on which my soul doth 
raise its hopes. 

I. The soul, which is an immortal spirit, must be immortally in 
a good or bad condition : but man's soul is an immortal spirit, and 
the good are not in a bad condition. Its immortality is proved 
thus : A spiritual, or most pure, invisible substance, naturally en- 
dowed with the power, virtue, or faculty of vital action, intel- 
lection and volition, which is not annihilated nor destroyed by sep- 
aration of parts, nor ceaseth, or loseth, either its power, species, 
individuation, or action, is an immortal spirit. But such is the soul 
of man, as shall be manifested by parts. 

1. The soul is a substance; for that which is nothing can do 
nothing : but it doth move, understand, and will. No man will 
deny that this is done by something in us, and by some substance, 
and that substance is it which we call the soul. It is not nothing, 
and it is within us. 

As to them that say, it is the temperament of several parts con- 
junct, I have elsewhere fully confuted them, and proved, (1.) That 
it is some one part that is the agent on the rest, which all they 
confess that think it to be the material spirits, or fiery part. It is 
not bones ancl flesh that understand, but a purer substance, as all 
acknowledge. (2.) What part soever it be, it can do no more 
than it is able to do, and a conjunction of many parts, of which no 
one hath the power of vitality, intellection or volition, formally or 
eminently, can never, by contemperation, do those acts ; for there 
can be no more in the effect than is in the cause, otherwise it were 
no effect. 

The vanity of their objections that tell us, a lute, a watch, a 



BAXTERS DYING THOUGHTS* 



book, perform that by cooperation which no one part can do, I 
have elsewhere manifested. (1.) Many strings, indeed, have many 
motions, and so have many effects on the ear and fantasy, which 
in us are sound and harmony : but all is but a percussion of the 
air by strings, and were not that motion received by a sensitive 
soul, it would be no music or melody ; so that there is nothing 
done but what each part had power to do. But intellection and 
volition are not the conjunct motions of all parts of the body, re- 
ceiving their form in a nobler intellective nature, as the sound of 
the strings maketh melody in man : if it were so, that receptive 
nature still would be as excellent as the effect impotteth. (2.) 
And the watch, or clock, doth but move according to the action of 
the spring, or poise ; but that it moveth in such an order as be- 
cometh to man a sign and measure of time, this is from man who 
ordereth it to that use. But there is nothing in the motion but 
what the parts have their power to cause ; and that it signifieth 
the hour of the days to us, is no action, but an object used by a 
rational soul, as it can use the shadow of a tree, or house, that yet 
doth nothing. (3.) And so a book doth nothing at all, but is a 
mere objective ordination of passive signs, by which man's active 
intellect can understand what the writer, or orderer, did intend ; 
so that here is nothing done beyond the power of the agent, nor 
any thing in the effect which was not in the cause, either formally 
or eminently. But for a company of atoms, of which no one hath 
sense or reason, to become sensitive and rational by mere conjunct 
motion, is an effect beyond the power of the supposed cause. 

But as some think so basely of our noblest acts, as to think that 
contempered agitated atoms can perform them, that have no natural 
intellective, or sensitive, virtue or power in themselves, so others 
think so highly of them, as to take them to be the acts only of 
God, or some universal soul in the body of man ; and so that there 
is no life, sense, or reason, in the world but God himself, (or such 
an universal soul ;) and so, that either every man is God, as to his 
soul, or that it is the body only that is to be called man, as distinct 
from God. But this is the self-ensnaring and self-perplexing te- 
merity of busy, bold, and arrogant heads, that know not their own 
capacity and measure. And on the like reasons, they must at last 
come, with others, to say, that all passive matter also is God, and 
that God is the universe, consisting of an active soul and passive 
body. As if God were no cause, and could make nothing, or 
nothing with life, or sense, or reason. 

But why depart we from things certain, by such presumptions 
as these ? Is it not certain that there are baser creatures in the 
world than men or angels ? Is it not certain that one man is not 






30 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

another ? Is it not certain that some men are in torment of body 
and mind ? And will it be a comfort to a man in such torment to 
tell him that he is God, or that he is part of an universal soul ? 
Would not a man on the rack, or in the stone, or other misery, say, 
' Call me by what name you please, that easeth not my pain. If 
I be a part of God, or an universal soul, I am sure I am a torment- 
ed, miserable part. And if you could make me believe that God 
hath some parts which are not serpents, toads, devils, or wicked 
or tormented men, you must give me other senses, and perceptive 
powers, before it will comfort me to hear that I am not such a 
part. And if God had wicked and tormented parts on earth, why 
may he not have such, and I be one of them, hereafter? And if 
I be a holy and happy part cf God, or of an universal soul on 
earth, why may not I hope to be such hereafter ? ' 

We deny not but that God is the continued, first cause of all 
being whatsoever ; and that the branches and fruit depend not, 
as effects, so much on the causality of the stock and roots, as the 
creature doth on God ; and that it is an impious conceit to think 
that the world, or any part of it, is a being independent, and sepa- 
rated totally from God, or subsisting without his continued causa- 
tion. But cannot God cause, as a creator, by making that which 
is not himself? This yieldeth the self-deceiver no other honor 
nor happiness but what equally belongeth to a devil, to a fly, or 
worm, to a dunghill, or to the worst and most miserable man ? 

2. As man's soul is a substance, so is it a substance differenced 
formally from all inferior substances, by an innate (indeed essen- 
tial) power, virtue or faculty, of vital action, intellection, and free- 
will ; for we find all these acts performed by it, as motion, light, 
and heat are by the fire or sun. And if any should think that these 
actions are, like those of a musician, compounded of the agent's 
(principal and organical several) parts, could he prove it, no more 
would follow, but that the lower powers (the sensitive, or spirits) 
are to the higher as a passive organ, receiving its operations ; and 
that the intellectual soul hath the power of causing intellection and 
volition by its action on the inferior parts, as a man can cause such 
motions of his lute, as shall be melody (not to it, but) to himself; 
and, consequently, that as music is but a lower operation of man, 
(whose proper acts of intellection and volition are above it,) so 
intellection and volition in the body are not the noblest acts of the 
soul ; but it performed them by an eminent power, which can do 
greater things. And if this could be proved, what would it tend 
to the unbeliever's ends, or to the disadvantage of our hopes and 
comforts ? 

3. That man's soul, at death, is not annihilated, even the atom- 






BAXTER'S DTING THOUGHTS. 31 

ists and epicureans will grant, who think that no atom in the uni- 
verse is annihilated ; and we that see, not only the sun and heavens 
continued, but every grain of matter, and that compounds are 
changed by dissolution of parts, and rarefaction, or migration, See., 
and not by annihilation, have no reason to dream that God will 
annihilate one soul, (though he can do it, if he please, yea, and 
annihilate all the world :) it is a thing beyond a rational ex- 
pectation. 

4. And a destruction by the dissolution of the parts of the soul, 
we need not fear. For, (1.) Either an intellectual spirit is divis- 
ible and partible, or not : if not, we need not fear it : if it be, either 
it is a thing that nature tendeth to, or not ; but that nature doth 
not tend to it, is evident. For there is naturally so strange and 
strong an inclination to unity, and averseness to separation in all 
things, that even earth and stones, that have no other (known) 
natural motion, have yet an aggregate motion in their gravitation : 
but if you will separate the parts from the rest, it must be by force. 
And water is yet more averse from partition without force, and 
more inclined to union than earth, and air than water, and fire than 
air ; so he that will cut a sunbeam into pieces, and make many 
of one, must be an extraordinary agent. And, surely, spirits, even 
intellectual spirits, will be no less averse from partition, and in- 
clined to keep their unity, than fire or a sunbeam is ; so that nat- 
urally it is not a thingto be feared, that it should fall into pieces. 

(2.) And he that. will say, that the God of nature will change, 
and overcome the nature that he hath made, must give us good 
proofs of it, or it is not to be feared. And if he should do it as a 
punishment, we must find such a punishment somewhere threaten- 
ed, either in his natural or supernatural law, which we do not, and 
therefore need not fear it. 

(3.) But if it were lo be feared that souls were partible, and 
would be broken into parts, this would be no destruction of them, 
either as to their substance, powers, form, or action, but only a 
breaking of one soul into many ; for, being not compounded of 
heterogeneal parts, but, as simple elements, of homogeneal only, 
as every atom of earth is earth, and every drop of water in the sea 
is water, and every particle of air and fire is air and fire, and have 
all the properties of earth, water, air, and fire ; so would it be with 
every particle of an intellectual spirit. But who can see cause to 
dream of such a partition, never threatened by God ? 

5. And that souls lose not their formal powers, or virtues, we 
have great reason to conceive ; because they are their natural es- 
sence, not as mixed, but simple substances : and though some im- 
agine that the passive elements may, by attenuation or incrassation, 
be transmuted one into another, yet we see that earth is still earth, 







RU^. 

32 BAXTERS DYING THOUGHTS. 

and water is water, and air is air ; and their conceit hath no proof; 
and, were it proved, it would but prove that none of these are a first 
or proper element : but what should an intellectual spirit be chang- 
ed into ? how should it lose its formal power ? Not by nature ; for 
its nature hath nothing that tendeth to deterioration, or decay, or 
self-destruction. The sun doth not decay by its wonderful motion, 
light, and heat ; and why should spirits ? Not by God's destroy- 
ing them, or changing their nature ; for, though all things are in 
constant motion, or revolution, he continueth the natures of the 
simple beings, and shovveth us, that he delighteth in a constancy 
of operations, insomuch that, hence, Aristotle thought the world 
eternal. And God hath made no law that threatened! to do it as 
a penalty. Therefore, to dream that intellectual spirits shall be 
turned into other things, and lose their essential, formal powers, 
which specify them, is without and against all sober reason. Let 
them first but prove that the sun loseth motion, light and heat, and 
is turned into air, or water, or earth. Such changes are beyond a 
rational fear. 

6. But some men dream that souls shall sleep, and cease their 
acts, though they lose not their powers. But this is more unrea- 
sonable than the former. For it must be remembered that it is 
not a mere obediential, passive power that we speak of, but an 
active power, consisting in as great an inclination to act, as pas- 
sive natures have to forbear action. So that if such a nature act 
not, it must be because its nacural inclination is hindered by a 
stronger : and who shall hinder it ? 

(1.) God would not continue an active power, force, and in- 
clination in nature, and forcibly hinder the operation of that nature 
which he himself continueth ; unless penally, for some special cause, 
which he never gave us any notice of by any threatening, but the 
contrary. 

(2.) Objects will not be wanting, for all the world will be still 
at hand, and God above all. It is, therefore, an unreasonable 
conceit to think that God will continue an active, vital, intellective, 
volitive nature, form, power, force, inclination, in a noble substance, 
which-shall use none of these for many hundred or thousand years, 
and so continue them in vain. 

Nay, (3.) It is rather to be thought that some action is their 
constant state, without which the cessation of their very form 
would be inferred. 

But all that can be said, with reason, is, that separated souls, and 
souls hereafter in spiritual bodies, will have actions of another mode, 
and very different from these that we now perceive in flesh : and 
be it so. They will yet be, radically, of the same kind, and they 
will be, formally or eminently, such as we now call vitality, intel- 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 33 

lection, and volition ; and they will be no lower, or less excellent, if 
not far more ; and then what the difference will be, Christ know- 
eth, whom I trust, and in season I shall know. But to talk of a 
dead life, and' an unactive activity, or a sleeping soul, is fitter for a 
sleeping than a waking man. 

It is true, that diseases or hurts do now hinder the souFs intel- 
lectual perceptions in the body ; and in infancy, and sleep, they 
are imperfect. Which proveth, indeed, that the acts, commonly 
called intellection and volition, have now something in them also 
of sensation, and that sensitive operations are diversified by the or- 
gans of the several senses. And that bare intellection and volition, 
without any sensation, is now scarce to be observed in us, though 
the soul may have such acts intrinsically, and in its profundity. 
For it is no\v so united to this body, that it acteth on it as our 
fonn ; and, indeed, the acts observed by us cannot be denied to be 
such as are specified, or modified, at least, by the agents, and the 
recipients, and sub-agents' parts conjunct. But, (1.) As the sun 
would do the same thing, ex parte sui, if in vacua only it sent forth 
its beams, though this were no illumination, or calefaction, because 
there were no recipient to be illuminated and heated by it. And 
it would lose nothing by the want of objects ; so the soul, had it 
no body to act on, would have its profound immanent acts of self- 
living, self-perceiving, and self-loving, and all its external acts on 
other objects, which need not organs of sense for their approxi- 
mation. And, (2.) Its sensitive faculty is itself, or such as it is 
not separated from, though the particular sorts of sensation may 
be altered with their uses ; and therefore it may still act on, or 
with, the sense; and if one way of sensation be hindered, it hath 
another. (3.) And how far this lantern of flesh doth help, or 
hinder, its operations, we know not yet, but shall know hereafter. 
Sondius de Orig. AnimtK (though an heretical writer) hath said 
much to prove that the body is a hindrance, and not a help, to the 
soul's intuition. And if ratiocination be a compound act, yet in- 
tuition may be done forever by the soul alone. (4.) But as we are 
not to judge what powers the soul hath, when the acts are hinder- 
ed, but when they are done ; nor what souls were made by God 
for, by their state in the womb, or infancy, or diseases, but by our 
ordinary, mature state of life ; so we have little reason to think that 
the same God who made them for life, intellection and volitions 
here, will not continue the same powers to the same, or as noble 
uses hereafter, whether with organs, or without, as pleaseth him. 
If in this flesh our spirits were not inactive and useless, we have 
no reason to think that they will be so hereafter, and that forever. 

This greatest and hardest of all objections doth not make us con- 
fess, (with Contarenus, contra Pomponatium de Anim. Immortalit.,} 
TOL. n. 5 



34 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

that though, by the light of nature, we may know the immortality 
of souls, (and that they lose not their powers or activity,) yet, 
without supernatural light, we know not what manner of action 
they will have in their separated state, or in another world, because 
here they act according to objective termination, and the recep- 
tivity of the sense and fantasy, and recipitur ad modum recipi- 
entis ; and in the womb we perceive not that it acteth intellectu- 
ally at all. 

But we know, That, (1.) If even then it differed not in its for- 
mal power from the souls of brutes, it would not so much afterward 
differ in act ; and it would never be raised to that which was not 
virtually in its nature at the first. (2.) And we find that even 
very little children have quick and strong knowledge of such ob- 
jects as are brought within their reach ; and that their ignorance is 
not for want of an intellectual power, but for want of objects, or 
images of things, which time, and use, and conversation among ob- 
jects, must furnish their fantasies and memories with. And so a 
soul in the womb, or in an apoplexy, hath not objects of intellec- 
tion within its reach to act upon ; but is as the sun to a room that 
hath no windows to let in its light. (3.) And what if its pro- 
found vitality, self-perception, and self-love, be by a kind of sensa- 
tion and intuition, rather than by discursive reason ; I doubt not but 
some late philosophers make snares to themselves and others, by 
too much vilifying sense and sensitive souls, as if sense were but 
some losable accident of contempered atoms : but sensation (though 
diversified by organs and uses, and so far mutable) is the act of 
a noble, spiritual form and virtue. And as Charnbre, and some 
others, make brutes a lower rank of rationals, and man another high- 
er species, as having his nobler reason for higher ends; so for man 
to be the noblest order (here) of sensitives, and to have an intel- 
lect to order, and govern sensations, and connect them and improve 
them, were a noble work, if we had no higher. And if intellec- 
tion and volition were but a higher species of internal sensation 
than imagination and the fantasy and memory are, it might yet be 
a height that should set man specifically above the brutes. And I 
am daily more and more persuaded, -that intellectual souls are es- 
sentially sensitive and more, and that their sensation never ceaseth. 
(4.) And still I say, that it is to nature itself a thing unlikely, that 
the God of nature will long continue a soul that hath formally or 
naturally an intellective power, in a state in which it shall have no 
use of it. Let others, that will, inquire whether it shall have a ve- 
hicle or none to act in, and whether aerial, or igneous, and ethereal, 
and whether it be really an intellectual sort of fire, as material as 
the solar fire, whose (not compounding, but) inudequate-concepttis ob- 
/eef*e'are,an igneous susbtance, and formal virtue of life, sense, and 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUOHTS. "> 

intellection, with other such puzzling doubts ; it satisfied! me. th;it 
God will not continue its nobler powers in vain ; and how they 
shall be exercised, is known to^him; and that God's word tells us 
more than nature. And withal, life, intuition, and love, (or voli- 
tion,) are acts so natural to the soul, (as motion, light, and heat, 
quoad actum to fire,) that 1 cannot conceive how its separation 
should hinder them, but rather that its incorporation hinderetu. 
the two latter, by hiding objects, whatever be said of abstractive 
knowledge and memory. 

7. But the greatest difficulty to natural knowledge is, whether 
souls will continue their individuation, or rather fall into one com- 
mon soul, or return so to God that gave them, as to be no more 
divers (or many) individuals, as now ; as extinguished candles are 
united to the illuminated air, or to the sunbeams ; but of this I have 
elsewhere said much for others ; and for myself, I find I need but 
this : 1. That, as I said before, either souls are partible substances, 
or not ; if not partible, how are they unible ? If many may be made 
one, by conjunction of substances, then that one may (by God) 
be made many again, by partition. Either all (or many) souls are 
now but one, (individuate only by matter, as many gulfs in the 
sea, or many candles lighted by the sun,) or not ; if they are not 
one now in several bodies, what reason have we to think that they 
will be one hereafter, any more than now ? Augustine (de Anim.} 
was put on the question, 1. Whether souls are one, and not many. 
And that he utterly denied. 2. Whether they are many, and not 
one. And that, it seemeth, he could not digest. 3. Whether they 
were at once both one and many. Which he thought would seem 
to some ridiculous, but he seemeth most to incline to. And as 
God is the God of nature, so nature (even of the devils themselves) 
dependeth on him, as I said, more than the leaves, or fruit do on 
the tree ; and we are all his offspring, and live, and move, and are 
in him; Acts xvii. But we are certain, for all this, 1. That 
we are not God. 2. That we are yet many individuals, and not 
all one soul or man. If our union should be as near as the leaves 
and fruit on the same tree, yet those leaves and fruit are numerous, 
and individual leaves and fruits, though parts of the tree. And 
were this proved of our present or future state, it would not alter 
our hopes or fears ; for, as now, though we all live, move, and be 
in God, (and, as some dream, are parts of a common soul,) yet it 
is certain, that some are better and happier than others ; some wise 
and good ; and some foolish and evil ; some in pain and misery, 
and some at ease, and in pleasure ; and (as I said) it is now no 
ease to the miserable, to be told that, radically, all souls are one ; 
no more will it be hereafter, nor can men reasonably hope for, or 
fear such an union, as shall make their state the same. We see 



36 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

in nature, as I have elsewhere said, that if you graft many sorts 
of scions (some sweet, some bitter, some crabs) on the same stock, 
they will be one tree, and yet have diversity of fruit. If souls be 
not unible nor partible substances, there is no place for this doubt : 
if they be, they will be still what they are, notwithstanding any 
such union with a common soul. As a drop of water in the sea 
is a separable part, and still itself; and as a crab upon the foresaid 
stock, or tree. And the good or bad quality cease ih not by any 
union with others. 

Sure we are, that all creatures are in God, by close dependence, 
and yet that the good are good, and the bad are bad ; and that 
God is good, and hath no evil ; and that, when man is tormented, 
or miserable, God sufiereth nothing by it, (as the whole man doth, 
when but a tooth doth ache,) for he would not hurt himself were 
he passive. Therefore, to dream of any such cessation of our in- 
dividuation by any union with a creature, as shall make^ the good 
less good or happy, or the bad less bad or miserable, is a ground- 
less folly. 

Yet it is very probable that there will be a nearer union of holy 
souls with God and Christ, and one another, than we can here con- 
ceive of: but this is so far from being to be feared, that it is the 
highest of our hopes. (1.) God himself (though equally every 
where in his essence) doth operate very variously on his creatures. 
On the wicked, he operateth as the first cause of nature, as his sun 
shineth on them. On some, he operateth by common grace : to 
some he giveth faith to prepare them for the indwelling of his 
Spirit. In believers he dwelleth by love, and they in him ; and if 
we may use such a comparison, as Satan acteth on some only by 
suggestions, but on others so despotically as that it is called his 
possessing them, so God's Spirit worketh on holy souls, so pow- 
erfully and constantly, as is called his possessing them. And yet, 
on the human nature of Christ, the divine nature of the second 
person hath such a further, extraordinary operation, as is justly 
called a personal union ; which is not by a more essential presence, 
(for that is every where,) but by a peculiar operation and relation : 
and so, holy souls, being under a more felicitating operation of God, 
may well be said to have a nearer union with them than now 
they have. 

(2.) And I observe that (as is aforesaid) all things have natur- 
ally a strong inclination to union and communion with their like : 
every clod and stone inclineth to the earth : water would go to 
water, air to air, fire to fire : birds and beasts associate with their 
like ; and the noblest natures are most strongly thus inclined; and 
therefore I have natural reason to think that it will be so with 
holy souls. 



"' 
BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 37 

(3.) And I find, that the inordinate contraction of man to him- 
self, and to the interest of this individual person, with the defect of 
love to all about us, according to every creature's goodness, and 
especially to God, the infinite good, whom we should love above 
ourselves, is the very sum of all the pravity of man. And all the 
injustice and injury to others, and all the neglect of good works 
in the world, and all our daily terrors, and self-distracting, self-tor- 
menting cares, and griefs, and fears, proceed from this inordinate 
love and adhesion to ourselves ; therefore I have reason to think, 
that, in our better state, we shall perfectly love others as ourselves, 
and the selfish love will turn into a common and a divine love, 
which must be by our preferring the common, and the divine good 
and interest. 

And I am so sensible of the power and plague of selfishness, 
and how it now corrupteth, tempteth, and disquieteth me, that 
when I feel any fears, lest individuation cease, and my soul fall 
into one common soul, (as the stoics thought all souls did at death,) 
I find great cause to suspect, that this ariseth from the power of 
this corrupting selfishness ; for reason seeth no cause at all to fear 
it, were it so. 

(4.) For I find, also, that the nature of love is to desire as near 
a union as possible ; and the strongest love doth strongliest desire 
it. Fervent lovers think they can scarce be too much one : and 
love is our perfection, and therefore so is union. 

(5.) And I find, that when Christians had the first and full 
pourings out of the Spirit, they had the ferventest love, and the 
nearest union, and the least desire of propriety and distance. 

(6.) And I find, that Christ's prayer for the felicity of his dis- 
ciples, is a prayer for their unity ; John xvii. 22, 23. And in this 
he placeth much of their perfection. 

(7.) And I find, also, that man is of a social nature, and that all 
men find by experience, that conjunction in societies is needful for 
their safety, strength, and pleasure. 

(8.) And I find, that my soul would fain be nearer God, and 
that darkness and distance is my misery, and near communion is it 
that would answer all the tendencies of my soul : why, then, should 
I fear too near a union ? 

I think it utterly improbable, that my soul should become more 
nearly united to any creature than to God ; (though it be of the 
same kind with other souls, and infinitely below God ;) for God is 
as near me as I am to myself: I still depend on him, as the effect 
upon its total, constant cause ; and that not as the fruit upon the tree, 
which borroweth all from the earth, water, air, and fire, which it 
communicateth to its fruit ; but as a creature on its Creator, who 
hath no being but what it receiveth totally from God, by constant 



38 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

communication. Hence Antonine, Seneca, and the rest of the 
stoics, thought that all the world was God, or one great animal, 
consisting of divine spirit and matter, as man of soul and body ; 
sometimes calling the supposed soul of the world God ; and some- 
times calling the whole world God; but still meaning that the 
universe was but one spirit and body united, and that we all are 
parts of God, or of the body of God, or accidents, at least. 

And even the Popish mystical divines, in their pretensions to the 
highest perfection, say the same in sense ; such as Benedict. 
Anglus in his Regula Perfectionis, (approved by many doctors,) 
who placed much of his supereminent life in our believing verily 
that there is nothing but God, as the beams are to the sun, and as 
the heat is to the fire ; (which really is itself;) and so teaching us 
to rest in all things as good, as being nothing but God's essential will, 
which is himself, (resolving even our sins and imperfections accord- 
ingly into God, so that they are God's or none.) 

And all these men have as fair a pretense for the concjeits of 
such an union with God now, as for such an union after death : for 
their reason is, 1. That God being infinite, there can be no more 
beings than his own ; but God and the smallest being distinct, 
would be more entity than God alone ; but infinity can have no 
addition. 2. Because ens et bonum convertuntur ; but God only 
is good. 

And if we are, notwithstanding all this, distinct beings from God 
now, we shall not be so advanced as to be deified, and of crea- 
tures, or distinct beings, turned into a being infinitely above us. 
If we be not parts of God now, we shall not be so then. 

But if they could prove that we are so now, we should quickly 
prove to them, 1. That then God hath material, divisible parts, 
(as the stoics thought.) 2. And that we are no such parts, as are 
not distinct from one another ; but some are tormented, and some 
happy. And, 3. That (as is said) it will be no abatement of the 
misery of the tormented, nor the felicity of the blessed, to tell 
them that they are all parts of God ; for, though the manner of 
our union with him, and dependence on him, be past our compre- 
hension, yet that we are distinct and distant from each other, 
and have each one a joy or misery of his own, is past all doubt. 
Therefore, there is no union with God to be feared by holy souls, 
but the utmost possible to be highliest desired. 

And if our union with God shall not cease our individuation, or re- 
solve us into a principle to be feared, we may say also of our union 
with any common soul, or many : if we be unible, we are partible, 
and so have a distinct, though not a divided substance, which 
will have its proper accidents. All plants are parts of the earth, 
really united to it, and radicated in it, and live and are nourished 



BAXTER'S DYINO THOUGHTS. 39 

by it ; and yet a vine is a vine ; and an apple is an apple ; and a 
rose is a rose ; and a nettle is a nettle. And few men would be 
toiled horses, or toads, if it were proved that they are animated by 
a common soul. 

But God letteth us see, that though the world be one, yet he 
d ^ighteth in a wonderful diversity and multiplicity of individuals. 
How various and numerous are they in the sea, and on the land, 
and in the air! And are there none in the other world? How 
come the stars therein to be so numerous, which are of the same 
element ? and though, perhaps, Saturn, or some other planets, or 
many stars, may send forth their radiant effluvia, or parts, into the 
same air, which the sunbeams seem totally to fill and illuminate, 
yet the rays of the sun, and of other stars, are not the same, how 
near soever in the same air. 

Were there now no more contraction by egoityj or propriety 
among men, nor mine and thine did signify no more, nor the dis- 
tance were greater than that of the several drops of water in the 
sea, or particles of light in the illuminated air, but I had all my 
part in such a perfect unity and communion with all others, and 
knew that all were as happy as I, so that there were no divisions 
by cross interests or minds, but all were one, certainly it would 
make my own comforts greater by far than they are now. Are 
not an hundred candles set together and united as splendid a flame 
as if they were all set asunder ? So one soul, one love, one joy, 
would be.* 

****** 

Obj. But this would equalize the good and bad, or, at least, 
those that were good in several degrtes ; and where, then, were 
the reward and punishment ? 

Answ. It would not equal them at all, any more than distinct 
personality would do: for, 1. The souls of all holy persons may 
be so united, as that the souls of the wicked shall have no part in 
that union. Whether the souls of the wicked shall be united in 
one sinful, miserable soul, or, rather, but in one sinful society, or 
be greatlier separate, disunited, contrary to each other, and mili- 
tant, as part of their sin and misery, is nothing to this case. 2. 
Yet natural and moral union must be differenced. God is the 
root of nature to the worst ; and however in one sense it is said, 
that there is nothing in God but God, yet it is true, that in him all 
live, and move, and have their being ; but yet the wicked's in- 
being in God doth afford them no sanctifying or beatifying com- 

* Two paragraphs are here omitted ; they contain an abstruse answer to an 
abstruse objection, both being founded, like much of the reasoning in the con- 
text; on a philosophy now obsolete. Ed. 

H 

v 



40 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

munion with him, as experience showeth us in this life ; which yet 
holy souls have, as being made capable recipients of it. As I said, 
different plants, briers, and cedars, the stinking and the sweet, are 
implanted parts (or accidents) of the same world or earth. 3. 
And the godly themselves may have as different a share of hap- 
piness in one common soul, as they have now of holiness, and so 
as different rewards, (even as roses, and rosemary, and other herbs, 
differ in the same garden, and several fruits in the same orchard, 
or on the same tree.) For, if souls are unible, and so partible 
substances, they have, neither more nor less of substance or holi- 
ness for their union ; and so will each have his proper measure. 
As a tun of water cast into the sea will there still be the same, 
and more than a spoonful cast into it. 

Obj. But spirits are not as bodies, extensive and quantitative, 
and so not partible or divisible ; and therefore your supposition 
is vain. 

Answ. 1 . My supposition is but the objector's ; for, if they con- 
fess that spirits are substances, (as cannot with reason be denied ; 
for they that specify their operations by motion only, yet suppose 
a pure, proper substance to be the substance or thing moved,) then 
when they talk of many souls becoming one, it must be by con- 
junction, and increase of the substance of that one ; or when they 
say, that they were always one, they will confess, withal, that they 
now differ in number, as individuate in the body. And who will 
say, that millions of millions are no more than one of all those 
millions ? Number is a sort of quantity ; and all souls in the world 
are more than Cain's or Abel's only ; one feeleth not what another 
feeleth ; one knoweth not What another knoweth. And indeed, 
though souls have not such corporeal extension as passive, gross, 
bodily matter hath, yet, as they are more noble, they have a more 
noble sort of extension, quantity, or degrees, according to which 
all mankind conceive of all the spiritual substance of the universe ; 
yea, all the angels, or all the souls on earth, as being more, and 
having more substance than one man's soul alone. 2. And the 
fathers, for the most part, especially the Greeks, (yea, and the 
second council of Nice,) thought that spirits created had a purer 
sort of material being, which Tertullian called a body ; and, doubt- 
less, all created spirits have somewhat of passiveness ; for they do 
redpere vel pati from the divine influx ; only God is wholly im- 
passive. We are moved when we move, and acted when we act ; 
and it is hard to conceive, that (when matter is commonly called 
passive) that which is passive should have no sort of matter in a 
large sense taken ; and if it had any parts distinguishable, they are 
by Gi.fl divisible. 3. But if the contrary be supposed, that all 






R'S DYING THOUGHTS. 41 

souls are no more than one. and so that there is no place for uniting 
or partition, there is no place then for the objection of all souls 
becoming one, and of losing individuation, unless they mean by 
annihilation. 

But that God who (as is said) delighteth both in the union, and 
yet in the wonderful multiplicity of creatures, and will not make 
all stars to be only one ; though fire, have a most uniting or aggre- 
gative inclination, hath further given experimental notice that there 
is individuatioa in the other world as well as here, even innu- 
merable angels and devils, and not one only ; as apparitions and 
witches, and many other evidences, prove ; of which more anon. 
So that, all things considered, there is no reason to fear that the 
souls shall lose their individuation or activity, (though they change 
their manner of action,) any more than their being or formal 
power ; and so it is naturally certain that they are immortal. 

And if holy souis are so far immprtal, I need not prove that 
they will be immortally happy ; for their holiness will infer it ; 
and few will ever dream that it shall there go ill with them that 
are good, and that the most just and holy God will not use those 
well whom he maketh holy. 

II. That holy souls shall be hereafter happy, seemeth to be one 
of the common notices of nature planted in the consciences of 
mankind ; and it is therefore acknowledged by the generality of 
the world that freely use their understandings. Most, yea, almost 
all the heathen nations at this day believe it, besides the Mahome- 
tans ; and it is the most barbarous cannibals and Brazilians that do 
not, whose understandings have had the least improvement, and 
who have rather an inconsiderate nescience of it, than a denying 
opposition. And though some philosophers denied it, they were 
a small and contemned party : and though many of the rest were 
somewhat dubious, it was only a certainty which they professed 
to want, and not a probability or opinion that it was true ; and 
both the vulgar and the deep-studied men believed it, and those 
that questioned it were the half-studied philosophers, who, not-rest- 
ing in the natural notice, nor yet reaching full intellectual evidence 
of it by discourse, had found out matter of difficulty to puzzle them, 
and came not to that degree of wisdom as would have resolved them. 

And even among apostates from Christianity, most, or many, 
still acknowledge the soul's immortality, and the felicity and re- 
ward of holy souls, to be of the common notices, known by nature 
to mankind. Julian was so mucfi persuaded of it, that, on that 
account, he exhorteth his priests and subjects to great strictness and 
holiness of life, and to see that the Christian did not exceed 
them : and, among us, the Lord Herbert de. Veritatc, and many 
others that seem not to believe our supernatural revelations of 
vbi,. n fS 






42 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

Christianity, do fully acknowledge it. Besides those philosophers 
who most opposed Christianity, as Porphyrius, Maximus Tyrius, 
and such others. 

And we find that this notice hath so deep a root in nature, that 
few of those that study and labor themselves into bestiality (or 
sadducisin) are able to excuse the fears of futuie misery, but con- 
science overcometh, or troubleth them much, at least, when they 
have done the worst they can against it. And whence should all 
this be in man and not in beast, if man had no further reason of 
hopes and fears than they ? Are a few Sadducees wiser, by their 
forced or crude conceits, than all the world that are taught by na- 
ture itself? 

III. If the God of nature have made it every man's certain 
duty to make it his chief care and work in this life to seek for 
happiness hereafter, then such a happiness there is for them that 
truly seek it. But the antecedent is certain, as I have elsewhere 
proved. Ergo, &,c. 

As to the antecedent. The world is made up of three sorts of 
men, as to the belief of future retribution ; 1. Such as take it for 
a certain truth ; such are Christians, Mahometans, and most hea- 
thens. 2. Such as take it for uncertain, but most probable or 
likeliest to be true. 3. Such as take it for uncertain, but rather 
think it untrue. For, as none can be certain that it is false, which 
indeed is true, so I never yet met with one that would say he was 
certain that it was false ; so that I need not trouble you with the 
mention of any other party or opinion ; but if any should say so, 
it is easy to prove that he speaketh falsely of himself. 

And that it is the duty of all these, but especially of the two 
former sorts, to make it their chief care and work to seek their 
happiness in the life to come, is easily proved thus : Natural 
reason requireth every man to seek that which is best for himself, 
with the greatest diligence ; but natural reason saith that probabil- 
ity, or possibility, of the future everlasting happiness is better and 
more worthy to be sought, than any thing attainable in this present 
life, (which doth not suppose it.) Ergo, &.c. 

The major is past doubt. Good and felicity being necessarily 
desired by the will of man, that which is best, and known so to 
be, must be most desired. 

And the minor should be as far past doubt to men that use not 
their sense against their reason. For, 1. In this life there is noth- 
ing certain to be continued one hour. 2. It is certain that all will 
quickly end, and that the longest life is short. 3. It is certain 
that time and pleasure past are nothing, properly nothing ; and so 
no better to us than if they had never been. 4. And it is certain 
that, while we possess them, they are poor, unsatisfactory things, 



BAXTER'S I>YIO THOUGHT*. 43 

the pleasure of the flesh being no sweeter to a man than to a beast, 
and the trouble that accompanieth it much more. Beasts have not 
the cares, fears, and sorrows, upon foresight, which man hath. 
They fear not death upon the foreknowledge of it, nor fear any 
misery after death, nor are put upon any labor, sufferings, or trials, 
to obtain a future happiness, or avoid a future misery. All which 
considered, he speaketh not by reason, who saith this vain, vexa- 
tious life is better than the possibility or probability of the everlast- 
ing glory. 

Now, as to the consequence, or major of the first argument, it is 
evident of itself, from God's perfection, and the nature of his 
works. God maketh it not man's natural duty to lay out his chief 
care and labor of all his life on that which is not, or to seek that 
which man was never made to attain ; for, then, 1. All his duty 
should result from mere deceit and falsehood, and God should 
govern all the world by a lie, which cannot be his part who want- 
eth neither power, wisdom, nor love, to rule them by truth and 
righteousness, and who hath printed his image both on his laws and 
on his servants ; in which laws lying is condemned, and the better 
any man is, the more he hateth it ; and liars are loathed by all 
mankind. 2. And then the better any man is, and the more he 
doth his duty, the more deluded, erroneous, and miserable should 
he be. For he should spend that care and labor of his life upon 
deceit, for that which he shall never have, and so should lose his 
time and labor : and he should deny his flesh those temporal 
pleasures which bad men take, and suffer persecutions and injuries 
from the wicked, and all for nothing, and on mistake : and the 
more wicked, or more unbelieving, any man is, the wiser and 
happier should he be, as being in the right, when he denieth the 
life to come, and all duty and labor in seeking it, or in avoiding 
future punishment ; and while he taketh his utmost pleasure here, 
he hath all that man was made for. But all this is utterly unsuita- 
ble to God's perfection, and to his other works : for he maketh 
nothing in vain, nor can he lie ; much less will he make holiness 
itself, and all that duty and work of life which reason itself 
obligeth all men, to be not only in vain but hurtful to them. But 
of this argument I have been elsewhere larger. 

IV. Man differeth so much from brutes in the knowledge of 
God, and of his future possibilities, that ifproveth that he differeth 
as much in his capacity and certain hopes. 1 . As to the antece- 
dent, man knoweth that there is a God by his works. He knoweth 
that this God is our absolute Lord, our ruler and our end. He 
knoweth that, naturally, we owe him all our love and obedience. He 
knoweth that good men use not to let their most faithful servants be 
losers by their fidelity ; nor do they use to set them to labor in vain. 



m 

44 BAXXEK s DYING THOUGHTS. 

He knovveth that man's soul is immortal, or, at least, that it is far 
more probable that it is so ; and therefore that it must accordingly be 
well or ill forever, and that this should be most cared for. 2. And 
why should God give him all this knowledge more than to the brutes, 
if he were made for no more enjoyment than the brutes, of what he 
knoweth ? Every wise man maketh his work fit for the use that he 
mtendeth it to ; and will not God ? So that the consequence also is 
proved from the divine perfection ; and if God were not perfect, he 
were not God. The denial of a God, therefore, is the result of 
the denial of man's future hopes. 

And, indeed, though it be but an analogical reason that brutes 
have, those men seem to be in the right who place the difference 
between man and brutes more in the objects, tendency, and work 
of our reason, than in our reason itself as such, and so make 
animal religiosum to be more of his description than animal ratio- 
nale. About their own low concerns, a fox, a dog, yea, an ass, and 
a goose, have such actions as we know not well how to ascribe to 
any thing below some kind of reasoning, or a perception of the same 
importance. But they think not of God, and his government, and 
laws, nor of obeying, trusting, or loving him, nor of the hopes or 
fears of another life, nor of the joyful prospect of it. These are 
that work that man was made for, which is the chief difference from 
the brutes ; and shall we unman ourselves ? 

V. The justice of God, as governor of the world, inferreth 
different rewards hereafter, as I have largely elsewhere proved. 
1. God is not only a mover of all that moveth, but a moral ruler of 
man by laws, and judgment, and executions, else there were no 
proper law of nature, which few are so unnatural as to deny ; and 
man should have no proper duty, but only motion as he is moved. 
And, then, how cometh a government by laws to be set up under 
God by men ? And then there were no sin or fault in any ; for if 
there were no law and duty, but only necessitated motion, all 
would be moved as the mover pleased, and there could be no sin ; 
and then there would be no moral good, but forced or necessary 
motion. But all this is most absurd; and experience telleth us 
that God doth, dc facto, morally govern the world ; and his right is 
unquestionable. 

And if God were not the ruler of the world, by law and judg- 
ment, the world would have no universal laws ; for there is no man 
that is the universal ruler : and then kings and other supreme pow- 
ers would be utterly lawless and ungoverned, as having none above 
them to give them laws, and so they would be capable of no sin 
or fault, and of no punishment ; which yet neither their subjects' 
interest, nor their own consciences, will grant, or allow them thor- 
oughly to believe. 



.BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 45 

And if God be a ruler, he is just; or else he were not perfect, 
nor so good as he requireth princes and judges on earth to be. 
An unjust ruler or judge is abominable to all mankind. Right- 
eousness is the great attribute of the universal King. 

But how were he a righteous ruler, 1. If he drew all men to 
obey him by deceit ? 2. If he obliged them to seek and expect a 
felicity or reward which he will never give them ? 3. If he make 
man's duty his misery ? 4. If he require him to labor in vain ? 
5. If he suffer the wicked to persecute his servants to the death, 
and make duty costly, and give no after recompense ? 6. If he 
let the most wicked on the earth pass unpunished, or to escape as 
well hereafter as the best, and to live in greater pleasure here ? 
The objections fetched from the intrinsical good of duty I have 
elsewhere answered. 

VI. But God hath not left us to the light of mero nature, as 
being too dark for men as blind as we. The gospel revelation is 
the clear foundation of our faith and hope. Christ hath brought life 
and immortality to light. One from heaven that is greater than an 
angel was sent to tell us what is there, and which is the way to se- 
cure our hopes. He hath risen, and conquered death, and entered 
before as our captain and forerunner into the everlasting habitations. 
And he hath all power in heaven and earth, and all judgment is 
committed to him, that he might give eternal life to his elect. He 
hath frequently and expressly promised it them, that they shall live 
because he liveth, and shall not perish but have everlasting life ; 
Matt, xxviii. 18. John v. 22. xvii. 2. xii. 26. iii. 16. Rom. viii. 
35 38. And how fully he hath proved and sealed the truth of 
his word and office to us, I have so largely opened in my ' Reasons 
of the Christian Religion,' and 'Unreasonableness of Infidelity,' 
and in my 'Life of Faith,' &c. ; and since, in my 'Household 
Catechising,' that I will not here repeat it. 

And as all his word is full of promises of our future glory at 
the resurrection, so we are not without assurance that at death the 
departing soul doth enter upon a state of joy and blessedness. 
"They that died to (or in) the flesh according to men, do live in 
the Spirit according to God ;" 1 Pet. iv. 6. For, 

1 . He expressly promised the penitent, crucified thief, " This day 
shall thou be with me in paradise ; " Luke xxiii. 43. 

2. He gave us the narrative or parable of the damned sensualist, 
and of Lazarus, (Luke xvi.) to instruct us, and not to deceive us. 

3. He tells the Sadducees that God is not the God of the dead, 
(as his subjects and beneficiaries,) but of the living ; Matt. xxii. 32. 

4. Enoch and Elias were taken up to heaven, and Moses that 
died, appeared with Elias on the mount ; Matt. xvii. 

5. He telleth us, (Luke xii. 4.) that they that kill the body, are 









. 

46 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

not able to kill the soul. Indeed, if the soul were not immortal, 
the resurrection were impossible. It might be a new creation of 
another soul, but not a resurrection of the same, if the same be 
annihilated. It is certain that the Jews believed the immortality 
of the soul, in that they believed the resurrection and future life of 
the same man. 

6. And Christ's own soul was commended into his Father's 
hands, (Luke xxiii. 46.) and was in paradise, when his body was 
in the grave, to show us what shall become of ours. 

7. And he hath promised, that where he is, there shall his ser- 
vants be also ; John xii. 26. And that the life here begun in 
us is eternal life, and that he that believeth in him shall not die, but 
shall live by him, as he liveth by the Father, for he dwelleth in 
God, and God in him, and in Christ, and Christ in him ; John 
xvii. 3. and vi. 54. and iii. 16. 36. and vi. 47. 50. 56, 57. 1 John 
iv. 12, 13. Luke xvii. 21. Rom. xiv. 17. 

8. And accordingly, Stephen that saw heaven opened, prayed 
the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit ; Acts vii. 55. 59. 

9. And we are come to Mount Sion, &c., to an innumerable 
company of angels, and to the spirits of the just made perfect ; 
Heb. xii. 22, 23. 

10. And Paul here desireth to depart and be with Christ, as far 
better. And to be absent from the body, and be present with the 
Lord ; 2 Cor. v. 8. 

11. And the dead that die in the Lord are blessed, from hence- 
forth, that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow 
them. 

12. And if the disobedient spirits be in prison, and the cities of 
Sodom and Gomorrah suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, (1 Pet. 
iii. 19. Jude 7.) then the just have eternal life. And if the Jews 
had not thought the soul immortal, Saul had not desired the witch 
to call up Samuel to speak with him. The rest I now pass by. 
We have many great and precious promises, on which a departed 
soul may trust. 

13. And (Luke xvi. 9.) Christ expressly saith, that when we 
fail, (that is, must leave this world,) we shall be received into the 
everlasting habitations. 

VII. And it is not nothing to encourage us to hope in him that 
hath made all these promises, when we find how he heareth pray- 
ers in this life, and thereby assureth his servants that he is their 
true and faithful Savior. We are apt, in our distress, to cry loud for 
mercy and deliverances, and when human help faileth, to promise 
God, that if he now will save us, we will thankfully acknowledge it 
his work ; and yet, when we are delivered, to return not only to secu- 
ritv. but to ingratitude, and think that our deliverance came but in 



BAXTER'S DYINO THOUGHTS. 47 

the course of common providence, and not indeed as an answer to 
our prayers. And therefore God in mercy reneweth both our dis- 
tresses and our deliverances, that what once or twice will not con- 
vince us of, many and great deliverances may. This is my own 
case. O, how oft have I cried to him when men and means were 
nothing, and when no help in second causes did appear, and how 
oft, and suddenly, and mercifully, hath he delivered me ! What 
sudden ease, what removal of long afflictions, have I had ! such 
extraordinary changes, and beyond my own and others' expectations, 
when many plain-hearted, upright Christians have, by fasting and 
prayer, sought God on my behalf ; as have over and over convinced 
me of special providence, and that God is indeed a hearer of pray- 
ers. And wonders I have seen done for others also, upon such 
prayers, more than for myself; yea, and wonders for the church and 
public societies. Though I and others are too like those Israelites, 
(Psalm Ixxviii.) who cried to God in their troubles, and he oft 
delivered them out of their distress, but they quickly forgot his 
mercies, and their convictions, purposes, and promises, when they 
should have praised the Lord for his goodness, and declared his 
works with thanksgiving to the sons of men. 

And what were all these answers and mercies but the fruits of 
Christ's power, fidelity, and love, the fulfillings of his promises, and 
the earnest of the greater blessings of immortality, which the same 
promises give me title to ? 

I know that no promise of hearing prayer setteth up our wills in 
absoluteness, or above God's, as if every will of ours must be ful- 
filled if we do but put it into a fervent or confident prayer ; but if 
we ask any thing through Christ, according to his will, expressed 
in his promise, he will hear us. If a sinful love of this present life, 
or of ease, or wealth, or honor, should cause me to pray to God 
against death, or against all sickness, want, reproach, or other trials, 
as if I must live here in prosperity forever if I ask it, this sinful 
desire and expectation is not thfe work of faith, but of presumption. 
What if God will not abate me my last, or daily pains ? What if 
he will continue my life no longer, whoever pray for it, and how 
earnestly soever ? Shall I therefore forget how oft he hath heard 
prayers for me, and how wonderfully he hath helped both me and 
others ? My faith hath oft been helped by such experiences ; and 
shall I forget them, or question them without cause at last ? 

VIII. And it is a subordinate help to my belief of immortality 
with Christ, to find so much evidence that angels have friendly com- 
munion with us here, and therefore we shall have communion with 
t !: em hereafter ; Psalm xxxiv. 7. and xci. 11, 12. Luke xv. 10. 
1 Cor. xi. 10. Heb. i. 14. and xii. 22. and xiii. 2. Matt, xviii. 
10. and xxv. 31. and xiii. 39. 19. Acts v. 19. and viii. 26. and xii. 



48 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

7. 23. They have charge of us, and pitch their tents about us ; 
they bear us up ; they rejoice at our repentance ; they are the 
regardful witnesses of our behavior ; they are ministering spirits for 
our good ; they are our angels beholding the face of our heavenly 
Father. They will come with Christ in glorious attendance at the 
great and joyful day, and, as his executioners, they will separate 
the just from the unjust. 

And it is not only the testimony of Scripture by which we know 
their communion with us, but also some degree of experience. 
Not only of old did they appear to the faithful as messengers from 
God, but of late times there have been testimonies of their minis- 
tration for us. Of which see Zanchy de Angelis and Mr. J. 
Ambrose, of our communion with angels. Many a mercy doth 
God give us by their ministry, and they that are now so friendly to 
us. and suitable to our communion and help, and make up one 
society with us, do hereby greatly encourage us to hope that we are 
made for the same region, work, and company, with these our bless- 
ed, loving friends. They were once in a life of trial, it seems, as 
we are now, though not on earth ; Jude 6. 2 Pet. ii. 4. And 
they that overcame and are confirmed rejoice in our victory and 
confirmation. It is not an uninhabited world which is above us, 
nor such as is beyond our capacity and hope. We are come to an 
innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of the perfected 
just, who together have discreet quantity, or numerical difference, 
notwithstanding their happy union and communion. 

IX. And Satan himself, though unwillingly, hath many ways 

helped my belief of our immortality, and future hopes.* 

****** 

Few men, I think, that- observe themselves, have not at some time 
had experience of such inward temptations, as show that the author 
of them is an invincible enemy. All which tells us, 1. That 
there are individual spirits. 2. Yea, devils that seek man's misery. 
3. And that by the way of sin, and consequently that a future 
happiness or misery must be expected by us all. 

X. But the great and sure prognostics of our immortal happiness 
is from the renewing operations of the Spirit of holiness on the soul. 1 . 
That such a renewing work there is, all true believers in some meas- 
ure feel. 2. And that it is the earnest of heaven, is proved thus. 

1 . If it be a change of greatest benefit to a man. 2. And if 
heaven be the very sum and end of it. 3. And if it overcome all 
fleshy, worldly opposition. 4. And can be wrought by none but 
God. 5. And was before promised by Jesus Christ to all sound 
believers. 6. And is universally wrought in them all, either only, 



* The particulars of this argument are omitted. Ed. 



- %' i*v 

BAXTER S DYING THOUGHTS. 49 

or eminently above all others. 7. And was promised them as a 
pledge and earnest of glory ; then it can be no less than such a 
pledge and earnest ; but the former are all true, &,c. 

1. That the change is of grand importance unto man, appeared! 
in that it is the renovation of his mind, and will, and life. It 
repaireth his depraved faculties ; it causeth man to live as man, who 
is degenerated to a life too like to brutes. By God's permitting 
many to live in blindness, wickedness, and confusion, and to betor- 
m enters of themselves and one another, by temptations, injuries, 
wars, and cruelty, we the fuller see what it is that grace doth save 
men from, and what a difference it maketh in the world. Those 
that have lived unholy in their youth, do easily find the difference 
in themselves when they are renewed. But to them that have 
been piously inclined from their childhood, it is harder to discern 
the difference, unless they mark the case of others. If man be 
worth any thing, it is for the use that his faculties were made ; and 
if he be not good for the knowledge, love, and sendee of his Crea- 
tor, what is he good for ? And certainly the generality of ungodly 
worldlings are undisposed to all such works as this, till the spirit of 
Christ effectually change them. Men are slaves to sin till Christ 
thus make them free ; John viii. 32, 33. 36. Rom. vi. 18. 
Acts xxvi. 18. Rom. viii. 2. But where the Spirit of the Lord 
is, there is liberty ; 2 Cor. iii. 17. If the divine nature and 
image, and the love of God shed abroad on the heart, be not our 
excellency, health, and beauty, what is ? And that which is born 
of the flesh is flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is spirit ; 
John iii. 6. Without Christ and his Spirit, we can do nothing. 
Our dead notions and reasons, when we see the truth, have not 
power to overcome temptations, nor to raise up man's soul to its 
original and end, nor to possess us with the love and joyful hopes 
of future blessedness. It were better for us to have no souls, than 
that those souls should be void of the Spirit of God. 

2. And that heaven is the sum and end of all the Spirit's opera- 
tions, appeareth in all that are truly conscious of them in them- 
selves, and to them and others by all God's precepts, which the 
Spirit causeth us to obey, and the doctrine w'hich it causeth us to 
believe, and by the description of all God's graces which he work- 
eth in us. What is our knowledge and faith, but our knowledge 
and belief of heaven, as consisting in the glory and love of God 
there manifested, and as purchased by Christ, and given by his 
covenant ? What is our hope but the hope of glory ? See Heb. xi. 
1. and throughout. 1 Pet. i. 3. 21. Heb. vi. 11. 18. 19. and iii. 
6. Tit. ii. 13. and iii. 7. Col. i. 5. 23. 27. And 'through the 
Spirit, we wait for all this hope ; Gal. v. 5. What is our love but 
a desire of communion with the blessed God initially here, and 

VOT. ti. 7 



' 



50 FIAXYEK'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

perfectly hereafter ? As the sum of Christ's gospel was, " Take 
up the cross, forsake all here, and follow me, and thou shalt have 
a reward in heaven ; " Luke xiv. 26. 33. and xviii. 22, 23. And 
the consolation of his gospel is, " Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, 
for great is your reward in heaven;" Matt. v. 11, 12. So the 
same is the sum of his Spirit's operations ; for what he teacheth and 
commandeth, that he worketh. For he worketh by that word, and 
the impress must be like the signet, what arm soever set it on. 
He sendeth not his Spirit to make men craftier than others for this 
world, but to make them wiser for salvation, and to make them 
more heavenly and holy. For the children of this world are wiser 
in their generation than the children of light. Heavenliness is the 
Spirit's special work. 

3. And in working this, it conquered) the inward undisposedness 
and averseness of a fleshly . wordly mind and will, and the customs of 
a carnal life ; and the outward temptations of Satan, and all the allure- 
ments of the world. Christ first overcame the world, and teacheth 
and causeth us to overcome it ; even its flatteries and its frowns : our 
faith is our victory. Whether this victory be easy, and any honor 
to the Spirit of Christ, let our experience of the wickedness of the 
ungodly world, and of our own weakness, and of our falls when the 
Spirit -of God forsaketh us, be our informer. 

4. And that none but God can do this work on the soul of man, 
both the knowledge of causes and experience prove. The most 
learned, wise, and holy teachers cannot, (as they confess and show;) 
the wisest and most loving parents cannot, and therefore must pray 
to him that can ; the greatest princes cannot ; evil angels neither can 
nor will. What good angels can do on the heart we know not; 
but we know that they do nothing, but as the obedient ministers of 
God. And (though we have some power on ourselves, yet) that we 
ourselves cannot do it ; that we cannot quicken, illuminate, or sanc- 
tify ourselves, and that we have nothing but what we have receiv- 
ed, conscience and experience fully tell us. 

5. And that Christ promised this Spirit in a special measure to 
all true believers, that it should be in them his advocate, agent, 
seal, arid mark, is yet visible in the gospel* yea, and in the former 
prophets; I.-a. xliv. 34. Ezek. xxxvi. 26. and xxxvii. 14. Joel 
ii. 28, 29. Ezek. xi. 19. and xviii. 31. Eph. i. 13. John iii. 5. 
and iv. '^3, 24. and vi. 63. and vii. 39. John i. 33. and xiv. 16. 
26. Acts i. 5. 8 John xv. 26. and xvi. 7 9, &c. Indeed the 
Spirit here, and heaven hereafter, are the chief of all the promises 
of Christ. 

6. And that this Spirit is given (not to hypocrites that abuse 
Christ, and do not seriously believe him, nor to mere pretending, 

l Christians, but) to all that sincerely believe the gospel, is 



-* 

0UUJITS. 51 



evident not only to themselves in certainty, (if they ;uv; in a con- 
dition to know themselves,) but to others in part by the effects ; 
they have other ends, other affections, other lives, than the rest of 
mankind have ; though their heavenly nature and design be the 
less discerned and honored in the world, because their chiefest 
difference is out of the sight of man, in the heart, and in their secret 
actions, and because their imperfections blemisli them, and because 
the malignant world is by strangeness and enmity an incompetent 
judge ; yet it is discernible to others, that they live upon the hopes 
of a better life, and their heavenly interest is it that overruleth all 
the adverse interests of this world, and that in order thereunto they 
live under the conduct of divine authority, and that God's will is 
highest and most prevalent with them, and that to obey and please 
him as far as they know it, is the greatest business of their lives, 
though ignorance and adverse flesh do make their holiness and 
obedience imperfect. The universal noise and opposition of the 
world against them, do show that men discern a very great differ- 
ence, which error, and cross interests, and carnal inclinations, ren- 
der displeasing to those who find them condemned by their heav- 
enly designs and conversations. 

But whether others discern it, or deny it, or detest it, the 
true believer is conscious of it in himself; even when he groaneth 
to be better, to believe, and trust, and love God more, and to- have 
more of the heavenly life and comforts, those very desires signify 
another appetite and mind, than wordlings have ; and even when 
his frailties and weaknesses make him doubt of his own sincerity, he 
would not change his governor, rule, or hopes, for all that the world 
can offer him. He hath the witness in himself, that there is iu 
believers a sanctifying Spirit, calling up their minds to God and 
glory, and warring victoriously against the flesh ; (1 John v. 9 
11. Gal. v. 17. Rom. vii. Phil. iii. 7 15.) so that to will is 
present with them; and they love and delight in a holy conformity 
to their rule ; and it is never so well and pleasant with them as 
when they can trust and love God most ; and in their worst and 
weakest condition, they would fain be perfect. This Spirit and its 
renewing work, so greatly different from the temper and desires of 
worldly men, is given by Christ to all sound believers. 

It is true, that some that know not of an incarnate Savior, have 
much in them that is very laudable ; whether it be real saving holi- 
n< ss, and whether Abraham were erroneous in thinking that even the 
Sodoms of the world were likely to have had fifty righteous persons 
in them, I am not now to inquire : but it is sure, 1. That the world 
had really a Savior about four thousand years before Christ's in- 
carnation ; even the God of pardoning mercy, who promised and 
undertook what after was performed, and shall be to the end. 2. 



OX BAXTEil S DYING THOUGHTS. 

And that the Spirit of this Savior did sanctify God's elect from the 
beginning ; and gave them the same holy and heavenly dispositions 
(in some degree) before Christ's incarnation as is given since ; yea, 
it is called " The Spirit of Christ," which was before given ; 1 
Pet. i. 11. 3. That this Spirit was then given to more than the 
Jews. 4. That Christ hath put that part of the world that hear 
not of his incarnation into no worse a condition than he found them 
in : that as the Jews' covenant of peculiarity was no repeal of the 
universal law of grace, made by God with fallen mankind, in Adam 
and Noah ; so the covenant of grace of the second edition, made 
with Christ's peculiar people, is no repeal of the foresaid law in the 
first edition, to them that hear not of the second. 5. That all 
that wisdom and goodness, that is in any without the Christian 
church, is the work of the Spirit of the Redeemer ; as the light 
which goeth before sun-rising, and after sun-setting, and in a cloudy 
day, is of the same sun which others see, even to them that see 
not the sun itself. 6. That the liker any without the church are 
to the sanctified believers, the better they are, and the more unlike 
the worse ; so that all these six things being undeniable, it app'ear- 
eth, that it is the same Spirit of Christ, which now giveth all men 
what real goodness is any where to be found. But it is notorious 
that no part of the world is, in heavenliness and virtue, comparable 
to true and serious Christians. 

7. And let it be added, that Christ, (Eph. i. 14. 2 Cor i. 22 
and v. 5. Rom. via. 23. 2 Tim. ii. 19. Eph. i. 13. and iv. 30. 
1 John v. 9, 10. Heb. x. 15.) who promised the greatest measures 
of the Spirit, (which he accordingly hath given,) did expressly 
promise this, as a means and pledge, first fruits, and earnest, of the 
heavenly glory; and, therefore, it is a certain proof, that such a 
glory we shall have. He that can and doth give us a spiritual 
change or renovation, which in its nature and tendency is heaven- 
ly, and sets our hopes and hearts on heaven, and turneth the en- 
deavors of our lives to the seeking of a future blessedness, and 
told us, beforehand, that he would give us this preparatory grace, 
as the earnest of that felicity, may well be trusted to perform his 
word in our actual glorification. 

And now, O weak and fearful soul ! why shouldest thou draw 
back, as if the case were yet left doubtful ? Is not thy foundation 
firm ? Is not the way of life, through the valley of death, made 
safe by him that conquereth death ? Art thou not yet delivered 
from the bondage of thy fears, when the gaoler and executioner, 
who had the power of death, hath by Christ been put out of his 
power, as to thee ? Is not all this evidence true and sure ? Hast 
thou not the witness in thyself? Hast thou not found the motions, 
the effectual operations, the renewing changes, of this Spirit in thee 



BAXTERS DY.N> THOUGHTS. 



. * - 

long ago ? And is he not still the agent and witness of Christ, re- 

siding and operating in thee ? Whence else are thy groanings after 
God ; thy desires to be nearer to his glory ; to know him better ; to 
love him more ? Whence came all the pleasure thou hast had 
in his sacred truth, and ways, and service? Who'else overcame 
thy folly, and pride, and vain desires, so far as they are over- 
come ? Who made it thy choice to sit at the feet of Christ, and 
hear his word, as the better part, and to despise the honors and- 
preferments of the world, and to account them all as dung and 
dross ? Who breathed in thee all those requests that thou hast 
sent up to God ? Overvalue not corrupted nature ; it bringeth not 
forth such fruits as these : if thou doubt of that, remember what 
thou wast in the hour of temptation, even of poor and weak temp- 
tations. And how small a matter hath drawn thee to sin, when 
God did but leave thee to thyself. Forget not the days of youth- 
ful vanity : overlook not the case of the miserable world, even of 
thy sinful neighbors, who, in the midst of light, still live in dark- 
ness, and hear not the loudest calls of God : look about on thou- 
sands that, in the same land, and under the same teaching, and after 
the greatest judgment and deliverance, run on to all excess of riot, 
and, as past feeling, as greedily vicious and unclean. Is it no work 
of Christ's Spirit that hath made thee to differ? Thou hast noth- 
ing to boast of, and much to be humbled for; but thou hast also 
much to be thankful for. Thy holy desires are, alas! too weak; 
but they are holy : thy love hath been too cold ; but it is holiness, 
and the most holy God, that thou hast loved. Thy hopes in God 
have been too low ; but it is God thou hast hoped in, and his love 
and glory thou hast hoped for. Thy prayers have been too dull 
and interrupted ; but it is holiness and heaven that thou hast most 
prayed for. Thy labors and endeavors have been too slothful ; 
but it is God, and glory, and the good of mankind, that thou hast 
labored for. Though thy motion were too weak and slow, it hath 
been Godward ; and, therefore, it was from God. O bless the 
Lord, that hath not only given thee a word that beareth the image 
of God, and is sealed by uncontrolled miracles, to be the matter of 
thy belief, but hath also fulfilled his promises so oft and notably to 
thee, in the answer of prayers, and in great and convincing deliver- 
ances of thyself and many others; and hath, by wonders, oft assist- 
ed thy faith ! Bless that God of light and love, who, besides the 
universal attestation of his word, long ago given to all the church, 
hath given thee the internal seal, the nearer in-dwelling attestation, 
the effects of power, light, and love, imprinted on thy nature, mind, 
and will, the witness in thyself, that the word of God is not a 
human dream, or lifeless thing ; that by regeneration hath been 
here preparing thee for the light of glory, as by generation he pre- 



54 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

pared thee to see this light, and converse with men. And wilt 
thou yet doubt and fear against all this evidence, experience and 
foretaste ? 

I think it not needless labor to confirm my soul in the full per- 
suasion of the truth of its own immortal nature, and of a future life 
of joy or misery to mankind, and of the certain truth of the Christian 
faith : the being of God, and his perfection, hath so great evidence, 
that I find no great temptation to doubt of it, any more than wheth- 
er there be an earth, or a sun ; and the atheist seemeth to me to 
be in that no better than mad. The Christian verity is known only 
by supernatural revelation ; but by such revelation it is so attested 
externally to the world, and internally to holy souls, as maketh 
faith the ruling, victorious, consolatory principle, by which we must 
live and not by sight ; but the soul's immortality and reward here- 
after is of a middle nature, viz. of natural revelation, but incompar- 
ably less clear than the being of a God ; and therefore, by the ad- 
dition of evangelical (supernatural) revelation, is made to us much 
more clear and sure. And I find, among the infidels of this age, 
that most who deny the Christian verity, do almost as much deny or 
question the retribution of a future life. And they that are fully 
satisfied of this, do find Christianity so excellently congruous to it, 
as greatly facilitated the work of faith. Therefore, I think that 
there is scarce any verity more needful to be thoroughly digested 
into a full assurance, than this of the soul's immortality, and hope 
of future happiness. 

And when I consider the great unlikeness of men's hearts and 
lives to such a belief as we all profess, 1 cannot but fear, that not 
only the ungodly, but roost that truly hope for glory, have a far 
weaker belief (in habit and act) of the soul's immortality, and the 
truth of the gospel, than they seem to take notice of in themselves. 
Can I be certain, or fully petsuaded, (in habit and act,) of the future 
rewards and punishments of souls, and that we shall be all shortly 
judged as we have lived here, and yet not despise all the vanities 
of this world, and set my heart, with resolution and diligence, to 
the preparation which must be made by a holy, heavenly, fruitful 
life, as one whose soul is taken up with the hopes and fear of things 
of such unspeakable importance ? Who could stand dallying, as 
most men do, at the door of eternity, that did verily believe his im- 
mortal soul must be shortly there ? Though such an one had no 
certainty of his own particular title to salvation, the certainty of 
such a grand concernment (that joy or misery is at hand) would sure- 
ly awaken him to try, cry, or search ; to beg, to strive, to watch, to 
spare no care, or cost, or labor, to make all sure in a matter of such 
weight ; it could not be but he would do it with speed, and do it 
with a full resolved soul, and do it with earnest zeal and diligence. 




BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 55 

What man that once saw the things which we hear of, even heaven 
and hell, would not afterwards (at least in deep regard and serious- 
ness) exceed the most resolved believer that you know. One 
would think, in reason, it should be so thought : I confess a wicked 
heart is very senseless. 

I do confess, that there is much weakness of the belief of things 
unseen, where yet there is sincerity ; but surely there will be some 
proportion between our belief and its effects. And where there is 
little regard, or fear, or hopes, or sorrow, or joy, or resolved dili- 
gence for the world to come, I must think that there is (in act at 
least) but little belief of it, and that such persons little know them- 
selves, how much they secretly doubt, whether it be true. I know 
that most complain, almost altogether, of the uncertainty of their 
title to salvation, and little of their uncertainty of a heaven and 
hell ; but were they more certain of this, and truly persuaded of 
it at the heart, it would do more to bring them to that serious, 
resolved faithfulness in religion, which would help them more easily 
to be sure of their sincerity, than long examinations, and many 
marks talked of, without this, will do. 

And I confess, that the great wisdom of God hath not thought 
meet, that in the body we should have as clear, and sensible, and 
lively apprehensions of heaven and hell, as sight would cause. 
For that would be to have too much of heaven or hell on earth ; 
for the gust would follow the perception, and so full a sense 
would be some sort of a possession, which we are not fit for in this 
world. And, therefore, it must be a darker revelation than sight 
would be. that it may be a lower perception, lest this world and the 
next should be confounded ; and faith and reason should be put 
out of office, and not duly tried, exercised, and fitted for reward ; 
but yet faith is faith, and knowledge is knowledge ; and he that 
verily believeth such great, transcendent things, though he see 
them not, will have some proportionable affections and endeavors. 

I confess also, that man's soul, in flesh, is not fit to bear so deep 
a sense of heaven and hell as sight would cause ; because it here 
operateth on and with the body, and according to its capacity, 
which cannot bear so deep a sense without distraction, by screwing 
up the organs too high, till they break, and so overdoing, would undo 
all ; but yet there is an overruling seriousness, which a certain be- 
lief of future things must needs bring the soul to, that truly hath it: 
and he that is careful and serious for this world, and looketh after a 
better, but with a slight, unwilling, half-regard, and, in the second 
place, must give me leave to think, that he believeth but as he liveth, 
and that his doubting, or unbelief, of the reality of a heaven and 
hell, is greater than his belief. 

O, then, for what should my soul more pray than for a clearer 



. 



5C BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

and stronger faith ? I believe ; Lord, help my unbelief! I have 
many a thousand times groaned to thee under the burden of this 
remnant of darkness and unbelief; 1 have many a thousand times 
thought of the evidences of the Christian verity, and of the great ne- 
cessity of a lively, powerful, active faith : I have begged it ; I have 
cried to thee night and day, Lord, increase my faith ! I have writ- 
ten and spoken that to others which might be most useful to myself, 
to raise the apprehensions of faith yet higher, and make them liker 
those of sense ;- but yet, yet, Lord, howdark is this world ! What a 
dungeon is this flesh ! How little clearer is my sight, and little 
quicker are my perceptions, of unseen things, than long ago ! Am 
I at the highest that man on earth can reach, and that when I am so 
dark and low ? Is there no growth of these apprehensions more to 
be expected ? Doth the soul cease its increase in vigorous percep- 
tion, when the body ceaseth its increase, or vigor, of sensation ? 
Must I sit down in so low a measure, while I am drawing nearer to 
the things believed, and am almost there, where belief must pass in- 
to sight and love ? Or, must I take up with the passive silence and 
inactivity, which some friars persuade us is nearer to perfection ; 
and, under pretense of annihilation and receptivity, let my sluggish 
heart alone, and say, that in this neglect I wait for thy operations ? 
O let not a soul, that is driven from this world, and weary of vani- 
ty, and can think of little else but immortality, that seeks and cries 
both night and day for the heavenly light, and fain would have 
some foretaste of glory, and some more of the first-fruits of the 
promised joys, let not such a soul either long, or cry, or strive in 
vain ! Punish not my former grieving of thy Spirit, by deserting 
a soul that crieth for thy grace, so near its great and inconceivable 
change. Let me not languish in vain desires at the door of hope ; 
nor pass with doubtful thoughts and fears from this vale of misery. 
Which should be the season of triumphant faith, and hope, and joy, 
if not when I am entering on the world of joy ? O thou that hast 
left us so many consolatory words of promise, that our joy may 
be full, send, O ! send the promised Comforter, without whose 
approaches and heavenly beams, w r hen all is said, and a thousand 
thoughts and strivings have been essayed, it will still be night and 
winter with the soul. 

But have I not expected more particular and more sensitive 
conceptions ef heaven, and the state of blessed souls, than I should 
have done, and remained less satisfied, because I expected such 
di.stinc't perceptions to my satisfaction, which God doth not ordina- 
rily give to souls in flesh ? I fear it hath been too much so ; a 
distrust of God, and a distrustful desire to know much (good and 
evil) for ourselves, as necessary to our quiet and satisfaction, was 
that sin which hath deeply corrupted man's nature, and is more of 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 57 

our common pravity, than is commonly observed. I find that this 
distrust of God, and my Redeemer, hath had too great a hand in my 
desires of a distincter and more sensible knowledge. 1, know that I 
should implicitly, and absolutely, and quietly, trust my soul into my 
Redeemer's hands ; (of which I must speak more anon ;) and it is 
not only for the body, but also for the soul, that a distrustful care is 
our great sin and misery. But yet \ve must desire that our knowl- 
edge and belief may be as distinct and particular as God's revela- 
tions are ; and we can love no further than we know ; and the more 
we know of God and glory, the more we shall love, desire and trust 
hirn. It is a known, and not merely an unknown God and happi- 
ness, that the soul doth joyfully desire ; and if I may not be 
ambitious of too sensible and distinct perceptions here, of the 
things unseen ; yet must I desire and beg the most fervent and 
sensible love to them that 1 am capable of. I am willing (in part) 
to take up with that unavoidable ignorance, and that low degree of 
such knowledge, which God confineth us to in the flesh, so be it he 
will give me but such consolatory foretastes in love and joy, which 
such a general, imperfect knowledge may consist with, that my soul 
may not pass with distrust and terror, but with suitable, triumph- 
ant hopes, to the everlasting pleasures. 

Father of lights ! who givest wisdom to them that ask it of 
thee, shut not up this sinful soul in darkness ! leave me not to 
grope in unsatisfied doubts, at the door of the celestial light ! or, if 
my knowledge must be general, let it be clear and powerful ; and 
deny me not now the lively exercise of faith, hope, and love, 
which are the stirrings of the new creature, and the dawnings of 
the everlasting light, and the earnest of the promised inheritance. 

But we are oft ready to say with Cicero, when he had been 
reading such as Plato, that, while the book is in our hands, we 
seem confident of our immortality, and when we lay it by, our 
doubts return ; so our arguments seem clear and cogent, and yet 
when we think not of them, with the best advantage, we are oft 
surprised with fear, lest we should be mistaken, and our hopes be 
vain ; and hereupon (and from the common fear of death, that 
even good men too often manifest) the infidels gather, that we do 
but force ourselves into such a hope as we desire to be true, 
against the tendency of man's nature, and that we were not made 
for a better world. 

But this fallacy ariseth from men's not distinguishing, 1. Sensi- 
tive fears from rational uncertainty, or doubts. 2. And the mind 
that is in the darkness of unbelief, from that which hath the light 
of faith. 

1 find in myself too much "of fear, when I look into eternity, in- 
terrupting and weakening my desires and joy. But I find that it is 

VOL. IT. a 






58 BAXTER'S imr.r; THOUGHTS. 

very much an irrational, sensitive fear, which the darkness of man's 
mind, the greatness of the change, the dreadful majesty of God, 
and man's natural averseness to die, do, in some degree, necessitate, 
even when reason is fully satisfied that such fears are consistent 
with certain safety. If 1 were bound with the strongest chains, or 
stood on the surest battlements, on the top of a castle or steeple, I 
could not possibly look down without fear, and such as would go 
near to overcome me ; and yet I should be rationally sure that I 
arn there fast and safe, and cannot fall. So is it with our prospect 
into the life to come : fear is oft a necessitated passion : when a 
man is certain of his safe foundation, it will violently rob him of 
the comfort of that certainty : yea, it is a passion that irrationally 
doth much to corrupt our reason itself, and would make us doubt 
because we fear, though we know not why : and a fearful man doth 
hardly trust his own apprehensions of his safety, but, among other 
fears, is still ready to fear lest he be deceived ; like timorous, 
melancholy persons about their bodies, who are ready still to think 
that every little distemper is a mortal symptom, and that worse is 
still nearer them than they feel, and they hardly believe any words 
of hope. 

And Satan, knowing the power of these passions, and having 
easier access to the sensitive than to the intellective faculties, doth 
labor to get in at this back door, and to frighten poor souls into 
doubt and unbelief: and in timorous natures he doth it with too 
great success, as to the consolatory acts of faith. Though yet 
God's mercy is wonderfully seen in preserving many honest, tender 
souls from the damning part of unbelief, and, by their fears, preserv- 
eth them from being bold with sin ; when many bold and impudent 
sinners turn infidels, or atheists, by forfeiting the helps of grace. 

And, indeed, irrational fears have so much power to raise doubts, 
that they are seldom separated ; insomuch that many scarce know, 
or observe, the difference between doubts and fears ; and many say 
they not only fear but doubt, when they can scarce tell why, as if 
it were no intellectual act which they meant, but an irrational 
passion. 

If, therefore, my soul see undeniable evidence of immortality ; 
and if it be able, by irrefragable argument, to prove the future 
blessedness expected ; and if it be convinced that God's promises 
are true, and sufficiently sealed and attested by him, to warrant the 
most confident belief; and if I trust my soul and all my hopes upon 
this word, and evidences of truth, it is not, then, our averseness to 
die, nor the sensible fears of a soul that looketh into eternity, that 
invalidate any of the reasons of my hope, nor prove the unsound- 
ness of my faith. 

But yet these fears do prove its weakness ; and were they prev- 



BAXTER'S niriNtt THOUGHTS. 59. 

alent against the choice, obedience, resolutions, and endeavors of 
faith, they would be prevalent against the truth of faith, or prove 
its nullity ; for faith is trust ; and trust is a securing, quieting thing. 
" Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith ? " was a just reproof of 
Christ to his disciples, when sensible dangers raised up their fears. 
For the established will hath a political or imperfect, though not a 
despotical and absolute, power over our passions. And there- 
fore our fears do show our unbelief, and stronger faith is the best 
means of conquering even irrational fears. " Why art thou cast 
down, O my soul, and why art thou so disquieted in me ? trust in 
God," &c. (Psalm xlii.) is a needful way of chiding a timorous 
heart. 

And though many say that faith hath not evidence, and think 
that it is an assent of the mind, merely commanded by the empire 
of the will, without a knowledge of the verity of the testimony, 
yet, certainly, the same assent is ordinarily in the Scriptures called, 
indifferently, knowing and believing : and as a bare command will 
not cause love, unless we perceive an amiableness in the object, so 
a bare command of the law, or of the will, cannot alone cause belief, 
unless we perceive a truth in the testimony believed ; for it is a con- 
tradiction, or an act without its object. And truth is perceived only 
so far as it is some way evident ; for evidence is nothing but the ob- 
jective perceptibility of truth, or that which is metaphorically call- 
ed light. So that we must say that faith hath not sensible evidence 
of the invisible things believed ; but faith is nothing else but the 
willing perception of the evidence of truth in the word of the 
assertor, and a trust therein. We have, and must have, evidence 
that Scripture is God's word, and that his word is true, before, by 
any command of the word or will, we can believe it. 

I do, therefore, neither despise evidence as unnecessary, nor 
trust to it alone as the sufficient total cause of my belief; for if 
God's grace do not open mine eyes, and comedown in power upon 
my will, and insinuate into it a sweet acquaintance with the things 
unseen, and a taste of their goodness to delight my soul, no reasons 
will serve to stablish and comfort me, how undeniable soever : 
reason is fain first to make use of notions, words, or signs ; and to 
know terms, propositions, and arguments, which are but means to 
the knowledge of things, is its first employment', and that, alas ! 
which multitudes of learned men do take up with : but it is the 
illumination of God that must give us an effectual acquaintance 
with the things spiritual and invisible, which these notions signify, 
and to which our organical knowledge is but a means. 

To sum up all, that our hopes of heaven have a certain ground, 
appeareth, I. From nature: IL From grace: III. From other 
works of gracious providence. 



CO BAXTEH'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

I. i. From the nature of man: 1. Made capable of it. 2. 
Obliged, even by the law of nature, to seek it before all. 3. Nat- 
urally desiring perfection, (1.) Habitual: (2.) Active: and, (3.) 
Objective. 

ii. And from the nature of God, 1. As good and communicative. 
2. As holy and righteous. 3. As wise ; making none of his works 
in vain. 

II. From grace,]. Purchasing it. 2. Declaring it by a messenger 
from heaven, both by word and by Christ's own (and others') resur- 
rection. 3. Promising it. 4. Sealing that promise by miracles 
there. 5. And by the work of sanctification, to the end of the 
world. 

III. By subordinate providence. 1. God's actual governing the 
world by the hopes and fears of another life. 2. The many helps 
which he giveth us for a heavenly life, and for attaining it, (which 
are not vain.) 3. Specially the ministration of angels, and their 
love to us, and communion with us. 4. And, by accident, devils 
themselves convince us. (1.) By the nature of their temptations. 
(2.) &c. * * * 

Being with Christ. 

Having proved that faith and hope have a certain, future hap- 
piness to expect, the text directeth me next to consider why it is 
described by " being with Christ ; " viz. /. What is included in 
our " being with Christ." II. That we shall be with him. III. 
Why we shall be with him. 

To be with Christ includeth, I. Presence. II. Union. III. 
Communion, or participation of felicity with him. 

I. Quest. Is it Christ's Godhead, or his human soul, or his hu- 
man body, that we shall be present with, and united to, or alP 
Answ. It is all, but variously. 

1. We shall be present with the divine nature of Christ. Quest. 
But are we not always so ? And are not all creatures so ? Answ. 
Yes, as his essence comprehendeth all place and beings ; but not 
as it is operative, and manifested in and by his glory. Christ di- 
recteth our hearts and tongues to pray, " Our Father, which art in 
heaven ; " and yet he knew that all place is in and with God ; be- 
cause it is in heaven that he gloriously operateth and shineth forth 
to holy souls ; even as man's soul is eminently said to be in the 
head, because it understandeth and reasoneth in the head, and not 
in the foot or hand, though it be also there. And as we look a man 
in the face when we talk to him, so we look up to heaven when we 
pray to God. God who is, and operateth as, the root of nature, in 
all the works of creation, (for in him we live, and move, and are,) and 



UAXTElt'a DYING THOUGHTS. 61 

by the way of grace in all the gracious, doth operate, and is, by the 
works and splendor of his glory, eminently in heaven ; by which glo- 
ry, therefore, we must mean some created glory ; for his essence 
hath no inequality. 

2. We shall be present with the human nature of Christ, both 
soul and body : but here our present narrow thoughts must not too 
boldly presume to resolve the difficulties which, to a distinct un- 
derstanding of this, should be overcome ; for we must not here ex- 
pect any more than a dark and general knowledge of them ; as, 1 . 
What is the formal difference between Christ's glorified body and 
his flesh on earth ? 2. Where Christ's glorified body is, and how 
far it extendeth. 3. Wherein the soul and the glorified body dif- 
fer, seeing it is called a spiritual body : these things are beyond our 
present reach. 

(1 .) For what conceptions can we have of a spiritual body, save 
that it is pure, incorruptible, invisible to mortal eyes, and fitted to 
the most perfect state of the soul ? How near the nature of it 
is to a spirit, (and so to the soul,) and how far they agree, or 
differ, in substance, extensiveness, divisibility, or activity, little do 
we know. 

(2.) Nor do we know where and how far Christ's body is pres- 
ent by extent. The sun is commonly taken for a body, and its 
motive, illuminative, and calefactive beams, are, by the most prob- 
able philosophy, taken to be a real emanant part of its substance, 
and so that it is essentially as extensive as those beams ; that is, 
it at once filleth all our air, and toucheth the surface of the earth ; 
and how much further it extendeth we cannot tell. And what 
difference there is between Christ's glorified body and the sun, in 
purity, splendor, extent, or excellency of nature, little do poor 
mortals kno\v : and so of the rest. 

Let no man, therefore, cavil, and say, ' How can a whole world 
of glorified bodies be all present with the one body of Christ, 
when each must possess its proper room ? ' for as the body of the 
solar beams, and the extensive air, are so compresent, as that 
none can discern the difference of the places which they possess, 
and a world of bodies are present with them both, so may all our 
bodies be with Christ's body, and that without any real confusion. 

II. Besides presence with Christ, there will be such an union 
as we cannot now distinctly know. A political, relative union is, 
past doubt, such as subjects have in one kingdom with their king; 
but little know we how much more. We see that there is a won- 
derful corporeal continuity, or contact, among the material works of 
God ; and the more spiritual, pure, and noble, the more inclina- 
tion each nature hath to union. Every plant on earth hath an 
union with the whole earth in which it liveth : they are real parts 



f 

- 

62 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

of it. And what natural conjunction our bodies shall have to 
Christ's, and what influence from it, is past our knowledge. 
Though his similitudes in John xv. and vi. and Eph. v. and 1 Cor. 
xii. seem to extend far, yet, being but similitudes, we cannot fully 
know how far. 

The same, variatis variandis, we may say of our union with 
Christ's human soul. Seeing souls are more inclinable to union 
than bodies, when we see all vegetables to be united parts of one 
earth, and yet to have each one its proper individuating form and 
matter, we cannot, though animals seem to walk more disjunct, 
imagine that there is no kind of union or conjunction of invisible 
souls; though they retain their several substances and forms; nor 
yet that our bodies shall have a nearer union with Christ's body 
than our souls with his soul. But the nature, manner, and meas- 
ure of it, we know not. 

Far be it from us to think that Christ's glorified, spiritual body, 
is such in forms, parts, and dimensions, as his earthly body was. 
That it hath hands, feet, brains, heart, stomach, liver, intestines, 
as on earth ; or that it is such a compound of earth, water, and air, 
as here it was, and of such confined extent ; for then, as his dis- 
ciples and a few Jews only were present with him, and all the 
world besides were absent, and had none of his company, so it 
would be in heaven. But it is such as not only Paul, but all true 
believers in the world, from the creation to the end, shall be with 
Christ and see his glory : and though inequality of fitness, or degrees 
of holiness, will make an inequality of glory, no man can prove an 
inequality, by local distance, from Christ; or, if such there be, 
for it is beyond our reach, yet none in heaven are at such a 
distance from him as not to enjoy the felicity of his presence. 

Therefore, when we dispute against them that hold transubstan- 
tiation, and the ubiquity of Christ's body, we do assuredly con- 
clude that sense is judge, whether there be real bread and wine 
present or not ; but it is no judge, whether Christ's spiritual body 
be present or not, no more than whether an angel be present. 
And we conclude that Christ's body is not infinite, or immense, as 
is his Godhead ; but what are its dimensions, limits, or extent, and 
where it is absent, far be it from us to determine, when we cannot 
tell how far the sun extendeth its secondary substance, or emanant 
beams ; nor well what locality is as to Christ's soul, or any spirit, 
if to a spiritual body. 

Their fear is vain and carnal, who are afraid lest their union 
with Christ, or one another, will be too near; even lest thereby 
they lose their individuation, as rivers that fall into the sea, or ex- 
tinguished candles, whose fire is after but a sunbeam, or part of the 
common element of fire in the air, or as the vegetative spirits 






BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 63 

which, in autumn, retire from the leaves into the branches and 
trunk of the tree. I have proved before, that our individuation, 
or numerical existence, ceaseth not ; and that no union is to be 
feared, were it never so sure, which destroyeth not the being, or 
formal powers, or action of the soul ; and. that it is the great radi- 
cal disease of selfishness, and want of holy love to God and our 
Savior, and one another, which causeth these unreasonable fears, 
even that selfishness which now maketh men so partially desirous 
of their own wills and pleasure in comparison of God's, and their 
own felicity in comparison of others, and which maketh them so 
easily bear God's injuries, and the sufferings of a thousand, others, 
in comparison of their own. But he that put a great desire of the 
body's preservation into the soul, while it is its form, will abate 
that desire when the time of separation is come, because there is 
then no use for it till the resurrection ; else it would be a torment 
to the soul. 

III. And as we shall have union, so also communion, with the 
divine and human nature of Christ respectively ; both, 1. As they 
will be the objects of our soul's most noble and constant acts, and, 
2. As thev will be the fountain or communicative cause of our 

J 

receptions. 

1 . We find now that our various faculties have various objects, 
suitable to their natures. The objects of sense are things sensible, 
and the objects of imagination, things imaginable, and the objects 
of intellection, things intelligible, and the objects of the will, things 
amiable. The eye, which is a nobler sense than some others, hath 
light for its object, which, to other senses, is none ; and so of the rest. 
Therefore, we have cause to suppose, that as far as our glorified 
souls, and our spiritual glorified bodies, will difFeaj so far Christ's 
glorified soul and body will, respectively, be their several objects ; 
and beholding the glory of both will be part of our glory. 

Yet it is not hence to be gathered, that the separated soul, be- 
fore the resurrection, shall not have Christ's glorified body for its 
object ; for the objects of the body are also the objects of the soul, 
or, to speak more properly, the objects of sense are also the ob- 
jects of intellection and will, though all the objects of the intellect 
and will are not objects of sense. The separated soul can know 
Christ's glorified body, though our present bodies cannot see a soul. 
But how much our spiritual bodies will excel in capacity and ac- 
tivity these passive bodies, that have so much earth and water, we 
cannot tell. 

And though now our souls are as a candle in a lantern, and 
must have extrinsic objects admitted by the senses before they can 
be understood, yet it followeth not that therefore a separated soul 
cannot know such objects : 1 . Because it now knoweth them ab- 



- 

64 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

stractively, per species, because its act of ratiocination is compound 
as to the cause, (soul and body.) But it will then know such 
tilings intuitively, as now it can do itself, when then the lantern is 
cast by. 2. And whatever many of late, that have given them- 
selves the title of ingenious, have said to the contrary, we have 
little reason to think that the sensitive faculty is not an essential, 
inseparable power of the same soul that is intellectual, and that 
sensation ceaseth to separated souls, however the modes of it may 
cease with their several uses and organs. To feel intellectually, 
or to understand and will feelingly, we have cause to think, will 
be the action of separated souls ; and if so, why may they not have 
communion with Christ's body and soul, as their objects in their 
separated state ? 3. Besides that, we are uncertain whether the 
separated soul have no vehicle or body at all. Things unknown 
to us must not be supposed true or false. Some think that the 
sensitive soul is material, and, as a body to the intellectual, never 
separated. I am not of their opinion that make them two sub- 
stances ; but I cannot say I am certain that they err. Some think 
that the soul is material, of a purer substance than things visible, 
and that the common notion of its substantiality meaneth nothing 
else but a pure, (as they call it,) spiritual materiality. Thus 
thought not only Tertullian, but almost all the old Greek doctors 
of the church that write of it, and most of the Latin, or very many, 
as I have elsewhere showed, and as Faustus reciteth them in the 
treatise answered by Mammertus. Some think that the soul, as 
vegetative, is an igneous body, such as we call ether, or solar fire, 
or rather of a higher, purer kind ; and that sensation and intellec- 
tion are those formal faculties which specifically difference it from 
inferior mere fire or ether. There were few of the old doctors, 
that thought it not some of these ways material ; and, consequent- 
ly, extensive and di visible per potentiam divinam, though not nat- 
urally, or of its own inclination, because most strongly inclined to 
unity : and if any of all these uncertain opinions should prove 
true, the objections in hand will find no place. To say nothing of 
their conceit, who say, that as the spirit that retireth from the falling 
leaves in autumn, continueth to animate the tree, so man's soul 
may do, when departed, with that to which it is united, to animate 
some more noble, universal body. But as all these are the too 
bold cogitations of men that had better let unknown things alone, 
so yet they may be mentioned to refell that more perilous boldness 
which denieth the soul's action, which is certain, upon, at best, un- 
certain reasons. 

I may boldly conclude, notwithstanding such objections, that 
Christ's divine and human nature, soul and body, shall be the felici- 
tating objects of intuition and holy, love to the separated soul be- 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 65 

fore the resurrection ; and that to be with Christ is to have such 
communion with him, and not only to be present where he is. 

2. And the chief part of this communion will be that in which 
we are receptive ; even Christ's communications to the soul. And 
as the infinite, incomprehensible Deity is the root, or first cause, of 
all communication, natural, gracious, and glorious, to being, motion, 
life, rule, reason, holiness, and happiness ; and the whole creation is 
more dependent on God, than the fruit on the tree, or the plants 
on the earth, or the members on the body ; (though yet they are 
not parts of the Deity, nor deified, because the communication is 
creative ;) so God useth second causes in his communication to in- 
ferior natures. And it is more than probable, that the human soul 
of Christ, primarily, and his body, secondarily, are the chief second 
cause of influence and communication both of grace and glory, both 
to man in the body, and to the separated soul. And as the sun is 
first an efficient, communicative, second cause of seeing to the eye, 
and then is also the object of our sight, so Christ is to the soul.* 
For as God, so the Lamb is the light and glory of the heavenly 
Jerusalem, and in his light we shall have light. Though he give 
up the kingdom to the Father, so far as that God shall be all in all, 
and his creature be fully restored to his favor, and there shall be 
need of a healing government no more, for the recovering of lapsed 
souls to God ; yet sure he will not cease to be our Mediator, and 
to be the church's head, and to be the conveying cause of ever- 
lasting life, and light, and love, to all his members. As now we 
live because he liveth, even as the branches in the vine, and 
the Spirit that quickeneth, enlighteneth, and sanctifieth us, is first 
the Spirit of Christ before it is ours, and is communicated from 
God, by him, to us ; so will it be in the state of glory ; for we shall 
have our union and communion with him perfected, and not de- 
stroyed or diminished. And unless I could be so proud as to think 
that I am, or shall be, the most excellent of all the creatures of 
God, and therefore nearest him, and above all others, how could I 
think that I am under the influence of no second cause, but have 
either grace or glory from God alone ? 

So far am I from such arrogancy, as to think I shall be so near 
to God, as to be above the need and use of Christ and his com- 
munications, as that I dare not say that I shall be above the need 
and help of other subordinate causes : as I am now lower than 
angels, and need their help, and as I am under the government of 

* This one truth will give great light into the controversies about God's 
gracious operations on the soul ; for when he useth second causes, we see he 
operateth according to their limited aptitude ; and Christ's human nature, and . 
all other second causes, are limited, and operate variously and resistibly, accord- 
ing to the recipient's en p'aciiv. 

VOL. II. 9 



BAXTERS DYING THOUGHTS. 



my superiors, and, as a poor, weak member, am little worth in 
comparison of the whole body, the church of Christ, and receive 
continual help from the whole, so, how far it will be thus in glory 
1 know not ; but that God will still use second causes for our joy, 
I doubt not, and also that there will not be an equality ; and that 
it will be consistent with God's all-sufficiency to us, and our felici- 
ty in him, that we shall forever have use for one another, and that 
to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of 
God, and to be in Abraham's bosom, and to sit at Christ's right 
and left hand, in his kingdom, and to be ruler over ten cities, and 
to join with the heavenly host or choir, in the joyful love and 
praise of God, and of the Lamb, and many such like, are not false 
nor useless notes and notions of our celestial glory. 

And, certainly, if I be with Christ, I shall be with all that are 
with Christ ; even with all the heavenly society. Though these 
bodies of gross, passive matter must have so much room, that the 
earth is little enough for all its inhabitants ; and those at the antip- 
odes are almost as strange to us as if they were in another world ; 
and those of another kingdom, another province, or county, and 
oft another parish, yea, another house, are strangers to us ; so nar- 
row is our capacity of communion here. Yet we have great cause 
to think, by many Scripture expressions, that our heavenly union 
and communion will be nearer and more extensive ; and that all 
the glorified shall know each other, or, at least, be far less distant 
and less strange than now we are. As I said before, when I see 
how far the sunbeams do extend, how they penetrate our closest 
glass, and puzzle them that say, that all bodies are impenetrable ; 
when I see how little they hinder the placing or presence of other 
creatures, and how intimately they mix themselves with all, and 
seem to possess the whole region of the air, when yet the air 
seemeth itself to fill it, &c., I dare not think that glorified spirits 
(no, nor spiritual bodies) will be such strangers to one another as 
we are here on earth. 

And I must needs say, that it is a pleasant thought to me, and 
greatly helpeth my willingness to die, to think that I shall go to all 
the holy ones, both Christ and angels, and departed, blessed souls. 
P"or, 1. God hath convinced me that they are better than I, (each 
singly,) and therefore more amiable than myself. 2. And that 
many are better than one, and the whole than a poor, sinful part, 
and the New Jerusalem is the glory of the creation. 3. God 
hath given me a love to all his holy ones, as such. 4. And a 
love to the work of love and praise, which they continually and 
perfectly perform to God. 5. And a love to the celestial Jerusa- 
" lem, as it is complete, and to his glory shining in them. 6. And 
my old acquaintance with many a holy persori gone to Christ, 



" V 






BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 67 

doth make my thoughts of heaven the more familiar to, me. O, 
how many of them could I name ! 7. And it is no small encour- 
agement to one that is to enter upon an unseen world, to think 
that he goeth not an untrodden path, nor enters into a solitary or 
singular state ; but followeth all from the creation to this day, 
that have passed by death to endless life. And is it not an em- 
boldening consideration, to think that I am to go no other way, 
nor to no other place or state, than all the believers and saints 
have gone to before me, from the beginning to this time ? Of this 
more anon. 

To depart. 

But I must be .loosed or depart, before I can thus be with 
Christ. And I must here consider, /. From what I- must depart. 
II. And how, or in what manner : and I must not refuse to know 
the worst. 

I. And, 1. I know that I must depart from this body itself, 
and the life which consisteth in the animating of it. These eyes 
must here see no more ; this hand must move no more ; these feet 
must walk no more ; this tongue must speak no more. As much 
as 1 have loved and over-loved this body, I must leave it to the 
grave. There must it lie and rot in darkness, as a neglected and 
a loathed thing. 

This is the fruit of sin, and nature would not have it so : I mean 
the nature of this compound man ; but what, though it be so ? 1 . 
It is but my shell, or tabernacle, and the clothing of my soul, and 
not itself. 2. It is but an elementary composition dissolved ; and 
earth going to earth, and water to water, and air to air, and fire to 
fire, into that union which the elementary nature doth incline it. 

3. It is but an instrument laid by when all its work is done, and 
a servant dismissed when his service is at an end. And what 
should I do with a horse when I shall need to ride or travel no 
more, or with a pen, when I must write no more? It is but the 
laying by the passive receiver of my soul's operations, when the 
soul hath no more to do upon it ; as I cast by my lute or other 
instrument, when I have better employment than music to take 
up my time. 

4. Or, at most, it is but as flowers die in the fall, and plants in 
winter, when the retiring spirits have done their work, and are 
undisposed to dwell in so cold and unmeet a habitation, as the sea- 
son maketh their former matter then to be. And its retirement is 
not its annihilation, but its taking up a fitter place. 

5 It is but a separation from a troublesome companion, and put- 
ting off a shoe that pinched me ; many a sad and painful hour I 
have had in this frail and faltering flesh ; many a weary night and 



BAXTEJl's IVi'tNt; THOl.'li IITS. 



day : what cares, what fear?, what griefs, and what groans, hath 
this body cost me ! Alas ! how many hours of my precious time 
have been spent to maintain it. please it, or repair it ! How consid- 
erable a part of all my life hath been spent in necessary sleep 
and rest ; and how much in eating, drinking, dressing, physic ; and 
how much in laboring, or using means, to procure these and other 
necessaries ! Many a hundred times I have thought, that it costeth 
me so dear to live, yea, to live a painful, weary life, that were it 
not for the work and higher ends of life, I had little reason to be 
much in love with it, or to be loath to leave it. And had not God 
put into our nature itself a necessary, unavoidable, sensitive love 
of the body, and of life, as he puts into the mother, and into every 
brute, a Jove of their young ones, how unclean, and impotent, 
and troublesome soever, for the propagation and continuance of 
man on earth t Had God but left it to mere reason, without this 
necessary preengagement of our natures, it would have been a 
matter of more doubt and difficulty than it is, whether this life 
should be loved and desired ; and no small number would daily 
wish that they had never been born ; a wish that I have had 
much ado to forbear, even when I have known that it is sinful, 
and when the work and pleasure of my life have been such to 
overcome the evils of it as few have had. 

6. Yea, to depart from such a body, is but to be removed fibm 
a foul, uncleanly, and sordid habitation. I know that the body of 
man and brutes is the curious, wonderful work of God, and not to 
be despised, nor injuriously dishonored, but admired and well 
used ; but yet it is a wonder to our reason, that so noble a spirit 
should be so meanly housed ; and we may call it " our vile body," 
as the apostle doth; Phil. Hi. 21. It is made up of the airy, 
watery, and earthly parts of our daily food, subacted and actuated 
by the fiery part, as the instrument of the soul. The greater part 
of the same food which, with great cost, and pomp, and pleasure, 
is first upon our tables, and then in our mouths, to-day, is to-mor- 
row a fetid, loathsome excrement, and cast out into the draught, 
that the sight and smell of that annoy us not, which yesterday was 
the sumptuous fruit of our abundance, and the glory of that which 
is called great housekeeping, and the pleasure of our eyes and 
taste. And is not the rest that turneth into blood and flesh, of 
the same general kind with that which is turned into loathsome 
filth t The difference is, that it is fitter for the soul by the fiery 
spirits, yet longer to operate on and keep from corruption ; our 
blood and flesh are as stinking and loathsome a substance as our 
filthiest excrements, save that they are longer kept from putre- 
faction. Why then should it more grieve me, that one part of 
my food, which turneth into flesh, should rot and stink in the 






- 

BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. . 69 

grave, than that all the rest should daily stink in the -draught ? 
Yea, while it is within me, were it not covered from my sight, 
what a loathsome mass would my intestines appear ! If 1 saw what 
is in the guts, the mesentery, the ventricles of the bra'n, what filth, 
what bilious or mucous matter, and, perhaps, crawling worms, 
that are in the most proud or comely person, I should think that 
the cover of a cleaner skin, and the borrowed ornaments of ap- 
parel, make no great difference between such a body and a carcass; 
(which may be also covered with an adorned coffin and monu- 
ment, to deceive such spectators as see but outsides ;) the change 
is not so great of corruptible flesh, replete with such fe..d excre- 
ments, into corrupted flesh, as some fools imagine. 

7. Yet more : to depart from such a body is but to be loosed 
from the bondage of cor uption, and from a clog and prison of the 
soul. I say not that God put a preexistent soul into this prison 
penally, for former faults ; I must say no more than I can prove, 
or than I know ; but that body which was an apt servant to inno- 
cent man's soul, is become as a prison to him now ; what altera- 
tion sin made upon the nature of the body, as whether it be more 
terrene and gross than else it would have been, I have no reason 
to assert ; of earth or dust it was at first, and to dust it is sentenced 
to return. But no doubt but it hath its part in that dispositive 
depfteation which is the fruit of sin. We find that the soul, as 
sensitive, is so imprisoned, or shut up, in flesh, that sometimes it 
is more than one door that must be opened before the object and 
the faculty can meet. In the eye, indeed, the soul seemeth to 
have a window to look out at, and to be almost itself visible to 
others ; and yet there are many interposing tunicles, and a suffu- 
sion, or winking, can make the clearest sight to be as useless for 
the time as if it were none ; and if sense be thus shut up from its 
object, no wonder if reason also be under difficulties from corpo- 
real impediments, and if the soul that is yoked with such a body 
can go no faster than its heavy pace. 

8. Yet further : to depart from such a body, is but to be sepa- 
rated from an accidental enemy, and one of our greatest and most 
hurtful enemies ; though still we say, that it is not by any default 
in the work of our Creator, but by the effects of sin, that it is 
such ; what could Satan, or any other enemy of our souls, have 
done against us without our flesh ? What is it but the interest of 
this body, that standeth in competition against the interest of our 
souls and God ? What else do the profane sell their heavenly in- 
heritance for, as Esau his birthright ? No man loveth evil, as 'evil, 
but as some way a real or seeming good ; and what good is it but 
that which seemeth good for the body ? What else is the bait of 
ambition, covetousness, and sensuality, but the interest and pleas- 






70 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. . 

ure of this flesh ? What taketh up the thoughts and care which 
we should lay out upon things spiritual and heavenly, hut this 
body and its life ? What pleasures are they that steal away men's 
hearts from the heavenly pleasures of faith, hope, and love, but 
the pleasures of this flesh ? This draweth us to sin ; this hindereth 
us from and in our duty. This body hath its interest, which must 
be minded, and its inordinate appetite, which must be pleased ; or 
else what murmurings and disquiet must we expect ! Were it not 
for bodily interest, and its temptations, how much more innocently 
and holily might I live ! I should have nothing to care for, but to 
please God, and to be pleased in him, were it not for the care of 
this bodily life. What employment should my will and love have, 
but to delight in God, and love him and his interest, were it not 
for the love of the body, and its concerns ? By this the mind is 
darkened, and the thoughts diverted : by this our wills are per- 
verted and corrupted, and, by loving things corporeal, contract a 
strangeness and aversion from things spiritual : by this, heart and 
time are alienated from God ; our guilt is increased, and our heav- 
enly desire and hopes destroyed ; life made unholy and uncomfort- 
able, and death made terrible ; God and our souls separated, and 
life eternal set by, and in danger of being utterly lost. I know 
that it is the sinful soul that is in all this the chief cause and agent ; 
but what is it but bodily interest that is its temptation, bakand 
end? What but the body, and its life, and its pleasure, B the 
chief, objective, alluring cause of all this sin and misery ? And 
shall I take such a body to be better than heaven, or be loath to be 
loosed from so troublesome a yoke-fellow, or to be separated from 
so burdensome and dangerous a companion ? 

Ofy. But I know this habitation, but the next I know not. I 
have long been acquainted with this body, and this world, but the 
next I am unacquainted with. 

Ans. 1. If you know it, you know all that of it which I have 
mentioned before ; you know it to be a burden and snare. I am 
sure I know, by long experience, that this flesh hath been a pain- 
ful lodging to my soul, and this world as a tumultuous ocean, or 
like the uncertain and stormy region of the air. And well he de- 
serveth bondage, pain, and enmity, who will love them because 
he is acquainted with-them, and is loath to leave them because he 
hath had them long, and is afraid of being well because he hath 
been long sick. 

2. And do you not know the next and better habitation ? Is 
faith no knowledge ? If you believe God's promise, you know that 
such a state there is; and you know, in general, that it is better 
than this world ; and you know that we shall be in holiness and 
glorious happiness with Christ; and is this no knowledge? 3. 



BAXTER'S DVING THOUGHTS. 71 

And what we know not, Christ, that prepareth and proraiseth it, 
doth know ; and is that nothing to us, if really we trust our souls 
to him ? He that knoweth not more good by heaven than by earth 
is yet so earthly and unbelieving, that it. is no wonder if he be 
afraid and unwilling to depart. 

II. In departing from this body and life, I must depart from all 
its ancient pleasures : I must taste no more sweetness in meat, or 
drink, or rest, or sport, or any such thing, that now delighteth me : 
house and lands, and goods, and wealth, must all be left ; and the 
place where I live must know me no more. All my possessions 
must be no more to me, nor all that I labored for, or took delight 
in, than if they had never been at all. 

And what though it must be so ? Consider, O my soul ! 1 . 
Thy ancient pleasures are all past already ; thou losest none of 
them by death, for they are all lost before, if immortal grace have 
not, by sanctifying them, made the benefits of them to become 
immortal. All the sweet draughts, and morsels, and sports, and 
laughters ; all the sweet thoughts of thy worldly possessions, or 
thy hopes, that ever thou hadst till this present hour, are passed 
by, dead, and gone already. All that death doth to such as these 
is, to prevent such, that on earth thou shalt have no more. 

2. And is not that the case of every brute, that hath no comfort 
(rootle prospect of another life, to repair his loss ? and yet as our 
domimon dimimsheth their pleasure while they live, by our keep- 
ing them under fear and labor, so, at our will, their lives must end. 
To please a gentleman's appetite for half an hour, or less, birds, 
beasts, and fishes, must lose life itself, and all the pleasure which 
light might have afforded them for many years ; yea, perhaps 
many of these (birds and fishes at least) must die to become but 
one feast to a rich man, if not one ordinary meal. And is not 
their sensual pleasure of the same nature as ours? Meat is as 
sweet to them, and ease as welcome, and lust as strong, (in season ;) 
and the pleasure that death depriveth our flesh of, is such as is 
common to man with brutes : why then should it seem hard to us 
to lose that, in the course of nature, which our wills deprive them 
of at our pleasure? When, if we are believers, we can say, that 
we do but exchange these delights of life for the greater delights 
of a life with Christ, which is a comfort which our fellow-creatures 
(the brutes) have not. 

3. And, indeed, the pleasures of life are usually imbittered 
with so much pain, that to a great part of the world doth seem to 
exceed them ; the vanity and vexation is so great and grievous as 
the pleasure seldom countervaileth. It is true, that nature de- 
sireth life, even under sufferings that are but tolerable, rather than 
to die ; but that is not so much from the sensible pleasure of life, 



72 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

as from mere natural inclination ; which God hath laid so deep, 
that free-will hath no power against it. As before I said, that the 
body of man is such a thing, that could we see through the skin, 
(as men may look through a glass hive upon the bees,) and see all 
the parts and motion, the filth and excrements that are in it, the 
soul would hardly be willing to actuate, love and cherish such a 
mass of unclean matter, and to dwell in such a loathsome place, 
unless God had necessitated it by nature (deeper than reason or 
sense) to such a love and such a labor, by the pondus or spring of 
inclination ; even as the cow would not else lick the unclean calf, 
nor women themselves be at so much labor and trouble with their 
children, while there is little of them to be pleasing, but unclean- 
ness, and crying, and helpless impatiency, to make them weari- 
some, had not necessitating inclination done more hereto than any 
other sense or reason ; even so I now say of the pleasure of living, 
that the sorrows are so much greater to multitudes than the sensi- 
ble delight, that life would not be so commonly chosen and en- 
dured under so much trouble, were not men determined thereto by 
natural necessitating inclination ; (or deterred from death by the 
fears of misery to the separated soul ;) and yet all this kept not 
some, counted the best and wisest of the heathens, from taking it 
for the valor and wisdom of a man to make away his life in time 
of extremity, and from making this the great answer to then*that 
grudge at God for making their lives so miserable, ' If the nreery 
be greater than the good of life, why dost thou not end it ? Thou 
mayest do that when thou wilt.' 

Our meat and drink is pleasant to the healthful, but it costeth 
poor men so much toil, and labor, and care, and trouble to procure 
a poor diet for themselves, and their families, that, I think, could 
they live without eating and drinking, they would thankfully ex- 
change the pleasure of it all. to be eased of their care and toil in 
getting it. And when sickness cometh, even the pleasantest food 
is loathsome. 

4. And do we not willingly interrupt and lay by these pleasures 
every night, when we betake ourselves to sleep ? It is possible, 
indeed, a man may then have pleasant dreams ; but I think few 
go to sleep for the pleasure of dreaming; either no dreams, or 
vain, or troublesome dreams, are much more common. And to 
say that rest and ease is my pleasure, is but to say, that my daily 
labor and cares are so much greater than my waking pleasure, 
that I am glad to lay by both together. For what is ease but de- 
liverance from weariness and pain ? For in deep and dreamless 
sleep there is little positive sense of the pleasure of rest itself. 
But, indeed, it is more from nature's necessitated inclination to 
this self-easing and repairing means, than from the positive pleas- 






BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 73 

ure of it, that we desire sleep. And if we can thus be contented 
every night to die, as it were, to all our waking pleasures, why 
should we be unwilling to die to them at once ? 

5. If it be the inordinate pleasures forbidden of God, which you 
are loath to leave, those must be left before you die, or else it had 
been better for you neyer to have been born : yea, every wise and 
godly man doth cast them off with detestation. You must be 
against holiness on that account, as well as against death ; and, in- 
deed, the same cause which maketh men unwilling to live a holy 
life, hath a great hand in making them unwilling to die, even be- 
cause they are loath to leave'the pleasure of sin. If the wicked be 
converted, he must be gluttonous and drunken no more ; he must 
live in pride, vain-glory, worldliness, and sensual pleasures no 
more ; and therefore he draweth back from a holy life, as if it were 
from death itself. And so he is the loather to die, because he 
must have no more of the pleasures of his riches, pomp, and hon- 
ors, his sports, and lust, and pleased appetite, forever. But what 
is this to them that have mortified the flesh, with the affections 
and lusts thereof? 

6. Yea, it is these forbidden pleasures which are the great im- 
pediments both of our holiness and our truest pleasures ; and one 
of the reasons why God forbiddeth them, is, because they hinder 
usjdrom better. And if for our own good v:e must forsake 
the^when we turn to God, it must be supposed that they should 
be no reason against our willingness to die, but rather that to be 
free from the danger of them, we should be the more willing. 

7. But the great satisfying answer of this objection is, that death 
will pass us to far greater pleasures, with which all these are not 
worthy to be compared. But of this, more in due place. 

III. When I die, I must depart, not only from sensual delights, 
but from the more manly pleasures of my studies, knowledge and 
converse with many wise and godly men, and from all my pleas- 
ure in reading, hearing, public and private exercises of religion, 
&c. I must leave my library, and turn over those pleasant books 
no more. I must no more come among the living, nor see the 
faces of my faithful friends, nor be seen of man. Houses, and 
cities, and fields, and countries, gardens, and walks, will be nothing 
as to me. I shall no more hear of the affairs of the world, of 
man, or wars, or other news, nor see what becomes of that be- 
loved interest of wisdom, piety, and peace, which I desire may 
prosper, &LC. 

Ansiu. [ . Though these delights are far above those of sensual 

sinners, yet, alas ! how low and little are they ! How small is our 

knowledge in comparison of our ignorance ! And how little doth 

the knowledge of learned doctors differ from the thoughts of a silly 

VOL. ii. 10 






74 BAXTER'S DYIXC; THOUGHTS. 

child I For, from our childhood, \ve take it in by drops ; and as 
trifles are the matter of childish knowledge, so words, and notions, 
and artificial forms, do make up more of the learning of the world, 
than is commonly understood, and many such learned men know 
little more of any great and excellent things themselves, than 
rustics that are contemned by them for their-ignorance. God, and 
the life to come, are little better known by them, if not much less, 
than by many of the unlearned. What is it but a child-game, 
that many logicians, rhetoricians, grammarians, yea, metaphysi- 
cians, and other philosophers, in their eagerest studies and dis- 
putes, are exercised in ? Of how little use is it to know what is 
contained in many hundreds of the volumes that fill our libraries ! 
Yea, or to know many of the most glorious speculations in physics, 
mathematics, &,c., which have given some the title of Virtuosi 
and Ingeniosi, in these times, who have little the more wit or virtue 
to live to God, or overcome temptations from the flesh and world, 
and to secure their everlasting hopes ! What pleasure or quiet 
doth it give to a dying man to know almost any of their trifles ? 

2. Yea, it were well if much of our reading and learning did us 
no harm, nay, more than good. I fear lest books are to some but 
a more honorable kind of temptation than cards and dice, lest 
many a precious hour be lost in them, that should be employed on 
much higher matters, and lest many make such knowledge but an 
unholy, natural, yea, carnal pleasure, as worldlings do the thoughts 
of their lands and honors, and lest they be the more dangerous by 
how much the less suspected. But the best is, it is a pleasure so 
fenced from the slothful, with thorny labor of hard and long studies, 
that laziness saveth more from it than grace and holy wisdom doth. 
But, doubtless, fancy and the natural intellect may, with as little 
sanctity, live in the pleasure of reading, knowing, disputing, and 
writing, as others spend their time at a game at chess, or other in- 
genious sport. 

For my own part, I know that the knowledge of natural things 
is valuable, and may be sanctified ; much more theological theory ; 
and when it is so, it is of good use ; and I have little knowledge 
which 1 find not some way useful to my highest ends. And if 
wishing or money could procure more, I would wish, and empty 
my purse for it ; but yet, if many score or hundred books which I 
have read, had been all unread, and I had that time now to lay out 
upon higher things, 1 should think myself much richer than now 1 
am. And I must earnestly pray, the Lord forgive me the hours 
that I have spent in reading things less profitable, for the pleasing 
of a mind that would fain know all, which I should have spent for 
the increase of holiness in myself and others ! And yet I must 
thankfully acknowledge to God, that lYoni my youth he taught roe 



BAXTKJl'a DY1NU TH6UUHT3. ~i>) 

to begin with things of greatest weight, and to refer most of an- 
other studies thereto, and to spend my days under the motives of 
necessity and profit to myself, and those with whom I had to do. 
And I now think better of the course of Paul, that determined to 
know nothing hut a crucified Christ, among the Corinthians ; that 
is, so to converse with them as to use, and glorying as if he knew 
nothing else ; and so of the rest of the apostles and primitive ages. 
And though I still love and honor, (and am not of Dr. Colet's 
mind, who, as Erasmus saith, most slighted Augustine,) yet I less 
censure even that Carthage council which forbade the reading of 
the heathens' books of learning and arts than formerly I have 
done. And I would have men savor most that learning in their 
health, which they will, or should, savor most in sickness, and near 
to death. 

3. And, alas ! how dear a vanity is this knowledge ! That 
which is but theoretic and notional, is but a tickling delectation of the 
fancy or mind, little differing from a pleasant dream. But how- 
many hours, what gazing of the wearied eye, what stretching 
thoughts of the impatient brain, must it cost us, if we will attain to 
any excellency ! Well saith Solomon, " Much reading is a wea- 
riness to the flesh, and he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth 
sorrow." How many hundred studious days and weeks, and how 
mflto hard and tearing thoughts, hath my little, very little knowl- 
ed^ cost me ; and how much infirmity and painfulness to my 
flesh, increase of painful diseases, and loss of bodily ease and 
health ! How much pleasure to myself of other kinds, and how 
much acceptance with men, have I lost by it, which I might easily 
have had in a more conversant and plausible way of life ! And 
when all is done, if I reach to know any more than ethers of my 
place and order, I must differ so much (usually) from them, and 
if I manifest not that difference, but keep all that knowledge to 
myself, I sin against conscience and nature itself. The love of 
man and the love of truth oblige me to be soberly communicative. 
Were I so indifferent to truth and knowledge, as easily to forbear 
their propagation, I must also be so indifferent to them, as not to 
think them worth so dear a price as they have cost me, (though 
they are the free gifts of God.) As nature is universally inclined 
to the propagation of the kind by generation, so is the intellectual 
nature to the communication of knowledge, which yet hath its lust 
and inordinacy in proud, ignorant, hasty teachers and disputers, 
as the generating faculty hath in fornicators and adulterers. 

But if I obey nature and conscience in communicating that 
knowledge which containeth my difference aforesaid, the dissenters 
too often take themselves disparaged by it, how peaceably soever 
I manage it : and as bad men take the piety of the godly to be an 



76 BAXTKu's J.iVlMi TliGLUUTS. 

accusation of their impiety, so many teachers take themselves to 
be accused of ignorance, by such as condemn their errors by the 
light of truth : and if you meddle not with any person, yet take 
they their opinions to be so much their interest, as that all that 
is said against them they take as said against themselves. And 
then, alas ! what envyings, what whispering disparagements, and 
what backbitings, if not malicious slanders and underminings, do 
we meet with from the carnal clergy ! And O that it were all 
from them alone ! and that among the zealous and suffering party 
of faithful preachers, there were not much of such iniquity, and 
that none of them preached Christ in strife and envy! It is sad, 
that error should find so much shelter under the selfishness and 
pride of pious men, and that the friends of truth should be tempted 
to reject and abuse so much of it in their ignorance as they do : but 
the matter of fact is too evident to be hid. 

But, especially, if we meet with a clergy that are high, and 
have a great deal of worldly interest at the stake ; or if they be 
in councils and synods, and have got the major vote, they too easily 
believe that either their grandeur, reverence, names, or numbers, 
must give them the reputation of being orthodox, and in the right, 
and will warrant them to account and defame him as erroneous, 
heretical, schismatical, singular, factious, or proud, that presumeth to 
contradict them, and to know more than they. Of which, not 
only the case of Nazianzen, Martin, Chrysostom, are sadj^pHols, 
but also the proceedings of too many general and provincial coun- 
cils. And so our hard studies and darling truth must make us as 
owls, or reproached persons, among those reverend brethren, who 
are ignorant at easier rates, and who find it a far softer kind of life 
to think and say as the most or best esteemed do, than to purchase 
reproach and obloquy so dearly. 

And the religious people, of the several parts, will say as they 
hear their teachers do, and be the militant followers of their too 
militant leaders ; and it will be their house talk, their shop talk, 
their street talk, if not their church talk, that such an one is an 
erroneous, dangerous man, because he is not as ignorant and erro- 
neous as they ; especially if they be the followers of a teacher much 
exasperated by confutation, and engaged in the controversy ; and 
also if it should be suffering confessors that are contradicted, or 
men most highly esteemed for extraordinary degrees of piety ; 
then, what cruel censures must he expect, who ever so tenderly 
would suppress their errors ? 

O, what sad instances of this are, 1. The case of the confess- 
ors in Cyprian's days, who, as many of his epistles show, became 
the great disturbers of that church. 2. And the Egyptian monks 
at Alexandria, in the days of Theophilus, who turned Anthropo- 






f 



S i'.Vi:.i= Vi;,.,i ,j. . . 77 

morpliites, and raised abominable tumults, with woful scandal and 
odious bloodshed. 3. And O that this age had not yet greater 
instances to prove the matter than any of these ! 

And, now, should a man be loath to die, for fear of leaving such 
troublesome, costly learning and knowledge, as the wisest men 
can here attain ? 

4. But the chief answer is yet behind. No knowledge is lost, 
but perfected, and changed for much nobler, sweeter, greater 
knowledge. Let men be never so uncertain in particular de modo, 
whether acquired habits of intellect and memory die with us. as 
being dependent on the body ; yet, by what manner soever, that 
a far clearer knowledge we shall have than is here attainable, is 
not to be doubted of. And the cessation of our present mode of 
knowing, is but the cessation of our ignorance and imperfection ; 
as our wakening endeth a dreaming knowledge, and our maturity 
endeth the trifling knowledge of a child ; for so saith the Holy 
Ghost; 1 Cor. xiii. 8 12. Love never faileth, and we can love 
no more than we know ; but whether there be prophecies they 
shall fail, (that is, cease ;) whether there be tongues they shall 
cease ; whether there be knowledge, notional and abstractive, such 
as we have now, it shall vanish away : " When 1 was a child, I 
spake as a child, understood as a child, I thought as a child ; but 
whejfr.I became a man, I put away childish things : for now we see 
through a glass (per species*) darkly," as men understand a thing 
by a metaphor, parable, or riddle, " but then face to face ; " even 
creatures intuitively, as in themselves naked and open to our sight. 
" Now, I know, in part ; " (not rem sed aliquid rei ; in which sense 
Sanchez truly saith, nihil scitur; ') " but then I shall know, even 
as I am known ; not as God knoweth us ; " for our own knowledge 
and his must not be so comparatively likened ; but as holy spirits 
know us both now and forever, we shall both know and be known 
by immediate intuition. 

If a physician be to describe the parts of a man, and the latent 
diseases of his patient, he is fain to search hard, and bestow many 
thoughts of it, besides his long reading and converse, to make him 
capable of knowing ; and when all is done, he goeth much upon 
conjectures, and his knowledge is mixed with many uncertainties, 
yea. and mistakes ; but when he openeth the corpse, he seeth all, 
and his knowledge is more full, more true, and more certain ; be- 
sides that, it is easily and quickly attained, even by a present look. 
A countryman knoweth the town, the fields, and rivers, where he 
(Kvelleth, yea, and the plants and animals, with ease and certain 
clearness, when he that must know the same things by the study 
of geographical writings and tables, must know them but with a 
general, and unsatisfactory, and oft a much mistaking kind of 




73 BAXTEK'S DYIM; THOL'GHTS. . 

knowledge. Alas ! when our present knowledge hath cost a man 
the study of forty, or fifty, or sixty years, how lean and poor, how 
doubtful and unsatisfactory is it, after all ! But when God will 
show us himself, and all things, and when heaven is known as the 
sun by its own light, this will be the clear, sure, and satisfactory 
knowledge : " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see 
God ; " Matt. v. " And without holiness none can see him ; " 
Heb. xii. 14. This sight will be worthy the name of wisdom, 
when our present glimpse is but philosophy, a love and desire of 
wisdom. So far should we be from fearing death, through the fear 
of losing our knowledge, or any of the means of knowledge, that 
it should make us rather long for the world of glorious light, that 
we might get out of this darkness, and know all that with an easy 
look, to our joy and satisfaction, which here we know with trouble- 
some doublings, or not at all. Shall we be afraid of darkness in the 
heavenly light, or of ignorance, when we see the Lord of glory ? 

And as for the loss of sermons, books, and other means, surely 
it is no loss to cease the means when we have attained the end. 
Cannot we spare our winter clothes, as troublesome, in the heat 
of summer, and sit by the hot fire without our gloves ? Cannot 
we sit at home without a horse or a coach, or set them by at our 
journey's end ? Cannot we lie in bed without boots and spurs ? 
Is it grievous to us to cease our physic when we are well ? Even 
here, he is happier that hath least of the creature, and* nemleth 
least, than he that hath much and needeth much ; because all crea- 
ture commodities and helps have also their discommodities and 
troublesomeness ; and the very applying and using so many reme- 
dies of our want is tedious of itself; and as God only needeth 
nothing, but is self-sufficient, and therefore only perfectly and es- 
sentially happy, so those are likest God that need least from with- 
out, and have the greatest plenitude of internal goodness. What 
need we to preach, hear, read, pray, to bring us to heaven when 
we are there ? 

And as for our friends, and our converse with them, as relations, 
or as wise, religious, and faithful to us, he that believeth not that 
there are far more, and far better, in heaven, than are on earth, 
doth not believe, as he ought, that there is a heaven. Our friends 
here are wise, but they are unwise also ; they are faithful, but 
partly unfaithful ; they are holy, but also, alas ! too sinful ; they 
have the image of God, but blotted and dishonored by their faults ; 
they do God and his church much service, but they also do too 
much against him, and too much for Satan, even when they intend 
the honor of God ; they promote the gospel, but they also 
hinder it : their weakness, ignorance, error, selfishness, pride, pas- 
sion, division, contention, scandals, and remissness, do oft so much 






BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 79 

hurt, that it is hard to discern whether it be not greater than their 
good to the church, or to their neighbors. Our friends are our 
helpers and comforters ; but how oft, also, are they our hinderers, 
troubles, and grief! But in heaven they are altogether wise, and 
holy, and faithful, and concordant, and have nothing in them, nor 
there done by them, but what is amiable to God and man. 

And, with our faithful friends, we have here a mixture, partly 
of useless and burdensome persons, and partly of unfaithful hyp- 
ocrites, and partly of self-conceited, factious wranglers, and partly 
of malicious, envious underminers, and partly by implacable ene- 
mies ; and how many of all these, set together, is there for one 
worthy, faithful friend ! And how great a number is there to 
trouble you, for one that will indeed comfort you ! But in heaven 
there are none but the wise and holy ; no hypocrites, no burden- 
some neighbors, no treacherous, or oppressing, or persecuting ene- 
mies are there. And is not all good and amiable better than a 
little good, with so troublesome a mixture of noisome evils ? 

Christ loved his disciples, his kindred ; yea, and all mankind, 
and took pleasure in doing good to all, and so did his apostles ; but 
, how poor a requital had he or they from any but from God ! 
Christ's own brethren believed not in him, but wrangled with him, 
almost like those that said to him on the cross, " If thou be the 
Son^f God, come down, and we will believe." Peter himself 
was once a Satan to him ; (Matt, xvi.) and after, with cursing and 
swearing, denied him : and all his disciples forsook him, and fled ; 
and what, then, could be expected from others ? 

No friends have a perfect suitableness to each other ; and rough- 
ness and inequalities that are nearest us are most troublesome. 
The wonderful variety and contrariety of apprehensions, interest, 
educations, temperaments, and occasions, and temptations, &tc., 
are such, that, while we are scandalized at the discord and confu- 
sions of the world, we must recall ourselves, and admire that all- 
ruling providence which keepeth up so much order and concord 
as there is. We are, indeed, like people in crowded streets, who, 
going several w'ays, molest each other with their jostling opposi- 
tions ; or, like boys at football, striving to overthrow each other for 
the ball ; but it is a wonder of divine power and wisdom, that all 
the world are not continually in mortal war. 

If I do men no harm, yet if I do but cross their wills, it goeth 
for a provoking injury ; and when there are as many wills as per- 
sons, who is it that can please them all ? Who hath money enough 
to please all the poor that need it, or the covetous that desire 
it? Or, who can live with displeased men, and not feel some of 
the fruits of their displeasure ? What day goeth over my head, 
in which abundance desire jiot, or expect nol. impossibilities from 



SO BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

me ? And how great is the number of them that expect unright- 
eous things ! By nothing do I diplease so many as by not dis- 
pleasing God and my conscience ; and for nothing am I so deeply 
accused of sin as for not sinning. And the world will not think 
well of any thing that crosseth their opinion and carnal interest, be 
it never so conform to God's commands. I must confess, that, while 
I suffer from all sides, few men have more common and open 
praises from their persecutors than I : but while they praise me in 
general, and for other particulars, they aggravate my non-conform- 
ity to their opinions and wills, and take me to be so much the 
more hurtful to them. The greatest crimes that have been charg- 
ed on me, have been for the things which I thought to be my 
greatest duties, and for those parts of my obedience, to my con- 
science and God, which cost me dearest ; and where I pleased my 
flesh least, I pleased the world least. At how cheap a rate to 
rny flesh could I have got the applause of factious men, if that had 
been my end and business ! Would I have conformed to their 
wills, and taken a bishopric, and the honors and riches of the world, 
how good a man had I been called by the diocesan party ! And, 
O, what praise I should have with the Papists, could I turn Papist ; 
and all the backbiting and bitter censures of the Antinomians, An- 
abaptists, and Separatists, had been turned into praise, could I have 
said as they, or not contradicted them ! But otherwise there is no 
escaping their accusations ; and is this tumultuous, militant,*yea, 
malignant world, a place that I should be loath to leave ? 

Alas ! our darkness, and weakness, and passions are such, that 
it is hard for a family, or a few faithful friends, to live so evenly 
in the exercise of love, as not lo have oft unpleasant jars. What, 
then, is to be expected from strangers, and from enemies ? Ten 
thousand persons will judge of abundance of my words and ac- 
tions, who never knew the reason of them. Every one's concep- 
tions are as the report and conveyance of the matter to them is ; 
and while they have a various light, and false reports, (and defect- 
iveness will make them false,) what can be expected, but false, 
injurious censures ? 

And though no outward thing on earth is more precious than 
the holy word, and worship, and ordinances of God, yet even here 
I see that which pointeth me up higher, and telleth me it is much 
better to be with Christ. Shall I love the name of heaven better 
than heaven itself? The Holy Scriptures are precious, because I 
have there the promise of glory ; but is not the possession better 
than the promise ? If a light and guide thither through this wil- 
derness be good, surely the end must needs be better. And it 
hath pleased God, that all things on earth, and therefore, even the 
Sacred Scriptures, should bear the marks of our state of imperfec- 









BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 81 

tion : imperfect persons Were the penmen ; and imperfect human 
language is the conveying, signal, organical part of the matter; 
and the method and phrase (though true and blameless) are far 
short of the heavenly perfection. Else so many commentators 
had not found so hard a task of it to expound innumerable difficul- 
ties, and reconcile so many seeming contradictions ; nor would in- 
fidels find matter of so strong temptation, and so much cavil as 
they do ; nor would Peter have told us of the difficulties of Paul's 
Epistles, and such occasions of men's wresting them to their own 
destruction. Heaven will not be made, to perfect spirits, the oc- 
casion of so many errors, and controversies, and quarrels, as the 
Scriptures are to us imperfect men on earth ; yea, heaven is the 
more desirable, because .there I shall better understand the Scrip- 
tures than here I can ever hope to do. All the hard passages, 
now misunderstood, will be there made plain, and all the seeming 
contradictions reconciled ; and, which is much more, that God, that 
Christ, that New Jerusalem, that glory, and that felicity of souls, 
which are now known but darkly and enigmatically in the glass, 
will then be known intuitively as we see the face itself whose image 
only the glass first showed us. To leave my Bible, and go to the 
God and the heaven that is revealed, will be no otherwise a loss 
to me than to lay by my crutches, or spectacles, when I need 
them not, or to leave his image for the presence of my friend. 

Much less do I need to fear the loss of all other books, or ser- 
mons, or other verbal informations. Much reading hath oft been 
a Xveariness to my flesh ; and the pleasure of my mind is much 
abated by the great . imperfection of the means. Many books 
must be partly read, that I may know that they are scarce worth 
the reading ; and many must be read, to enable us to satisfy other 
men's expectations, aud to confute those who abuse the authority 
of the authors against the truth ; and many good books must be 
read, that have little to add to what we have read in many others 
before ; and many that are blotted w r ith ensnaring errors ; which, 
if w r e detect not, we leave snares for such as see them not ; and if 
we detect them, (never so tenderly, if truly,) we are taken to be 
injurious to the honor of the learned, godly authors, and proudly 
to overvalue our own conceits. And so lamentable is the case 
of all mankind, by the imperfections of human language, that those 
words which are invented for communication of conceptions, are 
so little fitted to their use, as rather to occasion misunderstand- 
ings and contentions ; there being scarce a word that hath not many 
significations, and that neecleth not many more words to bring us 
to the true notice of the speaker's rnind ; and when every word is 
a sigiium, that hath three relations. (1.) To the matter spoken of. 
(2.) To the mind of the speaker, as signifying his conceptions of 

VOL. II. 11 



?* BAXTElt's DVl.\G THOUGHTS. 

that matter. (3.) And to the mind of the hearer or reader, which 
is to be informed by it, it is so hard to find and use words that are 
fitted indeed to all these uses, and to have store of such, and mix 
no other, that few, if any, in the world, were ever so happy as to 
attain it. (1.) And if words be not fitted to the matter or things, 
they are false as to their first and proper use ; and yet the penury 
of apt words, and the redundancy of others, and the authority of 
the masters of sciences, imposing arbitrary terms and notions on 
their disciples, and the custom of the vulgar, who have the empire, 
as to the sense of words, have all conspired to make words inapt, 
and of very uncertain signification. So that when students have 
learned words by long-and hard studies, they are oft little the nearer 
the true knowledge of the things ; and too oft, by their inaptitude, 
misled to false conceptions. And so their saying is too often true, 
that a great book is a great evil, while it containeth so great a 
number of uncertain words, which become the matter of great 
contentions. 

(2.) And when the mind of the speaker or writer is no better 
informed by such notions, but his conceptions of things are some 
false, some confused and undigested, what wonder if his words do 
no otherwise express his mind to others, when even men of clearest 
understanding find it difficult to have words still ready to commu- 
nicate their conceptions with truth and clearness. To form true 
sentiments of things into apt, significant words, is a matter of mere 
art, and requireth an apt teacher, and a serious learner, and long 
use (and too many take their art of speaking, in prayer, confer- 
ence, or preaching, to have more in it of wisdom and piety than 
it hath ; and some too much condemn the unaccustomed that 
want it.) 

(3.) And if we could fit our words well to the matter, and to 
our minds, (with that double verity,) yet still it is hard to fit them 
to the reader or hearer ; for want of which they are lost as to him ; 
and his information being our end, they are therefore so far lost to 
us. And that which is spoken most congruously to the matter, is 
seldom fitted to the capacity of the receiver. And recipitur ad 
inodurn rccipientis, et pro capto Icctoris, &fC. Some readers or 
hearers (yea, almost all) are so used to unapt words and notions, 
obtruded on mankind, by the master of words, that they cannot 
understand us if we change their terms and offer them fitter, and 
yet least understand those which they think that they best under- 
stand ; and all men must have long time to learn the art of words, 
before they can understand them as well as before they can readily 
use them. And the duller any man is, and of less understanding, 
the more words are necessary to make him understand; and yet 
Lis memory is the less capable of retaining many. This is our 









BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHT;;. 3.1 

difficulty, not only in catecl-is : 'i-, but in all other writings and 
teaching, a short catechism, or a saurt style, the ignorant under- 
stand not ; and a long one they remember not. And he that will 
accommodate one judicious reader or hearer with profound matter, 
or an accurate style, must incommodate multitudes that are incapa- 
ble of it ; and, therefore, such must be content with few approvers, 
and leave the applause of the multitude to the more popular, unless 
he be one that can seasonably suit himself to both. 

A man that resolveth not to be deceived by ambiguous words, 
and maketh it his first work, in all his readings and disputings, to 
difference between words, and sense, and things, and strictly to 
examine each disputed term, till the speaker's meaning be dis- 
tinctly known, will see the lamentable case of the church, and all 
mankind, and what shadows of knowledge deceive the world, and 
in what useless dreams the greatest part of men, yea, of learned 
men, do spend their days ; much of that, which some men unwea- 
riedly study, and take to be the honor of their understandings 
and their lives ; and much of that, which multitudes place their 
piety and hopes of salvation in, being a mere game at words, and 
useless notions ; and as truly to be called vanity and vexation, as 
is the rest of the vain show, that most men walk in. My sad and 
bitter thoughts of the heathen, infidel, Mahometan world, and of 
the common corruptions of rulers and teachers, cities and coun- 
tries, senates and councils, I will not here open to others, lest they 
offend ; nor cry out as Seneca, Omnes mali sumus, or, Stultorum 
plena sunt omnia, nor describe the furious spirits of the clergy, and 
their ignorance, and unrighteous calumnies and schisms, as Greg- 
ory Nazianzen and others do, nor voluminously lament the seem- 
ing hopeless case of earth, by the boldness, blindness, and fury of 
men that make use of such sad considerations, to loosen my love 
from such a world, and make me willing to be with Christ. 

9. And if other men's words and writings are blemished with 
so much imperfection, why should 1 think that my own are blame- 
less ? I must forever be thankful for the holy instructions and 
writings of others, notwithstanding human frailty, and contentious 
men's abuse of words ; and so 1 must be thankful that God hath 
made any use of my own, for the good of souls, and his church's 
edification. But with how many allays are such comforts here 
mixed ! We are not the teachers of a well -ruled school, where 
learners are ranked into several forms, that every one may 
have the teaching which is agreeable to his capacity ; but we must 
set open the door to all that will crowd in, and publish our writings 
to all sorts of readers ; and there being as various degrees of capa- 
city as there are men and women, and, consequently, great variety 
and contrariety of apprehensions, it is easy, ab antccedente, to know 




4 BAXTKR'S DYING THOTGHTS. 

what various reception \ve must expect. We cast out our doctrine 
almost as a foot-ball is turned out among boys in the street, in 
some congregations : few understand it, but every one censureth 
it. Few come as learners, or teachable disciples, but most come 
to sit as judges on their teacher's words ; and yet have not either 
the skill, or the patience,- or the diligence, which is necessary, in a 
just trial, to a righteous judgment. But as our words agree or dis- 
agree with the former conceptions of every hearer, so are they 
judged to be wise or foolish, sound or unsound, true or false, fit or 
unfit. Few sermons that I preach, but one extolleth them, and 
wisheth they were printed, and another accuseth them of some 
heinous fault : some men are pleased with clearness and accurate- 
ness of doctrine ; and others account it too high, and say we shoot 
over the hearers' heads, and like nothing but the fervent applica- 
tion of what they knew before. Most hearers are displeased with 
that which they most need : if they err, they reproach that doc- 
trine as erroneous that would cure them : if they are guilty of any 
prevailing distemper and sin, they take that application to be in- 
jurious to them, which would convince them, and save them from 
that guilt. Most are much pleased with plain and zealous reproof 
of sin ; but it must be other men's sins, and not their own. The 
poor love to hear of the evil of oppression and unmercifulness, of 
pride, fullness, and idleness, and all the sins of the rich : subjects 
love to hear of their ruler's faults, and say, O, this man is no flat- 
terer ; he dares tell the greatest of their sins ; but if they hear of 
their own, they take it for an injury. Rulers like a sermon for 
submission and obedience ; but how few love to hear of the evil of 
injustice and oppression, or pride and sensuality, or to read Luke 
xvi. or xii. or James v. ; to hear of the necessity of holiness, justice, 
and temperance, and of death, and judgment, and the life to come ! 
Every sectary and dogmatist delighteth to have his own opinion 
cried up, and his party praised as the chiefest saints ; but all that 
tendeth to the praise of those he dissenteth from, and accounteth 
adversaries to the truth, is distasteful to him, as a complying with 
iniquity, and a strengthening of the enemies of Christ : and all 
that uncharitableness which he expecteth from us against others, is 
as much expected by others against him, and such as he. 

This day, while I am writing these words, my pockets are full 
of letters sent to me, on one side importunately charging it on me 
as my duty to conform to the oaths, declarations, covenants, and 
practices, now imposed, or else to give over preaching, (which 
would please them ;) and on the other side vehemently censuring 
me as guilty of grievous sin, for declaring my judgment for so 
much of conformity as I have done; and charging me by predic- 
tions as guilty of the sufferings of all that are otherwise minded, 





Tip 

' . - ^ JL *' 

BAXTER'S DY;NI. THOUGHTS. 85 

for conmiunicating in the sacrament, and the common prayers of 
the church ; and others in the mid-way, persuading me equally to 
bear my testimony against unjust separation and persecution, and 
to endeavor still, if possible, to save a self-destroying people from 
the tearing fury of these two extremes. And how should I an- 
swer these contrary expectations, or escape the censures of such 
expectants ? 

And it hath pleased God, who, thirty years and more, had tried 
me by human applause, of late in this city (where multitudes of 
persons of contrary minds are, like passengers in crowded streets, 
still jostling and offending one another,) to exercise me with men's 
daily backbitings and cavils : and so many have chosen me for the 
subject of their discourse, that I may say as Paul, (1 Cor. iv. 9, 10, 
&c.) " We are made a spectacle, or theatre, to the world, and to 
angels, and to men : we are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise 
in Christ," &c. Did I not live out of the noise in retirement, tak- 
en up with pain, and expectations of my change, what an annoy- 
ance to me would it be to hear religious persons, that have a God, 
a Christ, a heaven, to talk of, to abuse their time and tongues in 
so much talking of one so inconsiderable, and that hath so little to 
do with them, or they with him ; while with some overvaluing me 
and others still quarreling, I am the matter of their idle, sinful talk. 
The persecutors, for divers years after, first silencing, (if not still,) 
and the separatists, for two or three years last past, have been pos- 
sessed with so strange a jealousy and quarrelsome a disposition 
against me, that they seem to take it for their interest to promote 
my defamation, and for much of their work to search what may af- 
ford them any matter of accusation in every sermon that I preach, 
and every book that I write. And though the fury of the perse- 
cutors be such as maketh them much incapable of such converse 
and sober consideration as is needful to their true information and 
satisfaction, yet most of the more religious cavilers are satisfied 
as soon as I have spoken with them, and all endeth in a putarem 
or non putarem : for want of accurateness and patience, they judge 
rashly before they understand, and, when they understand, confess 
their error ; and yet many go on and take no warning after many 
times conviction of their mistake. Even in books that are still be- 
fore their eyes (as well as in transient words and sermons) they heed- 
lessly leave out, or put in, or alter and misreport plain \vords, and, 
with confidence, affirm those things to have been said that never 
were said, but, perhaps, the contrary. And when all people will 
judge of the good or evil of our words, as they think we have 
reason to use them or forbear them, how can we satisfy men that 
are out of our hearing, and to whom we cannot tell our reasons ? 
Most men are of private, narrow observation, and judge of the good 



86 BAXTElt's DYIN-G THOUGHTS, 

or hurt that our words do by those that they themselves converse 
with ; and when I convince them that my decisions of many ques- 
tions (which they are offended at) are true, they say, it is an un- 
seasonable and a hurtful truth ; and when I have called them to 
look further abroad in the world, and told them my reasons, they 
say, ' Had these been all set down, men would have been satisfied. 
And on how hard terms do we instruct such persons, whose nar- 
row understandings cannot know obvious reasons of what we say 
till they are particularly told them ! And so to tell men the rea- 
sons of all that such can quarrel with, will make every book to 
swell with commentaries to such a bigness as they can neither buy 
nor read ; and they come not to us to know our reasons, nor have 
we leisure to open them to every single person : and thus suspi- 
cious men, when their understandings want the humbling acquaint- 
ance with their ignorance, and their consciences that tenderness 
which should restrain them from rash judging, go on to accuse such 
needful truths of which they know not the use and reason. And 
what man living hath the leisure and opportunity to acquaint all the 
ignorant persons in city and country with all the reasons of all that 
he shall say, write, or do ? Or who, that writeth not a page in- 
stead of a sentence, can so write that every unprepared reader 
shall understand him? And what hopes hath the tutor or school- 
master of preserving his reputation, who shall be accounted errone- 
ous, and accused of unsound or injurious doctrine, by every scholar 
that understandeth not his words, and all the reasons of them ? 

But God, in great mercy to me, hath made this my lot (not caus- 
ing, but permitting, the sins of the contentious) that I might, be- 
fore death, be better weaned from all below : had my temptations 
from inordinate applause had no allay, they might have been more 
dangerously strong. Even yet while church-dividers, on both ex- 
tremes, do make me the object of their daily obloquy, the contin- 
ued respects of the sober and peaceable are so great as to. be a 
temptation strong enough, to so weak a person, to give a check to 
my desires to leave the world. It is long since riches and world- 
ly honor appeared to me as they are, as not rendering the world 
much lovely or desirable. But the love and concord of religious 
persons hath a more amiable aspect : there is so much holiness in 
these, that I was loath to call them vanity and vexation ; but yet as 
flesh and blood would refer them to selfish ends, and any way value 
them as a carnal interest, I must so call them, and number them 
with the things that are loss and dung; Phil. iii. 7, 8. Selfishness 
can serve itself upon things good and holy; and if good men, and 
good books, and good sermons, would make the world seem over- 
lovely to us, it will be a mercy of God to abate the temptation ; 
and if my soul, looking toward the heavenly Jerusalem, be hinder- 



UAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 87 

ed as Paul was in his journey to Jerusalem (Acts xx. and xxi.) by 
the love of ancient friends and hearers, I must say, ' What mean 
you, to weep and break my heart ! I am ready to leave the dear- 
est friends on earth, and life, and all the pleasures of life, for the 
presence of far better friends with Christ, and the sweeter pleasures 
of a better life.' That little amiableness, which is in things below, 
is in godly men as life in the heart, which dieth last : when that 
is all gone, when we are dead to the love of the godly themselves, 
and to learning, books, and mediate ordinances, so far as they serve 
a selfish interest, and tempt down our hearts from heavenly aspir- 
ings, the world is then crucified to us, indeed, and we to it. I re- 
joice to tread in the footsteps of my Lord, who had some, indeed, 
weeping about his cross, lut was forsaken by all his disciples, 
while in the hour of temptation they all fled ! But my desertion 
is far less, for it is less than I am fit to bear. If God will justify, 
who shall condemn ? If he be for me, who shall be against me ? 
O, may I not be put to that dreadful case, to cry out, " My God, 
my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" And may nothing sepa- 
rate me from his love ! And then, were I forsaken of the sober 
and peaceable, as I am, in part, of some quarrelsome dividers, how 
tolerable a trial would it be ! Man is as dust in the balance, that 
addeth little to it, and signifieth nothing when God is in the other 
end. But I suspect still that I make too much account of man, 
when this case hath taken up too much of my observation. 

10. And of all things, surely -a departing soul hath least cause 
to fear the losing of its notice of the affairs of the world ; of peace, 
or wars, or church, or kingdoms ! For, (1.) If the sun can send 
forth its material beams, and operate by motion, light, and heat, 
at such a distance as this earth, why should I think that blessed 
spirits are such local, confined, and impotent substances, as not to 
have notice of the things of earth ? Had I but bodily eyes, I could 
see more from the top of a tower or hill, than any one that is be- 
low can do. And shall I know less of earth from heaven than 
I do now ? It is unlike that my capacity will be so little, and if 
it were, it is unlike that Christ and all the angels will be so strange 
to me, as to give me no notice of things that so much concern my 
God and my Redeemer, (to whom I am united,) and the holy 
society of which I am a part, and myself as a member of Christ 
and that society ! I do not think that the communion of the 
celestial inhabitants is so narrow and slow, as it is of walking 
clods of earth, and of souls that are confined to such dark lanterns 
as this body is. Stars can shine one to another, and we on earth 
can see them so far off in their heaven. And sure then, if they 
have a seeing faculty, each of them can see many of us, even the 
kingdoms of the world. Spirits are most active, and of powerful 



88 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

and quick communication. They need not send letters, or write 
books to one another, nor lift up a voice to make each other hear ; 
nor is there any unkindness, division, or unsociable selfishness 
among them, which may cause them to conceal their notices or 
their joys ; but as activity, so unity is greatest where there is most 
perfection : they will so be many as yet to be one ; and their 
knowledge will be one knowledge, and their love one love, and 
their joy one joy. Not by so perfect a unity as in God himself, 
who is one and but one ; but such as is suitable to created imperfec- 
tion, which participate of the perfection of the Creator, as the ef- 
fect doth of the virtue of the cause, and therefore hath some parti- 
cipation of his unity. (O foolish soul ! if I shall fear this unity 
with God, Christ, and all the holy spirits, lest I should lose my 
present separate individuation, when perfection and union are so 
near akin.) In a word, I have no cause to think that my celestial 
advancement will be a diminution of any desirable knowledge, 
even of things on earth ; but contrarily, that it will be inconceiva- 
bly increased. 

(2.) But if indeed I shall know less of things below, it will be 
because that the knowledge of them is a part of vanity and vexa- 
tion, which hath no place in heaven. So much knowledge of good 
and evil in lower matters, as came to us by sin, is unworthy of our 
fond tenaciousness, and fear of losing it. Surely the sad tidings 
which we have weekly in our news-books, our lamentable notices 
of heathen and infidel kingdoms, of the overspreading prevalency 
of barbarousness, idolatry, ignorance, and infidelity ; of the rage 
and success of cruel tyrants ; of the bloody wars of proud, unquiet, 
worldly men ; of the misery of the oppressed, desolate countries, 
the dissipated churches, the persecuted, innocent Christians, are no 
such pleasing things as that we should be afraid to hear of such no 
more. To know or hear of the poor in famine, the rich in folly, 
the church distracted, the kingdom discontented, the godly scandal- 
ous by the effects of their errors, imperfections, and divisions ; the 
wicked outrageous, and waxing worse, the falseness, or miscar- 
riages, or sufferings of friends, the fury or success of enemies; is 
this an intelligence which I cannot spare ? What is the daily tidings 
that I hear, but of bloody wars, the undone countries, the persecuted 
churches, the silenced, banished, or imprisoned preachers ; of the 
best removed in judgment from an unworthy world by death, and 
worse succeeding in their rooms ; of the renewed designs and en- 
deavors of the church's enemies ; the implacable rage of the 
worldly and unquiet clergy, and the new divisions of self-conceited 
sectaries, and the obloquy and backbitings of each party against 
the other ! How oft hear 1 the sad tidings of this friend's sickness 
or death, and thai friend's discontent, and of another's fall, and of 



BAXTER S DYING THOl'GHT*. 89 

many, very many's sufferings ! My ears are daily filled with the 
cries of the poor, whom I cannot relieve ; with the endless com- 
plaints of fearful, melancholy, despairing persons ; with the wran- 
glings of the ignorant and proud professors, and contentious divines, 
who censure most boldly where they are most erroneous or dark ; 
or with the troublesome discontents of those that I converse with ; 
and should I be afraid of the ending of so sad a tragedy, or of awak- 
ing out of such an unpleasant dream ? Have I not many times 
thought of the privilege of the deaf, that hear not these trouble- 
some and provoking things ; and of the blind, that see not the vani- 
ties and temptations of this world ? It is one part of the benefit of 
solitude, or a private life and habitation, to free rne from many of 
these unpleasing objects ; and a great part of the benefit of sleep, 
that, with my clothes, I may lay by these troublesome thoughts. 

But other men tell me, the church cannot yet spare you ; there 
is yet this and that necessary work to be done ; there is this and 
that need, &c. 

But, (L.) Is it we or God that must choose his servants, and 
cut out their work ? 'Whose work am I doing ? Is it my own or 
his ? If his, is it not he that must tell me what, and when, and 
how long ? And will not his will and choice be best ? If I believe 
not this, how do I take him for my God ? Doth God or I know 
better what he hath yet to do ? And who is fittest to do it ? 
The church's service and benefits must be measured out by our 
Master and Benefactor, and not by ourselves. 

(2.) What am I to those more excellent persons whom, in all 
ages, he hath taken out of the world ? And would men's thoughts 
of the church's needs detain them ? The poor heathen, infidel, 
Mahometan nations have no preachers of the gospel. And if 
their need prove not that God will send them such, no country's 
need will prove that God will continue them such. Many more 
useful servants of Christ have died in their youth : John Janeway 
preached but one sermon ; Joseph Allen (and many other excellent 
men) died in the midst of his vigorous, successful labors; both of 
them far more fit for God's work, and likely to win souls, and glori- 
fy God, than I am or ever was, however their greater light was 
partly kindled from my lesser. Yet did both these, under painful, 
consuming languishings of the flesh, die, as they had long lived, in 
the lively, triumphant praises of their Redeemer, and joyful desires 
and hopes of glory. And shall I, at seventy-six years of age, after 
such a life of unspeakable mercies, an'd almost fifty-three years of 
comfortable help in the service of my God, be now afraid of my 
reward, and shrink at the sentence of death, and still be desiring to 
stay here upon pretense of further service? We know not what is 
best for the church , as God doth ; the church and the world are not 
VOL. ii. 12 

' 



00 BAXTER'S UYING THOUGHTS. 

ours, but his ; not our desires, but his will, must measure out its mer- 
cies. We are not so merciful as he is. It is not unmeet for us to 
desire many things which God will not give, nor seeth it meet to 
grant the particulars of such desires. Nothing ever lay so heavy 
on my heart as the sin and misery of mankind, and to think how 
much the world lieth in folly and wickedness ! And for what can 

1 pray so heartily as for the world's recovery ? And it is his will 
that I should show a holy and universal love by praying, " Let thy 
name be hallowed, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth 
as it is done in heaven : " and yet, alas ! how unlike is earth to 
heaven, and what ignorance, sin, confusions, and cruelties, here 
reign and prosper ! And unless there be a wonderful change to be 
expected, even as by a general miracle, how little hope appeareth 
that ever these prayers should be granted in the things ! It mak- 
eth us better to desire that others may be better; but God is the 
free disposer of his own gifts; and it seemeth to be his will, that 
the permitted ignorance and confusions of this world should help 
us the more to value and desire that world of light, love, and order, 
which he calleth us to prefer and hope for. 

And if I am any way useful to the world, it is undeserved mercy 
that hath made me so, for which I must be thankful ; but how long 
I shall be so is not my business to determine, but my Lord's. My 
many sweet and beautiful flowers arise and appear in their beauty 
and sweetness but for one summer's time, and they murmur not 
that they flourish for so short a space. The beasts, and birds, and 
fishes, which I feed on, do live till I will have them die ; and as 
God will be served and pleased by wonderful variety at once of 
animals and vegetables, &c., so will he by many successive gene- 
rations. If one flower fall or die, it sufficed! that others shall, 
summer after summer, arise from the same root ; and if rny pears, 
apples, plums, &ic., fall or serve me when they are ripe, it sufficed! 
that not they, but others, the next year shall do the same : God will 
have other generations to succeed us. Let us thank him that we 
have had our time : and could we overcome the grand (too little 
observed) crime of selfishness, and could love others as ourselves, 
and God, as God, above all the world, it would comfort us at 
death, that others shall survive us, and the world shall continue, 
and God will be still God. and be glorified in his works : and love 
will say, I shall live in my successors, and I shall more than live in 
trv life of the world, and yet most of all in the eternal life and glory 
of God. 

And God, who made us not gods, but poor creatures, as it pleased 
him, doth know best our measures, and he will not try us with too 
long a life of temptations, lest we should grow too familiar where 
we should be strangers, and utterly strangers to our home. No 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 91 

wonder if that world was ready for a deluge, by a deluge of sin, in 
which men lived to six, seven, eight, and nine hundred years of . 
age. Had our great sensualists any hope of so long a life, they 
would be more like incarnate devils, and there would be no dwell- 
ing near them for the holy seed. If angels were among them, they 
would, like the Sodomites, seek furiously to abuse them. 

Nor will God tire us out with too long a life of earthly suffer- 
ings. We think short cares, and fears, and sorrows, persecutions, 
sickness, and crosses, to be long, and shall we grudge at the wisdom 
and love which shorteneth them ? Yea, though holy duty itself 
be excellent and sweet, yet the weakness of the flesh maketh us 
liable to weariness, and abateth the willingness of the spirit ; and 
our wise and merciful God will not make our warfare, or our race, 
too long, lest we be wearied, and faint, and fall short of the prize. 
By our weariness, and complaints, and fears, and groans, one would 
think that we thought this life too long, and yet when, we should 
yield to the call of God, we draw back as if we would have it 
everlasting. 

Willingly submit, then, O my soul. It is not thou, but this 
flesh, that must be dissolved ; this troublesome, vile, and corrupti- 
ble flesh. It is but the other half of thy meat and drink, which 
thy presence kept longer uncorrupted, going after the excremental 
part. Thou diest not when man (the compositwri) dieth, by thy 
departure. And as thou livest not to thyself, thou diest not to 
thyself: whether I live or die, I am the Lord's : he that set up the 
candle, knoweth how long he hath use for the light of it. Study 
thy duty, and work while it is day, and let God choose thy time, 
and willingly stand to his disposal. The gospel dieth not when I 
die. The church dieth not. The praises of God die not. The 
world dieth not, and perhaps it shall grow better, and those prayers 
shall be answered which seemed lost. Yea, and it may be some of 
the seed that I have sown, shall spring up to some benefit of the 
dark, unpeaceable world when I am dead. And is not this much 
of the end of life ? And is not that life good which attaineth its 
end ? If my end was to do good and glorify God, if good be done, 
and God glorified when I am dead, yea, though I were annihilat- 
ed, is not my end attained ? Feign not thyself to be God, whose 
interest (that is, the pleasing of his will) is the end of all things, 
and whose will is the measure of all created good. Feign not 
thyself to be all the world : God hath not lost his work : the world 
is not dissolved when I am dissolved. O, how strong and unrea- 
sonable a disease is this inordinate selfishness! Is not God's will 
infinitely better than mine, and fitter to be fulfilled? Choose the 
fulfilling of his will, and thou shall always have thy choice. If a 



9x KAXTKK S DYING THOUGHTS. 

man be well that can always have his will, let this always be thy 
will, that God's will may be done, and thou shall always have it. 

Lord, let thy servant depart in peace ; even in thy peace, which 
passeth understanding, and which Christ, the Prince of peace, doth 
give, and nothing in the world can take away. O, give me that 
peace which beseemeth a soul, which is so near the harbor, even the 
world of endless peace and love, where perfect union (such as I arn 
capable of) will free me from all the sins and troubles which are 
caused by the convulsions, divulsions,and confusions, of this divided, 
selfish world. Call home this soul by the encouraging voice of love, 
that it may joyfully hear, and say, ' It is my Father's voice.' In- 
vite it to thee by the heavenly messenger. Attract it by the to- 
kens and the foretastes of love. The messengers that invited me 
to the feast of grace, compelled me to come in without constraint. 
Thy effectual call did make me willing ; and is not glory better than 
preparing grace? Shall I not come more willingly to the celestial 
least? What was thy grace for, but to make me willing of glory, 
and the way to it ? Why didst thou dart down thy beams of love, 
but to make me love thee, and to call me up to the everlasting 
centre ? Was not the feast of grace as a sacrament of the feast of 
glory ? Did I not take it in remembrance of my Lord until he 
come ? Did not he that told me, " All things are ready," tell me, 
also that " He is gone to prepare a place for us?" And it is his 
will that we shall be with him, and see his glory. They that are 
given him, and drawn to him by the Father, on earth, do come to 
Christ. Give, now, and draw my departing soul to my glorified 
Head ; and, as I have glorified thee on earth, in the measure that 
thy grace hath prevailed in me, pardon the sins by which I have 
offended thee, and glorify me in the beholding and participation 
of the glory of my Redeemer. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, 
with fuller life, and light, and love, into this too dead, and dark, 
and disaffected soul, that it may come with joyful willingness 
unto thee. 

Willingly depart, O lingering soul ! It is from a Sodom, though 
in it there be righteous Lots, who yet are not without their woful 
blemishes ! Hast thou so oft groaned for the general blindness 
and wickedness of the world, and art thou loath to leave it for a 
better? How oft wouldst thou have rejoiced to have seen but the 
dawning of a day of universal peace and reformation ! And wouldst 
thou not see it where it shineth forth in fullest glory ! Would a 
light at midnight have pleased thee so well? Hast thou prayed 
and labored for it so hard ? And wouldst thou not see the sun ? 
Will the things of heaven please thee no where but on earth, where 
they come in the least and weakest influences, and are terminated 



BAXTER'S J>YING THO curs. 93 

in gross, terrene, obscure, and unkind recipients? Away, away ; 
the vindictive flames are ready to consume this sinful world! Sin- 
ners, that blindly rage in sin, must quickly rage, in the effects of 
sin and of God's justice. Tiie pangs of lust prepared for these 
pangs ! They are treasuring up wrath against this day. Look 
not, then, behind thee. Away from this unhappy world! Press 
on unto the mark ; (Phil, iii.) " Looking towards, and hastening 
to the coming of the day of God ;" 2 Pet. iii. 10 12. 

As this world hath used thee, it would use thee still, and it will 
use others. If thou hast sped well in it, no thanks to it, but unto 
God. If thou hast had manifold deliverances, and marvelous 
preservations, and hast been fed with angel's food, love not this 
wilderness for it, but God and his angel, which was thy guide, pro- 
tector, and deliverer. 

And hath this troublesome flesh been so comfortable a compan- 
ion to thee, that thou shouldst be so loath to leave it ? Have thy 
pains, thy weariness, thy languishings, thy labors, thy cares and 
fears about this body, been pleasing to thee ? And ait thou loath 
that they should have an end ? Didst thou not find a need of pa- 
tience to undergo them ? And of greater patience than mere na- 
ture gave thee ? And canst thou hope now for better when nature 
faileth, and that an aged, consumed, more diseased body, should 
be a pleasanter habitation to thee than it was heretofore? If from 
thy youth up it hath been both a tempting and a troublesome thing 
to thee, surely, though it be less tempting, it will not be less 
troubling, when it is falling to the dust, and above ground savoreth 
of the grave ! Had things sensible been never so pleasant in thy 
youth, and hadst thou glutted thyself in health with that sort of 
delight, in age thou art to say by nature, " I have no pleasure in 
them." Dotli God in great mercy make pain and feebleness the 
harbingers of death, and wilt thou not understand their business? 
Doth he mercifully, beforehand, take away the pleasure of all 
fleshly things, and worldly vanities, that there may be nothing to 
relieve a departing soul ; (as the shell breaketh when the bird is 
hatched, and the womb relaxed when the infant must be born.) 
and yet shall we stay when nothing holdeth us, and still be loath to 
come away ? Wouldst thou dwell with thy beloved body in the 
grave, where it will rot and stink in loathsome darkness? If not, 
why should it now, in its painful languor, seem to thee a more 
pleasant habitation than the glorious presence of thy Lord ? In 
the grave it will be at rest, and not tormented as now it is, nor 
wish, at night, O that it were morning! nor say at morning, When 
will it be night? And is this a dwelling fit for thy delight? Pa- 
tience in it, while God will so try thee, is thy duty ; but is such 
patience a better and sweeter life than rest and joy ? 



94 HAXTfclil's DYl.Nu THOUGHTS. 

But, alas! bow deaf is flesh to reason ! Faith hath the reason 
which easily may shame all contrary reasoning, but sense is unrea- 
sonable, and especially this inordinate, tenacious love of present 
life. I have reason enough to be willing to depart, even much 
more willing than I am. Oh, that I could be as willing as I am 
convinced that I have reason to be ! Could I love God as much 
as I know tbat I should love him, then 1 should desire to depart, 
and to be with Christ, as much as I know that I should desire it. 
But God, in nature, hath there laid upon me some necessity of 
aversation, (though the inordinateness came from sin,) else Christ 
had not so feared and deprecated the cup. Death must be a 
penalty, even where it is a gain, and therefore it must meet with 
some unwillingness ; because we willingly sinned, we must unwill- 
ingly suffer. The gain is not the pain or dissolution in itself, but 
the happy consequents of it. All the faith and reason in the world 
will not make death to be no penalty, and therefore will not take 
away all unwillingness. No man ever yet reasoned or believed 
himself into a love of pain and death, as such ; but seeing that the 
gain is unspeakably greater than the pain and loss, faith and holy 
reason may make our willingness to be greater than our unwilling- 
ness, and our hope and joy than our fear and sorrow. And it is 
the deep and effectual notice of goodness, which is God's way, in 
nature and grace, to change and draw the will of man. Come, 
then, my soul, and think believingly, what is best for thee. And 
wilt thou not love and desire most that which is certainly the best ? 

TO DEPART AND TO BE WITH CHRIST IS FAR BETTER, OR 
RATHER TO BE CHOSEN. 

To say and hear lhat it is far better to be with Christ, is not 
enough to make us willing. Words and notions are such instru- 
ments as God used) to work on the souls ; but the convincing, sat- 
isfying, powerful light, and the inclining love, are other things. 
The soul now operated) ut forma homwis, on and with the corpo- 
real spirits and organs, and it perceived) now its own perceptions ; 
but it is a stranger to the mode of its future action, when separated 
from the body, and can have no formal conception of such con- 
ceptions as yet it never had. And therefore, its thoughts of its 
future state must be analogical and general, and partly strange. 
But general notices, when certain, may be very powerful, and sat- 
isfy us in so much as is needful to our consent, and to such a 
measure of joy as is suitable to this earthly state. And such no- 
tices we have from the nature of the soul, with the nature of God ; 
the course of providence, and government of mankind ; the in- 
ternal and external conflicts which we perceive about men's souls ; 






BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 95 

the testimony and promises of the word of God ; the testimony of 
conscience, with the witness of the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, and 
in it the earnest and the foretaste of glory, and the beginnings of 
life eternal here ; all which I have before considered. 

The Socinians, who would interpret this of the state of resur- 
rection only, against plain evidence, violate the text ; seeing Paul 
expressly speaketh of his gain by death, which will be his abode 
with Christ, and this upon his departure hence ; which (in 2 Cor. 
v. 7, 8.) he calleth his being absent from the body, and present 
with the Lord : and Christ, to the penitent thief, calleth his being 
with him in Paradise : and (Luke xvi.) in the parable of the stew- 
ard, Christ intimateth to us that wise preparers, when they go 
hence, are received into the everlasting habitations ; as he there 
further tells us Lazarus was in Abraham's bosom. 

Goodness is primaria et mensuratis, vel secundaria et mensurata : 
the first is God's perfect essence and will : the second is either 
properly and simply good, or analogical. The former is the crea- 
ture's conformity to the will of God, or its pleasingness to his will : 
the latter is, 1. The greater, which is the welfare or perfection of 
the universe. 2. The lesser, which is the several parts of the 
universe, either, 1. In the nobler respect, as they are parts contrib- 
uting to the perfection of the whole ; or, 2. In the lower respect, 
as they are perfect or happy in themselves ; or, 3. In the lowest 
respect of all, as they are good to their fellow-creatures which are 
below themselves. 

Accordingly, it is far better to be with Christ, I. Properly and 
simply, as it is the fulfilling of God's will. II. Analogically, as 
it tendeth to the perfection of the universe and the church. III. 
And as it will be our own good or felicity. IV. And as it will be 
good to our inferior fellow-creatures ; though this last be most ques- 
tionable, and seemeth not included in the meaning of this text. 
Somewhat of these in order. 

I. It is an odious effect of idolatrous selfishness to acknowledge 
no goodness above our own felicity, and, accordingly, to make the 
goodness of God to be but formally his usefulness, benevolence, 
and beneficence, to his creatures, which is by making the creature the 
ultimate end, and God but the means ; to make the creature to be 
God, and deny God, indeed, while we honor his name; as also it 
is to acknowledge no higher goodness formally in the creature, 
than in its own felicity as such ; as if neither the pleasing of God's 
will, nor the perfection of the church and world, were better than 
we are. We are not of ourselves, and therefore WP are not chiefly 
for ourselves ; and therefore we have a higher good to love. 

That is simply best which God willeth. Therefore, to live here 
is best whilst I do live here ; and to depart is best, when the time 



96 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

of my departure cometh : that is best which is, for it is the work 
of God : the world cannot be better at this instant than it is, nor 
any thing better, which is of God, because it is as he willeth it to 
be ; but when God hath changed them, it will then be best that 
they are changed. Were there no other good in my departure 
hence, but this simple good, the fulfilling of God's will, my reason 
telleth me that I should be fully satisfied in it : but there is also a 
subordinate sort of good. 

II. For my change will tend to the perfection of the universe ; 
even that material good or perfection, which is its aptitude for the 
use to which God hath created and doth preserve it : as all the 
parts, the modes, the situation, the motions of a clock, a watch, or 
other engine, do to the ends of the artificer. Though God hath 
not told me particularly, why every thing, and mode, and motion, 
is as it is, I know it is all done in perfect wisdom, and suited to its 
proper use and end. If the hen or bird knoweth how to make 
her nest, to lay her eggs secretly together, when and how to sit 
on them till they are hatched, and how to feed them, and preserve 
them, and when to forsake them, as sufficient for themselves with- 
out her help, &.c ; if the bee knoweth when, and whence, and 
how to gather her honey and wax, and how to form the repository 
combs, and how to lay it up, and all the rest of her marvelous 
economy, shall I think that God doth, he knoweth not what, or 
what is not absolutely the best ? Doth he want either skill, or 
will, or power? 

And should the stone grudge to be hewed, the brick to be burnt, 
the trees to be cut down, and sawed, and framed, the lead and iron 
to be melted, &,c., when it is but to form an useful edifice, and to 
adapt and compose every part to the perfecting of the whole ? 

Shall the water's grudge that they must glide away, and the 
plants that they must die, and half die every winter, and the fruits 
and flowers that they must fall, or the moon that it must have its 
changing motions, or the sun that it must rise and set so oft, &tc., 
when all is but the action and order which maketh up that harmo- 
ny and perfection which was designed by the Creator, and is 
pleasing to his will ? 

HI. But lawful self-love is yet further herein gratified : the good- 
ness expressed in the text is that analogical, subordinate good, 
which is mihi bonum, my own felicity, and that which tendeth 
thereunto : it is most reasonable to love God best, and that next 
which is likest him, (if known,) and why should it not be the 
easiest and the sweetest ? But experience findeth it so easy to love 
ourselves, that, certainly, if I firmly believe that it is best for me, 
I shall desire to depart, and to be with Christ. And have I not 
reason to believe it ? 






BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 97 

The reasons of it I will consider in this order : I. The general 
reason from the efficients and the means. //. The final reasons. 
III. The constitutive reasons from the state of my intellect, and 
its action and fruition there. IV. The constitutive reasons from 
the state of my will. V. The constitutive reasons from my prac- 
tice there, leaving out those which the resurrection will give me, 
because I am speaking but of my present departure unto Christ. 

/. The General Reasons, fyc. 

1. That is best for me which love itself, my heavenly Father, 
designed, and chooseth, for my good. I hope I shall never dare 
to think, or say, that he is mistaken, or that he wanted skill or 
love, or that I could have chosen better for myself than he doth, 
if he had left all to ray choice. Many a time the wise and good 
will of God hath crossed my foolish rebellious will on earth ; and 
afterwards, I have still perceived that it was best ; usually for my- 
self, but always for a higher good than mine. It is not an enemy, 
nor a tyrant, that made me, that hath preserved me, and that calls 
me hence. He hath not used me as an enemy : the more I tried 
him, the better I have found him : had I better obeyed his ruling 
will, how happy had I been ! And is not his disposing and re- 
warding will as good ? Man's work is like man, and evil corrupt- 
eth it ; but God's work is like God, and uncorrupted. If I should 
not die till my dearest friend would have it, much more till I my- 
self would choose it, (not constrained by misery,) I should rejoice, 
and think my life were safe ! O foolish, sinful soul ! if I take it 
not to be far better to be at God's choice, than at my o\vn, or any 
man's ; and if I had not rather that he choose the time than I ! 

Be of good cheer, then, O my soul ! it is thy Father's voice 
that calleth thee hence ; his voice that called thee into the world, 
and bid thee live ; that called thee out of a state of sin and death, 
and bid thee live hereafter unto him ; that called thee so oft from 
the grave, and, forgiving thy sins, renewed thy strength, restored 
thee to the comforts of his house and service ; and that so gracious- 
ly led thee through this howling wilderness, and brought thee al- 
most to the sight of the promised land. And wilt thou not will- 
ingly go, when infinite, fatherly love doth call thee ? Art thou not 
desirous of his presence ? Art thou afraid to go to him who is the 
only cure of thy fears ? What was it but this glory to which he 
did finally elect thee ? Where dost thou read that he elected thee 
to the riches and honors of this world, or to the pleasures of the 
flesh ? But lie elected us in Christ to the heavenly inheritance ; 
Eph. i. 3, 4, &ic. Indeed, he elected thee also to bear the cross, 
and to manifold sufferings here : but is it that which thou prefer- 
vor,. ii. 13 



98 BAXTER'S UVJLM; THOUGHTS. 

rest before the crown ? That was but as a means unto the king- 
dom, that thou mightest be conformed to Christ, and reign with 
him when thou hast suffered with him. If God choose thee to 
blessedness, refuse it not thyself, nor behave thyself like a refuser. 

2. And, surely, that state is my best which my Savior purchas- 
ed and promised me as best ; as he bought me not with silver and 
gold, so neither to silver and gold : did he live and die to make 
me rich or advanced in the world ? Surely his incarnation, merits, 
sacrifice, and intercession, had a low design, if that were all ! And 
who hath more of these than they that have least of Christ ? But 
he purchaseth us to an incorruptible crown ; to an inheritance un- 
defiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us, that are 
kept, by God's power, through faith unto salvation ; 1 Pet. i. And 
is it heaven that cost so dear a price for me, and is the end of so 
wonderful a design of grace, and shall 1 be unwilling now to re- 
ceive the gift ? 

3. That, sure, is best for me, for which God's Holy Spirit is pre- 
paring me ; that for which he is given to believers ; and that which 
is the end of all his holy operations on my soul. But it is not to 
love this world, that he is persuading me from day to day ; but to 
come off from such love, and to set my heart on the things above. 
Is it to love this life and fleshly interest, this vanity and vexation, 
or, rather, to love the invisible perfection, that this blessed Spirit 
hath done so much to work my heart ? And would I now undo 
all, or cross and frustrate all his operations ? Hath grace been so 
long preparing me for glory, and shall I be loath to take possession 
of it ? If I am not willing, I am not yet sufficiently prepared. 

4. If heaven be not better for me than earth, God's word and 
ordinances have been all in vain. Surely that is my best which 
is the gift of the better covenant, and which is secured to me by 
so many sealed promises, and which I am directed to by so many 
sacred precepts, doctrines and examples ; and for which I have 
been called to hear, and read, and meditate, and pray, and watch 
so long. Was it the interest of the flesh on earth, or a longer life 
of worldly prosperity, which the gospel covenant secured to me ; 
which the sacraments and Spirit sealed to me ; which the Bible 
was written to direct me to ; which ministers preached to me ; 
which my books were written for ; which I prayed for ; and for 
which I served God? Or was it not for his grace on earth, and 
glory in heaven ? And is it not better for me to have the end of 
all these means, than lose them all, and lose my hopes ? Why 
have I used them, if I would not attain their end? 

5. That is my best state, which all the course of God's fatherly 
providences tend to : all his sweeter mercies, and all his sharper 
corrections, are to make me partaker of his holiness, and to lead 







BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 9*J 

me to giory in the way that my Savior and all his saints have gone 
before me : all things work together for the best to me, by pre- 
paring me for that which is best, indeed. Both calms and storms 
are to bring me to this harbor : if I take them but for themselves, 
and this present life, I mistake them, and understand them not, 
but unthankfully vilify them, and lose their end, and life, and 
sweetness : every word and work of God ; every day's mercies, 
and changes, and usages, do look at heaven, and intend eternity. 
God leadeth me no other way : if I follow him not, I forsake my 
hope in forsaking him : if I follow him, shall I be unwilling to be 
at home, and come to the end of all this way ? 

6. Surely that is best for me which God hath required me prin- 
cipally to value, love, and seek, and that as the business of all my 
life, referring all things else thereto : that this is my duty, I am 
fully certain, as is proved elsewhere, and before. Is my business 
in the world only for the things of this world ? How vain a crea- 
ture, then, were man ; and how little were the difference between 
waking and sleeping ! Life and death : no wonder if he that 
believeth that there is no life but this to seek or hope for, do live 
in uncomfortable despair, and only seek to palliate his misery with 
the brutish pleasures of a wicked life, and if he stick at no villany 
which his fleshly lusts incline him to ; especially tyrants and mul- 
titudes who have none but God to fear. It is my certain duty to 
seek heaven with all the fervor of my soul, and diligence of my 
life ; and is it not best to find it ? 

7. That must needs be best for me, which all other things must 
be forsaken for : it is folly to forsake the better for the worse : but 
Scripture, reason, and conscience, tell me, that all this world, 
when it stands in competition, or opposition, should be forsaken 
for heaven ; yea, for the least hopes of it : a possible everlasting 
glory should be preferred before a certainly perishing vanity. I 
am sure this life will shortly be nothing to me ; and therefore it 
is next to nothing now. And must I forsake all for my everlast- 
ing hopes, and yet be unwilling to pass unto the possession of 
them? 

8. That is like to be our best which is our maturest state. 
Nature carrieth all things towards their perfection : our apples, 
pears, grapes, and every fruit, are best when they are ripe ; and 
though they then hasten to corruption, thai is, through the inca- 
pacity of the corporal materials any longer to retain the vegetative 
spirit, which is not annihilated at its separation ; and being not 
made for its own felicity, but for man's, its ripeness is the state in 
which man useth it, before it doth corrupt of itself, and that its 
corruption may be for his nutriment ; and the spirits and best mat- 
ter of his said food doth become his very substance. And doth 



100 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

God cause sainis to grow up unto ripeness, only to perish and 
drop down unto useless rottenness ? It is not credible. Though 
our bodies become but like our filthiest excrements, our souls 
return to God that gave them : and though he need them not, he 
useth them in their separated state ; and that to such heavenly 
uses as the heavenly maturity and mellowness hath disposed them 
to. Seeing, then, love hath ripened me for itself, shall I not will- 
ingly drop into its hand ? 

9. That is like to be the best which the wisest and holiest, in 
all ages of the world, have preferred before all, and have most de- 
sired ; and which also almost all mankind do acknowledge to be 
best at last. It is not like that all the best men in the world should 
be most deceived, and be put upon fruitless labors and sufferings 
by this deceit, and be undone by their duty ; and that God should, 
by such deceits, rule all (or almost all) mankind ; and also that 
the common notices of human nature, and conscience's last and 
closet documents, should be all in vain. But it is past all doubt, 
that no men usually are worse than those that have no belief or 
hopes of any life but this ; and that none are so holy, just, and 
sober, so charitable to others, and so useful to mankind, as those 
that firmliest believe and hope for the state of immortality : and 
shall I fear that state which all that were wise and holy, in all 
ages, have preferred and desired ? 

10. And it is not unlike that my best state is that which my 
greatest enemies are most against : and how much Satan doth to 
keep me and other men from heaven ; and how much worldly 
honor, and pleasure, and wealth, he could afford us to accomplish 
it, I need not here again be copious in reciting, having said so 
much of it in the ' Treatise of Infidelity.' And shall I be, towards 
myself, so much of Satan's mind ? He would not have me come 
to heaven ; and shall I also be unwilling ? All these things tell 
me that it is best to be with Christ. 

//. The Final Reasons. 

1. Is it not far better to dwell with God in glory, than with 
sinful men, in such a world as this? Though he be every where, 
his glory, which we must behold to our felicity, and the perfecting 
operations and communications of his love, are in the glorious 
world, and not on earth. As the eye is made to see the light, 
and then to see other things by the light, so is man's mind made 
to see God, and to love him ; and other things, as in, by, and for 
him. He that is our beginning is our end ; and our end is the 
first motive of all moral action, and for it, it is all that means are 
used ; and the end attained is the rest of souls. How oft hath my 



* 



BAXTER S DYING THOUGHTS. 101 

soul groaned under the sense of distance, and darkness, and estran- 
gedness from God ! How oft hath it looked up, and gasped after 
him, and said, ' Oh ! when shall I be nearer and better acquainted 
with my God?' " As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so 
panteth my soul after thee, O God : my soul thirsteth for God, 
for the living God : when shall I come and appear before God? " 
Psalm xlii. 1. And would I not have my prayers heard, and 
my desires granted ? What else is the sum of lawful prayers, but 
God himself? If I desire any thing more than God, what sinfulness 
is in those desires, and how sad is their signification ! How oft 
have t said, " Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none 
on earth that I desire besides thee ! It is good for me to draw near 
to God." Psalrn Ixxiii. 25, 23. Woe to me, if I did dissemble ! 
If not, why should my soul draw back ? Is it because that death 
stands in the way ? Do not my fellow-creatures die for my daily 
food ; and is not my passage secured by the love of my Father, 
and the resurrection and intercession of my Lord ? Can I see the 
light of heavenly glory in this darksome shell and womb of flesh ? 

2. All creatures are more or less excellent and glorious, as God 
is more or less operative and refulgent in them, and, by that ope- 
ration, communicatetb most of himself unto them. Though he be 
immense and indivisible, his operations and communications are 
not equal : and that is said to be nearest to him which hath most 
of those operations on it ; and that without the intervenient casual- 
ty of any second, created cause ; and so all those are in their order 
near unto him, as they have noblest natures, and fewest interveni- 
ent causes. Far am I from presuming to think that I am, or shall 
be, the best and noblest of God's creatures, and so that I shall be 
so near him as to be under the influx of no second or created 
causes ; of which more anon. But to be as near as my nature was 
ordained to approach, is but to attain the end and perfection of my 
nature. 

3. And as I must not look to be the nearest to him, as he is the 
first efficient, no more must I, as he is the first dirigent, or govern- 
ing cause. As now I am under the government of his officers on 
earth, I look forever to be under sub-governors in heaven. My 
glorified Savior must be my Lord and Ruler, and who else under 
him I know not. If angels are not equal in perfection, nor, as is 
commonly supposed, equal in power, nor without some regimental 
order among themselves, I must not conclude that no created 
angel or spirit shall have any government over me, but it will be 
so pure and divine, as that the blessed effects of God's own gov- 
ernment will be sweetly powerful therein. If the law was given 
by angels, and the angel of God was in the burning bush, and the 
angel conducted the people through the wilderness, and yet all 





V 




102 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

these things are ascribed to God, much more near and glorious 
will the divine regiment there be, whoever are the administrators. 

4. And as I must expect to be under some created, efficient 
and dirigent causes there, so must I expect to have some subordi- 
nate ends ; else there would not be a proportion and harmony in 
causalities. Whatever nobler creatures are above me, and have 
their causalities upon me, I must look to be finally for these 
nobler creatures. When I look up and think what a world of 
glorious beings are now over me, I dare not presume to think that 
I shall finally, any more than receptively, be the nearest unto 
God, and that I am made for none but him. I find here that I 
am made, and ruled, and sanctified, for the public or common good 
of many as above my own, of which I am past doubt ; and I am 
sure that I must be, finally, for my glorified Redeemer ; and for 
what other spiritual beings, or intelligences, that are above me, 
little do 1 know : and God hath so ordered all his creatures, as 
that they are mutually ends and means for and to one another, 
though not in an equality, nor in the same respects. But what- 
ever nearer ends there will be, I am sure that he who is the first 
efficient, and dirigent, will be the ultimate, final cause ; and I shall 
be, in this respect, as near him as is due to the rank and order of 
my nature. I shall be useful to the ends which are answerable to 
my perfection. 

5. And if it be the honor of a servant to have an honorable 
master, and to be appointed to the most honorable work ; if it be 
some honor to a horse above swine, or a worm, or fly, that he 
serveth more nearly for the use of man, yea, for a prince, will it 
not be also my advancement to be ultimately for God, and subor- 
diriately for the highest created natures, and this in such services 
as are suitable to my spiritual and heavenly state ? 

6. For I am far from thinking that I shall be above service, and 
have none to do, for activity will be my perfection and my rest : 
and all such activity must be regular in harmony, and order of 
causes, and for its proper use ; and what, though I know not now 
fully what service it is that I must do, I know it will be good and 
suitable to the blessed state which I shall be in ; and it is enough 
that God and rny Redeemer know it ; and that I shall know it in 
due time, when I come to practice it ; of which more afterward. 

7. The inordinate love of this body and present composition 
seduceth souls to think that all their use and work is for its main- 
tenance and prosperity, and when the soul hath done that, and is 
separated from flesh, it hath nothing to do, but must lie idle, or be 
as nothing, or have no considerable work or pleasure. As if there 
were nothing in the whole world, but this little fluid mass of mat- 
ter, for a soul to work upon ; as if itself, and all the creatures, and 



*. 

BAXTER S DYING THOUGHTS, 103 

God, were nothing, or no fit objects for a soul ; and why not here- 
after, as well as now ? or as if that which, in our compounded 
state, doth operate on and by its organs, had no other way of ope- 
ration without them ; as if the musician lost all his power, or were 
dead, when his instrument is out of tune, or broken, and could do 
nothing else but play on that ; as if the fiery part of the candle 
were annihilated, or transmutate, as some philosophers imagine, 
when the candle goeth out, and were not fire, and in action still ; or 
as if that sunbeam which I shut out, or which passeth from our hori- 
zon, were annihilated, or did nothing, when it shineth not with us. 
Had it no other individual to illuminate, or to terminate its beams 
or action, were it nothing to illuminate the common air ? Though 
I shall not always have a body to operate in and upon, I shall al- 
ways have God and a Savior, and a world of fellow-creatures ; 
and when I shine not in this lantern, and see not by these specta- 
cles, nor imaginarily in a glass, I shall yet see things suitable intui- 
tively, and as face to face. That which is essentially life, as a living 
principle, will live ; and that which is essentially an active, intel- 
lective, volitive principle, force, and virtue, will still be such while 
it is itself, and is not annihilated, or changed into another thing, 
(which is not to be feared ;) and that which is such can never want 
an object till all things be annihilated. 

8. Reason assureth me, that were my will now what it should 
be, and fully obsequious herein to my understanding, to fulfill God's 
will would be the fulfilling of my own will ; for my will should per- 
fectly comply with his, and to please him perfectly would be my 
perfect pleasure : and it is the unreasonable adhesion to this body, 
and sinful selfishness, which maketh any one think otherwise now. 
I am sure that my soul shall live, for it is life itself; and I am sure 
that I shall live to God, and that I shall fulfill and please his bless- 
ed will : and this is, as such, incomparably better than my felicity, 
as such ; and yet so far as I am pleased in so doing, it will be my 
felicity. 

9. I begin now to think, that the strange love which the soul 
hath to this body (so far as it is not inordinate) is put into us of 
God, partly to signify to us the great love which Christ hath to his 
mystical, political body, and to every member of it, even the least: 
he will gather all his elect out of the world, and none that come to 
him shall be shut out, and none that are given him shall be lost : 
as his flesh is to them meat indeed, and his blood is to them drink 
indeed, and he nourisheth them for life eternal ; (his Spirit in them, 
turning the sacrament, the word, and Christ himself, in esse objec- 
tive, as believed in, into spirit and life to us, as the soul and our 
natural spirits turn our food into flesh and blood, and spirits, which, 
in a dead body, or any lifeless repository, it would never be ;) so 



104 BAXTEK'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

as we delight in the ease and prosperity of our body, and each 
member, and have pleasure in the pleasant food that nourisheth it, 
and other pleasant objects which accommodate it ; Christ also de- 
lighteth in the welfare of his church, and of all the faithful, and 
is pleased when they are fed with good and pleasant food, anc! 
when hereby they prosper : Christ loveth the church, not only as 
a man must love his wife, but as we love our bodies ; and no man 
ever hated his own flesh ; Eph. v. 27, &c. And herein I must 
allow my Savior the preeminence, to overgo me in powerful, faith- 
ful love : he will save me better from pain and death than I can 
save my body ; and will more inseparably hold me to himself. If 
it please my soul to dwell in such a house of clay, and to operate 
on so mean a thing as flesh, how greatly will it please my glorified 
Lord to dwell with his glorified body, the triumphant church, and 
to cherish and bless each member of it ! It would be a kind of 
death to Christ to be separated from his body, and to have it die. 
Whether Augustine, and the rest of the fathers, were in the right 
or no, who thought, that as our bodies do not only shed their hairs, 
but, by sickness and waste, lose much of their very flesh ; so 
Christ's militant body doth not only lose hypocrites, but also some 
living, justified members ; yet, certain it is, that confirmed mem- 
bers, and most certain, that glorified members, shall not be lost : 
heaven is not a place for Christ or us to suffer such loss in. And 
will Christ love me better than I love my body ? Will he be more 
loath to lose me than I am to lose a member, or to die ? Will he 
not take incomparably greater pleasure in animating and actuating 
me forever, than my soul doth in animating and actuating this body ? 
O, then, let me long to be with him ! And though I am naturally 
loath to be absent from the body, let me be, by his Spirit, more 
unwilling to be absent from the Lord ; and though I would not be 
unclothed, had not sin made it necessary, let me not groan to be 
clothed upon with my heavenly habitation, and to become the de- 
light of my Redeemer, and to be perfectly loved by love itself. 

10. And even this blessed receptivity of my soul, in terminat- 
ing the love and delight of my glorified Head, must needs be a 
felicity to me. The insensible creatures are but beautified by the 
sun's communication of its light and heat ; but the sensitives have 
also the pleasure of it. Shall my soul be senseless ? Will it be 
a clod or stone ? Shall that, which is now the form of man, be then 
more lifeless, senseless, or uncapable, than the form of brutes is 
now ? Doubtless, it will be a living, perceiving, sensible recipient 
of the felicitating love of God, and my Redeemer; I shall be loved 
aa a living spirit, and not as a dead and senseless thing, that doth 
not comfortably perceive it. 

! I , And if I must rejoice with my fellow-servants that rejoice, 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 105 

shall I not be glad to think that my blessed Lord will rejoice in 
me. and in all his glorified ones ? Union will make his pleasure 
to be much mine ; and it will be aptly said by him to the faithful 
soul, " Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord ; " Matt. xxv. 21 . 
His own active joy will objectiv ely be ours, as ours will be efficient- 
ly his, or from him. Can that be an ill condition to me, in which 
my Lord will most rejoice ? It is best to him, and, therefore, 
best to me. 

12. And the heavenly society will joyfully welcome a holy soul. 
If there be now " joy in heaven among the angels, for one sinner 
that repenteth," (Luke xv. 10,) who hath yet so little holiness, 
and so much sin, what joy will there be over a perfected, glorified 
soul! Surely, if our angels there behold our Father's face, they 
will be glad, in season, of our company. The angels that carried 
Lazarus to Abraham's bosom, no doubt rejoiced in their work, and 
their success. And is the joy of angels, and the heavenly host, 
as nothing to me ? Will not love and union make their joy to be 
my own, if love here must make all my friends and neighbors 
comforts to become my own ? And as their joy, according to their 
perfection, is greater than any that I am now capable of, so the par- 
ticipation of so great a joy of theirs will be far better than to have 
my little separated apartment. Surely, that will be my best con- 
dition, which angels and blessed spirits will be best pleased in, and 
I shall rejoice most in that which they most rejoice in. 

777. The Constitutive Reasons from the Intellective State. 

Though the tempter would persuade men, because of the case 
of infants in the womb, apoplectics, &c., that the understanding 
will be but an unactive power, when separated from these corporeal 
organs, I have seen before sufficient reasons to repel this tempta- 
tion. I will suppose, that it will not have such a mode of concep- 
tion as it hath now by these organs; but, 1. The soul will be 
still essentially a vital, intellective substance, disposed to act natur- 
ally ; and that is to those acts which it is formally inclined to, as 
fire to illuminate and heat. And as it cannot die, (while it is what 
it is in essence,) because it is life itself, that is, the vital substance ; 
so it cannot but be intellective, (as to an inclined power,) because 
it is such essentially ; though God can change, or annihilate any 
thing, if he would. 2. And it will be among a world of objects. 
3. And it will still have its dependence on the first cause, and re- 
ceive his continual actuating influx. 4. And no man can give the 
least show of true reason, to prove that it shall cease sensation, 
(whether the sensitive faculties be in the same substance which is 
intellective, which is most probable, or in one conjunct, as some 

VOL. II. 14 



105 



BAXTER S DYING THOUGHTS. 



imagine,) though the species and modes of sensation cease, which 
are denominated from the various organs. 

5. Yea, no man can prove that the departing soul doth not carry 
with it its igneous spirits, which, in the body, it did immediately 
actuate. If it were ever so certain that those Greek fathers were 
mistaken (as well as -hypocrites) who took the soul itself to be a 
sublime, intellectual fire. 

And as to the objection some hold, that the soul preexisted be- 
fore it was in the body ; others, and most, that it then received its 
first being : if the first were true, it would be taie that the soul 
had its intellectual activity before, though the soul itself, incorpo- 
rate, remember it not, because it operateth but ut forma hominis, 
(and its oblivion they take to be part of its penalty,) and they that 
think it a radius of the anima mundi vel systematis, must think that 
then it did intellectually animate hunc mundum, vel mundi partem : 
and to do so again, is the worst they can conjecture of it. As the 
rays of the sun, which heat a burning-glass, and by it set a candle 
on fire, are the same rays still diffused in the air, and illuminating, 
heating, and moving it, and terminated on some other body, and 
not annihilated, or debilitated, when their contracted operation 
ceaseth by breaking the glass, or putting out the candle ; and as 
the spirit of a tree still animateth the tree, when it retires from the 
leaves, and lets them fall. But this being an unproved imagina- 
tion of men's own brains, we have no further use of it, than to con- 
fute themselves. But if the soul existed not till its incorporation, 
what wonder if it operate but ut forma, when it is united to the 
body for that use ? What wonder if its initial operations, like a 
spark of fire in tinder, or the first lighting of a candle, be weak, and 
scarce by us perceptible ? What wonder if it operate but to the 
uses that the creation did appoint it ; and first, as vegetative, fab- 
ricate its own body, as the maker's instrument, and then feel, and 
then understand ? And what wonder if it operate no further than 
objects are admitted ? And, therefore, what wonder if, in apo- 
plexies, &.c., such operations are intercepted ? But the departing 
soul is, (1.) In its maturity. (2.) No more united to this body, 
and so not confined to sense and imagination in its operations, and 
the admission of its objects. (3.) And it is sub ratione meriti, and, 
as a governed subject, is ordinate to its reward ; which it was not 
capable of receiving in the womb, or in an apoplexy. And, as 
we have the reasons before alledged to hold, (1.) That it shall not 
be annihilated. (2.) Nor dissolved. (3.) Nor lose its essential 
faculties or powers. (4.) Nor those essential powers be continued 
useless by the wise and merciful Creator, though, by natural reve- 
lation, we know not in what manner they shall act, whether on 
any other body, and by what conjunction, and how far; so by su- 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. lt)7 

pernatural revelation we are assured, that there is a reward for the 
righteous, and that holy souls are still members of Christ, and live 
because he liveth, and that, in the day of their departure, they 
shall be with him in Paradise, and being absent from the body, 
shall be present with the Lord ; and that Christ, therefore, died, 
rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of 
the living ; that is, of those that, being dead, hence do live with him, 
and of those that yet live in the body ; for he that said, "God is 
not the God of the dead, but of the living ;" that is, stands not re- 
lated to them as his people, as a king to his subjects, is not him- 
self the Lord of the absolute dead, but of the living. 

Therefore, (as Contarenus against Pompor.atius de Immortal. 
Anim. saith,) the immortality of the soul is provable by the light 
of nature ; but the manner of its future operation must be known by 
faith. And blessed be the Father of spirits, and our Redeemer, 
who hath sent and set up this excellent light, by which we see 
further than purblind infidels can do ! 

But I deny not but even the Scripture itself doth tell us but 
little of the manner of our intellection when we are out of the 
body ; and it is not improbable that there is more imperfection in 
this mode of notional, organical, abstractive knowledge which the 
soul exerciseth in the body, than most consider of. And that, as 
the eye hath the visive faculty in sleep, and when we wink, and an 
internal action of the visive spirits, (no doubt,) and yet seeth not 
any thing without till the eyelids are opened, (and was not made to 
see its own sight,) so the soul in the body is as a winking eye to 
all things that are not, by the sense and imagination, intromitted, 
or brought within its reach. And whether (sicut non video visum, 
neque facultatem neque substantiam videntem, videndo tamencerto 
percipio me videre, so it may be said, Non intelligo immediate 
ipsam inteUcctionem, neque facultatem, out substantiam intelligen- 
tem. Intelligtndo tamen certo percipio me intelligere, quia actus 
intellectus in spiritus sensiticos operans sentitur ; or whether we 
must further say, with Ackam, that Intellectus turn intuitive turn 
abstractive SK intelligit, I leave to wiser men to judge, but I am 
very suspicious that the body is more a lantern to the soul than 
some will admit ; and that this Lusus notionum secundarum, or ab- 
stractive knowledge of things by organical images, names and no- 
tions, is occasioned by the union of the soul with the body ut for- 
ma;, and is that childish knowledge which the apostle saith shall be 
done away. And how much of man's fall might consist in such a 
knowing of good and evil, I cannot tell, or in the overvaluing such 
a knowledge. And I think that when vain philosophy at Athens 
had called the thoughts and desires of mankind from great realities 
to the logical and philological game at words and notions, it was 






108 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS, 

Socrates' wisdom to call them to more concerning studies, and 
Paul's greater wisdom to warn men to take heed of such vain phi- 
losophy, and to labor to know God and Jesus Christ, and the 
things of the Spirit, and not to overvalue this ludicrous, dreaming, 
worldly wisdom. And if I have none of this 7 kind of notional, 
childish knowledge when I am absent from the body, the glass 
and spectacles may then be spared, when I come to see with open 
lace, or as face to face. Our future knowledge is usually, in Scrip- 
ture, called seeing. " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall 
see God ; " Matt. v. 8. " We shall see face to face ; " 1 Cor. xiii. 
12. " We shall see him as he is ; " 1 John iii. 2. " Father, I will 
that those which them hast given me be with me where I am, that 
they may behold my glory which thou hast given me," &tc. ; John 
xvii. 24. And intuitive knowledge of all things, as in themselves 
immediately, is a more excellent sort of knowledge than this, by 
similitudes, names, and notions, which our learning now consist- 
eth in, and is but an art acquired by many acts and use. 

If the sun were, as the heathens thought it, an intellective an- 
imal, and its emitted rays were vitally visive, and when one of 
those rays were received by prepared seminal matter, (as in insects,) 
it became the soul of an inferior animal, in this case, the said ray 
would operate in that insect, or animal, but according to the ca- 
pacity of the recipient matter ; whereas the sun itself, by all its 
emitted rays, would see all things intellectually, and with delight, 
and when that insect were dead, that ray would be what it was, 
an intellective, intuitive emanation. And though the soul, in flesh, 
do not know itself how it shall be united to Christ, and to all other 
holy souls, and to God himself, nor how near, or just of what sort 
that union will be, yet united it will be, and therefore will partici- 
pate accordingly of the universal light or understanding to which it 
is united. The soul now, as it is, or operateth, in the foot or hand, 
doth not understand, but only as it is, and operateth, in the head. 
And yet the same soul which is in the hand, understandeth in the 
head, and the soul operateth not so selfishly or dividedly in the 
hand as to repine there because it understandeth not there ; but it 
is quiet in that it understandeth in the head, and performeth its due 
operation in the hand. But this diversity of operations seemeth 
to be from the organs, and body's use, or need ; but souls dismiss- 
ed from the body seem to be as all eye, or intuitive light. There- 
fore, though it might content us to say that our Head seeth all 
things, and we are united to him, yet we may say further, that 
we ourselves shall see God, and all things that are meet for us 
to see. , 

And seeing it is most certain that the superior glorious regions 
are full of blessed spirits, who do see God and one another, having 



BAXTER'S DTIXO THOI.'OHTS. 109 

much more perfect operations than we have, (whose effects we 
mortals find here below,) why should I, that find an intellective 
nature in myself, make any doubt of my more perfect operations 
when I am dismissed hence, being satisfied that a soul will not lose 
its simple essence ? Either those superior spirits have ethereal 
bodies to act in (or are such themselves) or not. If they are or 
have such, why should I doubt of the like, and think that my sub- 
stance or vehicle will not be according to the region of my abode ? 
If not, why should I think that my departed soul may not know 
or see without an igneous or ethereal body or vehicle, as well as 
all those worlds of spirits ? And the certainty of apparitions, pos- 
sessions, and witches, do tell us, not only that there are such in- 
habitants of other regions, ordinarily invisible to us, but also that 
we are in the way to that happiness or misery which is in our in- 
visible state. 

These things reviewed, (being partly mentioned before,) assur- 
ing me that I shall have actual intellection in my separated state, 
the region, with the objects, but, above all, the Holy Scriptures, 
will tell me,, as much as it is meet that I should here know, what 
it is that I shall intuitively understand. The apostle (1 Cor. xiii. 
10 12.) doth distinguish our kno\ving in part, and knowing per- 
fectly, knowing as a child, and as a man, knowing darkly and 
enigmatically, as in a glass, and knowing face to face as we are 
known. The great question is, when this time of perfection is ; 
whether he mean at death, or at the resurrection. If the observa- 
tion of Dr. Hammond and Mr. Beverly, in his ' Great Soul of 
Man,' hold, that avaeatfts in Scripture, when 'the flesh or body' is 
not joined with it, signifies that life which the soul doth enter upon 
immediately after our death, and so that the soul hath that (after 
living) which is signified by the very word which we translate res- 
urrection, then it will lead men to think that there is less differ- 
ence between man's state at his first departure, and at his 
last resurrection, than most think, even than Calvin himself 
thought. But the difference between our first and last state of 
after-life or resurrection cannot be now distinctly known. What 
difference there is now between Enoch, Elias, and those who rose 
at Christ's resurrection, and the rest of the saints, even the spirits 
of the perfected just, and whether the first have as much greater 
glory than the rest, as it is conceived that we shall have at the 
resurrection above that which immediately followeth death, what 
mortal man can tell ? I am past doubt that flesh and blood (for- 
mally so called, and not only ab accidente, as sinful) shall not in- 
herit the kingdom of God, (yid. Hammond in toe.,) but that our 
natural bodies shall be made spiritual bodies : and how a spiritual 
body differeth from a spirit or soul, I pretend not well to under- 





"' 
110 BAXTER'S rmrcr, T;in.:r;HTs. 

stand, but must stay till God, by experience, or fuller light, inform 
me. But surely the difference is not like to be so great, as that a 
soul in flesh shall know in part, and a soul in a spiritual body shall 
know perfectly, and a soul between both shall not know at all. If 
it be perfection which we shall have in our spiritual body, it is 
like that we are nearer to that perfection, in knowledge and felici- 
ty, while we are between both, than when we are in the flesh. 

And sure a soul that (even Solomon saith) goeth upward, and 
to God that gave it, is liker to know God than that which is termi- 
nated in flesh, and operateth ut forma, according to its capacity 
and state ; and a soul that is with Christ, is liker to know Christ, 
and the Father in him, than that which is present with the body, 
and absent from the Lord. What less can the promise of being 
with him signify ? 

And, i. As to the kind of knowledge, how excellent and more 
satisfactory a way will that of intuition, or intellective sense, be, 
than is our present way of abstraction, similitudes, and signs! 
What abundance of time, thoughts and labor, doth it cost us now 
to learn our grammar, our rhetoric and our logic ! Our artes lo- 
quendi, dicendi and disserendi ; to learn our wordy rules and ax- 
ioms, in metaphysics, physics, &ic. ! And when we have learned 
them all, (if all can be learned.) how little the nearer are many to 
the knowing of the signified realities ! We oft get but a set of words 
to play with, to take up our time, and divert us from the matter ; 
even as carnal men use the creatures which signify God, and are 
made to lead them up to him, to entangle them, and be the great- 
est and most pernicious diversion of their souls from God ; so do 
too many learned men do by their organical, signal knowledge. 
They use it as man do cards, and romances, and plays, to delight 
their fancies ; but they know less of the things that are worth their 
knowing than many unlearned persons do, as I said before. Had 
not much of the Athenian learning been then a mere game, for 
men to play away their precious time at, and to grow proud of, 
while they were ignorant of saving realities, Christ and his apostles 
had not so much neglected it as they did, nor Paul so much warn- 
ed men to take heed of being deceived by that vain kind of phi- 
losophy, in which he seemeth to me to have greater respect to 
the universally esteemed Athenian arts, than, as Dr. Hammond 
thought, to the mere gnostic pretensions. 

This poor, dreaming, signal, artificial knowledge is, 1. Costly. 
2. Uncertain. 3. Contentious. 4. Unsatisfactory, in compari- 
son of intuitive knowledge. 

1 . It is costly, as to the hard labor and precious time which 
must be laid out for it, as aforesaid. We grow old in getting us 
horses, and boots, and spurs, for our journey, and it is well if we 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 1 1 1 

begin it at the last ; like a man that would study the new-found 
planets, and the shape of Saturn's and Jupiter's satellites, and the 
Viam Lacteam, &c. ; and he spends his whole life in getting him 
the best tubes, or telescopes, and never useth them to his ends ; 
or like one that, instead of learning to write, doth spend his life in 
getting the best ink, paper and pens ; or rather like one that learn- 
eth to write and print exactly, and not to understand what any of 
his words do signify. Men take their spectacles instead of eyes. 

2. And when this learning is got, how uncertain are we whether 
the words have no ambiguity ; whether they give us the true notice 
of the speaker's mind, and of the matter spoken of ! As I said 
before, what penury, and yet redundancy of words, have we ; of 
how various and uncertain signification ; changed by custom, or 
arbitrary design ; sometimes by the vulgar use, and sometimes by 
learned men, that, being conscious of the defectiveness of the 
speaking art, are still tampering, and attempting to amend it ! And 
some men speak obscurely on purpose to raise in their readers a 
conceit of their subtle and sublime conceptions. And he that un- 
derstandeth things most clearly, and speaketh them most plainly, 
(which are the parts of true learning,) shall have much ado to get 
the matter out of dark and bewildering uncertainties, and to make 
others understand both it and him. 

3. And hence come the greatest part of the contentions of the 
world, which are hottest among men that most pretend to wordy 
knowledge ; as in traffic and converse, the more men and business 
we have to do with, usually the more quarrels and differences we 
have ; so the more of this wordy learning, instead of realities, men 
pretend to, the more disputes and controversies they make ; and 
the instruments of knowledge prove the instruments of error and 
contention. And, alas ! how many applauded volumes are the 
snares and troubles of the world ! and how great a part of our 
libraries are vain janglings, and strife of words, and traps for the 
more ingenious sort, that will not be taken with cards and dice, 
robbing us of our time, destroying our love, depressing our minds, 
that should ascend to God, and diverting them from the great and 
holy tilings which should be the matter of our thoughts and joys ; 
and filling the church with sects and strife, while every one striveth 
tor the preeminence of his wit and notions, and few strive for holy 
love, and unity, and good works ! 

4. And all this while, alas ! too many learned men do but lick 
the outside of the glass, and leave the wine within untasted. To 
know God and Christ, and heaven and holiness, do give the soul 
a nourishing and strengthening kind of pleasure, like that of the 
appetite in its food ; but this game at words is but a knowing of 
images, signs and shadows, and so is but an image and shadow of 



\['-Z BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

true knowledge. It is not that grace which Austin's definition 
saith, Nemo male utitur ; but it is that which the sanctified use 
well, and the unsanctified are puffed up by, and use to the oppo- 
sition of truth, the ostentation of a foolish wit, and the deceit of 
their own souls. And if it be sanctified knowledge, it is but me- 
diate, in order to our knowledge of things thus signified ; and it is 
the real good which contenteth and beatifieth, though the notions 
may be a subordinate recreation ; and intuition feasteth on these 
realities. 

ii. And as to the objects of this intuition, their excellency will 
be the excellency of our knowledge. 1 . I shall know God better. 
2. I shall know the universe better. 3. I shall know Christ bet- 
ter. 4. I shall know the church, his body, better, with the holy 
angels. 5. I shall better know the methods and perfection of the 
Scripture, and all God's dirigent word and will. 6. I shall know 
the methods and sense of disposing Providence better. 7. I shall 
know the divine benefits, which are the. fruits of love, better. 8. I 
shall know myself better. 9. 1 shall better know every fellow- 
creature, which I am concerned to know. 10. And I shall better 
know all that evil, sin, Satan, and misery, from which I am de- 
livered. 

1 . Aquinas, and many others, took it for the chief, natural proof 
of the soul's immortality, that man, by nature, desireth not only to 
know effects, and second causes, but to rise up to the knowledge of 
the first cause ; and, therefore, was made for such knowledge in 
the state of his perfection ; but grace hath much more of this desire 
than nature. Not that we must not be content to be without a 
great deal of knowledge, which would be unmeet for us, useless, 
troublesome, or dangerous to us ; nor must we aspire to that which 
is above our capacity, and to know the unsearchable things of God ; 
but not to know God, is to know nothing, and to have an under- 
standing worse than none. I presume not to pry into the secrets 
of the Almighty, nor to pretend to know more of God than, indeed, 
I do ; but O that I might know more of his perfections, of his will, 
and love, and ways, with that knowledge which is eternal life ! 
Blessed be that love that sent the Son of God from heaven, to re- 
veal him to us in the gospel, as he hath done ; but all that hear the 
same words, and believe them, have not the same degree of light or 
faith. If an angel from heaven came down on earth to tell us all 
of God that we would know, and might lawfully desire and ask him, 
who would not turn his back on libraries, and universities, and 
learned men, to go and discourse with such a messenger ? What 
travel should I think too far, what cost too great, for one hour's talk 
with such a messenger ? But we must have here but such intima- 
tions as will exercise faith, and excite desire, and try us under the 






BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 113 

temptations of the world and flesh. The glorious light is the re- 
ward of the victory obtained by the conduct of the light of grace. 
God, in great mercy, even here, beginneth the reward. They that 
are true to the initial light, and faithfully follow on to know the Lord, 
do find, usually, such increase of light (not of vain notions, but of 
quickening and comforting knowledge of God) as greatly encour- 
ageth them still on to seek for more. It is very pleasant here to in- 
crease in holy knowledge, though it usually bring an increase of 
malignant opposition, and so of sorrows to the flesh. The pleasure 
that the mind hath in common knowledge, brings men through a 
great deal of labor to attain it. How many years' travel over land 
and sea do some men take, to see and know more of this lower 
world, though it is little that they bring home, but more acquaint- 
ance with sin, and vanity, and vexation ! How many more years 
do thousands spend in the reading multitudes of tedious volumes, 
that they may know what others knew before them ! Printers and 
booksellers live by our desire of knowledge. What soul, then, on 
earth, can possibly conceive bow great a pleasure it will be for a 
glorified soul to see the Lord ! Though I cannot now conceive 
what that intuition of God himself will be, and whether it will not 
be a glorious kind of concluding or abstractive knowledge ; wheth- 
er the glory which we shall see be only a created appearance of 
God, or be his very essence, it satisfieth me that it will be as per- 
fect a knowledge as is fit for me to desire ; and I shall then desire 
no more than is fit ; and what it is I shall then know by itself, for 
it is not otherwise to be clearly known. And all the pleasure that 
I shall have in heaven, in knowing any of the works of God, will 
be in rny beholding God In'm^lf, his being, his vital power and 
action, his wisdom, and his love and goodness, in those works ; for 
he is the life and glory of them all. " Blessed are the pure in 
heart, for they shall see God." 

2. And, doubtless, it will be no small part of my delight to see 
and know God's perfect works ; I mean the.universe itself. I can- 
not say that I shall have so large a capacity as to comprehend all 
the world, or know it perfectly, and with an adequate knowledge ; 
but I shall know it in such perfection as is suitable to my capacity. 
It is exceeding pleasant to know the least particles of the works of 
God. With what diligence and delight have men endeavored to 
anatomize a body, yea, a small part of a carcass, and to know and 
describe poor worms and insects, plants and minerals ! and no man 
ever yet perfectly knew the least of them all. No herbalist or 
physician ever yet knew the nature and uses of any one herb with 
an adequate knowledge. With what delight and diligence are 
physical searches carried on in the world, though still we are all 
but groping in the dark, and ignorant of many things for one that 

VOL. II. 15 



114 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

we know, and, therefore, know no one perfectly, because we are 
ignorant of the rest! But if, indeed, we were above our dream- 
ing, erroneous hypothesis, and saw the nature of every creature, 
even in sea and land this little spot of God's creation, and the 
compages of all O, what a delightful spectacle would it be ! 
How much more to see the whole creation, yea, or one vortex 
or system of the globes, and to know their union and com- 
munion, and to behold their beauteous symmetry, and hear 
them, in concord and melodious harmony, praising the glory of 
their great, wise, amiable Creator! This were a delectable sight 
indeed. I shall have as much of this as I shall be capable of; 
and the wonders and glories of the works of God shall wrap up my 
soul in admiring, joyful praise forever : and though here it be but 
little of God's work that we know, I have great reason to think 
that it will be far otherwise there. (1.) Because the state of per- 
fection must far excel our dark and infant state of imperfection. 
We have now desires after such a knowledge. His works are 
great, sought out of them that have pleasure therein ; and these 
desires, being of God, shall not be frustrate. (2.) Because there 
will be a proportionableness of the parts of our perfection ; and 
therefore, as our love to God and his works will be there perfected, 
so will be our knowledge. (3.) Because we shall know God 
himself as much as we are capable, and therefore we shall know 
his works in him, or by a subordinate knowledge, the less being in 
the greater. (4.) Because God hath made his works to be known 
to his glory ; but it is little that is here known of them by mortals ; 
therefore they are known by them in heaven, who are fitted to 
improve that knowledge to his praise. 

If Christ, who is the wisdom of God, will teach me the true phi- 
losophy, how to love God, and live here in all well-pleasing unto 
him, I shalj quickly, in heaven, be a perfect philosopher; and ex- 
perience will tell me that the surest way to be truly learned, and 
know the wonderful works of God, was to know, love and serve 
the great Creator ; and in him we shall have all, and without him 
we know nothing, and have nothing at all. 

Satan tempted Christ, by showing him the " kingdoms and glory 
of the world/' and promising them all to him if he would have 
worshiped him : but God will show me more than Satan could 
show, and give me more of that which is best than Satan could 
give. 

3. And that in heaven I shall better know Jesus Christ, and all 
the mystery of our redemption by him, will not be the least of my 
felicity ; for in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom : and to 
know the mystery of his eternal Godhead, in the second person, 
and his created nature, and the union of these, and to see God's 



BAXTER'S DYING THOL'UHTS. 115 

wonderful design and work of grace in him laid open to our clear- 
est view, O, what beautifying knowledge would this be! All dark 
texts concerning his person, his office, and his works, will then be 
expounded and fully understood. All those strange and difficult 
things which were the great exercise and honor of faith, will then 
be plain. Difficulties will no more be Satan's advantage to tempt 
us to unbelief, or doubting. The sight of the glory of my Lord 
will be my glory ; John xvii. 24. If Paul had not then attained 
to perfection in the knowledge of Christ, and the power of his res- 
urrection, but was pressing forward to reach that crown in the life 
to come, which he calleth ' ; the resurrection of the dead," (Phil, 
iii. 9 12.) such as I must not expect here to attain it ; but when 
that which is perfect is come, this imperfect knowledge of faith 
will be done away, as childish knowledge is in manhood : and the 
glass and riddle shall be laid aside, when we " shall see face to face, 
and shall know as we are known," (1 Cor. xiii. 10 12.) as to 
our sight and knowledge of Christ and his triumphant body ; for I 
dare not apply that phrase to the sigh't and knowledge of the divine 
essence, nor yet deny it. 

If, now, though we see not Christ, yet, believing, we love him, 
and rejoice in him with unspeakable, glorying joy ; what love and 
joy will the everlasting sight of our blessed Head excite there in 
the souls of all the glorified ! 

4. I shall better, O, much better, know the heavenly Jerusa- 
lem, the triumphant church, the blessed angels, and glorified saints ; 
and as my love to them, so my knowledge of them, will not be the 
least part of my heavenly delight. As strangely as I now look 
upward to that world, because I cannot see it with these eyes, it shall 
be my well-known everlasting habitation. O, what a sight, what a 
joyful sight, will death show me by drawing aside the veil, or rather 
the Lord of life, by turning death to my advantage ! When I am 
there at home, I shall no more think with confusion, fear, or doubting, 
of that blessed place or state. My fears, which now come from the 
smallness of my faith, will end when faith is turned into vision. 
As I know the several rooms in my house, and houses in the 
street, and streets in the city, so shall I then know the many man- 
sions which Christ hath said are in his Father's house. Words 
now give me so poor, imperfect a conception of the world and 
things which 1 never saw, as that sometimes I can scarcely tell 
whether the joy of my faith, or the trouble of my dark apprehen- 
sions, be the greater. But when I shall see the place and per- 
sons, the glory which I heard of, that will be the delightful satisfy- 
ing and possessing kind of knowledge. If Nehemiah, and the 
godly Jews, made so great a matter of seeing the walls of Jerusa- 
lem repaired ; and others, of the imperfect reedifying of the temple, 



116 BAXTER'* DVINO THOUGHTS. 

O, what a joyful sight to me will the heavenly Jerusalem then be ! 
The most glorious sight will be at the great marriage-day of the 
Lamb, when Christ shall come to be glorified in his saints, and ad- 
mired in all them that now believe ; but the next to that will be 
the day of my particular deliverance, when I shall come to Christ, 
and see the saints admiring him in glory. 

If I were of the opinion of those Greek fathers, who thought that 
stars were angels, or had intellectual souls, (matters unknown to 
us,) I should love them as my guardians, and take it to be yet 
more of my concernment to be advanced to the fuller knowledge 
of them. But seeing I know that angels love us, and by office do 
attend and keep us, and rejoice at our good, and at our repentance, 
and, which is far more, are more holy and excellent creatures than 
we are, it is, therefore, my comfort to think that I shall better know 
then), and live in near and perpetual acquaintance and communion 
with them, a more sensible and sweet communion than we can 
have with them here. Devils are aerial, and near to this dark and 
sinful world, and oftener appear to men than angels. But the 
angels affect not such descending appearances, till love and obedi- 
ence to their Lord make it pleasing to them ; and therefore we 
have but little knowledge, even of those that know, and love, and 
keep us. But when we come home to their nearest society and 
converse, to know them will be sweet and joyful knowledge ; for 
they are more excellent creatures than the most glorious that are 
below the intellective nature. They are full of light, and full of 
love to God and man. Had God bid me pray to them, I would 
not have refused it, but taken it for my honor ; but seeing he hath 
not, I will do that which he bid me, even love them, and rejoice in 
my relation to the innumerable company of them, in the city of the 
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, (Heb. xii. 22.) and long to 
know and love them more ; expecting, ere long, to bear my part in 
the praises of God and of the Lamb, in the same choir where they 
are the precentors. 

And that I shall know the spirits of the perfected just, and be 
of their communion, will be no small addition to my joy. How 
sweet hath one wise and holy, though weak and blemished, com- 
panion been to me here on earth ! And how lovely have God's 
graces in such, though sullied, appeared to me ! O, then, what 
a sight will it be when we shall see the millions of souls that shine 
in perfect wisdom and holiness with Christ ! To see a garden that 
hath some beautiful flowers in it, is something; but if you saw 
whole fields and countries shining with them, it would be a glory, 
though fading, to the earth A well-built city is a pleasanter sight 
than a single house, and a navy than a ship, and an army than one 
man. And if this poor, low world did all consist of wise, and just, 



BAXTER'S nvivf; TiioronTs. 117 

and holy persons, O, what an orderly, lovely world would it be ! 
If one kingdom consisted (prince, magistrates, pastors, and people) 
all of such, what a blessed kingdom would that be! The plague 
of wicked men's deceits, and falsehoods, oppressions, and iniquities, 
may help to make us sensible of this. It would be a great tempta- 
tion to us to be loath to die, and leave such a country, were it not 
that the more the beauty of goodness appeareth, the more the state 
of perfection is desired. It is pleasant to me to pray in hope, as 
Christ hath commanded me, that earth may be made liker unto 
heaven, which now is become so like to hell. But when I shall 
*ee the society perfected in number, in holiness, in glory, in 
heavenly employment, the joyful praises of Jehovah, the glory of 
God, and the Lamb shining on them, and God rejoicing over them 
as his delight, and myself partaking of the same, that will be the 
truly blessed day. And why doth my soul, imprisoned in flesh, no 
more desire it ? 

5. I shall better understand all the word of God, the matter, and 
the method of it : though I shall not have that use for it as I have 
KHV in this life of faith, yet I shall see more of God's wisdom and 
his goodness, his love, mercy, and justice, appearing in it, than 
ever man on earth could do. As the creatures, so the Scriptures, 
are perfectly known only by the perfect spirits. I shall then know 
how to solve all doubts, and reconcile all seeming contradictions, 
and to expound the hardest prophecies : that light will show me 
the admirable methods of those sacred words, where dark minds 
now suspect confusion ! How evident and clear then will every 
thing appear to me ! Like a small print when the light comes in, 
which I could not read in the glimmering twilight. How easily 
shall I then confute the cavils of all our present unbelievers ! and 
how joyfully shall I praise that God and Savior that gave his 
church so clear a light to guide them through this darksome world, 
and so sure a promise to support them till they came to life eternal ! 
How joyfully shall I bless him that by that immortal seed did re- 
generate me to the hopes of glory, and that ruled me by so holy 
and just a law ! 

6. In that world of light I shall better understand God's present 
and past works of providence, by which he ordereth the matters of 
this world: the wisdom and goodness of them is little understood 
iti little parcels : it is the union and harmony of all the parts which 
^!io\veth the beauty of them, when the single parcels seem deform- 
ed, or are not understood. And no one can see the whole together 
out God, and they that see it in the light of his celestial glory : it is 
a prospect of that end, by which we have here any true under- 
standing of such parcels as we see. Then I shall know clearly 
why, or to what use, God prospered the wicked, and tried the 



118 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS; 

righteous by so many afflictions : I shall know why he set up the 
ungodly, and put the humble under their feet ; why he permitted 
so much ignorance, ungodliness, pride, lust, oppression, persecu- 
tion, falsehood, deceit, and other sins in the world : I shall know 
why the faithful are so few ; and why so many kingdoms of the 
world are left in heathenism, Mahometanism, and infidelity. The 
strange permissions which now so puzzle me, and are the matter 
of my astonishment, shall all be then as clear as day : I shall know 
why God disposed of me as he did through all my life ; and why 1 
suffered what I did; and how many great deliverances I had, 
which I understood not here, and how they were accomplished. 
All our misinterpretations of God's works and permissions will be 
then rectified ; and all our controversies about them, which Satan 
hath made so great advantage of, (by a pretended zeal for some 
truths of God,) will then be reconciled, and at an end ; and all the 
works of Divine Providence, from the beginning of the world, will 
then appear a most delectable, beauteous frame. 

7. And among all these works, I shall especially know more the 
nature and excellency of God's mercies and gifts of love, which 
here we too unthankfully undervalued and made light of. The 
special works of love should be the matter of our most constant, 
sweet, and serious thoughts, and the fuel of our constant love and 
gratitude : the lively sense of love and mercy maketh lively Chris- 
tians, abounding in love to God, and mercy to others; but the 
enemy of God and man most laboreth to obscure, diminish, and 
disgrace God's love and mercies to us, or to make us disrelish them, 
that they may be unfruitful, as to their excellent ends and uses. 
Little do most Christians know how much they wrong God and 
themselves, and how much they lose by the diminutive, poor thoughts 
which they have of God's mercies : ingratitude is a grievous misery to 
the sinner, as gratitude is a very pleasant work. Many a thousand 
mercies we now receive, which we greatly undervalue. But when 
I come to the state and work of perfect gratitude, I shall have a more 
perfect knowledge of all the mercies which ever I received in my life, 
and which my neighbors, and friends, and God's church, and the 
world, did ever receive ; for though the things be past, the use of 
it is not past. Mercies remembered must be the matter of our 
everlasting thanks ; and we cannot be perfectly thankful for them 
without a perfect knowledge of them. The worth of a Christ and 
al] his grace ; the worth of the gospel ; the worth of our church 
privileges, and all God's ordinances ; the worth of our books and 
friends, and helps of our life and health, and all conveniences, will 
be better understood in heaven than the most holy and thankful 
Christian here understandeth them. 

8. And it will be some addition to my future happiness, that I 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 119 

shall then be much better acquainted with myself; both with my 
nature, and with my sin and grace. I shall then better know the 
nature of a soul, and its formal faculties, (three in one :) I shall 
know the nature and way of its operations, and how far its acts are 
simple, or compound, or organical. I shall know how far memo- 
ry, fancy, and sense, internal and external, belong to the rational 
soul, and whether the sensitive and rational are two or one ; and 
what senses will perish, and what not. I shall know how the soul 
doth act upon itself, and what acts it hath that are not felt in sleep, 

in apoplexies, and in the womb.* 

****** 

I shall know how far the soul is receptive, and what the causa 
Jinalis doth to it ; and what each object is to the constitution 
or production of the act ; yea, and what an act is, and what a 
habit ; and how a soul, acting or habited, differeth from itself not 
acting or habited ; and how its acts are many, and yet but one ; or 
its faculties at least. Many other such difficulties will all be solv- 
ed, which now philosophers contend about in the dark, and pass 
but under doubtful conjectures ; or, at least, are known to very 
few. 

And I shall know how God's Spirit operateth on souls ; and how 
it is sent from Christ's human nature to work on man ; and whether 
grace be properly, or only metaphorically, called a nature (a new 
nature, a divine nature) in us. I shall know what free-will is, and 
how man's will can be the first determiner of any act of its own in 
specie morali (good or evil) without being such a causa prima, as 
none but God can be ; and so how far free acts are necessitated or 
not. I shall know what power the intellect hath on the will, and 
the will on the intellect ; and what power the sense and fancy hath 
on either ; and what any intellectus agens doth ; whether it be to 
our intellection as the sun is to our sight. I shall know what is 
meant by the degrees of acts and habits in the soul ; and whether 
there be divers degrees of substantiality, or of the virtus velfacul- 
tas formalis of several souls. I shall know better the difference of 
habits called acquired and infused ; and what common grace is, and 
what it doth ; and what nature can do of itself, or by common 
grace, without that which is proper to the justified ; and how far 
any degrees of grace are lost. 

I shall know what measure of grace I had myself; and how far 
1 was mistaken in myself; and what acts were sincere ; and how 



* A large page of philosophical difficulties, growing out of the inquiries of 
" Science falsely so called." is here omitted. What is retained is a sufficient 
specimen. ED. 



120 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

much that was not sound was mixed ; and what was of myself 
and sin. 

I shall know much more of my sins than here I ever knew, the 
number and the greatness of them ; that so I may know, with 
greatest thankfulness and love, how much I am beholden to par- 
doning and healing grace. 

Yea, I shall know more of my body, as it was the habitation of 
my soul, or the organical matter on which unitedly it worked. I 
shall know how far it helped or hindered me ; and what were all 
those obscure diseases, that puzzled all the physicians and myself; 
and how marvelously God sustained, preserved, and oft delivered 
me ; and what of my actions was to be imputed to the body, and 
what of them to the soul. 

9. And every fellow-creature, which I am concerned to know, 
I shall know far better than now I do, both things and persons : 
the good and bad, the sincere and the hypocrites, will be there 
discerned ; and many an action that here went for honorable, cov- 
ered or colored with wit or worldly advantages, or false pretenses, 
will then be found to be odious and unjust ; and wickedness will be 
flattered or extenuated no more ; and many a good and holy work 
which false men, through wickedness and worldly interest, re- 
proached as some odious crime, will there be justified, honored, 
and rewarded. All sciences are there perfect, without our ambig- 
uous terms, or imperfect axioms, and rules of art. 

10. And lastly, I shall better know from what enemies, what 
sins, what dangers, I was here delivered ; what contrivances, and 
malicious endeavors of Satan and his instruments God defeat- 
ed ; how many snares I escaped : and I shall better know how 
great my deliverance is by Christ from the wrath to come. 
Though we shall not know hell by painful sense, we shall know it 
so far as is necessary to fill us with gratitude to our Redeemer : 
yea, we shall know much of it far better than the damned spirits 
that feel it ; for we shall know, by sweet and full fruition, what 
the joy and blessedness is which they have lost ; when they have 
no such kind of knowledge. 

All this knowledge will be thus advanced to my glorified soul 
beyond what I can here conceive in flesh : and is it not then far 
better to be with Christ ? 



'TV. The Constitutive Reasons from the State of my 

But it is the will that is to the soul what the heart is to the 
body : as it is the prime seat of morality, so is it the chief seat of 
felicity. My greatest evil is there; and my greatest subjective 



BAXTKll b DYING THOUGHTS. ^ ( 121 

good will be there. Satan did most against it, and God will do 
most for it. And will it not be better to be with Christ than here? 

1 . It will not there be tied to a body of cross interests and in- 
clinations, which is now the greatest snare and enemy to my soul ; 
which is still drawing my love, and care, and fears, and sorrows, 
to and for itself, and turning them from my highest interest. 
How great a deliverance will it be to be freed from the tempta- 
tions, and the inordinate love, and cares, and fears, for this corrup- 
tible flesh ! 

2. My will shall not there be tempted by a world of inferior 
good, which is the bait arid provision for the flesh, where meat, and 
sleep, and possessions, house, lands, and friends, are all become 
my snares and danger. God's mercies will not be made there 
the tempter's instruments. I shall not there have the flatteries 
or frowns, promises or threatenings, of the tyrants of the world 
to tempt me : bad company will not infect me, nor divert me : 
the errors of good men will not seduce me ; nor reputation or 
reverence of the wise, learned, or religious, draw me to imitate them 
in any sin. 

3. I shall there have none of Satan's solicitations to pervert my 
will : he will not have that advantage by my sense and fancy, nor 
that access unto me, as now he hath. But of this I spake before. 

My will shall there be better than here, i. Negatively, because, 
(1.) There will be nothing that is displeasing to God ; no sinful 
inclination, habit, or act; nothing to strive against God's Spirit; 
nor grudge at any word or work of God ; no principles of enmity 
or rebellion left. (2.) There will be nothing that is against the 
good of others ; no inclinations to injury, or any thing that is against 
my neighbor's of the common good. (3.) There will be nothing 
in it that is cross to itself; no more war or striving in me; not a 
law in my mind, and a law in my members, that are contrary to 
each other; no crossness between sense and reason, nor between 
the sensitive appetite and the rational : all will be at unity and 
peace within. 

ii. Positively, Christ will have finished his cure on my will. 
The work of sanctification will be perfect. My will shall there, 
by union and communion, be made conformable to the will of 
Christ, and so unto the Father's will. This must needs be meant 
(whatever more) in the prayer of Christ, where he prayeth, " That 
they may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that 
they may be one in us, that they may be one, even as we are one." 
John xvii. 21, 22. The will of Christ and of the Father will be 
my will : that is, 1 shall love and will (dispositively and actually) 
the same that God loveth and willeth, (in the measure of a crea- 
ture infinitely below him.) And if so, 1. How can the will of 

VOL. II. 16 






. 



IS'2 __ . BAXTERS IJYINC THOUGHTS. 

- 

man have greater honor than to be the same With the will of God? 
Assimilation to a king, among us poor mortals, goeth for honor ; as- 
similation to angels is much more. That we shall be like, or equal 
to. angels, is a high part of the blessed's praise ; but how much 
more is it to be thus far like to God ! Indeed, God's image, and 
the divine nature in us here, can be no less than this similitude to 
God's will in the degree 'that we have it. But, alas ! that degree 
is so very low, as that we can hardly tell whether our similitude 
or dissimilitude be the more ; I mean, whether our wills are for 
more that God willeth, or against more. O, how many thou- 
sand wishes and desires have we had, which are against the will of 
God ! But there we shall have the full impression of God's will 
upon our wills, as face answereth face in a glass, or as the wax 
answereth the seal ; as the finger on the outside answereth to the 
motion of the clock within, so, in all things which belong to our 
duty and perfection, we shall answer the will of God. As the 
echo answereth the voice, defectively, but truly, without contra- 
diction or discord, so will our wills be as the echo of God's will. 

2. And then I am sure that there will be nothing in my will 
but good ; for God willeth no evil. 

3. And this will be virtually all obedience ; for all sin is volun- 
tary, and all moral good is primarily in the will. 

4. And then there will be no matter of disquiet in me, but all 
\vill be in perfect peace ; for all that is like God will be pleasing 
both to God and me ; no troubling crossness will remain. 

5. And how easy and sweet, then, will all my obedience be, 
when I shall perfectly will it, without any reluctancy or averseness ! 
All will be my very pleasure that I do. 

And seeing my will shall be the same with the will of God, it 
followeth that it shall never be frustrate, but I shall have all what- 
soever I would have, and shall be and do whatsoever I would be 
and do. For I shall desire nothing but what God willeth, and God's 
will shall certainly be done. J shall have as much love and joy as 
I would have ; ] shall be as happy as I would be ; I shall desire 
nothing for ethers but it shall be done. Indeed, if God's will were 
there unknown to me, I might ignorantly go against it, as I do Here ; 
but there, before 1 will or desire any thing, I shall know whether it 
be God's will or not, so that I shall never wish any thing which shall 
not be accomplished. And as it is God's perfection to have his 
will always done, (though all his laws be not obeyed,) so my per- 
fection shall consist in this likeness unto God, that my will shall be 
still fulfilled. And then Christ's promises will be perfectly performed 
- " Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 
Ye shall ask what you will, and it shall be dene unto yon ; " John xv. 
16. and xvi. 23. and xiv. 13, 14. and xv. 7. While their will was 



DYING THOUUHTS. 1 \'3 

the same with the will of Christ : bujhesaith not that it shall all bu 
given us here. We ask for perfection, and we shall have it , but not here. 

iii. Yea, my will itself shall be my fruition, for it shall not be 
the will of one in need ; a desire of what I want, for I shall want 
nothing ; therefore it is said that we shall thirst no more : but it will 
be a complacency in what I do possess, and in this also my perfection 
will be the image of God's perfection; not but that all creatures 
still receive from God, and in that sense may be said to need, 
in that they have nothing of themselves, but all by gift and com- 
munication from him ; but being still and full possessors, they can- 
not properly be said to w r ant. Complacency in that which we 
possess is love and pleasure in one act ; and, indeed, pleasure and 
love are the same thing. To love any thing, is to have that thing 
to be pleasing to my mind. Even w T hen it is wanted, it is thought 
on as a pleasing thing, and therefore desired, so that the desiring 
act of the will is but a second act occasioned by want, and follow- 
ing the first act, which is complacency, or simple love. I desire 
it because I love it. Rightly, therefore, is the will itself called 
love, for, in the first act, love, will, and rational appetite, are all 
words of the same signification. My will, therefore, must needs 
be perpetually full of perfect joy, \vhen enjoying love and pleasure 
will be my will itself. Thus shall I have in me the spring of living 
waters, and the Comforter will then perfectly do his work, when 
my constant will itself shall be comfort. Well, therefore, is glory 
said to be the perfection of sanctifying grace, when this grace is the 
beginning of that love and joy which glory is the perfection of; 
and perfection is the Spirit's w r ork. 

iv. And it will be much of my felicity that my will shall be 
confirmed and fixed in this conformity to the will of God, and holy 
love will be its nature. Now 7 , both understanding and will are so 
lamentably mutable, that, further than God promiseth to uphold us, 
we know not one day what we shall think, judge, or will the next. 
But when love is as a fixed nature in us, we shall be still the same, 
adhering to amiable goodness, without intermission or cessation. 
It will be as easy to us (and more) to love God and holiness, as it 
is to the hungry and thirsty to love meat and drink, or to the proud 
to love praise or domination, yea, or to any man to love his life. 
And we shall be no more weary of loving, than the sun is of shin- 
ing, or than the hungry is of feasting, or a friend of friendly love 
and converse. Nay, the comparison is quite too low, for all crea- 
tures here have a fading vanity which wearieth the satiated or 
failing appetite ; but there is no such thing in heaven. 

And as from the nature of that act, so much more from the na- 
ture of the object, my love will appear to be my happiness. The 
objects (which arc the matter of the act) will be these : 



124 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

1. God himself will be the full and everlasting object of my love. 
And he that could but understand, as well as those in heaven do, 
what this word signifieth, 'to love God, and be beloved of him,' 
would say, that there needs no other description of perfect happi- 
ness : perfect, joyful complacency in God is the heaven which I 
desire and hope lor. This is my felicity, and much more. As I 
am the agent of love to God, and the object of God's love to me, 
it is my felicity. As God is the ultimate object of my love, and 
the agent of his love to me, (that is, of the effects of it,) so it is un- 
speakably more high and excellent than to be my felicity. Love 
is the closure of the wills of God and man, and as it is God's part 
or interest, (efficiently or objectively,) it is infinitely more excellent 
than as it is my part and interest. 

In God there is all that love can desire for its full, everlasting 
faith. 1. He is infinitely good in himself, that is, most amiable ; 
and the nature of man's will is to love good as good. Could we 
love God with a love that is adequate to the object, we should be 
God ourselves, which is impossible : none but God can adequately 
know God or love him. In God's love to himself, both the act 
and object are infinite, and, indeed, are both one, there being not 
that formally which we know by the name of act and object ; but 
' act and object ' are our analogical, inadequate conceptions of that 
act of God which is his essence. But in our love to God the act 
is finite, and infinitely below the object ; yea, the object, which in 
reality is itself infinite, yet proximately as the esse cognitum is the 
object of our love, is finite there. It is the conception or idea of 
God in the intellect, which is the proper and nearest object of the 
will ; and this is as a face in a glass, a shadow, even the finite little 
shadow of an infinite Being. The same infinite good is a felicity 
to divers persons in divers degrees, according as they diversely love 
him, and are receptive of his love. 

2. God, who is infinitely good in himself, will be that most suit- 
able good to me, and meetest for the dearest embracements of my 
will. For, He hath all in himself that I need or can desire. 
There is no room, nothing above him, or beyond him, or without 
him, for love to cleave to. Though below him the creature, 
though not being without him, is loved without him, by the decep- 
tion of the mind. 

He is willing to be loved by me. He disdaineth not my love. 
He might have refused to be embraced by such affections as have 
so oft and sinfully polluted themselves by embracing vanity and 
filth. As persons of state, and stately cleanliness, will not be 
touched by filthy hands, much less let dogs or dirty swine leap on 
them, which come from wallowing in the mire ; God might have 
driven me away from the happiness of loving him, and have denied 



DYING THOUGHTS. 125 

me the leave for so high a work ; but he commandeth my love, 
and maketh it my greatest duty. He inviteth and entreateth me, 
as if he were a gainer by my happiness. He seeketh to me to 
seek to him ; and us he is the first, so is he the most earnest suitor. 
He is far readier to receive my love than I am to give it him. 
All the compassionate invitations which I have had from him 
here, by his word and mercies, assure me that he will there re- 
ceive me readily : he that so valued my poor, cold, imperfect love 
to him on earth, will not reject my perfect love in heaven. He 
that made it the great work of his Spirit to effect it, will not refuse 
it when it is made perfect by himself. 

And he is near to me, and not a distant God, out of my reach, 
and so unsuitable to my love. Blind unbelievers may dream that 
he is far off; but he is as near us, even now, as we are to ourselves. 
He is not far from any of us, for in him we live, and move, and have 
our being. The light of the sun is not so near my eyes, as God 
will be forever to my mind. When he would sanctify us to love 
him, he bringeth us nigh to him in Christ. As we love ourselves 
easily, as being, as they say, the nearest to ourselves, so we shall 
as easily love God as ourselves, when we see that he is as near us 
as we are to ourselves, as well as that he is infinitely more amiable 
in himself. 

And because of the imparity of the creature and the Creator, 
he hath provided such means to demonstrate to us his nearness, as 
are necessary to the exercise of our love. We shall see his glory, 
and taste his love, in our glorified Mediator, and in the glory of 
the church and world. God will condescend to show himself to 
us according to our capacities of beholding him. Here we see 
him in his works and word, and there we shall see him in the 
glory of all his perfect works. But this leadeth me to the second 
object of my love. 

ii. Under God, as I shall see, so I shall" delightfully love, the 
glorious perfection of the universe, even the image of God in all 
the world ; as my love will be my delight, so I shall love best 
that which i> best, and most delight in it: and the whole is better 
than any part ; and there is a peculiar beauty and excellency in 
the whole world, as perfect, compaginate, harmonious, which is 
not to be found in any part, no, not in Christ himself, as man, nor 
in his church. 

The marvelous inclination that all things have to union, even 
the inanimates, might persuade me, if I felt it not certainly in 
myself, that it Is most credible that man also shall have the like 
inclination, and such as is agreeable to the nature of his faculties ; 
and therefore our love and delight in all things is that uniting in- 
clination in man. 



126 BAXTER'S DYING THOUUHTS. 

iii. And I sliall liavc a special love to the holy society, the tri- 
umphant, universal church, consisting of Christ, angels, and saints, 
as they are specially amiable in the image and glory of God. God 
himself loveth them more than his inferior works ; that is, his 
essence, which is love, and hath no degrees or change, doth send 
forth fuller streams of good upon them, or mnketh them better and 
happier than the rest. And my love will imitate the love of God, 
in my capacity. And if societies on earth, more holy and wise 
than others, though imperfectly, are very amiable, what then will 
the heavenly society be ? Of this I spake before, (of knowing 
them.) 

1. Think here, O my soul, how sweet a state unto thee it will 
be to love the Lord Jesus, thy glorified Head, with perfect love ! 
When the glory of God, which shineth in him, will feast thy love 
with full and everlasting pleasure, the highest created perfection 
of power, wisdom, and goodness, refulgent in him, will not give 
leave to thy love to cease, or intermit, or abate its fervor. When 
thou shall see in the glorified church the precious fruits of Christ's 
redemption, grace, and love, this also will feed thy love to him, 
from whom this heavenly glory cometh. And when thou shalt 
feel thyself possessed of perfect happiness, by his love to thee, 
will not this also do its part ? Yea, the remembrance of all his 
former love, what he did for thee, and what he did in thee here 
on earth ; how he called thee with an holy calling ; how he washed 
thee in his blood from all thy sins ; how he kindled in thee those 
desires which tended to that perfect glory ; how he renewed thy 
nature ; how he instructed, and guided, and preserved thee from 
thy childhood ; and how many and how great sins, enemies, dan- 
gers and sufferings, he saved thee from ; all this will constrain thee 
everlastingly to love him. Thus, (though he give the kingdom 
to the Father, as ceasing his mediatory, healing, saving work of 
acquisition,) he will be to thee the Mediator of fruition. God in 
him will be accessible, and condescend to a suitable communion 
with us ; John xvii. 24. And as Christ is thy life, radically and 
efficiently, as he is the Giver of grace and Spirit of love, so he will 
be objectively thy life as he is lovely, and it will be formally thy 
life to love him, and God in him, forever. 

2. Think, also, O my soul, how delectable it will be to love 
(as well as to know) those angels that most fervently love the 
Lord ! They will be lovely to thee as they have loved thee, and 
more as they have been lovers and benefactors to the church and 
to mankind ; but far more as they are so many refulgent stars, 
which continually move and shine, and burn in purest love to their 
Creator. O, blessed difference between that amiable society of 
holy spirits, and this dark, mad, distracted, wicked world ! Here 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 127 

devils tempt me within, and devils incarnate persecute me without. 
Blaspheming of God, reviling godliness, deriding the Sacred Scrip- 
tures, and sacred exercises, malignant slandering of the servants 
of God, hating, persecuting, silencing, and saying all manner of 
evil falsely of them, for their righteousness' sake, while such 
crimes are pretended, as they once falsely charged on Christ 
himself. This is the conversation of those that I have long dwelt 
with in the world : atheism, infidelity, papal church tyranny, 
bloody wars, destroying the righteous, oppressing the poor, adul- 
tery and fornication, stigmatizing perjury, ambition, violence, 
covetousness, deceit, sottish ignorance, willfulness in sin, hatred of 
reproof, revengeful malice ; these, and such like, are the fruits of 
the soil where I have long sojourned, (though, through the grace 
of Christ, among the faithful, there have been better fruits.) And 
is not the company of holy angels better than this ? With whom 
God is all ; who are even made up of shining wisdom, and holy 
love, and beneficent activity ; who are the blessed choir that 
melodiously sing forth the high praises of their Maker. Among 
whom God dwelleth as in his presence-chamber, or his temple, 
and in whom he taketh his great delight. With these I shall see 
or hear no evil. No mixture of fools or wicked ones do pollute 
or trouble their society. There will be no false doctrine, no evil 
example, no favoring wickedness, no accusing goodness, no hurt- 
ful violence ; but holy, powerful, operative love, will be all, and 
do all, as their very nature, life, and work. And is it not better 
to be a door-keeper there, than to dwell in the palaces of wicked- 
ness ? And is not a day with them better than a thousand here ? 
3.- And with the holy angels I shall love holy souls that are 
made like unto them, and joined with them in the same society ; 
and it is likely with them judge, that is, rule the world. All their 
infirmities are there put off with the flesh ; they also are spirits 
made up of holy life, and light, and love. There is none of their 
former ignorance, error, imprudence, selfishness, contentiousness, 
impatience, or any other troubling, hurtful thing. When I think 
with what fervent love to God, to Jesus Christ, and to one another, 
they will be perfectly united there, alas ! how sad and how shame- 
ful is it, that they should here be prone to disaffections and divis- 
ions, and hardly agree to call each other the servants of God, or 
to worship God in the same assemblies ! but the remnants of divid- 
ing principles, viz. pride, error, and uncharitableness, will be 
all left behind. Society with imperfect saints is sweet ; the imper- 
fect image of God upon them is amiable ; but their frailties here 
are so vexatious, that it is hard to live with some of them in peace. 
But perfect love will make them one ; and O, how delightful will 
that communion of saints he ! I can never forget how sweet God 





128 BAXTER'S imNG THOUGHTS. 

hath made the course of my pilgrimage, by the fragrancy and use- 
fulness of his servants' graces. How sweet have my bosom friends 
been, though mutable ! How sweet hath the neighborhood of 
the godly been ! How sweet have the holy assemblies been ; 
and how many hours of comfort have I there had ! How profita- 
ble have their writings, their conference, and their prayers been ! 
What then will it be, to live in the union of perfect love with per- 
fect saints in heaven forever, and with them concordantly to love 
the God of love ! 

And as the act and object of love will constitute my felicity, so 
will my reception from the love of God and his creatures be sweet- 
er to me than my own activity can be ; for it is mutual love that 
makes it up. I shall not be the fountain of my own delights ; nor 
can I act till I am acted, nor offer any thing to God, but what I have 
first received from him. And receive I shall, abundantly and con- 
tinually, and from thence shall overflow to God ; and receiving and 
returning are now. and will be, the circular, endless motion, and 
our true perpetual life and happiness. 

All my receivings shall be from God. His love is not a mere 
immanent will, nor a wish which toucheth not the object ; but it is 
what heat is in, or from, the sun or fire : it is an efflux of goodness : 
it is the most powerful, sweet, communicating principle, or work. 
All love is communicative ; but none in comparison of God's ; as 
there is none primitively and simply good but God. How much 
doth love in the affairs of men ! All that is pleasant in the world 
is it, or its effects. * * Were it not for natural love, mothers 
would never endure the pain, and trouble, and care, which is ne- 
cessary to human birth and education ; were it not for love, par- 
ents would never labor all their lives to leave their children well 
instructed, and well provided for, when they are gone. My food 
would not please me did I not love it, and I should neglect it to 
the neglect of my life. Did I not love my books, and learning it- 
self, I should never have bestowed so much of seventy years in por- 
ing on them and searching for knowledge as I have done ; did I 
not love my house, my conveniences and necessaries, I should 
neglect them, and they would be to me of small use ; did I not 
love my friends, I should be less profitable to them, and they to 
me ; did I not love my life, I should neglect it, and never have en- 
dured the labor and cost about it as I have done. If a man love 
not his country, posterity, and the common good, he will be as a 
burdensome drone in the hive, or as pernicious vermin. What is 
done in the world that is good, but by love ? 

And if created love be so necessary, so active, so communicative, 
how much more will the infinite love of the Creator be ! His 
love is now the life of the world ; his love is the life of nature in 






BAXTERS DYING jflQUGHTS. 129 

the living, the life of holiness in saints, and the life of glory in the 
blessed. In this infinite love it is that I, and all the saints, shall 
dwell for evermore. And if I dwell in love, and love in me, sure- 
ly I shall have its sweet and plenteous communication, and shall 
ever drink of the rivers of pleasure. It is pleasant to nature to be 
beloved of others, especially of the great, and wise, and good ; 
much more to have all the communications of love, in converse 
and gifts, in plenty and continuance, which may be still expressing 
it to our greatest benefit ! Had I a friend now, that did for me but 
the hundredth part of what God doth, how dearly should I love 
him ! Think, then, think believingly, seriously, constantly, O my 
soul, what a life thou shall live forever in the presence, the face, 
the bosom of infinite, eternal love. He now shineth on me by the 
sun, and on my soul by the sun of righteousness ; but it is as 
through a lantern, or the crevices of my darksome habitation ; but 
then he will shine on me, and in me, openly, and with the fullest 
streams and beams of love. 

God is the same God in heaven and earth, but I shall not be 
the same man. Here I receive comparatively little, but live in 
darkness, doubtful and frequent sorrows, because my receptivity 
is less ; the windows of my soul are not open to his light ; sin 
hath raised clouds, and consequently storms, against my comforts ; 
the entrances to my soul by the straits of flesh and sense are nar- 
row ; and they are made narrower by sin than they were by na- 
ture. Alas, how often would love have spoken comfortably to me, 
and I was not at home to be spoken with, but was abroad among 
a world of vanities, or was not at leisure, or was asleep, and not 
willing to be awaked ! How oft would love have come in and 
dwelt with me, and I have unkindly shut my doors against him ! 
How oft would he have been with me in secret, where he freely 
would embrace me, but I had some pleasing company or business 
which I was loath to leave ! How oft would he have feasted me, and 
had made all ready, but I was taken up and could not come ! Nay, 
when his table hath been spread before me, Christ, grace, and 
glory, have been offered to me, my appetite hath been gone, or 
dull, and all hath been almost neglected by me, and hath scarce 
seemed pleasant enough to be accepted, or to call off my mind 
from luscious poison. How oft would he have shined upon me, 
and I have shut my windows or mine eyes !- He was jealous indeed, 
and liked not a partner : he would have been all to me, if I would 
have been all for him. But I divided my heart, my thoughts, my 
love, my desires, and my kindnesses ; and, alas, how much did go 
besides him, yea, against him, to his enemies, even when I knew 
that all was lost, and worse than lost, which was not his ! What 
wo'.uler, then, if so foolish and unkind a sinner had little pleasure 

VOL. II. 17 






130 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

in his love; and if so great ingratitude and neglect of sovereign 
goodness were punished with such strangeness, and fears, and faint- 
ings, as I have long with groans lamented ! Recipitur ad modum 
recipientis. 

But in heaven I shall have none of these obstructions ; all old 
unkindness and ingratitude will be forgiven ; the great Reconciler 
in whom I am beloved will then have perfected his work ; I shall 
then be wholly separated from the vanity which here deceived me ; 
my open soul will be prepared to receive the heavenly influx ; 
with open face I shall behold the open face of glorifying love ; 
I shall joyfully attend his voice, and delightfully relish the celestial 
provisions. No disease will corrupt my appetite ; no sluggishness 
will make me guilty again of rny old neglects ; the love of the 
Father, by the grace of the Son, and the communion of the Holy 
Spirit, will have got the victory over all my deadness, folly, and 
disaffection, and my God-displeasing and self-undoing averseness and 
enmity will be gone forever. The perfect love, which God doth 
first effect in me, will be my everlasting receptivity of the fullest 
love of God. Benevolent love will make me good ; that is, a holy 
lover of God ; and then pleased love will make me his delight, and 
benevolence will still maintain me in my capacity. 

Study this heavenly work of love, O my soul ; these are not 
dead or barren studies ; these are not sad, unpleasant studies ; it is 
only love, that can relish love and understand it ; the will here 
hath its gust so like to an understanding, as make some philosophers 
say, voluntas percipit is a proper phrase. What can poor, carnal 
worldlings know of glorious love, who study it without love? 
What sounding brass and tinkling cymbals, a lifeless voice, are they 
that preach of God, and Christ, and heavenly glory, without love ! 
But gazing upon the face of love in Christ, and tasting of its gifts, 
and looking up to its glorious reign, is the way to kindle the sacred 
fire in thee. Look upwards, if thou wouldest see the light that 
must lead thee upwards. It is not for nothing that Christ hath 
taught us to begin our prayers with " Our Father, which art in heav- 
en ; " it is ' fatherly ' love that must win our hearts, and that must 
comfort them ; and it is in ' heaven ' where this is gloriously manifest- 
ed. As I said before, as the soul is in all the body, but yet uncler- 
standeth not in the hand as it doth in the head, and rejoiceth not in 
the foot as it doth in the heart ; so God, that is every where, doth 
not every where glorify his love as he doth it in heaven. Thither, 
therefore, the mind and eye are even by nature taught to look up 
as to God, as we look a man in the face when we speak to him, 
rather than to his feet, though his soul he also there. 

My sinful heart hath needed sorrow. My careless, rash, pre- 
sumptuous soul hath needed fears; and 1 have had some part of 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUCJHTS. 131 

these. Mercy saw it good for me, as necessary to prevent my 
dangerous deceits and lapses ; and O, that in the hour of sensual 
temptations I had feared more, and departed from evil. But it 
is holy love that must be my life ; or else I am dead, notwith- 
standing fear. 

0, come, then, and study the life of love. It is more of a 
holy nature than of art ; but yet study must do much to prepare 
thee to receive it. This is the great use of a heavenly conversa- 
tion. It is the contemplation, belief, and hope of the glorious state 
of love hereafter, that must make us like it, and kindle it in us 
here. The burning-glass must be turned directly to the sun, if 
you will have it set any thing on fire. There is a carnal or 
common love to God, which is kindled in men by carnal pleasures ; 
but a holy love, like that in heaven, must be studiously fetched 
from heaven, and kindled by the foresight of what is there, and 
what we shall be there forever. Faith must ascend and look with- 
in the veil. Thou must not live as a stranger to thy home, to thy 
God, and Savior, and thy hopes. The fire that must warm thee 
is in heaven, and thou must come near it, or open thyself to its in- 
fluence, if thou wilt feel its powerful efficacy. It is night and win- 
ter with carnal minds, when it is day and summer with those that 
set their faces heavenward. 

But, though all my receivings will be from God, they will not 
be from him alone. We must live in perfect union also with one 
another, and with all the heavenly society ; and therefore as we 
must love them all, so shall we be beloved by them all ; and this 
will be a subordinate part of our blessedness. God there will 
make use of second causes, even in communicating his love and 
glory. 

1. The Lord Jesus Christ will not only be the object of our 
delightful love, but will also love us with an effectual, operative 
love forever. His love will be as the vital heat and motion of the 
heart to all the members, the root of our life and joy. The love 
of our Redeemer will flow out into us all as the vital spirits, and 
his face of glory will be the sun of the heavenly Jerusalem, and 
will shine upon us, and show us God ; and in his light we shall 
have light. Did his tears for a dead Lazarus make men say, * Be- 
hold how he loved him ! ' O, then, what will the reviving beams 
of heavenly life make us say of that love which filleth us with the 
pleasures of his presence, and turneth our souls into joy itself! 
He comforteth us now by the teaching of his word ; but, surely, 
the fruition of salvation will be more gladdening than the tidings of 
it. When he that told us of glory, in his gospel, shall give it us, 
we shall not only believe but feel that he loveth us. 

Believe, O my soul, thy Savior's love, that thou mayest foretaste 



1^ BAXTERS DYING THOUGHTS. 

it, and be fit to feel it. We were incapable, in sinful flesh, of see- 
ing him otherwise than as clothed with flesh, and his consolations 
were administered by a woru of promise suitable to his appearance ; 
but when he withdrew his bodily presence, the Comforter was sent 
with a fuller consolation. But all that was but the earnest, and 
the first fruits, of what he will be to us forever. Be not seldom, 
nor unbelieving, nor slight, in the thoughts of thy Savior's love ; 
for it is he that is the way to the infinite love. Let thy believing 
be so much of thy daily work, that thou mayest say that he dwell- 
eth in thy heart by faith ; (Eph. iii. 17.) and that while thou liv- 
est here, it is Christ that liveth in thee ; and that thy life in the 
flesh is not a fleshly life, but by the faith of the Son of God that 
hath loved thee, and given himself for thee ; (Gal. ii. 20.) and that 
though thou see him not, yet, believing thou lovest him also with 
unspeakable joy, as believing the unspeakable perfect joy which 
his love will communicate to thee forever. 

Look upon the sun, and think thus with thyself: How wonder- 
ful is the emanation of this sun ; its motion, light, and heat, com- 
municated to so many millions of creatures all over the earth, and 
in the seas ! What if all these beams of light and heat were pro- 
portionable beams of perfect knowledge, love, and joy ; and that 
all creatures that are under the sun had, from its influx, as much 
wisdom, love, and joy, as they have light, heat, and motion ! 
Would not then this earth be as a world of angels, and a heaven? 
O, what a blessed world would it be ; and what a benefactor would 
the sun be to the world ! Why, even such will Jesus Christ be 
to the celestial world. He is the sun of glory. His influence will 
send forth life and light, and joyful love upon all the blessed, from 
the face of God, as the sun sends forth from God its motion, light, 
and heat upon this world. Now, therefore, begin, and live upon 
him : live upon the influence of his grace, his teaching, love-kin- 
dling, and quickening grace, that thou mayest have his name and 
mark, and he may find in thee something of himself, or of his own 
when thou comest to his righteous trial. His grace is not in my 
power, nor at my command. It is not meet it should be so ; but 
he hath not bid me seek and beg in vain. If he had never told 
me that he will give it me, it is equal to a promise if he do but bid 
me seek and ask. But I have more. He teacheth me to pray : 
he maketh my prayers : he vvriteth me out a prayer book on my 
heart : he giveth me desires, and he loveth to be importuned by 
them : his Spirit is first a spirit of supplication, and after of conso- 
lation, and in both a spirit of adoption. So far is he from being 
loath to be troubled with my importunity, that he seeketh me to 
seek his grace, and is displeased with me that I will ask and have 
no more. 



lit: 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. . 133 

All this is true : but how then cometh my soul to be yet so low, 
so dark, so fond of this wretched flesh and world, and so backward 
to go home, and dwell with Christ ? Alas! a taste of heaven on 
earth is a mercy too precious to be cast away upon such as 
have long grieved and quenched the Spirit, and are not, by dili- 
gent and patient seeking, prepared to receive it. He that pro- 
claimeth a general peace, will give peace only to the sons of peace. 
If, after such unkind neglects, such willful sins as I have been guil- 
ty of, 1 should expect to be suddenly in my Savior's arms and to be 
feasted presently with the first-fruits of heaven, I should look that 
the Most Holy should too little manifest his hatred of my sin. Ms- 
conscience remembereth the follies of my youth, and many a later 
odious sin ; and telleth me that if heaven were quite hid from my 
sight, and I should never have a glimpse of the face of glorious, 
eternal love, it were but just. I look upward from day to day ; I 
groan to see his pleased face, and better to know my God and my 
home. I cry to him daily, ' My God, this little is better than all 
the pleasures of sin. My hopes are better than all the possessions 
of this world. Thy gracious looks have oft revived me, and thy 
mercies have been immeasurable to my soul and body. But, O, 
how far short am I of what, even fifty years ago, I hoped sooner to 
have attained ! Where is the peace that passeth understanding, 
that should keep my heart and mind in Christ? O, where is 
the seeing, the longing, the rejoicing, and triumphing faith ? 
Where is that pleasant familiarity above, that should make a 
thought of Christ and heaven to be sweeter to me than the thoughts 
of friends, or health, or all the prosperity and pleasure of this w T orld ? 
Do those that dwell in God, and God in them, and have their hearts 
and conversations in heaven, attain to no more clear and satisfying 
perceptions of that blessed state than I have yet attained ? Is there 
no more acquaintance above to be here expected ; no livelier sense 
of future joys, nor sweeter foretaste ; no fuller silencing of doubts 
and fears ? I am not so loath to go to a friend, nor to the bed 
where I oft spend the night in restless pains and rolling, as I have 
too often been to come to thee. Alas ! how many of thy servants 
are less afraid to go to a prison than to their God, and had rather 
be banished to a land of strangers than sent to heaven ! Lord, 
must I, that am called thy child, and an heir of heaven, and a co- 
heir with Christ, have no more acquaintance with my glorified Lord, 
and no more love to thee, that art my portion, before I go hence, 
and come before thee ? Shall I have no more of the heavenly 
life, and light, and love ? Alas ! I have scarce enough in my med- 
itations to denominate them truly heavenly meditations. I have 
scarce enough in a prayer to make it indeed a heavenly prayer, or 
in a sermon to make it a heavenly sermon ; and shall I have no 



134 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

more when I come to die ? Must I go hence so like a stranger to 
my home ? Wilt thou take strangers into heaven, and know them 
as thine that do not better know thee here ? O my God, vouchsafe 
a sinner yet more of his Spirit that came down on earth to call up 
earthly minds to God, and to open heaven to all believers ! O 
what do I beg for so frequently, so earnestly, for the sake of my 
Redeemer, as the spirit of life and consolation, which may show 
me the pleased face of God, and unite all my affections to my glori- 
fied Head, and draw up this dark and drowsy soul to love and long 
to be with thee ! ' 

But, alas ! though these are my daily groans, how little yet do I 
ascend ! I dare not blame the God of love ; he is full and willing. 
I dare not blame my blessed Savior ; he hath showed that he is 
not backward to do good. I dare not accuse the Holy .Spirit ; it 
is his work to sanctify and comfort souls. If I knew no reason of 
this, my low and dark estate, I must needs conclude that it is 
somewhat in myself. But, alas ! my conscience wants not matter 
to satisfy me of the cause. Sinful resistance of the Spirit, and 
unthankful neglects of grace and glory, are undoubtedly the cause. 
But are they not a cause that mercy can forgive, that grace 
can overcome ? And may I not yet hope for such a victory be- 
fore I die ? 

Lord, I will lie at thy doors and groan : I will pour out my 
moans before thee. I will beg, and whatever thou wilt, do thou 
with me. Thou describest the kindness of the dogs to a Lazarus 
that lay at a rich man's door in sores : thou commendest the neigh- 
borly pity of a Samaritan, that took care of a wounded man : thou 
condemnest those that will not show mercy to the poor and needy : 
thou - bid dest us be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful. 
If we see our brother have need, and shut up the bowels of our 
compassion from him, it is because thy love dwelleth not in us : 
and shall I wait, then, at thy doors in vain, and go empty away 
from such a God, when I beg but for that which thou hast com- 
manded me to ask, and without which I cannot serve thee or 
come to thee, live or die in a habit beseeming a member of Christ, 
a child of God, and an heir of heaven? O give me the wedding 
garment, without which I shall but dishonor thy bounteous feast. 
Let me wear a livery. which becometh thy family, even a child of 
God. How oft hast thou commanded me to rejoice ; yea, to re- 
joice with exceeding and unspeakable joy ! and how fain would I 
in this obey thee ! O that I had more faithfully obeyed thee in 
other preparatory duties, in ruling my senses, my fancy, my tongue, 
and in diligent using all thy talents ! Then I might more easily 
have obeyed thee in this. Thou knowest, Lord, that love and joy are 
duties that must have more than a command. O bid me do them 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 135 

with an effecting word. How can I rejoice in death and darkness? 
When the bridegroom is absent I must fast and mourn. While I 
look towards heaven but through the crevices of this dungeon flesh, 
my love and joy will be but answerable to my light. How long is 
it since I hoped that I had been translated from the kingdom of 
darkness, and delivered from the power of the prince of darkness, 
and brought into that light which is the entrance of the inheritance 
of saints ! And yet, alas ! darkness, darkness is still my misery. 
There is light round about me, in thy word and works, but dark- 
ness is within me ; and if my eye be dark, the sun will be no 
sun to me. Alas ! my Lord, it is not all the learning in the world ; 
no, not of theology, that consisteth in the knowledge of words and 
methods, which I can take for the satisfactory, heavenly light. To 
know what thou hast written in the sacred book, is not enough to 
make me know my glorified Savior, my Father, and my home. It 
must be a light from heaven that must show me heaven, and a 
light accompanied with vital heat that must turn to love and joy 
within me. O let me not have only dreaming knowledge of words 
and signs, but quickening light, to show the things which these 
words do signify, to my mind and heart. Surely, the faith by which 
we must live, must be a living faith, and must reach further than to 
words, how true soever. Can faith live in the dark ? What is it but 
an effect of thine illumination ? What is my unbelief but the dark- 
ness of my soul ? Lord Jesus, scatter all these mists ! Make thy 
way, O thou Sun of Righteousness, into this benighted mind ! O 
send thine advocate to silence every temptation that is against thy 
truth and thee ; and thine agent to prosecute thy cause against thine 
enemies and mine, and to be the resident witness of thy verity, and 
my sonship and salvation. Hearing of thee is not satisfactory to 
me : it must be the presence and operation of thy light and love, 
shed abroad by thy Spirit on my heart, that must quiet and con- 
tent my soul. I confess, with shame, that I have sinned against 
heaven and before thee, and am unworthy to have any glimpse or 
taste of heaven ; but so did many that are now entertained and 
feasted by thy love in glory. 

My Lord, I know that heaven is not far from me : it. is not, I be- 
lieve, one day's or hour's journey to a separated soul. How quick 
is the communion of my eyes with the sun, that seems far off! and 
couldst thou not show it me in a moment ? Is not faith a seeing 
grace? It can see the invisible God, the unseen world, the new 
Jerusalem, the innumerable angels, and the spirits of the perfected 
just, if it be animated by thine influx ; without which it can do 
nothing, and is nothing. Thou, that oft healedst the blind here in 
the flesh, didst tell us that it is much mqre thy work to illuminate 



136 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

souls. It is but forgiving all my sins, and removing this film that 
sin hath gathered, and my illuminated soul will see thy glory. 1 
know that the veil of flesh must be also rent before I shall see thee 
with open face, and know my fellow-citizens above as I am known. 
It is not heaven on earth that I am begging for ; but that I may 
see it from Mount Nebo, and have the bunch of grapes, the pledge 
and the first-fruits, that faith and hope which may kindle love and 
desire, and make me run my race in patience, and live and die in 
the joy which beseemeth an heir of heaven. 

But if my part on earth must be no greater than yet it is, let it 
make me the wearier of this dungeon, and groan more fervently to 
be with thee, and long for the day when all my longing shall be 
satisfied, and my soul be filled with thy light and love. 

2. And, doubtless, as I shall love the angels and saints in 
heaven, so I shall, some way, in subordination to Christ, be a re- 
ceiver from them. Our love will be mutual ; and which way 
soever I owe duty, T shall expect some answerable return of bene- 
fit. The sun shineth upon the stars, as well as upon the earth, 
and stars on one another. If angels are greatly useful to me here, 
it is like they will be much more there, where I shall be a more 
capable receiver. It will be no diminution to Christ's honor, that 
he there maketh use of my fellow-creatures to my joy, no more 
than it is here. The whole creation will still be one compaginat- 
ed frame ; and the heavenly society will forever retain their rela- 
tion to each other, and their aptitude and disposition to the duties 
and benefits of those relations. And as we shall be far fitter for 
them than here we are, so shall we have far more comfort in them. 
How gloriously will God shine in the glory of the blessed ! How 
delightful will it be to see their perfection, in wisdom, holiness, 
love and concord ! What voices they use, or what communication, 
instead of voices, we shall shortly know ; but surely tbere is a 
blessed harmony of minds, and wills, and practice. All are not 
equal ; but all accord to love and praise their glorious God, and 
readily to obey him, and perfectly to love each other. There is 
no jarring, or discordant spirit that is out of tune ; no separation or 
opposition to each other. As God's love in Christ is our full and 
final happiness, so nature, which hath made us sociable, teacheth 
us to desire to be loved of each other, but especially by wise and 
worthy persons. Saints and angels in heaven will love incomparably 
better than our dearest friends on earth can do, and better than they 
did themselves when we were on earth ; for they will love that best 
which is best, and where there is most of God appearing ; else it 
were not intellectual love. And therefore they will love us as 
much better when we come to heaven, as we shall be better. If 



s DYING THOUGHTS. Kj7 

\ve go from loving friends on earth, we shall go to them that love 
us far more. The love of those here doth but pity us in our pains, 
and go weeping with our carcasses to the grave ; but the love of 
those above will joyfully convoy, or welcome, our souls to their 
triumphant society. All the holy friends that we thought we had 
lost, that went before us, we shall find rejoicing there with Christ. 

And, O, what a glorious state will be that common uniting, and 
united love ! If two or three candles joined together make a great- 
er flame and light, what would ten thousand stars united do? 
When all the love of angels and saints in full perfection shall be so 
united, as to make one love, to God that is one, and to one another, 
who are there all one in Christ, O what a glorious love will that 
be ! That love and joy will be the same thing ; and that one uni- 
versal love will be one universal joy. 

Little know we how great a mercy it is to be here commanded 
to love our neighbors as ourselves ; and much more, to be effectu- 
ally taught of God so to love one another. And did we all here 
live in such unfeigned love, we should be like to heaven, as bear- 
ing the image of the God of Love ; but, alas ! our societies here are 
small ; our goodness, which is our amiableness, wofully imperfect 
and mixed with loathsome sin and discord : but there, a whole 
heaven full of blessed spirits will flame forever, in perfect love to 
God, to Christ, and one another. 

Go, then, go willingly, O my soul ! Love joineth with light to 
draw up thy desires ! Nature inclineth all things unto union : 
even th'e lifeless elements have an aggregative motion, by which 
the parts, when violently separated, do hastily return to their natu- 
ral adhesion. Art thou a lover of wisdom, and wouldest thou not 
be united to the wise ? Art thou a lover of holiness, and wouldest 
thou not be united to the holy, who are made of love ? Art thou 
a hater of enmity, discord, and divisions, and a lover of unity here 
on earth, and wouldest thou not be where all the just are one ? It 
is not an unnatural union to thy loss ; nothing shall be taken from 
thee by it : thou shalt receive by it more than thou canst con- 
tribute ; it shall not be forced against thy will ; it is but a union of 
minds and wills; a perfect union of loves. Let not natural or sin- 
ful selfishness cause thee to think suspiciously or hardly of it, for 
it is thy happiness and end. What got the angels that fell to self- 
ishness, from unity ': and what got Adam, that followed them here- 
in ? The further any man goeth from unity, by selfishness, the 
deeper he falleth into sin and misery from God. And what doth 
grace but call us back from sin and selfishness, to God's unity 
again ? Dote not, then, on this dark, divided world. Is not thy 
body, while the parts by an uniting soul are kept together, and 
make one, in a better state, than when it is crumbled into lifeless 

VOL. II. 18 




138 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

dust ? And doth not death creep on thee by a gradual dissolu- 
tion ? Away, then, from this sandy, incoherent state ; the further 
from the centre, the further from unity. A unity indeed there is 
of all things ; but it is one heavenly life, and light, and love, which 
is the true felicitating union. 

We dispute here whether the aggregative motion of separated 
parts (as in descensu gravium) be from a motive principle in the 
part, or by the attraction of the whole, or by any external impulse. 
It is like that there is somewhat of all these ; but sure the greatest 
cause is like to do most to the effect. The body of the earth hath 
more power to attract a clod, or stone, than the intrinsic principle 
to move it downwards ; but intrinsic gravity is also necessary. 
The superior attractive love and loveliness must do more to draw 
up this rnind to God, than my intrinsic holiness to move it upward ; 
but without this holiness, the soul would not be capable of feeling 
that attractive influx. Every grace comelh from God, to fit and 
lead up my soul to God. Faith, therefore, believeth the heavenly 
state, and love doth, with some delight, desire it, and hope gapeth 
after it, that I may at last attain it. 

They that have pleaded against propriety, and would have all 
things common in this world, have forgotten that there is a pro- 
priety in our present egoity and natural constitution, which ren- 
dereth some accidental propriety necessary to us. Every man 
hath his own bodily parts and inherent accidents ; and every man 
must have his own food, his own place, clothing, and acquisitions', 
his own children, and, therefore, his own wife, &tc. But that the 
greatest perfection is most for community, as far as nature is capa- 
ble of it, God would show us, in making the first receivers of the 
extraordinary pourings-out of his Spirit, to sell all, and voluntarily 
make all common, none saying, This or that is my own ; which 
was not done by any constraining law, but by the law or power of 
uniting love : they were first all as of one heart and soul ; Acts 
iv. 32. 

Take not, then, thy inordinate desire of propriety for thy health, 
but for thy sickness ; cherish it not, and be not afraid to lose it, 
and measure not the heavenly felicity by it : spirits are penetrable ; 
they claim not so much as a propriety of place, as bodies do. It 
is thy weakness and state of imperfection now which maketh it so 
desirable to thee that thy house should be thine, and no one's but 
thine ; thy land be thine, and no one's but thine ; thy clothes, thy 
books, yea, thy knowledge and grace, be thine, and no one's 
but thine. How much more excellent a state were it, (if we 
were here capable of it,) if we could say, that all these are as the 
common light of the sun, which is mine, and every one's as well 
as mine ! Why are we so desirous to speak all languages, but that 






BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 139 

we might understand all men, and be understood of all, and so 
might make our sentiments as common as is possible ? Whence is 
it that men are so addicted to talkativeness, but that nature would 
make all our thoughts and passions as common as it can ? And 
why else are learned men so desirous to propagate their learning, 
and godly men so desirous to make all others wise and godly ? It 
seemeth one of the greatest calamities of this life, that when a man 
hath, with the longest and hardest study, attained to much knowl- 
edge, he cannot bequeath it, or any part of it, to his heir, or any 
person when he dieth, but every man must acquire it for himself; 
and when God hath sanctified the parents,' they cannot communi- 
cate their holiness to their children, (though God promise to bless 
them on their account.) Much less can any man make his grace 
or knowledge common : nature and grace incline us to desire it ; 
but we cannot do it. For this end we talk, and preach, and write ; 
for this end we study to be as plain, and convincing and moving as 
we can, that we make our knowledge and affections as common to 
our hearers and readers as we can. And, O, what a blessed work 
should we take preaching and writing for, if we could make them 
all know but what we know, and love what we are persuading 
them to love ! There would then be no need of schools and uni- 
versities : a few hours would do more than they do in an age. 
But, alas ! how rare is it for a father of excellent learning and 
piety to have one son like himself, after all his industry ! 

Is not the heavenly communion, then, desirable, where every 
man shall have his own, and yet his own be common to all others ? 
My knowledge shall be my own, and other men's as well as mine; 
my goodness shall be my own and theirs ; my glory and felicity 
shall be mine and theirs ; and theirs also shall be mine as well as 
theirs. The knowledge, the goodness, the glory, of all the heaven- 
ly society, shall be mine, according to my capacity : grace is the 
seed of such a state, which rnaketh us all one in Christ, (neither 
Barbarian nor Scythian, circumcision nor uncircumcision, bond nor 
free,) by giving us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to love 
both our neighbors and ourselves, for Christ, and Christ in all : 
well might Paul say, All things are yours. But it is here but as 
in the seed ; the perfect union and communion is hereafter. Earth 
and heaven must be distinguished ; we must not extend our hopes 
or pretensions here beyond the capacity of our natures. As per- 
fect holiness and knowledge, so perfect unity and concord, is proper 
to heaven, and is not here to be expected. The Papal preten- 
sions of an impossible union in one governor of all the earth, is the 
means to hinder that union which is possible. But the state of 
perfection is the state of perfect union and communion. Hasten, 
then, upwards, O my soul, with the ferventest desires, and breathe 



14O BAXTER'S DYINfi THOUGHTS. 

after that state with the strongest hopes ; where them shalt not be 
rich, and see thy neighbors poor about thee ; nor be poor, while 
they are rich ; nor be well while they are sick, or sick while they 
are well ; but their riches, their health, their joy, will be all thine, 
and thine will be all theirs, as the common light ; and none will 
have the less for the participation of the rest ; yea, communion 
will be part of every one's felicity ; it constituteth the very 
being of the city of God. This celestial communion of saints in 
one holy church, above what is here to be attained, is now an 
article of our belief; but believing will soon end in seeing and 
enjoying. 

V. The Constitutive Reasons from the Heavenly Life or Practice. 

Seeing and loving will be the heavenly life ; but yet it seemeth 
that, besides these, there will be executive powers, and, therefore, 
some answerable practice. There are good works in heaven, and 
far more and better than on earth. For, 1. there will be more 
vital activity, and, therefore, more exercise for it ; for the power 
is for action. 2. There will be more love to God and one another; 
and love is active. 3. There w r ill be more likeness to God and 
our Redeemer, who is communicative, and doth good, as he is 
good. 4. Our union with Christ, who will be everlastingly be- 
neficent, as well as benevolent, will make us in our places also 
beneficent. 5. Our communion in the city of God will prove 
that we shall all bear our part as the members of the body, in 
contributing to the welfare of the whole, and in the common re- 
turns to God. 

But what are the heavenly works we must perfectly know when 
we come thither? In general, we know, 1. That they will be 
the works of love to God and to his creatures ; that is, such as 
love inclineth us to exercise. 2. And they will be works of obe- 
dience to God ; that is, such as we shall do to please his will, and 
because he willeth them to be our duty. 3. They will be useful 
works to others. 4. They will be pleasant to ourselves, and part 
of our felicity. 5. And they will carry all to God, our end. 

And somewhat of them is particularly described in the Holy 
Scriptures; as, 1. We shall, in concord with the holy society, or 
choir, give thanks and praise to God and our Redeemer; Rev. 
xix. 5. 1 Pet. iv. 11. Rev. vii. 4. and iv. 7. 11. and v. 13. and 
vii. 12. and xix. 1. Phil. iv. 20. Whether there be any voice, 
or only such spiritual activity and exultation as to man, in flesh, is 
not to be clearly understood, is not fit for us here to presume to 
determine : it will be somewhat more high and excellent than our 
vocal praise and singing is ; and of which this beareth some ana- 




1* 

. 

BAXTER'S DYINO THOI JIITS. & 141 

, 

ogical resemblance or signification. As all passions earnestly de- 
sire vent and exercise, so specially do our holy affections of love, 
joy, and admiration of God Almighty. And there is in us a desire 
of communion with many in such affections and expressions. Me- 
thinks, when we are singing or speaking God's praise in the great 
assemblies, with joyful and fervent souls, I have the liveliest fore- 
taste of fieaven on earth ; and I could almost wish that our voices 
were loud enough to reach through all the world, and unto heaven 
itself; nor could I ever be offended (as many are) at the organs, 
and other convenient music, soberly and seasonably used, which 
excite and help to tune my soul in so holy a work, in which no 
true assistance is to be despised. IVo work more comforteth me 
in my greatest sufferings, none seemeth more congruous and pleas- 
ant to me while I wait for death, than psalms, and words of praise 
to God ; nor is there any exercise in which I had rather end my 
life : and should I not, then, willingly go to the heavenly choir, 
wheT-e God is praised with perfect love, and joy, and harmony ? 
Had I more of a praising frame of soul, it would make me long 
more for that life of praise. For I never find myself more willing 
to be there than when I most joyfully speak or sing God's praise. 
Though the dead praise not God in the grave, and dust doth not 
give him thanks, yet living souls in heaven do it joyfully, while 
their fleshly clothing turns to dust. 

Lord, tune my soul to thy praises now, that sweet experience 
may make me long to be where I shall do it better ! I see where 
any excellent music is, nature maketh men flock to it ; and they 
that are but hearers, yet join by a concurrent fancy and delight : 
surely, if I had once heard the heavenly choir, I should echo to 
their holy songs, though I could not imitate them ; and I should 
think it the truest blessedness to be there, and bear my part. My 
God, the voice of thy comforting Spirit, speaking thy love effectu- 
ally to my soul, would make such holy music in me, that would 
incline me to the celestial concert ; and without it all these 
thoughts and words will be in vain. It is the inward melody of 
thy Spirit and my conscience that must tune me to desire the 
heavenly melody. O speak thy love first to my heart, and then 
I shall joyfully speak it to my brethren, and shall ambitiously seek 
that communion of them that praise thee better than sinful, groan- 
ing mortals can : and though my sins here make a loathed jar and 
discord in my songs, I hope my groans for those sins, and their 
effects, will make no discord. Sighs and tears have had the honor 
to be accepted by thee, who despisest not a contrite soul : but if 
thy Spirit will sing and speak within me, and help me against the 
discordant murmurs of my unbelieving heart, and pained flesh, I 
shall offer thee that which is more suitable to thy love and grace. 



142 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

V 

I confess, Lord, that daily tears and sighs are not unsuitable to the 
eyes and voice of so great a sinner, who is under thy correcting 
rod. What better could I expect when I grieved thy Spirit, than 
that it should prove my grief? Yea, this is far better than the 
genuine effects of sin. But this is not it that is meetest to be 
offered to the God of love : he that ofFereth praise doth glorify 
thee : and is not this the spiritual sacrifice accepted through Christ, 
for which we were made priests to God ? 1 Pet. ii. 5. I refuse 
not, Lord, to lie in tears and groans when thou requires! it ; and 
do not thou refuse those tears and groans ; but O give me better, 
that I may have better of thine own to offer thee ; and by this 
prepare me for the far better, which 1 shall find with Christ ; and 
that which is best to us thy creatures will be accepted as best by 
thee, who art glorified and pleased in the perfection of thy works. 

2. It is, at least, very probable that God maketh glorified spirits 
his agents and ministers of much of his beneficence to the crea- 
tures that are below them. For, (1.) We see that where he en- 
dueth any creature with the noblest endowments, he maketh most 
use of that creature to the benefit of others : we shall in heaven be 
most furnished to do good ; and that furniture will not be unused. 
(2.) And Christ tells us that we shall be like, or equal to, the 
angels ; which, though it mean not simply and in all things, yet it 
meaneth more than to be above carnal generation ; for it speaketh 
of a similitude of nature and state as the reason of the other. 
And that the angels are God's ministers for the good of his chosen 
in this world, and administrators of much of the affairs on earth, is 
past all doubt. (3.) The apostle telleth us that the saints shall 
judge the world and angels ; and judging in Scripture is oft put 
for ruling. It is therefore probable, at least, that the devils, and 
the damned, shall be put under the saints, and that, with the 
angels, they shall be employed in some ministerial oversight of 
the inhabitants and affairs of the promised new earth. (4.) And 
when even the more noble superior bodies, even the stars, are of 
so great use and influx to inferior bodies, it is like that, accordingly, 
superior spirits will be of use to the inhabitants of the world be- 
low them. 

But I think it not meet to venture here upon uncertain conjec- 
tures beyond the revelation of God's word, and therefore shall add 
no more, but conclude that God knoweth what use to make of 
us hereafter as well as here, and that if there were no more for us 
to do in heaven, but with perfect knowledge, love, and joy, to 
hold communion with God and all the heavenly society, it were 
enough to attract a sensible and considerate soul to fervent desires 
to be at home with God. 

And here I must not overpass my rejection of the injurious 

1 

' 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 143 

opinion of too many philosophers and divines, who exclude all 
sense and affection from heaven, and acknowledge nothing there 
but intellect and will ; and this is because they find sense and af- 
fection in the brutes ; and they think that the souls of brutes are 
but some quality, or perishing temperament of matter, and, there- 
fore, that sense and affection is in us no better. 

But, 1. What felicity can we conceive of without any affection 
of delight or joy ? Certainly bare volition now without these doth 
seem to be no felicity to us ; nor knowledge neither, if there were 
no delight in knowing. 

2. Yea, I leave it to men's experience to judge, whether there 
be now any such thing in us as proper willing, which is not also 
some internal sense of, and affection to, the good which we will : 
if it be complacency, or the pleasedness of the will, this signifies 
some pleasure ; and love, in the first act, is nothing else but such 
an appetite : if it be desire, it hath in it a pleasedness in the thing 
desired, as in esse cognito, as it is thought on by us; and what is 
love without all sense and affection ? 

3. Why doth the Scripture ascribe love and joy to God and an- ?* f 
gels if there were not some reason for it ? Doubtless there is great 
difference between the heavenly love and joy, and ours here in the 
body ; and so there is also between their knowledge and ours, and 

their will and ours : but it is not that theirs is less or lower than 
ours, but somewhat more excellent, which ours giveth us some an- 
alogical, or imperfect, formal notion of. 

4. And what though brutes have sense and affection, doth it 
therefore follow that we have none now ? or that we shall have 
none hereafter ? Brutes have life ; and must we therefore have 
no life hereafter, because it is a thing that is common to brutes ? 
Rather, as now we have all that the brutes have, and more, so 
shall we then have life, and sense, and affection, of a nobler sort 
than brutes, and more. Is not God the living God ? Shall we 
say that he liveth not because brutes live? or, rather, that they 
live a sensitive life, and man a sensitive and intellectual, because 
God is essential, transcendent, infinite life, that makes them live. 

5. But if they say that there is no sensation or affection but 
by bodily organs, I answered before to that : the body feeleth noth- 
ing at all, but the soul in the body : the soul uniteth itself most 
nearly to the igneous aerial parts, called the spirits ; and in them 
it feeleth, seeth, tasteth, smelleth, &c. And that soul that feeleth 
and seeth, doth also inwardly love, desire and rejoice ; and that 
soul which doth this in the body, hath the same power and faculty 
out of the body : and if they judge by the cessation of sensation, 
when the organs are undisposed, or dead, so they might as well 
conclude against our future intellection and will, whose operation 






1-14 : BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

in an apoplexy we no more perceive than that of sense. But I 
have before showed that the soul will not want exercise for its es- 
sential faculties, for want of objects, or bodily organs ; and that 
men conclude basely of the souls of brutes, as if they were not an 
enduring substance, without any proof or probability ; and tell us 
idle dreams, that they are but vanishing temperaments, &ic., which 
are founded on another dream, that fire (or the motive, illuminative, 
calefactive cause) is no substance neither ; and so our unnatural 
somatists know none of the most excellent substances, which ac- 
tuate all the rest, but only the more base and gross, which are ac- 
tuated by them : and they think they have well acquitted them- 
selves by telling us of subtile, active matter and motion, without 
understanding what any living, active, motive faculty or virtue is. 
And because no man knoweth what God doth with the souls of 
brutes, (whether they are only one common sensitive soul of a 
more common body, or whether individuate still, and transmigrant 
from body to body, or what else,) therefore they make ignorance 
a plea for error, and feign them to be no substances, or to be an- 
nihilated. 

I doubt not but sensation (as is aforesaid) is an excellent opera- 
tion of the essential faculties of real substances, called spirits ; and 
that the highest and noblest creatures have it in the highest excel- 
lency ; and though God, that fitteth every thing to its use, hath 
given, e. g. a dog more perfect sense of smelling than a man, yet 
man's internal sense is far more excellent than the brutes', and 
thereby is an advantage to our intellection, volition, and joy, here 
in the flesh ; and that in heaven we shall have not less, but more, 
even more excellent sense and affections of love and joy, as well 
as more excellent intellection and volition ; but such as we cannot 
now clearly conceive of. 

Therefore, there is great reason for all those analogical collec- 
tions which I have mentioned in my book called 'The Saint's 
Rest ' from the present operations and pleasures of the soul in flesh, 
to help our conceptions of its future pleasures ; and though we can- 
not conclude that they will not inconceivably differ in their manner 
from what we now feel, I doubt not but feel and rejoice we shall, 
as certainly as live, and that the soul is essential life, and that our 
life, and feeling, and joy, will be inconceivably better. 

The Concluding Application. 

I am convinced that it is far better to depart and be with Christ 
than to be here : but there is much more than such conviction ne- 
cessary to bring up my soul to such desires. Still there resisteth, 
J. The natural averseness to death, which God hath put into every 










BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 145 

animal, and which is become inordinate and too strong by sin. II. 
The remnants of unbelief, taking advantage of our darkness here 
in the flesh, and our too much familiarity with this visible world. 
III. The want of more lively foretastes in a heavenly mind and 
love, through weakness of grace, and the fear of guilt. These 
stand up against all that is said ; and words will not overcome them : 
what, then, must be done ? Is there no remedy ? 

There is a special sort of the teaching of God, by which we 
must learn " so to number our days as to apply our hearts to wis- 
dom ; " without which, we shall never, effectually, -practically, 
and savingly, learn either this or any the most common, obvi- 
ous, and easy lesson. When we have read, and heard, and 
spoken, and written, the soundest truth and certainest argu- 
ments, we know yet as if we knew not, and believe as if we be- 
lieved not, with a slight and dreaming kind of apprehension, till 
God, by a special illumination, bring the same things clearly to our 
minds, and awaken the soul by a special suscitation, to feel what 
we know, and suit the soul to the truth revealed by an influx of his 
love, which giveth us a pleasing sense of the amiableness and con- 
gruity of the things proposed. Since we separated ourselves from 
God, there is a hedge of separation between our senses and our 
understandings, and between our understandings and our wills and 
affections, so that the communion between them is violated, and 
we are divided in ourselves by this schism in our faculties. All 
men still see the demonstrations of divine perfections in the world, 
and every part thereof; and yet how little is God known ! All 
men may easily know that there is a God, who is almighty, omni- 
scient, goodness itself, eternal, omnipresent, the Maker, Preserver' 
and Governor of all, who should have our whole trust, and love, 
and obedience ; and yet how little of this knowledge is to be per- 
ceived in men's hearts to themselves, or in their lives to others ! 
All men know that the world is vanity ; that men must die ; 
that riches then profit not ; that time is precious ; and that we. 
have only this little time to prepare for that which we must re- 
ceive hereafter ; and yet how little do men seem to know, indeed, 
of all such things as no man doubts of! And when God doth come 
in with his powerful, awakening light and love, then all these 
things have another appearance of affecting reality than they had 
before ; as if but now we began to know them : words, doctrines, 
persons, things, do seem as newly known to us. 

All my best reasons for our immortality and future life are but as 
the new-formed body of Adam, before God breathed into him the 
breath of life. It is he that must make them living reasons. To 
the Father of Lights, therefore, 1 must still look up, and for his 
light and love I must still wait, as for his blessing on the food 

VOL. II. 19 



J46 BA-XTErt's DVtNti THOUGHTS. 

which I have eaten, which must concoct it into my living sub- 
stance. Arguments will be but undigested food, till God's effect- 
ual influx do digest them. I must learn both as a student and a 
beggar : when I have thought, and thoughj a thousand times, I 
must beg thy blessing, Lord, upon my thoughts, or they will all 
be but dullness or self-distraction. If there be no motion, light, 
and life here, without the influx of the sun, what can souls do, or 
receive, or feel, without thy influx? This world will be to us, 
without thy grace, as a grave or dungeon, where we. shall lie in 
death and darkness. The eye~of my understanding, and all its 
thoughts, will be useless or vexatious to me, without thine illumi- 
nating beams. O shine the soul of thy servant into a clearer knowl- 
edge of thyself and kingdom, and love him into more divine and 
heavenly love, and then he will willingly come to thee. 

I. And why should I strive, by the fears of death, against the 
common course of nature, and against my only hopes of happiness ? 
Is it not appointed for all men once to die ? Would I have God 
to alter this determinate course, and make sinful man immortal 
upon earth ? When we are sinless, we shall be immortal. The 
love of life was given to teach me to preserve it carefully, and use 
it well, and not to torment me with the continual, troubling fore- 
sight of death. Shall I make myself more miserable than the 
vegetatives and brutes? Neither they nor I do grieve that my 
flowers must fade and die, and that my sweet and pleasant fruits 
must fall, and the trees be unclothed of their beauteous leaves until 
the spring. Birds, and beasts, and fishes, and worms, have all a 
self-preserving fear of death, which urgeth them to fly from dan- 
ger ; but few, if any of them, have a tormenting fear arising from 
the forethoughts that they must die. To the body, death is less 
troublesome than sleep ; for in sleep I may have disquieting pains 
or dreams ; and yet I fear not going to my bed. But of this before. 

If it be the misery after death that is feared, O, what have I 
now to do, but to receive the free, reconciling grace that is offered 
me from heaven, to save me from such misery, and to devote my- 
self totally to him who hath promised that those that come to him 
he will in no wise cast out ! 

But this cometh by my selfishness. Had I studied my duty, 
and then remembered that I am not mine own, and that it is God's 
part, and not mine, to determine of the duration of my life, I had 
been quiet from these fruitless fears. But when I fell to myself, 
from God, I am fallen to care for myself, as if it were my work to 
measure out my days : and now I trust not God, as I should do, 
with his own. And had my resignation and devotedness to him 
been more absolute, my trust in him would have been more easy. 
But. Lord, thou knowest that I would fain be thine, and wholly 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUUHTS. 147 

thine ; and it is to thee that I ilusire to live : therefore let me 
quietly die to thee, and wholly trust thee with my soul. 

II. And why should my want of formal conceptions of the fu- 
ture state of separated souls, and my strangeness to the manner of 
their subsistence and operations, induce me to doubt of those gen- 
erals, which are evident, and beyond all rational doubting ? That 
souls are substances, and not annihilated, and essentially the same, 
when they forsake the body, as before, I doubt not. Otherwise, 
neither the Christian's resurrection, nor the Pythagorean's transmi- 
gration, were a possible thing. For, if the soul cease to be, it 
cannot pass into another body, nor can it reenter info this. If God 
raise this body, then it must be by another soul. For the same 
soul to be annihilated, and yet to begin again to be, is a contradic- 
tion ; for the second beginning would be by creation, which maketh 
a new soul, and not the same that was before. It is the invisible 
things that are excellent, active, operative, and permanent. The 
visible (excepting light, which maketh all things else visible) are 
of themselves but lifeless dross. It is the unseen part of plants 
and flowers which causeth all their growth and beauty, their fruit 
and sweetness. Passive matter is but moved up and down by the 
invisible active powers, as chess-men are moved from place to 
place by the gamester's hands. What a loathsome corpse were^^lfC 
the world, without the invisible spirits and natures that animate, 
actuate, or move it. To doubt of the being or continuation of 
the most excellent, spiritual parts of the creation, when we live in 
a world that is actuated by them, and where every thing de- 
monstrates them, as their effects, is more foolish than to doubt of 
the being of these gross materials which we see. 

How oft have I been convinced that there are good spirits with 
whom our souls have as certain communion, though not so sensi- 
ble, as our life hath with the sun, and we have with one another I 
And that there are evil and envious spirits that fight against our 
holiness and peace, as certain narratives of apparitions and witch- 
es, and too sad experience of temptations, do evince. And the 
marvelous diversity of creatures on earth, for kind and number; 
yea, the diversity of stars in heaven, as well as the diversities 
of angels and devils, do partly tell me, that though all be of one, 
and through one, and to one, yet absolute unity is the divine pre- 
rogative, and we must not presume to expect such perfection as 
to lose our specific or numerical diversity, by any union which 
shall befall our souls. Nor can I reasonably doubt that so noble 
and active a nature as souls dwelling above in the lucid regions, in 
communion with their like, and with their betters, shall be without 
the activity, the pleasure and felicity, which is suitable to their na- 
ture, their region, and their company. And my Savior hath en- 



.. 
148 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

tered into the holiest, and hath assured me that there are many 
mansions in his Father's house ; and that when we are absent from 
the body we shall be present with the Lord. 

Organical sight is given me for my use here in the body ; and a 
serpent or hawk hath as much or more of this than I have. Mental 
knowledge reacheth further than sight, and is the act of a nobler 
faculty, and for a higher use. Though it be the soul itself un- 
bodied in the igneous spirits that seeth, yet it is by a higher and 
more useful faculty that it understandeth ; and faith is not an un- 
derstanding act : it knoweth things unseen, because they are reveal- 
ed. Who can" think that all believing, holy souls, that have pass- 
ed hence from the beginning of the world, have been deceived in 
their faith and hope ? And that all the wicked, worldly infidels, 
whose hope was only in this life, have been the wisest men, and 
have been in the right? If virtue and piety are faults or follies, 
and brutish sensuality be best, then why are not laws made to 
command sensuality, and forbid piety and virtue ? To say this, is 
to deny humanity, and the wisdom of our Creator, and to feign 
the world to be governed by a lie, and to take the perfection of 
our nature for its disease, and our greatest disease for our perfection. 
But if piety and virtue be better than impiety and vice, the prin- 
ciples and necessary motives of them are certainly true, and the 
exercise of them is not in vain. What abominable folly and wick- 
edness were it to say that the wicked only attain their ends, and 
that they all lose their labor, and live and die in miserable deceit, 
who seek to please God in hope of a better life to come, believing 
that God is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him ! Would 
not this justify the foolish Manichees, that thought a bad God 
made this world ; yea, and would infer that he not only made us 
for a mischief, but ruleth us to our deceit and hurt, and giveth us 
both natural and supernatural laws, in ill-will to us, to mislead 
us to our misery, and to fill our lives with needless troubles ? 
Shall I not abhor every suggestion that containeth such inhuman 
absurdities as these ? Wonderful, that Satan can keep up so much 
unbelief in the world, while he must make men such fools, that he 
may make them unbelievers and ungodly ! 

III. That my soul is no more heavenly, and my foretaste of future 
blessedness is so small, is partly the fruit of those many willful sins 
by which I have quenched the Spirit that should be my Comforter ; 
and it is partly from our common state of darkness and strangeness, 
while the soul is in the flesh, and operateth as the body's form, 
according to its interest and capacity. Affections are more easily 
stirred up to things seen, than to things that are both unseen and 
known only very defectively, by general, and not by clear, dis- 
tinct apprehensions. And yet this, O this, is the misery and bur- 



BAXTER" s DYING THOUGHTS. 149 

den of my soul ! Though I can say that I love God's truth and 
graces, his work, and his servants, and whatever of God 1 see in 
the world, and that this is a love of God in his creatures, word and 
works ; yet that I have no more desiring and delightful love of 
heaven, where his loveliness will be more fully opened to my soul, 
and that the thoughts of my speedy appearing there are no more 
joyful to me than they are, is my sin, and my calamity, and my 
shame. And if I did not see that it is so with other of the ser- 
vants of Christ, as well as with me, I should doubt whether affec- 
tions so unproportionable to nay profession did not signify unsound- 
ness in my belief. It is strange and shameful, that one that ex- 
pecteth quickly to see the glorious world, and to enter the holy, 
celestial society, should be no more joyfully affected with these 
hopes, and that I should make any great matter of the pain, and 
languishing, and perishing of the flesh, when it is the common way 
to such an end. O hateful sin ! that hath so darkened and cor- 
rupted souls as to estrange and indispose them to the onlv state of 
their hoped happiness. Alas! what did man when he forsook 
the love and obedience of his God.? How just it is, that this 
flesh and world should become our prison, which we would 
make our home, and would not use as our Lord appointed us, as 
our servant and way to our better state ! Though our way must 
not be our home, our Father would not have been so strange to us 
in the way, if we had not unthankfully turned away from his grace 
and love. 

It is to us that know not the mysteries of infinite wisdom, the 
saddest thought that ever doth possess our minds, to consider that 
there is no more grace and holiness, knowledge of God, and com- 
munion with him in this world. That so few are saints, and those 
few so lamentably defective and imperfect. That when the sun 
shineth on all the earth, the Sun of Righteousness shineth on so 
small a part of it, and so few live in the love of God, and the joy- 
ful hopes of future blessedness ; and those few have so low a meas- 
ure of it, and are corrupted and troubled with so many contrary 
affections. Infinite goodness is not undisposed to do good. He 
that made us capable of holy and heavenly affections, gave us not 
that capacity in vain ; and yet, alas! how little of God and glory 
taketb, up the hearts of men ! 

But rnan hath no cause to grudge at God. The devils, before 
their fall, were not made indefectible: divine wisdom is delighted 
in the diversity of his works, and maketh them not all of equal ex- 
cellency. Free will was to act its part: hell is not to be as 
good as heaven: and sin hath made'earth to be next to hell; so 
much sin, so much hell. What is sin but a willful forsaking of 
God ? And can we forsake him, and yet love him, and enjoy his 



> 
150 BAXTER'S rm.Nfi TIK;I,I;HTS. 

love ? God's kingdom is not to be judged t.f by his gaol or gibbets. 
We willfully forsook the light, and made the world a dungeon to 
ourselves. And when recovering light doth shine unto us, how 
unthankfully do we usually entertain it ! We cannot have the 
conduct and comfort of it while we shut our eyes and turn away. 
And what though God give not all men an overcoming measure, 
nor to the best so much as they desire : the earth is but a spot, 
or print of God's creation ; not so much as an ant-hillock to a 
kingdom, or, perhaps, to all the earth. And who is scandalized be- 
cause the world hath an heap of ants in it, yea, or a nest of snakes, 
that are not men ? The vast, unmeasurable worlds of light, 
which are above us, are possessed by inhabitants suitable to their' 
glory. A casement or crevice of light, or a candle in this dark- 
some world, is an unspeakable mercy ; yea, that we may but hear 
of a better world and may seek it in hope. We must not grudge 
that in our prison we have not that presence of our King, and 
pleasures of the kingdom, as innocent and free subjects have : hope 
of pardon, and a speedy deliverance, are great mercies to male- 
factors. 

And if my want of the knowledge and love of God, and joyful 
communion with the heavenly society, be my prison, and as the 
suburbs of hell, should it not make me long for the day of my re- 
demption, and the glorious liberty of the sons of God? My true 
desires of deliverance, and of holiness and perfection, are my evi- 
dences that I shall obtain them. As the will is the sinner, so 
it is the obstinate continuance of a will to sin, which is the bon- 
dage, and the cause of continued sin ; and a continued hell is con- 
tinued sin, as to the first part at least. Therefore, they that con- 
tinue in hell do continue in a sinning will, and so continue in a 
love and willingness of so much of hell. So far as God maketh us 
willing to be delivered from sin, so far we are delivered ; and our 
initial, imperfect deliverance is the way to more. If pains, then, 
make me groan for ease, and sickness make me wish for health, 
why should not my remnants of ignorance, unbelief, and strange- 
ness to God, occasion me to long for the day of my salvation ? 
This is the greatest of all my troubles ; and should it not then be 
the greatest wearying burden from which I should earnestly desire 
to be eased ? As grace never doth hurt efficiently, and yet may 
be ill used, and do hurt objectively, (as to them that are proud of 
it.) so sin never doth good efficiently, and of itself, and yet objective- 
ly may do good ; for sin may be the object of grace, and so to use 
it, is not sin. My unbelief, and darkness, and disaffection, and 
inordinate love of this life, do, of themselves, most hinder my de- 
sires of deliverance, and of a better life ; but, objectively, what 
more fit to make me weary of such a grievous state ? Were my 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 151 

unbelief and earthly mind predominant, they would chain my af- 
fections to this world ; or, if I were constrainedly weary of a mise- 
rable life, I should have no comfortable hopes of a better. But as 
it is the nature of my sin to draw down my heart from God and 
glory, it is the nature of my faith, and hope, and love, to carry it 
upward, and to desire the heavenly perfection ; not to love death, 
but to love that which is beyond it. And have I been so many 
years in the school of Christ, learning both how to live and die, 
begging and studying for this grace, and exercising it against this 
sinful flesh, and shall I now, after all, find flesh more powerful to 
draw me downward, than faith, hope, and love, to carry my desires 
up to God ? 

O God forbid ! O thou that freely gavest me thy grace, main- 
tain it to the last against its enemies, and make it finally victorious ! 
It came from thee ; it hath been preserved by thee ; it is on thy 
side, and wholly for thee. O let it not now fail, and be conquered 
by blind and base carnality, or by the temptations of a hellish con- 
quered enemy ; without it I had lived as a beast, and without it I 
should die more miserably than a beast. It is thine image which 
thou lovest ; it is a divine nature and heavenly beam. What will 
a soul be without it, but a dungeon of darkness, a devil for malig- 
nity, and dead to holiness and heaven ? Without it, who shall 
plead thy cause against the devil, world, and flesh ? Without thy 
glory, earth is but earth : without thy natural efficacy, it would be 
nothing : without thy wise and potent ordination, it would be but 
a chaos ; and, without thy grace, it would be a hell. O rather 
deny rne the light of the sun, than the light of thy countenance ! 
Less miserable had I been without life or being, than without thy 
grace. Without thee, and my Savior's help, I can do nothing ; 1 
did not live without thee ; I could not pray or leam without thee ; 
I never could conquer a temptation without thee ; and can I die, 
or be prepared to die, without thee ? Alas ! 1 shall but say as 
Philip of Christ, " I know not whither my soul is going, and how 
then shall I know the way ? " My Lord, having loved his own in 
the world, did love them to the end. Thou lovest fidelity and 
pei-severance in thy servants : even those that in his sufferings 
forsook him and fled, yet are commended and rewarded by Christ, 
for continuing with him in his temptations ; Luke xxii. 28. 
And wilt thou forsake a sinner in his extremity, who consenteth to 
thy covenant, and would not forsake thee ? My God, I have often 
sinned against thee ; but yet thou knowest I would fain be thine : 
I have not served thee with the resolution, fidelity, and delight, 
as such a master should have been served, but yet I would not for- 
sake thy service, nor change my master, or my work. I can say, 
with thy servant Paul, that thou art the God whose I am, and 



152 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

whom I serve : (Acts xxvii. 23.) and O that I could serve thee 
better ! For to serve thee is but to receive thy grace, and to use 
it for my own and others' good, and so to glorify thee, and please 
thy will, which, being love itself, is best pleased when we receive 
and do most good. I have not loved thee as infinite goodness, and 
love itself, and fatherly bounty, should have been loved ; but yet 
I would not forsake thy family ; and nothing in this world is more 
my grief, than that I love thee no more. Forsake not, then, a 
sinner that would not forsake thee, that looketh every hour to- 
wards thee ; that feeleth it as a piece of hell to be so dark and strange 
unto thee ; that gropeth, and groaneth, and gaspeth after thee ; 
feeling, to his greatest sorrow, (though thou art every where,) that 
while he is present in the body, he is absent from the Lord. My 
Lord, I have nothing to do in this world, but to seek and serve 
thee. I have nothing to do with a heart and its affections, but to 
breathe after thee. I have nothing to do with my tongue and pen, 
but to speak to thee, and for thee, and to publish thy glory and thy 
will. What have I to dp with all my reputation, and interest in 
my friends, but to increase thy church, and propagate thy holy 
truth and service ? What have I to do with my remaining time, 
even these last and languishing hours, but to look up unto thee, 
and wait for thy grace and thy salvation ? O pardon all my car- 
nal thoughts, and all my unthankful neglects of thy. precious grace 
and love, and all my willful sin against thy truth and thee ; and 
let the fuller communications of thy forfeited grace now tell me 
by experience that thou dost forgive me ! Even under the ter- 
rible law thou didst tell man thy very nature, by proclaim- 
ing thy name, " The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, 
long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy 
for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin ; " 
Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. And is not the grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ revealed in the gospel for our more abundant faith and con- 
solation ? My God, I know, as I cannot love thee according to thy 
loveliness, so I cannot trust thee according to thy faithfulness : 1 
can never be sufficiently confident of thy all-sufficient power, thy 
wisdom, and thy goodness. When I have said as Psalm Ixxvii. 
7, " Will the Lord cast off forever? And will he be favorable no 
more ? Is his mercy clean gone forever ? Doth his promise fail 
to generations ? Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? Hath he 
in anger shut up his tender mercies ? " conscience hath replied, 
that this is my infirmity : I never wanted comfort, because thou 
wantedst mercy ; but because I wanted faith and fitness to receive 
it and perceive it. But hast thou not mercy also to give me, everr 
that fitness, and that faith ? My God, all is of thee, and through 
thrr, and all is to thee ; and when I have the felicity, the glory of 



BAXTER 'b DYING THOUGHTS. 153 

all forever will be thine. None that trusteth in thee (according to 
thy nature and promise) shall be ashamed. If I can live and die 
in trusting in thee, surely I shall not be confounded. 

Why, then, should it seem a difficult question, how I may, will- 
ingly, leave this world, and rny soul depart to Christ in peace ? 
The same grace which regenerated me, must bring me to my de- 
sired end, as the same principle of vegetation which causeth the 
end, must bring the fruit to 'sweet maturity, I. Believe and trust 
thy Father, thy Savior, and thy Comforter. II. And hope for the 
joyful entertainments of his love, and for the blessed state which 
he hath promised. III. And long, by love, for nearer union and 
communion with him ; and thus, O my soul, thou mayest depart 
in peace. 

I. How sure is the promise of God ! How suitable to his love, 
and to the nature of our souls, and to the operations of every grace ! 
It is initially performed here, whilst our desires are turned towards 
him, and the heavenly seed and spark is here ingenerated in a soul 
that was dead, and dark, and disaffected. Is it any strange thing 
for fire to ascend ? yea, or the fiery principle of vegetation in a 
tree, to carry up the earthy matter to a great height ? Is it strange 
that rivers should hasten to the sea ? Whither should spirits go 
but to the region or world of spirits ? And whither should Christ's 
members and holy spirits go but to himself, and the heavenly so- 
ciety ? And is not that a more holy and glorious place and state 
than this below ? Earth is between heaven and hell ; a place of 
gross and passive matter, where spirits may, indeed, operate upon 
that which needeth them, and where they may be detained a while 
in such operation, or as incorporated forms, if not incarcerated de- 
linquents ; but it is not their centre, end, or home. Even sight 
and reason might persuade me, that all the noble invisible pow- 
ers, that operate on this lower world, do principally belong unto 
a higher ; and what can earth add to their essence, dignity, or 
perfection ? 

But why, O my soul, art thou so vainly solicitous to have 
formal, clear, distinct conceptions of the celestial world, and the in- 
dividuation and operations of separated souls, any more than of the 
angels ? While thou art the formal principle of an animated body, 
thy conceptions must be suitable to their present state and use. 
When thou art possessed of a better state, thou shalt know it as a 
possessor ought to do ; for such a knowledge as thou lookest after 
is part of the possession, and to long to know and love, in clear- 
ness and perfection, is to long to possess. It is thy Savior, and his 
glorified ones, that are comprehensors and possessors ; and it is his 
knowledge which must now be most 6f thy satisfaction. To seek 
his prerogative to thyself, is vain, usurping arrogance. Wouldest 
VOL. ii. 20 



154 BAXTF.K'S OYINO THOUGHTS. 

thou be a God and Savior to thyself? O, consider how much of 
the fall is in this selfish care and desire to be as God, in knowing 
that of good and evil which belongeth not to thee, but to God, to 
know. Thou knowest, past doubt, that there is a God of infinite 
perfection, who is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 
Labor more to know thy duty to this God, and absolutely trust 
him, as to the particularities of thy felicity and reward. Thou 
didst trust thy parents to provide thee food and raiment, when 
thou didst but dutifully obey them ; though they could have forsa- 
ken thee, or killed thee every hour, thou didst never fear it. Thou 
hast trusted physicians to give thee even ungrateful medicines, 
without inquiring after every ingredient, or fearing lest they should 
willfully give thee poison. I trust a barber with my throat : I 
trust a boatman or shipmaster with my life ; yea, my horse, that 
might cast me ; because I have no reason to distrust them, saving 
their insufficiency and uncertainty as creatures. If a pilot under- 
take to bring thee to the Indies, thou canst trust his conduct, though 
thou know thyself neither the ship, nor how to govern it ; neither 
the way nor the place to which thou art conveyed. And must 
not thy God and Savior be trusted to bring thee safe to heaven, 
unless he will satisfy all thy inquiries of the individuation and ope- 
ration of spirits? Leave unsearchable and useless questions to 
him that can easily resolve them, and to those to whom the knowl- 
edge of them doth belong. Thou dost but entangle thyself in sin 
and self-vexation, while thou wouldest take God's work upon thee, 
and wouldest know that for thyself which he must know for thee. 
Thy knowledge and care for it did not precede, nor prepare for, 
thy generation, nor for the motion of one pulse or breath, or for 
the concoction of one bit of all thy food, or the continuance of thy 
life one hour ; supposing but thy care to use the means which God 
appointed thee, and to avoid things hurtful, and to beg his blessing. 
The command of being careful for nothing, and casting all thy care 
on God, who careth for us, obligeth us in all things that are God's 
part ; and for our souls as well as for our bodies ; yea, to trust him 
with the greatest of our concerns is our greatest duty ; supposing 
we be careful about our own part, viz. to use the means, and obey 
his precepts. To dispose of a departing soul is God's part, and 
not ours : O, how much evil is in this distrustful, self-providing 
care! If I did but know what 1 would know about my soul and 
myself; and if I might but choose what condition it should be in, 
and be the final disposer of it myself, O, what satisfaction and joy 
would it afford me ! And is not this to be partly a god to myself? 
Is he not fitter to know, and choose, and dispose of me than I am ? 
I could trust myself easily, even my wit and will, in such a choice, 
if I had but power; and cannot I trust God and my Redeemer, 



BAXTKK'S DYINU THOUGHT,*. 150 

without all this care, and fear, and trouble, and all these particular 
inquiries? If you are convoying your child tin a boat, or coach, 
by water, or by land, and he at every turn be crying out, ' O fa- 
ther, whither do we go?' or, 'What shall I do?' or, 'I shall be 
drowned, or fall : ' is it not rather his trust in you, than the par- 
ticular satisfaction of his ignorant doubts, that must quiet and 
silence him? Be not, then, foolishly distrustful and inquisitive. 
Make not thyself thy own disquieter or tormentor, by an inordinate 
care of thy own security. Be not cast down, O departing soul, 
nor, by unbelief, disquieted within me. Trust in God, for thq-u 
shalt quickly, by experience, be taught to give him thanks and 
praise, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. 

0. what clear reason, what great experience, do command me 
to trust him, absolutely and implicitly to trust him, and to distrust 
myself ! 

1. He is essentjal, infinite, perfection, power, wisdom, and love. 
There is in him all that should invite and encourage rational trust, 
and nothing that should discourage it. 

2. There is nothing in any creature to be trusted but God in 
that creature, or God working in and by it. Distrust him, and there 
is nothing to be trusted ; not the earth to bear me, nor the air to 
breath in, much less any mutable friend. 

3. I am altogether his own, his own by right, and his own by 
devotion and consent. And shall I not trust him with his own ? 

4. He is the great Benefactor of all the world, that giveth all 
good to every creature, not by constraint, or by commutation, but 
as freely as the sun giveth forth its light. And shall we not trust 
the sun to shine ? 

5. He is my Father and special Benefactor, and hath taken me 
into his family as his child. And shall I not trust my heavenly 
Father? 

6. He hath given me his Son, as the great pledge of his love; 
and what, then, will he think too dear for me ? Will he not with 
him give me all things? Rom. viii. 32. 

7. His Son came purposely to reveal the Father's unspeakable 
love, and purposely to save us. And shall I not trust him that 
hath proclaimed his love and reconciliation by such a messenger 
from heaven ? 

8. He hath given me the Spirit of his Son, even the spirit of 
adoption, which is the surest character of his child, the witness, 
pledge and earnest of heaven, the name and mark of God upon me, 
holiness to the Lord. And yet shall I not believe his love, and 
trust him? 

9. He hath made me a member of his Son, and so far already 
united me to him. And will he not take care of the members of 






UAXTEUS DYING THOUGHTS. 



his Son ? Will he lose those that are given him ? Is not Christ 
to be trusted with his members ? 

10. I am his interest, and the interest of his Son. Freely belov- 
ed ; dearly bought ; for whom so much is suffered and done, that 
he is pleased to call us his peculiar treasure. And may I not trust 
him with his dear-bought treasure ? 

11. He hath stated me in a relation to angels, who rejoic- 
ed at my repentance, and to the heavenly society, which shall 
not miss the smallest part. Angels shall not lose their joy, nor 
ministration. 

12. He is in covenant with me; even the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost. He hath given me many great and precious prom- 
ises ; and shall I fear lest he will break his word or covenant ? 

13. My Savior is the forerunner, entered into the holiest, and 
there appearing and interceding for me. And this after he had 
conquered death, and risen again to assure me of a future life, and 
ascended into heaven, to show us whither we must ascend ; and 
that after these comfortable words, " Say to my brethren, I ascend 
to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." John 
xx. 17. And shall I not follow him through death, and trust 
such a Guide and Captain of my salvation ? 

14. He is there to prepare a place for me, and will take me to 
himself. And may I not confidently expect it ? 

15. He told a malefactor on the cross, that he should be that 
day with him in paradise, to tell believing sinners what they may 
expect. 

16. The church, by the article of his descent into hell, hath 
signified their common belief that his separated soul had its sub- 
sistance and operation, and did not sleep or perish, to tell us the 
immortality of separated souls. 

17. His apostles, and other servants, have on earth served him 
with all these expectations. 

18. The spirits of the perfected just are now in possession of 
what I hope for. And I am a follower of them who, by faith 
and patience, have attained the promised felicity. And may 
I not trust him to save me, who hath already saved millions 
in this way, when I could trust a ferryman to pass me over a 
river, that had safely passed over thousands before me ? or I could 
trust a physician who cureth all that he undertaketh of the same 
disease. 

19. I must be at his disposal, whether I will or not. I shall live 
while he will, and die when he will, and go whither he will. I 
may sin, and vex my soul with fears, and cares, and sorrows ; but I 
shall never prevail against his will. 

20. Therefore, there is no rest for souls but in the will of God. 






BAXTER'S IVING TIIO - <;MTS. 157 

That will created us, and that will did govern us, and that will 
shall be fulfilled on us. It was our efficient and our regent cause, 
and it shall be our end. Where else is it that we should rest ? In 
the will of men, or angels, or in our own wills ? All creatures are 
but creatures, and our own wills have undone us : they have mis- 
governed us, and they are our greatest enemies ; our disease, our 
prison, and our death, till they are brought over to the will of God. 
Till then they are like a foot out of joint ; like a child or subject 
in rebellion. There is no rectitude or health, no order, no peace 
or true felicity, but in the conformity of our wills to the will of 
God. And shall I die in distrustful striving against his will, and 
desiring to keep up my own before it? 

21. What abundant experience have I had of God's fidelity 
and love ! And after all this shall I not trust him ? His undeserv- 
ed mercy gave me being ; it chose my parents ; it gave them a 
tender love to me, and desire of my good ; it taught them to in- 
struct me early in his word, and to educate me in his fear; it 
chose me suitable company and habitation ; it gave me betimes 
a teachable ingeny ; it chose my schoolmasters ; it brought to my 
hands many excellent and suitable books ; it gave me some profit- 
able public teachers ; it placed me in the best of lands on earth, and 
I think in the best of ages which that land had seen ; it did early de- 
stroy all great expectations and desires of the world, teaching me to 
bear the yoke from my youth, and causing me rather to groan under 
my infirmities, than to fight with strong and potent lusts ; it chasten- 
ed me betimes, but did not destroy me. Great mercy hath trained 
me up all my days, since I was nineteen years of age, in the school 
of affliction, to keep my sluggish soul awake in the constant ex- 
pectations of my change, and to kill my pride and overvaluing of 
this world, and to lead all my studies to the most necessary things, 
and as a spur to excite my soul to seriousness, and especially to 
save me from the supine neglect and loss of time. Oh ! what un- 
speakable mercy hath a life of constant but gentle chastisement 
proved to me ! It urged me, against all dull delays, to make my 
calling and election sure, and to make ready my accounts, as one 
that must quickly give them up to God. The face of death, and 
nearness of eternity, did much convince me what books to read, 
wh.it studies to prefer and prosecute, what company and conver- 
sation to choose. It drove me early into the vineyard of the Lord, 
and taught me to preach as a dying man to dying men. It was 
divine love and mercy which made sacred truth so pleasant to me, 
that my life hath been (under all my infirmities) almost a constant 
recreation and delight, in its discoveries, contemplation and practi- 
cal use : how happy a teacher have I had ! What excellent help 
and sweet illumination ! How far beyond my expectation hath 



15cJ BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

divine mercy encouraged me in his sacred work ! How congru- 
ously did he choose every place of my ministration and habitation 
to this day, without my own forecast or seeking ! When, and where, 
since he first sent me forth, did I labor in vain ? How many are 
gone to heaven, and how many are in the way, to whom he hath 
blessed the word, which, in weakness, I did, by his grace and prov- 
idence, deliver ! Many good Christians are glad of now and 
then an hour's time to meditate on God's word, and recreate 
themselves in his holy worship ; but God hath allowed and called 
me to make it the constant business of my life. My library hath 
offered me both profitable and pleasant company and help, at all 
times, whenever I would use them. I have dwelt among the 
shining lights which the learned, wise and holy men of all ages 
have set up, and left to illuminate the world. How many comfort- 
able hours have I had in the society of living saints, and in the love 
of faithful friends ! How many joyful days have I had in the 
solemn assemblies, where God hath been worshiped in seriousness 
and alacrity, by concordant (though imperfect) saints ; where the 
spirit of Christ hath manifested his presence, by helping myself and 
my brethren in speaking, and the people in ready, delightful hear- 
ing, and all of us in loving and gladly receiving his doctrine, cove- 
nant, and laws! How unworthy was such a sinful worm as I, (who 
never had any academical helps, nor much from the mouth of any 
teacher,) that books should become so great a blessing to me, and 
that, quite beyond my own intentions, God should induce or con- 
strain me to provide any such like helps for others ! How unwor- 
thy was I to be kept from the multiplied snares of sects and errors 
which reigned in this age, and to be used as a means for other men's 
preservation and reduction ; and to be kept in a love of unity and 
peace ! How unworthy was I that God should make known to me 
so much of his reconciling truth, while extremes did round about 
prevail, and were commended to the churches by the advantage 
of piety on one side, arid of worldly prosperity and power on the 
other ; and that God should use me above forty years in so com- 
fortable a work as to plead and write for love, peace, and concord, 
and to vouchsafe me so much success therein as he hath done, not- 
withstanding the general prevalency of the contentious military 
tribe ! Mercy I have had in peace, and liberty in times of violence ; 
and mercy I have had in wars, living two years in safety in a city 
of defense, in the very midst of the land, (Coventry,) and seeing no 
enemy while the kingdom was in wars and flames ; and only hear- 
ing of the common calamities round about ; and when I went abroad 
and saw the effects of human folly and fury, and of God's displeas- 
ure, he mercifully kept me from hurting any one, and being hurt 
by any. How many a time hath he preserved me, by day and night, 






BAXTER'S DVINO THOUGHTS. 159 

in difficulties and dangers, from the malice of Satan, and from the 
wrath of man, and from accidents which threaten sudden death ! 
While I beheld the ruins of towns and countries, and the fields 
covered with the carcasses of the slain, I was preserved, and re- 
turned home in peace. And O, how great was the mercy he 
showed me, in a teachable, tractable, peaceable, humble, unani- 
mous people ! So many in number and so exemplary in quality ; 
who to this day keep their integrity and concord, when violence 
hath separated me from them above thirty years : yea, the like 
mercy of acceptance and success beyond my expectation, he hath 
showed me everywhere : I have had opportunity of free ministration ; 
even where there were many adversaries I have had an open door; 
in the midst of human wrath and rage he hath preserved my liber- 
ty beyond expectation, and continued my acceptance and success. 
When I might not speak by voice to any single congregation, he 
enabled me to speak by writing to many ; and for the success of 
my plainest and popular writings, which cost me least, I can never 
be sufficiently thankful; some of which he sent to preach abroad, 
in other languages, in foreign lands. When my mouth, with eigh- 
teen hundred or two thousand more, had been many years stop- 
ped, he hath since opened them in some degree ; and the suffer- 
ings intended us by men have been partly put by, and partly much 
alleviated, by his providence ; and the hardness of our terms hath 
not so much hindered the success of faithful labors as we feared, and 
as others hoped it would have done. I have had the comfort of 
seeing some peace and concord, and prosperity of truth and piety, 
kept up, under the utmost opposition of diabolical and human pow- 
er, policy, and wrath. When I have been sent to the common 
jail for my services and obedience to him, he hath there kept me 
in peace, and soon delivered me. He hath made the mouths of 
my greatest enemies, who have studied my defamation and my 
ruin, to become my witnesses and compurgators, and to cross their 
own designs. How wonderful is it that I should so long dwell in 
so much peace, in the midst of those that seemed to want neither 
power nor skill, and much less will, to tread me down into con- 
tempt and misery ! And O, how many a danger, fear and pain 
hath he delivered this frail and languishing body from ! How oft 
hath he succored me, when flesh, and heart, and art have failed ! 
He hath cured my consuming coughs, and, many a time, stayed my 
flowing blood : he hath eased my pained limbs, and supported a 
weary, macerated skeleton: he hath fetched me up from the jaws 
of death, and reversed the sentence which men have passed on me. 
How many thousand weary days have been sweetened with his 
pleasant work ; and how many thousand painful, weary nights have 
had a comfortable morning ! How many thousand strong and 






160 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

healthy persons have been taken away by death, whilst I have been 
upheld under all this weakness ! Many a time have I cried to the 
Lord in my trouble, and he hath delivered me out of my distress. 
I have had fifty years added to my days since I would have been 
full glad of Hezekiah's promise of fifteen. Since the day that I 
first preached his gospel,! expected not, of long time, to live above 
a year ; and I have lived since then fifty years. When my own 
prayers were cold and unbelieving, how many hundreds have 
prayed for me ! And what strange deliverances, encouraging fast- 
ing and prayer, have I oft had, upon their importunate requests ! 
My friends have been faithful, and the few that proved unfaithful 
have profitably taught me to place no confidence in man, and not 
to be inordinately affected to any thing on earth ; for I was for- 
saken by none of them, but those few that I excessively valued 
and overloved. My relations have been confortable to me, con- 
trary to my deserts, and much beyond my expectations. My 
servants have been faithful : my neighbors have been kind : my 
enemies have been impotent, harmless, or profitable : my superi- 
ors have honored me by their respectful words ; and while they 
have afflicted me, as supposing me a rernora to their designs, they 
have not destroyed but protected me. To my inferiors, God hath 
made me, in my low capacity, somewhat helpful. I have been 
protected in ordinary health and safety, when the raging pestilence 
came near my habitation, and consumed a hundred thousand citi- 
zens: rny dwelling hath been safe when I have seen the glory of 
the land in flames, and after beheld the dismal ruins. When vio- 
lence separated me from my too much beloved library, and drove 
me into a poor and smoky house, I never had more help of God, nor 
did more difficult work than there. What pleasant retirements and 
quietness in the country have been the fruits of persecuting wrath ! 
And I must not forget, when I had more public liberty, how he sav- 
ed rne and all my hearers, even by a wonder, from being buried in 
the ruins of the fabric where we were ; and others, from the calam- 
ities, scandal, and lamentations, which would else have followed ; 
and it is not a mercy to be extenuated, that when the tongues and 
pens of all sects among us, and of proud self-exalters, and of some 
worthy, pious, differing brethren, have been long and vehemently 
bent against me ; when my infamy hath been endeavored, by 
abundance of volumes, by the backbiting of angry dividers of all 
sorts, and by the calumniating accusations of some that were too 
high to be gainsayed, and would not endure me to answer them, 
and vindicate my innocency ; yet all these together were never 
able to fasten their accusations, and procure any common belief, 
nor to bring me under the designed contempt, much less to break 
my comforts, encouragements, or labors. 






BAXTER'S DYIN<; THOLGHTS. 161 

These, all these, and very many more than these, are my ex- 
periences of that wondrous mercy which hath measured my pilgrim- 
age, and filled up my days. Never did God break his promise 
with me ; never did he fail me, nor forsake me. Had 1 not pro- 
voked him by rash and willful sinning, how little interruption of 
my peace and comforts had I ever been likely to have had ! And 
shall I now distrust him at the last ? Shall I not trust, and quietly 
trust, that infinite wisdom, love, and power, whom I have so long 
trusted, and found so good ? 

Nature teacheth man to love best those animals that are tame and 
tractable ; that trust us and love us ; that will come to our hands, 
and love our company ; that will be familiar with us, and follow us, 
be it horse or dog, beasts or birds ; but those that are wild, and 
live in woods, and fly from the face of man, are taken to be the 
game and prey of any one that can catch and kill them. And 
shall my foolish soul thus wildly fly from the face of God ? Shall 
his children be like the fearful hare, or like a guilty Cain, or like 
an unbelieving Sadducee, that either believeth not, or hopeth not 
for the forgiveness of sin, and the life everlasting? Doth not 
the spirit of adoption incline us to love our Father's presence, and 
to be loath to be long from home ? To distrust all creatures, even 
thyself, is not unreasonable ; but to distrust God hath no just ex- 
cuse. Fly from sin, from Satan, from temptations, from the world, 
from sinful flesh and idol self; but fly not from him that is good- 
ness, love and joy itself. Fear thine enemy, but trust thy Father. 
If thy heart be reconciled to him and his service, by the Spirit, 
he is certainly reconciled to thee through Christ ; and if he be for 
thee, and justify and love thee, who shall be against thee, or con- 
demn thee, or separate thee from his love ? If thy unreconciled 
will do make thee doubt of his reconciliation, it is time to abhor 
and lay by thy enmity. Consent, and be sure that he consenteth. 
Be willing to be his, and in holiness to serve him, and to be united 
in joyful glory to him ; and then be sure that he is willing to ac- 
cept thee, and receive thee to that glory. O dark and sinful soul ! 
how little dost thou know thy friend, thyself, or God, if thou canst 
more easily and quietly trust thy life, thy soul, and hopes, to the 
will of thy friend, or of thyself, if thou hadst power, than to the 
will of God ! Every dog would be at home and with his master ; 
much more every ingenuous child with his father ; and though en- 
emies distrust us, wife and children will not do so, while they be- 
lieve us just. And hath God ever showed himself either unfaith- 
ful or unmerciful to me ? 

To thee, O Lord, as to a faithful Creator, I commit my soul ; 
1 Pet. iv. 19. I know that thou art the faithful God, who keepest 
covenant and mercy with them that love thee and keep thy com- 

VOL. II. 21 



BAXTERS DYING THOUGHTS. 

mandrnents ; Detit. vii. 9. Thou art faithful who hast called me 
to the communion of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord ; 1 Cor. i. 9. 
Thy faithfulness hath saved me in and from temptation ; (1 Cor. 
x. 13.) it hath stablished me, and kept me from prevailing evil; 
(2 Thess. iii. 3.) and it will kyep my spirit, soul and body to the 
coming of Christ; 1 Thess. v. 23, 24. It is in faithfulness that 
thou hast afflicted me ; (Psalm cxix. 75.) and shall I not trust 
thee, then, to save me? It is thy faithful word, that all thine elect 
shall obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory ; 
and if we be dead with him, shall live with him ; and if we suf- 
fer, we shall also reign with him ; 2 Tim. ii. 11, 12. 

To thee, O my Savior, I commit my soul : it is thine own by 
redemption : it is thine own by covenant : it is marked and sealed 
by thy Spirit as thine own, and thou hast promised not to lose it ; 
John vi. 39. Thou wast made like us thy brethren, that thou 
mightest be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining 
to God, to make reconciliation for our sins. By thy blood we have 
boldness to enter into the holiest, even by the new and living conse- 
crated way. Cause me to draw near with a sincere heart, in full as- 
surance of faith, by thee that art the High Priest over the house of 
God ; for he is faithful that has promised life through thee ; Heb. x. 
20 23. Thy name is faithful and true ; (Rev. xix. 11.) and faith- 
ful and true are all thy promises ; Rev. xxii. 6. and xxi. 5. Thou 
hast promised rest to weary souls that come to thee; Matt. xi. 28. 
2 Thess. i. 7. I am weary of suffering, and weary of sin ; weary of 
my flesh, and weary of my darkness, and dullness, and distance, 
and of this wicked, blind, unrighteous, and confounded world : and 
whither should I look for rest but home to my heavenly Father, 
and to thee? I am but a bruised reed, but thou wilt not break 
me. I am but a smoking flax, but thou wilt not quench what thy 
grace hath kindled ; but thou, in whose name the nations trust, 
wilt bring forth judgment unto victory; Matt. xii. 20, 21. The 
Lord redeemeth the souls of his servants, and none of them that 
trust in thee shall be desolate ; Psalm xxxiv. 22. Therefore will 
I wait on thy name, for it is good, and will trust in the mercy of 
God forever ; Psalm Iii. 8, 9. The Lord is good, a strong hold in 
the day of trouble, and he knoweth them that trust in him ; Na- 
hum i. 7. Sinful fear is a snare ; but he that putteth his trust in 
the Lord shall be set on high ; Prov. xxix. 25. Blessed is the 
man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, 
and such as turn aside to lies ; Psalm xl. 4. Thou art my hope, 

Lord God, thou art my trust from my youth. By thee have 

1 been holden up from the womb, and my praise shall be continu- 
ally of thee. Cast me not off now in the time of age. Forsake 
rae not when my strength faileth, O God, thou hast taught me 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. lt"3 

from my youth, and hitherto have I declared thy woudrous works. 
Now, also, when I am old and gray, O God, forsake me not ; 
Psalm xvii. 5, 6. 9. 17, IS. Leave not my soul destitute; for 
mine eyes are toward thee, and my trust is in thee : Psalm xiv. 
8. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the 
Lord in the land of the living ; even where they that live shall die 
no more. The sun may cease to shine on man, and the earth to 
bear us ; but God will never cease to be love, nor to be faithful in 
his promises. Blessed be the Lord, who hath commanded me so 
safe and quieting a duty as to trust him, and cast all my cares on 
him, as on one that has promised to care for me ! 

II. And blessed be God, who hath made it my duty to hope 
for his salvation. Hope is the ease, yea, the life of our hearts, that 
else would break, yea, die within us : despair is no small part of 
hell : God cherisheth hope, as he is the lover of souls. Satan, our 
enemy, cherisheth despair, when his way of blind presumption 
faileth. As fear is a foretaste of evil, before it is felt, so hope 
doth anticipate and foretaste salvation, before it is possessed. It is 
then worldly hypocrites' hope that perisheth ; for all that hope for 
true or durable happiness on the earth, in the pleasures of this per- 
ishing flesh, must needs be deceived. But happy is he who hath 
the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 
which made heaven and earth, which keepeth truth forever ; Psalm 
cxlvi. 5, 6. Woe to me, were my hope only in the time and mat- 
ters of this fleshly life ; (1 Cor. xv. 19.) but the righteous hath 
hope in his death ; (Prov. xiv. 32.) and hope maketh not asham- 
ed ; Rom. v. 5. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, 
whose hope the Lord is ; Jer. xvii. 7. Lay hold, then, O my soul, 
upon the hope which is set before thee ; (Heb. vi. 18.) it is thy 
firm and steadfast anchor; (ver. 19.) without it thou wilt be as a 
shipwrecked vessel. Thy foundation is sure ; it is God himself: 
our faith and hope are both in God ; 1 Pet. i. 21. It is Jesus our 
Lord, who is risen from the dead, and reigneth in glory, Lord of 
all ; 1 Tim. i. 1. Yea, it is the Christ, who, by faith, doth dwell 
within us, who is our hope of glory ; Eph. iii. 17. Col. i. 27. In 
this hope, which is better than the law that Moses gave, it is that 
we draw nigh to God ; (Heb. vii. 19.) it is the Holy Ghost, that 
is both our evidence, and the efficient of our hope ; Gal. v. 5. 
Rom. viii. 16. 23. By him we hope for that which we see not, 
and therefore wait in patience for it ; (ver. 24, 25.) by hope are 
we saved. It is an encouraging grace which will make us stir, 
when as despair doth kill endeavors ; it cureth sloth, and makes us 
diligent and constant to the end, and by this doth help us to full 
assurance ; Heb. vi. 11, 12. It is a desiring grace, and would fain 
obtain the glory hoped for. It is a quieting and comforting grace ; 



101 BAXTER'S nyixr; THOUOIITS. 

Rom. xv. 4. The God of hope doth fill us with joy and peace 
in believing, that we may abound in hope, through the power 
of the Holy Ghost; ver. 13. Shake off despondency, O my soul, 
and rejoice in hope of the glory of God ; Rom. v. 2. Believe 
in hope, though dying flesh would tell thee that it is against hope ; 
Rom. iv. 18. God, that cannot lie, hath confirmed his covenant 
by his immutable oath, that we might have strong consolation who 
are fled for refuge to the hope which is set before us ; Heb. vi. 18. 
What blessed preparations are made for our hope ; and shall we 
now let the tempter shake it, or discourage it ? The abundant 
mercy of God the Father hath begotten us again to a lively hope, 
by the resurrection of Christ, to an inheritance incorruptible, and 
undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us ; 
1 Pet. i. 3. Grace teacheth us to deny ungodliness, and worldly 
lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this world, as 
looking" for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the 
great God, and our Savior; Tit. ii. 12, 13. We are renewed by 
the Holy Ghost, and justified by grace, that we should be made 
heirs according to the hope of eternal life; Tit. iii. 6, 7. We are 
illuminated, that we may know the hope of Christ's calling, and 
what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints ; 
Eph. i. 18, 19. The hope that is laid up for us in heaven, is the 
chief doctrine of the gospel, which bringeth light and immortality 
into clearer light ; Col. i. 5. 2 Tim. i. 10. It is for this hope that 
we keep a conscience void of offense, and that God is served in 
the world ; (Acts xxiv. 15, 16. and xxvi. 7.) wherefore, gird up 
the loins of thy mind ; put on this helmet, the hope of salvation ; 
(1 Thess. v. 8.) and let not death seem to thee as it doth to them 
that have no hope; 1 Thess. iv. 13. The love of our Father, 
and our Savior, have given us everlasting consolation, and good 
hope through grace, to comfort our hearts, and establish them in 
every good word and work ; 2 Thess. ii. 16, 17. Keep, therefore, 
the rejoicing of hope firm to the end ; Heb. iii. 6. Continue 
grounded and settled in the faith, and be not moved away from the 
hope of the gospel ; Col. i. 23. 1 Pet. i. 13. And now, Lord, 
what wait I for ? my hope is in thee ; Psalm xxxix. 7. Uphold 
me according to thy word, that I may live ; and let me not be 
ashamed of my hope; Psalm cxix. 116. Though mine iniquities 
testify against me, yet, O thou that art the hope of Israel, the Sav- 
ior thereof in the time of trouble, be not as a stranger to my soul ; 
Jer. xiv. 7, 8. Thy name is called upon by me ; O forsake me 
not ; ver. 9. Why have our eyes beheld thy wonders, and why 
have we had thy covenant, and thy mercies, but that we might set 
our hope in God ? Psalm Ixxviii. 5, 7. Remember the word to 
thy son ant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope ; Psalm cxix. 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHT-. 165 

49. If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquity. O Lord, who should 
stand ? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be 
feared. 1 wait for the Lord ; my soul doth wait, and in his word 
do 1 hope : J will hope in the Lord, for with him there is mercy 
and plenteous redemption ; Psalm cxxx. 3 5. 7. For he taketh 
pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy ; 
Psalm cxlvii. 11. Though flesh and heart fail, the Lord is the 
rock of my heart : he is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will 
I hope in him. The Lord is good to them that wait for him ; to 
the soul that seeketh him. It is good that I should both hope, and 
quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for me that 
1 have borne the yoke in my youth, and that I keep silence, and 
put my mouth in the dust, as if so be there may be hope ; Psalm 
Ixxiii. 26. Lam. iii. 2427. 29. 

God need not flatter such worms as we, nor promise us that which 
he never meaneth to perform. He hath laid the rudiments olour 
hope, in a nature capable of desiring, seeking, and thinking of an- 
other life : he hath called me by grace to actual desires and en- 
deavors ; and some foretaste he hath vouchsafed. I look for no 
heaven, but the perfection of divine life, light, and love, in endless 
glory with Christ and his holy ones. And this he hath begun in 
me already ; and shall I not boldly hope, when I have the capacity, 
the promise, and the earnest and foretaste ? Is it not God himself 
that has caused me to hope ? Was not nature, promise, and grace 
from him ? And can a soul miscarry, and be deceived, that de- 
parteth hence in a hope of God's own causing, and encouraging ? 
Lord, I have lived in hope, I have prayed in hope, I have labored, 
suffered, and waited in hope; and, by thy grace, I will die in hope. 
And is not this according. to thy word and will? And wilt thou 
cast away a soul that hopeth in thee, by thine own command and 
operation ? Had wealth and honor, or continuance on earth, or the 
favor of man, been my reward and hope, my hope and I had died 
together. Were this our best, how vain were man ! But the 
Lord liveth, and my Redeemer is glorified, and intercedeth for 
me ; and the same Spirit is in heaven, who is in my heart, (as the 
same sun is in the firmament which is in my house,) and the prom- 
ise is sure to all Christ's seed. And millions are now in heaven, 
that once did live and die in hope ; they were sinners once, as now 
I am ; they had no other Savior, no other Sanotifier, no other 
promise than I now have; confessing that thev were strangers here, 
they looked for a better country, and for a city that had founda- 
tions, even a heavenly, where now they are : and shall I not fol- 
low them in hope that have sped so well? Hope, then, O my 
soul, unto the end; 1 Pet. i. 13. From henceforth, and forever, 
hope in the IxMtl ; Psalm cxxxi. 13. I will hope continually, and 

"* : 



166 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

will yet praise thee more and more ; my mouth sliall show forth 
thy righteousness and salvation ; Psalm Ixxi. 14, 15. The Lord is 
at my right hand; I shall not be moved. My heart, therefore, is 
glad, and my glory rejoiceth ; my flesh also shall dwell confident- 
ly, and rest in hope ; for God hath showed me the path of life : 
in his presence is fullness of joy, and at his right hand are pleasures 
for evermore ; Psalm xvi. 81 1 . 

III. What then remaineth, O my soul, but that, in trust and 
hope, thou love thy God, thy Savior, thy Comforter, the glorious 
society, thy own perfection in glorious, endless, heavenly life, and 
light, and love, and the joyful praises of Jehovah, better than this 
burden of painful and corruptible flesh, and this howling wilder- 
ness, the habitation of serpents and untamed brutes, where unbe- 
lief and murmuring, lust and folly, injustice and uncharitableness, 
tyranny and divisions, pride and contention, have long provoked 
God? and wearied thee ! Where the vintage and harvest is thorns 
and thistles, sin and sorrows, cares and crosses, manured by mani- 
fold temptation. How odious is that darkness and unbelief, that 
unholiness and disaffection, that deadness and stupidity, which 
nuaketh such a work as this, so reasonable, necessary, and pleasant 
a work, to seem unsuitable or hard ? It is unsuitable or hard to 
the eye to see the sun and light ; or by it to see the beautiful 
world? or for a man to love his life or health, his father, or his 
friend ? What should be easier to a nature that hath rational love, 
than to love him that is essential love itself? He that loveth all, 
and giveth to all the loving faculty, should be loved by all ; and he 
that hath specially loved me, should be specially loved by me. 

Love is the perfection of all thy preparations. It desireth to 
please God, and therefore to be in the most pleasing state, and 
freed from all that is displeasing to him, which is not to be hoped 
for on earth. It desireth all suitable nearness, acquaintance, union, 
and communion. It is weary of distance, estrangedness, and alien 
society and affairs. It taketh advantage of every notice, intima- 
tion, or mention of God, to renew and exercise these desires. Ev- 
ery message and mercy from him is fuel for love, and, while we 
are short of perfection, stir up our desires after more. When love 
tasteth of the grapes, it would have the vine. When it tasteth of 
the fruits, it would dwell where they grow, and possess the land. 
Its thoughts of proximity and fruition are sweet ; no other person 
or thing can satisfy it. The soul is where it loveth. If our 
friend dwell in our hearts by love, and if fleshly pleasure, riches, 
and honor, do dwell in the heart of the voluptuous, the covetous, 
and the proud, surely God and our Redeemer, the heavenly socie- 
ty, holiness, and glory, do dwell in the heart which loveth them 
with a fervent love. And if heaven dwell in my heart, shall I not 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 167 

desire to dwell in heaven ? Light and light, fire and fire, are not 
more inclined to union than love and love ; gracious love and glo- 
rious love. Would divine, original, universal love communicate 
and pour out itself more plentifully upon my heart, how easy would 
it be to leave this flesh and world, and to hear the sentence of my 
departure to my God ! Death and the grave would be but a tri- 
umph for victorious love. It would be easier to die in peace and 
joy, than to rest at night, or to come home from my travel to my 
beloved friends, or to go, when I am hungry, to a feast. A little 
love hath made me study willingly, and preach willingly, and 
write willingly, yea, and suffer somewhat willingly ; and would not 
more make me go more willingly to God ? Shall the imagination 
of house, gardens, walks, libraries, prospects, meadows, orchards, 
hills, and rivers, allure the desires of deceived minds? And shall 
not the thoughts of the heavenly mansions, society, and delights, 
much more allure and draw up my desires ? The reading of a 
known fiction of a Civitas SoHs, an Utopia, an Atalantis, &.C., 
hath pleased many ; but if I did believingly hear of such a country 
in the world, where men did never die, nor were sick, or weak, or 
sad ; where the prince was perfectly just and pious, wise and 
peaceable, devoted to God and the public good ; and the teachers 
were all wise, judicious men, of universal certain knowledge, per- 
fectly acquainted with the matter and method of natural and theo- 
logical truths, and all their duty, and all of one mind, and of one 
heart, and tongue and practice, loving each other, and the people 
as themselves, and leading the flocks heavenward, through all 
temptations, with triumphant hopes and joy ; where all the people 
perfectly obeyed God, their commanders, and their teachers, and 
lived in perfect love, unity, and peace, and were daily employed 
in the joyful praises of God, and hopes of glory, and in doing all 
possible good to one another, contending with none through igno- 
rance, uncharitableness, or pride, nor ever reproaching, injuring, or 
hurting one another, &tc. I say, if I knew or heard of such a coun- 
try, should I not love it before I ever see it, and earnestly desire to 
be there ? Nay, do I over-love this distracted world, where tyran- 
ny sheddeth streams of blood, and layeth desolate cities and coun- 
tries, and exposeth the miserable inhabitants to lamentable dis- 
tress and famine ; where the same tyranny sets up the wicked, re- 
proacheth and oppresseth the just and innocent, keepeth out the 
gospel, and keepeth up idolatry, infidelity, and wickedness, in the 
far greatest part of all the earth ; where Satan chooseth pastors too 
often for the churches of Christ, even such as by ignorance, pride, 
sensuality, worldliness, and malignity, become thorns and thistles, 
yea, devouring wolves, to those whom they should feed and com- 
fort ; where no two persons are in all things of a mind ; where evil 



168 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

is commended, and truth and goodness accused and oppressed, be- 
cause men's minds are unacquainted with them, or unsuitable to 
them. And those that are the greatest pretenders to truth do most 
eagerly contend against it, and oppose it ; and almost all the 
world are scolding or scuffling in the dark ; and where there ap- 
peareth but little hopes of a remedy, I say, can I love such a world 
as this? And shall I not think more delightfully of the inheritance 
of the saints in light, and the uniting love and joyful praises of the 
church triumphant, and the heavenly choir? 

Should I not Ipve a lovely 'and a loving world much better than 
a world where there is, comparatively, so little loveliness or love ? 
All that is of God is good and lovely ; but it is not here that his 
glory shineth in felicitating splendor. I am taught to look upward 
when I pray, and to say, " Our Father, which art in heavem" 
God's works are amiable, even in hell ; and yet, though I would 
know them, I would not be there. And, alas ! how much of the 
works of man are mixed here with the works of God ! Here is 
God's wisdom manifest ; but here is man's obstinate folly. Here 
is God's government ; but here is man's tyranny and unruliness. 
Here is God's love and mercies ; but here are men's malice, wrath 
and cruelty ; by which they are worse to one another than wolves 
and tigers, depopulating countries, and filling the world with blood- 
shed, famine, misery, and lamentations ; proud tyrants being worse 
than raging plagues, which made David choose the pestilence be- 
fore his enemies' pursuit. Here is much of God's beauteous order 
and harmony ; but here is also much of man's madness, deformity, 
and confusion. Here is much historical truth, and some eccle- 
siastical justice ; but, alas ! with how much odious falsehood and 
injustice is it mixed ? Here is much precious theological verity ; 
but how dark is much of it to such blind, and negligent, and cor- 
rupted minds as every where abound ! Here are wise, judicious 
teachers and companions to be found ; but, alas ! how few, in com- 
parison of the most ; and how hardly known by those that need 
them ! Here are sound and orthodox ministers of Christ ; but how 
few that most need them know which are they, and how to value 
them or use them ! And how many thousands of seduced or sen- 
sual sinners are made to believe that they are but deceivers, or, 
as they called Paul, pestilent fellows, and movers of sedition 
among the people ! And in how many parts of the world are they 
as the prophets that Obadiah hid in caves, or as Micaiah, or Elias 
among the lying prophets, or the Baalites ! though such as of 
whom the world is not worthy. And is that world, then, more 
worthy of our love than heaven? There are worthy and religious 
families which honor God, and are honored by him ; but, alas ! 
how few ! and usually by the temptations of wealth, and worldly 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. , J69 

interest, how full even of the sins of Sodom, pride, fullness of 
bread, and abundance of idleness, if not also unmercifulness to the 
poor! And how are they tempted to plead for their sins and 
snares, and account it rustic ignorance which contradicted i them ! 
And how few pious families are there of the greater sort, that do 
not quickly degenerate ; and posterity, by false religion, error or 
sensuality, grow most contrary to the minds of their pious progeni- 
tors. There are many that educate their children wisely in the 
fear of God, and have, accordingly, comfort in them ; but how 
many are there, that, having devoted them in baptism to God, do 
train them up in the service of the flesh, the world and the devil, 
which they renounced, and never understood, or at least intended, 
for themselves or children, what they did profess ! How many 
parents think that when they offer their children to God in bap- 
tism, without a sober and due consideration of the nature and 
meaning of that great covenant with God, that God must accept 
and certainly regenerate and save them ! Yea, too many religious 
parents forget that they themselves are sponsors in that covenant, 
and undertake to use the means, on their part, to make their chil- 
dren fit for the grace of the Son, and the communion of the Spirit, 
as they grow up, and think that God should absolutely sanctify, 
keep, and save them at age, because they are theirs, and were 
baptized, though they keep them not from great and unnecessary 
temptations, nor teach them plainly and seriously the meaning of 
the covenant which was made for them with God, as to the nature, 
benefits or conditions of it. How many send them to others to be 
taught in grammar, logic, philosophy, or arts, yea, and divinity, 
before their own parents ever taught them what they did with God 
in baptism, what they received, and what they promised and 
vowed to do ! They send them to trades, or secular callings, or 
to travel in foreign lands, among a multitude of snares, among 
tempting company, and tempting baits, before ever at home they 
were instructed, armed, and settled against those temptations which 
they must needs encounter, and which, if they overcome them, 
they are undone. How ordinarily, when they have first neglected 
this great duty of their own, for their fortification, do they plead a 
necessity of thrusting them out on these temptations, though utterly 
unarmed, from some punctilio of honor, or conformity to the world, 
to avoid the contempt of worldly men, or to adorn their (yet 
naked) souls with some of the plumes or painted trifles, ceremo- 
nies, or compliments, which will never serve instead of heavenly 
wisdom, mortification, and the love of God and man ! As if they 
were like to learn that fear of God in a crowd of diverting and 
tempting company, baits, and business, which they never learned 
( nder the tea 'hinjj;. nurture, and daily oversight, of their religious 
vor,, ii. 22 



J70 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

parents, in a safer station ; or as if, for some little reason, they 
might send them as to sea without pilot or anchor, and think that 
God must save them from the waves ; or as if it were better to enter 
them into Satan's school, or army, and venture them upon the no- 
torious clanger of damnation, than to miss of preferment and 
wealth, or of the fashions and favor of the times; and then when 
they hear that they have forsaken God, and true religion, and 
given up themselves to lust and sensuality, and, perhaps, as ene- 
mies to God and good men, destroy, what their parents labored to 
build up, these parents wonder at God's judgments, and with broken 
hearts lament their infelicity, when it were better to lament their 
own misdoing, and it had been best of all to have lamented it. 

Thus families, churches, and kingdoms, run on to blindness, un- 
godliness, and confusion : self-undoing, and serving the malice of 
Satan for fleshly lust, is the too common employment of mankind : 
all is wise, and good, and sweet, which is prescribed us by God, 
in true nature, or supernatural revelation ; but folly, sin, and mis- 
ery, mistaking themselves to be wit, and honesty, and prosperity, 
and raging against that which nominally they pretend to and pro- 
fess, are the ordinary case and course of the most of men; and 
when we would plead them out of their deceit and misery, it is 
well if we are not tempted to imitate them, or be not partly in- 
fected with their disease, or at least reproached and oppressed as 
their enemies : such a Bedlam is most of the world become, where 
madness goeth for the only wisdom, and he is the bravest man that 
can sin and be damned with reputation and renown, and success- 
fully drive or draw the greatest number with him unto hell ; to 
which the world hath no small likeness, forsaking God, and being 
very much forsaken by him. 

This is the world which standeth in competition for my love, 
with the spiritual, blessed world : much of God's mercies and com- 
forts I have here had ; but their sweetness was their taste of divine 
love, and their tendency to heavenly perfection. What was the 
end and use of all the good that ever I saw. or that ever God did 
for my soul or body, but to teach me to love him, and long for 
more ? How many weaning experiences ; how many thousand 
bitter or contemning thoughts have I had of all the glory and 
pleasures of this world! How many thousand love tokens from 
God have called me to believe and taste his goodness ! Wherever 
1 go, and which w ; ay soever I look, I see vanity and vexation 
written upon all things in this world, so far as they stand in com- 
petition with God, and would be the end and portion of a fleshly 
mind ; and I see holiness to the Lord written upon every thing in 
this world, so far as it cleclareth God and leadeth me to him, as 
my ultimate end. God hath not for nothing engaged me in war 



IHX.TKKS UV1NL. TH.MUHTi. 



against lliis \vorltl, and commanded me to take and use it as mine 
enemy : the emptiness, dangerousness. and bitterness of the world, 
and the all-sufficiency, trustiness, and goodness of God, have been 
the sum of all the experiences of my life. And shall a worldly, 
backward heart overcome the teaching of nature, Scripture, the 
Spirit of grace, and all experience? Far be it from me ! 

But, O my God ! love is thy great and special gift : all good is 
from thee : but love is the godlike nature, life, and image : it is 
given us from the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and 
the quickening, illuminating, and sanctifying operation of the Holy 
Spirit : what can the earth return unto the sun, but its own reflect- 
ed beams, if those ? As, how far soever man is a medium in 
generation, nature, and that appetite which is the moving pondus 
in the child, is thy work ; so whatever is man's part in the mediate 
work of believing and repenting, (which yet is not done without 
thy Spirit and grace,) certainly it is the blessed Regenerator, 
which must make us new creatures, by giving us thy divine nature, 
holy love, which is the holy appetite and pondus of the soul. 
Come down, Lord, into this heart, for it cannot come up to thee. 
Can the plants for life, or the eye for light, go up unto the sun ? 
Dwell in me by the Spirit of love, and I shall dwell by love in 
thee. Reason is weak, and thoughts are various, and man will be 
a slippery, uncertain wight, if love be not his fixing principle, and 
do not incline his soul to thee : surely through thy grace I easily 
feel that I love thy word, I love thy image, I love thy work, and, 
O, how heartily do I love to love thee, and long to know and love 
thee more ! And if all things be of thee, and through thee, and 
to thee, surely this love to the beams of thy glory here on earth is 
eminently so ! It is thee, Lord, that it meaneth : to thee it look- 
eth : it is thee it serveth : for thee it mourns, and seeks, and groans : 
in thee it trusts ; and the hope, and peace, and comfort which sap- 
port me, are in thee. When I was a returning prodigal in rags, 
thou sawest me afar off, and didst meet me with thy embracing, 
feasting love ; and shall I doubt whether he that hath better 
clothed me, and dwelt within me, will entertain me with a feast of 
greater love in the heavenly mansions, the world of love ? 

The suitableness of things below to my fleshly nature, hath 
detained my affections too much on earth ; and shall not the suit- 
ableness of things above to my spiritual nature much more draw 
up my love to heaven ? There is the God whom I have sought 
and served : he is also here ; but veiled, and but little known : but 
there he shineth to heavenly spirits in heavenly glory. There is 
the Savior in whom I have believed : he hath also dwelt in flesh 
on earth ; but clothed in such meanness, and humbled to such a 
life and death, as was to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the 



BAXTKKS DYING THOUGHTS. 



Gentiles matter of reproach : but he shineth and reigneth now in 
glory, above the malice and contempt of sinners. And I shall 
there live because he liveth ; and in his light I shall have light. 
He loved me here with a redeeming, regenerating, and preserving 
love : but there he will love me with a perfecting, glorifying, joy- 
ful love. I had here some rays of heavenly light: but inter- 
positions caused eclipses and nights, yea, some long and winter 
nights: but there I shall dwell in the city of the sun, the city of 
God, the heavenly Jerusalem, where there is no night, eclipse, or 
darkness : there are the heavenly hosts, whose holy love, and 
joyful praises, I would fain be a partaker of! I have here had 
some of their loving assistance, but to me unseen, being above our 
fleshly way of converse ; but there I shall be with them, of the 
like nature, in the same orb, and of the same triumphant church 
and choir ! There are perfected souls gathered home to Christ : 
not, as here, striving, like Esau and Jacob in the womb ; nor yet 
as John when he leaped in the womb, because of his mother's joy ; 
nor as wrangling children, that are hardly kept in the same house 
in peace : not like the servants of Abraham and Lot, like Paul 
and Barnabas, like Epiphanius and Chrysostom, like Luther and 
Carolostadius, like Ridley and Hooper, or the many striving par- 
ties now among us ; nor like the disciples striving who should be 
the greatest : not like Noah's family in a wicked world, or Lot in 
a wicked city, or Abraham in an idolatrous land ; nor like Elijah 
left alone ; nor like those that wandered in sheep-skins and goat- 
skins, destitute, afflicted, and tormented, hid in dens and caves of 
the earth : not like Job on the dunghill ; nor like Lazarus at the 
rich man's door : not like the African bishops, whose tongues were 
cut out ; nor like the preachers silenced by Popish imposers ; (in 
Germany by the interim, or elsewhere ;) nor like such as Tze- 
gedine, Peucer, and many other worthy men, whose maturest age 
was spent in prisons : not as we poor bewildered sinners, feeling 
evil, and fearing more, confounded in folly and mad contention, 
some hating the only way of peace, and others groping for it in 
the dark, wandering and lost in the clearest light, where the illu- 
minated can but pity the blind, but cannot make them willing to 
be delivered. What is heaven to me, but God ? God, who is 
life, and light, and love, communicating himself to blessed spirits, 
perfecting them in the reception, possession, and exercise of life, 
and light, and love, forever. These are not the accidents, but 
the essence of that God who is heaven and all to me. Should I 
fear that death which passeth me to infinite, essential life ? Should 
I fear a darksome passage into a world of perfect light ? Should I 
fear to go to love itself? Think, O my soul, what the sun's 
quickening light and heat is to this lower, corporeal world ? Much 



ivix<, tHWfinTs. 17'i 

more is God, even infinite life, and light, and love, to the blessed 
world above. Doth it not draw out thy desires to think of going 
into a world of love ? When love will be our region, our company, 
our life ; more to us than the air is for our breath, than the light 
is for our sight, than our food is for our life, than our friends are 
for our solace ; and more to us than we are to ourselves. O ex- 
cellent grace of faith which doth foresee, and blessed word of faith 
that doth foreshow, this world of love ! Shall I fear to enter where 
there is no wrath, no fear, no strangeness, nor suspicion, nor selfish 
separation, but love will make every holy spirit as dear and lovely 
to rne as myself, and me to them as lovely as themselves, and 
God to us all more amiable than ourselves and all ; where love 
will have no defects or distances, no damps or discouragements, 
no discontinuance or mixed disaffection ; but as life will be without 
death, and light without darkness, (a perfect, everlasting day of 
glory,) so will love be without any hatred, unkindness, or allay. 
As many coals make one fire, and many candles conjoined make 
one light, so will many living spirits make one life, and many 
illuminated, glorious spirits, one light and glory, and many spirits, 
naturalized into love, will make one perfect love of God, and be 
loved as one by God forever ; for all the body of Christ is one : 
even here it is one in initial union of the Spirit, and relation to 
one God, and Head, and Life, (1 Cor. xii. throughout ; Eph. iv. 
1 17.) and shall be presented as beloved and spotless to God, 
when the great marriage day of the Lamb shall come ; Eph. v. 
24, 25, &c. Rev. Ixxi. and xxii. 

Hadst thou not given me, O Lord, the life of nature, I should 
have had no conceptions of a glorious, everlasting life : but if thou 
give me not the life of grace, I shall have no sufficient delightful 
inclination and desire after it. Hadst thou not given none sight and 
reason, the light of nature, I should not have thought how desi- 
rable it is to live in the glorious light and vision ; but if thou give 
me not the spiritual illumination of a seeing faith, I shall not yet 
long for the glorious light, and beatific vision. Hadst thou not 
given me a will and love, which is part of my very nature itself, 
I could not have tasted how desirable it is to live in a world of 
universal, perfect, endless love: but unless thou also shed abroad 
thy love upon my heart, by the Spirit of Jesus, the great medium 
of love, and turn my very nature or inclination into divine and 
holy love, I shall not long for the world of love. Appetite follow- 
eth nature : O ! give me not only the image and the art of god- 
liness ; the approaches towards it, nor only some forced or un- 
constant acts; but give me the divine nature, which is holy love, 
and then my soul will hasten towards thee, and cry, ' How long, 
O Lord, how long! O come, come quickly, make no delay.' 



174 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

Surely the fear of dying intimateth some contrary love that inclin- 
eth the soul another way ; and some shameful unbelief, and great 
unapprehensiveness of the attractive glory of the world of love ; 
otherwise no frozen person so lougeth for the fire, none in a dun- 
geon so desireth ligm, as we should long for the heavenly light 
and love. 

God's infinite, essential self-love, in which he is eternally de- 
lighted in himself, is the most amiable object, and heaven itself to 
saints and angels ; and next to that his love to all his works, to 
the world, and to the church in heaven, speaketh much more of 
his loveliness than his love to me. But yet due self-love in me 
is his work, and part of his natural image ; and when this by sin is 
grown up to excess, (through- the withdrawing of a contracted, 
narrow soul, from the union and due love to my fellow-creatures, 
and to God,) I must also, -I cannot but, inquire after God's love 
to me ; and by this my desires must be moved ; for I am not so 
capable of ascending above self-interest, and self-love, as in the 
state of glorious union I shall be. I am glad to perceive that 
others do love God ; and I love those most that I find most love 
him ; but it is not other men's love to God that will be accepted 
by him instead of mine ; nor is it God's love to others (which yet 
rejoiceth me) that will satisfy me, without his love to me. But 
when all these are still before me, God's essential self-love and 
delight, his love to his creatures, especially the glorified, and his 
love to me also, even to me, a vile, unworthy sinner ; what, then, 
should stay my ascending love, or discourage my desires to be 
with God ? 

And dost thou doubt, canst thou doubt, O my soul, whether 
thou art going to a God that loveth thee ? If the Jews discerned 
the great love of Christ to Lazarus by his tears, canst thou not 
discern his love to thee in his blood ? It is, nevertheless, but the 
more obliging and amiable that it was not shed for thee alone, 
but for many. May I not say as Paul, (Gal. ii. 20.) " I live by 
the faith of the Son of God, that hath loved me, and given himself 
for me." Yea, it is not so much I that live, as Christ liveth in 
me ; and will he forsake the habitation which his love hath chosen, 
and which he hath so dearly bought ? O, read often that tri- 
umphing chapter, Rom. viii., and conclude, " What shall separate 
us from the love of God ? " If life have not done it, death shall 
not do it. If leaning on his breast at meat was a token of Christ's 
special love to John, is not his dwelling in me by my faith, and 
his living in me by his Spirit, a sure token of his love to me ? And 
if a dark saying, " If he tarry till I come, what is that to thee ? " 
raised a report that the beloved disciple should not die, why should 
not plain promises assure me that I shall live with him that loveth 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 175 

me forever? Be not so unthankful, O my soul, as to question, 
doubtingly, whether thy heavenly Father, and thy Lord, doth 
love thee. Canst thou forget the sealed testimonies of it ? Did 
I not even now repeat so many as should shame my doubts ? A 
multitude of thy friends have loved thee so entirely, that thou 
canst not doubt of it ; and did any of them signify their love with 
the convincing evidence that God hath done ? Have they done 
for thee what he hath done ? Are they love itself? Is their love 
so full, so firm, and so unchangeable, as his? My thoughts of 
heaven are the sweeter, because abundance of my ancient, lovely, 
and loving holy friends are there ; and I am the willinger, by 
death, to follow them. And should I not think of it more pleas- 
edly because my God and Father, my Savior, and my Comforter, 
is there? And not alone, but with all the society of love. Was 
not Lazarus in the bosom of God himself? Yet it is said that he 
was in Abraham's bosom ; as the promise runs, that we shall sit 
down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God. 
And what maketh the society of the saints so sweet as holy love ? 
It is comfortable to read, that " to love the Lord our God with 
all our heart, and soul, and might," is the first and great command- 
ment ; and the second is like to it, " to love our neighbor as our- 
selves." For God's commands proceed from that will which is 
his nature, or essence, and they tend to the same as their objective 
end. Therefore, he that hath made love the great command, 
doth tell us that love is the great conception of his own essence, 
the spring of that command ; and that this commanded, imperfect 
love doth tend to perfect, heavenly love, even to our communion 
with essential, infinite love. It were strange, that the love and 
goodness which is equal to the power that made the world, and 
the wisdom that ordereth it, should be scant and backward to do 
good, and to be suspected more than the love of friends ! The re- 
membrance of the holiness, humility, love, and faithfulness, of my 
dearest friends of every rank, with whom I have conversed on 
earth, in every place where I have lived, is so sweet to me, that I 
am oft ready to recreate myself with the naming of such as are 
now with Christ. But in heaven they will love me better than 
they did on earth ; and my love to them will be more pleasant. 
But all these sparks are little to the sun. 

Every place that I have lived in was a place of divine love, 
which there set up its obliging monuments. Every year and hour 
of my life hath been a time of love ; every friend, and every neigh- 
bor, yea, every enemy, have been the messengers and instruments 
of love ; every state and change of my life, notwithstanding my 
sin, hath opened to me treasures and mysteries of love. And af- 
ter such a life of love, shall I doubt whether the same God do love 



176 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

me ? Is he the God of the mountains, and not of the valleys ? 
Did he love me in my youth and health, and doth he not love me 
in my age, and pain, and sickness? Did he love all the faithful 
hetter in their life than at their death ? If our hope be not chiefly 
in this life, neither is our state of love, which is principally the 
heavenly, endless grace. My groans grieve my friends, but abate 
not their love. Did he love me for my strength, my weakness 
might be my fear; as they that love for beauty loathe them that 
are deformed, and they that love for riches despise the poor. But 
God loved me when I was his enemy, to make me a friend, and 
when I was bad, to make me better. Whatever he taketh pleas- 
ure is in his own gift. Who made me to differ ? And what have 
I that I have not received ? And God will finish the work, the 
building, the warfare, that is his own. O, the multitude of mer- 
cies to my soul and body, in peace and war, in youth and age, to 
myself and friends, the many great and gracious deliverances which 
have testified to me the love of God ! Have I lived in the expe- 
rience of it, and shall I die in the doubts of it ? Had it been love 
only to-my body, it would have died with me, and not have ac- 
companied my departing soul. I am not much in doubt of the 
truth of my love to him ; though I have not seen him, save as in 
a glass, as in a glass seen I love him. I love my brethren whom 
I have seen, and those most that are most in love with him. I 
love his word, and works, and ways, and fain I would be nearer 
to him, and love him more ; and I loath myself for loving him no 
better. And shall Peter say more confidently, " Thou knowest 
that I love thee," than " I know that thou lovest me ? " Yes, he 
may ; because, though God's love is greater and steadfaster than 
ours, yet our knowledge of his great love is less than his knowledge 
of our little love ; and as we are defective in our own love, so are 
we in our certainty of its sincerity. And without the knowledge 
of our love to God, we can never be sure of his special love to us. 
But yet I am not utterly a stranger to myself; I know for what 1 
have lived and labored in the world, and who it is that I have desir- 
ed to please. The God whose I am, and whom I serve, hath loved 
me in my youth, and he will love me in my aged weakness. My 
flesh and my heart fail ; my pains seem grievous to the flesh ; but 
it is love that chooseth them, that useth them for my good, that 
moderateth them, and will shortly end them. Why, then, should 
I doubt of my Father's love? Shall pain or dying make me doubt? 
Did God love none from the beginning of the world but Enoch 
and Elias ? And what am I better than my forefathers ? What 
is in me that 1 should expect exemption from the common lot of 
mankind ? Is not a competent time of great mercy on earth, in 
order to the unseen felicity, all that the best of men can hope for ? 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 177 

O for a clearer, stronger faith, to show me the world that more ex- 
celleth this, than this excelleth the womb where I was conceived ! 
Then should I not fear my third birth-day, what pangs soever go 
before it ; nor be unwilling of my change. The grave, indeed, is 
a bed that nature doth abhor, yet there the weary be at rest. But 
.'ouls new born have a double nature that is immortal, and go to 
the place that is agreeable to their nature, even to the region of 
spirits, and the region of holy love. Even passive matter, that 
hath no other natural motion, hath a natural inclination to uniting, 
aggregative motion. And God maketh all natures suitable to their 
proper ends and use. How can it be that a spirit should not in- 
cline to be with spirits ? and souls that have the divine nature in 
holy love, desire to be with the God of love ? Arts, and sciences, 
and tongues, become not a nature to us ; else they would not cease 
at death. But holy love is our new nature, and, therefore, ceas- 
eth not with this bodily life. And shall accidental love make mo 
desire the company of a frail and mutable friend ? And shall not 
this engrafted, inseparable love make me long to be with Christ? 
Though the love of God to all his creatures will not prove that 
they are all immortal, nor oblige them to expect another life, that 
never had capacity or faculties to expect it ; yet his love to such 
as in nature and grace are made capable of it, doth warrant and 
oblige them to believe and hope for the full perfection of the work 
of love. Some comfort themselves in the love of St. Peter, as 
having the keys of heaven. And how many could I name that 
are now with Christ, who loved me so faithfully on earth, that, 
were I sure they had the keys and power of heaven, and were not 
changed in their love, I could put my departing soul into their 
hands, and die with joy ! And is it not better in the hand of my 
Redeemer, and the God of love, and Father of spirits ? Is any 
love comparable to his ; or any friend so boldly to be trusted ? I 
should take it for ungrateful unkindness in my friend to doubt of 
my love and trustiness, if I had given him all that he hath, and 
maintained him constantly by my kindness : but, O, how odious a 
thing is sin ! which, by destroying our love to God, doth make us 
unmeet to believe and sweetly perceive his love ; and by making 
us doubt of the love of God, and lose the pleasant relish of it, doth 
more increase our difficulty of loving him ! The title that the an- 
gel gave to Daniel, "A man greatly beloved of God," methinks 
should be enough to make one joyfully love and trust God, both in 
life and death. Will almighty love ever hurt me, or forsake me ? 
And have not all saints that title in their degrees ? What else sig- 
nifieth their mark and name, Holiness to the Lord ? What is it 
but our separation to God, as his peculiar, beloved people ? And 
how are they separated but by mutual love, and our forsaking all 
VOL. IT. 23 



178 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

that alienateth, or is contrary ? Let scorners deride us as self- 
flatterer?, that believe they are God's darlings ; and woe to the 
hypocrites that believe it on their false presumption ! Without 
such belief or grounded hopes, I see not how any man can die in 
true peace. He that is no otherwise beloved than hypocrites and 
unbelievers, must have his portion with them. And he that is no 
otherwise beloved than as the ungodly, unholy, and unregenerate, 
shall not stand in judgment, nor see God, nor enter into his king- 
dom. Most upright souls are to blame for groundless doubting of 
God's love ; but not for acknowledging it, rejoicing in it, and, in 
their doubts, being most solicitous to make it sure. Love brought 
me into the world, and furnished me with a thousand mercies. 
Love hath provided for me, delivered me, and preserved me, till 
now ; and will it not entertain my separated soul ? Is God like 
false or insufficient friends, that forsake us in adversity ? 

I confess that I have wronged love by sin ; by many and great 
'.inexcusable sins. But all, save Christ himself, were sinners, which 
love did purify, and receive to glory. God, who is rich in mercy, 
for the great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead 
in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ : by grace we are 
saved ; and hath raised us up together in heavenly places in Christ 
Jesus ; Eph. ii. 4 6. O that I could love much, that have so 
much forgiven ! The glorified praise him who loved us, and wash- 
ed us from our sins in his own blood, and made us kings and priests 
to God ; Rev. i. 5, 6. Our Father, that hath loved us, giveth us 
consolation and good hope, through grace ; 2 Thess ii. 16. I 
know no sin which I repent not of with self-loathing; and I ear- 
nestly beg and labor that none of my sins may be to me unknown. 
I dare not justify even what is any way uncertain ; though I dare 
not call all that my sin which siding men, of different judgments, 
on each side, passionately call so. While both sides do it on con- 
trary accounts, and not to go contrary ways, is a crime. O that 
God would bless my accusations to my illumination, that I may 
not be unknown to myself! Though some think me much better 
than I am, and others much worse, it most concerneth me to know 
the truth myself; flattery would be more dangerous to me than 
false accusations. I may safelier be ignorant of other men's sins 
than of my own. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me, 
Ijord, from secret sins, and let not ignorance or error keep me in 
impenitence ; and keep thou me back from presumptuous sins ; 
Psalm xix. 12, 13. I have an advocate with the Father, and thy 
promise, that he that confessed! and forsaketh his sins shall have 
mercy. Those are, by some men, taken for my greatest sins, 
which my most serious thoughts did judge to be the greatest of 
my outward duties, and which I performed through the greatest 



difficulties, ami which cost me dearest to the fle.sli, an- 1 ill.- 
est self-denial and patience in my reluctant mind. Wherever I 
have erred, Lord, make it known to me, that rny confession may 
prevent the sin of others ; and where I have not erred, confirm 
and accept me in the right. 

And, seeing an unworthy worm hath had so many testimonies of 
thy tender love, let me not be like to them, that, when thou saidst, 
' I loved you,' unthankfully asked, ' Wherein hast thou loved us ? ' 
Mai. i. 2. Heaven is not more spangled with stars than thy word 
and works with the refulgent signatures of love. Thy well-belov- 
ed Son, the Son of thy love, undertaking the office, message, and 
work of the greatest love, was full of that Spirit which is love, 
which he sheds abroad in the hearts of thine elect, that the love 
of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the communion of the 
Spirit, may be their hope and life. His works, his sufferings, his 
gifts, as well as his comfortable word, did say to his disciples, " As 
the Father loved me, so have I loved you ; continue ye in my 
love ; " John xv. 9. And how, Lord, shall we continue in it, but 
by the thankful belief of thy love and loveliness, desiring still to 
love thee more, and in all things to know and please thy will ; 
which thou knowest is my soul's desire. 

Behold, then, O my soul, with what love the Father, Son, and 
Holy Spirit have loved thee, that thou shouldest be made and called 
a son of God, redeemed, regenerate, adopted into that covenant 
state of grace in which thou standest. " Rejoice, therefore, in 
hope of the glory of God, being justified by faith, having peace 
with God, and access, by faith and hope, that maketh not ashamed ; 
that, being reconciled, when an enemy, by the death of Christ, I 
shall be saved by his life ; " Rom. v. 1, 2. Having loved his own, 
to the end he loveth them, and without end. His gifts and calling 
are without repentance. When Satan, and thy flesh, would hide 
God's love, look to Christ, and read the golden words of love in 
the sacred gospel ; and peruse thy many recorded experiences, 
and remember the convictions which secret and open mercies have 
many a time afforded thee. But especially draw nearer to the 
Lord of love, and be not seldom and slight in thy contemplations 
of his love and loveliness ; dwell in the sunshine, and thou wilt 
know that it is light, and warm, and comfortable. Distance and 
strangeness cherish thy doubts ; acquaint thyself with him, and be 
at peace. 

Yet look up, and oft and earnestly look up, after thy ascended, 
glorified Head, who said, " Tell my brethren I ascend to my Fa- 
ther and your Father, to my God and your God." Think where 
and what he is, and what he is now doing for all his own ; and 
how humbled, abased, suffering love is now triumphant, regnant, 



180 BAXTER'S I>YING THOUGHTS. 

glorified love ; and therefore no less than in all its tender expres- 
sions upon earth. As love is no where perfectly believed but in 
heaven, so I can no where so fully discern it, as by looking up by 
faith to my Father and Savior, which is in heaven, and conversing 
more believingly with the heavenly society. Had I done this 
more and better, and as I have persuaded others to do it, I had 
lived in more convincing delights of God's love, which would have 
turned the fears of death into more joyful hopes, and more earnest 
desires to be with Christ, in the arms, in the world, in the life 
of love, as far better than to be here, in a dark, a doubting, fear- 
ing world. 

But. O Father of infinite love ! though my arguments be many 
and strong, my heart is bad, and my strength is weakness, and I 
am insufficient to plead the cause of thy love and loveliness to 
myself or others. O, plead thy own cause, and what heart can 
resist ? Let it not be my word, only, but thine, that thou lovest 
me, even me, a sinner : speak it as Christ said to Lazarus, " Arise." 
If not, as thou tellest me that the sun is warm, yet as thou hast 
told me that my parents and my dearest friends did love me, and 
much more powerfully than so. Tell it me, as thou tellest me 
that thou hast given me life,, by the consciousness and works of 
life ; that while I can say, " Thou that knowest all things, know- 
est that I love thee ; " it may include, ' Therefore I know that I 
am beloved of thee ; ' and therefore come to thee in the confidence 
of thy love, and long to be nearer in the clearer sight, the fuller 
sense, and joyfuller exercise of love forever. Father, into thy 
hand I commend my spirit. Lord Jesus, receive my spirit ! 
Amen. 



AN 



APPENDIX. 

A BREVIATE OF THE HELPS OF FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE. 

A BREVIATE OF THE PROOF OF SUPERNATURAL REVE- 
LATION, AND THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY. 



1 TIMOTHY iii. 16. 

WITHOUT CONTROVERSY, GREAT 13 THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS : 
GOD WAS MANIFESTED IN THE FLESH, JUSTIFIED IN THE SPIRIT, 
SEEN OF ANGELS, PREACHED TO THE GENTILES, BELIEVED ON 
IN THE WORLD, RECEIVED UP INTO GLORY. 

THESE are the creed, or six articles of the gospel, which the 
apostles preached. 

7. God, manifested in the flesh of Jesus, is the first and great 
article. Believe this, and believe all. No wonder that believing 
Jesus Christ is the Son of God is so often made in Scripture the 
description of saving faith, the title to baptism, and pardon, and sal- 
vation, the evidence of the Spirit, &tc. He that truly and practi- 
cally belie veth that God came in flesh to man, and that Christ is 
the Father's messenger from heaven, must needs believe that God 
hath a great value for the souls of men, and for his church, that he 
despiseth not even our flesh ; that his word is true, and fully to be 
trusted ; that he who so wonderfully came to man, will certainly 
take up man to him. Who can doubt of the immortality of souls, 
or that Christ will receive the departing souls of the faithful to 
himself, who believeth that he took man's nature, and hath glori- 
fied it now in heaven, in union with the divine ? Who can ever 
have low thoughts of God's love and mercy who believeth this ? 
and who can prostitute his soul and flesh to wickedness, who firmly 
believeth that he took the soul and flesh of man to sanctify and 
glorify it ? 

//. The Holy Spirit is the justification of the truth of Jesus 
Christ. He is Christ's advocate and witness to the world. He 



182 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

proveth the gospel by these five ways of evidence: 1. By all ti.u 
prophecies, types, and promises of Christ in the Old Testament, be- 
fore Christ's coming. 2. By the inherent impress of God's image 
on the person and doctrine of Christ; which ,propria luce, showeth 
itself to be divine. 3. By the concomitant miracles of Christ : 
read the history of the gospel for this use, and observe each histo- 
ry. 4. By the subsequent gift of the Spirit to the apostles and 
other Christians, by languages, wonders, and multitudes of miracles, 
to convince the world. 5. By the undeniable and excellent work of 
sanctification on all true believers through all the world, in all gene- 
rations, to this day. These five are the Spirit's witness, which 
fully testifieth the certain truth that Jesus Christ is tbe Son of 
God. 

Quest. But how are we sure, who, ourselves, never saw the per- 
son, miracles, resurrection, ascension of Christ, that the history of 
them is true ? 

Ans. I. We may be sure that the spectators were not deceived. 

II. And that they did not deceive them to whom they reported it. 

III. And that we are not deceived by any miscarriage in the 
historical tradition to us. 

1. It was not possible that men that were not mad, that had eyes 
and ears, could, for three years and a half, believe that they saw 
the lame, the blind, the deaf, and all diseases, healed, the dead rais- 
ed, thousands miraculously fed, &c., and this among crowds of 
people that still followed Christ, if the things had not been true. 
One man's senses may be deceived at some one instance, by some 
deceitful accident ; but that the eyes and ears of multitudes should 
be so oft deceived, many years, in the open light, is as much as to 
say, no man knoweth any thing that he seeth and heareth. 

II. That the disciples. who received the apostles' and evange- 
lists' report of Christ, were not deceived by the reporters, is most 
evident. 

For, 1. They received it not by hearsay, at the second hand, 
but from the eye and ear witnesses themselves, who must needs 
know what they said. 

2. They heard this report from men of the same time, and age, 
and country, where it was easy to examine the case, and confute 
it, had it been false. 

3. The apostles appealed to crowds and thousands of witnesses 
as to many of Christ's miracles, who would have made it odious, 
had it not been true. 

4. They sharply reproved the rulers for persecuting Christ, 
which would provoke them to do their best to confute the apostles 
for their own justification. 

5. Christ chose men of no great human learning and subtlety ; 



APPENDIX. 183 

but common, plain, unlearned men. that it might not be thought a 
deceit of art. 

6. Yea, he did not make much more known to them before his 
death, than the bare matters of fact which they daily saw, and 
that he was the Christ, and moral doctrine : his death, resur- 
rection, ascension, and kingdom of heaven, they knew little of be- 
fore ; but experience, and the sudden coming down of the Spirit, 
suddenly taught them all the rest. 

7. They taught not one another, but were every one personally 
taught of God. 

8. And yet they all agreed in the same doctrine when they 
were dispersed over the world, and never differed in any one 
article of faith. 

9. They were men that had no worldly interest, wealth, or do- 
minion to seek. 

10. Yea, they renounced and denied all worldly interest, and 
sealed their testimony by their sufferings and blood ; and all in hope 
of a heavenly reward, which they knew that lying was no means 
to obtain. 

1 1 . Had they plotted to cheat the world for nothing, the sin is 
so heinous that some one of them would have repented and confess- 
ed it, at least at death; which none of them did, but died joyfuj- 
ly, as for the truth. 

1 2. Paul was converted by a voice and light from heaven, in 
the presence of those that traveled with him, in his persecuting 
design. 

13. But yet it is a fuller evidence, that the doctrine which they 
delivered, as from God, beareth a divine impress ; that, as the light, 
it is its own evidence. 

14. And for the more infallible conviction, they that testified of 
Christ's miracles, did the like themselves to confirm their testimony. 
They spake with tongues which they never learned ; they healed 
all diseases ; even the shadow of Peter, and the clothes that came 
from Paul, did heal men ; they raised the dead ; and they that in 
all countries converted the nations by their own miracles, attesting 
the miracles and resurrection of Christ, must needs compel the 
spectators to believe them. 

15. Yet, more than all this, those that believed them were pres- 
ently enabled to do the like, in one kind and degree or other. The 
same extraordinary gift of the Spirit fell upon the common multi- 
tude of believers, by the laying on of the apostles' hands ; so that 
Simon Magus would fain have bought that power with money. 
And when men witnessed Christ's miracles, and wrought the like 
themselves, and those that believed them had and did the like, 



184 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

either healing, tongues, prophecy, or some wonder, it was, sure, an 
infallible way of testifying. 

16. When wrangling heretics quarreled with the apostles, and 
would draw away disciples to themselves, by disparaging them, 
they still appealed to the miracles wrought by these disciples them- 
selves, or in their sight ; as Gal. iii. 1, 2, 3. 5. And as Christ, 
when the Jews said he did all by Beelzebub, when he cast out 
devils, asked them, "By whom do your children cast them out?" 
which, had it been false, would have turned all the people from 
them. 

17. Their adversaries were so far from writing any confutation 
of their testimony, that they confessed the miracles, and had no 
shift, but either to blaspheme the Holy Ghost, and say that they 
were done by the devil, or else, by persecution and violence, to 
oppress them. As if the devil were master of the world, and 
could remedilessly deceive it against God's will ; or God himself 
would send or suffer a full course of miracles remedilessly to deceive 
the world, which is to make God like the devil ; or as if the devil 
were so good as, by miracles, to promote so holy, and amiable, 
and just a doctrine, as that of Christianity, to make men wise, and 
good, and just, and kill their sin ; so that this blasphemy of the 
Holy Ghost makes Satan to be God, or God. to be Satan. 

18. All the cruelty, powers, learning, and policy of their ad- 
versaries was not able to stop the progress of this testimony, much 
less to prevail against it. 

III. It is then most certain, that the first witnesses were not de- 
ceived by Christ, nor believers after deceived by them. The 
next question is, whether we be not deceived by a false historical 
tradition of these things. Had we seen them all ourselves, we 
must needs have believed ; but at this distance we know not what 
misreports may intervene. What eyesight and hearing was to 
them, that tradition is to us. Now the question is, Is it certainly 
the very same fact and doctrine which they received, and which 
we receive ? 

And here let it be premised, that there is no other way of assur- 
ance, than that which God hath afforded us, that the reason of man 
could have desired. 

1. If we would see God, and heaven, and hell, this is not away 
suitable to the state of probationers that live in flesh on earth. 
Angels live by vision, and fruition of glory ; and brutes, by sense, 
on sensible beings ; but reasonable travelers must live by reason, 
and by believing certain revelation. 

2. If God will send his Son from heaven to ascertain us, and 
we will believe no more than we see ourselves, then Christ must 






APPENDIX. 185 

dwell on earth, to the end of the world, and he must be in all 
places of the earth at once, that all may see ; and he must die and 
rise again before all men in all ages ; and how mad an expectation 
is this ! 

3. Or if all that deliver us the history must work miracles before 
our eyes, or else we will not believe them, it is still most absurd. 
Will you not believe that the laws of the land are genuine, or that 
ever there were such kings as made them, unless he that tells it you 
work miracles ? Shall not children believe their parents, or schol- 
ars their tutors, unless they work miracles ? 

4. I must premise that there are three sorts of tradition, i. Such 
as depends on the common wit and honesty of mankind. And 
this is very much to be suspected, wickedness, folly, and lying be- 
ing grown so common in the world. 

ii. Such as depends on the extraordinary skill and honesty of 
some proved men. And this deserveth much belief; but it is an 
uncertain human faith. 

iii. Such as depends on natural necessity, and cannot possibly 
be false. We have both these last to ascertain us of the gospel 
history. 

This resteth on a distinction of the acts of man's will : some of 
them are mutably free ; and these give no certainty : some of 
them are naturally and immutably necessary, and man can do no 
otherwise ; and these give even natural, infallible certainty. Such 
are to love one's self, to love felicity, to hate torment and misery, 
&.C., and to know that which is fully manifest to our sound 
senses, &;c. 

When men of contrary interests and temper all confess the truth 
of known things about which their interests stand cross, it is a 
physical evidence of truth. 

On this account men's agreement about natural notices is infal- 
lible. 

It seems strange that all the world, from Adam's time, are agreed 
which is the first, second, and third, &;c. day of the week, and not 
a day lost till now. It could be no otherwise, because, being a 
tnmg of natural interest and notice, if any kingdom had lost a day 
by oversleeping, or had agreed to falsify it, all the rest of the world 
would have shamed them. 

Thus all Grecians, Latins, Englishmen, &c., agree about the 
sense of words ; for if some would pervert them, the rest would 
detect it. 

Thus we are certain that the statutes of the land are not coun- 
terfeit. For men of cross interest hold their lands and lives by 
them ; and if some did counterfeit them, the rest would, by interest, 
be bound to protect it. 

VOL. ii. 24 



196 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

Arg. I . There can be no effect without an adequate cause ; 
but in nature there is no cause that can make all men agree to as- 
sert a known falsehood, or deny a known truth, against all their 
known interest ; therefore there can be no such effect. 

Arg. 2. A necessary cause will necessarily effect ; but where 
men's known interest obligetb them to agree of a known truth, this 
is a necessary cause of certain credibility ; therefore it hath a ne- 
cessary effect. 

You know who were your parents, and when and where you 
were born, &ic., by such tradition in a lower degree. This de- 
pendeth not on pretended authority, nor on mere honesty ; but on 
natural necessity. 

Having premised this, I come to prove, that we have such tra- 
dition of physical, infallible evidence, that the faith of the present 
church, in the essentials, is the same which the first churches re- 
ceived infallibly from the apostles. 

1. The world knoweth that ever since Christ's ascension, all 
that believed in him were baptized, as all Abraham's covenant 
seed were circumcised. And what is baptism, but a profession of 
belief in Jesus Christ, as dead, risen, and glorified ; and a devot- 
ing ourselves in covenant to God the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost ? All that ever were Christians by solemn vow professed 
this same faith ; and this is such a tradition of Christianity as hu- 
man generation, down from Adarn, is of the same humanity in the 
world. 

2. They that were baptized were catechised first ; in which the 
three articles of baptism were open to them ; of which Christ's 
death, resurrection, and ascension were part ; and this hath been 
an undeniable tradition of the same faith. 

3. The sum of the Christian faith was, from the beginning, 
drawn up in certain articles called the creed, which expounded the 
three baptismal articles ; and all churches on earth had the same 
in sense, and jnost in words ; and all at age that were baptized, 
professed this creed ; which is as full a tradition of the same belief 
in Christ's birth, death, 'and resurrection, ascension, and glory, as 
speaking is a tradition of the same human nature. 

4. Before Christ's ascension, he instituted the office of the sa- 
cred ministry, which, friends and foes confess, hath continued ever 
since. And what is this ministry, but an office of publishing the 
gospel of Christ, his life, death, miracles, resurrection, grace, &c. ? 
What else have they done in all ages in the world ? so that the of- 
fice is an undeniable tradition. 

5. Christ and his apostles instituted the weekly celebration of 
the remembrance of his resurrection on the Lord's days : friends 
and foes confess the history, that the first day of the week 



lft'7 

hath been kept for such memorial ever siuce, torough all tlia 
Christian part of the world, which proveth the uninterrupted belief 
of Christ's resurrection, as a notorious, practical tradition. 

6. Christ and his apostles, ever since his resurrection, instituted 
solemn assemblies of Cnristians to be held on those days, and at 
other times ; once a week was the least through the Christian 
world ; and what did they meet for. but to preach, hear, and pro- 
fess the same Christian faith ? 

7. It was the constant custom of Christians in their assemblies, 
and their houses, to sing hymns of praise to Jesus Christ, in re- 
membrance of his resurrection, &,c. Pliny tells Trajan that this 
was the practice by which Christians were known by their perse- 
cutors ; which is a practical tradition. 

8. Jesus Christ instituted, and all Christians to this day have 
constantly used, the sacrament of Christ's sacrifice, called the eu- 
charist ; to keep in remembrance his death till he come, and pro- 
fess their belief that he is our life. And as the constant celebra- 
tion of the passover, with all its ceremonies, was a most certain 
tradition of the Egyptians' plagues and Israelites' deliverance, more 
than a bare written history would be, so hath the JLiord's supper 
been, of the uninterrupted belief of the history of our redemption 
by Christ. 

9. The church hath, from the beginning, had a constant disci- 
pline, by which it hath kept itself separate from heretics, who have 
denied any essential article of this faith ; which is a sure tradition 
of the same belief. 

10. None question but Christians have, from the beginning, 
been persecuted for this same faith, and in persecution made con- 
fession of it : persecutors and confessors, then, are both the wit- 
nesses of the continuance. 

11. Whenever heretics or enemies have written against Chris- 
tians, their apologies and defenses show that it was this same faith 
which they owned. 

12. Most of the adverse heretics owned the same matters 
of fact. 

13. The Jews were long before in possession of the books of 
the Old Testament, which bear their testimony to Christ. 

14. The books of the New Testament have, by certain tradition, 
been delivered down to this present day, which contain the matters 
of fact and doctrine, the essentials, integrals, and accidents of 
the faith. 

15. No enemies have written any thing against the matter of fact, 
of any moment. 

16. Yea, the Jews, and other bitterest enemies, confess much of 
the miracles of Christ. 



^rSjjr * 

188 BAXTER'S DYING THOL'GHTS. 

17. Martyrs have cheerfully forsaken life and all in confess- 
ing it. 

18. God, by his wonderful providence, hath maintained it. 

19. The devil, and all the wicked of the world, are the greatest 
enemies to it. 

20. The Holy Ghost hath still blessed it, to work the same 
holy and heavenly nature and life, in all sincere and serious be- 
lievers. 

Quest. This proveth infallibly the tradition of the same faith in 
the essentials ; but how prove you that the same Holy Scripture is 
delivered as uncorrupted ? 

Ans. All the Bible is not brought down so unchanged as are 
the essentials of our religion : when there were no Bibles but what 
scriveners wrote, no wonder if oversight left few copies without 
some of their slips. There are hundreds of various readings in 
the New Testament, and of many no man can be certain which is 
true ; but none of them are such as make any difference in the ar- 
ticles of our faith or practice, nor on which any point of doctrine 
or fact dependeth. 

And the words are necessary but for the matter which they do 
record. 

And 1 . All ministers, and all churches, constantly used this same 
Scripture, publicly and privately, as the word of God, so that it 
could not he easily altered. 

2. They all knew that a curse is pronounced against every one 
that addeth or diminisheth ; which must needs possess them with 
fear of corrupting it. 

3. They took it to be the charter of their own salvation. 

4. The work of the ministers was to expound it, and preserve 
it against corrupters. 

5. These ministers and churches were overmuch of the world, 
and could not agree together to corrupt it ; and if some did it, all 
the rest would soon detect it. 

6. Heresies and quarrels were quickly to rise among them; so 
that cross interests and animosities would soon have fallen upon the 
corrupters. 

7. Some heretics made some adding and corrupting attempts, 
which the church presently condemned and turned it to their 
shame. 

8. In all the disputations then managed, the same Scriptures 
were appealed to. 

9. The translations into various languages show that the books 
were the same, without any momentous difference. 

10. To this day, when sin and tyranny have torn the church into 
many factions, they all receive the same canonical Scriptures, ex- 



APPU.MUX. 189 

cept that some receive more apocryphal writings, \\hich yet make 
no alteration at all of our gospel faith. 

Quest. But doth not this laying so much on tradition favor 
Popery ? 

A.nsw. No. The difference is here. 1. Papists are for tradition 
as a supplement to the Scripture, as if this were but part of the 
word of God ; and, 2. They plead for a peculiar power of being 
the keepers and judges of that supplemental tradition which other 
churches know nothing of. 

But we, 1. Plead for the infallible, practical tradition of the es- 
sentials of Christianity by itself, and in the creed, &,c., which is 
less than the Scripture ; 2. And next, for the certain tradition of 
the Scripture itself, uncorrupted in all that faith depends on ; which 
Scripture is the complete record of God's will and law, containing 
more than essentials and integrals. 

So much of God, I. Manifested in the flesh ; II. Justified in the 
Spirit. 

III. He was seen of angels ; that'is, angels were the beholding, 
witnessing, and admiring servants of this great mystery, God mani- 
fested in the flesh. 

1. Angels preached Christ at his incarnation. 

2. Angels ministered to Christ in his temptations, agonies, &c. 

3. Angels were preachers and witnesses of his resurrection. 

4. Angels rolled away the stone, and terrified the soldiers. 

5. Angels preached his return to them that gazed up at his as- 
cension. 

6. Angels opened the prison doors, and set the imprisoned apos- 
tles free once, and Peter alone, afterwards. 

7. Angels rejoice in heaven at the conversion of all that Christ 
brings home. 

8. Angels disdain not to be the guardians of the least of Christ's 
disciples. 

9. Angels are protecting officers over churches and kingdoms. 

10. Angels have preached to apostles, and been the messengers 
of their revelations. 

11. Angels have been the instruments of miracles, and of de- 
stroying the church's enemies. 

12. Angels will ministerially convoy departed souls to Christ. 

13. Angels will gloriously attend Christ at his return, and sever 
the wicked from the just. 

14. Angels will be our companions in the heavenly choir for- 
ever. 

Therefore, 1. We should love angels. 2. And be thankful to 
God for them. 3. And think the more comfortably of heaven for 



190 



BAXTERS DYING THOUGHTS. 



their society. 4. And pray for the benefit of their ministry on 
earth, especially in all our dangers. 

IV. The fourth article is, " Preached to the Gentiles." The 
Jews, having the covenant of peculiarity, were proud of their priv- 
ilege, even while they unworthily abused it ; and despised the 
rest of the world, and would not so much as eat with them, as if 
they had been God's only people. And, indeed, the rest of the 
world was so corrupted, that we find no one nation, that, as such, 
renounced idolatry, and was devoted in covenant to the true God 
alone, as the Jews were. Now that God should be manifested 
in flesh, to reconcile the heathen world to himself, and extend 
greater privileges, indefinitely, to all nations, than ever the Jews 
had in their state of peculiarity, this was a mystery of godliness, 
which the Jews did hardly yield belief to. 

And that which aggravateth this wonder is, 1. That the Gentile 
world was drowned in all idolatry and unnatural wickedness, such 
as Paul describeth. And that God should suddenly and freely send 
them the message of reconciliation, and be found of them that sought 
him not, is tbat wonder which obligeth us Gentiles, who once lived 
as without God in the world, to be thankful to him ; Rom. i. 2. 
Eph. ii. and iii. 18, &c. 

F. The fifth article is, " Believed on in the world." The effect 
of the gospel on the souls of men, in their effectual faith, is one of 
the evidences of the Christian truth. 

I told you before, that the fifth witness of the Spirit on the souls 
of all believers, I reserved to be here mentioned. Here, I. It is 
a part of the wonder, that Christ should be believed on in the 
world, even with a common faith. For, 1. To believe a mean 
man to be the Mediator between God and man, and the Savior of 
the world ; yea, one that was crucified as a malefactor : this must 
needs be a difficult thing. 

2. The very Jewish nation was as contemptible to the Romans, 
being one of their poorest subdued provinces, as the Gentiles were 
to the Jews ; and Christ was by birth a Jew. 

3. The greatness of the Roman empire, then, ruling over much 
of the world, was such that by preaching, and not by war, to bring 
them to be subjects to a crucified Jew, was a marvelous work ; and 
so to bring the conquered nations to become Christ's voluntary 
subjects. 

4. The Roman and Greek learning was then at the height of 
its perfection ; and the Christians were despised by them as un- 
learned barbarians ; and that learning, arts, and empire should all 
submit to such a King and Savior, was certainly a work of super- 
natural power. Christ did not levy armies to overcome the na- 



APPENDIX. 191 

tions, nor did victory move them ; but the victors and lords of the 
world, and these no fools, but the masters of the greatest human 
wisdom, were conquered by the gospel, preached by a sort of in- 
ferior men. 

5. And this gospel which conquered them was still opposed by 
them, and the Christians persecuted as a sort of hated men, till it 
overcame the persecutors. 

It is true, that heathenism hath the greatest part of the world, 
and Mahometans have as much as Christians ; but one sort got it 
by the sword, and the other by the doctrine and holy lives of a 
few unarmed, inferior men. 

II. But I use this of the extent of faith, but as a probable, and 
not a cogent argument ; but the main argument is from the sanc- 
tifying effect of faith. 

I know it will be said that many, or most, Christians are as bad 
as other men. 

But it is one thing to be of a professed religion, because it is the 
religion of the king and country, and therefore maketh for men's 
worldly advantage, and they hear little said against it: this is the 
case of most in the world, Christians, Mahometans, and heathens ; 
and it is another to be a serious believer, who, upon trial and con- 
sideration, chooseth Christianity. 

And it is notorious that such serious Christians are all holy, so- 
ber, and just, and so greatly differing from the corrupted world, as 
fully proverb that God owneth that gospel which he maketh so 
effectual to so great a change. 

Here, consider, 1. What that change is. 2. How hard and 
great a work it is. 3. That it is certainly a work of God. 4. 
That the gospel is the means by which God doth it. 

1 . The nature of his holy work on all serious, sincere Christians, 
is, it sets all their hopes and hearts on the promised glory of the 
life to come, and turns the very nature of their wills into the pre 
dominant love of God and man, and of heaven and holiness. It 
mortifieth all fleshly lusts, and subjects sense to reason and faith, 
the body to the soul, and all to God. It sets a man's heart on the 
sincere study of doing all the good he can in the world, to friends, 
neighbors, and enemies, especially the most public good. To live 
soberly, righteously, and godly, is his delight. Sin is his chief 
hatred, and nothing more grievous to him than he that cannot 
reach to greater perfection in faith, hope, obedience, patience, and 
in heavenly love and joy. It causeth a man to contemn wealth, 
honor, and fleshly pleasure, and life, in comparison of God's love 
and life everlasting. This change of God's Spirit worketh on all 
true believers. 

Those that are ungodly have but the name of Christians ; they 



192 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

never well understood what Christianity is, nor ever received it by 
a true belief. But all that understandingly and seriously believe 
in Jesus Christ are sanctified by his Spirit. 

2. And this is a greater work than miracles, in excellency and 
difficulty. 

(1.) It is the very health of the souls. It is salvation itself: it 
niaketh man, in his measure, like to God, and is his image. It is 
a heavenly nature, and is the earnest and preparation for heaven. 
It delivereth man from the greatest evil on earth, and giveth him 
the firmest peace and joy, in his peace with God, the pardon of 
his sins, and the hope of everlasting glory. 

(2.) It is easy to discern how great a work this is, by the deep 
roots of all the contrary vices in the corrupted nature of man. 
Experience assureth us that man, by vitiated nature, is proud and 
ignorant, and savoreth little but the things of the flesh, and worldly 
interest, and is a slave to appetite and lust : his bodily prosperity 
is all that really hath his heart. Yea, if God restrain them not, 
all wicked men are bitter enemies to all that are truly wise and 
holy, even among heathens and infidels : if any be but better than 
the rest, the wicked are their deadly enemies. There is so visible 
an enmity between godliness and wickedness, the seed of Christ, 
and of the serpent in the world, as is a great confirmation of the 
Scripture which describeth it. And it is not the name of Chris- 
tians that altereth men's nature. We, here, that have peace from 
all the world, are under such implacable hatred of wicked men, 
that call themselves Christians, that so many bears or wolves would 
be less hurtful to us. 

(3.) And the universal spreading of this wickedness overall the 
earth, in all ages and nations, doth tell us how great a work it is 
to cure it. 

(4,) And so doth the frustration of all other means, till the 
Spirit of God do it by setting home the gospel upon the heart. 
Children will grow up in wickedness, against all the counsel, love, 
and correction of their parents. No words, no reason, will pre- 
vail with them, more than with drunken men or beasts. 

(5.) We find it a very hard thing to cure a man of some one 
rooted sin, much more of all. 

(6.) The common misery of the world proclaimed man's vice, 
and the difficulty of the cure. How else comes the world to live 
in self-seeking falsehood, fraud, malice, and in bloody wars, worse 
than wolves and serpents against each other ? 

(7.) Lastly, where God cureth this by true believing, it is done 
with the pangs of sharp repentance, and a great conflict, before 
God's Spirit overcometh. 

3. It is evident, then, that this sanctification of souls is an emi- 



APPENDIX. 193 

nent work of God himself. (1.) In that it is yet done on so many 
of his chosen ones, in all ages and places. 

(2.) In that, as hard as it is, he usually tumeth the hearts of 
sinners to himself in a very little time. Sometimes by one sermon. 

(3.) It is a work that none can do but God, who hath the 
power of souls. 

(4.) It is a work so good, that it beareth God's own image. It 
is but the writing of his law and gospel on men's hearts. None 
is so much for it as God. Satan apparently fighteth against it with 
all the power he can raise in the world. Mark it, and you will 
find that most of the stir that there is in the world, by false teach- 
ers, and tyrants, and private malice, is but Satan's wars against 
faith, and holiness, and love. Certainly it is not he that promot- 
eth them. 

4. And it is evident in experience, that it is the gospel of Christ 
which God useth and blesseth, to do this great sanctifying work on 
souls. Among Christians, none are converted by any other means. 
And God would not bless a word of falsehood and deceit to such 
great and excellent effects. All that are made holy and heavenly, 
and truly conscionable, among us, are made so by Christ's gospel. 
And all the wicked are enemies to the serious practice of it, or 
rebels that despise it. The effects daily prove that God himself 
owneth it as his word. 

If you say, there are as good men among the heathens and Ma- 
hometans, as holy, heavenly, and just ; I answer, it is none of my 
business to depreciate other men, but I can say, (1.) That I have 
lived above seventy-seven years, and I never knew one serious, 
holy person in England, that was made such by the writings of 
heathens or Mahometans. (2.) Many excellent things are in the 
writings of some heathens Plato, Cicero, Hierocles, Plutarch, 
Antonine, Epictetus, and many others ; but I miss in them the ex- 
pressions of that holy and heavenly flame of mind and life, and 
that victory over the flesh and world, which Christianity containeth. 

(3.) Christ is like the sun, whose beams give some light before 
it is seen itself at its rising, and after it is set. The light of Jews 
and heathens was as the dawning of the day before sun-rising. 
And the light among the Mahometans is like the light of the sun, 
which leaveth it when it is set. 

Doubtless, the same God who hath used Mahometans to be his 
dreadful scourge to wicked Christians, who abused the gospel by 
a false profession, hath also used them to do abundance of good 
against idolatry in the heathen world. Wherever they come, idol- 
atry is destroyed. Yea, the corrupt Christians, Greeks, and es- 
pecially Papists, that worship images, angels, and bread, are re- 
buked and condemned, justly, by Mahometans. But O, that they 
VOL. n. 25 



194 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS 

who have conquered so far by the sword, were conquered by the 
sacred word of truth, and truly understood the mystery of redemp- 
tion, and the doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ! 

Obj. But they think us idolaters, for saying that Christ is God, 
and believing the Trinity. 

(1 .) As to the Trinity it is no contradiction that one fire or sun 
should have, essentially, a virtue or power to move, light, and 
heat ; nor that one soul should have a power of vegetation, sense, 
and reason ; nor, as rational, to have a peculiar power or vitality, 
intellection, and free-will. Why, then, should the Trinity seem 
incredible ? 

(2.) We do not believe that the Godhead hath any change, or 
is made flesh, or the manhood made God, but that the Godhead is 
incomprehensibly united to the human nature by assumption, so as 
he is united to no other creature, by and for those peculiar opera- 
tions on the humanity of Christ, which make him our Redeemer. 

They that well think that God is all in all things, more than a 
soul to all the world, and as near to us as our souls to our bodies, 
in whom we live, and move, and have our being, will find that it 
is more difficult to apprehend how God is further from any soul, 
than that he is so much one with Christ ; save that different op- 
erations of God on his creatures are apparent to us. 

By all this, we see that every sanctified Christian hath the cer- 
tain witness in himself that Christ is true. He is truly a Physi- 
cian that healeth, and a Savior that saveth all that seriously believe 
and obey him. The Spirit of God in a new, and holy, and heaven- 
ly nature of spiritual life, and light, and love, is the witness. 

VI. The sixth article in my text is, " Received up into glory." 

That Christ, after forty days' continuance on earth, was taken 
up into heaven, in the sight of his disciples, is a matter of fact, of 
which we have all the forementioned infallible proof, which I must 
not here again repeat. 

And, 1 . If Christ were not glorified now in heaven, he could 
not send down his Spirit with his word on earth, nor have enabled 
the first witnesses to speak with all tongues, and heal the sick, and 
raise the dead, and do all the miracles which they did. A dead 
man cannot send down the Holy Spirit in likeness of fiery cloven 
tongues, nor enable thousands to do such works ; nor could he do 
what is done on the souls of serious believers in all ages and na- 
tions to this day. He is sure alive that makes men live ; and in 
heaven, that draws up hearts to heaven. 

2. And this is our hope and joy : heaven and earth are in his 
power. The suffering and work which he performed for us on 
earth was short, but his heavenly intercession and reign is everlast- 
ing. Guilty souls can have no immediate access to God. All is 



Ai'PKNl/IX. li*U 

by a Mediator : all our receivings from God are by him. and all 
our services are returned by him, and accepted for his sake. And 
as he is the Mediator between his Father and us, his Spirit inter- 
cedeth between him and us. By his Spirit he giveth us holy de- 
sires, and every grace. And by his Spirit we exercise them in 
returns to him. 

And our glorified Savior hath Satan, and all our enemies, in his 
power ; life and death are at his command ; all judgment is com- 
mitted to him. He that hath redeemed us is preparing us for 
heaven, and it for us, and receiveth our departing souls to his 
6wn joy and glory. He hath promised us that we shall be with 
him where he is, and shall see his glory. He that is our Savior 
will be our Judge. He will come with thousands of his angels, to 
the confusion of wicked unbelievers, and to be glorified in his saints. 
He will make a new heaven and a new earth, in which righteous- 
ness shall dwell. Angels and glorified saints shall, with Christ 
our Head, make one city of God, or holy society and choir, in per- 
fect love and joy, to praise the blessed God forever. 

The Differences between this World and that which 1 am 

going to. 

I. This world is God's footstool. That is his throne. 

II. Here are his works of inferior nature and of grace. There 
he shineth forth in perfect glory. 

III. Here is gross, receptive matter, moved by invisible powers. 
There are the noblest efficient communicative powers, moving all. 

IV. This is the inferior, subject, governed world. That is the 
superior, regent world. 

V. This is a world of trial, where the soul is his that can win 
its consent. That is a world where the will is perfectly deter- 
mined and fixed. 

VI. Satan, winning men's consent, hath here a large dominion of 
fools. There he is cast out, and hath no possession. 

VII. Here he is a tempter and troubler of the best. There he 
hath neither power to tempt nor trouble. 

VIII. This world is as the dark womb, where we are regenerat- 
ed. That is the world of glorious light, into which we are born. 

IX. Here we dwell on a world of sordid earth. There we 
shall dwell in a world of celestial light and glory. 

X. Here we dwell in a troublesome, tempting, perishing body. 
There we are delivered from this burden and prison into glorious 
liberty. 

XI. Here we are under a troublesome cure of our maladies. 
There we are perfectly healed, rejoicing in our Physician's praise. 






196 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

XII. Here we are using the means in weariness and hope. 
There we obtain the end in full fruition. 

XIII. Here sin maketh us loathsome to ourselves, and our own 
annoyance. There we shall love God in ourselves, and our per- 
fect selves in God. 

XIV. Here all our duties are defiled with sinful imperfection. 
There perfect souls will perfectly love and praise their God. 

XV. Here Satan's temptations are a continual danger and mol- 
estation. There perfect victory hath ended our temptations. 

XVI. Here still there is a remnant of the curse and punishment 
of sin. Pardon and deliverance are perfected there. 

XVII. Repenting, shame, sorrow, and fear, are here part of 
my necessary work. There all the troublesome part is past, and 
utterly excluded. 

XVIII. Here we see darkly, as in a glass, the invisible world 
of spirits. There we shall see them as face to face. 

XIX. Here faith, alas ! too weak, must serve instead of sight. 
There presence and sight suspend the use of such believing. 

XX. Desire and hope are here our very life and work. But 
there it will be full felicity in fruition. 

XXI. Our hopes are here oft mixed with grievous doubts and 
fears. But there full possession ends them all. 

XXII. Our holy affections are here corrupted with carnal mix- 
tures. But there all are purely holy and divine. 

XXIII. The coldness of our divine love is here our sin and 
misery. The perfection of it will be there our perfect holiness 
and joy. 

XXIV. Here, though the will itself be imperfect, we cannot be 
and do what we would. There will, and deed, and attainment, 
will all be fully perfect. 

XXV. Here, by ignorance and self-love, I have desires which 
God denieth. There perfect desires shall be perfectly fulfilled. 

XXVI. Here pinching wants of something or other, and trou- 
blesome cares, are daily burdens. Nothing is there wanting, and 
God hath ended all their cares. 

XXVII. Sense here rebelleth against faith and reason, and oft 
overcometh. Sense there shall be only holy, and no discord be 
in our faculties or acts. 

XXVIII. Pleasures and contents here are short, narrow, and 
twisted with their contraries. There they are objectively pure 
and boundless, and subjectively total and absolute. 

XXIX. Vanity and vexation are here the titles of transitory 
things. Reality, perfection, and glory, are the titles of the things 
above. 

XXX. This world is a point of God's creation, a narrow place 






APPENDIX". 197 

for a few passengers. Above are the vast, capacious regions, 
sufficient for all saints and angels. 

XXXI. This world is as Newgate, and hell as Tyburn ; some 
are hence saved, and some condemned. The other world is the 
glorious kingdom of Jehovah with the blessed. 

XXXII. It was here that Christ was tempted, scorned, and 
crucified. It is there where he reigneth in glory over all. 

XXXIII. The spiritual life is here as a spark or seed. It is 
there a glorious flame of love, and joy, and the perfect fruit and 
flower. 

XXXIV. We have here but the first-fruits, earnest, and pledge. 
There is the full and glorious harvest and perfection. 

XXXV. We are here children in minority, little differing from 
servants. There we shall have full possession of the inheritance. 

XXXVI. The prospect of pain, death, grave, and rottenness, 
blasteth all the pleasures here. There is no death, or any fear of 
the ending of felicity. 

XXXVII. Here even God's word is imperfectly understood, 
and errors swarm, even in the best. All mysteries of nature and 
grace are there unveiled in the world of light. 

XXXVIII. Many of God's promises are here unfulfilled, and 
our prayers unanswered. There truth shineth in the full perform- 
ance of them all. 

XXXIX. Our grace is here so weak, and hearts so dark, that 
our sincerity is oft doubted of. There the flames of love and joy 
leave no place for such atioubt. 

XL. By our inconstancy, here one day is joyful and another 
sad. But there our joys have no interruption. 

XLI. We dwell here with sinful companions, like ourselves, in 
flesh. There holy angels and souls, with Christ, are all our company. 

XLII. Our best friends and helpers are here, in part, our 
hinderers by sin. There all concur in the harmony of active 
Jove. 

XLIII. Our errors and corruptions make us also hurtful and 
troublesome to our friends. But there both Christ and they for- 
give us, and we shall trouble them no more. 

XL1V. Selfishness and cross interests here jar, and mar our 
conversation. There perfect love will make the joy of every saint 
and angel mine. 

XLV. A militant church imperfectly sanctified here liveth in 
scandal and sad divisions. The glorious church united in God in 
perfect love hath no contention. 

XL VI. Sin and error here turn our very public worship into 
jars. The celestial harmony of joyful love and praise is, to mor- 
tals, inconceivable. 




198 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

XL VII. Weak, blind, and wicked teachers here do keep the 
most in delusion and division. There glorious light hath banished 
all lies, deceit and darkness. 

XL VIII. The wills of blind tyrants is the law of most on earth. 
The wisdom and will of the most holy God is the law of the 
heavenly society. 

XLIX. Lies here cloud the innocency of the just, and render 
truth and goodness odious. All false judgments are there revers- 
ed, and slander is silenced, and the righteous justified. 

L. Government is here exercised by terror and violence. But 
there God ruleth by light, love, and absolute delight. 

LI. Enemies, reproach, and persecution here annoy and tempt 
us. All storms are there past, and the conquerors crowned in 
joyful rest. 

LII. The glory of divine love and holiness is clouded here by 
the abounding of sin, and the greatness of Satan's kingdom upon 
earth. But the vast, glorious, heavenly kingdom, to which this 
earth is but a point and prison, will banish all such erring thoughts, 
and glorify God's love and goodness forever. 

LIU. This is the world which, as corrupted, is called an enemy 
to God and us, and which, as such, we renounce in baptism, and 
must be saved from. That is the world which we seek, pray, and 
wait for all our lives, and for which all the tempting vanities of 
this must be forsaken. 

LIV. This body and world is like our riding clothes, our horse, 
our way, and ian, and traveling compart? ; all but for our journey 
homeward. The other is our city of messedness, and everlasting 
rest, to which all grace inclineth souls, and all present means and 
mercies tend. 

LV. The very ignorance of nature and sensible things makes 
this life a very labyrinth, and our studies, sciences, and learned 
conversation, to be much like a dream, or puppet play, and a child- 
ish stir about mere words. But in heaven, an universal knowl- 
edge of God's wonderful works will not be the least of the glory 
in which he will shine to saints. 

LVI. Distance and darkness of souls here in flesh, who would 
fain know more of God and the heavenly world, and cannot, doth 
make our lives a burden by these unsatisfied desires. There glo- 
rious presence and intuition givetjj full satisfaction. 

LVII. Our sin and imperfection here render us uncapable of 
being the objects of God's full, complacential love, though we 
have his benevolence, which will bring us to it. But there we 
shall, in our several measures, perfectly please God, and be per- 
fectly pleased in God forever. 

LVIII. All things here are short and transitory from their 



APPENDIX. 199 

beginning, posting towards their end, which is near and sure, and 
still in our eye. So short is time, that beings here are next 
to nothing ; the bubble of worldly prosperity, pomp, and fleshly 
pleasure, doth swell up, and break in so short a moment, as that 
it is, and is not, almost at once. But the heavenly substances, 
and their work, and joys, are crowned by duration, being assuredly 
everlasting. 

Such, O my soul, is the blessed change which God will make. 

The Reasons and Helps of my Belief and Hope of this Perfection. 

I. Natural reason assureth me, that God made all creatures 
fitted to their intended use ; even brutes are more fit to their 
several offices than man is. He giveth no creature its faculties 
in vain : whatever a wise man maketh, he fits it to the use which 
he made it for ; but man's faculties are enabled to think of a God, 
of our relation, and our duty to him, of our hopes from him, and 
our fears of him ; of the state of our souls related to his judgment ; 
of what will befall us after death, reward, or punishment, and how 
to prepare for it. This nature and its faculties and powers are not 
made in vain. 

II. Reason assureth me, that all men are bound by nature to 
prefer the least probability of a life of everlasting joy before all the 
prosperity of this world ; and to suffer the loss of all this short 
vallKp, to escape the least possibility of endless misery ; and nature 
hath such notices of rewaB.aud punishments after death, that no 
man can say that he is surP^%re is no such thing. From whence 
it followed), that all men are bound by the very law of nature to 
be religious, and to seek first and most the salvation in the life to 
come. And if so, it is certain that there is such a thing to be ob- 
tained ; else God had made the very nature of man to be- deceived 
by itself, and to spend the chief part, yea, all his life, 'through labor 
and suffering, for that which is not ; and so made his greatest duty 
to be his greatest deceit and misery ; and the worst men should 
be least deceived. But all this is not to be imputed to our wise 
and good Creator. 

III. The universal sense of moral good and evil, in all mankind, 
is a great evidence of another life. The vilest atheist cannot abide 
to be accounted a knave, a liar, and a bad man ; nor will equal a 
vicious servant with another. All would be thought good, who 
will not be good. And doth not God make a greater difference 
than man ? and will he not show it ': 

IV. The world is actually ruled much by the hopes and fears 
of anothr-r lifK and cannot well be ruled without it. according to 



200 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

the nature of man ; but the almighty, most wise, and most holy 
God needs not, and will not rule the world by mere deceit. 

V. The gospel of Christ hath brought life and immortality into 
a clearer light than that of nature ; and it must be by believing in 
Christ that we must have our full satisfaction. O, what hath God 
done in the wonders of redemption to make us sure ! And against 
the doubts that are apt to rise from some hard particular text of 
Scripture, it must be considered, 1. That Christ and his apostles 
did put the ascertaining seal of the many uncontrolled miracles to 
the gospel doctrine, primarily ; which doctrine, (1.) Was deliver- 
ed and sealed eight years before any of the New Testament was 
written, and almost seventy before the last. (2.) And Christ 
did not speak in the language in which the gospel is written to us; 
so that, being but a translation as to his own words, the matter is 
the thing first sealed. 

2. And that it was the two legislative mediators, Moses and 
Christ, who came with the great stream of uncontrolled miracles; 
it being necessary that men should have full proof that a law or 
doctrine is of God, before they believe it ; but the priests and 
prophets after Moses, and the preachers and pastors of the Chris- 
tian church, who were not commissioned to bring men any new 
laws or gospel, but to proclaim and teach that which they re- 
ceived, needed no such testimony of miracles. 

3. The belief of every particular priest or prophet after Moses, 
or every pastor after Christ and his apostles, was not of th^^Jne 
degree of necessity to salvation as th^ttief of the law and gospel 
itself. Therefore, though all the Hiplecripture be true, the law 
and the gospel must be much differenced from the rest. 

4. The history of the law and gospel have full, ascertaining, his- 
torical evidence ; or else there is none such in the world. There- 
fore the doctrine must be true. 

5. The prophecies fulfilled prove the gospel true. 

6. And the divine impress on the whole. 

7. And the sanctifying work of the Spirit wrought by it, in all 
nations and ages, on serious believers, is a constant, divine at- 
testation. 

VI. And as my faith hath so sure a foundation, it confirmeth my 
faith and hope, that it hath been so long and great a work of God, 
by his Word and Spirit on my soul, to raise it to believe, and love, 
and desire, that holy state of perfection and fruition which I hope 
for. That which hath made me so much better than I else had 
been, and turned my heart and life (though imperfectly) to things 
above the pleasures of the flesh, must needs be of God ; and God 
would never send his grace to work my heart to deceit and lies, 



and give me such graces as all shall be frustrate : his Spirit is the 
earnest and first-fruits of glory. 

VII. And all the course of religious and moral duty which he 
hath commanded me, and in which he hath employed my life, 
were never imposed to deceive me. I am sure by nature and 
Scripture, that it is my duty to love God and my neighbor, to de- 
sire protection, and to serve God. and do good with all my time 
and power, and to trust God for my reward, believing that all this 
shall not be in vain ; nor that which is best be made my loss. O, 
blessed be God for commands and holy duty ; for they are equal 
to promises. Who can fear that he shall lose by seeking God ? 

VIII. As God hath sealed the truth of his word as aforesaid, so 
he hath, by an instituted office and ordinance, sealed and delivered 
to myself his covenant, with the gift of Christ and life, in baptism, 
and the Lord's supper. 

IX. He hath given me such a love to holy things and persons, 
that I greatly long to see his church in perfect light, and love, and 
concord. O, how sweet would it be to see all men wise, and holy, 
and joyfully praising God ! Every Christian longs for this ; and, 
therefore, such a state will be. 

X. I have found here the great benefit of the love and ministry 
of angels, such as is described in Psalm xci. They have kept me, 
night and day, which confirmeth my hope that I shall dwell with 
them ; for I love them better than men, because they love and 
serve God better. 

XI. That low commujjljfcwhich I have here with God by 
Christ and the Spirit, in hiaBswer to my prayers, supports, com- 
forts, experience, tends to more. 

XII. The pleasure which I have by love, in thinking of the hap- 
piness of my many, many, many holy departed friends, and of the 
glory of Christ, and the heavenly Jerusalem, is, sure, some hopeful 
approach towards their state. 

XIII. When I see the fire mount upward, and think that spirits 
are of a more sublime and excellent nature than fire ; and when I 
see that all that is done in this world is done by spiritual, unseen 
powers, which move this gross and drossy matte?, it puts me past 
doubt, that my soul, being a spirit, hath a vast (and glorious world 
of spirits to ascend to. God hath, by nature, put into all 
things an aggregative, uniting inclination: earth hath no other 
natural motion. The ascent of fire tells us its element is above ; 
and spirits naturally incline to spirits, and holy spirits peculiarly 
are inclined to the holy. 

XIV. lam sure, 1. By understanding that I understand, and 
by willing that I will, &c. 2. I am sure, by these acts, that 1 have 
the power or faculties to do them ; for none doth that which it 

VOL. n. 26 






_^^ 

202 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

cannot do. 3. And I know that it is a substance that hath these 
powers ; for nothing can do nothing. 

My soul, then, being certainly an intellective, volitive, vital sub- 
stance, 1. I have no reason to fliink, that God, who annihilateth 
not the least sand, will annihilate so noble a substance. 

2. Nor that he will destroy those powers which are its essential 
form, and turn it into some other thing. 

3. Nor that such essential powers shall lie as dead and unactive, 
and so be continued in vain. 

4. There remaining, therefore, nothing uncertain to natural rea- 
son, but the continuance of individuation to separate souls, (1.) 
Apparitions and witches have put that out of doubt, notwithstand- 
ing many fables and delusions. (2.) Christ hath put it more out 
of doubt. (3.) While substance, faculties, and acts continue, it 
is the error of our selfish state in flesh, which maketh any fear too 
near an union, which shall end our individuation. The greatest 
union will be the greatest perfection, and no loss to souls. 

XV. God's wonderful providences for the church and single 
saints on earth are such as tell us of that love and care, which will 
bring them afterwards to him. 

XVI. The nature of God taketh off the terror of my departure 
much : I am sure I shall die at the will, and into the hand, of infi- 
nite essential love and goodness, whose love should draw up my 
longing soul. 

XVII. I am going to a God whoj^nercies have long told me, 
that he loveth me better than my ^flrest friend doth, and better 
than I love myself, and is a far betterThooser of my lot. 

XVIII. As he hath absolute right to dispose of his own, so in- 
deed the fulfilling of his will is the ultimate end of all things, and 
therefore most desirable in itself; and his will shall be fulfilled 
on me. 

XIX. I go to a glorified Savior, who came down to fetch me up, 
and hath conquered and sanctified death, and made it my birth-day 
for glory, and taketh me for his dear-bought own and interest, and 
is in glory ready to receive his own. 

XX. I go to that Savior who, on the cross, commendeth his 
spirit into his Father's hand, and taught me, with dying Stephen, 
to say, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 

XXI. I go no solitary, untrodden way, but follow all the faith- 
ful since the death of Abel, to this day, (save Enoch and Elias,) 
who all went by death into that glorious world, where I shall find 
them. 

XXII. I have so long groaned under a languid body, and in a 
blind, distracted, and (by man) uncurable world, where Satan, by 
lies, malice, and murder, reigneth in alas ! how many ; and espe- 





AVPEND1.V. 

cially am so weary of my own darkness, and sinful imperfection, 
that I have great reason to be willing of deliverance. 

XXIII. I have had so large a share of mercies in this world al- 
ready, in time, and manifold comforts from God, that reason com- 
mandeth me to rest in God's time for my removal. 

XXIV. I shall leave some fruits, not useless, to serve the church 
when I am gone ; and if good be done, I have rny end. 

XXV. When I am gone, God will raise up and use others to do 
his appointed work on earth ; and a church shall be continued to 
his praise ; and the spirits in heaven will rejoice therein. 

XXVI. When I am gone, I shall not wish to be again on earth. 

XXVII. Satan, by his temptations, and all his instruments, 
would never have done so much as he doth in the world to keep us 
from heaven, if there were not a heaven which conquerors obtain. 

XXVIII. When darkness and uncertainty of the manner of the 
action and fruition of separated souls would daunt me, it is enough 
to know explicitly so much as is explicitly revealed, and implicitly 
to trust Christ with all the rest: our eyes are in our Head, who 
knoweth for us. Knowledge of glory is part of fruition ; and 
therefore we must expect here no more than is suited to a life of 
faith. 

XXIX. All my part is to do my own duty, and then trust God ; 
obeying his commanding will, and fully and joyfully resting in his 
disposing and rewarding will. There is no rest for souls but in 
the will of God ; and there with full trust to repose our souls, in 
life, and at death, is the oafo way of a safe and comfortable de- 
parture. 

XXX. The glorious marriage-day of the Lamb cannot now be 
far off, when the number of the elect shall be complete, and 
Christ will come with his glorious angels, and will be glorified in 
his saints, and admired in all believers, and there shall be a new 
heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness ; and that 
kingdom shall come, where that which God hath prepared for 
them that love him, eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, nor 
hath it entered into the heart of man to have a formal, full con- 
ception of it. 

Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly. Amen. 

Fear not, then, O my soul, to lay down this flesh : mercy hath 
kept it up for my preparing work ; but, O, what a burdensome 
and chargeable companion hath it been ! Is it better than the 
dwelling-place of perfect spirits ? O, what are my groans, and all 
my cold and faint petitions, and my dull thanksgiving, to their har- 
monious, joyful praise ! If a day in God's courts be better than 
a thousand, what is a day,* yea, what is everlastingness, in the 
heavenly society and work ! O, how hateful a thing is darkness 



^^^jf 



i(.)\ BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

and unbelief, when the remnants of them thus stop poor souls in 
their ascent, and make us half unwilling to go home ! What ! un- 
willing to be with my glorified Lord ! Unwilling to be with saints 
and angels, who are all life, and light, and love! Unwilling to 
see the glory of Jehovah ! O foolish, sinful soul ! hath Christ 
done so much to purchase the heavenly glory for thee, and now 
art thou unwilling to go into the possession of it ? Hast thou been 
seeking, and praying, and laboring, and suffering so many years, 
for that which now thou seemest scarce willing to obtain? Dost 
thou not judge thyself unworthy of eternal life, when thou no more 
desirest to enjoy it ? All this is along of thy too much adherence 
unto self and sense : thou art still desiring sensitive satisfaction, 
and, not content to know thy part, wouldest know that for thyself 
which Christ knoweth for thee ; as if thou couldest better trust 
thyself than him. Fear not, weak soul ; it is our Father's good 
pleasure to give thee the kingdom. Trust infinite power, wisdom 
and love : trust that faithful, gracious Savior who hath so wonder- 
fully merited to be trusted : trust that promise which never de- 
ceived any one, and which is confirmed by so many miracles, and 
by the oath, and by the Spirit of God. Whenever thou departest 
from this house of flesh, the arms of mercy are open to embrace 
thee; yea, essential, transcendent love is ready to receive thee: 
the Spirit of love hath sealed thee to that blessed state : Christ 
will present thee justified and accepted. Most of my old, holy, 
familiar friends are gone before me, and all the rest that died since 
the world began. And the few imperfect ones left behind are 
hasting after them apace, and if I goTWbre, will quickly overtake 
me : though they weep as if it were for a long separation, it is 
their great mistake : the gate of death stands all day open, and my 
sorrowful friends are quickly following me, as I am now following 
those for whom I sorrowed. O, pity them who are left awhile 
under the temptations, dangers, and fears, which have so long 
been thine own affliction ! but be not afraid of the day of thy de- 
liverance, and the bosom of everlasting love, and the society of 
the wise, and just, and holy, and of the end of all thy troubles, and 
the entrance into the joy of thy Lord, and the place and state of 
all thy hope. O, say, not notionally only, as from argumenta- 
tive conviction, but confidently, and with glad desire and hope, 
to depart and be with Christ, is far better than to be here. 

But, O my God, I have much more hope in speaking to thee 
than to myself. Long may I plead with this dark and dull, yet 
fearful soul, before I can plead it into joyful hopes and heavenly 
desires, unless thou shine on it with the light of thy countenance, 
and thou, whom my soul must trust and love, wilt give me faith 
and love themselves. I thank thee for convincing arguments ; but 



APPENDIX. 



had this been all the strength of my faith and hope, the tempter 
might have proved too subtle for me in dispute. I thank thee, that 
some experience tells me that a holy appetite to heavenly work, 
and a love to the heavenly company and state, doth more to make 
me willing" to die, and think with pleasure of my change, than ever 
bare arguments would have done. O, send down the streams of 
thy love into my soul, and that will powerfully draw it up by long- 
ings for the near and full fruition ! O, give me more of the divine 
and heavenly nature, and it will be natural and easy to me to de- 
sire to be with thee : send more of the heavenly joys into this soul, 
and it will long for heaven, the place of joy ! I must not hope on 
earth for any such acquaintance with the world above as is proper 
to the enjoying state. But if the sun can send its illuminating, 
warming rays to such a world as this, according to the various 
disposition of the recipients, doubtless thou hast thy effectual, 
though unsearchable, ways of illuminating, sanctifying, and attrac- 
tive influence on souls. And one such beam of thy pleased face, 
one taste of thy complacential love, will kindle my love, and draw 
up my desires, and make my pains and sickness tolerable. I shah 1 
then put oft' this clothing with the less reluctancy, and willingly 
leave my flesh to the dust, and sing my nunc dimiitis, when I have 
thus seen and tasted thy salvation. O, my God, let not thy 
strengthening, comforting grace now forsake me, lest it should 
overwhelm me with the fears of being finally forsaken. Dwell in 
me as the God of love andjoy, that I may long to dwell in love 
and joy with thee foreverjpjjl 5 grace abounded where sin abound- 
ed, let thy strengthening anRjomforting mercy abound when weak- 
ness increaseth, and my necessities abound. My flesh and my 
heart faileth, but thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion 
forever : this short life is almost at an end ; but thy loving kind- 
ness is better than life. I know not with what pains thou wilt fur- 
ther try me ; bu^ if I love thee, thou hast promised that all things 
shall work together for my good. The world that I am going to 
by death is not apparent to my sight; but my life is hid with Christ 
in God, and because he liveth we shall live ; and we shall be with 
him where he is ; and when he appeareth, we shall appear with 
him in glory, and shall enter into our Master's joy, and be forever 
with the Lord. Amen. 

Wnat sensible Manifestation of his Kingdom Christ gave in his 
Transfiguration. 

1. Our Lord, who brought life and immortality to light, well 
knew the difficulty of believing so great things-unseen ; and there- 
fore it pleased him to give men some sensible helps by demonstra- 



206 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

tion. In Matt. xvi. andxvii. 1, 2, &c. Mark ix. 1. Lukeix. 28. 
he promised some of the disciples a sight of his kingdom, as coming 
in power ; or such a glimpse as Moses had of the back parts of 
God's glory : this he performed first in his transfiguration, as after- 
ward in his resurrection, ascension, and sending the Holy Ghost to 
enable them, with power to preach, and work miracles, and convert 
the nations. 

2. By the kingdom of God, is meant God's government of his 
holy ones, by a heavenly communication of life, light and love, in- 
itially on earth by grace, and perfectly in heaven by glory a 
special theocracy. 

3. For the understanding of this, we must know, that when God 
had made man good, in his image, he conversed with him in a heav- 
enly manner, either immediately or by an angel, speaking to him, 
and telling him his will. But man being made a free, self-deter- 
mining agent, he was left to choose whom he would follow; and, 
hearkening unto Satan, and turning from God, he became a slave 
of Satan, and gave him advantage to be his deceiving ruler: not 
that man's rebellion nullified God's power, or disposing government, 
or took man from under obligation to obedience ; but that, forsak- 
ing God, he was much, though not wholly, forsaken by his special 
fatherly, approving government, and left to Satan and his own 
will ; but the eternal Word interposing for man's reprival and re- 
demption, undertook to break the serpent's head, and to conquer 
and cast out him that had deceived and captivated man ; and, 
choosing out a special seed, he made them a peculiar people, and 
set up a heavenly, prophetical government over them, himself, by 
heavenly revelation, making their laws, and choosing their chief 
governors under him, from time to time, and would not leave it to 
blind and sinful man to make laws, or choose princes, for them- 
selves, but would keep them in a special dependence upon Heaven. 
But the carnal Israelites, having provoked God by odious idolatry, 

\ to deny them much of the benefit of government, (save when they 
! repented, and cried to him for help,) they thought to amend this, 
\ by choosing a king like other nations, and ending their depend- 
\ ence on heavenly relation, and choice for government; and so the- 
ocracy was turned into a more human regiment, and God more 
cast off; though yet he would not quite forsake them. And the 
rest of the world was yet more left under the power of Satan, and 
their own corrupted mind and will ; so that Satan hath both an 
internal kingdom in wicked souls, and a visible political govern- 
ment of the wicked kingdoms of the world, ruling them by men 
that are ruled by him. And ^s Christ came to cast him out of 
men's hearts, by his sanctifying, conquering Spirit, so also to cast 
him out of the political government of the kingdoms of the world, 



. 

APPENDIX. 207 

and to bring them under the laws, and officers, and Spirit of Christ, 
and rule them by heavenly power and love, as his own kingdoms, 
that he may bring them to perfection in one celestial kingdom at 
last. And in this sense we pray, " Thy kingdom come." 

4. To make men believe that he is the heavenly King sent from 
God to cast down Satan's kingdom, was the great business of the 
preaching of the gospel : this he would demonstrate, as by all his 
miracles which showed him to have the victory of devils, and to 
be the Lord of life, so also by visible apparition in glory. And it 
is said (1 John v. 7, 8.) that there are three witnesses in heaven 
and three in earth ; so here Christ would have three heavenly and 
three earthly witnesses of his transfiguration. From heaven he 
had the witness, 1 . Of a voice, proclaiming, " This is my beloved 
Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear him." 2. Of Moses, the 
chief lawgiver. 3. And of Elias, the chief prophet ; to tell us that 
the law and the prophets are his prognosticating witnesses : but 
" hear him " notifieth to us, that Christ and his gospel are to be 
heard above the law and the prophets, and to teach us more than 
they could teach us : the law was given by Moses, (with its types 
and shadows,) but grace and truth (the substance so typified) are 
by Jesus Christ. 

5. Light and glory are often of the same signification. Christ 
was transfigured into a lucid, glorious appearance of body. He 
tells us by this, that he would have us have some sort of idea of 
his kingdom, fetched from sense: many apparitions of angels have 
been in lights. Christ appeared to Saul in a visible light ; Acts 
ix. So did he to John;' Jlfev. i., &c. God and the Lamb are 
the light of the New Jerusalem. It is an inheritance of the saints 
in light. 

Some seem to me to think too basely of sense, and too far to 
separate it from intellectual spirits, both as to power, act, and object ; 
and all because they find it in lower creatures. They might ac- 
cordingly deny substantiality to spirits, because brutes are sub- 
stances: the higher have all the perfections of the lower, either 
formally or eminently. It is not a spirit's perfection to be insen- 
sible, or to have nothing to do with sensible things, but to be emi- 
nently sensible, and to be superior agents on lower sensibles. 
God is love ; and love is complacency ; and a high degree of com- 
placency is delight or joy. So that God is essential, infinite joy, 
but without that drossy quality which is proper to souls in flesh, 
and all that imperfection which belongs to creatures. Can we tell 
what it is to enter into our Master's joy, or joyfully to love and 
praise him, without any sense ?*' I rather think, that as vigorous 
youth makes men capable of more delight than decrepit, languid, 
painful age and sickness, so heaven shall, by perfecting our na- 




208 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

tures, make them capable of inconceivably more joy than any on 
earth is capable of. 

And as we shall have sense in exaltation as to power and act, so 
shall we have sensible objects. God himself delighteth in all his 
works, and so shall we. We must not, on pretense of taking the 
heavenly Jerusalem to be merely spiritual, deprive ourselves of all 
the sensible ideas of it which God's description ofFereth to us. 
Light is sensible ; Christ glorified there is sensible ; Moses and 
Elias were sensible to Peter, James, and John. Lazarus and 
Abraham were sensible to the man in hell ; Luke xvi. Stephen 
saw heaven open, and Christ sitting at the right hand of God. 
And all eyes shall see him at his glorious return. Heavenly glory 
is not enjoyed only by mere thinking and knowing, nor as in a 
dream, but by the most eminent intellectual sensation, exalted 
and invigorated. 

6. Say not then, O my soul, that this kingdom of glory is so far 
above thee, that thou canst have no idea of it. Think not that it 
is therefore unmeet for thy desiring and joyful hopes, because thou 
canst not know what it is. Hast thou no conception of the differ- 
ence between light and darkness ? If thou hadst been but one year 
kept in absolute darkness, wouldest thou have no desiring thought of 
light ? The blind think themselves half dead while they are alive. 
Indeed, the faculty and object must be suitable : light may be too 
great for our weak eyes, as heat may be torment in an unsuitable 
degree ; but when our souls are perfected, they will be suitable re- 
cipients of a more glorious light than we can here endure. Moses 
is not there covered in a cleft of the-.rock, because he could see 
but as the back part of God's glory. We must see here but as in 
a glass, but there as face to face. Though these organical eyes, 
as spectacles, shall be laid by, we shall have media more perfect, 
suitable to our perfect state. 

And as I can think of heaven as a region of glorious light, so 
can I think of it as a place and state of life and love. I know 
somewhat of the difference of life and death, and that a living dog 
is better than a dead lion. And I have felt what it is to love my 
friends, and thence to desire their new communion as my delight ; 
and can I then have no idea of that world, where life, light and 
joyful love are the very element of souls, as water is to the fishes? 

And as I can have some idea of that state in general, so may 1 
of the state of the perfected spirits of the just which are there. 
They are connatural to their proper element. They are essential 
created life, light and love. And they want not substance to be 
ihe basis of those formal powers, nor objects on which to exercise 
them. Think not, then, that heaven' is so far inconceivable, as not 
by any idea to be thought of. If we have no conception of it, we 




* 5 



APPENDIX. 



can have no desires of it, and no delightful hope. What can \ve 
conceive of more certainly than of life, and light, and love ; of a 
region, and of persons essentiated of these ? Do we not know 
what knowledge is, and see what light is, and feel what life and 
love are ? 

But it is true, that our conceptions hereof are lamentably imperfect; 
and so they must be till possession, fruition, arid exercise, perfect 
them. Who knoweth what light or sight is, but by seeing; or what 
knowledge is, but by knowing ; or what love and joy are, but by 
love and rejoicing ? And who knows what perfect sight, knowl- 
edge, love and joy are, but by perfect seeing, knowing, loving, and 
rejoicing ? No man, by an intuitive or immediate perception. 
But some abstractive conceptions of it we may have by reasoning 
deduction from that poor degree which we here, in the kingdom of 
grace, possess. 

Can I perceive substantiality in the dark, terrene appearances, 
which are but mutable, lifeless matter, agitated and used by invisible 
powers; and shall I think of those unseen, powerful substances, as if 
they were less substantial for being spiritual, or were not objects for 
a knowing thought ? Are the stars, which I see. less substantial than 
a carcass in a darksome grave ? The Lord that appeared in shin- 
ing glory hath members, in their measure, like himself; and hath 
promised that we shall shine as stars in the kingdom of his Father. 
If some degree of this be here performed in them who are called 
the children of light, and the lights of the world, how much more 
will they shine in the world of light ! They that call light a qual- 
ity, or an act, must confess it hath a substance whose quality or 
act it is. Alas ! what a deceived thipg is a sensual unbeliever, 
who spendeth his life in the pursuit of fugitive shadows, and 
walketh in a vain show, and thinks of spiritual, glorious substances, 
as if they were the nothings or delusions of a dream ! 

7. Christ, Moses, and Elias, here visibly appeared as three dis- 
tinct, individual persons. This tells us that it is a false conceit 
that death ceaseth individuation, and turneth all souls into one, 
(of which before :) perfect, indivisible, infinite unity is proper to 
God : from this one is multiplicity. Reason forbids us, when we 
see the numberless individuals in this world, and see, also, the nu- 
merous stars above, to imagine that all the worlds above us have 
so much of divine perfection, as to be but one undivided substance, 
and to have no multiplicity of inhabitants. Yea, some of those 
Sadducees hold that the stars are worlds inhabited, as the earth is. 
And why, then, should they think whithersoever souls go, that 
they cease their individuation, when they go among individuals? 
But Christ hath confuted them, even to sense. Moses is Moses 
still, and Elias is Elias still ; and all our friends that are gone to 
VOL. ii. 27 



. 



*> 



BAXTERS IT/ING THOUGHTS, 

Christ are the same, still, that they were, and may be called by 
the same names. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the same in 
heaven; and Lazarus was Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. When 
we lay by flesh, and are unclothed, we put not off our personali- 
ties. Every one shall receive his own reward according to what 
he hath done in the body, when every one must give account of 
his own works and talents. 

Why, then, may not I, with distinct conceptions and joyful de- 
sires, look after the souls of my departed friends, that are now in 
the celestial kingdom ? Though malignity hath scorned me for 
naming some few in my ' Saints' Rest,' being such as the despis- 
ers hated, yet I forbear not, on such accounts, to solace myself 
by naming more, but because they are more than it is fit to num- 
ber. In all places where I have lived, how many excellent souls 
(though here they were not perfect) are gone to Christ ! How 
sweet is the remembrance of the communion which I had with 
many of them in Shrewsbury, and other parts of Shropshire ; of 
many at Dudley, and the adjoining parts ; of multitudes at Kid- 
derminster, Bewdley, and other parts of Worcestershire ; of abun- 
dance at Coventry, and other parts of Warwickshire ; and of many 
where I have sojourned in other parts of the land ; and, above all, 
in London, and the adjoining parts ! As Mr. Howe hath elegantly 
expressed it, in his excellent character of my excellent and dear 
friend, Mr. Richard Fairclough, what a multitude of blessed saints 
will arise, at the last day, out of London ! And this earth is, as it 
were, hallowed with the dust and relics of so many blessed souls. 
But it is heaven that is spangled with these spiritual stars ; the 
place honored with them, apd they with it, and all by Christ. We 
are like infants, or lambs, or other young ones, that cry but for their 
dams, if they be out of sight ; though they are ever so near, if they 
see them not, they cry as if they were not, or had forsaken them. 
As Christ told his disciples, that it was needful for them that he 
departed from them ; and yet their hearts, for this, were sorrowful, 
till the Holy Ghost came upon them, as better than Christ's flesh- 
ly presence, to prepare them joyfully to follow him ; so we think 
of our friends as almost lost to us by separation, till the heaven- 
ly Spirit tell us where they are, and prepare us to desire to be 
with them. 

8. Elias hath a body now in heaven, and so hath Enoch ; but 
can we think that only two or three that are there with Christ do 
so much differ from all the rest, as to have bodies when the rest 
have none? Is there such a dissimilitude of saints in heaven? 
What are two or three in such a society ? Doubtless, their bodies 
are not corruptible flesh and blood, but such spiritual bodies as all 
saint* shall have at the resurrection. But are they in heaven such 



APPENDIX. 



visible and shaped bodies as they appeared on the mount ? The 
same difficulty poseth us about the risen body of Christ : he would 
not have Mary touch him, because he had not yet ascended to his 
Father : he could appear, and vanish from their sight, at his pleas- 
ure ; and yet Thomas handled him, and felt that he had flesh and 
bones. That body of flesh ascended visibly up towards heaven ; 
and yet it is not flesh and blood in heaven, but a spiritual body ; 
for it is not worse than he will make his members. What shall 
we say to these things ? We must say, that we are not capable 
of knowing them, but have reason to be thankful that we may 
know so much, more necessary for us. But yet it seemeth prob- 
able that the bodies of Christ, and Enoch, and Elias, were change- 
able, according to the region in which they were to be. Christ 
could take up a body of flesh and blood, and immediately change 
that state of it into a pure and incorruptible, spiritual body, as it 
entered into the incorruptible, spiritual region. And so God did 
by Enoch and Elias. As Paul saith, that we shall not all die, 
(those that live till Christ's appearing,) but we shall all be chang- 
ed. And yet, if Elias have business on the mount, he can put on 
the clothing of a grosser body to be seen of men, and can lay it 
by, or return to his more invisible, spiritual state, when he return- 
eth to the place from whence he came. And no wonder, when 
angels (and the ancients say Christ, before his incarnation) assum- 
ed bodies suitable to their several businesses on earth ; yea, such 
as could eat and drink with men ; when they dwelt not in heaven 
so coarsely clothed. 

9. But how came Moses to have a body on the mount, who is 
said to have been buried, and, therefore, took none with him into 
heaven ? We must still remember, that we inquire of things above 
our certain knowledge. But, in humble conjecture, we may say, 
that it is no more impossible for Moses to assume such a body as 
he appeared in on the mount, for that occasion, than for angels to 
appear in human shapes ; and departed souls, too, as many appa- 
ritions have told men. And if bad souls can do it, why not good 
ones, when God will have it? The tradition seemeth but a Jew- 
ish dream, that God kept the body of Moses uncorrupted in the 
grave ; and that this was it that the devil is said to strive for against 
Michael, that the body might be corrupted. And say others, 
that, at this transfiguration, it rose again. There need no such 
conceits to our satisfaction. The soul of Moses could assume 
a body. 

10. But still, the dissimilitude of Enoch and Elias from all the 
saints in heaven is an unresolved difficulty. If we knew that God 
would have it so, it might satisfy us. But there is a symmetry in 
the body of Christ. And it is like, that the same region hath in- 









212 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

habitants of the same nature. What shall we think, then, that 
Enoch and Elias, at their entrance into those regions, laid by their 
bodies, and became such as Abraham, and other holy souls ? Why 
are they taken up, to be so laid by ? The corruptibility, no doubt, 
thpy did lay by. God knoweth, but it is much unknown to us. 
Or shall we think, as all those fathers cited by Faustus Regiensis, 
and as Dr. More, and some of late, that all spirits are souls, and 
animate some bodies ; and so that all in heaven have some bodies ? 
If so, what bodies are they ? and how differ they from the resur- 
rection state? As the soul here operateth in, and by, the igneous 
spirits in our bodies, it may be so lodged in these as to take some 
of them with it at death, as the life of a dying plant, yet dieth not 
in the seed. And a man maybe said to go unclothed to bed, 
though he put not off his shift or nearest garment, and to be cloth- 
ed again when he puts on the rest. And at the resurrection, as 
there will be a new heaven and earth, so spirits, now in heaven, 
may have much more delightful business on the new and righteous 
earth than now they have, and, therefore, may have use for an 
additional body, as much differing from what they have now in 
heaven, as the new earth and their employment there require ; 
and as the seed doth differ from the plant. And spirits, being 
communicative, will be more happy by more communication. As 
God delighteth to do good to all his works, so the souls now con- 
fined to heaven will delight to be employed in doing good to the 
new earth, and to animate the bodies suited to such work ; though 
now they have use for no other than such spiritual, lucid recepta- 
cles as are fit for the regions where they dwell. And it will be no 
debasement or dejection for a spirit now in heaven to animate a 
body at the resurrection, fit for the new earth ; no more than it 
was to angels to speak to Adam, and to Moses, to Abraham, Jacob, 
Manoah, and others; or than it is to the sun to enlighten and en- 
liven things on earth. 

It is a foolish thing to think, as some do, that departed souls 
will be as dormant and unactive as in apoplectic or sleeping per- 
sons, for want of organized bodies to act in. Spirits are essential- 
ly active, intellective, and volitive ; and will God continue such 
essential powers in vain ? Moses and Elias wanted not bodies ; 
and those in heaven can praise Jehovah and the Lamb with holy, 
concordant love and joy ; whether in any sort of ethereal bodies, 
or without, we shall shortly know. 

It is said that Moses and Elias talked with Christ : this show- 
eth that Christ hath familiar communion with the blessed. He 
that would come into flesh on earth, and live with man in an 
humbled state, and refused not familiar converse with poor men 
and women, and would eat and drink with publicans and sinners, 



APPKMMX. 

will not refuse everlasting near familiarity with the glorified. If 
the church be his dearly-beloved spouse, and, as it were, one with 
him, as his body, surely he will be no stranger to the least and 
lowest member of it. 

11. But what was it that they talked about? Luke (ix. 31.) 
saith, "They appeared in glory, and spake of his decease, which 
he should accomplish at Jerusalem." This was not to make it 
known to Christ, who came into the world to die for sin ; what, 
then, was it for? Did Christ tell them of it, as not knowing it be- 
fore ? That is not likely, neither. Did he need their comfort, as 
angels in his trials ministered to him, and strengthened him ? The 
particular uses of this speech we know not ; but in general, we know 
it was somewhat preparatory to his great sufferings and death. 

And must Christ's sufferings and death have such preparation? 
And must not mine have such premeditation? And do I not 
need the consolatory messages of God ? Carnal men would 
rather have chosen pleasanter discourse, than the talk of suffer- 
ings and death. But that which must be undergone, and requir- 
eth greatest strength, must be forethought of, and requireth the 
most preparing thoughts. It is worse than madness to be sur- 
prised with sufferings and death, before it is seriously forethought 
of. So sharp a trial, and so great a change, require the greatest 
preparation. He that can refuse to suffer and die, may refuse to 
talk or think of it. If Christ must have men from heaven to talk 
with him of his cross, what cause have we to study the cross ! 
even all our lives to foresee it, and, by obedient consent, to submit 
unto it, and take it up to follow Christ, and even to determine, 
with Paul, to know nothing in the world but Christ and him cruci- 
fied ; that is, to take this for the only needful and excellent learn- 
ing. But, alas ! how senselessly is death and suffering talked of, 
till it comes ! Who are to learn how to suffer when suffering is 
upon us ; and to learn how to die when nature, or the physician, 
passes the sentence of death on us at hand. And it is God's 
mercy to some of us to make our sufferings long, that we may 
have a competent time of learning. As we learti to write by 
writing, and to discourse by discoursing, and every art and trade by 
practice, even so by suffering we learn to suffer : and the lesson is 
very hard. Malefactors suffer without learning, whether they will 
or not ; but to suffer obediently, with childlike affections, is the 
lesson to be learned. O ! little, too little, do many honest Chris- 
tians think how much of their excellent obedience consisteth in 
childlike, holy suffering ; therefore they little expect it, and pro- 
vide for it ; and then they are overwhelmed with the unexpected 
surprisal when it comes. Even in the suffering which men bring 
on the faithful, for righteousness' sake, how many shrink, and shift 



214 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

off their duty, or venture on forbidden things for safety, because 
they were not prepared for it ! The loss of goods, or imprisonment 
and want, seem to many almost insufferable trials. But I can tell 
such, by some experience, that bodily pain and torment is a far 
greater trial, which none of them are secured from, and requireth 
greater strength of faith obediently to accept it at the hand of God : 
and others can tell them that the violence of temptations, and the 
terrors of God on a wounded conscience, and troubled soul, are yet 
far harder than all these : and these are the saddest, because they 
make the mind unfit, at present, to improve them, and to refer 
them to holy ends and uses. Christ, in all his agony, and even 
when he cried out on the cross, " My God, my God, why hast 
thou forsaken me ? " had his intellectuals free and perfect, to know 
the nature, the reason, the uses, and end of all his sufferings : 
but so have not many poor, distressed, troubled, distracted souls. 
O, how great a part of Christianity is it to understand and rightly 
bear the cross ! Most of our care is how to escape it, or to be de- 
livered from it, rather than obediently to bear it. 

12. Experience of a suffering, painful state is a great help to 
our understanding of the gospel. It taketh off from me the scan- 
dal of Christ's cross, and helpeth me to perceive the great use and 
reasons of it, when I am under sufferings. O ! what need have I 
of such an example as Christ's ! All the parts of his sufferings 
are as useful to teach me how to suffer, as the ten commandments 
to teach me what to do. That he was put to fly from proud, 
domineering Pharisees, false teachers, and worldly rulers, and to 
converse most with the poor, in wildernesses, or various obscure 
places ; that he was hated and persecuted for doing good, and ac- 
counted a sinner for neglecting men's ceremonies and traditions ; 
that he was hardly believed, even by them that saw his miracles ; 
and his own disciples were so slow in learning ; and that, in his suf- 
fering, they all forsook him and fled ; and one denied him with 
oaths and curses ; all these are instructing instances. That Christ's 
natural, though sinless aversation to death and suffering, and his fear, 
should be so powerful, and the sense of God's punishing justice so 
terrible, as to make his soul sorrowful, even to the death, and cast 
him into an agony, where he sweat water and blood, and to pray 
thrice that the bitter cup, if possible, might pass from him, which 
he came into the world to drink ; all these, also, are teaching parts 
of the sufferings of Christ, that rulers and priests, and soldiers, and 
the rabble, should agree to scorn him, clothe him in derision, spit 
on him, buffet him, scourge him, make him their jest that came to 
save them ; that they should make a sinner of him that never sin- 
ned, but came to destroy it, and save men from it ; yea, to make 
him no less than a deceiver, a blasphemer, and an usurping rebel 



APPENDIX. 215 

against Caesar, and write this last as his accusation on his cross, 
thinking to leave his innocency no vindication or defence. For the 
Lord and Savior of the world to undergo all this, is very instruct- 
ing to a suffering believer ; that he should, as such a malefactor, be 
reviled on a cross, and numbered with transgressors, and his side 
be pierced, and he there cry out to his Father as forsaken by him ; 
that thus dying he was buried, and his soul went to the place of 
separated souls, and yet into paradise. They are excellent lessons 
which may be learned from all this. 

I am not to suffer for others, nor to make God's justice a satisfy- 
ing sacrifice for sin, as Christ did ; but 1 must suffer God's fatherly 
corrections, and the castigation of paternal, healing justice. I must 
be saved as by fire, and pass through this purgatory, that I may be 
refined : I must suffer from Christ and for Christ, for my sin, and 
also for righteousness' sake ; and I must, with a filial justification of 
God's holiness and chastening justice, bear his indignation, because 
I have sinned against him. I am predestined to be conformed 10 
Christ's image, in suffering and in sanctity ; (Rom. viii. 30, &,c.) 
yea, I must " count all things loss for the excellency of the knowl- 
edge of Christ Jesus my Lord," for whom I must not refuse to 
suffer the loss of all things, and count them dung, that I may win 
him, and be found in him, and not only know the power of his res- 
urrection, but also the " fellowship of his sufferings, and be made 
conformable to his death;" Phil. iii. 8 10. Paul rejoiced in 
such infirmities, and in his suffering for the church, filling up that 
which was behind of the afflictions of Christ in his flesh ; Col. i. 
24. Peter bids us " rejoice, inasmuch as we are partakers of 
Christ's sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, we may 
be glad also with exceeding joy ; " 1 Peter iv. 13. " If we suffer 
with him, that we may also be glorified with him ; " Rom. vii. 17. 
It is a great gift to suffer for his sake ; Phil. i. 29. It is for the 
kingdom of God that such suffer ; 2 Thess. i. 5. It is happiness 
and joy to suffer for righteousness' sake, for well doing ; 1 Pet. ii. 
10. and iii. 14. 17. and iv. 15, 16. 19. Matt. v. 10, 11. It is 
the sufferings of Christ that abound in such, that their consolations 
may abound ; 2 Cor. i. 5. 

But, alas ! I suffer much more for my own sin than for Christ 
and righteousness : but even this also by the cross of Christ is sanc- 
tified, and made a great remedy against my sin. As Christ suffer- 
ed for our sins, and yet merited by his suffering, so if we accept the 
castigatory punishment, and exercise repentance and mortification 
in our suffering, and an obedient submission to the rod, God will 
take this as acceptable service, and bless it to our further good. 

13. But how is it that Christ is said " to learn obedience by the 
things that he suffered, and so to be made perfect ? " Heb. v. 8, 9. 






216 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

Was he unlearned and imperfect before ? He had no culpable 
imperfection ; but his satisfactory mediation was imperfect till it was 
all performed : it was not perfectly done ; and when it was done, he 
thereby was constitutively made a perfect Mediator ; as he said 
upon the cross, " It is finished ;" and as this human nature receiv- 
ed additional acts of knowledge, as he grew up, and conversed with 
more objects, and so is said to increase in wisdom, (as Adam knew 
the creatures when he saw them,) so he had a new acquaintance 
with obedient suffering, when he was under the experience of it ; 
and is said to learn it, in that he now exercised it. 

And should not my suffering be God's school ? Should I not 
learn obedience by it ? Surely, as it smartly tells me of the evil 
of former disobedience, so it calls me to remember in whose hands 
I am, and with whom I have to do, and what is my duty in such 
a state : God can do no wrong to his own : he will do nothing final- 
ly hurtful to his children. In all our afflictions he is said to be 
afflicted, to signify that he afflicts not willingly, or without our 
provocation. Justice is good, and holiness is good ; and it is good 
for us to repent, and be weaned from the flesh and world; and all 
good must be loved, and the means as such. Sharp, heart-break- 
ing sermons are unpleasing to nature ; and yet to be loved for their 
use ; and afflictions are God's powerful sermons : the proud and 
hardened are forced to hear them, who scorn and prosecute preach- 
ers for speaking the same things : and shall believers under suffer- 
ings be untaught ? Words are but words, but stripes go by forci- 
ble sense unto the heart: obedient submission to the greatest pains 
is a serious acknowledgment of God's dominion, and of his wisdom 
and love, and the certain hopes of a better life. Impatience hath 
in it somewhat of atheism, or blasphemy : God is not duly ac- 
knowledged and honored. Job's wife would have had him thus 
purposely provoke God to end his misery by death ; as if she had 
said, ' Speak no more well of him, by whom thou sufferest so much, 
nor honor a God that will not help thee.' But patience saith, " I 
will look unto the Lord ; I will wait 'for the God of my salvation ; 
my God will hear me." Mic. vii. 7. 

Impatience showeth a misunderstanding of God's dealing with 
the afflicted ; but patience yieldeth, because it understandeth 
whence all comes, and what will be the fruit and end. A man 
that is let blood for his life, is not impatient with the chirurgeon ; 
but a beast will strive, and a swine or child will cry. 

Our burdens are heavy enough of themselves ; impatience maketh 
them heavier, and is oft more painful than the thing which we suf- 
fer : some have gone mad with crosses, which to another would 
have been light. Patience is our cordial and nepenthes ; yea, the 
health of the soul, by which it is able to bear its infirmities. "In 






APPENDIX. 217 

our patience we possess our souls;" Luke xxi. 19. Whatever 
else we lose, we lose not ourselves. He that keepeth his faith, and 
hope, and love, by patience, keepeth his soul : but the impatient lose 
themselves, as if their other losses were not enough. A poor man 
singeth that gets his living only by his daily labor; when a lord or 
knight would be tormented with sorrow, if he were reduced to his 
degree. Striving under our yoke and burden inaketh it gall the 
more : and we cannot so hopefully or comfortably pray for deliver- 
ance from the pain which we make ourselves, as from that which 
God layeth on us ; though also there, we must pray for the grace 
that must save us from our own impatience. 

Patience prevented) many sins which impatience causeth ; hard 
thoughts of God, if not hard and unseemly words : " Job sinned 
not, nor charged God foolishly : " impatience tempteth men to think 
that piety and prayer are in vain, and to condemn the generation 
of the just, and to leave off duty, and say, ' Why should I wait on 
God any longer ? ' Yea, and to venture on false and sinful means, 
in hopes of deliverance and ease. 

Were it to men, we have much to allay our impatience ; but im- 
patience against God hath no just excuse. Infinite power, wisdom, 
and goodness, can do nothing that deserveth blame : we have God's 
promise that all things shall work together for our good ; and 
is he not to be trusted ? Or is the means of our good to be 
accused ? 

Impatience is unseemly for them that believe that heavenly rest 
and glory are at hand ; where all their pains and sorrows will end. 
Were a man on the rack, and were sure to have all that he desir- 
ed after it, he would the more easily endure it. Why else did the 
martyrs so patiently suffer ? It is incongruous to complain of any 
thing that brings a man to heaven. 

Christ himself was innocent, and yet accused not God for his 
sufferings. But \ve suffer justly for our faults ; and it is so much 
less than they deserve, that the sins'which we suffer most for are 
said to be forgiven us, in that the everlasting punishment is for- 
given. Should we so often sinfully please the flesh, and yet must 
it not smart ? Shall we so often grieve the Spirit of God, and not 
be grieved ? Shall we lose our time, neglect our duty, forget our 
home, fall in love with the world, and yield to temptations, and 
defile our souls with filth and vanity, and must not correction tell 
us of our sinful folly ? " If we suffer for our faults, and bear it 
patiently, it is not thankworthy ; " 1 Pet. ii. 20. 

Our merciful Father doth use to shame us for our impatience, 

by the blessed end of. our afflictions. The end that God made 

with Job showed the reasonableness of his patience. When our 

afflictions are over, do not all believers see cause of thankfulness 

VOL. u. 28 






218 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

for there, and say, * It is good for me that I was afflicted?' The 
pain is past, and the benefit remaineth. And if all that is past was 
mercy to us, why should we much fear that which is to come ? 
Heaven will end all, and shame impatience forever. 

Our patience is much of our perseverance : what a deal of labor 
do those impatient men lose, that learn, and pray, and are some- 
what religious, and have not patience at the last assault to bear 
the trial, but fail when they seemed to be near the crown ! 

Hold out, then, poor desponding soul ! lift up the hands which 
hang down, and the feeble knees, and run with patience the race 
which is set before thee, looking to Jesus, who, for the joy that 
was set before him, endured the cross. God will not deceive thy 
hopes. Sin hath brought pain and death on man ; but Christ hath 
sanctified it, and is the Lord of Life. Yet a little while and the 
heavenly possession shall turn thy sorrows into everlasting joy, and 
thy moans and groans into thanks and praise, and there shall be no 
more sickness, pain, or death. O foolish, unbelieving hearts ! that 
cry out of suffering, and fear deliverance ; that would fain be free 
from all affliction, and yet fly from the only state of freedom ; that 
are impatient under their calamity, and yet afraid of passing to the 
only rest ! 

14. But it is neither pain alone, nor death alone, that will suf- 
ficiently try our strength, and exercise our faith and patience. It 
must be great pain (and often long) in order to a certain, expected 
death. These two conjunct were the case of Christ. The tor- 
ment of his agony, scourging, crucifying, piercing, and desertion, 
and the certainty of death that followed. Great pains, with hopes 
of recovery and ease may be borne even by a worldly man ; because 
there is still the worldly hope of better ; and so there is no denial 
of all, while life itself is not denied. We must receive the sen- 
tence of death in ourselves, if we will find that we trust in God 
alone, and trust him as one th^t raiseth the dead, that is, for another 
and better life. 

As long as a man hath any hope of life and ease, a man's faith 
is not tried to the uttermost, by actual forsaking all. And yet an 
easy death alone doth not fully try a man ; for they that know that 
all must die, may submit to this, who cannot bear long pains be- 
fore it. But great and long pains, and the sentence of death 
together, are the trial. 

And if God will so try me, why should I repine ? Flesh will 
groan, but the mind may obediently submit. It is but flesh ; that 
flesh that hath tempted and imprisoned my soul. I have too much 
loved it, and am too loath to leave it ; and is it not mercy from God 
to make me weary of it ? God is engaged against idols ; that is, all 
that is loved and pleased before him ; and if any thing, that is likest 



APPEN'DIX. ->10 

to be this flesh. Its corruptibility tells us, that both its pleasure 
and its pain will be but short. Long pain is usually tolerable ; and 
intolerable pain will conquer nature, and not be long. The grace 
of Christ is sufficient for us, and his strength is manifest in our 
weakness, when he will not take the thorn out of our flesh, though, 
as Christ and Paul did, we pray thrice, or oftener. 

And to be impatient with death is to repine that we were born 
mortal men ; and to fly from heaven and all true hopes, and all the 
felicity purchased by Christ ; and is this renouncing the world, and 
trusting Christ for life everlasting ? And why fear we that which 
endeth all our pains and fears? A true believer never sufFer- 
eth so much, but his mercies are far more and greater than his 
sufferings. His soul is united to Christ : his hopes of heaven have 
a sure foundation : he is sealed up to glory : rest and joy are near 
at hand ; and former mercies should not be forgotten ; and should 
not such men patiently endure? O what a shameful contra- 
diction is it, to choose heaven as our only portion, to believe in 
Christ for it, and to seek it as the business of all our lives, and 
yet to be loath to die, that we may obtain it, and to fly with 
fear from that which we so seek and hope for ! What a con- 
tradiction is it to call God our God and Father, the God of Love, 
and to call Christ our gracious, glorified Redeemer, and to fly 
from his presence with distrustful fear ! Almighty love may cor- 
rect us, may kill us, but it cannot finally hurt true believers. 

So much of Moses' and Elias' discourse of the sufferings and 
death of Christ. 

15. Sure it is not true that the souls of the fathers, before 
Christ's coming, did not enter into heaven, but lay in some inferior 
limbm. For Moses and Elias came from heaven : their shining 
glory showed that, and their discourse'with Christ, and the voice 
and glory that went with them. And it is not to be thought that 
they were separated from the rest of the souls of the faithful, and, 
with Enoch, were in heaven by themselves alone, and the rest 
elsewhere. Though it is said that God's house hath many man- 
sions, and there are various degrees of glory, yet the blessed are all 
fellow-citizens of one society, and children in one family of God. 
And they that came from east and west, shall sit down with Abra- 
ham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of God ; and Lazarus is in 
Abraham's bosom, and the believing thief with Christ in paradise. 

16. It seems that Moses and Elias appeared thus, to foreshow 
the resurrection of Christ, and of the faithful, and to make it easier 
to the three disciples to believe it. Why should they doubt 
whether Christ should rise, when they saw that Moses was risen 
before him ? And why should they doubt of the resurrection of 
the faithful, and the glory following, when they saw these glorified 






220 IUXTEK'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

saints ? Some think that this apparition was for the strengthening 
of Christ himself, whose human nature had use for such ministry 
also of angels ; but it is more certain that it was for the strengthen- 
ing of the disciples' faith, and of ours by their testimony. As it 
is said, " This voice came not because of me, but for your sakcs ;" 
John xii. 30. , 

17. It is much worth our noting, in what a communion this 
specimen of the kingdom of heaven was represented in the holy 
mount. Here was a voice of God, and a glimpse of his glory : 
here was our Redeemer in a glimpse of his glory : here was a 
Moses and Elias in a glimpse of their glory ; and here were 
three beloved disciples yet in the flesh, and in weakness of 
faith, which needed such confirmation. God, our Father, and our 
Savior, the saints of heaven, and those on earth, are all of one 
society or kingdom. There is a near relation and a near com- 
munion among them all. When the eternal Word disdained not 
so wonderful condescension as to come to us in the form of a ser- 
vant, even of a poor, despised, crucified man, it is less wonder that 
Moses and Elias should come down as his witnesses and servants. 
The heavenly Jerusalem, and city of the living God, of which we 
are enrolled burgesses or heirs, hath many parts. There is the 
assembly of the first-born, and innumerable angels, and the spirits 
of the just made perfect, and Jesus, the Mediator of the new cove- 
nant, and God the Judge of all ; Heb. xii. 23, &c. O, what ho- 
ly, glorious, joyful company shall we have above ! Christ and his 
angels will not despise the least of saints. 

18. But what was the introduction to this apparition and trans- 
figuration ? It was Christ's praying. " He went up into a moun- 
tain to pray, and, as he pij^yed, he was transfigured;" Luke ix. 
28, 29. Surely this is written to invite and encourage us to pray. 
We are in greater need than Christ. It is folly in unbelievers to 
think prayers vain, because God is unchangeable. We are not 
unchangeable ; and the exercise of faith, dependence on God, and 
true desires, being the condition required in a due receiver, maketh 
those blessings become ours, which else we had been incapable of. 
God, who commandeth fefvent prayer, hath promised to answer 
it. Though we must not think to be the rulers of the world, nor 
have whatever our flesh or folly doth desire, because we ask it 
earnestly, yet true prayer is the appointed way for obtaining what 
we need, and is best for us, and we are fitted to receive. And as 
Christ had this wonderful return to his prayers, his servants have 
experience that their choicest mercies, for soul and body, have 
come this way. 

19. Though the three disciples were admitted to this glorious 
society, how different was their case from that of Christ, and Mo- 



APPENDIX. *2\ 

ses, and Ellas ! In the beginning of the heavenly concourse, 
they were asleep with heaviness, even while this glorious company 
stood near them. Alas ! such is our infirmity in flesh, and such a 
clog are these earthly bodies to us, that when God is present, and 
heaven is before us, and we have the greatest cause to watch and 
pray, a heavy, weary, sluggish body, even fettereth an active 
spirit, and we sleep, or turn away in wandering thoughts, when we 
should seriously converse with Christ and heaven. Alas ! what 
unworthy servants hath our Lord ! Are such as these meet for 
his work, his love, his acceptance, or his kingdom ? But O, how 
merciful a Savior have we, who taketh not his poor servants at 
the worst, but when they have served him thus in -his agony, he 
gently rebuketh them; "Could you not watch with me one 
hour?" and that with an excuse, "The Spirit is willing, but the 
flesh is weak." 

20. It is a matter of great moment to understand in what cases 
this excuse will hold, and our weakness will not make the willing- 
ness of the Spirit unacceptable to God. If a drunkard, fornicator, 
or other sensualist, should say, ' My spirit is willing to leave my 
Bin, but my flesh is weak, and a temptation doth prevail/ Video 
meliora proboq, &c. ; this excuse would not prove God's forgive- 
ness. If a man live in known sin, which he could forbear were he 
truly willing, and say, " To will is present with me, but to do I 
am unable ; it is not I, but sin, that dwelleth in me , " this would 
be but a frivolous excuse; and yet to the sleepy disciples it was a 
good excuse, and I think to Paul; Rom. vii. Where, then, is the 
difference ? There are some acts of man which the will hath not 
power to rule, and some that it can rule. The will hath not 
power always to keep a sleepy man awake : this sleep might be 
of the flesh without any will at all ; and this excuseth from all 
guilt. There are some acts of man which the will cannot rule, 
but by a great degree of power and endeavor ; as, perhaps, with 
much ado, by preventing and resisting diligence, the disciples 
might have kept awake : in this case, their sleep is a fault, but a 
pardoned fault of weakness. Some persons are liable to inordi- 
nate fear and grief, which so surpriseth them by the constitution 
of their bodies, that the greatest unwillingness would not hinder 
them. And some could do more to resist these passions than they 
do, but very hardly with the greatest diligence. These are ac- 
cordingly excusable in degree. Paul would have perfectly obeyed 
God's law, and never have sinned. But there is no perfection in 
this life : mere imperfection of true grace, which is predominant 
in the will, doth not damn men. But there are acts which are so 
subject to the will, that a sincere will, though imperfect, can com- 



BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

mand them. He that doth these, (or doth the contrary,) k is not 
because he sincerely would, and cannot, but because he hath but 
ineffectual wishes, and is not sincerely willing, if he know them to 
be what they are ; especially if they be materially great sins which 
he yieldeth to, which true grace more strongly resisteth than it 
doth an idle word, or thought, or action. In short, all omissions 
or commissions, in which the will is positively or privately guilty, 
are sinful in some degree ; but only these do damn the sinner, 
which are inconsistent with the predominant love of God, and 
heaven, and holiness, in the soul. 

21. When the disciples awaked, they saw these glorious ones in 
converse. Did they hear what they said, or did Christ after tell 
them ? The latter is most probable. Doubtless, as Moses tells 
us how God made the world, which none could tell him but by 
God's telling them first, so the apostles have written many things 
of Christ, which they neither saw nor heard, but from Christ, that 
told it them by word, or inspiration. How else knew they what 
Satan said and did to him in his temptations in the wilderness, and 
on the pinnacle of the temple ? How knew they what his prayer 
was in his agony ? And so in this instance also. But Christ's 
own testimony was enough to put them out of doubt, to them that 
daily saw his confirming miracles. 

22. How great a difference was there between mount Sinai and 
this mount ! When God delivered the law to Moses, that mount 
was terrible in flame, and smoke, and thunder, so that the people 
trembled and fled : but now here is nothing but life, and light, and 
love from heaven. A merciful Redeemer, whose face shone as 
the sun, with heavenly company, appearing nearly to the disci- 
ples, pitying and bearing with their heaviness and infirmity, strength- 
ening their faith and hope, and proving to them a resurrection, and 
a heavenly kingdom, by a visible apparition of some of its pos- 
sessors. This was not a frightful, but a confirming, delectable 
sight : the law in terror was by Moses, but grace and truth, peace 
and pleasure, are by Christ. 

This was an inviting and delighting, and -not an affrighting, ap- 
parition. Was it not a shameful infirmity, and a sin, that Peter 
should deny Christ after such a sight as this, and the rest of his 
disciples forsake him and fly ? What ! after they had seen the 
kingdom of God come in power, and Christ's face shine as the sun 
in its brightness, could they forget all this ? Or could they doubt 
whether he or his persecutors were the stronger, and liker to pre- 
vail at last ? O, how frail, how uncertain, how bad a thing, is 
depraved man ! 

But though Christ found them asleep, and though he foreknew 



APPENDIX. 223 

that they would forsake him, he forsook not them, nor used them 
as they deserved, but comforted them with a glimpse of heaven ; 
for he died for his enemies. 

23. But this was but once in all the time of his abode among 
them. It was an extraordinary feast, and not their daily bread : 
they had Christ still with them, but not transfigured in glory, nor 
Moses and Elias in their sight. We are too apt to think, that if God 
give us a joyful, extraordinary glimpse of heaven, we must have 
it always, or that he forsaketh us, and casts us off when he denieth 
it us. O that we were as desirous of holiness and duty as we are 
of the joy which is the reward ! But our Father, and not we, 
must be the chooser both of our food and feast. Moses did not 
dwell on mount Nebo, that he might still see the land of promise : 
it was enough to have one sight of it before his death. As flesh 
and blood cannot enter into heaven, so it is little of heaven that 
entereth into it. 

24. When the disciples awake, they see his glory, and the two 
men that stood with them. It must not be a sleeping but an 
awakened Christian that will have a sight of heavenly glory. As 
we must love God with all the heart, and soul, and might, all must 
be awakened in seeking him, and in attending him, before we can 
have a joyful foretaste of his love. Carnal security, supine neg- 
lect, and dull contempt, are dispositions which render us incapable 
of such delights. Heavenly joy supposes a heavenly disposition 
and desires. Angels sleep not, nor are clogged with bodies of 
clay : earth hath no wings : it must be holy vivacity that must 
carry up a soul to God, notwithstanding the fetters of flesh. It is 
with each others' souls in the body that we converse together on 
earth. And it is not sluggish, but lively faith, and fervent desires, 
that must converse in heaven with Moses and Elias, and our living 
Head. 

25. But how did Peter know Moses and Elias, whom he had 
never seen before ? Perhaps glorified saints do bear each one his 
notifying signature, and need not names and sound of words to 
make them known : perhaps Christ told the disciples who they 
were that talked with him : perhaps he made them know it by in- 
spiration, as the prophets have their knowledge. Any of these 
ways God could notify them : it is not needful that we know 
which of them it was ; but that they were known, is certain. We 
shall be no strangers to any saints in heaven, and therefore not to 
our old acquaintance. Whether we shall have any greater love to 
them, or delight in them, for old acquaintance' sake, or because 
they were instruments of our good on earth, I know not; but 1 
know that our love to them with whom we had holy comfort on 
earth, may well render heaven more familiar to us now, and 



224 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

more suitable to our desires. O ! how great a number of my 
godly friends are there ! They are so many that I cannot make 
a catalogue of their names, but the memory of abundance of 
them doth delight me. And when we meet, there, we shall be 
far better known to each other than we were to the most intimate 
on earth. 

O, let Christians now so converse together as remembering that 
they must meet in heaven, where all that was secret will be 
brought to light. If we now put on any vizor, and seem better 
than we are ; if we hide any sin, or base corruption ; if we, by 
fraud or falsehood, deceive our friends, all this will be opened 
when we meet in heaven. It is a daily grief and shame to my soul, 
to think of the sins that I have committed against some that are 
now in heaven, which I either excused, extenuated, or hid, and 
to think how much evil they will know of me there, which on earth, 
they knew not by me. But God, who pardoneth them, will cause 
his servants there to forgive each other ; but the detected sin, for 
all that, will be an odious, shameful thing. Lying and hypocrisy 
are therte no cloak, but an aggravation, of the shame. If we can- 
not confess, and take shame to ourselves, by repentance, upon 
earth, how shall we appear in the open light, and see the faces of 
those whom we have wronged ? What diminution it will make of 
our joy, I know not, but it must needs be a dishonor to have been 
false to God or man ; and especially when we meet where sin is 
perfectly hated, to think how we either sinned together, or that 
we tempted and ensnared one another in any sin. How it will 
affect us then I do not fully know ; but it is now to me a far greater 
grief to think of any in heaven whom I have tempted or wronged, 
than it was while they lived with me on earth. And I think there 
is somewhat of this nature common to good and bad : even the 
consciences of wicked men do haunt them for notable injuries to 
others, especially concealed ones, and especially for persecuting 
the servants of God, when they are dead, more than while they 
lived. Insomuch that (though I doubt not of real apparitions) I 
am ready to think, that some that say they are haunted by the 
sight and the voice of such as seem to them to be deceased per- 
sons, are rather haunted by their own consciences, which strongly 
represent those persons to their imaginations. 

But on the other side, it is a great delight to me to think of the 
good which I received from many that are now in heaven ; of 
the profitable sermons which I have heard from some, and the 
profitable conversations which I have had with others ; how oft we 
sweetly consulted together of the things which concern everlasting 
life ; how many days, in public and private, we spent in prepara- 
tion, and in some prospect of the blessedness which now they en- 



APPENDIX. 



joy ! And it is not a small mercy to me, that 1 can think of the 
multitudes now in heaven, of whose conversion and salvation God 
hath made my weak endeavors a prosperous means. O, what a 
mercy is it to think on, that while I am yet compassed with temp- 
tations, and languishing in weakness, and groaning in pain, and, 
worst of all, burdened with a dark and sinful soul, so many are 
past all this with Christ, by means of any help which Ine sent them 
by my labors ! It hath oft humbled me greatly to read, in the lives 
of such men as John Janeway and Joseph Allen, how much of 
their proficiency they ascribed to rny writings, and how far they 
overwent me. and left me quite behind them in holy delights and 
praises of God. But how much more am I below a multitude now 
in heaven, who called me father here on earth ! 

And if here I must rejoice with them that rejoice, as well as 
mourn with them that mourn, why should I not much more rejoice 
with all the blessed society above ; and more familiarly with my 
old acquaintance, pupils, and dear friends? My love should be 
most to the best ; and therefore more to them than to any other 
of my friends ; and, therefore, my union with them being closer, 
and their felicity far greater, I should think with more joy of them 
than of any left behind. They are safe in the harbor, past all our 
dangerous storms and waves ; and though they know, or will know, 
more of my sins than they did on earth, and hate them more, yet 
they that feel the comfort of the pardon of their own, will imitate 
God in pardoning me, and rejoice in God's forgiveness of me. 
Though their vile bodies lie like common dust, how much better 
do they now know the love of God, the mysteries of grace, the 
heavenly glory, the state of spirits in the city of God, than 1 do, 
who was wont to preach it to them ! God, that sent down Moses 
and Elias, to show that saints in heaven and on earth have com- 
munion, will bring me and my friends, now in heaven, together 
again, into a far sweeter communion than ever we had here. 

26. It is no great wonder that Peter should be transported with 
this glorious 'sight ; and greatly delighted with this heavenly com- 
munion, and say, " Master, it is good for us to be here." Would 
not a sight, a glimpse of heaven, have transported any holy soul ; 
yea, even those that now lie in tears and fears, and are overwhelm- 
ed with doubts and troubles ? When they are groping after God, 
and groaning on their knees, because they feel more of his frowns 
than of his love, if then they had such a sight as this, what a 
change would it make upon them ! Perhaps you will say, that 
the doubt of their own sincerity might still deprive them of their 
joy. No ; this sight would banish doubts and troubles. It is a 
communication of love, and such as will fully convince the com- 
municants. 

vor,. ii. 29 






KAXTKKS DI>-G THOUGHTS. 



Without such a miraculous glimpse of glory, God sometime 
giveth some of his servants such a mental illustration, and inward 
glimpse and taste of heaven, as greatly overcometh all the fears of 
pain and death : such many old and later martyrs have had. It 
was a strange word of the godly Bishop of St. David's, Mr. Farrar, 
to his neighbors, ' If I stir in the fire, believe not my doctrine ; ' 
and, accordingly, he stirred not. If he had not had some prophet- 
ical inspiration, this could not have been justified from being a pre- 
sumptuous tempting of God. And Mr. Baynam's case was a mere 
wonder, who, in the flames, called to the Papists to see a miracle, 
professing to them, that in the fire lie felt no more pain than if he 
had been laid on a bed of down, or roses. 

I am just now reading in Melch. Adam's Lives of the German 
Philosophers, the Life of Olympia Fulvia Morata, which ended 
with some such experience. In many ages, there hath been some 
one rare woman, who hath excelled men in the languages, philos- 
ophy, and other human learning. Such an one was this Olympia 
Fulvia Morata, of Ferrara. She married Andr. Gundler, a phy- 
sician : she removed with him into Germany ; and was, by the 
way, convinced of the guard of angels, by her young brother fall- 
ing out of a high window, on cragged stones, without any more 
hurt than if it had been on the soft ground. In Germany, she thus 
wrote to Anna, Estensis, a Guisian princess : ' As soon as, by the 
singular goodness of God, I was departed from the Italian idolatry, 
and came with my husband into Germany, it is incredible how God 
changed my soul, (or mind,) which being formerly most averse 
(or abhorring) to the divine Scriptures, am now delighted in them 
alone, and place in them all my study, labor, care, and mind ; and, 
as much as possible, contemn all the" riches, honors, and pleasures, 
which formerly 1 was wont to admire.' But the cross presently 
following, in God's usual method, her husband and she were, by 
soldiers, stripped naked, save the shift next the body, and narrowly 
escaping with life, were put so to wander from place to place, none 
daring to entertain them, even when she was sick of a fever; till 
at last they found liberal entertainment, in which she shortly fell 
into a mortal disease, of which she died. And, in her last sickness, 
and after much torment of body, near death, she pleasantly smiled. 
Her husband asked her the cause ; who said, ' I saw a certain place 
which was full of a most clear and beauteous light ; ' intimating 
that she should quickly be there, and saying, ' I am wholly full 
of joy.' And spake no more till, her eye-sight failing her, she 
said, ' I scarce know any of you any more ; but all things else about 
seem to be full of most beauteous flowers ; ' which were her 
last words; having a long time professed, that nothing seemed 



APPKMMX. 



more desirable to her, than to be dissolved, and so be with Christ : 
in all her sickness magnifying his mercies to her. 

Many have thus joyfully laid down the flesh to go to Christ : 
what wonder, then, if Peter was loath to lose the pleasure of what 
he saw! 

Two things are necessary to great and solid joy ; first, that the 
objct be truly and greatly amiable and delectable ; and, secondly, 
that the apprehensions of it be clear and strong. As to the first, 
we have so great and glorious things to delight us as would feast 
our souls with constant joy, were not the second, alas ! much wanting. 
What man could choose but be even in Peter's rapture continual- 
ly, if he had but ascertained heavenly glory, apprehended by him 
in as satisfactory a manner as these sensible things are ? If I lay 

f 1- IV 

m prison, yea, or in torment ot colic, stone, or any such disease, 
and had but, withal, such apprehensions, or sight of assured glory, 
surely the pain would not be able to suppress my joy. What a 
mixture, what a discord would there be in my expressions ! tor- 
ment would constrain my flesh to groan, and the sight of heaven 
would make me triumph. I cannot but think how this great dis- 
cord would show the difference between the spirit and the flesh. 
What a strange thing it would be to hear the same man, at the 
same time, crying out in pain, with groans, and magnifying the love 
of God with transporting joy ! But we are not yet fit for such 
joyful apprehensions : our weak eyes must not see the sun, but 
through the allaying medium of a humid air, at a vast distance, 
and by the crystalline humor and organical parts of the eye. 
Fain we would get nearer, and have sight, or clearer apprehen- 
sions, of the spiritual society and glorious world. We study, we 
pray, we look up, we groan under our distance, darkness, and un- 
satisfying conceptions ; but yet it must not be ; we must be ripen- 
ed before the shell will break, or the dark womb will deliver us up 
to the glorious light. But Christ vouchsafed that to his three 
apostles, which we are unworthy of, and yet unfit for. O, happy 
sight ! O, happy men ! It is incongruous to say, ' W T hat would I 
not give for such a sight ! ' lest it should savor of Simon Magus' 
folly ; and I have nothing to give ; but it is not incongruous to say, 
' What would I not do, and what would I not suffer, for such a 
sight ! ' Yea, Christ puts such kind of questions to us : O that I 
had better answered them in the hour of duty, and in the hour of 
temptation ! When he asked, " Can ye drink of the cup that I 
drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized 
with ? " I have been ready, with James and John, to say, I can ; 
but when the trial comes, (as they after, in his suffering, forsook 
him and fled,) how insufficient is my own strength to perform my 
promise ! When he did impose on me the denying of myself, 



BAXTERS DYING THOUGHTS. 

forsaking all, taking up the cross and following him, I yielded, and 
covenanted by vow to do it ; but it was by the help of the Holy 
Spirit, which he promised to give me. I stand, Lord, to my cov- 
enant ; help me to perform it ; and give me, though not his present 
sight, yet some of Peter's mental apprehensions, and a glimpse, a 
taste, of that which transported him with delight. Let who will 
(or who thou wilt) take the riches and grandeur of the world. 
O, give me some delightful taste of that which I am made for, re- 
deemed for, and which thy Spirit hath long taught me to seek 
and hope for, as my all ! 

27. Peter was not weary with the sight of this heavenly appa- 
rition. Why should I be weary of the believing contemplation of 
greater things ? Though sight affect us more sensibly than mere 
believing and thinking, yet these have their happy office, which 
may be effectual. And Christ, who thus appeared in glory to 
Peter, hath said, " Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet 
have believed." And Peter himself saith of them that see not 
Christ, that " They rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory," 
in believing. O, how unexcusable am I for every weary prayer 
or meditation of such a glory ; and for yielding to Satan and a 
backward heart, which have oft made me shorten these sweet em- 
ployments, when I had time, and leave, and need, to lengthen 
them ! What ! weary of communion with Christ ! weary of speak- 
ing to my heavenly Father, for endless blessedness, upon such 
joyful terms of hope as he hath given me ! weary of the thoughts 
of the city of God, the heavenly society and work ! weary of ex- 
citing divine love, and exercising it in divine praise, which are the 
works of angels, and all the heavenly host ! O, how justly might 
God be, as it were, weary of me, and of my weary services ; yea, 
of the best that I can offer him, which hath in it so much to give 
him cause ! 

28. Peter did not fly from this glorious prospect ; but would fain 
have had more of it, and have dwelt upon the holy mount. And 
when God will call me to a more glorious vision and fruition in 
heaven, shall I draw back and be unwilling to go ? Was that 
mount a better place than heaven ? Is not Christ now to be there 
seen in greater glory ? Is the Jerusalem above, the glorious com- 
pany of saints and angels, no better, and more desirable a sight, 
than Moses and Elias were on the mount ? Alas ! when we have 
read, and heard, and thought, and talked so much of heaven, and 
done and suffered so much for it, that yet we should draw back 
with fear and unwillingness to go to it ! O, what lamentable weak- 
ness of faith, and power of flesh, doth this discover ! When I 
read Peter's words, " It is good to be here," I am grieved that I, 
who dwell in a world so near like hell, among the implacable 



APPENDIX. .' <> 

haters ot' holiness and holy peace, and in a painful, tired body, 
and who have thought, said, and written so much of heaven, do 
yet say, with no stronger desire and joy, " It is good to be there." 
When I see all natural appetites desire earnestly their proper food, 
and even the brutes desire their beloved company, shall my holy 
appetite be so dull and indifferent ? Lord, quicken it by the fuller 
communications of thy Spirit, and save me from this hated, dan- 
gerous disease. 

29. But Peter spake he knew not what, when he talked of 
building tabernacles on earth, for the fruition of that which is 
proper to heaven. Alas ! this is our common malady and folly : 
we would have Christ in the splendor of his glory ; but we would 
have him here : we would see Moses and Elias, if they will come 
down to us : we would have that in the flesh, which flesh and blood 
cannot possess. O, if we knew in what land, what city, what 
country, what private house, we might live in the least glimpse of 
the heavenly glory, how joyfully should we run to such an habi- 
tation ! Merchants make towards the most gainful place for trade : 
poor men inquire after the most fertile and delectable countries for 
plantation : gentlemen delight themselves with a sweet and pleas- 
antly-seated mansion ; but if saints on earth could find a place 
where they could see what Stephen, or Paul, or the apostles saw, 
and have a little of heaven without dying or putting off this body, 
what a desirable dwelling would that seem to them ! And yet, 
alas ! how cold are our desires of the time and place where we 
shall have much more ! We have Christ on earth, in the manner 
and measure that we are capable: we have here^some communion 
with heaven, as verily (though not so sensibly) as our eye hath 
with the sun. God will not deny believers their title, their ear- 
nest, and some fust-fruits ; but when we would have our all. or our 
best on earth, or that on earth which is proper to heaven, we know 
not what we desire or pav. 

4 

Are we, vile, dirty "Sinners in flesh, now fit for heavenly sights 
or joys ? Or is this world a place for building tabernacles, where 
we may see the Lord, and take up our rest ? What ! in a world 
of temptations, of wickedness, of sufferings, where we are daily 
wrestling for our lives, and fighting, not merely against flesh and 
blood, but against principalities and powers, and the rulers of the 
darkness of this world, even spiritual wickedness (or wicked spirits) 
in high places ; (above the greatest men that are their servants.) 
Eph. vi. 12. But that which is of the earth is earthly. Our 
earthly part would have an earthly felicity ; but when we know- 
that it is corruptible, and a dying thing, and that we have here no 
continuing city, both faith and reason bid us seek for one to come. 
The unfaithful steward had so much wit as to make sure of an- 



230 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

other habitation, when he knew that he must be no longer 
steward. 

God hath so constantly confuted and befooled me, by his mar- 
velous providence, whenever I have said, ' Soul, take thy ease,' 
and have thought of building tabernacles on earth, as hath con- 
vinced me, that such folly is not the least part of the danger of a 
soul, from which his mercy did so watchfully save me. If a little 
health and ease, or a pleasant habitation, or beloved company and 
friends, have but flattered me into earthly delight and hopes, and 
made me say, " It is good to be here ; " I never was long without 
some pains, and dangerous sickness, or some loss or cross in friends, 
or some removal by personal or public changes, to tell me, that I 
knew not what I said, and that rest and happiness are not here. 
As the laborious ants and bees are long gathering a heap of treas- 
ure, and furnishing a hive with winter provisions, and a contemp- 
tuous foot soon spurneth about the one, and the chief owner of 
the hive destroyeth the other ; so (while I neglected wealth and 
honor) when I have but treasured up the choicest books, and 
taken pleasure in my works and friends, God saw that such pleas- 
ures needed an allay, and hath taken away books and friends 
together, or driven me oft from them and my habitation, to tell 
me, sensibly, that I have higher to look, and further to go ; and 
that Moses and Elias appeared not to turn earth into heaven, and 
make me think that now I am well, but to invite my soul to their 
celestial habitation. When Christ hath comforted me by hearing 
prayers, by great deliverances, by wonderful success of my defec- 
tive labors, by comfortable friends, by public mercies, it was not, 
by making my condition pleasant, to keep down my desires from 
heaven, but to draw them thither by such foretastes. Content- 
ment with our condition, as without more of the world, is a great 
duty ; but to be content with the world, or any thing on earth, 
without more holiness and communion with God, and without a 
part in the heavenly perfection, is a heinous and pernicious sin. 

But, alas ! it is a far worse mistake than Peter's, which deceiv- 
eth the greatest part of men. They say, indeed, as he, " It is 
good to be here," (till melancholy or misery make them intoler- 
able to themselves ;) but it is not because they have seen a glimpse 
of heaven on earth, or tasted the sweetness of the holy society 
and work, but because their bodies are in health, their purses full, 
their appetites pleased, and their inferiors do their wills and honor 
them. This is all the heaven that they love ; and to leave all 
this is the death which they abhor and fear. And they will not 
hear God and the experience of all mankind befooling them, till 
near the night that their souls shall be required ; and then, whose 
will all their treasure be ? 

30. But yet it was a greater part of Peter's dotage, to think of 



APPENDIX. 231 

tabernacles for Christ, Moses, and Elias, and of detaining of heav- 
enly inhabitants upon earth. If you would offer the lowest saint 
in heaven an earthly kingdom in exchange for his condition, with 
what disdain would he despise the offer ! Christ's kingdom was 
not of this world, nor would Moses and Elias change their lot with 
Alexander or Caesar. Poor trifles allure us, and seem somewhat 
to us (as toys to children) while we are dreaming in the flesh ; 
but if once we be delivered, and see what the celestial glory is, 
what a change will it make upon our judgments ? We fear now 
in the dark to go unto that world of light, and are loath to put off 
the rags of flesh, and to depart from a known, though a dirty, 
falling habitation ; but if \ve get to heaven, we shall be loath to 
return to earth again, and be so coarsely clothed : when once we 
are there, a world would not hire us to come back into this cor- 
ruptible body, till God will make it spiritual and incorruptible. 
Our friends, whose deaths we passionately lamented, would be 
loath now to change their company for such as we are, or their 
abode for such a wicked world as this, or their work for the best 
of ours on earth. No wonder that departed souls appear not to 
their friends on earth : most apparitions are of devils, or misera- 
ble souls, to whom it is no loss or condescension. Were I once 
in heaven, could I possibly be willing to be turned again into a 
Bedlam world, and laid under the feet of blinded pride, and raging 
madness, and live among Sodomites (called Christians) whose 
God is their belly, and who glory in their filthiness and shame, 
and mind nothing, with love, but earthly things, and are bitter 
enemies, not only to the cross, but to the government of Christ ? 
Would I be again among dogs and swine ; yea, devils in the flesh, 
who hate and persecute the regenerate seed, and all that will not 
receive the mark, and be as mad and bad as they ? Would I 
again be groaning here in pain, or tired with a weary body, and 
more with a feeble, sinful soul, weak in faith, cold in love, of 
doubtful hope, and imperfect duty ? Would I be here again in 
the prospect of a grave, with fear of dying ; as strange as now to 
the heavenly felicity ? Lazarus will not come from Abraham's 
bosom, for the rich man's wealth and belly-pleasure ; no, not to 
warn his sensual brethren. Had Peter seen heaven as he saw the 
glory on the mount, he would never have made so blind a motion 
for Chri r. Closes, and Elias, to continue there, who have so much 
better a habitation. 

31. But this glorious apparition was but short ; as the glory of 
God's back parts to Moses, which did but pass by. Presently a 
cloud cometh, and separateth the company, and ends the pleasant 
sight. When Christians receive some extraordinary sense of the 
love of God, some sweet foretastes of promised happiness, they 



232 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

must not look that this should be ordinary, or always so. When 
some fervent prayer is extraordinarily answered, and a sacrament 
sweetened with drops of heavenly sweetness, or a holy discourse 
or meditation hath raised us higher than ever before, we must not 
expect that this should be our constant diet, and God should thus 
feast us all the year. The times of fasting also have their turn. 
Moses did not dwell on Mount Horeb, nor Mount Nebo or Pisgah, 
from whence he saw the Land of Promise. God's children do 
not always laugh and sing : while they have their sinning times, 
they will have their suffering and crying times. How suddenly 
doth the lark come down to the earth, who before was soaring 
out of sight, and singing pleasantly in the higher air, as if it had 
been aspiring towards the sun ! A luscious diet is not best for 
such as we, that have so many corruptions to be cured by cleans- 
ing means : cordials must not be all our physic : unwarrantable 
expectations of greater or more continued joys than we are meet 
for, is injurious both to God and to ourselves. Desires of more 
we may and must have ; but those desires must look up to heaven, 
where, indeed, they may be satisfied. 

32. The joy of these spectators was turned into fear (saith the 
text) when they entered into the cloud. No wonder : the change 
was sudden and great ; from a sight of the kingdom of God in 
power, unto a dark cloud. Just now they seemed almost in heav- 
en, and presently they knew not where they were ; from glorious 
light to a kind of prison of obscurity. 

Such changes here we are liable to. The same soul that lately 
tasted of transporting joy, may lie in terror, hardly resisting temp- 
tations to despair. The same person that was confident of the 
love of God may be quickly not only doubting of it, but sinfully 
denying it : the same that had assuring evidence of sincerity may 
shortly conclude that a.11 was but hypocrisy. The same that was 
triumphing in the sense of love, may cry out, O miserable man 
that I am ! And as the same that magnified the grace of Christ, 
may say, the day of grace is past ; especially if either the tempter 
get the advantage of a melancholy body, or of casting the soul into 
renewed guilt of some wounding sin, or into impatient discontents, 
with the things that befall it in the world. 

There is a stability in the essentials of holiness: it is life eternal 
that is here begun : but, alas ! the degrees of grace, the exercise 
of it, the evenness and integrity of our obedience, and accordingly 
our comforts, are lamentably liable to change ; even as all worldly 
things are mutable to the ungodly, though their hardened hearts 
are too little changeable. Expecting nothing but joy from God, 
or expecting more than we are meet for, maketh our dejections 
the greater, and more grievous. None are cast lower with terror, 



APPENDIX. 233 

trouble, and almost despair, than some that have been most trans- 
ported with joy ; when some other Christians, of an even conver- 
sation, have an evenness and constancy of holy peace, though no 
such joys. 

33. The cloud separated the company : Moses and Elias are 
seen no more ; no, nor the glory of Christ : but yet Christ is not 
separated from them; his ordinary presence still abideth with 
them. Christ doth not leave the soul when extraordinary joys do 
leave it : it loseth not his saving grace, nor the presence of his 
Spirit, as oft as it loseth heavenly delight. Desire showeth love 
to him, and to his holiness ; and he never forsaketh those that 
love him. As long as the soul breatheth after Christ, and after 
more communion with God, and, conscious of its imperfection, 
would fain be perfect, and resolveth to continue waiting for increase 
of faith and holiness in the use of the means which Christ hath 
appointed, it is not forsaken. Christ, by his Spirit, dwelleth and 
worketh in that soul. It may enter into a cloud, and Christ may 
be unseen, and seem quite lost, but the cloud will vanish, and he 
will appear ; and he will first find us, that we may seek and find 
him. If he appear to us but as in his humiliation, and as crucified, 
and thereby humble us, and crucify us to the world and the flesh, 
with the affections and lusts thereof, and cause us but to seek first 
his kingdom and righteousness, he will raise us higher, and show 
us his glory, when grace, and conquest, and perseverance have 
prepared us. We are in a cloudy world and body ; and our sins 
are yet a thicker cloud between God's glorious face and us : but 
as God is God, and heaven is heaven, so Christ is Christ, and 
grace is grace, when we see it not, but fear that we are undone, 
and entering into outer darkness ; and at sun-rising, all our dark- 
ness, and all our doubts and fears, will vanish. 

34. " There came a voice out of the cloud, This is my beloved 
Son ; hear him ; " Luke ix. 35. Had I heard such a testimony 
from heaven, would it not have set my faith above all doubts and 
unbelief? For the voice that thus owned Christ and his word, 
might imbolden me fully to trust all his promises, as it bindeth 
me to obey his precepts. 

God's love is effective and communicative ; and as his life and 
light cause life and light, so his love causeth love ;. and Christ, 
that is called his beloved Son, is likest him in love. None loveth 
us so much as God our Father, and his beloved Son, who is also, 
as God, essential love. And shall I think with cold or little love 
of such a God, and such a Savior? It is as unreasonable to fly 
from God or Christ, as fearing that he wanteth love to a capable 
soul, as to fly from the sun as wanting heat or light. O, what 
an unruly, froward thing is the corrupted soul of man ! When 
VOL. ii. 30 



234 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

we think of God's judgment, and how we are in his hands, as to 
all our hopes, for soul and body, we fear, and are uncomfortable, 
lest he have not so much love and mercy as should cause us con- 
fidently to trust him. We could trust some friends with life and 
soul, were we in their power ; but infinite love itself, and a loving 
Savior, we can hardly trust, so far as to quiet us in pain or death. 
And yet when Christ, to cure this distrust, hath manifested his 
love by the greatest miracles that ever God showed to mortal 
men, even by Christ's incarnation, his life, his works, his death, 
his resurrection, intercession, and the advancement of human 
nature in him above angels, the greatness of this incomprehensible 
love occasioneth the difficulty of our believing it; as if it were too 
great and wonderful to be credible : thus dark and guilty sinners 
hardly believe our Father's love, whether it be expressed by 
ordinary or by the most wonderful effects. 

35. As Christ is called the Son of God, so also are all his 
members : we have so far the same title, that we might partake 
of the same comforts : he is God's only Son, by eternal generation 
and the hypostatical union upon his miraculous conception : but 
through him we are sons by regeneration and adoption. And 
shall not the love of such a Father be trusted, and the presence 
and pleasing of such a Father be desired ? If Manoah's wife 
could say, " If he would have killed us, he would not have accept- 
ed a sacrifice of us ; " I may say, if he would have damned me, 
or forsaken my departing soul, he would not have adopted me, 
nor made and called me his son. Christ was made his incarnate 
Son, that we might be made his adopted sons : and we are made 
his adopted sons, for the sake, and by the grace, of Christ, his 
natural Son. 

36. The command, " hear him," is relative, as to Moses and 
Elias: 1. Hear him whom the law and the prophets typified and 
foretold, and were his servants, and preparatory instructors, to lead 
us to him. 2. Hear him before Moses and the prophets, where 
his coming and covenant abrogateth the law of Moses, and as a 
greater light, he obscureth the less : he hath revealed more than 
they revealed ; and the same more clearly : life and immortality 
is more fully brought to light by him : his gospel is as the heart 
of the Holy Bible : we use the Old Testament books, especially 
as the witnesses of Christ. 

37. And whom shall we hear so willingly, so obediently, as 
Christ ? Abraham sent not Dives's brethren to the king, or to 
the high-priest, to know what religion he should choose, or what 
he should do to escape hell torments ; but it was Moses and the 
prophets that they must hear. But God, from heaven, hath sent 
us yet a better teacher, and commanded us to hear him. Moses 



APPENDIX. 235 

was faithful in God's house as a servant, but Christ as a Son : bis 
authority is above kings and high priests ; and they have no power 
now but from him, and therefore none against him or his laws : 
all commands are null to conscience, which contradict him. The 
examples in Daniel iii. and vi., and of the apostles, tell us wheth- 
er God or man should be first obeyed : therefore it is that the 
Bible is more necessary to be searched and learned than the stat- 
ute-book, or canons. Were man to be heard before Christ, or 
against him, or as necessarily as he, why have we not law-preach- 
ers every Lord's-day to expound the statutes and canons to all 
the people ? And why are they not catechised out of the book 
of canons, or law, as well as out of the Bible ? 

And sure, if we must hear Christ and his gospel before priests 
or princes, or before our dearest friends, much more before our 
fleshly lusts and appetites, and before a profane and foolish scorner, 
and before the temptations of the devil. O, had we heard Christ 
warning us, when we hearkened to the tempter, and to the flesh, 
how safely had we lived, and how comfortably might we have 
died! 

38. But this word, " hear him," is as comfortable as obligatory. 
Hear him, sinner, when he calls to thee to repent and turn to God : 
hear him, when he calleth thee to himself, to take him for thy 
Lord and Savior, to believe and trust him for pardon and salvation : 
hear him, when he calleth, " Come to me, all ye that are weary 
and heavy laden : ho, every one that thirsteth, come : whoever 
will, let him drink of the water of life freely." Hear him when 
he commandeth, and hear him when he promiseth ; and hear him 
before the worldly wise, when he teacheth us the way to God : 
hear him, for he knows what he saith : hear him, for he is true, 
and faithful, and infallible : hear him, for he is the Son of God, 
the greatest messenger that ever God sent : hear him, for he pur- 
posely came down in flesh, that he might familiarly teach us : 
hear him, for none else in the world hath made known the things 
of God like him, and none can do it : hear him, for he meaneth 
us no hurt ; he is our dearest friend, and love itself, and saith 
nothing but for our salvation, and promiseth nothing but what 
he will perform. Yea, hear him, for every soul that will not hear 
him shall be cut off. 

Hear him, therefore, if he contradict thy fleshly appetite ; hear 
him, if great or small, if any or all shall be against it : hear him, 
if he set thee on the hardest work, or call thee to the greatest 
suffering : hear him, if he bid thee take up the cross, and forsake 
all and follow him, in hope of a reward in heaven : hear him, if 
he call thee to lay down thy life ; for none can be a loser by him. 

Hear him now in the day of grace, and he will hear thee in the 






23(5 BAXTER s DYING THOUGHTS. 

day of thy extremity, in the day of danger, sickness, death, and 
judgment, when the world forsaketh thee, and no one's hearing 
else can help thee. 

39. But ' I was not one that saw this vision : had I seen it 
myself, it would have satisfied me, and confuted all my doubts.' 
Answ. But it is the will of God that the ministry and testimony of 
men shall be a means of our believing : it is faith, and not sight, 
that must be the ordinary way of our salvation ; else Christ must 
have showed himself, and his miracles, resurrection, and ascension, 
to every one in the world that must believe in him : and then he 
must have been visible at once in every kingdom, parish, and place 
on earth, and continued so to the end of the world ; and must have 
died, risen, and ascended, many millions of times, and in every 
place. They that will put such laws on their lawgiver before they 
will believe in him, must be saved without him and against him if 
they can. This is more unreasonable than to tell God that you 
will not believe that there is a heaven or hell unless you see them. 
But God will have us live and be saved by believing, and not 
by sight. And he will use man for the instruction and salvation 
of man, and not send angels with every message. 

40. But why did Christ show this vision but to three of his dis- 
ciples ? Answ. He is not bound to tell us why : but we may 
know that a sight of heavenly glory is not to be ordinarily expect- 
ed on earth. Why did God show the back parts of his glory to 
none but Moses ; no, not to his brother Aaron ? Why did he speak 
to him only in the bush and on the mount ? Why did he translate 
none to heaven without dying but Enoch and Elias? Why did 
he save but Noah, and seven with him, in the ark ? These are 
not things ordinary, nor to be common to many. 

41. But by this it appeareth, that even among his twelve apos- 
tles Christ made a difference, and preferred some before the rest ; 
though he set no one over the rest in any governing authority, yet 
some of them were qualified above the rest, and esteemed and used 
by him accordingly. Peter is called the first, and, it seems, was 
qualified above the rest, by his more frequent speaking and famil- 
iarity with Christ, and his speeches and miracles after the resurrec- 
tion ; though yet the faction that said, " I am of Cephas," or, " I 
am of Paul," was rebuked as carnal. So far was Christ from di- 
recting the churches to end all difference by obeying Peter as their 
supreme ruler. James and John are called the sons of thunder : 
they had some more eminent qualification than the rest ; so that 
James was the first martyred apostle, and John the disciple whom 
Jesus specially loved. Ministers of the same office and order may 
much differ in gifts and grace, in labor and success, and in God's 
acceptance and reward, and in the church's just esteem and love. 






Ari'KMHN.. 237 

All pastors were not such as Cyprian, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, 
Chrysostom, or Augustin. And the rest must not envy at the 
preference of Peter, James, and John. Andrew seems to be Pe- 
ter's elder brother, and knew Christ before him ; as Aaron was el- 
der brother to Moses, and yet must give God leave to choose to 
give preeminence to whom he will. 

42. But why did not these three apostles tell any of this vision 
till after Christ's resurrection ? ^4nsw, Christ did forbid it them. 
And it is according to the method of his revelation. He would 
make himself known to the world by degrees ; and more by his 
works than by mere words ; and these works were to be finished, 
and all set 'together, to be his convincing witness to the world. 
And the chief of these were his resurrection, ascension, and send- 
ing down the Holy Ghost ; the apostles could not say till then, 
' Jesus is risen, ascended, and hath given us the seal of the Spirit ; 
therefore he is the Son of God.' Christ first preached repentance, 
like John Baptist ; and next he told them that the kingdom of 
God (by the Messiah) has come, and was among them ; and then 
he taught them to believe his word to be sent from God, and to be 
true ; and he taught them the doctrines of holiness, love and right- 
eousness towards men : and he wrought those miracles which might 
convince them that what he said, or should say, deserved their be- 
lief; but yet, before his resurrection, his apostles themselves under- 
stood not many of the articles of our creed : they knew not that 
Christ was to die for sin, and so to redeem the world by his sacri- 
fice, nor that he was to rise, ascend, and reign, and intercede in 
glory ; and yet they were then in a state of grace and life, such 
as believers were in before Christ's incarnation. And sure no 
more is required of the nations that cannot hear the gospel. 

But the resurrection was the beginning of the proper gospel state, 
and kingdom, to which all before was but preparatory ; and then, 
by the Spirit, Christianity was formed to its settled consistence, 
and is a known, inalterable thing. 

And it is a great confirmation to our faith, that Christ's kingdom 
was not settled -by any advantage of his personal presence, preach- 
ing, and persuasion, so much as by the Holy Ghost in his apostles 
and disciples, when he has gone from them into heaven. 

43. But how are we sure that these three men tell us nothing 
but the truth? Answ. This is oft answered elsewhere. The 
Spirit which they spake and worked by, was Christ's witness and 
theirs. They healed the sick, raised the dead, spake various 
languages which they never learned ; and preached and recorded 
that holy doctrine committed to them by Christ, which itself con- 
tained the evidence of its divinity, and of their truth ; and Christ 









238 HALTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

then and to this day hath owned it, by the sanctifying efficacy of 
the same Spirit, upon millions of souls. 

How holy a doctrine hath Peter himself delivered, as confirmed 
by his apparition ! " We have not followed cunningly-devised fa- 
bles, when we made known to you the power and coming of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty ; for he 
received from God, the Father, honor and glory, when there came 
such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved 
Son, in whom I am well pleased ; and this voice, which came from 
heaven, we heard when we were with him in the holy mount;" 2 
Peter i. 16 18. The words "in whom I am well pleased" are 
only here and in Matthew ; Mark and Luke, omitting them, tell us 
that the evangelists undertook not to recite all that was said and 
done, but each one so much as seemed necessary for him to say. 

44. And now what remaineth, O my soul, but that thou take 
in the due impression of this apparition of the glory of Jesus and 
his saints ; and that thou joyfully obey this heavenly voice, and 
hear the beloved Son of God, in whom tht Father is well pleased ? 

I. As we that are born in another age and land must know what 
Christ said by the transmission and certain testimony of them that 
heard him, infallible tradition, by act, word, and record, being our 
way of notice, as immediate sensation was theirs, so even the glo- 
rious apparition itself may, by the mediation of their infallible 
record, be partly transmitted to our imagination. An incorporate 
soul is so used to a mixed way of knowing by imagined ideas re- 
ceived by sense, that it would fain have such a sort of knowledge 
of separated souls, and other spirits, and of their glorious state, and 
place, and work, and is hardly fully satisfied without it. Seeing 
Christ hath partly condescended to this our culpable weakness, 
lose not the help of his condescension. Let this clear description 
of the heavenly sight make it to thee partly as if thou hadst been 
one of the three spectators ; till thou canst say, ' Methinks I almost 
see the face of Christ shine as the sun, and his raiment whiter than 
the snow ; and Moses and Elias (no doubt in some degree of glo- 
ry) standing with him : ' metbinks I almost hear them discoursing 
of Christ's death and man's redemption ; and by this sight I part- 
ly conceive of the unseen heavenly company and state : metbinks 
I see the cloud receive them, when Peter had been transported 
with the sight ; and I almost feel his pleasant raptures, and am 
ready to say, as if I had been with him, " It is good for us to be 
here : " methinks I almost hear the heavenly voice, " This is my 
beloved Son, hear him." And shall I yet doubt of the celestial 
society and glory ? Had I once seen that, what a sense would it 
have left upon my heart, of the difference between earth and heav- 



APPENDIX. 239 

en, man and God, flesh and spirit, sin and duty ! How thank- 
fully should I have thought of the work of redemption and sancti- 
fication ! 

And why may I not accordingly put myself as into the case of 
them who saw all Christ's miracles, and saw him risen, and ascend 
towards heaven ? or at least of all those ordinary Christians who 
saw all the wonders done by the reporters of these things ? I can 
easily receive a pleasing idea of some foreign, happy country, which 
a traveler describeth to me, though I never saw it ; and my rea- 
son can partly gather what great things are, if I see but lesser of 
the same kind, or somewhat like them. A candle showeth 
somewhat by which we may conceive of the greatest flame. 
Even grace and gracious actions do somewhat notify to us the 
state of glory ; but the sight on the mount did more sensibly 
notify it. 

Think not, then, that heavenly contemplation is an impossible 
thing, or a mere dream, as if it had no conceivable subject-matter 
to work upon : the visible things of earth are the shadows, the cob- 
webs, the bubbles, the shows, mummeries, and masks ; and it is 
loving them, and rejoicing and trusting in them, that is the dream 
and dotage. Our heavenly thoughts, and hopes, and business, 
are more in comparison of these than the sun is to a glow-worm, 
or the world to a mole-hill, or governing an empire to the motions 
of a fly. And can I make somewhat, yea, too much, of these al- 
most nothings ; and yet shall I make almost nothing of the active, 
glorious, unseen world ; and doubt and grope in my meditations of 
it, as if I had no substance to apprehend ? If invisibility to mor- 
tals were a cause of doubting, or of unafFecting, unsatisfying 
thoughts, God himself, who is all to men and angels, would be as 
no God to us, and heaven as no heaven, and Christ as no Christ, 
and our souls, which are ourselves, would seem as nothing to 
themselves ; and all men would be as no men to us, and we should 
converse only with carcasses and clothes. 

Lord, shine into this soul with such an heavenly, potent, quick- 
ening light, as may give me more lively and powerful conceptions 
of that which is all my hope and life ! Leave me not to the ex- 
ercise of art alone, in barren notions ; but make it as natural to 
me to love thee, and breathe after thee. Thou teachest the young 
ones, both of men and brutes, to seek to the dam for food and shel- 
ter ; and though grace be not a brutish principle, but works by 
reason, it hath its nature and inclining force, and tendeth towards 
its original, as its end. Let not my soul be destitute of that holy 
sense and appetite, which the divine and heavenly nature doth con- 
tain. Let me not lay more stress and trust upon my own sight 
and sense than on the sight and fidelity of my God, and my Re- 



IP 

240 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

deeraer. I am not so foolish as to live as if this earth were no big- 
ger than the little of it which I see : let me not be so much more 
foolish as to think of the vast and glorious regions, and the blessed 
inhabitants thereof, and the receptacles of justified souls, as if they 
wanted either substantiality or certainty, to exercise a heavenly 
conversation here, and to feast believing souls with joy, and draw 
forth well-grounded and earnest desire to " depart and be with 
Christ." 

II. Hear, then, and hear with trust and joy, the tidings and prom- 
ises of him whom the voice from heaven commanded man to hear. 
He-is the glorified Lord of heaven and earth: all is in his power. 
He hath told us nothing but what he knew, and promised nothing 
but what he is able and willing to give. Two sorts of things he 
hath required us to trust him for; things -notified by express, 
particular promises, and things only generally promised and 
known to us. 

We may know particularly that he will receive our departing 
souls, and justify them in judgment, and raise the dead, and all 
the rest particularly promised. And we know, in general, that we 
have a heavenly city and inheritance, and shall see God, and be 
with Christ in everlasting happiness^ loving and praising God with 
joy in the perfected, glorious church of Christ. All this, there- 
fore, we must explicitly believe. But it is little that we know 
distinctly of the consistence and operations of spirits and separated 
souls, as to a formal or modal conception : a great deal about the 
place, state, and mode, their acting, and fruition, is dark to us ; 
but none of it is dark to Christ: here, therefore, an implicit trust 
should not only bind and stop our selfish and over-bold inquiries, 
but also quiet and comfort the soul, as well as if ourselves 
knew all. 

O my soul, abhor and mortify thy selfish trust, and unbelieving 
thirst to have that knowledge of good and evil thyself, which is 
the prerogative of thy Lord and Savior. This was the sin that 
first defiled human nature, and brought calamity on the world. 
God hath set thee enough to learn ; know that, and thou knowest 
enough. If more were possible, it would be a perplexity and a 
snare, and he that increaseth such knowledge would increase sor- 
row ; but when it is both unprofitable and impossible, what a sin 
and folly it is to waste our time, and tire and deceive our minds, 
in long and troublesome searches after it, and then disquietly to 
murmur at God, and the Holy Scripture, and die with sad, distrust- 
ful fears, because we attain it not ; when all this while we should 
have understood, that this part of knowledge belongs to Christ, 
and the heavenly society, and not to sinful mortals here ; and that 
we have without it as much as may cause us to live and die in ho- 

#- 







APPENDIX. 



liness, safety, peace and joy, if we can but trust him who knoweth 
for us ! Christ perfectly kndweth what spirits are, and how they act, 
and whether they have any corporeal organ, or vehicle, or none; 
and what is the difference between Enoch and Elias, and those 
that left their bodies here, and what a resurrection will add to souls, 
find how it will be wrought, and when ; and what is meant by the 
thousand years' previous reign ; and who they be that shall dwell 
in the new earth, and how it will be renewed. All the dark pas- 
sages of Scripture and Providence ' he can perfectly resolve : he 
knoweth why God leaveth the far greatest part of the world in Sa- 
tan's slavery, darkness, and wickedness, and chooseth so few to 
real holiness ; and why he maketh not men such as he command- 
eth them to be ; and why he leaveth serious Christians to so much 
weakness, error, scandal, and division. These, and all other diffi- 
culties, are fully known to Christ. And it is not the child, but 
the father, that must know what food and clothing he should have, 
and the physician that must know what are the ingredients of his 
medicines, and why. 

Lord, open my eyes, then, to see what thou hast revealed ; and 
help me willingly to shut them to the rest ; and to believe and 
trust in thee for both ; not to stagger at thy sealed promises, nor 
selfishly to desire particular knowledge, which belongs not to me, 
as if I could trust myself, and my own knowledge, and not thine. 
Lord, teach me to follow thee, even in the dark, as quietly and con- 
fidently as in the light (having the general light of thy promise of 
felicity.) I knew not the mystery of thy conception, incarnation, 
or the way of the workings of thy Spirit on souls. No wonder if 
much of the resurrection and unseen world be above my reach ; 
much more that thy infinite majesty is incomprehensible to me : 
how little do the brutes that see me know of my thoughts or me ! 
I have no adequate knowledge of any one thing in the world, but 
somewhat of it is unknown. O, blessed be that love and grace that 
has given me a glorified Head in heaven, to know all for me 
which I know not : hear and trust him, living and departing, O 
my soul ! who hath told thee that we shall be with him where he 
is, and shall behold his glory ; and that a crown of salvation is laid 
up for us, and we shall reign with him, when we have conquered 
and suffered with him, and hath bid us live in joyful hope of our 
exceeding, eternal, heavenly reward, and at our death to commend 
our spirits into his hand : receive us, Lord, according to thy prom- 
ises. Amen. 

VOL. 11. >n 



SHORT MEDITATIONS 



ON 



ROMANS v. 15. 

OF THE 

SHEDDING ABROAD GOD'S LOVE ON THE HEART BY THE 
HOLY GHOST. 



EXPERIENCE of the want of this effusion 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 general 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, sanc- 
tify, and glorify his people. I have oft proved this justifying faith 
to be no less than our unfeigned taking Christ for our Savior, and 
becoming true Christians, according to the tenor of the baptismal 
covenant. 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, obeying trust. 

II. All true believers are justified ; even all that consent to the 
baptismal covenant, and choose God to be their God, and Christ 
to be their Savior, and the Holy Ghost to be their Sanctifier, and 
give up themselves to him by true resolution, as their only ruler, 
hope, "and happiness ; though this be done with so great weakness, 
as endeth not all doubts, nor quieteth the mind. 

To be justified is riot 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 favor unto life. 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 such by public sentence. 5. And to be 
used as such. 

Not justified by the law of innocency, or of Moses, but by 
Christ's law of grace. 

Not justified perfectly till the time of perfection. Much pun- 
ishment oil soul and body is yet to be taken off, and more sins dai- 
ly to be pardoned, and we, before the world, to be sentenced as 
just to life everlasting. 

III. The justified have peace with God. They are reconciled, 
and in a state of love and friendship. It signifieth mutual peace, 
but with great inequality. God's love and favor 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 possessed 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 be- 
liever as such ; as it is unnatural for a woman married to a faithful 
husband, to lie in terror thinking that he will kill her, or doth not 
love her ; or for a child to think the same of a loving 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 
Savior, to bring us by grace to glory ? And he that accepteth 
him as such, whereby he is justified, doth sure believe that he is 
offered as such ; for none can accept what he thinks not to be of- 
fered. 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, joyful state of soul, as pleasant health and mirth is 
to our natures. All our distrustful fears and griefs, and disquiet- 
ness of soul, are for want of more faith, as sickness and pain is for 
the want of vital causes of health. 

IV. Tin's peace with God is only " through our Lord Jesus 
Christ." Though it be a vain dream to think by justifying 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 righte- 
ousness, 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 conscience tell 
us that we are unfit for God's acceptance or communion immedi- 
ately, but must have a suitable Mediator. O, blessed be God for 
this suitable Mediator. Without him I dare not pray, I cannot 
hope, I dare not die ; God would else frown me away to misery. 
All the hope of pardon and salvation that I have ; all the access 



v?41 BAXTERS HYING THOIGHTS. 

to God, and the mercies and deliverances that I have received, 
have been by this Author and Finisher of our faith. Into his con- 
ducting hands I give my soul ; and into his preserving hands both 
soul and body ; and into his receiving hands 1 commend my de- 
parting soul. 

V. 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 marriage 
that a woman hath right to her husband's estate and honors, and 
by inheritance that a child comes to his father's maintenance and 
land. This is no diminution 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 him, than to have given us 
life without a Christ ; (John iii. 16. 1 John v. 10 12.) as God 
is, never the less, the giver of light to the earth, for giving it them 
by the sun. Second causes diminish not the honor of the first. 

VI. "And rejoice in hope of the glory of God." 1. The bea- 
tifical object " the glory of God." 2. The beatifical act "re- 
joice." 3. The mediate, causing act " hope." All presuppos- 
ing faith and justification. 

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 joyful praise, &c. 

Though some foretastes are here, it is yet said to be hoped for ; 
and we hope for that which is not seen. When 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 from the cause by which we hope to obtain it. 

Hope doth not necessarily imply either certainty or uncertainty. 
It may stand with both in various degrees. 

Rejoicing is made by God the very naturally-desired state of the 
soul. It is, when natural, the pleasant efflorescence 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. Appetite, or will, is 
the active principle ; and congruous good or delectable is the ob- 
ject. The world is undone by the seduction of false, deceitful 
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 desire 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 sep- 
arated. 

What have I to rejoice in, if this hoped-for glory be not my 
joy ? All things else are dying to me ; and God himself 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, should all my thoughts and labor 
aim at more, as to myself, than to hope for and foretaste this glory ? 
No sin lieth heavier on me than that my hopes of glory raise 
me to no higher joy ; and that the great weakness of my faith ap- 
peareth by such dull thoughts of glory, or by withdrawing fears. 
Sure there is enough in the glory of God, soundly believed and 
hoped for, to make a man rejoice in pain and weakness, and to 
make him long to be with Christ. 1 rive not according to the na- 
ture of Christianity, if I live not as in peace with God, and in the 
joyful hopes of promised glory. 

VII. " Not only so, but we glory in tribulation." 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 rejoice, in hope of glory, though we glory 
not of them. O, 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 preaching 
Christ when men forbid me, how joyfully might I undergo 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 experi- 
ence, 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 our- 
selves, and the vanity of creatures, had we wanted, if we had not 
waited in a suffering state ; alas ! how many experiences have 1 
forgotten ! 

X. " And experience, hope." A bare promise should give us 
hope ; but we are still distrustful of ourselves, and of all the clear- 
est evidences, till experience help us and set all home. O, what 



> 

24G IJAXTER'S UYING THOUGHTS. 

an advantage hath a Christian of great and long experience for his 
hope and joy ! And yet when notable experiences of God's prov 
idence are past and gone, an unbelieving heart is ready to ques- 
tion, whether the things came not by mere natural course ; and, 
like the Israelites 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 disappointed. 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 it is 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 greatest 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. What 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. 

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 Christians. 

2. Herein the Holy Ghost makes us perceive the exceeding de- 
sirableness 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 assurance. 

6. Then the thoughts of God's love are pleasant to the soul, and 
give it such delight as we feel in the love and fruition 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 ! 



APPENDIX. 247 

Th;s presupposeth, 1. Knowledge of God and the gospel. 2. 
True belief, and hope. 3. A sincere and fruitful life. 4. Morti- 
fication as to idol, worldly vanities. 5. A conviction of our sincer- 
ity 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 honor, all fleshly pleasure and long life, all learning and knowl- 
edge, are unworthy to be once compared : briefly, 

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 communion with 
the sun, and the flourishing earth enjoys its reviving heats. 

3. It is that which all lower grace doth tend to, as childhood 
doth to manhood : and what is a world of infants, comparatively, 
good for? 

4. It is that which most properly answereth the design of re- 
demption, 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 bondage 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 pleasure that man is capable of on earth. 
All men would have quieting and constant pleasure ; and it is to 
be found in nothing else but the effused love of God. 

7. It is that which will make every burden light, and all afflic- 
tion easy : when the sense of God's love is still upon the soul, 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 suffering; his love will sweeten all. 

8. It will overcome abundance of temptations, whioh no men's 
wit, or learning, or knowledge of the words of Scripture will over- 
come. 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 duties. 
When 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 heart, and excites 
and increaseth the comfort it comes from. O, who can be back- 



S48 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

ward to draw near to God in prayer or meditation, who tasteth the 
sweetness of his love! This is religion indeed, and tells us what 
its life, and use, and glory is. This is the true walking with God in 
the best degree. 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 it is that putteth the sweetest relish on nil 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 
1 more of this, 1 should lie down, and rise, and walk, in pleasure and 
content. I could bear the loss of other things; and though nature 
will feel pains, I should have pleasure 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. 

There is no dying 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 dis- 
tinct idea of its future 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 joyfully, as trusting him ; as a child will go any whither in 
his father's poxver and hand. 

But all the knowledge in the world without this quiets not a de- 
parting 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 com- 
forted 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 desire. 
And the common fear of death which we see in the far greater 
part even of godly persons doth tell us, that though they may have 
saving desires and hopes, yet this sense of God's love on the heart 
is rare. 

What wonder, then, if our language, our converse, our prayers, 
have too little savor of it, and, in comparison of joyful believers' 
duties, be but like green apples to the mellow ones. 

My God, I feel what it is that I want, and I perceive what it is 
that is most desirable : O, let not guilt be so far unpardoned as 
to deprive my soul of this greatest good, which thou hast commend- 
ed to me, and commanded, and which, in my languishing and 
pains, I so much need ! Did I beg for wealth or honor, 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- 






APPENDIX. 249 

light for my enjoying 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 loving-kindness is better than life ; but if I taste it not, 
how shall I here rejoice in God, or bear my heavy burdens ? 

0. let me not be a dishonor to thy family, where all have so great 
cause to honor thy bounty by their 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 believe and admire thy greatness, and 
thy knowledge. Let it not be so hard to me to believe and taste 
thy goodness and thy love, which is as necessary to me. 

If there be any thing (as surely there is) in which the divine 
nature and spirit of adoption consisteth, as above all the art and 
notions of religion, which are but like to other acquired 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 loving inclination to man; which differenceth 
a Christian from other men, as a child differs towards his father, 
from strangers, or from common neighbors. Till the love of God 
be the very state and nature of the soul, (working here towards 
his honor, interests, word, and servants,) no man can say that he 
is God's habitation by the Spirit ; and how the heart will ever be 
thus habited, without believing 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 be- 
loved 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 almost 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 saving souls by Christ and grace, is it that con- 
straineth them to be holy ; that is, to be devoted to that God 
in love. 

ii. 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 illu- 
minated, and the vegetables live without the sun. But all the 
approaches of the Holy Spirit suffice not to produce this great ef- 
fect, and give us the divine, holy nature. 

The same sunshine hath three different effects on its objects. 

1. On most things, as houses, stones, earth, it causeth nothing 
but accidents of heat, color, and motion. 

2. On some things it causeth a seminal disposition to vegeta- 
ble life, but not life itself. 

VOL. n. 32 





250 BAXTER'S UVING THOUGHTS. 

3. In this disposed matter it causeth vegetable life itself. 

So doth the Spirit of God, 1 . operate on millions but lifeless ac 
cidents, as the sun on a stone wall. 2. On others dispose and 
prepare them to divine life. 3. On others so disposed it effecteth 
the divine life itself, when holy love is turned into a habit like to 
pature. 

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 amiableness of God, 
till illuminated ; nor can give us a satisfactory 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. 

3. Nature is under penal sufferings already ; and feeleth pain, 
fear, and many hurts, and foreseeth death ; and under this is un- 
disposed, of itself, to feel the pleasure of God's love. 

4. Nature 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 from that enmity. 

Diligence may do much to get religious knowledge, and words, 
and all that which I call the art of religion ; and God may bless 
this as a preparation to holy life and love. But till the soul's ap- 
petite incline, with desire, to God and holiness, divine things will 
not sweetly relish. 

And this is a great comfort to the thoughts of the sanctified, 
that certainly their holy appetite, desire, and complacency, is the 
work of the Holy Ghost. For, 1. this secureth 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 liveth, even 
by the Spirit, which is his seal and pledge. 3. And it proveth 
both a future life and their title to it ; for God rnaketh not all this 
preparation for it by his Spirit in vain. 

But alas ! if it were not a work that hath great impediment, it 
would not be so rare in the world. What is it in us, that keepeth 
the sun of love from 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 unknown 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 causal order, 






APPENDIX. 



and one work prepareth for another ; and he inaketh variety of 
capacities, which occasioa 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 heart is un- 
disposed, and is not in the next disposition thereto ; and abused free- 
will hath been the cause .of that. That we have grace, is to be as- 
cribed to God : that we are without it, is to be ascribed to ourselves. 

1. Heinous guilt of former sin may keep a soul much without 
the delights of divine love ; and the heinousness is not only in the 
greatness of the evil done, materially, but oft in our long and will- 
ful committing of smaller sins, against knowledge, and conscience, 
and consideration. The Spirit thus grieved by hardened hearts, 
and willful repulses, is not quickly and easily a Comforter to such 
a soul ; and when the sinner doth repent, it leaveth him more in un- 
certainty 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 willful sinning prepare for ! 

2. And sins of omissions have here a great part. The sweet- 
ness of God's love is a reward which slothful servants are unmeet 
for. It follows a " Well done, good and faithful 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 from hell will not do this. 

He that will taste these divine 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 from the 
flesh, and worldly vanity. 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 fan- 
cies can master us into obedience, or vain desires of meat, drink, 
recreation, dwelling, &tc., the soul loseth its appetite to things 
divine ; 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 







252 BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 

Christians found the mortification of the fleshly lusts a great ad- 
vantage 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 slight and ignorant thoughts of Christ, 
and the wondrous workings of God's love in him. 

6. And especially if our belief itself once shake, or be not well 
and firmly founded. 

7. And our slight thoughts of the office and work of the Holy 
Ghost on souls, and our necessity of it, and our not begging and 
waiting for the Spirit's special help. 

8. And lastly, our unfaithful forgetfulness of manifold experi- 
ences and testimonies of his love, which should still be as fresh 
before us. 

Alas ! my soul, thou feelest thy defect, and knowest the hin- 
drance, but what hope is there of remedy ? Will God ever raise 
so low, so dull, so guilty a heart, to such a foretaste of glory, as 
is this effusion 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 
from night and winter, than a soul thus revived with the love of 
God doth differ from an unbelieving, formal soul. 

Though this great 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 in vain. Were my own heart obedient to my commands, 
all these following I would lay upon it; yea, I will do it, and 
beg the help of God. 

1. I charge thee, think not of God's goodness and love, as un- 
proportionable to his greatness and his knowledge ; nor overlook, 
in the whole frame of heaven and earth, the manifestation of one 
any more than of the other. 

2. 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 peculiar privileges of the churches draw thee to deny or con- 
temn God's common mercies unto all. 

3. I charge thee to make the study of Christ, and the great 
work of man's redemption by him, thy chiefest learning, and most 
serious and constant work ; and in that wonderful 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. 

4. O, see that thy repentance for former sins against knowledge, 
and conscience, and the motions of God's Spirit, be sound, and 
thoroughly lamented and abhorred, how small soever the matter 



APPE D1X. 



was in itself; that so the doubt of thy sincerity keep not up doubt? 
of God's acceptance. 

5. Let thy dependence on the Holy Ghost, as given from 
Christ, be henceforth as serious and constant to thee as is the de- 
pendence 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. 

6. O, never forget the many and great experiences thou hast 
had, these almost sixty years observed, of marvelous favor and 
providence of God, for soul and body, in every time, place, con- 
dition, relation, company, or change, thou hast been in! Lose 
not all these love-tokens of thy Father, while thou art begging 
more. 

7. 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. 

8. Let all thy sure notices of a future life, and of the com- 
munion we have here with those above, draw thee to think that 
the great 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 Savior, Sanctifier, and prom- 
ise, that thou hast ; and therefore they are as pledges of felicity to 
thee. Thou hast joyfully lived with many of them here ; and is 
it not better to be with them there ? It is only the state of glory 
foreseen by faith, which most fully showeth us the greatness of 
God's love. 

9. Exercise thyself in psalms of praise, and daily magnify the 
love of God, that the due mention of it may warm and raise thy 
love to him. 

10. Receive all temptations against divine love with hatred and 
repulse, especially temptations to unbelief; and as thou wouldest 
abhor a temptation to murder, or perjury, or any other heinous sin, 
as much abhor all temptations that would hide God's goodness, or 
represent him to thee as an enemy, or unlovely. 

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 weakness, are still distrustful of themselves, and 
doubt of all their apprehensions, till overpowering objects and in- 
fluences satisfy and 6x them. For this my soul, with daily long- 
ing, 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 r 
near thou art, and hast been to me, while I perceived it not.' 



BAXTERS DYING THOUGHTS. 

* 

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 without this it will not be done. 

This would turn the fears of death into joyful hopes of future 
life. If my God will thus warm my heart with his love, it will 
have these following effects in this matter : 

1. Love longeth for union, or nearness, and fruition ; and it 
would make my soul long after God in glorious presence. 

2. This would 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 
will give light and heat, and revive the frozen earth ; nor that a 
father will show kindness to his 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 honor ? 

3. This effusion of divine love would answer my doubts of the 
pardon of sin : I should not find it hard to believe that love itself, 
which hath given us a Savior, will forgive a soul that truly repent- 
eth, and hates his sin, and giveth up himself to Christ for justifica- 
tion. It is hard to believe that a tyrant will forgive, but not that a 
father will pardon a returning prodigal son. 

4. This effusion of divine love will answer my fears, which arise 
from 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 nor cast out a child for weakness, crying or un- 
cleanness : divine love will accept and cherish even weak faith, 
weak prayer, and weak obedience and patience, which are sin- 
$ere. 

5. This effused love would confute temptations that are drawn 
from thy afflictions, and make thee believe that they are not so 
bad as flesh representeth them : it would understand 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 fruit of righteousness : it would teach 
us to believe that God in very faithfulness doth afflict us; and 
that it is a good sign that the God of Love intendeth a better life 
for his beloved, 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. 






APPENDIX. 255 



6. Were love thus shed on the heart by the Holy Ghost, it 
would give me a livelier apprehension of the state of blessedness 
which all the faithful now enjoy : I should delightfully think of 
them as living in the joyful love of God, 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 lov- 
ing 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 crea- 
tion, 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 per- 
fect lovers : they would not silence thee from praising God in their 
assembly : tyrants, 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 life, and even themselves and all. Full loath would one 
of those spirits be to dwell again among blind Sodomites, and mad, 
self-damning malignants upon earth. 

7. Yea, this effused love will teach us to gather the glory of 
the blessed from the common mercies of this life : doth God give 
his distracted, malignant 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 life, sense, delight, 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 bet- 
ter, hereafter, because brutes have not, but perish. But they 
know not how erroneously they think. The sensible 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 
nearly for himself. Brutes have not faculties to know and love 
God, to meditate on him, or praise him, or, by moral agency, to 
obey his precepts; they desire not any higher felicity than they 
have: God will have us use their service, yea, then* 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 annihila- 
tion, and it is like they are in a state still of service unto man : 



256 BAXTER'S DYIMG THOUGHTS. 

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 king- 
doms answerable to these here, where the spirits of brutes are in 
the like subjection, in aerial bodies, to those low, rational spirits 
that inhabit the aerial regions, as in flesh they were to man in 
flesh. But it is enough for us that God hath given us faculties 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. Every 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, 
will give his servants that heavenly delight in the fullness of his 
love and praise, and mutual, joyful 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 further measures which I want and long for, 
and which my pained, languid state much needs, and which would 
raise my joyful hopes of glory, I wait, I beg, from day to day. O, 
give me now, at the door of heaven, some fuller taste of the heaven- 
ly felicity : 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 glory of God. 



TRUE CHRISTIANITY; 



CHRIST'S ABSOLUTE DOMINION, 



AND 



MAN'S NECESSARY SELF-RESIGNATION AND 
SUBJECTION. 

IN TWO ASSIZE SERMONS, PREACHED AT WORCESTER. 



" For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might 
be Lord both of the dead and the living." ROM. xiv. 9. 

" But those mine enemies which would not that I should reign over 
them, bring hither, and slay them before me." LUKE xix. 27. 



VOL. ii. 33 



TO THE 



RIGHT HONORABLE SERJEANT GLYN, 

NOW JUDGE OF ASSIZE IN THIS CIRCUIT. 



MY LORD, 

COULD ray excuse have satisfied you, this sermon had been 
confined to the auditory it was prepared for. I cannot expect 
that it should find that candor and favor with every reader, as it 
did with the hearers. Wheji it must speak to all, the guilty will 
hear, and then it will gall. Innocency is patient in hearing a re- 
proof, and charitable in the interpretation ; but guilt will smart and 
quarrel, and usually make a fault in him that findeth one in them. 
Yet I confess this is but a poor justification of his silence that hath 
a call to speak. Both my calling and this sermon would condemn 
me, if, on such grounds, I should draw back ; but my backwardness 
was caused by the reason which I then tendered your lordship as 
my excuse, viz. because here is nothing but what is common, and 
that it is in as common and homely a dress. And I hope we 
need not fear that our labors are dead, unless the press shall give 
them life. We bring not sermons to church, as we do a corpse 
for a burial. If there be life in them, and life in the hearers, the 
connaturality will cause such an amicable closure, that through the 
-reception, retention, and operation of the soul, they will be the 
immortal seed of a life everlasting. But yet, seeing the press hath 
a louder voice than mine, and the matter in hand is of such ex- 
ceeding necessity, I shall not refuse, upon such an invitation, to 
be a remembrancer to the world of a doctrine and duty of such 
high concernment, though they have heard it ever so oft before. 
Seeing, therefore, I must present that now to your eyes, which I 
lately presented to your ears, I shall take the boldness to add one 
word of application in this epistle, which I thought not seasonable 
to mention in the first delivery, and that shall be to your lordship, 
and all others in your present case, that are elected members of 
this expected Parliament. Be sure to remember the interest of 
your Sovereign, the great Lord-protector of heaven and earth. 
And as ever you will make him a comfortable account of your 



TO THE R1CHT HON. SERJEANT GU5fN. 

power, abilities and opportunities of serving him, see .that you pre- 
fer his interest before your own, or any man's on earth. If you 
go not thither, as sent by him, with a firm resolution tc serve him 
first, you were better sit at home. Forget not that he hath laid 
claim to you, and to all that you have, and all that you can do. 
I am bold, .vith all possible earnestness, to entreat you, yea, as 
Christ's minister, to require you, in his name, to study and remem- 
ber his business and interest, and see that it have the chief place 
in all your consultations. Watch against the encroachments of 
your own carnal interests ; consult not with flesh and blood, nor 
give it the hearing when it shall offer you its advice. How sub- 
tilly will it insinuate ! How importunately will it urge you ! How 
certainly will it mar all, if you do not constantly and resolvedly 
watch ! O, how hard, but how happy is it to conquer this carnal 
self! Remember, still, that you are not your own ; that you have 
an unseen Master that must be pleased, whoever be displeased, 
and an unseen kingdom to be obtained, and an invisible soul that 
must be saved, though all the world be lost. Fix your eyes still 
on him that made and redeemed you, and upon the ultimate end 
of your Christian race, and do nothing, willfully, unworthy such a 
master, and such an end. Often renew your self-resignation, and 
devote yourself to him ; sit close at his work, and be sure that it 
be his, both in the matter and in your intent. If conscience should 
at any time ask, 'Whose work are you now doing?' or a man 
should pluck you by the sleeve, and say, ' Sir, whose cause are you 
now pleading ? ' see that you have the answer of a Christian at 
hand : delay not God's work till you have done your own, or any 
one's else. You will best secure the commonwealth, and your own 
interest, by looking first to his. By neglecting this, and being 
carnally wise, we have wheeled about so long in the wilderness, 
and lost those advantages against the powers of darkness, which 
we know not whether we shall ever recover again. It is the great 
astonishment of sober men, and not the least reproach that ever 
was cast on our holy profession, to think with what a zeal for the 
work of Christ men seemed to be animated in the beginning of 
our disagreements, and how deeply they did engage themselves to 
him in solemn vows, protestations, and covenants, and what ad- 
vantages carnal self hath since got, and turned the stream another 
way ! So that the same men have since been the instruments of 
our calamity, in breaking in pieces and dishonoring the churches 
of Christ, yea, and gone so near to the taking down, as much as 
in them lay, the whole ministry that stand approved in the land. 
O, do not, by trifling, give advantage to the tempter to destroy 
your work and you together ! Take warning by the sad experi- 
ences of what is past ; bestir you speedily and vigorously for Christ, 



TO THE RIGHT HON. SERJEANT M.\ \. X*6l 

as knowing your opposition, and the shortness of your time. ; Bless- 
ed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh. shall find so 
doing.' If you ask me wherein this interest of Christ doth con- 
sist, I shall tell you, but in a few unquestionable particulars. 

1. Jn the main, that truth, godliness, and honesty be countenanced 
and encouraged ; and their contraries, by all fit means, suppressed. 

2. In order to this, that unworthy men be removed from magistra- 
cy and ministry, and the places supplied with the fittest that can 
be had. 3. That a competent maintenance may be procured 
where it is wanting, especially for cities and great towns, where 
more teachers are so necessary, in some proportion to the number 
of souls, and on which the country doth so much depend. Shall 
an age of such high pretenses to reformation and zeal for the 
churches, alienate so much, and then leave them destitute, and say, 
it cannot be had ? 4. That right means be used, with speed and 
diligence, for the healing of our divisions, and the uniting of all 
the true churches of Christ at last, in these nations; and O that 
your endeavors might be extended much further ! To which end, 
I shall mention but these two means, of most evident necessi- 
ty. 1. That there be one Scripture creed, or confession of faith, 
agreed on by a general assembly of able ministers, duly and freely 
chosen hereunto, which shall contain nothing but matter of evident 
necessity and verity. This will serve, 1. For a test to the church- 
es to discern the sound professors from the unsound, (as to their 
doctrine,) and to know them with whom they may close as breth- 
ren, and whom they must reject. 2. For a test to the magistrate 
of the orthodox to be encouraged, and of the intolerably heterodox, 
\vhich, it seems, is intended in the 37th article of the late formed 
government, where all that will have liberty must profess faith in 
God by Jesus Christ, which, in a Christian sense, must compre- 
hend every true fundamental article of our faith ; aad, no doubt, it 
is not the bare speaking of those words in an unchristian sense that 
is intended ; as if a ranter should say, that himself is God, and his 
mate is Jesus Christ. 

2. That there be a public establishment of the necessary liberty 
of the churches, to meet their officers and delegates on all just oc- 
casions, in assemblies smaller or greater, (even national, when it is 
necessary,) seeing, without associations and communion in assem- 
blies, the unity and concord of the churches is not like to be main- 
tained. I exclude not the magistrates' interest, or oversight, to 
see that they do not transgress their bounds. As you love Christ, 
and his church and gospel, and men's souls, neglect not these un- 
questionable points of his interest, and make them your first and 
chietest business, and let none be preferred before him until you 
know them to be of snore authority over you, and better friends 



TO Till; R[C,HT HON. SERJEANT GLYN. 

to you than Christ is. Should there be any among you that cher- 
ish a secret root of infidelity, after such pretenses to the purest 
Christianity, and are jealous of Christ lest he should overtop 
them, and do set up an interest inconsistent with his sovereignty, 
and, thereupon, grow jealous of the liberties and power of his min- 
isters, and of the unity and strength of his church, and think it 
their best policy to keep under his ministers, by hindering them 
from the exercise of their office, and to foment divisions, and hin- 
der our union, that they may have parties ready to serve their 
ends ; I would not be in the case of such men, when God ariseth 
to judge them, for all the crowns and kingdoms on earth ! If they 
stumble on this stone, it will break them in pieces, but if it fall 
upon them, it will grind them to powder. They may seem to 
prevail against him awhile, when their supposed success is but a 
prosperous self-destroying : but mark the end, when his wrath is 
kindled, yea, but a little, and when these, his enemies, that would 
not he should reign over them, are brought forth and destroyed 
before him, then they will be convinced of the folly of their re- 
bellion. In the mean time, let wisdom be justified of her children. 

My lord, I had not troubled you with so many words, had I not 
judged it probable that many more whom they concern may pe- 
ruse them. 

I remain, your Lordship's servant in the work of Christ, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 

August 5, 1654. 



A SERMON 



ABSOLUTE DOMINION OF GOD-REDEEMER; 



THE NECESSITY OF BEING DEVOTED AND LIVING 
TO HIM. 

PREACHED BEFORE THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF ASSIZE 
AT WORCESTER, AUGUST 2, 1654. 



1 COR. vi. 19, 20. 

AND YE ARE NOT YOUR OWN, FOR YE ARE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE ; 
THEREFORE GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY, AND IN YOUR SPIRIT, 
WHICH ARE GOD'S. 

FUNDAMENTALS in religion are the life of the superstructure. 
Like the vitals and naturals in the body, which are first necessary 
for themselves and you also, for the quickening and nourishing of 
the rest ; there being no life or growth of the inferior parts, but 
what they do receive from the powers of these : it is but a dead 
discourse, which is not animated by these greater truths, whatever 
the bulk of its materials may consist of. The frequent repetition, 
therefore, of these, is as excusable as frequent preaching ; and they 
that nauseate it as loathsome battology, do love novelty better 
than verity, and playing with words to please the fancy, rather 
than closing with Christ to save the soul. And as it is the chief 
part of the cure, in most external maladies, to corroborate the vital 
and natural powers, which then will do the work themselves, so it 
is the most effectual course for the cure of particular miscarriages 
in men's lives, to further the main work of grace upon their hearts. 
Could we make men better Christians, it would do much to make 
them better magistrates, counsellors, jurors, witnesses, subjects, 
neighbors, &c. And this must be done by the deeper impress of 
those vital truths and the good in them exhibited, which are ade- 
quate objects of our vital graces. Could we help you to wind up 




264 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION" 

the spring of faith, and so move the first wheel of Christian love, 
we should find it the readiest and surest means to move the inferior 
wheels of duty. The flaws and irregular motions without do show 
that something is amiss within, which, if we could rectify, we might 
the easier mend the rest. I shall suppose, therefore, that I need no 
more apology for choosing such a subject at such a season as this, 
than for bringing bread to a feast. And if I medicate the brain and 
heart, for the curing of senseless paralytic members, or the inor- 
dinate convulsive motions of any hearers, I have the warrant of the 
apostle's example in my text. Among other great enormities in 
the church of Corinth, he had these three to reprehend and heal : 
First, their sidings and divisions, occasioned by some factious, self- 
seeking teachers. Secondly, their personal contentions by law- 
suits, and that before unbelieving judges. Thirdly, the foul sin of 
fornication, wJiich some among them had fallen into. The great 
cure which hi useth to all these, and more especially to the last, 
is the urging of these great foundation truths, whereof one is in the 
words before my text, viz. the right of the Holy Ghost ; the other, 
in the words of my text, which contains, first, a denial of any right 
of propriety in themselves. Secondly, an asserting of Christ's pro- 
priety in them. Thirdly, the prooY of this from his purchase, 
which is his title. Fourthly, their duty, concluded from the for- 
mer premises, which is to glorify God, and that with the whole 
man, with the spirit, because God is a Spirit, and loathes hypocri- 
sy ; with the body, which is particularly mentioned, because it 
seems they were encouraged to fornicJftk>n by such conceits, that 
it was but an act of the flesh, and not of the mind, and, therefore, 
as they thought, the smaller sin. The apostle's words, from last to 
first, according to the order of intention, do express, first, man's 
duty to glorify God with soul and body, and not to serve our lusts. 
Secondly, the great fundamental obligation to this duty, God's do- 
minion or propriety. Thirdly, the foundation of that dominion, 
Christ's purchase. According to the order of execution, from first 
to last, these three great fundamentals of our religion" lie thus : 
First, Christ's purchase. Secondly, God's propriety thence aris- 
ing. Thirdly, man's duty wholly to glorify God, arising from 
both. The argument lies thus : they that are not their own, but 
wholly God's, should wholly glorify God, and not serve their lusts ; 
but you are not your own, but wholly God's ; therefore you should 
wholly glorify God, and not serve your lusts. The major is clear 
by the common light of nature. Every one should have the use 
of their own. The minor is proved thus : they that are bought . 
with a price, are not their own, but his that bought them ; but you 
are bought with a price ; therefore, &c. For the meaning of the 
terms briefly ; J ou7wv, -vcstri, as the vulgar ; vestri juris, as Beza 



OF GOD-RE J-lKKMER. 265 

and others, is most fitly expressed by our English, your own : " ye 
are bought : " a "synecdoche generis" saith Piscator, for " ye are 
redeemed with a price." There is no buying without a price. 
This, therefore, is an emphatical pleonasmus, as Beza, Piscator,' 
and others; as to see with the eyes, to hear with the ears. Or 
else, " a price " is put for " a great price," as Calvin, Peter Mar- 
tyr, and Piscator, rather think : and, therefore, the yulgate adds 
the epithet magno, and the Arabic pretioso, as Beza notes, as 
agreeing to that of 1 Peter i. 18. I see not but we may suppose 
the apostle to respect both the purchase and the greatness of the 
price, as Grotius and some others do. " Glorify God," that is, 
by using your bodies and souls wholly for him, and abstaining from 
those lusts which do dishonor him. The vulgate adds et portate, 
q. d. bear God about in your hearts, and let his Spirit dwell with 
you instead of lust. But this addition is contrary to all our Greek 
copies. Grotius thinks that some copies had uombv 6i-6i' } and 
thence some unskillful scribe did put re : however, it seems 
that reading was very ancient, when not only Austin, but Cyprian 
and Tertullian followed it, as Beza noteth. The last words, " And 
in your spirit, which are God's," are out of all the old Latin trans- 
lations, and, therefore, it is like out of the Greek, which they used : 
but they are in all the present Greek copies, except our manuscript, 
as also in the Syriac and Arabic version. 

The rest of the explication shall follow the doctrines, which 
are these : 40* 

Doct. 1. [We are bought with a price.] 

Doct. 2. Because we are so bought, we are not our own, but 
his that bought us. 

Doct. 3. Because we are not our own, but wholly God's, there- 
fore we must not serve our lusts, but glorify him in the body and 
spirit. In these three conclusions is the substance of the text ; 
which I shall first explain, and then make application of them in 
that order as the apostle here doth. 

The points that need explication are these : 

First. In what sense are we said to be bought with a price? 
Who bought us ? And of whom ? And from what ? And with 
what price? 

Secondly. How we are God's own upon the title of this pur- 
chase. 

Thirdly. How we are not our own. 

Fourthly. What it is to glorify God in body and in spirit on this 
account. 

Fifthly. Who they be that, on this ground, are, or may be, 
urged to this duty. 

VOL. ii. 34 




THE ABSOLLTK DOMINION 

1. For the first of these, whether buying here be taken properly 
or metaphorically I will not now inquire. 

First. Mankind, by sin, became'guilty of death, liable to God's 
wrath, and a slave to Satan, and his own lusts. The sentence in 
part was past, and execution begun : the rest would have followed, 
if not prevented. This is the bondage from which we were 
redeemed, 

Secondly. He that redeemed us is the Son of God himself 
God and man, and the Father by the Son. "He purchased us 
with his own blood ; " Acts xx. 28. 

Thirdly. The price was the whole humiliation of Christ ; in 
the first act whereof, his incarnation, the Godhead was alone, which, 
by humbling itself, did suffer reputatively. which could not really. 
In the rest, the whole person was the sufferer, but still the human 
nature really, and the divine but reputatively. And why we may 
not add, as part of the price, the merit of that obedience wherein 
his suffering did not consist, I yet see not. But from whom were 
we redeemed ? 

Answer. From Satan, by rescue against his will ; from God's 
wrath or vindictive justice, by his own procurement and consent. 
He substituted for us such a sacrifice, by which he could as fully 
attain the ends of his righteous government, in the demonstration 
of his justice and hatred of sin, as if the sinner had suffered him- 
self; and, in this sound sense, it is far from being an absurdity, as 
the Socinian dreameth, for God to satis^&iys own justice, or to buy 
us of himself, or redeem us from himself. 

2. Next, let us consider how we are God's upon the title of 
this purchase. By " God," here is meant both the Son, who, be- 
ing God, hath procured a right in us by his redemption, and also 
the Father, who sent his Son, and redeemed us by him, and to 
whom it was that the Son redeemed us. " Thou hast redeemed 
us to God by thy blood ; " Rev. v. 9. In one word, it is God as 
Redeemer, the manhood also of the second person included, that 
hath purchased this right. Here you must observe that God, as 
Creator, had a plenary right of propriety and government, on which 
he founded the law of works that then was. This right he hath 
not lost. Our fall did lose our right in him, but could not destroy 
his right in us. Because it destroyed our right, therefore the 
promissory part of that law was immediately thereupon dissolved, 
or ceased, through our incapacity, and therefore divines say that, 
as a covenant, it ceased; but because it destroyed not God's right, 
therefore the preceptive and penal parts of that law do still re- 
main. But how remain ? In their being ; but not alone, or with- 
out remedy ; for the Son of God became a sacrifice in our stead ; 



OF OOD-.REDEEMER. 367 

not that we might absolutely, immediately, or, ipso facto, be fully 
delivered, or that any man should, ab ipsa hostia, from the very 
sacrifice as made, have a right to the great benefits of personal, 
plenary reconciliation, and remission, and everlasting life; but that 
the necessity of perishing through the dissatisfaction of justice for 
the alone offenses against the law of works being removed from 
mankind, they might all be delivered up to him as proprietary and 
rector, that he might. rule them as his redeemed ones, and make 
for them such new laws of grace, for the conveyances of his ben- 
efits, as might demonstrate the wisdom and mercy of our Redeem- 
er, and be most suitable to his ends. The world is now morally 
dead in sin, though naturally alive. Christ hath redeemed them, 
but will cure them by the actual conveyance of the benefits of 
redemption, or not at all. He hath undertaken to this end him- 
self to be their physician, to cure all that will come to him and 
take him so to be, and trust him and obey him in the application 
of his medicines. He hath erected an hospital, his church, to 
this end, and commanded all to come into this ark. Those that 
are far distant he first commandeth to come nearer, and those that 
are near he inviteth to come in. Too many do refuse, and perish 
in their refusal. He will not suffer all to do so, but mercifully 
boweth the wills of his elect, and, by an insuperable, powerful 
drawing, compels them to come in. You may see, then, that here 
is a novumjus, et dominii, et imperil, a new right of propriety and 
rule, founded on the ne^Jjottom of redemption ; but that this doth 
not destroy the old, wmcri was founded on creation ; but it is in 
the very nature and use of it an emendative addition. Redemp- 
tion is to mend the creature, not of any defect that was left in the 
creation, but from the ruin which came by our defacing transgres- 
sion. The law of grace upon this redemption is superadded to 
the law of nature given on the creation ; not to amend any imper- 
fections in that law, but to save the sinner from its insufferable 
penalty by dissolving its obligation of him thereto ; and thus, in its 
nature and use, it is a remedying law. And so you may see that 
Christ is now the owner, and, by right, the governor of the whole 
world, on the title of redemption, as God before was, and still is, 
on the title of creation. 

3. By this you may also perceive in what sense we are not our 
own. In the strictest sense, there is no proprietary, or absolute 
Lord, in the world, but God. No man can say this is fully and 
strictly mine. God gives us, indeed, whatever we enjoy ; but 
his giving is not as man's. We part with our propriety in that 
which we give, but God gives nothing so. His giving to us makes 
it not the less his own. As a man giveth his goods to his neighbor 
to dispose of for his use, or instruments to his servant to do his work 



26,8 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

with, so God giveth his benefits to us ; or, at the utmost, as you 
give clothes to your child, which are more yours still than his, 
and you may take them away at your pleasure. I confess, when 
God hath told us that he will not take them away, he is, as it were, 
obliged, in fidelity, to continue them, but yet doth not, hereby, let 
go his propriety : and so Christ bids us call no man on earth fa- 
ther ; that is, our absolute lord or ruler, because we have but one 
such master, who is in heaven ; Matt, xxiii. 7 10. So that you 
see, by this, what propriety is left us, and what right we have to 
ourselves and our possessions. Even such, as a steward in his 
master's goods, or a servant in his tools, or a child in his coat, 
which is a propriety, improper, subordinate, and secundum quid, 
and will secure us against the usurpation of another. One ser- 
vant may not take his fellow's instrument from him, nor one child 
his brother's coat from him, without the parent's or master's con- 
sent. They have them for their use, though not the full proprie- 
ty. It may be called a propriety, in respect to our fellow-ser- 
vant, though it be not properly so as we stand in respect to God. 
We have right enough to confute the leveler, but not to exempt 
either us or ours from the claim and use of our absolute Lord. 

4. What is it to glorify God in body and spirit ? I answer, in 
a word, it is when, upon true believing apprehensions of his right 
to us, and of our great obligations to him as our Redeemer, we 
heartily and unfeignedly devote ourselves to him, and live as a 
people so devoted ; so bending the^chief jjur care and study how 
to please him in exact obedience, that tn^giory of his mercy and 
holiness, and of his wise and righteous laws, may be seen in our 
conversations ; and that the holy conformity of our lives to these 
laws may show that there is like conformity in our minds, and that 
they are written in our hearts ; when the excellency of the Chris- 
tian religion is so apparent in the excellency of our lives, causing 
us to do that which no others can imitate, that the lustre of our 
good works may shine before men, and cause them to glorify our 
Father in heaven. To conclude : when we still respect God as 
our only absolute sovereign, and Christ as our Redeemer, and his 
Spirit as our sanctifier, and his law as our rule ; that the doing of 
his will, and the denying of our own, is the daily work of our 
lives, and the promoting of his blessed ends is our end ; this is the 
glorifying of God, who hath redeemed us. 

5. The last question is, Who they be that are and may be urg- 
ed to glorify God, on this ground, that he hath bought them? 
Doubtless only those whom he hath bought ; but who are those ? 
It discourageth me to tell you, because, among the godly, it is a 
controversy ; but if they will controvert points of such great mo- 
ment, they cannot disoblige or excuse us from preaching them. 



* 



OF UOD-REPEEMER. 

Among the variety of men's opinions, it is safe to speak in the lan- 
guage of the Holy Ghost, and accordingly to believe that, " As, 
by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condem- 
nation; even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came 
upon all men, to justification of life ; " (Rom. v. 18.) and " That 
he gave himself a ransom for all, and is the only mediator between 
God and man ;" (1 Tim. ii. 5, 6.) " That he is the propitiation 
for our sins ; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole 
world ; " (I John ii. 2.) " That God is the Savior of all men, es- 
pecially or those that believe; " (1 Tim. iv. 10.) "That he is the 
Savior of the world ;" (John iv. 42. 1 John iv. 14, 15.) "That 
he tasteth death for every man ; " (Heb. ii. 9.) with many the like. 
It is sad to consider how men's unskillfulness to reconcile God's 
general grace with his special, and to assign to each its proper part, 
hath made the Pelagians, and their successors, to deny the special 
grace ; and too many of late, no less dangerously, to deny the gen- 
eral grace ; and what contentions these two erroneous parties have 
maintained, and still maintain, in the church, and how few observe 
or follow that true and sober mean which Austin, the maul of the 
Pelagians, and his scholars, Prosper and Fulgentius, walked in ! 
If, when our dark, confused heads are unable to assign each 
truth its place, and rightly to order each wheel and pin in the ad- 
mirable fabric of God's revelations, we shall, therefore, fall a wran- 
gling against them, and reject them ; we may then be drawn to 
blaspheme the Trinity, ^jftect Christ's human nature, or his di- 
vine ; and what truth shall we not be in danger to lose ? To think 
this general grace to be inconsistent with the special is no wiser 
than to think the foundation inconsistent with the fabric that is 
built thereupon ; and that the builders themselves should have such 
thoughts is a matter of compassionate consideration to the friends 
of the church. Doubtless Christ died not for all alike, nor with 
equal intentions of saving them ; and yet he hath borne the sins 
of all men on the cross, and was a sacrifice, propitiation, and ran- 
som for all. Even they that bring in damnable heresies, deny the 
Lord that bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction ; 
2 Peter ii. 1. "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn 
the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He 
that believeth on him is not condemned ; but he that believeth not 
is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name 
of the only-begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, 
that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather 
than light, because their deeds were evil; " John iii. 17 19. I 
doubt not but my text doth warrant me to tell you all, that you 
are not your own, but are bought with a price, and, therefore, must 
glorify him that bought you ; and I am very confident that if any 



270 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 







one at judgment will be the advocate of an unbeliever, and say, he 
deserves not a sorer punishment for sinning against the Lord that 
bought him, his plea will not be taken; or if any such would com- 
fort the consciences in hell, or go about to cure them of so much 
of their torment, by telling them that they never sinned against 
one that redeemed them, nor ever rejected the blood of Christ 
shed for them, and, therefore, need not accuse themselves of any 
such sin, those poor sinners would not be able to believe them. 
If it be only the elect with whom we must thus argue, ' You are 
not your own ; you are bought with a price ; therefore, glglifo God ; ' 
then can we truly plead thus with none till we know'^trMn to be 
elect, which will not be in this world. I do not think Paul knew 
them all to be elect that he wrote to, I mean, absolutely chosen to 
salvation ; nor do I think he would so peremptorily affirm them to 
be bought with a pijce, who were fornicators, defrauders, conten- 
tious, drunk at tlie*ljord's supper, &c., and from hence have ar- 
gued against their sins, if he had taken this for a privilege proper 
to the elect. I had rather say to scandalous sinners, ' You are 
bought with a price ; therefore glorify God ; ''than, ' You are abso- 
lutely elect to salvation; therefore, glorify God.' And I believe 
that, as it is the sin of apostates to " crucify to themselves the 
Son of God afresh," (Heb. vi. 5, 6.) so is it their misery, that 
" there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful 
looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour 
the adversaries, because they have trojttMa under foot the Son of 
God, and counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith they were 
sanctified, an unholy thing ; " Heb. x. 26 28. Lastly, I judge 
it also a good argument to draw us from offending others, and oc- 
casioning their sin, that " through us our weak brother shall per- 
ish, for whom Christ died;" 1 Cor. viii. 11. So much for ex- 
plication. 

I would next proceed to the corrfirmation of the doctrines here 
contained, but that they are so clear in the text, and in many 
others, that I think it next to needless, and we have now no time 
for needless work, and, therefore, shall only cite these two or three 
texts, which confirm almost all that I have said together: (Rom. 
xiv. 9.) "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, 
that he might be Lord both of the dead and living;" (2 Cor. v. 
14, 15.) "We thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all 
dead ; and that he died for all, that they which live should not 
henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, 
and rose again ; " (Matt, xxviii. 18 20.) " All power is given me in 
heaven and in earth. Go ye, therefore, disciple all nations, baptiz- 
ing them, &ic., teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have, 
commanded you;" (1 Peter i. 17,18.) " If ye call on the Father, 






Olr' GOD-REDEE.MER. 271 

who, without respect of persons, judgeth every man according to his 
works, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear ; forasmuch 
as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible tilings, as 
silver and gold, from your vain conversation, but with the precious 
blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot." 
These texts speak to the same purpose with that which 1 have 
in hand. 

Use. In applying, these very useful truths, \vould time permit, 
I should begin at the intellect, with a confutation of divers contrary 
errors, and a collection of many observable consectaries. It would 
go better with all the commonwealths and princes on earth, if they 
well considered that the absolute propriety and sovereignty of God- 
Redeemer is the basis of all lawful societies and governments ; and 
that no man hath any absolute propriety, but only the use of the 
talents that God doth intrust him with ; that the sovereignty of 
the creature is but analogical, secundum quid ; Improper, and sub- 
ordinate to God, the proper sovereign ; that it Belongs to him to 
appoint his inferior officers ; that there is no power but from God ; 
and that he giveth none against himself; that a theocracy is 
the government that must be desired and submitted to, whether 
the subordinate part be monarchical, aristocratical, or democratical ; 
and the rejecting of this was the Israelites' sin in choosing them a 
king ; that it is still possible and necessary to live under this the- 
ocracy, though the administration be not by such extraordinary 
means as among the Israelites ; that all human laws are but by- 
laws, subordinate to G^jk How far his laws must take place in 
all governments. How lar those laws of men are, ipso facto, null, 
that are unquestionably destructive of the laws of God : how far 
they that are not their own, may give authority to others ; and 
what aspect these principles have upon liberty in that latitude as it is 
taken by some ; and upon the authority of the multitude, especial- 
ly in church government. Should I stand on these and other the 
like consequents, which these fundamentals in hand might lead us 
to discuss, I should prevent that more seasonable application which 
I intend, and, perhaps, be thought, in some of them, to meddle 
beyond my bounds. I will only say, that God is the first and the 
last in our ethics and politics, as well as in our physics ; that, as 
there is no creature which he made not, so it is no good right of 
property or government which he, some way, gives not ; that all 
commonwealths, not built on this foundation, are as castles in the 
air, or as children's tottering structures, which, in the very fram- 
ing, are prepared for their ruin, and, strictly, are no commonwealths 
at all ; and those governors, that rule not more for God than for 
themselves, shall be dealt with as traitors to the universal sove- 



THK ABSOLUTE DOMINION 



reign. Thus far, at least, must our politics be divine, unless we 
will be mere confederate rebels. 

But it is yet a closer application which I intend. Though we 
are not our own, yet every man's welfare should be so dear to him- 
self, that, methinks, every man of you should presently inquire how 
far you are concerned in the business which we have in hand. I 
will tell you how far. The case here describedys all our own. 
We are bought with a price, and, therefore, nm our own, and, 
therefore, must live to him that bought us. We must do it, or 
else we violate our allegiance, and are traitors to our Redeemer. 
We must do it, or else we shall perish as despisers of his blood. 
It is no matter of indifferency, nor a duty which may be dispensed 
with. That God is our owner by creation and redemption, and who 
doth hitherto keep our souls in these bodies, by whose mere will 
and power you are all here alive before him this day, will shortly 
call you before his bar, where these matters will be more seriously 
and searchingly inquired after. The great question of the day 
will then be this, Whether you have been heartily devoted to your 
Redeemer, and lived to him ; or to your carnal selves. Upon the 
resolution of this question your everlasting salvation or damnation 
will depend. What think you, then ? Should not this question 
be now put home by every rational hearer to his own heart ? But 
I suppose some will say, There is no man that wholly lives to God, 
for all are sinners ; how, tlTen, can our salvation depend so much 
on this ? I answer, in a word : Though no man pay God all that 
he oweth him, yet no man shall be sai^d that giveth him not the 
preeminence : he will own none as true subjects that do not cor- 
dially own him in his sovereignty. Be it known to you all, there 
shall not a man of you enter into his kingdom, nor ever see his 
face in peace, that giveth him not the chiefest room in your hearts, 
and maketh not his work your chiefest business. He will be no 
underling, or servant to your flesh. He will be served with the 
best, if he cannot have all. And in this sense is it, that I say the 
question will be put, in that great day, by the Judge of all, wheth- 
er God or our carnal selves were preferred. And whether we 
lived to him that bought us, or to our flesh. Beloved hearers, I 
will ask you whether you, indeed, believe that there will be such 
a day. I will take it for granted, while you call yourselves Chris- 
tians, much less will I question whether you would then be saved 
or condemned. JNature will not suffer you to be willing of such a 
misery, though corruption make you too willing of the cause. 
But the common stupidity of the world doth persuade me to ask 
you this, whether you think it meet that men who must be so 
solemnly examined upon this point, and whose life or death de- 






OF GOU-KEDEEMCK. 273 

pends on the decision, should not examine themselves on it before- 
hand, and well consider what answer they must then make ? And 
whether any pains can be too grealjn so needful a work ; and 
whether he that miscarrieth to save a^ibor, do not madly betray 
his soul unto perdition ? As if such rational diligence were worse 
than hell, or his present cainal ease were more desirable than his 
salvation. Leteus, then, rouse up ourselves, brethren, in the fear 
of God, and mKe this a day of judgment to ourselves. Let us 
know whether we are children of life or death. O, how can a 
man that is well in his wits enjoy with any comfort the things of 
this world, before he know, at least it) probability, what he shall 
enjoy in the next! How can men go cheerfully up and down 
about the business of this life, before they have faithfully labored 
to make sure that it shall go well with them in the life to come ! 
That we may now know this without deceit, let us all, as in the 
presence of the living God, lay bare ouv hearts, examine them, and 
judge them, by this portion of his word, according to the evidence. 

7. Whoever he be that takes not himself for his own, but lives 
to his Redeemer, he is one that hath found himself really undone, 
and hath unfeignedly confessed the forfeiture of his salvation ; and, 
finding that redemption haih been made by Christ, and that there 
is hope and life to be had in him, and none but him, as he gladly 
receives the tidjngs, so he cheerfully acknowledgeth the right of 
his Redeemer, and in a sober, deliberate, and voluntary covenant, 
renounceth the world, the flesh, and the devil, and resigneth up 
himself to Christ as his d^e. He saith, ' Lord, I have too long 
served thine enemies and mine own ; by cleaving to myself, and 
forsaking God, I have lost both myself and God : wilt thou be 
my Savior, and the physician of my soul, and wash me with thy 
blood, and repair the ruins of my soul by thy Spirit, and I am 
willing to be thine ; I yield up myself to the conduct of thy grace, 
to be saved in thy way, and fitted for thy service, and live to God, 
from whom I have revolted.' This is the case of all that are 
sincere. 

By many Scriptures, we might quickly confirm this, if it were 
liable to question. " If any man come to me, and hate not his 
father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren and sis- 
ters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple ; and 
whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be 
my disciple ; Luke xiv. 26, 27. So verse 33 : " Whosoever he 
be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my dis- 
ciple." Which is expounded, Matt. x. 37 : " He that loveth father 
or mother more than me, is not worthy of me." " If any man 
will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, 
and follow me. For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it ; 
VOL. ii. 35 



271 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

and whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it ; " Matt. 
xvi. 24. " Whom have I in heaven but thee ? and there is none 
upon earth that I desire bjeides thee;" Psalm Ixxiii. 25 27. 
" The Lord is the portion ormine inheritance," &c. ; Psalm xvi. 
5. Moses refused honor, and chose "rather to suffer affliction 
with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a 
season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater Jtehes than the 
treasures of Egypt ; for he had respect to the relwnpense of the 
reward ; " Heb. xi. 24 26. I forbear citing more, the case being 
so evident, that God is set highest in the heart of every sound 
believer, they being in covenant resigned to him as his own. On 
the contrary, most of the unsanctified are Christians but in name, 
because they were educated to this profession, and it is the com- 
mon religion of the country where they live, and they hear none 
make question of it, or if they do, it is to their own disgrace, the 
name of Christ having got this advantage, to be every where 
among us well spoken of, even by those that shall perish for neg- 
lecting him and his laws. These men have resigned their names 
to Christ, but reserved their hearts to flesh-pleasing vanities. Or, 
if under conviction and terror of conscience, they do make any 
resignation of their souls to Christ, it comes short of the true resig- 
nation of the sanctified in these particulars. 

1. It is a firm and rooted belief of the gospel, which is the cause 
of sincere resignation to Christ. They are so fully persuaded of 
the truth of those things which Christ hath done, and promised to 
do hereafter, that they will venture all that they have in this 
world, and their souls, and their everlasting state upon it. Whereas 
the belief of self-deceivers is only superficial, staggering, not rooted, 
and will not carry them to such adventures ; Matt. xiii. 21 23. 

2. Sincere self-resignation is accompanied with such a love to 
him that we are devoted to, which overtoppeth (as to the rational 
part) all other love. The s'oul hath a prevailing complacency 
in God, and closeth with him as its chiefest good ; Psalm Ixxiii. 
25 ; and Ixiii. 3. But the unsanctified have no such complacen- 
cy in him ; they would fain please him by their flatteries, lest he 
should do them any hurt ; but might they enjoy but the pleasures 
of this world, they could be well content to live without him. 

3. Sincere self-resignation is a departing from our carnal selves, 
and all creatures as they stand in competition with Christ for our 
hearts ; and so it containeth a crucifying of the flesh, and mortifica- 
tion of all its lusts; Gal. v. 24; Rom. viii. 1 14. There is 
a hearty renouncing of former contradictory interest and delights, 
that Christ may be set highest and chiefly delighted in. But self- 
deceivers are never truly mortified when they seem to devote them- 
selves mo^t seriously to Christ : there is a contrary prevailing in- 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 275 

terest in their minds ; their fleshly felicity is nearer to their hearts, 
and this world is never unfeignedly renounced. 

4. Sincere self-resignation is resolvml upon deliberation, and not 
a rash, inconsiderate promise, which W afterwards reversed. The 
illuminated see that perfection in God, that vanity in the creature, 
that desirable sufficiency in Christ, and emptiness in themselves, 
that they finofc resolve to cast themselves on him, and be his 
alone ; and tho^h they cannot please him as they would, they will 
die before they will change their Master; but with self-deceivers 
it is not thus. 

5. Sincere resignation is absolute and unreserved ; such do not 
capitulate and condition with Christ, ' I will be thine so far, and no 
further, so thou wilt but save my estate, or credit, or life.' But 
self-deceivers have ever such reserves in their hearts, though they 
do not express them, nor, perhaps, themselves discern them. 
They have secret limitations, expressions, and conditions ; they 
have ever a salve for their worldly safety or felicity, and will rath- 
er venture upon a threatened misery which they see not, though 
everlastingly, than upon a certain temporary misery which they 
see. These deep reserves are the soul of hypocrisy. 

6. Sincere self-resignation is fixed and habituate : it is not forced 
by a moving sermon, or a dangerous sickness, and then forgot- 
ten and laid aside ; but it is become a fixed habit in the soul. It 
is otherwise with self-deceivers : though they will oblige them- 
selves to Christ with vows, in a time of fear and danger, yet so 
loose is the knot, that when the danger seems over, their bonds 
fall off. It is one thing to be affrighted, and another to have the 
heart quite changed and renewed. It is one thing to hire ourselves 
with a master in our necessities, and yet serve ourselves, or run 
away, and another thing to nail our ears to his door, and say, ' I 
love thee, and therefore will not depart.' 

So much for the first mark of one that lives not as his own, hut 
as God's, to wit, sincere self-resignation. The second is this. 

2. As the heart is thus devoted to God, so also is the life, where 
men do truly take themselves for his. And that will appear in 
these three particulars : 

1. The principal study and care of such men is how to please 
God, and promote his interest, and do his work. This is it that 
they most seriously mind and contrive. Their own felicity they 
seek in this way; 1 Cor. vii. 32. 30. Rom. vi. 11. 13. 16. 
Col. i. 10. and iii. 13. Phil. i. 20, 21. 24. It is not so with the 
unsanctified: they drive on another design. Their own work is 
principally minded, and their carnal interest preferred to Christ's* 
They live to the flesh, and make orovision for it, to satisfy its de- 
sires; Rom. xiii. 14. 



THF. ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

2. It is the chiefest delight of a man devoted to God to see 
Christ's interest prosper and prevail. It doth him more good to 
see the church flourish, tjw gospel succeed, the souls of men 
brought in to God, and all things fitted to his blessed pleasure, 
than it would do him to prosper himself in the world ; to do good 
to men's bodies, much more to their souls, is more pleasing to him 
than to be honorable or rich. To give is sweeter|fc) him than to 
receive. His own matters he respects as lower tnmgs, that come 
not so near his heart as God's. But with the unsanctified it is not 
so: their prosperity and honors are most of their delight, and the 
absence of them their greatest trouble. 

3. With a man that is truly devoted to God, the interest of 
Christ doth bear down all contradicting interest in the ordinary 
course of his life. As his own unrighteous righteousness, so his 
own renounced carnal interest is loss and dung to him in compar- 
ison of Christ's ; Phil. iii. 8, 9. He cannot take himself to be 
a loser by that which is gain to the souls of men, and tendeth 
to promote the interest of his Lord. He serveth God with the 
first and best, and lets his own work stand by till Christ's be done, 
or rather owneth none but Christ's, his own dishonor being lighter 
to him than Christ's, and a ruined estate less grievous than a ruined 
church ; therefore doth he first seek God's kingdom and its righte- 
ousness, (Matt. vi. 33.) and chooseth rather to neglect his flesh, 
his gain, his friends, his life, than the cause and work of Christ. 
It is far otherwise with the unsanctified : they will contentedly give 
Christ the most glorious titles, and full-mouthed commendations, 
(Luke vi. 46.) but they have one that is nearer their hearts than 
he : their carnal self must sway the sceptre. God shall have all 
that the flesh can spare : if he will be content to be served with its 
leavings, they will serve him ; if not, they must be excused ; they 
can allow him no more. The trying time is the parting time, 
when God or the world must needs be neglected. In such a strait, 
the righteous are still righteous; Rev. xxii. 11. But the un- 
steadfast in the covenant do manifest their unsteadfastness, and 
though they will not part with Christ professedly, nor without some 
witty distinctions and evasions, nor without great sorrow, and pre- 
tense of continued fidelity, yet part they will, and shift for them- 
selves, and hold that they have as long as they can ; Luke xviii. 
23. In a word, the sanctified are heartily devoted to God, and 
live to him ; and were they incapable of serving or enjoying him, 
their lives vtfould afford them little content, whatever else they did 
possess. But the unsanctified are more strongly addicted to their 
flesh, and live to their carnal selves ; and might they securely en- 
joy the pleasures of this world, they could easily spare the fruition 
of God, and could be as willing to be dispensed with for his spir- 



OF GOD-HEDEEMER. 



itual service, as to perform it. And thus I have given you the true 
description of those that live to their Redeemer, as being not their 
own, and those that live to themselves, as if they were not his that 
bought them. 

Having thus told you what the word saith, it followeth that we 
next inquire what your hearts say. You hear what you must be : 
will you now con^der what you are ? Are all the people that hear 
me this day devored in heart and life to their Redeemer ? Do 
you all live as Christ's, and not your own ? If so. I must needs say it 
is an extraordinary assembly, and such as I had never the happiness 
to know. O that it were so indeed ! that we might rejoice togeth- 
er, and magnify our Deliverer, instead of reprehending you, or la- 
menting your unhappiness ! But, alas ! we are not such strangers 
in the world as to be guilty of such a groundless judgment. Let 
us inquire more particularly into the case. 

1. Are those so sincerely devoted to Christ? And do they so 
deny themselves, whose daily thoughts, and care, and labor, is, 
how they may live in more reputation and content, and may be 
better provided for the satisfying of their flesh ? If they be low 
and poor, and their condition is displeasing to them, their greatest 
care is to repair it to their minds : if they be higher, and more 
wealthy, their business is to keep it, or increase it, that hunt after 
honor, and thirst after a thriving and more plenteous state ; that 
can stretch their consciences to the size of all times, and humor 
those that they think may advance them, and be most humble ser- 
vants to those above them, and contemptuously neglect whosoever 
is below them ; that will put their hands to the feet of those that 
they hope to rise by, and put their feet on the necks of their sub- 
dued adversaries, and trample upon all that stand in their way ; 
that applaud not men for their honesty, but their worldly honors ; 
and will magnify that man, while he is capable of advancing them, 
whom they would have scorned, if Providence had laid him in the 
dust ; that are friends to all that befriend their interests and designs, 
and enemies to the most upright that cross them in their course ; 
that love not men so much because they love God, as because they 
love them. Are these devoted to God or to themselves ? Is it 
for God, or themselves, that men so industriously scramble for 
honors, and places of government, or of gain ? Will they use their 
offices or honors for God, that hunt after them as a prey, as if 
they had not burden enough already, nor talents enough to answer 
for neglecting ? Are those men devoted to God, that can tread 
down his most unquestionable interest on earth, when it seems .to 
be inconsistent with their own ? Let the gospel go down ; let the 
church be broken in pieces ; let sound doctrine be despised, the 
ministers be hindered, or tried with vexations ; let the souls of peo- 



THS XB80LUTK DOMINION 

pie sink or swim, rather than they should be hindered in the way 
of ambition ! I shall leave it to the trial of another day, whether all 
the public actions of this age, with their effects, have been for God or 
for self. This doth not belong to my examination, but to his that 
will thoroughly perform it ere long, and search these matters to the 
quick, and open them to the world. There were never higher 
pretenses for God in an age than have been in this : had there been 
but answerable intentions and performances, his affairs and our own 
had been in much better case than they are ; but enough of this. 
Should we descend to men's particular families and conversations, 
we should find the matter little better with the most. Are they 
all for God that follow the world so eagerly, that they cannot spare 
him a serious thought ? An hour's time for his worship in their 
families, or in secret ? That will see that their own work be done ; 
but for the souls of those that are committed to their charge, they 
regard them not ? Let them be ever so ignorant, they will not in- 
struct them, nor cause them to read the word, or learn a catechism ; 
nor will spend the Lord's peculiar day in such exercises; and 
it is much if they hinder not those that would. Is it for God 
that men give up their hearts to this world, so that they cannot 
have once a day, or week, to think soberly what they must do in 
the next ? Or how they may be ready for their great approaching 
change. Is it for God that men despise his ministers, reject his 
word, abhor reformation, scorn a church government, and deride 
the persons that are addicted to his fear, and the families that call 
upon his name ? These men will shortly understand a little better 
than now they will do, whether, indeed, they live to God or to 
themselves. 

2. If you are devoted to God, what do you for him ? Is it his 
business that you mind ? How much of your time do you spend 
for him ? How much of your speech is for him ? How much of 
your estates yearly is serviceable to his interest ? Let conscience 
speak, whether he have your studies and affections; let your fami- 
lies be witnesses whether he have your speeches and best endeav- 
ors ; let the church witness what you have done for it ; and the poor 
witness what you have done for them ; and the souls of ignorant and 
ungodly men what you have done for them. Show by the work 
you have done whom you have lived to, God or your carnal selves. 
If, indeed, you have lived to God, something will be seen that you 
have done for him ; nay, it is not a something that will serve the 
turn ; it must be the best. Remember that it is by your works 
that you shall be judged, and not by your pretenses, professions, 
or compliments : your Judge already knows your case ; he needs 
no witnesses ; he will not be mocked with saying you are for him : 
show it, or saying it, will not serve. 



OF COD-REDEEMER. 279 

Methinks, now, the consciences of some of you should prevent 
me, and preach over the sharper part of the sermon to yourselves, 
and say, ' I am the man that have lived to myself,' and so consider 
of the consequence of such a life ; but I will leave this to your med- 
itation, when you go home, and next proceed to the exhortative 
part of application. 

Men, brethren, and fathers, the business that I come hither upon 
is to proclaim God's right to you, and all that is yours, even his 
new right of redemption, supposing that of creation ; and to let 
you know, that you are all bought with a price, and therefore are 
not your own, but his that bought you, and must accordingly be 
dedicated and live to him. Honorable and Worshipful, and all 
men, of what degree soever, I do here, on the behalf and in the 
name of Christ, lay claim to you all, to your souls and bodies, to 
all your faculties, abilities, and interests, on the title of redemption : 
all is God's. Do you acknowledge his title, and consent unto his 
claim? What say you ? Are you his, or are you not ? Dare you 
deny it? If any man dare be so bold, I am here ready to make 
good the claim of Christ. If you dare not deny it, we must take it 
as confessed. Bear witness, all, that God laid claim to you and yours, 
and no man durst deny his title. I do next, therefore, require you, 
and command you, in his name, give him his own ; render to God the 
things that are God's. Will you this day renounce your carnal 
selves, and freely confess you are not your own ; and cheerfully 
and unreservedly resign yourselves to God, and say, as Jos. xxiv. 
15., " As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord ? " Do 
not ask what God will do with you, or how he will use you, or 
dispose of you. Trust him for that and obey his will. Fear 
not evil from the chiefest good, unless it be in neglecting or resist- 
ing him. Be sure of it, God will use you better than Satan would, 
or than this world would, or better than you have used, or would 
use yourselves. He will not employ you in dishonorable drudge- 
ries, and then dash you in pieces. He will not seduce you with 
swinish sensualities, and keep you in play with childish vanities, till 
you drop into damnation before you are aware ; nor will he lull 
you asleep in presumptuous security, till you unexpectedly awake 
in unquenchable fire. You need not fear such dealing as this from 
him : " His commandments are not grievous ; " 1 John v. 3. 
" His yoke is easy, his burden is light, and tendeth to the perfect 
rest of the soul ; " Matt. xi. 28 30. What say you ? Will you 
hereafter be his, unfeignedly his? Resolvedly, unreservedly, and 
constantly his? Or will you not take heed, " that you refuse not 
him that speaketh ; " Heb. xii. 25. Reject not, neglect not this 
offer, lest you never have another on the like terms again. He is 
willing to pardon all that is past, and put up with all the wrongs 



280 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

that you have done him, so you will but repent of them ; and now 
at last be heartily and entirely his ; not only in tongue, but in deed 
and life. Well, I have proclaimed God's right to you ; I have 
offered you his gracious acceptance: if yet you demur, or sleepily 
neglect it, or obstinately resist him, take that you get by it ; re- 
member you perish not without warning. The confession of 
Christ's right, which this day you have been forced to, shall remain 
as on record, to the confusion of your faces ; and you shall then 
be forced to remember, though you had rather forget it, what now 
you are forced to confess, though you had rather you could deny 
it. But I am loath to leave you to this prognostic, or to part on 
terms so sad to your souls, and sad to me. I will add, therefore, 
some reasons to persuade you to submit ; and though it be not in 
my power to follow them so to your hearts as to make them effec- 
tual, yet I shall do my part in propounding them, and leave them 
to God to set them home, beseeching him that maketh, new mak- 
eth, openeth, and softeneth hearts at his pleasure, to do these bless- 
ed works on yours, and to persuade you within, while I a*m per- 
suading you without, that I may not lose my labor and my hopes, 
nor you your souls, nor God his due. 

1. Consider the fullness of God's right to you: no creature is 
capable of the like. He made you of nothing, and, therefore, you 
have nothing which is not his. He redeemed you when you were 
fallen to worse than nothing. Had not Christ ransomed you by 
being a sacrifice for your sin, you had been hopelessly left to ever- 
lasting perdition. Give him, therefore, his own, which he hath so 
dearly bought ; 1 Pet. i. 18. 

2. Consider that you have no right of propriety to yourselves ; 
if you have, how carne you by it? Did you make yourselves? 
Did you redeem yourselves ? Do you maintain and preserve your- 
selves ? If you are your own, tell God you will not be beholden 
to him for his preservation. Why cannot you preserve yourselves 
in health, if you are your own? Why cannot you recover your- 
selves from sickness? Is it yourselves that gives power to your 
food to nourish you ? to the earth to bear you, and furnish you 
with necessaries ? to the air to cool and recreate your spirits ? If 
you are your own, save yourselves from sickness and death ; keep 
back your age ; deliver your souls from the wrath of God ; answer 
his pure justice for your own sins ; never plead the blood of a Re- 
deemer, if you are your own. If you can do these things, I will 
yield that you are your own. But no man can ransom his soul 
from death ; it cost a dearer price than so; Acts xx. 28. You 
are not debtors, therefore, to the flesh, to live after it, (Rom. viii. 
12.) but to him that died, to subdue the flesh ; Rom. vi. 11. 

3. None else can claim any title to youy^further than under God 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 281 

upon his gift. Men did not create you or redeem you. " Be not, 
therefore, the servants of men," (1 Cor. vii. 23 ) unless it be under 
Christ, and for him. Certainly Satan did not create you or re- 
deem you : what right, then, hath he, to you, that he should be 
served ? 

4. Seeing, then, that you are God's, and his alone, is it not the 
most heinous thievery to rob him of his right? If they must be 
hanged that rob men of so small a thing as earthly necessaries, 
wherein they have but an improper derived propriety, what tor- 
ments do those deserve "that rob God of so precious a creature, 
that cost him so dear, and might be so useful, and wherein he hath 
so full and unquestionable propriety ? The greatest, the richest, and 
wisest men that are trusted with most, are the greatest robbers on 
earth, if they live not to God, and shall have the greatest pun- 
ishment. 

5. Is it not incomparably more honorable to be God's than to be 
your ewn; and to live to him than to yourselves? The object 
and end doth nobilitate the act, and thereby the agent. It is more 
honorable to serve a prince than a ploughman. That man that 
least seeks his own honor or carnal interest, but most freely denieth 
it, and most entirely seeks the honor of God, is the most highly 
honored with God and good men, when self-seekers defraud them- 
selves of their hopes. Most men think vilely, or at least suspi- 
ciously, of that man that seeks for honor to himself; they think if 
the matter were combustible, he need not to blow the fire so hard ; 
if he were worthy of honor, his vvorth would attract it by a sweet 
magnetic power : so much industry, they think, is the most proba- 
ble mark of indignity, and of some consciousness of it in the 
seeker's breast. If he attain some of his ends, men are ready to 
look on his honor but as alms, which he was fain to beg for before 
he got it. And could he make shift to ascend the throne, so much, 
in the eyes of the wisest men, would be detracted from his honor, 
as they did believe himself to have a hand in contriving it, quod 
sequiturfugio, &,c. They honor him more that refuseth a crown 
when it is offered, than him that ambitiously aspireth* after it, or 
rapaciously apprehendeth it. If they see a man much desire their 
applause, they think he needeth it rather than deserveth it. Sol- 
omon saith, " To search their own glory is not glory ; " Prov. 
xxv. 27. 

6. You can never have a better master than God, nor yet a 
sweeter employment than his service. There is nothing in him 
that may be the least discouragement to you, nor in his works that 
should be distasteful. The reason why the world thinks otherwise, 
is because of the distempered averseness of their souls. A sick 
stomach is no fit judge of the pleasantness of meats. To live to 
VOL. n. 36 



282 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

God, is to live to the truest and highest delights. His kingdom is 
not in meats and drinks, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the 
Holy Ghost. His servants, indeed, are often troubled; but ask 
them the reason, and they will quickly tell you that it is not for 
being his servants, or for serving him too much ; but for fear lest 
they are not his servants, or for serving him no better. It is not 
in his ways, or at least not for them, that they meet with their per- 
plexities, but in stepping out of them, and wandering in their own. 
Many, besides the servants of God, do seek felicity and satis- 
faction to their minds, and some discover where it lieth ; but 
only they attain it, and enjoy it. 

But, on the contrary, he hath an ill master that is ruled by him- 
self. A master that is blind, and proud, and passionate, that will 
lead you unto precipices, and thence deject you ; that will most 
effectually ruin you when he thinks he is doing you the greatest 
good ; whose work is bad, and his wages no better ; that feedeth 
his servants in plenty but as swine, and in the day of famine de- 
nieth them the husks. Whatever you may now imagine while 
you are distracted with sensuality, I dare say, if ever God bring 
you to yourselves, you will consider that it is better to be in your 
Father's house, where the poorest servant hath bread enough, 
than to be fed with dreams and pictures, and to perish with hunger. 
Reject not God till you have found a better master. 

7. If you will needs be your own, and seek yourselves, you 
disengage God from dealing with you as his in a gracious sense. If 
you will not trust him, nor venture yourselves upon his promise 
and conduct, but will shift for yourselves, then look to yourselves 
as well as you can ; save yourselves in danger, cure your own dis- 
eases, quiet your own consciences, grapple with death in your own 
strength, plead your own cause in judgment, and save yourselves 
from hell if you can ; and when you have done, go and boast of 
your own sufficiency and achievements, and tell men how little 
you were beholden to Christ. Wo to you, if, upon these provo- 
cations, God should give you over to provide for yourselves, and 
leave you without any other salvation than your own power is able 
to effect. Mark the connection of this sin and punishment in Deut. 
xxxii. 18 20. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, 
and hast forgotten God that formed thee. And when the Lord 
saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his sons and 
of his daughters; and he said, " I will hide my face from them, I 
will see what their end shall be." As if he should say, I will see 
how well they can save themselves, and make them know by ex- 
perience their own insufficiency. 

8. Those men that seek themselves, and live to themselves, 
and not to God. are unfaithful and treacherous both to God and 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 



man. As they neglect God in prosperity, so they do but flatter 
him in adversity ; Psalm Ixxviii. 3437. And he that will 
be false to God, whose interest in him is so absolute, is unlikely 
to be true to men, whose interest in him is infinitely less ; he 
that can shake off the great obligations of creation, redemption, 
preservation, and provision, which God layeth on him, is unlikely 
to be held by such slender obligations as he receives from men. I 
will never trust that man far, if I know him, that is false to his 
Redeemer. He that will sell his God, his Savior, his soul and 
heaven for a little sensuality, vain glory, or worldly wealth, I shall 
not wonder if he sell his best friend for a groat. Self-seeking 
men will take you for their friend no longer than you serve their 
turns ; but if once you need them, or stand in their way, you shall 
find what they esteemed you for. He that is in haste to be rich, 
and thereupon respecteth persons for a piece of bread, that man 
will transgress, saith Solomon; Prov. xxviii. 20, 21. 

9. Sanctification consisteth in your hearty resignation and living 
to God ; and, therefore, you are unsanctified if you are destitute 
of this. " Without holiness none shall see God ; " Heb. xii. 
14. And what is holiness but our sincere dedication and devoted- 
ness to God ? Being no longer common an,d unclean, but separa- 
ted in resolution, affection, and conversation, from the world and 
our carnal selves to him. It is the office of the Holy Ghost to 
work you to this ; and if you resist and refuse it, you do not sound- 
ly believe in the Holy Ghost, but, instead of believing in him, you 
fight against him. 

10. You are verbally devoted to Christ in solemn covenant, en- 
tered into in baptism, and frequently renewed in the Lord's sup- 
per, and at other seasons. Did you not there solemnly, by your 
parents, resign yourself to Christ as his ? And renounce the flesh, 
the world, and the devil, and promise to fight under Christ's ban- 
ner against them to your lives' end ? O happy person that per- 
formeth this covenant, and everlastingly miserable are they that 
do not. Fides non recepta, scd custodita vivificat, saith Cyprian. 
It is not covenant-making, without covenant-keeping, that is like 
to save you. Do you stand to the covenant that you made by 
your parents ? Or do you disclaim it ? If you disclaim it, you 
renounce your part in Christ, and his benefits in that covenant 
made over to you. If you stand to it, you must perform your 
promise, and live to God, to whom you were resigned. To take 
God's oath of allegiance so solemnly, and afterward to turn to his 
enemies which we renounced, is a rebellion that shall not be al- 
ways unrevenged. 

11. God's absolute dominion and sovereignty over us is the very 
foundation of all religion, even of that little which is found left 



*H4 



THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 



among infidels and pagans, much more evidently of the saving re- 
ligion of Christians. He that dare say he believeth not this, will 
never, sure, have the face to call himself a Christian. Is it not a 
matter of most sad consideration, that ever so many millions should 
think to be saved by a doctrine which they believe not, or by a reli- 
gion that never went deeper than the brain, and is openly contra- 
dicted by the tenor of their lives ? Is a true religion enough to 
save you, if you be not true to that religion ? How do men make 
shift to quiet their consciences in such gross hypocrisy ? Is there 
a man to be found in this congregation that will not confess that he 
is rightfully his Redeemer's ? But hath he indeed their hearts, 
their time, their strength, and their interest? Follow some of 
them from morning to night, and you shall not hear one serious 
word for Christ, nor see any serious endeavors for his interest ; and 
yet men will profess that they are his. How sad a case is it, that 
men's own confessions should condemn them, and that which they 
called their religion should judge them to that everlasting misery 
which they thought it would have saved them from ! And ho\v 
glorious would the Christian religion appear if men were true to it ; 
if Christ's doctrine had its full impression on their hearts, and were 
expressed in their livesj Is he not an excellent person that denieth 
himself, and doth all for God ? that goeth on no business but God's ? 
that searcheth out God's interest in every part of his calling and 
employment ; and intendeth that, " whether he eat or drink, or 
whatever he doth, doth all to the glory of God ; " (1 Cor. x. 31.) 
that can say, as Paul, " I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless 
I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me ? " (Gal. ii. 20.) and 
" What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ: 
yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of 
the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered 
the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win 
Christ ? " (Phil. iii. 7, 8.) and "For me to live is Christ, and to die 
is gain ? " Phil. i. 21. Perhaps you think that the degree of these 
examples is inimitable by us ; but I am sure all that will be saved 
must imitate them in the truth. 

12. Self-seeking is self-losing, and delivering up yourself, and 
all you have, to God, is the only way to save yourselves and to 
secure all. The more you are his, the more you are your own in- 
deed ; and the more you deliver to him, and expend for him, the 
greater is your gain. These paradoxes are familiar, tried truths to 
the true believer ; these are his daily food and exercise, which seem 
to others such scorpions, as they dare not touch, or such stones as 
they are not able to digest. He knoweth that self-humbling is the 
true self-exalting, and self-exalting is the infallible way to be brought 
low; Luke xiv. 11. and xviii. 14. Matt, xxiii. 12. He be- 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 285 

lieveth that there is a losing of life which saves it, and a saving of 
it which certainly loseth it ; Matt. x. 39. and xvi. 25. O that 
I could reach the hearts of self-seekers, that spend their care and 
time for their bodies, and live not unto God ! That I were but 
able to make them see the issue of their course, and what it would 
profit them to " win all the world and lose their own souls." O, 
all you busy men of this world, hearken to the proclamation of 
him that bought you " Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to 
the waters! Buy wine and milk without money and without 
price. Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not 
bread, and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken dil- 
igently to me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul de- 
light itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and corne unto me : hear, 
and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant 
with you ; " Isaiah Iv. 1 3. O, sirs, what a deal of care and 
labor do you lose ! How much more gainfully might your lives 
be improved ? Godliness with contentment " is the great gain ; " 
1 Tim. vi. 9. That which you now think you make your own, 
will shortly prove to be least your own ; and that is most lost which 
you so carefully labor for. You that are now so idly busy in gath- 
ering together the treasure of an ant-hillock, and building chil- 
dren's tottering piles, do you forget that the foot of death is coming 
to spurn it all abroad, and tread down you and it together ? You 
spend the day of life and visitation in painting your phantasies with 
the images of felicity, and in dressing yourselves, and feathering 
your nest with that which you impiously steal from God ; and do 
you forget that the night of blackness is at hand, when God will 
undress you of your temporary contents, and deplume you of all 
your borrowed bravery ? How easily, how speedily, how certainly 
will he do it ! Read over your case in Luke xii. 16 22. How 
can you make shift to read such texts, and not perceive that they 
speak to you ? When you are pulling down and building up, and 
contriving what to do with your fruits, and saying to yourselves, ' I 
have so much now as may serve me so many years ; I will take 
mine ease, eat, drink, and be merry ; ' remember, then, the con- 
clusion ; but God said unto him, "Thou fool, this night thy soul 
shall be required of thee. Then whose shall these things be 
which thou hast provided ? " So is he that layeth up treasure for 
himself, and is not rich towards God. ' Are these things yours or 
mine ? (saith God.) Whose are they ? If they are yours, keep 
them now if you can: either stay with them, or take them with 
you.' But God will make you know that they are hte, and dis- 
robe such men as thieves, who are adorned with that which is none 
of their own. ' This honor (saith God) is mine ; thou hast sto- 
len it from me : this wealth is mine ; this life, and all is mine ; ' 



286 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

only thyself he will not own. They shall require thy soul that 
have conquered and ruled it. Though it was his by the right of 
creation and redemption, yet, seeing it was not his by a free dedi- 
cation, he will not own it as to everlasting salvation, but say, " De- 
part from me ; I know you not, ye workers of iniquity ; " Matt. vii. 
23. O with what hearts, then, will self-seeking gentlemen part 
with their honors and estates, and the earthly-minded with their 
beloved possessions ! when he that resigned all.'to God, and de- 
voted himself and all to his service, shall find his consumed estate 
to be increased, his neglected honor abundantly repaired, and in 
this life he shall receive an hundred fold, and in the world to 
come eternal life ; Matt. x. 30. John iv. 56. 1 Tim. vi. 12. 19. 
13. Lastly ; consider, when judgment comes, inquiry will be 
made whether you have lived as your own, or as his that bought 
you. Then he will require his own with improvement ; Luke 
xix. 25. The great business of that day will be, not so much 
to search after particular sins, or duties, which were contrary to 
the scope of heart and life, but to know whether you lived to 
God, or to your flesh ; whether your time, and care, and wealth, 
were expended for Christ in his members and interest, or for your 
carnal selves ; Matt. xxv. Inasmuch as you did it not to these, 
you did it not to him. You that Christ hath given authority to, 
shall then be accountable whether you improved it to his advantage. 
You that he hath given honor to, must then give account whether 
you improved it to his honor. In the fear of God, sirs, cast up 
your accounts in time, and bethink you what answer will then 
stand good. It will be a doleful hearing to a guilty soul, when 
Christ shall say, ' I gave thee thirty or forty years' time ; thy flesh 
had so much'in eating and drinking, and sleeping, and laboring, in 
idleness and vain talking, and recreations, and other vanities ; but 
where was my part ? How much was laid out for the promotion 
of my glory ? I lent you so much of the wealth of the world ; 
so much was spent on your backs, and so much on your bellies ; 
so much on costly toys or superfluities ; so much in revengeful suits 
and contentions ; and so much was left behind for your posterity ; 
but where was my part ? How much was laid out to further the 
gospel, and to relieve the souls or the bodies of your brethren? I 
gave thee a family, and committed them to thy care to govern 
them for me, and fit them for my service ; but how didst thou per- 
form it ? ' O, brethren, bethink you in time what answer to make 
to such interrogatories : your Judge hath told you that your doom 
must then pass according as you have improved your talents for 
him ; and that he that hideth his talent, though he give God his 
own, " shall be cast into utter darkness, where is weeping and 
gnashing of teeth ; " Matt. xxv. 30. How easily will Christ, then, 



OF GOD-KEDEEMER. 297 

evince his right in you, and convince you that it was your duty to 
have lived unto him ? Do you think, sirs, that you shall then have 
the face to say, ' 1 thought, Lord, that I had been made and re- 
deemed for myself? I thought I had nothing to do on earth, but 
live in as much plenty as I could, and pleasure to my flesh, and 
serve thee on the by, that thou mightest continue my prosperity, 
and save me when I could keep the world no longer ? I knew not 
that I was thine,' and should have lived to thy glory?' If any of 
you plead thus, what store of arguments hath Christ to silence 
you ! He will then convince you that his title to you was not 
questionable. He will prove that thou wast his by thy very being, 
and fetch unanswerable arguments from every part and faculty : he 
will prove it from his incarnation, his life of humiliation, his bloody 
sweat, his crown of thorns, his cross, his grave. He that had wounds 
to show after his resurrection, for the convincing of a doubting disci- 
ple, will have such scars to show then, as shall suffice to convince 
a self-excusing rebel. All these shall witness that he was thy 
rightful Lord. He will prove it also from the discoveries of his 
word, from the warnings of his ministers, from the mercies which 
thou receivedst from him, that thou wast not ignorant of his right, 
and of thy duty ; or at least not ignorant for want of means. He 
will prove it from thy baptismal covenant and renewed engagements. 
The congregation can witness that you did promise to be his, and 
seal to it by the reception of both his sacraments. And as he will 
easily prove his right, so will he as easily prove that you denied it 
to him. He will prove it from your works, from the course of 
your life, from the stream of your thoughts, from your love, your 
desires, and the rest of the affections of your disclosed hearts. 

O, brethren, what a day will that be, when Christ shall come 
in person, with thousands of his angels, to sit in judgment on the 
rebellious world, and claim his due, which is now denied him ! 
When plaintiff and defendant, witnesses and jurors, counsellors and 
justices, judges, and all the princes on earth, shall stand equal be- 
fore the impartial Judge, expecting to be sentenced to their un- 
changeable state! Then, if a man should ask you, ' What think 
you now, sir, of living to God ? Is it better to be devoted to him, 
or to the flesh ? Which now do you take for the better master ? 
What would you do now if it were all to do again ? What would 
you then say to such a question ? How would you answer it ? 
Would you make as light of it as now you do ? ' O, sirs, you may 
hear these things now from your poor fellow-creature, as proud- 
hearted gallants, or as self-conceited deriders, or as besotted world- 
lings, or senseless blocks, or secret infidels, that as those (Deut. 
xxix. 19.) do bless themselves in their hearts, and say, 'We shall 
have peace, though we walk in the imagination of our .hearts.' 



THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 



But then you will hear them as trembling prisoners. Read the 
20th verse at leisure. Such a sight will work when words will 
not, especially words not believed, nor considered of. When you 
shall see the God that you disowned, the Redeemer whom you 
neglected, the glory which you forfeited, by preferring the pleas- 
ures of the flesh before it, the saints triumphing whom you refus- 
ed to imitate, and a doleful eternity of misery to be remedilessly 
endured, then saints will seem wiser men in your eyes ; and how 
gladly would you then be such ! But O, too late ! What a thing 
is it, that men who say they believe such a judgment, and ever- 
lasting life and death, as all Christians profess to do, can yet read, 
and hear, and talk of such things as insensibly as if they were 
dreams or fables ! I know it is the nature of sin to deceive, and 
of a sinful heart to be too willing of such deceiving ; and it is the 
business of Satan by deceiving to destroy, and with the most spe- 
cious baits to angle for souls ; and therefore I must expect that those 
of you that are taken, and are the nearest to the pit, should be least 
fearful of the danger, and most confident to escape, though you are 
conscious that you live not to God, but to yourselves. But for my 
part, I have read and considered what God saith in his word, and 1 
have found such evidence of its certain truth, that I heartily wish 
that I might rather live on a dunghill, and be the scorn of the world, 
and spend my few days in beggary and calamity, than that I should 
stand before the Lord, my Judge, in the case of that man, whatever 
he be, that is not in heart and life devoted unto God, but liveth to 
his flesh. For I know that if we live after the flesh, we shall die; 
Rom. viii. 13. 1 had rather lie here in Lazarus's poverty, and 
want the compassion and relief of man, than to be clothed with 
the best, and fare deliciously, and hereafter be denied a drop of 
water to cool the flames of the wrath of God. 

I confess this is likely to seem but harsh and ungrateful preach- 
ing to many of you. Some pleasant jingles, or witty sayings, or 
shreds of reading, and pretty cadency of neat expressions, were 
likelier to be accepted, and procure applause with them who had 
rather have their ears and fantasy tickled than rubbed so roughly, 
and be roused from their ease and pleasing dreams. But shall I 
preach for myself, while I pretend to be preaching you from your- 
selves to God ? Shall I seek myself, while I am preaching of the 
everlasting misery of self-seekers? God forbid. Sirs, I know the 
terrors of the Lord, (2 Cor. v. 11.) I believe, and therefore speak. 
Were I a Christian no deeper than the throat, I would fish for my- 
self, and study more to please you than to save you. I love not 
to make a needless stir in men's consciences, nor to trouble their 
peace by a doctrine which I do not believe myself. But I believe 
that our Judge is even at the door, and that we shall shortly see 



liim coming in his glory, and the host of heaven attending him with 
acclamations. In the mean time, your particular doom draws on ; 
the fashion of all these things passeth away : as those seats will 
anon be empty when you are departed, so it is but a moment till 
all your habitations shall change their possessors, and the places 
of your abode, and too great delight, shall know you no more. I 
must needs speak to you as to transient, itinerant mortals, who 
must, ere long, be carried on men's shoulders to the dust, and there 
be left by those that must shortly follow you ; then farewell honors 
and fleshly delights ; farewell all the accommodations and contents 
of this world. O that you had sooner bid them farewell! Had 
you lived to Christ as you did to them, he would not so have turn- 
ed you off, nor have left your dislodged souls to utter desolation. 

In a word, as sure as the word of God is true, if you own him 
not now as your Lord and Sovereign, he will not own you then as 
his chosen to salvation. And if now you live not to him, you 
shall not then live with him. " Be not deceived, God is not 
mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 
For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption, 
but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap everlasting 
life .;" Gal. v. 7, 8. " Consider this, ye that forget God, lest he 
should tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver you;" 
Psalm 1. 22. 

Beloved hearers, believe as you pretend to believe, and then 
live as you do believe. If you believe that you are not your own, 
but his that made you, and bought you with a price, and that he 
will thus try you for your lives and everlasting comforts on this 
question, whether you have lived to him, or to yourselves, then 
live as men that do indeed believe it. Let your religion be visible, 
as well as audible, and let those that see your lives, and observe 
the scope of your endeavors, see that you believe it. But if 
you believe not these things, but are infidels in your hearts, and 
think you shall feel neither pain nor pleasure when this life is 
ended, but that man dieth as the beast, then I cannot wonder if 
you live as you believe. He that thinks he shall die like a dog, 
is like enough to live like a dog, even in his filthiness, and in 
snarling for the bones of Worldly vanities, which the children do 
contemn. 

Having spoken thus much by way of exhortation, I shall add a 
few words for your more particular direction, that you may see to 
what my exhortation doth tend, and it may not be lost. 

1. Be sure that you look to the uprightness of your heart, in 
this great business of devoting yourselves to God ; especially see, 

1. That you discern, and soundly believe, that excellency in 
God which is not in the creature, and that perfect felicity in his 
VOL. ii. 37 



200 THK ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

love, and in the promised glory, which will easily pay for all your 
losses. 

2. And that upon a deliberate comparing him with the pleasures 
of this world, you do resolvedly renounce them, and dedicate your- 
selves to him. 

3. And especially that you search carefully lest any reserve 
should lurk in your hearts, and you should not deliver up your- 
selves to him absolutely, for life and death, for better and worse, 
but should still retain some hopes of an earthly felicity, and not 
take the unseen felicity for your portion. " It is the lot of the wick- 
ed to have their portion in this life;" Psalm xvii. 14. And let 
me here warn you of one delusion, by which many thousands have 
perished, and cheated themselves out of their everlasting hopes. 
They think that it is only some grosser disgraceful sins, as swear- 
ing, drunkenness, whoredom, injustice, &tc., that will prove men's 
perdition, and because they are not guilty of these, they are secure, 
when, as it is the predominancy of the interest of the flesh against 
the interest of God in their hearts and lives, that is the certain 
evidence of a state of damnation, winch way soever it be that this 
is expressed. Many a civil gentleman hath his heart more addict- 
ed to his worldly interest, and less to God, than some whoremongers 
and drunkards. If you live with good reputation for civility, yea, 
for extraordinary ingenuity, yea, for religious zeal, and no disgrace- 
ful vice is perceived in your lives, yet if your hearts be on these 
things which you possess, and you love your present enjoyments 
better than God, and the glory that he hath promised, your case 
is as dangerous as the publicans' and harlots.' You may spend 
your days in better reputation, but you will end them in as certain 
desolation as they. The question is only whether God have your 
hearts and lives, and not whether you denied them to him with a 
plausible civility. Nay, it is merely for their carnal selves to pre- 
serve their reputation, that some men do forbear those grosser 
crimes, when yet God hath as little of them as of the more visible 
profane. " Love not the world, nor the things that are in the 
world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in 
him ;" 1 John ii. 15. 

2. If you are wholly God's, live wholly to him ; at least do not 
stint him, and grudge him your service. It is grown the- com- 
mon conceit of the world, that a life of absolute dedication to 
God is more ado than needs. ' What needs all this ado ? ' say 
they. 'Cannot you be saved with less ado than this?' I will 
now demand of these men but an answer to these few sober 
questions : 

1. Do you fear giving more to God than his due ? Is not all 
his own? And how can you give him more than all? 



OF fOD-REDEKMF.R. 291 

2. He is not so backward in giving to you, that cm'es you noth- 
ing; but gives you plenty, variety, and continuance of all the good 
you enjoy ; and do you think you well requite him ? 

3. Christ said not of his life and precious blood, it is too much ; 
and will you say of your poor, unprofitable service, it is too much ? 

4. Whom will you give that to which you spare from God ? 
That time, and study, and love, and labor ? To any that hath 
more right to it, or better deserves it, or will better reward you 
than he will do ? 

5. Are you afraid of being losers by him ? Have you cause for 
such fears ? Is he unfaithful or unable to perform his promises ? 
Will you repent when you come to heaven that you did too much 
to get it ? Will not that blessedness pay you to the full ? 

6. What if you had no wages but your work ? Is it not better 
to live to God than to man ? Is not purity better than impurity ? 
If feasting be grievous, it is because you are sick. If the mire be 
your pleasure, it is because you are swine, and not because the 
condition is desirable. 

7. Will it comfort you more in the reckoning and review to 
have laid out yourselves for God, or for the world ? Will you then 
wish that you had done less for heaven, or for earth ? Sirs, these 
questions are easily answered, if you are but willing to consider 
them. 

8. Doth it beseem those to be afraid of giving God too much, 
that are such bankrupts as we are, and are sure that we shall not 
give him the twentieth part of his due, if we do the best we can, 
and when the best, that are scorned by the world for their forward- 
ness, do abhor themselves for their backwardness ? Yea, could we 
do all, we are but unprofitable servants, and should do but our 
duty ; Luke xvii. 10. Alas ! how little cause have we to fear 
lest we should give God too much of our hearts, or of our lives ! 

3. If you are not your own, remember that nothing else is your 
own. What can be more your own than yourselves? 

1 . Your parts and abilities of mind or body are not your own ; 
use them, therefore, for him that owneth them. 

2. Your authority and dignities are not your own ; see, there- 
fore, that you make the best of them for him that lent them you. 

3. Your children themselves are not your own ; design them for 
the utmost of his service that trusts you with them ; educate them 
in that way as they may be most serviceable to God. It is the 
great wickedness of too many of our gentry, that they prepare their 
posterity only to live plenteously, and in credit in the world, but not 
to be serviceable to God or the commonwealth. Design them, 
all that are capable, to magistracy or ministry, or some useful 
way of life. And whatever be their employment, endeavor to 



THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

possess thenf with the fear of the Lord, that they may devote 
themselves to him. Think not the preaching of the gospel a work 
too low for the sons of the noblest person in the land. Jt would 
be an excellent furtherance to the work of the gospel if noblemen 
and gentlemen would addict those sons to the ministry that are fit 
for it, and can be spared from the magistracy. They might 
have more respect from their people, and easier rule them, and 
might better win them with bounty than poor men can do. They 
need not to contend with them for tithes or maintenance. 

4. If you are not your own, your whole families are not your 
own. Use them, therefore, as families that are dedicated to God. 

5. If you are not your own, then your wealth is not your own. 
Honor God, therefore, with your substance, and with the first- 
fruits of your increase; Prov. iii. 9. Do you ask how? Are 
there no poor people that want the preaching of the gospel for 
want of means, or other furtherance ? Are there no godly scholars 
that want means to maintain them at the universities, to fit them 
for this work ? Are there no poor neighbors about you that are 
ignorant, that if you buy them Bibles and catechisms, and hire them 
to learn them, might come to knowledge and to life? Are there 
no poor children that you might put apprentices to godly masters, 
where soul and body might both have helps? The poor you have 
always with you. It is not for want of objects for your charity : if 
you hide your talents, or consume them on yourselves, the time is 
coming when it would do you more good to have laid them out to 
your Master's use than in pampering your flesh. 

Some grudge that God should have the tenths, that is, that they 
should be consecrated to the maintenance of his service. But 
little do these consider that all is his, and must all be accounted 
for. Some question whether now there be such a sin as sacrilege 
in being, but little do they consider that every sin is a kind of sacri- 
lege. When you dedicated yourself to God, you dedicated all you 
had, and it was God's before ; do not take it from him again. Re- 
member the halving of Ananias, and give God all. 

Obj. But must we not provide for our families ? 

Answ. Yea, because God requires it, and, in so doing, you ren- 
der it to him. That is given to him which is expended in obedi- 
ence to him, so be it you still prefer his most eminent interest. 

Lastly, if you are not your own, then must not your works be 
principally for yourselves, but for him that owneth you. As the 
scope of your lives must be to the honor of your Lord, so be sure 
that you hourly renew these intentions. When you set your foot 
out of your doors, ask whether your business you go upon be for God. 
When you go to your rest, examine yourselves what you have done 
that day for God ; especially let no opportunity overslipyou wherein 



OF GOD-REDEEMEH. 293 

you may do him extraordinary service. You must so perform the 
very labors of your callings, that they may be ultimately for God : 
so love your dearest friends and enjoyments, that it be God that is 
principally loved in them. 

More particularly as to the business of the day, what need I say 
more than in a word to apply this general doctrine to your special 
works ? 

1 . If the honorable judges and the justices will remember that 
they are God's, and not their own, what a rule and stay will it be 
to them for their work ! What an answer will it afford them against 
all solicitations from carnal self, or importunate friends ! viz. I am 
not mine own, nor come I hither to do mine own work ; I cannot 
therefore dispose of myself or it, but must do as he that owns me 
doth command me. How would this also incite them to promote 
Christ's interest with their utmost power, and faithfully to own the 
causes which he owneth ! 

2. If all counsellors, and solicitors of causes, did truly take 
themselves for God's, and not their own, they durst not plead for 
nor defend a cause they knew which God disowneth. They 
would remember that what they do against the innocent, or speak 
against a righteous cause, is done and said against their Lord, from 
whom they may expect, ere long, to hear, ' Inasmuch as you said 
or did this against the least of these, you said or did it against me.' 
God is the great patron of innocency, and the pleader of every 
righteous cause ; and he that will be so bold as to plead against 
him, had need of a large fee to save him harmless. Say not it is 
your calling which you must live by, unless you, that once listed 
yourselves in your baptism under Christ, will now take pay, and 
make it your profession to fight against him. The emptier your 
purses are of gain so gotten, the richer you are ; or at least the full- 
er they are, you are so much the poorer. As we that are minis- 
ters do find by experience, that it was not without provocation 
from us that God of late hath let loose so many hands, and pens, 
and tongues against us, though our calling is more evidently owned 
by God, than any one in the world besides, so I doubt not but you 
may find, upon due examination, that the late contempt which hath 
been cast upon your profession is a reproof of your guilt from God, 
who did permit it. Had lawyers and divines less lived to them- 
selves, and more to God, we might have escaped, if not the scourge 
of reproachful tongues, yet at least the lashes of conscience. To 
deal freely with you, gentlemen, it is a matter that they who are 
strangers to your profession can scarce put any fair construction 
upon, that the worst cause, for a little money, should find an advo- 
cate among you. This driveth the slanders by upon this harsh 



294 THE ABSOLUTE DOMINION 

dilemma, to think that either your understandings or your con- 
sciences are very bad. If, indeed, you so little know a good cause 
from a bad, then it must needs tempt men to think you very un- 
skillful in your profession. The seldom and smaller differences of 
divines, in a more sublime and mysterious profession, is yet a dis- 
covery so far of their ignorance, and is imputed to their dis- 
grace. But when almost every cause, even the worst that comes 
to the bar, shall have some of you for it, and some against it, and 
in the most palpable cases you are some on one side, and some on 
the other, the strange difference of your judgments doth seem to 
betray their weakness. But if you know the causes to be bad 
which you defend, and to be good which you oppose, it more evi- 
dently betrays a deplorable conscience. I speak not of your inno- 
cent or excusable mistakes in cases of great difficulty ; nor yet of 
excusing a cause bad in the main from unjust aggravations : but 
when money will hire you to plead for injustice against your own 
knowledge, and to use your wits to defraud the righteous, and spoil 
his cause, or vex him with delays, for the advantage of your own 
unrighteous client, I would not have your conscience for all your 
gains, nor your account to make for all the world. It is sad, that 
any known unrighteous cause should -have a professed Christian, 
in the face of a Christian judicature, to defend it, and Satan should 
plead by the tongues of men so deeply engaged to Christ : but it is 
incomparably more sad that almost every unjust cause should find 
a patron ; and no contentious, malicious person should be more 
ready to do wrong, than some lawyers to defend him, or a (dear- 
bought) fee ! Did you honestly obey God, and speak not a word 
against your judgment, but leave every unjust man to defend his 
own cause, what peace would it bring to your consciences ; what 
honor to your now reproached profession ; what relief to the op- 
pressed ; and what an excellent cure to the troublesome conten- 
tions of proud or malicious men ! 

3. To your juries and witnesses 1 shall say but this : You also 
are not your own ; and he that owneth you hath told you, " That 
he will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." It is 
much into your hands that the law hath committed the cause of 
the just : should you betray it by perjury and false witnesses, while 
there is a conscience in your guilty breast, and a God in heaven, 
you shall not want a witness of your sin, or a revenger of the op- 
pressed, if the blood of Christ on your sound repentance do not 
rescue you. 

4. If plaintiff and defendant did well consider that they are not 
their own, they would not be too prone to quarrels, but would lose 
their right, when God, the chief proprietor, did reauire it. Why 



OF GOD-REDEEMER. 295 

do you not rather take wrong, and suffer yourselves to be defraud- 
ed, than to wrong and defraud, and that your brethren ? 1 Cor. 
vi. 79. 

To conclude : I earnestly entreat you all, that have heard me 
this day, that, when you go home, you will betake yourselves to a 
sober consideration of the claim that God hath laid to you, and the 
right he hath in you, and all that you have ; and resolve, without 
any further delay, to give him his own ; and give it not to his ene- 
mies and yours. When you see the judgment set and the prison- 
ers waiting to receive their sentence, remember with what incon- 
ceivable glory and terror your Judge will shortly come to demand 
his due ; and what an inquiry must be made into the tenor of your 
lives ! As you see the eclipsed sun withdraw its light,* so remem- 
ber how before this dreadful final judgment, the sun and moon, 
and the whole frame of nature, shall be dissolved ! And 
how God will withdraw the light of his countenance from those 
that have neglected him in the day of their visitation ! As ever 
you would be his, then see that you be his now ; own him as your 
absolute Lord, if you expect he should own you then as his peo- 
ple. Woe to you that ever you were born ! if you put God then 
to distrain you for his due, and to take that up in your punish- 
ment, which you denied to give him in voluntary obedience. You 
would all be his in the time of your extremity ; then you cry to him 
as your God for deliverance. Hear him now, if you would then 
be heard : live to him now, and live with him forever. A Popish 
priest can j .. rsuade multitudes of men and women to renounce the 
very possession of worldly goods, and the exercise of their out- 
ward callings, in a mistaken devotedness to God. May not I, then, 
hope to prevail with you to devote yourselves, with the fruit of 
your callings and possessions, to his unquestionable service ? Will 
the Lord of mercy but fasten these persuasions upon your hearts, 
and cause them to prevail, what a happy day will this prove to us ! 
God will have his own, the church will have your utmost help, the 
souls of those about you will have the fruit of your diligence and 
good examples, the commonwealth will have the fruit of your fidel- 
ity, the poor will have the benefit of your charity,, I shall have the 
desired end of my labor, and yourselves will have the great and 
everlasting gain. 

* This sermon was preached at the time of the eclipse. 



CHRISTIAN READER, 

WHEN I had resolved, at the desire of the Honorable 
Judge of Assize, to publish the foregoing sermon, I remembered that, 
about six years before, I had preached another on the like occasion, 
on a subject so like, and to so like a purpose, that I conceived it 
not unfit to be annexed to the former. 1 have endeavored to show 
you, in both these sermons, that Christ may be preached without 
Antinomianism ; that terror may be preached without unwarrant- 
able preaching the law ; that the gospel is not a mere promise, and 
that the law is not so terrible as it is to the rebellious ; as also what 
that superstructure is, which is built on the foundation of general 
redemption rightly understood ; and how ill we can preach Christ's 
dominion in his universal propriety and sovereignty, or yet per- 
suade men to sanctification and subjection, without this foundation. 
I have labored to fit all, or almost all, for matter and manner, to 
the capacity of the vulgar. And though, for the matter, it is as 
necessary to the greatest, yet it is for the vulgar, principally, that 
I publish it ; and had rather it might be numbered with those books 
which are carried up and down the country from door to door in 
pedlers' packs, than with those that lie on booksellers' stalls, or 
are set up in the libraries of learned divines. And to the same use 
would I design the most of my published labors, should God af- 
ford me time and ability, and contentious brethren give me leave. 

RICHARD BAXTER. 
August 7, 1654. 



A SERMON 



ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST; 



NECESSITY OF MAN'S SUBJECTION, DEPENDENCE, 
AND CHIEFEST LOVE TO HIM. 

PREACHED BEFORE THE JUDGES OF ASSIZE AT WORCESTER. 



PSALM ii. 10, 11, 12. 

BE WISE NOW, THEREFORE, O YE KINGS ; BE INSTRUCTED, YE JUDGES 
OF THE EARTH. SERVE THE LORD WITH FEAR, AND REJOICE WITH 
TREMBLING, &.C. 

To waste this precious hour in an invective against injustice and 
its associates, is none of ray purpose ; they are sins so directly 
against the principles in nature, so well known, I believe, to you 
all, and so commonly preached against upon these occasions, that, 
upon the penalty of forfeiting the credit of my discretion, I am 
bound to make choice of a more necessary subject. What ! Have 
we need to spend our time and studies to persuade Christians from 
bribery, perjury, and oppression ; and from licking up the vomit 
which pagans have cast out ? And that in an age of blood and 
desolation, when God is taking the proudest oppressors by the 
throats, and raising monuments of justice upon the ruins of the un- 
just ? And I would fain believe that no corrupt lawyers do attend 
your judicatures, and that Jezebel's witnesses dwell not in our 
country, nor yet a jury that fear not an oath. I have therefore 
chosen another subject, which, being of the greatest moment, can 
never be unseasonable ; even to proclaim him who is constituted 
the King and Judge of all, to acquaint you with his pleasure, and 
to demand your subjection. " ; 

The chief scope of the Psalm is, to foretell the extent and prev- 
alency of the kingdom of Christ, admonishing his enemies to sub- 
mit to his government, deriding the vanity of their opposing pro- 
VOL. ii 38 




298 THK ABSOLUTE 

jects and fury, and fore\yarning them of their ruin if they come 
not in. 

The verses which I have read are the application of ihe forego- 
ing prediction, by a serious admonition to the proudest offenders : 
they contain, 1. The persons admonished, "kings and judges." 
2. Their duty : 1. In general to God, " serve him ; " with the ad- 
juncts annexed : 1. Rejoicing. 2. Fear and trembling. 2. More 
especially their duty to the Son, "kiss him." 0. The motives to 
this duty. 1. Principally and directly expressed, " lest he be 
angry," which anger is set forth by the effect, "and ye perish ; " 
which perishing is aggravated, 1. From the suddenness and un- 
expectedness, "in the way." 2. From the dreadfulness, "kind- 
led." 1. It is fire, and will kindle and burn. 2. A little of it will 
produce this sad effect. 3. It will be woe to those that do not es- 
cape it ; which woe is set forth by the contrary happiness of those that 
by submission do escape. 2. The motives subservient and implied 
are in the monitory words, " be wise, be learned," </. d. else you will 
show and prove yourselves men of ignorance and madness, unlearn- 
ed and unwise. 

Some questions here we should answer for explication of the 
terms : as, 

1. Whether the Lord, in verse 11, and the Son, in verse 12, be 
both meant of Christ the Second Person ? 

2. Whether the anger here mentioned be the anger of the Fa- 
ther or the Son, " lest he be angry ? " I might spend much time 
here to little purpose, in showing you the different judgment of 
divines of these, when in the issue there is no great difference, 
whichever way we take them. 

3. What is meant by "kissing the Son?'' I answer, Accord- 
ing to its threefold object, it hath a threefold duty contained in it. 

1 . We kiss the feet in token of subjection : so must we kiss the Son. 

2. We kiss the hand in token of dependence ; so must we kiss 
the hand of Christ ; that is, resign ourselves to him, and expect all 
our happiness and receivings from him. 

3. We kiss the mouth in token of love and friendship ; and so 
also must we kiss the Son. 

4. What is meant by " perishing in the way ? " I answer, 
(omitting the variety of interpretations,) It is their sudden unex- 
pected perishing in the heat of their rage, and in pursuit of their 
designs against the kingdom of Christ. 

I know no other terms of any great difficulty here. 
Many observations might be hence raised : as, 

1. Serving the Lord is the great work and business that the 
world hath to do. 

2. This service should be accompanied with rejoicing. 



SOVEREIGNTY OK CHRIST. 

3. So should ii also with fear and trembling;. 

4. There is no such opposition between spiritual joy and fear, 
but that they may and must consist together. 

5. Scripture useth familiar expressions concerning man's com- 
munion with Christ, such as this, " kiss the Son." 

6. There is anger in God, or that which we cannot conceive 
better of than under the notion of anger. 

7. There is a way to kindle this anger ; it is man that kin- 
dleth it. 

8. The way to kindle it chiefly is not kissing the Son. 

9. The kindling of it will be the perishing of the sinner. 

10. The enemies of Christ shall perish suddenly and unex- 
pectedly. 

11. A little of God's anger will utterly undo them. 

12. They are blessed men that escape it, and miserable that 
must feel it. 

13. It is therefore notorious folly to neglect Christ, and stand 
out. 

14. Kings, judges, and rulers of the earth, are the first men 
that Christ summons in, and the chief in the calamity if they 
stand out. 

But I will draw the scope of the text, into this one doctrine ; in 
the handling whereof I shall spend the time allotted me. 

Doct. No power or privilege can save that man from the fear- 
ful, sudden, consuming wrath of God, that doth not unfeignedly 
love, depend upon, and subject himself unto the Lord Jesus 
Christ. 

If they be the greatest kings and judges, yet if they do not kiss 
the mouth, the hand, the feet of Christ, his w*th will be kindled, 
and they will perish in the way of their rebellion and neglect. 

In handling this point, I shall observe this order : 

1. I will show you what this love, dependence, and subjec- 
tion are. 

2. What wrath it is that will thus kindle and consume them. 

3. Why this kissing the Son is the only way to escape it. 

4. Why no power or privilege else can procure their escape. 

5. The application. 

For the first I shall only give you a naked description, wishing 
that I had time for a fuller explication. 

1 . Subjection to Christ is, the acknowledging of his absolute 
sovereignty, both as he is God, Creator, and as Redeemer over all 
the world, and particularly ourselves ; and a hearty consent to this 
his sovereignty ; especially that he be our Lord, and his laws our 
rule, and a delivering up ourselves to him to be governed accord- 
ingly. 



300 THK ABSOLCTK 

2. This dependence on Christ is, when acknowledging the suf- 
ficiency of his satisfaction, and his power and willingness to save 
all that receive him, manifested in his free, universal offer in the 
gospel, we do heartily accept him for our only Savior, and, ac- 
cordingly, renouncing all other, do wait upon him believingly for 
the benefits of his sufferings and office, and the performance of his 
faithful covenant to us, in restoring us to all the blessings which 
we lost, and advancing us to a far greater everlasting glory. 

3. This affection to Christ is, when, in the knowledge and sense 
of his love to us, both common and especial, and of his own ex- 
cellency, and the blessedness of enjoying him, and the Father and 
Life by him, our hearts do choose him, and the Father by him, as 
the only happiness, and accordingly love him above all things in 
the world. 

As this threefold description containeth the sum of the gospel, 
so hath it nothing but what is of necessity to sound Christianity. 
If any one of these three be not found in thy heart, either have 
I little skill in divinity, or thou hast no true Christianity, nor canst 
be saved in that condition. 

Object. But do not the Scriptures make believing the condi- 
tion of the covenant ? But here is a great deal more than be- 
heving. 

Ans. Sometimes faith is taken in a narrower sense, and then it 
is not made the sole condition of the new covenant ; but re- 
pentance, and forgiving others, are joined with it, as conditions of 
our forgiveness ; and obedience and perseverance, as conditions 
of our continued justification and salvation. But when faith is 
made the sole condition of the covenant, then it comprehendeth 
essentially, (not only supposeth as precedent or concomitant,) if 
not all three, yet at least the two first of the afore-described quali- 
fications, viz. dependence and subjection, which, if it were well 
understood, would much free the common sort of Christians from 
their soul-destroying mistakes, and the body of divinity from a mul- 
titude of common errors, and our religion from much of that re- 
proach of Solifidianism which is cast upon it by the Papists. 

2. I must be as brief in opening the "second thing, viz. What 
wrath it is that will thus kindle and consume them. What wrath 
is in God we need not here trouble ourselves to inquire, but only 
what is intimated in the threats or curses of the covenants. As 
there are two covenants, so each hath his proper penalty for its 
violation. 

1. Then, till men do come in and submit to Christ, they lie un- 
der the wrath of God for all their sins, as they are against the cove- 
nant of works, or they are liable to the curse of that covenant : 
Christ's death hath taken away the curse of that covenant ; not 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 30 1 

absolutely from any man, but conditionally, which becomes abso- 
lute when the condition is performed. The elect themselves are 
not by nature under the covenant of grace, but remain under the 
curse of the first covenant till they come in to Christ. 

2. Whosoever rejecteth or neglecteth his grace, and so finally 
breaketh the new covenant, must also bear the curse or penalty 
thereof, besides all the former, which is a far greater curse, even 
as the blessings of this covenant are far greater than those of the 
first. It was a heavy punishment to be cast out of Paradise, and 
from the presence and favor of God, and to be cursed by him, and 
subjected to eternal death, and all creatures below cursed for our 
sakes, to bear all those curses and plagues threatened in Deut. 
xxvii. and xxviii., and to have the wrath of God smoke against us, 
&c., as Deut. xxix. 20. " But of how much sorer punishment 
shall he be thought worthy that doth tread under foot the blood of 
this covenant, and do despite to the Spirit of grace?" Heb. x. 28, 
29. It is true, that for all other sins the wrath of God cornet! i 
upon the children of disobedience, (or unpersuadableness,) that is, 
on them that will not be persuaded to obey the Lord Christ ; Eph. 
v. 6. But it is on no other with us ; for this is the condemnation, 
" that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather 
than light ; " John i. 19. 

3. Why is this kissing the Son, that is, loving, depending on, 
and submitting to him, the only way to escape these curses ? 

Ans. I. The most proper and primary reason which can be 
given, is, the will of the Great Lawgiver, who, having absolute 
sovereignty over us, might dispose of us as he please, and make us 
such laws and conditions as seem best to his wisdom, upon which 
our justification and salvation should depend : he hath resolved that 
this shall be the only condition and way ; and that, as no man 
shall be justified by a mere Christ, or his death abstracted from 
faith, (that is, of age and use of reason,) so this faith shall be the 
condition upon which they shall be justified ; or, as a Christ neg- 
lected shall save no man, so the accepting or receiving of him 
shall justify and save them, as the condition of the covenant perform- 
ed, under which notion it is that faith justifieth. 

2. Yet other improper or subordinate reasons (which receive 
their life from the former, and without it would be no reasons) may 
be given: as, 1. from the equity ; and, 2. from the suitableness 
and conveniency. 

1 . It is but equal that he who hath bought us, and that so 
clearly, and from a state so deplorable and desperate as we were 
in, should be acknowledged and accepted for our Savior and our 
Lord ; and that we, who are not our own, " but are bought with a 
price, should glorify him with our bodies and souls, which are 





302 ' THE ABSOLUTE 

his ;" (1 Cor. vi. 20. and vii. 23.) especially when, for that end, he 
both died and rose again, that he might rule, or be Lord over, both 
quick and dead ; Rom. iv. 9. If one of you should buy a man 
from the galleys or gallows, with the price of your whole estate, 
or the life of your only son, would you not expect that he should 
be at your disposal ? That he should love you, depend on you, 
and be subject to you ? 

2. And as salvation by free grace through Christ is a way most 
suitable to God's honor, and to our own necessitous and low condi- 
tion, so, in subordination thereto, the way of believing is most rational- 
ly conducible to the same ends. As we could not have had a fitter 
way to the Father than by Christ, so neither could there be a 
more fit way to Christ, or means to partake of him, than by faith ; 
for though I c.annot call it the instrumental cause of our justifica- 
tion, either active or passive, yet is this faith or acceptation of 
Christ for our Savior and King, which is here called " kissing the 
Son," the fairest condition that we could reasonably expect, and 
the most apparently tending to the honor of our Redeemer ; ap- 
plying and appropriating to. ourselves the person, righteousness, 
and benefits procured and offered, but not the least of the honor 
of the work. All we do is but to accept what Christ hath pro- 
cured, and that must be by the special assistance of his Spirit too. 

4. The fourth thing I promised is to show you why no other 
privilege or power in the world can save him that doth not kiss the 
Son. It may here suffice that I have showed you God's deter- 
mination to the contrary. But further consider, (if any should 
hope to escape by their dignities, titles, friends, strength, or any 
other endowments or virtuous qualifications,) 1 . What is their task. 
2. What is their power to perform it. 

1. They must resist the irresistible will of God. They must 
do that which heaven or earth, men or devils, were never able yet 
to do. They have resisted his law^s and his love, but they could 
never resist his purpose or his power. The power that under- 
taketh to save an enemy or neglecter of Christ, must first over- 
come the power of the Almighty, and conquer him that doth com- 
mand the world. And who hath the strength that is sufficient for 
this ? Sinner, before thou venture thy soul upon such a mad con- 
ceit, or think to be saved whether God will or not, try first thy 
skill and strength in some inferior attempt : bid the sun or moon 
stand still in the firmament ; invert the several seasons of the year ; 
bid the snow and frost to come in summer, and the flowers and 
fruits to spring in winter ; command the streams to turn their 
course, or the tide its times, or the winds their motion. If these 
will obey thee, and thy word can prevail with them against the 
law of their Creator, then mayest thou proceed with the greater 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. < 303 

confidence and courage, and have some hope to save the neglecters 
of Christ. Or, try first whether thou canst save thy present life 
against the course of nature and will of God : call back thine age 
and years that are past ; command thy pains and sickness to be 
gone ; chide back this bold approaching death. Will they not 
obey thee ? Canst thou do none of these ? How then canst thou 
expect the saving of thy soul against the determinate will and way 
of God ? Where dwelleth that man, or what was his name, that 
did neglect Christ, and yet escape damnation ? Who hath harden- 
ed himself against him and hath prospered? Job ix. 4. And dost 
thou think, then, to be first ? Thou mayest, perhaps, knock bold- 
ly at the gate of heaven, and plead thy greatness, thy virtues, thy 
alms-deeds, and formal devotion ; but thou shall receive a more 
woful answer than thou dost expect. Jesus we know, and obedi- 
ential faith in him we know, but who are ye? 

2. He that will save the soul, that loveth not, dependeth not 
on, and subjecteth not himself to Christ, must first make false the 
word of God, and make the true and faithful God a liar. This is 
another part of his task : God hath given it under his hand for 
truth, that " he thai believeth not is condemned already ; " (John 
iii. 18.) that " he shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth 
on him ;" (John iii. 36.) that they who are invited to Christ, and 
make light of it, or make excuses, " shall never taste of his sup- 
per;" (Luke xiv. 24. Matt. xxii. 5. 8.) thai "it shall be easier 
for Sodom in the day of judgment, than for that city which re- 
fuseth the offers of the gospel;" (Mail. x. 15.) that whosoever 
would not have Christ to reign over them "shall be brought forth 
at last and destroyed before him as his enemies ;" (Lukexix. 27.) 
that " they shall all be damned that believe not the truth, bul have 
pleasure in unrighteousness;" 2 Thess. ii. 12, &c. And hath 
the Almighty said that thus it shall be ? Who, then, is he that 
dare say it shall not be ? Is this the concluded decree of Heaven ? 
What power or policy is able to reverse il ? Halh God said it, 
and will he nol do it ? 

Thus you see his task that will undertake to save one neglecter 
of Christ. 

2. Let us now consider what power that is which must perform 
it. If it be done, it must be either, 1. By wisdom; or, 2. By 
strength ; whereas, the chiefesl of men, even the kings and judges 
of the earth, are both ignorant and impotent. 

I . Ignorant. Though judges are learned in the repute of the 
world, alas ! poor crawling, breathing dust ! do you know the 
secrets of your Maker's counsel ? And are you able to overreach 
them, and frustrate his designs ? Doth this book know what is 






304 THE ABSOLUTE 

- 

written in it ? Can the seat you sit on overtop your counsels ? 
More likely than for you to overtop the Lord. Silly worms ! you 
know not what God is, nor know you any one of his revealed 
thoughts, no more than that pillar doth know your thoughts. You 
know not what you are yourselves, nor see any further than the 
superficies of your skin. What is thy soul ; and whence didst 
thou receive it ? Dost thou know its form ; or didst thou fed it 
enter ? Which part didst thou feel it first possess ? Thou canst 
call it a spirit, but knowest thou what a spirit is ; or rather only 
what it is not ? Thou knowest not that whereby thou knowest ; 
and how was thy body formed in the womb ? What was it an 
hundred years ago? What is that vital heat and moisture? What 
causeth that order and diversity of its parts ? When will the most 
expert anatomists and physicians be agreed? Why, there are 
mysteries in the smallest worm, which thou canst not reach ; nor 
couldst thou resolve the doubts arising about an ant or atom, much 
less about the sun, or fire, or air, or wind, &,c. ; and canst thou 
not know thyself, nor the smallest part of thyself, nor the 
smallest creature ; and yet canst thou overreach the everlasting 
counsels ? 

2. And is thy might and power any greater than thy policy ? 
Why, what are the kings and rulers of the earth but lumps of 
clay, that can speak and go ; moving shadows, the flowers of a 
day, a corruptible seed, blown up to that swelled consistence in 
which it appears, as children blow their bubbles of soap, somewhat 
invisible condensate ; which, that it may become visible, is become 
more gross, and so more vile, and will shortly be almost all turned 
into invisible again ; and that little dust which corruption leaves 
by the force of fire, may be dissipated yet more; and then where 
is this specious part of the man ? Surely now that body, which is 
so much esteemed, is but a loathsome lump of corruptible flesh, 
covered with a smooth skin, and kept a little while from stinking 
by the presence of the soul, and must shortly be cast out of sight 
into a grave, as unfit for the sight or smell of the living, and there 
be consumed with rottenness and worms. These are the kings and 
rulers of the earth; this is the power .that must conquer heaven, 
and save them that rebel against Christ the Lord. They that 
cannot live a month without repairing their consuming bodies by 
food, one part whereof doth turn to their vital blood and spirits, 
and the other to loathsome insufferable excrements, so near is the 
kin between their best and worst, judge all you that have common 
reason, whether he that cannot keep himself alive an hour, and 
shortly will not be- able to stir a finger, to remove the worms that 
feed upon his heart, be able tp resist the strength of Christ, and 



SOYKHEiGNTY Of CHRIST. 305 

save the soul, that God hath said and sworn shall not De saved. 
Ah ! poor souls, that have no better saviors. And well may Christ, 
his truth, and cause, prevail that have no stronger enemies. 

Use 1. You have here a text that will fully inform you how 
you are like to speed at the bar of Christ ; who shall die and who 
shall live. The great assize is near at hand; the feet of our Judge 
are even at the door. Go thy way, unbelieving sinner, when thou 
hast had all the pleasure that sin will afford thee ; lie down in the 
dust and sleep awhile, the rousing voice shall quickly awake thee, 
and thine eyes shall see that dreadful day. O blessed day ! O 
doleful day ! Blessed to the saints, doleful to the wicked. O the 
rejoicing ! O the lamenting that there will be ! The triumphant 
shoutings of joyful saints; the hideous, roaring cries of the ungodly, 
when each man hath , newly received his doom, and there is noth- 
ing but eternal glory and eternal fire. Beloved hearers, every 
man of you shall shortly there appear, and wait as the trembling 
prisoner at the bar, to hear what doom must pass upon you. Do 
you not believe this ? I hope you do believe it. Why, what would 
you give now to know, for certain, how it shall go with you ? Why, 
here is the book by which you must be judged, and here is the 
sum of it in my text, and the grounds upon which the Judge will 
then proceed. Will you but go along with me, and answer the 
questions which hence I shall put to you, and search and judge 
yourselves by them as you go, you may know what doom you may 
then expect ; only deal faithfully, and search thoroughly, for self- 
flattery will not prevent your sorrow. 

And here you must know that it is the kiss of the heart, and not 
of the lips, which we must here inquire after. The question will 
not be at the great day, who hath spoken Christ fair ; or who hath 
called themselves by the name of Christians ; or who hath said the 
Creed or the Lord's Prayer oftenest ; or cried, Lord, Lord ; or 
come to church ; or carried a Bible ; or who hath held this opinion, 
or who that. It would make a man's heart ache to think how 
zealously men will honor the shadow of Christ, and bow at his 
name, and reverence the image of the cross which he died on, and 
the names and relics of the saints that died for him, and yet do ut- 
terly neglect the Lord himself, and cannot endure to be governed 
by him, and resist his Spirit, and scorn his strict and holy ways, 
and despitefully hate them that most love and obey him, and yet 
believe themselves to be real Christians. For God's sake, sirs, 
do not so delude your immortal souls, as to think your baptism, 
and your outward devotion, and your good meanings, as you call 
them, and your righteous dealing with men, will serve the turn to 
prove you Christians. Alas ! this is but, with Judas, to kiss the 
mouth of Christ, and indeed to fetch your death from those blessed 
VOL. ii. 39 




'200 THJ 

lips, from whence the saints do fetch their life. I will show you 
some surer signs than these. 

1 . And, first, let me a little inquire into your subjection to 
Christ. Do you remember the time when you were the servants 
of sin, and when Satan led you captive at his will, and the prince 
of darkness ruled in your souls, and all within you was in a carnal 
peace? Do you remember when the Spirit in the word came 
powerfully upon your hearts, and bound Satan, and cast him out, 
and answered all your reasonings, and conquered all your carnal 
wisdom, and brought you from darkness to light, and from the 
power of Satan to God? Acts xxvi. 18. Or, at least, are you 
sure that now you live not under the same lord and laws as the 
ungodly do ? Hath Christ now the only sovereignty in your 
souls ? Is his word thy law, which thou darest not pass ? Doth it 
bind thy thoughts, and rule thy tongue, and command thyself, and 
all thou hast ? Hast thou laid all down at the feet of Christ, and 
resigned thyself and all to his will, and devoted all to his disposal 
and service ? If custom bid thee curse and swear, and Christ for- 
bid thee, which dost thou obey ? If thy appetite bid thee take 
thy cups, or fare deliciously every day ; if thy company bid thee 
play the good fellow, or scorn the godly ; if thy covetousness bid 
thee love the world, and Christ forbid thee, which dost thou obey ? 
If Christ bid thee be holy, and walk precisely, and be violent for 
heaven, and strive to enter in, and the world and the flesh be ene- 
mies to all this, and cry it down as tedious folly, which dost thou 
obey ? Dost thou daily and spiritually worship him in private, and 
in thy family, and teach thy children and servants to fear the 
Lord ? I entreat you, sirs, deal truly in answering these ques- 
tions : never man was saved by the bare title of a Christian. If you 
are not subject to Christ, you are not Christians, no more than a 
picture or a carcass is a man ; and your salvation will be such as 
your Christianity is. Subjection is an essential part of thy faith, 
and obedience is its fruit. In short, then, dost thou make him thy 
fear, and tremble at his word ? Dare thou run upon fire or water, 
sword or cannon, rather than willfully run upon his displeasure? 
Wouldest thou rather displease thy dearest friend, the greatest 
prince, or thine own flesh, than wittingly provoke him ? When 
Christ speaks against thy sweetest sin, thy nature, or custom, or 
credit, or life, against thy rooted opinions, or thy corrupt tradi- 
tions, art thou willing to submit to all that he revealeth ? Dost 
thou say, "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth? Lord, what 
wouldest thou have me to do ? I am ready to do thy will, O 
God." 

Beloved hearers, this is the frame of every servant of Christ, 
and this is the acknowledging and accepting him for your Lord. 




CHRIST. .'107 

I beseech you cozen not your souls with shows and formalities. If 
ever you be saved without this subjection, it must be without Christ's 
merits or mercy. It must be in a way that Scripture revealeth 
not; nay, it must be in despite of God ; his truth must be falsified, 
and his power must be mastered, before the disobedient can be 
saved from his wrath. 

2. Examine, also, your dependence on Christ, whether you kiss 
his hand as well as his feet. Do you understand that you are all 
by nature condemned men, and liable to the everlasting wrath of 
God ; that Christ hath interposed and paid this debt, and bought 
us as his own by the satisfaction of that justice ; that all things are 
now delivered into his hands, (John xiii. 3.) and he is made head 
overall things to his church? Eph. i. 21, 22. Dost thou take 
him for thy only Savior, and believe the history of his life and 
passion, the truth of his divine and human nature, his resurrection, 
his office, and his approaching judgment ? Dost thou see that all 
thy supposed righteousness is but vanity and sin, and that thyself 
art unable to make the least satisfaction to the law by thy works 
or sufferings, and if his blood do not wash thee, and his righteous- 
ness justify thee, thou must certainly be damned yet, and perish 
forever? Dost thou, therefore, cast thyself into his arms, and ven- 
ture thy everlasting state upon him, and trust him with thy soul, and 
fetch all thy help and healing from him ? When sin is remembered, 
and thy conscience troubled, and the forethoughts of judgment do 
amaze thy soul, dost thou then fetch thy comfort from the views 
of his blood, and the thoughts of the freeness and fullness of his 
satisfaction, his love, and gospel offers and promises ? Dost thou 
so build upon his promise of a happiness hereafter, that thou canst 
let go all thy happiness here, and drink of his cup, and be bap- 
tized with his baptism, and lose thy life upon his promise that thou 
shalt save it ? Canst thou part with goods and friends, and all 
that thou hast, in hope of a promised glory which thou never 
sawest ? If thou canst thus drink with him of the brook in 
the way, thou shalt also with him lift up the head ; Psalm ex. 7. 
Dost thou perceive a Mediator as well as a God in all thy mer- 
cies, both special and common, and taste his blood in all that thou 
receives!, and wait upon his hand for thy future supplies ? Why, 
this is kissing the hand of Christ, and depending upon him. O, 
how contrary is the case of the world, whose confidence is like the 
Samaritan's worship : they trust God, and their wits, and labors, 
Christ and their supposed merits ; I would I might not say Christ 
and deceit, and wicked contrivances. O blasphemous ! joining of 
heaven and hell to make up one foundation of their trust ! 

3. Examine a little also your love to Christ. Do you thus 
kiss the Son ? Do your souls cleave to him, and embrace him with 



TFIF. ABSOLUTE 

the strongest of your affections ? Sirs, though there is nothing 
that the blind world is more confident in than this, that they love 
Christ with all their hearts, yet is there nothing wherein they are 
more false and faulty. I beseech you, therefore, deal truly in 
answering here. Are your hearts set upon the Lord Jesus ? Do 
you love him above all things in this world? Do you stick at 
your answer ? Do you not know? Sure, then, at best you love 
him but little, or else you could not choose but know it. Love is 
a stirring and sensible affection : you know what it is to love a 
friend. Feel by this pulse whether you live or die. Doth it 
beat more strongly toward Christ than to any thing else ? Never 
question man the necessity of this ; he hath concluded, ' If thou 
love any thing more than him, thou art not worthy of him, nor 
canst be his disciple.' Are thy thoughts of Christ thy freest and 
thy sweetest thoughts ? Are thy speeches of him thy sweetest 
speeches ? When thou awakest, art thou still with him ; and 
is he next thy heart? When thou walkest abroad, dost thou 
take him in thy thoughts ? Canst thou say, and lie not, that thou 
wast ever deeply in love with him, that thou dost love him but as 
heartily as thou dost thy friend, and art as loath to displease him, 
and as glad of his presence, and as much troubled at his strange- 
ness or absence ? Hath thy minister or godly acquaintance ever 
heard thee bemoaning thy soul for want of Christ, or inquiring 
what thou shouldest do to attain him ? or thy family heard thee 
commending his excellency, and laboring to kindle their affections 
towards him ? Why, love will not be hid : when it hath its desire, 
it will be rejoicing, and when it wants it, it will be complaining. 
Or, at least, can thy conscience witness thy longings, thy groans, 
thy prayers for a Christ? Wilt then stand to the testimony of 
these witnesses ? Do you love his weak, his poor, despised mem- 
bers ? Do you visit them, clothe them, feed them to your power ? 
Not only in a common natural compassion to them as they are 
your neighbors, but do you love or relieve a prophet in the name 
of a prophet, or a disciple in the name of a disciple ? Matt. x. 40. 
42. Shall all these decide the question? 

Beloved hearers, I profess to you all, in the name of our Lord, 
that it is not your bold and confident affirming that you love 
Christ, which will serve your turn when Christ shall judge : he 
will search deep, and judge according to the truth in the inward 
parts. How many thousands will then perish as his utter ene- 
mies, that verily thought themselves his friends ! How easily 
now might they find their mistake if they would but be at the 
pains to examine themselves ! O try, try, sirs, before God try you ; 
judge yourselves before Christ judge you. It would grieve a 
man's heart that knows what it is to love Christ, to believe, to be 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. ,'J09 

subject to him, to see how rare these are in the world, and yet 
how confident and careless most men are. It may be that you 
may think much that I so question your love ; yet Christ, that 
knew all things, questioned Peter's love to him. and that three 
times, till it grieved Peter. I am a stranger to the most of you, 
and therefore know not your conditions or inclinations. Yet 
judge me not censorious if I fear the worst, and if I measure you 
by the rest of the world ; and then I may confidently and sadly con- 
clude that Christ hath few loving subjects among you. If we could 
hear your oaths and vain speeches turned to heavenly, soul-edify- 
ing discourse, and your covetousness to conscionableness, and see 
that the word of Christ were your law, and that you laid out your 
endeavors for heaven in good earnest, then we should say, ' These 
people are the loving subjects of Christ.' But when men are ene- 
mies to Christ's doctrine, and ways, and worship, and had rather 
live .after the flesh, and the world, and the traditions of their 
fathers, and are notorious for profaneness, superstition, and enmity 
to reformation, who can choose but condole your case ? And if 
your obstinacy will not endure us to help you, yet you shall give 
us leave, whether you will or no, to lament you. 

Use 2. But it is time that I turn my speech to exhortation ; and 

that you would encourage me with your resolutions to obey ! 
My business here to-day is as his herald and ambassador, to pro- 
claim the Lord Jesus your King and Savior, and to know whether 
you will heartily acknowledge and take him so to be or not. And 
to persuade you to take so fair an offer while you may have it, and 
to kiss the Son lest his wrath be kindled. This is my business 
here, in which if I had not some hope to speed, the Lord knows 

1 would not have been here to-day. YoU will say, ' This is a 
common errand ; do you think we never heard of Christ before ? ' 
I confess it is common, blessed be God for it, (and long may it so 
continue and increase, and let it be as constant and durable to us as 
the sun in the firmament ; and the Lord grant that England's sins 
or enemies may never bereave them of the blessing of the gospel, 
and then it will be a happier land than yet ever was any on the face 
of the earth;) but is it as common to receive Christ in love and 
obedience ? I would it were. I know the name of Christ is 
common. The swearer doth swear by it, the beggar begs by it, 
the charmer puts it into his charms, and the jester into his jests, 
and every Papist and ignorant Protestant doth mutter it ofttimes 
over in his prayers. But who trembleth at it ? or triumpheth in 
it ? Who maketh it his fear and his joy ? And give up their 
souls and lives to be governed by Christ ? I do here solemnly 
proclaim to you that the Lord Jesus will not be put off with your 
compliments : he cares not for your mere name of Christianity, 



310 -JL. THE ABSOLUTK 

uor your cap, nor your knee. If thy heart be not set upon him, 
thou art none of his. His word must be your law, and you must 
depend on him alone for soul and body, or never look for mercy at 
his hands. He is the Author of eternal salvation to them only that 
obey him ; Heb. v. 9. 

What say you, then, sirs, in answer to my message ? And what 
course do you resolve upon ? Shall Christ be your love, and your 
Lord, or not ? Will you kiss the Son, or will you slight him still ? 
Methinks you should easily be resolved, and say, ' Away with 
pleasure, and credit, and worldly gain; away with these bewitch- 
ing delights and companions ; Christ hath bought my heart, and 
he shall have it ; he is my Lord, and I will be ruled by him.' 
Hearers, I hope God hath kept you alive till now to show you 
mercy, and brought some sinners hither to-day to prevail with 
their hearts ; and my hope is somewhat strengthened by God's 
disposal of my own spirit. I was strongly tempted to have preach- 
ed this sermon in the enticing words of human wisdom, tending to 
a proud ostentation of parts ; but Christ hath assisted me to con- 
quer the temptation, and commanded me to preach him in plain- 
ness, and evidence of the Spirit. I come not to persuade you to 
opinions or factions, to be for this side or for that, but to be with 
all your hearts for Christ, as ever you look that Christ should be 
for you ; to love him as he that hath bought you from eternal 
wrath, and died to save you from everlasting burnings ; to lay hold 
on him with most earnest, affectionate apprehension, as a man that 
is ready to drown would do upon a bough, or upon the hand of 
his friend that would pull him to the shore ; to wait for the law 
of thy direction from him, and do nothing till thou hast asked 
counsel at his word, and know his mind, whether thou shouldest 
do it or no, till thou feel thy conscience bound by his law, that 
thou canst not stir till he give thee leave ; that the commands of 
parents and princes may stoop to his, much more the commands 
of custom and company, of credit or pleasure, of the world or flesh: 
these are the things that I exhort you to ; and I must tell you that 
Christ doth flatly expect them at your hands. 

I will here back these exhortations with some persuading con- 
siderations. Think of what I say, and weigh it as we go. If I 
speak not truth and reason, then reject it with disdain, and spare 
not ; but if it be, and thy conscience tell thee so, take heed then 
how thou dost neglect or reject it, lest thou be found a fighter 
against the Spirit, and lest the curse of God do seize upon that 
heart that would not yield to truth and reason. 

And I will draw these considerations only from my text : 

1. Thou art else a rebel against thy sovereign Lord. This I 
gather from the command in my text; and, indeed, the scope of 



J 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 4* 311 



the whole psalm. God hath given thee into the hands of his Son, 
and made him Lord and King of all, and commanded all men to 
accept him, and submit unto him. Who can show such title to 
the sovereignty ? such right to rule thee as Christ can do ? He is 
thy Maker, and so is not Satan ; he dearly bought thee, and so 
did not the world ; "Thou wast not redeemed with silver, and 
gold, and corruptible things;" 1 Peter i. 18. I make this chal- 
lenge here in the behalf of Christ ; let any thing in the world step 
forth and show a better title to thee, to thy heart, and to thy life, 
than Christ doth show, and let them take thy heart, and take the 
rule. But why do I speak thus? I know thou wilt confess 
it ; and yet wilt thou not yield him thy chiefest love and obedi- 
ence. Out of thy own mouth then art thou condemned, and thou 
proclaimest thyself a knowing and willful rebel. 

2. To deny thy affections and subjection to Christ is the most 
barbarous unkindness that a sinner can be guilty of. Did he pity 
thee in thy lost estate, and take thee up when thou layest wound- 
ed in the way, and make thee a plaster of the blood of his heart ? 
And is this thy requital ? Did he come down from heaven to 
earth, to seek thee when thou wast lost, and take upon him all thy 
debt, and put himself into the prison of the world and flesh ? Hath 
he paid for thy folly, and borne that wrath of God which thou must 
have suffered forever? And doth he not now deserve to be en- 
tertained with most affectionate respect ? But with a few cold 
thoughts instead of hearty love ; and with a few formal words in- 
stead of worship ? What hurt had it been to him if thou hadst 
perished ? What would he have lost by it if thou hadst lain in 
hell ? Would not justice have been glorified upon a disobedient 
wretch ? Might not he have said to his Father, ' What are these 
worms and sinners to me ? must I smart for their folly ? must I suf- 
fer when they have sinned ? must I debase myself to become man 
because they would have exalted themselves to become as God ? 
If they will needs undo themselves, what is it to me ? If they will 
cast themselves into the flames of hell, must I go thither to fetch 
them out ? ' Thus Christ might have put off the suffering and the 
shame, and let it fall and lie where it was due ; but he did not ; 
his compassion would not suffer him to see us suffer ; justice must 
be satisfied, the threat must be fulfilled ; Christ seeth that we can- 
not overcome it, but he can ; therefore, he comes down into flesh ; 
he lives on earth ; he fasteth ; he weepeth ; he is weary ; he is tempt- 
ed ; he hath not a place to put his head ; he is hated ; he is spit 
upon ; he is clothed as a fool, and made a scorn ; he sweateth blood ; 
he is crucified with thieves' he bears the burden that would have 
sunk all us to hell ; and must he, after all this, be neglected and 
forgotten, and his laws that should rule us be laid aside, and be 
. 

- 



312 THE ABSOLUTE 

accounted too strict and precise for us to live by ? O let the 
heavens blush, and the earth be ashamed, at this barbarous ingrat- 
itude ! How can such a people show their faces at his coming, or 
look him in the face when he shall judge them for this ! Would 
you use a friend thus ? No, nor an enemy. Methinks you should 
rather wonder with yourselves that ever Christ should give you 
leave to love him, and say, Will the Lord endure such a wretch to 
kiss him ? Will he suffer himself to be embraced by those arms 
which have been defiled so oft by the embracements of sin ? Will 
he so highly honor me as to be his subject and his servant, and to be 
guided by such a blessed and perfect law ? And doth he require 
no harder conditions than these for my salvation ? Take, then, my 
heart, Lord, it is thine ; and O that it were better worth thy hav- 
ing ; or take it and make it better : the spear hath opened me a 
passage to thy heart ; let the Spirit open thee a passage into mine ; 
deservedly may those gates be fuel for hell, that would not open 
to let in the King of Glory. 

3. To deny thy affection and subjection to the Son is the great- 
est folly and madness in the world. Why doth he require this so 
earnestly at thy hands ? Is it for thy hurt, or for thy good ? Would 
he make a prey of thee for his own advantage ? Is it not any need 
that he hath of thee or of thy service, or because thou hast need 
of him for thy direction and salvation ? Would he steal away thy 
heart, as the world doth, to delude it? Would he draw thee, as 
Satan doth, to serve him that he may torment thee ? If so, it were 
no wonder that thou art so hardly drawn to him ; but thou know- 
est, sure, that Christ hath none of these ends. 

The truth is this : His dying on the cross is but part of the work 
that is necessary to thy salvation : this was but the paying of the 
debt : he must give thee, moreover, a peculiar interest, and make 
that to be absolutely thine, which was thine but conditionally : he 
must take off thy rags, and wash thy sores, and qualify thy soul 
for thy prepared glory, and bring thee out of the prison of sin and 
death, and present thee to his Father blameless and undefiled, and 
estate thee in greater dignity than thou fell from : and all this must 
he do by drawing thee to himself, and laying himself upon thee as 
the prophet upon the child, and closing thy heart with his heart, 
and thy will with his will, and thy thoughts and ways with the rule 
of his word ; and is this against thee or for thee ? Is there any 
hurt to thee in all this ? I dare challenge earth and hell, and all 
the enemies of Christ in both, to show the least hurt that ever he 
caused to the soul of a believer, or the least wrong to the soul 
of any. 

And must he then have such a stir to do thee good ? Must he 
so beseech thee to be happy, and follow thee with entreaties ? And 



POVKREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 313 

yet art thou like a stock, that neither hears nor feels ? Nay, dost 
thou not murmur and strive against him, as if he were about to do 
thee a mischief, and would rather cut thy throat than cure thee, 
and were going to destroy thee, and not to save thee ? I appeal 
to any that hath not renounced his reason, whether this be not no- 
torious, brutish unreasonableness ; and whether thou be not like 
a beast, that must be cast or held while you dress his sores, than 
to a man that should help on his own recovery. Foolish sinner ! 
It is thy sin that hurts thee, and not thy Savior : why dost thou not 
rather strive against that ? It is the devil that would destroy thee ; 
and thou dost not grudge at thy obedience to him. Be judge thy- 
self whether this be wise or equal dealing. 

Sinner, I beseech thee, in the behalf of thy poor soul, if thou 
have such a mind to renounce thy Savior, do it not till thou hast 
found a better master : say as Peter, " Whither shall we go, Lord ? 
thou hast the words of eternal life : " and when thou knowest once 
where to be better, then go thy way ; part with Christ, and spare 
not. If thy merry company, or thy honor, or thy wealth, or all 
the friends and delights in the world, will do that for thee which 
Christ hath done, and which, at last, he will do, if thou stick to 
him, then take them for thy gods, and let Christ go. In the mean 
time, let me prevail with thee, as thou art a man of reason, sell 
not thy Savior till thou know for what ; sell not thy soul till thou 
know why ; sell not thy hopes of heaven for nothing. God forbid 
that thy willful folly should bring thee to hell, and there thou 
shouldst lie roaring and crying out forever, ' This is the reward of 
my neglecting Christ ; he would have led me to glory, and I would 
not follow him ; I sold heaven for a few merry hours, for a little 
honor, and ease, and delight, to my flesh : here I lie in torment, 
because I would not be ruled by Christ, but chose my lusts and 
pleasures before him.' Sinner, do not think I speak harshly or 
uncharitably to call this neglect of Christ thy folly ; as true as 
thou livest and hearest me this day, except thy timely submission 
do prevent it, which God grant it may, thou wilt, one of these 
days, befool thyself a thousand times more than I now befool thee, 
and call thyself mad, and a thousand times mad, when thou think- 
est how fair thou wast for heaven, and how ready Christ was to 
have been thy Savior and thy Lord, and how light thou madest 
of his offers : either this will prove true, to thy cost, or else am I 
a false prophet, and a cursed deceiver. Be wise, therefore, be 
learned, and kiss the Son. 

The former considerations were drawn from the aggravations of 
the sin : the following are drawn from the aggravations of the pun- 
ishment, and from the words of the text too : 

I. God will be angry if you kiss not the Son. His wrath is as 
VOL. n. 40 



314 THE ABSOLUTE 

fire, and this neglect of Christ is the way to kindle it. If thou art 
not a believer, thou art condemned already ; but this will bring 
upon thee double condemnation. Believe it for a truth, all thy 
sins, as they are against the covenant of works, even the most 
heinous of them, are not so provoking and destroying as thy 
slighting of Christ. O, what will the Father say to such an un- 
worthy wretch ! ' Must I send my Son from my bosom to suffer 
for thee ? Must he groan when thou shouldest groan, and bleed 
when thou shouldest bleed, and die when thou shouldest die ? And 
canst thou not now be persuaded to embrace him, and obey him ? 
Must the world be courted whilst he stands by? Must he have 
the naked title of thy Lord and Savior, while thy fleshly pleasures 
and profits have thy heart ? What wrath can be too great, what 
hell too hot, for such an ungrateful, unworthy wretch ! Must I pre- 
pare thee a portion of the blood of my Son, and wilt thou not be 
persuaded now to drink it ? Must I be at so much cost to save 
thee, and wilt thou not obey that thou mayest be saved ? Go 
seize upon him, justice ; let my wrath consume thee ; let hell de- 
vour thee ; let thy own conscience forever torment thee ; seeing 
thou hast chosen death, thou shall have it ; and, as thou hast re- 
jected heaven, thou shall never see it, "but my wralh shall abide 
upon thee forever;" John iii. 36. Woe to thee, sinner, if this be 
once thy sentence ! Thou wert betler have all ihe world angry 
wilh ihee, and bound in an oalh againsl ihee, as the Jews against 
Paul, than that one drop of his anger should light upon thee ; thou 
wert better have heaven and earth to fall upon thee, than one de- 
gree of God's displeasure. 

2. As this wrath is of fire, so it is a consuming fire, and causeth 
the sinner utterly lo perish. All this is plain in the text ; not 
that the being of the soul will cease ; such a perishing the sinner 
would be glad of; a happy man would he think himself, if he 
might die as the brutes, and be no more : but such wishes are 
vain. It is but a glimpse of his own condition, which he shall see 
in the great combustion of the world : when he seeth ihe heaven 
and earth on fire, he seelh bul ihe picture of his approaching woe ; 
but, alas ! it is he that must feel the devouring fire. The world 
will be but refined or consumed by its fire ; but there must he 
burn, and burn forever, and yet be neither consumed nor refined. 
The earth will not feel the flames that burn it, but his soul and 
body must feel it with a witness : little know his friends, that are 
honorably interring bis corpse, what his miserable soul is seeing 
and feeling : here endeth the story of his prosperity and delights, 
and now begins the tragedy that will never end : oh ! how his 
merry days are vanished as a dream, and his jovial life as a 
tale that is told ; his witty jests, his pleasant sports, his cards and 



SOVEHKICNTK Of CHKJsjT. 

dice, iiis merry company and wanton dalliance, his cups and quearu, 
yea, his hopes of heaven and confident conceits of escaping this 
wrath, are all perished with him in the way : as the wax melteth 
before the fire, as the chaff is scattered before the wind, as the 
stubble consumeth before the flames, as the flowers do wither 
before the scorching sun ; so are all his sinful pleasures withered, 
consumed, scattered and melted. And is not the hearty embra- 
cing of Christ, and subjection to him, a cheap prevention of all this ? 
O ! who among you can dwell with the devouring fire ? " Who 
can dwell with the everlasting burnings?" Isaiah xxxiii. 14. 
This God hath said he will surely do : if you are able to gainsay 
and resist him, try your strength ; read his challenge " Who 
would set the briers and thorns against me in battle ? I would go 
through them, I would burn them together ; " Isaiah xxvii. 4. 
3. This perishing will be sudden and unexpected, in the way 
of their sin and resistance of Christ, in the way of their fleshly 
delights and hopes ; " They shall perish in the way ; " 1 Thes. 
v. 3. Matt. xxiv. 30. As fire doth terribly break out in the 
night, when men are sleeping, and consumeth the fruit of their long 
labors, so will this fire break forth upon their souls ; and how 
near may it be when you little think on it ! A hundred to one 
but some of us present shall within a few months be in another 
world ; and what world it will be you may easily conceive if you 
do not embrace and obey the Son. How many have been smitten, 
with Herod, in the midst of their vain glory ! How many, like 
Ahab, have been wounded in fight, and dunged the earth with their 
flesh and blood, who left the Lord's people to be fed with bread 
and water of affliction, in confidence of their own return to peace ! 
How many have been swallowed up, like Pharaoh and his host, 
in their rash and malicious pursuit of the godly ! Little thinks 
many an ignorant, careless soul, what a change of his condition he 
shall shortly find. Those thousands of souls that are now in misery 
did as little think of that doleful state while they were merrily 
pleasing the flesh on earth, and forgetting Christ and their eternal 
state, as you do now ; they could as contemptuously jeer the 
preacher as you, and verily believed that all this talk was but 
words, and wind, and empty threats, and ventured their souls as 
boldly upon their carnal hopes. Little thought Sodom of the 
devouring fire when they were furiously assaulting the door of their 
righteous reprover. As little do the raging enemies of godliness 
among us think of the deplorable state which they are hastening 
to. They will cry out themselves then, ' Little did I think to see 
this day, or feel these torments ! ' Why, thou wouldest not think 
of it, or else thou mightest ; God told thee in Scripture, and min- 
isters in their preaching, but thou wouldest not believe till it was 
too late. 



JIG THK ABSOI-rTK 

4. A little of God's wrath will bring down all this upon those 
that embrace not and obey not the Son. If his wrath be kindled, 
yea. but a little, &,c. As his mercy being the mercy of an infinite 
God, a little of it will sweeten a world of crosses ; so therefore will 
a little of his wrath consume a world of pleasures ; one spark fell 
among the Bethshemites, and consumed fifty thousand and seventy 
men, but for looking into the ark, till the people cry out, " Who 
can stand before this holy Lord God?" 1 Sam. vi. 19,20. 
How, then, will the neglecters of Christ stand before him ! Sirs, 
methinks we should not hear of this as strangers or unbelievers. 
There did but one spark fall upon England, and what a combustion 
hath it cast this kingdom into ! How many houses and towns 
hath it consumed ! How many thousands of people hath it em- 
poverished ! How many children hath it left fatherless ! And how 
many thousand bodies hath it bereaved of their souls ! And 
though there are as many hearty prayers and tears poured forth 
to quench it as most kingdoms on earth have had, yet is the fire 
kindled afresh, and threateneth a more terrible desolation than 
before, as if it would turn us all to ashes. One spark fell upon 
Germany, another upon Ireland ; and what it hath done there I 
need not tell you. If a little of this wrath do but seize upon thy 
body, what cries, and groans, and lamentations doth it raise ! If 
it be on one member, yea, but a tooth, how dost thou roar with 
intolerable pain, and wouldest not take the world to live forever 
in that condition ! If it seize upon the conscience, what torments 
doth it cause, as if the man were already in hell ! He thinketh 
every thing he seeth is against him ; he feareth every bit he eateth 
should be his bane. If he sleep, he dreams of death and judg- 
ment ; when he awaketh, his conscience and horror awake with 
him : he is weary of living, and fearful of dying : even the thoughts 
of heaven are terrible to him, because he thinks it is not for him. 
O ! what a pitiful sight it is to see a man under the wrath of God ! 
And are these little sparks so intolerable hot? What, then, do 
you think are the everlasting flames? Beloved hearers, if God 
had not spoke this, I durst not have spoke it : the desire of my 
soul is, that you may never feel it, or else I should never have 
chosen so unpleasing a subject, but that I hope the foreknowing 
may help you to prevent it ; but let me tell you from God, that, 
as sure as the heaven is over your head, and the earth under your 
feet, except the Son of God be nearer thy heart, and dearer to thy 
heart than friends, or goods, or pleasures, or life, or any thing in 
this world, this burning wrath will never be prevented ; Matt. x. 
37. Luke xiv. 46. 

5. When this wrath of God is thoroughly kindled, the world 
will discern the blessed from the wretched. " Then blessed are 
they that trust in him." It is the property of the wicked to be 



SOVEREIUNTV OK t HH1ST. 317 

wise too late. Those that now they esteem but precise fools, will 
then be acknowledged blessed men. Bear with their scorns, 
Christians, in the meantime ; they will very shortly wish themselves 
in your stead, and would give all that erer they were masters of, 
that they had sought and loved Christ as earnestly as you, and 
had a little of your oil when they find their lamps are out ; Matt. 
xxv. 8. 

And now, hearers, what is your resolution ? Perhaps you have 
been enemies to Christ, under the name of Christians : will you 
still be so ? Have you not loathed this busy, diligent serving of 
him, and hated them that most carefully seek him, more than the 
vilest drunkard or blasphemer? Have not his word, and service, 
and Sabbaths, been a burden to you ? Have not multitudes ven- 
tured their lives against his ordinances and government? Nay, is 
it not almost the common voice of the nation in effect ' Give us 
our sports, and liberty of sinning ; give us our readers, and singing 
men, and drunken preachers ; give us our holydays and ceremonies, 
and the customs of our forefathers : away with these precise fellows ; 
they are an eye-sore to us : these precise preachers shall not con- 
trol us ; this precise Scripture shall be no law to us ; ' and, conse- 
quently, this Christ shall not rule over us ? 

How long hath England rebelled against his government ! Mr. 
Udal told them, in the days of Queen Elizabeth, ' that if they 
would not set up the discipline of Christ in the church, Christ 
would set it up himself in a way that would make their hearts to 
ache.' I think their hearts have ached by this time ; and as they 
judged him to the gallows for his prediction, so hath Christ exe- 
cuted them by thousands for their rebellion against him ; and yet 
they are as unwilling of his government as ever. The kings of 
the earth are afraid lest Christ's government should unking them ; 
the rulers are jealous lest it will depose them from their dignities ; 
even the reformers that have ventured all to set it up, are jealous 
lest it will encroach upon their power and privileges ; kings are 
afraid of it, and think themselves but half kings, where Christ 
doth set up his word and discipline ; parliaments are afraid of it, 
lest it should usurp their authority ; lawyers are afraid of it, lest it 
should take away their gains, and the laws of Christ should over- 
top the laws of the land ; the people are afraid of it, lest it will 
compel them to subjection to that law and way which their souls 
abhor : indeed, if men may be their own judges, then Christ hath 
no enemies in England at all ; we are his friends, and all good 
Christians. It is precisians and rebels that men hate, and not 
Christ : it is not the government of Christ that we are afraid of, 
but the domineering of aspiring, ambitious presbyters, (viz. that 
generation of godly, learned, humble ministers, who have done 



318 THE ABSOUJTK 

more than ever did any before them to make themselves incapable 
of preferment or domineering;) and when men disobey and dis- 
regard pur doctrine, it is not Christ, but the preacher, that they 
despise and disobey. And if the Jews might so have been their 
own judges, it was not^ the Son of God whom they crucified, but 
an enemy to Caesar, and a blasphemer that works by the devil. 
It was not Paul, a saint, that they persecuted, but one that they 
found to bo a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition amongst the 
people. But were there no seditious persons but apostles and 
Christians ; nor no troublers of Israel but Elias ; nor no enemies 
to Caesar but Christ and his friends ? O ! God will shortly take 
off the veil of hypocrisy from the actions of the world, and make 
them confess that it was Christ they resisted, and that it was his 
holy ways and word that did kindle their fury ; else would they 
as soon have fallen upon the ungodly rabble, as they did upon the 
most zealous and conscionable Christians; and, however you man- 
gle and deform them with your false accusations and reproach, he 
will then know and own his people and his cause, and will say to 
the world, ' In despising them you despised me ; and, inasmuch as 
you did it to one of these little ones, you did it unto me.' As Dr. 
Stoughton saith, ' If you strike a schismatic, and God find a saint 
lie a-bleeding, and you to answer it, I would not be in your coat 
for more than you got by it.' Hath the world ever gained by 
resisting Christ ? Doth it make the crown sit faster on the heads 
of kings ? Or, must they not rather do to Christ as King John to 
his supposed vicar, resign their crowns to him, and take them from 
him again as his tributaries, before they can hold them by a certain 
tenure ? Read over but this psalm, and judge : " Herod must kill 
the child Jesus to secure his crown : the Jews must kill him lest 
the Romans should come and take away their place and nation ; " 
John xi. 48. And did this means secure them ; or did it bring 
upon them the destruction which they thought to avoid ? 

Or have the people been greater gainers by this than by their 
kings ? What hath England got by resisting his gospel and gov- 
ernment, by hating his servants, and by scorning his holy ways ? 
What have you got by it in this city ? What say you ? Have 
you yet done with your enmity and resistance ? Have you enough ; 
or would you yet have more ? If you have not done with Christ, 
he hath not done with you ; you may try again, and follow on as 
far as Pharaoh if you will, but if you be not losers in the latter' 
end, I have lost my judgment ; and if you return in peace, God 
hath not spoken by me ; 1 Kings xxii. 28. 

Sirs, I am loath to leave you till the bargain be made. What 
say you? Do you heartily consent that Christ shall be your 
Sovereign, his word your law, his people your companions, his 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 319 

worship your recreation, his merits your refuge, his glory your end, 
and himself the desire and delight of your souls ? The Lord Jesus 
Christ now, waiteth upon you for your resolution and answer ; thou 
wilt very snortly wait upon him for thy doom : as ever thou would- 
est then have him speak life to thy soul, do thou now resolve upon 
the way of life. Remember thou art almost at death and judg- 
ment. What wouldest thou resolve if thou knewest that it were 
to-morrow ? If thou didst but see what others do now suffer for 
neglecting him, that doth now offer thee his grace, what wouldest 
thou then resolve to do ? Sirs, it stirreth my heart to look upon 
you, (as Xerxes upon his army,) and to think that it is not an 
hundred years till every soul of you shall be in heaven or in hell ; 
and it may be not an hundred hours till some of your souls must 
take their leave of your bodies : when it comes to that, then you 
will cry, ' Away with the world, away with my pleasures ; nothing 
can comfort me now but Christ ;' why, then, will you not be of 
the same mind now ? When the world cries, ' Away with this 
holiness, and praying, and talking of heaven ! Give us our sports, 
and our profits, and the customs of our forefathers,' that is, " Away 
with Christ, and give us Barabbas," then do ye cry, ' Away with 
all these, and give us Christ.' 

O, if it might stand with the will of God that I might choose 
what effect this sermon should have upon your hearts, verily, it 
should be nothing that should hurt you in the least ; but this it 
should be, it should now be to fasten upon your souls, and pierce 
into your consciences, as an arrow that is drawn out of the quiver 
of God ; it should follow thee home to thy house, and bring thee 
down on thy knees in secret, and make thee there lament thy 
case, and cry out in the bitterness of thy spirit, ' Lord, I am the 
sinner that have neglected thee ; I have tasted more sweetness in 
the world than in thy blood, and taken more pleasure in my earth- 
ly labors and delights than I have done in praying to thee, or 
meditating on thee ; I have complimented with thee by a cold 
profession, but my heart was never set upon thee.' And here 
should it make thee lie in tears and prayers, and follow Christ 
with thy cries and complaints, till he should take thee up from the 
dust, and assure thee of his pardon, and change thy heart, and 
close it with his own. If thou wert the dearest friend that I have 
in the world, this is the success that I would wish this sermon with 
thy soul, that it might be as a voice still sounding in thine ears, 
that when thou art next in thy sinful company or delight, thou 
mightest, as it were, hear this voice in thy conscience, ' Is this 
thine obedience to him that bought thee ? ' That when thou art 
next forgetting Christ, and neglecting his worship in secret, or in 
thy family, or public, thou mightest see this sentence, as it were. 



THE ABSOLUTE 

written upon thy wall, " Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and thou 
perish." That thou mightest see it, as it were, written upon the 
tester of thy bed, as often as thou liest down in an unregenerate 
state ; and that it may keep thine eyes waking, and thy soul dis- 
quieted, and give thee no rest, till thou hadst rest in Christ. In a 
word, if it were but as much in my hands as it is in yours, what 
should become of this sermon ; I hope it would be the best sermon 
to thee that ever thou heardest : it should lay thee at the feet of 
Christ, and leave thee in his arms. O that I did but know 
what arguments would persuade you, and what words would work 
thy heart hereto! If I were sure it would prevail, I would come 
down from the pulpit, and go from man to man, upon my knees, 
with this request and advice in my text : O ! " kiss the Son, lest 
he be angry, and you perish." 

But if thy hardened heart make light of all, and thou go on still 
in thy careless neglect of Christ, and yet wilt not believe but thou 
art his friend and servant, I do here, from the word, and in the 
name of Christ, pass this sentence upon thy soul : Thou shalt go 
hence, and perhaps linger out in thy security a few days more, 
and then be called by death to judgment, where thou shalt be 
doomed to this everlasting fiery wrath. Make as light of it as 
thou wilt, feel it thou shalt ; put it off and escape if thou canst ; 
and when thou hast done, go boast that thou hast conquered Christ. 
In the meantime I require this congregation to bear witness that 
thou hadst warning. 

This to all in general : my text yet directeth me to speak more 
particularly to the rulers and judges of the earth. 

Honorable and reverend judges, worshipful magistrates, if you 
were all kings and emperors, all is one to Christ, you were but 
high and mighty dust and ashes ; Christ sendeth his summons first 
to you ; he knows the leaders' interest in the vulgar ; you are the 
commanders in the host of God, and must do him more service 
than the common soldiers : if one of you should neglect him, and 
stand out against him, he will begin with you in the sight of the 
rest, and make your greatness a stepping-stone to the honor of 
his justice, that the lowest may understand what they have to do 
when they see the greatest cannot save themselves. 

Shall I say you are wiser than the people, and therefore that 
this admonition is needless to you ? No, then I should accuse the 
Spirit in my text : the cedars of the earth have always hardly 
stooped to Christ, which hath made so many of them rooted up. 
Your honors are an impediment to that self-abasing which he 
expecteth : your dignities will more tend to blind you than to illu- 
minate. There are few of any sort, but fewest of the great, and 
wise, and mighty, that ape called : yet a man would think that 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 



among those that have held out, in these trying times, there should 
be no need of these suspicions : but hath there not been always a 
succession of sinners, even of those that have beheld the ruin of 
their predecessors ? Who would have thought that a generation 
that had seen the wonders in Egypt, and had passed through the 
sea, and been maintained in a wilderness with constant miracles, 
should yet be so vile idolaters, or murmuring unbelievers, that 
only two of them should enter into rest ? The best of saints have 
need of self-suspicion and vigilancy. My advice to you, therefore, 
is this, learn wisdom by the examples that your eyes have seen : 
''Them that honor God, he will honor; and they that despise 
him, shall be lightly esteemed ;" 1 Sam. ii. 30. 

More particularly, let me advise you, as your duty to the Son, 
1. That you take your commission and office as from him. I 
think it a doctrine more common than true, that ministers only are 
under Christ the Mediator, and magistrates are only under God as 
Creator. Christ is now Lord of all, and you are his servants : as 
there is no power but from God, so none from God but by Christ. 
Look upon yourselves as his vicegerents ; therefore do riot that 
which beseemeth not a vicegerent of Christ. Remember that as 
you see to the execution of the laws of the land, so will Christ see 
that his laws be obeyed by you, or executed on you. Remember, 
when you sit and judge offenders, that you represent him that will 
judge you and all the world. And O, how lively a resemblance 
have you to raise your apprehension ! Think with yourselves, 
' Thus shall men tremble before his bar ; thus shall they wait to 
hear their doom ; ' and be sure that your judgment be such as 
may most lively represent the judgment of Christ, that the just 
may depart from your bar with joy, and the unjust with sadness. 
Let your justice be most severe where Christ is most severe ; and 
so far as you can exercise your clemency, let it be about those 
offenses which our Jaws are more rigorous against than the laws 
of God. Be sure yet that you understand the extent of your com- 
nvssion, that you are not the sole officers of Jesus Christ; you are 
under him as he is head over all ; ministers are under him as he 
is head to his clmrch ; Eph. i. 22. Ministers are as truly the 
magistrates' teachers, as magistrates are their governors ; yea, by 
as high and undoubted authority must they oversee, govern, and 
command ministerially, as their Lord's ambassadors, both kings and 
parliaments to do whatsoever is written in this Bible, as you may 
command them to obey the laws of the land ; yea, and as strict a 
bond lieth on you to obey them so far as they speak according to 
this word, and keep within the bounds of their calling, as doth on 
them to obey you in yours ; Heb. xiii. 7. 17. Deal not with 
them so dissemblingly as to call them your pastors, teachers, over- 

VOL. II. 41 



322 THE ABSOLUTE 

seers, and rulers, (as Scripture bids you,) and yet to learn of them 
but what you list, or to deny them leave to teach or advise you, 
further than they receive particular warrant and direction from 
yourselves. Should our assembly limit all their ministerial advice 
to the warrant and direction of parliament, and not extend it to 
the warrant and directions of Christ, would they not become the 
servants and pleasers of men ? If you do not your best to set up 
all the government of Christ, even that in and proper to his church, 
as well as that which is over them, and for them, men may well 
think it is your own seats, and not Christ's, that you would advance. 
I would all the magistrates in England did well consider that 
Christ hath been teaching them this seven years, that their own 
peace or honors shall not be set up before his gospel and govern- 
ment ; and that they do but tire themselves in vain in such at- 
tempts ; then they would learn to read my text with the vulgar, 
Apprehendite disciplinam. And if the decisive power of the min- 
istry be doubtful, yet at least they would set up their nunciative 
in its vigor. Christ will rule England either as subjects or as 
rebels ; and all that kings and states do gain by opposing his rule 
will not add one cubit to the stature of their greatness. Yet do I 
not understand, by the government of Christ, a rigid conformity to 
the model of this or that party, or faction, with a violent extirpa- 
tion of every dissenter. It is the ignorant part of divines, (alas ! 
such there are,) who, with the simple fellow in Erasmus, do ex- 
pound Paul's hcereticum hominem devita, i. e. de vita tolle. It is 
the essentials, and not the accidentals of discipline that I speak of: 
and if some disengaged standers-by be not mistaken, who have the 
advantage by standing out of the dust of contention, each party 
hath some of these essentials, and the worst is nearer the truth 
than his adversary is aware of: and were not the crowd and noise 
so great that there is no hope of being heard, one would think it 
should be possible to reconcile them all. However, shall the 
work be undone while each party striveth to have the doing of it ? 
I was afraid when I read the beginning and end of this controversy 
in France. Tne learned Ramus pleadeth for popular church 
government in the synods ; they rejected it as an unwarrantable 
novelty; the contention grew sharp, till the Parisian massacre 
silenced the difference. And must our differences have so sharp 
a cure ? Will nothing unite disjoined Christians but their own 
blood ? God forbid. But in the mean time, while we quarrel, 
the work standeth still. Some would have all the workers of ini- 
quity now taken out of the kingdom of Christ, forgetting that the 
angels must take them out at last ; Matt. xiii. Some ministers 
think as Myconius did, when he was called to the ministry, by a 
vision leading him into a cornfield, and bidding him reap : he 



SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 



thought he must put in his sickle at the bottom, till he wu* told 
' Domino meo non opus est stramine, modo aristae in horrea colli- 
gantur.' ' My master needeth not straw ; gather but the ears, 
and it shall suffice.' 

Once more : I know I speak not to the parliament that should 
remedy it, but yet that you may be helpful in your places to ad- 
vance this work of Christ, let me tell you what is the thing in 
England that cries for reformation next our sins ; even the fewness 
of overseers in great congregations, which maketh the greatest part 
of pastoral work to lie undone, and none to watch over the people 
in private, because they are scarce sufficient for the public work. 
It is pity that Musculus, that may be head of a society of students 
if he will continue a Papist, must weave and dig for his living if he 
will be a Protestant. It is pity that even Luther's wife and chil- 
dren must wander destitute of maintenance when he is dead, when 
.flEsop, the stage-player, can leave his son one hundred and fifty 
thousand pounds ; and Roscius have thirty pounds a-day for the 
same trade; and Aristotle be allowed eight hundred talents to 
further his search into the secrets of nature. But am I pleading 
that ministers may have more maintenance ? No ; be it just or 
unjust, it is none of my errand. But O that the church had more 
ministers, which, though at the present they cannot have for want 
of men, yet hereafter they might have if it were not for want of 
maintenance. Alas ! then, what pity is it that every reformation 
should diminish the churches' patrimony ! If the men have offend- 
ed, or if the office of bishops or deans be unwarrantable, yet what 
have the revenues done ? Is it not pity that one troop of an hun- 
dred men shall have seven commanding officers allowed them, 
besides others, and ten thousand, or forty thousand, shall have but 
one or two overseers allowed them for their souls, when the min- 
isterial work is more laborious, and of greater concernment than 
the work of those commanders? I tell you again, the great thing 
that cries for reformation in England, next to sin, is the paucity of 
ministers in great congregations. I tell you this, that you may 
know which way to improve your several interests for the advance- 
ment of the kingdom of Christ in England. 

To you, lawyers and jurors, my advice is this, ' ; Kiss the Son. ?> 
Remember the judgment is Christ's : every cause of truth and 
innocency doth he own, and will call it his cause. Woe, therefore, 
to him that shall oppose it ! Remember every time you take a 
fee to plead against a cause that you know to be just, you take a 
fee against a cause of Christ. Will you be of counsel against him 
that is your Counsellor and King ? Dare you plead against him 
that you expect should plead for you ? or desire judgment, as the 
Jews, against your Lord and Judge ? Hath he not told you that 




'&4 THE ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY OF CHRIST. 

lie will say, " Inasmuch as ye did it to one of these little ones, ye 
did it unto me ? " Remember, therefore, when a fee is offered 
you against the innocent, that it is a fee against Christ ; and 
Judas's gain will be loss in the end, and will be too hot to hold 
long : you will be glad to bring it back, and glad if you could be 
well short of it, and cry, ' I have sinned in betraying the cause of 
the innocent.' Say not it is our calling that we must live upon. 
If any man of you dare upon such grounds plead a cause against 
his conscience, if his conscience do not plead it again more sharply 
against him, say I am a false prophet. If any, therefore, shall say 
of you, as the cardinals of Luther, ' Cur homini os non obstruitis 
auro, et argento,' let the same answer serve turn, ' Hem pecuniam, 
non curat,' &c. If any honorable or worshipful friend must be 
pleasured, inquire first whether he be a better friend than Christ. 
Tell him the cause is Christ's, and you cannot befriend him, except 
he procure you a dispensation from him. When Pompey saw his 
soldiers ready to fly, he lay down in the passage, and told them 
they should tread upon him then ; which stopped their flight. 
So suppose, every time you are drawn in to oppose a just cause, 
that you saw Christ saying, ' Thou must trample upon me, if thou 
do this.' As Luther to Melancthon, ' Ne causa fidei sit sine fide,' 
so say I to you all, ' Ne causa justifies sit sine justitid.' When 
you begin to be cold in a good cause, suppose you saw Christ 
showing you his scars, as the soldier did to Caesar when he desired 
him to plead his cause ; ' See here, I have done more than plead 
for you.' We have had those that have had a tongue for a fee or 
a friend, but none for Christ ; but God hath now, therefore, shut 
their mouths, and we may say of them, as Granius by his bad 
lawyer, when he heard him grown hoarse, ' If they had not lost 
their voices, we had lost our cause.' To conclude, remember, all 
of you, that there is an appeal from these earthly judgments ; these 
causes must all be heard again, your witnesses re-examined, your 
oaths, pleadings, and sentences reviewed, and then, as Lampridius 
saith of Alexander Severus, that he would vomit choler if he saw 
a corrupt judge, so will Christ vomit wrath, and vomit you out in 
wrath from his presence, if corrupt. Therefore, " kiss the Son, 
lest he be angry, and you perish," &c. I am sensible how I have 
encroached on your great affairs. Melancthon was wont to tell of 
a priest that begun his sermon thus, ' Scio quod vos non libenter 
auditis, et ego non libenter concionor, non diu igitur vos teneam.' 
But I may say contrary. I am persuaded that you hear with a 
good will, and I am certain that I preach willingly, and therefore 
I was bold to hold you the longer. 




f 

w l* 







SERMON OF REPENTANCE, 



PREACHED BEFORE THE 



HONORABLE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 



ASSEMBLED IN PARLIAMENT 

AT WESTMINSTER, 

. 

AT THEIR LATE SOLEMN FAST FOT THE SETTLING 
OF THESE NATIONS, 










APRIL 30, 1660. 

















Tuesday, May 1, 1660. 

ORDERED, 

That the thanks of this House be given to Mr. BAXTER, for 
his great pains in carrying on the work of preaching and prayer, be- 
fore the House, at Saint Magaret's, Westminster, yesterday, being 
set apart by this House, for a day of fasting and humiliation ; and 
that he be desired to print his Sermon, and is to have the same 
privilege in printing the same that others have had in the like kind, 
and that Mr. Swinfin do give him notice thereof. 

W. JESSOP, 

Clerk of the Commons' House of Parliament. 












HONORABLE THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 



ASSKMBLED IN PARLIAMENT. 



. 

As your order for my preaching persuadeth me you meant at- 
tentively to hear, so your order for my publishing this Sermo&per- 
suadeth me that you will vouchsafe considerately to read it ; (for 
you would not command me to publish only for others that which 
was prepared for, and suited to, yourselves ;) which second favor 
if I may obtain, especially of those that need most to hear the 
doctrine of repentance, 1 shall hope that the authority of the 
heavenly Majesty, the great concernment o the subject, and the 
evidence of reason, and piercing beams of sacred verity, may yet 
make a deeper impression on your souls, and promote that neces- 
sary work of holiness, the fruits whereof would be effectual rem- 
edies to the diseased nations, and would conduce to your own 
everlasting joy. Shall I think it were presumption for me to hope 
for so high a reward for so short a labor ? Or, shall It hink it were 
uncharitable ness not to hope for it ? That here is nothing but 
plain English, without any of those ornaments that are by many 
thought necessary to make such discourses grateful to ingenious, 
curious auditors, proceeded not only from my present want of ad- 
vantages for study, (having and using no book but a Bible and a 
Concordance,) but also from the humbling and serious nature of 
the work of the day, and from my own inclination, less affecting 
such ornaments in sacred discourses than formerly I have done. 
It is a very great honor that God and you have put upon me, to 
conclude so solemn a day of prayer, which was answered the next 
morning by your speedy, and cheerful, and unanimous acknowl- 
edgment of his majesty's authority. May I have but the second 
part, to promote your salvation, and the happiness of this land, 
by your considering and obeying these necessary truths, what 
greater honor could I expect on earth ? Or how could you more 
oblige me to remain 

A daily petitioner to Heaven for these mercies, 
on your own and the nation's behalf, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 




SERMON OF REPENTANCE 



EZEK. xxxvL 31. 

THEN YE REMEMBER YOUR OWN EVIL WAYS, AN1> YOUR 

DOINO3 THAT WERE NOT GOOD, AND SHALL LOATHE YOURSELVES 
IN YOUR OWN SIGHT, FOR YOUR INIQUITIES, AND FOR YOUR 
ABOMINATIONS. 

THE words are a part of God's prognostics of the Jews' resto- 
ration, whose dejection he had before described. Their disease 
began within, and there God promiseth to work the cure. Their 
captivity was but the fruit of their voluntary captivity to sin, and 
their grief of heart was but the fruit of their hardness of heart, 
and their sharpest suffering of their foul pollutions ; and, therefore, 
God promiseth a methodical cure, even to take away their old and 
stony heart, and cleanse them from their filthiness, and so to ease 
them by the removing of the cause. How far, and when, this 
promise was to be made good to the Jews, as nationally consider- 
ed, is a matter that requires a longer disposition than my limited 
hour will allow ; and the decision of that case is needless, as to my 
present end and work. That this is part of the gospel covenant, 
and applicable to us believers now, the Holy Ghost, in the Epistle 
to the Hebrews, hath assured us. 

The text is the description of the repentance of the people, in 
which the beginning of their recovery doth consist, and by which 
the rest must be attained. The evil which they repent of is, in 
general, all their iniquities, but especially their idolatry, called their 
abominations. Their repentance is foretold, as it is in the under- 
standing and thoughts, and as in the will and affections. In the 
former, it is called " remembering their own evil ways." In the~ 
latter, it is called " loathing themselves in their own sight, for their 
iniquities and abominations." Montanus translates it reprobabitis 
in vos ; but in c. 20, v. 43, fastidietis vos. The same sense is in- 
tended by the other versions. When the Septuagint translates it 
by displeasure, and the Chaldee by groaning, and the Syriac by 
the wrinkling of the face, and the Sept. in c. xx. 43, by smiting 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

on the face, the Arabic here perverts the sense by turning all to 
negatives ye shall not, &c., yet in c. xx. 43. he turns it by the 
tearing of the face. I have purposely chosen a text that needs no 
long explication, that, in obedience to the foreseen straits of time, 
I rnay be excused from that part, and be more on the more neces- 
sary. This observation contains the meaning of the text, which, 
by God's assistance, 1 shall now insist on, viz. 

The remembering of their own iniquities, and loathing them- 
selves for them, is the sign of a repenting people and the prognos- 
tic of liieir restoration, so far as deliverance may be here expected. 

For the opening of which, observe these things following : 

2. It is not all kind of remembering that will prove you peni- 
tent. The impenitent remember their sin, that they may commit 
it ; they remember it with love, desire, and delight : the heart of 
the worldling goeth after his airy or earthen idol. The heart of 
the ambitious feedeth on his vain glory, and the people's breath ; 
and the filthy fornicator is delighted in the thoughts of the object 
and exercise of his lust. But it is a remembering, (1.) from a 
deep conviction of the evil and odiousness of sin. (2.) And 
with abhorrence and self-loathing. (3.) That leadeth to a resolv- 
ed and vigilant forsaking, that is the proof of true repentance, and 
the prognostic of a people's restoration. 

3. And it is not all self-loathing that will signify true repenting, 
for there is a self-loathing of the desperate, and the damned soul 
that abhorreth itself, and teareth and tormenteth itself, and cannot 
be restrained from self-revenge, when it finds that it hath willfully, 
foolishly, and obstinately, been its own destroyer. But the self- 
loathing of the truly penitent hath these following properties : 

(1.) It proceedeth from the predominant love of God, whom 
we have abused and offended. The more we love him, the more 
we loathe what is contrary to him. 

(2.) It is much excited by the observation and sense of his ex- 
ceeding mercies, and is conjunct with gratitude. 

(3.) It continueth and increaseth under the greatest assurance 
of forgiveness, and sense of love, and dieth not when we think we 
are out of danger. 

(4.) 1^ containeth a loathing of sin as sin, and a love of holi- 
ness as such, and not only a love of ease and peace, and a loath- 
ing of sin, as the cause of suffering. 

(5.) It resolveth the soul against returning to its former course, 
and resolveth it for an entire devotedness to God for the time 
to come. 

(6.) It deeply engageth the penitent in a conflict against the 
flesh, and maketh him victorious, and setteth him to work in a 
life of holiness, as his trade and principal business in the world. 
VOL. ir. 1 1 



336 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

would be great, then dwell on greatest things : if you would be 
high, then seek the things that are above, and not the sordid things 
of earth, (Col. iii. 1 3.) and if you would be safe, look after the 
enemies of your peace ; and, as you had thoughts of sin that led 
you to commit it, entertain the thoughts that would lead you to 
abhor it. O that I might have but the grant of this reasonable re- 
quest from you, that, among all your thoughts, you would bestow 
now and then an hour in the serious thoughts of your misdoings, 
and soberly, in your retirement between God and your souls, re- 
member the paths that you have trod ; and whether you have 
lived for the work for which you were created. One sober hour 
of such employment might be the happiest hour that ever you 
spent, and give you more comfort at your final hour than all the 
former hours of your life ; and might lead you into that new and 
holy life, which you may review with everlasting comfort. 

Truly, gentlemen, I have long observed that Satan's advantage 
lieth so much on the brutish side, that the work of man's conver- 
sion is so much carried on by God's exciting of our reason, and 
that the misery of the ungodly is, that they have reason in faculty, 
and not in use, in the greatest thing, that I persuade you to this 
duty with the greater hopes ; if the Lord will but persuade you to 
retire from vanity, and soberly exercise your reason, and consider 
your ways, and say, What have we done ? And what is it that 
God would have us do ? And what shall we wish we had done 
at last? I say, could you now be but prevailed with to be- 
stow as many hours on this work, as you have cast away in idle- 
ness, or worse, I should not doubt but I should shortly see the 
faces of many of you in heaven that have been recovered by the 
use of this advice. It is a thousand pities, that men are thought 
wise enough to be intrusted with the public safety, and to be the 
physicians of a broken state, should have any among them that are 
untrusty to their God, and have not the reason to remember their 
misdoings, and prevent the danger of their immortal souls. Will 
you sit all day here to find out the remedy of a diseased land ; and 
will you not be entreated by God or man to sit down one hour, and 
find out the disease of, and remedy for, your own souls ? Are 
those men likely to take care of the happiness of so many thou- 
sands, that will still be so careless of themselves ? Once more, 
therefore, I entreat you, remember your misdoings, lest God re- 
member them ; and bless the Lord that called you this day, by 
the voice of mercy, to remember them upon terms of faith and 
hope. Remembered they must be, first or last. And believe it, 
this is far unlike the sad remembrance at judgment, and in the 
place of woe and desperation. 

And I beseech you observe here, that it is your own misdoings 
that you must remember. Had it been only the sins of other men 



A SERMON Oi REPENTANCE. 380 

them to cast away such thoughts, and turn their minds to other 
things, they tell me they cannot ; it is not in their power ; and I 
have long found that I may almost as well persuade a broken head 
to give over aching. But when the holy God shall purposely pour 
out the vials cf his wrath on the consciences of the ungodly, and 
open the books, and show them all that ever they have done, with 
all the aggravations, how, then, shall these worms be able to resist ? 
And now, I beseech you all, consider, is it not better to remem- 
ber your sins on earth, than in hell ? before your Physician, than 
before your Judge ? for your cure, than for your torment? Give 
me leave, then, before I go any further, to address myself to you 
as the messenger of the Lord, with this importunate request, both 
as you stand here in your private and your public capacities. In 
the name of the God of heaven, I charge you, remember the lives 
that you have led ! remember what you have been doing in the 
world ! remember how you have spent your time ! and whether, 
indeed, it is God that you have been serving, and heaven that you 
have been seeking, and holiness and righteousness that you have 
been practicing in the world till now ! Are your sins so small, so 
venial, so few, that you can find no employment on them for your 
memories ? Or is the offending of the Eternal God so slight and 
safe a thing as not to need your consideration ? God forbid you 
should have such atheistical conceits ! Surely God made not his 
laws for nought ; nor doth he make such a stir by his word, and 
messengers, and providences, against an harmless thing ; nor doth 
he threaten hell to men for small, indifferent matters; nor did 
Christ need to have died, and done all that he hath done, to cure 
a small and safe disease. Surely that which the God of heaven is 
pleased to threaten with everlasting punishment, the greatest of 
you all should vouchsafe to think on, and with greatest fear and 
soberness to remember. 

It is a pitiful thing, that with men, with gentlemen, with profess- 
ed Christians, God's matters, and their own matters, their greatest 
matters, should seem unworthy to be thought on ; when they have 
thoughts for their honors, and their lands, and friends ; and thoughts 
for their children, their servants, and provision ; and thoughts 
for their horses, and their dogs, and sports. Is God and heaven 
less worthy than these ? are death and judgment matters of less 
moment? Gentlemen, you would take it ill to have your wisdom 
undervalued, and your reason questioned ; for your honor's sake 
do not make it contemptible yourselves in the eyes of all that are 
truly wise. It is the nobleness of objects that most ennobles your 
faculties, and the baseness of objects doth abase them. If brutish 
objects be your employment and delight, do I need to tell you 
what you make yourselves ? If you would be noble indeed, let 
God and everlasting glory be the object of your faculties ; if you 



334 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

but once a day, or once a week, to bestow one hour in serious 
consideration of their latter end, and the everlasting state of saints 
and sinners, and of the equity of the 'holy ways of God, and the 
iniquity of their own, we cannot prevail with them. Till the God 
of heaven doth overrule them, we cannot prevail. The witness 
that we are forced to bear is sad : it is sad to us ; but it will be 
sadder to these rebels, that shall one day know that God will not 
be outfaced ; and that they may sooner shake the stable earth, and 
darken the sun by their reproaches, than outbrave the Judge of 
all the world, or by all their cavils, wranglings, or scorns, escape 
the hands of his revenging justice. 

But if ever the Lord will save these souls, he will bring their 
misdoings to their remembrance. He will make them think of 
that which they were so loath to think on. You cannot now abide 
these troubling and severe meditations ; the thoughts of God, and 
heaven, and hell ; the thoughts of your sins, and of your duties, 
are melancholy, unwelcome thoughts to you ; but O; that you 
could foreknow the thoughts that you shall have of all these things ! 
even the proudest, scornful, hardened sinner, that heareth me this 
day, shall shortly have such a remembrance as will make him 
wonder at his present blockishness. O, when the irresistible power 
of Heaven shall open all your sins before you, and command you 
to remember them, and to remember the time, and place, and per- 
sons, and all the circumstances of them ; what a change will it 
make upon the most stout or stubborn of the sons of men ; what a 
difference will there then be between that trembling, self-tormenting 
soul, and the same that now, in his gallantry, can make light of all 
these things, and call the messenger of Christ, who warneth him, 
a Puritan, or a doting fool ! Your memories now are somewhat 
subject to your wills ; and if you will not think of your own, your 
chief, your everlasting concernments, you may choose. If you 
will choose rather to employ your noble souls on beastly lusts, and 
waste your thoughts on things of nought, you may take your 
course, and chase a feather with a childish world, till, overtaking 
it, you see you have lost your labor. But when justice takes the 
work in hand, your thoughts shall be no more subject to your wills ; 
you shall then remember that which you are full loath to remem- 
ber, and -would give a world that you could forget. O. then one 
cup of the waters of oblivion would be of inestimable value to the 
damned ! O, what would they not give that they could but forget 
the time they had lost, tire mercy they abused, the grace which 
they refusea, the holy servants of Christ whom they despised, the 
willful sins which they committed, and the many duties which 
they willfully omitted ! I have often thought of their case when 
I have dealt with melancholy or despairing persons. If I advised 



' ' *fc- - 
A SERMON' OK RF.PENT4NC K. -l!-'5 

ends, and everlasting state, and to remember your misdoings, that 
you may loathe yourselves, and in returning may find life ; but some 
either scorn them, or quarrel with them, or sleep under their most 
serious and importunate solicitations, or carelessly and stupidly 
give them the hearing, as if they spoke but words of course, or 
treated about uncertain things, and spoke not to them from the 
God of heaven, and about the things that every man of you shall 
very shortly see or feel. Sometimes you are called on by the 
voice of conscience within, to remember the unreasonableness and 
evil of your ways ; but conscience is silenced, because it will not 
be conformable to your lusts. But little do you think what a part 
your too late awakened conscience hath yet to play, if you give it 
not a more sober hearing in time. Sometimes the voice of common 
calamities, and national or local judgments, call on you to remem- 
ber the evil of your ways ; but that which is spoken to all, or 
many, doth seem to most of them as spoken unto none. Some- 
times the voice of particular judgments, seizing upon your families, 
persons or estates, doth call on you to remember the evil of your 
ways ; and one would think the rod should make you hear. And 
yet you most disregardfully go on, or are only frightened into a few 
good purposes and promises, that die when health and prosperity 
revive. Sometimes God joineth all these together, and pleadeth 
both by word and rod, and addeth also the inward pleadings of 
his Spirit; he sets your sins in order before you, (Psalm 1. 21.) 
and expostulateth with you the cause of his abused love, despised 
sovereignty, and provoked justice ; and asketh the poor sinner, 
' Hast thou done well to waste thy life in vanity, to serve thy 
flesh, to forget thy God, thy soul, thy happiness; and to thrust 
his services into corners, and give him but the odious leavings of 
the flesh ? ' But these pleas of God cannot be heard. O horrible 
impiety ! By his own creatures ; by reasonable creatures (that 
would scorn to be called fools or madmen) the God of heaven 
cannot be heard ! The brutish, passionate, furious sinners will not 
remember. They will not remember what they have done, and 
with whom it is that they have to do, and what God thinks and 
saith of men in their condition; and whither it is that the flesh 
will lead them ; and what will be the fruit and end of all their 
lusts and vanities ; and how they will look back on all at last ; 
and whether an holy or a sensual life will be sweetest to a dying 
man ; and what judgment it is that they will all be of, in the con- 
troversy between the flesh and Spirit, at the latter end. Though 
they have life and time, and reason for their uses, we cannot en- 
treat them to consider of these things in time. If our lives lay on 
it, as their salvation, which is more, lieth on it, we cannot entreat 
them. If we should kneel to them, and with tears beseech them, 



332 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

these, even these, that nothing but deadness or madness should 
make a reasonable creature to forget, are daily forgotten by the 
unconverted soul, or ineffectually remembered. Many a time 
have I admired that men of reason who are here to-day, and in 
endless joy or misery to-morrow, should be able to forget such 
inexpressible concernments ! Methinks they should easier forget 
to rise, or dress themselves, or to eat, or drink, or any thing, than 
forget an endless life, which is so undoubtedly certain, and so near. 
A man that hath a cause to be heard to-morrow, in which his life 
or honor is concerned, cannot forget it ; a wretch that is condemned 
to die to-morrow, cannot forget it. And yet poor sinners, that are 
continually uncertain to live an hour, and certain speedily to see 
the majesty of the Lord, to their unconceivable joy or terror, as 
sure as now they live on earth, can forget these things for which 
they have their memory ; and which, one would think, should 
drown the matters of this world, as the report of a cannon doth a 
whisper, or as the sun obscureth the poorest glow-worm. O won- 
derful stupidity of an unrenewed soul ! O wonderful folly and 
distractedness of the ungodly ! That ever man can forget, I say 
again, that they can forget, eternal joy, eternal woe, and the Eter- 
nal God, and the place of their eternal, unchangeable abode, when 
they stand even at the door, and are passing in, and there is but 
the thin veil of flesh between them and that amazing sight, that 
eternal gulf; and they are daily dying, and even stepping in. O, 
could you keep your honors here forever ; could you ever wear 
that gay attire, and gratify your flesh with meats, and drinks, and 
sports, and lusts ; could you ever keep your rule and dignity, or 
your earthly life in any state, you had some little poor excuse foi 
not remembering the eternal things, (as a man hath that preferred) 
his candle before the sun ;) but when death is near and inexorable, 
and you are sure to die as you are sure to live ; when every man 
of you that sitteth in these seats to-day can say, ' I must shortly 
be in another world, where all the pomp and pleasure of this 
world will be forgotten, or remembered but as my sin and folly,' 
one would think it were impossible for any of you to be ungodly 
and to remember the trifles and nothings of the world, while you 
forget that everlasting all, whose reality, necessity, magnitude, 
excellency, concernment, and duration, are such as should take up 
all the powers of your souls, and continually command the service 
and attendance of your thoughts against all seekers, and contemp- 
tible competitors whatsoever. But, alas ! though you have the 
greatest helps, (in subservience to these commanding objects,) yet 
will you not remember the matters which alone deserve remem- 
brance. Sometimes the preachers of the gospel do call on you to 
remember ; to remember your God, your souls, your Savior, your 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 331 

felicities, but for crimes. Conscience keepeth in its own court, and 
meddleth but with moral evils, which we are conscious of. (2.) 
And also it is sin that is loathed by God, and makes the creature 
loathsome in his eyes ; and repentance conformeth the soul to God, 
and therefore causeth us to loathe as he doth, and on his grounds. 
And, (3.) There is no evil but sin, and that which sin pro- 
cureth ; and therefore it is for sin that the penitent loathes himself. 
5. Note, also, that it is here implied, that, till repentance, there 
was none of this remembering of sin, and loathing of themselves. 
They begin with our conversion, and, as before described, are 
proper to the truly penitent. For, to consider them distinctly, 
(1.) The deluded soul that is bewitched by his own concupis- 
cence is so taken up with remembering of his fleshly pleasures, 
and his alluring objects, and his honors, and his earthly businesses 
and store, that he hath no mind or room for the remembering of 
his foolish, odious sin, and the wrong that he is doing to God, and 
to himself. Death is oblivious, and sleep hath but a distracted, 
ineffectual memory, that stirreth not the busy dreamer from his 
pillow, nor despatcheth any of the work he dreams of. And the 
unconverted are asleep, and dead in sin. The crowd of cares and 
worldly businesses, and the tumultuous noise of foolish sports, and 
other sensual passions and delights, do take up the minds of the 
unconverted, and turn them from the observation of the things of 
greatest everlasting consequence. They have a memory for sin 
and the flesh, to which they are alive, but not for things spiritual 
and eternal, to which they are dead. They remember not God 
himself as God, with any effectual remembrance. God is not in 
all their thoughts ; Psal. x. 4. They live as without him in 
the world ; Eph. ii. 12. And if they remember not God, they 
cannot remember sin as sin, whose malignity lieth in its opposition 
to the will and holiness of God. They forget themselves, and 
therefore must needs forget their sinfulness. Alas ! they remem- 
ber not effectually and savingly what they are, and why they 
were made,-and what they are daily nourished and preserved for, 
and what business they have to do here in the world. They for- 
get that they have souls to save or lose, that must live in endless 
joy or torment. You may see by their careless and ungodly lives 
that they forget it. You may hear by their carnal, frothy speech 
that they forget it. And he that remembereth not himself, re- 
membereth not his own concernments. They forget the end to 
which they tend ; the life which they must live forever ; the mat- 
ters everlasting, whose greatness and duration, one would think, 
should so command the mind of man, and take up all his thoughts 
and cares, in despite of all the little trifling matters that would 
avert them, that we should think almost of nothing else. Yet 



330 A SKKMON OF REPENTANCE. 

(7.) It bringetn him to a delight in God and holiness, and a de- 
light in himself, so i'ar as he findeth God and heaven, and holiness 
within him. He can, with some comfort and content, own him- 
self and his conversation, so far as God (victorious against his car- 
nal self) appeareth in him. For, as he loveth Christ in the rest 
of his members, so must he in himself. And this is it that self- 
loathing doth prepare for. 

This must be the self-loathing that must afford you comfort, as 
a penitent people in the way to restoration. 

1. Where you see it is implied that, materially, it containeth 
these common acts. (1.) Accusing and condemning thoughts 
against ourselves. It is a judging of ourselves, and makes us call 
ourselves, with Paul, foolish, disobedient, deceived; yea, mad; 
(as Acts xxvi. 11.) and with David to say, I have done foolishly ; 
2 Sam. xxiv. 10. (2.) It containeth a deep distaste and displeas- 
ure with ourselves, and a heart rising against ourselves. (3.) As 
also a holy indignation against ourselves, as apprehending that 
we have played the enemies to ourselves and God. (4.) And it 
possesseth us with grief and trouble at our miscarriages. So that 
a soul, in this condition, is sick of itself, and vexed with its self- 
procured woe. 

2. Note, also, that when self-loathing proceedeth from mere con- 
viction, and is without the love of God and holiness, it is but the 
tormentor of the soul, and runs it deeper into sin, provoking men 
here to destroy their lives ; and in hell it is the never-dying worm. 

3. Note, also, that it is themselves that they are said to loathe, 
because it is ourselves that conscience hath to do with, as witness. 
and as judge ; it is ourselves that are naturally nearest to ourselves, 
and our own affairs that we are most concerned in. It is ourselves 
that must have the joy or torment, and, therefore, it is our own ac- 
tions and estate that we have first to mind. Though yet, as ma- 
gistrates, ministers, and neighbors, we must next mind others, and 
must loathe iniquity wherever we meet it, and a vile person must 
be condemned in our eyes, while we honor them that fear the 
Lord ; Psalm xv. 4. 

And as by nature, so in the commandment, God hath given to 
every man the first and principal care and charge of himself, and 
his own salvation, and consequently of his own ways, so that we 
may with less suspicion loathe ourselves than others, and are more 
obliged to do it. 

4. Note, also, that it is not for our troubles, or our disgrace, or 
our bodily deformities, or infirmities, or for our poverty and want, 
that penitents are said to loathe themselves, but for their iniquities 
and abominations. For, (1 .) This loathing is a kind of justice 
done upon ourselves, and therefore is exercised, not for mere in- 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. <|k 337 

especially those that differ from you, or have wronged you, or 
stand against your interest, how easily would the duty have been 
performed! How little need should I have had to press it with all 
this importunity ! How confident should I be that I could convert 
the most, if this were the conversion ! It grieves rny soul to hear 
how quick and constant, high and low, learned and unlearned, are 
at this uncharitable, contumelious remembering of the faults of 
others ; how cunningly they can bring in their insinuated accusa- 
tions ; how odiously they can aggravate the smallest faults, where 
difference causeth them to distaste the person ; how ordinarily they 
judge of actions by the persons, as if any thing were a crime that 
is done by such as they dislike, and all were virtue that is done 
by those that fit their humors ; how commonly brethren have made 
it a part of their service of God to speak or write uncharitably of 
his servants, laboring to destroy the hearer's charity, which had 
more need, in this unhappy time, of the bellows than the water; 
how usual it is with the ignorant that cannot reach the truth, and 
the impious that cannot bear it, to call such heretics that know 
more than themselves, and to call such precisians, Puritans, (or 
some such name which hell invents as there is occasion,) who dare 
not be so bad as they ; how odious, men pretending to much grav- 
ity, learning, and moderation, do labor to make those that are dear- 
er to God ; and what a heart they have to widen differences, and 
make a sea of every lake ; and that, perhaps, under pretense of 
blaming the uncharitableness of others ; how far the very sermons 
and discourses of some learned men are from the common rule of 
doing as we would be done by ; and how loudly they proclaim that 
such men love not their neighbors as themselves; the most un- 
charitable words seeming moderate, which they give ; and all call- 
ed intemperate that savoreth not of flattery, which they receive ! 
Were I calling the several exasperated factions, now in England, to 
remember the misdoings of their supposed adversaries, what full- 
mouthed and debasing confessions would they make ! What mon- 
sters of heresy, and schism, of impiety, treason, and rebellion, of 
perjury and perfidiousness, would too many make of the faults of 
others, while they extenuate their own to almost nothing ! It is a 
wonder to observe how the case doth alter with the most, when 
that which was their adversary's case becomes their own. The 
very prayers of the godly, and their care of their salvation, and 
their fear of sinning, doth seem their crime in the eyes of some that 
easily bear the guilt of swearing, drunkenness, sensuality, filthiness, 
and neglect of duty in themselves, as a tolerable burden. 

But if ever God indeed convert you, (though you will pity 
others, yet) he will teach you to begin at home, and take the beam 
out of your own eyes, and to cry out, 'I am the miserable sinner.' 
VOL. n. 43 



338 A SERMON Oi REPENTANCE. 

And lest these generals seem insufficient for us to confess 
on such a day as this, and lest yet your memories should need 
more help, is it not my duty to remind you of some particulars ? 
which yet I shall not do by way of accusation, but of inquiry. 
Far be it from me to judge so hardly of you, that when you come 
hither to lament your sins, you cannot with patience endure to be 
told of them. 

1. Inquire, then, whether there be none among you that live a 
sensual, careless life, clothed with the best, and faring deliciously 
every day ! In rioting and drunkenness, chambering and wanton- 
ness, strife and envying, not putting on Christ, nor walking in the 
Spirit, but making provision for the ilesh, to satisfy the lusts there- 
of; Rom. xiii. 13, 14. Is there none among you that spend your 
precious time in vanities, that is allowed you to prepare for life 
eternal ? That have time to waste in compliments, and fruitless 
talk, and visits ; in gaming, and unnecessary recreations ; in ex- 
cessive feasting and entertainments, while God is neglected, and 
your souls forgotten, and you can never find an hour in a day to 
make ready for the life which you must live forever ? Is there 
none among you that would take the man for a Puritan, or fanatic, 
that should employ but half so much time for his soul, and in the 
services of the Lord, as you do in unnecessary sports and pleasures, 
and pampering your flesh ? Gentlemen, if there be any such 
among you, as you love your souls, remember your misdoings, 
and bewail these abominations before the Lord, in this day of your 
professed humiliation. 

2. Inquire whether there be none among you, that, being 
strangers to the new birth, and to the inward workings of the 
Spirit of Christ upon the soul, do also distaste a holy life, and 
make it the matter of your reproach, and pacify your accusing 
consciences with a religion made up of mere words, and heartless 
outside, and so much obedience as your fleshly pleasures will ad- 
mit, accounting those that go beyond you. especially if they differ 
from you in your modes and circumstances, to be but a company 
of proud, Pharisaical, self-conceited hypocrites, and those whom 
you desire to suppress. If there be one such person here, I would 
entreat him to remember that it is the solemn asseveration of our 
Judge, that, " except a man be converted, and be born again, of 
water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven ;" 
(John iii. 3 5 ; Matt, xviii. 3 ;) that " if any man have not the 
Spirit of Christ, he is none of his;" (Rom. viii. 9.) that " if any 
man be in Christ, he is a new creature ; old things are passed away, 
and all things are become new ; " (2 Cor. v. 17.) that " without 
holiness none shall see God ; " (Heb. xii. 14.) that " the wisdom 
that is from above is first pure, and then peaceable;" (Jam. iii. 



A *ERMON OK REPENTANCE. 339 

17.) that " God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must wor- 
ship him in spirit and in truth;" (John iv. 23, 24.) that "they 
worship in vain that teach for doctrines the commandments of men ;" 
(Matt. xv. 8, 9.) and that " except your righteousness shall ex- 
ceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees ye shall in no wise enter 
into the kingdom of heaven ; " Matt. v. 20. And I desire you 
to remember that " it is hard to kick against the pricks, and to 
prosper in rage against the Lord ; and that it is better for that man 
that offendeth one of his little ones to have a millstone fastened to 
his neck, and to have been cast into the bottom of the sea ; " Matt, 
xviii. 6. It is a sure and grievous condemnation that waiteth for 
all that are themselves unholy ; but to the haters or despisers of 
the holy laws and servants of the Lord how much more grievous 
a punishment is reserved ! 

3. Inquire also whether there be none among you that let loose 
your passions on your inferiors, and oppress your poor tenants, 
and make them groan under the task, or at least do little to relieve 
the needy, nor study not to serve the Lord with your estates, but 
sacrifice all to the pleasing of your flesh, unless it be some incon- 
siderable pittance, or fruitless drops, that are un proportionable to 
your receivings. If there be any such, let them remember their 
iniquities, and cry for mercy before the cry of the poor to heaven 
do bring down vengeance from him that hath promised to hear 
their cry, and speedily to avenge them; Luke xviii. 7, 8. 

4. Inquire whether there be none that live the life of Sodom, in 
pride, fullness of bread, and idleness; (Ezek. xvi. 49.) and that 
are puffed up with their estates and dignities, and are strangers to 
the humility, meekness, patience, and self-denial of the saints ; 
that ruffle in bravery, and contend more zealously for their honor 
and preeminence than for the honor and interest of the Lord. 
For pride of apparel, it was wont to be taken for a childish or wo- 
manish kind of vice, below a man ; but it is now observed among 
the gallants, that (except in spots) the notes of vanity are more 
legibly written on the hair and dress of a multitude of effeminate 
males than on the females ; proclaiming to the world that pride, 
which, one would think, even pride itself should have concealed ; 
and calling by these signs to the beholders to observe the emptiness 
of their minds, and how void they are of that inward worth which is 
the honor of a Christian and of a man. It being a marvel to see 
a man of learning, gravity, wisdom, and the fear of God, appear 
in such antic dress. 

I have done with the first part, " the remembering of your own 
evil ways and doings." I beseech you practically go along with 
me to the next ; " The loathing of yourselves in your own eyes, 
for all your iniquities and abominations." 

Every true convert doth thus loathe himself for his iniquities ; 



340 A SERMON OF KEfENTANCE. 

and when God will restore a punished people upon their repent- 
ance, he bringeth them to this loathing of themselves. 

1 . A converted soul hath a new and heavenly light to help him 
to see those matters of humbling use which others see not. 

2. More particularly, he hath the knowledge of sin and of him- 
self. He seeth the odious face of sin, and seeth how much his 
heart and life, in his sinful days, abounded with it, and how great a 
measure yet remains. 

3. He hath seen by faith the Lord himself; the majesty, the 
holiness, the jealousy, the goodness of the eternal God whom he 
hath offended, and therefore must needs abhor himself; Job xlii. 6. 

4. He hath tasted of God's displeasure against him for his sin, 
already. God himself hath set it home, and awakened his con- 
science, and held it on, till he hath made him understand that the 
consuming fire is not to be jested with. 

5. He hath seen Christ crucified, and mourned over him. This 
is the glass that doth most clearly show the ugliness of sin ; and 
here he hath learned to abhor himself. 

6. He hath foreseen, by faith, the end of sin, and the doleful 
recompense of the ungodly: his faith beholdeth the misery of 
damned souls, and the glory which sinners cast away. He heareth 
them beforehand, repenting, and lamenting, and crying out of their 
former folly, and wishing in vain that all this were to do again, 
and that they might once more be tried with another life, and re- 
solving then how holily, how self-denyingly they would live ! He 
knows that if sin had had its way, he had been plunged into this 
hellish misery himself; and therefore he must needs loathe himself 
for his iniquities. 

7. Moreover, the true convert hath had the liveliest taste of 
mercy, of the blood of Christ, of the offers and covenant of 
grace, of reprieving mercy, of pardoning mercy, of healing and 
preserving mercy, and of the unspeakable mercy contained in the 
promise of everlasting life ; and to find that he hath sinned against 
all this mercy, doth constrain him to abhor himself. 

8. And it is only the true convert that hath a new and holy na- 
ture, contrary to sin ; and, therefore, as a man that hath the lep- 
rosy doth loathe himself because his nature is contrary t6 his 
disease, so is it (though operating in a freer way) with a converted 
soul as to the leprosy of sin. O, how he loathes the remnants of 
his pride and passion ; his excessive cares, desires, and fears ; the 
backwardness of his soul to God and heaven ! Sin is to the new 
nature of every true believer as the food of a swine to the stomach 
of a man ; if he have eaten it, he hath no rest until he hath vom- 
ited it up ; and then, when he looketh on his vomit, he loatheth 
himself to think how long he kept such filth within him ; and that 
yet in the bottom there is some remains. 



A SKH.MON Of REPENTANCE. 341 

9. The true convert is one that is much at home ; his heart is the 
vineyard which he is daily dressing ; his work is ordinarily about it ; 
and, therefore, he is acquainted with those secret sins, and daily 
failings, which ungodly men, that are strangers to themselves, do 
not observe, though they have them in dominion. 

10. Lastly, a serious Christian is a workman of the Lord's, and 
daily busy at the exercise of his graces, and, therefore, hath occa- 
sion to observe his weaknesses, and failings, and from sad experi- 
ence is forced to abhor himself. 

But with careless, unrenewed souls, it is not so : some of them 
may have a mild, ingenuous disposition, and the knowledge of their 
unworthiness ; and customarily they will confess such sins as are 
small disgrace to them, or cannot be hid ; or under the terrible 
gripes of conscience in the hour of distress, and at the approach 
of death, they will do more ; and abhor themselves, perhaps, as Ju- 
das did ; or make a constrained confession through the power of fear ; 
but so far are they from this loathing of themselves for all their in- 
iquities, that sin is to them as their element, their food, their nature, 
and their friend. 

And now, honorable, worthy, and beloved auditors, it is my du- 
ty to inquire, and to provoke you to inquire, whether the repre- 
sentative body of the commons of England, and each man of you 
in particular, be thus affected to yourselves or not. It concerns 
you to inquire of it, as you love your souls, and love not to see the 
death-marks of impenitency on them. It concerneth us to inquire 
of it, as we love you and the nation, and would fain see the marks 
of God's return in mercy to us, in your self-loathing and return 
to God. Let conscience speak as before the Lord that sees 
your hearts, and will shortly judge you : have you had such a 
sight of your natural and actual sin and misery, of your neglect of 
God, your contempt of heaven, your loss of precious, hasty time, 
your worldly, fleshly, sensual lives, and your omission of the great 
and holy works which you were made for ? Have you had such a 
sight and sense of these as hath filled your souls with shame and 
sorrow, and caused you, in tears, or hearty grief, to lament your sin- 
ful, careless lives, before the Lord ? Do you loathe yourselves 
for all this, as being vile in your own eyes, and each man say, 
' What a' wretch was I! what an unreasonable, self-hating wretch, 
to do all this against myself! what an unnatural wretch ! what a 
monster of rebellion and ingratitude, to do all this against the Lord 
of love and mercy ! what a deceived, foolish wretch, to prefer the 
pleasing of my lusts and senses, a pleasure that perisheth in the 
fruition, and is past as soon as it is received, before the manly pleas- 
ures of the saints, and before the soul's delight in God, and before 
the unspeakable, everlasting pleasures ! Was there any compari- 
son between the brutish pleasures of the flesh, and the spiritual 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

delight's, of a believing soul, in looking to the endless pleasure which 
we shall have with all the sainls and angels in the glorious presence 
of the Lord ? Was God and glory worth no more than to be 
cast aside for satiating of an unsatisfiable flesh and fancy, and to be 
sold .for a harlot, for a forbidden cup, for a little air of nopular ap- 
plause, or for a burdensome load of wealth and power, for so short 
a time ? Where is now the gain and pleasure of all my former 
.sins? What have they left but a sting behind them? How near 
is the time when my departing soul must look back on all the pleas- 
ures and profits that ever I enjoyed, as a dream when one awak- 
eth ; as delusory vanities, that have done all for me that ever they 
will do, and all is but to bring my flesh unto corruption, (Gal. vi. 
8.) and my soul to this distressing grief and fear ! and then I 
must sing and laugh no more ! I must brave it out in pride no 
more ! I must know the pleasures of the flesh no more ! but be 
leveled with the poorest, and my body laid in loathsome darkness, 
and my soul appear before that God whom I so willfully refused 
to obey and honor. O, wretch that I am ! where was my under- 
standing, when I played so boldly with the flames of hell, the 
wrath of God, the poison of sin.! when God stood by, and yet I 
sinned ! when conscience did rebuke me, and yet I sinned ! when 
heaven or hell were hard at hand, and yet I sinned ! when, to 
please my God and save my soul, I would not forbear a filthy lust, 
or forbidden vanity of no worth ! when I would not be persuaded 
to a holy, heavenly, watchful life, though all my hopes of heaven 
lay on it ! I am ashamed of myself; I am confounded in the re- 
membrance of my willful, self-destroying folly ! I loathe myself 
for all my abominations ! O that I had lived in beggary and rags 
when I lived in sin ! And O that I had lived with God in a prison, 
or in a wilderness, when I refused a holy, heavenly life, for the 
love of a deceitful world ! Will the Lord pardon what is past, 1 
am resolved through his grace to do so no more, but to loathe that 
filth that I took for pleasure, and to abhor that sin that I made my 
sport, and to die to the glory and riches of the world, which I 
made my idol ; and to live entirely to that God that I did so long 
ago and so unworthily neglect ; and to seek that treasure, that 
kingdom, that delight, that will fully satisfy my expectation, and 
answer all my care and labor, with such infinite advantage. Holi- 
ness or nothing shall be my work and -life, and heaven or nothing 
hall be my portion and felicity. 

These are the thoughts, the affections, the breathing of every 
regenerate, gracious soul. For your souls' sake inquire now, is it 
thus with you. Or have you thus returned with self-loathing to 
the Lord, and firmly engaged your souls to him at your entrance 
into a holy life ? I must be plain with you, gentlemen, or I shall 
be unfaithful ; and I must deal closely with you, or I cannot deal 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. / 343 

honestly and truly with you. As sure as you live, yea, as sure as 
the word of God is true, you must all be such converted men, and 
loathe yourselves for your iniquities, or be condemned as impeni- 
tent to everlasting fire. To hide this from you, is but to deceive 
you, and that in a matter of a thousand time? greater moment than 
your lives. Perhaps I could have made shift, instead of such se- 
rious admonitions, to. have wasted this hour in flashy oratory, and 
neat expressions, and ornaments of reading, and other things that 
are the too common matters of ostentation with men that preach 
God's word in jest, and believe not what they are persuading others 
to believe. Or, if you think I could not, I am indifferent, as not 
much affecting the honor of being able to offend the Lord, and 
wrong your souls, by dallying with holy things. Flattery in these 
things of soul concernment is a selfish villany, that hath but a very 
short reward ; and those that are pleased with it to-day may curse 
the flatterer forever. Again, therefore, let me tell you that which 
I think you will confess, that it is not your greatness, nor your 
high looks, nor the gallantry of your spirits, that scorns to be thus 
humbled, that will serve your turn when God shall deal with you, 
or save your carcasses from rottenness and dust, or your guilty souls 
from the wrath of the Almighty. Nor is it your contempt of the 
threatenings of the Lord, and your stupid neglect, or scorning at 
the message, that will endure when the sudden, irresistible light 
shall come in upon you, and convince you, or you shall see and 
feel what now you refuse to believe ! Nor is it your outside, hyp- 
ocritical religion, made up of mere words, or ceremonies, and giv- 
ing your souls but the leavings of the flesh, and making God an 
underling to the world, that will do any more to save your souls 
than the picture of a feast to feed your bodies. Nor is it the stiff- 
est conceits tliat you shall be saved in an unconverted state, or 
that you are sanctified when you are not, that will do any more to 
keep you from damnation than a conceit, that you shall never die, 
will do to keep you here forever. Gentlemen, though you are all 
here in health, and dignity, and honor, to-day, how little a while 
is it, alas ! how little, until you shall be every man in heaven or 
hell ! Unless you are infidels, you dare not deny it. And it is 
only Christ and a holy life that is your way to heaven ; and only 
sin, and the neglect of Christ and holiness, that can undo you. 
Look, therefore, upon sin as you should look upon that which 
would cast you into hell, and is daily undermining all your hopes. 
O, that this honorable assembly could know it in some measure as 
it shall be shortly known ; and judge of it as men do, when time 
is past, and delusions vanished, and all men are awakened from 
their fleshly dreams, and their naked souls have seen the Lord ! 
O, then, what laws would you make against sin ! How speedily 
would you join your strength against it as against the only enemy 



344 A SEKMON OF REPENTANCE. 

'I 1 

of your peace, and as against a fire in your houses, or a plague 
that were broken out upon the city where you are ! O, then, how 
zealously would you all concur to promote *the interest of holiness 
in the land, and studiously encourage the servants of the Lord ! 
How severely would you deal with those that, by making a mock 
of godliness, do hinder the salvation of the people's souls ! How 
carefully would you help the laborers that are sent to guide men in 
the holy path ! and yourselves would go before the nation as an 
example of penitent self-loathing for your sins, and hearty conver- 
sion to the Lord ! Is this your duty now ? or is it not ': If you 
cannot deny it, I warn you from the Lord, do not neglect it ; and 
do not, by your disobedience to a convinced conscience, prepare for 
a tormenting conscience. If you know your Master's will, and 
do it not, you shall be beaten with many stripes. 

And your public capacity and work doth make your repentance 
and holiness needful to others as well as to yourselves. Had we 
none to govern us, but such as entirely subject themselves to the 
government of Christ ; and none to make us laws, but such as have 
his law transcribed upon their hearts, O, what a happy people 
should we be ! Men are unlikely to make strict laws, against the 
vices which they love and live in; or if they make them, they are 
more unlikely to execute them. We can expect no great help 
against drunkenness, swearing, gaming, filthiness, and profaneness, 
from men that love these abominations so well, as that they will 
rather part with God and their salvation than they will let them go. 
All men are born with a serpentine malice and enmity against the 
seed of Christ, which is rooted in their very natures. Custom in sin 
increaseth this to malignity ; and it is only renewed grace that doth 
overcome it. If, therefore, there should be any among our rulers 
that are not cured of this mortal malady, what friendship can be 
expected from them to the cause and servants of the Lord ? If 
you are all the children of God yourselves, and heaven be your 
end, and holiness your delight and business, it will then be your 
principal care to encourage it, and help the people to the happi- 
ness that you have found yourselves. But if in any the original 
(increased) enmity to God and godliness prevail, we can expect 
no better (ordinarily) from such, than that they oppose the holiness 
which they hate, and do their worst to make us miserable. But 
woe to him that striveth against his Maker. Shall the thorns and 
briers be set in battle against the consuming fire and prevail ? Isaiah 
xxvii. 4. O, therefore, for the nation's sake, begin at home and 
cast away the sins which you would have the nation cast away ! 
All men can say, that ministers must teach by their lives, as well 
as by their doctrines ; (and woe to them that do not !) and must not 
magistrates as well govern by their lives, as by their laws ? Will 
you make laws which you would not have men obey ? Or would 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 345 

you have the people to be better than yourselves? Or can you 
expect to be obeyed by others, when you will not obey the God 
of heaven and earth yourselves? We beseech you, therefore, for 
the sake of a poor, distressed land, let our recovery begin with you. 
God looks so much at the rulers of a nation in his dealings with 
them, that ordinarily it goes with the people as their rulers are. 
Until David had numbered the people, God would not let out his 
wrath upon them, though it was they that were the great offend- 
ers. If we see our representative body begin in loathing them- 
selves for all their iniquities, and turning to the Lord with all their 
hearts, we should yet believe that he is returning to us, and will 
do us good, after all our provocations. Truly, gentlemen, it is 
much from you that we must fetch our comfortable or sad prog- 
nostics of the life or death of this diseased land. Whatever you 
do. I know that it shall go well with the righteous ; but for the 
happiness or misery of the nation, in general it is you that are our 
best prognostication. If you repent yourselves, and become a holy 
people to the Lord, it promiseth us deliverance ; but if you harden 
your hearts, and prove despisers of God and holiness, it is like to 
be our temporal, and sure to be your eternal undoing, if saving 
grace do not prevent it. 

And I must needs tell you that, if you be not brought to loathe 
yourselves, it is not because there is no loathsome matter in you. 
Did you see your inside, you could not forbear it. As I think it 
would somewhat abate the pride of the most curious gallants, if they 
did but see what a heap of phlegm, and filth, and dung, (and per- 
haps crawling worms,) there is within them ; much more should it 
make you loathe yourselves if you saw those sins that are a thou- 
sand times more odious. And to instigate you hereunto, let me 
further reason with you. 

1. You can easily loathe an enemy ; and who hath been a 
greater enemy to any of you than yourselves? Another may 
injure you ; but no man can everlastingly undo you, but yourselves. 

2. You abhor him that kills your dearest friends ; and it is you 
by your sins that have put to death the Lord of life. 

3. Who is it but yourselves that have robbed you of so much 
precious time, and so much precious fruit of ordinances, and of all 
the mercies .of the Lord ? 

4. Who is it but yourselves that hath brought you under God's 
displeasure ? Poverty could not have made him loathe you, nor 
any thing besides your sins. 

5. Who wounded conscience, and hath raised all your doubts 
and fears ? Was it not your sinful selves ? 

6. Who is it but yourselves that hath brought you so near the 
gulf of misery, and endangered your eternal peace ? 

VOL. ii. 44 



316 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

7. Consider the loathsome nature of your sins; and how, then, 
can you choose but loathe yourselves ? 

(1.) It is the creature's rebellion or disobedience against the Ab- 
solute Universal Sovereign. 

(2.) It is the deformity of God's noblest creature here on earth, 
and the abusing of the most noble faculties. 

(3.) It is a stain so deep that nothing can wash out but the 
blood of Christ. The flood that drowned a world of sinners did 
not wash away their sins. The fire that consumed the Sodomites 
did not consume their sins. Hell itself can never end it, and, 
therefore, shall have no end itself. It dieth not with you when 
you die : though churchyards are the guiltiest spots of ground, they 
do not bury and hide our sin. 

(4.) The church must loathe it, and must cast out the sinner as 
loathsome, if he remain impenitent ; and none of the servants of 
the Lord must have any friendship with the unfruitful works of 
darkness. 

(5.) God himself doth loathe the creature for sin, and for noth- 
ing else but sin. " My soul loathed them ; " (Zech. xi. 8.) " When 
the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of 
his sons and daughters;" (Deut. xxxii. 19.) " My soul shall ab- 
hor you ; " (Lev. xxvi. 30.) " When God heard this, he was wroth, 
and greatly abhorred Israel;" (Psalm Ixxviii. 59.) "He abhor- 
red his very sanctuary ;" (Lam. ii. 7.) " For he is of purer eyes 
than to behold iniquity ;" Hab. i. 13. In a word, it is the sen- 
tence of God himself, that a " wicked man is loathsome and coraeth 
to shame," (Prov. xiii. 5.) so that you see what abundant cause 
of self-abhorrence is among us. 

But we are much afraid of God's departure, when we see how 
common self-love is in the world, and how rare this penitent self- 
loathing is. 

1. Do they loathe themselves that on every occasion are con- 
tending for their honor, and exalting themselves, and venturing 
their very souls, to be highest in the world, for a little while ? 

2. Do they loathe themselves that are readier to justify all their 
sins, or at least to extenuate them, than humbly confess them ? 

3. Do they loathe themselves for all their sins that cannot en- 
dure to be reproved, but loathe their friends and the ministers of 
Christ that tell them of their loathsomeness ? 

4. Do they loathe themselves that take their pride itself for 
manhood, and Christian humility for baseness, and brokenness of 
heart for whining hypocrisy or folly, and call them a company of 
priest-ridden fools that lament their sin, and ease their souls by free 
confession ? Is the ruffling bravery of this city, and the strange at- 
tire, the haughty carriage, the feasting, idleness, and pomp, the 
marks of such as loathe themselves for all their abominations? 



A SERMON" OF REPENTANCE. 347 

Why, then, was fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes, the badge of such 
in ancient times ? 

5. Do they loathe themselves for all their sins, who loathe those 
that will not do as they, and speak reproachfully of such as run not 
with them to the same excess of riot, (1 Peter iv. 4,) and count 
them precisians that dare not spit in the face of Christ, by willful 
sinning as venturously and madly as themselves ? 

6. Or, do they loathe themselves for all their sins, that love their 
sins even better than their God, and will not, by all the obtestations, 
and commands, and entreaties of the Lord, be persuaded to forsake 
them ? How far all these are from this self-loathing, and how far 
that nation is from happiness, where the rulers or inhabitants are 
such, is easy to conjecture. 

I should have minded you what sins of the land must be re- 
membered, and loathed, if we would have peace and healing. But 
as the glass forbids me, so, alas! as the sins of Sodom, they declare 
themselves. Though, through the great mercy of the Lord, the 
body of this nation, and the sober part, have not been guilty of that 
covenant-breaking, perfidiousness, treason, sedition, disobedience, 
self-exalting, and turbulency, as some have been, and as ignorant 
foreigners, through the calumnies of malicious adversaries, may pos- 
sibly believe ; yet must it be for a lamentation through all genera- 
tions, that any of those who went out from us have contracted the 
guilt of such abominations, and occasioned the enemies of the Lord to 
blaspheme ; and that any, in the pride or simplicity of their hearts, 
have followed the conduct of Jesuitical seducers, they knew not 
whither or to what. 

That profaneness aboundeth on the other side, and drunkenness, 
swearing, fornication, lasciviousness, idleness, pride, and covetous- 
ness, doth still survive the ministers that have wasted themselves 
against them, and the labors of faithful magistrates, to this day ! And 
that the two extremes of heresy and profaneness do increase each 
other ; and while they talk against each other, they harden one 
another, and both afflict the church of Christ. But especially woe 
to England for that crying sin, the scorning of a holy life, if a won- 
der of mercy do not save us. That people, professing the Christian 
religion, should scorn the diligent practice of that religion which 
themselves profess ! That obedience to the God of heaven, that 
imitation of the example of our Savior, who came from heaven to 
teach us holiness, should not only be neglected, unreasonably and 
impiously neglected, but also by a transcendent impious madness 
should be made a matter of reproach ! That the Holy Ghost, into 
whose name, as the Sanctifier, these men were themselves baptiz- 
ed, should not only be resisted, but his sanctifying work be made 
a scorn ! That it should be made a matter of derision for a man 
to prefer his soul before his body, and heaven before earth, and 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

God before a transitory world, and to use his reason in that for 
which it was principally given him, and not to be willfully mad in 
a case where madness will undo him unto all eternity ! Judge, as 
you are men, whether hell itself is like much to exceed such hor- 
rid wickedness ! And whether it be not an astonishing wonder 
that ever a reasonable soul should be brought to such a height of 
abomination ! That they that profess to believe the holy catholic 
church, and the communion of saints, should deride the holiness of 
the church, and the saints, and their communion ! That they that 
pray for the hallowing of God's name, the coming of his kingdom, 
and the doing of his will, even as it is done in heaven, should make 
a mock at all this that they pray for ! How much further, think 
you, is it possible for wicked souls to go on sinning? Is it not 
the God of heaven himself that they make a scorn of? Is not ho- 
liness his image ? Did not he make the law that doth command 
it ; professing that none shall see his face without it? Heb. xii. 14. 
O sinful nation ! O people laden with iniquity ! Repent, repent 
speedily, and with self-loathing ; repent of this inhuman crime, lest 
God should take away your glory, and enter himself into judgment 
with you, and plead against you the scorn that you have cast upon 
the Creator, the Savior, the Sanctifier, to whom you were engag- 
ed in your baptismal vows ! Lest, when he plagueth and condemn- 
eth you, he say, " Why persecuted you me ? " Acts ix. 4. " In- 
asmuch as ye did it to one of the least of these my brethren, ye 
did it unto me. 1 ' Read Prov. i. 20. to the end. When Israel 
mocked the messengers of the Lord, and despised his words, and 
misused his prophets, his wrath arose against his people till there 
was no remedy ; (2 Chron. xxvi. 16.) and O that you, who are 
the physicians of this diseased land, would specially call them to 
repentance for this, and help them against it for the time to come ! 
Having called you first to remember your misdoings, and second- 
ly to loathe yourselves in your own eyes for them, I must add a 
third, that you stop not here, but proceed to reformation, or else 
all the rest is but hypocrisy. And here it is that I most earnestly 
entreat this honorable assembly for their best assistance. O make 
not the forementioned sins your own, lest you hear from God, 
" Quod minus crimine, quam absolutione peccatum est." Though 
England hath been used to cry loud for liberty, let them not have 
liberty to abuse their Maker, and to damn their souls, if you can 
hinder it. "Optimus est reipublicse status, ubi nulla libertas 
deest, nisi licentia pereundi," as Nero was once told by his unsuc- 
cessful tutor. Use not men to a liberty of scorning the laws of 
God, lest you teach them to scorn yours ; for can you expect to be 
better used than God ? And " Cui plus licet quam par est, plus 
vult quam licet;" Gell. 1. 17. c. 14. We have all seen the 
evils of liberty to be wanton in religion. Is it not worse to have 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 349 

liberty to deride religion ? If men shall have leave to go quietly 
to hell themselves, let them not have leave to mock poor souls 
from heaven. The suffering to the sound in faith is as nothing ; 
for what is the foaming rage of madmen to be regarded ? But that, 
in England, God should be so provoked, and souls so hindered 
from the paths of life, that whoever will be converted and saved 
must be made a laughing-stock, which carnal minds cannot endure ; 
this is the mischief which we deprecate. 

The eyes of the nation, and of the Christian world, are much 
upon you, some high in hopes, some deep in fears, some waiting 
in dubious expectations for the issue of your counsels. Great ex- 
pectations, in deep necessities, should awake you to the greatest 
care and diligence. Though I would not, by omitting any neces- 
sary directions or admonitions to you, invite the world to think that 
I speak to such as cannot endure to hear, and that so honorable an 
assembly doth call the ministers of Christ to do those works of 
their proper office, which yet they will be offended if they do, yet 
had I rather err in the defective part than by excess, and therefore 
shall not presume to be too particular. Only in general, in the name 
of Christ, and on the behalf of a trembling, yet hoping nation, I most 
earnestly beseech and warn you, that you own and promote the pow- 
er and practice of godliness in the land, and that as God, whose 
ministers you are, (Rom. xiii. 4.) is a rewarder of them that dili- 
gently seek him, (Heb. xi. 6.) and hath made this a principal article 
of our faith, so you would imitate your absolute Lord, and honor 
them that fear the Lord, and encourage them that diligently seek 
him. And may I not freely tell you that God should have the 
precedency ? And that you must first seek his kingdom and the 
righteousness thereof, and he will facilitate all the rest of your 
work ? Surely no powers on earth should be offended, that the 
God from whom, and for whom, and through whom, they have 
what they have, is preferred before them, when they should own 
no interest but his, and what is subservient to it. I have long 
thought that pretenses of a necessity of beginning with our own 
affairs, hath frustrated our hopes from many parliaments already ; 
and I am sure that by delays, the enemies of our peace have got 
advantage to cross our ends, and attain their own. Our calamities 
began in differences about religion, and still that is the wound 
that most needs closing. And if that were done, how easily, I 
dare confidently speak it, would the generality of sober, godly 
people be agreed in things civil, and become the strength and 
glory of the sovereign under God ! And though, with grief and 
shame, we see this work so long undone, (may we hope that God 
hath reserved it to this season,) yet I have the confidence to pro- 
fess, that, as the exalting of one party, by the ejection and perse- 
cuting of the rest, is the sinful way to your dishonor and our ruin, 



350 \ siF.KMON OF KEPENTANrE. 

so the terms on which the differing parties most considerable 
among us may safely, easily, and suddenly unite, are very obvious, 
and our concord a very easy thing, if the prudent and moderate 
might be the guides, and selfish interests and passion did not set 
us at a further distance than our principles have done. And to 
show you the facility of such an agreement, were it not that such 
personal matters are much liable to misinterpretations, I should 
tell you, that the late reverend Primate of Ireland consented, in 
less than half an hour's debate, to five or six propositions which I 
offered him, as sufficient for the concord of the moderate Episco- 
pal and Presbyterians, without forsaking the principles of their 
parties. O that the Lord would yet show so much mercy to a 
sinful nation, as to put it into your hearts to promote but the prac- 
tice of those Christian principles which we are all agreed in ! I 
hope there is no controversy among us whether God should be 
obeyed, and hell avoided, and heaven first sought, and Scripture be 
the rule and test of our religion, and sin abhorred and cast out. O 
that you would but further the practice of this with all your might ! 
We crave not of you any lordship or dominion, nor riches, nor in- 
terest in your temporal affairs ; we had rather see a law to exclude 
all ecclesiastics from all power of force. The God of heaven, that 
will judge you and us, will be a righteous judge betwixt us, wheth- 
er we crave any thing unreasonable at your hands. These are 
the sum of our requests: -1. That holiness may be encouraged, 
and the overspreading profaneness of this nation effectually kept 
down. 2. That an able, diligent ministry may be encouraged, 
and not corrupted by temporal power. 3. That discipline may be 
seriously promoted, and ministers no more hindered by magistrates 
in the exercise of their office than physicians and schoolmasters are 
in theirs, seeing it is but a government like theirs, consisting in the 
liberty of conscionabty managing the works of our own office, that 
we expect. Give us but leave to labor in Christ's vineyard with 
such encouragements as the necessity of obstinate souls requireth, 
and we will ask no more. You have less cause to restrain us from 
discipline than from preaching. For it is a more flesh-displeasing 
work that we are hardlier brought to. I foretell you that you shut 
out me, and all that are of my mind, if you would force us to ad- 
minister sacraments, without discipline, and without the conduct of 
our own discretion, to whom the magistrate appoints it, as if a 
physician must give no physic but by your prescript. The anti- 
disciplinarian magistrate I could as resolutely suffer under as the 
superstitious, it being worse to cast out discipline than to err in the 
circumstances of it. The question is not, whether bishops or no, 
but whether discipline or none. And whether enough to use it. 
4. We earnestly request that Scripture sufficiency, as the test of 
our religion and only universal law of Christ, may be maintained, 



A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 351 

and that nothing unnecessary may be imposed as necessary, nor 
the church's unity laid on that which will not bear it, nor ever did. 
O that we might but have leave to serve God only as Christ hath 
commanded us, and to go to heaven in the same way as the 
apostles did ! These are our desires; and whether they are rea- 
sonable, God will judge. 

Give first to God the things that are God's, and then give to 
Caesar the things that are Caesar's. Let your wisdom be first pure, 
and then peaceable. Not but that we are resolved to be loyal to 
sovereignty, though you deny us all these. Whatever malicious 
men pretend, that is not, nor shall not, be our difference. I have 
proved more publicly, when it was more dangerous to publish it, 
that the generality of the orthodox, sober ministers, and godly peo- 
ple of this nation, did never consent to king-killing, and resisting 
sovereign power, nor the change of the ancient government of this 
land, but abhorred the pride and ambition that attempted it. I 
again repeat it, the blood of some, the imprisonment and displacing 
of others, the banishment or flight of others, and the detestations 
and public protestations of more ; the oft-declared sense of England, 
and the wars and sad estate of Scotland, have all declared before 
the world, to the shame of calumniators, that the generality of the 
orthodox, sober Protestants of these nations, have been true to their 
allegiance, and detesters of unfaithfulness and ambition in subjects, 
and resisters of heresy and schism in the church, and of anarchy and 
democratical confusions in the commonwealth. And though the 
land hath ringed with complaints and threatenings against myself, 
for publishing a little of the mixture of Jesuitical and Familistical 
contrivances, for taking down together our government and religion, 
and setting up new ones for the introduction of Popery, infidelity, 
and heresy, yet I am assured that there is much more of this con- 
federacy for the all-seeing God to discover in time, to the shame 
of Papists, that cannot be content to write themselves for the kill- 
ing of kings when the pope hath once excommunicated them, and by 
the decrees of a general council at the Lateran, to depose princes 
that will not extirpate such as the pope calls heretics, and absolve 
all their subjects from their fidelity and allegiance, but they must 
also creep into the councils and armies of Protestants, and, taking 
the advantage of successes and ambition, withdraw men at once from 
their religion and allegiance, that they may cheat the world into a 
belief that treasons are the fruits of the Protestant profession, when 
these masked jugglers have come by night, and sown and cherish- 
ed these Romish tares. As a Papist must cease to be a Papist if 
he will be truly and fully loyal to his sovereign, (as I am ready to 
prove against any adversary,) so a Protestant must so far cease to 
be a Protestant, before he can be disloyal. For Rom. 13. is part 
of the rule of his religion. Unhappily there hath been a differ- 



352 A SERMON OF REPENTANCE. 

ence among us which is the higher power, when those that have 
their shares in the sovereignty are divided ; but whether we should 
be subject to the higher power, is no question, with us. 

Gentlemen, I have nothing to ask of you for myself, nor any of 
my brethren, as for themselves, but that you will be friends to 
serious preaching and holy living, and will not ensnare our con- 
sciences with any unscriptural inventions of men. This I would beg 
of you as on my knees : 1. As for the sake of Christ, whose cause 
and people it is that I am pleading for. 2. For the sake of thou- 
sands of poor souls in this land, whose salvation or damnation will 
be much promoted by you. 3. For the sake of thousands of the 
dear servants of the Lord, whose eyes are waiting to see what God 
will do by your hands. 4. For your own sakes, who are undone 
if you dash yourselves on the rock you should build on, and set 
against the holy God, and turn the cries of his servants to heaven 
for deliverance from you; Luke xviii. 8. If you stumble 'on 
Christ, he will break you in pieces ; but if he fall upon you, he will 
grind you to powder. 5. For the sake of your posterity, that 
they may not be bred up in ignorance or ungodliness. 6. For the 
honor of the nation and yourselves, that you turn by all the suspi- 
cions and fears that are raised in the land. 7. For the honor of 
sound doctrine and church-government, that you may not bring 
, schism into greater credit than now you have brought it to deserve 
shame. For if you frown on godliness under pretense of unifor- 
mity in unnecessary things, and make times worse than when liber- 
tinism and schism so prevailed, the people will look back with 
groans and say, ' What happy times did we once see ! ' And so 
will honor schism, and libertinism, and usurpation, through your 
oppression. 8. Lastly, I beg this of you, for the honor of sover- 
eignty, and the nation's peace. A prince of a holy people is most 
honorable. The interest of holiness is Christ's own. Happy is 
that prince that espouseth this, and subjecteth all his own unto it. 
See Psalm i. 1,2. and. ci. and xv. 4. It is the conscionable, pru- 
dent, godly people of the land, that must be the glory and strength 
of their lawful sovereign. .Their prayers will serve him better than 
the hideous oaths and curses of the profane. Woe to the rulers that 
set themselves against the interest of Christ and holiness ! (read 
Psalm ii.) or that make snares for their consciences, that they may 
persecute them as disobedients, who are desirous to obey their ru- 
lers in subordination to the Lord. See Dan. iii. and vi. 5. 10. 13. 
I have dealt plainly with you, and told you the very truth. If 
God have now a blessing for you and us, you will obey it ; but if 
you refuse, then look to yourselves, and answer it if you can. I 
am sure, in spite of earth and hell, it shall go well with them that 
live by faith. 




RIGHT REJOL&JNG: 



OR, 



THE NATURE AND ORDER 



OF 

- 

RATIONAL AND WARRANTABLE JOY; 






DISCOVERED IS A 



SERMON REACHED AT ST. PAUL'S 

BEFORE THE 9 

| 

LORD MAYOR AND ALDERMEN, 
AND THE SEVERAL COMPANIES OF THE CITY OF LONDON, 



APPOINTED BY BOTH HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT TO BE A DAY OF SOLEMN THANKSGIVING 

FOR GOD'S RAISING UP AND SUCCEEDING HIS EXCELLENCY, 

AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS, 



IN ORDER TO 

HIS MAJESTY'S RESTORATION, 
AND THE SETTLEMENT OF THESE NATIONS. 

VOL. ii. 45 



. 



t. 






RIGHT HONORABLE THOMAS ALLEYNE, 



LORD MAYOR OF THE CITY OF LONDON, 

WITH THE 

RIGHT WORSHIPFUL ALDERMEN, 
HIS BRETHREN. 



As, in obedience to your favorable invitation, this Sermon was 
first preached ; and the Author, conscious of his great unworthi- 
ness, employed in so honorable a work ; so it is your pleasure, 
against which my judgment must not here contest, that hath thus 
exposed it to the public view ; which yet I must confess doth not 
engage you in the patronage of any of the crudities and imperfec- 
tions of this hasty work, it being the matter, which is of God, that 
so far prevailed for your acceptance as to procure your pardon of 
the manner, which is too much my own. Rejoicing is so highly 
valued, even by nature, that I thought it a matter of great neces- 
sity to help to rectify and elevate your joys. The corruption of a 
thing so excellent must needs be very bad ; and it being the great 
and durable good that must feed all great and durable joy ; and 
seeing these little transitory things can cause but little and transi- 
tory delight, I thought it my duty to insist most on the greatest, on 
which, in your meditations, you must most insist ; which I repent 
not of, especially now you have given my doctrine a more loud 
and lasting voice, because it is only our heavenly interest that may 
be the matter of universal, continued delight ; and so the subject 
may make the sermon to be of the more universal and continued 
use, when a subjectof less excellency and duration than heaven would 
have depressed and limited the discourse, as to its usefulness. 
And also I was forced in this, as in all these sublunary things, to 
estimate the mercy in which we did all so solemnly rejoice, but as 
a means, which is so far to be valued as it conduceth to its end ; 
and is something or nothing as it relateth to eternity. Since I 
placed my hopes above, and learned to live a life of faith, I never 
desire to know any mercy in any other form or name, nor value it 



TO THE RIGHT HON. THOMAS ALLEYNE. 

on any other account, as not affecting to make such reckonings 
which I daily see obliterated in grief and shame by those that 
make them ; and remembering who said, that if we had known 
Christ himself after the flesh, henceforth we know him so no 
more. As it was my compassion to the frantic, merry work!, and 
also to the self-troubling melancholy Christian, and my desire 
methodically to ffelp you in your rejoicings about the great occa- 
sions of the day, which formed this exhortation to what you 
heard, and chose the subject, which, to some, might seem less 
suitable to the day ; so, if the publication may print so great and 
necessary a point on the hearts of any that had not the opportu- 
nity to hear, as God shall have the praise, and they the joy, so 
you shall have, under God, the thanks, and I the attainment of 
my end, which is my reward. I rest, 

Your servant in the work of Christ, 

RICHARD BAXTER. 







RIGHT REJOICING. 



LUKE x. 20. 

NOTWITHSTANDING, IN THIS REJOICE NOT, THAT THE SPIRITS ARE 
SUBJECT TO YOU J BUT RATHER REJOICE BECAUSE YOUR NAMES ARE 
WRITTEN IN HEAVEN. 

' 

RIGHT HONORABLE, WORSHIPFUL, AND BELOVED AUDITORS, 

IF any of you shall say, upon the hearing of my text, 
that I have chosen a subject unsuitable to the occasion, and that a 
" rejoice not" is out of season on a day of such rejoicing, they 
may, I hope, be well satisfied by that time they have considered 
the reason of these words, as used by Christ to his disciples, 
and the greater joy that is here commanded, and so the reason 
of my choice. 

When Christ had sent forth his seventy disciples to preach the 
gospel through the cities of Judea, and to confirm it by miraculous 
cures, for which he endued them with 'power from above, upon 
their return they triumph especially in this, that " the devils them- 
selves were subject to them through the name of Christ ; " ver. 
17. A mercy which Christ is so far from extenuating, that, 1. He 
sets it forth more fully than they, (ver. 18.) " I beheld Satan as 
lightning fall from heaven." 2. He promised them yet more of it, 
'" giving them power to tread on serpents, and on scorpions, and 
over all the power of the enemy, and that nothing should by any 
means hurt them." 3. He rejoiceth in spirit, and thankfully ac- 
knowledged it to the Father himself; ver. 21. Arid yet he 
seems here to forbid them to rejoice in it, commanding them 
another joy. What ! was it not a mercy to be rejoiced in ? or is 
there any contradiction in the words of Christ ? Neither : he 
doth not absolutely forbid them to rejoice in it ; but he saw that 
their corruption took an advantage by it, to puff them up with 
pride and vain-glory, and that they savored it too carnally, and 
were much taken with it, as it was a visible triumph and honor 
to themselves, the instalments, and too much overlooked the end 
and use of it. Christ therefore aggravateth the mercy in its 
proper notion, as it was to the hoaoring of the Father and himself, 
and the advancement of his kingdom, and the saving of men's 
souls, by the confirmation of the gospel, and the fall of Satan. 



358 RIGHT REJOICING. 

But the shell or grosser substance of the mercy applied to a wrong 
end, and by corruption made another thing, being deprived of its 
proper soul, this Christ admonisheth them to keep out of their 
estimation and affection. He meeteth his returning messengers 
rejoicing too much in themselves ; and this proud, inordinate, self- 
ish joy is it that he would take from them by his caution or prohi- 
bition. " In this rejoice not." But that they may see that he 
doth not envy them their comforts, he showeth them cause of a 
greater joy, which he alloweth and commandeth them, as more 
suitable to his ends and their felicity : " But rather rejoice that 
your names are written in heaven." 

For better understanding of this, you may observe, I. What 
matter of joy the subjection of the devils might afford them. 
II. What manner of joy they were affected with, which Christ 
forbade them. III. What manner of joy it is that Christ allow- 
eth them, when he seemeth to restrain it wholly to their heavenly 
interest. 

1. No doubt, to have the devils subject to them was a great 
mercy, in which they might rejoice. For, 1. It was the gift of 
Christ ; and all is perfumed that hath touched his hand. Nothing 
but good can come from him that is so good/ry way of gift. 

2. It was a gift foretold by the prophets, as reserved for the 
gospel time, that is eminently called the kingdom of God ; and an 
extraordinary gift in respect to the precedent and subsequent gen- 
erations. It was no usual thing for men to exercise such authority 
over the very devils, as to command them to come forth, and to 
heal the bodies that they had long afflicted. 

3. It was a. victory over the strongest enemy, that can make 
more effectual resistance than the most numerous armies of poor 
mortals, and would laugh at your horse and arms, your fire and sword, 
your greatest cannons ; and cannot be expunged but by the power 
of the Almighty. A stronger than he must come upon him, and 
bind him, and cast him out of his possession, before he will sur- 
render the garrison, goods, and prisoners, which he hath held in 
peace ; Luke xi. 21, 22. 

4. It was a victory over the most subtle enemy, that is not con- 
querable by any stratagems of human wit. 

5. It was a victory over the most malicious enemy, that sought 
more than the subversion of men's temporal peace, and by afflict- 
ing the body intended the hurting of the soul. 

6. It was a conquest of him that had long possession, and one 
way or other kept in bondage the prisoners that justice had sub- 
jected to his rage. 

7. It was a victory exceeding honorable to Christ, whose very 
messengers, by his name alone, could make the powers of hell 
submit. He that refused to be made a king, as having not a king- 



RIGHT REJOICING. 359 

dom of this world, (John xviii. 36.) and that had not a place to 
lay his head on, (Matt. viii. 20.) commanded him that had 
presumed to tempt him with all the kingdoms and the glory of 
the world ! (Matt. iv. 8, 9.) and that not only by the bare word of 
his mouth, but by the word of his meanest, most despised messen- 
gers; which made the people stand amazed, saying, What manner 
of man is this ? 

8. It was a victory tending to the successes of the gospel, to 
convince the unbelieving world, and so to enlarge the kingdom of 
Christ, and to save the people's souls. 

9. And also from so great a work it was no small honor that 
accrued to the instruments ; an honor which, in its proper place, 
they might lawfully regard. 

10. And all this was aggravated by the congruency of the mer- 
cy to the low, despised condition of the instruments, (and of 
Christ himself,) when they were destitute of all common advan- 
tages and means for the carrying on of so great and necessary a 
work, surpassing all the strength of flesh : how seasonable was it 
that the omnipotency of Heaven should then appear for them, and 
thus engage itself for their success ! So that in all this you may 
easily see that here was abundant matter for a rational, warrant- 
able joy to the disciples. 

11. But where, then, was their fault ? And what was that joy 
which Christ forba^ them ? Answer. Having already told you 
in general, I shall fv you more particularly. 1. They looked too 
much at the matter of dominion over the subjected and ejected 
devils, and relished most delightfully the external part. As the 
Jews looked for a Messiah that should come in grandeur, and 
bring the nations under his dominion, so the disciples, that had 
yet too much of these conceits, began to be lifted up with the ex- 
pectation of some earthly glory, when they saw the powers of hell 
submit, and Christ thus begin with the manifestation of his omnip- 
otency. But the great end of these miracles they too much over- 
looked: they too much left out of their rejoicings the appearances 
of God, the advantages of faith, the promotion of the spiritual 
kingdom of Christ, and the greater mercies of the gospel, as to 
themselves and others. 

2. They took too great a share of honor to themselves, being 
more affected to see what great things they were made the instru- 
ments to accomplish, than what honor did thereby accrue to God 
and benefit to man ; and thus, while they arrogate too much to 
themselves, and withal too much overlook those higher, greater 
mercies, to which all their miracles were but means, they deserv- 
edly fall under Christ's reproof; and he is employed in the cure 
of their diseased joys, by amputation of the superfluities, and rec- 



360 RIGHT REJOICING. 

tifying the irregularities, and supplying the defects, . lest Satan 
should take possession of their souls, by carnality, selfishness, and 
pride, when they thought they had conquered him, by dispossess- 
ing him of men's bodies. 

III. By this you may understand what joy it is that Christ al- 
loweth and commandeth them. 

1. As to themselves, to kill their pride, and to increase their 
kindly joy and thankfulness, and to advance thSir estimation of the 
riches of the gospel, and rectify their judgment of the work and 
kingdom of their Lord, he calls them to mind that higher mercy, 
which is worthy of their greatest joy. An interest in heaven is 
another kind of mercy than healing the sick, or casting out devils 
here on earth. 

2. In reference to his honor, he would have them first look at 
the greatest of his gifts, and not forget the glory which he finally 
intends them, while they are taken up with these wonders in the 
way ; for his greatest honor ariseth from his greatest mercies. 

3. As to the degrees of their rejoicing, he would not have them 
give the greater share to the lesser mercy, but to rejoice so much 
more in their heavenly interest, as that all other joy should be as 
none in comparison of it ; so that this " Rejoice not in this," &tc. 
is as much as if he had said, ' Let your rejoicing in this power 
over the devils be as nothing in comparison of your rejoicing that 
'your names are written in heaven.' Just as he forbiddeth care 
and labor for these earthly things, when he sa$, " Care not what 
ye shall eat," &c. (Matt. vi. 25.) " Labor not for the meat that 
perisheth, but for that which endureth to everlasting life, which 
the Son of man will give you; " John vi. 27. Our care and labor 
for earthly things must be nothing, in comparison of the care and 
labor we are at for heaven ; and so our joy, in the greatest of these 
outward mercies, should be as nothing, in comparison of our joy 
in higher things. 

4. As to the nature and order of the thing, he alloweth them no 
joy in this, or any temporal or created thing whatsoever, but as it 
proceedeth from God, and tendeth to him as our ultimate end. 
We must not rejoice in our victories over Satan, or any other en- 
emy, for itself, and as our end, but as it is a means to the glory of 
God and men's salvation. In all which, it is evident that Christ 
doth but regulate and advance their joy, and calleth them first to 
rejoice in that which is their end and all, and animateth all their 
lower mercies : he then alloweth and requireth them to rejoice, 
even in this, which he seemed to forbid them to rejoice in, viz. 
that the devils were subject to them, so they do it in due subor- 
dination to its end. 

The only difficulty in the preceptive part of the text is, what is 






RIGHT REJOICING. 361 

meant here by the ''writing of their names in heaven." In a 
word, the meaning is, that they are " fellow citizens of the saints, 
and of the household of God ; " and, having a room among the 
saints on earth, have a title to the celestial glory. As, in some 
well-ordered cities, there were rolls kept of the names of all the 
citizens, or freemen, as distinct from all the inferior, more servile 
sort of subjects ; and as muster-rolls are kept of the listed sol- 
diers of the army, so all that are saints are enrolled citizens of 
heaven ; that is, are the heirs of the heavenly felicity. 

We are decreed to this state before the foundations of the world ; 
we are redeemed to it by the death of Christ ; but we are not 
actually entered into it till we are sanctified by the Holy Ghost, 
and heartily engaged to God the Father, Son, and Spirit, in the 
holy covenant. 

The doctrine of the text is contained in this proposition To 
have our names written in heaven, is the greatest mercy, and first, 
and chiefly, and only for itself to be rejoiced in ; which so puts the 
estimate on all inferior mercies that, further than they refer to this, 
they are not to be the matter of our joy. 

Though we had seen the devils subjected to our ministration, 
departing from the possessed, when we command them in the name 
of Christ, and the bodies of the afflicted miraculously relieved, yet 
all this were not, comparatively to be rejoiced in. nor as separated 
from our title to the^ heavenly glory. 

When I have, first, given you the reasons of the prohibition 
" Rejoice not in tiis ; " and then of the command " But rather 
rejoice," &c., you may, by fuller satisfaction about the sense and 
truth of the proposition, be better prepared for the further ap- 
plication. 

I. " Rejoice not," though the devils themselves were subject 
to you, further than as this refers to heaven ; 1. Because all these 
common mercies may possibly consist with the present misery of 
the persons that receive them. A man may be the slave of the 
devil, as to his soul, when he is casting him out of another man's 
body. He may be conquered by his own concupiscence, that hath 
triumphed over many an enemy. These times have showed it, 
to our grief, that heresy, and pride, and ambition, and self-conceit, 
may conquer those that have been famous for their conquests. 
He may be a slave to himself that is the master of another. 

And what I say of the instance in my text, you may, upon a 
parity or superiority of reason, all along give me leave to apply to 
the great occasion of the day ; it being a matter of much greater 
glory to conquer infernal powers than mortal enemies, and to have 
the devils subject to us than men. To be such a conqueror of 
men, or devils, is no sure proof of the pardon of sin, the favor of 
VOL. ii. 46 



RIGHT REJOICING. 

God, and saving of your souls. Alas ! how many, called valiant, 
are the basest cowards in the warfare that their everlasting life de- 
pendeth on ! How many, that are renowned for their victories by 
men, are wretches, despised and abhorred by the Lord ! What 
Christian so poor and despicable in the world that would change 
his state with a Catiline or Sejanus, yea, with a Caesar or Al- 
exander, if he might ! Could you see the inside of a glittering 
gallant, or an adored prince, that is a stranger to the life of faith, 
what a sad disparity would you see ! The vermin of the most 
fjlthy lusts continually crawling in the soul, while the body is set 
out by the most exquisite ornaments that pride can invent, and 
- their purses can procure, for the increasing of their esteem in the 
eyes of such as judge of souls by the color and cover of the 
bodies. To see the same man sumptuously feasted, attended, 
honored, magnified by men, and at the same time dead in sin, 
unacquainted with the life and comforts of believers, and under the 
curse and condemnation of the law of God, would tell you that 
such a wretch is far from the state in which a reasonable man is 
allowed to rejoice. There are not more naked, leprous souls in the 
world, than some that are covered with a silken, laced, painted 
case ; nor any more poor and sordid than such as abound with 
earthly riches. And for such a one to rejoice is as unseemly as 
for a man to glory that his gangrened foot hath a handsome shoe ; 
or that his diseased, pained flesh doth suffer in the fashion ; or that 
his wounds and ulcers are searched with a silver instrument. God 
seeth the rottenness and filth that is within these painted sepul- 
chres, and therefore judgeth not of them as the ignorant spectator, 
that seeth no farther than the smoothed, polished, gilded outside. 
And, therefore, we find his language of such to differ so much 
from the language of the world. He calls those poor, and misera- 
ble, and blind, and naked, and foolish, and mad, and dead, and 
cursed, that, perhaps, hear nothing lower from the world than hon- 
orable, worshipful, rich, and wise ; and men are admiring them, 
while God is loathing them ; and men are applauding them while 
God condemnelh them. And hence it is that the servants of the 
Lord do lament the case of those that worldlings count most hap- 
py. What Paul speaks of those " whose God is their belly, whose 
glory is their shame, and who mind earthly things," he doth it 
weeping; (Phil. iii. 18, 19.) when a frantic sensualist would 
have derided his compassionate tears, and bid him keep them for 
himself. 

2. Rejoice not in these outward, common things, comparative- 
ly, or for themselves, because they are not only consistent with 
most deplorable misery, but also are the strong and ordinary means 
of making men miserable, and fixing them in it. and increasing it. 



UIGHT REJOICING. 



Many that have seemed humble, fruitful, flourishing, and steadfast, 
while they dwelt in the villevs of a mean, a low, afflicted state, have 
proved sun-burnt, weather-beaten sinners, apostates, proud, vain- 
glorious and barren, when they have 'removed their habitations to 
the mountains of prosperity. Alas ! we find it hard enough to be 
serious, faithful Christians, under the less and ordinary temptations 
of a poor, or mean, or suffering condition. And I should rejoice 
if I were but to pass to heaven as a camel must pass through a 
needle's eye. We have difficulties enough already, unless our 
wisdom, strength, and courage, were greater to encounter them ; 
and shall we rejoice if these difficulties be increased to impossibil- 
ities, (as with men,) leaving us no hope but that human impossi- 
bilities are conquerable by Divine Omnipotency ? Luke xviii. 27. 
Is it not hard enough to have a lowly mind in a low condition ; but 
much more in a high ? To despise the world when the world da- 
spiseth us ? To walk in heaven when faith is not interrupted by 
the noise or shows of the distracted actors of these bedlam trage- 
dies ? And to converse with our everlasting company when we 
are freest from these crowds and tumults ? And shall we rejoice 
that we, who already stumble at straw, have rocks of offense and 
mountains of difficulty cast before us ? How few are advanced to 
higher measures of faith and holiness by their advancements in the 
world ! For the most part, if they seemed to have something of 
plain honesty and fidelity before, when they come to be advanced, 
it is drowned in carnal policies, self-love, and hypocritical dissimu- 
lation. And if they seemed before to be humble and heavenly, 
and to live to God, and to his interest and service, how strangely 
doth prosperity and dignity transform them, and make them forget 
their former apprehensions, their convictions, purposes, and vows, 
yea, their God, their happiness, and themselves. And should we 
not be very cautelous how we rejoice in an air that few men have 
their health in ? and in a diet, how sweet soever, that corrupts and 
kills the most that use it ? in the tables that prove snares, and the 
sumptuous houses that are traps to the inhabitants? 

3. Rejoice not in these common things, for they are but such 
as are often made the devil's tools to do his work by, and are used 
against the Lord that gave them, to the hindrance of the gospel, 
and injury of the church of Christ. While men are low, and live 
by faith, they do good with the little which they have ; and have 
the blessing of the will, (when they are unable for the deed,) and 
of hearts disposed to do good, if they had opportunity ; when, 
usually, those that are lifted up, having more of power, and less 
of will, do less when they might and should do more ; and use their 
talents to aggravate their sin and condemnation : to further piety, 
or charity, they have power without will ; but to hinder it, they 



RIGHT REJOICING, 



have both power and will. And while the poor of the world, that 
are rich only in faith, would help on the work of God, and cannot, 
(by the great assistances which the great might give,) and the rich 
and honorable can, and will not, but can and will promote the 
interest of the flesh, you may easily see the case of the church, 
how sure it is to know adversity, and how much of our expecta- 
tion must be from God, and how little from any of the sons of men. 
Is it as common for one that is very rich to part with all to follow 
Christ for the hopes of heaven, as it is for one that hath not much 
in the world to part with ? Is it as common for one that hath 
many thousands a year, to cast all his substance into the treasury, 
as for a widow to do it that hath but two mites? Luke xxi. 2. 4. 
O, how much easier were it like to go with the church of God, if 
greatness and ungodliness were not so commonly conjunct ! But, 
usually, as riches, and dignities, and honors, do much increase their 
carnal interest, so do they increase their carnal-mindedness, and 
their engagements against that life of faith and holiness, which is 
contrary to their interests ; so that none are such malignant adver- 
saries to godliness, and none have such advantage to execute their 
malice. Seeing, then, that all such honors and advancements are 
made, by corruption, too ordinary instruments of the vilest works 
of serving Satan, and opposing Christ, and oppressing piety, hon- 
esty, and innocence, rejoice not in them, as for themselves, nor 
any way but in subservience to your heavenly rejoicings. 

4. And it should much abate our carnal joy to consider that all 
these things are such as may end in misery, and leave the owner 
in everlasting woe. He that is feasting in purple and fine linen 
to-day, may be to-morrow in remediless torments, and want a drop 
of water to cool his tongue ; Luke xvi. He that is to-day triumph- 
ing over mortal enemies, may to-morrow be led in triumph to hell- 
fire, and lie in chains of darkness till the judgment of the great 
day. He that is now prophesying in the name of Christ, and 
casting out devils, and doing many great and wonderful works, 
may shortly be condemned at his bar, with a " Depart from me, 
ye workers of iniquity ; I never knew you ; " Matt. vii. 22, 23. 
And who would be merry at a feast that he must cast up again, in 
griping pain, or mortal sickness ? You see now where the great 
ones of the world do take their places, and how they are admired 
and honored by men ; but you see not where the tide will leave 
them, and how they shall be used by infernal spirits, if they had 
not a better preventive and security than all the renown and 
dignities of the world. Be cautelous, therefore, in your rejoicing 
for that which may end in everlasting sorrows. 

Yea, more than so ; these outward honors and successes may 
plunge men deeper in perdition than ever they had been without 



RIGHT REJOICING. 



365 



them. And thousands shall wish that they had never known 
them ; and that they had rather been the lowest and obscurest 
persons, than, by the temptations of prosperity, to have been led 
into that misery. And should you not be very cautelous in your 
rejoicing in that which you may possibly wish you had never 
known ? You see then the reasons for the prohibition, " Re- 
joice not." 

II. But, on the contrary, that the precept " Rejoice that your 
names are written in heaven," is backed with such reasons from the 
nature of the thing, as should much excite us to the practice, is a 
truth so manifest, that a tedious demonstration of it might seem 
at best unnecessary, and so an error, in these straits of time. 1. 
What should be rejoiced in, if not the Lord of life himself, who is 
the everlasting joy and glory of the saints ? If felicity itself cannot 
make us happy, and life itself is insufficient to quicken us, and the 
sun itself cannot illuminate us, it is in vain to expect this light, 
this life, this happiness and joy from any other. From others 
we may have joy derivatively at the second hand, but only from 
God as the original and first cause. Other things may be means 
of the conveyance, but God is the matter of our joy. A creature 
may be his medicine, but he is our life and health itself. Comfort 
may be offered by others, but it is he that gives it. Others may 
direct us to it, but he effecteth it. If God be not to be rejoiced in, 
the affection of joy is made in vain ; for he is goodness itself, and 
there is nothing lovely or delectable but what is in him. And 
what is heaven but the fruition of God ? 

2. It is congruous that we now rejoice in that which we must 
everlastingly rejoice in. Heaven is the state of everlasting joy, 
and therefore the foresight of it by faith is the only way to rational, 
solid comfort here. If you knew the place in which you should 
live but an hundred years in earthly pleasures, or the friend in 
whom you should as long have sweet delight, the foreknowledge 
of it would make that place and friend more delightful to you than 
any other. Mutable joys are the shame of man, and show his 
levity or folly in choosing these things to comfort him that are 
insufficient to perform it. But if your heavenly interest be the 
matter of your joy, you may rejoice to-morrow as well as to-day, 
and the next day as well as to-morrow, and the next year as well 
as this. If prosperity be your joy, your joy must be short, for 
your worldly prosperity will be so. If victory and dignity, and 
overtopping others, be your joy, it will be short ; for death is 
ready to leave the conqueror, the honorable, the prince, with the 
conquered and the meanest subject. If the solemnity and feast- 
ing of such a day as this should be the greatest matter of your joy, 
the day will have a night, and the feast an end, and so will your 



366 RIGHT REJOICING. 

joy. But if heaven be the matter of your joy, you may go on in 
your rejoicing, and every day may be your festival ; for God is 
the same both yesterday, and to-day, and forever. You only 
have the day that hath no night, and the feast that hath no end, 
or intermission, unless as it is caused by your errors and misap- 
prehensions. There can nothing fall out of so hurtful a nature as 
to turn your feast into gall and wormwood ; for God will be still 
God, and Christ still your Head, and heaven will be heaven ; and 
nothing is of any considerable moment to put into the scales against 
your happiness. If once you have a God, a Christ, a heaven to 
rejoice in, you may rationally indulge a constant joy, and may 
rationally rejoice in poverty, reproach, contempt, and calumny, in 
imprisonment, banishment, sickness, or in death, as a prosperous 
state; and you transgress the laws of reason if you do not. 

3. Rejoice if your names are written in heaven ; for this is a 
divine, a pure, a profitable, and a warrantable joy. When God 
and his ministers rebuke your mirth, it is not this holy mirth that 
they rebuke, but your dreaming mirth, or waking folly. As we 
beat down your presumption, but to set up your faith ; and beat 
down men's deceitful hopes, to prepare them for the hopes that 
will not fail them, and not to bring them to despair, so do we call 
you from your frothy, foolish, childish mirth, that we may lead you 
to the highest joys. Here is joy that you need not be ashamed 
of; of which you can scarcely take too much ; of which you need 
not to repent. Be as joyful and merry as you will, if this may 
but be the matter of your joy. The more you are thus joyful, 
the more acceptable to God. It is Satan, and not God, that is 
the enemy of this joy ; that pleads against it, and fills a Christian's 
mind with groundless scruples, and doubts, and objections against 
it. O that our souls and our assemblies did more abound with this 
holv joy ! And O that Christians understood the excellency and 
usefulness of it, and would set themselves more constantly to the 
promoting and maintaining of it in themselves ! Whoever of you 
that is most joyful in the Lord, I dare persuade you to be more 
joyful yet ; and so far should you be from checking yourselves for 
this holy joy, that the rest of your duties should intend it, and you 
should make it your work by the help of all God's ordinances and 
mercies to increase it. He is the best Christian that hath most 
love, and joy, and gratitude ; and he that is best at this, is like to 
be best in the performance of his other duties, and in the conquest 
of remaining sins. But more of this in the application. 

And now I am approaching to a closer application, I hope I 
may suppose that I have removed the objection that met me in 
the beginning, and that by this time you see that I am not unsea- 
sonably suppressing your warrantable joy ; but, 1 . Preventing 



RIGHT REJOICING. 367 

that which is unwarrantable ; and, 2. Showing you the higher 
joys, which must animate these, or they will be but dead, corrupt- 
ed things. It is only the regulation and the exaltation of your 
joys that I am endeavoring ; and, for the first, my text affordeth 
me so full instruction, that you may see this observation meeting 
you in the first perusal of the words. 

That when the Lord hath vouchsafed us matter of rejoicing in 
his wonders of mercy, and our great successes, the best of us are 
too prone to take up a selfish, carnal joy, and have need of Christ's 
prohibition or caution, " Rejoice not in this." 

The soul is active, and will be doing ; and there is nothing that 
it is more naturally inclined to than delight. Something or other, 
which may be suitable to it, and sufficient to answer its desires, it 
fain would be rejoicing in. And the spiritual part of all our mer- 
cies is pure and refined, and too subtle for the discerning of our 
carnal minds, and, therefore, is invisible to the dark, ungodly 
world ; and, also, it is contrary to the interest of the flesh, and to 
the present bent of man's concupiscence : and therefore it is that 
spiritual mercies are not perceived, nor relished by the flesh ; yea, 
that they are refused, as food, by a sick stomach, with enmity and 
loathing, as if they were judgments or plagues, and not mercies ; 
and hence it is that a carnal mind doth as unwillingly accept of 
any mercies of this sort, as if it were some heavy service that 
made God almost beholden to him to accept them. But the 
objects of sense, the matters of commodity, or honor, or sensual 
pleasure, are such as the worst of men are more eager after than 
any other : they are things that flesh itself doth savor, and can 
judge of, and is naturally, now, too much in love with. And, 
therefore, there being too much of this concupiscence yet within 
us, the best have need, as to be excited to the spiritual part of 
their rejoicing, so to be warned and called off from the carnal part. 
Our successes, and our other common mercies, have all of them 
both a carnal and a spiritual part ; somewhat that is suited to our 
bodies, and somewhat to our souls. And as we are all too prone 
to be sensible and regardful of our bodily affairs and interests, and 
too insensible and neglectful of the matters of our souls, so we can 
easily pick out so much of providences and mercies as gratify and 
accommodate our flesh ; and there we would stop and know no 
more ; as if we had no spiritual part to mind, nor the mercy of 
any spiritual part to be improved. To rejoice in mere prosperity 
and success may be done without grace, by pride, and sensuality, 
as easily as a drunkard can be merry with his cups, or any other 
sinner in his sin. Think it not needless, then, to hear this ad- 
monition, Take heed that you rejoice not carnally in the carcass, 
or out de only of your mercies. As such an outside religion, 



368 RIGHT REJOICING. 

consisting in the shell of duty, without God, who is the life and 
kernel, is not religion indeed, but an hypocritical, self-deceiving 
show ; so you may turn a day of thanksgiving into a day of fleshly 
mirth, more sinful than a morris-dance or may-game, because of 
the aggravation of conjunct hypocrisy, if you set not a faithful 
guard upon your hearts. 

For the rectifying, therefore, and elevating of your joys, I am 
first to tell you, that there is matter of far greater joy before you 
than all the successes or prosperity of the world ; and if it be not, 
yet being freely offered you, your acceptance may quickly make 
it such. Eternal joy and glory is at hand ; the door is open, the 
promise is sure, the way made plain, the helps are many, and safe, 
and powerful ; you may have the conduct of Christ, and the com- 
pany of thousands, (though the smaller number,) if you will go 
this way ; there are passengers every day going on, and entering 
in ; many that were here the last year, are this year in heaven ; 
yea, many that were yesterday on earth, are in heaven to-day. 
It is another kind of assembly and solemnity than this that they 
are now beholding, and you may behold. One strain of that 
celestial melody doth afford more ravishing sweetness and delight 
than all that ever earth could yield. If a day in God's courts 
here be better than a thousand in common employments or de- 
lights, then, sure, a day in heaven is better than ten thousand. 
That is the court; and (except the church, which is a garden 
that hath some celestial -plants, and is a seminary or nursery for 
heaven) this world is the dunghill. There all is spiritual, pure, 
and perfect ; the soul, the service, and the joy ; but here they are 
all so mixed with flesh, and, therefore, so imperfect and impure, 
that we are afraid of our very comforts, and are fain, upon the 
review, to sorrow over many of our joys. We come now, from 
cares and troubles, to our feasts ; and our wedding garments smell 
of the smoke ; and a secret disquietness in the midst of our delights 
doth tell us, that the root of our troubles doth remain, and that 
yet we are not where we should be, and that this is not our resting 
place. We lay by our cares and sorrows on these days, with our 
old clothes, to take them up again to-morrow; and, alas! they 
are our ordinary week-day habits : and it were well if it were only 
so ; but even in laughter the heart is sorrowful ; and in our sweet- 
est joys we feel such imperfections as threateneth a relapse into 
our former troubles. But the face of God admitteth no such im- 
perfections in the joy of the beholders : there we shall have joy 
without either feeling or fear of sorrow, and praises without any 
mixtures of complaint. Our sweetest love to the Lord of love will 
feel no bounds, and fear no end. O, what unspeakable delights 
will fill that soul that now walks mournfully, and feedeth upon 



RIGHT REJOICING. 309 

complaints and tears ! How the glory of God will make that face 
to shine forever, that now looks too dejectedly, and is darkened 
with griefs, and worn with fears, and daily wears a mourning 
visage ! No trouble can enter into the heavenly Jerusalem ; nor 
is there a mournful countenance in the presence of our King. 
Self-troubling was the fruit of sin and weakness, of ignorance, 
mistakes, and passion, and, therefore, is unknown in heaven, being 
pardoned and laid by with our flesh among the rest of our childish 
weaknesses and diseases. That poor, afflicted, wounded soul, 
that breathes in trouble as its daily air, and thinks it is made up 
of grief and fear, shall be turned into love and joy, and be un- 
speakably higher in those heavenly delights than ever it was low 
in sorrow. O blessed face of the most glorious God ! O happy 
presence of our glorified head ! O blessed beams of the eternal 
love, that will continually shine upon us ! O blessed work ! to 
behold, to love, to delight, and praise ! O blessed company of 
holy angels, and perfect saints, so perfectly united, so exactly 
suited, to concord in those- felicitating works! Where all these 
are what sorrow can there be ? what relics of distress, or smallest 
scars of our ancient wounds ? Had I but one such friend as the 
meanest angel in heaven to converse with, how easily could I 
spare the courts of princes, the popular concourse, the learned 
academies, and all that the world accounteth pleasure, to live 
in the sweet and secret converse of such a friend ! How delight- 
fully should I hear him discourse of the ravishing love of God, of 
the glory of his face, the person of our Redeemer, the continued 
union of the glorified human nature with the divine, and of the 
Head, with all the glorified members, and his influences on his im- 
perfect ones below ; of the dignity, quality, and work of saints and 
angels, and of the manner of their mutual converse ! How gladly 
would I retire from the noise of laughter, the compliments of 
comic gallants, the clutter and vain-glory of a distracted world, or 
any of the more manly inferior delights, to walk with one such 
heavenly companion ! O how the beams of his illuminated intel- 
lect would promote my desired illumination ! and the flames of 
his love to the most glorious God would reach my heart ! What 
1 fe and heavenly sweetness there would be in all his speeches! 
That little of heaven that I have perceived on some of the servants 
of the Lord, that are conversant above in the life of faith, doth 
make them more amiable, and their converse much more delectable 
to me, than all the feastings, music, or merriments in the world. 
O, then, what a world of joy and glory will that be, where we shall 
not only converse with them that have seen the Lord, and are 
perfected in the beatifical vision and fruition, but also shall our- 
selves everlastingly behold him, and enjoy him in perfection ! 
VOL. n. 47 



370 RIGHT REJOICING. 

That world all true believers see . they see it by faith in the holy 
glass which the Spirit in the apostles and prophets hath set up ; 
and they have the earnest and first-fruits of it in themselves, even 
that Spirit by which they are sealed hereunto. That world we 
are ready to take possession of; we are almost there ; we are but 
taking our leave of the inhabitants and affairs of earth, and better 
putting on our heavenly robes, and we are presently there. A 
few nights more to stay on earth, a few words more to speak to 
the sons of men, a few more duties to perform, and a few more 
troublesome steps to pass, will be a small, inconsiderable delay. 
This room will hold you now but an hour longer, and this world 
but a few hours more ; but heaven will be the dwelling-place of 
saints to all eternity. These faces of flesh that we see to-day 
we shall see but a few times more, if any ; but the face of God 
we shall see forever. That glory no dismal times shall darken ; 
that joy no sorrow shall interrupt, no sin shall forfeit, no enemy 
shall endanger or take from us, no changes shall ever dispossess 
us of. And should not a believer, then, rejoice that his name is 
written in heaven ? and that every providence wheels him on, 
and, whether the way be fair or foul, it is thither that he is travel- 
ing ? O sirs ! if heaven be better than vanity and vexation ; if 
endless joy be better than the laughter of a child that ends in 
crying; and if God be better than a delusory world, you have 
then greater matters set before you to be the matter of your joy 
than prosperity and success, or any thing that flesh and blood 
delights in. 

And this being so, I am next, in faithfulness to your souls, oblig- 
ed to call you to inquire, whether the rejoicing of this day, and the 
rejoicing of your lives, do here begin ? Is God the beginning and 
the end of all ? O that the Lord would awaken you to perceive, 
in all your mirth, how nearly it concerneth you to know first wheth- 
er your names are written in heaven, and whether -your chiefest 
joy be fetched from thence. 

Alas ! sirs, it is a most pitiful sight to see men frisk about in jol- 
lity, with the marks of death and wrath upon them ; and to see 
men so franticly merry in their sin, as to forget the misery that 
will so quickly mar their mirth ; and to see men live as quietly 
and pleasantly as if all were well with them, when they have taken 
no successful care for their precious souls, nor made any considera- 
ble sure provision for their endless life. Poor sinner! the Lord, 
who sent me on this message to thee, knows that I envy thee not 
thy mirth or pleasure, but only would have it better for thee, or 
have thee set thy mind on better. But let me so far interrupt 
thee in thy mirth as to ask thee whether thou art sure of heaven ; 
o : Hf Irast, whether thou hast given diligence to make it sure ; 



ItlUHT REJOICING. 371 

2 Pet. i. 10. If this night thy soul be called away, canst thou 
truly say that thou art an heir oflife, and hast laid up thy treasure 
there beforehand ? If thou say that thou hopest well, and no man 
can do more, and thus dost desperately cast thy everlasting life 
upon a careless venture, I must tell thee first that assurance may 
be had. Would God bid us rejoice that our names are writ- 
ten in heaven, if it were a thing that could noj, by any means be 
known? Would he bid us give diligence to make our calling and 
election sure, if it were a thing that could not by any diligence be 
attained ? And I must add that presumption is no sign of a safe 
condition. It shall not go well with you, because you imagine it 
shall go well. A man in a dropsy or consumption will not live by 
saying he hopes he shall not die. Yea, more, I must add, that a 
careless venlurousness is a mark of misery. For a man that valu- 
eth God and his salvation, cannot put off a matter of such eternal 
consequence so slightly and disregardfully. And a fear and care 
about your salvation would be a far better sign. For the most 
part, they are safest that fear their danger, and they are in the sad- 
dest case that are never sad at the consideration of their case. It 
is not your bold and confident conceits that will open heaven to 
you ; and therefore, I beseech you, presently look out for surer 
grounds of peace than these. 

If you say, How can it be known to me whether my name be 
written in heaven or not ? I shall briefly, but satisfactorily, an- 
swer it. 

In general, if thou know that thou art one that God hath prom- 
ised heaven to, thou mayest know thy title, which is meant by the 
writing of thy name in heaven, and thou mayest know that this 
promise shall be made good. 

More particularly, 1. If thou hast had such an effectual sight 
of the vanity of earth, and of the heavenly felicity, that heaven 
hath the preeminence in thy practical estimation and choice, and 
thou hast resolved that heaven or nothing shall be thy happiness, 
and art so far at a point with all things under the sun, as that thou 
art resolved to stick closer to Christ than unto them, and. whatever 
it cost thee, to take the fruition of God forever as thy portion ; if, 
upon consideration of the difference between heaven and earth, 
God and the creatures, eternity and time, thou hast heartily devot- 
ed thyself to God, and art willing to be his servant upon the terms 
that he inviteth thee on, thou mayest be assured that thy name is 
written in heaven; Matt. vi. 19. 21. and xvi. 24 26. and x.iii. 
45, 46. Luke xviii. 33. 

But if earth be the place of thy highest estimation and choice, 
where thou placest thy chief affections, and which thou adherest 
to more resolutely than to God, and which thou wilt not leave 



RIGHT REJOICING. 

whatever thou lose by it, then, as earth hath thy heart, so earth is 
thy treasure, and thy name is not written in heaven, but in 
the dust. 

2. If the obtaining of heaven be the principal part of thy care 
and business, the principal work which thou mindest in the world, 
it is certain that thy name is written in heaven ; (Col. iii. 1 4.) 
otherwise not. 

3. If, finding thyself lost and filthy in thy sin, thou see the ne- 
cessity and sufficiency of Christ, and, being desirous of his grace 
and righteousness, dost unfeignedly take him for thy Savior and 
Lord, and give up thyself to be healed, and justified, and saved by 
him, as the only physician of souls, thou art then his member, and 
thy name is written in heaven; John i. 12. and iii. 16. 18. 

4. If the heavenly nature be most amiable in thine eyes, and 
the heavenly life be it that thou most desirest ; if thou hadst rattier 
be holy than be unholy, and hadst rather perfectly obey the Lord 
than live in sin, and longest to be better, and studiest to live in 
obedience to the Lord, thy name is in heaven, and thither thou art 
passing, and it will be thy reward. But if thou love not holiness, 
but hadst rather be excused from it, and live in thy sins, thou art 
as yet no heir of heaven; John iii. 19. and xii. 26. Psalm i. 
and cxix. 

5. If thy name be written in heaven, thou hast a special love 
to the heirs of heaven. And the more of heaven thou findest in 
their hearts and lives, the more amiable they are unto thee, and 
the sweeter is their converse ; 1 John iii. 14. Psalm xv. 4. 

I shall name no more. These evidences are sure. By these 
you may know, while you sit here in these seats, yea, if you lay 
in the darkest dungeon, that you are the heirs of heaven, and your 
names are there. 

But where there is no such work ; no high estimation of heaven, 
and resolution for it ; no mortification or conquest of the world ; no 
prevalent care and diligence for heaven ; no resignation of the soul 
to Christ, that by faith and holiness we might follow him to that 
glory ; no love to holiness, and no delight in the heirs of heaven, 
such persons are yet aliens to the heavenly nature and inheritance, 
and cannot rejoice that their names are written in heaven. 

And now I have set the glass before you, I earnestly entreat you 
that you will here seriously view the complexion of your souls. 
It more nearly concerneth you to know whether your names are 
written in heaven, and where it is that you must dwell forever, 
than to know how to manage your trades and business, or to know 
whether you shall stir from this place alive, or ever see another 
day. O, sirs, take heed of lining in self-deceit till your trying and 
recovering time is past ! This is it that your enemy aims at : he 



RIGHT REJOICING. 

will do all that malice and subtlety can do to keep such matters 
from your sober thoughts, or to make you groundlessly presume 
that you are safe, or securely to cast your souls upon a desperate 
venture, under pretense of trusting in Christ, till he hath you where 
he would have you ; and then he will himsetf take off the veil, and 
let you know that you had time and light to have acquainted you 
with your disease and misery, while you might have had a free, 
and sure, and full remedy. Then you shall know that it was long 
of your self-deceit if you would not understand and believe in time, 
that if you lived after the flesh, you should die, (Rom. viii. 13.) 
and that it is the pure in heart that shall see God ; Matt. v. 8. 
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of 
God ? Be not deceived ; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor 
adulterers, nor effeminate, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, 
nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God ; 1 
Cor. vi. 9, 10. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor un- 
clean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any in- 
heritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man de- 
ceive you with vain words, for because of these things cometh the 
wratli of God on the children of disobedience ; Ephes. v. 5, 6. 
And can any thing justify the rejoicing of men in so sad a state ? 

Give me leave, therefore, to make a little closer application of 
the several parts of my text to the several sorts of persons whom 
they do concern. 1. And first to all that yet are not become the 
heirs of heaven: Rejoice not though devils were subject to you, 
till your souls are subject to him that bought them. Rejoice not 
though you had conquered all the world, and had your wills of all 
your adversaries, as long as you are conquered by your fleshly 
lusts, and Satan leads you captive at his will ; 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26. 
Rejoice not though you had all the riches of the earth, as long 
as you are void of the riches of grace, and have nothing to do with 
the riches of glory. Rejoice not though all men should honor you, 
and bow to you. and proclaim your fame, as long as you are the 
drudges of the devil and the flesh, and the God .of heaven pro- 
claimeth you his enemies, and resolveth on your destruction, if you 
do not soundly and seasonably repent ; Luke xix. 27. and xiii. 3. 5. 

Be not offended with me, that, on a day of thanksgiving, I thus 
far forbid you to rejoice, for it is not you that are qualified for it. 
or "have any part or fellowship in this business, being in the gall of 
bitterness, and bonds of your iniquity, your hearts being not right 
in the sight of God. Though the invitation be general, it suppos- 
eth that you come prepared, and therefore even he that calls men 
to his joys, will find out him that hath not on the wedding garment, 
" and will bind him, and cast him' into outer darkness, where 
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth;" Matt. xxii. 12, 13. 



374 K1GHT KEJOICING. 

1. Alas! sirs, if God would allow you to rejoice, how willingly 
could I allow it you ! But hear whether he approve it ; Jam. v. 
1. 3. " Go to, now, ye rich men, weep and howl for the miseries 
that are coming on you. Your riches are corrupted and your gar- 
ments moth-eaten ; your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust 
of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as 
it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days ; " 
Luke vi. 24 26. " Woe unto you that are rich, (if you have no 
better riches,) for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto 
you that are full, for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh 
now, for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you when all men 
shall speak well of you," &c. You may find your lesson, Joel 
ii. 12, 13. " Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even 
to me with all your heart, with fasting, and with weeping, and 
with mourning; and rend your heart." You see what God 
calls such men to. And if he allow you not to rejoice till you 
are converted, if I or any man should flatter or cheat you into joy, 
it would be but a curse to you, and not a benefit. 

2. Were your joy but reasonable, I would not discourage it. 
But a madman's laughter is no very lovely spectacle to yourselves. 
And I appeal to all the reason in the world, whether it be rea- 
sonable for a man to live in mirth that is yet uhregenerate, and un- 
der the curse and wrath of God, and can never say, in the midst 
of his greatest pomp or pleasure, that he is sure to be an hour out 
of hell, and may be sure he shall be there forever, if he die before 
he have a new, a holy and a heavenly nature, though he should 
die with laughter in his face, or with a jest in his mouth, or in the 
boldest presumption that he shall be saved ; yet, as sure as the 
word of God is true, he will find himself everlastingly undone, as 
soon as ever his soul is departed from his body, and he sees the 
things that he would not believe. Sirs, is it rational to dance in 
Satan's fetters, at the brink of hell, when so many hundred dis- 
eases are all ready to mar the mirth, and snatch away the guilty 
soul, and cast it into endless desperation ? I exceedingly pity the 
godly in their unwarrantable, melancholy griefs ; and much more 
an ungodly man that is bleeding under his wounds of conscience. 
But a man that is merry in the depth of misery, is more to be pit- 
ied than he. Methinks it is one of the most pitiful sights in all 
the world to see a man ruffle it out in bravery, and spend his pre- 
cious lime in pleasures, and melt into sensual, foolish mirth, that is 
a stranger to God, and within a step of endless woe ! When I see 
their pomp, and feasting, and attendance, and hear their laughter, 
and insipid jests, and fiddlers at their doors or tables, and all things 
carried as if they had made sure of heaven, it saddeneth my heart to 
think, alas ! how little do these sinners know the state that they are 



RIGHT REJOICING. 375 

in, the God that now beholdeth them, the change that they are near ! 
How little do they think of the flames that they are hastening to, 
and the outcries and lamentations that will next ensue ! 

3. Your mirth is disingenuous and dishonest as long as you are 
without a title to heaven. You slight the Lord that can find such 
matters of rejoicing, when you have not his favor to rejoice in, and 
are under his displeasure. While you are refusing Christ, abusing 
grace, resisting the Spirit, serving the flesh, and undoing your own 
souls, it cannot be an honest or ingenuous thing for such as you to 
live in joy. 

4. If your mirth were truly honorable to you, it were the more 
excusable. But to laugh in sin and misery, and make merry so 
near the endless woe, is a greater shame to your understandings, 
than to make sport to set your house on fire. This is the laughter 
of which Solomon might well say, " Thou art mad," and the mirth 
of which he saith, " What doth it?" Eccl. ii. 2. 

5. Would thy mirth do thee any good, we would not discourage 
it, yea, if it did not do thee harm. But, O, how many are now in 
sorrow by the means of their unseasonable, sinful mirth ! They 
are too jocund to hear the preacher, or their consciences, or to ob- 
serve the checks and motions of God's Spirit, or to spend now and 
then an hour in retired, sober thoughts of their everlasting state. 
Should we but presume to call them to exercise their reason, and 
mind them of these most needful things, and tell them, " O, poor, 
distracted mortals, your time is given you for greater things than to 
fiddle and dance, and drink, and jest, and prate, and compliment it 
away ! " should we not be thought morose, or melancholy, or fa- 
natics ? And should we not have some such answer as their ances- 
tors in Sodom gave to Lot ? (Gen. xix. 9.) " Stand back. This 
one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge : now 
will we deal worse with thee than with them ; " we will take a 
course with these controllers. Alas ! it is this foolish mirth that 
casteth men's reason and conscience asleep, and drowns the voice 
of sober words, so that God himself cannot be beard. Could we 
but get men to retired soberness and seriousness, we should hope 
that we might find a friend within them, and that we speak to men, 
and that reason would take part with the most reasonable motions 
that are made to them from the Lord. 

6. Lastly. Would your groundless mirth endure, we would not 
say so much against it. Bui, alas ! to be merry for a day, and 
then to lie in misery forever, is a thing deserving no encourage- 
ment. We see it is a merry world with many that have least 
cause of mirth ; but how long will they continue it? To see a 
man laugh, and play, and feast in a chariot that drives on so fast to 
i!> all), in a vessel that is on so swift a stream that ends in the gulf 



376 RIGHT REJOICING. 

of endless horror, is a doleful sight. O, how quickly will that mer- 
ry countenance turn sad ; those proud looks be turned to an earthy 
paleness ; and those wanton eyes be mouldered to dust, and leave 
the empty holes to warn the next spectators to use his eyes more 
wisely while he hath them ! How quickly will these same sensual 
persons exchange their mirth for sighs and groans, and endless 
torments, and fruitless lamentations, when they shall have everlast- 
ing leisure to peruse their lives, and to consider their ways, which 
now there is no persuading them to consider of! Who can en- 
courage such hurtful and unseasonable mirth as this ? " Rejoice 
not, O Israel, for joy, as other people, for thou hast gone a whor- 
ing from thy God;" Hos. ix. 1. "Rejoice not in a thing of 
nought," (Amos vi. 13.) much less in the sufferings of your breth- 
ren ; (Obad. 12.) and least of all, in any hurt that befalls the 
church. If enmity to holiness, and exalted impiety, should lake 
occasion to triumph, we answer as Micah, (vii. 8, 9.) "Rejoice not 
against me, O mine enemy ; when I fall, I shall arise ; when I sit in 
darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me; I will bear the indig- 
nation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he 
plead my cause, and execute judgment for me : he will bring me 
forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness." 

If you think I have stood too long on the first part of my text, 
it is not to rebuke your holy joy, but only to promote it, and re- 
press that carnal joy which is more destructive to it than sorrow it- 
self. As you must " seek first the kingdom of God, and its right- 
eousness, and then other things shall be added to you," (Matt. vi. 
33.) so must you rejoice first in the kingdom of heaven, and the 
righteousness that is the way thereto ; and then you may add a 
moderate rejoicing in the things below, in a due subordination 
thereunto. You have the sum in the words of the Holy Ghost, 
" Thus saith the Lord, let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, 
neither let the mighty man glory in his might ; let not the rich man 
glory in his riches ; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that 
he understandeth and knoweth me. that I am the Lord," &c. 
Jer. ix. 23, 24. 

My next address must be to them whose names are written in 
heaven, and that with a twofold exhortation. 

I. " Rejoice that your names are written in heaven." It is you, 
Christians, that joy of right belongs to. Little know the lovers of 
pleasure more than God, that they lose a thousand fold more pleas- 
ure than they win ; and that by running from a holy life for pleas- 
ure, they run from the fire into the water for