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He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things. P. 1.

Christianity, in those great matters of fact upon which it is founded, happily complies with man’s mind, by affording proper objects to affect both the pensive, sad, and composed part of the soul, and also its more joyful, serene, and sprightly apprehensions; which is instanced in many pas sages of Christ’s life, from the humble manger, attended with angels, to his descent into the grave, followed by his miraculous resurrection and ascension, 1. This last great and crowning passage, however true, still affords scope for the noble actings of faith; and since faith must rest itself upon a divine word, such a word we have here in the text, 3. Wherein are four things considerable:

I. Christ’s humiliation implied in these words, he that descended, 4.

The Socinians answered concerning Christ’s descent according to his divine nature, 5. And an inquiry made as to the place whither he descended, the lower parts of the earth, 5. which, 1. Some understand simply of the earth, as being the lowermost part of the world, 6. 2. Some of the grave, 6. 3. Some of hell itself, the place of the damned, 6. 4. The Romanists by the help of this text have spied a place called purgatory; or rather the pope’s kitchen, 7. These words may bear the same sense with those in Psalm vicxxxix. 15. and be very properly taken for Christ’s incarnation and conception in the womb of the blessed Virgin, 8. and that upon these grounds:

1. Because the former expositions have been shewn to be unnatural, forced, or impertinent, and there is no other be sides this assignable, 8.

2. Since Paul here uses David’s very words, it is most probable that he used them in David’s sense, 8.

3. The words descending and ascending are so put together in the text, that they seem to intend a summary account of Christ’s whole transaction in man’s redemption, which was begun in his conception, and consummate in his ascension, 8.

II. Christ’s glorious advancement and exaltation, he ascended far above all heavens; that is, to the most eminent place of dignity and glory in the highest heaven, 9.

III. The qualification and state of Christ’s person, in reference to both conditions: he was the same. He that descended, &c. which evinces the unity of the two natures in the same person, 11.

IV. The end of Christ’s ascension, that he might fill all things, 15. All things may refer here, 1. To the scripture prophecies and predictions, 15. 2. To the church, as he might fill that with his gifts and graces, 15. Or 3, (which interpretation is preferred,) to all things in the world, 16. which he may be said thus to fill in a double respect.

1. Of the omnipresence of his nature, and universal diffusion of his godhead, 16.

2. Of the universal rule and government of all things committed to him as mediator upon his ascension, 19.

It remains now that we transcribe this into our lives, and by being the most obedient of servants, declare Christ to be the greatest of masters, 21 .



That he might fill all things. P. 22.

These words are capable of a threefold interpretation, 22.


1. All things may refer to the whole series of prophecies and predictions recorded of Christ in the scriptures, which he may be said to fulfil by his ascension, 22.

St. Paul vindicated against the Jews’ charge of perverting the prophet’s meaning in that eminent prediction, Psalm lxviii. 18. 23.

2. All things may refer to the church: which sense is here most insisted on, 25.

The church, from its very nature and constitution, has unavoidably a double need or necessity, which it is Christ’s prerogative to fill, 26.

1. In respect of its government. Hereupon he gave some, apostles; some, evangelists; some, prophets; some, pastors and teachers, 26.

2. In respect of instruction: for this Christ made a glorious provision by the diffusion of the Holy Ghost upon the apostles, 27. In which passage two things are observable:

I. The time when, 27. Which is remarkable in respect,

1. Of Christian religion itself, it being about its first solemn promulgation, 27.

2. Of the apostles. It was when they entered upon the full execution of their apostolic office, 29-

II. The manner how the Holy Ghost was conferred; namely, in the gift of tongues, 33. And as these tongues were a proper representation of the gospel, so the peculiar nature and efficacy of this gospel was emphatically set forth by those attending circumstances of the fire and the mighty wind, both of which are notable for these effects; 1. To cleanse. 2. To consume and destroy, 34.


JOHN ix. 4.

The night cometh, when no man can work. P. 36.

The sense of the text naturally lies in three propositions.

I. That there is a work appointed to every man to be performed by him, while he lives in the world, 36.


Man, as he is, 1. a part or member of the body politic, hath a temporal work, whereby he is to approve himself a good citizen, in filling the place of a divine, lawyer, &c. 38.

2. As a member and subject of a spiritual and higher kingdom, he has also a spiritual calling or profession of a Christian; and the work that this engages him to is three fold, 40.

1. Making his peace with God, 41.

2. Getting his sins mortified, 42.

3. Getting his heart purified with the proper graces and virtues of a Christian, 44.

II. That the time of this life being once expired, there is no farther possibility of performing that work, 46.

The word by which the time of this life is expressed, viz. a day, 46. may emphatically denote three things.

1. The shortness of our time, 46. 2. The sufficiency of it for our work, 47. 3. The determinate stint and limitation of it, 48.

III. That the consideration of this ought to be the highest argument for using the utmost diligence in the discharge of this work, 49. Which requires all our diligence; 1. From its difficulty, 49. 2. From its necessity, 50.



JEREMIAH xv. 20.

I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and deliver thee, saith the Lord. P. 54.

Presbytery, derived by some from Jethro, came first from Midian, an heathenish place, 54. Their elders are mentioned sometimes in the Old Testament, but their office not described, 54. A superintendency of bishops over presbyters may be argued from the superiority of the priests over the Levites, much better than they can found their discipline ixupon the word elder, 55. But if God instituted such a standing superiority and jurisdiction of the priest over the Levites, these two things follow;

1. That such a superiority is not in itself absolutely irregular and unlawful, 55.

2. That neither does it carry in it an antipathy and contrariety to the power of godliness, 55.

And yet upon these two suppositions, as if there was something in the very vital constitution of such a subordination irreconcileable to godliness, are all the presbyters’ calumnies commenced, 55.

In the words are three things considerable.

I. God’s qualification of Jeremy to be an overseer in his church; I will make thee a fenced brasen wall, 56.

Now a wall imports, 1. Enclosure, 57. 2. Fortification, 58. This metaphor of a wall, as applied to a church-governor being explained; to make good that title he must have, 1. Courage, 59. 2. Innocence and integrity, 60. 3. Authority, 62.

II. The opposition that the church-governor thus qualified will be sure to meet with in his office: They shall fight against thee, 64. And this they are like to do,

1. By seditious preaching and praying, 64.

2. By railing and libels, 65.

3. Perhaps by open force, 66.

III. The issue and success of this opposition: They shall not prevail against thee, 68.

It is bold to foretell things future, which fall under human cognizance only two ways: 1. By a foresight of them in their causes, 68. 2. By divine revelation, 69. And from both these there is ground of hope to the church, 69.

The arguments against this answered, 1. That the enemies of the church in the late confusion did not prevail against her: for that only is a prevailing which is a final conquest, 70. 2. That he who is pillaged or murdered in the resolute performance of his duty is not properly prevailed against, 70.

Wherefore the governors of the church may with confidence xfrom the text bespeak their opposers; Who shall fight against us? it is God that saves. Who shall destroy? it is the same God that delivers, 71.


TITUS i. 1.

Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging the truth which is after godliness. P. 73.

The end of all philosophical inquiries is truth; and of all religious institutions, godliness; both which are united and blended in the constitution of Christianity, 73.

I. In this expression of the gospel’s being the truth which is after godliness, three things are couched.

1. That it is simply a truth, 74.

2. That it is an operative truth, 75.

3. That it operates to the best effect, 75.

The words may have a double sense, 76. 1. That the gospel is so called, because it actually produces the effects of godliness in those that embrace it, 76. 2. That it is, in its nature, the most apt and proper instrument of holiness, 76. and the truth which has thus an influence upon godliness consists of two things, 76.

1. A right notion of God, 77.

2. A right notion of what concerns the duty of man, 77.

II. Three things are deduced from this description of the gospel, 79.

1. That the nature and prime design of religion is to be an instrument of good life.

This cleared by these arguments. 1. That religion designs the service of God, by gaining to his obedience man’s actions and converse, 80. 2. It designs the salvation of man, who is not saved as he is more knowing, but as he is more pious than others, 80. 3. That the excellency of Christianity does not consist in discovering more sublime truths or more excellent precepts than philosophy, (though it does this,) but in suggesting better arguments to enforce xithe performance of those precepts, than any other religion, 81. 4. That notwithstanding the diversity of religions, men will generally be condemned hereafter for the same things, viz. their breaches of morality, 82.

2. That so much knowledge of truth as is sufficient to engage men in the practice of godliness, serves the necessary ends of religion, 82. For,

If godliness be the design, it ought also to be the measure of men’s knowledge in this particular, 83.

3. That whatsoever does in itself, or its direct consequences, undermine the motives of a good life, is contrary to and destructive of Christian religion, 83.

The doctrines that more immediately concern a good life are,

1. Such as concern the justification of a sinner, 83.

And herein the motives to holy living are subverted,

1. By the doctrine of the covenant of grace without conditions of performance on man’s part, but only to believe that he is justified: taught by the antinomians, 84. 2. By the doctrine of acceptance with God by the righteousness and merits of other saints: taught by the Romanists, 85.

2. Such as concern the rule of life and manners, 87.

And here the motives to godliness are destroyed,

1. By that doctrine of the antinomians, that exempts all believers from the obligation of the moral law, 87.

2. By that doctrine of the church of Rome, which asserts any sin to be in its nature venial, 89. The church of Rome herein resembling the Jewish church corrupted by the Pharisees, who distinguished the commandments into the great and the small, 91. 3. By the Romish doctrine of supererogation, 93. 4. By that doctrine, that places it in the power of any mere mortal man to dispense with the laws of Christ, so as to discharge any man from being obliged by them, 95.

3. Such as relate to repentance, 99.

The doctrine of repentance may be perverted in a double respect:

1. In respect of the time of it: as is done by the Romish xiicasuists, who say, that a man is bound to repent of his sins once, but when that once shall be, he may deter mine as he thinks fit, 100. 2. As to the measure of it, 103. The Romish doctrine considered in this respect, and refuted, 104.

The improvement of all lies in two things:

1. To convince us how highly it concerns all, but especially the most knowing, to try the doctrines that they believe, and to let inquiry usher in faith, 106.

2. It suggests also the sure marks, by which we may try them, 107. As, 1. It is not the pleasingness or suitableness of a doctrine to our tempers or interests, 107. nor, 2. The general or long reception of it, 108. nor, 3. The godliness of the preacher or asserter of any doctrine, that is a sure mark of the truth of it: but if it naturally tends to promote the fear of God in men’s hearts, and to engage them in virtuous courses, it carries with it the mark and impress of the great eternal truth, 1 09.


PROVERBS xxix. 5.

A man that flattereth his neighbour, spreadeth a net for his feet. P. 111.

The words being plain, the matter contained in them is prosecuted under three general heads, 111.

I. What flattery is, and wherein it does consist, 112.

Though we cannot reach all the varieties of it, the general ways are,

1. Concealing or dissembling the defects or vices of any person, 112. And here are shewn two things:

First, Who they are that are concerned to speak in this case; namely, 1. Such as are intrusted with the government of others, 114. 2. Persons set apart to the work of the ministry, 115. 3. Those that profess friendship, 116.

Secondly, The manner how they are to speak: as, 1. The reproof should be given in secret, 117. 2. With due respect to and distinction of the condition of the person reproved, 119. 3. With words of meekness and commiseration, xiii123. 4. That the reproof be not continued or repeated after amendment of the occasion, 127.

2. The second way of flattery is the praising and defending the defects or vices of any person, 129.

Under this species, the distinction between a religious and a political conscience observed, and censured, 132. And two sorts of men charged as the most detestable flatterers:

1. Such as upon principles of enthusiasm assure persons of eminence and high place, that those transgressions are allowable in them, that are absolutely prohibited and condemned in others, 134.

2. The Romish casuists, who persuade the world, that many actions, which have hitherto passed for impious and unlawful, admit of such qualifications as clear them of all guilt, 135.

This kind of flattery is of most mischievous consequence, and of very easy effect: 1. From the nature of man, 137. 2. From the very nature of vice itself, 137.

3. The third kind of flattery is the perverse imitation of any one^s defects or vices, 138.

4. The fourth consists in overvaluing those virtues and perfections that are really laudable in any person, 141.

II. The grounds and occasions of flattery on his part that is flattered, 144.

Three mentioned. 1. Greatness of place or condition, 144. 2. An angry, passionate disposition, and impatient of reproof, 146. 3. A proud and vainglorious disposition, 148.

III. The ends and designs of the flatterer. He spreads a net for his neighbour’s feet, 152.

The flatterer is influenced by these two grand purposes;

1. To serve himself, 152.

2. To undermine him whom he flatters, and thereby to effect his ruin, 154. Which he does, 1. As he deceives him, and grossly abuses and perverts his judgment, which should be the guide of all his actions, 155. 2. He brings him to shame and a general contempt, 156. He effects his xivruin; forasmuch as by this means he renders his recovery and amendment impossible, 157.


PSALM xix. 13.

Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. P. 160.

These words suggest three things to our consideration.

1. The thing prayed against; presumptuous sins, 160.

2. The person making this prayer; one adorned with the highest elogies for his piety, even by God himself, 160.

3. The means he engages for his deliverance; namely, the divine grace and assistance, 160.

The words are discussed under two general heads.

I. Shewing what these presumptuous sins are.

II. Shewing the reason of this so holy person’s praying so earnestly against them.

The first head is handled in three things.

1. Shewing in general what it is to presume, 160.

The scripture description of presumption. Three parts go to make up a presumptuous sin. 1. That a man undertake an action, known by him to be unlawful, or at least doubtful, 161. 2. That, notwithstanding, he promise to himself security from any punishment of right consequent upon it, 162. 3. That he do this upon motives utterly groundless and unreasonable, 162.

The presumptuous sinner is divested of the two only pleas for the extenuation of sin. As, 1. Ignorance, 163, 2. Surprise, 165.

Distinction between sins of presumption and sins of infirmity.

Three opinions concerning a sin of infirmity, 167. The

1st, Derives the nature of it from the condition of the agent; affirming that every sin committed by a believer, or a person truly regenerate, is a sin of infirmity, 167. This doctrine is considered and refuted, 168.

2. Some, from the matter of the action; as that it is committed xvonly in thought or desire, or perhaps in word, 170. To this is answered, 1. That there is no act producible by the soul of man under the power of his will, but it is capable of being a sin of presumption, 170. 2. The voice of God in scripture is loud against this opinion, 171.

3. Some, from the principle immediately producing the action, viz. that the will is carried to the one by malice, to the other by inadvertency, 171.

But for our better conduct is shewn, first negatively, what is not a sin of infirmity: as, 1. When a man ventures and designs to commit a^, sin upon this ground, that he judges it a sin of infirmity, 172. 2. That sin, though in itself never so small, that a man, after the committing of it, is desirous to excuse or extenuate, 173. 2. Positively, what is: namely, a sin committed out of mere sudden inadvertency, that inadvertency not being directly caused by any deliberate sin immediately going before it, 173.

II. Assigning some of the most notable kinds of presumptuous sins, 175. As,

1. Sin against the goodness of God, manifesting itself to a man in great prosperity, 175.

2. Sins committed under God’s judging and afflicting hand, 178.

3. Committing a sin clearly discovered, and directly pointed at by the word of God, either written or preached, 181.

4. Committing a sin against passages of Providence, particularly threatening the commission of it, 182.

5. Sins against the inward checks and warnings of conscience, 184.

6. Sins against that inward taste, relish, and complacency, that men have found in their attempts to walk with God, 186.

7. The returning to and repeated commission of the same sin, 188.

III. Proposing some remedies against these sins. As,

1. Let a man endeavour to fix in his heart a deep apprehension xviand persuasion of the transcendent evil of the nature of sin in general, 191.

2. Let him most seriously consider and reflect upon God’s justice, 194.

3. Let him consider, how much such offences would exasperate even men, 195.

Second general head: shewing the reason of the Psalmist’s so earnest praying against these sins, 197.

The prosecution of the first head might be argument enough: but yet, for a more full discussion of the point, these further reasons, which might induce him to it, are considered.

1. The danger of falling into these sins. 1. From the nature of man, which is apt to be confident, 198. 2. From the object of presumption, God’s mercy, 199- 3. From the tempter, who chiefly concerns himself to engage men in this kind of sin, 199-

2. The sad consequences of them, if fallen into. Amongst which are, 1. Their marvellous aptness to grow upon him that gives way to them, 201. 2. That of all others they prove the most difficult in their cure, 203. 3. They waste the conscience infinitely more than any other sins, 204. 4. They have always been followed by God with greater and fiercer judgments than any others, 205.


PSALM cxxxix. 3.

Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. P. 209.

The metaphorical expressions in the text being explained, 209. this doctrinal observation is gathered from it; viz.

That God knows, and takes strict and accurate notice of the most secret and retired passages of a man’s life; which is proved by reasons of two sorts.

I. Such as prove that it is so, that God knows the most secret passages of our lives, 212.

1. He observes them, because he rules and governs them, xvii212. Which he does three ways: 1. By discovering them 2. By preventing of them, 213. 3. By directing them for other ends than those for which they were intended, 214.

2. Because he gives laws to regulate them, 215.

3. Because he will judge them, 216. First, in this life, wherein he often gives the sinner a foretaste of what he intends to do in the future, 217. 2. At the day of judgment, 218.

II. Such reasons as shew whence it is that God takes such notice of them.

He observes all hidden things:

1. From his omniscience, or power of knowing all things 219.

2. From his intimate presence to the nature and being of all things, 220.

The application of the whole lies in shewing the uses it may afford us: which are,

1. A use of conviction, to convince all presumptuous sinners of the atheism of their hearts, 221.

2d use. It speaks terror to all secret sinners, 223. Now secret sins are of two sorts, both of which God perfectly knows. As,

1. The sins of our thoughts and desires, 224. And he will judge of men by these, 1. Because they are most spiritual, and consequently most opposite to the nature of God, 226. 2. Because man’s actions and practice may be overruled, but thoughts and desires are the natural and genuine offspring of the soul, 228.

2. Such sins as are not only transacted in the mind, but also by the body, yet are covered from the view of men, 229.

3. As God’s omniscience is a terror to secret sinners, so it speaks no less comfort to all sincere-hearted Christians, 231.


ECCLES. vii. 10.

Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were letter than these? for thou dost not inquire wisely concerning this. P. 233.

In the days of Solomon, when Jerusalem was the glory xviiiof the whole earth, these complaints of the times were made; and yet a little backward in the calendar, we have nothing but tumults, changes, and vicissitudes, 233.

The words run in the form of a question, yet include a positive assertion, and a downright censure, 234. The inquiry being determined before it was proposed, now the charge of folly here laid upon it may relate to the supposition, upon which it is founded, in a threefold respect; viz.

I. Of a peremptory negation, as a thing absolutely to be denied, that former times are better than the following.

II. As of a case very disputable, whether they are so or no.

III. As admitting the supposition for true, that they are better, 234.

In every one of which respects this inquiry ought to be exploded. And,

I. That it is ridiculous to ask, why former times are bet ter than the present, if they really are not so, 235. And that they are not, is evinced, 1. From reason, 236. 2. From history and the records of antiquity, 237.

II. Supposing the case disputable; which being argued, 1. On the side of antiquity, 240. 2. Of succeeding times, 241. this inquiry is shewn to be unreasonable,

1. In respect of the nature of the thing itself, 243.

2. In respect of the incompetence of any man living to judge in this controversy, 243.

III. Supposing it true, that former times are really best; this querulous reflection is foolish,

1. Because such complaints have no efficacy to alter or remove the cause of them, 244.

2. Because they only quicken the smart, and add to the pressure, 246.

3. Because the just cause of them is resolvable into ourselves, 247, &c.



MATT. v. 25, 26.

Agree with thine adversary quickly , whiles thou art in the xixway with him: lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. P. 250.

In these words, Christ enforces the duty of an amicable concord and agreement betwixt brethren, from the unavoidable misery of those obstinate wretches that persist in and perpetuate an injury, 250.

Some understand the words in a literal, some in a figurative sense, 251.

The several terms therein explained in the spiritual sense of them; according to which, by the word adversary is meant the divine law, or a man’s own conscience, as commissionated by that law, 251. By the way, the time of this life, or rather the present opportunities of repentance, 252. By judge, the great God of heaven, 252. By officer, the Devil, 253. By prison, hell, 253. By paying the utmost farthing, the guilty person’s being dealt with according to the utmost rigour and extremity of justice, 253.

The text is parabolical, and includes both senses. For the better understanding which, a parable is explained to contain two parts. (1.) The material, literal part, contained in the bare words. (2.) The formal, spiritual part, or application of the parable; which is sometimes expressed, and sometimes understood, as in this place, 254.

The sense of the text is presented under three conclusions:

1. That the time of this life is the only time for a sinner to make his peace with God, 256.

2. That this consideration ought to be a prevailing, unanswerable argument to engage and quicken his repentance, 256.

3. That if a sinner lets this pass, he irrecoverably falls in to an estate of utter perdition, 256.

The second conclusion, the subject of this discourse, the truth whereof made appear three ways:

I. By comparing the shortness of life with the difficulty of this work of repentance, 256.


The difficulty of repentance appears,

1. Because a man is to clear himself of an injury done to an infinite, offended justice, to appease an infinite wrath, and an infinite, provoked majesty, 259.

2. Because a man is utterly unable of himself to give God any thing by way of just compensation or satisfaction, 261.

II. By comparing the uncertainty of life with the necessity of the work, 263.

III. By considering the sad and fatal doom that will in fallibly attend the neglect of it, 266.

The misery and terror of this doom consists in two things: 1. That it cannot be avoided, 267. 2. That it cannot be revoked, 268.

Application in urging over the same duty from another argument, namely, that so long as there is enjoyment of a temporal life, there may be just hope of an eternal. Therefore kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and so ye perish from the way, 270.


MATT. xxiii. 5.

But all their works they do for to be seen of men. P. 272.

This notable instance of religious ostentation in the pharisees leads to an inquiry, how far the love of glory is able to engage men in a virtuous and religious life, 272.

I. A love of glory is sufficient to produce all those virtuous actions that are visible in the lives of those that profess religion: because,

1. It has done so: this shewn from the examples of the noblest and most virtuous of the heathens, 273. from the abstinence of the ancient athletics, 274. from the character of the ancient pharisees, 275. and from that of many modern Christians, 276.

2. There is nothing visible in the very best actions, but what may proceed from the most depraved principles, if acted by prudence, caution, and design, 277.

II. The reasons, whence this affection comes to have such an influence upon our actions, are these:


1. Because glory is the proper pleasure of the mind; it being the complacency that a man finds within himself arising from his conceit of the opinion that another has of some excellency or perfection in him, 279.

2. Because it is founded in the innate desire of superiority and greatness that is in every man, 282.

3. Because a fair reputation opens a man’s way to all the advantages of life: as in the times of the rebellion, when the face of a dissembled piety gave men great credit and authority with the generality, 284.

III. This principle is insufficient to engage mankind in virtuous actions, without the assistance of religion: two considerations premised, viz.

1. That virtue and a good life determines not in outward practices, but respects the most inward actions of the mind, 285.

2. That the principle of honour or glory governs a man’s actions entirely by the judgment and opinion of the world concerning them, 287.

These considerations premised, the principle of honour appears to be utterly insufficient to engage and argue men into the practice of virtue in the following cases:

1. When, by ill customs and worse discourses, any vice, (as fornication, theft, self-murder, &c.) comes to have a reputation, or at least no disreputation, in the judgment of a nation; the shame God has annexed to sin being in a great measure taken from it by fashion, 288.

2. When a man can pursue his vice secretly and indiscernibly: as, first, when he entertains it in his thoughts, affections, and desires; secondly, when, though it passes from desire into practice, yet it is acted with such circumstances of external concealment, that it is out of the notice and arbitration of all observers, 291.

If then honour be the strongest motive nature has to enforce virtue by, and this is found insufficient for so great a purpose, it is in vain to attempt such a superstructure upon any weaker foundation, 294.

IV. Even those actions that a principle of honour does xxiiproduce are of no value in the sight of God; and that upon the account of a double defect:

1. In respect of the cause, from which they flow; inasmuch as they proceed only upon the apprehension of a present interest, which when it ceases, the fountain of such actions is dried up, 295.

2. In respect of the end to which they are directed; which end is self, not the glory of God, 296.

In both these respects, the most sublime moral performances of the heathens were defective, and therefore have been always arraigned and condemned by Christian divinity, 297.

Two things inferred, by way of corollary and conclusion:

1. The worth and absolute necessity of religion in the world, even as to the advantage of civil society; and the mischievous tendency of atheistical principles, 297.

2. The inexcusableness of those persons who, professing religion, yet live below a principle inferior to religion, 298.


2 COR. i. 24.

For by faith ye stand. P. 300.

Faith more usually discoursed of by divines than explained, 300. Three sorts of faith mentioned in scripture. 1. A faith of simple credence, or bare assent, 300. 2. A temporary faith, and a faith of conviction, 301. 3. A saving, effectual faith, (which here only is intended,) wrought in the soul by a sound and real work of conversion, 301 . Two things considerable in the words. I. Something supposed, viz. that believers will be encountered and assaulted in their spiritual course, 302. In every spiritual combat are to be considered,

1. The persons engaged in it, 303. which are believers on the one side, and the Devil on the other.

2. The thing contended for by it, 304. This assault of the Devil intended to cast believers down from their purity and sanctity of life, 304. and from their interest in the divine favour, 305.


3. The means by which it is carried on, 307. The Devil’s own immediate suggestions, 307. The Devil assaults a man, by the infidelity of his own heart, 308. by the alluring vanities of the world, 309. and by the help of man’s own lusts and corruptions, 311.

II. Something expressed; viz. that it is faith alone that in such encounters does or can make believers victorious, 313. For making out which, is shewn,

1. How deplorably weak and insufficient man is, while considered in his natural estate, and void of the grace of faith, 313.

2. The advantages and helps faith gives believers for the conquest of their spiritual enemy, 315. It gives them a real union with Christ, 316. It engages the assistance of the Spirit on their behalf, 317. And lastly, gives them both a title to, and a power effectually to apply, God’s promises through Christ, who is the rock of ages, the only sure station for poor sinners, and able to save, to the uttermost, all those that by faith rely upon him, 319.


PSALM cxlv. 9.

The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. P. 323.

Mercy, as it is ascribed to God, may be considered two ways, 323.

I. For the principle itself, 323.

II. For the effects and actions flowing from that principle, which, in the sense of the text, are such as are general and diffusive to all, 324.

The words are prosecuted by setting forth God’s general mercy and goodness to the creature in a survey of the state and condition,

1. Of the inanimate part of the creation, 324.

2. Of plants and vegetables, 325.

3. Of the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the air, 328.

4. Of man, 329.


5. Of angels: in respect of their nature, 331. of their place of habitation, and of their employment, 333.

A deduction from the precedent discourse, to settle in the mind right thoughts of God’s natural goodness to men, 334. with arguments against the hard thoughts men usually have of God, drawn from two qualities that do always attend them, 336.

1. Their unreasonableness, 337.

2. Their danger, 339.


JAMES i. 14.

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. P. 342.

The explication of these two terms being premised,

1. What the apostle means here by being tempted, 342.

2. What is intended by lust, 343.

The prosecution of the words lies in these particulars:

I. To shew the false causes upon which men are apt to charge their sins. And that,

1. The decree of God concerning things to come to pass is not a proper cause for any man to charge his sins upon, 344. Objection to this stated, and answered, 345.

2. The influences of the heavens and of the stars imprint nothing upon men that can impel or engage them to do evil, 347.

3. Neither can any man charge his sins upon the constitution and temper of his body, as the proper cause of them, 349.

4. No man can justly charge his sins upon the Devil, as the cause of them, 350.

Though these be not the proper causes of sin, they are observed to be very often great promoters of it, where they meet with a corrupt heart, 352.

II. To shew, that the proper cause of sin is the depraved will of man; which being supposed sufficiently clear from scripture, is farther evinced by arguments and reasons.

1. From the office of the will, 354.


2. From every man’s experience of himself and his own actions, 354.

3. From the same man’s making a different choice of the same object at one time from what he does at another, 355.

4. From this, that even the souls in hell continue to sin, 355.

III. To shew the way by which a corrupt will, here expressed, is the cause of sin. And,

1. It draws a man aside from the ways of duty, 356.

2. Entices him, by representing the pleasure of sin, stript of all the troubles and inconveniencies of sin, 357. and by representing that pleasure that is in sin greater than indeed it is, 359. But

The exceeding vanity of every sinful pleasure is made to appear by considering,

1. The latitude or measure of its extent.

2. The duration or continuance of it, 360.


ISAIAH xxvii. 11.

For it Is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour. P. 362.

The prophet, after eloquently describing a severe judgment to be inflicted on the Jews in the deplorable destruction of Jerusalem, 362. does in the next words assign a reason for it: For it is a people of no understanding. This ignorance is here explained to be not that of an empty understanding, but of a depraved heart and corrupt disposition, and therefore the highest aggravation, 363.

From the words of the text are deduced two observations;

I. The relation of a Creator strongly engages God to put forth acts of love and favour towards his creature, 365. The strength of which obligement appears,

1. Because it is natural, 366. 2. Because God put it upon himself, 366.


There are three engaging things, implied in the creature’s relation to God, that oblige him to manifest himself in a way of goodness to it:

1. The extract or original of the creature’s being, which is from God himself, 366. which includes in it two other endearing considerations. (1.) It puts a likeness between God and the creature, 367. (2.) Whatsoever comes from God, by way of creation, is good, and so there naturally does result an act of love, 368.

2. The dependence of its being upon God, 368.

3. The end of the creature’s being is God’s glory, 370.

II. How sin disengages, and takes off God from all those acts of favour that the relation of a Creator engaged him to, 371.

1. It turns that which, in itself, is an obligation of mercy, to be an aggravation of the offence, 371.

2. It takes away that similitude that is between God and the creature, which (as has been observed) was one cause of that love, 373.

3. It takes off the creature from his dependence upon God; that is, his moral dependence, which is a filial reliance and recumbency upon him, 375.

4. It renders the creature useless, as to the end for which it was designed, 376.

In an application of the foregoing, the first use is to obviate and take off that common argument, in the mouths of the ignorant, and in the hearts of the knowing, that God would never make them to destroy them; and therefore, since he has made them, they roundly conclude that he will not destroy them, 378.

Now the reasons upon which men found their objections may be these two:

1. A self-love, and a proneness to conceive some extraordinary perfection in themselves, which may compound for their misdemeanours, 380.

2. Their readiness to think that God is not so exceeding jealous of his honour, but he may easily put up the breach of it, without the ruin of his creature, 381.


These pleas and objections of men answered by considering and comparing the offence of a child against his natural parent, with that of a creature against his Creator, 383.

The second use is to inform us of the cursed, provoking nature of sin, 385. And,

The third use may shew us under what notion we are to make our addresses to God; not as a Creator, but a reconciled God, 386.


MATT. xix. 22.

When the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. P. 389.

After reflecting upon the command that gave occasion to this sorrow under these three degrees; 1. Go sell that thou hast. 2. Give to the poor. 3. Come and follow me, 390. and likewise stating and answering some abuses in the doctrine of the papists concerning this scripture, 391. the words of the text are observed to contain in them four things considerable:

1. The person making the address to Christ, who was one whose reason was enlightened to a solicitous consideration of his estate in another world, 393.

2. The thing sought for in this address, viz. eternal life, 393.

3. The condition upon which it was proposed, and upon which it was refused; namely, the sale and relinquishment of his temporal estate, 393.

4. His behaviour upon this refusal: he departed sorrowful, 393.

Which are all joined together in this one proposition, viz.

He that deliberately parts with Christ, though for the greatest and most suitable worldly enjoyment, if but his natural reason is awakened, does it with much secret sting and remorse, 393. In the prosecution of this is shewn,

I. Whence it is, that a man, acted by an enlightened reason, finds such reluctancy and regret upon his rejection of Christ: it may proceed from these causes:


1. From the nature of conscience, that is apt to recoil upon any error, either in our actions or in our choice, 394.

2. From the usual course of God’s judicial proceeding in this matter, which is to clarify the eye of reason to a clearer sight of the beauties and excellencies of Christ, in the very moment and critical instant of his departure, 396.

3. Because there is that in Christ, and in the gospel, even as they stand in opposition to the best of such enjoyments, that answers the most natural and generous discourses of reason, 397. For proof hereof, two known principles of reason produced, into which the most severe commands of the gospel are resolved:

(1.) That the greatest calamity is to be endured, rather than the least sin to be committed, 397.

(2.) That a less good is to be forsaken for a greater, 400. To reduce this principle to the case in hand, two things are demonstrated. 1st, That the good promised by our Saviour to the young man was really greater than that which was to be forsook for it, 401. 2dly, That it was proposed as such with sufficient clearness of evidence, and upon sure, undeniable grounds, 403.

Here, to omit other arguments, the truth of the gospel seems chiefly to be proved upon these two grounds,

1. The exact fulfilling of prophecies in the person of Christ, 403.

2. His miraculous actions; the convincing strength of which is undeniable upon these two most confessed principles. (1.) That they did exceed any natural created power, and therefore were the immediate effects of a divine, 404. (2.) That God cannot attest, or by his power bear witness to a lie, 404.

II. The causes are shewn why, notwithstanding this regret, the soul is yet brought in the issue to reject Christ.

(1.) The perceptions of sense overbear the discourse of reason, 406.

(2.) The prevailing opposition of some corrupt affection, 408.

(3.) The force and tyranny of the custom of the world, 410.


Now the inferences and deductions from the words thus discussed are these:

1. We gather hence the great criterion and art of trying our sincerity, 412.

2. That misery which attends a final dereliction of Christ; whereby a man loses all his happiness. (1.) That which is eternal, 415. And, (2.) even that which is temporal also, 417. Now we may conclude, that unbelief is entertained upon very hard terms, when it not only condemns a man to die, but also (as it were) feeds him with bread and water till his execution; and so leaves him wretched and destitute, even in that place where the wicked themselves have an in heritance, 418.


1 PETER ii. 23.

Who, being reviled, reviled not again. P. 419.

A Christian’s duty is fully comprised in his active and his passive obedience, 419. Christ’s example shews, that he was not only able to do, but also to suffer miracles: and all his actions are usually reduced to three sorts. 1. His miraculous, 420. 2. His mediatorial, 420. 3. His moral actions; which last he both did himself, and also commanded others to do: wherefore it is our positive duty to imitate this particular instance of Christ’s patience, 421.

The words are discussed in three particulars.

I. In shewing what is implied in the extent of this duty of not reviling again. It implies two things:

1. A suppressing of our inward disgusts, 423.

2. A restraint of our outward expressions, 424.

A caution given for our regulation in this duty, that a due asperity of expression against the enemies of God, the king, and the public, is not the reviling in the text, the scene of which is properly private revenge, 425.

II. In shewing how the observation of this duty comes to be so exceeding difficult.

It is so, 1. From the peculiar, provoking quality of ill language, 428, 2. Because nature has deeply planted in xxxevery man a strange tenderness for his good name, which, in the rank of worldly enjoyments, the wisest of men has placed before life itself, 430.

III. In shewing by what means a man may work himself to such a composure and temper of spirit, to observe this excellent duty.

Nothing less than God’s grace can subdue the heart to such a frame; but we may add our endeavours, by frequently and seriously reflecting, that to return railing for railing is utterly useless to all rational intents and purposes, 432. This is made appear inductively, by recounting the several ends and intents to which, with any colour of reason, it may be designed.

1. The first reason should be to remove the cause of the provocation received, 432. 2. May be by this means to confute the calumny, and to discredit the truth of it, 433. 3. To take a full and proper revenge of him that first reviled, 434. 4. To manifest a generous greatness of spirit, in shewing impatience of an affront, 436.

By severally unravelling of which is shewn, how unfit reviling again is to reach or effect any of them. And St. Paul writes, If any one that is called a brother be an extortioner or a railer, not to keep company with such an one, no, not to eat; but especially at the Lord’s table: and he that is thus excommunicated and excluded the company of the saints in this world, is not like to be thought fit for the society of angels in the next, 437.


PSALM xc. 11.

Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. P. 438.

This description of God’s anger is supposed to come from Moses, who might well be sensible of its weight, 438.

Anger (and the like affections) cannot properly be said to be in the infinitely perfect God at all; but is only an extrinsical denomination of a work wrought without him, xxxiwhen he does something that bears a similitude to those effects that anger produces in men, 439.

The prosecution of the words is managed in four particulars.

I. Two preparatory observations are laid down concerning God’s anger.

I. That every harsh and severe dispensation is not an effect of it, 440. 2. That there is a great difference between God’s anger and his hatred, 442.

II. Those instances are shewn in which this unsupportable anger of God does exercise and exert itself.

1. It inflicts immediate blows and rebukes upon the conscience, 444.

2. It imbitters afflictions, 445.

3. It curses enjoyments, 447.

III. Those properties and qualifications are considered, which set forth and declare the extraordinary greatness of it.

1. It is fully commensurate to the very utmost of our fears, 449.

2. It not only equals, but infinitely transcends our fears, 451.

3. Though we may attempt it in our thoughts, yet we cannot bring it within the comprehension of our knowledge, 453.

4. The greatness of God’s anger appears, by comparing it with that of men, 454.

IV. Some use and improvement made of the whole. As,

1. It may serve to discover to us the intolerable misery of such as labour under a lively sense of God’s wrath for sin, 455.

2. It may discover to us the ineffable vastness of Christ’s love to mankind in his sufferings for them, 456.

3. It speaks terror to such as can be quiet, and at peace within themselves, after the commission of great sins, 457.

4. All that has been said of God’s anger is a warning against sin, that cursed thing which provokes it. Therefore men are advised to begin here, and not expect to extinguish xxxiithe flame, till they withdraw the fuel. Let them but do this, and God will not fail to do the other, 459.


MATT. x. 28.

Fear not them which Mil the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. P. 460.

Christ in this chapter is commissioning his twelve apostles for their evangelical expedition: from the fifth verse almost to the end of the chapter we have an explication of their commission. 1. In respect of the place where they were to administer it, 460. 2. In respect of the doctrine they were to preach, 460.

Christ’s instructions are reducible to these two. (1.) A caution against the luxury of the world, 461. (2.) An encouragement against the cruelty of the world, 462.

And to make his admonitions more effectual, he descends to those particular things he knew they chiefly feared. 1. Bodily torments, 464. 2. Disgrace, 464. 3. Death, 465.

Which last he cautions them against for these three reasons. (1.) Because it is but the death of the body, 465. (2.) Because hell is more to be feared, 465. (3.) Because they live under the special care of God’s overseeing Providence; and therefore cannot be taken away without his special permission, 465.

An objection concerning the fear of men stated, and answered, 465.

These things premised, the words of the text are pregnant with many great concerning truths. As,

1. That it is within the power of man to divest us of all our temporal enjoyments, 467.

2. That the soul of man is immortal, 467.

3. That God has an absolute and plenary power to destroy the whole man, 468.

4. That the thought of damnation ought to have greater weight to engage our fears, than the most exquisite miseries xxxiiithat the power or malice of man is able to inflict, 468. The prosecution of this lies in two things:

I. In shewing what is in these miseries which men are able to inflict, that may lessen our fears of them. Seven considerations ought to lessen our fears of those miseries.

(1.) That they are temporal, and concern only this life: as, l. Loss of reputation. 2. Loss of an estate. Or, 3. Loss of life, which of itself is quickly past, 469-

(2.) They do not take away any thing from a man’s proper perfections, 470.

(3.) They are all limited by God’s overruling hand, 473.

(4.) The good that may be extracted out of such miseries as are inflicted by men, is often greater than the evil that is endured by them, 474.

(5.) The fear of these evils seldom prevents them before they come, and never lessens them when they are come, 475.

(6.) The all-knowing God, who knows the utmost of them better than men or angels, has pronounced them not to be feared, 476.

(7.) The greatest of these evils have been endured, and that without fear or astonishment, 478.

II. In shewing what is implied in the destruction of the body and soul in hell, which makes it so formidable, 480.

After running over several common considerations, this gives a sting to all the rest; that it is the utmost the al mighty God can do to a sinner, 482.

Some objections about total annihilation and diminution of being, here answered, 483.

Application in exhorting us, whenever we are discouraged from duty, or tempted to sin by man, on one side conscientiously to ponder man’s inability, and on the other God’s infinite power to destroy. The power of the latter consideration instanced in the case of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; of Joseph, and of the apostles perseverance in preaching; and the neglect of the former consideration in xxxivthe case of Saul and Amalek; David’s madness, and Peter’s denial of Christ, 485.

2d Use. That it is not absurd to give cautions for the avoiding eternal death, even to those whose salvation is sure, and sealed up in the purpose of God, 489.

3d Use. This speaks reproof to that slavish sort of sinners who are men-pleasers. Flattery of men always carries with it a distrust or a neglect of God: it is ignoble as a man; and irreligious as a Christian, 490.


HEBREWS ii. 16.

For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. P. 492.

The dark and miserable ignorance considered, that had overspread almost all the world for four thousand years before the coming of Christ, who was born to be the great mediator and instructor of mankind; which he was to do by the strongest methods, and most miraculous condescensions to our likeness, 492.

A critical exposition of the words to vindicate the translation of the text, 494. which is prosecuted in two particulars.

I. In shewing what is naturally inferred from Christ’s taking on him the seed of Abraham. Four things follow, and are inferred upon it.

1. The divine nature of Christ is unavoidably consequent from hence, 497.

2. The reality of Christ’s human nature, 498.

3. The truth of his office, and the divinity of his mission is deducible from the same ground, 500.

4. Christ’s voluntary choice and design, to assume a condition here upon earth low and contemptible, 501 .

II. In shewing why Christ took upon him the nature of man, and not of angels. The reasons whereof (besides that it was the divine will, which is a very sufficient one, 504.) may be these two:


1. The transcendent greatness and malignity of the sin of the angels above that of men; (1.) As being committed against much greater light, 505. (2.) As commenced upon a greater liberty of will and freedom of choice, 506.

2. Without such a Redeemer the whole race and species of mankind had perished, as being all involved in the sin of their representative; whereas though many of the angels sinned, yet as many, if not more, persisted in their innocence, 507.

We are exhorted to a return of gratitude, and to a remembrance that Christ made himself the Son of man, that, by the change of our nature, we might become the sons of God, 508.

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