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Sermon II.

Romans I. 16.

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: For it is the Power of God unto Salvation, to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

I Have declared several Assurances we have of Divine Truth, Natural, and Reveal'd in Scripture; against Atheists, Infidels and the Prophane: As,

1. The great Acknowledgement it hath met with, in the several Ages of the World.

2. The Representation that is hereby made of God, * which is agreeable to what Man is made to know. The Proposals made to us by God, the Invitations made by him, the Prohibitions, Com <48> mands, and Promises, all these testifie of God, and declare worthily concerning him.

3. The ingenuous Effects and Operations of Divine Truth, upon Mens Spirits, and in their Lives.

4. The Suitableness of Natural Truth, to Man in his State of Institution; and of Reveal'd Truth, to Man in his lapsed State, in order to his Restitution and Recovery.

5. The Agency of the Divine Spirit in pursuance.

Now if * this be so; we may concur, in Sence and Resolution, with the Apostle: I am not ashamed of the Gospel, &c.

I am not ashamed. — This intimates, that there is some where Matter of Shame, within the Compass of the Business. Now here Man's Apostacy, and Sin, these are shameful Things: Which was the Occasion of the Gospel-Revelation. The Grace of the Gospel, which comes to repair, and to restore, puts us in mind of our ruinous and necessitous Condition: So that there is cause of Shame in the Case <49> tho' Cause of Glory and Triumph in the Grace of God.

It is the Power of God unto Salvation. Power, not strictly; as limiting to one Perfection: But eminently to attribute to the Efficacy of Divine Grace * these two Things, viz. Regeneration, Nativity from above (which is the Salvation of this State;) Glorification, and consummating us in Holiness; which is the Salvation of the Future.

To advance this Grace, and to raise our Apprehensions of it, consider the Author of it (it is the Effect of the Divine Wisdom, the Fruit of the Divine Love:) What it is in it self: And of what Benefit to us.

There must be Greatness of Power to erect such a Fabrick and Structure as the World is; and Excellency of Wisdom, to administer the Affairs of it, in all Variety of Cases. Now it is pitty any should do the like, that cannot also recover, and restore, if Necessity require: For so should finite and fallible (as we are) if in any Error or Mistake, be under an Impossibility of Redemption. It is according to Nature's Sence, rather never to have been; than for ever to be irrecoverably miserable. Wherefore, if I believe God <50> made me; I will also believe God can restore me.

Nothing is clearer in Reason, nothing is fuller in Scripture, than that God is the first and chiefest Good. In respect of his Relation to his Creatures, earthly Parents do but resemble him: John 3. 16. God so loved the World, that he gave his only begotten Son, &c. It must be attributed to his Goodness and Compassion: because it was that which we cannot say, he was at all bound to do: It was that which he could not be constrain'd to do: It was that which he was no Gainer by: for our Righteousness is not profitable to him. — The Gospel of Christ is no Invention of Humane Reason. Man neither prevented God, nor recompenced him after. Only the Necessity of Man's State required it; and God's Goodness afforded it: the Excellencies of Infinite Wisdom, Goodness, and Power, are display'd in it.

It's not a Mystery now; tho' formerly it was hid from Ages and Generations. But now it is the Council of God's Will declared.[1] — He that darkens words without Knowledge, brings us back again to the Infancy of the World. It was the Imperfection and Shortness of the Mosaical Dis <51> pensation that it was Tipical, Mystical, Ceremonial, Symbolical; full of Shadows, things that did vail and darkly represent. Obscurity is Imperfection, as Darkness in comparison with Light. Life and Immortality, and all * the Principles of it are brought to Light through the Gospel.

The Gospel is admirable Speculation; excellent Matter of Knowledge: for here is the Revocation of an insolent bold Act of Usurpation upon God, by Christ's full Submission and intire Self-resignation. A Prince and a Saviour is raised up by God, sent into the World, not to make Havock, to ruine and destroy; not as it is 2 Sam. 12. 31. where the People were put under Saws and Harrows of Iron, made to pass thorough Brickilns: a thing intolerable to behold; dreadful to read of: (tho' in this impotent incompetent World, many great Warriours are made famous for such things, even in unjustifiable War:) but he came to give Repentance and Forgiveness of Sin: He came to seek, and to save that which was lost.

The Gospel is a Vital Principle, not of Natural Life, but Divine; as it satisfies the Reason of our Minds by Removal of Fears and Doubts, by the Life of Faith, Affiance, and Trust in God: — and, as it reforms our Spirits and Lives; as con <52> veying and communicating Principles of Goodness and Righteousness: * by which we are made Partakers of the Divine Nature.

The Substance of the Gospel is, Repentance from Dead Works, and Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. These do go together, and encourage each other: in as much as no Man repents, who doth not believe: nor can any believe, who doth not repent. To believe, there is requisite an internal Disposition and Preparation of the Subject, as well as a Divine Promise to build upon. John 5. 44. Can you believe who receive Honour one of another, and seek not Honour from God? The same is in all Cases of Inordinacy and Sin. Repentance and Faith in the Gospel, are indifferently used: He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life, John. 3. 36. Now he doth not really believe, who doth not truly intend to do answerably. The Scripture calls believing on Christ, receiving of him.[2] If we receive him; then we receive him such as he is, and to such Effects and Purposes as God sent him for: Now God sent him to bless us, in turning us from our Iniquities. The Scripture useth Synecdoches. Sometimes Believing is put for the whole of Religion: sometimes Repenting: sometimes Fearing: <53> sometimes Love. If we would not be partial, nor deceive our selves; we must always take in, all concomitant Acts. Scripture, as the Rule of Faith, is not one single Text, (which may be short, and intend another thing) but the fulness of Scripture. In all other cases, he that believes doth according as he thinks. Faith includes an Intention of new Obedience.

I may with great Reason say, that the Matter of the Gospel is a Vital Principle: as it satisfies the Reason of our Mind, * and so sets us at Rest and Quietness within our selves; as thereby seeing and knowing that we are out of danger. — In the intellectual Nature, a Principle of Knowledge, as to the Understanding, is Vital; as well as an habitual Disposition, as to the Will. What more Satisfaction can there be to the Reason of our Minds, * what more tending to the Quiet of our Consciences, than to be assured, in a Matter of such Importance to us, that God, to whom we are so obnoxious by Transgression and Sin, is most placable and reconcileable, of himself, through the Perfection of his own Nature; and that he is absolutely resolv'd and engaged, by his voluntary Determination and Promise, to pardon Sin, in, and through Christ, to <54> all who repent and believe the Gospel. And this, and nothing less than this, is the Matter of the Gospel. This is to be accepted in, and through Christ; and is the real Explication of Justification by imputed Righteousness. For this being suppos'd, and proving true; We are sure of God. — We know his Terms. — The Terms are fair and equal in themselves; fit and just: for should not an Offender do what is in him, to undo what he hath done amiss? — The Terms are good for us: for we cannot be happy by God, in a way of opposition to God; but by Submission and Reconciliation to him. — They are such as are possible, through the Grace and Assistance of God. — So that there is nothing in the whole World that we have more Reason to desire and pray for, than that they be verified, fulfilled, and accomplished in us.

There are no two things more inward to us, than Satisfaction to our Reason, that we may be at quiet; and the settling of our Minds in Frame and Temper, that we may enjoy our selves. In these two the Life of Man consists: and these depend on the Knowledge of the Gospel.

* Now, the Matter of the Gospel is * also a Vital Principle, as it is a byass <55> upon our Spirits, an Habitual Temper and Disposition constantly affecting us, and inclining us God-ward, and to ways of Goodness, Righteousness, and Truth. For it is inwardly received, so as to dye and colour the Soul; so as to settle a Temper and Constitution: and so it is restorative to our Natures. — That which we do but indifferently by our Ability; we are able to do dexterously and easily by Custom. Through the Divine Grace and Assistance we are both able and freely willing. The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ, frees us from the Law of Sin and Death. The Principles of the Christian Religion do not only controul intemperate and exorbitant Acts; but regulate the inward Frame and Temper of Mind, the Inclinations, elicit Acts, and first Motions. As Christ said to God, not my Will but thy Will; so we must, through Participation of Christ, be let into a Temper of Meekness and Gentleness to our fellow-Creatures, and a submissive self-denying Frame in respect of God. Hence our Lives and Manners are of another fashion. By the Spirit of the Gospel we are transformed into another Nature, Life, and Temper. Neither do I terminate the Ultimate Issue of Christ in the happy Effects of Renovation in our selves, and Reconciliation to God; (tho' <56> these are Benefits transcendent to all worldly Wealth, Greatness, and Power:) but it doth not now appear, neither can we now bear the thought of it, what we may be when God shall be all in all; and all Enmity subdued. — These are two things, and very different; what Man may come to, by the Improvement of himself, in the right use of himself, his natural Power and Faculties; directing himself by his ordinary Rules; * as he is God's Creature, and may attain his Natural State and End: and what Man may come to, as he is indued with Power from above; as he is assumed into a Relation to God, by Jesus Christ; as he is a Member of that Body whereof Christ is the Head; as the Adoption of God by Jesus Christ; and as he is so enliven'd by the Divine Spirit, as did not belong to Man in the State of Innocency. — But these are not things of our present State: for even Adam, as he was made, was not fit. For Flesh and Blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

The Application now only remains.

Having made appear to you that the Doctrine of the Gospel, both in respect of its proper Vertue and Efficiency, as also in respect of Divine Intention, is effectu <57> al to the bringing of Men to Salvation; then are you, First to acquaint your selves throughly with the Terms of the Gospel, to pass * Judgment upon it, to consider well all the Circumstances that make up the case; Our contracted Impotency and great Deformity by our Fall; the Necessity of Recovery and Restoration; The Efficacy and the Freeness of the Grace of God to Conversion. So that we may resolve our Minds; tho' our Case be very forlorn, because of our Defection and Apostacy from the Innocency of our Creation, and self-contracted Misery; yet nothing is desperate, nothing is impossible in the Case; but our Recovery, through the Grace of God, is fairly easie.

And being thus prepar'd by such Knowledge and Apprehensions; pursue the Intent of the Gospel in your own Spirits, and in Conjunction of your selves with others; by free Communication in Converse. For this is certain, and found by Experience, that the only way to do a Man's self good in Intellectuals and Spirituals, is to do good to others. No Man gains so much as by Teaching. No Man so improves in Intellectuals, as by Communication: which doth much commend Intellectuals; that they increase by expence. If a Man hath brought himself to some Perfection by Consideration; he will <58> make himself much more, by free Communication: and in free Communication, you will have another suggest that which, it may be, you did not think of: So he will put you upon further Consideration; or else preserve you from Presumption. None are of such modest Spirits as * they who live in free Communication and Converse. This I subjoyn, for the improving of a Man's self in the way of the Gospel, and answering the vigorous Spirit of the Gospel; be communicative. And this is the Purpose of all our Meetings: free Communication, to answer every Man's Doubts; to give every one Satisfaction. It is the highest Service, and greatest Courtesie we can do one another, freely to tell what we have conceiv'd: and we do our selves most effectual Good, when we carry on others with us; when we do Good unto others.

The first thing in Religion is to teach a Man's own Mind; to satisfie a Man's self, in the Reason of things; to look to the Grounds and Assurance that a Man hath for his Thoughts, Apprehensions, and Perswasions: But then it is prodigious and monstrous if that wherein my Reason is resolv'd and satisfied, should not have such an Influence upon my Mind, as to establish me in Life accordingly, and <59> to be a Rule both in Temper and Practice. That which we call in Morals against the Order of Reason, is so much more horrid, unnatural, and prodigious than in inferiour Nature, for Sensitives to go against the Guidance of Sense, * or for Inanimates against the Force of Nature; * it is, I say, so much more unnatural; as Intelligent Agents transcend, in Perfection, Sensitives, and Inanimates: Reason being as proportionable to its Effects, as any Principle in inferiour Nature.

There are two Orders, or Ranks of Creatures in this visible World: the Order of Sensitives, and of Inanimates: The World of Sensitives, they are true and infallible: they are true to that which is their predominant Principle; that is, sence; and they never vary: And Inanimates, they certainly tend according to their Nature. Now the Principle in the higher Order of Creatures, viz. of Rational and Intelligent Agents, is Apprehension of the Reason of things. Now the Reasons of things are Eternal: they are not subject to any Power: we practice not upon them: It is our Wisdom to observe them; and our Goodness to comply with them: but they are as much our Rule, as Sense to Sensitives; and the Impetus of Nature to Inanimates. Now you would think it Monstrous, Prodigious, and Unnatural, <60> for the Sun to give over shining, for heavy things to ascend, for light things to descend, for Fire not to burn: yet it is more prodigious for any one that is an Intelligent Agent and Voluntary, not to comply with the Reason of things; because he is a Creature of a higher Order; and his Principle is more excellent. By which you may see the Degeneracy of us Mortals: in that the State below us, remains in the same Principle it was created in: but we Men, do neither find out the Reasons of things, nor comply with them. Our Deformity is more; because our Perfection is more, and the Order of our Being is higher; and we were made more sufficient to our Con-natural Acts, than either Sensitives, or Inanimates to their proper Acts; and we use to say, the Fault is greater in him that is in a higher State.

This is to awaken Men to understand the Reason of the Gospel, and to consider it; that it may become the Reason of our Mind: And if it be the Reason of our Mind; it will be a Vital Principle of Life.

The Intent of the Gospel being such as it is, (viz. the greatest Good possible:) and it being the Inquiry of all Mortals, Who will show us any Good? it is Matter of great Astonishment, that it should be <61> so neglected; so much being done on God's part towards Man's Salvation, and so much Reason for it on Man's part.

1st. So much being done on God's part. For, Man's Salvation doth import Man's Happiness. Salvation from first to last, doth include the several Stages and Progressions in the passing from the Death of Sin, from the Carnal Mind, from the Corrupt Nature, into a Spiritual State and Divine Life. This is the Salvation of this State: and the Consummation of this, is the Salvation of the other. Do but consider how much God hath done upon this account. Consider the many Promises, and pathetical Invitations God hath made to Sinners; Promises to receive them; Promises to enable them; Promises to reward them. How did our Saviour mourn over Jerusalem? How did God by the Prophets every where complain, upon Man's Remissness?

2dly. Considering there is so much Reason for it on Man's part; that it is not only just, and fit in it self; but Good for us. It is just and fit, to repent: for can any one think that it is reasonable, by an after-Act, to justifie an Act of Arrogance? If he doth not; he must repent: for whosoever commits a Sin, and doth not repent of it, he lives to justifie it. — Repentance is good for us; for <62> without it, we are self-condemn'd, and in an Incapacity of Happiness. Self-condemnation I take to be the very Life of Hell: and a Man must be self-condemn'd, unless he repent, after the committing of Sin. — Repentance doth ease a Man's Mind. He that doth repent would make Satisfaction, and doth recal it, what he can. It is not possible for a Man to be made happy, by putting him into a Happy Place, unless he be in a Good State. A Man is not happy in the State wherein he is not qualified. We are not capable of Happiness, unless we be restored to Innocency by Repentance. The Gospel is the Restitution of us to the State of our Creation, to the use of our Principles, to our healthful Constitution, and to Acts con-natural to us: and, under the Grace of God, is not only possible; but a thing of easie and fair Performance: For tho' without God, we are unsufficient to do any thing; yet through the Grace of God, we are enabled to do all things that the Gospel requires. In this way, the Mind of Man may have Assurance and Satisfaction. It is a compassionable Case for him that is Supream and Sovereign, to pitty an unavoidable Necessity and Misery, and to pardon so far as the Case is compassionate. Now we are in the hands of him that is Primarily and Originally <63> Good: And he will certainly commiserate every Case, so far as it is compassionable. Now the Case of a Sinner is compassionable, if he be penitent; because he was never better than finite and fallible. Nothing is more credible than that the first and chiefest Goodness will save to the utmost Extent of Disposition in the Subject.

On the other side, consider we God as the first and chiefest Goodness; it is worthy of him, and in it self good, that Evil be controuled. Therefore I cannot conceive, but that the Goodness of God must engage him to punish obstinate Sinners. Parents think it becoming, to punish an obstinate Child. — Consider we him also in a Relative Capacity, as he is the Governour of the World: He is engaged to maintain Order, so it is not comely in God to pass over Contumacy in Sin, without challenging or controuling. So that as I do easily see, that the Case of a Sinner that is penitent, is compassionable: So on the other side, I cannot conceive that a contumacious impenitent Sinner can be pardon'd: Since it is in it self good, and also worthy God (either consider'd absolutely in himself, as the first and chiefest Good; or relatively, as the Governour of the World) to con <64> troul and challenge wilful and pertinacious Transgressors.

Consider we, the Unreasonableness of Sin in Three Particulars.

1st, In Acts of Impiety against God. Can any Reason be imagined for these? For, God being the Original of Man's Being; the Center of his Soul; his ultimate End, and every Way well deserving of him; Can any give a Reason why any Man should be rebellious against him? Is there any Temptation to sober Reason unto Impiety? What can be alledged to induce Men to affront and offer Contempt to God?

2dly, What can be alledged for Intemperance; since Nature is content with very few Things? Why should any one over-do in this kind? A Man is better in Health and Strength, if he be temperate. We enjoy our selves more in a sober and temperate Use of our selves. What Aches, Diseases, Pains, and Sicknesses doth a Man bring upon himself, if he be intemperate? How many of these are founded in Excess?


3dly, Sins of Unrighteousness, — whosoever doth an unrighteous Act, he doth justifie all the Villanies in the World, even Highway-men and Robbers: For it is the same thing: You are Sinners in the same kind; for all is Unrighteousness; there is difference only in degree. One may offend more in Humane Laws: But the Offence is the same in righteous Laws. — Besides, what Confidence can we our selves have in respect of others? For no Man will think better of others than of himself. He that is guilty of Unrighteousness, cannot but be jealous, and think the same of others. So that he can have no Confidence in others.

Thus you see the Unreasonableness of Sin. Yet because of ill Use, Custom, and Practice; Difficulty is pretended, * and it is thought hard, to be vertuous. Do not Beasts observe the Rules of their Nature? — That which Religion requires, is to find out the Reason of Things, and to comply with it; to move according to the Dictates of Reason; and to observe the Order of the End; to avoid such things as will do us harm; in short, to live according to the Difference of Good and Evil; to do the one, and to avoid <66> the other: Which are not positive and arbitrary Impositions; but they arise from Conveniences, and from Inconveniences of our Natures, States, and Relations. So that the Sinner is a Person of violent Practice, and one who doth unnatural Acts. And an Impenitent is one of a senceless and stupid Mind.

The Things that are the Bane of Mankind, and that do alienate us from God, are Sensuality, Worldly-mindedness, and Wickedness. The two former of these do sink the Creation of God below it self; so that it doth not continue the same that God made it. A Man, by these, is render'd utterly unfit for Converse and Communication with God. For, by these, he sinks himself below his Kind, and makes himself equal to the Beast that perishes. And by the latter (* viz. Wickedness) Man passeth into a clean contrary Nature, becomes an Enemy to God, and makes God an Enemy to him.

Against Sensuality and Worldliness, I propose for Remedy, the Application of the Principles of Reason and Vertue, and the applying of our highest Faculties to their End and Object. For while the Mind is employ'd in Heavenly Meditation, or in extracting Spiritual Notions from material Things; it is employ'd <67> worthy of Intelectual Nature: And our proper Business is to be thus employ'd: By which the Concerns of the Body will be either laid aside, or moderately engaged in, and regarded. Whereas this Power of our Souls is, as it were, lost, where Men use themselves as if they had no Spirits, but were altogether Body; or as if the Body were the principal or governing Part. And in such a Condition are they, who cannot understand what we mean when we bid them lift up their Hearts to God. For the Candle of God's lighting within them, whereby they are qualified to find God out in his Works, and to follow him in his Ways, either it burns so dim, that they cannot see by it, or it is quite put out. For it is found by Experience, that the Malignity of the Heart doth blind the Understanding: And true Wisdom will never abide in a malicious and wicked Soul. — There are indeed Souls that are * so active and so well acquainted with Heavenly Meditation; that they very well know what is the Food of Souls; and have the fore-taste of the Delight and Pleasure of the other World. And certainly, these Men have the greatest Satisfaction in their Lives of any other Persons. For there is more of Satisfaction in Meditation, in Reading, in Conference about Divine <68> Things, in Application to God by Prayer, and other holy Exercises, than in any bodily Pleasure whatsoever. For all bodily Exercise comes off with disquiet of Spirit: Whereas in the other Way there is Refreshment every Moment: There is new Acquisition: For if there be any thing like Infinite in the Creation under God, it is in Invention, and the Power of Thinking. This is the Advantage of Intelectual Exercise, above Bodily Exercise. The one works inwardly; is still on the getting hand; and is still in use; for what this Man gets, he hath still in store; and that which is got in this way of Intelectual Employment, will still improve by Use; and what we get, we always keep; for Knowledge is no burden: Whereas in things of the Body, Use, and Want: Spend, and be ever after without. But it is no wonder, that they who never acquainted themselves with retiring from the World, know not what these Things mean: Who mind only Worldly Things, and know no more than what belongs to the Animal Life. But, on the other side, if a Man make Application to God; he acts with all his Might; he recollects himself, and gathers himself into himself, that he may receive from God, what God hath to communicate. And the Things that God hath and doth offer, are <69> so great, and glorious, that our narrow Vessels had need be wholly emptied to make room for them.

Therefore the Minds Substraction from the World is necessary, by way of Preparation and holy Meditation, to beget in us such a Disposition, by which we may receive from God. A Man that can enjoy himself alone, by Consideration, and exercising his Faculties, may run through, as it were, all times: For a Man may live before he lives, and after, in this way: He may, by Reading, acquaint himself with what was in former Times; and by what Things are, he may guess what are to come. If he reflect upon Things past, and view Things that are present, and take a Prospect of Things to come, as the Effect of Causes that are in being; in this way Rational Faculties have sufficient Employment: Whereas they that are always drudging in the Affairs of the World, and never enjoy themselves alone; will find little Satisfaction in these Things.

It is the proper Work of Reason in Man, to find God out in his Works, and to follow him in his Ways. It is the proper Employment of our intelectual Faculties, to be conversant about God, to conceive aright of him; and then to resemble and imitate him. Religion is an <70> Obligation upon us to God. The first Motion of Religion is to understand what is true of God: And the second is to express it in our Lives, and to copy it out in our Works. The Former is our Wisdom: And the Latter is our Goodness. In these Two consist the Health and Pulchritude of our Minds. For Health to the Body, is not more, than Vertue is to the Mind. A deprav'd and vicious Mind is as really the Sickness and Deformity thereof, as any foul and loathsome Disease is to the Body. And as really as these tend to the Death and Dissolution of the Soul and Body; so the Vices of the Mind tend to the Separation of God and the Soul.

What is short and inferior to Converse with God, doth require a Recess from Worldly Business and Employment. A Man can hardly compose an ordinary Poem without this. But for the noblest Employment receiving from God, and making Acknowledgment to him, is a Man fit for this, in the Hurry of Business, and Confusion of Things? It is also observed, that this Life of Privacy, and Retirement, is either the best, or the worst Life: For, in it, we do as God doth; or we imitate the Devil. He who can be alone to his own Content, in Measure and Degree, is as God is: For what other <71> Employment had God from Eternity, but satisfying himself in his own Goodness? But as * this may be * the best; so it may be the worst Life: For a Man may be employ'd in contriving Mischief as the Devil is, whose Work is said to be to bring Men into Condemnation. If therefore * we are alone to ill Purposes and Designs; then, Solitariness and Retirement do make the worst Life. * But if * Man be retired and alone, and not intelectually employ'd; then through Stupidity and Dulness, he sinks down into the State of a Beast. For take it for a certain Truth; to be Well, and Unactive, do not consist together. No Man is well without Action; nothing is more irksome than Idleness. A Man must use his Faculties, and put himself upon Action. Therefore, if he be alone, and unactive; he cannot be well. In all honest Labour there is Satisfaction: Whereas Sluggishness and Neglect are unaccountable, and unsatisfactory.

The Mind diverted from God, wanders in Darkness and Confusion: But being directed to him, soon finds its way, and doth receive from him in a way that is abstracted from the Noise of the World, and withdrawn from the Call of the Body; having shut the Doors of our Sences, to recommend our selves to the Divine <72> Life, which readily enters into the Eye of the Mind that is prepar'd to receive it. For there is Light enough of God in the World, if the Eye of our Minds were but fitted to receive it, and let it in. It is the Incapacity of the Subject, where God is not; for nothing in the World is more knowable than God. God only is absent to them that are indisposed, and disaffected: For a Man cannot open his Eye, nor lend his Ear, but every thing will declare more or less of God. It is our Fault that we are estranged from him: For God doth not withdraw himself from us, unless we first leave him: The Distance is occasioned through our unnatural Use of our selves.

They who live the Life of Sence, are apt to be beaten off from all regard to God, by those Occurrences that discompose their Minds. * But they who are separated from Body, who sit loose to Earthly Things * which obstruct the Mind, do easily receive the Divine Light. Whereas those that are in Prison in gross Bodies, need the Fire of Divine Affection to quicken them. And this I understand in the Language of the Scripture, to be Baptizing with Fire,[3] when Divine Affection burns up all contrary Principles in the Soul, and brings the Soul into a Likeness <73> and Similitude to God. For, the Divine Light received into the Mind, doth first irradiate and clear the Mind from its gross and thick Darkness, whereby it was unexercised and unemploy'd about God: And this is the first Work; Mental Illumination; raising right Notions of God, and Things in our Minds; scattering * the Mists of Darkness. * Yet Light alone works not a Change: But there must be Holy Affection. Knowledge is the first step to Vertue: But Goodness * is not but by Delight and Choice.

It is a mighty unequal and unaccountable Distribution of Time, for a Man to lay out himself for his Body; and to neglect his Mind, to feed the Beast (for so the Body * is, in respect of the Mind: * It is but the Beast that carries the Soul:) And this for these Reasons: Because the Mind is so much annoyed and disturbed by Body: I speak not now of the Body, as sinning and distemper'd: But in ordinary Cases, take the Body in all its Advantages; 'tis an Incumbrance to the Mind: For when the Mind raiseth it self to Contemplation of immaterial Things; the Imagination doth suggest the Management of Corporeal; which are Things of an inferior Nature. Bodily Sence reacheth but a little way, whether by the Eye, or by the Ear, or any other Sence. That <74> which is equal, just, * and fit; * that wherein we are most concerned, in Point of Goodness, Wisdom, and Happiness; these are all imperceptible Notions to every Thing of Body. What is Fit, what is Just, what is Equal, what is Good and Excellent, what is Reasonable; of these no bodily Sence doth judge. And, yet, these are the Things that we are most concern'd in, upon account of our Happiness.

A Mind subdued and subordinate to God, in all its Actions and Motions, is as the sublunary Bodies here below, which are subject to the heavenly Bodies above; as Wax under the Seal, or Clay in the Potter's Hand. The Motion is a great deal more noble and generous, because it is in a higher Order, by Illumination and Conviction; by Perswasion, and mental Satisfaction: But it is not less effectual to * its Intent and Purpose. Religion puts the Soul in a right Posture towards God: For we are thereby renew'd in the Spirit of our Minds. The Soul of Man to God is as the Flower of the Sun: It opens at its approach; and shuts when it withdraws. Religion in the Mind, is as a Byas upon the Spirit, inclines it in all its Motions: Tho' sometimes it be jogg'd, and interrupted; yet it comes to it self. It is a Rule with <75> in; a Law written in Man's Heart. It is the Government of his Spirit. We say, Men shew their Spirit, by their Carriage, Behaviour and Words: And it is true. The good Man is an Instrument in Tune: Excite a good Man, give him an Occasion; you shall have from him savoury Speeches out of his Mouth, and good Actions in his Life. Religion contains and comprehends in it all good Qualities and Dispositions of Mind. It doth take in, all the Vertues that Humane Nature is capable of, which are the Qualifications and Ornaments thereof, and which are the Mind's Instruments for good Actions. Religion is rational, accountable, and intelligible. The Difference is not more sensible between a Man that is weak and strong, a Man that is sick and in health, * than between a Man that is truly Religious, and one falsly so. You may observe it, if you put them upon Action. So, a Man that is truly Religious, if you put him in Motion, he will acquit and approve himself so: If he be false in his Religion, you will see it by his Failing and Miscarriage of Life.

Such is the Christian Religion, in respect of the Nature and Quality of it, all the Principles of it, all the Exercises and Performances that it puts Men upon; it is so Sovereign to our Natures; <76> so satisfactory to the Reason of our Minds; so quieting unto, and of such Security against the Molestations of our Consciences; so Sanatory, so full for our Recovery: that none who knows, or doth seriously consider, would chuse to have his Obligation to Religion either released, cancell'd, or discharged.

To conclude; How unexcusable, how unaccountable are they who have turn'd the Doctrine of the Gospel, or the Grace of God into Lasciviousness; and to use St. Paul's Phrase, have made void the Law through Faith. He represents it as the most sad Miscarriage, to disoblige a Man in Morals; to set a Man at liberty * as to those things that are reasonable and necessary. For the Law of God's Creation is no way damnified, but restor'd, and secured, by the Doctrine of the Gospel. Yet these excuse themselves from strict Morality, and Conscientious Living; which the better sort of Heathens thought themselves obliged unto. — We prejudice our selves miserably by Mistakes. Some think that the Hellish State is the Product of Omnipotency, and Soveraignty, the Effect of God's Power; and they think of God, that he useth his Creatures as he will; giving no account of any of his Matters, to Principles of Reason, <77> and Righteousness. But certainly the Ways of God are most accountable of any thing, to Rules of Righteousness. These are injurious Apprehensions of God, and dishonourable to him; and are disclaimed by him every where in Scripture; and God owns no such Power; neither doth he look upon it as a Priviledge; nor doth he cloath himself with such a Prerogative. — Here is the Truth of the Case: Misery doth arise out of our selves: and Misery and Iniquity have the same Foundation. Hell (for the main of it) is our Guiltiness and Conscience of it: So that a Sinner is in a self-condemned State, without Relief. — These two are the Ingredients of the Hellish State; Self-condemnation from the Guilt of a Man's Conscience, that is not removed by Repentance: and God's Refusal, upon a righteous Cause, because the Sinner would not come within the Latitude of a Compassionate Case.


Sermon III.

Romans I. 18.

For the Wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all Ungodliness, and Unrighteousness of Men, who hold the Truth in Unrighteousness.

To proceed to the Declaration of this great and horrid Sin, which gives God that high Offence; alienates us from him; exposes us to his Displeasure; * and against which he doth thus declare; This holding Truth in Unrighteousness; it doth admit of several degrees.

1st. Where Knowledge doth not go forth into Act: Where * it doth not attain the Effect of Goodness. For, bare Knowledge doth not sanctifie. No Man is renew'd by his Knowledge only. It is said of the degenerate Spirits, the Devils, that <80> they know and tremble. The Effect is Fear, and Astonishment: because there is not the Product of Goodness.

2dly. Not attaining due Growth. For there will be Growth, where there is not Violence, or some ill Accident. Where Nature begins, it goes on, towards Perfection; and it is in the State of Increase, till it come to the State of Consistency. Growth in Bulk or Maturity; as in Nature, so in Grace. The Apostle tells us of the Measure of the Stature of the Fulness of Christ.[4]

3dly. Eluding one's own Judgment. By an Evasion, unsound Distinction; pretending to Difference, when there is none; doing that under one notion, which a Man's own Judgment will not let him do, under another, when the Case is much the same. — * Thus when things are under a disguise: when Intemperance is called Good-fellowship; or when any Man is Conceited, or of a Turbulent Spirit in Religion, for him to please himself with a notion of Zeal for Truth. — We should be very careful and exact to observe the Difference of Moral Good and Evil. Herein we should be severe and impartial; not giving our selves leave to comply with our * own Humours; <81> for, as to the great Notices of Reason and Nature; the Measures of Vertue and Vice; the Grand Instances of Morality; there can be no Allowance, no Variation; because they are Matters unalterable, unchangeable, indispensible; Laws of themselves; without Sanction by Will; but by the Reason of the thing. In the great Matters of Righteousness, there is no Variation; but in Positives and Institutes there is a Latitude of Sense, Interpretation, Time, and Observance. Institutes were never intended to be in Compensation or Recompence for Failure in Morals: but for their better Security.

4thly. Not following Truth fully: but, as Herod. He heard John gladly, &c.[5] Our Saviour doth mightily accuse the Pharises, because they did pick and chuse; singling out one Precept, and in the Observance of that, being exact: and this, to make a Compensation for the rest: Zealous in one thing; loose in others: they are charg'd, therefore, with Hypocrisie. Not following Truth fully, is, when all Worldly things do not vail to Religion; but Worldly Conveniencies are unduly consider'd: for Truth is so noble and generous a thing, that it will not submit to a Compremise with its opposite.


5thly. The high degree of Sin: To go against a Man's own Judgment and Conscience; by violent and unnatural Practice, to contract Reprobacy of Mind, Seardness of Conscience, Hardness of Heart. This, Men will do, when Lust is strong and high. Persons of unsubdu'd and unmortified Affections, they are exposed to such horrid and unnatural use of themselves, and so come to be prodigiously naught. For no Man is suddenly most desperately wicked: but no Man knows, when he is a going; how far he shall go. For the breaking in of Sin is as the Inundation of Water. — This by way of Explication. — Two Observations from these words, the Wrath of God is reveal'd:

(1.) Men have wrong and injurious Apprehensions of God.

(2.) All those that are condemn'd for Sinners, are first self-condemn'd. For every one that in Scripture-Sense is a Sinner, is self-condemn'd.

1st. The wrong Apprehensions that Men have of God that Sinners have no Warning; that they are surprized by God's Judgments, and taken unawares. This is without all ground: since the Wrath of <83> God is declared; by his Word, and by his Works; besides the Sense of Mens Minds, the Guilt of their Consciences, and their own Heart misgiving them: for no Man is true to himself, if he be ill employ'd: for he that is employ'd in an Evil Work, is always possess'd with Fear, and he is not certain that he shall be true to himself. Wherefore let the Declaration of God in Scripture be acknowledg'd as true; Thy Destruction is of thy self.[6] Why will ye die, O ye Sinners?[7] Righteous art thou, O Lord, and true are all thy Judgments.[8] For God, of his great Goodness and Compassion to Men, doth graciously begin: but we often find Men wilful, obstinate, and rebellious. God is ready to pursue his Good Beginning; and, if they answer his Call, further to carry them on: for you have an express Promise, To him that hath shall be given.[9] All Grace is help; and where God is, there is Strength. Therefore cannot any one say, his Miscarriage is of God. It is not want on God's part: but failure on ours. It is not that God fails in what is becoming him, in the relation he stands to us, as Creatures; but we are wanting to our selves. What is all the Misery that befalls Sinners, in their most forlorn Condition, but the Fruit of their own Sins? Not any thing, that proceeds from God's Arbitrary Will <84> and Power: But they contract Guiltiness of Conscience, Impenitence of Mind, Hardness of Heart, and an Incapacity to act God-ward, or to receive from God.

2dly, The Scripture doth suppose, that ungodly Men are self-condemn'd. For this super-addition, Who hold the Truth in unrighteousness, is, as rendring an Account; not making a Distinction: As rendring an Account how it comes to pass, notwithstanding all God's Endeavours and Declarations, that Men continue ungodly Persons: The Reason is; Because they offer Violence to Truth, go contrary to their Light, and neglect the Declarations of God: Not, as if it distinguish'd between ungodly and unrighteous Persons. — All that in any Scripture are branded for Sinners, they are Men that sin against their Knowledge, imprison the Truth of God, and hold it in Unrighteousness. In the Language of Scripture, none are nominated Sinners, but such as now we are representing. The Scripture doth never fasten the Title or Denomination upon them that mean well, but are in something mistaken; who now and then are under an Error, having Failings, Imperfections, and Shortnesses; that miscarry upon a violent Temptation, <85> or sudden Surprizal. You never find these Men are call'd Sinners. Neither are the Infirmities of the Regenerate, call'd Sin: Tho' these are Sins that require God's Forgiveness, and are a true Cause for us to be Humble, and Modest, and to depend upon God: But they do not break our Peace with God; neither do they havock Conscience, or denominate a Person a Sinner. The Scripture tells us, That those that are born of God do not commit Sin; that is, in this Sence; no one that is regenerate, doth pass into the contrary Nature: It is unnatural: They may have Shortnesses, Failings, Imperfections: But voluntarily to consent to known Iniquity; or wilfully to controul the settled Laws of Heaven, of Piety to God, Justice to Men, and Sobriety to our selves; this is unnatural. These Persons have the Guilt of evil Practice lying upon their Minds. They have their own internal Sence reproving them, challenging them, condemning them. For the Cause of all Creatures Misery is rational, and accountable; and Men do dishonour God, and misrepresent him, when they say that any Creature falls into Misery by the Use of God's Sovereignty: It doth really arise from within us: And there is no Danger in respect of God, (notwithstanding his great Priviledge,) if Men be innocent, and <86> not self-condemn'd. — Misery and Harm do not proceed from abroad; but do arise from within. If Omnipotence it self should load me with all Burthens; If I am innocent within, I shall be able to bear it: But if I am guilty, I have a Wound within; and have nothing within me true to my self. — All Misery arises out of our selves. It is a most gross Mistake; and Men are of dull and stupid Spirits, who think that that State which we call Hell, is an incommodious place, only; and that God, by his Sovereignty, throws Men therein. For Hell arises out of a Man's self: And Hell's Fewel is the Guilt of a Man's Conscience. And it is impossible that any should be so miserable as Hell makes a Man, and as there a Man is miserable, but by his own condemning himself: And on the other side, when they think that Heaven arises from any Place, or any nearness to God, or Angels: This is not principally * so; but * it lies in a refin'd Temper, in an internal Reconciliation to the Nature of God, and to the Rule of Righteousness. So that both Hell, and Heaven, have their Foundation within Men. Evil knowingly admitted, is our Burthen: For all Evil is forcible, violent, and unnatural: And a Sinner wrongs his own Principles. — This might be made appear in respect of <87> God; in respect of one another; in respect of our selves.

1st, In respect of God. For, consider him as the Father of our Beings, and that we are derivatively from him; or that our State is Dependency; or that we are sinful; or that we are under his Love; or that he is to be our Judge; all these, will cause Acts of Piety. So that all Acts of Impiety are contrary to the Light of our Reason. And whosoever is impious in any Degree or Particular whatsoever, he doth hold the Truth in Unrighteousness; he confounds his Principles, acts contrary to his Nature, and contradicts the Principle of God within him. * For this is Fundamental to all Religion; that Man in the Use of his Reason, by Force of Mind and Understanding, may as well know, that there is a God that governs the World, as he may know, by the Use of his Eyes, there is a Sun. For are we not made to know there is a God? If we were not made to know that he is; we could never know. For this we can never be taught: For upon whose Credit shall we believe it? It is not Divine Faith, unless it be grounded on Divine Authority: All else, is either Reason, or Human Perswasion, Credulity, or Experience. We are <88> not capable of Faith, unless we know there is a God: For if there be Faith in God; we must suppose, that He is. For Faith is a receiving something upon Divine Authority. * And if there be not a Natural Knowledge, that God is; there is no Possibility of any Faith. Men know by the Use of their Reason, that there is a God: And then when a Man receives any Proposition from God's Authority; that, is Faith. Natural Knowledge, you see, is anticedent and Fundamental to Faith. — It is as natural and proper for Mind and Understanding to tend towards God, as for heavy Things to tend towards their Center: For God is the Center of immortal Souls. All Understandings seek after God, and have a Sence and Feeling of God. If Reason did not apprehend God; Religion could not be learn'd: For there would be nothing in Nature to graft it on. Besides, we know in Reason, that first Principles are self-evident, must be seen in their own Light, and are perceived by an inward Power of Nature. For, as we say, out of nothing comes nothing; so, grant nothing; and nothing can be proved. Wherefore it must be within the Reach of Reason, to find that there is a God: For upon God's Authority, supposing his Being and Veracity, we admit and receive all the Re <89> sults of his Will. — If God had not made Man to know there is a God; there is nothing that God could have demanded of him; nothing wherein he might have challenged him; nor nothing that he could have expected, Man should have received from him. Therefore the Make of Man, the natural Use of Mind and Understanding, this is enough to satisfie any one concerning the Being of God, and his essential Perfections: And if so; whosoever is impious to God, whosoever is not subject to all his Commands, this Man doth certainly sin against his Conscience, and doth practise against his Light, and is guilty of holding the Truth in Unrighteousness. — Thus, every one that is Impious, Ungodly, Prophane, or a Despiser of Deity, is self-condemn'd; sins against his Light, and goes against his Conscience; goes against his very Make; and doth that which is violent, horrid, and unnatural.

The second Species of Sin, is Unrighteousness. Now Righteousness refers to the Duties we mutually owe one another: To do as we would be done by. To do equally and justly; not arbitrarily. — How doth Violence and Fraud perplex and interrupt Humane Affairs? How settledly do Men live, where Love and Justice do <90> take place; in comparison of Places Arbitrary, and Lawless. — There is a secret Harmony in the Soul, with the Rule of Righteousness; there is no Displacency, Offence, or Reluctancy: And there is an Antipathy arising at the Appearance of Evil, as unnatural to it: But a Complacency in Good, as the eldest and first Acquaintance. So Gen. 39. 9. How can I do this Wickedness? We see that the Mind of a good Man takes Offence at Evil, is grieved at it, not at all fitted to it? There arises a Displacency, as in all Force and Contra-natural Impression. — Iniquity and Sin in the Conscience, are of * the most mischievous Nature and Quality. Should all the World agree and concur to sink a Man into a State of Lowness, Beggary, and Misery; it would not be brought about so effectually by any other Means, as by Sin and Guilt. Where there is a pure Mind, and an upright Conscience, Innocency, and Integrity; there, consequently, are internal Peace, Satisfaction, Composure. But on the other side; if a Man have Sence of Guilt on his Mind; where a Man knows himself faulty; he fears uncertainly, infinitely: He fears every thing that appears, yea, that which doth not appear; as the Poet expresses it; for Guilt is always Prophetical of what is mischievous. A <91> Man may better apply, here, in this Case, the Words of Ahab (Kings 22. ver. 8.) than he did to the Prophet; He always prophesies Evil concerning me.[10]

3dly, In respect of our selves. As we consist of two Parts; of Spirit, and of Body; so we shall fall under a double Obligation, as to our selves. And if we do our selves right, we are under Obligation to our Minds doubly: To inform our Understandings, and to refine our Spirits by moral Principles. The Mind is to be inform'd with Knowledge, and refin'd with moral Vertue. Ignorance and Improbity are mental Diseases. And it is worse for a Man to have an ill affected Mind, than an ill dispos'd Body. It is so much the worse, as, the Mind of Man is better than his Body. We find that Nature hath given Faculties: And Industry and Study acquires Habits. A neglected Mind is, according to Solomon's Observation, A Sluggard's Field grown over with Thistles and Thorns. We may say of such a Man, that he hath his Mind only for Salt: But can any Man that is rational, or sober, think that God gave him an immortal Spirit, but as Salt, to keep his Body from Stench and Putrifaction. The Mind being Superiour, is not to be subjected to the Body, nor to <92> the things of the Body; neither ought there to be an unequal Distribution of Attendance; but according to the Proportion of the Worth and Value. We ought to improve our Minds so far, as much over and above, as our Minds do transcend the Body.

Whosoever is proud and conceited, whosoever is intemperate, lascivious, or wanton, he doth hold the Truth in Unrighteousness. For these things have Foundation, and are grounded in Man, * viz. Sobriety, Modesty, and an humble Sense, the Desires of Nature are moderate, and do keep within bounds: So that in whatsoever Miscarriages Men do fall, in all these they do go against their Light, and hold the Truth in Unrighteousness.

Therefore Vertue, in every kind, is according to the Sense of Humane Nature, the Dictates of Reason and Understanding, and the Sense of Man's Mind. And Vice, in every kind, is grievous, monstrous, and unnatural. A Man forces himself, when he is vicious; and a Man kindly uses himself, when he acts according to the Rules of Vertue. And this is so true, that all those that have abused themselves, all but habituated Sinners, understand that Vertue is conservative to the Nature of Man; and that all Evil Practices destroy it. — Vertue is conservative to the <93> Reason of Man's Mind by Sobriety and Modesty; for these keep Men in their Wits. And then it preserves the Health, and the Strength of our Bodies, by Chastity, and by Temperance.

Thus have I shewn you the three Fundamentals of Religion; the three great Materials of Conscience, which are immutable, unalterable, and indispensible; that are settled in the very Foundation of God's Creation. I have also shew'd you that Vertue is connatural, and well-founded: and * that Vice is unnatural and destructive to the Nature of Man. So that there is no Man hath internal Peace, that is either neglective of his Duty to God; or that is unrighteous; or that is intemperate, as to the use of the things of the Body; or intoxicated by fond Conceits in the Sense of his Mind. For as it is requisite and comely that Sobriety be the Mind's Temper; so * it is, that there be a moderate and sober use of the things of the Body. For Nature is content with a few things. That which is violent, is unnatural. That Excess which is unhealthy for the Body, doth also stupifie the Mind. So that upon this account also, Vice is unnatural. — * What is contrary to the Order of Reason, is contrary to the State of Nature, in Intellectuals.


Those that are ungodly or unrighteous in these three great Instances: that bear no Reverence to God; that do not act towards their fellow-Creatures according to the Rules of Justice; that abuse their Bodies, do not govern their Minds, * neither improve them in Knowledge, nor refine them by Vertue: All these, do controul their Natural Light, and are self-condemn'd.

Now if the Unrighteous and Ungodly are self-condemn'd; can it be imputed to God, as Severity, to condemn them? That Judge will be excused from all Severity, who passes Sentence of Execution upon a Malefactor, * whom his own Conscience accuses. This will be the World's Condemnation: that where Men either did know, or might know, they go against their Light: that Men put out the Candle of God in them, that they may do Evil without Check or Controul; that Men take upon them to controul the settled and immutable Laws of Everlasting Righteousness, Goodness, and Truth; which is the Law of Heaven; that Men are bold to confound Order and Government in God's Family, (for so the World is;) that Men do Evil, knowingly, in the use of their Liberty and Freedom: whereas God himself, in whom there is the Fulness of all Liberty, doth declare of him <95> self, that all his Ways are Ways of Goodness, Righteousness and Truth. And can God by Power or Priviledge, do that which is not just? Is there any Unrighteousness in God? God forbid. Yet those that have Liberty but by Participation; pretending the Use of Liberty; do that which is not fit to be done. This will be the World's Condemnation. In the case of Sin, there is internal Guilt: a Man doth wrong the Principles of his Mind: he breaks his Internal Peace; and will rue it to Eternity. The Judgment of God at the last day will be easie: for there will be none to be condemn'd, but what were condemn'd, before. For Man's Misery arises out of himself; and is not by Positive Infliction. Men run upon Mistakes, the Wicked and Prophane think, that if God would, they may please themselves, and no harm done: and that it is the Will of God only, that limits, and restrains them: and they think, that they were out of Danger; if God would forbear a Positive Infliction. This is the Grand Mistake. Hell is not a Positive Infliction: but the Fewel of it, is the Guiltiness of Mens Consciences, and God's withdrawing, because the Person is uncapable of his Communication. Sin is an Act of Violence in it self. The Sinner doth force himself: and stirs up Strife within himself; and in a Sinner, <96> there is that within, which doth reluctate, and condemn him in the inward Court of his own Conscience.[11] For if our Hearts did not condemn us, all without, might be avoided: all else would fail, if this Internal Guilt, and Self-Condemnation, might be removed. But this Naughtiness of Disposition, and Incapacity of Repentance, is that which continues the Subject in Misery. Hell * therefore is not a Positive Infliction, but doth naturally follow upon Guiltiness, and a spightful, devilish, naughty Disposition unto God and Goodness.

There is something in every Man, upon which we may work, to which we may apply; to wit, the Light of Reason and Conscience; to which the Difference of Good and Evil may be made appear. If we, therefore, declare Godliness, Righteousness, and Truth; Men have a Voice to give Testimony; and Conscience in Men, will yield; notwithstanding the power Lust hath over them. If Reason may not command; it will condemn.

Lastly; Here you may have an account, what it is that gives a Check and a Stop to the Motion of the Divine Spirit. There is an Error in the first Concoction, which is hardly remedied: which is want of Advertency, and Consideration. Men do not awaken their <97> Principles, but give themselves leave to do what they cannot justifie themselves in. Now there is no place for the further Motion of the Divine Grace, where the former Grace is neglected, and * render'd ineffectual. It is self-neglect, and voluntary allowing of our selves in Evil, which brings us to Misery. For there is no Invincible Ignorance, in respect of things good in themselves, and necessary. No Ignorance excuses Immorality, in any Instance whatsoever: but, invincible Ignorance doth excuse Infidelity, in the chiefest Point. The Reason is, because the high Points of Sobriety, Righteousness, and Temperance, God hath made every Man to know: but, for the Resolutions of his Will, Man must be perswaded of God; and if God do not make Application to him; where he doth not give, he doth not require.

Take notice, then, of the Boldness and Presumption of these obstinate, rebellious, and contumacious Sinners; who having this Proclamation from the Majesty of Heaven, that the Wrath of God, &c. yet will dare to continue in Practices of Unrighteousness, and assume to themselves power to controul the establish'd Laws of everlasting Goodness, Righteousness, and Truth; and to vary from the Reason of things, to gratifie their own <98> Sence, and to please their own Humours, and to serve their own Ends, and take upon them to over-rule all things that are holy, settled, and establish'd from Eternity. What shall a Man say to such Persons? Yet the Atheistical and Prophane are guilty of this Contumacy. But as the Apostle says,[12] Their Condemnation is just, and their Judgment lingers not. We seem agriev'd at God's Plagues and Judgments, which do so much disturb our Peace and Settlement in the World: but we do greater Acts of Violence. For we imprison Truth, and give God true cause of Offence, and take upon us to controul the Establish'd Laws of Heaven, and to do other things than the reason of things dictates to us, and directs us to do. For the Text tells us, that those that are obnoxious to God's Wrath, are Persons of ungodly Practice; so that they are, of themselves, condemn'd: They cannot give an account to the reason of their own Minds, nor satisfie their own Consciences; but are hurried on, and transported by furious and violent Lusts; holding the Truth in Unrighteousness; they are self-condemn'd before they be condemn'd of God:[13] Because that which may be known of God, is manifest in them, for God hath shewed it unto them.


The Apostle doth here take upon him, and thinks fit, in this great Affair of Life and Death, to shew, and prove by Reason. From hence we may learn three things.

(1st.) That here is a Check and Controul to the forward and presumptuous Imposers, that take upon them, to dectate, and determine; and are angry with all Persons that are not concluded by their Sence. These Persons take upon them, more than the Apostle did.

(2dly.) That Religion stands upon the Grounds of truest Reason: for the Apostle, here, after he hath asserted, proves by Reason.

(3dly.) God's Ways and Dealings with his Creatures, are accountable in a way of Reason. But some think that God uses Arbitrary Power; and that they might escape without Punishment, if he would: and that it is nothing but his Will and Pleasure. — In the 17th Verse he hath declared the way of Life and Salvation: and in the 18th. the way of Misery and Death. Therefore the Ways of God are accountable, in Reason.


If this were not the Way of God; a Way worthy of Truth; we might ask, why this Apostle may not refer us to his publick Authority; who might, if any * one, because of his extraordinary Conversion, and Commission from Heaven? but he declines that: and proves by Reason. But this great Truth is hereby hinted; that the way of Reason, is the way most accomodate to Humane Nature. Therefore let us lay aside imposing one upon another; or to use any canting in Religion. Let us talk Sense, and Reason: for the Apostle doth here shew, and prove by Reason. And God himself, who hath all Priviledge; he says, he will draw them with the Cords of Men: and what is that, but Arguments satisfactory to the Mind of Men? and in the Evangelical Prophet,[14] Isaiah; shew your selves to be Men: that is; awaken your rational and intelectual Faculties; and take things into serious, and impartial Consideration; and I will convince you. — It is an Apology for any finite, fallible Creature, when he is mistaken; if he had some Reason for his Mistake: and if he can but shew why he did so think, you have him excused. — 'Tis a high Advantage, and Double Security to any Teacher, or Instructer, to have in readiness to shew, that what he saith, is not his private Ima <101> gination; but is in Conjunction with the Reason of Things, or the Principles of God's Creation; and of Divine Revelation, if it be a Matter of Faith.

This, but by way of Observation: Because the Apostle doth decline his Commission of Apostleship, and doth prove by common Reason.

That which is the Apostle's Argument, is, that all those who in the Language of Scripture are Sinners, all that are ungodly, impious towards God, and unrighteous in his Family, they sin against their Light, go against the Principles of natural Conscience, imprison Truth, and sin against their Knowledge. The Argument is, because God made Men to know, that he himself is, and his natural Perfections.

This is here plainly attested in this Verse. It is shortly spoken to. But, because it is a Matter of great Weight; it is spoken more fully in the next Verse. [15]The invisible things of God from the Creation, are now clearly seen [by the Light of Reason and Understanding,] being understood by the things that are made; even his Eternal Power and Godhead: That is: <102> That there is a God, and his Natural Perfections. For, whereas here is exprest only his Power; it is a usual Synecdoche; instancing in one, and understanding all: Because there is the same Reason for one, as another. — * Now since this Scripture, and other Scriptures, use no other Arguments to prove there is a God (for Revelation cannot prove it, Revelation supposes it;) therefore I shall forbear all other Reasons. For tho' I might produce many Metaphysical Things; yet, because they are abstract from Sence, they shall not be nam'd. Therefore I shall, as in the Text, only name the Effects of God. And this is the best Demonstration; the demonstrating an antecedent Cause, by subsequent Effects.

There are Effects in the World natural; of Inanimates, of Vegetables, and Sensitives; and in the World moral, of spiritual Substances, and intelligent Agents, that shew there is a God. For they do far transcend Mind and Understanding in Man: Therefore they must be the Product of some higher Being. And if we bring a Man to acknowledge a Being that is abler and wiser than himself, he acknowledges Deity.

This natural Knowledge of God is wrapt up in the Inward of Man's Mind and Soul; that Men, whether they will or <103> no, whether they be pleased or disaffected, whensoever they look into themselves, and consult with their own Principles, and answer their very Make, so oft are they satisfy'd in this Knowledge, that there is a God: And if they are averse; they are self-confounded. So that we may conclude, that if any Creature on Earth, that is born in the Species of Man, and that is Partaker of Human Nature, be devoid of Sence of Deity; it is one of these Three Cases.

(1st,) It is where there is not one serious Thought; nothing becoming Man's Principles; no Product of Reason, Mind, and Understanding; but where a Man is sunk below his Nature; nay, where he ceases to be in his Kind, and is worse than a Gibeonite. — This is Atheism, by gross self neglect. Such a Man may be without God in the World, who only hath Reason and Understanding to live according to Sence, or to pursue his Animal Desires. And this Man lives every Day to his Loss; he doth not act according to the Excellency of the Principles of his Kind.

(2dly,) It is where there is Affectatation and Choice to be an Atheist: And then he would have it so; struggles with him <104> self; doth what he can to keep all Thoughts of Deity out of his Mind. — He is one that hath an ill Affectation of being Lawless and Arbitrary, and gratifying his Senses: And so, he doth affect being an Atheist; that he may be free from Controul. — Or,

(3dly,) It is where there is contracted Reprobacy of Mind, by violent and unnatural Practice. And this Case is often represented in Scripture, * as by the Prophet Isaiah;[16] where it is said, Make the Heart of this People fat, &c. which place is referr'd to, six times in the New Testament, and speaks to this Purpose; that Man, by gross abuse of himself, may choak the Principles of his Nature. — These Men have confounded their Principles, and transform'd themselves into a monstrous State: And we must not produce any thing from what is true of a Monster, to prove a Natural State: For, by Wickedness, Mens Minds come to be blinded. Aristotle doth well tell us, that the Wickedness of Mens Lives, and Practices, viciates and corrupts the Judgment of Mind and Understanding.

To conclude, with Tully's Argument, (who is a better Divine than some who pretend to be Christians; and yet seem <105> to deny Reason.) "Man, himself, being a rational and intelligent Agent; so an Agent of highest Order, Ability, and Perfection, in this visible World; finding his highest Principle, his Understanding, transcended by sundry Effects of Wisdom and Power, where to he well knows he can make no Pretence; he cannot avoid acknowledging a higher Agent than himself: Upon whose Power, and will, these surpassing Effects depend. — A Man, in the Use of his Reason, surveys the Things that are about him; he sees Causes and Effects; he sees things depending one upon another; he sees things done with *the greatest Skill and Exactness; He doth very well know, he did not order these things: How came they to pass, then? — We our selves are intelligent Agents: We can do many things: We can disarm the Creation below us, and turn them to our own defence; but for the Sun, Moon, and Stars, &c. We cannot produce these things. But, we, that are intelligent Agents, do many strange Effects in Comparison of what the Beasts below, do: They cannot take Cognizance of our Actions. But there are Operations beyond our Understandings, * and which surpass our Wisdom: Therefore, because we * (who are able to do such things our selves,) are Intelligent, <106> and have Understanding; we must assert, that there must be an intelligent Agent that is higher and nobler than our selves; upon whose Power and Skill these surpassing Effects depend. This is a true Knowledge of God, and where more is not reveal'd, God will not require more. This is Tully's Argument: And this comes home to the Apostle in the Text, for the Apostle says, his Being, his Power (one, for all his Perfections) they are understood in a Way of Reason, by the Effects of God in the World. The Height and Excellency of Man, in the Use of his Reason, is over-born and transcended by the Effects in Nature. Therefore they are the Effects of an Agent more perfect and more skilful, more knowing and more powerful; and he is abundantly good.

Hitherto, I have only shewn, that it is knowable, by the Use of Reason and Understanding, that there is a God: All things being made in such Proportion and such Fitness, one to another: And Man's Reason is transcended: For we going after God, are at a Loss; there is so much of Wisdom, and Knowledge, and Curiosity, in the Things that are made. <107> We cannot therefore but Reverence an Agent that is higher than we are. For, an Account is not be given of them, in way of Human Understanding. — Now I will give Four Arguments, that it is more knowable there is a God, and what God is, in some measure, than any thing else.

(1st,) God is more knowable, in respect of the Amplitude and Fulness of his Being; because of that Ocean of Entity, that Fulness of Being, that is in him. * This is as the Sea * in Comparison to a small Rivulet. Every Creature is a Line leading to God. God is every-where, in every thing. So we cannot miss of him. For the Heavens declare the Glory of God,[17] and every Grass in the Field declares God. Man's Understanding is every-where * transcended. He cannot give an Account how several Varieties of Colours are in a Flower; how the same Juice or Glebe of Earth should produce such Variety of Colours. We say in Natural Philosophy, we know not the Modes of any thing. No Man knoweth the Mode how his Soul and Body are united: How the several Particles of Matter meet. We are puzzled to know what Motion is: We can give no Account of these Things. Now there being an Amplitude, and Ful <108> ness of Being in God, he is the more intelligible. He hath all Being perfectly in him. He is therefore more knowable than Creatures, that are of limited, confin'd, narrow Beings. The divided, separated, scatter'd Perfections of the whole Creation, are united in God; and, with that Advance, and Improvement, extended to infinite Perfection.

(2dly,) The Ways of our knowing, do more truly hold of God, than of any thing else.

* There are two Ways of coming to the Knowledge of Things: The Way of Perfection, and the Way of Negation: By these two Ways we come to a more full Knowledge. — (1.) In the Way of Perfection; we cannot exceed; we need not fear to add to much. If you speak of Man's Soul; you may say too much: But speaking of God, you cannot transcend Divine Existence, in the Enumeration of any Perfections. If we would express a Notion of our Maker, we should employ our Mind and Understanding, to find out what is best, and what is most perfect; and, then, attribute and ascribe it to God. And this is the best Way to come to the Knowledge of God. — (2.) In the Way of Nega <109> tion, we are also certain: For we cannot remove Imperfection, Contraction, Limitation, far enough from him. Therefore we say, that Words and Phrases are all to be purg'd and purified from their Contraction, and Limitation, before we can ascribe them to God. Therefore, where, in Scripture, God is represented by the Eyes, or other Parts of our Body; we must not understand these things formally, but in a Way of Perfection. So that our Ways of knowing, do more truly hold of God than of any thing else. For in the Way of adding Perfection, we cannot do too much: And in the Way of Limitation, we cannot take away too much.

(3dly,) Our Relation to God. — We stand nearer related to God, than we do to any thing in the World. Our Souls and Bodies are not nearer related, than our Souls to God. God is more inward to us than our very Souls. In him we live, move, and have our Being. God is nearer to us than what is most our selves. — Also it is the natural and proper Employment of Mind and Understanding, to make Search and Enquiry after God. The wise Man says, God is known by the Fitness and Proportion of one thing to another, Mind and Understand <110> ing in Man, is given on purpose, that Man should search after God, and acknowledge him. So that there is a greater Propriety of Man's Rational Faculties to God, than there is of his Eye to Light, or his Ear to Sound. And it is of greater Deformity for a Man to be void of Sence of Deity, than for any Man to be blind, so as not to see.

(4thly,) Our Dependance upon God; his Conservation of us; and his Co-operation with us; this leads us to know him. — Universal and general Causes have ready Acknowledgment: Because to them so many things are beholding. Aristotle well observes, the Sun which is the universal Cause, doth concur with every particular Cause to every Production, So the Psalmist, [18]Nothing is hid from the Heat of it. For, tho' the Earth be not perceptive of the Light of the Sun, because of its Grossness and Opacity; yet it hath the Vertue of it. So God is acknowledg'd. God's concerning himself in our Affairs, and our Dependance upon him, hath a kind of Universal Acknowledgment. Take any Man of any Sobriety of Mind, if he relate any thing that befals him; he will interpose, as God would have it: If he escape any Danger; he will say, as God put it into my Mind, <111> and give God the chief Place. Thus in several Cases: As in Distress, O God! our Undertakings, in the Name of God: Our Protestations, in the Presence of God. Tho', these, in the Mouths of many, be but Words of course, spoken without inward Sence of God in the Mind; yet the Custom of them proceeds from a good Original. They carry Reason in them, and shew Nature's Sence. What is without Ground, is not of any long Continuance: But these meet with no Reproof; gain Credit, give Assurance, find Acceptance, and become Religious Persons, when us'd in weighty Cases, and with serious Minds and due Intention. Since, therefore, there is such a Dependance of our Souls upon God; it is impossible but that we should know him. They who are in any degree Spiritual, or Intelectual, and are not altogether sunk down into a brutish Spirit and sensual Affection; find, and feel, within themselves, Divine Suggestions, Motions and Inspirations. Any Man that hath obtain'd any Degree of the Perfection of Reason; that doth follow the Divine Governour of Man's Life, Reason; he doth find that there are Suggestions and Inspirations; and that, many times, when he was resolv'd another way, there comes a Light into his Mind, a still Voice; he hears, and he is better direct <112> ed. Except the Atheistical, and Prophane, and those that are Diabolical, all others, feel God, in his Motions and Suggestions. — Thus, is God most knowable of any thing in the World.

Here, you have an Account of the Use of Reason, in Matters of Religion: The Natural Knowledge of God: And the Knowledge of the Revelation of his Will. — The Natural Knowledge of God, that, is the very Issue, Effect, and Product of Reason. Revelation is the other part of Religion: And Reason is the Recipient. What doth God give his Commands to, or his Councels, but to the intelligent Agent, and the Reason of Man? So that Reason hath great place in Religion. For Reason is the Recipient of whatsoever God declares. And those things that are according to the Nature of God, the Reason of Man can discover. It is either the Efficient, or the Recipient of all that is call'd Religion, of all that is communicated from God to Man. The Natural Knowledge of God is the Product of Reason: The Resolutions of his Will, for our further Direction, are proposed and communicated to Reason: and, * in both these ways, we are taught of God. In the former, we are made to know: And in the latter, <113> we are call'd to be made Partakers of God's Councel. By the former, we know what God is, his Nature, that he is: By the latter, what God would have us to do. So here you see the Use of Mind and Understanding in the Way of Religion. God teaches us in his Creation, in giving us such Faculties; he teaches us further, in the Resolution of his Will; because he satisfies us in what he doth impose upon us. Therefore the Use of Reason in Matters of Religion, is so far from doing any Harm to Religion; that it is the proper Preparatory for Men to look out to God. Reason may say, I did expect it, I did believe such a thing, from the first and chiefest Good: Now, I am told it is so. Man in the true Use of sober and impartial Reason, knowing that he hath not perform'd his Duty to God; is put upon laying out, for God's Pardon, in the Way of the Grace of the Gospel. Man knows he is of limited Perfection, he is not good enough to his own Satisfaction: And therefore knowing that he hath fail'd, his Reason leads him to look abroad, to look out, for every good Word that comes from the Mouth of God: And when he reads in the Bible, that God will pardon Sin; that which he expected in the Use of Reason, he may be satisfied is true.


Thus Scripture represents the State of Man's Creation; that it is the proper Imployment of Mind and Understanding, to seek after God, to act our Faculties,[19] to feel God. Therefore it is the Depth of Degeneracy, to be without God in the World; to have God far from our Remembrance. There is a natural and indelible Sence of Deity, and consequently of Religion, in the Mind of Man. Neither is there any Plea or Apology * for the want of this. For there is no invinsible Difficulty; no Ignorance: We are not taught, but made to know. There is no Impotency: For every one can use the Parts of Nature; at least, when at Age. * There is no Impediment: For it is transacted within ones self: Not subject to the Controul of any Usurper. For, an internal Elicit Act is exempt from all the World: And may be done by the Mind, which is at liberty; when the Person is under restraint. For, unless you can keep him perpetually from himself; you cannot keep him from Reflection upon God, or from other internal Acts.

God's Communications awaken to this. Now all we have are such * (viz. Communications from God.) What have we that we receive not?


Man's Principles incline: For, all Understanding tends to God. God is the Center of reasonable Souls, and Spirits.

Things about us, contribute objectively: The Heavens declare the Glory of God. Man cannot look abroad; but something of God offers it self; something sounds in his Ear. No Voice in Nature so loud: No Language so easie to be understood.

To the Christian World, there is God's superadded Instrument, the Scripture; which contains Matters of Revelation from God; whereby, also, the natural Notices of God, are awaken'd, and inliven'd.

To Sum up all. The Language of our Souls within; the Impressions of the Divine Wisdom throughout the Creation; the objective Acclamations of all Creatures, carry us on, strongly, to Application to God. All thy Works praise thee, O Lord. Holy Scripture comes in pursuance of these, to repeat and reinforce them. So that He must of Necessity be very dissolute, and profligate, in respect of his Manners; of a havock'd Conscience, and confounded Understanding; who being Partaker of intelectual Nature; intelligent, by Vertue of his Faculties; living in the midst of Speaking Arguments (for Things speak,) doth not spell <116> God out, in the Variety or Curiosity of his Creatures; nor understand the Language of Heaven and Earth.

I must needs tell the loose, prophane World; * those who being harden'd by Custom and Practice, do controul Grounds and Principles of sober Reason and Judgment; thinking all to be lawful that others do, and the Guise of the World an account of Action; pretending the Doubtfulness and Uncertainty of Reason, from the several Opinions of incompetent Persons (which is the only Defence and Apology, for exorbitant living, such credulous Persons have;) willing to believe what their Lusts lead them to, and what they would fain have to be true; * I must tell them, that if ever they come to be awaken'd; to have serious Thoughts; to reflect upon themselves; comparing what they have done, with Principles of severe and impartial Reason, not born to gratifie Sence, or to comply with Humour; they will prove burthensome to their Conscience, and to the Sence of Nature; so that they will be confounded in themselves; ready to call on Mountains and Hills to fall upon them, and cover them from the Face of their Judge; and will be found Speechless. Man cannot be at ease, till all he hath sinfully done, be undone; till right Judgment, which <117> hath been violently forc'd, be renew'd; and regular Life and Conversation restor'd. All this must be done by mental Illumination, Conviction, and Satisfaction.

The Scripture-way of Dealing with Men, in Matters of Religion, is always by Evidence of Reason and Argument. In Conversion, there must be a Transformation of the whole inward Man. The Sence of the Soul must incline to God: The Reason of the Mind, * must be the same with the Reason of Things.

Religion, indeed, is openly contradicted, by the licentious Practices of such who take to themselves Power and Priviledge to do as they list: But it is mis-represented, scandalized, made ridiculous, and contemptible, by the fond Imaginations, nauseous, fulsome Principles, of the Superstitious: And I reckon that what hath not Reason in it, or for it; if held out for Religion, is, Man's Superstition. Some things of this Nature may be well meant, by those who are weak: But it is not Religion of God's making. But we make our selves Slaves, to be under the Power of it.

It is the Excellency of Religion, that it is highly reasonable; gives an account of it self to Man's Mind; and satisfies. — Truth clears it self, and discloses its contrary, Error.


Sermon IV.

Romans I. 21, 22.

Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God; neither were thankful: but became vain in their Imaginations: and their foolish Heart was darkned.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became Fools.

I have formerly spoken to that which is fundamental to all Religion and Conscience; that God, in the moment of his Creation, did make Man capable of knowing Him; * so as to know what he is; and what are his essential Perfections, his Goodness, Wisdom, and Power: Upon which it follows; Men do grievously miscarry, are very short, do not answer the Principles of God's Creation, nor do that which is <120> agreeable to their Make; if they do not glorifie God, as God, and be not thankful to him.

1st. They glorifie him not as God, that take no notice of him in the World; that grosly neglect him; making no Acknowledgment of him; not liking to retain God in the World: which imports Aversation. That which is the Excellency of Mind and Understanding, is a peculiar Faculty appropriated to God. It is that which is its natural Vertue, to make search and inquiry after God; to be employ'd about him, to tender Homage and Observance to him. — To live without God in the World, therefore, is not to glorifie God, as God.

2dly. They glorifie him not as God, that entertain base and unworthy Apprehensions of him; attributing that to him, which is truer of the contrary, and most Degenerate Nature, not becoming the first and chiefest Goodness; thinking of him as an Enemy: whereas he hates nothing that he hath made. [20]He is good to all. His tender Mercies are over all his Works. — A mild and gentle Spirit governs the World; loving to Mankind. — It's not to glorifie God, to think, that God hath imposed a Law upon himself, or any <121> way limited or disabled himself, to commiserate in all compassionable Cases; to think, that he is not perfectly free, in all Futurity of time, to do that which is just and fit, merciful and gracious, friendly, benign and kind; becoming Infinite Goodness; sutable to his relation to his Creatures. * It is not to glorifie God, to say that of him, which may discountenance Application to him, by any of his Creatures, in any Case of Necessity and Misery. For God is known to us, by Good. And there is no true Notion of God, unless the full Form, Essence, and Substance of Good, be fully in it: For there is no absolute Perfection but in Conjunction with Goodness: wherefore God magnifies his Mercy, Goodness, Righteousness, fair compassionate equal Dealing, above all other his names. But those that are of malignant, spightful, envious, naughty Dispositions, they think it is the Excellency of God to be revengeful, and to drive Designs of Ill upon his Creatures. Psal. 50. 21. Thou thoughtest I was such an one as thy self. And, really, do we find Men of narrow Spirits, that are ready to malign the Good of their Neighbour; you may be confident what Apprehensions they have of God: a hundred to one, but the Excellency of these Mens Divinity, is Soveraignty to ruin a <122> great part of his Creation, to show his Power. But nothing is more certain, than that Infinite Goodness doth to the full, what is Good. Nothing more certain, than that God doth answer the Relation he stands in, to his Creation: and where we see Indulgency of Fathers; this Goodness of Disposition in them, is but a Communication from God, a Resemblance of his Affection to his Creatures, in some measure: for is there any thing of Perfection in all the World, that doth not derive from him, who is the first, and chiefest Good? — When you have done all you can; the best Notion you can have of Deity, is Goodness. God, and Good, are best known by one another. He that came from God, came to seek and to save. It is, therefore, not a Divine Work, to make havock and spoil. — This is the first thing in Religion: to have true Suppositions concerning God. And if we have not these; we may dread and fear him, as an Enemy; but * not love him: we shall withdraw from God, yea hate him, and seek Happiness other-where.

3dly. For Men to assume to themselves Power, and Authority, to assign a Mode of Divine Worship; to make some material thing, a Representation of God to us, or exhibitive of his Influence, to make <123> an Instrument in Divine Worship, without warrant from God, or * as accountable in way of Reason. This is not to glorifie God, as God. For this is to limit and confine him. This hath been done presumptuously in the Heathen World. And this is that which God took so much Offence at, in the Jewish State. And there is the same thing in the use of the Roman Worship. In former times God did make some material things a Testimony of himself: as the Temple was the place of Shecinah, or Divine Habitation. There should be no Shecinah, but by Divine Assignation. God may do what he pleases: but, for us, to take upon us, is to change the Glory of the incorruptable God into an Image, &c. and to turn the Truth of God into a Lye; and serve the Creature, more than the Creator. This, the Israelites did. For, when they made a Calf; they would have something of Divine Representation: which tho' the Text so calls, in contempt; yet they, by the name of the Angel. And this is also, in Popish-Church Images. It is not reasonable to imagine the Heathen World did otherwise. The Idolatry of the World hath been about the Medium of Worship, not about the Object. Can any one think the Jews were so stupid and sottish as to think that what they made, did make them? or that their <124> Calf did bring them out of Egypt? The Calf was Loco Mosis, non Dei. These * things are prohibited in the second Commandment; the Reason of which is moral, and perpetual.

4thly. Men do not glorifie God; when they do degenerate into the clean contrary Nature, (as in the 30 and 31st Verse) degenerating into all sorts of Naughtiness; living in Contradicton to the Nature of God, and his Laws, the Rules of Righteousness, and Dictates of Reason. — It is expected (and nothing is more natural to us, than) that we should govern our selves by the Laws and Dictates of our Nature; and that we should write after God's Copy; and that we should endeavour to be, in our measure and proportion, what God is, in his Height and Excellency. If this be, to adore him; to think that all the Ways of God are Truth, Righteousness, and Goodness; then it is Religion in us, to bring forth the Fruits of Truth, Righteousness, and Goodness. We glorifie God, therefore, in the fullest and highest measure, when we do so adore the Divine Perfections; and are so taken with them, that we affect an Imitation of them, and a Participation, according to our Capacity; and, when this is Final and Ultimate in us. Therefore, <125> they do not glorifie him as God, who do not set themselves, in a way of Subordination to God, to act for his Glory; and, in their Places and Spheres of Action, do not serve these glorious Ends of Goodness, Righteousness, and Truth.

They glorified him not as God, neither were thankful.

5thly. Unthankfulness. — To be devoid of Sence of God's Goodness, and Kindness, in the many Fruits of his Love and Faithfulness to us. * This is not to glorifie God. — What have we that we have not received? Can we sacrifice to God of any thing that is our own? — But this is our own; * to be thankful: and he that is truly thankful to God, will certainly glorifie him, as God.

Since we are so much beholden to the Divine Goodness; and are so unable to make Recompence; there is all the Reason in the World we should be sensible, and make due Acknowledgments. And, indeed, Thankfulness and Obedience are our truest Sacrifices, acceptable to God, and available in our behalf. Whoso offereth Praise glorifies me, Psal. 50. 23. otherwise Oblations are insignificant. Therefore see Isa. 66. 3, 4. There, things of <126> Divine Institution, and choice things, are represented as things most infamous and abominable. — How comes this to pass? — Because they have chosen their own Ways,[21] and their Souls delight in their own Abominations. — So that it is Thankfulness, and Obedience, that are things of a Nature that cannot be corrupted: Sacrifice, and Things external, may be vitiated and corrupted; they may be in an ill Conjunction; and they will be looked upon as Bribes to satisfie God for Immorality. — That God who is of purer Eyes than to behold Iniquity, cannot be pleas'd with any thing that may pretend, by way of recompence, for any impure, filthy, immoral Acts. — So Isaiah 1. 11, 12, 13, &c. these things were instituted by God, and required under great Penalties. What work doth this Prophet make, to cry down all Religion among them? If he lived in our days, he would cry down a great deal of Formality; yea things really Good; if in Conjunction with Immorality. — If Men be immoral, in any way whatsoever; if they consent to any Iniquity; if they allow themselves in any evil Practice; if they admit any such thing; it doth spoil all their Religion. — We may conclude concerning all our Devotions, and all those things that are but the Ministries and In <127> struments of Piety, (which are good in their right use;) if they are performed to be glorified in, to be boasted of; it is but as magnifying the Name of God, and not departing from Iniquity: If there be any Act of Unrighteousness; it doth not only blemish, but marr, and spoil all. And is it not plainly said, the Sacrifice of the Wicked is an Abomination to the Lord?[22] as also Mich. 6. 6, 7, 8. Wherefore Thankfulness, and Obedience, that is the true Sacrifice; that is what is worthy of the Creature to the Creator, and that which God will certainly accept. But it is most certain, that the Zeal of any Institution, tho' it be Divine Institution, is to God unacceptable, if in Conjunction with Immorality.

Thanksgiving is an eminent piece of that Worship we call Invocation of God.

Three things are proper Prayer-Matter, (* and if Men confine themselves to these, keep to proper Prayer-Matter, and avoid unnecessary Repetitions; none can be too long: but if Men take liberty, in Prayer, to declare, and to tell God Stories; then I do not know when, or where it will end:)

1st. Confession of Sin, with desire of Pardon. And as for that; if Men live <128> Christian Lives, they will not have the same Sins to confess the second time. For Christian Religion is not, to Sin, and Pray; and Pray, and Sin. You may indeed acknowledge you have done it before; but to confess it, as practised again, and again; this doth declare that you are not Religious, but Prophane.

2dly. Acknowledgment of the Perfections of the Divine Being; of his Superiority, and of our Dependance upon God: with a sence of our Insufficiency and Weakness, and Desire of Divine Grace, Influence, and Assistance. This is always to be in Prayer; and this is a great Matter of Prayer. Because tho' we are in a growing Condition; yet we may say, in this State, that we have not attained. Therefore to come to God in sence of our Insufficiency, and of the Necessity of God's Influencing, and Co-operating Grace; this is work for us every day.

3dly. Resentments of God's Goodness and Faithfulness to us: and thankful Apprehensions and Expressions * of this. And whatsoever is not comprehended in, or referred to, in these; is Heterogenial to Prayer, is Exorbitant, and is not Prayer. — By the two former, we daily fetch from God; we obtain Pardon of Sin through Christ, we obtain Guidance, Aid, and Assistance. — By the last, we <129> bring to him: and this is our only Return.

Grateful Resentments, and Apprehensions, of the various Effects of the Divine Providence over us, for averting of Evils from us, and conferring of Good, as they express our Ingenuity of Spirit towards God; so they are the best things in our hands for God, * the best Returns to God. — Galen, the famous Physician, having occasion to observe the Curiosity that is in the Make of Man's Body, doth make a Hymn to God. "This, *(says he) is the truest Worship of God the Creator: and this is far more acceptable, and better in it self; than if I were able to bring a thousand Sacrifices, or should offer the choicest Incense and Perfumes; if I my self be sensible, acknowledge; and, upon occasion exhibit, and represent the Power of the Creator, the Wisdom of the Creator, and his Goodness: His Power * and Wisdom, for that he hath contrived, in Mode and Figure, so many Fitnesses; and his Goodness, in that he hath so fully communicated himself. For, what are Creatures, but Divine Communications? and this do I understand to be the best Worship of God, and transcendent of that Sacrifice which may consist of Hecatombs of Beasts, and of the purest Incense.


One thing we have, and but one thing, which we may call our own: I mean the Consent of our Minds: and that must be ours; or else it is not our Consent: it is not what it is, unless it be our own. And yet we must acknowledge the Grace of God, that it is our own, by Divine Concurrence. Now let us by our own voluntary Act, addict and determine our selves to God. Let us afford him the Consent of our Minds; i. e. make him our Delight and our Choice; take Pleasure, Content, and Satisfaction in him. This is the fullest way of Thankfulness to God; out of sence of his Excellency and Goodness, to reckon all our Happiness to consist in our Enjoyment of him, our being and living in Communion and Acquaintance with him. So that we have where-withal to sacrifice to God: We have the Consent of our Minds. We have this, from God, to be our own Act. We may make him our Choice, breath after Interest in him, and Communion with * him. This is the best Expression of Thankfulness: and this is the Christian's Free-will Offering.

* Thus I * have made Explication of Unthankfulness. — We owe Thankfulness to God, because we live by his Influence. It is most natural to make Acknow <131> ledgment, and to make thankful Returns to God. — Their Accusation is, that they did not glorifie him as God; and were unthankful. The Argument of Conviction, and the Aggravation of the Fault, is, because God made them capable of knowing that God is, and that willingly and knowingly they were thus wanting, and so did transgress. That Person is altogether unexcusable, * and self-condemned, who knowing that he hath a Creator that is of infinite Power, Goodness, and Wisdom; and having Sense and Knowledge that there is a God, (as God hath made Man to have) doth not adore him, fulfil his Will, is not observant of him, not affected toward him, doth not rejoyce, and delight in him. * So that Irreligion is the most unnatural thing in the World.

Truth is a seminal Principle with which the Mind of Man being impregnated, ought to bring forth: and in this case * there should be neither Barrenness, nor Abortions. For, Rational Nature is as sufficient and proportionable to its Effects, as any vital Principle besides in the World. If hurting a Woman with Child, so as Mischief followeth, be so punishable, (Exod. 21. 23.) what is this case of Destroying the Seed of God in Man's Minds. For so it is called 1 John 3. 9. <132> Seed is accounted lost when, * being sown in the Ground, it never comes up. So are Notions of things in Minds, in respect of their Acts and Vertues. Truth received into the Mind by Knowledge, is to the Soul, as Leaven put into the Meal. It is as natural that Will should follow, as that Understanding should go first. We first receive from God by mental Illumination; there Judgment passes into Victory.[23] God enlightens the World, by the Sun, in reference to Actions of several Creatures: He doth not illuminate the intellectual World of Spirits, viz. Angels, and Souls, by the Influence and Communication of himself, to less purpose. Wheresoever God, who is the Father of Light, and God of Truth, sends his Rays and Beams into the Souls of Men; there he expects the Mind to be purified, as well as enlightned. And in case of failure, he will severely challenge the Impediment.

The imprisoning and controuling of Truth, is an Action of the highest Injury, and Offence to God, that a Man can commit; beyond what we can easily imagine. For whosoever hath received any thing from God, by Mental Illumination, if he doth not pursue it, to the Refinement of his Spirit; he doth counter-work God. He who stifles, or goes against his <133> Knowledge, doth in effect, give a Check to God's working in him. For us, thus to do, would be to reject God, where we most find, and feel him; to strike at the Image of God in our selves. What would not this naughty Disposition of Heart, against Heart, carry Man out to, if he had Power and Opportunity against God? For, doth it not declare a Displacency and Antipathy against God, for Man to run from that in himself, which immediately comes from God, beares his Image, hath his Stamp upon it? Where the Truth of God is inwardly disgusted, disrelished, so as not to be concocted, and turned into Spiritual Nourishment; is not there an exasperated and implacable Spirit against God?

Truth is connatural to a Man's Soul, and, in Conjunction with it, becomes the Mind's Temper, Complexion, Constitution; therefore must be kindly used. What Health and Strength are to the Body, that Truth is to the Mind and Understanding. The former makes Men strong, vigorous, Bodily active; the latter clears the Sight, cures all Infirmities of the Mind. — What Obstructions are in the Body, which are mischievous to Operations of Nature; that violent Detensions of Notices and Principles of Action, or Contradictions to the Reason of the Mind, are, in intelectual <134> Life. — What we eat and drink, if it be not first subdued, by the power of Nature, and then convey'd to the several parts of the Body, for their Sustenance and Nutriment, becomes matter of Disease and Sickness. Knowledge is the Mind's * Sustenance and Nutriment; therefore is not ultimately to rest in Understanding; but in Will and Affections; should become Goodness; and, in Conversation, and Actions of Life, produce Obedience; and is the same thing under several Denominations, and in respect to different Habitudes, and distinct Functions, and Purposes; as the Sea which is one and the same, is one-where called the Mediterranean, in another place the German Ocean, and the like. The Understanding is not enlightned finally for it self; but * is as the Eye, * which receives Light for the Use and Service, Guidance and Direction of the Body. In intelectual Nature, first the Understanding satisfies it self in the Reason of things; then the Will gives consent; and the Notion forthwith becomes matter of Action, Life, and Practice. The Understanding in the Perfection of Knowledge, and the Will not in a Disposition of Goodness, makes no Harmony, but are vastly disproportionable.

As it is the most unsafe; so it is the <135> most uneasie Condition to any Person, to know, and not to be; to know, and not to do; to have Judgment of Right, and Conscience of Iniquity. And were I to tell Men what is Hell, on this side Hell; I should * after that manner describe it. — A refractory Will, exorbitant Lusts, and strong Passions and Affections, are unruly things, under the single command of Judgment. Men were as good to be exposed to the Fury of wild Horses. Elihu speaks of the Notions of the Mind as things which do elevate and transport.[24] The hollow Earth inclosing Wind or Air without Vent, is as easily kept from the Motion of Trepidation or Earth-quake, as the guilty Conscience from Anxiety and Confusion. It is as easie for a Man to carry Fire in his Breast, as to offer Violence to Truth, within one's self, and not to be in a State of Self-condemnation.

I, now, come to make Inquiry, since such a thing is; so deformed and ugly; so horrid and monstrous; so unnatural and violent; how comes it to pass that such a thing is found in the Commonwealth of Mankind, who is made and constituted by God the Governour of this World? whereas there is nothing of this, in inferiour Nature: But all inferior Nature keeps its Order. — * To give Account of this in Four Particulars.


1st, The least that is be said in the Case, is; a great part of Men live in a Hurry, and are seldom at leisure to consider, or attend. There are Avocations, Distractions, and other Employments, that make Men * of no Ability, as to the Judgment or discerning of Truth. For its a true Maxim, A Man's Parts and Wit is where 'tis used and employ'd. A neglected Faculty may shrivel up to nothing. But, to be nobly and generously employ'd, and to use the Faculties of God's Creation in us, according to the Intention, for which they were given; this is both conservative to our Nature, and agreeable to Truth. We give too little Attendance to Truth, entertain it too slightly, to have it at command. We live in a fleshly and worldly Spirit, and at the World's Call; hurried on by every Lust; being distemper'd and disaffected within, disturbed and interrupted from without. We are not at leisure to attend upon Truth, to receive it, to obey it. — Men drudge in the World; debase their Faculties; make their intelectual Faculties very Gibeonites; employ them about base, mean, and worldly Employments: They are not in a Disposition to receive and entertain Truth. Men have abused them <137> selves; brought themselves, by unnatural Practice, into an unnatural State; so * they disgust and disrelish Truth. Men give themselves up to worldly Drudgery, the mean Avocations and Distractions of the World: So they are never at leisure to mind these things. And no Man is valuable, sufficient, or competent to give a Judgment, to make a Report, wherein he is not exercised, wherein he is not greatly considerative. — Man, unless he sometimes take himself out of the World by Self-reflection and Retirement, he will be little himself in the World, and in danger of losing himself. He will have very poor Enjoyment of himself; and little Use of his Powers, and Faculties, especially as to Spiritual Acts, wherein he is most concerned, and most perfected. — This is our Temptation, and hereby we come to be deceived; because things severally consider'd, are within the Compass of lawful Imployment; therefore we little doubt, or fear: Whereas altogether, they rob us of our selves, and snatch us from what is Main and Principal. We are apt to be troubled about many things; while we omit the one thing necessary. Men of any * sort of Religion think it necessary to observe the Difference of Good and Evil; and therefore they will <138> not be employ'd in that which is not Honest: But there is something further: Let Men consider, that things of lawful Employment, if too many, may snatch a Man away from himself, and keep him from attending upon God; by which he may be happy. Therefore we should not too much charge our selves, nor be over busie in the World.

2dly, Men are apt, in the first place, to save themselves harmless, in this hurtful and dangerous World. * It was St. Peter's Advice, Master, save thy self; this Evil shall not befal thee; who might have undone himself, and all the World besides; if his Councel had been followed. A great Man of our Nation hath observ'd in History; and it is so in this Case; he that follows Truth close at the Heels, may chance to have his Teeth struck out. As the World may go; to hold forth Truth impartially, and severely to keep to the Practice of it, may prove the difficultest and costliest Service. Truth may carry us into Contests, where other Mens Principles clash, and interfere with ours. Truth allows not base Compliance with Fancy, Lust, Will, Humour; but requires us to keep in the Way, and to walk in it, with all Simplicity, Integrity, Sincerity, Plainness, and Open-heartedness. We must <139> neither desert nor betray Truth, to expedite our selves out of Difficulties, or to open a Way to escape. Man must walk in his Integrity through the World, and must maintain his Truth, and Uprightness, as Job did his Righteousness: So that By-standers may rectifie themselves by comparing with him; and so find out, how much they have departed from Rectitude. Plutarch distinguisheth between a Friend and a Flatterer. "The former stands as steady as an Oak, and he doth not at all yield to humour Will or Fancy; so that the other, when he returns from his Exorbitancy, by comparing himself and finding where he left him, may know how far he hath departed from his Integrity. Whereas, the Flatterer accomodates himself to Humour, and Fancy; applauds all Deeds, and Sayings; will do every thing to gratifie; and will admire whatever is said: But a true Friend hath Truth for a Rule to his Life and Spirit." But as the World goes, a Man of impartial Truth, and Uprightness, shall be laid aside, as not conversible, but as Morose and Cynical. — But here I superadd, for Explication; that all that I have said of adhering to Truth, is to be understood of the undoubted Principles of Piety, Sobriety and Righteousness: For, <140> saving in these Cases; to please every Body, to give every one Satisfaction, to go as far as you can with Men; to live in a Universal Reconciliation, if it be possible, with the whole Creation of God; this is Evangelical and Divine. This is not to be limited, but with Conscience to the great Rights of Sobriety, Temperance and Justice.

3dly, Men gratifie their Sences; steep themselves in Worldly Delights and Pleasures. Sensuality makes the Pallate of the Soul so dull and gross, that it cannot perceive that which is sincere and true. Wisdom is not in the Way of Epicurism; but in the Way of Sobriety, Righteousness and Temperance. For, Knowledge will not be relished, till the Soul be purified by Abstinence, by Mortification, by Abstraction from gross Matter, and by Separation from Sense, 1 Tim. 5. 6. Jam. 5. 5. 2 Pet. 2. 13. 2 Tim. 3. 4. Titus 3. 3. Heb. 11. 25. These places represent the State, when Men become brutish, and sottish, and fail in the Species of intelligent Agents; go downward; grow less, by steeping themselves in worldly, brutish, and carnal Pleasures. The Sensualist is no capable Recipient, nor meet Discerner of Divine and Spiritual Truth.


4thly, By long abuse of themselves, Men come into a Temper that is wholly unnatural to Truth. He that doth Evil, hates the Light; comes not to it, least his Deeds be reproved. This is most certain, universally; We have our selves, as we use our selves. He that doth accustom himself to Divine Meditation and Contemplation, and to Thoughts of God, raises his Soul, and doth daily more and more ennoble his Faculties: But he that lives wickedly; the longer he lives, the more limited and confined his Soul will be. Every Man is, for his Intelectuals, and for his Principles, according as he doth accustom himself, according as he is in use. Sui cuique mores fingunt fortunam. This is most true of internal Endowments, as well as of other things. No Man knows what he may be brought unto, by ill Use, Custom and Practice. Innocence is a Safe-guard, and gives Protection. The first base Act is against the Hair: And, as Saul forced himself to offer Sacrifice; so the Sinner, at first, forces himself; he doth it, at first, with Dissatisfaction, he apprehends he doth himself Wrong. A Man that hath been brought up vertuously, ingenuously, and hath maintain'd the Tenderness of his Soul, and his Innocency; he will stick at a base Proposal, and abhor it. Had many <142> Men imagined, when they began, how far they should have gone on, where Sin would have carried them; they would have consider'd better of it. But the breaking in of Sin, is like a Torrent of Water; which is easily stopt, before the Way over the Banks be found: But if once it hath found the Way over, it bears all before it. There is a Modesty belongs to our Nature, till a Man hath prostituted it. But when once a Man hath done a base Act; he hath lost that which would restrain him. Therefore, we observe, that no Man comes to be outragiously bad, all on the suddain: But he brings himself to it by havocking Conscience, by confounding his Principles, and putting away the Ingenuity of his Nature.

Thus have I shewn you how it comes to pass, that Men do live so unanswerably to their Knowledge.

* Now to make some Observations from the whole.

We see the Course of this World; and, in it, we may foresee the State of Men in the other World. — Can they look God in the Face hereafter, with any Comfort, who here, like not to retain God <143> in their Minds? Will not the Issue of holding Truth in Unrighteousness, of contradicting the Reason of our Minds, of forcing our own Judgments, of making Havock of Conscience, be Confusion and Astonishmont? What can a Man look for, when he is not true to himself? when he hath every thing rising up against him? his Conscience condemning him? This cannot but end in Confusion and Astonishment. For things hold a Proportion one to another: Force in one way, brings on Force in another. Consequents answer foregoing Principles. So that the Business of the Day of Judgment may be plainly foreseen. * It may be here accounted for, by the Things of this State. Men will be fill'd with the Fruit of their own Ways; and they cannot think, that things will finally prove otherwise; if they at any time of their Lives think with Reason. But if Men presume, and be regardless, and disorderly, and do not consider Consequents by their Antecedents; they may flatter themselves, and go on in a State of Stupidity. But if ever a Man be Rational in his Religion; if he do use Reason at all worthy his Make; he will foresee future Mischief in a wicked and naughty Course of Life. In this Case, every one hath within himself, what will foretel, and what will fore <144> warn; what doth daily reprove, and condemn him. He carries Arguments in his Breast, contrary to his Suppositions. No Husband-man expects a Crop in Harvest, but according as he sows his Seed. No Man that is in a Spirit opposite to God, Goodness, Holiness, and Truth; that lives in a State of Inconsistency to Religion; can expect to be Happy in any Enjoyment of God, in a future State; unless he can believe Impossibilities and Absurdities.

* And as hereby we may have Foresight of the future State of Men; so, hence also, is the Account, how it comes to pass, that some Men are of a most tortured, distracted, confounded Condition, at least, at Times and Seasons, in this Life; having Hell kindled in their Consciences; Hell-fire flashing in their Faces; Hell on this side Hell. So it is with Sinners: They are compounded of Inconsistencies: They have more Knowledge of God, than Love and Affection for him: They have more Light in their Minds, than Goodness in their Souls. By Knowledge they are one way; by Affection another way. And these Men when they are apart, out of worldly Distraction, they must be in a tortured, and in a confounded Condition. — When they <145> consider; they conceive within themselves things that are monstrous, violent, and unnatural; things which are Upstarts, Traytors to Humane Nature. — Lust, Humour, Will, Passion, have dethroned Reason, Man's Natural Soveraign, and have usurped the Government of Man. — Where These are not subordinate to Reason, and Judgment; where These have dispossest the natural inbred Soveraign; where These have usurp'd the Government, and dethroned Reason; what a State is it! No Society so distemper'd and confounded: For none of these Four were made to govern; but they were to be regulated. — Where Men will have their Will, and live by their Humour, and in Passion; and Lust hath Dominion over them; they must needs be in a State of great Confusion; because there is so much of Disorder within them. The Dictates of Reason calmly guide us: But Will, Humour, Lust, and Passion, are Incendiary Principles. — We see the very best of many Men by what is outward; who put a good Face on it, when they come abroad; but are very ill welcomed, when they come to their inward home. Therefore Persons of bad Lives and evil Consciences, love not to be alone: They had rather be in any Employment than that of Self-reflection, and <146> considering themselves. Few Men would envy these Mens Conditions, notwithstanding they have some worldly good Circumstances, notwithstanding they make a good Show in the World; if they were acquainted with their inward Aches, Tortures, Wrackings, and Vexations. — It is observ'd by Tacitus, concerning Tiberius the Emperor; that being conscious to himself of horrid Wickednesses, and unnatural Practices; he could have no Quiet of Mind, notwithstanding his Divertisements: And he writes, That if all the Deities should conspire to make him miserable; they could not torment him half so much as the Torment of his own Mind. — Inward Perplexities, Confusion of Mind, and Thoughts, occasion'd by Guilt of Conscience, and Naughtiness of Mind; these transcend all the Tortures of the Gout, or Stone, of which Men have such dreadful Apprehensions. [25]For the Spirit of a Man can bear his Infirmity: But a wounded Spirit, who can bear? Who hath a Man to direct, comfort, or uphold him, if he hath not the Reason of his own Mind? — Therefore, tho' ignorant Persons represent the Ways of Religion and Conscience, as Melancholy, because Men are kept within the Compass of Reason and Sobriety; it is the greatest Mistake in the World: Because, in Religi <147> on, are joyful Apprehensions: Men fear not God slavishly: They do not think he will do them any harm: But if a Man be in a malignant Disposition, and have Naughtiness of Mind; he is, upon all Self-reflection, troubled with inward Vexations, and Fears. [26]The wicked are like the troubled Sea. As Violence in the World Natural, is attended with Conflagration; so in the World Moral, it is attended with Exasperation of Mind, and with Fury.

* In the next place, then, observe, That we are to have God excused, in respect of the sharpest of all his Judgments. — There are Sins of Men * that are far higher in the Rank of Sins, than any Judgments of God, in this State, are great, in order of Punishment. For there are Sins in this World, of which we have Reason to think, that they must necessarily go before-hand into Judgment,[27] upon account of God's Honour, and the Necessity of Righteousness. — Also they who lie under the greatest Violence in this World, Men of profligate Lives and debauched Spirits, suffer less by the Judgment of God, than from within themselves. It is intolerable to suffer as a guilty Person and Malefactor. It is intolerable for a Man to suffer the Torments of his own <148> Breast; because he is guilty of his own Iniquity. If I suffer under a Power that cannot be resisted, * and for no Fault; I suffer either as a Martyr for a good Cause; or under an unavoidable Necessity; being under no Demerit or Contradiction to the Reason of my Mind: And then I have all the Strength of my Reason, all the Courage that is in my Nature, to support me: But if I suffer as a guilty Person; I am not then true to my self; I shall have the Reason of my own Mind against me: For, Guilt is the Sting of Punishment. — Judgments are to awaken sleepy Consciences. Those that are guilty are very shye, apprehensive and sensible, till by Use, Practice, and Custom, seardness be contracted. So that the Judgments of God are little; if Men be not guilty. For, Self-condemnation is founded in Man's Guiltiness and Faultiness. So true is it, thy Destruction is of thy self; and, that the Judgments of God in this World, in the Order of Judgments, are not so great, as some Sins are, in the Rank of Sins. — Wherefore, O Man! whosoever thou art, that sufferest; wouldst thou effectually ease thy Condition? put thy self upon Examination, and the Motion of Repentance: This will alter the Case: And all the <149> World cannot give thee Heart's-Ease, save in this way.

Lastly, This Text is to be read in the Ears of Atheists; wherein are Two Things for them to consider. What it affirms, as proved by Effects, that God made Man to know that he is, and his essential Perfections (so that his Opinion is against his very Make:) And how it describes, explicates, and declares the Atheist's State and Temper, viz. Vain in their Imaginations: Nothing is sincere and true that he thinks: He is a Fool, and hath wrought himself into Darkness; pretending to Policy and Wit, to release himself from all Obligations to Reason and Conscience, that he may be loose to the World, and free to his Lust: A Fetch of prophane Wit, and no Product of Wisdom; but what in the Issue will prove Madness and Folly.

As there is the fullest Satisfaction in the World, in the inward Sence and Feeling of Reconciliation with God, and a frame of Mind tinctured with Goodness; so there is the greatest Unquietness of Mind, where there is an internal Displacency and Offence at the Being of God, and a Desire to believe that he is not; and to think all things alike: for, the former thinks he hath <150> all Strength for him; and that he, that is well able, takes all care of him: The latter doubts, and fears uncertainly, suspects there is one that hath made, and governs the World; and fears that Power to be engaged against him. And, if all things be not alike subject to Will and Power; he knows not what will become of him, who hath taken upon him to remove Landmarks, to controul the most famous Rights that are fundamental to the Safety of the Universe. — Irreverence and Disrespect towards that Being on which we depend for what we are, and have; is an ununiform, incongruous, unequal, disproportion'd Carriage. — Now follow the dismal and sad Consequents.

But became vain in their Imaginations.

Where there is not honest Entertainment of the great Truths of Religion, and Conscience; hearty Compliance with, and Obedience to them; but a failure in the main and principal Points of Life and Practice; as where Men knowing there is a God,[28] do not glorifie him as God; do not like to retain God in their Knowledge, (which is the Atheist's Temper) do things which are filthy,[29] and take pleasure in them <151> that do so,[30] (which is the Atheist's Practice;) there Mens Pretences and Professions are subject to evaporate, turn to a miserable account, and come to nothing. — Become vain in their Imaginations; their foolish Heart is darkned; professing to be wise, &c.

The ingenuous use of Truth is a great matter: To receive it in the Love of it; out of Judgment and Satisfaction of its Conveniency and Fitness to bring Humane Nature to Perfection: to act out of Love to Righteousness; not as the unjust Judge;[31] not to lay other Designs: not to practice upon it, for other Ends: not to place it in the place of a Mean, but of an End: not to make Godliness a Trade, Traffick, and Device for Gain. Hence so much, so ridiculous, contemptible, and unreasonable stuff passes for Religion, in so many parts of the World: Men looking not after Rational Satisfaction.

It is very strange that any thing should be admitted for Religion in the World, which for its Shallowness, Emptiness, and Insignificancy, falls under just Reproof and Conviction of Reason: Religion which makes us less Men: Religion unintelligible; not able to give Satisfaction to the noble Principles of God's Creation. <152> Such have been the cruel and impure Rites of Heathenism; dissatisfactory to true Reason; * and such are the Superadditions of Popery, founded neither in Nature, nor Grace. How hath the World been scandalized, by things pretended to be matters of Faith, which are Contradictions to Reason, if Reason be able to tell us any thing that is true? — Were I to take an Estimate of Christianity from hence; I should be tempted to say, with Averroes, Sit anima mea cum Philosophis. What rational Man, almost, is not tempted to say after him, rather than so to sin against his Nature, as to admit things of such Disproportion to all his Faculties? Can we think we shall prevail with Men to put out their Eyes, to disbelieve their Senses, that they may become Christians? — The Turkish History relates a King of Persia's Inclination to Christianity, * who was diverted by such like Reasons. When as, how well are Men satisfied in the great Materials of Religion, which are entertain'd with Reverence and high Regard? * As for instance; To live soberly, righteously, and godly; and * where Men fail, to repent, and ask God Forgiveness; in the name of Christ (* that is to say, for all those that have heard of it.) These * Matters have general Consent, but great Neglect. And Mens Zeal <153> is employ'd in Usages, Modes, and Rites of Parties: By these, Men are constituted and denominated Christians, and rank'd in Order and File. — It is recorded that the Strifes and Contentions, and Complaints of Christians, have irritated some of the so Heathenish Persecutions. The ill Lives of Christians, and their absurd Opinions, have kept Nations off from becoming Christian. Whereas in the true Christian Religion, there is nothing which may not be represented lovely, in the Eyes of all who have Principles of Reason for their Rule. — The State of Religion speaks the Mind's Freedom from impotent and unsatiable Desires; from eager, violent, and impetuous Lusts; from all those infinite Passions, foul Fiends, unruly Devils in Mens Souls, which makes the Minds of evil Men to boyle within them, as with the Fire, and Pitchy Fumes of Hell. — There is a Harmony between the Principles of Reason, and Christianity: the latter acknowledges the former; reinforces them, advances, and highly improves them; secures the common Instincts of Good, and Just; and polishes Humane Nature. This may be undertaken and easily perform'd; notwithstanding the hard Conceits, Men, who are not experienc'd, have of Religion.


The Knowledge of God, * which Man is made to; which fairly lies before him, and he may easily attain to; is by Men neglected, unemploy'd, not improved: whereupon (as in the Text) Men run into ways of fond Imagination, Folly, and Self-conceit: misrepresenting God to themselves, dishonour him in the Worship they pretend to: abuse themselves, run into all Excess, and unnatural use of themselves: grow into malign and naughty Dispositions, as is exprest, Ver. 29, 30, 31.

All this Loss, Ruin, Havock, and Mischief, breaks in upon the Nature of Man, through his being wanting to the Principles of God's Creation, within himself. — The free, noble, and generous Notions of Divine and Heaven-born Truth, will not stay and abide with Men, where * there is gross Neglect, or Abuse. — There is strange Confusion, where Judgment is further enlightned than the Mind refined and amended. As, where there is not Judgment and Knowledge of Right, there can be no Expectation at all; so, where there is no Conscience in pursuance of Knowledge; there, what is done, may be worse than if nothing were done: as the Case of the Text expresses.


It is not so much the Disability of Mens Natures; as their Neglect and Abuse; that Men are not good. — Where Men sink down into Sensuality; or become light-headed, being intoxicated with vain Perswasions; or lay asleep the noble Powers of Humane Nature; or contradict them by violent and unnatural Practice, there is Darkness, Confusion, and inward Torture: All proves contrary to God's Design. — Justin, in his History, reports concerning the ancient Scythians, "That they had neither Houses, nor Enclosure of Ground; yet Justice had Honour among them: not from Positive Laws, but the Good Nature of the People. — A thing to be admired; that Nature should bestow that, on the Scythians, which the Grecians, long instructed by Precepts of Philosophers, had not attain'd! that formed Manners should be transcended by uneducated Barbarity! — Hence it appears that the Condition of Humane Nature is not so very rude as some report; since so much is found in the uncivilized parts of the World.

Nature is Sovereign (to them that use it well) in respect of that Modesty and Averseness to that which is not fair and handsom; till Men pervert and abuse <156> Nature's Temper, by ill Use, Custom, and Practice. — Goodness and Vertue are more suitable to Nature's Sence, than Wickedness and Vice. — Vice is contrary to the Nature of Man; because contrary to the Order of Reason, which is Man's highest Perfection. Vice is grievous to Nature: witness Irreverence to Deity, Intemperance, Fury, and Cruelty: every one feels it so in himself, and judges so in others. Man forces himself at first, before he can at all satisfie himself in any of these. In this Sense I understand, Heb. 10. 16. I will put my Laws into their Hearts; I will write them in their Minds. * This is to be understood in respect of Spiritual Precepts founded in Reason, and in the Law of the Creation; concerning which we need not that one should teach another; as in the carnal Institutions of the Law; which, being foreign to Nature, and so many; we have need to ask, what next? what in such a case?

Men may work themselves out of Nature's Sence, out of Judgment of Truth, by ill Use, Custom, and Practice. They will not long continue to think * well after once they are come to affect, and to do otherwise. These two in Conjunction, viz. the Affection of the Mind, and <157> Practice, will bear up with too great a force against Judgment alone. Wherefore unless Persons love Goodness, and live well; we have no hold of them; tho', now, they seem to think and speak well. See the case of Hasael; his present Sence, and Words; Am I a Dog?[32] &c. but he did so. — Single Judgment and Understanding will not long hold out against habitual Inclination and Disposition. Men unduly practice upon their own Judgments; that they may not be disturbed, and disquieted in pursuit of their Lusts: but if Judgment be once corrupted; there is nothing left, to make any resistance: Evil comes on, a main: Men go on, with full sail.[33] Hence Men are Shipwrackt in their Fortunes within themselves; broken, and come to naught.[34] — Wherefore, in the state of Religion, Two things are indispensibly necessary, indivisible, inseparable.[35] — Care, that Judgment be informed by Truth, * and that Heart and Life be reformed by Tincture of it, and by Practice. And this is Religion.

Professing themselves wise, they become Fools.[36] — This is said of Persons out of the way of true Reason and Religion. These Words may <158> be considered absolutely; or in relation to their Conjunction with words which go before or follow after.

In the former way, they afford this Observation: That these that think themselves wise, are least so: for they know not themselves to fail in many things. It is the Direction of Wisdom to acknowledge God in all thy ways; and not to lean to thy own Understanding.[37] For, he who trusteth to his own Heart, is a Fool.[38]Self-conceit intoxicates Men, and makes them neglective of the Means of Knowledge. They who are conceited, are Self-Flatterers; and towards others Importune, grievous, troublesom. Whosoever falls into the hands of a Self-conceited Person, who always is a Dictator, and an Imposer upon others; to him the Beauty and Excellency of the Divine Vertues, Modesty, and Sobriety, are abundantly testified and recommended. The Conceited have lightly considered the Uncertainty of things, Variety of Temptations, the Representations which are made to Man, and our Disparity and Insufficiency to act or determine wisely in several Occasions of Life. These are full of themselves; but indeed are empty, and shallow. He knows not himself, who thinks himself able enough for his own defence; Wise enough to direct himself; or, who is Good enough to his own Satisfaction.


The Words taken in a Conjunction with what follows, afford this Observation: That it is not the Wisdom of Men, but their Headiness, Presumption, and Folly, to do in Religion, without Reason, or otherwise than as they have Direction from God. — There is no grosser Folly in the World, no greater Wrong to one's self, than upon account of Religion, to come under Obligation to any thing, in point of Judgment and Conscience, which is not materially true, as verified in Reason, or Scripture. All such is the Persons Superstition; which, tho' it be not imputed as a Crime to the Person who means well; yet, is not a Foundation of reward. Builders with Hay, Stubble, suffer loss, so far forth:[39] tho' themselves stand on the Foundation. — Man enslaves himself; parts with his Liberty, which is a dear and choice thing, * when he subjects himself to that which made him not, to that which is not soveraign to him, as Reason is (which is his natural Perfection, his Home-informer, and Monitor within his Breast) neither is restorative to him in his Lapsed State, as the Principles of Religion are. — He lays stress upon that, which will bear no weight; therefore will deceive him. As the Superstitious imagines, so things are to him: but things attain not Effects, ac <160> cording to our Fancies, but their own Existencies, and what they are in Truth and Vertue. This other where, is accounted Weakness, * and Shallowness. Nothing betrays Men more, than lying Refuges, and false Confidencies. — Religion is that which attains real Effects, worthy what we mean by Religion: viz. it makes Men humble, not conceited; Mild, gentle, not revengeful; Good-natured, not all for Self; Loving, not hard-hearted; Kind, not harsh, or cruel; Patient, not furious, not wrathful; Courteous, affable, and sociable; not morose, soure, or dogged; Governable, not turbulent; ready to forgive, not implacable; favourable in making best Interpretations, fair Constructions of Words and Actions, not making Men Offenders for a Word; ready to commiserate, tender-hearted like the Samaritan; not as the Jews, who would not converse with them. If this be in Men; then shall the World be sensible of the Good of Religion, and find themselves the better for it.

Lastly, let us not run on in a Mistake. We see how the Apostle goes on. He begins at the Gospel of Christ:[40] See how he pursues it. He treats of * the Natural Knowledge of God, and Fatal Issue of ineffectual Entertainment of it.[41] They do preach Christ, tho' they do not name him, in every Sentence or Period, who contend <161> for all Effects of real Goodness; and decry Wickedness. For, this is the Effect of Christ, and his Business. God gave him to bless us. How? by turning us away from Iniquity.[42] It is not Christianity, to use the name of Christ, as a Charm, or Spell, or Badge of Profession only; as they do, who use it unintelligibly, irrationally, unaccountably, insignificantly. — Christ denotes as, * in one sence, a Person engaged for us, in a way we well understand, and give account of; so, a Nature in us, which we very well feel, and can express. They, therefore, hold forth Christ, who declare him, one way or other, to either of these Effects or Purposes.


Sermon V.

Romans I. 26, 27.

For this Cause God gave them up to vile Affections, &c. -----

----- Receiving in themselves that Recompence of their Error which was meet.

Having given an Account of the dreadful Miscarriage of Apostates, who held the Truth of God in Unrighteousness, and did not love to retain God in their Knowledge; but affected to be Atheists, that they might be Arbitrary, Lawless, and live without Fear or Controul; and, other Characters of them having been given; I now proceed to the Second Part; that is, their Punishment.

You have had an Account of Man's Behaviour towards God: Now take an Account of God's.[43]He gives them up, to their own Hearts Lusts. To vile Affecti <164> ons. To a reprobate Mind. To do things which are not convenient.[44] — And, to have God justified; They did but receive the Recompence of their Error.[45]

To vindicate God from having any hand in the Miscarriages of Men, or being * the Cause of it; I will shew, that neither the Evil of Sin, nor the Evil of Punishment, can be attributed to God. For if God be the first and chiefest Good; then, Evil is not from him; it is not that which he hath designed, decreed, or appointed: But it is Consequential, Necessary, Fatal; and by Consequence, Inseparable from the Miscarriages of Sinners. — In the Sixth of Isaiah, v. 10. it is said, Make the Heart of this People fat, and make their Ears heavy, and shut their Eyes; least they see with their Eyes, and hear with their Ears, and understand with their Heart, and convert, and be healed: Which place is referr'd to, six times in the New Testament:[46] And the Scripture never represents the forlorn State of Sinners, but it refers to this place. It is not, that God hath such an Intention; or that God will have it so: But it is Consequential; so, it comes to pass; so, it falls out: This, is the natural Issue of not dealing ingenuously with Truth; they are the worse for their Knowledge, if Practice be not answerable. — * Now to give you an <165> Account, that Evil is not to be attributed to God: Tho' we find Scripture doth frequently * seem to attribute it to him. You must understand, that the Scripture-Notion is this: Because God is the first and general Cause of all things; therefore the Scripture doth attribute all things to God; but with great Difference and Distinction: Some things as his Efficience, such as he doth by himself immediately: Some things which he doth, by commissioning others, i. e. by second Causes: And some things by his Permission. With this Difference, we must understand Scripture attributing things to God: For, certainly, we must resolve; that God is no Cause of Evil. For, nothing is more certain than that Holiness, and Righteousness, are the Divine Endowments. And Holiness, and Righteousness, make it altogether repugnant, and morally impossible for God to have a Hand in Evil; such Evil, where-to Iniquity and Deformity is annexed. Wherefore, we will conclude, that whatsoever God doth, by himself immediately, or in Conjunction with any second Cause; it is, in it self, Good; and worthy the first, and chiefest Goodness. And, if that be not true; let any one give an Account of these places. [47]Is there Unrighteousness in God? God forbid. — [48]If he be unrigh <166> teous, how can he judge the World? Can the Judge of all the World do an unrighteous Act?[49]God is holy in all his ways, &c. — [50]He will judge the World in Righteousness: (Not by an Arbitrary Will: But he will proceed according to Rule.) [51]Can God by Power or Priviledge pervert Right? — Wherefore, there is no Principle true, from whence this may follow; that God is the Author of Evil. — * It is most certainly true of God, in relation to his Creatures, that he doth fully answer the Relation he stands in to his Creation, and whatsoever he hath made, Isa. 49. 15. Can a Woman forget her sucking Child, that she should not have Compassion on the Son of her Womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. — He certainly doth what is requisite and due, in pursuance of all the Principles of his Creation. He is not vain, as foolish Mortals are, to have Beginnings frustrate. — He doth whatever becomes infinite Goodness. He doth all Good upon the highest, fullest, and clearest Account of Goodness. So that is a most real Truth, [52]thy Destruction is of thy self: But in me is thy Help. — Nothing is more injuriously spoken of God, than that God is the Cause of the Creatures Sin; or of the Sinners Misery, by the Absoluteness and Arbitrariness of his Will: As if, save for God's Will, a <167> Sinner might well enjoy himself, be at Peace within himself, be Happy. Whereas Vertue hath Reward arising out of it self: So Sin and Wickedness hath Punishment. Nothing in the World so draws on another thing, as Guilt doth Mischief and Punishment. Wickedness is contrary to the Nature of Man: Therefore cannot but be vexatious and tormenting. No Wounds of Body, equal the Torments of the Mind.

Antecedently to the Being of Evil, God doth that which infinite Wisdom doth direct, for the preventing of it; to wit, he doth warn, he doth admonish, he doth declare against it; tho' he doth not absolutely hinder, by his Almighty Power. — Subsequentially to the Being of Evil; when Evil is done by a defective and malicious Cause; God, if he pleases, turns it into Good, when he pleases, and as he pleases. And in this Sense, St. Austin, It is very happy that a proud, arrogant, self-conceited Man, fall into a Sin; that he may see himself: That is, if God make such a Sin as shames a Man, a Means to humble him.[53] Else it is expected, that God should resist the Proud;[54] and that the Back-slider in Heart, be filled with his own Ways. This is the Goodness of God, when he will bring Good out of Evil, and turn that which is a Man's Sin, and great Fault, to tend to his Advance <168> ment. * But God is not challengable upon any Account for his not hindring: For, he would counter-work the Design of his Creation: For, Man by his Make is a free Agent; is both intelligent, and voluntary; Positus in æquilibrio; else could not sin: Counterpois'd one way by that which is Honest; the other way by Profit and Pleasure: The Delightfulness of Sense is corrival to that which is in its Nature just, and holy. God, in his just Indignation, high Displeasure, at Man's foolish Affectation, and wilful Choice, in so unequal a Competition; doth not hinder, unless he please; but saith, Then let it be according to Hearts Lusts;[55] and be filled with thy own ways. Wherefore let no Man say when he is tempted, [56]He is tempted of God; but drawn aside by his own Lust.

Then let us be careful, and cautious, how we attribute Evil to God, or entail Sins of Men upon him. We cannot dishonour God more than by so doing; since his moral Endowments of Holiness, Righteousness, and Goodness, are his prime Perfections: His Will and Power are always in Conjunction with them, and guided by them. Even when he punishes Impenitency and Contumacy in Sin, it is an Act of Goodness. As it is Goodness to pardon Penitents; so it is Goodness, by Chastisements, to reduce the <169> Lawless, and Rebellious. There is a good Intention in Chastisements: For, notwithstanding our great Boasts of our Free-will; we should be too great Strangers to Duties of Piety and Vertue, unless God should, now and then, exercise us with Sicknesses and Afflictions, as a Counterpoise to our Propensions to follow the Lusts and Pleasure of Life, and the ordinary Allurements of the World.

Now, since we impute not Murthers and Robberies committed under a well-established Government; which rules by Laws, and punishes such Offences; much less ought we to impute the Miscarriages of Men to God: Since Men sin at their own Peril. God gave no such Power to Men: For, Power is concluded within Bounds of Reason, and Right. Lawless and exorbitant Acts are Impotencies and Deformities.

If we attribute Evil to God; these Mischiefs are likely to follow. — We shall think of God, contrary to what he is; worse than he deserves of us: So, shall less love him. The Fountain of Good is highly lovely: But not the Author of Evil. — We shall not think aright of Evil; * nor hate Evil, as we ought. For, what harm is there in that which God doth? — We shall excuse our selves <170> more than there is Cause for; and shall abate, in our selves, Sence of our own Faultiness: We shall think our selves but God's Instruments. — We shall take but little care to repent. Who will trouble himself about that which he thinks is the Will of God? Who can resist his Will?

Why should we expose our selves to Temptations, by attributing external Evils to God, more than we have Assurance of? — It is not true, that God doth whatsoever Evil befals us: * Or that all the Evils which befal us, are the Punishment of some Sins; as was the Deluge, the Destruction of Sodom, the Death of Nadab and Abihu, of Ananias and Saphira.

Some Evils do fall out from the State of the World:— Some we bring upon our selves, by Neglect or Abuse of our selves (as Diseases which follow upon Intemperance, Hurts upon violent Motion:) — Some are Effects of malicious Causes, for which God will challenge accountable Agents.

Receiving in themselves that Recompence of their Error, which was meet.[57]


This gives us great Advantage to pursue this Truth, that God is not to be charged with the Creatures Sin: Or with the Creatures Misery. For whosoever is punished, doth but receive within himself the Recompence of his Error. Whoever says otherwise of God (that he is either the Cause of his Creatures Sin, or of his Creatures Misery;) doth not say so well of God, as a Man would think it fit to speak of a Man of common Honesty and Uprightness. — The greatest Suffering that is, is not by any positive Infliction of God; it is not God's Creation: For God did not make Hell; but it is the natural Issue of Creatures Miscarriage, being wanting to themselves, and contradicting the Principles of God's Creation. And if this be true; this is a sufficient Defence for God's Goodness, Righteousness, and Holiness: And I have said enough to justifie all the Principles of Religion. There is a Foundation laid of Self-condemnation to all evil doers.

It is a Form of Words, that, when I well considered them, I could not overlook them; that Sinners do receive in (or from) themselves the Recompence of their Error. No one that fails, or miscarries, comes to Misery by any Soveraignty, any Pleasure, any thing that is Arbitrary, any <172> thing that is, in it self, unavoidable: But Misery arises from within: The Sinner destroys himself. But I am well aware that it hath been the Practice of old, to charge God with the ill fare of Men, * that they might excuse themselves, and lay the Fault upon God.[58]

Where Men are voluntary as to the Antecedent in doing amiss; they charge God with that which is the natural Consequent, the Punishment that follows. For, this is most certain; that the greatest Punishment of Sin, is inherent in it self: For, tho' Almighty Power let the Sinner alone; he will be his own Destroyer. In this Case, it may be said, Let God be justified, as the Lover of his Creatures,[59] as the Friend of Souls; and every one that perishes, be accounted the Author of his own Misery. So it is in the Prophet, O Israel, thou hast destroyed thy self.[60] Our greatest Hurt is within us, from our selves. Whosoever is hurt is hurt by himself. Inordinate Appetite is a Punishment to it self: As will appear by an Account of three of the greatest Evils that we are capable of, and that we lie under. — Guilt in Conscience. — Malignity and Naughtiness in the Mind. — A sickly, diseased, distemper'd Body. — Let any name an Evil that may befal Human Nature, that is equal to these.


Ist, Guilt in Conscience: This hath driven Men to cruel Practices upon themselves, put them upon Despair, and hurried them, by their own Hands, into external Hell, to avoid internal Hell. We are not sure of the Reason of our own Minds for own Preservation: * Nor can we depend on this, which is our greatest Security under God; * either when our Reason is not satisfied in our Religion (which makes a very uneasie Condition,) * or, when our Practice is not justified by our Reason and Religion. — Now, Guilt in Conscience, is only consequent upon knowing, and voluntary Acts, when they are irregular, unnatural, monstrous, contrary to the Order of Reason, contrary to the Nature of Man. For no Foreign Power whatsoever; not the Almighty Power of God, nor the Power of Angels, nor the Power of all the Men in the World, can make any Person in the World Guilty; unless he doth consent to an evil Action. No Man can be guilty, but by his own knowing, and voluntary Act: For if we consent not, it is not our Act. Guilt befals only moral Acts. Guilt in a Man's Conscience is his own Production.

2dly, Malignity and Naughtiness of Disposition is a second Misery of Man. This <174> hath made Mens Conditions very tedious and uneasie to themselves, as not having Power and Government of their Minds, so having no true Self-enjoyment which can abide Reflection, and after Consideration. As also, * this hath made them Pests, and Plagues, to the Places where they live; as being Disturbers of the Quiet of Persons with whom they have their Habitation. For, their internal Rancour and Naughtiness of Mind still puts them upon plotting and contriving Mischief, and makes them greedy of Opportunity to practise it. — * Now, This Malignity and Naughtiness of Disposition is moral Pravity, Deformity, and Privation. And therefore it cannot be natural; but must be acquired. For this is a certain Rule, nothing Moral can be by Generation, but must be by Acts, Use, Custom and Practice. Nothing but what is purely natural can be in a Man by Traduction and Propagation. We are not born with Habits; but born only with Faculties. This is so far true, that any bodily Disposition, or Inclination, which is not acquired; tho' it be to Good, or to Evil; it is neither a Vice, if it be a Tendency to Evil; nor a Vertue, if it be a Tendency to Good. For, nothing is Vertue, but what is the Product of a Mind actually considering; and a Man's <175> Choice, upon Deliberation, and Consideration. And, so, nothing amounts unto the Degree of Vice, * but in the same manner. Only, a Man may be wicked by Failure, and Neglect: Because a Man is to use the Principles of God's Creation; he is to consider, and he is to make use of his Reason; and that is first to be set on work, to discover the Way, and to discern the Difference of Things. It is most true in respect of every Man's internal State; every Man hath himself, for Temper, for Disposition, for Complexion, and Constitution of Soul, according as he hath considered, examined, and used himself. Now if a Man hath himself as he uses himself; then, whosoever is in Perverseness and Malignity of Mind, he hath brought himself into it, by abuse of himself. Whosoever is in a naughty and malignant Disposition of Mind, there is no Creature under Heaven, nor nothing that is in being, that brought him into that Temper; but either his gross Self-neglect, or voluntary Self-abuse. And if there be gross Self-neglect; he hath not acted according to his Principles. That which is not of a Man's self, it may be his Burden, but never his Fault; nor never is charged upon him on a moral Account.


3dly, A sickly and distemper'd Body. * This hath made work for the Physician, and uncouth Remedies; and hath prevented the natural Pleasure of temperate Eating, Drinking, Sleeping. For in Nature's Way, only, is Health and Strength. — * Now, I grant a Man may have a weak Body, and unhappy Constitution, without his own Fault; whence some die so soon; and others are so sickly: But there are things which are in our Power, that are mischievous to the Body.

I shall instance in three kinds of Vices, in respect of which, we may say, with the Apostle, These Men sin against their own Bodies.

1st, Pride, Envy, and Malice: These * carry Discontent; which doth macerate the Body, and melancholize the Blood. Now, * as the World is a very uncertain and unequal thing; so, * it affords frequent Matter of Offence, to this * Temper. If a Man will be offended, he shall be offended every day. The Proud and Conceited Man never hath Respect enough; he is not valued by others, according as he esteems himself. No Man thinks so well of him, as he thinks of <177> himself: And therefore he is necessarily agrieved at every Man, and he lives in Discontent: He is seldom satisfied; but apt to interpret every Man's Carriage towards him Neglect at least, if not Affront. You have all this verified in the Temper of Haman to Mordecai; who is dispossest of all his Enjoyments, because Mordecai offends him; so is in perpetual Discontent: And if a Man is in Discontent, he doth not only marr the Temper of his Mind, but hurts his Body. The Envious and Malicious are agrieved at every Body's Good. They cannot enjoy the Comforts they might enjoy, because others have the same. Now, whosoever he is, that leads a grumbling, repining Life (as all envious Men do) his very Life is a lingring, pining Death.[61] Envy is the Rottenness of the Bones: But the sound Heart is the Life of the Flesh. One * in whom Principles that are solid, and sincere, do govern; he that is in the Use of sober Reason, and Understanding; this Man is of a sound Heart. We have not more Sense of any thing in this World, than that to live in Love, and Good Will, is to live at Hearts-ease. * What great Content have they, that live in Universal Love? In Reconciliation with God, and his whole Creation? They are offended at no Body; they rejoyce at any thing that <178> happens well, to any Creature whatsoever. What should bear the Infirmities of the Body, but the Courage and Resolution of the Mind? If Men thro' Pride, Envy, and Malice do their Bodies Mischief, is it to be imputed to God? No: But to themselves.

2dly, Intemperance and Wantonness: These bring our Bodies to noisom, filthy, loathsom Diseases; sometimes even to Rottenness, while our Souls inform them. Those that live in these Vices, sin against their own Bodies: Dishonour themselves: Make themselves vile; and their Bodies unfit Tabernacles for their Souls to dwell in. They alienate their Bodies from their proper Use. For what is the proper Use of the Body, but to be * as the Tool and Instrument of our Mind, in the Engagement * and Service of Vertue. The Poet livelily describes the Effect of Drunkenness, Aches in the Head, Nauseousness in the Stomach, Drought in the Throat, Langour in the Parts, Folly and Fury in the Mind, a Feaver in the whole. Now all these are avoided, where there is due Self-government, and where Men take upon them, to order their Affairs according to the Dictates of true and sober Reason. But if Men lay Reason aside, and give themselves up to absurd <179> Compliance; if once they transgress the Principles of Reason, and abuse the Principles of their Minds; they abuse and spoil their Bodies.

3dly, By Idleness and Sloth, which are also our Bodies Enemies, they come to putrifie, as Water in Ponds, by Stagnancy. The Security of the natural State and Perfection of every thing, is by Motion, and Action. By Lasiness and Sloth our Bodies come to be vitiated. For they are deprived of their great Security. And Nature's Remedy the All-preserving insensible Transpiration is advanced and maintained by Motion: Whereas, on the other side, Vertue, which is the Mind's due Complexion, is Soveraign to the Body: And all the genuine and kindly Operations of Vertue, and Religion, are benign, and favourable to our Bodies; and * are our great Security.

Length of Days[62] are secured by complying with the Principles of Religion, Sobriety, Reason, and Understanding: But in every Deviation from, and Contradiction to Reason, the contrary, viz. Short Life, and Diseases are founded, and our Bodies spoiled and marred.

Thus, you see, God is not to be charged with that which we our selves are the sole Cause of. We bring upon our selves <180> the great Evils. We, and We alone, cause Guilt in our Consciences. We, and We alone do deform and deprave our Minds. We, and We alone are the Causes of Diseases, and the marring of our Bodies; when * we are intemperate.

Further, to prove, that Misery is of our selves; I shall take Two Grounds from the Apostle.

1st, [63]Man is a Law to himself. That is; the Effect and Purport of the Law, is written in his Heart: So that Man is self-condemned, if he transgress; he himself being Judge: And Self-condemnation is the Life of Hell. What the Apostle saith of the Word of Faith of After-Revelation: [64]We need not ask who shall ascend, &c. But the Word of Faith which we preach, is nigh thee, even in thy Heart; the same, also, may we say of the Principles of God's Creation in us, which belongs to our very Make. For Man, by Vertue of his Nature and Principles, is as sufficient and proportionable to Acts of Reason and Understanding, as any inferiour Nature is, to Acts Homogenial and Con-natural. And we observe that inferiour Nature fails not, if it meets not with Foreign Disturbance and Impediment. Man, there <181> fore, out of the Way of right Reason, is a Monster, a Prodigy, in a State of Delinquency, and Deformity; and he returns not to himself, but by Revocation of what is unduly done, and renewal by Repentance: Otherwise he remains under Self-condemnation: So cannot but be miserable.

2dly, [65]Great Sinners leave natural Use. Now the Propensions and Inclinations of the Powers and Faculties of our Natures, are not controuled, without great Violence to our selves, and Affront given to God. As to instance, — it is horrid, monstrous, degenerate, and unnatural, to live without God in the World; because Mind and Understanding are God's peculiar Reserve in Man, given to be employed about him: So that it is Alienation, and Sacriledge, to divert them from him. — It is unnatural to be Intemperate. The Desires of Nature are Modest, and within Bounds and Compass: And all Excess is burthensome. — It is Devilish to be Spiteful and Revengeful: For, Man, by Nature, is Sociable; and wishes well to them in whose Company he takes delight. This must be understood of Nature before it be abused by unnatural Acts, ill Use, Custom, and Practice. For, the better any thing is in its Constitution and In <182> tegrity; the worse it is in its Degeneracy and Depravation.

I infer Four Things from * hence.

(1.) If Man's Misery be from within, * and from Man's self; then, no Imputation lies upon God, of hard Usage of his Creatures. Let us, therefore, resolve with Elihu, to give all Honour to our Maker,[66] and ascribe Righteousness to him; and not entertain such Thoughts and Apprehensions of God, as will not recommend him to us, nor encourage our Applications to him. For it is the leading Point in Religion, to have in our Minds, right Suppositions of God.

(2.) If this were duly considered; Men would not allow themselves to be Lawless, Arbitrary, Licentious, Exorbitant; tho' they might avoid the Danger of Divine and Human Laws. For, Misery arising from within; Sinners would be miserable, and unhappy; tho' God and Man should let them alone.

(3.) If this were duly considered; Men would not be agrieved at the Shews and Appearances of this vain World, so as to envy the Condition of the Fond, and Foolish, who intoxicate themselves <183> with Fancies, and are Self-flatterers. The seeming Prosperity of the Wicked, hath been a Stumbling-block to good Men, in * all Ages; to David, Job, Jeremiah; till they have bethought themselves, examin'd, and considered: But that is well, which ends well. The Tempter abuses credulous Persons; suggesting the Day of Vengeance to be a long time hence: Whereas, the Sins of Men do not stay for all their Punishment till the Day of Judgment. But whether external Punishment be sooner or later, Wickedness carries Misery in its own Bowels. Were we but, at times, to see the Torture and Anguish that Guiltiness gives occasion to; the Unquietness of naughty, malicious Minds; the Perplexities and Vexations of the Envious; a Man of Poverty, if of Innocency and Integrity, would not change Conditions with them; notwithstanding their worldly Accommodations, and gay Out-sides.

(4.) This effectually recommends to us, Principles of Reason, and Religion; as things fit to rule and govern in the Life of Man; as things Soveraign to Nature; * as the Law of Mens Apprehensions, and the Rule of Mens Actions: They moderate Mens Passions, compose Mens Spirits, quiet Mens Minds, keep Men <184> in their Wits, suffer no abuse to their Bodies. — A discomposed Mind, doth disaffect the Body: and a distemper'd Body, doth disturb the Mind. — There is more Satisfaction in good Self-Government; than in all the forced Jollities, and Pleasures in the World.

* Therefore, to obtain this Composedness of Spirit, and in order to this great Work of Self-Government; First, I propose; that we do not attempt to compound and make things stand together, that are of a contrary Nature and Quality; as Worldly Policy, and Divine Wisdom. These two things are as distinct as any things in the World: the one is, for compassing Ends, by all Ways and Arts: the other is, for all Ways of Righteousness, Peaceableness, and Universal Goodwill. * Thus, for a Man to resolve to get an Estate, by any Ways or Means, [67]to haste to be rich; and, with this, to retain Innocency, Uprightness, and Integrity, (than which, nothing is more impossible:) — For a Man to compound inordinate Self-love, with the Love of God and his Neighbour. — For a Man to make * it the Employment of Mind and Understanding, to gratifie Sense, and serve Brutish Lusts; and yet think that he may * be acted, and guided by the <185> good Spirit of God:— These * things will not consist together.

Secondly. I propose, that in all the Variety, Difficulties, and Uncertainties of this World, (which is subject to so many, and various Changes) a Man resolve to be himself; as to the great things of Humane Life. — Let him be the same in respect of his End, both intermediate, and ultimate; the next, and the last; that is; let his immediate End be warrantable and lawful, and the ultimate End be that which is universally good: as the Observance of God, and his own Happiness. For these are the same, and concur together. — Let him be the same, in respect of his Aims, Designs, and Intentions. Let these be always worthy, and let him hold to them. — Let him be the same, in respect of his Rule and Principle of Living and of Acting. Tho' he fail in a particular Action; yet let him hold to his Rule; and, as soon as he can, recover himself to his Rule, and Law. — Let him be the same in respect of his Contentment and Satisfaction. Let not a Man take up, and applaud himself, in any Attainment, or Acquisition, that is short of that which will finally accomplish a Man, and make him happy. — Let a Man always be himself, in respect of his Engagements, and <186> Undertakings. — Let a Man conjoin with his Natural Powers (as doth become him,) a due Acknowledgment of God, in respect of whatsoever Ability or Sufficiency he hath. Let him duly acknowledge God, and be apprehensive that he derives from him, and therefore ought to submit to him, and depend upon him, and finally refer to him. For, a Life that is not acted, govern'd, and over-ruled by a determinate End; and carried on, by a certain Purpose; it is both exorbitant, weak, and inconsistent. Such Men live by chance, and do what is next; and not what they should, and ought: such Men live as if their Body had swallow'd up their Soul. These Mens Lives are very uncertain things. They live a kind of Lottery, the Rules, and Methods whereof, no Body is acquainted with: but things are, as they fall out. Such Men are guided by nothing else, but a confused multitude of Fancies, jumbled together, as the things of this World were, at the first Creation of them. And this is true of all those, whose Lives and Conversations are not made steady, and directed, by a right intended End, and a true Purpose of Life.

In the third place, I propose, that we consider this; that we are not to depend on Things without us; as worldly Spirited <187> Men do. If we have as many of these things as are for use, and as the Necessities of Life require; we have enough. For what are these things, out of their use? or, beyond their use? what are they then, but Burthen and Cumber? or, at least, the Gratification of Fancy and Imagination? Now, for a Man to affect a multitude of things, and all Varieties, it is but to discompose his own Mind. For as we multiply Objects, we multiply Thoughts; and have more things to manage, and order: we multiply our Care; which makes us less our selves; and less free to Self-enjoyment. — This is the Temper of some Men, (Psal. 4. 6.) who will shew us any Good? it matters not who is the Agent: * they are wholly undetermin'd as to Choice, and undirected as to the Object. This is the Voice of a Man in Confusion; a Man without Notion, and Principles; a Man that hath not thought, studied, and considered. But the good Man is determined. Worldly things soon surfeit and cloy us: they make a thick, and gross Apprehension: Their Variety doth occasion Distraction to the Mind; and their Emptiness and Penury doth occasion Dissatisfaction. In pursuit of worldly things there is certain Care, and very uncertain Success. No one that is in pursuit of Earthly things, can assure himself of <188> Success. And if he be in pursuit, and do not prevail; Disappointments will break him. Nothing is more grievous than Disappointment.

Fourthly, I propose, that we awaken in our selves an intelectual Sence of Divine and Spiritual Things; which, as they are in nearer relation to our Souls, so they are more fitting and satisfactory. Nothing is so satisfactory to the Mind which is improved, or any way polished, as the letting in of Light; and the Communication of Truth. This is more pleasant to such a Mind, than any Pleasure of Sence whatsoever. There is great Satisfaction in the Enjoyment of Mental * things. By this means, our Thoughts will stay at Home: but if a Man wander from Home, he shows his own Weakness. Extravagant Appetites shew inward Poverty. He that knows Better, hath no Greediness after that which is Worse.

These are the things I propose to you, for the obtaining of this Unity of Mind, and Composedness of Spirit. * Without this, we shall have very little Enjoyment of our selves. None think they are themselves, when they are in Confusion of Thought, Perplexity of Mind, doubtful in Resolution, and under sad Apprehensions. * Without this, there will be no Ability for the Discharge of our Duty, in <189> the World. Till a Man hath well reformed his own ill-govern'd House; till he hath cooled and calmed his heated and disturbed Fancy; till he hath recovered himself from Mind-confounding, and darkening Thoughts; he will be in no Capacity or Disposition to act Abroad. Is he fit to act in the World, to direct and govern others, that hath nothing but Darkness and Confusion, Disorder and Distemper in his own Breast? All his Faculties in conspiracy one against another? Is this Man fit to act Abroad, that hath not done his work within himself? — * Therefore let every Body take himself to task; watch over himself; and think, that his best Discharge of Government, is, of himself, and that there he ought to begin.

* And, that a Man keep himself in Temper; and the better govern his Thoughts, and Apprehensions; let him have a Sence of the Majesty of God. The Moralist gave this, for a Rule; to set some great and worthy Person before a Man, if he would do worthily. Think, saith one, of Cato, (a Man that was exact according to the Moralist's Rule.) He thought that if a Man did but think of such a Person as that was; it would keep him from consenting to Iniquity. But how much more, <190> then, the thinking of the Divine Majesty? — We never do any thing so secretly, but in the presence of two Witnesses, God, and our own Conscience.

* Lastly, to add more to your Thoughts concerning the necessity of Self-Government. It is * but little to say, that I am placed in Authority; or, that I can command either Legions, or Regions; unless I have Free dispose of my self. Tho' a Man could say of himself, as the Centurion did, [68]I am a Man in Authority, and I have Servants under me; and to this Man I say go, and he goeth; and to another, come, and he cometh, &c. yet he is not a Free Man, unless he be Master of himself. Unless I can bid my self do this; and I do it, without Difficulty, Interruption, or Disturbance; my Command of others is insignificant; unless I am intirely my self, and can keep out all foreign Violence and Opposition, from a hand without. To have Thoughts imposed, things injected, when they are wholly inexpedient, and we our selves otherwise better employ'd; to have Suggestions thrust upon us, neither to be refused, nor commanded: to have a Fire in our Breast, which we cannot put out: to be at every Beck and Call: to have a <191> Mind disquieted, and discomposed; and Meditation confounded, or interrupted: to have Thoughts running madly, or snatched away from us: If this be our case; then, I add, * that for any seeming Glory from without, or any vain Applause to compensate this home-bred Mischief, a Man may as well be eased of the Pain of the Gout or Stone, by being laid in a Bed of Down; or of the Fit of a Burning-Feaver, by the cool Air fanning him, as he may be relieved, in this internal Discomposure of Mind, by worldly Application. The true Remedy ariseth from within. Admit Principles of Reason: sow in thy Mind, Seeds of Vertue: be not, through thine own Indisposition, Tinder to every Temptation; as he that is not settled in the habit of Vertue. For, Happiness is not, from without. To the chearful Spirit, must be a richer Contribution, than a Joint Concurrence of worldly things; internal Peace, Ease, and Satisfaction of Mind; Rational Apprehensions; calm and quiet Thoughts; a serene Heaven within: which are the true Ingredients of Self-Enjoyment. There is no Man Free, unless he be Wise: and there is no Man Wise, who hath not the Government of himself. For this Man is a Slave. Solomon hath told us, that [69]he who ruleth his Spirit, is greater than he that taketh a <192> City. And he that doth not this, doth not enjoy himself. Wherefore let us have clear Perceptions of the Reason of Things; and Power, within our selves, without Distraction, to do, and resolve accordingly: And then I account a Man a good Man, a wise Man, and well accomplish'd. And he that arrives not to this, lives at Peradventure, and acts like a Fool: He doth nothing worthy his own Species; or the Rank, and Order, of a rational, and intelligent Being. For we are bound, by Vertue of our Creation, to act out of a Fore-sight of the Reason of Things; as inferior Beings act according to their Con-natural Qualities: And it is monstrous and horrid if they do not. In like manner, it is ugly, and degenerate, for Man, that is indued with Reason, to act at Hap-hazard, and not out of Fore-sight of the Reason of Things. This is as monstrous, as it is, for the Sun not to shine, and to fill the Air with Stench and Putrifaction.

The Irreligious * therefore leave [70]natural Use; which, till Nature be put out of Course; and, by Custom, habituated to the contrary; cannot but be grievous. Things easily go on, in Nature's way; but being interrupted for a while, at least strive to return to their natural Course. Nothing doth well under Force and Violence.


The World hath an ill Opinion of Religion: But, if we will believe our Saviour, His Yoke is easie and his Burthen is light: His Commandments are not grievous: David found high Content in them. And Solomon, all else to be Vanity. It sometimes comes to pass, through the Grace of God, that some, after a wild Course run (if Incorrigibleness, and invincible Hardness, be not contracted, by unnatural Practice,) upon Reflection, and After-consideration, greatly condemn themselves, in what they have done; and return to Ways of Sobriety, and Religion; and hold better to it, because of former costly Experience. Such an Instance is a great Condemnation to licentious and exorbitant Practices, and a Testimony from Persons of double Experience, of the better Ways of Vertue.


Sermon VI.

Romans I. 29.

Being filled with all Unrighteousness, Fornication, Wickedness, Covetousness, Maliciousness; full of Envy, Murder, Debate, Deceit, Malignity; Whisperers, &c.

In these words, you have the ultimate Issue of the horrid, monstrous, degenerate State of Mortals. This Catalogue of Vice is enough to startle, and awaken any one; make him considerate, and apprehensive of his Danger; * so as to betake himself to Religion; and to come within the Confines of it: that he may be delivered from such Abominations. — One would wonder that Humane Nature should so degenerate, that these Villanies should ever be reported of any, who by their Institution, are Intelligent Agents.


Of this Catalogue I have singled out one (and that is Covetousness,) which, because it is a subtle Evil, and very mischievous, I shall endeavour to discover it.

There is nothing in all the Scripture that is put in worse Company than this: for it is reckon'd with all the horrid Effects of Degeneracy and Apostacy. Yet, Covetousness shelters it self under honest Names. It is sometimes thought to be Diligence, Prudence, and Forecast; Good-Husbandry, Cautiousness, Wariness. So often do Men ruine themselves by entertaining this Viper under gilded Names. — Tho' I cannot discover it in all its Practices and Degrees; yet I shall do you some Service in discovering that which is in any degree gross, destructive to Religion, and against Reason and Conscience.

Covetousness is much branded, and spoken very ill of, in Scripture. It is put in adequate opposition to all Religion. It is a Principle of the basest Practice: for it hardens it self to any purpose. Through Covetousness [71]Men make Merchandize of the Word of God: and * it is amongst the things [72]that defile a Man. The Covetous [73]God abhors. The Apostle saith it is [74]Idolatry. Nothing is more threatned in the Bible. [75]We are specially warned against it, and told, it is the root of all Evil.


But it is a cunning subtle Sin. No Man doth so justifie himself, or is so hardly brought to repent, as he that hath a touch of Covetousness. — I am of opinion, that our Saviour hath in his Beatitudes, One, that he doth direct expresly against the Sin of Covetousness, (tho' it hath been alienated from the Sence, by the generality of Interpreters) viz. [76]Blessed are the poor in Spirit: for, that which the Interpreters do fasten upon this, hath place otherwhere, (and, * therefore, if it be here; it is supernumerary:) They understand by it, Dejection, Humility of Mind, and Contempt of our selves: so, they make it to comply with these Scriptures: [77]the Lord is nigh to the broken Heart, and contrite Spirit. [78]To him will I look, who is of a poor, and contrite Spirit. I heartily close with their Sence: but find it in another place; for, that which they call Poverty of Spirit, viz. Humility; may be referred to another Beatitude; Blessed are the Meek, which doth not only import Gentleness, Affability, and Sweetness of Behaviour towards Men; but also, every degree of Humility, and Subjection to God. And, for poor in Spirit, thus I interpret it. He may be poor in Spirit, tho' he hath an abundance of Wealth and Honour, who is a Man of moderate Desires, and is satisfied with those things which <198> God hath given him; and may be poorer, in this respect, than the lowest Beggar, * who hath unsatiable Desires of Riches, and an Affectation of Power, Command, and Wealth: for he is poor in Spirit, tho' he hath an Affluent Estate, and can command the World; if his Mind stand right, and he be loose to it, and above it, as to any Trust and Confidence in it. And he that hath but from Hand to Mouth, yet if he hath inordinate Desires; tho' he be a Beggar, he is covetous. — By Poverty of Spirit, I do understand, a kind of want of Affection to the World: A Disposition of Mind spiritually steered, so as not to decline to the Wealth and Pomp of the World: looking upon them, as Means; and not giving them the Honour, nor at all placing them in the room of Ends. So that if a Man hath the World's Goods, and yet in his Heart, he doth not lean to them; and, if having them not, he doth not thirst after them, nor hath inordinate Desires to them; he is poor in Spirit. He may be rich in outward Wealth, and poor in Spirit, if he love them not: and he may be poor in outward Estate, and yet covetous, if he desire them. Poor he may be, and have but little in the World, and yet not poor, in Spirit: not poor, with a holy Will. — Those that are poor in Spirit are so, upon Consideration; <199> having considered that few of these things are necessary in Life; that the Happiness of Man consists not in the abundance of these things; and that these have but the place of Means, not of Ends: and therefore, will not be under the Power of them. For, no good or wise Man will be subject to any thing but what hath the rank and order of an End. — * I say it again: He that hath the World's Goods in his hand, (and doth abound in Wealth, Honour, Power, and Authority,) as a Mean in order to an End; this Man, tho' he be rich, may be poor in Spirit. And another, tho' poor, is covetous; if he maintain greedy Appetites, and do not acquiesce in the Providence of God. For, it is not a Man's external Condition that makes him righteous, or wicked: but the Temper of his Mind, and the Complexion of his Soul. He that hath inwardly, in his Soul, and Will, concluded that Riches and Honours are but superfluous Accomplishments, (so far as they are beyond Accommodations, or the Notion of Instruments;) * He who hath, in his Soul, the Sence our Saviour expresses, that the Life of Man consists not in the abundance of things to be enjoy'd; this is the Man that is poor in Spirit.

So that, whereas Covetousness is commonly cast upon Men of Estates; yet we <200> find, upon Examination, that the lowest sort of Men are as apt to fail and miscarry, as Men of Estates. For it lies in the Temper of a Man's Mind, and in the Frame and Disposition of his Spirit. He that hath in his Soul a Sence that the Happiness of Man consists not in what he possesses; and considers that Nature is content with moderate things; and that these things are but Means and Instruments to an End; and that the Virtue of an Instrument lies in the Use and Exercise of it; therefore Desires to have neither Poverty nor Riches; this Man is not Covetous.

But this we may observe, that sometimes, upon Discontent, Men that are under the Power of Covetousness, will pretend to high Nobleness and Generosity, when the World offends them; and sometimes, in haste, bid defiance to the World. So Charles the Vth. Emperor of Germany; who had done mighty things, and won many famous Battels. But, when by attempting many things, he had plunged himself into Multitudes of Inconveniencies, and brought himself into a Maze which he knew not how to get out * of; then he resolves to resign up all: which he doth: The Empire, to his Brother; and the Kingdom of Spain, with the Netherlands, to his Son: and, to a Mona <201> stry he goes. In such case, We forsake not the World; but the World, rather, forsakes us. — The great Power of renouncing the World, being loose to the World, being above the World; is shewn, when Men do it voluntarily, upon Consideration, not in Anger, not in the Spirit of Revenge. If we would approve our selves to be poor in Spirit, and out of Love with the World; let us do it while the World follows us, and as it were, courts us; not when it's grown froward, and turns its Back upon us. — The Church of Rome perswade Men, that they enter into a State of Perfection, who enter into Religious Orders, by making a triple Vow; one, is, of Poverty; but how little of choice is it? One of their Authors calls it, the terrible Vow of Poverty. * Now he who dedicates himself to God; must, in Heart, leave the World; and pass through Combates, and Temptations; and must not cast a languishing, favourable Eye, upon Wealth, Honour, and Preferment.

External things do very differently, and uncertainly affect the Minds of Men. No Man knows what may be the Effect of worldly Prosperity or Adversity. No Man knows whether if he should be rich, he should be merciful: or, if he should <202> be afflicted, whether he should be patient. Worldly Prosperity, or Adversity, each of them, will comply with the Contraries, Happiness and Misery. As they are us'd, they either tend to one, or the other: but the Operation of them is very uncertain. Therefore, let us value things equally, according to their degrees of Goodness. It is true indeed, Worldly Prosperity hath an Advantage; because he that is rich hath great Opportunities of glorifying God, and doing Good; having Tools to work with, if God give him a Heart. But if he hath not a Heart to improve this Advantage; he is not regenerated and sanctified; he is not led into a Divine Spirit by it. And he that is in a State of Adversity, and expos'd to Necessity, is subject to be envious, base, and sordid. But if Adversity, and a streight Condition in the World, make a Man patient, humble, and modest; it's well: His Poverty will end much to his advantage. So that you see, both of the one, and the other, the Operation is very uncertain. Therefore let no Man make himself a Slave to that which is no part of his Happiness.

But Men are thought to talk of strange Riddles, that tell Men they must not have inordinate Desires to Wealth, they must not estimate and value themselves by it, <203> nor by State, Dignity, Place, and Power. He that talks thus, will be in danger to be looked upon as Lot by his Sons in Law, to speak [79]as one that mocked.

* He who finds in himself Inclinations towards the World, Desires to grow rich, to raise himself in Honour, and Preferment; let him suspect himself. It is great Wisdom, in matters of Danger, to fear even things that are safe. For it is a good Rule Casuists go upon, in the Court of Conscience, that it is safer for Men to suppose a Fault, than no Fault. In the Court of Conscience, censure and search the Passages and Inclinations of the Heart.

Riches are often mentioned in Scripture; but seldom spoke well of. Nor ever * do we find that the Rich are declared to be Blessed; but, that they hardly enter into the Kingdom:[80] which if we did consider, would make us suspect, and look about us. Scripture warns us, not to trust to uncertain Riches; not to heap up superfluous parts of them: but to lay a good Foundation; that our Hearts be not over-charged with the Cares of this Life. St. Austin says, "That if it had been Happiness to have loved the the World, and the things of it; That Man would have loved them, who was the Son of God. But, our Savi <204> our's worldly Circumstances may make us * think the worse of secular Pomp and Bravery: * For, that he was in such Circumstances, was not by Chance but Choice. We find that the Apostles writ after his Copy. For, what one Act of theirs did discover looking towards the World, excepting only * as to Provision for necessary Maintenance? — The Heathen Philosophers profess'd, and greatly practis'd Contempt of the World. * Now it is a horrible Reproach, and Condemnation to us, if the Faith of the Gospel should not attain such Effects as the Principles of Nature, through Reason, have attain'd.

If, through the Help of Divine Grace, we do not alienate our selves from the Love of the Things of the World; the Love of them will certainly alienate us from God. What is * it, that is the Height, Excellency, and utmost Perfection of that which we call the Worship of God? Is it not to take him for our Happiness, and utmost End? To make him the Center of our Souls? To have all Expectation from him, and Dependance upon him? And can we do this, and impatiently thirst after Riches? Confidence, and trust in God, is the worthiest part of Divine Worship: For none acknowledges God more than he that relies upon him, de <205> pends on him, commits himself unto him, trusts in him, and is not anxious what the next Day may produce. Now if we give any of these * Affections to our Estate, to Riches, Honour, or the like; we put them in the place of God. And upon this account, Covetousness is called Idolatry. This may well be called an Indignity to God; if we think to depend upon our Estate, Power, and Authority: Whereas we are to rest in him, as the Center of immortal Souls. Wherefore, that Desire of Riches, and that Care which is laid out about them, which doth debase our Dependance upon God, and takes us off from our Affiance and Trust in him (wherein we do truly worship and acknowledge him) may well be called Idolatry.

Nothing is more base in the Church of Rome, than the subordinating the Christian Religion to the Gain of the World. For Superstition (if it be by mistake) there may be an Apology: But when Men name God, speak Religion and Conscience, and mean the World; this is so far from being Religion, that it is abominable. What * are their Principles, but the Foundation of Revenue? What vast Sums do they acquire by their Doctrines of Purgatory, of Indulgence, and Absolution? This is to prostitute Religion: And, that <206> wherein the Honour of God, and the Salvation of Mens Souls is concerned, is subordinated to the things of this World. Whereas there is no Philosophy or Discipline doth more strongly cry It down, and endeavour to plant in Men Contempt of It, than Christianity hath done? But, by this Sect of Christians, Christianity is constrained to Lackey to the World, and to become Means of the greatest secular Pomp and Bravery, that ever the Sun hath seen.

Where we see Religion made a Mean to draw on the World; out of doubt, it is not Religion, but Hypocrisie. For the Distribution of the Things of the World, who shall have more, who less, belongs not to the Kingdom of Christ. We are directed by our Saviour's Form of Prayer, to pray for daily Bread, in contradistinction to praying for Riches, Honours, Pleasures.

You have seen in general, by way of Explication, what this Temper of Covetousness is; and that a rich Man may be freed from it, and a poor Man may be deeply in this Vice; and that it lies in a Man's Judgment, and the Temper of his Mind, and his Inclinations. He that is of ungovern'd Appetites; he that hath a high Opinion of these Things, (viz: Richares, Honours, Pleasures,) <207> and thinks them to be other than they are; or places them in the Room of Ends; this is the Man that is guilty.

But I consider, Generals do not affect: And, this being a Business of Practice, and every Man's Concern, as he would secure the State of his Soul to Eternity, to quit and discharge himself of this covetous Temper and Disposition, which the Scripture represents as the Enemy of Religion; I will instance in Five Particulars, by which every Man may know whether he be guilty of this Vice, or not.

1st, Whosoever is a Person of eager, inordinate, and ungovern'd Appetites, satisfies not himself with the Dispensations of Providence, towards himself, furnishing him with competent and moderate Things, the Conveniences and Accommodations of this Life; this Man is certainly Covetous. This the Psalmist calls [81]Meat for their Lust. Whatsoever is more than fit, convenient, necessary, and what is the Effect of ordinary Providence and Dispensation; if a Man will not be satisfied, contented, and thank God for it, he desires Meat for his Lust. Every Man must be satisfied with that which Providence bestows on him, if it be competent; if it will satisfie Nature (whose Desires are few:) And, if he be not satisfied; he is Covetous.


2dly, Who having enough for necessary Uses and Purposes of Life; fears to spend; grudges to himself things fitting; chuses rather to have, than to use; hath not Power to use himself kindly in the World. One would think there should be no such Men: But there is One that hath neither Brother, nor Sister, and himself hath enough; yet he never asks himself, for whose sake he deprives himself. This Man is wanting to himself, pinches himself, and is wanting to Publick Occasions. For the Publick is every Man's Particular: For, if it be not every Bodies Charge; it is no Bodies. * There are, partly a Man's Friends, partly his Relations, his Neighbours, and Companions: A Man must not be wanting to all these: For they have a Share in him. He, therefore, that allows not himself the free and generous Use of what he hath, this Man is a Slave to his Money: He hath, but he hath not the Power of Use.

3dly, Who makes himself a Drudge in the World; toils Day and Night; breaks his Sleep, through inordinate Care; * is so extreamly busie, so over imploy'd, as not to be at leisure, duly to attend upon God in the World, to make Acknowledg <209> ments to him, or to discharge himself in Duty to him. Man's Principles teach him, that it is Main and Principal in the Life of Man, that Intelectual Nature do perform special Duty and Service to God. Nothing is more horrid, than for Intelectual Nature, degenerating into Matters of Sense, not to take Notice or Cognizance of God: Nor to perform Duty to him. This Man is, therefore, sordidly Covetous, who makes himself a Drudge in the World, disquiets himself, is so perplext in Business, that God is not in all his Thoughts, is very little to him, in the World. We are * indeed to use Diligence, and moderate Care: For, [82]He that doth not provide for his Family, is worse than an Infidel: So that I take not any Man off from being diligent in any particular way. But we are not to make our rational Faculties Gibeonites; nor determine them to hew Wood and draw Water. To drudge in the World, is not the adequate Employment of an Intelectual Nature. This is not that which doth employ the highest and noblest Part of Man. It is indispensably necessary, that Mind, and Understanding, which is a peculiar reserved Faculty for, and appropriated to God, be employ'd about Things immaterial; making enquiry of God; tendering Duty toward him; expressing it self <210> in all Devotion, and Affection toward him. There is no Happiness to Man, but in this Relation, and in Converse with Things immaterial, and intelectual: Because, else, there is no rational Satisfaction: And there is no Happiness where there is not rational Satisfaction: For, otherwise, there is Tediousness, Weariness, and (in over-long Use) Nauseousness. There is no such Reproach, as to say, that a Man is wise, witty, sagacious, for worldly Things; and yet ignorant in Matters of Religion, Reason, and Conscience.

4thly, Who through base Love of Money (as if it were conjoyned with his very Being) hath not Power of equal Consideration, in his Dealings with others; but insists, to the utmost, upon all Points of Advantage, upon all Terms of strict Right; affording no Allowance nor Abatement for the unexpected Contingencies which befal Men, in the several Occasions of Life. For, notwithstanding any Bargain whatsoever, if there be Incidencies and Contingencies, which rationally were not imaginable, or thought of; he that hath another under Obligation, if he make not Allowance, he is an Oppressor. For, since the Government of the World is not in our Hands; since we <211> are not Masters of all Affairs; since there are Contingencies beyond Reason, or the Power or Wisdom of any finite Creature; it becomes every Man that hath Advantage, fairly to consider, and to make equal Allowance for unavoidable Casualities, and Contingencies. For, I am sure, this Man that doth otherwise, doth not at all partake of God, nor write after his Copy, who hath magnified his Mercy above all other his Names; who fails not to commiserate, in every compassionable Case. To this Man, who affords hard Measure, without relenting, or after consideration, all other * Men are but Means and Instruments to his Ends and Purposes: And, so they be but obtain'd, it matters not what becomes of others. This Man violates the Golden Rule. To do to others as we would have done to us. His Sence is; if I am a Loser, no matter what comes of things. He matters not what becomes of the World, so he have his End. In this Case, Self is predominant: And this Man is prodigiously Selfish and Covetous. All other Considerations are subservient thereto.

5thly, Who doth over-rule Principles of Reason, Religion, and Conscience, and takes all Courses, uses all Means to become Rich; without Difference, or Distinction; <212> without Consideration, whether Right or Wrong, Just or Unjust, Lawful or Unlawful; its all one to him. This Man is informed, led, and acted by the Spirit of Covetousness. This Man is covetous in the * highest Degree. Covetousness in this Man, [83]is Regnant and Triumphant. He hasteth to be Rich; so will not be Innocent: But falls into many Snares and hurtful Lusts, which drown Men in Perdition.

By these Five, may every Man judge of himself. I began with the least Degree, and still rose every Step higher. He is not covetous, that can acquit himself of not being guilty in these. And, this, every Man is highly concern'd to do.

Hence I exhort, that we endeavour to refine, ennoble, and spiritualize our Tempers. Let every particular Person employ himself, as he hath Time and Opportunity, in Things that tend to God's Honour and Glory in the World, and to the Publick Good. Let not Men satisfie themselves to do as Snails, that live and confine themselves in their Shells, and carry their House up and down on their Backs, wherever they go. It doth not become any Man that is indued with Intelectual Nature, to be so particular and selfish. Every Man is to think, that the <213> Honour of God, the Publick Good, and the Advance of Humane Nature, ought to be predominant, ought to counterbalance, and over-rule his particular Concernment. Let us keep from all Sordidness of Mind, by coming under the Power of the World. No worldly Thing is to exercise any Sovereignty over us: Neither should a Man center himself in himself.

It is greatly to the Shame of Human Nature, that we seem rather to love God, for what he is to us, than for what he is in himself. We love him, because he may be good to us; rather than because he is the most lovely Object in himself, the first and chiefest Goodness: Rather as he is necessary to our Happiness; than because of his own Loveliness, Excellency, and Beauty. Therefore we consider our selves, even there, where we mind God. Now till our Love of God be most simple and refined, we must acknowledge in it an Allay and Mixture of Earthliness and Disingenuity; we must acknowledge it an Affection short and unworthy of God, who is the first Excellency, the proper Object, and attractive of Admiration, and Veneration. We should be wholly taken with God, possess'd and transported with him: The Contemplation and Thought of his Ex <214> cellency, Goodness, and Perfection, should so fill our Souls, that Foreign Things should be driven away, and be as it were nothing, in this Order and Competition. Our Souls should go out, in secret Enquiry after God; should ingulph and bottom themselves in him, by Love and by Delight. We should dwell with him; never fall from him; or sink below him; or take ought else for him; or return from him, to any Embraces. It should be the Language of our Souls in the Ears of our God, [84]Whom have I in Heaven but Thee, or what is there in Earth that I desire besides Thee? Tho' a Man should love God with an equal Degree of Affection to the Things of this World; yet, because the Objects are so infinitely disproportionable (and 'tis the Nature of Moral Duties to be measured from those Motives by which we are to be induc'd to them;) therefore, of such a one it may be affirm'd, that he doth not love God. He that makes him but equal to any worldly Thing, may be said infinitely to despise and undervalue him.

For the further Explication of this, I shall suggest to you a Distinction, not commonly (if at all) taken notice of, by others; betwixt Natural Principles, and Moral Duties: The mis-understanding of which, is the Occasion of many Difficulties and <215> Confusions about this, and some other Points. — By Natural Principles, I mean such kind of Impressions as are originally stamp'd upon the Nature of Things, whereby they are fitted for those Services to which they are designed in their Creation; the Acts of which, are necessary, and under no kind of Liberty of being suspended. All things must work according to their natural Principles (nor can they do otherwise,) as heavy Bodies must tend down-wards. The Beauty of the World, and the Wisdom of the Creation, is generally acknowledged to consist in this, that God was pleased to endue the Kinds of Things with such Natures, and Principles, as might accommodate them for those Works to which they were appointed. And he governs all things by such Laws, as are suited to those several Natures, which he, at first, implanted in them. The most universal Principle belonging to all kind of Things, is Self-preservation: Which, in Man, being a rational Agent, is somewhat farther advanc'd, to strong Propensions and Desires of the Soul after a State of Happiness; which hath the Predominancy over all other Inclinations; as being the Supream and ultimate End to which all his Designs and Actions must be subservient, by a natural Necessity.— <216> Whereas, on the other hand, those Rules, or Means, which are most proper for the attaining of this End, about which we have a Liberty of Acting; to which, Men are to be induc'd in a Moral Way, by such kind of Motives or Arguments as are in themselves sufficient to convince the Reason; these I call Moral Duties: Duties, as deriving their Obligation from their Conducibility to their promoting of our chief End; and, Moral as depending upon Moral Motives. So that Self-love, and the proposing of Happiness, as our chief End; tho' it be the Foundation of Duty, that Basis, or Substratum, upon which the Law is founded; yet it is not properly a Moral Duty, about which Men have a Liberty of Acting. They must do so: Nor can they do otherwise. The most vile and profligate Wretches that are, who are most opposite to that which is their true Happiness, they are not against Happiness it self; but they mistake about it, and erroneously substitute something else in the Room of it. So that if Men were upon all Accounts firmly convinced, that God was their chief Happiness; they would almost as necessarily love him, as hungry Men do eat, or thirsty Men do drink. — I have enlarg'd the more on this Particular, the better to manifest the <217> true Cause, or Ground, of this Love * to God.

[85]Being filled with all Unrighteousness, &c. I will not rake into this Dunghil: I will only observe, that Ill-Will is Characterized under no fewer Titles than Twelve. Observe here (where the Apostle reckons up the horrid and desperate Apostacy of Men, that abuse Nature, * and live in all Contradiction to Reason, Religion, and Conscience) how many Titles, and Places, one sort of Iniquity doth take up; being filled with all Unrighteousness, — Maliciousness, full of Envy, Murder, Debate, — Malignity; Whisperers (these are all of a Nature and Quality) Backbiters, Haters of God, Despiteful, — Inventers of evil Things, — Implacable, Unmerciful, — so that Two Thirds of these malign Characters, lie upon the Want of Charity, Love, and good Will, Humility, good Affection, doing that which is worthy of Human Nature: For, this is Con-natural and Inherent to every Species, to consult the Good of those that are of the same Kind. Hence we may observe, how many ways Men sin against Charity.


The Scripture lays much of the Stress of Religion, upon the Principle of good Nature, and the Charitable Disposition. I will give Account why Scripture doth so.

1st, It is of principal Use, in Subservience to God's Government in the World. If this Principle of good Nature and good Will were general; there would be no Difficulty in Government. The greatest Difficulty of Government, either in the Hands of God, or of his Instruments, is occasion'd from the Perverseness of Men one to another: For, if there were but a Principle of good Nature and good Will; Government would find an easie Discharge.

2dly, It is the Expression of our Resentment of God's Compassion, and Goodness. They that maintain the Principle of good Nature, are the Representatives of God in the World. These are under the fullest Communications of God: And these are, in their Measure and Degree, what God is, in his Height, Excellency and Fulness.

3dly, Unless we be exercised in the Practice of it, here; we shall be no ways qualified to become Citizens of the Hea <219> venly Jerusalem hereafter: * And since it is a necessary Preparation, and Qualification, for the entrance of a Soul, in the State of Eternity, unto Glory; we shall not wonder why the Scripture doth so insist upon it. Unless we be discharged of Ill-will; unless we be freed from Ill-nature; we cannot have Admittance or Entrance into the Heavenly Jerusalem. For, we should be a Disturbance to that happy Society.

The Pleasures of Eternity are mental, intelectual, and satisfactory, without Molestation or Contest. — An uncharitable Christianity, unmerciful, void of Good-nature, is no more Religion, than a dark Sun, is a Sun, or a cold Fire, is Fire. — [86]He only can dwell in God who dwells in Love. If * we at all resemble God; partake of his Nature; or are, in any degree, such as he is; we must root out of our Natures, all Malignity, Envy, Malice, Rancour, Spite, Displeasure. To be out of Love and Good-will, is to be in the Devil's Form, and Spirit. A Christian must not be an Enemy. 'Tis not compatible with Christianity to bear Ill-will, * or (as we say) to carry Coals. — Frowardness, Peevishness, Male-contentedness, are the most dangerous Evils, because Men warrant themselves in them; supposing that they are justifiable in it.


* Thus Jonah (chap. 4. ver. 9.) I do well to be angry. But, oft we find, upon after-Consideration, not so much cause, as upon the suddain, we supposed; so, have reason to unsay, and to undo. This is frequently the case of ungovern'd Minds, and of Cholerick Constitutions. In this case, I ask these hasty Furious Persons; do they consider the Hurt they do to themselves, when they * thus dispossess themselves of themselves; so as neither to enjoy God nor themselves? — If we would be secure, we must resist the beginnings of this Evil. Scripture give us many Cautions, sundry Reasons, several Precedents and Examples. Prov. 15. 1. and 17. 14. — * Thus, [87]Jacob's preventing Esau's Revenge. [88]Abigail's pacifying David's Rage; so as that he blesses God for her. [89]What Mischief followed upon Hanun's misrepresenting David's intended Respect? [90]What, upon Rehoboam's churlish Answer?

Nothing more discomposes the Mind, than its own taking Offence: which if it does, it is its own fault. He that conceives Displeasure in his Breast, carries that within him, which doth corrode, * and torment him. — It is the Unhappiness of some, that they are not born to the * same Good Nature * others are. 'Tis <221> more their Burden than it is to others, to be of * such bad Natures. I would rather converse with such as are so (tho' that be troublesome enough,) than have it, my self: for, then it is an Evil without me: if I have it my self; it is an internal Malady. If it were my Disposition from my Infancy, I would study nothing but the Moral Vertues, till I had subdued it. For, what is Vertue given for, but to rectifie Crookedness of Nature? Man hath his Religion to little purpose, if, by it, he doth not mend his Nature, and refine his Spirit. Such a one, only makes a Profession of it; takes a Denomination from it.

There is great Congruity between our Well-being, and the Nature of things enjoyned by Religion. [91]Thy Law is Truth, that is, such as it ought to be. Submission to the things of Religion, is ready, kindly, regular: because our Minds are cast into the same Moulds with them; framed into Suitableness, and Conformity. We worship God best, when, in our Mind, * we are like him; when in respect of God's communicable Perfections, Holiness, Righteousness, and Goodness, we imitate and resemble him. If we would be happy as He is; we are to be holy as he is, in our Measure, Degree, and Proportion.

[1] Col. 1. 26.

[2] John. 1. 12.

[3] Mat. 3. 11.

[4] Eph. 4. 13.

[5] Mark 6. 20.

[6] Hos. 13. 9.

[7] Ez. 18. 31

[8] Psal. 19 .9.

[9] Mat. 13. 12.

[10] 2 Chron. 18. 7.

[11] 1 John 3. 20.

[12] 2 Pet. 2. 3.

[13] Vers. 19.

[14] Isa. 46. 8.

[15] Vers. 20.

[16] Isa. 6. 10.

[17] Psal. 19. 1.

[18] Psal. 19. 6.

[19] Acts 17. 27.

[20] Ps. 145. 9.

[21] Isa. 66. 3.

[22] Prov. 15. 8.

[23] Mat. 12. 20

[24] Job 32. 18.

[25] Pro. 18. 14.

[26] Isa. 57. 20.

[27] 1 Tim. 5. 24.

[28] V. 21.

[29] V. 28.

[30] V. 32.

[31] Luke 18. 2.

[32] 2 Kings 8. 13.

[33] 1 Tim. 6. 5.

[34] 2 Tim. 3. 8.

[35] Tit. 1. 15.

[36] Ver. 22.

[37] Prov. 3. 5, 6

[38] Prov. 28. 26.

[39] 1 Cor. 3. 15.

[40] Ver. 16.

[41] Ver. 19.

[42] Acts 3. 26.

[43] Vers. 24. 26.

[44] Ver. 28.

[45] Vers. 27.

[46] Mat. 3. 15.
Mark 4. 12.
Luk. 8. 10.
Joh. 12. 40.
Act. 28. 27.
Rom. 11. 8.

[47] Rom. 9. 14.

[48] Gen. 18. 25.

[49] Act. 17. 31.

[50] Psa. 96. 13.

[51] Job 8. 3.

[52] Hos. 13. 9.

[53] Jam. 4. 6.

[54] Prov. 14. 14.

[55] Prov. 1. 31.

[56] Jam. 1. 13.

[57] Vers. 27.

[58] Ezek. 18. 2.

[59] Rom. 3. 4.

[60] Hos. 13. 9.

[61] Prov. 14. 30.

[62] Prov. 3. 16.

[63] Rom. 2. 14.

[64] Rom. 10. 6.

[65] Vers. 27.

[66] Job 36. 3.

[67] Pro. 28. 22.

[68] Mat. 8. 9.

[69] Prov. 16. 32.

[70] Vers. 27.

[71] 2 Pet. 2. 3.

[72] Mark 7. 22.

[73] Psal. 10. 3.

[74] Jer. 51. 13.

[75] 1 Tim. 6. 9, 10.

[76] Mat. 5. 3.

[77] Ps. 34. 18.

[78] Isa. 57. 15.

[79] Gen. 19. 14.

[80] Mat. 19. 23.

[81] Psa. 78. 18.

[82] 1 Tim. 5. 8.

[83] Pro. 28. 20.

[84] Psal. 73. 25

[85] Vers. 29.

[86] 1 John 4. 16.

[87] Gen. 32.

[88] 1 Sam. 25.

[89] 2 Sam. 10.

[90] 1 Kings 12.

[91] Ps. 119. 142.

Cite as: Benjamin Whichcote, Sermons on Romans 1:16-29: First Version (1698), pp. 47-221,, accessed 2024-02-21.