SOUL-SAVING Gospel Truths.

Delivered in several SERMONS, Wherein is shewed:

I. The Unreasonableness of those Excuses which Men make for their Delaying to come to the Lord Jesus Christ for Salvation.

II. That for Men to Despair of the Forgiveness of their Sins because they have been Great, is a great Evil.

III. That every Man in the World is going into Eternity.


Phil. 3. 1. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
2 Pet. 1. 14, 15. Knowing that shortly I must put off this my Tabernacle—I will endeavour that you may be able after my Decease, to have these things alwayes in remembrance.

Sold by Eleazer Phillips. 1703

[Page 3]

TO That Congregation in Boston New-England, To whom I have for many Years been Preaching the Gospel of CHRIST.

IT is but a very little Time that I have now to be in the World: on which account I have the greater reason to make what ha [...]t I can, to finish the work appointed for me on the Earth; & to Labour (by the help of Christ) to bring forth that Fruit which shall remain after I am gone. I have [Page 4] considered that Discourses on Doctri­nal Subjects, may be of Use (if the Lord see meet to give his Blessing to attend them) for the Edification of believers. Nor have I been al­together negligent in Endeavours (according to the measure of Grace received) to serve the Generation whereof I am, in that way; having therefore Published my Meditations respecting the future Conversion of the Jewish-Nation. The Subject of Bap­ [...]sm: The Order of the Gospel Profes­sed and Practised in these Churches: The Ministry of Holy Angels; And concerning the Person, Office, and Glory of Christ. I have also prepared for the Press several Discourses con­cerning the New-Jerusalem State of the Church; and concerning the First Resurrection, which I shall leave with those that shall survive me, to dis­pose of as they shall see cause. But I have observed, That Plain, Practi­cal-Sermons, the design whereof is to [Page 5] promote Conversion and Holiness, do the greatest Good. Therefore have I several times Dedicated Books of that nature (and for the same reason I Bequeath what is emitted herewith) to You who are My Flock, & [...]ear­ly Beloved. Two and Forty Years are this Summer expiring, since I began my Ministry in Boston. I thank the Lord, (and I bless You) for the great Love which You and Your Fathers have manifested to me and mine. I have often been temp­ted to remove from you by more sollicitations than one or two. And if I had done so, perhaps I might have advantaged my self in Outward respects: But when I have consi­dered Your singular Affection to­wards me, I could not find in my Heart to do it. May I be instru­mental of Good to Your and to Your Childrens Souls, not only while [...]t I am Living, but after I am Dead, & meet many of You [...] the right hand [Page 6] of Christ, when He shall appear in His Glory, how great will our Re­joycing be in that Day. I am wast­ing continually with decays of Age: And wonder that I have held out so long, considering my sedentary Life, and fifty Years constant hard Study­ings, Watchings, Cares, Labours. But it is a comfort that I have well nigh finished my Course. A great man was used to say, that when once a man was past Sixty, he should be wil­ling to D [...]. I am thro' the Patience & Goodness of God now past (that which they call the great Climacterick) the Sixty Third Year of my Age. Thrice have I been in my Younger Years brought to the Gates of Death by Sickness: But Your Predecessors, and some of your selves, have by your Prayers to God kept me alive. Your Love I acknowledge and thank you for. But now that I am stricken in Years, I cannot desire you to Pray, that I may continue longer with [Page 7] you. And I will confess to you, that CHRIST has shewed me that which makes me long every day to be where He is. But therefore let your Prayer for me be that whilest I am in the World I may be ser­viceable, and that I may [...]ipen for Heaven apace. So do I commend you to God, and to the Word of His Grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an Inhe­ritance among all them which are Sanctified. I am desirous to ap­prove my self unto Death,

Your Faithful and Loving Teacher, Increase Mather.


These Books are to be Sold by Benjamin Eliot, under the West-End of the Exchange in Boston. Viz.

THe Christians Exercise by Satans Temptations: Or an essay to discover the methods which this Ad­versary u [...]eth to tempt the Children of God; and to direct them how to escape the mischief thereof.

The Fountain opened: Or the great Gospel-Priviledge of having Christ Exhibited to sinful men. Wherein is also proved that there shall be a National Calling of the Jews.

The Peril of the Times displayed. Or the danger of mens taking up with a Form of Godliness, but de­nying the Power of it. By the Re­verend Mr. Samuel Willard.

[Page 9]

ALL Excuses for not Believing on Christ are Unreasonable.

Luk. XIV. 18.

And they All with one Consent, began to make Excuse.

THE Lord Jesus Christ was on the Sabbath Day in­vited to eat Bread in the House of an eminent Pha­r [...]ee. Being there he did (as he always used to do) set himself to do good unto those with whom he had his Conversation. In the first place he heal'd a man that was [...]ick [Page 10] of the Dropsie; and then he gave wholsome Counsel unto those that were about him, which te [...]ded to promote the health and salvation of their Souls. He Exhorted them to Humility, and also to Charity and Liberality; and that they should extend their Charity not to Rich men only, that could do as much for them again; but unto such as were Poor and could never make them a­ny recompence: and he did assure them that if they did so (from a right, principle, & to a right end,) they should be recompensed at the Resurrection of the Just. Upon this one present uttered a saying very frequent among the Jewish Rabbies, namely, That they are Blessed who shall eat Bread in the Kingdom of God. They are blessed that shall have Com­munion with God, & with his Saints in the Resurrection world. Upon this mans thus saying, the Lord Jesus Christ took occasion to speak a Pa­rable [Page 11] concerning the Great Supper. By which he did intimate that notwith­standing they pretended an affection to the Kingdom of God, neverthe­less the wo [...]ld had a greater interest in their affections than that King­dom. For he shewed that many who were invited to the Great Supper, refused to come, and made Excuses for their so doing. The first had one Excuse, the second another, & the third another. Nevertheless, in this they all agreed to Excuse their not coming. When they were in­vited with one consent they made Ex­cuse. Their Excuses were specious and plausible, and yet unreasonable.

Now for the opening of this Pa­rable, By the Great Supper, Christ and [...] ▪ Benefits are intended: which are fitly called a Great Supper, no [...] only in respect of the Mult [...]tude of persons invited thereto, but in re­spect of the Greatness, the Excellen­ [...] of the Matter of the Fea [...]t▪ Christ [Page 12] and Eternal Life: and in respect of the Continuance thereof. We read Esther 1. 4. that A [...]asuerus the Em­peror of Persia, made a Feast for his Nobles and Princes, which continu­ed for the space of an Hundred and Fourscore Dayes. But this Great Supper has infinite Multitudes invited to it; Thousands yea Millions have been called to it. And the Feast will continue not for an hundred & fourscore Days, nor an hundred & fourscore Years, but through out the never ending Ages of Eternity. Therefore it may well be called a Great Supper. And as for the Person that did make this Feast, and so call unto it, we are to understand God Himself: Therefore in the Parable, Mat. 22. 2. 'tis said That a certain King did it, viz. the God and King of Heaven, the King Eternal. And as for the Servants that are said to [...] sent to call [...]nto this Great Sup­ [...]er, the Ministers of the Lord Jesus [Page 13] Christ are thereby meant. As for the Persons invited to this Great Supper, both Jews and Gentiles are intended, & not only the great ones but the meaner fort among them. Therefore it is said, Go-into the Streets of the City, and call them in, and it is said, Go into the High-ways and compel them to come in: By which the calling of the Gentiles might be signified. The Jews had the first offer of the Gospel made to them. Christ was Preached unto them before unto any other in the world; but few of them would ac­cept of him, few of them did believe, but with unreasonable Excuses did put off their coming to him.


That when men are in the Gospel in­vited to come to Christ for Salvation, they are apt to delay & put it off with Unreasonable Excuses.

[Page 14]Two things are before us to be shewed.

1. What those Excuses are, and the Unreasonableness of them, whereby men put off their coming to Christ?

2. Whence is it that men are apt to make Excuses and Objections a­gainst Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ?

Question 1. What are those Ex­cuses which men commonly make, & the Unreasonableness of them?

Answer 1. Men are are ap [...] to pretend that their coming to Christ will be prejudicial to their worldly and car­nal Interests. Thus here, three are mentioned as Excusing themselves: Two of them their excuse was, it would be prejudicial to their world­ly profit, the other because it would be prejudicial to his carnal sensual delights. Men are apt to think, that if they come to Christ they shall [Page 15] suffer as to their Outward estate. It may be they shall be Poor then. And indeed tho' the Lord Jesus Christ does not require that all his Disciples should actually part with whatever in the world they enjoy, nevertheless he requires that they be willing to do it when he shall put them upon it. Luk. 14. 32 He that will not forsake all that he has cannot be my Disciple. A man must be willing to forsake all the Com­forts that he has in the world, when ever Christ calls him to it, or he can't be his Disciple. Yet never­theless, this Excuse is very Unrea­sonable: For if a man should lose all that he has in the world and gain Christ instead of it, he would be no loser, but an infinite gainer. Eph. 3. 8. The Apostle there speaks of the Unsearchable Riches of Christ. If a man looses the world and gains Christ, he has unsearch­able Riches instead of that which he [Page 16] had in the world. And Mat 13. 45. we read of one that did sell all that he had that he might obtain the Pearl of great price. Christ is the Pearl of great price. Tho' a a man should part with all that he has in the world, if he gain that [...]earl he is no loser, but a great gain­er. No man loseth any thing for Christ, but Christ will make it up to him in this world; if not in tem­porals, then in spirituals which is far better. Mark. 10. 30. Who ever shall lose House or Land (said Christ) for my sake, and the Gospels, he shall receive an Hundred fold in this present life. He shall have more Grace given to him if he loses the world, and a little of that is more valuable than a great deal of the world. And he shall have more of inward heavenly Joy in his own soul. As the Chri­stian Hebrews when their goods were taken away from them on Christs account, took that affliction [Page 17] Joyfully. And much more will the Lord recompense them in the world to come. Therefore the Lord says, he shall have an hundred fold in this world, and Eternal Life in the world to come. Now that Eternal Life is of great worth and value, infinite­ly more than any thing of this world. Mat. 19. 21. Sayes Christ to one there, Follow thou me, sell all that thou hast and give to the poor, and follow me and thou shalt have treasure in Hea­ven. How great is that Treasure? how vast are those Riches? Eph. 1. 18. That you may understand the Riches of the Glory of the Inheritance. Riches of glory, a rich and glorious Inheritance. This men should have, if they came to Christ; and there­fore it is very unreasonable in them to object the profit of the world as their Excuse for their not coming to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, Others are apt to Excuse themselves by thinking they shall be [Page 18] deprived of their earthly Delights. That they shall never see pleasant Day more; that if they become se­rious Christians, then they must bid a farewel to all Pleasure in the world. But this is an Unreasona­ble Objection. For those pleasures which Christ calls his Disciples to renounce for ever, they are sinful ones, and last but for a season. Heb. 11. 25. The pleasures of Sin are but for a season. Yea and but for a very short season too. Eccl. 7. 6. They are like the crackling of Thorns. If Thorns be set on fire they make a crack­ling, but they are presently out. And such are the pleasures of Sin: And then they end in dismal sorrow. Prov. 14. 13. The end of that mirth is [...]eaviness. The pleasures of sin, the end of them will be heaviness. And the more delight any take therein the greater will their sorrow and misery be in another World. Rev. 18. 7. How much she hath glori­fied [Page 19] her self & lived deliciously, so much torment & sorrow give her. The more persons have indulged themselves in the wayes of sin, the greater torment shall be given to them in the world to come. Whereas if they hearken to Christ and come to him, they shall have better pleasures. Prov. 3. 17. All the wayes of wisdom are pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. They are pleasant, and in them are far greater pleasures than ever any did enjoy in the wayes of sin, Psal. 36. 8. Thou wilt make them to drink of the rivers of thy pleasures. Rivers of pleasures are to be en­joyed by those that come to Christ. And they are pleasures that shall last for ever and ever, Psal. 16. 11. At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Now then for men to refuse coming to Christ because they think they must never enjoy their pleasures any more, whereas those pleasures are but for a sea­son; [Page 20] and if they did come to Christ, they should enjoy better & greater and eternal Pleasures, for them on that account to Excuse themselves is most unreasonable.


2. There are some who are so Un­reasonable as to Object, that they don't know whether Christ dyed for them or no, and then if they did come to him they should not partale of the Salvation purchased by him.

But to show you the Unreaso­nableness of this Excuse.

1. There, is merit enough in the Blood of Christ to save all the men in the world. 1 Joh. 2. 2. He is a propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole World. If all the men in the world should believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, there needs no more to be done that God should become pro­pitious to them, than that which [Page 21] Jesus Christ has already done. His Blood is infinitely Meritorious; and it most needs be so, because of his being not Man only but [...] also. 1 Joh. 1. 7. The Blood [...] Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Inas-much as the Blood of Jesus Christ is the Blood of the Eternal Son of God, it cleanseth [...] all sin. There is an infinite value and efficacy in it. There is a super-abundant merit in the Blood of Christ. As the repenting Prodigal said, Luk. 15. 17. There is Bread enough in my Fathers House and to spare. Even so, there is Merit enough in the Death of Christ and to spare. As for all those thousands of Millions that perish to Eternity, I will say to you, there is not one of them all that does perish for want of a sufficiency of Merit in the Blood of Christ to save them, but because they do not come to him & believe on him. Therefore,

[Page 22]2. In the Gospel Christ and Sal­vation by him is offered unto all men. The offer of the Gospel is as Free and [...]iversal as possibly can be. Mark 16. 15. Go and Preach the Gospel to every Creature. Every man where the Gospel comes, has Christ and Salvation by him tendred unto him. Rev. 22. 17. Come whosoever will. What can be more Free or Universal than that invitation of the Gospel, Come whosoever will? And if they come they shall have Life? Heb. 5. 9. He is the author of eter­nal Salvation to all them that obey him. Let never so many obey him, he will be the author of Eternal Sal­vation to them. And there is not a man in the world, but a Minister of Christ may say to that Man, Do you believe on the Name of Jesus Christ and you shall never perish, but shall have Eternal Life, Joh. 3. 16. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that [Page 23] whosoever does believe on him should not perish, but should have ever­lasting Life. In this there is a dif­ference between fallen Man and fal­len Angels. It may not be said un­to the fallen Angels, if you believe you shall be saved by Christ, if you will trust to him for Salvati­on you shall be saved by him. When Evil Spirits in possessed persons have entred into discourses with men, as oftentimes it hath been so, no man may say to one of them, If you will trust to Christ for Salvation, you may be saved. But now this may be said to Men, to every one with­out exception. So large, so univer­sal is the offer of the Gospel that the Children of men are made par­takers of. If a Prince should lay down a Price for the Redemption of a company of Slaves, declaring that whosoever will consent to be his Subjects, the price is laid down for them, how unreasonable [Page 24] would it be for any one of them to say, I don't know it was intended for me in particular: when the Prince their Redeemer said it was in­tended for all that would consent to be his faithful Subjects. So does the Lord Jesus Christ the Prince of Life say in the Gospel, I [...]aid down a Price to redeem the Slaves of Hell, and whosoever will sincerely con­sent to be my Subject, my faithful Servant, it is for him.

3. The way and the only way for a man to know whether Christ dyed for him in particular, is to believe on his Name. If any man, tho' a Re­probate should say Christ has not dyed for me, that man would sin in so saying; for then he would in­trude himself into that which is a Divine secret. Much more would an Elect Vessel, be guilty of sin, if he should say Christ has not dyed for me. D [...]t. 29. 29. Secret things belong to the Lord, and Revealed [Page 25] things belong to us. Whether Christ has dyed for such a man in particu­lar is a secret thing, known unto the Lord only, until by the fruits of it it doth appear. But that such a man ought to Believe on the Name of Jesus Christ: that he ought to come to Christ, and sub­mit to him is revealed. Then let him do what is revealed, and he may be sure Christ has dyed for him. Yea as sure of it, as if he were now in Heaven Gal. 2. 20. Sayes the Apostle, The life that I now live, is by the Faith on the Son of God, who gave himself for me. If a man has Faith in the Son of God, then he may know that Christ gave him­self for him in particular. This then is a very Unreasonable Ex­cuse for not coming to him.

3. There are others that to Ex­cuse themselves pretend they cannot Believe. (As one here in this Pa­rable [Page 26] said, I cannot come.) Pretend­ing they have not power to be­lieve: Does not Christ himself say, Joh. [...]6. 44. None can come to me except the Father draw him? And what would the Ministers of Christ have us do things impossible for us to do?

But to show the Unreasonableness of this Objection.

1. 'Tis mans own fault that he cannot come. They have made themselves unable to believe. How then will that Impotency Excuse them? It is true, that the Children of men are become impotent, mise­rable Creatures. Rom. 5. 6. They are without strength. But they have made themselves to be without strength. They have sinned away that power which once they had. As Sampson when he did hearken to Delilab, his strength departed from him, and he became weak. So Adam and we in him, hearkening [Page 27] to Satan, our Strength is departed from us, and we are become weak. Adam had power enough to do what­ever God required of him: There was nothing that God enjoyned on him, but he had power sufficient to do it. Eccles. 7. 29. God made man upright but they sought out many in­ventions. So God gave to man in his first-state sufficiency of Power to obey whatsoever he should enjoy [...] on him. But they have sinned away that power, and made themselves unable to do what once they could have done. If a Servant should make himself sick, and neglect doing his work that his Master hath set him about, and then pretend that he was sick, would that be a sufficient Excuse? When it might be said, You did wilfully make your self sick & weak. That would be no rational Excuse for him.


2. Sinners would not believe if they [Page 28] could do it. They would not come to Christ if they had power to do it. Mat. 22. 2. Tis said, They would not come. It is not said, They could not come: Nay, but they would not come. If sinners would speak out and declare the whole truth, they must say, We neither can nor will come to the Lord Jesus Christ. Their Cannot is a most wilful Cannot. They had rather perish than go to Christ for Salvation. It is a dreadful word to be spoken, nevertheless 'tis a true one, That there is such op­position and enmity in the hearts of men against the holy Lord Jesus Christ, that they had rather be damned for ever than that Christ should save them. Therefore did Christ say to the Jews, Joh. 5. 40. Ye will not come unto me that you might have Life. They were told plainly and often enough, that if they did not come unto Christ they should dye in their sins. They were told o [...]ten [Page 29] enough, that if they did not come to Christ for Eternal Life, they should be sent down to the Tor­ments of Hell world without end. Yet for all this they would not come to him that they might have Life. That Unbelief which is the Damning sin of men that live under the Gospel, it is a wilful Unbelief. Joh. 3. 19. This is the Condemnation that Light is come into the world and men have loved Darkness rather than Light. That is the Damning sin under the Gospel, men love darkness. And when light is come to them, they shut their eyes and don't care for the light. It is plain that sin­ners will not come to Christ; that they have no mind to believe, in that they will not do what they can do. They will not do what they have power to do, in order to the obtaining of Faith. God in his Ward has given men directions what to do that so they may obtain [Page 30] Precious Faith in the Name of Christ, and such things [...] they can do if they would, but they will not, and therefore do they perish. Ma [...]. 23. 37. I would have gathered you under my wings (sayes Christ) but ye would not.

3. God does command no man in the world to believe by his own strength. Therefore this Objection this Excuse is unreasonable. When the Lord commanded Moses, Exod. 14. 1 [...]. saying Last up thy hand, take the Rod into [...]hine hand, lift it up over the Sea, and divide it. How unreaso­nable would it have been for Moses to have said, I divide the Sea! It is impossible, and therefore for him to have neglected to take the Rod into his hand and lift it up? So it is when God commands sinners to believe, and in order thereunto that they should do such and such things, and yet they will not do, it. I say the Lord requireth no man to [Page 31] believe by his own power, never­theless, there are three things that God commands every man to at­tend where the Gospel comes, and yet there are many that will not obey him.

1. God requires that they should not refuse and despise the Outward calls of his Word. Heb. 12. 25. Take [...]eed that ye refuse not him that speaks from Heaven. Yet they do and will refuse. Psal. 81▪ 11, My people would not hearken to me, they would none of me. They would not, they would not, (sayes God) no [...] they would not when the Lord called to them. So Prov. 1. 22. How long ye Scorn [...]s will you delight in Scorning? Can't men choose whether they will de­light in scorning or no▪ I called & ye refused, sayes the Wisdom of God: You set at nought my Counsels and despised my Reproofs. God does expect and require from men that they should neither in word n [...]r deed [Page 32] say, We will not do what thou com­mandest, and yet sinners will do thus, Jer. 2. 31. They said, We are Lords, we will come no more unto thee. No, we will not come to thee. They said so Practically however tho' not Verbally. Yet one time when the Prophet told them what God requi­red of them, Jer. 44. 16. they said, As for the Word which thou hast spo­ken to us in the Name of the Lord we will not hearken to it. So it is with sinners when invited to come to Christ, they will not hearken to that word: And therefore to pretend Inability to come is a vain Ex­cuse.

2. God requires of sinners that they should not resist the Inward strivings of his holy Spirit. As that they should not refuse nor reject the Outward calls of his Word, so that they should not resist the Inward strivings of his Spirit: and yet this they do, and this they will do tho' they are [Page 33] Damned for it when they have done. 1 Thes. 5. 19. Quench not the Spirit says God. Ayo, but sinners when the Spirit of God has beg [...]n to kin­dle a holy fire in their hearts, they quench it, they put it out. Thus it was with the sinners of the old world, Gen. 6. 3. My Spirit shall not al­ways strive with Man. The Spirit of God had been striving with them. Righ­teous Noah Preached many power­ful Sermons unto them: that Preacher of Righteousness would sometimes startle and amaze their Consciences, but they rejected they resisted the Holy Spirit striving in that Ministry. So it was with the rebellious Children of Israel, Isa. 63. 10. They rebelled & vexed his Holy Spirit, therefore he be­came their Enemy. And so it was with their Children a long time af­ter them, Act. 7. 51. You staff-neck­ [...]d and Uncircumcised in Heart and Ears, you do alwayes resist the Holy Ghost Sinners resist the Holy Ghost [Page 34] when he strives with them, & uses arguments to perswade them to come to Christ. Therefore their pre­ [...]n [...]ions that they cannot believe are vain, since they resist the moti­ons of his Spirit.

3. God requires one thing more, and that which they have power to do if they will, He requires that they should be earnest and diligent in the use of means for the obtaining of Faith. Joh. 6. 27. Labour for the Meat that endures to Eternal Life. And if we must labour for that, we must labour for Faith without which that is never to be obtained. Luk. 13. 24. Strive to enter in at the strait Gate. The gate of Faith is a strait gate, but very few enter in at it: Well, God requires men to strive that they may enter in at the strait gate. And that they should do such things as have a tendency to cause them to believe. There are such [Page 35] things, and sinners can practise them if they will.

As now,

Meditation and serious Consideration has a [...] tendency to cause men to come to Christ▪ If they would meditate on their undone conditi­on without Christ: If they would consider [...] the state, the mi­serable condition they are in, and the way they are walking in, what it is, and whether it will bring them at the last; it may be Serious Thoughts of that nature would end in their Conversion and Salvation. This they ought to do, Hag. 1. 5. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts consider your wayes. The Lord God of Hosts saith from Heaven to every sinner, Consider thy wayes, what thou ha [...]t done, whether thou art going, where this way will bring thee ere long. And God requires men to consi­der of Death and Judgment to come. Deut. 32. 29. Oh that they were wise [Page 36] that they would consider their latter [...]nd. This God requires of sinners, that they should sit down and con­sider of their latter end: Consi­der that Death is coming on them: Consider that after Death comes an Eternal Judgment. God requires sinners that they should think seri­ously of that Eternity to which they are going: That Eternity is before them in another world where they must quickly be. Eccl. 11. 8. Re­member the dayes of darkness for they are many. Remember Eternity, con­sider of Eternity, and where you must be when you go out of this world. This God requires of men. And that they should Meditate on the Lord Jesus Christ: that they should think of his being a suitable Savi­our for them: that they should Meditate on the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, and how he is alto­gether lovely. If they would do [...]o, it may be their Souls would be [Page 37] enamoured with him; it may be they would be perswaded to part with all for his sake, if they would but Meditate on Jesus Christ and on his Glory. But now Sinners will not do this, altho' they can do it if they will. For that Cogi­tative faculty, that power of think­ing that God has given to men makes them capable to think of Christ, of Eternity, and of another World, as well as of the vain things of this world. That power which God has given them enables them to do it if they would. But they will not. They suffer other kind of thoughts to lodge in their souls, Jer. 4. 14. Wash thine heart from wickedness O Jerusalem that thou may [...]st be saved: how long shall vain thoughts lodge within thee: how long shall it be? Sinners suffer vain thoughts to lodge within them, but they will not suf­fer holy thoughts to lodge within them, they will not suffer thoughts [Page 38] of Christ and Eternity to lodge within them. Then shall they com­plain they are not able to believe, when they will not do the things that have a tendency to make them believe?

Once more,

God requires that men should Pray to him for Faith. For Faith is the gift of God, Eph. 2. 8. We are saved by Grace through Faith, & that not of our selves it is the Gift of God. That Faith that men have if a true Faith, 'tis the gift of God to them. Faith is of the Operation of God. Then God requires & ex­pects from men that they should pray to him for this gift; that they should go alone and Cry as for their lives and souls to God to give them Faith. They say they can't come to Christ except God draw them, then you ought to Pray to God that he would draw you. Cant. 1. 3. Draw me and I shall run after [...]. [Page 39] So ought sinners to pray to God that he would draw them to Christ. He will be enquired of by the House of Israel to do this thing for them. 'Twas said to the Woman of Sama­ria, If thou [...]adst asked he would have given thee living water. So God expects of sinners to ask Faith in Christ. We have instances of those that prayed for Faith, Mark. 9. 24. Lord help my Unbelief. So the Lord would have sinners come before him and complain of their Unbelief, & to Cry to God to help them a­gainst their Unbelief. The Apostles prayed for more Faith, Luk. 17. 5. Lord encrease our Faith say they. So sinners should go to God and should Pray to him, Lord give us Faith, and help us to lay hold on Christ. [...]ow our hearts to accept of him, as in the Gospel he is offered unto us. But this they will not do: Or if they do, it is in a formal careless manner, they are not in good ear­ne [...]t [Page 40] in Crying to God for Faith. Tell me if you can, where there is one Unbeliever in the world that does day and night Cry to God to help him to believe, that does Cry to God to give him saving Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am per­swaded there is not one such Un­believer in the World. Therefore how vain is it for an Unbeliever to say I cannot Believe, when he can pray to God for this Grace, but will not.

4. Another Excuse which some make it that they are Unworthy that Christ should accept of them, and therefore they will stay till they are better qua­lified and then offer themselves to Christ. Being so unworthy as they are, they think they may Excuse them­selves for the present.

But this is tho' a seemingly hum­ble, a really proud Excuse. The meaning is that sinners would: have [Page 41] [...]ome works of their own to com­mend them to the Lords acceptance, something of t [...]eir own that should deserve that Christ should receive them. Whenas we must come to Christ like poor Beggars that have nothing in the world to recommend us to him, but only Sin and Guilt and Misery, that so Christ may de­liver us from it. Nor will he re­fuse to accept of such if indeed they come unto him. As we read concerning David, 1 Sam. 22. 2. That if any [...]ere in distress and in debt they came to David, and he be­came a Captain over them. So sin­ners that are infinitely in debt and distressed if they come to the Lord Jesus Christ he will be to them the Captain of their Salvation. There­fore he does invite Poor as well as Rich, them▪ that have nothing to offer to him, yet that they should come to him. Isa. 55. 1. Come with­out Money and without Price. Such [Page 42] as are so poor as that they have neither Money nor Monies worth, the Lord sayes to them Come, come, come. And thus in this Parable, we see that Christ invites the most worthless ones to come to the great Supper, Luk. 14. 21. Go into the Lanes and Streets of the City, and bring in the Poor, the Maimed, and the Halt, and the Blind▪ 23. ver. Go into the High-wayes, to the Hedges and compel them to come in. Chri [...]ts Salvation is altogether free, Rev. 22. 17. Whosoever will let him come and take freely of the Waters of Life. Christ will not Sell his Blood, and he will not Sell his Salvation, but he gives it freely. And as for such as have a real sense of their own Un­wo [...]thiness, they are not the less welcome to Christ on that account, but rather the more acceptable to him. As we see in the Centurion Mat. 8. 8. I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my Roof. The [Page 43] Lord did highly accept of this man that had a deep sense of his own Unworthiness. So the woman of Canaan, Christ did intimate to her that she [...] a Dog, and not [...] of the Childrens Bread, Mat. 15. 26. It is not meet to cast the Childrens Bread to Dogs: Truth Lord (sayes she) but Dogs may eat of the crumbs that fall from their Masters Table. Doest thou say I am a Dog, true Lord I confess I am so, but may I not have a crumb notwithstanding that? There is no way to have any thing of real worth, but by coming to the Lord Jesus Christ for it. We must be beholden to him for it [...] Rev. 3. 17, 18. Thou art Poor, Wr [...] ­ched, Naked, I counsel thee to [...] Gold of me that thou mayest be [...]. If we would have Spiritual▪ Riche [...], if we would have [...]old, we must go unto Christ for it all.

5. Despairing sinners are apt to Ex­cus [...] [Page 44] themselves from coming to Christ's because of the greatness of their sins. Because they have been grievous sinners they are afraid to come.

But this is the most unreasonable Excuse that possibly can be. It is just as if a man should say, I am ve­ry sick, and therefore am afraid to go to the Physician. The more sin­ful any have been, the more con­cerned are they to go to Christ. Yea, to make ha [...]t unto him, Mat. 9. 12, 13 The Sick need a Physician: I came to call Sinners, sayes Christ. They that have Sin-sick-souls they need a Christ, and are concerned to make ha [...]t to Him who is the great Phy­sician of Souls, that they may be Healed. And the Lord Jesus Christ is so wonderfully, Gracious, is that He does invite the greatest of Sin­ners. Not only such as have been guilty of lesser Evils, but the most wicked in the world where the Gos­pel comes, Christ invites them, to [Page 45] come to him, believe on him, and trust in him for Salvation, Isa. 46. [...]2. Hearken to me you that are stou­hearted, and that are far from Righ­teousness. So in the Parable, Mat. 22. 10. Good & Bad were invited. Not only the Good but the Bad. There are some sinners compared with others, may have the name of Good given to them. Such as have been Civil and Moral in their Conversation they are good, com­pared with such as have been scan­d [...]lou [...]ly wicked. But the Bad, the most vile profligate sinners are in­vited to come to Him for Salvati­on. Nor did the Lord Jesus Christ ever refuse any that came to Him, on the account of their having been gui [...]ty of great sins. No, the Pub­licans were received by Him, tho' they had been notorious Sinners. In Luk. 7. [...]7 we read of a woman that had been a sinner, an abomina­ble sinner, yet when she did wash [Page 46] the Feet of Christ with her tears, notwithstanding her great sins, He did graciously accept of her, and her sins which were many were for­given. So then Christ does not re­fuse any on that account. Nay as for the worst of sinners, He declares that He came into the World to save such, 1 Tim. 1. 15. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all ac­ceptation, that Jesus Christ came to save the chief of Sinners. Then He will not refuse such as they are, if they do indeed come unto Him & believe on Him. Only He expects that they should be willing to be delivered from the dominion of sin, as well as from the damnation of it. Mat. 1. 21 He saves is people from their sins And there is one consideration that may answer this and all other Excuses that can be made against believing, it is this, The God of Heaven does command men to believe, 1 Joh. 3 23 This is His commandment that ye believe in the Name of His Son Jesus [Page 47] Christ. Would it not be a very strange thing to hear a man say, May I dare to do what the Great GOD commands me to do? For a man to say, shall I not presume if I do that which God positively requires me to do? And yet so it is when any one does say, shall I not presume if I go to Christ for Salvation, or may I dare to believe?

Quest. 2. Whence is it then that Sinners are so apt to Excuse and Delay their coming to Christ?

For Answer,

1. It is from that Ignorance which is in them. There is a double ig­norance which does keep men from closing with the Lord Jesus Christ. First, They are ignorant of them­selves, they know not how sinful they are. They are not sensible of that exceeding Guiltiness that is up­on [Page 48] on them. Especially if they have been kept from gross scandalous Sins, they are apt to think all is well with them, and that they have no such need of a Saviour as indeed they have. Thus it was with Paul before his Conversion, Rom. 7. 9 I was alive without the Law, but the Commandment came, Sin revived and I dyed. He thought himself a­live, that he was in the way unto Eternal Life. Before his Conver­sion he lived very blamele [...]ly, he was a Pharisee and a strict one too. But when the Commandment, when the Law was set home on his Conscience in the power and spiri­tual Nature of it, then he saw him­self a thousand times more guilty and sinful than once he apprehended. Then I Dyed, (sayes he) he saw himself a Dead and and a Damned Creature, and was e'ne ready to dye away with the terrible sight of his sins. And Sinners are ignorant [Page 49] of their Misery, Rev. [...]. 17. Thou knowest not that thou art Miserable. A man that is very sick if he does not know it, he will not go to the Physician. So it is with sinners, Mat. 9. 12. The whole have no need of a Physician. The Pharisees thought themselves to be whole, and righte­ous enough without a Christ, and therefore they came not to him, Joh. 9. 41. You say we see, therefore your Sin remains They were under Spiritual blindness and other mi­series, which they needed a Christ to save them from, but they knew it not; therefore their sin did re­main.


Secondly, Sinners are ignorant of Christ, therefore they come not to him, Joh. 1, 10, 11. He was in the world and the world knew him not; He came to his own and they received him not. They knew him not, and therefore received him not. If a [Page 50] man should have a Jewel offered to him of never so great value, if he is ignorant of its worth, he will not much regard the offer. So here, Christ is the most precious Jewel that ever was offered to any man, He is better than Rubies: But sin­ners don't know the worth of a Christ, if they did they would not reject him, but count it the greatest happiness might they have an interest in him. Psal. 9. 10 They that know thy Name will put their trust in thee. They that know the worth of a Christ will believe on him. It was therefore said to the woman of Sa­maria, Joh. 4. 10 If thou hadst known the gift of God, thou wouldest have ask­ed. But as long as sinners do not know Christ, it is not to be wondred at if they do not come to him for Salvation. The man that was born blind but had his eyes opened, when 'twas said to him, Joh. 9. 35. Dost thou believe on the Son of God? Re­plyed, [Page 51] Who is He that I may believe on him? If men do not know who and what manner of one Christ is, they will not believe on him. Sin­ners are ignorant of the Righteous­ness of Christ, and therefore do not desire to be made partakers of it. Rom. 10. 3 Be [...]ng ignorant of Gods Righteousness they did not submit to it. And they are ignorant of the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although they have the Scrip­tures which set forth the Glory of Christ, for all that they remain ig­norant of it. Act. 13. 27 They knew him not, nor the voice of the Prophet▪ that were read to them every Sabbath Day. The Jews in their Meeting-houses had the Scripture read and expounded to them every Sabbath Day. Those Scriptures declared the Glory of Christ, yet they knew him not. If men were really ap­prehensive of the Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, they would not reject [Page 52] him, 1 Cor. 2. 8 If they had known Him they would not have Crucified the Lord of Glory.

2. The Reason why sinners do not come to Christ when invited, It is because they love him not. No man will choose to be a Scholar to a Master that he hates. Sinners are so far from loving the Lord Je­sus Christ, as that they do indeed hate him. Joh. 3. 20 He that hates the light does not come to the light. Christ is that light which sinners hate, therefore they do not nor will come unto him. It is a sad word to be spoken, but alas a true one, That men by Nature are haters of God, and therefore will not believe on him who is the Son of God. This reason Christ gives why the Jews did not believe on him, Joh. 5. 42. You will not come unto me that ye may have life: You have not the love of God in you. They hated God & [Page 53] therefore would not come unto the Lord Jesus Christ. He that hates God the Father, hates the Lord Je­sus Christ who is the Son of God also, and must needs do so because he is so like unto his Father. Joh▪ 15. 24. They have hated me and my Father, sayes Christ. He that hates the one will hate the other. He that hates Christ will hate God even the Father, and he that hates God the Father will hate Jesus Christ too. Wherefore Christ speaking concern­ing those Jews the [...] were invited to come to him, but did not, nor would they come, sayes Their Soul loathed me, Zech. 11. 8. Because Christ is holy therefore the unholy hearts of men do not love him. As the E­vil Spirit once said in a po [...]e [...]ed Man, What have we to do with thee thou holy one of God? M [...]. 1. 24. So it is with sinners, Christ is the Holy one of God, & therefore they don't desire to have to do with him. [Page 54] He is too holy for them. They would willingly have a Christ that should save them from Hell and yet allow them to live in their sins: such a Christ would please them. But Christ is He who is Holy, and will not allow men to continue sin­ning against God. Hence they hate him, Joh 7. 7. The world hates me (sayes Christ) because I testify of it that the works of it are evil:

3. Sinners Excuse & Delay their coming to Christ because their hearts [...] set upon those things which are in­consistent with Believing and Accept­ing him according to the terms of the Gospel. Three things the Gospel requires men to part withal▪ but their Hearts are set on them and they will not let them go.

1. There is their own Righteousness, men must be willing to renounce that. Mat. 16. 24. If a man will be my [Page 55] Disciple he must deny himself. He must deny his Natural self and his Righteous self, which is the hardest piece of self-denyal in the world. They that think it is not so, do not know what it is to deny Righteous self. Adam was to have been sa­ved by a Righteousness of his own, and all his Children desire to be saved in the same way. Isa. 57. 10 Thou hast found the life in thy hands. Thats what men exceedingly de­ [...]ire, they would have life by their own hands; they would obtain Eternal Life by some Works or Righteous­ness of their own. Sinners are loth to go a begging to Christ, to be beholden to another for life and for salvation their proud hearts cannot comply with that. They would rather with some works of their own purchase Salvation. A Learned Papist (but a Prou [...]one) said, If God would give him Heaven Gratis he would not accept of it on [Page 56] those terms. He would do something that should deserve it first. To be saved by ones own Righteousness & by the Righteousness of Christ are inconsistent, they stand in direct op­position the one to the other. Men doate on their own Righteousness, they Idolize that, therefore will not come to Christ for his, Rom. 10. 3. Going about to establish their own Righteousness they submitted not to the Righteousness of God. That then keeps them from coming to the Lord Jesus Christ, and closing with him as offered in the Gospel.

[...]. The Hearts of men are exceed­ingly set on the World: therefore it is that they refuse the invitations of the Gospel. Thus Mat. 22. 5 when they were invited to the great Supper, one went to his Farm, and another to his Merchandise, and made light of that invitation. Wherefore is it that men make light of the Gospel [Page 57] offer? It is because the Farm or Merchandise has their hearts. If they could have Christ & the world too, it would please them. If they were sure of gaining the world by coming to Christ, they would say as a famous Pagan once did, [...] me a good rich Bishoprick and I will turn Christian. But Christ promises nothing of that Nature, but the con­trary, and sayes, If any will come to him and be his Disciples, they must look for Poverty, Crosses and Afflictions in the world. And that if they do any service for him, or suffer for his sake, they must look for their Recompence not in this, but in another World. Now when they heir of this, they fly off from CHRIST, and don't care to come to him on such terms as these are. One made a very fair profes­sion, Lord (sayes he [...]to Christ) I will follow thee whither soever thou [...], Mat. 8▪ 19. Sayes Christ to him, [Page 58] The Son of Man ha [...] not where to lay his head. If thou wilt follow me, it may be thou shalt not have an House to put thine head in, but must be a poor man all thy dayes. Then you hear no more of him. Another came to Christ praying an Answer to the greatest Case of Conscience that could be pro­pounded, Namely, What he must do to obtain Eternal Life? Christ to try the man, bid him sell all that he had, and give to the Poor, and tells him he should have Treasures in Heaven. But 'tis said, Mat. 19. 22 He went away sorrowful for he had great Possessions. Those possessions kept him from closing with Christ on the terms of the Gospel. If men are resolved to have the World whatever comes on it, they will not come to Christ. If a man is resolved that he will have worldly Honours, 'tis impossible he should be a Believer on Christ, Joh. 5. 44. [Page 59] How can you Believe that receive Honour one from another? So if men be resolved to have the Riches and Pleasures of the Earth, then they will not come to Christ; No, they remain in a state of Enmity against Him, Jam. 4. 4. Do ye not know that the Friendship of the world is Enmity a­gainst God, and that if a man be a Friend of the world, he will be an [...] of God. So then he remains an Enemy of Christ.

3. The Hearts of men are set upon their sins. They love Sin, they take pleasure in Unrighteousness: There are sinners that take delight in no­thing so much as in sinning against the blessed God. Prov. 4. 16 They can't sleep except they cause some to fall. They are set upon sinning, and causing others to sin. Now Christ sayes, if they come to Him they must be willing to part with all their sins. He sayes away with your sins [Page 60] forever, if you come to me for Sal­vation. Ezek 18. 31 Cast away your Transgressions, why will you die? So does Christ say, Part with your sins, or else you will die, Mat. 5. 29. Pluck out thy right Eye, Cut off thy right Hand if it does offend thee. The sins of men are as dear to them as life or limbs, or what is most dear. Many a man that has a pleasurable lust he is accustomed to and he had as liev have his Right Eye plucked out as to be divorced from that Lust. A vile Drunkard was per [...]waded to leave his Drunken­ness for fear of losing his eyes, he replyed, I had rather part with my Eyes than not be Drunk sometimes. Thus are sinners in love & in league with their sins, and therefore they will not come to Christ to be de­livered from them.

4. Satan does all that possibly he can [...] keep men from coming to the Lord [Page 61] Jesus Christ. He hates Christ with an implacable hatred. The Serpent hates the seed of the Woman more than any thing in the world. He knowes that Christ has wounded him to death, having destroyed his King­dom, and bruised his Head, and therefore he hates Him, 1 Joh. 3 8 For this purpose wa [...] the Son of God manifested to destroy the works o [...] the Devil. Sin and Death are the works of the Devil. Christ has delivered from Sin and from Death those tha [...] believe on Him: Therefore does the Devil hate Him. Men shall never hear of Christ if he can hinder it. 1 Thes. 2. 18 I would have come un­to you, and if he had you may be sure he would have Preached Christ, but Sa [...]an [...]indred. A people shall never have a Minister that will Preach Christ unto them, if Satan can hin­der it. And he does hinder it some­times by evil suggestions of his own. He put it into the heart of Juda [...] [Page 62] to betray Christ. So he puts it in­to the hearts of sinners to take up Prejudices against believing on Christ. And sometimes he does it by wicked Instruments. When Paul Preached the Gospel to Sergius the Deputy, Elimas sought to turn him from the Faith, Act. 13. 10 said the Apostle, Thou Child of the Devil, will you not cease to pervert the right wayes of the Lord. It was from the Devil. And the truth is, the Devil had rather men should do any thing in the world, than they should believe in Jesus Christ. It is true, he would not have men to Pray, to observe the Sabbath, to reform their Evil wayes, yet he had rather they should do all this, than go to Christ. It is a thing known that the Devil has in Humane shape appeared to men, and (to serve a Cursed design) given them good Counsel. In this Land a Daemon appeared to an Indian, and advised him to leave off Dr [...]nken­ness, [Page 63] to Pray to God, hear Sermons, and observe the Sabbath Day: The Indian did so, and continued to do thus for several Years. At last the Daemon advised him to kill himself, and told him he should rise again within three dayes. The miserable wretch did kill himself, and so was ruined Body and Soul. But it was observed that this Demon said not one word of Christ to him▪ never exhorted him to believe in the Name of Jesus Christ. The Devil knows that the Salvation of men depends on this thing above all others; that if they believe in Christ they shall have Eternal Life. But he knows also that tho' they Hear, Pray, and keep the Sabbath, if they do not believe on Christ they never will be saved. Therefore above all things, Satan sets himself to hinder men from believing on, and coming to Christ for Life and Salvation.

[Page 64]


We may here be Instructed co [...]ce [...] ­ing the doleful misery of those that live under the Gospel, and yet remain in a Faithless and Christless Estate.

Their misery appears in that,

1. They shall be deprived of all Good. They shall not taste of the great Supper. Luk. 14. 24. None of those that were [...]idden shall taste of my Supper. No not one of them. They shall be Excluded the Heaven­ly and the Eternal Banquet, and shall never eat Bread in the King­dom of God: How miserable must such needs be? And what misera­ble anguish will take hold on those poor Creatures, when they shall see others in Heaven, and think with themselves, We might have been there too if it had not been for our [Page 65] own fault and folly! We were in­vited to the same joy [...]s, but we did not accept of it. Luk. 13. 28. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham Isaac & Jacob in the Kingdom of God, and you your selves thrust out. Oh! what anguish will they be in when they shall see those that heard the same Sermons that they did, in Heaven; with what regret will they think of it, because they might have had Everlasting Life as well as those, but they would not. They that go on to refuse Christ, refuse Ever­lasting Life, and resolve forever to be deprived of it. The Apostle told the Jews that if they did put away the Word of Life from them, they did judge themselves unw [...] ­thy of Everlasting Life. They did thereby pass a sentence upon them­selves, and declare that they deser­ved to be deprived of Everlasting Life. There is no life but by come­ing [Page 66] to Christ. Never any one sinner since the world began did obtain Eternal Life but by Christ, and by believing on him. Joh. 14. 6. None can come to the Father but by me, I am the Way the Truth and the Life. He is the only true way to Eter­nal Life. They then that neglect this offer of Salvation by Christ, shall be deprived of Life Eternal. Are they not then miserable? If men are in danger to lose a bodily life, they think themselves miserable: But what is that to this? What is a Temporal to an Eternal Life? What is the life of the Body, to the life of the Soul? If a man gain the whole world and lose his own soul, what is he profited? Now they that persist in their Unbelief will lose their immortal Souls. The precious life of an immortal Soul will be lost by keeping at a dis­tance from CHRIST.

[Page 67]2. The misery of such appears in that positive Evil which will befal them. What that is the Evangelist does in one word declare, Mar. 16. 16 He that Believes not shall be Damned. Sinners little think what that is. There are some horrid Creatures so wicked as to wish them­selves Damned in their mad rage. Poor wretches, no Tongue of man can express, nor Heart of man con­ [...]eive the misery of the Damned state. The most terrible pains and punishment that can be thought of, are in Scripture used only as Me­taphors to describe it. Unbelievers Rev. 21. 8. shall have their part in the Lake that burns with Fire & Brim­stone. To be burnt to Death is painful if with Brimstone that makes it more painful But all this is but a meer shadow, compared with what will be found really true. The mi­sery of the Damned is unspeakably beyond all this. As a poor wretch [Page 68] you have sometimes been put in mind of, when the wrath of God was scalding his Conscience, looking on the Fire with a ghastly Countenance, said to those that were near him, Do you see that Fire burning there? To lye burning in that fire is but a Metaphor to what I feel in my Soul. And then the Eternity of it, is that which makes it dreadful indeed One may wonder that sinners that hear such things, should be able to [...]n­tinue in a Christless Estate one Day to an end: That such sinners as live under the Gospel should be a­ble to sleep one Night in a Christless Estate. But Solomon tells the reason, Eccl. 9. [...]. Madness is in their Hearts while they live, & after that they go to the dead Yea, truly they live a mad merry Life, and after that they go to the Dead, nay to the Damned. And can there be a greater madness than this? When the Eternal God offers men Heaven on this one only con­dition, [Page 69] that they submit to his Son Jesus Christ, according to the blessed terms of the Gospel, they refuse Him, and lose Heaven, & go down to the torments of Hell fire. Oh what madness is this!

3. Of all Damned ones they that have neglected the offers of Christ in the Gospel will be the most Damned. Therefore 'tis said, Heb. 2. 3. How shall we escape if we neglect so great Salvation? How shall we escape the [...]oarest Wrath of God, if we neg­lect the great Salvation? It had been better for such men if they never had heard of a Christ, 2 Pet. 2. 21. It had been better for them that they had not known the Way of Righteous­ness, than after they have known it to turn away from the Holy Commandment. They had better have been of those Indians that never had Christ Preached to them. Wo to such Unbelievers: Wo, wo unto [Page 70] them. It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha at the Day of Judgment than for them. It were better to Dye in Sodom than in New-England. It were better to go to Hell out of Sodom than out of Boston where Christ is Preached, and men refuse [...] receive Him. There is no Sin provokes God like [...] of Un­belief, the most provoking of all sins. Heb. 3. 18. Against whom did He Sware in His Wrath, but against them that Believe not. Unbelief is a despising of Christ, who is most dear to God. I tell you truely, that all the Men on Earth and all the An­gels in Heaven are not so dear to God as JESUS CHRIST is. They then that have Christ offered to them, and for all that continue in Unbelief, do most highly provoke God, and will be most miserable. But some will say, We are no Infi­dels, we are all Believers: what then means your telling us, if we don't [Page 71] believe on Christ we are miserable. I beseech you for the Lords sake, and for your own Souls sake be not d [...]eived. Mat. 7. 21. Christ sayes, Not every one that sayes to me Lord, Lord; not every one that sayes he is a Christian, and that Christ is his Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. There are many that shall say, Have we not Prophe [...]ed in thy Name? Yes sayes Christ, you did: But I never knew you. They then that have only a form of God­liness without the power of it, they that take up with Externals in Re­ligion are no true believers [...]n Christ. There are those that with hear Ser­mons every Lords day, and it may be on other occasions too, but do little of what they hear. Be ye doers of the Word of God, & not hearers only deceiving your own Souls. There are some that Pray every day in their Families, and it may be in their Closets, (I wish all [Page 72] that hear me did so) yet may they miss of Heaven and Eternal Life by Jesus Christ for want of true Faith in his Name. Christ sayes, Mat. 5. 20. Except your Righteousness exceed the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The Pha­risees were noted for their De­v [...]tion and out-side Religion, they would Pray very often, and Fast often, and some of them were men of great Morality. Nay but sayes Christ, if your Righteousness does not exceed theirs, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Hea­ven, Godliness in the power of it is another thing than most men think of. If a man has Godliness in the Power of it, then he is all for Christ and Holiness. If he be a true Believer, then there is nothing in the world so dear to him as Je­sus Christ is, 1 Pet. 2. 7. To you that believe He is precious. Nothing so [Page 73] precious as a precious CHRIST to a Believer. If a man has Godli­ness in the power of it, then he is wonderfully mortified as to worldly concerns, 1 Joh. 5. 4. He that be­lieves has overcome the World. This is our Victory even our Faith. He that is a true Believer tho' Carnal Affections do remain in him, they do not reign in him. Gal 5. 24. They that are Christs have Crucified the Flesh with the Affections and Lusts. If a man be in Christ he is a new Creature. I should think my self the happiest Man in the World, were I sore that this were true concerning all that Hear me [...] day. But if they that have on­ly a Form of Godliness are without Christ, most certainly they that live in open scandalous Sins never had an interest in Him. For a saving Faith is alwayes attended with good Works, Jam. 2. 14. What does it profit a man to say he has Faith, if [Page 74] he has not Works? Can Faith save him? True Faith and Repentance go to­gether, Zech. 10. 12 They shall look on me whom they have pierced & mourn. If a man has with an eye of Faith looked on Christ he can't but mourn for sin, and turn from sin. There­fore they that live in sin do but de­ceive themselves, if they pretend to be Believers on Christ. Can a pro­fane Swearer be a Believer? Can a Drunkard be a Believer? Can a Lascivious Wanton Young man be a Believer on Christ? It is impossible, if they continue to be such. Christ will never own them at the last day, He will say, as in Luk. 13. [...]7. De­part from me all you that work Iniquity. They that are workers of Iniquity, that indulge themselves in sin, Christ will say to every Soul of them, De­part from me.

[Page 75]


Let not any one Soul here delay or put off his coming to Christ on any pretence whatsoever. Remember that Christ has invited every one. There is not one that hears me this day but Christ has invited him to the great Supper. All and every one in particular as truly as if the Lord from Heaven called him by Name, as he did Saul, saying Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me? So Christ has as really invited thee to come to Him as if He had called to thee by Name, and said, Why do [...]t thou not come to me? How often has it been so? Mat. 23. 37. How often would I have gathered you under my wings as an Hen doth her Chickens? So how often has Christ offered Life and Salvation to you? And then how inexcusable will you be at the Last Day? Men have their Excuses [Page 76] now, but there is a day at hand when they won't have one word to say, why they did not come to Christ for the Pardon of their sins, and the Salvation of their souls. They will be then like the man that was found without a wedding gar­ment, Mat. 22. 12. How camest thou hither not having a Wedding­garment? And 'tis said, he was speech­less. So Sirs, you will be speechless at the last day. You will not have one word to Excuse your selves then, for your not coming to Christ when he did so earnestly & so often invite you. Then your destruction must needs be of your selves. You will be guilty of your own Blood. Now you slight what you hear: but you will not do so in the day when Christ will say as David to the [...]n [...]lekite, 2 Sam. 1. 16. Thy Blood shall be upon thy own head. There is not one of you that shall dye in his [...]ins, but the blood of his Soul shall be [Page 77] on his own head. I call Heaven & Earth to record against you this Day. Men and Angels shall bear me witness at the Last Day. that I have Preached Christ to you, and Salvation by him. But Oh that you would be perswaded to come to him without any further delays. Your past neglects of Christ, and of the great Salvation may suffice you. Let not any one say, I'll stay until I am sick and like to dye, and then I'll believe and give my self to Christ. Have you not heard of a poor Man that did so, and when he lay on his Death-bed a Mi­nister said to him, There is no way left for you to obtain Salvation but by going to Christ. Oh said he when I was well and in [...]ealth [...]l would not go to Christ, now I am sick and dy­ing I cannot go. Oh remember the avenger of Blood is behind you. How did the Man-slayer make ha [...]t to the City of Refuge when pur­ [...]u [...]d? [Page 78] Poor Creature, dost thou not know it, the avenger of Blood is pursuing of thee, and will slay thy Soul if thou dost not make hast to the City of Refuge. There­fore Delay no longer, considering that Now is the accepted Time, now is the Day of Salvation.

[Page 79]

TO DESPAIR Of the Forgiveness of SIN, Is a GREAT EVIL.

GEN. IV. 13.

And Cain said unto the Lord, My Punishment is greater than I can bear.

IN the former part of this Chapter we have the History of the two first Mon that ever were Born into the World, viz. Can and Abel. Abel the Younger [Page 80] Brother was a very pious Man One that [...]eared God, and that trusted in him for Eternal Life, through the promised Saviour: Which he testified by the Sacrifice he offered to the Lord; and at last he died a Martyr. [...] who was the first man that ever was born, made himself to be the First-born of the Devil. He Sacrificed without Faith, & was angry at God because He did not accept him. He regarded not the [...] which the Lord gave him, but envied and at last murder­ed his Brother because his Brothers works were righteous. So that well might the Apostle say, 1 Joh 3. 12. That Cain was of he wicked one. And when an heavy Doom was passed on him, he reverthel [...]ss did persevere in his Sin. He was far from r [...]pent­ing or praying for the Pardon of his great iniquity; but went from one sin to another, and fell yet further into the Condemnation of [Page 81] the Devil▪ As we see in the words be­fore us to [...]e insisted on Which some take to be words of Complaint and Murmuring against God, saying that his Punishment was greater than he deserved. But others take the words to be words of Despair. The [...] word Nasa translated to Bear, signifies also to Forgive. And according to the Seventy Greek in­terpreters they run thus, My Fault is greater than it can be forgiven to me. My Sin (sayes he) is so great that God Himself can't never for­give it. And in so saying he did exceedingly sin. One of the An­cients observes, that Cain in saying that his Iniquity was greater than could be forgiven, was guilty of a greater sin than when he mur­dered his own Brother. It was surely an heinous [...]n in him.

Wherefore the DOCTRINE be­fore us, is, [Page 82] That for Men to Despair of Forgive­ness because their Iniquities have been Great, is a great Evil.

For the clearing of the Truth before us.

First, Something may be men­tioned for the Demonstration of it.

Secondly, We shall enquire whe­ther such as belong to God may not fall into the sin of Despair?

For the Demonstration of the Doctrine now to be insisted on.

1. It is evident in that in Despair there is a Blasphemous Reflection on the Glorious Name of God. It is a disowning and a denying of his Glo­rio [...]s Attributes. It is a denying of his Omnipotency. God can do every thing; the doing whereof does argue or require power. And in the forgiveness of sin power is [Page 83] required. Therefore when Moses prayed for the Children of Israel that their sin might be forgiven them, he said, Numb. 14. 17. Let the Power of my Lard be great. q. d. The greatness of thy power is [...]hewn in forgiving great Sins. But Despair makes the Omnipotent God to be no better than Impotent sinful Men. To forgive sin is an act of Omnipotent Goodness. Despair robs God of this Glory. Men are apt to judge of God by themselves. Because they are not able to for­give very great wrongs, they are apt to think that God can't do so neither: but this the Lord reproves, Isa. 55. 8, 9. My wayes are not as your wayes, but as the Heavens are higher than the Earth so are my wayes higher than your wayes. I'll forgive great injuries to my Name, sa [...]e [...] the Lord, tho' you can't do the like: you may not judge of me by your selves, who can't forgive such [Page 84] offences: But my wayes are above yours. Thus to speak concerning God, thus to deny his Omnipotent Power, is to speak against him, it is to blaspheme his Name, Psal. 78. 19. They spake against God saying, can God prepare a Table? So when any say, Can God forgive so great a Sinner? Can God pardon so great Sins as mine are? This is to speak against Him. Again, Despair is di­rectly against the Grace and Mercy of God. In which Attributes his Divine Glory does most eminently shine forth. When God proclaim­ed his Name before Moses, Exod 34. 6, 7 He said, I am the Lord, Gracious and Merciful, L [...]g-suffering, abundant in Goodness and Truth, keep­ing Mercy for Thousands, forgiving Iniquity, Transgression and Sin. Some have observed that in the Procla­mation of Gods Name, there are no less than thirteen Attributes men­tion [...]d [Page 85] which relate to his Mercy, and only one to his Justice. God counts that especially as his Glory, Epe [...]. 1. 12. That we may be to the Praise of his Glory. His Grace his Mercy is his Glory. Now by De [...] ­pair men leave to God but a little of this Glory. They limit the Mer­cy of God. To limit God is a great Evil. Psal▪ 78. 41. They limited the Holy One of Israel. To limit his Power or his Mercy is a great Evil. Yet so do they that Despair. They set bounds to the infinite Mercy of God. They say there is but a lit­tle Mercy in God: Only Mercy e­nough to pardon lesser sins, but not the greatest. Men thereby say there is more of Evil in a finite Creature, than there is of Goodness in the Infinite God: than which blasphemy nothing more untrue can be spoken. Rom. 5. 20. Where Sin abounds Grace much more abound. But Despair sayes, Si [...] does abound more than [Page 86] the Grace of God. Yea and in this sin, there is a blasphemous re­flection on the Truth of God as well as on his Power and Mercy, as if there were no. Truth in those gracious Promises which God hath made un­to repenting believing Sinners. God in his Word has said that the great­est sinners in the world, if they will truly repent and turn to him shall be forgiven, Isa. 1. 18. Wash you make you clean, cease to do evil, learn to do well, though your sins be as Scarlet they shall become white as Snow, then red like Crimson, they shall be a Wool. God sayes that the horride [...] bloodiest Sinners in the world shall have a full forgiveness of all their sins if they turn to him. But Despair sayes, that is not true. God in his Word sayes, they that have been guilty of many sins as well as great ones, if they do truly repent and turn to God in Jesus Christ, shall have their many sins [Page 87] forgiven to them. Isa. 55. 7. Let the Wicked forsake his war, and the Unrighteous man his thoughts, and re­turn to the Lord, he will have mercy, to our God and he will abundantly par­don. He will multiply to pardon. They that have been guilty of ma­ny sins shall find there are more Pardons with God to bestow on them, than they have committed sins. And they that have committed the same sins many Times over, yet God, sayes in his Word, if they will repent and believe on Jesus Christ they shall be forgiven. A Drunkard that has been Drunk an hundred times and more. An Un­clean person that has been guilty many a time, if he repents God will forgive him. Jer. 3. 1. Tho' thou [...]st played the Harl [...]t with many Lo­vers, yet Return. Yea, [...]nd He has promised that they who have been guilty of grievous [...], that have returned to those [...] which for [Page 88] a time they had forsaken, upon true Repentance after all shall be Pardon­ed Jer. 3. 12. Return ye Back­sliding Children, and I will not cause my anger to fall upon you. Now Despair sayes, there is no truth in these Promises. It is then a great Evil.

2. In Despair there is a great re­flection on Jesus Christ the Son of God and Saviour of the World. It sayes Jesus Christ is but a little Saviour, whereas He is a Saviour, and a Great one, Isa. 63. 1. He is mighty to save. Despair sayes of Christ that He is a Physician that can cure only lesser diseases and not the great­est Whereas he is able to cure the most Diseased Soul in the world. As no Bodily Disease could stand before his power, Mat. 4. 23. He healed all manner of Sicknesses, and all manner of Diseases. That was to signify that he Healeth all manner of Soul Diseases: And that he has [Page 89] obtain'd Forgiveness for all manner of Sins that men are guilty of. We find in the Gospel, some diseased Twelve, others Eighteen, others Thirty Eight Years, yet Christ did heal them; thereby declaring, that Souls which have been a long time under the Guilt of sin may through him hope for Forgiveness. And that the most Chronical, the most laveterate Soul-diseases may be and shall be healed by him. But Despair sayes otherwise. Heb. 7. 25. He is able to save to the uttermost. No, sayes Despair but he is not. Tho' a Sinner has destroyed himself to the uttermost; though he has damn'd his own Soul a Million times over, yet Christ is able to save him. Des­pair then is a reflection on the Me­rit of the Death and Blood of Christ, as though that Blood could make atonement for lesser offences, but not for great ones: Whereas the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ the [Page 90] Son of God, cleanseth from all sin, 1 Joh. 1. 7. Let the sins be never so many, never so great, that Blood cleanseth from them all. There is more of Merit in the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, than there has been of Demerit in the greatest Sin that ever was committed in the world. Adams sin was in some respects the greatest that ever was, for that has brought ruine on thou­sands of millions of Immortal Souls, yet the Merit of the Death of Christ, has exceeded the Demerit of that great Offence Rom. 5▪ 17. If by one Death came, how much more shall they that receive abundance of Grace, & the gift of Righteousness reign in Life, by Jesus Christ. Much more sayes the Apostle. The Disobedience of Adam destroyed Souls, much more does the Obedience of Christ save the Souls that believe on him. God has been pleased more, and honoured more by the Death of Christ, than [Page 91] he has been displeased and disho­noured by all the sins of all the Men in the world. But Despair de­nies this. And it reflects on the Veracity of Christ, as tho' [...] pro­mised more than he either would or could perform. Christ sayes, who­ever comes to him He will accept of them and save them, Joh▪ 6. 37. Him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out. But the Despairing▪ sinner sayes, though I should go to Christ he would [...] me out. So then 'tis a great Evil.

4. Despair proce [...]d▪ from Evil Cau­s [...]s. That▪s another thing that [...]ets forth the Evil of it.

1. It proceeds from Satan. 'Tis [...] that makes men Despair. Pre­sumption and Despair both proceed from the Devil. First he Tempts sinners to commit very great sins, and when they have done so, then he tells them their sin is greater [Page 92] than can be forgiven. Thus in Cain, the Wicked one perswaded him to murder his Brother, and when he had done so, he told him that now his Sin was so great, as that it was Unpardonable. Who is it that says to sinners, their sins are greater than can be forgiven? God does not say so. And Ungodly sinners tho' they are wont to tempt one another to Presumptuous sins, yet they don't use to tempt one another to Despair. It remains then that it is Satan which tempts persons to Desperation. So he tells sinners it is too soon to Repent, and when they have delay'd their Repentance for a long time, then if they begin to have a serious thought of turn­ing to God, he sayes now it is too late. First that it was too soon, & then that 'tis too late. This he does that so he may discourage from Returning to God, and from Pray­ing for Pardoning mercy.

[Page 93]2. Despair proceeds from groundless and sinful Fears. Especially there are three things which Despairing Sinners are afraid of, without any just ground.

1. Lest the Day of Grace is past with them. But why should any say so, or think so? Sayes the Lord, Isa. 40, 27. Why sayest thou O Jacob? Why speakest thou O Israel, my judg­ment is passed over from my God? Why should any one say the Day of Grace is past? God will look on me no more! Whereas there is not any one here this day, that can say that his Revealed Day of Grace is gone and passed away. As for the Secret Inward Day of Grace that continues so long as the Holy Spirit strives with the Soul. Such fears as these not amounting to Des­pair oftentimes are attended with the strivings of the Holy Spirit of God. Hence the Apostle speaks of the Spirit of Bondage to Fear, Rom. [Page 94] 8. 15. Poor sinful Creatures are in great Bondage, because they are full of Fear. God sanctifies such Fears to his Elect, in order to their Conversion. As for the Revealed Day of Grace, that continues so long as men enjoy the Outward means of Grace, and have the Gos­pel Preached to them, which is the Gospel of the Grace of God. Isa. 65. 2. I have stretched out my hand all the day long. There is no man that lives under the Gospel, but God offers to him the Pardon of his Sins, and the Salvation of his Soul, if he will indeed believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. And unto such the Revealed Day of Grace continues so long as the Day of Life Indeed after Life is ended, the Day of Grace is at an end. No more Sermons, no more tenders of Mercy, no more calls to Repen­tance after that. Therefore Des­peration must needs be in such mi­serable [Page 95] Souls as dye in their sins, Isa. 38. 18. They that go down to the Pit cannot hope for thy Truth. But while Life lasts there is hope, Eccl. 9. 4 To him that is joyned to the living there is hope. Hope that he may obtain the forgiveness of Sin, and the Eternal salvation of his Soul.

2. Despairing Sinners are afraid that God from all Eternity has Re­probated them to Damnation. But who is this that darkens Counsel by words without Knowledge? Who told thee that thou art a Re­probate? God never told thee so. It must needs be Satan then, and will you believe him? Learned Bezn wrote a Judicious Treatise, con­cerning Divine Reprobation. It so happened that a man who read that Book [...] himself a Re­probate, fell into Despair, and de­ [...]royed himself. And thereupon Popish writers, and some others [Page 96] have taken occasion to blaspheme the Doctrine of Reprobation, as if it tended to drive men to Despair. But there is no cause for that Pre­destination is a Divine secret, known to no Man or Angel, to none but God alone. Therefore for men to conclude that they are Reproba­ted is an high offence to God, Rom. 11. 34 Who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his Coun­sellor? Who was by him when he wrote the Book of Life, to see whose Names were enrolled there, and whose left out? As God said to Job, Job, 38. 17 Have the gates of Death been opened to thee, or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of Death? So has the Book of Death been opened to thee, that thou shouldest know who are appointed to Wrath, and not unto Salvation? No, it has not For any man to say that another is a Reprobate would be a great sin. But for him [Page 97] to say that he himself is so, would be a greater sin. A man may know his Election by giving diligence to make his Calling sure. If he know that he is Effectually Called, he may be assured of his Election. But no man can know his Reprobation, ex­cept in one case which is rare, viz. if he hath committed the Unpar­donable Sin.


3. Another groundless Fear which is the cause of Despair in some, is that they have been guilty of the Sin a­gainst the Holy Ghost, which shall ne­ver be forgiven neither in this world, nor in that which is to come. But that is a groundless Fear in any one that has any fear about it. There are many that are perplexed left they have been guilty of the Sin against the Holy Ghost, of whom it is certain that they never did, nor never shall commit that sin. Many pious Souls especially when in the [Page 98] Pangs of the New-birth, are thus Tempted. Young Converts are fre­quently disturbed with fears of that nature. But the reason of it is they are ignorant of the nature of that Sin. The sin against the Holy Ghost is a knowing and melicio [...]s blas­pheming the operations of the Ho­ly Spirit of God. Whoever has been guilty of that sin, has mali­ciously blasphemed that which in his Conscience he did believe was the work of Gods Spirit. There is cause to conclude that the Pha­ri [...]ees were some of them guilty of that sin. When the Lord Jesus Christ did by the power [...] [...]he Ho­ly Spirit of God cast out Devils, the Pharisees blasphemously said He did it by the Devil. They knew in their Co [...]sciences, they were fully convinced of it, that▪ what Christ did was by the Holy Spirit, yet they most maliciously said, it was by the Devil. On that occasion [Page 99] Christ said, that the Blasphemy a­gainst the Holy Ghost should never be forgiven, Mat. 12. 32. But con­sider the Characters of those that have been guilty of the Unpar­donable Sin, and then say whether [...] have been guilty of it or no.

One Character of such a person is, that he has an implacable Hatred of the Holy Lord Jesus Christ. Heb. [...]. 6. They can't be renewed by Re­pentance, for they have Crucified the Son of God afresh. They that have committed the Unpardonable sin, if it were possible for them to do it, they would Crucify the Son of God again. They contemn the Doctrine of Salvation by the Blood of Christ. They trample under foot the Son of God, and count the Blood of the Covenant an unholy thing. Heb. 10. 29.

Again, Such as have been guilty of this sin are bitter Persecutors of those that have the image of God [Page 100] appearing in them. It has been thought by Divines, that Saul was guilty of the great Transgression. Now he had a most bitter hatred of those that did in a peculiar manner belong to God. 1 Sam. 22. 17. Slay the Priests of the Lord. They are the Lords Priests therefore Slay them. He therein shewed his spite against God, who had preferred David a­bove him. So it is with those that commit the Unpardonable sin. They can't come at God, and therefore will shew all the spite they can a­gainst his Faithful Servants.

Two things I may venture to say,

1. They that are afraid lest they have committed the Sin against the Holy Ghost, it is certain they never did commit it. If they had they would never be troubled on that acount: For it would be matter of pleasure to them; as it is with the Devil: All manner of sin is pleasant to [Page 101] him. The Devil is not troubled that he has been guilty of any one sin. So they that have committed the Sin against the Holy Ghost are not sorry for what they have done. And I may venture to say,

2. That there is not one here in this Assembly that has been guilty of that Sin. For if you had, you would not be here attending on the Word of God. They that commit that sin do as, Heb. 10. 25 Forsake the assembly of the Saints. They then that do attend the Assemblies of Gods People, that prize his Ordi­nances, that hear the Word of his Gospel with delight, have not been left to that sin. So then that is a groundless Fear.

4. Despair has Evil Effects. As it proceeds from Evil Causes, so it produces Evil Effects. There are sad Consequen [...]es of it.

[Page 102]1. It does cause Men to be like Sa­tan: Fallen Men to be like the fallen Angels. The Devil is the most Des­pairing Spirit that ever was [...] He knowes that he shall be Damned at the great Day. There is a Scrip­ture which the Devil and all his An­gels cannot hear, nor read, nor think or without horror and trembling, namely that which is expressive of the Sentence which the son of God will pass on all the Reprobate would at the Last day, Mat. 25. 41 Christ will then say, [...] into Everlasting Fire, Prepared for the De­vil and his Angels. The Devil and all his Angels know most certainly, that they must endure Ever lasting Fire after the great Day [...]. There was a company of De­vils that fell a roaring when Christ came near them, and said, Mat. 8. 29 Art thou come to [...] be­fore the time? They know that there is a time when they shall be in [Page 103] horrible Torment, much greater than they are in at this day. The fallen Angels are reserved in Ever­lasting Chains of Darkness for the Judgment of the great Day. They know that they shall never get out of those Chains, which the great God has bound them in. They never had an offer of Grace, and they know they never shall. They forever Despair of it. So then Despair is from the Spirit of dark­ness, and makes men resemble him.

2. It is the cause of very much Sin. It makes men guilty of sins of Omission. Hence they neglect Du­ty. They neglect Prayer and will do so if they Despair. If they Des­pair they will not go to Christ for Salvation. No man will attempt to do that which he believes is [...]t [...]er­ly in vain to endeavour. No man will be diligent in pursuing after Salvation when he utterly Despairs [Page 104] of obtaining it. And it causes men to be guilty of other great Sins, Jer. 2. 25. Thou sayest there is no Hope. What then follows? We have loved Strangers and after them we will go. When sinners say, there is no Hope, then they give themselves over to their Lusts, and say, after my Sins I will go. There is no hope of the Pardon of them, therefore I will sin more and more. We have an instance of it in Saul, he Des­paired, And what did he do? He goes to the Witch of Endor, and at last murders himself. And did not Despairing Judas do the like?

Thus have we seen the Doctrine proved. Before we proceed to the Application of it, something may be spoken in Answer to this En­quiry, viz.

Whether may those that are not as Cain was Reprobates, but the Elect of God fall into the Sin of D [...]air?

[Page 105]Take the Answer in Three Con­clusions.


Not only Elect Vessels, but true Be­lievers may for a time be overcome with this Evil. What are men, yea the best of men, if God withdraw from them, and leave them to the power of Satans Temptations? There have been very Holy Men & Women who have had their pangs of Despair. For such may be of melancholy tempers, and thence apt without any just ground, to phan [...]y dismal things concerning themselves. There was an eminent Minister in London, (Mr. Nalton) who in some fits of melancholy would say, If an Angel should come from Heaven and tell him that he had Grace, he could not believe him. An Aged & Faith­ful Minister here in New-England, being overcome with melancholy, did many Years ago utter such words [Page 106] as these to me, O it is a sad thing when a man knows that he must be Damned. I have your Father more than any man in the world: He came to see me, and would have Prayed with me, but I would not permit him to do it lest he should take Gods Name in vain by Praying for a [...] Thus a Natural Disease is through the malice of Satan the cause of this Spiritual Malady. And then it is often removed by the use of natural means. The Physician may do more than the Divine [...] for relief in this case. Moreover, Good men may be in a Despairing condition through a mistaken Judgment Some very pious Souls have been troubled with horrid Blash [...]emous Thoughts concerning God, and Christ, and the Holy Scriptures; and Satan has from thence taken occasion to fill them with [...] Thoughts too. They have fal [...]ly imagined that no one that belongs to God could be [Page 107] troubled with such thoughts: Where­as the greatest Saints on Earth may be vexed with them. What more blasphemous imagination can there be than that a Man should worship the Devil? Nevertheless, the Devil did suggest that to the Holy mind of Christ in whom there never was any sin. Such blasphemous thoughts if they are not at all entertained, but rejected with abhorrency, are the Devils sin, and not the sins, only the great affliction of the man that is perplexed with them. When Josephs Steward put his Silver Cup into Benjamins Sack, there was no guilt on Benjamin who never con­sented to the Theft. No more are they guilty of sin whose minds are perplex­ed with blasphemous injections from Satan, as long as they give no con­sent to them. It is not the ra­vished party, but the party whose will consented to the rape that is guilty. They that Cry out to Hea­ven [Page 108] for help against such Tempta­ [...]ions ought not to be discouraged, or to have the least Despairing thought on that account.


For the most part when Gods Chil­dren fall into the Sin of Despair, they are graciously revived and comforted before they go out of the world. The holy Penman of the Seventy Seventh Psalm had his dark hours. Ver. 3 He remembred God and was troubled. When he remembred the Power of God, and the Justice of God he was troubled, as thinking these were a­gainst him. When he remembred the Mercy of God he was troubled, left that would not favour him. He said, Will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone forever? Ver. 7, 8. Thus disconsolate was he But he recovered out of those dismal sorrows, ver. 10. I said this is my In­firmity. [Page 109] There have been very eminent Saints who having fallen into the pit of Despair, have not dyed there. The holy Martyr Mr. Robert Glover, a little before his death was much sunk in his spirit. But when he came to behold the Stake where he must dye, he was e'ne ravished with joy, saying, He is come, He is come, the Comforter is come to my soul. That Martyrs Brother Mr. John Glover, had been in a sad Despairing condition a long time, fearing (without cause) that he had committed the Unpardona­ble sin. But some Years before his death the Lord restor'd Comforts to him, and he lived a most Cele [...]ti­al life, more like an Angel than like an Earthly Man, spending the most of his Time in Communion with God. There was in Oxford a Learned and Holy Minister (Mr. Peacock) who thought himself a Re­probate, and that Prayer for him [Page 110] would in vain. But he dyed tri­ [...]mpha [...]tly with such words as these in his mouth, I am sure the Lord has provided for me a Kingdom, the Joy that I feel it incredible. I am a thousand times happy. That Emi­nently Religious Gentle-woman, Mrs. Katherine Brettergh had a fit of Despair, in which she would with tears trickling down her Cheeks, cry out that she was a woful for­saken Woman, having a roring Wilderness of wo within her, wish­ing she had never been Born, or that she had been any other Crea­ture, rather than such an one. But this Agony of that Eminent Saint, who had been a great blessing to many, ended in Joy unspeakable & full of Glory. For she dyed with such words as these; And now blessed Lord! Thy comfortable Presence is come: Yea Lord, thou hast had respect to thy Hand-maid, and [...] come with fulness of Joy, and abundance of Con­solations. [Page 111] O bl [...]ssed be thy Name my Lord and my God. O the Joy [...]! The Joyes! The Jo [...]es [...] [...]ee [...] [...] my Soul! The [...] be wonderful! They be won­derful! They be wonderful! Thus dyed that precious Saint after the terrible Conflict was over. I omit to say any thing of [...]hose pious Gentlewomen, Mrs. Ho [...]ywood, and Mrs. Drake, the Narrative of whose doleful Despairs, and after that joy­ful Deliverances, have been long since published to the world. Never­theless▪ One Example more I shall mention which his of later Date. Mr. Charles L [...]ngfo [...]d was in grievous Horror and Despair for some Years. But God wonderfully brought him out of his distresses, and that in Answer to the Prayers of his Wife, who was a praying holy Woman. This man hapned to over hear her at her secret Devotions, where she expressed her self after this manner, Oh my Father, my Father what [...] [Page 112] thou do for my Husband. Destroy me if thou wilt, but I pray thee spare my Husband. He has been speaking and acting in thy Cause, so that if he should perish dishonour will come to the Name. Therefore I pray thee save him, and do to me what thou wilt. At the very Moment when he heard his Godly Wife thus praying the Evil Spirit departed from him, and all his Temptations vanished from that very Day, which was April 16. in the Year 1669. He therefore Pub­lished a Book giving an account of his Gracious Deliverance, which Book is Entituled, Gods wonderful Mercy in the Mount of woful Extro­mity.


It is possible that a Godly man may dye under a Cloud. We must not judge of men by their last hours, but by the former course of their lives. As some Ungodly Hypocrites [Page 113] go smoothly out of the world: There are no [...]ands in their Death. Psal 73. 4. They have a deluding Confidence of their own good estate, Prov. 30. 12. Rev. 2. 17. They may live so and dye so, and never be sensible of their woful mistake, until it be too late to help it, Jer. 2. 37. Our Learned Cartwright observes that many a Sinner has gone to Hell with a Lord have mercy in his mouth: So have they with an ungrounded perswasion of their finding mercy. From thence it is that some Un­godly persons are not afraid of death, pretending to an assurance of Hea­ven. So on the other hand, Gra­cious Souls may live and dye under great Fears what will become of them after death. A great Casuist speaks after this manner, The com­mon Opinion (sayes he) is, that if a man Dy quietly and go away like a Lamb, then he goes straight to Hea­ven, but if the violence of the Disease [Page 114] cause frantick behaviours, then men use to say there is a Judgment of God, serving either to discover an Hypo­crite, or to plague a Wicked man. But the truth is otherwise. For indeed a man may dye like a Lamb, and yet go to Hell. And one that dies in exceeding Torments and strange behaviour of the Body, may go to Heaven. Thus speaks our famous Mr. Perkins. And how often has it been seen that men of the greatest Holiness have gone out of the world tho' with inward tranquility of Soul, yet not with Ee [...]tasies of joy. That Heavenly Saint, Mr. Paul Bain [...]s when dying had not any transports of Joy. Yea, it is possible that men of great Pi­ [...]ty may dy by Cabentures, or other Diseases causing distractions, and then if they utter Despairful speeches, it is not to be wondred at. Now then concerning the present case, I say with that Eminent Divine Mr. Bolton, that for my part, I [Page 115] would not much alter my Censure of a mans spiritual estate whom I have throughly known before for the manner of his death Hear (sayes he) that great Doctor, (he intends Mr. Greenham) in the Art of rightly comforting afflicted Con­sciences, who [...], [...]ut what if you should [...]ay in this discomfort? For my part (as I look for no great things in my Death) I would not thinks more hardly of you, neither [...] wis [...] any to judge otherwise of Gods Child in that state of Death. We are not to distrust Gods Mercy in death, be we never so uncomfortable, if so be it has been before [...] in our [...] and Sanctification. Thus speaks Holy Mr. Gree [...]ham.

We proceed now to the APPLI­CATION of the Doctrine, only by way of Exhortation.

[Page 116]I. Let every one say to his Soul as David did to his, Psal. 43. 11. O my Soul hope thou in God. There are those in this Assembly, that are in Distresses, the Lord knows how many are perplexed in their Souls, and full of fears and doubts, well but Despair not however: But rather go to God and say to him, as his People of old did, Jer. 14. 8. O thou that a [...]t the Hope of Israel, and the Saviour thereof in the time of Trouble, leave me not. Go and Cry to God, and yet Hope in him. Hope is a Grace exceeding necessary for a Christian, as an Hel­met is for a Souldier. Eph. 6. 17. Put on the Helmet of Salvation. What is that? Hope in God and the Lord Jesus Christ, that is the Helmet of Salvation; 'tis the Head-piece. If a man be wounded in the head, it is dangerous. If a Christian lets his Hope go, his Head lyes open to the [Page 117] Wicked one, to the fiery Darts of the Wicked one. And those fiery Darts are evil Thoughts concerning God. The Devil puts it into a Christians heart that God will ne­ver have mercy on him, that God has Reprobated him. Now his Head piece is gone if he gives way to these Temptations. Hope is as necessary as an Anchor to a Vessel. Heb. 6. 18, 19. Who are fled for Refuge to the Hope set before us, which Hope is the Anchor of the Soul, sure and stedfast. What comes of a Vessel if it has no Anchor when a Storm riseth? It is broken to pieces. So the poor Souls that let their Hope go, bring themselves to confusion.


Meditate much on those things that are a sure ground of Conso­lation. A great relief against all Despairing thoughts is, in the con­sideration of the infiniteness of the Mercy of God. He is rich in Mer­cy. [Page 118] How great is his Goodness? No man can say how great his Goodness is. No man can say how far his Mercy may extend. And medi­tate on the infinite Merit of the Death of Christ. A man may safe­ly venture his Soul on that bottom. The greatest sinner may safely say, If there is not Merit enough in the Blood of Christ to save me, let my Soul perish for ever. Well then, think much & often on the infinite Merit of that precious Blood. And re­member also, that God takes plea­sure in them that Hope in his Mer­cy, Psal. 147. 11. They that Pray to God, and Hope in his Mercy, and Confess their Sins and Hope in his Mercy, and Turn, from Sin to God and Hope in his Mercy, God takes pleasure in them. For then the more Glory will come to his Name the greater their Sins have been. Sayes David, Psal. 25. 11. For thy Name sake Pardon mine [...]ni­quity [Page 119] for it is great. The greater the Iniquity of any poor Creature has been, the greater Glory will come to God by the Pardon of it. Therefore God takes pleasure in it, when very great Sinners return to him and hope in his mercy. Remember also, that others that have sinned as much as you, have found pardoning mercy with God. There is not any one here this day, but as great a sinner as he, has been Pardoned. What a bloody Sinner was Manassch? And yet when he humbled himself greatly, the Lord had mercy on him. What think you of the Jews that em­brewed their hands in the Blood of Christ? They were far greater Sinners than Cain, who murdered his Brother Ahel. And yet many of those very men that Crucified the Son of God, had their Sins forgiven for the sake of that Blood that was shed by them. Let not [Page 120] any say, Oh but I have continued a long time in Sin, and therefore I Despair of Forgiveness. Say not so [...] For some have been called and brought home to Christ, and have had their Sins forgiven them after Gray-hairs have been upon them. Mat. 20. 6. We read of one call­ed at the Eleventh Hour. It may be thou art come to the Eleventh Hour. Old Age has overtaken thee in thy sins; Well, but for all that God will be merciful to thee and forgive thy sins, if now thou wilt Believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ. Although it be indeed very rare, that men who have lived under the Gospel all their dayes, should be Con­verted in their Old Age, yet some such instances have been. One in this Land a wicked Drunkard, & one that had been guilty of other Impieties till Fifty Years Old: Then God took hold of his Heart and [Page 121] made him a remarkable Convert. Ar [...]tius a Learned Forreign Di­vine te [...]ifies on his own knowledge, ‘That there was a Merchant in Stras­boro [...]gh that had been as wicked a man as possibly could be, a vile A­dulterer, Swearer, Drunkard, and continued in his Sins till Old Age came upon him, and then his Conscience being awakened he fell into Despair for some time, and would Cry out that his sins wer [...] so great that GOD could not Forgive them; And in the heig [...]ht of Despair would many times call upon the Devil to fetch him away. Sayes this Divine, much Prayer was made for him by many Ministers of God, and other Praying Christians, and God did at last near prayer for him, that he was not only recovered out of his Despairing agonies, but was full of Joy, lived a Godly life for several Years & dyed comfortably.’ [Page 122] Since then there have been such instances in the world, let no one Despair of finding Mercy with God, if they turn to him in JESUS CHRIST.

II. There is a Good Despair which I am to Exhort you unto, namely, Despair of finding Mercy if you con­tinue Impenitent. Godly sorrow works Repentance to Salvation. But without Repentance Despair of Sal­vation. Christ said, Except you Re­pent you perish. One thing in Re­pe [...]nce is to Pray and Cry to God for Mercy. As it was said to Simon Magus, Repent and Pray, if it be pos­sible to Sins may be forgiven thee. But without repenting and praying and seeking to God, Despair of ever finding forgiveness. Turning from Sin is another thing in Repentance, Prov. 28 13 He that confesseth and forsake [...] find mercy. Thou must Despair of finding mercy if thou [Page 123] wilt not forsake thy sins, as well as confess them. And yet all the Repentance in the world can't make atonement for sin. If thou shouldest weep Seas of Tears, that would not make amends for the wrong done to God by thy Sins. If thou shouldest give ten thousand Rivers of Oyl, Yea, the Fruit of thy Body for the Sin of thy Soul, all won't do. Only Christ can do that. Only the Obedience and the Righteous­ness of Christ can make satisfaction for Sin. Therefore Despair of ob­taining the forgiveness of thy sins without a Christ. They that are without Christ are without Hope. And without the Righteousness of Christ there is nothing but Despair that sinners may promise to themselves. Oh! Then look to Him above all things. It was well spoken by an Eminent Minister on his Death-bed, When I look on the best Works that [Page 124] ever I did, the best Sermon that ever I Preached, or the best Prayer that ever I made, I fall into Despair: But when I look upon Christ, and con­sider his Righteousness, I have Hope and Comfort, my Soul lives then. Oh then let that be our chief care to be found in Him; And in that way let every Soul Hope in the Mercy of God: And look to Him who says to us all, Isa. 45. 22. Look unto me all ye ends of the Earth and be saved.

[Page 125]

Every Man in the WORLD, Is going into ETERNITY

MAT. XXV. 46.

And these shall go away into Ever­lasting Punishment, but the Righte­ous into Life Eternal.

THE Disciples came to Christ privately, as He sat on Mount Ol vet, pray­ing His Resolution of [Page 126] three Enquiries, concerning which they were solicitous. This the E­vangelist takes notice of in the third Verse of the precedeing Chapter.

1. When should the Temple be de­stroyed? That Christ had given them occasion to make enquiry about: For in his last Sermon that he Preach­ed in Jerusalem, he plainly told them that their House, mean­ing the Temple, should be left utterly Desolate: And when the Disciples shewed him the wonderful Stones in that Edifice, admiring the greatness of them, the Lord said, Not one of these Stones shall be left on another. Now they en­qui [...]ed when this thing should be? We have the Answer to that En­quiry from the Third to the Twen­ty-fourth Verse, in the preceding Chapter.

2. They enquire concerning the Signs of his coming, viz. His Providential [Page 127] coming to take vengeance on the Jen­ish Nation? The Answer to that is from the Twenty-fourth Verse of the former to the Thirty-first of this Chapter.

3. They enquire when shall be the End of the World? That end of the world which shall be at the Uni­versal Judgment? [...]o that enquiry Christ answers from the Thirty-first Verse of this Chapter to the end of it. In which we have an illustrious. Description of the Great Day of Judgment; alleding to the Supreme Court of Judicature among the Jews, from which there was no ap­peal The Sanbedrim which was at first instituted by Divine directi­on, did consist of Seventy Judges, besides Moses who was the chief. These Judges sat in the form of a Se­micircle. The Praesident sat in the middle; next on his right hand was the Vice-President, whom the Jews [...], Ah Beth Din, The Father of [Page 128] the House of Judgment. This gives light to those words which [...] has written concerning the Day of Judgment, where he says that Thrones, that is Seats of Judicature were pitch­ed down. And he speaks of the Ancient of Dayes. This also helps to understand that Scripture. Mat. 26. 64. where Christ sayes, That they should see the Son of Man stand­ing at the Right hand of Power; Al­luding to that Supreme Court of Ju­dicature among the Jews. He that was in Power and Dignity next to the Praesident, sat at his right hand. And there were two Clerks in that Court; one of them did stand at the right hand of the Judge, and he did write down the Votes for Absolution: The other stood at his left hand, & wrote down the Votes for Condemnation. Thus did God order it to be, that there might be a lively Representation of the Day of Judgment; when all m [...]n [Page 129] must appear before the Son of God, and either be Absolved or Condemned by him. This Day of Judgment is set forth from three particulars.

1. A Separation: There will be a Separation made between the Righ­teous & the Wicked. The Righteous are noted by the Sheep on the right hand; the Wicked by the Goats on the left hand.

2. A Sentence that then shall be passed on all the Men in the world, or that ever shall be. As for the Righ­teous it will be said to them, Come ye Blessed [...] the Kingdom pre­pared for you: As for the Wicked it shall be said to them, Go ye Cursed into Everlasting Fire.

3. There is here noted the Execu­tion of that Sentence. That is in the Verse before us. And altho' the Sentence shall be passed first on the Righteous, nevertheless the Execu­tion will be first on the Wicked. These shall go away into Everlasting [Page 130] Punishment: It will certainly affect the Righteous inexpressibly, and cause them to admire the Grace of God, and to praise his Name to Eternity, when they shall see such ter­rible Execution done to all the Wicked in the world, and them­selves not only to be delivered from that Punishment, but to have Life, and Life Eternal too given to them.

The words afford us this Doctrine, Viz.

That every Man in the World is going into Eternity.

There are three Propositions be­fore us.


That is said to be Eternal which is of Everlasting duration. Sometimes E­ternity is taken in a more strict sense, namely for that which has [Page 131] neither the beginning nor ending of Dayes. Eternity is an infinite standing Now, that admits of no succession; and thus only the First Being is Eternal, & has therefore that Name of I AM given to him▪ Exod 3. 14. God said to Moses, that he should say to Pharaoh I AM hath sent me. All things whether past or to come are present with him. He only is without beginning of Dayes. Psal. 90. 2 [...] from Ever­lasting to Eve [...]lasting thou art God. And in this sense Eternity is an incommunicable property of the Di­vine Nature. God is the Eternal; and is thereby distinguished from all false gods▪ and from all Crea­tures▪ whatsoever. Isa. 57. 16. He is the High and Lo [...]ty One that in­habits Eternity. But in Scripture Eternity is many times taken for the same with Perpetnity. That is said to be Et [...]nal which is Per­petual: So there are Creatures that [Page 132] continue to Eternity: Tho' there is no Creature but hath a begin­ning, yet there are Creatures that shall never have an ending. Thus the Punishment of sinners, their Misery in another world is said to be Eternal Mar. 3. 29. They shall have Eternal Damnation. And the Happiness of the Righteous is said to be Eternal: As in the Text be­fore us, They shall go into Life E­ternal. When therefore it is said that every Man is going into Eter­nity, the meaning is, that every Man is going into an Unchangeable Estate, an estate that shall be for­ever Unchangeable; and is going to a place where he must be for­ever and ever, through out the A­ges of Eternity.


That every Man in the world is going out of this into another World. [Page 133] Men must not b [...] in this world al­wayes As Christ said to his Disciples, Mat. 26. 11. Me you have not always. Even so, Men are not to be in the world alwayes; no, nor long nei­ther. Hence David said, 1 Chron. 29. 15. Our Dayes on Earth are as a shaddow, & there is [...] abiding. No abiding here on the Earth. Zech. 1. 5. Your Fathers where are they? And the Prophets, do they live for ever? The Prophets live in Heaven for ever, but neither they nor any else shall live on the Earth forever. Death will put an end to Time and then comes Eternity. That is what every man is hastning unto, Ps [...]l. 89. 48. What man is be that lives, & shall not see Death? There is not such a man in the world; not a living man but he shall see death. This world is like a Stage, where men appear for a while, and then go off to make way for another to succeed them, Eccl. 1. 4. [Page 134] One Generation goes away & another comes. Or, it is like a passing Room, through which we go, but do not set down to rest in. So as to this world, here is not our rest, here is not the place for us to abide in; but in another room of the Universe, and not on this Earth. Men are departing hence: Simeon speaks of his Departure; and Paul sayes, The time of his Departure was at hand. Every man is going to the Grave, as to his Body, Ec [...]l. 9. 10. There is no work in the Grave whither thou goest. Every man is going, and whither is he going? He is going into the Grave. And altho' men as to their Bodies shall not be always there, nevertheless, there they must be for a long time; especially such as dyed in the first Ages of the world, Eccl [...]punc; 12. 5. The Grave is said to be a long home. Man goes to his long home; and that is the House which is appointed [...] all [Page 135] Living. But when they go to the Grave as to their Bodies, they do not go thither as to their Souls. When the Body is returned to the Dust as it was, the Spirit will return into the hands of God, to be dis­posed of by him, either to Happi­ness or Misery. Men go when they Dye, as to their Souls into that World which the Scripture sometimes denotes by the Name of Hades, which signifies the unseen World. Righteous men go unto that world where Christ now is. 2 Cor. 5. 8. Being absent from the Body, we are present with the Lord. Therefore did Paul desire to depart that he might be with Christ. As for Wicked men they go into that world where the Devil is: Their Souls do so at the time of Death. They go into the world where there is nothing but fire and torment, This we learn from the Parable of Dives, and Lazarus, Luk. 16. 23. [Page 136] The Rich man dyed and being in Hell, he said; I am tormented in this Flame. And altho' this be a Parable, Para­bles are taken from things that have a real Existence; and it is most certain that they who are in that world are in a miserable con­dition, tho' not so miserable as they shall be after the day of Judgment.


That World that men go into after they are out of this world, it is an Eternal World. That is mentioned in the Scripture as the difference between this present visible world, and that which is invisible, 2 Cor. 4. 18. The things which are seen are Temporal, but the things which are not seen are Eternal. So this world which our mortal Eyes see, it is a a Temporal world; but as to the unseen world it is an Eternal world. This Earthly world and all things [Page 137] in it, are of a perishing nature, and shall be dissolved, 2 Pet. 3. 10, 11. The Earth & the works that are there­in shall be burnt up, all these things shall be dissolved. But the other world is not dissolved but abides to Eternity: When men are there, they are fix­ed down world without end. There­fore in the Parable, in Luk, 16. when Dives said to Abraham, Send Laza­rus that he might dip his finger in wa­ter & cool my Tongue, the answer was, There is a great Gulf fixed be­tween us, that they that would pass cannot. Eternity is a great Gulf, & when men are got into the other world, they have shot the Gulf, they are staked down for Eternity.

It will appear that men are going into an Eternal world if we consi­der,

1. There are some that are going in the way to Heaven, in that way that will certainly bring them to Heaven. For there are some in the world [Page 138] that are Regenerated, that have ex­perienced a new and heavenly Birth. Joh. 3. 7. You must be Born again, Born from above as the word there is. Now a heavenly Birth does in­cline men to walk in that way that brings to Heaven. Grace, true Grace is a spark of the heavenly World; it is Heaven in the beginning of it. Grace is called Glory in the Scrip­tures, for that it is Glory in the beginning of it, and it ends there. If God has given Grace to a man, 'tis an infallible sign that he is bound for Heaven; if he has true, saving, sanctifying. Grace wrought in his Soul by the Spirit of God. Ephes. 1. 13, 14. We are Sealed with the Spirit of Promise which is the earnest of our Inheritance. Heaven that is the In­heritance▪ promised to us, if the Spirit of God hath sealed us: If he hath made impressions of the Di­vine Image upon us, in respect of a work of Sanctifying Grace, that [Page 139] is the Sealing of the Spirit, which is an earnest, a sure sign that such a Soul is bound for heaven. There are some in the world that have true Faith in Jesus Christ, a Faith that works by Love, a Faith that causes them to be Obedient unto All the Commands of God. Now this Faith leads to Heaven, 1 Pet. 1. 9. Re­ceiving the end of your Faith the Sal­vation of your Soul. If a man then have true Faith wrought in him, that Faith will end in the Salvation of his Soul in Heaven to Eternity. If a man has Faith, then the Righte­ousness of Christ is his. Rom. 3▪ 22 The Righteousness of God is upon all that Believe. If a man does truly Believe, the Righteousness of Christ, which is the Righteousness of God is upon him; then he has a perfect Righteousness. If he has the Righ­teousness of Christ to show, he has a Righteousness that will justify him before the Throne of God: it is [Page 140] impossible for him to be shut out of Heaven. Some then are going in that way that leads to Heaven. Now Heaven it is an Eternal world. 'Tis called an Eternal House. 2 Cor. 5. 1 If our Earthly Tabernacle were dissol­ved, we have an House Eternal in the Heavens. It is called an Eternal Inheritance, Heb. 9. 15. And the Heavenly Jerusalem is said to lye four square, Rev 21. 16. importing the Immutability of the Heavenly state, that it is an Unchangeable Estate. And therefore Heaven is said to be a City that has Foundations, Heb. 11. 10. 'Tis not like the Tents of Old that had no Foundations, but might be pulled up and removed. It hath Foundations whose Maker & Builder is GOD, sayes the Apostle. The great­est Cities in the world, the most famous that ever were of Mens building, have been destroyed. But this is a City, a Building that shall never be destroyed; because of the [Page 141] Glorious Architect of it: the Builder of it is the Eternal God himself. And the Inhabitants of Heaven they are all of them immortal ones. God, Christ, Angels, the Souls of Men, yea and the Bodies of the Saints of God, shall be immortalized before their translation unto Heaven. At the Resurrection their Bodies are made immortal, neither can they dye a­ny more, Luk. 20. 36. Then this Mor­tal shall put on Immortality, and this Corruptible shall put on Incorruption. And the Blessedness of Heaven is an Eternal Blessedness: It is Eternal Life. It is in Scripture expressed by that of an Everlasting Kingdom. [...] Pet. 1. 11. The Everlasting Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. And 'tis called an Incorruptible Crown, that fades not away. 1 Pet. 5. 4. It is not like the Glory of this worl [...] that fades; but the Heavenly Glory, tis a Crown that fades not away When once a man is got safe into the Hea­venly [Page 142] Country, he shall never be removed from thence any more. Rev. 3. 12. He shall go out no more, sayes Christ. In this respect the Heavenly Paradise does infinitely ex­cel the Earthly one. Adam was turn­ed out of that, but the Believer shall never be turned out of this. 'Tis therefore called an Everlasting Habi­tation, Luk. 16. 9. That they may receive you into Everlasting Habita­tions.

2. There are some, & alas the greatest part of the Children of men, that are going in the way to Hell. This is true of all Prophane ones, Drunkards, Swearers, Children that are Disobedient unto their Parents, Unclean persons, Theeves, Liars, and all such, they are going in that way that leads to Hell. As it is said concerning the Harlot, Prov. 7. ult. Her House is in the way to Hell, going down to the Chambers of Death. And all that are only Forma [...]ts in Re­ligion, [Page 143] that have only the Form of Godliness, but are strangers to the Power of it; tho' they may them­selves think they are in the the way to Heaven: and others may think so of them too; yet it is not so, they are not in the way that brings to Heaven. Mat. 5. 20. Except your Righteousness exceed the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. The Jews were wont to say of the Scribes and Pharisees, ‘That if there were but two men in the world that should go to Hea­ven, a Pharisee would be one and a Scribe the other.’ And yet we see what Christ the Son of God has said, if men have not a better, a great­er Righteousness than they, they shall in no case enter into the King­dom of Heaven. So neither are Civil Moral men in the way to Hea­ven; those that are only Civil Moral men, that never experienc'd a work [Page 144] of regenerating Grace on their souls, they are not in the way to Heaven. Joh. 3. 3. Except a man be born a­gain be cannot see the Kingdom of God. Thus then there are many in the way to Hell. Now [...] is an Eter­nal world. Those Souls that are gone thither are in a dismal Eter­nity. Eccl. 11. 8. The dayes of Dark­ness are many: The dayes of that Darkness are innumerable many. The Souls that are fallen into that Pit can never be redeemed. As in Psal. 49. 8. The Redemption of the Soul ceaseth for ever: 19. ver. They shall never see light. They are in a Dungeon that they must never come out of. Therefore Jude sayes, 13. ver. For them is reserved the black­ness of Darkness for ever. Hell is an Everlasting Prison. They that are in that Prison must never come out again. Mat. 5. 25, 26. Lest he cast thee into Prison, whence thou shalt not come out till thou hast paid the ut­most [Page 145] Farthing. That is to say, Never, to Eternity. It was a sad word which a very wicked man uttered when dying and just going out of the world: Now (said he) my poor Soul is a going to pay all its Debts; Ay, but those Debts can Never, Never, Never be Paid. Yet the miserable Soul must not come out of that woful Prison, until the utmost Farthing is paid. The fire that is in Hell is an Eternal fire; therefore Hell is sometimes called by the name of Tophet in Scripture, Isa. 30. ult. Tophet is prepared of old, the pile of it is fire and much [...]ood, & the breath of the Lord like a stream of Brimstone does kindle it. To open that Scripture: Tophet was in a val­ley between Jerusalem and Mount Olivet, and in that Valley it was that the Angel from Heaven smote the Camp of the Assyrian; in respect of which Providence 'tis said, Who can stand before a Consuming Fire? [Page 146] Who can dwell with Everlasting Burning? The Idolatrous Jews were wont to burn their Children to death, to the Idol Moloch in Tophet. In that Valley there was a great Idol of Brass, made in the form of a Man, they put their Children in it, and then put fire under it, and burnt the poor wretches to death. They called that Valley, The Valley of the Son of Hinn [...]m, that is the Valley of Roaring: The poor miserable Chil­dren when the fire scorched them to death, would [...]hri [...]k and roar most lamentably. Josiah in an holy Zeal defiled that place by casting dead Bones there, and the Garbage of the City, and that so no Annoyance might be made by it, there was a fire kept continually: So did it be­come a Type of Hell where the fire never goes out.

3. Every man in the World is in one of these two wayes that have been [Page 147] mentioned. Either in the way that leads to an Eternal Heaven, or else in the way that leads to an Ever­lasting Hell. For there are but those two wayes to be thought of which concern immortal Souls, and every man on the face of the Earth is go­ing in one of them. Mat. 7. 13, 14. Narrow is the way that leads to Life, broad is the way that leads to De­struct on. Every man is either in the Narrow way, or in the Broad way. The way to Heaven is the Narrow way, the way to Hell is the Broad way. As there are, so there always have been ever since there were any number of men in the world, two sorts of men. The old distin­ction is that, Gen. 3. 15. The Seed of the Serpent, and, The Seed of the Woman. This distinction divides the whole World, 1 Joh. 3. 10. There are the Children of God, & the Chil­dren of the Devil. Now as for the Children of God they are going to [Page 148] Heaven; but the Children of the Devil are going to Hell. So then if every man in the world is in one of these two wayes, either in the way to Heaven, or in the way to Hell; and if that Heaven is Eter­nal, & Hell is Eternal, this Doctrine must needs be true, That every Man in the World are going into Eternity.


How great is their Error that think there is no Eternal Beings? It is won­derful that men that have reasona­ble Souls in them should be so un­reasonable. But there have been such; I wish there were none such in New-England, that would per­swade themselves that there is nei­ther God nor Devil, nor any other World besides this: But how foolish are they that think so, Psal. 14. 1. The Fool [...]ath said in his heart there is no God. Yea Fools indeed they [Page 149] are that say so, or think so. If there be no God, how can there be such a World as this that we see? The invisible things of God, his Eternal Power and God-head are clearly manifested by the Creation of the world. If a man comes to a place where he finds many Houses, and some of them stately Buildings, suppose no man to be seen there, yet he concludes some men have been there to build such Houses, for they could not make themselves. So when men look on the world and see what Creatures there are, what mighty and glorious Creatures some of them are, as the Sun in the Fir­mament, and fixed Stars innumera­ble, & (as Astronomers conjecture) greater than the Sun it self; they cannot but conclude surely then there is an Eternal God to be the Creator of these things: They then are most unreasonable, and their Error worse than Diabolical that [Page 150] doubt of this. Others believe that there is an Eternal God, an Eter­nal Power, but they don't believe that there are Immortal Creatures, they don't believe that there are In­visible Beings, that there are An­gels belonging to another world. So the Sadducees of old, Act. 2 [...]. 8. They said there was no Angels. But God does sometimes by wonderful Providences make men to see it in respect of their effects and operati­ons. The Providence of God makes men see that there are Evil Angels, since persons Possessed are miserably tormented by them Therefore there is an Heaven and an Hell. Some are so [...] as to believe they have no immortal Souls, that their Souls dyes with their Bodies as the souls of Bruits do: But if the Soul be not immortal how comes it to pass that they can think and judge of Eternal Objects, that mens Souls are able to think on God. Angels, [Page 151] Eternity? Certainly if their Souls were not immortal, they could not reason about Spiritual beings. The Souls of Bruit Creatures are not ca­pable of such thoughts as these are: The reflection of Conscience does prove the immortality of the Soul: in that a Guilty Conscience is a Worm that never dyes. A Sinner thinks with horror of his sin committed ma­ny Years ago, that was never par­doned, as Joseph's Brethren, Gen. 42. 21. They said one to another, we are ver [...] guilty concerning our Bro­ther That sin was committed Twen­ty Years before. So sins commit­ted an Hundred, yea a Thousand Years ago, Conscience will remem­ber them, and l [...]h the Soul of the sinner because of them: Such a re­membrance of things past argues the soul to be immortal. We see that Old men will remember things done Forty, Fifty Years ago, much better than things which were done but a [Page 152] few Weeks ago: A clear evidence of the immortality of the Soul. And why should not men think that their souls are Immortal, when there are things in Nature that shew it? There are some Lights that will burn for for many Ages. It is reported that the Ancient Romans would artifici­ally resolve Gold into a liquid sub­stance, which would continue burn­ing for many Ages. And that there was a Lamp found burning in the Tomb of Constantius Clorus, (Father of the great Constantine) buried in Yorkshire in England, (then known by the name of Britain only) which had been blazing for above a Thou­sand Years. And have not the Stars of Light been shining in the Fi [...]m [...] ­ment for near upon Six Thousand Years? It is also related that in the Tomb of Tullya the Daughter of Ci­cere, there was a Lamp found burn­ing Fifteen Hundred and Forty Years after it was first lighted. And if so, [Page 153] shall it seem incredible that the Spi­rit of a Man which is the Candle of the Lord, shall endure forever? But alas, many do not lay to heart these solemn Truths, they do not consider of them as they ought to do. There­fore Solomon speaks as in Eccl. 3. 21 Who knowes the spirit of a Beast that goes downward, & the spirit of a Man that goes upward? Who considers it as they should do? 'Tis true (sayes the wise Man) the spirit of a Beast goes downward, his spirit his sensi­tive soul dyes with him: but it is not so with a Man, when he dyes his soul goes upward into the hands of God. But who knows this? There are ve­ry few in the world that consider this us they ought to do: but men live as if they had only sensitive and not immortal Souls in them Luk. 12. 19. Soul, (sayes that miserable wretch) Eat, Drink & be Merry. One of the Ancients says of that rich Fool that if he had the soul of a Swine in him, [Page 154] he could not have spoken more like a Bruit, Soul eat & drink Men live as if they thought they should live here to Eternity, Ps [...]l 49. 11. Their inward thought is that their houses shall continue for ever. Men live as if that were their inward thought that they should live for ever in this world. For what are their thoughts concerned about, but only temporal things? Christ says, Mat. 6. 25. Take no thought for the Body what ye shall eat & drink. But the most of men take no thought a­bo [...] any thing else, but things of that nature. They [...] no thought about their Souls, or about another Life, about Eternity and the other World into which they are going a­pace every day. How few among Christians, but what are practical Sad­duces, practical Atheists? How few are there that remember & practise the advice that Christ gives to his Disciples, Mat. 6. 33. Seek first the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness. [Page 155] How few are there who make Reli­gion their business? A sign they don't believe an Eternity. It is most certain that if men had a firm belief of their going into Eternity, they would make Religion their business, that they would mind, that in the first place, that above all other things.

O let every Soul here this Day make sure of going into a Blessed E­ternity.

Consider 1. This is the One thing needful. We should often think of those words of Christ, Luk. 10. ult. Thou art cumbred about many things, but One thing is needful. And what is that? 'Tis to make sure of a Bles­sed Eternity; to make sure that when once we are out of this, we shall be in a better world. Their Folly is beyond expression great, who that so they may enjoy the vanities of [Page 156] the world, and the pleasures of sin for a season, will venture the loss of Eternal Happiness, & plunge their immortal Souls into Everlasting Mi­sery. The blessed Martyr Hooper, when one tempted him to renounce the Truth, because Life is sweet, and Death is bitter, answered wisely, But Life Eternal is more sweet, & Death E­ternal is more bitter. Another Martyr, the inquisitor saying to him, that his Life was in his own hands, well re­plied, Then it were in an ill keeping. But Christs School has taught me to save it by losing it, & not by the gaining of a few Dayes or Years, to lose Eternity. Those holy Martyrs were (& all good men are) sensible, that to make sure of a blessed Eternity, is the One thing needful above all other things. As for the many things that people are cumbring themselves about, and carking for, they are not needful. About what are men encumbring themselves? 'Tis how they may get [Page 157] great Estates, and live high in the world, and leave great Portions to their Children. Oh, My Friends, that is not needful: You shall not, nor shall your Children after you, enjoy them long. All these things are but for a moment. It is more needful that you think what will become of your own Souls, and your Childrens Souls to Eternity, & that it may go well with them for­ever in another World.

Consider 2. That we shall all of us be very shortly in Eternity. It is not only true, that we are all going into Eternity, but that we shall be quick­ly there: For the great Day of Judgment will be here e're long. But suppose that to be far off, which it is not; yet we shall be in Eternity e're long. Death opens the door into Eternity. Heb. 9. 27. It is ap­pointed for men once to Dye, & after that the Judgment. As soon as the [Page 158] Body is dead then will be the Judg­ment, as to the Soul of a man. There is no man that goes out of this world, but as soon as ever his im­mortal soul is out of his body, he knows certainly where he must be throughout Everlasting Ages, whe­ther he shall be in Heaven or in Hell to all Eternity. Now this will be e're long. Life here is but for a moment. Jam. 4. 14. What is your Life? It is even a vapour, that ap­peareth for a little time & vanishes. Life-time is but for a little while, and then comes Eternity: So that every man will quickly be in Eter­nity. Old men will quickly be in Eternity: And so will Young men too. They know not but that they may dye suddenly. How many in­stances have we seen that either by Drowning or by Sickness, or by o­ther Providences, Young men as well as others have been carried into E­ternity. There are few here this [Page 159] Day but have known many instances of it. Well then, will you not pre­pare for a blessed Eternity? Vain Ungodly Creatures are apt to say, a Short life & a [...] one: Truly for the most part, they that live a merry life, live but a short one. They spend their dayes in Mirth, & in a moment they go down to the Grave. The Fool in the Gospel said, Eat, Drink & be Merry, thou hast Goods for many Years: but it was said unto him, This Night thy Soul shall be re­quired of thee. So tis with many that lot upon a long Life, they are upon [...] very brink of Eternity. Every day men draw nearer to E­ternity than they were the day be­fore. Every one in this Assembly is one week nearer unto Eternity than they was the last Lords Day. Then are we not concerned to pre­pare, and to make sure of a bles­sed Eternity?

[Page 160]Quest. But what shall we do to make sure of a Blessed Eternity?

Answ. 1. Let our chief care be a­bout those things that will go with us into the Eternal World. An Inte­rest in Christ will do so: If the Soul is by Faith United to Christ, that Union will never be dissolved through out the dayes of Eternity. All o­ther Relations will cease, they will come to an end. The Relation be­tween Father and Children, Master and Servant, Husband and Wife, they will soon come to an end. Aye, but if a man is Related to Christ, that Relation abides forever. There­fore Christ sayes, Hos. 2. 19. I will betroth thee to me forever. Oh make sure that your Souls be Married to Jesus Christ the Son of God, and that Relation will abide World with­out end. Again, Grace in the Soul that will last to Eternity. Saving [Page 161] Grace is the Seed of God which is incorruptible, that lives and abides for ever. The Grace of Love is so: Love to God, and Christ, and to his People, 1 Cor. 13. 18. Charity never fails. If a man has a true sin­cere Love to Christ in his heart, that Love will go with him to Hea­ven; and tho' it be but as a Spark here, it will there be a Flame that will never go out. And sincere O­bedience unto the Commands of God, will stand a man in-stead for Eternity. Therefore fear God and keep his Commandments. Deut. 5. 29, 3 [...]Oh that there were such an hea [...] in them that they would fear me, & keep all my Commandments alwayes, that it may go well with them fore [...]er. 1 Joh. 2. 17. The world & the lusts of it pass away, but he that does the Will of God [...]bides forever. That is to say, he is happy for-ever. When he dies he goes into an happy Eternity. So Good Works pro­c [...]eding [Page 162] from Faith and Love, they will pass with you to the other World; they will follow you. Blessed are the dead which dye in the Lord: their works follow them, Rev. 14. 13. They lay up a good Foundation for the time to come, yea, a good Foun­dation for Eternity. Let us do all the Good we can do, we are sure of a reward, and it will be an Eter­nal reward.

2. Redeem the Time. If we would enter into a Blessed Eternity, we should redeem the Time. Eterni­ty does depend on improving that moment of Time, we have here in this world allowed to us. O don't mis [...]en [...] your precious Time, that you be not made to repent of it to Eternity. Don't spend time in Sin­ning. We ought not to spend any part of our time in sinning against God; we have done too much of that already: the time past may [Page 163] suffice. Neither spend too much time in Recreations. Some time spent in Recreation is lawful, but too much time spent therein will be un­comfortable in another World, and it may be on a Death-bed t'will cause sad Reflections. Our Famous Prince Henry lying on his Death­bed, a Noble Man coming to him with whom he had spent much time in Recreations, He said, In vain do I now wish for those Hours again that you & I have spent in vain sports. Be sure to spend a suitable portion of time in Reli­gious Exercises, in Prayer, and in Reading the Holy Scriptures. They that have the greatest Employments are not exempted. God required of the Kings of Israel, that they should with their own hands write out some part of the Scripture. The Emperor Theodosius with his own hand wrote out the New Te [...]a­ment. Some Learned Men who [Page 164] have spent their Time industriously and profitably, yet when they came to Die, have bewailed it as a great Evil they had been guilty of, in that they had spent no more time in Prayer, and Reading the Scripture. Never did any man when he came to Die say, I have spent too much in Prayer, and Reading the Scrip­tures; but many have done the con­trary. Then be careful to improve Time well, because when it is past there is no recovery of it. An Eminent Divine speaks of one the occasion of whose Conversion was, he heard a poor dying Creature speak these words, Can you call Time again? If you can't, I am undone to Eternity. O then improve Time unto Soul-saving ends and purposes.

3. Meditate on Eternity. Think sadly on Eternity. Oh! Eternity! Eternity! Eternity! O be pe [...]swa­ded to go alone and think of E­ternity. [Page 165] It may be God will bless serious Consideration on it, to the Conversion and Salvation of your Souls. Mr. Flavel speaks of a Per­son of Quality that had mispent some of her time in playing at Cards, & one Night coming home late, she found her Servant Reading in a good Book, to whom the Gentle-woman said, Ah! Poor Melancholy Creature, alwayes Reading! But not long after, she fell into a bitter weeping, nor could she sleep at all that Night: The Servant enquired what might be the cause of her weeping, O (said she) I cast my Eye on that Book you were reading, & there I saw that word ETERNITY, and that has broke my heart, I have an immortal Soul within me, but where must that Soul of mine be to Eterni­ty? O then be perswaded to Medi­tate on Eternity. Oh, go alone & think with thy self, Within a little [Page 166] while I must be either in Heaven, where there are Pleasures for ever more, and after I have been in the Joyes of Heaven as many Million of Ages as there have been Mi­nutes since the world began, my Happiness shall be no nearer the end, than it was the First Mo­ment of my happy Arrival there. Or, within a little while I must be in Hell, where the Worm dies not, and the Fire is not quenched, & after I have been in that place of Torment more Millions of A­ges than there are Sands on the Sea-shore, I shall be no nearer the end of my Misery than the First Day I went to Hell. Oh that you would think of this. Suppose (sayes our Famous, Mr. Perkins, and he speaks weightily) all this Earth was a vast heap of Sand, & God should send a Sparrow to fetch away one Sand, once in a Thousand Years, when


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.