CONTAINING, A variety of devout and useful sayings, on divers subjects, digested under pro­per heads; religious observations; seri­ous advice to youth, occasional reflec­tions, &c. and christian letters.

First American EDITION.

NORWICH: Printed and sold by JOHN STERRY. Sold also, by I. Beers, New-haven; Hudson and Goodwin, Hartford; Car­ter and Wilkinson, Providence; and by J. Richardson, New-port. 1798.



IT may not be amiss in the first place to mention a little of the Character of the Rev. Mr. Ma­son, as given us by a person intimately acquainted with him. "My ac­quaintance (saith he) with Mr. Mason I have esteemed one of the grea­test mercies I ever Received. His Learning and piety were great, and his humility deep. His affections were so fervent, and his zeal so great, that as they were the comfort so they were the a [...]mirat [...]on of those that feared God, and lived near him. So great was his love to Christ, that he had a value for any one who spoke a Savory word of him. And as he had a great charity for others, so he was most highly esteemed by the different de­nominations of Christi [...]ns. The frame of his spirit was so heavenly▪ his de­portment [Page iv] so humble and obliging, his discourse of spiritual things (and lit­tle else could we hear from him) so weighty, with such apt words and delightful air that it charmed all that had any spiritual Relish, and at the same time was not so burdensome to others, as discourses of that nature have been from other writers."

What a happy time would the Church of God experience, if all its members stood in the same place with this truly pious Christian. Instead of contending about forms and specula­tions, we could all unite in the humble charitable, and pious temper with which this good man was so eminently distinguished. The pravalence of such a spirit and temper, is more to be wished for, by every good Christian, than any of those things about which we gene­rally spend our warmest zeal. If we are Zealous, let us (as he did) turn the heat of our zeal against sin, [Page v] and for the necessary and undesputed interest of vital holiness, and then it will not be so apt to blind and mislead us. If we cannot all be of the same sentiments let us be all of, and influ­enced by one spirit—But this is a hap­piness rather to be desired than expect­ed, till some Divine power, more gen­erally correct our tempers, and give the human mind a better disposition; or till God shall tune the heart of every Christian to the harmony of his own Divine feelings—O! when shall we cease to strive about the chaff while we neglect the wheat; when shall we cease to build with hay, wood and stubble, which God will destroy by the bright­ness of his coming?

But to return. The Author of these remains had an excellent▪talent in the sententious way; he loved to deliver a thought in as few and expressive words as might be, as appears from these his religious maxims and [Page vi] sentences, the reader is here presented with; many of them are easy and na­tural, most of them strong and beauti­ful, and all of them devout and spiri­tual.

If such kind of religious sayings as those of Mr Mason, were but as fa­miliar to us as our common proverbs; and if parents would but take the pains to insinuate them into, and fix them in the tender minds of their children, I am satisfied it would answer a very valuable purpose in the religious life.

The serious advice to youth, as it is a plain and affectionate persuasive and directory to the religious conduct, I hope it may be of service, not only to those to whom it is immediately ad­dress'd, but to all who sincerely desire to maintain a conscientious walk with God.

The directions and signs, &c. may be useful to doubting and discourag'd christians; and to all who make con­science [Page vii] of the great duty of self-exam­ination, and desire to know the true habit and state of their souls.

Mr. Mason was very happy in his epistolary stile and talents; and if the common maxim may be credited, that a man's true turn and genius may best be known by his letters; these which are here inserted will abundantly con­firm the character I have given of this excellent man, in most of which we meet with the same genuine zeal, and unaffected fervour, which animates the rest of these select remains.

The devout christian loves to be an­imated and impressed with a strong sense of divine things. And in most of these devotional maxims the reader will find such a life and vigour, that he cannot read them considerately, without find­ing himself not only seriously but warm­ly affected; often yielding to the force of them.

The whole of this collection is prin­cipally [Page viii] intended for the benefit of pri­vate families, and for those christians who desire to have their hearts warm­ed with a sense of religion (the necessi­ty of which every true christian often feels, and of the want of which he of­ten complains) and who are not well able to purchase larger treatises. And if, by the blessing of Almighty God, it may be subservient to the cause of re­al religion, and promote a Spirit of true piety, inward as well as outward holiness, I shall have the satisfaction of having been of some service to man­kind; the reflection of which will be ever sweet on my memory.



CHAP. I. Containing a variety of devout and use­ful sayings on divers subjects, digest­ed under proper heads.

Moral observations and instructions.

THOUGH few there be that care to be virtuous, yet fewer there are that would not be counted so.

Nothing but what is God's dishonor should be our shame.

We must not walk by example, but by rule.

They that drive a way time, spur a free horse.

As often as a man lays out for God, he lays up for himself.

We have nothing that we can pro­perly call our own, but what we have reason to be ashamed of.

[Page 2]We are never well informed of the truth, till we are conformed to the truth.

A conceit of knowledge i [...] the great­est enemy to knowledge, and the great­est argument of ignorance.

We remember many things we should forget (as injuries, disappoint­ments, &c.) but forget what we should remember (viz. God and our souls.)

They that presume most in prosper­ity are soonest subject to despair in adversity.

Man may commend thee, but God may condemn thee.

When God punishes another, he threatens thee, when he wounds anoth­er, he warns thee.

It is as great a mercy to be preserv­ed in health, as to be delivered from sickness.

If you mind nothing but the body, you lose body and soul too. If you mind nothing but earth, you lose earth and Heaven too.

As they▪ who for every slight infir­mity take physic to repair their health, [Page 3] do rather impair it; so they, who for every trifle are eager to vindicate their character, do rather weaken it.

Honesty is the best policy, and inno­cence the best wisdom.

Improve the wit you have bought at a dear rate, and the wisdom you have gained by sad experience.

Learn of Christ, who was sensible of injuries, yet patient under them.

Be lively but not light; solid but not sad.

Keep the body under, but the spirit up.

Keep such company as God keeps.

What can you get by bad company▪ If you are truly good they will either taunt you or despise you.

Take heed of being infected with the breath of a profane heart.

Let the body wait upon the soul, and bo [...]h wait upon God.

Speak not well of yourself, nor ill of others.

Speak of people's virtues, conceal their infirmaties: If you can say no good, say no ill of them.

To render good for evil is God-like▪ to render good for good is man-like▪ [Page 4] to render evil for evil is beast-like; to render evil for good is devil-like.

Carry yourself submissively towards your superiors; and frienly towards your equals; condescendingly towards your inferiors; generously towards your enemies; and lovingly towards all.

Of religion in general.

IT signifies nothing to say we will not change our religion, if our religion change not us.

If a man lives and dies a mere pro­fessor, it had been better for him if he had liv'd and dy'd a mere heathen.

The duty of religion flows from a principle of religion.

It is not talking, but walking with God, that gives a man the denom [...] ­tion of a christian.

Darkness may as well put on the name of light, as a wicked man the name of a christian.

It is our main business in this world to secure an interest in the next.

A desire of happiness is natural, a de­sire of holiness is supernatural.

[Page 5]If God hath done that good for us which he hath denied to the world, we ought to do that service for him which is denied him by the world.

If we are willing, God will help us; if sincere, God will accept us.

A serious remembrance of God is the fountain of obedience to God.

If you forget God when you are young, God may forget you when you are old.

When a christian considers the good­ness of God's ways, he wonders that all the world doth not walk in them. But when he considers the blindness, [...] depravity, and prejudice of the [...] nature, he wonders that any [...] enter upon them.

[...] your calling sure, and your [...].

[...] walking, with a neglect of [...], makes a disconsolate soul. Four things a christian should especial­ly labor after, viz. to be humble and thankful, watchful and chearful.

If we would not fall into things un­lawful, we must sometimes deny our­selves [Page 6] in those that are lawful.

Salvation then draws near to man when it is his main care.

The ordinances of God are the means of salvation; but the God of ordinan­ces is the author of salvation.

Religion must be our business, then it will be our delight.

It will cost something to be religious, it will cost more not to be so.

A christian's life is nothing else but a short trial of his graces.

Luke warmness is the best natural, but the worst spiritual temper a man can be in.

There are few but what are som [...] ­times in a seri [...]us fit; but how [...] in a serious frame, who [...] sense of God upon their [...]

It is a volu [...]ary cann [...]t [...] the soul from God.

The [...] which leads to life [...] gate, therefore we should fear; [...] an open gate, therefore we should hope.

Do the Lord's work in the Lord's time; pr [...]y whilst God hears; hear [...] God [...]; believe whil [...]t God pro [...]ises, ob [...]y whilst God commands.

[Page 7]That man hath no sense of mercy that wants a sense of duty.

Two duties must run through a christian's life, like the warp through the woof, blessing and trusting.

Religion is much talk'd of, but little understood, till the conscience be awa­ken'd; then a man knows the worth of a soul and the want of a Saviour.

Then doth religion flourish in the soul, when it knows how to naturalize spiritual things, and to spiritualize na­tural things.

We may judge of our eternal state by our spiritual state; and of our spir­itual state by the delightful and custo­mary actions of our lives.

If we expect to live with Christ in Heaven, we must live to him on earth.

We may expect God's protection so long as we keep within bounds.

Our opportunities are (like our souls) very precious; but if they are lost they are irrecoverably lost.

That preaching that is plain▪ pure, powerful, and practical, men are apt to dislike.

Religion begins with a knowledge o [...] [Page 8] a man's self, and is perfected with the knowledge of God.

This is a threefold mystery; a gos­pel published in the midst of an ungod­ly world; a little church preserved in the midst of devils; and a little grace kept alive in the midst of corruptions.

The service of God is the soul's work; and the favour of God is its reward.

A man may be imperfect in his o­bedience and yet impartial.

God never fails them that wait for him, nor forsakes them that work for him.

It is a sign of advanc'd grace when opinion is swallowed up of religion.


That there is a God, may be proved by considering the manner of propaga­tion of mankind by generation. Thus,

(1.) There must have been one first man. (2.) This first man must have had some maker. (3.) This maker of him must himself be unmade. There­fore, (4.) There must have been eter­nally [Page 9] some unmade being; and that is God.

We may truly conceive of God, though we cannot fully conceive of him.

We may have right apprehensions of him, though not an exact comprehen­sion of him.

Then our conceptions of God's attri­butes are carnal, when our high thoughts of one gives us low thoughts of another.

His goodness makes his majesty ami­able, and his majesty makes his good­ness wonderful. His love is not abated by his greatness, nor his greatness by his love. His holiness hinders him not from dwelling with the poor in spirit.

Nothing is great enough for him to admire, who is infinite majesty; no­thing is mean enough for him to des­pise, who is infinite mercy.

God deals with his servants, not as a passionate master, but as a compas­sionate father.

What pleaseth God should please us, because it pleaseth God.

A sight of God begins a saint on earth, and perfects him in heaven.

[Page 10]God takes notice of every particular man as if there were none else; and yet takes notice of all as if they were but one man.

God repented that he made man, but never repented that he redeemed man.

We cannot live naturally without God, how then can we live happily without him?

We may know what God intends for us, by what he hath wrought in us.

They that have God for their God have angels for their guard.

Many have lost for God, but none ever lost by God. If they have lost in temporals, they have been eternal gain­ers, Matth. xix 29.

This is a sure rule; God never takes any thing from his people, but he gives them something better in the stead of it.

God is a great God, and therefore we should wait upon him; he is a good God, and therefore it is not in vain to wait upon him.

A man may be a worshipper of the true God, and yet not a true wor­shipper of God.

[Page 11]The lowest reverence is due to the highest majesty.

Fear God for his power, trust him for his wisdom, love him for his good­ness, praise him for his greatness, be­lieve him for his faithfulness, and ador [...] him for his holiness,

All creatures are as nothing compa­red with God, and absolutely nothing without God.

Of the fear of GOD.

They that fear God least have the greatest reason to fear him.

A fear of departing from God is a good means to keep us from departing from him.

The more we fear God the less we shall fear men.

They that will not fear God in pros­perity, will be afraid of him in adversi­ty.

Of the presence of GOD.

If God's earthly presence is so good, what is his heavenly presence?

[Page 12]If God's being with us is so sweet, what is it to be with God?

There is joy in God's gracious pres­ence, but in his glorious presence there is fullness of joy.

There are pleasures in approaching to God here, but at his right hand there are pleasures for ever more.

The nearer we are to Christ, the nearer is God to us.

The presence of God's glory is in heaven; the presence of his power on earth, the presence of his justice in hell, and the presence of his grace with his people.—If he deny us his pow­erful presence we fall into nothing; if he deny us his gracious presence we fall into sin; if he deny us his merci­ful presence we fall into hell.

Of the love of GOD.

If the love of God set us on work, the God of love will pay us our wages.

God loveth his people to the end, therefore they shall endure to the end.

He loveth them in his Son, and as his Son and as long as he loveth the Son.

[Page 13]We hated God without a cause, and he loved us without a cause.

Love begits love. 'Tis a flame that communicates itself. They that have much forgiven them, much done for them, much laid out for them, and muh laid up for them, will love much.

Our love to God is the reflection of his love to us; 1 Iohn iv.19. We love him because he first loved us.


Christ made himself like to us, that he might make us like to himself.

Christ must needs have died, how else could sin be expiated, the law sat­tisfied, the devil conquered, and man be saved?

They that deny themselves for Christ, shall enjoy themselves in Christ.

Men had rather hear of Christ cru­cified for them, than be crucified for Christ.

If Christ denied innocent nature out of love to us, shall not we deny corrupt nature out of love to him?

Christ by his death appeared to be [Page 14] the Son of man, by his resurrection he appeared to be the Son of God.

Christ was the great promise of the old testament, the Spirit is the great promise of the new.

Christ's strength is the christian's strength.

If we would stand, Christ must be our foundation; if we would be safe, Christ must be our sanctuary.

In regard of natural life, we live in God; in regard of spiritual life, Christ lives in us.

He that thinks he hath no need of Christ hath too high thoughts of him­self; he that thinks Christ cannot help him hath too low thoughts of Christ.

Presumption abuses Christ, despair refuses him.

Christ satisfied God to the uttermost, and therefore can save sinners to the uttermost.

The blood of Christ, which satisfied the justice of God, may satisfy the con­science of an awakened sinner.

If sin was better known, Christ would be better thought of.

[Page 15]If sin doth not taste bitter, Christ cannot taste sweet.

When sin is hell Christ is heaven.

There is no passage from sin to hol­iness 'till we are passed from sin to Christ.

Christ may have an interest in us, though we may not be able to see our interest in him.

Christ hath intreated God to be re­conciled [...]o us, and now he intreats us to be reconciled to God.

God will give us nothing for our sakes; but he will deny us, nothing for Christ's sake.

None are so low as Christ was, none so lowly, none so loving.

We may know what Christ hath done for us, by what he hath done in us▪

C [...]atur [...]s die that our bodies may live. Christ [...] our souls may live.

Our judge, instead of condemning us, sl [...]pt from the bench [...] for us.

Christ is to be a believer's judge, and i [...] he was to chuse his judge he could not chuse a bett [...]r fri [...]nd.

As God glorifies Christ in heaven, so [Page 16] the Spirit glorifies him on earth, in the hearts of believers.

A believer's Comfort in living is to live to Christ; and in dying it is that he shall go to Christ.

The blood of Christ upon the heart is the greatest blessing, upon the head is the greatest curse.

It matters not who are our accusers if Christ be our advocate.

Christ's blood is the soul's ransome; his Spirit its comforter; his word its food; his supper its feast; the Lord's day its market day.

A christian may triumph in the death of Christ! O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory? O hell! where is thy terror? O world! where is thy mallice? O sin! where is thy strength? O my soul! where are thine accusers?

There is no honor like a relation to Christ; no riches like the graces of Christ; no learning like the knowledge of Christ; and no persons like the ser­vants of Christ.

Christ executes the office of a proph­et in our affectual calling; of a priest [Page 17] in our justification, and of a king in our sanctification.

—Let us then hear him as our prophet; rely on him as our priest; and obey him as our king—Think not the worse of him for his manger or his cross, As he ceaseth not to be man in his highest estate, so he was God in his lowest. His words were oracles, and his works miracles. His life was a pattern; his death a sacrifice, his re­surrection glorious; his ascension tri­umphant; his intercession prevalent; and his coming again magnificent. All the angels in heaven adore him; all the devils in hell fear him; and all the sons and daughters of Adam must stand before him.

Own Christ's person, love his name, embrace his doctrine, obey his com­mands, and submit to his cross. His person is lovely, his name is sweet, his doctrines are comfortable, his com­mands are rational, and his cross hon­orable —The very angels admire him, and shall not we?—

A depraved understanding will not [Page 18] yield that the creature is so bad, and that Christ is so good!—

O! did we but know ourselves▪ and our Saviour! We are poor, but he is rich; we are dead, but he is life; we are sin, but he is righteousness; we are guiltiness, but he is grace; we are misery, but he is mercy; we are lost, but he is salvation:—If we are wi [...]ling, he never was otherwise—He ever lives, ever loves, ever pities, ever pleads. He loves to the end, and saves to the [...]ermost, all that come unto him.

[...] invitation is sinners to come to Christ.

Have you sins, or have you none?— If you have, whither should you go, but in the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world? Have you souls, or have you none?—If you have, [...] should you go but to the Saviour of souls? Is there a life to come, or is there not? If there is whi­ther should you go but him, who only hath the words of eternal life? Is there a wrath to come, or is there not▪— [Page 19] If there is, whither should you go but to him, who only can deliver from the wrath to come?—And will he not receive you?—If he yielded him­self into the hands of them that sought his life, will he hide himself from the hearts of them that seek his mercy? If he was willing to be taken by the hand of violence, is he not much more wil­ling to be taken by the hands of [...] He that died for thy sins, will be [...] thee off for thine infirmities?—O come, come, come!—I charge you [...] —I beseech you come— [...] and he will give you life. Come [...] he will give you rest. Come [...] will receive you. Knock, and [...] open to you Look to him, and [...] save you.—Did ever any come to him for a cure, and go away without it?— Thou wouldest find something in thyself, but thou findest nothing—but what thou hast reason to be ashamed of; but let not that hinder, but further thy coming.—Come as thou art; come poor, come needy, come naked come empty, come wretched, only come, only believe; his heart is free, his arms [Page 20] are open, 'tis his joy and his crown to receive thee.—If thou art willing, he never was otherwise.

Of the love of CHRIST.

Nothing grieves Christ more than to [...] is love slighted; nothing pleaseth [...] than to have it accepted.

[...] of Christ is stronger than [...] than life, and better [...].

[...] sense of Christ's love adds [...] to ours.

[...] of Christ hath a height [...], a depth without a [...] without an end, and a [...] without a limit, Eph. iii 18.19.

Christ's sorrows, griefs and suffer­ings, can be paralleled with nothing but his love.

Of saints, or true believers.

God hath no sons that are unlike himself.

Believers are children of the same [Page 21] Father, members of the same Son, and habitations of the same Spirit, fel­low-citizens, fellow-servants, fellow-soldiers, fellow-travellers, and fellow-heirs.

None are so easily acquainted [...] close knit together, and so much [...] to one another, as real [...]

One true christian differs from [...] without breach of charity, [...] love one another, though in [...] garbs.

It is not so considerable [...], what his judgment is, [...] temper is.

Heart-work is better than [...] and, it is a better temper to be [...] charity, than in disputes.

Better be a melancholy saint, [...] mad sinner.

If good men are sad, it is not because they are good, but because they are not better.

Whom God chuses, the world refuses.

God's gold is the world's dross. They, of whom the world is not wor­thy, [Page 22] are counted not worthy to live in the world.

If believers are condemned by the world, let them remember that they [...] not be condemned with the world. [...] may live in a believer, but a [...] cannot live in sin. It may lose [...], though not leave its [...].

[...] man is so far acquainted with [...] of his own heart; that, [...] condemning others, he is apt [...] them better than himself.

[...] of God had rather ten [...] suffer for Christ, than that [...] suffer by him.

[...] [...]perfection of a believer's [...], makes him continually [...] on Christ for his justification.

When a child of God thinks he can go alone, he is nearest falling.

A true christian may be weary in ser­ving God, but he is never weary of ser­ving him.

He is neither afraid of dying nor liv­ing▪ he desires to go to heaven to see Christ, yet, is willing to stay upon earth to serve Christ.

[Page 23]If the children of God did but know what was best for them, they would perceive that God did that which is best for them.

A christian shall be here as long as he hath any work to do for Christ, or as long as Christ hath any work to ac­complish in him: Christ will fit him for himself, and then take him to him­self.

A true christian lives like a saint, and begs like a sinner.

All God's children have received God's spirit, wereby they are made humble, believing and holy; humble in regard of their sins, believing in re­gard of Christ, and holy in regard of their conscience and care to keep all God's commandments.

A good deal of the trouble of God's people ariseth from a mistake and mis­apprehension of God: they judge of God by their sense, and not by his pro­mise; by their own frame, and not by his constant [...]a [...]ure.

As saints have groanings unutterable, so they have joys unutterable.

[Page 24]A christian is what he is between God and his own soul.

All saints have had [...]eîr doubtings. Da­vid, cast me not off in mine old age, Psal. lxxi.9. Asaph, will the Lord c [...]st off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Psal. lxxvii.7. Peter, Lord [...]s it [...]? Matt. [...]xxvi.22. And Paul, l [...]st I should be a castaway, 1 Cor. xi.27.

But believers, remember, there may be true grace, where there is no com­fort; there may be saving faith with­out assurance. A soul may be in a par­doned state, though in a troubled state. Your sins can never be triumphant, your graces never decay, your souls can never be lost, your God and you never be separated. The devil shall as soon p [...]ck Christ out of heaven, as out of a be­liever's heart. He sits as fast upon his throne here as there. The devil could not enter into the herd of swine with­out Christ's leave; and will he let him worry his lambs?

Believe firmly, hope joyfully, love fer [...]ently, pray earnestly, walk hum­bly, work diligently, and wait quietly; [Page 25] and all this will be graciously consid­ered.

Hold up, hold on, hold out, hold fast that which ye have received; still watch, still pray, still believe, fight and run, that you may obtain; 'tis but a little while, and he that comes will come and will not tarry; 'tis but a lit­tle while, and your warfare is accom­plished, and your iniquities shall be e­verlastingly separated from you; your sin and sorrows, tears and fears, fled and gone, gone for ever; and you meet with an unspeakable reward.

Of sinners.

Are not they miserable, who, if they had their wish, could not be happy?

They▪ that will not hear Christ say come to me, in a day of grace, shall hear him say depart from me, in a day of judgment.

If we are graceless here we shall be speechless hereafter.

Sinners are first driven, then drawn to God.

The conversion of a sinner is a great­er [Page 26] wonder than the creation of the world.

If a sinner's thoughts be not changed by grace, they will be changed here­after by experience.

They that are least serious, have the greatest reason to be so, their condition is awful, and therefore their disposition ought to be so.

Hatred is due to sin, compassion to the sinner.

Sinners, if you will not hear God call to day, you will harden your hearts to day: and, if you harden them to day, God may harden them to morrow. If you will not set about repentance to day, God may justly deny you his assist­ance to morrow.

If you will not do that which God hath enabled you to do, how can you look that he should do that for you which, of yourselves, you cannot do?

Don't think to begin to live, when thou art ready to die.

If you would not go to hell, you must know that you have deserved it.

Let not your hearts flatter you, nor the world comfort you, when God threatens you.

[Page 27]God tells you, if you repent, you shall find mercy; and will you not be­lieve him▪ because thou hast been a sin­ner, wilt thou make God a liar?

Sinners, you must be changed; if your hearts be not changed for the bet­ter, your condition will be changed for the worse.

The worst of the ways of God, are better than the best of the ways of sin.

Of sin.

He that pleads for sin, is an advocate for his accuser.

God allows us any thing but sin.

If sin be in the fashion, we must be out of it.

Then a man shews himself to be a christian, when he chuses rather to suf­fer than sin.

Sin di [...]s graves for bodies, and kin­dles hell for souls.

That is a sufficient cause for trouble, that is the cause of all the trouble in the world.

Should not we gróan for that which makes the whole creation groan?

[Page 28]If the heart be under the power of sin, the conscience is under the guilt of sin. If thou art not purified, thou art not pardoned.

A man can never leave sin thorough­ly, till he loaths it heartily.

We must be sick of sin, before we can be dead to sin.

There is no sin a man can be tempt­ed to, but he will find greater comfort in resisting than in indulging.

How can we say that we love Christ, if we love sin, which was an enemy to his life and soul when he was on earth; and is an enemy to his glory now he is in heaven?

Our sins cried as loud to heaven, as the Iews did to earth, that Christ might be crucified.

Go to Golgotha, and see what sin did there.

Christ did not die for sin that we might live to sin.

Christ died that our sins might die, and our souls live.

Sin received its sentence in the death of Christ; but it doth not receive its ex­ecution till the death of a christian.

[Page 29]All our sins shall not separate be­tween God and our souls, if unbelief doth not separate between Christ and our souls.

There is no sin but what may be traced up to unbelief.

He that glories in his sin, glories [...] his shame.

We should be ashamed of sin, but not ashamed to take shame for sin.

Get this principle into your hearts; there is nothing got by sin, nor lost by holiness.

by suffering we may avoid sinning, but by sinning we cannot avoid suffer­ing.

One that truly fears God, is afraid of sin; he sees more evil in it than in all the evil in the world.

If we be not humble for sin, we derogate from the majesty of God; if we despair under it, we derogate from his mercy.

One that is sincere hates sin in him­self▪ and laments it in others.

Our hatred of sin must be irrecon­cileable; [Page 30] and our endeavours against it perpetual.

The sins of the wicked, anger Christ, the sins of his people grieve him.

Want of sorrow for sin, more argues Want of love to Christ, than the sin it­self.

Sin is a believer's burden and wound, but Christ is his cure and comfort.

Sin is the sickness of the soul, and Christ the only physician, that can cure it of the leprosy of profaneness, the fever of concupiscence, the dropsy of covet­ousness, the tympany of pride, the lethargy of luke-warmness, the phrenzy of passion, and the palsy of unbelief.

Hatred is heart-murder; lust is heart adultery; and covetousness heart-steal­ing.

How tender is our flesh? How hard our hearts? i. e. How much more sen­sible are we of suffering than sin?

We should fear to think that before God, which we are afraid to do be­fore man; for God knows our hearts better than any man knows our faces.

Vain thoughts are sin's advocates, and Christ's adversaries.

[Page 31]God is so holy that he would not suffer such an evil as sin; but that he is so wise, that he can bring good out of it.


Repentance begins in the humilia­tion of the heart, and ends in the refor­mation of life.

Though we want p [...]wer to repent; yet we do not want means to repent, nor power to use these means.

He that repents of sin, as sin, doth implicitly repent of all sin.

Let not sinful pleasures prevent god­ly sorrows.

An humble confession of sin brings shame to ourselves, but glory to God.

You cannot repent too soon. There is no day, like to-day. Yesterday is gone, to morrow is God's, not your own. And, think how sad it will be to have your evidences to seek, when your cause is to be tried; to have your oil to buy, when you should have it to burn!

[Page 32]Let the hopes of mercy encourage to the exercise of repentance.

Turn to God, and he will turn to you; and then you are happy, though all the world turn against you.

If we think amiss of Christ, we shall never believe: If we think well of sin, we shall never repent.

If we put off our repentance to a­nother day, we have a day more to re­pent of, and a day less to repent in.

If we study to honor God, we can­not do it better than by confessing our sins, and laying ourselves low at the feet of Christ.

Godly sorrow is the sorrow of love; the melting of the heart; love is the pain and pleasure of a mourning heart.

The Evangelical penitent loves and grieves. ‘Alas (saith he) that I who am as high as heaven in privilege, should be as deep as hell in iniquity! instead of repenting, I have run fur­ther on score! instead of honoring God, I have dishonored him! in­stead of pleasing him, I have pro­voked him! instead of following him I have forsaken him!—O what [Page 33] bowels have I grieved! how can I sin against my Jesus! shall I deny and crucify my Saviour! he was crucified for me, and shall he be cru­cified by me? shall I wound his heart and pierce his side again, and give him cause to say, these are the wounds I received in the house of my friends.


Reliance is the essence of faith, Christ is the object, the word is the food, and obedience the proof: so that true faith is a depending upon Christ for salvation in a way of obedience, as he is offered in the word.

The true tears of repentance flow from the eye of faith.

Though faith be necessary to our justification, good works are necessary to our salvation.

We must derive our works from saith, and demonstrate our faith by our works.

God is often pleased to imbitter [...] [Page 34] life of sense, that he may indear the life of faith.

A steadfast faith begets a constant peace.

The more faith, the more humility.

Keep good principles, and they will keep you.

Men would first see, and then be­lieve; but they must first believe, and then see.

As believers live upon Christ by faith, so they live to him by obedience.

Justifying faith is always attended with universal obedience.

There is a difference between con­tending for the faith, and babbling for a fancy.

Assurance sets the notion of faith too high, assent too low.

There is as much difference between faith and assurance, as there is between the root and the fruit.

There may be joy without faith, and there may be faith without joy.

Human faith is founded upon prob­ability, divine faith upon certainty.

If the exercise of faith be the care of [Page 35] your souls, the end of your faith will be the salvation of your souls.


To be low is the safest and comliest posture for sinful creatures.

It is the creature's honor to abase himself before the most high God.

God had rather see his children hum­ble for sin, than proud of grace.

If men did but know themselves more, they would be more humble.

They that are humble, are content and thankful.

An humble spirit is a charitable and quiet spirit.

Judge thyself with a judgment of sincerity, and thou wilt judge others with a judgment of charity.

To humble ourselves, is the only way to rise.

Believers must be humble for sin par­doned, and because it is pardoned.

When Paul was a Pharisee he thought he was blameless; when he was a Christian, the chief of sinners [...] [Page 36] before, any thing but Christ, now, none but Christ.

If Christ humbled himself to honor our nature, we should humble ourselves to honor his name.

Neither all the devils in hell, nor all the temptations of the world, can hurt that man that keeps himself humble and depending on Christ.

It is no humiliation to aggravate sin above Christ's saving power.

Despair is a corruption of humilia­tion, 'tis a counterfeit humility, a sul­len pride, the covert of a▪ hardened spi­rit.

That is true humiliation, which (like a harbinger) makes way for Christ; and throws the soul at his feet.

Our Saviour was a preacher and pattern of humility: he did so admire it, that he set them in the highest form, that had the lowest hearts.

None so high and glorious as Christ, yet none so meek and lowly.


Humility is the mother of content­ment.

[Page 37]The deeper your self-abhorrence, the easier is self-resignation.

They that deserve nothing should be content with any thing.

Bless God for what you have, and trust him for what you want.

We must cammit our souls to God's keeping, and submit ourselves to God's disposing.

We should obey his revealed will, and then be resigned to his providential will.

If we cannot bring our condition to our mind, we must labour to bring our mind to our condition.

Neither contentment nor discontent­ment, arises from the outward condi­tion, but from the inward disposition.

If a man is not content in that state he is in, he will not be content in any state he would be in.


To be sure a man is proud of that which he scorns another for the want of.

That which a man envies in another, [Page 38] he would be proud of, if he had it himself.

Pride is founded on error and self-ignorance.

Some are pro [...]d of what they are, others of what they are not.

There is a sullen pride in not ac­knowledging benefits.

A man may be poor in purse, yet proud in spirit.

There may be pride in rags, in a so­lemn look and lowly carriage.

God had rather his people should fare poorly, than live proudly.

How canst thou be judge of another's heart, that dost not know thine own?

As the first step heaven-ward is hu­mility, so the first step hell-ward is pride.

Pride counts the gospel foolishness, but the gospel always shews pride to be so.

Pride is a sin that will rise out of the ashes of other sins.

Folly is the beginning of pride, and shame shall be the end of it; either penitent shame, or penal shame; either [Page 39] temporal repentance, or eternal pun­ishment.

Shall the sinner be proud that is go­ing to hell? shall the saint be proud that is newly saved from it?

Thou that canst call nothing thine own but sin and shame, art thou proud? dust and ashes, proud? a worm, and proud? emptiness, and proud? per­ishing, and proud?

It is unreasonable for the creature to be proud, much more the sinner.


An hypocrite is one that neither i [...] what he seems, nor seems what he is.

An hypocrite is the picture of a saint; but his paint shall be washed off, and he shall appear in his own colours.

God is good in earnest with us, we ought therefore to be so with him.

An hypocrite is hated of the world for seeming a christian, and hated of God for not being one.

[Page 40]


Idleness is the mother of many wan­ton children.

They that do nothing, are in the rea­dy way to do that which is worse than nothing.

If we hide our talent in the earth, we shall lose our treasure in heaven.

A christian should never say, he hath nothing to do.

It was not for nothing that we were called out of nothing.

Of the SOUL.

It matters not what a man loses, if he saves his soul; but, if he loses his soul, it matters not what he saves.

They that are least sensible of their soul's wants, are most miserable.

'Tis our greatest wisdom to be ten­derly watchful over the frame of our spirits; to observe what helps it, and what injures it.

If you lose your time, you lose your hopes; and if you lose your hopes, you [Page 41] lose your souls; and when your souls are lost they shall never be ransomed; when your hopes are lost, they shall ne­ver be recovered; and when your time is lost, it shall never be redeemed.

Of the heart and conscience.

The soft mercies of God will break the hard heart of man.

An hard heart is not so soon broken, as a broken heart is bound up.

It is better to have a good conscience, and be censured, than to have a bad one, and be slattered.

We must hear the warnings of con­science, or we shall feel the woundings of conscience.

A word from God, a look from Christ, a touch from the spirit, will break the heart.


The notion of free-grace may make persons dissolute, but a sense of it [...] from [...]in.

[Page 42]The goodness of God respects our emptiness, the grace of God our sinful­ness, and the mercy of God our unwor­thiness.

What sin is there, which grace can­not pardon? what heart is there, which grace cannot soften? what soul is th [...]re, which grace cannot save?

All grace flows from Christ united to the soul; as all life flows from the soul united to the body.

The more God's justice was declar­ed towards his Son, the more was his me [...]cy magnified toward the sinner.

God humbled his Son to exalt his grace.

Saul was not so free in persecuting Christ, as Christ was in pardoning P [...]l.

Bless God for Christ, Christ for the spirit▪ and the spirit for grace.

Possibly a christian's enemies may spoil him of his common mercies; but they shall never rob him of his covenant mer [...]i [...]s.

God's faithfulness performed what his mercy pro [...]sed.

Mercy [...]rew the covenant; faith­fulness [Page 43] keeps it: mercy call'd us; faith­fulness will not cast us off.

Common mercies may be sweet, but covenant mercies are sure.

Abusers of mercy are treasurers up of wrath.

If thou wert worthy, thou could'st have no mercy.

There is grace in the desire of grace, as there is sin in the desire of sin.

You that have found mercy, shew mercy.

Though God in mercy hath done great things for you, yet consider what in justice he might have done to you.

Whilst we carry a sense of grace in our conscience to comfort us, let us carry a sense of sin in our memory to humble us.

We can never bless God enough for his patience, that has kept us so long out of hell; nor for his mercy, that so earnestly invites us to heaven.

All that are chosen are vessels of mercy; all that are regenerate, are patterns of mercy; all that are saved, are monuments of mercy; and the [Page 44] work of heaven, is to sing the loud praises of mercy.

It melts the heart to think, that God is as full of mercy, as I am of sin; he is as free to forgive, as I am to offend; he hath daily mercies for daily sins.

The heart▪ of man is such a barren soil, that no good can grow therein, unless Almighty grace plant it.

Grace is an immortal seed, cast into an immortal foil, that brings forth im­mortal fruit.


Temptations are instructions.

He is over-wise that goes out of God's way to escape a cross.

God will either keep his saints from temptations by his preventing mercy, or in temptations by his supporting mercy, or find a way for their escape by his delivering mercy.

A christian that lives here among his enemies, should never▪ stir abroad with­out his guard.

Satan tempts to sin, the Spirit coun­sels against sin.

[Page 45]If you follow satan, you will find the tempter prove a tormenter; if you follow the Spirit, you will find the counsellor prove a comforter.

Of the WORLD.

If the world be our portion here, hell will be your portion hereafter

We must neither leave the world nor love it.

The world promises comforts, and pays sorrows.

Riches and prosperity will either kill with care, or surfit with delight.

Be not proud of riches but afraid of them, lest they be as silver bars to cro [...] the way to heaven.

We put a price upon riches, but riches cannot put a price upon us.

We must answer for our riches but our riches cannot answer for us.

Riches are as indifferent things; good or bad, as they are used: be then as indifferent to them as they are to you.

I [...] there be too great an affection for [Page 46] any thing here, there will be an an­swerable affliction.

'Tis a sad thing when a man can have no comfort but in diversions, no joy but in forgetting himself.

Love the men of the world, but not the things of the world.

To have a portion in the world, is a mercy; to have the world for a por­tion, is a misery.

Whatever we make an idol of, will be a cross to us if we belong to Christ; a curse to us if we do not.

We should endeavour to pass through this world with a chearful indifferency.

Covetousness betray'd our Saviour, envy accused him, and the friendship of the world condemned him.

Man is not made for the world, but the world for man.

It is our business in this world, to secure an interest in the next.

The things of the world, the more they are known, the less they are ad­mired; but the things of God, the more they are known, the more they are admired.

There is no miss of the creature, [Page 47] where there is a full enjoyment of the Creator.

If thou art not afraid of the world▪ I fear thou art a friend of the world, and an enemy to God.

As you love your souls, beware of the world▪ it hath slain its thousands, and ten thousands. What ruined Lot's wife? the world. What ruined Iudas? the world. What ruined Simon Magus? the world. What ruined Demas? the world. And, what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Ma [...]t xvi.26.

To speek the truth freely; riches are dust, honors are shadows, pleasures are bu [...]bles, and man a lump of vanity, compounded of sin and misery.

Of the word of GOD.

The word of God must be nearer to us than our friends▪ dearer to us than our lives, sweeter to us than our liberty, and pleasanter to us than all earthly comforts.

Take the candle of God's word, and search the corners of your heart.

[Page 48]We speak to God in prayer; God speaks to us in his word.

Two things are to be trembled at; the presence of God which fills all pla­ces, and the word of God which reach­eth to all times.

All arguments against the word of God are fallacies; all conceits against the word are delusions; all derision a­against the word is folly; and all oppo­sition against the word is madness.

When God threatens, that's a time to repent; when he promises, that's a time to believe; when he commands that's a time to obey.

If a man believed the threatnings of the word of God, he would tremble, and fly to the promises for refuge.

As Christ came out of his Father's Bosom, so the promises came out of Christ's side.

The church cannot live without faith, and faith cannot live without the promises.

We have less power to stand than our first parents, but we have better promises.

[Page 49]Whatever promises, faith takes hold of, it makes the good thing there prom­ised to be our own.

God's promises are a defence against man's threatnings.

The promises of the gospel are seal­ed to us by the oath of the Father, the blood of the Son, and the witness of the Spirit.

Of the LAW.

The moral law was weak through the flesh; the cerimonial law was so in its own nature; but Christ was the end of the moral law to fulfil it; & the end of the ceremonial law to answer its in­tention, by offering himself a sacrifice.

Christ was God's righteous servant to perform all the duties of the moral law; and our devoted sacrifice to bear all the penalties of it.

By the law is the knowledge of sin, by the gospel is the knowledge of Christ.

God hath written a law and a gospel; the law to humble us, and the gospel to comfort us; the law to cast us down, [Page 50] and the gospel to raise us up; the law to convince us of our misery, and the gospel to convince us of his mercy; the law to discover sin, and the gospel to discover grace and Christ.


Providences are sometimes dark texts that want an expositor.

God's providence fulfils his promise.

Count every day, as well as you can, the providences of God towards you that day.

Without God's providence nothing falls out in the world; without his commission nothing stirs; without his blessing nothing prospers.


'Tis a worse sign to be without chast­isement, than to be under chastisement.

Two things should comfort suffer­ing christians, viz. all that they suffer is not hell; yet it is all the hell they shall suffer.

[Page 51]Afflictions are not so much threatned, as promised, to the children of God.

To be a christian, and a suffering christian, is a double honor,

By affliction God separates the sin which he hates, from the soul which he loves.

The more a man fears sin, the less will he fear trouble.

Afflictions are of God's sending, but of sin's deserving.

Sin is the poison, affliction the phy­sick.

When God is humbling us, let us endeavour to humble ourselves.

May every one do what he will with his own, but God?

If the servants of Christ are never so low; yet his heart is with them, and his eye upon them.

God takes it unkindly when we grieve too much for any outward thing; because 'tis a sin we fetch not that comfort from him which we should.

Though the hand of God may be a­gainst you; yet, the heart of God may be towards you.

What if the providence of God cross [Page 52] you, if the promise of God bless you?

What is bearing a temporal cross, to the wearing an eternal crown?

Our enjoyments are greater than our afflictions, and our afflictions less than our sins.

Our sufferings should stir up our gra­ces, as well as our griefs.


Fill up the void spaces of your time with meditation and prayer.

They are safest who are most in their closets; who pray not to be seen of men, but to be heard of God.

Prayer doth not consist in gifted ex­pressions, and volubility of speech; but in a brokenness of heart.

Imperfect broken groans, from a broken heart, God will accept.

An hard heart connot pray; a bro­ken heart is made up of prayer.

It is a comfort to christians apart to think their prayers meet before a throne of grace; and their persons shall meet before a throne of glory.

There wants nothing but a believing [Page 53] prayer to turn the promise into a per­formance.

God is a great God, & therefore he will be sought; he is a good God, and therefore he will be found.

When God pours out his spirit upon man▪ then will man pour out his heart before God.

He that lives without prayer, or prays without life, hath not the spirit of God.

Prayer doth not consist in the ele­gance of the phrase, but in the strength of the affection.

Where there is a willing heart, there will be a continual crying to heaven for help.

Pray that you may pray.

Waiting upon God continually will abate your unnecessary cares, and sweet­en your necessary ones.

God counts all the steps we take to the throne of grace, and all the min­utes of our waiting.

Let nothing get between heaven and prayer, but Christ.

[Page 54]Prayer, if it be done as a task, is no prayer.

Sin quenches prayer, affliction quick­ens it.

The same spirit of faith which teach­es a man to cry earnestly, teaches him to wait patiently: for as it assures him the mercy is in the Lord's hand; so it assures him, it will be given forth in the Lord's time.

The breath of prayer comes from the life of faith.

Whatever you want go to God by faith and prayer, in the name of Christ, and never think his delays are denials.

They that spend their days in faith and prayer, shall end their days in peace and comfort.


Look backwards, and time was when souls were not; look forward, and our souls will be when time shall not.

Who would not deny himself for a time, that he may enjoy himself for ever?

What is the world to them that are [Page 55] in the grave, where our bodies must shortly be [...] or to them that are in eter­nity▪ where our souls must shortly be?

Remember you are at the door of e­ternity, and have other work to do than to trifle away time; those hours which you spend in your closets, are the golden spots of all your time, and will have the sweetest influence upon your last hours.

Our life is a passage to eternity; it ought to be a meditation of eternity; and a preparation for eternity.


The longest life, is but a lingering death.

First infancy dies, then childhood, then youth, then man hood, then old age, and then we make an end of dying.

Though thou may'st have been near­er death (in thine own apprehensions) than thou art now▪ yet it is certain, death was never so near thee as is now.

Man does not die because he is made of earth, but because he is infected with sin.

[Page 56]Death to a christian, is putting off rags for robes.

We need not be ashamed of that now, which we are sure we shall not repent of when we come to die.

As the king of terrors leaves us, so the day of terror will find us.

Death will be very terrible to him who dies not in his thoughts daily.

There is nothing terrible in death, but what our lives have made so.

'Tis death to many to think of death; they are as unwilling to be led into a discourse of death as children in­to the dark: The thoughts of it are no more welcome to them, than Moses was to Pharaoh; to whom he said, get thee from me, and let me see thy face no more, Exod. x.28.

Death shuts in the light of this world and is the day-break of eternity.

Let us familiarize death by medita­tion, and sweeten it by preparation.

The great comfort of a believer, on his death-bed, is faith in Christ, hope in the promises, and an interest in the covenant.

This life is a middle state; we must [Page 57] soon go higher or lower, where we must spend upon the treasure we here lay up, whether of wrath or glory.

We should think of death, not as though we were thinking, but as though we were dying.

It is the greatest business of life, to think of the end of life, and to lay hold of eternal life.

Let us make a friend of death and our judge; and then we shall die out of choice, as [...] as necessity.


If heaven doth not enter into us by way of holiness, we shall never enter into heaven by way of happiness.

If you would lay up a treasure of glory in heaven, lay up a treasure of grace in your hearts.

If your souls are rich in grace, they will be rich in glory.

The more you do for God in this world, the more God will do for you in the world to come.

As heaven is kept for the saint [...] by [Page 58] Christ, so they are kept for heaven by the Spirit.

In heaven all God's servants will be abundantly satisfied with his dealings and dispensations with them; and shall see how all conduced, like so many winds to bring them to their haven; and how, even the roughest blasts helped to bring them homeward.

In heaven God will never hide his face more, nor the devil shew his more.

How can we expect to live with God in heaven, if we love not to live with him on earth?

If thou lovest to worship God here below▪ God will take thee up to wor­ship him above. Thou shalt change thy place, but not thine employment.

Heaven is a day without a cloud to darken it, and without a night to end it.

We would be seated in the heavenly canaan, but are loth to be scratched with the briers and thorns of the wil­derness.

In heaven there is the presence of all good, and absence of all evil.

Grace and glory differ, but as the bud [...]nd the blossom: what is grace but [Page 59] glory begun? what is glory, but grace perfected.

We may hope for a place in heaven, if our hearts are made suitable to the state of heaven.

If there will be any grief in heaven, sure it will be for this, that we have done no more for God on earth.


They that will not fear the punish­ment in the threatning, shall feel the threatning in the punishment.

In heaven holiness is their everlast­ing temper, and happiness their ever­lasting portion; in hell sin is their e­ternal temper, and sorrow their eternal portion.

The reason why so many fall into hell, is because so few think of it.

They fall deepest into hell, that fall backward into hell.

None are so near heaven, as they that are convinc'd; none so near hell, as those who have quench'd conviction.

The scorner's seat stands next hell gate.

[Page 60]We must fall into the arms of Christ, or into the flames of hell.

You may think it a sad thing to re­pent on earth, but it is a sadder thing to repent in hell.

CHAP. II. Containing a variety of religious obser­vations by way of Simile.

AS Noah's dove could find no rest for the sole of her foot; so the spi­rit of God can find no residence in that heart which is delug'd in sin.

Our conscience is as fire within us, our sins as the fewel; therefore, instead of warming, it will scorch us; unless the fewel be removed, or the heat of it allayed by penitential tears.

All true christians must be like No­ah's Ark, that was pitched within and without, Gen. vi.14. They must have a holy inside, and a holy outside; their profession and practice must agree to­gether.

[Page 61]They that are professors only, and make shew of religion for sinister ends, are like Orpah; in times of affliction they will kiss their mother and be gone; they will soon take leave of the church of God. But they that are true christians are like Ruth; they will cleave to her, stay by her, live and die with her, and never depart from her. Ruth i.14.

As it is not putting on a gown that makes a scholar, but the inward habits of the mind▪ so it is not putting on an outward cloak of profession that makes a christian, but the inward grace of the heart.

As Noah's dove found no footing but in the Ark; so a christian finds no con­tentment but in Christ.

Our hearts are like instruments of musick well tuned; they will make no melody in the ear of God, unless they be gently touched by the finger of the Spirit.

Christians hearts are as iron; if they be once made hot with the love of God, they will more easily be joined together in love to one another

[Page 62]As the sun ripens and sweetens fruits by shining upon them, without which they would be sour and unsavory; so it is the sunshine of God's love and favor that sweetens all earthly blessings, without which they would be but cros­ses and curses to them that possess them.

God's mercies are as cords to draw us to him; but our sins are as sharp swords that cut those cords.

Outward comforts are like the rotten twigs of a tree; they may be touched, but if they are trusted to, or rested up­on, they will certainly deceive and fail us.

As cankers breed in the sweetest ro­ses, so pride may arise out of the sweetest duties.

A zealous soul without meekness, is like a ship in a storm, in danger of wrecks. A meek soul without zeal, is like a ship in a calm, that moves not so fast to its harbour as it ought.

Notional knowledge is like the light of a candle, which enlightens, but does not warm; true and saving know­ledge is like the sun, which not only enlightens but enlivens.

[Page 63]As God commanded under the law, that the inwards of ev'ry sacrifice should be burnt, that they might be an offering made by fire, of sweet savor, unto the Lord, Levit▪ iv.8. so he looks for no less now: for, unless we offer up our hearts to him on the altar of Christ's merits with the fire of zeal, our duties will never be acceptable to him.

As old-testament saints had sacrifices under the law; so new-testament saints have under the gospel: for every duty in which saints consecrate themselves, is called a sacrifice, Psalm iv.5.cxvi.17. Heb. xiii.16. and we may paral­lel law and gospel sacrifices thus, [...]e­pentance is a trespass-offering, zeal a burnt-offering, praise a free-will-offer­ing, and sincerity the oblations of un­leavened bread.

As every shred of gold is precious, so is every minute of time.

As it would be great folly to shoe horses (as Nero did) with gold; so it would be to spend time in trifles.

A christian's birth is like the red-sea, that brings him into the wilderness; [Page 64] his death is like Iordan, that brings him into Canaan.

As the waters that sunk the men of the old world, raised up Noah in the ark; so death which sinks sinners in­to hell, raises saints up to heaven.

As a Basilisk, if he sees a man first, kills him, but, if a man sees it first, it doth him no harm; so, if we see death first, and prepare for it, we un­sting it, and it can do us no hurt.

As lamps fed with sweet oil, cast a sweeter smell when they are put out; so after death, the memory of the right­eous is precious.

A wicked man is like one that hangs over a deep pit by a slender cord with one hand, and is cutting it with the other.


CHAP. III. Containing serious advice to youth.


I. CHUSE God for your portion; remember that he is the only happiness of a rational and immortal soul. The soul that was made for God can find no happiness but in God: It came from God, and can never be hap­py but in returning to him again, and resting in him. Mic. ii.10. Arise, for this is not your rest. Col. iii.1, 2, 3. If ye be then risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth: for ye are dead▪ and your life is hid with Christ in God.

God is all-sufficient▪ get him for your portion and you have all: Then you have infinite wisdom to direct you, infinite knowledge to teach you, infinite mercy to pity and save you, infinite love to care for and comfort you, and infi­nite [Page 66] power to protect and keep you. If God be yours, all his attributes are yours; all his creatures, all his works of providence, shall do you good, as you have need of them. He is an eter­nal, full, satisfactory portion. He is an ever-living, ever-loving, ever-pre­sent friend; and without him you are a cursed creature in every condition, and all things will work against you.

II. Consider, that by nature you are dead in trespasses and sin; a child of wrath, a stranger, and enemy to God; and while such, the thoughts of God are terrible to you; you can ex­pect nothing from him but wrath and [...]verlasting burnings. God is ever angry with the wicked: His holiness hates all sin; his all-seeing eye behold it, and his justice will punish it.

While you are in a state of nature you can do nothing but sin, Gen. vi.5. Matth. vii.18. Every thing is a snare, and a wicked heart is apt to be taken. Labour to be sensible of this, and let the sinfulness of your nature be your greatest burden. Strive and labor against this principally. Get purity of [Page 67] heart, and a holy life will follow upon it; but if you strive only against out­ward acts of sin, while your heart is let alone, your labor will be in vain, your heart will tire you out; or if it doth not, yet remember, that God's eye is in the heart, and he hath provided a hell for hypocrites. Nothing more dam­nable than a wicked unrenewed heart▪

III. Consider, that Christ alone is your way to God. Justification, par­don, and acceptance with God, is by faith in him alone. Sanctification, and a new nature, is by the power of hi [...] Spirit alone. Let Christ therefore be precious to your soul. Labor for true faith in him. Take him for your Lord and Saviour; submit to his commands in all things; and rest your soul upon him alone for reconciliation and peace with God. Open your heart to the motions of his spirit; welcome that principle of a holy and divine life, and be sure to improve his motions, follow his drawings, and by no means grieve him.

IV. Be speedy in your repentance, and diligent in your endeavour [...] after [Page 68] holiness. Know the time of God's gra­cious visitation. While God is calling, Christ inviting, the gate of heaven set open, the ministers of the word exhort­ing, and the Spirit drawing, make haste and delay not.

Consider your life is but short, and altogether uncertain. To defer one day may be to our everlasting undoing. When your life is once gone it will be in vain to think of repenting. You shall then have no more sermons, no more offers of Christ and grace, Heb. ix.27. God will be patient no more. And if God should take away your life to morrow, you would perish inexcu­sably for refusing his grace to day. One offer of grace refus'd renders a sinner inexcusable, though God should never offer his mercy more. O, trifle not with your soul! be not careless of e­ternal happiness. You have heaven and hell, life and death before you, and it depends upon your own hearty choice which shall be your portion: And they are chosen by the choice of the way which leads to them. Chuse life, and chuse it speedily. And remember once [Page 69] again, that you have but one life to chuse in. Trifle not away this mo­ment, upon which depends eternity: Mispend not your short time to your e­ternal loss.

Stand not upon a short labor; diffi­culty, self-denial, or suffering, for your eternal happiness. God would have you saved; Christ hath died for you to reconcile you to God; he is ascended into heaven to open the door for your soul to enter in at, and he is interced­ing with the Father for all grace and mercy for you, if you refuse him not. He came into the world to seek and to save that which is lost, Luke xix.10. Be sensible of your sinful, lost, damna­ble condition without him. O! make ha [...]te to your Saviour, yield to all his demands, and take him as offered in the gospel, in all his offices.

V. Endeavor to be truly and thor­oughly religious, and be not discour­aged at the difficulties of it. God's grace shall be sufficient for your help; his promises shall be your sweet encour­agement; peace of conscience, and communion with God, shall be your [Page 70] ever present cordials. The trouble and pains of religion shall be but short, and your reward shall be glorious and eter­nal. Remember that of the Apostle, when religion calls you to self-denial and sufferings, Our light afflictions that are but for a moment shall work out for us a far more exceding and eternal weight of glory, 2 Cor. iv.17. if we suffer with Christ we shall also reign with him, 2 Tim. ii.12. and the sufferings of this present life are not worthy to be com­pared with the glory which shall be re­vealed, Rom. viii.18. see also, Isa. xliii.2, 3, when thou passeth through the wa­ters I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the holy one of Israel thy Saviour. Never are we more joyful than when we deny our joy for Christ's sake! and if these arguments will not prevail, then consider, that all the pains and difficul­ties of religion will be found in the end far more tolerable than hell.

VI. Devote your young years to a [Page 71] good God, and your loving Saviour. The first fruits are to be offered to him. The green ears of your youth are to be carried to his sanctuary. Think it not pity that the vain delights and sinful pleasures of youth should be lost: You shall but exchange them for spiritual delights, which are far more excellent, inward and lasting. The joy of the Holy Ghost, the rejoicing of a good conscience, communion with God, the sense of his love, and the hope of heaven, are far better than the pleasures of sin, and will more than re­compence your loss of youthful and carnal delights. And consider this se­riously, that none have usually more comfort in their souls than those, who are willing to lose their sinful comforts for God and their soul's sake.

Remember that you must give an ac­count to God how you spend your youth, as well as for old age. Consid­er, as young as you are, how many years are already spent; and what ac­count you are able to give to God of them. One day spent in sin is too much; and the sins of one hour deserve [Page 72] a hell. Younger than you, are dead and gone. Let the thoughts of them mind you seriously of your account. Your call to God's bar may be next. Are you ready? Think often what expence of time may be best accounted for to God; and so spend your younger days, as you will wish you had spent them when you come to die and be judged.

Suppose God should call you away suddenly, what sentence could you ex­pect from him? Are you ready, if the bridegroom should now come? Matth. xxv.6. It will be no excuse at judg­ment, if you be found in your sins, to say, Lord, I was but young. He that is old enough to sin is old enough for hell. You cannot make sure of God's love, and an interest in Christ too soon. You cannot secure your soul too soon▪

Consider those young ones in scrip­ture who are commended for their ear­ly piety▪ Samuel was ministring to God in his childhood, 1 Sam. ii.18. Iosiah had a tender heart for God in his tender years, 2 Kings xxii.19. Children sang hosannas to Christ. Matth. xxi.15. Timothy was a saint betimes, 2 Tim. [Page 73] iii.15. And let these young ones be your pattern.

The young disciple was the beloved disciple. God takes great delight in an early convert. All your life is due to God, let him therefore have all that still remains, and beg his pardon that any of it hath been denyed.

Repentance is easiest in youth. Sin is less rooted, satan not so fortifyed, grace not so much frighted, the Spirit not so much grieved, and the conscience not so much hardened.

Be sure therefore to give God your youth. Resolve now to be seriously re­ligions. Now beg for the pardon of your sins, and the spirit of holiness; and though the generality of youth take another course, yet be not swayed by the multitude, and carried down the stream towards hell; let them go, you shall have better company. The saints of God will love you, the angels of God will guard you, and the presence of God himself shall be with you.

And if you find yourself still inclined to be as the most are, and to do as the most do, consider that you cannot have [Page 74] that pleasure in sin which others may. You have had a good education, and good instructions; your conscience hath been more awakened, and will not suffer you to enjoy the pleasures of sin, as others, who are more igno­rant, and worse educated, may. Con­science will mix gall with your honey; when you go to prayer, in the evening, upon your bed, when alone and reti­red, or in the dark, it will read sad lectures to you, and make you review your past delights with bitterness.

Labor therefore to approve yourself to God in youth; and though others may condemn you, yet God (from whose mouth only you must live or die) will acquit and justify you.

And as a conclusion of this advice, let me persuade you to consider, that forsaking sin, when you are most ca­pable of pleasure or honor by it, and turning to God when your most capable of enjoying the world, will clearly ev­idence the truth of your conversion. So that a timely conversion to God in youth, as it is most easy, so it is least questionable; for it now appears that [Page 75] God is loved for himself, and Christ is preferred above the flesh, and grace above the sweetest delights in the world


THE great command and duty of the gospel, is, to make self no­thing, and God all in point of wisdom, strength, righteousness and glory.

And by these things examine all you do: By whose rule have I acted? By whose strength have I acted? In whose name have I acted? And for whose glory have I acted? What faith, what humility, what self-denial, what love of God and Christ, hath there been in all my actions?

Endeavour to make every day the Lord's, to spend it well, and to get nearer heaven by it.

And to this end accept kindly of this advice.

1. As soon as ever you awake in the morning, lift up your heart to God, and open it to him. As much as possi­bly you can, avoid all thoughts about [Page 76] the world until your morning devotions are over. For you will find by expe­rience that, if the world gives your soul the first salute, and be embraced with kindness in your morning affec­tions, it will greatly deaden your heart in the morning duties.

2. As soon as you are up present your desires to God, in the name of Christ, for whatever your soul feels the want of, and give God his due praises for his mercies towards you the night past. Thus David, Psal. v.3. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee. And for thanks­giving, Psal. xcii.1, 2. It is a good thing to give thanks unto thee, O Lord— to shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning.

3. Let no day go without reading some portion of the scriptures: And it is no great matter, whether you read it before you pray in the morning, or just after; your own inclination and experience will direct you; but be sure it be done. You will find it very prof­itable to begin the day with such a con­verse [Page 77] with God. Prov. vi.22, 23. When thou wakest it shall talk with thee. See Iohn v.39. the command of Christ; and Ioshua i.8▪ the command of God, with a promise.

The scripture discovers sin, and the devil's devices and malice▪ it discovers duty, and the love of God and Christ; and it discovers your strength and en­couragements: There are the promises of assisting and crowning grace. By these, the spirit acts, the devil is con­quered, and the soul is comforted. Through these, the eye of faith can see the love of Christ, the grace of God, and the glory of heaven. In these are the food, the physic, and the arms of the christian's soul. These are the word of reconciliation, grace and truth, and the power of God to salvation: Therefore every day look into these, praying for the spirit's teachings, and mixing faith with what you read.

4. Let all your ordinary or worldly business of the day be done with integ­rity of heart, and a respect to God, whose servant you ought to be in all [Page 78] things. Psal. lxxviii.72. Do all things as to the Lord, as in his eye, and according to his will; and your whole day's work will be as it were a reli­gious worship: This respect will make all holy.

5. Have a care every day that no­thing put you into a passion: Do no­thing with an over eagerness of mind; and be ever upon your guard against sudden accidents. And this can never be obtained but by committing your­self, and your affairs, into God's hand and care every day; believing that he governs all things wisely, and will ever do that which is best for you.

The power, wisdom and goodness of divine providence, must every day be believed by him that would live ev­ [...]ry day in peace and tranquillity of soul.

6 Every evening to your prayers a­gain, and to your praises for that day's mercies. The Iews were appointed their evening sacrifices▪ as well as mor­ning. Exod. xxx.7, 8. twice a day is as little as can be allowed to those who are commanded to pray continual­ly, Phil. iv.6. Thess. v.17. And [Page 79] every prayer should have its praises in it, Psal. xcii.1, 2. It is good to give thanks unto the Lord—to shew forth his faithfulness every night. A child will ask his earthly father's blessing at morning and night; and it is better manners, and to better purpose, to ask our heavenly Father's blessing as often. We are ever in want, and God is ever giving; prayers therefore, and praises, are ever suitable and becoming.

Let no day go withou [...] observation, and review of God's carriage towards you, and of yours towards him; of mer­cies and afflictions; and of your du­ties, and the frame of heart in them; of your sins or inclinations to sin; and so likewise of any special or remarka­ble providence of God related to you by others, or seen or read of by yourself. And let God have the glory of what is good. In afflictions be humble, be a­shamed and grieved for sins; and consid­er what God's special providences speak to you.


CHAP. IV. Containing some occasional reflections, directions, means and signs of grace. &c.

Proper reflections for poor Saints.

OUTWARD good things are no sign of God's special Love. The sun of prosperity shines upon the bram­bles of the wilderness, as well as up­on the flowers of the garden; and the snow of affliction falls upon the garden as well as upon the wilderness.

What though the streams of creature comforts run low with thee, so that thou hast the more from the spring-head? There is more comfort in one drop that distils immediately from God, than from ten thousand rivers that flow from creature delights.

God doth sometimes on purpose shew us the creatures emptiness, that we may go to his fulness. He makes us see the creatures to be broken cisterns, that we may know him to be the foun­tain: And that we may feed more [Page 81] largely upon spiritual dainties, he does deny us carnal ones.

What though God deny thee the earthly jewel, if he gives thee the hea­venly crown?—If thou hast no por­tion here thou shalt have a kingdom hereafter; and God is thy portion here, and so long thou shalt not want any good thing. Creature comforts at the best, are only delightful, not satisfy­ing; pleasant, not gainful!

What if all thy friends forsake thee, so long as God (who is better than all) stands by thee?—Whatever enjoy­ment friends afford, that God does much more. Do they love thee? He died for thee. Do they pity thee in thine afflictions? In all thy afflictions he is afflicted, Isa. lxiii.9 —What wouldest thou have a friend for? For converse? O! taste and see how good and pleasant a thing it is to have com­munion with God! Hear (if thou canst, and not be ravished) the sweet voice, I am thine, and thou art mine. O! feel the pantings of his heart, and hear the soundings of his bowels!—Wouldst [Page 82] thou have a friend to pour out thy breast into? —O! who is so fit for that as God? He will bear part of thy burden if thou art laden, or he will add new strength to sustain it.—His love, his converse, his society, is life itself▪ and such a life as is made up of nothing but sweetness and delight.

The mystery of a christian.

1. He lives in another, Gal. ii.20. He is wise in another, 1. Cor. i.30. He is righteous in another, Rom. x.4. He is strong in another, Isa. xlv.24.

2. He is very low in humility, but very high in hope. He knows he is undeserving of the least mercy, yet ex­pects the greatest, Gen. xxxii.10, 12.

3. He is in the world, but not of the world, Iohn xv.9. In the world as a Pilgrim, but not as a citizen. His hab­itation is below, but his conversation a­bove.

4. He is meek but vehement; meek in his own cause, yet vehement in the [Page 83] cause of God. (As Moses, who was dead to affronts, deaf to reproaches, and blind to injuries.) He will comply with any thing that is civil, but no­thin that is sinful. He will stoop to the necessities of the meanest, but will not yield to the sinful humours of the greatest.

5. He works out his salvation with fear and trembling, yet believes in Christ without fear and trembling, Phil. ii.12▪ 13. He does much for God, yet counts himself an unprofita­ble servant. He works as if he was to live here always, yet worships as if he was to die to-morrow.

6. When he is weak then is he strong, 2. Cor. xii.10. When he is most sen­sible of his own weakness, and most de­pendant on Christ's strength, then he stands the safest.

7. When he is most vile in his own eyes he is most glorious in the eyes of God. When Iob abhored himself then God rais'd him, Iob xlii.6. When the centurion thought himself the most unworthy, Christ said, I have not found [Page 84] so great faith, no not in Israel, M [...]tth. viii.8, 10.

8. He is content with his condition, yet longs and prays for a better, 2 Cor. v.4.

9. His losses are gains; (as Iob's Iob xlii.12.) His falls are risings; (as Peter's, John xxi.17.) His afflic­tions are promotions; (as Jacob's, all those things are against me, saith he, Gen. xlii, 36 Yet all those things were for him.) His disappointments are prefer­ments; (as Moses': though he did not go to Canaan, as he desir'd; yet he went to heaven, which was better, Deut. xxxiv.4, 5.)

10. He cannot sin, 1 John iii 9. yet he cannot but sin, 1 John i.8. He cannot sin habitually, and with full con­sent of will; yet he cannot but sin ac­tually through weakness.

11. He saith O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me? Rom. vii.24. Yet he saith, O blessed man that I am, who shall condemn me? Rom. viii.34.

12. He grieves, yet rejoices under the strokes of his heavenly Father's [Page 85] hands. He grieves that his Father's hand strikes him, yet rejoices that it is the hand of a Father Heb. xii.6.7.

13. He knows there is no absolute perfection in this life, yet is continu­ally reaching after it, Phil. iii.12, 13, 14.

14. The less his burden grows the more he feels it. The less sin he hath the more sensible he is of sin; not that sin grows, but light, holiness, and ten­derness is increased, 1 Tim. i.15.

15. He is content to live, yet willing to die. He desires to serve Christ here, yet desires more to depart, and to be with him in heaven, Phil. i.23.

Some doubts and fears of a tender conscience answered.

1. I fear Christ is not willing to save me▪

Answ. What is this but limiting, or setting bounds to infinite mercy?— What greater signs of his willingness would you have than those he hath al­ready [Page 86] given you? He hath died, and purchased salvation for you, Heb. ii.9 1 Iohn ii.2. He calls and intreats you to come and accept of it, Matth. xi.28. He saith he will not cast you out He complains that you will not come, & wilt thou yet say, he is not willing? If thou art willing, he never was otherwise. Be of good comfort, he calleth thee. Isa. lv.1. Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price—Bring only yourself, come out of need, as all do; as the pro­digal did.

2. But I am so unworthy—

Answ. If you would have nothing but what you are worthy of, you must have nothing but hell. What was A­braham or Saul, or any, worthy of, before the Lord called them? Say not, I am unworthy. Art thou willing? Rev. xxii 17. Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.

3. But my sins are very great, and I am confounded at the sight of them. Alas! how can I think of a pardon?—

[Page 87] Answ. Are thy sins great? the more need thou hast of a Saviour. Greater sinners have been pardoned, Manasseh and Saul.—But dost thou think thou art more guilty than Christ is gracious? read Isa. i.18. Come and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool. 1 John i.7. The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Bless God for that word all.

4. But I have a proud, hard, dead heart.

Answ. Put that among your sins, and come to Christ.

My sins are many as well as great. I sin daily; I so sin that I must suffer.

Answ. Yea, if there were none to appear for thee. Luke vii.47. Her sins which were many are forgiven her. 1 John i.7. Christ is a daily ad­vocate. 1 John ii.1, 2. If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and he is the propitiation for our sins. This scripture should be as daily bread for believers [Page 88] to live upon.

6. I have sinned against light and conviction.

Answ. So did David and Peter, who yet were pardoned.

7. But I am a revolter and back­slider.

Answ. Jer. iii.1.—Thou hast played the harlot with many lovers, yet return again unto me, saith the Lord. Hos. xiv.4. I will heal their backsli­dings, I will love them freely.

8 I am afraid of departing from God again.

Answ. Jer. xxxii.40.— I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good, but I will put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

9. I have no strength.

Answ. Isa. xlv.24. Surely shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.

10 I am afraid to die.

Answ. Psal. xxiii.4. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me. Phil. i.23. I am in a [Page 89] strait between two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better.—When you die God shall be with you; and Christ shall be with you; and you shall be with God and Christ for ever.

The difference between inherent and imputed righteousness.

1. Inherent righteousness sanctifies, imputed righteousness justifies.

2. Inherent righteousness makes us shine before men, imputed righteous­ness makes us shine before God,

3. Inherent righteousness pleases God, imputed righteousness appeases him.

4. Inherent righteousness dicharge [...] from hypocrisy, imputed righteousness from guilt.

5. Inherent righteousness makes us pray, imputed righteousness makes our prayers prevail.

6. Inherent righteousness is our sin­cerity, imputed righteousness our per­fection

[Page 90]7. Inherent righteousness respects the law, imputed righteousness answers the law.

8. Inherent righteousness is the ev­idence of our salvation, imputed right­eousness the foundation of it.

9. Inherent righteousness is our joy, imputed righteousness our glory, Isa. xlv.25.

10. Inherent righteousness is to be loved, imputed righteousness to be trusted.

11. Inherent righteousness is imper­fect, imputed righteousness perfect.

12. Inherent righteousness is our qualification for heaven, imputed right­eousness our title to it.

Directions for those that are under convictions of conscience

1. Don't presume, you are not yet come to the heavenly Canaan.

2. Don't despair, you are in the way to it.

3. Beware of ill company.

4. Fear falling away, Heb. iv.1 Preserve a tender frame.

[Page 91]5. Keep up prayer. Be much in e­jaculations.

6. Don't rest in convictions, nor du­ties, nor any thing short of Christ.

7. Be much in humiliation and con­fession.

8. Remember to keep holy the Lord's day.

9. Study your soul's case, and labor to get your heart affected with it, and mortified to the world.

10. Remember the great day of ac­counts, Eccl. xii, 14.

11. Prepare for, and think not strange of trials, Heb. x.32.

12. Let not religion be your diver­sion but your business.

Directions to keep from sin.

1. Run not into temptation.

2. Maintain a constant watch a­gainst, and fear of sin.

3. Beware of pride and presump­tion.

4. Avoid and abhor slothfulness.

5. Remember you stand by faith [Page 92] Your strength is in Christ, look to him for it.

Means to gain repentance.

1. Sit with care, Constancy, and conscience under the word of truth and gospel of grace.

2. Study the nature of God.

3. Sit loose to the world.

4. Consider the shortness of life, and the limitation of the day of grace.

5. Be much in the business of self-examination, Psal. iv.4. Stand in awe and sin not, commune with your own heart upon your bed and be still. Lam. iii.40. Let us search and try our hearts, and turn again unto the Lord.

6. Seriously expect approaching judgment.

7. Think much of death and eter­nity.

8. Wash thy heart in the blood of Jesus, and take every day a turn on mount Calvary.

9. Seriously apprehend the possibility, nay, the probability; nay, the absolute certainty of a pardon through Christ.

[Page 93]10. Sue for repentance at the hand of God: Say with Ephraim, turn thou me and I shall be turned, for thou art the Lord my God, Jer. xxxi.18.

Means to live at peace.

1. Mind your own business, 1 Thess. iv.11.

2. Keep your tongue from evil, 1 Pet. iii.10.

3. Don't contend for every trifle, whether it be matter of right or opin­ion.

4. If others neglect their duty to you, be sure that you perform yours to them. To render railing for railing, is to return sin for sin.

5. Make your enemy see and feel your love to him Rom. xii.20.

6. Beg of God for universal charity▪

7. Be humble

8. By faith wait for the providence of God.

Means to be content.

1. Consider you have what God allo [...] [Page 94] you; what his providence allows you. Your crosses and comforts are mixed by his hands. It is the will of God that thou shouldst be thus and thus▪ Labor then to have that dearer to thee than any thing in the world.

2. Consider, that if you had fewer comforts, and more crosses, you ought to be thankful; for do you know what you have deserv'd? 'Tis of the Lord's mercy that you are not consumed.

3. Whatever comes, take it as from the hand of God. Assure yourself, that without his permission and direction it could not come.

4. Prepare to receive the will of God, and look for changes and altera­tions in the world.

5. Faith is another means to quiet, satisfy, and content the mind. That assures us, that that which is consistant with the love of God may well be borne. Outward losses and afflictions are consistant the love of God. Whom the Lord loveth he chast [...]neth, Heb. xii.6. We are all subject to alterations; our life, health, estate, friends, fami­lies, and all we have, are liable to [Page 95] changes. Let us then fix upon a God that never changes, that never fails, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Let us depend upon a God that de­pends upon none. And, what though our house be not so with God as it hath been; yet, if he hath made with us an everlasting covenant, we have great reason to be content with all his out­ward dealings with us, 2 Sam. xxiii.5.

Means to preserve mercies.

1, Be thankful for them.

2. Receive them as mercies, not as dues.

3. Prepare to part with them.

4. Expect the continuance of mer­cies from God; he is the strength of our life, the staff of our bread, the breath of our nostrils, and the length of our days.

Signs of Sincerity.

1. Prayer is a sign of sincerity; if it be secret, Matth. vi.6. Frequent, Acts x.2. Fervent, Rom. viii.26.

[Page 96]2. A willingness to be searched by God, Psal. cxxxix.23. By the right­eous, Psal. cxli.5. By ministers, Acts x, 33. By conscience, Psal. lxxvii.6. By the scriptures, Iohn iii.19, 20, 21. Sincere souls love sincere dealings.

3. A sense of sin; particularly of spiritual sins, Mark ix.24. Rom. vii.21. And of orlginal sin, Rom. vii.24. especially when it drives to Christ, ver. 25.

4. When a man is most sensible of, and watchful against his own sin, his constitutional sin, the beam in his own eye

5. Universal tenderness. When a man will not plead for any sin, Psal. cxix.128, nor quarrel with any of the co [...]andments, Psal▪ cxix.6. Acts ix 6.

6 'Tis a sign of sincerity when a man chuses affliction rather than sin, Dan. iii.17, 18.

7. When a man relies upon Christ for strength against sin▪

8. When a man loves God above all, and loves others principally for what is God-like in them.

[Page 97]9. When a man delights in the word of God.

10. When he makes conscience to watch his heart in duty.

11. When a man's thoughts run freely on heavenly things.

12. When the glory of God is pre­fered above all.

13. When a man's profession is join­ed with meekness.

14. A well governed tongue (for an outward sign) when a man dares nei­ther boast of himself, nor censure oth­ers, James iii.2. Matth. xii.36.

15. Constancy in the ways of God, Job xxvii.6▪ 10—Such a man can never be a hypocrite.

Short questions whereby to know whe­ther the heart be truly changed.

1. Hath thine heart been turned in­to sorrow for sin?

2. Hath thy sorrow turned into prayer?

3. Hath thy prayer turned into faith?

4 Hath thy faith issued in universal tenderness and obedience?

[Page 98]

Signs of faith.

To those that believe,

1. Christ is precious.

2. The word is sweet.

3. Sin is bitter

4. Prayer is delightful.

5. Saints are dear.

6. Religion is their business.

7. The world is a broken idol.

8. Death is welcome.—Or thus,

They that believe,

Have Christ in their hearts; heaven in their eye; and the world under their feet. God's Spirit is their guide; God's fear is their guard; God's peo­ple are their companions; God's pro­mises are their cordials. Holiness is their way, and heaven is their home.

Signs of love to Christ.

They that love Christ,

1. Love to think of him.

2. They love to hear of him.

3. They love to read of him.

4. They love to speak of him, for him, and to him.

[Page 99]5. They love the presence of Christ.

6. They love the yoke of Christ.

7. They love the ministers of Christ.

8. They love the name of Christ.

9. They hate sin.

10. They are pleased when Christ is pleased.

11. They are grieved when Christ is grieved.

12. They long to be with Christ.

Christ's will is their will; Christ's dishonor is their affliction; Christ's cause is their care; Christ's ministers are their stars; Christ's saints are their companions; Christ's day is their de­light; Christ's word is their oracle▪ Christ's glory is their end.

Signs of the fear of God.

A man then fears God,

1. When he dares not sin tho' sol­licited and tempted to it.

2. When sin is common and yet he fears it.

3. When he is afraid of an evil thought.

[Page 100]4. When he dares not sin tho' he should suffer if he does not.

5. When his heart is broken, and trembles at the word of God.

6. When he f [...]ies to Christ.

7. When he is studious to please God.

Signs of true grace.

1. When self-loving is turned into self-loathing; self-excusing into self-condemning; self-admiring into self-abhorring; self-seeking into seld-deny­ing.

2. 'Tis a sign of true grace when a man seriously complains of the want of grace.

A graceless person connot truly complain that he hath no grace. There is grace in that complaint.

3. When the heart is tender, and feels the power of an ordinance.

4. When the soul hath an appetite after the word, 1 Pet. [...]i.2.

5. When a man makes a conscience of secret prayer.

6. When we are taken with their [Page 101] conversation, and manner of life, who are most spiritual, Zech. viii.23.

7. When we are willing to be ac­quainted with Christ, and reconciled to God upon any terms.

8. When a man approves of all duties.

9. When he desires more grace: There is grace in the desire of grace, as there is sin in the desire of sin, Neh. i.11. Psal. lxxxiv.5.


CHAP. V. Containing some letters of the late Reverend Mr. John Mason, which he sent to several of his friends; tending to promote the power of Godliness, both in persons and families.

LETTER I. To my dear sister, Mrs. Hannah Wyat, under illness.

Dear Sister,

I Beseech his most merciful Majesty to send his word and heal you! that we may not have sorrow upon sorrow! —O, if it were his will to restore you for his glory, and the good of many!—And who can tell, but by this affliction he is fitting you for future service? And that the prayers of your many affectionate and faithful friends may be a means of your recovery? Which I hope, through the thanks­giving [Page 103] of many, will red [...]und to the praise and glory of God.—But, I be­lieve, it is not recovery you wish for, any farther than as it will be a mani­festation of God's pleasure, and an op­portunity of serving him; it is not that you so much desire, as to depart and to be with Christ, which is indeed far bet­ter.

My dear Sister what thanks can we render unto God who hath visited us with peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, through our dear Redeemer? and hath given us that communion with him here, which is a pledge of our joint communion with him in everlasting glory? Certainly you cannot but re­member some Bethels and Chebars, where the Lord hath met you and own­ed you; some promises which have been made your own; and some times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. Blessed be God that you have a witness in yourself; and internal evi­dence, and inward sigh [...] and taste that the Lord is gracious.

The Lord hath acquainted you with that which is the very sum and sub­stance [Page 104] of the gospel, viz. That Christ came into the world to save sinners: That a christian's thankfulness flows from faith in the promises; That self-deni­al must run through the whole course of this life, as the warp through the woof: And that Christ is a christian's life, peace▪ hope, and security▪ Whilst he lives we are in safety:

Whilst God is merciful and true,
We are both safe and happy too:

That a christian's important and daily duty is to eye and engage his continual assistance: And that our recovery from daily infirmities must be by a daily re­course to this ever-living, ever-loving, ever-pleading advocate.

You know also, that submission to the will of God, is a yielding to those methods whereby he is conducting us to eternal happiness and glory; and that every drain of affliction is ordered us by the love of our ever-gracious and all-merciful Father.—Bow then to his sovereignty, and believe his grace: You are in a happy hand; in happy circumstances; all the paths of God [Page 105] are mercy and truth to you.—Infinite and immortal thanks are due to our ever-blessed Father, Redeemer, and Comforter. The Lord be with your spirit!—Grace and peace be with you! Amen.—I remain, &c.


LETTER II. To my dear friend Mrs. Mary Holmes.

Dear Friend,

—O That you might live in the Lord's sight—If I knew the present state of your heart, I could bet­ter tell what to write to you. Howe­ver, I shall set down some things for your comfort.

Do not say that you are left of God, and there is no hope for you: I tell you there is mercy enough in God, merits enough in Christ, power enough in the Spirit, room enough in heaven, and scope enough in the promises for you.

[Page 106]Do not say that you are a reprobate, and a cast-away; it is a sin to think so: Every one is bound to hope that he is elected; and, in virtue of that hope, to strive to make his calling and election sure. The Lord is good to them that wait for him, and to the soul that seeketh him, Lam. iii.25. There will be doubts and fears, but we must not cherish them. We must not question God's ability to save▪ for he can do all things: Nor m [...]st we question his willingness to save; for he hath sent his own Son in­to the world to save us.—Say to thyself, he hath made me willing to be saved, and is not he willing to save me? Alas! my tender mercies are cruel [...]es in respect of his infinite compassions? We cannot be so willing to confess sin, as he is to pardon it. We cannot desire to be sa­ved, so much as he delights to save. None ever trusted him, but they found him a good God.

Therefore my dear friend, have hon­orable thoughts of God▪ though he should hide himself from thee for a moment, yet lift up thy heart to him; in his own time he will make himself [Page 107] known unto you; he will be your own God, for your own dear Saviour's sake.

Perhaps you sit in darkness; but the Lord will be your light. It is darkest a little before the break of day: Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart; and it will spring up. Behold, the husband-man waits for the precious fruits of the earth: Be patient then, and wait for God in the use of all his means, and the good hour will come.

Perhaps you find a coldness and dead­ness of heart, and co [...]plain that you cannot serve God with life & affection. This is a complaint of many of God's dear children. But we must do what we can, we must be reading, hearing, praying, waiti [...] upon God in his own way, and he will give us his quicken­ing Spirit.

The world will reproach us; but it r [...]proached [...] befo [...]e us. We must be willing to follow a suff [...]ring Saviour in a suffering way. Whatev [...]r men say a gainst us, they must answer for it, not we. Only let our conversation be [Page 108] such as becometh the gospel of Christ. Let us give no occasion to his enemies to blaspheme his name. And he that suf­fered so much for us, O! let him not suffer by us.

We must take our rules of living from the word, and not from the world. And the Lord give us wisdom to direct us, and zeal to quicken us in his own blessed ways!—And to con­firm our obedience and patience, let us remember, that the Lord is coming, and his reward is with him: He is coming to receive us to himself, that where he is we may be also.

And as for the things of this life, the same love that provided a saviour for thee, will provide all necessary tempo­ral blessings, for thee: Thy heavenly Father, who knows what is best for thee, will chuse thine inheritance; therefore be not too careful about these things, but rest your care upon him who careth for you. Leave yourself with him for he is Love, 1 Iohn iv 8. Commit your whole self, soul and bo­dy, into the hands of infinite love.

Now the Lord of his infinite mercy [Page 109] put his spirit into this dead letter, for the quickening your soul; and I be­seech him to make it effectual for your eternal good.—I commend you to God, and the word of his grace, and rest your &c.


LETTER III. To my dear sister Mrs. Margaret Holmes

Dear Sister,

MAY these lines find you well and happy—E [...]joy in the thoughts, that your soul is secured in the hands of Christ, and that in this life you are as happy as content itself can make you. Who hath the largest share of external comforts, but he who believes this world is vanity? Indeed, the surest experience of the world's emptiness a­riseth from a taste of Christ's fulness. Though there be nothing but disap­pointments in the world to them that make it their idol, yet it will be sla­vishly pursued and craved by them, be­cause [Page 110] they know no better things; for the infatuated idolater hath not the sense to say within himself, Is there not a lye in my right hand.

O blessed be God, who hath engaged your heart for himself; in the strength of Christ, follow on to know him. How should the way of spiritual thrift be valued and improved by those who are taught of God, where their main and eternal interest lies? Where every su­peradded degree of favor in religion doth at once increase the stock in the heart, and the bank that is laid up in hea­ven. 'Tis a provision of spikenard, and precious ointment, against our fu­neral.—Let us call those our golden hours that are spent with God.

I should now at large commend to you that excellent duty of self-exam­ination, but that it hath been effectu­ally pressed upon you by a dear saint now in heaven Nor have I cause to doubt, but as her memory, so her coun­sels are inviolably preserved in the most inward rooms of your heart.—Ac­cept the hearty respects of me and mine —most ardently desiring for you all the [Page 111] blessings that were purchased by the most valuable blood of the Son of God. I remain in him,

Dear Sister, &c.

LETTER IV. To the same.

My dear Sister,

I preserve carefully my ancient re­spects. —though I have been long silent I am your orator before the high­est throne, and do earnestly desire, that you may grow in the faith of Jesus, and in lively communion with him, which is the most comfortable thing in the world.—Alas! we are less than nothing, worse than nothing. Christ is all—may he be so to us!—Let us glorify him more by relying upon his satisfaction and merits, for all that we can do or suffer cannot at one for the least of our sins.—'Tis the self-emptied heart, and beggar's hand, that must receive this infinite gift of God The woman of Canaan is our pattern. [Page 112]True, Lord, I am no better than a dog, but there are crumbs for dogs. I am as bad as sin can make me, and deserve to be as miserable as hell can make me; but, Lord, I am not so bad as thou art good; I am not so miserable as thou art merciful.—’

O, my dear sister, I desire that you may now live by faith, and breathe by prayer; that you may finally dwell a­bove, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.—The Lord spiritualize our souls. and quicken us according to his loving kindness.—We long to see you.—farewell in Christ.

Your &c. JOHN MASON.

LETTER V. To the same

My dear Sister,

YOU are dearly remembered by us; though we seldom converse per­sonally, or by letters, our hearty pray­ers are for you at the throne of grace. [Page 113] I hope we shall meet together before the throne of glory.

I hope I need not suggest arguments of comfort to you, who know what it is to enjoy the presence of God on earth, and are therefore prepared to enjoy the presence of Christ in heaven. —Doubtless the Lord is our Father; though our earthly parents be ignorant of us. I commend you to him through Christ.—Let us hope in the Lord, who is Almighty and most merciful.— The Lord abound in his mercy to you! May he be a sun to direct you, a shield to protect you, a portion to sustain you, and a God to save you!

O, that we may hear the rod! which saith—Sin no more▪ get an interest in Christ; prize time, and prepare to meet your God! That we may inwardly hear the voice of the rod, whilst we outwardly feel the smart of it!—I be­seech the Lord to prosper you every way; to watch over you; and to re­joice over you, to do you good; to sweeten your life with his love, and to fit you for his whole pleasure.—No [Page 114] more, but all hearty respects to you, and that I am

Yours, &c. JOHN MASON.

LETTER VI. To Mrs. Elizabeth Glover.

My dear friend in Christ▪

HOW hard a thing is it to exercise faith when we have most need of it? And how sad a thing is it, that when we have most need of the Lord's presence and help, we should then es­pecially grieve him with our doubts and distrusts? However we have this to comfort us, that where the Lord seeth faith in sincerity he will pardon its in­firmity. —But O! when shall we be­lieve against sense, and hope against hope? When shall we give all glory to God by grounding upon his word, when we want present experience and feeling? saying,

The glory of my glory still shall be,
To give all glory and myself to thee.

[Page 115]When shall we attain to that excel­lent frame of believing which the church was in, Mic. vii.8, 9. Rejoice not against me O mine enemy; when I fall I shall arise; when I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me. He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness?

But though we have not attained so far, let us bless God for any measure of faith, one grain whereof excelleth all the riches in the world.—And let us take heed of falling into sin. To lie under the hidings of God's face is a great affliction; but to lie under a sense of his displeasure is a greater. There is no evil so great as sin. Let us flee from error and temptation; avoid ill company, which will either taint us, or grieve us; be jealous over our own spirits; hate presumption and careless­ness and be much in humble prayer, and holy fear. I am▪

Your &c. JOHN MASON.
[Page 116]

LETTER VII. To the same.

Loving christian Friend,

YOU complain of that in your let­ter which no creature upon earth is free from. The best christian must acknowledge that pride dwelleth in him. You do well to complain of it; but you must strive against it, and so we must all.—There is so much of hea­ven in the soul as there is of humility. —Take a true measure of yourself. Consider what you are. Beg of the Lord for a humble spirit. Remem­ber Christ was humble. As for your temptations, and castings down,—it is no news to hear of a tempted christian, or a dejected saint. I cannot see that any other temptation hath taken you than what is common to the people of God. Let not Zion say, her God hath forsaken her; her God hath forgotten her; can a mother forget her sucking child?—You may be in the dark awhile, but wait for the Lord, as they [Page 117] that wait for the morning.—To his everlasting grace and mercy I commend you, and remain,

Your &c. JOHN MASON.

LETTER VIII. To the same.

My dear Friend in our dearest Lord Iesus,

THE Lord hath said, I will never fail you nor forsake you. He will not turn away from doing you good▪ but he will put his fear into your inward parts, that you shall never depart from him. Having these promises, let us stand fast, holding faith and a good con­science. —Let us allow God to be infi­nitely wiser than ourselves, and main­tain honorable thoughts of his Majes­ty and mercy; for as is his Majesty, so is his mercy. Let us bow to his sovereignty, and believe his grace. There are crumbs for dogs; gifts for rebels; and compassion for sinners— [Page 118] The Lord encrease our hope, encour­age our faith, and inflame our love, and perfect that which concerns us! —As we have had joint communion with our good God on earth, I trust it shall be perfected in glory.—To ever­lasting glory is my dear sister Wyat and my dear brother Peter Holmes lately gone. The Lord, who (I trust) had fited them for himself, fit us also!—O! blessed be God, for good hope through grace!—Pray for me, that I may stand fast in the Lord.—With mine and my wife's kind respect to you, and commending you to infinite and eternal mercy in Christ, I rest in him,

Your &c. JOHN MASON.


Let not your heart be troubled, ye be­lieve in God, &c.

Trust in the Lord and do good.

Look unto Iesus, the author and fin­isher of your faith.

Surely there is an end, and thine ex­pectation shall not be cut off.

[Page 119]It is but a little while and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

LETTER IX. To the same.

My dearly beloved in the Lord,

I HAVE had abundance of comfort whilst I have been caring for thy precious soul (the Lord is my witness!) and I hope we shall both rejoice to­gether in the day of Christ.

I received your letter, and read it with a sad heart, finding you were troubled. The Lord guide you and settle you!

I look upon this as a sure principle —that the worship of God must agree with the word of God. I judge a form of prayer lawful, as agreeable to the word of God — The ceremonies are no part of God's worship, for then they must be a matter of necessity, which we hold them not to be— but matters of decency and order, as the Apostle saith, Let all things be done [Page 120] decently, and in order. Neither sin nor holiness is to be put in them; but they are of the nature of those meets which (the Apostle saith) if we eat we are not the better; if we eat not we are not the worse —I do not know your partic­ular scruples, otherwise I should be glad to offer what satisfaction I could. I only tell you some part of my thoughts. I have much christian affec­tion for those that are otherwise mind­ed; in case they be purely conscien­tious, humble, and charitable souls. —The Lord keep you through his name!—I am your, &c.



My dearly beloved friends in Christ,

I REJOICE in God, who hath call­ed you into the fellowship of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; and into that grace, wherein you stand. Let us remember, that we are, by nature, [Page 121] children of wrath, even as others. We might have been cast into hell long a­go. Were we not provoking sinners? O how did the Lord call upon us, and we regarded him not?—But did the Lord stand and knock, and call till he made us answer, speak, Lord, for thy servants hear? Did he give us ears to hear? Would he not let us alone, till he had won our hearts?—O blessed be his name! We might have been blasphemers, persecutors, haters, and despisers of that which is good, at this day. We might have counted the life of religion madness; praying, and professing of religion, fancy and solly. We might have been left to ourselves; all our hope might have been in this life; all our comfort in this world; all our confidence in creatures; and all our heaven upon earth: Hath the Lord caused us to know better things? O let us admire his free grace, now and for ever.!

My friends, consider how great things the Lord hath done for you. Call to mind your former experience, and live as those whom the Lord hath re­deemed [Page 122] by his blood. Now you must look upon yourselves as the Lord Christ's, and not your own. Consid­er from what you are called, and to what you are called.

Would you live holily, observe these rules.

1. Live in the eye of God. 2. Ob­serve the example of Christ. 3. Con­sider the fruit and end of things. The fruit of sin is shame and sorrow. Sin is a viper in the end: But the fruit of righteousness is peace; holiness is eternal life, in the end.

4. Bind the commandments upon your hearts. 5. Shun the appearances, and the least beginnings of sin. 6. Be frequent and fervent in secret prayer.

My friends, would you live comfort­ably, take these directions.

1. Live not so much upon the com­forts of God, as upon the God of com­forts. Be afraid of unbelief▪ that is a great sin. Do not greaten your sins above God's saving power. Believe in the word, firmly and constantly. Trust [Page 123] perfectly to the grace and mercy of God in Christ. I will trust in the mercy of God (saith David) for ever and ever, Psal. lii.8. 2. Beware of sin, espe­cially of wilful sin: That will bring a cloud, and make a breach between God and your soul. 3. Do not mind earthly things. O take heed of unlaw­ful affections; of an unlawful carriage of the heart; about lawful things. 4. Examine the ways of your heart daily: Search yourselves. What sin have I committed? What duty have I o­mitted this day? Every night look back upon the thoughts and affections, and speeches of the day past. Confess your failings over the head of the Scape-Goat. This is another necessary means to keep your peace with God, and to walk comfortably before him: And I pray observe it. 5. Examine your heart farther, and consider the gracious actings and workings of God's blessed Spirit within you; what good thoughts, what good desires, aims, resolutions, God hath put into you. Consider what out-goings of your heart, after God, there have been, what incomes, and [Page 124] influences of his grace. Daily exam­ine your hearts for these things, and give God the glory of all the gracious workings of his spirit in your soul. 6. If you would walk comfortably with God, mind not what is forged, but what is written. Heed not every fancy the devil may dart into you (for then you lie at the mercy of your ene­my) but keep close to the written word of God. Thus it is written, said our Saviour to satan the tempter.—So much for comfortable walking.

Dear friends; Would you walk peace­ably and charitably, take these rules.

1. Remember God hath called you to peace. 2. Remember when Christ was reviled, he reviled not again. 3. If others neglect their duty to you, yet do you not neglect your duty to God, nor to them. Let not another's sin cause you to sin: To render railing for railing, is to return sin for sin 4. You must shew your love to God, whom you have not seen, by your love to your brother, whom you see daily. [Page 125] Shew your piety by your charity. 5. Consider that an unbridled tongue is a sign of an unsanctified heart. They that have not a dram of grace to tame their tongues, shall one day want a drop of water to cool the [...]r tongues. 6. Do good to others, if they do not thank you for it. The less reward you have on earth, the greater shall your reward be in heaven: As the less wa­ges the servant takes up within his year, the more comes in at the year's end.

Dear friends; Would you be constant in good ways and purposes, take these di­rections.

1. Remember you have engaged yourselves to God, and therefore you must keep yourselves from idols. You have given up your names to God, and you must give up your hearts to God. You have made a covenant with God by sacraments. If satan or the world are suiters for your hearts, tell them, you are already disposed of; you are pre-engaged to God; you have chosen your [Page 126] God, and you must not think of changing him. 2. Consider whither would you go from Christ? Where do you think to find such another God as your God; such another friend as Jesus Christ? 3 Remember, if it be good to draw near to God, it is better to draw nearer to him: Still the nearer the better. One may see an end of earthly perfec­tion; but there is no end of the perfection of Jesus Christ. 4. Be downright for God; and you shall find soul-hearting comfort in God, that shall keep you close to God. 5. Walk humbly with God; that is the way to walk closely with God. If a christian is humble, he is a christian indeed: God will not suffer such a one to be tempted above his strength. 6. Let not opinions swim in your heads; that will make you fall: But let the great things of religion sink into your hearts, and that will make you stand. Be content, yea, willing to suffer for Christ; who did so contentedly and willingly suffer for you. And if you suffer with him, you shall be glorified together.

Now, my dear friends, the Lord be [Page 127] with you all! I beseech him to strength­en, stablish, confirm and settle you; and preserve you all to his holy and ev­erlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. In whom I am Your &c.

[...]HN MASON.


Dear friend in Christ,

I Long to hear of the state of your soul. O lay hold upon the Lord Jesus Christ, by a true and lively faith. He is an able, willing, only Soviour; the soul's resting-place, the soul's dwell­ing-place; the soul's hiding-place: O that you may be hid in him now, that you may be [...]ound in him at last. Sin must drive us to him, not from him. We need him infinitely. We are, like Peter, sinking into the waters: Save, Lord; or we perish! Christ, or hell, must be our portion for ever. Christ is our only ark, to save us from per­ishing. Every soul will be uncas'd, [Page 128] [...] it be long; and then it will ap­pear whether they ever seriously ap­plied themselves to Christ. There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Iesus. Nothing but condemnation to them that are out of him. Faith makes Christ ours. This consists in self-deni­al, and self-resignation. We must see our sins, so far as to abhor ourselves; abhor ourselves, so far as to deny our­selves; deny ourselves, so far as to re­sign ourselves up into the saving arms of an only Saviour. They that do this, are pardoned, sanctified, saved for ever.

Now let me intreat you to ask your own heart some questions.

1. Hath sin been laid to my hêart? hath it been my greatest burden?

2. Have I confessed my particular sins, and the sinfulness of my nature, with sor­row?

3. Have I been forced to make my ap­peal to Christ, knowing that I am lost for ever, unless he freely save me? Have I cried for a Christ, as a condemned man for a pardon?

4. Do I believe he is able and willing to save me? Do I believe that he that [Page 129] spread his arms on the cross to die for me, spreads his arms now in the gospel, and in heaven, to save me? Have I plea­ded his promises? O what a precious promise is that, John vi.37. Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out!

5. Have I had joy and peace in be­lieving? Hath Christ, relied on, calm­ed and quieted my poor troubled afflict­ed soul?

6. Do I love Christ more than riches, honors, pleasures? Do I love all his or­dinances? Do I love all his saints?

7. Do I hate sin in itself? Do I hate sin in myself? Do I hate every sin? ev­ery false way?

8. Do I unfeignedly, intirely yield up myself to the service of my Saviour?

If your heart answers to these ques­tions, happy, happy, are you, that ever you were born.

O my friend, I commend you to Christ, the Lord follow you with the motions of his spirit; that you may fol­low him with continual supplications in the spirit! That, of the fulness of [Page 130] Christ, you may receive grace for grace. —The peace of God, and the God of peace be with you. With mine and my sister's love, desiring your prayers, I rest Your &c.



My dear Friend,

I HEAR the hand of the Lord is gone out against you: O hear the rod, and who hath appointed it! O turn to him that smiteth you! It hath pleas­ed the Lord to take away the earth that lay next your root: He hath been dig­ging about you; pray now that you may be fruitful. Now fly from the wrath to come, and lay hold on eter­nal life. Now let the business of your soul be the business of your life. Open your doors to Christ: Invite him to dwell among you, by worshipping him in your family. Whilst your hand is in this world, let your heart pe in hea­ven: O lay up for yourself a treasure there. What is the world! Seek things [Page 131] above▪ if we be not sure of Christ, what are we sure of? If young ones die, how long have we to live?— O strive to enter in at the straght gate. Search and try your ways: Consider in the Lord's fear, wherefore he hath thus contended with you. Repent of every sin your conscience sets before you: Confess sin, and earnestly plead the blood of Christ Now the Lord hath a controversy with you, humble yourself under his mighty hand. Cry for the blood of sprinkling: Never rest till your pardon be sealed through the blood of Christ.—Our kind respects from hence to you & your wife. The Lord pity you in your great afflictions, and every way bless you.

I am Your &c.



My reconciled and dear Friend,

THESE are to thank you for your pious and kind letter, and to as­sure you of my hearty affection to you [Page 132] and yours. For why? Had you been a perfect stranger to me, if I had but heard that there was such a one as loved Christ in sincerity, and earnestly desi­red more communion with him, a deep­er sense of his love, and larger commu­nication of his graces, I should be ve­ry unworthy to deny my love and re­spect to such a worthy object. But since I have had the spiritual benefit and c [...]fort of your acquaintance for divers years together (wherein we took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God as good friends, where we were mutually refreshed with the Word and bread of life, eating of the same spiritual meat, and drinking of the same spiritual drink, and receiv­ing sweet pledges of our eternal com­munion with God) God forbid I should be wanting in any office of christian [...] towards you and yours. Nor do I [...] your jealousy to be any other [...] fruit of your abundant love, [...] not utterly lost, though I [...] shame▪ I fall short of that [...] of brotherly kindness, [...] others, which I beseech [Page 133] God to cover with his mercy in Christ. The Lord enable me to run with di­ligence and patience the race which he hath set before me—God be merci­ful to little Lynford, which is left as sheep without a Shepherd. But if they hun­ger and thirst after the word of righte­ousness they shall be filled. I hope when I have leisure and opportunity I shall not be wanting to them. The Lord comfort their hearts. I and my wife remember our hearty respects to you and yours. God hath been infinitely merciful to us, and hath give us a daughter (now called Martha.) I hope he will perfect his mercy towards us. We are full of his mercies. O that we were full of his praises!—My prayers are for you and yours; whom God bless, preserve and keep. O that all his ways might be mercy and truth towards you! Cast not away your con­fidence, which hath so great recompence of reward. The life of sense is a trou­blesome, disquieting life; for what doth sense discover but vanity and misery? But the life of faith is a comfortable life. For faith makes glorious disco­veries [Page 134] of God and Christ, saints and angels, rest and peace, and life for ev­er. Nothing troubles you when you are above.—Keep where you are well. I remain,

Your &c. JOHN MASON.


Dear Friend,

THOUGH providence hath sepa­rated us, yet it refresheth me to think upon you, and that I am interest­ed in your prayers as you are in mine. Well, if we are met in Christ, we shall meet upon the bench in the great day of assize, and before a throne of glo­ry in our Father's kingdom. In the mean while, our God is with us both whilst we are with him. In his pre­sence is fulness of joy. It is not so much the change of place, as the pre­sence of God, which makes heaven. There is heaven where God shines and [Page 135] manifests himself. When a soul can say, I would not go to heaven, if it were not to meet God there; and if I should be cast into the flames of hell, I could not find in my heart to blaspheme God; the exercise of such a meditation will great­ly help her against temptations.

Many a good soul doth not know how much she loves God; but when she feels that affection stirring within her.—O then, she is in a new, serene, comfortable frame! Satan flies. Per­fect love casts out fear. Love God, and praise God, and all is at peace. Nay, admit the soul hath not got full assu­rance of her pardon; yet if she sets down this resolution—Let God be glorified whatever become of me. Let the angels praise him; let the saint praise him; let the Jews and Gentiles be call­ed in to praise him; and if it may please his divine majesty, let my poor unworthy soul please him, and be a praise to his grace for ever and ever: if it can say this, it must be happy with it. That must needs be a happy soul that breathes forth th [...] praises of God, ascribes all glory to God, and can sing,

[Page 136]
The glory of my glory still shall be,
To give all glory and myself to thee.

The Lord put and keep your heart in a praising frame. O how well doth this angelical and evangelical disposition befit and become those, who of sinners are made saints; of enemies, children; of slaves, heirs; of burning brands, shining stars! When we consider seri­ously what we have been, and what we might have been, nay, what we must have been, if infinite mercy had not prevented; (as the Lord, was seen in the mount, when Isaac day bound up­on the alter, mercy came in between the knife and the sacrifice) instead of scourged, how nobly pardoned & promo­ted! raised from devils to angels com­pany▪ from the lowest depth to the greatest height; this (I say) if we con­sider it, is matter of admiration, not of expression. If we had as many tongues as we have veins or drops of blood, they could never utter a thou­sandth part of the due praises of divine grace. Let us now magnify the Lord and exalt his name together. O the [Page 137] height, and breadth, and depth, and length, of the Father's love! O the in­finite and unsearchable riches of free grace! O! the tremendous mystery, & invaluable mercy of the incarnation the Son of God! O the stupendous hu­miliation and condescention of eternal glory and omnipotency! O the unpar­allel'd love of a dying Saviour! O the sweet heavenly communion of the blessed comforter!—Lord, what do these things mean?—Lord, what are we? or what is our father's house, that thou hast brought us hitherto? That thou shouldst make thy self glorious in our glory, who had made ourselves vile in dishonoring thy name?—O, let us give him our whole souls, who hath redeemed them by his blood! For it is fit he should have the utmost of so dear a purchase. Farewell, my dearest friend in the Lord, in whom I am, Your, &c.

[Page 138]


My dear Friend,

THOUGH we be parted on earth I hope we shall meet in heaven; though our work should not lie together in the Lord's vinyard, yet I hope we shall sup together with Christ; though we do not sojourn together, yet I hope we shall dwell together to all eternity; if we should never feast together any more upon the word and sacraments, yet I hope we shall eat that Bread and drink that wine which is for ever new in our Father's kingdom. Be of good com­fort, Sister, it is but yet a very little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry. We shall be welcome at home however it fares with us in our journey. Remember the apostle Paul had no certain dwell­in [...]-place: nay, our blessed Saviour [...] not where to lay his head. We may [...] poured from vessel to vessel, and [...] to and fro upon this ocean; it [...] not be long, I hope, e'er we be fixed in our harbour. My prayers are [Page 139] and shall be for thee, that God would dispose of thee to his own glory and thy comfort. Let not thy heart be trou­bled, thou believest in God, &c. I saw your mother yesterday, and she was in good health, as we all are here, bless­ed be the Lord. I should be glad to hear of your welfare. I rest

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


My dear Friend in Christ,

THE providence of the Lord ex­tends itself to every thing; but there is a special providence over the children of God, 1 Tim. iv.10. The providences of God, to the children of God are purchased providences, sanctified providences, Soul providences: They are ordinances to them, instruments of good to their souls Again, the pro­vidences of God to his children are pro­mises fulfilled, Psal. xxv.10. Again, the providences of God to his children [Page 140] are the fruits and answers of prayer. Again, the providences of the Lord steer the children of God heaven-wards, Again, the providences of God com­bine and join their forces for the good of every sincere, single-hearted believ­er, Rom. viii.28. My friend, this, I trust, is your happiness, that you are under the eye and conduct and tuition of a fa­therly and special providence. Let us answer the call of providence; which is to watch, pray, and believe; and let us expect good things from a good God; and great things from a great God, through our faithful and dear mediator, who ever lives to make intercess [...]n for us.—I suppose you may have heard, that our friend Mary Tompkins is gone to her eternal rest: She died triumphantly. O! (said she upon her death bed) what things have I seen? Ann Kemp asked her, Hath the Lord given you a glimpse of heaven? I cannot tell (said Mary) whether it be heaven or not, but joys, joys, such things as never mortal eye beheld. I have fought the good fight. And so she went on in heavenly expressions. O! what cause [Page 141] have we to bless the Lord, that she who was afflicted and tossed with so ma­ny temptations in her life-time, found joy and comfort in a dying hour! The Lord was nearest to her when she need­ed him most. My wife remains as for­merly; I hope (thro' the goodness of God) not worse. I desire the continu­ance of your prayers for us. The Lord be with your spirit. No more, but our love. In haste, I rest

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


Dear Friend,

THOUGH I am but a weak inter­preter of the scriptures, and es­pecially of those hard places which are liable to so many different translations and expositions, as that is Psal. xi.3. Yet that I may not be thought to slight your request whose profit I am bound to seek, I will tell you what seems to me to be the true sense of that [Page 142] text. Not that David here doubted of God's word, as if it were not a suffi­cient foundation for him to build upon; (for in this Psalm we find him very much believing, and confident in his God, from the beginning to the end:) I think rather, this was part of the speech of his carnal counsellors, who had bid him fly as a bird to his mountain, in the first verse; and they gave this reason for it in the second verse: for [...]o (say they) the wicked bend their bow, &c. But he scorns their carnal coun­sel in that word, in the Lord put I my trust. But they continue their speech in the third verse. if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? As if they had said, the forests, moun­tains, and caves, are your strongest holds; keep to those foundations; hold you there, or you will perish, though your cause be never so righteous. Ho­ly David disdains their carnal Advice, as you may read in the next verse. There is a God in heaven that takes [...] ­tice how things are carried in the world; that will favor the righteous (though he try them for a while) but he will utter­ly [Page 143] destroy the wicked, and shew them no mercy. Which is the meaning of the fourth verse, and of those that follow, to the end of the Psalm. And this is the most natural sense, which, upon serious consideration, I can fix upon this portion of scripture. Not but that I am willing to be informed by any one, of a better interpretation.— My dear friend, it pities me to read your complaints. The good Lord (if it be his heavenly wi [...]l) restore you the joy of his salvation. Self-abasing, and constant waiting upon God in his own blessed ways, are approved means to recover lost comfort. My prayers are, and shall be for you. With mine and my wife's hearty love to you, and all our christian friends with you, or near you, I rest,

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.
[Page 144]


My dear Friend,

CHRIST be your soul's comfort!— Though he hath taken away your husband, the desire of your eyes, with a stroke, he hath promised, that his loving-kindness he will not take away. The world is full of changes, but our God is unchangeable. Common mercies are sweet mercies, but covenant mercies are sure mercies. Christ is faithful: He ever lives, and (saith he) because I live ye shall live also.

The Lord support and comfort your heart under this heavy hand of his which he hath laid upon you. O! that it may bring your soul nearer to God, and to Jesus Christ. O! that that providence which hath wrought death in your husband, may work life in your heart. Hate sin; overcome the world; love Christ; mind heaven and heavenly things my dear christian friend.

I have great hopes that your soul is safe, however it may please the Lord [Page 145] in his wisdom to deal with your body and family. Submit yourself cheer­fully to his will and pleasure; and say, Lord, here I am, here is my family, do with them what shall sêem good in thine eyes.—The Lord be gracious to you. The Lord be gracious to Haversham. The Lord awaken the hearts of the people. O that they▪ might repent quickly! Because wrath is gone out from the Lord. The Lord stay his hand if it be his will. The Lord Je­sus stand between the living and the dead. The Lord bless his word and rod to yourself and others. The Lord dwell, and rule, and walk in the midst of you. O keep close to God! He will never fail you nor forsake you.

My prayers are for you. My kind respects to yourself, and all our christian friends. My wife sends her love to you. The Lord be with your spirit. —I remain,

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.
[Page 146]


My dear christian friend, and heartily beloved in the Lord Iesus Christ,

WHAT a good God have we! that remembers us in our low estate, thinks upon us when we are poor and needy, and is nearest to us when we need him most! He is a sun to comfort us, a shield to protect us; he gives us grace, he gives us glory, he gives us himself. O what a good God have we!—Why hath he cho­sen us! We did not choose him, but he hath chosen us. He hath loved us first, and hath loved us freely. Behold wh [...] manner of love the Father hath be­stowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God! Is not his love sweeter than wine? Is it not better than life? Does it not sweeten a sick-bed? Does it not sweeten the thoughts of death? When the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, then the blessed soul cries, welcome death, welcome [Page 147] judgment, welcome eternity: Come sweet Lord Iesus, come quickly.

I rejoice to hear of your recovery. And I rejoice in the thoughts of that comfortable entertainment your Sa­viour gave you in the time of your sickness. When the Apostle Peter was upon the water, he said Lord, bid me come to thee. And so many of Christ's friends have desired him to call them. And did you run to embrace Christ? Did you rejoice in the thoughts of his coming? And long to depart, that you might be with him, which is the best of all? O! Blessed be God for the sa­vour of his sweet ointments, which drew out your soul after him. Blessed be God for his Almighty spirit which made you so eagerly and joyfully de­sirous of the coming of Jesus Christ. But now you must wait for Christ, as the people by the sea-side, Luke viii.40. He will certainly come. He saith, behold I come quickly. It is but yet a little while, and he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry. You must wait for him, and watch for him. Trim your lamp, that when you hear [Page 148] the joyful sound, Behold your bridegroom cometh, you may be ready; and the bride-chamber door may stand open for you—A good Martyr in Scotland going to suffer for Christ, said to his wife, I will not bid you good night, for we shall meet at supper. It is not long e'er all God's people shall be gathered together to him, and shall be for ever with him.

Remember my kind love to all my dear friends with you, and near you, as duly as if I named them one by one. Mine and my wife's love to you. Let us continue to pray for one another. The Lord be with your spirit. I remain

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


Dear Friend.

I Thank you for your letter, and am glad to hear you are so well settled; but especially of the good frame of your mind, which God preserve for his glo­ry. [Page 149] I desire you may still cherish thoughts of your own mortality. All our meditations and prepartions are little enough to fit us for a dying hour. Hold fast what you have received; make much of your experiences. Doth not experiences tell you, that the worst of the ways of God, are better than the best of the ways of sin? When you see the abundance and glory of the world, pray for the Light of God's countenance. When the soul saith, The Lord is my portion, it is satisfied; whilst others who have their Portion in this world remain unsatisfyed.

Watch over your heart and tongue, and life. Watch against sin; watch unto duty; watch for the coming of Christ. Seek the Lord, seek his strength, seek his face evermore. Be not weary of well doing, and waiting upon God, Remember what you hear, what you read, what you pray for; and live ac­cordingly. The God of peace be with you.

My wife and I send our hearty love to you, and your brothers, and my [Page 150] cousin Betty. We are in good health at present, Blessed be the name of the Lord. I hope your brothers profit in learning. The Lord give every one of them a portion of grace. Commend­ing you to the protection, direction, and comforts of the blessed God, I rest

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


Dear Friend,

I Received yours, and should be glad to hear where, and in what condi­tion you now are. Want of jealousy and zeal for the great name of God, deserves to be complained of. I am glad it is your burden; nevertheless I would not have you be discouraged. It is a sound conclusion of divines, That a christian may be more sensibly affected with outwar things, which touch the sen­ses, than with spiritual things; and yet have a more inward, deep, and hearty [Page 151] concern for spirituals. He may have a more radicated love to God, than to any earthly things; he may have a more judicious hatred of sin than of any plague; he may have a more solid, pro­found grief for the dishonor of God, than for an injury done to his earthly relations; albeit he may be under more vehement passions, and may shed more tears for wrongs done to his friends, or for plagues inflicted upon his body, than he doth from spiritual evils. Be­sides, I am glad Almighty God hath so far enlightened your mind, to see so much of the evil of sin as to be displea­sed with yourself for being no more displeased at it. It is some argument of softness, when the stone grates upon the flesh, and makes it bleed. To be sensible of hardness argues that hard­ness doth not prevail.—God go on with his work in your heart, and make all graces abound in you. Wait con­tinually upon your God. Seek the Lord, seek his strength, seek his face evêrmore. Above all gettings get wisdom; get un­derstanding, forget it not.—Let me know how it is with you; and whe­ther [Page 152] you have lighted into good com­pany. With our love, I rest

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


Honest and dear Friend,

GOD Almighty bless you, and keep you and make his face to shine upon you, and give you peace: The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and encourage you beyond all discouragements.

I rejoice to hear of your care to keep sabbaths; and your willingness rather to suffer for keeping them, than to sin in breaking them. Undoubtedly it is better to suffer the greatest suffering, than to sin the least sin. If we keep sabbaths holy, sabbaths will keep us ho­ly. Be much in prayer. Be always watching against sin, over your heart, unto duty, and for the coming of the Lord, Be always in your earthly call­ng, or in your heavenly calling, or in [Page 153] some way that may fit you for these callings▪ Be heartily content with that condition that divine providence, or your good parents, shall call you to. Adorn every state by religion, and adore religion in every state. Labor in all things to please God, that through you God's name may be honored, and his ways the better thought of.

I am glad to hear of your willing­ness to depart out of this world. The rule is, vitam in patientia, mortem in desiderio habandum est. We must be con­tent to live, willing to die. I pray God to use you whilst you live. And not to refuse you when you come to die. I hope you will live to glorify him on earth. I beseech God to preserve your body and spirit.

'Tis saturday, and my work is upon me, which makes me take my leave of you sooner than else I should do. I should be glad to hear from you. God be with your spirit. I rest,

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.

[Page 154]


My dear Friend,

THE Lord love you, and bless, you and keep you, and make his face to shine upon you. I beseech him to stablish your heart with grace, and preserve you harmless and blameless unto the coming of Christ. Cleave unto God with full purpose of heart. Be assured that the world is vanity, sin is folly, Christ is all in all. Live up­on God by faith, live unto him by o­bedience▪ watch and pray, that you enter not into temptations. Cherish good motions, quench bad. Honor God by a faithful discharge of duties, personal and relative. Be assured your labour is not in vain in the Lord. Cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

I was last week at Mursley to see your mother, who was ill; but re­moving to great brickhill she found herself better. I hope God will restore her to you all, for his glory and your comfort. We are all at present in good [Page 155] health, through God's goodness.

My wife and Mrs. W. and all your brothers send their several respects to you, and so doth,

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


My dear Friend,

I AM glad to hear of your proficien­cy in the good ways of God. The further you walk in them the sweeter you will find them, and the better you will like them; and therefore I be­seech you, For▪ God's sake, and for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, not to hearken to the world, the flesh, or the devil, for they would take you off from the pure and pleasant ways of God. Blessed is he that watcheth, and happy is the man that feareth always. Com­mune with your own heart▪ consider your latter end. Look at things eter­nal. What is the world to the soul? The judge is before the door▪ pray [Page 156] continually. Own the substantials of religion.—I told you my mind before we parted in the celler-chamber; and my prayers are for you by name. Heart-work is better than head-work. It is a better temper to be fervent in charity, than in disputes. Own the image of Christ, wherever you see it; and beg wisdom of God, who will give it you liberally. Judge others with a judg­ment of charity (as the Apostle Paul doth) but judge yourself with a judg­ment of verity and severity. Spare not a corruption. Slack not a duty. Be always abounding in the work of the Lord.

My dear friend, I received your kind sympathizing letter, and thank you for it. I sent to you an answer, but it could not find you out; and therefore I send this by your mother, whom I saw last week, blessed be God, finely support­ed.—With mine, my wife's, cousin H—'s and your brothers re­spects to you, I rest,

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.
[Page 157]


Dear Friend,

I THANK you for your letter. God hath blessed me with a son; and we are all in good health, God be praised. My brother Wyat was sud­denly taken away, and my sister is left a poor sorrowful widow. See the course and fashion of the world; first the birth of a son, then the death of a brother. God never changes, never dies. Happy are they that have God for their God? They are sure of some­thing, or rather of all. If a man had the whole world he were sure of no­thing—There is nothing like close communion with God. Watching and praying, and peace with God, makes a man's life comfortable in despite of all the rage and fury of earth or hell. Follow on to know God and you shall know him more. The Lord stablish your heart with grace, and give you a further experience and liking of his good ways.—It would be much to my satisfaction to hear of your proficiency [Page 158] in a christian way, and that your soul prospers. O that I may rejoice in the day of Christ upon your account! That I have not run in vain, nor la­bored in vain.—I wish you a good settlement, and under a good master, God's holy and wise providence take the care of you, that you may be dis­posed of to your eternal good.—Mine and my wife's, and Mrs. W—'s Love to you. Your brothers send you their due respects. I am,

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


Dear Friend,

I Thank you for your letter. I earn­estly desire your proficiency and comfort in the good ways of God ▪ A christian must be humble but never dis­couraged. The first is a duty; the se­cond is a sin. Though the bare talk­ing of the lips tends only to penury; [Page 159] yet talking of God, and of the things of God, from the heart, is part of the christian practice, especially among those that are endued with a sense of re­ligion. Our words must be savoury, seasoned with salt; tending to edification; and such as may minister grace to the hearers.

I commend to you secret duties. A christian is what he is between God and his own soul. Go to God for God; go not from God without God: Seek his face in Christ. Endeavour for a sense of his favor, and the supply of his spi­rit. You have the blessed and most worthy name of Christ to speed your requests; therefore let nothing lie up­on your heart to trouble you. It is not only a suffering but a sin, to let any thing lie upon our heart to trouble us, when we have a God that bids us cast all our care upon him. God will deal familiarly with you; he will be all things to you, if you depend upon him. If your spirit flags or faints, search the cause of this untowardness and averseness, and conclude it is not well with you till you have recovered [Page 160] a cheerful, obedient frame of heart, that you can say from your soul, Lord, whom have I in heaven but thee? Whom have I in earth but thee?

Two things resolve upon by the grace of God, viz. To judge yourself; and to judge no body else. God requires these two things, to be severe towards yourself; and charitable towards others. This will bring you comfort. Attend to the vitals and essentials of religion; they will nourish the life and power of Godliness in your heart.

Three things make a christian, viz. Repentance towards God; faith in our Lord Iesus Christ; and sincere and uni­versal obedience. Mind these three things, and the God of peace shall be with you.— Assure yourself, there is such a thing as religion in the world, though some deride it, and others fals­ly pretend to it. There is such a thing as communion with God.—Seek comfort in God through Christ, there it is to be found; rest not till you have found it and then your soul will say. This is that I would have; this satis­fies and refreshes. If a man hath his [Page 161] chest full of treasure, what cares he though he be called a poor man; he hugs himself, and saith, Populus me si­bilat, at mihi plaudo. So if a man be judged a hypocrite it matters not, so long as he hath the evidence of his sin­cerity in his bosom; a testimony with­in that he hath pleased God.—In a great house there are grooms and scullions, yet we say, it is not their house, it is such a nobleman's house, he owns it; so there is not a christian in the world but hath vile slaves lodg­ing within him, but Christ is the Lord of the house. Corruption rebels, but grace reigns, There are two houses, two parties, Christ's side and the dev­il's; and a conflict between them. If it were not so; if it were not for this inward conflict, earth would be heav­en; for outware opposition would be nothing, if it were not for this inward Corruption. Well but Quod non placet, id non nocet. If sin be our grief and ha­tred it shall not be our ruin. Christ's side shall prevail.

I commend you, my dear friend, to [Page 162] the grace of God, which is able to il­luminate your mind, to govern your spirit, and to preserve you to his ever­lasting kingdom. I rest

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


My indeared Friend,

IT is the duty of every true christian to give God the glory of his grace. We can never bless God enough for his patience, that hath kept us so long out of hell; nor for his mercy, that so earnestly invites us to heaven. Is it nothing, that the Lord is continually following us with terms of peace, and tenders of mercy, and beseeching us to be reconciled?—Say not in your heart, I have nothing of Christ in me, because you have not attained to such perfection and assurances as you desire. It was the saying of a good christian. I bless God for a good thought. Bless [Page 163] God for any token of his love; any portion of his spirit. Thou canst not say, thy sins are forgiven thee; but canst thou not say, they are confessed; they are confessed over the head of the Scape-goat? Dost thou heartily confess thy sins unto God, with all their aggra­vations? O! it is a great mercy.— Thou canst not say, thou hast an in­terest in Christ; but hath not Christ an interest in thee? Hath he not won thine heart and affections? O! it is a great mercy.— Thou sayst possibly, I am not worthy to be called a child of God. But doth not God receive and treat thee as a father? The prodigal (Luke xv.) acknowledged he was not worthy to be called the son; but yet his Father received him.— Again, it may be thou complainest of sin; but is it with thee as it was for­merly? Shouldest thou not bless God for some amendments? If a sick man be any thing bettered in health (though he still be very bad, yet) he will tell his friends, he is somewhat better than he was, and he blesses God for it. Be­sides, tho' sin dwells in thee, yet, per­haps, [Page 164] it is the grief of thy soul: Thou art its captive not its convert. As sin is against thy soul, so is not thy soul a­gainst sin? If it be thy grief it shall not be thy ruin.

Again 'it may be thine heart is troub­led in an hour of temptation but hast thou not sometimes enjoyed sweet peace with God? Were not thine earthly delights vain? Canst thou not say now, O quam sauve est istis sauvi­tatibus carere? One quarter of an hour's communion with God is worth all the de­lights in the world? Canst thou not call to mind some of God's former lov­ing-kindnesses? Hast thou not some­times tasted and seen how good the Lord is?—What a mercy is that! —Again, thou art not assured of heaven, and thou wantest an assurance thereof. But thou hast such hopes of heaven as thou wouldest not exchange for all the kingdoms of the world; and shouldest thou not bless God for that? Which is more to thee than all the world?—Again, thou sinest thro' mistake or passion. But canst thou find in thine heart to sin against God? [Page 165] He that is born of God cannot sin; [...]hat is, he cannot find in his heart to sin; because he is born of God.— A­gain, it may be thou complainest of a dead heart. But is there not some life in thee? Deadness stands in opposition to liveliness as well as life. If thou art dead, that is, not lively, yet bless God that thou art not quite dead in trespasses and sins.—Again, it may be that thou complainest of a hard heart. But thy heart is not so hard but it feels its hardness. Did Pharaoh complain of the plague of a hard heart? He felt it not▪ he was all stone. But if thy heart feels its hardness, 'tis a sign there is something of flesh. Bless God for that covenant-mercy, a heart of flesh.—Again, it may be the Lord tarri­eth or hideth himself from thee. But art thou not willing to wait upon him, and to wait for him? Dost thou wait under his table for crumbs▪ Dost thou wait at his gate for mercy? Well, the Lord is good to them that wait for him, Lam. iii.25.— Again, it may be thou complainest, thou art of­ten [Page 166] out of frame, or of an uneven tem­per; sometimes praying, sometimes sinning, &c. But though thou art not always the same, yet God is, and Jesus Christ is; and therefore it is that we are not consumed.—Again, it may be thou thinkest thou shalt never be a­ble to suffer for Christ, thy weak na­ture shrinks and trembles at the thot's of it; thou art afraid thou shalt rath­er deny thy Saviour, than thy name, thy liberty, or thy life. It is true, if thou shouldest be left to thyself, it would be so; but God is faithful, and he will not suffer thee to be tempted a­bove what thou art able to bear. He will not send thee into a wood to fell an oak with a penknife. When he calls thee to the work thou never didst, he will give thee the strength thou nev­er hadst—Again, it may be, thou fearest thou shalt fall away, and never hold out to the end, but doth not this fear of thine rather secure thee than betray thee? Does it not quicken thee to duty, to watch and pray, &c. It is a mercy if it be such a fear and tremb­ling as thou art working out thy salva­tion [Page 167] by. But wherefore dost thou doubt? Hath God ever failed thee at thy need? When the disciples began to be concerned about bread; saith our Saviour, do you not remember how many baskets full ye took up at such a time? & how many at such a time? Are your hearts still hard [...]ned? So say I, remem­ber how God hath comforted you at such a time, or such a time, and be not faithless but believing.—The Lord inspire your heart with courage and comfort, that you may persevere in his good ways unto the end. The Lord be your keeper, your guide, your portion for ever.

I shall be glad to hear how it fares with you. I hope we are not unmind­ful of one another, though there had been an interruption of epistolary con­verse. I suppose you might not receive my last letter. With mine, my wife's, Mrs. W—'s, your brother's, and Martha's hearty love and respects, and all good wishes, I rest

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.
[Page 168]


My dear Friend,

THOUGH my time be short yet I could not omit to let you know what a refreshing it was to my spirit, to receive so good a letter from you. The Lord carry on his work effectual­ly in your heart. If thou hast grace, thou hast a great charge about thee: Satan and his instruments will endea­vor to rob thee of it, but they shall not prevail. Our life is hid with Christ in God; and when Christ who is our life shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory. Only let us watch and pray that we do not enter into tempt­ation. Encourage yourself in Christ, and God's gracious promises; as I find you do, blessed be God. Keep close to God Stand in awe of your own conscience. Pray constantly and fer­vently. Wait upon God continually. Abhor the appearance of evil, my faith­ful and dear friend.—The Lord keep you through his name, and com­mand his loving-kindness towards you. [Page 169] The Lord enlarge the hand of his bounty towards you. The Lord ful­fil the good pleasure of his goodness to­wards you, and the work of faith with power. I hope we shall meet on earth; if not on earth, I hope in heaven, through the riches of free-grace Grace be with your spirit.

Take this as snatched from my ur­gent occasions; and be assured of the hearty affections and prayers of

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


My affectionate and dear friend,

YOU oblige us by your good and kind letters, and the news you send us. I hope you have that special gift of God, faith. Now is a time to exercise it. Now God's wrath seems to be kindled a little against the na­tion, Blessed are all those that put their trust in him.

[Page 170]O let us lay up for ourselves a trea­sure in heaven! O that we were wise to make provision for our souls whilst we enjoy our lives! That when our lives shall be lost our souls may be safe, and that for ever.—What a mer­cy is it that we have a God to go to? And the name of Christ to go to him in? Antichrist is cruel, but Christ is merciful. Let our souls fall into the arms of Christ, though our lives should fall into the hands of Antichrist. O that our spirits may be saved in the day of the Lord Iesus? And that we may meet at last in heaven!—O! pray, pray that he would bless, guide, pre­serve and keep you and me, us and our's by the Holy Ghost, that we may never fail; but be faithful unto death, that we may receive a crown of life.

The Lord manifest himself unto you in the riches of his love; and bless you abundantly with all heavenly favors! Be encouraged to persevere in well-do­ing, for you shall reap if you faint not. O let us live by faith till we shall live by sight. Let us walk with God till he shall take us.—Mine and my wife's [Page 171] love to you. Pray for her and me. The Lord watch over your spirit, and and charge his providence with you; and command all things to work toge­ther for your good. I remain

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


My dear Friend,

I AM sensible of your love to us. You mourn with us, and rejoice with us; and I hope you pray for us, and praise for us. And therefore I must needs desire your temporal and especially your eternal welfare. I re­joice in the hopes of your stedfastness in Christ. Blessed be God who hath pre­served you, and followed you with the motions of his good spirit. The Lord carry on his work in our hearts, that we may at last meet in his kingdom. Be encouraged still to depend on God. Converse with him by faith, medita­tion, and prayer. If any despise the [Page 172] good ways of God, I trust you can jus­tify them by your own experience. God's work is wages, and in keeping his commandments there is great reward. Go on (my dear and faithful friend) go on in the strength of God. Follow after righteousness, holiness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Labor farther after measures of grace, & more intimate ac­quaintance and communion with God. The way of the Lord is strength to the up­right. The farther a man walks in the good ways of God, the better he will find them. Let us live by faith, till we shall live by sight. Let us breathe by prayer, till we breathe out our souls into Christ's bosom. —Say, we are weak, (as it is most true;) our God will strengthen us. A christian cannot keep himself but he is kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.—Therefore we must commit our souls to God's keeping, and derive supplies of strength from Jesus Christ. O that we might daily receive of his fulness, even grace for grace! When satan tempts, or the world tempts, fly to Christ, and he [Page 173] will succour. If your heart be dead, go to Christ, and he will quicken it.

I commend you to Christ in my prayers▪ I commend Christ to you in my letters, Christ is all in all▪ because I live (saith he) ye shall live also. Christ sweetens life, death, the grave, resurrection, judgment, heaven, eter­nity: Christ sweetens all:—Do you not love a man when you see (ali­quid christi) something of Christ in him? Do you not love a book when you read something of Christ in it? Are not the ordinances dear to you, because Christ is to be seen through these Lattices? And do you not love christian assemblies, because Jesus Christ walks in the midst of the golden candlesticks?

My dear Friend, I hope you truly belong to Christ, and will one day see his face with joy. He is our priest, he is our surety, he is our advocate at the right hand of the Father. O let us prize him, and praise him, to eter­nity.—To the Lord's Almighty [Page 174] protection, and most gracious favor, I commit you, remaining,

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


My very affectionate, and dear friend,

I Hope there is an indissoluble knot between us that neither silence nor distance can break in pieces; I mean the unity of the spirit; which will out­stand all carnal alliances, founded in blood or marriage; and all temporary confederacies grounded upon interest or temper. Time often breaks the last, and death ever desolves the first or these ties and communications. But spirit­ual friendship grows by time, and is perfected by death; it lasts and holds for ever. The time comes when there will be no friendship but spiritual friendship. When Eve awoke out of Adam's side▪ how was he joyed in her? This is bone of my bone, &c. But when [Page 175] they had sinned he bitterly accused her at the bar of God. Such will be the end of all that jocund friendship of all unregenerate allies; they will be divi­ded at the bar of God, and no other­wise united, than as tares are in the same bundle, whose nearness does help to consume one another.

But I hope, my dear friend, we are one spirit in Christ for ever: I hope we are met in him through grace; shall meet with him in t [...]e clouds; and shall be ever with him in heaven. In the mean time I condemn and abhor myself, that when divine providence gave me a long wished for opportunity of seeing your face, I was no more in­ward with you; and that I so fool­ishly lost the advantage I then had of consulting and farthering your spiri­tual estate.

Sorry I am there was so little of heaven, so much of earthliness and car­nality in my conversation with you. And this I write with grief and shame. How often have my bowels yearned towards your soul! that I have thought. O that you were but near me, or by me! [Page 176] O that we had but an opportunity of dis­coursing together of things pertaining to the kingdom of God!—I had an op­portunity; I say, I had an opportu­nity.—But it is gone, it is gone! and whether I shall ever have the like again I know not. The Lord forgive me! Though I have not been my brother's keeper, yet I will commit my brother to that God, who is able to keep him from this present evil world; and from every evil work, unto life eternal.— The Lord, by his spirit, breathe into you better medita [...]ions than I could possibly have suggested. I should have spoken to you; but yet I may speak for you, and you for me, to that God who is with us both at the same time; and who can bless us both out of the riches of his grace and goodness in Je­sus Christ. In whom I am,

Dear Sir, &c.
[Page 177]


My dear Friend,

YOURS I received not till about a fortnight ago, for it lodged at Mursley. I am not unmindful of you. I counsel you to sanctify sabbaths. Re­member to keep holy the sabbath, and that will be a means to keep you holy— & pray continually. Wrestle with God for the pardon of your sins. Confess them over the head of the Scape-Goat, Jesus Christ Beg for the spirit of ap­plication, that you may apply Christ to yourself; apply the promises when you hear them, or read them. The word does us good when it is applied, and providences do us good when they are applied. The Lord teach us so to number our days, as to apply our hearts unto wisdom! and so to hear, as we may apply our hearts to the practice and obedience of the word.

I pray God carry on his work in your heart, that you may grow in grace, as you grow in years. O! that in [Page 178] these dark and dangerous days, we may fly to our God to hide us, cry to our God to help us; and he will be a pre­sent help in the time of trouble.

I should be glad to hear any time from you of the case of your soul. Have a special care of that. We must shortly put off these tabernacles; our souls will return to God for their sen­tence. O that we may be changed by grace, before we are changed by death! I hope we shall meet in our father's house where are many mansions. The Lord be your guide, your keeper, and your comforter.— Mine, and my wife's and sister Wyat's love to you. I rest

Your▪ &c. JOHN MASON.


Dear Friend,

AS sweats are good for a man's bo­dy, if a man comes well out of them; so afflictions are good for the [Page 179] soul, if a man come well out of them. I wish you may come out of your sick­ness, and that you may come well out of it. It is good for you that you have been afflicted, if you can say, I bless the Lord. I see the vanity of the world, the uncertainty of the world and the approach of judgment. It is good for you that you have been afflicted, if you have been taught by it that Christ is best, and sin is worst. O! for the blood of the ever­lasting covenant, to wash away my sins, & to deliver me from the wrath to come. You come well out of your afflictions, if you are more serious, more cautious, and more circumpect; more watch­ful and prayerful, more spiritual and heavenly-minded.

Death is a good debt and must be paid. The clouds return after the rain. O prepare carefully for your latter end. What time you have to spare from your worldly occasions, spend in your soul concernments. Accustom your­self to prayer, to good thoughts, to reading of good books, especially God's book. Labor to be what all wish they had been when they come to die. Con­sider [Page 180] and think of the best things, and keep the best company.—In every thing aim at God's glory, and your e­ternal salvation.—As we have lived un­der one roof together, I desire we may live in our heavenly Father's house to­gether; and be for ever with the Lord. No more, but hearty love from

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


Dear Friend,

THE Lord be with you! The Lord shine upon you in the face of Christ.—O seek the face and favor of God. He that findeth Christ, findeth life; he findeth the sweetest of all blessings; he findeth the pearl of great­est price. Christ is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. Sin will find us out, if Christ do not hide us. But he spreads his wing, and calls us to come under it. The [Page 181] Lord bring you under the wing of Christ! under covenant protection, my dear friend, that your soul may be sa­ved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Beg not only pardon but purity of heart, desire a new nature, that you may serve the Lord in newness of life. Watch and pray against sin; and every night examine yourself how you have spent the day. Bless the Lord for what good he hath enabled you to do, and confess, and be humbled if you have thought or spoke, or done any e­vil. Walk as in the sight of God, speak as in the hearing of God; do all things as in his presence, who is our judge.

I commend you to the infinite love of God, and rest,

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.
[Page 182]


Dear Friend,

I Desire your happiness in all respects, and that God who gives you health and strength for your earthly calling, may enable you for the duties of your heavenly calling; and that whilst your hand is in the world, your heart may be in heaven.

I hope you do conscientiously observe God's sabbaths, and delight in his or­dinances, and that you experience the sweetness of communion with God, and of his service, which is perfect free­dom. I desire that you may continue in well-doing, that you may be faith­ful to the death, that you may receive a crown of life. To keep a conscience void of offence, must be your daily ex­ercise, and it shall be your daily com­fort.

I hope you visit the throne of grace daily, and find prayer to be your chief delight, and the best of your fare. Confess what you find amiss in your­self. Beg pardon and sanctification. [Page 183] Endeavour to walk closely with God —There is nothing like close com­munion, and close walking with God. —I should be glad to hear of your soul's prosperity. Though I seldom write to you, you are not out of my heart nor out of my prayers. My ser­vice to your good brother William, of whose recovery I long to hear, and to your brother Samuel, to whom I thot' to write, but at present want opportu­nity.—The Lord Jesus be with you. In him I am,

Your, &c. JOHN MASON.


My loving Friend,

YOUR condition puts me in mind of a speech of Iacob.—And now I must provide for my own house also. I desire the Lord may dwell in your heart and in your house, the patri­archs were wont, where they pitched, there to rear altars; never accounting [Page 184] themselves settled till the worship of God was settled among them.

My friend, if the Son make you free, then are you free indeed; and where the spirit of the Lord is, therê is liberty. I hope you are in Christ, and have the spirit of Christ dwelling in you.— Then are you free from the law of sin and death.

I desire your house may be a Bethel, not a Bethaven; a house of God, and not a house of vanity. I desire that prayers and praises may there be as­cending, and mercies and blessings de­scending. He that provideth not for the bodies of his family is worse than an infidel; he that provideth only for the bodies of his family is no better than an infidel.

You will see that all that are within your gates keep holy the sabbath-days. That will make happy week-days.— The Lord bless you in your soul, and in your body, in your person, and in your family; in your basket, and in your store; in your going out, and in your coming in, from this time forth, and for ever more. Amen.

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